A Call to Arms

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 Mirth for Men, First Crone | Tag: Alistair
FALKIERI SWANN
 direct link • Jul 07 2017, 01:58 pm
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Heir to Stonehelm
The Wildfire Knight
House Baratheon
THE STORMLANDS
21 years
Dusty • she/her • 22 posts
Offline


Even future Lords and Princes needed to sit down for a drink from time to time, free of servants and messengers bothering them. In this both Falk and Alistair was of like mind. A brief conversation with the Swann men-at-arms had extracted the name and location of a tavern that carried ale and wine that was, to quote Jorryn, ‘acceptable’. The men-at-arms tended to know their taverns. The Pithy Whale, by the docks, was a tavern a step above a winesink—again, following the word from the men-at-arms. The Swann men were used to Falk wandering off on his own and so did not try too hard to dog his heels.

The Prince who had walked with him down to the docks was a different matter. Falk was not privy to how close a watch anyone had on him, but based on status alone it would be many. That was the Prince’s matter and at least Falk was there if some alleyway brigands fell on them. They had made it unscathed, however, no brigands or robbers in the muddy streets of King’s Landing today. The sign for the pub was barely legible, one end hacked off by some drunkard or another, it meant the fat whale badly painted on it was missing a fin.

The two wayward nobles walked in, the dirty street left behind for the dark insides of the tavern. It smelled of smoke, sour wine, and spilled ale, fulfilling all expectations. Very little sunlight penetrated, leaving it in a queer half-light, and the smoke from the fireplace and those puffing their pipes made it all the murkier. Through the smoke he could see a smattering of patrons, a few seemingly unconscious, from drink or something else, he could not tell. The rushes on the floor looked to have not been changed in years. It was absolutely filthy.

“Charming,” was the dry remark as the two settled down by a longtable. He was not truly bothered, there had been worse sights in his life, but it could hardly go unremarked.

They had not sat for long when the serving wench trotted up, teats overflowing from too-tightly wound corsetry. Her perky “Drinks, sers?” revealed a spirit not yet stomped on by the drunkards and wandering hands, or just someone with her eyes on a few bits of extra gold.

Falk grinned at her, leaning over the table, “An ale, sweetling.” She tittered.

ALISTAIR BARATHEON
 direct link • Jul 09 2017, 08:10 pm
Quote
Prince of the Stormlands
the Young Stag
sworn to the Seven Kingdoms
THE STORMLANDS
18 years
Tris • he/him • 118 posts
Offline



They’d gotten a name from the Swann men-at-arms. Alistair was no stranger to the alehouses and brothels of King’s Landing – he’d spent a few memorable weeks there, last year – but if he patronized those again he would be recognized. Better to head for somewhere barely better than a winesink, where not a soul would be able to put a name to his face. The places in the city where that was possible were becoming fewer and fewer the longer he stayed here, the prince knew. In a few years there would be almost nowhere in the capital where he’d be able to go discreetly. The Baratheon, dressed as a hedge knight, cast an amused look at the sign before following in his companion.

If not even that was safe from drunks with blades, it promised to be an interesting evening.

And to be honest, he could use one of those. He’d always told himself that the drinking and whoring were nothing more than escapements, though ones he very much enjoyed, but the habits were proving harder to set aside than he’d thought. Alistair had used the hours spent with a drink in hand and a barmaid on his knee to bind men closer to him, but they’d also been hours free of expectations. He was short on those, nowadays. Until the Master of Laws was properly installed the High Prince of Westeros had taken it onto himself to run the city watch and restore order to the city, all the while juggling the growing factions at court. Too many things to do, so little time to do them.

And everything he missed might come back to bit him later.

“Charming.”

Falkieri wasn’t wrong, he decided. Even if the Pithy Whale had been looted during the sack, he doubted it would have made much of a difference for the décor. The prince smothered a grin. Already he was feeling lighter on his feet.

“You’re such a snob, Falks,” he teased. “Like neither of us ever got a little mud on our cloaks.”

This alehouse seemed more likely to grant them vomit, but at least it would be cheerful vomit. The longtable they claimed was close to the back and not too far from the fire – in places like this, Alistair liked to have his back to the wall. The serving girl came to them without dithering, face pleasant and chest very much on display. The prince was not shy in looking. It would be almost insulting, really, to refuse to honour a display so freely offered.

“Drinks, sers?”

“An ale, sweetling.”

Falks was laying on the charm, was he? There’d been a time where Alistair would have taken that as a challenge, but he was a reformed character these days. He was breaking his wedding vows with only one other woman, anyway, which he supposed the Mother might see as improvement. Of all the Seven, he figured that one had to be the one most used to compromise.

“Bring a jug,” the prince told the woman. “And not a small one.”

He half-smiled at his cousin.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t intend to walk out of here sober,” he said.


FALKIERI SWANN
 direct link • Jul 10 2017, 04:47 am
Quote
Heir to Stonehelm
The Wildfire Knight
House Baratheon
THE STORMLANDS
21 years
Dusty • she/her • 22 posts
Offline


“You’re such a snob, Falks,” said Alistair to Falkieri’s short and succinct measure of the tavern. “Like neither of us ever got a little mud on our cloaks.”

“It is not the mud I’m worried about,” the Swann shot back. “For our sake I hope none of these charming fellows take umbrage.”

Their dress was tame enough, looking more like men-at-arms than the nobility they were, but it would not be denied that their equipment was in good nick. Greedy eyes sometimes drank more than they could stomach. The two were armed, but so were many of the men surrounding them. Skill could only reach so far when they were outnumbered. King’s Landing may well be in Baratheon hands, but Falk would eat his left boot if there turned out to be no Targaryen loyalists lurking about still.

The serving wench cut any more comments they might have had concerning the clientele short, Falk turning to quenching his thirst and adding some charm. The Prince took a gander at the serving wench, as agreeable as she looked and how inviting those breasts were it was hardly odd, but Alistair did not serve up his own charm to match Falk’s.

“Bring a jug, and not a small one,” the Prince instructed, adding to Falk’s directives. Falk was tempted to speak up, warn caution, but the half smile directed his way shut the man up. The Prince wished to indulge, Falk could not stop him even if he nattered on like a ruffled hen. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t intend to walk out of here sober.”

The serving girl had left to fetch their ale already, so there was little do be done about it. Falk inclined his head, a silent agreement. The small cautious voice in his head that always had the voice of his father went ignored.

“Seven preserve us, Alistair,” he said quietly, shaking his head gently, before casting his eyes about the room. He sighed, feeling the rest of his resistance fading. Alistair had the right of it. Some time to themselves was something they could afford, despite, no, because of the hells damned events of the past.

The Swann let out a gusty sigh, turning his eyes to his cousin and Prince. A wry smile graced his features. “The floor looks deadlier than the men, so perhaps there is little harm in indulging.”

In the moments between, enough time had passed that the serving wench was back, burdened with the jug and their tankards. Falk grinned and thanked her, passing the appropriate coin into her hands with a wink. Nothing would come of it, but he enjoyed the reactions nonetheless.
ALISTAIR BARATHEON
 direct link • Jul 17 2017, 04:15 pm
Quote
Prince of the Stormlands
the Young Stag
sworn to the Seven Kingdoms
THE STORMLANDS
18 years
Tris • he/him • 118 posts
Offline



“It is not the mud I’m worried about. For our sake I hope none of these charming fellows take umbrage.”

“What’s there to worry about?” the High Prince smirked. “I’m escorted by the famous Wildfire Knight, who doesn’t even let being set on fire slow him down.”

The redhead paused for purely dramatic purposes, enjoying himself thoroughly.

“Though we seem to be short on wildfire, at the moment,” he said. “Will a regular torch serve just as well? I wouldn’t want to cripple your fighting technique.”

Word that Falks had somehow getting himself set on fire while marching on King’s Landing had – the Targaryen traps had been vicious and deadly things – had worried him quite a bit before he’d also heard that his old friend was still walking around. The nickname the other man had gotten out of it had been a subject of constant ribbing ever since, in part to cover up the sentimental weakness that had first seen him worry. The other man usually took it with good grace, as well he should. They’d been raised in the same keep: Falkieri knew better than most than Alistair was like a dog with a bone when he was handed a good reason to put his wit to work. The prince had begun putting uppity squires in their place with a clever turn of phrase long before he was large enough to do so with a sword, back in Storm’s End.

“Seven preserve us, Alistair.”

“You’re fretting more than usual,”the prince grinned. “We used to this all the time, back in the day. Though admittedly I aimed for brothels more than upstanding establishments such as this one.”

By age fifteen he’d been familiar with every brothel worth the name within a mile of Storm’s End and more than a few women in the keep’s castle town. Or maids inside it. His father’s proclivities had seen to it that the seneschal hired women easy on the eyes whenever his mother wasn’t looking – for all that Lysa Baratheon had run the keep in fact, occasionally Father remember he was the king. High King, now, though how long he’d care about this new and shiny crown was anyone’s guess. Alistair did not dare hope he’d remember more than a few times a moon, and at least half of those when in his cups. Mother and Stannis would see to it that everything ran smoothly, as they always had. Though he was now making his mark as well, slowly and carefully. By the time he inherited the Iron Throne, Alistair fully intended for everyone of power in the capital to already be used to taking orders from him.

“The floor looks deadlier than the men, so perhaps there is little harm in indulging.”

“I wouldn’t sleep on it,” Alistair ventured, glancing at the floor. “Would make you easy meat for the rats.”

The serving girl was back in a wink and, if the way she kept leaning was any indication, not entirely immune to the charms of his companion. The prince rather approved. At least one of them should get a good lay out of this wreck of an alehouse. The flirting had drawn attention though, he noticed. A group of older men in the back were staring at them. Alistair idly poured himself a cup, watching them from the corner of his eye as the girl lingered to speak with Falks. When they rose to their feet, the prince discreetly nudged his companion and lay a hand on the pommel of his sword. He would not draw steel lightly, but this bunch looked less than friendly and outnumbered them by a fair margin – there were eight of them. The leader, because there was always a leader with this particular breed of idiots, was hirsute dark-haired man with a beard that looked like it could host several birds. He had a sword at his hip, cheap as it looked.

“I know who you are,” the man grinned, showing yellowed teeth.

Crownlander accent, Alistair assessed. Not a knight, but perhaps a former man-at-arms. Some remains of the Targaryen army had gone to ground in the capital when Jon Targaryen took his ship to flee.

“That’s fairly unlikely,” Alistair smiled. “Sit with us, my friend. You look like you’ve had a rough month and could use a stiff drink.”

To his side, he could see Falks was paying attention and the serving wench had scuttled away at the first sign of trouble. Good. Wouldn’t want her getting in the way if – and the damned fool had just drawn his sword. The High Prince sighed.

“Think you can sack this city and get a pretty fucking crown of it, do you?” the man leered. “King’s Landing knows who those streets belong to.”

Whether that meant this particular example of human idiocy or House Targaryen went unspecified. Alistair glanced in the back. One of the men who’d stayed behind was was fiddling with something. Shit, was that a crossbow?

“These,” the High Prince said.

It would have made Uncle Stannis proud. The other man blinked.

“What?” he spat.

“Who these streets belong to,” Alistair corrected, and then smashed his cup on the side of the stranger’s head.
FALKIERI SWANN
 direct link • Jul 20 2017, 10:50 am
Quote
Heir to Stonehelm
The Wildfire Knight
House Baratheon
THE STORMLANDS
21 years
Dusty • she/her • 22 posts
Offline


“I’m escorted by the famous Wildfire Knight, who doesn’t even let being set on fire slow him down,” the Prince said, his smirk and pause clearly marking the statement as a jibe at Falkieri than a compliment. The Wildfire Knight in question simply rolled his eyes at Alistair. This had been a point of jest between them since news of it had spread. Alistair knew the truth of it—Falkieri had simply been on fire and with very little options. He was Seven blessed to have managed to rid himself of the burning gauntlet as quickly as he did.

The Swann left it alone, lest it become a day of nothing but remarks on the newly acquired moniker. There had been enough of that growing up, as Alistair had no mercy when it came to his friends and a well-placed jibe.

“You’re fretting more than usual,” Alistair remarked, which was true enough. Falk felt on edge in King’s Landing. This was not the Stormlands, this was not Stormlord territory. They did not have friends among the smallfolk, not as a conquering force. Even if they had no loyalty to Targaryen blood, the Baratheon host had disrupted their lives. Business owners had sense enough to make sure they got plenty coin from the invading force, but the smallfolk who did not run the taverns, brothels, and other such establishments that enjoyed the patronage of warriors and high folk had no such incentive keeping them from acting on their frustration.

Alistair continued speaking, Falk stewed in his fretting. “We used to this all the time, back in the day. Though admittedly I aimed for brothels more than upstanding establishments such as this one.”

“We are in spirit if not in fact wandering through enemy territory,” Falk pointed out dryly. Alistair would not be bothered, perhaps he’d welcome a fight. Falk too did not entirely dislike the idea of some vigorous exercise, but he felt twitchier than normal here. In a few months it may be settled, maybe a year, but now? It was fresh and there were enemies likely around every corner.

With their drinks on the table, the serving girl lingered despite the coin in hand, gently questioning him, a delicate ‘whereabouts are you from, ser?’ and ‘what brings you to King’s Landing, ser?’ The Swann answered truthfully, bringing up his charm. ‘Stormlands, sweetling, here for the delightful company, of course.’

Alistair nudging him sharpened Falk’s attention to the men who seemed to be looking at them with intent. He wrapped up his conversation, gently taking the serving girl’s hand in his, and whispering, “You should go, sweetling, there looks to be trouble.” The girl looked up to see the men and quickly scuttled away, taking his advice to heart.

“I know who you are,” came the damning words from the man—armed, fit enough, looked to be a man-at-arms if anything. Not a mercenary, or he would not be taking offense to their presence. Falk settled his hand on his swordhilt, but did not draw.

Alistair’s attempt at diplomacy was commendable, but in the end fruitless. Swords were drawn, but Alistair sat still. Falk stood, stepping away from the longtable to eyeball the group. The man said something, about the streets and possession, Falk had stopped listening and instead took in the group. Eight men, including loudmouth. The man in the back was fiddling with something. Not a sword, so perhaps a crossbow. Bad news.

Alistair took the time to correct the man’s language before leaping into action, but Falk knew the cues. The moment Alistair moved to smash the cup on the man’s head, Falk’s sword was clear of his scabbard with a scrape of leather and the man charged forward. He moved quickly, slamming the pommel of his sword into the closest of the men—the one standing next to the loudmouth. The crack and shriek indicated Falk had broken his collarbone with the force of the blow, but the knight did not hesitate. He kicked the man in the crotch as he brought his sword up to parry a sword strike from a second man coming around to aid his friend.

These men had not been taught in a castle by the best the Stormlands had to offer and it showed, but they had the superiority of numbers.

“Seven damn your Targaryen’s!” Falk hissed, angry at these men’s loyalties and the thrice damned family that had fled King’s Landing.
ALISTAIR BARATHEON
 direct link • Jul 20 2017, 05:26 pm
Quote
Prince of the Stormlands
the Young Stag
sworn to the Seven Kingdoms
THE STORMLANDS
18 years
Tris • he/him • 118 posts
Offline



Alistair had known in his bones there would be violence from the moment the man had first walked up to them. Much as he disliked admitting it, he’d been looking forward to that heartbeat where the blades would come out. The High Prince liked to think of himself as disciplined or perhaps more accurately controlled – he had enough escapements to keep his mind sharp when it was necessary – but there was a part of him that was all Baratheon. Not because of the words, though the frozen vicious temper he’d inherited from his mother did occasionally put truth to them. No, it was something in the blood. That same sliver of madness that had seen his great-grandfather called the Laughing Storm, that saw his own father come truly alive when steel was bared.

Alistair had been raised to fight the war that would destroy House Targaryen, so it was perhaps natural that he felt most comfortable when someone was trying to kill him.

The ringleader’s eyes scrunched in pain when the cheap pottery shattered against his temple, the sound of Falk’s sword coming clear resounding behind him. There were few better men to have at his back than his cousin, in this field or any. Even as the Wildfire Knight closed one of the flanks, the High Prince of Westeros ruthlessly jabbed his thumb into loudmouth man-at-arm’s eye. The man backed off with a scream of pain and a curse, granting Alistair exactly the space he’d needed. In a single smooth gesture, the prince’s sword came clear and a flick of the wrist sent it hacking halfway through his opponent’s neck. The Stormlander felt his lips twitch into a grin. Gods, he’d missed this. Being able to kill something, end a problem with steel and force instead of days of scribing and scheming.

“Seven damn you Targaryens!”

Even as the man he’d slain went down, a flicker of movement in the back had Alistair’s pulse quickening. The crossbowman. He wouldn’t have a good field of vision, not with his comrades crowding around the two highborn, but even a glancing shot could cost him everything.

“Falks, to the left,” he ordered.

The tone was cool, almost casual, but it came with the expectation of being immediately obeyed. A lifetime of command had left Alistair with precious little taste for backtalk, at least on the battlefield. Before his cousin was even moving, the High Prince put a hand to the edge of their table for leverage and then with the help of his foot flipped it up – it caught one of the men unprepared in the chest, but more importantly was the loud thump that followed a moment later. There went the crossbow bolt. Alistair hadn’t had a good look at what the shooter was using, but it hadn’t looked Myrish. Which meant another sixty heartbeats before he fired again, half that if he was a veteran. That was, in essence, how long he had to take cate of the issue.

“Dearest cousin,” he said. “Do make sure no one stabs me in the back.”

An almost ghoulish smile still stretching his lips, the redhead stalked forward. The man in his path hesitated, and Alistair feigned closing the distance: his opponent struck out of fear and reflex both, sword coming down blindly. The prince smoothly stepped around him, his pommel slamming into the man’s back even as he kept moving. The crossbowman was looking at him with wide eyes and Alistair sped forward: with a curse, the man dropped the crossbow and unsheathed a knife. A poor defence, against a swordsman of the prince’s calibre. His blade rose high and the enemy took the first feint for truth. The knife came up to turn away a strike that never came as the prince pivoted smoothly and cut through his throat. Letting the momentum carry him across, Alistair turned his back to the panicking room and faced the remaining six – no, five, it seemed Falks had been keeping busy – men.

“Come now, gentlemen,” he grinned. “If you’re to disturb our drinking, you could at least make this lively.”

FALKIERI SWANN
 direct link • Aug 10 2017, 04:13 am
Quote
Heir to Stonehelm
The Wildfire Knight
House Baratheon
THE STORMLANDS
21 years
Dusty • she/her • 22 posts
Offline


After his yelled curse, he pushed back against the second man who had advanced on him, sending the man reeling backwards at the force. The first man was on his knees, broken collar and painful crotch, but he had no opportunity to deliver a killing blow as Alistair spoke.

“Falks, to the left,” was the order, casual enough that had Falk not been so used to following orders delivered in a myriad of tones from the man he may have missed the actual command behind it. He obeyed with only the small delay it took for him to register the order, moving to the left and out of the way of the stunt the High Prince was pulling with the table. The table hit one of the men flatfooted and caught the crossbow bolt shot at Alistair.

“Dearest cousin,” said Alistair, Falk pre-emptively bracing himself for something reckless to come shortly after. Alistair did not disappoint. “Do make sure no one stabs me in the back,” the High Prince requested before wading into the thick of things.

Falk followed, recognising that reckless or not, the crossbowman had to be removed from the fight. He brought his sword up in defence of Alistair’s back, warding away attacks and fighting defensively rather than manoeuvring for a kill. The man Alistair struck with his pommel fell to the side, his compatriots stepping over him to get at the two Baratheon men, Falk particularly, as he stood firm at Alistair’s back.

There was more space for aggressive blows when Alistair reached his target and Falk took up guard at his back, rebuffing one attacked and thrusting his sword into the gut of another, ripping open the soft flesh as he yanked his sword back.

Alistair joined the larger fight, his target down and out, and Falk stepped to the side to allow the High Prince an overview of their opponents. The one with the broken collarbone was still on the floor, stumbling to his feet by the help of the one Falk had knocked down before going to Alistair. They’d taken out three men so far, but five yet remained, even if one of them was a little out of it.

Alistair, of course, took the time to goad the men, “If you’re to disturb our drinking, you could at least make this lively.”

The Swann lordling did not add his own words, instead adding action to the goad. With a rush he engaged the closest man, their blades clashing. Moving up close, their swords crossed and hilts close together, Falk lifted his hilt upwards to strike at the top of the man’s head. His opponent resisted, turning Falk’s blade to the side, but opening himself up for a pommel strike. The pommel hit the man’s mouth, the crack and flush of blood telling of a few teeth knocked loose.

Falk did not pause to admire his handiwork, instead moving to immediately position himself in the best possible way to deliver another blow. Falk withdrew, quick and nimble on his feet, putting enough space between himself and his opponent to try another strike at his head. His blade hit true, taking another man out of the equation. His sword pierced the soft flesh of the man’s face, thoroughly mangling the flesh, if not killing him outright.
ALISTAIR BARATHEON
 direct link • Yesterday at 05:43 pm
Quote
Prince of the Stormlands
the Young Stag
sworn to the Seven Kingdoms
THE STORMLANDS
18 years
Tris • he/him • 118 posts
Offline



Jests about his cousin setting himself on fire aside, Alistair recognized that Falkieri was one of the finest swords in the Stormlands if not the entire Seven Kingdoms. The High Prince considered himself to be the other’s match in this regard and neither of them had really felt outmatched with a blade since they were squires, but they were far from invincible. The prince would not wager on either of them against his father, for one. People who tried to parry Robert Baratheon’s war hammer died with broken bones, as Rhaegar Targaryen had so agreeably demonstrated. Still, against sloppy footmen like these they were like a sickle against wheat. Sheer numbers meant that Alistair had to take the threat mostly seriously – no matter how swift a sword, it could only be in one place at a time – but when crushing fools under your boot men of their birth should at least make a show of it.

Uncle Stannis would have called that fecklessness, but there was a reason his nuncle had no songs about him while there were two dozen about Father. And no matter what the older man might insist, it wasn’t the crown that made the difference. Caution and steadiness were good traits for a commander to have, and Stannis should be given his due in this, but boldness was what stirred the hearts of men. Alistair liked to think he’d learned lessons from his father and mother both in this, learned to use calculated recklessness to carve a reputation, but he would not deny that sometimes his Baratheon blood just ran like the storms his homeland was known for. Which was why, after his verbal sally at the enemy with his sword still wetted red from the crossbowman’s blood, when Falks simply charged back into the fray he clicked his tongue in disapproval.

How were they supposed to make it look effortless when his cousin insisted on being so grim?

“Kill ‘em,” one of the footmen snarled.

“Can’t ransom dead men,” another said, but the sound of Falks knocking some teeth out of a man’s mouth cut the debate short.

As the man who now ran the city guard, Alistair had to say he was displeased they’d not yet arrived. Discipline was due for whoever was supposed to be patrolling this part of the city but that would have to wait. It would be bad form to allow his cousin to die while he watched. And he didn’t have anyone nearly so good at glaring at his disposal in the capital, so it would be a dire loss indeed. Rolling his wrist to flick off some of the blood on his sword, the High Prince went on the offensive. They weren’t unskilled with the blade, Alistair noted as he turned aside a blow and twisted his arm to strike at his opponent’s unprotected helm. Just not a match for men trained in war since they were children. Hair and flesh parted under his edge, though not bone – the angle had been too queer for that. A boot saw the screaming footman tossed into the chest of another, the two of them falling in a tangle. Only two still upright, though the one’s he’d just booted were far from dead.

“You can still surrender,” the prince said. “Offer yourself to the High King’s justice.”

“No king of mine,” one spat.

Alistair’s eyes turned cold.

“Well now,” he murmured. “That was the sound of a man volunteering to be an example.”

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