|Summary:||Kathryna and Raffton meet. For a change, the sparring is only verbal.|
|Date:||21 December 288|
|Terrick's Roost - The Green|
|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.|
The guards train regularly here on The Green, and Raffton has just finished up a round of drills with several of the others. They've just wandered off, and he heads to a barrel of water, drinking deeply and splashing his face and neck, shirt lifted to wipe off sweat and dusty grime.
Kathryna has been in the Roost most of the day, trying not to cause offense to any more of the Terricks. She's not exactly in a dress, but she's stopped challenging any given night to a spar at any point in time, and she's been unfailingly polite to servants. Now, however, she needs some fresh air and some ale, so she's picking her way down out of the castle and towards the green for a walk before her nightly trip to the ale. That's when she sees the shock of somewhat pale features and hair, a man who looks more like back home than any of these other Riverlanders. Her brows furrow, standing back to just study Raffton as he finishes up for the day.
Raffton tosses another handful of water up onto his face, and slicks it back through his hair as he straightens, blond locks tied into a short queue at the nape of his neck. He wipes at his face once more and plucks his shirt off his chest, flapping it away from the skin a few times. He spots Kathryna watching him as he does, and nods politely. "Lady Harlaw," he says, his voice a little muffled, words mumbled in such a way that his accent is difficult to pick out.
Kathryna crosses a few more feet in his direction, still openly staring, but that doesn't actually seem to bother her. Ironborn aren't exactly known for being polite. She gives him a brief, cool nod. "Ser… I had heard rumor they had another Ironborn in service here, but I had yet to see him. Your hair would give you away, if nothing else." She looks him up and down quietly, her expression all distant ice for a few moments, to match the arctic in her eyes.
"Not a ser," Raffton corrects right off, "Just a guard, not a knight." He frowns a bit, scratching at his jaw, beard so much shorter than any man of his age on the isles would wear. "Not much use hiding it," he says with a shrug. After a pause, he says, "So you're the ambassador lady."
Kathryna now begins a slow pace around him, examinig him from all angles, like one would a prized horse. She nods in slight approval to whatever she sees, though there is some hint of darkness behind her ice eyes. Female or not, there is no doubt this woman at his side is a warrior, very possibly the horrid sort of barbarian they all tell stories about. "A guard then… They treat you well enough? You actually like it in these soft and fatted lands?"
Raffton watches Kathryna with narrow, wary eyes as she circles, turning with her, never allowing her to get quite all the way behind him. He shrugs at the question, watching her still. "It's a life. I hear tell you're looking to stay yourself."
Kathryna tilts her head at those words, a hint of amused confusion crossing her now slightly smirking, full mouth. "…Aye, and where did you hear that?" Kate has ceased to circle now, but she stands dead on from him. She walks like a man, even, more of a confident swagger in her long step than is proper for a lady.
Raffton shrugs. "People talk," he says. His gaze is neither challenging nor timid, he just looks at her. "Word is you're awfully friendly with those Camden folks." He shrugs dismissively, "'s all high lord business t'me."
Kathryna smirks softly to him, ice eyes now flickering around the yard to ensure none of the ladies are near. They are the only one she cares about offending right now. "Yes, I am fucking one of the Camdens. I might even take him for husband, you are correct in that. It's made the trip rather more enjoyable than a simple diplomatic mission, I'll say." Kate winks casually towards him, a sly smile dancing across her full mouth. "So… who did you used to be?"
Raffton doesn't seem surprised or offended, though brows shift a little at the mention of marriage. Any question he might have had is forestalled by hers, jaw tightening just the faintest bit. "Raffton Howell," he replies, "What's it to you?"
Kathryna remains standing comfortably, body relaxed as she leans back on her heels. She smiles widely to him, "Raffton Howell. And I'm just worried that these lands might have stolen one of our best warriors. But then, I don't suppose that's so, considering you are here and not back home on the deck of a ship." Yes, it's cold. But not many rumors of her had said she's nice. "They've trained you better? Kept you strong?"
Raffton snorts at her words, and says nothing. Hands slip into the pockets of his trousers, and he just stands, and watches her, broad shoulders rising and falling again. "I train plenty. Why?" he asks, a faint hint of challenge sneaking back into his tone.
Kathryna tilts her head a hint more, a half smile crossing her mouth again. "You train plenty. Why? To protect those that took you prisoner? Or do you genuinely enjoy it here?" She doesn't really seem insulted or angry, but more curious as to why he lingers in these lands.
"It's what we do," Raffton replies opaquely. "Why are you here, doing what you're doing? I hear you train every day. Think you're going to need it up at Tall Oaks?"
"I train every day just in case I -don't- go to tall oaks. If I have to go back home, I won't be caught dead because this place softened me and made me lazy. I do not know if you remember what it is like, but we do not abide by someone who has let their sword or body go to rust." Kate then shrugs casually, finally heading over towards the nearest sitting area, probably a large old stump from a cleared tree. She folds into it. "And I am here seeing if there is hope for another way for life for our… for… My people. Maybe we do not have to be barbarians forever."
Raffton snorts. "I remember," he replies. He looks at her somewhat skeptically, "Far as I remember, aren't many'd go around looking to do harm to a lady of House Harlaw, whether she carried a sword or no. You make it sound as bad as these folk here think. Like it's all fighting and killing, all day." He does not, it seems from both tone and expression, agree with this description. Her takes another drink of water, wetting his mouth, and spits into the dirt before looking back to ask, "How's that going t'work?"
Kathryna tilts he rhead just a touch to the side, legs tretching before her, crossing at the ankles. "No. I suppose I could go try and pawn myself off on some captain back home… But a third child to the Harlaw house? It is not as if I am worth anything beyond a name. I prefer keeping myself safe. And useful." And yet, she's here, not back home on the deck of a ship either. "..And it will work because we'll talk, open possible trade… Help guarantee them safe passage if they want to use the water, and they give us money, men, supplies in turn."
Raffton grunts a wordless response, its meaning in terms of agreement or disagreement unintelligible. Eyes narrow at her description. "Trade?" he echoes, skeptical, "Men? What use would their men be? And the other isles, the other houses support this?" he asks, "This sounds to me like Harlaw's idea. Your house has ever been closer to the mainland than any other."
Kathryna gives him a slightly wider smile, amusement crossing her pale eyes. "I actually have been send here by Lord Greyjoy himself… I spent the last five years as a body guard to his young daughter. You would be surprised what the Greyjoys might be thinking these days." She then shrugs again, thoguhtfully. "The men might not be of much use, yes. But the supplies? Very useful.."
Raffton still looks skeptical. "Lord Greyjoy wants to put down his blade and become a merchant?" he asks, "And he's put this to others and is yet still Lord of the Isles? His sons are along with it?" He shakes his head, "I will believe that when I see it, Lady."
Kathryna shrugs casually. "I'm not saying he's going to put down the blade forever… but I am saying… Certain deals could be made to ensure certain shipments and certain Lord's ships aren't touched… in exchange for money or goods. Protecting everyone's best interests, you know." Kate gives a sly, slow sort of smile at that.
Raffton considers this for a moment, frown just a shade less skeptical and more thoughtful. "And is it Camden ships you're making deals for?" he asks, "Or Terrick ships?" After a beat he says, "Neither of them even have ships, do they?"
Kathryna turns an eye across her shoulder, looking towards the war galley and the docks being built. "Not many now… but times are changing. The Terricks could become a power if they'd learn how to use that dock and the seas properly."
"A power?" Raffton repeats the words and turns them over in his head and his mouth for a moment, before asking, "And what? Lord Greyjoy sent you to help them?" He lifts a brow. Really?
Kathryna stares back to him, that smirk deepening upon her lips. "He sent me to -talk- to them. So… we are talking. We shall see what comes of it. The Terricks are so very fond of dragging their feet, though, it's taking time." There he might seen a certain bit of impatience upon her pale features. She dislikes being a diplomat.
Raffton scrubs at his jaw and shakes his head. "I don't understand this plan," he tells her. "You've come to talk to them about a trade deal before they've even got one ship crewed and sailing? How much coin is that going to make? Not enough to share around the isles, I wouldn't think."
Kathryna smirks a bit more. "It's not just about the ship. We're hoping to start this discussion by getting repayment for our lost man. The Pyke. If the Terricks are willing to pay up for that matter, then we can hopefully pave the way for more dealings." She coughs out a cold little laugh, "And you truly think the Greyjoys are going to share?"
Raffton snorts, and nods, "Right, the Pyke. Cared so much about him you waited six months to come collecting." He shakes his head at her laugh, saying, "No, I don't. Why're you here bargaining for them if you don't either?"
Kathryna shrugs, pushing herself up into standing. "Make friends with the biggest fish, maybe you'll get some of the meal." Kate offers casually, her husky, rasping voice as careless about that as anything else she's said. "And the seas are a harsh mistress. Travel and word takes time." She narrows her eyes upon him, "Are you finished your interrogation?"
"Stray too close to a big fish and one day you'll be that meal," Raffton retorts. He shrugs, "You finished yours? I have if you have."
Kathryna nods curtly, "I think so. If you ever care to come home… let someone know. We'll get you home." Kate states flatly, giving him one last, long look before she turns on the ball of her foot, heading down the path towards the inn.
Raffton snorts. "There's no going home now, not after this long. You know that as well as I do. They wouldn't take me back if I brought them a ship full of Mallister heads dipped in gold."
Kathryna shakes her head as she goes, but she doesn't turn back to him. She just calls over her shoulder. "You'd be surprised, Howell. If you proved yourself of use, you would always be welcome home."
Raffton makes a scoffing noise, shaking his head. "Yeah, I bet," he says as he gathers up his equipment to head back to the castle.