(1867-10-07) No Matter How Irksome You Get
How Irksome You Get
Summary: Esyld voices her misgivings about the Wraiths place in the recent skirmish.
Date: October 7th
Related: Death and Destruction
Corvin  Esyld  

Highwater Castle, Lonnaire

Highwater Castle sits overlooking Lonnaire City from the northeast. A few ballista and cannon are all the large weaponry that the castle boasts upon the tops of its walls. However, it does have quite a few arrow slits that face in all directions. The towers, one at each corner and a large tower in the central keep that over-looks the entire area all with the same large amount of arrow slits. Those that manage to breach the gates, would have to then face the archers and hand cannoners that dwell within in large numbers.

Like the walls, the stone is grey at the bottom and lightens until white at the top. Long tendrils of ivy crawl up these walls, adding an almost seaweed lazily drifting in the ocean look to the castle itself. Flags of l'Saigner are draped on every corner, their purple and black fabric fluttering in the breeze off the ocean.

The courtyard is small, but no less lovely for its size. Trailing vines of roses and jasmine climb the walls, and when in bloom fill the small space with their beautiful scent. A pair of stone benches flank on either side of the courtyard, the far end with stairs leading directly up into the keep proper, the opening into the courtyard just large enough for a coach, but capable of being barred with heavy wooden doors. To the observant, the courtyard can easily go from being a lovely place of respite to a killing ground, as many arrow-loops and gaps in the barbacan above provide easy shots down into the courtyard.

Octobre 7th, 1867 IA

The forces that battled in Savora have returned home to Highwater Castle, carrying with them no small number of wounded. Among them lay the Duke's bastard son, Corvin Fremont, stabbed in the lung during the battle. It was touch-and-go for the first couple of days, but the t'Andalucci healers know their trade well, and while he remains in the small Healer's den here on the grounds of Highwater Castle, it is presumed by many that this will be his last day here, and he will be able to move to the Family Tower (or perhaps the Wraith Tower) to convalesce through the rest of his healing process.

A sure sign of his recovery, he is awake in bed now, propped up a bit, and reading over reports by the light of the afternoon sun streaming into the window. Three empty plates with only the most scant traces of food-remnants upon them give a fairly good indicator that he's likely been dosed with Fleshknit, but certainly, it is a good sign that his appetite his healthy. His upper torso remains bare save for the bandages wrapped around it, but thankfully earlier today the "needle" that had been used to relieve the pressure of blood and air on his lung could be removed. He doesn't look…entirely comfortable, but he's alive, and the color has returned to his face. For the moment, he occupies a semi-private room just off the main den, where a few other of the more seriously wounded still rest. Though any that made it this far are expected to pull through…though at least a few may be permanently maimed for the ordeal.

Having spent practically every waking - in her case - hour guarding the Wraith Commander during these past few agonising days, it's perhaps permissible that Esyld has taken advantage of his better condition to venture away from his bedside. Not for sleep - she's still struggling with that, truth be told. But a fresh set of clothes and a good long bath has restored much of her flagging spirits. Her dark hair is still a little damp when she returns in the later afternoon; a plain longshirt of creamy linen flung on as carelessly as ever and simple dark suede leggings tucked inside her world-weary boots. Like Corvin, her colour is improved, though her features remain a little pinched with fatigue and a good deal of worry.

Granted passage to the private room with little more than a glance needed upon her approach, the young woman slips through the doorway and toward the Wraith's bed; her stride brisk but not so hurried as to disturb. A flit of vibrant blue eyes to his bandaged torso brings with it a glimmer of relief. She's not the squeamish sort but that damned needle was a gut-wrenching sight for even the most stoic of veterans.

Not bothering with much formality - maybe too tired to really pay much mind to it - the raven-maned t'Maren bastard eases down to a perch at the foot of corvin's cot, hands clasping loose and idle between her knees and her gaze regarding his expression contemplatively. For the moment, she doesn't speak. Best not to interrupt him when he's reading so intently.

Corvin says, "Congratulations, Sir Esyld." Corvin speaks, and while there is emphasis on the "Sir" for once there doesn't seem any sardonic edge to his words. No hidden ridicule or mocking. "Well deserved. And overdue." He hasn't yet looked up from the reports, but as he finally concludes the one he's reading, he neatly places the two sheets together and sets them on the bedside table, before looking towards her with a smile, "I hear you've been with me near enough the whole time. Not necessary…but appreciated, thank you. Are you well otherwise?" He cants his head slightly, "You look like you've not slept much."

There's the ghost of a smile, Esyld's gaze cast momentarily downward in unspoken acceptance of the congratulations before she just goes ahead and murmurs a gentle thank you. "I imagine that'll ruffle some feathers at Bloodfield… but I've spent more of my life here than there anyway." And with that, she sweeps the matter of the Baroness and her impending wrath under the proverbial rug, for the nonce. Offering Corvin an odd look askance, the brunette hesitates before speaking further. "..where else would I be? Gabriel was practically untouched, Vorian had his own men to watch out for him.." A shoulder rises and drops lightly in an awkward shrug. Of course she stayed with him. There's no need to explain, in her opinion, that she didn't want to be elsewhere if one of those struggling breaths had turned out to be his last. Not now that he's on the mend and such notions seem weak and foolish. Two things Esyld is never going to willingly appear.

"I'm fine. Tired, certainly. But otherwise well enough. A few insignificant wounds, nothing a little healoil won't likely fix." Glancing to the papers set aside on the table, she arches a brow, continuing the smalltalk, despite something else quite blatantly needling her. She lacks his talent for deception, after all. "..anything amiss?"

"Not particularly, no, assuming you're referring to the reports." Corvin replies, "If you're referring to me personally, there's still quite an ache in my side, but it will pass with time. I won't be getting out of bed much for at least a few more days, and like as not won't be back to anything approaching full capacity for a couple of weeks." He shrugs a shoulder on the non-injured side, "An annoyance, but better than the alternative." He pauses a moment, "I get the impression there may be something amiss from your side of things, however."

Initially, though she has listened a little distractedly to both answers, Esyld only nods slowly in assent; returning her gaze to her clasped hands. "..you're not going to like it." she warns. But when has that ever stopped her before?

Drawing a slow, steadying breath, the woman squares and shoulders and tilts her head back a little, raising her eyes to look at the ceiling as though for inspiration. How best to word it? Well.. blunt honesty has always been her approach. No sense in changing that now. "You shouldn't have been there." Her tone is soft-spoken, the velvet calm from low in her throat usually reserved for either ornery destriers.. or the Commander, when she's fully expecting an argument. Not that she'd back down from it, mind you. You just catch more flies with honey, as the saying goes. "None of you. The Wraiths.. you're trained for a very specific style of combat and that wasn't it." Setting her jaw in an expression of determinedly neutral resolve, Esyld turns her cerulean eyes upon Corvin now, having started. "It was ill thought-out and reckless. And I want to know.. who made that call."

"What in Creation are you talking about? The heavies drew out the bulk of the forces, and we struck at the camp from the treeline on their flank. In conception no different from countless raids the Wraiths undertook during the Thirty Years' War. Often with the aid of the Black Foxes. Get in quickly, strike at the leadership. The only difference was the skill of the opponents." Corvin shrugs that shoulder once more, "The plan was devised by my father, Sir Gabriel, and myself. We knew it wouldn't be an easy strike for either attacking force."

"With such a number in the infantry, you shouldn't have needed to engage in melee or hand to hand." Oh yes, she remembers the scene when she finally made it across the battlefield to he and Talia. It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't going well. "You'd all have been better placed as archers and kept out of the fray. Not risking yourselves like that. And yes.." Esyld raises a staying hand, to keep him from interrupting, a frown darkening her expression. "..I know you're more than used to risking yourself. But in this instance, you didn't need to. The Wraiths aren't there to be sacrificed for the sake of distraction." Pushing abruptly to a stand, the young woman stalks across the floor to the window and braces her hands on the sill there; closing her eyes briefly as the afternoon sunlight warms her skin.

"What if we hadn't got to you. How exactly do you envision that little skirmish would have ended?" She pointedly says 'we', rather than 'I'. She didn't win single-handedly. But clearly this has been troubling her, over the past few days. "With you dead? Or Talia? Both? What would be the damned good in that?"

"The heavies were the distraction. We struck at their leadership, and as it so happens, Talia insured heir leader was taken alive." Corvin shakes his head slightly, "Do you think this was the first open combat Wraiths have ever seen, Esyld? If Talia and I had fallen for good, then so be it. The remainder of the Wraiths would have finished the job…it was near enough done by the time our two forces converged. We struck from ambush, they reacted quickly and decisively instead of falling apart as most forces would." He leans back, "Either way, everyone faces the same risks when a battle is joined. Talia and I are no different in that regard, and unless you're advocating we make ourselves utterly useless beyond filling out paperwork, neither of us are inclined to avoid a battle simply to save our own skins, much less when we are ordered to it by our Duke."

"Talia was unconscious. And no, I know full well it's not the first battle they, or you have seen. So why was it treated like a raid? These people almost bested us when we took them by surprise, what could be expected with a sizeable force coming toward them?" Turning, Esyld leans her hips back against the sill and folds her arms, apparently not willing to let it drop. Not yet. "The Wraiths are, as I understand it, best utilised as scouts. Spies. Assassins. Now, I'm not saying you're not good in close quarters… of course you are." The corner of her lips twitch upward in a humorless smile. "..but I'm saying that the likes of Gabriel and myself are better. Just as you and the Viscountess would be the better choice for a kill requiring more… finesse than swinging a sword on a battlefield. If you're fighting outwith your specialty then you're taking greater risks. And how am I supposed to keep you safe if you're going to throw yourself into danger every time?"

Sighing in exasperation, the newly raised knight casts her eyes ceilingward and mutters something, presumably a near-silent prayer for patience. "You're not hearing me, Corvin. I'm not telling you to avoid battle." Settling her gaze back upon the man, she shakes her head gently, ignoring the tumble of dark locks against her cheeks and throat following the motion. "I'm saying less lives would have been lost, or risked, if you'd fought from a ranged distance. And that leader would have been subdued regardless." Pausing, she gradually lets up a bit. "..I don't want to fight with you over it. Not when you're recovering."

"Then you do not understand it." Corvin says simply, "Because acting as skirmishers is very much within our portfolio, and always has been. As I said, we started by attacking from range in the treeline. Then they closed on us faster than anticipated. Is your suggestion we should have fled at that point to preserve ourselves rather than accomplish our task?" Corvin shakes his head slightly, "When have you ever been in a battle where everything went according to plan? For that matter, when has it been your job to keep me safe? Your job is to protect Alina and Gabriel, certainly not I." He gestures towards the paper, "In truth, the casualties were only slightly higher than expected, and that was due to greater losses among the heavy forces than we anticipated."

She'd been backing off. Really. She had been. "Oh. So now the Wraiths are knights and infantry, as well as spies, rangers, scouts.. assassins.. it's an ever growing list of talents!" Sarcasm drips from her words. "If you're so well organised, why didn't you anticipate them? Did anyone scout the encampment first, to see what we were up against? What was the original plan? Strike for the leaders or attack from a distance?" The remark about the infantry losses strikes a nerve, the already irritated former mercenary bristling visibly. Far more dangerous than shouting is when she takes the time to draw a breath and speak in a very cold, precise manner.. and that's exactly what she does now. "Well, that's to be expected when one faction makes a monumental bollocks up of their part and doesn't come through with the support. I'm delighted that several of my friends paid the price so that the reputation of you and yours might remain intact."

Beneath the foremost appearance of anger, there's a splitsecond of simple bemusement as Esyld halts herself, staring at the Wraith. "..it's not my job. You're right. It's what you do for the people you care about, outwith your duty." She pushes up again, away from the window, but she doesn't stray far, keeping her arms folded across her midsection. "I'd run across a fucking battlefield for you and you can't even admit to a mistake. I unearth you from being buried in Ostvor and there's not so much as a thank you before you're on to more important things. I get a moment alone with you, and.." A hand rises, raking back through her hair in a warning gesture of her disquiet.

"Don't insult yourself, Esyld. You know what Skirmishers are, and Rangers have filled that role many times across the history of the Edge. The encampment was scouted, yes. The attack was always going to open from range, and close combat was not intended to occur until the stay-behinds had been whittled down. Perhaps we were spotted moving into position, though no alarm was raised. Or perhaps they were already fleeing in our direction when we opened fire, but I got all of two shots off before I had a rapier in my chest. Things didn't go as smoothly as we hoped, but don't you even dare try blaming the losses from Gabriel's force on me. Are we supposed to engage heavy forces or are we not? Because you seem to be implying both at once. Those we were fighting in the camp weren't wearing mail, or swinging greatswords and poleaxes." Which is entirely true. It was mostly leather and light weapons on both sides in the camp. In many cases bare hands. At the last, there's a frown, more of disbelief than anger, "Do you really think that I give even the slightest care for my reputation? Do you really understand so very little about me, or the Wraiths?"

He does finally relax a bit, even as a hand lightly goes to rest at his side, though after a moment he blinks again, "Is that what this is all about?" He frowns a bit, "Where the Masque is concerned…enjoy it as you wish. As it turns out Talia wasn't going to be attending even before she was injured. Now she has even more reason to refrain." There's no humor in it, just that same pensive frown, "If you are feeling…unappreciated…then I am truly sorry, Esyld. I realize I am not…an easy man to maintain a relationship with. I know my duties and responsibilities can get in the way of that, and that my mind is near always-focused upon them. And it tends to be the way of my family that appreciation is more often shown with respect and trust than simply words and gestures. I sometimes tend to forget it is not the same with everyone, especially when still more or less at home."

"You're implying both, too." During the initial counter from the Wraith, Esyld has made her way across the chamber, in the vague direction of the door.. and now she stares at it sullenly, chewing on her lower lip. Debating leaving, perhaps. In fact, probably. But she's never been the sort to turn on a heel when she's started an argument. If that's what this is. "However you spin it, you were caught out because you underestimated them. Or overestimated yourselves." Rubbing a hand at her nape, the young woman sighs, eyes closing again for a moment as she tries to force away the tension that's built in her neck and shoulders. When the vivid hues settle upon Corvin again, they convey calm. To the point of cool, actually, in keeping with their glacial shades. "..maybe I don't understand you. I've certainly never pretended to. But then, it never seemed to matter much before."

Turning, pivoting slowly on a booted toe, she reaffirms her stance but draws no closer to the bed, lingering closer to the door. "No, that's not what all this is about… my calling you out on a poorly executed fight is entirely a seperate thing from you and I. And I couldn't give a shit about the Masque, at this moment in time. Do you understand so little of me, to assume I'm some petulant handmaiden?" She mirrors his frown, likewise looking more thoughtful now than as infuriated as before. "I knew all of those things about you before we started this, Corvin. That's not what's changed." Her eyes narrow, considering. "I don't ask for appreciation in the form of fucking sonnets or trinkets. But.. I'm also not the sort of woman to be taken for granted. You've been looking through me, of late. Not at me. Ignore for the moment our.. more intimate connections. I deserve to be counted." A pause follows. "..sometimes I think things were much easier when I just hated you."

Corvin looks at her quizzically, "I believe I just offered you an apology for that, and one that was at least intended to be sincere. I know you understand how rare a thing that is to hear from me, but if you need another, it might take some time for me to muster the wherewithal." There is a touch of humor in Corvin's voice, at that, before he finally relents, a tiny bit, "I have been unsettled by some of the recent events, it is true, but contrary to whatever you may believe, the results of this battle we've just fought were not due to tactical error. The enemy was simply that skilled, and by and large, we expected them to be. You know Lonnaire's terrain doesn't give us the benefit of massing large armies. If we could've beaten this with a larger hammer, we would have, but instead we simply had to settle for a smaller, but sturdier hammer. Yes, it was scratched and chipped by the effort, but it's hardly broken. While I may still have misgivings about my own…personal performance…I have no doubt that in terms of the tactics and the approach, both were sound."

"I'm sorry if I've been distant. It's not my intent. Nor is it in any way through any fault of your own." A smirk, "No matter how irksome you occasionally get."

"How irksome I get?!" The incredulous expression that overtakes the icy calm is, at least, a more genuine thing. She seems about to say more, then simply halts and shakes her head when the Wraith smirks at her. "..clearly you're feeling better. I'll have them bring you more food." The worst of her ire may have cooled, but it's simmering enough that she's still opting to take her leave, for now. She does pause, however, with the fingertips of one hand already upon the door. "..the recent encounters haven't been best suited to your abilities. That's all." A tight smile momentarily curves her lips, and she tugs the door open. "..I'll come back later."

And out she goes. Notably, without either accepting or rebuffing the apology.

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