|Summary:||Day keeps things proper in front of her lady charge by handling all of Alek's impropriety herself.|
|Date:||May 23, 23012|
|Tourney Grounds — The Twins|
|Grass and horses! Lots of knights!|
|May 23, 289|
Another day at the Twins is as bustling as ever. Rosanna is trailed, as ever, by male and female escort: guard and septa. She makes her way through the crowd, visiting with various nobles, earning some introductions to those unknown, and mostly looking pretty and bubbly. She smooths back a wisp of hair that's being disagreeable as she picks her way between tents.
It seems with such a tourney gathering knights, there are many to be seen in various states where they practice against opponent or dummy. His own armor still being held for ransom, it is likely that Ser Alek Coope needs it in any case for the squire that he faces. Outside of the Tordane camp, he is shirtless instead, not even breaking a sweat where he pares practice blade with blade with careless ease at each volley that the young boy attempts to press. Hair falling into grey eyes, they dance with amusement at the latest slice as he turns it aside, tapping the squire hard against his ribs in punishment for it.
For a companion whose job generally involves being prudish and disapproving, Day is doing a poor job of it this afternoon. She's been picking flowers as she and the Groves sworn trail the effervescent Rosanna, weaving them into garlands with which she's idly decorating the far more reserved, conservative man-at-arms. After setting a circlet of daisies askew on the poor, beleaguered fellow's helm, she sighs and takes Rosanna's arm as they stroll. "Is it very, very selfish of me to be glad we have a day out sans your looming suitor?" she wonders.
"Lord Rutger doesn't loom," Rosanna replies to Day in a chiding manner. "He has a very graceful carriage. And I don't think you should say—" She's brought up a little short when her eyes light on Alek. Training. With — out the shirt. Uhm.
The last tap of his wooden sword leaves the squire winded and clutching his side, and Alek steps forward, leans forward to lecture him on something or another before dismissing him with the swords to go collect the rest of the gear. He steps over to his pile of things, grabbing first his flask and bringing it to his lips. His gaze sweeping across the tourney grounds, they catch on Rosanna, a brow curving upwards as he watches her in turn unabashedly.
Day blinks at Rosanna as the normally poised young lady is thrown off task, turning to see what — oh, my. Day lifts an eyebrow, smirking, a dimple showing deep on her cheek. Then, leaning down, she murmurs by the young lady's ear, "You're drooling, my love. Mind your chin."
Rosanna pulls her gaze away sharply when Alek catches her looking and proceeds to go beet red at Day's whisper. "I am not," she hisses back. "I don't — I just — shut up." She is very eloquent. And ladylike.
"Warm, m'lady?" Alek calls out with wry amusement to the blushing noble, waving his flask in an offer that comes paired with a crooked, flashing smile. "I would feel less of a knight if I did not offer you a drink to cool off." His gaze draws over Day, almost a weight where it slides slowly, curiously over the accompanying woman.
Rosanna's hiss appears to set her governess' cup of joy flowing over — Day grins, righting an errant lock of her charge's hair and whispering, "There's no harm in looking, my dulcet flower — only in looking like you're looking." She offers the young lady and handkerchief, lifting her attention to Alek at his invitation. "I'm sure we'd be very glad of refreshment, Ser, provided you'd be kind enough to don a shirt. Allowing my lady to drink with shirtless men almost guarantees my expulsion from the Killjoy Society, and there would go any hope of my future employment."
"No," Rosanna says hastily to Alek's first question. "Thank you, ser. I am quite comfortable." But she hesitates at his offer, even with Day accepting with stipulations. "He's Lady Danae's," she says in a quiet undertone to her septa.
A laugh catching at his lips, Alek assures Day carelessly, "All the better, then. You are too pretty to belong to any such society like that." He does free his hands with the mouth of the flask caught in white, straight teeth to bend over to retrieve a plainly woven tunic and tug it over his head. With that done, he retrieves the flask with a flourish. "I have no glasses, however. How would your society feel about that?"
Day turns to glance back at — something, keeping her lips hidden from the shirtless knight as she says softly, "Keep your friends close…" The septa lets the adage complete itself, facing front again and shrugging. "It's entirely up to you, my lady." The man's answer summons the grin back to her lips. "As it happens, I carry a cup for my lady. Among other things. For myself, I'm afraid I was expelled from the Paranoiacally Hygienic Society years ago, so I've no qualms with sharing."
Rosanna hesitates as Day shares this bit of wisdom, then lifts her chin and says, "Very well, ser. If you'd do me the honor of an introduction." HIGH STANDARDS.
"Ser Alek Coope," he so names himself, fingers lifted in a sketch of a salute for all that his crooked smile warms his lips as he offers it to Rosanna. He moves closer with long steps, leaving behind what else of his gear he may have to his squire where he joins the women. "I suppose I should say I am at your service, shouldn't I?"
"That would be the chivalric thing to say to a lady," notes Day, observing the interplay with warm amusement. "Ser Alek, may I present Lady Rosanna Groves of Kingsgrove. Her brother Lord Kittridge rode in the joust, the other day."
"It would, indeed." Rosanna dips in a brief curtsy to Alek, small and practiced. "He was one of the final champions," she adds with a certain hint of pride.
"I would not want to lie to you," Alek murmurs, all dry even where his gaze slides over Day with an easy smile and careless amusement of his own. He offers the flask out to her, but only since she has the cup, surely. Looking back to the young lady, his brow quirks again. "Good of him, then. I have never been one for the jousts. Will you stay to see the melee, Lady Groves?"
"I think the subtext and disclaimers are understood," says Day, smiling still as she accepts the flask. Having done so, she retrieves a goblet from within the basket over her arm — but takes a ginger sip of the mystery libation before pouring. Precisely what the stuff is will likely inform how much she serves.
"Naturally," Rosanna says, her smile regaining strength as she recovers from her initial embarrassment. "I don't know if Kittridge will compete, but our sworn, Ser Tommas, will. He is quite the intimidating figure."
The flask holds a heady, potent wine that is nevertheless sweet on the tongue. At such words from Rosanna, Alek's lips slide all the wider though it is definitely a smirk that plays at his expression as he leans that slightest bit forward towards the young lady, all muscle and lean frame. He says warmly, "I have heard it said that I am an intimidating man to meet in a melee as well." But then he adds with laughter to his words, "I do not mind if you do not believe it, after my showing at the joust."
Day licks her lips, apparently appreciating the flavor, though in deference to the potency she pours only a few sips for Rosanna. "That was only to be expected," she says of Alek's showing versus Riordan. "They say the Lord Regent knows horseflesh intimately." She doesn't even bat an eyelash, going on (as she returns the flask to Alek), "He is beyond compare in the saddle." That's totally all she meant.
"Well, Ser Tommas is twice your size," Rosanna says dismissively. Clearly she has some preconceived notions going into this melee. She tries vainly to suppress a scandalized smile at Day's words.
Such a turn of phrase certainly gains a warm look of appreciation from Alek, amusement a sharp thing in grey eyes where they linger on the septa for much too long to be polite. "Size only counts for so much, my lady. Even the biggest sword is not as talented as a skilled sword," he suggests to Rosanna, fingers lifting to rake through his hair carelessly. "I'm sure your—companion can speak to the truth of my words."
"Oh, I'm afraid I know nothing about swordplay," Day demurs, the corners of her lips tugging and deepening her dimple. "But it does seem logical to me that a combination of size and skill would be the idea situation."
"Ser Tommas doesn't even use a sword," Rosanna says with a roll of her eyes, clearly invalidating Alek's entire argument. She colors just a bit at Day's words, perhaps finally catching on. "Day."
"I wouldn't want to be the one dueling with a knife," Alek agrees, laughter practically warming the steel of his gaze where it lingers on Day again, drawn almost irresistibly at her continued wit.
Day bats her lashes in complete innocence at Rosanna, though there's a warm treble of laughter in her voice when she asks, "What? It only makes sense. No one's ever been unseated with a short lance, I don't care how well they ride."
"Nobody duels with a knife," Rosanna says, flushing further as she clearly senses jokes going over her head. She does not like being left out.
It does not seem like Alek will be the one to fill Rosanna in on the running joke, but he does question in a warm challenge, "Never? Are you sure, my lady?"
"Never in jousting," says Day, smirking at Alek and darting a glance at him from beneath her lashes. "Oratory is another sport entirely. I would never count out a cunning linguist." She presses the goblet gently into Rosie's hands. "Smalls sips. It's good but strong."
"I'm sure they don't," Rosanna says to Alek's question, though she doesn't sound as sure on that count. Possibly she does not have enough duel experience. She takes the goblet between her hands and sips delicately as instructed. "A very fine vintage, ser," she declares it politely.
"No better way to ensure you win a debate than to bring a bigger weapon," Alek declares carelessly to Day, his own grin twitching crookedly as he catches her glance with his own, all warm and suggestive in the brush of it over her. But then he is adding, "Wit, of course." He sketches a lazy bow to the lady. "Only the best for the finest ladies. Or it was mere coincidence, and you are lucky you did not find me sipping at grain alcohol."
Day chuckles. "I will confess I half expected to taste something I'd sooner pour on a wound than drink," she says, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "You do have exceptionally white teeth."
"I should certainly hope you wouldn't offer a noblewoman grain alcoholic," Rosanna says, wrinkling her nose.
"Do they melt if they taste it?" Alek questions dryly of Rosanna, his brow curving upwards in a hint of humor. To Day, he adds with a smile, "It is cheap and effective. You can get drunk and then administer to your wounds with it."
"Then stuff a rag in the bottle, light it, and throw the remainder at your foes," Day agrees, cheerfully.
"Well, I certainly wouldn't know from experience, ser," Rosanna sniffs delicately.
Amusement brushes over his words where Alek replies, "A shame, my lady. Another day, then." His smile this time, all crooked and assured, is offered only to Rosanna. He nods to Day agreeably. "A very useful liquor."
"I do appreciate versatility," Day nods, then turns a tender — and perhaps merciful — smile upon Rosanna. "You're looking a bit pale, my lady. Perhaps we've stood out too long in the sun?"
"We haven't—" Rosanna's lips quirk in a frown, and then she says, "Fine. All right." She tips her head to Alek. "Thank you for sharing your wine, ser."
"A small price for such company," Alek answers with an easy, bright smile. He even sweeps them a careless bow, perhaps not the politest but it is a gesture.
"I'll be most interested to see how you perform, Ser Alek," says Day, inclining her head to the knight. "In the melee. Fare you well." She returns the Tordane sworn's bright smile, and accompanies her lady in departing.