|Summary:||Nathaniel, Aylene, Sela, and Darek in Highfield.|
|Related Logs:||None Directly|
|Market Square, Highfield|
|4 November, 289|
Here comes the happy trio of Aylene, Nathaniel and Sphinx, returning from the marketplace. One hand is wrapped about the courier's arm, letting him carefully guide her along the path while she chatters away happily at the different sounds and feels she got to experience while doing her shopping. It seems the little bardette may have even splurged and bought something because she carries a wrapped package in her own arm.
The afternoon sun is bright and warm, although clouds are threatening not he western horizon. "I feel sorry for Darek," Nathaniel tells Aylene. That's not how I'd want anyone to remember my name-day." He and Aylene walk briskly from the market district. He holds Aylene's left hand in his right, while her right hand holds onto Sphinx's leash. Nathaniel is carrying a neatly wrapped package under his left arm. The size and shape of the package suggest that it contains clothing of some type.
It is good to be back on the roofs of Highfield. Almost nothing has changed about her route about the thatch and shingles, even if the apothecary did a crap's job repairing the recent storm damage. She is climbing down from the inn roof, managing to avoid most of the windows because if she gets caught "peeping" on another patron, Charlie is going to have her head. She lands solidly on the ground not too far from the pair, brushing her gloved hands together. She adjusts her woolen cap, tucking her hair beneath it before she looks around. When her eyes land on Nathaniel and Aylene, she brightens a touch.
The subtle sounds of movement, feet scraping around the ground, draws Aylene's attention. Her head lifts a little. Sphinx draws closer to his mistress, sniffing in the right direction but does not give any indications of danger. "Nathaniel? I heard something. What was it?" she asks curiously. Any thought of Darek and his nameday goes right out the window.
Nathaniel frowns when Aylene asks about that sound. He turns his head to look fully at her, and then follows the direction that she is indicting with her chin. She might be blind, but she still can give him a sufficient idea about where to look. He peers into the shadow that the inn casts. The space is dark, but he can see, just barely, a human form. He peers at the shape. Then he pulls Aylene closer to him. "Someone is between the inn and the next building. I'd guess that it's a young boy or …" He squints harder and frowns. He calls, "Sela?" His voice is just loud enough for her to hear without drawing unwanted attention.
"Stop squintin' at me like that, Nathaniel Corbitt," Sela says with a hint of amusement. She strides toward the pair, hands slipping into the pockets of her breeches. The girl looks a bit flushed after her adventures from above, though she wears one of the first genuine smiles in several weeks. "You guys missed a wild feast last night for Lady Tiaryn and Lord Saethwyr. I don't think there's any ale left in the cellars after the way the Knights and Lords were chuggin' them."
"Sela!" Aylene immediately brightens even more. It's hard to believe one little package can happy so much merriment without bursting. She shakes her head. "I didn't want to perform with the other bards at the party. It just seemed like too fancy a thing. The Ashwoods and Charltons and all those sorts really make me nervous."
Even two hungover mornings in a row aren't enough to get Darek out of training, and so he's dragging his ass back through the square. He's also dragging (not quite literally) a shield with heavy weights strapped to the back. The young man is sweat-streaked, with his shield slung over one shoulder and his jacket over the other, leaving his arms bared beneath the sleeveless black shirt. Spotting the little cluster of young people, he heads over in that direction, a twisted sort of grin starting to spread across his lips.
Nathaniel grins and bobs his head to Sela. "Since Aylene didn't want to go, I had no business there. You surely noticed that no Terrick was there. It's a mystery to me, but I've heard strange whisperings around the tower since the night when you and I met Lady Anais on the road." A quick glance around the square brings Darek to his attention, and he nods toward the squire. "And there's the name-day boy now." He waves. "Darek!" he calls, and beckons. "Considering what happened, we never had a chance to congratulate you properly."
"I dunno… the common knights were a little grabby, but by the time the beddin' happened, everyone was so drunk I could have sat in Lord Aleister's chair and no one woulda noticed." Which so is not true, but there isn't anyone around to say otherwise. She casts a glance up toward Darek as he comes near, and she blossoms with a rather shy smile. "Squire," she says with a touch of casualness, nodding her chin at him. She glances him over from head to toe, gaze lingering perhaps a shy too long before she looks back toward Aylene and Nathaniel. "There have been some strange rumors coming out of the Roost," she admits mysteriously. Then she blinks a bit at Nathaniel's congratulations, and she looks bemusedly at Darek.
Aylene's nose wrinkles slightly. "Oh my. Darek has been sweating, hasn't he?" she asks. It's a very distinct odor - sweat. "It's a shame that that mean girl came and ruined your party, Darek. It seemed like it could have been a lot of fun otherwise. Even if there were also a bunch of rowdy and strange nobles."
Darek nods to Nathaniel at the greeting, his grin spreading further, "Nate. Bit of two days late, but thanks." He casts a wink over to Sela, any awkwardness between them (on his side at least) either totally gone or covered up well. One dimple is driven into his cheek by the expression, and he adds, "Could have done most anything up in that promenade without anyone payin' any attention." He spreads his arms a bit at Aylene's question, "Hey… I'm a squire, it's my job to sweat. Good to see you too, Aylene. I'd give you a kiss on the cheek, but you probably don't want me to gettin' too close right about now." He grounds the point of his shield, leaning the top back up onto his thighs, "It wasn't so bad. Certainly wasn't borin'."
Nathaniel chuckles at Sela's reaction, and the grins at Aylene's, giving her hand an affectionate squeeze. "He's a squire. He's always running errands for his knight or training. Judging from the shield, I'd say that he just came from sparring. He probably could do with a drink in the inn." He nods toward the large sign that proclaims 'Ash & Oak Inn' Then he glances between Darek and Sela, and adds, "Unless the two of you have other plans for the afternoon."
Sela casts a precarious glance toward the inn at Nathaniel's suggestion, and she wrinkles her nose a bit. "Ah, I might pass on the inn… I still haven't talked to Charlie to see if I can even get my job back, and I also don't wanna be in enclosed spaces until Darek bathes." She casts the squire a stern glance before she rolls her shoulders a bit beneath her tightened jerkin. "Not that I mind the sweat, but it'll get all rank."
Aylene giggles and shakes her head, "No, I don't think that going inside right now would be good, Nathaniel. Poor Darek needs to air out a little bit." She gives the belated nameday boy a bright grin. She squeezes Nathaniel's hand briefly before removing her grip and teeters towards the Squire. It's easy to find him, given her sharpened sense of smell, and his… well, smell. Hands very tentatively reach for his shoulders and the little blind bardette at least attempts to drop a kiss on the squire's cheek.
Darek chuckles at Nathaniel's suggestion, "And I think I might still owe Charlie for a round." He pulls up the bottom of his shirt, drying off his face just in time to duck his head to accept the kiss on the cheek, "Now, that's just too easy, Lene. You've gotta make it harder for a guy to get a kiss." He looks at the dog warily, shifting his feet a little and pointing at it, "Stay, beastie." Looking back to Sela, he casts his crooked grin, "You don't complain most of the time, Blue-eyes. I thought you liked me all shiny…" And he curls one arm to flex, spotting another couple of dimples into his cheeks.
"She has a point," Nathaniel agrees with a nod to Aylene. "At least I'll pay your tab for that round, Darek, as a late name-day present. How's that?" he offers while he watching Aylene bestow her own present on the squire's cheek. He looks at Sela and then questions, "Are you officially back in Highfield for now? If so, I'm glad that everything is falling together." He looks down at the package under his arm. Then he adds, "We'll be heading for the Roost soon. If Deputy Mortimer hasn't forgotten that I was returning, he'll have a search party after me soon."
Sela breathes in a bit as Aylene goes to kiss Darek, but perhaps it is more to sure that the blind girl doesn't miss the cheek entirely. Then she offers the squire a smirk as he points at the dog. "Sphinx isn't gonna hurt you," the bastard says exasperately. Then she offers a small quirk of a smile at her lips before she glances toward Nathaniel. "Darek has managed to convince me to stay, and it helps that Mistress Caddock said my job in the kitchens was still there. I dunno… I kinda like it up here, so it can't be all bad." She shuffles a bit on her feet, offering Darek a sheepish smile.
Oh good, she didn't lose her head over a kiss on the cheek. Once that's completed, Aylene extends her hand for Nathaniel to help guide her back. "I figured it was best to give you your gift early. Besides, working for it really isn't a present, it's actual work." Swinging her head in Sela's direction, the little bard looks disappointed. "You're going to stay here in Highfield? I'll miss you when we go back to the Roost."
Darek snorts at Sela's exasperated statement, "You don't know what those things can do, Blue-eyes." Smirking back at Nathaniel, he nods, "I won't say no to gettin' a round covered, that's for sure." Sela's discussion on how she's staying in Highfield draws a smothered chortle from the squire, "And why not stay up here, Aylene? It's a whole lot more lively up here in Highfield than it is at The Roost. And fishin' for a kiss is not work, Lene. It's half the fun." There's a pause, and he smirks over at Sela, "Usually."
Daryl exits the inn, stepping out into square. In a swift swing, he puts his jacket over himself, straightening it before moving to stride towards the Gate house, but the others do get a look, the Ashwood slowing some to observe.
Nathaniel steps forward as soon as Aylene steps back, and his fingers curl around hers while they reunite to stand side by side, with Sphinx wagging his tale furiously at Darek as if the dog wants to leap forward and ferociously lick the squire to death. He glances at Darek when the squire suggest that Aylene might stay here. Then he looks back to Aylene and steps closer to her. "We'll know where she is, love," he tells Aylene in a tone that machos his warm smile. "I think that it would be wonderful to visit Highfield again from time to time." He casts an assuring glance toward Sela, then.
Sela looks down a bit at Aylene's words, and she shrugs her shoulders. "I don't really got much at the Roost to keep me there… here I got a job, and lots of people here come to me to help them find stuff… and well… I guess Darek is here too." She casts the squire a covert glance before she smiles back toward Aylene and Nathaniel. "Though, you won't be all that far away if you stay in the Roost."
Aylene giggles and shakes her head at Darek, "I'll stay with Nathaniel but we'll come visit you here in Highfield," she promises. "It will be a nice change of pace and I like getting to play and sing in different areas." She rubs absently at her cheek, though she does give Sphinx a gesture to stay put and away from the squire. "We'll come visit lots, Sela!"
Darek flashes a grin at Sela as she mentions him, slinging his jacket around his shoulders and shrugging into it. How he manages to do this while keeping his weighted shield balanced against his thigh is a miracle of squire-hood. "What's it… a full day walking? A bit more? Not likely to be able to come out there that often, unfortunately." He laughs, hefting up his shield again and slinging it over one shoulder, "Least not me. Ser keeps me pretty busy." He shifts over toward Sela, moving to sling his free arm around her shoulders, "Well, Ser and Sela."
"It's much less on horseback," Nathaniel notes, "and Molly has carried both of us easily enough. We don't ride as quickly as I would alone, but it's still quicker than walking." Then he adds with a smile. "It's worth the trip to see friends."
"And I have Buttonbottom," Sela adds, though there's no way Button is putting up with Darek on his back. She shrugs her shoulders a bit. "Once Darek is knighted, everything will be easier. He won't have to run around when Ser orders him to, and he'll have a horse of his own." Not that Darek doesn't have a horse, but it's such a sad little steed that it's almost best just not taking about it. She shrugs her shoulders just a bit now, looking between the gathering with Darek's arm slung around her shoulder. She doesn't even mind the stink, leaning into his frame happily.
Aylene tugs a little bit at Nathaniel's hand, leaning in to whisper to him, "Are they being nice to each other?" Maybe just a little bit concerned for the well-being of both of her friends. Who can say. "When will you get knighted, Darek? I'll be sure to write you a song about it!"
Darek sniffs at Sela's commentary on his horse or lack there-of, "I've got a horse. Nag ain't much of a horse, but he's a horse." He grins over at Aylene, even if she can't see him, "So. You ride with Nathaniel? Behind him? With your arms wrapped around him?" Teasing? Yeah. More than a little bit. But the grin on his lips carries over nicely to his tone.
Nathaniel laughs when Sela mentions her little pony. "I was wondering if you still had him, Sela. I don't think that he would care much for carrying Darek. but you're right." He bows his head to stage whisper to Aylene, "They're fine, love. She's leaning against his chest, and looking quite happy about it." Then he shifts his attention to Darek and urges, "Do let us know when you're close to that. If we can, we'll be there for the grand ceremony. When Lord Justin received his spurs, he didn't have a squire. He asked me to help, and I must say that it was a great honor to stand with him and to watch the proceedings." Then he nods and smiles looks at Aylene with a warm smile. "I'm glad to say that she does." He waves to Sphinx, and explains. "Sphinx runs along side, when some rabbit or squirrel doesn't distract him." He grins.
Sela laughs. "Darek'll get it soon," she promises without even waiting for his confirmation. "He's eighteen now, which means he's about the right age. He just has to have Lord Ashwood fund his armor and horse, then he'll get his spurs." She tucks her hands deeper into her pocket as she rests against Darek with a tilt of her head. She whispers something against Darek's ear, and then she stretches a bit. "I was thinkin' maybe we should go hang out at the coast tomorrow or something, before you guys head back to the Roost. I know Darek still wants to do some cliff diving or something."
If there was a dirty joke in what Darek said, it sadly goes right over little Aylene's head and she just bobs her head up and down. "I ride behind Nathaniel when we travel," she confirms. "I'm not the best rider, but he keeps me safe." Toward Sela, she beams. "It will be exciting to have him be a knight, won't it? I don't think I've ever really been friends with a knight so it will be fun." She looks up at Nathaniel. "Can we stay to go to the coast? Please? It will be great fun."
Nathaniel watches Aylene's excited reactions and grins. "I should return to the Roost soon, but what's one more day?" he answers. "We did come to see them, after all, and I'm sure that Sphinx would love to see how well the birds here react to him." He leans to give the shaggy black dog a quick screech between the ears. He looks back to Sela and Darek, and cautious, "But we should leave after tomorrow. The good news is that we'll be able to return soon now that we know where to find you."
Darek eyes the dog again, "Yeah. I bet it goes running off all the time. Crazy things." He blinks, then nods at something and opens his mouth to speak up. And then Sela whispers whatever it is she whispers to him, and he clears his throat, glancing over at her and raising his eyebrows in something between question and surprise. The squire clears his throat again, "Right. Knighting. Yeah… I don't think much of anyone's going to make a fuss about my knighting, whenever it happens. They don't do that for a common bastard. But Ser did say I was close. Gotta get the coin, like Sela said, and I gotta do something that shows I'm worthy." Glancing over to Nathaniel, he inquires, "There any cliffs this side of The Roost? I haven't been to the coast here on the other side of the woods."
The little thief rolls her shoulders a bit before she offers a bit of a smile. "I don't think it gots cliffs, but we could at least go for a swim." She then glances over toward Aylene. "Besides, I think cliff-diving might frighten poor Aylene to death. Swimmin' is safer until we can get a bigger group together." She purses her lips a bit with thought.
Nathaniel frowns and admits, "The only high cliffs that I know are at The Roost. You've been to the coastline there, and you know the ones. I've seen what those can do to a body. As for the knighting ceremony, even if there isn't much, invite us. We'll give you a feast at the inn, at least." He gives Aylene's hand a squeeze.
"We still want to be there for you, Darek," Aylene says cheerfully. "We're your friends. It will still be a lot of fun and we'll do what we can to make it a real party." She beams at everyone. "Swimming could be fun, but no, I don't want to jump off any cliffs. That's just stupid."
Darek gives Sela a squeeze around the shoulders, then straightens up a bit, unslinging his shield, "The fall's half the fun. I'll go with my eyes closed some time." He pauses a moment, then relents, "And yeah… I guess swimmin' might be better. Maybe in one of the streams to the east? Can't exactly swim out to sea by accident there." He nods to Nathaniel and Aylene then, "But yeah, it would be good to have some friends there when the time comes."
The young thief is thoughtful. "Alright, tomorrow then… swimming and picnic and then you two can have a proper send off to the Roost." Sela smiles a bit. "I'll get Mistress Caddock to give me some kitchen stuffs so it's a proper picnic too."
Aylene beams happily. "It'll be fun, Nathaniel!" she says happily. But the girl does give a subtle yawn. Might have been a little too much excitement for the little bard.
Nathaniel smiles and nods. He offers, "We'll pay for our share, too. If we're benefiting from it, that's fair enough and we'll be able to afford better food by combining our resources." Then he looks at Aylene and grins. "We'll have a fine time indeed, love." Noting her slight yawn, he adds, "It will be a big day. We should take dinner before the crowd arrives. At what time shall we meet here tomorrow?" He wonders.
Darek nods at Sela, pointing across to Nathaniel, "You handle the wine, we'll handle the food, eh Nate?" He eyes the other two, then shakes his head in amusement and laughs softly, "How 'bout an hour before noon? I think I can get done with my morning training by then. Y'all'll have me for at least a couple hours." Grinning to Aylene, he adds, "I'll bring my fiddle, you have any instruments with you, Lene, or am I gonna be handin' over my fiddle half the time?"
"Alright, hour before noon… and then we convince Darek to dog off on the rest of his training." Sela offers her squire a mischieveous look before she clears her throat, looking back to Aylene. "We'll let Nathaniel take you away now, Aylene… you look like you're gonna need a nap before the inn gets busy."
Aylene bobs her head up and down. "We will see you two tomorrow then!" she says excitedly. "Food does sound good… I think I'm hungry," she adds on, nose wrinkling. "And I even remembered to eat today." She huffs as she teeters along after the courier, snapping her fingers once to bring the dog along with her.
"We'll see you just before midday!" Nathaniel calls over his shoulder. "And we'll have the wine!" He grins and leads Aylene toward the inn, and pauses to kiss her on the cheek before they step inside to find a table and share dinner.
Darek gives a wave, then realizes that he's waving to a blind girl, and adds, "Enjoy." He turns around Sela to watch the other two wander off, then leans in to murmur once they're out of earshot, "All that time away and just… poof… they're back together again, huh?" Pot, kettle, black. "You should talk to her before we go swimming, Blue-eyes. Make sure she's wearing a real light shift, and maybe she'll be able to drag Nate into the sack."