|The New Bardette in Town|
|Summary:||Aylene stumbles across Jocelyn and Karel and holds an impromptu concert in the Gardens. When she meets Faulon, she has a request for him.|
|Set at a slight incline, the stone pathway leads up a slight rise northeast out of the town square towards the single tower of House Tordane. Grass grows thick and plush along the side though it is well maintained. Private shops and stables are located up closer to the manor with the family's private stables attached directly to the exterior wall of the small castle.|
|July 19, 289|
After having just told her maid to calm down, Jocelyn nearly jumps at the male voice. She'd scared herself. Turning to look at Karel, she nearly laughs at herself for the thoughts that ran through her mind suddenly. Instead though, she smiles a greeting and lowers into a small curtsy of greeting. "Good day. Indeed it is, its warm and welcoming to be out of doors." Curiosity has her turning toward the man and then glancing back at the Smithies shop. "Do you have something to pick up? He's a crafty man good with his hands. Quick too."
Its early afternoon, Jocelyn and her maid Iulia are standing just outside the smithies shop. Jocelyn's arms are full of a cloth wrapped item. Karel has just drawn near to the shop and offered a greeting.
Pausing a bit as he sees Jocelyn's reaction, Karel blinks. "Everything okay, m'lady?" he asks, a bit quietly. He turns slightly to offer a nod and a smile to both of the women, shrugging at the mention of the smith. "I was considering requesting him to make something for me," he replies, after a few moments of pause.
There's the sound of a dog barking and then around the corner comes a large black and white animal, nosing at the grass and wagging his tail. A leather cord is bound around his neck and a long leash trails along behind. "Sphinx," a female voice calls, tinged only with a hint of panic. The animal whines and lifts his head, looking back for his mistress. Aylene very, very very slowly is inching her way along, one step in front of the other.
Lifting a hand and waving at the question from Karel, Jocelyn smiles at him. "Oh yes, just fine. I just didnt see you and startled myself." The hand quickly comes back around the weight of the bundle. The sound of barking draws her attention and she looks toward the young woman that comes walking slowly into view. She looks around for the Dog that is called out for, then looks back at Karel.
Karel pauses at the sound of the dog, and turns to look over at the woman following it for a few seconds, smiling a little bit. Turning to look back to Jocelyn again, he offers her a bit of a smile. "Sorry for startling you." Looking over to that bundle she's carrying, offering the lady a smile. "Anything interesting there, m'lady?" he offers after a few moments of pause, glancing back in Aylene's direction to see if she's doing okay.
"Sphinx," Aylene calls again and this time the dog trots over to join his mistress, barking once as he sits in front of her. "You know better than to run off like that," the girl scolds, reaching a hand out to pat the dog's head, slowly gripping at the thick ruff along his neck. Her other hand carefully collects the leash and she sighs. "Where have you lead us off to this time?"
"Just some new arrows that have been crafted needed to be picked up." Jocelyn replies in answer to Karel's question. Why the Lady would be picking it up and not a squire… well… she's being helpful. She does however give into the earlier suggestion from her maid and offers them to her for the taking. "Can you have these delivered on?" The weight leaving her arms causes her back to come straighter, a slight sigh of relief. "You'll have to forgive me, I'm terrible with names, but I do think I've seen you around here before?" eyes flicker back to the young woman again when Karel looks back too. "Is she s friend of yours?"
"I see. I'm sure the arrows are needed, m'lady." Karel replies as his gaze focuses on the lady again now. Pausing a bit at the question about his name. "Ka… Ser Karel Stenhammar," he offers, before he adds, "I have been serving your house for the last five years or so, m'lady." Looking back in Aylene's direction, he shrugs a little. "I met her at the Inn last night. Wandering musician, I believe. She played well there."
Confidently, the dog leads off, dragging Aylene off behind him as he sniffs here and sniffs there. With a happy laugh, the girl lets herself be dragged along the walk as she hums to herself. The tune seems to calm the antsy dog a little, and their pace becomes all the more relaxed.
"That would explain it, then." Jocelyn says. "I've only been in Stonebridge a month or so. I'm still getting to know the familar faces that I've seen. Its good to have met you Ser Karel. I'm Lady Jocelyn Nayland, the Lord Regent's cousin." Adding that in there in case he had not heard from his time around. Glancing back at the women over Karels shoulder, "Is that so? What does she play?" a smile touches her lips as she sees the woman interact with the dog, "A beautiful animal you have there." Jocelyn calls out to Aylene. "He seems to respond well to you."
Karel nods a little bit at that. "Thank you, Lady Jocelyn. It's a pleasure to meet you as well." Offering the lady a bit of a smile, he turns to look back towards Aylene and the dog. "I'm not that well versed when it comes to the different instruments, but I believe it was a harp or something." Raising his voice to talk to the young woman now. "Mistress Aylene, how are you today?" he offers, with a bit of a smile. "I was just telling Lady Jocelyn here about how much I enjoyed your music last night."
Aylene twists towards the familiar voice calling out and a bright smile immediately adds to a glow of the young girl's face. "Why I thought that I heard a familiar voice," she says cheerfully. She dips down in their general direction a rough curtsey. "My Lady," she says. "I am Aylene Sedley, a wandering bard. I would be pleased to offer you a song one day."
Inclining her head as Aylene comes near, smiling softly, "I would pleased to accept, Mistress Aylene. From what I understand from Ser Karel here, you are very good. i'm very fond of music and it would give me much pleasure to her you." she glances between the two, then back to the woman. "You play the harp, is it?" she asks confirming the instructment type. Bending over slightly, the hand is offered toward the dog, "May I pet your Dog? Is he friendly enough to strangers?"
Karel smiles a little as he listens at the moment, not interrupting the women when they are talking now. Looking between the two of them, and the dog at the moment.
"Sit," Aylene commands of the dog and Sphinx immediately plops his furry butt on the ground. "Of course, My Lady," she says. "He is very well trained and would not harm anyone." Her gaze remains straight forward, in the direction of Jocelyn and Karel. "I play the harp, the pipes, the drum as well as sing," she lists. "I once traveled with a very talented bard who taught me much. I currently seek a new master to learn under."
Bending at the knee, Jocelyn lowers herself to pet the dogs fur. Over the head and down its back. Looking up from her current position, "My, you are well versed in the art of music, arent you? Talented, indeed." the dog recieves a bit more love and then the Lady stands and dusts her hands off against one another. "Are you currently playing at the Inn on a nightly basis?" she glances back at Karel, "You heard her, just last night?"
Karel nods a little bit as he hears that, "I did, m'lady. It was quite enjoyable to listen to," he offers, with a bit of a smile. "I just went there for a quick drink, but ended up listening to some wonderful music."
Sphinx's tail wags happily at the attention he receives, even licking at the Nayland's chin. "You are far too kind, Ser Karel," Aylene says, dipping her head down with a blush. "I still have a lot to learn, My Lady, but I do try my best. I am performing here for a while, until I find someone to travel with. They say it's dangerous traveling alone as a woman."
"I'll have to come to the Inn before you leave then and have a listen." Jocelyn's maid comes back after a few moments, arms free of any cloth wrapped arrows. When she settles beside the Lady again, Jocelyn turns to smile at her to offer. "I've decided to hold a gathering of some sort here." she tells Aylene and Karel both, but to Aylene she says, "If you are still here when the date has been set, perhaps I can have you play for it? I've not decided if it'll be a picnic or something a bit more larger." her hands fold in front of her, "That part is still to be determined and the approval is yet to be asked my Lord Cousin."
"I'm just an honest man," Karel replies to Aylene's words now, before he looks to Jocelyn. "A gathering, Lady Jocelyn? Any particular kind of gathering?"
Aylene's hands clap together with relight. "I would be delighted, Lady Jocelyn," she says brightly. "It has always been a dream to play for the noble Houses. Much of my youth was spent roaming in and out with my Master, but I was never given the chance to play myself." Her nose wrinkles. "Well, perhaps a drum to keep the beat, but this would be an entirely new experience!" She outright beams.
"Not of an particular nature, Ser Karel. I thought it would just be a pleansant experience for everyone to relax and have a nice evening." Jocelyn says with a shrug of her shoulder "The real fun will come in when convincing my Lord Cousin there need not be a reason." and to the very excited looking Aylene she smiles and even laughs softly. "Well, should the occasion work out in the right time frame, Mistress Aylene, I'll see what I can do about making you memeber of the musicians. Far be it for me to hold back anyone to reach their dream."
Karel nods a little bit as he hears that. "It's probably a good thing, yes," he offers after a few moments of pause. Looking a bit thoughtful for a few moments. "Just make sure there are no weapons present when you discuss that with your Lord Cousin," he offers after a few moments of pause.
Aylene bobs her head up and down, "I look forward to the chance, My Lady," she says, bouncing up and down on her toes with the enthusiasm only a child and produce. "But I heard word that there was a bard of great repute in Terrick's Roost at the moment. Have you heard of him?" Her brows draw together. "I would very much like to hear him. I can only get better if I get to hear the sounds of those whose skills outweigh my own." Her fingers slide down toward the satchel she always carries with her and her precious instruments. "If you would care to, My Lady, I would be happy to play you a song now." Her head moves back and forth, as if trying to determine the appropriateness of the location. "Or perhaps in another spot? This area seems a little loud."
A smile lights Jocelyn's face in asmusement at Karels words, "You think, I've something to fear if there be weapons present?" She asks interested. At Aylene's question though, she gives thought, "I've just been to the Roost, but I'm sorry to say I had not heard of him. I was only there a few days though." Delighted with the idea of a song now "A fine idea.", she seems to agree this is not the correct place for such a thing as she glances around her. "Perhaps in the gardens? There are benches there and it should be much quieter." She looks to Karel again, "Will you join us for the song, Ser Karel?"
"Maybe it is your Lord Cousin that has something to fear?" Karel offers a bit lightly, before he smiles a little bit. "Of course, Lady Jocelyn. I will be honored to join the two of you."
"Please do lead on, Lady Jocelyn," Aylene murmurs, giving a vague gesture around. "The Gardens seem like a lovely place to entertain and play music." Her fingers tighten over Sphinx's leash and she waits. Now is the waiting game and she murmurs quietly to the dog, "Follow."
"Luckily, I am not skill in any weaponary." Jocelyn jests in return to Karel. With confirmation from Aylene, "Follow me." glancing down at the dog at the command and then two the other two. Smiling, turning and leading the way toward the gardens.
Jocelyn leads the way to an open patch of greenery, Stone benches have been placed on the edges of the large area. There allows enough room for the Dog to run around and those that wish to sit, to sit and also plenty of room for the performer.
Karel moves to follow, letting Aylene and Sphinx move before he walks, so he can bring up the rear at the moment. Looking around as they move over to the garden now, keeping silent at the moment.
Her steps are slow and careful as she walks up the path to the Garden, pausing as the distinctive scent of roses washes over her. Aylene's eyes brighten. "It's beautiful here. So peaceful." Sphinx leads the way, tail wagging happily at the open area. But the little bard girl bites at her lip. "Ser Karel?" she asks hesitantly. "Which bench do you think would be best to play from?" she asks, giving sweeping glances around.
As she walks through the garden, Jocelyn allows her fingers to light run over the tops or sides of some flowers as they pass. Always finding a pleasureable experience to be within the scent of beautiful flowers. When they reach the area she was thinking of, she pauses and turns to face the others. The question posed to Karel has her turning to look at the benches that are arranged.
"Let's see…" Karel offers, at that question, looking around for a few moments, before he moves over to one of the benches now. "I think this one seems rather good," he offers in Aylene's direction, with a bit of a smile.
Aylene's gaze follows Karel's voice and she nods. "An excellent choice, Ser," she says and Sphinx and his mistress slowly walk in that direction. One step. Two steps. All of the way over under her legs brush against the hard stone. And with a subtle back-step and quick turn, she seats herself with a flourish. The dog immediately lays down at the girl's feet, content to listen. "Let me see…" she murmurs, hand moving into her satchel to pull out a small harp. Her fingers glide across the strings to test for need of any tuning. "What sort of song would you like, My Lady?"
While its being decided where the best place is for sitting, Jocelyn waits for the musician to find her spot, so then she would know where to sit too. Once settled in her own seat, skirt arranged around her for the least amount of wrinkles. Looking up at the question, she hmms softly. "Oh, I do not know. Anything you want to play, I will be happy to listen to. Just nothing too sad."
Karel smiles a little as he hears that, moving to seat himself in one of the other benches nearby. Leaning back in his seat as well, as he listens to whatever it is that's going to be played now.
<FS3> Aylene rolls Performance: Good Success.
<FS3> Aylene rolls Singing: Failure.
Nervous fingers begin plucking out a tune at random but it soon develops into a jaunty and upbeat reel. Unfortunately for Aylene, while her nimble fingers fly across the strings with her enthusiasm and delight, her voice somehow cracks halfway through the song, which makes her cheeks flush a dark red. Damn those nerves.
Taking into account the nervous young woman, Jocelyn never allows her smile to faulter. Even when her voice cracks, she doesnt even wince. Tapping her hand against her knee in time with the music playing.
Listening with a bit of a smile, Karel pauses for a few moments as the bard's voice cracks, glancing away for a few moments, then back to the young woman at the moment.
Aylene is quick to bring an end to that particular song, but ends with a particular flourish of her harp. "Oh, do forgive me, Lady Jocelyn. I just got so nervous that I didn't control my breathing properly and it just became an awful mess," she says in a huge rush, barely pausing to control her breathing in this moment.
Clapping her hands when the song comes to a close. Jocelyn smiles as starts shaking her head, "Think nothing of it. You play very beautifully." She glances Karel, "Did she not?" then back to Aylene, "Will you play another now? Do you feel you are less nervous now that you've played one?"
"She did," Karel offers his agreement with Jocelyn now, offering a bit of a smile as well. "And it's only natural to get nervous every now and then," he offers after a few moments.
<FS3> Aylene rolls Performance: Good Success.
<FS3> Aylene rolls Singing: Success.
Aylene sweeps into another song, this one far more sedate. It is a simple love song whose lyrics tell the story of two young lovers who run away together in order to escape their warring families. See! Not sad. There's a happy ending. As the girl's face tilts upwards, her eyes close and she falls completely into her music, the chords hauntingly lovely and echoing through the garden. Her voice is soft and sweet, an angelic soprano that could still use some more training but does speak of a natural gift.
Jocelyn's face takes on a look of soft mushiness at the love song. The music and the lyrics together pushing to her that edge of softness. A soft smile resting gently on her lips, head tilted slightly dream like.
Karel smiles as he looks between the women at the moment, listening to the song rather carefully. His own expression a bit melancholic at the moment, it would seem.
As this one sweeps to a close, Aylene just lets the notes linger and fade away slowly. Her head bows and she waits for a few moments before she smiles. "That one is one of my favorites," she says softly. "I hope that you enjoyed it."
Again, Jocelyn starts to clap. This time its a little more enthusiastic, "Oh, well done Mistress Aylene. That is one of my favorites as well. You played and sang it so beautifully."
Karel shakes his head a little bit to himself as he hears it's the end of the song, as if to clear his head a bit, before he applauds. "Very nice," he offers. "It made me remember a few things from back in the days." Offered with a bit of a smile.
Aylene sets the harp down on the bench next to her. Or so she thought. She misses the edge of the seat just a little and it wobbles and then falls to the ground, thumping into the soft grass. Her lips twist into a frown and even Sphinx lifts his head to eye the instrument.
Looking toward the harp as it wobbles, her body makes the motion to reach for it, but it falls anyways. "Oh." She stands and steps over to the fallen harp, righting it on the bench beside her again. "Careful, you'll not want to break such a lovely instrument."
Karel looks about to move to help with the recovery of the harp, but since Jocelyn seems to have that in order, he remains sitting where he is for the moment. Keeping quiet as he listens to what's being said now.
"Oh, thank you, my Lady," Aylene says, her cheeks flushing. "I am such a klutz at times." She pulls the harp back into her lap, hugging the instrument gently. "It is a cherished gift so I would be remiss if I let it break." Even just holding the harp draws the music out of the girl and as she sits and chatters idly, her fingers make absent songs against the strings, letting them just drift where they will. There is no rhyme or reason, just a love of the music.
Though the idle choice to stroll amongst the grounds surrounding Stonebridge had not meant to bring Faulon here, the sound of music drifts far on a peaceful day, and where music plays, a bard ventures curiously. Not dressed for performance, Faulon wears plain, but clean, clothing of a station not quite so poor as a ragged commoner - yet not nearly as fine as a nobleman. Sturdy boots rustle through the garden copse as he ambles closer, dark eyes roving over the area.
Jocelyn, Karel and Aylene are sitting near each other on stone benches in a large opening of the garden. Music chould have drifted past the garden, as Aylene has just finishes a song and now idly plays random strings of music.
Setting herself right again on her bench, Jocelyn smiles, "I can be to." she confesses. "If I do not constantly watch my steps, if there is a pebble, I will find it and trip over it." That could be true or false just to make the young woman feel a little more at ease. Laughing softly. "Nonetheless, you have a beautiful voice. So very gifted."
Karel smiles as he listens to the music being played at the moment. Looking around the area, he pauses for a few moments as he sees Faulon, studying the man carefully for the moment, but not saying anything yet. But he's watching.
Aylene's fingers halt on the strings for a moment before she starts up again with a bit more direction. "I just love music. It has been the one thing I always loved," she says in a little voice. "More than anything else in the Seven Kingdoms." She sighs.
<Commoner> Kell has connected.
"Music makes the world go round," says Faulon by way of greeting, as he ambles close enough to catch the harpist's words just now. "Or at the least, it keeps things interesting." Then he stops there, near a tree, and leans. His eyes are mostly on the harp between Aylene's hands, but a gaze flicks over to the other listeners in the garden. It's clear he might need to bow and say something proper, soon, but not yet.
The words, or the greeting from the unknown man draws Jocelyn's attention. She looks him over as he leans against the tree. Not saying anything to him just yet, instead she looks to Aylene saying, "It certainly shows that you do. The love you have for it comes through in the music that you play. It makes it enjoyable for all." Then curiosity takes the best of her and she turns her head to Karel to ask, "Do you know that man there?"
Eyes still on Faulon at the moment, Karel studies the man rather carefully now. He doesn't speak to him yet, but pauses at Jocelyn's question, shaking his head a little. "I don't, m'lady," he offers, before looking over to Aylene again, nodding a little bit. "It sure seems like it's the one thing you've loved the most," he offers to her.
At the sound of a stranger's voice suddenly in their midst, the music cuts off abruptly and the girl looks around apprehensively. As if sensing his mistress' unease, the dog laying at her feet sits up, growling a little in warning. The reminder of people with her makes Aylene smile a little and she begins to play again, commenting to Jocelyn. "I very much want to apprentice with a true bard again and continue learning. I had to leave my last Master due to… unforeseen circumstances." And she laughs at her own words. But she might be the only one who thinks it's funny.
If anyone can appreciate a bad pun, it's Faulon. He's still not very close to the young girl and her dog, so his huffing chuckle may have as little impact on her as does the dog's warning growl on him. Arms cross and the bard stays put. "Don't let me interrupt," he advises, gaze again taking the route of studying the faces in attendance to this impromptu show of skill. He falls quiet, observing, and seemingly content to remain an anonymous presence for as long as he can get away with it.
"I can make some inquiries for you, if you'd like." Jocelyn tells Alyene. "I can send word to Lady Anais at the Roost and see about that bard you mentioned earlier." The offer is done sincerely. Though the Lady keeps becoming distracted by the man just off to the distance and then there is the dog that begins to growl. All this leaves her no choice. "Hello." she says toward Faulon. "Who might you be?"
Karel is unable to hold back a momentary grin at Aylene's words about unforseen circumstances, but his expression turns back to normal after a few moments of pause. Looking a bit curiously to Faulon at both Aylene's reaction to the unfamiliar voice, the dog's reaction to that, and Jocelyn's question to the man.
"That would be most kind of you, Lady Jocelyn," Aylene says with a faint smile. "I heard that he was very skilled but I would hate to travel all of the way to the Roost to find that he had already moved on." She frowns a little, concentrating more on her playing to pick up the general mood of the gardens into a cheerful tune.
A hand wiggles out of those crossed arms to pass over Faulon's mouth in a rough scrub; he stifles another chuckle before answering Jocelyn. "Master Dersitt, if it please, m'lady," he takes a guess as he gives her the honor of lady, and stretches a bow out that relieves the tree of his weight. "I believe I have heard of a bard in the area," the man continues, now resumed against the tree, "But I hear he travels between the local inns, and rarely stays in one longer than a week."
A single eyebrow arches at Faulon as he first introduces himself and then offers that tid bit about the bard. Giving Aylene a look before, regarding Faulon again. "Perhaps you could share with us some of this information with us, Master Dersitt. I'm sure Mistress Alyene would welcome it, as well."
Karel smiles as he listens now, not saying much at the moment. But he's keeping his attention on people, just in case.
Aylene perks a bit. "You have heard of this bard?" she asks excitedly. Her gaze is in the direction of Jocelyn and Faulon. "Do you know where he is now? I would very much like to meet him." A wide, dazzling smile lights up her young face.
"You know not his name?" asks the so-named Master Dersitt with exaggerated surprise. "I confess I do not remember it well, myself - most tend to just say 'Bard' and he answers to it." Faulon makes a show of thinking - to those that have sight to see—and continues talking. "I hear there's an inn a day's ride from here that pays him well as he's one of the best they've had visit in years. Of course, there's plenty of such talk now that he's given the gifts of his talents to the Riverlands these past six or so months. It may be hard to locate a man of such renown, considering he must keep moving to continue pleasing all those who wish to hear him." His voice is full of mirth, but perhaps only because they speak of such a happy subject.
"Interesting." Jocelyn regards the man further. She isnt the one overly interested in the subject, that would be Alyene, so she lets the excitement from the news bubble out of her. "You seem to know an awful lot about this person." she says with slight suspicion. "Do you happen to know where he might be located now?" hands fold together and are placed nearly atop her knees.
Karel nods a little bit as he listens for the moment. "Have you seen this Bard for yourself, Master Dersitt?" he offers after a few moments of pause, offering the man a bit of a nod now.
A wail escapes Aylene's lips. Teenagers are prone to the over-dramatic, after all. "I will never find him," she huffs. "It is so unfair. I will be forced to stay as I am forever."
Hugh saunters into the garden, holding a parchment under his arm and eating an apple. He has just taken a huge bite when he sees the other four. At least one, he should bow to, which he does. He continues to chew, swallows and says, "Lady Cousin!" He straightens and turns with a cheerful grin to the other person he knows, "Hey there, Bard! Are you here for my next dance lesson?" He does a little ungainly waltz step and grins at Lady Jocelyn, "I'm ready!" and then when there is the wail, Hugh stops to see what is making that noise. And despite the fact that the wailer is feminine, he manages a look and a nod to Karel. "Have I interrupted something?"
Faulon opens his mouth to speak, but then several things happen. Well, two, really: Aylene wails, and huffs, and all but threatens to blow the house down. And then there's Hugh. The bard's mouth hangs open for a moment longer before it clicks shut in a snap. He looks at Hugh with more than a little exasperation in his pointed gaze, but it gives way to a rich chuckle. "Oh, very little, I believe, Hugh - you may have just solved our great problem. Just /who/ is this masterful bard roving the Riverlands, entrancing the people of every inn he entertains with song and lute, hmm? This fine young woman here is suffering to know." Faulon then strikes a rather dashing pose; it's a pity Aylene can't see it in action.
Jocelyn actually stops and blinks at Aylene as she lets out the wail and dramaticly huffs out her concerns. "I- Well, lets no get too discouraged, now." she says. But when Hugh comes over and greets Faulon, her suspicions are are confirmed. Smiling at Faulon now, even laughing softly. "See? You're knight as arrived." shaking her head, she looks at Hugh. "Good day Hugh, thank you for solving the mystery for us all. I think the /masterful/ bard here would have liked to keep us guessing for some time. As for your lessons, I think we'll have to postpone them for today."
Karel lets out a deep breath as he hears Hugh greet Faulon, and the man's response. "Now, there you have him, Mistress Aylene," he offers to her with a bit of a smile. He then pauses for a few moments as he looks to Hugh. "Lord Hugh. Nothing's interrupted, just a mystery you solved, after all," he offers, with a smile.
The very mention of bard by the newest unknown source makes Aylene jump to her feet. "That was cruel!" she accuses. But unfortunately, she's accusing a bush because Faulon has moved positions enough that the girl is more than a little unsure of where she's supposed to be turned. "To let me go on and on without stopping to tell the truth!" She huffs again indignantly. The poor bush. If looks could kill, it would already be dropping its roses to hide in shame.
Hugh gives Faulon a rather clueless 'what?!' look. His dark eyebrows rise high above his eyes. "What mystery?! And I guess that I can wait. I just though that since we are here with a bard…" He takes another bite and chews his apple, thoughtfully peering at Faulon. Then he turns to Jocelyn, "Have you not heard Master Faulon? He's very good and knows all kinds of songs, not just rude ones." He takes another bite and watches the girl. Who needs a bard, when you have a crazy girl to watch/ Now /that/ is entertainment. Another bite and then he launches the apple core far over the far wall of the rose garden. Not a bad throwing arm.
"Ah yes, the jig is indeed up - I have been found out, and now you see…" But then again… the girl's poorly aimed accusation causes one of Faulon's heavy brows to furrow deeply. Perhaps the girl's embarrassment causes her to avoid his gaze, but there's a look of doubt on the bard's face as he steps closer, looks closer at her face. "Dear girl, take heart; I was only putting the proof in the pudding! It's a bard's business to tell stories - isn't it Hugh?" Yes, let's get the squire in on this more directly. Payback for a perfectly harmless prank torn asunder.
Watching as the young girl gets up and starts yelling and throwing dirty looks at a bush, Jocelyn tilts her head. Something is… just not right about that. She glances at Karel and then at Hugh. Looking for any clues before looking back to Faulon and Alyene. If the idea that the young girl is blind comes to the Lady's mind, it is not spoken outloud for whatever reason. Perhaps not to embarrass the girl. With the mystery solve, Jocelyn slowly comes to her feet. "I think perhaps the need for assistance has dwindled. If you all will excuse me, I need to see to some letters." To the entirety of the group a small shifted curtsy is lowered into. "Good to have met you all." to Hugh she offers a smile, "Tomorrow. Dance lessons." A firm nod given to seal it.
Karel gets to his feet as he sees Aylene's reaction now. Moving over to place a hand on her shoulder, should she and the dog allow it. "Easy, Mistress Aylene," he offers a bit quietly. "I'm sure he didn't mean to be that cruel. It's probably in his blood to tell stories like that." He looks over to Jocelyn as she takes her leave. "Take care, Lady Jocelyn," he offers, before he looks to Hugh. "Dance lessons? Makes me glad I'm not nobility," he comments with a grin to the boy.
Hugh laughs a little, "Well, yes. He has to tell stories, and that reminds me, Lady Jocelyn, I never did tell you that story I had…oh…bye…later, maybe at our next dance lesson." He trails off as she leaves, but nods to Karel, "Yes, there's that…but Ser Jarod says dance lessons will help me improve my swordwork. And it will help me …" he is about to say 'get women.' He wisely stops. But, now there are fewer people, and the girl seems to be the subject of some scrutiny. So Hugh gives her a good 'scrute' as well. "Miss, I don't know you. Do you serve here now?"
Aylene startles yet again as Faulon comes up on her ear. "Y-y-yes," she stutters, flushing a dark red as she tries to regain just a little bit of dignity from looking in the completely wrong direction. She opens her mouth, tries to find a way to brush all of this off, but can't find the right words, instead taking solace in Karel's presence. She can immediately identify the man based on his scent and the sound of his voice as its tone sinks through her. "I-I-I should go," she murmurs. "My harp. Where did I put my harp?"
Faulon's hands hike into the air and fall back to his sides in that way people do when they're fed up, but willing to press on. "Oh, girl, I am /sorry/ for what it's worth, but a man can't pass up opportunities to practice performing when his means depend on it, now can he?" It's a rhetorical question since he laughs at his own dramatics to try and ease the tension. Quickly, he reaches down to scoop up the harp. In another deft move, he positions himself just on the other side of the girl from Karel's post. "Now don't be silly by leaving. Come to the Inn, I owe a drink if I'm any kind of man to make up for a prank ill-received. All of us," he jerks his head at Karel, and gives Hugh another look that's less exasperation and more pleading for the ever-pleasant company the squire provides. "A drink apiece—yes, yes, you too, Hugh, a mug of your favorite ale for saving the girl from my cruelty."
Karel starts looking for the harp, but sees that Faulon has retrieved it for the girl. "What do you say?" he offers to her. "Shall we take him up on his offer?" Looking around for a few moments now, not saying anything until the girl gives her answer.
Aylene nibbles on her lower lip before she slowly nods. "O-o-okay," she says in a little voice. "Sphinx, here," she calls to the dog who gets up and immediately pads over to the girl. "My harp?" she asks, looking around.
Hugh grins, "Ah…I might have time for a quick drink. And if you sing us a song, Master Bard, I'll pay for it. One each a piece all round! But, before we go, she should tell me who she is…I am Lord Hugh Asterholm," he says to her again, for once using his title. Oh yes, he's definitely trying to act cool. "I don't buy ale for girls I don't know. That would be improper." He blows his cool facade, or what there was of it, by glancing at Faulon in a 'how'd-I-do? manner.
The silent response Hugh receives from Faulon is a middling shrug and a nod - an unspoken, 'We'll work on that'. "Mistress Aylene, if I heard correctly, isn't it?" His dark eyes flick between Karel and the girl, but as he's reasonably sure he continues, "I'll trade you, Mistress - harp for hand. Show me the grace of forgiveness by letting me escort you personally to at /least/ two drinks, one of which bought by our very own /Lord/ Hugh Asterholm, over there." He walks a thin line, decency speaking, to inflect Hugh's title with a wealth of humor—but Hugh, at the very least, would know the bard well enough to guess his manner as harmless.
Karel remains where he is for the moment, listening to the others now, offering them all a momentary smile. Otherwise keeping silent right now.
Aylene nods slowly, reaching out to take the harp and tuck it safely into her satchel. Once that is done, one hand takes a hold of the leash for Sphinx while the other awaits Faulon's grip. "Are you truly as good as they say, Master Bard?" she asks curiously. "Or even half as good as you boast yourself?"
Hugh would know that about the bard, but he's missed any special intonation on the word 'Lord.' He seems much more curious about the girl's refusal to tell him who she is. So he steps closer to the girl. "Miss?" he doesn't say it unkindly, but only curiously, "Why won't you tell me your name? are you ill?" He looks over to Karel. "Who is this?"
There's no polite way to bridge the gap between Aylene and Hugh; Faulon's reached his quota of quips and quandry. And words that begin with qu-. He stands where he is, loops his arm with Aylene's, and gives the girl a moment to recollect herself and realign her senses with the voices around her. Which means, of course, that a rare moment of utter silence from the bard commences.
Stepping back a little, Karel offers a bit of a grin to Hugh. "This, Lord Hugh," he begins, speaking loud enough for Aylene to hear his words as well. "Is one of the most amazing little bards I've ever met." Preparing to head over there with the others now.
Aylene tightens her grip on Faulon's arm and her focus goes towards the voice of Hugh, backing up as it seems as though he's getting closer. "I'm not ill!" she says, her voice flashing to anger perhaps a little faster than is strictly necessary. Her voice is heavy with defensiveness. "My name is Aylene. Aylene Sedley."
Hugh stops as she says her name finally to him. He turns his head to Karel as Karel vouches for the girl. "Really? With the harp, you mean?" But then she sounds angry. He makes a face, "Just asking." He seems about to say something, but he closes his mouth again. "Miss Sedley…do you live in STonebridge?"
Faulon cuts a look at Karel when he names Aylene an amazing little bard; a grimace settles briefly on his features while he stands there, waiting for Hugh to have his say out with this Sedley girl. There's a bit of show going on in the waiting: the man's chest fills with a sigh that he lets out long and slow, if silently, and shifts with a simmering impatience from one foot, then to the next. Questions are better asked and answered with a beer in hand, or so any decent people tend to think, but the man will defer a moment longer to the young squire-Lord's inquisition.
Karel offers a bit of a quiet smile to Hugh. "It's fine," he offers to the young nobleman. "Perhaps we should head over to the Inn first now?" Otherwise keeping quiet now.
"Yes, Ser Karel is right," Aylene pipes up. "We do not want to keep the Master Bard waiting," she says, still holding on to Faulon's arm. She waits patiently for someone to start guiding her wherever they're going.
Hugh steps back and shakes his head then give a shrug, "All right, then." He heads back through the garden gates. One girl, three men. The odds aren;t good, and she already has one on each arm. Something seems wrong here!
The motley troupe enter the inn's large common area and immediately Faulon calls out for beer. Please, mercy of the Gods, beer the man. With his arm still ably managing Aylene, he steers them to a spacious table. Politely, Faulon situates himself, with Aylene in tow, within an inch of a chair—so close that his feet bump it and a the leg scrapes loudly against the floor. "As to your question, Mistress Sedley, yes, I am as good as most say. Especially as good as I say."
Karel follows the others, looking around for a few moments now. Nodding to those people in the crowd that he knows, offering some smiles and a few greetings to some of them.
Hugh has loped along beside everyone. "I only knew two other woman bards, and it turned out one wasn't," blurts Hugh. He arranges to have the been put on Riordan's tab.
With the aid of Faulon, Aylene is able to seat herself relatively gracefully. Must come from practice. "I am still learning as a bard," she admits. "I was hoping to find the Master Bard everyone has been talking about and seeing if he would take me on as an apprentice."
Curiosity has yet to provoke Faulon to ask Karel for a name to put to the face, and it seems curiosity will wait a little longer. The bard merely nods at a seat by way of inviting him share the table. Why not. "That's two more, or rather one, if we're being accurate, more women as bards than I have known," comments Faulon to Hugh, with an appraising raise of his brow. "Bards are not crawling across the kingdom as it is, so to find one that is also a women—rare," he sucks air in through his teeth, making a sound much like a septa's tutting. "A pursuit that is very rare indeed, Mistress."
"I haven't met many female Bards either," Karel offers as well. "I actually don't think I have made one so far, with all the travelling I did before swearing to the Naylands," he offers after a few more moments now. Taking a seat with the others, rather quietly.
Hugh nods, "It was when I was a little boy in my father's lands. And old lady who played a lute and sang as she sold vegetables…" He grins, "and the other I guess was just …funny."
Aylene lifts her chin, "I want to be one of the best, no matter what my gender," she says confidently. "I won't let anything hold me back." Not even her lack of sight. Her gaze swings to where she assume Faulon sits. "Teach me, Master Bard. Please. I will work hard, I promise. You can treat me no different than a boy. I won't complete, honest."
Oh, where /is/ that beer? Something about Stonebridge always drives Faulon to drinking. "Ah…" the bard struggles under the preassure of a sweetly pleading, off-kilter innocent. His eyes shoot Hugh and Karel help-me looks, but if the man were using all his wits instead of focusing a good portion of his attention on locating that barmaid who's meant to bring back beer, he might realize that's not the most solid of ideas. "Ah!" is cheerier - the beer's here. He swigs gratefully. He searches for a suitable answer. "I'll do you the kindess first done for me when I asked to learn: find a kinder trade, dear."
Karel pauses for a few moments as he listens now, unable to hold back a smile at Aylene's words. Then looking to Faulon, he raises an eyebrow a bit lightly. "What made you not follow the advice?" he asks, after a few moments.
Liss moves through the inn, padding on bare feet, a large jug of ale balanced on one hip. She dodges outflung chairs and boots and the occasionally groping hand gracefully, and with a cheerful smile on her face as she refills mugs and clears away dirty bowls and plates.
Aylene's nose wrinkles. She contemplates the advice and then when she speaks again, her voice is steady, but low. "Master Faulon, if I did not give up my dream of this trade when I lost my sight, how can you ask me to give it up now?" she asks slowly. "Teach me. Please. I will not give up, and I will never let you down. I swear before the Seven that I will not."
"Stupidity," points a finger of Faulon's at Karel for an answer. Aylene's continual pleas are too much to bear, or beer, and the bard stands. He tries with every ounce of congeniality to respond without offense, his tone of voice overly kind: "Girl, swear nothing - I have not asked you to give up anything, and have not the ability to teach any poor soul, no matter their dreams or plight. You would find that out soon enough, even if I were to agree." There's a gruff edge in his voice, his expression darkens. On a heel, he turns and heads out of the inn - the beer left behind.
"Ah, stupidity. What guides most people, and yet most people end up not that bad," Karel remarks. Drinking his own beer a bit quietly, before he looks to Aylene. "Give him time, and he might change his mind. I think he might be a bit afraid to take up teaching someone. It's a bit like a few knights, really." Offered rather quietly before he looks around the room again, offering a bit of a smile in the direction of the barmaid making her rounds.
Aylene's shoulders droop a little. "I will not give up," she says firmly. "I will not." And she very carefully rises to her feet. The dog at her side immediately rises and she takes a hold of his leash. "Goodnight, Ser Karel. Thank you for your kind words." And Sphinx begins to lead his mistress off to the room she has for the night.
Liss catches the smile and her own brightens and she heads over to your table, and bobs a little curtsy to the departing lady. "More ale, my lord?" she offers Karel, cheerfully.
"Sleep well," Karel offers to Aylene, with a bit of a smile. "And may things seem better in the morning." He pauses a bit as he hears Liss, shaking his head a little bit. "No, I'm good for now, thank you," he offers. "Oh, and I'm no Lord."