|No News Worthy of Ravens|
|Summary:||Nathaniel and Mortimer share news and conversation|
|Roost Lane, Terrick's Roost|
|This small lane winds around the west side of town and circles back on itself towards the end. Most of the people that come down to this area are looking specifically for one of the many fine craftsmen that have their shops along this well-kept dirt road.|
|Mon Nov 12, 289|
A huge, wagon full of hay lumbers along the street from the east and then heads toward the stable. After it has passed, other travellers advance behind it, some turning to the right or left, and some continue across the square to the west. When possible, Nathaniel guides his mare quickly around the great wagon and heads for the hitching post in front of the inn.
With so much going on across the Riverlands, it seems that things at the Roost at least have been quiet. On his way out to one of the surrounding villages to settle a boundary stone dispute it would seem that Mortimer has borrowed a horse from the keep stables again, although for now he's just leading it down towards the outskirts of town. Spotting the wagon heading towards him he leans the beast to one side of the road, bringing Nathaniel into his eyeline. The courier is given a brief nod at distance, followed by a "Good morning," as they draw nearer.
Nathaniel grins and waves to Mortimer. "Good day to you, master!" he calls. Then he glances at the wagon when it finally completes its slow turn toward the stables. "Now that the stopper is out of the bottle," he remarks with a wave toward the now clear street behind him, "The rest of the Riverlands can come to the Roost." Indeed, quite a lone of people, driving carts, riding horses, or walking, begin to stream into the square in the wake of the wagon. Nathaniel eyes the borrowed horse, and nods. "He's a good choice, but I hope that you didn't need to ride too far on a strange horse." He glances behind him again, and adds, "I saw a raven flying in this direction earlier. I wonder if I'll be off again. I
Mortimer eyes the stream of traffic and decides that possibly waiting a moment or two longer might be a cunning plan. A glance to his horse and he nods, "he's one I've used before and it's only a few miles thankfully, out towards Kinsgrove a little way." Notioning briefly to the other's mare he asks, "you been far yourself? There's all sorts of talk about goings on at the Mire although if we've had any official news I've not heard it. Perhaps that was your raven?"
Nathaniel nods when Mortimer explains that he is familiar with the horse in question, but his eyebrows flick when the deputy mentions Kingsgrove. "I've not been there in a very long time," he admits. "However, you're the second person today to ask me if I've visited the place. I suppose that I should find time for such a venture." Then he adds, "I can assure you that Miss Caul is well and truly beyond our borders, at least for now. I saw her in Highfield."
Not all the way, never been that far myself" Mortimer say, with regards to Kingsgrove, "just one of our hamlets out in that direction. Apparently there's two farmers arguing over a few feet at the edge of a field." It's all excitement working for the sheriff's department it seems. He nods to the news about Freya, it's one less concern for him but he thinks he's probably said all he has to on that subject. "Long ride?"
Nathaniel nods about the border dispute, but far from seeing it as trivial, Nathaniel consoles, "Farmers fight for every scrap of land that they can get, if it's good soil. The land going toward Kingsgrove is quite lovely. So I can see why they would raise a ruckus." Then he reaches forward to pat Molly's neck. "It should have been just a run for exercise," he explains. Then we came onto the road again in time to fall in behind that rolling mountain of hay." He waves toward the stables. "I'm glad to see fresh hay coming into the stables, but we couldn't cut through the fields at that point. They were all farms by that point, with crops up to the edge of the road and no way to bypass the great mound." He chuckles and then looks to the Inn. "I suppose that I'm late for collecting messages from the inn, but that can't be helped now."
"It is good land, from what I'm told," Mortimer confirms with a nod. He's not a farmer, nor is he from farming stock, but there's enough who are who've said so that he's happy enough to believe them. "It's a pleasing sign of normalcy," he offers, "it's the sort of thing that used to happen all the time before the raids. I still wish they could sort it out for themselves though." He's smiling faintly though, apparently in good humour about the whole thing. A nod is given to the comments regarding the hay-cart, it's a situation that just about everyone has been in at times after all. "I don't suppose anyone will mind too much," he confirms, then offers, "if they do though, I'll vouch for your alibi so just send 'em my way."
Nathaniel grins and nods. "I'll do that, certainly," he agrees about Mortimer's advice. "As for the farmers, if one has something that the other wants, like a cow or goat, you might be able to negotiate a swap. Then both families would be happy and the Roost still would benefit," he suggests.
"That's an option," Mortimer admits with a nod, "although I hoping to be able to work out where the boundary stone should be and ensure that where it actually is. I only know a couple of people that way, but I'm hoping that they'll either be a reliable source or know someone who is. If not, then I'll just have to listen to both petitions and see what I can do to untangle the mess before it gets any worse."
Nathaniel frowns while he listens to the deputy's explanation. "I'm not sure, but you might find a map of the lands, with such boundaries marked, at the keep. Lady Anais takes great care with keeping their ledgers. Given that, I imagine that someone takes equal care to document the boundaries of each farming family's allotment. Even if they don't describe the laying of each stone, the records might suggest where the stone likely would have been. I've noticed that such borders often form straight lines where they can." He digs into pocket beneath the tail of his long tunic, and produces a bit of carrot which he offers for his dark chocolate mare to nibble while he talks to Mortimer.
Mortimer nods as Nathaniel speaks, "Aye, I've looked at what I can, there's a sketch map of the field in question, but as there's only a few feet in it I'm not sure how much use it'll be." He's taken a copy though, just in case. As Nathaniel's mare gets carrot, Mortimer's borrowed mount nudges forward to see if there might be some more where that came from, although a quick rub or two down it's nose seems to distract it from Nathaniel's pockets. "I'm hoping it's just a simple matter and that I'll be back for lunch. It shouldn't take too long, all things considering.
Nathaniel laughs when Mortimer's rent-a-horse nudges forward, snuffling to see if he might find more carrot. Animals seem to have a keen sense of which people would be friendly, and Nathaniel has seen this one before. He grins and fishes in his pocket to produce another bit of carrot which he offers to the other horse. "There you are, boy," he murmurs. "We can't have you carrying the deputy on his rounds while you hold resentment in your heart over such a thing now, can we?" He reaches to brush a gentle hand over the horse's snout while he munches the crunchy root. Nathaniel nods and offers, "If I can be of any help in the matter, call on me. We have enough problems with enemies outside our bounds without squabbles at home."
"I will" Mortimer replies with a smile as he watches his horse munch away, "although my best guess is that they'll have both forgotten all about it and will be drinking alongside each other in the local inn come Friday evening." Possibly even moaning about hte law sticking it's nose in, but so long as it's all peaceful then he can live with that. He's heard far worse in his time. "I was meaning to ask before though," he adds after a moment, "how’s the lad doing? I know you've been busy and such as of late, but I trust he's behaving himself and paying attention?"
Nathaniel smiles when Mortimer comes to the question of his son's education. "He seems to do well enough with his numbers. Letters were a bit of a problem at first. But I've found ways to work on that, using pictures of things that begin with a letter and that look vaguely like the letter. It's still early to tell, but he shows promise." Then he glances toward the marketplace. "That reminds me. I promised him that I'd buy some extra paper and sticks of coal for him to use at home for practice. Writing in the dirt is fine for he basics, but he needs to move forward."
"He's a bright lad," Mortimer answers after Nathaniel has given his report, "his mother has always said as much." Even if that is one of those things that all parents say of their offspring. Following the glance to the market place he nods to the need for supplies he uses his free hand to open and reaches into a small pouch on his belt. Retrieving a couple of small coins he passes them across to Nathaniel asking as he does so, "will that cover it? And just let me know if there's anything else you need."
Nathaniel looks at the coins before accepting them with a nod. "That will, with change to spare. I can ask the shopkeeper to start an account for the lad so that he'll have a fund for future supplies," he answers. "If you prefer, I'll bring back the remainder for your household. With a son and a daughter to raise, you'll need what coin you can save." He nods sagely. Then he questions, "What about your daughter? Does she know her letters and sums? If not, I'd be glad to teach her as well. Letters and sums serve both men and women well." He reaches to rub Molly's neck when the horse nudges his shoulder restlessly.
"If he's likely to need more in the near future then leave it with the shopkeeper, he can go and get stuff as he needs it that way," Mortimer replies after a moment's thought. Nathaniel's mention of his daughter though gets a reaction, much as he tries to hide it. It's not a gut punch, that'd be over exaggerating it, but there's a definite wince at the unexpected inclusion in the conversation. Taking a brief moment to recover himself he squares his shoulders just a little and shakes his head slowly. "I had a daughter, and were she still with us I would be glad to take you up on that offer. It is too late for her now though."
Of all things that Nathaniel has heard, from both reliable and unreliable sources, no one ever warned him that misfortune might have befallen the deputy's daughter. He lowers his head, and his warm smile yields to a dark and sad frown, both of regret for having asked, and of an almost personal sense of loss for this girl whom he never knew. "I'm sorry, master," he murmurs. "I … wasn't aware, and supposed that she still was here. It won't help her, but if she is buried somewhere, I would like very much to take flowers on her final home, to honour her memory and your family."
Mortimer reaches his free hand out to give Nathaniel a quick, and hopefully reassuring pat or two on the shoulder. "Don't trouble yourself over it, I guess I'd just thought everyone knew." As for the offer that follows he simply shakes his head, seemingly in control of himself once again. "If she has a grave then I don't know it," he answers in a measured tone, "she was separated from my wife in the rush to get to the keep on the morning the Ironmen came and I've found no word of her since. Thank you though."
Nathaniel lifts his gaze to Mortimer. "It's possible - distant, but possible - that she is still alive somewhere. You know that I travel." He takes a slow breath. Then he offers, "I would not ask you to do this suddenly, but when you are ready, tell me about her - her looks, her interests if you will, anything that would help. I will spread the word without telling people /who/ she is, so that no one will use that information to hurt you in some way. I'll tell folks that I'm looking for her, which would be the truth in this case. And if I find any hope, I will bring it to you. If I can bring her in person, I will." He bites his bottom lip. Then he adds, "If she lives, then she has a good family here. She deserves to see them again if she will agree."
Mortimer shakes his head again, slowly and measuredly. "She's gone, she was too young to survive that," he states with wearily. "You are not the first to offer, Mistress Dorsey has said much the same, but it's something we came to terms with a while back now." As much as anyone can that is. "She is gone, but we still have her brother and must do all we can for him, not overlook him in searching for what is lost."
Nathaniel bows his head and shudders. He has nothing to add on the topic, and so he accepts the situation reluctantly. He looks at the deputy's borrowed horse, and then he acknowledges, "I've taken enough of your time, master. I’ll fetch those messages from the inn, and those things for your son before I ride to the tower. I hope that your day will go well."
"And yours too," Mortimer replies, in reference to Nathaniel's day, "as I said, I hope that I'll be back before I'm missed. Not all of us can go gallivanting all over the Riverlands after all." The last bit is said in a markedly lighter tone, a transparent attempt to lift the mood that the conversation has fallen into. "If you do find out what that raven was about would you let me know?"
"I will," Nathaniel agrees. "As I said, I hope that for once it brings good tidings. I have heard too much of death." He flexes his fingers around Molly's reins.