Cri 12, 229: For the Cause

For the Cause
Summary: Ronan lets his squire know the things he'll have to be giving up for the cause of war. His squire shows his displeasure by means of a sword. Oxley is reconciled (sorta?) with his cousin.
OOC Date: 11/04/2014
Related: You Don't Know What It's Like
Kierne Ronan Oxley 
Courtyard - Darfield Castle
It's a yard… for courting?
Cri 12, 229

There has been so much to prepare. Ronan has been busy meeting with men, pouring over maps, sending ravens, giving orders, and generally working so hard he's hardly even seen his wife. Today, now that it is all coming together, he has sent a request for Kierne to meet him out in the courtyard to spar and to wear his padded gambeson, though armour wasn't required. The Duke himself is already out here in the spring air, dressed in black doublet with a black padded gambeson over it to spar. His helm he has set aside as he speaks low with Rosley. Rosley himself is also dressed in black, his broken arm still in a sling.

"Yes, I will see to it, Your Grace. Don't you worry, I'll help the Duchess with anything she or Jarvice requires. Lord Kierne will stay by your side, bless him." The frail older man sounds a little jealous not to be departing with his lord when the ship sails in a few days.

Kierne wanders out of the stables in his blonde riding trousers and dark blue gambeson, belted with scabbards in place for a shorter sparring blade on one hip and a longer one on the other, to suit whatever sparring needs his Lord Knight might throw at him. He's just in time to catch Rosley's comment, and, with a smile, he gives the fellow a gentle, amiable clap to the shoulder.

Rosley smiles at Kierne and because things are liable to be a bit crazy over the next few days, he pulls the youth into an embrace - nevermind Kierne is a noble and Rosley is not. "You both better return alive and well. Gods be with you." You know perfectly well he'll see them off on the ship but there may not be time for words with other nobles pressing around. Rosley tries not to get a tear in his eye.

Ronan eyes his man servant, who served his father before him and perhaps his brother as well. "Now, now, buck up Rosley. We'll keep a sharp eye and the rest is up to the Gods, as you well know. And we'll watch each other's backs, you can be certain." All the same, it is war and Rosley is no fool, having seen his share of it in his younger years.

"All right now. Get you a waster, Kierne, and we'll have a few rounds to feel you out. Want to have a chat with you about a few things." Yes, it's time for /that/ talk, boy.

Kierne is a hugger; anyone who managed to see the kid at all during the festival will vividly remember him hugging Ronan after both their rounds, and Aidan at the distribution of prizes. So when Rosley presents him with one he takes it up heartily, being careful of the man's arm, but not shying away from pressing a tender kiss to the man's cheek, as if he were a member of his own family, maybe tearing up just a little bit himself. "We'll be back before you can even catch your breath from fussing after us, Ros," he addresses the man in fond, casual terms.

Then, drawing back, he unfastens his belt, setting the iron blunts aside by the wooden blades and taking up one of the latter, instead. "Yes sir."

The Royal Marshal, Commander (Gods help us) of his Majesty's armies, puts on his helm and salutes Kierne with the wooden waster Ronan's already selected. Rosley steps back to give the pair plenty of room but stays to watch ere he will return to his own duties.

"Now, let's see how you fare … and now I know more, tell me about this Oxley fellow, his Grace Aidan Kincaid's squire. I believe you mentioned his first name to me but … I am curious why you didn't tell me his family name at that time, Kierne. Or why Aidan hasn't mentioned him, hmmm?"

At that, Ronan steps in quick and licks the wooden waster out to test Kierne and see if he's paying attention to the coming attack!

<COMBAT> Kierne passes.
<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword but Kierne DODGES!
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Kierne is paying attention, alright. He goes from a casual stance at the side of the courtyard to a tight defensive, placing his waster just in the path of Ronan's, meeting his with a firm CLACK and then backing into a practiced, ready stance. "I dunno. I don't really know him all that well, honestly. He's kind of a jerk. He thinks I'm a show-off for winning at the tourney, like I did it on purpose just to make my uncle look down on him in comparison to me, or something. No offense to your cousin, or whatever, but seriously. Guy's got a rage-on for me and I've tried making peace, holding out the hand of truce, apologizing… nothing works."

"But you knew he was my cousin." Ronan notes. He thins his mouth, "I wasn't informed that I had a living male relative bearing the Crawford name, though I have put word out that I was seeking any who survived Trueborn Keep. You have no idea why he, nor Aidan, came forward to inform me?" The Duke circles like a preditor though some of his attention is divided on his questioning - even if his eyes stay on Kierne. The waster licks out again as he steps forward once more, pressing the boy but slightly more cautiously in turn himself, this time. "Come on at me, lad. Don't act like a woman afraid of the blade. I know you are not."

<COMBAT> Kierne passes.
<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Ronan will pass this turn.
<COMBAT> Ronan passes.
<COMBAT> Kierne attacks Ronan with Long Sword but Ronan DODGES!
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

"He told me he was your cousin when he was punching me in the face in the stables." I probably should have mentioned the black eye Kierne's sporting at present. But it's as likely as not that Ronan heard the rumor about the fight already. "He was ALSO mad at me that you didn't know. I didn't have any explanation of that to him, nor do I to you." Kierne is very well settled into his style of defensive fighting, finding it far easier to deflect blows aimed at him and then retaliate than to strike the first blow himself. So when he steps up to it it's hardly the most graceful maneuver, easily deflected.

Ooh, that had to hurt. Ronan is able to side step Kierne's attack and lands a blow to the boy's chest soundly. Thankfully it's not live steel and a real fight, but then it's early yet. They'll both warm up. The Rioga keeps moving, "I'm satisfied with that answer." He doesn't sound at all displeased with Kierne, "I hope you kicked his ass right back for beating on your face."

It's true they have sparred together so many times over the past few years, the two know each other's fighting styles intimately. The Duke stays in close and doesn't check his strength nor hold back his blows. Ronan stays right on top of Kierne to press him and not let up! After all, he wants Kierne to live through the war, "I aim to sail west the morning after War Council. You must pack and make ready. Say farewell to this girl you are sweet on."

<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword - Moderate wound to Neck.
<COMBAT> Kierne attacks Ronan with Long Sword and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Kierne's chances aren't looking that good, are they? He takes another blow to the neck, and a firm one. He's holding up, though a bit of a waver runs through him at the second blow. "He had something that he needed to prove, either to me or to himself. I defended myself, but otherwise let him get out whatever aggression he needed to. We did spar, later. I held up somewhat better than I am now," he laughs a self-deprecating laugh. "But he got in a sharp shot to my ribs and left me gasping with one blow, so I yielded." When the timeline for departure becomes evident, he nods his head briskly. "Yes, sir. I've already set up something special to say good-bye to her," he lets his Lord Knight know. He obviously knew THAT he was leaving soon, even if he didn't know when. "I know you may think it nothing much, a dalliance with a Lady's handmaiden, but she's a good person. I like her."

Ronan gives Kierne room to recover from that hard blow - or to explain himself. Either way it buys the Kincaid some breathing space while the Duke circles him, blade held ready. "You should not continue to expect to … be too familiar with her. You will need to keep yourself focused, Kierne. Not loose your heart and your head to a woman you can't share your life with, even if she's a good lass." He grimaces, "I knew a few good lasses I was fond of myself, but my father warned me… not to let myself get too attached. Bastards aren't highly desirable." Once it looks like Kierne is fine, Ronan moves in to press him again, to see if he can knock the lad off his feet with a solid blow or if his squire is paying more attention after having his head nearly taken off!

<COMBAT> Kierne attacks Ronan with Long Sword but Ronan DODGES!
<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

"Oh— the Count of Sky Forest gave me ample advice against the," Kierne breaks off to put his effort and attention behind parrying the next blow, though he has to put all his focus into doing so, and can muster nothing more than a token effort toward retaliation. "Against the begetting of children. A concoction from the sky forest, as well as some appeal to common sense. The stallion put to stud when the mare is not in heat is as well as doing nothing, isn't he?" he smiles gently, though it fades when Ronan appeals to him not to grow too close to T. "At any rate, she will not be at hand to distract me on our excursion with the armies." We'll see how things stand when they get back. If they get back.

For now, Ronan will not press that issue of the girl and only nods, "Good of you. You are usually a sensible lad." His breating is a touch more up as they keep moving around with the sparring. The Rioga is working out a touch of lingering stiffness and moving more than he usually would to warm up. A roll of his shoulders and he presses Kierne once more with the wooden waster, a fient for the lad's head that drops suddenly.

"I was also concerned about your …" swipe with the blade, "drinking so much. You have let up?"

<COMBAT> Kierne attacks Ronan with Long Sword - Serious wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword but Kierne DODGES!
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Kierne is back into his comfort zone, parrying blow after blow, not really bothering to counterattack until the proper opportunity presents itself. The feint is transparent to the lad's keen attention, and he forecasts the actual blow, arcing his blade firmly to swat the other waster away, then reversing the swing double-handed to beat hard against the padded fabric at Ronan's ribs while he's in no position to get back to the defensive. That'll show the next person to suggest his leaving Treasure. He draws back a few steps to his standard ready stance to give Ronan a second to recover.

To the question of his drinking, "Yes and no," he answers. "Well. Mostly no," he admits. He'd rather admit it than lie about it. "Truth to tell, I find it hard to get through some days without a drink. And even harder to put the wineskin down before it's empty. Some mornings I need a cup or two just to wake myself. And going to bed sober is a torment unless Treasure is with me."

So far it's been Ronan beating the living crap out of Kierne - so the sudden flipside to find Kierne's waster slamming hard into his chest about knocks the wind out of the towering Rioga! Sheat's cock, it's a good solid blow! Ronan is forced back a step, his own blade coming back up to guard as he tries to suck a breath through his helm. "Good … blow. Don't back off, come at me again!" For a second he can almost not huff the words out. You know the blow rattled him and it takes a few seconds before he's shakin it off. "Better." Breathe, and then Ronan says, "You'll have to go without drink now. Not a drop. They'll be none at the front and I need you sober." The King's Marshal comes at Kierne again, this time his waster thrusting hard for Kierne's helm!

<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword but Kierne DODGES!
<COMBAT> Kierne attacks Ronan with Long Sword - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Ronan has been KO'd!

Whuh? None at all? Kierne feels his skin crawl at the very thought of going dry. But his body is so poised and his subconscious made so practiced by constant drilling that even as his mind roils with the implications, he barely thinks about it, but bobs with his knees, dipping his helm just beneath the blow and following it up with a lunge to Ronan's thus-exposed flank, smacking him one more time right in those ribs he'd battered a second ago.

Oxley is making his way across the courtyard, having delivered a missive for Aidan and heading back to his duties. He's wearing simple dark brown pants with a beige button-up shirt. A brown vest covers the shirt, and he carries his sword at his side. His long hair frames his scruffy face as he glances over and notices the two men sparring. He pauses a moment, just watching, but not approaching.

Ronan is dressed in black, a padded gambeson worn instead of armour though he has on a helm to protect his head. The pair of them are sparring with wooden wasters and going at it hard enough and long enough already to be breathing hard. Hard blows have been landed on both sides. Boots move quickly over the cobbles as the pair work, exchanging words as well as hits. Kierne manages to evade his thrust for the lad's head and somehow hits Ronan again in the chest! It's not a hard blow but as chance would have it, it pushes the Duke off his balance just a hair that makes him stumble - and then face plant against the cobbles. His waster clatters against the stones ande his helm protects his face. It forces a grunt out of Ronan of surprise!

Kierne barely registers that Ronan has fallen down for a second. He's still panicking inwardly about not having anything to drink, suddenly overcome with a GREAT NEED to do so. He'd drink with breakfast and a rather goodly sized wineskin at noontide, but with a constitution for the drink like he has that's… well, obviously not much, as he's still in good fighting form. Once the outside world catches up with his internal turmoil, Ronan is on he ground and he barely knows how he got there, but, "Oh, gosh, are you… you OK?" he asks his Lord Knight, putting his waster to his off-hand and reaching out with his right to help the Duke up.

Pursing his lips, Oxley shakes his head when Ronan is toppled over. He takes a half-step towards them, but when Kierne moves to help him up, Oxley stops. He tilts his head a bit, still watching in silence.

"I'm fine lad. My boot sole I think has come loose." Ronan gets to his feet and dusts himself off, pulling his helm to remove it. He hands that and his waster to Kierne so he can pick up his boot and sure enough, the sole has torn loose. "I best replace these. A man's boots are like a horse's shod hooves… a loose horse shoe or a man's boot can make the difference between living or dying in a fight."

The Duke feels of his ribs and takes the waster and helm back from Kierne, "I clobbered you a few times before you got me but you did all right. Let us fight another round."

It's then that Ronan's dark eyes take note of Oxley standing there. He stops to study the other and then lifts his chin, "Oxley, join us. Don't be lurking, come right up like a man ought. I believe I owe you an apology for our last meeting."

Kierne takes the helm under one arm and joins waster to waster in his off hand, holding them both with a wide splay of fingers. "Yes, sir. Do you want me to take those to be repaired? A spare pair on the march might come in handy," he suggests. Waste not, want not, after all. He finally looks past Ronan to Oxley, but he lets Ronan handle the salutations, looking busy juggling wasters and helms.

Oxley swallows and then nods, approaching the two men. "Sorry, sir. I wasn't trying to lurk. Just watch, sir." He marches to where they are and then gives a little bow to Ronan. "An apology, sir?" He looks a little confused, his head cocking to the side a bit. "I… I don't understand, sir?"

Ronan looks between the two younger men, himself only a handful and some years older really. "Yes. Kierne informs me that you were wroth that I did not know you before. It is true that it has been more than a few years since I had seen you and I knew not if you had lived. I meant you no disrespect in not recognizing you." The Duke shifts his jaw as he looks Oxley over, "Aidan didn't tell me he'd taken blood of my house to squire. I'd like to know why he's kept you hidden from me, when I have put out word to seek of my living kin after Trueborn. Do you know?"

A nod is given to Kierne, "I'll remove them and spar without. If they are fit to be repaired, I'll have them done. If not, I have another pair, as you say." Ronan draws off his boots and sets them aside.

"Yes, sir," Kierne replies, otherwise standing by to retrieve the boots and put them over with his extra gear, then return to the field slowly, letting the others speak.

Oxley gives Kierne a quick look, a bit of displeasure shown that Kierne would tell Ronan that he was upset Ronan didn't know who he was. As quick as the look is given, it fades, and he looks back to Sir Ronan. He furrows his brow just a bit, and then shrugs. "My… My father is not proud of me. He gave me to Ronan instead of disowning me, hoping Aidan would make more of me than what he saw." He swallows again, "I would never wish to presume to know the Duke sir's reasons, but if I was to speculate…" He purses his lips, looking off in the distance a moment, and then looks back to Ronan. "Maybe he recognizes my lack of worth and hoped to not bother you, sir." There's nothing in his tone that suggests his words are seeking empathy or sympathy, he's just stating fact.

Well, well. One then the other of Ronan's dark brows rise at what Oxley says. "I see. I trust your father is alive? Last I had heard of him he was aging, maimed from the war but still getting around. And your lady mother? You have no idea, Oxley. I thought all my close kin dead, and I, last of my house." Ronan now stands without his boots and hell if he cares.

"It sounds like you and Kierne … have a great deal in common. Donal thinks none too well of his son, either. Kierne has a few faults, but he's a good lad and will one day be a good knight. A man will be whatever he wants to make of himself, Oxley. You have to make yourself into what /you/ want to be, if only you can decide what that should be. We all must make that struggle. The Gods, they challenge us to overcome lesser selves, myself no exception."

Ronan huffs a breath and draws himself up to add, "Look at me. An unwanted younger son never destined to be worth his weight in much of anything. Now I'm a Duke and Marshal of the King's armies. Aye, the Gods have a sense of humor, do they not?"

Oh, hey, Oxley is mad at him again. Look at how surprised Kierne is. At all. Yeah. He's rather over being discontented over the fact, and has come to accept it as a perpetual state. When his own father's name is invoked he looks aside with a keen eye toward the stables, a deeper breath finding its way rustling into his chest as he stands by with his Lord Knight's waster and his own, then letting it out again.

Oxley looks a little saddened, "My mother is still alive, as best I know, sir. I've heard Wesley is no longer so well," he says of his father, calling him by first name instead of dad or father. "He would not see me even if I tried to return, so…" A little shrug once more. He looks at Kierne again when the other boy looks away, and there's a moment of maybe empathy or something on his face, before he returns his attention back to Ronan. "I appreciate your words, sir, but, alas, words are just empty vassals used by the well-spoken to change things they have no power to change through their actions. In the end, it would seem the world is independent of my will."

Ronan almost snorts, "Sess's cock, that's bull piss, boy." Words coming out of his mouth that would make Roslin livid! Ah, but among knights and squires… the Duke shakes his head, "I had heard your father was ill a while back. Sorry to hear it. I should send for the Lady Amora. She could be good company for the Duchess while I am away, if she would come."

Bare footed, the Rioga walks back over to Kierne and takes his waster and helm back, "Shall we spar once more? See if you can hit me again so well? Sons almost never live up to their father's expectations so put it behind you both. It's the future that matters."

Kierne is there at the ready with them, handing over the helm, first, and then waiting to see whether Ronan is helming up immediately or getting the helmet settled under an arm before he offers up the wooden blade, as well. "I'm at your service," he replies in obedient ambiguity— he will spar if asked to do so, or won't, otherwise.

Oxley smirks, and nods towards Kierne, "As you wish," he offers concerning his mother. He takes a step back, allowing them room to begin their spar once more. He looks at Ronan and says of Kierne, "Careful. He has a strong jab. It's fast, too." Well, that was almost a friendly compliment?

The helm he'll put on at once. Ronan settles it, snugs the strap and adjusts his grip on the waster as he turns to take a few strides to give himself and Kierne enough room to begin. The wooden blade, quite capable of delivering some nasty bruises and even breaking some bones without armour to stop it, is lifted. Ronan salutes his squire to indicate his readiness to begin.

Hah! The Duke looks amused with Oxley, "I've been trying to teach him all I know for years now. I think I'm familiar with his skill." And Kierne with his! Ronan bares his teeth though his helm conceals much of his face, "Come on lad, let's dance." He moves in to crowd his squire at once, intent to deal him a good blow to start right off if he may.

Kierne returns the salute, keeping his eyes on Ronans, moving slickly from salute to something closer to his normal opening posture.

<COMBAT> Kierne attacks Ronan with Long Sword - Serious wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

While Oxley stands back to watch, the two salute and Ronan moves in to press, as he usually does - though sometimes he doesn't, just to mix things up. Kierne is ready! Whether the Kincaid was aiming for something other than the Rioga's bare hand, not covered by gauntlet as it should be, or not only the lad knows. Ronan's hand is struck and it puts his own attack slightly off, glancing Kierne's chest instead of the powerful blow it would have been otherwise. The Duke intended to feel Kierne like a tree, but instead his waster is nearly knocked from his hands!

A sucked in breath, a quick snatching of his hand back and tucking it in close to his body. The Crawford tries not to make a sound but there is pain. His hand might well be broken, his knuckles bloody, but damned if Ronan doesn't grit his teeth and try to hit Kierne before the lad can hit him again!

Kierne was aiming only slightly higher— for his Lord Knight's blade. Accustomed as he is to deflecting a blow with a hard strike near to the base of the blade, it's only a moment's difference that brings the wooden blade pressing Ronan's knuckled against the grip of the other waster. When Kierne sees actual blood he falls back, almost as though to withdraw from the fight if Ronan's really hurt, but when Ronan presses the attack he moves to defend himself.

<COMBAT> Kierne attacks Ronan with Long Sword but Ronan DODGES!
<COMBAT> Ronan attacks Kierne with Long Sword - Light wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Ronan has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

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