|Summary:||A Frey, A Westerling and a Common Sword meet with apples in hand.|
|Town Square — Stonebridge|
|The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.|
|Friday December 16, 288|
The town square bustles with bodies, shoppers and workers alike as the day winds down into the late afternoon, dim purple shadows drawing the lines of bodies over the square stones. Sails raise high over the tops of buildings as day's catch is brought into port. An apple in hand, Danae's blonde head weaves through crowded streets with her guard at hand. The flash of gold and pale stripes on the his livery catches the day's late lights as he escorts his charge.
The bustle of town square never ceases to attract Iwan. All of life's best indulgences are gathered there: food to eat, unnecessary things to buy, and pretty girls to look at. He moves along with that slight side-to-side roll in his gait that presages a true waddle, should he ever gain fifty more pounds. Which is perhaps not unlikely, judging by the speed at which he jams a purchased apple tart into his gullet.
Tam makes his way up toward the market, a pair of rather disreputable men trailing behind him at a distance. None of the three seem to notice the others - Tam looks as though he has just risen, despite the evening hour. His tail looks fresh - and very alert. The grizzled hedge knight stops at one of the stalls, buying himself an apple. He looks after Iwan as the man moves past, nose wrinkling a bit in unfeigned distaste. Though he is gazing in their direction, he again fails to spot his two-man tail of ruffians. Starting off again, he ambles on a path that will intersect shortly with Danae and her guard.
There is a crisp sound as Danae takes a bite of her apple, looking up at her guard as the fellow points out something in the marketplace that makes her laugh. Fingers quickly press of tp her lips, coughing as she attempts to hide her amusement at the fellow's quiet observation. The guard pauses at the sight of Tam, stepping slightly in front of Danae as he inclines his head in a short nod, noting both the man as well as the sword which he carries. "Good day," Danae greets pleasantly, noting as well the sword at the man's side. It is unlikely at she can see the ruffians over the crowd.
At the same time, the servant traveling with Iwan murmurs something in his large master's ear, and Iwan's head pops up like an alert groundhog. He looks Danae's way, beady eyes rounding slightly, then smiles and trundles over in that direction.
Tam draws to a halt as he's addressed, grinning amiably at Danae and her guard. He notes the man's caution and keeps his hand well away from the sword at his hilt, instead bowing to Danae clumsily. "Good day, Lady!" His cheer is enthusiastic, genuine, but the man's accent is commonborn. He clears his throat, straightening. "I am Ser Tam Cooper, Lady. A knight-errant." This aside to the guard, as though to set the poor man at rest. Those two ruffians draw closer to the group. Iwan's approach, also, seems to escape Tam's notice.
Danae dips her head in a gentile incline, gracefully dipping into a slight curtsey as befits their distance in station. The note of knighthood does seem to put her guard somewhat at ease, although he remains closer at hand than he might for a househeld knight. "A pleasure then, Ser Cooper. I am Lady Danae Westerling," she offers, adjusting the apple in the palm of her head delicately. "What brings you to Stonebridge?"
Iwan has no qualms about approaching the little group directly, despite the fact that they are already in conversation. It takes him a moment to pop himself through the last ring of the crowd between himself and the lady and knight, but having done that, he smiles warmly. "My Lady Westerling, I presume," he presumes.
"I'm ridi.." Tam trails off as Iwan butts his way in, blinking at the rather large young man. He grins, apparently deciding not to take offense, and glances over the Frey lordling's shoulder at the two men who had been tailing him - directly. Meeting their gaze, the hedge knight gives a sly wink, and turns back to his new company. Apparently not as oblivious after all. Stunned, the two thugs watch the group for a time before turning and fading away into the crowd, heading toward the Bridge. "I'm riding through to the Roost," finishes Tam coolly, as though the interlude had never taken place.
There is similarly a blink from the lady at hand, although the intrusion does not manage to unsettle her pleasant expression, sharp blue eyes shifting over the fine craftsmanship of Iwan's clothing and elsewise. "Indeed, my Lord. I am afraid that you have me at a disadvantage," Danae replies with a slight smile and a nod in greeting. Her guard notes the shift of attention beteween the hedge knight and his thuggish followers while the lady is elsewhile occupied , he lifts a single brow at Tam. "Through to the Roost? From whence you came, Ser?" She wonders, turning back to Tam.
"Not really," Iwan answers Danae with a smile. "I only know your house, and mine is Frey. That puts us on even ground." He opens his mouth to continue, but then suddenly seems to notice Tam. "Oh, hello," he says, dipping his head but not bothering to make a full bow. "Excuse the interruption." Not that he seems about to cease the interruption. Eyes go back to Danae. "And now I shall go you one better: my given name is Iwan. There. The advantage is now yours." He symbolizes giving it to her with a sweeping gesture.
"Most recently? There was a minor tourney up in the Vale, Lady. My old mate Seryn Yronheart asked me to ride there." Tam eyeballs Iwan curiously before continuing. "Before that, Lady, there was a spot of work for men like me in Kingswood." Tam grins at Iwan's rudeness, seeming more amused than put-out as the other man names himself. "Freys everywhere," he mutters. He steps closer to Danae's guard, leaning aside to murmur a few soft words, then stepping back, perhaps explaining his odd behavior.
Tam whispers to the guard: "Couple of sellswords I pissed off a few nights back. Been following me for days."
The guard looks unamused at the admission, but there is something wry that shades his expression as he looks over the crowd. He does, however, tip his head in a slight nod of understanding, returning to his job and looking over the mess of the market with renewed attention. He'll keep an eye out. "Ah, you are too kind ot give me the advantage so easily Lord Frey," Danae replies sweetly, dipping in a gracious curtsey in return. "I shan't return it if you are not careful." To Tam she simply nods at looks over him with mild interest. "I see. Did you do well in your tourney, Ser?"
"Oh, yes, we're a potent lot," Iwan tells Tam, to account for the proliferation of Freys. Then he makes a little bow to Danae. "I could never refuse anything to a beautiful lady, my Lady Westerling," he answers, apparently amused by her refusal to give her own name up so easily.
"My team won, Lady. In the melee. I don't sit the jousts." By the looks of him, Tam is far better-suited to the brawling chaos of a pitched melee anyway. He speaks with a prickly sort of pride, softened only by the man's amiable smile. At Iwan's words, Tam grins toward the man, mischief sparkling in his gray eyes. "Aye, but -I- got the Lady's name. You gonna have to work hard, Potent Lord Frey, else a too-ugly, too-old hedge knight gonna pass you by." The remark is teasing, as self-deprecating as it is a taunt.
"You look as if you would be well suited for the intensity of melee combat," Danae notes of Tam, pale eyes as sharp as her expression is pleasant. "My congratulations on winning the bout." She palms her apple into her non-dominant hand, using the other to sweep her fingers in an approving gesture directed at the Lord Frey. "Again, you are to kind, Lord Frey. I am certain that you might exhibit such charm with all the ladies," she teases gently, pausing mid-way to look over at Tam. The arch of her brow /might/ be amused, but it is difficult to tell. "Good Ser. I am certain that you are not using my introduction to tease the Lord Frey."
The teasingly competitive remark from the knight does not dim Iwan's spirits, perhaps because he does not consider the man a threat on the count of his class. Or perhaps he's just an amiable, jocular fellow. He laughs. "A lady only teases to show her fondness," he retorts. Then he smiles back to Danae. "An unmarried man can ill afford to be shy, my Lady Westerling."
"Why not? Seemed the thing to do, Lady - I got a beautiful Noblewoman's name before the handsome young Lord. Can't a man show some pride in that?" Tam winks at Danae, his own expression -deeply- amused as he turns to face Iwan's response. He considers for a moment, letting his gaze travel up and down the younger man's soft frame. "Tell me something, Lord Frey. You ever been camping on a real cold night? I mean, bone-cold, like your marrow's gonna snap? You ever do, I -promise-, you'll wish you'd teased a few lads then. It ain't womanish when it's freezing." He winks. "Want to go camping?
Danae looks very mildly amused by the interplay between the old knight and the portly young Lord. Fingers drumming across her apple, she looks from one to the other with a slight nod. "Indeed. I have else heard the like before." At Ser Cooper's offer, she arches her brows again and opts to take a small bite of her apple rather than speak.
"I /did/ mean the Lady Westerling's manner, and not your own," Iwan observes, but he seems amused anyway, chuckling and shaking his head. "I'm afraid I prefer the indoor life." He nods to Danae. "And the pleasure of being teased by beautiful ladies."
"I'm crushed," comes the dry response from Tam. But the rough hedge knight is grinning widely, his banter apparently more amusing to himself than either of the others. "Who doesn't prefer the indoor life? No rain running down your neck, no mud in your bedroll, no horse drinking all your wine.." He trails off at this last, then shrugs. "Long story, but he was a wobbly fellow for -hours- after. Nah, I hate camping, though I done enough of it in my life."
"I do not believe that the horses are meant to be entitled to your wine, Ser," Danae offers with a dry curl of humor in her voice. "He does look crushed," is said of Ser Tam and his undying affection for the Lord, pale eyes flickering towards Iwan and then back to the knight. Totally crushed. "I do say Lord Frey that boldness is certainly an attribute you readily possess. Alas, I do prefer the outdoors so perhaps you might take the good Ser up on his offer," she manages with a straight face, mischief in her voice.
Iwan clucks his tongue in disappointment at Danae's professed affection for the out-of-doors. "Well, if you are proposing to be out of doors anyway, I imagine the Ser would drop me like a stone in favor of a chance at chasing you through the forest like a wood nymph," he answers. "Alas, my Lady, you doom me to loneliness with your unfathomable love for the outdoors."
Tam grins like a cheshire cat, gaze bouncing between Danae and Iwan quickly as he watches their interplay. "I'd even supply you with a sober mount, Lady. -And- give up my best cloak for a tent." He rubs his hands together in mock-eagerness. "Provided you don't run through the woods like a, uh, nymph. My knees ain't the best after years in the shield-walls." He smiles apologetically at this. "Unless you'd let me ride. But I reckon that's cheating." To Iwan, he murmurs "Sorry, chum. I mean, Lord. Some men are just downright irresistible. It's my scars."
"Oh, I believe you fashion more potency to my charms than truly exist, m'Lord," Danae demurs with a trill of a laugh. "I am not wood nymph of legend for certain. Those regards might be beyond even /my/ propensity for the field and forest, Ser Cooper. Tempting of an offer as you make. I am not one to be so chased, even with concessions for horseback." She looks over to him with an easy nod, gaze catching the shape of his current cloak with its appraising pass. Oh. So tempting. "In what manner of work to you find yourself if you do not peruse the outdoors then, Lord Frey?"
"Work?" Iwan asks with some surprise. "None, Lady," he answers, smiling. "I am a forth son, and there are few duties left to me after my brothers have carted away the lion's share. I shall have to wait to find a wife whose house has too few sons or too many duties, and assume some of those." He merely gives Tam an amused shake of his head.
"Better start practicing, Lord. I hear work can be strenuous. Dunno, myself. Never worked a day in my life." Tam grins between the pair, his gaze sparkling with mischief. "When you do what you love, they say it's called something else." He reaches up to scratch at the beard on his grizzled features. "Anyhow, I best make my way off. Lady Westerling?.. It's been a pleasure." Tam offers up a clumsy bow. "Mebbe sometime, if I ain't going to chase you or build you a tent, I can go riding with you. Lord Iwan, you got a good sense of humor, Ser. We ought to get together again, raise a few mugs." He takes a step back, preparing to depart
"Perhaps, Ser Cooper," Danae agrees with a slight smile, dipping her head to him in farewell. She watches moment to see the knight depart before returning her attention to Lord Iwan. "Work can be strenuous, indeed. It is good to have a goal such as that, I suppose."
"Never wise to turn down a drink from a man of good humor," Iwan says, nodding to Tam. "Safe travel." Then his eyes are back on Danae. "Of course, I would not turn away a wife so well situated that work was unnecessary, either," he notes with a smile.
"I would imagine not. She would be an impressive and fearsome woman indeed," Danae returns with a flit of her fingers towards the crowd. As if his fearsome woman of note may be hidden within its fold of bodies and activity.
Iwan laughs quietly at the description of this fearsome women. "Well, I don't wish to take a wife I have to hide behind the tapestries to escape." Not that a man of his girth could reasonably expect to hide behind a tapestry.
The tapestry would be well bowed. "Be sure to take a deep breath and hold it as she passes by, Lord Frey. Else she might discover you from the sound of it," Danae suggests.
"I shall take a deep breath and run in the opposite direction of the altar before it ever comes to such a pass," Iwan claims, smiling.
"You might take care that you do. Bold and cautious can be held in the same hand," Danae notes gently, referring to his earlier statement. "I must take my own leave and be off. It was a pleasure to meet you, Lord Frey." Smililng softly, she dips into a delicate curtsey before rising to step back into the crowd.
"It is no pleasure to part from /you/, Lady Westerling," Iwan says reluctantly, but he makes her a bow and lets her go at that, heading off in search of sweets.