Page 157: Evening at the Crane
Evening at the Crane
Summary: Danae and Riordan get better acquainted while Kell searches for answers in the bottom of several pints.
Date: 20/12/2011
Related Logs: Garden Picnic, Intentions
Danae Riordan Kell 
Crane's Crossing Inn — Stonebridge
While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.
Tuesday Dec 20, 288

Messengers have been exchanged, a time has been set and Riordan is already at the Crane's Crossing Inn, awaiting the arrival of a certain Lady Danae to make her most ladylike appearance. Today, he is dressed a little bit more nicely than usual, wearing clean pressed clothes meant for the slightly more special occasions, and he has his hair all done and cut nicely. It's like he's trying to impress a certain somebody or something. His sword still rests at his side, though it is more out of habit for the safety of himself and others than anything else. Every so often, he glances at the door, hoping that the next person to enter is the one he is waiting for.

The lady's own arrival is perhaps slightly detained by fussing over her own appearance for the meeting, entering the Crane with hestitant steps as she looks for Riordan amidst those gathered at the Inn. Danae's long blonde curls have been left long and shimmering, tidied into pleasant waves that shine with the pins that keep it back from her face. Her own gown is a finer one of a deep sea green, precise embroidery curling along the shelled edges of the bodice, the length of her necklace slipping within.

It doesn't take long for Riordan to notice the arrival of the certain lady he has been expecting. He offers her a little bow and a smile. "My Lady Danae!" He calls over to her. Moving around to the chair opposite his, he pulls it out slightly for Danae. "I hope this day finds you well?" He asks softly, awaiting for her to take her seat.

"M'Lord Riordan," Danae returns with the slow spread of a smile, sweeping across the floors greet him with the graceful dip of a curtsey. "My thanks," she murmurs softly, settling into the seat that he so kindly offers with a slight flush to her cheeks. "Yes, quite so. And for yourself, does it go well?"

Pushing the seat in gently as she takes her seat, Riordan returns to his own. "My day? It has gone well enough, thank you." He clears his throat. "Can I get you something to drink? Wine, perhaps?" He pauses for a moment, awaiting her answer, before continuing on. "So, how have you been since we last spoke?"

"Please. That would be lovely," Danae says of the wine, tipping her head in a short nod with a smile. She fiddles slightly with the hem of her skirt, looking uncertain for a moment until he speaks again. "Oh. I have been well enough. Stonebridge is quite a diverse spot for making new acquaintances. And yourself?"

Flagging down the server, Riordan order two glasses and a jug of red wine. Turning back to Danae, he nods. "Yes. It does seem to be a focal point for travel, allowing for many people to come through here. Which does mean we get to meet quite a few acquaintances as well." He takes a moment to think about his response, before speaking up again. "I've been doing fine. Been through the roads, patrolling. I like to go with the other patrols, make sure the roads are safe for those travelling on them."

"The route by way of the water certainly does not hurt the number of people who come through," Danae offers in counterpoint, recalling all the ships that lay abreast of the town. "It is interested to constantly see such a variety. It is rather different from home in that respect." Smiling, she gives Riordan time to gather his words as he will, watching him from beneath a flicker of blonde lashes. "That would be guard patrols then? Do you often encounter trouble?"

"Yes, having a port is certainly advantageous to having many more people come through here. Such is life in the riverlands, I suppose." Riordan smiles. The wine arrives and the server pours a bit of the wine in each of their glasses, leaving the jug behind. Holding up his own glass and says, "To…the Riverlands and to better getting to know one another."

"The Riverlands are ever changing as its own environment." There is a polite nod of thanks to the server for their drinks, then Danae lifts her glass to meet his in gesture. She laughs quietly at his suggestion for a toast, rasiing her glass further in quiet salute. "I could not have said it more truly myself, my Lord."

"Indeed they are." Riordan says, nodding in agreement. Taking a sip of the wine, he smiles a little. "Did I mention how lovely you're looking today, my lady? Quite the sight to behold." Placing his glass down. "If I remember correctly, you are quite interested in plants, yes? Does your interest remain primarily in the realm of gardening, or do you have interests in herbalism as well?"

Danae takes a small sip of her own wine to finish the toast, delicately licking her lips for a moment to savor the flavor. Another touch of pink creeps in at his compliment, mouth curving in a warm smile. "You did not, my lord. It is very kindly of you to say so, although so long as the sight is a welcome one I shall not complain." She takes another sip of drink before settling the glass between her fingers with a short nod. "Both, actually. I will admit that my tastes lean more towards plants for their uses than for their beauties along. It is fascinating matter, how many surround us to a number of purposes." That note of genuine excitement creeps into her voice, the sound of delight for a subject that is adored.

Riordan nods, listening to her get excited about the subject. "What kinds of plants might one use to create an item of worth? I've never really known. I've always been amazed at the skill that people have in regard to making something to sooth you, or something that can numb the pain. Are every day plants used, or are there special plants that people seek to use?"

"It depends on what one might make, whether a balm or a tincture each require their own arrangement of fauna. The worth is not in the final product, but in the plants themselves and knowing their kind and origin," Danae explains softly, eyes bright and intense. "There are specialty plants to be used for complex purposes…but the vast array of any apothecary comes from knowing the worth of the common ones." She names one or two common ones, what one might use for a fever or to sooth a throat with a smile. "And what of horses, how do you know their worth?"

"How fascinating! Maybe, one day, we could go for a walk and you could tell me which plants are used to cure which cold and help with headaches? I'd be interested in knowing." Riordan smiles, taking a long, slow sip of his wine. "Horses? Hmm. Well, there are a few factors to take into consideration, I suppose. How strong the horse is, how much of a load it can bear. The speed of the horse as well can, at times, be taken into consideration. A particularly fast horse is good for messengers, where as a particularly strong horse would be good for farmers and traveling merchants. For those like me who go on patrols and often travel long distances or competes in tournaments, a horse who both strong as well as fast is prized."

The door to the Crane's Crossing Inn opens up to admit another traveler, this one looking a little more weary, perhaps from the long ride or due to other reasons. He is in casual wear, the mail he had worn during the ride to town removed and put away along with rest of his kit. However, Kell's throat must be parched because his first priority is to find a tavern and the Crane's it is as it is one he recognizes and closer to the stables than the other he frequents. After taking a look around the tavern, the Hedge Knight proceeds to make his way to the bar.

"I would like that very much," Danae replies warmly, "Anything to keep your poor head free of aches, my lord." The tease is light and easy enough, followed shortly by another sip of wine and a mild laugh. The fair lady Westerling and the lord Nayland are seated at a table within the Crane's common room, the former draped in a sea green gown. "So then the horse is selected to fit the job? How complicated that seems to me, I would not be capable of telling them apart I do not think. Is it difficult to find such a horse for yourself? I know you are happy with your current stallion, though."

"Well, I do get many an ache in my head, you know. Too much fresh air, I think." Riordan chuckles and takes a sip of his wine as well. He is dressed in slightly more formal wear, though nothing as colourful as Danae's. "Horses can often be trained as they grow, or bred for a specific job. But even then, sometimes a horse just is not good at what it was meant to do." He explains. "It can be hard to find a horse for myself at times, yes. But as you say, I am happy with my current horse. Grishmorb is nothing if not a good suit for me."

Reaching the bar, Kell leans against it before sitting down on one of the empty wooden stools before nodding at the keeper, "I need a mug of ale… and you may want to keep it flowing tonight, Master Barkeep." There is a bit of resignation in his tone as the Hedge Knight leans forward slightly, as if to sag against the counter. The barkeep does greet the knight with some familiarity, "Good eve, Ser Drakmoor, ale it is." The man then gets busy preparing a clean mug, filling it with the requested content and placing it in front of the knight.

"Too many thoughts within, perhaps." Danae shoots him a short, amused grin as she draws another sip from her glass. Curling her fingers against her lips, she listens carefully to Riordan's explanation, keen and focused on the subject at hand. "Is it often the matter that the horse does not suit? My own Delphine is…an over-spirited filly, herself. I suppose they can be like people in that," she offers, trailing off musingly. Her eyes sweep the room in kind, looking over the people at hand, including the Ser Drakemoor at the counter.

"Hmm. Well, thinking too much always has been a problem of mine. Perhaps if I stopped thinking so much, I'd start feeling better!" Riordan smirks, shaking his head. "I wouldn't say that it's too often that that occurs, since they, like humans, can be trained for a task. And often they can get stronger as they are trained for tasks which require strength, or trained to endure for such tasks that require endurance and speed." He nods. "If your horse is a little too…spirited, as you say, I would not mind attempting to train her to be a bit more calm." He takes a sip of his wine, taking a deep breath in, but not looking around all too much at the moment.

As the mug of ale is set down in front of him, Kell gives a nod of appreciation to the barkeep before picking it up and taking a long drink from it, apparently wanting to take it down in one shot but is smart enough to pause when the mug is drained half way. A long breath is released as the cup is placed down and the Hedge Knight slowly draws into his own thoughts. Eyes staring at the mug but apparently not focused.

"Or you might go from feeling pained to light-headed," Danae teases gently, draining her glass more thoroughly a moment later. "I see," is said to his explanation of horses, features gone pensive for the moment. Horses. Riordan's offer incites her to look up to him with a blink and a pleased expression. "It would not be an imposition? I would like very much even a little more calm, she is high mannered."

"I fear that is a very real possibility with me." Riordan mock sighs, shaking his head softly, draining his own bit of wine a moment later. "Would you care for a tad bit more wine, my lady?" He offers, holding up the jug of wine. "Of course it would not be an imposition. It would be my honour to help you with your horse." He smiles. "I can get her as calm as you would like." He sounds pretty sure of himself in this matter.

Snapping out of his lull for a moment, Kell picks up his mug and takes another long drink before motioning to the barkeep for more, his mug isn't entirely empty but it's low so the other man obliges and refills it from a pitcher. There is an expression of contemplation on the Hedge Knight's face and when he can't find the answer easily, he decides that taking another drink will eventually lead to enlightenment so he does.

"I cannot picture it, my lord. You seem to level to be light headed in any regard, lest your darker side get a hold of your intentions," Danae replies, recalling their previous conversation with perhaps a glimmer of mischief. "Please." She places her glass closer to him on the table, offering it delicately. "It would be to my great pleasure if you might get her even a little so. I should owe you quite a favor in return, however I might aid you." She tilts her head at his certainty. "You seem so sure that it must be so."

"Oh, there are moments when I wonder even about myself." Riordan grins. "But my darker side may appear at any moment. You can never be too sure with we Naylands." He laughs and sighs, pouring a bit of wine into Danae's glass. "Well, just name the time and I shall do what I can to calm your horse a bit." Pouring a bit of wine into his glass as well, he smiles. "I've spent so much time with horses that it seems hardly any trouble at all. It's a pleasure to be able to help others with their own horse troubles."

Danae's smile is a slow thing, mild and sweet as a summer afternoon, as she teases, "Ah, so it is a familial trait then? Here I thought it might be an intrigue all of your own, good Ser and Lord." There is a murmur of thanks for the drink, fingers playing with the stem of the glass rather than partaking again so soon. "You have a rare talent to be so motivated, then. Is it difficult to find time for them with your other tasks?"

A frown is now directed down at his drinks as the ale apparently fails to enlighten the Hedge Knight. He then proceeds to scowl and those near him who may be watching him may begin to question if the man has lost his marbles. Kell finally narrows his eyes at the mug and picks it up, draining the rest of it before asking for more from the barkeep who ends up sighing and shaking his head. The shake of head is directed at the Hedge Knight's condition, not to deny the man his drink which he fills once more.

With a laugh, Riordan says, "No. No, none of my family have quite the skill at handling horses as I do. It is rare indeed." He smiles at her softly. "It has certainly become more and more difficult to find time for them. My duties do call, after all. But I find time where and when I can. I try to make time, often. And, as I've said, I do try to break a wild horse and use it in a tournament a fair bit. It has become something I've been known for among the tournaments."

"I was referring to your darker side. I have little doubt that your skill to tame a house is one that is your entirely," Danae demurs, lashes brushing against her cheeks as she looks to him with grin. It is a small one, but present. "How often do you run the tournaments? Do your duties much hinder them?"

As the third mug is poured for him, Kell takes it and nods his thanks to the barkeep once more, "Maybe this one will have some answers." The Hedge Knight knows he is being ridiculous, the barkeeper knows he is being ridiculous and any who sit near the man probably knows he's being ridiculous, but the man just doesn't care right now. Bringing the mug to his lips, Kell takes a long and well paced drink. He slows, taking a break, then finishes off the rest before letting out a brief 'ahh'. "At least my thirst has been quenched, thank you for the drink, Master Barkeep." As the Hedge Knight slowly rises to his feet, he reaches for his coin purse and pulls out the appropriate amount of coppers, then proceeds to the exit, deciding to look for his answers in another tavern.

"Ah, well, yes. I must say, my darker side is something much of my family has. It's inherited, I'm afraid. Many of us like to hide it, but it's there, just waiting to come out." Riordan gives Danae a little wink. "I try to enter tournaments as often as I can, though my duties do hinder my entering as much as I would care to." He shakes his head. "But that's a lot about me. Do you have many interests outside of plants?"

Danae laughs lightly, sliding her gaze away from Riordan following that all too cheeky little wink and shaking her head in a slight gesture. "It sounds like quite the lurking shadow. You have my sympathies." Her fingers slide along the rim of her wine glass as her smile shifts thoughtfully. "That must be frustrating at times, I imagine. Oh. I have a fair few, I find business to be interesting enough and quite enjoy the skills of a lady."

"Your sympathies are all I can ask for, unless you know of some great magical way to get rid of this ghastly dark side." Riordan says with a smile. Taking a tiny little sip of his wine, he tilts his head to one side. "Business? Hmm. I must admit, while I've learned how to properly run a keep and rule to the letter of the law, I've never quite been one for business. But is that any surprise with horses being my keen interest?" He grins. "And interests of a lady? Why don't you name a few for me." He says in a soft tone, tilting his head.

"I have afraid it would likely leave you travelling to Dorne to be rid of it, for all those magical ways — at least so the rumors say of the place. I have never been," Danae replies with a shake of her head. She knows no way to cure it herself. "It was a part of my studies when I was younger. Perhaps had I grown with horses the way I had with goods, I might be able to not unseat myself with such ease. Of course then we may not be so acquainted." Which would be a shame, at least that is what the smile she gives him indicates. "A lady ought be skilled in the gentler graces, M'Lord. While I am afraid I am not much for song…I do dance and draw with a fair hand and foot."

"Hmm. I don't think I fancy traveling that far to rid myself of a family curse." Riordan shakes his head slowly, mournfully. "No, I shall stay here and live with it!" He can't help but break into a tiny grin, though. "We all have our own skills and talents. And it is very true. I believe we are both, or I am at least, glad to have met." He says with a little nod, sipping on his wine. "Ah, dancing. That is one thing I could never quite figure out how to do. I've always been just down right dreadful at it."

"I am glad to have met as well," Danae admits quietly, watching Riordan for a moment before she takes a smiling drink of wine. His admittance draws a shake of her head. "I should think you might just have need for someone to tell you where to put your feet. You might be lacking for a partner, rather than simple ability my Lord. I have seen the turns of Knights and it is quite akin to the turn of a dance in its own manner."

Raising his glass, despite they've already started drinking these refilled glasses, Riordan says another toast. "To meeting." He gives a little nod and sips the wine. "Well, maybe you would be so kind as to instruct me, one of these days, in the art of dancing. I could certainly use someone to tell me where to put my feet. I would appreciate any help in that matter I could get!"

Danae follows his motion, raising her own glass slight and shakes her head. "A meeting is just the start. To continued acquaintance, my lord," she says instead, taking a draught of her own wine. "It would be my pleasure to instruct you. Perhaps between the two of us, I shall see a horse with manners and you yourself will stay to your feet. Upright is a very good posture for a noble man."

"To continued acquaintance." Riordan repeats, nodding. "And wouldn't that be something? Roles being reversed? Huh, well, how about that?" He laughs. "But I would enjoy that. Together…we can do anything." He chuckles, sipping his wine. "I hope we can make these arrangements soon. I never know when dancing might come in handy!"

"I may warn you that I am a very stern teacher. I shall see your feet in the right places before the end," Danae chides with a click of her tongue. Her smile softens any warning, words warm with wine and good company. "Perhaps we can. Simply inform me when you are free to be about, we might see about having a session of practice within the tower. I shall have to introduce you to my…disreputable horse," she adds wryly.

"Well, I'm a very disobedient student, so we shall see how this turns out!" Riordan says, though the slight smirk on his face might suggest that he's jesting. "You may, however, wish to warn your horse. I've yet to meet a horse of ill repute who I could not best!" He grins.

"So long as you learn better than my horse, good Lord, then I believe it to be a successful lesson," Danae retorts with a quirk of her lips. They shall have to see which is more difficult. Riordan or Delphine, the horse. "I worry that should I warn her of your coming, she shall prepare and your effect might be lessened." Their conversation continues, respectibility mixed with teasing, until the Danae's guard expresses pointedly that their return to the Tower ought to be considered.