Umbra 9, 228: Miserable Failure Given Physical Form

Kyra and Venan discuss his failures and shortcomings.

Miserable Failure Given Physical Form
Summary: Kyra and Venan discuss his failures and shortcomings.
OOC Date: October 13, 2013 (OOC)
Related: None
Venan Kyra 
Ruxton Street
From the city center to Darfield Castle, this is the road to take. It travels straight from the city of Stormvale for a short ways, but then has to turn to switch backs, easily defensible, with defensive fortifications set up at strategic points, as it climbs to the castle gatehouse. There are two lookouts on the way, towers set up down small paths off the road that are used for military purposes, or for lovers' trysts during times of peace.
Umbra 9, 228

Venan is making his way out of the fairgrounds with a bundle of sticks, paper and string under his arm. He appears a bit winded with ruddy hue to his cheeks and his hair dampened on his forehead from sweat despite the chill. "Oi lads, next time I'm sure it'll work." He hollers back over his shoulder as he turns a corner then pauses looking about.

Having just exited through the Gatehouse, Kyra is walking towards what could either be the center of the city or the public gardens, the angle she has taken leaves it unclear. Her steps aren't hurried, though a little quicker than meandering. In her hand is a parchment wrapped up, her hand clenched around it almost too tightly. Her expression is somewhat neutral though she does pause a moment to appreciate the fine fall morning.

Venan looks over at Kyra then does a quick juggle to rope in the trailing string and bits of stick that poke out at odd angles so he can dip into a bow, "Milady, good morning to you." The bow is a bit spoiled by his foot shooting out to pin down one of the strings that is still attempting to cross her path.

Whenever Kyra hears the greeting, she doesn't immediately register it's her being greeted. When she realizes, she hurriedly shakes her head, red hair tumbling around her face. "Oh, I'm no lady." The hasty reassurance is accompanied by a quick look towards the gatehouse, then him. He must have seen her leaving the courtyard. "Uh.. I have a few friends who work there." Hitching a thumb over her shoulder. Tilting her head to the side, she sees his load he carries. "Do you need help?"

Venan tilts his head a bit to look her over again his eye gauging her dress and the buttons then straightens up, "As you say, mistress, but this isn't so much of a burden as it looks. It just likes to play in the wind, which is what it is meant to do so I can't complain too much when it does." He snares the errant string and gives it a few wraps around the bundle. Close up it can be seen to have several breaks in the sticks and tears in the paper and the string looks quite hopelessly tangled. "My apologies on the confusion to your station, not meaning to say you looked to be putting on airs."

"No need for apologies." It was always the dress that did it. Kyra looks down at herself, then back at him with amusement most apparent in her eyes. "Airs.. I suppose it could be labeled that, but truthfully I never thought about it like that. I don't particularly care much for nobles myself. The dress was a gift from my father." Simply stated words that she doesn't expound on. Instead, she studies the mass of his load he carries, lips quirking into a lopsided smile. "What exactly are you carrying anyway?"

Venan says, "Kind of you to say, mistress." He looks down at his bundle, "This…this is a miserable failure given physical form." He chuckles, "While I was traveling I came upon a town that prided themselves on their kites, small contraptions that fly in the air when the wind takes them. They sold me a rather spectacular piece and I've been trying to duplicate the craft since, with…well let's call it limited success."

Just his description, a miserable failure given physical form.. it makes Kyra laugh and she folds her parchment to shove it into her pocket, out of sight, out of mind. "Do you travel a lot then? To find all of these great contraptions, I mean." Genuinely, she seems interested. "I am Kyra. I don't know what a kite is, but I think it must look pretty if it flies in the air."

Venan smiles as she laughs then replies, "I travel whenever I am able, but with the winter and the war upcoming I think it will be some time before I set out again. I've a number of curios to keep me busy and coin from the sale of my cart and supplies to keep me in comfort until then so it is not overly troublesome." He looks down at the bundle then up at the skies, "Actually, if you should want for a bit of distraction I need to study the working sample a bit more and was planning on flying it again. I usually get one or two of the lads that hang about the fairgrounds to help but I don't think they'd object too much if I brought a pretty young woman along to help me set the kite into the air."

"Indeed there is a number of things to find here and discover, the threat of war though is a deterrent, I think." A slim shoulder lifts in an almost careless shrug but Kyra looks vaguely in the direction of the coast. "As long as the ships never come here, I'll be happy." The talk of war is dropped then to concentrate on the more interesting and quite fun topic of this man and his kite! "You sell items from your cart? A merchant?" Curious. At the invitation, she remembers her parchment and the smile fades to a look of regret. "If I only could.. I have to deliver a missive, but if you're there, I'll stop by a little later?"

Venan nods, "I did sell items from my cart, but that was sold in an rather profitable transaction some weeks ago so now I've just some smaller curios and my own craft until I travel to gather more." The clouds darken a bit and rain starts to splatter down, a quick glance upward and Venan chuckles, "Ah, seems the light would prefer me not to fly my kite…perhaps reminding me that it would be rude to let a pretty young woman go unescorted through the streets?" He tucks the bundle more compactly under his arm, "What do you think, mistress? Would it be imposing to ask to walk and talk with you? I'm always in need of knowing those who have friends at the castle as my curios sell most profitably to the nobility."

"It sounds curious to me what all you do. You fly kites, sell carts of wares and craft your own. You do very many things, it seems." Kyra doesn't seem to mind the rain when it begins to splatter, but she does pull her cloak around her more fully and lift the hood over her head. For a moment, she hesitates, but finally she has to shake her head, real regret in her eyes. "It is a rather delicate matter for Lord Sir Symon, otherwise I would not hesitate in you accompanying me. I do hope to see you again soon. I live in a cottage out on the edge of town, ask anyone they know where it is. Feel free to stop by any time." As the rain continues, her lips curve into another smile. "It was nice meeting you." Then she dashes off.

Venan reaches up to tug a forelock as the young woman moves off, "I look forward to talkin with you, mistress." As he watches her go he considers the fine dress, the friends in the castle, and the cottage on the edge of town that everyone knows. He turns to one of the locals and gives a quick upnod once the young woman is out of ear and eyeshot, "Oi, that miss that just went running off, what's her story?" He watches carefully for the little wink and nod signs that indicate whatever the polite excuse she's a paid companion.

The wink and nod never come.. But there's a quick leaning in with a finger to lips in the shh motion. "She's a mystery knight in those joust tournaments they hold. Guess it ain't no mystery if so many know about it, but I recognize the horse she keeps stabled out at her cottage where she lives. Also works as a barmaid on occasion. Swear, she's never seen with the nobles except as a courier."

Venan rubs his chin, "Ah, heard of her then, didn't know the face to put to the story. I also heard she's got a fair splash of nobility in her blood but it came on the wrong side of the bedsheets, any truth to that you know of?"

"Nobility? Who knows? Who cares? She's a woman thinks she can fight like a man." The man spits on the ground, looking towards the red head as she departs.

Venan chuckles, "Oi, now don't be spitting after a good looking woman that likes to wrestle. Just tryin to figure who I might be gettin in trouble with if I ask her for a go at pinning her. She got a husband or someone looking to tame her already?"

"Pinning her?" Interest lights the mans eyes and he looks after the redhead as she continues walking away. A wickedly malicious smile curves his lips. "Nope. She's not married. Lives alone out there in her cottage. Mayhaps she should be taught she's not a man."

Venan nods, "Aye, mayhaps, but when a woman is pretty and has friends in the castle best to start that teachin with a few flowers, I'm thinking, or you might find out exactly who's nobility her mother was enjoying on the wrong side of those bedsheets. A bastard daughter is still a daughter and father's get a bit fierce sometimes." He chuckles, "Spent two days and a night running through the desert with nothing but my breeches once due to a fierce father, and I wasn't even the one he was angry at." He shakes his head, "He apologized after we sorted it all out but I don't think he meant it, kept slapping me on the back and I was red as an apple from the two day's sun."

Shoulders shrug again though this time they're accompanied by a smirk. "Flowers." Scoffing at the very idea. Pale gray eyes regard the man as he speaks of running through the desert from his father. His expression turns considering as he looks towards the castle then the redhead. "You sure? Cause I think she'd be fun to try and tame."

Venan smiles, "If I was sure of anything, life would be a lot less entertaining. I figure to play it like I would any deal at market, start off as if the goods were golden, and if they don't sell, then treat 'em as dross. Comely lass with a strong back wouldn't be a poor thing to have as a wife, assuming she sees sense, and if she doesn't, not a bad thing to have a romp with afore moving on." He runs his hand through his now rain slicked hair and flicks the excess water off before pulling up his hood. "Can't do it the other way round though, women is oddly fickle about bein romped and left first then courted second." He takes a moment to strip the ruined paper off his kite frame, as he pulls it loose it is obvious this is the much cheaper beaten reed type than a proper paper. "Ah, well, if women made sense then we'd be bored over our beers, neh?" He tilts his head, "Ya come by the Riverview later if you've the time, I owe you a beer at least, though mind your coppers as I'll try to win it back at dice after."

Still wearing that look of potential mischief, the man nods, not seeming to mind the rain any. "I already got a wife but she's out to here with child," holding his hand exaggeratingly far, in the mimic of morbidly fat. "What I need is a good romp." Lifting a hand, he scratches the growth of beard on his chin. "Don't wanna be courin' anyone, figure that'd get the wife mad. But I'm good for a gamble 'bout anytime, may take you up on that." A leering glace is given again towards where the redhead had left. "Iffin I'm not busy."

Venan chuckles, "I'm thinkin your safer bet is going to be the dice. Less likely to get knifed for rolling them." He turns to leave, "Oh, and if you should still be spoiling for a bit of a romp, mention it when you come by for the beer. I've got a few curios put away that look far pricier than they are and will get your wife feeling creatively thankful."

"I can handle a blade myself. Someone tries something on me I'd definitely put up a fight. See, I don't think the lady'd complain any, I'm good with my weapon." Leaving the double entendre there. Giving a lazy salute, the man slinks off at an angle towards the last sighting of the woman in question.

Venan chuckles and leaves the braggart to pursue having his blade sheathed or bent in his own way. He spends a few more minutes in the drizzle snapping wood and loosing nots to salvage the string which he tucks into his pouch then the rest of the kite goes into the nearest fire. A few questions here and there as he walks then he finds a comfortable and sheltered spot to watch the paths leading out of town towards the woman's cottage. He pulls out a small sharp knife and begins carving to pass the time.

The carving isn't a masterwork, that's not what he was going for, it is something to inspire curiousity. A wooden loop of chain, carved from a single piece of wood so that no link of the chain has a seam or break. He picks out his design bit by bit coaxing four links free of the wood before he hits a knot and the link he was working on breaks and falls free. He eyes the chain for a moment, then cuts the loose links free and starts again.

It isn't too terribly long before Kyra returns from her errand but this time she is empty handed. Her cloak still covers her hair, but the dress is one and the same she was wearing. She walks on the opposite side of the street, her pace more hurried than before and she doesn't head for the castle this time, instead she takes the turn that leads for her cabin. Her path is clear so she doesn't linger, nor does she look around. It's cold, she's wet and shivering.

Venan tucks his knife away and gives the carved bit of wood a toss into the wood pile to be burned with the other scraps. "Good morning again, Mistress, you're looking soaked half-through. Trade you a cloak for a conversation?" He tugs at the knot near his throat and holds it out towards her as he steps out from under the shelter of the overhang he's found.

Hearing that familiar voice, Kyra looks over and almost keeps going. After another hesitation, she walks over, approaching him, but looking back the way she had come before back to him. "I could do that, but the cloak is unnecessary. Is there anything in particular you'd like to speak about?"

Venan chuckles, "You're shaking, Mistress, let a fellow feel he's done a good turn for the day and take the cloak." He keeps the offer extended until she takes it or flatly refuses. "As for what's to speak about. I was curious as to what sort of friends you had in the castle, as if they're the right sort that's of a business interest to me. I was also curious about yourself, as I'll be in town for several months and I should like to find someone who wouldn't mind attending the upcoming festivals with me. Lastly I wished to make sure you made it home alright, from what I hear you're fair fine fending for yourself but even the capable can be surprised, and there were a fellow who I don't think were meaning any real harm but should like to be sure he were just the boasting sort."

The token protest was just that and when he once more offers the cloak, Kyra accepts it with a grateful smile, already feeling the warmth from his own body encompass her from the material. A soft and unintentional sigh escapes her and she smiles as she fastens it at her neck. The question of the castle has her gaze unintentionally roving over towards it. "He's a Knight of the Rioga. A childhood friend who up until recently was an unlanded common knight. Now he is a Lord with lands and serving the crown. I deliver messages for him and assist him with the administration side of his new lands." She has no reason to be dishonest, so she tells him the truth of it. The mention of the festivities has her tipping her head to the side. "Attending the festivities with you? I wouldn't mind showing you around, if you like." Holding the cloak around her, she shivers again at the mention of the unsavory fellow. "A walk home would be.. nice. If you're sure you don't mind."

Venan makes a little 'Hmmm.' noise as she explains her friendship with the knight. "Trickier that, knights are less inclined to purchase curios than ladies. Though if he's new to his lands he'll need some decoration for his home so he doesn't appear shabby. I think I can find something suitable." He starts walking in the direction she was heading and that his questioning indicated her home would be in. "As for walking you home, I think that would be a fine way to learn whether you're the sort of company that would be enjoyable at festival. It is quite possible that you're fine and fair to look upon but dull and dowdy to speak with." He looks at her seriously for a moment, "I've not seen sign of it yet, but it is possible and women are wiley at times." He then shrugs and reaches up with both hands to turn up his the collar of his shirt and fluff his hair outside it so most of the rain runs out rather than into his shirt. "You look to be a…ah, what are they called in this area." He rolls his hand in front of him as he searches for the words, "Was is stewardess or housekeeper or head maid?" He looks to her for help, "I'm sorry, but I do manage to get titles muddled in the worst of ways, what is it you seek to be in life?"

"He has a lute he plays, his sword he fights with and his armor, I'm not sure you'd be able to sell him anything else. He is leaving back to his lands soon anyway, so I have no further reason to go to the castle. I'm finished there." Kyra holds the cloak, breathing in the scent of the owner unintentionally as she begins leading the way. "Fair to look at and dull and dowdy to speak with?" Taking no offense, she does seem genuinely amused though. "I think you may be right. I'm definitely not a brilliant conversationalist. Can't hold that against me can you?" As he begins walking alongside her, she watches more where she's going as she listens to his guesses as to her occupation. "Mostly, I am a barmaid. I temporarily worked as stewardess for Symon and I keep my own house." A withering look is given him though, "I'm no maid. As for what I seek in life? Peace. That's it. You?"

Venan nods as she lists the hedge knight's possessions, he grins as she grins then laughs as she scowls, "Oi, mistress, be kind with those looks, as I said I have trouble keeping up with the titles as I travel about. There's lady's maids I know that hold station higher than any other of commn blood, in their own lands of course. As for holding poor conversation against you, I'd not treat you poorly for it, but I'd not keep company with you long either." He shakes off the water every so often before it can soak into his clothes. "As for what I want, for the long term, I can't say as I've found it yet, likely why I enjoy travel as much as I do. For the short term though were thinking some pleasant company would be grand, which is why the concern over being stuck with a woman who couldn't keep me interested."

Venan chuckles, "Winter nights get long and fair as your face is, in dim light it'd be your voice and words that kept me from boredom."

Venan muses, "Though still, a few puzzle boxes for the knight might do, something to hint he has items of value within without need to purchase them now."

There's only a little incredulity in her eyes as they approach her cottage and she leads him to the door, pausing there and looking towards the paddock where she keeps her horse. Seeing the large black destrier, she breathes a sigh of relief, eyes sparkling as she reaches for the knob and turns it. "What if the mistress isn't necessarily looking for anything more permanent than acting as a tour guide at the festivities?" Pushing open the door, she steps inside and out of the way so that he may follow, holding the knob. "Make yourself at home.." If he steps in, she will close the door behind him and walk over to get a towel for him. "Please, dry off before you catch a cold." The smile is warm, but somewhat distant.

Venan chuckles, "Well, so long as the Mistress doesn't mind my looking for someone who is while taking the tour, I'd have no particular objection." He gives a quick rub of the towel through his hair then wipes off his shoulders and thighs where the water had settled. He looks at the house as he rakes his fingers through his hair to return it to a semblance of order after the toweling. "Thank you for the towel and the invitation into your home, it is very nice." He hooks the towel over his shoulders then moves to hunker down by the fireplace. He seems to be taking her at her word about making himself at home and starts rebuilding the fire looking about in the logical places and mostly finding what he needs.

Venan lays down nearly flat so he can puff into the base of the fire, "Of course, if the Mistress in question did change her mind, I'd not particularly object to that either, assuming she didn't get all dull and dowdy." He takes a deep breath and with a long steady exhale gets things crackling in the fireplace.

Kyra removes the cloak from around her shoulders and hangs it near the door. "Oh sure, I don't mind you looking for someone, just expect me to play up our relationship a little, seems to make my own gender want the man all the more if she thinks he's taken. Maybe I can help you find a wife who can hold a good conversation." Turning, she heads for the small bedroom area and steps behind the divider to begin unfastening her dress. "I'm glad you came here with me, but I'm sorry you had to get all wet. I have one of Symon's tunics here if you'd like a change of clothes." Just then she remembers the armor, her armor and her eyes widen, not that he can see her. While he dries out, she changes into a dress much less noble looking and more barmaid style. Walking out, she fastens the last two buttons that are luckily on the front as she approaches the couch. "Personally, I think I am dull and dowdy. What possibly could a barmaid have to talk about?"

Venan chuckles, "I'm not that complicated, so don't bother playing up anything that isn't there." He pushes himself up off the floor, "I've been wet before and will likely be again on the way back, so no reason to dirty his attire on my account. As for things to talk about I'm a bit curious though why you'd take offense at bein a housemaid then be so quick to claim bein just a barmaid." He dusts a bit of ash and debris off his front from where his shirt brushed the floor near the fireplace. "Though I have found barmaids to be some of the most interesting folk to talk to once they're done working. They usually hear stories from travelers from all over, that's why I decided to travel, hearing stories while minding my father's shop, I figure a barmaid might hear the same sort of things and might be worth talking to to hear them. Though there is a big black horse outside and a fair number of rumors which say you're not just a barmaid, but you can play at bein whatever you like."

A smile tugs at her lips, completely unbidden as she sits and arranges the skirt of her jade colored dress she wears over the white chemise dress. Her feet are bare. "I wouldn't ever make a bed for nobles or live among them and keep their secrets. That's why I don't want to be labeled a housemaid. As for a barmaid, at least it's a profession I can do. I can cook and serve ale, or dance and deftly avoid unwanted gropes from strangers. I've learned enough to take care of myself. I guess only to me does it make a difference." Lifting her shoulders in a shrug, she looks towards the fire. "Would you like tea? I also have the ingredients to make stew if you're.. hungry or anything?" Rising from the sofa, she freezes when he mentions her horse and rumors. "Are there? What do they say I am?"

Venan says, "Depends on who you ask, of course, but seems a fair number think you've taken a turn in the lists. As for the difference between working for nobility and working for coin, you're not the only one that makes the distinction, met a fair number of folk that feel the same." He sits down in one of the two chairs. "Guessin you and your knight friend played a bit rough when growin up."

Kyra stiffens when he mentions the lists, turning back from the kitchen area to look at him as he takes his seat. "Do they really? Seems like people have a very high opinion of my abilities then, don't they?" Trying to play it off a little. "Most common folks have more pride than the nobles who walk around preening and complimenting each other on their new clothing, strutting around." She shrugs again. "My knight friend taught me how to play the lute and nothing more. If I learned how to play rough, it wasn't him teaching me."

Venan uknots his string saying, "I do like the sound of lutes, what tunes do you know?"

"Profit pays the bills. It's a good trade off." Kyra just studies him when he mentions her movement at the mention of her on the lists. "What if I have had a turn on the lists?" This time it's more defensive and that damned pride has her lifting her chin in silent challenge. The question of the lute though, she shrugs. "About everything.."

Venan chuckles, "Since you've had a turn in the lists, I'm a bit curious what it was like and why you would want to. Always seemed a fair foolish thing to me, best for folk that didn't have to wake up and work the next day. Fine for knights and them that need such skills at war, but never understood why those who wouldn't need such things would want to." He then adds, "Oh, and there is a line between pride and foolishness, Mistress, there's tunes you ain't even heard of yet let alone know. If you're wanting to say you know a fair number, I'll not argue, but if you want to insist you know about everything there is to know, well I'll call you a fool and leave you to it."

Green eyes narrow as she regards him almost cooly. "It's what I have trained to do and I do it because I am good at it. I have bested several noble men. Whether I need it or not, I do it because I make money doing so without having to deal with those strangers who try groping my body while I serve them their ale. I know about pride and foolishness, and right now I would call you the fool. I know the songs that I know so that encompasses everything to me. How can I know something about a song I have never heard before?"

Venan smiles the missing tooth a dark spot in his otherwise bright expression, "If your everything is only that which you know, then you live in a very small world, I do not think you're the sort that would accept a small world. Though I would suggest you be a bit careful who overhears you claiming you bested noblemen, I've not known the nobility to be overly fond of being bested. I also think you're a bit foolish when you claim yourself to be a dull and dowdy conversationalist, you're rather intriguing to talk to." He moves off the chair to add a piece of wood to the fire and knock it down so it burns longer rather than hotter. "Do you think you'll be able to continue making money this way for long? I would think the novelty of it would wear off on the nobility rather quickly."

Venan adds, "Oh, and I am often the fool."

"When the rumors began that the mystery knight was possibly female, I stopped participating all together here. Now I only participate in jousts in other lands, where I have to travel. If I win, I collect the purse and save the bulk of it for the ransoms for when I lose. I would hope I was free to speak in my own home about besting the noblemen and since you're a guest, I assume you would keep the silence about it." Though Kyra does look dubious about that even with the compliment he pays her. Walking over, she rests her hands on the back of the sofa as he adds more wood to the fire. "Unfortunately, so are you." Once more, a smile is given, rather grudgingly. "I intend on doing it as long as I am able to. I see no reason to stop."

Venan chuckles, "That is a terrible assumption, all but the very best spies are guests, you have to be truly remarkable to become a family member when spying. I'm not that good." He rises considering the fire for a few moments saying, "There are a number of reasons to stop, but if you do not see them they're rather meaningless aren't they?" He settles back down in the chair. "If I'm still in town when you travel next do send word, I find the road is more enjoyable to travel in company."

"It was an assumption. I didn't say it was an astute one. If you find the need to tell it to someone, then by all means, do so. Though if you do, definitely do not expect an invitation on my next journey." Kyra straightens and walks into the kitchen, putting another log into the woodstove there before fetching the kettle that she has already filled with clean water from the river. Placing it on top, she leaves it to boil before looking back at him. "If you think I am even seeking reasons to stop, other than being unhorsed last time and getting hurt a few times previous, then you once more are mistaken. Pain heals.

Venan shrugs, "I doubt there would be much profit in it, it is a common rumor so not particularly valuable information and I doubt there is a reward posted for you that would be worth searching your house to gather evidence against you." He looks around for a moment his eyes resting on a few likely looking pieces of evidence. "As for the reasons to stop." He considers her for a time, "I do not think this is something you persue for reason's sake. Jousting is not a logical profession for a woman, there is too much risk and too little gain, so this is an emotional decision for you, something for which you have a passion. Someday it may not be possible for you to pursue your passions, when you are gravid with child or too battered and broken or can find no opponent willing to face you, but I do not think that would dissuade your passion."

"Usually reason is the last thing to consider when you do something you're passionate about. If you must truly know, my father was a Knight and when he could, he taught me. I couldn't be his in name, but I could be his in likeness." Turning back to the wood stove, Kyra awaits the water to boil. It's taking forever, it seems. "What if I say I have no intention of having children? Does that make me less a woman?"

Venan considers Kyra for a few moments, "Just a moment, I need to think a way out of that trap." He closes his eyes and leans back into the chair his fingers fiddling with the string.
<FS3> Venan rolls Negotiation+pressence: Great Success.

Venan opens his eyes after just a few moments and says, "I would say that would make you less of a person. The light does not grant a man or woman alone the ability to birth a child, only by working together to be greater than each are alone can a man and woman create a child. By giving up on that ability you are truly making yourself only a woman instead of working with a man to be a whole person."

Venan says, "You would also be denying a man the ability to be more than just a man, but his problems are not your concern."

"Out of the trap?" Kyra outright laughs. "Oh I get it, it's one of those.. never a right answer questions we women folk ask that we twist anything you say to the worst possible measure?" Hearing the kettle, she walks over and removes it from the heat, opening it to add the homemade tea bags to allow them to steep for now. His explanation though has a flicker of respect ignite in her eyes. "I suppose that makes sense. Then what if I said that I would have a child.. eventually." Of course if a woman is actively with a man, there would be no choice.. or very little.

Venan chuckles, "Then I'd say you were changing the rules mid-game, I'd also point out that women do not hold a monopoly on questions that seem to have no right answer." He shifts in the chair then stands and and inspects it. He doesn't seem to find what he is looking for and brushes his breeches till he finds and removes a fair sized spinter and reseats himself. "I'd also point out that in most games the players take turns, so I'd want you to at least answer the same question in reverse. If you said such a thing would it make you more of a woman?"

"You're probably right. I'm sure there are the same sort of questions that could be asked of me.. though I could also say that I'm not sure I would bother seeking out an answer that was as… well thought out as yours was. Most times I'm blunt and just say what I mean without stopping to think about it." The return of the question is a surprise and she laughs, delighted to have her own words thrown back at her. "I never claimed to be less of a woman, so no. I am what I am."

Venan considers, "You should try that, stopping to think, you'd be amazed what you will find yourself saying when you do." He gets the first few loops of his string unknotted and spins a cat's cradle webwork in his fingers. "If you would like to try again with another question you're welcome to. I think you have sold your conversation far short of it's actual value, as I'm rather thoroughly entertained. I do hope you haven't also reversed the value of your cooking as the tea would have to taste of muddy boot to balance it."

"Really? Okay, let's do it this backwards then. You ask me anything you want and I'll actually stop and think of the answer.. but be careful because you have to answer the same question." Kyra smiles as he says he is entertained because if she were honest with herself, she is too. The mention of tea has her looking back over at it, but she doesn't serve it yet. "It won't taste of mud, I promise."

Venan chuckles and considers for a time, his fingers continuing to spin ever more intricate webworks of string, "Alright, my question is…If you could only ask me one question and be certain of an honest answer, what would the question be?" He then moves his hands apart and the seemingly hopeless knotwork vanishes into a simple loop of string.

Her first reaction is to blurt out something sarcastic.. but Kyra bites her tongue, with some difficulty. "I think you have discovered a way to get two honest answers because you asking that means you have to answer the same back to me." Still, she hesitates, wondering what to ask… Taken aback at the string thing he just did, she opens her mouth to ask how he did that, but decides to hold it in so it doesn't count as the question. The curiosity is in her eyes though. Finally, she walks over to get the tea, removing the bags and places the kettle on a tray with cups. Opening the cupboard, she takes out some muffins she had made that morning and places the basket on the tray as well before taking it to the table near him. Sugar is also on the tray in case he needs it. As she pours, she doesn't ask how he likes his tea, not wasting the question she gets to ask. Finally, she asks.. "Have you ever been in love?"

Venan smiles as he begins flicking his fingers through the loop of string again acreating a new webwork pattern, "That is a very good question to get an honest answer to. For my question…" He shifts his fingers and the loops and whorls change again, "I would ask if you knew what would make you happy in life. I feel that is a question that someone should answer honestly at least once in their life. It is your turn to come up with a question, if you should like to continue."

Watching his work with his hands, Kyra finishes pouring the tea and collects her own cup, wrapping her hands around it to get warm. What would make her happy.. she had never considered it before. For her mother to be alive, sure, but that would never happen, so she continues to work through it. Winning a tournament? No, she'd done that. After a moment, she glances around her cottage, all hers.. yet there was no one to share it with. Now where did that traitorous though come from? So many emotions play over her features while she ponders the question and even surprise at the final thought. It's then that she has her answer. "To have someone who loved and accepted me despite my differences and faults." And that was news to her.

Venan considers her response for a few minutes, his hands quick on the strings till he creates an orb spider's web, "Careful, Mistress, You've walked into a trap." He sticks his pinky through the web and wiggles it making the web dance, "My question was an answer, not a question." He smiles, "Though it is heartening to hear you've given some consideration to what would make you happy." He let drops one hand away from the other and as the webwork unravels his pinky is set free. "Thankfully, my traps are for amusement only."

Arguably, the spider web could also look like a fisherman's net, a basket weave, or a mess of frayed string. Some imagination is required.

For a moment, Kyra looks confused, then she realizes what he had done there. Watching the web dance, she feels like the insect that just got caught in his web.. how fitting. Finally, she sips at her tea, leaning her head back on the sofa as she draws up her feet to get comfortable. "I guess it was a fair trap. I should have caught it."

Venan smiles and waves the free hand dismissively, "Don't trouble yourself over it, Mistress, I've spent many hours on many nights playing these sort of games. I'm sure if you take the time to play a few more rounds over a few more evenings you'll leave me flumoxed at least as often as I manage to turn the traps on you." He chuckles, "Assuming you decide I'm worth spending a few evenings with other than the tour of the festival. Though I should probably be getting along now, too much time spent alone with a young woman and the lads will start saying I've gone over all romantic."

Venan steps back inside carrying an armload of wood and walks over to the fireplace. "To replace that which I used up." He offers by way of explanation.

Both brows arch and Kyra gives him a cocky bit of a smile, whether real or to boost her own confidence it's not very clear. "I rarely trouble myself over many things and when I do, it's something important to me." After a moment, she looks into the fire. "Do you play a lot of games? Is that why you're here?" Turning her gaze back to him, she studies him, not answering about spending more evenings with him yet.

Venan nods, "I do tend to play a number of games, but I also try to play fairly and be sure everyone knows the rules, it is more fun that way." He chuckles, "Oh, and since you were kind enough to answer a question you didn't need to I'll do the same. I've never been in love, or if I have then love is a vague and disappointing thing, which I hope it is not." He gestures around the room, "My being here, however, is due in nearly even parts to your comeliness, your kindness, and your curiousity."

"Games can be fun as long as they don't hurt anyone.. Sometimes though, I guess that's necessary." When he offers to answer her question, Kyra smiles before looking down into her cup of tea. "I can't say I have loved anyone either. Except my father." Vague and disappointing? "Where do you come from originally?" She kind of avoids the compliments, except for a brief, "Thank you.. I'm glad you think so." Not entirely certain what to say. "Also, thank you for bringing in the wood."

Venan rubs his hands together then blows into them before saying, "Originally? If you mean where in the world, my family's shop is in western Weston. Most recently I was in Greenshire, though I passed through Sky Forest and some of Sutherland on my way here. That was some months ago, before things became so…excited."

"Sky Forest. My father is from there." Setting her tea aside, Kyra takes note of his cup but doesn't say anything. "What are you going to do this winter? Where is it you stay?" His mention of the war draws a smirk from her, it's something she doesn't really agree on. "I'm glad you got here before the war."

Venan chuckles, "Careful, Mistress, all this talk of bein glad you've impressed me and glad that I'm here will go straight to my head." He settles into the chair again leaning back and closing his eyes, "If I have my will of things, I'll spend the winter months here selling the last of my curios and doing a bit of craft to suplement the purse I gained selling my cart. Come spring or summer the replacement cart should arrive from Weston, if the war doesn't prevent travel. I'll sell the goods my family sends, buy some to restock then set to traveling again. Be pleasant if I could find someone to while away the dark hours with, but I've survived loneliness before if I can't. Currently I'm staying at the Riverview Inn, it is a bit expensive at times but I've already used up more good will than I care to staying with my trading partners in town."

"Straight to your head?" Amused, Kyra laughs softly. "Maybe it's supposed to?" Going back to her own tea, she sips on it while she listens to him. "So you're here at least through the winter. Winters here are very pretty but cold." She leans her head against the back of the sofa again and stifles a yawn. "If you mean a lover to while away the dark hours with, maybe you will.." Giving him a sleepy smile, she lifts her head again. "So, am I not feminine enough? Does me posing as a Knight in tournaments make me a terrible person?"

Venan chuckles, "I'm in no hurry to start a family, Mistress, and I don't enter into contracts I don't intend to keep to. I'll while away the hours with games and conversation, if it be in the company of a pretty lass who doesn't mind sitting beside me to keep comfortable all the better." He looks her over, "As for you, you seem fair and fine to me, as I've said. Posing as a knight makes you dishonest, which is a common enough failing in my line of work that I'd not do more than ask you to save your dishonesty for others. Or if you'll be lying to be be kind enough to tell me you'll be doin so and spare me the disappointment of finding out later."

Lying.. it was like a punch in the stomach. Was it lying? After a moment, she nods, unable to disagree. "I never saw it like that before.. in that way. I don't ever lie.. well, apparently I do. It's something to think about." Kyra puts the cup of tea back on the tray near them and stands. "I once more misunderstood you. Of course you meant games and conversation. I seem destined to misunderstand the obvious with you, don't I? If you want to come again tomorrow evening, I'll have a meal made for myself, but there will be enough for two if you find you would like the company or the meal. For now though, I need sleep. It's been a terribly long day."

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