(120-07-21) Red Headed Stranger
Red Headed Stranger
Summary: Ser Brynt discovers Eonn sleeping in an alley, and offers advice. Later they meet again and share a suspicious sausage.
Date: 21 and 22/07/2013
Related: None

Hightower Street

A large residential street. The cobblestones are quite new and fresh here, and there is a pleasant, perfumed smell mingling with the salt air. The roomy manses of the rich and famous sit cheek by jowl with the merchant tradesmens' houses, the ship-insurers' houses, and the houses of some of the most prestigious shipwrights Oldtown offers.

Banners hang down from poles in the center of the street, with the Hightower of Oldtown fluttering proudly upon them in the breeze. There is a pleasant view of the river from here, and of the Hightower in the far South. One can also see the gateway to the prestigious Hightower Square, ringed as always by Oldtown's City Watch.
Quill And Tankard <QT>
Hightower Square <HS>
Upriver <UP>

Eonn is down the alley beside that tavern, not far off the street. He's asleep on the steps to one of the side-doors there. Wise, really, since the self-interest in not having muck all over one's own doorstep will stop the occupants from throwing things down on him, and the self-interest inspired by an armoured man with a sword is probably enough to make them step around him. He's not really blocking the door. Not that he'd likely be tolerated if he didn't look dangerous. There's a cat lying on top of him, in the curve between his ribs and hip.

Brynt departs the the Quill and Tankard, heading back to one of the stables as he usually does before turning in. He only makes a half dozen steps before he's stopped by an old man who directs him to the slumbering man down the alleyway. Being the ever-dutiful young knight that he is, Brynt walks down the alley. A light nudge of Eonn's boot is accompanied with a, "Hey you."

Eonn wears cheap, soft-soled boots, not the sort knights usually wear. Woodsman's boots, maybe. He's built like a stag or a deerhound, all legs. But those creatures rise and lie down awkwardly, while this man sits up smooth as a cat. He's got a dagger in his hand, but he doesn't seem as if he's likely to use it. It's not raised, and he doesn't seem the least alarmed, just looks up at Brynt. The real cat jumps down to the step and hisses at the hedge knight.

"Be at ease," Brynt says while making a calming gesture with his sword hand. "I am neither a thief nor with the city watch." Though his voice and hand are at ease, the knight's eyes do flit here and there, searching the area around him with the cat ignored for now.

Eonn is, evidently, left handed. Or at least, he holds, and puts the dagger away, with that hand. "Would it matter if you were?" he asks, smiling only faintly and looking up at Brynt.

"I suppose that would depend if you own the stoop you were slumbering in," Brynt replies. He takes a good look at Eonn and asks, "Did you have a rough night at the Quill?"

"No," says the man, starting to stand and stretch. He doesn't look hung over. His eyes are clear, vivid blue, rather unkindly but perfectly calm.

Brynt knits his brows a moment, and hesitates; stopping his words before they leave his mouth. "I see. I am Ser Brynt. Perhaps I may be able to see you safely to your lodging…?" There's a pause and inflection at the end.

Eonn's oddly wise smile widens a bit and he says, "Ser, that would be impossible." He rolls his shoulders under his spaulders, which, though battered, are well-kept enough that they accommodate the gesture smoothly. "I am. Called Eonn Rill."

"Yes, I thought as much," Brynt remarks, but without any tone of arrogance. "There are better places to take lodging at than alleyways here in Oldtown that cost nearly the same." He glances over to the feline briefly. "I am not familiar with the family Rill."

"Nearly?" says the man, sounding amused. He then nods, "That is no surprise, Ser, there is no House nor lands nor title to go along with the name of Rill. It's just something to call me."

Brynt nods once. "An hour of chores is enough to pay for a dry pile of hay. A fair enough price to avoid the ire of the watch," he suggests. "Are you a resident of Oldtown, Eonn Rill, or are you recently arrive, such as myself?"

"Such as yourself. I have been here, hmm, two nights," says the man. "You are serious, that the watch cares where I sleep?"

Brynt spreads is arms widely, as if trying to encompass all that is Oldtown. "Surely you have noticed the distinct lack of squalor here in this fair city? It has been my experience that prosperity alone seldom pays for such appearances." His arms lower and he casually rests his hands on his pommels, causing his sword belt to sag slightly.

Eonn laughs at that, softly, but with genuine humour. "More's the pity," he says.

Brynt offers a polite smile, but does not share a laugh. "If I may be so bold, what has brought you to Oldtown?" he asks.

"To find work," says the man. "Though not the sort that buys rights to lie down in a pile of hay." He gestures at himself, a minimal movement, again left-handed. "And yourself, ser, if I may ask?"

"The same," Brynt replies. He gives Eonn another look from head to toe and remarks, "In the event that you managed to miss the news, all the major houses are here, along with many of their vassals. It is quite the fortunate time and place to find work, regardless of one's trade."

Eonn nods. "So I have heard, yes," he says. "And have you had success, ser?" He looks around, saying, "I'd buy you a drink for the questions, but…" and manages to catch the eye of that old man at the same time. The cat starts twining around his feet, purring.

"Not as much as I would have hoped," Brynt replies and takes to rising up and down on his toes a few times. "I usually rely on a tourney to showcase my skills, but since none are set to be arranged soon, it has been slightly more difficult than I would prefer. Though I do not doubt that with all the houses here, it will not be long before someone will require my skills."

Eonn ignores the cat. He's still. He says, "I am sure I will find no welcome at tourneys, even should I wish to showcase anything. There was a watchman who said he'd need men, in a little time, to hunt for brigands on the road. I had hoped you might have already found yourself some house to serve, one who might like a little, mm, more pragmatic assistance."

"Brigands, you say?" Brynt repeats. He rubs his jaw and chin thoughtfully at this, "Perhaps that might be something I shall look into, myself." He inhales loudly through his nose and offers in return, "There is a Dornish princess here. Quite a fine specimen of womanhood and impossible to miss. She expressed some interest in my sword arm. Perhaps you would pique her interest as well." He clears his throat slightly, "Though you would be best served cleaning up as best you can before you are introduced to her."

Eonn smiles at that. "I think I've set eyes on her, briefly," he says. "Cleaning up, well, that is another problem. Keeping in mind the piles of hay, or lack thereof. I prefer to eat." He doesn't seem to lament the situation at all, just find it slyly amusing for whatever reason. "Maybe I'd best go upriver and jump in."

"I have had worse baths," Brynt remarks with a nod. He nods towards the mouth of the alleyway. "I am afraid I must see to my mount. However, should you require a place to sleep, you can speak with the stable owner I have my horse boarded at. If it will do for a knight, it should do for you." The hedge knight offers a formal bow, "A pleasure to have made your acquaintance, Eonn Rill."

Eonn still smiles his faint smile. "Likewise, Ser." A pause, one that's a little too long for normal conversation, and he adds, "Thank you."

…A Day Later…

It's late in the evening, which means Ser Brynt can be found at the stall of his stallion whistling a popular drinking song. He's grooming the warhorse with a well-used brush, so polished with age that seems to glow in the soft lamp light. Even though he's seeing to the mount, he is still dressed in his armor and surcoat.

There's a new horse here. More destrier than dray-horse, but she does look to bear some blood of the latter. Still, not a bad mount by any means, for a hedge knight or a poorer house. The animal is a grey, gone silver-white with age, but she looks well taken care of and isn't yet elderly.

Brynt is generally not one to pry, but when he leaves the stall to fetch a pail of water, he gives the new horse a once over. On the way back, he stops for a moment and sets the water down. "Well hello there, girl. You are a new arrival," he says in a soothing tone.

The big white mare snorts in a not unfriendly way. There's an orange cat lying in her manger.

"There is a good girl," Brynt continues and rests his arms against the top of the stall door. "I see you have a friend to keep you company. Don't let her give you fleas." He reaches down, grabbing his pail to resume the trek back to his horse's stall a few over.

The man who says he's called Eonn Rill is there, by the wall. He wasn't a minute before, and unless you've much talent at noticing the arrival of near-silent steps in a stable of stomping, chomping, whickering horses, his presence is likely to seem a sudden appearance, the sort of thing where he wasn't there and then is when you turn around again. He's smiling, just faintly and much the same as the other night, something between wise and merely sly.

The sudden appearance of Eonn does catch Brynt off-guard, but he doesn't startle enough to drop his pail or reflexively grab for his sword. "Ah, Eonn Rill. I did not see you there," he says as he straightens his posture. "Good evening to you."

Eonn nods at that. "And good evening to you, Ser," he says, quietly. "How did you fare this day?" He steps over to the white mare and strokes the length of her nose. The cat jumps from the horse's back to the stall-wall to wave its tail and purr at Eonn. It's not the same cat as last night.

"Well enough, thank you" Brynt answers. He ponders something silently, but it is clear by his expression that the gears are turning in his head. "You own a horse?" he asks with a slightly raised voice as he takes the water to his own mount.

"I do," says Eonn. "This horse. I had kept her in one of the little villages up the river, but if I must sleep in a stable in the city, she may as well do the same." He turns away from the animal to look at Brynt, curiously now. "Is it funny of me?"

"Funny?" Brynt repeats as he dumps the water in the stall's trough. He rubs his horse's neck and gives him a couple of gentle pats before leaving the stall to hang the common pail on its nail. "What part do you mean?"

"Funny peculiar," says Eonn. "The owning of a horse. By myself, that is." He leans against the stall door near his big mare's head, and the cat rubs itself against him.

"No offense is intended, Eonn Rill, but you did not seem to be the sort that would own one," Brynt answers. He tries to not little that bit of awkward conversation linger by changing the subject. "You seem to have a way with cats."

Eonn nods. "Call it a lucky stroke that I do," he says. "For you are right about that." Then he smiles again, more openly and more friendly. "These cats, they come to me. It's a funny thing. I can't say why. So did you eat, Ser Brynt?"

Brynt lightly claps his hands together, beating away any loose debris before doing the same to his surcoat. A quick glance is given to the feline, showing only tepid interest in the beast. "Not as much as I would like, but yes, I have. My horse, on the other hand, lives better than I do," he says with a wide grin.

Eonn nods. "Horses cost more than men," he says. "So that is not at all surprising. Come and join me. I've a wineskin, cheese and bread, and even a sausage that I am assured is absolutely not at all a smoked goat's cock." He scratches his horses behind the ears. "I even believe them; it's too small."

Brynt tries to conceal his laughter at the crude joke with a few ill timed coughs. Once 'composed' he nods his head once and accepts the offer, "If it is no imposition. Though, I am afraid I have nothing here to share, save my company."

Eonn smiles, watching the other man's face as Brynt coughs. He says, "Your company will be enough, then." He steps away from his horse and heads toward steps to the hayloft, where the floor is cleaner for the scattering of fresh hay that falls every time somebody forks hay from the piles, and lack of horses walking through. He has got these things, and he removes the wineskin f rom his belt as he walks and offers it to Brynt.

The wineskin is taken and is handled carefully as Brynt does not wish to waste a drop to carelessness. He makes himself comfortable by resting against one of the thick beams before raising the wineskin in a silent toast. Not wishing to be greedy, he only pours himself a modest sip from the skin and hands the recapped end back to his host.

Eonn laughs, pleasantly. "Don't be shy of it," he says. "There's more out there somewhere. And I'll find more ways to buy it." He has a swallow himself before handing it back, though. He, however, doesn't re-cap it. And then he sits, leaning against the other side of the heavy great beam. He does have bread and cheese and a sausage, all in a thin oilcloth bag. He flips the lower edge of his boiled leather surcoat over, and uses that over his steel armoured kneecap as a cutting board. By the look of the leather on that spot he's done this before, carefully enough to leave damage that's not much more than scratches.

"Be that as it may, I do not wish to take too much advantage of your hospitality," Brynt replies sincerely. "I know how hard supplies can be to come by and there is not much opportunity to forage inside city walls." Though that doesn't stop the knight from taking another modest swig from the proffered wineskin. "I see you have some experience in setting a table out in the field. Do you do this often?" he asks.

"Almost always," says Eonn Rill. "I don't see a table very often." Even so, the slices of cheese and sausage he produces are even and thin, neat as at a lord's hall, and he spreads out the oilskin bag such that its outer surface is the one touching the dirt floor, and sets the slices on the presumably cleaner inside. "It's not taking advantage to accept what I have. Not by my reckoning, anyway. It's ill-luck to be ungenerous with such supplies, food in particular. Only very wealthy people can afford to risk it. I won't, not if I can possibly help it."

Brynt watches silently for a while, only nodding solemnly at the mention of ill luck. Finally, when the table appears to have been set, does he speak, "Then I shall consider this a blessing from the Mother." He takes another modest sip and passes the skin back to Eonn. "You are a curious sort, but I mean that not in a bad way."

"I should hope not," says Eonn. "You're not so usual to me, either. I have not before found myself in the company of knights, much. But I'm probably curious to everyone." A little smile, again his knowing-sly one. "More or less." He eats, unhurriedly, cheese and sausage on the fresh bed. None of it's bad. It's not even the most dubious sausage the city has to offer.

Brynt matches Eonn's pace, perhaps a bit slower. "I suppose you would not have met many knights unless you were at court. Even then we are usually meant to be seen and not heard." He shrugs a bit, "Not that I have any complaints about such an arrangement. The politics and games of court are far too risky to play unless you are a noble."

Eonn passes the wineskin back. His own swigs are not modest. "I've never been at court. Seems an unlikely place for me. So you are a knight, but not a noble?" The cat comes over and he flicks one the hard ends of the sausage to it, a scrap that's mostly sausage-skin and twine.

"No, not a noble," Brynt answers with a shake of his head. "Not that I know of at least," he adds with a bit of a grin. "Just a regular man like everyone else." He tears a piece of bread, mating it with a slice of cheese and finishes it down with another modest swig of wine. "Truth be told, I have only been to court once and it was not a grand affair that I imagine the King's court would be like."

Eonn laughs. "That doesn't surprise me. Kings are probably not so different from the rest of us, underneath it all. And one has to be a bit of a fool not to see underneath a lot of things." He takes his own slice of cheese, adds, "But a knight isn't a regular man; I expect it's not quite proper for you to do just any job with your old sword-arm. Mine's freer. Tell me what happened at the court, though?"

Brynt doesn't laugh, but rather takes on a rather serious expression. "Indeed, our prayers are all equal in the eyes of the Seven, in some measure or another. How could it be otherwise, lest every noble would be invincible in battle or his skin turn away the blade of a small folk?" He passes back the skin, and raises a hand to politely decline another round of wine. "The vows we take and the ideals we are to uphold should prevent us from performing any job with our sword-arm. It does not of course, especially among us hedge knights, but I try to behave in the same manner a landed knight or a kingsguard would." He takes a deep breath and continues, "You wish to know about court? It was more of a show than anything, with a gallery of privileged ladies gossiping and wealthy men seeking to increase their fortunes by trading favors with the lord." He shrugs and adds, "The best part was the ladies, though. All dressed as beautifully as they could manage, with bosoms pushed up in a pleasing display."

Eonn smiles. "Ah, that part might be fun. But somehow, I expect not quite so fun as the Dornish princess." He swallows more wine, and though he made no mention of Brynt's waving it off, he doesn't offer the skin back this time. "I've not taken those vows," he says, "But just so. Not /any/ job. Was this court here? Who's court?"

"No, the court was not here in the Reach," Brynt replies. He takes a bit of sausage, chewing on it a bit to bide some time. "I think I would prefer to keep the location and family to myself for now. Perhaps another time." He picks up another piece of bread and gestures with it towards Eonn. "And what of you?"

"What of me?" asks Eonn. "I am no one, from the Rills. As you probably have guessed." He swallows more wine.

"Exactly," Brynt replies. "Tell me something of your travels. I do not wish to guess at it anymore." With a gesture towards the horses, he suggests, "If nothing comes to mind, then tell me of this lucky stroke that brought you to own a horse."

Eonn nods, drinks again. "There is not a lot to find in the Rills or along the Stony Shore. So I came out. I am tall, and my father was not a man well loved, I knew enough how to fight. Or at least, enough to make a pretty good start at it." He sighs a bit. "I've not had that horse long. She belonged to some little landed knight of the Westerlands. Robbers took him alone and stole that horse; his sons hired me to find them. I did. And the horse. But the old man died before I finished the job. They gave her to me after, the sons. They said she is old, but she's a better horse than I could buy, and doesn't run as if she's so very old. That horse is called 'Bottle of Smoke,' they said, and once was iron grey."

Brynt listens intently at the story, eating another bit of sausage while he does. "I would ask about the robbers, but I think I would prefer not to know of their fate," he says. "She seems a decent stock. Not one I would take into battle, but calm enough for long rides." He looks over at his own horse for a moment. "Thank you for your hospitality, Eonn Rill. May it soon be returned to you in kind."

Eonn nods. "Thank you," he says, quietly. "I would just as soon not speak of it." His smile is a bit tired and bleak at that. "And I'll take her into battle, or anywhere. I don't have another." That's said far more good humouredly. He continues to work at the wineskin, and picks up the last bit of the sausage to gnaw on.

"I shall take my leave. Dawn will be coming soon," Brynt says. "Sleep well, Eonn Rill." Once farewells are exchanged, the hedge knight will make his way to the thick pile of straw in his horse's stall that is his bed.

Eonn nods, "And you, Ser," replies the redheaded man. He continues drinking, lazily, and makes no move to rise. Later he'll be found in his own horse's stall, bedded down in a similar pile of straw, and partly covered in cats.

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