(1866-07-19) Stewing
Summary: Lucas and Esyld discuss recent events in Lonnaire.
Date: 1866-07-19
Related: None
Esyld  Lucas  

Tavern — Lonnaire
A nondescript tavern in Lonnaire.
Juiliet 19th 1866

Wonders of wonders the youngest l'Saigner is out amoung the people today. The young lord does not look very lordly in his leathers, several days from his last bath, with no guards but his ring, onxy with an amethyst crescent tells those who notice what his station is. The young man sits peacefully at his table, empty despite how crowded it is, eating a bowl of stew and from time to time drinking from a cup of watered ale.

Around him the other patrons watch, it wasn't often that they saw a l'Saigner out in the wild, let alone the mad younger son of the duke.

In times of war and strife, the Black Foxes are renowned for their martial prowess. In days of tentative peace? Moreso for their love of a good time. Following several weeks of patrol on the roads of Redwater, ridding the countryside of straggling bandits and other troublemakers, it would seem today brings a well-earned respite. A small group of the mercenaries arrives at the tavern, spirits evidently high amongst the men upon their safe return home. Most make their way to a pre-determined table, greeting known faces and bantering amongst themselves, as soldiers are wont to do. And, following in their wake at a more sedate and graceful pace, comes their Captain.

With the ghost of a smile playing about her lips, Esyld seems relaxed in her present company and surroundings, giving the men leave to enjoy themselves, yet keeping herself ever so slightly apart. One who knows her well might guess as other, less casual thoughts assailing her - otherwise for certain she'd already be downing her first ale. Is something amiss, or is the formidable woman merely in a quieter, lacklustre mood today? Oh look. A distraction. Noting the direction of the other patrons sidelong attention, she follows their gazes to the source, then approaches the younger l'Saigner sibling, drawing to a leisurely halt as she nears and offering a measured greeting. After all, he may not wish to be disturbed. "..m'Lord."

Lucas looks up from his stew and when he sees men the uniform of the Black Foxes he his sedate expression bends into a frown "Some trouble at the castle?" he asks as he sets his spoon back down in his bowl and begins to stand. No questions of course of how his father knew he was here after his trip to the woods, he was Duke James l'Saigner, he always knew… Wait! The young lord scans the troops who are already moving to get food and drink. "Oh," he says with a bit of a bashful smile. "You're just saying hello, aren't you?" he asks as he sinks back down into his chair.

The raven-haired Captain relents to a soft chuckle, one hand rising in a vague gesture of negation. "No, no… never fear, m'Lord. Enjoy your ale, all is well." While she's notorious for her steadfast loyalty to his House, Esyld has always been one to note and not exactly disapprove of Lucas'… subtle differences. The last thing the world needs is another Corvin. "My men and I are simply enjoying a little free time, before we return to our duties on the morrow." Folding her hands before herself, she settles to a less formal stance, lingering for now unless he says otherwise. Nearby, her fellows have gotten comfortable around a large table in the corner; bawdy but good-natured laughter occasionally stirring through the tavern. Even the patrons seem less tense - there'll be no trouble, with the Foxes here.

"It has been some time, m'Lord. I trust you have been well?" Being of t'Maren blood, she knows quite well how to respectfully converse with the nobility. Though anyone who has ever witnessed her training recruits and juniors knows how easily she can assume the rougher persona one would expect, too.

Lucas relaxes visibly when Esyld confirms she and her men are here for personal rather than professional reasons. "Thank the One," he smiles at her words before nodding to the bevy of empty seats "Join me if you like," he says before he settles back and answers her question "I'm well, I spent the week in the woods and it was excellent, I hadn't realized how much I had missed them. The woods in the north are beautiful but they're not home." Yes, perhaps too much information for a simple how are you but that is Lucas' way, always thinking and spilling too many thoughts in one moment and too few the next. "And yourself? Have you met Gabriel yet? I suspect you and your men would like him, what with him being a knight."

"Thank you, m'Lord." This is offered in response to the invitation to sit, and her lowering down to one of the empty chairs with a weary sigh of relief. Aching muscles, no doubt. "And I understand your sentiment.. sometimes it is pleasant to simply enjoy one's own company in the wilder places of the world. Especially when every day seems filled with clamour and scheming." It's not really her place to worry over politics on any grand scale. But that doesn't mean she doesn't find herself entangled, now and then, by merit of her associations. "I am glad you had the opportunity."

Unbuckling her harness, and the weighty blade it bears, she sets both down carefully by one booted leg before rolling her narrow shoulders a little. "I have met Lord l'Corren, indeed. He seems a fine man, and undeniably besotted with the Lady Alina, of course. I would expect no less." The way she pauses, thereafter, suggests she has further thoughts on the topic but, well. For now, she's keeping them to herself. "He had her in beside his warhorse, would you believe. I never thought I would see the day."

Lucas nods as he returns to his stew. "It is good to get away from all of that," he agrees before he realizes, belatedly, he is being rude eating in front of his guest and summons one of the tavern staff to come and get Esyld's order. Then when that is done he chuckles "Wait, Alina was beside his warhorse or on it? I could perhaps believe beside but not on, not Alina, she's half-afraid of Mossy and he is a placid as a still pond."

She wouldn't have minded, she's hardly one to stand on ceremony.. but seeing as a serving wench hastens over at Lucas' summons, the Captain quietly asks for an ale. Momentarily tracing the womans departure with those vivid eyes of hers, Esyld then returns her gaze to the young Lord himself. "Beside. Patting his neck, if somewhat uncertainly. Clearly her betrothed inspires some measure of confidence in the Lady." And that's no bad thing, in her opinion, judging by the faint smile accompanying her words. "She will learn. There are far worse things to fear than horses. Well, perhaps with the exception of mine." True, her own destrier is well-known - and loathed - for being something of a brute. Always biting the grooms.

"Good news all round, then. As I hear tell the Wraiths were able to considerably diminish the recent incursions by bandits across your family's lands." It's not mentioned in question - she heard when she returned that the business had been taken care of. Another chalk-mark on the tally board for them. How many is that now? While the friendly rivalry between her faction and his is no genuine issue, she still despises being outdone by the Commander.

Lucas takes no notice of Esyld's strange eyes on this meeting. Though on their first, he was fascinated by them. "Yes, I've heard the grooms tell tales of your horse Captain Draven. I am less shy of horses than my sister but I do wonder how you manage? Or indeed, why have such a horse at all, wouldn't it be better to have one who is easier to command?" he asks, truly curious rather than judgemental. "I rode in a fight once, never again, couldn't keep it all straight, the horse, my blade, what the barbarian was doing… I respect you and your men all the more for it. As much as we Wraiths talk of clanky knights on their skittish horses, there is a real skill to that kind of fighting."

Though as much as he offers an olive branch with one hand the talk of the bandit matter earns a broad and pleased smile proving he is still a Wraith with Wraith loyalties. "Oh? I heard some of the planning for that before I left," he says. "I trust you and your men were not pleased by how it turned out?"

Esyld glances up and offers a soft-spoken thanks to the serving girl who returns with a brimming tankard of ale, accepting it and dropping a few coins into the waiting hand. A slow start, by her usual standards. But it wouldn't do for the Duchess' son to see her at her mercenary best; drinking and ribbing with her fellows. Besides, she's not much in the mood, so far. Taking a long draught of her drink and licking her lips free of lingering moisture in evident satisfaction, the Captain flits a momentary glance toward the Fox table, as a hooting bout of laughter rises. But they're just mocking one of their own. When will young men, still not able to groom their own moustache, learn that yes, trying to cop a feel of a wench's arse will most certainly earn them slapped fingers and jeering companions?

But back to her own, far more pleasant exchange. There's a reluctant grin, a mere glimpse of white teeth, for the compliments heaped upon the skills of cavalrymen. "Thank you, m'Lord. Each to their own, I suppose.. I never was much one for stealth and subtlety." No, more like warcries and battle-charges. "For which I do admit I respect the Wraiths. We may be inherently different.. but our cause and loyalties are the same." Condolences from Lucas, no matter how gentle, she will actually accept. From his half-brother, she'd see them as patronising. In her defense, they'd likely be intended that way, too. They bait one another terribly, yet hers is always the temper to flare. Everyone knows that.

"As for Cadfan.." She smiles again, speaking of her ferocious mount. "He was a gift from my father, when I joined the Black Foxes. I would not trade him. Besides.." Esyld's smirk turns mischievous. "..he doesn't bite me." Pushing her dark mane back with her free hand, the Captain shrugs lightly. "My men don't trouble themselves with such trifles as who wins a metaphorical race. We saw some action and we dealt with it effectively. That is good enough for them and it ought to be for me."

Lucas' gaze flits to the other mercenaries as well, studying them with interest. The Wraiths were never so ribald unless out of sight of the others, in public they enjoyed playing up the dark brooding reputation. He isn't sure which way is better or if there's a better and not just simply differences. "It's true," he says as his gaze shifts back to Esyld. "We fight and act differently but we do it for the same cause." He pauses for a sip of watered ale and then chuckles at her reasons for keeping Cadfan. "Cadfan is it?" he asks, he did not know if he heard the name before, after all the grooms called the beast by many names, none of which he supposed was the one he was given. "And yes, I could see the advantage in a horse that bites other people," he says, smiling. "So, has there been any word since I've been away? Other than my sister standing near horses and my fellow Wraiths being themselves?"

"Mmm." Esyld offers an agreeable sound about the merits of horrible horses, swallowing another mouthful of ale before giving a better answer. "Part of his training at Bloodfield. A good charger doesn't just carry you into the fray, he fights on your behalf, with teeth and hooves. Cadfan just.. has a tendency to keep up those duties both on and off the battlefield. Alas for those bidden to see to his wellbeing." Truth be told, it's a punishment amongst the recruits. If you're sent to muck out Captain Draven's destrier, you've done something wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. "There's scarce little to report, m'Lord; leastwise to my knowledge. I've been away for weeks, myself. But I've returned to find your Lady sister beautiful and content and your half-brother smug and arrogant. So I assume I can safely say - nothing of note has changed, in our respective absences." She flashes a brief grin toward Lucas, across the rim of her tankard. Bold, to speak so plainly. But then, she's not of his high birth, is she.

The description of Cadfan's antics earn a fresh chuckle from the Wraith. "Well I suppose we can put that down to readiness," he says lightly. "A positive quality to be sure." Then he takes a fresh spoonful of stew and swallows as he thinks. "It's good that things have been quiet, makes it easier I think for Gabriel and Alina to get to know each other. You say Sir Gabriel looked besotted in Alina?" He sets down the spoon. "Also, as a soldier who's had to live with my family, how do you think he will do here?" he wasn't sure how much all the Foxes were aware of what his family actually did, but he supposed that Esyld would have guessed much by now.

In a mildly uncharacteristic moment of almost-worry, the Captain lowers her crystalline eyes to the tabletop; one fingertip tracing swift patterns in a ring left by her tankard. Yes, she knows the methods undertaken by his family. She doesn't think to question them, of course.. but she's well aware. "Honestly..?" She flicks her attention back up toward the man opposite her; a telling solemnity settling across her features. "I believe him to be a good man. A good knight, at that. And I believe he adores the Lady Alina." Lowering her tone now, her already throaty voice brought to little above a whisper, she folds her arms atop the table and leans inward a touch. It's not blatantly conspiratorial, but there's no sense in a common bastard airing opinions about her betters in so public a place. "..but I hope that she binds him closely to her by his affections, before he realises what he's getting into. I may not be a Knight, but I've had the upbringing of one. And while I cannot claim any real familiarity with the l'Correns.. they wouldn't have earned such a shining reputation through turning the other cheek to actions and methods they considered immoral." Esyld holds Lucas' gaze as she says all this, steadily. "I could be wrong. I hope I am. But it's a risk.. particularly for those who prefer to remain in the shadows. In my opinion, m'Lord."

Lucas nods slowly. What Eslyd says confirms much of his own doubts about Gabriel and his family. However in so public a venue he cannot voice such himself, but there is a moment of pensive silence that speaks volumes to his own concerns. "I know the l'Corren a little having fought with them up north they are not as dull as their reputations but they are as honourable," he pauses a moment considering. He did not usually get himself this involved in the doings of his house so the gears turn slowly, from lack of use. "I will need to depart again soon for awhile. Can I count on you to keep as much as an eye on Gabriel as you can while I am away? I am certain he will be staying in Lonnaire now that the wedding date has been set."

"No doubt there is some reasoning in the match beyond, presumably, my own grasp of the politics.." replies the Captain, musing aloud herself even as Lucas must remain less forthcoming. "..my concern is, as always, with the safety of the Lady Alina. She must play this hand with incredible care. Though, I have no reason to doubt her ability, in these matters." That doesn't mean she won't worry over the heiress, of course. And the fortunes of the House she serves. All these threads are ireevocably entwined, for better or worse. Taking up her tankard again, Esyld frowns down into it, swirling the contents idly before taking another hearty gulp. As Lucas speaks again, though, she eyes him consideringly, slowly beginning to nod. "You know I will always have one eye on your Lady sister, m'Lord. And those close to her. No matter how honorable their reputation may be." When one considers the Duchess the closest thing to a motherly figure they have ever known, it can only be expected that their fondness would extend to those who are truly hers by blood. Esyld's loyalty goes beyond a monthly stipend. So when she gives her word, Lucas should know to accept it. "We have.. enough in common that I am certain I can strike up a conversation, if nothing else. Ties of friendship and trust can be just as firm as love and family. If he finds both here.. well, all the better for us all."

Lucas nods once in thanks to Esyld, when she consents, more-or-less, to his request. "Thank you. I would feel better knowing that Alina and even Gabriel are being well looked after while I am away," he lies, or well, mostly lies. His concerns lays more with how the man will fit in and if there will be a problem later. He pushes his food away then and lets out a sigh. "I should probably get back home and make my reports and see my nephews, but, tell the barkeep to put your men's food and drink on my account. A gift, I doubt they often drink on the credit of a wraith," he says with a smile.

"I am quite sure the ale will taste all the sweeter for it. Thank you, m'Lord." chuckles the Captain. She likewise sets aside her emptied tankard as he makes ready to depart. "Though, perhaps you underestimate quite how much we can drink, of an evening." She's teasing - she wouldn't let the men get too carried away on another man's coin. Rising smoothly to her feet, her harness and blade held firm in the grasp of one hand, Esyld offers a slight bow to the young l'Saigner. "A very good day to you, m'Lord."

Lucas chuckles aloud as he rises. "I've seen them at it," he grins. "I know what I am getting into. All the same I hope they enjoy it." He bends down to pick up his bow and pack. "Good day to you, Captain Draven and I hope we can do this again soon," he says before he inclines his head slightly and makes for the door.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License