(1866-08-17) Elaborate
Summary: After stepping out for a breath of fresh air, Jonathan encounters someone he wasn't anticipating.
Date: Aout 17
Related: TBA
Jonathan  Lorelei  

Black Fox Training Grounds - Lonnaire
In Set.
Aout 17, 1866

Fresh air. Jonathan needs some fresh air.

Accordingly, he's out of Highwater Castle like a bat out of hell, or somesuch. Granted, he's too dignified to actually run, but it's clear to anyone nearby that the Knight is moving with purpose, even if that purpose is as simple as 'go somewhere other than here.' Jonathan himself, of course, doesn't so much as notice any of said passersby.

The castle fades further and further into the background as he makes his way through the streets and alleys of Lonnaire, eyes fixed dead ahead. Consciously or no, he's moving in the general direction of the Black Fox Company's headquarters

I mean, it might be autopilot at this point bringing him here. Who knows? Surely not him, so how would Lorelei have any idea why? Or, even that he was coming? She's convinced he'll be gone for much if not all of the night, staying over with his noble hosts at Highwater. That's where Esyld is this evening, and while she's not trying to ponder overmuch whether or not she'll end up staying the night there as well, she's sure she's stag this evening. Well, unless you count the bow she's lovingly polishing when she hears footsteps approaching and boots cracking twigs in the walkway.

Turning around fast enough to nearly knock over her jar of oil Lorelei's poised, eyes darting this way and that, with a hand at her belt where she keeps her knife. She says nothing, predictably.

"Oh." That's said more to the walkway itself than to Lorelei, as Jonathan abruptly comes to a stop, eyes peering out in the half-light as he finds himself not alone. There's an awkward moment of quiet as he identifies the woman in front of him, and then his lips press together quite deliberately, as though he can't decide whether to smile or frown but is leaning quite heavily toward the latter. Then he opens his mouth, then closes it again. What to say?

When in doubt, fall back on the formalities. "Good evening, Miss Asheflour," he says, flatly. Another pause, and then, "How is the night on this side of Lonnaire?"

Really? Blinking at him, she nearly draws her knife just for the helluvit. But no, she decides, that'd be wasting effort on someone who's paying entirely too much attention to her already. So, he's offered an eyeroll in return, a stiff posture, and a rather disapproving glare. It's obvious to her that he's not stomping off over toward here just to shoot the breeze. Looking skeptical, Lore shrugs, eyes wandering around as if to observe their surroundings in something resembling an answer about the evening.

Why do they need to say anything? Still looking at him rather incredulously she rises completely from her spot on the barrel, turns, places the bow down, and comes to full height again with her arms folded across her chest. "Was quiet." There, look: a bone. It's been thrown to this old bulldog.

"Good. I could do with some quiet now, I think." Jonathan's eyes follow Lore as she moves off her spot on the barrel, and they linger on her form for just a few moments longer before he speaks in response. "No, no, no need to stand on my account. Take a seat, please, and if you would let me join you…" Without waiting for a response, he finds a random object of suitable height and lowers himself down onto it.

And there he stays for a few long moments, eyes growing unfocused. "Not so quiet at Highwater Castle, but I suspect you know that." He's starting to regain his composure, but it's still a tenuous thing. "It would seem to me," he says, barely above the whisper, "that the Captain's attempt to get away had precisely the opposite effect of what she intended." Pause. "Tell me I am reading the situation wrongly." It's almost a plea.

Oh. Great. This is precisely how she wanted to spend her quiet evening alone. Watching him decide he's joining her was nearly painful and, while she even opens her mouth to dispute the reason for her rising, it seems to be wasted on him. One doesn't need to be a genius to notice he seems rather preoccupied and flustered, and given the direction he's come from and that he's wearing something nicer than she's ever seen him in… two plus two, Lore.

Distaste and discomfort take a back seat to curiosity and confusion as the great Knight of Bloodfield looks rather taken aback. Even after a week of rigorous training she'd not seem him seem so meek. Before he speaks she casts a quick gaze over toward the direction she knows the castle's in, but it's interrupted by his words. And then he's finished speaking, and Lorelei's stock still. She would never, ever betray her Captain. The voluminous sleeves of her tunic hang loosely from her arms as they remain clasped over her chest, hands now reaching with fingers curing around her back in a tight embrace for one. Well, if Jon was going to ask anyone, he picked the right person if only because Lorelei doesn't mince words, nor does she speak without thinking beforehand. "Elaborate," she commands, equally softly but quite seriously indeed.

Well, certainly, she wouldn't have. Jonathan could train for months on end without ever losing his composure - indeed, he has. But whatever is going on with Esyld has evidently struck a weak point in his psyche, because this is tough. It doesn't help, of course, that the woman he's speaking with, the only one he can discuss such matters with, has so far proven to be quite impossible to reason with. Still, beggars cannot be choosers, and so he presses on.

"You recall the conversation we had upon her return, when my sister stated that she had rather… enjoyed herself on the road." Yeah, that's difficult. Jonathan is quite aware that Esyld is far from innocent, but that doesn't mean she's not his little sister. "I had my suspicions then. And I saw Master Fremont at Highwater." A scowl works its way across his face. "The bastard seemed very pleased with himself. And the Captain seemed rather… not at ease." Pause. "I am left with only one conclusion, which is that their relationship is rather more complicated than I'd originally been led to believe." Which, it should be noted, was pretty complicated to begin with.

It was looking so bleak there for a moment, but now maybe not so much. In fact, Lorelei needs to look away to conceal the smirk that's growing there as his own frown is doing the same, and once she's sniffed and rubbed her nose her gaze returns to knight on the barrel before her.

"Appearances can be deceiving," Lorelei concedes, looking at him but not saying much else for the moment. It's a true statement and doesn't betray especially much. One hand frees itself from her ribs and wanders up to her arm, scratching at it absently up and down as her eyes move from him, back to the castle, and then back to him again.

"True." Not exactly the answer Jon was looking for, and he doesn't do much to hide his frustration. Either she's being evasive to protect Esyld, or she's just doing it out of spite. The first would be admirable, perhaps, but either is exceptionally unhelpful.

Evidently, he's banking on the former; after all, if it's the latter, she won't help him no matter what. "Mistress Asheflour," he begins, slowly. "We are at cross-purposes here, you know. We both want what is best for Captain Draven. I am sure of that." A little sigh. "But we cannot reach that goal if we are not on the same page, as it were."

Here he goes assuming she can read again. Daft noble. "You may be her blood," Lorelei then points out, shifting her weight from one foot to the other before turning around to apprehend her glistening bow once more. The oil is still slick on its exterior and comes off onto her fingers until she retrieves the rag she'd been using off the dirt. "But I am here with her at all times." It's a statement delivered with a certain protective pride, and as he attempts to bond together with her for the greater good, she quickly shows just how she finds them different.

"What is 'best,' then?" She finally asks, unsure of what precisely he's working toward, though she has a good idea.

She's right, of course, at least to a certain point. Jon's reaction to that, predictably, is anger, albeit rather subdued anger. His eyes narrow at Lorelei for a moment, his jaw sets, and his hands press together. "She was my sister long before she was anything to you," he replies, through clenched teeth. "Do not overstep your bounds, Mistress Asheflour." Yeah, he's protective, too.

Still, with time, he relaxes. It's clearly the result of a great deal of effort, but nevertheless, he manages to sit back just a little. "But I suppose you have a point. You are with her at all times, and I, of late, have not been." Pause. "What is best for her? You tell me."

He may be her brother, but they're descending into the kind of bickering young siblings engage in, now. "I asked first," she maintains, aware and apparently ambivalent toward the anger he's now showing. No, he will not rattle her. He will not scare her. He will not intimidate her. And so she keeps her cool in spite of whatever he may throw her way.

One hand remains on her bow, moving closer and closer toward the center without really disguising its movements. The other, naturally, is reaching behind her for arrows from her discarded quiver. "Don't ever assume, Jon." Formality be damned. And it'll likely piss him off more. Excellent.

He sees her hands moving, of course, even in the half-light. And in a moment, he's on his feet, and he's closing the distance between himself and Lorelei. Going armed, maybe, would have been a good move. Or is that just paranoia? She wouldn't really shoot him, would she?

…yes, she probably would.

Still, Jonathan t'Maren isn't the sort to back down, even in the face of likely being made into a pincushion. He stops just a few feet away from Lorelei, eyes boring into hers. "Esyld," he says, "must not be hurt. What is best for her is to keep her safe." Pause. "On that much, I am sure we can agree."

Lorelei's eyes might be the darkest brown there is, nearing closely to black in the daylight hours at their brightest, but right now they're burning with a fire that's deep and dangerous. The closer he comes, the greater the flames and the harder she presses her jaw closed. The edges there below her ears are veritable spikes now, given how sharp her features are to begin with. Just combine the tension he's providing with the focus she's using to grab the arrow…

"No harm comes to her," she assures through clenched teeth. If she'd fur, it'd be standing up along the nape of her neck now. No backing down, but you, sir, can back up.

Back up? Jonathan may consider it for a moment, but he doesn't, not yet. There's fire in his eyes, too, the same sort of dark fire, unyielding, unbowed and unbroken. "No harm," he repeats, flatly, his voice a hissing whisper.

For a long moment, there's nothing at all, save Jon's shallow breathing. Then, as though challenging her, he takes a half-step closer. His hands come out, palms open, not a threatening gesture at all, but he's standing very, very close to her, now.

Close enough for the arrow to be swiftly abandoned and the knife drawn. It's pressed delicately against where Lorelei presumes his navel to be without caring enough to think hard about its location. "None," she hisses in reply. It's a guarantee of Esyld's safety as much as it is a threat against him should he threaten her. Shouldn't he be getting back to the party for important people anyway?

Okay, okay. Jonathan may be not be the sort to back down, but the presence of a knife against his belly is enough to give him pause. He meets Lorelei's eyes for a long while, his body still rigid, his expression as angry as ever. Then he looks down at the blade, then up at her. At the blade, at her.

For the briefest of moments, it seems as though he's trying to force himself to smile. It doesn't happen, though.

Then, without another word, he steps back and walks away. Likely he'll end up back at the t'Maren residence eventually, but for the moment, as before, he's just trying to get away.

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