Page 289: Men Like Us
Men Like Us
Summary: Two common knights run into each other in Stonebridge
Date: 4/May/2012
Related Logs: None directly.
Bruce Alek 
East Walk
This crossroads at the edge of town is where the docks intersect with the road heading towards Hag's Mire in one direction and a few blocks to the town square in the other. The activity in the area is usually cart traffic with moving goods from port to retail and most of it passes by the Common House. This one story structure on the corner is known as the town's nicer inn as well as a brothel for the lonely visitor.
Fri May 04, 289

Ser Bruce is down at the east walk with a number of other Guardsmen, though instead of their fine ceremonial uniform of last night they are now attired normally, dressed in mail armour. Hauberks and helmets for the men and a more elaborate suit for their Captain. Bruce is helping them load sharpened wooden stakes onto a mule drawn cart, his helmet, shield and bracers off to the side while he works.

With so many guardsmen, perhaps this isn't so great a time for Alek Coope to be approaching this crossroads, his colors boldly of House Tordane. The knight's sword is at his side, and his fingers fall to it where grey eyes rake over the men busy at their work. For all that, he doesn't seem to have any intent of turning aside as he makes his way towards the brothel there.

The loading of the wooden stakes is done quickly, Ser Bruce standing up and brushing his hands off on his sides before he moves to collect his kit. "Alright, then. Bring on down to the fields. After lunch we'll practice at that. I want us to be quick at it in small doses. We're not likely to see anything big anymore for a while, so if we can get these up right quick then it means more sleep in the field, y'know? Alright then, take 'em down, Stefan." Bruce pats the one he's talking to on the shoulder, a grizzled looking man at arms in his thirties. Those who served in the recent war might know him as Serjeant Stefan Turner, now the senior non-knight in the Guard. He grunts something in reply and leads both men and mulecart off. Slinging his shield, Ser Bruce looks around. The sight of naked Tordane colours unadorned with the Nayland Harpy catch the man's eyes and he walks over to Alek.

"Ser Bruce," Alek drawls, stopping as the man he recognizes from the Siege of Seagard approaches him. A crooked smile quirks at his lips, though his fingers stretch and resettle on the hilt of his sword. "How goes?"

Bruce doesn't seem to be bothered by the fact that Alek wears Tordane attire. He's not know to harbour much grudge for politics' sake, nor has he really ever been. A tired smile comes to his face, hands busy tying his helmet's chinstrap to his belt so he's not got need to carry it. "Ser Alek. It goes. Got a roof over my head, food in the belly, good men around me and my wife just gave me another boy. And you?"

A laugh caught in his throat for all that a certain edge of darkness hangs about the man that was not there since last they met, Alek answers carelessly, "Cannot say the same of the first, but I do have a good flask of wine and a coin to buy a whore." He pauses. "Though, likely, you need it more, with your wife recovering from the birthing bed."

Bruce snorts gregariously at that pronouncement. "Stonebridge is a small place. Word gets around quick. I'd be better off not, to be truthful. She'd be pissed, and right, and she was a real catch for me. Plus, she's brought me two boys, good advice and companionship. I think, on the balance, it's best to let things lie for a few weeks."

"You've too demanding of a wife, if she does not understand a man needs to seek satisfaction elsewhere during pregnancy," Alek offers dryly to Bruce, tempered only by that dismissive quality in which he says it.

"During? Who said anything about that?" Bruce grins broadly.

"And it's recovery," amends Alek with a twitch of a smile of his own.

"I've got the willpower to hold out for a few weeks. Not everyone does." Bruce shrugs, chuckling. "I'm not everyone, and everyone's not me." Changing the subject and unlooping his hands from his belt, he motions at Alek's new colours. "No longer with Lord Anton?"

"Nor would we want to be," Alek jokes lightly, friendly almost where his crooked smirk slides more firmly onto his lips. It lingers at Bruce's question, grey eyes almost holding a challenge where he answers, "I have sworn my sword to the Lady Tordane. The Lord of Oldstones quite understood."

"I'm sure he's sorry to see you go. You fought well for the Riverlands, and from what I've been told at the Trident as well. I was a bit far away from you, though." Bruce shrugs. "I followed Lord Tytos, and they put us on the left with the Vale lords. Was nice to see them again on Pyke." He reaches up to rub at his stubble. "Well, then, I should say it right now. I hope I never have to meet you on the battlefield. Nor do I really think we will. This is a game that people with bluer blood play in backrooms, not between men like us."

"Then I shall not seek to find you, but I can't say that I'd entirely like to miss the opportunity to see some of that blood myself," Alek replies frankly, his shoulder rolling in an easy shrug.

"I understand that it must be personal to you, Ser Alek. Am I correct in saying that you must have been with Lord Anton and Ser Gedeon across the narrow sea?" Asks Bruce.

Alek tips his chin in a nod, those grey eyes darkening with memories now marred by his own absence in Gedeon's death. He answers simply, "Since before then, even." He pauses, the weight of his gaze turning back to Bruce with a lift of his eyebrow, mild. "What would you have done, had Ser Rygar lost? I believe men such as ourselves can talk honestly between each other."

"I don't know. I've served three different masters, now. I'm from the Blackwood Vale and served with their Guard for nine years and during the Rebellion. I was Hoster Tully's Master of Foot for five years. And then I came here, at my friend Ser Ryker's request. Now Lord Ryker is dead. But does a man like me break an oath? No. I've only moved on when my Lord has released me from duty. So, I don't know. I'd thought about it and not come to an answer." Bruce replies in a forthcoming manner. "But the Naylands have done right by me and my family, too, and I've shed blood with them. Family, duty, honour, as the Tullies say."

"Good words to live by," Alek murmurs dryly, his fingers dragging along the pommel of his sword for a moment before he flashes a smile towards the other man. "Well, as you said, I can only hope I will not meet you on the opposing side of a field. But for now, I have business to see to." He nods in the direction of the brothel.

"If we do, I don't think it will be just me and you there. But anyways, knight's privelege and all of that." Bruce winks at Alek. "Gods keep, Ser Alek." And then he's off on his own way, opposite.