Fat white clouds in the sky provide some relief from the blaze of the sun, but even so, the gold cloaks guarding the towering bronze gates of the Red Keep prefer to keep to the shade of the tower house. So it’s curious, when one comes riding out looking glum—the wool cloak and the blackened mail does him no favors in this heat. And then behind him, a Dornishman, unmistakeable by his dark looks and his flowing robes, with another watchman behind.
“Bloody Dornish,” mutters the head guardsman to one of the men grinning at him at the gate, well within hearing of the Dornish knight, yet the man acts as if he doesn’t hear it. Instead, the young man says, “I thought we’d ride to Visenya’s Sept first, before finding our way to the Street of Steel.” The watchman gives a grunt of acknowledgment, and a surly look.
As the Dornishman is preparing to leave the keep with his escort, curiously a rather ragtag pair seems to be approaching the keep. Oddly in this arrangement, one of them seem sto be putting up a fair amount of fight going there, a rather dirty commoner most apparently from Flea Bottom.
In contrast to him is a larger rather unkempt man who is hooded and cloaked, and to all appearences is dragging the other towards the fortress. Growing tired of his company’s resistance, the hooded figure stops, and with seemingly little effort lifts the other man off the ground by his throat. “You’ve given me no end of trouble since we first met, and quite frankly my patience is beginning to wear thin. We are going to the keep whether you wish to or not. If I were you I wouldn’t be testing my patience at the moment.”
The three horsemen begin moving their way from the gate, the Dornish knight in his robes of blue and orange standing out between them. They’re not a talkative group, and it’s clear both of the city watchmen would rather be ... oh, most anywhere else. So when they fasten their sights on the strange antics of the pair, it’s no surprise if the senior of the two thinks it’s his chance to get out of such a duty. “What’s this?” he says out loud, frowning, and then he turns back to look at his companion riding behind the knight. “Let’s have a look,” he tells him, chin pointing to the two men. The other man’s all too eager to follow him.
And the Dornishman? “But—”
“You’ll have your prayers later, _ser_. We’re here to keep the king’s peace, after all,” the sergeant says, smiling a fatuous smile, before putting spurs to his horse and riding on. “What goes on there? Stop, in the name of the king!” he calls ahead of him, and there’s a club in his hand as he says it.
Another party of riders draws up at the gates, this one very prettily arrayed in a variety of colors. Among them in a shade of pale green is Reyna Saltcliffe, riding a blood bay sandsteed and frowning. “Here, what’s all this?” she calls to the nearest goldcloak, clearly expecting him to answer her.
The hooded figure slowly lowers his captive to the ground, and releases his grip on the man’s throat, instead grabbing him by his shirt. He turns his gaze to the watchmen, and looks at the from under his hood. “Nothing you need to concern yourselves with here.”
Sensing his captor is distracted, the man tries to make a break for it only to have the grip on his shirt tightened. The hooded man sounds more than a touch annoyed as he turns back to his captive. “Excuse me for a moment.” With that he delivers a punishing blow with his fist to the man’s back, and drops him down to his knees.
He hears Reyna’s question and looks towards her. “Lady Reyna, its been some time hasn’t it? To answer your trouble, I’ve been hunting down this bastard for the past several months, and now that i’ve found him, he’s been….less than compliant.”
“I’ll be the judge of that, you,” says the head watchman, who dismounts. “Any more of that and I’ll have you in the black cells, waiting to the Lord Inquisitor’s questioning.” He hands the reins to the other men, who stays on his horse, and glances uneasily to his side where the Dornish knight sits. That knight, Ser Aidan, frowns at the whole scene. “Lady Reyna,” the Dornishman says, with a brief, stiff bow from the saddle as the hooded man speaks. His frown deepens, and he peers more closely.
“Who are you?” he asks the man suddenly, earning a glare from the sergeant. “You sound more educated than most commoners.”
“You heard _ser_,” the seargent says. “Who are you, and what’s this business? And _don’t_ you dare hit that man again, or you’ll have a taste of my club.”
“Ser Raynard, really, here are the city watch to deal with this fellow,” Reyna says, wincing when the knight hits the man. “We don’t need to beat him at the King’s own gates.” Then she nudges her mount nearer to Aidan. “That is Ser Raynard… erm…” She frowns, searching her memory for a surname. “Locke! Ser Raynard Locke.”
Raynard nods his head. “Nice to see I haven’t been forgotten in my absence.” His gaze turns to the weezing man at his feet. “Normally milady, I’d be incline to agree with you, but this one’s really pushed my patience to its limits.”
Rolling his head Raynard pulled to hood from his head, revealing a long tangled mess of hair, and a very poorly kept beard. He certainly was who he said he was, though the mess of hair did a fair job dsiguising his features on its own.
Scowling, the sergeant says dubiously, “Are you sure, m’lady?” he asks Reyna, looking away from Raynard after he reveals his unkempt appearance. “Might be a fool of a ruffian putting on airs…” But with his second look at the knight, he seems to get the sinking feeling that it’s probably true. A sigh escapes him, and he mutters an oath under his breath.
“Ser Raynard, yes,” says Ser Aidan, as baffled by the matter as the gold cloak. “From the North. Why would—were you injured, ser? Accosted? And this man…” He starts to point towards the man at Raynard’s feet.
The sergeant says, “Yes, what’s this about, ser? Even if you’re a knight, it’s no place of yours to abuse the king’s subjects. Even the lowest, and he looks like one of those.” He nudges the man with his foot. “Up on your feet, you.”
“Just… give him to the watch,” Reyna says, sniffing and waving a dismissive hand. “It’s their -job- to get the rabble off the streets. And then we can get into the Keep.”
She nods at the watchman ruefully. “It is Ser Raynard Locke,” she says with a shrug. “I know him well enough to see through the grime. Bit disgraceful of you, Ser Raynard,” she adds, sniffing again and giving him a pointed look.
Raynard helps the ruffian up onto his feet, but does not relax his grip. “Can’t let this one go. His crime isn’t something minor, and regrettably exposing it at the moment might do more harm then good.” He looks at reyna with a pained look in his eyes. “Too dangerous not to have him in custody, but I’m not certain i can trust the city watch with him either. Caught between The Wall and the Fangs.”
“You’ve got no choice of that, ser or no,” says the sergeant. “If you’re accusing him of a crime, it’s for us to take him in.” He seems quite adamant, and when he nods his head to his companion, the man dismounts too. Younger and less sure, the other gold cloak pleads, “Ser, just hand him over to us and we’ll be glad to take him to the gaols. Ain’t like we’re to make off with him, is it?”
Aidan nods slowly, at what Reyna says, and what the gold cloaks say as well. “Ser Raynard,” says the Dornishman, “think of your duties as a sworn and anointed knight. You have brought this man to face justice, but the law belongs to the king. You must give him over.” A long pause, and then he adds, “I’ll stand witness, that you brought him to the Keep of your own will, and that he was alive and well when you gave him to the Watch.”
“The city watch will take him to the cells in the Keep,” Reyna says coolly to Raynard, looking most displeased. “Do you think my husband’s own men would do otherwise, even when he is not here?” She looks at the goldcloaks and smiles. “There, you see? They will take care of him. They are the King’s justice, after all.”
She looks at Aidan then and nods. “And I. He is alive and well and unharmed. Give him into their custody and I will be sure that the Hand knows you were responsible for his apprehension.”
Raynard shakes his head. “Its a den of snakes here Reyna, and this man’s crime goes beyond what he himself did. Other’s higher up are involved. If I leave him with someone I can’t be certain isn’t in their reach, he may very well end up dead, then everything I’ve done will have been for nothing. If Dagur were here, much as we may butt heads, I wouldn’t be so reticent to hand him over, but lacking that presence, the only people here i know i can trust are my own house and the Starks. I don’t mean to slur your husbands men, or the witness that you and Ser Aidan offer, but I have to be certain he’ll stay alive until the king returns.”
The older man looks to the younger, and his fingers tap at his temple as he shakes his head. “Well, ser,” he says, solicitously. “We’ll escort you and ... your prisoner here, to the castle, and you can arrange a place for him to suit your needs. Might be Lady Marian could help, she being a Northwoman and all.” And he gestures, with a bow, so that Raynard can now go past them to continue his way on to the keep.
Shifting uncomfortably in the saddle, and looking to Reyna and her companions more than once, Ser Aidan clears his throat. “I take no offense, Ser Raynard,” he says quietly, and otherwise keeps his mouth shut.
“But Ser Raynard…” Reyna begins, looking more than a little flustered. “You do not understand. If you will not allow him to be arrested…” Here she breaks off in deference to the goldcloak seargent and simply shakes her head. “It sets a bad precedent,” she says to Aidan disapprovingly. “People taking it on themselves to act as justice for the realm in the King’s place.”
Raynard sighs and closes his eyes. “The Wall and the Fangs lady, the Wall and the Fangs.” He sees Reyna’s expression, and turns to look at his captive who is starting to look even more distraught now than he was at the start. “I’ll hand him over on one condition. He’s to be kept under constant guard, personally selected by Lady Reyna.” He looks over to her. “I’ll trust you on this point. I don’t care if they’re Gold Cloaks or not, but they are to completly loyal to your husband.”
“That sounds reasonable enough,” Ser Aidan says, somewhat more brightly than before. He looks to the watchmen, who don’t seem greatly pleased ... but the sergeant shrugs and says, “The Commander’s lady can certainly help set matters straight with you, ser. But let’s come along now, to the Keep.” And with that, the man moves to mount up again, and his partner beside him.
Arching a brow, Reyna looks around at Raynard. “I do not presume to command the goldcloaks…” she begins helplessly. But the sergeant speaks out for her and she sighs. “Very well. I will provide you with a list of names. These two will do for a start,” she adds, fixing each man with a stern look that speaks volumes. “They will relieve you of him now and put him into the cells as is appropriate. Ser Aidan,” she says then, looking apologetic. “Will you be very put out to wait for another escort? I will go with you, if you like. I miss evensong at Visenya’s Sept.”
“Not at all, my lady. I thank you,” says the famous Dornish knight. Ser Aidan’s mood is still grave, but a resolution in sight certainly helps matters. “If Ser Raynard needs Ser Dagur’s best and most trustworthy, I will be glad to spare these men to the task.” He starts to turn his horse with a light, easy hand, to follow the way back to the keep.
Raynard nods his head, and somewhat reluctantly, hands his prisoner over to the men. “Very well.” Once surendered, Raynard rolls his shoulders. “By the seven i’m going to be glad to back in my own bed after all this.”
“I recommend a bath first,” Reyna says to Raynard as she and her party of ladies turn to follow Aidan and the goldcloaks with their charge, all back into the city. “Fare well, Ser Raynard. I will be sure that they hear of your deeds.” she bends her head, smiles, then turns away and is gone.