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Thread: We all end in the ocean, we all start in the streams - 11/12 Afternoon, Riverfront - Percy/Pippa

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    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    We all end in the ocean, we all start in the streams - 11/12 Afternoon, Riverfront - Percy/Pippa

    Percival sat in the high window of the bell tower, looking down the boulevard in the direction of the Delarose estate. His fingers kept reaching for his lower lip, prodding it to see if it was swollen. He didn't think that it looked obvious that he had caught the heal of Guy Durand's boot in his face earlier that day, though Vivienne did seem to look at him oddly during the archery contest. Perhaps she was only measuring his mood, or seeing if he would betray some kind of emotion about their unspoken new mutual acquaintance, but the knight was more than a little self-conscious about it.

    The weather was warmer today, and the sky was completely devoid of clouds. The tournament had taken place just around noon, so as to keep the glare of the sun out of both the eyes of the competitors and the guardsmen. It had been a quiet event that Taia Hunter Avayne had won, and Percy had wondered at the time if Pippa was in attendance, and what she thought of the outcome, given what he understood of the woman's history with Corran. They hadn't really had the time to discuss it, but he was sure that even if Pippa hadn't been there that she had heard the stories of people who were present.

    He caught sight of the girl as she rounded the corner from the side of the building. She was dressed more familiarly than the previous evening when she had snuck up on him in her dark blue evening gown. It had clearly been a misdirection play, and Percy laughed at himself for not expecting it. Even though he had been looking for her, Sophia had run interference, crossing his line of sight intentionally without Pippa in tow, so that when he had craned his neck to follow her movements, the guardswoman from Eddleton had surprisingly appeared on his opposite flank. Avery hadn't laughed, but he did get the impression that the girl was amused.

    The glint of sunlight on the steel blade of her weapon obstructed his view of her when her left side came nearer, and as she switched to the other foot, she came back in to focus. Percy watched the altering images for a few steps before he realized he was going to blind himself if he didn't look away.

    Waiting until the woman was within earshot of him, Percy finally leaned dangerously out the window and called for her. "Haven't you done enough damage today?" He had no hopes of sounding serious however, and even at the three story distance it would be clear that he was smiling. But it might be too far for her to notice if he had a fat lip. "You coming up, or you wanna catch me?"


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    What with the events of the day thus far, Pippa felt like she was running late. Perhaps she wasn't, and it was just her harried mind that made her feel that way, but to that end she hadn't even stopped by her room to change or drop off her halberd. Last night when she'd been thinking about it, she'd been sure it was a good idea to leave it behind; it had a habit of getting in the way sometimes, and it wasn't really an accessory to most social occasions. But, all things considered, she felt a little better having it. The morning had started with a situation she would have been better off if she'd been armed for, and she didn't trust the rest of the day to unfold in such a way that she wouldn't wish for her weapon again.

    Still, even if she felt late, she was trying not to hurry. The streets were crowded as the tournament grounds disgorged the gathered masses, all of whom were now seeking food or comfort before evening came and brought with it the next social event. Thankfully, she didn't have too much trouble making her way down the street; her stature might leave something to be desired if imposing was the goal, but the combination of what was clearly guardsman's gear and the seven-foot-long weapon in her hand meant she didn't have to do much dodging and weaving.

    "Haven't you done enough damage today?"

    Pippa clearly heard Percy's voice, but it took her a moment to realize where it was coming from. She didn't bother trying to shout back up at him, but she did grin and shake her head, one hand shielding her eyes from the sun so she could see him clearly. "Don't you dare," she finally called up to him when she was close enough, although she didn't think for a moment he'd try exiting through the window, and she looked around for the door that would bring her up into the bell tower. It was a little tricky navigating the steps with her halberd, but nothing she wasn't used to, and she held it higher on the shaft so the blade wasn't too far above her as she wound her way up the spiral staircase.

    When she reached the top, Pippa was met with impressive views out over the city and the river - but she didn't stop to admire them yet. She crossed to Percy, leaning her weapon against the wall by the window he'd been leaning out of, and gingerly she rose to her toes to kiss him on the cheek without him having to bend. It was a friendly gesture, at least at its root, but the way she lingered gave it just a little more significance. "It's good to see you," she said finally, as she sank back down, taking a half step back. "How's your face? From looking at you, nobody would be able to tell your chin had met a boot this morning, but I'm not sure you could convince me you're not feeling it."

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    @Percival Torgood

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    Luckily for Pippa, Percival was not his friend. Even though this wasn't the window that Jesse had fallen from, it was entirely possible that he could have been a similar victim if he wasn't careful. But while she was on her way up, the knight turned in the frame and placed his feet on the hard stone floor of the third story. Pippa entered on the far side, adjacent to the window that Jesse had fallen from, and he was about to meet her when she crossed to him in a few purposeful strides and kissed him on the cheek. She didn't pull immediately away, and he was glad to see that the affection they had found the other evening had not vanished completely.

    Percy was rubbing his chin in response to her words, and shook his head. "It's good to see you too," he told her. "And to not have a kick in my teeth for bothering to look," he added with a chuckle. The knight was not ashamed for the beating he had taken, even considering he deserved it for losing his focus. But he would likely have done it again. "Usually people see angels after they get themselves killed," he said lightly. "Mine appeared right before."

    Shaking off the conversation about the incident, lest she start to feel guilty, he motioned her to the window that overlooked the river. "Did you sleep okay," he asked, though didn't make it clear if he was alluding to the previous evening or the one before. He hadn't slept at all after he returned from her door the night before the coronation, and likely wouldn't have slept the following evening, had he not been completely exhausted. He intentionally made not effort to ask about her visit with Guy that morning. She had been gone when Guy came into the building, so it was clear that even if she had come to see him, it hadn't been pressing enough for her to wait until Percy came back out. They were together now though, and that was good enough for him.

    The swans dotted the banks of the river beneath them, and he pointed them out conspiratorially. Karenna had left them a loaf of bread on the first floor, and a bottle of wine, though Percy wasn't sure they would drink it. "Victoria is well," he inquired, awkwardly aware that he was making terrible small talk. They had said a great deal the other evening without really speaking, and now he wasn't sure that he could pick up right from where they had left off. "I can't remember if I told you last night how beautiful you looked," he said, even though he was sure he told her at least thrice. "But you looked beautiful," he told her again now that it was a new day.

    "Shall we walk," he asked, realizing that if they didn't get moving he would be perfectly content to spend the rest of the day in the tower's seclusion with her. And there was precious little to do this far up, but he wouldn't have been pressed to think of a few things.


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    "That's a sorry excuse for an angel if that's the result her arrival gets," Pippa said, chuckling. Really, she didn't feel too guilty, or responsible at all for the blow Percy had gotten. It wasn't as if she'd chosen to be there at that moment, or had made any conscious effort to break Percy's concentration. She hadn't even wanted to be at the barracks, although in hindsight it had been worth the trouble of how she'd gotten there. Perhaps she should have felt bad, but she'd never been good at taking credit for something she hadn't had a choice in, good or bad.

    She did wonder if Percy knew why she'd been there at all, or was going to ask her about it, but he seemed disinterested, as he moved on from the topic without dwelling any further. "More or less," she answered with a shrug, the vagueness suiting her. "Yesterday was strangely exhausting...after the walk back from the castle I almost don't remember falling into bed." She chuckled at herself. "It was really weird to be more emotionally tired than physically." She wondered if he'd judge her for that. Surely given who he was and what he did, Percival was used to that sort of event, even if yesterday's events were a magnitude more extravagant than usual. But for a girl born in a cobb house on the edge of a copse of trees in the plains, it had been another world entirely.

    "She is," Pippa confirmed as she looked out toward the water and the birds. "She and your dad are going out riding, since she brought her pony all the way from Eddleton." Normally she would never speak of where her charge was if she wasn't with her, but she felt safe doing so with Percy. His compliment drew a smile to her lips, although she looked up at him with playful doubt at his bad memory. "That dress was something else," she commented, and there was a girlish admiration in her voice. It had felt wonderful, and ladylike, and had been simple enough that she hadn't felt like she was playing pretend. "I know it's made to, but your dress plate suits you," she said, and even though it could have been said she was just giving a compliment because she'd gotten one, her tone was honest, even as she continued. "I didn't say as much last night because Sophia was around, but you looked better than Xavier did, if you want an honest opinion."

    Nodding, Pippa took up her halberd again. She wouldn't have minded staying in the tower a bit longer; she liked the view it gave of the city, and likely could have sat and watched the crowds move for hours and been quite content. But temptation would likely have slipped in, and knowing what she did now about what the future held, Pippa didn't want to take the risk. "After you," she said with a smile, gesturing with her weapon.

    ----
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    Percy wasn't necessarily looking to contradict her, because it was nothing that warranted an argument. Though it did occur to him that it would hardly be her fault, especially since there isn't usually any crime in being early. And, as Percival Torgood was apt to argue in the hours since his face was used as a stepping stone for the Knight of Autumn, he was just thankful to know Pippa well enough that she should be a distraction. He also hoped that whatever her business with Guy was, that it wasn't something that he had inadvertently caused. If it concerned her interaction with Vivienne, or the fact that Percy had allowed her in the Queen's presence with a weapon, then he would have to speak with Durand and set the record straight about who was to blame.

    "Yeah, well," he said somewhat sheepishly. "I'm not saying that I didn't deserve it," he offered. "But I am glad we are both recovered now," he told her, referencing her answer. "I can sympathize with the hours, I guess. If not the events." Percy had always been a noble, and had always known everyone at events such as the coronation. Pippa could only have had two real outcomes yesterday. Either she was subjected to mumbled inquiries among the crowds as to who she was from people who were too cautious to approach, or Sophia would have been introducing her to everyone who passed them by. Both could bring a hefty level of fatigue. "I just hope that Lady MacHeath showed you a good time," he finally said.

    There was a soft sigh as he stepped behind her to gaze out the window for a moment. Her comment on her dress and his armor almost made him chuckle. "We would have made quite the handsome couple, I daresay," he offered. When she followed up the statement with her comparison between him and Fairfax, Percy smiled and shook his head. "I don't. I would rather you said it because it was a biased opinion," he told her, tapping her lightly on the bottom as he turned away for the door. "But thank you for the compliment all the same. I work very hard to keep my boyish figure, so it's nice to be noticed," he said over his shoulder, clearly poking fun at himself.

    Percy eyed her just once, with a mock sense of suspicion that wasn't really there. The two flights down here spiraled, so even if she did push him, it should at least be a controlled descent. He didn't hesitate though, and simply trudged down. "The Temple of Swaren, constructed in in 104, mostly of limestone and granite from the nearby riverbed, is the tallest building in Hebron outside of the castle walls," he said in a very official sounding tour guides voice. "If you've taken the regular city tour," he continued, "Then you'll probably be aware that I am making this up. The river," he went on boldly, as he scooped the loaf of bread from the window sill and passed it to Pippa. "Was put in shortly thereafter, once all the stone had been removed."


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    "She showed me a very good time," Pippa said with a smile. The ball had been a step into an entirely new world for Pippa, and while it could easily have been tedious if she were in different company, she found she'd gotten on with the Lady of Westbury incredibly well. Sophia, like Percy, couldn't really sympathize with how strange such an event was, but by the same token the noble lady could hardly believe some of the stories Pippa had told her about her normal routine and her life growing up. And, while Pippa had been introduced to a few lords and ladies, they'd spent much of their evening simply wandering through the crowd, with Sophia pointing out notable people and Pippa noticing just how many odd looks they were getting. Sophia had put that down to the fact that Pippa was a new pretty face, but the guard wasn't so sure they weren't just gawking at her. She had to hope she hadn't looked as out of place as she'd felt, but if she did, it would be reason enough for the well-seasoned nobility of Hebron to judge her harshly.

    Pippa didn't turn as she heard Percy come close behind her, and she couldn't help but grin at his words. His insinuations were a little heavy handed, but she didn't mind, even if she couldn't quite tell how serious they were. It was for that reason that she kept any reply to herself; she didn't dare encourage him too much, especially given what she now knew of her future. The truth of it was that she was biased, though. She liked Percy better than she did Xavier, and even though the latter was quite handsome, the former was more to her personal taste. It was for that reason that, after giving him a look over her shoulder at the tap she received, Pippa leaned a little out the window for one last look over the city and whispered to the wind, "Oh, it was certainly noticed, don't you worry about that."

    Following him down the stairs, Pippa left enough space between them that she was sure she wouldn't be in danger of tripping him as she maneuvered her halberd back through the confined space. The tone he took was by far more authoritative than the one the actual guide had used the other day, and Pippa smiled as she listened, shaking her head a little. His comment from before about other girls cottoning on to his bullshit came to her mind, but she didn't call him out on it. "You're lucky Vicky's not here," she said instead, chuckling. "She'd be calling you out left, right, and center." Also, if Vicky had been with them, she was sure she'd have quizzed Percy by now on whether he knew Pippa was going to be a knight, and how he felt about it, and was he going to help train her. It was mostly all information Pippa was curious about, really, but all things considered she was glad to be able to take that particular conversation at their own pace.

    She was tempted to bring it up now, but she was, if she was honest, a little worried about what his reaction would be, and so she chose to put it off for awhile. "So, which story do I get to hear first," she asked, bringing to the fore the excuse they'd used to see one another again. "The one about how you got your posh and fancy title, or the one about how you saved the life of royalty?"

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    There was the slightest of turns, as though Percival might have heard something, but couldn't be sure if the girl was mumbling or whether the Hebron afternoon was playing with the small weather vane on the top of the tower. But since she was not bothering to hesitate when it came to following him, he concluded that it was only his imagination, and began his descent without question.

    Percy could hear, rather than see the distance she kept and could only smile at the thought of maneuvering such an awkward weapon about the confined spaces of the stairwell. He thought about stopping short, just to make it a little more awkward on her, but then realized that could end with him being stabbed, and decided against it. Instead he reached his hands out as he turned around and looked up at her, backpedaling slowly down the twisting flights. "What a coincidence," he exclaimed, his eyes widening in feigned shock. "I was also thinking about how lucky I was that Vicky wasn't here," he told her, and stopped for a moment before taking a step up and pushing the halberd aside until the blade rang against the stone wall. Extending to a tip-toe, he gave her a small peck on the lips, before hopping back and turning to descend again with a slightly lighter step.

    As they got outside and Percy turned toward the riverfront, the cool but sunny afternoon beckoned them closer to the sound of the swans that were gathered down on the banks. Pippa's question caused him to smile softly, and he might have punched her in the shoulder if she were a man. "Posh? After that getup you were in last night, that's a pretty bold label you're throwing about," he told her, raising an eyebrow at her. "Besides, it's not like I asked for this crap," he told her, though in truth it had never bothered him. He wasn't ashamed or embarrassed by the fact that one spoony bard had heard him tell the story, only to turn it into a ridiculous ballad about an event that he had only heard about third hand.

    There was an audible sigh, and Percival chuckled lightly as he recalled the day in Taldorach when the river had nearly washed him away forever. "First off," he said, shaking his head. "It wasn't even the summer. It was October. It was the tenth of October, and I don't know how or why people ignored that fact, simply for the sake of alliteration," he said. "It wasn't even warm out. It was probably the coldest day I can remember, and I almost died of hypothermia." He could of course, remember colder days. The other night would have been chillier according to most accounts. But he hadn't been soaked to the bone with lungs full of water the other night.


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    It was impossible to not smile as Percy wheeled around in front of her on the steps, and the guard tittered a giggle when he hopped up to kiss her. Having to look down to receive it was a bit of an odd sensation, but it only made the interaction more amusing. If it had been anyone else, Pippa would have been worried that he'd have wound up reaching the bottom of the steps having gone ass over tea kettle, but despite his trip up this morning Pippa had no reason to doubt Percy's agility would serve him well.

    His raised eyebrow was met with a level look. There wasn't even a question, no matter what she'd been wearing last night, of which of the two of them could possibly claim to be posh, and both of them knew it. But Pippa wasn't going to challenge him, and as he moved on she reached up and, without a hint of self consciousness, impaled the loaf of bread onto the spike that topped her halberd. Once she was sure it was secure, she fell into step beside Percy, the metal cap at the bottom of her weapon's shaft making a pleasant sound on the cobbles as they began to walk.

    She smiled, somewhat unsurprised to hear that the fundamentals of the story had been changed. "I mean, even their alliteration isn't technically right," she added, "since wouldn't it be Swords of Summer? Or would you be plural then?" She was picking on the title and not him, and her expression made that much clear even without the fact that the fingers of her free hand found his, loosely weaving in with them. "Besides, Autumn was already taken, and Fall just doesn't sound as nice." Pippa had wondered before, back when she didn't know any of the people involved, if there would eventually be a knight for the other two seasons. If there was the Sword of Summer and the Knight of Autumn, would there eventually be a Warrior of Winter? Maybe a Spearman of Spring?

    "Hypothermia? Eugh." Pippa shook her head, just the thought of the affliction enough to make her cringe a little. It wasn't something she was altogether unfamiliar with, having grown up and worked near the coast for most of her life, and even though it was warmer where she was from there were still winter nights when a wreck would mean Moreesa claimed more sailors simply due to the cold. "So, cold day," she said, confirming she was on the same page, "Cold, wet day, I'm guessing. Go on then."

    ----
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    Percy wasn't sure if there was something more about her explanation than what was on the surface. As much as he was schooled by tutors, he wasn't exactly an authority on alliteration. In fact, he had been quite proud of himself for even knowing what it was. Or, in hindsight, what he had thought it was. "I suppose you're right," he said, even though he wasn't sure. The question made him chuckle, and he shook his head. "Calm down, there Avery," he said with a smile. "Let's make sure you can keep up with one of me, before we worry about whether or not there is multiples. Or is that are multiples," he asked pleasantly.

    He had to concede that she was right, The Sword of Fall didn't nearly have the same ring to it. But he still didn't even understand why it was necessary. Hypothermia aside, he couldn't imagine that any other knight in his position wouldn't have done the same. He couldn't imagine that Pippa wouldn't have done the same, and she wasn't a knight, despite the assurances of her young ward of her potential. "Cold, wet day," he confirmed, with a small nod as the memory of the hurricane and the raging flood came back to the front of his mind. But when words finally came, it wasn't as though he were telling Pippa. It was more like he was rationalizing it for himself.

    "She shouldn't have been there," he said, his voice low. His head shook slowly. "Couldn't have been there. Crying, hanging on for dear life. She wasn't any older than Vicky. Scared, holing on to the slimmest of hopes, like a metaphor for ever fear you ever had to face," he sighed. Percy realized that even though Jesse, who wasn't even there, had told the story a thousand times for anyone who would listen, Percival had never actually recounted it on his own. He was not one to highlight his own achievements, and even Guy hadn't asked him for a report. He simply took the statements from Kivennah and KJ, and that was the end of it.

    "The water was so fast," he remembered aloud. "It had rained for nearly three days, and the river was so high that the island she was on was nothing more than a treetop sticking out of the tide. You couldn't swim out to her, the lines they threw were just washed down stream in a heartbeat. And the wind," he said, putting a finger to his ear as though trying to rub the roar out of it. "She cried so loud that you could hear her over the din of the storm and river." Percy shook his head again. "I couldn't stop myself," he told her. "Even the horse thought I was crazy."

    Percy seemed to snap back to lucidity for a moment, and blinked his eyes a few times. "The stone bridge was about a quarter mile up river. I rode for it like a madman. And then I jumped," he said, before fading back into his memories. The water was cold. He had come to the surface more than once, each breath he gasped for filled with churned foam from the caps of the breaking waves. "I was coughing up water before my hands even found purchase on the rough shore of the little island that wasn't there. And I grabbed her up, immediately certain that I had killed us both."

    They had made the riverside walk, almost without thinking. There was a small fence that separated the banks from the path, and he leaned on it, looking out at the river as though he were still in a different time and place.


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    It was clear that as Percival recalled the day he was almost pulled back into it as it lived in his memory. His face grew distant, his voice low, and Pippa found it easy to conjure an image of it herself. In her mind it was a howling gale, cold, the rain stinging like stones pelting the skin. The kind of storm that sank into the bones and made it so it took hours to stop shivering. Pippa had been in a storm like that once or twice, and it wasn't the kind of thing that faded from memory quickly.

    "She wasn't any older than Vicky."

    Pippa could feel her stomach lurch. A child had no place out in a storm like that, and she couldn't fathom how the girl had gotten onto a swamped spit of land in the middle of a coursing river. Maye washed there from further upstream? But how she'd gotten there wasn't what was important, and wasn't what Pippa was dying to know. What was, was what happened next.

    The halberd cleared a path for her on most days, but it was very useful just now, as neither of them were heeding where they were going. Pippa's grip on Percy's fingers had grown stronger as he'd been speaking, although she hadn't noticed it, and even though they approached the shore, the sounds of the river blended right in with the picture the knight was painting. The whole ordeal sounded unquestionably like a nightmare to Pippa, and like something she wouldn't want to remember at all, much less every time someone called her by a certain name. Maybe it was good that the moniker didn't fit the timing of the event; perhaps the looser connection made it so he could hear the one without thinking of the other.

    Arriving at the river came as something of a surprise, but Pippa wasn't interested in sightseeing for now. She leaned her hip against the fence, crossing her arms loosely in front of her with her halberd tucked in the crook of one. "You can't stop there," she said, not caring how invested she sounded. "How did you manage to get out of the river, with both of you? Did the girl...was she okay?" The heroism of Percy's deed wouldn't have been diminished in Pippa's eyes if the girl hadn't made it, but she had to hope - for everyone's sake - that she had, against the odds.

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    "Get out," he asked, as though he had forgotten that he had done just that. He was trying to remember the events exactly. He had heard Jesse tell the exaggerated story so many times that he had to remind himself that it wasn't the entire truth. The bard had gotten his version of the story from Kivennah, while Percy was unconscious, and had probably twisted that telling as much as he thought he could get away with. But Percy had the real outcome buried in his brain somewhere. And it wasn't pulling up very well. The knight closed his eyes, trying to block out all the noise that seemed to surround the memory.

    "The sun came out," he said at last. "The sky was bluer than I had ever seen. When I jumped, I had taken a bow and arrow and rope with me. Somehow managed to hold onto it. I think I tied it to the tree she was in, figuring I could shoot the other end to the shore. But the wind," he said, trailing off. Where had the wind come from. For as perfect as the weather had seemed in that moment, he remembered the wind. "The storm hadn't actually passed. We were caught in the eye of it. I just kept bringing the rope in and tying it off, trying to get the other end to the men on the banks." He had actually made it on the second shot, but it seemed like he had wasted a dozen before the other end got tied off.

    "When I finally reached them," he told her, remembering the equally brave men who waded out into the water to fetch the shot, putting themselves at risk to the current. "They tied off the end, and I scaled most of the way across the river. Until the line snapped," he said, the memory coming back fully as he spoke. "I threw the poor girl for the shore," he remembered, and gave half a laugh. "The look on her face was one of pure terror, but she was light enough that I managed to get her there before the river swallowed me up again." The men had caught her, and the last thing Percy had seen before the falls was the child scrambling toward her mother.

    "I got pulled back in," Percy said with a shrug. "Back in the current, down the river, over the falls. I was down for what felt like a lifetime. I don't even remember swimming to the shore, but everyone says I did. I laid there coughing up water for minutes, and then everything went black." He had lost days of memory after that. "At some point I woke up, still with the taste of gravel in my mouth, in a bed in Taldorach. Jesse was there. Looking at me like I had stolen a sheep from the pasture. I must have been delirious with fever for a week, because I thought I was being haunted by spirits in my sleep."

    "The eye passed, and the rain started again. Another two days of it. But by then, we had made sure everyone was safe."


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    The story seemed to pain Percy, or be difficult to remember, and Pippa almost felt a little guilty for asking him to recall it in the first place. As he closed his eyes and seemed to shut out the world the guard shifted without really realizing it, turning so she leaned against the rail with her back to the water. It brought her a little closer to the knight, but more important to Pippa, it let her clearly see his face; she wanted as much warning as she could get if it was going to turn out that the little girl he'd put himself at risk to save hadn't made it somehow.

    Pippa listened, rapt, as the rest of the story unfolded. She truly couldn't imagine it, couldn't even begin to step into his shoes, and she felt sure that if she were in his position she would have perished. There wasn't really a question that she would have tried to save the girl, but even though she was a strong swimmer, there was just no way, and she found herself feeling more than a little in awe of her companion, although she didn't show it on her face much.

    That he could say he went over a waterfall with a shrug baffled Pippa, and her mouth hung open for a moment. She could only shake her head as the tale concluded, and she went quiet for a moment. "Swaren's mercy, Torgood, that is a hell of a thing." Now that she thought about it, she remembered well the storm he must have been talking about. It had ripped through the whole country, and did a fair bit of damage to Eddleton; her whole garrison had been shifted from protecting shipments to repair work, and some of the things she'd seen still gave her nightmares. But her experience was nothing compared to what Percy had gone through.

    "I can see why they gave you a fancy nickname for that," she said, still looking like she was trying to wrap her mind around the whole thing. "I'd be surprised if that was all they gave you." When she met Percy's eyes again, there was a bit of a smile crinkling the corners of her eyes. "I have to say, it may be a selfish reaction, but I'm glad you made it through."

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    @Percival Torgood

  13. #13
    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    When she swore, Percy turned to look at her oddly. It wasn't as though he had forgotten that she was there, but clearly he wasn't expecting an oath to come flying from her pretty little mouth. But he recovered and chuckled to himself, shaking his head at her praise. "You know, people always seem to think that," he said to her with a small blush on his cheeks. "And if you listen to them all, you eventually start to believe it yourself." But Percival had humility beaten into him from an early age, and it was a lesson that continued well into his early adult years.

    "I like to think that even if others might not have been successful, that they would have at least taken the plunge." There was a big smile on his face as he remembered his first day as a squire. "I'll never forget the first lesson I ever had with Guy," he told her. He pushed off the fence and walked a semi-circle in front of the woman. "He drew a line in the dirt and asked me if I could stop him from crossing it. I was only sixteen, and told him that I didn't think so. But he said that any knight worth his oath would say they could hold the line, even if they couldn't. And that either way they would be willing to die trying. So, if that's true, then I have to assume there's enough men or women who would be brave enough to earn the same title. The only difference between them and I, is the fact that I was there."

    In fact, there was no need for her surprise. The fancy moniker was not all that they had given him. Or taken from him for that matter. The Torgood Estate that had been seized from his father was now his, for all that he never used it. And then there was the promotion to the Knights of Dawn. But with that came the fact that he had to leave Taldorach, and Kivennah could not. What he had done was for the girl, but if not for Kivi, he wouldn't have even been there. And just like the rushing river, Hebron had swept him away with a current he couldn't swim against.

    The last bit made him smile though, and Percy stepped into her against the railing, looming over her with the close proximity that had become so natural for them. "Are prone to fits of selfishness, Pippa? A boy could get use to having someone be glad of him." He had almost forgotten what it was like, and had spent the last two days convincing himself to not run too far ahead in his feelings for the woman, knowing they still had the obvious obstacles of distance and Corran ahead of them.

    "Come on," he said, reaching up and grabbing a hunk of bread from atop the halberd. "You aren't the only one I promised a good time to today," he told her. "And the swans are more selfish than you are," he added, as the birds spotted the bread and began to waddle over to them.


    @Philippa Avery

  14. #14
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    "I'll never forget the first lesson I ever had with Guy."

    Pippa listened to Percy recount the encounter with a curious smile on her face. For a long moment she wondered if he was messing with her, being clever with the way he was telling her he knew why she'd been to the barracks that morning. But it became clear as he went on that, no, he was just truly remembering his first day as a squire. The way it mirrored her morning was almost spooky, but she supposed Durand was under no obligation to vary his behavior if it worked. The difference between young Percival's answer and her own was intriguing, but Pippa wasn't about to draw any conclusions about it; she was sure she'd have answered differently at sixteen, and that Percy would answer differently now.

    As he stepped close to her Pippa simply looked up at him, not leaning away or giving up any ground. After the other night the proximity was almost familiar, but it still gave the guard a thrill, especially since now they were so visible. It was broad daylight, and the riverfront was populated by plenty of people who could easily see them if they happened to look their way, whereas the other night they'd been cloaked in the darkness of the chill night. But Percy seemed utterly unselfconscious about it, not bothered by the idea that someone might catch a Knight of Dawn being familiar with an unknown - and armed - girl. "Now and again," she answered, tipping her head up to more easily meet his gaze. "I might indulge more often, if given the right motivation."

    There was a temptation to lean up and kiss him. Or to tell him she wasn't leaving. They were different impulses, and she could only be sure of the result of one of them. There was a little worm of fear niggling at the back of her mind that said Percy's affection for her would cool if he knew she were staying around. Perhaps he was only interested in her because he could be sure she wouldn't be around. Or maybe he was genuinely interested, but knowing she was staying would make the question of what his father would do if he found out much larger. Either way, Pippa wasn't quite ready to find out.

    She followed him off the path and toward the shore, trying to ignore how the large birds made her feel a little nervous. The geese that sometimes stopped over by the river back home were nasty things, and had chased her once, honking and snapping, and she desperately hoped that swans were nicer beasts. Bringing the halberd down a bit, she pulled off a bit of bread and then tucked the weapon into the crook of her arm as she started to tear the bread into small pieces. "So were you assigned to Taldorach as a Shield, then? Or were you traveling through when the storm hit, and just happened to be in the right place at the right time to perform your daring rescue?"

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    @Percival Torgood

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    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    It hadn't occurred to Percival that his actions would be spied, or misconstrued, by the general populace, at least some of which were bound to recognize him. No doubt that it would be looked upon as odd, since he didn't have anything resembling the social life of most public figures. For as long as he had been eligible, he hadn't even heard anyone ever refer to him as eligible, excluding Vivienne and Sophia, who always seemed to have their eyes open for potential matches for him. Though had Percy known the events of Pippa's morning, he might have been a little more discreet, lest Pippa become more recognizable and people began to make assumptions about how she got her new posting.

    Most of that flew away when she looked up at him. Most everything he was thinking seemed to fly away when she looked at him. Her words made him smile, and he quickly found himself doing that thing he did. Where he answered something she said with something equally challenging, so that neither of them really had to commit to anything, even though he hoped they were both thinking it. "Funny," he drolled absently. "I had you pegged as a self-motivated woman," he went on. "But no need to worry. I have every intention of keeping you glad of me," he said as he began to break apart pieces of the bread. "If nothing else, I want your leaving to be as difficult for you as I fear it will be for me."

    He was already moving toward the fowl, and didn't bother to look back. He wasn't sure he wanted to see her reaction to that comment, for fear it wouldn't be the one he was hoping for. In a few paces, he would be able to change the subject, and leave it to her to circle back to it if she wanted. Then he would deal with the outcome. The swans were there now, and surprisingly patient as the knight broke off pieces of bread and handed it out. They didn't snap or make a large fuss. But then again, they were well fed. Especially this week with so many people in town.

    Thinking on her latest query, Percy laughed. "Yeah, I was the Shield of Heather's Moor. It's my modus operandi, apparently. I do something foolish. People see it as heroic. I get promoted. Everything changes. Had I not been there to stop Jaquen Orvailles from killing King Cailen, I'd be a regular Knight of the Sword, living a happy life like Xavier does, collecting my pay, spending my nights wining and dining noble women," he trailed off, before pausing and looking back. "Or guardswomen," he added with a slightly mischievous smile. "But noooooo," he said dramatically. "I just keep getting myself promoted into complete disasters. Like the inability to travel to Eddleton whenever I desire."


    @Philippa Avery

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