05.24.3014: Falling from the Kissing Tree
Summary: A random meeting in the woods when folks are out for a walk.
Date: 11 January 2014
Related: None
Declan Canis Brienne Jayce 

Arborenin Woods
Tall, monstrous trees dominant the forests that take up most of the southern half of the Spine. Their trunks are like the legs of giants, and their dark bark is home to brightly colored moss and the broad steps of mushrooms. Natural light must filter down through broad leaves, casting much of the forest in a cool green glow. The forest floor is covered mostly in soft peat and rotting debris, creating a fertile bed for lush flora, which in turn become the habitats of diverse fauna. Nurse logs, hollowed snags, sink holes, and small forest caves adds layers of detail to the broad stretch of Arborenin woods. Toward the outer edges of the forest, the giant trees transition to smaller evergreens and firs, transitioning into mountain forests to the west and rocky beaches to the east.
May 24, 3014

Declan is garbed in his Arborenin ranger armor. Both of his hands are clutched behind his back while he slow walks around the famed "Kissing Tree". His guard of seven or eight rangers stand a good distance away from their brooding lord past the treeline at the edge of the clearing the tree occupies.

Just out for a walk, away from the busiest part of the city, Brienne is walking at a slow pace, not attempting to be stealthy or anything so her boots crunch lightly on the underbrush as she walks. When they come upon the Kissing Tree, Brie doesn't indicate it or anything as different from any others, but the initials carved into the side could cause one to wonder. Nowhere on it is anything that could be construed as coming from Brienne Arboren herself. No BKA anywhere! She avoids it. Her hands hang loosely at her side and she's wearing the usual tunic and pants, boots. Her hair confined to a braid down her back. At her side is Jayce, and the two are walking with a comfortable silence interrupted by the occasional conversation. This is one such time. "Have you made a decision yet on Casanova?"

Canis needed to get away from home and other places a bit and still one of his next favorite places is here so it's probably not too surprising that he's walking through the forest trails. He's dressed down for the most part though a few added touches which he couldn't get away without adding. He doesn't limp but his leg is a bit stiff still it would seem though he tries not to make a face or anything. He is looking about him when he hears a voice a very familiar one a bit a head and changes course.

Jayce walks along at Bries side, gloved hands together, right hand massaging the left hands knuckles through the glove. His brows lift as he moves, hearing his walking companions question, and shakes his head, "Not yet." He says simply, "I'm still wondering about an Occular." He taps his temple next to his eye, "Really helped control on the battlefield." He frowns slightly, "I'll know more tomorrow."

Declan hears the chatter on the other side of the Kissing Tree. He creeps in closer to the trunk to conceal himself if anyone were to look around the tree. Declan squeezes between a few thick roots that run up his side of the tree.

"I knew you really liked that about Destiny." Brie says softly, not wishing to bring up bad memories, but still speaking of Horses, it was inevitable. She's not expecting to find Declan out here, so she doesn't really look for him, though she does hear steps approaching from a different direction. She glances back but not thoroughly enough to spot Canis yet. "You know me and technology. I think technologically illiterate is the right term," when she smiles it crosses her lips easily, climbing into her eyes. "I wouldn't know the first thing about a horse with it."

He continues on this path until he actually sees the one he'd heard before hand though he pauses as she's walking with someone not sure he should interrupt but decides it's likely best to speak up anyways. Canis will speed up just a little bit hopefully making enough noise not to startle though this is a bit more painful to the leg. "Hello Brie." he calls out after the pause of time it takes him to catch up a bit more offering a friendly smile her way. The other he doesn't seem to recognize him immediately but he gets a nod in greeting "Hope i'm not bothering I decided a walk in the woods would be good."

Jayce spreads his hands as he walks, "Ever since the earliest days of riding on old earth, controlling what a horse sees, has been a large part of using them. from horse blinders, to blind masks to keep them calm. That hasn't changed. Much easier to control what they see by controlling their eyes. You can direct the attention of the horse directly." He nods, "There's an app for that. I had it in my armor." He pauses at the call and turns, folding his hands together in front of him and nods, respectfully before falling silent, looking to Brie. He steps back from the conversation, about an inch. No more than a symbolic gesture, but one there nonetheless.

Declan slides down the tree bark until he is sitting on the ground between the protruding roots. He slips his feet out from under him, merely extending them as he rlaxes, no longer worried about remaining hidden. Meanwhile, his guards would appear noticeable to the others as they peered to see if anyone approaching the Kissing Tree was a threat to their lord. Brienne would likely recognize them as guards from her brother's detail.

"An app.. I have some weird apps on my datapad I don't even know what they are used for. I use mail and messaging and I use part of the AI on my armor but that's as far as I go." Brienne tells Jayce laughingly. Hearing her name, she turns about so that she is facing both of the two. "Canis, it's good to see you again." Looking between the two as they look decidedly like they don't know one another, she makes the introductions. "Jayce, this is Lord Sir Canis Ligonier. A vassal house to Cindravale. Canis, this is Lord Sir Jayce Cindravale. He.. knighted me eight years ago, I squired with him." A frown mars her brow. "Are you limping, Canis? Have you been hurt?" Just then she notices the men, her brothers men. "Is Declan here?"

Canis does take the few steps further forward to be in a more conversation range. "It's good to see you too." he will say in return though looking to the other noble "It's good to meet you Lord Jayce." he says to the introduction this might jog his memory a bit but he nods as she explains it's who knighted her. The knight stops in his tracks though as she notices his leg eh it wasn't likely to get passed her anyways "Not sure about limping, it's stiff but healing up now. I met a hostile with a great big sword." he explains the injury.

Jayce inclines his head, "A pleasure, Lord Canis." He pauses at the story, and glances to Brie, nodding before looking to Canis himself, "Do like them don't they, big swords.." He glances about, now recognizing a guard detail. Now if they were all dressed as shrubbery he might be unnoticed.

Brie winces at the mention of the Hostile with the sword. "How come you are out walking on it, Canis? Will you be able to make it back unaided?" Concern reaches her eyes, bringing crinkles to the edges as she observes his movement. "Perhaps you should stay in a guest room. You're more than welcome of course, as always." It had always been a standing invitation. He always assisted the Arboren in their battles when he could. A smile is given to Jayce at his comment, "Either swords or bludgeons. Or those terrible bolts of metal."

"They sure seem to yes." Canis looks back to the other and nods but gives a chuckle "The usual reason i'm out when I shouldnt be i'm stubborn." he chuckles a moment but listens nodding to the other "It wasnt a big camp only four scouts and one of those big priests with the sonic gun." he winces "I've never been hit by one and don't ever want to." he looks about the forest "I'm back full time though on patrols so i'll be able to help here more again."

Jayce nods to Brie and Canis, each in turn, but remains quiet about the other mans return to duty, meeting the information with a smile and nod, approving in a generic way.

"The meetings are going to be more in the war room with Declan in charge. He'll be able to inform me better where he wants me to patrol. He's put me in charge of the southern section. Though on patrols, I'd be grateful and then some, if you'd be there, Canis." Brienne glances over when Jayce remains silent, and her eyes flicker unerringly over his left arm. Without touching him, she gives him a reassuring look, green eyes offering encouragement all she can.

Canis looks between the two as the other goes silent hoping he's not said something offensive though he cannot think of anything for the moment. He looks back as he's spoken to about the patrols and battle "It's good they have you leading Brie i'm sure you'll be able to do some good, and of course i'll be of any help I am able, if I overdue it I promise i'll stay in a guest room to rest but I hope to be okay."

Jayce smiles to Brie, and looks to Canis, smile widening a little, "Forgive me. At the moment, I am not permitted so much as a sparring match, or I would have set my sword to aid." He pauses, "I am also in between swords at the moment." He smiles, "Recent injury, but I believe you are quite right, Lord. Brie at the head of operations will ensure success." He smiles at Brie.

"Thank you for your vote of confidence, Canis. It means a lot to me." Brie smiles a little tentatively, tucking her hands in her pockets. "How long until you get released from the doctor? You know I won't let you come till then, too important to me to let you get hurt." Looking up, she catches the smile from Jayce. "I know you're not, Jayce.. I think you've still got a long road to travel before you'll be ready for it." Hearing him say positive things about her brings a quick blush. "As my Knight, you just don't know how that boosts my confidence, Jayce. Thank you" Tucking her lower lip between her teeth, she looks towards the kissing tree.

The knight winces to the their words "My appologies, I do hope your cleared soon, I recently had issues with some broken ribs was quite frustrating to be sidelined as it were." Canis he does seem to understand this part though he looks to the other and smiles "It should be only a couple of days, it wasnt to bad of an injury and the only one I took. At least everyone came home that's what matters."

Jayce smiles to Brie, "That was a ahile ago. You've grown a lot." He looks to Canis, and takes in a sharp deep breath through his nose to the mans words, nodding in agreement, "Everyone came back. You won. That's the last word on it." He smiles, "I will need to replace all of my gear, and weapons so I do have things to keep busy till I'm deemed ready."

"I remember your ribs," Brienne says softly, guilt flushing her cheeks this time, instead of embarrassment. She takes a few steps nearer the Kissing Tree, reaching out a hand to trace initials, just some random initials in the bark. Tipping her head back, she looks towards the top. "Have you heard of the Kissing Tree? It's an old Arboren tradition, when you find the one you love you come to the tree, you carve your initials into the tree somewhere, and then you each cut your palm and touch them together, then rub it on the initials. Then you climb the tree, to the top as far as you want to go, and then kiss there." She turns back, her smile enigmatic. She holds out her hands, both of them. "I have scars on my hands, but these are marks from Hostiles. I think I'm one of the few never to come for the ritual. Keanen and Evey came together." Walking a few steps back she smiles. "My point is, you both are still alive, we are all still alive, and as long as we have that, we have hope. Hope for whatever blank slate our future holds."

"The ribs arent your fault of course." Canis says though he looks to the tree and it's story he looks it over a moment as she speaks "I have heard about it, but never seen it before now." It's as he's looking up that he stumbles perhaps on a root or something and winces taking a moment to recover. "Of course we have hope we have something to fight for afterall." he tries to walk but now does wince "I'm sorry, but I should retire afterall." he frowns but bowing his head to each he'll begin moving back to the city.

Somewhere within the branches of the Kissing Tree there is a scuff sound, a cry of "Uuuf!", the flutter of fabric, and snapping wood. Then a blur of green and brown color as Declan falls in front of Brienne and Jayce…sprawled out across the forest detritus.

Jayce looks down at Declan, blinking, then to Brie, and moves to kneel next to the man, checking for injury, pausing at the guards as they move as well to ensure that they won't get in trouble for allowing their liege to be felled, by a fall.

Brie watches as Canis leaves, concern etched in her expression because he had hurt himself again. With a sigh, she looks back at Jayce and smiles more fully. "That was the Canis I told you about. He used to be one of my best friends." And then there's Declan and Jayce is kneeling down before him. "Declan?" Incredulous. "Jayce, that's my older brother, Declan." She also takes a knee beside him. "What were you doing in the tree?"

Declan pushes himself up and looks from Jayce to Brie. He coughs a bit as though the gesture would restore his dignity. "Pardon, sir and sissy…ummmm, I was…just…well, climbing a tree…" He gestures to his guards that he is fine.

Jayce nods deeply to Declan and offers his right hand, to help pull the man to his feet. "My Lord," He offers, "Alright?" He assists as well as he can, "Pleasure to meet you."

Brienne rises back to her feet on her own and watches Jayce help Declan to his feet. "Declan, this is Lord Sir Jayce Cindravale. He's the Knight I squired with. The one who Knighted me eight years ago."

Declan coughs again and nods at Jayce, "She has told me a lot about you. I would like to stress that….a lot. Stressly now. But yes, Sir Jayce. A pleasure." He takes Jayce's hand and shakes it fondly. "I am Declan. And if you are my sister's good friend then when we are out in these woods, it is merely 'Declan'…no need for the titles here." Declan also is helped up by Jayce in the process.

Jayce inclines his head, "Declan, I understand." He says, knowing the differance between private and public address. He shakes hands warmly and moves back, looking to Brie, smiling, "A lot, hmm?" He grins to her.

Brienne blushes as he tells Jayce how much she had talked about him. She looks away for the moment, hands going back into her pockets, trying to appear nonchalant. She glances to Declan and shoulder nudges him, but says nothing.

Declan smirks at his sister then looks upwards into the branches. He cocks his head to the side and looks at where he had lost his hold. "Uhhhh, I wasn't eavesdropping or anything…ummm, I just…climbed up a little while back and fell asleep…" He looks from one to the other, hoping that his explanation was acceptable. His eyes return to Jayce and he looks him over, "I did not know you were…so…well, how shall I put this…young." He smirks and continues, "I dunno…I assumed Brienne was squiring with some old balding white bearded fellow. I mean, I knew that wasn't you because of how she described you, but still…its odd." Declan looks at Brienne and smiles a bit at her coyness.

Jayce grins at the observation, looking to Declan, "Young? Well, alright, I can see the image of the flinty old Knight." He spreads his gloved hands, "Sorry, I'm afraid they were out of those." He smiles.

Just the way Jayce carries himself, the honorable knight, capable and mature.. solid and secure. It amazed Brienne every time she observed him. "I know you weren't, Declan," she muses with a smile, almost laughing aloud at the mention of how young Jayce was. "He's been an amazing knight. Everything I know, I owe to him."

Declan eyes Jayce carefully, the traditional older brother defense-mode scan. The check out so Declan continues to smile. He flicks his eyes over to Brienne brief to give her an enigmatic expression, his smirk falters briefly, "An amazing knight. High praise. I shall expect only great things from you, Sir Jayce. So tell me, what bring you here to the Spine? The fresh air, the trees, or the company?"

Jayce smiles, looking to Declan, "Company, and recovery. I was recently injured and have to aquire new combat gear as well as," His gloved hands lift, and he makes little 'Quotes' with his fingers, "Adjustment and final settling in.' Before I'll be allowed back on the field." He smiles, clasping his hands before him once more. "Or even a good spar." He sighs with exasperation, "Takes away my favorite things."

Brienne recognizes that look from her brother and offers him a warm smile. "Declan, I practically lived within the shadow if this man for several years and I went practically unnoticed by him. And for the next eight years after, I was safe. Why must you worry now?" She laughs softly. "High praise indeed." Looking back to Jayce, she gives him a conspiratorial wink, just playing around and teasing. "And see, Declan? Fighting and sparring. His favorite things. Notably I am not on that list." Trying to draw a laugh from the both of them.

Declan gives his younger sister the look again before quietly muttering, "I am always worried." At his sister's remark about not being on Jayce's list, Declan glances at the Knight then back at his sister…he chuckles weakly then looks back at the trunk of the Kissing Tree…he suddenly chimes in, "Errr…ummm…listen if you guys wanted to be alone, thats fine. J-just let me know."

Jayce lowers his head, smiling at the brother and sisterly interaction. Well, there's no slapping. Yet. He lifts his head, smirking to Brie, and looking to Declan, shaking his head, "Not at all, we were just enjoying a casual stroll. I can't say I had any plans at all."

Brienne gapes at her brother, just now really realizing.. "Uh. No.. No.. I…" Unable to string sentences together, she shakes her head. "No. No, I wasn't.. I've never.." Motioning towards the kissing tree. "I don't use it," she finally manages to get out in a forced rush. "Never have," she croaks out. "It's for.. people in love." She shifts uncomfortably, withdrawing her hands from her pockets and crossing them over her chest. He'd had no plans at all! Well neither had she!

Declan nods at Jayce and his sister slowly. His eyes betray nothing further of him trying to perceive any unspoken signals. "You will forgive me if I seem odd in regards….to…well Brienne." He goes to stand behind her, laying a hand on each of her shoulders. He gives her a reassuring squeeze, "There have been others who have sought to harm my sister I will no longer stand idle while that happens. Family is all we have at the end I guess. I do not suspect you of any wrongdoing, I am just trying to make sure my sissy will not be harmed."

Jayce nods, deeply, "I understand completely. I would intend harm to Brienne no more than I would my own family. There's far too much respect for her as a Knight, and former student." He smiles, "I respect your concern highly, sir."

"I told him everything, Declan. I told him what happened, with everyone. He deserved to know from me than to hear something wrong from others. It seems Canis and I have made our peace as well, though I suspect with Advent it will never come. As for Kieran.." Brienne frowns, looking stormy. "I told him exactly how I felt about him the last time I saw him."

Declan gives his sister's shoulders another supportive squeeze. He purses his lips together tightly at and frowns at the mention of Advent, but he dismisses it and looks over to Jayce, "Well, I will permit the two of you to resume your walk." He releases Brienne and moves as though to rejoin his guards. He reaches out to shake Jayce's hand once more. "Sir Jayce, it was good to meet you in person."

Jayce clasps hands with Declan, "My Lord Declan, a pleasure to meet you as well." He shakes strongly, "Till next time."

Brie smiles at Declan. "Thank you, Dec. You're a good brother. All protective. I think I was about to head back to Arborenin and home. If you don't mind offering Jayce guest right?"

Declan nods to Jayce curtly and smiles at his sister. "We are always honored to have a Cindravale stay with us. Perhaps we can speak more later this evening about the new offensive in the Vale." He nods at both of them and heads off with his guards back to the city.

Jayce looks to Brie, "I like him, he's pretty straightforward."

"I like that too. You always know where you stand with him. He's very protective over me. He always has been. He's just.. worried about things, the recent things. I've seriously harmed the reputation of my house." Brie says seriously.

Jayce nods, "I wasn't going to explain how much I knew, let you do that." He takes a breath, nodding, "Well, good he knows I'm here to help."

Brienne nods, uncrossing her arms and glancing back to the tree before turning her back to it. "Ready to go back to the town? Tomorrow, if you like, I can show you the Observatory, if you're interested."

Jayce nods, "Let's go. Observatory sounds good, take in the sights, and see what there is to do so I don't go nuts." He smiles to her.

Brienne smiles and begins walking towards the way back, falling back into that companionable mode as they do. "That's the idea. Finding things to do to keep you sane."

Jayce chuckles as he moves alongside, "Kinda lost my sanity a long time ago, I guess. Now, I'm just looking for shiny things." He smirks.

Brienne throws her head back and laughs, the amused sound echoing through the forest. "You.. are a very funny guy." She steps near enough as they walk so that she can nudge his shoulder with hers, his right shoulder, but their hands brush and she forgets what she was going to say.

Jayce grins and nudges her back, lightly elbowing as they walk, "Yeah, you know, I enjoy being funny." He smiles. "Feeling better about things yet?"

Relieved when he doesn't notice her hand against his glove, Brie lightens up a little. "Actually, yes. It's been a really good few days. I forgot for a little while the mess I've made out of my life. Thank you for that."

Jayce nods, "Good, I'm doing my job then." he smirks to her, "You're quite welcome, Brie. I'm glad that I'm not just sitting around, but doing some good while I recover."

Brienne walks along in silence for a long moment, almost until they are back to the Ways that would either take him home or that they would pass if he was to stay at the tree house for the night. "I'm glad you're here doing things with me too." She smiles as she looks at him and then the ways. "Going to Phylon or to Arborenin?"

Jayce smiles, as he looks to the Ways, then back, "I would be honored to accept your invitation." He says, formality slightly put off by the playful smirk.

When he accepts, Brienne continues walking with him towards her home.. "I'm glad you're coming." Looking forward to his reaction to her home.

Family Common Room Elder Seat, Arborenin

There is something homey about the common room shared by the family of House Arboren. Despite the fact that it must be able to accommodate several dozen people at any given time, there is a warm coziness created by its atheistic. Like most of the Elder Seat, the floors are done in polished wood, though here it looks as if they have taken planks from all over the Spine and puzzled them together in a rainbow of pale gold, rich maple, deep dark rose, and heavy mahogany. There are various nooks spread along the exterior walls which contain tall windows that each have the topmost panes done in stained glass. There is a large, broad hearth done in heavy stone that burns with a bright fire particualrly in the winter.

Spread throughout the room are various seating arrangements and shelving units of electronic books. The one thing this room is missing that other House common rooms host are vidscreens. Those of House Arboren know that this room is for conversation and peaceful reflection.

Jayce follows through the rooms and smiles, looking around, nodding, "Oh, very nice." He says, approvingly, impressed.

Brienne walks inside and motions towards the suite of guest rooms. "Take the first one on the left when ready. The kitchen is just through there," pointing it out. "You're welcome to explore there or to send a servant to do so. Also, my favorite place.." She walks over and sits on a window seat in one of the little nooks and smiles. "This is where I can almost always be found when home."

Jayce walks over to the niche, smiling, looking it over, "Yes, your perch, eh? I like it." He smiles warmly, looking at her a moment before turning to take in the room carefully for a moment.

Brienne watches him look around, then looks around too, trying to see it through his eyes. It was always her home except her time away in Pylon. "When I left here for Phylon, I thought I was going to miss it so much. Then when I returned, I found I had missed it, but now I miss Phylon. I grew to love it there during my squire years."

Jayce turns, sweeping his gaze around, and for a moment, it's the old days. He's taking a tactical assessment, the warriors eye sweeping about, before smirking, ""I can see why you missed it. This is marvelous, Brie."

Brienne smiles, strangely glad that he likes it. Pleased.. "I would show you my apartment, but not without my brother around as a chaperone." She'd learned her lesson so well there. Even if nothing happened, people talked. "I look forward to tomorrow."

Jayce nods, "Of course." He smiles, and looks to the indicated apartment, then back, "I will retire then, to anticipate tomorrow myself. Thank you for having me here, Brie, it's wonderful."

Brienne rises and stands in front of him a brief moment before just smiling and bowing her head much as she had in her younger squire days. "Thank you, my Knight." Falling back to the old habit but wearing a mischievous smile this time.

Jayce grins at her antics and chuckles, in a formal courtly bow before moving to his apartment. He walks with the 'Noble Cindravale Blood, high society' walk. It's almost a prance, and he looks strange in a leather vest and longsleeve shirt rather than formal attire. Doof.

Brienne hesitates outside her own door, watching him as she leans against it, her hand on the knob. "Good night. Sweet dreams." She laughs softly and opens the knob behind her before stepping inside and closing the door behind her.

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