(121-03-23) Horses and Hounds
Horses and Hounds
Summary: Ser Kane is on his way to Oldtown, when his horses are spooked by Lord Pansy's hounds.
Date: 23 March 2014
Related: none.


Blackcrown Road

The Blackcrown Road is narrow, rough for a cart though comfortable enough for riders or those on foot. Most goods travel by sea, for the road follows the coast of the Whispering Sound South by Southwest and can cut no distance nor time off the journey.

Here the track is surrounded on either side by a massive field thick with purple-red fireweed, stretching to the sound and several miles inland, spicy-sweet in fragrance and buzzing with bees. The miles of bright flowers are lovely, but livestock cannot graze on them and so this place is empty but for the skeps of beekeepers and a single low beggar's hovel. The walls and towers of Oldtown are clearly visible to the East and Northeast. Further South down the road there's a little path running Eastward towards the shore of the Whispering Sound.

The fields of fireweed turn dusky shades of violet and murky crimson as the sky starts to dim above Blackcrown Road. It's a beautiful, fair evening; the air is alive with the scent of recent rain, sweet flowers and pollen. The road leading to Oldtown is drowsy, only a lone figure on an ambling grey horse, leading another, darker-coloured steed without a rider, in the near distance.

One might say it's perfectly idyllic. The man atop the slow, oncoming horse is one such person; Ser Kane the Frivolous wears a content smile on his scruffed face, a sleepy droop to his heavily-lidded eyes as he gazes out over the fields and into the towers of the city, pleased in the fact that he's made it this far. From a distance, of course, he looks naught but a man in slightly strange armor: it's clear even in the dimming light that it's painted bright red with some manner of flourishing design, and that a cape of multiple proud colours flows out behind him in what he hopes is a majestic and terribly intriguing fashion, as the illusion will quite likely be shattered by the time he nears anyone enough for them to spy the cracks and flaking paint and that the colours of his cape are patched together from numerous fabrics.

Garvin rides at the head of a company of six men-at-arms, all wearing light armor and purple cloaks. Beside Garvin's white palfrey rides a boy of fifteen or sixteen, a noble looking youth in greens and golds as well. A small pack of hounds runs ahead of the group, though the smallest dog, a spaniel-like creature with golden fur, rides across Garvin's thigh, looking rather bored. "I tell you, I don't trust a one of them," Garvin is saying to his squire, as they gallop along toward the city. "She took great delight in spelling out their plot. I want the Thorn to double the number of men at the manse. Or even triple it! He can't take them all with and leave us defenseless against those…people." For his part, Nyran Redwyne simply nods and mumbles something unintelligible, letting Lord Pansy rant.

It's from the direction of that small, pebbled beach that Johanna comes from, having spent a good portion of her evening there, and only now preparing to go back to the manse. The progress is stalled first by the sight of the familiar sigil, and the somewhat less familiar men in the company of Garvin. It's only while watching them that she spots the other man on horseback, drawing back from the edge of the road to just watch both the group, and the lone man ride past. There is, of course, at least one guard with her wearing the emblem of her house.

A beautiful evening for a hot meal and a drink, ladies! Ah, not you, of course, I'm afraid it's grass and a shot of grains for you, but if you're lucky we'll find you some hay. Hey?" Without such company as the other man on the roads this eve, Ser Kane is talking to his only travelling companions: the horses. The creatures look far more tired than he does, accounting for their slow amble, and a good bit more muddy. They bear no coat of arms, nor the proper accoutrements to bear it, nor does the lone rider display the heraldry for any house; he wears his painted cuirass over his surcoat — yet he otherwise has the trappings of a knight, what with his platemail and weaponry, not to mention the flair of showmanship. Everything he owns, he carries — that is, the burden is shared with the horses.

Spotting the lady — the true, non-equine lady — on the side of the road, the colourful knight dips his unhelmed head of brown curls on his way past. He seems to think twice after the fact, turning his head to perhaps speak to the woman, but his steed does not follow suit. In fact, the horse — a meagre but healthy rounsey — starts to fret about on the damp path, irritated by the dark courser trailing behind, who's started to put up a sudden fuss as the Tyrell troupe gets closer, rolling her big old eyes. Before Kane can intervene, the mare takes at an uneven, spooked run for the field, going from lazy to lightning in a second. A dangerously threadbare pack falls from the horse, collapsing onto the middle of the road and sending what looks to be large potatoes spilling every which way.

"Crone's blistered tits— Jonesy!" the hedge knight shouts, incredulous. "You're a whore and a dirty thief! I gave you my last apple!"

Garvin reins his palfrey to a stop, still a few paces behind the hedge knight, and his men follow suit. "Hail, Ser," he calls, looking the man up and down with a frown. "Trouble with your horses?" It's Nyran who spots Johanna, bringing his horse closer to Garvin to mumble something. Lord Pansy turns that direction, squinting at the gathering shadows, then calls, "Lady Johanna, is that you?"

Johanna watches as the hedge knight rides nearer, then by, smiling to him politely and inclining her head in return, though she doesn't call out any sort of greeting to the unfamiliar man. She seems just about to turn and continue on her way down the road when the horse bolts, a laugh stifled as she hears the protests from Kane. As she's the only one, not counting her guard, that is on foot rather than on horseback, she steps out into the road just far enough to pick up one of those rolling, potato-like items, intending on returning it to the owner, though the progress of that is stopped when she hears her name. "Yes, my Lord," she answers, turning to face Garvin instead. "It is."

Kane's impetus to chase after his other horse is rather barred by the stubbornness of the one he's currently astride, which fusses around where she stands, sufficiently barring the way, churning mud under hoof, dramatically opposed to doing as she's told, even despite the use of the knight's mismatched spurs. "Son of a — you — not you too! You useless mutt of a horse, have I ever told you I paid too much for you? Could have had a better horse, a meal, and a whore for the price of— " He twists to look over the bulk of steel platemail at his shoulder to properly see what company he's in so that not only his patchwork cape faces Garvin.

Whatever his aggravation with his steeds (the dark one is still running free as a bird across the field), Kane's travel-worn face brightens colourfully — he's even smiling jovially as he hasn't a care in the world. "Lovely— " he tugs on a rein, swalling effort and prompting an obvious tightening of his neck as he's bobbed this way and that on his secondarily disgruntled steed, " — evening, isn't it?" He glances down and his face, though he still smiles jovially as can be, darkens with realization. "… Ah," he unwisely lifts a hand to point, ever-so-smartly tapping the air thrice, his face darkening slightly, "…Dogs." He stops uselessly fighting his horse and stares out across the field with a long sigh.

Garvin gives Johanna a small bow, then sends Nyran to collect the hounds and keep them away from Kane's one remaining horse. The squire slips off his pony with a fistful of leashes, whistling to the dogs. Ser Daffodil, the spaniel, remains on Garvin's horse. "And Tor," Garvin calls to one of his men. "Go and collect that loose horse, will you?" The guard grunts and turns his own horse toward the field. At last, Garvin turns to the knight again. "Forgive me, Ser. I was out hunting, though as usual, I didn't get anything. I believe the dogs are more interested in sniffing trees than finding foxes."

While the others are out collecting the animals, Johanna goes about picking up a few more of those large potatoes, stopping once she reaches that threadbare sack to deposit them inside. The guard with her doesn't help, instead keeping an eye on the Lady he's charged to look after. "At least you know they're good at spooking horses, my Lord," she says, looking at Garvin with a smile.
From afar, Karolis won't do anything, just wants to give him space.

After a series of haughty snorts and grunts, the remaining horse seems content to just stand firmly in the middle of the road. Giving a an aggravated little 'why me' shake of his head, Kane raises his brows to Garvin in a kinder expression. "And my horses more interested in being dramatic than walking another few minutes to Oldtown," he replies with a slow wave of his hand toward the city, so close to his reach. He takes the moment of stillness to — keeping a grasp of a strip of leather to hold the horse in some sense of obeying — dismount, landing in a crouch with one knee mere inches from the mud and bowing his head and waving his hand in a grand flourish. His patchwork cape flutters and falls behind him, motley but pieced together with flair and intent. Wherever could his horses have gotten such dramatic tempers.

"Ser Kane. The Capricious," he says with a more humble voice in contrast to the jaunty moniker. "M'lord and lady." He stands to his full height only to crouch once more in front of the sack on the ground. He lifts his chin up to Johanna, inclining slightly as if sharing a secret. "These are very special, you see, rare items," he informs her with a good-natured, theatrical humour as he scoops up the bag of potatoes, "I can't have them lost. It would be grave loss. Worse than that of my misbehaving horse! You have my many thanks."

Garvin can't help but giggle a little at the dramatic bow, as his squire rounds up the snuffling dogs. At least they haven't taken to barking. Garvin remains on his horse, however, not wanting to muddy his pretty shoes. "An honor to meet you, Ser Kane the Capricious," he says, voice filled with humor. "I have the pleasure to be Garvin of House Tyrell, but you may call me Lord Pansy, if you wish. And may I present Lady Johanna Oakheart, also of my household."

"I could sense that they were of great importance," Johanna replies Kane with an entirely straight face, save for the sparkle of humor in her eyes that might just give her away. "A mystical potato, you might say," she adds, though at this the corners of her mouth twitch up in a smile that she can't quite keep at bay. "I assure you, Ser, thanks is not needed. Simply seeing up and off the wretched ground is thanks enough." She slides a look Garvin's way, inclinding her head in appreciation for the introduction, and then her gaze goes back to Kane. "It is a pleasure, Ser Kane."

Kane takes the lady's hand just strong enough and long-lasting enough to aid her up and away from the muddied road, smiling, then goes about attempting to tie up his sack of potatoes and affixing the shady thing to this horse's packs. "I thought I sensed a Tyrell!" Kane exclaims and, blessedly, it is a pleasant announcement. He pauses to wag a knowing finger at Garvin and his company, smiling a roguish smile. "And Lord Pansy, at that! A good moniker, I love a good moniker. I'll have you know," he's suddenly speaking to Johanna again, pointing at her, "these are golden potatoes, of a rare and exotic sprout." He casts a glance into the field for his errant horse. "She should tire soon enough and wrangle easy," he figures, though there's an edge of skepticism in his voice. Or his that hope. "This wouldn't have happened if I had a squire. But no, he had to go on complaining the entire road here 'til he up and left in the night. The horses were better company."

Garvin looks out over the field, where his man, Tor, is still riding after the escaped horse, colorfully cursing to the Seven and any other gods who care to listen. Garvin then casts an eye toward his own squire, who by now has all the hounds leashed and is trying to lead them away from Kane and his horse. Alas, the dogs outnumber him seven to one, and they delight in wrapping him up in their leashes, so he spends more time turning in circles to avoid being tangled than anything else. "I know all about squires," Garvin says, shaking his head. "Fortunately, mine hasn't tried to run away…yet." Then he peers toward the potato sack, wrinkling his nose. "Golden potatoes? Where did you find them?" Glancing at one of his men, he barks, "Pelly, don't just sit there. Offer Lady Johanna your horse." The guard immediately dismounts and begins leading the courser toward Johanna, giving her a bow.

Johanna looks mildly amused as she finds her hand taken so she can be led off the road by the hedge knight, though she moves along as led, until she withdraws her hand from his. "Is that so?" she asks Kane after the comment on the nature of the potatoes in question, appearing even more amused afterward. "In that case, I am even more relieved to have seen their safe return to the sack in which they should reside." The sudden order from Garvin has her looking up, lips about to part in protest, but rather than do so, she presses a smile and turns to the approaching guard. "Thank you." She looks up to Garvin again, "And thank you, my Lord, this will save me from the walk back." With that, she climbs carefully into the saddle with the help of the guard.

Kane can't help but laugh — nor does he try to stop himself — at the various troubles of Garvin's men, even when one is troubled by the knight's very own finicky horse. It's a good-natured sound, full-bodied, not bearing much real mockery. His subtle brows are high again as he replies to the Tyrell. "Now, see," he narrows his eyes at Garvin, though in earnest it's more of a squint that deepens the laugh-borne creases around them, "If I divulged to you the delicate route which I obtained these rare roots, you would be able to buy up all the golden potatoes with your riches and, in doing, dry up my supply, and then where would I be! Ah." His blue gaze glimmers. He might be serious; he might be joking. They might be foreign golden potatoes, the might just be large old potatoes. As he gives his present horse an idle pat despite her own misbehaviour, he tips his head toward Johanna and her new mount, again as though they share a secret, "She understands these things."

Garvin giggles again, eyes alive with delight. "Oh yes, very true," he says, trying to look and sound solemn, despite the laughter in his voice. "I would not think to deprive you of the profits of your potato venture. Though you must know, once word of these magic tubors gets out, everyone and his baseborn brother will be wanting to buy them from you, and likely cheat you in the process. You must be cautious in such dealings, Ser Kane."

Kane scrubs a hand back and forth over his mouth, a bristling, scratching noise emitting at every swipe over his several days' worth of hair growth. He nods as if considering somberly. "It does seem you're both right," he says, made half a mumble by his ponderous hand. When it drops, he reveals his humour-filled smile beneath. He gives the secured bag of potatoes a rustle. "I've already had two robbers have a go at them," he confesses. "I say you'll have to both keep their whereabouts between us, all considered," he advises with an over-dramatized note of hope, though the determined way he looks back and forth between Garvin and Johanna actually appears quite serious. And then he winks, though it's not entirely clear at whom, and he's squinting off into the field toward the less than graceful struggle between man and horse; one he knows well. "I suppose I ought to give him a hand…"

Garvin eyes the bag rather skeptically, but continues his cheerful grin. "Give who a hand?" he asks, then follows Kane's line of sight to Tor, still galloping back and forth after the knight's horse. Meanwhile, Nyran has finally managed to get all seven hounds in one small area in front of him, no leashes around his legs, but then they all decide to pull in different directions at once, and Nyran lets out a cry of despair. Daffodil looks that direction and whines, but Garvin doesn't even notice. Instead, he's watching Pelly hoisting himself onto the back of another man's horse, not looking too pleased, but also not complaining. "Oh, Tor," Garvin says, nodding toward the field. "I'm sure he'll have your horse in hand soon. Is that why you've come to Oldtown then? To sell your magic vegetables?"

"I'm sure this is a perfectly good place to sell mystical tubers," Johanna remarks, looking to the guard that gave her the horse. "Right?" Right. She nods, then looks back to Garvin and Kane. "Do you have any other special items that you intend to sell her, Ser?"

The knight's attention is now and then captured by Nyran's tangle, his mouth tensing so as not to outright laugh again, as he's meant to be considering a response for Lord Pansy. "Noo, m'lord," he replies seriously, though it's not without a hint of his good humour. "They are uh—a side venture." He clasps his hands behind his back, seeming taller and more ready-to-serve; a mere pose is transformative.

Ser Kane immediately diminishes the stately stance by bouncing twice on his heels. "Myself," he answers Johanna as a way of answering Garvin. "That is," his brow furrows and his mouth quirks, "as a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. I'm a wanderer of the realm, until I'm in service."

Garvin's eyes immediately brighten, and he sits up straighter in the saddle. "You're looking to take service to some House?" he asks, trying to hide his excitement. "House Tyrell is looking for more swords here in Oldtown. You should speak with my cousin, Ser Thorn…I mean, Ser Laurent. He's the captain of our men." Nyran manages to get nearly all the dogs going in one direction, running behind them as they bound up the road toward the city.

"Is that so?" Johanna asks Kane, then glances sidelong at Garvin, teeth sinking into her lower lip as she does. She clears her throat quietly and looks back to the Hedge Knight. "If that were the case, you would have a safe place to keep your magic potatoes, which would surely help you, and extend your life. At least when it comes to the dangers of dealing potatoes."

Kane appears relieved when Nyran and the dogs run up the road; now he's not so drawn to that intricate tangle of leashes. He blinks to rapid attention toward Garvin. "Is he!" His face lights up like he's been alternately delighted and then splashed in the face with ice water. "I've had the pleasure of encountering Ser Thorn at more than one tourney. He's a … " His mouth hesitates open for a jot. " … fine … large … man. Ser Thorn. I like him." He nods decisively as if that's exactly the elegant (it wasn't) thing he meant to say (it wasn't). "Right again, Lady Johanna!" he recovers with a charm-filled smile. "A safer bet than a hedge in regard, as long as Ser Thorn and Lord Pansy keep their hands off my magic potatoes." Deeper and more deliberating thought lurks behind his easy-going gaze, but he carries on, "Then I will seek him out," he answers decisively, "once I've seen myself and my horses fed and rested."

At last, Tor has snatched the reins of the runaway horse, and with some difficulty, he begins leading her back to the road. "If it's food and rest you're seeking," Garvin says cheerfully, "you can't do better than the Quill and Tankard. That's where I'll be going myself, once I'm through the city gates. They have the best wines and meads in Oldtown." One of his men offers, "And ale." Garvin nods, nose wrinkling. "Yes, ale as well, I suppose. The rooms upstairs are fairly decent as well, and the rates are reasonable. Or so I assume, not being one to purchase rooms very often."

Johanna opens her mouth to further comment on Kane and his magic potatoes, but quickly reconsiders and snaps her mouth shut instead. She looks back and forth between Kane and Garvin as talk moves on to the Quill and Tankard, brows lifting. "Is it? I fear I've yet to actually drink there. The only night I've gone as that evening Ser Viggo and Ser Aevander had their duel."

"Ah, the Quill and Tankard; I have a distant and … mysteriously blurry memory of the place from my last visit to Oldtown, years ago… seem to recall I lost a boot. Or was it a bet?" Off his briefly distant stare, he gives Garvin a companionable smile but a respectful nod. "I may see you there." Left out is the fact that reasonable room rates for a man of Kane's low standing might in fact seem a fortune. He waits by his horse, waiting for Tor to return with the other, glancing under a lowered brow with an almost wary breed of curiosity over this duel.

Garvin finches at Johanna's words, sucking in a breath. "That duel was utter stupidity," he grumbles, his good humor fading quickly. "I know Ser Viggo needed an outlet for his rage, but the Targaryen had no such excuse. He was utterly out of line, and he should thank the Mother daily that Viggo didn't take his head. He certainly would have deserved it." Tor finally hands the reins to Kane with a bow, then brings his horse back into the formation. Garvin looks to Kane, putting on his smile again. "Oh, you must join us. When Lord Pansy pays, everyone drinks!" This causes his men to let out a cheer, their horses stamping at the road.

"Yes, that was rather my impression of the situation, that it was utter stupidity," Johanna remarks to Garvin, tone gentle. Her gaze shifts between both men, and then she smiles. "I will leave you all to your drinking, and return to the manse instead. Thank you for the use of the horse."

Kane takes the reins with a triumphant beam, even though it was Tor who did all the hard work. His triumph is nearly cut abruptly short when the cheering and stamping of the men sends the same horse into a prancing spell, and there's an instant where Kane is holding a set of reins in each hand pulling in opposite directions, momentarily concerned for the fortitude of his joints. Both of his horses whinny. "'s good!" he says under some strain. 'They're just cheering for you, Lord Pansy." The animal quells her nerves and Kane climbs into the saddle to improve the chances that he doesn't have a sprinting horse on his hands again. He urges his horses to continue on the road as they were meant to, nodding deeply to Johanna as he does. "M'lady."

Garvin blinks as the skittish horse attempts to quarter the knight, or at least halve him. His own horse remains mostly still, looking nearly as bored as the small dog in Garvin's arm. The lord looks toward Johanna again, frowning. "You won't be joining us, my lady?" he asks, head tipping curiously to one side. "You really should visit the Quill at least once while you're in Oldtown. It is nearly legendary, you know." To Kane then, he calls a cheerful, "See you soon, Ser Kane the Capricious!"

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