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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 01-17-2015, 01:22 PM   #1
(Lord Treasurer) Warrick Wolfe
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Default 9.01.30 (morning) | Shadowless and Pudding | Warrick, Shiera [ask to join]

He had woken up with a start, legitimately worried that he had overslept. He imagined all the terrible scenarios in his head, the worst of which simply being Shiera in tears thinking Warrick had spent all of their conversation yesterday just humoring her. In the few seconds it took him to fully wake up, he was already formulating an apology in his head... and then realized the sun was still on the right side of the sky and that judging by that, it was quite early yet. He took a deep breath, rubbed his face, and then swung his long legs over the side of his bed, standing slowly and proceeding to get dressed.

He spent some time at the basin, soaping his arms, face, neck and chest... The same soap his cousin seemed to be quite fond of... for some reason... He supposed it smelled pretty good. He fixed his hair with his new comb that he'd stolen off of his squire because... he REALLY couldn't find his damned comb... and then dressed in his usual black breeches and boots and a deep, blue tunic.

He ate quickly, sent his squires to ensure the horses were saddled, and after fastening his sword to his belt, he made his way to where she said she would be. He figured he was a bit early, which was intentional... and rested both hands on the pommel of his sword, leaned his weight to one foot, and just... took in the air... Warrick so loved the outdoors. He didn't suppose a camp ground counted for that, but... at least the air was crisp, the sun was warm, and he could smell the grass and the trees...

He saw her out of the corner of his eye and turned to face her, his smile growing before he bowed his head to her and offered his arm. "Good morning, Lady Shiera. I trust you had a good sleep?"
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:16 PM   #2
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Shiera's mother was being what mothers often were, and that was - for the moment - a nuisance. At first Shiera had thought that her mother actually meant to forbid her riding out of the camp, but Leah had unexpectedly relented, though not without some nervousness. There were already rumors, and she'd already heard them. It was a little tiresome and a lot disheartening that her mother would have believed any of it, but Leah woke her early and had one of her own ladies in waiting tend to Shiera "just because".

Shiera knew exactly the reason for the 'because', but she didn't fight it, and as a result she looked quite polished for a morning ride, her long blonde waves neatly braided into a coronet pinned around her head. Her riding gown was deep green, a pair of soft brown gloves shielding her hands from the sun and the reins both. Lead had insisted on a veil, but had curiously not insisted on a chaperone.

With her hair pulled up and away from her face, the bruise at her left temple was more noticeable, a purple smudge stretching just beyond her hairline and above her eyebrow. She'd made no effort to powder and hide it... mostly because the sun and the wind would have smudged it all off within in a hour of being outdoors, anyway. "Lord Warrick," she said, reaching for his arm, her smile obvious beneath the translucent veil stretched across the lower half of her face. "I slept as well as I could with my handmaid kicking me all night... The bad part about these tents is how crammed together everyone is. It will be nice to escape everyone for a while, won't it?"

She paused, adding, "Not you, I mean. Not escaping you. Let me start over: good morning. Are you looking forward to the ride?"
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:24 PM   #3
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He chuckled. "Actually... my tent is very spacious..." He paused, too, realizing how that might have sounded, his eyes going up and a single brow furrowing until she spoke again. The he laughed and nodded. "Yes... That's... yes..." he said, clearing his throat.

"I am very much. I woke up this morning thinking I'd overslept and worried I'd kept you waiting..."
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:45 PM   #4
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"I know how spacious your tent is," said Shiera mildly, in a tone that sounded so matter-of-fact that it would have been difficult to tell that she was teasing would it not be evident in her eyes as she turned her face upwards to look at Warrick beside her. "You can thank my mother for keeping me a bit longer than normal. I would have probably been ready ages ago, but she wanted to make sure I didn't leave the camp looking like a wild creature, probably. You know, to give you the best possible impression."

The serene smile remained, but so did the distinct hint that she was not at all serious. "Although I don't think it's possible for you to have a better impression of me than you already do." Her free hand lifted, gloved fingers touching the bruise at her left. "At the least, you can't have one more distinct and unique."
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:40 PM   #5
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"And yet, found the one spot to fall where you'd definitely hit your head," he teased, looking at her bruise.

"That is very true, my lady," he said, lifting his hand to ghost over her veil where beneath lied the discolored skin. "Does it still hurt? My mother used to have our healers boil comfrey and soak linens to wrap around our bruises. I'm told it helps. She didn't do it often after we turned nine... Because brothers tend to tease one another for not being able to sport a bruise..."
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:34 PM   #6
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"Oh, my talents range from finding places I should not be to falling into things," said Shiera lightly. "Hitting my head was naturally a perfect confluence of both."

She stood quite still as Warrick's hand moved to the bruise at her temple, and she watched him for a moment before giving the tiniest shake of her head. "It doesn't hurt too terribly much. Only when I forget and roll over onto that side in sleep... The Magister did have me soak some linen in comfrey, which is why I suspect it looks not quite as terrible as it could. Or... at least... I hope it doesn't. I don't look a monster, do I?"
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:07 AM   #7
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He laughed. "You and my daughter seem to have the same talent."

Lowering his hand, he shook his head. "I suspect the only way you could manage to look like a monster or a beast is to wear a mask. Otherwise, you are far too pretty to achieve the look." He looked ahead. "I had my squires go ahead to see our horses readied. I imagine the grooms knew which was yours?"
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:23 AM   #8
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Shiera didn't flinch when Warrick mentioned his daughter in regards to her, but damn it... she and Emily weren't that close in age...

Turning her head to the side at his compliment, her cheeks suddenly flushed beneath her veil. "Oh... Ah... yes, I would imagine they'd know Pudding quite easily. Among all these beautiful horses, my lovely mare quite stands out. She's plain, dumpy, the color of mud, with a plodding gait and a slightly swayed back. They say that Merrik was the god to fashion horses, but if he still does so now, he must have been neglectful the day Pudding was born, poor homely thing."

Shiera followed Warrick towards the picketed horses, looking up and down the line. "Which one is yours?"
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:52 AM   #9
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"I'm sure she's a fine mount," he said, smiling. He did stop in front of his, though, reaching out to stroke him along from forehead to muzzle. "Shadowless," he said, looking into his big, brown eyes. A little over fifteen hands high, black except for a white streak that ran down the front of his face, he was a massive beast, gentle when he needed to be, but fierce and fast. "One of the Fairdragon's breeds..." he said a little quietly. By now, most people knew what had become of them.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:31 AM   #10
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Shiera's breath left her in a little sigh at the sight of Warrick's horse. "Such a handsome boy," she cooed, running her hand along the side of the horse's neck. "So very strong and well-made. Pity about the Fairdragons who raised you, hm?"

She heard a muffled, horsey sigh from down the line, and Pudding raised her head, catching Shiera's familiar scent. She was round-faced, barrel-shaped, plain brown with a slight stooping to her back that spoke of a hard life before being purchased for a young noblewoman who rode her gently. Pudding did stand out among the beautiful coursers and palfreys of the camp's pickets... She stood out as much as a mud-stained peasant in the midst of a royal feast.

The morning sun was slanted on Shiera's face as she tilted her chin upwards to Warrick and smiled. As close as they were, it was easy to see that the edges of her eyelashes were almost as blonde as the rest of her hair. "How long do you wish to be away?" she asked.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:00 PM   #11
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Warrick continued to pet Shadowless, but then he looked down at Shiera... almost gasping at the way the sun seemed to make her all but glow with a radiant light. He never understood the phrase, 'took your breath away' until this very moment when his breath was quite literally stolen from his lungs.

"So long as I've you for company... however long you would prefer."
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:16 AM   #12
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Shiera blinked slowly, and her lips parted for a moment as if she meant to ask a question, but clearly she changed her mind as she smiled instead and gave a careless shrug of her shoulders. "If it were up to me, I'd go out to gather these herbs and berries and then ride straight on to Summerhall without circling back around to the camp, but my mother said no. It may take a while to find everything Melantha wants - would all morning and afternoon be acceptable?"
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:10 PM   #13
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"Mothers..." he said, shaking his head and clucking his tongue. "It would. A fair compromise to your mother, I think." He smiled and then he took hold of Shadowless' reigns to lead him out and closer to Pudding.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:42 PM   #14
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The horse lifted her head again at Shiera's approach, and she smiled at the sight as she checked the straps and buckles of her saddle and the saddlebags slung over the back. "For all I complain, my mother is rather liberal in what she allows of me. I suppose I probably exaggerate her care the way everyone does of their mothers, except I have very little cause for it. She thought she lost me to the priesthood... and now that she has me back, she hardly knows what to do with me."

Satisfied with the job the grooms had done on securing her horse, she turned to look at Warrick with a grin. "Do you mind helping me up?"
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:15 PM   #15
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"Such is the fate of all mothers and their children." Not his, sadly. Tony carried very few memories, if any, of his mother... and some of them that he swore he recalled, Warrick was certain was just stories of her that had been told to him. Emily had a bit more time with her, but even then... she was so young when Kat passed away.

"Of course, my lady," he said, releasing the reigns and moving behind her. There were... a few ways to do this... And in the end... he decided on one way in particular. And that was to turn her to face him, set his hands to her waist, and lift her up into her saddle. It was a task made easier that Pudding was not so high, but... Shiera was quite light. He was certain he had a shield that might weigh just as much... perhaps more. "Comfortable?" he asked, not yet drawing his hands back.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:29 PM   #16
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Shiera rested her hands on Warrick's shoulders as he lifted her, then slung one leg over Pudding's back and reached for the edge of the saddle to balance herself as she sat. "Very," she said, smiling from above. "As much as anyone could be on this poor old thing. Thank you, Lord Warrick. I promise I'm not nearly so helpless on horseback, but I'm told it's rather undignified to just crawl into the saddle without asking for assistance."

She released the edge of Pudding's saddle, then reached for the reins. "Forgive me if I don't offer to assist you in such a manner," she said, her tone outwardly apologetic but her smile clearly teasing.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:33 PM   #17
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"It would be amusing if you did, though," Warrick grinned, finally stepping away so he could mount Shadowless. "Perhaps for our next ride, I'll ask you first." He made a soft sound with his tongue and Shadowless eased into a steady gait which he slowed even more and turned the upper half of his body to look at Shiera. "Lead the way, my lady... You know what we are looking for."
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:00 PM   #18
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Shiera smiled, but her response was only to tug on Pudding's reins and knock her heels into the horse's side, leading her out from the camp and into the fields beyond. This part of Kingsreach was not the most heavily forested, with much of the land given over to farms and meadows, though beyond the Kingsport road there was a woods typically reserved for royal hunts and little else.

In the morning, the fields were alive with noise and the air still slightly damp from the overnight dew. Far on the western horizon, a line of stubborn deep blue sat low and ponderous, undeterred by the rising of the sun in the east. Still, it was proving to be as warm a day as the one prior. In very little time, the back of Shiera's neck was already overwarm, and her covered arms and shoulders longed for a bit of breeze she was most definitely not going to get.

Only once she and Warrick came to the edge of the woods did Shiera pull back on Pudding's reins, letting the horse come to walk. The trees threw long shadows, the sounds of late summer even louder here than in the fields. Pudding's ears pricked forward, then back, trying to hear it all.

Shiera lifted an arm, wiping at her brow. "It may be hotter today than I expected," she said, looking towards Warrick.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:05 PM   #19
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He slowed when she did, so far just taking in their surroundings, being soothed by the sounds of nature... but then he looked over at her and smiled. "It's not so bad. In the North... I swear there was no reprieve from the heat... At least there's a nice breeze. Here," he said, reaching into his pocket to pull out a kerchief. "It's new." He always felt obligated to say that... because he recalled his brother once offering one to a lady that he knew for fact had been used for his runny nose the week before.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:25 PM   #20
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"Even if it wasn't," said Shiera, leaning in her saddle to take the handkerchief from Warrick's hand, "I don't mind. I'm washable." She dabbed at the back of her neck, then at her forehead. Her cheeks were pink, wisps of blonde hair curling and sticking to the sides of her face, and she handed Warrick's handkerchief back with a grateful nod.

"I hear that the desert heat is different than the summers here. That the air is more... dry? And that it's easier to grow used to. The desert always seems so strange when I've been told tales of it. I know sand - I'm a Shoreswoman, of course I know sand, but I cannot imagine a whole land of it."
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:31 PM   #21
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"It's dry, yes... But I think more unforgiving," he said, pocketing the kerchief again. "I'm not unused to it either... I may not be from the Shores, but Blacktide... It is very much a different heat. I only really burned when I was a child... But then I burned again a lot during the war... And it's endless... And you get sand everywhere. You end up dumping out piles and piles of sand from your boots... and even if you rinse your mouth out... I swear somehow it gets into your teeth."
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:30 PM   #22
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"Sounds a bit like a seaside picnic that never ends," said Shiera dryly. "You've convinced me to never seek out the desert. I have a singular talent for always getting sand in my food."

She clicked her tongue against the side of her mouth, then tugged on Pudding's reins to lead her along the treeline, eyes scanning the woods for signs of a footpath in. There was one here somewhere... but Shiera couldn't remember exactly where. "How long have you been home?" she asked. "Edolon, I mean. Not Blacktide, obviously."
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:47 PM   #23
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"I've yet to meet a person who had a talent for avoiding it," he chuckled.

He sighed. "Two years ago I came back... To help put down the riots in Blacktide. We were never sent back... So since then. Then last year is when the king called me to court to take a position on the council as Lord Treasurer. No doubt due to the prince's urging."

He stopped and then cleared his throat. "Is this what you're looking for?" he asked, motioning his head to the path.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:13 PM   #24
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Shiera's head turned at Warrick's gesture. There, between two pines, the forest opened in a narrow pathway large enough only for them to bring their horses in single-file, but the path was mostly cleared and Shiera couldn't see any obstructions near the entrance.

"Ah, there it is. If it was a snake, it would have bit me," she said, turning Pudding towards the pathway in and going ahead of Warrick. "I heard a little about the riots, but it was a troublesome time in Seastone as well. My cousin... Well, it's a long story. But anyway, if it meant that you were allowed to stay in Edolon and serve the king at his Council, I'm very glad you didn't have to go back. My brothers only just returned."
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:38 PM   #25
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"It was hard leaving," he admitted, directing Shadowless to follow along the path. "As much as you miss home, you... want to stay... and fight with the men you've been fighting beside for years. It was difficult... And there wasn't a day since I returned that I didn't think of going back. It wasn't until I was made Lord Treasurer that I felt I had a good enough reason to stay."
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:21 AM   #26
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Shiera passed beyond the treeline into the cool shadows of the forest. It wasn't nearly a thick enough woods to blot out the sunshine entirely, and rays of dappled sunlight peeked through holes in the canopy above. All above them was birdsong in full volume, the steady croak and buzz of thousands of tree frogs, the chirping of crickets on the forest floor.

There was an earthy, humid scent beneath the trees, the smell of rotting leaves and green growing things. Summerhall wasn't absent from all the smells and sounds of nature, as it set mostly by itself apart from a city, but half the year in Tal Volorro and the sounds of the woods were perfectly exotic. She relaxed in the saddle, exhaling a sigh before looking over her shoulder to Warrick behind. "Do you like your work?" she asked. "Obviously, Lord Treasurer is an honor... but do you enjoy it?"
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:30 AM   #27
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He watched her... and his smile was ready when she turned. "I do," he said, his voice light. "I have always liked being useful... and my talent was always in numbers and finance. The only thing I enjoy more is being a knight... and... this way, I get to be both." His eyes moved over her features, and his smile softened. "I told you that you look beautiful today, right? I... don't remember if I did... If I didn't, I apologize... But... you do look very beautiful, Shiera... Um... I mean... my lady."
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:45 AM   #28
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"You can call me Shiera," she said, laughing. There was a sudden burst of noise above their heads, birdsong sung in confused reply to the sound. "There's no one here to take offense, except for me... and I wouldn't. I'd all but accepted putting aside my title just a few years ago. Call me Shiera, please. Especially when we're here alone."

There was a flush to her cheeks, but it may have simply been the heat. "And... thank you. People say that so rarely to me that I'm not even sure how to reply. Thank you is fine, yes? Can I say that you're as handsome as ever?"
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:51 AM   #29
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"And... you can call me Warrick," he said in reply, his smile widening.

He tilted his head. "Rarely? I find that hard to believe. Well... you aren't a liar, so... I suppose I shall make amends for my sex... and tell you as often as I see you. As for me...? That depends... How handsome am I ever?"
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Old 01-20-2015, 01:48 AM   #30
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"Handsome enough that a woman might steal into your tent to find a bit of your hair in hopes that a spell might make you notice her," replied Shiera with a smile in her voice rather than on her face. "And handsome enough that she might be so frightened by your sudden appearance that she almost brains herself on a bedpost trying to not look ridiculous."

The footpath ambled down a small hill and into a clearing, sunlight streaming angled onto the empty ground. Shiera pulled back on Pudding's reins, then lifted a leg over the side of her horse and slid off her back, landing on both feet quite sturdily. "Ah.. there should be mushrooms here. Maybe some meadowsweet, if I'm lucky. Don't tell Melantha, but she's so hopeless and herblore. Have you ever learned any of it?"
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