(1867-05-16) Out of the Southern Kingdom
Out of the Southern Kingdom
Summary: Two Couviere knights leave Normont together following the tournament. Reluctantly.
Date: 1867-05-16
Related: All Normont tourney logs.
Jonathan  Alexandra  

Stables, Normont
It's a stable. With horses. And all that comes with them.

It wasn't the strongest of tourneys for Jonathan t'Maren here in Normont, especially coming off his victory by the narrowest of margins in Venderos. Still, that is the way of these things, is it not? Against such fine competition, even the most skilled knight can falter. And there was the bout of illness that kept him out of the duels, and the adverse conditions, and so on… He has every reason to be at peace with his rather forgettable showing.

That is to say, he's barely hiding his frustration.

And it seems that he'll just as soon leave this city, and for that matter Rivana, as soon as he's able. Having spent one final night in a local inn, a home-away-from-home, he'll be found this morning with his gear already packed, making his way over to the stable to find his horse.

Already in said stable, and with similar feelings, is one Alexandra t'Artan. She hadn't done very well, either. So much mud meeting with the seat of her pants. The laundress would wring her neck for the stains she was bringing home…and yet, she /could/, by and by, purchase an entire new wardrobe if that's what her heart desired.

It wasn't.

She knows the value of quality and how many hours went into weaving the fabric that covers her highborn behind. So, she brushed as much off as she could, and this is where he'll find her - using one of those coarse wire brushes to veritably tan the hide of the last pair of riding pants that hit the dirt. The strokes are hard, her entire arm and shoulder tight beneath the baggy blouse that hangs from her frame. Footsteps echo around her, but she doesn't turn to look.

Two highborn behinds in the same place. Watch out.

Jonathan is used to turning heads - he doesn't /like/ it, but he does all the same - so it's almost refreshing that Alexandra doesn't pay him any more heed than she might any of the passing commoners. He hasn't seen her since the joust, though not exactly for lack of trying, and it's good, at least, that they're both in rather better shape now than they were then. And, after all, it would be rude to fail to greet one's betrothed…

"Sir Alexandra," he says, his voice relatively calm. "I see that you, too, have no particular desire to remain in Normont." Common ground. That's good, right?

"None at all," she replies, the hairs on the back of her neck prickling up as he speaks. He's sort of like a little lost puppy, is he not? Always managing to find her wherever they are. Maybe that's the curse of two knights betrothed. Initial annoyance is smoothed over, for the most part. Alexandra was schooled heavily in social graces despite her best efforts at avoiding them, though when she finally turns to look at him, she's none too pleased. "I'm beginning to wonder if I should stay home next time."

A soft snort of air exits through her nose and, looking him up and down once with bright eyes, critically, she turns on her heel and makes for her satchel. She drops the brush, opens the bag, and rifles around before producing a rolled piece of parchment. "Tell me you'd heard," she asks, handing the letter to him, brows raised in an indication she wants him to read it.

In fairness, they /do/ tend to be in the same place often. Still, they're in a large city. Is it mere coincidence that the two foreigners happen to find themselves at the stables at the same time? Of course it is. Of course. "If it is what I imagine, then yes, I have." A strong hand reaches out to take the parchment, and when she looks him up and down, he doesn't flinch. Doesn't react much, really, but his stance says that he has nothing to hide.

Quickly he unrolls the little bit of paper, and his eyes flicker up and down. A little nod, and he rolls it back up, his gaze now fixed right on her eyes. "Next month," he says, bluntly.

There's a little upward quirk of an eyebrow, and he rolls his shoulders. "You shouldn't," he replies, still bluntly, brow furrowing. "Stay home, I mean." For a moment, he lets his lips quirk upward in a little smile. "I'd miss the competition."

Blah. Taking the paper back, even if it wasn't offered, Alex sighs. "Yes." Six weeks. While they were getting knocked on their asses, their parents had settled on a wedding date and were making preparations. Insult to literal injury. "Did you come here to tell me so?" It isn't an accusation, but it isn't especially friendly, either.

"I came here to leave Normont." It's an honest answer. Jon t'Maren is nothing if not honest. "But it is true nevertheless." The man rolls his shoulders again, and he lets his eyes wander up and down Alexandra's body. It's not a particularly /improper/ glance, though, rather more sizing her up than undressing her with his eyes, as it were. "We've battled a number of times, and I always find myself rather…" His voice trails off. Is he searching for the right word? Or does he know it and just not want to say it?

A little sigh. "Regardless. Six weeks, and that means we find ourselves in a rather similar predicament. Six more weeks of limited expectations." Not that highborn behinds like theirs are ever free of the weight of expectation, but when they're not wed to another behind, the expectations are less. "What do you intend to do with yours, if I may be so bold?"

Her eyes flash, and she looks right back at him. "Not yet, you may not. My time is my own, and I intend to do with it as I see fit." She may very well not have a plan, but even if that's the case, she's not announcing that. The letter is stuffed quickly back into the bag, and she turns back to face him. "And are you sharing your plans?" Why, though, when they're expected to share things going forward?

"Of course, of course." Jon might be slightly off-put by her show of mild hostility, but he doesn't flinch in the slightest. His own tone is calm, even, though there's a hint of frustration if she's listening closely - which she almost surely is. "I wouldn't presume to make demands of your time, certainly not now." And probably even not when they're married, but one can cross that bridge when one comes to it.

However. "I only think…" There his voice trails off again, and this time, it's almost certainly because he's searching for the right words. "For the sake of our respective houses - and for our own - we will need to put effort into making our future union work." It's said in the future tense, but his inflection almost makes it sound as though he's speaking in the present. "And I…" Pause. His eyes meet hers directly, and is there just a hint of softness there? "I should like to come to know the woman I am to wed. Before we are under the weight of… expectations." That has to be a euphemism.

He had better not when they're married - at least, that's her thought, but she doesn't say anything regardless of how the gears are turning in her head. She hears him out. It's respectful. And she waits until he's finished before she replies.

"Sir Jonathan, I do hope that your first lesson will be understanding just how seriously I take my responsibilities, however foolhardy I may seem in public." There isn't much mention of getting to know one another otherwise, and, as she slings the bag over her shoulder, she hammers that home. "We'll have time come July."

It's a good lesson - and it's one that leaves Jonathan conflicted. On the one hand, it's a fairly emphatic "no" to his proposition in the near term. On the other, the knowledge that she /does/ take her responsibilities seriously, however she may conduct herself to the contrary, is something that the heir to Bloodfield can respect.

"And I mine." One of the first things she'll learn about him: he's not the sort to back down. "So we will. But we have time in the present as well, and I hope /you/ will know that when I resolve to do a thing, I see it done as soon as I am able." A tilt of the head to one side, in the general direction of his horse. "Travel with me for a time. We are at cross-purposes regardless, and the company will make the road more pleasant." There's a little more softness in Jonathan's eyes now. He's quite a few steps shy of /pleading/ with her, and yet there's just a hint of that in his tone.

Hm. She isn't intimidated by him. No, in fact, watching him compete in the past two Tourneys as closely as she'd been watching has shown her his strengths and weaknesses. She can tell where she'd have to push and pull if their union was to work. So, then, what was there to lose?

Nothing, clearly, as she's pushing the satchel behind her and sticking a foot in a stirrup in no time. The dirty pants are shoved in a saddle bag, and she looks down at him, waiting. "The road is long, Sir Jonathan." There was clear thought on it that passed across her eyes, but now, she looks more ready to be home than anything.

Nothing at all. "That it is, Sir Alexandra." For only the second time in the conversation, he lets himself smile at her, and it's a fairly genuine thing, if a little muted. "That it is." Hefting his gear again - he'd put it down at some point in the conversation - he half-turns in the direction of his horse.

"We'll ride north, then." And then, as fast as his strong legs will carry him, he takes off toward his own mount. After all, if he's too slow, this one is liable to leave him here.

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