|The Better Man|
|Summary:||Rafferdy seeks Lorna's favor. But there's a problem…|
|Parapet - Tordane Tower|
|The wooden stairs are worn and smooth by many years of use and are anchored with heavy planks held tightly within the stone wall. Along the walls occasonally span a few tapestries, mostly in the colors of House Tordane.|
|Wed Feb 01, 289|
Rafferdy arrives from the Tower Hall.
Rafferdy is carrying his veille case and a small sack filled with a few things, and making his tired way up the stairs. He's lumbering just a bit, wore out, but otherwise, in one piece. He's wearing the clothing of a noble, but his sleeveless doublet leaves his muscular arms exposed, and it is a bit dirty from the fields. He isn't paying much attention, dragging the sack up.
~"White grows the lily, red grows the rose/here lies my laddie, See how he grows./One day he'll leave me, to cross shadowed sea/pray gods protected him, keep him safe with me."~
Lorna sits on the parapet, in a blanket, a book in her lap and Stormer laying contentedly in her lap. She sings into the night air without any real self-consciousness, at least not until she hears the scraping, at which point the music stops and peers in the darkness.
Rafferdy turns the curving stairway and then stops, seeing Lorna. His posture straightens, and his weary eyes contrast the smile he pushes across his lips. "Oh… Um… heh… My Lady," he greets.
"Lord Rafferdy." she says, tugging her blanket further up her shoulders. "You're back. And safe. Thank the Seven." She flashes him a smile.
Rafferdy continues to smile at her, "I am." He swallows, "I— Did you get the um… I sent you a message…"
"Yes, the music. It was lovely, thank you." She studies him sidelong, like she's analyzing him from tip to toe.
Rafferdy smiles, "Thank you, I'm glad you liked it." Then he just stands there, with a bit of a goofy grin, for an awkward silent moment.
"So how did it go for you at Seagard?" she asks, both politely and because she's curious. "Were you able to find out much?"
Rafferdy nods, "Huh? Oh. Right, yeah." He laughs a little, "It went well, actually. Got in and out without them even suspecting. Learned enough for us to change our whole plan and practically route them." He grins, a little proud.
"That's wonderful. You've undoubtedly saved the lives of good men, my lord." she compliments. "I'm sure your father is very pleased."
Rafferdy glances downward for just an instant, and he shrugs, "I'm sure…" He looks back at her, and he smiles again. "You are a sight for very tired eyes, My Lady."
"Am I? Well, I'm glad to be of some small service." Lorna replies with a faint smile. "I'm sure your star will continue to rise. And then your confidence will continue to grow as well."
"Confidence?" Rafferdy laughs a little, "I can assure you, My Lady, that I have no issues in that arena." He gives her a rather charming, arrogant smile.
"Really?" she says, with a lifted brow and small smile. "Then why did you swallow and hem and haw and look downward? I've seen you with wenches, yes. You are a lot more confident with them."
Rafferdy bites his lower lip a moment, and almost seems to be enjoying that she's calling him on this. "I trust that my concerns over my Father will be something you never allow me to overlook?"
"There." she points at what he's doing, biting his lower lip. "A sign of uncertainty, unless you're a woman. Some men find that flirtacious." She shrugs. "As long as you let them rule you, I suppose I will."
Rafferdy smiles, shrugging, "Maybe I was flirting, My Lady." He chuckles a little.
"Why would you do that?" she asks innocuously. "I'm a noblewoman. Is this how you flirt with scullery maids?" She can't help but add somewhat incredulously, "And it works on them?"
Rafferdy smiles, "Sometimes." He meets her gaze, confidently. "But I don't write music for maids, My Lady."
"It was beautiful." she says. "You're very talented. It's a shame more people don't get to hear you."
Rafferdy exhales, and he nods a bit, "I don't need more to hear me. The people I want to hear, I make sure hear it." He is a little more serious, and he asks, "How is Lord Gedeon?"
"Ser Rivers is fine, I suppose. I haven't seen him since I saw him laying in his sickbed." Lorna responds matter-of-factly. "And since there's been no raven announcing his death, I assume his recovery proceeds apace. But weren't you in the same place he was? You'd know better than I."
Rafferdy nods, "He's recovering. I just wondered about your favor." He tilts his head a bit, "Wondered why you would give it to him and not me."
"If that's what you wanted to know, why didn't you ask me that in the first place?" she inquires, with a puzzled tilt of her head. "As I believe I already explained, Ser Rivers was the first person I've ever performed surgery on. I felt that if he had my favor it would keep him safe. And well, by his own acknowledgement, he is still alive."
"I didn't ask because I'm a man," Rafferdy offers, with a shrug. "We're not very smart." He smiles again, "I'm returning to the battle for the attack on the islands. Maybe your favor might have a similar effect on me, Lady Fray."
Lorna looks vaguely uncomfortable. "I…don't know that I can give a second favor once I've given it the first time unless it's surrendered." she notes, but does idly mentioned, "You could always challenge him for it."
Rafferdy nods, "Yeah… I was… Yeah." He sighs, grinning. "That would be unwise." He tilts his head a bit, "I suppose I shall just have to look after myself."
"Oh." she says mildly. "I see. My favor's only worth something if it's gotten so easily as asking, but having to put a bit of effort into it is too much to bother?"
Rafferdy shakes his head quickly, "No no, that's not…" He sighs. "My family contests Stonebridge, and specifically, Ser Gedeon's right to it. This city is too important, the people within too upset already, to have something personal such as that driving further wedge before control of this city is resolved."
"That's your choice." Lorna says in the same tone. Contest for a lady's favor has little to do with other contested matters."
Rafferdy smiles, a toothy, charismatic grin that is a bit amused, a bit playful, and very flirty. "Would you like if I challenged him for your favor?"
Lorna's brows lift. "I can't answer that. It's not something you do for me. It's something you do for yourself. You challenge him because you want to carry my favor, and because you believe you are the better man to carry it. So are you the better man?"
Rafferdy laughs, hefting his bag onto his shoulder once more, "Probably not." He begins making his way past her, heading upstairs towards his room. "But I could certainly best him in challenge." He laughs as he begins down the hall.
She watches him go a moment, and then sighs, turning her head back up to look at the night sky.
A long moment passes, and then Rafferdy's head appears in the doorway, leaning into the stairway. "Okay. I'm a better man." He smiles that cocky smile again, "Better looking, too." He laughs, and then disappears once more into the hall. He calls after her, voice echoing off the stones, "I'm taller, too." He's not even close.
Lorna rolls her eyes heavenward, but he at least gets a chuckle filter down the hall after him.