(121-03-10) The Long Way Home
The Long Way Home
Summary: Viggo and Laurent Talk on the Ride Back.
Date: 10/03/2014
Related: Fire and Circumstance, Brothers and Blood

Though it is summer, the weather for much of the trip has been dreary, with more than a bit of rain. Weather, perhaps, to reflect the spirits of the travelers. Laurent himself has shifted from boisterous anger to sullen silence, with very little in between. Most recently he has taken out a bit of that anger on a Tyrell man-at-arms who rode with the party, loudly and with no mind for who was listening. At the finish of his tirade, the Thorn falls back in the pack a bit, giving his snow white palfrey his ease. His shoulders slump slightly, and one hand reaches up to pull an oiled cloak closer about himself. Though water runs through the short hair plastered to his skull and drips from his heavy brow, the riding garment protects his body somewhat from the elements.

Laurent is not the only man to take from cold silences to firey temper. The trip has worn at Viggo, constantly on his feet and rarely resting, leaving dark circles beneath his eyes and an edge within him that hints of those flames of temper. He takes little interest in the beratement of the Tyrell man, fingering the Dornish earring that was found, marking the trail the men took to escape. After they set fire to the lodge. Pocketing it with a gravelly sigh, he glances toward the Tyrell knight with a flat sort of sympathy. From beneath his robe he fishes out a skin, offering it simply. "Mulled wine." From the slosh of it, he's not had much himself.

"Be damned," Laurent says, looking up to shake his head at Viggo. His lips curl into a smile, but there's no mirth there. "Pear brandy," he replies, offering a flask from where it was tucked into his own belt. "Keep the chill out." He can't miss the trinket in Viggo's hand, dark eyes flitting that way before it's in Viggo's pocket, but he looks away from it quickly. There's a long moment's consideration, but in the end, he's not one for manners. So he pushes through, his tone grim. "There was a time I considered it might have been your middle brother as arranged this, but it doesn't look that way, does it?"

"That'll do it just as well," the Cockshaw agrees, settling it back in his belt with a loose gesture. He fumbles with it for a minute, cold fingers and exhaustion slowing his movements. He lifts his brows catching Laurent's regards, tipping his head towards the earring at his side. "Have you the chance to look at it?" It is an offer of a kind. Viggo grits his teeth at Laurent's grim assement, exhaling with shuttered ire. "No." There is a little of a growl to the word. "No, it does not. It looks like Dornishmen."

"It does," Laurent admits, without the grace to sound embarrassed at the admission, "And I haven't." His dark eyes leave the trail — he's slowly coming to trust the palfrey — and come to regard Viggo again as they ride. "What is your feeling? Is it Dorne, or is it Blackmonts? Or is it an aggrieved husband and his sworn men, acting alone?"

Viggo's destier plods certainly on the road, the reigns looped loosely over the pommel as they trudge, giving him his hands free. The beast whickers helpfully (possibly suspiciously) at Laurent's horse as they ride side to side. Slipping a hand into his pocket to retrieve it, he hands Laurent the bit of jewellery. The piece is of a distinctly Dornish pattern. "My feeling is that this was more than just an aggrieved husband. You don't kill this many for a fuck." He seems to not care that his Lady Cousin hears the like either. "This is vicious and brutal. All fingers point to the Blackmonts. Maybe they're looking to start another war, not pleased with their previous beating." His chin angles in a nod towards Quill in the group.

"They're damned fools," Laurent growls, his beady eyes focused on the bauble, "If they expect anything but the same." He frowns as he considers the piece of jewelry, but he's no student of such things, so he passes it back with no great insight. His eyes, too, drift up the path to Quill, and the sight of the Blackrood tugs one corner of his mouth into what might be a grin. "Isn't there a peace, now? The bastards can't even expect the Martells to back them, can they?"

"They'll be damned by the time their bodies bleed," Viggo agrees darkly, tucking away the bauble without real interest. It is just a bauble. "Not anymore. They shouldn't after this. Craven carrion. How did Ser Quill phrase it…sand roaches. Just waiting to pick at something harmless." A hunting party seeks to kill or harm nothing but the game.

"No matter if they do," Laurent grumbles — of the Martells backing the Blackmonts. "Won't save the bastards. We'll have their guts for garters, once we know where we're bound. Where do we go from Oldtown? Have you given it much thought?"

"Truer words were never spoken, Ser. Although I believe I'll make a noose of mine," Viggo offers, fingers toying with his reigns. "Oldtown first. I must speak with Lord Hightower, I'll send a raven to my father from there. Letting them all know of what we've found. Damned pity you need a maester to mind them well in transport. Then to Cocklewhent, lest word comes that they ride. I'll meet them."

"We'll ride," Laurent says, dark eyes flashing back toward Viggo, "Unless you mean to leave without me?" His tone might surprise as he says that. It's offended, to be sure, but accepting. The tone of a man accustomed to being left out. His right hand on the reins, his left falls to rest at the pommel of his sword, an unconscious gesture that gives him comfort. "I'm still your man in this, if you'll have me."

Something of the exhaustion eases from Viggo's features at the flash of Laurent's dark eyes, his head shaking sharply. "No, Ser. I would have you and proudly. You first and any otherwise who would join me." He dips his head with something like gracious thanks, not stumbling over his words with flawed poetry but simple but gracious. "And you would have my thanks most of all."

Laurent seems put at his ease by the gesture, nodding. He doesn't give it a voice, but his face makes his gratitude clear. "I'll make ready to ride as soon as we're back in Oldtown," he says, brow furrowing as he thinks. "I should be able to bring a handful of men to your banner, perhaps more. Depends on my cousin," he says, the first hint of optimism in his voice. He has a deep and obvious confidence in Garvin. "And if there is aught else you would have me do, you need only ask. Though the Father knows I'm good for little enough," he adds the last with a snort that just might be laughter.

The gratitude found is a little surprising, perhaps, but Viggo sees it with grace and another nod of his head. His hat and the trees drawing deep shadows on his already hunted features. "If your cousin will not, well…" Well… He pauses a minute, gritting his teeth thoughtfully. "I will speak to Lord Hightower himself and damn his steward." He snorts himself. "Farther knows none of us are. Warrior need only favor our blades."

"Stranger take the Hightowers," Laurent says casually, "We've little enough need of them. Garvin will send men, and he'll have sent a raven to Lord Tyrell by now. Probably had word back, even. Tyrells, Cockshaws," he says, his tone suddenly bellicose, "One devil of an Oakheart. The Hightowers are jumped-up prigs, as far as I've seen. Let them have their tower — don't go to them, I say. If they want to avenge their kinsman, let them come to you."

"Perhaps even Florents," Viggo notes, nodding his chin towards Abram amid the bunch. "He offered me his blade. Be it one more to our number. Ever loyal under the Tyrell banner." He laughs, bitterly. "I would be tempted, but my father bid and I will not disobey. Besides… every family deserves to hear the terms of theri child's death if nothing else. Just a boy and a squire yet." His gaze flit towards his own, jaw setting. "Aye."

"I'm sure you have the right of it," Laurent says skeptically. "Sticks in my craw, is all. What I've seen of them I don't care for. Could be as Lord Ormund will prove a better sort though," he adds at the end, with no real optimism in his voice. His eyes follow Viggo's toward his Kevyn, and from there to his own squire, Willem. Glumly, he says, "Thought my own squire was going to die, some time ago. A cough seized him, and there was blood." Still sullen, he adds the obvious. "But he lived."

The Cockshaw man shrugs. Time gone from the city and little time wrapped in its politics leaving him no good judge on the state of its rule. "Could be." He does not know. "You don't want to like them," Viggo muses with a wry sort of humor. "But you teach them and break them and make them men. Give them the blade. And it comes. A cough would be an awful loss." He scratches at his neck, frowning. "My previous I lost to accident. Jace, his name was. Damn near earning his spurs. Kevyn was his young brother, a back up."

"Liking that one's never been a problem," Laurent says, though he obviously agrees. "The Warrior's swinging cod. That must have been a rough one," he says with a shake of his head. "Kevyn seems a good one though, hm? Willem's only my second — the first left my service when his older brother died. Seems they wanted him closer to home. Spurs were worth less than a living heir."

"A waste," Viggo utters, exhaling a long sigh. "Kevyn will rough into something better than he things. He's still more than a bit rough, dolphin-bane aside." Something that will never be less amusing. "Ah. If it is to be a first and last son, a family will be more close-hearted. I was happy to be the third." Something in his expression breaks. Was.

A more socially adept man might sit through that moment in companionable silence. Laurent, however, curses softly and thoroughly. "Bugger and fuck." He nods his head, as if to say that sums up his thoughts on it entirely, and then looks again to Kevyn. "He's brave. Everything else you can teach, but either they're brave or they aren't." And his tone says that Willem, by contrast, is not. "I'm a poor teacher, I think. But that Fossoway shit is a poor student, so we're well paired, I suppose."

"I'm fair when I'm not too deep in my cups," Viggo admits, knowing his own folly. "Kevyn is brave. He's just… Well, he is as he is. He'll do better bit by bit. Be nobler than I ever was." His mouth breaks into the edge of a smile at that. "Your lad'll learn what you put to him. It is just a question if he needs it in bruises or tasks." Squires, man.

"The Crone's bleeding gash, but I've bruised that boy," Laurent says, clearly frustrated. He shrugs at Viggo's moment of self-assessment, but doesn't comment on it. A favor returned, since Viggo didn't comment on his being a surly lout incapable of teaching galley slaves to row. "No, he's a credit to you, Ser. He'd say so himself." It's as large a compliment as Laurent has ever paid another man, and it clearly makes him uncomfortable once it's past his lips. He falls silent, taking a moment to look over the landscape.

"To the bloody confusion of everyone else," Viggo admits with a wry edge. He knows well his reputationa nd has done nothing to cull it. He's added to it if anything. They both fall silent, the Cockshaw man not wanting to add to the thorny man's uncomfortableness. He seems content enough to fall silent for awhile, fingering the earring in his pocket unthinkingly. And so they ride.

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