Page 343: Question of Sheriff
Question of Sheriff
Summary: Mortimer speaks with Justin about the black market business and the position of Sheriff.
Date: 28/June/2012
Related Logs: Logs related to black market concerns in Roost.
Justin Mortimer 
Town Square, Terrick's Roost
The town square of Terrick's Roost was once considered well-kept. The stone streets run right up to the building fronts around the edge and the locals have kept the spaces between free of grass and weeds that might otherwise sprung up between them, although dark streaks of stubborn soot have crawled in between the stones. There are several homes and shops located here which show the scars and cinders of the sacking of the town at Ironborn hands. The ruin of the town's Sept can also be seen from here with its ornate stone front rising above the surrounding structures just down the cobblestone road.
June 28th, 289

Those who went to the tournament in Seagard for Lord Patrek's betrothal are slow to return. A few have, Justin among these few. With time spent in Seagard itself and then Stonebridge, he now rides into the Roost with a few others. Most of them look to be stopping at the Rockcliff to slack their thirst, seek out local news for the past week or two, share news of their own, and likely to keep the whores busy tonight. Justin grins, making some quip back to one of the Terrick men before he dismounts. He moves a bit stiffly, his ribs bound beneath his partial maile from his jousting injuries. The grey and his rider are lightly dusty from the summer road and sweaty.

Not everyone of course can go gallivanting off to such events, some have to stay behind and ensure the smooth running continues. Or running at least. In truth though, Mortimer has never been as far as Seagard in his life, barring KIng Robert's War which it must be said, was something of an exception. Crossing the town square from the marketplace towards the cobbled lane the acting sheriff pauses as hoofbeats are heard and then nods to the young Terrick Lord as he dismounts. "Welcome home m'Lord," he offers, closing the gap between them a little, "any news of import?"

Justin leads his horse over to the water trough out by the tie posts inf ront of the inn to let his grey have a drink. The water has been warmed by the sun and isn't cold. The Terrick knight turns and gives Mortimer a nod, "Aye, bits and pieces. I was hoping for news of things here. I nearly won the first day of jousting, finally unhorsed by my half brother Ser Jarod. Lord Patrek bid me take my place as a champion on the second day where Ser Frederyke Tarly defeated me after three passes." Justin smiles briefly, "As it was my first tournament I jousted, I couldn't have been more pleased." He ties his horse lightly by the reins before his good mood quiets, "There is less pleasant news concerning the Charltons as well. Care to step in and share a drink with me over it?"

"Congratulations then m'Lord, it sounds like you made a fine showing," Mortimer offer in return as the horse is dealt with. "I can spare you the time certainly, although maybe not the drink, I still have a fair amount to do today." Moving towards the inn he holds the door open for Justin and then adds, "I can not claim a vast amount of news myself, but I think what I have you might wish to hear."

One glove then the other he strips off of his hands to tuck into his belt. Justin walks up the steps and pauses briefly, "I'll gladly take whatever news you have, good or ill, I need to find out what's progressed in my absence. If you haven't time for a drink now, Sheriff, I'll stand you one later when you can take your leisure." Justin goes on in to claim a table.

A table is found, and pulling out a chair and setting his steel cap aside he had tucked under his arm, Justin takes a seat. A barmaid hurries over to take his order, "Pitcher of ale, watered if you must. Two cups." Even if Mortimer won't be drinking there will be a cup for him anyway. Justin waits for the other man to join him before he adds, "Thank you both for the welcome home, and the congratulations." He lets out a slow breath, his ribs aching sore from his ride back. "Have you heard what the Charltons have been up to most recently? Apparently Lord Keegan has taken Lord Rafferdy Nayland captive, as well as some Erenfords. He demands the release of Ser Aleister Charlton by Ser Riordan and has given two days to do so else those in his 'care' are assumed not to be wanted back."

Following Justin into the inn Mortimer shrugs and takes a seat. "S'far as I'm aware m'Lord it's still only Acting Sheriff, and thats one of the things I was wanting to you about." The news about the Charltons though makes him pause, even look faintly surprised. Then his brow furrows in thought and he asks, "I can see Lord Rafferdy, but what did the Erenfords do? Last I heard one of their's was working /for/ Lord Aleister. His Castellion or somesuch?" Another thoughtful pause and then he asks again, "and when does this two days grace expire?"

The barmaid brings the pitcher of ale, not very watered and the two cups. Justin pays her and listens, waiting for her to depart. "Your guess is as good as mine there. Lord Brennart had no idea why House Charlton would detain any of his House except to say that they had been 'friendly' with the Naylands. But then, they are all fellow bannermen of the Freys so it hardly seems worthy of note." Justin pours himself a cup and leaves the other for Mortimer to take up or not as he likes. A sip, adding, "I think it's clear that our late Sheriff isn't going to show back up. Not after six months or more. I'll ask Jacsen if he has any objection to your being appointed." Lowering his voice and making certain they aren't to be overheard, Justin asks, "Have you found out aught else about the black market activities I asked you to look into?"

Mortimer leaves the cup for now and spends a moment or two thinking on the news presented. In the end though he's forced to shrug. "Thats one mess I'm glad we're not a part of," he states eventually, "I know there's a feeling that Stonebridge should bend the knee in this direction and I'm not saying I disagree, but right now I think we're well out of it." On the topic of the black market though he has more to add, although he mirrors Justin in lowering his voice a little. "I can't claim the credit myself m'Lord, it was the wife who first got wind. There's a merchant, goes by the name Fisher, Brian I think. Lives not far beyond the Sept. Now he's been able to get his hands on grain of late. Not vast amounts mind, a weeks worth for a household, that sort of level, but his supply seems steady enough and his prices are high. Higher than most folk can readily afford." Not that that in itself is suspicious, it's certainly a sellers market after all. "I've not dug too deep yet as I've only just had confirmation from other sources, but I figured it was worth letting you know anyways." Only then does he move onto the business relating to his exact job title. "Actually m'Lord, now you've earnt your spurs and such, I was wondering if it was something you'd considered? It's more a job for a learned man like yourself after all, and both your make and knighthood means that people will listen to you far more than an old soldier like me. The way I see it I'm just sort of keeping things ticking over and such, but I'm not meant for such roles, they're the province of the likes of yourself, and you've already proved you've got a knack for it."

It seems a strange suggestion to come from Mortimer himself. Justin is quiet, fingering his ale tankard and taking a good drink of it while he thinks over what's been shared. Then he says quietly, "I'm aware of this man, Fisher. I've had several people looking into this and you now confirm what they have also traced, so far. I'll pass this information onto my father but for the meanwhile, let us keep a discreet eye on the man rather than approach him. Perhaps I will put huntsman Kain onto his scent and see if we can find out who and where he's getting his goods." Then he pauses, watching Mortimer, "And what of yourself? Would you stay deputy then, or do you have some other aim? You have a family to look after."

Mortimer simply shrugs slightly, "Deputy, assistant to or even just one of the men. Call it what you will I've been doing it for a while now and I reckon I have a good idea of how it works. You though. You got to grips with the bandits and now this as well. I think you would do well m'Lord. Besides, it's not as if wages and so on are an issue," there's sod all to buy after all, "We'll get by just as well or ill no matter to one simple title." He leans back a little once more, having leaned forward for the quieter talk. Given his response to that part of the conversation is less detailed though he doesn’t worry too much about being overheard. "Aye, I can think of worse ways of handling it. I'll of course let you know if anything else turns up."

Justin smiles a little, "Sheriff would pay considerably better, Mortimer. I will see what my brother thinks upon the matter. I would not object to it myself. Which reminds me, we need to deal with the bandits we do have. Put on a little show to make certain there is a clear message. That is likely to keep heads down for a while." Justin muses over his ale, "Question is, what do you know of the law? Have you studied it?"

Mortimer shrugs once, "And what good is coin m'Lord, when there's nothing to buy?" Well except at the utterly extortionate rates previously mentioned. "I've worked in upholding it for your Lord Father these past five years or so, maybe even six by now. I reckon I'm familiar with it. Not so much as the previous Sheriff mind, and I won't claim to know all the twists and bends. I know where to look though if I'm not sure on something. Thats all easy enough taught though."

Justin drinks his ale, finishing off his first cup. He licks his lips, "I agree, I can look things up as well, but it is best I study. Ser Haffrey mentioned I needed to study law, administration, politics, and history but he wasn't a bookish man himself, nor political. So what I know of those things I've had to learn on my own, aside from what little I was taught as a boy." Wry humor twists Justin's mouth, "I've never been inclined to be bookish myself but I'll do what I must." Ale is poured to refill his tankard from the pitcher, "As for things to buy, we are still working on that, Mortimer. There's discussion of a betrothal with the Naylands who purchased the Groves' surplus, and there's also discussion with House Haigh. One way or another we should have food shipments and other goods coming in soon."

He adds, "Meanwhile we have enough food in stores to keep folk fed, if leanly, for another few months."

"I don't doubt you are m'Lord," Mortimer answers with regards to the state of the market, "just saying that in the currently times there's no use in extra money and when things recover then we'll manage as well as we did before." Better even probably, given it's three mouths now not four. Thats not a point of view he's using though. "I'll be honest with you and say i'm not the bookish sort either." Not that that should come as any great surprise. "Only learnt my letters about three year back." He nods to the news about the potential betrothals though. Not that he takes family politics to be his business, but it's useful to know that things are progressing anyway.

"Well, I suppose I have kept you long enough, Sheriff. Good of you to seek me out. Do keep me appraised if you learn anything useful." Justin looks like he'll stay long enough to finish his second ale, but his horse stands tied out front without being stabled nor unsaddled so clearly he isn't staying long at the inn.

"Aye m'Lord," Mortimer nods, pushing his chair back so he can stand. "If anything else comes up you'll be the first to know," Well, unless he sees Lord Jerold first, but that's unlikely these days. "A similarly, let me know if theres anything you want checking up one. Or any ideas you have for those bandits and so on." A shallow bow to Justin and a nod to the bar man and he's off again, back to whatever it was he was about before the lordling returned.