(121-05-03) An Unquiet Camp
An Unquiet Camp
Summary: Sylas's second visit to Maera's camp earns him not a cold reception, but a boiling hot furious one.
Date: Date of play (03/05/2014)
Related: The Riders

Camp near Crakehall

The Ironborn under the ensign of Hightower have not succeeded - or, it might be, not deigned - to distinguish themselves among the front line of the Northern forces; yet they have not rested idle, nor lingered behind this strange, unexpected campaign. The Wildlings in flight, the fractious, the desperate, the routed, all these have succumbed to the Volmark of Volmark's small, mobile, well-steeled force. It is an unusually well-blooded and satisfied score of Ironmen who loiter about a copse of ash, well prepared, and even eager, for further action in their mail, but for the present swilling back captured ale as they loiter between actions, enjoying the spilling of blood, beer and sunset.

It's been a long, hard-fought smattering of engagements for the detachment of Northmen (and various factions who have aided them in one capacity or another) and Riderch Blackwood has not emerged unscathed. He's still mostly warworthy, however. The Riverlord is one of those who are a little less than Kin, a little more than Kind, with the Northerners he's thrown in his lot with, and is perched upon his black courser who gallops along the perimeter of the camp. He pauses a moment, staring up at the sunset, back in his maile, and wipes some beads of sweat from his brow.

The battle that the Northman had anticipated hasn't happened yet. The Wildlings are scattered, but not crushed. And still the question lingers; Who provided the means to send them so far South? Maera muses on such questions as she sits in front of a campfire near her tent, pouring over missives received by raven. A bottle of ink sits in the dirt, and she occasionally dips a quill into it, and writes on a parchment that is backed by a thin board balanced on her thigh.

And the Ironborn, indeed, may be revelling this eve with a lighter gauntlet at their shoulders, for their captain, their lord, their just maybe-King is not, just now, at hand to circumscribe their jollities. Lord Sylas Volmark has taken the best mount in their camp, an ill-natured, dun-coloured, undersized and so surprisingly fleet courser, and steered it, quite as he is and unaccompanied, towards his 'allied' camp. He need not bother now with the colours of Hightower for his shield, contenting himself with calling from the saddle in his harsh, carrying cry, "This is Volmark. I seek tidings for to amuse my warriors. Are any of your men of quality awake? Or women, come to that?"

As the black horse conveying the Riverlander rounds the camp's perimeter and closes in to the scene, the black-armored Blackwood can be made out more clearly. His sparse short hair is wild in the breeze as he rides unhelmeted. "I think the sheep are about twenty leagues down that way. If they hurry, you can get them while they're still fresh!" Comes a response, delivered with so much good humor that it's obvious said humor is in bad faith.

"No one wants to merrymake with you and your lot, Volmark." Maera says as she looks up from her reading and writing. She tosses the quill back into the pot, moves her board onto the log, and stands up. "But I hear a sheep sounds just like an ironwoman when it's dark out." She smirks to Riderch, and tosses one of her braids back behind her shoulder.

"Surely a raven prefers his mutton rancid," Lord Sylas remonstrates with equally insincere equability. "And ah, what a find is here. A scholarly she-bear." He dismounts with a rough, clattering swing, looks about briefly as if expecting a groom to materialise and hold his horse, then shrugs and leads it towards a nearby ash-stump. "I'm honoured to be greeted by the commander herself, Lady Mormont, but scarcely surprised to hear of your sense of hearing. You displayed it little enough when we first came a-calling. No doubt it shall be left to my band's keener attention to finish the foe…"

"It's not rancid when you enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. Besides, Ravens are fine with other game." It may be known that Maera Mormont has no sense of humor, but this came from Riderch Blackwood, who is clearly brimming with it, throwing his head back and laughing heartily, almost to hte point of wheezing. "Maybe Lord Hightower just wanted to be rid of all his problems at once." He finally offers on a more sober note. "That's if the old man pays attention at all."

"Shut the fuck up, Volemark." Maera says in her typical blunt, dismissive tone, "You're not wanted here. Now kindly go walk off a cliff or something." The other braid is flicked back, and she raises a brow at Riderch. …Was something funny said?

"Other game, mayhaps, but you know little of the game of thrones, knight of carrion, if you imagine the Lord Hand cares much for this force either way," Sylas avers with undented superiority. "I answer at present to his son, lord only of his one sickbed, whose sole interests seem to lie with my equally puny cousin, Millicent Greyjoy. But if neither stays me from war, I shall not, this time, contradict them." He shrugs to Lady Mormont, "Your insults to me do not amend your competence, my lady. It is fortunate you have only offal to contend with in these entertaining days. Were your late kinsmen as inept? No wonder," he sneers with unspecific but pointed venom, "that they progressed to their outwitted graves so readily."

"Better a knight of carrion than a Lord of nothing." Riderch utters loudly with a smug shrug of his shoulders. "You seem to be heavily in the business of elevating yourself when you have nothing. I should not disabuse you of this habit. It's fun." Blackwood by birth and name, there is enough Mallister blood in him still that it is showing right now. "How fare your men in battle, hmm?"

Maera's cheeks flush red at the mention of her dead brothers. She takes a step towards Sylas, and her hand drops to the hilt of her sword. "Wrapped up with a Grayjoy? Good. He won't miss one little cunt who likes running his mouth." She isn't smug. She's angry. It shows in the way her feet kick up dust as she walks quickly towards the Ironman.

"I have a ship. On the Isles we know that when one has a ship today, one may have everything tomorrow. To mislay a ship, on the other hand, is to be plunged upon the unforgiving crags of yesterday," the Volmark answers smoothly. As Lady Mormont advances upon him, hand on hilt, he stares back with a boredom that is more than a little put on. "I take it that is a challenge, my lady, the twenty-eighth, or so, that you have issued during our acquaintance. You are, notionally, in command of this foray, and so I do not choose to accept it, useful as it might indeed be for this venture's success were a new commander to be appointed. If you attack me anyway, I have the good Ser Quorker here as my witness that you are as fond of lowhanded murder as whoever finished your brothers…"

"Ships are remarkably short-lasting things. Something that I know." Whatever. It's no skin off Riderch's proverbial back. He raises his arm high in the air as a greeting towards the Ironman Lord, it's probably been drummed into his head both by surrounding opinion and common sense that there's not a damn thing he can do here that will turn out well. So might as well have a little fun, right?

"Ser /Quorker?/ You can bloody well do better than THAT, can't you?" He scoffs at Sylas, his hackles raised and his tone scandalized.

"I'll give you two choices." Maera says to Sylas, "You turn around, get back on your horse, ride back to your camp, and stay there. Or I'll beat you black and blue. I hear it's rather embarrassing to have your arse handed to you by a woman, so perhaps you ought to take the former option?" She smiles widely, the expression somewhat feral. "The truth is you like running your mouth, but you can't back it up. You're just some /short/ pathetic little man. Even your own kind don't want you."

"Nay, I thought it suited your tone admirably, my lord of Blackwood," Sylas smirks back with a light rearrangement of his shoulders. "At any rate, since it would seem that our noble commander has issued me with an order - even if it is as rambling and ill-judged as ever they have been so far - I shall take my leave. Sleep with care. Elsewise those fearful wildlings might well steal your ladyship and skin-change your lordship." He snorts broadly and clambers - not all that fluidly - back upon the saddle, before turning into the deepening night without further waste of words.

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