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From the stableyard comes a fully armored and chain-swathed Bryce Caron, and if he looked sturdy and heavy before, it’s nothing compared to the rather brutal plate and chain he wears now. Heavy gauntlets, thick leather swordbelt that is clasped with a steel buckle, yellow and black surcoat with the songbirds of House Caron, brown gambeson. He carries his helm in his left hand, a rather plain full helm, and in his right hand, he carries a pair of armored boots that usually accompany his armor, but he seems to have switched into his normal boots for the walk. He looks older, more rugged and alot stronger and heavier than his usual garb in discreet doublet and breeches.
There is the sound of clopping hooves across cobblestones, and thereafter the looming presence of a black beast of a horse. Atop his back is quaintly a delicate creature, who looks barely able to climb upon the beast, let alone direct his course.
A groom in Baratheon gold and sable accompanies her, standing well back on his smaller courser as Elanna Penrose draws her mount to a pause. She turns in her saddle.
“I like this new saddle. I feel much more secure. I shall send for Master Lake and thank him. It was most kind,” her voice is airy and pleasant in this late afternoon, and she draws aside the veil that mists her features to observe the yard. It is with a quirked brow she notes the presence of the Caron knight.
Bryce stops to give her a bow, followed by clanking of steel and the typical tch-tch of chain mail against chain mail. “My lady Elanna,” he says, raising a gauntleted hand to try to wipe off some sweat from his brow with the plate bits, not succeeding very well. “Enjoyed your ride? I thought I saw you when I came in with Frost.”
“It was pleasant, as always,” Elanna nods her acknowledgement, “And you, Ser Bryce, was your own…exercise sufficient?” Nightmare eyes Bryce’s hand with interest as he waved it around, wiping the sweat.
Bryce offers a mildly suspicious look to the huge beast in front of him, but shrugs it off. On his forehead, several droplets of sweat run down and makes the Caron knight blink as they make it past the eyebrows. Even if it isn’t completely apparent, the exhaustion in his eyes and his appearance tells of some enormous heat beneath all that armor. “It was sufficient,” he says, frowning slightly as he tries to wipe away some more sweat and failing yet again. He looks up at her with a thoughtful gaze. “I shall not wish to keep you, if you were headed to the stables now”, he finally says.
“I was,” Elanna continues dryly, “You appear as though you could quite do with a dunking in the bay yourself. Has those weeks about ship caused fitness to suffer, Ser, or is it all that equipment you have on? Perhaps I should advise my brother to attend to his own.”
Bryce nods. “A month on that ship was not good for me or Frost, and it seems that the sickness on board has weakened me,” he frowns at that, shrugging lightly. “I expect it to be back shortly, but for now, the riding does me well.” He tilts his head. “Your brother to attend his own.. mount? Or armor.”
“His fitness, ser,” Elanna answers, with a quirk of amusement upon her lips, “You suffered from movement sickness. A most unfortunate circumstance! It must make any journey of such length a misery indeed. Fortunate are those with cast iron stomachs.” Nightmare took a pace or two toward the knight, the yellow tunic seeming to catch his interest.
Elanna twitches the reins, “Now, Nightmare, play nice.”
“I see,” Bryce says, inclining his head and quickly taking two steps back, resulting in a few more sounds emanating from his armor. It’s well fit to his body, however, so it isn’t bad at all. Pretending that nothing happened, he nods again. “I suffered for over a week, and then the weakness had me in bed for another.” A scowl at the memory, and another attempt to wipe some sweat away that finally results in him, angry and frustrated at the silly gauntlets, unfastening it and tossing it aside so he can finally run a naked hand across his forehead and through his hair to keep it back.
“Well, now at least you have the chance to grow your strength and learn about Nightsong, and what it is to be a Stormlord,” Elanna rests her gaze easily upon the man, “I know you heard what I said to my kinsman, Ser Tancred the other day. Did you agree with him?” She quirks a brow.
“I tried not to listen,” Bryce admits with a nod, looking back at her as he considers her question. “I find it impolite to intrude in the matters of others like that, but I saw merit in both your words and Ser Tancred’s.” He pauses to chew some on his lower lip. “I have, however, always held duty in the highest regard, and duty to your House and your father..” He frowns and adds: “Or grand father, as some have it..” Another brief pause, then he is back on track: “Shall always come first.”
“If I had not minded my words to be heard, I should have taken Tancred off privately. But you are Stormborn and might do well to regard them. I care not what any say, but no teenager is wholly ready to assume leadership without first being aware of who his supporters are.” She pauses for a moment.
“That is how it should be, ser, your duty comes first. Duty to crown, duty to house, duty to your head of house…duty to family. Some make up their own minds as to which order they set those in.”
“A supporter only goes as far as his honor, my lady. I would not want to be supported by the sorts who would drag my name through the dirt by offering their support, yet even I have learnt that the Crown needs said individuals.., and that some Houses have taken the role of recruiting along those principles,” he offers with something that sounds more like a mutter than well articulated speech, at least the last parts. “But you are of course right, I have also learnt to include ‘duty to my elders’, at least when it comes to Stormlanders, in that list.”
Elanna frowns slightly, “Which supporters do you speak of, Ser? I confess curiosity.” Nightmare shifts boredly on his feet, but Elanna taps his flank with the loose end of a rein. He tosses his head grumpily.
A set jaw and a slight frown comes the reply, and the Stormlander knight doesn’t reply at first. After a few moments, he wipes some sweat away with his bare hand and leans down to pick up the gauntled. He still doesn’t say anything, but finally he offers: “The obvious ones, I do not wish to darken our meeting by uttering the sort of men I speak of.”
Elanna sighs, “Ser Bryce, I am no chaste maid to be protected. I never ask a question I would not care to hear the answer to. Is the the Ironman’s company you speak of? Is it he that offends? Or are there others closer to home that you are wary of?”
Bryce shrugs lightly. “His kind. I would not want to be the person to associate with them to win their support, yet they are needed. And you could not know of what I meant, sometimes a question is asked where the answer is both unexpected and unwanted,” he carefully says while inclining his head in respect.
“Perhaps,” Elanna replies enigmatically, she leans forward in her saddle, “Tell me, Ser Bryce, have you spent much time with the Iron Serpent? Or his kind?” She tilts her head queryingly.
“We spent time on the ship together, and I have spent time with many others like him in the war. It could not be avoided.” Bryce admits a bit grudgingly, glancing at her to see whatever she might want of him now.
But Elanna just nods thoughtfully, “Lessons can be learned in unexpected places, Knight of the Stormlands. Remember this.” She gives him a small smile.
“Be not so proud that those who seem beneath you become beneath your notice also,” her words are gentle, “Your pardon now, as I go to the stables. Nightmare does not do well standing so long and still.” She nods her head by way of farewell.
-Bryce- does not do well, standing so long and still in the unrelenting heat. He hurries to bow and offer a “I shall remember that, be well my lady,” to the mounted lady before he quickly walks away in his full armor, towards the Kitchen Keep and the south to finally be rid of the armor.
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