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Falon is stood opposite a man wearing a battered chainmail hauberk - perhaps one of the gold cloaks or another servitor. He’s bent forward slightly with one hand on his thigh, the other clutching a longsword. His brow drips with a mixture of sweat and rain that causes his hair to appear lank and matted against his head and face. Both men appear to be out of breath, and the man with Firearse is using his spear to prop himself up as he tries to regain some oxygen.
“I think that’s enough for today. What do you say, Carl?” Falon says, before straightening and wiping at the hair in his eyes with the back of his hand.
“Aye, ser, I think that’ll do me for the rest of the week.”
Falon lets out a wheezy chuckle at that, and then hands over the blunted longsword he’s holding. “Tomorrow it is, then.”
The door to the sept opens, allowing a small, slim girl to slip through, her eyes still thoughtful and expression still somber as she emerges from the place of prayer. As soon as Ryssa Waters catches sight of the rain falling from the sky, her reverent serenity breaks into a small, distasteful frown. She flips up the hood of her light cloak, covering the carefully-tended waves of her brown hair, and steps out.
Flitting between the raindrops, Ryssa makes her way across the courtyard, darting from tree to tree in an almost-futile attempt to stay dry. She pauses, though, under the spreading branches of one sheltering oak, to steal a glance over at the men practicing near the quintain. Ryssa’s eyes narrow as her sharp gaze skims over each of the shields in turn, taking note of the heraldry - and then her gaze lingers for a moment over the golden rose of Tyrell, eyes fluttering in a curious blink as she takes in the sight of the scarred, bedraggled man wearing the sigil.
Falon watches the other man stagger off for a few moments, resting his hand on the hilt of his own longsword as he does so. A couple of deep, calming breaths, and then he turns to walk slowly away from the practice yard himself. He seemed to be heading in a direction that would, conceivably, take him to the Tyrell apartments, but upon noticing the girl beneath the oak he slows and then stops outright. “My lady,” he calls out, loud enough to be heard clearly.
As soon as the man’s voice rings out, Ryssa’s head lifts, eyes curious and alert, and a small smile coming to her face. “Yes, my lord?” she replies. The girl steps forward slightly, still within the dry safety of the oak tree’s shelter, but closer to the green-clad knight, tilting her head, birdlike, to listen for his response.
“The rain seems to have kept most of the castle indoors, light as it is,” Falon replies, returning the smile as if to show that he means no harm as he begins to walk towards the oak tree and, indeed, Ryssa. As he draws closer, the volume of his voice adjusts to compensate for the decreased distance. “I am newly arrived at King’s Landing, and would much appreciate a telling of recent events from unbiased lips, if you would do me the honour.”
Another bit of surprise, this time at the directness of the knight’s question, flutters Ryssa’s eyes. But her smile curves up a little more, pleased and curious. “The honor would be mine, my lord,” she replies. “You will be blamed by no-one for not knowing what has passed in King’s Landing, when your time was spent in such noble service for the realm elsewhere.” Ryssa’s voice is light and quick, her words skipping as quickly as her feet had earlier. “Am I correct, my lord, in thinking that you are Ser Falon Tyrell? Your lady cousin mentioned that you had but recently returned. I am studying with her septa,” Ryssa explains, her smile growing a little more, “thanks to the Lady Reyna’s kindness.”
“That’s right,” Falon replies, the corners of his smile quirking up a little at the sound of his own name. “So that would make you Lady Ryssa Waters?” He comes to a halt after sidestepping under the scant protection offered by the canopy of the tree. “I must confess, I didn’t think to find you so beautiful, my lady. Reyna said that she would like nothing more than to see you married, but I believe you could have your pick of the Seven Kingdoms.”
A nimble sidestep makes room for the knight under the shelter of the tree, but his words open Ryssa’s eyes wide. “Y-you are very kind, my lord.” Her momentary astonishment resolves swiftly, and she recovers the momentum of her quick words, but there is a lingering wideness around her eyes, and a slight pinkening of her cheeks betrays her pleasure with the flattery. “But you have given me one thing that I cannot claim as my own,” Ryssa continues, the lightness of her voice growing a little airier, and more brittle. “‘Lady’ is not a title that I can bear. But…your words are most kind. I can speak for none of the gentlemen in the Seven Kingdoms, but I hope that at least one of them shares your opinion. Your lady cousin was correct, when she said that her family was gifted with courtesy.”
“I would be shocked and appalled at the lack of taste if a single man disagreed with me,” Falon says, once again reaching up to wipe at the hair in his eyes. “But you disarm me with your grace and acumen, Ryssa.” He says the name pointedly and reluctantly, as if he truly believes that ‘Ryssa’ should be replaced, or at least prefixed with a title. “Come, let us talk of the aftermath of war. My lady cousin confirmed that hostages from Dorne are present in the city. How are they…” the pause is audible, “settling in?”
“Thank you, my lord,” Ryssa murmurs. Her head is bowed demurely, and her cheeks are pink, but her eyes peek up through her lowered lashes to keep her gaze steadily on Falon, and her smile curves up in pleased satisfaction. She falls silent, letting the knight continue with his questions, but the smile lingers. “I would not call it _settling_, my lord,” Ryssa replies at last, her light words slower and more thoughtful. “There have been…_words_, between a few of the hostages and our knights. I think it perhaps fortunate that the hostages are not permitted their weapons.”
Falon nods, his smile flickering momentarily as he takes on board what Ryssa is saying, and then fading altogether as he gnaws on his lower lip, obviously in thought. “Understandable, admittedly. Wounds are still fresh. Who seems to be the biggest antagonists in these incidents, if you’ll forgive my inquiry? Ser Daven always said I had a knack for poking my nose where it wasn’t wanted.”
Ryssa lets out a low laugh. “It is forgiven, of course, my lord. The search for knowledge is always an admirable one.” An eager spark is rising into her eyes, and she lifts her head higher, buoyed by the privilege of being able to pass on the knowledge that she has. “Do you mean which side, my lord, or which knights? For which side, I must admit that both have been heard speaking angry words. But as for which knights…Ser Jaesin Lannister and Ser Jossart Vaith have had the most words to say, it seems. Seeking to fight the battle of Sunspear once more, it is said.” Ryssa has no anger of her own, as she reports it, but her smile quirks wryly, and her hands flutter out in a dainty gesture of resignation.
“I almost feel sorry for the Dornish,” Falon admits, his own smile returning to his features as he speaks. “But hot air is to be expected, I suppose. There hasn’t been anything beyond spoken words, though? There are rumours around the castle that several ladies recently fell ill and poison has been considered as the cause. Surely the Dornish hostages are suspects in the application of such a poison, if indeed that /was/ the cause?” His own demeanor as he says this is one of the upmost indifference, as if discussing the weather or what he had for dinner.
“I do not believe that the Dornish are behind it, though,” Ryssa adds, more slowly, as the flash of anger begins to fade into more moderate, thoughtful words. “They would have no reason to want to hurt Lady Carmella - quite the opposite, for she is one of the few who will show them kindness.” Somber now, Ryssa pauses, before continuing, “I have heard it spoken that the poison might have been sent by someone who objected to that kindness on her part. But I cannot imagine who would be so cowardly, or so cruel.”
Falon follows Ryssa’s words carefully, his smile disappearing with her sudden flash of anger to be replaced by a thoughtful pursing of lips. He seems genuinely interested in the matter - nodding here and there at Ryssa’s points - though he returns to his easy manner when he opens his mouth to reply, his shoulders sagging slightly. “Forgive me, I didn’t intend to upset you so. Though I think you’re right. I doubt even the Dornish would risk such thinly-veiled blatancy so soon. And to hear old Ser Daven tell it, King’s Landing is rife with just the type of characters you’ve described.” The smile he gives her then is sad, but only for a second.
“Forgive _me_, my lord,” Ryssa offers in return, lowering her head slightly. “The…_incident_ harmed two ladies who have been very kind to me, since my arrival. And to speak truly, I have only met a few who might be spoken of in such a manner. But your Ser Daven sounds as if he is a man of great wisdom,” Ryssa continues, her voice lightening again, and her words resuming their swift, skipping speed. “And although I have done my best to acquaint myself with those in the castle since my arrival, that arrival _was_ relatively recent. Ser Daven’s experience exceeds mine, no doubt.”
Ser Falon laughs abruptly at that, the tone carrying a decidedly bitter tinge to it underneath the obvious mirth. “You are courteous to say so, Ryssa, but you obviously never met the man. Should you ever find yourself marrying a man like that I’ll likely lose all faith in the world.” He rolls his eyes and chuckles throatily as he says it, and it’s clear that there is no malice in his words - besides which it’s almost a by-thought, because he shifts the subject back as if it’s the most natural progression in the world. “But what of you? How do you feel about these hostages? Have you had much contact with them?”
Ryssa’s eyebrows lift in response to Falon’s laugh, and although there is an bit of curiosity in her eyes, her voice is still light as she tosses back, “I shall take your word for it, then, my lord, since your experience with _him_ undoubtedly exceeds my own.” She pauses, letting the knight steer the conversation back to its original course, and following where he leads. “Only one, my lord, and he was fairly courteous. Most of them keep to themselves, I suppose. Or, at least, they do not keep to any space where I can find them.”
Falon nods in a satisfied manner, as if he expected to hear something along those lines. “You have been most kind to bring me up to date, my lady,” he says, giving Ryssa a half bow and then straightening again. “It has been very pleasant speaking with you; I do believe I even forgot about the rain for a time. But I should go and change out of this mail, it does begin to chafe awfully after too long in the wet weather.” He fiddles with his sword belt as if to emphasise the point, a look of mock annoyance clouding his face.
“The pleasure has been mine, my lord,” Ryssa replies, with another demure nod of her head. The knight’s blunt language tightens her lips a little, but all she says, her tone still smooth, is, “Please, do not let me detain you - I would not wish for you to be - er - uncomfortable on my behalf. It was an honor to make your acquaintance, Ser Falon. I hope we meet again soon.” Ryssa finishes with another smile, and looks up to meet the knight’s eyes once more, her chin lifting with renewed confidence.
Falon returns the smile, looking down into Ryssa’s eyes to hold the gaze for a moment. “I’m sure we will, my lady,” he promises. And then, after dipping his head in farewell, he turns and plods away through the rain.
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