|Summary:||Alric and Belle help Veris start to get over his fear-hate of horses.|
|Courtyard - Four Eagles Tower|
|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 May 31, 289|
The courtyard does have a couple of people moving around as the sun is set high in the sky. One of those people being Alric. Having decided to stay at the Roost for the time being, as he awaits answers regarding a couple of things. For now he seems to just be wandering around the courtyard and taking in the day, not in a hurry anywhere it seems.
Another one of those moving in the courtyard is Veris, hugging a wooden bucket to his chest and walking with a sense or purpose. As he crosses through, he's talking back over his shoulder to someone, laughing and halfway through shouting back what's sure to be a ribald response when his boot catches and trips him. His arms fly up and the bucket flips, sending a spray of oats scattering at Alric's feet as the young squire tries to keep himself from accidentally tackling the man.
Alric looks over and sees as the squire trips. Sighing as the oats falls next to Alric's feet. Luckily Alric seem to be aware enough to not be tackled, but does try and help the squire if he comes towards Alric. "You should keep your in front of yourself, and be careful." He says rather blankly. Though does help and make sure the other man is alright. "Should really be more careful, you could bump into one of the lords. Or even hurt yourself. Either way getting yourself in trouble." He says, and offers a kind smile to the man.
Veris stumbles and is caught by Alric, righting himself with help from the young Lord, and looks down at the oats with a heavy sigh. "Aye, m'Lord," he responds, surveying the damage. At least nobody got hurt, though a few oats suffer under the boots of near passersby. "'Fraid trouble finds me wherever I go, seems like," he says with a humorless smile, kneeling down to start grabbing oats by the fistful to dump them back in the bucket.
Alric nods, "Perhaps. But I would suggest focusing on what you're doing as well." He then shrugs though. Letting the man get the oats back into the bucket. After a little while bending down and helping him get them back as well. "Just stay positive and I'm sure it will go alright." He offers, trying to be less of a douche, as he has in his past, and be more helpful.
"I s'pose I should keep my eyes forward, 'specially in a place like this," Veris says with a slight self-debasing chuckle. "Oh, you don't have to do that, m'Lord. Was my stupidity caused this mess." He tries to pick up the stray oats faster to save Alric the trouble. Once they're all picked up, he stands up and dusts off his hands. "I guess I was a bit jumpy too, what with headin' to the stables and the horses being none to fond of my face. I'm Veris Kallan, m'Lord, squire to Ser Hardwicke."
Once the oats are collected and Veris introduces himself, Alric nods. "Young Lord Alric Fenster." He offers, not thinking that a young squire, at the Roost especially, might know who he is. Standing up he looks to the bucket before nodding once more. "Just try to do one thing at a time." He suggests before starting to walk a bit. "Are you heading this way?"
"M'Lord," Veris says again in response to Alric's introduction - it's clear that the squire did not know who he was at all, and just guessed that he was a lord from his dress and demeanor. "Aye, m'Lord - just to the stables there to get the horses fed. And see if I can't get them to warm up to me some so they stop bitin' at my face. One almost bit me ear off up at the tournament, that nasty beast."
Alric walks and has Veris walking a step or so behind to the side, looking over to the squire, nodding. "I see. A tip about dealing with them. Just be calm and soothe them." He suggests. Not the best with those things either, but at least having some experience.
The sun is still high in the sky and the two are walking towards the stables, or at least in that direction. Alric is mostly just taking in the day as he has no business to attend to right now, but still needs to be present at the Roost.
Belle is coming from the stables as the two men are approaching, dressed in somber mourning for Lady Terrick, as most of the house staff still does. Her gait is light and quick, however, and her mien pleasant as she strips off her riding gloves, adjusting the large basket she carries over her arm. "Oh, Veris!" she smiles brightly at her husband's squire. "Hello, sweeting." She dips a graceful curtsy to Alric. "My lord."
Veris is a step beside and behind Alric, clutching a bucket of oats to his chest as they walk toward the stables. He has, of course, just recovered from tripping and dumping a good portion of that bucket all over the courtyard floor, where a few crushed oats remain. "I try to be, m'Lord - calm, that is," the squire says, looking nervous just talking about them. "But they set me on edge, they do, 'specially when they start gettin' restless." When he hears his name called, he looks over to the source of the sound and beams to see Belle. "Mistress Belle!" he calls back, his demeanor instantly brightening. "Do you want a hand with that?" he asks, chin-jutting toward the basket she carries.
Alric looks over as he hear the voice of a woman. Inclining his head to her before looking between both of the two. "Mistress." He offers and then moving a bit to the side as he let the two speak to each other. Taking in the woman as well as the basket that she's carrying. His hands held behind his back as he looks around a bit.
"That's darling of you, Veris, but you are already assisting this gentleman, are you not? And you can't go in two directions at once." She smiles at Alric, then returns her attention to Veris, curiously. "Discussing your… challenging relationship with horses?"
Veris grins broadly in that dumb but oh-so-charming way and glances down at the bucket he's holding. "Oh, this?" he asks. "Ser Hardwicke asked me to see to the horses, is all." He pulls a face - of course, the man doesn't so much ask as bark when it comes to the squire. "I'd just as soon dump the bucket in the stables and let 'em have it out if you needed my help." She's got him all but wrapped around her finger, it seems. "Oh - m'Lord, this is Mistress Belle, wife to Ser Hardwicke; Mistress Belle, the Young Lord Alric Fenster." Pause. "If you didn't already know one another," he adds lamely, realizing that might've been a stupid assumption to make.
Alric shakes his head about Veris assisting him. Though let Veris explain the sitiation. "I am sure I might be able to help if it is needed. Just passing time as it is anyway." He admits, having been walking back and forth and just trying to meet different people around the Roost. He listens to the introduction and inclines his head once more. "Pleasure." He says and smiles.
Belle grins at Veris, quite positively charmed by the charmingness, however dumb. She dips her chin and curtsies again to Alric. "The pleasure is mine, my lord." She shrugs with a glance at the basket. "Just a bit of shopping — some things for Lady Lucienne, but she doesn't need them straight away. I'll come help with the horses?" she offers. "I think Harwicke is probably trying to cure you by immersion — like making an arachnaphobe stand still while spiders crawl all over them."
Veris looks a bit puzzled by that last part. "I don't right know what a 'narachnophobe' is, Mistress Belle, but I don't much see how being covered in spiders'd help me with horses - but if you think it'll be useful…" He shrugs and lifts the bucket higher up, his back starting to arch backward with the weight. "I'd appreciate all the help I can get with those dumb beasts, sometimes I think they'd rather chew on squireflesh than oats an' hay," he grumbles.
Alric chuckles as he listens to the two, though without interfering. "Just be nice and try and be friends with them, if possible." He says to Veris with a small grin. He looks around a bit more before looking over towards Belle. "Excuse me, but might you have seen the Mallisters around?" He suddenly asks, "I do have some things to talk with them about." He explains. Seeming a bit nervous as he does speak about them.
Belle sets her basket on a bench outside the stables and takes a step back, indicating to the menfolk they might continue as a trio — before poor Veris does himself permanent injury with the bucket. "An arachnaphobe is someone who is afraid of spiders. I believe the fear of horses is equinophobia." She blinks a few times at Alric, then shakes her head. "I'm afraid not, my lord — but I promise you they don't bite." Then, with gentle concern, "Is something amiss?"
"Never had a friend who tried to gnaw on my moneymaker, m'Lord," Veris grumbles adamantly, though his face clearly shows he's being facetious. "I saw Lady Muirenn down at the cove… a few days ago?" he offers, though this information is of no particular use to anyone, and inexplicably turns a shade redder in his cheeks. "I do have to see her about… some… books, but, er, well…" He clears his throat, grumbles something under his breath, and waddles over to the stables so he can finally set that bucket down for a spell. "I'm not afraid of horses, Mistress Belle," the squire protests defensively, "I'm just generally not fond of creatures that snap at my face, is all." And, of course, that's the cue for a loud whinny to startle Veris, his lightning-fast reaction being to throw up both arms in front of his face and turn away.
Alric listens to the others as they talk of phobias and whatnot. Just grinning at Veris. At Veris answer he nods, "I did meet with Lady Muirenn a few days ago as well." He says, though not adding on to that. Then listening to Belle. "Not really. I just have some important business, which does make me a bit nervous." He admits. Moving along in the stables and grinning as Veris reacts. "Relax, I'm sure they're just hungry." His voice rather soft and light.
"They snap at you because you're afraid of them, which makes them nervous," Belle opines. "But that's all right. We'll work it out." She rolls up her sleeves and gets right to work portioning out the oats. "If it's important business, my lord, please don't be shy about utilizing the household to find those you seek. It's what we're here for, after all. If you happen to see a page, send them searching." Then, to Veris, "Lady Muirenn's lending you books? What about?"
Once Veris realizes there's no immediate equine threat, his arms slowly lower to his sides. "They better be hungry for oats," Veris mutters, giving his back a good stretch before getting into the feed with Belle. "She just said to come by and that I could borrow any books I wanted," he answers, trying not to tense up at every movement and sound near him. "If Ser Hardwicke doesn't object, that is, she said. Which he didn't, not explicitly anyhow, when I brought it up the other day - though he asked if I wanted to be a knight or a Maester, which, I didn't even think he thought I could be a knight." Realizing he's babbling, he shoots Alric an apologetic look. "Sorry, m'Lord, don't mean to ramble on like an idiot," he sighs. "S'pose it's the nerves makes me keep talkin'."
Alric nods to Belle, "Will do. Though I am not in a hurry. It is more of a wait and see kind of situation, even if it is an important subject." He explains without going into too much detail. Then listening about the books as well. Shaking his head as Veris excuses himself. "If I had a problem with it I wouldn't be standing in a stable right now." He says rather playfully. Moving to pet a horse and keep it calm as the others have started to feed the horses.
Belle flashes Alric a warm smile for his tolerant good nature. "The Dowager Lady Nayland had a library to make you weep," she tells Veris as they work, a bit wistful at that. "I do rather miss her. She was terrifying, but funny and sharp as any blade. Sort of a love/paralysing-fear relationship with that position." Pausing to affectionately nuzzle an old, but still lovely, pure-white mare, she asks the squire, "Do you? Want to be a knight?"
Veris grins in acknowledgement of Alric's statement. "If Ser Hardwicke knew a Lord was in here helping me feed the horses… I think he'd saddle me up and ride me five laps 'round the Roost," he chuckles. "I've not read a lot, but I know the letters and some cipher," he says to Belle as he timidly approaches the first horse, frozen some four feet away from its stall, staring unblinking at its terrifying face. "Aye, Mistress Belle, I want to be one," he answers, still transfixed upon the beast, slowly reaching out to see if he can drop the feed in its trough and bolt before it reacts. "Just never figured I'd be much good of a one, is all. I like the fightin' and that, but there's… so much more." The oats get all but hurled into the trough in front of the languid mount, the squire jumping back immediately as they leave his hand.
Had Belle met Alric about a year ago perhaps she wouldn't have been as satisfied with his behaviour. Been quite arrogant, though still is at times. Recent happenings has made him a bit more humble at least. He smiles back at her before he chuckles at Veris's words. Looking at the squire as he jumps back after hurling down the oats into the trough. "Not scared was it?" Grinning as he teases the squire.
Belle winces as the… acuity of Veris' horse issue becomes apparent. "Oh, dear," she murmurs. She considers a moment, then puts an arm around the squire, drawing — or attempting to draw, at least — him closer to the old white mare she'd earlier been nuzzling. "This is Dulcinea," she tells squire, her tone pitched soothing more for his sake than any animal's. "I've known her many, many years. Now… if I promise you she won't bite, do you think you can touch her?"
"Oh, he was lookin' for his opening, m'Lord, just look at those crafty, sinister eyes," Veris intones, squinting suspiciously at the horse that's happily and innocently munching away. "They won't catch me with my guard down, no ser." His body language screams self-defense, with his elbows tucked in and his hands held up at his chest, closing him in - though when Belle puts his arm around him, his hunched shoulders relax a fraction. Reluctantly, he lets her draw him toward the white mare. "Dulcinea," he echoes, watching her with intense focus. "I can touch 'em, just… only as much as I have to." And, to prove it, he slowly reaches out an uncertain hand to pet her, only to jerk it back the moment he sees even so much as a twitch.
Alric chukles as he listens to the other man. Then he looks to Belle as she tries to help Veris a bit. Just studying the two for a moment. "There is a bigger risk of her snapping if you pull your hand away fast. Try being more gentle. And if you look at Mistress Belle you will see how calm the horse is with her." He offers, continuing to pet another horse as he looks over at them.
"Lord Alric is quite right," says Belle, still soothing as she tries to calm the skittish squire. She takes his wrist, moving him a bit like a life-size doll, stretching their arms out as one to touch Dulcinea's muzzle. "Now let's try a count of three…"
Veris tries, he tries so hard, but he still resists against Belle's hand out of instinct. "But she can't bite me if I don't give her the opportunity to get at me," he tries to reason in response to Alric, his tone of voice almost begging for the man to validate his rationale. As his hand gets closer and closer to Dulcinea, he winces and turns his head away.
Alric shrugs, "The horse will give you some advantage though, if you learn to coexist. Both in battle and just traveling. Can't have you being afraid of them in such cases." He replies as he watches Veris resisting. "Treat her with respect and she will do the same." He adds, mostly just having his eyes on the two.
Biting her lip as she tries not to laugh at Veris' brave ordeal, Belle assures him softly, "Dulcie has never bitten anything that wasn't an apple, I promise from the bottom of my heart." She doesn't try to wrestle the boy, but she does keep a firm pressure, disallowing retreat, but only pushing forward when he ceases to resist. Like reeling in a fish. In reverse.
Veris doesn't flop quite as much as a fish, but it's still a battle to close that gap to touching Dulcinea. With her arm still around him, she can feel him shudder when he makes contact. "I believe you, Mistress Belle, I do," he says in what can only be described as a low whine. "And I know I need to learn how to do this to be a good squire, much less a knight, but… horses."
Alric looks at the struggle to make Veris pet the horse. Grinning at the man's words. "Just give it time. Soon enough you will probably even enjoy their company." He offers, though perhaps mostly to try and make Veris relax.
Belle nods. "I know, sweeting," she murmurs sympathetically. Once he has his hand on Dulcie's muzzle, she counts, "One. Two. Three." And then lets him snatch his hand back and shuddering if he needs to. The smile she gives him following contains not a trace of irony or derision. "That was very well done."
"I'd be happy enough with tolerating their company, m'Lord," Veris says, looking at the horse out of the corner of his eye. One, two, three… and he slooooooowly draws his hand back, trying out Alric's suggestion that gentle might be better. Even if it makes him as rigid as a rock in anticipation of having to bolt if Dulcinea tries to eat his hand. "She seems… calm," he says once his hand is safely out of horse-mouth reach, letting out a big sigh of relief. "Some of the other ones don't hold still, they get all restless and pacin' around before I even get close. Like they can smell my tasty facemeat."
Alric smiles as Veris is able to keep his hand on the horse and then slowly pulls away. "Indeed, nicely done." He says, sounding honest about it. "I'm sure you'll manage to tame them as well at some point." He offers, moving away a bit as he looks out and to the sky, then around the courtyard. Then he moves over to the mare as well. Gently letting his hand find her side. "She's a good girl." He says and smiles at the horse and looks to Bella and Veris.
"She has the most patient disposition of any horse I've ever known," says Belle, with no small amount of pride in her Dulcie. She kisses Veris' cheek. "That was marvelous. Next time we'll try for five? Maybe even take her out for a bit of a walk." She curtsies to Alric once more. "But now I should attend my lady. Pray pardon me."
Veris manages a shaky smile with all the praise - surely unwarranted for such a seemingly simple task, but one that does not come so easily to the squire. "I'd - I think I'd try that, Mistress Belle," he agrees, stammering a bit when she kisses him on the cheek. "I mean, if you think you could, if you have the time, I'm just - you've got… stuff." As Belle excuses herself, he moves to follow. "I'll help you carry that basket, at least," he offers. Turning back to Alric, he gives a little bow. "Thank you for your advice and help, m'Lord, and good luck with your important business with the Mallisters. I'm sure it will go well."
Alric grins at the squire. Inclining his head to both of them. "Yeah." He replies about his business with the Mallisters. Though still not able to relax at that. Moving out of the stables and around a bit. Soon enough disappearing as he heads towards the inn.