|A Seed to Aid|
|Summary:||Cherise goes to the Tordane camps to visit Danae, instead she probes Alek for his opinion.|
|Tordane Campesite, Outskirts of Stonebridge|
|The trails are worn and well tended here and the fields on either side are lush and full of wildflowers amidst the lightly scattered trees of the central Cape of Eagles. A few packed dirt trails converge with the main road from outlying hamlets around Stonbridge.|
|Tue May 29, 289|
The Tordane camp has shifted slightly, tents moved to the Twins and back without being erected in quite the same place or the same manner. For all that, they still proudly fly the Tordane banner with the Tordane crane emblazoned boldly on the silk. The camp is small, sparsly populated with men and servants alike though not abandoned. Currently, one knight sits in front of his own tent, blond hair raked back and mussed. Alek's nose is still healing, set so that it seems like there will be no lasting damage though it is bruised and swollen now. A bruise traces along one of his jaws, the rest hidden under the light weight of his tunic.
There's less than a handful of reasons for the Lady Cherise to leave Stonebridge, a home away from since she and her husband's initial departure from Hollyholt. Accompanied with her regular attendants, a guard and two handmaidens, the finely dressed noblewoman in green and yellow attire sojourned the distance in seeking her kin after all had returned from the Frey's Tourney.
On a direct path for the Tordane flags, hoisted and proudly displayed by the 'new' overseers, her gaze sweeps over the sad sight of a collected but small house. Challenged and unwelcomed. As Cherise moved her chin was poised high, as if it had been time for the camp ground's inspection, she gave pause before Alek's tent with both hands layered against her abdomen. "Ser Coope?"
Fingers drawing against the edge of the blade in his lap, a brush of skin against steel, it takes Alek a moment to lift grey eyes to Cherise, though when he does a smile slips easily, crookedly on his lips. He does not ride, but he does greet politely, "Good afternoon, Lady Charlton."
One of these tents belonged to Danae, as it should be the one with men posted outside its cloth made doorway and yet she saw none. "Good afternoon." She does return, pleasantly enough as her eyes briefly take in the blade on his lap. "I had hoped to enjoy the company of my cousin, though I suppose given present circumstances it may be difficult." Her eyes lift, meeting his grays. "How does she fair? With… all this." Cherise gestured to everything around her, the tents, the sleeping out doors, the ever constant reminder that this claim of ownership was a different kind of battle.
"She is with Ser Streem, currently in council," Alek answers with a tip of his chin to the tent they likely are in, for all that it has no guards posted without. Perhaps they are within, with the other knight. "It… is not my place to say how she fairs."
A small sweep of her attention takes in the aforementioned tent and unknown as to when their talks shall break. Unfortunately she'll have to wait. "Ah…" She tells him, until the male knight with holds his answer. "Not your place to tell me whether my cousin is doing well? Eating? Praying regularly? In poor or descent spirits? Surely you can share only what your eyes have witnessed, how might one find harm in that Ser?"
A smile dances at the corner of Alek's mouth, all crooked and boyish as his gaze brushes over Cherise's features for a moment, lingering in a study. He replies, carelessly, "She eats, and she sleeps. If she carries a child, I do not know it yet, but she is healthy enough."
Simple answers, and yet they were answers all the same. Cherise muses over the curl of Alek's mouth, "Should there be a child we shall not know for quite some time still. A bold thing to proclaim so early…" The lady turns a chin over her shoulder and to her handmaidens, "Do go and see that a meal will be prepared this evening for my cousin." The pair of maidens will depart, leaving behind the rugged looking knight serving as her guard. When she returns her attention upon Alek she begins taking her leisure of studying about his camp site. "I do not wager you are a simple man Ser Alek, there are plenty of them around, surely but my cousin is smart. Careful and cautious. She would not seek the support of fools." Cherise had raised a hand, fingering the sewn leather edge of the man's tent. "My husband may have gambled with the fates to support my cousin, however I do not care for leaving things up to chance." Losing interest in his tent, she does seek Alek's gaze. "Humor me if you will, Ser Coope, what shall you do if my cousin is not with child?"
"It does not matter what I do in these games, does it?" Alek challenges, a brow curving up even where his sharp gaze warms with wry humor as he meets Cherise's look. "If you're asking if I will abandon your cousin, I will not, my lady. Perhaps I will push for her to marry elsewhere, and get away from this feud over Stonebridge." He pauses, drawing the blade slowly from his lap and rising gracefully to his feet. He only shoves it into its leather, however, with a quick smile flashed at the lady. "We all know that without a child, there is no claim."
"It should matter to you, as whatever the outcome it will surely change your fate as well." Cherise faces him, following his ascent while keeping the sun at her back rather than blinding her sights. "Danae could never be pushed in any direction." Her tone relays dejectedly, "Well not as of late." As children it was quite different. "You served with her late husband did you not? The ba-I mean, Ser … Lord Gedeon. Offering your sword to the Lady Danae would mean you support her claims, if not hers then her late husband's. Otherwise you could be far, far away from these games Ser Alek. Lending your guarding strength to some highly desired family."
"I was never one to fight over castles and lands that would never be mine. I am here to support Gedeon's memory, and make the Naylands mourn his death as much as I do," Alek replies in a quiet murmur, drawing closer to Cherise as he speaks with that same curve of a smile, all warm and somehow predatory at the same time. "What do you support, Lady Charlton? Where would you push your cousin, if you could?"
Her guard remained as he was, seeming to find no threat in Alek's advancement. Cherise easily raises her chin, thick lips pressed together before she would provide a thoughtful retort. "Out of this whole mess entirely to be honest. The Gods did not favor his outcome in the duel, and perhaps we have been fools to lend our aid to Danae's well being." Her gaze sweeps sidelong under her own words. "Deeds are done and should her claim be true, the will of an heir will be born." Cherise returns her eyes onto him, surveying his form from head to toe and back up again. "Blond and stalwart." She does smile a little, "Shouldn't it?"
One blond brow curves upwards at Cherise's study of him, at that smile that forms with the question. Alek answers, simply, "Likely so, given Gedeon's coloring and your cousin's."
She nods, craning her head a touch sidewise, "Likely so." She repeats before straightening her poise, shoulders square and pressed back. "Enjoy your day Ser Coope, I do hope you have a long future serving my cousin."
"I will see her safe, even if I cannot see her out of this mess," Alek murmurs lowly in a warm promise to Cherise, an appreciative smile tugging at his lips as his gaze draws slowly over the lady as she straightens.
"If you are as smart as you are handsome Ser Alek I believe you will." She tells him with a smile slapped onto her face. The lady turns to her guard, relaying to him she is ready to depart and will have to revisit her cousin in a few hours. Hopefully the meeting would have ended by then.