|Summary:||Ser Harold summons young Arthfael for a talk.|
|Related Logs:||None posted yet.|
|Stables, Highfield Keep|
|Attached to a rail-fenced paddock, the stables house both noble and common horse alike. The building is crafted the same as the others of the courtyard — simple and heavily thatched — though it is perhaps one of the largest. The room has been divided into dozens of stalls, and there is plenty of room to have several horses out to be groomed. The floors are carpeted in hay, though a thicker layer is strewn in every stall for bedding and comfort. The back of the stables also house the hound pens, and dry storage for saddles and other equipment.|
|Wed Aug 29, 289|
Though at the workshop Harold had spoken of letting the boy work on the press, and so earn the coin a bit of noble patronage entailed, it hadn't taken more than a few hours before a runner from the Keep came to the workshop with contrary news: That they would no longer have her press built by Arthfael or any carpenter assosicated with that shop, regardless of earlier agreements, and so proving another downside of dealing with the nobility; their fickle natures.
Some time after that again, a page wearing Ser Harold's personal heraldry would have arrived, delivering a second message, this time to Arthfael rather than his grandfather. Ser Harold would like to speak with the boy, by the keep's stables in an hour. The page didn't seem to consider it a request, as much as an inviolable summons. Then again, he was eight. And everything his master said was, to the boy, absolute.
There was bustling activity in the stables that day, as the forces camped east of the township prepared to move, and the knights and men-at-arms who were to join them stirred from the keep's barracks. Ser Harold was a pool of detatched serenity in the middle of the whirlpool of activity, arms folded over his chest as he watched, and occasional barked a few commands, while men and horses moved about. His own courser was being prepared by his squire's hands, as the stallion had a unpredictable temper towards strangers handling it. A prized quality in battle, less so by the stableboys who risked getting their limbs chewed off, or their chests kicked in, whenever they got too close too fast.
The lad had begun to do his best with his grandfather's help to find seasoned wood suitable for the commission. As Highfield had little of it's own to begin with, being a new settlement, wood had to be either shipped in or seasoned quickly on site using kilns. And so the carpenters fretted about making the time limit for other practical reasons other than the ficklness of their lords. As it turns out, it need not be a concern so they turned back to other projects. Still, the ire of a lord and lady were not something to be dismissed and would likely hang over the elder carpenter's head for the rest of his years.
Ser Harold's page is not the only one who hops to do his lord's bidding. Arthfael washes up, changes into his best clothes (such as they are) and arrives timely with damp hair and a faintly worrisome glint in his blue eyes. He has not brought his lute, though his hachet depends from his belt, sharpened and oiled as though his turnout must be as immaculate as he can. After all, this may well be the last time he sees Harold, who marches off to war and may not return. The lad runs at the appointed place and stops to tug his tunic smooth before he walks the last small distance.
Mindful of the horses, Arthfael bows low to the elder soldier before straightening to say, "Ser?" His gaze is distracted by the wonderous horses, fine steeds the like of which Arthfael has not often seen.
Ser Harold continued to watch the horses for a time, even after Arthfael had slipped into his immediate sphere of awareness. There was something calming about the ripple of muscles beneath their fine coats, and the sounds they made, and the smell of them up close. He was a knight, and horses had been part of his life since he had been a toddler. The simple act of letting his hard grey eyes linger on their majesty, it took off some of the stern counterance he had a habit of wearing of late.
A sort of greeting: "Ah, boy." Then followed up in a more conversational tone, reminiscent of the man Arthfael had known, rather than the hard knight he'd recently seen: "That there is my Wicked," he murmured, indicating to the tall courser. "Altogether more nasty than my Furious," which was his riding horse, who still had a bit of a nasty temper of its own, but gentler than the courser. Furious was the horse he had ridden the last couple of years while visiting Maddy and her children. "Altogether more proud and fine, too. Hah. A beauty to ride." He let out a long and whistling exhale, his thick musculared chest winding down.
Harold could ignore Arthfael for an hour, if he likes, but the lad is going to stand there quietly watchful and show however much patience as is required of him. He's already made a poor impression so he's determined perhaps that his last impression upon their parting should be somewhat better. If he can. He watches the man, studying Harold's features and poise, his arms, the man's hands to remember them. Then the boy's attention drifts back to the horses. He says nothing at all, his young face perhaps pensive.
The man's voice draws his focus back. Arthfael listens, gives a small nod to show that he's paying close attention and offers, "Yes, Ser." Even if it's not strictly required that he give any answer. The lad offers no more, waiting.
"Or perhaps not 'a beauty'," Ser Harold admended with a bemused snort, eyes glinting of self aware irony. "Let's say a challange to ride, instead, as he'll throw you off if you're not a match for his mettle. He'll run himself out, too, if you don't warm him up properly, and be of no use if you have another battle soon after." Finally he tore his gaze off the horses, sending a sideways look in Arthfael's direction. He made no attempt to hide the fact he was measuring the boy up.
"Whatever I may have given when we spoke at the tavern, I'll admit that I approve a boy wanting to prove his mettle. A warrior's calling is a proud one. Yet it's a way of life that doesn't deal well with those who fail to give it their whole effort, their body and soul. A mediocre carpenter can start over when he makes a mistake. A medicore warrior will find that his one mistake, cost him his life. Or his arm. Or his leg, or his eye."
Whatever impression Harold made, Arthfael is warier and quieter than his usual. He's seen a side to his 'uncle' he never imagined before, a man he doesn't know. He's quick enough to draw his eyes off of the horses when the knight looks from the horses to himself, meeting Harold's inspection. He gives a nod, "If'n … if ever I got to try, 'n if I were maimed but nae killed, I suppose I might go back tae carpentry after. If I had tae. I know I gots tae look after ma 'n meself. Nobody's gonna look after me if'n I screw up." The boy draws himself up with a deep breath, a flicker of that boldness back, "Ye gonna ride off tae war 'n maybe I nae going tae see ye again. But I'll make me own way, no matter wha' granpa says. I'll keep learn'n tae use th' axe 'n spear. Maybe somebody'll take me on in service, when I'm older."
He may well be risking a clout to his bull head, but Arthfael eyes Harold with that little defiance.
Ser Harold's mouth thinned in a hard and unforgiving line. "A warrior needs, and has earned, his pride," he grumbled in a harsh tone. "But you're not one yet, so I'd keep a reign on your fucking stare, boy, or you'll earn a strapping that will see you walk bow legged for a week." It did not sound like an idle threat.
He frowned as he looked over Arthfael's shoulders and arms, and hands. "You've a weight to you beyond your years. I did too, at your age." Which was not altogether surprising, though he spoke of it without any deeper meaning. No acknowledgement of the blood they shared; simply a comment on an 'unrelated' similarty. "When I ride, you're staying here. What fancies you might have dreamed up were just that; foolish fancies. However, I -can- make arrangements for you to train with the men-at-arms who remain behind in the keep. Access to training equipment, to sparring partners. Perhaps some of the younger squires, if you can match them. A couple of hours a day, though you'd still be bound to your grandfather's service. Get no food, get no pay, get nothing from it but the skill you earn. Show enough of it, though, over over time, and you might be taken on. Slouch, be half assed, spend all your time in the tavern playing music like a wastrel, and the oppertunity is likely to be one you'll come across again."
Yes, he was expecting to be chastized, daring it. Arthfael nonetheless wants to please this man, lowering his gaze and looking at the ground at the threat. There's still a bit of a set to his jaw all the same. His eyes do lift back to Harold at mention of -can- make arrangements. His hopefulness leaps up though he's slow to comment, waiting to hear what strings are attached.
The boy nods, "I'll do it. I will nae slouch. I can be useful, I promise. Granpa thinks I cannae read'n write but I kin, a little. I know a some how tae make maps 'n I do nae get lost." Uncertain what he can say to further prove himself, Arthfael only nods, wanting the things Harold offers, "I will work hard."
The dust kicked up by the horses is stirred by the breeze. There is much activity, much to make ready. Many men going about their business and horses being lead away. Arthfael lacks Harold's height and weight in bone and muscle as yet, but there clearly is a simular stamp between them as he stands before his lord.
"I'm the Master At Arms," he said, incase the boy didn't know. "Training and recruiting is my responsibility. So no, you will not slouch." With a grunt he tore his eyes back to the horses, and his Wicked in particular. His squire was a year or two older than Arthfael, with all the vain arrogance and self entitlement of a proper spoiled noble brat. He scowled at Arthfael like the boy was somehow stealing his shine by standing close to his Ser. "When I return from this warring business, if the men of the keep tell me you've been obedient, attentive and dedicated, and I'm impressed with your improvement, I'll be willing to take a bit more personal hand in things. In the end, that's entirely up to you, and how much you've given it."
He shrugged, scratched at his cheek. "Well. That's that, then. Be off with you. Kiss some girls, have some fun. Then show up at the keep to train in the morrow."
That spoiled, entitled brat will find Arthfael won't evade that glare, and give the other boy a looking over like he thinks he could whup the other boy's arse. Maybe he even could, though not likely. He's not afraid of scrap'n. The lad looks back to Harold and nods, "I understand, Ser. Ye won't be disappointed." Assuming Harold lives to return. Arthfael's eyes take on a bit of light though at mention he's to begin at once, on hte morrow! Quietly, he's eager for it.
Wait! Eww! /Kiss/ some girls? Did lord Harold really just say that? Arthfael makes a face at that, "Girls?" Ha! He hasn't quite gotten old enough for that, yet. Little does he know it'll sneak up on him soon enough. Arthfael bows, turns and starts to run off a few steps in his excitement. He doesn't go very far though before he stops and looks back. Only to watch for a moment longer.
"We'll see," was all Harold supplied in way of encouragement when Arthfael made his declaration. There was a shadow of a smile sneaking around the corner of his mouth at the lack of enthusiasm shown towards the prospect of trading spittle with some of the local lasses. To be young again. Soon enough, though, he'd dismissed the boy completely, shoving forward instead to cuff his squire over the back of the head and mutter a harsh barked order about paying attention when handling Wicked.