(1866-07-27) He's Been Here Forever
He's Been Here Forever
Summary: A mercenary captain's older half-brother pays a visit to her company's training yard. A very, very early visit.
Date: 1866-07-27
Related: Takes place the morning after Who Knew Foxes Could Dance? and A Dangerous Bet.
Esyld  Jonathan  Lorelei  

Black Fox Company Training Grounds
Included in scene set.
27 Juillet 1866

It's relatively early in the morning here at the Black Fox Company's training ground, which is to say that most of the company itself isn't here yet. Plenty of open space to be had, with a smattering of equipment and the occasional grunts and groans of those getting an early-morning workout. The sun, having been up for barely an hour, is still fairly low in the sky; the shadows are long, and the morning air cool.

Sir Jonathan t'Maren, however, has already been here for quite some time, possibly longer than anyone. He's not affiliated with the Company per se, but given his status and family connection, he's chosen to make this a sort of home-away-from-home for the moment. Having already gone for a lengthy run, he's picked up a practice sword and is presently beating the stuffing out of a training dummy, the /crack/ of wood on wood echoing throughout the area.

Well, it's not exactly the crack of dawn. But it's early. And, much to the probable chagrin of certain Foxes, Captain Draven arrives through the main gates of the yard of her own accord, yawning widely despite the brisk summer breeze. You'd think the walk would have woken her up.. but to be quite honest, she looks a little worse for wear today. With the still-damp tendrils of her dark hair left loose about her shoulders, freshly washed, she's presentable, certainly. But far from bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

One palm rubs lightly across her forehead as the tall mercenary makes her way around the periphery of those already well into their morning routine; the sights and sound familiar enough to have bred contempt, it would appear, seeing as she strides right past Jonathan, failing to notice him. My, my, someone's bleary eyed! She won't be the only one. A night of merriment with this company takes no prisoners. But those who know her well enough can see, even at a glance, that Esyld is 'out of sorts'. That lazy, rangy gait brings her eventually into the shade of one of the three single-storey buildings that overlook the dirt yard, and only then does she draw to a halt, leaning a shoulder to one of the supporting beams of the covered walkway and casting her vividly blue eyes over the men with little focus.

Sitting atop the cross beam in the covered walkway is one Lorelei Asheflour, gangly and thin as ever, and looking quite the opposite of her Captain; despite having had likely less sleep than her counterpart, she still looks rather bright and ready, though not especially happy. She swings a leg down as Esyld approaches, dangling it and letting it rock back and forth like a pendulum with a rather loose pant leg. When she glances up, Esyld will see a camped-out archer with her bow, on the prowl.

"Hair smells nice," she compliments, sniffling and running the back of one hand across her nose. Her dark eyes haven't left Jonathan for their entire brief exchange, though. "He's been here forever." Grump.

That he has, and he doesn't show much inclination toward moving. As Esyld walks by, Jonathan takes another whack at the target. Then another, then another, and then he stops… if only because he's just put the wooden sword through the wooden man, cleaving the whole thing in twain. Lifting the weapon upright, perpendicular to the ground, he studies it for a moment, nods, and then tosses it aside. It's forgotten in a moment as he makes his way over to where his sister is standing.

"A lovely morning, Captain Draven." Jonathan's voice is low and sober, his expression pointedly neutral. Allowing only the slightest upward quirk of his lips, he adds, "If one is awake enough to enjoy it, that is." Lorelei isn't noticed yet, or at any rate he doesn't give her a second glance.

Rubbing at her jaw with that palm now, Esyld winces just a touch when she unthinkingly glances up to her friend, prompted by that swinging leg. Sunlight. Bad. Squinting with a wrinkle of her nose, she follows the archer's gaze. Who's been here forever? OH. Well, that was a blindingly brilliant start to the day, Esyld. You walked right by your bloody brother. "..you'll have had more than enough time to perfect your aim, then." she mutters, in an aside, before wearily straightening up from that comfortable lean. Mustering a smile to disguise her fatigue - though it does nothing for those bloodshot eyes - the young woman watches Jonathan approach, quirking a brow in amusement. Actually, the expression seems quite genuine. She may, in fact, be happy to see him. Wonders never cease.

"Jon." Well, what's the point of being a common mercenary if you can't, now and then, utterly ignore social niceties. Flashing a glimpse of white teeth in a brief grin, she opens her arms, quite content to hug him if he permits it in front of these people. He's one of the few people who garners her affection. Ever. "When did you arrive? And why are you here, breaking my things? The quartermaster will have your guts for garters."

Lore's scoff echoes from the rafter of the covered walkway now, just before she drops from it and lands, rather catlike, on both feet. Et voila. Straightening up, Lorelei is tall and spindly and definitely not quite so striking as her delightful counterpart, though there is a rather somber presence about her that commands a second look. If only to complain about her.

Treading toward the pair she hangs back, waiting for an invitation to come more than ten feet closer. Onyx eyes dart occasionally to the sky to scout for…something.

"Sid." And what, after all, is the point of visiting said common mercenaries if one cannot let the formalities drop, if only for a moment? His smile gets incrementally bigger as his eyes momentarily search hers. No, there's no hiding her exhaustion. He won't guess as to the cause, not yet. "Father and I rode in last night. The Hawk has him on the move, as always." Shoulders roll in a little shrug. "Business, of course, but it does take me away from Bloodfield. I came to see whether your training space here was… adequate for my needs." There's a quirk of the head toward the broken dummy. "And, I suppose, to see you." Yes, he'll let her hug him, though only after a great delay.

With a little frown - though it's not entirely genuine - he adds, "You may tell your quartermaster that he is welcome to my guts, if he is brave enough to dare extract them." The tips of his fingers just brush over the hilt of the very real, very /steel/ longsword hanging at his side.

"Father's here, too?" The news seems to at once both delight and trouble the raven-haired woman, though she settles on the former. It has been long since she sets eyes upon her kin; who cares about the circumstances. Or the hangover. "Well, you are most welcome.. though I see you already made yourself quite at home.." Those cerulean eyes drift past Jon's shoulder, to the abandoned wooden 'corpse'. "And if such necessities just happen to bring you across my path, then that's a happy coincidence, indeed." The hug, when it's eventually accepted, might be awkward and shortlived but it's the thought that counts. "Did you get taller still, or am I shrinking..?" Dropping back to her heels after a moment, knowing better than to prolong such displays if she wants to keep her sibling sweet, Draven just smirks up at him, silhouetted in that damnable morning sun. She's a stark contrast to his stoic finery; all tousled hair and leathers. But there's similarity enough in those features, especially when the Knight frowns, to support the fact that they share the same blood. Sort of.

Withdrawing, glancing over her shoulder at the light thud of boots hitting dirt, Esyld waves the taller brunette over, beckoning with the gesture of her hand then leaving it out there to welcome her fully into the conversation, should she so deign. "Mistress Lorelei Asheflour, Sir Jonathan t'Maren. Lorelei would be the ah.. aforementioned garter-maker." she adds, by way of illumination. And the look she flits between the pair is rife with mischief. "Handle her carefully, and don't let that slender appearance fool you.. this is one Fox you really oughtn't make wagers with." Her gaze wanders, as you'd expect of one who spends so much of her life with weapon in hand, to the caress of the hilt, ad the blade extending from it. Rather a far cry from her own battered bastard sword, that. But her expression is admiring rather than openly envious.

For those who know Lorelei, the expression she now has is as mirthful as she'll get in public. Upon first meeting, however, most make the same observation: getting into an argument with her might be quite bad, actually, if only because she looks so dour. There's little gradient between her high contrast ebon hair and porcelain skin, a stark comparison that only accentuates the straight lines that look like they'd be more at home on a rather less muscular man. Said musculature is all female, though, but cleverly hidden beneath her tunic and pants. Much like her shortbow and dagger. Whoops.

"A pleasure," Lorelei lies, looking Jon straight in the face and not even attempting to bow or show any deference. Was she raised in a barn? Likely.

"Happy." Yes, Jonathan supposes, that's an appropriate word for these circumstances. It's entirely evident on his features, if by 'entirely' one means 'almost not at all.' "I suspect Father will want to see you as well, if he is able to find the time. I'll see if I can pry him away from court, if you wish." The question-that's-not-quite-a-question is raised, but Jon already knows the answer. Or at least, he thinks he does.

And then the other woman is introduced, and while Jonathan is likely incapable of looking sheepish per se, there's a hint of surprise on his features. "Aha. Likewise, Mistress Asheflour." His eyes fix on the archer's for a few moments, then flicker back to his sister's. He doesn't know this woman, not at all, but he knows the look of mischief on Esyld's face all too well. "You know," he replies, guardedly, "that I always handle with care." After a moment's pause, he adds to the both of them, but clearly more to the one than to the other, "How does the present state of affairs treat the Black Foxes, I wonder?"

Poor Jon. Bad enough he had to grow up alongside Esyld as a child, but now she has a partner in crime, so to speak. Life never is simple. Still, his sister doesn't torture him overlong, simply patting Lorelei lightly on one shoulderblade with the hand that had remained extended, then folding her arms comfortably across her midsection. All told, she seems to have brightened quite considerably in the Knight's presence.. and the idea of seeing her father is clearly a welcome one. "If he has the time." she half-echoes, nodding in assent for the not-quite-idea. "Even if not, I'm often around the castle myself.." That particular statement trails off, subtly; preceding a sidelong glance toward her friend. Maybe not so often this week.

"It's been quiet enough, recently, to be honest. We spent a few weeks on the road down by Redwater, dealing with some brigands but little came of it." Yeah, because the damned Wraiths got the prize. Woop-di-doo, another blue ribbon for Corvin and his cronies. Those, of course, are not the sort of grievances she'll air to Jonathan. No, life as a mercenary is fantastic. Really. Couldn't be happier. "Other than that, the usual business of training up new recruits. Wheat and chaff, you know how it goes. And how are things in Bloodfield..?" She doesn't enquire directly in regard to his mother. Never does. But the arch of a slender brow conveys enough of her meaning.

The mention of handling with care receives a browquirk from Lorelei too, and when Esyld begins speaking again she repeats her scoff, rolling her eyes quickly before looking down and waiting for her acknowledged superior to finish. Her left leg kicks out, then crosses in front of her right so that she perches upon the two like an over-supported flamingo, rocking back and forth. It's an annoying sort of attention-seeking behavior that she learned long ago would get people distracted enough from their initial task that she could suitably upset her foster siblings. For some reason, such primal urges are now again hard to keep suppress.

"Will the Captain have need of a chamber made up…?" The trailing off of Lorelei's question, offered when Esyld's finished speaking, is asking the second, unsaid part of the question: would he even bother?

"Little /ever/ comes of dealing with brigands. They're like rats. Killed easily enough, and there are always more." Jonathan lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "I will mention it to Father, for certain. As for Bloodfield, well, he would not have left it were he not sure that the hands that hold it now are capable enough." No, there's no direct mention of his mother there, but the implication is clear. With no Louis and no Jonathan, there aren't too many t'Marens left to run the barony. "Things are stable, for the most part."

And then his eyes wander over to Lorelei, and her question, though not directed at him per se, is enough to pique his interest nevertheless. "We've a place to stay in Lonnaire, of course. The Duke is kind enough to provide suitable accommodations for the Baron of Bloodfield and his progeny." His voice drifts into an especially serious tone, and just as slowly drifts back out of it. "That being said. It could be… pleasant to explore other accommodations." Pause. "Not that I'd presume on anyone's hospitality, of course."

Oh, Lorelei. Harder (read: noble) taskmasters would likely have given this one a rough time in training, enough to knock that bite and sass out of her countenance. Not Esyld. That's precisely what she likes about her self-appointed guardian, and it's obvious in the fond, faux-chastising look she casts toward her while Jonathan's speaking. Be nice. Hah. Some hope. That's like telling a rainstorm 'hey, be dry'. Confident that the pair will become accustomed to one another however, she doesn't actually intervene. More fun not to, frankly. You'd think their reflected stubborn, stoic manner would lend itself to immediate ease.. but nope.

Shifting her weight, the cavalier returns to her previous, supported lean against that pillar, arms still folded and vibrant blue-come-sanguine eyes drifting back and forth to accompany the exchange between the others. It's not entirely lost on her that she was never offered accomodations at Highwater. But why would she be? That's the marked difference between the brother and the sister. Entitlement. "Well, there's space here, what with most everyone living elsewhere in the city. Though it's not exactly what you might call 'comfortable'." Not for a knight in shining armor, is the quiet implication. No servants to do your bidding, no down-stuffed mattresses. What, mercenaries are tough! "Or.. well, if you didn't feel entirely at ease within the castle walls, you could always visit my home. Again, it's nothing fancy…" A quiet perk from their father, her modest cottage. Not that she'll point this out, if Jon's ignorant of it. "You might rather enjoy the present company in his Grace's household, actually. What with the Lady Alina betrothed to a l'Corren." Historically, the t'Marens and l'Correns are both similar and vastly at odds. It would be delicious to see if her brother would play nice with Gabriel.. or just knock him on his arse, under the guise of a 'friendly spar'.

While she wouldn't consider herself especially hypersensitive to the presence of men, Lorelei's really have a field day with the presence of her best friend's half-brother. Of course the Duke would find accommodation for the Baron's progeny, she thinks, which of course leads her down other paths of thought that, in this case, produce a smirk. It's the equivalent of mad giggling in other, perhaps lackluster females. Running her tongue out over her lips to moisten them, she perks at Esyld's response, not Jon's.

The Looks aren't lost on her and, while her bottom lip ducks to hide beneath her teeth for a brief moment in submission - It's hard! - she doesn't quite kick the mug she's go on. The more tak there is of l'Saigners, though, the more ideas there are to dance in her head, and when she looks down at the ground, it's because she's grinning again. But it's totally respect, see?

"You're assuming a great deal, Captain Draven," Jonathan replies, slipping back into a rather serious tone. "Did I say that I was hoping to be comfortable?" Knight in shining armor he may be, but not the sort who's unaccustomed to slightly rougher conditions. Or at least that's what he thinks - the Baron's house isn't exactly a slum, after all. "Perhaps I will pay you a visit, then. I enjoy the company in the castle well enough, but…" The thought trails off, and another takes his place. "Yes, I am aware of Sir Gabriel's predicament." That's said without hesitation. "A man with a certain code of honor, about to be joined with a house that has a rather… different sort. Such a strange, strange place to be, mm?" Not that Jonathan would know, of course.

There's a lengthy pause, and then his attention turns to Lorelei, looking right at where her eyes would be if she weren't looking down at the ground. Addressing her directly for the first time since that brief introduction, he says, "Have you served with my sister long, Mistress Asheflour?"

Esyld keeps her gaze studiously away from Lore for the moment, being far more likely to chuckle than she, should their eyes meet. It's an odd sort of role reversal. Usually the Captain is so 'proper, in comparison to her comrades. But in the stark light of day, face to face with her brother, she's so blatantly rough around the edges.. and determinedly refusing to acknowledge it. Or is she embracing it deliberately, in emphasising their differences? Bah, her mind makes no sense. All else aside, her affection for her rather cold sibling can't be disguised. "That's settled, then. You can make use of this place.." The cant of her head encompasses the training ground as a whole. "..as needed and politely accept his Grace's kind offer, with the excuse of visiting your poor sister when you've need of escape. Good." The ghost of a smile tugs at her lips, in response to his metaphorical hackles stiffening a fraction. "Oh, I don't mean to imply you're getting soft in your old age. I simply thought, given the free choice between a pallet on an ale-stained floor and feather-stuffed pillows beneath embroidered quilts, the answer would be obvious." The smile becomes a teasing grin for the barest of moments. Blink and you'll miss it. As for the rest.. "Mmm, Sir Gabriel seems quite besotted with the Duke's daughter. Preparations are, of course, underway for their union in a few weeks. Do you think you'll attend? They're having a tourney as part of the celebrations.. though no jousting." That can't possibly sit well with her, given her profession. Alas. Oh. Sudden thought occurring. "If you were to ask my advice, which I know you will not; perhaps try to stay away from the Duke's bastard. His other son, Lucas, I think you will find excellent company over an ale." Hah. Skipped over that minefield. Based, obviously, on yet another 'assumption'.

And on to Lorelei! This should be good. Esyld falls quiet, ready to observe.

Skipped over, did we? The word 'bastard' isn't funny. It's run of the mill. It's normal. She hears it all the time. Her best companion happens to be of this persuasion. And yet, when Esyld offers up this suggestion, a strange, strangled coughlike sound escapes the archer. Quick save, he's asked her a question — "I owe her my life," Lorelei spills, with a respectable amount of restraint in her voice. It's said even before she looks up, at which point she uncrosses her legs and stands at more of an attention-like posture. "Three years. Since my arrival." That should answer everything.

When her eyes leave Jon's they move slowly to his sister's, chiding and laughing both.

"As needed. I doubt I will be able to excuse myself from all of the functions, or even most. But even a night or two away, I think, will do me good." Jonathan, for his part, seems comfortable with the rather marked differences between himself and his sister, or at any rate as comfortable as he's able to be. Pause. "I suppose I shouldn't have much of a choice. Father will insist that I attend. Though I hadn't heard there would be a tourney…" Odd, isn't it, that Esyld would have heard about something before Jonathan did? "A concession to the l'Corren, one assumes. And as to the joust, no great loss. That has never been my best event." Not that he's /bad/, exactly, but not great.

To his sister's advice, he gives a quirked eyebrow. "Interesting, that you volunteer something you know I'd never ask for." There's just a hint of mischief in his eyes. Even without blinking, one might miss it. "Not fond of bastards, Sid? That would be a rather odd viewpoint, don't you think?"

And to Lorelei, he gives a nod. "Three years. I daresay you've had better company than I for that time, then."

"Mmm, yes. It was brought up at the recent feast." Haha, Esyld knows something he doesn't know. Small victories. And she doesn't elaborate further, privately enjoying a fleeting and rare upper hand. "It was decided the terrain wasn't suitable for a joust.. but the melee and bareknuckle should be open to all." Yes, all. Not just nobility. Not just trueborn. The Captain isn't being smug about it, in fairness. Pleased, more like, that her men might have a chance to show off their prowess. "I doubt Father will insist quite so firmly about the Masque, though. So you might be 'spared' that, at least, hm?"

At Jon's teasing, she balls a fist and half-assedly dints him in the shoulder. "Not much choice, brother.. if I waited until you asked, you'd never enjoy my pearls of wisdom. And I have nothing against bastards, of course. Just that one in particular.. he's not the most enjoyable. And things will, obviously, be easier for all of us if you stick to a crowd you're going to enjoy."

The offhanded sort of compliment, while it seems given to Lorelei, rouses a slight smile from the young woman, and she regards her sibling in profile for a long moment afterward. Has he missed her? D'awwwww.

D'awww, indeed. It seems as though there's no end to the Looks Lorelei can give to Esyld, however, and this one is something along the lines of open mouth, insert foot.

Right. Clearing her throat, Lorelei bows her head to the Captain in an excuse. "I'll go make see to his room, for whenever he stays." She rises, looking at Jon again but not giving him any sort of departing word or motion. Turning on her heel, she nearly marches back to the barracks, determined.

"I might." This is, of course, assuming Jonathan /wants/ to be spared the masque. The mention that it's open to all, however… "I suppose there is something to be said for the way the l'Saigner conduct their business. I've often wanted a broader field of competition in the melee. Perhaps some of your men will be participants?" It's as though he read her mind, though to be fair, it was rather obvious. "Though I would advise caution. I wouldn't want to make fools of too many Foxes." Smirk.

At the mention of Corvin, however, that smirk fades away. "There are many people you don't enjoy, Esyld," he replies, switching quite deliberately to her full name. "Yet you go out of your way to mention this one in particular. Why." It's a question, but it doesn't sound like one.

Jon's directness, it seems, is partly due to Lorelei's impending exit. He acknowledges her departure with a curt nod, but that's it. For now.

As a trusted guard of the ruling house, it's likely Esyld herself will be attending the Masque… in an official capacity, of course. That particular brand of merriment is the province of those of higher station, isn't it. But she doesn't press that line of dicussion further, especially when her brother moves on to that not-so-subtle challenge. "Oh, I wouldn't worry.. the Foxes have many tricks up their sleeves. Some not exactly in keeping with the more 'proper' standards you may be used to." She's grinning slightly, even as she says so. Oh, no doubt fully trained Knights are formidable. She knows that better than most. But a well-placed kick can fell most any man, she's found.

Bah. She forgets that the persona she carries here has litle weight with one that knows her so well. Her lips twist in a displeased manner, gaze averting as she brings up a hand to rake through her dark hair. "I mention him in particular because our lack of enjoyment is a little more.. personal. We clash, often. Honestly? I don't want you too close to someone who has such a…" She pauses, searching carefully for a suitable way of phrasing it. "..such a 'strong' opinion of me." Because she thinks he'd agree, or because it might cause unnecessary animosity? She doesn't say, exactly. Though her conclusion, because that's certainly what she intends the following words to be, might suggest the latter concerns her more. "He's dangerous."

Returning her attention to steadily meet Jon's gaze, she musters a half-smile. "..I know you'll do as you please, regardless of what I say. Just.. at least keep that warning in mind, should you cross paths with him. I've mastered the regular impulse to throttle him, because I have to work with the man. You get to leave, at the end of the day. Don't leave me with any problems to clean up." Glancing in the direction Lorelei took, the Captain sighs softly. "I should likely get moving, too. These recruits aren't going to fall off their horses by themselves. Well, actually, they are. But it's better if I'm present to tell them off for it.."

"Your mistake, Sid, is thinking that tricks are the sole provence of your sort of warrior. Knights are not fools." Jonathan says that in a mock-chastising tone, but Esyld knows the truth of what he's saying already. "There is no dishonor in pressing an advantage over one's opponent. You think I would have survived Valetta, or the Great Raid, without…" His voice trails off, rather abruptly. There was a thought there, and he hasn't quite lost it, but he also would rather not finish.

Ahem. "Dangerous." Well, yeah, of course he is. He's the Hawk's son, and a Wraith. "Somehow, Sid, that isn't the sort of thing I expect to give you pause. I'd even go so far as to think you're fond of dangerous men." Fingertips idly brush the hilt of the sword again. "And you /know/ I am not the sort to take your warning and leave well enough alone. But I will keep your words in mind." Whether he heeds them or not is another matter entirely.

As his sister glances over her shoulder, Jon gives a little nod. "Suppose you should, and I ought to return before Father wonders where I am. Don't be too hard on the lads." Pause. "Nor too easy." Not that he needs to tell /her/ how to train - she's a t'Maren, after all, by blood even if not by name. "It was good to see you." There's a smile, the most genuine he's given all morning, before he turns to head back off toward the city walls.

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