Perhaps the heat of the day is not so fierce as it was in the last weeks, for there are more people about in the yard than has been usual since so many of the king’s knights departed. Some are squires, some are gold cloaks, and here and there are knights practicing at arms. Or, in one case, keeping a squire under a watchful eye. Ser Aidan Dayne stands with arms folded, swathes in colorful Dornish robes, as he eyes his squire Danyll practicing his horsemanship upon the Knight of the Twilight’s heavy hunter that he has used in tourneys. The youth has a sure hand, and seems capable ... but not, it seems, good enough to escape criticism.
“You’re raising your heels,” Ser Aidan says as the boy trots past him. “Keep them down and firmly in place. And don’t go slack with your hands!” The latter is said with a certain exasperation, as Danyll scrambles to get a firmer, shorter grip on the reins of the horse as he moves through a rectangular path.
The day finds Lady Obany Darklyn stepping out onto the practice yard, a fan propped in the proper position of grace whilst at least granting a modicum of cooling ability. She steps onto the fringes of the yard, looking about the grounds wistfully for a few moments until her eyes fall on the Dornish knight, his words a bit more sharp to her ears than the normal drawl his people usually adopt. She finds the nearest pavilion manned by servants and has a seat, smoothing out her red gown, which is of modestly light cut and slashed with black on white, and should anyone notice, the sunburn she’d suffered from the tournament before the next sortie into Dorne had faded back to her normal cream complexion. Waving a boy over with a metal pitcher of chilled wine, she has him pour her a cup as she continues to fan herself nigh on futility to focus on Ser Aidan’s training of his squire.
“Better,” Ser Aidan calls after Danyll comes by again, eyes critical as he follows along. “Now, give him a walk for awhile, and mind your seat.” The trot shifts neatly to a walk, much as commanded, and Danyll minds his seat ... for a little while, in any case. Ser Aidan’s attention wanders for a moment, and sees the lady sheltering herself from the sun. He offers a half bow, and calls, “Good day, my lady! A fine day, with less bite to it, I think.” But then, he’s Dornish, bred to the desert, and this must feel quite pleasant by way of comparison.
Being of Duskendale, and not one to stray far from the numerous water sources there are there, the lady would not seem to feel the same way. However, she offers a smile happily, waving her fan towards him, “Good day, ser. I daresay the day has been restored it’s bite courtesy of your ministrations upon the boy!” Taking a drink from her cup, Obany continues, “How long have you both been at it in this fine, pleasant weather?”
“Since the noon prayers,” says Ser Aidan, wandering nearer to the lady while occasionally watching the Toland youth put the horse through its paces. So far, he’s earned no more criticsm from his master. “Not so much longer, however.” His gaze shifts back to the boy, following for a few more beats, and then he calls, “And now trot again!”
As Danyll obeys, Aidan turns back to ask, “How goes your writing, my lady? Or did you finish what you were working upon?”
“I find myself requiring a bit of a lapse in writing, otherwise I’ll have a lapse in sanity,” Obany says with something of a half-smirk, “I’ve reached a point that it becomes difficult to distinguish whether it would be better as song or simple spoken verse. I would consult with one of the bards and singers wandering about the city, but I’ve not felt the need to suffer their stares and blithering for favors.” She lets out a breath, picking up the pace with her fan to cool her neck and shoulders, “Being sequestered in my apartments can yield only so much before growing stale. I may go out for a ride, should this fine weather become a bit finer.”
“A ride outside the city? Along the river, mayhaps…” Ser Aidan says, and it’s clear he’s musing wistfully for a moment, before he smiles a wry smile. “Or mayhaps the kingswood. It would be shady, at least, once you cross the river.” His attention is diverted by something—Danyll, of course, and the smile turns into a frown. “Your heels, Danyll!” he shouts in his direction, “and keep your shoulders back!” The boy complies, his mouth working—perhaps a youthful oath, or perhaps in silent apology.
Laughing politely into her free hand, Obany considers his suggestions for a few moments. “The river would be excellent, actually. I’ve not seen a natural bit of water aside from what ends up in the bath since I’ve arrived. A terrible thing in my opinion.” She glances around the yard, quite devoid of Darklyns, Crakehalls, or anyone else that may be closely related to her, “However, I see no one to have a ride with. Would not be proper to traipse about the outlying wilderness with nought but a servant or two, mayhaps. I suppose a few of the guard, though that’s not quite what I imagine as a relaxing ride, surrounded by strangers clattering in mail.”
“I would be most honored if I could join you,” says the Dornish knight, perhaps offering the company Obany wishes with a distinct gallantry .... But then, “But I don’t know as Prince Viserys has freed me to go beyond the city walls. It’s only lately I was allowed liberty of the city once more.” Ser Aidan shakes his head, long dark locks swaying at the motion, and then lifting a hand to his mouth he calls out to Danyll, “Reverse!” The youth’s certainly quite capable, and with a moment’s pause in his posting mid-trot, he changes the horse’s leading leg and subsequently turns his course around to go the opposite direction. “Well done!” calls Aidan, and for a moment Danyll beams before focusing again on posture, hands, heels, and all else.
“Of course,” Ser Aidan says thoughtfully, “I suppose I could ask. Or have Prince Cadan ask… If, that is, you would not mind the company of myself, or the guardsmen that must escort me?” And then, he thinks of saying something else, that’s clear enough, but he holds his tongue.
Seeming to make no notice of the unspoken word, or at the very least passing over it, Lady Obany smiles earnestly, “That would be wonderful, if it is granted. I’ve not left the keep since the tourney, all things told, and I would not be surrounded by complete strangers.” She takes another drink of the chilled wine, though it’s quickly warming, whilst she watches Ser Aidan’s charge for a few moments curiously. “Surely, I could do well to know you a bit better myself, as I know only what I have seen and heard during the chance times we’ve met, and of course the smatterings of rumor that may or may not hold truth.” Her pale, nearly colorless blue eyes flick over to him over the rim of her goblet as she finishes off the wine to have it refilled.
A warm day, but not so hot as in previous weeks, see’s the yard under greater use—though largely by guards and squires, with so few knights left at court. A Dornish youth practices his horsemanship in the yard, riding square patterns on a heavy hunter while his master, Ser Aidan Dayne, occasionally comments. At other times, though, Ser Aidan’s in conversation with Obany, hiding from the sun within the shade of a pavillion.
“You are gracious to say so,” says Ser Aidan, smiling a white smile, taking his eyes away from Danyll for a few moments. He considers the wine she’s drinking, and asks for a drink from the servant as well. The man gives him a surly look—barely concealed—and thrusts a goblet at him. Aidan takes it ... graciously, as if it was all properly done.
“I shall certainly ask,” says the Dornish knight after a swallow. “Prince Viserys has been most understanding. I had thought perhaps we might invite others to join us, if we were to ride outside the walls.”
Raynard enters the yard from the north. He’s dressed in a light linen shirt and woolen breeches. His customary bastard sword adorns his hip in place of the dirks that were there just a few days ago. His appearenced while tousled is better than when Aidan had seen him last. He is clean-shaven and his hair is no wild mess, but rather it is cut back to its usual length.
A look of pure venom barely concealed by another posture of drinking from her cup directed towards the servant masks Obany’s features for just a few seconds, long enough for the servant to notice. Her eyes shift quickly back to Ser Aidan, “I would be delighted. A bit of road dust never hurt anyone.” She laughs in a lady’s fashion, mouth covered with her hand lightly. The color of Ser Raynard’s shift catches her eye, and she glances past Aidan, commenting quietly, “Who is that…? I’ve not seen him around the Keep. Have I been cooped up that long?” Her lips curve into a self-deprecating smirk as she looks back to Ser Aidan.
A sip of wine, as Ser Aidan watches his squire continue to put the horse through its paces. At one point he calls to him, “Good, cousin! Keep the reins firmly, as you’re doing!” It’s then that Raynard enters the yard, coming closer, and Obany points him out. The famous knight looks his way a moment and then ... well, his expression is fixed. “That is Ser Raynard Locke, my lady,” the knight tells her. “Only lately returned from ... from ... Elsewhere. He is a northman.” Another sip at his goblet, another glance to his squire, and then…
“Ser Raynard!” he calls, “Good day to you, ser. Come join us, there’s wine and shade and company to be had.”
Raynard rolls his shoulders and nods to the Dornishman. “Good day to you as well Ser Aidan.” An easy grin is on his face, and he appears to be more relaxed for the time being. As he approaches, he notes the lady’s presence, and inclines his head to her. “Good day to you as well milady. I don’t believe we’ve met.”
Fanning herself in her modest gown of Darklyn red slashed with black and white, her hair bound up off of her neck with a few pieces artfully slipping away, the lady smiles politely, “We have not, Ser Raynard. I am Obany Darklyn. Please, you are welcome to our wine.” She glances to the servant pointedly, who jumps into action like a well-oiled cinderblock. “From whence have you returned, ser? I apologize for being a bit behind on the local news, I’ve seen to staining my fingers with ink and straining my eyes for the sake of my own despicable pleasures.” Obany is well known for her wry way of speaking, as it shines through here in prime example.
Aidan sips his wine, and after a glance between Obany and Raynard, turns his attention back to his squire. “Slow to a walk, Danyll, and after he seems recovered you can see to stabling him,” he calls.
The northern knight merely shrugs his shoulders. “I was dealing with a personal matter, and regrettably it required me to disappear as it were. As for returning, all i can say to that is that its good to be back in my own bed for now.”
Perhaps the brief explanation leads Aidan’s manner to loosen a little, as he offers a flash of a smile towards Raynard. Still, there’s a moment’s hesitation before he asks, “Are you satisfied with how things progress now, ser?”
The lady nods, glancing between the two knights arrayed in front of her for a few moments. “I can understand the sentiment, ser. I do miss my bed in Duskendale, though my apartments here do suffice. Despite the harrowing travails of waking up each morning to the kitchen.” She gives a clever little smile, “Be that as it may, it does seem that you’ve survived your quest physically intact, at least as far as I can see.” Looking to Aidan, she waits patiently for the two to finish their discourse, sipping her wine.
Raynard nods his head. “Aye, thanks to The Seven for that. A couple of bruises, but otherwise unscathed.” He turns to Aidan then. “It’s well enough that I can rest at night.”
“Ser Raynard leads a charmed existence,” says Aidan, and still there’s a curious look to him as he considers the other man. Yet something moves him to say, “We were discussing a trip outside the city, ser. Assuming I have permission to go past the city walls, that is—I intend to ask. Lady Obany has felt quite constrained within the Red Keep.” A swallow of wine more, a pause in his discourse, and he then offers the half-empty goblet to a servant as his squire dismounts from his horse and begins to lead it away. “Perhaps something you could join us for, if you are not otherwise engaged.”
Standing and smoothing out her gown’s skirt, Obany hands off her goblet to the servant. “Sounds to be an excellent plan to me, however I must be off to change into something a bit more suitable to ride in. Red, white, black, and dirt aren’t quite the colors I’d like to represent for my house,” She smiles, “Please, send word of the prince’s decision to my apartments, Ser Aidan. Should you feel so inclined, Ser Raynard, meet in the stableyard in an hour’s time, I’d say.”
“As you say, my lady,” Ser Aidan says, with a bow. “In an hour then, I pray.” And with that, the Dornishman moves to join his squire, leading his horse away to the stable as they talk about his riding, and perhaps about the chance at a trip outside the high walls of the city.