|A Drunken Knight|
|Summary:||Alek Coope arrives late to the duel and straggles over to the East bank.|
|Related Logs:||Eschaton of Stonebridge|
|East Bank — Stonebridge|
|Two pavilions stand on the bank, one bearing the arms of Tordane and the other that of Valentin.|
|29 April, 289 A.L|
There are two pavilions on the east back of the river where the Stonebridge connects to, one bearing the flapping banner of Tordane and another of Valetin. The duel has just passed and Ser Gedeon Tordane's body been carried back across the river to set it to rights before his is laid to rest. After which the party had split, the Lady led off by cousins into one tent and the departed Ser into the other to be seen to by Mistress Anneke. A burst of heated words broke the air around the Tordane tent, leading to Ser Garett Westerling to exit in a cold pique. It is some small time later before the Lady Danae follows, stumbling out of the tent, bloodstained skirts dragging across the dirt and the heavy weight of her husband's sword in her hand.
Ser Alek Coope, also known as the Blacksword and the missing sworn man of Lord Valentin has traveled far to be here, ridden hard at the news of the coming duel to which he arrived only to see Gedeon's body fall. When he finally finds his way back from the crowd of the bridge, it is with a split lip and whiskey on his breath, practically stumbling himself with it. But his intentions are clear, and they do not lead him towards Lord Ser Anton's banner, but rather the one that flies from the tent that Lady Danae leaves. His voice is harsh where it raises to call out, "Lady Danae Tordane."
Her stumble catches her sinking part of the Tordane into the earth, fingers curled around the pommel as if Danae is pulling from it for strength. Blonde hair falls down her shoulders, eyes cast towards the ground that buries the point of the sword. The cry of her name — her new, true held name leads her to look up in in hazy confusion. The fair woman, gown and face streaked with blood alike, looks towards the Blacksword knight for a long moment. "Ser Coope," she greets quietly, proununciation slow with shock.
Even in this moment, Alek cannot quite maintain the dignity required by a knight, a curse rushing from his throat as he closes the distance between them with quick strides. "It would prove true, that Geds would be a lucky bastard even in this," he offers flatly towards her, grey eyes dragging over the woman. "Fuck, I should have been here. I am sorry. I'm sorry. If I had come sooner—."
Danae smiles flatly at his response, reaction more instinctual than genuine, her shoulders drooping. "My husband should have saved more of his luck for when it mattered," she replies, words poised and utterly without feeling. At Alek's appologies she shakes her head, smile trembling on her lips as she looks at the ground. "He would not have wanted you to do anything, Ser. Stupid, awful, fucking honor."
"Bloody honor that I would not have bothered with. I'd have slit that bastard's throat before he could have—." Alek cuts himself off with a groan, the weight of his gaze seeking something from Danae for a long moment as he draws unsteady breath. Then he sinks to his knees, fingers fumbling for the sword in his scabbard as he starts, "I have little of my own left, my Lady Tordane, but for Gedeon's honor, for yours, I would swear my sword to you and your unborn child. Gedeon's child."
There is seldom enough left in the slight, fair-haired woman left to take. A wife and widow within the span of the day. Her keen, pale eyes are hazy with pain and look up to Alek when he speaks, showing the same regard that they did atop a battlement so many, many months ago. It is when he sinks to his knees does confusion fluster Danae, mouth opening and closing silently. "I…" Her fingers slip on the pommel of the sword, causing her to sway a little. "Ser, I would…gladly take your vow, thought I have little to promise it in return, but are you not already so sworn?"
"One vow will not break the other, my lady, but—Anton will understand. I will seek him out, soon, to explain my decision to transfer myself to your service," Alek replies flatly, his own voice breaking a little as his fingers tighten over his sword and he does not yet withdraw it. "If you will have me," is added almost in a whisper of self-doubt.
"I—" Danae breathes out a soft puff of air, unable to pull her gaze away from the knight at his response. Her fingers scratch into the pommel of the sword, a few tears managing to drag down from her cheeks as emotion rises. Her voice thick with it as she says, "I would be honored to have a man such as you, Ser Coope. Although I do not know the traditional response to such an oath, I welcome you with heart and trust and offer you the colours of my banner should you so see it borne."
"Anything you ask of me, Lady Tordane, I will see it done. I will protect you, I swear it, as I did not protect him," is Alek's harsh utterance, whiskey thickening his words where he bites back his own emotions. None of the words are formal oaths, but perhaps those will be sworn later after he has been released from service to Oldstones. Where he rises to his feet, he steps forward to brush a callused pad of his thumb over a damp tear. "We will honor him with blood, not tears." It is a violent promise, flat and fierce.
"Then rise, Ser." Danae nods her head shortly, fiercely blinking back yet more tears that cloak her vision. It is all she will ask for now. It would be wrong to do so until the time at which he has been released in any regard. The small Lady shudders under the the press of his hand, looking up at the knight — her knight — with wide blue eyes. Swallowing thickly, Danae nods her head and tears her face away from the knight to look towards where Stonebridge stands beyond the river. "I have so little blood to give for him…" She whispers uncertainly.
"It won't be your blood, my lady," Alek replies sharply, his fingers tightening on the pommel of his sword as he glances towards Stonebridge as well with a quick, dismissive look. "It will be mine, and theirs. But, not yours."
"This day…I think this day has seen enough blood, Ser," Danae murmurs, brushing her brow with bent fingers. "That bridge has sucked down the blood of a honorable man. Let us give it no more today."
"Then I shall seek out Ser Anton, and explain." Alek offers an unsteady bow, his tongue wetting dry lips even as he straighten with a weighted look on the woman. He begins, unsurely, "Lady Danae, was he—." But words cut off, the question unvoiced where he has no real ability to capture sentiment into a sentence.
"Please," Danae encourages softly, carefully pulling the sword from the earth now that she seems to have found her feet beneath her again, even enough so to curtsey slightly at his bow. Sad blue eyes look to him with sympathy for surely, he knew her husband far better than she. "Ask your question, Ser Alek."
"Did he at least find—some satisfaction, in the King's declaration?" Alek questions quietly, his teeth grinding momentarilly against one another. "Before those Naylands ripped it from him."
A soft, curious smile curves Danae's mouth that does more to lighten her eyes than anything has this day. "Yes. Yes, I know that he did," she breathes in a hush. "He stood so tall with it, even just the name."
"Good. He would be happy, Lady Danae, that his son will bear that name as well," Alek answers, the sweep of his gaze dropping for a moment to her stomach before he draws in a breath.
"I hope that he would, Ser. I hope that he would think it worth it, even now." Danae's freckled hand falls away from the pommel of the sword, curling protecticely over the lacking curve of her stomach. They will know in time.
All Alek manages is a silent nod, fingers lifting to drag over bleary eyes as his gaze drags away instead to the Valentin tent. "I have to attend to this, my lady, but I will return," he offers. Already having bowed, he instead simply turns on his heel and stalks towards the matter at hand. Surely he will soon return to stand guard where Danae needs him.