(1866-08-18) Concerns
Concerns
Summary: Following an eventful night at Highwater, Jon and Esyld square off in the training yard.. only for Lorelei to suddenly become the focus of their discussion.
Date: Aug 18th
Related: Elaborate
Players:
Esyld  Jonathan  Lorelei  

Black Fox Training Yard
In scene
Aout 18th, 1866

Opposed Roll — Esyld=Two Hand Blades Vs Recruit=6
Esyld: Great Success
Recruit: Good Success
Net Result: Esyld wins - Solid Victory

Well, while there may be a few revellers suffering from their antics today, it would seem that, for once, Captain Draven is not among them. Approaching late morning and she's already well-settled into her 'duties', such as they are, at the training grounds. In comparison to her Lordly brother, Esyld own routine is perhaps less 'regimental'.. but it serves her well enough. Pushing her sweat-dampened tresses back from her forehead in that absent-minded way she has, the mercenary circles her current opponent; a recruit only a few years into manhood, broad-shouldered and muscular.. though to a keen eye, lacking the finesse of a trained fighter. Well, that's what she is for, right?

Given the warmth of the sun at this hour, the t'Maren bastard is clad in the most basic of light armor. A tightly bound bodice of enforced leather and her usual leggings and boots, already dull with a layer of dust, kicked up from the hard ground underfoot. Judging by the telltale signs of exertion (heavy breathing for her opponent, a feral grin and ready stance for her) she's been pitting herself against the youngsters for the best part of the morning. And now she's nicely warmed up. "Not bad.." she advises her student, as they slowly circle one another. Esyld's footwork is naturally graceful, no longer in need of conscious thought. A clattering blow from her dulled blade just landed solidly against the lad's ribs moments before, and he's still gasping a little as he struggles to regain his 'proper' posture. "Left your side open though, didn't you? Go on, get a drink." She waves him off toward a waiting pail nearby, her vivid eyes already seeking out the next who wishes to try their luck.

Speaking of that Lordly brother, it seems that Jonathan t'Maren has chosen to haunt the training yard even after his time as their interim trainer has concluded. Late morning, and he's already well into his own training regimen, though he's still fresh, energetic and as upbeat as he ever is… which, of course, isn't much at all. His choice of attire is also light armor, though his is perhaps a bit more ornate than his sister's, yet still functional enough to serve his purposes well.

Making his way across the practice field, the knight pauses at times to observe the progress of one recruit or another, occasionally giving a soft-spoken tip or two. Before long, he's behind Esyld, watching her match with the younger recruit conclude, ans as soon as the man is gone, he steps in to take his place. "Good potential, that one. Still quite raw." It seems he picked up a dull sword along the way, too, and now he's holding it loosely in his right hand. "Shall we, Captain?" He's smiling. It doesn't look entirely genuine.

Ah, the pail of water. It's cool and crisp even if it's waiting in the hot sun. It's the little things like this that Lorelei prides herself upon, and things like this that earn her respect as the Quartermaster. Every half hour or so the water has been swapped out for fresh, colder stuff to replenish the men and their Captain during their exercises. Who needs children of one's own when one can play mommy to new recruits? It's somewhat more fulfilling, if only that there's no bottom-wiping or forehead-kissing required.

Yes, it would seem all is as it should be. In fact, Lore is so comfortable with her home being back to 'normal' again that she's seated on the ground of all places, back slouched against a pole that supports that covered walkway she so loves to perch on. Her fair skin is kept out of the sun, shaded both by the walkway and the long sleeves and pants of her tunic-breeches ensemble she favors so often. There's a clipped shaft of wheat she's chewing idly between her teeth as she runs a knife along the ends of a collection of very straight sticks, no doubt picked for arrows. Wood shavings fall across her lap as she works, and the pile continues to accumulate until a familiar-sounding footfall hits her ears. Looking up, her dark eyes find first the boots, then the body, then the face of the not-at-all-surprising Jon. Brows raise and the wheat stops moving in her mouth, but she keeps shaving wood, watching the t'Maren siblings as one challenges the other.

"Hmm." Distractedly watching the youngster walk - or rather, totter - away, Esyld is obviously gauging him in her mind, where his talents lie, what might be the best direction to guide him in.. "He has the strength for a weightier blade, I think. But he'll need to work on the basics before he picks a focus." Her concerns lie mostly with those skilled enough to train as cavalrymen, of course. Turning those striking eyes upon her brother as he takes up position opposite, the young Captain quirks a brow in mild amusement. "If it please you. No doubt seeing me knocked on my arse will be good for morale, after what I've put them through thus far." She refers to the recruits who've been watching the spars from the shade of the walkway, some sporting rapidly rising bruises, others deigning to sit down, backs to the wall, rather than stand any longer. There's an undeniable ripple of excited apprehension as the t'Marens square off. Not from Lorelei, though. And yes, Esyld does cast a look, fleetingly, in her friend's direction.

Noting the lack of warmth in Jon's expression, the cavalier perhaps resigns herself to the likelihood of a solid trouncing. But it's just as important to be scrappy and tenacious as monstrously talented.. right? She settles again into a waiting stance, grasping the hilt of her practice blade with both hands and nodding gently toward her new, formidable opponent. "Have at it, then.."

Opposed Roll — Jonathan=One Hand Blades Vs Esyld=Two Hand Blades
Jonathan: Good Success
Esyld: Amazing Success
Net Result: Esyld wins - Solid Victory

It's fairly likely that Jonathan noticed Lorelei at some point during his walk across the training yard, but at the moment, his attention is squarely upon Esyld. "Would that we all had the luxury of /choosing/ our focus, mm?" His grip on the blade is loose, his arm fluid, but his stance firm as he turns to face her. "One of the great ironies of our station, that some of us have very little choice in the matter at all." Jon is well aware, of course, that he's addressing a commoner, in view of many other commoners. He doesn't expect sympathy, or at any rate he shouldn't. Still, Noble World Problems are a thing.

"Just like when we were children, Sid," he muses, growing ever-so-slightly more relaxed as he assumes his stance. It's a simple one, blade held in a guard, albeit angled ever so slightly toward his opponent's throat. When he strikes, it's not subtle, a high, arcing thing aiming - if it were a real sword - to cut her off at the shoulders. He's very good, and it's a powerful swing. But it seems that in this case, the younger sister is just a touch better.

The look is received and reciprocated, onyx orbs blinking once in acknowledgement before darting over to the knight. The shavings begin to decrease in number as the two of them square off and concentration and curiosity, as compared to the recruits'apprehension, fills Lorelei's expression. Still relatively at ease, perhaps with having gone virtually unnoticed, she goes from neutral to pleased the moment Esyld's skill outmatches that of her brother.

In spite of herself, Esyld grins slightly - a mere glimpse of white teeth as she brings her own blade slowly up into a firmer grasp. It's an unwieldy size of weapon for a woman but one that she seems perfectly at ease with. No, he knows better than to expect any trace of sympathy in regard to standing, from his bastard sibling. Him she loves. His title? Not so much. "A lack of choice is not a trait entirely belonging to your kind, of course.." she points out, calm as you like. "Though, it is of course to a greater strength and a far more dangerous wager for you than say.. me."

That heavy blade comes up, deflecting the swing of Jon's and, further still, with enough weight behind him to seek to throw the arc back in the direction it came from, with the intent of unbalancing her opponent. Press any advantage you can find. Regrettably too focused to take stock of Lorelei's expression, the Captain is at least aware of the quartermaster's silent presence nearby. Always a comfort. Unless she's pissed.

Opposed Roll — Jonathan=One Hand Blades Vs Esyld=Two Hand Blades
Jonathan: Great Success
Esyld: Great Success
Net Result: Esyld wins - Marginal Victory

"To a certain… extent." Jon is, indeed, thrown off balance by his sister's maneuver. A lucky shot, he mutters to himself with a grimace as he staggers back, but one has to be good to get /that/ lucky. "There is a danger inherent in making choices for me that is rather less for you." Lips press together into a smile that's anything but happy. "But if one makes the /wrong/ choices, then I daresay the danger is there regardless of one's station."

It doesn't take long for a fighter like Jonathan t'Maren to recover. Again the blade comes up in that simple guard, but his next strike is more cautious, a thrust that keeps the weapon between his body's and his sister's at every moment. It even almost reaches her. Almost.

It should be noted there's water there today rather than ale, and while the latter makes one rather sticky, the former would actually be quite refreshing in such heat. Still, Lorelei has no plans to douse anyone with water, and as Esyld bests Jonathan again she can't help but grin. Apparently all three of them got that memo at the same time.

Knife still in an iron grip, she rises off the dusty ground and presses her back more firmly against the pole she'd been sitting beside until just a moment ago. Her weight's on the supporting beam, so Lore's left foot is just a kickstand crossed over by her right. She's watching them intently, eyes moving from one to the other as they go.

The Captain arches her body gracefully away from the lunge, a twisting, fluid motion of her wrists bringing her own blade back into play to offer a sharp, vaguely reprimanding rap against Jonathan's. How very dare he. "So does the freedom of making one's own choices really hold that much more appeal than the alternative..?" Oh, to the Dark One with this. Esyld can't get her head around double-meanings even when she's not sparring with a displeased Knight.

Having avoided his sword again - though notably not seeking to strike at him quite yet in retaliation, the raven-maned mercenary meets her sibling's gaze levelly, a slow side-step bringing her to the beginning of a slow, predatory circle. Again, just at the periphery of her vision, she sights the tall silhouette of her archer friend, rising and taking a leaning stance that anyone else might assume were casual. There's no such thing as casual with that one.

Opposed Roll — Jonathan=One Hand Blades Vs Esyld=Two Hand Blades
Jonathan: Good Success
Esyld: Good Success
Net Result: Esyld wins - Marginal Victory

Frustration. Jonathan's face betrays quite a great deal of it, though whether that's due to his seeming inability to strike his sister or other factors remains to be seen. At any rate, his stance grows a little more aggressive as she bends away from the thrust, and a frown curls his lips as she delivers that warning tap. Sigh. Third time's the charm, right?

"Perhaps not," the knight replies, flatly. "But at least one who has the freedom to make his own choices knows that he is doomed by his own mistakes, not another's." Attack number three is a slash directed at Esyld's hip. It's a hurried strike, not Jon's best, and he knows it even before it's turned aside.

While Esyld may not have the patience to parse out what Jon is getting at, Lorelei is totally on to him and is growing almost as frustrated as he is. Really? Now? His timing is the poorest she's seen in an exceptionally long time and it's truly beginning to fluster her.

The Captain's right - it's not especially casual, and likely the spectacle of this sparring match has everyone too preoccupied to notice that she's replaced the knife with her bow and an already finished arrow, eagle eyes on her Captain.

"And that's a comfort?" The Captain looses a soft, only slightly breathless sound of amusement - about as genuine as Jon's smile. "So.." She's cut off as she knocks aside that slash with a dull clang, using the edge of her blade near the grip. "..if I had, for example, been a noble. And my parents, say, made a betrothal for me? That would be better?" This time, perhaps wearying of simply serving as an animated practice dummy, she hefts her sword and whirls it toward Jon's calf. Underhanded, perhaps. But in a real fight it would be a swift way to triumph, should it land. Looking up at the knight through a few wayward tendrils of dark hair, Esyld relents to a frown in increments. "Jon.. if you've something to say, you know better than to sweeten it with pretty words. Come on now. Give it your best shot." Baiting. Does she refer to the spar, or what's really bothering him, at the heart of it? She has a sneaking suspicion she may have guessed but.. let's get it out in the open! His reaction to encountering Corvin at the castle was far from subtle, at least to her mind. Precisely the sort of situation she's been trying to avoid. Because, while always having been stubborn, wilful and.. yes, reckless at times.. she still hates displeasing her older brother. This is a first, as far as such conflicts go, and she's clearly ballsing it up rather spectacularly. Even Lorelei, with her utter lack of interest in social niceties, can see what she doesn't.. she's playing a dangerous game that the t'Maren heir doesn't like.

Opposed Roll — Jonathan=One Hand Blades Vs Esyld=Two Hand Blades
Jonathan: Good Success
Esyld: Good Success
Net Result: Jonathan wins - Marginal Victory

"Better? Maybe. Different, certainly." Jonathan is /just/ quick enough to hop over the blow aimed at his calf. He's long known to expect such tricks from his sister - hers is the dirty, win-at-all-costs style of the mercenary, not the knightly art in which he was trained. Still, it's a closer call than he'd like, and he takes a step back, studying her stance for a few long moments while considering his next move.

"Tell me honestly, Sid." He lifts his weapon a little higher, angling it more sharply toward his opponent's upper body. "I want to make certain that you are not hurt." An odd thing for him to say, perhaps, given their present choice of activity, but there it is. "With the choices you are making now. Will you be safe?" That's unambiguous enough. Meanwhile, he takes another shot, this one a stab aimed at her left shoulder. It may not be his /best/ shot, but it may be good enough to slip past her defenses.

Lorelei rolls Bows: Great Success. (8 6 4 5 8 1 2 8 6 2 3 6 7)

Really? Lore watches the two of them snap back and forth at one another - is this a common trait inherited from the father? - before Jon confesses his concerns in front of everyone. Something somewhere inside of the archer snaps then, angrily and unpredictably, and in a moment she's knocked the arrow, aimed, and fired it from behind Jon to land between his feet. It's a warning, and, should he turn around to look at her he'll see that same fire he saw the night before. She's stepped out into the sun and everything to address him, pale skin almost reflecting the bright light. "I am trustworthy," she growls, evidently looking for an explanation for what he's back again asking the same questions.

The onlookers are still watching avidly from around the main ground as the bout continues on. A common mercenary holding her own against a noble knight? How inspiring! Maybe some of those bruises will be more swiftly forgotten, when certain young lads go to their cots tonight dreaming of beating the snot out of some enemy, imagined or otherwise. Jonathan, of course, is not an enemy. Softening just a touch in the wake of her brother's admission. All this masculine posturing and huffing and puffing, just to show he cares? She knows that. Honestly. Men. She's distracted only briefly but it's enough for the best part of the stab to get past her defenses. The dull blade 'skiffs' across the outside of her shoulder as she dodges a little too late. Damn. Doing her best to banish the resulting frown, the Captain refocuses.. both on words and action.

"Honestly..?" The ghost of a smile curls at her lips, though the warmth doesn't touch those glacial eyes. "..I have no idea. But I like to think so?" Optimistic or just plain naieve? Corvin wouldn't hurt her without reason, surely? "My concern is precisely the same for you, however.. if that provides you with any sort of answer." The emphasis on this is the result of her turning on a heel, seeking to move around the reach of his blade so she can swing a full arc toward his midsection. How timely that such a well-placed arrow should sink into the ground between her opponent's booted feet! Esyld's smile widens to a dark, fiercely amused grin. And there's even time for a flicker of pride and approval for Lorelei, even if she hasn't opportunity to suitably direct it.

Opposed Roll — Jonathan=One Hand Blades Vs Esyld=Two Hand Blades
Jonathan: Great Success
Esyld: Great Success
Net Result: Esyld wins - Marginal Victory

Enter distraction, backstage. Jonathan is, of course, taken somewhat aback by the arrow striking the ground between his feet. He manages to take one more cut at Esyld, but it's batted aside without all that much trouble. And then he lets his sword-arm hang loose at his side, not quite dropping the weapon, but clearly not prepared to swing it at anything.

There's a glance down at that arrow. Then a glance over to Lorelei. Back to the arrow. Back to the archer. And again, he forces his lips up into a little half-smile.

"Sid," he addresses the mercenary, finally letting the practice sword clatter to the ground. "Perhaps /I/ do not need to be as concerned for your safety as I may have thought." There's another, longer look back toward Lorelei. And then, there's the mention of her concern for him, and that gets a quirked eyebrow and not much else.

Yes, that brow should be quirked. "Don't waste my time." Jon has a talent for getting a long string of words out of Lorelei occasionally, though it's not often in a particularly positive scenario. Boots thud against dirt, dust floating up behind her as she closes the distance between her and the knight quickly and easily. Crouching, she reaches out and wraps deft fingers around the arrow before yanking it forcefully out of the dirt. Can't waste a perfectly good arrow on the likes of him.

"Don't bother me again," Lorelei warns, arrow quickly stuffed over her shoulder into its quiver before she pulls her knife from her belt. It's pointed at Jon's navel again, like the last time. Esyld's presence is noted but not outwardly acknowledged.

The Fox recruits aren't going to exactly applaud the end of what turned out to be a well-matched and relatively friendly bout.. but there's animated chatter amidst their numbers where before there was only sullen wounded pride or rueful grins. Maybe they needn't feel so bad about being bested by the Captain, if she can go toe to toe with a Knight of Bloodfield and emerge relatively unscathed. Gradually, the gathering diminishes as they young men and women depart to busy themselves with chores and tasks elsewhere. Namely the foraging of some fare for luncheon. Mercenary bellies are a bottomless pit when it comes to food and ale. Never sated.

Esyld, of course, knows the truth of it. Though she may have trained alongside her brother, he has greater strength, size and finesse. She can only try to make up ground in sheer stubborn will.. and today, she was fortunate. Not that anyone else needs know that. She has a reputation to uphold, thank you very much! Lowering her own dulled blade, the young woman steps forward, reaching to clasp Jon's forearm in a vaguely masculine gesture of 'well fought'. Habit, true. But also a reason to offer a little familial affection his way, in the wake of their stilted discussion. And then Lorelei's striding forward, and the Captain obligingly steps back to clear her path, looking between the pair in.. well, not complete surprise. Bemusement, maybe. Enough that she stalls on her own matters to enquire, quietly, "..what did I miss this time? And good shot, Lore." First rule of battle: never let them know where you are. Well, if you're an archer, that's probably a good philosophy. There are other schools of thought.

Despite the general awkwardness of, well, just about everything surrounding this match, Jon is always one to appreciate a good bout, especially with an adversary as familiar, and as worthy, as his half-sister. He returns the gesture without a trace of formality or obligation, and his expression is genuine when he meets her eyes.

That changes rather abruptly when Lorelei approaches, and rather more so when her knife finds itself uncomfortably close to his navel. Well, then. "In fairness, Miss Asheflour," he replies through suddenly clenched teeth. "I have not /sought/ to bother you. One cannot help if we happen to find ourselves in the same place." Not the greatest of arguments, but it's something. Eyes narrow. "Nor can I help if you are particularly… sensitive, in my presence."

There might be a rumbling in the archer's belly too, but the blood pounding in her ears is deafening, so, considerably louder. She's not more flushed than anyone else out in the hot sun, or any angrier looking than she typically is. Lorelei is known for her reserve, and her ability to keep what she needs to under wraps. "Last night," she explains, dark eyes moving from the elder t'Maren to the younger. When Jon begins to offer his own version of events, she snorts, nostrils flaring. "You could have kept walking. Instead, you made me swear she'd come to no harm."

We're probably exceeding a word quota here, which Lorelei seems to be rather wary of in her now-growing, gloomy silence. Pushing her sleeves up to her elbows and wiping her brow - it's scalding out in this sun - Lore takes her knife back and twirls it quickly before stuffing it back into her belt. All in the name of showing off, no? "'Finding.' Right."

Well, Esyld's not going to play the mediator, here. Each party is equally stubborn and both are more than capable of handling their own affairs. See how easily she accepts that? Wondrous. Neither of them would thank her for meddling.. and so she simply observes, folding her arms - blade still held loose in one hand - and idly rocking from heel to toe and back again. Wait, hold on.

"Last night..?" Cerulean eyes flit more sharply between Lorelei and Jon, now. Esyld even seems about to question further, when realisation gradually dawns, clearing her expression from curiosity to resignation. It's to her brother that she turns her attention, first and foremost. "So that's where you went." The mercenary looks torn between frustration and sympathy for a long moment. Then she simply shakes her head, dark hair, curling a little where the encroaching midday heat too rapidly dries the sweat dampened lengths, tumbling forward with the motion. "God's breath, Jon.. I didn't know he bothered you that much." Enough to see him stomping off out of a social gathering and choosing to burden her quartermaster with such unnecessary vows? No. That's new.

"You've no need to ask such things of Lorelei, you know. She'd watch my back whether at your behest or not.. when she can. And when she cannot.." The words trail off and she shrugs her shoulders with a soft sigh. "Will you not at least try to make some manner of peace with him? If only to put your own mind at rest?" Though it goes unspoken, these words are enough to confirm the suspicions her brother likely holds, in regard to the Duke's bastard. And there's a notable lack of wheedling plea in her tone.. that's not in her nature. It just.. seems the most sensible thing to do. And Jonathan is usually the pragmatic one.

Jon's reaction, perhaps, isn't exactly what Esyld /or/ Lorelei might have expected. He looks bewildered. It's an odd thing to see on the knight's face, but there it is. Eyelids slide shut for a few moments, and one can almost see him replaying the events of last night in his mind. Vow… vow… ah, there it is. And then that bewilderment is replaced with a look of frustration, and he turns on Lorelei, a little growl caught in his throat.

"Vow? I made you do no such thing, Mistress Asheflour." His voice is low, though that doesn't make it lack for intensity. "I came to you with questions. You declined to answer. I made it clear that my wish was to keep her safe. You agreed. On that note, we parted."

With a little sigh, his attention turns back to Esyld. "If I must," he replies, "then I will try." A tilt of the head back toward Lorelei. "If your quartermaster would merely /listen/…"

Listen? Pah. "I do quite a lot of that, actually." Oh look, she snarks! Will the wonders of Lorelei Asheflour never cease? Brows furrow, glistening like a melting popsicle and she takes a step away from Jon that turns into two when he makes accusations about her not listening to him.

Crossing her arms would be caring, so she hooks her thumbs into her pockets and leans more of her weight on her right foot than her left. There's a quick look shot to Esyld when she makes her desire of peace known, and then a scoff from the archer. "Corvin isn't even the problem anymore."

Only half in jest, the Captain rubs at her brow with her fingertips, her sword dangling down by her side again. "Why is it those I have the greatest affection for are the most pig-headed of persons.." she laments aloud. With an exasperated exhale, she pushes her dark hair back in that habitual mannerism and frowns ever so slightly. "I should bang your heads together. But that implies a certain maternal leaning that I, thank the One, do not possess. Jon.."

Turning her gaze toward her taller sibling, Esyld twitches her lips into a lopsided skew of mild displeasure. "She listens. But you do, on occasion, have the tact of a deaf, dumb and blind bloodhound. Perhaps you should consider this friction an opportunity to improve on that, as you would any other skill in these surroundings. And Lore.." The dark-lashed gaze flits to her friend.. who is also taller. Esyld straightens her posture, discreetly, to create the illusion of greater stature. "..try not to bristle at my brother too terribly. He means well, more often than not.. it just doesn't always come across as such. And, if I might ask a further favor.. try not to shoot him. My father would be distinctly unamused." The not so subtle implication being that she might be amused. "Honestly. You're both adults. If you can't bond over despairing of my choice of lover, or suitably avoid one another, then thrash it out in the sparring ring. Whatever suits you both."

Truth be told, she finds herself torn. Both are close to her heart.. and that bewilderment on Jon's features undeniably tugs at the strings. And she's always had an easier time of things than him, when it comes to dealing with people. Anyone but Lorelei eliciting such a reaction would no doubt have been put on their arse quite promptly by way of the Captain's fists. But.. it's Lore. Her only real friend in recent years and who is, beneath all the glowering, an astute and enjoyable companion to have. No. She can't choose a side, here. "Then what is?" she asks of the latter, spreading her hands wide in a marked gesture of her lack of comprehension.

"Perhaps you do," Jonathan replies, flatly, "in that you hear the words that I say. But your predisposition to see the worst in everything is proving to be quite troublesome." The frustration pulsing off the knight's body is almost palpable - his muscles tighten, his teeth clench, and the furrows in his brow deepen.

With a little sigh, he slowly nods in response to his sister's question. "Fine," he replies, flatly. That's about as much of a concession he'll make to anyone, however, even his sister. He's well aware that she's always had more of a knack for relating with others than he - so long as 'relating' does not involve liberal application of violence - but that doesn't make it any less irksome. Her question draws his attention, but he has his suspicions as to the answer.

"Clearly, it's me." There's no fishing for reassurance there; Lore has enough of that on her own. Chin held high and gazing directly at Jon, she bows her head briefly. "Your family, your conversation," the archer explains, taking a step back, then another, before turning and striding off toward the woods behind the fence the training grounds backs out to. It isn't too long before her dark hair is lost among the moss, leaves, and dark branches.

Too many words, maybe.

It's precisely that sort of forthright speech and uncowed attitude that warmed Esyld to the archer from the moment she laid eyes on her. But.. well, Jon's less open to commoners willing to stand up to him. Having watched the departure of the slender quartermaster, not seeking to delay her but looking a little disappointed all the same, the raven-maned Captain sighs again and turns, bodily now, to face her brother.

The dull practice blade is cast aside, clattering to the ground atop the one he had discarded moments ago. "What conversation? What is going on with you two? Should I not have left you to work alongside one another, after all?" If this mess is her doing, she wants to know. Now. Folding her arms, she mirrors the Knight's own frowning expression to a degree that there would be no doubt of their shared lineage to even the least observant of passers-by. "Not that it isn't pleasant to be relieved of the position of 'chief turmoil bringer' but.. this simply isn't acceptable. Whatever it is."

"If I knew that, Sid, it would be far less of a problem." Jonathan's eyes follow the quartermaster as she departs, and he does relax just a bit, though he's still clearly a little off. Shoulders roll as he turns to face his sister. "I've my concerns about you. So does she. On that much we can agree. But the way in which to /handle/ those concerns seems to be a rather contentious point." Sigh. "Besides the fact that it seems nearly impossible to be civil with one another."

At least he's speaking of her as another human, right? That's something. Maybe. "She is competent, and she cares for you. That much is obvious. There is no reason we oughtn't be able to work together, but…" A shrug. "As I said, if I knew, I would tell you."

"Oh? Why? How were you planning to handle them?" Esyld arches a brow and the expression might have been imperious if it weren't for the underlying hint of humor in her eyes. "Let me guess." She flicks a pointed glance down to the abandoned blades on the ground, then back up to Jon, her mouth twisting in a wry manner. "I don't recall ever having seen you so perplexed by a woman.." she begins, her tone all innocence. "Is there perhaps more to it that a clash of personality..?"

The Captain grants enough time for her sibling to consider this, slowly pivoting on a heel and starting toward the water butt at the corner of the nearest outbuilding. Damn this heat. She needs to splash her face and arms, to rid both of the dust and sweat of exertion. "..I know you both have your concerns. And I appreciate it, in a way. I do. But not if it's going to cause such tension between us all. And I include Master Fremont in that." Stooping, she cups some water, cool from being in the shade, and brings it to her features in a brisk motion. "But then, Lore says that's not even the issue any longer. She's not easily rattled, Jon."

Jonathan's eyes follow his sister's down to the blades on the ground. "Don't presume so much," he replies, and his eyes roll. "I would merely make it /quite/ clear to any… gentleman who shows such attention toward you," he begins, though he clearly hesitates before actually saying the word 'gentleman,' "that if you are harmed, he will be held responsible for his actions." Of course, the manner in which Jon would hold a man responsible is rather violent, but that goes without saying.

Turning to follow her, Jon lets out a low sigh. "I know you are able to protect yourself. But I worry. And I haven't the most favorable opinion of Master Fremont." And then the conversation drifts to other topics, and he finds a place to settle down for a moment, letting his shoulders drop. "That so," he says, softly. "And why is she rattled now?"

"Well, I'm inclined to blame it on you." Straightening again, Esyld sweeps her palms back over her hair, settling her gaze upon her brother and apparently content to linger in the shade for the time being. Far nicer than out in the heat of the day. "If seeing you vexed by a woman is rare, seeing Lorelei perturbed in any way is.. moreso." Understatement. Massive understatement. "Not to put too fine a point on it, Jon but.. it's not exactly dissimilar to how Corvin and I interacted, before things began to change." For the better? She doesn't say. But she has seemed content enough these past few days… the tensions between brother and friend aside, anyway.

Not to point too fine a point on it… Well, at any rate, it's a fine enough point that Jon understands what she's saying. "If you are saying that I've taken an interest in her…" Lips curl down in a frown as he looks back up at her. "You may not be entirely wrong. But it seems every interaction we have merely throws up more walls. And even were that not the case, what could ever come of it?" Sigh. Settling back a little bit, he takes a long look at his sister, and when he speaks again, his words are chosen carefully. "Are you pleased with how things have begun to change, Sid?"

"What necessarily has to come of it, other than finding someone whose company you enjoy?" counters the Captain, smiling slightly at his discomfort but hardly revelling in it. "I can't - and wouldn't presume to - give you 'tips' when it comes to Mistress Asheflour. Her trust isn't easily won. But her friendship is worth the effort, if you're willing to try.. and personally, I think the two of you have enough in common that such a thing might be a source of comfort and companionship on either side." Relenting just a touch after a pause, she ventures a suggestion. One that would be glaringly obvious to most people. "Try to find some common ground with her. And don't push too hard."

Leaning a shoulder to a supporting pillar of the covered walkway, arms folded, Esyld regards her sibling in kind, in the wake of his careful words. Her expression is difficult to read, even moreso than usual. 'Pensive' might be a good way to put it. "..I think so. I confess it was an unexpected turn of events. But.. yes, I'm content enough." She shrugs, adopting an air of nonchalance that may or may not be genuine. "It's likely nothing more than a passing infatuation anyway. So what harm?" Yes, Corvin could likely snap her neck like a twig.. but the point is that he won't. Probably.

Finding someone whose company you enjoy? The entire concept, it should be said, is foreign to Jonathan. There's those Noble World Problems again. Every relationship has a purpose. Every action has a consequence. To pursue someone purely for the sake of enjoyment? It's a strange idea, and yet Jonathan's expression shows that it's not an entirely unwelcome one. "We will see," he replies, quietly. "We will certainly see."

There's a lengthy pause after Esyld finishes speaking, and Jonathan takes a few moments to turn her words over and over in his mind. "I am glad to see you content, Sid," he replies, just as carefully as before. He doesn't seem convinced that it's only a passing thing, but he's willing to let the matter lie. "Then, for the moment, if I happen to face Master Fremont in the upcoming fisticuffs… you may rest assured that I will only put an /ordinary/ degree of effort into breaking him." Jon smiles at that, though it's not an entirely pleasant expression.

"Hmm." Funnily enough? That doesn't seem to offer much in the way of comfort. Esyld smirks faintly after a pause, though, shaking her head in a long-suffering manner. "Well, thank you for the sentiment. Lorelei did seem to find it hilarious that I thought you'd aim for his throat, when it came down to a scrap. If nothing else, I've found that a good tussle is sometimes the easiest way for men to settle their differences. Have at it, if it makes you feel better. Only father and I will likely be able to tell if you're holding back."

The pursuit of enjoyment. One of the few areas in which Esyld actually has the advantage over her brother. While she may be rougher around the edges than he - or present herself as such - she's fond enough of Jon to see that forging any sort of relations outside of the training yard might be a struggle.. but also perhaps the best thing for him. He just happens to have set his sights upon a most elusive target. In their world, the likes of Esyld and Lore don't have to give such great consideration to those they socialise with - they like who they like and that's that. "..just.. try to relax around her. Don't constantly boss her, she knows what you need before you ever have to tell her. She's not some wet-behind-the-ears squire, nor a courtier, nor some merchant to strike a deal with. So stop worrying yourself over propriety so terribly." Goodness, it's not that hard. Though she knows well enough how strange it is, taking those first forays.

Glancing skyward, squinting against the cloudless blue, the mercenary wrinkles her nose. "I should likely find something to eat. Then it's to the quintain, for me. You are welcome to remain, as always. Unless you've business at the castle."

"/Try/ is the operative term there, Sid." Which is something she knows already, no doubt. Still, talking to his half-sister has done a good deal to set Jon at ease. It probably won't last, but at least for the moment, it's something. "And… you do have my apologies, for whatever strain I have caused you." Even that is a great deal, coming from Jonathan. It's not like him to admit fault.

There's a little nod, and then he gets to his feet. "I'd stay, but I likely should not. Father will likely be needing my presence soon." His lips curl in a little hint of a smile. "Be safe, Sid." It's a way of saying goodbye, but there's more to it than that.

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