(1866-08-25) Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop
Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop
Summary: Eduard meets up with Lasair at the marketplace, as earlier agreed upon, and the pair discuss the days events thus far and their plans for the Black Hills. Revelry also ensues.
Date: 1866-08-25
Related: Business as Usual, Stranger Cousins, and Wise Choices
Lasair  Eduard  


Markettown bustles with activity, at the very center of the city it draws people both high and low to its streets where one would be hard-pressed to find a more diverse variety of goods this side of Pacitta. The market is divided up into multiple districts, which cater to specific goods such as foodstuffs, craft goods, and other wares of the region. There is a little of everything…and what isn't available can certainly be arranged, if one has the coin. In all the area is lively but peaceful, due the constant presence of the House Guard tand there are few incidents beyond the occasional pricing dispute.

Markettown is also home to the city's Cathedral. A towering structure of earth toned stone and stained glass, a testament both to the glory of the One and to the wealth and success of Sunsreach.

Aout 25, 1866

For all his complaining about Lasair's schedules, Eduard is usually pretty good about following them. Even now, after their tense morning conversation, or perhaps because of it, Eduard is arriving at their designated meeting place on time. In fact, he is a little bit early. And looking far too pleased with himself, about it, as he checks to make sure that his far-too-warm doublet is snugly secure against his neck, just as he saw his cousin wearing his not too long ago. Were it not for his disheveled, sweat-dampened hair, he could almost pass for a polished courtier. And the doublet? Is the one that Lasair presented him with this morning.

Did she assume he'd be late? Or was she merely a little busier than anticipated herself? Regardless of the reason, yes.. Eduard is there before her, loitering by the cheerful fountain that serves as a focal point near one inroad to the marketplace. Curses! Moving briskly through the crowd - which is thankfully more sparse out here than it is likely to be amidst the peddlers and stalls - the Priestess seems to be coping with the balmy clime with better grace than her Lord.. but that's because she need only don her luminous robes. There are variations for travel and weather of every sort, of course; fur-lined cloaks for winter, light leather armors for perilous ventures, that sort of thing. But the basic attire is quite enough for Sunsreach. The white cloth, akin to soft muslin, wraps about her shapely form, though not in a particularly alluring manner, held snug at the waist by a cummerband of matching, though sturdier cloth. Draping sleeves and billowing skirts trail lightly in the wake of her movement and beneath the latter she has chosen to wear simple, light sandals. Her luxuriant tresses are thickly braided over one shoulder, though not fussily - she likely did it en route to the church, without paying it much mind. Typical.

Smiling warmly as Eduard comes into view, their awkward exchange of this morning apparently forgotten, the petite Gerrell approaches him, already apologizing before she has quite reached his side. "My apologies, m'Lord. I hope you have not been waiting long?" She's always more formal, of course, in public. He is the head of a noble house and should be addressed with all due and proper respect.

Having briefly been distracted by a busker performing near the fountain, Eduard only spots Lasair when she is almost upon him. His smile is small, as is often his way, but no less warm or genuine. Whatever issues pass between them, there is always that warm feeling he gets when he sees her after an absence - even if he tries not to show just as much warmth there truly is. "No, I only just arrived a moment ago," he says, and gesturing to the performance he adds, "And had plenty to entertain me in the meantime." Tossing a coin into the hat of a passing youngster that holds it out for just this purpose - clearly working with the busker - Eduard makes sure to keep a firm hand on his purse string just in case there is a second youngster who might be trying to take more then he is willing to donate. For all that Eduard can seem innocent and easygoing, he is not unfamiliar with the ways of the street and the common folk, not by a long shot.

"So, how was your day?" he asks, offering Lasair his arm, so they might begin their journey through the marketplace. "Did you accomplish all that you hoped to?" He has his own news of course, but like his warmth at seeing her, he restrains that as well. All in due time.

Lasair casts an admiring glance toward the busker for his talent, seeming relieved that her friend has not been too long in waiting. "Good." Succinct and pleasant, as always. Pushing a stray blonde lock back behind her ear with her fingertips, she looks up at the taller man, perhaps sensing the underlying hint of something beyond the amiable greeting.. what has he been up to? But, seeing as he asks first, the Priestess merely grins and slips her hand through the offered crook of Eduard's arm, comfortably resting the fingertips of both upon his forearm in a companionable manner.

"Uneventful, in truth.." she replies, as they start toward the hustle and bustle of the stalls. Lasair herself has neither purse nor weapon visible upon her person, having no need of them, ostensibly. That's not to say there mightn't be a few coins squirreled away somewhere.. she just doesn't parade it in front of folks. Not that she considers it likely that anyone would thieve or attack a member of the church… not in the midst of the capital, anyway. Stirring unrest might have her be more vigilant elsewhere.. ach, besides. She's on the arm of a Paladin. She'll be safe enough, regardless. "I met with a few of the local servants of the One, exchanged a few rumors and enjoyed a little tour of the chapel and hospice.. which is very grand indeed." A touch of concern there? In comparison to her humble efforts in Blackstone, the faithful here are privy to far greater luxury. "..but nothing of particular note. And yourself, m'Lord? I see you have chosen to suffer the trial of suitable accoutrement." Her dark eyes flit to his doublet, then up and aside to his expression, her own mildly amused. Poor Ned.

"Yes, and it was likely the only reason they did not throw me out on my ear, ruffian that I am," Eduard says, self-depriciatingly. The underlying smile, however, is still very much there, and there is plenty of warm humor sparkling behind his eyes. "As it turns out, however, this garment of yours may well have stood us in good stead, and certainly enough that I shall endeavor to never complain about having to wear it or its like ever again." Not that he will succeed, but he certainly will try! As for his news, he still has yet to share it. Partly he is simply enjoying being the bearer of goods news, and partly because he is enjoying far too much the simple pleasure of strolling arm-in-arm with this beautiful priestess.

"I sincerely doubt it's the only reason." A moment's pause. "The main reason, perhaps." Lasair grins slightly at her own rotten humor, chancing a glance up at her companion as they slow pace a little, acquiescing to the general rhythm of the market crowd. There's no need to hurry, nor indeed any point trying to make haste through the throng. She's not a great fan of dense groups of people.. likely to do with being so petite. But she sets aside the flicker of hesitation, particularly when her gaze is drawn to the first few stalls and blankets. A vendor touts his wares of dried fruits and sweetened nuts to passers-by, while at another counter a plump woman haggles furiously over the cost of eggs.

After a moment, as they find themselves in a brief lull within the din of the market, the young woman arches her brows, looking to Eduard and that.. satisfied air he has about him. Somebody's pleased with himself! Nudging him in the side with her elbow, her own features are curious now. "Tell me…"

Though it has been some time since Eduard has been among so many people, he seems to enjoy the exotic smells and sounds that surround them, utterly at home amid the din and color of humanity. And while his initial laugh at her sense of humor may have been lost, the chuckle that he elicits are her pressing him during the lull is not. "Oh very well," he says, smiling even wider then before. He takes a breath before speaking next, a sign Lasair will know well, one that he picked up from his mentor, Sir Gregory Dash. He is about to tell a story, and he does so enjoy doing it.

"So I was in the palace for what was only hours, but truly seemed like days, caught like a leaf between two currents as I struggled with the oppressive heat and the drone of courtiers who, for all my wooing, could not be cajoled into giving more then platitudes and pleasant-sounding wind." Yes, Eduard is very much in his element now.

"Finally, I found my moment. The chance to catch my breath, gather my thoughts, and enjoy the briefest of moments in pleasant garden shade." Read: He put up with his mission to find contacts in the palace for as long as he could, and then at the earliest oppurtunity snuck out into the gardens to find a good place to nap. Or at least, that is a very likely scenario, certainly more plausible then the exact picture his words would paint. "And it was there, amidst the greenery, that providence struck."

In spite of herself and the position she holds, Lasair is still a young woman.. and a young woman who adores her reading, at that. She probably should shake at the Lord's arm and bid he just be out with it. But that's neither in her nature nor interest. She loves a rich tale as much as he adores spinning his yarns.. it's so much more entertaining, affording a touch of romantic whimsy, than simply relaying the dry moments of such incidents with all the enthusiasm of.. well, a jaded courtier, probably.

She's not a complete fool. She is quite aware that the details of his description are fanciful and laced with his gently sardonic wit. But she's rather fond of his habit, and she indulges by hanging on his every word, still calmly leaning upon his arm; watching Eduard in profile with her soft brown eyes and relying on him to keep her from colliding with anyone or thing as they walk. "..the dragon was in the garden?" she ventures, affecting a rather good imitation of an avid audience, widening her eyes and looking quite in awe. "But.. then where did he hide his treasure? Under the princess..?" Lapsing to a wicked grin herself now, she waves him onward with a vague gesture of her uppermost hand. "..sorry. Do continue."

At first there is a stern look of disapproval over a storyteller interrupted, but the sparkling eyes behind it quickly betray that the look is one stolen from Sir Gregory, from the days when Eduard would do much the same thing. Finally letting it go with a short laugh, he shakes his head at her, the smile returning in full force. "Not quite so fantastic, alas and alack," he says, even as he reaches across with his free arm and pinches her side lightly. "For surely the princess would at least know good manners." His own smile briefly wicked, he continues, if a little less fancifully then before. "In point of fact, it was an estranged family member of our would-be hero, who, after a brief reunion, offered the very help that had been sought after all along."

Jerking in reaction to the ticklish pinch, the blonde looses a soft sound of surprise, then parts her lips as if to speak further and protest.. only to realize that would do naught but prove his point. So there's only a teasingly mutinous look, instead and she remains quiet in order to listen. There's an odd sort of familiarity in Eduard's voice; it puts her in mind of the nights whiled away with he and his mentor, yes.. but of other memories, too. As such, she might be forgiven for lapsing into musing silence, studying his features even as he animatedly continues the legend of himself.

It takes a fleeting pause before she remembers herself and gathers she is meant to help the plot along. "A family member? Who?! Lady Tiadora?" Well, it seems the obvious notion, seeing as her companion looks pleased. There are plenty other estranged members of his bloodline who wouldn't get that reaction, after all.

"No," Eduard protests, shaking his in bemusement. "If I ended the story like that I would be inviting rotten fruit." An entirely worrying prospect, for anyone who has risked telling a tale in a village that has plenty such missiles handy. "No, in fact, it was a member of the Carling side of my lineage, one Sir Aidric to be precise. He was at…" And here he trails off, quickly losing his enthusiasm as he remembers when and where he met his cousin the first time. "He was with the loyalist forces at Blackstone."

To her credit, Lasair doesn't let the reaction entirely shadow her features, though it takes some effort to maintain a careful neutrality, especially in the wake of such a sunny mood. Aidric Carling. "I know him.." she begins, guardedly, when Ned falls quiet. Noting the dawning somber tone, she leans in gently against the Lord's upper arm; a subtle gesture of affection implied merely with the press of her shoulder. "He's.. just the sort of guide you need, I expect, in this place. You know I've not had much to do with courtiers.. all that gossip-mongering and underhand flirtation. He is a good choice." Wait, did she just imply the Carling might be a gossip and a flirt? For shame!

"I have not seen him in a long time." she continues, her gaze wandering, distracted by a stall with brightly colored bolts of fabric, ranging from the bargain offcuts left by previous customers to newly imported skeins at extortionate prices. Well, she can't help it. Pretties! A subtle shift of direction and they're heading toward it unhurriedly. "He fought alongside my father, also." Does that go for him or against? Hard to say. Lasair very rarely mentions her father's recent passing, and when she does it is with an iron handed control of her feelings on the matter.

Eduard shows no objection to the new course of their steps, his focus mainly on the words between them, as he deals with the brief surprise over her having already met his cousin. The gesture of affection helps however, as her closeness always, and he affords the stall they approach with an appraising glance as he slowly nods. "I see. Well, that will certainly aid things, you having some knowledge of him. He seems friendly enough, but as you say, he is a courtier." Moving his free hand across, rather then teasing her, this time it is to cover her hand briefly with his. A return gesture, likely in response to the mention, however brief, of her father. "In any case, I have invited him to dine with us, either tomorrow night or the next. I wanted you to get your opinions of him before I move forward, though the deal he offers is a fine one. One of our Black Hills horses in exchange for his aid in navigating the politics and economic currents of the city to achieve our goals. I thought it a fair exchange, particularly with the attention it might afford us to have such a refined presence riding around on one of our steeds."

"It might." Lasair says so but her tone is a little doubtful. "If he held any respect for Sir Paul, then yes, it might." That seems more likely than an immediate camraderie between she and the courtier. Smiling up and aside at Eduard after a moment for the reassuring touch upon her hand, she steadies her resolve and nods, more firmly, to the idea of dining with the Carling. "As you wish, m'Lord. It will be interesting to see how the years have changed him.. and you are quite right to at least try to establish a pleasant relationship with him." Already, behind her calm facade, she's considering ways to gather information about the man in question, whether she can do so before she's in his company. He was an arrogant bully when she knew him.. but one could forgive that as the folly of childhood. Maybe.

"Hmm. Odd that so skilled a courtier should be in need of a mount at all. But if that is your arrangement, I see no reason to question it." Gently extricating herself as they arrive at the stall, Lasair draws a short length of frost blue fabric, admiring the way it shimmers subtly against the flat of her palm beneath and lightly rubbing it between the thumb and forefinger of the other. Pretty. But not exactly practical. Next, rather more sensibly, she brushes a caress across plainer linen of a rich and even charcoal hue.

"Oh, I hardly doubt it is only one. Perhaps he was just enthralled by my telling him of the breed's endurance and prowess. Or perhaps he merely intends it as a noble gift for someone else," Eduard says, remaining close by even when she parts from him, if only so he does not have to speak further above a murmur as they peruse the wares. He himself looks over some woolen weaves, offered at more then reasonable prices, given the season. "In truth it matters little. After all, we brought a few spare mounts with us to offer as examples, and I had a mind to offer some as a gift to the Queen. Certainly we can spare one of the number. It will definately be worth the effort of having blindfolded and hobbled them through the Faegates if this all works out."

"Well, just be careful." Lasair's tone is equally soft as she glances to him across a neatly piled stack of folded material, flashing him one of those quickfire smiles. "And do not give too much away." Is there any chance she's referring only to the horses he intends to gift? No. None whatsoever. Drifting back toward Eduard, having reached the end of the wares and venturing no further without hin, the young woman eyes the wool he's lingering over. One hand extends to brush fingertips across the coarse, softly napped fabric. The other, of it's own accord, settles just above the Lord's elbow. Her attention isn't even on him; she's perusing the stall. But it's a comfortable gesture, that speaks of her being more relaxed in his presence than earlier. Goodness but some of these imports are gorgeous! Alas, she doesn't permit herself such extravagances - she has enough of a wardrobe to cover most bases and that's fine. Though if Eduard happens to want something new, she's always content to oblige. Such tasks she finds soothing. "It will all come right in the end." she murmurs, absentmindedly offering him the assurance as she leans a little over the table's edge, eyes still on the well-arranged offerings. The merchant keeps a close eye but doesn't pounce quite yet. Best to let folks look at their leisure, then wander over with a winning smile when he sees they've found something appealing enough to give them pause.

"And that is why I have you. To be my conscience when my excitement would otherwise take hold of me." There is no denying the fondness in that smile or the way he continues to stay close to her. Certainly anyone watching them would see ample evidence of it, even if he considers himself restrained at the moment. "Stout, good wool, this," he murmurs, quieter then before, lest the merchant think he wants to buy some and interrupt them. "I have been considering more on that idea of mine… to focus the province's livestock raising on sheep, and thusly wool production. Even if we did not have the craftsmen at first, just the export of that alone should settle us in good stead, and once we have enough of a reputation to attract skilled weavers…" Fingering the wool a final time, he moves on, following Lasair's browsing efforts more then his own, now.

"Hmm." Lasair tilts her head, sucking gently on her lower lip, as is her habit when she's offered something fresh to mull over. Tiring of the stall, she offers a cheerful smile and nod of thanks to the trader for his time, slipping her arm through Eduard's again and returning the the general flow of foot traffic. Maybe she just doesn't want to be overheard discussing competition to his livelihood but more likely she's just keen to be moving. She halts as a heavily-laden cart is pushed by up ahead, the sudden cramming of bodies as the ebb and flow briefly halts bringing her to huddle in against her companion rather than be squished. But it lasts only a few beats before the crowd gets going once again. It's a lively market, this, particularly as they approach the larger central square where the luckiest (read wealthiest) traders have their pavilions, where the scent of roasting meat and sweet treats are prevalent and there's always music or entertainment of some sort. "Well, you certainly have the land for it.." she continues, as if there had been no interim between Eduard's suggestion and her thoughtful response. "..though you'd need someone more knowledgeable of livestock than I to tell you of the quality of your grazing and any animals you choose to buy, in the beginning." She chuckles softly, glancing to him. "That's really not my forte, I'm afraid. But I like the idea, in essence."

It takes a moment for Eduard to focus on her words, for short or not, that press together certainly stole all his attention. He may be able to bear her closeness without it overwhelming him most times, but there are limits. "Hmm, yes," he says, clearing his throat and buying his time as looks far too intently at a booksellers wares. "Well, perhaps Sir Aidric can put us in touch with the appropriate people to make that assessment." Once more in control, he can bear to glance aside at her once more, and offer a small smile. "Whatever we do, we should be armed with our own knowledge, however. So, let us make sure that we stop by the horse traders on our way back to the Manse, and see what is the going rate for fine riding horses." Since the horses are their main export, the trade agreements involving them will be their surest ticket to the capitol needed to enact the necessary improvements of the province. "Though of course, we may also need to travel to Pacitta at some point. I dislike idea of putting all our eggs into one basket, as it were."

Oh look, a bookseller! Having looked up at Eduard, then followed his keen gaze, the young woman visibly brightens and steers them both in that direction through the crowd, smiling when they're free of the worst of it and granted a little space for themselves. Does she notice that he's momentarily unsettled? Those dark eyes regard him with warmth when he looks back, and no trace of adept questions. Apparently she's pleasantly distracted enough that herself didn't even pay any mind to their proximity. Departing his side a little, her fingers trailing with faint reluctance from his sleeve, only to come to an eager rest upon a weighty tome, she picks it up and flicks deftly through the thick pages.

"Of course. I believe the horse market is along one of the quieter back streets, we can simply detour that way before returning to the manse, if it please you, m'Lord." Strange how easily his title rolls off the tongue. Keeping her focus on the book, then the next one she picks up, attracted by the gaudy binding - yes, she judges a book by its cover sometimes - she continues answering the tall man regardless of her distraction. "The tourney circuit is beginning in Pacitta at the end of Aout. I'd have suggested the trip anyway, for the sake of forging friendships there.. but perhaps it might also prove profitable to take some of the stronger coursers along? The knights will have their destriers, of course.. but a decent palfrey for a squire may not go amiss." Struck by a belated thought, she raises her eyes back toward him now. "..you're not competing, are you..?" Hugging 'Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop' gently to her chest as she speaks, she doesn't seem to have noticed the title at all.

Eduard, on the other hand, does indeed notice the title, and a look of utter bemusement strikes him for a moment as he mouths out the title. Goblinproofing one's chicken coop? Well, there are worse things to do with a chicken coop, he supposes. Not to mention that there is likely a parable to be found in it that applies to their current topic of conversation. Shaking his head to clear away the thought, Ned looks over some of the smaller books, pausing when he notices a few handheld sized ones with blank pages, much akin to the kind of travel journal that he keeps as part of his Paladin status. "Well," he says, slow to answer her as he considers. "I had not given it much thought, but I suppose it might be interesting to take part… I have never actually done so. Sir Gregory never really found it to be worthwhile, so I am afraid the only experience has been as a spectator a time or two." That, and growing up in near constant wartime, meant that he had little enough exposure to such things.

Blinking at the lengthy pause and direction of Eduard's gaze, the young woman looks downward to her chest rather uncertainly. Surely he's not actually.. ohhh. He's reading the cover of the book. She turns the tome in her hands in order to look at the cover herself. "Oh!" A peal of warm laughter escapes her - a rare sound in recent months - as she looks between this and her companion. "I may have to buy it on principle, now!" Handing it across to the scrawny trader, who shuffles off to wrap it in a scrap of relatively clean linen for carrying, the Priestess is still chuckling when she begins to answer the handsome Lord, her attention drifting to find him eyeing an empty journal. "Those are nice." she remarks, before returning to the previous matter. "Yes.. my father was of a similar mind on such things…" As was Kael, she adds, privately. It seems wrong to discuss her late sweetheart with Eduard, so she avoids it always. Guilty conscience?

Setting it aside - something she's getting better at, with practice - she calmly reaches up inside one sleeve of her attire, fingering a coin from within a tiny pocket, hidden there. Sneaky! This is handed to the trader when he returns, exchanged for the linen-wrapped parcel that she once again hugs to her midsection. "Thank you." The man seems just as bemused as Eduard, who he looks to with an amused arch of his brows. "I've only been to one tourney.. again, at the Queen's coronation. They're a strange thing to behold, if undeniably exciting for those who escape injury." Her gaze drifts over him calmly. "I've no doubt of your skills, you understand.. I just.." Her gaze meets his, almost by accident. I don't want you getting hurt. The words might not be uttered aloud, but they're plain enough in the expression her eyes convey.

Returning the bookseller's glance with an easy smile and a shrug of his shoulders - because really what can he say? - Eduard puts down the small journal and turns his attention once more fully to his companion. He meets her gaze for a moment, understanding passing unspoken between them. Offering his arm wordlessly, it is only as they leave the tent that he murmurs to her, "If I do it, I will be careful, you have my word on that." He means it, or else he would not say it like that. Indeed, he probably would not say it at all. He hates lying, and most especially to her, and certainly he does not give his oath lightly. "If we are to show the lords of the realm that House Farrant does still yet stand, as our words so boldly proclaim, we should at least try to make a moderate showing of it. And whatever my skills may turn out to be, for better or worse, I am the only knight that my house currently can offer forth."

Lasair nods but doesn't look entirely convinced. It only takes a shard from a broken lance, no matter how careful one is. But she keeps such thoughts to herself, slowly beginning to smile as she sees the sense in Eduard's case. "That's true, I suppose.." she concedes, lightly looping her arm through his again, the other keeping her new book held snug in against her side as they set off once more. "I suppose I forget that bridges can be formed on the basis of martial prowess." It's true.. one day on the field with his peers in Pacitta could yield more than an entire week spent amidst the courtiers of Sunsreach. There's an easy camaraderie around such gatherings that she herself is not privy to.. but she can see the merit, all the same.

Politely declining an apple from the basket of a passing peddler, the blonde sniffs delicately at the air, which bears the mouthwatering scent of baked produce not far away. They've come to a small plaza, currently occupied by a trio of musicians and a reel of impromptu dancers arrayed before them. Quite an agreeable place to pass some time, if Eduard is of a mind - the slowing of Lasair's gait already implies that she is. And look! There's even an enticing vantage point. A narrow set of steps, through a covered archway, meanders off to a higher-set level of the city; the stone worn smooth at the center by the passage of feet and time. It provides a nook in the shade, which is beginning to appeal. The weather here is warm enough, without the stifling clamor of the market crowd.

Her fingers squeeze gently at her companions forearm, expression brightening. "..shall we linger awhile?" A seat, the likelihood of sugary treats, shaded and entertainment? Well, he did say he wanted to enjoy 'play' as well as the obligatory 'work' today…

Smiling first at Lasair's acceptance, Eduard's smile widens as the brisk music and the merry dancing come within the range of their senses. Certainly his booted foot is already tapping of it's own accord, and the joy that sparks on Lasair's face is as infectious as it is breathtaking. "How could I possibly say no?" he asks her, letting out an unrestrained, if short, laugh. He allows himself to be led to that arch, even as he still is the one technically doing the leading, and his face is already noticeably free of stress or strain, which has been a rare sight indeed these last months. Even at his happiest, some weariness tends to linger. "Are you sure you do not wish to join them?" he asks. Because of all the topics that has come up between them, dancing has not been one of them. "I can not say that I am a master by any means, but I think I could manage a few steps." Heat and good clothes or no, it does look fun.

Lasair widens her eyes a touch, shaking her head as she steps into the blissful cool of the shaded archway. "I can't dance. And my attempting to in public would almost certainly undo any good impression you have made, thus far." Smiling, despite the self-deprecation, she releases his arm and turns, in a swirl of gauzy skirts, to rest one shoulder to the smooth wall with a charming lack of concern for either her garments or 'propriety'. It's hot, and she is going to stand where it's less so. And watch the dancers with as little envy as she can manage. "My tutors abandoned the notion after one or two lessons, when I was younger.. that's likely why I had the time to read so much. Hopeless at anything else."

Spying a portly chap with a tray of glazed pastries making his way through the crowd - and no doubt making a killing - she adds as an aside toward her companion, "Are you hungry? Those look rather tempting.." Maybe she's just emboldened by Ned's laughter but she seems at ease, meeting his gaze expectantly and with that same warm curve across her lips.

Eduard frowns just in a touch, but not in any way that actually ruins his good humor. Just a brief crinkle in the otherwise happy moment. "Not at all? I mean, I can not certainly claim to be much good, but I think that is half the fun. Learning while doing, and if you make a spectacle, so what?" Clearly some of the dances he has been involved in were not among nobles. Still he will not force the issue further, though he will certainly file it away for another day, another moment. In the meantime, he is easily led astray by the tasty treats that Lasair points out, and his stomach obediently growls. "Famished, actually." His own fault, really, for not eating all of his breakfast this morning, despite likely being warned by Lasair that he really should. "A pair for each of us then?" he asks her, meeting her gaze easily, eyes twinkling. And without waiting, he moves off to waylay the round fellow and claim some of his treats for their own.

"I think perhaps you underestimate just how clumsy I can be." replies the Priestess, grinning up at him and quirking a brow. There's no admonishment in regard to Ned's unfinished breakfast.. he's old enough by now to decide for himself when to eat and how much… wait, a pair each?

Before she can even think of trying to decline, he's off and striding toward the vendor. Chuckling quietly to herself, she just watches him for a long moment. The way he moves. The ready smile for those who merrily cross his path. Broad shoulders. Stormy eyes. Gah but the One is not without a sense of humor, if it is by his divine hand she finds herself with this man again.. chewing gently on her lower lip, she drags her gaze from him before he can turn and catch her dark eyes lingering. They sweep toward the musicians in the main area of the plaza again, and her expression softens as they take up a gentle melody and the dancers split off into pairs; now more of a waltz than such an excitable jig. Could she learn..? Not today. But.. maybe. Sometime. The fingertips of both hands rise, smoothing her braid forward over her shoulder.

And so he comes up behind her almost suddenly, though certainly not quietly, as the way he slowly half-skips towards her, juggling the hot pastries in his hand, all times in with the music. He is almost, if not quite dancing, and while he was not lying about lacking in skill, he makes up for it with enthusiasm and a bright smile. "Your food, my lady," he offers, giving a courtly bow as he presents her with one, as if offering his own hand to dance. But no, there really is a pastry in the hand. And only one. The other three are balanced in his other hand.

Turning her attention back as she hears him approach, the little blonde laughs again, the sound sunlit and genuine. "Oh, a jester, too! What a courtly gathering this is, indeed." Forgetting her unease of a moment ago, she faces Eduard more fully as he bows, sweeping her skirts back around a hip with one hand, the opposite shoulder and arm dropping elegantly before her as she lowers in a graceful curtsy, demurely lowering her eyes. "Thank you, m'lord." A very grave intonation, for the love of a pastry. She steals a glance upward at the tall, tousle-haired man, flashing him a highly amused grin before rising back to a stand; still barely reaching his jaw at her full height.

The food is accepted willingly - glazed, light pastry filled with squashed and sweetened apple. Yum. There's a last soft chuckle for her companion before she takes a neat bite. Bliss, thy name is apple turnovers.

"At your service, always." Mission accomplished, his expression clearly proclaims, matching her smile for smile now. Eduard's only mission at the moment seems to keep the happiness flowing, and he cares not a wit whether he embarrasses himself doing so. Righting himself from the bow, he takes up one of the pastries and silent takes a bite. It is mind-numbingly good, and yet he does not close his eyes to enjoy it, instead still matching her gaze for gaze. So what if they might be attracting a few extra gazes in the process?

Chewing contentedly, at first Lasair simply holds his gaze, smilingly sharing a mutual appreciation for good food. After a moment though, she delicately thumbs at the corner of her mouth, swallowing and licking her lips swiftly and fastidiously clean as she raises her brows. "..what..?" There's a humorous twist to her expression still, though it's briefly tinged with uncertainty. Does she have applesauce on her chin or something? The young woman glances downward over her attire - still clean - then back up at the statuesque Lord before her, the threat of laughter lacing her tone even as she tries to sound more indignant. "What?!" The back of her free hand rubs lightly at the tip of her nose, just in case, as her perplexed eyes remain steadily upon his.

Wordlessly shaking his head, Eduard for once seems to be at a loss for words - and not far from laughter himself. Because how do you explain that you are just enjoying seeing someone happy without ruining the moment? But that very dilemma is, itself, funny, and then there is Lasair's antics to top it off. His eyes are sparkling overtime, he nearly loses it when, by trying to wipe an imaginary smudge off her nose, the priestess actually manages to get some applesauce on her nose. A chortling sound threatening to overwhelm the lord's throat, he sets aside the rest of his tart in the one hand, and with the other tries to wipe it away. The end result is probably worse then before, and then he really is laughing.

"What did-.." As his fingertip brushes across her nose, Lasair blinks, startled. Then looks suitably horrified and bemused when he bursts out laughing. "Did you just.." She touches her nose, too, and finds the blob of applesauce there. And he's getting the blame. "Ned!" Were they not in public, it's a fairly safe bet there'd be some sort of vengeance forthcoming. As it is, the young woman simply struggles to glare at him for a few beats, then just relents, shaking her head and grinning. Popping her thumb into her mouth, she suitably rids it of the sticky sauce, without apparent care for the unthinking gesture. What else is she supposed to do? "You are incorrigible." she remarks, at length; in an affected, airy manner that a matron might take with naughty children. Still.. when she catches his eye again she's quite obviously in a rare fine mood.. and without a schedule or paper in sight. No mean feat.

Eduard is utterly incapable of defending himself at this point, as the already laughing man is utterly helpless in the face of yet more humor. He is smiling near ear to ear now, and if the pair of them were not getting looks before, then they are now. And yet aside from their clothes, they hardly stand out. Plenty of couples are dancing or laughing, and they are just another one of these, to the average eye.

But Ned only has focus for Lasair, and the image of her sucking her thumb while plotting revenge at him, and so it is well and truly a moment before he has some semblance of control once more. And when he does, he certainly is not helping his case. "You… you should have seen… your face…."

The temptation is there. Very much. She could take what remains of her pastry and smoosh it in his face, then who'd be laughing? Eh? But.. with a not insignificant effort of willpower on her part, Lasair refrains. Such behavior does not befit a Priestess.. and she is in her robes. Vengeance will come, oh yes. And it will be sweet. But here and now, she's struggling to hang on to what remains of her dignity. Even as she nears laughter herself, in response to Ned. It's a pleasant thing to see him happy, too, after the strain and hardship of recent months.. she doesn't mind if it's at her expense. Really. "You are such a lout!" Hardly an unkind retort, and she's still failing miserably to look or sound ticked off. Though she does outstretch a hand, pressing her fingers in a splay to his chest, seeking to topple him from the step she stands on, at the very least.

She succeeds in that, certainly, as Eduard is still very much weak from laughter and is still balancing a few pastries in one hand. He takes that backward step, careful not not fall farther then that, he stops on the one below where she stands, bringing them much closer to eye level then they usually are. "I am not!" he protests weakly, laughter still heard echoing in his voice. "I am a victim of circumstance." Still, it is tempting not to escalate it, and as he picks up one of the remaining pastries, it may seem as if he is about to. "Here," he says, but the gesture is a casual one as he once more offers her a pastry, very much not shoving it in her face. "I promised you two."

"You are a victim of circumstance." echoes the blonde, agreeably, nodding. "..and a lout." She permits herself a slight grin for having managed to budge him from 'her' step.. though a keen eye might note the flicker of some less easily identified expression when Eduard's moving puts them on eye-level, or close to. It's the barest hint of hesitation, and then she's chuckling and shaking her head, raising a staying hand in response to the offer. "No no.. you eat it. One is quite enough.. and frankly, I apparently can't afford the mess!" Stepping back subtly, her back encountering the wall, she casts her attention to the steps leading upward, nibbling another bite of her turnover. "I think this way might lead at least somewhat in the direction of the horse traders.." she offers, after swallowing her tiny morsel. Flicking Eduard an appraising glance, she arches a brow. "Shall we find out?"

Grumbling good naturedly at being called a lout once more, Eduard nevertheless manages an agreeable nod at her suggestion. Taking his last bit of pastry and quickly finishing it, he then looks at the two untouched ones in his hand. Looking around thoughtfully, he spots a pair of children standing nearby a group of adults talking, likely their parents among them. Seeing the way they eye the vendor, he passes by them, and casually says something that seems suspiciously like 'Oh what ever shall I do with these extra pastries?'. Sure enough, as quick as you can blink, his hands are empty and their mouths are full, and he comes strolling back to Lasair. "Ready," he says, offering his arm once more. Just another quick stop on this market day adventure of theirs.

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