There is a moon somewhere, high above the Red Keep, but its presence is hidden by thick clouds, falling rain, and a swirling mist which clings to the ground. The stableyard is dark, quiet; the thin light from the guard’s barracks and the stable itself is shaded. Men are possessive of the light and the warmth of inviting fires as they huddle inside to cast dice or laugh at tales of one thing or another.
The yard itself is cold. Lonely. Desolate. But far from empty—three figures move into the stableyard from the direction of the Kitchen Keep: a man, a woman, and a child, shrouded in cloak and shadow. Their arrival does not go unnoticed: a fat, grey tomcat streaks across the yard, startled from its night time hunt around a wood pile.
“Get the horses, Banen,” says Logan quietly.
“Yes, ser!” comes the reply, as the erstwhile stable boy moves to do as he is bid.
And while they wait, Logan moves closer to the woman, Olara, and places his arm around her shoulders to hold her tight and shelter her from the chill. “You see, my love?” he whispers. “There is nothing to fear. Soon it will all be over. We will be away and safely wed.”
Nothing to fear, indeed! But the shadows around the stables hold more than prowling tomcats. This man has been hunted for the better part of a week, a signal given before certain squires stole into the servants quarters to search for the purloined items, and the prey cornered here by the hunters themselves.
The Shadows come alive all about maid, knight, and erstwhile stable boy. Two knights, Ser Humfrey Westerling and Ser Tarell Darklyn move toward the stableyard at a double time, Ser Tarell is accompanied two men-at-arms in Darklyn livery. Steel glints from each of their belts. The knights are armed with sword and dirk, the guards wicked shivs. A short distance behind them the newly minted Corbray Lady Damia follows with her maid.
Though Ser Tarell’s arm is freshly bandaged and his face a bit ashen he keeps pace with his sworn sword and Ser Jan.
Humfrey’s voice booms across the yard. “Ser Logen. I am afraid the Second Sons you will not be swearing your sword to the second sons.” Humfrey looks from Logen to the boy, Bannen, and then maid Oleria.”
“Guards, take then in hand, search them, search Ser Logen and the boy, but do it sweetly, I want no harm to come to the boy, or the girl.” At the last, Humfrey turns to Damia and then to her maid. “Goodwoman, if you would? Please see if Lady Oleria has any purloined baubles upon her person.” Humfrey looks then to Logen, a hand falls upon the sword at his hip. “It’s rather queer, it my locket is missing, the one my lady wife gave me, when I was eight-and-ten.”
Moving as quietly as possible under the cover of night, Jan and Jyana slowly approach the stables. Jan is draped in a black cloak - the better to hide himself - as he guides the Jewel towards their destination. “...And remember: desperation can drive men to do terrible things. We saw that at the mummers’ show. If anything happens, stay close to me or Sers Humfrey and Tarell. As soon as we find them.”
With a hand on the dagger at his hip, Jan takes a discrete position behind one of the stables, and hears both Ser Logan speak up, then Ser Humfrey make his declaration. At that moment, he steps out to take a stand beside his cousin, and motions for Jyana to do the same.
Damia is clad in a black cloak which covers her person - house colors, or color, and much better to do intrigues in! She steps forward with her maid, motioning for Olara to step aside with her. “Come, my dear. It will all be alright, come over here with me and rest your feet and we’ll have you something to drink.” Her voice is soft and gentle, and she’s pulled back her hood so that the maid can view her face and the sincerity of her features.” She tries to guide the girl toward some hay bales where she can be seated, as her maid follows close.
The Darklyn heir doesn’t speak a word. His expression is hard and severe, deep blue eyes inspecting everything and everyone around. Every corner, route of escape, Tarell is getting prepared for everything to happen, as his left hand rests next to his sword.
In the quiet and dark, Jyana only nods her reply to Ser Jan—a steely gaze sweeps from him to the others. A second later, Standfast, just now scouting that area around the stableyard for likely routes of sudden retreat, shadows his charge, cold eyes and frozen face all the more threatening beneath the night sky.
As the others take their place, as Ser Humfrey gives voice to their intentions, the lady moves to put herself beside Damia. Though she tries to smile to the servant girl—it might even pass as soothing—but that much is all she manages, and strained in doing so, at that.
When the shadows come alive, a few things happen at once: Banen bolts for the stables, but is quickly gathered up by the menacing guards; Ser Logan spins to put the maid behind him, his sword ripping free from its sheathe—and from the Goldcloak barracks the hushed conversation halts. A tense moment passes, some movement carries from the direction of that building, and a voice calls out: “Who goes?”
Logan smiles, blade raised in a guard before him. Yet when he speaks, his voice is hushed so that it does not carry. “And what is the meaning of this, detaining us so? I need only shout, and the watch will be here within moments. We have no daubles, no lockets—and if you lay one /fucking/ finger on any of us, gods help me I’ll shout.”
For her part, Olara makes no move to join Damia. Indeed, she takes one look upon the Corbray woman’s features, and her own set. One hand falls to the gentle swell of her belly. “You,” she says, her tone harsher than when they last spoke.
And a moment later, from the barracks: “Must be the storm.” And the conversation within those walls resumes.
Damia nods gently to the girl. “Yes, me. You may scold me if you wish, or yell at me or swing at me with your fists. But I beg you to come away here with us, just right there, while the men sort out their business. For the child’s sake my dear, please come away and we will sit. My friend and I here,” she smiles to the lady at her side. “We will do you no ills, and protect you from any as much as we can. You have my word.”
“Careful, ser…” Jan murmurs cautiously, unsheathing his sword, slowly, as Logen does the same. “That’s because you sold the lockets already, right? And passed the profits off to the Braavosi? We know this already, ser. Just relax. And think if you want that little one to grow up without a father,” he says with a hushed voice.
Humfrey Westerling looks left to his cousin and spares the knight of the burning tree a nod. When Jan reaches for his sword, Humfrey moves to draw steel and place himself between Damia, Jyana, and Olara. He tilts the blade in a defensive guard and puts his body at an angle towards Logen’s “My Squire, young Upcliffe, and Ser Tarell’s boy are searching through your affects. You -will- surrender the remainder of your affects, Ser.”
As living steel comes to his sight, the Darklyn knight hold his own tight. He may not be skilled with his left hand, but his expression hasn’t changed a bit. It’s not easy to read what he plans, but his eyes are looking even beyond, to where the Gold Cloaks could approach. He silently moves closer to the ladies, but no word can be heard, still.
Silent—staring in turn between the men in her company and the man just there—Jyana stands stock still as tension builds…
And then she moves. She moves past those good knights hedging her in, towards the rangy Logen with his sword bared. The quiet sound of a strangled command comes from Noel’s place—but in this delicate situation he makes no sudden movement, not even to grab his precious charge.
Precious, yes, that Jewel of the Eyrie, and she begins to speak quietly as she makes for the center point of all of those swords. “You will not call for the goldcloaks, ser,” she says simply, “You will not call for them because even without the proof of theft, your word will not hold up against all of these—not an heir to a fine house, not a knight of upstanding repute, not even against the Westerling.” Her hand indicates Tarell, Jan, and Humfrey in turn, among the others with them. “And you will not harm /me/,” she says with steel in her words, if not her hands, “Not if you value your life, or that of your child or its mother.”
“It is over, Ser Logen. You would do well to realize that, and acquiesce.”
It is the mention of the babe that breaks Olara’s resolve. “You promise?” she asks Damia and Jyana. “By the Seven?” A single tear brims in her eye, she takes a step forward—and Logan turns.
“Olara!” he hisses. “Stay with me!” And then Jan is speaking, even as Olara halts in her step. “Profits?” asks Logan. “What did that blackmailing whoreson tell you?” And then to Humfrey again, with mouth agape. “You think we…”
Logan cuts off as the Jewel approaches, as her words sink in. His blade drops, lower, lower still, until the point rests against the muddy ground. Blades and men cannot stop this knight’s resolve, it would seem—but blades and men are nothing compared to the Jewel of the Eyrie. For surely Ser Logan knows this waif before him. How not? Everyone does.
“But, my lady,” he says softly. “We never stole ...”
But he is cut off again, this time by the tramp of booted feet, flickering torchlight, the jingle of armor, the swish of golden cloaks. And there are three of the watch, dragging three squires behind them. In their wake comes an old woman, donned in the livery of the Kitchen Keep.
“Thieves!” she shouts, taunting the boys. “Ain’t right fer you to be thieving from no smallfolk just cause you think to lord yerselfs all over us. But ye ain’t nothin’ but stinkin’ theives!”
“Quiet, woman,” commands one of the Goldcloaks, but it is not enough. She continues to bait the boys. And then they halt, eyes upon the party here. “What in the /fuck/ is going on here?” asks the leader to the only one amongst the group who seems in control of their emotions: Jan Marbrand.
Damia lets out a small gasp as steel is drawn and Humfrey is before her. And then? All goes awry, as it were. Goldcloaks, smallfolk, angry Arryns - “My dear,” Damia says, green eyes pleading. “You have my oath to the seven, and to the mother to whom we both knelt before my wedding. I shall do all in my power to keep you and your babe safe, as I promised I would. Now please, come away with me quickly and let the men discuss their business.” She’s leaning around Humfrey now, offering a hand out toward the maid.
Humfrey Westerling’s blade is still raised, his body turned to the side to interpose himself between Damia, Olara, and Ser Logen. He spares Jyana a look of mild annoyance, the look one courtier might spare another who is behaving in a boorish manner, elsewise his eyes remain upon Ser Logen who still has naked steel in his hand.
At the appearance of the three squires he winces “Ah, perhaps we should have sent your maid, Damia.” Humfrey looks to Jan, then the commander of the watch but says nothing to either man. His eyes narrow as looks upon Ser Logen. “Thief of or no, you will marry that girl, or I will gut you like a Tully.”
“Ser…” Jan answers to the Goldcloak as he clears his throat. “This man has stolen, or arranged for others to steal, from the ladies here, and other ladies, in order to pay for his trip across the seas. For instance, my lady Elrone lost a pendant passed down through her family, that she would very much like back. We want only to find what he has stolen. I believe the squires were looking for those very things.” Jan coughs, his hand still resting tensely on his sword hilt. “It is not a crime to steal what was stolen in the first place, I think.”
In that split second before the goldcloaks appear, Jyana’s smooth features wrinkle in confusion. Her lips move as if to form words—a question, by the curious look on her face—but all falls to the wayside. She remains where she is, but turns her head to glance between the goldcloaks and Jan as the latter gives an answer.
Her gaze swings again, back to Logen, and she studies his countenance closely.
“Not only that. They entered the Darklyn apartments and stole a valuable and rare object of mine. They have stolen several nobles, and I’m glad our squires, one way or another, have brought you and your men here, Captain.” Tarell’s voice is solemn, calmed and cold.
All has gone awry indeed!
Olara gives a “meep!” of surprise, slinking back against Logan; the knight puts himself before her, protecting her with blade and body both. And all is chaos, Olara, Logan, and Banen all shouting to be heard.
“These men have accosted us….”
“...ain’t stolen nothin’ milords…”
“...weren’t me that took nothin’ save that there Robyn’s….”
“...with false accusations!. Disarm them and let us be upon our way!...”
“...only thought of the babe, is all! I don’t want no bastard…”
“...weren’t just me that picked on him neither, it were all of us ‘cept Baryck…”
And then all three voices coalesce into one. “We’ve done nothing wrong!”
But it is Jan who has the Goldcloak captain’s attention. He nods to the knight, listening, and turns to the armed Logan. “Is this true?” he asks.
“No!” replies the pauper knight. “I /worked/ for the money—took odd jobs here and there. A warehouse down to Flea Bottom needed rats killed, biggest rats I ever saw. That sort of thing. I am a knight, /ser/!” There is an emphasis there, and Logan seems sincere enough for those who care to note such things.
And the captain turns to the rest: to Damia and Humfrey; to the Jewel and the Darkly. “Well?” he asks. “The man denies it. Do you call him a liar?”
Damia places a gentle hand on Humfrey’s arm, urging him with the slightest gesture to lower his sword. But her eyes are on the Goldcloak. “Captain,” she says, her voice calm but stewardly, as her father taught her. “All will come to light here, of that I am sure. But the Lady and I,” she means you, Jyana, “wish to look to the maid. She is in a delicate state, and it would be best for her to sit over by the stables while this is sorted. I give my word as a daughter of House Farman, wife of House Corbray, and servant of the Seven ...” now she looks to Olara and Logan. “No harm shall pass her or the babe, she shalln’t be ripped away unfairly. But for the sake of the babe, I must beg you to rest yourself during these emotional moments and let all things be said and settled.”
Jan takes a step forward as Jyana makes her approach, but holds back when it seems she is in no danger. After her speech and the man’s response, Jan speaks up: “No one has been accosted, ser,” Jan says, his tone growing more menacing by the word, and his hand grasping the hilt of his sword even tighter at the mention of Baryck’s name, his knuckles turning white. “Killing rats can pay for passage to the Second Sons? I find that hard to believe. No - he paid his way through theft, and he knows where we can find the stolen goods. Where are they, ser?” Jan growls.
Slowly, Humfrey Westerling lowers his sword, though the weapon remains in his hand ready should he have need of it. He glares from Logen to the boy Bannen, then looks to his squire, Ser Tarell’s boy, and Ser Dermett’s. “Did any of you find any of the stolen baubels in the squire’s quarters, or Ser Logens?”
Humfrey turns then to Jan and nods to his cousin, his expression becomes taught when Damia speaks of Olara’s precarious condition, at last he turns to the serjeant. “We will allow them to depart once Ser Logen, the lady, and the stableboy, have submitted to a search, Serjeant.”
“No, wait—!” Jyana’s hand flashes out to stall Jan after he speaks, another hand upheld to the accused knight. She glances to Humfrey with a look of annoyance—one that echoes his own to her so very recently—but then she turns her gaze to the goldcloak in charge. “I—I believe… I believe that the knight here may very well be innocent.”
She turns ever so slowly back to the man in question. “He may know nothing of the theft, but I do not believe all here are so innocent.” And then, her gaze pointedly seeks out Olara, shrinking as she is behind that knight.
The mention of Baryck visibly affects Tarell. The heir tries to return his sword to his scabbard, but since his left hand is even less skilled than the right one, the blade is dropped to the ground. No signal of getting it back can be seen from the knight. “We mean no harm, Captain. We just want to know the truth, as hard as you do. Please, listen to Ser Jan. We haven’t come this far without being sure of what we do.”
Humfrey’s call to the squires receives blank looks and shaken heads. The boys are terrified, that’s plain—trouble with the watch is hardly part of a young boy’s dream of knighthood. “No ser,” says Humfrey’s squire. “Most of their things were packed up an taken.”
And again, Olara’s hands sink to the swell of her belly. She pants slightly, catching her breath, and says to Logan, “Please, Lo. For the babe.” It is a moment before the knight nods and takes his left hand from her. And Olara goes meekly enough, passing from the ring of steel to stand with Damia.
Logan answers Jan, calling loudly enough to be heard. “For a month’s time, I’ve toiled, ser! Not just rats—I’ve hired on to escort merchants to Rosby and back. The Braavosi commands a steep price!”
But the defiance leaves Logan, just a little, as Jyana makes her assumption. “Wait!” he shouts to the Jewel. “Leave Olara be. She knows nothing, I promise you!”
He looks to each in turn: Corbray and Arryn, Marbrand, Darklyn and the Unknight. “I am sorry your things were taken, but I know nothing of these thefts.” But when Humfrey makes his offer, he nods. “Very well then, if you will not take my word as a knight. Search us, be satisfied, and allow us on our way. Our ship sails with the tide.” Steel rings against leather as Logan shoves his sword back into his scabbard.
And so the search commences, the women searching Olara, and the Goldcloaks searching Logan and Banen. It is a quick thing—they do not have much to their name, and in the end it is fruitless. The captain steps away and turns once more to Jan.
“Are you satisifed, ser?”
Damia has managed to convince Olara to sit, and has settled beside her, patting her hand. “There now,” she says, and calls her maid over with a wineskin. After all, Damia is a Corbray now. It wouldn’t do for any servant NOT to be carrying wine. “Drink a sip of this, just a little. We don’t want you getting upset now. They will discuss all of this and sort it out and the truth will come right, my dear. The Father above watches and sees and the truth shall come out and all will be as is just.”
Humfrey Westerling remains implacable. He stares at Ser Logen, then looks to the maid Olara. “You, Ser, are a thief and a liar.” He turns then to Damia. A look passes between the Knight of Ashes and the newly minted Corbray. Humfrey’s eyes move from Damia to the bulge on Olara’s stomach. Then his gaze fixes upon Olara. “When is your child due?”
Tarell slightly raises a brow at Humfrey’s question to the lady. “Captain, it doesn’t mean anything. The stolen items can be hidden inside the ship, or have been sold already. Or they can even be here… I can assure you, the thieves were professionals. They trespassed the Red Keep, with Gold Cloaks and guards all around. They entered our homes. A simple look is not enough.”
“I’m not satisfied, ser. And I won’t be until I find that jewelry,” Jan says, his voice low. “I know the Braavosi, and I know he doesn’t play fair. I can find him, if you’d like, if it’d help us find what was stolen. But if it’s not on you or your squire…it’s because you sold it, that’s why! To whom? That’s all I want to know!?” Jan shouts, taking a step closer to the knight.
With it no longer necessary for Jyana to bridge the gap between those swords, she moves easily to pair with Damia beside Olara. Hers is not quite the same soothing prescence as the Corbray lady’s—no, Logan’s insistence sharpens her gaze all the more.
She bends to her knees beside the woman, a hand reaching to gently cover the small swell of her belly.
“You were only thinking of the babe?” The Jewel’s face softens, her voice calm and comforting. “Killing rats and escorting knights can pay for passage, and only so much else after that… and you were only thinking of the babe,” she repeats.
Despite the humiliation of the search, Olara seems comfortable enough in the presence of Damia—not so Jyana, who has accused her. And she wilts under the glare of the Unknight, though she answers. “The—the maesters say less than half a year now. The babe been inside me for some four or five months,” she says. And then Jyana is there, and Olara shrinks away. “Only of the babe, milady. Always. Tell her, milady!” This last to Damia, beseechingly.
It is then that the captain turns to Tarell with raised brow. “And yet, ser, you have no proof. The lot of you accuse this man of these crimes, but offer no proof! I have entertained your requests, searched man, woman, and boy, but there is no proof!”
“Show me proof, my lord, and I will detain them further.”
A few moments pass before the Goldcloak speaks again. “I thought not. You may go,” this last to Logan. And the knight wastes no time, gathering Banen, Olara, and their horses, and making their way from the stables. But before he goes, Logan spends one more look to Jan, Humfrey, and Tarell. “Even the Blackhand was easier to convince than you—and I thought he had a mind to kill me. I have stolen nothing. I have sold nothing. I am falsely accused.”
With that, they are gone into the night, bound for Essos. What awaits them there cannot be said, but they never return to the Red Keep.
And then there is the matter of the squires caught trespassing. “These boys were caught trespassing,” says the captain, “and they say that they serve you lot. I leave their punishment to you—but warn you to keep them from poking their noses where they don’t belong. It’s bad enough these days without vigilantes popping up all over the keep.” It may be a trick of the light, but it seems the captain levels his gaze upon Jan for just an instant longer than necessary.
“Now, go about your business, citizens.” he says, and the three Goldcloaks move off into the barracks, leaving the knights, ladies, and their servants alone in the dark, rain filled yard.
“I know, my dear,” Damia reassures Olara, giving her hand a squeeze. “And as I said before, whatever may pass here, this day or the next, a day will come when you will have a sweet thing in your arms and be happy for it, and the rest will not matter at all. Think of that day that you might see it realized. And take a bit of advice, if I may be so bold -” Damia looks once to Logan. “See yourselves married before a ship may leave. Let it be done before any dangerous journey across the sea. Let the babe have a name, if you care for it so much. Do it now, if need be.” Damia will remain seated as Olara and the others go, looking worriedly to Humfrey.
Humfrey Westerling stands beside the stable roof, rain pouring down over his leather and forest green hunting attire. He stares at the departing maid, stableboy, and knight. His gaze lingers upon their backs for a time before he turns to Damia. “I still cannot fathom how they had so much coin, or how Banen could afford to buy that grandiose coat.” Humfrey looks to Damia, then to the stable yard. A look to the other nobles and a shake of his head. “Forgive me for wasting your time, Sers, Ladies.”
The calm before the storm—Jyana stands with a fluid motion, hands smoothing the wrinkles from her skirts. She watches the trio take back their possessions and move off with the grace of those goldcloaks. Silent, expressionless—the Jewel of the Eyrie waits until the guards are well out of earshot before giving sudden vent to her frustration.
“/Seven damnable hells/,” she hisses, fists on her hips.
She speaks to herself more than the others, but her voice is not so quiet this time: “I was so sure… /So/ sure I was right… and yet… Gods, what a mess.” Her clouded face turns from the others, eyes one the stables beside which they all stand.
“My maester used to give me riddles as a child… he would tell me that every wrong answer put me closer to the right one.”
She strays a step closer to the stables, a curious look overtaking the stormy expression on her face. “He only took what was Robyn’s… but what was Robyn’s?”
The heir to Duskendale doesn’t answer to the Gold Cloak, nor he speaks a word for a while. But his silence is not the same as before. There is sadness adorning his lapis burning eyes. A smile is given, a single smile. It is dedicated to Athos, his squire, but no words for him either.
Once outside, the Darklyn knight turns to Humfrey and Jan. “We did what we have to. No matter the outcome. We did it. And it not always ends as it is supposed to, but I want to tell you, my friends, that I don’t regret this night. I’m proud of you.” The second smile is spared, but no more than a nod finishes his talk.
Jan unleashes an audible snort at the Goldcloak. “Where were the goldcloaks when these ladies’ jewelry went missing? More importantly, where were they when a lady was left beaten, in the street?” Jan asks, his sword still drawn, his hand still clutching it tightly. “It seems you do little but make excuses for the true criminals, like Ser Logen here. All I know is he gave the Braavosi a fair amount of coin. All I know is Ser Janden found one of those jewelries stashed in the Kitchen Keep, to be found by the guilty party. And all I know is that that my lady…Olara, is her name?...here has been eyeing the ladies’ jewelry as she goes about her business. That may not be good enough for you, but it is for me.”
Moments of silence stretch into awkward minutes as the rain continues to fall. Suddenly there is a clatter, the rustling of small bodies struggling, a war cry to rival the worst of Balerion and Meraxes, and the horrified shriek of the dying. Surely such a ruckus has not been heard since the Field of Fire!
And into the yard comes the shadow of some terrible, wretched creature, with slavering jaws and fangs impaling the unfortunate soul who was not quite quick enough to escape this final time. But as those monstrous shadows come into the light they resolve themselves into something more mundane: that ever-present tomcat, with the twitching body of a rat, fat and brown and spotted with blood.
But it is what dangles from that rat’s jaw which is of most interest: a locket, carved from rosewood, with a hinge and front face of solid gold.
A cry of anguish from the stables, and there is Robyn the stableboy in his night-shirt. Tears stream from red-rimmed eyes as he streaks across the yard, heedless of the mud. “Fyval!” he shouts in fury. “You! Fuckin’! Cats!”
And the cat, for all its bravery and skill at arms, drops its prize and darts into the darkness.
For Robyn’s part, he drops to his knees above the rat’s body, cradling it like a dying friend, and sobbing. “Fyval, Fyval, Fyval….”
There arises such a clatter… and Jyana jumps at the sound, swallows a gasp as the boy flies past her; Noel is there, suddenly at her side, hand twitching towards that blade for the first time tonight despite so many reasons to draw it out…
But it’s just a cat, a rat, and a mangy boy to blame for such a ruckus. Standfast mutters something just beneath his breath, but Jyana rushes forward and into the yard—
Humfrey Westerling turns and gapes. He could not be more astonished if the Young Dragon had landed in the yard atop a threa-headed wyrm singing the Bear and the Maiden Fair. The Knight of Ashes stares at the damned cat in question and launches toward the animal in an effort to retrieve the locket from its paws. “Robyn . . . maiden’s tits, lad. The rat is you pet?”
“Well, there’s one mystery solved,” Jan grumbles, reaching his sword forward gingerly so that the tip catches the chain of the pendant in the rat’s mouth. He brings it up into his hand, places the pendant in his pocket. “I suspect the rat has more prizes in whatever hole he calls home. Robyn…that is your name, no?...show us where he may stash them, and perhaps you’ll face no consequences.”
Tarell laughs, almost a desperate laugh. “Are you aware we will be punished for the acts of a playful rat?” Robyn gets a smile. “As Ser Jan said. You ledad.”
“Humfrey,” Damia says, half-reproachfully, half-laughingly. “There’s no need for such exclamations.” Tits indeed, highly inappropriate - though her rebuke lacks teeth. “So this is it? All the trouble? Truly? What a clever thing. Very wrong and mischevious, but clever all the same. Is there no way to catch the rat? I would love to see it.”
Robyn kneels over the body of the fallen rodent. “Fyval, Fyval, Fyval,” he cries, and all queries go unanswered—until Jan appears with drawn steel. /That/ catches the boys attention.
He looks up to the Marbrand knight with a sniffle, wiping tears and snot away from his face. “He weren’t no thief,” the boy sobs. “He was hungry is all. I taught ‘im to catch things, and when that lady gave me coins I taught ‘im to catch them too, and gave him food.”
“But—but then, ‘e started bringin’ back them other things and I got scared.” Robyn sniffles again, looking up to Jan with red-rimmed eyes. “I didn’t mean to steal nothin’, ser milord! I didn’t mean to lie! It’s a terrible crime to lie,” he continues, with a look to Humfrey. “I don’t want no hand cut off, neither. I’ll take the black, I mean.”
“Them other things is in Fyval’s house,” he continues, nodding to the woodpile. “Under them logs and all.”
But it seems Damia’s words have reached Robyn’s ears. He huddles over the body of Fyval, steeling his eyes at the Corbray woman. “You ain’t to touch Fyval! He’s my friend! He needs a proper burial!”
“What? But he’s a wonderful specimine, I could learn a great deal about the eyesight ...” Damia pauses, realizing how very strange and cruel she sounds in decent company and to a grieving boy. Being without a Septa to remind you of such things is sometimes difficult. “A burial it shall be, then. But ... Humfrey? Isn’t that your locket?”
She is there at his side as quickly as the others, but draws up short as she sees the lifeless body of the rat in his hands. “Fy…” she whispers, as if just now putting so many pieces of a puzzle together.
The others in her company come along, speak to the boy—but all Jyana does for the nonce is sigh, and drop to an unladylike crouch beside the devastated child.
“Here now, here—” she starts in a soft, sweet voice, one arm reaching out to gather the boy. The look she shoots Damia is one of exasperation, and it’s a look that Robyn receives as well. “You’ve… you’ve done right /now/, and that’s… that’s important.” What consequences might still remain, however, leave the Jewel choosing her words carefully.
Jan nods to the squire, a semblance of a smirk appearing. “A rat doesn’t even know what stealing is, lad. Sounds like your Fyval just did as he was told.” Jan sheathes his sword and walks to the woodpile, kicking the logs aside. A long look is given to the squire after Jan examines the trinkets underneath. “No one will cut your hand off, lad, or send you to the wall. You told the truth here today - I just wish you’d have done it sooner.”
After a pause, Jan nods with Damia, and takes a step towards the stables, grabbing a shovel that was likely used for excrement, previously. “A burial then, lad,” Jan says as he starts to dig a shallow hole, right next to he woodpile.
“Athos, go and call a Night’s Watch officer. The boy has taken his choice.” Tarell grins. “Wait! Athos! It was a joke!” The squire returns switfly to the knight. “Young Robyn, I was searching for a precious coin, but you lost a friend… I think the only victim here was you.” The heir gives him a smile before turning back.
Some steps away, Athos is summoned with a gesture. Knight and squire have a small talk, and then the Ryger lad returns to Robyn, with a silver Stag in his hand.
Humfrey just stared celever little rat’s body, then turns to Damia. “Ah, yes, forgive me, Damia.” I was just so astounded by this, such a clever little creature. At his cousin Jan’s words Humfrey nods and spares the boy a broad smile and a laugh—and here a moment past he was about to gut Ser Logen. “No one will send you to the Wall, lad. When Damia addresses him again, Humfrey turns to her. “Yes, it bears a picture of my Lady Wife, Alys Westerling.”
Humfrey laughs aloud as his liege nearly dispatches Athos to find a black brother. “Seven, Tarell, the boy looks fit to faint!” Yet he laughs once more, then turns and bows to Jyana. “I should escort Lady Damia and her maid back to the Corbray apartments. I bid you all good evening. And I pray your hands heals quickly, Ser Tarell.” With a final bow to his liege Humfrey turns to depart.
When the woodpile is cleared away, and the nest beneath it revealed, those precious items are revealed amidst the detritus and filth of the midden: a coin of Pentos, old beyond reckoning; a black pendant of Dragonglass; a golden ring, with a raven enameled black, clutching a garnet heart; and a golden brooch in the shape of a three headed dragon. All valueable, but perhaps this last is most valuable of all.
As for the boy, he just sobs and nods and mourns. For who else would mourn for a rat, save a boy with no friends to call his own. And later, when the rat is placed in the grave, and the dirt covers him, the boy stays long into the night.
Jan places a hand on the boys shoulder as he mourns, just steps away from the pile of trinkets he’s just uncovered. “There there, lad. You’ve done right tonight. Should you ever need some training, feel free to find me.” He looks up and meets Humfrey’s eye. “Or Ser Humfrey here, perhaps.”
Jan reaches down to into the pile, takes the dragonglass pendant, inspects it, and places it back into his pocket. He swaps it out with the rosewood locket he retrieved earlier, which he hands over to his cousin. “I believe this is yours. As for the dragon brooch…Lady Jyana, perhaps you are best positioned to find its owner?” he asks with an arched eyebrow.
Upright and in the midst of those sussing out the rat’s nest, Jyana sighs with relief at seeing more than one of those shining treasures retrieved.
But the brooch causes her brow to furrow. She reaches for it, confusion writ plain upon her face. “Surely… Well, yes, I am certain Princess Naerys will wish to see this put into the right hands. My goodness.”