(1866-12-11) My Kingdom for a Horse
My Kingdom for a Horse
Summary: Lord Elrick and Captain Draven find some common ground - horses and knocking uppity Southern Lords on their backsides, obviously.
Date: 1866-12-11
Related: None
Elrick  Esyld  

Horse Market, Sidestreet, Sunsreach
In set
Decembre 11th, 1866

Late afternoon in Sunsreach, even in winter, is temperate enough by Northern standards. And, given the amount of activity in the capital over the past month, it's unsurprising that the streets remain a-bustle at almost all hours. Most everyone is in cheerful spirits - literally, in the case of those stotting out of the many taverns, which are surely making their fortune this week in particular. The tourney has drawn enormous crowds, as one would expect.

One reaping the gains such an event can bestow is the Black Fox Captain, part of the l'Saigner entourage and the victor in the Bareknuckle event a few days past. Alas, it seems the majority of gossip and tales weaving about that spectacle surround a certain Tracano Princeling and his surprisingly beautiful uppercut, rather than the common-born mercenary trouncing some of the finest Knights of either kingdom. Ah well. She doesn't mind much. A heavy coin-purse and a kingly array of prizes go a long way to soothing any disgruntled feelings there may have been. And, knowing Esyld, those were likely scarce in the first place.

Apparently free of her duties for the time being, the ebon-maned woman is currently loitering by a modest horse-market, held beneath the questionable cover of an enormous marquee, stalls separated by temporary beams and dirt walkways allowing the potential clientele to wander and peruse. Her attention is lingering on a pretty grey, with a powerfully arching neck. Only a practised eye would have picked out the creature, which is rather unassuming at first glance; overlooked for taller of broader specimens.. clearly this particular voyeur knows what she's about. Arms folded, she leans against a sturdy post, silently observing the animal as it paces, tail swishing, pauses here and there to snatch a mouthful of hay. It's certainly bright-eyed. Unlike the poor nag the hawker is trying to rid himself of in the next stall up.

More than one northerner is enjoying recent successes in the Tourney that is being hosted by Sunreach and Elrick, along with those that are with him, can be heard first before seen. By now, even the southern natives have heard of the t'Tremaine name with Elrick the victor of the melee duel, climbing out of the losers bracket and beating his sister twice in the championship rounds.
Heading down one of the busy and popular streets of Sunreach, no doubt in between hopping of taverns, Elrick manages a quick laugh at a joke of one of his companions. Their randomly selected path brings them close to the horse-market which draws the attention of the t'Tremaine Heir. "Hey, let's take a look at the famed southern horses, yeah? Wouldn't be surprised if they come close with the l'Corren stock we have up north." Northern pride and the dislike of the South certainly still runs strong in Elrick but he is intelligent enough to remain diplomatic during his stay here.
With Elrick are a couple of men from his House, most likely guards that are supposed to look after him and a couple of knights that participated in the lesser events that are being hosted. The small group agree with the momentary detour and while the majority heads towards the chargers on display, the young Heir's attention deviates to the steed that Esyld has also taken an interest in. Making a slow approach, eyes still focused on the grey, "A beautiful animal, hidden away it seems."

Had she overheard these (presumably merry) utterings in regard to the best northern horses, Esyld might have argued that Bloodfield surely was a close second to the l'Corren stock.. but then, she's biased, isn't she? Fortunately for all involved, she doesn't hear. In fact she's blithely unaware of the group at all, in the activity surrounding her. It's only when an unfamiliar voice makes itself known nearby that she rouses from her contemplation of the grey and, straightening her stance from that nonchalant lean, casts a glance toward the young heir.

"M'Lord." The formality could be taken as greeting, agreement.. or, most likely, both. And she has the good grace to offer a bow, sweeping aside the length of her tabard in order to do so. A well-practised motion, it would seem. "Yes, pretty thing isn't she.." Damn, someone else has stumbled upon her find. Not that she was parting with her coin quite yet. Flitting her gaze briefly over the mare, Esyld then returns eyes of unnatural and striking blue to the t'Tremaine, regarding him with the same calm consideration. A flick of lashes as she takes in his appearance and attire, and the Captain tilts her head. "Congratulations on your performance in the melee, m'Lord. It would seem the Couvieri aren't faring too badly, thus far, hm?" Yes, she can be diplomatic, too. Because let's face it.. they're stomping the Rivanans. And on their home turf. Hah.

Gaze shifting from the animal to the northern woman who was the first to find, Elrick recognizes her and manages an amused smile. The proper acknowledgement to him was offered and in return, a respectful nod is given. At Esyld's comment about the Couvieri not faring too bad in the tourney, that amused smile turns into a laugh, "No, we are not faring too badly. But we never fare badly against the Southerners, do we. We have better knights and also better fighters as well, it would seem." There is another inclination of the t'Tremaine's head as he regards the Second in Command of the Black Fox Company's cavalry. "Congratulations on your victory as well, in the hand to hand competition, Captain."

"It's true. We do." Stepping forward as the grey, noting these curious onlookers, pauses to eye them warily, the Captain extends a palm toward its muzzle, unhurried so as not to startle the mare. "It's almost not worth it." Glancing sidelong toward Elrick, she adds, more softly and with a vaguely wicked grin to accompany, "..almost." Her attention goes briefly to the hawker, a subtle upnod given and returned, a silent exchange of enquiry and consent. That done, she stoops and steps through the spars of the makeshift 'fence, placing herself in the grey's stall. She's not exactly finely dressed, after all. No gossamer gown here. Rather some world-weary boots, aged and plaint leggings of soft leather and an oversized longshirt of thick, creamy linen beneath her Black Fox tabard. Nothing fancy.

Running a palm soothingly along the mare's shoulder, the brunette continues, her voice apparently naturally a soothingly low and even tone, regardless of whether there's a flighty young horse nearby or not. "Thank you." This for the compliment. "I only entered on a whim. The sort of whim one usually has after a morning spent in a tavern, obviously. But I feel I gave a good showing on behalf of my Lady." Hmm, would Alina l'Saigner have been overly pleased at her formerly beloved Tristan getting a sound few blows to his pretty jawline? Who's to say. "And shall you be riding in the joust, m'Lord..?" The question is amiable enough but it wouldn't take a genius to ascertain that that event is where Esyld's interest may truly lie. Cavalry, after all. Those vivid eyes stray toward him across the little mare's back.

The interest that Elrick has on the grey appears to not be as great as Esyld as he makes no motion to check on the horse or get closer than he already is. It wouldn't be a surprise if the t'Tremaine is still very cautious with his own purse with the improvished state his House is in, not one to throw money around and purchase expensive items like a horse on a whim. He does watch as the Captain of the Black Foxes asks for and receives permission from the hawker to step into the stall, "You most certainly impressed more than Lady Alina and the Company you serve, Captain, with your performance." As for the question directed at him, Elrick's lips curl up into an eager smile, almost predatory, "Indeed I am. It appears that if I score well in the Joust, I may even have an outside chance to become this year's Circuit Champion as well." The melee duel has certainly boosted his standing high enough to be in striking distance, "Not only that, the brackets are out and I will be going against the Haldis in the first round."

With her palm following the natural flow of musculature along the mare's back and flank, Esyld then bends to gently feel about the hock, fingers carefully searching for any old knocks or scars. Force of habit. "Well, thank you again, m'Lord." Her low-throated voice rises, despite the woman herself being temporarily out of view. "I rather expected most people were more impressed with His Majesty. Even I will admit to being so. Who knew he had it in him?"

Straightening again, apparently satisfied, Esyld pats the animal's glossy side, strolling back toward its head and the fence surrounding the modest stall, the better to observe the man she's conversing with. One elbow comes to rest, but her other hand is busied with scratching idly beneath the mare's rather haphazard and sticky-up mane, much to the animal's initial surprise, then enjoyment by the looks of things. "The Haldis in the first round? Throwing you in at the deep end, aren't they." Elrick's grin is met with a similar one. "But I'm sure you'll do your house proud, m'Lord. And well.. someone will have to take up the place long held by Lord Gabriel. Tourneys are little fun without a crowd pleaser." She ruffles at the mare, absent-mindedly as affectionate with animals as she is irreverent, at times, with people. That's the trouble with noble bastards, of course. "Who do you most wish to face, m'Lord, if I might ask?"

"Indeed, I will be riding against the Duke right from the start, a challenge I most certainly welcome." Elrick says, the competitive nature in the man certainly apparent but there is also bad blood between those two Houses from the war between the north and the south. The Heir also nods his head in agreement to Esyld's words about tourneys in general, "You are most certainly right, Tourneys are not only for us to compete, but to impress those who are not as fortunate as us with our martial prowess." When there is no war, Tourneys are the next best thing to keep their skills sharp. As for the Black Fox Captain's question, Elrick takes a moment to consider before answering, "Besides the Haldis Duke? Perhaps the Rose Queen's Champion, to ride against him and a chance to put him to the ground."

"Well, I shall be certain to lend my applause to the crowd." Ducking, Esyld steps back out through the spars, leaving the grey mare to her hay and ignoring the beady eye of the hawker nearby. He's busy with other customers and she.. well, she won't be buying anything without some hefty haggling. So there's no rush. "Personally.. if I were able to compete, of course.. I'd adore the chance to knock Lord Thaddeus on his bony backside. I've scarce seen a man so in need of it in quite some time." It's said in a good-natured way, given their surroundings. But there were murmurings in the wake of the aforementioned Marshal's braying at the opening parade and the Captain plainly takes note of such things. "..or perhaps my brother. For the same reason." Well, that is certainly in jest, judging by the low-throated chuckle that follows.

Pushing her dark hair back from her brow with a rake of fingertips, Esyld casts her eerie gaze idly over the other occupied stalls nearby. "That chestnut's a handsome beast.. pity about that cracked hoof." The remark is made without much thought. But something occurs to her, a moment later. "I'd imagine a knight of your ability and standing has a fine mount, m'Lord..?" Now that's not a passing comment. There's genuine interest in the words and it carries warmth into a usually rather aloof expression.

Arching a brow at Esyld's choice of opponents, Elrick looks a bit surprised, "You would choose the Lord Marshal? Interesting choice… a good one though. Certainly wouldn't mind seeing him taken down a notch or two, or those Giraldi brothers either." At the mention of her brother though, the t'Tremaine joins in the chuckling, nodding his head, "Sibling rivalries indeed." When the subject shifts to steeds and what he owns, the t'Tremaine Heir manages a grin again as he shakes his head, "Worry not Captain, I am not here to steal your grey. My friends and I made a momentary detour, we are all riders and wanted to see what they have to show off here, not terribly impressed I'm afraid. But I do have a trusted charger I ride, Havok. There is no ther I trust more than him." Looking over to where his friends are, it appears that they are waiting for him though they are trying to appear as if they are keeping themselves amused, "Well, we were and will be visiting a few of the more notable taverns here. Care to join us later for a couple of drinks when you've finished your business here? We must toast to our grand victories here in Sunreach."

"A mercenary with a grievance against overly pompous knights. I am doomed, no?" Esyld grins slightly, a mere glimpse of white teeth. It's not entirely true.. she has plenty of respect and sound enough etiquette when the occasion calls for it. It's just, she's the one who's paid to get her hands dirty and knuckles bloody whether it's war time or not. And yet she's not allowed to joust! Life is unfair, at times.

A brow quirks, a glance going to the grey mare as Elrick puts to rest any concerns she might have. Only, that's not quite the case. "I cannot quite envision you jousting atop this one, m'Lord.. unless you've a knack for striking out the knees of your opponent's mount?" There's humor in her tone. "I was only idly looking for a fresh pack horse, truth be told. I've a destrier of my own but.." Esyld grimaces a touch, looking back up toward the young heir. "..for one thing, he'd be wasted on journeys like this. And for another, he's intolerable. He'd bite chunks out of other horses and travelers alike. And good luck finding a stable strong enough to contain him, if he had nought to do all these weeks." Despite the words, there's an almost maternal pride to the mercenary as she speaks of the absent animal. "Cadfan is his name."

There's a flicker of understanding for Elrick's own obvious fondness, as they compare. "I know what you mean. Wonderful companions.. and invaluable comrades." Following that glance to the Lord's waiting friends, Esyld offers them an unperturbed once-over, unable to help the soert of casual confidence inherent to her kind. "Most kind, m'Lord.. if.." Alright, so there's a bare hint of uncertainty now as she asks the awkward question. "..if you are certain my presence would not offend your other, more esteemed companions." Not everyone wants to try and outdrink a Black Fox.

Nodding his head in full agreement with her words, Elrick seems to have the same views of warhorses, not just his, "Not only that, they are better warriors than some of the soldiers in battle. Not to mention the levy." Certainly no great love for the commoners, at least those who aren't of the martial persuasion. As for her presence tonight? The t'Tremaine shakes his head, "They most certainly wouldn't, Captain. And I don't plan on surrounding myself with princelings, I will save those moments for the ball. Tonight, we drink and drink until we can drink no more!"

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