|Dusk at the Edges of Town|
|Summary:||Danae and Kell share a sunset on the fringes of Stonebridge.|
|Northern Flood Fields — Stonebridge|
|Through small foot paths north lead to flood fields, some rolling hills but treachours areas where the rivers filter in to create small marshes. The area is hard to navigate if one has not traveled it before. A few scrub trees mark the landscape but on the higher hills stands of majestic beeches and oak offer shade and canopies for weary travelers.|
|Thursday Dec 22, 288|
The sun hasn't set just yet but it is slowly moving lower and lower on the horizen, most of the townspeople have returned to Stonebridge, if they were even in the Northern Flood Fields in the first place. Kell however, hasn't yet and he isn't in the swampy marshlands, instead he had ventured farther up to the higher hills where it is peaceful. Instead of practicing and training himself like he would in the past, the Hedge Knight is more preoccupied with his own thoughts, seated under an oak tree, back leaning against the trunk in between two roots.
The falling shadows of evening cast the flood fields in lengthy lines of black and purple, dark greens of the marshes glinting with the final snatches of light where water has seeped through the moist land. Up from those downy marshes walks the figure of a maid, a basket slung over her arm and golden hair catching the fettered light of the far gone afternoon. Danae whistles softly as she climbs the hill, dress of a fine cut and practical material and her boots thick with mud from a few wrong steps in the fields. She pauses as she spots Kell leaning against the trunk as if fearing to interrupt the man in his pensive moment.
At first, the whistling does not snap the Hedge Knight out of his own deep and slightly troubled thoughts but as the melodic sound drifts through the silence that this quiet area provides, Kell stirs slightly and is eventually back to the present. Atleast for now he isn't into the cups at a local tavern yet and the knight turns his head slightly, in the direction of where he thought the sound have come from. When his eyes fall on Danae, Kell remains silent and motionless, apparently forgetting himself and the proper manners one should bestow on a lady, perhaps not fully out of his thoughts just yet.
"Good eve, Ser," Danae greets, chin dipped in the appropriate deference to a knight who bears no colours. Shuffling the basket in her arms, she moves take a seat on an adjacent oak with its own twisted roots, ankles extended and crossed prettily.
The knight today has no equipment on except for the sword at his side and when the words are spoken by Danae, Kell finally remembers his place and quickly scrambles to his feet. "I beg your pardon, Miss, my mind was awander and was not aware for a moment of where I was." He dips his head respectfully to the lady though without guards or accompany maidens, he does not now that he speaks to a noblelady. However, a knight still gives respect and courtesy to a lady, noble or not.
"It is not you that owes apology, Ser, but I. My apologies. It was I who interrupted your musings with my unexpected presence," Danae demurs with a short shake of her head, parlance smooth and educated. There is no guard in sight, the fellow having paused nearer the bottom of hill to allow his lady a moment of solitude at the end of day. "I had not know that anyone was up here. Would you like me to go?"
Shaking his head at her question, Kell quickly answers, not wanting to offend or give the wrong impression, "No, Miss, please feel free to stay for I do not claim these woods and I know I am not the only one that enjoys the peacefulness that can be found here, away from the center of town." With her words and manners, the Hedge Knight has a feeling that she isn't just some common born so his eyes searches the woods again but still sees no guard nearby, "The sun is due to set soon, it isn't safe to walk alone at night…" A gentle word of caution given for now.
Danae laughs softly, not at Kell's words but for some private thought as a slight smile curves her mouth, her gaze sets out for the sinking pyre of the sun's light. "There is always some peace in the dying light of the day as well, is there not? The sun casts off its burdens till its return in morning. The quiet has always seemed…an appropriate farewell to it." That falling light brings out the gold of her hair and the smattering of freckles across her skin, forearms slightly bared from her gathering of herbs and mud flecking off her fingers as she drags them along her basket. "My thanks for the caution. I am accompanied, Ser. He thought to give me a moment's repast and remain a bit of a ways down the hill." Within earshot, which is not said but is implied by her words as she looks in the direction from which she came.
Kell is a little puzzled at the gentle laugh from the lady though speaks nothing of it, perhaps his words reminded her of a fond memory. As for her words, the knight can only incline his head, "It is as you say, There is peace, and there is also beauty." As for the news of her having a guard with her, now Kell realizes that she may indeed be a lady instead of just some common girl out for a stroll and picking flowers. "I see, he is kind then. If you wish, I will take my leave so you are able to enjoy the a quiet moment alone if that was what you were looking for?" Not wanting to be in the way of a Lady.
"It is a very final sort of beauty. This day is my first chance to see it from the outside of the town," Danae admits lightly, absently brushing her fingers along the greenery within her backet. A wry look is cast in Kell's direction for his offer. "Nay. Stay yourself good Ser. I could hardly find my own peace while denying you of your own. He is indeed a kind man, although between you and I…" There is a twitch of her mouth that might presume to be a smile. "I should think he just preferred not to climb the hill."
The shared secret from the Lady does have the edge of Kell's lips twinge upward in what could be the beginnings of a smile, something that he hasn't been able to do for the past couple of days. "I see, though preferred or not, I am sure he would be up here within moments if there was need." There is a pause before he starts the introductions as that is proper, though he is curious as to why it is her first chance to see such a view from outside of town. "I am Kell Drakmoor, Hedge Knight. And it would be an honor to ensure your safety up on this hill so the one watching over you may feel relieved that you will not come to harm, M'Lady."
Danae pale eyes are bright, if a touch appraising, catching that mirrored twitch of Kell's lips with silent amusement. She nods in response to his assurance, shielding her features for a moment with a slightly bashful tip of her head. "Indeed. I believe you more than correct, Ser." With Kell's pause settled upon them, she returns her gaze to watching the shift of colours over the breadth of the sky as was her plan to begin. Blonde lashes flicker against her skin as she blinks away the spots in her vision, lingering after looking to the sun's brilliance. "Well met, Ser Drakmoor. I am Danae of Westerling, it would be my delight to receive your honor," she replies delicately, a slight curve of a smile to her mouth.
"Honored, Lady Westerling, to make your acquaintance." Kell says in return as he tries to remember the House of Westerling. Having not been squired before knighthood, it is one of the things he does struggle with. Also, the Hedge Knight chooses to fall silent for the time being as his gaze also moves to the setting sun, not wanting to disturb the Lady in her appreciate of nature's beauty.
"As well it is my pleasure to make your own Ser Drakemoor," Danae says gently, dipping in a gracious curtsey. Kell may not remember the house, old as it is. The blonde hair and blue eyes speak directly to being of the Westerlands though. The falling of the sun does occupy her attention for a little, the quiet falling over them both beyond its accompaniment of the rustle of wind along the oaks. "How came you to the Hedge, Ser? If it be not an imposition to ask such."
Kell doesn't seem offended or irritated by the question as he accepts it easily enough, "By luck, M'Lady. I am common born and it was at the Battle of Trident where my actions were recognized by Ser Ryswell. I was knighted after the battle and thus, born into the hedges. Nothing as grand as a Lord squire being knighted, but to me, having the chance to take the sworn oaths of a knight was grand enough."
"Battle sworn is grand enough by far," Danae agrees slowly, the kind of slow that comes from considering one's words before they become spoken. "It is duty recognized and returned. How do have you liked it since? Well enough that you do not find yourself sworn to a house, I see." There is no judgment, merely low consideration paired with interest for the hedge knight. "Perhaps it is location, but I have met more Hedge Knights in Riverrun than ever had I encountered in the Westerlands."
Kell never really thought it as being battle sworn but Danae is right, it does sound a little grand now that he thinks about it. As for his experiences as a Hedge Knight, he inclines his head, "It is certainly an experience, one I enjoy and will dutifully perform till my last breath as I find my life fitting it quite well." Now onto the question of a House, one others have asked him before, "I guess I wish to find the right House to swear to, that is my goal. And I have only been in the Riverlands a couple of weeks so I am still learning my way around these parts. As for the other hedges, perhaps they are drawn to the potential conflict that may be brewing here? As rumors spread easily and wide in Westeros."
It is a little grand by its nature. The small blonde lady watches Kell with a keen interest as he answers her inquiry, fingers folded over her basket. "That is a noble choice. A duty is not something to be taken lightly and a vow of fealty is less so, I admire you for the consideration. Others in your position would not be as careful to pause for it." The observation of the Riverlands draws a small smile from her. It is so apt. "The rumors do spead as the conflict seems to whisper to. What make you of them, Ser?"
"You are right, on my travels over the years, I have seen other knights that… behave less than honorably. I can see why some call Hedge Knights, Robber Knights." As for the rumors and his opinions, Kell can only shake his head slightly, "I do not make much of them, M'Lady, rumors are just that, rumors. People speak as they will, I prefer meeting the people in question first. I have met Lady Isolde, while I was staying in Stonebridge, and it seems like she really cares for Stonebridge, more than about herself at times."
"I had much the same impression," Danae agrees warmly of Kell's views of the Lady Isolde. She favors him with a slight smile, warm for all its tiny size. "There is certainly tension, but I know not if it will come blood. I should hope that it can be settled peaceably."
At the mention of the conflict resulting in blood, Kell's lips tighten slightly as he shakes his head, "I also hope for a peaceful end to this problem, but I am not sure how lucky the people of Stonebridge will be. Because in the end, if the conflict does come to arms, it will be them who ends up suffering the most." Perhaps this answer is a surprising one but the Hedge Knight, despite being one of martial expertise, is not one that prefers conflict.
"Aye," Danae whispers, mouth flattening into a thin line. "It is not a surprising rivalry with its history, but it should be a pity to the people should it errupt into blood." She shakes her head briefly, eyes flickering the towards the purpling of the sky.
There is a moment of silence that lapses before Kell finally speaks, "If I may ask, M'Lady, how long have you been staying in Stonebridge?" The question more out of general curiosity than to prod into Danae's personal life and her purposes here.
"A mere few weeks now, by my count. I arrived alongside the Day of Remembrance by pure chance," Danae offers easily. "It is a very hospitable land."
Kell nods at her answer, "I had arrived at about the same time as well, when I rode into town with the merchant I was escorting, there was a Masqued Ball that was being set up for the same night." He recalls the rather interesting night, not being able to tell who was who, then again, since he was new, he wouldn't have recognized anyone to begin with. "Yes, this land is a pleasant one, a plenty of beauty farther out from town as well. May I inquire, as you had said earlier, why was this sunset the first you've seen outside of the town?"
"I heard tell of that, although I missed its festivities myself," Danae supplies, lifting her hand to brush the hair back from her face. "It sounded like quite the event." There is a whispy note of faint envy for missing the event in her voice, what young Lady does not like a ball? Kell's question pulls her attention back to him, head inclined slightly as she considers before responding. "Alas, I have not been able to get away from my business to revel in beauty alone. My guard thought it…prudent to see the state of the area and its affairs before allowing me my pleasure."
Kell can only nod and the tight smile returning, looking as if he is attempting to do so but unable to let it fully grow, "It was indeed, there were quite a few creative masks and even full costumes, everyone seemed to have a good time." As for the reason for not being able to view such a beautiful sunset, which has set, thus casting the sky into deepening darkness of the night to come, the Hedge Knight nods as if understanding, perhaps with a tinge of regret and sadness as well, "Duties usually pulls us away from what we would enjoy. But it is something that is required." Seeing that it is growing darker, Kell inclines his head to Danae, "M'lady, if you wish to leave, I can escort you to your escort who must be anxiously waiting for your return."
"Duties ought, lest they be named elsewise," Danae suggests pleasantly, observing the cast of the sky and rising to her feet in a graceful motion. There is a tinge of a joke to her words, but mostly she looks solemn. "If you wish you may, Ser. I can find my way down. You are correct that I ought return to him, even known roads are not wise to be walked in the dark." Looping her basket over her arm, she smiles at the Hedge Knight charmingly. "Thank you for your companionship, as impromptu as it was for the pair of us."
As the Lady finds her feet, Kell nods his head to show that does wish it, "It would be remiss of me to not escort the Lady, even if it is only a short distance." Her smile is returned with a similiar one, this one more of a smile than all the others thus far, "It was an honor, Lady Westerling, to be able to enjoy the sunset with you today. If my stay in Stonebridge is for as long as I believe it to be, then we may run into each other again in the near future." Waiting for Danae to set her own pace, the Hedge Knight would walk with her down the hill to her waiting guard.