|To Your Service|
|Summary:||Liliana discovers what became of Stragen. The only question is…who'll be watching whom?|
|Related Logs:||The More They Drink: The brawl. From Frogs to Swords: Jarod dragoons Stragen into service.|
|Armory — Four Eagles Tower|
|Behind a bolted door lies the Tower's Armory. Stacks of armor line the walls, each placed carefully upon shelves with their helmets. Spears, pikes, axes, and bows line one wall while on the other and also kept on racks in the center are dozens and dozens of swords of all kinds. These are all mostly identical with few variations among them except for design and size as the armory is simply a repository for defense arms. At the front near the door the Guards have their own personal storage space for their more customized gear.|
|Wed 10 Aug, 288 AL|
A Lady's work is never done, even when that work is for herself, and not for the ladies to whom she's been made a companion. But perhaps this work is more agreeable than might be expected, given the expression of pleasure on her face, the sort any craftsman takes at their good labour and the light song on her lips. Something wordless, but bright and cheerful nonetheless. Seated at one of the far work tables, Liliana's a quiver's worth of arrows laid out in front of her and she seems to be checking each for warping, and as needs requires, replacing old fletching with new.
Stragen strolls in, tugging at what appears to be new clothes - or, at the very least, some of his garb that has been washed and patched up. A mercenary's life does not often yield enough coin to attire oneself properly for the company of nobles. Perhaps most striking is the new jerkin that he wears, made of quilted black leather and draped with the heraldry of a common sworn of House Terrick. "You know, the meals and the quarters I can get used to," he announces as he comes to a halt by a sword rack. He reaches out and runs a thumb gently against one of the blades, testing its sharpness. "Even the armoring and weapons. But the colors? Yellow and purple are just awful together."
"You should have sworn to Camden then, Master Stone. Blue and black would be much more becoming, on a man of your fair complexion." Merry, the voice of the lady herself, as she looks up from her work, setting aside the shaped feathers with care, "I had been trying to find out what became of you, but they would tell me only that you were a guest of the House, and that you were not quartered in the dungeons. Though I will say I did check the dungeons, just to be certain. But a strange choice. You did not strike me as a man given to turning over his freedom to a House."
"If I refused, my freedom in Terrick's Roost would no doubt become extremely limited," Stragen offers in reply. He leans up against the stone wall beside the weapons rack, folding his arms across his chest. "Plus, it was a matter of thanks, really. They could have easily just chopped my head off for killing someone in their town. Instead they treated me like a guest, found out the facts, and absolved me of any crime. Besides…" The man plucks at the heraldry on his jerkin. "That slackjaw you had with you, supposedly as your sworn bodyguard? Did nothing in the inn." He flashes a mischievous grin. "He could have at least joined in the instigation."
"So in essence, you had the choice between imprisonment, expulsion or being forced into service. I am not certain that that will make you more inclined to serve the needs of the House, though, I suppose so long as they pay you, you will give good service." That is, after all, the rallying cry of the mercenary. "I imagine he was stuck with the question of whether or not he should attack the people whom the family he serves are sworn to protect and defend. But he did manage to get me out of the Inn, though that was more to your doing than his." Liliana rises, moving to approach the much taller man, "Let me see your wound." What others he might have taken in the altercation she doesn't know, but the head wound was a nasty one.
Stragen chuckles lightly, a rumbling sound. "Aye, I'm getting paid. Food, quarters, equipment, and a small allowance. I'm still a paid sword, my Lady; that hasn't changed. I'd just normally not be tied down to a House, not after… well, the Tordanes, really." He doesn't go into any details. Turning his head slightly, and lowering his head, he offers his temple to Liliana. It's scabbed over, having received the minimal treatment she offered the night of the incident. It will likely scar. "It's just a head wound. Bleeds like a bastard, and leaves a neat mark after it heals," he says with a grin.
Perhaps for the first time, since her attempt to face down the enraged men at the Inn, does Liliana's face darken in Stragen's presence. For all that her hands are gentle, her touch light, though not so light that the man cannot feel the slight callouses that mark her no stranger to hard work, her tone is sharp, not quite angry, "Why did they not see to your wound? Or call me to see to you myself? I could have stitched this and the scarring would have been minimal. Now there is nothing that I can do for it, unless it is to tear free the scabs and break it open to reclose it with the needle."
Making a dismissive grunt and waving his hand, Stragen pulls back from the woman's examination. "My Lady, scars define a man. They heal. They build character. When they stiffen and ache, it reminds him of his battles and his failures. They are a measure of his life."
"There are other things which can measure a man's life besides his scars, Master Stone." Still, Liliana allows him to step back. And to be fair, she was being a bit of a mother hen. Though from the look of her face, before she schools it back to her usual calm, it's certain the fact that he was not tended will not be forgotten. Still, she moves back to reclaim her place by the table, "Have they told you yet what it is you're to do for the House?"
Watching her move back to the table, his head tilting to the side, quite literally watching her go, such behavior would likely get a man slapped or challenged to a duel if done in public. Fortunately, he's smooth enough to straighten back up and stroke his beaded beard thoughtfully when she's facing him again. "Supposedly, a certain ward of the Terricks needs a new sworn bodyguard. Ser Jarod thought I'd be a perfect match for that ward." And he cocks an eyebrow, trying not to affect a grin.
For a moment, Liliana's face goes blank, and it's almost possible to see her mentally counting off the wards of Terrick, until, after the very short list, she arrives at, "He wants you to be my sworn?" Well, as close to her sworn as Stragen can be, serving Terrick and not Camden proper. The tone of her voice isn't nearly as shocked or plain flabbergasted as it might be if this was any other lady. If nothing else, the question seems to have brought that sparkle back to her eyes, "One to get into trouble and the other one to get them out of it again?" A finger rises, tapping her lips, "Only, I wonder which of us would be which?"
Stragen laughs heartily at that. "Time will tell, My Lady. Time will tell." Still smirking, he asks, "So, does my Lady have any tasks for her sworn bodyguard, or shall I just stand here and look menacingly at the sword racks?"
"You are not my servant, Master Stone, no do I expect on you to wait on me hand and foot. And you may call me Liliana or Lili, when we are in each other's company. I am more than content to allow you to spend your time as it pleases you, when you do not have to be with me to see to my protection. And if I cannot go without protection within the walls of this hall, well, where are we then? But I do think we should see to making certain that you have all that you need. We'll want to order some new leathers for you, and some shirts." She lifts a hand, to attempt to forestall any argument to the contrary, "While I am quite certain you likely wouldn't give a damn what people thought of you, I will not allow anyone to show you disrespect while you are in my service. Nor give them any reason to."
Stragen nods slightly. "Aye, that's generous of you, my Lady. And prudent. I won't dress in a fashion that would offend you, your House, or the Terricks. But for all that's holy don't dress me up like a noble, yes? It's best that I keep my reputation as being an Iron Raider, or a Northman, or even still one of the mountain men from the Mountains of the Moon. The more question of my origins and the quality of my upbringing, the better it will be for me, and for you. Trust me on this."
There's a sniff, at the 'My Lady', but Liliana makes no more mention of it. She's already given the man her leave, to use or not as it suits him, "Oh, I've no intention of dressing you as a noble, Stragen," turning to his given name, at least, the name he's given her, perhaps in an attempt to bridge the distance between them, "Indeed, I have every intention of making the most of your rather commanding presence. Something along the lines of what you are wearing now should do to be getting on with."
Stragen looks down at himself, and nods. "Aye, this suits me well. Nothing fancier than this. No ruffles, Seven's sake," he protests, chuckling. Glancing back up at her, he says, "I'll leave you to your tasks then. Call on me when you need me."
"Now I am beginning to feel the distinct desire to braid ribbons into your hair." That's not a threat…mostly. The laughter that follows is only momentarily dulled by a look of wistfulness, at the man's mention of leaving. Good, honest company is so hard to come by, even for ladies of 'quality'. "Of course, Stragen. And if you have need of me, call on one of the chambermaids, they will know where to find me."
Stragen, at least, seems to have a good humor about him about the ribbons; he manages to chuckle once or twice at that, although he looks a shade of horrified. And with that, he goes.