Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH


Cat and Mouse?
IC Date: Day 9 of Month 7, 162 AC.
RL Date: March 17, 2011.
Participants: Ethos Mertyns, Farin Prester, and Janden Melcolm.
Locations: Red Keep: Eastern Outer Yard.

Summary: Ser Janden Melcom catches up with Ser Farin Prester and confronts him concerning Farin's part in keeping Janden away from the Keep, allegedly so that he can woo Janden's betrothed away. The discussion, while short, leads to blows anyway, where Janden wastes no time in smashing Farin around twice, as Ser Ethos Mertyns watches from the stands. Upon signal, the foresters enter, and Ser Janden is held to a Kingswood Company style trial for his insubordination, presided over by the man he just effortlessly dispatched, as Farin happens to be Acting Warden of the Kingswood while Ser Luthor is on Honeymoon. A hefty fine is imposed, and Ser Janden's resignation is accepted, before all present are dismissed.

It is…not quite dusk just yet, though the majority of the day has flown by in haste. The yards are beginning to empty of knights and squires, as the smell of overworked muscles begins conquer the willpower of those still left standing. Among them is Urron Greyjoy, the 16 year old “ward” of House Prester, from whom he is receiving quite the workout. Farin does not participate himself; not today, though he is dressed for it. He watches, and gives instruction where necessary.

In the stands, Ethos Mertyns is languidly stretched with a half-asleep quality to him. His squire is somewhere practicing, but the knight that got his ass handed to him so soundly the other day is recovering.

Janden has cleaned up since his return from the forest. The patchy beard that he arrived back with has been removed, hair cut, clothes replaced. He looks more human than forest hermit, once more. He arrives on the quiet practice field well equipped as well, but it’s clear he has yet to do any sparring this day.

The sun is low enough in the sky that he’s simply a shadow when he first arrives at the edge of the grounds. He slowly approaches, watching Farin give the occasional instruction. The slow steps roll into a natural stride and he closes the distance.

“You’re an honourless, cowardly and vile piece of shit, Farin Prester.” He doesn’t pause for any interruption. “That’s what I couldn’t understand. As I rode back to the Keep this last week - how can you fucking well live with yourself. How do you look in the mirror each morning. You stare at you’re ugly reflection and say ‘I’m a proud and powerful knight. I can steal a woman promised to another. Just send him away for months at a time and go behind her back to arrange it. Ha ha.’” The Melcom knight spits toward his feet. “Why could you not just face me, you bastard?”

Ethos sits up, brows lifting. Well, this is interesting. The knight crosses his arms and begins to lean forward to rest his elbows on his knees, but winces in pain (bruised ribs after his day of reckless sparring) and sits back again. What luck to be in the right place at the right time to see this showdown between Prestor and Melcolm.

The lordling knight waits until the speech is finished, and only then does he turn to face the man speaking to him in such a manner. His face is a mask of near stoicism, touched here an there with spots of boredom. When he does speak, his voice is slightly hoarse, as though he’s been doing a great deal of yelling recently. “I would tell you, but I am sadly lacking in sympathy for speeches that deserve no recognition,” he drolls. “Though, it was damn decent of you to come all the way to me. I have so little need to hunt you down, now.” He gives a sharp whistle, and one of his men-at-arms disappears from the stands and makes his way out of the keep. Farin continues, tsking. “Insubordination cannot be taken lightly, as we are both aware. It is such a pity, I hear you did excellent work for me.” This last is added with the first touch of emotion: amusement. Then, he smirks. “Though that is not what I tell myself to my reflection.”

“Seriously?” He watches the man come around the stands. “You’re going to hide behind others again? Perhaps you’re not embarrassed by you’re cowardice, but have no doubt that everyone else is. You must be uncomfortable to be around.” Janden lays his hand on the hilt of his blade. “Get up, Farin. Show that you have some self respect.”

“/Ser/ Farin,” the lordling corrects, amused and annoyed at once. “Though it is not hiding behind others to bring in a criminal. Unless you call all of our Kings cowards? Shall I knock your charge up to treason as well?” he adds, with a chuckle to his own cleverness. He rises, unclasping his tourney mace from his belt, and tapping it idly against his leg. “Urron!” he bellows suddenly, turning his head to face the little kraken. He looks up and is instantly bashed in the side of the head by the other squire, who promptly backs down sheepishly. “A shield, boy!” he yells, and soon enough Urron is recovering and hobbling off to procure one. “Fear not, ser. The foresters that are coming are merely here to witness the trial. I will gladly bring you in myself, should you seek a greater satisfaction.”

“You speak of your little punishment like you just discovered your cock, Farin. Don’t think I’m unaware of what I’ve done. You can go back to playing with it after we’re done here.” Janden takes a few steps back and settles on the field proper. He tugs at the hilt of his blade and brings it free. He glances around and another nameless squire arrives with a shield - someone was anticipating the need.

“And you speak of your impending conviction like a man who has little value for life. Or has the wall always endeared you so?” Farin gripes back, saving the bigger insults for another time. He too steps out and into the field proper, his shield raised and mace swinging idly at one side, ready to be thrown. “Do you want to know why I did it, Melcolm? You are not worthy of her. You never were.”

Ethos slowly scratches at the stubble on his jaw, a hint of confusion on his face, but mostly the man is frowning. His pale eyes are riveted on the confrontation between the pair.

“Her knight in shining armour, coming to her rescue, no doubt.” The red haired knight brings his sword up to ready, the shield falling into place. “You may have the truth of it, Farin. I’m not worthy of her. I don’t think that was any great secret.” Janden shakes his head just slightly - “But I can’t forgive how you went about it. And I wonder if she ever will.” With that he engages. Most of Janden’s ability comes in his speed and reach and he attempts to employ them both with his first blow.

Janden attacks Farin with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!
Farin is driven from the saddle!

A mace is a terrible weapon to bring when the other man has a cutting tool, and no plate armor. As such, Farin’s response is slowed, and while he brings his shield up in time, there is no force behind it to defend with. Janden’s first assualt is so outrageously powerful that the shield, a random hunk of wood as it was, is completely torn asunder, throwing the lordling holding it back a few paces, and square on his ass. And then his back. The remaining Prester man at arms draws his blade, and joins his master’s side, lest Janden try anything tricky. He is even joined by Urron, who, for the first time, seems actively concerned for his much grumbled about foster father.

“Fuck me!” Ethos exclaims, forgetting that he’s trying to maintain a low profile. The knight stands and slowly makes his way down the stands, running his hand through his hair while the other rests loosely on the haft of his sword. “I mean… fuck.” It’s a ‘fuck’ of admiration, though. That much is clear.

“Get up, Farin.” Janden looks between the men at arms and the squire. “Leave him alone for a bloody moment. He’s a fucking knight, not an old woman. He can fight without hand holding.” He brings his shield and sword ready again. “Take a swing at me. Show me what you should have done six months ago instead of sending me away and trying to find your way around a woman.”

As soon as it is clear that Janden does not intend to hit Farin while he’s down, the man at arms backs away. Urron reaches down with his offhand to help Farin up, but the boy is shoved aside. “/My/ shield, damn you!” Farin chokes out, already hoarse as it is. Urron runs faster this time, and by the time Farin picks himself up and dusts himself off, Urron is back with the Preser Lording’s own arms, complete with his morningstar. Because hey, Janden’s not fighting with a blunt sword. “Have it your way then, Melcolm,” Farin spits, bracing himself, and then charging with his shield out first.

Farin attacks Janden with his mass weapon…
...and sees his blow go astray!

The blow is brushed away with an easy step and a push with his shield. “I said hit me, Farin! Show me you can protect her. Prove to me that you deserve her.” Two quick steps forward and an overhand blow toward the other knight.

Janden attacks Farin with his sword…
...and strikes him with a hard blow!

Ethos lets out a low-pitched whistle, a hint of a smirk on his face now as Janden lays into Farin again.

“I have nothing to prove to the likes of…!-” Farin begins, until he barely dodges well enough for the sharp end of the sword not to bite through his leather. The force is still stunning, and Farin has to grunt to keep himself from wincing. Words only slow him down, it seems, so he remains silent after that, aiming a blow for Janden’s hip.

Farin attacks Janden with his mass weapon…
...and misses by a narrow margin!

Janden seems to anticipate exactly where the star is going to land and turns and steps around it, letting the heavy weapon whistle by without any contact. “Prove it to her, then. Erase some doubts from her mind. Don’t make her spend each day doubting herself. Doubting you.” The words don’t seem to distract him. When he turns back the sword comes with him toward Farin’s side.

Janden attacks Farin with his sword…
...and strikes him with a shattering blow!
Farin is driven from the saddle!

A thin line of blood sprays the dirt nearby, as chain and leather crunch and yeild to the oncoming attack. Fortunately for Farin it was a side blow, severing nothing critical, nor piercing anything vital. It does, however, have the intended effect of pain and suffering, and in another moment, Farin is writhing on the ground, his shield abandoned, clutching his side with his shield arm, biting down so as not to cry out. Anything not to cry out. Again the retainers come forward, and the man at arms is ready with a cloth bandage for the wound.

Ethos snorts as Janden cuts Farin down a second time, though there is a flash of concern for his friend when he sees the blood seeping from the wound. Now Mertyns begins to slowly walk forward, “Coz… ” He says, perhaps trying to intervene before Janden murders Farin.

“That’s what I thought.” Janden returns his sword to its sheath, watching the man writhe. “Make her happy, Farin. If you hurt her, the next time I don’t intend to stop. Understand?” He looks over to Ethos and nods to his friend. “Good afternoon, Ethos. I won’t kill him. It would upset her.” Looking back to Farin - “Let’s get this done with.”

Deep, seething hatred. That’s what awaits Janden in the eyes of Farin Prester, as he watches the Melcolm knight stand over him, with his retainer bandaging him to one side, and Urron, ever the blockhead, standing over him with his tourney blunted axe at the ready. Time passes, with the only communication being that look of malice. Not long thereafter, the nearest troupe of foresters arrives, flanked by a pair of goldcloaks…likely just city watch who were concerned about why a unit of foresters is marching on the Red Keep.

Many of them are officers that Janden knew, and even gave orders to when he himself was Acting Warden. There are a few who look smug at Janden’s victory, a few who are aghast, and a few who look pensive, awaiting further orders. But for the most part, everyone knows what to do…they set up a mild perimeter, and the rest of the yard clears out. Ethos is allowed to stay.

After everyone takes their positions, Farin grits his teeth and takes the presiding post, not unlike a reeve. Janden is flanked by foresters, and an officer between the two noble knights, facing Janden. Farin’s vocie cuts out above the silence: “Ser Janden Melcolm. You stand accused of insubordination and desertion. What say you?”

Mertyns seems content. The gods know that Janden has always had more patience, temperence, and self-control than Ethos ever will. As the foresters file in, the knight eyes them and snorts again, rolling his eyes a bit, but he backs out of the way, shouldering past one of the men (it’s not as if he doesn’t know a few) and drops down to sit again on the lowest shelf of bleachers.

“I left my post. I won’t deny that.” Janden answers easily, seeming comfortable with most of the men who make up the yard. None are strangers. He was running the Kingswood in Sarmion’s stead not all that long ago. “It was confirmed to me by several sources - some who are present - that the tour that my rolling patrol was on was not strategic nor necessary. Letters were denied to me. Letters that I passed back were intercepted and stored. The orders for that patrol were issued only to keep me at a distance.” He looks slowly from face to face and back to Farin. “I would plead that my actions are in the best interest of the King. Those resources can now be released to patrol areas of the wood that truly need the men, and this farce can end.”

“What you are not aware of, or are feigning ignorance to, is the current threat to King’s Landing by the various bandit factions of the Kingswood that formed in the Starvling’s wake. One, we were able to crush. Bors Breakhelm’s, however, continues to marshal his outlaws daily, and there is no corner of the wood that we can afford not to be present in,” Farin declares, with practiced, efficient oratory skill. “That the wood…the /whole/ wood, even your remote outpost, is defended…/that/ is the interest of the King. Or would you like to see a copy of the writ?” he asks, amiably enough, then looking out amongst his officers, many of whom give a nod to Farin. “The matter of your letters is not one that can be proved in either direction. Your unit’s movements may have simply made you difficult to find, for all anyone can attest to. There will be no consideration for claims of this nature,” he continues. “As for having witnesses to conjecture, you may march anyone here forward to declare their opinion that your tour was not strategic. It will remain opinion. Ser Luthor, however, could provide letters attaining to Ser Janden Melcolm’s value in the Wood, and the necessity of his personal oversight of many advances. Shall we raid his home while away and take the evidence to decry conjecture?” This question is asked at large.

“I didn’t deny the charges, Farin. Let’s be done with this.” Janden has little else to offer. Obviously Farin would have his bases covered.

“Very well,” the lorling continues, sated that at the very least, no officer stepped forward to defend Janden. Bases covered, indeed. “I have heard it said that you intend to resign your post. Is this the case?”

“It is.”

“Then there will be…a fine imposed. Thirty dragons, to cover the expenses of training a new officer, employing a replacement in the ranks, and to outfit the unit that was abandoned. Your final pay will be consumed to this end. Your resignation is hereby accepted. You are not exiled from the wood, but should you enter, you must do so under watch of the foresters, lest you be caught and your knowledge used against us,” Farin commands. Then, “Free him. You are all dismissed.”

Janden listens to his sentence with a clear expression, nodding when it is pronounced. “Very well. You should get that properly tended to.” The tall knight gesture toward where the sword bit through Farin’s armour. That said, he turns and takes his leave, having little more to offer to the knight who has managed to erase the last three years of his life with such little effort.

Ethos slowly stands again, watching Janden as the man walks away. Then the knight of Mistwood looks back at Farin. “You’re a bigger dick than I am.” He states to Prestor, scorn in his voice. Then Mertyns moves to follow Melcolm, picking up the pace to catch up.

“You forgot ‘better’,” Farin shoots back at Ethos, before stepping away slowly, his left side dragging a little. Urron flanks him away, chuckling quietly to himself. They stop as they near Janden, then, watching him depart, say nothing, and head on inside wordlessly.