Page 378: Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man
Summary: Ramsey gives Darek a task, the squire talks with Alric and Farrell, and Jac gives him some advice about girls.
Date: 03/08/2012
Related Logs: None directly.
Darek Alric Ramsey Jac Farrell 
Township, Highfield
The expanse of landscape here was (and in parts still is) breathtakingly beautiful. Lush grass fed by the nearby waters of the rivers and smaller streams, while further to the west, the meadows fade into the shade of dense forest. It has been disrupted, though, by the construction begun some months ago that continues still, turning a pastoral landscape into a budding noble seat. Irrigation ditches are complete, a lumber mill buzzes with activity, and a new fence encloses housing and a village that is now well underway. Most prominent is a motte and bailey, which is newly finished and protected by a moat and a drawbridge that is lowered from a small gatehouse.
3 August, 289

Darek is a bit loaded down with gear, for him. A battered sword in a sheath has been added to his left hip, and he carries a worn fiddle trailing a red sash in his left hand, tucked up under his chin. The young man studies the strings from a few inches away as he steps through one of the suddenly very, very busy roads about Highfield. With two armies camped outside the town, there's no shortage of people bustling about. Very few come with guards, but perhaps even fewer come with music. The young man brings up the bow in his right hand, setting it to the strings of his fiddle, and begins to wring a mournful sort of lament from it, the music soaring up before crashing down once more like waves upon a rocky shore.

Even though Alric probably should be wearing his sword as well, he doesn't. Still just waiting for his coming meeting. Guessing the worst. Hearing the music coming from a distance and making him calm down a bit and head in the way of the music. After a moment be has made his way towards the man that is creating the music, listening and letting a small smile decorate his face. "Nice tone." He offers along with a nod.

Darek shivers the last note of the song, the fingers of his left hand shaking to deliver the vibrato. For all the nice tone, there's a sort of sense that the young man's mind is elsewhere, as there's something just a bit lacking from the music to make it better than 'nice.' Letting out a breath, he lowers the bow, blinking once to see the other man standing there talking to him. He looks to the guards, then lowers his fiddle a bit, knuckling his forehead with his bow-hand, "Sorry Milord. Didn't see you there." Wait, the other man said something to him too, "Ahh, thank you, Milord. Just playin' around a bit."

Alric continues to listen until Darek is finished. A smile and nod. "It's alright. You did a good job of occupying my mind. Just what I need at the moment actually. Stressful time lately." He explains, chuckling a bit at that. "What's your name..?" He asks, wondering if he should add ser or not to it. Leaving it at that for now. Feeling a bit out of his himself, seeing as he is talking with a commoner on equal ground. Or at least Alric believes him to be a commoner. For now.

Darek tucks his left elbow inside the brilliant red sling for his fiddle, shifting it so that it hangs at the back of his left hip. The motion leaves sword and fiddle both over there, and makes the young man look a bit lopsided, but he doesn't seem to mind. Bobbing his head a bit, he responds, "Hard time for everyone, Milord." Despite his common speech, the youth carries himself with a confidence rare in commoners, but rather common in 17-year-olds, "Darek Boldt, Milord, squire to Ser Jac Caddock, Captain of the Guards." That last bit's a new addition, and a rather proud one, by the squire's tone. And then a roguish smirk breaks across his lips, and he reaches back to pat the fiddle slung on his back, "And the best fiddler you're likely to hear west of The Twins."

Alric ahs and smiles wide. "I see. Ser Jac Caddock. He is quite a capable man from what I know. I have met him a few times. He's going to take good care of you." He offers, nodding to confirm his own words. About him being Captain of the Guards nowadays makes him grin a bit and think over the thoughts that had crossed his mind earlier. Not speaking about them though, a man can't talk too much about everything after all. A chuckle about him being the best fiddler west of the Twins. "That's nice to hear. A bit cocky, but good to hear. Don't disappoint by getting overshadowed by someone else though." Trying to be positive towards the squire, even though it might have sounded a bit condescending.

Darek nods his head at the compliments for his knight, gesturing idly toward the keep with his bow, "Ser's a good teacher, just like his Da was." The disbelief at his claims to greatness cause the young man to shrug a little helplessly, spreading his hands to emphasize the gesture, "There's no one around who plays like I do, Milord." That has the ring of honest truth, even if the squire states it as a boast, there's perhaps the sense that not everyone would see the claim as a good thing. "It's about lettin' out the music inside you, Milord. The creativity given by the Mother."

Alric nods in agreement with the words about Jac. Not speaking though. The thought about Jac leading him to other thoughts, before the knight was the Captain of the Guard. Just letting the conversation turn to the talk about music instead. "I believe you. I think it is the same with most arts. Poetry is not far from music. Rather some songs are actually Poems that have gotten a melody." He offers and runs a hand through his own hair.

Darek thinks a bit about the comparison, but almost immediately shakes his head, "Song's a lot more than the words, Milord." He probably shouldn't argue with a Lord, but that's apparently quite the furthest thing from his mind right about now, "I mean… songs have tons of different words wherever you go." Gathering up his fiddle again and bringing it up to his chin, he notes, "F'rinstance…" And he plates a common tavern tune, light, bouncy, and heard most anywhere, "That one's Missy's Misty Morn down at Stone Hedge, but up here on the Cape, it's Throw Another Leg Over. Different words everywhere ya go, but the music's all the same." And then he stops, clears his throat, and adds a very belated, "Milord."

Alric sighs at the man talking back against him. "That is true enough. Though it is just the same thing with a different name. The principle is the same. Though the melody gives something as well. Though in it's base it is a person telling something, either from his heart or from things he sees. Same principle as poetry. Just a different way to express it." He tells Darek, then stops at that. His voice solid as he had explained. The belated words from Darek does get a nod though.

Darek lowers his fiddle again as the other man starts talking, but he doesn't sling it behind his back yet, instead scratching at the back of his neck a bit with the end of his bow, a puzzled sort of look on his face. Trying to push aside confusion, the youth stalls a bit, "Um… I'll take your word for it, Milord." he finally looks the other man over, searching for a house badge or something like that to identify the other man. Cheering up a bit more, he inquires, "You here for the war, Milord?" And this time, his bow makes a sweeping gesture out toward the big levies camped outside of town.

There is indeed a sigil showing where he's from. That of house Fenster. Clearly seen as he nods to Darek's words. About war he shrugs, "Something like that. I serve the Charltons. I'm not really a soldier, but I do believe I have a lot to talk about with Ser Aleister." He explains, keeping the topic out of the conversation for now. Since he isn't even sure about how his talk will turn out.

Darek stands just off the center of one of the roads running through the burgeoning town of Highfield, a sword strapped to his waist and a battered fiddle in his left hand. He's talking with Alric, who has a pair of House Fenster guards with him. The young squire puzzles over the sigil for a long moment, finally coming up with, "Fenster! Hah!" And then he realizes that he said that right in front of said Fenster, and he knuckles his forehead, "Sorry Milord. Not from the Cape. But I'm learnin' the sigils from the area." The words draw a tilt of his head, however, and then he has to toss a lock of hair back from his face with a twitch of his head, "I've heard a lot about Ser Aleister, Milord. What's he like?"

Ramsey makes his way out of the tavern at a casual pace, moving with his usual, prowling sort of stride. His hands are clasped behind his back and he seems to be heading towards the keep when Alric and Darek catch his attention. He moves in their direction instead. "Alric! Ramsey must speak with you!" He calls as he approaches.

Alric's eyes goes wide and then he laughs. "Try and keep the fact that you have no idea who you are talking to a secret." He offers in a rather teasing tone. "Alric Fenster, heir to Tavin's Rest." He introduces himself. As for Aleister, he shrugs. "Loyal…" Before he can go on Ramsey catches his attention. A grin on his face. "Not another talk about your conquest I hope, Ramsey." Though his voice still sounding glad and just teasing his friend.

Darek shrugs broadly and a little helplessly at Alric's laughing advice, offering up a guileless smile — complete with a dimple — that is perhaps a little too readily-practiced. The announcement of the other man's identity causes his eyes to widen a bit, and he bows again, "Sorry, Milord. I'll, uh, I'll try to keep that in mind." The arrival of the other man causes the squire to knuckle his brow again, then turn to look around for whomever this Ramsey is who's being announced, slinging his fiddle on its red sash at the back of his left hip. And then Alric greets the other man as 'Ramsey' himself, and a look of confusion spreads over the youth's features, although he keeps his confusion quiet for now.

"Ahhh, no. I was needing to make prayers last night." Ramsey replies with a laugh as he draws to a stop near the pair. He looks curiously at Darek, "I do not think my news is for open ears. Who is this?" He asks cheerfully, offering a smile to Darek. "He has a look of being on soft footing, yes?" The man has a thick foreign accent which might explain the strange dialect but a friendly enough expression on his face.

Alric nods to Darek as he seems to take his advice and then let his focus go to Ramsey. "So I see. This is squire Darek Boldt, squire to Ser Jac Caddock." He says and looks at Darek before gesturing to Ramsey, "This is Lord Ramsey Charlton." He explains and then is a bit curious about what news Ramsey might have. "Perhaps it is better to keep it private then?" He asks, not sure what it might be that Ramsey wants to tell him.

Darek perks up a bit at Ramsey's first comment, "There's a sept around, Milord?" He bobs his head as he's introduced, adding that smirking grin and, "And the best fiddler this side'a The Twins." The commentary about being on soft footing, however, causes him to look down at the ground beneath his feet a moment, shifting his stance a little as if concerned that maybe there's a mudhole somewhere beneath waiting to swallow him up.

Ramsey gives Alric a curious look, tilting his head to one side. "Just so." He says when the man mentions keeping it private. "That is what I said, no?" Then he looks back to Darek and gives him a nod, "Good day, Darek. You are loyal to Ser Jac? As loyal as he is to House Charlton?" He asks, bluntly putting the squire to the question.

Alric more or less ignores Darek for now, feeling that the talk with the noble might be more important for this moment. Though a grin as Darek repeats his words about being the best fiddler. A nod to Ramsey about keeping it private and he shrugs, not sure where to go. "Perhaps my room at the inn? We can go there soon." He offers and then Ramsey speaks with the squire. A wide smile about Jac. "Indeed, Ser Jac is a loyal man. He has helped out a lot. And as far as I know he did a great job looking after Lady Alys. I do hope you learn much from him in those regards as well."

Darek frowns a little at the query about his loyalties, "Ser Jac's Da's the one who made me his page, Milord." As if that explains the depth of his loyalty right there. Then again, since his name is definitely a common one, perhaps it does. The young man taps his rather gaudy belt-buckle with his bow, smirking hard enough to drive a dimple into his cheek, "An' I wear the wolf, don't I, Milord?" Granted, there's a horse there too, but the Brackens are rather far away. He looks between the two, then offers, "Why don't I just get peoples' attention somewhere else?" And with that, he unslings his fiddle again, taking it up to his chin, and starts to meander away from the two nobles. Once he's across the road, he begins to play, a cheerful, merry tavern song well-known throughout the Riverlands.

Ramsey stands quietly for a moment, looking between Alric and Darek, "No boy, come back. Do not rush away when I have need of you." He snaps in exasperation after the squire. "Think on why a man would ask of loyalties when he says he has quiet business. Yes?" He runs his fingers through his hair, shaking his head and looking back at Alric. "Did Ser Jac do a great job?" He questions, a brow arching at the Fenster knight.

Alric is no knight, even though he seems like it more and more. Not certain about the job Ser Jac has done, a shrug given. "I can't say. I just met this squire moments ago. I trust that he is indeed Ser Jac's squire, but I can't be sure about that even." He explains. Studying Darek for a moment before glancing to Ramsey. "Though perhaps you can find out. I need to leave for a moment anyway. I have a quick thing I need to get and then I'll be heading to my room. Feel free to meet me there later." He says and then makes himself ready to leave. A bow offered to those around.

Darek cuts off the first few notes with a squeal as he's called back, planting one foot and swinging around it to turn around as if pulled by a rope. "I just figured, Milord…" he lets that hang, gesturing between Ramsey and Alric with his bow, then shrugging slightly. Ramsey's question about Jac may be directed to Alric, but when the other man fails to respond to it, he speaks up in his new knight's defense, "Lady Alys' alright, yeah? Seems like he does a right good job, Milord." And then Alric's questioning who he is, in a roundabout sort of way, and the squire opens his mouth to protest. Lesson four — or was it five — from Jac comes back to him, and he just closes his mouth with a snap. As one nobleman excuses himself, the squire-fiddler lowers the instrument from his chin and bows, "Milord."

Ramsey runs his fingers through his hair, the soft brow curls getting matted a bit from the treatment. "Okay." He responds crisply when Alric speaks of needing to see to some business. Then he looks back to Darek, perhaps sighing in exasperation though whether it's at Alric or Darek is not easily determined. Regardless, he levels his gaze on Darek. "I would give you a task of some importance I am needing done. It will not conflict with your duties. You are willing?" He asks.

Darek eyes the odd nobleman for a long moment at his question, but eventually he nods, "Sure, Milord." Tucking his bow under one arm, he slings his fiddle carefully behind the sword at his belt, then gathers the bow back up in his right hand, "What can I do for you?" In all that fiddling with his fiddle, a lock of luxurious hair has fallen into his face, so he brushes it back with his left hand, scrubbing his fingers back into the whorls and curls and then letting them fall into artful disarray.

Ramsey gives Darek a nod, not seeming to mind that he took some time to think about it. He moves in closer, lowering his voice and making some effort to curb his accent and speak clearly. "There is a man that came as a hedge knight. Ser Farrell Keane. You know of him?" He asks, all seriousness now.

Darek frowns in thought at the question, ducking his head a little as if that might keep their voices all the quieter, "Don't think I know him, Milord. There's a fuck-ton of hedge knights around, and I just came up to the Cape a couple weeks ago." He flashes that little smirk again, "Whatcha need, Milord? Daughter distracted? Him kept busy? Followed?"

It should be unsurprising that Jac Caddock has spent all morning stuck in the armorers. They apparently had been prepared to fit the tall Knight in his new armor, and so after several laborious hours with the Charlton quartermaster, Jac is now walking the streets in the township in bright, shiny, new armor. He is unaccustomed of the brigadine armor, walking almost cautiously — twisting this way and that to get use to its range of motion.

Ramsey gives Darek a nod, chuckling. "You are sharp. I like you." He states, a pleased smile on his face. "Followed, but do not let him know of it. Watch and see. I may be wrong. It is better to keep this quiet, yes? If I am? You understand discretion?"

The nobleman might not have noticed Jac's approach if the sun wasn't blazing off of that new armor. It's glint catches his eye and Ramsey blinks a few times. "Ser Jac!" He calls in greeting.

Darek beams at Ramsey's compliment, but the task given to him is clearly the least appealing of the three, "Don't know if you want a fiddler for that, Milord. What you want for that's a thief." His lips purse a little at that, and he looks down, one thumb tapping lightly at the top of his big belt buckle. "I can do what I can, Milord, but… yeah… I don't wanna screw things up if I get spotted." The big armored figure is just another knight to avoid getting chores from at first, and then Ramsey speaks up, and Darek looks up in surprise, blinking once and then crowing, "Fuck yeah, Ser!"

"Lord Ramsey," Jac greets the noble first a foremost, tapping his knuckles against the new breastplate with the Highfield wolf embossed on the metal. "We have not crossed paths in some time, Milord. Its good to see you well." Then he glances toward his squire, chortling a bit. "Easy there, Squire. There's no need to get excited yet… you're the one that will be helping me in and out of this stuff." He does smile all the same, looking quite content in the armor and what it represents. "Milord, I hope my squire is behaving his tongue… though it looks as thought he is no longer sulking," the Songbird teases.

Ramsey gives Darek a smile, "You have the wit for it, I think. You will find a way. Yes." He says encouragingly, nodding. "He is a well-traveled hedge knight. Tell him you are eager for stories of his journeys to write a song. That may work. He fought under King Robert in the Rebellion. He was in the Battle of the Bells, the last survivor of his unit of outriders." The Charlton explains. "He told me all of this within a few minutes, I am sure you can coax more from him with your guile." There's a smirk from Ramsey and he reaches to give some of those artful curls a flick to further illustrate the point. A pause, and then he adds, "Thank you, Darek."

Then the man turns to look back at Jac, grinning, "I still live and still have my tongue." He says cheerfully. "To see you again is also good. Your squire's tongue is no offense to me." He says with a chuckle.

"I wasn't sulking," sulks Darek, and then he thinks fast, "I was… uh… thinking." He blinks as Ramsey flicks his curls, leaning back ever so subtly from the odd nobleman, "Uh… I'll see that it isn't, Milord. Um… any offense." There's a bit of wariness about the youth now, but he clears his throat, lowering his voice again, "So… you want me to just follow him? Or get some story out of him? Or what, Milord?"

The Songbird catches bits and pieces of the task the Charlton is giving his young squire, and he arches up a dark brow curiously. The simple helmet is shuffled from under one arm to under the other, before he clears his throat a bit. "Lord Ramsey, are you tasking my squire with something in particular? I was needing his assistance in going over the current status of the guard here at Highfield." He catches some of Darek's body language, and he smirks a bit. "Darek," he warns with a small chortle, perhaps something between Knight and Squire.

Ramsey watches Darek's reaction and gives him a little smirk for the subtle movement. Then he he shakes his head, "I have suspicions. Get to know him, keep an eye on who he speaks with and what he is saying? See where he is going. Those things." The braavosi explains before looking back to Jac. "It is a task he can do while in his free time or not serving his knight, Ser Jac. Do not worry. It is good… extracurricular training."

Darek looks a little helplessly at Jac with the other man's warning tone. Scratching at the back of his neck with the end of his bow again, he notes, "It'll keep me outta trouble. I guess." There's something about his tone that suggests he doesn't really want to be out of trouble. "I mean, if Milord' doesn't wanna give the job to anyone else."

Jac rubs his hand back through his forelocks, the majority of his long hair pulled back into a ponytail at the back of his neck. He casts Darek a look, before he shrugs his shoulders. "If young Darek wishes to take on such a task in his spare time, he may do so." It does not appear as though the Songbird appreciates his squire being tasked for something well beyond his skillset, especially since Jac runs the poor boy ragged with his own required training, but he's not about to put his foot down in front of a Lord. "But I want to stress that he may not be the right person for the task."

Ramsey gives Darek a shake of his head. "You will be fine for it. Thank you." He says, smiling. He looks back to Jac and grins. "Perhaps. Sometimes we do not know if we are the right person until we try. I understand that I ask something peculiar. If it does not work I will not hold it against the boy." He reassures. "That is your concern?" The three are talking not far outside the tavern. Jac is wearing some shiny brand new armor.

Darek twists his dimpling smile over to his knight then, "Don'tcha know, Ser? I'm the right person for every task." He shrugs his shoulders a bit, plucking at the strings of his fiddle with one hand to draw out a sort of laughing series of notes, "Or maybe I already told Milord that he'd do better with someone else." The squire laughs a bit at that, getting a little bit back to himself, "And I'm not so worried about you holdin' it against me as I am him doin' it, Milord."

        Farrell makes his way out of the inn, throwing his dusty cloak back over his shoulders as he makes his way out. He stops to take a deep breath of the air, smiling just a little to himself. He takes note of Ramsey talking to a couple other folks nearby, giving a small shrug as he makes his way over to approach. "M'lord," he offers in greeting, inclining his head to all those present before he pauses and looks back over to Ramsey. "Hm, excuse me. A man meets…another man, again, it seems, along with…two other men. A man wonders if another man could introduce him to other men," Farrell explains, though he can only keep his tone so serious as he does, his serious look as he does so threatening to falter at any moment.

"No, Milord… I am more worried about the boy getting into more trouble than he can handle. He is still adjusting to Highfield." Jac crosses his arms at his chest, still adjusting to the breadth of his chest in the new breastplate, and he twists his head a bit to adjust. "As I said, it is up to young Darek. But I ask if the boy feels he cannot handle the task that you not press him. He then glances over toward the newcomer — and as he does not know the man's name, he nods his head gently trying his best not to grimace at almost irritating use of 'man' and 'men' in the sentence structure.

"Then the solution is to not worry." Ramsey replies with a grin for the two. "The choice was given. The offer was accepted. I must find Lady Alys. A man has questions for the lady that need answers… Good day, friends." He says and sweeps a flamboyent flourish of bow to the pair, though Farrell's approach does give him pause and he chuckles at the words. "That is very good. With a bit more work at the grindstone your wit may be sharp yet, Ser Farrell. It has a look of mockery to it that is needing to be buffed away." He lifts his chin pretentiously, then turns to stride in the direction of the keep proper.

Darek looks over at the newcomer, bowing his head in a nod. Pretty good assumption that anyone carrying a sword and not his own age or younger is above him. The squire has accented his usual attire with a battered sword at his hip, and a fiddle hanging behind his back on a sash of red cloth slung around his neck and left shoulder. His own surprise and confusion at the odd syntax of the newcomer's words makes a nice counterpoint to Jac's attempt to not grimace. Ramsey's use of the other man's name draws a blink from the squire, and he nods again, "Ser." Gesturing over to Jac, he adds, "Ser Jac Caddock, Captain of the Guard." He then turns his bow back to gesture to himself, "Darek Boldt, his squire." That's all well and good, and then he inquires, "What's with the 'a man' and 'another man'?" There's a pause, "Ser." And then Ramsey is heading out, and he bows, "Milord."

        "Aw, didn't mean nothin' by it, M'lord. I'll make sure I only put my wit to the whetstone when you're not around, my apologies. A good afternoon t'ya, M'lord!" Farrell calls as Ramsey walks away, shaking his head in light disappointment as he looks back to Jac and Darek. "A shame, I was sorta proud of that one. Maybe I'll leave the jokes to Bluekite. Anyways," Farrell pauses, looking somewhat relieved as Darek pushes through with the introductions and offering his hand to Jac. "Ser Farrell Keane, free lance. My associate and I, Ser Lorcan Bluekite, are signin' up with Ser Harold Charlton. Just the 'lil formality of him testin' me, makin' sure I know that I can use a sword right. Good meetin' ya, Ser Jac. Or d'ya prefer Cap'n? Been in a few guards myself, never quite to Cap'n material. They usually give that one to the noble knights. Good on you as well, Boldt. Haven't taken a squire myself, none quite so desperate to sign on with a hedge knight."

Jac grunts a bit after the strange Charlton, and he maintains a slight disgruntled expression as the lord begins to depart. "Milord," he says dryly. Then he glances toward Darek now and gives the boy a sharp look. "He should not have tasked you so, Darek… not without asking your knight first." He grimaces a bit, looking after the departing Lord before he glances over toward Farrell. "Ser Farrell, well met." He twitches his jaw a bit before he speaks more frankly to his squire once more. "You decide what to do, Darek… but we will run our drills and training as normal. If you prefer to spend your free time on such a task, very well… but its free time only." Now he looks to Farrell. "Ser Jac is fine, Ser Farrell."

Darek shrugs broadly at Jac's words to him, "I'm not gonna tell a Lord he can't tell me what to do, Ser." There's a pause, and a slightly confused look, "Unless you think I should?" He shrugs again, "Not like I got a whole lot to do with my free time here 'till I find some girls to kiss." He spreads a smirk across his features at that, but it doesn't come anywhere near dimpling his cheek like his usual grin does. Looking over to the hedge knight, the squire shrugs, "Might be surprised, Ser. Not any noble boys who wanna train under a hedge knight, but a fuck-ton of kids like me'd jump at the chance."

        "Boy gettin' a 'lil too big for his britches, Ser Jac? I'm curious enough to ask what you're talkin' about, but don't mind me if it ain't none of my business," asks Farrell, resting his gloved fingers in his belt as he shrugs his shoulders to Darek. "True, but I train a boy up, what'll happen at the end? Got my armor and horse from a Bolton, where's he gonna get his?"

"Of course not, boy," Jac says to the squire, though he breathes out a small exhale. "If they ask it of you, then alright, but your duties should always come first." Then he rubs a bit at his jaw before he further dismisses the issue. "I did see a pretty dark-haired lass in the inn this morning," he offers with a small smirk toward the boy. "She looks to be your type." Though isn't every girl Darek's type? The new Captain rests his hand now at the pommel of his sword, twisting his hand up around the hilt casually. "Common boys look forward to a chance to rise above their life, Ser. It is good to see that Ser Harold is finding himself some proper knights though. Perhaps if you are sworn to Highfield, that will be something you won't have to worry about."

Darek nods slightly at Jac's words, but the mention of the girl at the inn draws a half-hearted shrug from the squire, "Meh. I'll check it out later." He frowns a bit at Farrell's question, gesturing after the odd Charlton noble with his bow, "Milord Ramsey wanted me to run an errand for him, Ser." Soul of a seducer, the lie slips off his tongue easily enough, a frown twitching across his lips, "Bolton… Bolton… Bolton… that down by Maidenpool, Ser?" And that would be why common boys look forward to a chance to rise above their life, because they don't know a whole lot about their betters before they get the chance. Tucking the bow of his fiddle carefully behind his belt at his right hip, the squire loops his thumbs behind his big belt-buckle, fingertips tapping lightly on the horse and wolf engraved there.

        "Ehh…not quite. A ways east of Winterfell, in the North. Hard to forget'em, honestly. Live in the Dreadfort, sigil's a man with his skin cut off. Not the sort o' folks you'll catch prancin' through a meadow anytime soon. Seems I met one of the nicer ones, to say the least," Farrell admits with a slight narrowing of his eyes, though he cheers up a tad as he guffaws toward Darek's lie. "That so, Ser Jac? Poor boy can't even run a message without fallin' in a ditch? Agh, you've got work to do. You're a brave fellow, takin' on this much of a project."

        As to being sworn, Farrell takes on a small smile. "We'll see. Ser Harold seems to be 'roundin up some riders for a charge or somewhat, guess it's got somethin' to do with the army up here. Very observant o' me, I know. Maybe if I live after that and he's happy enough, we'll take it up. Either way, be glad if you needed any men to keep the area in order, Cap'n. I guess you're in charge of that murder down south between the Roost and Stonebridge, then? The Charlton noblewoman's entourage?"

Jac looks skeptically at his squire as he seems to shrug off the prospect. "I think her eyes were brown though," the Knight offers the boy with a slight loft of his eyebrow. "Perhaps there will be one with blues instead that will meet your fancy." Then he looks back toward Farrell as he scrubs his hand back through his longish bangs. "He is a bit of a pain in my ass, Ser… but most squires are. He is new here to Highfield, and I was merely hoping to focus on his training instead of being tasked with too many errands. He has come up this way from the Bracken." At the mention of the murder of Alys's retinue, Jac grimaces. "We investigated it, but to be honest, Ser, there is evidence to be found. The bodies were stripped, there was some signs of a scuffle, but obvious signs that would lead us further than accepting the tragedy."

Darek shrugs off Farrell's correction, "Bah. I can't keep track of the houses outside the Riverlands, Ser. Not much point unless I'm gonna be leavin' the area anyhow." He starts to bristle at the hedge knight's implied insult as to his abilities, but then Jac mentions eyes of blue, and he starts a little, scrubbing back his hair and holding it out of his face as he kicks at the ground a bit, "Don't know what you're talkin' about, Ser." Okay, so maybe he's not so good at this lying thing. "She's just a bit of fun is all." Except that he's obviously talking about a particular girl when Jac was talking in generics, and the squire also used the present tense. The talk of the murders draws the squire's attention, however, and he opines stoutly, "Probably those fucking No-lands." Because they live in a swamp. How clever is he? "Saw some Charltons off on their own and just dry-gulched 'em, made it look like bandits."

        "Armor and weapons off Charlton guards is a small fortune to any banditry down there. I'd wonder if they could pull it off, but I was there takin' down the dumb fools who kidnapped the Ladies not too long back. They killed scores of guards, and they weren't very good. Maybe they don't make'em like they used to, or the bandits are gettin' better. Easier to believe someone with better means did it," ponders Farrell aloud, stroking his beard lightly as he thinks of it. "Charltons are really just lettin' it go, Ser Jac? Surprisin', you'd think…nothin' or somethin' found, they'd be breathin' down yer neck to get it done. Well, if you've got any leads, my associate and I'd be glad to run'em down if you can't spare the regulars. And until we're sworn - if we're sworn - I assure you our rates'll be quite reasonable, assumin' we find somethin'."

"Of course she was," Jac says to Darek, unfortunately using past tense instead of present. He then looks back over toward the common knight. "Unless we can get some actual solid leads, Ser Farrell, I'm not sure what else we can do," Jac comments dryly. "It is not about letting it go, but it is about not exhausting resources over something that has already presented itself as a deadend. I have put some feelers out there to see if my contacts in neighboring hamlets hear word of armor and weaponry being peddled, but for now, there is much for the Charlton House to focus on." Like the host of knights and men-at-arms that are now on the Highfield lands. "I have already submitted my report to Lord Aleister on the matter."

Darek opens his mouth to volley back at Jac, something a bit defiant, but he thinks better of it, subsiding to watch the discussion between the two knights, his fingers tapping lightly on the front plate of his buckle. "Most like, we'll find the fuckers who did it down with the Nayland forces, Ser." He shakes his head, "One maid ain't enough for even the stupidest bandits to go after two guards for." Then he glances at Jac, "Did those dumb fucks who kidnapped the ladies," apparently he's heard about that, at least a little, "Actually kill scores of guards, Ser?"

        "That they did. Some Lady hosted a big ol' Ladies picnic or somesuch out in the middle of nowhere, and every single guard posted at the thing was killed. They were routed and disposed of, same as anyone dumb enough to try somethin' like that. I even plucked a Terrick girl off a horse while they were tryin' to get away. Hah," Farrell chuckles, giving a final nod to both men. "I should be headin' back to camp. Good meetin' you squire, Ser Jac. If you need any help, you just lemme know. Evenin' to y'both," says the hedge knight, heading off for the stables with a final wave over his shoulder in farewell.

Jac is not a dumb man, and he spots all the signs of a retaliation from his squire — but Darek holds back. Huh, that's surprising. Maybe there is hope for the boy yet. He nods his head gently to the boy all the same. "That would be the truth, young Darek… in their defense, it was not as if they expected such an attack. That many ladies and that many guards, it should have been enough to deter… but it was not." He shakes his head a bit now. "I have already sworn to Lady Cherise that with my position now in Highfield, such a thing will never happen again. It was hard enough being kept in that wretch of a hole for days on end, but then to end up in the captivity of Naylands shortly after…" His jaw tightens. "It was uncalled for." He then nods his head a bit to Farrell. "Ser Farrell," he says in farewell.

Darek 'huh's at the story, shaking his head slowly. Farrell's departure draws his eyes up, and he reaches back to pat his fiddle, "You should talk to the other freelances, Ser. Tell 'em I'll be playing at the Inn tonight." There's a pause as he looks at the place with pretentions of being hoity-toity, grunting once, "Or at least behind it. "You should all drop by. Promise you that you ain't never heard anyone play the fiddle like I do."

"Why the fuck Lord Ramsey wants you to look after that one is beyond me," Jac says — evidently he had been listening quite well in fact. Then he glances down toward Darek with a small smirk budding on his lips. "So," he says as casually as he can, "did you get to tell your girl goodbye before we left?" He arches up both his brows, obviously teasing the poor squire. "One of the inn girls was quite flustered that you weren't around the inn to bid them all goodbye…"

Darek shrugs at the first statement, "Least if he comes to hear me play, I don't have to go chasing after him all over the place. I told him that someone else'd be better." And then he blushes a bit at the question, showing that he does actually have a little bit of modesty. "Yeah. I did. She thought I was really goin' at first. Like, gone gone." Tightening his shoulders up towards his ears, the squire pulls the bow from the right side of his belt again, picking quite definitely at the horsehair strands so he doesn't have to look up at the knight from behind the sudden fall of hair across his face, "And I said goodbye to the girls at the inn," by which he means he actually said goodbye, rather than demonstrating it. And suddenly he's back to sulking, "I thought we were supposed to leave in the morning, not the fucking middle of the fucking night, Ser."

Jac starts to smile that white, perfect grin. "So, you told her that you intend to see her again. Did you tell her how she was the only one that warmed your heart, the one to make your soul soar… perhaps you promised to think of only her while you are gone?" The knight starts to chuckle a bit, arms crossing at his breastplate with a casual stance. He sobers a bit at the sulking statement. "I'm sorry, boy… it would seem that the Terrick's sheriff might not have mastered the art of finesse when it comes to questioning a Lady. Though I know that the Charltons were anxious to get away from the Roost, so perhaps he saw it as a good excuse." He looks down at the sulking boy all the same. "Perhaps you should write her a letter, Darek," he offers quite earnestly. "When I was away from my dear Emelia, I wrote to her as often as I could." Then he looks away across the town square. "If you like the girl, of course."

Darek gapes a bit at the flowery language, "No! I didn't tell her any of that shit." He sounds quite disdainful of the wordiness, and then he gets a bit of a guilty look on his face, "Uh… unless that's the sort of stuff you said, and then No, I didn't think of that." Clearing his throat, he snorts, "Should've just slugged the Sheriff and slept the night through." Not that he would have been sleeping for a good bit of it. The mention of writing a letter causes him to look up from his bow, "Fuck, I don't know what I'd say." Not that he likes her, of course. "You know I'm shit with words, Ser." And then he realizes what he's sort of kind of admitting, and he clears his throat, "Besides, she's just someone who's fun to have around. She likes my fiddling," that wasn't meant to be dirty, but he flushes bright red none-the-less, "and she's easy on the eyes."

Jac tries not to grin, clearing his throat to keep his expression sober all the same. "And you like having her around," he offers knowingly. He pauses a moment, lifting his gauntlet hand to rub at his chin thoughtfully. "You're a man of music, aren't you, young Darek?" He looks down to the boy, fully aware of the answer that he will be given. "Use music as your muse, boy. It will tell you what to say." He chuckles wryly a bit. "And you needn't be a sop about it, if that's what you're worried about. There are ways to write to her without sounding like a wet cockrel." He arches a brow at him.

Darek gives Jac his best look of teenage disdain, "No shit, Ser. If I didn't like havin' her 'round, I wouldn't have asked her to come up to Highfield." Ohshit. His eyes widen a bit, and he clears his throat, evidently not having meant to admit that. Quickly changing over to the other topic, he actually asks advice, "How would you use music as a muse for writin' a letter, Ser? I mean… it's sound for me, not words like it is when you're singin'."

Ah ha! Jac grins broadly at the admission though he clears his throat, coughing into his fist to nod honestly. "Of course, because the girls up here at Highfield are lacking. No brown curls, blue eyes… she has freckles too, doesn't she, boy? I admit I was trying not to look too much. I think the girl was embarrassed enough without an old man leering at her." He chuckles a bit before he rubs at his chin again. Then he releases an exasperated sigh. "But the songs you play have lyrics to them, don't they? You said you wanted to learn to sing, well now your first lesson is finding a song worth singing."

Darek shakes his head at the description, "I'm sure there're girls with all those features, and yes, she's got freckles. And a nice nose. And — " he's getting off topic, and probably going to get himself in trouble with the next things he describes. "And I haven't gotten a chance to see the girls up in Highfield, but weren't you just telling me back in The Roost that it ain't right to get cozy with more than one girl at a time?" There's a pause, then he adds thoughtfully, "Though I hear you can do that, if you pay enough, at some brothels." Shaking his head and doing his best to recover, he shrugs, "Half the songs I play I make up on the spot, Ser. They don't have words 'cause no one's written 'em yet. The rest are folk songs, and they've got different songs wherever you go." He's not going to just flat-out refuse a task, however, so he adds, "So I should go with Cape-words to some song?"

"I did say such a thing," Jac confirms. "I was not aware that you were asking that young miss to join us up here though. You have always suggested she was just there for a little fun at the Roost." He smirks a bit before he clears his throat again, offering a slight shrug. "Songs are not written in stone or wood, or even on parchment, Darek… find one that inspires you and then do whatever you wish to make it what you want it to be. Has she ever asked you to play her a particular song?"

Darek shrugs his shoulders at Jac's first statement too, "I didn't know I was either, Ser. She caught me at a vulnerable moment." Now he's settling back to himself a little bit, casting that cocky grin across his lips, "And yeah, she has. 'The Minnow and the Trout.'" He chuckles then, reaching back to tap the beat out on the body of his fiddle, "Help me out, said the minnow to the trout…" His light tenor is obviously untrained, and a bit pitchy, but it's got a nice sound behind it, "Not exactly the best song for letters." There's a pause then, and he grimaces, "Besides. You gotta pay to send letters, and even if I send her one, I don't want her to have to pay to send one back." Which means he doesn't want her to have to steal something to pay to send one back, but he's not going to say that.

"The best ones tend to do that, young Darek," Jac offers warmly. "Catching us at vunerable moments." He finds himself smiling at the boy with a kind of wisdom that comes with such age. Then he shakes his head a bit before he reaches out to clap the boy on the shoulders, offering a clasp. "It was merely an idea, Squire. But… may I make a suggestion all the same?"

Darek scrubs back his hair as he raises his head from looking down to the fiddle, rocking a little at the clap and tilting his head a little, "'Course, Ser. Not that I could stop you if I wanted, Ser." The last is obviously teasing the knight, perhaps closer to little brother behavior than a proper squire.

"Should she decide to come up to Highfield," Jac begins as he uncrosses his arm, adjusting the belt that holds his sword, "Do something nice for the girl. If she's coming all that way just for you, you better find a way to thank her… and giving her a proper tumble isn't it." He then gives the boy a small shove. "Now, we have some drills to get to. Especially if you want to play at the inn tonight."

Darek opens his mouth to protest, "I took her out on a damned picnic when she got back from Stonebridge. Didn't even try more than a little kissin' and ticklin'." where 'tickling' is code for 'heavy petting,' of course. He spreads his arms a little, griping, "C'mon, Ser. Gimme a little credit. I wouldn't still be around if I didn't know how to show a girl a good time." And he makes 'woah woah' gestures with his hands, "Doin' something nice for her, not the other way." Rocking back from the shove, he recovers quickly, flashing that grin, "That all you got, Ser?" He bounces from foot to foot, bringing up his hands in front of his face as if he were a prizefighter, then lets them drop and nods, "Ready for anything, Ser."

"Didn't mean to tarnish your good name, Darek," Jac chortles before he promptly gives the boy a bwap across the back of his head. "Alright… lets do a few laps, shall we?"