(122-12-06) The Maiden Knight and the Giant: At Practice
The Maiden Knight and the Giant: At Practice
Summary: Daevon and Desmond spar and receive an observer; in turn, they observe on her upcoming nuptials.
Date: 06/12/2015
Related: Advance Wedding Party
Players:
Daevon..Desmond..Marsei..

Walled Garden - Dragon Door Manse Starry Street

The Dragon Door Manse has a large walled garden behind. The tall stone walls have iron spikes topping them to prevent climbers, and a heavy double oak-and-iron gate leading into the alley behind. It's quite solid, though there is a little door in it that one might open to look out. Near that gate is the stables, with an attached mews on one side and kennels on the other. There's a small paddock for the horses behind the stables, and in front of it a space for training at arms, with a simple pell as well as a more complex practice dummy that can pivot when struck. These utilitarian areas are separated from the rest by a lower, and gateless, wall. Orange trumpet-creeper grows over it in most places.

Between this wall and the garden is a great fire pit, ringed in glossy black stones, each cut to interlock with the next and engraved with the image of a dragon. They're all in slightly different poses.

Nearer to the Manse is the garden proper. Its has winding stone paths and is planted thickly in flowers and trees. Most of the blooms range in colour from fire-orange to blood red. Deep purples are also included in the garden's otherwise limited palette. The pride of the plantings is an enormous flowering quince tree, some thirty feet tall — not large for a tree, but vast for one of its type. Clearly it has been pruned for generations to take on this form, single-trunked, with its branches curving up and then down in a fountain shape. Each of them nearly touches the ground and is heavy with bright red-orange flowers. One can step through them to stand hidden under the umbrella of blossoms, shaded and cool.

Most of Oldtown's grand manses have a fountain at the center of their gardens. Here there are only a few small ones, here and there along the paths. At the center there is, instead, a black stone pavilion, standing in the open and unshaded by any trees. It is seven-sided, with arched doorways on its East and West walls. It is otherwise glazed, including its domed roof. The glass is black and clear and red, pieced together to form the three-headed dragon sigil of House Targaryen. The image is repeated on the floor inside, in red jasper set into the black marble. The pavilion houses long curved benches of that same black stone. It gets tremendously hot inside.

--

Daevon's out in the garden, wearing his plate, practicing swordplay with several of the guards. Two on one. OR at least he was until the servant calls out that he has a guest, very shortly before their arrival.

Desmond comes thumping into the garden, accidentally trampling something beautiful beneath a hobnailed boot. The huge man is dressed in his ugly brigadine, battle-scarred and plain. He wears his heavy longsword on his hip, shield across his back, and a tourney blade is carried in his hand. "Lookit that," the big man says to no one in particular, grinning broadly. "The pretty lad has spark in him." And then, louder, "High lunge, low parry, and kick! Always kick!"

Daevon shakes his head. "Not always kick," he replies. "Kick, when it's least expected." He tsks. "I take it you're going to come at me, kicking now, prove me wrong?"

Desmond grins hugely and unslings his shield. "Every lie has a truth, and every rule should be broken." He strides forward without much change in pace or stance, the sword held low at his side, fiddling to get his shield strapped into place on his arm. "Kick when it's least expected, kick when it's most, kick and kick and kick. Except when it's the wrong thing to do." He seems distracted with the straps of his shield.

Daevon looks to both the guards that are watching and keeping an eye on things. "Always kick?" he asks, and then he charges for the seemingly unprepared Desmond, and while he has his sword in hand, it's a kick he launches, while Desmond seems to be unprepared. Of course Daevon expects that the shield thing's a feign, he's lost before he's started because he knows kicking is not his forte. And surely this is to be expected, somewhat.

Desmond doesn't seem to notice the charge until the very last moment; he moves with surprising speed and swings his shield between himself and the kick. He takes an easy step back to absorb the blow and does no kicking - after all, sometimes it's the wrong thing to do. He bulls forward, and magically, the shield is perfectly in position. The young Maiden Knight had been correct. Instead of striking with his blade, he thrusts out with the rim of his shield, straight at Daevon's face. But it's telegraphed, and it is a long reach, trying to both close the distance and strike out.

Daevon's shieldless. He neatly sidesteps that thrust of the shield, taking advantage of the positioning of the shield, to swing past it, but there's little force behind the blow as it raps the armour on Desmond's side.

The huge Northman stumbles briefly at the tap against his side and pivots to bring his shield down. He allows himself to continue the stumble into a crouch, sweeping out with his longsword at Daevon's knees, his shield rising to allow the blade's passage and to fend off the expected attack from above. "Saved your lovely little nose, my lad! I'll smear it yet!"

Into the garden turned battle practice enters Lady Marsei, unannounced, as she has become a common visitor to the manse, especially to the garden. She is an utter contradiction to the fighting, practice though it may be; she steps gently, looking as delicate as the flowers around her, her hair intricately wound back in artful braids away from her high neck. A swathe of embroidered, beaded pink cloth covers her shoulders and matches the subtle flower pattern of her gown. She nearly startles upon seeing Daevon and the other man, who it takes her a moment to identify from her angle, taking a half-step back. The pause gives her time to notice a certain boot-trampled flower, and she crouches carefully to swiftly remove it from sight before Dhraegon might happen upon it. She does so quiet as a mouse, watching the men all the while. She's grown up around enough men raised to know the sword to assume they spar, but when Desmond shouts at Daevon as he does, she starts to wonder.

Daevon's ridiculously fast, and while Desmond may be terribly tall, and Daevon not so much, the Targaryen Prince smacks Desmond on the side of the head with the full force of his practice blade. If it had been to the face, that may have been a broken nose.

The blade -cracks- into Desmond's temple as the Northman knees, his shield completely useless. The huge man reels to his feet, hawking and spitting to one side. He blinks hard, shaking his head, and presses forward. Sluggishly, Desmond tries a feint, high slash to downward thrust, putting his weight behind the almost-pitifully slow blow.

Marsei stays well away from all of this, much further than she needs to be, beyond any perceived sidelines for safety purposes. In fact, she steps beneath the overhang of a tree of blood red flowers, standing in its shade. Her hands are poised in a curl in front of her chest ready to applaud a victor, although watching gives her more nerves than enthusiasm.

There's two guards in Targaryen colours standing nearby, watching the fight, so chances are it is just a spar despite insults being thrown.

Daevon's actually a better fighter in full plate, it would seem. He is still fast, despite the weight of it. Perhaps he's also learned something of Desmond's fighting style, because he seems to predict the blows as they come at him. That move he practiced over and over again, last time they fought, comes in to play again. He smacks Desmond's sword-arm hard, with enough force to drive the blade from his hand, and it's only then that he kicks, sending the blade out of Desmond's reach and towards the guards. "Yield?" he asks.

"Fuck your yield!" snarls the Northman, and for just a moment, it seems like he'll rush Daevon in earnest. His huge chest heaves in a breath, as though to shout a challenge as he berserks forward, but instead he bursts into uproarious laughter. "Well /done/, Your Grace!" He's rubbing at his armored bicep, though it does little enough good. "Oh, well done, my pretty little lad. Neatly done. You've slain me for a certainty." He continues to laugh, moving forward and reaching out to smack Daevon companionably on the shoulder, perhaps forgetting just who he's speaking to. Oblivious to Marsei's presence, the Northman hardly seems the same man who so successfully navigated that terrifying party.

Soft clapping drifts from beneath the tree and the lady emerges, smiling. "Yes, well done, Prince Daevon!" she commends, a polite sort of accolade that might lack true appreciation for the sport but nevertheless sounds earnest in intent, coming from Marsei. "I did not expect to see you again so soon," she directs to Desmond cheerfully. "Practicing for the tournament?"

Daevon's still gripping his sword and he does seem prepared to lunge at Desmond again if he doesn't yield. He's not let his guard down yet, at least not until Desmond starts laughing. "You've got to say the word, you know. Otherwise someone's going to gut you at a tourney. On the battlefield it's different of course. Never trust the word unless you're certain." Speaking from experience there. "And never turn your back on a fallen foe, trusting he'll keep his honour." He does lower his sword, allows that companionable smack. He's also oblivious to Marsei's presence, at least until she applauds. "Lady Marsei," he greets. "A pleasure. What brings you here?" He shakes his head at the question.

Desmond pivots sharply at the applause, and his face flushes a bright red, the scars standing out whitely. "Ah. Er. Lady Marsei." He looks aside at Daevon awkwardly, perhaps remembering that oath, and the companionable smack on the shoulder. "Mostly, My Lady, just hoping that I do not ride against Ser Daevon. I much prefer drunken oafs to master bladesmen." He offers a slightly awkward bow in Daevon's direction. "I'm more the drunk than the master, most days," he adds, with a touch more frankness."

Marsei's smile is gentle and unchanged as Desmond turns red and she offers a small laugh, nodding from man to man. "Simply a visit," she answers Daevon, "to thank you and your family for attending the celebration last night at the Hightower. And," she sweeps a look around, "I always enjoy stopping in to the garden."

Daevon smiles at Marsei. "Well, please excuse my attire, but would you mind if we joined you?" There's servants emerging with a pitcher of lemonwater, cups, and whatever it is Marsei prefers to drink. Always on the ball. "I had wondered, what was the reason for no alcohol at the party?" Daevon asks, perhaps a little bluntly, but the topic's on his mind now thanks to Desmond's words. He smiles at Desmond. "And I'll be hoping that you're not too hungover, so that I might test my skills against yours in a fair fight for all to see. Just think of what it'll be like. The Maiden Knight and the Giant! They'll underestimate you. If I gambled, I'd put some money on you." The Targaryen guards are taking note, of course they've got to wonder if doing so will be disloyal, and they did just see Daevon beat Desmond.

"Believe me, Your Grace, I'll be wagering on me too." Desmond grins, the side of his head bearing a livid red mark from Daevon's smack, as he wanders toward the cups. He hesitates, looking from Marsei to Daevon, and adds "I'll be sober as a headsman that day, I promise you. The day afterward, I cannot be so certain. Spending all those heavy gold dragons." He pours himself a cup of lemonwater, neglecting to be so courteous as to fetch one for Daevon or Marsei. "Bloody hot," he mumbles, taking long gulps. Daevon's question has him looking interestedly at Marsei.

"It would be me who would be joining you, your grace, it is your home after all," Marsei acquiesces, not to contradict, only humble. "Ah…" She thinks on the reason for the dry party while she watches the servants; she makes no move toward the lemon water until a cup is handed to her. Her brows dip down in the faintest. "Prince Dhraegon can get overwhelmed from time to time," she decides upon. Simple and true. Rather than dwell on that, however, she smiles brightly. "The Maiden Knight and the Giant! They'll write songs about you."

"We'll be the only ones to know that, though?" Daevon asks, with a smile. "Yes, drink all your money away and then I won't need to fight you in heavy, heavy plate. You'd be unstoppable then." He pours his own drink and the servants will see to Marsei. He nods at Marsei's words, turning it over, although he says nothing more about Dhraegon. "Quite likely. Although there will be more about you, and your wedding. It's going to be quite the event."

"The Maiden Knight and the Giant. Sounds like the Bear and the Maiden Fair," muses Desmond. He pours himself more lemon-water, grinning impishly for a moment, as though he's on the verge of a witticism. But perhaps it slips away. "I'd wear full plate against you, Your Grace, assuming I can beat a knight big enough. And I'd do my best to take you in a bear-hug and kill off that speed of yours. I'll drink the coin away next night, after I've beaten you and collected on my wagers." He turns toward Marsei, smiling faintly. "I liked the Prince," he confides.

Amusement brightens Marsei's fair face when Desmond mumbles about the Bear and the Maiden Fair, but it's otherwise contained to a dimple at the corners of her lips. "About me? Oh— " She shakes her coiffed head at Daevon, taking a careful sip of her drink. "I don't think so, surely… it has only grown so seemingly colossal because my sister is coming." She looks to Desmond and takes upon the a light tone of confiding as well, with a greater smile, "He liked you, too."

"Nothing like that," Daevon says. "And with a definitely different ending." He nods. "There are quite a lot of large men around here. Well almost all of them tower right over me, I'm sure you'll find a likely sort in the joust to push off his horse." He shakes his head. "But you're never going to get that close to me, and I'd know better than to let a man like you get a grip on me anyway." He shakes his head at Marsei. "You under-estimate how much you're loved. The Flower of Oldtown, isn't it? They're glad of you, and of the wedding, for your own sake. They'd be rejoicing regardless of whether your sister visited or not. It's like something from a song to them, another of theirs to marry a Prince."

"Take it from the most common of the lot, Lady. His Grace does not lie to you." Desmond bobs his head toward Daevon gravely. "It's a rare night that someone doesn't toast the Flower of Oldtown in the Sinks. There's even a few songs." He definitely does not choose to elaborate on what sorts of songs. The huge sellsword considers something, then looks sideways at Daevon for a moment and grins. "I do look forward to seeing the Queen. I'll tell that story for years, and drink for free. No one will believe I met the Flower herself, and shared words with her, more's the pity."

For all that she flusters about being called the Flower of Oldtown, it's clear that Marsei is heartened by Daevon's words and Desmond's too, her smile gentling and her gaze deepening for the moment she looks from man to man; she tips her head down, however, and watches her hands curl around the cup. "Not all rejoice," she says quietly. She may be blessedly naive to the songs sung in the Sinks, but she's not blind to the opinions on her betrothed. While she's called the Flower of Oldtown, Dhraegon is the Clown Prince. All the same, she does not lament long. "You are both too kind," she says, brightening. "I am glad to fill your cups, however indirectly," she jokes.

Daevon's quiet, taking a sip of his lemonwater, offering a smile.

Desmond is on dangerous ground here. He's met Dhraegon, and the implications are stamped clearly on his face as he listens to Marsei. But he is, after all, only a sellsword. The huge Northerner clears his throat carefully and sips his water, then seems to decide on a course of action. "Begging your pardon, Lady, Your Grace, but fuck the fools." His words may be over-blunt, but he's said them, and he must drive on. "I've killed men for less than what some say, it's true. But I've only my blade and my pride, and I must use one to defend the other. What's a fool's word against a Prince? Less than a fly buzzing. Do not let them hurt you."

Marsei's eyes widen. The second she stops breathing in the face of the sellsword's frankness is plain. Thankfully, her lungs seize for only a moment and she manages to form a decisive smile after he's said his piece. "… You … do speak bold, Desmond Snow. But I do think you speak true." So far as the simple buzzing flies are concerned. She casts a smile Daevon's way, good-natured and meant to lightly jest and perhaps lightly test, as well, albeit innocently, "Besides, if I can assure Visenya of the marriage, I believe anyone can come around."
From afar, Desmond couldn't resist mucking himself up!

Daevon's listening, drinking his lemonwater, but whatever his thoughts are he keeps them to himself.

Desmond considers for a moment, then visibly decides against trying his luck any further. He's rolled the dice and come away only scraped - thus far. The huge Northerner manages a wry smile. He busies himself refilling his goblet of lemonwater, though as he gazes yearningly at the water, it's clear he's dreaming of something stronger. Turning slightly toward Daevon, a pleading look briefly in his eyes, he says, "I saw an interesting thing the other day. A shipful of lads so green at their oars that one entire bank became tangled, and the galley spun about like a skiff!" He seems to have forgotten Daevon's 'love' of the sea.

Daevon muses on the idea of asking for something stronger to be brought. "Do you want cider, ale, something to eat?" He asks. The statement has him somewhat puzzles. "Why were they sailing? Were they all right?"

Marsei notes Daevon's silence with a small span of thoughtful silence of her own. She sips her lemon water, seeming content enough, and no worse for the wear for the sellsword's advice. She in fact animates upon his story to Daevon, imagining the spinning galley vividly, although it brings a faint pull to her face. "I expect it didn't belong to that Greyjoy captain who's come to Oldtown?"

"I bl—- I wish!" snorts Desmond in answer to Marsei's question, relaxing somewhat. "I'd have paid every penny I possess to see that. No, these were lads being trained as merchant oarsmen, it seems." He grins toward Daevon. "They were fine, Your Grace, never you worry. But I wager a few will be skulking back to the Undercity with their tails between their legs. It's not so easy, you see, as men think. Pulling all together, I mean." And belatedly, he admits "I hate to be crude, Your Grace, but I could do true damage to a mug of brown ale."

Daevon beckons one of the servants over. They're keeping enough of a distance they likely can't hear much of anything. He places the request for the ale. Back to the conversation. "It would be difficult, I'd imagine. I couldn't do it, keeping in time with all those other men, all needing to do the same. I'm bad enough in formation."

"Quite so," Marsei agrees — that is, not to say Daevon is bad in formation, but rather in how difficult she perceives being a trained oarsman must be. She speaks with slight awe, having no concept of the subject at all beyond what she can watch from the harbourfront or high in her lofty tower. Since the servant nears for Daevon's request, she hands her cup back. "I ought to seek young Princess Xavia; I should like to invite her to dine," she says with a nod of her head to the prince and smile to the sellsword, stepping away. "Your grace. Desmond."

"I spent a bit of time traveling on ships. It's not so bad, Your Grace, rowing. You just pull when you're told, and pull deep." He bows his head as the Lady takes her leave. The big mercenary's neck flushes a bit red. "Lady Marsei."

"It's been a pleasure speaking with you," Daevon replies to Marsei. "Give Princess Xavia my regards." He nods at Desmond. "I'll keep that in mind."

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