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Thread: Sparking the First Knight's Ire - 11/12 morning, Dawn Barracks - Guy/Philippa

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    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    Sparking the First Knight's Ire - 11/12 morning, Dawn Barracks - Guy/Philippa

    The old man was stirring whatever the acrid liquid in his teacup was, blowing steam off the top of it with subtle indifference. Raising his eyes to where the younger man was stewing, he clicked his tongue admonishingly. "It happens to the best of us my lord," he said, trying to reassure his host. Augustus had grown accustomed to playing counselor to all the the members or the castle staff, especially the youngsters who were so quickly rising to power within Queen Vivienne's court.

    Guy was regarding the dark fluid in what had until recently been his tea cup. He wasn't sure what it was that the physician had brought him, but it didn't seem to be doing anything to calm his nerves. "It doesn't happen to me," he said defiantly, before sipping from the hot beverage. His face immediately twisted into a grimace and he coughed lightly. The older man had called it coffee, but Guy would have called it something far more offensive, had he been alone.

    Lereaux approached and took a spoonful of granules from the sugar bowl and dumped them into the knight's cup, before stirring it counter-clockwise. "All evidence to the contrary, son," he said with a knowing grin. "Though I don't know for the life of me why it bother's you so. You aren't omniscient. You can't expect to be," he added. "But I'm sure you'll figure it out," he said, before making his way for the door.

    Guy didn't stop the man. It had been an unscheduled visit, and the knight had Percival waiting in the training yard. He penned a quick missive and handed it to one of the guards before draining his cup and heading toward the back door.

    ************

    The banging on the door of the Delarose delegation's residence was almost strong enough to shake the building, and after the butler had opened it and spoken to the man who was waiting, he climbed the steps to the rooms where Philippa Avery was staying. He knocked on her personal door, far more timidly than the guard had before. "Mistress Philippa," he said somewhat shakily. "There are a pair of men here to see you," he informed her, and then knocked again before moving back down to the main hall to ensure that nobody else in the house was disturbed.

    The guards were patient, though not much for conversation. They were content to wait until Pippa appeared before them, and then one of them looked at the butler, who melted away before his gaze. The other cleared his throat and measured the woman, hoping there wouldn't be any trouble. "Philippa Avery," he asked, as though confirming her identity even as he continued without waiting. "You are hereby summoned to appear before the Commander of Dawn, without delay or protest," he informed her, pulling a note from his tunic, but not holding it up or proffering it for her perusal.

    The men were tense and armed, but no steel was drawn. Victoria, who had appeared just behind Pippa in the doorway yawned, and shook her mussed head as though to clear away cobwebs. "What's going on," she asked, but was hurried away by her governess before the guards could respond. The men seemed grateful to have escaped the conversation.

    "Come with us," he instructed her, though they made no move to restrain her, or even search her for weapons, they simply turned on their heels and expected her to follow them back to the barracks.


    @Philippa Avery
    Last edited by Guy Durand; 09-07-2017 at 01:42 PM.

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    The morning found Pippa up early, as was her habit, although she wasn't on duty for a little while yet. Yesterday had been quite a departure from her usual day, and she was still a little overwhelmed by everything. She needed to work off some extra energy, and she had intentions on going out to the back garden to do just that before breakfast. For now, though, she was content to do some idle maintenance on her blades while she listened to her mind buzz. This evening she would go back to where Lady MacHeath was staying and return the dresses she'd loaned her, and thank her again for everything; the woman had been generous and kind, and had kept an eye on Pippa throughout the ball in addition to her own obligations. She hoped she'd be able to keep in touch, once they returned to Eddleton; not just with Sophia, but with everyone else she'd met, too.

    Her plans, however, were interrupted by a knock at the door. She expected it to be one of Vicky's governesses, come to tell her the girl was up earlier than usual and ready for the day, but the cautious voice that met her was that of the butler, and he didn't sound happy. His message didn't make much sense, but perhaps Sophia had sent a couple people to collect her things, to save Pippa the trip. Nevertheless, the guard strapped her dagger into her boot again, just in case, and went down to the hall to meet her visitors.

    The men were definitely not from the MacHeath retinue, and Pippa's brows immediately furrowed with suspicion when they laid down their command. "Am I allowed to question, as long as I do it quickly and without complaining," she asked, feeling entitled to be a little sassy when met with such abrupt treatment. The slip of paper the man waved at her meant nothing if she wasn't allowed to read it, and everything about this screamed that something was wrong.

    When she heard Vicky behind her, Pippa erased any anxiousness from her face, though, and she smiled at the girl, hopeful that she wasn't too distressed by what she saw. Who could tell - maybe she had perfect reason to be alarmed. But panic was never helpful, and she didn't want to worry the girl if there was no real need. "Abigail," Pippa called as the men turned to leave, and she waited for the girl in question to appear and see them before she spoke. "Could you get someone to make sure Gress is awake and able to fill in for me? And give my apologies to Ser Torgood that I'm unable to report for my duties, but I've been summoned by the Commander of Dawn, and I'm apparently not allowed to know why or how long it will take."

    Without any further delay - since it had been expressly forbidden - she turned and followed the men, hurrying to catch up and fall in line behind them. She had no idea what waited for her when they arrived at their destination, but she had a strong feeling it wasn't going to be pleasant. But now Corran would know where she was and who had - in theory - summoned her, and he could do with that information what he would. For now, all she could do was go along with things and see how they unfolded.

    ----
    @Guy Durand

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    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    The guardsmen made no effort to harass or hustle the woman as she was led toward the Barracks of Dawn, and in fact the casual passerby wouldn't even have known they were traveling together. In fact, one had even smiled at her comment about complaining, though he wasn't about to acknowledge his humor in front of his colleague. The best she was afforded was the smallest of shrugs that probably only she could see.

    At this point, the woman had to be fairly comfortable with the walk, since it was the third time in three days that she had made it, and the guards were content to let her fall a few paces behind, so long as she was still moving in the right direction whenever one of them turned around. The crowds seemed to part before the men in uniform, and their route was far more direct than the wandering one that Percy had used two nights prior. At the pace they set, it was only a fifteen minute march to the training yard of the barracks, and they stood aside when they arrived so that the woman could enter.

    ****************************

    In most instances, Percival's speed and agility served him very well. He had been a master of the half pirouette and parry, and he was quick to cut with a counter attack. For the most part, the early hour hadn't done very much to slow his reflexes, and he danced and deflected blows with deft hands despite the fury and consistency with which they were being rained on him. The Sword of Summer gave up two inches of height and two inches of reach to his foe, and the short swords which he preferred gave up another four the to bastard sword in Guy Durand's right hand.

    To say that Percy was holding his own would have been accurate, though he was pressed and unable to counterattack for the majority of the duel. There weren't very many who turned the tables on the Knight of Autumn, and the man was definitely in season on the cool November morning. Torgood had not seen him this ferocious since the morning that Rubianne had left, but at least on that occasion it had been Gavin in the yard, with Percy just observing. But in a moment of conceit, the younger man rewarded himself for doing far better than Hepburn had that day.

    When Avery entered the yard, Percy had his back to her. He had just twisted agilely around and was about to cut at the commander's back, when Guy threw the larger blade over his shoulder on instinct and felt the short sword ring off of it harmlessly. Durand countered with a twist and overhand that Percy had anticipated, but as he threw his twin blades up to catch the descending bastard sword, his eyes spied the visitor, and hesitated. "Pippa," he asked in her direction, but received only the heel of Guy's boot in his chin as an answer. He had managed to turn to enough of an angle to avoid biting his tongue in half, but he was still seeing stars as he rolled onto his knees from the prone position he had been kicked to.

    "You're dismissed, Torgood," the victor said as he turned away and slid the sword into the sheath on his back. Remarkably, the man appeared to not even have broken a sweat, though whether or not the cool breezy morning played a role in that, or whether he was just in control of the encounter from start to finish was not immediately clear. Percy didn't seem to be perspiring too heavily, though he was breathing hard and slightly covered in dust. When he found his feet and started to move in Pippa's direction, Guy cut him off. "I said dismissed, Ser Percival," and the younger man froze and looked at Pippa, almost questioningly. Without waiting for an answer, he nodded to Guy and withdrew, casting one last glance at the woman before leaving to get cleaned up and hopefully discover what was happening on his own.

    Once he was around the corner, Durand turned back to face the woman. "Philippa Avery, I presume," he said to her, motioning to the weapon rack on the exterior wall of the barracks. "Choose your weapon, girl," he said to her, though without hinting at any bias based on her gender. The rack was full of various blades and spears and polearms, and Guy took the sheath and blade from over his shoulder and picked up a discarded longsword off the ground. "I understand your have years of martial training," he said casually as he waited on her. "It is one of the many things I have been told about you," he said, with finally a small hint of annoyance in his voice.


    @Philippa Avery

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    As she had walked along after the guards, Philippa's mind had been running through the range of scenarios that she could be walking into. If it was the Commander of Dawn summoning her, it was likely to be tied with either Percival or to the Queen. Perhaps there was some sort of security clearance she hadn't had to be allowed into the ball. That seemed most logical, to her mind. After all, what had she done with Percy? She'd been in the barracks with him, true, but that was hardly her fault, and if anyone were to be reprimanded for that it were him. The second time she was just returning his property, and she couldn't fathom a world in which the Dawn just simply weren't allowed to have friends, so it couldn't have been that they were out socializing.

    No matter what the reason was, though, when Pippa arrived she was in the frame of mind she inhabited when she was on the job. It seemed best, and was how she tended to deal with the unknown - and it seemed especially apt if that unknown just happened to be the man who led the most prestigious order of knights in the entire country.

    Even before she could tell who it was in the ring, Pippa could hear the familiar sounds of steel on steel. It was, she had to admit, a shock to see that it was Percival in the ring, and watching him as he fought brought forth a complicated rush of thought and emotion that she was not in any position to pick apart yet, so she pushed it all to the back of her mind. The other man in the ring had to have been Guy Durand; Sophia had pointed him out to Pippa at the ball, but she hadn't gotten the best look at him, and in this context he looked quite different than he had in his full regalia anyway. Instead of gawking, though, Pippa stood straight, hands clasped behind her back, and she watched with a technical eye as the two fought. Both were good, but Guy was more driven, and possibly more skilled; even if Percy hadn't seen her and gotten distracted, the bout might not have lasted much longer. She gave a little wince at the hit that had Percy down in the dirt, but largely kept her eyes on the man who had summoned her.

    In response to Guy's presumption, Pippa took the opportunity to bow to the commander. It seemed right; in every way he was her superior, and she couldn't think she could just show up in his presence, summoned or not, and not show him proper respect. She said nothing, but nodded to acknowledge the command, her expression never shifting from formal neutrality. Carefully, she considered her options, lifting each polearm in turn to check for weight and balance, before finally selecting one. It was lighter than hers, a blade on one side and a spike on the other, but considering what she'd seen, if Durand was intent on fighting her, she would be on the back foot the entire time. Stamina would be important, and she would need all the energy she could muster to avoid or absorb the blows he could deal.

    Stepping away from the weapon rack, she held the polearm straight at her side, at attention rather than at the ready. She didn't want to fight this man. She had no reason to fight him. But if he commanded it, she would. "I have some training, yes," she confirmed, but in answer to his annoyance, she hazarded a question. "Have I done something wrong, Commander Durand?"

    ----
    @Guy Durand

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    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    The man watched the girl for a long moment as she considered the choice of weapons, taking note of her selection process. None of the weapons were very sharp by design, but he was interested to see that she spent far more time considering the weight than the blade. He betrayed no judgment on her choice, but simply waited for her to be ready. Her question didn't surprise him, other than the fact that she had waited until after she had armed herself to ask it. "Had I been aware of you for more than twelve hours, I might be better equipped to answer that question," he said to her as he walked around her with his sword pointed at the ground.

    Dragging the point of the weapon through the dirt behind her, Guy put a deep groove in a straight line about three feet from where she was standing. As he moved back to the foreground, he lifted the blade up to his shoulder and looked at Pippa. "Can you hold that line from a frontal assault," he asked. He had thought about just challenging her and finding out, but he was curious about her opinion on the matter.

    Guy had no intention of hurting the girl, or even pressing her for more than a few moments. In a perfect world, he would have had a simple interview with her in the same manner that he had with Eliza, but the fact that Pippa had already been in the queen's presence without first being vetted by him had rubbed him the wrong way. And he still hadn't gotten the circumstances of that meeting, though the clear lack of focus in his former squire led him to believe that he would be a good place to start his inquiries. A sore jaw wouldn't be the only reward Percy got for knowing more about Philippa Avery than Guy did.

    "Behind that line is your charge. Be it king, child, or prisoner. Reinforcements are sixty seconds away, and there's only a single attacker. Assume a ten foot corridor," he said, motioning to the length of that mark he had left at her back. "So, I ask you again, can you hold that line?"

    @Philippa Avery
    Last edited by Guy Durand; 09-07-2017 at 07:47 PM.

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Guy was significantly taller than she was. Not, of course, that that was terribly unusual; this sort of job tended to favor larger, stronger men, although a well-rounded troupe always had a few shorter ones, too. But the two inches Guy had on Percival were at very least tripled, and so she had to look up quite a bit to meet his eyes. But meet them she did, and she held his gaze until he left her line of sight, and she wondered what, if anything, he was reading from her.

    It seemed clearer now that this was most likely about the Queen. If he had only known her for twelve hours, then she had known the Queen longer. And, if she'd had time to think about it more, she would have granted that his annoyance was warranted; it wasn't as if the royal family had led a safe and untouched existence, so as the one ultimately responsible for their safety, it was reasonable that he'd want to clear anyone who was going to be in close proximity. Why this meant he was taking it out on her, though, didn't seem fair. It wasn't as if she had known ahead of time, and nobody who had seen her with the Queen - or even the Queen herself - had told her she might want to check in with the Commander. Not Percy, not Corran, not Xavier or Jesse or Sophia, and not Vivienne herself. If she'd had time to be, she would have been more than a little annoyed.

    However, her whole focus was at the task at hand, and specifically, the question. "It isn't a matter of 'can'." Her reply was matter-of-fact, but without being flippant. "If there is someone or something behind that line that I have been charged to protect, I hold that line until I am no longer capable of doing so." Pippa shifted her grip a little, a little wariness creeping into her eyes. As he stood still she could sense the tension in Guy, and she couldn't help but feel like that sword was going to come off his shoulder and test her any moment now.

    "If you're asking more specifically, the possibility of holding out a full sixty seconds would depend on a few things. How fresh am I, and how fresh is my attacker? What's the attacker armed with? Is my charge compliant?" There were so many variables to consider. "But no matter what I do as much as I can, for as long as I can."

    -----
    @Guy Durand

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    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    Guy had a reputation for patience when dealing with most of the people who were in his employ. There were exceptions to the rule of course, and Percy could attest to the fact that he had seen the commander lose his cool with people who had tried to get too cute with him. Durand didn't yet think that he was at that point with the woman, but if he didn't head off the track she was on, it could quickly get to that point. "This isn't a lesson in tactical theory or disciplinary rhetoric, Philippa." He didn't close or even let the blade twitch from its place of rest. He merely took note of the woman's posture and facial expressions. "Nine in ten knights in the service of Queen Vivienne believe they can hold that line against three men, while suffering from dysentery. They would stake their family names on the fact," he added, his tone cool and confident. "And believe me when I tell you, some of those names aren't worth as much as yours."

    Turning and walking parallel to the line he had drawn, he turned his head so that he could keep one eye on the woman. "Let me see your grip," he said, as though he were drilling men in the castle. "From ready to low sweep to high block," he instructed and waited to see just how well the girl handled the polearm. If there was a weapon in which he was not an authority, it was the halberd. But that wouldn't stop Guy from knowing proficiency when he saw it. Most warriors who were worth their salt with the heavy weapons were better with one than he was, and had he been afforded more time in an unofficial capacity, he may have studied the weapons group at greater length.

    "There are very few things I appreciate in this world less than being told how to do my job, Avery." He was clearly not interested in a direct engagement with the guardswoman. "So when a child tells me that someone else is worthy of knighthood, I take the fact with a grain of salt. In fact, due to her young age, I'm inclined to find it rather adorable. Adorable, and somewhat amusing," he told her, though he didn't look amused at the moment. "So when I returned to my cousin's side last night and proceeded to share the humorous anecdote, the last thing I was expecting was for the Queen of Tuneric to affirm the child's opinion. How did she put it exactly," he asked himself, as though calling the encounter to memory. "I'm not so sure that she isn't," were her words as I recall.

    Guy stopped to see if any of these revelations struck his guest. "So I'm forced to wonder to myself, how is it that a child who hasn't seen ten winters, and the Queen of Tuneric who doesn't meet anyone without my knowledge, share such a high opinion of this person I have never met?" He didn't wait for her to offer a possible answer. "Oh, and let me not forget, that her mere appearance turns one of my best knights into a doe who is looking an archer dead in the eye as though his arrowhead were made of buttered bread." He had a few ideas about what the answer might be.

    "Assume you are fresher than I am, on four hours of sleep," he replied, simply because even though it wasn't his intention, he was mildly interested in her knowledge of theory. "Your charge is compliant, but panicked. You have no knowledge of how fresh your attacker is, but he is armed with a longsword. Assuming you are willing to die in the attempt, can you hold that line for sixty seconds?"


    @Philippa Avery
    Last edited by Guy Durand; 09-07-2017 at 10:10 PM.

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Durand's reprimand didn't cause Pippa to flinch; if anything, she found herself getting more and more annoyed. She hated getting toyed with, and that was very much what this felt like. The longer this encounter went on, the more she wished he'd just get to the point, make whatever decision he was working through, or in some other way make up his damn mind so she could get back to work. But, of course, none of this showed on her face. She'd had years of discipline in keeping a few layers between what she was expressing and what she was thinking, and so as he went on about how there were plenty of knights who were cockier than she was, she listened in respectful silence.

    "Let me see your grip. From ready to low sweep to high block."

    Without question, Pippa did as he told her, stepping out her foot and falling into a sturdy two-handed ready stance. Her grip was strong and secure, but not so tight as to be rigid, and as she swept through the motions he asked of her, her comfort with the weapon was clear. Even though the weight was a little different on this one, she knew where the balance would be at each step, how to control and not just depend on the momentum of the swing, and when she stopped at a position of a high block she was grounded and firm. She held that form for a few breaths, and then released, coming to stand back close to readiness.

    Although somewhat embarrassing, but fact that Vicky had taken it upon herself to inform Guy of her opinion that Pippa should be made a knight wasn't in itself surprising. What the guard wasn't ready to hear, though, was that Vivienne had, at least on some level, agreed. The surprise broke through her guarded expression for a moment, but it didn't look gleeful; instead, there was a tone of disbelief to it, and maybe even apprehension. Thankfully, she had her face back under control before Guy brought Percy up, or she might've been in danger of smirking. It was problematic, of course. She liked Percival very much, and knew they could be fast friends if time and situations had allowed. But if he fancied her, it would only complicate things, as it clearly already was.

    He had told her once that he wasn't interested in her ideas on tactical theory, and so she kept her answer simple. "Yes, I do believe I can." She might not be able to do much damage, or maybe even do anything but simply block, but Pippa was confident she'd be able to manage at least that much.

    ----
    @Guy Durand
    Last edited by Philippa Avery; 09-08-2017 at 10:31 AM.

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    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    The knight watched as Pippa completed the combination, but didn't say anything. In fact, he didn't actually know many other combinations for the weapon, and he wasn't inclined to make a fool out of himself with a complete stranger, no matter how well known she seemed to be anyone else. There were others in his command who were better with the polearm, most notably the Caldorans, and he would consult with them on the matter if he decided to go forward with the idea of Philippa remaining in Hebron.

    Guy could see in her posture that the girl was neither pleased or comfortable. There was no question about her discipline however, and that was a far more important building block than her demeanor. She had remained stoic for the most part as he explained to her the circumstances of her presence before him, but he was well versed in picking up on subtle cues. He also had enough tact not to bring them up when he saw them. "And what do you have to say for yourself," he asked her a little more casually than he had when it came to the matter of doing her job. "After all, my kid sister and my mother would tell you that I should have been a prince, but that doesn't make it so, nor does it mean that I ever wanted to be a prince," he theorized. "What Her Grace and young Lady Kendrick think is far less relevant than what is in your own mind. The knighthood is not something that one simply gets conscripted into."

    Raising his eyes, Durand saw Lexington and Percival in one of the windows on the second floor of the barracks, staring down into the yard. He didn't acknowledge them, despite his annoyance at their spying. He simply went back to regarding the woman with the weapon in front of him. Despite his comment, Guy had to wonder if all three of them hadn't actually been conscripted into it. Though in truth, they were far younger at that time than Pippa was now. And Pippa was fast approaching the point in her life where she would truly have to decide what it was she wanted. Family, children, security, all of these were goals of girls her age and younger. As fond as he was of Aoife, her size and appearance probably deterred most suitors. Philippa Avery would have no shortage of them.

    Raising his eyes finally at the statement of belief in her abilities, Guy nodded his head. "Good. Because you may be asked to someday," he told her before moving and hanging the longsword back on the wooden rack that was its home. "Can you ride," he asked her motioning her to a pair of stools that overlooked the small wall into the stables. Watching her arms, Guy surmised that she could probably hold a half lance, if not a full. But whether or not she could make use of it was a different matter. Knight, as a rule, were cavalrymen. He had been, Corran had been. Percival was sufficient, but not overly talented. The Caldorans and Hepburns were. "Do you own a horse of your own? Does it have the temperament for battle?" These were all important questions for a potential knight.

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    "And what do you have to say for yourself?

    Pippa didn't answer immediately. It wasn't that she didn't know; since the matter had come up more than once in the past few days, she'd come to know her own mind quite well on the matter. It was more that she didn't know Durand at all, and didn't know if she trusted him with the truth of it. A month ago she probably would have deflected, but something about the situation made her throw her caution to the wind. "I told Victoria recently that I would have liked to have been a knight, which is true. I didn't expect she'd go making demands to the effect, though." She allowed herself to smirk, letting some levity into her expression. "That isn't to say I'm dissatisfied with my current lot; I am incredibly fortunate to be learning from Commander Torgood, and I genuinely enjoy serving House Delarose. But I aspire to always better myself, and I find purpose in serving. I would consider it to be an honor to be able to wear the colors of an Order under the crown."

    She didn't speak as though she expected it; she still considered knighthood to be a thing she would strive toward to better herself but never achieve. It was a useful tool, but ultimately a dream that was increasingly out of reach. But she wasn't defeatist about it, either. She meant what she said when she'd spoken of working under Corran, and she enjoyed Victoria well enough to be happy keeping her safe for as long as she was needed.

    If she had been tempted to follow Guy's eyes back toward the barracks, Pippa didn't act on it. Perhaps wisely, she kept her attention focused on the man who stood before her with steel in his hand. She had somewhat expected him to challenge her with the blade in his hand, perhaps to test her more, but she watched him place it in the rack and leave without selecting anything else. Somewhere in the back of her mind there might've been some disappointment, but she knew that was incredibly foolish. She'd just watched this man hand Percival's ass to him. No matter how much energy she had to burn off, going toe to toe with the Knight of Autumn was not a smart way to do it.

    Following suit despite not being told to, Pippa returned her weapon to the rack and followed Guy to the stools he'd indicated, still feeling vaguely unsettled. She was still being tested, that much seemed clear, but the thing that bothered her was that she couldn't figure out to what end. If this was about her association with the Queen, what did having a horse have to do with it? "I can ride, yes. There's a horse in Eddleton I normally ride who's gotten used to having a halberd waved around in his peripheral vision, but I don't own him, and he hasn't been tested." She considered herself a fair horseman; she could ride for long periods of time without too much fatigue or discomfort, and she had excellent balance, so the drills she'd done with fighting on horseback had gone well. She could even reliably steer her horse using just her legs, although thus far it had always been in peaceful conditions.

    ----
    @Guy Durand

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    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    Guy listened carefully to Philippa elaborate on what was essentially her experience. If he found it somewhat heartwarming that she confided in a child, he didn't mention it. He was by nature a sentimental creature, but he was still wary of the woman. But only for a moment. He was about to interrupt her about Percival when it became clear that she meant the knight's father. And at his mention, Guy did interrupt her. "Corran Torgood?" She couldn't mean anyone else, if she was serving in House Delarose, and he was somewhat surprised that his cousin hadn't mentioned it. He was quickly learning that Vivienne might be more wily than he had ever given her credit for. "You're training under Corran Torgood?" Well, he had finally had something in common with the woman. If he had turned a snot nosed noble like Guy into the foremost knight in the land, imagine what he might do with someone who was as dedicated as Pippa seemed to be.

    The revelation explained how she knew Percival, and he had almost felt guilty about assuming that there was something more to their acquaintance than what was now obvious. Though he didn't feel overly bothered by the boot he had given his squire. Served him right for losing focus for whatever reason. It also served him right if he was the one who had introduced Avery to the queen without his knowledge. He would ask his cousin about it later, but for now he was simply happy to be piecing the puzzle together.

    Durand found himself wondering why he even continued this exercise, but he listened regardless. When she mentioned the horse in Eddleton, there was a loud snort from further in the stables, and Guy frowned in the direction from which it had come. "Mind your own business," he told the large white charger who seemed to be eavesdropping on their conversation. But when the beast refused to silence itself and kicked at the stall with his front hoof, Guy began to lose his patience again. "You don't even know what a halberd is, you goof. And you're not saddled. You can meet her later," he barked, only to be met with another snort, and then a neigh that seemed almost like a laugh. "Oh, you already have," he said, turning to eye his guest suspiciously.

    Raising an eyebrow at the woman, Guy folded his hands in front of himself and batted his eyes innocently. "Oh, Phillipa," he said slightly melodiously. "Is there, by chance, any person or beast in my life that you aren't already acquainted with? I understand I have been busy this week, but I would like to think that since you've met my squire, my mentor, my cousin, and my horse, that you might have taken a moment to introduce yourself to me." His level of amusement was beginning to match that of the previous night when he had first conversed with Vicky, but for a completely different reason.

    "I suppose that I only have one more question," he said to her leaning back in his chair. "Why haven't you told Corran of these aspirations? And if you have, what did he say?" He found it hard to believe that she had. He would have likely made her a squire on the spot. Perhaps that was precisely what she was already, and he had just never bothered to tell her. Either way, she had a better teacher in the art than he could assign her to. Vivienne had to know it as well. If the older Torgood was training her personally, then she was already well on her way to knighthood.


    @Philippa Avery

  12. #12
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    The girl gave a nod to confirm the Torgood in question, and again to assert that she was, indeed, training under Corran. She assumed a shared past was why he seemed somewhat incredulous, but not knowing much of Corran's history, Pippa could only guess at what that might've been. Maybe, given how these past few days had unfolded, it was time to ask Corran some questions. There hadn't been time for the two to do much talking outside of schedules and reports, and Pippa rather missed just talking to the man. However, how well he'd take to talking about what she wished to ask him, she wasn't entirely sure.

    Pippa might've startled a little at the interjection from the stables, a bemused smile crept onto her face when Durand - who had just handily intimidated and interrogated her - began to argue with his horse. It took all the restraint she had to keep from laughing, but she had to press her lips together to keep it that way. The urge to laugh faded as Guy turned his attention back to her, but the smile remained, a bright contrast to the controlled formality of her expression earlier. His list answered a question she'd had and one she hadn't, and she gave a bit of a helpless shrug as she spoke, and part of her wondered how he would be connected to the person she was going to name. "We did try. Lady MacHeath pointed you out to me at the ball, but you were speaking to someone, so we didn't want to interrupt. We didn't manage to find you again before I had to leave so I could be up for work this morning."

    The last question gave Pippa pause. Why hadn't she told Corran? "I suppose it never came up." She knew it was a weak answer, but she didn't really have a good one. "I never talked about it with anyone, really. It was always just one of those dreams that was nice to have but never really reality. The kind of thing that can occupy your mind when you can't sleep, or on the road home after a job." If Guy was paying attention, he might've been able to pick up on a note of discord in her eyes, although nothing else about her would have betrayed it; she still wasn't entirely comfortable talking about what she considered a silly dream. The reason why wasn't surprising. Boys were sometimes ruthless when they found something they could use to tease people, and Pippa had only made the mistake of giving someone that ammunition once. She'd managed to end the teasing by bloodying the one who'd been most vocal, but after that she'd kept what was true and dear to her close to her chest.

    -----
    @Guy Durand

  13. #13
    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    Pippa's apparent amusement didn't seem to bother the knight at all, and he smiled apologetically in return. That, and he was very much disinterested in discussing the conversation that he was having when they chose not to interrupt him, even if Victoria Kendrick had. As much as he had enjoyed the stolen time with Eliza Morgan, apparently he was missed more than he had realized. And while he was grateful for Vivienne's allowance of his leisure, he might have preferred that she had kept him closer. He had spoken to very few people, and now he was forced to consider what else he might have missed.

    "I apologize for not being more approachable," he told the girl, though he made no amends for the way he had dealt with her this morning. He had in fact taken Vivienne's words seriously, and if his cousin was considering knighthood for Pippa, there was nothing he could do about it. The queen had that power and didn't have to brook his or anyone else's interference. But now that he had met the woman, Guy was convinced that she wasn't likely to simply accept some honorary title without actually feeling like she deserved it. "I don't anticipate it being a problem going forward," he told her, as he looked to make sure Epsilon was behaving.

    "Philippa," he said, shaking his head and almost laughing. "I've known Corran Torgood almost my entire life. There's only two kinds of people he doesn't abide. Piss-ant squires who think that they are entitled to something they haven't earned. And knightly maidens who are afraid to ask for the things they have earned." If it sounded like Guy had just made that up, it was because he had. "Oh, and criminals. He doesn't have a lot of patience for criminals. Or incompetent stable hands. Cooks who don't make beef liver. You know, forget what I said. There's lots of people that Corran Torgood doesn't abide. But regardless, you should talk to him. And after you've talked to him, come back and see me. We'll figure out where you go from there."

    The knight was about to swing his legs away from the stable fence, and see to his other duties when he caught himself. "I'm sorry," he said. "Both that I took you away from your duties this morning, and that you didn't have the chance to speak with me last night. Was there any questions for me, before I let you get back to your charge?"


    @Philippa Avery

  14. #14
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa shook her head at his apology, although she didn't go so far as to dismiss it. As unintimidated as Percy had found her to be that first morning, she couldn't ignore the divide in status here, and it would have been inappropriate to wave his words off. "I could also have made a more concerted effort to introduce myself," she said easily. He didn't seem overly bothered, despite the apology, and she wasn't either, so she felt no need to make a bigger deal of it than that.

    "Oh, I'm not sure asking for things is where my problem lies," she said with a smirk. "How do you think I came to be working under him in the first place?" It didn't feel like too long ago that she'd confronted Corran so that he would take her seriously, although she supposed it had been awhile. She wondered what Percy would think of the story, and she resolved to tell him if it ever came up. In hindsight, it would have made a great answer when he'd asked him to tell her something real and true, although she supposed it wouldn't have met the condition that it couldn't have been something Corran knew.

    She had nodded at Guy's suggestion that she talk to Corran, but it was what came after that stopped her in her tracks. We'll figure out where you go from there. It was all she could do to stare at him while her mind raced, and it took her a moment to catch up as he paused after his question. "It's fine," she said absently, "Vicky's got another guard if she needed to go anywhere, and Corran knows where I am." Finally her senses kicked back in, and she shook her head. "I...what is it that you're offering me, when you say 'where I go from there'?"

    ----
    @Guy Durand
    Last edited by Philippa Avery; 09-09-2017 at 11:17 PM.

  15. #15
    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    It was not in Guy's nature to demure any more than he already had, and so he simply nodded his head as the woman conceded that they shared fault for their missed connection. Dwelling on it would have been a waste of their time, and the sooner they moved on from it, the sooner they could progress to more important topics. While the preliminary meeting had essentially been concluded, Durand was not opposed to exchanging a few pleasantries, and in order to do that it would be necessary to put the previous tenseness behind them.

    "I'm sure it's a story that would interest me," he said genuinely. Guy had a very strong affinity for Percival's father, and he was curious about just how the woman had talked him out of pseudo-retirement. Corran was well past the point of taking on squires of his own, and while he wasn't sure that was how Pippa or the elder Torgood would describe their relationship, it certainly appeared that he had enough of a vested interest to allow for something resembling the relationship. "Have you been studying under him long," Guy asked curiously. "Sadly, I don't get to speak with him much since he left Hebron, but I am surprised that neither he nor Percy had mentioned to me that he had a protégé."

    It was a reassuring fact that Victoria had other guards assigned to her. Doubtless she liked them less than she did Pippa, since she didn't recommend any of the others for knighthood. But it was good to know that if Avery came to reside in Hebron, that the girl would not be left without someone to look after her. "And no doubt curious as to why," Guy said with a chuckle. "In hindsight, I should have informed him of my intention to speak with you, but I was not necessarily interested in giving you advanced notice of the meeting."

    Her question didn't surprise him, as he had practically baited her into asking it. "As a non-noble, you're required to have a noble sponsor in order to qualify for knighthood," he told her as though it was something that everyone already knew. "It would carry more weight for you if that person were Corran Torgood. At least, it would carry more weight for me. And I would feel better knowing that I wasn't taking his man without his permission," he said, using the generic term for Pippa despite her gender. At this point, he didn't think he needed to elaborate any further, but in the interest of asking her question directly, spun off of his stool and patted the woman on the back. "I'm talking about your dream job, Avery."


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  16. #16
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    "I'll have to tell you some time," Pippa said with a smile. "Or you could ask Corran. I'd love to know how he'd tell it." She sometimes wondered what the man had thought of her in the beginning, when she'd come up to him after the Beacon had been attacked and all but demanded a chance to prove herself. She'd been so determined then, after so long of having been passed over, to be taken seriously and given a chance to earn the respect she craved. If where she was now was any indication, it had worked. "Since mid-July," she answered, after thinking about it for a moment. If Corran hadn't told Guy about the situation that had led to her promotion, she wouldn't either, even if it was tempting to elaborate. "I don't really know that I'd consider myself his protege, though. That's just when I was promoted into the group of guards he personally oversees." That was certainly how she saw it, at least, but if she'd looked at the situation from the outside it could easily look like Corran had taken a specific interest. She would admit that he spent more time with her than with the others, but would say that it was simply because she needed more work, or asked for more training.

    It was true that Corran was probably curious why she'd been summoned, but probably not half as much so as Vicky. "I can see the benefit of being abrupt," she conceded, and understanding at least partially the logic behind the way she'd been pulled from her morning routine made it easier to be less annoyed. "Although I am a little surprised he hasn't come to see for himself. Victoria saw your men fetching me, so I imagine she's been out of her mind trying to figure out what's going on." Pippa looked over her shoulder toward the road, almost as if she expected to see the two coming toward the yard.

    Pippa hardly knew what to say when the truth of the matter was laid out bare before her. What does one do when offered the chance to attain a dream they'd never expected to come close to touching? "A noble sponsor...right," she confirmed, not quite sounding as gobsmacked as she felt, but not pulling off 'composed', either. She was going to have a hell of a lot to think about on the walk back to the Delarose manor. "Is there anything else you need of me right now?" Movement caught her eye, and she looked to see the knight she recognized as Lexington, in full Dawn regalia. He looked over to them and nodded his head to his Commander before hustling toward the castle. "Or shall I leave you to your tournament preparations?" Although she'd forgotten in the mild chaos of the morning, the archery tournament was due to start later this morning, and she was sure Guy had more important things to be doing than continuing a conversation that could be put off until later.

    ----
    @Guy Durand

  17. #17
    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    "I am in fact overdue for a conversation with the old man," he confirmed, now that he thought about it. "Although, if you tell him I called him that, I can assure you that the next time you step into this yard will not be nearly as pleasant as this one," he said, smiling despite the threat. "Though I am relatively certain that he will not transfer you into the queen's service without first demanding a meeting about it. So I will have the opportunity in the near future, I would think." There was the slimmest possibility that Torgood would deny the request, but if he had a candid conversation with Pippa about it between now and then, Guy didn't think it was likely. After all, he had let his only child into Guy's care, and it had turned out well so far.

    The idea that Pippa thought that her employer might come looking for her was almost amusing to Guy. He shook his head and chuckled. "Not before lunchtime I don't think," he said honestly. "Among all the other things we have in common, Corran Torgood and I have both lived our lives on either side of a dungeon cell door," he informed her. "Nobody is immune to being detained in Hebron, not even Queens and Commanders of Dawn," he said with a chuckle. "If you weren't back by mid-afternoon, he might pay me a visit, but an hour's worth of disappearance likely isn't enough to concern him, even with the youngster asking questions." In fact, Guy would be less surprised if he saw Victoria coming around the corner by herself. From his experience, she was far more insistent than her guardian had ever been.

    The appearance and disappearance of Lexington was routine for Guy, and he gave the other man a half wave. In the time since he had come to Hebron, the Knight of Autumn had come to appreciate how steady the Caldoran knight was. It was truly a shame that they were so close in age, or he would have been the perfect candidate to replace Guy when it came time for him to retire. And Vivienne seemed to like him as well.

    Turning back to Pippa, he sensed the small amount of shock in her tone and smiled. "Right now? No," he told her flatly. Looking over his shoulder in the direction of the tourney yard, Guy shrugged. He was to be more of a spectator today, though he did want to make sure that he wouldn't be late, lest he not be there to support Eliza in the competition. "But, when you return, I will need the name of the stable master in Eddleton, and the name of the horse you've been training with, so I can have him transferred out to continue your work," he told her with a small nod and a confident tone that made it clear that he did not expect his request to be denied or questioned. He could have had Pippa start breaking a new beast, but if the one she was riding was still in his prime, he would simply compensate Lady Delarose for the sacrifice.


    @Philippa Avery
    Last edited by Guy Durand; 09-11-2017 at 12:00 PM.

  18. #18
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa's lips curled into a smile at the 'old' designation placed on Corran by his former student, and she put a finger to her lips to promise she would keep it to herself. Although she knew now she'd gotten off easy, the way she'd entered the yard hadn't exactly been ideal this time, and she dreaded to know what the Knight of Autumn was like when he was angry. She thought it almost a guarantee that Corran would want to talk to Guy about whatever arrangement was to be made, and she wondered absently if she'd be present for any part of it. Probably not, all things considered, but it didn't bother her too much. If it had been anyone else deciding her future, she would have been uncomfortable with the whole thing, but Corran had her trust.

    It hadn't necessarily been out of worry that she'd thought Corran might appear, but rather curiosity. But Guy was right; the man wasn't likely to worry himself too much over what was going on. Especially if he knew Guy as well as he must, for all Pippa knew, Corran was savvy on what was going on already, and her bringing the matter to him would just be confirmation. She would have to figure out how to broach the subject, if he didn't just ask when she returned to the manor. And then she'd have to figure out how to tell Vicky.

    Guy's task for her was a simple one, and Pippa nodded confirmation. "Yes, Ser." But with his instructions dawned another realization: this meant she was going to be staying in Hebron. Which, on one hand, meant she could perhaps see more of the people she'd met and enjoyed; three of the five lived in Hebron, and Westbury wasn't far. But on the other, it meant the situation with Percival just got a lot more complicated. Even with that, though, she couldn't help be excited about everything, and she genuinely wished she could see Percy's face when he learned that she would be staying. She wasn't sure what she'd see there, but she wished she could know nonetheless.

    "I'll let you know when I've spoken to Corran, and get you those names" she said, standing. Overwhelmed as she was, it was easier to focus on what needed to be done for now, rather than get lost in all the things to consider. She was a little annoyed she hadn't brought the horse in question; it would have made it much easier. But since she'd ridden in the carriage with Victoria most of the way, they'd cut down on the number of horses they'd had to bring, and hers had been one to be left behind.

    She didn't want to obligate Guy to linger any longer lest he be late for more pressing matters, so Pippa stood to attention and bowed. "Thank you, for offering me this chance." She didn't make any promises to not let him down, or to prove herself; she would let her actions speak for her when the time came. "I look forward to meeting with you again soon."

    ----
    @Guy Durand

  19. #19
    House Durand Guy Durand's Avatar  

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    It was apparent that the woman was a likable enough person, and even though he had yet to piece together exactly how she knew Vivienne and Percival, Guy couldn't help but feel that everyone's first impression of Philippa Avery seemed to mirror his own. For Durand, a conversation with Corran Torgood was merely a formality. If Pippa had been in his employ already, he would be finalizing the details of her new assignment in that very moment. But as much as he was convinced that she belonged, at least for the time being, in the service of the crown, he was sympathetic to the situation with Victoria, and didn't want to being upheaval into the child's life, even if this had all been her own idea.

    The knight appreciated the reverence and decorum that Pippa already seemed to have instilled in her, and wondered if that was Corran's doing or just something that came naturally to her. He already envisioned that she would be less of a management problem than Larson and Gavin, even if her final destination wasn't his own particular order. The Knights of the Sword were, as a group, young and impressionable. Avery would be the latest of them to begin her journey as a squire, but by the time she had graduated to her oaths, she would be ready to lead them, if she eventually became what Guy believed she could be.

    Guy nodded at her answer, and smiled. "I'll be waiting," he told her, making a note to prepare the order well ahead of time so that all he had to do was attach the proper names to it. As she bowed and turned to leave, the knight halted her. "We don't bow here, Philippa," he told her, standing to attention himself. "Safe travels," he said, pulling his right hand up to his left breast in the accepted salute of the knighthood. "And you're welcome," he said to her, without making it sound coddling or patronizing. "We look forward to seeing you again as well."

    Watching her go for a moment, Guy eventually turned to find the sun and determine just how much of the morning was gone. Dusting off his pant leg, he turned and headed for his quarters, wondering how much more eventful the day could become.


    ~fin~

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