(121-04-07) Ill Met By Moonlight
Ill Met By Moonlight
Summary: Hellan Stark wants a nighttime sparring partner (not a euphemism). Tameron Sand obliges.
Date: April 7, 2014
Related: Moving Mountains

The Tourney Grounds stand just outside of the walls of Oldtown. There is a raised platform of several levels for noble viewers, with space for comfortable chairs and little tables to be set in place, and tall posts for canopies to be hung to keep the sun off. Not far stands the great board where the lists are kept. On the far side of the grounds rough tiered benches are available for the smallfolk, and past them there's a flat field for the knights to erect their pavilions in the grass.

The long log rail for the jousts stands right before the Lords' and Ladies' platform, with the space for the melee just beyond it. The archery butts are mounded at the Southwest edge of the grounds, where a great meadow of purple-red fireweed spreads off into the distance. The rough little narrow road to Blackcrown cuts through it.


The Tourney Grounds are a shadowland at night, empty seats filled with nothing but ghosts and lonely archery targets under the dark of the city wall.

It is not, however, totally empty. Mud from frequent rains churns under tall, worn leather boots as two figures circle each other, preparing and charging attacks at one another. One a scruffy-faced man-at-arms bearing the colours of House Stark, although it is not precisely clear, as he wears no emblem this night and the black and grey could make up any practical warrior's wardrobe. He draws his blunt sword back, shoulder tense, hesitating. "I don't think your husband would rightly approve, m'lady," the gruff man hedges to his challenger.

"Good," she strikes back, strong and clear. By most accounts, night is an odd time for a great noble woman to be out on the town, let alone outside of it; by most, it may also seem unusual for a great noble woman to bear arms and challenge men. Lady Hellan is in a mood this eve, it seems, and it is a mood that has her donning a knee-length black gown with slits upon the skirt to aid her ease of movement as dark leather trousers move beneath. "But you are wrong." She lunges, a fierce and hard.

Some distance away, another man-at-arms stands with a sturdy, dark horse, appearing vaguely irate.

Leof is coming in from the Champion's way, with a black clad guard and a servant. The small blonde woman is in leathers and looking a bit chubby for once. Her teeth are visibly tense. "I said get the hell out of my sight - you are lucky not to be handed over to the Hightowers. GO. RUN. Never bother me again or I'll fill you with arrows." she half bellows, enraged with the servant girl clearly. The guard seems to be trying to calm the teeny blonde woman down.

And then there's one more figure that arrives from the east, a newly anointed knight who can't manage to sleep, so has opted for a walk around the town, instead. But Tameron did not expect to find any company, let alone a woman taking up arms against a man-at-arms, and the image of the battle in the moonlight gives him pause. Indeed, he steps up to the rail, arms resting lightly atop it so he can observe the spar without intruding.

Metal clashes, strident in the open space, where metal has clashed time and again and blood has been spilled. It fuels Hellan, the violent history of the place, when it's dark and less crowded and she can forget the Southern customs it's entrenched in. Her sword slides viciously off the man's and strikes his shoulder; she is nearly just as tall as him, and if she is not as strong she acts stronger. One thing is certain: she is more vicious.

And he is holding back. She uses that fact thrice, striking him again and again, until he holds up his hands, unwilling to keep fighting the lady despite the fact that it is she who commands him. "I ought to have waited for Maera; the Lady Mormont would not bow so easily, she would put you on a skewer as I might for disobeying my command." She does not do so now, however; she has no desire left to fight this man who treats her as fragile, and thrusts her sword into the mud where it stands upright. She looks, with harsh, narrowed eyes, out over the grounds, staring at the woman who's emerged from the road, and glancing but merely at the figure by the rail. "Go!" she urges the failed guard off, and stands with her stance wide as if challenging the night and everyone it it.

Leof is still alarmed, the woman is once again given a chance to leave but declines, instead clinging nearby. This causes Leof to draw a wooden sword, "GET AWAY NOW." she bellows in an ordering tone. The guard is smart enough to just let the small woman have space. The short blonde's neck cracks and her fingers hold the sword properly - like a Valish knight more than anything else before raising it. This bluff is sucessful enough to send the scared girl running. "Damn woman tried to steal my damn falcon. I can't even believe that, after I gave her a bloody raise." she huffs out in complaint to her guard, lowering the wooden blade and breathing deep.

Tameron glances over at the woman with the wooden sword who shouts at some servant girl. But it's the woman brandishing steel who gains his attention. And, without much thought, he responds to the challenge in her stance by swinging over the wooden railing and walking towards her, boots squelching in the mud. His hand moves to rest on the pommel of his own sheathed blade, less a threat and more an answer to her unspoken demand for another competitor.

The light-haired woman's shout draws Hellan's attention more acutely, and she tromps a few steps through the mud to discern the circumstances, watching the girl run off. It is Leof's wooden sword, more than her trouble, that draws her interest. "You," she calls out — she does not need to shout, per se, her voice strong and easily loud without effort. "Come. Are you — "

Distraction strikes Hellan in the middle of her intentions. So alert, yet she hadn't noticed the approach of the young knight, and his presence blurs into her sights like a strike to the head. Her eyes narrow and focus on him after a delay, and she blinks several times, taking in the sight of him head to toe with creases forming on her brow. The Stark lady's hair has been tied back, tight to her neck, falling in a tail, but the weather is hot and a light sheen has already broken out over her pale skin; near black strands streak across her forehead, sticking like glue. Her face is filled with a certain wild ferocity, her cheekbones seeming sharper than her sword. "You would fight me," she poses, both statement and question, even though she can read his stance.

Leof glances at Hellan, and moves foreward toward Hellan, gesturing her head at Tameron. Her hair is short, kept close to her head, and she is pretty - she'd probably be even prettier if her hair were the proper length. "I'm bloody fine, just angry." she offers, trying to figure out if she recognizes Hellan. "My lady?" she asks, likely trying to get a name. Her left hand holds the sword, right hand left free in an odd resting stance. The smaller woman does not at all seem bothered by the mud.

It's not until Tameron is a few feet away that the starlight allows him to see the face of the woman he challenged so carelessly. His steps stop and he stands perfectly still as his gaze, green-turned-black in the night, examines Hellan from her hair to the sheen of her skin to the wildness in her eyes. He draws in a soft breath. And then another. And then one more before he remembers he can speak. "I would," he answers, and the shortness of the reply allows his voice to remain steady and clear. His gaze darts quickly over to Leof and then back to the Stark. "Unless you would rather a smaller opponent."

"Hellan," she responds to Leof, yet she seems to be engaged in staring at Tameron under the harsh draw of her distinct brows. The pretty blonde head is in her periphery. "Stark." She tips her chin up, jaw strong. The starlight strikes a wisp of grey in her hair. Her grey eyes bear a dangerous look; good for a battlefield, dangerous for a practice fight. She's known bloodshed. "Don't fault the small, they are quick," she advises sharply, an instructor's tone; she, who would advise a knight. She turns her head over the shoulder, calling to the men who linger by her horse. "Landur, bring me my axe; I presume this man carries a real blade, I shall have mine." As the man who forfeit the spar fetches it from the horse, Hellan's gaze narrows back, from Leof to the other, "Unless you would rather a wooden sword."

Leof eyes Hellan "I would not mind going after you with a wooden sword, as I've been advised I'm to try to keep my blood in my body. Blah blah its bad for the baby. Riding a horse, hunting, going for long walks, kicking my husband in the rear end fondly. All bad for the baby. I don't think the maesters know a damn thing about what is good for babies, only what is easier for them to accept." she mumbles, annoyedly. She eyes Hellan "I am Leof. I believe we've met at some point when I was a child." A fat, short, froggy, nasty little child more than likely who terrorized the little lords and little ladies.

"No wooden swords," Tameron replies, his gaze still resting on Lady Hellan. "No pregnant opponents. I believe it's somewhere in the oath." His head tips into a small nod. "Your axe and my sword. Let us see what becomes of that."

Leof eyes Tameron, eyes narrowing into a glare, her guard has rather thoughtfully brought the small woman a wineskin, which she drinks form heavily. Just water it seems. "Apparently I'm not allowed to do anything Lady Hellan." she mumbles, eying her guard before moving to sit on the nearby railing, ankles together, leathers creaking a bit. Her expression is likely more pissed off than normal.

"Being with child is a dangerous job," Hellan states, her words chosen precisely, with fast thought; knowing. Her every word is weighty, commanding. "But it does not make a woman as useless as men would believe. I will fight you." Landur hands her the axe — a well-made, thinly bladed but hearty battle-axe — and she grips its long handle tightly. Her knuckles are white as snow. She nods once tot he knight. Her gaze has barely left him, gripping him in its solidity. "After him."

She has no shield, and her arms protected only by broad metal bands on her wiry forearms; the lady holds her axe with both hands to start, her stance sinking into something more prepared, knees bent. She nods a second time, waiting for him to draw his sword and begin.

There is a whispering sound as metal slides free from its scabbard. Tameron has no armor at all; much as he armed himself for the late walk, it seems he had no expectation of a proper fight. Still, he doesn't hesitate now, settling both hands around the pommel as he also lacks a shield. His knees bend a little. "I am of Dorne, lady," he replies calmly. "I know well enough the ferocity of an armed woman, with child or no. But it seems to me one charged with guarding an extra life ought not go looking for trouble."

Leof eyes Tameron, eyes narrowing into a glare, her guard has rather thoughtfully brought the small woman a wineskin, which she drinks form heavily. Just water it seems. "Apparently I'm not allowed to do anything Lady Hellan." she mumbles, eying her guard before moving to sit on the nearby railing, ankles together, leathers creaking a bit. Her expression is likely more pissed off than normal. "My husband's lands are a two day's sail from Pyke, we are blessed with a cliff but still suffer heavy losses. I do not intend to sit in a room and cower when we return to his lands. Pregnancy is a challenge not a handicap."

Mention of Dorne brings a brief spark to Hellan's eye; surprise, consideration, all dismissed as irrelevant to the here, now. "You do not seem Dornish to me. You needn't be concerned with your oaths. It is me you fight, not her, and I am blessedly over the business of being with child." One thing or another in Leof's reply seems to pinch her brow, building the ire she's already in tall supply of this night— or perhaps it's just her ferocity building before she attacks the knight, swinging her battle-axe like an extension of her with a controlled pressure toward his torso to the left, her feet already poised to launch her away.

"No?" Tameron asks. "And what seems Dornish to a Northerner?" But then Hellan is swinging, and Tameron's blade moves even before he's aware of it. Metal clangs on metal as axe meets sword, and he's able to shove his weight forward, rebuffing the attack and trying to push Hellan back a step as well.

Metal sings its song. The close repel of Hellan's axe only fuels her further. She steps back as she's pushed back, her feet moving well in the mud, instinctive. Her intense ice-coloured stare and grit, bared teeth that embody her House sigil well — and her bear's blood just as much. His question goes unanswered; only his blade gets a reply, her axe swung higher toward his sword in an arc that leaves her more open but has the wicked weapon closing down on him.

Leof is listening, watching, and watching Hellan. From somewhere - god knows where, Leof has a small note book and a piece of writing lead. She's writing a few quick notes. Expression curious and flexing her feet as she watches.

Tameron is once again on the defensive, his sword swinging up to try and meet the axe as it comes down. He has less luck, this time, and there's a screeching sound as the axe slides free of his blade and forces Tameron to leap back or risk the thing burying itself in his arm.

Hellan leans ahead as if to give chase in the small space after her axe grates off and swings down tantalizingly — dangerously — close to the man, but instead the woman steps back a few paces: better to swing from. Yet she seems to bid him to attack her, this time; she will not have a repeat of Landur's methods, after all. She stands at the ready, breathing heavily for the few bursts of — though hard and fast — violence but seeming no less hale otherwise. "Aren't you young, to be a knight?" Her voice may be bold and prying, but it's no mid-fight taunt, only an attempt to delve into the fabric of this young man who chose to accept her challenge.

"No younger than some," Tameron replies. He regards Hellan's stance a moment before he surges in again. This time he keeps his sword low and swings in from the side.

Hellan twists her body toward the oncoming strike, repurposing her weapon to use the long handle alone; it hits the sword, shielding her just in time. She swallows down something of a wince; it burns in her stomach like fire, rising a warrior's anger. She pushes against her axe sword, against the sword, getting in front of the knight's weapon to lean into it with both hands gripped in a battle of strengths. Or wills; she seeks to look him straight in the eye. "Perhaps you need more experience yet."

"How kind of you to offer me an opportunity to gain some," Tameron replies, his arms tightening, muscles straining as he pushes right back. His gaze is ready to meet Hellan's and hold it as his sword and her axe shove against each other.

Leof stares at the duo, her hands resting between her knees. The guard watching her opens a small muslin bag, offering her something which she takes to nibble on. It looks like a dry cereal mixture with fruit for eating on the trail. She is still studying the fighters curiously.

Hellan's ferocity seems unshakeable. Her muscles are determined to strain, defining in her forearms and tightening shoulders, and her warrior's gaze starts off as though she thinks herself capable of eating him whole. Yet the longer she stares into the young man's circuitously coloured eyes, the more she seems to get pulled into some thought— to get— lost— is it that which causes her to tremor, or the sudden traitorous failure of her muscles to hold the contest? The Stark lady is abruptly shoved backward by the strength of the knight of Dorne, her heels ploughing through mud for four stumbling steps. After a deep "hunh" from deep in her throat, she just as abruptly charges at him with a sideways swing that only barely takes into account the fact that this is a spar, angered by her falter.

It's a sudden move, angry and violent and full of axe. It's the kind of move that's designed to catch the other warrior off guard and off balance. And, somehow, Tameron seems to anticipate it. Even before Hellan's weight fully shifts, Tameron is bringing his sword to his side to counter. There is a clang and small sparks leap into the air and vanish. With the axe pushed away, the knight completes the arc of his blade, and it ends with the tip pressed against Hellan's throat just hard enough to dimple the skin. Tameron holds still, breathing harder than the move truly warrants, his eyes, suddenly as bright and angry as his opponent's. That gaze rests on Hellan's as he waits to see if she will concede the match and yield.

Shock strikes her colder than steel. Hellan ceases breathing, her head tilting back in a careful increment while the blade threatens her throat — however seriously or not, the steel summons a hardwired sense of danger and pain to come. Her eyes have flared wider, vivid with a flash of instinctive emotion— is it fear— ? — that leaves a different sort of anger in its wake, reluctant, defensive. She bites down, breathing only out, hard through her nose. She takes one step back, staring at him. She can't hide some of her perplexed disorientation at the sudden twist. "You are better suited to battle than you look," she says, managing, though her voice has gained a low, hoarse note, to make it sound like an criticism than a compliment, just as her yield sounds more like an instructive statement. "We are done here for the night."

Hellan nods, then, and its almost — almost, so scarcely — approving of his skill through the barricade of her reluctance to concede.

Leof stays perfectly still, her weight dropping down to stand up. Her weight stretching out as she looks at the two. "Lady Stark, are you alright? Ser?" she asks, her hands infront of her, expression worried but body language polite. Despite the dirty leathers she does stand like a lady - straight backed, legs together, shoulders high.

"Yes," Tameron replies, rather than 'thank you'. When Hellan calls them finished, he nods once and smoothly returns his blade to its sheath. "Then good night, Lady Hellan. I thank you for the match." The young man sketches a bow before turning to leave as impulsively as he came, boots making faint sucking noises as the mud grabs and releases them with each step. "I am well enough," Tameron answers Leof's question before swinging over the fence and landing on the other side. Rather than glancing back at the Stark woman, he continues along the tourney grounds and towards the city proper, allowing the night to swallow him up once again.

Hellan seeks to say some manner of goodbye to the Dornish knight, but nothing comes of it. "I am well," she answers instead to Leof, short but assuring. She would like to have all believe she is flushed from battle, unhurt by something as benign as a spar, but one hand has spread to her stomach in an unconscious gesture of protection. Her axe hanging at her side, held near the end of its slender arm, she makes her way to the rail where Leof perches. She leans into it. Her next breath is ragged. "Perhaps we will— " her grip of the rail in front of her is suddenly harder; necessary. "have a contest another eve. Lady Leof."

Hellan turns her head, seeking the empty space the young man and his horse occupied at last glance; now just darkness. "I did not get his name," she remarks distantly, staring off the way he left.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License