Highgarden: Field of Lances
The Field of Lances at Highgarden is a vast, grand place, dedicated entirely to the chivalrous pursuit of the joust. The lists themselves are wide enough to run four tilts at a time, though they are set for two runs. Trumpet vines with huge golden blooms are trained along each railing separating the combatants, and the packed dirt of the ground is raked clean of any debris that might foul a hoof. At either end of the lists are the multi-colored pavilions of the combatants, ringing with the sounds of steel sharpening, the hammer-sounds of ferriers tending the destriers and the shouts of knights for squires.
The viewing stands are supported by the same marble columns one finds elsewhere at Highgarden, and the benches all polished free of splinters. The stands are shaded with awnings of vibrant colored silk, hung with banners of all the houses of the Reach, and every noble or knightly house visiting for the joust. The center box is given over to the Tyrells themselves, but today their banners are only brackets for the great red and black dragon of House Targaryen. Everywhere is the heady scent of flowers, mingled with leather and steel and sweat.
Galan leads Alek towards his green tented pavilion. “I’ve got a cask of Dornish red I just opened for a special occasion.” He grins like a madman as he ushers him into the pavilion. A few Lannister servants are on hand and one of them quickly fetches two cups and some wine.
Alek grins. “One thing about the Dornish,” He comments as he takes a seat, “They brew a good wine. Dry.”
After they’ve been served, Galan takes a long sip and looks into it, “So how goes that business with the Meadows?”
Alek sighs lightly. “It goes. Nothing further has been said about it, but Lord Ardon and the Queen wish to speak with Ser Anton, Josmyn and myself as soon as Ser Anton is feeling well enough.”
Galan snorts, “Like you’re a pack of squabbling children rather then nobles…” He shakes his head, “I meant to tell you the other day something that you probably knew already. That you have my support if you need it.”
Alek smiles. “Of that, I am glad, ser. And I hope that I do not need it.” He takes a gulp of the wine and smiles. “On the other hand,” he says, looking to the man and smiling. “What is this I hear about you and Lady Doryssa?”
Galan smiles widely, “The girl is simply head over heels for me. Can’t say I blame her. I’m so charming sometimes that I scare myself.” He leans back and takes a sip, “She’s a sweet girl. I do enjoy her company plenty.
Alek smirks. “Perhaps it would be best to settle down with such a girl, hmm?” He says, “Although, I hear you’ve taken to outdoors activities with Lady Carmella, also.
There’s a twinkle in his eye as he smirks back, “That I have. Quite a Hawker that one. She has a lot of spirit in her.” He shrugs, “Perhaps it would be best to settle down, she says her father could give me Massey lands to settle down in.”
Alek nods. “Aye, the Masseys have land aplenty.” He says, smiling. “Ser Luthor can testify to that.” He leans back. “You’re not a young cub now, Galan. Surely you want a sire to carry on your fine name?”
“Hmm, so Luthor got Massey Lands, too? I hadn’t heard.” Galan scowls into his cup, “I’d hate to think that the most I could accomplish was something a baseborn bastard had gotten.”
Alek perks an eyebrow. “I did not say Ser Luthor had received lands, and you forget yourself, ser.” He says, to defence of his friend. “Ser Luthor is as high-born as you or I.”
Galan raises his hands in a conciliatory gesture, “You’re right. I misspoke. Ser Luthor is a fine man, and has earned everything he’s gotten, which is more then I can say about myself, which is why I’m not very tempted by the offer, as much as I like the Lady.”
Alek grins. “You need to seize opportunity, ser.” He says, “You like the young girl, aye?”
“I won’t deny that I do, Ser. She’s a lovely girl and very loving. I’m sure she’d make a good mother and wife. But…” Galan shrugs, “I’m a Lannister, and a rather famed knight if I do say so myself. I should be marrying a Tully, or a Stark… at least some poor girl who’s in the line of succession.”
Alek smiles. “Why, ambitious, aren’t we? A Lannister through and through.” He chuckles. “Lady Doryssa has the ear of a Targaryen. That’s pretty good compensation, no?”
“I am, in fact.” He grins and nods to Alek, “An ear to the Princess! She’s little more then a servant herself, even if it is to a queen. I’ll say this about Lady Carmella. She may be a lady in waiting, but she is no one’s servant.” He grins.
Alek leans back, smirking. “Well, if it is her station you are worried about, then perhaps true love does not exist.”
Galan waves his hand dismissively, “Tell me Ser Alek, was it True Love you had on your mind when you married Lady Ameria?”
Alek scowls lightly. “I was not ready to be married, in my mind. My lord father merely wished a distraction for me.” He grunts. “But I am glad for the match-up, at least.” He leans back and points to Galan. “You have an opportunity I did not, ser. Do not waste it on petty things as station.
Galan seriously considers that a moment, “Hmm. I suppose it wouldn’t make much difference in the long run, eh? My children will be well cared for in any case if the lands are as good as Lady Doryssa says…” He scratches his chin, “I appreciate your advice, Ser Alek.”
Alek grins. “Aye, it’s what I’m here for, ser.” The old lion chuckles. “What good would I be as an old man if I didn’t teach you striplings how to do it?”
“I imagine you’d be around just for me to knock into the dirt, Ser Alek.” He grins, “Speaking of knocked in the dirt. Will you be participating in the Jousts this weekend, ser?” Galan sets his cup to the side and lounges in one of his incredibly comfortable chairs in his pavilion.
Carmella is still moving rather quite gingerly for whatever reason, but when she passed Galan’s squire and it was mentioned that the men were out drinking the pavilion, Carmella decided to drag her sore self outside to bask in the sun and join them. So, approaching gingerly, but with a smile, the sand silk clad lady steps up to the camp and bows her head…“Gentlemen. Is there room for another?”
Alek grins. “You only have luck, ser!” He comments, clapping a hand on Galan’s shoulder. “Luck and glue.” He nods. “I shall be attending. Whether I will ride is another case. I heard this joust was merely for the winners of the previous ones.” He comments, looking up and greeting Carmella with a nod.
Galan stands and bows to Camella, smiling widely, “Ah, Lady Carmella, of course. The Green Lion’s pavilion is always open to the likes of you.” He takes her fingers and kisses her fingers, then leads her to a large comfortable red chair. He turns to Alek, “Good gods, I hope not. I’d hate to think I’d been practicing for nothing… though I did win the Melee, I wonder if that will get me a spot in the lists?”
Carmella smiles a bit wider at Galan’s greeting, though she returns Alek’s nod, she squeezes the Lion’s hand rather fondly as he kisses her soft knuckles. She steps thankfully over to the comfortable chair, lowering herself sorely into it, sitting down thankfully.. “Thank you, dear Lion… they said your roar was fearsome, but I do find it welcoming. Ser Alek, good to see you, as always. I hope I do not interrupt too masculine a conversation. Have no dear, my ears aren’t nearly so delicate as you might think.” She sighs as she sinks back a bit deeper into the chair.
Alek grins lightly to Galan. “Probably not. A melee may be too unchivalrous for the Tyrells. Besides, that was an affair between Smallwood and Swann.” He finishes his wine, nodding to Carmella. “You seem stiffer than last night, my lady. I take it the night was not kind on your injuries?”
Galan says quickly, “She fell off her horse at the Widows Hill, quite a tumble. It was of course the horses fault, not hers.” He smiles to her, “And I did win a purse. Surely that would count for something? I’ll have a word with the Tyrells.” He nods eagerly, “I’m sure I can talk them into letting me participate.”
Carmella gives a rather embarrassed smile as Galan recounts the story to Ser Alek. She nods, “Aye… you are always most sore the day after, I find. But it is not the first tumble I’ve taken off a horse and certainly not the last. I shall be fine. Meanwhile, one of you men, pass me some wine to sooth the aches and life shall truly be good.” She smiles a bit wider to them, almost flirtatious. For as sore as her body is, her mood is the best they’ve seen it in a long time. “You are a lion, Galan… roar loud enough, they must hear it.” She winks.
Alek smirks. “Perhaps I can add my roaring to yours, ser. I still need to knock you into the dirt in an official sense. Training doesn’t count.” The old lion grins.
Galan stands and happily goes to pass her a goblet, “No it does not. So you still have a score to settle. Last official joust, you were the one who took a tumble off of his horse.” He smirks and hands the goblet to Carmella, “I nearly one that tourney. I doubt I’ll fare so well after my poor showing last weekend. Especially against the Birdlord.”
Carmella accepts the goblet, bowing her head in thanks towards the man. “You are my saviour, Ga… Ser Galan.” She tries to remind herself to be proper, it seems, as her mind would clearly rather be more relaxed with him. She sits back and looks upon them both…“There is one more joust left? I have not paid much attention to the events planning. I would enjoy watching both of you one more time.”
“Lord Allos is a fine jouster. It is merely his demeanour that states otherwise.” Alek comments, taking a sip of wine. “Apart from sheer luck, ser, you seem a lot less skilled with a lance.” He comments, a tad bluntly. His tone comes from years of training men for battle.
“Yes, Joust of Champions. Just before the official end of the festivities.” Galan waves his hand dismissively to Alek, “Yes, Ser Allos, I know. My lance needs work. I’m much more comfortable sword in hand. Perhaps I should switch mounts? I’m afraid I grew rather attached to Windy.”
Carmella is now content to just sit back and listen, let the men debate on Galan’s strengths, and the tourney to come. She watches both of them with almost fond eyes, body leaned back almost improperly, legs crossed at the ankles…
Alek doesn’t seem to be attracted towards Carmella in the way that Galan seems to be. The old knight frowns. “A steed you trust is one who will help you win.” He comments. “I have had my charger for quite a while now, and the trusty beast has never steered me wrong. And it’s Lord Allos, ser. Remember that.”
“If you say so, Ser Alek. Truth be told I am not like to give him away.” He shrugs, “I just can’t take that I fell to two different Stormlanders one after another. Though I’ll admit, the Birdlord made a much better showing at the Joust then I expected him to after his /dreadful/ showing at the melee,” he says laughing. He has been watching Carmella most eagerly and when he notices her noticing him, he simply gives her a playful smile.
Carmella smirks towards Galan, especially as he mentions falling to Stormlanders. Her dark eyes are amused, but she rests one hand against her chest, as if insulted, “And what is so bad about us Stormlanders? We are quite hearty people! You should be honoured to fall to us.” She laughs deeply towards them both, half chuckling to herself. She also takes another good gulp of her wine.
Alek looks between the two, a look of disapproval crossing the elder knight’s face, both at Carmella’s flirtatious attitude and Galan for falling for it openly. The man says nothing and leans back. “The Stormlanders have provided many a fierce jouster, it is known.”
“Ah, yes, well I suppose I can give them that. They are indeed good Jousters, and I can think of one Stormlander who’s quite handy with a shortsword.” Galan nods to Alek. “So Ser Alek, your Charger. Does it have a name, or do you prefer to not name as some knights do?”
Carmella catches hint of that disapproving look. Her brows loft, a bit surprised, but her expression is still dark and challenging. If anything, being looked at like that just spurs on her rebellion, so she remains comfortably stretched. Her lips curl in a smile that is mischievous in the very least.
Alek shrugs. “I haven’t, no. A horse may need a name, I just haven’t thought of one.” He says, pointedly ignoring Carmella’s stretching.
“Oh? Well, if you’d like help, I’m sure the Lady would have some ideas.” Galan smiles, if he’d noticed Alek’s look, he doesn’t react. “Perhaps Kite? After the bird. It’s a rather large and fast falcon. It also sounds a lot better then Gothawk.”
“Hmm… a name for a horse. Well, I do suppose the temperament comes into it more than anything. What is your charger like, Ser?” Carmella genuinely asks, her mind already pouring over all the old myths and tales that she knows.
Alek raises a hand. “Thank you for the kind offer, ser, my lady.” He says, politely. “But if I needed a name for my steed, I would ask my squire. He reads enough of these old stories to know a few.”
“Alright, we’ll leave him to it then.” Galan nods, “How do you like the wine, Milady? It’s a cask of Dornish Red I bought in Lannisport and brought for the tourney from my own stores. I thought you’d enjoy a little taste of Dorne. I know I do.”
Carmella really was quite enjoying the wine, truth be told, when Glan comes out with the final little tidbit of his statement and she nearly chokes on it. Her cheeks heat in a high, dark blush beneath her tanned, Dornish skin and she blinks some water from her eyes, trying to clears her throat. “Oh…Goodness…the… The wine is… indeed… a sweet memory of Dorne. You… You have good taste, Ser… quite good taste…” She rasps out.
Alek looks at Galan disapprovingly. “Ser, I think it would be best to stay your tongue, lest you wish to choke our young lady here.”
Galan smirks at Carmella as she blushes, and turns to Alek just as he glowers, “Then I shant use my tongue any longer. I’d certainly hate to cause the good Lady any discomfort.” He nods seriously and leans back in his own chair. “Dornish wine has been so difficult to get a hold of since the War. I’m afraid this is my last cask.”
Carmella nearly coughs on her wine again as Ser Alek makes instructions that probably sound far, far worse than they were meant. She continues to blush, finding herself speechless for a few moments as she shakes her head slowly, “Goodness… you men are going to give me a worse reputation than most camp followers.” She only half teases, finally clearing her throat. “And…I much appreciate you sharing the wine, in truth, Galan… I think wine is something the Dornish did absolutely get right…”
Galan says seriously to both Alek and Carmella, “Then I must say, for the record that Lady Carmella, is just that, a proper Lady and nothing less, and I’ll say that to any man who cares to ask.” That said, he continues, “I agree, though I admit I do like some of the Arbor wines on occasion. Sometimes with ice.”
Carmella looks back to Galan for a moment, “...Thank you, Ser Galan… I… do appreciate the defense. And he’s being honest, Ser Alek. I might flirt, but I am not quite what some people make me out to be. I simply am too loud and… Honest to be a proper woman. We are supposed to be so quiet… blushing, hiding… I think it would drive me to madness.” She admits with a slight wrinkle of her nose.
Alek folds his arms. “I am not opposed to your demeanor, Lady Carmella, however,” He gulps down his wine, “In my opinion, flirtatious behaviour should be held in private. It is a tad uncomfortable for me to sit here and watch, I am afraid.” He smiles, however. “I know that Dornish women are quite strong-willed, and, to tell you the truth, it is refreshing to see someone who is less of a blushing maid. But I must say to try and reel that flirting in, lest it harm you in the future.”
“Do not fret, Ser Alek. We’re friends, is all.” Galan nods to Carmella, before turning back to Alek and saying with a healthy amount of sarcasm, “There is little chance of me ravishing her in your presence, I assure you.” He nods, “Now that we’ve established the Ladies chastity, shall we move on, “Now, Lady Carmella, I’m very curious about your mother. How did she become married to your father?”
Carmella nods in agreement to Galan’s words, “Aye… simply friends, though the Seven have blessed me for it.” She earnestly remarks, looking up to Galan for a moment before she gazes back towards the whole group. The question of her lady mother makes her chuckle just a touch…“Initially on a raid in Dorne… The story keeps changing each time they tell it. I suspect the closest to the truth is that he was injured, and she took pity… though she is of House Yronwood, whom have always been quite respected. It… was a love match. A rare thing… but they both had such happiness in their lives for it that… well… it probably spoiled all us children.” She admits softly, a distantly sweet smile on her lips.
“A wonderful story indeed, Lady Carmella. It’s good to hear something wonderful could have come out of that war.” Galan nods and raises his glass to her. “It’s good to hear there is true love, too. One not constrained by power gains and status.” He nods approvingly. “Sometimes I can forget that, myself.”
Carmella gives a slightly bittersweet smile in memory of her parents, “Yes… my father risked much in the eyes of the court, bringing her back to Westeros, but… I think it paid off. Though sometimes I dream of Dorne… ” Carmella admits, quieter than before, one of the more earnest statements she’s ever whispered, “And I have naught ever set foot upon the land…”
“Perhaps you will have a chance, my lady.” The old lion comments, before moving to stand. “Excuse me, please, I fear Albin has tilted at that quintain for too long. I best go relieve him.” He nods to the two. “My thanks for the hospitality, ser.” He comments.
Galan shrugs, smiling at her, “Mayhap, one day I’ll take you there. I’ll admit, it would be good to see Dorne from a somewhere other then behind my shield.” He nods and gives a bow to Ser Alek, “You and your nephew are always welcome in my pavilion if you wish to join me for a drink and yarn.” Sitting back down he smiles to Carmella, “So, I wanted to let you know, my sister is organizing a hunt, for just the Ladies.”
Carmella stands respectfully as Alek announces that he is going to take his leave. She bows her head to him…“Be safe, Ser Alek… thank you for putting up with us. Your company is, as ever, more than pleasant.” She smiles warmly to him and then she settles gingerly back down into the offered, comfortable chair. She looks up towards Galan, left mostly alone with him now. “I… I think that is a trip I would… dearly enjoy, Galan. Any time you wish to go, I am yours.” The words are said softer there, just for his ears. And then she blinks, “A hunt? Most intriguing.”
“Indeed.” He says. His eyes widened as she spoke so softly and he leaned forward in an effort to be closer to her for that brief moment. “Yes, I offered to come along as an escort, but my sister told me she didn’t want me distracting the young ladies from their duties.” He smiled jovially, “Of course, I’m sure she was just trying to be polite. Though, you should definitely go. My sister is most agreeable company and quite the Hawker herself. You would enjoy yourself, I’m sure.”
Carmella leans a touch closer to him, so they can speak in quieter voices, almost intimate, and still relax in the loud, open pavilion. “Aye. I have only scantly known your sister, but she seems quite the lady. I’d enjoy spending more time with her, in truth… Especially if she is anything like her brother.”
“Damnit! Where did you run off to?!” A particularly irate man runs onto the field, one recognized as Ser Leon of White Harbor, except missing his trade-marked wolfskin cloak. “Rob, if you don’t get the fuck out here now, I’m telling your mother!” He calls out, wandering around, looking for someone.
A figure darts into view, clad in Leon’s cloak. “You’ll hafta catch me first, brother!” He calls out, grinning cheekily, a boy of no older than fifteen, and quite obviously related to the knight. “There y’are! Rob, you can’t go about stealing stuff!” Leon advances before the boy turns and runs. The northman gives chase after his little brother.
Galan leans in himself, leaning “She is much like me. Though I am quite a bit better with a sword-” He’s interrupted by the shouting from outside. After it’s finished, he laughs, “Northerners wandering the field like animals.” He leans back a bit and grins lazily.
Carmella leans over, studying the men and boy as they dash on the field. She laughs softly, shaking her head. “Aye… At least someone is having fun, it does seem.” She shakes her head, cheering the boy on for a moment with another laugh, and she sinks back into the chair, slumping just a touch deeper. “Well… I shall go to your sister for female companionship, and you to continue my… Studies.”
Though not initially amused by the pair, he laughs when Carmella cheers them on. Galan loves the sight of her smile and decides that maybe Leon’s not so bad after all. He smiles, “I like that arrangement.” He leans into her, more conspiratorially then intimate, but still amused, “I sent off the Raven. It is done. He’ll meet us in King’s Landing.” He sighs, and “Well, I’m afraid it’s about time I get to rest. Would you like to escort you back to the castle, Milady?”
Carmella’s eyes widen a bit, though flicker to the side, double checking that no one is actually nears to over hear them both. Nope… Safe. “Aye… I most certainly owe you… and your man whom you have sent for. I’m looking forward to going back to King’s Landing more than ever now. As are my ribs… that session yesterday…Goodness…” She shakes her head, giving a touch of a laugh as she rubs her side. “Mayhaps we over did it. But I am still ready for more…” And then he’s mentioning rest and she nods, pulling away to stand. “That is probably a wise idea. I shall happily take the escort.”
A figure walks back into the scene, the man being Ser Leon. He’s got his cloak back, and also has the boy over his shoulder, arms and legs tied. He’s also gagged. He squirms on his older brother’s shoulder, making furious noises. “Damn it, Robert! Stop squirming.” He says as the two leave the field.