|You Catch More Flies With Corpses|
|Summary:||Sers Jarod Rivers and Benedict Lawson discuss wars and travel whilst in the company of flies and dead things.|
|Related Logs:||The Reclaiming of Seagard Logs|
|Seagard — Market Square|
|The sight of the heaviest fighting, and lengthiest Ironborn occupation, the streets are still littered with broken barricades and bloodstains. Flies have begun to swarm, making a kerchief over the face a necessity for travelling between the street of the Ropemakers, and the street of the clothmakers.|
|30 January 289|
There's an incessant drone in the air and black flies make a feast of what remains of the dead. Still shadows erupt into flurries of buzzing, darting insects when disturbed, and the miasma of death and bug makes one inclined to put something over their face as they move through what was once the Market District of Seagard. One such fellow is the hedge knight Benedict Lawson. Possibly patrolling, just as possibly looting, the man moves through the streets, pausing to peer into various half-burned stores, with a dusty kerchief held up against his nose and mouth.
Jarod may not be recognized as a knight at first. He's in a black tunic and breeches that're suitably worn for grubbing, though he has a purple-and-gold armband tied around his forearm as well. And a cloth over his face, which is only practical, and a pair of gloves. He's directing a trio of other men in matching armbands. They're sifting for bodies, but they aren't looting. They're dragging them toward a cart and piling them in the back. Ironborn dead are what they're gathering, and presumably not going to be sent to the Drowned God.
Benedict turns to look as a trio of other men join him, or, at least, join the space he's in. As he realizes what they're about he calls, around his kerchief, "Found another one over here. Think he crawled inside the shop to hide after he was hurt."
"Take him fast, they're getting a bit mushy," is Jarod's order as the other men enter the shop to go corpse-hunting. Rather than immediately following, he lingers. Eyeing Benedict. "We're trying to get some more of them to the outskirts of the city today for burning. Flies're breeding quick down here, disease is sure to follow."
"I noticed," Benedict murmurs before he add, "The flies, I mean. Perhaps it would be best to keep people out of the marketplace for a time. Disease can't breed if there's no one to carry it."
"Aye, it should be blocked off," Jarod agrees with a wince as the men haul the body from inside the shop out. It's a touchy job. One of his legs is no longer firmly attached to the rest of him, though it's not properly severed. "Lord Mallister'll…" But he stops himself short. "…I'll speak to Lord Jerold Terrick about it when we return to the castle after seeing to this lot. He'll see Lord Patrek gets it done proper."
"Poor lad," Benedict murmurs with a shake of his head. He nods for Jarod's words though. "Seems best. How did you find yourself with this delightful task? Insult somebody?"
It's a beat before Jarod admits, in kind of an irritable mutter, "I volunteered." He shrugs. "Was in too good a mood this morning, I guess. Needed to bring myself down. And it seemed to need doing. I'm called Ser Jarod Rivers, by the by. One of the Terrick sworn in the city. You…look a touch familiar, but I fear I can't recall how you're called. You rode with the…Tullys?" It's something of a guess.
"I did. Ser Benedict Lawson," the other man says, offering a hand towards Jarod. "Currently with the Tully contingent, but a hedge knight. We met near here in the company of Senna Delacourt and Lord Anders Flint. It's fine to meet your properly, Ser Rivers."
Jarod removes his right glove, which is fairly disgusting, to offer a clean hand to Benedict. "Fine to you as well. I'll not ask what you're doing down here." Though he does add, "Ironer rank-and-file don't seem to have much of value on them, though their metal is as good as any other once it's melted down. If we can't just use their weapons and arms for our own soldiers." He waves away a cloud of flies as he puts his glove back on. Looking grimly down the streets of the once bustling market. "You ever seen anything like this?"
"I am sorry to say that I have," Benedict murmurs, "though not often. It's… not a sight one ever really gets used to. I was actually looking more at the stores' remains than the bodies. There are, thankfully, not very many bodies left."
"Didn't figure there'd be much left of the stores, with how long the squids occupied this quarter," Jarod says. "I never have." He grimaces, though behind the kerchief it's just a knitting of his green eyes and brow. "I suppose Stoney Sept must've been, a little, during the Rebellion, though I didn't see much of what the town was like after the fighting. And that was…I don't know. The Royalists didn't just come to slaughter. Not like the squids. I was up at the Roost before this. It was…that was bad, but it was gutted. Burnt. They'd had time to retreat. Gut it before they went, but still. This place, even with the bodies getting gone, feels like a butcher's den."
Benedict has no comment on the battle of Stoney Sept, though he nods a little, eyes narrowing. "It does at that. There was pleasure in this, it way joyful. Not tactical. How does Terrick's Roost fare, now the Ironers have been cast out? And the others within the area they held?"
"Quarter of the smallfolk're dead, or taken," Jarod begins grimly, so far as the Roost is concerned. "Given Ironer mercy, if it were me I'd find dead preferable. The town was razed. Burned. After Maron Greyjoy lost at Alderbrook they destroyed the town before retreating to the seas. Countryside was pillaged too, we'll get little from this harvest. Four Eagles still stands. It's near-impregnable. And at least enough of the population was able to take shelter there that the majority weren't trapped in the town. So they're alive to rebuild. It'll be rebuilt." He says it like he's making a promise to himself.
"I'm sorry," Benedict offers gently, "but I'm sure it will be. Especially now, when there's a threat from the sea. There will be a need to see those places that guard the Riverlands from the sea strong." He shakes his head a little.
"We'll see how it plays," Jarod says in a fatalistic sort of way. "I expect very little these days. All surprises are pleasant that way and all. Are you a Riverman by birth?" He adds, "Some of the hedge knights aren't, though you've the look of it. War brings strange folk to strange lands."
"Aye, by birth," Benedict says, words a bit muffled by the kerchief but supported with a nod. "I've done some traveling, since, gone a bit beyond, but I had to come back when I heard the Ironmen were trying to lay a claim to the throne."
"Ever been to Dorne?" Jarod asks. Conversationally, so much as a man can when standing in a street buzzing with flies in search of remaining human carrion.
"A time or two," Benedict says, eyes crinkling a little in what may be a smile beneath the cloth, "Have you, ser?"
"Not yet. I'm still a young man, though. Seven knows where the next years'll take me. I can honestly say I don't." Jarod sounds rather tickled by that. Though the buzzing brings him back down, and he swats away a fly. "The girls all they say they are? I've met a Dornish woman once. Half-Dornish, actually. Was never quite sure how much of her was real and how much was well-told story, but I liked seeing her tell it all the same."
"Isn't that true of most women?" Benedict asks with a small laugh that makes his kerchief puff away from his mouth for a moment. One eye winks shut as a fly nearly darts into it. "The women of Dorne are… well. They were worth the trip."
Jarod gets a laugh out of that. "Suppose it is. I would like to see Dorne one of these days. Much work to be done at home first but…I'd like to see it. What brought you back to the Riverlands? Apart from the war. Good time for a hedge knight to make coin right now, if you'll pardon the mercenary terms."
"No, that was well enough why," Benedict says with a small shrug. "The war more than the coin, truthfully, though I won't refuse a means to eat and maintain my armor. Like I said, I was born here. I wanted to do my part in keeping the Ironers out."
"I keep asking myself, why now? Why'd they do this now, and not last year, or a year from today. Haven't come upon an answer, save that, they did it when they could, and when they thought we'd be too soft to stop them. We will not be that." Jarod clears his throat under his makeshift mask. "Will you continue fighting with the Tullys now that Seagard's done, or will you seek another force for food and coin?"
"I expect their reasons are their own and have as much to do with manpower and readiness as they do with anything on our side of the fight," Benedict answers. For the Tullys, he shakes his head a little. "I haven't decided yet, ser. Why, are the Terricks looking for hedge knights? I would have thought they might have other places to spend their coin, just now."
Jarod shakes his head. "Not that we couldn't use the men, but coin is, as you say, going elsewhere at present. Seagard might be in better shape in terms of silver, and it'll have the same need of men. Perhaps Lord Patrek would take you on. Or one of the Frey vassals, though it curls my tongue some to suggest it. But none who have coin to spend would turn away a good knight right now."
"Aye, true enough words. I'll keep my eyes and ears open, then, and see where I might serve best." Benedict is obliged to twitch to the side as a swarm of flies buzzes past his head. "I think I shall retreat to fresher spaces, Ser Rivers. Until we speak again, good luck with the rest of your… volunteering."
"Aye, good luck with your…whatever you're about," Jarod says, heading back to the cart. It's about to roll out elsewhere, where there're fewer flies. Or at least once that'll be driven off by lots of smoke.