06.24.3013: A Challenge Befitting a Ballad
Summary: Taryn comes to check on Michael and finds Aelewen.
Date: 24 June 2013
Related: None.
Aelewen Michael Taryn 

Barracks — Volkan, Imperius
At the base of the Blackspyre are several floors of barracks, training facilities, armories, and cafeterias, all built to house the defenders of House Khournas in rough comfort. Soldiers are bunked in rooms each large enough to sleep 50, with lockers and desks alongside each bed. Deep within the barracks levels, close to the training areas, are communal bathhouses, some set aside for single-sex use and others open to members of both sexes. There, the soldiers and nobles of House Khournas can soak away the aches of a hard day's labor. The corridors are all narrow enough that two soldiers could hold them against a tide, except those leading from assembly areas to great doors that open to the exterior surface of Volkan, allowing the soldiers of House Khournas to march out already in formation if need be.
June 24th, 3013

Michael sighs softly and looks down, a genuine look of sadness. "I see… and I'm sorry to hear that happened… but it's good that at least it wasn't your eldest." he looks up, "I would be quite crushed if something happened to Viannea suddenly…" again he mentions that name, then changes the subject. "So you planned on practicing with the blade?"

Aelewen tilts her head sharply as she turns suddenly amused eyes on Michael "Hmm" she says at his mention of Viannae again "Trentin's daughter?" She asks as a smile grows "Well to answer your earlier question if I recall I think she can probably shoot. She was more interested in the woods than the ballroom as a child. Although I heard she was knight recently after being squired to the Bear" she adds rubbing her chin, still looking faintly amused.

Sitting in a chair with a leg rest, and Aelewen crouched on her heels near enough for polite conversation, Michael has his sword resting in his lap. A battered combat sim dummy can be seen in a nearby sparring circle. Michae smiles softly, "Yes, Lord Trentin's fourth born, and daughter. Sir Viannea Peake… " he pauses, his eyes shift to a warmth and light. "We aren't able to court, for my lack of status… but if we could, I'd have asked already. She's somehow tempered my romantic side, and added reality to the mix. With her I'm more patient, willing to take things in time and stride. I greatly enjoy her company and truly hope to prove myself a worthy knight for her." he stops, obviously having admitted too much. There is a slightly pink to his cheeks now.

Aelewen's lips twitch as she fights off laughing at the poor blushing squire. Soon however the humour is replaced by an almost motherly sympathy "Well I am not the one to ask about the intricacies of courtship and social rank" she says bluntly, her rough voice matter of fact as she continues "I am pretty much up the top, and my marriage to Ari, Lord Aritino, was all aranged. But…" she says holding up one hand "…you have a chance to distinguish yourself on the battlefield. Just be carefull" she advises with a softer smile than usual "Faint heart never won fair maiden, but being dead doesn't help either"

Taryn would try to walk quietly, but when you are wearing riding boots, there really isn't much of a point, so the Valen stableboy walks as quietly as possible. He walks through the barracks looking for Michael. He carries himself with a touch of that haughtiness that seems to be bred into those of the Vale, but more than that, there is a sense of purpose to the walk, perhaps that is why the normal humble demeanor is set aside. He does however pause at the edge of the conversation, trying to gauge the topic and if it is one that he might be allowed to interrupt, or at least join. He smirks slightly, "Well, if I were you, my friend, I wouldn't say that she has tempered your romantic side, but perhaps that she has given it clarity and focus… tempered it… sounds… well, less flattering." He offers a deeply respectful nod to the lady who is talking with Michael. "My apologies for interrupting… I thought to check to see how Michael was doing… and to bring him something more palatable than what I saw him eating yesterday."

Michael almost laughs when Taryn appears and speaks. "I suppose you're right, though like you said I tend to burn hot at all times, so Viannea has indeed tempered my molten heart. Given it form and purpose, and solidified it to withstand the battering of the everyday." he pauses to consider, "Hospital food is indeed not the best." he smiles, then looks to Aelewen, "This is Taryn Wystrel, a close personal friend of mine. Taryn, this is Lady Aelewen Arboren." he then looks up and glances at the chronometer and blinks, "Oh my! The meeting… I need to hobble my way up to the meeting. I'm not entirely sure I count, but I should at least know what's going on with the house I serve." he looks back to the two of them, "I am sorry, please excuse me. It was very nice to meet you Lady Aelewen, and it is always nice to see you Taryn." with that he somehow manages to stand and starts to move to toward the lift.

Aelewen turns her head and stands in one easy motion as she hears Taryn approaching, sharp blue eyes glancing over him. She lifts a hand to wave of his apology then extends it at the introduction "Nice to meet you Taryn" she says in her rusty voice. Perhaps about to add something she quirks a crooked smile as Michael starts to hobble off rapidly "Do you need help getting up there? best not strain anything or the healers will tan your hide"

Taryn shakes his head at Michael. "It is better to arrive respectfully and repentantly late… than to injure yourself further by trying to rush." He grins impishly, "In other words, hobble slowly, you gimp. I'll leave the package on your bunk…" He once again inclines his head, "M'lady, a pleasure, I am sure." He may be just a Valen citizen, but even Valen citizens know how to be charming.

Michael turns around and grins, placing fully his weight on his right leg before wincing and trying to hide it. Clearly he's just trying to show off. "I'll be fine, but thank you both." he then disappears into the lift and is gone.

Aelewen shakes her head as a crooked smile crosses her wethered face "Oh to be young and careless again" she says softly, mostly to herself. Shifting she looks back to Taryn, considering him for a few moments before smiling again "You remind me of my late husband. Far too pretty and charming for your own good" she says, mock disaproval in her rusty voice.

The blond Valen shakes his head as Michael walks off. Then that impish grin is turned on Aelewen. "You flatter me, m'lady," Taryn says, "I'm not all that charming." His grey-green eyes look at her. There is an odd mixture of youth and age in those mossy colored eyes.

"Well he did dress better" Aelewen says with another flash of her crooked smile as she considers his clothing "Actually he dressed better than any two given nobles, I swear his tailoring bill could have paid for another company of Rangers" she says with a kind of fond sadness, her smile turning wistfull for a moment before with a shake of her head she returns to the present "So what brings you from the Vale to here?" she asks curiously.

Taryn reaches up and grabs the shoulders of his tunic and holds it out just a touch, "Well, I'm sure that your lord husband probably earned more in a month than I have .. well ever. But that is a burden that I think I would be ill suited for… When you only have a handful of choices, picking out your clothes becomes a lot less time consuming… " He shrugs, "Besides, horses don't generally care what you are wearing… unless it might be edible… " He points in the direction of where Michael headed off, "Just checking on a friend… He was hurt in a skirmish with the Hostiles, and I thought I would offer him a bit of company… " He flashes that grin again, "But of course, even your ladyship's shadow would outshine my presence…"

"That's what I used to say when he complained about my wardrobe 'Neither the woods nor the animals care about fashion'" Aelewen replies agreeably, with a faintly wry sniff "I was speaking to him about that. They are moving in our woods too…" she says, the humor fading from her voice "…they are good enough to surprise some of my house's scouts. Which is a bloody worry"

Taryn continues the play for a touch more, at least until the topic turns more serious, "But I am sure, for you, m'lady, that even the trees would grow eyes and watch your passing through their domain. The stars themselves are dressed in the velvet darkness of the night sky. If those dim embers were so deserving, I am sure your husband was equally right in that you too should be clad." Taryn nods silently, "Beyond worry, I'd say. Your house's reputation is well deserved. But the Arboren are great hunters.. I am sure that they will soon turn these invaders into sport to be hunted down."

Aelewen unable to help herself starts to chuckle at Taryn's continued flattery. After a time it fades to a wry snort "I am literaly old enough to be your mother, and far too old to be taking stable lads for a ride" she adds with a perhaps unexpected streak of crudity for a noble. Still for those that have heard her reputation "I have an idea as to how we can spot and track these scouts. Unless they are even smarter than I thought" she adds, rubbing her chin as she falls into a thoughtful silence.

Taryn smiles yet, though there might be a touch of a blush to his cheeks as well. "I meant nothing more than a play with words, M'lady. To bring a shimmer of amusement to your eyes and perhaps the turn of a smile to your lips." Perhaps he might have been more startled by her remark, had he not spent so much time in the barracks and the company of certain Lady Knights. He does, however, listen to her with a more rapt attention than that of the shameless flirt that he was a few minutes before. "I would expect nothing less.. " There is the unspoken question of 'what?' poised on the edge of his tongue, but such is not his place to ask.

"Stop before you start me blushing" she replies with another crooked smile, not that she has shown any sign of even being close to it so far. Looking at him her smile turns faintly mischevious for a moment, then she offers a shrug of one shoulder "Well when I say 'we' I don't think humans will be of much use…" she trails off teasingly, her smile broadening a little further.

Taryn cants his head slightly, "Can any man make you do anything that you do not want to do, Lady Aelewen?" He scrunches his nose slightly, "I think not… if you were to blush, it would be only because you so demand it." He smirks slightly, "Though I would admit that it is not in the soul of any born of the Vale to pass up a challenge if presented with one… and a challenge worthy of the most epic ballads ever sung… and as worthy as legend itself… And if I had been born to such a lot that it would be within the realm of possibility, I'd spend my every waking moment bent on the single purpose to make every rose on Imperius suddenly lose its color in jealousy of the color placed upon your cheek… But alas, such was quest was not placed upon my destiny by birth… " He arches a thin brow, then grins slightly. "If not the 'we' which you speak of is not humans, then am I speaking to the Mother herself… for you are not capricious enough to be the Maiden… and certainly not old enough to be the Crone… "

"My sister can, sometimes. Of course she is High Lady, so that gives her an unfair advantage. Of course I can still outshoot her" Aelewen replies with a wry snort. This fades into a brief look of confusion that draws her brows together as he becomes mystical. She pauses then a brief bark of laughter escapes her and she shakes her head "No, no no. Although praying might do something I meant that unless they are smarter than I give them credit for I doubt the Scout's camoflague includes scent…so hounds and perhaps horses may be our best bet for flushing them out"

Oh, the Devil dances in his eyes at that. "Then would that not make her High Lord, if she be the only man to make you blush?" Taryn smiles widely before he shakes his head, "But … hounds… " He pauses, "Like flushing game from the brush… and so then slip the hounds of war, as it may be, then?"

Aelewen snorts and shakes her head at his reply, eyes narrowing faintly for a moment as she mock glares at him "I meant she can get me to do things I don't want to. Some days she can even get me to wear a dress. Rarely" she adds as something of an afterthought. As he follows her line of thinking she nods briefly "Only worry is it will be hard on the hounds, they are likely to become targets…" she trails off with a touch of sadness in her eyes "…still better them than my family"

Taryn nods. "Undoubtedly they will be… after the first couple of engagements." And just for a moment, there is a look of cunning in his eyes, almost like he was at the command tent the night before a battle, something definately about him more than just a poor stable boy. "What about the druids of the Arboren? They are said to be able to ride the minds of animals… see, hear, and smell what the animals that they link with… I know that the connection cannot be long or far, but would it not potentially give a bit of insight into the hunting of the Hostiles?" His eyes darken as he thinks about it, almost paying through the scenario in his head, as if he could conceive of the idea himself. Then, almost like he remembers he is not alone, that charming, little smile graces his lips as he shrugs his shoulders, "Just a thought, I mean.."

"Not a bad one at that. Not something I thought of" Aelewen says as her lips purse. At last she shrugs her broad, archer's shoulders and looks off into the distance "To be honest I try to keep my distance a bit, although half of my neices and nephews seems to have awakened. No sign of it in mine so far. But thank you Taryn" she says with a somewhat heavy clap on his shoulder "Will go poke at some of them"

Taryn nods then smiles, "Even a blind man might hit a wall with a stone… It does not make him a marksman." He looks to Aelewen and glances down for a second as he contemplates something, but bows his head, "I hope that it might serve House Arboren and all of Haven in these quickly darkening days…"

"Speak up lad, even for an Arboren I am relaxed about nobility. Comes of having a lot of it I guess" Aelwen says with another of her faintly wry crooked smiles as he seems to stop himself "Hopefully, because if we don't come up with a way to spot these fuckers it will not go well for my rangers certainly"

Taryn shakes his head, "It is an idea unfinished… You have my word, m'lady, that should it come to completion, I will let you know of it." There is that sober look in young eyes again. He then looks up through a veil of blond curls, "Besides, it gives me opportunity to grace your ears with my honeyed words… and an opportunity to do what no man can do and bring color to your cheeks…" He cocks his head back and arches that eyebrow again, "Who knows .. might even make a few tongues waggle or choke with jealousy."

Aelewen shakes her head and chuckles softly, clapping him on the shoulder again "I would doubt it, I was no beauty thirty years and several children ago. Still thanks for giving an old lady a chuckle or two" with that she cracks her neck from side to side and stalks back a step "On on that note I had better get back before my children send out a search party "Look after yourself lad"

Taryn grins, "If you were no beauty thirty years ago, then surely you must be like a bottle of wine that has become more refined with each year." He bows his head, "And you, m'lady.. "

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