(121-03-24) I Am a Stranger
I Am a Stranger
Summary: Drunk Murder Party
Date: Date of play (03/24/2014)
Related: Those tagged plot:wickhams_nest

In the riverfront area of Oldtown, there is an old tavern sitting on the lee side of a hill overlooking the Honeywine. It is called the Strangers Cup and is not among the ancient citys more refined establishments, sitting as it does on a cheap street only sparsely lit by lamps, and even more sparsely visited by the town guard. At the appointed hour, during the nights second watch, the tavern keeper had closed his doors and cleared his benches. The door is shut and the lamps doused, when a visitor knocks upon the door, they are asked, Who goes there? Only those knowing the correct answer, I am a Stranger are admitted.

The journey made and the challenge answered, a tall man in a hooded cloak and a suit of hard leather armor steps through the door into the dimness. Broad-shouldered and thick-limbed, it is only a moment before a lift of the hood reveals Ser Laurent Tyrell. He wears a sword at his hip and a dagger next to it, but not cloak, nor scabbard, nor baldric bears any arms whatsoever. His dark eyes scan the common room of the deserted inn, adjusting to the dark.

"Good eve, Ser," greets a voice altogether too cheerful for the grim purpose of the evening, or the dire surroundings. At a table near the hearth sits a familiar face in clothing more plain and dark than his usual, is Abram Florent. Cups have been set out, and a bottle of wine awaiting his fellows.

It is not a place where men without secrets turn to for quite words. Fine clothes and finer boots are left behind for a heavy cloak, Ser Viggo's pommel and scabbard are wrapped in dark cloth to cover them. I am the Stranger, he whispers thickly before being permitted his enterance. His hands tremble with nerves as he enters, following the dark edges of Ser Laurent.

"Is it?" Laurent's voice is surly as ever, skeptical. He unclasps the cloak at his neck, casting it aside to land on an empty table as he approaches Abram's. He nods first to the man behind him, once he has realized his identity, and then to the one seated as he approaches. With no ceremony at all he drops into a chair, which creaks dangerously at his weight so carelessly settled into it.

Kevyn has come cloaked and plain-clothed as well with Viggo, and only wearing a wrapped dagger at his belt. The password of "I am the Stranger" is muttered, with as much wariness as anything else. Viggo receives a very skeptical look, when he takes in the room, but he says nothing more. Only a respectful inclination of his head to the elder men. The wine is eyed, but he doesn't drink.

"No," Abram admits with a shrug to Laurent. "It was more of a habit than an observation. Drink if you will it, and ah- here are more of us," he observes as Viggo and Kevyn enter and the door closes behind them. "Sit and drink," he invites.

Laurent reaches for the bottle, pulling the tray toward him as well so that he can fill each of the cups in turn. "This sort of thing goes better with wine," he growls, passing the cups out as they're poured, and taking up the last for himself, though he doesn't yet drink.

Kevyn earns a flat look in retun, coupled by a shrug of his knight's shoulders. He didn't plan the secret party, Kevyn. It would be less somber. Viggo lifts his dark brows at the setting, waving away wine but gesturing to it for his squire. "I've had enough," he says with the edge a slur. He slides the cup away, pushing it towards his squire. "Does this sort of thing ever go well? I am half tempted to just go duel the whole damn lot of them."

"He could challenge the Lord Blackmount, couldn't he?" Kevyn picks up on Viggo's words, like he's grasping at them. "I mean…it'd be…" He trails off, as if unsure quite where he was going, and takes a sip of wine before picking up again. "…I mean, they'd have to answer it."

"Quill will be along as soon as he may," Abram notes, before turning a dry eye to Viggo's comment and Kevyn's query. "Lord Blackmont is of higher station and could refuse on those grounds alone. As well, a public and formal challenge could be over-ruled by our liege Lords who- present company excepted, of course- will not support you, Ser." That last to Viggo.

"They won't," Laurent admits, though something in him cracks at having to say it. Rather than angry, he's deflated, and takes a moment to drown it in wine. A long, slurping gulp of it, and then another, until his cup is nearly finished. "The king has sent word to Lord Tyrell on the subject, and was very clear."

"A matter I am well aware of," Viggo notes darkly, dipping his head in a short nod to Laurent. "I also received a copy of that damned letter." He eyes his cup, having already pushed it away, debating if he ought to take it back up again. "No matter where we walk, death follows." He smooths a hand back over his forhead, dragging his hood from his features. "I dislike matters of cloaks and daggers. It would be weak of him to refuse."

Kevyn frowns, but it's not as if he can argue with Laurent and Abram. So he settles in, sipping steadily at the wine now. Starting with the cup meant for Viggo, though he keeps the one poured for him close at hand as well. Perhaps for after the first is empty.

As the dark of night continues and men speak of darker things. There's a knock to the door. Enough time lapses to pause hearts, but when the question is asked the response comes clear back. "I am a Stranger." Soon enough the door is opened and in steps a black cloaked man, which for the evening adds to the sinister-though it is his common wear.

Cloak drawn back Quillian seeks to hang it before he is looking back over his shoulder for a brief moment in time. Once it is settled that none else are coming he moves to joint the others. "Fellows." he mutters before looking for a cup.

"Is a direct challenge the manner in which you wish to pursue this?" Abram asks of Viggo, the wheels visibly turning in his head with the query. "I am sworn to seek justice with you, Ser, I will support you in any way I can-" Quill's knock and entrance interrupt him, a nod of greeting given as the Oakheart joins them. "Ser."

"As am I," Laurent says sullenly, not pausing as he nods a greeting to Quill. "But I fear that challenges won't see it done. The borders have been maintained for generations by men doing as we mean to do, Viggo. You well know it."

The Cockshaw man finds himself at an uncommon struggle for words, folding his hands into arch on the solid wood of the table. "I will — I need to see them bleed. But, what is blood if the shame of these murders does not fall at their feet?" He wonders, dark eyes wild as he looks from one man to another. Meeting Laurent's sullen expression, his own falls with exhausted agreement. "Aye. We hold it at the point of a blade."

"It'd be…" Kevyn speaks again, after a swallow of wine. "It'd be more…knightly, a challenge like that? Wouldn't it, Ser?" That question is to Viggo. "I mean…what was done to the Nest…to the smallfolk even…'twas black murder. We aren't…" But he sort of trails off any grand pronouncement about what they are or aren't.

"What have we come upon then, gentlemen?" Quillian asks once wine is poured and he has seated himself with his co conspirators. "A means to pay back revenge? I do believe I heard that Lord Lorant has forbade any such excursions?" But then, Lord Lorant did the same when the Blackrood earned his name, and that did not stop him from riding across Dorne and murdering an entire line of Blackmonts.

"Boy what know you of black murder?" this asked of Kevyn before he is looking to Viggo. "What course are you set upon. Vengeance by any means nessecary?"

Abram manages a bittersweet smile at Kevyn's words, glancing aside to Quillian. "Were we ever so young?" A long draught of wine is taken. For the moment, he holds his peace and lets the others come to their decisions.

"Of course you aren't, Lad," Laurent says, his hard tone at least meant to be comforting, even if it doesn't come off that way. He leans across to pat Kevyn on the shoulder roughly, and adds, "That's why you're bringing along men like me," and with a jerk of his head at Quillian, "And him."

"And the Florent," Abram adds shamelessly to Laurent's mention of himself and Quillian as dangerous men.

Expression bleak, Viggo smiles at his squire and claps his squire on the shoulder in consolation. "You aren't." Won't be. "They've left us with little other choice it seems so a slaughter so gruesome. You cannot leave familial blood unspent." He rolls his eyes at Abram's rejoinder, sliding Kevyn's wine closer to him.

Quillian looks to Abram. "Aye once. Young and likely with our minds set upon Tyrell cunny." Quillian muses. More than likely to rib at Kevyn before he is is looking back to Laurent and snorting. "Sometimes you need a right butcher, to do a butcher's work. You don't ask lambs t' slaughter lambs." Easy to say when wine is your ammo. A sip of his wine and he turns and looks back towards Viggo. "Has he killed a man, before?"

Kevyn frowns, and flushes, not answering Quillian's question. Though it's plain he hasn't. A look at Viggo, and then he just drinks some more.

"You'll not have to spill the blood of innocent folk," Laurent tells Kevyn with a shake of his head. "You'll face armed men, or men as ought to be armed, if they had any sense. Other men will do for the smallfolk, lad, and those that run."

Abram sniffs, "Tyrell?" to Quill sparing an out of place 'eew' face, followed by a wink to Laurent before his expression falls into a more suitable look of gravity. "What manner of mark would my lords loose their arrows at? Do you wish to seek noblemen? Soldiers? Or numbers?"

"No men will spill the blood of the truely innocent, we'll not ride down women nor children like savages," Viggo says shortly and sharply. He does not pound the table, but his voice resonates as if he did. "How else would we show them we are better at the least?"

A roll of eyes leaves Quillian at Abram's sniff and wink thing. Before he is looking back towards Viggo. "What do you want to hit? Do you wish blood for blood. Or do you want a prize?" Either way will be risky. Still the Blackrood is quiet for a moment before he is looking towards Viggo. "By staying alive and killing as many of them as possible, Ser."

Kevyn gives Laurent a nod, though he doesn't meet the other man's eyes. It's unclear how much he believes that, or if he takes any comfort in the idea of others doing the smallfolk-killing. He drinks more wine, looking between Viggo and Abram. His eyes finally rest on his cousin.

Laurent clearly has one reply on his tongue, but opts for another. "As you say," is his muttered response, and he raises his glass to Viggo before finishing the last drink of wine there. "I'm your man in this," he says, the words muffled as he wipes a dribble of wine from his lips with the back of one gloved hand.

Regarding Quillian solemnly, Viggo lets the steeple of his fingers fall against the table. Unthinkingly, he reaches for his drink and draws it close. His gesture is slow. Able to be stopped if need be. "Equal numbers," he decides finally, looking towards his young cousin and then on to the other men. "One of their dead for each of ours." A count that cannot leave it to simple peasants. "Blood for blood by the Stranger's measure," he decides, standing and pouring the wine of his glass to the floor. Almost as if making an offering.

"Just so." Quillian states before he is raising a hand. "Equal numbers and of like blood means we are looking at attacking a small outpost." And there he motions to Abram. "It will have small folk and a few knights. A couple of nobles likely. But, given the current tensions, I imagine it will be costly for us to try and merely assault. So-we will need a way in." And there he sighs, eyes staring down into his wine. "We could either try a diversion to lure them out, or disguise ourselves and come in."

Abram looks aside to Quill again, with Viggo's declaration of a life for a life. "Aye. A small town with a tower- there are a few knightly holdings along the border which could balance out the Stranger's scales. Would need to be quick, to prevent them holing up and sending ravens. A night attack?" he suggests aloud. "Dangerous for us if discipline fails, but…"

"We know what we're about, though," Laurent says grudgingly. "It could work, if there's a town without a wall. Or one where the gate will be open into the night."

Kevyn's jaw does more setting, and he does more drinking, when Quillian speaks of sneaking in. "We aren't thieves…" he mutters. Though he seems reluctant to say much more too loudly.

"Without a wall would be better?" Quillian notes with a nod towards Laurent. "A tower, with no wall would be better than fucking with some damned gate. It'd have to be one they aren't expecting us to come at, so it might mean a different approach." he adds before eyes are sliding over towards Kevyn. "What's that lad? We're not what?" apparently he did not hear correctly. "Go on and speak up, if you're here with us. Don't hide your bloody words."

"We needn't kill them all at once," Viggo points out dryly, setting his empty cup on the table. "We won't get through a wall." His jaw sets in an echo of his squire's. He is no tactician. His shoulders straighten as Quillian address Kevyn and he claps the lad lightly on the shoulder, nodding towards the corner of the room. "Let's speak a moment, lad."

Abram draws a sip of wine, and lets out a slow breath as Kevyn speaks up again. He leans both elbows on the table, and offers a small smile intended as sympathy, but keeps his words on the subject at hand. "We can't rely on defeating a wall. Gates could be dropped too easily and we'd be trapped. A tower would mean at least one knight, and his household. That should make a proper start to honoring Eryk."

"And a knight killed, and a tower burned, will get them out into the countryside," Laurent says, studiously ignoring Viggo and Kevyn's moment. "It will make things more difficult, to be sure. Armed men, and in the open. But it's the sort of fight that we're looking for, and if we're clever we'll see this thing done."

"You all know better than I, sers," Kevyn says, plainly reluctantly. "But…sneaking in and about at night…" He does more trailing off. "…you all know best, I'm sure."

Strong hand on Kevyn's shoulder, Viggo shoves him lightly to indicate that he should move from his chair and follow. "Come, Kevyn." He ushers the both of them into a dark corner, not needing to bend to meet the tall lad's eye. "I will not make you ride with us if you have not the heart for it. I know I can trust you to hold your tongue, but it is a choice you must make."

"This isn't a gods damned cocksucking tournament." Quillian barks back at Kevyn, before he is laughing. "Maiden's cunt and tits lad. We're plotting an attack, not meeting one another on the field of battle. We planning warfare based upon how it's been done for years in the Marches." And there he leans back. "Son. This is black work what we're doing. And if you cannot-" and there Viggo ushers his squire away before he can continue

A look is given to Laurent. "Well we're not hanging about once we do that. We're gone."

Abram lets the Cockshaws take council without further comment, turning his eye back to the Tyrell and Oakheart. He nods in agreement with Quillian. "I agree. Let them pursue us out of the mountsains if they will, no man should ever fight a Dornishman in Dorne if he can help it."

Laurent nods at Quill, as if to say he understands, and knows their next move. "Gone, and on to our next target," he growls, reaching for the near-empty bottle of wine. "We don't mean to stop at one dead knight, do we?" A quick pour, and the Thorn is unsatisfied. He rises from his seat to wander toward the bar, speaking over his shoulder to Quill and Abram, "So we make sure the bastards can see our trail, and take them in the mountains? It's a risk — they might send a goodly number after us."

"When I burned my way through Dorne, I did not linger about after I killed men. Only once did I linger, and that cost us how many men, Abram?" And there the Blackrood looks over towards the knight. "The boon was, I killed off the ruling line of Blackmonts then. And took the last-the daughter as my wife. Now, some weak arsed lisper runs them." Which explains why he has heard nothing from them on this. "No-I don't think we do. However, if that one knight is close to the line, then it will count for something. We can't catch an heir like they did. I doubt they will leave the castle after their little foray."

As for Laurent's idea, there is a shrug. "We could. I mean for us to lose them and slip over without losing any of our number. Let them seethe without proof."

"Twenty one killed, and two more crippled, in a quarter hour of fighting," Abram supplies with a wry smile bending his lip at Quill's request. "A knight and his household. Perhaps a few sworn swords and a number of Armsmen. The sort of folk who would massacre non-combatants at Wickham's Nest tend not to leave themselves easily vulnerable to the same, but in one or two swift strikes we can match the half a hundred Ser Viggo desires."

Kevyn looks up at Quillian as he tells his story. It's unclear precisely what he makes of it. His expression has settled into a troubled frown, and it certainly doesn't serve to trouble him less. He's fallen quiet again now, though, and he finishes off what's left in his wine cup.

"Oh, the Mother's sagging tits," Laurent complains, crouched and rummaging behind the bar. His head appears over the counter briefly as he's reminded, and he calls out, "Did I tell you I'm to be a father?" But that doesn't keep his attention, and he's clanking behind the bar again until he comes up with two more bottles. "There we are. More of the same, but it will serve." He comes back around to walk toward the table, nodding as he comes on.

"So we cross into Dorne, find this town. Burn the tower, kill the knight and whatever men-at-arms he has," the Thorn asks as he settles in again, tugging a cork free with his teeth, "Cross back into the Reach, and do it all again once things have settled a bit? And again, until the scales are in our favor?"

As for Viggo's question, Kevyn just shakes his head at the night. He's not backing down. Not in front of these men, surely.

In answer, Viggo claps his cousin on the shoulder. Good lad. "Congratulations, Ser," he calls Laurent as the wine is broken out. "You work swiftly."

Quillian raises brows there as he looks back towards Laurent. "You did not. Congratulations on your gardening, Ser." He'd order a round, but the service here is just them at the moment. "I am still plowing the field myself. Though I suspect returning a certain drinking cup will aid." A snort there before he is looking back over to Abram.

"More or less, right?"

"You didn't-" Abram adds to the growing cascade of did he/didn't he, as Quill speaks of returning a cup. A fresh grin lightens his expression as he raises a cup toward the impromptu barkeep, "Congratulations, Thorn." A gulp of wine later, and he affirms, back to Quill: "Oh, and the plan sounds good. Ser proud father over there has secured a half dozen trustworthy men, and I can match that with trusty swords from Brightwater Keep."

"Well, it's a tavern, so it wasn't hard to…" Laurent fills his glass as he speaks, the passes the open bottle around, trailing off. "Oh, you mean in fucking my wife," he says, barking a short laugh. "Indeed. Thank you," he says, nodding 'round the table at his co-conspirators. "And luck to you, Ser," he adds, raising his glass to Quillian. He's quick to nod at Abram's estimate though, not to be long distracted. "Half a dozen men, and among them Ser Kaspar Royce. A rare hand with a sword, and a fine horseman."

"Well I plan to get a new one." likely on this trip, or so Quillian goes when it comes to collecting favors. "It does not help though to encourage one's wife to not drink a certain tea if you're drinking out of her father's skull." He adds to Abram before looking to Laurent. "That's a good number. I am sure Ser Viggo could score some Cockshaw men looking for blood. I can't get anything from Old Oak. It'd ring too loud."

Even Viggo who has not drunk can do less than to drink to Laurent's news. "Cockshaw will provide more blades to the venture," he says assuredly. "For now, we drink to new blood. Not to fallen." And they drank long into the night.

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