|The Needs of a Hedge Knight|
|Summary:||Hollister makes a request of Starling, with a little more charm than usual.|
|Date:||2 February 2012|
|Related Logs:||Any of Hollister and Starling.|
|Army Camp - Outskirts|
|A quiet area of grassland bordering the encampment at Seagard|
|February 2nd 289 A.L.|
Early afternoon in the campground and things are beginning, bit by bit, to return to some semblance of normality. The air is less dense with sorrow and resignation, particularly as some of the leaders who sustained injury have been seen up and about once more. The morale of the men is bolstered. There's even gossip about rewards being granted to those who showed exemplary bravery out in the field. That'd be 'the ones who made it back in one piece', to me and you.
Regardless, the general brightening of mood rubs off on everyone who is forced to remain here, in one way or another. Even Starling. the dark-haired girl is, at this precise moment, watching with great amusement as a group of Terrick squires try and fail to outdo one another in their practice on horseback, tilting at a temporary target of post and sandbag. Not that she lets them see that she's observing, of course. No, to all intents and purposes, the girl is merely seated cross-legged in the grass, back propped against the rough bark of a gnarled tree as she enjoys a little shade. but she steals glances now and then to track the progress of the lads, and stifles a smirk more often than not. the youths, of course, are quite aware of a feminine presence and are striving to outdo one another, if only in barbed banter between themselves that remains a little louder than really necessary.
Leaning back more comfortably, Starling stretches her long legs out directly in front of herself and sighs, seeming rather content. The world is less desolate, today. Even if that's just an illusion of sunshine and laughter.
Amongst all of those remaining, there are a few errand riders preparing to head out this day as well. Missing from the paddock in which the squires practice in, is a well known grey courser, as well as from the many pavilions the lone tent which served for a knight. And perhaps he might even get by as he leads the courser by those practicing, given he is not in the familiar livery that he has sported since coming here with his liege Lord. Still despite being in drab colours, one of the Terrick Squires calls out to the old man with a definite 'Ser Slane.' Which of course has Hollister looking up to watch one of the other men ride by trying to artfully tilt the shield, only to miss off, and be knocked aside by the swinging bag.
"Noris, you bleedin' fool!" Hollister snaps. "A real fucking knight doesn't ride cock high in the saddle. Bear down into your stirrups and hit true, or else, some poor bastard hedge knight will come along and unseet you, right after you're first knighted, and murder you just as fine. And then you will be trusting in me to tell your sweet sister how you died, and all I will say is, he took a cock in the ass and died. Ride it again!" Perhaps that is the folly of alerting the knight to your misdeeds, when you are literally fucking around in the saddle, as Hollis calls it. Though when he looks past the others, he catches, beyond other Terrick house hold people watching the tilts, and now possibly snickering, a familiar face.
"Well well.." Hollister says, mainly to himself, before with a clucking of his tongue, he is leading his horse around the lads, an on to where the stablehand finds herself.
Starling is, indeed, laughing openly at the litany offered by the elder knight toward the unfortunate youngsters. But that's what happens when you're more intent on showing off than practicing. Still. Poor things. Other than crossing her booted feet comfortably at the ankle, the slender girl doesn't move from what seems to be a choice spot in the aging roots of the tree. Her longcoat, for once, is not flung about her shoulders, but rather settled on the ground beneath her as a picnic-blanket, of sorts, leaving her clad in simple leggings and a snugly laced bodice of soft kidskin; unremarkable save for the missing braid of decoration at one side of the lower hem. Looks to have been torn off. The young woman has her hands busied, for the moment, with a rope halter settled in her lap, her dextrous fingers attending to rebraiding a frayed end, that it might be useful again rather than discounted and tossed aside. Is she ever truly still?
"Ser Hollister." she greets the approaching knight without even needing to look toward him directly, letting him know she's aware of his presence.. and unperturbed by it. Only eventually do her dark eyes move to him, her nose wrinkling just a touch as she squints up through the dappled sunlight filtering through the branches overhead. "..a very elegant lesson, indeed. How did you sleep?" Lack of rest would be a wonderful excuse behind that profanity.. but she somehow seems to find amusement in the fact that he's more likely just to dismiss it.
Hopefully, Starling, won't mind the attention she draws from the elder knight who is clearly staring at her, as a man should stare at a woman, if he's impolite. And given the tirade that just flushed from his mouth, like an exploding bog- it is probably safe to assume..That he is indeed, impolite. Still the knight looks to her, before he's loosening his grip on the coursers reigns, and he moves to squat awkwardly by where she lounges., complete with the adjusting of his sword and all. "Mistress Starling." he intones a tad chipper than he was with the lads.
Hollister looks back towards the squires who have suddenly seen to busying themselves, now that the older knight has their distraction's attention. "I had wondered if you were staying here, and possibly joining us across the sea- or if you had headed back to Stonebridge-the siege now lifted and all." And the older knight looks back to his moutn, who seems content to let his bit slip and eat at grass. The other question, however does bring a chuckle from the older man and his eyes back on her. "Aye, I did. Thank you." For asking or spending time with him, it is unknown. "I am riding back for Stonebridge and the Roost on errand for my Lord, before we all take to the sea.." And he allows the pause to sit there. "I would ask, Starling, if thre is something I could do for you while I am out?"
Does she mind eyes upon her? No, it doesn't appear so. Then again, these are familiar eyes. And, honorable knight or not, he's still just a man, beneath all that armor. Starling's blithe smile rids any concerns he might have, somewhere deep down, about offending her; mahogany eyes never shifting once they have settled upon Hollister's rather formidable silhouette. Eventually, she pauses in her task and raises a hand to her brow, providing shade for her gaze and allowing her to grace the man with a less awkward smile. "I don't imagine they'll let me travel with them on the boats.." she admits, ruefully. There's no elaboration on who 'they' are, either. "So I suppose I might have to head back to Stonebridge soon enough. Depending what course my friends decide to take. Though.. I really should go, or I won't have a job to go back to." Though that notion doesn't seem to overly concern the girl, at the same time she's arguing with herself. Out loud.
In the end, she simply sighs deeply and dismisses the matter to come back to, one might presume, at another time. Listening as Hollister speaks further, her brows arch in surprise and enquiry, a touch of dismay not immediately hidden as she reacts in voice. "..you're leaving..?" Damnitall. As soon as she gets to know and like someone, the stupid war whisks them away. Same old song and dance. Lowering her hand, letting a vague frown darken her brow instead, she looks back down to the rope resting across her thighs. "Something..? No, I.. well, I can't think of anything pressing.."
Indeed, he is a man, as she is a woman, even if much younger than he. Still he remains there, apparently the awkward smile given due to the sun's light doesn't seem to put him off. But, one could easily imagine that it would take a lot to set someone like Ser Hollister Slane into feeling awkward, as opposed to gruff and grouchy. Though givne her words he frowns, only a small bit before bowing his head. "Of course. Some think women on a ship is damned bad luck. An other would be busy trying to keep you in the hold to fuck you." Almost bitter there in the thought that she would not be going, but his laugh tries to change the pace of the conversation. "I still wish you were, as I doubt any of those shiftless buggers over there could handle Bastan as you did." And there he moves, coming to sit as opposed to squat with a grunt./
"Damn my old knees. Fuck them." hissed out before he is nodding. "Aye I am. On Errand, though I do expect to be back before a fortnight." he allows. "We set sail then to whatever got forsaken salt drenched hell we are to take from those Iron bastards." and he turns to spit, though luckily this time it is a curse, and no sluice from his own addictions. A nod is given there, before he looks back. "I see..I had hoped I would find you before I did go." the knight offers out. "If not Stonebridge then here." his own bit of awkwardness as the knight-was never good with words that did not include fuck and cocksucker.
"Given that I am a knight, I don't have entirely too much say in where I am needed during times like this. And I had hoped to have had an ale with you on better terms and possibly where I culd sit opposite you and not worry for someone coming and dragging you off." A faint grin there, that shows. "But that, may need to wait till I have returned from the Islands."
"Oh, some think a woman anywhere but their beds is bad luck!" retorts the girl, with sudden vehemence, waving a dismissive gesture with one hand, then simply shoving the half-repaired halter aside, letting it fall to the aged drape of leather she sits upon. With her generous lips twisting in a rare display of unveiled displeasure for a moment, Starling huffs an exhale and looks to the knight, watching him take a seat on the ground. But, as quickly as it appears, it's gone again, a slow grin tugging at the corners of her mouth. "It'd take the whole army to keep me in the hold if I didn' want to be there, Ser. Believe me." Letting her gaze pass by the grizzled veteran, she regards his foul-tempered beast for a momen, with obvious affection for it's sour old puss. "The horses are going…? I didn't think they would be. Won't it be strange for them..?"
Her tone is the tentative curiosity of one who has probably only seen a ship from a distance or in a painting, let alone set foot on the deck of one, and she rubs a hand at her nape a little sheepishly as she slumps back against the trunk of the tree. "Two weeks.. s'quite a while." she muses, in a milder manner, those dark-lashed, startled-doe eyes wandering back toward the knight, just as his own gaze settles upon her, in kind. It prompts another smile, promptly. "Well.. you found me, Ser. I'm not too difficult to locate, am I. Though.. if there was ale anywhere, that's where I'd be. Not sat under a tree."
Raking her fingertips back through her tousled dark mane, failing utterly to bring it to order or propriety, Starling adds, "..I'll never be to Stonebridge before you, Ser Hollister… I've no mount anymore. Will take me a few days, most likely. So.. I'll just have to wish you well, for whatever errands they be, that you're seein' to and.. hope to see you again before you take to sea.." The idea that she might not is apparently too unpleasant to entertain, for the moment.
"To tell the blunt truth, mistress. It's been some time since I found a woman in my bed. I think I would not be sure whether it was luck or a prank." A joke in the tone the knight uses, and apparently he finds it funny enough to laugh at his own jest. Still he sighs watching her for a moment, before he reaches over his hand to pat at her leg, as if that would make one thing better and all the rest simply detail. Still he allows his own smile to rest easy as he looks over to his own horse, following the girl's gaze. A small frown showing for a moment. "That, I do not know. It depends if we wish to utelize calvary or not..or if we can. To tell the truth, I've never been to the Iron Isles, so I cannot say if they will be helpful. But, I have seen horses loaded into ships once before." A pause there as he looks back to her. "It is a sight to behold. Monstrous machines and thick canvas.." A pause and he shakes his head. "I doubt we will take them. Though if we do not, would you see to bastan?" An odd request there.
As for the other he simply nods. "It is." Hollis admits before looking back to the girl. "Right now you are not, mistress. Though, I fear when I do wish to find you, it'll be harder than finding a cockle'sburr in my blankets." A laugh there before he reaches up to scratch his jaw. "I would like that. If anything so that I may see a bright face before I go off to grim war." There, something flowery from the old man, and it's gone with a shake of his head. "Could I ask of you something. You need not answer now."
Starling can't help but laugh, good-natured and unabashed, at the wry witticism from the gruff knight and his own laughter to follow it, still chuckling and shaking her head as he pats at her leg. "..you must have good and thoughtful friends, Ser, if those are the worst sort of pranks you could expect to endure?" Flashing Hollister a grin, full of cheek and mischief, the girl quirks a brow in amused enquiry before letting the matter drop. She can't press him about something like that! Regardless of their collective lack of manners. "Of course I would." she answers, in regard to the grumpy old grey. The horse, that is. "Until your return. I'd even try not to make him fat and placid. Truly, I would." That horse would never be any such thing and she knows it. But she seems determined to return some good cheer to the day.
Tilting her head a little askance, the dark-haired girl admits, calmly, "..s'true. If I didn't want to be found, you'd struggle. Everyone does." How often does she hide, then? Strange. Settling her hands upward, into a clasp at the back of her head, Starling leans back into more of a recline and lets her lashes drift downward to half-mast, watching Hollister from beneath them. The sounds of the camp still occupy the balmy sea air, and the activity of the squires nearby has far from abated. But here, in the cool, dappled shade of the aging tree, there's an illusion of solitude. It's rare, and not unpleasant. "Other than the care of your miserable horse..? I suppose." She heaves a long-suffering sigh, but fails to keep a straight face, still smiling as she waits for the knight to continue.
"Though I am sure that one as young, an fair as you- you have some sweetheart, it would honor me greatly if I could have a token of yours. Like a favor ladies hand knights when they go to tournament." a pause and Hollister falls serious for a moment, his voice softer as if for anyone else to hear his words would be a crime that he would have to defend from. "Something to hold onto while I am in the carnage." simple and like that he lets it fall lots and all onto the poor girl's shoulders. Content now to allow the presence that has swooped over them to be the overriding atmoshpere. "As I said." Hollis begins again. "Think on it and do not answer hastily. And I will promise upon my return back, to give it you again, and a promise of ale." A half grin there, but it does not last.
A heavy thing to ask from the night, specially of a common girl, but then she knows not him entirely, and neither does he-her. Finally after a small moment of silence, he laughs, his usual warm bark. "I am sure, if Bastan could become fat and placid he would want it. But like me, he is too used to the mean and rough. The hard life of road and beating bounds. Aye, he'd not know what to do with it, if it fell in his lap." A grin there, as Hollister looks back.
Arching a brow as the next request is revealed in far gentler tones, the girl doesn't react immediately. Is that good or bad, for the knight? She does, however, haul herself slowly back up to a more properly seated position, and then and only then does a slow-burning smile truly take hold upon her features. "..from me?" She asks, similarly soft-spoken, but seeming genuinely surprised and, judging by the touch of rosy warmth to her cheeks, pleased. "I'dve thought /you'd// have someone to-.." She doesn't finish the thought, at least not out loud. Lowering her gaze for the nonce, she idly tugs at the blades of lush grass fringing the coat she's seated on. "..you needn't wait for my reply, Ser Hollister. I'd.. be happy to give you somethin' to carry. A little reminder of home, and all. What you will have to wait on, though.." The brunette ventures a shy glance up and aside toward the man, just as ill at ease as he was, a moment ago. But grinning, quite aware of it. "..is me thinkin' on what to give. I'm not exactly a girl that keeps silken hankerchiefs stuffed in her sleeve." A momentary pause, before she shrugs her bare shoulders by way of emphasis. "..ain't got sleeves."
Is it truly such a weighty request? It doesn't seem that way, with Starling's careful handling of it. Whether they know one another well or not, she accepts and graciously; as gracious as any nobleborn lady, if not quite so eloquent. "Muddy's fat. Not always placid, though." she remarks, returning to the conversation after a moment of reverie. "..his new owner will find that out soon enough, I'll wager." There's the flicker of a mischievous grin, at this. "But aye.. you'd be surprised the sorts of creatures who can enjoy bein' cared for.. once they get used to it. Even a mean old cuss like.. Bastan."
"Then you think on what to give if, I may take the favor then. And when I return, before we set sail, I will come to you and you can bestow it on me then." Hollis adds softly, before he is grinning back, a bit of youth in the smile, before he moves back up into that uneasy squat with a bit of a groan. Eyes looking back to her, as his own smile rides high. "It can be anything. Anything." echoed for a moment before he simply rose up to stand. Hands move as he turns to see to his horse, getting the beast from snacking with a slight rough pat and his own hushing coos for when bastan rears his head back. "Calm down, it's me."
"It gives me much happiness." Hollister says as he looks back over to the young woman. "That I got to see you. And I will not be able to wait until I find you again." A half grin there. "I'd say some kinder words if I could, Starling, but I am afraid I'm too broken of a man to be able to adequately say those things. Just know that, I would say them to you." honesty there before he is tugging at his horse. "I will find you again, my Mistress." A bow of his head, before he seeks to tug the horse away, and leave those words with the beaming girl.
"Well, you'll want it to be something that lasts.. that won't matter if it gets dirtied or wet or what have you.." Considering all this out loud, starling still comes to no obvious solution, for the time being. And all this.. bestowing talk, has her eyeing the knight with those big brown eyes turning a little wary. "..you're not gettin' a speech, Ser.. I don't do speeches. Unless 'here, take this' counts..?" Hopefully that's intended as a joke.. but her disquiet is certainly comical, whether it's intentional or not. Watching the older man rise stiffly, observing his mannerisms with the massive grey courser, the dark-haired girl relaxes again, hugging her knees loosely within the circle of her arms and not bothering to stand just because Hollister does. "I'll think on it." She assures him of this with grave sincerity as he looks back toward her.
Tilting her head, as if in feline curiosity, she takes a moment to realise what Hollister perhaps means by 'kinder words'. But by the time her lips part, either to answer or simply to allow her a snatch of breathless necessity, he's already walking away.