Page 502: Old Man Down the Road
Old Man Down the Road
Summary: Mortimer and Darek make plans to move on with the hunt before falling out over other matters
Date: 07/Dec/2012
Related Logs: Missing children saga
Mortimer Darek 
Countryside, Terrick Lands
Trees, grass, mud, and such, but no wailing women, hunter or wolves.
Fri Dec 07, 289

It's early morning and the search for the missing children is setting out again for the day. There's a sense that people would like to be in their beds, but equally there's still a determination to see the job through. At the front once more is Mortimer, scratch map in his hand showing the land already covered and that area which is planned for the day's work.

Darek has settled into The Roost as best as he can, for all that he is driven to search early to late each day, "I'm starting to think we should stay out nights, Master Trevelyan. That'd let us search deeper into Ashwood lands, and even into Erenford lands." The young man has tied his hair back with a strip of cloth about his temples, continuing to go without the conical steel helmet he brought with him to The Roost. He walks with bow strung and in hand, but without an arrow ready.

"I've been thinking we're looking in the wrong place entirely," Mortimer confesses as they proceede towards the treeline, "word from Heronhurst seems to me to suggest they've moved on." The ground around is given a look, but they're really too far from any point of interest for there to be any likelyhood of something trackable yet. Glancing back to Darek he continues, "word has reached Lord Ozric though that they are coming here. A Haigh Lord relative of the Erenford child." No Erenfords though, at least so far as he's been told. Nobles eh? "I've orders to escort his search so depending how many he brings I may need you to keep this lot," he notions with his head back towards the sailors, "going."

Darek shakes his head, "I don't think it's the place, so much as the 'what,' Master Trevalyen." The squire's gotten much better at not trying to call the Deputy Sheriff 'ser.' "I think we're just going to have to get lucky more than anything. Find them when they're not trying to hide. They've already been striking all around the Cape." He shrugs, his lips pursing slightly at the news of the added nobility, "It's funny, ain't it. I'm not a Terrick, but they don't say I need an escort, but some Haigh noble comes around, and he needs one." Cutting his gaze over to the older man, he smirks crookedly, "Unless you're escortin' me already so I don't get into trouble." Looking back over his shoulder, he adds, "I think I might do better without these louts, honestly, Master Trevelyan. They're still loud."

"Oddly," Mortimer replies with about as much of a grin as he's managed of late, "he said nothing about you. Been standing on is blindside perhaps?" That said, he's not entirely sure his actually mentioned Darek's presence, but he hasn't been asked about the nature of the reply he got from Highfield either, so he figures that's fair enough. He'll not be drawn on the nature of the hunted, saying simply "everything has to sleep somewhere." Then he's glancing back towards the sailors again, "I can take a couple of the loudest off you, but you'll need 'em if it comes to a fight. Or an ambush."

Darek chuckles quietly at the response, his grin pushing a dimple into his cheek momentarily, "Nobody minds the common bastard." There's a pause, and then he adds, "Unless he's getting the carpet muddy." He goes silent for a long moment, then notes, "I've been thinkin' — dangerous, I know — maybe I should take some longer hunts. Try to find out where they're sleeping at, or hanging around, or whatever. Then I could come back and get all of you and the knight and all that and we could hit 'em hard. So many of us, we're just gonna scare 'em off."

Mortimer thinks that over in silence for a while, he doesn't like the idea of the lad being out alone, but he does agree that it'd make the tracking a lot easier. Eventually he offers another option, "Word has also been sent to fetch a Flint man who Lords Justin and Ozric both rate highly, a Master Pariston. When he arrives you could go with him? Two together, not one alone."

Darek shrugs at Mortimer's suggestion, "I'm good with that. I don't mind telling you that I'd rather be out there with someone else when night falls. I don't want to see cursed glowing red eyes out there in the dark some night. Either those wolves or the Hunter." The young man shivers, then laughs briefly, "He's not so bad in the day…" there might be a slight tremble of remembered fear there, but he's passing off a brave front, "Isn't there a Master of Hunt around the Roost? If you're mobilizing a shit-ton of people from The Roost, getting him involved might be good too. I know the Sheriff from Highfield's gotten involved now, but he's out east-ways looking for the noble girl."

Mortimer accepts that as a plan then and figures he'll work out what to do with the sailors once Pariston appears. The ground and surroundings are spared another glance but they're still a way from the target area. "Master Kain is huntsmaster," he confirms with a nod, "but he took hurt and I'm told he's still recovering his wounds." At the mention of the search out east he nods slowly, taking in the new information before adding, "an' some of that search is heading this way, although what they have found that brings them such I have yet to find out."

Darek shrugs his shoulders, "The Roost's close enough to most of the forests, and more built up than Highfield is for now. That's why I haven't gone on back to Highfield to search from there myself." Clearing his throat, the young man scratches at the back of his neck and admits, "And I kind of like having back-up ready if I need it." That draws a slightly nervous chuckle, "Any idea what'll happen to these assholes when we find 'em? Before they snatched the little noble girl, I figured they'd get pilloried or something. Now, I dunno."

"That'll be the Lord Sheriff's call," Mortimer answers with a shrug, "assuming they're taken on Terrick land that is, and that his lord Uncle doesn't decide to take personal interest. Fair to say though that the deaths of the baerns won't sit well when all's balanced up." That's also assuming of course that the other Houses don't stick their noses in as well, which is less likely. "Your man, the one wearing a skull, I don't see him last long either way but if the woman is touched.. in the head I mean." He shrugs again, "I dunno, I guess that ones up to the healers to tell us, they might find somewhere else for her." The wolves though, they can die like dogs, one of them in particular.

Darek frowns in that oh-so-serious way that only teenagers can manage, "That's the cock-up, isn't it, Master Trevelyan? I mean, they've killed or kidnapped people from four holdings now, right?" He gesture about him as he speaks, waving a hand in the vague direction of each of the four holdings in turn, "Won't Lall the Lords want a piece of them?" His nose wrinkles a moment, "I didn't mean that literally, but… uh… maybe I should be? If they've killed all of 'em, or are planning to do it in some ritual or something… maybe they'll all want a real piece of them."

"What they all want and what they'll all get is for them to decide between themselves," Mortimer answers with a not-terribly-enthusiatic nod, "it'll depend a lot where they're taken though. Here and Lord Bolland with have a greater say then if on Ashwood land say. Don't reckon anyway means they'll get of light though, not now a little Lady is in their hands." The talk of killing the children brings his mood down though and he remains silent for a while, concentrating instead on the surroundings. Eventually though he does offer, "the girl I found. She'd been missing a month yet was freshly dead. We should still have time, Seven willing."

Darek seems to have brought himself down as well, murmuring a heartfelt, "Seven willing." He's quiet for a moment, then notes, "I've been praying to the Mother to watch over them every day." One hand drops down to his beltpouch, tightening around it just a little, "It's comforting to have a sept in town. The Ashwoods are planning one, but it's not been built yet." He pauses a moment, and when he speaks up again, his words are quiet, "There used to be one out in the woods, sort of. Just the symbols of the Seven carved into seven trees around a clearing. But it was something — a place to pray."

"It was one of the first things rebuilt," Mortimer replies of the sept, using the opertunity to change the topic of conversation onto something less grim. Or less immediately grim at least. "The old was torn down by the Ironborn and the stones used in their siege engines." Or so he's told at least, he has no reason to doubt it though. The idea of carving symbols into trees is greeted by a raised eyebrow though as he tries to work out if thats an affront to either the Old Gods or the Seven, both or indeed neither. He's no theologian though and so shrugs it off after a few moment's thought.

Perhaps following the Deputy Sheriff's silent thought process, Darek puts in, "My girl was amused by the forest sept. She was raised in the North, follows the Old Gods. So far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter what's around the sept, whether it's a building or the woods or whatever, so long as all the Seven are there, and they're all around." Perhaps the squire has a more pragmatic approach to faith than the High Septon might get behind, but he sounds fervent enough.

Mortimer nods at that, not really able to think of anything useful or interesting to add for the moment beyond a simple "Aye, sounds about right." He glances around on occasion, making sure he still has his bearings and that they're still heading the right way. "Not much further," he offers with a quick glance to the sky, brow creasing a little at the heavy clouds in evidence, "looks like a long day."

Darek reaches up to run his fingers through his hair over the headband keeping the luxurious locks out of his face, breathing out a hard breath as he does. He offers the Deputy Sheriff a crooked grin, "You should try being a squire, Master Trevelyan. Up at dawn, running or pushups or most anything else until lunch. Then weapons training all afternoon and more running after dinner." There's a beat-pause, and then he adds, "This is just a walk in the woods compared to that." Literally.

Mortimer glances sideways for a moment eyeing Darek before he shakes his head a little, the faintest hints of a grin touching his features. "I was twenty years a soldier lad, I know well enough. You forgot night watches, on the walls, in a storm though. They're the worst, when it's too cold to stand still, too wet for a fire and everythingis soaking wet and clinging to you." Then the grin fades a little and he adds, more somberly, "well, I say they're the worst. War's worst, but thank the Seven there was less of that."

"Ugh. Yeah. That all sucks too. I'll take watches on a wall over watches around a camp. Fuck-ton less mud." Of course, Darek's young enough that he's probably never really stood watch during winter. At least not during a bad winter. "War's not so bad, at least the Battle of Stonebridge wasn't. Felt… I dunno, felt alive out there in front of the ditches and the barricades." He holds up his left hand, displaying a nasty scar on the back, "Even got wounded. Not too bad though. Some big son-of-a-bitch with a hammer splintered my own cursed shield into my hand."

Mortimer doesn't answer that, at least not until he feels he can be polite anyway. "That wasn't a war," he offers eventually, any sense of lightness now utterly gone from his voice, "and that isn't a wound." He stops then and turns to face Darek full on. "War is like the seven hells made real infront of you. When you can't move for the dead and they dying, friends and foe alike. When all you can hear is mean screaming in agony, crying for their lovers, their mothers, their wives. When all you can do is pray to the gods that the man infront of you makes a mistake before you do or you'll never see you home, or your loved ones again. War is a terrible thing. Anyone who tells you otherwise has never been in the thick of it." That said he doesn't wait for a responce before he turns and starts walking again, head down and looking at the ground infront of him.

Darek bristles at the first statements, but he listens in silence. He doesn't even respond, not directly, perhaps sensing the other man's mood. Instead, he hunches his shoulders up and tucks one thumb behind his belt-buckle, muttering under his breath as he turns back to start walking along the road as well, "Fuckin' sounds like Sela's Da… all so cursed down on the whole thing." He stops just short of grumping something about old age, but it's a near thing. Back to the grind, apparently.