|Summary:||Better to have friends around you, when you're crazy. Sadly, Aleister only has Ceinlys.|
|Related Logs:||Pretty much every Aleister and Ceinlys log ever. Take your pick.|
|Charlton Pavillion - Seagard Campsite|
|The temporary encampment outside Seagard, after the city's liberation.|
|January 31st 289 A.L.|
Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the one you miss. ~ Author Unknown
The hour is relatively early. Sunlight is only idly toying with the idea of brightening the interior of the Charlton Pavillion, for now, leaving those within to rely upon the scant illumination of the lamps still burning, as they have done throughout the dark hours. The Young Lord Anders is noticeable now only by his absence, deemed well enough to return to his own encampment and men.. and that dizzying whirlwind of a wife. So who remains?
Easily recognised by the men who stand guard, the Lady Erenford has risen before the sun, despite the lingering ache of exhausted muscles in the wake of the hasty journey to Seagard, leaving her mistress soundly asleep and venturing to the bedside of the injured Lord. It's perhaps just as well, upon her initial arrival, that he was still asleep himself. Striking blue eyes wandered his sunken features and shaven head without qualm.. merely a betrayal of thoughtful contemplation. And for now? Ceinlys is seated in a chair by Aleister's cot, calmly turning the pages of a book in the flickering lamplight.
When they first arrived, the tent had a particular smell to it, one that comes from death beginning to linger around, mixed only with the scent of the various herbs and remedies that the healers have come to try. Now though? Much of that scent has been masked as retainers had set about a variety of scented oils and many of the herbs and the like had been removed, coming only to be brought in when they are truly needed.
Laying upon that cot, Aleister had given into the temptation of sleep, but it's one of pure restlessness. With the fever burning as high as it does, there's no relief from the heat that assails his body and in the sleep, it causes muscles to twitch without control. His head rolls from side to side, winces of pain flashing upon his features as breathless gasps of pain come to be taken. And then, his eyes simply snap open, awoken by the movements and as he begins to try and steady his breathing, eyes begin an almost lazy survey of the tent and those within as he quietly murmers, "Water."
In the absence of the healers - they have, after all, done what they can for now and likely need their own respite - Ceinlys looks up as the Charlton Lord rouses, a mere flit of dark lashes permitting her gaze upon him, rather than any motion to raise her head. But after a moment, when he hoarsely makes his request, the raven-haired young woman casts a dismissive shake of her head toward the men in attendance, setting aside her book and rising slowly to a stand. There's no point in the guards troubling themselves when there's a woman here. Especially the lady-in-waiting of their master's wife. Smoothing her ebon and teal skirts with a habitual sweep of one hand, Ceinlys reaches for a pitcher and clay cup that have been thoughtfully left on a small table nearby, the delicious sound of water sloshing into the vessel following her graceful attention a splitsecond later. The cup even has a small spout hollowed into the rim, the better for pouring between weakened, feverish lips.
She doesn't speak. Maybe she's not certain the Lord would hear her.. or whether, if he did, her soft voice would be of any comfort. He's plainly very far away. Her presence can be felt more than seen, at first, as she leans her weight very slightly against the edge of Aleister's cot, carefully guiding the cool water toward his mouth. That piercing gaze, for the time being, avoids his, concentrating on the task at hand.
The movement of Aleister's eyes remains a lazy sweep of what he can see, not focusing on anything in particular, but just gliding over everything before coming to rest upon the ceiling of the tent. He know's there are attendants in the room and that someone will help him with the water and when that cup lifts to his lips, he's drinking from that cool water for several moments before a hand weakly lifts to indicate that he's done. It's only after the water stops and the cup lifts from his lips that he even looks to which of the guards or attendants helped him and while his eyes come to rest upon Ceinlys, it's several moments before he recognizes just who it is. A faint hint of a smirk flits to his lips before he's murmering, "Thank you." A pause is taken for a moments breathing before he continues, "I did not expect to see you here, Lady Erenford."
The dark-tressed woman offers the ghost of a smirk in response, nothing compared to her usual easy reflection, and the slight tilt of her jaw leaves a glossy drape of her raven locks across one cheek, casting her blue eyes partially in shadow even as they flit toward Aleister's own fever-bright gaze. "Where else would I be, Ser..?" she replies, in a hushed undertone, as she leans a little to return the cup to the nightstand. Carefully, she settles her weight in a more solid perch on the edge of the bed, not jostling the Lord if she can help it.
Folding her hands idly now in her lap, alabaster skin stark against the sombre hues of her hooded gown, Ceinlys simply watches the man's features for a short time before offering any further remark; her throaty voice never rising above a murmur. "..it would appear that you mis-stepped, Aleister." Stating the obvious with the subtlest trace of tease, she still can't summon any real weight to put behind it. The rumours weren't exaggerated. "You look awful." Charming.
Lifting a hand upwards, Aleister brings the back of it to his forehead, wiping the beadlets of sweat from his brow before letting the hand simply lower to rest upon his chest, "Tending to my dear wife. Or off in the Haigh encampment." Clearly, he wasn't expecting her here, seated by his bed. The adjustment of his position doesn't seem to jostle him, or if it does, he certainly doesn't say anything. Seems to be the pain comes from when he tries to move his head to much.
The mention of a misstep draws the smirk back to his lips and for a moment, his eyes simply close before he's finally answering with, "It would seem that I did. I stepped left, when I should have went right." Then, she's quite plainly stating how he looks and it draws a chuckle past his lips, "That's what people keep telling me, Lady Erenford. Another few days, though, and I'm sure I'll be back upon my feet." A pleasant dream, perhaps.
"I sincerely hope so." replies Ceinlys, evenly. Wait. Did Lady Erenford actually just admit to.. giving a damn? "..I fear your wife will shatter every breakable item in her possession otherwise. Seems rather a waste." Oh.
As Aleister's hand come to rest upon his chest, the young lady reaches her own out, with enough care that he can easily enough prevent its intentions, should he so desire. If not, her palm would be laid gently upon his heated brow, soothingly cool in contrast but all too soon removed as it glides lightly downward to cup the Lord's cheek and jaw for a moment. Gods, things must be bad. Ceinlys simply isn't given to open displays of any tender sort. She tempers it, of course, with an absent-minded comment, unable to help herself even now. "..and you wanted to teach my brother how best to duck a blow..?" Shaking her head a little, the brunette sighs, moving to sit back from a slightly inward tilt and draw her hand away, if unopposed. "Is there anything I can bring for you?" Helpful. Yes, helpful is a good choice. Esepcially when, for once, the elegant woman apparently has no idea what would be best. It would be so simple to set ideas in Aleister's mind, in moments such as these. Guards or no guards. But when it comes down to it.. well, most likely to Ceinlys' manner of thinking, there'd just be no sport in it. Whether that's the truth of it, who can say.
A grunt, soft and short, escapes Aleister's lips at the first of her comments, the smirk continuing to rest easily upon his lips before it's broken by a murmered, "I'll not be felled by some simple illness, Lady Erenford." While there's certainly determination in the words, there's something else there. A touch of acceptance of fate, perhaps.
There's no opposing the movement of her hand and when her palm comes to rest upon his brow, she'd easily feel the burning of his skin and when it comes to glide down to cup his cheek and jaw, there's an ever so slight tilt of his head into that cool touch. "And I still intend to, Ceinlys." When she sits back and her hand draws away, he makes no move to stop her, though a soft chuckle does begin to escape past his lips, though it ends in a wheezing gasp and then a couple of quick breathes before he's able to answer, "Unless you have some hidden talent that will force this illness away, then I'm afraid that there is nothing that I need."
Having measured, in touch, the radiating heat across Aleister's skin, the young lady pushes quietly to a stand, gliding the few steps needed to retrieve a cloth, saturated in a bowl of water and mixed herbs. The healers are nothing if not thoughtful, to have left this nearby. Wringing out the linen, watching the rivulets of moisture meander across her knuckles for a moment, Ceinlys returns to the cot, replying with wry amusement as she does so. "According to the rumors circulating the camp, Ser.. I am already doing everything imaginable to distract you from your injuries.."
Taking up her seat again, the dark-haired woman reaches to dab the cooling cloth gently at Aleister's forehead, letting him master the initial likelihood of a shiver at the seemingly icy touch before she presses it to his brow. The herbs smell sweet.. soothing even. Presumably having an elder brother with a liking for tourneys, one learns how best to alleviate the tender heat of a wound, one way or another. "Unfortunately, I think I would only cause you further injury, if such words were to become fact; talented or not." At last, the Lady Erenford smirks, flicking a glance down to Aleister's brown eyes.
As Ceinlys begins to push herself to a stand, only to then begin to slide the few steps necessary to retrieve that cloth, Aleister is following her with his eyes, though they don't linger long before returning to their upward cast towards the roof of the tent. Her words, though, draw the touch of a laugh from his lips, a faint thing that holds little in the way of life, "So I have heard. Such things will always come when men have little to do during the breaks from battle."
Once her seat has been reclaimed and that cloth comes to dab against his forehead, there's a momentary shiver, a tensing of muscles and it's all followed by a sigh of relief as the cooling cloth comes to prses against his brow. It's now that his eyes close once more as he perhaps focuses upon that brief reprieve from the fevered heat. Unfortunately, that focus doesn't long, for her comment is answered with another faint laugh and a murmered, "No doubt, Lady Erenford, that you would. A shame, though, that such things have no healing ability." The smirk returns as his eyes shift from the ceiling, coming to meet hers.
A soft 'mhm' of agreement escapes Ceinlys, without her lips ever parting. But her blue eyes do convey an answering flicker of muted amusement until she replies more properly. "It happens. By this time next week, talk will have moved on to someone else." Or so she hopes. She really doesn't much fancy having to conceal another bruise. Quirking a brow at the answering jest in the Lord's words, though, she holds his gaze thoughtfully for a long moment; releasing the cloth and balancing the heel of her hand by his shoulder for the few beats that she lingers. She makes no effort to withhold the smirk that steal across her mouth, relenting to a slight grin that flashes her teeth in a feline manner. But her tone is measured and even, despite the hushed, velvety quality to it. "A pity, indeed. However, Ser.." She cants her head slightly, offering an expression of plainly feigned sorrowful sympathy. "..you are far from well enough to dance, let alone risk yourself further." Her ebonesque lashes lower a touch, turning her features wicked once more. "You shall have to put more effort into healing, before you forget the steps altogether.."
"Precisely so, Lady Erenford. These whispers and rumors are what humor the men find in times that are bleak. They come and go like the passing of the rain." When the cloth comes to be released and she balances the heel of her hand by his shoulder, his eyes remain focused upon her as best he can manage in his current state. The smirk holds and when she flashes a grin and then speaks, he's answering with another low laugh, one that carries a touch longer before and hints at humor, though comes to end in that same painful gasp that no doubt throbs at his temples. Regardless, the smirk deepens a touch and while his eyes begin to close again, to try and stem the rise of pain, he's murmering almost casually, "I will dance again, Lady Erenford, of that I am sure. While one may mis-step from time to time, you never forget the movements that make it what it is."
When the Lord's dark eyes close, in such obvious response to discomfort, Ceinlys falls noticeably quiet. Unseen, her own azure hues wander his features; though for what purpose goes, obviously, unsaid. Searching for further weakness than the man will openly admit? For an indication of worsening fever or sickly pallor? Well, those he has. But the lady's thoughts remain her own. A shifting of weight on the cot is subtly palpable as she withdraws slowly, for a fleeting moment brushing her fingertips across the hand at his chest in a tentative pat. She's not much good at comfort, really. "..I should leave you to your rest." she murmurs, musingly. "My presence here is not helping either the rumors or your recovery, I think. Not that such things concern me overmuch." The gossip or his wellbeing? Typically, she doesn't clarify.
If Aleister even notices the shift of her weight upon the bed or the fleeting touch of her fingertips across the hand that rests at his chest, he makes no mention of it. His eyes remain closed a moment longer and it's only as she begins to speak that they finally begin to open. This time, though, there's something different; something less focused within. It's as if the light within them is slowly being extinguished, to be replaced by nothing but darkness, "I care not for senseless babble of those who seek to undermine or plot against me, Lady Erenford." The inflection and tone of his words as begun to shift, coming to be almost entirely void of emotion, "But should you take your leave, find Ser Aron Haigh and have him sent to my tent. I am sure one of my retainers can tell you where he might be found and what he looks like." It's as if the fact that Ceinlys and Aron are related no longer registers within his thoughts.
"Those that-.." Ceinlys begins to echo the strange words, before she notices the lack of.. well, Aleister in that unseeing gaze and hollow voice. A wary glance goes to the closest guard, but he rigidly keeps from looking at his master. Better not to invite his attention, perhaps. But the Lady Erenford, alas, has already garnered it, if only vaguely. "I.. will do that, Ser. Of course." Humoring the man, the young woman looks genuinely dubious for the first time as she stares at his features. He's just not there. What would be the point in trying to explain that the knight he refers to has not yet returned? Unthinkingly, she shifts her hand as if to settle it atop his.. but thinks better of it. Confusing as it is, she begins to realise she's not even really dealing with the Lord Charlton any longer.
While Aleister's eyes focus upon Ceinlys, it's as if all recognition of who she is has faded from memory, lost to whatever is now plaguing the man. The only real trace that the Lord remains is the faint lift of his lips to that smirk, but even that begins to fade as the moments pass by. Her acceptance of the task garners a slight nod of his head, the pain of such a movement not even registering. "Ensure that he comes alone, wench." And gone is the realization that she's far above that station. "There is much planning to be done. My enemies seek to strike at the heart of House Charlton and such a thing must not be allowed." It's only then that one of the guards looks back to the pair, or more specifically to Ceinlys and with a soft clearing of his throat, he's offering, "Apologies, m'lady. Lord Charlton .. does not know what he speaks. The Maester says the fever claims him from time to time."
If her features were wary a moment ago, now they go still with realisation; her expression closing with practiced ease. Not that it matters much, in Aleister's current state. Make sure he comes alone? There's a very real danger in those words, which the young lady pays heed to. Lost in a reverie as she watches the fever-ridden man, she rouses only when the guard addresses her directly, looking up and aside toward him with some semblance of a grateful smile, faint as it may be. "I see… thank you." Drawing and loosing a slow breath to steady herself, she dismisses the ill-fitting turn of phrase from the befuddled Charlton and, emboldened by the retainer's reassurance, perhaps, reaches for the cloth still laid across his damp brow, seeking to draw the cooling sensation down across his cheek before lifting it away. The sheer heat of his skin has almost dried it, anyway. "Your House is in safe hands, Lord Aleister. Your cousin will let no harm befall it, while you mend." The words are quiet, the sort of distracted soothing a mother might offer to a frightened child. Of course, Ceinlys has been in that position, hasn't she? "Please, Ser. You need your rest. The plans can wait until you are yourself again, hm..?"
The guard's assurances to Ceinlys go unnoticed by Aleister and even the fact that she reaches to draw the cloth down his cheek before it's lifted away, doesn't seem to dawn upon the man. Her words, though, register to a degree and now he's giving a shake of his head, "I have utmost faith in my cousin, servant, but I fear that some might strike at him in my absence. I need those knights most loyal to our House to see to the safety of our camp. And to prepare for what is to come. The Naylands and others plot against us. It is only a matter of time until they strike." It's clear that he's living in some fantasy world at the moment. "Have my squire prepare my armor and weapon. Water and ready my steed as well. Things must be dealt with." His head begins to roll a touch to the right, eyes coming to focus upon the wall of the tent now. "We must destroy those who seek to strike us down, before they can do so."
<FS3> Ceinlys rolls Deception: Good Success.
<FS3> Aleister rolls Alertness-50: Embarassing Failure.
"..and you believe Aron Haigh plots against you, my lord..?" enquires Ceinlys, gently, looking away from the man and tossing the drying cloth toward the nightstand in an underhand throw. It lands, rolling only a little across the surface before coming to a stop. Letting her gaze linger upon that, thoughtfully, it's a moment before the young lady looks back to Aleister, her newly freed hands smoothing the blankets across his chest carefully. Even if he feels aflame, it's common sense to keep him warm, lest he catch chill atop everything else. "..the Naylands and Erenfords? Perhaps. But the Haighs are bound to your House, Ser." Rising slowly from the cot, Ceinlys approaches the head of it, stooping as though to fluff the pillow lightly beneath Aleister's head. That posture, though, allows her lips to breathe words of sincere warning .. and suggestion.. across his ear, in the softest of velvet cadences. "..the Westerling, Aleister. She already plots to leave you.. I heard it from her own lips and I fear for the heir in her belly.. if, indeed, it is yours at all.."
With a slow smile curving across her lips, Ceinlys withdraws enough to look down into Aleister's eyes, one hand absently smoothing his stubble-rough cheek as she regards him with undeniable devotion. "..you know I'm right.."
To the first that is spoken, Aleister is giving a slight shake of his head, followed by a quick, "No. Not not in the least. Ser Haigh is a most honorable and valiant knight. I believe he will do well amongst the ranks of those that serve House Charlton." In this state, it seems the man truly believes the words that he's spoken. The mention of Naylands and Erenfords has him hissing softly, but he does nod, "They all plot against us. But the Naylands, I believe, work more against us. Their sniveling Lords seek to our liegelords favor and they will stop at nothing to gain it." When she rises from the cot and moves to the end of it, his eyes follow as much as they can and when her breath comes to warm against his ear in words of warning, his eyes begin to widen. The touch of her hand across his cheek brings a momentary pause, his head canting his cheek into that touch, though his eyes remain focused upon her for the moment. "You have heard her say as much? Are you certain?" A rise of anger comes to the words and it would seem that no one is safe from the fever induced paranoia, not even his wife.
"Have I ever lied to you, Aleister..?" replies the young woman, levelling her intense blue eyes upon his mahogany ones, seeking to anchor her warning in his mind, tumultuous as it may be, for now. But her tone is little above a whisper, certainly inaudible to those guarding the doorways of the pavillion. Stroking her fingertips in a gentle caress, she captures her lower lip, for a moment, between her teeth, evidently pained in having to relay such things to her poor, injured Lord. She doesn't shrink back from his injuries or appearance, not for an instant. "..she believes your House weak and.. lacking in honor, my Lord. It is not my place to argue with her, much as I wish to. But.. I felt you deserved to know it, all the same. The most dangerous enemies, Aleister.." Ceinlys intones this carefully, her hand coming to rest lightly at the side of his throat. "..are the ones you do not recognise. Take care, for the sake of the Charltons." Letting her gaze drift downward, idly, to his chest, watching the rise and fall of breaths drawn and loosed, she adds, in a further undertone, "I do what I can to keep you safe."
"If you had lied to me in past, then we would not be here, speaking to me now." It's not a warning or a threat, but just a simple answer to the question that was given and Aleister offers it with that anger still anchoring the words. He doesnt' shy from those blue eyes that hold his own, though the stroking of a fingertip has him still leaning into that touch. "It troubles me greatly to hear such things." When her hand comes to rest at his throat, his head simply rolls a touch to the side now, eyes flickering to hold her within his sight. "Tell me. Has she said anything else about her plans or intentions? Or implied such things?" His hand does lift, angling to grasp at her hair should she not draw away, to force her eyes to his again, "Do not keep things from me. I must know so that preperations can be made."
Ceinlys permits his fingers to tangle in the raven lengths of her hair, even to demand a slightly uncomfortable angling of her neck in order to meet his eyes at the silent behest. She simply holds herself still, searching Aleister's gaze for a long moment. "..I am sorry, my Lord, for troubling you.. but it is better you know the truth." Gods, this would be an.. interesting moment to be caught in. For a number of reasons. But the young lady seems not to concern herself with such things.. not in the face of such a great threat to her Lord. "..I think she considers herself.. above you, Ser Aleister." she replies, upon a vaguely incredulous huff of breath. "..I know she had intended herself upon the arm of a Baratheon, for certain. And now she.." Ceinlys pauses, as though finding it difficult to utter the next out loud; briefly pressing her lips in a firm line to bite back her obvious upset. "..she swears she will not care for you. If you are troubled by your injury, or.. disfigured in any way. She will not remain. The woman seems determined to find reason to leave you, m'lord." The brunette leaves those words, and the wild imaginings they conjure, to settle upon Aleister's subconscious. The most fearful part? She's not lying to him. And her loyalty is to the Freys and, indirectly perhaps, the Charltons. Not the Westerlings. Breathing soft and shallow, she watches the man's face for his reaction.
Whatever wounds may trouble him at this time, Aleister doesn't seem to notice. Aside from the burning of his body and the beadlets of sweat that form, it's as if he's oblivious to the wound to his head. With his hand curled into her hair, keeping her head tilted to meet his gaze, he's listening to what she has to say, offering only the slightest of nods as she speaks. "Do not apologize for doing what is right. It makes you seem weak." There's a slight tug upon her hair as he murmers, "It does not look good for those of my house to appear weak." Then, he's releasing her, hand lowering to his chest as he gives another simple nod of his head, "This is most disturbing. If she seeks a reason to leave, perhaps such a thing should be allowed." No doubt he's referring to casting her out. To where her name would be ruined.
"I only.. ever.. apologise to you, Aleister." There's a flare of indignance at the idea of being considered weak. But then Ceinlys is drawing back from him, pushing her locks back over her shoulders as his fingers glide free of the glossy ebon waves. "The decision is yours, my Lord. But.. whatever you choose to do, you can count upon my support. I trust you know that." Going further, she draws her tresses of weighty silk back to her nape, then twists them absent-mindedly in a rope, drawn forward over the other shoulder that she may lightly toy with them in her fingertips. "Do you wish to rest, Ser? I can leave you be, if so.." The enquiry is gentle, though her gaze remains fixed at all times upon the prone Lord. If for no other reason than to give herself the chance to avoid any sudden movement. The memory of that grasp upon her long hair still smarts a little.
Now, the smirk begins to draw a little firmer to his lips as Aleister shakes his head a touch more, "If I wanted your apology, I would make a demand of it. Remember that." Eyes shift away from her, flitting in the direction of the guard, to whom he command, "Fetch me my wine. And a plate of food." The guard looks to Aleister so as to give a slight nod and a quick, "Yes M'Lord," and then steps just outside the Lord's line of vision, apparently having run through this on a seperate occasion. Content that his request is being fulfilled, he's turning his attention back to Ceinlys, "No, rest is not required at this time. It will not be long, now, until I am fully healed." He does extend an arm to a small camp chair that can be folded down. This one appears to have been set at a specific height, for as he draws it to him, he's pressing himself up with one arm and placing the small chair behind him, which leaves him now propped up a bit. "We must learn what my ~dear wifes~ intentions are. We must know what she plots."
Flitting her gaze in the wake of Aleister's, the young lady of course sees how the guard deals with the bizarre requests of his Lord, taking note of it. A clever ploy, for certain. Poor Charlton. Sweeping a wayward tumble of her ebon hair back from her cheek with a habitual motion of her fingertips, Ceinlys then returns her attention resolutely to the injured Lord. He doesn't ask her to leave. So be it. Smoothing a wrinkle idly from his blankets, once he settles himself in a more upright position, she bites gently at her lower lip in consideration before murmuring a soft question, for his ears alone, letting her touch fall still. "..what would you have me do, my Lord? She will simply dismiss me from her service, if she believes me to be watching her too closely.."
Aleister is blissfully unaware of what the guard has done and is apparently just as unaware of the pain that no doubt courses through his body with the more firm movements that he makes. Whereas a nod would have garnered a wince, no such thing comes. Or if it does, the pain simply doesn't yet register, for he's giving Ceinlys another slight nod and a quick laugh, "Do what you do best. Play to her wants and needs. And should that fail .." A hand lifts upwards, but it's not a threatening gesture, for he's moving to tap a fingertip lightly against the side of her cheek. ".. then use that pretty head of yours. Tell her that I've commanded you to remain at her side, due to her condition and that of the babe. She can not toss aside something that I have commanded, after all."
Ceinlys permits a wry smirk in response to the tap at her cheek, still holding the man's gaze calmly. "As you wish." Her own hand glides upward, seeking to lightly capture that of the Lord, as and when he withdraws it. "..but I have a desire to make known to you, in return, Ser.." With a sidelong glance toward the guard, who's stoic in his inattention to their exchange, the young lady leans in breathtakingly close before she looks back to Aleister; her gaze fire and ice all at once. "..only a simple one.." Setting his hand down to the blankets, still caged in the grasp of her own dextrous fingers, she draws a soft inhalation in order to continue; looking fleetingly down to the man's dry lips, then back up. Little more than a flutter of dark lashes. "..I desire.. that you -lay down-.." Her grasp tightens just a little. "..and sleep. Do not have me put my mind to tasks, if you are only going to worsen your condition in the meantime. You need.. to rest." In a practically unbelievable addition, she whispers, after a moment's hesitation, "..please."
The tap of his finger against her cheek lasts only a moment and as he begins to lower it, it would be easily captured by her own, an action which draws the smirk back to Aleister's lips. There is what could be considered a lift of a brow, were it not covered by the bandage that is, for her speaking of a desire seems to have piqued an interest. As she leans in breathtakingly close, his eyes remains fixed upon her, head canting a touch to the side and when that desire comes to be voiced with a tightening of her grasp upon his hand, the Lord offers a soft laugh and a shake of his head, "Your desire is noted and your concern appreciated, but I have little need for rest at this time. Already, I begin to feel better and I'm sure that the fever is ready to break." A nod to the certainty of his words. "You will be my eyes and ears while the healers force me to remain here. I will rely on you to keep me appraised of things of note. I will reward that in which pleases me, but fail, and I fear you will not like the consequences." Again, the words are quite casually offered, without hint of threat or danger.
With a last squeeze, the young woman releases Aleister's fingers, resignation drawing a soft sigh from her lips as she shakes her head. There's no point arguing with him at the best of times. There's certainly no point arguing with him now. "Yes, my Lord.." she murmurs, wearily, as he goes on to outline what he requires of her. Settling her hands in her lap once again, though, she musters a slight smile for him, unable to help it at the odd familiarity of that smirk; even if his gaze is that of a practical stranger. "You have no need to threaten me, Aleister. I asked to serve in your household, did I not? I am here of my own volition.. and it is my own neck I risk in delivering the truth to you, now. Odd as it may seem.." She lets her attention fall away from the wounded knight, down toward the flooring of the tent. "..I actually care what becomes of you. And your House."
At her acceptance of the fact that Aleister has no desire to sleep, he's giving another slight nod of his head. Then, as it lifts, he's turning a bit to look in the direction of the tent flap and when he catches sight of the guard, he's offering, "Go. Wait outside to be summoned and send a runner to the Flint encampment to find the Lady Flint. I desire to be released from my bed." Apparently, the Lord doesn't recall the fact that he just sent the guard for wine and food and with an uneasy nod, the guard steps just outside. But were one to listen closely, there's no words offered to send another running. Looking back to Ceinlys, the smirk deepens a touch before he's offering, "A simple statement and nothing more. You, who have been a faithful servant for as long as you have, should know this." While he 'realizes' who he's speaking with, it's apparent that not everything is quite so clear in that head of his. As her gaze comes to focus upon the floor of the tent, a hand extends to press fingertips beneath her chin and if permitted, to lift her gaze. "Of course you care. It is because you seek to improve your own standing amongst the others. That is why you came here of your own volition and should I fall, that very thing you craves seeks to become nothing more then a dream." Yes. He believes himself to be just that important at the moment.
Obliging the addled Lord, Ceinlys allows her chin to be delicately raised once more, cerulean gaze returned to his grave features. Whether things are crystal clear in his mind or not, that was rather an astute observation, and her faint surprise goes unmasked as she studies Aleister. As always, though, her own expression soon rearranges itself back into that teasing mask of unperturbed mischief that seems to work so well for her. "..denying that would be denying our similarities, Ser. Which I am loathe to do. Though I am perfectly aware my value to you is considerably less, that doesn't keep me from the loyalty that benefits us both. As I said once before.." Her lips quirk a little further as she regards him, eyes roaming for a moment across the planes and curves of his face. "..close friends. Truly, I am the one person you ought to have faith in, for the time being. Because your loss would not be my gain."
Now that her features are upturned again, Ceinlys holds herself otherwise still; poised, practically lounging on the tenuous touch of the Lord's fingertips to that vulnerable spot just above her slender throat.
A soft laugh begins to escape past Aleister's lips as he gives a slight nod of his head in response to the faint flicker of surprise, "To do otherwise, my dear, would serve no purpose, and it is preciously what I would have done." For once, a flash of a smile touches his lips before that smirk begins to return, "Oh, I have faith in you, do not question that. I know that you will do what benefits me .. and you." A touch more of the smirk comes to bare and he still doesn't move his fingertips from beneath her chin. "We are useful to one another and can continue to be so for quite some time. You have done well bringing me the information of my trecherous wife. For that, I shall see you rewarded." A shift of his hand has the touch of his fingertips disappearing from beneath her chin, but only so that his hand can curve up and rest his palm against her cheek. "Do not discount your value so easily."
His laughter, whether wise or not, is a pleasant sound to witness, as is the rare glimpse of a smile. But it's not really him, and it's likely not really for her.. does that matter? Subtly leaning into the cup of that palm against her cheek, the young lady keeps her vivid eyes unwaveringly upon the Charlton Knight. "I don't.." she murmurs, barely above a whisper. "..do you..?" Ceinlys lets the question hang in the air between them, seeming intensely curious as to the answer, even if it is, in the end, a mistake to ask it of him.
That subtle lean into the palm of his hand has Aleister brushing his thumb lightly against her cheek as the smirk begins to grow just a touch deeper once again. His eyes remain locked with hers and as she comes to pose that question to him, there's an ever so slight shake of his head, "Oh, most certainly not.." A shift of his hand and his thumb comes to trace against her lower lip, should she not move away. "If I did so, we would not be having this conversation. Nor would I task you to find out if my dear wife is making plans that should not be made." A pause is taken, one that comes with a slight cant of his head, "I think, Lady Erenford, that it is time we discuss your position amongst my House. After all, I will not let such loyalty go unrewarded."
In spite of herself, Ceinlys chuckles softly; fractionally turning her jaw this way and that to rub a brief caress with the plush cushion of her lower lip, smiling. "..and with what would you reward me, Ser? I think you are not in need of yet another sworn-sword, despite my obvious capacity on the battlefield.." Falling still once more, she regards Aleister through lazily half-lowered lashes. Thank the Gods that guard saw fit to step outside, to assuage the demands of his Lord. Even in all innocence, this could easily be taken as.. well, very familiar. But that's always been the game between them.. to see who will keep the hand above the candleflame the longest, before forced to withdraw. And the Lady Erenford dislikes being outdone. Almost as much as the Lord Charlton does. Almost. "..speak your mind, Ser. You have my attention." And she has his. Undivided, unchaperoned attention. Yes, it's probably a good thing that Aleister remains a little under the weather.
Curling her legs up beneath herself, the raven-haired woman settles more comfortably, curious azure eyes lingering, for the most part, upon the man facing her; perhaps occasionally straying along the lines of his shoulders, or upward to his woefully short hair. Just how much of what he says can be believed, given his injury? In one moment, he seems perfectly lucid.. as formidable and seductive as he ever was.. and in the next, he's saying things that make no sense at all. Is she humoring him, or herself, in playing this game now? Much travels through the mind of the young lady, but all go unvoiced. For now.
A simple nod comes to be given as she turns her jaw this way and that and when she begins to speak, his hand shifts to keep his palm cupped against her cheek. Her words draw the flash of a grin and a slight lean towards her, as if his words were intended for her and her alone .. even though no one else resides within the tent. "You are to become my shadow, Lady Erenford. You can listen and hear things not normally spoken amongst men. You can stand off to one side, un-noticed, and listen to that in which my enemies speak of. Then, you will return, to speak your counsel to me, where decisions and plans will then be made." The man seems lucid enough with a certain clarity to his words. But then, the eyes are not the same. There's something missing from within and now, in this state, pain doesn't even come to register.
"There are many that seek to undermine me, Lady Erenford. Many that wish for my downfall. I will not tolerate such things and I will not let them go unanswer. But with you at my side, we can crush them as if they were nothing more then mere insects." Now, his hand begins to fall away, the tips of fingers brushing against her cheek and then down her throat as she shifts her position to something more comfortable. "And with each enemy that we crush, we will gain that much more power and prestige, with wealth to follow."
Unflinching, not even shying from the danger of that hand in such proximity to her elegant throat, Ceinlys listens intently to the notions put forth. So his eyes seem rather devoid of their usual fire and amusement. These thoughts evidently linger in his mind. They're just normally kept to himself. It's a rare opportunity for the young lady to truly gain insight to Aleister's workings and ambitions. With the loss of the lingering touch upon her cheek, though, she is similarly free to lean a little closer, adopting the same hushed tone of confidence that the Charlton uses, her gaze locked upon his. "..and why should I trust you not to crush me, Aleister? If a day comes where you find no use for me? If I aid you in harnessing all the power and prestige a man could desire, what then would become of me..?"
Ignoring her dark tresses as they tumble back to their usual heavy drape about her shoulders and back, Ceinlys flickers her attention between the man's cold eyes and cruelly curving lips, unable to decide, apparently, which betrays more. "..I would have your word, Ser.. that I would not be breaking my back merely to keep your wife in fine dresses and furs.."
As she matches his action and leans in, her own voice lowering to those hushed tones, Aleister is giving a slight, approving nod of his head. Those words she speaks, though, draw forth another laugh and a slight shake of his head, "A wise response, Lady Erenford. I would have been quite worried if you not had asked about your own welfare." Again, an approving nod comes to be answered and for a moment, fingertips linger against her throat and then down to the top of a shoulder, uncaring about consequence or perception. "I am sure, my dear Ceinlys, that you will be making preperations to ensure that I can not crush you. Much, like I will make preperations to ensure that you can not do the same to me." The smirk returns to his lips, entirely cruel in nature. A single finger comes to ease back against her shoulder and then back to her throat, "I have no desire to crush you. It would serve no purpose and would leave me without a very valuable ally. I will gladly give you my word, but I know you will not consider it true." A pause, a look to her eyes as he gauges something before offering, "Tell me what assurances you want."
"Just another trait we share, Lord Charlton." agrees the young woman, stubbornly refusing to yield any ground, even as that fingertip traces a vaguely daring path across her collarbone. "There are a hundred things I could ask of you. Maybe a dozen you would grant. And only one that I would beg of you. But not a single one of them would I believe, based upon the promise of a man and nothing more." A rueful curve plays across her lips as she shakes her head slowly. Whatever he searches for in Ceinlys' gaze, she meets his eyes, in turn, in silent question. What is he hoping to find? The Lady Erenford reveals only that which she chooses to.. unless caught entirely off-guard. And that simply never happens. "..what assurances could I offer you, Aleister, beyond my word? We are at an impasse, i think.."
It would seem that Aleister's attention is captivated entirely by her, his fingertip still tracing a line along her throat and then down to her collarbone and back. The smirk remains firm upon his lips, broken only when her words cease, for a slight grin begins to take hold. There's a further lean and when he speaks again, it's a brief murmer, barely loud enough to reach her, "I will take your word as an assurance, Ceinlys, on one condition." His words trail off as his fingertip returns to her throat and with a shift of his hand, he's resting his palm against the back of her neck. "Tell me what you so desire that would have you beg it of me."
<FS3> Aleister rolls Mind: Success.
The young lady observes, watchful in her consideration of Aleister, particularly as he leans still closer. That rumbling, leonine purr to his voice, whenever it's in lower timbre.. gah. Her breath catches in her throat, just for a splitsecond. And it's held when his hand glides to cup at her nape, subtly suggesting she not pull away. Would she, otherwise? Ceinlys' cerulean eyes search the dark ones in such proximity; not fearful, but certainly seeming to seek some direction as to how best to play this. On the one hand.. but if someone were to walk in this instant.. "..No." The reply is a mere breath, barely a whisper even, and it provides a brief rush of warmth across the Lord's cheek as she says it. Not even Aleister gets everything he asks for, it seems. "..the stakes of knowing a woman's desires are a little higher than that.." She softens her denial with a subtle jest. But she still doesn't dare to move.
It's hard to say just what Aleister hopes to accomplish with this or just what he's going to do. While some mannerisms show that the man is still within, others show that he's clearly not himself. There's a certain .. daringness in this state, an uncaring of actions and their subsequent consequences. With his hand cupped at her nape, his thumb offers a light stroke against her skin and when that single word comes to wash against his cheek in a rush of warmth, a low rumbling laugh sounds in his throat. It only draws on further at her softening of the blow and he's quickly murmering, "But what if it might be granted to you, my dear Ceinlys?"
There's a slight firming of his hand against her nape, not to the point of grasping it, but one that speaks of a planned movement. It doesn't come to be, for there's a sudden gasp for air and a closing of his eyes as the brown rolls back beneath the lids. A quick breath, somewhat wheezed in nature and as his eyes begin to open, a slight piece of the man returns. It's then that he spots Ceinlys and she's .. close. This causes him to blink and his hand quickly begins to fall away so that he can pull back with a quick, "What? Where?" Confusion at it's finest, though it's partially masked by the sudden wince that contorts his features as pain floods back into his senses.
The sensation of further pressure, fractional as it is, almost makes the decision for Ceinlys.. or so it seems, just for a moment; darkening blue eyes rendered almost a midnight hue in the wake of that low-throated murmur, her lips parting a fraction, either in protest or breathless acceptance. Well, they'll never know. As everything goes suddenly still, save for the abrupt disappearance of that delicious touch at the back of her neck, beneath her lush dark hair, Ceinlys' attention is promptly roused back in full; eyes springing wide when Aleister draws back from her. His grimace of pain gives her pause, it must be said. Does the thought of her suddenly strike him as so repulsive? Or merely the fact that he almost gave in to selfish impulse? Again.. who knows.
"Gently.. gently.. it's alright, Ser." Catching on swiftly to what has happened, Ceinlys reaches a hand to rest lightly at Aleister's bicep, seeking to guide him with care back to his pillow.. or at least to keep him from toppling. "I've got you.. just breathe. Deep and slow."
The young lady smoothly removes herself from her curl on the edge of the Lord's bed, still reeling herself from just how precariously close she came to relenting. Blessing or curse? With the blood seeming to rush almost audibly behind her ears, she closes her eyes for a moment and swallows, her mouth suddenly dry. But she defiantly seeks to suppress any expression of such.. at least any that Aleister would see, enquiring after him, instead. "..should I fetch the healer..?" Her hands are strong, where they remain upon him. Stable enough to provide the balance and guidance he needs. Assuming he doesn't simply cast her away from him.
Once the Lord is settled, Ceinlys lets her hands drift from him without lingering overlong.. perhaps a brush of fingertips across his brow. Nothing further. "Do not apologise. To apologise implies weakness." For some reason, these words bring a wan smile across the young woman's lips, despite a glimmer of disquiet in her azure eyes. "..and you cannot be weak, Lord Charlton." Turning from him, she moves the short distance to reach his cup of water and ferry it toward him, offering it gently toward his lips. "You said nothing that cannot be easily dismissed, I assure you." she murmurs, studiously avoiding the man's gaze. Of course she's lying. But it's better for him that she does. and he likely wouldn't believe the truth anyway. Would he..? Lightly, in the end, she -does- bring a palm to rest at his brow, gauging the heat of his skin once again. "..I'll.. soak another cloth for you, Ser. If you wish it."
As her hands come to drift from him, Aleister's eyes close for another moment and there's another round of steading his breaths. Then, as his eyes open, a faint smile comes to touch upon his lips as he gives a nod of his head, "True enough words, Lady Erenford, and you are right." Eyes follow her movements for a moment, watching as she moves towards that cup of water and when she returns and brings it to his lips, he takes a small sip of the cool liquid, a faint sigh echoing his thirst. When the cup comes to depart, there's a quick murmered, "Good .. I am not myself at time, from fever." Or, perhaps it should be said that he's a different self. "Another cloth would be welcomed. Thank you."