|Summary:||Alek owes Lucienne an apology. He is particularly charming about it.|
|Related Logs:||In The Entrance Hall|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|Thu Oct 20, 288|
The morning is still early, but the people of Four Eagles Tower are already well awake; the courtyard is a hive of activity. Lucienne can be found not far from the steps to the tower proper, discussing something that seems to be of great import with a couple other women, her hands clasped primly at her front. Soon enough, the others nod, and save for her handmaiden, go scurrying different ways in their departure.
It must be said that Alek at least has a flair for entrances, as far as they go. A large black coarser, hide gleaming where dust from the road hasn't reached, comes pounding into the courtyard, reins pulled up tight to swing him around into an abrupt and precise halt. The man on the horse's back is better dressed than the last time he visited, a dark red cloak draped over his shoulders with the collar trimmed in grey's rabbit fur. He swings himself down with ease, taking a moment to hand the coarser to a groom with specific instructions.
Lucienne then turns to Hattie, her plump handmaiden, to have a quiet conversation. It seems stiff between them, perhaps even some sort of an argument, until the lady waves a hand about frustratedly to quiet the maid. Hattie looks down at her feet. Luci looks up to the sky and takes a deep breath.
The horse released into proper care, Alek only takes a moment, ruffling fingers through shaggy blond hair with a half-smile towards the ladies. He moves forward towards Lucienne, bending at the waist in a practiced bow. "My lady, you look lovely this morning," he offers in a way of greeting.
It is fair to say that Lucienne does not contain the surprise in her face very well as her gaze slides down from the clouds to rest upon this knight offering so polite a greeting to her. Her brows loft, and she blinks a few times, before schooling her expression back to within the realms of politely neutral. Which is where her voice rests, too: "Thankyou, Ser Coope. Might I be of some assistance to the good Ser?"
"You may, my lady," Alek confides with a crooked smile, dropping with a flourish to his knee in front of Lucienne without regard to the dust gathering on his better clothes. "If you would accept my humble apology for the disrespect I showed, and extend some understanding. It had been a long day of hard riding, but I am quite sorry for my previous visit."
She takes the liberty of one long moment, does Lucienne, just to watch this knight kneel before her and offer his apologies. Then a tentative smile curves upon her lips, and she bids, "Please, be standing - I accept your apology, Ser Coope, and thank you for offering it. I would apologise for any ill I may have caused you in return, as well." Hattie shifts her weight onto one foot, watching the knight and her lady with a jaw dropped open. Noblewomen have all the fun!
Oh, that trouble is written clearly on his face, or at least part of it in the form of a light brush of a bruise around grey eyes, though it only seems to deepen the tinge of green in Alek's eyes. He rises slowly, capturing Lucienne's hand gently with a brighter smile to raise it to his lips, brushing warm breath against her skin. "Thank you, my lady," he says smoothly. "I do not know what I would have done if you had not accepted it. Perhaps remained kneeling until you found it in your heart."
Lucienne dips a slight curtsy as her hand is stolen, her smile pressing a little at the corners. She blushes, her forehead dipping slightly and dark curls slipping forward over her shoulders. "Well," she flusters a little, "There is merit in conviction, isn't there? Might I offer you some refreshment, Ser?" Hattie's shoulders droop, and she snaps her gob shut.
"Only if my lady will join me in a drink, as it would not be nearly as appealing without your company," Alek replies, humor brushing over his words but friendly, affectionate. Poor Hattie, he's probably breaking her heart. He doesn't move to release Lucienne's hand, however, unless she pulls away. "Perhaps you could show me the grounds, give a preview of the tournament area to a poor knight bound to enter into the lists."
He most certainly is breaking her heart. The handmaiden looks back down to her feet again as Lucienne bobs her head agreeably. "It would be my pleasure to walk with you out toward the green, and perhaps in return you might humour me with a story or two about your Lord Anton?" Alek can keep her hand for now, though she tugs on it a little to indicate which way they should begin their walk.
Alek laughs, though whether it is for tugging or stories is uncertain, though for the former he tucks Lucienne's hand into the crook of his arm, fingers smoothing her hand against his shirt. "I have many," he answers, content to be drawn along towards the green. "Perhaps this will entertain my lady. Once in the city of Braavos, we ran along a man selling a horse as blue as the sky, said it was a flying horse that would only fly for its owner." He pauses, gaze dragging over Lucienne's features with lingering appreciation. "Lord Anton disappeared for a moment, returned with a bucket of water, a threw it on the mare."
Lucienne shuffles along at a steady pace, her silky skirts billowing out in front and behind her. "A blue horse," she interjects in that dramatic pause, looking up at Alek with wry expectation for the rest of his story. She breathes the beginning of a laugh as the knight continues, her hand comfortable in the crook of his arm there. "That was bold of him," is her observation. "Then what?"
"It was a fine horse, good flesh other than the paint that was now pooling under her hooves. So, he haggled the man down, bought her for half her worth once he had convinced the seller he would never get a better off for trying to trick the other buyers," Alek summarizes, his own laugh curving lazily as a bare whisper of suggestion in his reply. He doesn't neglect from watching Lucienne, however, remaining properly attentive.
Following closely behind the two, Hattie rolls her eyes at the story of brave Ser Anton and his horse-bargaining prowess. Lucienne, however, looks rather delighted to hear the conclusion, adding a bit of sound to the breath that is her next laugh. "He does seem to have a way, your Lord, does he not? What a story. Tell me, then, what is it like in Braavos? I imagine it much different to the Riverlands?"
"I am afraid my lady owes me a story before I owe another. Tell me something of interest about yourself, Lucienne," Alek murmurs, her name on his lips pronounced carefully and affectionately.
"That is only fair," agrees the lady easily, with a gentle nod and no correction even at her missing title. "Alright, then. I… do play the harp, as you know. But as far as ladylike pursuits go, I am a terrible needleworker. Not as bad as the famed Lady Liliana, but hardly better. I do hope you'll keep my secret, Ser Alek?" Hattie huffs behind them. She probably does the bulk of her lady's needlepoint.
"I could well keep this secret," Alek promises with a conspiratorial smile, a brush of his fingers against Lucienne's knuckles reassuringly. "What would you like to hear, my lady, of Braavos? They have courtesan, famed, beautiful, that float all day upon the rivers. Bravos that strut the streets at night, looking for any fight that may come their way." He shrugs, his grin turning almost boyish where grey-green eyes crinkle with humor. "My lord and I may have found one or two for them in our time."
Arguably enchanted, Lucienne beams her smile up gratefully at Alek. "Ah, thankyou, good Ser." The short tales of the far city prompt another raising of her brows, and her grip on his arm tenses just slightly. "I've seen your lord on the tourney field," she admits, "And he is quite fierce. It is something he enjoys, then? And yourself?"
"Do you not think true men should enjoy a gift with a sword? To protect, to serve?" Alek questions curiously, steps slowing in a slight pause where his gaze seeks out Lucienne's and his hand cups hers without hesitation.
Lucienne seems to consider her reply for a moment, lips twitching a little. "I think it a fine pursuit," she begins, "And a useful skill, certainly. I do suppose the question I meant to ask may have been more a matter of whether your lord would prefer to be in the field with his sword than at his keep? I'm sure you can understand a lady's curiosity."
"He spends his time where it is needed, my lady. One can only hope that our swords can be laid above the mantles of our homes for long years without any further wars," is said softly, though Alek nods his understanding to Lucienne's curiosity. "You would not lack for anything, however, at Oldstones."
"May the Seven see to it," says the Lady with a deep nod. She attempts a lighter smile, her steps picking up slightly to direct them out through the portcullis. "So it has been said. Does your lord hold much of a court? Before all this fuss with the wedding, there was talk of a visit. I should much like to see Oldstones and all it entails." Hattie is still plodding along, looking more and more dejected as they go. She even casts a pleading look to one of the guards, who sees fit to accompany her on the way out the other side.
"It depends on what you seek in a court, my lady. May I be truthful with you?" Alek asks, glancing to their following with a frown before his attention returns to Lucienne.
"As long as you don't intend to insult me again," grants Lucienne, her smile still in place.
"I would never do that, my lady," Alek corrects with a slight humor, moving to pull Lucienne ahead of her guards briefly as his head tucks closer to her ear. "There is much to do at Oldstones, still. There are still certain things we lack without a lady to guide us, but in this, you would be able to build your own court, your own home. No inheriting from any overbearing or overloved goodmother."
The dutiful guard shifts a hand to his swordbelt, eyeing Alek suspiciously out the corner of his eye as he converses lowly with Hattie. Hattie, who seems to have perked up remarkably with the attention of a man upon her. Lucienne tilts her cheek up to the Oldstones knight, careful to keep herself in a proper pose as he draws closer, though relaxed a measure from her earlier tension. "It sounds full of promise, I'll grant you. Do you think, Ser Alek, that Oldstones will be great again in our lifetime, then?"
"My lord is intent on it. I am quite sure it will be," Alek answers, slowly, fingers drumming against the back of Lucienne's hand thoughtfully. He pulls away, however, as is only proper after whispered words.
Appropriately reassured, Lucienne smiles again and settles her gaze upon the road stretching out in front of them. To one side, what part of the green is not staged for a joust or a melee or whatever other play war the knightly types enjoy is covered in the tents of guests for the wedding. Or the tourney. Or both. The lady sweeps a hand out to indicate it all, saying, "I do hope so, if it's to be my home. This is our green, and our most honourable guests for the wedding. We can venture in, if you don't fret for the stopping and greeting of the masses?"
With a slight laugh escaping, Alek offers easily, "A lady must do her duty." And he will escort her charmingly, without being rude at all.
Not even a little bit rude?
Only funny and polite.
What a charmer. Alek, you are out of the doghouse.