Page 335: Playing Favourites
Playing Favourites
Summary: Kamron, Danae and Alek, Lark, Veris, and Hugh idle on the field the morning of the melee.
Date: 06/20/2012
Related Logs: Seagard Tourney Events
Kamron Danae Alek Lark Veris Hugh 
The Tourney Field — Seagard
The field are prepared for a great number of both knights and spectators, the flat field already marked by the hooves of many practice-runs. It is surrounded by a rail, most of which borders only empty grass, where the commoners might stand and watch. On one side are stands built for the nobles, wooden bleachers topped with billowing silk awnings to help shade the ladies from the sun. At the centerpoint there is a raised platform, painted, shaded, and set with sumptuous-looking chairs for the most noble of noble guests. It is hung with the banners of House Mallister and House Redwyne, and many more are studded about the lists as well, to make sure everyone remembers who this grand affair is meant to honor and at whose pleasure they enjoy it.
Wed Jun 20, 289

The morning breaks cool and clear over the grounds of the Seagard Tourney, the salty breath of the wind from the seas rising up and causing the banners to dance with its touch. Those of House Mallister and Redwyne hang impressively as servants bustle about to ready the melee grounds for the fight to come, always looming, always present from any corner of the field. In one such corner, the Lady Danae Tordane approaches the pitch garbed in her mourning blacks with her hair loosened from a severe bun to softer style, tendrils of pale gold curl against her back, small braids keeping the rest back from her features. It pleasantly softens the look of her, cheeks full and healthy. Cool blue eyes surveying the grounds with a twist of her mouth. "At least this time the weather seems to be clear for the tourney," she muses to her sworn.

Despite the rising heat of the morning sun, Kamron Mallister wears the black of mourning as he walks slowly over what will be the field of (mock) combat later in the day. He stamps at the ground here and there, getting a feel for the sod beneath his boots, and then crouches down at a patch of dry, dusty soil, reaching down to crumble a clod between his fingers. He looks up at the movement by the black-swathed figure near one of the purple banners, a smile rising to his face. In Seagard, mourning usually picks out a Mallister. His smile freezes a moment as he recognizes the widow Tordane, however, and then settles into a comfortable, light curve of his lips. The knight bows his head from across the expanse of grass and dirty, but does not directly approach.

"I am sure some will take that as a sign," Alek replies dryly, walking beside his lady rather than behind as they converse, "That the gods favor the Mallisters over the Freys, because of the weather that each had at a tourney." In Tordane colors where Danae wears black, he makes the statement of house and claim for them, his sword noticable where it hangs on his hips. Grey eyes reflect alertness, so early in the morning without a drink yet, as he in constantly shifting a study at the environment around them.

Lark — absent, for once, her chaperone and cousin, Alona — comes strolling up beside the field, swinging a basket at her side and singing snippets of a fairly bawdy tavern song:

Her husband, she said, not good work could afford her,
His strength and his tool had worn out long ago.
The smith said, "We mind are in very good order,
"And now I am ready my skill for to — "

Show is probably the word that follows, by context and pattern of rhyme, but the little wench opens her mouth to sing it — and sees at the same time she's in the presence of nobility. And not just any nobility, either. She gasps and drops into a curtsey that's — really more faceplant than grace. "Lady Tordane!"

"No doubt they shall settle upon any sign that can be laid to them which casts them in better light than the Freys," Danae returns, tipping her chin to look up at her sworn for a moment. "The Seven work in mysterious ways." It is a pious sentiment, surely. She inclines her chin as Kamron bows from across the field and murmurs, "Speaking of Eagles coming to Roost…" If there was ever to be more to that statement, it never comes. Blonde brows arch at the little wench and the bawdy words on her tongue, mouth twitching at the corners as she regards that awkward curtsey. "I would not have imagined I was so known here. Good morn, young Mistress," she greets smoothly.

Kamron shifts his attention over to the swordsman accompanying the Lady Tordane, adding a nod there, and then the black-booted steps take the Mallister over in that direction as well. As he approaches, he holds his hands carefully out away from his waist and the long dirk hanging from his belt, a crooked grin coming to his lips. As he reaches easy speaking distance, he greets politely, "Lady Tordane," and then his attention is shifting over to the swordsman again, "Ser. I seem to recall you enjoying the removal of your blade from its sheathe. Will we be seeing you on the field of melee today?"

Alek laughs, a wry, warm sound as his lips curve into a crooked grin for that curtsey. He says nothing, his hand only moving to his sword hilt as he stands at a modified rest that is clearly all his own style with none of the formality. His fingers only flex as Kamron draws near, his answer dismissive as he says, "Unless I find a better place to put it."

"Oo, I don't think you are, lady — " wait, that's… is that insulting? Insulting is so not what she's going for. Abject social panic is all over the common girl's face as she backpedals and revises, "That is… you might be? I really couldn't say. I'm frightful ignorant of these kinds of things, m'lady. Forgive me." She blushes scarlet. "I'm — I'm not from here, you see. Visitin' a cousin so I can see the tourney. I'm from Stonebridge, myself…" she trails off lamely, biting her lip. She's babbling. Should probably stop that. "Good morning, m'lady. Sorry for… uhm…" Being a complete and utter spectacle. She climbs awkwardly to her feet, clearing her throat. "Jus' surprised to see you her is all."

"My Lord Mallister," Danae returns easily, slipping into a slight curtsey of greeting and dipping her chin. The corner of her brow lifts at Kamron's notable greeting to her sworn as she wonders, "Ser Alek has a particular talent with his sword. Will you be carrying you own today, my Lord?" In the melee. Returning her attention to the babling girl, a breath of a chuckle slips from between her lips. "It is difficult to tell how far words have reached, little Mistress, even for me. I know you meant no offense. Stonebridge is far to see a cousin. Are you enjoying it then?"

Kamron looks to the young woman stumbling over herself verbally and physically, smiling just a bit as he does. His eyes shift back to Danae then, and his smile quirks up at one corner, "My axe, yes, Lady Tordane." A bit of laughter touches his lips, "I think Lady Saffron might request her favor back if I neither tilted nor joined the melee after she did me the honor of the favor." Alek's words draw an amused shake of his head, and he responds, "Then if I were a less-honorable man, I might see that another sheathe was available, to take so find a sword-hand as your own out of the mix."

"Oh — very, very much, m'lady!" gushes Lark, all breathless excitement. "It's been a marvelous tourney — my first, but I couldn't have wished for better. My cousin's feeling poorly today and I'm afraid she might miss the melee — that's why I'm out on my own, at the moment. I normally wouldn't be. I'm not a wanton, reckless girl, truly." She glances at the men, then bobs another quick curtsy. And another. "I'm sure I'm keeping you with my nonsense, m'lady — plese forgive me. I — I do pray you're safe. Here and — wherever else you travel."

"I am not so honorable that I would object," Alek drawls dryly to Kamron's offer, though he tips a chin to Danae in apology for his words as he remembers himself. He even moves to draw back, a step behind his lady.

"Ah," Danae drawls, letting the word hang long and lush on her lips like dangling fruit. She casts an amused smile towards Kamron. "I think any Lady would be disappointed to see her favor accepted and then no turns taken. Although I'll thank you not to seek another sheath for my sworn, you'll put my own favor to waste, Ser Kamron," she chides gently. A slight shake of her head greets Alek's silent apology. Lark's further breathlessness is simply met with a smile, "My thanks for your good wishes, little Mistress. Hopefully your cousin will feel better in time."

Lark bobs another curtsy. And another. "Yes, m'lady. I do hope so. It was such an honor to meet you, m'lady." Flustered, color high, she nevertheless flashes a big, bright smile as she grabs her basket and glances about for the most expedient escape route.

Kamron bows his head to Danae, reaching up to touch his heart with the palm of his right hand. The motion tugs at his sleeve, baring just a bit of a braided ribbon in grey, orange, and purple wrapped about his wrist. "Luckily for you, Lady Tordane, I've a touch more honor than that. If I'm to see your sworn fail in the melee, I'll manage it myself, on the field of contest, if I can." Looking past her to the quiet-once-more Alek, he adds, "Anything less would be unworthy of me, and I do try to avoid such things." Bowing his head once more to the pair, he adds, "If you'll excuse me, Lady, Ser." And then he steps back to resume his walk of the cleared area, kicking idly at a clump of grass that stands above the rest, testing to see if it's solid sod sticking up or just grass.

"Unworthy of him," Alek repeats with a dry touch under his breath and murmured to Danae's ear. "You do know how to drive them off, my lady." He gives a careless salute to Kamron where he goes, though, a casual flick of two fingers at the other knight.

"It would never suggest anything else to the contrary, Ser Kamron. It would not fit with what I know of you. Good luck in the field of contest, surely you will do your Lady proud," Danae replies with a slight smile. The soft tone of her words is clear and genuine, earlier teasing aside. A brief curtsey follows. Good day. Once the Mallister Knight has turned to go, her mouth tugs into a broader smile for Alek's dry words. "It does seem quite the talent doesn't it? I apologize for the black coating of my reputation," she drawls, words intended for Alek's ears alone. She is spoiling his social life, really. Larks further bobbing curtsies, not unlike a little duck on the water, are met with a smile. "Enjoy the tourney, little Mistress," she bids.

Veris walks about the lists, having just arrived. It's not quite clear what he's doing - he's counting and pacing to and fro, occasionally rubbing at his forehead with a pained frown. He does this a few times then kicks at the dirt angrily, clutching his head in both his hands with a low moan. "I'm never drinkin' again," he groans to himself.

"Thank you, m'lady, I'm sure I will," Lark murmurs. One more ducky bob and she scurries away, only to catch sight of Veris — looking miserable. She stops, frowns, and looks around — possibly to make sure there's no one else she needs to bow to before seeing to her fellow common-born. "Very?" she finally asks — softly. He is making the universal sign for a wretched headache.

"None so bad as mine," Alek points out just as quietly, stepping back up to his lady's side as the little bird steps away, for all that his attention lingers with curiosity. He is watching you, Lark.

"What?" Veris turns to look to the source of the voice. The quick movement turns out to be a mistake as he winces with pain. "Izzat you, little birdie?" He squints at her and manages a little wave. "What're you doin' here? And where's that shrill harpy?" He looks around slowly for Alona.

Danae blows out the soft air of a laugh, pale eyes hinting of amusement as she glances up at Alek. "I think that would rather depend on the company," she opines lowly, following Lark's movements towards Veris. "Nervous little thing."

Lark glances back at Lady Danae and her sworn, nervously, blinking — oh! Right. Alona. "You shouldn't call her that," she rebukes the squire, though it's somewhat mild and indulgent. "Esepcially since she's under the weather. Poor thing. She might have to miss the melee. But — anyways, she's resting. Right now."

Alek laughs, a quiet noise of agreement as he considers Lark with narrowed, grey eyes and lazy study. "But, she's your smallfolk. Stonebridge," he points out quietly.

"She is a shrill harpy," Veris insists. "And I bet you've been havin' more fun without her." He shakes his head with another groan, trying to get himself straightened out. "Coulda snuck out to my tent again, y'know. Now that you don't gotta worry 'bout bein' caught." He sounds almost disappointed that she didn't make another surprise appearance.

A lazy sweep of fingers brushes blonde locks back into place as Danae answers Lark's nervous look with a gentle smile, every bit of the lady's grace. "That she is," she murmurs thoughtfully.

Lark blushes scarlet. "I only snuck out because — " she sighs. "Never mind. What's the matter with you?" She leans in and squints. And sniffs. And puts the inside of her wrist against his forehead.

"Never know what the difference of one person could make," Alek muses lowly.

Veris isn't running hot, but he does smell of sweat and booze. More specifically, he smells like he is sweating booze. "Nothin's the matter with me," he says, though he doesn't wave away her touch. "I'll be fine in an hour or two. Just had too much to drink las' night, is all." He peers up at her, looking over her shoulder for a moment to Danae and Alek - no recognition there - before adding, "You shoulda come with me, you would've had fun."

"Come with you where?" Lark asks, putting a hand over her nose. Booze sweat. Yuck.

"Mhm." Danae purses her lips for a moment, considering Lark's figure for a longer moment. "Little Mistress," she calls, voice naturally soft, but loud enough to carry to Lark's ears. She beckons the girl over with a gesture.

"To the bars," Veris says like it's the most obvious answer in the world. Then, thoughtfully, he adds, "Or to my tent." Pause. "Or both." He gives her a slow and lazy grin. "See what kinda trouble you could get in when the shrill harpy ain't looking over your every move?" Danae's call earns a wince from the squire, who then points to Lark. "I think she's callin' for you, little birdie."

Alek falls quiet where Danae calls to Lark, stepping back that bare space again to appear properly behind her.

Blushing again, Lark seems about to make some sort of reply — probably a tart one — when Danae calls to her. She jumps and turns around, wide-eyed. "I — oh!" Yes, she does appear to be calling her, doesn't she? The poor girl seems at a loss for a moment, glances at Veris, then scurries back over where she's bid by her better. "Y-yes, m'lady?"

Lark also bobs. Belatedly and with a little start. Mustn't forget to bob!

The smile on Danae's lips twitches a little at the near forgotten bob of a curtsey. Yes. Yes. That is important. "No need to look worried, Mistress. I was just wondering…what is your name? I meet so few who will make any mention of Stonebridge to me," she inquires gently.

A frown crosses Very's face as Lark is summoned away. After lingering back for a moment, he makes up his mind to follow after her and comes to a stop a few feet behind her. He's just watching for the moment, trying to figure out who Danae is, and ignoring his throbbing headache.

"Sh—Chanson, m'lady. Lark Chanson." Bob. She frets a lock of hair back behind her ear. "I work in the Tower, m'lady. Scullery maid. Mum's head laundress. My brother Vic's in the militia, squired t'one of the common knights, and my oldest little brother, Nory, is a stable boy." She blushes a bit, realizing she's babbling again, perhaps. "Father was Master of Hawk and Hound, but — he passed. Around the same time as the Young Lord Nayland, sudden like. I'm — " she hesitates and takes a breath, "I'm so very, very sorry about your husband, m'lady. Truly. All of us were."

"Lark," Danae repeats softly with a warm smile. "That's a lovely name." She lets the other woman babble, lifting her brows with every indication of subtle interest, although her eyes widen with a hint of pain at the condolences. "Thank you, Mistress Lark. I miss him." Her words are simple, but no less honest in their sentiment. "It sounds as if your family is very firmly entrenched in the roots of Stonebridge. That's very admirable."

"Oh, it's nothing to admire of me, m'lady — it's a good family, mine… I was just lucky t'be born to it," Lark says, looking down, shyly. "Papa used t'say there was Chanson's in Stonbridge almost as long as there's been Tordane's. It's — a shame what's happened, I think. Though of course it's no fault of yours, m'lady."

"I would say that is very much something to be looked upon well, especially for a good family such as your own. It sounds that your father had his roots well grounded," Danae demurs, lashes dipping over her eyes in a hazy veil. "It is. I should like to hear some news of it, if you have time with all your bustling about the tourney."

Lark blinks. "N-news of what, m'lady? I'm not sure I know much about anything t'be… newsy."

Danae laughs softly, shaking her head. "Nothing so dire. It is nice to hear the little news from Stonebridge, Mistress Lark." Her smile shifts sad, "As I am afraid I am not the most welcome there, at this time."

Veris tries to keep up with the conversation going on between the two. Stonebridge, Nayland, Chanson, Tordane. It all makes some semblance of sense, but the picture isn't clear yet. He peers at Danae again, squinting his eyes against the treacherous sun that stabs daggers into his skull. From the look of him, he does not want to be alive right now.

"I'll tell you what I can, m'lady," promises Lark, bobbing another curtsy. "I only know what goes on in the kitchen, the common house, and home, really. Sometimes the market. It's all very small things." But she does earnestly want to he helpful and comforting in some way, it seems — she adds, "Any time I have is yours, m'lady. I'm — this is a holiday for me. I've no real responsibilities until I return home, save to look in on and respect my kin who's putting me up while I'm here."

"The small things are lovely to hear," Danae assures simply, smoothing her skirts a light touch of her fingers. The fair woman is clad in her mourning blacks, with Alek a step behind her and dressed in Tordane colours. She smiles at Lark, Veris standing a step behind her and looking like death warmed over. "Stop in at my pavilion one evening, it would be a comfort to hear of such small things. I wouldn't dream of keeping you from the excitement of the tourney. Do you have a favourite for the melee?"

"I would usually suggest to favor me, but the men do not seem to love a Tordane sworn sword competing in the melee," Alek finally speaks up from his place, shooting a crooked, charming smile to Lark with a shrug of his shoulder. Yes, it is all his color's fault, rather than that he is a dick.

Lark bobs another curtsy. Again. It's almost a nervous tic. "I will, m'lady. Of course." She blushes at Alek's smile, lowering her lashes. "I… have been most taken with Ser Inigo's performance in the jousts, m'lady. And Ser Justin has made a most gallant and romantic show of fighting for Lady Roslyn's favor." She almost glances back at Veris, but just manages not to, before adding (a touch quickly), "And Ser Hardwicke is an exceptional warrior, also."

Veris glances over to Alek. "Could always fight as a mystery knight," he suggests, then falls quiet again as though ashamed for speaking up. "Ser Hardwicke is an excellent fighter," he adds with pride. "And Ser Justin too, newly knighted." Both from the Roost, and Inigo is also related to the Terricks, if not sworn to them.

Hugh is walking by the small group on some errand or another and slows down significantly and rather unsubtly when the talk turns to the melee. His look of interest lights up his face. "Who is the favorite?" he blurts. Then he remembers to bow.

It is a polite nervous tick. Danae dips her chin in a motion of regard, smiling gently. "It sounds as if the Terricks have made a fine showing," she says looking towards Veris with a rise of her brows and then to her sworn. "I suppose that you could…" If he wanted to, although it is rather less glorious if he wins. At Hugh's arrival, she curtsies daintily in response to his bow. "It seems to depend on which house one hails from."

"No, my lady. I will ever wear our colors, no matter what it may cost," Alek answers with careless dismissal, his brow curving upwards at Veris for a moment before turning his attention back to Lark as she names knights.

Lark flashes a quick smile at Veris, curtsies to Hugh — who, squire or no, certainly sounds gently bred enough to merit a bob — and nods. "It's as Lady Tordane says — mostly by house. I didn't come with any favorites, myself, it being my first time and all. I just — some of the men made quite an impression in the tilt."

"That they did, m'Lady," Veris says to Danae with a crooked grin. Then, to Hugh, "Ser Hardwicke, of course." As though there's no question at all on the matter, Houses be damned. Alek's browraise is returned with an unsteady but unfazed look. "Hey," he says quietly to Lark, touching a hand to her shoulder lightly. "Gotta go get things ready for the melee. Come find me if you need me, yeah?"

Hugh looks thoughtfully at what Veris has said, "Yes," he admits. "I think he is a strong contender. I am squiring for Ser Jarod. But I don't know if he is going to compete. If I can, I will be in the squire's melee." He gives a slow grin.

The common girl touches her fingers lightly to those on her shoulder, smiling warmly at Veris. "I will," she tells him. She blinks a few times at Hugh. "Oh! You're the Half-Eagle's squire?" She beams, enthusing, "He did so fine in the first joust. You must be terribly proud."

"Oh reeeeeeally?" Veris asks Hugh, peering closer at him. "I used to squire for Ser Jarod when he was at the Roost." Uh oh, are they going to whip it out and measure? "He did well at the joust. And I'm sure he'll do well at the melee if he competes." Then a grin breaks out on his face to mirror Hugh's. "And I'll be in the Squire's Melee, too. Make sure you got good armor if you're matchin' up on me. " Taking his hand off Lark's shoulder, he points to his eyes with two fingers then to Hugh as he starts walking away backwards. I'M WATCHING YOU, HUGH.

"I think I shall look forward to seeing you both compete then," Danae says with a slight tip of her lips at the two young men exuberantly declare their intents and their present and former knights. Oh dear. "For now, I must take my leave. It has been a pleasure," she says gently, casting a warmer smile towards Lark.

Alek straightens, his fingers tightening on the hilt of his sword as he glances after the squires, but his attention is saved mostly for Danae as she declares her intention to leave. He will accompany her, because that is his job.

Lark watches Veris go, passing a hand over her mouth to try to wipe off a silly grin. He seems to amuse her, he does. She turns to Danae and Alek as the former begins leavetaking. Bob, bob. "It was such a pleasure, m'lady. I look forward t'seeing you again. Thank you." Her smile, though shy (and still a touch nervous) seems genuine.

Hugh nods, "Yes, he did really well!" The pride is palpable. "And I didn't know you…" He trails off as Veris makes the good natured threat. He shrugs a little, perhaps an overly exaggerated nonchalance. "I will do what I can do." Then he adds, "I am really Ser Riodan's squire. "

"I look forward to it as well, Mistress Lark." Another smile graces her features, warm and gentle. Danae…pauses, notably, at the reveal. Lifting her brows mildly as she turns to look at Hugh, mouth tight as she requests, "Please, send your Ser my regards." Her pause remains a moment longer to graciously dip into a curtsey, then she is off.

"I — uh — oh!" Lark looks at Hugh a moment, at a loss. She watches Danae and Alek depart, then clears her throat. "Well. It was… nice of th'Lord Regent to loan out his