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Thread: A Change in the Stars - 11/12, morning, Delarose residence, Corran/Pippa/Vicky?

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    A Change in the Stars - 11/12, morning, Delarose residence, Corran/Pippa/Vicky?

    The guards who had led her to the barracks had been right to assume she knew the way fairly well, which was good, since on the way back Pippa was barely thinking about where her feet were taking her. Every so often she would emerge from her thoughts enough to find the landmarks which would point her in the right direction, but otherwise she was moving through the morning crowds largely on autopilot, avoiding people and obstacles without really thinking about it.

    There was too much else in her mind, vying for attention. Up until an hour ago, she'd had goals for her future which were within reasonable expectations; goals which kept her close to home, with a security net and enough potential for growth to keep her satisfied. Now, though...now she had been offered her dream job, almost out of the blue. It would mean a harder life, but - and here was the trade-off - hopefully a more satisfying one. She would be able to achieve so much more as a knight of the crown. As a Knight of the Crown. Just thinking those words brought a giddy smile to her face.

    Only one conversation stood between her and that dream now, and she was on her way toward it. And yet, she found her mind drifting back to something else, no matter how she tried to steer it away. Or rather, someone else. Two nights ago she had let herself be charmed by Percival Torgood, seemingly safe in the fact that within days there would be miles between them. Last night, she'd laid there in bed, staring at the ceiling and arguing with herself, and she'd thought that reason had eventually won. What they'd shared that cold night had been wonderful, but it hadn't meant anything grander, anything deeper. She would miss him when she was back in Eddleton, but in the same way one misses a good dream upon waking. But now she had an opportunity to stay. And not just stay, no - stay, and work in at least some capacity with his Commander, having been sponsored by his father. It complicated things in a way that Pippa wasn't sure she wanted to unpack in her mind yet.

    Finally, she arrived back at the Delarose estate, and she took a deep breath as she opened the door. The butler was there, still looking a bit shaken, and his eyebrows raised when he saw her, perhaps surprised that she was back so soon. "Has Ser Torgood left for the day yet," she asked him, and he shook his head, and nodded toward the stairs. She didn't bother thanking him, but she did give him a nod before she turned and hurried up the stairs. She couldn't hear Victoria, which either meant the girl was out of the house or that she was being sufficiently occupied, and Pippa half wondered if she'd find her when she tracked Corran down.

    Turning down the hall, Pippa made her way for the room that had the illuminated window Percy noticed two nights prior. The door was pulled mostly closed, and she rapped lightly with her knuckles. "Ser? Can I interrupt you for a moment?"

    ----

    @Corran Torgood

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    House Torgood Corran Torgood's Avatar  

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    Victoria had been practically unmanageable for the last hour, and Corran had gotten nothing done until he had sent Gress out with the girl to look for Pippa, making sure to send them the long way around, hoping that they wouldn't find her. Torgood wasn't concerned about the woman, since he knew Guy well enough to know that if there was a problem with someone on his staff, he would have approached Corran directly before bothering to summon the girl. Whatever it was that the Knight of Autumn desired of Pippa, the older knight didn't believe that she would be detained for any longer than was necessary. If he had to suppose, he felt confident that it involved his son, and the all too late hour at which he had been out with the woman. Corran had not asked her about it, and she had not volunteered any information.

    He had just finished his letter to Aracella when he heard the footfalls on the steps down the hall. Since he was the only one on the second floor at the moment, he was confident that he was about to be interrupted. Folding the parchment and sealing it with the warm wax he had heated, he set it aside to be delivered later. The knight lifted the tea cup that was on the corner of his desk and sipped at it, seemingly unbothered that the liquid had gone cold some time ago.

    Lifting his sword belt from the small round table by the window, Corran belted it on and folded his fingers into his palm until the knuckles cracked one by one under the applied pressure. He was not surprised to find that the visitor was Philippa Avery, and he smiled at the question. "The door's open Avery." He turned to look at her as she entered and took a measure of her appearance. She was in one piece, and didn't seem overly dejected, so whatever her rendezvous was about, it hadn't done her any harm.

    But before he could ask her about it, Corran had a somewhat wild idea. And now he was forced to wonder if she had even spoken to Guy Durand. Or, if she had been summoned to see him as a pretense, or some other arranged plot by Percival to get her out of her morning duties so that he could see her again. And perhaps she was now here due to guilt, and he could put an end to the silliness once and for all, now that he had a reason and she hadn't been on her personal time.

    "Would you like some tea," he asked, frowning at the setting and adding, "It's gone cold I'm afraid, but help yourself." Moving to take the seat that faced the center of the room, he motioned her to the one at his desk, knowing well that Pippa could be trusted, and nothing he had on top of the surface would be pried upon. "What's on your mind, child?"


    @Philippa Avery

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Now that she was faced with the conversation, Pippa wished she'd spent more of her walk home thinking about what she was going to say and not about the one man her boss was likely to have a problem with her spending any time with. Corran was still intimidating in many ways, not least because she was so eager to impress him. Now she was forced to consider what would happen if he had a problem with what she'd come to talk to him about. What if he didn't think she was up for it? If he didn't, then Guy wouldn't. But, she supposed, then she would just work harder. If her dream was within reach now, it might be again, later.

    Entering the room and closing the door as much as it had been behind her, Pippa gave a small bow of greeting. "Thank you, Ser." She crossed and poured herself a cup, not particularly bothered that it was cold. "I wanted to apologize for not being able to report for my morning duties. I trust Abigail let you know what happened?" She moved to sit, waiting for confirmation before continuing. More than likely he'd heard first that people had come to collect her from Vicky, but she did hope that Abigail had put a finer point on it.

    "Guy Durand is an interesting person," she said with a bit of a smirk, not at all being sarcastic. "He has an unusual way of introducing himself." She wondered how much of this story Corran already knew; she wouldn't be at all surprised to find out her boss had spoken to everyone involved and was just waiting for her to go to him personally. "I hadn't managed to find him yesterday when he wasn't too busy to interrupt, and I guess the Queen mentioned something about me to him." Although her pitch carried on as normal, there was no keeping the look from her face that spoke to exactly how strange she still found the idea that a royal even knew who she was. "So he had to find out who I was, and satisfy himself that I wasn't any sort of threat. He didn't know I worked for you, so he was rightfully suspicious." It was clear she didn't blame him for the abrupt treatment, even though presumably Corran didn't know what had happened beyond her being forcibly removed from the house.

    -----
    @Corran Torgood
    Last edited by Amy; 09-14-2017 at 10:19 AM.

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    House Torgood Corran Torgood's Avatar  

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    "Abigail didn't get the opportunity," he said with a smile on his face. He sifted through the papers on his end table until he found one that he held up for her. "Apparently young Victoria learned quite a lot while you two were touring the castle together," he informed the woman. "She has drawn me quite the elaborate map for how she thinks we ought to go about busting you out of the dungeon," Corran explained. He turned the paper to look at it again, and shrugged his shoulder. "I'm not unconvinced that it wouldn't have worked, if she could have mustered the manpower." At no point did the old knight think that it would be necessary either. He would have been very surprised to find that Pippa had committed any kind of offense for which she would be held at length.

    Corran hadn't bothered to investigate the woman's disappearance. After all, once he had spotted her with Percival and Vivienne the other evening he could hardly be surprised about anything else she might be up to. Now that the coronation proper was over, the need to an overly close monitoring of Victoria was past, and he wouldn't blame Philippa for doing a little site seeing. "Guy Durand is the perfect example of a man who had enormous potential that could only be achieved by beating it into him," Corran corrected her knowingly. "But he was always a quick study and learned well by example. I have no doubt that your friend Ser Percival traveled a similar path in becoming the knight he is now," the old man said, making mention of his son for the first time in Pippa's presence. He was curious, but polite, and didn't feel the need to grill his officer about their relationship.

    If Corran doubted the tale about Guy's motives, he didn't let on. Though Aramis had been poisoned on Torgood's watch, Durand had always treated it like a personal failure, and then the business with Orvailles only compounded his paranoia. "The Commander is well enough connected that I don't doubt he could have discovered who you were, where you came from, and who you worked for. I do hope he went easy on you though. I have noticed that he likes to be rather intimidating as a rule when it comes to first impressions. But he has trouble sustaining it. Soft heart, I think," Corran explained, without sounding overly critical of his former pupil.

    In the old man's mind, he didn't think any of what Pippa described as having had happened warranted such a lengthy report. He hadn't sent for her, and he rarely questioned her motives or actions. Picking up the tea cup, he paused before sipping and asked rather casually, "Was there anything else?" He suspected there was, but he made point of staring into his cup as he drank, so as not to make the girl feel ill at ease. If there wasn't, then they could both be on with their day.



    @Philippa Avery

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa frowned to find that the maid hadn't delivered her message. It seemed pretty important to her, to let the current master of the house know when armed men had come to take away a member of his staff, and for her to have failed to report it when specifically asked didn't sit well with the guard. However, she wasn't much in a position to do anything about it, other than adjust her expectations of the maid's reliability, and hope it had been some outside force that had kept her from doing what she'd been asked.

    The frown quickly disappeared, though, at the production of Vicky's map. She smiled and shook her head, amazed at how much the girl soaked up without seeming to. Anyone on that tour would have believed Vicky was just like any other child, easily bored and not really paying attention. Even now, though, underestimating her was done at one's own peril, and Pippa couldn't help but feel like if the behavior persisted as the girl grew, she was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

    It was odd, now, hearing Corran mention his son, especially in such a clipped and formal way. She didn't react specifically, her courteous smile not shifting as he told her of how the two men had achieved their potential, but it reinforced the impression she had that father and son were in no way close. She couldn't even be sure they liked or knew one another, outside of the connection of their shared blood. It seemed a shame, but in the end it wasn't really her business. It would, however, make things more difficult for her, if Corran disapproved of her having any association with his son.

    "Easier than I anticipated, considering how the interaction started," she said, and she didn't have a hard time believing Corran's estimation of the man. It matched up fairly well with how things had gone - although if she were honest, she still found him intimidating, soft heart or not. "He only pointed steel at me for a little while."

    "Was there anything else?"

    It wasn't pointed, but Pippa could almost hear the expectation that she wouldn't have wasted his time if there weren't something more important than her apology and observations of his former squire. "There is," she confirmed, and for a moment she struggled with how to phrase what came next. "Did you know that Vicky's been telling people I should be a knight? Including telling the Commander of Dawn?"

    ----
    @Corran Torgood
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    House Torgood Corran Torgood's Avatar  

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    Corran took note of the woman's appreciation of the map and Vicky's sentiment. They had become quite the pair over recent weeks, and he couldn't help but think how difficult it would be to separate them once the time had come. Whatever the old knight thought of the claim by the Hunter woman that she was Victoria's mother, he very much considered Pippa to be her big sister, and both of them in their own ways, daughters he had never had. Corran was stoutly of the opinion that Avery went far in keeping Victoria grounded, mostly by being a good role model and conversationalist. Too many of the other servants of the house would yield to the child, simply based on her status and title, or based on the desire for her to be quiet. It was easier to give her what she wanted and let her go away. But Pippa genuinely seemed to enjoy her time with Victoria, and it mellowed the younger girl out.

    If it was Torgood's hardened nature that seemed to make him unsympathetic to the idea that Guy had intimidated her, either with words or actions, then it was only because he had built up that demeanor over years of trying to understand the actions of others. He wasn't about to look upset or offended at the circumstances of Pippa's meeting with Guy Durand, especially not after she had worked so hard to be treated equally to her male counterparts, any of whom would likely have wilted in front of the Knight of Autumn. "Until you knocked it from his hand," Corran asked, knowing that the woman would probably never deign to strike at the knight, yet at the same time using a tone that made it sound like that was precisely what Torgood expected of her.

    The former leader of the Knights of Dawn raised an eyebrow at the girl. He took a glance at the door, even though he knew nobody was there. Turning back to the woman, he folded his hands behind his head and seemed to lean back in his chair. "That you should be a knight? Or that you wanted to be a knight," he asked, in that odd manner that a parent asks a child a question that they already know the answer to. He might not have spoken with Guy Durand about his young guardswoman, but that didn't mean that he hadn't heard about her adventures about the town. After all, he had overseen more than his fair share of stops at the barracks that he knew most of the tour guides by name. And most people considered young Victoria to be quite quotable. That was her nature.

    But if Corran thought that Pippa was embellishing or deflecting any possible involvement in the way events were unfolding, he didn't seem to mind. "I saw her march right up to him at the ball last night, if that is what you are asking, though I didn't eavesdrop on their conversation. You above all people should know what she is capable of if one doesn't keep a close enough eye on her." If there was one thing Corran held to oath, and surely Pippa knew it from experience and told tales, it was that he never held a child accountable for being a child. And he wouldn't let anyone else use a child as an excuse for events they might have otherwise controlled.

    "But I don't believe you came here just to tattle on your little friend for being overly ambitious on your behalf. So speak plain, girl. There's no need to qualify anything to me," He had always allowed Pippa to speak without hindrance, and he wasn't sure why she seemed so hesitant to do so now.


    @Philippa Avery
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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    "It didn't get that far," Pippa said, the hint of a bemused smile on her face. She knew - and Corran might've, as well - that she wouldn't have been able to best the Knight of Autumn, but they both also knew that she would have given it her all. She'd worked too hard to be taken seriously and as an equal to her male counterparts to be flustered whenever she was confronted with a challenge.

    "That you should be a knight? Or that you wanted to be a knight?"

    If Pippa was bothered by the parental tone of the question, she didn't show it. "Both. In the same breath, even. But I'm not sure which wording she used with the Commander." She tried to think back to what he'd told her, to see if he'd mentioned it, but if he had she couldn't remember his wording specifically enough. What stuck with her was what Vivienne had apparently said to him. "To be fair, I told her some time ago that I would've liked to have been one. I probably should have anticipated that she'd bring it up." She didn't regret confiding in the girl, though. She might've been somewhat embarrassed, but she wasn't really ashamed.

    And then came the gentle prompting to get to the point that Pippa had somewhat anticipated. She had no idea how Corran was going to react to what she had to tell him, but she steeled herself and met Corran's eyes, determined to face whatever was to come without shying away. "He offered me a chance at knighthood." No one emotion stood out in her expression, and in her eyes were shades of everything she was feeling - hesitant hope, unease that came with the prospect of a big change, sadness at the idea of leaving a position she genuinely enjoyed. She left it there for now, knowing that letting Corran ask the questions he had was more efficient than her relating the conversation needlessly, but she couldn't help but be a little nervous about how he would receive the news.

    ----
    @Corran Torgood

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    House Torgood Corran Torgood's Avatar  

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    "Guy appreciates decisiveness," he told her casually, as though he were somehow preparing her for future meetings with the knight. "He is of the opinion that hesitation causes people their lives." Corran of course could see the merit in that, as well as the fault. He would probably have made different decisions, but the Order was Guy's to protect now. There was a time when the older man might have counseled Guy on the matter, but those days were long in the past at this point. "I'm not saying that you should attack him on sight, mind you. But he would rather you didn't let him intimidate you. If at all possible."

    Corran listened to the explanation with some mild interest, but only for his own understanding of the child. "Regardless, it would seem that your young friend was quite determined in helping you in any way she could," he said, and marveled at how well the girl seemed to have succeeded. Whether or not he thought that Pippa was capable of predicting Vicky's actions, he certainly couldn't hold it against her if she had failed. The child was whimsical as well as determined, and he would not have wanted to wager money on when and where she would choose to focus her energies. "Perhaps you should consider her as your personal litigator," he said with a smile, wondering what it would be like to have Victoria negotiate on his behalf, even with lords of the realm.

    When the obvious was brought to light, Corran didn't seem to react one way or another. He leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers in front of his mouth thoughtfully. He studied her for a moment, but saw that she was betraying nothing one way or the other. Silently, he wondered if her recent friendship with Vivienne and Percival factored into Guy's decision. Not that it mattered at the moment, as the issue was already on the table. "And you told him," he asked, curious if she had made up her mind yet. Clearly she had come right to him with the news, and hadn't had time to discuss it with anyone else.

    His eyes flicked once toward the door, immediately aware that they were being eavesdropped on, but he made no move to scold the child or chase her away. What Pippa would have to say on the matter was no doubt equally important to the young girl's future as it was to the guardswoman's. And if Vicky was invested, it was because Pippa had allowed her to be so.


    @Philippa Avery

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    The insight into Guy's character was interesting and, if her immediate future unfolded down one path before her, Pippa felt it might come in handy, too. "He's not wrong," she observed, although her tone made it clear that she didn't necessarily think he was right, either. It wasn't necessarily her place to say, either way; she was far less experienced than Corran, or Durand, or Percival, but Corran had never made her feel like that meant she had to bite her tongue. She made an effort to reason through everything she could, and he repaid that effort by correcting her where she erred and letting her learn, rather than making her feel stupid. It was a system that worked very well for the girl, and was one of the reasons she learned so quickly under the elder Torgood's watchful eye. She merely nodded to acknowledge the last point on the man, not feeling confident enough about him to comment other than that.

    "It certainly seems that way," she said, chuckling. She couldn't have known the girl would latch on to what she'd said, or get it into her mind to try and make what had seemed impossible come true. Pippa wondered absently if it was something in the way she'd spoken of it that had made it stick; she didn't really remember much of the conversation now. She could never have known it would sow the seeds for this level of interest at the time. "I don't doubt she'd be able to do it," Pippa said, smiling along with her boss. "Woe be to he that underestimates that girl." The last was said as a compliment, with more than a little pride.

    The lack of reaction from Corran did nothing to ease Pippa's nerves, and she tented her fingers around her teacup, thankful in that moment that it had gone cold before she'd even gotten to it. "He sort of didn't ask me, one way or another. I mean, he asked what I had to say for myself, about what Vicky had told him, and I said that I'd wanted to be a knight when I was a kid, but that I enjoy my current posting and still have a lot to learn here, although I think it would be an incredible honor to be able to directly serve the Crown someday." All of that was true, and she remembered how struck Durand had seemed when she'd mentioned working under Corran. She might've been tempted to mention it, if not for the fact that she, too, realized that they were not alone. Quietly, Pippa rose from her chair and crossed to the door, pulling it open and revealing their small spy.

    Rather than shoo Vicky away, Pippa held out her hand, beckoning the girl to join them. She had hoped to get Corran's take on the matter before bringing it to Vicky, but she couldn't be upset. "I'm sorry I wasn't here this morning," she told the girl as they went further into the room, and when Pippa sat down again she slid back far enough that the girl could sit in her lap if she liked. "How much did you hear?" She hadn't properly answered Corran's question yet, and it would have been clear to him, but if Vicky was now part of this conversation it was important for Pippa to make sure she was up to speed.

    ----
    @Corran Torgood

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    House Torgood Corran Torgood's Avatar  

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    Whether or not Corran agreed that Guy was not wrong was a matter that didn't need to be discussed. Depending on what Pippa ultimately decided, the older knight wasn't about to undermine the current Commander of Dawn. "Every confrontation is different," was all he said on the matter, but smiled to let her know that he wasn't taking himself too seriously. In the end, he had always believed that a variety of instructors was a path to well developed form, and that learning the same lessons from different perspectives was valuable in and of itself.

    The idea of Victoria as anything but a child seemed to puncture Corran right in the gut. Even though it was inevitable, he didn't want to consider the idea that she might one day grow up, or that she might one day move on from the odd little family they had built. "I am not sure that she can be overestimated," he countered when he thought about it. Vicky Kendrick had never really disappointed in any way that mattered, and he struggled to imagine a scenario in which she ever would. Even given the possible influence that her father might one day have on her. She certainly seemed to handle her Uncle Chase well enough, and if that was an indication of her ability, it was enough to leave Corran confident.

    Torgood didn't seem the least bit distressed about the girl being invited in, and watched patiently as she climbed up to sit in Pippa's lap. She had on her own riding breeches this morning, in lieu of a dress. The two of them were scheduled to ride after the archery competition, and Corran didn't see a need for her to have to change later. "It's okay," the girl told Pippa in a surprisingly indoor voice for her. "I knew you would be back," she assured her protector. The girl seemed to scoot her bottom a little to get comfortable, and then leaned back against Pippa in the chair. "Just got here," she said, but didn't ask any questions about what had transpired before she arrived. She left that to Corran.

    "Mistress Avery had a meeting with the Knight of Autumn, who decided that he needed to speak with her, after a certain little bossy-britches decided to talk to him last night at the coronation ball," Torgood told the child, and watched as her face blushed a little bit. "It seems that he wants her to consider your suggestion that she begin her training to be a knight."

    Victoria's mouth fell open at first, but she closed it at a glance from Corran. Turning to crane her neck up at Philippa, the girl had an inquisitive look on her face. "Are you gonna?" She was bouncing a little bit, and patting the woman on the top of her thigh impatiently. "Are you gonna be a knight?"


    @Philippa Avery

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    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Settling back in her chair, with the girl perched on her lap, Pippa felt somehow better about the situation, even though she were no more in control now than she had been moments ago. She had one arm loosely around Vicky, and with her other she leaned on the arm of the chair, peering around the girl so she could still see Corran. Waiting until she'd made herself comfortable, Pippa gave her a little squeeze for the easy acceptance of her apology. She hated disappointing her young ward, and the likelihood of that might just have been the thing she was looking forward to least with this conversation.

    Pippa had to suppress her grin at the way Corran caught her up, and she noticed without surprise that Victoria didn't seem ashamed of herself at all to have sparked the event that saw her guard being all but dragged out into the morning. It was entirely like her to not be sorry until it was absolutely clear she'd done something wrong, and when Torgood finished with the news that the Commander was thinking about training Pippa, it was all but confirmed that she'd helped rather than hindered.

    "I haven't decided yet," Pippa replied honestly, although with more of a smile on her face than she would have had otherwise. Although others might've, Pippa never really changed her tone when she spoke to Victoria; she spoke to the girl as if she were any other person, not adopting a special cadence or pitch just because she was a child. "Commander Durand seemed to assume it was more a question of getting Ser Corran's permission and sponsorship than it was me agreeing to it." She glanced to Corran, unsure what he'd make of that, although it went along with his earlier comment that Durand liked decisiveness. He probably didn't expect her to waver, and she was fairly certain he'd be disappointed in her if he knew she was even the least bit conflicted.

    "It would be the biggest change I've ever made," she went on, although she didn't speak of the change as if it frightened her. "I really like living in Eddleton, and learning from Ser Corran, and seeing you every day, and taking Durand's offer would mean leaving all that behind." She paused, letting the truth of those things sit for a moment before she went on. "But someone just offered me the chance to try and be the thing I've dreamed of since I was little. That's not an opportunity that seems like it will come twice, and I feel like it would be foolish of me to not grab it with both hands."

    ----
    @Victoria Kendrick

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    House Kendrick Victoria Kendrick's Avatar  
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    The young girl seemed to frown a little bit at the assertion that there was hesitation on Pippa's part, but she didn't say anything at first. There wasn't any real reason that she could imagine why the older girl should decline, since this is what she had said she dreamed about. Victoria wasn't sure she understood what Pippa meant by sponsorship, but she did know about getting permission. Looking at Corran, the girl seemed to lean forward off of Pippa's chest. "Ser Corran," she asked in a voice that was almost pleading. "Pippa's allowed to be a knight, right?"

    There was a small clinking sound as the knight set his tea cup into its saucer, and raised his eyes at Victoria. Corran wasn't opposed to his student moving on to the next stage of her natural progression, and in truth, even had Guy not made the offer to her Torgood would likely have filed paperwork with the crown to recognize Pippa as a squire in his service. He had never doubted that Avery had the heart of a knight, albeit a somewhat unconventional one. "If that is her desire," Corran said calmly, "then of course she has our permission."

    Victoria turned on Pippa's lap and patted her leg again. "See," she asked excitedly. "You have our permission," she said, looking back at Corran to confirm, and seeing him nod. "And he'll give you his sponsor's chip too," she said confidently, even though she didn't know what that was. Leaning in, Victoria put her arms around Pippa's torso and squeezed her tightly. "I knew you were gonna be a knight," she said confidently, little tears starting to well up in her eyes. "You're gonna be the best knight ever," she assured her friend.

    Corran was smiling at the exchange, and he nodded at Pippa while Victoria's eyes were averted. "I'm confident that I speak for Lady Delarose when I say that you will always be welcome in Eddleton. But The Beacon is a place where people go to escape the realities of the world, Philippa. Despite its name, it is very very far from the bright light of the Valley. And if you really wish to be all that you can be, then you will need to leave the safety of that tower," he told her sagely. "You are more than welcome to stay here for as long as you like," he assured her, waiving around the room at the Delarose estate.

    Victoria came off of Pippa again, and scooched down onto the floor before running over to Corran and pulling him down so that she could whisper in his ear. The old man nodded his head in response to her question and she ran back over to Pippa just as quickly. "You have to stay," she said, the same pleading tone in her voice. "Tulliara is coming to visit," she added. "You have to stay and be a knight, because I don't want you to leave us."


    @Philippa Avery

  13. #13
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa watched the exchange between Corran and Victoria, bemused and yet feeling a little bit like she was cheating. But the little girl easily blew through the technicalities that stood in her way, and the guard couldn't help but smile at the way Vicky included herself in the granting of permission. She had somewhat expected the girl to be sad, despite the fact that this was an outcome she'd directly courted, that Pippa would be leaving, but she was resolute and selfless in her support. Pippa knew grown adults who weren't as supportive as this little girl was, and she felt incredibly lucky to have had the chance to get close to her.

    The guard hugged her friend tightly, leaning down to kiss the top of her head as she did, and she closed her eyes against the threat of tears of her own. "Thank you, girlie," she said quietly, using her pet name for her ward. She very quickly regained control of her emotions and looked up to meet Corran's eyes, and his smile and nod were all the assurance she needed that he approved of the situation.

    It would ache, to leave behind the comfort she'd cultivated. It would be the farthest she'd ever lived from her parents, and the first time she wouldn't be serving under the Costas in some regard. But Corran, as was so often the case, was right. She would have to leave what she'd always known if she was going to continue developing her potential. At least after the events of the past few days it was not a move that would see her moving to a place where she was entirely without friends; even if they were all busy with their own lives and duties, it was a comfort to know they were there.

    "I have to," she asked as Vicky turned her pleading toward her now, and she was poorly concealing a smirk. "Alright, then. I will stay, and I will become a knight, just as you said I would be." She leaned forward toward the girl, her face getting somewhat conspiratorial. "But you have to promise you won't mind hearing all about my training, and that you'll come see me and give me your favor when I get good enough to be in a tournament." The promise was already made in her own mind that Vicky would be the one she'd ask, if the opportunity arose. It would be a fitting tribute, a way to honor the girl who had pushed her down a path she hadn't thought possible.

    -----
    @Victoria Kendrick

  14. #14
    House Torgood Corran Torgood's Avatar  

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    "When Ser Corran said we were staying in Hebron, he said you might go back to Eddleton without us. But I knew you wouldn't," the girl told Pippa, squeezing her more tightly. "I just knew you wouldn't," she said again, shaking her head.

    The old knight frowned slightly at the display, as he had always cautioned the child against such emotions. But Victoria was a child, and he had to accept a certain level of immaturity, even if he had been systematically teaching her how to be an adult. "Did the Knight of Autumn give you any hint of an assignment," he asked casually, not trying to interrupt the moment between the women, but also trying to move the meeting along. "I assume he has an idea about which knight should carry on your training from this point," he said, though he likely would have some sadness over the fact that Pippa was being removed from her current position. Her training with him was not formal, but it had been well-intentioned. And he would insist that Guy allow him to at least assist in her theory lessons, even if he wished to put her martial training in the hands of someone else. "I would hope he isn't shuffling you from one Torgood to another?"

    The mention of Percival was the first he had made since he had seen the two of them together at the tavern, and he remembered well how quickly his son had stood up from the table at his deception over Vicky's whereabouts. Pippa had not confided anything further about Percy to him, and he had not asked. So far, Philippa had maintained her responsibilities, and as long as she did Corran had no reason to interfere in her personal life. He was scheduled to meet with Vivienne later in the week, and he might well find out more information then.

    "As Victoria has said," he went on, "Lady Tulliara will be arriving in Hebron some time next week. I am sure she would like to see you as well," he told Pippa with a smile. "If you have any personal effects you need from Eddleton, I shall inform the staff to include them in her luggage," he told the woman.

    Victoria pulled away and smiled back at her keeper. "And when you are a famous knight, I'll be your first squire," she said, even though earlier in the week she had told others that she didn't want to be a knight. But if it was good enough for Pippa, then it was good enough for her.


    @Philippa Avery

  15. #15
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa looked to Corran over Vicky's head as she squeezed the girl back, curious about his decision to stay in Hebron. She hadn't even known it was a thing he was considering, and while she wasn't surprised he hadn't let her into his thought process, she couldn't help wonder what had made him make the choice. Was it for Victoria's sake? His own? Or perhaps it was related to that woman who had broken into the Beacon in order to visit Vicky - the one who had killed some of Pippa's comrades, one of whom had been a friend. If getting away from her had been a motive in staying here, Pippa was all for it.

    "He didn't, no," she answered. "The closest he got was to tell me that after I'd spoken to you, I was to go back and see him and, I think his words were 'we'll figure out where you go from there'." Now that it had been brought up, she was intensely curious who she'd be training under. It seemed foolish to assume she'd squire under a Dawn, but at the same time, that seemed to be where this was headed. If that were the case, she only really knew three: Percival, Lexington, and Durand himself. She did chuckle at his comment about shuffling between Torgoods, but she didn't believe for a minute that Guy would put her with him, no matter how amusing it would have been to go from training under the man Guy had squired for, to training under Guy's former squire.

    The guard smiled at the prospect of seeing Tulliara. Although she wasn't as close to the girl as she was to Vicky, she was fond of her as well. "I'll be happy to see her when she's here." She paused, and thought of what she'd left behind. "There's my trunk, and my spare halberd, but that's it." The halberd was itself in pieces, as she'd been refining the shaft in her spare time, trying to perfect it, so at least it would pack fairly well. "Oh, and Commander Durand did mention that he wanted the name of the stable master so he could have Henry transferred over. Perhaps it would be helpful if they could bring him when they come?" She knew there was more to that transaction than just bringing the horse to Hebron, but it seemed sensible to her to include him in the entourage rather than make a special trip.

    Smiling down at Vicky, Pippa ran her fingers through the girl's hair to push it away from her face. "If that's what you'd like to be by the time I get there, I'd be happy to have you for my squire," she said warmly. She didn't actually anticipate that the girl would want to be a knight; after all, just the other day she'd declared in front of everyone that she didn't want to be one, in favor of being a spy. Next week it would likely be something different. But she wasn't going to discourage her, and if that was what Vicky decided she wanted to do, Pippa had no doubt she'd be formidable with the right training.

    ----
    @Corran Torgood

  16. #16
    House Torgood Corran Torgood's Avatar  

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    Victoria had been around Corran enough to know when the conversations she was present for that didn't involve her would take place whether she was there or not. So when she sensed that the topic was going to turn to something dull and necessary, she simply climbed back up into Pippa's lap and huddled into the woman's chest. Vicky was unbearably stubborn when it came to scheduled naps, but the impromptu doze was always a possibility, and the small girl turned into Pippa's collar and yawned rubbed her little eyes.

    Corran said nothing for a moment, allowing Victoria to settle herself. Most days he would have given Pippa a helpless smile, but he was focused on his own thoughts and simply waited the child out. Their little conversation had been heart-warming, and Torgood was patient enough to finish his cold tea while the two of them shared their moment. But as the child began to drift off, Corran folded his hands in front of himself to begin again.

    "The matter of Tulliara has not been settled," he corrected the child, who was now not capable of contradicting him. "It is my hope that she will come and spend a year or two studying here, but Lady Aracella can be...fickle." That was an understatement, but all he could do was shrug softly. "Regardless, I will arrange for your trunk and halberd to arrive, along with Henry," he said smiling. Torgood never understood why someone would name a horse Henry, and he always thought it was amusing that Pippa and Henry were so well suited for each other.

    "We haven't really discussed the matter," he began, noting that despite that he had actually given it some thought independently. "Philippa," he began, using her more formal name as he did when he was being fatherly. "If this is what you want, then I am very happy for you. And I am glad to remain here and see what becomes of it. I know that you have your own home, and your own relations back in the plains. And while I do tend toward the serious and stern, I want you know that I am as proud of you as I can possibly be. And that I am glad that Victoria has facilitated this opening for you. It might have looked heavy handed had I done it myself, and I've already had one child who was forced to escape from my shadow. But it pleases me more than you know that Guy found you, even if it was through the very insistent prodding of a child."

    Abigail appeared at the door, clearly looking for Victoria. Corran held up a hand at her, and looked at Pippa. If she wanted to be relieved of the sleeping child, then he would wait. If the woman was comfortable, he would simply waive the governess away. "Do you have any questions, Philippa?" The old knight wasn't exactly sure how much about the process that the girl had seen or understood, and he wanted her to be prepared. Even if Victoria had stolen his opportunity to bring Pippa further along, he wouldn't want her to feel ill-prepared, especially if Guy Durand was prone to intimidation. "About the squire process, or knighthood, or Hebron in general? About Guy, or the Knights of Dawn, or the royal family," he asked, the last part dependent on whether or not he could answer her questions about the Shelltens of course.


    @Philippa Avery

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