Page 167: The Missing And The Dead
The Missing and the Dead
Summary: A gathering of concern citizens at the Roost discuss the vanished Raffton Howell. Then a generous offer is made from beyond the gate.
Date: 31/12/288
Related Logs: Among the Pines and Nettles, Enemy Within
Jacsen Hardwicke Patrek Kell Belle Muirenn Aubra Evangeline Maron 
Courtyard — Four Eagles Tower
The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.
31 December 288

The end of the log may be missing. If you have it, please add it! :)

For the first time in living memory, the sun has risen on the Tower of Four Eagles under assault. There's much activity about the courtyard, filled with the small folk that escaped the village and all those whom have risen with the sun to resume their grim duties. Speaking with a few of the Terrick sworn swords, Jacsen stands at the foot of the stairs, eschewing his usual attire for a proper breastplate, and a long sword buckled to his left hip. "… we've a better idea of the weapons we have on hand. This morning we will go amongst the small folk and find all of those capable of holding a spear."

Hardwicke has perhaps had to sneak out of his own chambers to get down here, but here he is. He still looks a little more pale than usual, but a good nights' sleep has done well for him, and he can always walk on the strength of his own stubbornness if not. He makes his way slowly into the courtyard, his gaze traveling easily to Jacsen in discussion (and Jacsen in sword and armor). He lips twist with some sort of self-conscious aggravation as he glances down at his own armorless self. Damn.

Evangeline is not so far away from her son with her own duties, organizing that which they have to feed unexpected guests, each portion meager but sustaining. She is the very picture of nobility, dress free of blemish or wrinkle and hair tucked perfectly in place as she insists on doling out what she can to those in line for breakfast. She even has a kind word for a mother, a soft smile for a child, that she currently serves, her gaze only flickering away briefly when Hardwicke appears in the courtyard. It slips to Jacsen in another moment before she returns firmly to her own task.

The Young Lord Patrek's duties have been many and varied, depending on what is needed most at a given moment. There's been a great deal of running here and there, relaying messages or getting status updates so that he might relay them to Lord Jerold. Just now, however, the boy has been given a spot of rest, and he's cramming a sizable hunk of bread and meat into his mouth, walking as he chews. Still in his armor, his steps, now that there's no urgency or adrenaline behind them, have become slower and weary. The lad drifts towards Jacsen, though he doesn't seem to realize it, yet.

Though he still stands with the assistance of his cane, there is something stronger, straighter about the way Jacsen stands this morning, assured as he speaks with his father's men. "By mid-morning I need a tally of how many men we can expect out of this mass," he explains, a glance sent over his shoulder when one of the sworn swords takes notice of Ser Hardwicke's emergence. "Go, begin the tallies and come find me when you've finished." Jacsen turns and calls out to Hardwicke, beginning in his direction, though the approach is stunted by the sight of Patrek Mallister. "Patrek," he says with a small smile. "Morning."

Hardwicke's chin lifts a touch as he sees Jacsen spot him and begin his approach, though he seems reasonably content to allow him and the younger Patrek to make their way over to him. "My lords," he says, voice low and rough out of habit. He does not give glance to Evangeline, perhaps /purposefully/ does not give glance to Evangeline.

That's ok. Evangeline has the cute small folk to look up to her at the moment, and that is where her attention will stay with intense devotion to her duty.

Chew, chew, ch-… blink. Patrek glances up, once cheeck pouched out with his meal, as he's greeted by Jacsen and then by Hardwicke. Chewing happens faster and with more determination until a large swallow clears his mouth and he can offer a bow to the Young Lord Terrick and Captain Hardwicke. "My lord. Captain. Good morning."

"I'm pleased to see that you're well enough to join us outdoors, Ser," Jacsen remarks to Hardwicke, though the faint warmth in his greeting does not belie the fact that there is question and concern in his gaze. He lets out a slow breath, his gaze surveying the people that fill the courtyard to either side of them. "We've begun a search through the small folk here, for those capable of wielding a weapon. I've borrowed a few of your guards men to assist, and I suspect I will need a few more to help with some drills before the day is done." He looks to Patrek. "How fares my lord father?"

"Very good, my lord," Hardwicke replies with a tip of his head. "As you need." His expression is creased with a troubled mien, and he looks on the edge of words, though he keeps them banked while Jacsen inquires after his father.

"He is well, my lord," Patrek answers. "He and two of his knights are looking over the maps and eating a little while they might." He glances between Hardwicke and Jacsen. "You will begin training some of the smallfolk, today?"

Belle Beckett enters the courtyard from the direction of the servant's quarters, pausing to take in the bright, strange day of an occupied people. She's apparently managed to ingratiate herself with the servants sufficiently that she's cobbled together an outfit of hand-me-down clothes, likely to wear while her own are washed and repaired to whatever extent possible. And she's somehow managed to sneak a quick bath, her golden hair still damp, hanging in typically hoydenish, unfettered fashion. It's a moment before she spots the Captain and the young lords among the people coming and going. She smirks faintly and shakes her head, then walks briskly over to join them.

Jacsen tips his chin at Patrek's question, remarking, "My Lord has bid that we prepare as many as we might to help keep the wall, and this is how it will be done. I-" His eyes shift, and consider the Captain of the Guard once more. "Have you thought, Ser? I'd hear it if you do…" The approach of another pair of feet earns a glance, and a small smile. "Mistress Beckett, good morn." Though it is not, really, much of a good morning at all.

"Have I thought, my lord?" Hardwicke echoes, a bit uncomprehending. His brow creases with a hint of frustration at his own weariness. He glances over at Belle as she approaches, looking, for the /slightest/ moment, just a tiny bit guilty. It smooths away quick enough, though. "Has Howell been found?" he says, clearly the item that's been on his mind. "I heard reports—"

Kell was off to the side with a small group of smallfolk, apparently helping them with shoring up with the defenses and whatnot today, making sure that most of them are at work and to help them or guide them as needed. This time it seems like this different group is more amicable when dealing with the Hedge Knight instead of searching out to bully the Ironborn Terrick. When another task is completed, Kell nods to the group before gesturing to the next area where work needs to be done before scanning the Courtyard, seeing Lord Jacsen, Ser Hardwicke, young Lord Patrek, and Miss Belle. Letting the smallfolk know he is excusing himself, the knight begins to make his way towards them.

"Master Howell?" Patrek asks, holding onto his bread and meat rather than trying to put more of it into his mouth. "Has he…" the boy's eyes widen, "is he missing?" And then Belle is offered a nod a touch to deep for her station and a smiling, "Hello, mistress." Kell, as yet unknown to him for the most part, is offered a polite nod as he approaches.

Belle lofts an eyebrow and squints at the Hardwicke for the briefest of moments. Guilt noted. Censure delivered. Then she's dipping a low curtsy to the Lords Terrick and Mallister. "My lords. Good morning." She flicks her eyes up briefly and flashes Patrek a grin, then rises, joining the conversation in progress. "Someone's missing?"

The Young Lord of the Roost frowns a touch, saying, "I only meant that you seemed to have something you wanted to say…" But the talk of Raffton Howell has Jacsen shaking his head. "There is no sign of him, not yet, though we are scouring everywhere we might." Which is, he does not add, far less today than it was yesterday. He shifts upon his cane lightly, though he seems more certain upon his leg than he has in some time. "With everything else that is going on, I've not had much chance to get a clear picture on what happened in the first place…" His brow rises in silent question of the rest of the gathered, to see if any might provide that clarity. Kell, at his approach, is offered a nod of recognition. "Ser Kell."

"My man reported he was attacked—" Hardwicke pauses as Kell approaches, his eyes narrowing. "Ser. I believe you were there when it happened?" He glances back down to Belle, looking for a moment like he's going to ignore her question. Then, with a weary scrub of his forehead with his uninjured arm, he says, "Rafton Howell. One of my men. An — Ironborn."

"Oh!" exclaims Belle, blinking. Then, the rather obvious entirety of what must have occurred becomes clear to her, and her expression draws into pained sympathy. "Oh. The poor boy."

As Kell approaches the group gathered, he first bows his head respectfully to Lord Jacsen first, "M'Lord." Is the appropriate greeting given before nodding to Patrek, Hardwicke, and Belle, "Young Lord, Ser, Miss." He does manage to catch the tail end of the conversation about Raffton and the knight's expression clouds slightly, more at the actions of the small gang of bullies and also at disappointment of himself. "He was set upon by a group of smallfolk who let their temper get the better of them. Guardsman Norman and I tried to diffuse the situation, then help Howell but the group was too large. The other guardsman eventually came to help break up the fight and I was not able to see where Howell fled to. My apologies, M'Lord, Ser."

Patrek has fallen silent, as much to listen as to eat, though there's a small furrow between his young brows. Chewing and swallowing, he wipes crumbs off on his breastplate. "Why did they attack him?" he asks, "The smallfolk?"

"Could he have even managed to leave beyond the wall if he wanted to at this juncture?" Jacsen wonders, though it's a touch more rhetorical than inquisitive, the Young Lord already straining a bit to look about the fortifications within sight. "Still, we cannot afford to search for too long, however it grates to think he was so ill done by." His brow quirks before he asks of Hardwicke, "Can we be certain he is not at all involved with the Ironborn on the other side of our walls?" Patrek's question does not go unanswered, as he opines, "It's fear, I think. They are not seeing him as one of us, but instead as one of them. As one of the enemies at our gates."

"Because men always want someplace to put their anger," Hardwicke replies with a low growl. He nods at Kell wearily. "Thank you for your report, ser." Turning his head to Jacsen, his jaw hardens. "No," he says. "There's only his service to the House, and however far our trust runs."

There is a small frown from the young Mallister for those words, but he nods a little as well. "And do you…" his gaze darts between Jacsen and Hardwicke, the two men who could answer best, "do you think they may be right? In their suspicion? In their fear?"

Kell looks to Patrek's question before nodding in agreement with Jacsen about fear, adding his own thoughts as well, "Fear and also frustration, Young Lord. I believe that some of the smallfolk feel frustrated and angry that they were not able to do anything to prevent the Ironborn from invading, taking and killing their family or friends. So they feel the need to find a scapegoat to vent their feelings on. Sadly, Howell was an easy excuse for them." The Hedge Knight does nod to Hardwicke for his thanks and he seems to be in agreement with the other knight's assessment, "If Howell was in league with the Ironborn, I would think he would be on the other side of the wall right now, where it is safer."

Belle glances rather sharply at Jacsen's question about the guardsman's loyalty, but immediately drops her gaze. And keeps it down. After a moment, she says softly, "A good many of the house servants and smallfolk are — without occupation, at present. Perhaps we might search, so that the guard and others with essential duties are freed to more important things. No one knows a keep better than its servants, after all."

Jacsen frowns a touch at the answer Ser Hardwicke provides, and it does little to ease the concern in his eyes. "Your idea is an interesting one, Mistress Beckett, and one we might pursue, but…" He waves a hand at the wall. "With this all that stands betwixt us and the Ironborn without… I should very like to know what has become of the Ironborn within. And until we can be certain, I'd rather an armed and trained guard to find him rather than a vulnerable servant."

"I am not particularly inclined to send smallfolk after him when they chased him off in the first place," Hardwicke says a bit dryly. He rubs his forehead with another sigh, lips thinning at Jacsen's reply. His answer to Patrek's question is a long time coming. Finally, he replies, "Howell has served faithfully for many years."

Patrek nods slowly as he listens, his gaze flitting from one person to the other as each speak in turn. "Then, you find it unlikely that Master Howell served as a spy, Captain Hardwicke? I only… I met him once. He did seem…" the boy worries his bottom lip a moment before he confesses, "I liked him."

"Mm. I doubt your patient will be up and about for too long," Jacsen remarks to Belle, directing a glance towards Hardwicke with some meaning as he turns to address a squire that's come to him with some matter needing immediate attention. "Pardon me," he asks of the group.

"The castle has never been easy with him here," Hardwicke answers Kell. "I wouldn't do any childhood habits of escape." He frowns at Jacsen's /pointed comment/, but at least has the benefit of being given no direct orders. Looking back to Patrek, his expression goes tense. "I would — say it is unlikely," he says, but his tone is not entirely committed. "But not impossible."

"Someone will know who the boy kept as friends, likely someone among the men at arms," Belle theorizes. "And his friends would know where he might flee. It's simply a matter of asking about." This, the Nayland handmaid asserts with some confidence.

Slowly, Muirenn walks out of the crowded and stuffy hall that has been set up for not only the wounded but as a place for the townfolk who managed to make to to the castle. The normally energetic and vibrant maiden moves quietly and tiredly. She rubs a clean hand across a forehead that is grimey before putting her palms to her back and stretching. The fresh salt air is an obvious, welcome change from the pleasant and not pleasant sweetness of the people she has been treating and monitoring. Carefully, she picks her way down the steps and begins to move through the crowds of soldiers towards an empty bench. Though she tries to be unobtrusive, the bloodstained remains of her vibrant purple gown stand out among the gleaming and dusty mail.

At Hardwicke's words, Kell nods his head as more of Raffton's background is given though at this point, it seems like if the Ironborn wants to be found or wants help, he would seek it, "Perhaps it may be best to let him be, else he would have seeked out those he trusted already. He may be keeping to his own thoughts at this time, because I am sure it is not easy on him, what is happening right now."

Patrek swallows faintly and nods for Hardwicke's words and then for Kell's. "I see," the boy replies quietly before a flash of brightness catches his eyes and he turns to see Muirenn stepping out of the tower proper. He lifts a hand, waving it a little in the air as he calls, "Cousin!"

"If he kept friends," Hardwicke says, frowning. "He's always been — quiet. I don't know that he was close to anyone." He does relent enough to say, "If you find him, Belle — tell me." His gaze lingers on her, expression meaningfully creased.

Belle considers Hardwicke a long moment, then sighs. "No promises." Though whether that's to her results, or her reporting them after — it's not entirely clear. She seizes, it seems, on Muirenn's arrival and diverts her attention, dipping a curtsy for the lady. "My lady. Good morning."

With a weary smile, Muirenn's steps turn towards Patrek and in this time of war she forgoes propriety and envelopes her younger cousin in a hug. "Oh Patrek! I am so glad to see you safe!"

As the matter of Raffton is more or less settled for the time being, Kell turns his attention to Hardwicke, asking a question that is geared towards the current situation with the invaders, "Ser, have any plans been made to attempt to repel the Reavers, atleast for a short period of time so we may perhaps rescue comrades or smallfolk that may be trapped on the other side and are in hiding?" It seems like the knight is somewhat eager to take the battle to the enemy instead of idly sitting by behind the walls. Glancing towards the person Patrek is calling towards, Kell sees that it is Lady Muirenn and dips his head respectfully as she approaches, "Good morning, M'Lady." A small smile appearing at the affection shared by the two who share a common blood.

Pulling his gaze away from Belle, it lands next on Muirenn: "My lady," Hardwicke greets, stiff and weary. His expression holds no judgment of the woman's embrace of her cousin. Looking back to Kell, he frowns. "We don't have the force necessary to launch a diversion and rescue."

Patrek laughs a little for the unexpected hug, but he returns it easily, if awkwardly, in his armor. "'Course I'm safe, Muirenn," he assures, his gloved hand offering a pat-pat to her back. He can't help but add, with a smidge of pride, "I helped to bring the gate down."

The answer that Kell receives about the strength of defensive forces was not one that he had hoped to hear but the knight does nod understandingly, as hard facts are just that and cannot be changed. "Understood, Ser." Showing that he has no intent to object or raise concerns.

"I saw cousin, it was well done indeed. Uncle will be proud." Muirenn's tired smile warms as she pats her younger cousin's back adding with a teasing murmer, "I'm still taller than you." before adding aloud, "I must beg your forgiveness young Lord for my hasty and ill thought cry earlier." Glancing over at Hardwick, she gives a nod and says softly..obliquely, "Thank you. The castle rests upon the most solid and steadfast of foundations. I will not doubt it again Ser." Inhaling deeply as she continues to repress the complete and humiliating collapse by focusing on more important things she continues, "How fares your arm? The maester wanted me to inquire upon it should I run into you while I took a few minutes in the fresh air."

"It's fine," Hardwicke tells Muirenn, though he does slide a surreptitious glance in Belle's direction, as if expecting her to protest.

Belle does not, in fact, protest. Though she folds her arm and visibly bites her tongue. She turns from Hardwicke to survey the keep. "There's a library, isn't there? Old records? Plans from which the place was built?"

Smiling at Muirenn's tease, Patrek offers the proper return of, "Yes, but I'm still growing." He straightens as Muirenn does, nodding a little for his father being proud. "You look tired, cousin. If you are able, you should rest a little while all is relatively calm."

For now, Kell stays silent as pleasantries are exchanged by the cousins and Ser Hardwicke's injuries are inquired about. The knight's gaze do move to the gate that is securely keeping the Ironborn out, though his features shows his thoughts may be farther than that.

With a nod, Murienn says "Indeed…I can show you Ser Hardwicke if is is the library you are looking for. I know not whether there are drawings of the castle with its ingress and egress points, but you would be welcome to look." She glances at Kell and Belle and smiles, "Thank you both for all your help and assistance during this time." Her gaze lingers on Belle a bit longer as she says quietly, "Just as my Lady Liliana demonstrated that perhaps there is more to her House than what I have been told, you have proven that there is more to yours as well. We are ever in your debt." She gives a subtle nudge to Patrek that is not so subtle that it can't be felt through his armor, "Is that not right young Lord?"

Shuffle shuffle…shuffle shuffle…shuffle shuffle. Yes, this is the shuffling of none other than Aubra Leetdan, possibly the oldest member of staff for the Terricks. As she walks about, she can be heard muttering about various plants. "No, no. That flower is only good for making things smell nice. Hmm. What else could be useful? Hmmm." She seems to be lost in her own thoughts as she passes the group of people that seem to be gathered to talk amongst themselves.

"Most of the old records are kept in the reading room," Hardwicke replies, though his gaze narrows on Belle in a mildly suspicious manner. He glances over at Aubra as her shuffle brings her near, watching her mutter for a moment before greeting, "Mistress Leetdan."

Patrek glances over at his cousin, frowning a little. "Muirenn," he chastises quietly for that nudge. "Of course the Terricks and their men have fought bravely and well-defended their people and ours. That's their duty, my father expects no less." He looks over as Aubra shuffles into view, and even being too old to believe in things like witches and hexes, the boy eases a small step away from the slow-moving Aubra, even as he offers her a nod and a polite, "Mistress."

Belle narrows her eyes right back at Hardwicke, as though to show him what he looks like — though her expression is more constipated than suspicious. Perhaps on purpose. To Muirenn, she says (with a far more becoming expression), "I would appreciate being shown the way, my lady — or just… the general direction." She smiles.

As a new person approaches, Kell's thoughts are drawn back to the present for now as he glances to Aubra who looks to be rather old that he has yet to meet as he dips his head respectfully in greeting, adding a "Mistress," in greeting as that is what seems to be appropriate.
Hardwicke has reconnected.

With a respectful, "Mistress…" Muirenn gives a smile, weary but genuine, "Might I be of some assistance? We have most of the herbs gathered in one spot in the area set aside for the healers." She turns her head towards Belle and nods, "I need to check upon the Lady Liliana and assure that she is not overworking herself and gets rest. I would be happy to take you to the reading room"

Hardwicke scowls at Belle's mimicry, bristling with grouchy disapproval at her impression of him. He shakes his head as Aubra just keeps on shuffling right past, though he hardly seems surprised.

Belle smiles at Muirenn and dips another curtsy. "It's good to know the Lady Liliana is a possessed of such fine sense and excellent judgment to remain abed when she needs to. Thank you, my lady, in advance for your assistance."

As the small talk continues, Kell decides that it would be best served for him to return to helping the smallfolk men who are busy shoring up the defenses and making sure what needs to get done is done, willing to lend a hand or his guidiance as needed, something Hardwicke had charged him to do. "Excuse me, Ser, Young Lord, Mistresses, I shall return to the duty assigned to me." He inclines his head respectfully to the group before departing the immediate premise.

"Some people have duties to attend to that necessitate getting out of bed," Hardwicke says in grouchy argument of Belle's clear implication.

Patrek smirks a little as Belle and Hardwicke bicker discreetly(ish) back and forth. "I'd best return to Lord Jerold as well," he says, "and see if he has need of me." He offers a nod to Kell as he departs. "Mistress Beckett. Captain Hardwicke. Cousin."

Belle smiles fondly at Patrek, dipping a curtsy for the boy's departure. "My lord." Then, to Hardwicke, "Captain, would you come with me, a moment? I have a task that specifically requires a partially exsanguinated, one-armed man."

"My lord," Hardwicke replies gruffly to Patrek. He narrows his gaze on Belle again and scowls. "You do not," he says, but there is something resigned in the way he aims his body in her direction and drags his feet over for whatever she might need him for.

Belle swallows her grin at Hardwicke's scowling, but her dimples are deep. She drops another curtsy to Muirenn in departing. "My lady. I'll find you after you've looked in on Lady Liliana. I pray for her speedy recovery."

With a nod to Belle, the Mallister noblewoman gives a smile and says "I will be inside when you are ready." She pauses and lays a restraining hand on Patrek's arm. Bending her head she murmers softly to him before straightening and stating, "Be well cousin, if you need aught, find me in the entrance hall."

Muirenn whispers: Mistress Belle was the one who assisted you in lowering the gate. She showed great courage and deserves your thanks my Lord. Do not let her effort go unrecognized.

"My lady," Hardwicke says in brisk farewell to Muirenn before allowing himself to be led by Belle wherever she may have in mind.

From beyond the walls, comes a very distant call, punctuated by laughter. "Halloo? Aheh- Halloo the castle! Lord Terrick, can you hear? I have something of yours!" A chorus of crass laughter accompanies the call.

Patrek begins to move back towards the entrance hall, but when that cackling and calling starts up, he turns towards the gates. Scowling, the lad's hand moves to the sword at his hip.

Kell's work with the small group of the men is disrupted as they pause at the mocking voice coming from the otherside of the wall, tensing up at the taunting voice of the Ironborn. The Hedge Knight is ready though, just in case any crazy shenanigans can end up being dangerous.

Pausing as she reaches the steps, Muirenn turns and looks towards the wall as the enemy begins to mock from the other side. A hand moves to her throat as her lips purse and she tries to brace herself for what horrors she is sure to come.

"There must be someone wants to peek over the walls and see how gracious I'm being?" the merry prattle from beyond the walls goes on. The guards whole peer out between crenelations can see a small knot of Ironborn just past bowshot, one among whom- the talker- is dressed in a chieftan's finery and maile. Bearded and blond, eyes marked by laugh lines, is Maron Greyjoy. "I've brought you a gift, Lord Terick!" he laughs, waving his friends forward. "I wanted to send it over the walls to you, but wouldn't you know it? The damned catapults aren't done yet. So you'll have to come collect him, old Eagle! We found your brother! Sad to say he smells a bit-" laughter answers the joke as the other ironborn drag forward a very dead body. While hardly identifiable as Revyn Terrick, the knight's exquisite greatsword is brandished at the castle by Maron, to the cheers of his men.

Whether Lord Jerold can or cannot hear the Ironborn, the Lady Evangeline can, the swirl of skirts accentuating her entrance to the courtyard on some business or another. She tenses at the call, the grip of her fingers tightening in the fold of silk. Then, she is all movement again and decision, glancing towards Kell to order, "Check that the gates are secure. Young Lord Patrek—stay back, please, dear." She moves towards the gate herself, voice raised higher and practically thrumming with tension. "Would you allow us to collect him with a promise of a cease of attack?"

The taunting can only mean trouble and when the bait is revealed by the Ironborn, Kell's expression hardens into a grim expression as he excuses himself quietly from the men he was working with. Already in armor due to being under siege, the Hedge Knight heads closer to the middle of the Courtyard and when Lady Evangeline gives the orders, the knight nods his head without question and heads towards the gate, where no doubt other guards are stationed as well. Kell makes sure that he stands between the gate and the Lady, just in case there was some sort of trickery or even saboutage though he does look to the guards there with him.

"Ah ha- a Lady! I could do that," Maron muses theatrically. "But I'd want something in return for such graciousness, you see. I bring back the Lord's brother, and in turn for not kicking in that door, I want the man that killed mine. Send out Kevan Tierney!"

Patrek takes a few steps closer to the gate, though he stills when Lady Evangeline speaks. With a frown, he halts his forward motion when she requests it of him, though he leans forward, bouncing eagerly on the tip of his toes.

Kell's eyes are on the gate and the guards for now, his hand at the sword sheathed at his hip and also ready to unlimber the shield that is secured at his back for the time being. The words being exchanged between the Lady and the Greyjoy does not change the knight's expressions as he is silent, nothing to say, not even a murmur.

"For you to kill him in turn? I will not send a man out only to die," Lady Evangeline answers in turn, the slight tremble of her words made up for by volume and years of sure command. "Ask something else of me, ser, but that you will not have." Her attention slides back to Patrek, a quick nod to the boy as she asks of the young lord, "Make sure someone is fetching my lord husband."

"Oh, I'll have him alright, you tarted up Riverlands bitch," Maron laughs, with a drunkard's manner of sounding jovial even when giving voice to the most crass profanities. "You see, this sack of blood and maggots isn;t all I've got out here-" the words are punctuated with a kick to the corpse of the fallen Terrick knight. "I've another knight. Some Westerlands fellow. And a whole lot of peasants beside.. I'll give you one of their heads every dawn until I have revenge for Svarta Pyke!"

The lad blinks and then he nods. With a task to do, Patrek moves quickly, darting into the entrance hall and past to seek out Lord Jerold and alert him to what the Ironborn are about beyond the gates.

It seems like one of Kell's concerns are panning out to be true as the Ironborn has captives, both knights and smallfolk. The threat by the Greyjoy has the man gritting his teeth though his swords remains sheathed for now as the exchange between the Lady and Chieftain continues.

A hand presses to her mouth and Muirenn lifts her skirts and runs up the stairs to the doorway. Summoning one of the assistants helping her with the healing, she has a large sheet brought. Moving towards her hostess, the Lady Evangeline she murmers, "I am at your service my Lady. I have brought a sheet to…when…" the young Mallister's maiden falls silent

It is perhaps unwise, how close Evangeline drifts towards the gates, close enough to brush her hand against stone and steady herself. She looks after the departing lad, to the men guarding the gates, before her attention is stolen by Muirenn. She whispers back, softly, "Thank you. Seven bless you." She looks again through the small landscape afforded her by strategic slits in the walls. "Is that why the Ironborn have brought an army to our shores? For revenge of one, you will kill many?"

As Lady Evangeline moves closer to the gates, Kell finally speaks though his words are low, gentle words offered as he makes no move to put a hand on the Lady to help her distance herself from the gate. "M'Lady, please be careful, it is best not to be too close to the main entrance."

"Oh no, Lady!" Maron corrects with a shake of his head, and a showman's turn and shake of his finger to the negative. "We come because the strong rule the weak, and King Balon Greyjoy has returned us to the Old Ways. We come to have your surrender, and take our rightful place in those halls of yours as your lords! I however… I will kill off your peasant sheep one at a time until I have my revenge. Which is a shame, to waste good sheep, but still- the sacrifices I must make, eh?" Maron's clowning raises another round of laughter from his men.

Straightening to her full 6 feet in height, Muirenn lifts her chin and focuses a steely gaze upon Maron. "Imposter and pretender.." the Mallister noble says, "King Robert will not stand for this. Even the old ways allowed for respect to the fallen" she continues steadily, her voice as cold as the very breath of winter, "Allow us our dead so that we might tend them as befits those who fell with honor." Her fingers tighten their grip in the sheet that will be turned into a shroud. Standing beside Evangeline the young maiden continues to hold her emotions in check, trying to rise above as her family's motto eschews.

"Of course, ser," Evangeline says to Kell, inclining her chin slightly as she slips a brush of fingers over Muirenn's arm. The gesture is both a comforting squeeze and a move to draw the other lady back as well, though only slightly. "As the lady says. Let us collect our dead, give us another dawn to think on what you said of your revenge," she adds, her words steady and mild.

"If you want him, come and have him, Lady," Maron invites with an elaborate, mocking bow, and flourish of his arm toward the dead. Backing away from the castle, with a laugh on his lips, still facing the castle, with arms spread wide to either side, "King Robert? Why, he gave us the bloody idea! If one man can conquer a kingdom, why not another, eh? Think, Lords and Ladies.. But while you think my new subjects are bleeding."

As the Greyjoy seems to be willing to allow them to retrieve the fallen knight, Kell turns his attention briefly to Lady Evangeline, as if to see what she would like them to do. If she tells them to open the gates and retrieve the body, he will be one willing to volunteer to venture forth with others if called for.

Looking to Evangeline, the Mallister maiden says softly so that the enemy cannot hear, "Let me go collect our fallen my Lady. Surely they would not….not do anything to one such as I. It breaks my heart to see them thus. I can take Ser Kell to assist." In times such as these absolute perfection has fled, evident by Muirenn's gown soaked and stained in blood and other fluids as she leant her aid to the maester to help with the wounded these past two days. Not strong, no…she is, however, determined and while afraid not cowering.

"We can not be sure of what they would or would not do, Lady Muirenn. They are Ironmen." The word is said as more of a curse than a label, the Lady Evangeline's expression tightening as she glances back to survey the length of men surrounding the gates with thoughtful silencce. Instead of immediately sending someone, she instead questions, "You will not harm whoever I send to fetch my goodbrother?"

As the Lady Muirenn suggests going out to fetch the body, even with him as an escort, Kell shakes his head, "I must protest, M'Lady, if they are willing to take knights and townfolk captive, and execute them one by one, they are nothing but ruthless savages. They have no honor and none will be given to us." He does look towards Lady Evangeline, remaining silent until she finishes asking the question of the Greyjoy, "M'Lady, I can go out with a couple of guards to fetch the body if you wish, or even alone if it is too great of a risk to send out more than one."

"I swear it by every god in my sept!" Maron laughs back at the inquiry, with an inviting motion made toward the dead body.

That decides whatever thoughts Evangeline may have about fetching back bodies, a breath inhaled slowly, deeply. Perhaps a bit sadly. Then she turns back to the others, shaking her head once, sharply. "No one will be leaving, not during the siege, unless Lord Ser Jerold commands differently. May Lord Revyn rest in peace, but we cannot risk our lives for our dead," she says in crisp, clear command.

While she disappeared quite mysteriously before, presumably to go check on stores of food and the like, Aubra has returned to the courtyard, this time a little more silently, but with a tray of tea and some mugs in hand for any who should wish it. Approaching the little group that includes those who rule the Roost, the older woman pipes up. "Tea for anyone?"

Kell's eyes turns back to the closed gates as his expression doesn't change, nodding his understanding to Evangeline's worsd, "Yes, M'Lady. The Warrior be with Lord Revyn." As much as the Hedge Knight would like to go out and retrieve the fallen, even if it means fighting the Reavers, the Lady has made her decision and his hand slowly leaves the hilt of his sword, leaving it sheathed. When Aubra returns, Kell shakes his head briefly at her offer, as he waits to see if any other Greyjoy shenanigans will be afoot.

With a nod, Muirenn says softly "Yes my lady…" there is a pause as she adds, "Lady Liliana is assisting with going over the list of stores to put together a plan in case…" The young woman's voice falls silent, in case rationing and the worst case scenario is evident. She forces a smile to her lips as she enquires even in the midst of all of this, "Is there aught I might do for you my Lady?" She glances over at Aubra and nods, "I would be grateful for a cup of tea with mint Mistress.."

"Not right now, Aubra. Later," Evangeline replies, comfortable enough with the old lady to forsake propriety and instead answer familiarly. "Make yourself useful where you can in the castle, continue tending the wounded. That does much to ease my own burdens."

Expertly, holding the tray with but one arm, the older woman starts to pour a cup of tea for Muirenn, picking a piece of mint from the tray, crushing it as she lets the pieces fall and soak in the tea that is there. Passing the mug over to Muirenn, Aubra smiles, "There you be, m'lady. Let the mint soak for a moment before drinking." Bowing her head to Evangeline, she responds, "If that is what you wish, m'lady. Is there no more help I can be to those of you out here before I attend to others? Perhaps a remedy for a headache? Or other requests of duties on my part?"

"M'Lady, if I am no longer needed, I will return to my duties." Kell says as he inclines his head respectfully to Evangeline, ready to go back to working with the smallfolk to do what is needed in the courtyard in terms of defenses and whatnot.

With a nod to Aubra, Muirenn gratefully accepts the mug. Dark circles beneath her eyes reflect the little to no rest that the Mallister noble has allowed herself. She smiles at Aubra, "We have appreciated all your assistance with the herbs. You have been such a help to the injured." She smiles as she lifts the mug to take a small sip.

"I must find my husband. It would be appreciated if you do see Lord Jerold, you make mention of what transpired and send him to find me as well," Evangeline answers slowly, a smile gracing her lips briefly before she makes a slight dip of a curtsy to excuse herself before turning to retreat.

With a nod, Muirenn says softly "Of course Lady Evangeline. I will inform him." She sips at her mug of tea, looking around at everyone hurrying and working as if she feels a bit lost.