|For Vexing Me|
|Summary:||Midirection, sparring and observation. Aka 'the usual', with Aleister and Ceinlys|
|Related Logs:||Asking Favors and Sweet Little Lies, among others.|
|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.|
|19th January 289 A.L.|
People who look through keyholes are apt to get the idea that most things are keyhole shaped. ~ Author Unknown
Early evening has come to the Riverlands and with it, many of the knights, squires and men-at-arms who had been lingering within Stonebridge have begun to slowly filter back towards the main army camp that resides towards the Roost. As is always the case, a few have remained behind, some stealing themselves to the Inns and Taverns that the town has to offer, while others tend to other matters. Aleister and two Charlton knights obviously fall into this latter category, for they've yet to depart for the Roost and they've come to find themselves on one of the rolling hills just north of the township.
With the sun descending down over the horizon, it's rather easy to spot two of the knights, for the fleeting rays glint and gleam off polished armor and drawn steel. The third, offering more of a shadow then anything, seems to have forgone protection from armor, though there's a mace in hand. If one were to move closer, it be easy to note that Aleister is the one sans armor and in fact, he's discarded the undershirt that accompanies the armor, all of which are piled off to the side. There's an almost sadistic smirk upon his lips as the trio train, with the two other knights working as one opposite to Aleister, "Come Ser Alyn. Ser Colyn. If that is the best that you can offer, the you are not fit to return to the fight."
Dusk is generally the time where the people of the world find their respite; tasks done for the day, inviting hearths beckoning dozy slumber, weary children being carried to bed regardless of the volume of protest. But, for some, the encroaching dark seems to entice them out rather than bid them hasten indoors. Such -might- be the case with the Lady Erenford. She certainly seems to take pride in those qualities that set her, always, that little bit apart. But more likely, this evening at least, is that she has merely lingered out longer than she had assumed. The temptation of spending the afternoon with her newly acquired mare was simply too great - she hasn't been seen for most of the day, come to that.
Letting the stoic palomino pick her own way down toward level ground, descending from a shady copse of grand trees, Ceinlys looks perfectly at ease, despite the fading light and her lack of company. What has she been doing out there? It would be easy to speculate. Truth be told, though, she has spent her time in quiet solitude; letting her new mount graze after a long ride and simply settling within the roots of a particularly aged and gnarled beech, pondering whatever it is that ladies like her ponder.
Anyway. The clash of arms has no doubt been noted as she makes her way back toward Stonebridge and her cerulean eyes wander inevitably in the direction of the sparring trio. Whether she recognises any of them or not is difficult to say, even as her path carries her directly toward their little summit.
His words seem to have struck a chord with the two knights opposite him, for they move at the same time, blades swinging at both his sides, one from on high, the other from down low. There's a slight blink and then a low chuckle as Aleister is left with literally no where to move and as such, the mace lowers to catch the low attack upon the shaft, guiding it down to the handle where it catches against the iron. The other is more difficult and timing becomes everything as real steel seems to be the order of things tonight. A flit of eyes, a tense of his shoulders and then, as the attack reaches the midpoint of the swing, his hand is snapping out to catch the other knights gauntlets, fingers gripping as knuckles immediately turn white, "Much better."
Lower his mace to shake off the blade and releasing the other knight's hand, Aleister dips a slight nod to both of them before taking a step back. "That'll be enough for today. Head back, do whatever you want and I'll see you before the sun rises for the ride to the Roost." Each knight offers a bow as weapons come to be sheathed and as they move to gather their few pieces of errant gear, Ale is moving towards his pile of equipment, lowering the mace, which still bares the token, to the ground before claiming a rag to lift and dab at his face. The two knights catch sight of the lone rider and as they prepare to make their way back to the township, apparently without horses, they murmer quietly to Aleister. Whatever is said, though, draws a grunt from his lips and a slight shake of his head.
It has to be the voice she recognises. There's certainly nothing else about her lord's appearance today that strikes immediately as familiar. Drawing her palfrey to a halt a short distance away, Ceinlys calmly rests her hands upon the pommel of her saddle, folding them one atop the other, and watches the display of skill in silence; only the subtle twist across her lips betraying her unvoiced amusement.
Still, she's not entirely without heart, and Aleister -is- without his armor, against two armed opponents, friendly or not. As those twin scythes arc toward the Charlton, the young lady visibly flinches, breath catching in her throat fleetingly before being softly loosed with evident effort when he intercepts the second knight's swing. Honestly, such skirmishes shouldn't be entirely foreign to her, given her elder brother's 'profession' in tourneying…
Seeing she has inadvertently drawn the attention of the knights accompanying dark-haired Aleister, the young woman demurely lowers her blue eyes, just for a moment, when their gazes pass her way; acknowledgement without deference. And still, she doesn't call out a greeting. Not yet. Why should see, when only two pairs of eyes have bothered to shift in her direction. Absently smoothing her skirts with one palm, Ceinlys sighs softly. And waits. She can't help her curious nature, after all.
With his head pausing from that shake, Aleister lifts the rag back up and wipes the sweat from his brow and cheeks before it lowers to run along each of his arms. Then, it's idly tossed to the ground so that his hand can lift and smooth through his hair, ruffling it slightly before letting his hand fall away. It's only then that he's casting a look in the direction the Knight's had indicated and it takes only a moment for him to spot Ceinlys and when he does, there's a dip of his head in a bow and a raised, "Lady Erenford," in greetings.
Then, he's turning back away, bending down to the articles of equipment and moving things so that his undershirt can be claimed in his left hand. Rising back to his feet, he turns back in the direction of Lady and horse, promptly beginning to walk in that direction as he again calls out, "I see you're out enjoying the mare?"
If the young noblewoman is flustered by the approach of the bare-chested knight, she hides it well. But that's likely because she pointedly lowers her gaze as he approaches, forcing the betrayal of any warmth in her cheeks to pale back to insignificance as swiftly as possible. "Ser." Her greeting in kind is pleasant, yet it seems a little quiet. Clearing her throat, she manages better in respinding to his idle question of her business out here, practically in the wilds and all alone. Unless you count the horse.
The mare, contrastingly, gazes contemplatively at the man who draws nearer to her, huffing a single snort and taking a step toward him before her mistress has chance to prevent it. "Staaaaand, sweetling.." Ceinlys admonishes the young creature only gently, but the impromptu motion is enough to bid her eyes rise toward Ser Charlton again. "I am, indeed." Pausing again - she uncharacteristically hesitatnt this eve, is she not? - the dark-haired woman draws a breath deep enough to rouse a visible rise and fall of her chest before speaking her mind plainly. "..I did not intend for you to purchase her on my behalf, Ser. But.. thank you. She is quite the most beautiful thing I think I have ever possessed." Reaffirming that usual expression of almost-amusement, she cants her head askance, grateful to move on from -that- business. "..will you not catch chill, m'lord?" Perhaps a subtle insinuation in the words.
The hesitancy that she comes to offer causes a slight lift of Aleister's brow and as his head cants a touch to the side, the smirk is once more playing across his lips. Eyes remain lifted a touch, enough so that he can look to her and when the horse takes that step in his direction, his gaze is shifting to the mare. A step closer is taken, a hand lifting, palm up, so that the mare can sniff and lip at his palm and it's only when he's addressed again that he's looking back to Ceinlys. "If you are to serve my dear wife, Lady Erenford, then you must have a horse of quality. It is only right that such a thing be provided for you." The mention of catching a chill has his eyes drifting down to his undershirt as his chuckle sounds past his lips, "After that little bout of training? I think not." Those brown eyes lift again, settling back on her, "But, I thank you for your concern in such things." Turning enough to present his side to her, his eyes are shifting to the rolling hills and the road that leads back to the town. "Dangerous to be out this far from town, Lady Erenford, without a guard to watch over you."
"As dangerous as sparring in the near-dark without a healer at hand?" counters the young lady, airily, apparently determined to be neither outdone nor intimidated, lifting her jaw a touch in vague defiance. "Few are the men who could outrun this one, Ser, if any exist at all." Is that why she's remaining astride the golden horse? Leaning forward a little, she pats at the palfrey's strong neck with her palm, unable to resist a faint smile as the doe-eyed creature snuffles at Aleister's palm. It certainly cannot be said that -Ceinlys- is ever underdressed for her choice of entertainment. Her riding habit appears both warm and elegant, the black velvet a lavish offset to her gleaming raven curls, despite the fact that they look a little windswept for once, and the creamy hues of her bodice and skirts only seeming to emphasise her porcelain complexion, even in the gradually diminishing sunlight.
Not straightening quite yet, her fingers playing through the silvery lengths of her mount's silken mane, the noblewoman casts a thoughtful look upon Aleister, her expression difficult to read. "..you are leaving, come morning? For the Roost?" Surely she must know that to be the case. What she thinks about it is, as ever, another matter entirely.
Offering a quick laugh, Aleister gives a shake of his head and counters back with, "Sparring is only dangerous, my dear, if you fail to anticipate the attack of your partner." Flitting a look back to the horse, he's regarding the creature for a moment before giving a quick nod of his head, "Good to know." Still, his eyes remain upon the horse for another moment before he's tilting his head to the side and up, so that he can look as she begins to pat the side of the mare's neck.
The mention of the Roost has him turning back to her, eyes lifting upwards to focus his attention upon her as he gives a nod of his head, "I do. I must arrive for a commander's meeting with Lord Nayland and Lord Frey. Then, a couple days of organization before we begin our march to Seagard." Lifting a hand, he runs it idly along the mare's neck before letting his hand drop away. "And only the Gods know when we will return, for I imagine the Ironborn will not rout near as easy as they did at Adlerbrook."
The shadow of a frown darkens Ceinlys' brow, her vivid blue eyes lowering again to regard the mare as she sits back more in her saddle, folding her hands again. the withdrawal, intentionally or not, keeps her fingertips from ever coming within easy reach of the knight's, even as he sweeps his larger palm along the palfrey's glossy coat. Casting her eyes away, she turns her face toward the sinking sun, inhaling deeply of the scents carried upon a barely-moving breeze. Dewsweet grass and rich foliage. What's not to love? "The Lady is to remain here, given her delicate condition. A sensible precaution. But I wonder.. will we have news of you, Ser?"
Only slowly looking back down toward Aleister's upturned features, the young lady summons a smile that implies this is not -her- concern, rather a general one. For the sake of the household, and all. "I am not foolish enough to argue your point, when it comes to the difficulties that lie ahead of you and the bannerhouses accompanying. But I will pray that your return, and that of my kin, is a swift one. With glory in victory rather than battlescars, if it would not trouble you to ensure such." A pregnant pause, attention flitting absently over the knight's form before she adds, far more dulcet in tone now, "..I have nothing to gift you with, this time. Perhaps some luck yet lingers in the token given prior, hm?"
The brush of his hand along the horses neck is almost an absent one and the creature is paid another moment's attention. It would seem that amongst all things, the Knight has an appreciation for horses, which isn't surprising, all things considered. When his hand finally comes to fall away, he's offering a slight nod of his head in her direction, a faint smile curving upon his lips, "Aye, she will remain here and when there is news to be had, I am sure that it will reach the ears of those necessary."
Now, the smirk begins to return to his lips as he looks to the road ahead before looking back up and her in direction, "Worry not, Lady Erenford. I have every intention of returning to these lands, unhindered and unharmed." It's not a statement of arrogance, just one of simple fact. But even the best of intentions don't always go as planned. The mention of no further gifts draws a rumbling laugh from his lips and a slight shake of his head, "Then let us hope that luck remains in that which was given prior, for it still flutters upon the handle of my weapon." As the words end, he's lifting the shirt up so that he can begin to slip it over his head.
Unable to help herself, and perhaps relaxing somewhat as the man dons his undershirt once more, Ceinlys looses an answering laugh into the slowly cooling air, the sound throaty and velvet and with that ever-present possibility of something darker lurking beneath the appeal. "You are, perhaps, the most vexing man I have ever had the opportunity to meet, Ser. And tell me.." A slender brow arches as she puts him to the question. "..has the mighty Lord Aleister ever failed to anticipate the attack of his partner?" Referring to his words of a moment ago in blatant teasing, she nevertheless watches for his reaction keenly. "Beware.. should you say no, I may consider you a liar.. and should you answer me yes, I will most certainly beg details of such a moment."
Finally, composure firmly regathered and held close, Ceinlys gathers her reins and, in a single smooth motion, dismounts from her palfrey. The reins are drawn over the pretty mare's ears and head, granting her leave to graze a little, if she so chooses. Tugging the forward hems of her riding coat closer together with her free hand, the noblewoman looks over the creature admiringly herself for a splitsecond, before facing Aleister on more level ground.. in a manner of speaking.
It takes only a moment for the shirt to be donned and for the time being, he's leaving it untucked from his trousers, for that laugh draws his attention back upwards. There's a lift of a brow and then an answering laugh of his own as he murmers, "You, of all people, Lady Erenford, should understand the importance that vexxing another can have." In a fashion, it's a compliment and at her question, the smirk begins to tug at the corner of his lips once more.
He doesn't answer immediately, for when she begins to dismount from the horse, he's simply coming to watch and when she finally turns around to face him, there's a slight cant of his head to one side, "Would either answer sate your curiosity, my dear? For if I answered no, I could be concealing that I have, in fact, failed in such a thing." A slight deepening of the smirk takes hold now as his eyes light with mischief and humor. "And should I say yes, I could simply be redirecting your thoughts from the fact that I've never failed to anticipate an attack." Now, a hand lifts towards her in what would be considered a knightly gesture, should she wish to walk. "Either one could be rife with misdirection and deception."
"Oh, I do consider it a compliment, Ser, do not mistake my meaning." Pulling her long tresses forward over one shoulder with her free hand now, the young lady maintains her smile; that faint curve that lingers somewhere between playful and sultry. That much, at least, seems a natural mannerism. "For if you spoke plainly.." she continues, "..It would suggest you did not consider me a woman of any consequence at all." Flashing the knight a momentary grin, she chuckles as she adds, "So thank you. For vexing me. I shall do what I can to return the favor, I assure you."
Stepping forward lightly, she accepts his gesture without any apparent pause for consideration, her motion prompting the palomino to raise her head with a flick of her ears. Are they soon to be off, then? "It is true." The young lady muses aloud, feigning sympathy for Aleister's plight, even as her glacial eyes are reflecting his own amusement. "Either choice it not without its risks. But Ser.. I do believe you rather enjoy games of deception. Go ahead.." She dips her head a little, in order to venture a daring look upon him through ebonesque lashes, lowered to half-mast. "..play."
A lingering laugh sounds in Aleister's throat, though it doesn't quite escape past his lips, lending an almost growl-like quality to it, "You are quite correct, Lady Erenford, if I did not view you with any consequence, we would not be standing here, having this discussion." That is, perhaps, one of the plainest answers that has escaped his lips in some time, "And I will look forward to such a favor being returned, then."
The acceptance of his hand has his fingers curling just a touch and he turns enough so as to begin to lead her on a walk, though one that surely won't go far, considering her horse remains untethered and his gear remains unattended. There's a turn of his head to her, enough so that his eyes can remain settled upon her features, the smirk still resting almost lightly upon his lips, "Dangerous words, my Lady." For a moment after, the smirk molds to a grin and then back again, "But to answer your question; There are some attacks which are nigh impossible to anticipate."
She knows that's likely the closest she will come to a straight answer. Ever. And so Ceinlys presses the matter of her own worth no further. Besides, she already has a very firm grasp on -that-. Just perhaps not Aleister's perception of it. Following gracefully as the knight sets a casual pace, Ceinlys casts a brief glance back toward her mare, who dutifully treads in her wake, still happily chomping a mouthful of lush grass and entirely unconcerned with what the pair might be discussing. All in all, an ideal chaperone. Foreign and mute.
"How diplomatic." That teasing melody has returned to the young lady's voice, in regard to Charlton's eventual answer. "Suppose, then, for the sake of discussion.." Her rein-holding hand drops briefly to gather a small bunch of her skirts, allowing her to step lightly across a rather damp looking hollow in the ground, with Aleister's offered fingertips aiding her balance tenuously at best. "..that two of equal quality were to spar. Would not that dance go one forever, with neither ever truly triumphing?" Further considering her own posed hypothetical, the brunette meets the man's gaze levelly. "It would be neither loss, nor victory. You could anticipate every move, because it is what you yourself would do." Then, she seems to dismiss the train of thought entirely, focusing upon Aleister's own words more carefully.
"..which attacks have the greatest chance of victory, Ser? Those that you plan for endless hours and councils.. or those decided in an instant? In your opinion." She already has her own, that implies. What a surprise.
Listening as she begins that hypothetical question, Aleister slows his movements as she lowers a hand to gather her skirts and when that damp looking hallow has been stepped over, he's moving a couple more paces and then slowly beginning to draw his movements to a halt. "An interesting scenario, Lady Erenford, but one that would not end in a draw. For while two people might be equally matched, there is always the factor of luck that must come into play, and it would then decide who became the victor and who was relegated to losing."
That final question has him turning to face her, his hand still lifted and allowing hers to rest within it, "Neither and both." He lets the answer fit for a moment before continuing with an explaination. "One must have a plan of attack in order to ensure success, but things are ever fluid. As such, one must adapt their plans, make changes on the fly. Look for signs and adjust accordingly." There's a slight tilt of his head to the right as the smirk begins to fade from his lips. "Otherwise, ones attack will simply fail, for it is impossible to account for every move or action without first seeing things in play."
"Observation is key in many things.." murmurs the young woman, echoing Aleister's own words. She barely seems to notice, ironically enough, that he draws to a halt, almost colliding with him as he turns. Fortunately, that effortless grace of hers keeps her from doing so; only a vague sensation of near-miss truly, as her clothing lightly brushes his. She doesn't apologise, perhaps too intent upon the knight's answer to think of it. Though it's possible she simply doesn't care enough to ask forgiveness.
Regarding the taller figure in the half-dark, Ceinlys shakes back her loose tresses in habitual, unthinking motion before pushing further with her seemingly endless questions. "And what if you wish the spar to continue, despite knowing you could end it swiftly? To better gauge the habits of your opponent, perhaps.. or merely to savor eventual triumph?" Ceinlys watches his smile fade, a rare thing to see him without that ever so arrogant smirk.
"It most certainly is," comes the reply from Aleister and when she comes into a near collision with him, a soft chuckle begins to escape past his lips, his other hand having lifted to her waist in an effort to stem off the run in and just quickly having fallen away when it doesn't come. "Observation," comes to be offered again, almost teasingly this time.
Now, standing before her, her hand in is, he's centered his eyes upon her, not shying away from her watchful eyes, "A spar can never go forever, Lady Erenford. And it should not." The smirk returns to his lips, head still canted a touch to the right. "Instead, each session should have a start and a finish and should it be desired, another can be picked up in the days to follow."