|What's Left, What We Keep|
|Summary:||Rowan engages in some constructive corpse-looting on the army's behalf. Jarod finds his squire some artistic materials. They talk of home, wherever that might be.|
|Related Logs:||Street to Street; probably others less directly|
|Low District — Seagard|
|The lower class residential district of Seagard, just inside the city walls, with all the worst smells of the fishmonger's trade and the tanneries mingling together. The roads are paved with cobblestones, but the avenues which wind between buildings are of packed dirt, reek in the heat and turn to muddy morass in the rain. With little of worth, and only enduring occupation for a scant few hours, this quarter of the port city is largely intact.|
|Thu Jan 26, 289|
It's turning from afternoon and into evening, though there'll still be light for awhile yet. Jarod's returning to the small Terrick section of the Army of the Cape's encampment. Looking rather more spry than he did when he left in the mid-morning. He spent the early morning miserable and hung-over from the staggering amount of drinking he'd done the night before, following the infantry push to retake a few blocks of the market district. Once he was mobile he devoted the afternoon to 'house-hunting' there, in the effort to clear the houses of remaining Ironborn or traps. He doesn't look as if he found any. Or was left unbloodied if he did.
Rowan has been out corpse looting, more or less — making himself useful now that he'd badgered the healers into letting him out of bed. The bandanna he'd worn over his nose and mouth for the work — one prone to release some horrifying smells now that he corpses have had some time to bloat in the sun — is still about his neck; the sturdy pony hitched to the wagon full of morbid loot is placidly browsing from a nearby bale of hay.
"Oi!" the slender boy gives a couple of the militiamen a shove, shooing them off. "Nobody gets to pick through the carrion 'til I'm done inventory and Ser Jarod's had a look. Shove off, now." There's an air of authority Rowan Nayland carries now that the men accept. The boy's won a joust, been blooded in battle, and killed himself an Ironborn or two — gone are the days of the scrawny little lad who was beat upon and bullied by squires and pages alike.
Jarod catches sight of Rowan, pausing a moment to just watch the squire. A grin breaking across his stubble-y face. He's carrying some loot of his own, though it doesn't look terribly utilitarian for an army camp. He's located some…parchment, which he carries under his arm. With a chuckle at the interplay between the slender squire and the militiaman, he finally approaches. "Productive sort of day," he notes. "The houses're mostly seen to, in the couple of blocks we control now, at least. Wasn't a terribly lengthy advance. They're still Ironborn in parts of the market, but they're dug in on their own streets again, and we're dug in on ours now."
"S'good to be productive. Again. Finally." Rowan flashes a big, bright smile at his Ser. He drags a sleeve across his forehead, looking at the sorted piles. Swords, bludgeons, shields, armor — chain shirts and helmets in neat rows. The boy wasn't shy about wresting anything and everything useful off the fallen. "We've got enough for our boys, here, easy. And some more besides." He squints at Jarod, facing the dwindling light. "So we've gained significant ground?"
"We gained two blocks." Jarod says it in a deadpan, as to the 'significance' of the street-fighting advance. He shrugs. "Ground we didn't before, and we lost little in the doing of it. City fighting's…" He trails off, expression somber and grim. "Well. It's not like an open battlefield. You don't gain much, and the taking of every corner's bloody. But the commanders seem pleased enough with it. I heard the Flints took it rough last night, but that engagement didn't have to do with our business in the market, and I don't think our army lost any ground from what was thrown at the Northmen."
The little Lord Nayland smirks at Jarod's deadpan, flashing dimples. "Progress!" he declares, wryly. He turns and hauls war hammer off the cart, tossing it over with the bludgeons. "You should find a razor, Ser. I'm sure there's one around somewhere."
Jarod scratches at his jaw, getting a chuckle out of that. "Can't all be as pretty as you, little lordling Nayland. Running low on soap." And his hands weren't quite up to it this morning. "Might wait until we break through to Seagard's csatle. Shave in my old room. Well, a room. I hope they house me better than a communal bunk with a bunch of squires when we do meet Mallister's men." He smiles faint again as he watches Rowan work. "You're looking better."
"Bah. Give me a little of the cooking grease from supper, and I'll have your face smoother than a babe's arse, Ser!" declares Rowan, merrily. "Honest to the Seven, Jare — you with a beard's bad for morale." He smirks, plucking a couple of helmets from the cart. "I'm in a sodding ridiculous amount of pain, actually," he huffs a chuckle. "But I'm not bleeding. I've kept an eye on it." A deep breath in through the nose. "The pain's — it's welcome. It feels a fucking sight more alive than laying around on poppies."
"Kept an eye on it, have you?" Jarod snorts, going to kneel among the supplies near the slender squire. It's more fond than scolding, though, and the work put in gets an approving nod. "Thanks for going through all this. It's hard to keep straight what we've got, and what we don't. And it's not that bad." Though, after another scratch at his chin, he shrugs. "Wouldn't mind taking it off later, though. But I got another project in mind for you, when you're done with this."
"Now there's sense talking," Rowan approves, grinning. "We'll get it taken care of in a trice. Whatever the fuck a trice is." He clasps his hands behind his neck, grimacing as it stretches his side a bit, but keeps the posture. "What is it you need done, Ser?"
"It's not so much for the army," Jarod says, toying with the parchment he's looted. "I found some paper in an abandoned merchant's stall in the marketplace. You still draw? I remember you're good at it, though…" He looks down at the squire's hands. "…I've not seen you do it in awhile."
Rowan hesitates. He looks down at his boots, clearing his throat a bit. "It's ah. I haven't. In a while. Not since I gave the lot over to — " the boy blushes. "I didn't get the feeling they were well-received." Dark, long-fringed eyes dart a glance at Jarod. "Need something drawn, then?"
Jarod flushes at that, clearing his throat and looking down for a beat. "Uh. Yeah." He looks back up with a shrug. "Or, well. If you've time. I thought this'd be a good way for you to practice at heraldry while we were here. Maybe see if you can reproduce the sigils of all the lords who've fielded troops for the Army of the Cape. And Lord Tully's force, once you do those. Perhaps even the Ironborn host. Be useful to get a better handle on those. Tell a Volmark from a Harlaw from a Myre and all. If you'd rather find some other way to do it that's fine I just thought…" Shrug.
Rowan shakes his head, reaching for the parchment. "No — I mean, I'd like to. If it'll help. I'll get on it as soon as I can, Ser. This eve." He smiles. "Right after we've slain your whiskers."
Jarod returns the smile, half shy and abashed, handing over the parchment. "You'll get to see the banners more practical than a lot of squires when they study at them. You can tell a lot about how a battle'll go - how it'll be fought - by what troops are fielded. How the different lords like to fight, how hard they'll hold or how fast they'll break. If you want to get real involved with it, you could try and do the different heraldry the common knights have chosen for themselves, too. Few bother, but it says a lot about a man." He seems about to leave it at that, straightening up. But after a beat he adds, "I've still got those, you know. The drawings. All of it. I've got everything you ever gave to me."
"You — you do," Rowan says softly, wonderingly. "Huh." Cheeks pink, the squire looks down again. "I'd have thought — it was a lot. To — to put on you, right then. Probably seemed a little-lot creepy." Dark eyes come up again. "Couldn't have blamed you if they'd gone in the fire." A beat, a breath. "I'm glad you kept them."
Jarod chuckles some at that, still blushing himself as he shakes his head. "Wasn't creepy. Just…bowled me over, is all. Nobody'd ever…bothered with me that much. And I…didn't really recognize the man in those drawings. Was…better than me. Didn't figure I'd live up to that. Which I didn't." He snorts. "Doesn't mean it wasn't…nice to look at. Even if I didn't know what in seven hells to do with it."
Grinning, Rowan nods. "It was nice to look at." Another glance, mischievous. "Still is." The squire steps back a step. "I'm… just going to put these in quarters. You know. Safe-like. Have a look at the gear? I'll be right back."
"Umm…all right," Jarod says, taking a moment to rummage through the gear and unredden, while Rowan does as the squire does.
The squire returns in fairly short order, having stashed the precious parchment somewhere it's less likely to be soiled or wrinkled. He shoves his hands into the pockets of his breeches and rejoins his Ser, rocking back on his heels a bit. "So. I think it's a good haul, don't you?"
"Not bad, aye," Jarod says with a quick grin to Rowan. "We should try and work up a ledger on the take tonight. I told Ser Bruce I'd get it to him soon as I could. It'll be distributed to the Army of the Cape's infantry in general, though because we did the work I figure the Terricks'll at least get decent pickings from it." He eyes the pile of rough weaponry, adding, "I took the axe and sword off that Ironborn lord after he died. I'd killed him so…" He shrugs. "…I think I'll save those weapons to sell, though. When we get back to Stonebridge. They're castle-forged. It's not much in the grand scheme but, it'll be a little money for the Terricks." He doesn't sound particularly proud of all that.
"Oi," says Rowan, softly, butting Jarod gently with his slender shoulder. "You did what you had to. Not like you hunted the stupid fucker for his pelt — they're forcing this and laughing all the way to the hells. Some good comes of it? Don't you go feeling guilty."
Jarod eases a little at the gesture, bumping Rowan's shoulder in return. "Maybe. Still feel a bit like a pirate, considering such things. Not like it'll make too much difference, one way or another, way things are back home. I don't know what we're going to do, Rowan. There're still a couple hundred refugees in Stonebridge, but there's nothing for them to come back to. Not sure what to do about them. Can barely feed the people that're left, let alone dig for money to rebuild the town proper."
"We'll do whatever we have to," Rowan says with soft assurance. "It'll be a hard year, but it won't be forever. Look," the squire puts a hand on Jarod's upper arm, dark eyes seeking out green. "We've got a castle full of fine things. Tapestries and jewels, gold and silver — sure, it's not the Red Keep, but half of what a noble family keeps on hand to receive unexpected guests could feel a village for months. There's a stable of fine pleasure horses, breeding studs, hounds and falcons…" The Nayland lad concludes gently, "We can take care of our people. And when it's time to plant, we can work the fields beside them. This is what we're for — it's what nobles do, or should do. The sacrifices may seem humbling, but in truth they're small — we can love the folk of the Roost better than simply deigning to walk out among them."
"Our people?" The turn of phrase seems to surprise Jarod a little. He looks down at the hand on his arm, smiling just a touch, before meeting her eyes properly. His own are more thoughtful than anything else.
"Riverlanders, if you want to take the broader view," says Rowan, shrugging slightly. "But aye. Our people. The Roost's the home of my heart, Jarod. Always has been. Never wanted to become a knight to win tourneys or see the world or join some glorious boy's club — I just want to look after people. My people."
"You aren't obligated to stay, you know, once all…this is over," Jarod says. "But, I mean, if you wanted to…well, there's no shortage of work. And, I mean, that'd be nice, far as I'm concerned. If you did actually…want to."
"That whole love letter to th'Roost I just spouted sounded t'you like obligation, did it?" The squire wets a finger in his mouth and quick darts it for Jarod's ear. Wet Willies! Augh! "Something's the matter with your hearing, Ser!"
"Hey! You little blighter!" Jarod squirms in surprise when he's wet-willied, trying to catch Rowan about the shoulders. And noogie the squire. He just rough-houses rather than actually responding verbally to that, though it does make him grin broad.
"Oi!" protests Rowan, laughing and flailing as he's noogied. "I'm a fuckin' wounded MAN, y'brute!" Not that he sounds a bit in pain.
Jarod just laughs, trying to turn his noogie'ing into a quick hug. Warm and not too hard. "You'll walk it off."
Rowan returns the hug, taking a moment to breathe Jarod in deep. "Aye. Expect I will. M'scrappy that way." The squire steps back. Coughs. "You hungry? I'm hungry. I've can get us some jerky so tender it won't even sprain your jaw." High praise, considering. "I know a guy."
"Aye, yeah, dinner'd be good," Jarod says as he releases from Rowan. "Thanks for…umm…" Shrug. "Good work today."
"S'my job, Ser," replies Rowan, smiling. There's a beat of hesitation, then, "And my pleasure." And off the leggy squire runs, to see a man about some jerky.