|Toast of the Lands|
|Summary:||Terrick-and-a-half do a night at Rockcliff with Senna Delacourt and Bruce Longbough. Battles, tournaments and other glories to drink to of days past are discussed.|
|Rockcliff Inn — Terrick's Roost|
|The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.|
|Thu Sep 01, 288|
Early evening in the Roost finds people trickling into the Rockcliff Inn from all over the village, either for a meal or a few drinks, or to avoid an unhappy wife. It isn't late enough to be raucous yet; rather, it's crowded in a comfortable sort of way, with people elbow to elbow at tables. Senna seems to have found herself a spot at the bar, which is less crowded with people all trying to eat, with a small journal of sorts open in front of her, along with a mug of ale. She's scribbling something or other in it, apparently not paying much attention to the crowds.
"… so that was Lannisport. An interesting place, full of bustle, and besides the selection in the Free Cities it probably has about everything you could ask for," Jacsen says, finishing some tale or another as he steps into the Rockcliff just a second ahead of his knightly brother, leaning on his cane with each step. "I can't say I find a compelling reason to rush back, though."
"Had the opportunity to go to Lannisport myself a few years ago, with Jaremy and some others on father's business," Jarod says as he strolls into Rockcliff. "One of the few times I've been successful at getting our fair lord brother to unwind. I think he even managed to get his total for the eight up to two on that trip. Still behind me, of course." He grins, holds up three fingers, and heads toward the bar to find them a pair of seats. Not far from Senna, as it happens, though that seems a happy accident rather than intent for him.
Senna glances up from her journal as the men approach the bar, quill moving across the paper even when she isn't looking at it. A dark brow arches upward at the mention of Lannisport, though the making the eight brings a faint smile, hidden behind the rim of her mug as she takes a sip. She doesn't draw any attention to herself just yet, though, setting the mug aside in favor of another notation.
It is a subtle glance that Jacsen steals at Senna and her work, as he follows his brother to the bar and draws out a stool to perch himself upon. "I often wonder what will happen to you," he tells Jarod, cheerful, while holding up a hand to order two ales, "When the time comes that you no longer have this dream to chase…"
"Venture across the Narrow Sea, perhaps, and see the elephant girls Ser Gedeon was talking of the other night," Jarod says with a laugh. "Make the Twelve. Or Twenty. Or however many lands there are beyond Westeros. I was never the most attentive student when it came to geography. He settles comfortably at the bar, laying his arms on it. His own gaze follows his brother's to Senna, though he's far less subtle. She earns an inclination of his head that turns into a half-bow, and an easy smile. "A good evening to you, Mistress."
The journal holds what appears to be a ledger of some sort or another, listing various herbs and products used in simples and healing. It's neatly done, and the handwriting is clean and legible. "I believe he's the right of it," Senna notes to Jacsen, glancing up from the journal with a faint, crooked smile. "Either that, or you double the requirements all around and make the twenty-four. Or so I'm told. Good evening," she adds with a broader smile toward Jarod.
"I can only see how it would go now… my lord father, I must excuse myself from your service," Jacsen begins, in his best imitation of Jarod's voice. "It is not for lack of honor in my post, as you are a most just and kind lord father, but it is simply that I have exhausted the exotic tastes of Westerosi women. I have made the eight, and found myself a girl from the hill tribes, and one from the wild folk beyond the Wall. I must now take myself across the Narrow Sea, that I might make fair maidens moan from Braavos to Asshai-by-the-Shadow." He does do his best not to laugh at his own joke, but it's clear it's taxing him greatly. "And a good eve to you, Mistress," he responds, smiling. "Do you have the particular fortune of knowing my good brother Jarod here?" Because he is here a lot, is the unspoken remainder of that sentence. A real lot.
The jingle of mail and the thump of hobnailed boots on wooden floor can be heard as a short, stocky man enters the Rockcliffe Inn. He's not wearing a tabard with any particular colours, but those who know him will recognize him as Ser Bruce Longbough, of Stonebridg.
Jarod actually looks a little abashed when Senna picks up on his talk of making the eight. Only a little, though. It doesn't wipe the boyish smile off his face. "Could do that as well. I'm a man who likes to challenge myself, Mistress." He's about to go on, but he's reduced to laughter at Jacsen's imitation of him. "Ha! Could you write that down? I think I may use it, when the time comes. Fear not, my wise lord brother, I'd not abandon you. We'll see the Eastern lands together, and find ourselves Dothraki horse maidens and Braavosi girls who walk on water and maybe an Asshai sorceress. I'll try anything once." Too busy laughing to deny it, though he does shake his head at Jacsen's question, and all its implications. He's sitting at the bar with Jacsen. And Senna, though she doesn't seem so much with them as adjacent to them. A pair of ales have just arrived for the men.
"No doubt your father would be happy to grant such permission," Senna chuckles to Jacsen, tucking the quill into her journal and capping the small inkwell next to it. There's a flicker of her eyes, hidden by a sweep of dark lashes, as she takes in the names and relationships and analyzes what it must mean. "M'lord," she adds with a brief smile to Jacsen. "I'm afraid I've only heard of Ser Jarod and his exploits. Charming and comely, wasn't it?" Her smile deepens as she tips her head toward Jacsen, considering. "Which must make you the smart one. A pleasure, my lord," she half-bows from her stool.
Bruce doesn't appear to want to disturb anybody, particularly. He looks down at his mail hauberk and frowns, before shaking his head. The soldier's steps take him for the barside area.
Jacsen twists a bit on his seat to take a look at the latest to join the Inn's population in the early evening, lifting his ale in a generic gesture of welcome to the unfamiliar figure. "Oh, we've a lover of great song," he notes, elbowing his brother lightly as he gestures at Senna. "And she remembers your part, which means you've both already something in common." He near grins as he takes the first sip from his ale and adds afterwards, "As I am not Lord Jerold's heir, I think that must be me. But now you've the advantage of us, and I insist you share your name." It's a pleasantly worded request, that.
"That's me, Sword of the Tower," Jarod replies with a smirk. It's decidedly self-deprecating. "Ser Jarod Rivers, at your service. This is my little brother, Lord Jacsen Terrick. If we had our elder here we'd do a rendition, but alas it just doesn't work with anything less than a trio. And yes, please. What is your name, Mistress, and have the bards written a song about you yet?" He drinks of his ale while he waits for an answer, idly looking around the bar. Bruce is spotted. And greeted, vocally. "Ser Longbough! Get over here, man, if you've a mind to drink. I still owe you an ale, I've not forgotten."
"I am Senna Delacourt," the woman answers with an easy smile for the brothers Terrick. "A woman of no great songs, and no great import, I'm afraid. Though there might have been songs about my father, some twenty years ago. Still, I doubt anyone remembers those. But it is a pleasure to meet you both. I think if you stay up late enough in a common room, you're like to hear your song a time or two right now. In twenty years, though?" She reaches for her mug as she trails off, glancing up as Jarod hails Bruce.
Bruce turns around with a somewhat surprised grin, poking a finger at his chest. "It's this bloody mail shirt, I say. I'm short enough to blend into any crowd, but the jingle's an obvious sign that a dumb bloke like me's about." His eyebrows raise as he moves over to the table, recognizing two out of three. "Ser Jarod, as always, well met. Mistress Delacourt, didn't expect to see you here, of all places. And.. m'lord, don't have the pleasure to know your name, but judging from the look of you, you're a Terrick? Ser Bruce Longbough, of Stonebridge."
"Like as not the cane would give me away," Jacsen surmises with a healthy bit of humor for one who spends a lot of time hobbling on a cane and in pain besides. "Well met, Ser Bruce Longbough, my brother has spoken well of you. Will you have an ale with us?" He'll turn to order another if the Stonebridge man seems agreeable. His smile is still well in place when he looks back to the woman beside them. "Senna Delacourt, a pleasure to meet you," the good humored Terrick remarks, "Even if you've yet to have a song written for your sake."
"He's the man Lord Ryker sent up to assist in the matter of the murder of Jens Howard, though thank the Seven that's now all over but the swinging," Jarod says, motioning for the bartender to pour another ale. This one for Bruce. "Ser Bruce is a newcomer to this corner of the Riverlands, lately of Riverrun. Got his knighthood in the Battle of the Bells for Good King Robert's side, if I'm not entirely mussing the history you told me, good Ser. My brother and I were squires together in those bad old days, with the Mallister forces. Jace did service for Lord Jason Mallister himself." At Senna's introduction, he dips his head to her again. "Well met, Mistress Delacourt. I cannot say I know the name, though if there are songs about your family I wouldn't mind hearing them."
"Well. Not one that anyone's /sung/ for me," Senna smiles swiftly to Jacsen, reclaiming her mug and twisting to better face the gathering. "Ser Bruce," she nods to the knight. "I found myself short supplies that could only be found closer to the coast. Though I seem to have acquired most of them, now." She sips, then turns her smile on Jarod. "If you ask Mistress Brooke, I think she might remember a few of them. It seems she met her husband when my father was still the toast of the tournament circuit."
Bruce nods, still smiling at Jacsen. "Aye m'lord, that'd be lovely." The invitation offered by both Ser Jarod and his noble brother, Bruce grabs a seat at the table, his sleepy blue eyes flitting from one person to the next. He talks as he removes his bracers from his forearms, and gloves from his hands. "Aye, I'm thanking the Gods that we can move on to more productive things than bloody murder, now." At the news of where Jace served, he tilts his head a bit. "Aye, with Lord Jason himself? A fearsome force on the field, that's forsure. You must have been close to me at Stoney Sept, then, m'lord. The Mallister troops were only a few blocks away. Gods, but that was fearsome. If I never have to fight in a town like that again, I'll die a happy man." He chuckles at Senna. "Eh, I imagine that a bog is no fit place to acquire many supplies at all. I've been a bit spoiled these past few years, it's true." He winks at her.
Jacsen nods once at Bruce's observation. "So it would seem, Ser. Though neither Stoney Sept nor the Trident earned me my own Ser," he remarks, and does not comment on the permanent injury he did receive, its own unique brand of honor. "Lord Mallister was at the head of those whom broke the way for Good King Robert to ride down and face Rhaegar Targaryen, so indeed, a fearsome force." He lifts his ale and drains a long sip. "How is it you know the good Ser, Mistress Senna?"
"Hard grounds those, aye," Jarod agrees rather grimly as to Stoney Sept. "Fighting's nasty in a town like that." He offers no more on it, taking a few gulps of his ale. He's rather eager to concentrate the conversation back on Senna. "The tournament circuit? Was your father a knight, then, Mistress? I have often thought of taking a year or two to do the tournament rounds myself before I'm too old to make a sport of it, though my love and my service keeps me here in the Roost. Perhaps in a few more years, if things quiet here and my lord father gives consent."
Senna's smile toward Jarod is faint, a sad cast to the curve of her lips. "For the better part of a decade, my father was the toast of the tournament circuit, Ser Jarod. Ser Anson Delacourt. A great jouster, and no lightweight in the melee either. He feasted with great houses all over Westeros, courted beautiful women, and enjoyed every favor of success. Until he began to lose. And once he started losing…" She trails off, shrugging slightly as she looks away. "I'm afraid the world forgot about him. Ser Bruce and I," she continues then, with a clearing of her throat, "Met not long ago in Hag's Mire." Bold as brass, she meets Jacsen's eyes as she answers his question, offering no further explanation than that.
"People make a big deal out of a knighthood. It can be an important thing, but I'd argue more than half the time those who are knighted have no right to the bloody titles. I wouldn't think twice of casting it off today if it didn't serve for me to represent all the good lads whose backs I earned it on, if you know what I mean, m'lord." Bruce says thoughtfully. "Aye, I was with Ser Lyn Corbray on the right at the Trident. Well, started. Heh, can't bring it in myself to do much tourney fighting. I'm hopeless ahorse, truth be told." He shrugs, then nods at Senna's explanation.
"Hag's Mire, I see," Jacsen remarks, putting an elbow upon the bar so that he can prop his chin on a fist. He listens to the conversation about him for a moment or two, the talk of tourneys and his brother's interest in attending them. "You'll have to bring me if you do, Jarod, and then surely you'll be able to make your eight, no?" He grins, and looks over at the lone woman in their quartet once again. "What brings you from the Mire to the Roost, might I ask?" He does not shy away from that direct look Senna gives him, his manner nothing but pleasant and relaxed.
"My own jousting is rather mediocre, Mistress Delacourt, so if you've any advice having seen your father ride, I wouldn't mind it," Jarod says to Senna. The 'Hag's Mire' bit is noted with a soft "Huh" but he doesn't question it. That's Jacsen's job, apparently. "Of course, little brother. Wouldn't be any fun without you. I'd invite you along as well, Ser Bruce. We'll make a merry trio. Embarrass ourselves ahorse and make our money in the melee, and be the toast of lands from the Riverlands to the Reach in no-time flat."
Senna reaches for her journal with a faint smile, flipping it open for Jacsen's inspection. "I dabble in healing, a bit," she explains, brushing the feather of the quill along a few sketches and recipes. "The sorts of things the maesters and septons can't always be bothered with. Coughs and colds, headaches, broken bones, fevers. Stiff joints," she adds with a flicker of a glance toward Jacsen's knee. "But there isn't really much trade through Hag's Mire, and some things are only available closer to the coast." Her smile quirks briefly at Jarod's 'huh', and she shakes her head. "Hag's Mire offered me sanctuary after my father died at the Trident," she offers in brief explanation.
Bruce takes a deep draw from the ale that's been placed before him. "I wish there was an event where two formations fought eachother. That'd be a bit easier for me. And seperate the men who can take orders from other knights to the children who think that their title gives them the inaliable right to being above those concerns." He laughs.
He leans over a bit to take a better look at Senna's journal, and its contents put on display for his benefit. "Well, that is certainly a worthwhile trade," Jacsen surmises, reading in more detail the contents of one page before the conversation betwixt his brother and Bruce demands at least a slice of attention. "A simulation of some raiding parties or the like, Ser?" he asks, seeking clarification on what he's heard from the Stonebridge man. "An interesting notion, but it lacks some of the draw for individual glory, does it not?"
"Which is what most knights try for in tournaments, though it shames me to say it," Jarod says with a nod at Jacsen's words. "Though the idea does appeal. No replacement for the grand melee, but as another part of the sport it'd certainly be an interesting display. Divide the men into sections, do levy against levy. Be better preparation for battle command than fighting individually, though I'm not sure how you'd devise the winner's purse." To Senna, he offers a nod. "So we all saw the Trident, after a fashion. I'm sorry for the loss of your father, Mistress. Too many good men saw their end on that field, or left more behind there than was fair or just."
"So I've been told," Senna smiles faintly to Jarod, reaching for her mug to take another sip of her ale. Once that's done, she taps a finger at one of the sketches in her book. "Arnica," she notes for Jacsen's sake. "I'm sure you've had maesters look at things, but a cream with a little in it often helps stiffness. And if it's organized battle to care to see, Ser Bruce, I've heard you should visit the Free Cities. It's not much different from tourneys, when it comes down to it. A bit more death, but at least everyone who lives gets paid."
"Individual glory is a crock on the battlefield. It rarely wins battles, I'd say the Trident being an exception. But no matter how well the King shattered Prince Rhaegar, and I wasn't there to see that, he did it because he had solid, disciplined troops and commanders. Or else some crossbowman would have skewered him with a bolt and that would have been the end there. Most like, our heads on pikes." He also nods to Jarod. "Or else, you could select the commander by seniority or experience or by lot, even, and have the knights divided into two teams. See how they can fight together if need be." He grins. And then shrugs at Senna. "I've a wife, and a son, and now I've a job helping m'lord out with some things as he's just getting started. Not sure how I could justify doing that."
"It's an interesting notion," Jacsen remarks again, assuring his general support for the notion of such an event. "Truth be told, I've never competed in such so I'm not the best judge of these things, I just wonder at the logistics of it all. How you'd judge the outcome, mark the winners," he comments. "It is not inexpensive to tourney, especially when it is not at your own lord's keep. Personal glory, I think, is much of what men use to justify that cost." Senna's comment earns the woman a small smile. "Arnica," he repeats. "Thank you."
"I didn't see that legendary hammer blow to Prince Rhaegar, either," Jarod says with a rueful laugh. "Though you've the right of it. I got into a discussion with a knight who fought for the Royalists not long ago, and as he figured it, every man who gave some account on the field had some part in that fight happening. Lucky for us Robert Baratheon got the better of Rhaegar Targaryen." He taps his neck, grin crooking. "I like my head where it is. Silly or not, if play war is all there is for me these days, I figure I'm a happier man." He drinks deep of his ale. "Wife and son, eh? Well, here's to them, Ser Bruce. And all other happy obligations that keep one in the Riverlands."
Senna nods to Jacsen, flipping the journal closed once more. "I'll drink to that," she smiles crookedly at Jarod's toast, raising her own mug and taking another swallow of ale. "Anyhow. Surely there must be more cheerful things to talk about than tragic battles five years gone, no?" she asks, looking to the men. "Has anyone else had occasion to meet Mistress Brooke, the new proprietess?"
"Sometimes actual martial usefulness should outdo personal glory. A small purse for each member of the winning team, maybe. Thanks, Ser Jarod. I'm happy to say that out of the Westerlands, the Eyrie, the North and the Riverlands, I'd much rather stay here. Here's to Terrick's Roost, and to a strong neighbourhood able to act as one." Bruce lifts his own mug of ale. As he's finishing it, one of the guardsmen who came here with the Nayland man steps into the door, walking briskly over to whisper something into Bruce's ear. He grimaces. "You'll have to excuse me, m'lord, Ser Jarod, Mistress Senna. I've an obligation to attend to, apparently. Thank you for the ale and the company, and Gods keep you." He steps off and away.
Jacsen watches the Stonebridge man as he takes his leave of the Inn. "You're right, Jarod. He does seem of the decent type. A wonder he can call such people Mas-" An apologetic glance is sent in Senna's direction as the rest of that sentence is swallowed with a mouthful of ale. "I've not met her, not since she's come to the Roost, though I believe we may have crossed paths briefly at Seaguard," he shares. "I take it you have had such a chance? How did you find her?"
"Gods keep you, Ser Bruce, better call on me for a drink next time you're in town," Jarod calls to Bruce as he departs. To Jacsen, he merely nods in agreement. "Lord Ryker strikes me as a right asshole, aye. Surprised he keeps the loyalty of a man like that but…well. We all serve somebody in this world." Another drink, and he shrugs to Senna. "No offense intended to you, of course, Mistress. I judge not those who serve by their masters." As for the new owner of Rockcliff, he shakes his head. "I've not had the pleasure yet. Haven't gotten out to this common room much since she took run of the place. Though from the atmosphere tonight, I can say she's keeping it in good order." He waits with interest to her reply to Jacsen's question.
"Ah, no," Senna laughs softly at Jacsen's sudden stop and look, a low, throaty sound. "No need to concern yourself over me, m'lord. I've resigned myself to a life of thorough wickedness in payment for my poor choice of saviors. After all, the field at the Trident was so rich with choice." For all the bitterness that could lie behind the words, she seems more amused than injured. "I found Mistress Brooke quite a pleasant surprise, actually. She's sharp. A strict businesswoman, and there aren't very many of those north of Dorne. And she seems to have the usual Terrick goodwill at heart. I wouldn't fear to be in this tavern under her management."
"Thorough wickedness, you say?" Jacsen asks, affecting a rather intrigued sound to his voice, though he does not let it linger long in the air. "I think she will do well here, from what I know of her. It is a fine business to own, I should think, as I know my dear brother Jarod spends the whole of his stipend on drinks and company…" He grins at his kin, "Or am I mistaken in my sums, Jarod?"
"I'm a firm supporter of local businesses," Jarod says with a chuckle to Jacsen. "Got to shore up the tax base and all. Speaking of. What is Hag's Mire like, Mistress Senna? Our lord father's personal dislike of Lord Rickart is a thing of which I know much, but I've heard little of the place itself."
"Thorough," Senna repeats with a small smile toward Jacsen, shifting in her stool to set an elbow on the surface of the bar, the fingers of her other hand tracing the grain of the wood. "And unassailable," she adds with a rueful smile for Jarod. "So far as the fortress goes. And the land itself is hardly friendly. It is, inarguably, a swamp. But it's cooler there than it is here, from the shade. Warmer from the humidity. You can almost taste the water in the air. Bugs, however, tend to be a problem. The people are…insular. But kind enough to those they know."
While Jacsen's eyes certainly take note of that first answer, it's the second to which he speaks. "Without meaning to slight the land you now seem to hail from, Mistress Senna," he stresses, "Has your time there lent you an idea to what would possess folk to put down roots and build a fortress on such unloving land? It seems, from what you say, desirable only because there were not others to vie with over its rule."
"Perhaps the bugs pay Nayland taxes?" Jarod jokingly suggests. "The seagulls here, on the other hand, are terribly delinquents. Unassailable, you say? That I believe. Campaigning in swampland strikes me as a nightmare for any army trying to mount a siege, between the muddy terrain and lack of clean water if you don't hold the town itself. And the bugs, as you put it."
Senna's lips quirk at Jacsen's question, and she laughs again, that same throaty sound. "Persistent paranoia, I think," she guesses in answer to his question. "It /is/ easily and powerfully defensible. Though you're right, there is the minor complication of wondering who would want it. So I suppose if one were /very/ concerned about being attacked, one would happily take up an easily defended, generally unwanted tract of land."
"I'd have no part of it," Jacsen commits, nodding at his brother's assessment. "It sounds the most miserable and damnable of campaigns… though the Mistress Senna is correct, it'd be a fine spot if you were adverse to making friends and more fond of making enemies…" He chuckles, "After all, even if they could launch a campaign, why would they want to? Tracts of swampland sound almost a punishment, not the reward for some battle won."
"I've no great lust for a swamp of my own," Jarod concurs with another gulp of ale. That one finishes off his mug. "So I'll not be mounting one. They might not've had their pick of lands to rule. Maybe whoever the first Nayland was to hold a title displeased Riverrun and ended up with the bog. Or else they pleased him at a time when the lords of the Riverlands didn't have much to give. Who knows? Well, somebody does, but I was never a good enough student of history to figure how all these lordships became lordships."
"Adverse to making friends and fond of making enemies," Senna echoes, laughing softly. "That does sound roughly the case, m'lord." Her own mug emptied, she pushes it aside, shaking her head to the bartender when he offers to refill it. "Well. If neither of you are inclined to visit the swamp, then I suppose I shall have to visit more often," she declares.
The younger and more legitimate of the brothers lifts his mug and finishes its contents, and pushes back from the bar. "I think you must, Mistress Senna, as we must unfortunately be back to our father's keep, but surely would enjoy such company again," Jacsen declares, reaching for his cane and glancing at Jarod. "Unless you've some need for another ale while I take my time heading back home?"
"I'm certainly not averse to making friends, Mistress Senna," Jarod says to the woman with a wink, though he hops off his stool without further attempts to flirt with her. "Nah, tonight's not for serious drinking, I don't think. I'll go that direction with you, little brother. Mistress, it's been a pleasure."
"I'll hope to see you both while I'm still here, then." Senna slips from her stool as the men rise, the better to offer a belated, but still quite proper curtsey. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Jacsen. And you as well, Ser Jarod," she adds with a swift smile for his flirting. "Perhaps we'll have a chance to be friendly another time."