|Sweet Little Lies|
|Summary:||The discussion of a new palfrey leads to other things, for Ceinlys and Aleister.|
|Related Logs:||Asking Favors|
|Crane's Crossing Inn - Stonebridge|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|January 18th 2012|
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. ~ Ernest Hemingway
The inn has been rather full of activity this morning, as news filters in of the able-bodied being summoned to the Roost once more. Speculation is rife, of course, but the reason is plain enough - it's the calm before the storm. They'll be gathered there, before marching on Seagard. Doesn't take a genius, or a talented military mind, to understand that. Perhaps that's precisely the reason the Lady Erenford has made herself scarce for the better part of the last few hours.
In the end, though, she's obliged to return. Oh, the Gods take obligations. She at least seems in good spirits, passing a distracted smile or murmur of polite greeting to those men who pause on their way out to address her, ignoring the lingering gazes that many cast in her wake and sweeping gracefully across the wooden floors in that self-possessed, ever sedate way that she has, even when hastening. It's a talent. While some of the newly appointed knights and squires look vaguely crestfallen by her lack of concern with them, the more experience within the number exiting to the square merely smirk in amusement.
Dark hair tousled loose about her shoulders, clad in a gown of rich golden velvet, Ceinlys crosses with a purposeful air toward the halls in back, though those blue eyes roam over the common room as if in search of someone in particular. Being out in the cold air has lent a pleasant rosy hue to her cheekbones.
Seated off to the right of the entryway that leads into the hall, near to the natural corner that the walls form, is one that would be familiar to her, though perhaps not so much on this day as compared to others. While other knights and squires no doubt prepare for the coming days, wearing their armor proudly after a days training, Aleister is seated at his table sans any sign of his armor. In place of it, he wears an elegant outfit of green's and black's, complete with a flowing cloak that's been tossed over one should. Rather then let his hair fall freely to his shoulders, he's pulled it back behind his head and fastened it in place with a leather thong.
A couple of pitchers line the table, an indication that he's at least been here for a bit and while a plate of meats and cheeses rests near to them, it's only been partially touched before having been pushed aside. Glacial brown eyes have taken to surveying those that linger in the warmth of the common room and on occassion, there's a slight nod of his head and the curve of his lips to a smirk, but never is there any verbal greeting. It's during this that he catches sight of Ceinlys moving through the crowd, towards the hallway that leads to the back and for the moment, he simply follows her movements amongst that of the other patrons.
With her lips twisting in an expression of mild irritation, the young woman pauses upon the arching threshold of the back halls, something given her reason to look again. Half-turning, subtly casting her gaze back into the room rather than doing a full about-face, Ceinlys looks over the common room one last time, her fingers absently twining and uncurling from around one another where her hands rest at the svelte lines of her bodice. Even at a distance, the sigh that heaves her slender shoulders is easily visible, as is the unsettled way in which she shakes back her dark locks, the lengths curling in the small of her back.
Just who could she be seeking so urgently? Her brother? Surely Aron Haigh is not difficult to find, in a place filled to the rafters with wine and women. She need only carry on to the chambers beyond. The same could be said of the Lady Cherise, in whose company she spent some time earlier - the noblewoman is unlikely to venture -too- far, surely, given her delicate condition?
Eventually, of course, someone takes pity upon the young lady. Or sees opportunity in her being without a chaperone, for once. A handsome young knight, donning the colors of some lesser known House, pauses as he moves to pass by her, before offering a gentle enquiry. Looking up with a faint start, Ceinlys gathers herself and replies with a warm smile. Whatever she says, the sandy-haired figure merely inclines his head and gestures with one maile-clad arm. He points toward Aleister's table.
Watching as her steps threaten to breach past the threshhold and into the back hallway, Aleister can't hide the smirk that tugs at the corner of his lips as she pauses her movements, only to then take another look about the room. Claiming his mug from the table, it's lifted to his lips so that a healthy swallow of the warming ale can be taken and as it comes back to the table, a brow is arched a touch at seeing the heave of her shoulders and shake of her dark locks. Still, the man doesn't rise from his spot.
The entry of a young knight into the frey draws his attention for a moment, brown eyes shifting to focus upon the other knight as his hand comes to release the mug, palm flattening upon the table. The gentle inquiry goes unheard from where he sits, but none-the-less, there's the hint of a chuckle that escapes him. Right up until the knight shifts and gestures in his direction. Then, there's that lift of a brow and a hand to follow as his dips his head into a slight greeting, either to Ceinlys or to the Knight who pointed him out.
Following in the direction of the helpful stranger's gesture, Ceinlys' features relax somewhat as her icy blue eyes find Aleister. She must have walked right by him without noticing, in the crowd. A brief glance aside accompanies what looks to be a swiftly murmured thanks to the knight, before she simply glides away from him, either unaware of or uncaring about the green eyes trailing her movement for a short while. Maybe feeling the Charlton's gaze still upon him, though, the unknown knight inclines his head in a slow nod of respect, before returning to whatever business was carrying him through in the first place.
"Ser Aleister." Ceinlys' voice is even as ever, implying none of the haste that seemed to be in her search for him, as she arrives at his table and draws once more to a halt. Firmly this time, her hands are clasped and left to rest lightly against the embroidered panel of her gown. "Do forgive the ah.. interruption.." That gaze misses nothing, as she takes in the pitchers, then looks to him with a knowing smirk. She can't help it. But at least she has the grace to smother it swiftly, clearing her throat a little. "I wished to find you before you left for the Roost."
Allowing his attention to remain upon the other knight for a moment, Aleister makes no effort to wipe the smirk from his face and as the other man looks in his direction, he's offering a simple shake of his head. It's then that he comes to focus upon Ceinlys, watching as she approaches the table and at the greeting, he's dipping his head into a slight bow, "Lady Erenford."
He falls silent after that, eyes remaining fixed upon her, smirk still holding to his lips. His hand has reclaimed the mug and there's the idle tap of fingertips against the side of it before he offers, "Think nothing of the interruption, my Lady. What was being attended to can surely be set aside for the time being." Being attended to? For all intents and purposes, it appears that the man was deep into drink, though he doesn't sound like one who has spent the day in ale. Nor does he smell it. "I did not realize I was all that difficult to find," is offered in a light jest as his other hand lifts to motion to the other seats at the table, "Join me."
"Nor did I, Ser. Until I needed to find you, of course." Returning the wry curve upon his lips with one of her own, the young lady then discreetly flashes her vivid blue eyes downward, accepting his offer of a seat. "Thank you." A faint rustle of taffeta is audible as she smoothes her skirts beneath herself and eases down into a chair. There's no judgement evident in her gaze or expression, when it comes to the empty pitchers. Hardly surprising, considering her kin. Raising a hand only to tuck an errant ebon curl back behind her ear, she relents to a warm smile as she exchanges more proper pleasantries than teasing. "I trust the day finds you well, Ser? No." This toward a passing serving girl who dares to approach the table. Ceinlys' attention doesn't actually even flicker in the wench's direction with the dismissal.
Her acceptance of the seat is welcomed with another incline of his head and once she's settled into a seat, Aleister shifts a bit in his own, eyes still focused upon her. The mention of his day has shoulders lifting into the hint of a shrug, though the movement is lost to a quiet chuckle at the quick dismissal of the wench, without so much as a simple glace to her. "The day finds me well enough, especially after some much longed after rest," is returned and followed with, "I'd ask the same of you, but the quick dismissal of the wench and the fact that you have come looking for me, leads me to believe there is something on your mind."
Ceinlys is entirely unabashed, when it comes to her treatment of the serving girl. She didn't -want- anything! Besides which, the creature in question appears to have a habit of stooping surely far lower than is necessary, in order to simply pour an ale. Alas, such is always the case in establishments such as these.. but that doesn't mean the Lady must tolerate it. Folding her hands in her lap quietly, the young woman returns to the conversation seamlessly. Around them, the inn is surprisingly busy, for a relatively early hour. It must be the gathering place of more than one group of preparing men.
"When does a woman -not- have something on her mind, Ser?" she counters, with a slight grin. But she shakes her head a little, ignoring the resulting tumbles of raven curls over her shoulders as she glances for a moment to her knees. A look away, however short-lived, somehow always seems to render her eyes that fraction more startling when they return to intense focus; a mere flit of lashes. "I am glad you found some rest, at last. Your dear wife informs me the accomodations are.. at least adequate." That's obviously -not- what she really wants to talk about. But it's always nice to be nice. And, when one becomes a lady in waiting, it's practically in the job description.
"I have no desire to trouble you, Ser but you see… my brother is still abed. And there is a purchase I desire to make that requires a man's opinion, I believe." She's doing well to restrain her obvious pleasure at the notion. "..a palfrey. The stablemaster across the square has a -beautiful- palomino mare. But.. I fear I have no knowledge of what to look for in a mount. Would it be entirely improper, Ser.. to ask for your assistance in looking her over, before I deal with this man?"
Aleister doesn't seem overly broken up about the treatment of the wench, nor was she paid too much attention. Then again, he doesn't conceal the fact that he holds those born into the role of commoners in contempt. For now, those others that reside within the inn are forgotten as the smirk begins to deepen upon his lips, "Never, I should say." The mug is once more lifted to his lips and a small sip taken and as it comes to lower, he's offering, "Adequate .. yes, they are such." There's something in that reply, something that hints to displeasure, but it doesn't get voiced.
At the mention of not wishing to trouble him, his free hand lifts to give a dismissive wave, an indication that such things should not be thought of and as it lowers, he waits to hear what it is that she seeks and when it comes, a laugh begins to escape from his lips, a sound that's low and rumbles in the back of his throat, "That is hardly a trouble at all, Lady Erenford. For a moment, I had thought you would ask something that would be far more difficult." The smirk fades to a grin as he releases the mug so that it can be pressed to the side. "Shall we make our way there?"
Given the care with which the young lady observes her companion's response, it's not an entire stretch of the imagination to assume she noted that fleeting flicker of disquiet about his demeanour. But she doesn't press. A lady should never press. Until it is truly required, anyway. Setting these thoughts aside, Ceinlys chuckles low in her throat as the knight looses that deep, baritone laugh. "So little time spent, and already you expect me to vex you at every turn, Ser? For -shame-.." The chastising tone is so plainly in good humor, verging on scolding the casually attired nobleman opposite. She even shakes her head and casts her crystalline eyes ceilingward, to better emphasise her feigned displeasure, folding her arms about her slender waist.
It doesn't last long, though. The suggestion has barely left Aleister's lips before the young lady is rising gracefully to a stand, raising both hands to raise the tumbling dark tresses from her nape and draw them forward over one shoulder in some semblance of order. "..if it please you, Ser. I had the stablemaster leave her in a stall, that I might return to see her again." It's obvious she has her heart set on this mare. Hopefully it isn't woefully lame. Or pregnant. Or something else utterly distasteful.
Her feigned displeasure draws a further chuckle from Aleister's lips and as his head comes to give a slight shake, he's offering, "Any women worth her weight in gold is always trying to vex men, my Lady." It's both a compliment and a statement, together and as it all comes to end, the smirk returns to it's place upon his lips as his hands come to settle upon the table as he begins to push himself to his feet.
Once upon his feet, the cloak is adjusted from it's over the shoulder position so that it can flow down around his body with a flickering flutter of gold, black and green. "Come, Lady Erenford. Let us tend to such a task, now, as you have already had her left in a stall." Moving out from his spot at the table, he's beginning to make his way around it, though he pauses long enough to wait for her. "I am curious to see the quality of this palfrey, as I have never actually stopped long enough to see the stock that they sell."
For a moment, it seems as if the young lady might be considering arguing the point. But in the end, she simply offers a smile of sweet sincerity and a single word. "True." Likewise stepping away from the table, she pauses a moment to let a few squires hurry by without blocking their path, taking the opportunity to sweep her palms downward across the folds of her skirts. They don't really require smoothing - the motion is habit only. Then, with a gentle nod toward Aleister, she starts for the door; admirably keeping her stride to a sedate, if lengthy, gait.
Looking over the nobleman's attire more fully, now that he has risen, the young lady arches a brow in apparent approval of the craftsmanship, her eyes lingering in particular on the cloak as it settles about his shoulders. But she makes no comment upon it, merely flashing him another warm smile before stepping out into the bright sunlight of the square.
The passing squires are offered nothing more then an annoyed glance, as if they should know their place .. or perhaps as if their knights should know their place, but he doesn't speak of it. Instead, he's moving his hands beneath the folds of his cloak to settle together behind his back. Then, with a look to her and a mimicing nod, he's beginning to move towards the door, holding the same pace as her.
The servant who tends to the door from the inside is given a slight nod and for all intents and purposes, it would seem that he doesn't notice the look Ceinlys comes to offer in terms of his choice of attire. At least, that's how it seems, right up until they step through the doorway and into the bright, sunlight square, for with a turn of his head towards her, he's murmering, "It doesn't do to always move about in armor. And I would hate for people to think that I don't understand the finer qualities of life." A quick flash of a grin is given before he's shifting enough to begin a purposeful walk in the direction of the stables.
Laughing softly, not seeming upset at having been caught admiring the garments he wears - it was far from a subtle glance, after all - Ceinlys keeps pace with the knight easily as they cross through the bustling square, her gaze absently wandering the stalls and traders they pass by, though with no real interest. "No.. that would indeed be a pity, Ser. Though, your words do have me wondering.." Tilting her head a little as she regards Aleister in kind, the young lady strolls comfortably alongside him, golden skirts trailing only a little in her wake. She doesn't seem to care much if they become dusty. Doubtless she has many more beautiful dresses. "Do you enjoy hunting? My father and brothers always did. Myself, I simply enjoy the excuse to spend a few hours out in the wilds on horseback."
She halts abruptly, both in voice and motion, as a group of passing drunkards stumble across her path, eyeing them balefully for their impudence. They don't seem to notice, at first. But then their ringleader seems to take note of the finery she wears and, turning a slow, unsteady circle nearby, thinking himself invisible, perhaps, lets his gaze wander appreciatively over the young woman's form. Maybe she's used to such things, maybe she simply can't be bothered with the trouble. But she simply raises her jaw a little and continues on, ignoring him entirely.
The admiring look doesn't seem to have bothered him, nor does the fact that he walks the streets with her, unchaperoned. Something that might cause whispered words to float around. Those same stalls and traders that she seems to pay little attention to, are ones that Aleister makes note of to return to, no doubt to see what they offer in terms of wares that his wife might come to .. appreciate. But that only takes a moment's time and when his attention comes to return to her, "While I am no hunter, I do enjoy the feel of a good spear in hand from time to time."
There's no denying that he's quick and it comes to show, for when she draws to that abrupt halt, he's following suit almost immediately. He needn't ask why, for his attention is already flitting in the direction of the drunkards that pass and while she may not say something, he chooses to follow their movements with his eyes as a hand shifts beneath the folds of his cloaks. Finally, as the smirk begins to shift to a sneer, he's offering a simple warning in their direction, "Mind your eyes or I will ensure that you never need worry about looking above your station again." Then, he's simply turning to follow after Ceinlys.
It apparently doesn't occur to Ceinlys to drag her poor old chaperone out, just for a swift dash across the square to the stables.. particularly seeing as she is only in the company of her Lady's husband. Then again, Ceinlys really isn't the sort to worry over such matters as others might. Not when she has a new purchase to consider, certainly. Pausing again, glancing back over a shoulder at Aleister's words of warning, the young lady arches her brows, surprised perhaps at his interjecting on his behalf, or the swift, stumbling retreat of the troublemakers. Maybe a little of both.
"..thank you." The gratitude is softly voiced, likely audible to the knight alone, and she musters a wan smile to go with it. Does no one usually defend the honor of a lady, where she hails from? How troubling. Clearing her throat, Ceinlys holds her head high as she continues onward, resuming her brisk pace. "..how -do- you enjoyably spend your time, then, Ser, when not crossing fields of battle, if I may ask?" Reaching the sacntuary and shade of the stables, she moves inside without hesitation, taking an immediate right and casting Aleister a brief look. "..she's down here.."
It's only after the men begin their retreat that Aleister's hand withdraws from beneath the folds of his cloak and while nothing can be seen, it might be safe to assume there's a blade concealed somewhere back there. The thanks that comes to be offered has him dipping a bow of his head towards her and the first smile of the evening coming to bare, as if he touch enjoyment in such a thing, "You are most welcome, Lady Erenford. Such things should not be tolerated." But, he doesn't rule these lands and as such, they must be dealt with as they occur. There's a moment in which his eyes linger longer then appropriate, a questioning glimmer contained within, but he's giving a slight shake of his head and a quick chuckle before offering, "In any fashion that I find pleasant, my Lady." It's a cryptic answer, of that there's no doubt, and reveals absoutely nothing to the question that was asked.
Moving to follow her into the stables, there's a momentary flit of his eyes amongst the initial stalls and beyond before he's following her down to the right with a slight nod of his head, "Very well. Let us see whether this palfrey is worth the time, and the coin, that the stablemaster will no doubt demand."
There's a wry expression playing across Ceinlys' features now, as she strolls down the length of the stalls. "Somehow, Ser, I imagine you are a talented card player.." She doesn't bother to elaborate. Likely doesn't need to. Besides, her attention is most certainly distracted now, following an answering, unspoken question for a fleeting moment. Questions, questions, so many questions. Who'll give in first?
Slowing, then drawing to a halt at one of the farthest stalls - sensibly away from the activity around the mounts kept here temporarily - the brunette peers over one of the sturdy wooden doors, a warm smile immediately softening that carefully maintained mask of hers. Clucking her tongue softly, she greets the animal inside with evident fondness, but doesn't yet lift the latch; allowing Aleister his opportunity to catch up and study the mare from this side, first.
It's a pretty horse, by any standards. Heavy boned, with a coat of gleaming gold and a mane of silvery white. Chewing contentedly at her hay, the mare brings her head around to regard her visitors, tail swishing just once. "She's only four. Newly broken, so a little green. But isn't she gorgeous..?" Odd that the woman should so worriedly seek praise of her desired mount, those striking blue eyes wandering sidelong to study the knight's initial reaction.
A laugh comes to answer her statement and as it fades, Aleister is following it with, "Perhaps you might find out at some point." After all, she is now employed by his family. Right? Right. But, there's business to be had here and his eyes begin to shift about, taking the the fashion of how the mounts are stored, as well as how they are cared for. All important indications, to him, of whether a mount will even begin to be worth looking at.
Continuing along just slightly behind Ceinlys, he stops only when that stall comes to be reached and as she clucks her tongue at the mare inside, he's looking towards the creature, regarding it for a moment with a tilt of his head and critical gaze. Everything is taken into consideration, from the way the mare stands from this vantage point, to the way that it lifts it's head to regard them. Her words break his thoughts and as he looks back to her, there's a slight nod of his head, "Indeed, she is. I am curious as to how she will take to a rider, though."
"Oh, I am sure she'll do beautifully." Ceinlys has already spent some time coddling the creature, it would seem, as she sidles past the knight, lifts the latch and simply steps into the stall alongside the mare, reaching to lightly stroke at a glossy flank. "Hello, sweetling…" she croons, entirely at odds with her usual demeanour, as the palomino snuffles at her, no doubt hopeful for something more interesting than hay and lipping gently at the young lady's palm when it's extended toward her soft muzzle.
She's not small, for a mare - she has heavy, wide hooves and an impressive musculature. And yet, for all her slender silhouette, Ceinlys seems utterly fearless being in such close quarters with the large animal. Fact of the matter is, Ceinlys Erenford rarely appears frightened of anything. Flashing Aleister a brief grin, she remains quiet for a time, letting him think and amusing herself with combing fingers through that long silver mane.
"Perhaps," is the only reply that Aleister offers as she sildes past him so as to lift the latch and open the stall so that she can make her way in. It's now that his eyes shift between the two, mare and woman, watching the interaction and how the animal responds. Apparently, he's satisified, for he gives a slight nod of his head, more to himself then to her.
Moments pass in which he continues to watch the two and as they begin to fade, he settles his eyes back upon the mare, moving to now follow Ceinlys into the stall, the door of which he closes behind him, in case the animal should become spooked. Rather then extend a hand to the mare so that she might lip and smell at his palm, he's moving immediately to her side, a hand lifting to smooth over her coat and to see how she reacts.
Seeming aware of the man's intent, Ceinlys slowly withdraws the reassurance of her touch from the palfrey's neck and mane, easing herself back to the wall of the stable and dutifully lowering her hands, content to simply watch Aleister work over the creature. There's something about it that seems to fascinate her, but she offers neither question or comment regarding it, merely smiling a touch as she observes. For her part, the mare -does- stop chewing for a split-second, large ears swivelling this way and that as she becomes aware of a new, rather more formidable presence in her space. Her muscles twitch once at the sensation of a hand upon her.. and then it's back to eating.
The Lady Erenford grins slightly, hopefully unseen by the knight. Well, how dare he have so little faith in -her- horse? Drawing a soft breath, she deems it safe to pick up conversation again, now that they don't appear in danger of being trampled to death. "Ser? Might I ask you something?" She hesitates before adding. "It is something I -must- ask sooner or later.. and it seems that if you consider it worthy of my dismissal, then it may as well be sooner."
Aleister doesn't seem all that surprised as the mare stops chewing for that split-second and as his hand continues along her coat, his eyes are shifting towards the animal's head. He seems content enough with the animal, for he's beginning to walk around the mare, eyes taking in a much more up close view and on occassion, a soft, "Hmmm" escapes past his lips.
His walk does take him back around to the side that Ceinlys was at and as she begins to resume the conversation, he's turning his head from the mare, casting a look over a shoulder with a lifted brow and a slight smirk, "Please. Speak your question and your mind, Lady Erenford."
Slipping her hands behind herself to settle in a fold at the small of her back, still leaning against the wall in order to remain out of the way, Ceinlys meets the knight's absentminded glance levelly. It's a quiet end of the stables, what with everyone being so busy with preparations and such at the other. Her words won't be overheard.. which is likely the main reason she chooses this precise moment to voice them. Still, she keeps her tone soft, and it's genuinely enquiring, rather than.. well, provocative.
"..what made you choose a Westerling bride?" She doesn't sweeten any sting there might be in the words. Nor does she try to soften it with swift praise of his wife's qualities to follow. She simply asks, and awaits his answer, calmly; unmoving save for a slow blink of dark lashes.
That particular question has Aleister turning away from the horse to now face her more fully, but it's not a threatening movement. It's a simple, casual turn of his body with his hands coming to clasp before him. The smirk remains upon his lips, broken only by the hint of a laugh that comes and goes in a moment's breath. "I described you to my wife as beautiful and cunning, Lady Erenford. With a certain intelligence that is lost amongst most others." Hands unfold from each other, one lifting up to give a slight little gesture as he continues, "So tell me. What reasons do you think I chose my wife from the Westerling family?"
Ceinlys arches a brow as she hears the description given to her Lady, seeming uncertain whether to be pleased by it or not. But it hardly matters. Drawing a slow breath, searching Aleister's gaze thoughtfully for a moment, she eventually answers him. "I've given the matter considerable thought, Ser.." She bites gently at her lower lip, as if considering her words, for once, before voicing them. "..I did not immediately assume the choice -was- yours, truth be told. But regardless.. I know of no particular affluence as far as wealth or forces are concerned. Not that your house has any further need of either." A faint smile passes across her lips. "..so the conclusion I draw, most likely utterly wrong.. is that you wished to take a bride outside the Houses of fellow vassals. I -would- have suggested such might be a bid for a meek little weakling of a spouse. But your wife hardly matches that description."
There's no reaction as she makes mention of having given the matter considerable thought and as she begins to voice the details of such things, his eyes fixed upon her, taking in the bite of her lower lip and to the pause of her words as she chooses them. It's only when she finishes that he's taking a single step towards her, hands still resting beside his sides, smirk still gracing his lips that he begins to murmer, "I'm afraid, Lady Erenford, that your thoughts on this matter would be wrong." A moment's pause is taken, enough to gauge the features of her face before he continues, "The Westerling's were once a powerful and wealthy family and while they have fallen upon hard times, there is a chance they will return to their previous station. Besides .. the Lady Charlton has a certain beauty which I found facinating and had to have." There's a deepening of the smirk now, one that comes with a slight cant of his head. "And had I not maneuvered into such a marriage, I might have found myself betrothed to a Nayland or an Erenford .." Again, his hand lifts, giving a slight wave, "Present company excluded from that insult, my Lady."
"So I was at least right on -that- score.." murmurs the young lady, still holding Aleister's gaze despite pressing her back hard against the wall of the stall now. "..you did not wish to be betrothed beneath your station, as you saw it." If -his- smirk is present, her answering one manifests itself as a dark and bitter thing. "How fortunate you were, to be born a son." Letting that sink in for a moment, she shakes her head, ignoring the slight tumble forward of her dark locks about her shoulders, the brief shadow across her pretty features lifted as she gives way to a soft, albeit humorless laugh. "Ahh, politics. Where would we be without them." Looking back up at the knight who looms over her, she studies his expression without qualm. For all the world, they might be discussing needlework over a cup of tea. "..and if the House does -not- recover? You do not strike me as a man to settle for less than he deserves, Ser. What, then, would you do?"
At the mention of her being right on one score, Aleister is offering a slight incline of his head and a soft, "Mmmhmm." The mention of the fortune of his gender has a low, throaty laugh sounding his throat as his brow begins to lift just a touch, "Perhaps so." He doesn't elaborate on that, but the way it's said leads one to believe there is more to it. Instead, he lets her finish her thoughts and as she ends with that simple question, his hands are lifting so as to come to rest, palms flat, against the stall wall on either side of her. His eyes remain focused on her, a faint glimmering of humor residing amongst the darkened brow and as a moment threatens to slip by, he's murmering, "Like any good member of the nobility, Ceinlys, I choose to further my station in life." Yes, he actually forwent the Lady Erenford in place of her name. "My dear wife has proven quite adept at assisting in such a thing. But, you seem to have given this a fair bit of thought." There's a shift of that smirk to something a touch .. darker, now. "What is it that you think I should do?" For all his movements and look, his words haven't shifted beyond the cool, soft murmer.
Something changes in the young lady's manner, a reflexive response to the shifting demeanour of the man she speaks with. She doesn't move. It's little more than an expression in those glacial cereulean eyes.. and in this moment, it's mostly amusement. Mostly. "..you have been wed only a year, Ser." No, she's not foregoing the formality. Not yet. "..I was cast out from the family of my late husband -five- years hence. So yes. I suppose you might say I have had some time to mull things over." That smile becomes all innocence, her blue eyes even widening a fraction, utterly angelic in such proximity. "But you, as you so succinctly pointed out, had the luxury of choosing -just the right bride- to assist your ambitions. So what use could you possibly have.." Shifting her weight, subtly rolling one shoulder back, Ceinlys' gaze never wavers from his. "..for the notions of an -Erenford-..?"
In their world, mannerisms and expressions can speak more truly then words and it's for those that Aleister is watching. It's only when she begins to answer that his eyes focus upon her eye, a flicker hinting at something within and as teeth graze against his lower lip, his hands are falling from the wall to rest back at his sides as a laugh begins to escape his lips once again, a lingering warmth contained within unlike the previous, "An utterly foolish mistake on the part of the Lord Erenford. But to be expected and one of the many reasons as to why they will never advance past their current position." Although he's straightened, he hasn't come to claim the step back, "And you, my dear, are not an Erenford. If you think of yourself as such, then I have perhaps made a mistake in allowing my dear wife to bring you into our Househould .." He trails off there, long enough to lean in towards her, head tilting in her direction and stopping a mere couple of inches from her own so as to offer, "After all .. is a Haigh not far superior to that of an Erenford?"
Despite her apparent indifference, the young lady's chest heaves for a deeper lungful of air when Aleister draws back his hands. "I -never- thought of myself as such." The retort is vehement, softly uttered as it is; momentary fury surfacing in her eyes. She masters it, though. "I bear their name through no fault of my own. For now." Watching the knight as he leans inward, Ceinlys holds herself perfectly still, unflinching. Is she genuinely unafraid? Perhaps so. "..Haighs are far superior to many who consider themselves of worthy standing, Ser. Most, in fact. But, so long as the tide of my ambitions and your own run relatively paralell.." She cants her head a little to one side, the better to keep her gaze fixed upon his with an open smirk. "..then I see no reason why we should not become friends. Regardless of past mistakes." Breathing a quiet laugh, barely more than a grin and a snatching of air, she adds. "..after all. Many things can be mended, with time." Flitting a glance over his features, from eyes to jaw and back again, the raven-haired young woman continues to look amused, for the most part. "You do not trust me anymore than I trust you, I think. But that only goes to prove my point. We do not want one another as an enemy."
The vehement reply and that mometary flicker of fury don't go unnoticed and as the smirk begins to draw a touch deeper upon Aleister's lips, he's offering, quite simply, "Good." The explaination of the Haighs and their superiority over most draws another laugh from his lips, a wash of warm breath that may play over her skin at such a close distance and it comes with a very slight nod of his head. "You are right. There is no reason that we shouldn't become such." That cant of her head would make it easy to lean in, to claim a kiss and he leans in as if to do such a thing, though he shifts at the very last moment so that his lips rest a mere breath away from her ear. "Trust is never something given so freely, Ceinlys. You are right, though, we do not want each other as enemies." And then, he's pulling back, straightening once more, the smirk fading back to it's usual form. "Gorgeous," finally comes to be offered. She used that word to describe the mare, so that must be what he refers to as well. For that is what they are here for, after all.