|Summary:||Serjeant Daerd Blackarrow of the Stonebridge Guard comes to deliver a report, and leaves with something else.|
|Related Logs:||Einar, Bruce and Sterling's meeting before. Questions and Clarifications|
|Crane's Crossing Inn & Stonebridge Town Square|
|A busy, upscale tavern and Stonebridge's main square.|
|24 April, 289 A.L.|
The door swings open the afternoon light coming in for a moment as the man outside steps through. He knocks his boots for a moment at the door, the spurs on them jangling some, before he steps in - knocking off some of the dirt that had clung to the bottom of them. He makes his way toward the group at the table near the hearth, even steps carrying him that way. As he gets closer, the bows his head in recognition of the other two, a respect they have earned, and then dips his head once more toward Bruce. Daerd paused there, waiting for an acknowledgement from his superior before he would spit out his report of the day. No need to step on anyone's toes after all.
Einar had heard most of Bruce's answer in amongst the many other variations of the story that are circulating in town. Still, it's good to know the official line as well. As for Sterling's interpretation? Well, he just takes another drink of the ale, it wasn't addressed to him after all. "A good day to you Ser Sterling," he answers though, as it seems the knight may take his leave. That thought then reminds him that he should probably be out and about as well, having already taken up for too much of Bruce's time as it is. Drainign the last of the ale, and rooting in his coin purse for the change to cover a reasonable share of the cost he draws himself up and onto his feet again. "Thank you once again for your assistance Ser Longbough," he offers with a nod to Bruce. Turning then to leave he notices the new arrival and gives the man a similar parting nod.
Bruce snorts, his frown curving the other way into a smirk. "Maybe from our perspectives, Ser Sterling. We don't plan on ruling anybody. But Ser Rygar called him out as an honourless traitor and to fight as a knight. From Ser Gedeon's view, to decline would have confirmed Ser Rygar's claims. Personally? I don't put stock in duels. I think they're a fucking waste of time. But Ser Gedeon is trying to claim his Lordship here, and he has to present a certain figure." Daerd's entrance doesn't go unnoticed. His Captain shoots the same wry smirk towards him, eyebrow arching. "Serjeant Blackarrow. You look like you've got something important for me. If it can't wait until Lord Einar and I are done… unless we are done, well, then report." He nods at Einar. "Gods keep, Lord Einar."
Sterling nods to Einar, close to a bow, looking over at the Serjeant who approaches. Bruce's response to his words draw a shrug, "All he had to say was that they weren't true, and the King had ruled they weren't true, from what I heard. Now the only way he takes his seat is by killing the Sheriff, and things seem pretty settled in Stonebridge. Usually the sign of a good Sheriff." He nods at the idea of duels being fools exercises (even if it's not said in so many words), but falls silent as the Serjeant is asked for a report.
He's careful to move out of the way as Lord Einar starts to move, more so as he caught the lord-part mentioned. "Of course it could wait, Ser Bruce." Daerd responds adding, "But I'd rather report and be done with day." Leaving off the part where he would probably mention that he isn't in the mood to wait for politics. His thumbs hook into the front of the belt near where the ring is that works as a stop for the leather that composed it. His mouth pulls into a bit of a mostly mirthful smile, and he waits to make sure that his Captain is indeed free.
"Aye, well. That wouldn't be Ser Gedeon." Bruce's armoured shoulders roll upward then down in a shrug. He snorts again in good humour, this time at Daerd. His smile reaches the edges of his eyes. "Who said you were done for the day, Serjeant? You've got the Tower Guards tonight. Serjeant Turner had it last night, and Ser Amos has it tomorrow. That's the way of it, you know. Not that I don't trust the good Guardsmen to work on their own, but having someone with the title of Serjeant or Ser before their name tends to make for the high born to talk to, y'know? Anyways. Go ahead."
Sterling shrugs slightly at Bruce's rejoinder, but he nods none-the-less. "Thank you." And with that he steps back, apparently extricating himself from the conversation without really leaving earshot. Instead, he goes to the hearth, picking up one of the splinters available for lighting pipes or the like and begins to idly clean under the nails of his right hand.
The Serjent lets out a bit of a chuckle at his Captain's humor, steeling a wry smirk toward him as well, "Yes, Ser. The western front is quiet, nothing besides the chickens clucking at us out that way." His weight shifts and his head shakes a little from side to side. A sign that he really does relish the bit of humor tossed in with what he says — nothing like soldier's humor. "Yes Ser, all night it is, just to make sure they," read high born, "can sleep more soundly in their beds."
"That's how it is. I know the schedule is what it is right now. Times aren't normal, especially with Ser Gedeon across the bridge requiring… supervision. Catch sleep where you can, rotate the men under you off as much as possible. But we're professionals. We train hard and we fight hard, and this is what we swore oaths and earn coin for. So. I'd hoped to give you that reward at the feast last week. Things… conspired against me. So, I'll just do it now. Come outside with me." Bruce commands, his hands falling to collect his shield by its strap, and his helmet. He turns to the bar maid. "I'll be a few minutes."
Sterling drifts away as Bruce settles into his other business, tossing the splinter into the hearth, checking his nails once more, and then heading out toward the attached stables.
Another quick nod is returned to Ser Bruce as Daerd's reminded of his duties, "Of course, Ser Bruce. Already have the rotation planned, though I'll probably go without sleep for the majority. Always do more than the men expect, after all." He keeps the bit of a smile there. It's a usual to have some reminder on occasion, especially since he's one of the Serjeants, the senior one, and a leader to the men. He takes a step to the side allowing Bruce the way first, as was proper but also deserved and shown in the respect he had for the man. "Aye Ser." He adds in response to the command.
"Ser Sterling - I'd like for you to come with, since you're here and I need a soldier with me for this." Ser Bruce says over his shoulder. He doesn't wait, but simply walks out instead.
Sterling halts a few steps away at Bruce's words, blinking once in somewhat rare surprise. Still, he shrugs his shoulders and turns to follow, his right hand dropping down to the top of his scabbard at that hip.
The door swings out, and Bruce squints as he steps back out into the busy, dinner time town square. The smell of food is wafting through the air as people prepare their meals, but still there are many walking through the streets. He walks out a few yards and comes to a stop, pivoting on his heel to face the other two. "Alright. Here. Come here, Serjeant Blackarrow."
"Yes, Ser!" The Serjent responds, falling more on the military mentality of following commands. He moves with purpose and stops in front of Bruce, looking more like he was being given orders than anything else. That, of course, didn't stop his stomach from letting out a bit of a growl at the smell of the food again assaulting his olfactory. The difference was that he didn't let it actually show his reaction to that of his stomach, nor his growing need. His face was more hardened now, taking the point to his training in the guard, and having no idea of what is about to happen to him.
Sterling looks between Bruce and Daerd as he follows the pair out of the inn. He oh-so-casually drifts a pace or two away from the Serjeant, settling off the man's left shoulder. Coincidentally, he's put himself just inside sword's reach, where his left-handed draw can attack the Serjeant if he needs to, but where the other man's right-handed draw would have problems — and where he will be out of the way of any sort of attack by Bruce on the other man. Not that he thinks any such trouble is coming, but…
"Kneel." Bruce gives out a simple, one word command, his right hand dropping to grasp around the pommel of his arming sword. His sleepy blue eyes flick up to Sterling, but they're only there for a moment before they pin back on Serjeant.
"Aye, Ser." Responds the Serjent in a measured and practiced voice meant for moments that rely on decorum than reality. Daerd bows his head first, and he drops to one knee easily in front of the older man. He keeps his eyes fixed on a point on the ground as the one leg moves back, taking its position as he full settles into the kneel. One hand rests upon the pommel of his own sword, the other hangs low toward the ground. It's moments like this that a man has to pray to their god, reward can mean many things and not all of them good. Which would this be?
Sterling keeps his right hand on the top of his scabbard, his left hand hanging free. He's relaxed now, pretty sure he knows what's going on, but he doesn't want to make any assumptions. He looks from Daerd to Bruce, arching one eyebrow and inquiring with a dry humor, "No oils, Ser?" His left hand gestures slightly toward the inn they just left, as if suggesting that they might replace the sacred oils with cooking oil from the kitchen inside. Surely he can't be serious…
"Well, I've never been one for ceremony. So. No oils. No sept. I'm a soldier, and this is how soldiers do this." Bruce falls silent for a moment, mouth set in a thin line. "Serjeant Daerd Blackarrow. You've served House Nayland for many years, as a pikemen in the levy during the Rebellion and later as a professional soldier of House Nayland's Guard. When House Nayland took possession of Stonebridge, you were one of the few men selected to reinforce the Guard here. Your experience, leadership and example served the men of Stonebridge well, as our senior Serjeant at Arms.
"During the campaign on Harlaw, you performed admirably in keeping discipline and repulsing the Ironborn sally at Grey Garden. When we landed at Pyke, you took your example and your duty another step upwards. Your acts of daring and valour helped crush the Ironborn wave at the Bloody Keep and saved many a Mire militiaman. Your sword cutting through the enemy heartened all those men around us and terrified those repulsive reavers, and with men like you we were able to destroy their will to fight. You slayed a great many, and did House Nayland proud. You are what it means to be a soldier, Serjeant Blackarrow." The knight's voice has been loud, carrying throughout the square as he talked, but now he falls silent. If only for a moment.
The Serjeant doesn't move as his duties are recounted to all who would hear. A slight flushing of his cheeks perhaps at being put on display to such a degree, not to mention the his rising pulse in this moment. His breath starts to come more quick, the sound of his blood filling his ears as it seems like a dream that was concurrent with reality. Still he didn't move, not as long as he could hold it. His eyes stayed focused at the ground and he tries his best to keep from the feelings of pride, joy, wonderment, and other emotions he didn't even have words for, that threaten to overwhelm him. Moments like these don't come often — at best, once in a life time. He would enjoy every moment of it.
Sterling nods slightly to himself as things go as he expected, and he releases his sword's scabbard with his right hand, letting a smirk twitch across his lips as his 'offer' of cooking oil annointing isn't taken up. He stays quiet — this is a moment for the man being knighted and the man knighting him, not for interlopers or witnesses to speak up.
The hand that's been grasped around the pommel of his arming sword now pulls it out in one quick motion. Bruce holds the sword stock upright, in front of his face; a kind of salute. The good steel shimmers in the falling daylight. "Serjeant Blackarrow. In the sight of men and Gods, you are being asked to put yourself under a more rigorous oath than ever. Do you pledge to do your duty for your House and serve the men under you, as well? Do you agree to champion the just cause and protect those charges you are set with? Answer me truthfully, Serjeant. The Gods scrutinize us as we speak, for this is in their realm as much as ours."
Daerd worked to regain control of his breathing before it threatened to get away from him. The moment nearly overwhelming him with every passing second. He listens to what Ser Bruce has to say and he chooses his words carefully and truthfully. His voice responds, true and strong in the moment, "I pledge myself thus. For if I were lying, I would ask the Gods to strike me down rather than serve unfaithfully." His hand on the pommel tightens, a hold that's partially to secure himself in the reality rather than the dream, and also to reassure himself that the dream was not reality.
Sterling can't help himself. At Daerd's solemn response, he looks upward, arching an eyebrow for a moment as if waiting for a lightning bolt to strike the man down or some other form of godly displeasure. It's clear that he doesn't actually expect such a gesture, however, for he merely looks back to the knightee and the knighter.
Bruce offers a short smile at Sterling's antics. Evidently, the Stonebridge Captain recognizes them for what they're worth, and is not above making light of any situation, really. He looks back at Daerd. "Good. In the sight of Gods, the people of Stonebridge and our good Ser Sterling Sharpe of House Banefort, over here, I call down the Gods to bless your endeavours." He strikes Daerd on one shoulder with the flat of his blade. "By the Father, I beseech you to do your duty with a sense of justice and gravity." He raises it and smacks it down on the other shoulder. "In sight of the Warrior, I beseech you to fight with iron discipline and no remorse in battle." He raises it again and smacks the next shoulder.
The blessings go on, seven in total, for each of the Seven aspects. Then an eighth one. "And by the Old Gods and all the other Gods our ancestors may have kept, and whom we should keep as well, I charge you with the responsiblity of upholding a name, and tradition. That of knighthood." He lifts his sword one final time, to bring down the flat on top of Daerd's head. The blow isn't hard, though it might daze a bit. It will certainly be remembered. "You knelt as Serjeant Daerd Blackarrow. Rise as Ser Daerd Blackarrow, a knight of Stonebridge."
Sterling solemns up as they get to the meat of the ceremony, however brief it is. He curls his hands together in front of him, listening and witnessing as his duty as a knight. The eight oath draws a faintly quizzical glance to Bruce, but he smooths that expression away almost effortlessly, and as the pronouncement is made, he nods his head. There's a pause for the newest knight in Westeros to rise, and then Sterling adds in a quiet, "Congratulations, Ser Daerd."
The Serjeant can do nothing, he must listen and remember. Every word is his charge, every phrase his duty and every duty a basis for his life. He swallows hard as it continues, trying to find a way to keep his mouth from getting dry. Every moment the upcoming announcement become more palpable and every tap on the shoulder brought him back to the realization that this was far from a dream. It finally occurs to him the gravity of the situation as it lands upon his head. His vision grows black for a moment, a slight ringing in his ear from the shock of the blow. Never before had he been so glad for his training as a fighter — only through, sometimes, repeated knocks to the head did he not become disoriented when it fell flat on his noggin.
Daerd's head finally turned upward at the final recount, his knighting complete and the only thing left to do was rise and take his place as a Knight. Slowly and with deliberate movements he rose up, his eyes firm and looking toward his Captain. As the finality of it was complete and he finally stood in front of Ser Longbough, his right hand extended the offer of an embrace to the man who knighted him this day. To go along with that offer, the corner of his mouth curled up, a slight smile in thanks to the man in front of him.
Sterling's words are of course not lost upon Daerd, a short nod to acknowledge the kind words from the other man — though not yet willing to break the moment before his Captain did otherwise.
Bruce moves his sword in front of his face in salute to Daerd, before returning it to its resting place, the scabbard on his left hip. It's only then that he smiles and accepts Daerd's outstretched hand, clapping him heartily on the shoulder. "Congratulations, /Ser/." He laughs. "Not the best of times, these days, but you'll face 'em with renewed strength and all. Come, let's have a drink, mate." He motions back inside, eyebrows arching upwards expectantly.
Ser Daerd's mouth breaks into a wide grin at that point, and then he breaks into a hearty laugh as he adds the slant on his new title, "Gods almighty, I hardly think anytime would be the best for that welt you tried to leave on my skull." This of course is brought with an equal shake of the hand and a clap on the shoulder. He had fought alongside the man, this was more than just a matter of formality but also the acknowledgement from a superior. "A drink sounds good, damned good, /Ser/." Exchanging the same slant back at him. Soldier's humor, you didn't always get it unless you were there. Turning with the man, he made his way inside. Yes, a drink would be good.