Page 361: On Taking the Cloth
On Taking the Cloth
Summary: After conversations with Ser Harold, Einar and Marsden discuss various options for the future.
Date: 17/July/2012
Related Logs: Various previous conversations between Einar and Marsden
Harold Einar Marsden Serica 
The Rockcliff Inn, Terrick's Roost
The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.
Tue Jul 17, 289

Ser Harold Charlton paused just as the entrance of the inn, letting a few moments pass there so that his eyes could adjust to the relative dim interior of the inn, his sharp gaze wandering across the furnitured landscape all the while. Picking up on faces and places. His hand rested casually against the hilt of his worn sword, not so much out of any sign of wariness as old habit. Satisfied at last that he wasn't walking in anywhere blind, he crossed the threshold properly and made for a table, flagging down one of the barmaids for a bit of ale.

Einar is grabbing a late lunch in between tasks. Watery stew and bread again it looks like but it suffices. He's mopping the remains of the liquid up with the bread crust when he spots the Charlton knight entering and offers the man a brief nod in greeting. Pushing his bowl away he leans back in his chair and takes a sip of the pint of small ale in front of him. Looks like he isn't quite running off to get back to work immediately

The knight's relaxed flow of strides came to a momentary halt as he caught the squire's nod, returning it with a brusque on in return, and then followed up by shifting the direction of his path so it led him straight to the northerner's table instead of a cleared one. "Mind if I have a seat, squire?" He'd asked for a rather small tankard of ale for himself, just enough to wet a man's tongue and clean away some of the day's dust, and once it was dipped the maid came over with it. It got added to his room's running expense, so he didn't drag out his purse.

Einar notions with his free hand to the empty bench on the other side of the table, "please Ser, be my guest. I trust you had a pleasant ride yesterday? The weather certainly held for it." Setting his tankard down on the table in front of him he rests his arms on the table for want of anything better to do with them.

With such long practice it took no real conscious thought, the greying man tugged free his swordbelt and laid the weapon against the bench, the grip within easy reach. Free of that oft uncomfortable restraint, he sank down himself. He gave a crank to his back, joints clicking and his mouth twisted with a bit of a grimace, then stretched his long legs out. "Aye, pleasant weather, pleasant ride. Though my Lady Wife's horse threw a shoe, and she was less'n happy about riding my Blackhart. Can't say I blame her much. He's tried to kill a few stableboys in his time," knightly horses often not being the most docile of animals. He scratched at his rough beard. "Still, got to stretch our legs a little, have a nice picnic." His eyes dropped to Einar's meal when he said it, adding somewhat dryly: "With what little can be gotten around here, anyway."

Einar follows the glance downwards to his now empty bowl and nods before shrugging lightly and stating conversationally, "I think it still might be better than the fish rations we had on Harlaw. Almost put me off for life in the end, there was just something about the way that camp smelt of nothing but the things for weeks." He doesn't comment further though, not quite sure if he remembers Harold from the Charlton encampment or not. "Sorry to hear about the shoe" he offers, reaching for his ale again, "although I suppose at least they are one of those things that can be easily replaced."

Ser Harold snorted with a measure of agreement at that. "I always used to like fish. Some nice fat lake trout, herb crusted and baked in the ground with hot stones. Heh. Never knew just how bloody foul the stuff could be." His big hand wrapped around the tankard, giving it a lift and a tilt, until the foam brushed the hairs of the top of his lip, and his throat rippled with unhurried swallows. Afterwards he wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his tunic. He'd been at Harlaw, though he'd not socialized too much, keeping with the rest of the Charlton knights. "Well, there's that. Easily replaced, aye."

Einar nods in agreement to just about all of that. "I guess it's true what they say about army rations. Still, it's over and done with now though, and hopefully there'll be no other call up for a goodly long while." He can hope, for even if the Naylands and Charltons do turn to arms, the Flints, being Stark bannermen are unlikely to be ordered in. "Is there any word yet on Lord Aleister?" he then asks, "he and Lord Anders are old friends but news has been somewhat short on that matter from Stonebridge of late."

"Friends with my nephew, eh?" He asked with a casual shrug rolling off his broad warrior's shoulders. Another mouthful of ale washed down his throat, leaving the tankard near empty when it clattered back down against the wooden table. "Then as his friend I'm sure your Lord Anders knows that his mind's on the lands of Highfield, little else, to see them prosper and return to a state where revenue can return to the King's coffers. Little else to say, really. The Naylands might've acted bloody foul in taking Charltons prisoners for no right reason under law or honor, but it's all settled. Whatever you've heard, I'd give you abit of advise my young friend: Rumors are like slatterns, and everybody gets a piece. But under all that powder, she ain't nearly anything close to as interesting as everybody seems to think."
His lips pealed back in a comradely smile, and he lifted up his tankard for another swallow, draining it down to the bottom. "What's your Lord Anders doing down here, in any event?"

Einar listens carefully to what is said, nodding once or twice at appropriate points before leaning back a little on the bench. "That is good then. The last news I had heard had him still held in Tordane Tower but maybe I am a little behind the times. Things have been busy here after all." Another sip of the drink and he sets the tankard down again. "Business with the Terricks. We're looking to set up a port on the southern side of the Finger to aid trade but since the Lady Camden is ward still of Lord Terrick, we are here to talk to them both. And of course so that my good-sister, the only other surviving Camden, can be with her niece a while."

"Ah. Well, they sure need the business and the trade in the Roost," Ser Harold said as he set the tankard of ale aside, looking in no hurry to have another one. "Hard thing being Lords of a people unfed. Leads to trouble and doubts, and smallfolk forgetting their right place. A man will only be so hungry before he stops thinking like a man, and starts thinking like a beast." He made another shrug.

"They do indeed," Einar agrees readily enough, "although sadly we have already seen those sorts of problems emerging." He almost reaches for his tankard then decides against it and continues with his explanation instead. "There was a group of bandits who took some of the Lady's for ransom, turns out they were mostly locals driven to desperation, although I think the leader might have been more entrenched in his ways. Thankfully it was dealt with quickly enough but there is little to stop it from happening again. Not until the situation finally starts to improve again."

Though not one of the locals, the man coming in from stairs is likely any number of lingering knights and lords who had come hoping to see a hanging, only to be slightly disappointed. One hand moves through damp short cropped hair, as the other rubs over his face. Someone is late to rise it seems. All the same, there's no real commotion or yells to herald Ser Marsden Streem's appearance, but what is certain, is that he is making for an occupied table, rather sleepily, and parking himself down, only after cinching his sword belt.

Not the only one to rise late, also joining that number is the Lady Serica Marie. Having discovered a fondness for the pillows that surrounded her to the point of exhausted coma. The girl drifts down slowly, without company of maid, at least for the commons and the knowledge that those who don't like it, may take the issue up with her husband. The old knight who's easily spotted, there in the commons. There's a touch of color to her cheeks then, the shift of her gaze to follow when noting his company and while those eyes might stray, her steps do not, for they carry her easily towards his table.

"Aye. My wife's childhood friend, Lady Jocelyn, was one of them. She rode with us to see the justice done," Ser Harold replied with a slight nod. "Though found it to be somewhat of an anti-climax, eh? Offering the Black is fair enough, the law is the law," though he didn't seem to think it much of a punishment from the tone of his voice or the gruff expression on his weathered features. "But when you call out a show, build a bloody gallows, your audience is gonna be right expecting a bloody show." He scratched his cheek thoughtfully, then looked into the empty bottom of his tankard as if he was considering getting himself another. Perhaps it had been a mistake to get the smallest one available.
"Too bloody early," he said at length, just as the pair there at the table saw themselves joined by a third. Noble like he was, Ser Harold gave the recent arrival the kind of scowl a man who's used to people begging permission to approach might give. Or at the very least ask. Occupied so, he didn't notice his wife just yet.

Being sat with his back to the stairs, Einar himself had been unaware of Marsden's approach until Ser Harold draws attention to him. Glancing over at the Charlton's comment he breaks into a smile as he recognises the man. "Septon," he greets warmly, "it has been too long! Can I offer you a drink? I am almost through with mine and have the time to spare for another." Remembering his previous conversational companion he turns back and provides the introductions. "Ser Harold Charlton, Septon Marsden. He was with the army on Harlaw as well." Seems like everyone was really. Catching sight now of the Lady as well he notions briefly to her and adds, "And of course, his lovely Lady Wife." Pushing himself politely to his feet he gives her a slight bow, "My Lady."

If that was the case, Harold would be waiting a long time for one of those from Marsden. The Tordane knight, is not well known for his following of protocols and courtier ways. Rather he is known for other deeds. "Something like that." he replies, with a yawn. "Bloody early enough when you have piss wine in your belly, and need something stronger to crack your head open." the septon, or rather former septon notes. There is a turn of his head and he is looking over towards Einar with a bleary eyed smile, before he is laughing. "Well, Lord Flint. I am glad to see you hearty and hale." A nod there as he reaches over to clap the other man on the back. "Yes, wine or something stronger as they have here…" a shake of his head "If they have anything here." muttered before he is looking back towards Ser Harold. An appraising look is given before he is nodding. 'Ser, Lady." But the knight doesn't stir to bow or such.

Ser Harold presently wore a stern countenance, with his mouth a thin pressed line of disapproval and his steady flintish gaze returning the former septon's appraisal. "Marsden, huh. Heard the name." He gave the man a rough grunt in acknowledgement to the 'Ser' part, but no nod in response. Instead he lifted out from the bench, leaving his sword where it'd been lying up against his thigh behind. His wife got a knightly bow, his head dipped as courtesy dictated, before he greeted her somewhat warmly: "My Lady Serica. I'm glad that you've decided to join the living. Would you want somewhat to drink or eat?"

Einar hails a conveniently passing serving lass by way of raising his hand, and beckons her over. Wine, although undoubtedly watered, is ordered for Marsden, and another small-ale for himself before he lets the Charltons add on whatever of their own they might be wishing. Retaking his seat on the bench he turns back to the Tordane man, leaving the other pair to their own greetings. "I think some might say that there must be something to our meeting again at this time Septon," he starts with a smile, "for there is news I would share with you if you have the time to hear it?" Which he's figuring the other man does, what with the drinks order and the general lack of urgency.

"Indeed, Ser Charlton?" Marsden asks with a dry chuckle, that crackles in his throat. "And what have you heard of the name, if I may ask? A man likes to know his reputation." he adds on, so as to seem, perhaps not as rude. Only there he looks over towards Serica. As any man, Streem does let eyes wander, but there is no lewd look, nor lascivious grin to accompany such an apraisement. "Lord Einar, is right though-I did serve on Harlaw, and on Pyke." a kiss of his teeth. "My second true war here in Westeros." As for Einar's news there is a look back and a nod given the man. "Well certainly!" he says with a grin. "I'd be all for it."

"Little good," Harold replied bluntly enough, while he sat back down onto the bench, and his wife next to him. He'd ordered a bit of nutty bread and cheese for food, and under his breath muttered something akin to: "Would've liked some proper ham, too." But a man made due with what he had in front of him, and carried on. "Except perhaps loyalty, eh? Admittedly a trait that can make up for a whole lot of bad, in the right person. My family's always valued it." Another small tankard of ale settled down in front of him when the maid came back with the orders, to which he took a testive sip, leaving a bit of foam on his upper lip. It took away some of his gruff demeanor, too, leaving him almost with a smile as he fell silent, listening both to a few whispered words of Serica's, and what news Einar was talking of.

Were the Charltons not present, Einar would undoubtedly have turned fully so that he was facing Marsden, and not just by way of twisting his neck round. As it is though, he does not cut them out of the conversation, even though his news is likely to mean very little to the pair of them. "I was talking with Lord Anders a day or so ago," he starts enthusiastically, "and it seems that he and I have been thinking and, at least in part, come to the same conclusions." He's half tempted to stop for a sip of the ale at this point but carries on anyway, pausing only long enough for breath. "I won't bore you with the details, but he has indicated that once I have completed my service to him, that he will not hold me to the demands of my Lord Father and instead expects me to make my own choice. Free and unhindered."

Likely, were the Charltons not present, Marsden would lower his head to the table and snore a few more if he had a mind for it. Still as it is, a weather eye is cast upon Harold, before he simply grins. "There is off little good about a man. It is the seven that rounds it out." he comments before taking up a cup. Ale'd suit fine it seems. "You can always bore me with details. There's much to be gained from the little things, Lord Einar." he adds on before he is looking back towards the Flint man with a blink. "He will not?" he echoes for a moment. A sip of cool ale seems to help the waking Streem. "And what is your choice, my son?"

Drawing his belt knife, he set about cutting up the bread up in thick pieces, then the cheese after. Some was passed to his wife, though the majority he kept for himself to chew through, occasionally tipping back some ale to soften up the meal. To Marsden's piety he had only given a grunt, one which was neutral enough it could've been taken any one wanted. Though he listened, it was only with half an ear, as the matter seemed so far of little direct importance to a knight of Charlton.

Einar does pause for a drink this time as he watches for Marden's reaction, his smile broadening slightly when it comes. "He will not," is repeated in confirmation, " he said only, in fact, that he wishes me to complete and accept my knighthood first as he would not have these past years left unfinished." Which, in truth, seems eminently fair to Einar. Sobering a little he adds, "I suppose that there is still the chance that my Lord Uncle might disallow it, but he has so far been very definite about letting Lord Anders make his own decisions so I am hopefully in that regard." Another sip of ale and he finally gets round to answering the question posed. Or sort of answering at least. "I think perhaps, Septon, that we have spoken enough over these months that you know very well what my choice is."

Marsden nods his head, and grins. "Well, Lord Flint. I believe you are made for the cloth." he adds on. "And would be a fine bringer of the Faith to any House here in the cape, whether assigned to your own, or sent to someone like the Naylands, or Terricks." Marsden says. "And it would be a pleasure to call you, brother." And with that he raises his cup a little. 'Blessings to you, brother Einar-for the path you are seeking to take is a hard one, but fulfilling." Never mind that Marsden never stuck closely to it, himself.

Ser Harold didn't bother to hide his slightly disbelieving snort as he listened to the pair of them. Drunken 'half-septon' blessing a northern squire to take the cloth. Still, with a cup lifted the man lifted his own. His grey eyes walked from one to the other, gauging them with a cynical light. "To hard paths taken." The rest of his tankard went down, after which he smoothly lifted to his feet, belting on his sword once more. "Thanks for the hospitality of your table, Lord Einar. I wish you well." A nod followed, and after a moment a slight one in Marsden's direction as well. Himself and his wife would leave thereafter, their meal done.

Stranger things have happened before. Probably. Harold's snort draws a quick glance from Einar but it seems that it is not enough to event dent the lad's obvious good mood. Raising his on drink to return the toasts offered he takes a swig and then turns to the departing Charltons first. "Thank you and good day to you Ser" he offers before giving Serica a slightly nod, "my Lady." Leave thus taken he turns quickly back to Marsden. "I think it likely a while yet before any decisions like that are taken but in all honesty Septon, I think I would prefer a quiet parish somewhere away from the politics. Somewhere where I could know everyone, their joys and their troubles. Somewhere where a real difference can be made to the community." He pauses for a moment, tilting his head ever so slightly to one side before asking, "does that sound naive?"

Marsden raises a brow towards Harold Charlton, and the knight sniggers in return before taking another sip. There is a pause as he watches them leave before he is looking back towards Einar. "Never mind them lad. The Charltons are quite used to the finer things, and so a vow of poverty is not seen as pleasing to them." Yeah, that's it. Still he looks down into his mug for a moment. "Oh son. You would like that-I would like that, but you are placed by the Devoted, and they know where the need is the greatest. Had I my druthers, I would have been assigned out to Stone Hedge, however I ended up in Goodbrook territory and the rest is history." he adds. Marsden levels a long look at Einar for a moment "If you truly wish that, then take the brown, and become a begging brother. It is a fine life to be sure."

Einar knows little of the Goodbrooks, bar their allegiance to House Tully, but just nods anyway, not figuring the details to be vital to the conversation at the present time. As for the Charlton, he doesn't even glance over his shoulder at the mention, just grins slightly and shrugs, "Southerners." He is fully aware, exactly how well the men of the Riverlands take that comment but figures the present company safe enough for the jest. Drawing himself up to sit a little straighter he continues, more seriously, "I think though, that such decisions can wait until I have had proper time to consider. It is many years now, since I let my thoughts run in this direction and then I was only a boy. I still have time though for Lord Anders has not yet indicated he is ready to end my time in his service."

There is not much to know of Goodbrooks, nor Marsden's involvement there, but it is no secret amongst those of the Cloth. Between Septon Ulf the dry and Septon Marsden the Half Septon, there are not that many rougher septons about. "One way to put it." he adds with a chuckle. Apparently, Streem doesn't hold the same sentiments as other Riverlanders, and so the comment washes from his back. "I believe so." he adds on. "And you should finish your knighthood before taking the vow. As such you may do greater honor as a warrior's son or such. I know of a Septon who before he was robed and ordained was a fierce fighter of men, armed with a fine axe. Now he carries a staff and sees to the wounded in battle. Pious." he adds. "But, his path may not be yours, and so take your time. I just know, you would make yourself a fine brother." Marsden states before taking another sip. "Also, should you love a woman, I would say marry her, or lay with her lest you give that up."

Einar shakes his head once, slowly. "I know that in aiming for a knighthood then it is expected to be a follower of the Warrior, but as I think I have said before, I have always found myself drawn far more towards the Crone." He thinks he's shared that with Marsden anyway, it might have only been Ulf. Moving on though he continues, "I know the Son's do good works, but there's is not the life I seek, Harlaw showed me well enough that I may have the head for such things, but not the stomach." It's an easy confession, and one he's made before, although not perhaps in such a public place as this. As for a woman? He just smiles faintly at that and takes another drink. "I can not claim there is one such," nor indeed many such, but he doesn't actually say that, "although I am sure that my Lord Father has a list somewhere that he is quietly updating and making ready to produce once I am knighted.."

Marsden nods once towards Einar. "Well the Crone works in mysterious ways, Einar. And her followers even more so." he adds before he is finishing his drink. one hand smoothing down the front of his tabard, before he is looking back the lad. "No Son will carry a blade, or such, a cudgel maybe but we are supposedly forbidden of carrying arms." despite that both he and Ulf carry weapons. The other brings a laugh which hacks into a cough of wakefullness, followed by a gob of spit horked to the tavern floor. "Then lay with a whore before you choose to give up that life. I tell you, it is a hard thing to give up when you've had the scent of a woman on you." A somber look, before he is reaching over and clasping Einar on the back as he rises. "But, I am sure you will have it. You're a good lad-and clearly Seven led."

That that was not quite the response Einar had been expecting with regards to the Son's is evident enough in the brief, surprised look on his face. Still though, he files the information away making a mental note to add it to the list of things to look into in the near future. As for finding himself a whore? Well, that gets a polite smile and a "I will think on it," which realistically means thanks for the advice, but no thanks. As Mardsen rises he does so as well, having long since finished the last of his drink. "Thank you Septon, for your words and your time. Will you be here at the Roost long?" He gets the feeling after all that he's going to need people in the know to bounce ideas and questions off.

"Any time, my son." Marsden offers, before he is rubbing his chin. "I will be here as long as my Lady is." though given how late he has slept, Danae Tordane may have already returned to Highfield., either way the Septon is here for a bit. "Surely long enough to waste coin and battle hangovers." he adds with a grin. A nod is given the younger man, as he pushes himself out towards the light of day. "I need to find a trough." he simply states, before exiting.