|Raptors in the Rain|
|Summary:||In the midst of a deluge, Maldred interrupts Justin, Catryn, and the northerner Pariston. Then baseborn Frey and trueborn Terrick have an exchange of banter that occasionally threatens to be polite.|
|Related Logs:||The Startled Stoats|
|Terrick's Roost, town square|
|Still a bit dilapidated|
|28th August, 289|
It's been raining. And raining, and raining so that there is standing water all over, and it's cloudy but cooler. There is a rumble of thunder, the rain having let off for now. Justin rides in from out and about where he's been working on the reconstruction efforts that are ongoing, his pale grey horse's legs and belly splattered with mud. Dismounting, his own boots and spurs are muddy, his surcoat and hair damp but drying. Justin loops his horse's reins over the tie post a few times and steps up onto the porch of the inn to look out over the square.
Catryn's sandles are tucked into the satchel that bounces against her hip; white blond locks of silk plastered against the girl's head and against her neck, down the back of an undyed tunic two sizes two large. The added weight from the water makes it droop further from her shoulder. Her feet, are mud splattered and honestly? So are her calves, in part because she's been caught out in the rain but also….because she's made a game out of leaping into the biggest puddles and laughing like a fiend when they splatter. They'd been working on the cottage today, since the rain had run their stall from the square. But a body still had to eat, which is how she ended up…bouncing her way towards the inn.
"Pariston!" Justin lifts his baritone to greet the other man, pleased to see him, "I had wondered when you might pass through our neck of the woods again." Mud or no mud, Justin steps off the porch to go and greet the Flint man, "With Hunter Kain kept so busy with our hunts up into the Tall Oaks area, it's many a time I've wished you were about. Did you get my message then?"
There's a glance past the huntsman as the Terrick notices Catryn coming up, her splashing into puddles like a little girl. Justin lifts a brow and watches her for a breath, amused as he says low, "Someone's going to need a bath."
Pariston offers a nod to the sheriff. "I heard that you praised me. Met lord Einar yesterday." He explains and nods, "I appreciate it. Though I just did what I could to help." He offers. As the Terick looks away he turns and watches to woman. Grinning. "I think you might be right." Biting down his tongue from coming with more bad jokes. Just offering a nod to her.
Isn't Justin lucky Cat didn't hear him! Besides, she notices the grey before she does the men, anyway. And her splashing comes to an end as she slips in against the gelding's side; though not directly towards the rear mindful of the hooves. "Ah, now there's a right love, aintch. Poor fella, stuck out in this rain inna saddle can't get a proper bath. I'll slip you out somethin' special, dontcho worry," crooned, before she ever made it to the slight porch proper and with nobility present, swept a man's low halfbow with a cheeky grin. "Sheriff," smirk. "Stranger."
Justin looks back to Pariston and keeps his voice low, "Well, the least I could do. I owe you and Mistress Dania a great debt, no matter that we do such things without expectation of reward." The Terrick studies Pariston before he adds, "I wish to offer you something. You may well refuse it, but I no longer have need of it and you may. I've a set of partial maile. It's not the best of quality and I know well you will prefer leathers much of the time, but if you have any use for it, as far as I am concerned, you have earned it. Or if you prefer, you may call upon me for a boon at some point in the future when you or yours have need. Will you accept?"
Justin stands out front of the inn by his horse now tied up and speaks low with Pariston as Catryn hops and skips nearer, jumping into water puddles. The grey lifts his head suddenly as the girl slips up against to bump him, turning his head to regard her with friendly eyes. Justin raises his voice then to give her greeting with a half smile, "Mistress Taken, you look to be in good humor." He then glances between them, "Catryn Taken, merchant and daughter of Gerry Taken, meet Pariston Vis, a hunter and scout of House Flint."
Pariston listens and nods, "I understand. Although I am afraid I will stick to my leather. And I also have the armor of my brother. He died at the Trident. Honor him by keeping his armor. To use if needed." He explains. Keeping his voice low as well. "I will however accept your last offer. I appreciate it." He tells the man and smiles. Then his eyes goes to study the woman as he offers a bow, "Mistress. Good to see someone out here enjoying themselves in the rain. Even if it is a nightmare to track in it." He says and grins.
Foul weather slicks off a rat's grease, smallfolk say, and some vermin, slinky and water-going sorts, face downpours with even more equanimity. Such a one is the idler in leathern garb either black, or just faded and besmirched in the general direction of darkness and pitch; of no significant height, unlike the bow across his back, his most conspicuous article, he leans between shade and mud without apparent discomfort. Why, a practical thread of a smile glints under that loose louring cowl. Especially as the man's meandering gait threads him to a position opposite the girl, and in her observation's range. It's a tired smile certainly, and a characteristic one from the man Catryn will by now probably identify easily enough as Ser Maldred Rivers.
"Aye, but tha's wha' makes it beautiful. Can't track fer shit in it. All disappears, even the blood." Dark words, to make the cruel mischeviousness of her smile as she tucks those wet strands back behind her ears. "Nice te meetche though, fer all I'll answer te Cat a world better'n I will te Mistress." A pause; the quick dart of those eyes towards Justin with a cheshire's smile, "Less'n ye use tha right….," distracted eyes dart before a tease is ever finished as those eyes flit on to something else entirely. Linger. "…tone," she finishes in belayted degree; where the smile goes sharp with a gleam of clean white teeth. "Oi, Bastard," comes the call, with a little upnod in the good 'Sers' direction; as she wiggles her toes in the mud. There'd been mud the time before last..to, hadn't there?
The Terrick Sheriff gives Pariston a nod, "All right. Keep in mind though, any favour will be mine alone to give if I'm able for I can't speak to something my brother or father might need be involved with." That settled, Justin turns his head where he stands to watch Catryn's antics. He chuckles, putting out a hand to detangle some of his horse's forlock from his bridle, "On the other hand, tracks made after a fresh rain tend to be among the easiest to follow. So it depends upon your timing." There's a nod for the bastard knight as Maldred joins them.
The geniality Maldred appeared to share with that guttersnipe wench, regarding their indifference to, even appreciation of, the drenching rain, vile air and cuttingly chill wind, seems to be worn thin by the manner of her address. "I am not the dog to your Cat," he reminds the girl tartly, "and do not come at a whistle."
His half-casual rejoinder is delivered not in the accent he sometimes fakes when in the drab clothing he sports currently, but his actual castle-bred whiplash of a voice. Probably this is because, now Catryn has drawn attention to him, he wishes to cut a semi-respectable figure in front of the Sheriff. "Are you tracking anyone special, then, my lord of Terrick, or is the question theoretical?" he asks now with courtesy that has a touch of acid.
Pariston nods to Cat's words. "True enough. It also makes something look quite clear." He offers, then nodding as Justin says much the same. He also nods about the favour being his and not his family. "Of course my lord." He offers before his eyes goes towards the bastard as well, offering a nod to the man. Not saying much since he doesn't know the man. Just looking in between them all.
"It's a good thing then," the cat replied, tracing idle patterns in the muddy water as she pushes up to twirl slowly about on the ball of her foot; a bare mud splattered calf peeking out through the slit of her skirt, "That I do not whistle - I purr." Cat's mouth has always been her biggest problem. That she has wit does not make that matter better, that makes it worse. That she was raised by a sellsword? That makes it vulgar. "Will you come then?" Inquired, as she finally came to a stop with the question's end. Those blue eyes…not on the bastard, but the Sheriff.
"A theorretical discussion at this time, though Master Pariston Vis and I have tracked down and killed a few men together." Justin answers Maldred causually enough as he studies the Frey. "Incase you two haven't met, this is Maldred Rivers of House Frey." His thumbs now tucked loosely into his sword belt, Justin cocks his head faintly at Catryn, "I have been invited? Certainly, if you wish to speak with me, I am available to do so." He makes a gesture for her to lead the way, either into the inn or elsewhere depending upon the topic she wishes to discuss. "There has been a good deal of rain today. You haven't had any trouble with the house and mudslips, have you?"
The Terrick's phlegmatic reaction to Cat's innuendo - obliviousness felt or well feigned, and quickly too - draws out Maldred's considerably practised, harsh-toned laugh. When he is introduced, he admits, "Aye, that am I, and I overheard your Northman friend being introduced to…the respectable tradesman's get over here, right enough."
Taking down his leather hood as it now serves scant purpose, the light, lank-headed Frey scion enquires with added mischief, "Though I am startled to hear you and your man kill your captives after all…Ser Justin. I thought it was your habit to tie them up in ribbons and send them up north for your brother to keep as pets?"
Pariston offers a nod to Maldred as well as Justin speaks to the other man. Staying out of discussion though. Being silent and just studying before looking to Justin again, "I thank you my lord, but I should perhaps disappear for a momen." He suggests, "Need to get a bit rest. I will see you around though."
Justin lifts his chin to look back to Maldred, "Aye, we slew most of them, Ser. Only the two who gave themselves up were brought back alive. It was their choice to make, and should the choice one day be yours, you may take death over the Black if you please." The Terrick twists his mouth a touch, "Though I'm more than happy to send men to my brother should they prove … suitable."
There's a nod to Pariston, "I hope you shant be a stranger, Master Vis. You are certainly welcome here."
"I was working on the mudslips, earlier," Catryn replied to Justin without ever missing a beat, "But ye are certainly more than welcome to come and check the work that's been done. In fact, I've te pick up a bit of a bite inside there and head back towards the waters, should you like to join me," invited; before those bright eyes slid back in maldred's direction. "Now now, Bastard, if ye wish not to be confused fer a dog, dun give me an excuse te have te pull on ye leash," warned, perhaps for his prodding at the Sheriff.
"Oh, I'd rather be named felon than hound," Maldred concedes laughingly in the face of the Terrick lordling and his…guest's rebukes. "As you say, Ser Justin; it's all about the freedom of action. At the Twins we do try not to take malfeasants alive, so the Wall suddenly becomes a less enticing option…but at any rate, am I not right in recalling it was your splendid feat of apprehending these malefactors that got you your new-made knighthood? A deed near as deathless as mine own achievements on the Trident, which won me such golden spurs." It is of course well known that House Frey arrived on the field too late to fight; Maldred, typically, slights both the Terrick's mettle and his own, both with a whole heart and the usual crooked smile.
At least Maldred has a sense of humor about all of it, twisted as it might be. Justin smiles at his ease, then nods, "Aye, Ser Kamron Mallister knighted me after. I expect had Ser Haffrey Tully lived, he'd have given me my spurs after we'd met the Ironborn. Seven rest his soul." Clearly he was fond of that man. Though Justin's spurs have no glint of gold for Terricks are not a wealthy house, he adds, "Unlike the Freys, my blade drank thirstily of Ironborn heartblood." Justin's steely gaze meets Maldred's easily enough.
Now that last claim appears to have stirred the Frey bastard's previously languid weasel hackle. The Greyjoy Rebellion, Maldred's first and last true war, is not a thing he is about to let pass. "Those of my House who dyed the Alderbrook, and even the few of ours who died there," he puns, perhaps in a sharp attempt at diffusing his own annoyance, "would hear your statement with surprise, Ser Justin…"
"Then they, Ser, have my due respect for both their efforts and their sacrafice. It is good to hear that your House didn't wait until it was /all/ over to come out from the Twins. I myself was laid up with sore wounds so I did not see who set foot upon the Iron Isles." Justin holds his ground, his own temper yet cool. Alas, poor Catryn has to wait a bit longer to fully gain the Sheriff's attention for whatever her need might be, likely something for her father.
And now, for some reason, Ser Justin certainly seems to have said quite the right thing; the bastard grows positively cheerful. "Well, then, that we have in common…ser! I was laid up then also, laid up, aye, the very words for it. An old, determined, dolorous wound…" His watery eyes dance about at some obscure private joke. "You might call my tour of duty at present…in the nature of a healing rest."
If that determined, dolorous wound be a person of great age, then they are in perfect agreement. Jerold Terrick's son continues to stand in the mud and doesn't care the least that his boots and spurs be filthy, for he will clean them himself later. Justin's mouth twists with a hint of amusement himself, "Does your tour include much riding to and from Stonebridge, per chance? I rather expect we must make ready to recieve refugees for surely some will flee in our direction and need food and shelter, though we have little enough to spare."
"Well, …sometimes I walk," Maldred confides with a wry look to his own attire, in its tough shabbiness bespeaking more of the road than the saddle. "But you're not mistaken as to my general direction. Your Northman has you well informed, perhaps, or that helpful Master Corbin. I would add your intelligent…and fine-featured…Mistress of Horse, only I grieve to hear she answers to your call no longer? Unusual for one of my birth to come into a legacy," is his sidelong crack about Oliva's Fleetwood windfall.
"None of those, actually. I remember overhearing you, myself. In our own hall, bespeaking Ser Harold, your errands as well as your intents when you first set foot in Four Eagles Tower." Justin sets one booted foot onto the porch and rests his left forearm upon it as he speaks with the Frey half-born. It seems Catryn had slipped into the inn to get his horse a treat and perhaps to clean herself up a bit. "As to Mistress Oliva, she is indeed going to be missed."
"Ah…and you assumed I was stuck still in the same thankless task?" Maldred enquires with a gloom that is almost mock, but also sincerely felt. "Cynical, ser, but not perhaps inaccurate. The Naylands refuse to bend before these sulphurous clouds of mistletoe, hollyhock and dung-rake, and yet my sisters still seem to regard the Cape of Eagles as an admirable place for husband-hunting." His insinuating grin and leant position in the direction of Catryn's departure invite Justin to tacitly join him in bemoaning the ill-wisdom of womenfolk.
Justin continues to rest his forearm over his thigh, one muddy boot on the porch as he speaks with Ser Maldred. "It's hardly been my business to stick my nose into yours, Ser, lest you give me reason to do so. However, I'm not opposed to your updating my information, should it be amiss." The Terrick Sheriff smiles a little ferally, "I always have a hunger for what's going on even if I don't trade in gossip, per say." Justin gives a nod to the rest of that, about Naylands and Frey siblings alike. "I expect some will flee Stonebridge soon enough, while others will flock like crows to see what they might feast upon. At any rate, should you care to drop a word or two of what is afoot, I may have an ear for it."
Now those bastard brows wander upwards again. "You want a raven to fly to you, Ser Justin, best not call it a crow," he advises, his voice still light but his aqueous eyes looking chillier, despite that never-shifting thin dagger-blade-grin. "Fortunately for you, I care little for names and I like to talk. We shall see. For now, my wings, dark enough but deadly slow, must drag me off." His nod is almost a bow, but swiftly delivered, before he turns into a side-street on his way off, wherever weasels go.
"I dunno, I like ravens and crows both. Intelligent birds." Justin shrugs, then gives the Frey bastard a parting nod, "Ride, walk or fly swift, Ser Maldred." The Terrick does nothing to stop the other man and goes on into the inn himself to collect his daily messages, get some news and perhaps a drink.