(1866-08-18) Into The Woods
Into the Woods
Summary: Lorelei and Esyld retreat to a favourite spot to discuss Jonathan.
Date: Aout 18th
Related: Follows on directly from Concerns
Esyld  Lorelei  

Dense forest, Lonnaire
In Set
Aout 18th, 1866

The forests surrounding the Black Fox Training Ground are old, thick, and difficult to navigate if you're unfamiliar with them. Trunks are thick and foliage is thicker, blocking out much of the sunlight that would ordinarily filter through a younger grouping of plants with ease. There's a healthy dose of coniferous trees dotting the majority deciduous flora, with ferns, moss, and vines aplenty peeking out from beside and within fallen trees and stumps. The farther in you go, the fewer animal sounds you hear and the fewer the flowers are seen. It's all rather magical, truly, if you're looking not to be found for a little while.

There's one tree in particular that Lorelei's favored for a great many years. It's an oak of considerable age that's grown crooked, with a cleft in the trunk and a branch growing closer to the ground before moving upward again. It's on this branch she's perched, more like a bird everyday it seems, idly running her knife over the edges of those unfinished arrows. An archer's work is never done.

Fortunately, Esyld is not lacking in familiarity with the forests. Or, indeed, any of the land surrounding Lonnaire. It's not unheard of for her to take off on hunting trips, when the mood strikes.. though she's had scarce little time for such pursuits, of late. While the quartermaster had a good headstart then, it still doesn't take too long before familiar footsteps can be heard approaching; neither crashing gracelessly through the undergrowth nor deliberately stealthy. Simply following a trail that's offered more by memory than required skill. If Lore really didn't want to be found, she would have picked a less favored spot, after all.

Approaching the gnarled oak, pushing back her dark tresses and the sweat from her brow both, the Captain regards her friend as she comes into view, slowing her stride to an unhurried saunter. "Well. I know I hinted that keeping my brother's eyes elsewhere might prove of benefit to me, given the circumstances. But I didn't expect his gaze to be quite so unwavering." The words are uttered in an airy manner, though her expression speaks only of idle amusement.

"Strong," Lorelei agrees, not bothering to look up from her work as wood shavings join twigs and fallen leaves on the forsest floor. Ashes to ashes, after all. "And serious." It could be his gaze she's talking of, or really any other part of Jon t'Maren. He's a rather serious individual, it would seem, especially with such an observation coming from her.

The cool mistiness of the forest clearly agrees with much of the archer, save for her crinkly hair that's since turned itself into something more closely resembling a brillo pad with the oppressive humidity. Clearly paying no heed she hands her knife from her dominant hand to the weaker, shaking her right arm then until the sleeve of her tunic wiggles free from its entrapment behind her elbow. Buttons weigh the cuff down enough to pull it down toward her hand where, once grabbed, it's wiped along her brow before being released in lieu of needing a comb for her unruly frizz ball she'd previously called hair. Summer's delightful for these sorts of things, eh? "Forgive me," Lore says next, her tone rather jovial considering her words but her expression more meaningful. Right hand still free, she pats the limb beside her indicating the branch is open for visitors, should Esyld choose.

"For what?" replies the mercenary, with the same lack of apparent concern in the half-smile she offers. Traipsing across the fallen leaves, she does indeed choose to take a seat, dropping down beside Lorelei with her usual lack of dainty grace. "You missed his foot." If there's anything other than the loosing of an arrow to apologise for, it doesn't appear that esyld is going to press for it. Shuffling a little further onto the swooping limb until her booted feet are aloft from the forest floor, the young woman sighs; quite content in such surroundings. Nothing wrong with a little peace and quiet, given the way life has been turned on it's head recently.

"Seems you were quite right about him being interested in you. Not that I doubted it." A sidelong glance goes to the archer. "Would being civil to one another be too much to expect..? Just as a beginning?" A beginning of what? "He's.. not the best at letting his guard down. Rather like someone else I know." A not entirely gentle nudge of elbow makes itself known at Lorelei's ribs.

Hey now, she's ticklish there. Lorelei can't help the ensuing grin and instictive paw away she reacts with, though she can help that said grin doesn't go anywhere when she's taken another breath. She didn't mean to hit him, and likely would have more to apologize for if she had. Bummer, all the same. "For starting trouble," she explains. Given the way she's looking at the Captain now, she clearly means it, too. "I've no other way." It's true, and Esyld likely knows this. She's young but habits, however old, die very hard for her. How else should she react to him?

Ah, confirmation. Lore's not the type to look smug or insist she knew the way of it before it was ever admitted, so as Esyld relays the results of her conversation with her brother, all the archer does is nod. Her legs swing gently, front to back opposite of one another, occasionally catching the heel of her boot on the back and cracking some of it off the skin of the tree. Mmmm. there's another nod, another grin, and when her eyes refocus and move from the delightful red fern beneath their branch to the mercenary beside her, Lorelei sighs and bats her eyelashes. "Can he be?" Civil, she means, in response to Sid's request. Given her tone, she finds it impossible. "Uncanny, truly, how he reminds me of my earlier days," she ultimately admits, looking somewhat guilty but no less resigned.

"Trouble was already begun. You simply cut to the heart of it. Nothing wrong with being direct. Jon may still play the couriter at times but we're cut from the same cloth.. and sometimes there's simply no sense in gilding one's words in frippery. Of course, I wouldn't advise such an approach with all nobles." Absent-mindedly, Esyld has cast her gaze downward while speaking and now observes as her thumbnail explores a crack in the bark beside her. "I'm not going to order you to do anything. You know I wouldn't. And I know you balk at the notion of any actual dalliance. But, honestly?"

The Captain raises her striking eyes to study her friend, smirking vaguely at the batted eyelashes. Yeah, who's she trying to kid? "I think it might do him good to learn how to merely be friends with someone. And if he can bend enough to find that from you.. well, that's the equivalent of a knighthood in the skill." A pause for a teasing glimpse of white teeth as she grins. "I've told him to be civil and to cease treating you like a servant. His efforts, should they come, might not be immediately apparent. Just.. well, it's the same as training a horse. Encourage the positive rather than punish the negative."

Jon must really be something funny; she's barked out another hearty laugh. Reaching her left hand around to the opposite side, Lorelei tucks the knife back into her belt and turns all her attention to Esyld. "Men have trouble being friends." It's a simple truth that someone somewhere may one day write as being universally acknowledged. Certainly Esyld knows this - Corvin, after all, went from enemy to lover with no step in between. "Always," she drives home, dark brows rising in a show of just how serious she is. Eye contact isn't something she shies away from readily, but it seems Esyld's bright eyes are too much for her now. Instead, she's become interested in the dirt under her stubbed fingernails.

She's not trying to kid anyone, per se, but. Goodness, men are complicated, and the heavy sigh Lore heaves then is proof enough of that. "He's not been put off by the point of my knife finding his navel." Beat. "On two occasions." Hey, wasn't there something Esyld did recently that happened twice before the recent apocalypse? Regardless of the familiarity the similarity of situation might bring, Lorelei is clearly distracted by it.

The subtle point of what became of her rivalry with the Wraith is not lost on Esyld. Though, in fairness, sometimes the leap from enemy to lover is a more satisfying one. In many ways. Esyld allows herself a slow, private smile as her thoughts drift in that direction, her vivid eyes briefly wandering from her friend to their surroundings, seeing none of it. While contentment is still a rare and new thing to witness upon the features of the mercenary, it's not exactly unsettling. Besides, only Lore sees the worst of it. In public, she maintains her mask of aloof composure quite easily. "They do, I suppose. When they have some less wholesome notion in mind. But who's to say that Jon does? He doesn't even know how to make a friend, let alone how to further such a thing."

Yes, men are complicated. She's all too aware of that, too. Looking back to the archer in the wake of that sigh, Esyld cants her head a little askance, folding her hands idle in her lap and hooking her ankles together comfortably. "Well, outlandish as this suggestion might seem.. why not try something other than threatening him with a weapon?" The idea of her brother being tested with blade and arrow alike evidently holds no concern for Esyld and she seems to utterly lack any semblance of surprise that such things haven't dissuaded him. "He's a knight, Lore. Do not mistake me, you are a formidable creature in your own right. But you're not going to be able to intimidate him into doing what you say." Unthinkingly, she unclasps one hand and reaches to tuck a crinkly wisp of her back from her friend's cheek. It's an odd familiarity that they share. But it provides the means to speak frankly. "Do you genuinely despise him? Or is it just you being you." she asks, quietly.

The reverie goes unnoticed, though it wouldn't be begrudged if it hadn't been. "Ah, so he's never been with a woman?" That's about as explicit as she's willing to get, here and now. Lorelei's reply is sharp and swift, much like her arrows. "No," she disagrees with herself, shaking her head. "He had something to prove." And so, by her logic, he couldn't possibly have maintained his virtue for twenty-seven years. Given the incredulous quirk of her brows, it only follows that yes, he must have other ideas. Whatever frustration she has dissipates, though, when the olive branch of the hair-tuck is offered. She takes a deep breath.

"More the latter," she concedes. Fine, you've got her there. "More his kind than anything." The bark gets another absent kick. Her back slumps a little as tension seeps from her, exhaled into the thick, damp air around them. There's something of a lengthy pause in which a nearby insect buzzes about something angrily before she speaks again. "Thr trouble is, if he's what I think…it's a tool, remember?" What am I supposed to do with that? she asks, wordlessly. "I don't aim to intimidate, only protect myself."

"I sincerely doubt he's exactly unfamiliar with women, in that sense." Esyld smirks wryly. "Just with the handling of them. If he has thoughts beyond friendship, Lore.. well, he's a man. He can't help it. All I'm saying is maybe.. there might be a better approach, a way to be in one another's company that doesn't leave one or both of you seething. If I thought he had any intent of bringing you to harm, I'd break his nose for you.. rather than sit and try to puzzle it all out." The woman arches a brow, somewhat pointedly, her gaze still on the archer beside her as she reclasps her hands atop her thighs. "Much the same as you felt.. or feel.. about Corvin, hm? But even if Jon's a thick-skulled buffoon when it comes to feminine company, he's an honorable man, too. Finding you appealing does not equate to bedding and abandoning you, not to a man like that." Her own situation is perhaps a little more precarious. But that's of her own making.

"The two of you have some things in common. Why not go hunting together? It removes the need for much in the way of conversation and it means you'd hopefully have no need to back him up at knifepoint." Realising she's pushing, the raven-maned mercenary relents all at once, shifting her focus to smoothing a pretty insect from her thigh onto the back of one hand. It flits and crawls for a few seconds before taking flight, back toward the skies. "It's been an age since I last had a decent hunt.." she laments, features awash with feigned sorrow.

Handling. It reminds her of horses and falcons and makes her shudder briefly. But, then, if he's a horse, surely she must be in some respect, no? Or, she could understand better the source of this advice and realize she's speaking with a woman who lives and breathes cavalry."He does talk too much," Lorelei heartily agrees, head bobbing up and down as her attention refocuses on Esyld's face. There's more nodding, and then even a grin; perhaps the idea of hunting truly does appeal.There's fondness overtaking her features now, and she adjusts her positioning on the branch - damned bark poking in places it shouldn't - while mulling over a few choice thoughts in her head. "Thank you." Where's all this propriety when she's with Jon, or any other person, for that matter? But then, that's the nature of it. There are things and people to keep protected, especially from the likes of people like knights and wraiths…

Lightbulb. "And what of Corvin?" She looks positively gleeful. "Does he hunt?" Gears, dear. They're turning, and on full speed.

"He talks of those things he is familiar with. Training. Weapons. Etiquette. That doesn't mean he's limited to those matters.. he's just less confident with others, I suppose." Esyld herself, of course, is the polar opposite. Especially in this moment, as she chooses to drape herself back along the upward curve of the branch, folding her arms to cushion behind her head and regarding the cloudless sky through the foliage above. There must be a breeze up there somewhere, given how those spindly, high branches dance idly, lending that flickering gold-green illumination to the forest.. but not a lick of it down here near the earth, alas.

She can sense rather than see the sudden delight in her companion's words - not quite a suggestion yet but certainly enough for the astute mind to identify as the initial paving of the way for one. "I have no idea." she replies, languidly; closing her eyes now to merely enjoy the light and warmth, as well as maintain that air of sublime indifference to the topic. "Though, if you plan to suggest we should come along, I might advise against the wisdom of putting the two of them.. no, in fact, the three/ of you.. in the middle of nowhere with weapons in hand." She wasn't born yesterday. A vaguely smug curve tugs at her lips, for a splitsecond, before she muses further. "Though, Jon //did say he would make an effort to make peace with my.. current choice. Apparently that means a slightly less fatal bout, come the bareknuckle."

'Bareknuckle.' There's another shiver that's making its way up her spine and honestly, it's too much. Too much about this whole thing is changing how she feels about much of everything she's ever known…but then, what must her friend feel like? Hopping down off the branch and wiping her brow with that same errant sleeve, she extends a hand to Esyld to help her down. "What does he know about bows?" It's a white flag, but on her terms, naturally. If Jon knows anything about archery, that may make it slightly more manageable to stand his presence for more than ten seconds at a time.

If they walk, they'll make their own breeze, surely. No weapons in the woods as a group? Come ooonnnnnn. "I thought though," she offers in contrast, "that efforts were being made for peace." And then she says the same, so why's that a bad idea at all? It all means no, Sid, she won't kill Corvin even if given the chance — which is to say, the opportunity isn't even likely to come up. The corners of her mouth tug upward briefly as she nods toward the way they both came, back toward the training ground.

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