|Page 025: Thieves and Liars|
|Summary:||Stragen and Eyrian appear to have at each other over the Lady Blackmane ordeal, and instead end up working together.|
|Date:||05 August 288|
|Related Logs:||Lady Blackmane, Water and Iron Equals Rust, What Is Dead Cannot Die|
|First the square, then shady places.|
|5 August 288|
It's been some time since Ser Kevan's duel against the Greyjoy champion, and even longer since Lady Blackmane had a barbarian stranger come charging to her rescue. Time seems to have slowed down since tournament week, particularly for Stragen, who has been bumming around Terrick's Roost looking for something to do and two pennies to rub together. Seated on the edge of an empty horse trough, the tall blonde warrior can be found sharpening his broadsword, taking a flat whetstone to its edge, and whistling (badly) some strange tune.
Tordane Tower had been her home for a while and a certain Lady Frey her keeper. Lamenting her name as Blackmane now, Eyrian is heading away and North, stopping for the evening within Terrick's Roost to perform and gather coin that will see her eventually far from the Riverlands to leave the sordid past weeks behind. The Ironmen had not been kind, but it was the Knight who dueled them that was remembered well in people's thoughts, the Lady Blackmane, not quite so. Branded as she was, she takes care to pick her venue, now unhorsed and without her colored skirts and brilliant blouse, she wears a simple pair of breeches and a threadbare blouse. Fortunes come and go, but Eyrian's will does not. She shifts through the crowd with only the lyre on her back a very few coin she gathered during her swift fingers attempts to alleviate the hunger in her belly - which unfortunately - has still to be remedied.
As the woman so dubbed Lady Blackmane picks her way through the crowd, Stragen's attention is drawn to her. Looking briefly thoughtful, he pockets the whetstone and sheaths his sword, and rises to his feet. Picking his way over to her, he asks, rather playfully, "Seen any Ironers lately? I hope not. I'd hate to have to come up with another tall tale as to why they shouldn't rob you."
That voice itches along something familiar to her and Eyrian slows her pace. A crooked grin marks her face and then as he speaks of Ironmen, she loses some of it. "Ahhh, so you would hear the great tales of the Lady Blackmane…unseated by the ironmen and treated with brute manly force and desires." She huffs and then folds her arms. "And you think I would be so foolish to let myself give credence to such claims…I am not that ill witted, sell sword. Again, it was a dim witted man who preached that I was a Lady that got me caught up in this mess…though the robbing.." She stops and tilts her head, "That was entirely my doing. The ironborn are rather more swift than I had thought them to be…pity for me." She does not think well of the ironer's hospitality the one night they had her.
"Ah, right, so the Lady seems to forget that had a certain passer-by not come upon her at that precise moment, they would've likely taken her horse, and her virtue, and possibly her life," Stragen counters, certainly less whimsical than he was a moment ago, but still with a hint of a smirk. "That's perfectly fine. I've endured worse, when some folks do not appreciate my yarns. "But dim-witted? I don't think I've ever been accused of that, before. Must be that Ironer blood causing my mind to be slow."
Eyrian snorts some at the mention of her virtue and horse.."What saved me once, took exactly all of that from me the second, sell sword. This little blackbird is not so innocent anymore." At his mentionf dim-witted, she lofts a brow and the ironer comment makes her cough, stepping closer to look about carefully. "I think perhaps you might be dim witted to speak that so loudly after the lovely visit that was had at Stonebridge." But her smirk grows some, that same unfettered spirit in her eyes glinting. "I hear though that iron blood is so thick it keeps them warm even if it does slow their minds.." She huffs a laugh, "What is lost is lost and what is gone will soon come again, sell sword and ou prove that. Here we are, where we first met. Do you think this set in place by the Seven?" She pauses, her sharp dark eyes looking over him assessingly. "I am to head North, far away from these..tense climes."
Stragen's feet suddenly find themselves rooted to the ground. "You're… headed north?" Gone is the man's jovial, sarcastic manner. "They're sending you away, those bastards, aren't they? It only got out of hand when that idiot Kevan stepped in. It's not my bloody fault that he caused all of this bad fortune for you. I at the very least saved your life and gave you a fantastic tale to retell." Reaching into his jerkin, he produces a small coin pouch, which barely manages to jingle at all. "Here. Maybe this will help you get a new black horse, and Lady Blackmane can ride again." And, rather rudely, he tosses the purse towards her with a deepening scowl.
Eyrian blinks as his manner changes and she watches that purse withdrawn. A dark brow laughs and she catches it, cradling it against her chest as she looks from the pouch up to Stragen. "Not that I would normally question such a …gracious gift…but I do not at all blame you for what happened." She feels the pouches wait, truly considering it a moment before she takes a step back towards him, the lyre shifting on her back. "Not to spit in the face of such a gift…but I am a woman that likes to the hunt for her coin." She tilts her head and extends the pouch back to him. "I do not blame you for the creation of such a lovely Lady…nor for it's retelling. My fingers were not so spry and the Greyjoy's guard not so drunk as his keeper. I was caught and the Knight did what he could to try to save me, even if he didn't realize the folly of it or that my night with them was not so…simple." She lets out a long breath and the minstrel says, "The Lady need not ride …she can fly like the wind, free to fly. I do not go because of them..I go because it is not wise to stay. The ironlanders come back…and it will be on my head."
"There go my grand plans and schemes," Stragen sighs, shaking his head. "Consider it a gift. No tune or story is necessary. But if you insist, tell the story of Lady Blackmane when you reach the North, and how Stragen Stone caused the entire Riverlands to quake in fear at the mere possibility of an Iron Isles incursion… all because of one little lie. Do that, and I'll consider the coins well spent." And with that, he gives a low bow, and turns on his heel to start walking away.
A thin line is made of her lips and Eyrian stands there a moment before tossing the coins towards herself and catching them. She picks up her pace, bare feet touching the ground as she draws closer to him. The Minstrel furrows her brows and comes along his side. "Are you so quick to leave, Ser of Stone?" She asks him, a faint crack in her lips before she skids forward to lifts her arms and block his way. "You tempt me and tease me with these words of schemes and then let me to watch your back. Speak up, sell sword or I shall haunt your step till you do." She threatens.
Stragen's eyes narrow. He clearly does not like the fact that she's moved to block his retreat. "I had thoughts, plans, my Lady, but you needed more study. I had hoped that you were something of a kindred spirit. A charlatan. A con-artist. Being a traveling minstrel, I figured you had to have entertained shady business before." He folds his arms across his chest. "Your attempted theft of the Ironer went poorly, and had I been there before Kevan opened his damned mouth, all of this could have been avoided. But no, you're being banished, essentially, and I'm being denied an asset. We could have started something, you and I. Fortune is made with lies, and now Lady Blackmane is worthless. She has been neutered by cowards."
That has her chin lifting at his assessment of her person and Eyrian considers him, "For intents and purpose, that is exactly what I am…a charlatan dusted over and gifted with enough talent to blind people to it. But tell me, Stragen.." She says thoughtfully. "I have been bid now, this being the second to resurrect the Lady from her unfortunate grave. While her spirit flies north to flee possible unseen outcomes. I am not banished, hardly so." She tells him, her hand still weighing the pouch for it's worth. "Though her name was bandied about in such a way..it does not make her any less real to the common folk." She bites at her lip, considering his unspoken proposal, her gaze narrowing ont he laces of the pouch. She draws a long breath, "Many things go poorly…but not many things are lost. Speak more plainly and buy us a drink." She tosses him the pouch back.
Catching the purse tossed back to him, Stragen considers, briefly stroking his beaded beard. "Aye, but let's go someplace where we won't be recognized, then. Or, at the very least, no one will care." And with that, he leads her to a more shadowed part of the Roost, where common folk of lower morals can go about their business without the fear of the nobility's eye. And the two will sit down and share whatever passes for wine.
"The thought I had, Blackbird," Stragen calls her, not using the name Blackmane or the title Lady in such a place as this. "Is that you and I and anyone else we felt worthy enough could go into business. Together, handling the lies that the nobility themselves would not dare to handle publicly, yet all of them need. Underhanded work that must be done that often falls on the shoulders of common swords, like myself. Information that comes by way of common minstrels, such as yourself. The nobility need liars and erstwhile untrustworthy folk. Like myself. I don't dare speak for you, of course," he says, hovering over his wooden cup, his hand turning the vessel clockwise in mincing turns as he speaks.
Seated across from him, Eyrian digs at the floor with her toe and smirks a bit at the adopted name she had heard before. Biting at her lip, she turns that mug of wine about, sloshing it some and really not thinking of what a shame it is - it stinks a little. "Well of course my character is never in question." She retorts with a lofted chin and then she eyes him down the length of her slender nose. Her dark hair swings to brush her cheek and she chews the inside of her cheek for a moment. "It is easy for you to deal with the dirtier problems…blade and all." She makes a motion with slender calloused fingers. "But…I am more versed in subtler arts.." She wets her lips and considers this, dark eyes narrowing to look through him. "And who would you offer to? And how would you advertise such a service without drawing the wrong kind of attention?"
"The blade is actually the tool I like to use the least," Stragen explains, eyes briefly drifting down to the weapon strapped at his hip. "I like to talk to people. The right things said, even if untrue, and folks are eager to be loose with their secrets." He takes a sip from his cup. "And don't you worry about the wrong kind of attention. I'll handle that. I can take care of myself, and I'd much rather handle that aspect of things than expose my assets." Assets, meaning, Eyrian. "You're far too valuable to be off negotiating with nobles who would sooner cut your head off than listen to a proposal of dishonesty and skullduggery."
Touching a hand to her chest, Eyrian offers a fluttering gaze and sighs, "Oh, Stragen…thinking of my dainty neck and my pretty head." But she is back soon to a faint smirk and and understanding gaze. "I see, so you shall be the face of our services and I shall wait to do my part." She thinks on this and the loud din of conversation from around them seems to offer enough cover as she leans closer, dropping her act for one of grace consideration. "There may be need to change my appearance a little, if only to preserve some form of…secrecy. I am known, at least by the nobles. The commonfolk not so much. But if you make this an official proposal…" She trails of, watching him from her dark lashes, keen glint to her gaze. "I may bite." She sits back and tempts the fate of that wine as she sips it, the foul acidic stuff burning the way down her throat.
"There's nothing official about it, Blackbird," Stragen counters. "Either you're in, or you're out. It's that simple. And yes, I'd recommend adding color to your hair, changing its length and style… and going south. Not north." The liar's smirk returns. "Of course you depart north, and you make a big deal about it. Then, several weeks later, you start over from scratch in the south. Oldstones, maybe, to Fairmarket, and Riverrun. Loop back. Do a circuit. You're a traveling minstrel, after all."
Pushing aside the drink, Eyrian eyes him as she thinks it over, biting her cheek in thought. A long breath releases and she hesitates. But her hand reaches across the table to offer it to him, palm up. "Then we are of accord. I will make a deal of leaving, performing and speaking of the North and let all watch me leave, dark hair and boys clothes." She says to him and then adds, "I will need your help…I have little coin but perhaps you can purchase me something a little more…rustic. I will set about doing something with this hair…" She plucks at the white strand and seems lost to consideration for a moment. "If that is agreeable…than I will see to it on the morrow."
Stragen reaches across the table, a short distance, and grasps her forearm in the manner of warriors. He's clearly treating her as an equal. "Fair enough. Whatever coin I have is yours to make this happen, but I don't have much. I may have to roll some poor bastards for their money, but hopefully I can aquire it through other, subtle means."
"Roll them or dull them with this horrid drink enough for me to trip a pouch or two clean." Eyrian's dark gaze glimmers with the prospect now rising for her. She grips his forearm, acclaimating to the grip he offers her. It causes her grin to press her full lips togeher. "And mine yours..once I acquire it." And her head is turning to look out over the patrons and a cluck of her tongue follows, "Though this audience may not make for a good turnover…have to start somewhere." A side long glance is given to Stragen ruefully before the woman rises, releasing his arm to pull her lyre free. "Let us begin.." She strums a few notes, adjusting the tone until it sharpens and becomes more clear.