|To Drown in Ale or Not|
|Summary:||A Hedge Knight tries to drown and an Ironborn offers advice|
|Crane's Crossing Inn — Stonebridge|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|Sun Dec 24, 288|
Tonight, it seems like Kell is preferring the more quiet and peaceful Crane's Crossing Inn compared to the rowdy Common House, mainly because the latter serves commoners while the former caters more or less to nobility. At the moment, the Hedge Knight is sitting by himself at a small table that is off to the side of the common room with a cup of ale in his hands. Only the barkeep knows how many cups Kell has already have but the man doesn't seem to be drunk, only his thoughts are lost in the cup right now.
Having been riding most of the evening, Kate gets in fairly late to Stonebridge, but it's better late than never. After ensuring Gethin is being taken care of at the stables, the woman cannot resist the siren call of the tavern for drinks. She pushes the door open, completely recognizable with her ice hair, eyes and skin contrasted to her black leathers. She casts a cool look in the direction of a few possible trouble makers then moves for the bar.
Kell would easily recognize her if he was looking but for the time being, he is staring into the cup of ale, occasionally bringing it up to his lips for a drink before putting it back down. It also doesn't help that the Hedge Knight's back is turned to the door but he is facing the bar. Kell is in casual dress tonight, more in comfort than out to impress but his sword is at his side which is where it usually is.
Mainly because he's the only face that Kate recognizes inside the whole bar, after claiming her ale and a large pitcher to match it, she makes her way over to his table and plops the pitcher between us. She plops down into the chair, giving a small grunt in agreement. "Ser." She offers simply, reaching the pitcher out to half refill his mug of ale.
Kell is startled out of his deep thoughts when the heavy pitcher is lazily placed on the table and he almost falls back in his chair. With his quick reflexes though, the Hedge Knight manages to grab the edge of the table so he remains seated as he looks up at who the intruder was. Recognizing the Ironborn woman, Kell's eyes narrow for a moment before it turns into a resigned expression, "Evening, Lady Harlaw. I am surprised to see you here in Stonebridge." As his mug is filled, the knight inclines his head to the Lady, "Thank you… much appreciated."
"You looked like you needed it." Kate quietly grunts out to the ale, an actual hint of almost concern muddying her features. Damn, did she have a heart? The look in her eyes might imply so. "And I had some business to take care of here… a rumored Knight I need to meet. A rivers? Blonde… looks a bit ironborn." She states flatly, eyes scanning the room again for the shock of pale hair, but other than herself it's simply not there. "And you? What's got you drinking ale like there's a shortage?"
With his cup filled, Kell has to undo that so he brings it to his lips and takes a long drink, apparently finding solace in the drink. With that pull, he lets out a satisfied sigh and nods, "Ale is always welcomed, certainly helps take your mind off of what you don't want to think about." Though it looks like it was failing the Hedge Knight earlier when Kathryna stepped into the inn. As for the blonde Rivers, Kell can only shrug his shoulders, "I have not seen him, so I an unable to help you but if I do run into a knight with that description and name, shall I let him know that Lady Harlaw is asking for him?" As for what his reason is for drinking, Kell can only shrug his shoulders again, "Just trying to drown some memories. You are from the Iron Islands, does this sort of drowning work?"
A husky, rasping sort of laugh catches from her throat as he asks about what sort of drowning 'works'. Kate just shakes her head. "Drowning never works, dear. When it takes you, unless you've got a priest near by…you are pretty much a goner. So I do not know that I'd recommend it unless you've been drown at least once before." She winks at him, but there might actually be a small trace of worry behind her eyes. Worry and curiosity. "What is it that you are trying to drown away? And no worries of the knight. I'll find him or I won't." She shrugs it off, gulping back some ale and now further studying him.
Kell is atleast not drunk enough to go spilling the beans of what's troubling him, especially to an Ironborn who is most likely at odds with the Banefort Lady. "Just some memories and foolish thoughts, that's all, M'Lady." There is a pause as another sip is taken, "Trying to drown the idiot inside me, to remind him that in our life, we can only achieve what is allowed, and that is determined by what kind of blood flows through you at birth."
Of course, while he gives no clear information, Kate has been around Nares and the Camdens long enough to have heard a few things. Her head tilts to the side, brows perking up at the possibilities. "The Banefort woman has stolen your heart and it's completely inappropriate because you're supposedly not good enough to kiss her feet, is it? I was wondering if you were serious about that matter." She mutters, no real disdain in her voice. More simple interest than anything.
"What? No… I don't know what you're talking about." Kell answers rather quickly and defensively, then he scowls as he realizes that he more or less gave the answer away with his reaction and just drinks some more of his ale, as if doing so can help him go back in time so he answers in a much more calm manner. "And you're wrong about not good enough to kiss her feet."
"I said supposedly. I diagree with that, frankly. If you think you're good enough, then step up and show it. Be a man and stake your claim." Kate seems dead serious about that, nothing in her Ironborn brain really processing that there could be an issue with such things. "And large protests just make me think you are more guilty of the matter, you know." She winks and takes a sip of her ale, but she's not chugging it tonight.
A long resigned sigh is released as Kell shakes his head, knowing it isn't that simple, atleast for those born here on the main continent of Westeros. "It isn't that easy, Lady Harlaw. There is a much bigger picture to all this. Even if I were to foolishly stand up and stake my claim, it would only cause trouble, for a bunch of people. Important people. Most of all, it would cause trouble for her and that is the last thing I want to do." He pauses to take another sip of ale, "So the best I can do is try to drown these feelings and the idiot inside me, so I can return to normal."
A slight frown dances across her lips there, Kate shaking her head again. "You all make yourselves so damn miserable…" She mutters to herself, setting her ale down and then sinking back a bit deeper in her chair, reaching for the pocket of her coat. She draws out a long tin box, opening it to reveal a pipe and some leaves. "What of her? Does she return any of these affections?"
Eyeing the Ironborn woman, Kell sees that she has some sort of smoking instrument that was hidden in the tin box, not a snorkel. As for her question, he only shrugs, "I don't know… maybe. But even if she did, she cannot tell me. She has her duties and responsibilities too." As for the mainland people making themselves miserable, the Hedge Knight doesn't disagree, "We may make ourselves miserable but it keeps order… or something." Through the haze of ale that was clouding his thoughts, and also the haze of Elinor in his mind, Kell finally recalls something about Kate. "What about you, Lady Harlaw?" As if the question is self explanatory.
Kate still frowns. She likes people getting what they want. She's used to taking it. All this dance of politics just simply doesn't seem to make sense to her fully yet. "Well, I'm sorry. That's shite. Utter shite. Men take mistresses… perhaps you could be her… Mister?" Is that the word for it? "Salt husband? It'd be acceptable back home. A good salt husband is worth his weight in gold." It makes sense to her! Kate then stands, pipe filled enough she can take a small tinder from the box and steal some fire from the sconce on the wall. She brings it down to the leaf and puffs deeply before looking back to him, "What of me? I'm in love with the third brother of a small house. He's the most annoying, frustrating, bull headed, chauvinst of a man I've ever met… and I am going to probably leave my family behind and marry the man. If we can manage it."
"It may be stupid and it's true that men take mistresses… but that causes all sorts of problems." Kell says before pausing, his voice lowering slightly as they are in Stonebridge, the epic-center of one of the problems. "Just look at what's going on with all the bastards that is rumored to be sired. Who knows who's right but it causes problems." He does grow silent until Kate speaks again about what's going on between herself and Dafydd. That is when Kell has an amused look on his face, "Well… if you two do end up getting married, congratulations. Though things will get very… interesting at the Oaks." He doesn't come out and say that Lady Banefort may end up being Kathryna's good-sister.
A slow exhale of her pipe's smoke, the sweet scent wrapping through the air between them, and Kate looks just a touch tired and worried herself. "I suppose I was lucky to fall in love with the third son. No one much cares who he marries. But yes… when people only worry about back stabbing each other in the worst of ways, it does cause issues. Such a complicated web is this place." Kate shakes her head silently, focusing more on her pipe than her ale. The ale is for his heart tonight. "And yes…I have heard that Dafydd's brother is courting your lady. It… will be very interesting indeed. Not that I think I will actually get permission to marry Dafydd. I'm just a dirty barbarian, after all. But I'll enjoy the man while I can."
"It is what it is, that is why sometimes it can be better being baseborn if you can't be born as a noble's son. You live your life freely, just have to follow the rules." Kell says as he seems somewhat sympathetic to what Noble Ladies have to go through in life, doing their duty to act as more or less prizes of possessions to solidify political alliances with other houses. As for Kate being a dirty barbarian, Kell chuckles in amusement and shakes his head, "Correction M'Lady, you are a dirty barbarian noble lady, so you might actually get permission, it is not an impossibility. For me, it is an impossibility to receive permission to court Lady Banefort. So… that is why I am trying to drown it away." Maybe he should visit the Iron Islands to see to it, though the natives there may just drown him instead.
A small sound echoes in the depths of her throat, almost a non-committal grunt, though it's still more disapproving than anything. "And you? Are you not technically baseborn, you have simply bettered yourself? What hope is there of ever coming up in the world, even when you work and fight so hard for it as you have? Is your strength of heart and body not rewarded? Your honour?" Kate shakes her head quietly, blonde hair bouncing wildly across her shoulders. "No, no. Maybe you should come to my home. At least we respect strength. Personal power. You could make a proper name for yourself."
"I have been rewarded enough…" Kell says, the realistic side of him speaking, "I have been very lucky in life, for a noble knight to knight me. But one can only go so far in life, M'Lady, before it crosses into the realm of what is unreacheable, no matter how much you fight with heart or body. Sometimes, things are just out of your hands." As for actually going to the Iron Islands, the Hedge Knight shakes his head, "My name is in my honor and my word, I just have to return to the path I had strayed from… and continue that road once more."
The pale woman's brows furrow just a touch, Kate sitting a hint straighter in her chair, fully facing him with her body, giving him all her attention. "And what, exactly… is your path? I have heard the term Hedge Knight bandied about but… I do not exactly understand what one -is-, Ser Kell."
"A knight with no house or colors, we live on what we can get by with while holding onto the vows we gave when we were knighted." Kell says before taking a sip of his ale, then continuing, "Atleast we try to. There are some who call us Robber Knights, because there are many who give dishonor to being a knight, and prey on the innocent, forsaking their duty as knights. They are the worst, and deserve nothing less than death. In life, a man only has his honor, only through his actions can he show others just what kind of man he is."
Her head tilts just a touch more, brows arching, "…And exactly what are your vows? I think I heard Harras spouting them drunkenly one night, but I was drunk too and I truly don't remember them. This is a religious thing, yes? You make -money- doing this? Just… being a nice, honourable sword?" Kate asks, utterly perplexed by this entire deal. And perhaps it will take his mind off of too soft Banefort women.
"Sort of religious… but not exactly. Most Hedge Knights do this to make money, but being a knight is more than making money." Kell says as he seems to think making money should be secondary as those who become Robber Knights, their only focus is money. "Being a knight is about upholding the vows." There is a pause as he takes a drink from his ale, then shares with Kate the vows of a knight. "In the name of the Warrior, I vow to be brave. In the name of the Father, I vow to be just. In the name of the Mother, I vow to defend the young and innocent. In the name of the Maid, I vow to protect all women." When he says /all women/, he seems to be looking at Kate to let her know that she is included too.
As Kate feels that intended look, a longer smirk dances out across her full mouth. "Worry about protecting those women who need it, hm? Some of us need no hedge knights or vows to protect us." She then takes another few puffs and sits a bit deeper back in her hair, not quite so squared to him as she was. "But… those are all very noble sounding. I do hope they keep food in your stomach."
"You may not need protection most of the time, M'Lady, but sometimes… it may be needed, because you will not always have the upperhand, even if you get underestimated." Kell says with a slight shrug of his shoulders, "And they do, unless you run into a string of bad luck. There are always merchants who feel safer with a knight to accompany them when traveling. And sometimes there are tourneys."
The slender, muscled woman shrugs a bit…"I do not pay for what I can do myself. But I will buy poor hedge knight's ale." Kate admits with a small smirk, standing then. "I'll send another round over, but I should be going. Thank you for the information, Ser Kell. It… certainly was a… Learning experience." With that, she tosses him one more careless wink and heads for the bar to pay for one other round for him, then to the door.