|The Road to Stonebridge|
|Summary:||Justin rides with others from Terrick's Roost on the way to Stonebridge to see the arrival of Lord Tully's representative. With banditry on their minds, the group is wary of a dark skinned man who joins them.|
|Related Logs:||None Yet.|
|Worn Road - Terrick's Roost|
|May 3rd, 289|
Late morning has slipped into afternoon on the hot summer day. Thankfully it's somewhat cloudy and there is a breeze at times to relieve the heat. Several riders are upon the road traveling from Terrick's Roost towards Stonebridge. Among them are five or more assorted armed men, a mix of Knights, sworn swords and their retainers with Justin Terrick riding among them. There is also a few women, one of them a commoner upon a tall bay gelding by the name of Dania. She seems to have taken the opportunity of an armed escort to travel to Stonebridge as well.
Justin himself is mounted on his usual pale grey gelding, mostly white with grey mane, tail and legs. The young Terrick Lord is armed and armoured in partial maile, a bow and quiver secured to his saddle along with his steal cap. He looks freshly bathed and shaved wearing House Terrick colors matched with the black of mourning.
Travel does not suit Mistress Morla well, but she has long decided that her charge is hopeless when it comes to fulfilling a errands list. It is not that Saffron Banefort is an impossible shopper, it is more than she always chooses poorly and cannot haggle to save her life. So, the crone has been propped up in a comfortable saddle with the most well-behaved of the roundseys while Saffron rides on the back of the young, prancing palfrey. Should the girl get too far ahead, she will be called back with the ill-toned voice of the Mistress. Through several trials and errors, she has found the perfect distance that provides a sense of freedom while also staying within the boundary Morla determines is safe.
As one of those comforting breezes come up along the coast, it graces through the loose waves of her strawberry-red hair. She is in her own gown of mourning, though she wears black quite nicely what with her natural colors.
Xhou arrives from the Town Square.
Xhou has arrived.
Kamron may not be a scout, but he's quite willing to make sure that the road ahead is clear for the small party headed to Stonebridge. One of the sworn swords cantered ahead of the group to push on ahead of him, and so Kamron waits by the side of the road for the party to catch up, his plate and mail gleaming dully in the cloudy light. He nods to Justin as the group catches him up, and guides his grey gelding off the side of the road to rejoin the group, "Clear ahead for a ways, Lord Justin." Saffron and Morla get another bow of the man's head, and a quirked grin, "Lady Saffron. Mistress Morla. A pleasant day for a ride, is it not?"
On foot not far from the party on its way to Stonebridge an exotic fellow garbed in huntsman's gear and carrying a composite bow approaches from the rear. With eyes angled toward the road, his movements are deliberately slow as he recognizes the House markings of the Terrick Lord, and the armor of a make generally reserved for knights and minor noblemen. The slightest smirk appeared on Xhou's face as he took notice of the woman seated upon the gelding, although it is short-lived given the colors of mourning in which she is garbed. "Ho," the commoner would greet them as to avoid appearaing too suspicious while traveling on their heels. "My Lords," he would add, his gaze still low so that he appears to be fascinated with horse tracks.
Justin gives a respectful nod to the Knight, "Thank you, Lord Kamron. Have you had any reply from Lord Kittridge as yet? I have had none and I hope to seek him in Stonebridge if he yet remains there. There is now much I need discuss with him." The grey gelding is quiet and easy going as is usual for the horse though he raises his head and swivals his ears about when a man on foot draws near. Justin turns his head to glance in Xhou's direction and then does a doubletake, halting his horse and half turning it to have a better look for indeed, he has never seen such a man before. The young Terrick Lord takes a long moment to openly study Xhou's dark skin and the multiple bows of strange make the foreign man carries. There is a look to Kamron to draw that Knight's attention to the stranger as well before Justin's baritone speaks up once more, "Who … or what, be you?"
There is a small smile that appears on Mistress Morla's lips at the sight of Kamron, though its hard for the old crone to look approving of anyone—Kamron is making great strides! "Ser Kamron," she says in greeting to the man, though she casts a glance toward Saffron as she spurs her palfrey into a happy trot up toward the Mallister knight along with the entourage. She brightens to the Mallister knight, a small grin quirking her own lips. "Roads to your satisfaction?" She inquires before she also shrugs her shoulders a bit. "I would be happier with more sun." Though it is already easy to see that the crone of a guardian is looking displeased at the idea of sunshine and its accompanying heat. Whatever else could be had to the conversation is cut short abruptly at the sight of the strange man. For once, Saffron does as Mistress Morla would suggest, and says not a word.
Kamron shakes his head briefly at Justin's query as he rides past, "Not a word from him or his retainer." His lips draw down into a frown, but spread wide once more as he is addressed by the womenfolk. He is about to respond when he catches Justin's look and the appearance of the footman. His immediate reaction is to wheel his horse around to put it — and himself — between the lady and her guardian and the newcomer, his left hand reaching back for the straps of the shield hanging from his back. "The road -was- clear, I suppose." With Justin's attention on the newcomer, he turns his eyes to the nearest cover, searching out for any associates the man might have.
Indeed, with bandits rumored to prey upon this very road, Ser Kamron's reaction is somewhat mirrored by the other riders, wary at once.
Hard to keep the mirth from his expression, the dark-skinned man lifts his gaze slightly as he replies to the Lord's words. Words he has heard so many times before. "I am called Xhou, my Lord. A simple huntsman and nothing more. I am on my way to Stonebridge eager to study the markets and turn a profit soon as I have managed to find what tastes best suit the local tongues." The walker's glance finds its way easily to Kamron, and the offered smile would be a disarming one if not for the rumors. "Credit my skill at tracking more than any inattention on your part, Ser." To the ladies the strange man smiles, subtly at first although the longer that he remains in their presence the bolder he becomes as the broader the expression grows.
Justin studies the stranger, the corners of his mouth hooked downwards, "If you are a hunter, then why do you carry so /many/ bows? Do you take them to others, or do you break them so quickly you must carry spares?" Yes, this odd fellow is under suspicion and the last sounds dubious at least. Justin eyes what little he can see of the composite bows, unaware of the advantages of layered horn or sinew often being superior to wood alone.
The prancing palfrey has settled into a slightly excited halt beside the aging roundsey bearing the Lady's guardian. Saffron soothes the young mare, sliding her fingers through the chestnut mane and begins to braid locks of horse hairs together. She looks between the knights and entourage before her pale eyes return to the dark-skinned man. There is a small glance afforded to first Lord Justin and then Ser Kamron, but still the redhead remains quiet and alert.
Kamron shifts his reins to his left hand, gesturing to one of the armsmen with the party to be sure to watch the other side of the road, even as he listens to the odd-looking man's words. "If you are looking for work as a hunter, you may find more interest at The Roost." His free hand gestures down the direction of the road the little company previously traveled. His eyes still dancing over the nearby terrain, he turns his horse once more, staying between Xhou and the women, and now putting his shield between himself and the other man as well. Lowering his voice, he frowns slightly, murmuring to Saffron and Morla, "I don't -believe- that this is the precursor to an attack, Lady, Mistress, but it never hurts to be cautious."
Xhou couldn't help himself. He was used to this treatment, the suspicion, and the attention that his bow much different from those typically found in the Seven Kingdoms often garnered, and so he let slip a sign of his mirth in the form of a chuckle. "My Lord, believe me… I wish you and your party no ill. I carry many arrows because a man must be prepared. A man who hunts if not careful may find that he has become the hunted in turn." A glint shown briefly in the eye of the so-called foreigner, one obvious to none but the most observant or perhaps focused. "Arrows for every occasion, My Lord. Arrows to pierce hide, to signal trouble, and the gods forbid to pierce plate if the need should ever arise."
"My Lady, Mistress… I would not dream of it," Xhou offers a bit more loudly, as if to signal that he understood the Knight despite his quieted speech. "The Roost, perhaps Ser… Perhaps. If it would make you more comfortable I will make my way into Stonebridge /after/ you have left the road?" the man offers with a wry grin.
He may be no Knight himself, recently a Squire who's Knight was slayn ere he earned his spurs, yet Justin's grey eyes are wary and sharp. His own horse tosses his head, rattling his bit and impatient to go once more. Justin keeps his hands quiet upon the reins though his own alert posture has perked his horse up. Justin passes a glance back to the women himself to make certain of their placement ere his attention returns at once to the dark skinned stranger.
"Where are you from and who is your leige?" The Terrick gives nod to what Ser Kamron says, "Aye, indeed you will find plenty of work for you at the Roost if you gain permission from my father to hunt upon our lands. We are much in need of the meat after recent events." That last bit though makes Justin's eyes narrow, "To pierce plate?" He looks dubious since none of those Xhou carries are crossbows.
The aging Mistress looks sternly at Kamron, nodding her head in a quick and decisive gesture. "Caution is appreciated, Ser Kamron," she says in that pointed tone before she looks over to the dark-skinned man. Saffron herself glances once toward Kamron at both his words and her guardian's before she frowns a bit with her own consideration. "I wouldn't say that it has anything to do with comfort," the redhead finally speaks, "but you must be aware that there is a bit of lawlessness on these roads… we must be cautious of any stranger." And this fellow is the strangest of them. She gives her mare's neck a soft rub as she looks over to Justin, nodding a bit in agreement.
Kamron chuckles softly at the dark-skinned man's claim to have arrows to pierce plate, and Justin's question, "To pierce the chain at the weak points of plate no doubt, Lord Justin." He offers the aged Mistress Morla a smile and a bow of his head, "One man is not a great threat." The words could be directed to Saffron, to Xhou, or even to Justin. Perhaps they're even just spoken to the air in general, "It's more in hiding that is a threat. Perhaps we should continue onward? One man walking alongside us is not a great threat, as I said."
"My..?" Xhou begins only to laugh. "I would have to say that for the time being I am liegeless, My Lord. The only man that I bow to on a regular basis is the man that pays me for my gifts of hide and meat," he mused while appearing somewhat delighted as if in afterthought. The Lord's curiosity and the Knight's amusement elicit another chuckle from the huntsman who bows his head slightly, as well as at the knees in a bit of a mock curtsey. "Yes, yes… It is my claim to fame if you will." As Kamron speaks to his Lord while ignoring his claim, Xhou steps forward and a hand draws back to one of the quivers at his back and in the next moment an arrow was nocked, aimed, and loosed high above the party's heads. That he may have signed a death warrant for himself it does not register on the dark man's face, as the whistling arrow meanwhile reaches speeds and a distance that a bow the size of his own could not possibly produce.
"I hope you would not mind if I did tag along in that case," Xhou adds quickly to Saffron after lowering his bow, almost as if to distance himself from the weapon in the wake of his recent action.
Turning his horse, Justin gives nod to Kamron, "Yes, do travel with us that we may question you. If you be a good hunter then there is value for such men if they can come to be trusted." Which in the stranger's case may take some doing. He gestures back behind them to the west, "The Roost and my home lays that way towards the sea. When I return from Stonebridge you may seek me there in a few days time. You might take occational employ for me as well as sell your meat."
That part about owing alliegence to none pauses Justin and he frowns. However it is the strange man's drawing of bow, nocking of arrow and lifting it to fire that makes Justin suddenly set heels (even without spurs upon them) hard to his horse and make the gelding leap right at Xhou! Run the man right down with his horse and knock him silly if he might! The Terrick at once makes to draw his blade, uncertain of the other's intentions.
<FS3> Justin rolls Animal Handling: Amazing Success.
Saffron smiles toward Kamron with a small nod of her head. "Of course, Ser Kamron," she says in agreement as she begins to spur her excited palfrey forward with another prancing trot; the mare is startled from a more relaxed pace at the whistle of the arrow and skips backwards, turning about awkwardly even as her rider tries to control the frightened palfrey. She looks sharply over her shoulder toward the dark-skinned man, her mouth becoming a thin line. The redhead shares a quick glance with the Mallister knight and the Terrick, especially with the latter's gelding moving in on the man. Neither woman is looking as if they are about to run even with Saffron's mare seeming a bit skiddish.
When the bow comes up, Kamron raises his shield, insuring that he's between the women and the archer. Even as the arrow is being loosed, he barks out, "Ser," to one of the sworn swords accompanying the group. The arrow's whistle arcs high above, "Take the women ahead with the rest of the guard!" Assuming that they will be taken care of by the armsmen and sworn sword, and that the charge of the squire-lord will handle or at least slow down the single visible archer, he looks around for an ambush, his right hand grasping the haft of his axe but not drawing it. His horse must be an equine saint to not be prancing right now, or perhaps the grey beast is just old.
<FS3> Xhou rolls Reaction: Success.
Xhou had known that his actions were a gamble. On the one hand he would prove to the disbelieving Knight that his bow could potentially muster the draw power necessary to pierce right through plate armor, and on the other he might find himself run down for his boldness. In either case it was clearly not his intention to fight, and his gaze lowered quickly to the dirt even in the face of the charging Lord on horseback with wielded blade in hand. The huntsman is knocked to the ground by the horse, with only the slightest shift of his hips to ensure that he is not trampled entirely. Through gritted teeth he cried out from the dirt floor of the road, "Begging your pardons, My Lord! Yield! A demonstration! Only a demonstration…"
Neatly and precisely, Mistress Morla begins to push her steed forward even as Saffron forces her palfrey around with a simple yank of the bridle. "How did I land such a cowardly horse," the Banefort says under her breath even as she begins to fall in line with the Mistress. She hesitates just a moment, looking over at Kamron with an imploring gaze. "Saffron!" Morla commands as she begins to follow the appointed sworn sword. The redhead just narrows her eyes, spurring her horse to join her Mistress's. "We will see you along the road, Ser Kam," Saffron says to the knight before she looks to Justin. "Lord Justin." And then the trio moves further up the road, though Saffron does look back momentarily.
Justin wheels his grey around sharply, displaying for the moment superb control of his horse. The grey gelding however well bred it may be, and well trained, is no war horse to trample a man to death by intention. Wild eyed, the horse tosses his head high, side stepping and trying to keep his legs clear of Xhou as earnestly as the archer wishes not to be himself trampled, "That was very foolish. Get up and keep your weapons put up lest we make new strings from your gut." The long blade is drawn and in hand though as yet, Justin makes no move to try and cut Xhou down. He does look a mite wroth, leaving the rest of their party to watch both the women and the road most carefully for others who might take advantage to attack. Xhou /had/ mentioned using arrows as signals.
Saffron has disconnected.
Dania has connected.
Kamron calls after the women, "We'll catch you up, Lady Saffron." He wheels his horse in a circle, eventually seeming to actually believe that there isn't going to be a massive assault by bandits. A touch of… perhaps disappointment… crosses his lips, and he releases his axe to fall back into the loop at his belt. "Just of a fool of a hunter, Lord Justin." Nudging his mount forward a bit, he adds to the odd dark-skinned man, "Next time you consider such, you might let the others about you know what you're planning to do. I bet you get a much better reaction, and probably no bruises for your trouble." He looks after the group of guards and women being urged along the road, then adds to Justin, "I'll be back momentarily. I'm going to make sure there's no trouble up ahead."
A deep breath entered into and left his lungs before Xhou would rise again to his feet, his brow furrowed slightly as he began to brush the mud from the seat of his cloak. "You handle a horse quite well, My Lord… I appreciate you not ending me," the dark skinned man offered, and his smile returned just as easily as it had greeted the party before. "Aye, My Lord. I won't do that again. I'm already like to have to purchase a new pair of breeches as it is." A glance to Kamron and the huntsman would chuckle before dipping his head in an acknowledging nod. "Perhaps, but then I would not have gotten to see My Lord's heroism in action," he quips with a smile.
From the distance up the road one of the woman sits astride a patient bay gelding that is about 16.2 hands. He is a broad horse and his appearance speaks a draft or two being in his bloodlines. The woman's intelligent blue eyes seem to take everything thing in as she is constantly looking around her and keeping track of what is in her surroundings. (Dania's pose)
The young Terrick watches Xhou closely, then studies the slightly divided party as Lord Kamron moves off to check the road. No one seems to be coming out of the trees to attack them yet Justin puts on his steal cap all the same. He had it off and secured to the front of his saddle by his own short bow and quiver, his more favoured long bow left behind at Four Eagles Tower.
"Your humor might be better appreciated if things were less serious, hunter Xhou. You did not answer my question of where you are from. Do so now." Justin has not put up his blade.
"Life is serious, My Lord. My humor merely seeks to bring about a balance," Xhou sighs, and lowers his gaze in order to show deference even as his tongue remains more bold than it should. "I am from Riverrun, My Lord. A small village off of the Red Fork. Not much to it, just another town… Nondescript, fishers and tanners, hunters and farmers. We don't even have a blacksmith," he explains to the Lord, his gaze already beginning to lift more out of curiosity than anything at this point. "Truly, I mean you no harm. Your Man had it right, as a lone huntsman can do precious little against a host of your size without a proper roost. I mean what I say… Stonebridge, hunting, meats. That is all."
"I have come lately of Riverrun, having lived there the past five years and more. I do not remember seeing any man like you there. You surely are born of another land with skin likes yours." Justin's voice is stern, no humor in him at this moment. Whereever Xhou's people reside, the young Terrick is not familiar with it. Drawing a slow breath, Justin looks up the road to check on the others, "Nonetheless, walk with me. If you mean us no harm then prove it for I shall hold you to it and end your life myself if you lie. If you be the goodman you claim, then my offer stands. I have need of good hunters and trackers."
Dania's shoulders relax a little she still sitting tall and straight in the saddle. She looks between the men, including Justin and the newcomer. Her horse does not seem to mind or care really with what is happening around him at the moment. He has one back hoof up in a resting position, his eyes are at half mast, and his ear in a relaxed position as well. She pats his neck and does not seem to heed it.
Xhou chuckles, his eyes lidding as it dawns on him what exactly Justin had meant when he had asked him where he was from. "My mother was born of the Summer Isles. Perhaps you have heard of them? Renowned for their archery, their unique bows, fast and impressive ships? Their…proficiency at lovemaking?" he sings, and the corners of his lips give a slight tug. The man begins to walk as the good Lord bid him, and his gaze traveled ahead of the pair to rest upon the tall figure on horseback not too far distant. "Then you have found what you need, My Lord. I know the bow like other men know their arms and legs. It is a part of me, and I have not met a beast that I could not track…man included."
Kamron comes riding back from the group sent ahead, his shield slung once more. "Nothing awry. Although I'm sure it will provide a nice stir of excitement for everyone over the course of the otherwise smooth ride." The words are evidently meant for Justin, a casual, half-amused statement. Gesturing toward Xhou, he adds, "What do we have from the arrow-waster?" One corner of his lips crook up in mirth, his grin evidently meant to pull most if not all of the sting from the words.
Justin now sheathes his sword when nothing else unpleasant breaks loose. He urges his horse to walk but leaves his helm on as they move to rejoin the women and the rest of the armed men. Justin gives Dania a nod for greeting, "I hope you were not frightened, goodwoman Dania." As he stops the gelding to wait for Kamron's return, Justin turns his head back to listen to Xhou. "No, I do not think I am familiar with your mother's people. No doubt men of our ships can recount tales of such places." And you can be certain Justin will crosscheck Xhou's story with Captain Solomon for he does not trust too easily. "As for your boast of your proficiency with the bow and tracking, we shall see."
"Nay milord." Dania's voice is pleasant and has cheerful undertones to it. A slowly smile tugs at the corners of her mouth." She looks to the newcomer and offers him a bow of her head. "Good day to you goodman or shall I say Master Hunter." Her tone is polite. "None were shot we all appear to be hold this is a good thing."
Xhou's grin is strong as he turns his attention to the returning Knight, and a light breath through flared nostrils relays his own continued amusement. But whether it was the Knight or the Lord's comment who knows? "Arrow-waster indeed. I had hoped to convince you that a man does not need a crossbow to pierce plate, but I do not believe a one of you was looking at anything but me once it was loose." He was used to a level of distrust reserved for only the most untrustworthy regardless of what he'd done to actually deserve it, and so Justin actually seemed normal to him. Kamron and Dania however… "What do they call you, Sers? Perhaps when we reach Stonebridge I can give you a proper show. I'm sure your Lord here can find some metal for me to pierce in the name of good entertainment," the half Summer Islander muses, his gaze traveling to include Dania to whom he winks. "You flatter me. I think I like you."
Keelin has arrived.
The grey is edged along, "Let us continue our travel to Stonebridge while we speak. I would not be late to see Lord Tully's representative and we have not arrived yet to tarry here." Justin urges them all forward. "Do not call me Ser, for I have not yet earned my spurs. I am Lord Justin Terrick. This is Lord Ser Kamron Mallister, to whom's House my own owes alliegiance. This is the goodwoman Dania, a healer, and that is Lady Saffron Banefort." To the women and particularly Dania, Justin supplies, "This man is a hunter named Xhou who claims to be from the Summer Isles by way of Riverrun."
Kamron turns his horse to fully rejoin the group, inclining his head slightly as he is introduced, adding in, "And Mistress Morla, the Lady Saffron's esteemed companion." Which is to say, dragon-lady-who-she-tries-to-avoid-as-often-as-possible. The companion-cum-dragon-lady is an ancient stick of a woman. Looking back to Xhou, that crooked grin slips back onto the knight's features, "That sounds like an arrow wasted to me, hunter." There's no insult buried in the title given, just a careful avoidance of the name he might well have trouble replicating without hearing it a few more times. "You might find yourself caught up in a challenge if you try to demonstrate your skills in Stonebridge. The Guard there is quite proud of their archery — and rightly so. They did honorable duty with us in the Iron Isles."
Dania sits astride a patient bay gelding that is about 16.2 hands. He is a broad horse and his appearance speaks a draft or two being in his bloodlines. Her skirts are arranged in such a way where they do cover her boot clad legs. Strapped to her saddle are saddle bags, a rolled up cloak and her bed roll. She is now smiling brightly. Her tone cheerful as ever, "The pleasure is all mine, but good hunter I would be more cautious there are bandits in these parts. Or at least that is my understanding. But, it is a pleasure none the less." She is a sturdy built woman who is tall and strong looking. The wool gown she is dressed in is sage green and a rust colored apron dress is worn over it. Her hair is primly bound up. She looks to Lord Mallester. "I apologize for being quiet earlier Milord, as I was musing over a few things." Justin is offered a charming smile. "Shall we as Milord Terrick just suggested?"
There is the sound of hooves coming from down the road, at a good fast clip. From the sounds, likely only one or two horses.
Ah, and there's the bandits even now that Xhou's warning arrow signaled! The hoofbeats cause Justin to lay hand to his sword and turn his horse around to confront whomever comes up the road to accost them. Or it may only be a courier carrying letters.
Xhou shakes his head and relieves himself of an amused sigh. "I can count on my left hand the number of times I've used titles in my life, Lord Terrick," the huntsman replies before offering a bow of his head to Kamron. "Ser Kamron, My Lord." And then to Dania. "Goodwoman Dania," he greets the healer, and the other ladies in turn before moving briskly to keep pace with the horses as his own strides come naturally long. A learned gift from his mother. "Well, Lord Ser Knight I would welcome any and all challenges. The only way to know that you're the best is to prove it after all," he notes with a grin that stretches the width of his face. "The Iron Isles… I've not heard of them before. They sound a dreadful place. /Iron/ Isles… A placed named for hard men, no doubt." Xhou's brows raise at Dania's mention of bandits, and then tight creases are formed along his forehead not at the sound of hooves, but rather at Justin's reaction to them. "Bandits? Like them, mayhaps?" he asks, quickly drawing and nocking another arrow. "This time with My Lord's permission!"
Or it might be a common born knight sworn to the Mallisters who has just received a letter from home and is tearing off to find his wayward sister? As he spies folks ahead, Keelin draws his horses steps to a slower pace, and then he gives a shout. "For Mallister!" he calls, a leather gloved fist raised. Oh, he's armed alright: Greatsword, bow. Even a shield, attached to his saddlebags, not that he uses it often. And the warhorse he rides is one of the larger ones, even if named Tiny. His head is not helmeted, so there's nothing to prevent anyone from identifying the missing Ser Keelin Dorsey.
Kamron shakes his head slightly at the bouquet of titles presented him by the dark huntsman, "Ser Kamron is just fine." He bows his head to Dania's apology, dismissing it with a gesture, although his attention is caught by the hunter's words, a blink of surprise arresting him, "You've never heard of the Iron Isles? Where the reavers come from? And we showed them just what steel does to iron." And then the hoofbeats drum up from ahead, and weapons are readied. The man drops one hand to his axe, but he doesn't draw the weapon yet, "Let's not get ahead of ourselves… most bandits don't have horses." The resolution of hoofbeats to horseman to Ser Keelin Dorsey draws a chuckle from the Mallister, and he gestures, "You see?" Taking his hand away from his axe, he offers up a brief wave of greetings to the approaching knight.
Justin does have his steal cap on, since they had been rather expecting trouble only a very short time before, "Hold your arrow, hunter Xhou… lest we be certain." Indeed the man who rides up doesn't seem to have a pack of others on his heels and is then recognized, "It is Ser Keelin." Justin quietly sheathes his blade and removes his helm to resecure it to his saddle pommel by a leather tie. "Welcome, Ser. We are pleased to have you join us."
Xhou hesitates for just a moment, but a moment is all that it takes for him to lower his bow at the call of Mallister. Usually people only shout such things when they are intending to take heads, or so that is how the tales always went, but Kamron's reasoning won out in the end. "Aye, I suppose you're right about that… Though that 'most' part is cause enough for a bit of caution?" the huntsman would muse, though his quick grin fast betrays his amusement at the situation. "And so it is. So many Sers… I think I'm liable to get a crook in my neck from all of this bowing and looking up."
The name Keelin has Dania holding her breath. When he draws closer Keelin is offered a warm and bright cheerful charming smile that lights up her eyes and face. She is tall like him with eyes just as blue. Definitely of the same bloodline, "Keelin!" She calls out to him, but she cannot help but casts a superstitious glance at her surroundings just to be certain that there are no bandits about to come at them. Her gaze goes back to the newly arrived knight.
Keelin eyes Dania rather like she might bite, especially with that big smile on her face. "Dani," he greets her, briefly, before he turns to the rest of the folks. He half bows, given he's on horseback, to Kamron and Justin, with a murmured, "My lords." The fellow with the bow he doesn't know, that fellow gets a long measuring look. "Good to meet you - ? " And then back to his sister, he has to ask, "So what did you do to get me saddled with you?" Though after a moment, the stern face he's put on fades and the amusement in his blue eyes shines through.
Kamron chuckles at Keelin as the man arrives, "Now what in the seven hells do you think you're doing calling out Mallister everywhere you go, Keelin?" A teasing good humor infects the Mallister's words. Looking over to Justin, he notes with a chuckle, "I think the good Ser Keelin spent too much time in the Iron Isles, that he's bellowing warcries everywhere he goes. Not so good for hunting bandits, I shouldn't think… they'll all run before he can get close."
Since it is another Knight come to join them, Justin has relaxed. He turns his grey gelding around to continue on the way, they nearly being to Stonebridge now. The pace is an easy walk for Xhou is on foot with their group, the dark skinned Summer Islands bowman an odd sight among them. The Terrick bares his teeth in a grin back to Kamron, "Aye, I'm sorry I missed the Iron Isles. It's why I'd rather employ a huntsman to travel with me if we needs must go quietly." Justin's better humor has likewise returned. As he guides his horse he glances aside to Xhou.
"Likewise, My Lord," Xhou offers to the latest arrival as he returns his arrow to the proper quiver without a glance to make certain that it is properly placed. A chuckle escapes the dark huntsman at Kamron's words, which seemed to have echoed his own thoughts. "Again with the Iron Islands… I'm really going to have to study up on them. Apparently I'm the last person in all the Seven Kingdoms to know what they are," he asides to Lord Justin.
Dania's laughter is warm as sunshine. "They did not know what to do with me. I will tell you the rest over Ale or tea depending on what we can find, Keely." She tells Keelin with a shrug of her shoulders. She looks at him. "Now that we are growing in number but I think the longer we doddle the more likely we will become target practice."
And so the group goes onto Stonebridge.