|Plethra of Fanfare|
|Summary:||Sers, Mistresses and a Lady meet in the square. The Militia presents colors under Einion and Bruce. Iulia return to the Tower and talk business.|
|Date:||12 Dec 2011|
|Town Square - Stonebridge|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|December 12, 288|
Iulia had joined up with one the lady Isolde's kitchen servants in a venture into the town to retrieve some goods for an upcoming dinner. Marg, a bit taller than Iulia had in her arms a basket filled with a variety of vegetables, the same for the chambermaid while in conversation and walking side by side. The distance returning to the tower would be a short one, thankfully, as they had to pause on occasion to adjust the weight they carried.
Tam has been browsing through the market all day, and has just exited a brief conversation with a knight and one of the other chambermaids, the three splitting into a trio of directions. Alone, his features red from laughter, Tam ambles along. He glances in the direction of Iulia and her companion Marg, steps slowing a bit as he clocks the young chambermaid - he shifts his path a bit to bring him, relatively innocently, closer to the pair. Approaching from behind, he has the opportunity to overhear their conversation.
"He's a good lad dear. Comes from a butcher family and have their own farm of cattle. You've got some experience in that do'cha?" Marg comments, waddling as the pair paced themselves through the road. "And he smells like shit." Iulia barks back, a smile on her face that Marg did not find so humorous. She grunted, giving the basket another heave to correct its placement. "Besides, how would I have the time to cater to both my lady's wishes and a husbands?" Iulia shakes her head, "She surprises me more and more, very interested in seeing that I am well educated. She keeps arranging lessons for me." Marg glances to the girl at her side, "Take them, give what she may offer girl. Seven knows you need them." Iulia stuck a tongue out at Marg, "She intends on staying for a while. At least I should hope. The 'lord and lady of Stonebridge should be in Stonebridge'. I am sure my lady prefers it here rather than Hag's Mire.
Tam begins to whistle, lengthening his stride so that the pair of women can spot him. He grins toward them both as he draws abreast, nodding his head politely to Iulia before focusing his attention on Marg. A rakish smile creases his lips as he studies the waddling creature. "By the Seven! Had I known the Tordanes to hire such beauty, Id've been here years earlier!" He bows clumsily in Marg's direction. "Ser Tam Cooper, Mistress — forgive my boldness, but neh chance you'd let me carry your basket for you?"
Marg's had cast her suspicion upon the man, the compliment had not even changed her features. Much. Maybe he touched some part of her that was flattered for while doing so, Iulia had simply observed. Shaking her head at his flamboyant display. "Ser Cooper, this is Mistress Margery Vanton." One of Isolde's kitchen maids that Iulia was walking with, their arms wrapped around two large whicker baskets filled with various foodstuff items for stews and what not. Marg was reluctant to give up her basket until Iulia said, "He won't run off with it. He and I are acquainted for even the Lady Isolde had sought some favor of him." That was enough for Marg who would then easily fork over the heavy basket, "Ah there ya go Ser, don't drop it!" She had to warn while snapping both hands upon her hips, "Years ago huh? Whas the problem with me now huh?"
"Nothing, Mistress Vanton! But just think'a all the time I've wasted when I could've been enjoying -your- company." Tam's gutterborn voice is rich with amusement as he flirts with the obese kitchen maid, practically ignoring Iulia for now - save for a sly wink, when the other maid wasn't looking. He lugs the basket easily, falling in step with the pair as they begin their return to the tower. "Tell me, Mistress Vanton, how old are you? Fifteen? Sixteen, mebbe?"
The doors to the Crane's Crossing Inn opens and out steps, not a noble, but a Hedge Knight, one that some may be familiar with in Stonebridge. Kell steps out of the inn and after a few steps forward into the Town Square, takes a brief look around as it to see if it is just another day with people going about their daily business. He is in his casual wear, tunic and trousers, with his sword at his side.
Marg was greatly relieved to have the weight off of her, yet still as they walked she would waddle. "That so Ser Cooper?" The kitchen servant was beginning to thaw under his flirtation, Iulia snickered into the dirt covered potatoes. Still, they were on their way towards the tower when Marg said, "Don't you think your wife won't be appreciating such talk?" Marg's thick brow raises, cheeks jiggled when she talked like an oversized well fed baby. "He is without a wife Marg." Iulia retorts, playing into the flirting game. Marg turned her head to Iulia briefly, "No? No wife? That's a right shame ain't it? You look handsome enough, strong too. What does the Lady want with you?"
"Why, to fight, of course. That's what us big strong lads do, Marg. We fight." Tam winks at the chubby kitchen servant, his conversation drifting as he wanders along. "Of course, I'd be real glad to be working for Lady Rebekkah. I hear she's got a real kind heart, just like her gooddaughter. Somehow, the hedge knight gets this out with a straight face. He casts a glance aside at Marg to see how it's recieved. "Shameful, the lies that bastard Gedeon's been telling." Again, he watches the woman's face - what is important here isn't what Marg says, but what she thinks. He doesn't see Kell just yet.
With the number of people going about their business in the Square, Kell doesn't spot the trio just yet either and he has a destination in mind, the stables. He begins to cross the square though his pace is more a casual stroll than a rushed intent and it will bring his path by Tam's, Iulia's, and Marg's. As he nears the group, he swears he hears a familiar voice, one that lead to some drinks and fun, bruising fun but fun nonetheless so his head glances towards the source.
Marg's features twist in some disbelief as if comparing the two was against nature, "Yeah, she kind alright." Apparently Marg is the type to keep her opinions to herself, duty first and the first duty was getting the food to the kitchen. "It is shameful." The Marg repeats. "My lord and lady are not deserving of such talk." Around the corner and soon enough they'll make it towards the tower. Iulia gives the basket in her arms another shift, suddenly wondering why her basket wasn't taken as well. "Leave it to the nobility to sort out." Iulia says to bring an end to that topic, "Will this be a stew Marg?" The portly woman nods for both the subject change and the purpose of the food. "Yes, now that the lady can eat most of my cooking again." The chambermaid smirks, catching the sight of Kell and instantly smiling, "Ser Drakmoor!" Called a bit louder for his attention.
Tam nods agreeably to Marg as she expounds on her feelings, listening intently to the woman. He's the perfect man - eye contact, apparently cares what she has to say, etc. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much to say, and very soon Tam is tired of feigning interest. So the arrival of Kell is a welcome distraction. He cradles Marg's basket in one hand, using his other to wave. "Oi, Ser Drakmoor! Come on and help a fellow knight out. I've only got hands enough to carry one of these baskets.." He trails off, nodding to Iulia.
With the change of seasons, though in truth it's not winter come to be sure, the markets are full of new goods. Recent traders from Dorne and th Free Cities have brought a filter of goods that are rare. Stopping near a spices stall, Isolde tilts her head and speaks to her one sworn with her, Ser Wayland. She lifts up the box to give a quick scent and quickly draws it away. There is a soft laugh from the lady as some comment as made and she waves off something from the stall owner as they begin to move on. The moving people, though not as heavy as certain times of the day are filtering around the small group who seems to be meandering in the square.
Taking the knights arm again, the lady is looking to the parchment seller again and then to the inks. BUt her attention flits with the raised voice of Iulia calling for Ser Drakmoor. She searches for the source and there finds it, the arrangement of servants and knights gathering making a brow lift and she doesn't quite intrude but watches a moment.
Kell's guesses are only confirmed when Iulia calls his name out, that voice also familiar to him, so the Hedge Knight makes a little adjustment in the direction he walks in so that it will intercept the group. As he arrives at conversational range, he dips his head respectfully to the trio, "Ser, Miss, Miss," A nod to Tam, Iulia, and Marg before he arches a brow at Tam, wondering what foolishess the other knight is trying to get him into again. If it weren't the presence of the ladies, Kell would've just said, "No way, I'm no packmule," But being a knight and all, he will only have to swallow his pride and mule it up, extending a hand to Iulia, "I would be most pleased to take that burden from you, Miss." For the time being, the Hedge Knight is distracted and doesn't see Lady Isolde's yet.
Tam 's eyes twinkle in subdued triumph as he corners Kell into carrying the second basket. He ambles along up the path, keeping up a quiet patter of flirtation to the obese Marg - clearly an expert at buttering up the tough sort of women who inevitably work in kitchens. When he finally spots Isolde and Wayland, the big hedge knight freezes awkwardly, unsure of what to do. He glances around as though for assistance, then regains his composure. Setting down the basket gently, he straightens, and immediately lowers back down in a clumsy bow toward Isolde. "Lady Isolde," he says by way of greeting.
Marg sizes the newcomer's approach from head to toe then back up again. "You know this one too huh?" She asks Iulia, who has now handed over her basket to Kell. Very much appreciated. "Yes, he too has caught the eye of the Lady Isolde." Marg makes a 'hmph' sound while observing the two men, "Well get on with it then, up that'away." She points towards the path leading to the towers. Marg's notice of Isolde and Wayland would go unnoticed as she focuses more attention on assuring the vegetables would arrive unharmed. Iulia, now free of the straight begins to rub at her arms absently, "You just missed it Kell, I was witnessing a match making between Ser Drakmoor and the Miss." The Miss didn't take too kindly to it, shaking her head. Iulia, keeps in pace with the group until Tam mentions her lady, this made everyone's head turn about. Marg and Iulia do smile fondly, "My lady." They almost say in unison. A curtsey is awarded."
Spotted! Isolde puts on a slow smile as Ser Cooper dips his bow and she looks to Wayland after. "Please, do not let me stop you.." Though she is drawing closer now at being addressed. She waves off the courtsies but dips her head in thanks as her hand remains upon Wayland's arm. "I would hate to distract these two find knights from seeing to you lovely ladies.." There is amusement in her tone but it seems to be more for the Sers than the women as she looks back up to Ser Cooper and Drakmoor. "Besides, if I was to forestall you, these strong men could not help you deliver your wares and most certainly all amusing talk would end. Unless you would carry on as you were even in my presence. I am just on a small stroll of the new goods, looking for something pleasing for the Lady Danae." She says to them, still giving them quite a bit of room so as not to give them discomfort.
Kell does direct a 'You owe me a drink' look to Tam as he feels the added weight of whatever Iulia was buying the market, apparently gold ingots hidden under the vegetables. Well, not that heavy, but carrying… groceries is not something he thought was part of the job description of a knight. "Lady Nayland has been too kind, to grace me with such attention." As for Iulia filling him in on how Tam has been shamelessly flirting with Marg, Kell can only grin in amusement, "Oh really? Well, Ser Cooper is quite the silver tongued knight, good company. I am sure the Miss won't be displeased by his company, perhaps a quiet walk in the gardens by themselves." Return salvo directed at Tam! When Lady Nayland is spotted and identified by Tam first, Kell turns and bows as well, though he keeps the basket secured in his arm as he bows, "Lady Nayland."
The bastard! How dare he trap Tam with a fat kitchen worker. The 'silver-tongued' hedge knight scrambles, almost visibly, to come up with a solution to this new dilemma. One presents itself almost immediately. "Would that I could, Ser Drakmoor! Marg's such a lovely woman, I been considering asking the Lady's permission to court her, but there's a real problem here. Aye, something that just can't go without fixing." He looks directly at Isolde, making bold to use the lady herself as his excuse for escaping. "Lady Isolde only has one escort. Now, I know Ser P..Ser Wayland is a fine knight and all, but with the Lady's permission, I'd feel better if she let me join her. Just for safety." He shoots an apologetic look toward Marg. "Of course, that'd mean you got to carry this back, sweetling. Can y'forgive me?" Bam! Not only is Tam attempting to escape the other Knight's trap, he's endeavoring to leave him the only one playing packmule at all!
Ser Wayland appears not to like the offer to have Tam help escort the Lady Isolde not one bit. The Knight smiles and shakes his head, "All is well and better to have the lady in the presence of one 'sworn' to House Nayland than not." But Isolde is amused for her part, standing yet with her arm on Wayland's, Tam's antics make her laugh a little. "Oh but poor Ser Drakmoor, I am not sure he can carry both baskets.." She says and gives him a sympathetic look. "Besides, my want to look at parchment and inks shall bore you, Ser Cooper, I am quite sure. You looked quite happy and amused by accompanying the Mistress Marg…" Is she continuing to test his ability to get out of a situation? THere is a glint to her green eyes.
Currently Ser Drakmoor and Cooper are helping the two mistresses with their baskets of goods heading back to the Tower and the Lady and her sworn are just speaking with them.
Marg was quite a few years older though not as gray as Ser Cooper. "Ser Wayland is more than capable of escorting the lady Isolde through her own town market." She agreed with the sworn knight. Marg then sidles closer to Tam, thick hands upon her wide hips, "I thought you wished to enjoy my company? Right now is good as ever."
Tam considers the situation, eyeing Isolde as though she has thrown a loaded grenade at him. And then he brightens dramatically, looking around at the others. "But you see, Lady, that's where you got it wrong! I got to purchase some new parchment and ink. To write my.. to write my.. my brother! In King's Landing." He was running along smoothly until Marg interjected, a bit of fluster showing on the Knight's face now. To the squat cook, Tam says "But Marg, I do! I tell you what.." He leans forward to whisper in her ear. "..Meet me at the Dusty Wench later, and we'll have a dance, yeah?"
Another look is given to Tam who parries his words very nicely, Kell can't help but incline his head to the other knight as if to say 'Well played', it seems like the Hedge Knight prefers to duel with swords than with words but this is a different arena right now. However, when Ser Wayland steps up and speaks, almost causing Kell to laugh out loud in amusement and the position Tam is placed in, but he is well composed, maintaining the visage of a well behaved knight, despite wanting to laugh very, very badly. Kell almost wants to reach out with his free hand to take the basket Tam is carrying and tell him he is free to walk with Marg, but knows that the other man is already outnumbered so he is giving Tam a chance.
The sound of crunching boots can be heard slowly approaching the Stonebridge Square on this brisk summer evening. It's a large column of men - mostly levies of the Green Quarter, Stonebridge Militia. Before them, however, are five men of the Stonebridge Guard. The Guardsmen are fully armed and armoured in their battle kit, marching in two files, with Ser Bruce Longbough at the front, and his squire Amos next to him, carrying the Guard's standard high. Evidently, they're returning from drills.
Einion Wycliffe, as many times a week as requested, is no longer 'tanner' and 'leatherworker', but 'serjeant' of a Quarter of pikemen, simply for the reason of his experience in the war. Those coming up were either not old enough, truly, or had not enough brains or mind to learn the lessons then, but now, due to maturity, can begin to comprehend the reasons for the formations, for the drills. The young tanner limps through the thoroughfare, a leather jerkin atop a thick cotton shirt, though he does it with as much military bearing as a common man could. Einion watches, keeping order, correcting where applicable.. and slightly behind, as befits rank, the knight and squire..
Iulia, at this point, is desperately trying to hold back her laughter. Tight lipped and eyes closed as Kell's own outright laughter was making it difficult. Maybe Tam should have carried Iulia's basket instead. She does overhear Tam's whisper, the girl casts a look to Marg suggestively who seems to have taken a real liking to Tam for her eyes rarely left his form.
"I have ink and parchment Ser Cooper." She relays sweetly, cherub like. The whisper in her ear causes her features to light up momentarily while remembering to still be in the company of the Stonebridge's Lady, she nods to Tam accepting. Iulia folds both arms across her chest, looking between the two of them before turning to Kell, "Perhaps we should press forward Ser Drakmoor hmm?" Giving the pair, Marg and Tam some privacy and tighten the vice a few more turns.
Lifting her free hands to her lips, half covering them as the Lady tries not to laugh, there is a faint sound as her amusement escapes her despite her best intentions. Ser Wayland continues to eye Ser Cooper, that warm - always pleasant smile on his face remaining just that but looking strained as he watches the display between the two. "I did not realize you had a brother, or wrote…" Isolde intones and than gives Iulia a wink and a knowing smile to Ser Drakmoor. That is till the steady walk of steps in time draw her attention and head lifts to give a look to the levies returning. The beginnings of the line are studied and it is the limp that makes her finally identify Einion amongst them. Her mirth fades some as she watches. "Ser Wayland can take the basket for you so that you may escort the Mistress Marg…I wished to speak with Iulia anyhow.." Oh no, more depths to this little trap and Ser Wayland is caught off guard but moves and takes up the basket from the ground.
As Kell watches the continued exchange between Tam and Marg keeps the knight very amused though his attention returns to Iulia when she suggest that they begin making their way back with the goods, "At your leisure, Miss." The added teasing words by Lady Isolde does have a chuckle sneak past the Hedge Knight's guard as he gives the Lady a glance before the sound of the very familiar marching boots on stone is heard. Kell turns to see the line of well trained soldiers in House colors appear alnog with Ser Bruce.
Tam grins at Isolde, one step closer to freedom - though the situation is still very dangerous. In a moment, however, he moves into action again. But it seems as though his reasons for doing so are less about the amusing struggle to avoid Marg's affections and more to do with the column approaching. The knight hastens toward Isolde, his eyes on the marching men - his gaze is practiced, assessing, the face of a man who has considerable experience with infantry formations. He observes to Isolde, ignoring Wayland unless the younger man physically intercedes, "..Your drillmaster is very good. And look, there in the rear, Master Wycliffe. Lady, please don't greet him.. it'd be like setting him up for trouble." Perhaps that was the sole reason for Tam's haste to speak. But no, he continues on. "It'd be a good idea, though, to salute the column somehow. Make 'em all feel special together." His advice is tentative, as though he fears getting smacked down by the Lady.
While approaching the centre of the town square, an area is left open for the returning levies, through the town's experience with them in these last many months. They are no longer armed, but still march in time and in step, as if they did have their pikes. So do the Stonebridge Guards in front. Bruce yells out the order, "Guards, left wheel. Serjean Wycliffe, halt the militia on the square. We will have words. Carry on!" A moment later, as the Guards split off from the militia, Bruce gives the order, "Guards, halt!" With three quick steps, they halt in time. "Leeeeeft turn!" Again, in time, they turn, to face the area that the militia will be in.
And it's left.. right.. left… and as they approach, Einion calls out, "Ser!" before he calls, "Quarter… left.. wheel.." as the group of men reach the point in the clearing where indicated, swinging around until he's where he wants them to be. Then, on the right foot, he calls, "Halt!" He pauses, watching to be sure no one is even twitching before ordering, "Left face!" Again, he waits… before turning, a little clumsily thanks to the leg, towards the knight and his retinue. "Ser.." with a salute added. He catches the lady Isolde, and.. oh thank the Seven, the Ser Cooper…
Bruce has evidently noticed Isolde, not too far away. As soon as they levy formation has been halted by Einion, Bruce returns the Serjeant's salute. He whispers something and does an about face, along with the Guardsmen. "Militia!" He yells loud and clear. "To your Lady, present arms!" His sword free, the Stonebridge Captain of Guard raises it in front of his face in salute. His squire Amos raises the standard likewise.
Marg will just have to settle on the Wayland's assistance in bringing up her basket, "Take Iulia's too huh?" She tells Wayland, pointing a chubbing finger at the basket in Drakmoor's arms after hearing that Isolde wished to speak with Iulia. The chambermaid does nod her head, unfortunately not able to aid in the kitchen to prepare the meals but somewhat entertained by the current drills being preformed in the town's streets. Steps carry Iulia near Isolde's side while watching the men preform in unison. It was spectacular to see.
Einion echoes the command, "Present arms!", and he has a smaller pike (not one for war..) and presents it forward while his platoon offers a salute to the Lady.
Wayland falters in doing as he is bid when Tam moves for Isolde, the young Frey's hand goes to his sword hilt but stops when he merely speaks close to her. The basket between Marg and Wayland goes untouched and remains on the ground. But Isolde's mirth has faded mostly and her eyes study the grizzled face before her. Her voice is hushed but it seems she likes none of the sellswords words. Her words are only for him, that is til the levies begin to present themselves, she gives Tam a quick look and then smiles, giving her attention to the levies. Her smile grows as she dips her head to Bruce and then watches the militia, her chin lifting and it seems a complete look of approval for them all as she takes a step closer to them. Ser Wayland tough with Marg's words opens his mouth and then closes it and dips his head, moving to take the basket for Iulia. Isolde gives the aforementioned maid a quick look while she continues slow steps closer to the company. Einion is given a nod of her head but that is all, no recognition otherwise. "Well presented." Her voice lifts to be heard. "It seems that they are progressing Ser Bruce, well done. You make Stonebridge proud for the efforts you give your drills."
You whisper, "Ser, I am not so inept. I understand the situation.." to Tam.
The basket of goods is passed on to Wayland by Kell who nods a head of appreciation to the Knight and to Marg as they will be returning early before following Iulia towards Lady Isolde as his eyes are also watching the drilling commence. The show is very well organized though it is something the Hedge Knight seen before, knowing it's morefor show and discipline as when war happens, it's a mess, nothing organized and proper like this.
Tam seems more amused than put-out by whatever Isolde has to say, just grinning broadly. He turns to watch the men, his gaze critical, arms folded across his chest as he remains - pointedly, it seems - at the Lady's shoulder. He continues to murmur something to her, perhaps a plea to rescue him from the huge Marg. Drakmoor's rescue by Iulia is noted with a brief grin, but he continues to murmur, at one point lifting a hand to subtly point toward one of the levy ranks.
"The men are a credit to themselves. They earn their skill by their own blood, sweat and tears, m'lady." Bruce says with a smile as he lowers his sword and resheaths it. He does nod in appreciation of the complement, as well, before turning about. "Militia! Stand at ease!" The guards all turn about and relax their stances. His sleepy blue eyed gaze moves from man to man in the formation, with a rather proud expression on his face.
Tam whispers: So you do. Apologies, Lady. Look at this - Ser Bruce has an excellent reputation for drill, and with good reason. See how that rank *point* brought all their pikes up as one? Much harder'n it looks. And see how proud Einion is? His job in a fight is to close up the ranks when men start dying. He'd be in the rear. Safe.
The group, if anyone knew the commoners by face, are all made up of merchants; traders, tradesmen, farmers all. One delivers the milk, another, a miller's son.. and yet another, a runner between the hunters and cooks of the Inn. Their serjeant, a tanner who begins to make something of a name for himself in town for his leather goods. That's who the Lady Isolde looks at as she looks down the line, and every one of them working for the protection of the town, with varying degrees of dedication (of course). Einion keeps his eyes forward as the Lady speaks to their knight, her nod of acknoweldgment subtle, and the tanner is grateful.
Einion salutes the order with his pike and turns about to give the order, "At ease!" which is probably more quickly followed than attention, but still not so bad. He turns about, that leg making it a little less precise, but it gets the job done, and he, too, settles into his 'ease'. Taking a deep breath, he watches Bruce look at his line, and then to the Lady and Tam behind her, at her shoulder. He lets his attention linger there— he really does appreciate that knight..
Iulia's eyes search through the presented militia, it felt empowering to have them all facing in her direction though in truth it was for the Lady beside her. The girl turns her gaze sidelong to Isolde and then Tam on the other side. "That man looks familiar my lady. That would be Master Einion correct?" Iulia asks Isolde in a hushed tone, most likely heard from all those close by.
Ser Wayland gives a nod to Ser Drakmoor, "Of course…" Though it is not really a sound of grateful man for the duty he has taken. He watches the militia as well but looks to the Ser who takes his liberties being at the lady's shoulder. There is a long exhale from him but he remains.
Isolde though shifts on her feet, her head canting at the sound of the lowered words from Tam but her attention goes to Bruce and she nods to him. "You are a credit as well, there is no doubt in my mind you were made to make these men as they are. They have become very skilled since last I saw. You have my thanks for your time and skilled hand." She favors him with a faint curtsey and than looks to the faces that makes up the common folk. "Though not knights, you are all quite a sight for the daughter of Geoffrey Tordane. My father would be proud. You act just as the knights and squires he trained in his own yards. Stonebridge is safer for you." Best to give them heart and know that the Lady is grateful for their time. She dips them a courtsey as well and for all Einion had taken of her attention the previous day, she gives no attention past a nod and a look to Iulia. "Yes, a man I will have you speak to later." Is whispered.
Kell continues to watch on without comment, looking the soldiers over and also noting that these men are just towns people as well, a militia true to its name. They certainly aren't professional soldiers but these people will have extra pride in their work, since they would be defending their own homes and lands.
Bruce dips his head politely at Isolde's words, looking pleased with the assessment. "Thank you, m'lady." He turns back to the men. "Men of the Stonebridge Militia. You have trained hard and long, taking away from time at your trades or your families. You've fought the enemy which sought to invade your town and put your fellow citizens at jeopardy. You've demonstrated strength of character, discipline and gumption which seperates you from all other levies in the Riverlands. You are not simply levied troops, you are citizen militia. And it is for this that today you are MADE different from these levies." Bruce turns his head to the right. "Serjeant Turner!" He calls out. "Bring on the colours."
Serjeant Stefan Turner, the Guardsman second in command, nods and marches on with the remainder of the Guard, all the other professional soldiers carrying on their shoulders each Quarter's individual colour, mounted on a spear, as well as the Militia's one standard. The standards is new, sewn in Stonebridge's heraldry, two quarters Nayland, two quarters Tordane - also Lady Isolde's personal heraldry. One Green, one Orange, one Red and one Yellow. "From those whose profession is arms, we present you with your own battle standards. Guards - to your colours, salute!" Bruce removes his sword oncemore and raises it in salute, the professional soldiers following suite as the new banners are marched on.
Tam falls silent at the ceremony taking place in the square. Without a word, he takes a step away from Isolde and yanks his sword free of its sheath. This might truly cause Ser Wayland to attack, particularly when he whips it upward one-handed - to present a salute toward the colors in the center of the square. Knight he may be, but the grizzled upstart spent years and more marching beneath just such a banner. While there aren't exactly tears in his eyes, Tam is deadly-serious, staring straight toward Einion as he holds his salute.
Einion certainly doesn't know what's coming, and it's made clear upon his face. He's taken aback, saved only by the fact that he is in the position to echo Ser Longbough's commands to his platoon, and in that, he does admirably. Enough, anyway. "Platoon, at-ten—hut!" It's less a word than a gutteral command, but the men understand it and move from an 'at ease' to attention quickly. As the colours come on, the tanner made serjeant salutes..
The movement of Ser Cooper causes her attention to falter a moment, but Isolde looks back to that of the colors. As they are presented, there is a softening of her green gaze and she lets out a slow breath. Perhaps she had never seen the banners they marched under, but the gold crane set over a green background gives her heart and she dips her head to her own colors, mixed with that of her husband's. Is that a sheen as well in the lady's eyes, but she does not let loose, her chin lifting as if appreciating the show. Her gaze flits to the serjeant and how they all respond. There is a respectful silence from the Lady of Stonebridge as she lets the colors settle in place for a time, but she looks to Ser Bruce and then steps towards him. "Ser Bruce, your display is one that has given me great pride.." Though the words are directed to him, her voice is meant for the men as well. "I would like to reward these men for their valor and discipline with a feasting in the coming days. I would wish to meet them and speak with each during such a celebration. Such displays should be rewarded and the people of Stonebridge should know the honor of their men in every form they take. Would this suit your men and you, Ser Longbough?
Tam rips his sword down and to the side before deftly sheathing it as the salute is lowered, and looks toward Bruce. Though the two men haven't met, he inclines his head deeply to the other knight in a gesture of respect. And then, with another clumsy bow toward Isolde, the grizzled hedge knight turns to slip away - shockingly, with as little fanfare as possible. Perhaps something in the ceremony actually touched him. Or perhaps he wants to escape before Marg can give her answer on dancing.
Again, Bruce turns to Isolde in one crisp movement, still in drill mode. "Aye, m'lady. Such a feast would be an honour for the Guards and the Militia." He does another about turn. "A signaller will be chosing from among your ranks to bear your colours at the next levy day. Every time you are out, you will be able to bear them and show the land of who you are, and that you are proud. And you should be proud, men, for I am, Ser Rygar is, and the Lord and Lady of Stonebridge are. For now, they'll be stored at the armoury, though you can see the up close after you're dismissed if you will. Your battle honours will be displayed on the standard, should the time come." Bruce raises his head a bit higher, smiling gregariously. "That'll be all. Serjeant Tanner, carry on and dismiss the men. Guards, to your duties, dis-missed!"
With one more salute, Bruce turns to his right and walks off the impromptu parade ground, the Guardsmen following. Those who were carrying standards plant them in one corner of the square and stand by them, in case any of the levies or anyone else wants to see them after the parade is over. Bruce makes his way over to Isolde, sheathing his sword and removing his helmet. He nods at Tam in return, on his way.
"Quarter! Dismissed!" From attention to wandering crowd in only a handful of heartbeats.. and Einion's pike is lowered, and he looks.. a great deal more like the tanner than soldier as he begins to turn in order to replace his pike.. but not before wanting to see the standards that his platoon now will be fighting under. Before any of that is done, however, Einion approaches Bruce even as the knight begins to make his way towards the lady. "Ser.. " He doesn't ask his knight to wait, certainly.. "Permission to replace this in the armoury, ser.. " he pauses, closer to the lady than he realizes, he stops short and bows, "My lady.. mistresses…"
Watching the filing away of the levy, Isolde is already going through how to set up the celebration and her gaze flits to Marg and Iulia. "We have work to do, and I will need both of you…" She leads a different group but well trained in their own skills. She smiles to the mistresses and than looks to the return of Ser Bruce. Her smile remains and she dips her head. "Ser Bruce you do my husband proud…I will see that in the coming days a feast will be had right here in the square, music and dancing." She tells him. "I think it would be best as well if you were able to present such a display amongst the people as well, again. At the beginning before the food." She ponders a moment and than states, "Well done." But her gaze turns to Einion as he addresses her, dipping her head. "Well done, Master." She does not name him specifically, giving him room to squeak free.
Bruce offers his genial smile to Einion, it never having left his face. "Aye, Serjeant Wycliffe. The men looked sharp out there. Good work." Now he directs his full attention to Lady Isolde. "Aye m'lady, I think that would be good. It had simply come time to present the men their standards. The next time we will have all of them, all four platoons, march on with their standards. A short parade before the feast, aye."
"Thank you, my Lady," now looking even more the tanner, the pleased smile comes to his face. "Aye, Ser.. thank you.." Einion dips his head and turns to make his way back to the armoury, but not before coming close to the standards. It's hard to resist the urge to reach out and touch it, but he manages.. barely, before he turns and continues on his way. Pike back, then back to his stand to finish pulling the hair off the hides..
Later at Tordane Tower….
The return to the Tower had been one where the Lady was in quite the mood. Rather lightened and free, the walk through the main hall had been one of questions and quick calls to certain servants to visit her so that she could start to plan. Reaching her chambers, the door is left open as she reaches up to start to unlace her over dress, the room rather too warm for the layers of cloth she wears. "We must make certain that the men are given a good meal, that the feast be for all our common folk. Stonebridge is in sore need for spirit again." She says and tilts her head to look at the hearth and the embers low in it, still warm. She moves to open a window though that pallor is there coloring her cheeks and a faint sheen of sweat. Maybe its just her, but the room does seem overly warm. "What do you think the people would like, Iulia?" She asks as she turns to look at her maid, pulling free the front laces of the dress to let it fall.
Iulia right on Isolde's trail once leaving the town square and entering the lady's private chambers. Once inside she turns to close the door before the lady begins removing a few layers for the evening. She nods, agreeing that a rejuvination of spirit is much needed for the people. "Hmmm… meats. Good hearty food. Ales, decent ales and none of that rot gut mess." So free to give her opinion, the girl approaches Isolde to retrieve the fallen garment then drape it over one of her arms. "Their bellies will be bottomless my lady."
There is a smirk, and Isolde laughs. "Of course, good ale and wines. I will have wines brought, there seems to be a healthy new store of goods at the square so we shall go gather what we can tomorrow for this feast. I had thought perhaps, we might set the tables up in the square near the end of the day and set the town out to the streets rather than inside it's walls. Seems the best way to fit so many…" The Lady muses and than considers a moment. "I need you also to speak to Ser Cooper and Master Wyfcliff for me. I do not wish to expose them for their help so perhaps it may be best to work through my made as it will not look so suspicious." She moves to Iulia and takes her hands. "My hold in Stonebridge is through my mother, but I need to know the attitudes of my people. Without them Stonebridge is nothing. I need your ears and eyes…and confidence." She hesitates. "Do I have them?"
With the feast paid from the purse of the Lady there is bound to be plenty of happy food vendors to accomodate. She can just imagine how many, even those living outside the town, would attend in search of a good meal. When Isolde approaches her, begging for confidence in her own manner, Iulia was given pause at such a request. "Of course my lady." She relayed so simply as if it was already a given. The girl smirked some, "Do you wish to take one as a lover?" Assuming this is what the need for confidence pertained to, the chambermaid would appear very eager to help with this. Tickled by the thought of a romantic affair.
At the proposition of such a thing, Isolde colors quickly and she gives Iulia a look. "No, of course not…most certainly no." She insists and shakes her head. "I am as loyal to my lord husband as he is good to me." SHe explains to her, but keeps a hand, bringing Iulia with her to the bed and sitting down. "I do not have the means I need to rule my people fairly…but I can still let them see they are not ruled by the Naylands entirely." She tells her, letting much out and trusting the maid most likely more than she should. "I need you to speak to them…they are to be my eyes and ears as well…I wish to send Tam Cooper the Terrick lands..to have him listen to their people, to eek out their rumors and he will in turn speak to you and the news will come to me. Einion Wycliffe is to be the man who tells me how our own people suffer, but through you."
Iulia appeared particially disappointed by understood nevertheless as the lady would continue, guiding her towards the bed and then to sit. "What are these means you need?" The whole of it was quite above the chambermaid's head. The girl even chews on her bottom lip as instructions are relayed to her. "I understand my lady." She gives Isolde a 'there-there' pat on her hand. "Are you sure you can lay your trust in Ser Cooper? Trust that what he relays will be the truth? He owes his allegience to no one."
"He has no acceptance from anyone else, I trust him only so far as I can…" She exhales and shakes her head and then Isolde lifts a brow. "I do not trust the knights here, they report to Bruce and well, I need to work on my own and not with my husband on this." She presses her lips into a thin line and her voice lowers even further. "Iulia, I need to also speak with Ser Jaremy Middleton, he is in our dungeons at the moment. I need to do so in person…" Perhaps that will lift her spirits, Isolde's once lover being sought after.
"True." She agrees concerning the subject of Tam. "I do not understand the need of secrecy from your lord husband. Does he know of your concerns?" Iulia asks, attempting to gain a better understanding of her Lady's circumstance. "I would believe your concerns are his." Unless she has misinterpreted the relationship between lord and lady. The chambermaid settles herself again at the edge of Isolde's bed. "With the prisoner…" A thoughtful recite has the girl licking her lips, "how may I help?"
"It is better if I am found out that Ryker not have anything to do with my requests…" Isolde trails off and than looks for a moment to be lost in thought. "I need to be let in, I need no one to know….I need time to speak with him. I do not trust the guards..but I must know who they are so I can assess the risk of my want to meet with Ser Middleton. If there is a way you can ascertain who they are and how often they change, I would be grateful. In doing so I can determine whether I can speak with him."
She nods, "What should happen if others are suspect that Lord Ryker is knowing or involved?" The obvious, a scheme from Nayland house. As for the guards Iulia would appear to be considering how it may be possible. "I believe I can acquire that information for you." She relays, still mulling over which actions to take. "How much time would you need with Ser Middleton?"
"I am not certain what would happen…but it would keep him untouched in the eyes of his lord father…and well…he needs all the help he can get finding acceptance there." Isodle says that almost bitterly befores he draws a breath and rubs at her neck. "I think …I don't know how much time. A few moments…an hour…days…" There is a sound to her voice that says she wish she had a lifetime, but a weak smile takes her lips. "As much as you can get me…I will do with what I am able to receive."
"Days would be impossible." Iulia smiles brightly an attempt to pull Isolde back down to the ground instead of in the clouds. "But I will still try my best. At worst you may only be able to pass on a message." By voice rather than paper. "How long is his sentence? Ser Middleton?"
"Yes, you are right.." Isolde returns the smile, only a little more weak. "I am not certain of his sentence, they do their best not to tell me of anything to do with him, for good reason." Her brows furrow and she looks to Iulia a long moment. "I would suspect he has not much longer here…" She admits and worries her lip a moment. "Do what you can, but it must be hurried I fear."
Iulia nods her head, departing from the bed in quiet for now. She retrieves the overlay the lady had removed after entering the room, somehow it had returned the floor. Once in hand the girl would turn about to face the woman, "I will return with your evening tea my lady." The task seemed innocent enough, very little risk for a chambermaid to chat up the guards and observe how often they change. Maybe even flirt a little. She would display an assuring smile for Isolde, embolded with the task set before her. "I'll do what I can." Afterwards, she turns about for the door not set to start the inquiry right away but perhaps later in the evening.