|Searching for Bandits|
|Summary:||Master Kain and Lord Justin trek through the countryside between Terrick's Roost and Stonebridge in search of bandit nests or news from the folk who live there of them.|
|Related Logs:||Bandits in Terrick lands, Planning a Hunt, Part 1, Planning a Hunt, Part 2, Planning a Hunt, Part 3, Planning a Hunt, Part 4|
|Worn Road, Terrick's Roost|
|This is a dirt road that leads away from Terrick's Roost towards Stonebridge, it passes over several low wooden bridges.|
|Sat Apr 28, 289|
So, somewhere in the forest, likely deep in it, is Kain. Like most nights, especially when hunting for bandits, he makes no fire relying on the moonlight that peeks in the trees to light his way. And on clear nights like this one, it is almost like a state of twilight or dawn, depending on one's point of view. His cloak has been put in a suitable look, sticks, leaves, and grass coving it to blend in better with the surronding folliage of the expanse of nature that surronding them. But right now, he's leaning against a tree chewing on a bit jerky, his bow leaning idly next to him.
Justin has been mostly quiet company, not being a man for a great many words and prefering silence to listen. He's also used to going on foot over distances as much as he's used to riding so he'll have had no trouble keeping up with Kain, though his own woods sense is somewhat less sharp. Still, he's more woodland raised these past years than within walls and perhaps that shows also. He is squat down to remove his waterskin from his light pack and take a slow few sips of it, content to listen to the night around them. His long fingered calloused hands draw out a bit of dried apple and jerked meat as well before he secures his things and stands. Leaning against a tree is good and helps break up a man's outline. He eats some quietly, saying nothing. At times on their travel when they came upon folk who live out here (rather than travelers on the road) he has asked them if they had news of the bandits in their area, sniffing for leads as well as any likely trails through the countryside.
Likely, Kain isn't the most talkative person either. But then again, he never is infront of nobility unless it involves work surrounding hunting. A few days was probably the most he had spoken in quite some time. He's a hunter, a ranger, someone who's naturally outside almost all the time. The forest is his home and the ground is his bed. This is his life and he is quite happy with that. Happy to let Justin do the talking on the road, he just followed along on the road until they left into the forest, then it looked like he lead, knowing the area quite well, venturing to deep places in the wood where he thought they might find the bandit's hidey hole. No such luck yet. "A question, my Lord?" he suddenly, face hidden by both the night and his hood drawn up.
Kain will have found Justin willing to follow the other man's greater familiarity with the land, as he's been gone south in Tully lands these past five years or more. Chewing the dried apple, the Terrick waits to swallow it and thus have his mouth clear before he says quite low, "Yes?" He carries a long bow with the ease of man used to it, though likely he's used a shorter bow when mounted. The temptation to shoot birds for a meal would be hard to ignore but for their desire to forego a fire and already provisioned with light, dry rations.
"It's nothing really important, my Lord." Kain says quietly. Now that he's in the outdoors, his voice is quiet, soft. As if he's wary of disturbing something around them. But he seems pretty well at ease, suggesting their safe. "Is this the first time you've been out hunting for bandits?" he asks simply. Well, someone had to break the ice after awhile.
All around them are the sounds of the summer night. A whip-o-will bird calls it's repeating loops in the darkness while late season frogs buzz in low, damp places or pipe from the trees around them. As long as these sounds continue along with the music of many insects, it is clear that no one is moving through the woods near by without making those sounds pause with the disturbance.
Justin finishes his dried fruit and starts on the jerky, having nibbled frequently while traveling rather than taking set meals. He is dressed in greens and browns with leather jerkin and aside from his blade, doesn't look much like a noble on this outting. His own reply is just as low and if Kain knew him, he'd know that Justin often speaks like he's out in the woods even when he's indoors, "No. Also, I've hunted Ironborn." There's a pause before he adds quietly, "Though they slew Lord Ser Haffrey Tully, whom I'd been squired to, and I was sore wounded. Before that, hunted a few bandits for Lord Tully himself." He tilts his head to look in Kain's direction.
"Ah." Kain utters, the sound of dried meat being torn from a larger peice. That's about the only sound out of him for awhile, instead just listening to the life stir in the night. "I have never hunted bandits before." he says after a time. "Infact, I think this is the first time that people of importance paid me any mind at all. I was surprised Ser Hardwicke knew my name. Usually it's just 'hey, huntsman' or 'you with the meat wagon'. I don't think I'd be all that good in a fight anyways. I'm only good from afar." Shifting a little in his seat, a hand reaches over to dip into his pack.
Justin smiles thinly in the darkness, "It may not be much, but I'll see you are paid for this venture." He puts a piece of the salty jerked meat into his mouth and sticks it into his cheek to soften a bit. His voice is hardly more than a whisper, eyes skimming over the shadowy world around them and only a little of his attention on the other man, "You might surprise yourself. Imagine a man coming at you as if he were a stag, his anter's intent to gut you. Or a boar. Shoot a man at close range with a bow and the arrow can go right through him." Well, unless it's plate and then it'd better be a crossbow.
"I suppose I can imagine that." Kain replies, scratching at his cheek, fingers absently running down the the scars on his neck. "Yes, I can certainly imagine that." The memory is rather chilling and it almost makes the ranger shiver slightly in the darkness. "I don't really require payment, my Lord. Or well, I suppose that being in service to the house is enough. Or so, that's what my father always told me." A dry chuckle. "'Don't talk unless spoken to, boy, you'll make it through life a lot easier if less is expected of you.'" he notes, voice dipping an octave deeper as if imitating another preson's voice. Probably his dad's.
"Maybe," Justin says noncomittedly. "Bow's not much use against a sword though, so if a man comes at you, you be sure to get that arrow placed right. Use a tree or something to block his blow so you can get your own blade free if you can't drop him with arrow." It could be that he's paraphrasing someone else's lesson himself. It makes him frown though in the darkness. There's a pause of silence for a while, listening to the night once more. Justin finishes his light meal and having brought no cloak in the summer heat, he settles himself down low into the brush to sit down. He'll sleep on the bracken on the ground just the same as Kain and not complain of it. "How'd you hold out when the Ironborn sieged the Roost, Master Kain?" Likely enough they'll take shifts, one to sleep and one to watch, then switch. It's only for a few nights.
"I come from a long line of hunters, my Lord. My father, though he was lame in a leg, still knew the old traits." Kain replies. "We, like many others when the Ironborn came, ran to escape them. We went into deeper parts of the wilderness than what we are now. Where the forest is even more wild. More…raw. It is hard to describe. There, we hid out, surviving on the land as we always have. We tried to take as many others with us as we could. It ended up being a decently sized group, though it was chore to cover their tracks to dissaude being followed, though I think the Ironborn are not that accustomed to forests, prefering the ocean and beaches for their hunting." he describes quietly, for toying with his bowstring, tightening it, as he will wordlessly take the first watch of the evening without argument. "Every so often I would venture out of the woods to see if they had left the Roost. When they were finally driven out, we guided everyone back. It was…a difficult time."
The young Terrick Lord gives a slow nod, "Thankfully still summer. Plenty to forage rather than a starving time." Even if there was hunger, it could have been much worse. Justin has his own bow unstrung since he's settling in to take the first round of sleep. He's checked his arrows before dark and closed the oiled flap to keep the dew off of the sinew. If they are come upon in the night he would use his sword if they could not flee. "Difficult time for all. How does your family get on now? Meat is badly needed if you can bring any in and will fetch a good price." Fish certainly has been, what with food so thin. Justin lays himself down and puts his hands up behind his head, laying on his back and looking up at the trees and glimpses of stars overhead. His voice is so low that Kain would have to listen not to miss his words.
"My family is just me and my father. At least…as far as I know. He doesn't speak of it and I don't ask." Kain replies, quieter than he normally would. "So finding food for just me and him is easier than it is for most. Most of what we catch goes to house Terrick, I keep enough to keep myself and my father fed, and whatever is left I sell. We make enough to get by, at least. More than usual, given the current troubles, but if the supplies come soon, I think things will change. But..well…that's just my opinion." he says, being mindful and careful of his words. "As long as I have enough to feed myself and my father, I am content to give most of it away without asking for a price. I've seen people starve to death. It…isn't pretty."
Justin turns his head in the darkness as he listens to Kain. He is quiet and does not answer at once, thinking before he says, "I probably knew your father, when I was a boy. If he was Huntmaster before you." He draws a slow breath, "Things … I remember before I left, aren't like what they are now. You serve my House. If you are ever in need, you or your father, you let us know. It is our duty in turn to look after our people."
"My father is…forgive me, my Lord, I don't wish to speak ill of the house, but I don't think he was treated well when he was younger." Kain notes. "But, erhm, you are very gracious to say so, my Lord. I'm just not used to…" he stops, shaking his head in the darkness. "Sorry, it's not important. And no, things were never this way. They used to be…life was I don't want to say happier or easier, but they were certainly better than what they are now. I only…want to help."
It's too dark to see if he nods, though Justin says low, "You are helping. With every bit of meat you bring in, and coming out here to risk your life scouting for bandits. It isn't unappreciated. I'm sorry about your father." Justin really doesn't remember the man, who for all he knows might have been very crass and ill spoken, earning rough treatment. Or maybe not - he was only a boy and doesn't know. He falls silent for a while again, listening to the frogs and the night bird, "Wake me in a few hours and I'll take watch, or if anything seems amiss."
"He doesn't speak of it, my Lord." Kain says, voice getting softer. "And I respect him enough to not ask. But…thank you. You are the first to say as much. That does, well, it does mean something." Whatever his feeling on the nobility, being more or less ignored and feeling quite unappreciated, at least he doesn't feel it here. A silent nod in the darkness. "I will, my Lord. Sleep now and I will rouse should anything be amiss."