Overcast and chilly, the godswood is not as populated as it has been in more recent days. Still, there is sign of life. Not just life, but joviality. The sound of children giggling fills the air and once one meanders along one of the stone paths the source is found. Five children, two girls and three boys, surround a tall woman clad in deep green. Platinum hair is drawn back and plaited with a blindfold wrapped about her eyes. Aurana stumbles about, kicking up the colored leaves, hands stretched out in front of her as the children laugh and dodge. Nearby, Davi sits and whittles, chuckling and shaking his head at his charge.
The great trees of the Godswood are not wont to the image a goodly number of knights, least among which the Presters. But the vibrant scarlet mingles with the autumn oranges today, blemished only by the lack of heavy sunlight, as eventual heir to this House makes his way through the wood. The laughter hits him first, and he is brought out of his trance after a few moments as he realizes that he is not alone. The lordling carefully picks out his way among the trees to the source of such laughter, and has to contain his own at the sight before him. He tries to remain quiet, however, as he creeps up…giving Davi a flash of a grin, and a finger pressed in front of his lips to request that the guard not spoil the fun…
Aurana stamps her foot impatiently as, yet again, a child slips by her fingers. “Oh now this isn’t fair!” she protests goodnaturedly, her arms closing in on empty air. The kids tease and dodge in and out of her reach daringly.
Davi gives Farin a nod of greeting but remains where he is, continuing to whittle while both men watch the unladylike antics of their lady.
One little boy gets just a bit too close and Aurana manages to latch on, hugging the boy close to her as she gives a laugh of triumph. When he struggles to get free, she refuses to release him, holding him and laughing.
“Lemme go!” he shouts between giggles. “Help!”
And that’s all that’s needed to send the other four children racing in to attack and help free their friend. Aurana shrieks and laughs as she is knocked down and piled upon. No one hits or kicks. It’s more of a tackle/hug fest and Davi seems unconcerned as his charge is sent toppling into the leaves.
This, of course, breaks the spell of silence that Farin intended to cast over himself. He lets out a great whooping laugh…one that is strange to hear the Prester knight make, his voice usually very punctuated and cutting, but the laugh is undoubtedly his own. “They seek righteous vengeance for all the cats you have slain, my lady,” Farin calls out after his outburst.
Between the tackling, the need to tear off the blindfold at the sound of Farin’s laugh, and the rolling about in the leaves, her hair is a bit worse for wear. She struggles to sit up, taking off the blindfold to look the direction of the laugh. The children shove her back down. Laughing, she nudges at them. “Alright… I surrender… let me up… I must speak with Ser Farin,” she chuckles. Blue eyes find the knight as fair wisps of hair blow wildly about her face. “Ser Farin,” she manages a bit breathlessly, her cheeks and nose a bit red from the cool crisp air.
The sharp edges of Farin’s features are a bit reddened themselves, as it seems whatever resistance to the cold the man had had growing up on the tiny sea enclosed peninsula has long since left him. He purses his lips in that mocking smile he’s so famous for, his arms crossed behind his back, as he comes to stand over the sitting woman. “Quite the brood you have managed, Lady Aurana,” he intones quietly, his tone sarcastic enough to let her know that he knows they’re not hers. His smile cracks, a grin forms, and he offers a hand down to help the lady to her feet.
The children move off, the boy that was captured now donning the blindfold. “Too many for me to control,” the lady confesses with a grin of her own. The hand is offered and she accepts it, letting the knight bring her to her feet. More strands fall free to tickle at her cheeks. “I did not expect to be so spied upon. Have you nothing better to do with your time, Ser Farin?” she teases warmly, hands dusting at her skirts to send leaves skittering.
Farin dons a cocky, boyish smirk, and lets his gaze flit through the trees as soon as her attention is back on him. Prior to that, of course, he’s having a good enough time watching her brush herself off. “But I am doing something vitally important, my Lady. My tactical knowledge is much more geared towards the fields and seas; and as it now falls to me to guard a wood, I thought it might better serve the realm if I had a better understanding of the terrain I am to control.”
“I trust then that this was a valuable lesson for you?” she teases with a rueful grin. A hand lifts waving away the annoying wisps. “When will your first foray into the Kingswood come?” Aurana asks, smoothing her skirts as she makes her way to a suitable rock to sit upon.
“That is very dependent on Ser Luthor,” Farin replies amiably, giving a light shrug to accompany it. She’s also treated to a light smirk from her teasing, and he tosses back “Oh, very much so. Thank the seven that the Kingswood does not have the same Children that inhabit these woods, or they might easily overthrow even our best knights,” he says grimly.,
“I was rather thinking that the lesson was never to go into battle blind?” she returns, a brow arching as she settles down. Looking up at the knight, she continues to smile. “How fares Urron?” Aurana inquires, swatting at her hair once more.
The Prester knight scoffs at this notion. “That, of course, is the /first/ rule of tactics,” he says, as if to say “No new lesson here.” He adds instead, “The second through the ninetieth are all about how to make sure your opponent /is/ blind.” He smooths out his doublet in the meantime, attempting to appear more stately, or at least more knowledgeable as he says it. A deeper smile crosses his face when he hears of Urron, though. “Oh, still learning his lessons the hard way. It is a pity you were not thee to rescue him from his own mouth. Ser Ethos nearly brutalized the lad.”
“I am only one woman,” Aurana bemoans wryly with regard to Urron. “And Ethos does have a temper. I almost feel sorry for Urron…” The hair is really starting to irritate. Her face goes crimson, her expression apologetic as she reaches up. She removes the comb from her hair and places it in her lap before beginning the chore of unplaiting the mess. “Please forgive me…” she murmurs. “Do go on? What did happen?”
“Forgiven,” Farin offers down to her, as though it were truly in question. His smile is only on the fringe now; it would be improper to take mirth from the struggles of a lady, but there it is, and he quite enjoys himself the spectacle. However, to return the favor, he indulges her. “Oh, Ser Ethos made the mistake of calling the lad a squire. Urron countered saying that he was no more a squire than Ser Ethos is a knight. Terrible tragedy, really, or it would have been, had I allowed Ser Ethos to cut Urron’s hair off.”
She draws the braid over her shoulder and lets her fingers pull at the thick ropes of hair as she listens. Her eyes close and she shakes her head at the news. “Sadly, Ethos has a tendency to forget his knightly vows rather frequently,” she confesses. “We all have our faults though. I suppose I should check in on the lad, then. Mayhap cheer him with some of Margred’s sweets….” The de-plaiting is done and she brushes through her hair with her fingers, the platinum tress falling free and to her waist. She looks up at him for a moment like that before sighing and starting the process in reverse.
A shiver runs up Farin’s spine as looks down at the ravenously beautiful woman, sitting before him, hair down, looking up at him. He tries not to let it show; ignoring it completely, though shudders like that are difficult to conceal from others. “Perhaps,” he concedes, as soon as she looks away to begin putting her hair back up again. “He might like that. You must forgive /me/, though, my Lady…I am still not quite used to taking his likes into account. Ser Landyll rarely took in mine.”
Her fingers are quick with their work, separating the locks into three ropes and then forming one massive braid. Her blush has deepened somewhat, perhaps noting the shiver of the man. “There is nothing to forgive, Ser Farin. And Ser Landyll did treat you as a squire. As Urron pointed out to Ser Ethos, he is not a squire but a charge. One set to you to build and reaffirm the alliance of your family and the Greyjoys. Taking his likes into account will not make you seem weaker to the boy but will surely make him more willing to listen to what you have to say…”
Farin smiles ruefully at this last. “That is undoubtedly true. I am torn, though, you see. The more I treat Urron as a Westerosi, the more he hates it, and the more likely he is to retain his heritage…which will do him well, when he returns. Softening the boy might spell his eventual doom should we send him back to Pyke as such. Then again, this may be precisely the /intent/. Urron is the only other male that the current Lord has produced. Should Urron’s elder half brother’s line fail, he will rule Pyke. I am almost certain that they /wish/ him weaker, that he does not attempt to usurp his elder’s rule…” The knight, lost in thought again, looks away. “It is difficult to tell who wants what, however.”
Looping the braid about several times, she fastens it into place with her comb. It isn’t the most perfect do ever but it’s better than it was and will suffice for now. Proper once again, Aurana purses her lips as she considers his dilemma. “Well… then you must do right by him,” she decides. “If he never comes into power on Pyke then there is little to be done. If he does, then he will think of you fondly. Either way, you will serve yourself by treating him with respect and working with him somewhat. I will help as I can should you wish.” Grinning a bit wryly, she tilts her head and admits, “There is little for a lady to do here so… It is no bother for me.”
Farin catches the last, and a conspiratorial smile crosses his lips. “Little to do? So you shall not be taking the job for my Company then? More’s the pity…” he says, eyes casting back down at her again. “You may have the right of it though, Lady Aurana,” he adds, crossing his arms. “Though I do not wish him to come to power on Pyke. It will be his death, and they will blame us for it. Rather let him be seen as too soft, and given command of something less relevant.”
Aurana chooses not to answer, simply smiling in return as her hands smooth over her skirts. “See? Already you do think of his welfare,” she murmurs. “He is more fortunate than he knows for such a guardian,” she offers, her blue eyes darting to where the children have wandered off to begin a game of hide and seek.
“Aye, more fortunate in /many/ ways,” the Prester lordling adds. “Imagine what life may have been like had he not met the good Lady Catsbane.” He smiles faintly at this, looking down at her from over his crossed arms again, and then follows her gaze to the children. “You were hired by a different company of sellswords, I see. I warn you, though, we can pay much better.”
She smiles at the compliment, inclining her head in acceptance. A laugh escapes and the woman shakes her head. “I am not being paid, Ser Farin. I enjoy spending time with them. They are the children of some of the servants… Just as I seek no payment for my time with Urron.”
“Of the /servants/?” Farin asks, his tone colored more by surprise than incredulity. “They…” he begins, as though he is about to say something particularly cutting, but apparently decides to withhold it. “...are as fortunate as Urron, then, and in the same ways.”
The lady rises to her feet, chuckling softly at his response. “Oh come, Ser Farin. The children of proper lords and ladies are not allowed so much fun. But you are most kind to say so and I thank you. Though, truly, let us not praise too highly. After all, it is my boredom that does benefit them more than anything.” This from the woman that requested he give money to an orphanage within the city.
“Just as boredom is the cause for your extortive hold on my coin purse?” Farin asks, the conspiratorial grin finding its way back on. He turns to her now, as if her standing is an indication that she may wish to go somewhere, and his turning is a silent offer of accompaniment.
Davi rises to give the pair proper supervision. The lady turns her steps towards the direction of the the keep. Again she laughs, having the grace to blush as he calls her out. “Surely you do not hold that against me, Ser Farin… Besides, my extortive hold, as you call it, adds to your image. Not only are you the brave and bold Ser Farin, but you are the generous and compassionate Ser Farin as well.”
“Indeed, but how many acts may I commit that leaves the court wondering what my motives are before they simply declare me mad?” he asks as they walk, chuckling under his breath. “So you see, some day I might just have to admit that a certain lady is tugging my strings, and then where will the gossip go?” he continues, giving her a sly sidelong glance.
“What does it matter if they think you mad so long as they think you the best of knights and lords?” she returns evenly. Her cheeks flush as he speaks of her tugging his strings. “Who would think ill of you for saying that the Mother does guide your hand?”
Farin lets out a short laugh at that. “Anyone who is afraid of piety for piety’s sake, of course, and there are plenty of those in court. No, better to say it is a woman, and when /asked/, suggest that it is the Mother. That will give them to impression of piety, while keeping them ever so curious as to the Lady in the Shadows…”
Aurana inclines her head, accepting his own spin on it as the wiser one. They draw closer to the yard and she tilts her head to look up at him. “I am afeared that I must beg your forgiveness, Ser Farin. We must part company. I am expected elsewhere very soon and must certainly see to my appearance before I go. I do hope that we will run into one another again and soon?”
Farin’s eyes flit this way and that over her figure and what she wears over it, taking in everything about her “appearance”. “Say what you will, Lady Aurana, but for leaves, your appearance is already well tended to.” He gives a somewhat reluctant, somewhat bitter smile then. “Though as a Lady wishes…be off with you, then. Know that I share your hope.”
Another blush colors her pale skin at the compliment. The lady offers a curtsy in return, dipping her head once again. “You are too kind by far, Ser Farin,” she murmurs, a pleased smile curving her lips. Blue eyes lift to his at his last and she gives a final nod. “The Seven guide your path, Ser Farin,” the lady offers before she and Davi leave him. The latter gives Farin a weighing and knowing look as they depart.
All Farin gives to Davi in response is a look that is almost blank: a glance of acknowledgment. He seems not to care that Davi “knows”, and, in fact, goes so far as to quirk an eyebrow at the last moment, as if to say, “Well, there it is. Are you going to hinder it?” But, it is just body language, and all of that is up for interpretation.