|Summary:||A proving ground for aspiring Knights.|
|Outskirts of Stonebridge - Stonebridge|
|The roads are worn and well tended here and the fields on either side are lush and filled with wildflowers. The tournament tent is set up just north of the road and a grand pavilion rests to the central right of it, set with the colors of House Tordane. Knight's tents are being set up everywhere there is room and high ground. They dot the countryside and near the Tordane tent there is a cart of water and food, a small general area for the nobles to greet the hosts and partake in food to ease their journies.|
|July 29, 288|
The tourney field is freshly bedecked with banners today, as the tilting rails have been taken down, and the ropes dripping with tassles and pennants have been strung from post to post to mark off the melee field for the appetizer to the week-long tourney's ultimate expression: the Grand Melee. While the knights shall take to the field in a brital free-for-all the next day, this one sees their squires armed and armored, with the heraldry of their kngihts borne on their shields. At present, the center of much attention is the young heir of Riverrun, Edmure Tully, a youth of 15, laughing and boasting as he is assisted into his helm and shield by a bannerman.
Armored and armed, Rowan Nayland, squire to Ser Jarod Rivers, leans his elbows atop one of the stout posts marking the field and watches his competition boast and strut. His shield and tabard bear the blazon of his knight, a golden wing on a pure black field, and his helm is in his hands, being turned over and over — the only outward indication of nerves. He frowns slightly as Edmure Tully is assisted into his armor. "He's so little," says Rowan with concern. "They look like they're canning a sardine over there."
Seated at the center of the stands with those of the Tordane Household, Isolde smiles faintly. The next event of the tourney is to be one of knights in training and as her gaze flits over the combatants, she takes note of Edmure Tully. "Seems our Lord of Riverrun is in good spirits.." She muses to Igara. Lady Valda is seated still with a few of her Frey relatives, silent yet bending an ear to the talking going on about her.
When Isolde spots Rowan finally, she lift a hand to wave at the squire, beaming a bit more.
Jarod snorts a laugh at Rowan, on the field giving his squire a few last-minute tips before heading up to take a seat for the mini-carnage. "I'd not make any cracks about anyone's size, were I you, Rowan Nayland." He offers the boy a stout clap on the shoulder. "Remember, keep your guard high, and hit the blokes who're trying to hit you, only harder. All there is too it. Good luck. Knock some heads. It'll be fun."
Josse is slightly late, though not by much. The gray-robed septon is nearly jogging towards the field, slowing to a more respectable brisk walk once closer. His hand wrapped around the 7-pointed pendant keeps it from banging into his chest at every movement.
Spotting the wave from Isolde from the corner of his eye, Rowan turns and smiles, flourishing a bow much as he's seen his mentor do a thousand times. The cheeky grin is also a trick the lad might've learnt from Jarod Rivers. He flashes the self-same knight a wry smile at the last minute advice. "Right. And listen, should the worst happen, I bequeath to you, Ser, all my worldly goods — which presently consist of some slightly linty, half-melted candies; two silver pieces; and a omnibus of ribald limericks — which, now that I think on it, might be yours anyways."
Igara sits by her gentle cous, a long scarf of dark but delicate fabric draped over the horns of her headpiece to afford her some shade while allowing her to see. At least within the context of the arena the sight of gentlemen does not offend her eyes— a fine happenstance, since to go out to the games and not to look rather side-steps the point. She lets her hands lie clasped in her lap and watches the preparations for the event with a bright eye, leaning toward her cousin as she's addressed. "He does. One must wonder at the prudence of celebrating i such fashion before a match has yet begun," she remarks with an air of girlish hearth-wisdom, sage advice spoken with a fresh smile.
"Attractive riches if you die. But try to avoid that anyhow," Jarod quips to Rowan. "Relax, lad. You'll do fine. Now, go out there and make me look good." And with that, he does jog off to find a seat, heading toward the area where the Terricks are parked.
"How old was Barristan Selmy when he won his first tournament?" Edmure wonders of the fellow squire who assists him with strapping on the young Lord's shield. "Twelve? Fifteen? I have some catching up to do, in either case. Do you think there's a minstrel in the crowd?" He is answered with a 'no doubt, my lord', as the heir apparent to the Riverlands hefts his shield, painted with the leaping trout (clearly NOT a sardine) and reaches a hand out for his waster.
Many of the knights who have become familiar faces at this tournament are standing near the field for a good look. To the left, distinctive by his great booming laugh is the Strongboar, Lyle Crakehall. To the right, demonstrating an overhand motion to an attentive squire is Andrey Charlton. Lord Jason Mallister and his son Patrek watch attentively as the Lord's squire is readied for the match. And standing stern and silent, with arms crossed and a blue eye scanning the field is Rygar Nayland.
"I think any man has leave to boast, it is what makes them as they are. The elder they become, the more tamed their boasts if they have been tempered by losses." Isolde peers at her Lady Cousin and laughs faintly. She rises, her rich dress embroidere with gold and the soft white veil falls partially over the for of her head and the gold circlet glints. "Let us cheer for my soon to be brother…" She watches Jarod interact with Rowan and can not help but smile. Yet her gaze wonders as the other squires are taken into mind and then finally she catches Rygar in her gaze. Her head tilts and she stands, still within the shade of the canopy. "Cousin, I do have a question for you.." The Lady of Stonebridge asks Igara without looking at her.
Rowan casts a long, rather soulful look back at Jarod as the knight retreats to the stands. He heaves a sigh, donning his helm and hefting his shield before drawing his blade. The lad seems to spy his cousin across the way, and lifts his sword in brief salute. Then, steadying himself, he runs through the drills and forms that are burned into his muscle and carved into his bones.
"Ten was his first tourney, but he didn't win until he was fourteen." Jaremy's voice comes from the side, entering into the conversation. "Ser Barristan Selmy donned the armor, claiming to be a mystery knight and entered his first tourney after his tenth name-day. Hence Barristan "The Bold", My lord." Jaremy smiles, nodding deeply to Edmure as he comes to a stop near Lords Mallister, Terrick, and his brother, Ser Jarod Rivers." He turns, scanning the field, giving Rowan a slow nod of respect.
Josse finds a place to stand in teh corral of commoners, jostled hard by someone's elbow going straight into his shoulder. A long exhale of annoyance and he folds his arms atop the dirty gate separating him from the mud of the field beyond, wincing an eye shut as someone behind him hits a sleeve into the side of his face.
"That's right," Edmure recalls aloud, when the passing Jaremy supplies the half remembered bit of knightly trivia. An easy smile warms the young Lord Tully's expression as the helm is drawn onto his head and secured there. Leaning closer, he asks his attendant quietly, "You don't think they'll just let me win, because I'm to be their Lord, do you? They'll make me earn it, won't they?"
Rowan's salute is met with an ever so slight incline of Ser Rygar's head, his stern stare unsoftened, as his little cousin's preparations for the fight ahead resume. All around the field, knights begin to take leave of their young charges, as anticipation builds. Increasingly, eyes turn toward the event's hosts.
Igara laughs along with her cousin, "Then I leave it him, 'til he is taught better," she assents gladly to her cousin's point of view, moving with practiced care to stand alongside of her, "Ah, Rowan fights?" she asks, looking out for him on the field. "How strange and wonderful a thing to hear. He and I were so often ill as children together— he used to stay inside with me and embroider. He had such a fine hand with it it is difficult to imagine the same hand wielding a sword. I will be glad to see him wholesome and healthsome at last," she sums up with a smile, "Yes, cous?" she prompts.
"I will ask after.." Isolde says and steps out into the sunlight, lifting her head and the Lady of Stonebridge once again takes the honor that is given to her of speaking at the opening of each event. She smiles and waits for the retainer to let a clear horn blast break the conversation. Once it dies, she nods her head and clasps her hands before her. "Lords and Ladies, sworn and smallfolk, today we test the mettle of our future knights, these brave young men." She smiles and tilts her head, gazing over the contestants. "In fair bout this fight will determine to see the skills and measure of training these young squires have received. May the Seven bless you all. Good luck and great strength. Warrior guide you." That said, she dips her head and takes a step back, another trumpet blast to signal the beginning of the melee.
Anton arrives just before the trumpet blast, the dark-clad man making his way to the viewing area. Tall as he is, he does not seem inclined to push towards the front, simply finding a place with an unobstructed angle of view to the field and placing himself there, arms crossed against his chest as he observes Isolde's little introduction.
As the Isolde takes center stages, Rowan takes a knee and bows his head in prayer. He remains thus for several long moments, then stands at the trumpet's sound, shoulders and chest rising and falling with a great, cleansing sigh. He nods, though at nothing and no one in particular. So it begins.
A few of the more pious boys echo Rowan's kneeling, while others simply shift their weight from foot to foot and salute the Lady of Stonebridge with wooden swords. Then the trumpet sounds.
Though the melee is framed as a free-for-all, the loyalties of certain knights are reflected in their squires, as the boys bearing the crests of Frey and Charlton cmbine their attentions on the young man of Mallister, immediately from the lay-on. In fine (if amusing) immitation of his knight, the young man bearing the boar of Crakehall on his shield yells at the top of his tenor lungs and barrels across the field at the young Charlton man.
Josse lofts both brows at the furious cries of Crakehall, a twitch of amusement on his lips. He claps a few times with the roar of the crowd around him and then folds his hands atop the dirt-caked gate, settling his sandaled feet in a comfortable ditch of mud and grass.
Igara hangs back, eyes finally drawn to her cousin as she steps out into the sun. Even in the shade of the canopy and veil, her eyes register an excitement in anticipation of the games, and she mirrors her cous in a-clasping of her hands before her heart with the thrill of the trumpet blast, spotting at last her banner-brother, as it were, and marking him with her eye so that she can be sure to cheer him on, as drawn as her eye is by Frey colors closing in on Mallister.
Rygar turns a brief look aside as Isolde makes her speech to note the approach of another tall knight afoot- this one rather more heavily built that the lean Nayland. "Ser Valentin," he greets evenly, before returning his eye to the field at the lay-on.
"My Lord…" Jaremy says to Edmure Tully. "I was in such an event once and I had to fight to earn every ounce of ground. May the warrior be with you, my liege." Jaremy steps back, listening to Isolde's initiation of the melee. Finding Lyle Crakehall nearby, he offers a nod to the loud, boisterous man before settling in next to his father and brother. "Rowan's been beaten into hard shape for this event. The kingslayer would have to watch his own ass out there." The dry comment comes, and he turns to spot Isolde. Quietly watching her a little too closely for his own good as Ser Rygar addresses Ser Anton Valentin.
Jarod settles in alongside Jaremy, offering a high-pitched whistle of encouragement in Rowan's direction. "I'll be interested to see what the lad can make of himself. You never really know until you're pressed." Eyes flit to the Naylands in the crowd, though he's still grinning as he looks for them.
Rowan tilts his head at the sudden pile-on, attitude suggesting bemusement. The Young Lord Edmure needn't have worried that he'll simply be let win, however, for in the length of time it takes the Nayland boy to stride 'cross the field, he faces off with the Tully. He gives a nod of respect to the lad, then attacks — a quick and nimble feint, as though simply to test how his quarry reacts.
Moving to set herself next to Igara again, Isolde smiles to her rather rapt cousin. "I see you are excited.." She muses and then sets her hands to her lap, gazing out over the other spectators. The Knight of Oldstones is considered in silence and Rygar next to him. Her smile fades some but it renews as she turns her head from the melee to speak to her cousin, "Igara…are you enjoying yourself here in Stonebridge?" She leans and in towards her cousin, resting on the arm of her chair before her green eyes flit back to the melee, watching the first strike of Rowan.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Charlton Squire attacks Edmure with Waster - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Frey Squire attacks Mallister Squire with Waster but Frey Squire DODGES!
<COMBAT> Edmure attacks Rowan with Waster but Rowan DODGES!
<COMBAT> Crakehall Squire attacks Charlton Squire with Waster and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Edmure with Waster - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Edmure has been KO'd!
For all his talk of Barristan the Bold, glory, and minstrels, Edmure Tully hangs back from the crash of the melee, and only squares up to fight when this beanpole of a squire under Jarod Rivers' colors strides up to him. the heir of Riverrun- in his own mind clearly also heir to the glories of knighthood, manages a single swat at Rowan before being struck viciously in the helm with a loud clatter, surpassed only by the yelp that escapes Edmure's lungs as he topples promptly to the grass from Rowan's first blow.
Rygar's commentary on the opening moments of the engagement is a short, unadorned sniff.
Anton glances aside at Rygar, eye-to-eye with the tall knight of the Mire, unlike most, and nods in return, intoning, "Ser Nayland." He turns back to the melee then as the competition begins, watching with what appears to be a keenly interested gaze. "Your young kinsman fights well," he is prompted to offer almost immediately.
Straight and sure and — quite polar of the Crakehall squire — silent, Rowan thrusts a devastating blow straight and true into the center of Edmure Tully's chest. He spins to face the Crakehall — only a moment ago his ally, now potentially his enemy — shield ready and blade poised. There is, though no one will note it in the din, a faint, disappointed 'tsk' from the young Nayland. He shrugs, and attacks the Crakehall all the same.
<COMBAT> Charlton Squire attacks Crakehall Squire with Waster - Moderate wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Crakehall Squire attacks Charlton Squire with Waster and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Frey Squire with Waster - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Frey Squire attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - Serious wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Crakehall Squire with Waster - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Crakehall Squire has been KO'd!
"Come on lad…" Jarod mutters, all of anticipation as Rowan takes to the field. He smirks as the little squire goes head-to-head with Edmure Tully. Albeit not in a particularly long contest. "HA!" The exclamation is a mixture of surprise and glee and Young Lord Tully goes down. He lets out another high-pitched whistle.
Igara can't even bring herself to yell for joy at Rowan's success, so completely taken unawares by it as she was, imagining her childhood days with the sickly creature. She's poised there, above her seat, hands clasped together, face all still with shock, her cousin's question melting like wax into her ear, strange and distorted by the unutterably surreal sight of Rowan putting down Edmure. "Good heavens," she remarks when she gets her voice back— just moments before the second boy in as many blows goes down. "I say, good heavens," she repeats. "Rowan has made something of himself, and no mistake." She finally processes the question from her cousin, and looks briefly in that direction— but only briefly, lest she miss the third blow. "I am, cousin, thoroughly. I'm so glad to be able to be some help to you, and the games are such a delight to see."
Jaremy, the far more reserved and politically minded son of Lord Jerold Terrick, pales a little bit as Rowan's blunted tourney sword 'kerrrangs' against Lord Edmure Tully's helm. He casts a sidelong glance to Jarod and then to his father and Jason Mallister. Blinking, he casts his eyes to the field, watching Edmure closely, trying to figure out whether or not the young lord has been injured. However, the 'kerrranging' doesn't stop, and the quick swordplay by Rowan draws his attention. "Fuck, Jarod, did you start feeding him something else? That was a Crakehall, that one."
"He strikes a strong opening blow," Rygar allows to Anton's observation of the younger Nayland's prowess. "We shall soon see how he fights," in a distinctly more reserved appraisal of Rowan's performance than others.
The yells of Strongboar's piglet quickly turn to yelps as his brave but ill advised charge leaves the young man taking blows from both Charlton's boy and Rowan. Strongboar's laughing commentary as his squire falls booms across the field "Damnit, Bacon! BAH-HA-HA!"
Having soaked up two nasty blows, Andrey Charlton's squire turns to square up on Rowan, after offering a token salute, while the Mallister and Frey squires continue circling each other, their feints and thrusts making no mark, while the blows of their banner-squires do the damage.
Rowan seems to favor direct, solid blows — moving light but hitting hard, power surging from body to shoulder to arm in a powerful arc his slender build denies. Down goes the Crakehall squire on the brunt of just such a blow, and the Nayland quickly falls back to assess the field. He glances at the foundering Charlton, hesitates a moment, and seems to be on the verge of turning to attack another — likely the Frey — when the wounded squire makes his own intentions clear. He nods and salutes, then presses the attack.
<COMBAT> Charlton Squire attacks Rowan with Waster and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Frey Squire with Waster - Light wound to Left Hand.
<COMBAT> Frey Squire attacks Mallister Squire with Waster - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Charlton Squire with Waster and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Frey Squire has been KO'd!
As Rowan strikes true and Edmure goes down, she smiles, Isolde rising to perch at the edge of her seat. She grips the arm of her chair. "Warrior guide you, young brother.." She breathes below her breath and then casts a look to her cousin, "I am but glad they are wooden swords and it seems the Young Lord Tully is learning even now.." She grins some and then adds, "I was wondering, dear cousin, what your plans were after the ..wedding. I enjoy your company. It has been some time since I had a Lady to speak my mind with." Valda makes a faint frown as the Frey squire is taken down.
Anton nods to Rygar without taking his eyes off the field, replying evenly, "We shall see whether he wins the prize in the end. That is the most important measure, after all."
Rowan hahs! — likely loud enough to be heard — as the nimble Charlton dodges his attack. He nods at his opponent again, measured respect, and lunges in with a flurry of feints, attempting to lead the other squire the blow.
"People underestimate Rowan. That is stupid," Jarod says to Jaremy, with no small amount of pride, right beaming. He shows little worry for the squires, armed with wooden swords as they are. He came to see some heads knocked, and that's being accomplished. He also shifts a quick look back at his father and Lord Mallister. But it's more of an 'Are they watching my boy kick-ass?!?!?' sort of look. And then all attention's back on the mini-melee.
In what looks to be a mild and light rap to one hand- at least compared against the thudding and bruising blows the others have dealt and taken- the squire bearing the twin towers of Frey disengages, gropping his waster and shaking out the hand, calling that he yields. Experienced eyes will suspect that the light rap may have cracked a fingerbone. This frees the boy bearing the Mallister eagle to descend upon the Charlton squire from a second flank.
"I should say that victory is the more important end, Ser. Prizes are but accolades to the accomplishment," Rygar opines to Anton without drawing his eye off of the unfolding melee.
Igara is not so distracted y Rowan's trail of false carnage that her own colors failing does not catch her eye and elicit a forthright 'Ah!' of distress from the young girl, much less subtle in showing her home favor than Valda, as she still owns her family in her name. But now her attention's fully split, "Do you ask me to stay here with you after your wedding, gentle cous?" she asks softly. "I am meant to go to Nag's Mire, yet… if my father but gives his assent, how glad I would be to stay here with you, as you may have need of me."
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Charlton Squire attacks Rowan with Waster and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
"There is always need oc compansion, dear Igara. I will have great need of it. And I think we both enjoy each others company…" Isolde speaks, her gaze on Rowan and she all but cheers, clapping as he scores a hit and yet stands. She beams and then turns her green eyes on Igara. "You say you would be willing to stay for me…but you.." She states, "I want you to tell me what you want. No formalitlies or sweet answers." She presses and her head turns back to the fight, urging her silent prayers towards Rowan. "Come cousin, honest answer." She smiles.
Still standing? The Charlton boy is tough as nails, and Rowan clearly admires the lad's fortitude. Rowan nods again in approval as the other squire withstands solid blows from both himself and Mallister — but alas, this is war. And there can be, as they say, only one.
The young man with the sprigs of mistletoe on his shield that marks him as the squire of Anrey Charlton takes another pair of wince-inducing blows to the body, making a pained gasp under the combined assault and staggering to a knee, but promptly willing himself back to his feet, refusing to yield. Both sword and shield arms are held close to the body, a clue that the boy might be nursing a cracked rib. The fight goes on.
"Did I not say 'win'?" Anton replies, one dark, heavy brow shifting faintly at Rygar's words, "Perhaps I misspoke. To be sure victory is the key, but if there is nothing to be won by winning it seems to hardly merit the name of victory."
"There is always something to be won, Ser," Rygar voices in dry return to Anton, even as his keen eye remains fixed on the three remaining squires. Further words are held as the melee moves along, blow by blow.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Charlton Squire attacks Rowan with Waster - ARMOR on Right Arm stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - Light wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
Igara clasps her hands all the tighter over her heart, knuckles paling as Rowan stands brilliant on the swiftly narrowing field. She might be just a little pumped at the prospect of him taking down the Mallister colors, in point of fact. But she steps a half-step closer to her cousin's side, and, "Am I not let to give sweet answer to my sweet cousin?" she asks. Then, letting her voice trend toward the serious, "I am proud to go as my father bids me, where he would will. And yet if I had the will to choose, I cannot say that there is anywhere I would rather be, but perhaps home at my father's side, than here, with you."
The mistletoe squire continues to give ground before the combined attack of Mallister and Rivers shields. Blows are struck, but still three stand after the flurry are exchanged.
Looking away long enough to gaze down at Igara, Isolde's smile spreads, "Then let it be, that if your father does not call you home, I bid you to stay here. I will have need of a friendly ear and a sharp mind." She says the last with a bit of respect and she gives her cousin a faint nudge before she lifts her hands to clap for Rowan as he seems unphased by the attack taken to his person and yet gives a good blow as well. "Shall we not cheer for the charge of Ser Jarod? Rowan does so well." She calls out then, louder as she lets out a faint whistle. Not entirely lady-like but the smile upon her face splits her lips wide.
While it might not be the most thrilling spectacle, or the most glorious, Nayland and Mallister whittling away at the Charlton, Rowan is patient and focused. He circles his target coolly, side-stepping, seated forward in his posture as though about to spring. The attitude is likely more a mind-game than a material tactic, making the slender boy appear more threatening than he is. Then he springs, bring his wooden blade to bear in a tight arc.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - Serious wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Charlton Squire attacks Rowan with Waster and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Charlton Squire with Waster - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
Unladylike, indeed. Even as Igara smiles for the invitation and her cousin's kind words, she turns her head aside, cheeks and neck rosy with the heat or the shame of it, laughing even so, but lifting her hands to hide her face as her cousin whistles out at the fighters. She peeks out from between two fingers to continue to watch the fight.
"Yield, Charlton!" shouts Rowan. There's an unmistakable note of command in the call, but also unmistakable concern. There's not much longer the boy can take blows like this and not be seriously hurt.
Jarod can't help but wince at the hits the Charlton boy is taking from the combined Nayland-Mallister forces. He nods with good approval when Rowan calls for the boy to yield.
Her smile grows as Rowan calls for a yield, "Now we see if the Charlton squire has been tempered by his blows…" She smirks some and then pauses, her gaze catching the shy reaction from her Lady cousin, Isolde reaches out to gently take the woman's wrist and pull it back. "Not oft are we given the chance to cheer for champions, do so now without regret." She issues her cousin gently. "We have someone to cheer for." Her voice lifts again and her slender long fingers stay wrapped about the lady's wrist if she does not pull away.
Four blows to the chest, two to the head, and one hampering his breathing by landing on his neck, the mistletoe squire staggers back again, gasping for pained breaths. Bruised ribs are a certainty, as he clings to his feet. Glancing between rowan and the Mallister squire, the young man nods his battered helm once. "To you. Not him.." a half motion toward the Mallister. "I yield." Piqued, the squire with the blazon reading 'Above the rest' snorts once, but still salutes the surrendering charlton, before squaring up on Rowan.
Rowan bows his head to the Charlton squire and strikes his shield with his blade, accepting an honorable surrender. He then turns to face the Mallister, giving the last opponent standing a grave nod. "Warrior be with you, Mallister." Thus said, he lunges, sending one of those straight, heavy-hitting blows to the Mallister squire's breast.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Rowan with Waster but Rowan DODGES!
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Mallister Squire with Waster and MISSES!
Igara keeps her far hand at her face even as her near hand is drawn to her cousin's side, and, for the most, looks as though she were far too meek to comply, looking askance at her cousin as if thinking her gentle cous to tease her badly. But then Charlton colors are leaving the field, and Rowan is coming up against the Mallister youth, and, emboldened somewhat by her cousin's proximity, she lets loose a call: "Hoo-ray, Rowan!" as her show of support.
<OOC> Igara's cheering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xczDd2_X0DI
Of those watching the last two combatants standing, the Mallisters, Terricks, and Tordanes are all well pleased, although a polite scattering of applause as the mistletoe squire limps off the field. Mallister and Rivers set at each other with caution, and skill, neither one leaving any openings. "And with you, Rivers," the young man in indigo livery returns.
Rowan pulls back as his strike misses the mark, stepping quickly to keep his balances as he weaves away from the Mallister's blow. Then he steps in again, precise and in rhythm as a dancer, arcing a blow to the Mallister squire's side.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Rowan with Waster - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Mallister Squire with Waster - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
Once more the two clash, but both blows are only glancing. Rowan feints back but only for the instant it takes his opponent to register the motion, then presses the attack again.
The two squires strike almost identical blows, each reaching around the other's shield to land a blow on the other's short ribs, before circling away, with almost choreographed precision. Yet, Rowan emerges from the flashy exchange slightly the better for it.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Rowan with Waster - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Mallister Squire with Waster but Mallister Squire DODGES!
<COMBAT> Rowan has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Rowan spends a luck point to keep fighting!
Jarod spares another look, and respectful inclination of his head, back to the Mallister camp. He's grinning as he does it. Expecting this to be an excellent show. His applause is, naturally, added with great vigor to the sounds from the stands.
Rowan staggers back as the Mallister squire lands a particularly skillful blow, panting visibly as he regains his center and begins circling once more, far more cautious after that little love tap.
Both squires are getting a bit winded as they continue their circling, the traded blows still matched one-for-one, as the last two squires square off once again.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Rowan with Waster - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Mallister Squire with Waster and MISSES!
Clearly, this is a more even match, the young Nayland taking his first real pummeling of the combat. Still, he is silent, focused — even grim. No battle cries presage his attacks.
The squire with the Mallister shield- a taller boy than rowan, with more muscle in the shoulders, moves at just the right moment, shrugging his shield up to take Rowan's blow, and counterattacking with a muffled thud.
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire attacks Rowan with Waster - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Rowan attacks Mallister Squire with Waster - Light wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Mallister Squire has been KO'd!
Igara feels her own breath hitch with the force of the Mallister blow to Rowan's chest, drawing her hand back toward her, Isolde's hand still clasping it and all, up to her mouth to cover it up, the little slip of a Frey bouncing a little bit on the balls of her feet as she mutters quiet words of encouragement into her hands.
The trick about combat is that seemingly innocuous blows can do as much damage as any great bellowing cleave. Once again the two squires close and throw blows in almost the same instant, the silver eagle squire landing a third wrapping blow on Rowan's torso, while rowan's arcing watser lands just behind his opponent's ear with a light clatter. It looks and sounds like little, but it is enough to send the bigger boy stumbling to the ground, wits scattered, hoever briefly. When wit returns, his first words are, "Well struck."
Breath is held as the two face off and Isolde grips Igara's hand gently. There is gasp as Rowan nearly falls and the Lady of Stonebridge narrows her gaze, willing the lad to his feet. When he does, she grins all the more and lets out a sigh of relief. "There we go..come on. Be relentless." She tells the young squire and then blows are exchanged further. When the Mallister colors take a fall and spill to the ground, there is a cheer from the stands and even Isolde lets out a delighted cry. "Well done!" She beams brightly, looking to her cousin, "He has won! Ser Jarod should be proud of his work." She turns her head back to the ended fray and lets a deep breath be drawn in.
The young Nayland stands a moment over his fallen foe, shoulders heaving with his breath, a slender switch beside a felled oak. His victory seems to take a moment to register — but when it finally does, his first act is to sheath his 'blade' and offer the Mallister squire a hand up. He laughs at the Mallister's words. "And you, my friend. I won't be taking any deep breaths for a while."
Jarod is indeed proud of his work, doing some whistling and whooping at Rowan's triumph. Though he *does* wait until the Mallister boy shows the ability to be verbal before he starts hollering. Can't be that bad a hit if he's talking. He'll walk it off. He bounds up from his seat and heads down toward the field, though he waits until Rowan is done with the Mallister lad before he'll approach his squire.
Igara's own cry of delight is graciously muffled by her hands before she returns those to her sides and smiles for her cousin. "He did fight exceeding fine, how great a thing for him to have won!" she remarks with a bubbling enthusiasm beneath the words, then joins her cousin in looking back out over the field, watching Rowan in the aftermath.
Lord Jason's squire accepts the offered hand, rising without difficulty after taking his tumble. A bit red faced, whether for exertion or shame, but the young man's comportment is flawless. A short bow to rowan, and a second to the noble viewing platform, before he withdraws from the field, leaving it to the victor.
Stepping out from beneath the canopy again, Isolde stands waiting to receive the triumphant squire in all his glory. The prize is held by a retrainer at her side and she motions her cousin forward to join her. Her head tilts and she looks proudly down at Ser Jarod and his squire as Valda and the elder ladies are taking passing notice. So have they done so many tournies this is of no difference. Her smile grows and Isolde allows the moments to recover for the combatants.
Rowan pulls off his helmet and drops it to the ground, sweat-sodden ringlets plastered to his head. He gives his head a vigorous shake, takes a breath, and beams. He laughs, as though for sheer joy and ebullience, and raises his shield — his knight's colors — to the stands in salute.
Igara is pleased enough to go and see Rowan again, after so long, and after he's so very changed, and when her cousin beckons her to her side, she steps out into the sun with her and stays close in to her side, smiling for the victor, Terrick colors though he may be fighting under.
Anton applauds politely as Rowan finishes off the contest, mentioning aside to Rygar, "It seems he began as he meant to go on. Though one wonders if he means to do so in those colors. I suppose it shows admirable loyalty to his knight. You must all be very proud."
Jarod tries to catch Rowan's eye for a moment, beaming back, looking right about to burst with pride in the lad. And seeing his own colors hoisted probably doesn't hurt his mood at present, either. He scans about for Lord Mallister, seeking to offer a few words on a match well-fought.
Rowan's seen more than a few tourneys in his time, but this being his first participation — not to mention victory — he seems to draw a complete blank as to the protocol. He's beaten all the other lads — now what? He does catch his knight's eye, speaking through his grin, "Jarod, what the fuck do I do now?"
Musing to herself, Isolde leans to whisper to Igara as she still waits patiently, a few cheering still after the lofted shield with Terrick colors. Laughing softly to herself, her smile remains as she watches Ser and Squire speak.
"It is only proper for a squire to carry his knight's arms," Rygar returns coolly to Anton's observation. The nearest the stern Nayland comes to a proper compliment at the pride Rowan has brought upon the name is a stiff nod and the words, "It is a good start for the boy." He does not applaud.
Igara looks on after Rowan as he wanders, so baffled, and she nods to her cousin, worried-eyed, keeping close with her voice lowered as she makes reply.
Jarod sort of jerks his head toward Lady Isolde when Rowan looks at him. That-a-way, boyo. He can't help but laugh, but it rings with glee more than anything else.
Shaking with mirth as well, Rowan smirks and bumps his shoulder against Jarod's in passing. Up onto the stand he springs, taking a knee before Lady Isolde and Igara. "My lady, you honor us all with your presence at this humble combat. I can only hope our efforts pleased you." He smiles at Igara, though if he recognizes the little girl he once knew — well, it doesn't seem so.
Finally, the squire has his himself moving to receive his prize. Isolde nods to Igara, "He seems to be just as spritely as ever.." Spritely is the word and the Lady's gaze lingers over the feminine features. There is an assessing moment before she steps down and offers her hand to Rowan. "Please honored Squire, do not kneel, this is your moment. Rise." She bids him and then motions the retainer over. Drawing her hand back, the Lady turns, reaching for the covered item. Pulling it free, she lets the fringed fabric lay and lifts the longsword therewithin to her grasp. She turns then to face Rowan. "You are well on your way to becoming a Noble Knight, Rowan Nayland of Terrick's Roost. You bring honor to both your House and your Knight." Her gaze lifts to Jarod. "Take this sword in recognition of a battle won. Every Knight to be must have his own blade. The smithies of Stonebridge forged this but days ago, the blade is untested and sharp. Let it serve you well." She extends the sword to him lengthwise and then says softer, "Job well done, brother."
'Kiss him,' Jarod mouths to Isolde when she looks his way, a little crook coming into his beaming smile at the thought of that. Still, he's not laughing anymore, shoulders square and posture straight and tall. Radiating proud joy in Rowan just now. "That's a fine blade, lad, and you earned it proper. Well done," he calls simply, hands clasping together and clapping enthusiastically for his squire.
"My lady!" the squire gasps, rising to receive the blade. He's quite stunned, obviously, that he should receive something so fine. "I — I have no words, Lady Isolde. To have had victory over such skilled and honorable opponents is joy enough, I had no thought or expectation of more." He bows his head to both ladies, then to his knight. "It's puzzling paradox, to be so humbled yet feel so proud. I am dizzied. Thank you."
Igara looks at Rowan, herself, smile continuing bright and pleased while her eyes drift through varied stages of searching, searching, searching and not finding recognition of him in her own person— has he changed so much? That nor does he recognize her makes the thing seem all the more strange, for even if he has changed so much, surely she has not. But she only continues to regard the squire so, giving him her demure but joyful smile while he takes his prize.
The little nudge from Jarod causes the Lady to grin, teeth showing as she gives him a bemused smirk. But she looks down to Rowan as he takes the sword. "It is never a paradox, many things come in opposites.." When he stills, it seems that Isolde takes hold of the suggestion that the Knight gave her and leans forward, offering a kiss to the squire's cheek lightly. It is a gentle thing and one of warmth and perhaps mixed with a bit of mischeviousness. She rises and folds her hands before her. "Ser Jarod will certainly make you a fine Knight. Keep fighting with honor." She bids her brother-to-be an then shoots Jarod a bemused smirk before she looks to Igara. "I am not sure you remember, but this Lady Igara Frey. I do believe you knew each other in your youth." She allows the younger Lady the moment, falling silent.
Light laughter and an awkward blush follow the lady's kiss, Squire Rowan ducking his head and rubbing the back of his neck. When introductions are made, however, he looks up sharply, blinking at the little Frey beside Isolde. He squints, tilting his head, a puzzled expression on his face. "Igara…" he says, then smiles broadly. "Yes! Gods be good, it's been many years…!" He remembers himself a moment later, sketching a polite bow. "Lady Igara, you've grown lovely," he pauses, then teases with a grin, "if not a great deal taller. But then, I am a fine one to speak of stature, as Ser Jarod reminds me often."
Jarod does not, to his credit, laugh when Isolde kisses Rowan and Rowan gets all blushy. When Isolde looks back at him, she's greeted with a flashed boyish grin and wink. He's decidedly pleased with himself for that.
Igara lowers herself in a courteous dip of a courtsey when she is so recognized. "You are too kind, good Rowan," she tells him, "And if Ser Jarod is harsh with you, it is only to craft you into so fine a warrior as we saw perform here to-day." Now that it's not a simple conversation between her and her cousin, she doesn't remark aloud on the change, as she is sure no squire would want to be recalled of their youthful endeavors in embroidery in front of all of his rivals. "Please do give him my great thanks for his doing so, and know for yourself how proud I am of you."
Though with that wink from Jarod, Isolde is laughing a little, but it is just a faint shake of her shoulders to show it. Pressing the bright smile into one a bit more contained, she looks between Rowan and Igara as she praises him. The Lady dips her head before she looks back to Jarod. A nod of her head given so as not to interrupt youthful friends catching up. She mouths in turn 'Well done'. There is the warmth of her smile she offers before her gaze strays back to the Frey and Nayland.
Another blush colors the squire's cheeks, but this time his smile is not so awkward. "If I may be so coarse as to contradict a lady, it is you who are too kind," he says to Igara, warmly. "I am honored that you even remember me, far more that you recall enough of what was to feel pride in what I've become. I hope never to disappoint you, Lady Igara."
Jarod makes a soft "Hrm" sound at the Nayland-on-Frey banter, his big grin crooking even more. He nods toward Rowan in an encouraging manner. What precisely he's encouraging, Rowan is free to guess at. Probably just 'Yay, talking to girls.' When Isolde looks back his way he dips his head to her in a little nod, expression getting ever-so-slightly less smirky. He can't wipe it away all at once.
"How might I forget such a friend of my childhood, good Rowan," Igara answers— a question no question in her voicing of it, but a pledge of friendship purely uttered. "And I feel certain that you never will manage to do so. You have already come so far," she shakes her head as she says it, voice light with a sense of wonder. But she doesn't let the interview draw on too much the longer, averting her eyes and casting them chastely groundward as she realizes that she stares at him for wonder at his transformation. "Your victory is well-earned. Enjoy the day, good Rowan. It is yours," she offers him meekly.
"My lady," Rowan says to Igara, sketching another bow. "It is joy itself to see you again." Then, to Isolde and Jarod, "Lady. Ser. I will repair and refresh myself, with your kind permission." And play with the sword. His awesome. New. Sword.
Once the conversation is to be had, the Lady regards Rowan at his request and she offers a faint nod of her head, "Enjoy." She intones, but those green eyes linger over the delicate cheekbones of the Nayland lad. A curious tilt of her head but she dismisses her thoughts before she nods to Jarod then as well, "Ser. I look forward to your fight tomorrow as well. I am sure you can prove yourself as well."
"In a moment. C'mere, lad," Jarod says, striding forward and trying to catch Rowan roughly in a sort of bro-hug, though he's careful to mind the new sword. There's a lot of teeth-jarring shoulder-clapping involved, though he can't inflicted proper bruises on the squire in his armor. "That was well-fought, Rowan. And you conducted yourself in good manner on top of it, which is the more important part to my mind. You handled the Charlton boy just right when you asked him to yield. Recognition of your win, with no slight to his honor." On a less serious note. "And that hit you gave little lord Edmure Tully was a *masterful* piece of work. Knock some heads, just like I taught him." Beam. To Isolde, he inclines his head deeply, in as much of a bow as he can manage at the moment. "It'll be an honor just to have my blade in the mix, given who's competing, but I thank you for your well wishes, m'Lady. I'll try to put on a good show. I'm generally reliable for that, at least."
Rowan's triumphant escape is delayed even further as, once Jarod has released the boy, there is another tall thin figure to greet him, in distinctly less jovial a manner. "Cousin," Rygar greets, his expression as cold and composed as usual as he addresses the victory flushed squire.
Rowan returns the rough embrace, laughing as he's good and pummeled with affection. He bows his head at his knight's praise, blushing even more deeply than at the ladies' accolades, chest swelling with pride. "Thank you, Ser," he whispers. He beams quietly, seeming too moved to speak for a moment, then clears his throat and raises his eyes. His smile is brilliant. "Of all the gifts and regards bestowed on me today, your good account is that which I will always most treasure." Then there's that tall, thin shadow, and Rowan turns blinking to meet his cousin. He bows his head, still smiling, though the expression is somewhat muted in the face of Rygar's cool mien. "Cousin."
Igara lifts her eyes again when Rowan goes, watching him for a moment and then, finding the sun awfully hot, she returns underneath the canopy and to her little stool.
Rygar regards the shorter Nayland a long moment before voicing, by way of congratulation, "You rely too heavily on the point; it makes your attacks predictable after a time. You adapted well enough, did not fold when pressed, and comported yourself properly." A breath drawn in through the nose. "You have made a fine beginning, Squire." A short, sharp dip of his head to the day's champion. Throughout the words, the severe knight had not smiled, nor let his manner warm.
Jarod releases Rowan, straightening up at Rygar's approach. The severe knight is afforded a respectful nod of his head. "I find it best to open with a strong attack, Ser. Gives you a chance to clear the field quickly, if you can exploit an early opportunity. Though I'll concede if the fight goes on a bit it won't carry you through. We'll work on that. Rowan's served me very well, Ser. He does your family a credit with his conduct, and I think he'll make a fine knight one day." There's no particular sarcasm or sly meaning behind the words. He's all of cordial to the Nayland knight.
Rowan bows his head to his cousin. "Thank you, cousin, for your candor. Your honest assessment is a valuable thing. I shall take your words to heart." He stands by as his knight makes report to his kinsman, bowing his head again and blushing deeply.
"Hmm," is Rygar's eloquent answer to Jarod's enthusiasm and Rowan's thanks. "Good day, cousin. Ser Rivers," he nods once to each of the two to whom he offers parting words, and takes his leave of the victorious Squire and his proud knight.
"Good day," Jarod offers to Rygar with a nod in kind. A pause and he adds, "I look forward to facing you in the grand melee tomorrow, Ser Rygar. It shall be an honor." No taunt in the words at all. He sounds as if it truly will be an honor for him.
For the second time this tournament, Rygar is paused in his departure from Jarod by the bastard knight's words. For the second time this week, he half turns to give a look over one shoulder to the son of Lord Terrick, and for the second time this week, he offers a curt, mute near-bow to the other knight. And then he departs.
The half-bow is answered with a bow much like it in kind from Jarod. It contains a little extra flourish, but he probably just can't untrain himself to do it that way at this point. On that note, he'll wander off with Rowan to celebrate.