Alasair 44, 228: All The Pretty Horses

All The Pretty Horses
Summary: The rural Lady Bredolyn Haravean accidently comes across the proper Princess Roslin Kilgour. Despite expectations, the girls' youth and shared circumstance lead to a warm beginning.
OOC Date: 01/10/2013 (OOC)
Related: None
Roslin Brendolyn 
The Royal Stables
Involving horses and hay.
Alasair 44, 228

Midday has come. There is a tenseness to the city - with war so imminent, armies to soon march, everyone feels the weight of it. The men feel the weight in the armor they wear and practice in everyday. The women feel it in the extra foodstuffs they carry to hoard in their homes. The children feel it in the play times that have been lost, where instead parents are insistent upon keeping them at home. Everyone feels it - as too must the ladies of court.
Princess Roslin Kilgour feels it, in the ways that can be expected of a lady of stature and in the ways unknown to most - her work in diplomacy, her advising of the council members, her study of the strategy. She wears today a gold tiara among her red hair, which has been braided up in a crown-shape. Her dress is a deep, dark navy, velvet to fight off the coming fall chill, accentuated with gold - gold along the sleeves, a gold bodice, gold sewn along the skirt in running stripes. The dress has puffed sleeves and a bit of a wider skirt made for riding. As usual, it is all accentuated with a gold eight-pointed star around her throat.
Guards stand by the door leaving the stables. A maid sits against the wall, preparing her own saddle for a ride. Roslin stands in the center of it all where her own black mare has been brought out, to be brushed down before going for a ride. Naturally, the Princess doesn’t do most of the horse’s cleaning. But she does brush him a little, to build an affinity.

The thrum of energy amongst the populace of the castle is indeed a palpable thing, something felt amongst every individual, no matter their class or rank. In moments like these, people make themselves busy, or at least keep up the facade of doing so, and Brendolyn Haravean is no exception.
The brunette enters the darker lighting glooming in the interior of the stables, her hair in a loose braid. ‘Loose braid’ would even be too loose a term for it; it is more a wild shock of hair ending in what might have once been a fishtail braid if the end is any indication. Errant strands of hair frame her face, bite at her eyes, and she attempts to blow them back in vain. As she drifts through the stable, Brendolyn takes an immediate notice of the presence of the princess. Her own handmaiden and guard follow in her wake like a pair of novice waterskiers behind a very fast boat - anxious and alarmed. Upon passing the princess, Brendolyn slows her fast clip and turns her head, eyes widening. “Your Highness,” she says promptly, dropping into a butchered bow that even a ten year-old could probably finish faster. “I did not expect to see you here.”

Roslin lifts her head as there is another presence in the place - the guards saw it too, but it being what by all appearances was a young noble girl with her maids, they do not feel the need to spring into action. At the arrival of Brendolyn, Roslin does not jump, or gasp, or in any way appear surprised. No, she simply looks lovely at the woman and slows the brushing of her horse’s mane - the horse has been trained by the finest trainers to be gentle, and the thing does not start at the arrival of another.
“My Lady,” The Princess says gently in greeting with a smoothness that comes only from a lifetime of practice. She also offers a low, respectful nod to the woman. “I did not expect to be here,” she admits, with a little smile at the girl’s clumsiness - though it is in no way a mean smile. New at court, this one is. Can spot that from a mile away. “But I thought to be out among the streets today, even a little, to see if I might be able to help cheer any of those whose hearts are sinking as the days tick away.” She turns her eyes back to the horse and brushes out the mane some more. The horse makes a little huffing noise, perhaps annoyed that she stopped in the first place, but otherwise remains well-behaved. “Forgive me, My Lady, but I am quite sure we have not been introduced. You, I am sure, I would have remembered - there are so few young ladies at court, after all.”

Brendolyn’s eyes flick to the fidgeting equine, her head canting to one side in a canid fashion. “Yes,” she begins slowly, contemplating the horse, “I do not think we have been introduced. I know -of- you, of course.” Shifting, Brendolyn redirects her focus to Roslin and imparts upon her a small smile. “I am Brendolyn Haravean. Pleased to meet you.” Again, another mangled bow that belongs more on a man’s frame than a woman’s. She puffs out her cheeks, momentarily indecisive of her next move, and looks all the more apologetic for it. “Sorry, I just came in from…” she trails off, as if admitting to rolling down hills was probably not the most intelligent tack of conversation with a princess.
The young woman’s hands raise, dip into her hair and drag finger furrows through the knotted clump near the top. “I am also in apology over my appearance, I am afraid.” Tugging at her mane, she gives up with a small slump of her shoulders and sighs wistfully. Then, she is shifting again, one foot to the other, eyes rolling listlessly in their sockets. “Are there not many, then?” she asks inquisitively, “young ladies, that is?”

Roslin laughs a little, comfortably. “There is nothing to apologize for, Lady Brendolyn. You are not being presented at court, and indeed, not even in the court today. It would be quite cruel of me to demand that all ladies of court held to that standard of attire every day and in all things. It is simply not feasible.” She lowers the brush and hands it off to her maid, who bobs a curtsy and untethers the horse, to lead the animal outside. This frees Roslin to turn and speak more appropriately to Brendolyn, her hands clasped lightly in front of her. Even now, she appears as a statue might, or some tapestry, with the way she holds herself. A true and proper lady, this one. “And anyway, no. There are not many young ladies at court at all, I am afraid. I hope the fact that I have returned now shall encourage fathers to send their daughters here, for some good company and to meet prospective gentlemen.” That is, after all, a very important role of the court. “Haravean … are you perchance a sister to the Count Aldren Haravean?” She asks, pensively. “I know he has mentioned to me on several occasions that he has sisters, but I’ve lost count how many or where they might be. And a brother - that I do remember, he spoke very highly of the man if my memory serves me.”

In comparison to Roslin, Brendolyn looks like she was recently attacked by a herd of deranged cats and barely managed to survive it. “I am relieved,” she counters quietly. Where Aldren might be boisterous, she is rarely. “I did not know more young ladies were needed,” she murmurs thoughtfully, her eyes tracking the swish of Roslin’s mount’s tail, “I had been informed that there were far too unmarried nobles already.” When the princess inquires about her background, Brendolyn breaks into a moment of levity and laughs easily. “Yes. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It can be either, depending on who you ask.”
Raising her gaze to meet Roslins, she continues to keep the corners of her mouth up. “There are the twins, Wenna and Aldren, as I am sure you are aware… but he also has a younger brother and two younger sisters. My older sister is Rorey. She’s nineteen. Braedon is older still. I am the youngest.” She extends a hand to the princess, as a man might do, for a handshake. “It is truly nice to meet you.” Obviously this one must have been raised without parents - or with stand-ins like Wenna and Aldren. She’s a bit - off.

Roslin looks down at the hand, and offers a sympathetic smile. To make her point, she does not take the offered hand - she is no man, after all - but instead looks into the other girl’s eyes and nods her head, as she did when they greeted one another. “Quite a large family, then.” The Princess says, letting her hands fall back in front of her, lightly clasped. “And yes, there are a painful number of unmarried nobles at court - but most of them are beyond you or I in years, I think. Some by quite a bit. In truth, it seems my family are the only ones who are marrying very much of late, though once all of this trouble with the Laniveer is passed I think you shall have one or two weddings among your own household. And still, it is good to be unmarried at court when so many others are as well - how else are eligible people to become acquainted with one another?” She smiles a little at that, though everyone knows the rumors: Roslin Kilgour is being saved for a foreign marriage. “How long have you been here, may I ask?” The Princess does ask, gesturing to some benches along the wall as she does so. She walks as she gestures, moving to sit herself, and indicating that the Lady should also sit with her.

Brendolyn retracts her hand so quickly one might be inclined to think she had burned it over a cooking campfire. She returns Roslin’s smile, swallowing the awkward moment and burying it deep in her mind for dissection later. “Yes, quite a large family,” she echoes. Mirroring the princess, Brendolyn twists her arms behind her and joins her hands together. Unfortunately, it ends up looking less casual and more like a foreign stretch exercise recently arrived from overseas. “I hope Rorey and Braedon are married first,” she mutters, perhaps to herself. Sighing, the girl takes Roslin’s lead and follows after her to the bench that she indicates. “I just arrived from Greenshire. I mean, I have been here to visit often, but I believe I shall be here for some length of time now.” Her chest hitches and she takes a long, indrawn breath before releasing it. “How long have you been here?” The is a sudden sweep of silence then, and Brendolyn stifles a giggle behind one hand. Her eyes dance. “I did -not- mean to make it sound like we were abiding a prison sentence.”

Roslin lets out a little chuckle again, a warm sound from her throat, but even /that/ sounds proper! She sets her hands before her on her lap, lightly together as before. It seems the woman has even been taught how to sit to appear like something in a painting. “To some people, life at court can be very much like a prison, I imagine - though I cannot say I have ever been to a prison. Have you?” Roslin seems a bit amused, but politely so. “At any rate, it is generally likely that your older siblings will be married first. Many families, particularly traditional ones, tend to see to the needs of the elder ones before moving to the younger ones. You likely have some time yet. And you are what … sixteen or so? You could become betrothed, but even if your brother were to find a match for you tomorrow, you could not be married before your next year passes.” The Princess pauses in her speech, turning her head to look over the stables. Maids, guards, horses, and back to the woman to which she speaks. “Oh, forgive me. I have been here all my life, save for on official visits. But I am recently returned from Lakeshire, where father sent me upon my request for a year to make a study of economics and trade. If not for the war and other … familial concerns, I think I could have stayed much longer.” Familial concerns, such as her brother and sister’s behavior of late, are known by most of the kingdom by now.

Wincing, Brendolyn tips her head faintly to one side and pulls absently at a twig that had lodged itself in her hair. She collected all manner of things there - a questing bird looking to build a nest would not have to look much further than at Brendolyn’s ragged mop. “I have not been to prison, no,” she says clearly - just so that is clear - before smiling apologetically. “I really have no interest in being married at all. I should hope that anyone who does attempt to come calling can at least best be in an archery contest. I will not marry them if they cannot.” She states this so firmly it is obvious she lives by it. “I just turned seventeen. And you?” She looks curiously at Roslin. “You appear about my age.” Worrying her lower lip, the girl stares off distantly down a line of stable doors. “Yes, familial concerns,” Brendolyn parrots, as if by rote. “We all have them, do we not?” She emits a short, undignified bark of a laugh. There is something cutting about it. “Oh, sorry.” She puts her fingertips to her mouth, too late and none the wiser.

“Laughter is not a thing to apologize for, My Lady, unless it is at an inopportune time or at an unfortunate subject. Though perhaps some might not take too kindly to it during these dark days. For my own part, I enjoy it - it reminds us that even now, life is and must go on and we should enjoy as much of it as we can. For so many of our men, they shalln’t have much more to enjoy of it.” Roslin lets out a little sigh, her mouth tightening into a little worried rosebud as she glances out the open door to the courtyard and all the business there. “I am recently 16, myself. So near to your age as anyone you’re likely to meet at court. But there are quite a few men who are a bit older, of a good and decent age for you and your sister. And I am sure some of them are quite fair at archery. It is quite a popular sport among this court.” Roslin turns to look back to the girl and once more the straight-backed Princess is smiling. “I daresay it must be a frightening thing indeed to get married. But take heart, My Lady - I know your brother a little, and well enough to say that I think it unlikely he should ever try to match you with someone with whom you do not compare on many levels - even archery.” She sighs a little in a private thought of bewilderment, before chuckling herself. “Does every woman from Greenshire practice with a bow? Such a strange thing - my sister and I were never allowed near such practices. Though, if you met my sister, I think you would not be terribly surprised. She is a sweet thing, but quite emotional. Now tell me, dear Lady: did your brother and sister join you at court? Have we all the Haraveans here with us now?”

“I suppose,” Brendolyn says, scrambling for anything to say and finding that. When Roslin states her age, Brendolyn noticeably brightens. “Ah, so we are the same age, roughly.” Nodding as she speaks, the brunette begins to chew on the inside of her cheek in thought. “He is a kind man, truly, but I doubt his logic sometimes.” Brendolyn is blunt in the way of Wenna, but more passive about it. Looking forlornly down the stable aisle, the girl shakes her head as if to clear it. “Not -every- woman. Every child, male and female, is brought up to learn the bow and arrow in combination. Men are encouraged to keep up with it as they grow, but woman are granted more leeway. If there is no interest to be had, we can of course choose to learn other things.” Scowling, she lowers her voice in true displeasure. “…Other things, like cooking and stitching and all that…” Careful not to offend, Brendolyn instantly straightens a bit and gives Roslin a lame look. “I was trained in archery, blades, fighting techniques and defense. I still train, even now.” She says it with a slight proud puff of her chest. “My sister Rorey is indeed at court now. My brother Braedon had some business back in Greenshire to attend to, but we expect him shortly.”

“Blades?” Even Roslin can’t hide the surprise and, alas, dismay in her voice at that. “Not swords, surely. Archery, I can understand to be something of an art. And even using a small blade, a dagger or the like, can be good for a woman to know - we cannot always have our protection guaranteed. But surely, you cannot mean swords.” She shakes her head at the sheer impossibility of it. “Well, if it is of any consolation, I have never cooked nor made attempt to do so at any point in my life. I do not think that is a terribly necessary skill for a Lady to learn. Embroidery … embroidery I have found does have its uses.” She leans closer, whispering conspiratorially to the other girl - for the first time seeming her young age. “You would not believe how delightful it is to have something to focus on when you must listen to some great old dame or duchess droll on for hours about her second husband’s collection of hat feathers!” A little giggle escapes the girl. “I swear there are times I was near bored to tears - if I had not had something to occupy myself I am sure I should have died!” And, of course, being a Princess, Roslin must always appear eager and excited to listen to all company.

“Of course, swords!” Brendolyn exclaims, like it wasn’t even a question. “I of course learned with the small blades that we keep in Greenshire … daggers, knives and things much more unfair than that.” A wrinkle unfolds over Brendolyn’s nose, forming a twin atop that as Roslin whispers to her. “Hat feathers!” she squeaks, appearing scandalized. Actually, given the prospect of hearing about hat feathers, having something to occupy her hands might not be such a bad idea. “I -do- know some embroidery, but I am terrible at it. I can’t continue a straight stitch for the life of me.” She can’t keep a straight face, either. Roslin’s whispering has her dissolving into a fit of giggles that actually peg her as nothing more than a girl herself. Waving Roslin’s way, she cups a hand to the side of her cheek and gasps, “Stop, please stop!” before bending over and continuing to shake from a fit of giggles.

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