|Up All Knight|
|Summary:||Justin's knighting is announced, and there is talk about the upcoming tournament.|
|Date:||13 June 2012|
|Courtyard, Four Eagles Tower|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|June 13, 289|
On awkward legs that are a bit too long for its small body is a late spring black lamb. He has a bright brass bell around his neck, tinkling with each tentative step across the cobbles. He is use to grass, and this strangely firm ground is unwelcomed. There is a meager handful of smallfolk children in the courtyard, chasing themselves around the open area with a bright freedom. Saffron is sitting on the ground, skirts drawn up around her respectfully. She is close to the staggering lamb as he tries to decide if he should retreat back into her lap as it was far safer there and soft and warm. A smallfolk girl no more than six goes blazing past one of the Terrick guards, being chased fiercely by a boy perhaps a year her lesser. They break loose through the portcullis, screaming with laughter. Saffron must be orphan-sitting again.
"Watch where you're running," Hardwicke barks at that girl who goes screaming past, his face set into an aggravated scowl. All these LITTLE PEOPLE making all this NOISE and RUNNING EVERYWHERE. "Lady Saffron," he grunts as he emerges from the orphan ocean onto solid ground once more.
Kamron comes in through the portcullis in time to be buzzed by the little boy and little girl, although his reaction is distinctly different, laughing aloud and calling after them, "You're running the wrong way!" He half-turns back toward them, one hand pointing back into the courtyard, "I bet you Lady Saffron's back that-a-way." Yes, he recognizes these scamps, even if he still cannot keep their names straight.
Dmitry ambles out into the courtyard from the general direction of the tower proper, a mild, abstracted look upon his features. He blinks in a startle at the noise level out here, and his mouth quirks a little as his dark eyes slant across this courtyard scene.
"Ser Hardwicke," Saffron says, doing her best to hide the amusement in her voice. "Do you know that they kind of love it when you go shouting at them like that? They call you the Big Old Bear… all muscle and fat and snarling lips, but a soft heart deep beneath his ribs." She gathers up the nervous lamb, who bleats in momentary dismay as his feet leave the ground before settling into a curl in her arms. She begins to stand, rolling up to her feet. "If you want to really give them a fright, you should call them dear-hearts and ask them around for lunch." Of course, then they'll think he plans to eat them. At the sound of Kamron's voice, she turns her head toward the Mallister knight with a grin. "They will find me soon enough, Ser Kamron. I've got Mollie's lamb." She spies Dmitry, and gives the Terrick lord a nod of her head in greeting.
Hardwicke scowls ever harder at this report from Saffron. "I'll not be inviting any of the smallfolk to lunch, my lady," he grouches. He glances at Kamron and Dmitry in turn as they make their respective ways in and jerks his chin in a nod.
Kamron follows the sound of voices into the courtyard, nodding to Hardwicke briefly, "If we did that with a family now and then, maybe they would like us even more." He probably hasn't noticed Dmitry yet, with his focus on Saffron and those about her. "Well, that's a mighty valuable lamb you have there, then, Lady Saffron. They really will want to hear what I have to ask, though." His teasing smile is back, filtering into his voice as well as onto his face.
Dmitry returns those nods he has been exchanged with an inclination of his head and the shadow of a smile, lingering bright in his dark eyes. "Won't you?" he asks Hardwicke. "I suppose you shall lose your scariness, then, Ser."
"I wouldn't imagine you would, Ser Hardwicke," Saffron says, forcing some sober into her voice. "If they become a genuine bother, let me know… they are suppose to stay out from under foot." She then offers the Captain of the Guard a soft, dimpling smile. She will never know the secret behind winning over this particular bear, but she will certainly try. Her gaze turns over toward Kamron at his words, and she arches one copper brow speculatively. "If you're asking me about snarks and grumpkins, I will say again that, that is a harvest story." At Dmitry's own comment, she flashes him a broad and dimpled smile.
Kamron looks over to Dmitry as he approaches, nodding his head in greeting as well. "Wouldn't do for Ser Hardwicke to lose his scariness, Ser Dmitry. The Guard might not snap-to quite so quickly as they do without a little fear." Saffron's words draw a laugh, and a shake of his head, "Snarks and grumpkins don't worry me, My Lady. They're beyond the Wall, and long may they stay there." Assuming they even exist, of course.
"I don't care what the orphans of the Roost think of me," Hardwicke claims, all bristled and grouchy. (You know: normal.) "My guards are one thing. All I care about with the children is them staying out of the way."
"Fair," Dmitry agrees. His smile quirks his mouth in a lopsided way, humor bright as he tips his head back to Saffron. "What he doesn't want you to know is that he is actually terribly kind to children, which is no tall tale; I've seen it with these eyes." He taps a fingertip to the corner of one.
The Banefort smiles toward Hardwicke, certainly providing enough curve of lip to make up for his scowl. A small wink is awarded to Kamron before her attention returns to Hardwicke. It remains only for a moment before she sobers a bit. "Ser Hardwicke, I heard we have another bandit captured. Do you think he will provide more information?" She holds her head as best she can as she talks about that unfortunate thing that most of the Ladies pretend never happened. The lamb in her arms offers another soft bleat, shaking his head to make the bell tink with earnest. Dmitry's comment is awarded another quick smile before she looks back to the Roost's grump.
"He's under Lord Justin's watch now, my lady," Hardwicke says stiffly. "I've no idea what information he may have. He wasn't exactly volunteering it." He scowls at Dmitry.
Kamron shakes his head at Hardwicke and Dmitry, shrugging at the latter. "I suppose it's for the Terricks to care for the smallfolk then, rather than their esteemed Captain of the Guards." Saffron's question draw a nod, and his head turns toward Hardwicke, although his eyes remain on the Banefort lass, concern writ wide on his features. After all, she's talking about a traumatic time. "Looks like that little lamb may be looking for some ivy, Lady Saffron."
"He may well speak," Dmitry says with the drop of a shoulder in a shrug, "though he was none too pleased to be found. With luck to my lord cousin to pry whatever he knows out of him." He is mild as he speaks, and rubs at the side of his nose with a fingertip, chasing an idle itch as he blinks between the others. "He wasn't in great shape, for true."
"I thank you for pursuing him regardless. You do your job very well, Ser Hardwicke," Saffron says to the gruff man with a small smile forming on her lips. Her gaze shifts over toward Dmitry at his assessment of the bandit, though she is happy not to learn the man's name. Pronouns only please. "I hope something can be gained," she says softly, and then she shakes her head to brighten her mood. At Kamron's suggestion, she laughs. "I have no ivy to give him. Have you?" Then she smiles back to Hardwicke. "Do you mind if I inquire… will you be showing at the tournament again for Lord Mallister's betrothal? You championed at the Twins, I hope you can champion at Seagard."
"Thank you, my lady," Hardwicke says, perhaps a touch less gruffly. Look, he can be very mildly mollified! "I had planned on it, yes, my lady, assuming my duties do not call me elsewhere."
Kamron looks down at himself at Saffron's inquiry as if he might find ivy growing up his legs or over his arms. His shoulders rise and fall in a helpless shrug. "Not a leaf, My Lady." Glancing over to Dmitry, he notes, "Lady Saffron doesn't need to know any of that, Ser Dmitry. None of the ladies do." The words are quiet, subdued. He smiles faintly at Hardwicke's reaction to the flattery and questioning, chuckling softly as he does.
Eyebrow quirked up, Dmitry's smile slants a trifle sardonic as he glances in Kamron's direction. He turns over his hand, palm open and up, and then lets it fall. "The lady may inquire," he says, altogether lightly. Then he goes on, blithe: "I hear it shall be veritably swarmed by knights of the Reach, which shall make for, at the least, quite a show."
Ha! Success. Saffron actually beams as she sees the gruffiness subside slightly. "I will pray to the Seven All that peace falls over the Roost, Ser Hardwicke, if only to see you compete again." Now she regards the other two with that open expression. "What of you? I know Ser Kamron will be there to honor Lord Patrek, but will you be there to help cheer on the Riverlands as they face off against the Reach and its pagentry?" She laughs then. "The Reach take great pride in their knights. It will be a very, very exciting tournament." Far more entertaining than that of the Twins, her tone suggests.
"The Reach breeds their knights to joust and little else," Hardwicke scoffs, because if he's going to pay them compliment, he's going to insult them as well.
Kamron nods at Hardwicke, "The Knights of Summer." Then again, he probably only has the barest recollection of winter himself. Looking back to Saffron, he chuckles softly again, "I've learned my lesson, My Lady. No tilting for me for a good long while." He tilts his head slightly to one side, his grin growing broader, "Although that does remind me of something I've been meaning to do." Turning fully to face the Banefort, he bows from the waist, his voice becoming more serious, "Lady Saffron Banefort, would you do me the honor of providing me with a favor to bear during the melee at Seagard?"
"Oh, I shall be there," Dmitry assures Saffron as he executes a little bow. "I'll be shooting for the glory of our House, at the very least."
"I rather my knights as soldiers, truth be told," Saffron admits. "My father said a tournament is good for the pocket, but true honor is on a battlefield." Aww, there's some daddy pride in her voice at those words. However, the sudden motion and words from the Mallister knight draws her up short, and she looks to him with somewhat wide eyes. She blossoms with a sudden, dimpled smile. "The honor would be mine, Ser Kamron." She considers a moment before she drops all ladylike to place down the lamb. Standing, she pulls a braid of colorful ribbon used to tie back her hair from the the hidden pocket in her dress. "Will this do, Ser?"
Hardwicke's brows arch as Kamron launches into a request for a favor, but he stands by and gives the knight room for it. Cough.
Kamron grins crookedly at the statement of inclination from Saffron, bringing his right fist to his chest as she brings forth the the favor, "I will do everything in my power to bring honor to that favor, Lady Saffron." His grin may be a bit broader, and more goofily crooked than roguishly crooked as he reaches out to take the offered favor, "Thank you, My Lady." His eyes cut down to the wobbly lamb, and he notes, "Best keep an eye on that one, or it may go toddling off to find a favor of its own."
"Well, you have no choice but to win now, Ser," Dmitry remarks, cheerful in his light, teasing snark beneath the arch of fine, dark brows. He glances sidelong at Hardwicke. Maybe he is mildly surprised to see that the older man is also speaking eyebrow.
The lamb bleats up at Kamron with what might be confused with a touch of indignance. Saffron laughs as she swoops down to pick up the wobbling kidlet before she inclines her head gently to the knight. "I'm certain Mollie gives him more than enough favors in the form of apple bits and honeyed bread. I keep reminding her that food is for her stomach, not his." She nuzzles the lamb's soft head before she looks over to Dmitry. "As long as he doesn't give into the seduction of the joust, I know Ser Kamron will do well." She gives him a meaningful look.
"If that were the case, every knight in the tourney would be winning," Hardwicke says blandly in reply to Dmitry's cheer. Oh good he found the party to poop it.
Kamron shrugs helplessly at Dmitry, "Get yourself a favor, Ser Dmitry. Then you'll have to win too." He hefts the cord, then winds it once around his right wrist and loosely ties it off. He nods to Hardwicke, "I don't expect to win, but I do expect to at least honor the favor I've been given and show well." He laughs softly at Saffron's caution, "I'm a staunch knight, Lady Saffron. I can resist temptation." There's a pause, and he chuckles, "Well, most of the time. But the joust will not get the better of me this time. I'll leave it to redoubtable horsemen and lancers like Ser Hardwicke here."
"I have no such grand ambitions," Dmitry assures Kamron with only a hint of smile playing about is mouth. He glances sidelong at Hardwicke. "Every knight? Ser?"
Saffron laughs brightly. "I am glad I bested your Lady Ghost this time, Ser Kamron. I admit I was envious that you did not ask for mine sooner." There's no doubt she is teasing him with a sense of ruthlessness. Then she does laugh a bit to Hardwicke's honest assessment. "You speak the truth, Ser Hardwicke… I would adore a champion, but I will take an honorable man in its stead." She glances toward Dmitry with a laugh. "That means you will be joining us to watch. There is just as much competition in the stands as there is on the ground." This competition is just a bit more catty…
"Every knight sporting a favor," Hardwicke clarifies grouchily, as if annoyed that Dmitry is making him explain. "Which is most."
Kamron arches his eyebrows at Saffron's words, "You wouldn't want me asking with just a maid to watch." Laughing softly, he adds, "I wouldn't want that. No one would believe that I'd asked for a favor from a lady that they all knew. Let alone that she had granted it me." He nods to Hardwicke then, "Everyone hopes to do honor to the favor they bear. Luckily, many of them do, or there would be a whole lot of unhappy ladies in the stands, and we wouldn't want Lady Saffron to have to deal with them." From the courtyard, Percival comes wandering down, peering around for his knight and master. He spots Kam, and comes trotting over. The squire gives nods for the others, then notes to Kamron, "It's all set, Ser."
Something a little like a smirk hooking his sideways smile, Dmitry inclines his head. "Of course," he says, "and all the luck to you, and your lady's glory, Ser." For all the skew of his expression, he is terribly courteous.
The Banefort has to admit that the personalities gathered are quite impressive. Saffron stands with Ser Kamron, Lord Dmitry and Ser Hardwicke. In her arms, she carries a late spring lamb colored as black as coal. She is smiling quite broadly to the men gathered, and she even casts Dmitry a laugh. "Thank you, Lord Dmitry… I think." She grins a bit broadly before she sobers her expression a bit. "How long is the ride to Seagard?" She inquires to the general gathering. She's never been there before, after all.
Justin steps out of the tower and into the evening, doing a few last things before he's hoping to dine with Lady Roslyn for supper. He's dressed fairly nicely, going through a few papers and pausing to speak with a steward of the house who's come out with him. "That's fine, but get it moved over to the Sept in the morning. We don't know how many will attend but Septon Josse may have some input." The folio he closes. Justin hands it to the steward to see that the matter is put to the right man to send over ere he steps into the courtyard proper. He takes note of the others already gathered here and lifts a dark brow. "Sers, Lady Saffon. I hope the evening finds you all well."
"About a day's ride, my lady," Hardwicke answers Saffron's question. "The most common route moves through Stonebridge." He inclines his head to Justin as he approaches.
Kamron frowns in thought at Saffron's question, nodding at Hardwicke's response, "Especially with wagons for lances, pavilions, and the like." He bows to the Terrick cousin, "I'll take luck too if I can get it, Ser Dmitry." Percival straightens up as he spots Justin, about to say something when Kamron himself takes notice of the Terrick son, raising a hand and calling out, "Lord Justin. I was just about to send Percy to go find you. I've been making my own arrangements with the Septon. If it please you, you should gather your armor and your sword and bring them to the sept to stand vigil, Lord Justin. After a night of thought and prayer, I would see you knighted."
About to say something else, Dmitry closes his mouth over a smile and turns a look of upswept eyebrows on his cousin so that he can watch his reaction to this, for once choosing silence over the myriad witticisms that typically escape his mouth. Look, he can be quiet.
And that causes Saffron's lips to purse a bit. "I hope Stonebridge has settled enough to accept such an entourage. I assume the Groveses will be heading in the same way." That concern is suddenly put far behind her as she hears Kamron's words. She brightens considerably, looking to the Lord with her own quiet expectation of his own reaction to this news.
Ser Kamron's made his own arrangements with the Septon? Wait, what? Justin walks over and looks about to ask what the Mallister has in mind for the Opening ceremony except that he doesn't get that far. He opens his mouth to ask and then stands there for a few seconds. It registers. He even closed his mouth and blinks but he still doesn't say a word, speachless. Justin looks around at the others gathered, last of all Ser Hardwicke, before he draws his attention back to Ser Kamron, "Are … you serious?" This better not be a joke.
"They'll have a lot worse on their plate if they cause a hold-up in travel for the tourney," Hardwicke says dryly. And then his brows sweep upwards, looking from Kamron to Justin.
"High time," is Ser Dmitry's opinion, offered without excess of his usual sauce.
Kamron nods his head at Justin's query, "I wouldn't joke about that. You handled the rescue operations well. I was watching." That's an exaggeration. He had far too much else on his mind to really pay much attention to what Justin was doing, at least at the time. "You're competent in the use of weapons, you have a good head on your shoulders, and you try to do what's right." He nods to Dmitry's words.
Saffron can hardly hold her moment of glee within as she dances forward a few steps so she can stand before Justin, her arm full of lamb. "You've always been a knight in my eyes, Lord Justin. You will now wear the honor on your sleeves well." Then she steps aside as to let the pair of the knights and the Terrick lord room to speak to Justin. She beams brightly to Kamron and there's a touch of pride in her eyes.
Justin looks around at each of them a second time before he loosely hooks his hands into his swordbelt, "I'm … thank you, Ser Kamron. I would be greatly honored." And then there's Lady Saffron dancing about so happily, and is that a /lamb/ she's carrying in her arms? Yes, yes it is, a tiny little thing too. "Er, well, on my boots anyway. Thank you, Lady Saffron." What's that about sleeves? Justin gives Dmitry a faint smile for his cousin's words of support. Still, he glances aside to stern Hardwicke to read the older man's face before he asks, "Did someone gift you with a lamb, Lady Saffron?"
Hardwicke's expression is hard to get much out of at the present moment: his brows are still lifted, but his look is too muted to carry either censure or approval. SORRY, JUSTIN.
Saffron laughs at his bewildered state. The little lamb bleats at all the noise and excitement, nuzzling its blunt little face into the woman's shoulder. "No, Lord Justin… it belongs to Mollie… the little dark-haired girl I look after now and then. I think I've been left with him." And she hoists the lamb up gently as if to show off the little ebon thing. Then she shakes her head a bit, grinning toward Kamron briefly before she looks back to the soon-to-be Knight.
Kamron glances over to Hardwicke a moment himself, his smile tightening for just a second, and then returning full-force. He nods to Saffron, although his words are for Justin, "You'd been with Ser Haffney for a good long while, but you've proven yourself plenty well since then." Still, he steps back a bit, "The Septon knows to expect you with your armor at the altar of the Warrior. Think on the duties of a knight, and how you might best fulfill them, Lord Justin." He nods farewell to Dmitry as the other Terrick takes his leave.
Dmitry's slap makes him grin, but the walking away lifts Justin's baritone, "Come to the reopening of the Sept tomorrow, cousin!" Yes, well, getting anything like approval out of Hardwicke is like waiting for the Groves Surplus to suddenly present itself like a thank you gift from the Seven. Don't hold your breath for it. Still, Justin's known that man since he was little. Kamron draws his attention back, "Ser Haffrey Tully didn't have complaint of me, Ser. He was a good man and I was pleased to Squire unto him, Seven rest his soul." He draws a slow breath and nods, "Aye, a few more things to finish up, then I'll gladly go." Justin lingers a moment longer to watch Saffron with the adorable lamb and nods to her with a smile. Perhaps he'll ask her tomorrow who Mollie is, if he remembers. With a slightly more formal partial bow to Kamron, Justin excuses himself, "Sers, Lady Saffron, I bid you a good night."
"Ser," Hardwicke replies in mirrored farewell. And then he turns to Kamron and Saffron, to add, "Ser Kamron, Lady Saffron," before turning to attend to his own things as well.
Kamron opens his mouth to say something to Hardwicke as the knight turns to depart, then grimaces and just nods, "Ser Hardwicke." Looking back to Justin, he nods again, "I'll see you tomorrow, Lord Justin." And as all the Terricks and Terrick-sworn start departing, Kamron looks back to Saffron and shrugs helplessly, "It's been too long in coming, really." He nods after the departed Terrick, "Justin, I mean. Someone probably should have done something sooner."
Saffron hoists up the little lamb once more as she watches the Lords step away, and she smiles over toward Hardwicke with a nod of her chin. "Ser Hardwicke, always wonderful to see you." Growly or not. Then she glances back over toward Kamron with sobering expression, her gaze dropping to that cord of colorful ribbon now about his wrist.
Kamron raises up his wrist, studying the braid of colors, and then looking up from beneath his brows, his head still tilted down, "Did that suit, Lady Saffron?" A hint of a smile touches his lips, "Apparently, it was my night for dramatics. I think I rather enjoyed it." And the fingers of his left hand twist the braid about his wrist, the loose wrap turning over and over around the cuff of his sleeve.
Saffron scoffs. "Please, please do not become more dramatic than necessary… if I wanted that, I would take up my Lady sister's offer to stay with her and her Lannister husband." She touches his wrist in a passing gesture as if to stop him from twisting it around and around, over and over. "Stop," she says softly. "You will wear the threads thin. I want it to be bright when the tournament comes." Then she gestures off toward the Green. "Will you join me in escorting this little lamb back to his girl? She has perhaps remembered he was left in my care by now."
Kamron chuckles softly, "I'm just preparing to keep up with the Reachlords. I've heard they're more dramatic than Lannisters." The touch to his wrist causes him to chuckle again, arching an eyebrow, "Did you give me a worn favor? Really? I should have expected something much more fresh." The words are light, teasing, and he shakes off the words, offering out his arm to the Banefort, "Of course. I bet lambs count as the very definition of innocent, and I am supposed to defend the innocent."