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Kingsport The smaller (population 8,000) but northernmost port of the 'Reach, Kingsport's fortunes faltered and fell in the last ten years with Zaksalam cutting off the northern trade routes, but the city is recuperating with the return of trade. The town's name is from the Vellfyre summer palace which is built nearby and serves as a seat for younger sons and a place for the court to flee in case of plague in Tal Volorro.
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:16 AM   #1
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Default 8.31.30 | Fumble? | Shiera, Warrick [ask to join]

He was overseeing the packing of his belongings at first, but by now it was so old hat to his attendants and squires that he really didn't need to. Ironically, though, Warrick was having trouble finding his comb... He looked everywhere for it and finally had to settle for running his fingers through it. With his luck, somebody had come in before the princess to use it for a separate love potion. He was beginning to think he knew where every missing comb went now...

The camp was being put away as he moved through it. Meals being finished, servants being snapped at... the usual. It was as he was approaching the area the Vellfyre's had camped that he saw her. She was walking about, probably seeing to her duties for Ziamara and what not, but... he had said he'd find her BEFORE they rode, so he was certain the princess would forgive her being interrupted just now.

"Lady Shiera," he spoke behind her, waiting for her to turn. The sun revealed she was more blonde than she appeared in his tent or even the magister's, and though there was some bruising above her brow, her eyes were still quite striking. He gave her a warm smile and approached, his own brown eyes looking at the bruise. "I was hoping to find you before we took to our horses. How are you feeling?"
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:33 AM   #2
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It had not been a fun night, to say the least. Even when she'd come to after the Magister put forth a great effort to rouse her, all Shiera wanted to do was fall back into unconsciousness and, maybe, death. She had never been so embarrassed in all of her life and now she had a swollen head and a bruise to show for it. For as uncomfortable as she was, the magister had seemed to think there wasn't any great danger, and the man had seen enough head injuries in his day to know better, so she trusted him... but she had the sneaking suspicion that it probably would have served her right to knock the wits out of herself for the rest of her life.

She got very little sleep, in between someone shaking her shoulder to keep her awake and her own uncomfortable, throbbing head. Still, someone had let her get at least a couple of hours of sleep, but having got them, Shiera didn't feel particularly better. Just less like walking death. Which wasn't saying much.

Melantha had sent her across camp to fetch her some wine, but a servant had intercepted her halfway, taken the wine, and then told her that Melantha wanted her to go check on Keegan's squires to make sure they were seeing to the horses. That was where Shiera was headed when she was stopped by her name. "Hm?" she asked distractedly, turning around mid-stride and then freezing, her eyes going wide with surprise.

"Oh, Lord Warrick," she said, color draining from her face. "I'm... I'm fine. Thank you for asking after me, I... I don't really remember what happened after I fell, but I was told you were attentive. I'm sorry. I don't even know how to begin to explain myself."
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:42 AM   #3
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"Oh, Princess Ziamara explained it... I think," he said, adding the last as his eyes went up. "I'm sorry that I startled you, though. You wouldn't have fallen like that if I'd announced myself less... abruptly." His eyes moved from her bruise to her cheeks which seemed less rosy now than they had a few seconds before. "The princess, though, seemed deep in her cups and there were a few holes in her explanation. If you would not mind, my lady, I might hear the reason why you both were there from you?"
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:57 AM   #4
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"Oh no," Shiera groaned, lifting a hand to cover her face, and her shoulders shook silently for a long moment. "I deserve this. I really... really do."

She lifted her head from her hand, and rather than being in tears, she looked on the brink of embarrassed laughter. "I... I'm so sorry. You seem interesting and you're very handsome and I was at a complete loss as to how to make myself known to you at all. I thought... maybe a charm... That it might persuade you to look my way once at all. And now I suppose you have, and I look a proper fool."
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:12 AM   #5
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It must be the younger generation. In his days of actual courtship, the women were not nearly so open... Or honest. "Nobody deserves to be hurt, my lady," he said, his voice a little softer. "And, if I may, I'd like to tell you a secret." He stepped closer and leaned down a little so he could lower his voice as though it would be a true secret. "If you need a charm to get a man to pay you notice, that man is not worth the charm you are making. That said... I do not think you look like a fool. Proper or otherwise. A bit... unlucky..." he admitted, "but not a fool."

He righted his posture and then looked around. "Where were you headed, Lady Shiera? If you do not mind the escort... I should like to prove to you that you've my attention... and that in turn... it is possible I find you to seem rather interesting and very beautiful yourself."
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:38 AM   #6
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"Very unlucky," Shiera agreed with a nod, and though she smoothed her face back into a look resembling her customary serenity, there was far too much color suddenly rising in her cheeks to make her look as unruffled as she was obviously trying to be.

Her gaze followed Warrick's as he stood back upright, and she lifted an arm to point towards the long row of picketed horses on the edge of the camp. "Lady Melantha wants me to make sure my uncle's squires aren't capering about instead of tending to the horses, which... considering those boys, 'capering about' is what they do. So might have some squires to chase around and drag back to their work."

She stole a glance towards Warrick, feeling sheepish all over again. "I don't suppose I need to tell you that I won't ever repeat the mistake of last night. Whether or not you meant to surprise me, I learned my lesson thoroughly."
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:44 AM   #7
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So she served Keegan's wife. That would explain why he hadn't noticed her before. He was more familiar with Ziamara's retinue as he saw her more often, but Melantha he tended only to see at dinners and other such events. And here he'd wondered... Even Warrick who was quite oblivious for the most part to things happening outside of the treasury was certain he'd at least have seen Shiera if she'd served the princess. "Fortunately, my lady, scaring squires to do their work is one of my favorite hobbies."

He chuckled. "Oh? Well... that is a comfort in that I should hate to see you fall again. But if ever you should need to borrow a comb, do not be afraid to ask me. I'm not nearly so unapproachable as I look, I hope."
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:00 AM   #8
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Some of the hesitation on her face melted, and a moment later she laughed - a clear, delighted sound that was far from childish but not at all the low, practiced chortle of an experienced courtier. "I imagine you wouldn't have to do much to frighten them," she said, still laughing. "Just sort of... lean and glare. It's the exact opposite of Keegan; he bellows and they're used to that. Silence and hard looks are far more foreign."

She tilted her head towards the horses and took a step. "Falling wasn't part of my plan," she said, feeling her face heat again. "I had... a bit of snow wine... I don't normally abide by it but I was nervous and Alys Fairwind was drinking it and she offered it to me. It was probably that more than your sudden appearance that unbalanced me, if that's any comfort to you at all, Lord Warrick."
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:08 AM   #9
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"Oh... I've become predictable," he chuckled. "How did you know that's how I frighten my squires? I learned it when I was a squire, myself. Prince Bryce is simply unmatched when it comes to cold, terrifying and silent glares."

He looked carefully at her, and gave a slow nod. "I'd have been better comforted if you weren't so nervous at the thought of speaking to me that you were tempted to drink the snow wine. Am I really so intimidating?" he asked, his head bowing a bit towards her.
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:43 AM   #10
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"Not predictable," she said, dipping her head downward to avoid a clothes line strung between two tents, moving aside a drying tunic with her arm so that Warrick could step beneath it as well. "It's just what I would do if I was as tall as you."

Which wasn't to say Shiera was all that short. She wasn't really in comparison to other women, but she didn't know any men her height or smaller, except for a dwarf in Seastone's court. She turned to look at him, her brows rising. "Yes. But it's my fault, really, and not yours. I probably wouldn't find you intimidating if you'd come to me for a hand reading, or if you wanted me to chart your stars or make an offering to the gods... but I'm not very good at getting people's attention for any other reasons. They teach priestesses to be still and quiet until needed, not to stand out."
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:54 AM   #11
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He had to bend a bit lower... Why they set these things out in camps like this... It was dangerous, damn it.

"You don't need practice in doing that, my lady," he said, looking down at his hand reflexively when she'd mentioned it. "You do that? I think... the princess might have mentioned something about that. Perhaps one day you could read my palm for me. I've never had it done before."
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:02 AM   #12
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"I do all kinds of things," she said, a small, mysterious smile on her lips before it vanished. "Very little of it is actually sought after in a royal court, however. But yes, I would love to read your hand... or whatever else you might want me to."

Shiera paused, coming to a complete halt. "I meant... No, that wasn't supposed to sound that way. I meant... entrails or tea leaves. Flights of birds. Cards." She sighed, blonde curls coming loose around her face as she resumed her walk to the horses.
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:07 AM   #13
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He was still looking at his hand and so he nearly walked into her when she stopped. "What are you...? Oh!" Warrick's closed his mouth quickly, more or less sealing his lips, but he didn't conceal the smile or the slight shake of his shoulders. "I... hadn't taken it that way," he assured her. "I was... entrails? Entrails of what? Well, that settles it. You are far more interesting than I am."
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:21 AM   #14
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"I don't know about that," said Shiera with a smile. "I'm much more interested in you than myself. But, um... the entrails, it depends. The more complex the question, the more complex the animal. A simple yes or no, I might only need a fish, or a chicken. If you call on the gods to answer you at length, it might have to be something larger. A bull, perhaps. Once I had to learn to read the entrails of a whale, but that was a special circumstance and it's not often done. It had washed up on the shore and was a gift from the sea god, so I was grateful."

A long line of stakes and ropes picketed the camp's horses in a row, and Shiera turned to the left, stretching out her hand to rub a horse's nose that leaned close as she passed. "Have you never gone to a temple for prophecy, Lord Warrick?"
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:30 AM   #15
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"A whale?" He couldn't imagine the size or scope of that reading... Or who needed it. But... he did think of how that whale would have fed a whole village... That was perhaps missing the point, but maybe that's what became of it after the reading? It was a gift, after all. "That must have been quite the experience. I... couldn't imagine it. Seriously. I just tried to..." he said, his smile growing.

"When I was younger... Not for myself, though. And not by myself. My brother insisted that we go... It's not that I don't believe in prophecy. It's that I do..." He wasn't sure how best to explain it. "I feel that if the gods wished for me to know what was coming, they'd make it more clear to me. Otherwise... it's a bit frightening, I think... To try to look at the world through their eyes. I think it would take quite a bit of bravery. An enemy on the field of battle... You can fight that. Give me a sword or a spear, and if that man wants to take my life, I can control it. Fight against it. Decide. But fate? That's a different thing altogether. You can only accept it... Maybe try to change it... but in the end... what's meant to happen does happen... No sword or spear will change that. For a soldier... that's a terrifying fact."
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:42 AM   #16
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"If you ever want to imagine what reading a whale's entrails is like, just find a place where they turn them into lamp oil. Same mess, different purpose." That had been a very, very long day on the beach, and not one she was keen to repeat. Or ever would, she supposed, unless her brother changed his mind about her becoming a priestess...

She listened, pausing for a moment beside a white horse that seemed to recognize her. Both of her hands moved toward the animal, and she bent to lay a light kiss above the horse's velvety nose. Her head turned toward Warrick, and her earlier awkwardness seemed to disappear, her gaze more direct, her expression more contemplative.

"A very wise answer," she said at last. "Most often, those who come seeking their fate find it, and to their misfortune. So unhappy are they with how things will be that they often struggle to change them to another purpose, but lose sight of why they wanted to know in the first place. It's one thing to wish to know oneself better - such as by reading hands or the stars - but quite another to ask the gods to show you the threads of your life, and how they are woven, and when they shall be cut."
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:48 AM   #17
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"I have less experience in such matters," he said, watching her affection with the horse with some interest. "I can only guess at why people would wish to know... In my opinion, it would boil down to fear. Fear of death... fear of losing something worth holding to... But I don't fear death. I've lived quite a full life even now. I hope to live a lot more of it, but if it is the case that the gods require me elsewhere...? So be it. And that which I prize... the things I would do anything to never lose... I'd rather hold them in the ways I know how... than to find out that there's nothing I can do to keep them. In the end... everybody leaves you, I suppose. But not really... and not forever. Knowing that... and having faith... what then is there to fear? I put my trust in the gods... and hope that they will provide and take care of me. To seek answers that have not been given about the future... I feel betrays that trust."
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Old 01-11-2015, 04:02 AM   #18
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She moved to give the horse a pat against the side of its head, then stepped away and back to Warrick, looking him over without the slightest trace of lasciviousness. Instead there was only curiosity, a small and secretive smile somewhere hidden in her face that never actually reached her lips. "And you say you aren't as interesting as I," she said, stepping away and back down the horse line towards Keegan's familiar, but unsaddled, courser... and no squires to be seen. "Although prophecy is something bestowed upon us by the gods, they regard it as a burden more than a favor. Those who choose to part the veils often learn that, quickly, to their sorrow. It is the first rule I was taught in my training."

She turned, hands moving to her hips. "And speaking of training, my uncle lacks all useful squires, I think."
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Old 01-11-2015, 04:07 AM   #19
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"I've heard that," he said, following her and looking up at the horse he recognized as Keegan's. He looked around and then said, "You know... glaring at the squires is more effective when they are here... I suppose you weren't wrong when you said there would be chasing... Remind me not to bet against you in the future. Ever," he grinned.
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Old 01-11-2015, 04:13 AM   #20
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Shiera laughed, the same unpracticed, unfettered sound as before. "I get just as much wrong as I do right. No tricks or spells in knowing this... Just knowing Keegan's squires to be silly boys who would rather be passing around that Trimerid weed under a shade tree and trying to catch a glimpse of the servant women washing themselves under their arms..."

Her eyes narrowed, peering into the distance. "Were you very much like that at that age?" she asked. "Or were you a well-behaved squire who always did as he was told? If I can't find them, I'm going to have to saddle this horse myself."
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Old 01-11-2015, 04:21 AM   #21
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"I... did not sit under a tree with my twin hoping for peeks at ladies if that's what you're asking," he said. "I was not always the best squire. I can admit that. But our idea of trouble involved less sitting about and more... getting into things we weren't supposed to. There are rumors of secret passages hidden in and around Vellesca. It was more fun looking for those... and THEN passing around the Trimerid weed."

He walked closer to the horse and said, "Come. I'll help you. And then we can find the squires and make known our displeasure."
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Old 01-11-2015, 04:28 AM   #22
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"I found a passage in Vellesca when I fostered there," she said, looking near to laughter. "I thought it a great place to escape to sometimes when I wanted to avoid embroidery or when Melantha was cross with me, but... I shortly found that other people thought the same. Secrets are rarely fun when other people are keeping the same one you are."

Shiera gave Warrick a look of mild surprise, lips parting in an 'o'. "I apologize, I didn't mean to infer that you have to help me. It would be appreciated, of course, but I'm not... demanding it. Please don't think I have any wish to be helpless."
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:47 PM   #23
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"Just one?" he asked. "I think at one point, my brother and I started to keep a map. I showed Bryce's boys some of them... and then kept quiet whenever they were in trouble and nobody could seem to find them. Though, I highly suspect the prince is very well aware of the secrets of Vellesca... and perhaps wished to put off yelling at them for a while."

He found the saddle nearby which told him that the squires had at least started their task, and he hefted it up with one arm and turned back to the horse, looking down at her. "I have a hard time imagining that to ever be your wish. Considering how you kept insisting you were fine after you clearly were not," he said. "It is an excuse, my lady. Obviously. Because... I am finding that I rather enjoy speaking with you... and if I must help you saddle a horse and find some squires, then that's well worth it."
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:05 PM   #24
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Shiera had started to reach for the saddle when Warrick got to it first, and she dropped her hands at her sides, looking instead for the bridle for Keegan's horse instead. "Did I keep insisting that?" she asked, pink flooding her cheeks. "I honestly don't remember. Just.. the falling, and then I think you said something to me... It's so hazy. I obviously wasn't fine, how ridiculous of me."

She stooped, then reached for the pile of leather straps the squires had obviously brought over but never actually got around to putting on the horse. They hadn't really done a thorough job of cleaning, either... but Shiera wasn't in a mood to sit down and oil and buff all the leather when it wasn't her job, so Keegan could see it later and then yell at the boys for that, too.

Glancing to Warrick, there was a small, shy smile that worked its way over her face before she disappeared on the other side of the horse's head, beginning to untie the rope halter on the horse's head, connected to the picket line. "I wasn't... really sure if you would enjoy speaking with me. It's one of the reasons I was too nervous to approach you. I'm not a child, but I know I'm younger than you. I thought maybe you'd just think I was a silly young girl."
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:15 PM   #25
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"It's natural..." he said with a smile. "I remember when I took a blow to the head during a joust, I kept telling everybody to leave me be and that I'd be fine even though I couldn't remember how to put one foot in front of the other."

He was attaching the saddle, adjusting straps and buckles, and he looked over the horse, but with the head in the way... He set his hand on the flanks, admiring the color of the animal before walking around so he could see her properly. "You won't be too nervous now?" he asked, taking a few more steps in her direction. "I hope not. Perhaps it was a silly, young scheme. But that's all right. Sometimes... it's good to be silly and young. Even at my age... My old, old age," he added with a grin.
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:17 PM   #26
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Shiera lifted the halter away from the horse's head, just as Warrick moved around it to look at her, and she paused what she was doing, looking at him for a long moment before smiling. "You aren't horribly old," she said. "Just older than me, which is probably a good thing. Three-and-twenty is a rather unremarkable age."

She stepped forward, but she turned, placing the bridle around the horse's head, then reached for the loosened straps and began to tighten them. "Besides, age is a thing to be proud of. It means you're clever enough or lucky enough to have avoided dying at a young age. So which are you? Clever, or lucky?"
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:24 PM   #27
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"Three-and-twenty... I quite liked that age, actually," he said. "My daughter was about a year old... A reminder of how time does fly. She serves Lady Whitney now."

He worked the straps, checking to make sure they were not loose. The last thing they needed was for another Vellfyre to go breaking their leg... That was a terrible time for everybody. "A little bit of both. Clever and lucky in equal measure. I cannot take credit for all of my near-misses. The gods surely have kept me in their favor here and there."
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Old 01-11-2015, 10:38 PM   #28
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"I know Emily," said Shiera, then looked to Warrick again. "Not well, though, of course. She's quite a bit younger than me. So you were already a parent at three-and-twenty and here I am, very much lagging behind you and everyone else. You don't find that... off-putting, do you?"

Her hand bumped against his as they reached for the same strap, and she flushed, pretending otherwise that she hadn't noticed and reaching for a different one. "Then perhaps the gods keep you with us to a purpose," she said, only glancing his way, her half-wild hair shielding most of her face from the side. "Or perhaps they're merely rewarding you with a long life for some honor you did one of them, maybe unwittingly. Sometimes they're just happy to leave a mortal man because he smiles pleasantly."
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Old 01-11-2015, 10:50 PM   #29
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"Why would I?" he asked, tilting his head. "There are many ladies your age and older who have not known motherhood. It is through no fault of their own, I suspect."

Well... that was cute. "Hmm... Maybe. Do you find my smile pleasant, my lady?"
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:16 PM   #30
(Lady) Shiera Veracora
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Shiera tilted her head away as the horse moved, and then looked to Warrick again, meeting his eyes. "Yes," she admitted. "You have a nice way of it. It changes your whole face. Some men smile and it never moves anything but their mouth, but not you. It's actually a bit disarming, I hadn't seen you smile much before today because I've only really seen you from a distance or from off to the side somewhere."

She turned her attention to the horse, fitting the bit between its lips and over its tongue, but gently, quite obviously comfortable with horses and not afraid of their teeth. "I like you better close than far. I suppose I shouldn't say that because it makes me sound very obvious, but I think you are too old for me to dance around that fact without making you tired."
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