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Twilight begins to fall, and there’s a pleasant breath of air from the sea that eases the intense heat that the sun’s passing left. The great castle, half empty with so many of the court gone with the king, echoes with the sound of those who remain leaving the shelter of stone walls and slate roofs to enjoy the balmy weather. Among them, it seems, is a Dornish hostage, marked by his olive skin and the robes he wears. Ser Aidan is peeling a blood orange with his fingers, nails cutting into it so he can tear away strips, as he meanders.
Walking briskly, with the split skirt of her riding garb rippling out behind her, Lady Aisling steers her course towards the guest tower. One might assume she is most recently come from the stables, and the somewhat untidy state of her long braid of dark hair would suggest this as well. Indeed, as she takes notice of Ser Aidan, she stops for a moment, lifting one hand to smooth away errand strands of hair from her face, tucking them behind her ears. Then she proceeds, her course diverted to take her towards the Dornishman.
Padding through the yard, Lady Obany wears a dark gown of Darklyn red and black, sashed with white. She holds a bound parchment and a book under her arm, as well as a capped ink well and quill, making her way towards the Old Keep where she usually sits and writes letters and prose. Noticing the two already in the yard, she stops just witihin earshot though not obviously listening, taking the time to look up at the stars and moon.
“Lady Aisling,” says Aidan Dayne, a smile plain in the mingling of waning twilight, starshine and moonlight, and the fitful, dancing light of torches in their sconces outside one of the buildings nestled against the walls. A moment of consideration, and he moves a little nearer; he doesn’t yet note Obany, his attention focused on Aisling as it is. “I see you’ve the same notion. I’m minded of Sunspear at night, with this weather—warm, yet cool in a way, and all at the same time. A maester’s mystery.”
An unusually cheerful mood seems to be upon the lady this evening, and the greeting is met by a quick smile. “Ser Aidan, good evening.” Another discreet brushing away of tendrils of hair, some black and some silver, and Aisling inclines her head in agreement. “The warmth does make studying the night sky a more pleasant prospect, for one thing. A winter night in the North can be very beautiful, but if you stay out too long to enjoy it you are likely to freeze a few things off.” A glance about the courtyard reveals Lady Obany’s presence, and after a thoughtful look at the other woman, she nods her head in a greeting.
Looking from the sky, Obany notices Lady Aisling’s focus, giving her a polite and proper deference. “Lady Aisling, the night is warm and clear, yet much more of a relief than the day, I must say,” she calls, ambling closer, “And Ser Aidan as well. Enjoying the evening, I pray?” Shifting the bundle of items under her arm for a more comfortable grip, “You’ve caught me en route to the Hall, seeking a bite to eat and a pleasant place to scribble away the night.”
As Aisling speaks, Aidan continues with peeling the blood orange, letting the strips of the peel fall rather haphazardly where they may. He offers a wry grimace at her words—the thought of losing toes or the tip of a nose to frostbite is strange thought, but not a worrying one. Then following Aisling’s gaze, the Knight of the Twilight bows to Obany as she draws nearer. “Well met, my lady,” he offers, with grave courtesy, before he turns his eyes to her parcel. “Letters to your kin?” he asks.
Turning towards Lady Obany as she approaches, Aisling offers a smile—if one less bright than what Ser Aidan won—and replies, “Indeed, I much prefer this to the heat of the day. I was not made for this sort of climate, I think. A hot bath, that I do not mind, but a hot day is not easily escaped unless one finds a suitable dark and cold room.”
The lady from Duskendale nods to the knight, “That and more. I enjoy writing whatever comes to mind, and I am in the process of writing out a song, actually.” She turns to Lady Aisling after, “Oh yes, I understand.the need for cool in the midst of such a heat wave… though in Duskendale, I would oft find a cool pool to bathe in, rather than a hot bath.”
“Alas, no pools here, on Aegon’s High Hill.” Ser Aidan says, with a certain gallantry. His fingers tug away the last strips of peel from the blood orange as he remarks to Aisling, “Though warm baths, there are those in plenty. They come quicker now, that the servant have so few to serve. Have you marked it?” Done with peeling the blood orange, he pries out a slice and then offers it up in silence, to see if anyone would like it, as he adds, “A song ... I’m a poor maker of songs, but I do enjoy the playing and singing of them. Is it a tale out of the Age of Heroes? A romance of the old kind? A ballad?”
“True enough, Lady Obany. A hot bath is not quite so tempting during a southern summer, though it was always one thing I liked to indulge in at home.” Aisling pauses for a moment then, and rubs her hand across the other arm. “Not the least as a remedy for bruises.” She then moves to take the offered slice of orange, with another smile at Aidan. “Thank you.”
Politely taking a slice of the orange that was offered, Obany replies demurely, “Nothing quite so flowery. I tend to enjoy more… realistic pursuits in prose and song. It is a relation of the travails of battle, surely, though with a much more somber tone and focus. It is still very much uncompleted.” She bites into the orange, nodding her approval as she carefully polices any juices that might stain her lips.
“A bruise, my lady? Raven up to some mischief?” Aidan asks, concern tinging the knight’s voice as she takes the proferred slice. Nimble fingers draw out another slice, and hold it out to Obany in case she wants one. And when that’s taken, a third slice is in hand, and he takes his own bite of it. He chews slowly, with pleasure, and then swallows. “A knight’s hardships are many. Bruises are the least of them,” he adds, looking between the two ladies. “Yet there’s glory too, and honor in it, Lady Obany. And friendship. One makes many friends, on a campaign…”
And loses them, too, which is probably way his voice drifts off before he takes another bite. But the famed Knight of the Twilight says nothing of that.
Swallowing down the last of the orange, Aisling nods. “He has a temper, and had a little bit of a tantrum today. Ash is in heat, and he has lost most of his sense at the moment,” she dryly notes, rubbing at her arm again. “I expect I shall I have a colourful bruise, but he did not break skin, so nothing to be concerned about.” Looking to Obany again, she adds, “There is room for a lot of different songs, I would say. Though I have no facility for either writing or singing them myself. The latter, certainly, would just scare the horses.”
Obany nods in listening to the knight, silently taking note of things left unsaid, though not making any mention of it herself. “I hope to capture it all, ser, though it is proving a monumental task, I admit.” She looks to Lady Aisling and giggles into her hand politely at her remark, “While I enjoy singing, it is most definitely not my preferred pastime.” She hikes the parchment up a bit under her arm, keeping hold of the inkwell carefully.
“Ah, it’s a shame then, when your voices are so sweet. Song’s a gift of the gods,” says the gallant knight, Ser Aidan. And then, in a more than passable voice, he sings a snatch of some song or other without prompting:
I loved a maid as white as winter,
with moonglow in her hair.
I loved the sound of her laughter,
There was no sound more fair.
And then he pauses, and flashes white teeth in a grin, before finishing off the last of his slice of blood orange. There’s a trickle of red juice on his lips, which he rubs away absently.
A hint of a blush, no less red than the juice of the blood orange, fleetingly colours Aisling’s cheeks. Her lips press together, a little sharply, but then she does smile. “I think they passed me over, Ser Aidan, when they were passing out that particular gift. Or perhaps they gave some more than their fair share of the allotment,” she tells the Dornish knight.
Applauding happily with her fingers to the other palm, careful of the ink well, Obany grins, “That was passing good, ser. The realm has been robbed of a sweet-voiced bard and put a knight in it’s stead. Should fates have been twisted just so, you would have prevailed either way. Your lips are equally gifted with the way of words as they are with song.” She glances around the yard, watching the breeze rush through the grass and flutter the banners atop the battlements. “While the night is pleasant, holding bounty for the eyes and skin, it holds none for the stomach. Would either of you be interested in travelling to the Hall for a bit to eat?”
An elegant bow—as elegant as one can manage, when trying to keep a half-eaten blood orange from staining linen and sandsilk robes, in any case—at the praise, and Aidan says, “Mayhaps I’ll become a bard one day, when weight of armor and the song of steel become too much for me…” But he laughs at that, after a moment; a fine jest, certainly, from the view of the young Knight of the Twilight. He gives a glance to Aisling then, and smiles, before he says, “In truth, I had intended to visit the royal sept for the evening sermon. Septon Elwood has a fine voice for the hymns. But thank you, Lady Obany, and good fortune with your song-making.”
A thoughtful look at Aidan at his response to Obany, then a polite smile for the pair of them. “My thanks for the invitation, Lady Obany, but I fear I am expected for dinner with my uncle. In fact, I ought to be on my way.” A quick curtsey for both of them, and a slightly lingering glance at the Dornish knight, and then she is on her way, striding briskly through the balmy evening.
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