Night on the Town or Not

Night on the Town… or Not
Summary: The Westmark children are free to enjoy themselves in Sipdon, the town around their home — Elkmound Keep — and meet their cousin and his squire unexpectedly on the road.
Date: 08/06/2013
Related: None
Castor Coriaria Laurel Maldred Krea 

Road into Sipdon, near Elkmound Keep
A fog-laced road leading from Elkmound Keep into the township of Sipdon, late in the evening.
8th June, 1329

Released for the evening, the Westmark children are free to wander Sipdon, allowances doled out, and the city is lit up brightly from the markets to the Keep. The vineyards in the hills surrounding the city are in full bloom, and the fires that burn in the homesteads cause the city to look like it's lit from below, allowing the city itself to use less light. It's all ethereal and beautiful and perfumed thickly with the smell of flowering grape vines.

Unleashing the Westmark children to have the run of Sipdon is one of the more amusing things the Baron and Baroness have done of late. Added to this the fact that they've supplied their offspring with coin, and well… there may be backsliding into bad habits taking place this evening, not to mention some hell being raised. "Stay close to me and don't give anyone cause to suspect you of indecent behavior," Cricket murmurs to her younger sister (who she has firmly by the elbow), "And if Cas speaks out of turn, forget you heard it. It's easiest this way. Trust me. And… don't look at any boys, you're too young." There! Sisterly duties performed, she releases her grip on Laurel and offers her a grin.

"Speak for yourself, Polly," the young Westmark lord retorts from behind the two sisters as he jogs to catch up. He enjoys calling his twin by his own pet name for her — especially when it annoys her. He smirks at Cori. "You're taking all the fun out of it for her, you know," he tells her — motioning with a hand toward Laurel.

"If she wants to look at boys, let her! It's only when the boys start looking back that I get worried." To demonstrate, he pats the bow slung over his shoulder. The boy is seldom without it.

He reaches for his coin pouch, counting his good fortune. "And here I thought I'd never see another full coin pouch again…" he murmurs gleefully. "Of my own, that is!"

Regardless of the vow she had taken on the edge of the vineyard, littlest Laurel is still in her wide Temple robes, though with a pale gray surcoat buttoned over to break the ghastly white - and the chill sea-ward wind. She suffers the eldest's lecture and dragging patiently, though her face crinkles up softly at one point, and look she expands to Castor as well. A short flare of her skirts punctuates her point: "Dressed like this, I don't have to worry about any boys noticing me at all." Never mind that she looks three years younger than she actually is.

A wild night out on the town that is almost interrupted by the presence of a bundle of aggressive looking mercenary types on the road in front of the siblings as they advance on the town. If they excited the idea of the potential of action then it is quickly dismissed - Sir Maldred Correlan Westmark heads the party - and he is far from hostile. His silent, scarred but beautiful squire Krea of Brivey being the closest party to the band of no more than ten armed persons. Maldred bows and offers his cousins the road as they near him and the band of scarred and serious men (apart from Krea). "Off for a night on the town cousins?" Sir Maldred (the absurdly but deserving re-monikered 'Dread knight') offers.

A shirt, thin and fragile at the first look creature, who looks seeing not more than eighteen winters paces besides ser Maldred. Her tress wavy hair covers girl's shoulders, though they cannot hide a huge scar on girl neck. Her eyes, green as a fresh grass in the spring, observes surrounding coolly, while one of her hands rests on the pommel of an incredibly expensive sword. On the other side of her slim waist sways a small dirk, but what can got most attention - dagger in her other seamy hand. She whirls it and almost juggles with it, grinning a little bit, when sir Maldred greets his relatives. However she keeps chewing straw and does not show any greetings, any bow, anything.

Castor, upon seeing their cousin and his squire and escort approach, slows his pace somewhat. The man bows lightly in reply. "Ser Maldred, and… Krea?" He arches an eyebrow and grins lopsidedly. "I suppose you could call it that — a night on the town. We're just celebrating a family reunion back home."

He leans sideways to peer at the ten soldiers travelling with Maldred and Krea. "Surely you don't need so many escorts? Though I suppose the roads are dangerous. What brings you to Sipdon?"

A protective arm is instinctively placed in front of Laurel as the sibling trio's progress intersects with that of Maldred's merry/heinous band of ruffians. "Something to that effect," the eldest Westmark notes dryly, exchanging glances with her twin, "It would seem you and your people are engaged in a similar venture." The straw-chewing squire is noted with a mildly disapproving gaze. Cricket doesn't want to think too hard about where that straw may have been prior to its ingress into Krea's maw. Just doesn't.

<FS3> Laurel rolls Stealth: Great Success.

When her sister's arm is thrown in front of her, Laurel stops and slinks back a step silently. With auburn hair, and a figure even more petite than Cricket's, she might easily be mistaken for a handmaiden, or a Temple acolyte in the wrong place. The type that tighten corsets and fetch tea - or bandage wounds - not the sort that throw themselves in front of their mistresses. She peeks just above her sister's shoulder, and whispers: "Why does he have mercenaries?"

"Not escorts cousin," Maldred says to Castor, "Old friends - mercenary's now. Out of employ. I was lucky to find them not snatched up by merchants as caravan guards. They fought in the war against the corsairs." Maldred is as always reserved but not unfriendly - the most interesting development in his life being the perennial loner's acquisition of a squire. Perhaps not so incredible given the aforementioned woman's reputation with a blade - if and where such things were known. "And how fare you all? I was hoping to catch your father my uncle — he is in I hope?"

Krea spits out the straw, peeking at the men behind her, before her look slips to the young girl, who looks like trying to hide behind her sister's back. That makes squire pull a wry face and she just shrugs at this timidity, though she fixes her intent gaze at the girl. She still plays with a dagger, though now another hand scratches the scar on the neck, exposing more of her skin with more scars on it.

"The Baron has retired for the night, as has the Baroness," Castor replies amiably. "There is still much rebuilding going on — so we are making the most of the… free time! we have before the real work starts all over again." He peers toward Krea, and then mercenaries and then back to his cousin.

"The Baron won't allow a squad of mercenaries through the front gates, cousin," he says coolly. "Do you have rooms in Sipdon? We can tell him you're here when we return."

"Why does anyone?" Cricket replies quietly to Laurel, before turning her attention back to the assembled hostiles — er, nice people — who seem to be just this side of shady, "As my brother has so helpfully pointed out, it's a rather complex affair involving several variables. One: the Baron and Baroness would suffer an apoplectic fit were mercenaries to draw anywhere near the entrance. Two: said apoplectic fit would segue neatly into a hide-lashing the likes of which neither my brother, sister, nor I have ever experienced, were it found out that any of us encouraged the transgression. Three: After they were done beating sense back into us, our parents would then turn their loving attentions towards their nephew. What can I say, cousin? Westmarks are a testy folk." Ugh, did the squire just spit?

The counter-question sends Laurel into a fit - of thoughtfulness. She drops back to her heels, frowning. "Well, typically because there is a lack of a strong enough standing army, either through attrition or lack of willing allies. Sometimes used to circumvent the chivalric rules of war…" The littlest one muses, before something draws her back out.

Catching Krea's wry, mocking grin, Laurel narrows her eyes. Her scowl turns into something surprising, though - an equally evil little smirk. Perhaps it is in response to her sibling's rejoinders.

Maldred's even tempered yet often unsettling voice that projects further than is natural for someone speaking at a normal tone is heard to remark at this juncture, "A shame that they would not be admitted as they are friends - merely forgotten ones. Perhaps I will wait for my uncle to awaken perhaps I will merely head back to town and depart. Time alas is of the essence. And there is broader mischief afoot." Despite his reputation as a thug and killer - Maldred was rarely seen without a book in his hand. Often the book was something sterile and boring - like history or strategy - and so a disturbing little ally for the siblings and their father. "Forgive my squire - she may seem impolite - but when your life is at stake. The other guys life is more at stake. If I can put it bluntly." Maldred was as pragmatic as he was reserved and cold.

Krea glances at sir Maldred with some dissatisfaction and sniffs, hidding her dagger back in the high bootleg. She crosses her hands on abdomen and now stares at the three people in front of her with a coolly look.

Castor smiles easily in Krea's direction. "She has nothing for which to apologise. It's fine, cousin. As for the mercenaries behind you, the night is dark and full of terrors — and the whole of Eikeren knows what our family has recently been through. If we have a repeat of Laketown, whatever the reason for your visit, My Lord and Lady Westmark will likely refuse to hear it. By morning, the Baron will be apprised of your visit — and more awake to entertain, as well, I imagine." His lips smile, his eyes don't. The incident at the Laketown Temple did not please Castor at all.

He half-puts his left hand on his hip, his fingers twitching minutely. Do you like my diplomacy, Sister? he signs to Coriaria, whilst out loud he says: "Tomorrow is going to be a long day; we should probably follow the example of our parents, eh?"

Maldred's evaluation of Krea brings a small, amused smirk to Cricket's features. "Impolite is the least of anyone's worries, given the current state of things," she points out good-naturedly enough, "And far be it from Castor to ever speak sense, but he does have a point. It's late, and we're keeping my sister out past her bedtime. I shudder to think what foul habits she might be witness to at this time of night. Perhaps it's wisest if the three of us return home." Not bad, she counter-signs to her twin, You're improving. "We are, after all, not of the same hardy constitution that you and your friends possess, cousin. You understand, I'm sure."

Oh, she does so dislike being coddled, but some flicker of wisdom keeps Laurel's mouth shut this time. Think of it as a kindness she has bestowed upon her elder siblings, to be able to use her so blithely as an excuse. In fact, she yawns, pressing a seemingly delicate and uncalloused hand against her mouth ever-so like a polite little lady. "Oh, I am so sorry, cousin, but it is true." She manages to squeak, and thanks to the darkness and Cricket's shoulder, none but her sister would be able to see the displeased crinkle of her nose.

Maldred then turns about in a fashion more than unsettling in its reversal. "Would you mind then if we accompanied you?" The mercenaries lose all of their tension at the suggestion. "I am not someone who anyone fashionable would call fun. But I am flexible and loyal - and so are all my men." All of the times Maldred has drunk alcohol or been embarrassing other than his absence of levity being counted on one hand. "I do not know any of you well enough. And since I am your father's ally we all should know each other." His proposition. Maldred is as cold as always in proposing it - but that has always been his way. "I am not a good merchant." He admits.

Krea rolls her eyes at the offer to accompany these three children. Though, she tries to hide it, turning her gaze somewhere in the sky and chewing on her lip. One of her seamy hands slips to the pommel of the dirk and fingers start lazily dance at it.

Castor's eyes tighten just a little. "As I said, in the morning. The Keep is heavily guarded, and the fog from the fens is heavy. They are only expecting we three to return this night. If more show up, there is no telling what may befall us — and, if it's all the same to you, cousin, I'd rather not be fired upon by my own guards. You're a Westmark — after a fashion — you should know this, Ser Knight."

Thus ends the young lord's attempt at diplomacy. Letting out a breath through his nostrils, he puts a smile on his face and nods to his two sisters. "We should be going," he says as his hands move as though to fall lightly upon his sisters' shoulders. "Knowing our luck, we'll get in the door and Mother will demand to know what we've really been doing — since we still have all our coin."

He offers Maldred and Krea a polite nod of his head. "May the Four keep you both safe."

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