|Summary:||Rowan and Caytiv do a bit of sparring on the green. Rowan is reminded that wrestling is not his forte.|
|The Green — Terrick's Roost|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|6th day of Eighthmonth, 288 AL|
Squire Rowan has been up since Very Sodding Early, dragging blunted practice weapons and any armor that looks like it might fit the Banefort bastard out to the practice green. He looks ragged, squinting painfully at the morning light, greenish-grey and nauseous. Further, the lad smells of last night's (or the wee hours of this morning's) indiscretions. Whiskey. And lots of it. "Seven take me," he mutters as he shoves a practice dummy up onto its stand. "Put off wine. Put off whiskey. Soon there'll be no comfort left for me in this world."
Very Sodding Early seems to be the hour at which the Banefort bastard thrives. With no herds to see to, the setting of the sun fair well put him to bed in the grasses of the Green, a lion's hide from among his few effects laid out for him to rest on, a tuffet of grass sprouting through the gash where he'd speared the animal. And the horizon not even being grey with the threat of the sun by the time he rises, bootless and shirtless, and makes a roll of the lion's skin around his boots, shirt and vest, tying it off with a rope to sling over his shoulder and trudge back toward the stables. Spotting a shape lugging other shapes onto the green, he slips into a run across the valley until he recognizes the shape for certain, "Ay!" he shouts out, voice meant for ringing across the mountains to those proceeding the herds as he takes up the end of the train. "Need any help there, Rowan?" The squire's name rolled into one smooth syllable with the rough-rolling Mountain accent.
Rowan pants, leaning back against the dummy he's just put upright. "Oi! You're a blister, are you? Show up when the work is done?" The Nayland boy's tone is jesting, smile bright despite his pallor and sweat. "G'morning, Hill! You're actually just the person I was going to need to fetch, in a moment here — so well met!" He picks up a patched maille shirt and heaves it at Caytin. "Suit up. Ser Jarod's bid me see what you're made of, lad."
Caytiv catches the maille without bending to its weight except by an unbending of his elbows, then hefts the item over his shoulder and holds it there with one hand. "Has he, then? A fine thing. I've scarce heard of the Lord Ser my sister's wedded-for since he ran me yestermorn. I reckon the fellow's got his eye on the lass rather than aught else," he snorts out his mirth, crouching down to unfasten and unroll his makeshift pack, getting his shirt to wear under the maille. That's a mistake he won't make again. "I hope I haven't shown myself lack-lustre to the Lord Ser, at least. He hasn't said aught to you nor your Ser, has he, ay?"
"Ah, no, don't fret over that," Rowan says reassuringly, pulling on his own gear. "The Young Lord's just… you know. Preoccupied. He's got a wedding in the offing, I hear he wants to have a tourney to celebrate the engagement, and then there's all the other lordy things. Politics and whatnot." He shrugs, the chain armor clinking as it settles. "You've got a rather cushy position, as Ser Jaremy's squire. He won't require much of you, less there's games in the offing or, Seven forbid, some kind of real conflict."
Caytiv sets the maille down long enough to slide on his shirt and lace it up tight to ward off pinching, then to check his boots for spiders or other nasties before putting them on and lacing them up. The maille comes last, sliding down into place even as he stands as though into it, fastening it off as if he's at least had practice with that. "Ay, Annie did tell me the Lord Ser isn't thought much of, for a Knight. Well, be it so: aren't my place to say. But I came here to be put to work, not to be made a lass out of to sit in waiting. If he won't put work to me, put me some yourself, or else show me where the loose-legged lassies frequent, and I shall work at sowing my own bastard."
Rowan raises his eyebrows. "Did she, now?" He quickly turns his attention to adjusting a strap. "I certainly hope it wasn't me gave her that impression." Not, notably, that he contradicts it. He tosses a helm to Caytiv, then heaves a blunted practice sword his way, as well. "Jaremy means well enough." It's a bit damning, that faint praise. "Anyhow, right. If he won't keep you busy, I will. There's plenty to do in a day around here. And as for lasses," he smirks. "I'm afraid I'm not the best one to ask about that. Maybe one of the other boys will know."
Caytiv catches the helm and slides it under his off-arm, catching the false blade in his right hand with a keen enough eye and coordination. "Ay, do ye that," he encourages. "Felt an awful oaf strolling about down the town all of a fore-noon yesterday," he mutters. "When there's work to get done. A lass knows well when a fellow comes a calling in the daytime he's a terrible do-nothing, ay? He spins the sword to tuck it under his arm in a way that would surely hurt if it had an edge, and uses both hands thus freed to helm himself.
"You'd best be careful how many little Hills you make, my friend. It can get terribly expensive, supporting them all." Rowan smirks, helming himself and taking up his practice sword. "So what are you best at?" he asks, twisting his wrist so his blade cuts a circle in the air. "Martially, I mean. But also if you've got other talents, I'd like to know them."
Caytiv gets his sword out from his armpit and holds it one-handed, then two-handed, then one-handed again, feeling out the practice blade's weight. "Before the Lord Banefort recognized his seed in me I was an Eversblye, I drove the flocks through the pass, could shear and birth and milk as needed. Trapped and broke my own mount. Won my share of sport-prizes in wrestling steer and roping swine. For fighting, I fought less with men than with beast, but my spear flies straight in the hunt, and I never shied from aiming to kill a man, if he was a-thieving from our flocks. I suppose my greatest 'martial' victory was to have caught and snapped a thief's neck with my crook from horseback. I have only yet been shown to fight with a blade, but I have strength in me for a fight, and hope my earnestness will make up for my skill."
Rowan whistles long and low. "That's impressive," he replies, stepping a slow circle around Caytiv, sizing him up as an opponent now. "Don't worry if you don't know much of the blade yet. You'll learn. Sounds as though when it comes to spears and grappling, you'll have me quite outmatched. We'll do a little of everything today, so you'll have your chance to trounce me." He holds his blade in salute and bows his head. "Warrior be with you, Hill."
Caytiv imitates the salute, but if he bows his head he keeps his eyes levelled at Rowan. "With both of us, Rowan, and may he choose his blessed," he returns. And with a shove of the balls of his feet into the grass he's forward at a run and sliding with his back twisted around to try to slam around the back of the squire's thigh with the flat of his blade, two-handed, to try to knock him down. It's a wild move, of course, and leaves his chest and abdomen open to all kinds of attacks in the meanwhile.
It's an opening Rowan takes full advantage of, though it does allow Caytiv's attack to follow through. The smaller lad angles his blade as one might a pike, setting it so the mountain man's own charge impales him on it. Or would, if the sword were a proper blade. As it is, it's a blunt blow to the solar plexus, knocking the wind out of him. Caytiv's blade does land a stinging blow to the unprotected back of Rowan's legs, however, and the Nayland boy falls with a cry. That's going to leave a mark.
Caytiv slides onto his knees, loosing his blade from one hand and putting it to his chest, using the other hand to stab the false blade into the earth and use it to shove himself up, catching his air with a few determined breaths and coming to stand over the downed squire, not to attack further but to offer him a hand up. "Round to you. That sure would have been a fatal blow to me, and only a sad one for you."
"Hah, well…" Rowan accepts the hand up, still wincing at the welt, "Yes and no. Wound like you just gave me, I'd probably bleed out and follow you into the beyond in short order." He smiles broadly at Caytiv, giving his shoulder a friendly, roughhouse shove. "I badly under-estimated your reach. Won't happen again, I do promise you that. Now," another quick salute, "defend." He sweeps an arc at Cay's side.
Caytiv snorts, but lets a crooked smile emerge, no less. "Aye, a blow like that's to make sure a man has mates to go along with him below," he jokes back roughly, responding well to getting roughed and roughing back with a shove of his shoulder before he's all of a sudden facing the arc of a blade again and trying to get his sword around under it.
Get his sword around under it he does. Rowan grins fiercely as the blades some together, steel singing however blunted it might be. "Well done!" He cries, shoving off and breaking the lock, then feinting left before driving another attack at Caytiv's midsection.
Caytiv looks as though he can hardly believe that Rowan's sword is hitting his sword and not his flank. The retreat gives him enough time to get his mind in the game and get a good handle on his sword again, and when the next attack comes, he steps to, drawing his blade up vertically with the blade held toward the earth as he tries to shove Rowan's blade away with the blade nearest the hilt, where he has the best control of it, the best strength.
It's an excellent gambit, and it pays off. With superior upper body strength, Caytiv is able to twist the blade from Rowan's grips. It goes skittering across the hard-packed earth, quite a ways out of reach. "Fuck!" Rowan cries, looking completely astonished. Then, with a bark of laughter, he barrels his shoulder toward Caytiv's mid-section like a bull calf, apparently having too much fun to do the smart thing and surrender — though it cost him his 'life' in this exercise.
A bull calf? Cayt has surely never been intimidated by one of those. He laughs, as well, and throws away his sword, lowering himself slightly and then ducking to try to nab up Rowan's arms in a tuck hold and shove his back and shoulders into the Squire's midsection. If the move works the way he hopes it will, he'll be carrying the squire like he'd carry a bull calf proper: draped across his shoulders to carry down the mountain to market.
Rowan yelps in surprise as he's flipped end-over-end and lands neatly across Caytiv's shoulders, laughing aloud once more. "Hah! You have far better instincts with the blade than you give yourself credit for, Hill!" he commends, though at the same time he twists his body violently, attempting to free himself from the undignified hold he's in.
And down they both go! Unfortunately, the drop doesn't manage to stun Rowan so much that the lad's down for the count. He rolls over and attempts to pin Caytiv… Skinny, ambitious little monkey the Nayland boy is. "My philosophy is more 'whatever works,'" he pants, grinning. "You should learn to use a sword like a sword, but if you want to — oof! — use it like a staff, and it's effective — good on you!"
Call Cayt unintimidated by Jarod's squire's build, but he's thoroughly baffled when he ends up on his back in turn, fighting off a pinning from the nimble creature suddenly atop him. A hand jumps from the grass to grab at Rowan's wrist and try to quarter-incapacitate him by keeping the hold while he levers himself toward the upper ground if he can find it again. "Quick blighter," he smiles despite the keen look in his eye. "I need more drills, is what I need. The way to swing but keep your flank covered. The way to deflect and return in a single thrust."
Caytiv not only finds the upper ground, he claims it decisively — after all, the lad he's grappling's so skinny he could pin both wrists in one hand. Rowan has just enough time — and breath — yelp, "Oh SOD!" before he's flipped over onto his back and pinned solid. He goes red in the face as he tries to break the hold, bringing all his wiry muscle to bear — but it's no use. Finally, he falls back, chest heaving as he tries to get his wind. "I… yield…" He laughs breathlessly. "Bugger."
Caytiv isn't buying the skinny feeble act this time, he's been on the underside of Rowan's pin and won't be back there, stretching over the smaller squire's body but not overextending himself, getting his weight on key joints to make the struggles to bear no fruit, shoving on them roughly when Rowan tries to escape. Only when Rowan yields does Cayt sit up on the smaller lad's thighs, bringing down a hand to swat him one on the leg as he gives a snort of laughter himself. "No thanks, I'll have me a wank later." And he gets his feet on the ground, standing and unstraddling Rowan before he offers another hand up. "I hardly thought you'd have had it in you to get my shoulderblades to the ground but once," he admits his underestimation. "Fair play to ye, Rowan."
The Nayland boy flushes, smirking as he climbs to his feet. "Hah. I'm immeasurably flattered you're so moved to that necessity," he retorts dryly. He doubles over, still dragging air into his lungs, hands on his knees and limbs trembling from the recent, intense exertion. "Luck," he dismisses his brief moment on top. "I'm the lucky squire of a lucky bastard."
"It's your own fault, so, Rowan. So damn slight are ye I thought I was a-mounting a lass," Cayt gives a rough roll of laughter in turn, helping pull Rowan up with a brisk tug and then letting the squire go. "So, now, wait, you're a Nay-Lander, aren't you? Here I thought Annie told me that there was some bad blood there. How'd you get into the servin' of the Roost?"
"'Cause I'm so damn slight it's like mounting a lass," Rowan smirks, taking deeper breaths at an easier pace as he recovers. "Should've seen me when I was thirteen. Looked like a girl of eight years, then. Sending me instead of one of my 'capable' brothers was meant to be an insult. Like, I don't know… giving a lame old nag as a gift of horseflesh." He straightens and stretches. "The Terrick's've been good to me. Ser Jarod and Lord Ser Jerold, especially. I was a joke to my own kin, and a cruel one." He shrugs. "Where would your loyalties lie?"
"Loyalties?" Cayt hesitates over the word, then snorts at it in derision. "I hardly came here with a horse in this race, Rowan. But my sister is to be wed to a Terrick, and a Terrick has given me leave to learn to fight proper under his colors. I'm not going to buck against what's good for me an' Annie, aye? And for you… well, your Ser will have the last laugh on that joke, seeing the way you wield that weapon."
Rowan laughs. "What? That weapon over there that you wrenched out of my hands?" asks the Nayland, merrily. He goes to retrieve it, getting a boot toe under the blade and kicking it up, snatching the weapon from the air by the hilt. "You have tremendous raw ability, Cayt. Ser Revyn runs drills every sunup, rain or shine. Those should benefit your technique tremendously, but I don't think it should be long before you far surpass me."
Caytiv has the modesty to tip his chin aside at the compliment, scratching at the hair at the back of his head and then, reminded of it, going for his blade, himself, squinting toward the horizon. "I'd better go if I'm to make them, then," he remarks, finally. "Peh," he adds. "You'll grow stronger in time. Eat more meat," he suggests, "And keep up hauling things. But carry them over your shoulders, so, or under your arms, thus," he gestures. "You won't be a skinny lad forever. Come, after drills, have you the time, and we'll go and hunt, get some spare slabs of venison in your gut. You'll add muscle fine."
Grinning, Rowan takes up the blade Caytiv put aside and hands it over, hilt first. "You've a deal," he agrees to the hunting date. "Though if you want to put bulk on these bones, I hope you're prepared to settle for a very petite cut of the deer." He claps his fellow squire on the shoulder, and leads the way to where they'll join the drills, practicing sword forms til mid-morning.