|A Game of Keep Away|
|Summary:||Markus finds Jael and tries to figure out what those looks of hers mean.|
|Related Logs:||This Sleep is Sound Indeed|
|In Between the Tents|
|Somewhere between the tents of the Flint pavilion.|
It's been a long day. A long night. A long week. When Jael was tasked to shadow the flighty little Reed, there was nothing in the agreement that mentioned festering wounds and dying soldiers. Jael has been on the wrong side of the sword for too long now, and after nearly two days of shadowing Cordelya within the tent, the young Crannog has finally made an escape. While she's not exactly hiding — is there really a way to hide, in a place like this? — the alley created between two of the large tents is close enough. Out of sight, out of mind? The woman has settled herself cross-legged in the dirt, back propped against one of the tent spikes, with her head propped back against the thick canvas, eyes half-lidded.
There's the sound of booted feet, although that is not precisely unexpected in the midst of an armed camp. It's the sound of them coming in her direction, between the tents, that might be worthy of attention. And if that is not enough, then surely Markus calling with a low, "Ah, so that's where you've gotten off to," is enough to get the crannogwoman's half-lidded attention.
The crunch of nearby boots was enough to have her shoulders beginning to stiffen — ready to respond quickly, if necessary — but the sound of what's becoming a familiar voice has the odd effect of putting her both at ease and attention. There's no bolting to her feet, but hazel eyes are very much open as she tips her chin upward to regard the newcomer. There's a moment of staring at the man — a bit too long for Southerner propriety, in truth — and then a quirked smirk. "If it involves a bandage or boiled water, you didn't find me."
He reaches behind him and withdraws a small flask from his belt, and offers it via underhand toss to Jael. "What about strong drink? Did I find you if it involves strong drink?" Markus doesn't wait for an answer, and instead makes to close the distance and begin to take a seat next to the woman on the hard, packed dirt of the camp's floor, trodden by so many feet before.
"/Then/ you found my by the Gods' favor," is Jael's dry response to that, catching the flask with the ease of one who has had a fair share of objects thrown in her direction. Or 'at her', as it may well be. The lid is twisted off the flask without further ado, and after taking a long enough swallow to make the world a slightly warmer place, she's capping it off and offering it back. "Thank you." There's a sideways look at the man, chin cocked once more, as she studies his features. Another of those not-quite-appropriate looks, but one that's becoming familiar. "Ser Ilgrave, was it?"
"Markus, or Mark, whatever you like," he says with a shrug of his shoulders, leaning against her just so as he takes the flask from her and uncaps it for a long pull of his own. "Which Gods, by the by? You people keep with the Godswoods and that, don't you?" The question is a casual one, made as he turns his head to consider the unconventional woman, and the way she stares at him just so.
She doesn't lean away. It might not mean much to the man, but anyone who'd heard rumor of just how flighty the little Southerner has been might take heed. Bolder by far than her Lady in speech and manner, but as difficult to approach as a wild cat. An odd combination, but one Jael seems to excel at. "Mark," she decides for herself, echoing his name with the slight shift in pronunciation that flavors all of her words. "I'm Jael. Or bitch. Whatever you like." A sideways grin at that, and the piercings in nose and 'brow glint a bit with the motion. "Except Mistress Castel." There's a slight huff of breath at that.
He laughs at that bit, his lips quirking at the unexpected offer of potential modes of address. "Alright, you win, I'm curious," Markus informs her with that, his brow rising archly. "You'll do with bitch, which by the way is probably not what I'll end up calling you just so you know, but Mistress Castel is right out? Explain yourself, Jael." He takes another swig from the flask, and then offers it to her again.
The flask is taken without hesitation, though her drag on the thing isn't quite as desperate as the first had been. "Do I look like a Mistress to you, Ser Mark?" She drawls back, and instead of returning the flask, she's letting it rest atop one bent knee. "Mistress Castel is my mother." There's a pause at that, and then a single bark of laughter. "'Bitch' fits her well enough, too. I suppose it's a family trait." Another pull off the flask, and then she's capping the thing and shifting to press the thing against his chest. "I talk when I'm drunk. You don't want me drunk." Considering she's said more in the last few minutes than she's likely spoken in a week, it's an interesting threat.
His shoulder shake a bit when she says as much about her mother, and he seems to have no great misgivings about her slandering the woman who birthed her into the world. "Well, let's save the bitch for her, and I'll settle of Jael for you," Markus offers, watching her as she takes a second swallow on her pass with the flask, his eyes staring down at her chest when she presses it so. "I don't want you to talk? You seem perfectly pleasant when you talk," he tells her, his voice dropping lower, given the distance between them requires little. "And what else am I going to do with you if you won't drink, and you don't want to talk?"
"I've had enough of that flask that you probably don't want me to answer that question," is Jael's lilting response to that, and the sideways grin she tips him is more suited to a tavern than any Ladies gathering. Then again, would anyone look at the girl and think of tea parties and dainties? She smells of leather and steel, and looks to be made up of much the same. "You don't talk like they do," she concludes after a moment, releasing her grip on the flask — just a bit. "Not… around them, anyway." That comment is a bit dry, and there's an almost hesitant glance toward the tent she's left Corrie in. Close enough to watch, but no so close that the conversations must be overheard. "I could recite the daring tales of the fallen Lords by now. Almost as prettily." Smirking to herself at that, and taking on the slight flush of the liquor she's shown a fondness for.
He shrugs with one shoulder, his hand closing over the flask — and the hand that holds it. "Whatever I thought about when I heard you were an old friend of the Lady's," Markus decides, his lips curve at either end in a bemused sort of smirk, "I think you are not it. And, you never answered my damn question." He's still amused, even at the last, when he says, "Your people, do they keep the Tree Gods?"
The hand within his is small, but strong. Skin softer than any man's, but calloused with more work than any Lady would dare submit herself to. "I'm a friend of the Lady's from the swamps," she offers, returning his smirk with a less bemused one of her own. "She tends to leave off the last part." She finally yields the flask to his grip, though it's not without a moment of tangling her fingers against his own. A fleeting touch — almost enough so to seem less-than-deliberate — but present nonetheless. "Tree Gods," she echoes then, tone dry. "Yes, I think that's what you call them. So I would assume you worship the fledglings?"
"Worship? No, I rather put my faith in steel, and mayhap stone," Markus Ilgrave assures the swamp-born woman, unwilling to begrudge himself another sip of the liquor as he rests back against the same tent pole that supports her. "I've travelled far, to the Free Cities, and seen more Gods than they could find names for. But trusting to my blade has seen me through everything." He pauses, and smirks, ready to take another drink. "So far."
"Then you haven't spent enough time with women," is Jael's conclusion. "Insane, I hear. No sense to them, and caught up with things like skirts and… pastries." Black 'brows knit a bit at the last, and then she's smirking at her own quip. Everything's funnier with a bit of liquor involved. "Stone is sturdier than steel. Stone shapes steel." She watches his movement with the flask, expression showing a flicker of her usual guardedness. "Free Cities?" Echoing his previous words, and cocking a 'brow as she tips her head enough to regard him. "Did you come back for the fine war? I hear knights are fond of it."
He nods at the first question, but not the last. "Across the Narrow Sea… I fought in mercenary companies, earning my living with my blade," Markus explains, though he doesn't try to make it sound any more impressive than it otherwise might. "Got to see a lot of places, and a lot of different peoples… but no." He waves a hand at the camp around them. "This delightful little war just happened to get in the way of my long-delayed homecoming. To who or what, I've got no bloody idea, I'd not been back to the Riverlands since I was just a little snot of a kid."
Both 'brows have quirked upward as the man speaks of his past, and there's something new in the woman's regard she looks back to him. "A mercenary," she echoes the word, and for whatever reason, there's a grudging respect to the words. "No family? No wife and brood?" Another quirked grin at that, though the last seems more self-deprecating.
Markus makes a bit of a clucking sound, and shakes his head. "No, I'm afraid not," he tells her, feigning a momentary bit of sadness.
"Me neither," is her sighed response to that, mirroring his bit of mockery. "Gods' know I have made a valiant attempt." A small hand fists to thump against her chest, making jest of some salute or another.
His brows both rise at that last, and he laughs. "I can't fucking tell if you're serious or not," Markus concedes to her, shaking his head and settling on another sip from his flask. "Gods dammit." It's said in good humor, and all sorts of contradictory with what he claimed about his relationship with the divine just a few breaths ago, but it flows as easily as any curse does from a hardened campaigner.
His words earn the first true grin from the woman that this Gods-forsaken camp has inspired. "Then I haven't lost my touch. I've been wondering, with all the my Ladying." A small hand is fishing forward, attempting to pull the flask free of his own. "I have no brood. Though apparently spawning brats is quite the pass-time among these folk. Heirs and all."
Her grasping hand is let take what it wants, at least when it comes to the flask, and it leaves Markus smirking. "Truth be told, I think her ladyship worries a bit too fucking much about that," he remarks, shrugging faintly. "She's been married, what, three months, and you'd think she'd been trying for years, the way she goes on about it." He shrugs. "I get it's important, aye, just…"
Once the flask is hers, the mouth is brought back to her lips, and a less-than-shy drought is taken back. The drink won't last much longer between the pair of them. But that's something to worry about when the alcohol is actually gone, right? "My mother has six sons. Seven, if this latest one follows trend." The confession is made on the tail end of a drink, and she's hissing a bit at sting of the stuff. "It's when you don't want children that they take root. Another lesson well taught by my mother." The flask is raised in a mock-salute of the far-off woman. "Regardless, babies and small children quest to kill themselves. Just because one is welped doesn't mean it will live to inherit." See? This is why we don't give Jael alcohol.
"Well, isn't that fucking pleasant," Markus says, his shoulder shaking with his laughter at her rather dire bit of alcohol-induced conversation. "I'm going to suggest you don't share that with your lady, no matter how much you might've had to drink." He then leans over her to reach for the flask, and nevermind how close it leaves his face to hers, he can ostensibly blame the reach for the flask. That's where his eyes focus, mostly.
Ostensibly, yes. One could also blame the alcohol for the slightly deeper breath she's drawing as he reaches across her. It would be harder to dismiss the way she's moving said flask just outside his reach, expression kept artfully neutral as she holds what remains of the alcohol just past the stretch of his fingers. "Gods, no. Bless the odd little thing, I think she'd have a heart attack. You know I'm right, though. Why else would people keep making spares?"
Where is the flask? Markus seems not to notice, as he so swiftly moves from reaching for the flask to pinning the woman that holds it, his body twisting and moving with a long-honed grace, moving more like some large cat than a man. "You call her the odd little thing?" he wonders, his eyes searching her features when he has her so close, not needing worry for the prying eyes of others for once.
This is about the time a proper woman would be sending the alarm. For better or for worse, there's little proper about Jael. Little proper, and very little alarmed. There is some surprise — hazel eyes widening, and lips that still taste of liquor parting just a bit — but after the first moment or two, an almost lazy grin is pulling at full lips. That flask? Without bothering to return the cap, the thing is slid none-too-subtly behind her back. She lets her head back a bit more against the canvas behind her shoulders, angling her chin toward him, as the hand that isn't hiding the liquor is raised to trail a two fingertips along the jawline she was scrubbing just the day before. "You have to admit, she /is/ a bit unconventional…" The words are low enough to pass for a a purr.
"Still talking about that, are we?" Markus wonders, his mouth parting around a smile at the soft application of her fingers to his jawline, rough with stubble. "Cause I thought we were going to talk about how you've been making eyes at me since we've met," he admits, drawing closer, dangerously closer, his mouth tipping just so as it hovers near her own. "You know," he adds, his breath spilling warmth over her lips, "The sort of eyes that say…" And then he makes his bold bid for the flask in her hand behind her back.
<FS3> Jael rolls Unarmed: Great Success.
<FS3> Markus rolls Unarmed: Success.
Bastard. The sentiment is all too clear in both the girl's expression and the sound in her throat as he makes a move for the flask. Fortunately, there's enough amusement in both to suggest that he's made no true offense. He is, however, about to find out just how quickly one learns to move when housed with Gods know how many fledgling men underfoot. Odds are they're both going to end up with what remains of the alcohol on their clothing, but he's not going to get that flask back. There's no small measure of shoving and kicking, and by the end of it — should she have her way — he'd find himself being pinned beneath the smaller woman. Straddling his hips, one one hand pressed to the center of his chest, with the other raised — flask and all — to tip back what little remains of the alcohol. "Big and slow."
<FS3> Markus rolls Unarmed: Good Success.
<FS3> Jael rolls Unarmed: Good Success.
<FS3> Jael rolls Unarmed: Good Success.
<FS3> Jael rolls Body: Success.
<FS3> Markus rolls Body: Good Success.
He bucks beneath her weight, his hips pushing up against hers in protest to being pinned down. "Well, you had to have something going for you," Markus grumbles, resting his head back against the dirt a moment. His chest, pinned beneath her hand, rises and falls with each rapid breath he draws, and before she can manage to halt him, Markus is grabbing at the inside of that pinning arm and using his hips to roll them both to the side, attempting to reverse their positions altogether, though minus the flask, and without regard for how inappropriately placed his hand might end up being, on account of her more delicate gender.
However 'delicate' Jael may be, she's about as easy to hold onto as a wet cat. It's his size, in the end, that gives him the true advantage. That, and perhaps the fact that she hasn't pulled any of the small weapons that he may or may not have felt peppering her frame. "Is was the talk of spawning broods, wasn't it?" is her drawled commentary, albeit a bit breathless. The feel of her chest beneath the leather vest is more female than she'd like to admit, curves yielding under the pressure of his hand with more softness that betrays any attempts she may've made to conceal her form. "I've been told I have a way with words. Alluring an' all." The now-empty flask is left to thump to the ground beside them, and there's a rather pointed glance toward the hand that pins her chest. "Fucking tease."
Can't be said that Markus lets the whole of an opportunity go to waste, copping himself a significant feel of the woman beneath the leather armor. "You're right, it wasn't the eyes you've been tossing me for the past few days now," he admits, using his superior weight to keep the woman pinned to the ground. "It was the thought of spawning a mass of snot-nosed kids." His lips turn up in a grin, and his other hand reaches to claim the flask she's dropped. "Now if you'll excuse me? I'm sure your lady will be looking for you, before long…" And then Markus is trying to climb off her and get back to his feet, flask stashed into his belt at his back.
<FS3> Jael rolls Unarmed: Great Success.
<FS3> Markus rolls Unarmed: Good Success.
Really? Jael's eyes actually widen a bit as he attempts his casual retreat, and the leg that catches at his own curls and jerks behind the knee with just enough force to send him back to the ground. And once he's down? Jael's on top again, both hands on his chest, and her smaller frame leaning forward enough that dark hair falls to halo face and shoulders in a bit of black chaos — all the worse for their tousling. "I don't 'make eyes', Ser," is her purred response, her accent growing all the stronger with the shift in focus. "If I want you, you'll know." She doesn't force the kiss, but should he accept it, he'd find little chaste or gentle in the contact.
He lets out a rush of air when he finds himself pinned on the ground again, his arms laying outstretched to either side, in a signal of some modest sort of concession to her manuver. Markus' eyes are not angry, though the defiance is still there in them when she bends over so close to his face, his mouth parting for what was surely some sort of witty retort before she is kissing him, and damn it, he reaches up and puts his hand in her dark, chaotic hair and returns the kiss for a savoring moment.
The kiss isn't quick, but nor is it lingering. He'd feel her lean a bit deeper when his hand buries into her hair, but save the subtlest pressure of her hips against his, she's drawing back before it can become much more. Probably for the best, considering just how near they are to more-or-less respectable parties. And at least one Lady. A hand returns to his features, thumb touching at his lower lip, and then tracing a teasing graze up his jawline. "Do you know now?" It's her turn to begin climbing to her feet, lips curving into an impish grin.
He's quick and up to his feet, hands brushing a bit of dirt off of his backside as he considers Jael. "I think I know you're going to be trouble," Markus tells her, his warm, brown eyes searching her features for a moment before he cracks another, small, smile. "The rest you'll have to try and convince me of another time." Not that he sounds unpleased with the notion, not at all. "Until then?"
"Until then, Ser Mark." She manages to make the title sound almost mocking, though not in an unkind way. Teasing? "I've a Lady to tend. Or… whatever it is I'm doing in there." There's a small huff of breath, hands are raised to push her hair back to pseudo-order, and then she's turning — padding back toward the last place she saw Cordelya. Here's for hoping.