Just Another Joust
Just Another Joust
Summary: Harold takes his niece out
Date: 22/09/2012
Related Logs: By Moonlight, By Midnight, By Grace
Harold Aeliana Midnight 
Tournament of the Tulips, Saltpens
April 9th, 286

The Tournament of the Tulips were held outside the Saltpens in commemoration of one of the Lord’s sons attaining his knighthood. It was not big enough a tournament to attract knights from the whole of the Seven Kingdoms, but there was still a fair showing from the Riverlands in general. There would be a melee and a joust. The latter would start with three champions; each a son of the local House, though none of them were good enough that they were likely to last the end of the first day when the highborn lords challenged.

As a Mystery Knight, unable to draw on his blood for privilege, The Knight of Midnight Grace had to wait until the second day to make his challenges, which meant that by then the weaker opponents would have already been knocked out. His armor was stricken of all house symbols, wearing a plain breastplate soothed into a darkened hue, made of course from castle forged steel. His shield bore a silver moon on black, with clouds drifting over the great fat globe of light. Since losing meant having to ransom back one’s armor and horse, a considerable investment for any young knight, he might have been expected to be nervous. Instead he appeared perfectly at ease as he waited his turn.

They called his name, to face Ser Davod of a house unimportant. Rather than immediately ride to his place on the tilt, however, the knight steered his charger towards the lordly balcony where the highborn guests sat. There were several young (and older) ladies whose favors had not been requested by any knights so far, and the gleam in their eyes and the flutter of their breasts revealed that most were caught up by the exciting possibility of being chosen by a mystery candidate. Secrecy, after all, was its own aphrodisiac.

He said nothing, and behind his helmet there was nothing to see of his expression either. The slits that protected his eyes cast even those in shadow. Nothing revealed. Calmly, the tip of his lance dipped down.. until it pointed straight at one girl in particular. A silent request.

In a world of conversations had over tea and endless hours spent pulling needle through cloth, there were few joys to be had for one with a mind that longed to be engaged; particularly when one’s company tended to frown upon the subject. Too many of them were content to simply wait to be auctioned off, or at best hoped to marry someone who was prettier than those who they were forced to look at on a daily basis. It was no secret that Aeliana was pleased to be away from the Twins. Oh it wasn’t that she didn’t learn anything, but she didn’t feel as if she learned anything useful and the atmosphere was more than just a little morose.

It also meant that she was inclined to spend less time at home and more of it out remembering that there was life in the world beyond her past companions. To Kellen then, beneath an Uncle’s favor and beyond, just as soon as she’d first caught wind of a gathering. No small amount of imploring then and begging too, to see her taken out. And perhaps, perhaps just a tinsy bit of cajoling with it, so that she could actually see him in action. Ae fed off watching tournaments; in part for the ‘polite’ violence but for the viewing that it gave her of horseflesh, as well. Cloistered about, surrounded by both handmaids and Septa, it didn’t dampen at all her enjoyment.

“He’ll be down for a while with the way that lance splintered and pierced his shoulder, did you see?” And yes, they had, but most tended to have an aversion to blood that Aeliana didn’t possess. Instead she sat ready and eager; watching with dark eyes and hair that…even then, there was no hope for. It was as if the world recognized the chaos of which she was both composed and capable of inflicting and while she might strike a mild and well mannered appearance, the very essence of her still found little ways to escape and make herself known. This wasn’t her first show. It wasn’t the first time that she’d offered her favor. But it was almost always to the underdog; if only because they seemed to fight all that much harder than the rest. And who didn’t want to be responsible for offering hope?

What it meant though, was that there was…hesitation before she offered it to this stranger; a sharp sizing up of the eyes that swept from his horse to his armor and lingered upon the image cast upon his shield. Weighed and judged on size and demeanor, on the way he moved with his beast rather than fed upon the crowd. At length it was offered, then; a single gold ribbon that freed that wild mass of fey locks to dance as it pleased, spilling out against the delicate curve of her shoulders as she hooked the ribbon against the end of his lance and gave a low bow of her head with a pointed look. No fawning though, no twittering sigh of indulgence. Simply…the suggestion, as her eyes flowed back directly towards his opponent that…he not disappoint.

The Knight of Midnight Grace lowered his head in respectful thanks for the lady’s favors. There were no words, for he had spoken none since his entry into the tournament, allowing instead a borrowed squire who had been sworn to secrecy to do his speaking for him. Without a word he turned his charger around, and rode it calmly back towards his side of the joust, the ribbon flowing in the breeze beneath the blunted tournament tip of the lance.

Ser Davod might be of an unimportant house, but he had already unhorsed two other knights, and so there was an undeniable bit of worry gnawing in Midnights stomach as he stared down the line at his opponent. He couldn’t help but think that it would have been rather a lot nicer to have had a chance to warm up on an easier opposition. On the other hand.. And here the knight smiled beneath his vizier, on the other hand he -was- better. He knew it, deep in his bones. His armor was better, his horse was better, and most importantly his blood had ensured that he’d grown up training better.

His head turned once, in the balcony’s direction, his head dipping down in acknowledgement of the girl whose favor he carried. Then he kicked his horse forward. With a stomach full of fluttery uncertainty, with a mad grin on his lips, he charged. As they grew closer, the sound of thunderous horseflesh became a roar in his ears, and gradually he let his lance slip down. He aimed, and..

The lance shattered against Ser Davod’s head, just as the other knight’s lance bounced off Midnight’s shield. There was no need to look back to know that he’d downed his opponent on the very first lance, because the roar of approval from the crowd told him as much. Calmly he turned his horse around at the very end of lists, and watched the broken and sprawled knight being rushed by his squires. He could see the blood oozing down from inside the helmet from here, and the fall had twisted the man’s ankle into an unnatural direction. Broken. Ugly enough to show white bone cutting through flesh. The only thing that really mattered to him, though, was the retrieval of his favor. So he sent his squire in to get it.

Between the quiet trade of conversation with her Uncle, Aeliana watched as the knight moved out to the end of the field before those dark eyes slid down the length towards Davod once more. It was the thunder of hooves that riled her quietly, like a song in her blood that had, for a moment, those delicate lashes falling closed against her cheeks as she did nothing but -listen- before they opened. All but timed towards the meeting of the knights so that it was the crack of wood that greeted her, the ring of it against steel, the roar of the crowd around them.

"He's probably young," she said; though whether it was given to her Uncle or one of her maids was hard to pin. "He'd have to be, riding in such display."


"What?" Ae sighed, "He rides without claim to his House, and he rides -well-. Rare are the common knights that ride so well, if he's long into having his spurs then…I'll forfiet my best dress."

"He could simply be lucky," Rayleen sighed, watching the mystery knight with a bright splash of longing in her eyes.

"That wasn't luck," Aeliana said it simply, though there was a faint quirk of her lips when he sent his squire to retrieve her favor. "He'll finish near the top of the lists, I'd wager," where the conversation became one steered towards her Uncle, instead. "What do you think, Uncle Harry? There seems too much quiet arrogance there for it to be anything else."

Well. Perhaps it had been a little luck. In training the Midnight Grace could make the strike nine times out of ten, but in an actual joust? The chances were little better than evens. He’d taken a risk going for the helmet, because it was the kind of move that either made a knight look like a hero out of legends, or a proper fool who couldn’t hit anything at all. Now that the moment was over, he was laughing inside of his helmet in pure joy of victory. Calmly he leaned down to where his squire was handling the broken lance. He seized it with his steel gauntlet, then broke off a small splinter from the ruined lance.

“Deliver this to Lady Aeliana Charlton,” he told his squire, the only man he spoke to. After all, this was a riverlands tournament, and in one way or another he had brushed against too many to trust they couldn’t recognize his voice. “A favor for a favor.”

Meanwhile Harold was leaning towards his niece with a wry look on his features. “Luck or skill, it was certainly audacious. He’ll keep winning until Ser Farrow decides he won’t be eclipsed by a stranger. Farrow is better.” An older knight, a professional tournament victor who rode from tournament to tournament, and lived off the ransom of armor and horses. “Though you never know. Even the best are taken down by luck now and again.” Harold wasn’t the equal of either of them, at least not with the lance. Give him a sword and see him meet them in a real battle, though, and he was confident he had a decent chance to carve up just about any knight.

“What’s this?” He mused when the squire of the Midnight Grace approached. The boy dipped in a low bow, giving his best leg while he did it. “Ser Midnight Grace offers the Lady Aeliana a favor, for his favor.” There was a single drop of blood smeared against the wooden splinter, easy to miss at first glance. It was about as long as a man’s thumb, and as thick.

“Don’t couch it prettily, Uncle, it was arrogant.” And yet…Aeliana approved. Highly. Because there was something sharp in her gaze when it turned once more in the mystery knight’s direction. A look that lingered, weighted, the type of appraisal that belonged more truly to a woman rather than a child. “Farrow is,” she agreed, answering her Uncle without ever really looking back in his direction. “He’s had years of practice and he feeds well off a crowd. But…”

“But I think that this time it will ride upon just how much of a show Midnight intends to make. Still, I’ll grant you’re right on this one. He’s in it for the thrill of the challenge, not what it can do for him. He may lend the floor to Farrow simply so that the man gets the spoils.”

It was the appearance of the squire then, that finally broke her watching and took her attention a sight lower unto the young man’s direction. There was more warmth on her face this time, as she reached out to take the offered gift; letting it roll in against the smooth curve of her palm to be examined in the light. And then? Then Aeliana looked beyond the squire, to his master and offered a low bow of her head while those eyes gleamed with dark amusement.

“Do tell your Ser that I am honored, if you would but be so kind. And tell him…,” those eyes fell once more to the thick splinter in her hand, to the crimson that touched it yet. “Tell him that drawing first blood only counts between the sheets,” the little Charlton said softly, so low that it couldn’t carry beyond the little entourage that nestled on all sides. “… and if he would please me, then he will offer me the last.”

“An arrogant young knight out for the thrill, aye. And rich enough that he can afford a second set of armor, horse and squire,” her uncle said with a dry tone. “Either from a prominent House, or an Heir or Lord in his own right, is my guess. If he weren’t he wouldn’t be so cavalier with all of it. Arrogant young knights without coin to spend tend to find less expensive thrills.”

There was a slight narrowing in his eyes when the squire offered a knight’s favor in return for the one she had given. It was not.. entirely proper in the older knight’s mind. Especially as he hadn’t missed the drop of blood that was still warm and wet against the grain of the wood. On the other hand he couldn’t claim it was directly -improper- either, and so simply harrumphed there in his seat. “Aye. Definitely fucking arrogant,” he grumbled.

“Ae!” His eyes had widened at her soft response, and if he’d started to frown before, then now there were real stormclouds in his eyes. “You will tell your fucking master no such bloody thing,” he snarled at the squire, even though he knew it was far too late. The squire would tell it all, without doubt. “Dammit, Ae. That was ill done.” While the squire scampered off with just a hint of a smirk once he was out of the angry knight’s immediate presence.

Direct line to his master, the boy ran. The Knight leaned down, listened to the transfer of Aeliana’s message, and then visibly threw his head back and laughed. Laughed, loud enough for the nearby knights to notice, too. Eventually as it faded, he turned to the balcony once more and dipped her a -far- deeper bow than he had before.

“Do you begrudge him such moments of stolen pleasure, Uncle? He sits there now, astride without judgment and measured only by his skill. If none are harmed….?” With a reason to be engaged, to approve, the girl’s judgment was far less harsh than her initial assessment and those slender fingers curled in against the token until it all but disappeared as she settled her hands once more in her lap. The perfect image of a serene and docile little girl who…was quite possibly scandalizing her Uncle.

“Oh Uncle Harry,” his niece chided him softly; reaching out a small hand to pat against his knee, “Relax, would you? There’s no need to make such a fuss. No one heard anything and look…,” Aeliana watched the squire run off, slowly turning the favor over and over against her palm. It took every bit of self control the girl possessed not to let the grin that his laughter prompted show through either and that failed entirely when he dipped that bow in her direction.

“It’s only amused him. No harm, Uncle Harry. It’s certainly not as if I’ll ever see him again, now is it? We don’t even know -who- it is, at any rate. And if he wins? Well, perhaps he’ll remember me. My goodness, you -are- sitting right here, regardless. You fret too much and I’m -not- seven anymore you know.”

“You don’t know who he is, but he knows who you are,” her uncle pointed out in a rough grumble. She had infact scandalized him, quite considerably. To think that his young Aeliana should have even considered the prospect of bed sport, shocked him to the core. Even if it shouldn’t have, obviously. He was a realistic man, most of the time, even to the point of deep cynicism. But matters of the heart, and what could his love for Aeliana be but that, tended to blur such lines.

“Well, the damage is done, now. Let’s hope he’s got a shred of honor, and that neither him nor the damn squire decides to flap their tongues. I’d rather not have to kill someone just because they forgot how a Lady should be treated and spoken of.” Because young men could be cruel, and hers wouldnt be the first reputation smeared by casual banter with knights who should have known better.

“Hmph,” to her petting his knee. “I fret exactly as much as I have to. Bah. There he’s riding again. I hope the fucker gets knocked off his damn horse.”

Only he didn’t. Though the Mystery Knight broke three lances on his next opponent’s shield, each time pausing to look in Aeliana’s direction afterwards, offering her his bow. Her favor was now hanging from his armor rather than his lance, streaming away from his shoulder pauldron. The fourth pass, he took a glancing blow to his head, and in the split moment of opening that followed he shattered his own straight in the chestplate of the other knight. Who went down from the impact.

Harold did not applaud. Frowning.

Sternly disapproving when, two hours later, the Midnight Grace once more approached the pavilion of the highborn. He was the only one, really, because the Host lord and lady were both as enthusiastic as the rest of the crowd, who had taken to a mystery knight that had toppled two considerable opponents. The next up was Farrow. Speaking for Midnight Grace was the squire again. “Ser Midnight Grace asks Lady Aeliana for another favor. He would not want to ride into his next joust unbalanced, with the weight of her favor upon one shoulder but not the other.” Riding close, then, all the way up to the balcony so that he was right below the woodwork railing, his bare shoulder pauldron offered up in her direction. Though she’d have to lean over the railing to fasten it.

Harold still disapproving. But did nothing to intervene, as long as the rest of the nobles were all happy-drunk and enthusiastic about the extra drama of knightly romance.

"He won't."

Aeliana said it with such conviction that it seemed impossible to believe otherwise. And it was conviction; the solid core of belief that moved her to speak, no pieces of youthful fancy flirting there in the tone. She couldn't have said how she knew it either, she just…knew. And while that error in judgment could cost her and cost her dearly, there seemed to be no such consideration in her gaze. A woman's intuition, perhaps. Matched against an Uncle's deeply laden cynicism. "Besides, that he know who I am is exactly the point."

And it seemed silly that her Uncle not even consider the notion. After all, even she was realistic and there rode a man with talent and the coin to afford his indulgence and he resided…who knew where. But she'd not be young forever, not restricted forever either on where she may travel and when and with whom and one day, him remembering her might just be something she could use. "And I would wager, Uncle," Ae turned darkly teasing suspicious eyes up in his direction, "That you've pulled such a stunt in your time. Not in the same fashion perhaps…but wicked all the same."

With a wiggle the girl returned her attention to the field, keen eyes that watched every ride, a satisfied little sound of near giggling joy with every opponent that seemed at odds to the call for blood there in her eyes. It was stifled but for only a moment, as she watched, with eyes gone wide the glancing blow he took; half scooted up to the edge of her seat then and quite honestly hating him for making her appear so engaged as if the end mattered and it wasn't simply for idle pleasure. No. Aeliana did not like to be made to look like other twittering ladies and yet…he'd managed it anyway.

"Oh thank the Stranger," Ae mused, settling back once more in her seat with a sigh of relief as the bastard responsible for it came face to face with the ground. Though a glance up towards her uncle's frown helped return her good humor. "Oh relax," she chided him playfully, humor bouncing through her tone while she did at least, attempt to keep her grin under control. “Really, now you’re just acting like a spoilsport,” she complained with a little huff.

No, Aeliana was not frowning at all, when Ser Midnight Grace rode up to the pavilion. In fact, her lips had twitched into a bemused little grin that teased just -this- side of wicked. So that even while his squire spoke in his stead, the lady’s eyes never left the knight himself as that bid for a favor was made. “It would be ill of me to refuse such an earnest request,” Aeliana mused, “And I am not sure that I could bear the blame ere he does not win. And they -would- blame me, you know,” she teased; as if there really was no choice in the matter but to fall to the demands of the crowd with a coquette’s grace.

A delicate flutter of her hand then against her skirts, near her thigh; but a trained eye might watch that it tugged to the side and never down, as one merely smoothing skirts might, before she rose up to her feet. And even then that too seemed as if she were merely shaking the wrinkles from her skirt for show. The ribbon that fell for her efforts though; a bow plucked free and rustled downwards from the roll of silk it kept held in place, fluttered down to crest against the delicate curve of her slipper. Ah, but she could bend to fasten his favor did she? Bend…or crouch, with all grace, so that only those who’d been watching with eyes like hawks could see the way that she collected the ribbon from where it landed before those slender arms wove through the wooden planks tie it off as its twin had been done.

Her smile then and not her words were what bid him not to disappoint, even as they attempted to search past the depths of his vizor for his own before she rose and tipped her head to the crowd before reclaiming her seat.

“Hmph. That’s bloody besides the point,” Harold had complained when she had called him out on similar acts of wickedness, and not without impressive accuracy to boot. It was difficult for the knight to remain quite so grouchy as before, however, because the damn girl knew how to draw out her uncle’s smiles despite himself. “Oh fine. I was as bad or worse, but that just means I know exactly what is going on behind his vizier. Right now he’s full of himself with smirking pleasure, and you’re just feeding it.” He snorted.

He did not worthy her accusation of being a spoilsport with more than a grunt that said he disagreed. Deeply.

And was not fooled, either, when she went to deal her favor onto the mystery knight. He was, however, somewhat mollified and even grudgingly and entirely unwillingly appreciative of her scheming skill. Bloody girl was too smart for her own good, which lent him at the mercy of a violative mixture of pride and chagrin.

The knight appeared oblivious of both the crowd and her uncle, calmly composed on his horse, his helmet turned in her direction even if the rest of him was facing sideways. Watching her from behind his vizier, and up close she might just catch a look of his eyes. They were a deep sky blue, and watched her with a confidence that was borderline arrogant. Mischievous, too. In a voice that only she would hear, he said: “You are perfect.” There was laughter in it, smug amusement, shrewd tease. Not just a compliment, then, but a challenge, too, to live up to the claim. Midnight Grace was not a boy.

Then he turned his horse away, and rode back to his place on the end of the lists, indifferent to the fact he had made Ser Farrow wait all this time. Now was the moment of true destiny, though. The Midnight Grace knew that he wasn’t Farrow’s equal with the lance, so playing it safe wouldn’t win him anything. In a careful and measured joust, with several lances traded, he’d lose. But even the best jouster could be unhorsed if you hit him right in the face. One more throw of the dice. Just.. one more.

He kicked his charger’s flanks, and rode into a gallop.

"Is it?" Aeliana inquired, glancing innocently up at her Uncle at his complaint. Before her smile turned sly in truth and for a moment was angled in his direction; a little hint of the seductress that could one day become. "Do you now?" To knowing just exactly what was going on behind the vizor. "And what, exactly -is- going on, Uncle?" Aside from the fact that feeding it -was- completely the point. The sound of his complaining little grunt to follow only courted her amusement.

It lingered with her as she bestowed that favor, one that bore more intimately her scent; a hint of rose and honey, not quite as subtle as a honeysuckle but not overpowering either, for all that it was likely lost beneath the weight of sweat and horseflesh. Nimble fingers that lingered, taking perhaps more time than was necessary and not a hint of waver to them either, when he surprised her by speaking. Oh no, that only brought the girl a quiet grin and she said, quite simply, "I know. Now prove you're worthy." And so said, rose to let him go. Midnight Grace might not -be- a boy, but then neither had Aeliana ever truly been a little girl.

"Shall we make a bet of it, Uncle?" Ae inquired, glancing in up in his direction as if she'd not just done exactly as she had; more than a little proud of herself too, for managing it with enough tact and decorum not to have invoked his thunderous look. "Because I think…"

It did not matter what Aeliana had thought, when that flag fell between them and the thunder of hooves rung out over the field of those watching; silence settling over the pavilion, over the crowd entire it seemed, while the world watched and held it's breath and Aeliana…, poor Ae ended up with her hands wound tightly against the knights own favor, with eyes wide and pulse quick praying that he didn't disappoint her.

“Bah!” Was the whole of her uncle’s response, barked out with disgruntled amusement, refusing to be led on by her tease or her request for a bet. By his luck he would end up having to buy her a proper sword or something similarly outrageous. Harold might not know quite all the depths of his young niece’s mind, but he knew some of the currents it took fairly well. “I still hope he gets thrown on his back. Farrow is better.” It was stated while he crossed his heavy arms in front of his chest.

Farrow was better, and Farrow knew it. So did Midnight Grace, so did everybody but the most romantic die hard fan of the romantic flavor that mystery knights brought a tournament. Even those who rooted for him, the charging knight knew, half expected to see him on his back. Dam but he wanted to prove them wrong. Just one more throw of the dice, just one more moment of victory, and then he could withdraw after as one of the three champions of the day. By tomorrow he could be gone, vanished in the night before anyone had the chance to challenge him for title.

The world bounced all around him, in the grasp of a great roaring earthquake that deafened him to everything around. The effect was even more pronounced because his eyeslits were so narrow he could only see a slender strip of it. Sweating, breathing hard, his helmet filled with moist panting breaths, he rode. Farrow hardly seemed to move at all, the world abruptly stilled, slowed down to a crawl. They came closer, closer. He let his lance lower at the last possible moment, so that Farrow wouldn’t get too many tells of where the lance would strike. It made it more difficult to aim, too.

Closer, then he rose in his stirrups and -thrust-.

He missed. The lance skittering over Farrow’s shield, and then slamming into the man’s shoulder with splintering impact. He’d aimed for the head, damn it. Farrow was a better aim, but a last minute twist of his head saved Midnight from being knocked on his back with a ringing head. Well, the ringing he got, anyway, like a hammerblow to a bell, and his head inside of it. But Farrow’s lance didn’t shatter. One to nil, then, as they passed each other by to the opposite sides. He breathed heavily, wanting nothing so much as to take off his helm and put something cold to his pounding skull.

Instead he accepted a second lance. Lifted it up. Prepared for a second joust.

This time they both struck on each other’s shields. Two to one. The next two passes neither got a clean hit, and both returned to their squires with their lances still intact. By now he was living inside of a sweltering forge, and his arm was heavy as lead. He didn’t know how if he could still trust his aim even a little. Damn it. He knew Farrow would soon wrest control of the joust, because the more lances that passed, the more his opponent’s skill would count. After all, that he’d survived the first pass had been pure luck. He could’ve easily struck thin air with how badly he’d missed.

Not that the crowd had been able to tell, of course. To them, he was ahead. To them, he looked like he was in control of the battle. Only Midnight Grace knew different, him and Farrow, and a few of the more experienced knights in the audience.

“Two more lances, and he’ll be on his ass,” Harold said, with perhaps more smug amusement than was strictly proper. Even he had been leaning forward in his seat, though, his eyes shining, swept up by the excitement of a closer battle than anyone had perhaps hoped for. Grudging participant, he was now as invested as Aeliana was, albeit for the opposite side.


Midnight Grace wobbled in his saddle, dazed, barely able to hold himself up. Blood leaked down his arm from where the lance point had managed to wedge itself through a weak spot in the armor, up by his shoulder. He felt weak, disoriented. Every muscle in him felt slack, like lose rope. His squire caught his horse, shouted something. The rest of the crowd was shouting too. Because what he didn’t know, was that Farrow was on his back. Both had hit with thundering power, but Farrow was a lighter and older man, and hadn’t been able to hold himself in his saddle like Midnight Grace barely had.

“Hmph,” Harold muttered. “Fine. That was a bloody good showing.” Even he lifted to his feet, then, and applauded while the squire helped Midnight Grace off his horse, and they vanished towards the knightly tents to see to possible injuries.

"Uncle Harry," Aeliana said, without ever turning her head to look at him as she chided, her eyes locked on the knights and more, Midnight Grace. "Really, I wonder if you realize that you sound like a sullen little boy when you say that, petulant that he's not getting his way," she teased. Or well, half teased, because he -did- sound a bit like he was sulking. "Besides, I'm aware that Farrow is better, however, it's not always about skill."

Not always. Sometimes it was just about who wanted it more; because a mind bound fast to a task may drive the body beyond what it could otherwise endure. Desire was a powerful thing. In fact, it may even be safe to say that…Ae was currently drunk on just a teeny tiny taste of herself. Because she wanted…well, it was obvious what she wanted. She wanted to see him win.

It seemed to quick, to her; that first shattered lance. Not the sweeping crushing blow that she'd wanted either and yet…this was the true test, wasn't it? A tiny little glance cast up in Harold's direction as the knights collected fresh lances. But only a quick one. Enough to see that he'd become engaged too, which brought a fresh little grin to her lips. "You're worried, Uncle," came the little jab in his direction. But the truth…was that she was worried two. And the longer it went on, the worse it go. She'd jolted when the cracked upon each others shields and fell near limp in relieved distaste with those missing sweeps.

Even she'd enough sense to know that past the first, it became a true test of skill and with her Uncle's conviction…Aeliana worried a little more. Particularly when the world went silent and the girl found her hands wrung in tightly against her skirts, leaning forward on the absolute very edge of her seat, breath held and…frowning fiercely up at her uncle for his smug self inflated remark. "That was unca—-"


Up on her feet in a flash, half leaning against the railing looking out over the field and the sight of Farrow on the ground with Midnight Grace looking worn in his saddle. "Last blood." Ae murmured; her smile gone dark and her eyes pleased; once more reigning herself in under control as if she'd not just acted…common. "But you're right. It was a remarkably showing," the girl dipped then, to press a kiss in against his scruffy cheek. "Thank you for bringing me, Uncle Harold."