|An Awkward Style|
|Summary:||Lady Elinor and her maidens take to the green for short walk and witness the odd fighting style of Ser Aeric.|
|The Green, Terrick's Roost|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|November 30th, 288|
It is a brisk day in early winter. Thankfully, with the Sun high overhead, it is merely invigorating rather than chilling. Here, on the Green, there's generally a bustle of activity at any given point of the day. Presently, there is a small number of archers practicing on a corner of the field and the stablemaster breaking in a horse. What is a trifle less than mundane is a lone figure well away from them who appears to be.. behaving rather oddly by most standards.
Aeric hates being cooped up in a castle. Its no wonder he became a sailor. With no woods to frollic in like the Camdens have, he took to what freedoms he could. Presently, he's working out as is his daily habit though working out is certainly in his own unique fashion. He's taken to wearing wool as befits the cold weather but it looks more like something a common man might wear. Naturally, his signet and groomed features belie that assumption. His throwing of his hands, elbows, and knees into strange patterns, however, might have him otherwise labelled as the town fool.
At various hours of the day Elinor and her handmaidens brave a venture beyond the grand towers for airs beyond whispers. All three ladies were cloaked in preparation for cooler weather, so their hoods were drawn back, resting upon the shoulders and light conversation to be had while nearing the green. Two of the females were grossly intrigued by the visually stimulating bouts of wooden swords hitting shields, metals against metals, the grunts hoots and hollers of male vigor engaged fighter's practice.
Her maidens giggled, Elinor's lips tightened as her gaze remained focused on the bath before them. Skirting the field's range with caution for the archers, she cleared her throat in correcting her maiden's childish folly. "We are not here to gawk ladies." No, certainly not while the two females had made a mention of Ser Aeric's awkward gestures. The Lady Banefort's gaze swept with forced interest towards the Lord, her brows wrinkled briefly in wonderment until another fit of giggling had corrected this lingering attention. Whatever it was Ser Aeric was doing she had no words to explain it.
He's shadow boxing. Of a sort. Very few in the nobility bother mastering the fine art of killing a man with your thumb but when you're exposed to ruffians, sailors, and foreigners from lands you can't even pronounce? You learn a few things. You also tumble into a wild cast of foot and hand until you turn and see you have an audience. He rises abruptly to an upright position then bows low with a flourish. "Ladies. I must apologize. Now you know the truth of my banishment to the sea. I take to fits from time to time, you see." He affects a twitch of his neck. "And am wholly a danger to others if I don't occasionally work the.. kinks out." He smiles graciously.
The two maidens nearby smiled inwardly, hands raising to cover their mouths where as poor Elinor eyed the male with great sympathy. "Ser Aeric." A dip in their gowns in preforming a curtsy of greeting, the Lady Banefort increased the distance between the pair of them with a step towards her maidens. No need to be this close to something so dangerous. "How dreadful for you. Have you, Ser, suffered this affliction long?"
Aeric blinks. No. Really. It takes him a moment to recover from Elinor's reaction. "Ahh." There's an almost confused cant to his head and he brings a hand to rub the back of his head. "Most of my life.. apparently." He looks to the lady's maids then like.. serious.. she's serious? "I.. must apologize. You see I was jesting just then." He coughs lightly, clearing his throat and dropping his hand. "Strange as it must have appeared, I was merely excercising. There is a lot of close quarter battle upon ship and one must make ones body as lethal a weapon as the dagger I keep at my belt."
Sadly yes, Lady Banefort appeared quite serious until the truth revealed and the good found humor was lost upon her. Her maidens spoke not a single word though the embarrassment radiated through Elinor's reddened cheeks and downtrodden gaze. Thankfully fidgeting hands were concealed beneath the deep green cloak. "It is quite alright Ser Aeric." She managed to say, squaring her shoulders against the sudden urge to walk hastily elsewhere. "I-I suppose I make a for a poor audience of humor today. I truly believed you were… no matter." A half smile spreads her lips, "I have never seen a fighting style of that manner. How are you to maneuver in this manner with protection?"
Aeric offers a mild frown and shakes his head. "Nonsense. It is I who was in poor taste. I have known a few such unfortunate souls in my time and it is no humor to jest in such fashion. Again, I apologize for being so uncouth." He bows. "But. As to my action in armor, it is limited in armor, true, but not ineffective. It more depends upon how armored your opponent is. Knowing where the openings are and how to take best advantage. Most of the grappling techniques are actually made more viable as your opponent has weight and restricted movement working against them." He gives a mild shrug. "In fact, I've overpowered men in armor with myself without before. Surprise and competence become weapons against complacency and ego as they ever are."
A few nods of her head accepted the offered apology before the Knight would begin to further explain this mystery combating method. The more details offered the broader Elinor's understanding became visible. Her maidens whispered to one another, seemingly intrigued by the Knight's prowess over his enemies. "True? While I am not one to fully comprehend the skills of one, such as yourself Ser, I would have believed this technique to be ineffective against proven true plates of steel and shields." While she does not challenge his methods her eyes do wander to the field where the other men have taken up the aforementioned arms to spar against one another. "And is this, method you use, tried against the men of the Roost? I am admittedly curious."
Aeric laughs. Eyes brightening. "Lady Elinor, I am a brave man. But also wise. I say these things work and it is true that they can.. but I have been practicing for years and I'd not recommend them against a man with a pike. Give me armor and a blade and I'd consider the matter done. I simply.. have known far too many situations without honor and so have prepared myself for them." His eyes cast towards the sparring troops. "Though it would not be amiss to train them."
The Lady smiled then, a warm one, possessed with a spirit from his amusement. "Of course Ser Aeric, for your seasoned years one should naturally gain an abundance of wisdom as I may only defer to it." Elinor turned her gaze over the shoulder where her maidens stood nearby, waiting and reassured by their presence with a nod in tandem. "I would agree, as your purpose here may be extended. One could assume all the men upon those vessels would be better equipped with your knowledge should, the Gods forbid, it be deemed necessary." The Lady pauses to ask, "You are a well traveled Ser, are you not? Is there somewhere you'd rather be than here?"
"My lady asks the forked question, does she not?" Aeric returns as he takes a cloth from his belt and wipes his brow. "For if I would wish to be elsewhere then I am not here as my cousin would wish and thus am denying my House. But if your question is in earnest, as I believe it to be, then yes.. there is a place I would rather be and it is a place I cannot go." His answer is given plainly and with a due solemnity. "But I have also been forbidden to speak of it so, again, I beg your forgiveness." He moves to where he had left his jacket and pulls it over his torso to ward off the pending chill now that he is no longer excercising.
Abashed by her own forwardness Elinor steels her composure, "Please forgive my prying where one should not." There were numerous subjects marked forbidden, most in relation with the ever going feud of a particular house. However there were others Elinor may not be privy to. The woman considers the man before her as he dawns an extra layer of clothing, herself ensuring the security of the cloak about her shoulders, encasing the woman the warmth. "I asked only due to my own desire to return to the south. And yet I should continue to remain here amongst new family" No need for the worst to be assumed, "I had visited the archives here, in the tower. There are some mentions of grand exploits. One in particular where you…" Ah, the noblewoman raises a hand, fingertips touching the chin in thought while searching her memory. "Ah yes, a particular story of a fleet of ships masked by a heavy fog that managed to push back the Ironborn forces to reclaim the Cape of Eagles. And they boast of how men fell from the sky, laying siege to Ironborn ships."
Aeric gives pause to listen to her tale and allows a smile at her praise. "Exploits are not nearly so grand in the doing as in the telling, Lady Elinor. I assure you that the day in question was as dangerous for our fleet as it was the Ironborn. We simply knew the sea better. It was our home after all." He is silent for a time before he shakes his head. "Questions honestly asked cannot be made into affronts, m'Lady. You have no malice and therefor none shall I have. As to the south.." He shrugs. "who would not wish to be in familiar lands, walking fields of their childhood, and smelling familiar scents?" He says the words as though they are Truth upon their face but he does not feel it.
A warming smile is summoned when his words invoke pleasant memories. "The cliffs." She starts, "Our home overlooks the sea and from there one would feel untouchable. Nevermind that just across the blue our enemies made their home. Still…" Perhaps Elinor had other thoughts but her words turned in a different direction. "I could only imagine how dreadful the encounter may have been." She offered sympathetically, "The tales themselves do hold a measure of truth do they not? They've even stated how your shadow could dwarf a man."
Aeric laughs, then, casting his head to the sky. "When you stand upon the pilot house with the sun at your back, it paints a fiersome image. Especially in a fog." His straightens then and considers her in a silence, glancing to her lady's maids, then back to her. "But as you can see, I am just a man. Tall, perhaps, but no giant of a figure and certainly no god among men."
Her maids exchanged knowing glances with another in Elinor's hindsight, "I can see." She smirks. The poets glorified the battles and trials, painting a great depth of fear or awe where it should be found. True some of the details were embellished though a great much of it seemed to be true. Elinor had only noticed now how much time she stole from the Knight's personal hours. "I did not mean to intrude on your time for exercise Ser. Perhaps you wish to return to your.." A hand gestures to him, uncertain just what to call those techniques displayed earlier. "Practice." She completed the thought after a short summary of the field, still occupied with drills by weapons and shields.
Aeric gives the handmaids an 'eye'. The perceptive might pick up the slight narrowing of his gaze upon them. Mostly, though, he merely offers a polite smile to Elinor and bows his head. "I thank the Lady for her consideration though I believe the moment to have passed. It is soon time to refresh and return to other studies and counsel before the evening meal. I am sorry if I am not so boisterous as the tales would have me be. I can, at least, profess there is truth within the words if you but know where to look. In that, I have made certain even if they insisted upon embelishments."
Elinor follows Aeric glare, a silent chastisement that had the Lady raise her chin a bit higher. She would dare not dismiss them, however she would return her attention upon the Mallister with a softened measure of discontent. "Please forgive my maids, Ser. They may appear to be adults yet still they act as children." That should bring an end to all the giggling and quiet whispers. The girls straightened, bowing their head in reverence as their ill behavior was brought into light. In another matter, the Banefort woman smiled lightly, "A lesser being would hold the expectations of truth with the exaggerations. It is all in good spirit Ser, they are quite enjoyable." Elinor continued, "I should hope to hear of more, for the ones that have not reached a poet's ear."
Aeric arches a singular brow, his attention now solely upon Elinor. "I am no poet, Lady, nor a storyteller. I'm afraid the tales of slaughter and death throes do not amuse me. I have placed my blade between too many ribs to find any fascination in the task. I only know that I must be more proficient than my foe if my duty is to be served." And he must be for there are not many warriors who have lived to see his years with as much action as he has seen. At least, if the bards are to be believed. "Perhaps, dinner might be better served by your muse? I understand your voice is said to be most pleasing."
He lived the violence and bloodshed as she could only imagine what horrors he's seen. Even from the Knight's brief description and his distaste to recall such a past, Elinor latched onto what little details he offered. Thoughtful, she nodded her head once to agree with Aeric's assessment of himself or any other man who wished to outlive their enemy. Her cheeks did fill at the compliment, swollen by her smile, "Oh Ser, I.. I would believe there are others more gifted." Suddenly overwhelmed with girlish embarrassment, so sing before others that were not of kin and tutors. "Do you have a particular favorite?"
Again, there is a pause from Aeric at the question. He no longer looks at her but somewhere to the north and west. If her eyes are keen, she will see the throb of the veins upon his neck pulsing in the interim between silence and answer. "I sing of a maiden." His answer is quickly given and preceeds his departure by a mere instance wherein he gives her a bow. "M'Lady." Then he is walking briskly towards the castle, buckling his sword to his waist as he goes.
Elinor would not press for his answer as the Knight became distracted by something else in the far distance. Her features shifted into concern as copious whispers shared both lies and truth yet whatever grey clouds shadowed this past they still lingered. Why -that- particular song, she wondered when her frame dipped into curtsey, "Ser Aeric." His departure made with Elinor looking to her maidens and their wanton silence. Apparently tonight she's singing before dinner. A fist to her chest, thumbing the clasp of her cloak she urged her maidens to follow in a return to the castle. Her brows haunted by deep thought and concern.