(121-04-08) Stable
Summary: In which Tameron beats up a helpless bag of feed and the question of Magden Quick's position is settled.
Date: April 8, 2014
Related: I'm On A Boat, In Service, Ill Met By Moonlight

It's morning in only the most technical sense, as the sun won't rise for hours, most are long in bed and there's absolutely no cause to be awake unless one is an owl or up to no good. Tameron Sand has chosen this time to work out, however, or to… do something along those lines. A heavy sack of feed has been rigged up in the stables so that it hangs from one of the rafters and serves as an adequate punching bag. It's likely Tameron has been punching it for some time, as he's stripped down to the waist, his skin is slick with sweat and his breath is coming in hard, ragged gulps. Each time his fist slams into the bag and causes it to sway, it leaves a smear of red behind from knuckles gone bloody some time ago. The most recent Dayne knight doesn't seem to have noticed. It may be a question as to whether he notices anything at all with the way he continues to pound into the feed sack without pause, strategy or sense.

It's equally a question how long one pale, wispy ghost of a girl's been standing there, watching. She's barefoot, in leggings and a loose, muslin shirt, her hair in loose, tangled disarray. So she must have been sleeping. And it couldn't have been him that woke her, but… here she is, all the same. He's distracted, no doubt, with his blood pounding in his ears and the sound of his fists impacting the feed bag. She's silent, as is her wont when moving. So the hands on his shoulders might be ill advised, but so are many things in life.

Tameron jerks at that unexpected touch, twisting around so one hand can roughly grab Magden's upper arm as the other fist draws back to collide with this unexpected attacker. And then the fog lifts and the fury twisting Tameron's face gives way to awareness and shock. The hand around Magden's arm uncurls immediately, and the one balled into a fist drops to his side. He says nothing as he fights for breath, choosing to turn away so he can swallow down handfuls of water from the rain barrel just outside the door. With his back to Magden, it'll be easy enough for her to see the raised lash marks that stripe across it: old and silvery-pink, they're no more than healed scars, now.

She doesn't flinch or cry out, but reacts instantly, anticipating something of the sort, grabbing his cocked fist in her spidery-fingered hand, her arm locked at the elbow, and stepping in, rather than back, to put him off balance. She'd ready to fight him, laughable as that might be, but it goes no further. His head clears, he sees her, and he turns away. She watches, cocking her head to the side in curious, birdlike fashion. "Your hands are bleeding."

Tameron takes a few more large swallows of water and splashes several handfuls more over his face and chest before lifting his (now dripping) head and glancing down at his battered knuckles. "So they are," he agrees. "You should be sleeping."

"So should you." Madgen pads silently over to where the stable master's supplies are kept, including a small medicinal kit. She rummages through and takes out some bandages, sniffs a pot of ointment — pulls a face. But despite the smell, it seems to be what she's looking for. She tilts her head again, this time summoning him over.

Tameron gives a small shake of his head before collecting his shirt and tugging it on. "I don't need fussing. Knuckles heal just fine on their own."

Magden rolls her eyes. "I'm not fussing. Now for fuck's sake, come over."

"Poking at bandages and salves is fussing," Tameron argues, though he shifts a few steps closer before sinking down onto a hay bale as the adrenaline drains and he realizes how much energy he's managed to burn.

Magden snorts and tosses the pot of salve unerringly back into the box from which she pilfered it. She kneels at his feet and reaches for his hand, still armed with the bandages. "Compromise."

"Mmm," Tameron opines, giving his hand over to Magden's (hopefully) tender care. "Why are you awake at this hour?"

"Dreams," she explains, simply. Her care is tender enough, far more efficient than fawning. She wraps his knuckles just enough to keep them clean and protected, tying off the bandages in small, efficient knots. "Being near the horses is soothing. Why are you bloodying the feedbags at this hour?"

"Long day," Tameron replies, his gaze down so he can watch Madgen work. "Best way to make my head quiet."

"Tell me about it," Magden offers. "Sometimes that can quiet your head, too. And you bleed less." She curls his fingers in and out, making sure the dressing stays in place.

"Well," Tameron muses with a quirk of a smile, "It's done, now. I don't mind a little bleeding."

"Does it have to do with the trial?" asks Madgen, tipping back her head to look up at him.

Tameron gives a small shake of his head. "No, not really. There are far worse ways to die, if it comes to it, and I don't think it will."

She lofts an eyebrow at that, but doesn't comment. Then, with a trace of guilt, "Is it me?"

Tameron's crooked smile lifts a little higher and he shakes his head. "Course it isn't, don't be daft."

"I didn't mean was it anything I'd done," Magden scoffs softly, looking away from his smile. Oh, look. She's got bandages to put away. She does that. "I've hardly been in your service long enough to fuck up that badly. Still." She shrugs, returning to sit beside him, close enough that their shoulders might touch if one or the other of them leaned a bit. "So what is it?"

Tameron tilts forward, resting his arms on his knees. He doesn't list enough to the side to close that gap between them, however. "Sometimes things you think you've forgotten turn up. And you have to forget them all over again."

Magden nods, mirroring his posture. She rubs randomly at the straw-and-dirt on the floor with her big toe. "I haven't forgotten anything yet, to remember it." She turns her head to view his profile. "I'm sorry. But… it's better to forget. Even sometimes." She pauses. "Isn't it?"

"Some things," Tameron replies softly, "it's better to forget. This helped," he nods towards where the feed bag still hangs. "That's all."

She nods. That's good enough, it seems. "Will I be fighting beside you?"

Tameron blinks in mild confusion, looking over at Magden. "What? When?"

Magden raises her eyebrows. "In the trial." Duh.

Blink. Tameron gives a small shake of his head. "You will not. And if I fall in combat, Ser Osric will make sure you have a place and a position."

"Why not?" Magden wants to know, frowning.

"Because you're not a knight or a known warrior of Dorne, and you have no reason to fight," Tameron replies. "Why would you?"

Magden shakes her head. "I am a warrior of Dorne. You serve House Dayne, so I serve House Dayne. But most to the point, I will fight because my place is at your side."

"You serve House Dayne as a squire," Tameron points out, "not a warrior, and you don't even particularly care to be one. There's no reason to put yourself on the battlefield. This isn't your fight."

"I don't care to be a knight. That's different. I've been a warrior since before I first bled." Magden stands. "Test me, Tameron Sand. Put a blade in my hand and test me. I demand the chance to prove myself."

Tameron sighs softly, watching as Magden pushes to her feet. "I'm not in a fit state to test anyone, now. If you don't care to be a knight, and it's no matter whether or not you are called squire, then perhaps we should… find some other way to go about this. You can fight, but I gather you don't wish to fight."

Magden folds her skinny arms, eyeing Tameron with all suspicion. "If you mean to make me a ladies maid, I'll beat you from here to winter whatever state you're in."

"Hmm," Tameron muses, canting his head and scratching thoughtfully at his jaw. "How about a nursemaid?" he queries with a straight face. "Ser Osric has two children."

Magden picks up a long-handled garden spade from the wall and wields it like a martial staff.

The corners of Tameron's mouth fight not to lift as he looks over Magden and her makeshift weapon. "Suppose that's a 'no', then. How about the kitchens. Do you like to cook?"

Magden smirks and tosses the shovel aside, shoving her sleeves up her arms like she's getting ready to deliver a legit beating. "Keep talking, Tameron Sand…"

Tameron taps a finger against his chin, deep in thought. "You like horses," he offers. "Stablehand, mayhaps?"

"Better than a lady's maid," says Magden with another smirk. She can't really beat him for stable hand — she does like horses. Instead, she sits beside him again and gives him a nudge with her shoulder. It's a good, solid nudge. Like to topple a fellow a little if he's not expecting it. "So what did you mean?"

"Oof," Tameron grunts, listing to the side and setting a hand down to catch himself and keep from toppling off the hay bale, because, you know, dignity. And stuff. "What did I mean when?"

Magden sighs. Hello, Ser McFly! "When you said we should find some other way to go about this."

"I mean, well. That's what you were starting to say in the kitchen, wasn't it? Before Princess Mariya arrived?" Tameron asks, glancing over at Magden.

"No," says Magden, looking down at her hands. "Maybe." She sighs again. "I don't know."

Tameron nods faintly. "Neither do I," he confides softly. "I'm not sure what to call you when I make introductions."

Magden nods, as well, unhappily. "I don't know my own mind, in this. One moment, I think… it doesn't matter what I'm called, because it was you and me that spoke the words, and we know what they really mean, and no one else has to." She takes a deep breath. That was a lot of words. "Then I think… I am your squire, and — maybe the word does mean something. I have a place with you, beside you. I belong there. What other word is there but 'squire' to make anyone understand?"

"I don't know," Tameron replies with a small shake of his head. "Knights can travel in groups at times, but the only one that really travels with a knight is his squire. Or, I suppose, the noble family he's pledged to protect and defend. But that's different."

"Well, I'm not having some pimply faced boy doing my job," huffs Magden. Frowny frown frown.

"No?" Tameron asks, his mouth quirking into a smile. "And what job would that be, Madgen Quick?"

She narrows her eyes at him. "You are very impossible, Tameron Sand."

"It's a trait you will have to learn to love," Tameron replies, "…or at least tolerate. If you mean to be my…" he looks to Magden, brows lifting a little. Fill in the blank, Maggie Quick.

"Squire," says Magden, punching his shoulder solidly enough to leave a good bruise. "I am your squire, we're just whinging about words."

"And a bully," Tameron adds, lifting a hand to rub at his punched shoulder. "If that's what you are, then that's what I'll call you."

"I don't want to be anything less," says Magden, softly and with feeling.

"All right," Tameron agrees with a small nod. "Well, then. Good. Good. Then that's sorted."

Magden nods. "And you'll test me in the morning. To see if I'm ready to stand beside you at this trial." That bit isn't sorted, yet.

Tameron gives his head a shake. "No, not this time. I'm sorry. You'll stay out of the fight, this time."

Magden is displeased. "Why?"

"Because we're new to each other," Tameron replies. "I don't know how you fight, I can't read your intent in your body language, yet. You can't read me, either. We're too unfamiliar to fight well together, and that means we'll likely do worse trying to defend the other than if we fought on our own. We shouldn't be on a field of battle together, yet."

Her steady, challenging gaze falters… and falls. It seems she hears wisdom in his words. And hates it. She doesn't look at him for several long, silent moments. And still doesn't look at him when she says, "Don't die."

Tameron tilts sideways so their shoulders bump, though he nudges Magden far more gently than she nudged him. "Don't intend to," he replies quietly.

"Nobody intends to," says Magden. "I… need you not to die."

"You'll be safe, Magden," Tameron assures softly, "whatever happens to me. I'll see to that, I promise."

She nods, mutely, drawing a deep breath through her nose as she stares at the floor. "Do you think you can sleep, now?"

"I think I can for a few hours. Then it'll be day," Tameron answers, his own gaze dropping down to his wrapped knuckles. "You?"

Magden nods once more. "Go sleep, then," she tells him, pushing to her feet. "I'll take care of things, here."

Tameron regards Magden for a long moment. Then he nods and pushes up into a slow stand, his muscles weak and achy now for the trial he put them through before. "I'll see you after sunup," he tells her. "Eat light, we'll train in the morning."

"Yes, Ser," says Magden, softly. She goes, then, about getting that feedbag down, and things in their proper place, before finally going to sleep, herself. In one of the stables, near the horses, where the dreams won't find her.

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