|Team Diplomacy Rides Forth|
|Summary:||Inigo and Dmitry team up, ride to Kingsgrove. Snark powers activate!|
|Date:||3 July 289|
|Related Logs:||Uhm, all the Terrick/Groves trade stuff I guess.|
|The Road to Kingsgrove|
|Summer roads, all full of turns and bends! Summer roads, that lead to my old friends!|
|3 July 289|
The road between Kingsgrove and the Roost is not the longest road, though Dmitry has opted to set an easy pace, unhurried. His seat in the saddle is relaxed, and his horse is likewise relaxed, moving with a steady clop barely energetic enough to raise dust over the dry dirt of the road. He rides a dun mare, her coat a buttery, sandy gloss but for black socks. He is lightly armored in his traveling gear, bow and quiver slung over his back and blade slung sheathed in his saddlebag. He whistles a few bars of some song or other as his mare moseys along. The horse is either sensible enough or familiar enough with him to ignore this.
Well, why rush anywhere when you don't have to? Hello, trees. Inigo looks at his cousin, then back at his own horse, then back at Dmitry, then back at his own horse who gets reigned in again. Slow. Sadly, the dun mare isn't moving anywhere quickly, but if Dmitry stopped lazying about in the saddle and switched to a trot, she could be. He looks down, back up, and cants a look over to Dmitry and his whistling. On a road with a horse that would rather run than walk, Tornado finally gives up fussing and just hangs his head a little and walks along easily. Reigns in hand, Inigo eyes his brown stallion and then looks back to Dmitry. "I have it," he says, then frowns, "It's…no, nevermind. I don't know what you are whistling." He looks at the trees again, like he's vigilant against bandits. Anything is possible. He's on a horse.
Dmitry slants a look of humor up and over at Inigo. He sings a few bars of something he learned far from home, dedicated to the lambast of one of the Pipers' knights; one of those clever lays, but about local politics far removed from the Roost, and a few years out of date in any case. His voice is neither horrible nor amazing, lending only very minor credence to his frequent assertion that he is not a singer. "—I don't think the tune is original, though."
Inigo listens to Dmitry with a polite sort of attention, mouth twisting subtly as he thinks. "Piper, eh? They have…quite the house crest," he murmurs with a snort laugh, shaking his head. "That might explain why it seems familiar, and yet not. The tune, I mean, of course. Happens a lot, I suppose. Maybe it makes it easier for the song to catch on, if the tune is already familiar." His horse flicks his tail, less impressed than his rider.
"For truly, no one maiden fair ever saw near as much attention from half as many squires as the Brave and Beautiful." Dmitry's grin flashes crooked, and then fades as he glances out along the treeline. He, too, is keeping an eye out for bandits — or something to shoot with the bow he bears on his back, anyway. "Not I, of course. Ser Elmathy would have heard none of it, and as you know, I am terribly mature." He goes on blithely, "I think the verse-mongers need hardly spend their creativity on a tune when there are so many simply lying around for the taking."
"Ha, I bet," Inigo laughs again, grinning back at Dmitry. "I had nothing so fair to look upon in my Knight's coat of arms, proud and bold as that stallion on it was. Not much for the imagination of lonely boys…" A beat, he adds, "I would hope, at any rate." There are trees, Dmitry? Feisty trees to shoot? "Oh, yes. I have never met such a bastion of maturity as you. Why, I am sure you averted your gaze to give that pink maiden some civil modesty whenever faced with her." Yes, he even says that with a straight face. "I suppose not. Easier to just use what's around already."
"Of course," Dmitry says modestly, lifting a hand to lay across his chest. It is certain that the snort of his mare, ambling along at her walking pace, is wholly coincidental at this point. Conversationally mild, he goes on, "Really, it was uncommon clever of whichever Piper scion developed the heraldry in the annals of the past. Hard to think of a better distraction in the heat of battle than an unexpected pair of tits. Unless it was an extremely appealing horse indeed."
Wholly coincidental. Inigo's lips quirk in a subtly amused smirk anyway. "Clever, indeed. There are worse ways to go, really, than getting a flash of tits before you no longer have such…mortal cares. Useful in moments of rest, as well, though not very subtle." Subtle like tying a book of naughty illustrations with a string and swinging it around like a morning-star. He slants a sideways look at Dmitry for the comment on horses and says, "There is no accounting for taste. Some people do seem to like horses more than people."
Dmitry pats the neck of his horse and says, "Indeed. Well, one can hardly lose a battle of wits with one's horse, with rare exceptions of course." Straightening slightly in the saddle, he looks ahead down the long dusty road instead. "I think I'm with you. I'd prefer to die with tits involved myself, really. Pipers aren't very subtle, though, as a general rule. — But never mind, I've a whole different set of Houses to gossip about now. Home sweet home, where knights turn out to be women, women publicly threaten to have each other beaten, and nobody can afford bread."
Inigo tilts his head to the side, examining that statement. "Well, it certainly does not say much about you if you do lose that battle of wits…though I have met some people where I would bet on the horse." He's not naming names, of course. "Die as you lived? With a smile on your face?" He suggests, miming, ah, hefting and smiling contentedly in demonstration. "You're almost halfway to a song yourself, there," he notes, whistling briefly while shaking his head. "Seems just the Roost, however, that cannot afford bread."
"Poor fellows." Either Dmitry is thinking of someone in particular, or else he just finds it so unchivalrous to imply women are stupid that he must choose the more masculine word. Audience choice. "No songs for me. I was not born beneath a rhyming star." His smile slight and sly, it lingers as he rides a few more gentle clopping paces onward. "Hopefully if we cannot afford bread, we can at least afford interest rates, but … Have they tried to market you out for someone's dowry yet, cous? Though, no, I suppose it is only we Terricks who are for sale."
Either way, Inigo doesn't argue with Dmitry's choice of word, merely murmuring in agreement. "Neither were some of the authors of songs I have heard over the years, but that seems not to have stopped them from trying." There are some terrible songs that have been composed and sung, after all. Not every lyric is a winner. "That is the idea," he says, breathing out a sigh as his horse snorts in time. "Would do them little good to try and take me to market. Any earnings would to House Vance, which does House Terrick little enough good. Too far south to be of any substantial assistance. Not unlike those fellows from the Reach, I am afraid."
"Well, but you are much better disposed, Ser," Dmitry says, dismissing the Reach with an easy flick of his wrist. Ffft. "It's good to have somebody else around here with a sense of humor." He flicks his gaze up toward the summer sky and sighs a long-suffering, "Particularly to set off on such a dry task as talking numbers from such a particularly bad vantage."
"Thank you," Inigo says with a laugh, making an elegant bow in his saddle, shaking his head as he rises. "It is, none-the-less, mildly frustrating spending most of the latter half of the Tourney discussing business with various nobles to little advantage. Though should you ever venture to the Reach, I shall tell you who to impose yourself on." Despite the current situation, he smiles crookedly. "I do not think Lord Ser Jerold shares your opinion on my, our, humor." HIS LOSS. "A bad vantage indeed, though you and I have a leg up over…certain other in this, do you not think?"
"My uncle is not having a very good … year," Dmitry says, charitable as ever. His mouth twitches up slightly at one corner, humor lingering in the slant of his dark eyes, partly veiled by the fall of lashes as his look slides over the taller knight. He taps the side of his nose, and then rubs up its side to its bridge as he glances away again. "At least we shall make of ourselves pleasant and courteous and, ah, prompt. Ser Kittridge likes a good joke as well as the next man, especially if the next man isn't a Terrick. And, while I don't know where Jacsen has gotten with the Groves, I believe at least what friendship we might offer should be sweetened by such a luscious plum as Lucienne makes."
"No," Inigo agrees with some real sympathy for Jerold's plight, "He is not." Not having a good year is…putting it mildly. He leans back in his saddle with a sigh and runs long fingers through his hair. "At least we will not wear any soreness over their deal with the Naylands on our sleeves to bleed out all over these proceedings," he drawls dryly. "Whatever good will can be earned will only do the Roost well in the future. Particularly given the sensitive nature of any betrothal dealings, luscious plums or not."
Dmitry lifts an arm and checks down his sleeve to his wrist, glancing at it, and then up at Inigo with his mouth lifting at the corners. "My sleeves look clean," he pronounces, and drops his hand to fall lightly across the pommel of his saddle. "Some in the family do not understand that we cannot eat roasted pride with apples and drink from fountains of honor," he says, tone somehow combining light and sorrowful in an easy-breezy way as he turns a mournful, hangdog look out over the summer road. "But you were at the same family meetings I was and saw them make as little sense. You would think that the Naylands are our friends, the Groveses betrayed a sacred trust, and the Haighs possess neither daughters nor dower."
"My sleeves are always clean," Inigo says primly, making a show of brushing off his sleeves, which are, in fact, clean. Then he smiles sideways over at Dmitry and remarks, "We should do just fine then." At least they'll look very pretty, the pair of them? "Pride is a fine thing, any family without it is not much family at all, but you are right. Besides, roasted pride sounds rather gamey anyway." He wrinkles a crooked nose in an expression of distaste. He snorts. "Alas, so I was. A few too many eager to fall into the Harpy bosom, if you ask me." IYKYIMAITYD.
Grin flashing bright and crooked across his features, Dmitry inclines his head to Inigo across his gentle horse. "In the event that the Groves decide their business proposals sartorially," he says, "we can't fail. Though in that case, I'd like a word with Riordan's tailor." He draws a hand back through the dark tousle of his hair, and shakes his head, pretty though he may be (really, though, some men just look younger when they try to grow their thin little beards to look less like little boys). "I'm afraid I mocked Ser Justin rather mercilessly for his public smooching of the Nayland spinster," he says. "He doesn't take it well, but really, his discretion." Says the man who got fucked in a tent at a tourney. By Alek. Good thing nobody knows how ridiculous he is commenting on Justin's discretion, though, right? Right!? "It looks as though they might have an eye to feeding me to the harpies next, instead; Anais flung me to the youngest bird at the Seagard affair. I suppose it's more cautious." He sighs. SIGHS. All this caution.
"That would be nice. I do so like going into something already knowing I have won," Inigo says, sitting up straight and tall in his saddle, nose tilted slightly upwards and making the very picture of a noble lord…until he relaxes again, slouching with a grin. No thin, wispy beard of youth along his jawline, short though it may be. "As far as I can tell, he does not take any kind of fun being poked at him well. He is…young." Which is a statement more of attitude than of actual age. "You have the right about discretion, though." Look, it's only trouble if you get caught doing those things. Obviously. What goes on in the tourney tent, stays in the tourney tent, eh? Eh? "Better cousins than someone who is next in line to inherit the Roost, strategically speaking. Though no one seemed much interested in that before."
This matches Dmitry's own assessment of his newly-knighted cousin, and he nods, despite the fact that he is only twenty himself. "Young indeed. I'd almost say brash. What he needs is tempering, but I'm hardly the man to calm him down, and Seven know if there's a wife who'd do it." He rubs his knuckles along the beard scruff over his jaw, and sighs a little as he shifts his weight in the saddle. The horse nickers a complaint for his restlessness, just going to show that she is a creature of her own free will and not some sort of fuzzy wheel-less bicycle. "I am certainly an easy coin to spend," he says, "and the Naylands well know it. I'd prefer higher stakes, really, but when you come down to it, I am as Terrick as the rest of we poor fools and I'll do my duty, alas."
Age is relative. "He does have a youthful stubbornness about him. Hm. He lacks…finesse, yes. He swings with strength and conviction, but with broad, clumsy strokes." Inigo speaks slowly, scratching as his jaw as he considers their mutual cousin's temperament. "I feel as though any wife who could give the man some grace, could also easily have the run of the marriage." A little too clever and manipulative, in other words. His dark stallion lifts his head some and picks his ears up as Dmitry's mare nickers, briefly coming out of his sulk. Woe is he. Walking. "Higher stakes? Gambling sort of man, are you? At least they seem to be pointing you at a younger cousin? And it all may be for naught, anyway."
"Yes, there is that," Dmitry says. He does not expand further on prospective gambling aims, possibly because he suspects Inigo of being a card sharp. "It's amazing how easily these negotiations can fall through, and on what they might turn. Sleeves, for instance."
"Mmhmm," Inigo murmurs, examining his fingernails idly and not pressing the mention of gambling any further. Maybe just because it's not like Dmitry has money anyway. "Negotiations can change very suddenly when they rest of the whims of people." He chuckles at the mention of sleeves, smirking a little as he says, "That Lord Rafferdy must have very little luck, then."
That draws a laugh aloud, breaking Dmitry's next breath. "I cannot speak to Rafferdy's luck," he says. "On the one hand, he isn't dead yet and the Charltons haven't ridden to war. But then, I saw him shoot at Seagard, and that was pretty rotten luck, or else you really do need sleeves to shoot arrows. But," Dmitry lifts a hand, palm up and out, "I've heard some interesting scuttlebutt about Lady Katrin Haigh, and there are certainly uglier places to aim oneself."
"Not dead is not necessarily lucky, though from what I gather the Charltons not riding to war have little to do with him, unless you consider getting captured all a part of negotiations." By his dismissive snort, it is clear that Inigo does not hold that opinion. "Tense though, that situation…I thought for sure there would be war." Though there may still be, his expression says. "Hm, yes. I have gather that the Lady Katrin Haigh is not so, ah, attached to sleeves as most Ladies."
"If I knew why it is ladies want what they want," sighs Dmitry feelingly, "why, I would make a much cleverer match for myself than that befitting the third son of a junior line." He is quiet for a thoughtful moment, and then adds, "I do consider it part of negotiations, although not a deliberate or an intelligent part. It all becomes part; disparate threads, one whole tapestry. Close call, though — yes. And it quite interrupted my last dance at Seagard with Lady Rosanna, which I consider the unkindest cut in all this." (What a liar.)
"Alas, what works for one will not work for another," Inigo says of the ladies. "Although there is one want they all have in common, as indecent as it is to suggest so." He leans forward to pat the neck of his horse, who heaves a large whuff and picks his head up, ears pricked forward. Fiiine. No more sulking. "A fair point," he accedes, "A part then, yes, but certainly not a part of be proud of. I suppose at least he was a prisoner of a relatively peaceful ordeal." He does arch a brow at Dmitry's last comment, skeptical. "I see. So this trip is really just to visit the Lady Rosanna?" He's kidding.
"To hear Anais tell of it, the want you speak of is dancing," Dmitry says, "and I already give them that; no idea what else you could possibly mean." He grins, boyish, and then lets the look fade to one of ingenuous surprise. "What, you mean you are going to Kingsgrove for some reason other than to visit the Lady Rosanna?"
"Poor Lord Jacsen, then," Inigo says, because it's only fair to rib other people in the family when they aren't here to defend themselves too. "No wonder there isn't an heir yet." This conversation is totally kind and fair to everyone. He keeps a mostly straight face, dark eyes glittering with humor. Ahem. "No, of course not. There is no reason to ever go anywhere except to visit lovely ladies," he deadpans.
"Perhaps you should give him some advice," Dmitry tells Inigo thoughtfully, "since you know so well." Eye glinting, he eases back in the saddle again with a slight shift of the reins that earns him another snort and headshake from the dun mare he rides. She flicks her tail like she is trying to get a fly. Dmitry is way too big to be flicked off like a fly, though. "Of course, one should probably be careful not to dance attendance on her in front of her brother," he says. "It might be undiplomatic. I understand that brothers with unmarried sisters aren't fans of that kind of thing. Not I have ever run afoul of an angry brother, of course."
"I do not know what to say about a woman who says dancing and apparently really means just that," Inigo replies, feigning innocence a moment before smiling sharply. "No wonder she would insist that nothing untoward happened with Lord Riordan." Color him skeptical anyway, though. "Yes, I am certain that would be viewed as highly undiplomatic in this situation." Because there are others where that is totally appropriate?? Uhm. "We should be doing our best to not earn any ire, after all." He brushes at a sleeve.
"Oh, I am sure that Lady Anais cannot have slept with Lord Riordan," Dmitry says with a kind of ridiculous level of absolute certainty that might bespeak faith in his cousin's wife's virtue, except that then he finishes by being more horrible. "After all, House Terrick has not yet bent and spread for House Nayland." He straightes. "No ire at all," he agrees after a beat, clearing his throat. "Do you know anything horrible about the Groveses that we should be careful not to mention?" he asks brightly. What a good idea.
If he had just left it at that first, it might have been the nicest either of them has been this whole conversation. Since he continues, however, Inigo snorts a suddenly laugh, shaking his head. "Ah, I should not laugh, for there is a bitter truth there, but…" But it's funny. At least Jerold isn't in earshot this time. "Not yet…" He trails off, frowning thoughtfully, looking at his cousin at the question and staying silent a moment more before answering. "No, nothing that doesn't seem to be public knowledge, at any rate. Probably best not mention the Rebellion if at all possible. I have no idea is Ser Benedict-become-Nicodemus is a sore sport or not, though likely, yes. If there is some…other…horrible scandal, I do not know of it."
Dmitry grins on a puff of breath as he earns a laugh from Inigo, and tilts his head in easy acknowledgment, before letting the conversation move on in more seriousness. He says at length, "Yes, no reason to bring up those old wounds; anyway, it oughtn't come up, I was but a green boy during most of that."
"I was not much older myself," Inigo says of the war times with a shake of his head, bangs falling into his eyes. "It's there, though, in the context of the lands that House Terrick currently hold and House Groves want back, that old wound. Still, no reason to poke at it."
"I am sure those lands shall be under discussion, at least in part, for Lady Lucienne's dowry," Dmitry says, fingertapping lightly against his saddle again. "I am not sure how much to touch on those matters on our errand, though I believe the maester's suggestion as to yearly returns to be a sound point of compromise. Do you recall the thought?"
"No doubt. There is little else to give, and little they would want. I do remember though, yes, that the maester made a suggestion to that effect, as a compromise for something as expensive as lands, though I could not say what the details he had in mind were," Inigo says slowly, thinking as he speaks. "I believe that was the point in the meeting the Lady Lucienne stopped frowning quite so much."
"The thing about such a flexible concept as a yearly return is that it is mutable by percentage, and thus negotiable; lands, while separable, are more static," Dmitry adds with an airy gesture, hand falling again to drum against his leg as they ride. "If there is one thing I have learned from this process thus far, though, it is that having multiple people running around with different ideas in their heads is no good for anyone's negotiation about anything."
"It's hard to negotiate over land. You often end up talking about how much land, which is a poor frame of mind for amicable negotiations. Hard not to see the other party as a greedy land-grabber. Land is one of the more valuable things you can have, unpredictable as profits from it may be. I suppose at least they could do something with the lands. Some percentage of earnings of them is still more than what is likely to be gotten now." Though, the lands in question are probably some of the better-off ones. "Hm, yes, little gets done if everyone is pulling in a different direction."
"That's for certain," Dmitry says, terribly agreeable. "But especially considering the source of the Groves's desire for these particular lands, it seems more likely than most to end up somewhere…" He trails off, and then goes, "Well, anyway. We can go round in circles over what we will do when we reach Kingsgrove for the rest of the ride, but! I suspect we can come up with something much more entertaining to do with our time between the two of us."
"Oh, what? Conversational circles don't appeal to you?" Inigo asks sweetly, leaning over in his saddle to smile over at Dmitry. It is a little obnoxious. He thankfully doesn't do it for very long. "I suspect…your suspicions will pan out." The rest of the ride to Kingsgrove is remarkably absent of anything resembling work.