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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, 11:23 PM   #31
(Lord Treasurer) Warrick Wolfe
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"My mother used to say I was far too serious when I was younger... But that when I did smile, it was very expressive. She said something I never forgot... That I smile with my eyes. I... look for that now, in people. I think a smile is often the best mask anybody can wear. You almost have to look at their eyes to know if they mean it."

Warrick reached up to pat the horse, watching as she worked the bit in. "I am glad you do, my lady. Because if we're not dancing around one another, I should tell you that I would like to get to know you better."
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:39 PM   #32
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Shiera turned toward Warrick fully, and just for a moment there was a gravitas in her movement, like something practiced a thousand times and impossible to shake in the muscle memory of her body. But her face was not at all the distant, cool face of a god's servant. She smiled, almost as brightly as she laughed. "You're very welcome to know me better, though I will apologize now ahead of time if later on you find me strange or inelegant. I..."

Her face changed in an instant, the smile evaporating into a look of realization and hesitancy. "Just as long as you aren't seeing me because Ziamara told you to. I know she can be persuasive, and I know she's probably tired of seeing me look at you, and I know her heart is almost always in the right place. If you're doing her a favor... you don't have to."
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:58 PM   #33
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"Might I be honest with you?" Warrick began. "I don't know you well. And... the distance kept between us might have led me to remain oblivious. It is not a comment about you or your character. It is that I don't tend to notice people in general. I am very dedicated to my work and since the death of my wife, I've not been all that interested in courtship. I speak with you now not only because you made it clear you wished to, but because Ziamara expressed your interest in speaking... If she had not, I would have assumed you were in my tent not for you, but for her... which... would have made me feel very uncomfortable, truth be told. That said, yes... I told her I would speak with you. But make no mistake... if I hadn't wanted to, I would not have felt pressured to change my mind."

He reached for her hand, holding it very lightly. "And I would not continue to see somebody just for the princess' sake... My words are sincere... as is my desire to know you better."
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:40 AM   #34
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Shiera let Warrick take her hand, and though she looked a little surprised by the gesture, the smile on her face warmed almost immediately. "That is a relief to hear," she said. "Zee means well. She always has. It wouldn't be beyond her to command you if she thought it would make me happy. I'm just very glad she didn't. I'd like to know you, too. You're..."

She trailed off in thought, then seemed to figure out where she was going. "Intriguing. A little quiet, but obviously clever and trustworthy. Elsewise you wouldn't be the Lord Treasurer. Would you like to go riding tomorrow, apart from the hunts? We won't be returned to Summerhall yet, and I offered to gather some things from the fields and woods for Melantha's store of teas. It might be a little boring, but I'm a little boring. At least you'll know then if you'd like to part ways."
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:45 AM   #35
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"I would love to go riding with you tomorrow." His thumb brushed her knuckles but then he brought her hand up to his arm as he turned her from the horse to go find the squires who'd gotten lax and lazy. "I'm curious why my lady thinks so low of herself. Though, I am a little boring, too. Perhaps we might enjoy the pleasure of one another's boring company. Yet, I've a feeling you're anything but."
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:58 AM   #36
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"You'd be wary of thinking much of yourself, too, my lord if you had ten brothers and sisters. And my sisters are the hardest part of it." The smile on her face took on a distinctly dry kind of amusement. She turned as he directed her, falling into step beside him. "I hope... for all my shyness in approaching you that you don't get the impression I'm too sheltered or ignorant. It would be a fair assumption to make, but just an incorrect one. I am a Shoreswoman, and half a Vellfyre besides."
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:10 AM   #37
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"See? And that's how I know you aren't boring," he said as if that proved his point. "Shoreswoman and Vellfyre. It's a wonder you're not the most sung about woman at court. You're certainly beautiful enough to warrant a few dozen or so."
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:47 AM   #38
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"Just a few dozen," she said, then shook her head. "No, I think most of us in court are candles beside torches like Ziamara. But that's fine, I have four astonishingly lovely sisters and I'm quite used to being a mouse in their midst. You have... two brothers? One a twin? I don't know the Wolfes well, other than the fact that one of my aunts married one of your cousins."
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:56 AM   #39
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"I never did understand such comparisons. All women are lovely... Each in their own way. This superior beauty... Perhaps it is her hair? So bright. It catches the eye. But I wouldn't say she's a torch if you're a candle... She doesn't have your eyes." He nodded. "Yes. I'm the youngest... by ten minutes..." he added a bit dryly. "William's my twin and then there's Wallace, my eldest brother. But... you're probably better not knowing him well."
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:19 AM   #40
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"Oh?" she asked. Really, the politics of Kingsreach sometimes went beyond Shiera's knowledge (she was doing well if she could keep track of who had what alliance and who hated who in just Southshores), and the Wolfes were not exactly the most discussed family around the Veracora table. Just the situation with Andreas and Lady Saherazai - and that was more Southshores politics than anything to do with the Wolfes.

"I take it you two aren't friends. It's unfortunate when siblings quarrel like that. Is Lord William much like you? I mean... does he look like you, as some twins do?"
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:24 AM   #41
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"We never have been, no," he answered. "I respect him so far as he is my lord... but that's where it stops. William, though... No. We don't look alike. Not at all. He's... well he's blonde. A little shorter. Has blue eyes. He... actually looks a fair bit like Bryce... And just as serious as the prince, too."
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:53 AM   #42
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"Is he as fearsome as the prince?" she asked, her eyes widening just a bit. Bryce had never once been cruel to Shiera in her childhood, but she'd seen him in his moods from time to time, and watched his fury build at one once his sons once, until Shiera thought he might actually kill the boy. "And.. I didn't know the Wolfes had a shared heritage with the Vellfyres. They do, don't they? Or is it just odd coincidence that your brother resembles Prince Bryce so?"
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:57 AM   #43
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"I... oh dear gods, I hope it is coincidence," he said a bit dramatically. "He can be. Not to me, though. I've been told that he is... I just don't see it. I think I know him too well for that."
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:18 AM   #44
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"That's what people say about my brother, Andreas. Lord Veracora now. I should probably be a bit afraid of him, but... it's very difficult when you remember them as children... Oh!" Shiera suddenly lifted her arm, pointing in the direction of three boys, all of whom had tall pewter mugs in their hands. "They're drinking. Those rats! And left the saddling to me, as if they knew I was going to come along and do it."
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:26 AM   #45
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"Well... you did...? Maybe next time, don't... and let them get yelled at by Keegan," he said with a smile. But very quickly he let it vanish and he crossed his arms, giving her one last look before walking forward.

"Is... this what you're supposed to be doing?" Warrick asked in a very even and yet quiet voice. All three of them whirled around very quickly. One even dropped their mug. He narrowed his eyes. "Well?"
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:51 PM   #46
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Whatever the squires had been expecting upon their return to the horses of Lord Keegan's household, it didn't involve anyone really but Shiera. It definitely didn't involve a gods-damed Wolfe.

"Oh, shi-" One of the squires immediately pivoted on his heel and fled while the other two watched their friend run with matching, dumbfounded expressions and a dawning realization of the failure of their clever plan. 'Get the girl to do the work' was not working out how they thought it would.

"Uh," said one of the squires, looking to the other. "Sorry... Lord Warrick... It looked like rain so we thought we'd have a drink... Didn't realize we were supposed to tend to your horses, too. We'll get right to that. Sorry. Sorry."

Shiera frowned, but said nothing.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:04 PM   #47
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A single brow shot up and he shifted his weight to his left foot, looking at them as though bored now. "Looked like... rain?" he said, his eyes going upward and then coming back down. "And so... what? You thought because a bit of water was falling from the sky, you'd be excused from your duties? Such a bad habit of a squire... There's a bit of rain, so I suppose my master won't be competeting in a tournament today? I suppose we'll be calling off the battle? Look, son, if a bit of rain is enough to put you off, perhaps I might have a word with Lord Keegan about your insuitability to be a squire let alone a knight. Would that please you? That way, you both can hide under one another's skirts when the next drop threatens?"
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:26 PM   #48
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"Don't!" one of the squires yelped, nervously. It was difficult to tell which one had spoken. "We're sorry! We were going to come back earlier and this lumphead here decided to challenge half the knights in the camp to arm wrestling."

The second squire shot a look of pure annoyance at the other. "Shut up," he grumbled.

"We'll head right back to the horses now... We'll take care of yours if you promise not to say anything to Lord Keegan. And we won't slack off in seeing to them again."
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:31 PM   #49
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Warrick went rigid when the squire shouted, but he didn't cut them off as one stammered. "Good. See it done... And don't slack while tending to them. You are familiar with my horse, yes? The black one. Shadowless? I'll send my own squire out to help you locate him... As soon as I am able. See, he's seeing to his own duties at the moment. Oh and... be sure to catch your friend and have him help you... It would be in his best interest that you find him before I do."

"Yes my lord," the both said, and when Warrick waved them away, they hurried as fast as their alcohol heavy brains would allow.

"That... never gets old..." Warrick said, rocking on his feet.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:13 PM   #50
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Shiera turned to look at Warrick, blue eyes blinking slowly, but then she laughed. "Is it any wonder why I was afraid to speak with you?" she said, but only half joking. "Anyone with good sense knows that you don't rise to the position of Lord Treasurer without being a bit intimidating. But I'm very glad right now that you are. Lord Keegan's squires deserved that for being such awful, lazy prats. Thank you."
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:16 PM   #51
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"Well... I suppose when you put it that way..." he grinned, holding his arm out to her again. "Hopefully they think twice before they do that again. I am certain he would not tolerate it should he know... and if they do it again... he will," he promised. "It misses the point of their training if they have somebody else doing all their work. They're lucky they are not mine..." he said as an after thought. "They'd have the pleasure of saddling more horses than just a couple... They'd kindly 'volunteer' to see to many more."
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:51 PM   #52
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Shiera reached for Warrick's offered arm, her face lighting at the gesture as though quite unused to the attention and delighted by it. "Is your son a squire yet? I imagine that with you as a father, he's not likely to be as neglectful as Lord Keegan's. No doubt he'd have his knight master and you both to contend with if so."
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:01 AM   #53
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"Right now, he's squired with William," Warrick said. "So... no.. not at all neglectful. He fears his uncle more than me, though. For good reason. William has less patience than I do."
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:57 PM   #54
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"You must, to endure so much counting every day," said Shiera, obviously teasing. "Although obviously it comes easily to you. Me, I begin to lose track of numbers after a while, and I'm rather hopeless with complicated sums. I hope that's no barrier to you wanting to get to know me, since I'm afraid that no threats or exasperation has ever made me better at them."
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:04 PM   #55
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"It is not the counting that requires patience... It is the clerks..." he said, feigning exasperation, though in truth, it came naturally because they exasperated him so often. "Threats or exasperations? Somebody has been trying to teach you wrong. Numbers aren't for everybody... Some people prefer poetry or dancing. Painting... I can't draw at all... People have tried to teach me, but... I fail utterly at it."
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:30 PM   #56
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"Well, that's something we have in common," said Shiera with a grin. "I hope it's only one of many things. But not too many things. I could never hope to keep you guessing if you already knew all the answers."
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:34 PM   #57
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"Ah... a mystery..." he grinned. "I do like having all the answers... But... I enjoy the process of finding them more, I think. I've no doubt that this will be any different."
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:53 PM   #58
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Shiera said nothing in reply, only gave Warrick a sunny smile... but there was something vaguely mischievous about it, too, a natural kind of playfulness that became far more apparent the more comfortable she grew speaking with him. She paused as they came back around to Keegan and Melantha's tent, head tilting to the side.

"I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Lord Warrick. Provided you don't regret your acceptance of my invitation and flee to Summerhall in the night."
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:03 PM   #59
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He bowed and reached for her hand again, lifting it to his lips. "I shall be awake tonight, but only in anticipation of seeing you again," he said, his eyes meeting hers. "Be well, my lady. I shall see you tomorrow."
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