(1867-03-16) Morning Spar
Morning Spar
Summary: Returned to Rovilon, Antonia sends for Sir Clarke for a bit of sparring with swords.
Date: 15+17/03/2016 (Date of RP)
Related: None directly.
Antonia  Clarke  

Aveyron Palace - Courtyard - Rovilon - Couviere
The courtyard opens up into a vast expanse of well-tended cobblestone underfoot, softened by a manicured circular lawn at its heart, serving as boundary and frame to an exquisite, towering fountain. Surrounded on three sides by the looming structure of the Palace and on the fourth by the outer wall and gatehouse, the courtyard benefits from both sunlight and shade at most hours of the day, illuminated in the evening by well-placed lanterns. Through the western wall, an arching, covered walkway leads to the paddock and stables beyond, by way of the kennels and hawking mews, while the opposite building houses a common barracks and armory. The main building of the Palace looms tallest, salt-weathered stone dominating the area with weighty double-doors - easily twice the height of a man - at the pinnacle of a clean-swept set of steps. High, high overhead, the banners of l'Valdan fly and flutter from spires that seem to stretch toward the clouds.
Marse 16th, 1867

A few days have passed since the return of the royal delegation of Couviere, and Antonia seemed sufficiently recovered from the gate sickness - the physical inconvenience as well as the faint psychological strain that came with it; recovered enough to be out and about on this wonderful Marse morn, attired in a training armor of lighter maile, with her practice sword with blunted edges. Her dark blonde hair is worn in a braid that has been twirled to the back of her head, and her grey eyes are glinting as they shift to a young boy of 11 years standing at the side of the practice yard. She seems to be waiting for someone in particular for a nice sparring session. In fact, Sir Clarke t'Cauthone has been sent for, to meet the princess in the courtyard.

Even the Blue Chevalier had to admit his showing left something much to be desired in the tournament. So, when the Princess gives him an invitation to do some light sparring, the Chevalier is more than happy to accept back in the Rovilon Palace Courtyard. Wearing some padded leather armor, Clarke comes in at a fast jog at the appointed time, the t'Cauthone giving a bow over to the Princess as he advances. "Your Highness, thank you." Otherwise, Clarke waits to be told to be at ease then or otherwise instructed by the Princess, still in a light posture of salute.

"At ease," Antonia tells him indeed, "I am glad you could make it, Sir Clarke." Her lips twitch into a faint smile. "I hope you are ready for a little sparring match…? I feel I could use some practice." Her gaze flits over the Blue Chevalier in a lightly assessing manner. "You look sufficiently recovered." Her eyes flick briefly towards little Lord Etienne l'Valdan and warmth flashes in her gaze, before she lifts her eyes to meet the t'Cauthone's gaze. "Shall we?" She takes a step backwards, lifting her sword in invitation.

Clarke finalizes his salute in a crisp gesture to the Princess, "Yes your Highness, and thank you. I am honored to be considered a good partner for you in this exchange." In sparring, at least. "And given my last showings, I could as well. So I thank you." He goes to raise his sparring blade over to the Princess then to give her a salute with it in turn then, getting ready to go on the attack once the engagement starts.

There is a twitch of Antonia's brows when Clarke mentions his own performance during the tournament. "Given my own showings, I definitely should practice my lance more; but given I think there is little use for lances outside of a tourney field…" She snorts. "I prefer a more practical weapon, that can serve in battle as well. And with that said, she moves forward, swinging her blade in a wide arc in a first testing strike against the knight.

<COMBAT> Antonia attacks Clarke with Longsword - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Clarke attacks Antonia with Longsword - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Antonia has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Clarke nods over at Antonia as he twirls his own blade up, "Aye, the days of knights ruling the battlefield on cavalry are, for now, rarer. Too easy to setup a heavy line of pikemen.." The first twirl of blades exchanged leaves Antonia striking Clarke a little better than she does, and he goes to press his attack a little more now, his posture relaxing but his stance a little more defensive now.

<COMBAT> Clarke has changed stance to cautious.

If any of the two would pay attention, they would notice the flinch of young lord Etienne in the moment Antonia's defense opens in her own attack, leaving room for the t'Cauthone's blade to strike her side. A relieved exhale when he sees is mother landing the harder strike.

"Not bad!", Antonia comments with a grin, and not unsatisfied with the blow she was able to land on the t'Cauthone. "I must admit, I know little of you, Sir. Which I realized when I saw you compete. You've been a Blue Chevalier for a while…?" Ignorance of a princess? There is curiosity in the l'Valdan princess's gaze as it lingers on Clarke; even so she will test him with yet another manoeuvre; sidestepping and then whirling about him, trying an attack with the flat of her blade against the small of his back.

<COMBAT> Antonia attacks Clarke with Longsword - Light wound to Left Arm.
<COMBAT> Clarke attacks Antonia with Longsword but Antonia DODGES!

Clarke is more focused on the Princess at the moment - his mindfulness of the crowd is moreso that he does not risk going too far in the light sparring to risk getting caught up in them, so he misses the look on the Lord's face then. Clarke's defense is competent enough, but more competent than truly impressive.

As Antonia goes to try and circle around, Clarke goes over to block, but has to use his arm to do so, taking the blow on his off-hand and in turn his own swing clearly missing.

"I'm from the Blackfens, your Highness. My father was among the court and had me brought here when I was young and I joined the Chevaliers." Cautious now then as he circled with the Princess, favoring the hand that had been quickly struck.

"I was called for duty at the point the King, not at the time that, came to leadership of the Cavaliers and served." His bladework going a little more on the defensive, trying to not get too drawn out in counterstrikes to be in a better position to try and engage the princess when she went on the attack again.

<COMBAT> Antonia has changed stance to Cautious.

Antonia nods, a faint lift of a brow there as her practice sword hits Clarke's arm instead of where she intended to place the hit. "I see. I've been at this court for a little longer, it seems." She smirks. "But it seems the care for my son have kept me for too long, and made me oblivious to many of the other courtly presences. A mistake, that. And one I am seeking to correct." Her own strategy shifts now to a similar defensive approach, her gaze attentive as it lingers on the t'Cauthone, not rushing to attack, but instead weighing the possibilities while keeping up her guard.

<COMBAT> Clarke attacks Antonia with Longsword but Antonia DODGES!
<COMBAT> Antonia attacks Clarke with Longsword - Serious wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Antonia has changed stance to normal.

As Clarke goes on the defensive, circling with the Princess, she's able to get a good gauge of his reactions and his defensive maneuvers. "I would hardly say that you are unfamiliar with the Court, Highness. I would hardly consider myself to be a member of any standing. I am but a soldier, and service is my duty." Then when the Princess goes on the attack, his defense is batted aside, pierced as his counterstrike is evaded, and what would be a crippling injury to his chest if this fight was for real. "And if your skill within the court is deft as you show with a blade now, Highness, I think you have nothing to fear."

"You are a Blue Chevalier!", Antonia counters, her brows drawn together as she places her hit. "You are sworn to protect the family of my husband, Prince Silvio." She frowns. "I should know more of you, not just see you as a familiar face among those that protect us. As for the court…" Her lips quirk into a faint smile, "if you infer on how I know not to look like a complete fool at official occasions, then yes, that much I have learned. But when it comes to the more advanced disciplines, as politics and the various factions… This is an arena I have just recently entered. When Queen Louisa made me one of her Falcons." She smiles, this a smile holding some pride and warmth. Still. They are not done yet, even if Antonia so far seems to have the upper hand. She attacks again, giving up the recent cautious attitude, as she swings her blade with new momentum, aimed to decide the sparring match.

<COMBAT> Antonia attacks Clarke with Longsword - Serious wound to Abdomen.
<COMBAT> Clarke attacks Antonia with Longsword but Antonia DODGES!
<COMBAT> Clarke has been KO'd!

There's a light swing then, and at this point over in the exchange Clarke goes down then to one knee then, dropping his sword then as the agile Princess evades him yet again, and he chuckles, "I yield, Highness." Otherwise he goes to hold his hand out then in a gesture of supplication then before, if permitted, rising up. "And you do me a great honor by wishing to know me personally, Highness. But I cannot say I am more particularly worthy than any other of the Cavaliers or those in Rovilon. It is an honor still to serve in any means. I do not, daresay, have any particular insights to the court I can offer. I'm merely a boy from the Blackfens."

Antonia lowers the blade and inclines her head when the Blue Chevalier yields. "Well fought, Sir Clarke t'Cauthone.", she smiles. "I admire your modesty. As for mine own skills with the sword… I have had plenty of time to improve them, through extensive training. Even if my own knighting has not happened till a few months past." Her head turns, and she glances towards her son, as her other hand comes up in a gesture to wave him over. "Etienne… Meet Sir Clarke. Sir Clarke, my son, Lord Etienne l'Valdan." The boy steps forward, and inclines his head to the knight. "Sir Clarke.", he greets, while the eyes of his mother linger with warmth and pride on him.

Clarke goes up and then bows to the Princess, "Thank you, Highness, for the spar. And showing me I have quite a bit to do with progressing my own skills. And I appreciate your recognition as well then." As Etienne approaches, Clarke bows to him as well, "My Lord. Thank you for honoring your soldier by watching. And hopefully learning how not to engage with a blade from my example." Chuckling softly.

"I thank you, Sir," says the royal highness by marriage as she takes off the half helmet, grey eyes glinting as she inclines her head towards Clarke. "As for me… there has always been sword practice. I'd wager I have the advantage of a few more years of experience." Her gaze flits to Etienne, and that particular proud smile that usually claims the face of a mother when her child does something particularly well, appears on the l'Valdan princess's features. "Etienne has the dubious honour of me offering him some early training now and then," she states with a smile. "There have been times when I was worried, in whose hands I would have to entrust his training."

Etienne meanwhile eyes Sir Clarke t'Cauthone with youthful enthusiasm, clearing his throat then when he notices his mother's gaze lingering upon him. "It has been most instructive," he remarks diplomatically, offering Clarke a shy smile before he steps back again, dismissed by Antonia's nod of approval.

Clarke holds his own helm out then as he gives Etienne a salute then, and nods over at Antonia, "In such a case i Would wager you've got him in the best of hands then for training. I think you would be more skilled than any drill instructor I had then and as any I have seen on the field of battle or in the bouts of tournaments, so I doubt not that he has the best possible tutor in such things from yourself then Highness." He glances over at Etienne over and dips his head, "And it is an honor to serve your family in any way that I can, Lord. And your mother will train you well as any."

Antonia's smile shifts a little in its quality, less motherly pride there now, and more calculating curiosity, when her eyes cut back to Clarke. "Your modesty honors you, Sir. But yes, I would think so, that it shall be me who will take Etienne on as my squire when he reaches the age to enter serious training." There is a pause, a moment of consideration, before the l'Valdan princess continues. "Will you accompany the l'Valdan contingent to the Tourney of Love and Beauty, which will be held at Hartswood? Which was my home before I became the wife of a prince?"

Clarke nods over at Antonia, "Aye, I would likely be accompanying the contingent going, though I would likely not be competing in any such things." He goes on idly, if bemusedly, "While I do have a great deal of love for anything beautiful, as most men likely do, I cannot say that I have earned the favor of any such beauties then, which is a particular for entrance as I understand it. As such, I do not quite think that I would have bounds to enter any of the events."

Antonia's lips curve faintly when she hears his response. "Well spoken, Sir. But there is not only the joust and the free-for-all. Following the tradition, there will be a hunt as well. Hartswood is a splendid hunting ground. And… there will of course be a ball." She winks. "The opportunity to show the ladies whom they should have been given a favor to." She straightens, lowering the blade further, that the dulled tip comes to rest on the ground. "Besides, you'll have duties to see to, won't you?"

Clarke nods over, "Aye, while most of the events require a favor, the hunting grounds are glorious. Even if I would not be going along on the hunt of the tournament I would hope to take the opportunity should duty over the events permit then to go along on some of the smaller parties, if only to familiarize myself with the terrain. And I would somewhat hope that it goes more easily than the last hunt I went on where we encountered a group of rather large boars.."

Antonia chuckles at the latter remark. "Boars are frequently to be encountered during a hunt, alas." She smiles. "I am looking forward to see Hartswood again, it has been too long." Her demeanor turns a bit pensive there. "And I would like to show Etienne a bit around, my favorite spots where I went to when I was his age." A warm glance she gives her son, before her gaze returns to the Blue Cavalier. "I thank you again, Sir Clarke t'Cauthone, for your time, the spar and the conversation. But I believe, I have to take my son along now. He is to have some lessons today, as befits a young lord of his station." The cousin of princes, and the son of a prince. "I shall see you soon, I would think. Perhaps for another spar?" The latter offered in a light challenge, with a tinge of amusement to her tone.

Clarke nods over, "Aye, though these ones were about the size of some of the bears of the north, and of such things I don't quite wish to encounter.." Dipping his head over, "And I look forwards to hopefully having some time along the hunting grounds as well, even if not for such formal events then." As the Princess dismisses him, he goes to give a formal salute and then a bow over to her, "Thank you for the honor of the spar, Highness, and for the introduction to the Lord. It is a pleasure and an honor, and I wish to spar you again in the future, and hopefully not quite earn as many lumps the next time as I did in the last." He grins over at her and then gives another salute to Etienne then.

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