|Summary:||Mortimer and Darek prepare for a search for the missing children and discuss who — or what — might have taken them"|
|Related Logs:||On The Hunt|
|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. Another heads southwest, toward Kingsgrove.|
|Tue Nov 27, 289|
Either Darek Boldt has not brought his famous fiddle to Terrick's Roost on this trip, or he's avoided playing it in public, for there have been no major disturbances at the Rockcliff during his thus-far-brief stay. Instead, he's been pacing around town like a trapped cat. If he had a tail, it would have been lashing quite spectacularly over the last day two days. Now he stands on the Green, with morning just cresting the hills and woods to the east. He's taken his place at the archery butts, and methodically puts one arrow after another down-range, as if to lose himself in the simple rhythm of archery practice.
Mortimer is similarly up early this morning, although from the lack of any form of bow it seems that he's not heading towards the green to work on his own marksmanship skills. With no sign of the wanted fletching so far he's taking a swing by the practice butts on his way up to the keep, just in case he gets lucky. It's worth a try at least. Spotting the young lad over from Highfield he pauses to watch for a moment so as not to interfere with the shots, then steps closer, eyeing the fletching as she does so. "Morning," he offers with a brief nod, "anyone else been out here while you've been practicing?"
Darek's arrows have simple, plain fletching, not dyed any particular colour, just the feathers of local prey fowl. He puts another arrow into the butt, then lowers his bow as the Sheriff steps closer to the target. Reaching up to scrub his luxurious locks of brown hair from his face, he shakes his head, "No Master Trevelyan." A rare-for-this-trip smile twists his lips up at one corner, setting a dimple to just barely touch one cheek, "Ser likes to have me up earlier than most. I guess it's become a bit of a habit." He takes a breath, lets it out slowly, and starts to step down the range to retrieve his arrows. "No one showed up from Kingsgrove overnight, did they, Master Trevelyan?"
Those are not the arrows that Mortimer is looking for. Turning his attention from the fletching to the squire he gives a brief nod in understanding as his question is answered, precluding the need for any further enquiries along that line. Matching step to continue the conversation without the need to should he shakes his head slowly, "Not that I know of, but I'm on my way up to the keep to check if there has been a raven, or a rider I'm not aware of." He doesn't sound overly hopeful though, more a touch disappointed.
Darek slips one arm through the curve of his short hunting bow, half-slinging it so that he can work the bodkin points of his arrows out of the target. It takes a bit of doing, with a twist, a yank, and a pull on each arrow, but he makes his way through them quickly enough. The news — or lack there-of — causes his jaw to tighten, "D'you mind if I come with? If they're not sending anyone, and nothing's planned from here, I need to get back out there, Master Trevelyan. Doesn't matter if I don't know what in the name of the Seven I can do about a Child of the Forest, but I have to do something."
"Ain't no so called Child of the Forest lad," Mortimer replies with a faint frown, "just ordinary folk like you and me. Few removes short of a feast they might be, but that doesn't make 'em magical, or anything else to be feared beyond natural." He seems sure enough of that at least, even if he's not so clear on other aspects. A glance up to the keep and he nods at the request, "aye, may as well. They're only three ours ride away, so if they haven't sent word by now then I don't reckon we'll be getting any." Not that he sounds to impressed at that mind, but he’s not going to outwardly say anything. "No point in waiting for some'ut that ain't coming I agree, better to be out a looking."
Darek rolls his shoulders a little uncomfortably with the 'correction' by the Deputy Sheriff, silent for a long moment as he finishes pulling his arrows from the target and slipping them into his quiver, inspecting each as he does for any damage. That settled, he shifts his bow, looping it over his head as well as one shoulder so that it is slung diagonally across his body, "With respect, Master Trevelyan, you didn't see the thing this Hunter was riding. I only saw it for a minute, mind, but it was…" He cuts off with a shudder, "It wasn't like any horse I've seen. Nothing has a tail like that, and I could've sworn it had scales." He looks down a moment, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck with one hand, then tosses his hair from his face, "You've heard the stories, haven't you, about the Hunter? The Child of the Forest who can track any creature ever born? Who steals children and turns them into giant wolves?"
"I've heard many stories over the years," Mortimer replies with a brief nod, "some to scare a kid into behaving, some to pass a long, cold watch and some to try and wriggle out of situations the teller didn't like. Always got to remember with stories, who's told 'em and who are they telling 'em to." Allowing his hands to absently clasp round his help he shrugs briefly, "I'm not saying you didn't see something weird, but whatever it was it wasn't magical. Only magic left is north of the Wall and the problem of Lord Jaremy and his new brothers. First time I saw those wolves they looked mighty odd, but was just armour. Mail, looked a lot like scales too at first." Taking a deep breath he exhales slowly before adding, "don't start doubting what you know to be true just because someone tries to scare you with old stories."
Darek nods slowly, "I thought it was just some guy in a deer skull too, and then I actually saw the Hunter," each time he's about to put a title to the elder man, he has to cut himself off a little from saying 'Ser,' "Master Trevelyan." Shaking himself as if waking, he rubs at his face, "But whatever it is, I'm going to stop it from hurting any more children." The deadly serious look is completely out of place on the squire's made-for-smiles face, but the expression settles in none-the-less, "You said the Roost is putting a whole bunch of weight behind this… what chance is there that there'll be other hunters out there with me today?"
It looks like Mortimer and Darek are going to have to agree to disagree, but the Deputy Sheriff is happy enough to move the conversation along rather than get bogged down on that one point. "Course you are," Mortimer replies with a faint nod, "and aye, I did, and that means there'll be you, me and at least ten other lads out there today." Another glance up to the keep, "maybe more, if there is someone fresh from Kinsgrove or I can find anyone else to rope in."
Darek's lips twist a bit at the reassurance from the older man, but he resists saying something distinctly bratty and teenaged. The news of numbers, however, draws a blink, "Huh. Well, I cursed well won't say no to it, but I'm surprised you're getting so many. Suppose with things more settled around here than Highfield, there are more hands to help out." He nods to himself, then freezes a little as he appears to think of something for the first time, "Uh… no dogs, right? I mean, you aren't going to want hunting hounds around if there might be wolves, right?" For all his relative assurance before, there's something distinctly nervous about that question.
Mortimer seems faintly amused at Darek's reaction but he simply nods once before explaining. "Remember those sailors? It's them, although I should point out that the lads are better with their blades than bows." A few days drilling being hardly enough to create master bowmen, but hopefully they shouldn't be a menace to themselves and each other any more. The question about dogs though gets a raised eyebrow, although he decides not to pry and simply shakes his head, "not unless we draw a blank. I could follow 'em without last time, and now there's a bloodtrail and all."
Darek groans at the mention of just who the support is, "Aww Fuck-a-duck. They're going to be useless as anything but beaters. They'll crash through the cursed undergrowth and sound like a herd of aurochs." He pauses then, considering, "Although I suppose I wouldn't mind having some more blades around if there are wolves." Blowing out his breath, he nods, "Okay. Right then. The Roost's Deputy Sheriff, a squire from Highfield, and a half-score of sailors go into the woods… sounds like the beginning of a bad joke or a worse ghost story."
Mortimer does chuckle a little at that before offering, helpfully, "well, if that's how you do it at Highfield." As for the sailors themselves, he largely agrees, "they're not ideal aye, but it'll likely end in violence an' I'll reckon that’s a speciality of there’s." Along with sailing and drinking really. "Doesn't quite song like the start of a ballad does it, but as I say, there's always the chance of grabbing a great, heroic lord or such from the Keep as well."
Darek shrugs a little helplessly at the commentary on Highfield tendencies, "That's how we did it in Stone Hedge. Putting the incompetents out as beaters, that is." Still, he nods, then shakes back his hair from his face, "I'd rather not, unless they knew what in the hells they were doing, Master Trevelyan. Because whether they know or not, they'll take over, and I don't feel like being put out as a beater if I don't gotta be."
Mortimer laughs outright at that and reaches out to pat the squire on the shoulder should he let him, "Not ya beaters lad, your propensity for ducks." Back to more serious matters though he just nods towards the gatehouse, "that’s why you've got to learn which ones to ask for what, same with the knights." He can still safely say that after all, what with Darek still being a squire. "Don't worry though, I'm not talking about grabbing just anyone."
Darek waves the joking insult off, "Naw, we prefer pretty girls for that." There's a pause, and he shrugs, "Or plain girls if there are no pretty ones around. Sometimes they're all the wilder." He follows along easily to the more serious topic, "That's really why I'm handling this myself. Don't know most of the nobles in Highfield well enough to know which ones to ask." He reaches up to rub unconsciously at the left side of his jaw, stretching it a little, "I try to stay away from nobles as best as I can, most of the time. But I'll trust your judgment, Master Trevelyan. Since I don't know any of the nobles or knights around here from King Bob."
"It takes time," Mortimer states matter-of-factly, "both ways in fact, they've got to know you an all. It's worth giving 'em the time though, so you know. Take it slow though, if that's easier." He raises an eyebrow slightly at the shortening of the King's name, but figures that it's not his place to correct that, as much as he might were it his own son saying it. "Not got yourselves a sheriff yet then?" he asks more conversationally, "you said you knight was Captain of the Guard?"
Darek nods his head, "Ser Jac Caddock. That's the Captain of the Guard, and my knight." He shrugs, adjusting the hang of the bow over his shoulder, "Sheriff's Ser Erik Jast. I tend to stay away from him though. He doesn't much like my girl, 'cause she makes some spare coin and trade and stuff from helpin' people out, finding things, finding out things, that sorta stuff. I dunno if he think she's poking her nose into his business, or thinks she's stealing stuff or whatever. Just doesn't like her much. So I keep my distance." Rolling his shoulders a bit, he adds, "Besides, he's got all the noble stuff and poachers and stuff to worry about."
Mortimer nods at the appropriate points, saving names and positions away for future reference. It's good to know your neighbours and all that. "Don't know the good Sers," he states simply, although that's possibly not surprising if they've never been to the Roost themselves. "You reckon he'd take more interest if he knew about the bodies?" he asks after a moment's thought, trying to gauge what sort of man the other Sheriff might be in case there's need of future cross-border cooperation.
Darek shrugs a little helplessly, "Don't honestly know, Master Trevelyan. Like I said, I keep my distance, don't know Ser Erik so well." But he still has to admit, "But yeah. If he knew how many kids had disappeared, and from how big an area, maybe he would be more interested." Cocking his head to one side, the squire thinks for a moment, then adds, "Or maybe Ser talked to him, told him that I was looking into it, and he's just not worrying. Dunno, really. Been too busy looking into things, and then comin' out here, to worry about talking to Ser Erik about Children of the Forest."
"Get to know 'em lad," Mortimer advises lightly, "same as you would any man under you. Know which one's good at what and who you can turn to when your in a bind." Gripping his belt with both hands again he mulls over the information before turning back towards the road. "You wanting to shoot another end, or shall we go see what awaits at the tower?"
Darek purses his lips at the advice, but once again holds his tongue, not making the peevish remark on the tip of it. The question, however, allows him to distract himself, and he nods up toward the keep, "Probably should get moving. I don't want to be out in the woods with cursed wolves and some creepy-ass crying woman and a Child of the Forest on some hellbeast not-a-horse when it gets dark if I can help it. I'll stick to facing them down in the daylight."
Mortimer almost says something about Darek's terminology again, but then jsut shakes his head slightly, deciding against going back over ground already covered. Starting once more upwards towards the gatehouse he says nothing for a few moments then something occurs to him briefly and he glances back to the squire, "oh, did you hear? The lass has been identified. She's from Kingsgrove, was reckoned to have run off to King's Landing or such best part of a month ago." Not good news for the parents, but given she was freshly dead when found, does give an indication that they have a chance of finding children themselves, not just bodies.