|Let It Rain|
|Summary:||Jac and Darek practice in the rain, then talk with Tria and Ceinlys.|
|Related Logs:||None directly.|
|Courtyard, Tanglewood Manor|
|The courtyard opens up into a barren expanse of well-trodden, hard-packed dirt underfoot. Surrounded on three sides by the looming structure of the Keep, and on the fourth by the outer wall and gatehouse, the courtyard benefits from both sunlight and shade at most hours of the day, illuminated in the evening by well-placed lanterns. Through the western wall, an arching, covered walkway leads to the paddock and stables beyond, by way of the Lord's kennels and hawking mews, while the opposite building houses the Keep's barracks and armory. The main building looms tallest, dominating the area with it's weighty double-doors - easily twice the height of a man - at the pinnacle of a clean-swept set of steps.|
|21 October, 289|
And still falls the rain. The storm had been looming on the forest's edge most of the afternoon, rumbling at Highfield with warning. Now it unfolds over the township and manor, falling in steady, heavy raindrops toward the dirt courtyard. It is at least a Summer's storm instead of a Winter's — warm instead of cold without a lick of wind. "We stop for no storm, lad," he half-shouts to his squire as he disengages from the boy, his training sword coming to rest with it's tip pointed down; the shield on his arm is adjusted a bit, his shoulder rolling in his socket a bit. They had been in the training yard, but Jac had been trained in multiple settings, and so was his squire. The Songbird had long ago tossed aside his leather jacket and tunic, leaving his heavily scarred torso bare. He takes several steps back from Darek before he lifts up his shield once more. "Again!"
When Darek stripped off his shirt and vest, it was hot and sunny, with the stormclouds just hanging over the forest. Now, his bare torso glistens with falling rain, washing away the sweat that tries to gather. His own lean lines are unscarred, although there's a nasty scar on his left forearm mostly hidden by the shield he carries on that arm. Wiping his brow with the band of leather on his right wrist and shaking his hair out of his face, he nods to his knight, "Nothin' better to do, Ser." At the order, he raises his practice sword and shield again, hefting the blade, and then advances again, presenting his shield before him, then swings an overhead blow with his blade, aiming to drive his knight backwards to set up a later attack on his actual body.
A tiny woman, dressed in a simple dress with a cloak, on her hip are three skins of wine, is making her way into the courtyard looking around the area, the guards seem to know her and let her pass, tough she does give them a tight smile and inclines her head to them as she moves quickly by. She pauses in the middle of the yard, watching the men do their thing. The young woman tries to catch a man at arms, but she is ignored.
Soaked locks of dark brown hair is tossed back out of the knight's face with a quick gesture of his chin, and this happens just in time for his shield to catch the swinging blow. The Knight is drawn back a step, but he digs the side of his foot into the proto-mud. He grunts briefly, angling his body into his own shield arm to press back into Darek's sword. "Not hopin' to go to the inn, then?" He asks as he thrusts his own sword forward, aiming low with his shield still holding onto Darek's blade. It is out of the corner of his eye does he even register the tiny woman standing there, alone.
Darek focuses on his attention on his swordwork and shieldwork, lowering the heater and shifting it to knock aside the thrust with a clatter of steel on wood, "Fuck no, Ser." He feints high with his sword again, and then turns in behind his shield, aiming to slam it into Jac's shield to drive it clear and open the knight up to a follow-on thrust. Of course, this opens his left side behind the shield to Jac's own sword. "That woman's a fucking shadowcat."
Stepping up to the outside of the ring she watches the two men, Jac and Darek. She shifts a little, her big brown eyes falling from one to the other aand back again as they trade blows. Looking to the sky she sighs softly and then turns her attention to the men, chewing gently on her bottom lip.
"You mean Miss Simone," Jac says conversationally. The Knight accepts the heavy shield slam, though he twists on his feet to take advantage of the opening with a swat with the side of the blade. Whether or not he connects with the boy's side, he pushes back several steps. His shield lowers a bit again, glancing toward Tria once more. He bows his head to the girl, gesturing with his sword to signal his squire to stand down. "Miss, what brings you to the manor, and in the rain no less?"
Darek nods his head at the 'question,' starting to spin away from the swat only to have his foot slip in the new-made mud. He recovers, but not quickly enough to defend against the attack. Practice blade hits home with a wet slap on his leather pants, and he snarls wordlessly, bringing his blade back up and starting to attack once more. The gesture from his knight, however, causes him to step back, taking up his sword with his shield in his left hand, pulling his soaked curls of hair from his face and looking over to the interruption. He blinks once at the newcomer, then bows his head politely, "Miss." The fact that he's stripped to the waist doesn't seem to particularly bother him.
Caught! The young woman gives a jerk and a wince at the hit then looks to Jac, she slips into a curtsey, keeping her cloak closed her, hood up, "Greetings, I do apologize for interrupting your spar." The tiny woman lowers her hood and say, "The rain is what brings me here. I've been camping in the forest since arriving in Highfield." She moves her hand to her belt and pulls forward her wine skin, "I was wondering if I could find Lord Robben to sell my wares too so I could shelter a few nights in the inn." And now the former innkeeper is getting drenched, but she doesn't seem to notice.
"I'm sorry to say, dear miss, that I don't know the whereabouts of Lord Robben." He looks up a bit toward the rain, blinking into the oncoming droplets. Then he glances over toward Darek, and then back to the young girl with the wineskins. "How much are you selling your wares for, Miss? If Lord Robben is unfindable, I might be willing to buy in his stead." He bows his head a bit. "I'm Ser Jac, and this is my squire Darek."
Darek stiffens up a little bit at the mention of camping in the forest, glancing over in the direction of the woods quickly and then trying to hide the gesture by brushing his free hand down his face to clear it of rain. "Darek Boldt. Bold by name, Bold by game." The bravado comes off a little flat though, and he shrugs slightly, eyeing the wineskins, "And what is it you're selling, Miss?" And then he realizes there was an implicit question in Jac's look, and he shakes his head at his knight, "Dunno where Lord Robben is either, Ser. Didn't see him on my laps."
Tria ohs a bit and then says, "A pleasure to meet you Ser, Master Boldt." She pulls the skins from her pouch and says, "I have three varieties, each better then the last, all from the land of Terrick's Roost, a raspberry wine, a cherry wine and a wine made of pears, and wild berries." She holds up the skins each in turn, "My family owned an inn in Terrick's roost, but were forced out by the Ironmen." She looks to Darek and gives him a soft smile and a wink, "I'll be happy to let you taste it if you'd like."
"Let us have a taste," Jac says with a wider, white smile. The rain has cleaned much of the dirt off his skin, though some of it has turned to thin mud in places. He gestures toward the eaves of the barrack house, silently drawing the girl and lad both under for a bit of shelter from the rain. "Your family is from the Roost then," he deduces quite easily. "There has been quite a few of old Roostlings coming up to Highfield." He glances between Tria and Darek, perhaps being a touch curious. "Darek's mum worked at an inn."
Darek arches his eyebrows at the mention of Tria's goods, looking over to Jac with an obvious 'please Ser can we' look on his face. At his agreement, the squire grins broadly enough to throw dimples into his cheeks. "Always lookin' to put something tasty over my lips." And that's dropping his grin a bit more, but he shrugs that off, moving over to the dry area with the knight and wine-lady. He sets down his practice sword and shield, using his hands to brush off a great deal of water from his arms and chest. Jac's description of his mother's description draws a wry smirk, "Yeah. Worked at an inn." Apparently, he doesn't hold his mother in perfect regard.
Tria nods her head and says, "Of course of course!" She pulls a few leather cups from a pocket in her cloak and moves to follwo Darek, "Oh was she at the inn that was burned to the ground during an attack?" She straightens out the cups and looks to them, "Which did you wish ser? Master?" She smiles, she's a natural at this, she'd been serving in a tavern most of her life.
Darek's words cause him to clear his throat a bit, and he casts his squire a dubious look. "No, Miss… Darek and I are from Stone Hedge, formerly sworn to the Brackens," Jac clarifies for her as he bows his head. "I will let you make that decision, Miss. I do have a fondness for raspberries though." And once more, the Songbird cracks with a broad smile. "Darek did learn to play a fiddle though while at the tavern back home. Got a good hear for music." Something about the Songbird's tone suggests that maybe he's trying to talk up his squire. What is he up to…
Darek leans one shoulder against the wall of the barracks, crossing his arms over his chest. He points three fingers at the three wineskins and states his preference, "Yes?" Shaking that off with a ghost of a smile, he looks over at Jac, frowning warily for a moment before he turns his smile back on, "Best fiddler you'll hear west of The Twins, Miss. If he's going to go for the raspberry, I'll try the cherry. Always been a favorite of mine." Even in his half-hearted smile, he's able to add a little extra meaning to that last statement. Arching his eyebrows slightly, he adds to Tria, "Don't think we got your name, Miss."
Tria smiles and says, "Tria Forester, formerly of the Roost." She uncorks one of the skins and inhales the bouquet, she hmms and then pours a cup for him, "Raspberry.." She winks to the Knight and says, "Sorry it's not in a proper glass but, I do with what I have with me." She smirks to Darek, "Cherry huh? Cherries are nice to have and to give away." She uncorks one of the other skins and then shakes her head and then tries the other, she gives a nod and pours him a cup too.
"You're talking to a pair of common boys, Miss… we would drink from the palms of our hands if we had to." The Captain of the Guard takes the offered cup, bowing his head in thanks to the girl. He steps back a bit, further under the eaves so water doesn't get in his cup as he sips at the wine. He sinks a bit into the wall, grinning a bit once he has savored the flavor. "Ah, Miss… I think you may have found yourself another customer."
Darek blinks at Tria, letting out something across between a choke and a laugh. "No point in havin' cherries if you're not gonna do somethin' with 'em." Taking the cup in hands, he looks to Jac, "Would, could, and have, Ser." He raises up the cup under his nose, taking a whiff and nodding appreciatively. Taking a sip, he swirls it about in his mouth as if testing it critically, then swallows and just drains the rest of the cup, "Nice. I can taste the fruit."
Tria gives a chuckle at Jac and says, "Yes well I find it always tastes better when in a glass. perhaps it's just me." She smiles and steps back letting the men enjoy their wine. "As I said I've been living out in the forest for a few weeks now, but I figured a nice week or so in the inn would be lovely, my father is starting to get the sniffles. I was hoping to find a nice place here to set up shop, but.. " She shrugs.
"You shouldn't be staying out there, Miss. You should stay in the township," Jac says with a worried note, though he does offer her a warm almost fatherly smile. "Perhaps you should see Mistress Charlie. She could use another hand around the inn, and perhaps she would serve your wines." He glances toward Darek as he says, "I'm sure Master Darek could help you find a place to stay."
Darek shrugs at Tria, "I always like it right outta the skin. Cuts out the middleman." He nods to Jac's caution, "Even summer's no place to be camping out in the woods for more than a night or two." The squire blinks at the knight, reaching up to scrub back his hair, "There's plenty of new places being built in town. I'm sure if you can get some coin for your first few sales, you can get some place to stay, Miss Tria." A bit of a sick look washes over his face, then is smoothed away again, and he adds, "There's an open spot for a part-time server at the Ash and Oak."
Tria gives a little smile and says, "The only Innkeeper I'd work for is my Father.." She smiles and says, "Woudl either of you like to try the wild berry wine?" She says softly, "I will find one that we can manage, I don't work well with others. Don't work well under others rather." She looks to either of them to see if they need refills. At the mention of Darek finding her a place to be she chuckles, "Don't choke on your tongue Master Darek, I'll not hurt you."
Jac offers out his cup for a refill. "How much do you want for the skin of raspberry and cherry?" He asks as he waits for the girl to pour more wine. "That is a shame though, but certainly we can still find you a place to stay. My mother would know what to do." And Mistress Charlott would too, as that warm lady could find a feral cat a welcoming home. "I'll ask her if she knows of any families with an open room that you can pay to use. Would save you some coin, and my mother would only suggest good sorts. Certainly Master Darek could take you to the kitchens to meet her."
Darek frowns a touch at Tria's words about her employment preferences, "Gotta start somewhere, Miss Tria. Don't know that the town needs more than one inn yet." He nods to Jac, "I'm sure Miss Lotti'd be able to find somethin'." Tria's 'threat' draws a snort and a smirk from the young man, "If Ser can't do it, I'm not too worried about a pretty little thing like you, Miss Tria."
Tria smiles and says, "Then I will continue on with my brews until I find a place that I belong." She smiles and pours some more wine for the men, "I will let you set my price for me Ser. I just need to find a place to get my father out of the rain." At the mention of kitchen she smiles and says,"Only if I can cook in the kitchen."
"I'm certain Miss Lotti would take another hand in the kitchens, but that still means you're workin' under someone," Jac points out. He pats his bare chest a moment, simulating a hunt for a coinpurse. He does end up finding a few copper stars in his pocket, and he offers them out to the girl for the two wineskins. "Let Master Darek keep the cherry." He takes another drink of the offered wine sample before taking the skins he has paid for, making sure one goes to Darek. The rains continue to fall, and the courtyard has started to become quite muddy. He would almost throw Darek back into training had they not lovely company.
Well, things could be worse. A little summer rain.. alright, torrential summer rain never hurt anyone, after all. Returning from whatever business has kept her in the township for the better part of the morning, the Steward trots her golden palfrey into the courtyard, followed closely by a few guards. Apparently it takes four mere mortals to replace Ser Bastien, for her safekeeping. Rather a clamour.
Ceinlys doesn't seem perturbed by the rain, still clad merely in her long, silvery riding skirts and a sturdy bodice. Little doubt her handmaid will be bemoaning the lack of cloak, as soon as she herself is dry. Brigid isn't a huge fan of horses at the best of times. Horses and poor weather makes for a particularly surly chaperone. Anyway. The ebon-maned young lady dismounts smoothly, handing off her reins to a waiting squire with a vague smile and casting her striking blue eyes about the courtyard in absent assessment. Aside from the usual comings and goings, there appears to be a little gathering by the barracks.
Darek watches Jac's faux search of his scarred skin with a smirk and a shake of his head, tossing back his long wet locks of hair. He nods his thanks to his knight, taking the wineskin and returning the cup, "You want a bit of one of these while you're at it, Miss Tria? Just the sorta thing to keep you warm on a rainy day." The approach of the quartet of guards draws the squire's eyes, and he nods toward them for Jac, "Four guards?" That smirk returns with the quiet words, driving a dimple deep into one cheek before he shakes it off again. "Think they start most everyone off as scullery maid." The shadow crosses over his features again, and he manages a sneer this time, "Happens to be a spot new-opened for one of those too." Forcing the ugly expression away and a smile back, he nods to Tria, "But it sounds like you're beyond that, Miss Tria."
Tria chuckles to the two men and says, "When I have nothing left, then I will lower my standards." She hands over the two skins and says, "I am hoping it won't come to that.. My father deserves more.. he worked his life at our inn, my grandfather before that and his father before that." She looks over her shoulder and says, "I don't know much else then Inn Keeping." She watches Ceinlys a moment, "I do love to cook and brew though.. I made these wines myself."
Perhaps if Jac hadn't also been watching the quartet of guards he would have opted not to share the details that come spilling out of his mouth next. "Actually, Miss Lotti mentioned that the Castellan would not allow her to yet hire on a replacement." He blinks belatedly, glancing over to Darek. "Not yet at least." Then he looks back to Tria, and something rather dark touches his features. "Careful what you say there, Miss. My mother has done well for herself as a scullery maid and now beyond. If you came to Highfield to find work, then you shouldn't turn your nose up at someone who offers you it." Now he returns his gaze toward Ceinlys, and once the lady is close enough, he offers her a proper bow at the waist.
Tucking a few errant strands of dark hair back from her face, where they seem inclined to begin spiralling into curls the moment they dry, Ceinlys starts tiward the trio sheltering under the eaves. It's difficult to look formidable when you're soaking wet. But she at least manages to pull off graceful simply by that way of moving she has - long, rangy strides tempered with years of training in the more ladylike of mannerisms. Dismissing the youngsters, not unkindly, with only a bare glance, the noblewoman eventually settles her attention upon Jac as she draws closer. Uh oh, what's the Captain done now? His bow is met with a genial inclination of her head, though. Having drawn to a halt, not squeezing in alongside them, Ceinlys folds her arms, wrapping them about her waist. "Captain." The greeting is gently voiced, as is often her way. "I wonder if I might trouble you a moment..?"
Darek starts to shrug at Tria, adding in, "Well, they're well ma — " and then he stops at Jac's words directed vaguely in his gesture. "Wait… what? Fuck a d — " and he's interrupted once again when Ceinlys gets within speaking distance and he clams up, echoing his knight's bow and smoothing back his wet locks of hair again as he straightens up. He shifts, as if suddenly self-conscious of the fact that he's stripped to the waist but for his leather wristbands and necklace. "Milady." The words are a mere murmur, intended not to draw attention to him while still fulfilling propriety. He carefully shifts out of the way so that the noblewoman can shelter under the eaves as well without crowding him, even if it does shift him off a bit closer toward Tria.
Tria blinks and looks to Jac, "My mother did well for herself as a scullery maid until she married my father Ser.. she taught me everything I know. It is not myself I am worried about.. it is my father, he is far too old to star working under others." She moves aside when Ceinlys and slips into an elegant and deep curtsey for the Lady, her third skin pulled back under her rain cloak, "M'Lady."
"Milady Steward," Jac acknowledges with a bow of his head. "It will be no trouble at all." He glances toward Darek and Tria before he steps aside a bit to grab where he hung his jacket. Consciously he pulls it around him, hiding that bare and scarred chest from view. "Darek, you may linger to speak further with Miss Tria if you so wish, but then I want to see you practicing footwork in the mud." Because as his father would say, rain cares not if you got a war going on. "Milady, please… I would not have you stand out here in the rain. If it is more than a passing request, I can escort you up to the keep and we can talk inside." He does not speak more to Tria.
Fortunately, Ceinlys' delicate sensibilities don't seem too terribly hampered by the sight of two shirtless young men. Honestly, she has about her a rather distracted, musing air anyway, enough that she might have simply overlooked the detail entirely. Returning a gentle nod toward Darek and Tria in kind, for their greetings, the young woman then offers a half-smile to the man she has addressed, one hand rising, palm outward, in a staying gesture.
"A happenstance request, Captain, nothing more I assure you." Of course, if he needs reason to venture inside.. "You might accompany me to the doors, if you so desire. I need only a moment, and then I've other matters to tend." Busy busy busy. The woman never stops. With a last, faintly amused glance to the pair being left behind, the Steward begins an unhurried stroll toward the Keep proper.
Darek hefts the purchased skin of wine a bit, "Well, if you've more of this, I'm sure cook'd buy it. Especially on Mistress Lotti's recommendation." Again, he keeps the words quiet, so as to not disturb the noble speaking with the Captain of the Guards. He nods to Jac at the order, then reaches up to scratch at the back of his neck a moment, then knuckles his forehead as Ceinlys starts off again, moving over to hang his new wineskin on the same hook as his shirt and vest, then moves back to where his shield and practice sword rest against the barracks' wall, "Uh… I should get back to this, Miss Tria. After all, 'Rain cares not if you got a war going on.'" It has the sound of a quote, and by the unconscious gruffening of his light tenor, probably not one he's heard from Jac, but rather from the original source.
"Of course, Milady," Jac bows once more. He nods his head toward Darek and Tria before he steps away to walk beside the Steward, leaving the two teenagers alone in his wake. He fastens up his jacket, ignoring how the lining sticks to his wet skin. He draws both hands back through his soaked length of hair, pulling it out of his face so nothing can obstruct his view of the Erenford widow. "What is your request, Milady?" He clasps his hands behind his back, his poise precise as he strides beside her.
Tria gives a nod her to her head, giving a disconcerting look to Jac, she looks to Darek and gives him a smile, "Well then Master Boldt I hope to see you again, I have much more wine to sell, perhaps you can find me again and I'll let you sample my other wares." Perhaps that sounds worse then what it was meant to be, but the girl knows when she's being dismissed, so she gives one more curtsey to the Lady and starts out with her coins and her wine skin.
A knowing look steals across Ceinlys' features as they leave the teenagers in their wake. Ahh, young love. But she makes no comment. "I am endeavouring to learn more of the security and strength of arms of Highfield, in general," she begins, pausing to lightly skip across a growing puddle. "..and while Ser Bastien does admirably in educating me on a grand scale, I thought it might be prudent, as ever, to examine the details. Patrols, numbers, training." The Steward casts Jac a calm glance, sidelong. "If you've time, amidst your duties, I would greatly appreciate any information you might be able to share.. be it in a report or an afternoon spent." A woman trying to understand the martial side of things? Really?
Darek shrugs his bare shoulders slightly at Tria's words, "When I'm not trainin', I'm usually down at the Ash and Oak, fiddling. If they won't buy much wine up here, you might get them to buy some down there." To the possible double entendre, he is uncharacteristically silent, a thoughtful look stealing over his features. He's two steps back out into the rain before he turns back and bows his head, "Keep well, Miss Tria." As he turns back to the muddy courtyard, he settles his shield onto his left arm, tugging the straps tight, and then takes up his practice blade again, raising both before him in a defensive stance, facing the rain-filled air before him. Footwork, Ser said, so footwork it is.
"The difference between a Master of Arms and a Captain of the Guard is nearly just that, Milady. Ser Bastien is to see to the weapon's training and ensure we are prepared should the battle horn blow again, but the security of Tanglewood falls to me." Though Jac still finds himself resisting ruffling up his feathers that he had to bid farewell to Harold and deal with younger Bastien. "I can certainly give you a proper walkthrough, Milady, but I may also suggest you speak with Ser Erik. The Sheriff and I would work together in some of the things you wish to understand better." Perhaps he would say something about why a Lady wants to know these things, but Jac knows better than that. He's been in the presence of enough strong, willful women to not test his luck. "If it suits you best, Milady, I can come speak with you tomorrow."
Gathering her skirts in two handfuls in order to raise them a little aloft from her boots, Ceinlys ascends the rain-soaked steps as she listens to the Captain, nodding her approval and understanding. "Thank you, Captain. I would be most grateful." Is this something that Aleister has demanded, or a topic that genuinely interests the woman? Difficult to say. "I will indeed speak with the sheriff, if he is not otherwise engaged." Between the continued presence of Cherise' idiot brother and rogue children climbing over the wall, it's quite possible Erik may be 'busy'. But you don't get what you don't ask for.
Reaching the door and straightening, tossing back her saturated tresses, the Steward smiles with seemingly genuine warmth, for once. "I look forward to it, then. But please.." Those vivid eyes stray past Jac's shoulder, toward the bare-chsted figure practicing his footwork down in the courtyard. "Do not let me keep you from your duties quite yet." There's a momentary glance skyward, to the scudding, thunderous clouds overhead.
Jac chuckles a bit, bowing his head. "For you, Milady, Ser Erik would be a fool not to make the time." They do always say that Jac Caddock is a shameless flatterer. Once she is at the door, he bows from the waist once more; when he straightens, he tosses not a single droplet of water from his frame. "I will inquire to see what time to come by, Milady." He casts a glance toward his squire, and he cannot help the smile that threatens at the corner of his lips. "Ah, thank you, Milady. It would sadden my old heart if I wasn't there to see him splat face first in the mud." He waits until she has turned to enter the manor before he would head back toward the squire.