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It’s one of those rotten days in King’s Landing: poor, wet weather. Not a good day at all for much training in the yard, though some knights carry on in spite of it. Janden’s been elsewhere, some time spent in the city area in search of information that seems nowhere to be found. Deciding it time for something warm to eat and drink, he ducks into the Three Hills Inn and sheds his cloak after shaking as much excess water from it as he can prior to stepping in.
Among those patrons already seated at the bar, one stands out in particular - his ubiquitous crimson garb marks him from a mile away. Ser Farin Prester is enjoying a good mug of ... wine, as it seems all the man is capable of drinking, before he turns with some others to idly watch the next patron to enter the room. When he sees that it is Janden, a smirk breaks out across his thin lips.
Red hair, green eyes, a scar near one eye. For those that know him, it’s definitely the Melcolm knight. Today, however, Janden wears no specific thing that calls attention to his House colors. Instead, a dark green doublet goes with long brown sleeves, trousers nearly as black as the boots he wears. Looking around the room, he realizes the booths are all taken and it happens to be the only opening is at the bar…right next to Farin. Expression difficult to read as he steps over that way, he takes the spot next to the other man. “The gods have a sense of humor tonight.”
“More than you know,” the Westerman lordling murmurs in return, leaning back into his seat, as much as the fragile back of the inn’s chair will allow him too. It is an unusual pose of forced rest for the usually rigid knight. “I suppose I should have expected as much for stopping /here/. I ask the gods to send me someone who will not shoot me, and they give me Janden Melcolm.”
Janden answers with a sniff. Amused or otherwise, it isn’t immediately clear. “That’d depend on how close I was to you when I fired the arrow,” he says in a deadpanned tone, flagging a server down for something warm with a little bite to it. He knows what he lacks in terms of skill with the bow. A forearm rests atop the bar, hand more toward being clenched than not before he forces a more relaxed posture. “I don’t plan to be here more than a few moments.”
“Then your expedience demands I award you your winnings sooner rather than later,” Farin announces, softly, amused himself. He reaches for a pouch in at his waist, and clips it off, almost contemptuously, likely as Janden watches with some measure of curiosity, before depositing it onto the bar in front of him. “All the better that you will not linger to spend it here, hm?”
Janden ends up squinting at Farin. “Winnings? What are you talking about?” he asks, a combination of skepticism mixed in with, yes, curiosity as his eyes shift toward the other’s waist, waiting until it’s placed before him. It’s then opened so the contents of it can be inspected. “Is this some kind of game?”
“It was, when I made the wagers. Not many bet on you, you know,” Farin chuckles to himself. “I multiplied it a few times over and it would have become more if you had managed another round. I am a poor wager of chance, but I know how hard a man can hit when he tries. And that’s the second time you have won a few coins for me in such a manner,” he chuckles again. “Enjoy it, Melcolm. My luck with gambling will run out when yours does with skill.”
Janden continues to eye the man next to him, giving the coins within a few more seconds of consideration. “And how much is in here?” he asks, though a frown forms at the rest of what he’s told. Probably would have made it another round if not for being paired up with Sorin. “So the better I do, the better you do. Somehow you’ve managed to put yourself in a win-win situation. I do well and you enjoy the profits. I do poorly and you enjoy the failure. And this is out of the kindness of your own heart?” He gestures to the take, knowing it’s more than he won from the jousting, not counting the typical winner-loser arrangements.
“You are a /bright/ man, Ser; never put a copper to stock of a man who says otherwise,” Farin responds heartily, his face alight with a smirk. The amount in the bag is close to a year’s pay in the Kingswood, collected as stags. “A tidy sum. They are given out of a joy of winning. Perhaps even as incentive to do better, hm? But not charity. Aurana does that, not I.”
Janden grunts under his breath at the talk of him being bright. Indeed, he’s no fool. He may not be adept politically, but that’s another matter. A silent nod follows as the amount is confirmed. That much is quite a lot for the average person. “Let’s be clear on one thing. Any incentive to do better is not out of you giving me a percentage of your betting wins, but out of me doing it for myself to improve my standing, and because I enjoy the joust.” The bag is grasped in his right hand and it wavers between sliding back toward Farin before he decides to keep it, something about it giving him a sour expression for a beat. “You seem to be healing well. No limp that will linger with you the rest of your days?”
“Not this time,” Farin smirks, ignoring the slightly-noble man’s qualms. “Perhaps you can try to give me one when next we meet in the lists? Though, if I have placed a wager, you can bet I will be taking the fall no matter how hard your lance does strike…” he trails off, breaking into another grin. “And yes, I am healing well. I /do/ appreciate the concern.”
“But if I do that, everyone will know what I am capable of. The sly raven hides its claws,” Farin tuts, as the innkeep refills his mug for him. “His Grace’s benevolence? Whatever do you mean, ser?”
Janden gives Farin a look of disbelief. “Out there, why would you hide it? The point is to be the one still on his horse, or still on his feet. You think I can afford not to put all I have into it?” Oh, he gets the concept of keeping certain things close, but not when it comes to that. He explains, “Weren’t the ones who attacked you and Ser Urston among the ones he had released?”
“Because a joust is /pageantry/, ser, nothing more. Granted there is a nice fat prize for the best brute of the bunch at the end, but it is about the banners, and whose favor you have, so the women can swoon and the men can cheer for their loyalties. Nothing on that field is /real/,” he explains. “I have seen grand tournament knights fall on the first charge of war, and knights who survive every battle come home to do piss poor in the lists. Why should I care about that?” he asks, his tone turning dour, and then finally changing to a sneer when Janden reminds him. “Oh. /That/ generosity. Affluent of mercy, poor of sense.”
“The competition is real enough, short of war itself,” Janden claims, shaking his head. “And for all the pageantry, some knights need whatever winnings they earn from it. You know I fought in the wars. There’s no glory in that aside from making it back home alive and uncrippled, which as it was I just barely managed.” As much as anyone, Farin would know what Janden’s had to do to get by and how the jousting winnings have helped make that easier to accomplish, lacking a steady job at this point. “I’m sure as hell not going back home at this point, either. And yes, /that/ generosity. I’d wondered how long it’d take for someone to make an attack.”
“It was a pitiful attempt that would not have worked, but for an archer to finish the job. And even he could not, at near melee range. I doubt there will be more attacks,” Farin scoffs. “As for /needing/ the winnings, that it the business of hedge knights. We are a cut above, ser. Or several, in my case,” Farin admits, unabashedly, as a matter of fact, rather than pride. “But if that is your primary source of income, ser, then I will enjoy winning more than you, just on wagering for you to win,” he grins again, and kicks back in his seat once more.
Janden grimaces before downing most of what’s left in the mug, shrugging at something. “If there are, let us hope it doesn’t cost any more lives. There’s still the matter of the killer out there. And yes, I’m well aware of your position, thank you for the reminder.” He can’t even count on much from his own father. “It’s good I can make someone richer, I suppose. And now I think it’s time I was off. Good eve.” He finishes off his drink, shaking his head as he rises to push away from the bar.
As Janden turns to leave, his back is met with a burst of Farin’s laughter. “Yes, it /is/ rather good, is it not? And fear not, Ser, I do only /good/ with your coin!” he insists, as he continues a slightly drunken laugh, until Janden is good and fled.
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