|Soups and Songs|
|Summary:||The performance of two minstrels of completely different background and ability entertain the drunken crowd at the Common House as a deeply grieving hedge knight is about to lose his temper.|
|Common House, Stonebridge|
|The Common House, located at the intersection of the docks and the town proper, provides a roof and more for travelers that arrive via land or water. The warm interior is kept so by a large hearth at one end of the room, the subtle hint of peat at the edges of the smells within. The main room is large and provides for long tables and benches over the planked wooden floor. Clay pitchers stand ready to serve the customers with multiple kinds of refreshment. A few whores work as waitresses for the visitors, providing companionship at the rear of the building where the more well-off visitors stay. Those of the lower classes are welcome to sleep on the benches or on the floor near the hearth.|
|October 4th, 289|
Only in a seriously crummy locale in a pretty much burnt out town could singing this bad be this big. Stonebridge is still almost entirely a garrison settlement, and the common house, stuffed with too many men in leather to share without rancour the occasional bold returned harlot, is going wild to the sound of a harp - or, as a trained minstrel might have averred, a shadowcat being strangled with one - accompanied by a voice harsh in its tone and frank in its lyrics, extremely disrespectful about various prominent captains on the Nayland and Charlton sides both. The singer, for want of any more accurate description, is a stringy, middling-sized fellow, a black hood raised shielding his hair and most of his face. They say he came down from Heronhurst way, and it's true he hasn't settled to mocking the Erenfords yet…
It's late evening, which no doubt assists the singer's reception too - any man not on guard duty has absolutely nothing better to do than to give ear.
<FS3> Maldred rolls Woodharp: Good Success.
<FS3> Maldred rolls Singing: Good Success.
The song may be crude, the notes harsh, and the instrument cheap, but its maker knows his crowd, and before these various levy men, with their strange combination of deep cynicism and sudden sentimentality, it more and more goes down as a roaring triumph. Things get noisy, and that's not the fault of harp nor singer…
"Idiot can't carry a tune in a bucket.", one grumpy young man comments from the bar, where he's been sitting and drinking steadily for some time. He's wearing the boiled leathers of a hedge knight, a long sword by his side. The weary face, dark stubble and unwashed hair speak of a long journey and bad tidings. He pats an overeager whore on her rump to shoo her away and turns from the bar towards the singer: "Even the cats of Kings Landing sing better than you! How much to make you stop?"
Leaning against a wall with a tankard of the famed Mire-beer in his hand stands a tall blonde man, one of the Nayland guardsmen who are currently not on duty. Whenever one of the Charlton captains is taunted by the hooded singer Hareth raises his tankard with a broad smile and joins in the laughter. The ridicule of Naylands however has him fall silent and cast a quick glance about, as if he were trying to memorize the faces of the men who are laughing. As the song proceeds, the guardsman's watchful blue eyes come to rest on the singer, as if he were waiting for the inevitable mention of one particular captain. His attention is diverted slightly by the hedgeknight's remark. "Aye, he should stop. It's an insult to the ears. And the song… an insult as well, if he doesn't watch his tongue." he calls to the man, his baritone carrying well enough to be heard over the racket.
The strange hedge knight's incursion actually does provoke a pause from the singer - and mutters and grumbles from the hitherto surprisingly satisfied patrons. "City boy, are yer?" the hooded man jibes back with easy mockery. "Knight o' the court, mayhaps? Shall I sing yer a song about our sweet Queen?" Very dangerous territory perhaps, it he proposes a ditty in the same genre, but no one round here likes Westermen or their golden lady that much, so it manages to raise another laugh. At the big guardsman's loud growl of a response, the 'minstrel' sighs in pretend-regret. "But Cap'n! I was jus' abou' ter reach t'Herons! Fair's fair, n' truly heroic song," his smile is twisted as a misericorde, "takes no side…"
"…like the Night's Watch," the would-be-singer and apparently would-be-jester, goes on, to ever louder reports of mirth, "…or better still, the Freys!"
The stranger offers a glare to the minstrel and grunts. "Watch your tongue, man, 'lest you want it ripped from your throat." He doesn't respond to the suggestion that he might be a city boy or give any explanation. Instead he takes another gulp of his ale and keeps watching the minstrel to see what he might get up to next.
…and whether it may be worth the bother of punching him to shut him up.
Although the men around him start to cheer in a state of drunken frenzy, Hareth's face twists into a cautious smile and he gives the hooded singer a nod as he could take not much offence in his reply. His blue eyes, still alert, do not leave the strange minstrel however, as the Nayland guardsman takes another sip of beer from his tankard, paying very much attention to whatever song the singer might perform next.
The naysayers are calmed, or at least stalled, for now, and the crowd are whipped up into quite a state of impatience. Even the singer, for all of his gutsy swagger, seems uncomfortably aware that the stakes have got rather high then. He delays a little longer with a gentle dig at the hedge knight, "Well, since the Kingsguard over there ain't in the mood for a ballad royal…back to the *Battle o' Stonebridge*, eh, lads?"
And he gives his harp a strum more enthusiastic than precise, in a new, majestic line. The song now describes the Erenford charge, and, quite seamlessly, he seems to have taken the hint after all (or it might be the rumours were true that named him some Erenford spy). "The White Knights of Heronhurst" are given rousing, unsubtle acclaim, the Nayland men are all doughty models of hardihood, and only the Charltons are liars and horse-fornicators to a man. The song concludes with Aleister, the 'Knight o' Falsefield', returning home to discover that his wife has eaten their baby…
<FS3> Maldred rolls Singing: Success.
<FS3> Maldred rolls Woodharp: Good Success.
The stranger's heart is truth be told, obviously less in this narration, but it should be a safe enough crowd-pleaser…
As the evening falls over the town of Stonebridge, the smell of ashes and rusty steel still lingering between the steam of bitter ale and laughter of the common house, a rather exceptional figure enters the room with the door creaking quietly. Garion, the flouncy minstrel wears as always a bold smile about the edges of his lips, a certain spark in his cerulean eyes. As so often one of his hands wanders through his light brown hair as he skims the crowd for a fair maiden or at least a maiden. This time though, three fair haired ones catch his attention -all with honey in their hair, but certainly not to be called a maiden, unless he wants to risk losing a few ruffles of his. "Lan the clever must find his way through the Riverlands, for the gold he stole the gods certainly landed on your handsome heads, melords.", he comments "And in your heart.", he adds with a wink to a serving wench. A heartbeat later he seems to recognise at least one of the knights, as he catches the sight of a certain harp. "Seven, you've been practicing, nameless minstrel?", he asks the bastard knight, after he finishes his performance.
Alas the new song does nothing to rouse the hedge knight's spirits. Apparently he's one of those who get aggressive when they are drunk. He finally slams his empty tankard onto the table, gets to his feet and walks over to the minstrel, his figure slightly hunched, his hands already balled to fists. "So it's all a joke to you, is it, man?", he barks at the singer, "The misery and loss of Stonebridge to be turned into a stupid song? None of your fancyarse words will bring the people of Stonebridge back to life, yea? So get the hell out of here before I make you!"
This stirring ballad of manly virtue and cannibalism provokes, with its final verse, the raising of an eyebrow belonging to a plainly-clad woman of middle years who has just taken her place at a bench halfway betwixt fire and frost.
She watches the singer with some dubiety as he accepts his applause, his catcalls, and his threats of bodily harm; then shakes her head, sniffs, and raises a hand to summon a serving wench. Her efforts do not meet with immediate success, for the slatterns employed upon these premises are not so lackwitted as to be unaware that the inn's rare female customers offer them far less profit than the men.
It isn't till she pushes the hood of her cloak back to show the cheerful blue silk headscarf beneath it, and reveals herself as a person of greater than average means, that one of the girls deigns to enter her orbit and accept her order of a mug of ale and a bowl of whatever that is that smells almost appetising.
Whatever doubts have showed on Hareth's face just a few moments before, he seems placated by the hooded singer's song. He even breaks out in clearly audible laughter as Lord Aleister and his baby's death are ridiculed - the jest a bit out of taste perhaps, yet by no means questioning the Nayland's authority.
At the strange greeting of the young man entering the place Hareth raises a brow - surprised at being called 'melord'. And it takes him a while to comprehend the well-phrased words' meaning that the man is tossing at him. "I'm no lord, man. Just Hareth. Guardsman of the Naylands." he offers an introduction, if not anything more.
The hedge knight's aggressive motion towards the singer does not go unnoticed, and Hareth rushes to his side, putting a hand on the man's shoulder. "Now now, Ser hedgeknight. No need to start a brawl." The tankard, now empty, stands upon a nearby table, as the guardsman's other hand rests on the pommel of his sword.
"I thank ye for yer…safeguard, Master Guardsman, but I don't intend there to be no trouble," the cowled minstrel observes, laying down his harp and dismissing various drunken demands for more with a curt swing of his long, strong left arm, calling to the bar for the ale which is the just-about-successful singer's right. "Meet m'acquentence, lads, Garion Goldenbreath, swear ye'll like him much the better. Most famous tongue…o' Fairmarket." A certain droll emphasis indicates how weighty an accolade that might be intended as. As the hooded man leaves the woodharp in place - it's the house's, not his own, obviously - he gives the hedge knight a cold, direct look. The ex-singer is shorter, but otherwise, they look surprisingly evenly matched taken together, sinew to sinew.
Leon doesn't seem to be too fazed at the cold look he's getting and grins smugly when the singer abandons his harp to head for the bar. "Glad to see you got the good sense to shut your big annoying yap before I had to punch it shut.", he informs him in passing, then focuses his gaze on - what?! Another minstrel? Place is infested with them. "And you, Foulbreath?", he snarls at Garion, "What wonderful song about Stonebridge are -you- going to sing?!"
Relaxing at least a bit as the hooded singer addresses him and leaves the stage to another minstrel - hopefully less controversial in picking his song, the young guardsman notices the hedge knight's grin and removes his hand from Leon's shoulder with a nearly inaudible sigh, the short moment of danger having passed without much action on his part required. Although Hareth still keeps an eye on the hedge knight as he resumes his place from before at the wall, curious about the songs the next minstrel is going to perform.
Unobtrusively Garion tries to bring a table (and probably a few innocent serving wenches as an addition) between him and the boiling conflict. Skimming the room, he decides the woman with the silken headscarf could be the most firm shield in this room, for often fists find their way around wealthy woman and the act of being chivalrous is easily to perform without much effort if things get too lively. He already started to arm himself with one of his seashell-white smiles to the woman, as surprisingly his own name reaches his ears.
Using the smile he so fancily attached to his mouth to the most convincing look through the crowd he turns around and bows, though a hint of a surpressed curse appears in his eyes as the possibility to get to his desired shield went down the river. His bright smile dries up, as he answers to the harsh words of the hedgeknight. "Aye, Ser, Stonebridge and it's loss… brave men and bloody streets. Men fought bravely… Maybe I'd rather sing about… something that eater brightens our moods, than evoking the shadows that hold us down again?", he suggests certainly a bit surprised, while he, unobtrusively again, wanders over to a bit of a save space behind Hareth. The next shield, he hopes for.
A woman who trespasses often into masculine realms, Maud Astley knows better than to meet the eyes of the men around her, or to take too obvious interest in a brewing quarrel. But she is listening all the same, as she sits alone with her back to the old stone wall.
Three or four blokes receive their ale prior to the unceremonious plonking-down before her of a mug and a spoon and a bowl. She sips from the former while peering into the latter, weighing up the arguments for and against the actual consumption of its contents. It doesn't smell nearly so charming at close range, and she is reminded of how much higher on the hog she'd be eating were she at home in the Mire today.
Her fine dark gaze rises again, swooping lightly across the common room. That one there, he's a Nayland guardsman — she knows him by sight, though he probably doesn't know her. The advantages of keeping oneself to oneself. The others, well, they're the usual crowd. They look worse than they are and seem unlikely to bother her as long as she doesn't bother them.
She essays a spoonful of whatever-it-is. One is enough.
"Oh, gerroutovit, cub," the hooded man grumbles offhand, as he sidles past the hedge knight to pick up his song's guerdon, a long, light ale. His striding, hasty movement lets his cowl down, and though it seems an accident it's not one that at all perturbs him. Quite as the second minstrel had said, he's another yellow-head, though not a very well-kempt one, and indeed he looks like he has a handful of years on the pugnacious hedge knight. "What's it to yer, anyway, crownlander?" He seems to consider that enough, and swaggers over in the direction of a certain…'serving-girl', as it happens the same one who ministered to Maud moments before. Over her decolletage, his eyes take in the craftswoman struggling with her brew, and he passes dry comment with a short bark of well-refreshed mirth.
<FS3> Garion rolls Lute: Great Success.
<FS3> Garion rolls Singing: Good Success.
"WHAT A BUNCHA PANSIES!", Leon bellows loudly and snorts, as Garion makes his way to safety behind Hareth's back, "It's no wonder Stonebridge burnt to the ground with softwits like you around! Gods what the villagers must have gone through, left defenseless with only a bunch of whining minnies strumming their harps. Or did you hope to repulse the Charltons with terrible music?" He trails after Maldred when he hears the question and gives the man's shoulder a push. "I tell you, what's it to me, you howling alleycat! While you were sitting on your fat soft butts wailing to the moon my family out lost their lives at the hands of the Charltons with no one to protect them but a bunch of useless Naylands!"
As many eyes seem to rest on the self-called golden-breathed minstrel, a bit of nervousness still sneaks in his sparkling mien, for it is rather court, he imagines his songs should be heard than a place like the common house. But nobody could say he won't use the possibility to show of a bit of his golden breath. Getting the wooden lute from his back, he bows dutifully though and starts in a cheery little tune:
"Is it Stonebridge? I'd say nay,
Far it is, far, far away
Where Half Harrol rode against his foes,
His enemies, his sister's beaus.
And with a blow as swift as light,
Rain got thick and red so bright,
The sword sank down from head to neck
From neck to spine to horse and back.
The crowd seems to be cheered indeed, for chortling laughter and even light clapping ends his song. "See, that's the way you should handle the lady in your lap.", he ends, stroking his lady-lute one last time. The choir to chase away all the bits of nervousness in his mien. "Yeah, what is it with you, knight?", he asks, sitting down at the table with the two other men, though still taking care of keeping the table surface between him and at least the more ill-humoured flaxen knight. "Oh. A pity.", he simply adds as the talk wanders from soft butts to lost families.
The direction of the lately-hooded warrior minstrel's laughter being plain enough, Mistress Astley answers it with a nod of agreement. Not a smile, though, that would be too forward; particularly given that she has not yet decided whether his potential for trouble seems greater with his head-covering, or without it.
Tis strange today, although Hareth is off duty he can not help but fall back into his ever vigilant ways. His gaze is on the former singer's face as the hood falls from his head for a moment, before it wanders back to the hedge knight - an obviously very grumpy and loud fellow, the kind that will cause trouble if not watched closely. And the minstrel, whose delivery of the songs brings a smile to Hareth's face but who chooses to sit down at the table just beside the two possible troublemakers. The decision comes quite naturally to Hareth to assume a place in close proximity to that table, so that he can intervene should it become necessary.
"What a pity yer weren't with 'em," the scruffy maybe-minstrel spits back, the double meaning there hardly concealed. For all his admiring words about Garion, his successor on the stage, he seems detached from the new performance (a perfect gem of its kind, amiable, unproblematic, comic, even sounds quite good); maybe he's envious, more probably just indifferent. When the waitress bats him off with the kind of expression that hints he may have better luck next time, he shrugs and sidesteps closer to the unenthusiastic woman with her unenthusiastic soup. "Y'not fr' these parts, miss'us? Funny, y' know, ye're the only," he sneers, "damsel 'ere who won't be sizing up when to 'ave 'er skirt off. And yet seems I'm talking to you. Curiosity, mayhaps." A long, and sharply pronounced word for a common wastrel with a half-grasped harp technique.
"Say what now!?", Leon barks at the maybe-minstrel when he gets snotty and pushes his shoulder again, "You looking for trouble? Be my guest!" He casts a glance towards the woman Maldred had accosted, then looks at the man again: "You can pick up a skirt later… if you can still stand when I'm done with you. Come on then, pansy!", he goads him, obviously aching for a fight and thus pushing the man again.
“And with his fists of solid rocks
He throws some squalid, thunder-knocks…”
With a small movement Garion shoves his chair to the wall and comments the martial air getting more tense with a the quiet continuing of his song, watching the scene curiously. A pity the ale, he earned with the first part of his performance can't reach him right now, for the serving woman is clever enough to stay out of line for now.
Long words are far from intimidating to Mistress Astley, a woman of precise and educated diction, who brought with her to the swamplands she inhabits an accent coloured by environs as far-flung as King's Landing and the North. She is concentrating now upon her interlocutor, tilting her head towards him, framing an answer as considered and polite as she would give a lord.
"Perhaps, ser minstrel, there comes a moment in any man's life at which skirtless damsels cease to fascinate quite as they did in his earliest youth. Of course, if it proves to be a short moment, you'll find no dearth of the same in this world," she unfolds a long-fingered hand in a gesture which takes in the obvious, "and have neither gained nor lost by digression."
Hareth's gaze follows Maldred as he approaches the woman with the soup, remaining for a short moment on her face until he recognizes her. A woman from his home, the Mire, whose trade brings her from time to time to Stonebridge. His attention is distracted by the hedge knight's barking. "I have warned you already once, ser." he says with a menacing baritone. And his hand comes to rest once more on the pommel of his sword.
The scoundrel of the former hood appears to appreciate his interlocutor's articulate speculation, and his laugh sounds again, this time, infinitely more at ease and open. But alas, such a merry gurgling brook of innocent humour is doomed to quick suppression, as the violent drunken 'knight' goes too far. The 'singer' spins, and faces up to the maudlin bully. "A lady is present, ser." His description of Maud is perhaps generous, and his voice is also sounding ever more obviously courtly. "If you press this folly, you can choose your punisher - " he nods Hareth's way - "him in here, or me out there. But I'd sit down, if I were you, have another drink and a cry. You'll feel ever so much better if you weep by choice, not force."
"Lady? THAT?", Leon scoffs, looking briefly towards Maud again, "There's no proper lady in a place such as this! Seven hells, I would lock up my own sister for life if I ever caught her in a place like this!" And there's Hareth moving in on him, which seems to cheer Leon up no end. "Punisher?", he snorts, "That pansy? Come on, friend, show me what you're made of then!" He ignores Maldred for the worthier foe in the shape of Hareth and approaches him, pushing his chest with one hand. "Come on, pansy!"
"And with his glaring-daring eye
He stares and prompts his foes to cry…”
Garion keeps singing in his cheery tune, though his words are half hummed by now. Amusement sparkles in his cerulean eyes. A heartbeat he hesitates, and reaches out for a half filled cup of ale on the table to put it on a place, where it won't stain his precious doublet if spilled in action.
"Mistress, maybe you… we should get to a corner more save? Blood is heated and fists are soon to be busy as it seems…"
Nodding irked approval at Garion for 'looking to the lady', the preceding minstrel gives the back of the hedge bully's neck a fairly acidic and long stare. "Mayhaps she'll thank me later then," he murmurs, somewhat mysteriously, perhaps, until he lunges onto the knight's back, his long arms whipping in to pinion the bigger man's limbs. "No doubt you can sort out the marriage contract between you later, …ser."
First she is a lady; then she, emphatically, is not. These estimations of her character would amuse Maud no end, did they not float upon such ominous undercurrents.
On some occasions she might have concurred with the recommendation vouchsafed by the minstrel, the 'real' minstrel as she thinks of him in this place where she knows so few names; but having her status (or lack thereof) bandied about leaves her feeling… slightly responsible, for whatever fuel her presence has heaped upon these embers.
She clears her throat, and begins to speak, but she has got no further than, "Sers, it is true I am no lady, but—" before the inevitable ensues. She scoops up her half-empty mug, and, as an afterthought, sets the cooling soup on the floor under the table where it can be a menace only to boots which have seen worse.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Maldred=unarmed Vs Leon=alertness
< Maldred: Good Success Leon: Success
< Net Result: Maldred wins - Marginal Victory
"This is a respectable woman, Ser Hedgeknight. But who am I to remind you of honour. A simple guard. If you're looking for a brawl, go outside. But not in here, with all these people." Hareth retorts with a forced calm. "You're out of your senses, man. I'll draw steel if you force me to!" That being the last warning he is going to issue as he assesses Leon with cold blue eyes. Yet Maldred's pinning of the hedge knight from behind takes the guardsman almost by as much surprise as the maybe-minstrel's victim.
Having successfully goaded the other men into action, Leon is actually slow when it comes to responding to said action. Before he knows what's happening, the mystery-minstrel has grabbed him and pinioned his arms. "Get your hands off me, man!", he growls, "I swear you'll be sorry!"
"Mistress, would you come over…", Garion insists, slowly standing up and clinging closely to his precious lute. With a small nod, he points to the other part of the room, close to the door and far away from the two fair haired hotheads. With a big gesture, he offers his arm, clothed in shaggy blue sammet.
Maud had thought it wiser just to stay put against the wall, rather than walk about in the vicinity of men who might at any moment swing their fists; but the more Garion hovers, the greater the risk to him and his instrument as well as to herself, and so she rises slowly, without making any sudden movements, and edges away along the wall in the direction the minstrel is so keen to escort her in.
A guardsman has to ensure the order and to stop any hedge knights before they can cause any more trouble. Using the advantage of Leon being pinned by Maldred, Hareth brings his right fist down hard on the hedge knight's jaw.
<FS3> Hareth rolls Unarmed: Good Success.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Leon=unarmed Vs Maldred=unarmed
< Leon: Good Success Maldred: Success
< Net Result: Leon wins - Solid Victory
The guardsman's finely-timed impact has unexpected knock on consequences, as with a yowl of pain the hedge knight kicks his captor's shin with such visceral intensity that the minstrel turned wrestler relinquishes his grip. It is obvious that the latter is bored by this common, hands-on bickering, and he speaks rather than responding, in an even timbre - "Enough of this, ser. I have a long road ahead. Share it, and we can have a detailed discussion of your sister's maidenhead, with none to eavesdrop its secrets."
Another bold smile conquers the golden breathed face as he leads the woman to the other corner of the room. "Isn't it a lovely evening to watch such nasty manners? A lively scene, but for us gentler souls it is always better to observe and learn from afar. ", he chatters. "What's the name of my lovely company? ", he asks.
A quiet muttering, that has started to emerge when the talk of the fair haired men gets louder arrises to an angry choir. Some other men arrise, especially a portly publican, a ill-humoured growl crawling out of his dark beard, turning to Hareth "Guard, get them out of here. And not in again, before I get a silver stag of every man, who swings a fist in here. The town already suffered enough, I don't need my furniture destroyed. Out of here. Now. " With that he glances to a wooden bat, hidden under a two barrels in the back of the room.
The serving wenches slowly disappear through a smaller door at the back of the room, though certainly several curious eyes linger around the doorframe not to miss anything that might be happening.
The impact of the other man's fist on his jaw makes Leon see an explosion of stars in front of his eyes and releases a fury that makes him apply a strong booted kick to his captor's shin, enabling him to break free in the process. "Get the hell out of here!", he barks at Maldred, his eyes promising murder when the man speaks of his sister's maidenhead. But for now he's more focused on Hareth, lifting his fists to counter a potential second attack from the man.
The woman who has so very unexpectedly found herself a pretext for a brawl between two much-younger men — though, let us be honest, if it hadn't been her, it could have been almost anything else — tilts her silk-shrouded head quizzically toward Garion. She gives him a look which is peculiar indeed, as though perhaps she is trying to determine whether she is being made sport of. "Too lively for me," is her honest summation of events. She offers him, belatedly, her hand, in a brusque, almost manly shake. "Maud Astley."
Looking a bit disappointed that Leon managed to break free from the maybe-minstrel's grasp, Hareth hears the publican's plea. Lunging forward, he tries to hit Leon's jaw with another punch - which will hopefully knock him out.
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Hareth=unarmed Vs Leon=unarmed
< Hareth: Great Success Leon: Good Success
< Net Result: Hareth wins - Solid Victory
Blows are traded, but Leon is drunk, unfocused and riled beyond belief, so his first hardly connects with the other man's face, while Hareth gets another got hit in that sends Leon flying backwards into a table. Ale is spilled, bowls are broken and a mercifully unlit candle falls to the ground. The young hedgeknight struggles to get to his feet, but the well-placed blow seems to have sobered him up a little. "Outside!", he barks at Hareth, his hand going to his sword…
"Ouch." Garion comments with not much of sympathy, as he observes the brawl. "An honour and a pleasure.", he says to the woman nearby. "Garion of Fairmarket is my name, often called Garion Goldenbreath.", the bow he offers is small, for he doesn't want to draw too much attention on him, but his expression sincere. "Seven! ", he mutters, as he realizes the call "Outside! " means, the fighting men could pass soon. At court there would have been curtains to hide behind at least. A little sigh follows.
"I'll shan't wait, ser alebutt," Leon's mocking pseudo-minstrel nemesis murmurs softly from the door, whither he has somehow sidled. "But any appointment will suit me. So look for my coming any day, any night. If it suits you the less, that is little business of mine. I leave now to muse long, and hard, on your luscious little sister." And then he is indeed out of the door, leaving half an ale undrunk, and, unfortunately for his tottering adversary, all too soon a-saddle and untraceable, for now…
Maud is still holding, protectively, a mug containing a moderate quantity of ale. She raises it in a small ironic salute, but forebears to comment.
Despite a few broken bowls, no serious damage has been done. And the hedge knight seems to have finally given in to reason. At least some sort of reason. Hareth gives the publican a quick nod as if to say that the impending danger to the inn has been thwarted, before he eyes the hedge knight with a light shake of his head. "Let's settle it outside then, ser. Not with swords though. If a punch is what you need at the moment then a punch you'll get. It'll help you sobering up, ser, while blood letting'll only make it worse." There is a quick glance to the departing maybe-minstrel and a nod of thanks for his assistance, before Hareth's gaze returns to the hedge knight.
Leon stares at the other man for a while, then just snorts. "To hell with all of you!", he grunts and just staggers out to go and sleep off the booze in some haystack.
Not only the maybe minstrel, but also the 'certainly-minstrel' decide to depart. Quietly Garion slips out of the door, a last wink to the woman whom he accompanied to a more save space.
As the formerly hooded one departs, the publican nods contently, still glaring at the hedgeknight but with his mien softening as the latter also departs.
And as for the 'soup', it is left to congeal; and good riddance.