|Mules are Stubborn|
|Summary:||On patrol, Kell runs into Cat and then her father. Plus there are stubborn mules.|
|Date:||9 August 2012|
|A point of land between Terrick's Roost and Stonebridge, one can travel to either of the two from here, by travelling west or east, while north takes them to Highfield and south to Seagard.|
|August 9, 289|
It is more or less late in the afternoon when the standard patrol of a Terrick Knight accompanied by three Terrick Armsmen appear around one of the various bends on the main dirt road that links the Roost to Stonebridge as well to a northern fork of the newly built Highfield. All men are mounted and armored though only the knight is in full maile, and all are wearing surcoats that identify them as Terricks, as well as cloaks of the same manner. Their current pace is a casual trot on their horses as the men scan the surrounding woods with their eyes and also from time to time, down the main path.
Not mounted, nor in full mail, comes one Catryn Taken, a lead rope in her hand for a particularly stubborn mule that plods along behind her. Occasionally the girl is forced to brandish a carrot from the depths of her pocket to enduce encouragement; that or the tall lumbering boy who plods along behind, gives the creature a bit of a poke with a stick. Tall the boy, with, much as the girl an underfed air about him and dressed in naught but peasants fare; no weapons on him save the stick in his hand with which he occasionally knocks the mule and his fists. "Knights, Mistress," for all men on horseback were knights to the simple mind. "It's alright, the girl replies, "We aint fightin' folk," but anticipating inspection, the girls had dips into beneath the folds of her skirt and a couple of folded pieces of parchment appear as they walk on.
As the patrol continues down the path, the sight of the girl and her mule comes into view which causes Kell to grow into a frown, the frown growing only deeper when he recognizes who it is. When the boy also comes into view, the knight's frown does soften a little bit but not all the way as it seems that the two youths are the only people who is traveling in that group right now. The Terrick armsmen that is accompany Kell on this patrol manage an amused chuckle as they glance at each other after being knighted by the boy though they certainly aren't in a rush to correct him. The Terrick Knight manages a smirk before turning to the others, "Continue onto with the patrol, if trouble appears, ride back to me and we'll decide what to do, otherwise just proceed on."
The armsmen nod their understanding and agreement, apparently deeming the girl, boy, and mule no real threat before the move on. Kell on the other hand remains behind for the time being atleast, "So it's just the two of you? The roads are quite dangerous these days, you know." Between the rumors of war and of bandits, two youths shouldn't be traveling by themselves.
The mule was carrying a full load too, its bags full; the glint of pot and pan seen, occasional hint of leather or glint of light. The soft bump of one clay jar against another. The boy, was probably eighteen if he was a day; thick as oak, both in muscle and in skull. "Knights ride, Mistress," he repeated; showing a gap-toothed smile for all that it was a few teeth short. "Lots of people ride, Stump," the minx corrected, before the man got her attention.
"An there's juss four of ye." She offered back, as if it mattered. "Times is always dangerous, er didn't ye know."
"Cat is right, boy. The three with me weren't knights, but it doesn't make them lesser men, they are still guardsmen of the Roost who's duty is to see to the protection of our people." Kell says, apparently remembering the small girl's name despite having only met her once. Perhaps it's because she was a bit more memorable due to her antics compared to the others he has met in passing. As for only four of them being on patrol, the Terrick Knight can only shake his head, "There may have been only four of us but we were armed and armored, plus we had nothing worth stealing." It is then that Kell's eyes travel to the mule which seemed to be ladened with goods, "Heading to the Roost, I assume?"
"Knights ride," the boy repeated back, and now it might be apparent from his own that there is something…remiss about him. "Hush it, Stump. Let tha ass graze, will ye." To which, the slight creature moves to step clear of the road; both should he be of a mind to inspect and in the event that others come along to travel the same path. The girl was still chuckling over Kell's antics. "Four become one and three, when ye seperated. A good bowmen can make it only three, witout bein' seen an ye've a horse an mail, worth more'n my entire load." The girl snorted. "But aye, I'm headed ter tha Roost. An ye'll keen my Pa pon these roads as well, perhaps, wit tha twin ter tha ornery creature there."
Kell doesn't seem interested in debating the issue with Catryn, atlseast about who is worth more, the risk and rewards, and also the fact that Cat is a girl and well, girls are usually worth more to bandits. None of that is said, perhaps to give her peace of mind, not that she looks to be the squeamish type. The knight also gives the boy a second glance noting the oddity, before looking down the road, then to Cat, "Your father? I guess it should be safe enough then, he isn't far is he?" Seems like Kell is trying to decide whether or not to rejoin the patrol or change his duties to escorting the girl and the large but slow witted boy.
It would spare them both breath, not to debate worth, true. Mostly his, because the girl doesn't look like she's the type to run out any time soon. "No, not too far. Stopped fer a piss an ta fight wit tha dumb beastie he's leadin'. An hes got a loaded mule too, but I done toldje before, we's merchant folk."
From what Kell was able to judge of the girl in their first encounter and continued evaluation right now, he would most likely have come to the same conclusion, she would talk his hair grey and he's still young and hale. As for her father fighting with the mule, the knight can only laugh in amusement, "I doubt that's a fight he will win. And yeah, I know, just thought you and… the boy," Not choosing to use the name Stump since it could be a cruel nickname, "were alone on the roads. If you're father is not too far off, then you three should be safe enough." Though it looks like Kell is going to choose to linger a bit longer, atleast until the father shows up, either he is checking her story or just looking out for her and Stump, part of his knight sworned duties. "Not a bad idea to get out of Stonebridge while you can, with the rumors flying about."
"Aye, folks as squabble aint got good sense. Aint why we're leavin' though. Man can't eat when hes merchandise don't sell an they's only so many days you'n stand there an watch folks wander on by, afore you realize that tha wise thing is t'move on to them as aint seen it an let'em have a look as well. No that the town's actin' like its gettin' ready ter fight, mind ye. They's tha one in trouble aye? Yer tha ones wit tha guards. Nary a sign anyone's been rustled into service at all there," the girl shrugged, "Tha'da been good fer business too. But what do I know, eh? Juss a girl, aint I? An a common one at that." And a thirsty one, if the ease with which she follows that up with a swallow from the wineskin says enough.
Kell can only nod in agreement at Catryn's words as he isn't one of the mercantile trade himself but what she says has a bit of logic to it, "Reasonable enough, it's not like you are selling food or something extremely valuable these days. The folks at the Roost might not be that well off right now but they are still rebuilding and picking up the pieces, so it may not be a bad spot to work your trade." As for the tidbit of information that the Naylands haven't stirred themselves into action, Kell's right brow does raise up slightly in surprise, "Really… perhaps they are hoping for a more peaceful ending. Plus, I hear that tragedy had struck the tower there recently, with Lady Isolde." To which he does look down to the ground, a look of sadness and sympathy crossing his features for a moment.
"Bloody feckin' pisspoor excuse fer a mule ye are! Filthy monster!" The male voice transitioning from westeros to Tyroshi by ways of curses, with a gradual increase of volume, then back to common again: "Stubborn Other-taken cunt! Get MOVIN' already! No. NO! Yer.. jus'.. STOP STOPPIN' TE EAT, DAMN YE!" A steady build up to a final crescendo of spitting rage, no holds. "ILL GUT YE! ILL FECKIN' SELL YE FER FOOD TE THE STARVIN' BASTARDS O' THE ROOST! JUS YE SEE!"
Gerry came into view, pushing and shoving, and slapping at a mule that looked like it wanted to do nothing so much as kick the lean 'trader' in the face. Its ears were showing every sign of agitation, its eyes watching him with contempt and anger. Say one thing for Catryn's pa; he had absolutely no way with animals.
Though most people didn't really like the sight of him, either. A hard and lean man, all sinewy strength, like a half starved wolf. Dressed more like a brigand than a trader, with his beat up leather jerkin and the old and worn sword at his hip, a dirk on the other side. There was an evil look in his eyes, even when he wasn't contemplating murder. Which he was most definetly doing right now. Handsome, perhaps, but in a rogue's troublesome way, which was generally no help at all.
"See I dont get that," Catryn supplies, when Kell looks temporarily sad because some woman lost a scawler. "Weren't nothin' goin' on afore it happened, weren't nothin' goin' on when I left. An, if ye'll forgive me fer sayin' so but unless'n ye go round lookin' sad all tha time fer every brat as dies on a near weekly basis, due ter its mother workin' er takin' a blow or the Gods doin' what they do, then ye…"
The exoctic flavor of Tyroshi washed over her ears an the girl's lips split into a wide grin, her chidding cut short in favor of lookin' back of her shoulder. Though she did….shift to angle herself more directly in front of Kell's mount just incase he got any ideas and she's the look of one who'll throw herself in front of it too, if he suddenly decides to ride after her father. "Tha'd be me Pa, an I'll thank ye t'remember that we's peaceful folks an I didna happen ter give him a carrot ter bribe his mule with. So if ye'll just…forgive anything as might slip from hes mouth, tha'd be real real nice." An oh what a sweet smile she had for Kell then.
Kell can only shrug his chainmailed shoulders slightly at Catryn in response from atop his steed, "Can't really explain it, Lady Isolde is a kind Lady, one of the first nobles I've met when I first ventured here to the Roost. Losing a child isn't something any mother should experience." Then the colorful language drifts in from the horizon, which means that it is most likely the father as Kell turns his eyes down the road where the yelling and berating is coming from, seeing the man and his mule. "Yep… looks like your father is losing the fight against the mule." The knight states the obvious as a grin creeps into his features as he continues to watch the exchange. His eyes than looks back down to Catryn who appears to be taking a more defensive stance in case Kell took the new arrival as a bandit instead of her father. To reassure her of his intentions, he slowly dismounts from his horse, "Don't worry, Cat, I won't brand you or your father as anything but peaceful folks unless proven otherwise."
A pair of narrow blades of ice stabbed at Catryn and the armored rider who'd come upon their less than impressive trader's caravan of all of two mules. Eyed and weighed, judged by worth as well as skill and possible threat. Then Gerry put on a smile, one that wasn't without a measure of darkly charisma of its own, for all that it failed spectacularly to put any kind of warmth to his cruel gaze.
"Ser," he greeted, while dragging, pulling, forcing the Mule to continue forward. It was putting a right amount of sweat on his brow, and soaking up his undertunic beneath his arms and down ihs back, so it chafed like a son of a bitch.
"Ye there! Feckin' girl! Ye gave me the worst mule." Which was partly true. Whicever mule -he- happened to be in charge of, was always the worst. "I told ye te give me the easy one. Now -ye- can feckin' get it te move." With a disgusted noise, he spat to the side of the road and released the mule, stomping forward with every intention of taking charge of the other one instead.
"Papa, meet Ser Kell, hes tha nice one as bought me drinks when last I came this way," Catryn explains, bright eyes dancing between them both; though she relaxed markedly when Kell dismounted and told her not to worry. Even if she was quick to add, "Mules don't count." Towards proving otherwise, just to be clear. Though she stepped back a little to move to meet Gerry, and being the sweet and kind, forever thoughtful type that she is..the wine skin was offered out without a word and the knowledge that…she'd likely not get it back any time soon. "I will, I will, juss ye relax, wouldje. Stroll along all casual like wit us an I'll get 'em both to move aye?" One carrot, two halves. One for each pocket. Oh yeah.
Kell has surcoat of Terrick markings over his chainmail as well as a cloak of the same markings, to help identify to those who see him that he isn't just some roaming Hedge Knight. Or worse, a robber knight. The man is eyes and regarded in return, though the Terrick Sworn's expression is less menacing and more neutral compared to Gerry's. "Master Trader, good day to you." Still day since the sun is still on the way down in the horizen and perhaps in a bell, it would be sunset. When the demand for an exchange of mule was made to the daughter, Kell can't help but smile in amusement, watching silently now. He does incline his head in greeting to the older man when introductions are made, but adds a side glance and arched brow at Catryn when she speaks of him buying him a drink willingly, not exactly how he remembered it but he won't object right now.
"Whatever," Gerry muttered in response to Catryn's willingness to take on both mules. He grabbed the wine skin and popped open the cork of it, then poured a long, long stream of lukewarm and sour wine down his throat. Grimacing a bit for the cheap flavor of it, but not stopping until he'd sunk a real pit of alcohole into his stomach like a pinch of hot coals, glowing with budding warmth. "Ahh." He exclaimed, wiping his mouth with the dirty sleeve of his jerkin, then nodding in Kell's direction.
"Fer ye, perhaps. Mine's been crap." Though his eyes squinted with a bit of suspicious at the knight buying drinks for his daughter, as if Gerry was trying to discern the man's intentions. Let's face it, most knights intentions towards common born lasses with a pretty face, tended to be less than honest.
"You're probably right, I have a much tamer steed to contend with than a pair of stubborn mules, I do not envy your position. But, it is better than carrying all that on your back all the way from Stonebridge. Just, with stubborn mules, the harder you try to pull them, the less they will want to move and then you'll be carrying the entire load plus the mule." Kell offers his own insight on beasts like mules and whatnot, perhaps he's had some experience with mules in the past, during his non-Terrick days as a Hedge Knight. As for the eyeing that he is being given, the Terrick Knight either doesn't notice or more likely, is offering now excuse or explanations for what had happened at Rockcliff Inn, since to him, it was a non-issue and a story Cat can tell her father herself if she chooses. "Was just telling your daughter and… the boy there," Nodding towards the slow witted Stump, "about how it is unsafe to travel the roads by themselves these days."
"Been thinkin' o' gettin' a proper wagon, but I never liked bein' stuck unable te manouver off the road iffen I need te," Gerry said as he frowned at the pair of mules. He'd followed his daughter's suggestion and stepped away completely from the animals, leaving the job to Catryn and her largely mute hired help. "At least ye can hide some mules in some bushes iffen bad company's comin'. Or up a canyon, or across a stream. A wagon'll leave ye the mercy o' the road."
He scratched at his scruffy bearded cheek, then pulled down another bit of wine. After a bit of hesitation, thinking of the potential consequences of doing so - such as having less wine for himself - he offered Kell the wine skin for a drink if he wanted one.
"Aye. Heard 'bout tha'. Still, I figurin' tha' anythin' leavin' most merchants scared, is likely te give me better trade'n I might otherwise feckin' deserve. Besides, I ain't entirely defenceless."
As the intricacies of cargo transportation is shared with Kell, the knight nods his head as he listens and appears to be learning, though once the obvious is pointed out, it turns out to be common sense. However, it isn't something that would occur to him right away. "I guess it's a choice between easy or safety. These days, the latter is certainly more preferrable than the former." When the wineskin is offered to him, Kell extends a hand with his palm out, "Thank you for the kind offer, Master, but I will have to pass. Was on patrol before I ran into your daughter and the hired help, will be rejoining my men soon. If the roads were safe like the pre-Ironborn Invasion days, I may have accepted the drink." As for Gerry having teeth with his bark, the Terrick Knight nods, "I can tell, you have a way about you that the piece at your hip isn't just for show. And you didn't raise a dumb daughter either, so the two of you are better off than some others."
"Jus' fer precaution," Gerry insisted, and didn't seem to mind at all that the knight had refused his offer. Infact he looked quietly pleased for it, getting to hog the skin without having to share it with anyone. "I'm a peaceful man, I am, in a peaceful like profession. Ain't nothin' more peaceful'n makin' people happy, gettin' em goods they need." It was debatable whether he actually belived that drivel he was offering, with an even vaguely cynical man likely to judge that he didnt. "Better te look mean'n bark real good, then ain't people as like te need yer bite."
He took another swing of the wine, trudging along and not flicking so much as a glance in the mules' direction. "Besides, I figure ye caught the last bandits. While the current batch.. well. Sounded more like the first strike o' a war, than anythin' else. So like as not, the roads be safe enough."
The 'man of peace' explanation causes Kell to laugh again though in good humor instead of a mocking manner, "You don't have to convince me, Master. Even a peaceful man must defend himself, his loved ones, and what is his at times like this. And just because I have a Ser in front of my name doesn't make us completely different people. I prefer peace as well, with peace, there is less suffering all around." The Knight walks with this small cargo convoy, apparently in no hurry to rejoin his patrol that had already gone farther down the road. When Gerry mentions that the latest attack may not be bandits, Kell can only shake his head as his brows furrow slightly into a frown, "Better to be safe than sorry, we need to ensure our people are safe, no matter what. And those who are guilty of the murder will receive their due, sooner or later."
"Aye, better safe'n sorry," Gerry admitted with a shrug. "Tho' I can't say I share yer belief that dues'll be called in." He gave the knight a cynical sideways look. "More'n likely, they wont. Doin' a bit o' murder don't mean a thing, unless there's someone doin' their best te track'n punish ye. Anyone who'll take out some heavily armed guardsmen with a blimy army not far off, is like as not te have covered their tracks well, an' swept away as far as they can by now."
A glance went in his daughter's direction, eying the way she was handling the animals. Snorting for the fact that somehow, they always behaved far better around her than him. He couldn't see why. Bloody unfair. "Most people, never get their dues. One way or another. Ain't no balance te things this side o' the feckin' Stranger's kiss."
Kell can only shrug his chainmailed shoulders again as he looks down the road, perhaps somewhat doing his job as he accompanies the merchants, "Perhap, though if the Seven are feeling particularly just, then thsoe guilty may find the Stranger visiting them soon, especially if war breaks out." However, it is more likely than not that Gerry is right in his assumption, those who do evil will continue to do evil unless they are caught. The Knight also glances back to the girl, the hired helper, and the mules, seeing that progress is being made. But true to his word, he doesn't let Gerry know about the hidden carrots.
"Stranger'll visit more innocents'n anybody else. Thems the easiest folks te murder, rape'n pillage, so 'em get swiped at whenever a soldier's got himself a lax or cruel leader, an' a bit o' time opens up. But ye never know. Might some evil feckers get killed, too, an' not jus' allowed te do the killin'." He chuckled a cruel laugh of his own, then swung back at his wine. Gerry had a real sunny disposition to life.
"True enough, Master Trader, a sad truth indeed." Kell does end up slowing to a stop as more or less is convinced that trouble most likely won't be troubling the three here and their two mules for the rest of their transit to the Roost. "I believe this is the point where we part ways, I have a group of men to rejoin and a patrol to return to. Good day to you and a safe journey the rest of the way."
"Good huntin'," Gerry said, tucking the wine skin beneath his arm as he watched the knight made ready to leave. "Iffen I see some men danglin' from the trees on the way back, I'll make sure te drink a toast te ye." He spat at the roadside ditch. "Feckin' bandits might increase me profits, but only so feckin' long the feckers ain't targetin' -me-. I'll take a lil less risk over a lil more profit anydays. Iffen not fer me, then fer the scrawny brat." A jerk in Catryn's direction as he said it.
Climbing back onto his steed, Kell settles in and gets ready to ride off down the road ahead of the convoy to rejoin his men, "I prefer not to pass judgement if I catch them alive. But if they choose to press the issue with whatever weapons they have, they're most likely to be left off to the side of the road bleeding out or worse." A final grin is flashed towards Gerry, understanding the man just fine before he looks back to Catryn and gives her a nod as well before clucking at his horse and with a gentle nudge of his legs, rides off at a decent pace.