|Summary:||Jarod, Hardwicke, Kell, and Hollister take a trip back to the Roost. They pick up a few things on the way.|
|Date:||February 2, 2012|
|Related Logs:||The Ironborn invasion and aftermath, particularly Knights and Lordships|
|The Road Home|
|All razed and burnt. :(|
|February 2, 289|
The ride from Seagard to Terrick's Roost isn't a long one. Or wasn't, in times of peace. The need for a proper patrol of the Cape of Eagles makes it a longer jaunt for the knights who've set out in that direction, and the once-peaceful countryside is decidedly less comfortable to travel in, with the possibility of escaped Ironborn fled into these parts, or other unsavory sorts taking advantage of the chaos for their own gain. It's not as picturesque a ride as it once was, either. The fertile farmlands which dotted the Roost holdings have been in many cases burnt and razed, burnt fields and abandoned farmsteads the only things left of them after the smallfolk who used to keep them fled. If they were lucky enough to flee.
It's past one such destroyed field that the men ride now, as the day gets on toward the afternoon. Ser Jarod Rivers has taken a place near the lead of the little party, some of his habitual cheer fading at the ruins of the farmholding they pass. "They didn't even come to conquer," he notes grimly. "Just…take as much as they could take. And destroy what they couldn't hold."
Hardwicke is habitually a quiet presence, and the ride does not particularly enliven him. His expression is grim as they pass by yet another ruined farmhouse, though his gaze does not linger. He is quietly observant, but there is a sense of hardening against too many razed dwellings. "It is the manner of raiders," he says in quiet agreement.
In other times than this, there would be small folk out and some would even venture to call a hail to the passing riders. Perhaps passing waves or words, but alas when the world has gone to the depths of the hells, and it feels as if the gods are not watching, folk are scant to show themselves. And boogeymen, whether foreign or domestic seem all too real. Taking Ser Jarod's left, is another stoney presence, the tall and grim Ser Hollister Slane.
"It's more over than just raiders, Cap'n." the tall knight intones out as they continue their pace. Not even pausing to turn his head and spit out red sluice from his lips. "It's the manner of the Ironborn. They know not the real way of life or even mercy. No, they are like very hungry grasshoppers, or locusts. They take their fill and then more-leave nothing but ruin." A grimace setting upon his face. "Fuck em." Hollis finishes with another spit.
The country side is definitely much different than before the Ironborn stepped foot on these lands, that's the obvious thing that Kell sees as he rides with the other knights as they patrol their way towards the Roost. Such losses of livestock and even homes causes the Hedge Knight ot shake his head. "I think they did try to conquer but failed horribly," Kell says in response to Ser River's words as his eyes continues to scan the countryside. "Otherwise they wouldn't have bothered sieging the keeps and trying to get in, they would've stayed away. They got greedy and are paying for it now."
"Most retreated to the seas from Seagard, at least," Jarod says to the other knights. Attempting to find a ray of optimism in the grim conversation. "Though not all. Reports said scattered bands of them fled inland. It'll be our borders they trouble if they remain, or the Mallisters. One's the same as the other, really." Well, that didn't end up very optimistic. "I wonder how long these remaining locusts'll trouble our fields." He slows the pace of his brown courser as they pass the latest farm ruin. From a distance it looks, though burnt, more intact than the other husks they've ridden by. The house is burnt, but the barn looks still intact. "Aye, Ser Kell. And we'll make them pay again soon, with the talk Westeros men'll be invading the Isles themselves. Do you figure you'll continue to ride with Lord Jerold's men? My lord father can't reward his swords too well these days, but we appreciate you aiding our forces all the same."
Hardwicke looks to Kell at Jacob's question, studying the hedge knight as he waits for his reply. He keeps silent as they discuss the ruined land.
Hollister snorts, and spits out some more of the blood red sourleaf juice as they ride. Which would be a grotesque sight to anyone looking at him. Still the knight manages a 'bloody' grin in response to Jarod's brighter words. "We threw them back into the sea, though I would have been fine with drying them on the beach." A glance is given over towards Hardwicke for a moment, as he reigns back his grey courser, trying to keep the horse with the others. "Hold y' bastard." Though given Ser Rivers question, he's raising a brow and turning slightly in the saddle to look at Kell, Ser Hollister's usual broken grin remaining on his visage. Curious to, to this other's answer.
Kell does nod at Jarod's words about the trapped reavers remaining in this area as it makes sense, "This is probably the only place they are most familiar with, I doubt they would be courageous enough to venture deeper into Westeros, especially without reinforcements. Plus they know our forces patrolling the countryside are probably slim."
As for the question about whether or now the Hedge Knight will remain at the Terrick's side when they set sail for the Isles, the knight nods firmly, "That I will and it will be an honor to fight at your sides once more, when we bring justice to the Ironborn." He believes it is he who owes Lord Jerold a debt still, with the Lord of the Roost gifting him with the courser he is riding now. To Kell, that is his life right there as a Hedge Knight without a steed is not much of a knight at all. "Your Lord Father has rewarded me well enough, more than generous."
"You stood with Lord Jerold during the siege of Four Eagles, when you had no oath or requirement to," Jarod replies to Kell. "My lord father is a man who honors his obligations. Sometimes, as with you Ser, if I may say, he's rewarded in kind for it." A boyish grin and he asks, "What'll you name your horse?" On a more serious note, he looks to the farmstead they're passing. "Any point in taking a closer look at it, you think? Might be some food left the Ironers didn't ruin. And if the smallfolk who used to keep it fled to the Roost or Stonebridge, we could tell them what remains of their lands." If. Quite a few out here on the outskirts did not make it. But the Terrick bastard is an optimist. Or outwardly tries to be.
"I'm sure the horse came with a name and won't take kindly to getting a new one at this age," Hardwicke says in a low rumble, though he looks content at Kell's answer, at least. He glances over at the farmstead Jarod points out. "We may as well, aye."
"I don't know, Hardwicke.." The ser dropped in the informality of the talking. Though it seems Hollister would do that anyway. "I've seen a myriad of names thrown around in regards to my own person. I answer to at least three of them." A shake of his head, and Hollister looks back towards Kell. "A good answer there. You'll find no better Lord, than Lord Jerold. He's a good, fine man." A drop of seriousness there, before he is slowing down. A slight pause as his eyes squint in the direction of the farmstead. "Aye. Maybe we'll find a chicken.." hopeful there, though given the sarcasm that comes with it, Hollister doesn't expect to find anything.
That he did which Kell nods in response to Jarod, though the knight appears to think what he did was not anything grand or needing rewarding, "Just keeping the vows we took when we received our knighthood. To protect the young, the innocent, and all women." He says with a grin before considering the name of his steed, "Might give him a little more time before I name him, to see what he's like. He certainly enjoys killing Ironborn though." Which means the new name should probably be more creative than 'Horse', this courser's predecessor. Though Hardwicke has a point at the beast having a name already. As for the farmstead they are nearing, Kell nods at the group's decision to check it out, eyes sweeping the area once more to see if he can see anything out of ordinary or that could be of use as he nudges the courser in a new direction.
"Horse comes to reflect the rider. Like my Symeon here," Jarod says, patting the neck of his brown courser fondly. The horse lifts his nose tolerantly at the affection. Symeon is a tolerant animal. The comment from Hollister gets a laugh, as he turn horse some off the more beaten path, to ride toward the ruined cottage and less-ruined barn. "And what three names are those, Ser?" Though a closer look at the farmstead gets him less merry. It's the house he approaches first, though there's little of anything to find there. The thatch roof and wooden walls are burnt away, the interior that once would've held a family gutted. No immediate sign of bodies, of the human sort at least.
"Aye, but they don't throw out your real name by doing it," Hardwicke says with a scowly sort of firmness. "Respect your mount if you expect any respect from it in return." He directs Delylah towards the house, his gaze sliding along the remains with a quiet expression.
"They never will, Cap'n." Hollister calls, as he is wheeling Bastan around. A glance is given to Kell, as he nods his head, with a clicking of tongue and a press of his legs to direct the courser onto the new direction. "My horse's name was easy enough. His old master called him Bastard, I merely changed it, to focus on a stronghold. He's a fine mean beast." a pat to his own courser's neck as he hops on a little ahead. Eyes come upon the that house, and Ser Hollister turns his head to spit out more red juice. "Gods have mercy on them.." If any were there when it burned down. "Riding over the land'll feel like riding over a Barrow for a while." Ser Slane, mutters.
As the knights near the house, Kell grows quiet as his eyes looks over the remnants of what use to be a warm and welcoming home. Instead of having his steed follow, the Hedge Knight maneuvers the courser so it slowly circles around the other side, so they could look at entirety of the building in half the time. "Maybe the people who live it got out in time, before the Ironborn came if they received warning early enough." Sounding perhaps more hopeful than confident with his words.
"How'd you name your horse, Ser?" Jarod asks of Hardwicke. Not that he waits for an answer to the question. Green eyes going to the burnt cottage. He releases a long breath. "Seven pray they did. Hundreds of refugees fled from the out-country to Stonebridge. Perhaps…" He shrugs, leaving the rest unsaid. He grows particularly quiet as he looks toward the barn. As they draw closer, there are flocks upon flocks of crows near it, perched on the roof, and others darting through the air above the back pasture.
"None of your business, Rivers," Hardwicke answers easily enough as Delylah brings him closer on solid steps. The Captain's dark-eyed gaze catches on the crows, his expression creasing in a frown that carries no hint of surprise.
The eldest knight in the company looks up as they slow near the barn. A shake of his head as Ser Hollister glowers for a moment. "Fucking crows." he mutters before he's looking back to Ser Jarod. "Want me to go in and investigate?" After all if there is anything in the barn, at least the old one will get shot up first. With a clicking of his tongue, and tugging on the reigns Hollis brings his courser to stop, hand moving to the horn of the saddle, before he is looking back to Jarod and the Captain for the word.
Riding past the burnt house without seeing much except for structural damage and internal guttin, Kell also looks forward to the barn as well as his courser slowly joins the other knights. The crows are a bad sign, causing the Hedge Knight to frown as they approach. "Careful, the crows aren't a good sign. Must have a reason for them to gather like this." Not wanting to state the obvious possibility.
"Not alone, Ser Hollister," Jarod replies to the elder knight. "Take Ser Kell, at least. Ser Hardwicke and I can ride around back of it toward that pasture and see…well, see what's back there, if that please you, Ser?" He looks to the Captain of the Guard, it being more a question than a command. Even after near six years as a sworn sword in the Terrick service, he's still deferential to the men who've been men-at-arms for the House since he was a boy. He watches the crows circle in the sky, swallowing.
"They're a sign that something's already dead. Not necessarily that someone's still there to do more killing." But Hardwicke jerks his chin in assent to Jarod's suggestion. "Watch yourselves," he tells Hollister and Kell as he turns Delylah around to begin making his way around to the back of the house.
"You never know, Cap'n." Hollister says, as he moves to slide from the saddle. Coming down with the sound of his armor clinking softly. "Some bastards might be fucking lazy." A look is given to Kell, as he is sliding his sword free from it's sheathe. "Come on boy. Let's go and peek." he grumbles out before looking over to Hardwicke "If you need help, call out and we'll come.." Unless of course they are held up by something inside the barn. To which the older knight starts moving for on foot.
Kell urges his courser forward to join Hollister at the barn before moving to dismount from his steed so he can investigate the barn with Ser Slane. His own blade is also freed from the scabbard with a clear ringing of steel, better safe than sorry being the rule of thumb. Being called a boy earns the older knight a smirk, but with the age difference, it is understandable. "Should I go in first, gramps?" He offers with a grin, ready to nudge the door to the barn open slowly and step in if allowed.
Jarod turns Symeon to ride with Hardwicke around the perimeter of the barn, leaving Kell and Hollister to investigate its innards. As they round toward the back of it, it's clear what's keeping the crows so interested. A great draft plowhorse, sturdy old beast it must've once been, lies dead and gutted in the pasture. Killed by swords or axes by the look of him, and left to rot for what must've been weeks at this point rather than even stolen. Like the burning of the house, there's a punitive look to it. As much an act of spite as ravaging.
As for the interior of the barn, it's shadowed, though daylight's still bright enough that it won't be too dark inside. The door's slightly open. And there's the stench of something rotting inside. Unlike the horse, it's not dissipated by being out in the open, but is the first and very pungent thing Kell and Hollister will note about the building they're entering.
That brings a laugh from Ser Slane, though muted. "After you." said in hushed tones before Hollister moves to step in behind Ser Kell, so as to not leave the younger man alone inside, though who knows what their own investigation will uncover. A glance is given to where Hardwicke and Ser Jarod have headed off to, before he is shuddering the other door open, only to lower his blade as his other arm comes up to cover his nose. "Fucking shit." the older knight hisses, before he's turning to spit all of his sourleaf out, what remains of the ball he was chewing and the other juice, lest he looses his bowels here.
"Fuck," Hardwicke says as they draw up behind the house to the sight of the ravaged horse. He circles around it on Delylah, the line of his jaw tight, and turns his gaze on the rest of the land behind the horse for anything else left behind.
If Kell hadn't be part of the bloody campaign in Seagard recently, he might have hurled upon stepping into the barn as the stench assaults him. He does wince at the stench though, unable to refrain from reacting as his head turns to the side slightly while eyes narrowing for a moment. The Hedge Knight does give his eyes a moment to adjust to the more shadowing environment before he begins to slowly advance deeper in, blade in front as his eyes try to find the source of the stench, already knowing what he is most likely to find.
"Fucking waste…" Jarod echoes Hardwicke with a grimace, as to the horse. "What was the godsdamned point of something like that?" Though the question is asked under his breath. He doesn't really expect an answer. The beast is long dead, like the house long burnt, and the ones who killed it likely long gone. There is a chicken coop in the pasture as well, though no clucking can be heard from it. Hollister is probably out of luck on those eggs. At least there're no chicken corpses visible. Perhaps they were small enough to loot, or small enough to ignore so they could flutter off of their own accord.
As for the barn. There's no sign of movement inside, so nothing immediately jumps out to greet Kell and Hollister's blades. Though that's about the only relief they find. While there were no bodies in the farmstead, there are some here. Two, a middle-aged man and a younger one of about twenty years, in peasant's clothing common in the Riverlands. They both lay dead, still 'armed' with a pair of pitchforks. Which are bloodied, though they don't look as if they could've put up much of a fight. They both died of what're clearly nasty bludgeon wounds. The barn is otherwise ransacked for anything of value, though unlike the house it at least wasn't burned. It's quiet as they first venture in but, after a moment, a strange sound greets them. Barking. A dog barking, from the sound of it, though muted, as if distant or somehow muffled.
Hardwicke, probably not unsurprisingly, offers to answer to Jarod's question. He draws up near the chicken coops, inspecting them in their emptiness, and eventually shakes his head and looks back to the house and barn.
Ser Hollister isn't one to complain. He's seen worse from reavings, though upon coming across the bodies of the small folk, there's a shake of his head. "Bloody fuck, right here." A boot kicking out for the older male's boots for a moment, as if to check on it. A look over the corpse before he is pulling back. "Well, their deader than a pair of door nails." muttered, as he's leaning in to inspect the pitchfork. "Check them for their wounds, Ser." Hollis orders as he looks out into the bright of day, allowing for some of the clean air to find his nose. Though he pauses, squinting out and turning his head for a moment. "You hear that?" barking?
The corpses are found as Kell can only shake his head at the senseless deaths, calling over to Hollister, "Found them… I hope they were able to kill one of the damned reavers before going down. At least they died fighting." The Hedge Knight was about to sheath his sword to check the wounds as there doesn't seem to be anything hidden but the muted sound of the barking has him hold that action, eyes quickly scanning the surroundings while his ears try to locate the source, feet moving slowly again, "I don't see a dog but unless I'm going crazy, I hear one."
It's undeniably a dog. The barking grows more animated, if not any louder, still having that muted quality to it. Like it's coming from behind a wall. Or under them. Kell's scanning for the source of the sound goes toward the back of the barn, and a pile of hay that looks rather hastily arranged.
Ser Jarod, for his part, finds little of interest out behind the barn and investigates the back entry to it. Opening it cautiously and calling inside, "All clear in there, Sers?" He's heard no sound of fighting…yet, so he makes some presumptions they're not being attacked just then.
Hardwicke slides off of Delylah's back in a brisk, efficient movement as they come up to the barn — and the sound of barking. "At least one thing's alive in this mess," he mutters in a low tone.
There's a glance back over to the hastily arranged pile of hay, mainly because he's following the sound. And of course he starts moving in that direction. "There." he points for Kell, whom he will allow to start moving the hay, if need be. Though given Ser Jarod's appearance, Hollister turns his head, and motions to the other bastard to come their direction. "There's a dog..and we have two dead smallfolk here. But there's a dog." Which might sound like madness from the older knight if he's not already looking to help Kell, yank some of the hay free. "It sounds like the thing is in the fucking wall." however it got there.
Kell's eyes slowly zero in on the source of the sound and sees the pile of unnaturally arranged hay stack and slowly walks towards it, now a little more wary of what may be under his feet. Jarod's question is answered without turning his eyes from the hay, "No. Blades out." He says in a low tone, not wanting to shout out what he found just yet as if they could hear the muffled barks, whatever is hiding down there may also hear them. Using his sword, Kell begins to slowly bat the pile of hay aside, not wanting to use his hands just in case there are sharp unfriendly objects hidden in the pile.
"Guess so." Jarod has dismounted as well, and eases into the place. He can't hold back a gag at the smell, though at least the last weeks of Seagard and everything before it has trained him to hold his stomach at the aging corpses. "Poor men. Wonder why they didn't try and run…and why it's still alive…in here?" He looks around the animal but doesn't find, naturally. His blade is drawn even so.
The hay pushes aside with ease. It's just hay. As Kell's sword sweeps it, it knocks against solid wood. There's a door under there. A cellar underneath the barn, apparently. The barking is louder now that they're over it, that's plainly the source.
Hardwicke has drawn his blade as well, the steel still young sliding from its sheath. "A cellar?" he says, his voice gruff as he moves in to get a better look. "Fucking hells."
"Fuck." Hollister states as he stands back, upon finding of course the cellar along with the rest of the party. "I don't like fighting in cellars. One bloody way down- and you're more likely to die than get out." A shake of his head and the older knight is moving to find the hatch or opening in order to yank the door up. "Would Ironers take time to hide though in a fucking cellar?" he asks the others, as he comes to what seems to be the 'rear' of the door. "If we open this, mind you-Prepare for a bolt to come out." At least that is what Ser Slane would do.
"If the dog has been alive this long, that mean someone has been feeding it to keep it alive." Kell says as his blade finds wood as the door is revealed. Brushing away the final straws of hay, the Hedge Knight looks up at the others, expecting them all to be in agreement that they will investigate though he does look up to make sure they are all in agreement and ready. "One of you open the door, I can go in first." Gripping his blade in both hands, Kell prefers someone to open the door so that he can react just in case the dog is actually loose and waiting to sprint out, or worse, as Hollister is advising.
"Do Ironers eat dog?" Jarod asks. It sounds like a perfectly serious question, ridiculous as it might sound. "Maybe they're keeping it alive as…umm…fodder?" He shrugs. It's not an idea he pursues any further, moving to flank the door. "Don't know why they'd hide. Place looks deserted. They killed the old farm horse before they left, any other livestock looks gone. Taken or run, one way or another. Why would they stay?" He looks between the three other men. "I'm ready, Sers. For…bolts. Or whatever."
"Maybe they shoved it in and forgot about it," Hardwicke says in a low growl. He moves to flank along the other side of the cellar door as Jarod and jerks his chin in a nod. Ready.
"Doubtful, they can only stomach fish. They are worse than crannogmen in the Neck." Hollister barks, before he is looking back to the others. A slight shrug, and with a nod, he's reaching down, and yanking at the door's latch to pull it up. Unless of course it's locked underneath-then he will strain. Still with the nods to go- he will be ripping open that door if he can. He's snatch up his sword, once the door's back.
Kell is taking some calming and even breathes, ignoring the stench as adrenaline begins to pump in his veins due to the potential danger that could be lurking in the hidden chamber in the barn. The double grip on his long sword is firm, eyes focused on the hidden door before nodding to Hollister to show that he is ready. If he is able to open it, Kell would get ready to react for any flying traps or anything running out with hostile intent. Then after a few seconds of waiting, the Hedge Knight would advance in without visible fear.
The door is indeed locked. Well-bolted from the feel of it, though the wood itself is old and strains under Hollister's strength. It doesn't give immediately but it take much to break it, given that they're four large men with big metal battering objects. Jarod, for his part, promptly moves in to help the elder knight pull at it. As they do that, the stops. Though if one is listening very closely, they'll hear softer sounds of scuttling movement below.
Well, then. If the door is stuck, Hardwicke will also lean in to lend his weight to getting it open.
"Fucking locked." the older man grunts, before he is reaching to pull harder, and then with Jarod coming over to help, there's a nod. "Better than hacking in." he whispers, keeping eyes looking down to the door. And of course with the dog stopping in barking, he looks quietly back to his comrades. And then Hardwicke is joining in helping. 'Alright. On three-we fucking break our backs and yank it open." There is a silent count unfortunately as Hollis hastily hisses, "Three!" and yanks back.
The door being locked with a major disappointment as Kell had gotten ready for whatever may happen once opened but he knows that it is only a delay. Instead of stepping in to help out with the door as well, the Hedge Knight holds his ground so the area isn't overcrowded. The lack of barking is noted as is the scuttling noise as the knight knows he will have to make a very quick decision whether what is probably coming out is friendly or not.
The door heaves and breaks on "Three!" Perhaps not easily, but many knights plus old, softened wood really isn't a contest. It's even darker below, though the faint light from the barn allows them to see a little. There's no immediate rush of skulking Ironmen or the like. Unlike the rest of the farmstead there're still provisions down there. A bit of food, and barrels of water. And, huddled in a corner, three forms. One, which promptly starts barking again, is plainly the dog. The other two, a girl and boy. Of about thirteen and ten years old, respectively. The boy's holding the dog, which is growling now, along with what looks like a kitchen knife for defense. The girl is just staring up toward the men-at-arms, looking as if she's very much trying not to cry.
"Seven hells…" Jarod breathes. That's his only immediate commentary
Hardwicke says nothing at all. He looks at those two children, his jaw tight, for a long moment. Then he slowly sheathes his sword and moves ahead of the other men. Very quietly, he tells them, "It's all right. You're safe."
There's a breath, as he's quick to snatch up his sword once the door is ripped and tossed aside. Though upon looking down there is a pause and he looks from the dog and the children, over to the others. "Fucking gods..How long…" he can only imagine, and there's a look over to where the other two dead smallfolk are. Hollister remains silent there as his sword lowers. a heaving breath and then he speaks. "We can't let them see them, if we bring them up." This more to Jarod. "We can show them later, or burn the bodies." muttered softly, as he rises up.
He will allow Hardwicke to do the talking, it seems to the little ones.
"Now we know why those fought valiantly to the end." Kell says as his blade is lowered so he doesn't look too menacing anymore in his chainmail armor. "Too long… And I wouldn't burn them yet, they deserve to know." The Hedge Knight also remains outside of the hidden cellar as one armored knight is enough, especially for a couple of scared kids. "Damn the Ironborn."
"Have we time to bury them?" Jarod asks, though he's careful to keep his voice low. About moving the bodies, he nods to Hollister. He'll gamely help with that. "Children shouldn't see their father…aye. Let's get them out of the way."
The dog growls at Hardwicke. It's a gruff sort of dog. Though, as he seems peaceable enough, the creature doesn't try to bite him. The girl hangs back, but the boy tentatively comes forward toward the Captain of the Guard. "Are the reavers gone, m'lord? Father told us to stay down here…until they were gone."
Hardwicke takes a moment to swallow, jaw hard. Then he takes a step closer and lowers himself to a crouch that brings him more of a height with the boy. "They're gone," he says quietly. "What's your name, boy?" His dark eyes study him.
Hollister keeps his eyes on the children for a moment. A look back towards Jarod, and the older knight is sheathing his sword before looking to drag off the bodies, at least, further into the shadows until they can sort things out. As for the answer Jarod is looking for there's a shrug. "Your call, Ser. I think we have time before the moon climbs up to see to them.." But that delivery comes with no warmth. Just cool fact.
While the kids are reassured and calmed, Kell heads to the two corpses as he slowly sheaths his own blade before taking a knee to inspect them as was asked to earlier. The wounds are definitely done by the battle-axes that the reavers have been wielding during their invasion. He does wait for the other knights to decide what to do with the corpses though.
Jarod puts his own blade back in its sheath and gets to aiding with the body dragging. To Hollister, "They died defending Lord Jerold's land, Ser. And their own. Seems proper to bury them."
The children, for whatever reason, are calmed by Hardwicke's presence. Perhaps he's seen as their rescuer. The girl pokes her dirty face up at him, no longer crying, though she doesn't speak yet. The boy replies, "I'm Ewan, m'lord, and this is my sister Petra. My father and our brother drove them reavers off. Are they about, m'lord? We did like they asked us to."
Hollister looks back to Jarod and he nods. "We'll need to find a pick and a shovel to break the ground. If there were a septon they could say words. As it stands, one of us can do it." A look over as he watches Hardwicke with the children. "And we can't leave them here." he states evenly enough, before he's looking back to the younger man in his hands. "Take them round back-the field will be easy to break up and dig.
At first, Hardwicke hesitates to respond, his gaze flicking between the two of them. Then he focuses squarely on Ewan. "You're a man now, Ewan," he tells the boy, gentle but firm, "and I must treat you as such. Your father and brother did not survive the reaving. But they fought bravely to protect you and your sister. Now you must be brave for them. Can you do that, Ewan?"
Kell helps with the moving of the bodies, wanting to get the corpses out of the barn first so that the children don't have to stay stuck in that tight cellar. "I would say that the tools are easy to find in here but… who knows where the reavers threw them or even if they took the tools." The Hedge Knight does shoot a glance to the cellar where Hardwicke is speaking with the kids, he certainly doesn't envy the old man's task.
The boy just blinks at Hardwicke. Gulping. "Umm…yes, m'lord." He won't say much else beyond that, but he'll numbly do as the knight directs.
For Jarod's part, he concentrates on looking for tools, and seeing the disposal of the bodies, in some vaguely respectful fashion. A look over his shoulder toward Hardwicke and the children, and he swallows, but there's nothing he can say to that.
Hollister looks to Kell for a moment. "Some poor bastard had to do the same to my mother." said evenly towards Jarod and the hedge knight. "Her husband didn't even have the stomach to look after her. What that man is doing in there, is then what my first knight did with me. The boy needs to hear it." said plainly before he's looking out to the field for a moment. "No stones for Cairns, gods damn it." he mutters, and turns to head back in to look for something to suffice with the digging.
"I'm no lord," Hardwicke corrects gently. "My name is Ser Hardwicke Blayne. I am Lord Jerold Terrick's Captain of the Guard at Terrick's Roost." He inhales slowly through his nose and allows his gaze to flicker back to the girl once more. "We are going to give your kin a fit burial, and then we will take you with us to Terrick's Roost to look after you. Do you understand?"
The little boy looks like he's going to argue on the subject of leaving. But he just looks at his sister and says, "Yes, m'lo…Captain. I understand." He does hold tight to his dog. He is totally going to insist on taking the dog.
Kell can only nod understandingly at Hollister's words, "Too many youths are forced to grow up early in times of conflict… a tragedy." The Hedge Knight also looks about to see if there are digging tools about or stones, finding neither.
"Can use our swords if nothing else, and perhaps those…forks," Jarod says, with an uncomfortable gesture toward the implements the farmers tried to use as weapons. Which will make the digging a long process, but he'll see it done.
"Don't fuck up your sword, Rivers. The forks will suffice." Hollister commands, now taking control of the digging with Ser Drakemoor. He'll make sure it's done in a rather good fashion. If there's one thing he understand entirely. It is this. And without much other words, Hollister will bury the dead, and see that somehow the Dog can be taken as opposed to being left behind.
"Good boy," Hardwicke says, still quiet. He straightens up, keeping the two children away from the sight of their slaughtered family until it's safe to emerge. And from then, home to the Roost. With the dog.