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Sites of Interest
Cultural Exchange
IC Date: Day 4 of Month 3, 158 AC.
RL Date: December 03, 2006.
Participants: Aidan Dayne, called the Knight of the Twilight, Aisling Ryswell, Bryce Caron, Dagur Saltcliffe, called the Iron Serpent, Dale Marbrand, Doran Dondarrion, called Blackbolt, Irena Marbrand, Jaesin Lannister, Jonn Lannister, Kerona Locke, Reyna Rowan, Sarya Baratheon and Sherion Darklyn.
Locations: Red Keep: Western Outer Yard

Summary: Despite a light but persistent rain, the quintain in the outer yard becomes a gathering place one late morning. Some show off their skill at jousting, and others engage in more or less peculiar discussions. Such as comparisons between the inhabitants of the various kingdoms.

The third of Ser Jaesin’s squires—the dark-haired scowler, of the pair caring for Lannister’s warhorse at the end of the lists—is distratced by the arrival of Ser Jonn and his squire of House Swyft. His companion, though, calls after Sarya Baratheon.

“You’d best stay off the lists, girl,” the squire cries. “That’s no place for girls!”

A day for idling ladies. One has slipped into a set of crude stands near the quintains, but far enough back for safety. Reyna Rowan is a flash of green against the dusty lists as she shades her eyes with a hand and looks toward the shouting.

Either unknowing of the younger lads’—his pages, more accurately—encounter with little Lady Sarya, Ser Jaesin continues to instruct young Alaric Lantell by the quintain.

“You dare not strike too low, nor too high,” the Lannister knight teaches his eldest squire. Before the lad’s eyes, the knight strikes the shield’s lower triangle a solid blow with his mail-clad fist.

The sound of splintering wood reverberates across the yard—but the faux-chevalier remains mockingly unharmed.

“You see, that will get you nothing but a bruised rump, against a foe of any skill,” Jaesin says….

But now young Alaric seems distracted, his gaze torn unwilling away from the quintain. “Ser, your lord brother,” he pipes up—

And Ser Jaesin turns to follow the lad’s eyes. He takes in the sight of an emerald lady, a small girl half-way down the path of the lists—and his brother, Ser Jonn, with the Swyft boy.

Idling hostages, too, seem to find their way into the vicinity of the yard. In robes of lavender, turqouise, and yellow, Ser Aidan Dayne makes his purposeful way from the southern portion of the castle unaccompanied, although the watchmen that he occasionally passes stare at him as if expecting him to do something drastic. He slows as he comes near enough to make note of who’s present. A glance towards the stands, and after a hesitation he moves towards them.

Jumping at the yell the girl shrinks back and looks over her shoulder blushing furiously. She hadn’t entered the lists was just getting closer so she could hear. Her septa snorts and is ready to give the young boy (well hell all the people here are younger then that old crone) a tongue lashing but Sarya raises a hand and says, “Worry not about it. He is correct the Lists are no place for me.” She turns to look the the squire and says softly, “I thank you for the warning, but I’m not such a lackwit to be going in there.” Her attention is once more turned to the action going on.

Jonn approaches with the Swyft tailing behind him, the lad attempting to at the same time hide behind his knight and steal a look up at the stands at the ladies seated there. Jonn swings a lazy cuff at the boy’s head, which is ducked easily enough.

Then he raises his voice: “Damn you, Alaric! It doesn’t work if he sees me.”

The scowling squire mutters to his compatriot, as they return to busying themselves with Ser Jaesin’s idle warhorse—who is snorting impatiently, as it happens—“She probably names her horses, too.”

The other boy whispers something back, and the first one flushes an uncomfortable red, stealing a worried glance over his shoulder at Sarya.

Reyna lounges back against the bench behind her, laziness in every laconic movement she makes. She catches sight of Aidan from the corner of her eye, and leaves off watching Sarya. “Ser Aidan!” she calls, beckoning him closer. “Tell me,” she continues, lowering her voice to conversational tones, “should I rescue my dear friends little niece from her septa?” She waves a languid hand in Sarya’s direction.

Young Alaric glances up to his own knight, at the sound of Ser Jonn’s teasing words.

Jaesin Lannister smiles down at the teenager, who relaxes visibly; then he moves to lift his halfhelm from his head. Laughing, Lord Loren’s eldest shakes free a mop of sweat-darkened golden hair, and hands the helm off to his squire. “Alaric, take charge of the lads and take the white charger back to stables. See he is rubbed down, fed, and watered.”

“Yes, Ser,” says the squire, scuttling off to obey.

Now Ser Jaesin turns his full attention to Ser Jonn, and walks toward him across the lists. “Good morning, brother,” he calls.

“Of course, Lady Reyna, if the young lady is in need of rescuing,” is Aidan’s quick reply, though it’s voiced rather dubiously as he turns purple-hued eyes towards the indicated maiden. There is no recognition in his face, as he mounts the stands and turns to seat himself upon a bench. With practiced hands, he lifts the flowing length of his robes up so that they array themselves decorously. “I had hoped to see some of the chivalry at practice,” he says towards Reyna, offering a smile, “but seeing squires and pages in training is often more amusing.”

The young Baratheon lifts her hands to remove her hood, those dark raven locks slipping down her back now, getting only a mist on it from the rain, her bright blue eyes turn to look at the boy, who had called her a mere girl earlier, she shakes her head and then turns to the stands and makes her way over to them. Pulling her cloak around her just a little more she takes a seat and watches the practices going on, saying nothing to anyone, merely folding her hands in her lap, keeping her attention on everything.

“Well, we may see more than japing squires and stuttering pages,” Reyna says, indicating the two golden heads approaching one another. “Here we have two young lions, the same sire but entirely different hues of gold. The one as chivalrous as any Knight of the Reach and the other… decidedly not. Good day, Sarya.” she adds at the last.

And so, carrying out his knight’s orders to the letter, young Alaric Lantell reaches his even younger companions, and quickly assumes the leader’s role. “Come on, you layabouts! Quit mooning over that pretty girl and get the charger back to the stables! She’s too old for the likes of you, anyway, and promised to some mighty lordling who’ll tan your hides for watching her, like as not!”

Chastened, the two lads jump to obey their overseer, and together the three of them chivvy the rather bemused-looking warhorse back toward a stable.

Harys Swyft snickers from his hiding spot behind Ser Jonn as Alaric corals in the young pages.

Ser Jonn approaches his brother likewise, but does not offer greeting in words. Instead he twists his lips and emits a grunt.

A brotherly grunt, filled with love, but a grunt all the same.

Again Aidan gazes to where Reyna motions, and here the Dornish knight shows some sign of recognition. Though he looks between the two knights, he ventures no opinion on them, and his expression schools itself to a certain tranquility. When Sarya approaches the stands, he offers her a brief nod of the head in greeting, but even here he holds his tongue.

“I have not seen so many knights of the Reach here in the city as I had expected,” he tells Reyna at last, dark eyes perhaps disappointed by the fact that there seems little training, and ensuing comedy, remaining to be watched. “I suppose many of them remain in Dorne, with Lord Garvys.”

Gazing over his brother’s shoulder, Ser Jaesin takes the measure of a rather small crowd. A slight smile recognizes Lady Reyna, but his eyes narrow seeing an apparent Dornishman.

“Jonn,” asks one Lannister of the other, “is that the young Dayne knight? Ser Aidan?” He squints still further, and shakes his head a bit in frustration. “I must confess, I do not even know them all by name yet. Father’s orders are more difficult than he imagined, I think.”
Hearing her name the young girl turns and looks back to Reyna, “Oh Hello m’Lady, Ser.. a pleasure to see you.” SHe looks around and says softly, “A lovely day we are having today yes?” Only someone from the storm lands would think a rainy day a beautiful one. Her septa taps her on the shoulder and the girl leans in to listen to her. Sarya’s shoulders sag and she nods her head. Standing she burshes off her cloak and pulls her hood up, “Please excuse me, I must get to the library.”

Kerona rather quietly walks into the western outer yard, not all that unusual, and has a firm hand on her large brown canine companion’s leash, even if the dog seems not too interested in the people walking by. Curious brown eyes regard the others in the yard.

Jonn cranes his head sidewise, eyes narrowing as he notes Lady Reyna, and giving a wry smile as he notes the Dornishman.

“The Knight of Twilight,” he confirms, turning his attention back around. “There are rather more than I remembered capturing,” he notes, eyes twinkling merrily.

“Most of them returned with Ser Almer Connington, my cousin,” Reyna says, nodding and waving to Sarya in acknowledgement of her departure. “All of them out of countenance with my lord brother, and left now to their own devices.”

She looks finally at Aidan, full in the eye. “As you have reason to know, the Hand is a hard man. Those men of the Reach who hang about the Keep are trying to mend their honor in his eyes, which a word from my dear brother has cast into the mud.”

A robed Dornishman, a noblewoman in green, and a young maiden with her septa are seated on stands near to the quintain, although at present—perhaps because of the patter of rain drops—no one seems to be making use of it for training. The maiden and septa seem about to leave, while the Dornishman is in conversation with the green-garbed woman. Elsewhere, not far from the quintain, are two golden-haired knights, apparently passing their time watching the stands.

What Reyna says makes the Dornishman frown fleetingly. “I ... It is hard, when good men are at odds with their lord,” Aidan finally offers, lamely.

Ser Jaesin nods absently, staring off over Jonn’s shoulder again. No longer squinting, merely watching as Aidan and Reyna exchange some pleasantries he cannot overhear.

“I have wondered what that name means,” he says to his brother. “The ‘Knight of Twilight’. Do you think his House is doomed, somehow? I had thought the Daynes styled themselves ‘Sword of the Morning’ or some such. Though I understand that sword of theirs fell to Wallace Chester’s grubby hands.

“You were there. Did he cut his fat fingers on the blade yet?”

Sherion drifts into the yard keeping under what ever cover can be had along the walls. A tall matronly Septa walks beside her charge, the two conversing quietly in their early afternoon wandering. One small, ink stained hand holds her dark skirts up enough to keep them up out of the muck but nothing can spare the soft silk from the spattering of rain. It would seam each time a drop lands on the dark silk the Septa flinches. The young later on the other hand doesn’t take notice at all and continues to talk to her escort her steely grey eyes taking in the courtyard with keen intrest.

“Welcome to the Red Keep, ser,” Reyna says drily, turning her gaze back to the young lions bantering in the muddy lists. “We all learn quickly the rules of the game, you see, and do whatever we can to play it wisely and well.”

“Sword of the Morning, Knight of Twilight,” Jonn says, shrugging. “Perhaps they fear the sun? If so, I can see how they might be doomed.”

At the mention of Wallace Chester, the Black Lannister smirks. “He might’ve done. I think he was more interested in…”

But his brother has gone by that time, and Jonn shrugs again, turning swiftly and beckoning for the squire to follow. “Come, Mumble! Let’s go meet some of those ladies you were so keen on earlier.”

Coming from the direction of the stables, and wearing garb that suggests she has likely spent the morning on horseback despite the weather, Aisling Ryswell enters the outer yard. At first, she seems set to return to her quarters in the Guest Tower, halfway around the yard, but something or other about the current gathering of people draws her attention and instead she moves closer to the unused quintain and those gathered nearby. Though the rain is light, her time outdoors has left her gown darkened by moisture, and there are some light splatters of mud on its hem.

A long pause, as the knight from Starfall absorbs that. Finally Ser Aidan remarks with a certain careful politeness, “I would not suppose that there is any great difference between this court and any other, when it comes to such things.” Given that the only other court he’s like to be aware of is that of Sunspear, his meaning is clear enough. He watches one of the Lannisters depart, and sees Aisling Ryswell approach as he does so.

And another young girl is watching the Dornish nobleman and lady of the Reach as well. Alone, no guards or septa by her side, except for the large brown dog she’s holding at a leash. Kerona at least does wear some sort of protection against the rain as she is swaddled in a long hooded cape made of leather, the hood drawn up to cover her eyes. Her companion barks and she looks sideways, allowing a faint smile to slip across her lips at the sight of her fellow Northern noblewoman erst she studies the big septa and Sherion with open curiosity.

“It seems we are an object of much speculation, Ser Aidan,” Reyna says, laughing suddenly as she marks all the gazes upon them. “Consorting with the enemy, an activity unbecoming a Tyrell of Highgarden, no matter how friendly the foe. I suppose, to redeem my own honor, I should slap your face and pretend offense, though none has been given at all.” Her eyes sparkle with hidden mirth.

Sherion pauses, which draws an annoyed sigh from the septa, and moves closer to the tilts, drawing herself fully out into the spattering of rain. The Darklyn Lady glances about the court yard, dipping her head politely to those who at least look to be members of the peerage. She lifts her hands back, graceful fingers drawing the hood of her light cape up over her hair to protect it but beyond that seems rather unconcerned about the weather at all.

“It would be quite expected of you, my lady, and I am sure none who mattered would give you any blame for it,” Aidan agrees in cordial tones. But after a little pause he adds, “But I am uncertain you are one to submit to convention so readily, Lady Reyna, nor one to show any discourtesy that is not earned.” He looks away to some of the others in the yard, noting watchful faces and giving them a pretty smile for their efforts.

The young girl with the dog—or at least, the dog’s barking—briefly draws Aisling’s attention, and she pauses long enough to incline her head in the girl’s direction. But likely she has been lax on keeping up with who else may be staying at the Keep and now finds herself unable to put either name or house to the girl. The same goes for the young maid accompanied by her septa, as the pair also receive a brief glance in passing. It does, however, seem to be the perhaps peculiar pairing of Lady Reyna and Ser Aidan that she is moving towards, and as she draws closer she inclines her head to them. “Lady Reyna, good day. Ser Aidan, is the weather not quite good enough for further tours of the sights of the city today?”

“Convention has its uses,” Reyna replies, giving up—for the moment—the snobbish tones of her upbringing. “But you are correct. I would not cry insult where none has been given, not even to suit the watching gossips. Ah, good day, Lady Aisling. A pity the rain has dampened so many pursuits.”

At last Ser Jonn and his squire have reached the stand, and both of them drop unceremoniously near to Ser Aidan and Lady Reyna—yet not too close.

The squire whispers something to Jonn, who takes off a glove and pats the boy on the leg. “There’s more to life than jousting, Harys. Today we will observe and learn.”

Putting his feet up on the bench before him, Jonn puts his hand behind his head and leans back in quiet repose. The squire sits, back straight, listening to everything and watching everybody.

He takes every word his knight says very seriously.

Ser Aidan briefly stands, to give Lady Aisling a half-bow, before he resumes his seat on the stands. “It’s as you say. I came here in hopes of seeing some knights at the quintain, but I fear all we saw were some squires and pages, and they were not at the by the time I arrived. It’s a great shame, but the company, at least, is pleasant.” One wonders for how much longer he might be saying that… He discreetly watches the Lannister and his squire take a place in the stands, and he clears his throat. “Good day to you, ser,” he says to the golden-haired knight.

Kerona’s lips curl up in a rather amused little smile as she listens to the banter of the couple of interest but her feet take her to where the other young noblewoman and her Septa are standing. A slight curtsey is offered towards Sherion and she giggles just ever so slightly as she speaks to her.

Kerona whispers to Sherion.

Ser Jonn stands swiftly, and his squire follows suit. He sketches a bow to the Dornishman, “Ser Aidan,” he says respectfully, bowing his head—and indeed, his squire mimicks every movement purposefully.

Whether he has genuine respect for the man, or it is merely to instruct his squire is unguessable given his easy smile and gracious manner.

Sherion only sees one recognizable face in the gathered amongst the gathered nobility which causes her lips to purse slightly. Still the small woman pulls herself up to the fullest of her small stature and draws closer still. Her head turns and she says a few words to her Septa who reluctantly breaks off from her to return into the tower. With out the matron’s hovering presence the young lady seems to carey herself much more easily. She nods slightly to Kerona, pausing to listen to the young woman before she steps back from the reach of the dog and nods, “I don’t believe we’ve been aquainted, I’m Lady Sherion Darklyn of Duskendale.” Her grey eyes wander over young Kerona but seem unable to place the dully dressed girl any where in her memory.

The conversation between Aidan and Reyna sparks a faint look of curiosity on Aisling’s face, which then gives way to a polite smile as she replies to Reyna. “Indeed. I went for a ride early in the morning, and found myself spending a long time in the stables afterwards, making sure Ash was properly groomed.” Well, that would explain some of the stains on her own garb. To Aidan, she also offers a polite smile, though with a hint of dry humour to it. “I hope I have not ruined the pleasant nature of the company, then.” A brief glance also strays to Jonn and his squire, whom she greets with a slight and rather indifferent nod.

Reyna, in contrast to all the rising and bowing, remains in lazy repose. “Ser Jonn, I never know when to expect the pleasure of your company,” she remarks by way of greeting for the younger Lannister, even as her eyes stray toward the two maidens below.

She turns again to Aidan, and indicates the girls with a subtle gesture. “A meeting of North and South, to judge by their looks and dress. This can sometimes be interesting.” At this last, she gives Aisling a wry smile, half rueful. “Soon, Ser Aidan, you will see all of the Seven Kingdoms represented in this very yard. Stormlands, Reach, the Westerlands and the North, and that’s just in the last half hour. We require only a Tully or an Arryn to make a full compliment.”

Jonn locks eyes with his squire, and gestures to Reyna with a jerk of his head. The boy shakes his head, blushing, but as Jonn’s eyes widen with the hint of what will happen to squires who do not obey, the boy says in a shaky voice. “Lady Reyna,” he closes his eyes, visible steels himself, and continues, “Ser Jonn is always pleased to pleasure…” both of Jonn’s eyebrows shoot up, “...to give, er, Ser Jonn lives to serve.” His blush deepens, and Jonn pats him consolingly on the leg.

“That was your brother who left a moment ago, was it not, ser? I have not met Ser Jaesin, though I have certainly heard of him,” the Dornish knight tells Jonn, eyes briefly turning to the squire beside him before turning back to the Lannister. He considers saying something more, but he instead offers a brief smile as his attention turns back to the ladies. “The company could not be more pleasant, Lady Aisling, as it is now. And indeed, it is a marvelous thing to think of how easily each part of the realm can find a representative here.” After a pause, however, he turns a thoughtful eye to Reyna. “Do you not forget the Iron Islands, my lady? Though I’ve cause to know that there’s at least one ironman here in the city.”

“Well met, my lady Sherion.” is the younger girl’s reply as she formally inclines her head, “My name is lady Kerona Locke of Oldcastle and this is Brannik of KingsLanding.” she introduces both herself and her companion who’s seated himself on the wet pavement as if it were a throne… even if his brown coat’s becoming slicker every minute. Kerona’s brow is furrowed as she gives Sherion a thorough look, “Darklyn of Duskendale… like Lord Bryce’s mother?”

A glance strays again to Jonn and his squire, the latter’s attempts at responding on the former’s behalf drawing momentary interest from Aisling. Before long, however, she looks to Reyna and Aidan again. “The question then becomes how long it might remain like this before we have some quarrel or other on hand,” she remarks, rather cynically, on the matter of a gathering of representatives from most corners of the realm. “Though perhaps it is safe enough given that most of us here are women. Would you not say so, Ser Aidan?”

Sherion looks down wards as she’s introduced to a…. dog. The young lady stares a moment and then shakes her head, politely ignoring Brannik of Kings Landing. “Well met Lady Kerona, you’re a very long way from Oldcastle. And yes like Lady Donna, she’hs my Aunt. Have you lade her aquaintance?”

“It was my brother,” says Jonn, nodding once in the affirmative.

He falls silent then, content to listen and watch. He returns to his reclining posture once more, but his squire remains at rapt attention, watching everyone intently, even peering at some people, like Kerona and Sherion—for surely Jonn Lannister’s squire recognizes the name of Lord Bryce.

Reyna receives the response of Jonn’s squire with considerable composure; her eyes gleam but she responds as if the boy had not erred. “My compliments to Ser Jonn for the quick wits of his squire,” she says, with every appearance of sincerity.

“Yes,” she says then, to Aidan, “the Iron Islands. I -do- try to forget them, for they are at odds with everyone and rarely compliment a gathering.”

“My father, Ser Elfram, was sent here by Lord Stark to keep an eye on and welcome those bannermen from the North coming back from the war, my lady.” Kerona explains to the girl from Duskendale before shaking her head, “No, I have never met lady Donna, but I’ve met lord Bryce a few times. He can be very funny at times and Brannik likes him a lot.”

“I do not think such young maidens would willingly quarrel,” Aidan responds to Aisling, gesturing towards where Kerona and Sherion speak with one another as the light rain falls. Eyes lowering slightly, he adds, “And I am sure none of us here would seek a quarrel if it served no good purpose.” An olive-skinned hand moves to adjust one of the drooping trumpet sleeves of his outer robe, adjusting the fine linen cloth as he does so. Reyna’s remark earns a brief smile as he asks, “Indeed, my lady? I’ve never met an ironman, save for on the battlefield, and learned from it that they are courageous enough. I know nothing of their manners, however.”

Jonn’s young squire blushes profusely.

“Well done, Mumble!” Jonn says to his squire, green eyes twinkling merrily. “You received a compliment from Garvys Tyrell’s sister. Keep it up and he’ll be giving you a knighthood.” He reaches over and ruffles the boy’s hair, saying then: “Off with you! You’ve learned enough for one day.”

The squire nods, rises, bows to everyone all at once, nearly tripping with the effort, and ambles off with a prideful hitch to his stride.

And the dog likes things… Again Lady Sherion continues to politely ignore referance to the poor beast. Instead she smiles amicably and nods to Kerona, “It would appear my cousin has become very well known in his time here. I hope your father and those in Oldcastle fair well now that peace has fallen upon us once more?” Sherions gaze briefly diverts upwards to the hostages and their company before returning once more to the Northern girl.

Bending a little, Aisling uses her hand to brush some water off a section of the bench, then seats herself with little ceremony and even less fussing with her clothing. Then again, it is rather too late for her to attempt to keep this particular gown clean. “You do not, I think, know that much about maidens—young or otherwise—then, Ser Aidan,” is her response to the Dornish knight’s comment, her tone forthright rather than teasing. “As for the Ironborn, I hear their manners are better than the Wildings, at least, though I can neither confirm nor deny that. After all, some would claim that the Dornish are much the same, and that would not appear to be true.” That, however, is rather more dryly spoken.

“They do, my lady Sherion, and I hope the same is true for your family in Duskendale.” Soft is Kerona’s voice as she answers all of the older maiden’s questions in the same vein before offering the Darklyn girl a rather brilliant smile, bobing her head. “Thank you very much for letting me make your acquiantance, my lady, but I am afraid I must be going home now, or at least our home here in the keep. If you see your noble cousin, will you give him my regards? And Brannik’s too, if you think he might appreciate that.” Another bobbing of her head and the leather-clad maiden turns around to walk over to the guest tower, her dog following behind.

“I must defer to you on the matter of Wildings and their manners,” Reyna says with a laugh for Aisling. “Ser Dagur can manage some propriety, which I must assume is beyond the grasp of such folk. And come now, Lady Aisling, surely you cannot fault Ser Aidan’s manners. He has been -most- circumspect in my presence. He is no worse than most here, and a good deal better than some.” At that, she casts a brief glance toward Jonn.

The loud trumpet of Blackbolt’s monstrous destrier can be heard as Doran departs the stables. Dressed entirely in black steel, his visor is raised as he converses with the knight beside him. The softened ground is butchered by the massive brute of a stallion that the Blackbolt sits astride, and the horses temperament is anxious at best. “Your strike was a solid one, Ser Bryce. It matters little which of the Seven blessed you.” The young Blackhaven knight holds in one of his hands a shield, and the other holds erect a large tournament lance.

Bryce rides next to the Blackbolt on his gray-white courser. The knight himself is for the occasion clad in a brutal plate and chain with no decorations or parts made to please to eye, simply designed for crude efficiency. On his chest, he wears a yellow surcoat with the Caron arms emblazoned, wet from the rain. On his head, he wears a coif and padded leather but no great helm, some wet strands of yellow hair showing beneath it all. He wears a rather disgruntled expression and his eyes look tired with dark circles beneath them. His body does not reflect the tired feelings of his face, instead he carries himself proudly, a battered shield that seems to have been painted yellow some time in the distant past in his left hand, a practice lance in his right.

Bryce is just replying as the two of them appear: “Maybe, but if I was truly blessed by one of the Seven, then it was at an odd opportunity. I had more wished for it to be at a tournament, or where it truly mattered, Ser.” he speaks to the Blackbolt, politely inclining his head in the knight’s direction. Behind him, two Caron guardsmen are trailing, carrying great helm and additional lances.
Jonn has reconnected.

Jonn senses the brief glance from Reyna, and gives her the briefest of winks in return.

Sherion loses her companion, leather clad as she is and takes a slow breath, surveying the yard anew for some one to speak to. Briefly the young woman apears lost though quickly she collects herself and puts on a smile when she hears Doran and Bryce’s arrival.

“Why, thank you, Lady Reyna.”

Unexpected, the interruption; the man who is responsible for it, swathed in a long cloak against the rain as he passes the small gathering, pauses now. He turns to them, lowering the hood.

“You have met many of them, then? My kinsmen from the Iron Islands?” he asks—with such propriety as he can muster.

“Lady Aisling. Ser Aidan,” he nods to the others.

“Why, thank you, Lady Reyna.”

Unexpected, the interruption; the man who is responsible for it, swathed in a long cloak against the rain as he passes the small gathering, pauses now. He turns to them, lowering the hood.

“You have met many of them, then? My kinsmen from the Iron Islands?” the Iron Serpent asks—with such propriety as he can muster.

“Lady Aisling. Ser Aidan,” he nods to the others.

If Aidan colors, it seems more at Reyna’s estimation of his manners than Aisling’s dry remarks. “Certainly, I have seen much courtliness here,” he finally utters. “I would be shamed if I did not strive to emulate such good graces.” He seems .... unhappy, even though he smiles at Aisling. He’s saved from saying anything more by Ser Dagur’s greeting. He inclines his head and speaks with a certain formality, “Good day, Ser Dagur.” A glance to Reyna, through dark, lowered eyelashes, and then he states, “We were speaking of how remarkable it was that so many from so many parts of the realm are gathered here, ser.”

Doran allows a weak smile to cross his face, his dark demeanor lessening considerably the talk turns from lances to tournament. “You must enter the lists when King Daeron returns.” The marcher knight’s tone is serious, even though his voice edges on happiness. Doran halts his destrier, glancing over the stands as he takes note of a gathering. “We even have an audience. A strike observed is a strike respected. Names are as powerful as a lance in the lists, at least my old Master of Arms says such.” The storm knight reaches his shield hand up to pull down his visor. “Shall I go first?”

Sherion moves up into the seats slowly and dips into a curtsey to those gathered though her gaze seems to find it’s way back to the men ahorse fairly quickly. She settles into the driest seat she can aquire and leans forwards a bit to watch intently.

Dagur’s arrival necessitates a greeting for the Ironman, which is given as a simply dip of her head, but then Aisling is quick to turn to Reyna once more, to give her response. “Indeed, Lady Reyna. Ser Aidan’s manners are faultless. Almost too perfect.” While she speaks, her attention shifts from Reyna to the Dornish knight, offering him a polite smile and watching his reaction to Reyna’s as well as her own comments in an appraising fashion.

Reyna is sufficiently caught in her own web to blush. “You are most welcome, Ser Dagur. I was speaking not of your fellows, but of Lady Aisling’s Wildings. I will confess to knowing of the Iron Islanders by reputation alone, so it is perhaps unfair of me to stand you forth among them as an exception.”

She turns to Aisling as one surprised, abandoning Dagur for a moment. “There is no such thing as a man too polite, Lady Aisling. It is quite one thing for a man to be crude and vulgar in a soldier’s camp, but not among such company as is gathered here. I find Ser Aidan’s efforts most admirable, all things considered.”

“A strike failed and a landing in the dirt is a strike laughed at, Ser Doran. My name is hardly going to be respected after my jousting is seen by these.” He pauses to look out over all the people, not reacting more than a slight nod or a quirk of eyebrows at anyone, since he is still too far away from them to see them properly. Turning his head to Doran, he nods. “I will prepare while you go first, Ser.” He says before pausing.. grinning a little, then exclaiming: “And Good luck, may the Warrior guide your arm!” He raises his lance in encouragement before he rides over to be out of the way, a few yards closer to the seating where the others are but his eyes on Doran.

Black Jonn sits up slowly, his eyes focused on the lists. His fists clench and unclench, his jaw muscles mirroring the motion equivalently. If he notes the Iron Islander, he gives no sign of it.

“No, you would be quite right,” answers the ironman mildly. “We lack the…”—he glances at the knights trying the quintain, one of them with his gallant salute—“...chivalry of the greenlands.”

He glances at Aidan, then: “And their gentle, honourable ways. Has the Hand allowed you arms yet, ser?”

“With pleasure, ser.” The Blackbolt’s voice sounds hollow now that he is encased from head to heel in the steel armour. He spins his horse appropriately, lining up for a run on the quintain. A sudden flurry of motion bursts from the black destrier as the knight of Blackhaven digs the spurs into his mount. The lance is lowered during the charge, couching flawlessly as he raises from his seat in the saddle. The shield in the left hand of Doran is instinctively brought up, as he speeds his way to the target.

Doran charges at the quintain, his horse carefully picking up speed…

Doran’s horse moves at a slow canter towards the quintain…

Doran lowers his lance, aims at the pristine shield and ...

... strikes the shield a fair blow that resounds solidly!

“He should’ve been here for my brother’s lesson,” Jonn mutters, unable to control his smile as Doran charges down the lists. His fists seem to have found their peace once more, for they no longer clench and unclench. His desire to ride at the quintain quelled, he reclines back again.

“You are gracious to say so, Lady Reyna,” Aidan says hard on the heels of the lady’s remark, offering a brief bow. He hardly glances at Aisling at all as he adds, “There never was harm in courtesy, my father used to say, that could not be found sevenfold in rudeness.” He turns his attention then at the sound of hoofs, watching Ser Doran charge at the quintain, taking stock of the blow that sets the arm spinning and missing the half-Dornish knight. “Practice arms, ser,” the Dornishman finally says, turning to the ironman. “But only wooden blades, such as pages might use. I do not know when we will be allowed tourney arms. Prince Cadan has said he will discuss the matter with the Hand, when he is next invited to dine with him.”

Bryce sits still on his courser as the guards approach him, handing him the great helm that has a black cross over yellow field in the front. Or, at least it used to be that, before the color was worn off. Once the great helm is in place, he doesn’t show much of an expression and his field of view is severly limited.

When Doran strikes the shield on the quintain, he inclines his head.. waits.. then spurs his horse down to the start of the track, swiveling his head around to see who are watching before he lines it up. “All right. Time for foolishness..” he mutters to his horse before he shakes his lance to make sure it’s steady.. and charges at the quintain.

Bryce charges at the quintain, his horse moderately picking up speed…

Bryce’s horse moves at a moderate canter towards the quintain…

Bryce lowers his lance, aims at the pristine shield and ...

... fails to hit the shield altogether!

“You have no one but yourself to blame for that,” is the ironman’s dry retort. “They may talk of your manners”—he nods to the two women—“but the Hand may have been swifter to allow steel in your hands if you had not been rude enough to cut down half-a-dozen of his lords in Dorne. Such discourtesy.”

Sherion smiles brightly watching Doran charge and even claps a bit for the Blackbolt. Her gaze strays bout the yard briefly but not seeing the Ser’s squire her attention falls back to the lists with a… ohh… and a frown as Bryce misses.

“Well done, Bullneck!” Jonn calls out from his position in the stands.

“The span between too little and too much courtesy is quite wide, Lady Reyna, Ser Aidan. One way lies crudeness, the other—in most cases—dishonesty,” remarks Aisling, her tone suggesting neither dry humour nor light jesting. “Truly true knights are as rare as dragons these days and, unlike dragons, I am not convinced that they were all that common in the past either.” She pauses briefly, her expression thoughtful, and then shrugs lightly. “Still, I cannot disagree with the notion that it is far better to strive for good instead of poor manners.” At that point, Dagur’s remarks silence her for a moment, until—now dryly once more—she adds, “On the contrary, ser, I am sure it was done most courteously. And no doubt all the knights of the Stormlands, and the Reach in particular, were ever so chivalrous when invading another realm.”

Sherion looks back over her shoulder and to Jonn and again there’s some look of recognition there. She studies the young lion for some moments before she rises, and moves towards the Lannister. “Ser Jonn? Would you mind if I join you?” The Darklyn girl asks of him smoothly.

At that, the ironman smiles, “So they would tell you. A gallant lot, that.”

“Oh, I’m sure that my sweet brother is the very -soul- of courtesy,” Reyna retorts in tones of bitterness and subtle derision. “Yet I am inclined to think that there is no courtesy in battle, save the custom of allowing the nobly born to surrender in exchange for their lives. Tell me, Ser Aidan—is that even courtesy? Or a device the humble the beaten?”

The Blackbolt turns his mount off the track as he strikes a fair blow on the makeshift shield of the target. The reins are pulled to stop his large destrier entirely, as he manuvers the beast around to take stock of his damage to the target. He uses the edge of his shield to lift up his visor, wincing slightly as the Caron knight misses his pass. The comment from the Lannister seems to have fallen on def ears, for the half-dornish knight gives no response. “The rain makes the lance slick today, Ser Bryce.” Doran calls, managing a small shrug in the steel plate he is clad in.

Bryce stops his courser at the end of the track as well, wheeling it around to bring it up next to the black armored knight. “One would think the rain could keep certain people away, as well, but that seems not to be the case. Perhaps he’s too drunk to know better..” Bryce replies wryly, looking at Jonn with disdain in his eyes, but he doesn’t seem very offended for once. “Will you have the next go, again?” he inquires after his eyes are pulled away from Black Jonn Lannister and his companion, who still doesn’t seem to have gotten Bryce’s recognition. Although, there is a bit of a troubled frown on the knight’s face after his eyes left the group over there.

“I cannot say whether that is true, Ser Dagur. I do not know the Hand well, and he does no confide in me,” the young Dornish knight responds, glancing towards Aisling for some reason. Reyna’s remark earns a slight tilt of the head as he considers her tone, and it’s clear that he’s working towards some answer. Finally he offers, “I have never offered quarter without meaning it to honor a gallant opponent, for my part. Why die needlessly, when one has shown one’s prowess and courage and still cannot win? When Ser Olyvar Oakheart called on me to yield, he was right to do so, and I know that the Green Oak meant no discourtesy by it.”

At first, Black Jonn does not notice the Darklyn girl, or at least pretends not to. Then with a languid turn of his neck, he observes her casually, and nods. He smiles at last, gesturing for her to be seated on the spot his squire left not long ago.
Doran gives a nod of the head in reply to the Caron knight’s question, and up his gauntlet goes once again to slam his visor down. The spurs dig into the destrier that the black knight rides, and the lance that is still intact lowers in attempts to pound the target. The knight slowly rises from the saddle, leaning into his strike as his horse leaves a muddy carnage in his wake.

Sherion sets down in the offered seat and nods, looking back to the lists. “Thank you Ser.” She says politely. “I’ve always thought it best to watch the jousting with some one at hand that actually knows how to joust.” Her hands fold neatly onto her lap as her steely eyes turn back to the knights in the feild. “I don’t believe we’ve ever been formally aquainted, I’m Lady Sherion Darklyn.”

Doran charges at the quintain, his horse quickly picking up speed…

Doran’s horse moves at a gallop towards the quintain…

Doran lowers his lance, aims at the pristine shield and ...

... strikes such a poor blow that the heavy sandbag swings around and strikes a blow that bounces off him hard!

Bryce winces in the saddle when he sees Doran’s result, but any other reaction from the Caron knight is hidden behind the anonymous steel of his helm. He doesn’t wait long after Doran’s miserable hit, perhaps hoping that his own expected failure would be noticed less. And so, he spurs his horse down to the start, wheels his courser around and charges at the quintain. Impatient, perhaps?

Bryce charges at the quintain, his horse steadily picking up speed…

Bryce’s horse moves at a quick canter towards the quintain…

Bryce lowers his lance, aims at the pristine shield and ...

... strikes the shield a fair blow that leaves it battered!

Having listened to the other three offer their opinions on the chivalry of battle, Aisling nods thoughtfully. “No doubt that is how it should be, as well, Ser Aidan,” she remarks. “However, Lady Reyna makes a fair point. My understanding is that such courtesy is often extended for the purpose of collecting a ransom, which means that those who have no means to offer such will die no matter how bravely they may have fought.” Just then, she catches sight of Ser Doran being struck by a vengeful quintain, and less seriously notes, “That poor quintain certainly will not be offered any quarter, I suspect.”

“Yet you were compelled to bend the knee before all Kings Landing,” Reyna observes in an even tone that gives nothing of her motive. “Where was the chivalry in that, when all know your knees to be bent before you ever left Dorne?”

She nods once to Aisling, smiling. “Just so. But I suppose couching it in courteous tones makes it less mercenary and more merciful. Thus is honor appeased.” Her only indication that the tilting in the lists registers her attention is an exclamation of dismay at all the mud the horses are splattering everywhere.”

The Blackbolt jerks violently as the sandbag hits him hard in the back, obviously not expecting a blow to come from behind. “Fuck.” The half-dornish knight states to himself, dropping his mount of its gallop and turning him to observe Bryce’s strike. Doran remains silent as the Caron knight’s strike hits true, his visor completely hiding any expression the Blackhaven knight could hold. “Perhaps Ser Jonn will pick a new target for his japes, ser.” Ser Doran wastes no time on preparing for his next pass, and cradles his lance as he lines up for his charge. An exclamation is heard from within the steel armor of the black knight, and spurs give focus to his words as the destrier eagerly charges towards the quintain.

A pale blue hooded cloak shields Aurana from the rain as she braves the damp to make her way to view the practicing knights. Her guard trailing behind her, she walks alongside her companion, conversing pleasantly with the man. Her head tilted upwards to look up at him, she smiles warmly. “That is true, Ser Dale, but as I understand it there were men practicing even in the torrent that the past few days has offered. I do not know who I felt sorrier for: the men or their horses.” Hands are clasped before her, resting lightly against her skirts.

Jonn smiles at Doran’s misfortune ere turning his attention to Sherion.

He smiles at her. “The pleasure is all mine,” he says, glancing back toward the quintain, and then back toward the lady again. “Darklyn, you said?” He looks down at Bryce, and then back to Sherion. He smiles wryly, “So you are Bryce Bullneck’s cousin?”

Doran charges at the quintain, his horse steadily picking up speed…

Doran’s horse moves at a quick canter towards the quintain…

Doran lowers his lance, aims at the battered shield and ...

... strikes the shield a solid blow that raises splinters from its battered face!

Looking between the two women, Aidan’s expression is unreadable, but for such a knight as he their opinions are ... difficult to deal with. “Prince Viserys saw a need, my lady. I will not question it any more than I have already done.” And then, with a faint hint of Dornish temper finally making itself known, he adds a trifle stiffly, “I have never killed a knight who has offered to yield, “and have called on knights to yield who had not looked like they had two silvers to rub together.” With a shrug he finishes, “Perhaps not all do as I do. I cannot say. It is on them. Ransoms are necessary, for knighthood is costly, and war even more so. But I am a knight, not a sellsword. I do not fight to win wealth.”

Sherion’s gaze moves back to Jonn and she looks over him a long moment. “Yes I am Ser Bryce’s cousin,” She affirms before she looks back to watch Doran’s strike with a smile. “Don’t give me such a wry look Ser you’d think I was harmful to you or some such.”

Bryce raises his lance in brief victory, but then winces in the saddle for some unknown reason. “Seven hells.. Argh, that hurts..” he exclaims, doubling over in the saddle and tries to break the courser out of it’s rapid movements. “Damned be..” escapes him before he looks around to try to spot Doran. “Ser Doran..” he calls out, slowly straightening. “I think I hurt something.. I shall have a look at it. Do continue, I will be back as soon as it’s straightened out.” And with those words, he quickly urges his horse towards the stables. The two guardsmen seems to have noted that something was wrong and quickly follows.

“That, lady, was the game of thrones, a bloodier battlefield than any in Dorne,” answers the ironman hard on Aidan’s stead. “Kings and Hands have less use for chivalry than any knight, I think.”

And he glances at the Dornishman with a faint frown, “But I mislike the word. Here, you make it a thing that is some sacred covenant for debating over ale in a tavern. It is not so where I come from. A man has his honour and that is for him to keep or not as he is able. He does not need to have sworn an oath of knighthood to do so.”

Dale’s attention is caught by the splintering shield, an admiring glance to Doran before he turns back to Aurana, smiling down at the young lady. “Believe me, my lady, wearing full armour in the rain is infinitely preferable to the heat we were having earlier. One of my brothers retainers just dropped down dead in the middle of the yard a couple of years ago in just such a heatwave, not a man within 30 yards of him. Heart attack, some say. Cooked alive in his armour say others.” He smiles absently before turning back to the practicing knights.

“And yet you have.” Leaving Aidan alone for a moment, Aisling turns to Dagur instead, her remark a statement yet it is delivered with a questioning quirk of a brow. But even before a response is given, she looks back again to Reyna and Aidan, addressing the more general subject at hand as well. “I would, I think, make a very poor knight, for I can see little honour in fighting when one does not have to. To defend yourself, certainly, but if that was all knights were interested in, they would soon have very little to do.”

“Harm? From such a pretty young lady?” says Jonn, the words preceded by a gentlemanly scoff. “Surely not! The Seven are not so cruel as that.” He watches Bryce beat a hasty departure, and cannot keep the glee in his eyes from growing brighter.

Two pale brows lift as Aurana blinks up at Dale, surprised a bit. “Oh I… I am sorry, Ser Dale. That was… unfortunate,” she decides. Another small smile is found and given to the Westerling lord before she looks to the quintain. Blue eyes follow the retreating form with curiosity but she makes no comment. “Do you do much tilting, Ser?”

Sherion watches Bryce go and straightens to turn her full attention onto the Lannister knight, “It would appear yourself and my cousin are not on most friendly terms. A pity really.” She looks over the lists with some disapointment as the jousting practice has concluded once more.”

The Blackbolt nods with satisfaction as he feels the impact of his lance on the wooden shield, and spins his steed about to observe Ser Bryce. “Ser?” Doran calls, his visor still hiding any expression that would come with his words. A soft sigh escapes the knight, and he pulls on the reins to back up his warhorse to allow another charge on the quintain. The visored great helm turns in the direction of Maegor’s Holdfast, examining the keep before he heels into his destrier to urge the mount forward. The lance drops from the heavens, cradling expertly as the hooves of his horse rip through the mud.

Doran charges at the quintain, his horse steadily picking up speed…

Doran’s horse moves at a quick canter towards the quintain…

Doran lowers his lance, aims at the splintering shield and ...

... strikes the shield a solid blow that shatters it entirely!

A squire rushes up to clear away the shards and splinters that Doran reduced the shield to. After a few moments, he hangs up a brand new one.

“Your cousin holds a grudge against me, that much is certain,” Jonn says with a good-natured chuckle. Then he shrugs, his shoulders moving up and down in petulant motion, “And if he is so keen to dislike me, who am I to disappoint him?”

Stiffening before Dagur’s frown, Aidan begins to respond when Aisling comes to it a trifle more quickly. A pensive look and then he finally adds, “The vows are a holy thing, an emblem of our faith and devotion. But they are personal, Ser Dagur, as you well know.” Then he shrugs, perhaps a touch too elaborately. “Honor can exist without the vows. I’ve never said otherwise. But when others hear you proclaimed a knight, then they know just what your honor is governed by, and they can take your measure. This seems better to me, ser, than to live by some code that no one but you knows, or cares for.” And then a pause, and he adds with carefully modulated words, “Though the ironmen have a code they follow, I believe. ‘The iron price’, my uncle called it.”

Dale follows Aurana’a gaze, a wistful smile as he looks to the quintain. “I try to, lady Aurana, though I seem to have been neglecting my practice since I arrived at Kings Landing.” He watches Doran shatter the shield once again, “though it is more my brother Ryck who is more renowned for his skills in that regard.” He steps aside to allow her to move ahead of him. “And how is your lord father, my lady?”

“It takes some time to settle in,” Aurana murmurs, giving a small nod of thanks as she steps forward, nearing those watching the practice. “I have no doubt that in the next day or two we shall see you ahorse and trying your own hand.” Hands smooth over her skirts idly as she strolls and chats. “My father is well, thank you for asking. Though I have had very little opportunity to see him of late. He remains fairly busy. Will your brother be joining us soon, Ser Dale?”

The Blackbolt of Blackhaven drops his mount out of its canter, allowing the steed his head for a brief moment before he spins the heavy warhorse around to observe the squire placing a new shield on the quintain. Doran rests his shield against his saddle and horse as he reaches forward to pat the nape of stallion’s neck, giving some gentle words of encouragement before he picks up his shield again. “One more, Storm.” His voice doubles in intensity as he lets his mount have his spurs, the lance lowering dangerously as he prepares to end the shield in one solid strike.

Doran charges at the quintain, his horse carefully picking up speed…

Doran’s horse moves at a slow canter towards the quintain…

Doran lowers his lance, aims at the pristine shield and ...

... strikes the shield a solid blow that leaves it battered!

“I have,” agrees Dagur. “But when I swore the oath, there was nothing of the chivalry of the greenlands in it. Only things that any man who truly follows the Seven would hold to.”

He passes a hand over his eyes, flicking away droplets of rain before saying to Aidan, “Then, ser, it is a false measure they take. Many who swear the oath don’t live by it. I have seen enough of Dornishmen to know that it is no different there. Better no promise than a false one.”

And he pauses then with a strange grimace, “But better the hope of a false promise than certain things.”

“The ‘iron price’, yes. That is what they call it.”

“Iron Price?” Her interest piqued, Reyna looks away from the lists. “What is this iron price, precisely?” She gives a last scathing glance at the lists before giving her whole attention to Dagur. “Every time I see them, they ride at the shield. Have they nothing better to do? I’ve yet to have a proper conversation with Ser Doran the Much-Vaunted.”

Dale nods to the black knight with a wry smile. “I have no doubt you will, lady Aurana, though whether I will strike such an impressive figure as that, I rather doubt.” He grins, his eyes shadowed as he follows Aurana towards the crowd, raising his voice over the swell of admiring murmurs. “My brother ser Ryck has no plans to come to Kings Landing for the moment, though my lady wife should be here in the next few weeks and I know she was hoping to be able to call on you, if you wouldn’t mind.” He steps aside to allow an elderly knight past him before hurrying to catch her up again.

Aurana’s gaze follows Doran’s journey, grinning with delight as he makes contact yet again. “The Blackbolt is a skilled rider, as I understand it,” she murmurs. “But each man has his strengths and his weaknesses. Certainly you would best him in other areas of combat.” Finding a spot to watch from, she stops, rising up on her toes just a bit to keep her eyes on the riders. Lashes flutter as she blinks, surprised. “Me, Ser Dale?” Looking up at him, she offers another smile, pleased. “I would, of course, be quite happy to meet and entertain your lady wife. I look forward to her arrival. And your children as well, of course. You must be so excited.” Her gaze flickers towards Jonn, regarding him soberly for a moment before taking the time to look over the others who watch as well.

“They can take the measure of the man by how he has lived by his oaths, ser. That was my meaning,” the Dornish knight says, succinctly. Aidan then turns to Reyna and says to her question, “My uncle said it was the old way of the ironborn. A man cannot buy jewels or luxuries, save if he pays the iron price for them.” A sidelong glance to Dagur and then he makes it plain, saying, “Which means, only that which they take from those they have killed. Occasionally ironmen have come reaving about Starfall and the Dornish coast, so my uncle had some experience of them.”

Dale’s dark gaze travels back to the Blackbolt, studying the black knight thoughtfully before he smiles down at Aurana, “you flatter me, my lady,” he grins, but I’m certain our paths will cross one day. “I’ll be sure to let you know how I fare.” He laughs lightly, studying her face as she looks at Black Jonn. “You know him?” He asks, dropping his voice to below the murmur of the crowd.

Stretching and yawning, Jonn Lannister bounces nimbly to his feet and leaves the stands.

For a time, Aisling simply listens to the conversation between the other three, an almost pensive look on her face. Then she looks to Aidan, now in a considering fashion, and says, “I would certainly hope that honour can exists without vows that may or may not be held to. The ironborn, as we have heard, have their own ways that they considered honourable, and as I am sure you know, we do not have many knights in the North either.” A little wryly, with half a smile, she adds, “Yet, I would not think we are all likely to be dishonourable. My own uncle, Henly Snow, is considered a reputable warrior and man alike, yet he is both bastard-born and no knight. However, there are others in the North whose honour no doubt would fail to fill even a thimble.” For some reason, that last bit sounds ... personal, and carries an edge of anger to it.

“Only through reputation,” Aurana replies, her hands clasping once more as the lady goes still. “I have not had the opportunity to speak with Ser Jonn. Nor his wife. His brother and I have spoken but once. Ser Jaesin is much loved by our Dragonknight, I believe.”

A solid blow is given to the shield, even though the outcome was not as the black knight wished. The destrier slows to a gallop, before his gait drops further into a walk. The marcher knight manuvers his warhorse about, his head dropping to see out of his visor as he examines the damage to the shield. The edge of his shield moves up, catching his visor and sliding it up to have better view of the battering left in his wake. “Nice work, Storm.” Doran offers more words of encouragement to the behemoth equine he sits astride.

Doran pulls to the right with his reins, guiding the horse towards the stands that has become more appealing due to the departure of the Lannister. He does not get far, however, before a gold cloak intercepts him. “Ser Doran.” The gold cloak states gruffly, gesturing towards Maegor’s Holdfast. “Prince Baelor requests your presence.” The member of the City Watch does not at all look pleased to being sent to locate the marcher knight in the drizzle that has cursed the day. “He said at once.” The old gold cloak states the last without emotion, turning on his heels he stalks towards the gatehouse.
Bryce returns on his courser, apparently feeling better since he is sitting straight once again. He is still wearing his great helm and still fully armored, lance in his right arm. Yet, they are travelling out towards the yard rather slowly, being more careful than before.

Doran’s emerald gaze take in Maegor’s Holdfast immediately as the gold cloak gestures to it, his face forming into a look of utter determination as he turns his mount towards the keep. “Thank you.” He offers the gold cloak, whom refuses to respond as he continues his trek towards the gatehouse. The black knight catches Ser Bryce’s return, and raises his lance in a salute and farewell as he begs speed from his horse, riding in a swift gait towards the House of the Targaryens.

“As you say, Lady Aisling, one can have honor without the vows,” Ser Aidan responds quietly, “and as Ser Dagur has made us well aware, one can be without honor despite having sworn the vows. Vows are merely one way to let others know by what code you swore to live, so that they may judge your conduct against it. Without the vows, well, there are always other codes.” He pauses, glances at Aisling with hooded eyes, and then adds with a hint of laughter in his voice, “Courtesy, for example, is such a code that some subscribe to.”

Dale watches Black Jonn leaving the stands, nodding as he listens to Aurana. He pushes his damp, jet black hair carelessly away from his face. “Yes, so I hear.” He smiles, eyes still on the departing knight, “though Black Jonn is not so well loved I understand.” AS he says this a new knight arrives, his youth apparent even in full armour. “Ah, that must be ser Bryce.” He leans toward Aurana, “you have to admire his resilience, every time I meet him he seems to have acquired a new set of cuts and bruises on that young face of his.”

“Some are born to it, Ser Aidan,” Reyna says, with a hint of rueful laughter, “and others must learn courtesy. Even courtesy is merely a shield to hide behind, a blind to obscure insult and deception. My septa used to say that one might conceal all manner of poor breeding by being courteous with it.”

Letting thoughts of Lannisters slip away, Aurana watches Ser Doran’s departure, a small smile curving her lips. As Dale draws her attention to it, she takes another look at the approaching rider. “Oh! Yes. That would be Ser Bryce. I have yet to see him ride.” Her head tilts a little to one side as she considers the knight’s horse. “Perseverance he has in spades, I do believe. Though some would say it is simple hardheadedness. You have spent time with Ser Bryce then? It is good that you are getting settled finally.”

“The old way and the new way,” says the ironman; what he thinks of it is masked behind still features and dark, neutral eyes. “They still held to it when I left and two years are not likely to have changed that.”

“And what need to look for the judgment of others to tell you if you are a honourable man? You know it or you do not. If you do not, what they say will make not a whit of difference.” He glances aside as someone calls his name then—the glint of mail of mail and fair hair is all that can be seen of the cloaked figure—before turning back to the company.

“But here I stand and debate honour like any greenlands knight,” he adds with a hint of amusement, drawing up his hood. With that and a nod to the three, he turns and makes his way across the churned mud to his waiting companion.

Bryce finally seems to decide that the rest is over, and he spurs his courser down to the starting point without looking to the sides in his helm that gives him a very narrow point of view. And so, Frost, his white-gray mount, is made ready for another go at the quintain.. And he charges, hoping for the best.

Bryce charges at the quintain, his horse swiftly picking up speed…

Bryce’s horse moves at a swift gallop towards the quintain…

Bryce lowers his lance, aims at the battered shield and ...

... strikes the shield a solid blow that raises splinters from its battered face!

That hint of laughter in Aidan’s voice results in a slight arching of a slim brow as Aisling considers his words. It is, however, Reyna’s statement that finally draws a comment from her. “I had no septa, but my step-mother said that there was no possible way of hiding my breeding—or rather, lack of it, I think she meant—with any application of more ... southern manners,” the northwoman dryly notes, her tone of voice expressing little liking for the woman in question. “I think she thought I must be halfways to a Wildling, and perhaps she had the right of it, in some ways.” As Dagur then leaves, she’s adds,“In fact, I seem to have a thing or two in common with our Ironborn friends.”

Dale pauses to watch the white-gray destrier charge with its youthful rider towards the shield, when the lance strikes home he turns to Aurana with a bright smile. “I have met him a couple of times, an interesting young man. If a little serious.” He smiles, scanning the colourful crowd for a familiar face, before he turns back to those blue eyes, his black hair glistening in the rain.

Shaking his head, so that long dark locks of hair sway with the motion, Aidan responds, “It is true. It is the other side of what my father said. There is greater harm in brutal words, but when masked in courtesy it can be as subtle as a snake in the grass. And more deadly, when it comes to a courtier’s life, I suppose.” A shrug, suggesting he isn’t interested in finding out, and he looks out into the yard to see if anyone else is like to appear to try their hand at the quintain with Ser Bryce.

Aurana watches his run, craning her neck to see. As contact is made, she smiles widely. “Good,” the young lady murmurs, approvingly. Turning her gaze up to Dale, she nods. “He is. Give him time though. He has much to work through and all of it thrown at him all at once. Not unlike many others since the war began, I know, but…” She tugs at her cloak, pulling it closer around her. “He will surprise us all, I do believe, Ser Dale.”

The knight in the heavy armor who just finished his run at the quintain raises his lance in something akin to victory celebration. He takes a moment to look around the yard now, slowing his courser to a trot to better get a view of it. Bryce takes Frost on a little circular path, not on his way back to the quintain just yet. The knight suddenly sees something among the watchers and directs Frost towards Ser Dale and Lady Aurana, if still at a good distance.

Reyna gives Aisling a sympathetic smile. “I would argue you are more free than I for it,” she says, an odd note in her voice. “Courtesy has its uses, but it can also restrain. As Ser Aidan so astutely points out, courtesy is a rose with thorns that hook and hold and draw blood more often than not. Pretty, true, but very often nasty underneath.”

A single squire, in the gold and crimson livery of House Lannister, jogs across the yard toward the lists from the direction of a stable. He pauses beside the viewing stand, eyeing the state of the current quintain dubiously.

Watching the young knight approaching, Dale smiles to Aurana, “I think you could be right there, my lady.” Rain drips from the shoulders of his cloak, landing with a light patter on the ground. “I seem to remember meeting a young cousin of his in the plaza, a pleasant young lady, Sarya, was it?” He looks questioningly to Aurana as he tries to remember the name.

Through the doors of the stable from whence the Lannister squire lately came, a pair of younger boys lead a saddled white charger. The great horse bears no barding nor other decoration, and paws the ground impatiently.

Presently a tall man emerges in kind, clad in plain riding leathers and an unremarkable halfhelm. He sets a foot in stirrup and mounts the warhorse, with no help from the lads.

“Sherion,” Aurana supplies. “She’s a Darklyn. Lady Sarya is a Baratheon and the younger sister of Ser Tancred and I do not believe there is a relation between her and Ser Bryce. I have not met Lady Sherion as of yet though Ser Bryce has told me much of her. Oh! Did you know that his sister has arrived? Lady Belissa?” Her gaze shifts from Dale to the approaching knight, chuckling softly as he nears.

The unheralded, plainly-clad knight with the Lannister squires takes the reins of his great, white warhorse in hand. With a word and a shake of the rein, he starts the beast at a leisurely walk toward the near end of the lists.

“Snakes in the grass and thorned roses ... unpleasant things indeed,” agrees Aisling, perhaps a little amused at the sources of these similes and metaphors. “But it is all too true that courtesy can indeed mask what is less gallant.” By now, despite the lightness of the rain, her long braid is more than a little damp, and she finds herself having to push errant curls encouraged by the moisture away from her face. “Perhaps the Hand should be concerned about you, Ser Aidan, as your courtesy surely would be great enough to hide quite a few things, were you so inclined.” As so often with her, it is hard to say whether it is a compliment or the opposite .. or a little bit of both.

Bryce beckons for one of his guardsmen to come up to him, and he hands the lance off to the man. Then, he proceeds to lift his great helm off his head, giving that as well to the guards before he looks at the two from his position atop his mount. “Ser Dale! Lady Aurana! I did not see you there, before, or I would have greeted you both!” he shouts out, to make sure they hear him despite the bad weather, the distance and all. They could also see that the knight is looking tired, dark circles beneath his eyes and a rather pained expression despite his success at the quintain.

“All roses have thorns, Lady Aisling,” Reyna says pragmatically, likewise plagued with errant locks of hair. “Fortunately, not all thorns have roses, and are easier to find out.” Her attention strays back to the lists, and the white horse being lead out. “Ah, he’s come back. I wonder if we shall see some prowess now? Or if Ser Jaesin is just another thorn in rose’s splendor?”

The teenage squire in Lannister livery waits beside the viewing stand, looking for his knight. When he sees that man guiding his horse toward the lists, the boy dashes off toward that end of the trampled grassway.

Panting, he covers the distance quickly. Squire and mounted knight converge at the entry to the lists. There, some quick words are exchanged, and the lad catches up a wooden tourney lance to hand up to his knight—Ser Jaesin.

“I would not say ‘more often than not’, Lady Reyna,” Ser Aidan says, demuring at her phrasing. “Not in my experience, in any case.” The entry of another mounted knight—a familiar one from before, this time—draws his attention and he watches as Ser Jaesin progresses towards the lists. His attention is turned back to Aisling by her remark. He seems ... to not be entirely surprised; perhaps he’s getting the measure of Aisling Ryswell. “I hope I shall never give the Hand cause to be concerned in such a way,” he tells her. “It is just as well I’ve no such inclinations.”

“Sherion!” Dale exclaims, “that was it! Yes, I remember now, reminded me of my own daughter,” he grins, “or how I’d like my own daughter to be, anyway.” He smiles as he watches the white destrier slowly walk toward the lists. “Ah, another newcomer. He seems a little familiar…” He looks to Aurana for yet more help before he hears the shout from below and raises a hand in a tentative greeting to the young knight.

Panting as much as his elder, one of the younger boys come trotting up from the stable with Ser Jaesin’s shield in hand. All three of them—knight, page and squire—share a laugh as the lad hands the shield up to his lord.

It is a bright and well-known device, on his left arm and facing the stands: Gules, a Lion Or—the Lion of Lannister rendered in splendid color.

And Aurana does not disappoint. “Ser Jaesin Lannister. We were speaking of him earlier,” she murmurs, inclining her head towards the man in question. Not htat he needs her introduction once the shield has been offered up. Blue eyes shift to the other knight, dipping her head in greeting though she refrains from calling out. “What *is* your daughter like, Ser Dale?” she queries.

Some in the gallery are known to Ser Jaesin, or know him; others have not his acquaintance. It matters little, in that he couches his lance and spurs his mighty steed forward—intent only upon his target—in a single, sublimely unified motion of skill and of discipline.

The hooves of his unnamed white charger beat heavily upon the trampled ground.

Jaesin charges at the quintain, his horse swiftly picking up speed…

Jaesin’s horse moves at a swift gallop towards the quintain…

Jaesin lowers his lance, aims at the splintering shield and ...

... strikes the shield a solid blow that sends cracks shivering through it!

A dark gray cloak with it’s hood pulled low in an attempt to keep out the rain conceals the slight figure that hurries it’s way through the yard. There is a pause though, as she the people in the yard are noted. The quintain and the knight, Ser Jaesin gains a long look, but she quickly looks away after the lance hits the shield.

Following close behind is an older woman, a septa from all appearances.

Bryce is given some help by his guardsmen to dismount, finally stepping down onto the muddy ground in his full armor. He tears the leather cap off his head, along comes the coif, revealing hair wet not with rain but sweat, and he starts walking towards the lady and the knight. His guards take care of the rest, leading his courser in towards the walls in case Bryce needs him later. Bryce grumbles something about a headache and takes his time to reach them.

There is scattered applause from the younger of the Lannister pages, but he is quickly silenced by his two elders. The older boys seem almost disappointed, as their knight canters back down the list in their direction, riding past the quintain and its splintering shield with nary a look.

The eldest of the three catches up a new lance, and on Ser Jaesin’s return exchanges it with the Lannister knight.

The look that Aisling gives Aidan is not precisely dubious, though it is certainly measuring. Still, she seems to accept his word, more or less, as evidenced by her response. “I cannot imagine that always pleases your fellow Dornishmen ... and Dornishwomen.” With that, her attention shifts—no doubt following Reyna’s remarks—from Aidan and Reyna to the knight now riding against the quintain. “That was well ridden,” she notes, approvingly. “If not quite as well as the run we watched you perform the other evening, Ser Aidan.”

Armed with a new shaft, another of the Red Keep’s seemingly unending supply of tourney lances, Ser Jaesin guides his mount in a half turn. There is no fancy wheeling, no parade-ground theatrics or prancing from the Westerlands’ finest champion or his anonymous steed.

There is only grim determination, and a sudden spurring forward again; the same easy flow of muscle and sinew, the same melding of rider and mount and weapon, as the lance is lowered with impeccable aim.

Jaesin charges at the quintain, his horse steadily picking up speed…

Jaesin’s horse moves at a quick canter towards the quintain…

Jaesin lowers his lance, aims at the cracked shield and ...

... strikes the shield a remarkable blow that shatters it entirely and makes the lance flex ominiously!

A squire rushes up to clear away the shards and splinters that Jaesin reduced the shield to. After a few moments, he hangs up a brand new one.

To Aisling’s probing remark, the Knight of the Twilight says nothing. To the rest, though, he seems happy enough to remark “You did not see Ser Tarion Sand break lance and shield both, my lady, or you would be using that as a comparison; but I thank you just the same,” Aidan responds with good grace, though a smile touches his lips. His eyes are avid, however, to watch the famous Lannister knight try his skill at the quintain. “Although there—that was very fine, indeed.”

The recalcitrant quintain put in its proper place by the Lannister’s skill, the knight himself acknowledges the gallery with a dip of his lance as he passes them by. His eyes lock briefly on Dale Westerling’s as he rides past, and Ser Jaesin favors the man with a curt nod and smile.

“He has not missed, at least,” Reyna observes, seeming not to mind the mud kicked up by the white’s hooves. “No prancing about preening either. The lists at Highgarden seem fuller of Knights showing off than Knights riding to the joust.”

Dark eyes flicker to the Lannister as he charges at the quintain, his expression unmoved as the lance strikes true. “Perhaps you will find out soon enough, though I’m not entirely sure she will be travelling with her mother,” Dale says, turning back to Aurana, “to tell the truth I’ve found her to be arrogant and pig-headed of late, but then what young woman isn’t?” He flashes a wicked grin to Aurana before watching Bryce’s approach.

Gaining the end of the lists once more—or from another perspective, the beginning, for it was this end where he started—Ser Jaesin tosses his ill-used lance to the grass, then reins his mount in and nimbly vaults down from the saddle.

There is some brief and good-natured conversation between the man and his pages and squire. Then the younger two lads in his charge accept shield and halfhelm between them, while the eldest leads the warhorse back to stable.

“I suppose I will have to watch the next time you and your fellow hostages are given the opportunity to practice, to see who might have the best seat and the surest aim,” replies Aisling to Aidan with a wry smile, and for the moment she seems rather less ... prickly than before. To Aidan’s assessment of Ser Jaesin’s latest charge against the quintain, she nods in agreement. “Impressive. Though I must admit that if the showing off involves a show of horsemanship, I am in favour of it, whatever else I might think of the trappings of chivalry.” Not a surprising statement from a lady who, if the rumours are correct, spends an inordinate amount of time in and around the stables.

Irena winces at the sound the sound of the shield cracking, but that startled expression is quickly hidden behind a more composed one. A moment later a tap on her arm by her septa directs in attention in the direction of Dale Westerling and Aurana, but it is only after some consideration that she finally begins moving towards them.

Aurana offers the Lannister a smile as he rides by, giving a nod of her own in greeting. She waits as Bryce approaches, listening to the Westerling knight with an arched brow. A quick burst of laughter erupts at his grin, mock outrage taking her features. “Arrogant and pig-headed, truly?” Shaking her head, the young lady grins. “Ser Doran has it over you in charm as well as the quintain, it would appear.”

“Have you ever seen a destrier prance in full caparison?” Reyna asks, rolling her eyes. “Trust me, it’s less a show of horsemanship than it could possibly be. The more outrageous the trappings, the happier the Knight. One feels sorry for the horses sometimes!”

Running a tanned hand through a matted, sweat-darkened mop of golden hair, Ser Jaesin clambers up the stair into the wooden stand. He seems to welcome the cooling drizzle that falls on his face, and his head, smiling absently to himself. He climbs over several bleached rows to make a path toward the Ladies Aisling and Reyna, and their young Dornish friend as well.

Dale breaks out into genuine laughter at Aurana’s comment. “Does he indeed? The man is a true marvel.” He wipes at a trickle of rain water running down the back of his neck before grinning and nodding over to the approaching Irena, “it seems my cousin comes to defend my honour.”

“They made a handsome sight in Dorne, Lady Reyna, though the destriers suffered for it in our deserts,” replies Aidan, unsmiling at that recollection. “Though I suppose that silk caparisons over their barding was probably kinder than leaving without. The sun is relentless during a Dornish summer.” Then to Aisling he hastens to add, “I agree with you, Lady Aisling. At a tourney, where so many are there to see, there is nothing shameful in showing off the fine paces of a warhorse, or one’s skill upon its back. The crowd comes to be entertained, not to merely count lances broken and men unhorsed, and it gives one an opportunity to practice one’s horsemanship.” Were he to say more, no doubt he’d discuss some past tourney he was in, but he takes note of the approaching heir to Casterly Rock and stills his tongue.

“Indeed, Ser Aidan, one would hardly expect such trumpery in the heat of battle—or the heat of Dorne,” Reyna replies to the Dayne Knight, laughing. “Really, you would have to witness it yourself to take my meaning.”

Bryce reaches the two, gesturing towards the bench. “May I sit down? Ser, my lady?” he keeps a rather neutral expression, even if he seems glad that they are there, reflected in his eyes. “I do need to sit down, my headache still has not given up it’s struggle for my day of misery,” he says quietly with a sigh, slipping down on the bench at a polite distance from them both, in case they did not welcome him.

Aurana shares Dale’s joviality, chuckling softly even as she is directed towards Irena. “Ah yes… It has been some time since I have spoken with Lady Irena,” she murmurs. Bryce’s words reach her and she turns towards the knight, inclining her head. “Please, Ser Bryce.” Forehead creasing, she looks on the man with a bit of sympathy. “The Maester was unable to help, Ser? I am truly sorry to hear it.”

“Ah, now that I can agree with, Lady Reyna. I have little experience of tourneys such as they are here in the south,” says the northwoman with a wry smile, “but enough silk and pretty adornments on a horse may obscure poor horsemanship just as well as enough of the same will obscure poor manners or other faults in men and women.” She pauses then, also aware of the Lannister knight’s approach, and turns to him to offer a polite dip of her head. “Well met, Ser Jaesin.”

Dale’s own brow furrows in sympathy as he looks over to Bryce. “Won’t you join us, ser Bryce? I admired your riding out there, I hope we could practice together soon? I’m afraid I have grown lazy since my arrival here.”

With an easy step and an air of light-hearted good humor, Ser Jaesin Lannister comes up before Reyna Rowan, Aisling Ryswell, and Ser Aidan Dayne. He stands a full two rows beneath the trio, and sets his left foot up on the intervening bleacher. “Well met in turn, Lady Aisling,” he says amiably.

Leaning forward, a crooked grin on his face, Jaesin asks of Reyna, “How now, my lady? Shall I assume the daughter of the late and lamented Lord Tyrell is educating our Northron and Southron friends alike on the intricacies of chivalry?”

Bryce smiles gratefully when the offer of joining them comes and he slides across the bench to seat himself in their company, on Dale’s side. Wouldn’t want to steal the lady’s attention. He leans forward to speak to Aurana - “My lady..It did help, do not worry. It just lingered and irritated me. I was blessed to have done as well as I did..” he gestures towards the quintain, then looks back. “But I thank you for your concern. And Ser Dale..” He looks at him. “You would be welcome any day. I practice my swordsplay for hours two after breakfast, then my jousting when I return home from riding in the afternoon, most often.” he explains.

Irena cursties politely as she nears the gathered group, although her smile in more than friendly and in good humor as she as she greets her cousin, “Greetings, Ser Dale, it has been quiet a while, hasn’t it?” She nods politely to Aurana and Bryce, alhtough there is a touch of concern in her voice as she asks, “Have you not been feeling well, ser Bryce?”

“Call it comparing notions, Ser Jaesin,” Reyna replies, turning with a smile to Jaesin. “Lady Aisling and I were agreeing that the trappings of chivalry in the joust are too often excessive and laughable; that, moreover, all that silk and frippery can too often conceal poor horsemanship, just as a rose’s beauty can conceal nasty thorns, or courtesy insult.

“Perhaps a night of rest will see you better in the morning,” Aurana suggests. Her head turns towards the new arrival, smiling warmly. “Lady Irena,” the young lady greets politely before falling silent for a moment.

“A man after my own heart, ser Bryce. I see we’re going to get along rather well. My own father-in-law, the Reaversbane?” He looks to Bryce to see if the name means anything to him. “Always advocates practice, practice and more practice to improve his skill at arms. Something I have taken to my heart.” Raising his dark eyes to Irena, Dale smiles warmly, “too long, my lady. You are well?”

Offering the Lannister heir a half-bow from his seat by way of greeting, Ser Aidan awaits Lady Reyna’s response to the man’s query before he offers, “It is as Lady Reyna says, ser.” A pause, and then he offers with practiced courtesy, “I am Ser Aidan Dayne, of Starfall. It was a good course, that last one.”

Bryce seems a little taken aback by the approach of Irena but he rises up, offers her a quick bow before settling down again. “My lady Irena.. yes, I have been feeling slightly ill. I did not sleep very well,” he explains, leaning over so he can see them all. He nods in agreement with Aurana, then to Dale, and he seems to be slightly overwhelmed by all the things he need to reply to and think about.. “Ah.. err. Yes. I practice every day.. but I thought you said you had become lazy ser? Surely not, if you practice every day? Perhaps not just against the right resistance?” he inquires.

Ser Jaesin smiles that same crooked smile in response to Reyna’s explanation, and archly wonders, “Do you have thorns, then, Lady Reyna? I must remember not to cross you, in that case.”

Then he turns his regard to Ser Aidan, whom he studies a moment before answering with this: “My thanks. I’ve had better and worse alike, as have you, I suspect.”

There is a moment’s pause in his speech, and then Jaesin adds more vaguely, “I looked for you, at Sunspear. Alas that the press was too thick—my brother’s men spoke highly of you.”

Bryce seems a little taken aback by the approach of Irena but he rises up, offers her a quick bow before settling down again. “My lady Irena.. yes, I have been feeling slightly ill. I did not sleep very well,” he explains, leaning over so he can see them all. He nods in agreement with Aurana, then to Dale, and he seems to be slightly overwhelmed by all the things he need to reply to and think about.. “Ah.. err. Yes. I practice every day.. but I thought you said you had become lazy ser? Surely not, if you practice every day? Perhaps not just against the right resistance?” he inquires.

“It seems to me this discussion has taken a surprisingly philosophical turn,” Aisling remarks following upon Reyna’s words. A sidelong glance goes to Aidan as he compliments the Lannister heir, and then her attention turns back to the latter, eyeing him with a certain critical appraisal for a moment or two. In the end, however, she looks again to the Dornish knight. “You must have acquired quite a reputation, despite your unassuming ways.”

“They are kind to speak so,” Aidan responds to Jaesin, with a brief nod of thanks. “The golden lion was often in the thick of the fighting, as I have good cause to recall, ser.” Aisling’s remark pulls a brief, tight smile, “Well, I only strive to do my best, my lady. The gods give us our gifts, and it would be poor of us if we did not do with them as they must have intended.”

“All roses have thorns, Ser Jaesin. Gardeners have attempted to breed them out since Garth Greenhand ruled in the Reach, but alas, all in vain.” Reyna smiles with a slight shrug. “But I can say that my thorns are few and easily avoided.”

“Philosophy is a worthwhile pastime when the weather is foul, though most are wise enough not to discuss it out in the rain,” she says to Aisling, looking ruefully at her wet and mud-spattered skirts.

Dale smiles across to the young knight, “no, I meant to say I /try/ to practice every day, though since my arrival here, my best intentions have fallen by the wayside a little.” He turns to Irena, raising an eyebrow, “I never knew you held an interest in the practice yard, cousin?”

Her nod in reply to Aurana’s greeting is slightly hesitent, but Irena covers by turning to reply to ser Dale. “I am, ser. I am finally getting used to the city. You’re doing well as well, I hope?” She then adds in response to the second question, “That is true, I do not really, I stopped though, because I noticed it was ser Jaesin.” It takes her even a moment longer before she says, “I hope that you get some rest and feel better.” The tone of the statement is purely polite, although her expression is concerned.

A hand lifts, pushing a stray wisp of hair from her face as Aurana offers an apologetic smile. “I pray your forgiveness, Sers, my lady. I have spent too much time away and Septa Dalla will undoubtedly be hunting me down soon. It was, as ever, a great pleasure,” she murmurs softly.
Irena has partially disconnected.

Ser Jaesin accepts the Dornish knight’s praise with a simple nod, neither smiling nor scowling at it. When the other man falls further into discussion with the Ryswell girl, however, the Lannister knight looks back to Reyna Rowan and her talk of philosophy.

“There is little worth discussing in the rain, and less worth doing,” he says to the lady from Highgarden. “You never struck me as the sort of rose to subject yourself to the elements, my lady,” he chides. “Perhaps I have misjudged you. I thought all knights and ladies south of Crackhall to be full of their flower-tongued fripperies.”

Ser Jaesin says this lightly, teasing and not insulting as his brother might.

Bryce glances from one to the other, but the social situation leaves him quiet until Aurana rises to leave. He rises too, then, offering a quick bow. “Lady Aurana.. I hope the rest of the day and evening will treat you well. Thank you for your concern about my illness,” and so, he smiles at her, in the middle of the smell of sweat and armor that surrounds him at these sort of times.

“Oh, I do not know if that is true, Lady Reyna,” Aisling wryly notes. “In my studies I have come across anecdotes suggesting that the more learned you are, the more likely you are to forget all about such trivial matters as rain in your pursuit of knowledge. One Maester, with a particular fondness for Ravenry, was apparently known to spend so much time in the Rookery observing his birds that he wore a robe splattered with ... the evidence of their presence.” Judging by the fact that the evidence of her time spend in the stables can be found on her garb, she might not find this so very outlandish. But she does not linger on that topic, as she instead turns to Aidan, saying, “Now that is a sentiment I can agree with, Ser Aidan. Even in such cases were ones talents may lie in unexpected directions.”

“That is true as well, Lady Aisling,” Reyna laughs, before focusing on Ser Jaesin. “This is a fine, soft rain, and warm into the bargain. It makes one’s hair curl horribly, but is pleasant otherwise. Perhaps it will put some life into the flowers around the Keep.”

Dale rises in unison with Bryce. “My lady, a pleasure as always,” he murmurs before turning to Irena, blinking against the rain. “I am settling in slowly, cousin. Though Kings Landing is very different from home as you will appreciate.” He raises an eyebrow questioningly, “you know ser Jaesin?”

Aidan nods agreeably. “Even in such cases, my lady of Ryswell,” he says, thinking nothing of his agreement. He considers the woman for a moment and then offers pleasantly, “Though I suppose that in practicing your own talents, you will not have to contend with raven droppings. The honest scent of the stables is not near so bad as a maester’s rookery, I know.”

Irena cursties politely to Aurana as other lady prepares to leave, “It was nice to speak with you again, if only briefly.” She then turns to Dale nodding, “It is very different.” She then explains, “I do not know him well, but we have met before. I’ve traveled to Casterly Rock with my father and grandfather a few times, when grandmother or mother wished to go as well.”

“It would be a splendid thing, to see more lively flowers,” Ser Jaesin answers Reyna, his eyes narrowing thoughtfully. The tone of his words is light, and almost too pleasant. “I have seen too many wilted blossoms since returning from Dorne,” he admits. “Perhaps a good, strong rain from the western seas might refresh them more than even you or I could guess.”

Aurana returns Irena’s curtsy, giving smiles all around. “Pleasant evening to you all,” she murmurs before turning away, her guard departing with her.

“Indeed, western rains rarely blow ill, at least not in my experience,” Reyna says agreeably. “Yet they can be devestating in their turn. Too much of a good thing, perhaps?”

“Well, I have risen..” Bryce says slowly, looking at the two others. “And I should depart. My head feels like it has been hit with a big rock.” He frowns, slowly shaking his head so it doesn’t get worse. “Be well, both of you.. I will not practice more today. Rest, some water perhaps..” He takes a step back and offers a bow to Irena, a respectful nod to Dale.

“I am glad to hear that, Ser Aidan,” replies Aisling, quite pleasantly. “And you are quite right, stables are far more pleasant than rookerys. Though ravens are interesting creatures.” A light shrug then, and her attention turns to Jaesin and Reyna for a moment, their exchange briefly bringing an inquisitive expression to her face, though she does not comment upon it. Instead, she glances first at the quintain and then back to Aidan, apparently unable to keep herself from testing him on one point. “I suppose, then, that you would not find it inappropriate for a woman with a good seat on a horse and a steady hand to try skill at if not the quintain so at least at rings?”

Dale returns the nod to Bryce, “well, have a good rest, ser Bryce, though don’t forget me the next time you are going to practice.” He turns to Irena, his smile wide, his tone bereft, “it seems we have been deserted, my lady.”

“Even the strongest storm passes in time,” opines Ser Jaesin in his turn, “and the flowers and trees strong enough to weather it are quenched by its waters; indeed, for long enough to weather even perilous droughts.”

He pauses, then adds, “Though I suppose such trees and flowers must themselves have quite a thirst—and even look forward to next rare storm.” He laughs, though who can say at what? “Good day, my lady.”

To Aidan and Aisling he inclines his head most briefly in leavetaking.

“Do not discount the wind that roars and tears leaves from their branches,” Reyna says, almost under breath. “Good day, ser.” With that, she also rises and shakes out skirts heavy with damp. “My septa would be appalled. Good day, Lady Aisling, Ser Aidan. I have enjoyed our conversation greatly!”

“Rest well, Ser Bryce.” Irena returns the bow with a polite curtsy. She then says to Dale, “So it seems.” She inquires after a moment, “Have you heard from your family? Are they doing well?”

Bryce retreats after the goodbyes have been said, slowly walking down to where his guardsmen are waiting. He sends them off with Frost to the stables while the knight himself makes towards the Kitchen Keep to the south.

It’s almost as if the Starfall knight came to expect such a question, for he only barely hesitates before he responds, “I have heard—though have not seen it—that Princess Daena does just that, Lady Aisling, and she a maiden of three-and-ten.” The farewells interrupt what more he would say on the subject—he hasn’t exactly answered the question. Aidan stands and offers both Jaesin and Reyna a bow. “It has been my pleasure, Lady Reyna,” he adds to her, with seeming sincerity.

A wry smile quirks Aisling’s lips as Aidan appears to escape actually answering her question, and she follows his example in standing to offer a curtsey to Reyna and Jaesin. “A pleasure, Lady Reyna, Ser Jaesin. Even in this weather.” She then remains standing, and casts a glance over in the direction of the Guest Tower. “I suppose this may be as good a time as any to return to my quarters, and find a warm fire to dry up a little by.”

“She does indeed,” Reyna says of the Princess, neither tone nor expression betraying her opinion. “Quite well, too.” She bends her head to both, and skips down the wet benches to the ground, then away toward the eastern yeard and the Guest Tower.

Dale wipes damp hair away from his face, the rain running rapidly from the shoulders of his cloak. “I am expecting Sheralla to arrive in the next week or so,” he smiles to Irena, “though whether she will be bringing the children I couldn’t say. And how are your parents? Well, I hope?” He smiles down at the young lady before casting a gaze around the increasingly sparse crowd for a familiar face before turning back to Irena.

And so Jaesin Lannister, as well, descends the opposite side of the stand; he is off in another direction, but away from the rain as much as anyone.

Irena’s voice goes soft and she looks at the ground as she says, “Lady Odette had an accident. She died a few months ago.”

Watching the Tyrell widow and the Lannister heir depart, Ser Aidan turns to hear Aisling prepare to take her own leave. “That would be wise. It would not do, to catch a chill, my lady. I should do much the same, while I’ve time. Soon enough it will be time for evening prayers.” He pauses and then asks with easy courtesy, “I would be pleased to escort you, Lady Aisling. It is not out of the way. If not, I will bid you good evening.”

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