|The Bravo's Amends|
|Summary:||Ramsey Charlton the Younger, otherwise called 'Rams' of Braavos, makes a valiant effort to appease the angry Frey bastard. Then they meet a mutual acquaintance.|
|Related Logs:||Cadets and Courtesy The Bastard's Remonstrance|
|Without and within the Highfield Inn|
|5th August, 289|
Ramsey trails after Maldred, the lithe man moving with that same prowling grace that seems natural to him. "Ser!…" Is he a knight? Well, Ramsey missed that in all the barbs and greetings get thrown around earlier. "I would hear your grievance. My ears are fresh. Nothing is known by me of past matters." He says, speaking up a bit so that his voice can carry and hopefully catch Maldred's conditionally deaf ears.
Well, according to the Frey's bastard reversed device - the cause, or one of them, of the fracas - he is assuredly no lord; but few esquires would wear so complete a hauberk or bear so castle-forged a…yes, that's a bastard sword. How traditional. Ser Maldred Rivers is indeed a knight, at least, if you accept the many bloodless knighthoods dubbed among Freys, Charltons and Haighs by Ser Hosteen upon Trident field as valid…
"Ser Maldred Rivers," he introduces himself accordingly, without turning. "Grievance? I have none. Your lord and his cousin - you know, Blackrood, the infamous brigand - simply treated me much as I expected. As they'd say I deserved."
And now, Ser Maldred does turn somewhat, to give his interlocutor another steely, lengthy observation, before he adds, "Another Charlton, Ser Harold - married, and with little relish, to a sister of mine - hid his disdain, but it was there. And not just for bastardy. Your House is beginning to acquire airs…sirrah. Two holds! Two lords! No brains. If 'tis thought Lord Walder will countenance a vassal who scorns his daughters and mocks his sons."
When Ser Maldred slows and turns, Ramsey adjusts his pace accordingly so that he can make a gradual approach to the bastard of Frey. Other than the black eye, he doesn't look the warrior-type. He moves with that graceful stride, but his body is lithe and he only wears leathers and that skinny blade at his side rather than layers of metal armor and heavy steel blades. "As it happens, I am not knowing the Blackrood so well at all. I met him only the other day in passing." He slows to a stop, briefly, "Ramsey Charlton." He returns simply to the introduction. "Fresh ears I can offer, if you will sit and have drink with me at the tavern, yes? There is much interest I have in your perspective. It might be that I can be of some service to you as well, Ser Maldred." A pause, "Any disdain I might have for your house is for entirely different reasons." He gives him a friendly enough smile, then moves to continue on towards the budding township at a casual pace. Maldred could catch up or not easily enough.
So Ramsey strides into the inn, whether Maldred chose to follow or not, but rather than go to the room reserved for nobility, he snags an empty table in the common room, sitting down and casting a quick, searching look around.
"What a jape," the bastard says aloud, and, at that, quite loudly, little knowing how many more laughs the gods have in store for him, "high affairs of state, dragging me back to some other stale tavern…well," he pontificates loudly enough to be heard by anyone, certainly Ramsey, "come to that, I'd rather drink at any stale tavern than back up…yonder. Wench! An ale!"
Ser Maldred has selected a weary looking piece to attend to his bidding, but a diligent one. He collapses metallically to a stool as he waits, smirking sarcastically at the Charlton. He's coming no nearer until Ramsey does…
Catryn steps through the door some few minutes later, not looking particularly happy for her efforts. Bone weary would be an understatement and yet, tis hidden beneath the easy smile the minx wears when her cloak is pulled away; taking the road dirt with it. Still, for a moment she lingers near the door, letting her eyes both adjust and search out the interior. Oh my. Now there's a neat trick. Ser Bastard and Rams in the same place. "Right then," and then…there's a backtrack, a bit of staring and a confused and then very dismissive shake of her head. Nah. Couldn't be. "So who's buyin' drinks?" An that was loud enough for everyone.
Ramsey looks over at Maldred, watching him as he sits down elsewhere. Well then! That's how it's going to be. He lets out a suffering sort of over-dramatic sigh and pushes himself to his feet again, crossing to where the bastard has seated himself. The younger man leans against the bar's expanse and gazes at the knight from behind swollen eye. "What is it you are wanting? Recognition? Justice? Some humor?" He asks, smirking. "You will not offend me, but if you are trying, I will try in return. I think I will win." He comments boldly, but with that same easy-going reckless mirth.
"I-" He cuts off then, hearing that familiar voice. Shit. He looks over towards the doorway sharply, taking in Catryn's presence. The man's grin widens, "Ser Maldred, my new friend here, would be happy to be buying, yes!" The braavosi calls to her brightly, then looks back at the Frey knight and leans in to murmur hurredly, "A man would be *most* appreciative if his highborn relations were forgotten for a time…"
The place seems to the Rivers knight neither greatly above, nor below, the common rank of taverns. In any case, he disdains anywhere foolish enough to tolerate the yoke of those hollyhecklers, and he is not likely to stay for long - he has horses to see to. Accordingly, he takes the decent - but no more - ale from the slatternly - but no less - wench, and begins to complain, steadily, but quietly, muttering about the superior merits of the Crane, and the Rockcliff, and even the Stonebridge common house with its hint of ox-shit, and, most certainly, the Randy Weasel, a mere stone's throw from the Twins…
A few patrons and the barman are irritated, if only that, by his grousing, but then young Charlton interrupts him. It seems that his words do at last make some faint impression on the bastard Frey; he looks won over against his will, but very irked to be so. And then…comes another interruption.
When all is said and done, Maldred likes surprises. He likes *dis*guises even more, when he is privy to them. So he greets the puss of the shallows with an easy grin. "You are a quick-padding catling, to be sure…Miz Taken. This…gentleman's just been telling me about his time boarding the pirate vessels of Lorath…but it seems you know all about him?"
And…they're together. It's hard to say for a moment if that was upsetting news, or pleasing. Either way, a grin is adopted, the chit sweeping a low half bow that lets her hair fall; when she rises it has the added effect of helping mask half her face. "Ser Bastard," comes sweet reply, "Rams. It shouldna serprise me, tha pair o'yuns in company. Wha'd ye do, Bastard, kick 'im in tha face?" She teases, and cozies right on up to the pair; wedging into the space between bastard and sellsword. "Thankie fer tha drink though." Cheekily added, reaching out to pluck the tankard from Maldred's hand.
Rivers's grip - well, hardly that - relinquishes the tankard easily enough. "Not a draught to spill blood for, Cat. Hells, not one to spill piss for. Though you did once swear me blind you were no thief…no matter…"
Ramsey, to his credit, doesn't so much as miss a beat when Maldred indulges his request and throws out a cover story. "Just so. The Lorathi are no true match for the fleet of Braavos, it is true. Yet they are fearsome in their own right." He says in a cocky tone, but his eyes are flicking back to Catryn and he smirks when she wriggles in between them. He makes no effort to slide over and give her more room. "My bruise was earned from Lord Harold Charlton. I told him that he is old and slow, and smells of cabbage. He was aiming for my teeth while I was slow to duck." Then he gives her a curious look, "A thief? You were telling Ramsey that you are a singer. Will a man not get the song he was promised when next met upon?"
"Toldje I weren't no thief. He said ye were buyin' fer me, an so ye have," she teases, offering a wink in his direction; leaning just enough to knock a companionable shoulder against his own. Even if she did give a huff for Ramsey's obvious lack of consideration for giving her space. Hmmph. A bark of laughter was given to Rams story to his eye, one that almost had her spitting out her drink, too. Though she managed to keep herself under control. "Am a singer, an merchant both, an if Ser Bastard wouldno mind t'play," an imploring look cast up then in Maldred's direction, "Then aye, I would sing."
And that last elicits a harsh, involuntary bark of a laugh from the sorta-Frey. "Ha! You see!" he begins, his usually dim eyes glistening with amusement, to Ramsey (before he quite realises what he is doing). "Up in your…" he coughs, flushes, pales, and abruptly continues, "that is to say, up at yonder hall, they called me bastard and bade me sit tight and attend yon widow at her harp! Here, they call me bastard…but they still bid me play."
He frowns, a thought striking him, and looks significantly at the 'sellsword'. "That is all I demand of…the world. That I be called by my name, sure enough, but still given the word to play my part…but, no, Cat," he adds more softly, "this night I did not go a-drinking, but with mail a-girt and ready. My lute is away from me, and you know me well enough even by now to remember I cut a poor musician's coat indeed without it. Unless…" he asks the 'Braavosi' with sudden speed, "do you know if this house holds a woodharp, good man?"
Ramsey just holds that all-too-common smirk on his lips as Catryn and Maldred both are chortling for their various reasons. "It would be better, a man thinks, if his crime were not repeated to too many ears. Lord Harold is a grouchy knight." He murmurs and waves to the barwench to bring him a drink.
"I will call you by name, Maldred." Ramsey states with some finality. "I can make that promise." He says in a friendly tone. Then when the question is put to him about a woodharp he can only shrug, "The answer to that question I am not knowing, Ser."
"Oh ye poor wee thing, what a terrible shame, playin' fer a lady. Dun worry, Mal," the cat reaches up, to pat Maldred gently on his scruffy cheek, "Ah'll not tell anyone thatche waller in the mud in the meantime," promised the girl, with a wink. "Pity that ye've no ye lute though, my friend."
"Aint be knowin' no Lord Harold," Cat replies, wiggling up to perch on the edge of the counter, so she can keep them both within her line of vision. Before pausing to take another long drink, "So yer story's safe wit me. Guess I'll be keepin' me song too, without any inspiration 'round t'spill it," the girl mournfull informs Ramsey.
At the bar there rests Maldred and Ramsey, both perched atop stools, with Catryn sitting on the counter wedged between them; drinks in hand, the conversation light and jovial.
"I know of Ser Harold," Maldred cuts in, his anarchic humour collared again, his voice and face even. "A courteous man and a wise." He gives the disguised Charlton a meaningful look, wholly aware that his words contradict what he said in anger earlier. "Admittedly," he adds in a jolly, slightly leering tone, "they say not the best of husbands…" This masculine joshing is, too, an act, one designed to hoodwink Catryn but not Ramsey Charlton, who knows Maldred finds Harold's public coldness to his Frey bride no small matter to forgive.
"But the kitling misunderstood me, I think," he suggests, watching her head lolling against him with a small but warm grin, watching the fronds of ale on her lip and chin, somehow making them more not less inviting. "No lady asked me to play with them. I had to watch quiet as a mousekin and swallow insults. Aye, it's true to say, this mousekin would rather play with cats."
Ramsey gets his drink when the wench leaves it within his reach, taking a healthy swig of the ale before twisting to prop one arm on the counter. "A man's hope is dampened. I was very much hoping that you had learned a new song or two since last we were meeting. Have you? An instrument has ways of being acquired, no?"
His eyes slide back to Maldred, the visual effect severely hampered by the swelling and bloodshot condition of the left eye. "He struck me as a very principled man." The braavosi says simply, the smile tugging at his lips again in amusement for his own play on words. "Though, I am wondering at etiquette here, Ser Maldred. Is it proper for a knight to be asked to entertain in such a setting?"
"Many a man's no good wit a wife," the girl replies, "Tis why the take another." A casual shrug, for the all too common facet of life, before her tongue chases away the glistening remains of ale from her chin as she grins, "Cats eat mice, ye'd do well t'remember. Can't imagine ye fer a quiet one, either." Though the suffocating notions of lords is enough to make her wrinkle her nose.
A foul memory that, where it's chased away by Ramsey's words, and the reach of slim fingers out to ruffle the sellsword's hair. "Dontcho fret none, Rams. I keen new songs every day, juss ask Mal, he's heard a few. Though ye'll mark I did ask 'im sweetly an wouldna have done that, er it not been how we'd met."
"A true knight," Ser Maldred instructs Charlton - who, it had not escaped him, was unknighted in his 'real' guise - in a tone syrupy with insincerity, "elevates all that surrounds him. Any roof that houses an anointed knight," he goes on with a grand gesture towards the tavern's newly erected, jerry-built eaves, "is for that space a fortress parapet, a palace spire. Any damsel who succours a true knight," he develops him theme, now apparently verging upon seriousness - no, there's that smile, he was going for it again - "is as good as lady born and virgin pure. And any man who befriends a knight bold, and true," and at this juncture he extends his hand to the 'Essosi', "stands anew, as a loyal soldier and a dauntless…"
"Dauntless," he adds turning back to Cat, "but foolish, too, like the mouse who befriends the cat. For true knights and false knights look very much alike."
Ramsey takes a slower sip of his ale, chuckling when Catryn ruffles his soft curls. "You will tell me this story of meeting, yes?" He asks in his foreign way of piecing sentences together, craning his head back a bit to look up at the woman perched on the bar.
He looks back at Maldred and laughs openly at the colorful way of describing knighthood, "So a knight who is asked to entertain is to take no offense? His very presence enhances those around him. I see. I am glad I am not a knight. That sounds like trying responsibilities."
"Aye, I will," the minx promises, letting her hand slip away from Ramsey's curls by way of a light playful tap to the very tip of his nose before she swung suspicious eyes towards Maldred; a wry grin curling her lips. "Was it juss me," inquired of Rams, though her eyes never left the bastard, "Or did he couch insult with compliment in tha pretty speech o'his, tryin' t'imply doubt ter the state o'my innocence."
"Just so. Us both, I am believing." Ramsey says with a mischievous grin. "I will risk his friendship all the same. To bask in the purifying light that blazens from a knight true or false, it is a desirable thing indeed, no?"
"You shall have to unravel that for yourself, no doubt with the help of this hardy adventurer here, wild cat," Ser Maldred ripostes gravely, as he gets to his clanking feet and abandons his share of Cat's enclosing, masculine surroundings. "As I am a true knight, I made many promises these eve. Among them, to share a drink with our friend here, and to saddle my sisters' horses. Though I sometimes find it difficult, again I assure you as a knight anointed, to tell my sisters *from* their palfreys, I must now attend to that solemn duty. Farewell, and goodnight, Cat," for all the strange moments between them over the last week that comes easily enough, and he pauses for longer, yet speaks even more decidedly, when he adds, "Ramsey."
He waits for no more words to stay or part, before stomping out, looking pensive.