Just a Race...

Just a Race…
Summary: Sammel and Vi, bet on a horse race and to the victor go the spoils…and the loser as well.
Date: 27/07/2012
Related: None
Players:
Sammel Victricia 

Laketown
From the tavern, to the winding path, the scene changes as shown in log.
Sat Jul 27, 1329

Twas a quiet crowd, in the Common Room of the Blue Duck in, with the bulk of nobility that lingered still abed or gone out for morning rides, while the the others had traveled on from Laketown. Victricia was just making her way in from her room, chattering with the maid at her side. "Though it has the makings to be such a lovely day, don't you think?" Absently she fingered the sigil on the silm chain at her neck. "I'd much prefer to go for a ride this morning, while there's still some bit of cool to the air, than later when the sun beats down hard enough to mark me common." A winkle of her nose at that. "Is the Queen still in Laketown, have you heard?"

Sammel was up early. Not because he particularly liked to be up early, but sometimes when a man has -too- much to drink the night before, actually sleeping a deep long sleep becomes an issue. Hung over, then, was the fair knight of the North, and looking it. His strong jaw and the fair planes of his cheeks were fair sprinkled with golden stubble, and his eyes were haunted by both shadows and fire. He nursed on the hair of the dog that'd bitten him; a good tankard of ale as coudl be gotten in the place. Slow went his arm, up and down between each sip. The other hand was rolling around some bread that he knew he should eat, but didn't look like he particularly wanted to imbue.

"Well." All the judgement was in the word and the tone, in the upwards curl of her nose when it was conveyed; enough so that expanding further wasn't required when the Auldholme set eyes on the Riedel knight. Her attention slipped back for the moment, to Nina. "I suppose it would be too much to hope that she lingered, but er Rosalie comes to replace you today, find out for me, will you?" Nina nodded, glancing towards the heir to Riedel as well and then giving a little shake of her head before looking back in her Mistress direction. "A light fare to be backed then. But for now. For now I shall take the strongest tea of which they possess."

Oblivious to judgement was Sir Sammel as he took another slow but methodical drink from his tankard, feeling just a little bit better every time he drank. Give him a few and he might be in a mood to properly banter and socialize, rather than scowl down into all that swirling foam, and cursing all the world's brewers for having failed to come up with a beer that both got a man drunk, -and- took away the morning after price. He was dressed quite simply for the day, like a man about to go out riding. Which he had no real intentions of doing, mind. But it didn't hurt to look the part. A grimace stretched his lips to a peal, and slowly he took a bite of the bread. Chew. Chew. Chew. Swallow. Grimace again. It was with that expression on his face that he let his eyes sweep over the Auldholme. His head tipped in acknowledgement, just a touch late.

Damn it, acknowledged. Now it'd just be a full on slight if she refused to do the same. But it could still wait a moment. "See to it they deliver my tea quickly, Ni." With a dip of her head, the maid moved to intercept one of the barmaids, before she could completely pull herself away from the bar where she'd been resting. "Good morning, Sir Riedel. I daresay you're looking the part this morning." Which part, the lady didn't say. Though there may have been undertones to suggest that he did in fact look the part of a man who'd slept with his best friend's sister and come to regret it. Regardless, Vi set to fussing with her hair, while her attention swept on towards the window, looking out over the breaking day.

Sammel sighed, debating internally about whether or not the situation required getting up and giving something akin to a formal bow. He decided against it. The surge in elevation was likely to leave him dizzy and nautious at once. "Well, it's -a- morning, in any event. And what part would that be, my Lady Victricia? Normally I would have assumed 'the knight of my dreams', but even I have to admit that my present condition leaves something to be desired." He started to laugh, but his good humor only lasted as long as it took the shaking of his frame to make his headache tear through his brain. "Ugh.." And that was the end of laughter. He breathed in deep, then drank some more beer. "And how're you today?"

"You do seem a bit…worn," the Lady ventured, picking her words without care so's to avoid any actual insult. Yet. "Regardless, I am sure that you will survive." The smile she offered then was one devoid of artifice. "If we were friends, I may inquire as to whether or not this…turn on your state-of-being was brought on by a bought of regret but as we are not I shall refrain and tell you instead that I am perfectly well this morning." Going so far as to give a little twirl, so that he could see her perfection for himself.
"As you can see."

"I feel like sometime between falling asleep and waking up, a bunch of vandals picked me up, rolled me up in a fucking carpet, and then started beating the hell out of me with maces," Sammel remarked with droll self irony. His strong limbed frame stretched beneath the table, trying to work some of the kinks out. He failed. "One or two strikes to the head seem to have been particularly nasty, because everytime someone says something loud, or the wait staff clatters their jugs around, I feel the powerful urge to march over and stab them a few hundred times." He said it lightly, a joke, and yet his eyes held some of that samewise darkness they'd been occupied with when he'd been about to see to peasents beaten half to death.
"Mhmm. Perfect does seem to be the word to describe you. But friendship? Why not. Let's say we are friends, and feel free to ask whatever you like. You're not -too- far off the mark. I do greatly regret having drunk too much, yet not enough to be completely passed out oblivious."

Despite her best efforts, Vi found a genuine grin tugging upwards against the corner of her lips until she was smiling and despite the fact that she was looking annoyed about it. "You are a hard man to be upset with, Sir Sammel. I find myself warming to your humor despite my better sense and it, is telling me in no uncertain terms that with the current rumors floating around about your person, my reputation is better served to keep a distance. After all, if you will ruffle the skirts of the sister of someone who was a friend, surely us lesser women are hardly safe at all. Which is a pity, because I would have enjoyed the presence of your company on my ride."
Ah, bless the girl, for she arrived at long last with Vi's tea and cradling the cup between her hands, she eased herself into a seat a table near where she'd been standing. One that was close enough to keep up the conversation without having to join his own.

"Rumors, gossip mongerers.." Sammel said with blithe indifference, using his near empty tankard to wave the whole matter away. Or he would have if she had not let her silvery tongue prod against the single chink in his armor of confident arrogance. "Was?" Asked the knight, the earlier laughter of his rich masculine voice gone to cold death. The tankard slammed down, while harsh storms blew in to roll across his ocean blue eyes, turning them dark and grey instead. So perhaps he had caught a hint of the rumors himself, and not taken them particularly serious. Certainly not so serious as to do anythiing about them. Which.. "Jerric can't believe that rubbish." Said, perhaps with more conviction than he felt.

That sudden flare of his temper brought those bright eyes sliding in his direction more fully, with the slender arch of a brow. "Yet, there is a manner of truth in it, is there not? After all, the tales in regards to the other party of that particular set of rumors are well known and more, known to be true." A sigh, a little shake of her head. "I am not responsible for what people will say, Sir. Nor may I speak upon what our Prince may believe. But your appearance today does lend some credience to the harpies speech. Are you saying that you are innocent in these matters? I may bend his ear, if you tell me it is true and more, see if I can not turn the tides that wash yet harsh against your name."

"No, there is no fucking manner of truth in it," Sammel growled, struggling to fight down the violent temper that he had been a victim of his whole life. His gaze was unflinchingly direct, indifferent to whether or not it was polite table manner. "I'm no Gods be damned saint, but nobody ever questioned my loyalty. I don't betray my friends. Whoever started that particular fucking rumor doesn't know me. And anyone who listens to it, doesn't either. And if I ever find out who -did- start it, I'd wring their fucking throats." Deep breaths, Sammel. He inhaled until his chest strained the material of his tunic, then slowly exhaled. Once more. It looked like a rote exercise of his. A teacher in his youth, perhaps, trying to give him the tools to overcome his fury.
He smiled, crookedly charming smile. "Bah. No matter. People'll say what they want. What do I care about the opinions of cowards who don't dare ask me to my face?" His laughter came as if nothing of his earlier temper had even existed. He smiled, took a chunk of bread, and washed it down with ale.

"Well then yell and tell the whole world," Vi replied in the wake of his wind-up, meeting that unflinching gaze of his without showing any sign of backing down. That her own little remark had been spoken in the same almost patronizing tone of a mother waiting on a child to throw a temper tantrum with the intentions of pointing out just how childish it was was neither here nor there. Even as he did what she was all but sure, was counting.
"You care quite a bit, if your behavior is any indication, but I'm absolutely sure that I'm no authority to speak on the matter. How is that headache, hmm?"

"That's the thing about a rumor, isn't it?" Asked Sammel, head tilting as he rubbed the back of his head. Her mentioning his headache only brought it to the fore. For a second his eyes closed as he fought down a wince. "You start addressing them directly, and people'll say: 'Wow, isnt he protesting loudly! Must have hit the mark." Heh. You ignore them, and you'll hear them say: 'He's hiding from the rumors. If it really didn't happen, he'd shout it from the rooftops!' Hah. Malicious minds will think and then twist everything you do the wrong way. It's how it works. And truth is, I don't mind at all if all the twin courts think I bedded the Princess. As long as those who matter know better. As for my headache, you've made it worse." His smile was wry. "Are you going to offer to make it better? It would be the kind thing to do."

"But you've already been loudly protesting, why and to me this very morning. Now you've gone quiet. And I am neither malicious nor twisting. Still, at least you don't mind it. Though, I suppose that when your family goes about looking for a wife for you, whomever your saddled with might well mind it." Shrug. "Regardless, it's not my business so I'll leave it be. As for your headache, I'm afraid it's beyond me. But I would recommend some willowbark tea. It would put you to rights quicker than you attempting to drown yourself in more drink will."

"Well. You asked me to my face. Would've still been horrible form, if you know, we hadn't been friends. But friends ask these things." His smile had a playful twist to it as he leaned back, hand come to the curve of his neck to massage out some of the kinks there. "Ah wives. I don't really see why it should matter to whoever I end up saddled with, poor unknown girl that she is. It's not as if I'm going into the marriage bed a thirty year old virgin."

The sound of Vi's laughter swelled to fill the common room for a moment; rich and throaty and full of enough good humor to invite those who heard it to laugh along with her. "Oh but to be a man, Sir Sammel. To be a man, with no care for the feelings of any connected to yourself. I do not envy the woman who's forced to live in the shadow of that," But then she'd seen his temper and had an idea of precisely how he'd rule his household, so it probably did not matter overmuch, did it? The woman didn't stand a chance in hell. "Shall I send Nina up for some powder for your tea then?"

"You wrong me, Lady Victricia," Sammel murmured pleasently as he swilled about his tankard of ale. One last swallow, and it was empty and then set aside. His gaze once more sought out hers, though rather with humor than temper this time around. "I am not so callous as that. I would treat my wife fairly. But you can't hardly expect me to live my life shackled to the feelings of a girl I might not yet have met." Chuckling, he shook his head. "No, that I won't do." Powder? He considered, then shook his head. "No thank you."

"Forgive me then, Sir Sammel, I meant no harm with my observation," the Auldholme murmured, with a smile that matched the humble nature of her words. As smooth as honey and just as sweet, the lie fell without issue. "Though it should be said that I expect no man to live his life by the feelings of a woman. It would be belittling." Despite the fact that she didn't entirely believe him. "And as you have no desire for the aid that you requested in regards to your headache, I believe that I shall see about my morning ride." With a swallow that saw the last of her own bitter brew finished, Victricia rose up to her feet; pausing to fuss about the hem of her gown. Her gaze swept his figure though, took in the attire that adorned it. "If you have not yet taken your own, then you may join me, if you are so inclined."

"Not quite the sort of cure I prefer, powders," Sammel commented casually. "My old arms teacher always told me the best way to get over last night's excesses, was to sweat it out. Take a hard ride, or draw your sword and use it properly. Afterwards you'll feel better. I -would- like to feel better." With her invitation he took one last chunk out of the bread, then left the rest where it was. His movements were rugged and less than their usual deadly fluid self as he lifted up to his feet to follow her invitation. "I think I am so inclined."

"And I was always taught that it was wisest to do naught to excess. It is the quickest way to gluttony. Though I am sure that your horse would enjoy the excerise a ride would give it. Or, I suppose there are always blades. But you don't strike me as the kind of man who would spare a ladys gown and as I am fond of mine…," she trailed off; single shoulder dropping in a delicate shrug. Though to his agreement, there was a bow of her head and with it, Victricia started for the door; her maid scampering to keep up.

"I'd counter that if you never give yourself to excess, you'll never discover what life has to offer. Boundries exist not to keep you out, but to constantly push yourself towards new horizons. Temperence is the friend of good. Excess is the friend of great." He raked his fingers back through blondish locks, sweeping his hair out of his eyes and back around the curve of his ear. A little jerk fo his head - little, because a big one would make his head hurt again - summoned the presence of his squire. "I'm going for a ride. Have the horse readied." Then a friendly clap on the kid's shoulder to send him on.
Long legs were made to catch up with a woman in skirts. He leaned in, slightly, over her shoulder to murmur a playful; "depends entierly on the mood, the time and the place, my Lady." Of her dress. Then out.

"I do not think that one need delve into excess to know what life has to offer. It takes no more than a keen mind, a sense of imagination and ambition and desire to see those ambitions made flesh to discover what life has to offer and I needn't drink myself to the bottom of a barrell to find it." A hint clipped? Perhaps. "Excess is the friend of guttersnipe drunkards." A warning there? Maaaaaybe. "Girl, send Ryker on to have our horses readied." Because there was no way she was sending Nina off to leave her even for a second alone in the knights company. Reputations, after all.
"Not in your lifetime, Sir." Tch. That sounded almost curt. Ah, but all was made better in the warm light of day.

That provoked laughter true, a riot of it as they stepped out into the bright morning day. If he should have taken insult from her comments, it seemed he chose not to. "I didn't say -every- road to excess lead to greatness. Though in my experience guttersnipe drunks all come in the same basic form; the broken man and woman whose life amounted to less than they desired of it. I am not one of those, my Lady. When I drink it's not to hide from anything, it's to embrace it all the more!" His arms flailed out wide, and his head tipped back. There was a manical grin on his lips as he brushed aside his sorry physical state of affairs, and just soaked up the warmth of the day. The touch of the wind. The smells of the town.
He laughed again. "What a pity. A pretty girl always looks better in ribbons. So, where would you like to ride?"

"Careful," Vi teased, "Or I'm going to think that you've had a lot of experience with guttersnipes." It ended with a wink, before her attention swept out over the scattering of town; head lifted to take in the sun and simply enjoy the day. Embraced, as she breathed deep of the fresh air that was carried through and let the remains of stale ale and greasy foods wash away like a distant memory. She might have also simply been enjoying his laughter.
"And a handsome man, always looks better when he's not suffering from a hangover, but we can't always get what we want." Smirk. Though in the wake of it, her gaze turned studying; head to toe yes but it lingered at his eyes. "I should like to know what more there is of you than simply your ability to pitch fits on the field and keep up a quick banter in the bar room. Or…, is that all there is to be found my friend?"

"How can I not, my Lady Victricia?" asked the Riedel knight. Still with that smile on his lips, still with good natured humor in his eyes, still with a voice that seemed only a half a dance step away from bursting out in another laughter. Sounding as if he was joking, even though he was not, as he followed it up with: "Make a life out of war, and you will soon find yourself surrounded by men who live with regret, and take every oppertunity they can to forget." One couldn't tell he had said anything of the sort, from the way he basked in the sunlight, eyes closed and arms aspread.
"You've asked me that question before. Somewhere before making me promise the taste of cream on your lips. Well. Seeing is believing, like words on the wind is not. Ride, then, shall we? Pitch your temperence against my excess. To the victor the spoils." A crank in his closed eyes, a fleeting glint of blue sent in her direction. With conspiracy he told her: "Apparently there's a gambler in me, too. Gosh. I'm starting to understand why you disapprove."

"But you have not shared their fate?" While he seemed close to humor, there was a seriousness to her question and in her eyes. A hint of concern, perhaps? Or just genuine curiosity, it was hard to say. Both, perhaps? "It can not have been an easy life, I imagine. To have survived it and with your humor, Sir Sammel, no small feat I would wager. And it puts a new twist, to appreciating your laughter." A compliment? Slight but present, as the lady smiled.
It was a shortlived smile, with his reminder of prior conversation. "Ah, but that was before you felt the urge to embroil yourself in rumor and while I know the truth as you have told it, I have no desire to gamble overmuch with my reputation. Nor to be speculated as one pining or waiting or worse even sharing a man, with someone else. Ah, look. There come our horses." What blessed timing.

"Dwelling on regret is not my way," Sammel said with a lazy shrug of those broad shoudlers of his. "And I've seen hard lives. Mine's not it. I understand why men and women both flee from life. It doesn't make them any less the cowards for doing it. Ah. But we can't all be bastions of courage and brilliance like myself, eh?" Self mocking smile on his lips, eyes dancing with more laughter. He shook himself out of his reverie, and took a step in the direction of the stables.
"Someone's seen fit to waggle their tongue about me. Out of boredom or malice. Hang around in places of power, and they'll give you as much or worse. Envy, Lady Victricia. Someone is always going to think you have too much, and want to drag you down a peg or two." He shrugged unconcernedly. "Like I said before; a pity." But not one to dwell, he didn't hesitate in march to the horses and take his stallion's reins.

"There is something about you, Sir Sammel," Vi offered, though she seemed thoughtful because it was a struggle to put her finger on what. Not an insult, that much was certain by both eyes and tone; before the woman shook her head and moved on towards her mare; taking in hand the reins and using Ryker's cupped hands to get a leg up.
"How do you do that?" An unguarded question, while one hand shook out her skirts so that they fell in modest position. "Move so easily without worry nor fear. Is it because you are the first born? I've a plethora of siblings above me, that I may say between us I have no care for. But a world of judgment and a lightskirt of a sister who prefers to think the worst at every turn, while acting as an example of it. I suspect that you live a much freer life than I do and if I were honest," though she didn't look particularly happy about it, because for a moment the mask had slipped. "I would guess that you are happier for it, too."

"House Riedel does not raise a single heir, my Lady. My position was never, and is never, completely assured. Being oldest isn't enough to be the Duke in Brevy Keep. You have to be the -best-." He looked up at the tall saddle of his horse, and grimaced. Then, because there was nothing to do about it, sighed and swung himself up tall. Immediately his body's posture shifted, molding itself to the purpose of being horseback. "And my brother isn't a bad man. Has taste." A sly grin coupled with that little comment. He'd been chasing after Victricia, after all. "I can't give you an easy answer, my Lady." More seirous, that. "Except to say I won't let anyone take away my joy of life. I will not allow it. Nobody shall dictate who I am, and what I do, expecially not by way of petty politics." He smiled. "So, which direction, my Lady?" Enthusiastically asked.

"It seems…a strange thing I suppose and yet, not. Almost animalistic, isn't it? Only the strong survive to breed and rule." A wry twist of her lips at that, as she watched him settle astride. It was easy to see that he looked comfortable there and who could blame him. The man looked made to sit astride. The watching, even mindless as it was, meant that his compliment caught her off guard and touched color to her cheeks. "Petty politics?" But she'd let the compliment go, because what was there to say? "It's the wheels upon which a kingdom turns and you find them pe..," she stopped there and shook her head. "I suppose they would be, when you're used to the world answering in steel but the wrong sort of gossip can ruin a woman completely. It's not so easily disregarded then." But it ought to have been, because it was threatening to ruin her mood.
"Yonways," a gesture, towards the Oldstone bridge. "There is a path that'll keep us clear of southern lands. Though you named us a wager. Name the terms and we shall begin it at…the shadow cast by yon hut there at the outskirts of town. What do you say?"

"You're right, they can ruin a woman's reputation completely," Sammel conceeded slowly, head inclined in her direction in apology. He sighed, scrubbed his chin. "And work against even the most honorable man, at that. Their efficiency doesn't make them less petty, though, my Lady. Even those who wield it with skill, know that malicious fucking lies and exhaggerations don't make for greatness." He shook his head, thoughtful, as he looked down the road. "Being close to the court, you meet a few of the kind. I'll admit that my usual reaction is to threaten to kill.." That made him laugh, even as he continued soon after on a more serious note: "But sometimes I've wondered, if every poison lie they spread doesn't also posion something inside of them. You know? Wither. Because in the end you can almost taste the bitterness in them."
He sent his horse forward, riding out the motions with languid ease. "Ah. Terms. A truth? Ask any, and you shall have an answer without bias of judgement for the asking of it. Well. It's that or a kiss, and we were just talking about protecting reputations. See? I am not so callous at that."

"I should like to see that, one day. The storm of your fury." There was a note of humor in it as well, as the lady eased up on the reins and let the mare move forward, finding her own stride and matching pace to his mount. "There are several I could name who look as withered up as souring grapes on the vine, Sir Sammel, so perhaps there is some truth to your words." For all that she looked the picture perfect image of youth and intended to keep it that way. Colorful wordplay, that was all it was. Did she sound bitter? Of course not. Pfft.
"But you already answer me in truths, there is nothing that I can think of to ask that you wouldn't be honest with me over already." Falling quiet, even as she debated on the terms, Vi considered. "A kiss, since that seems to be where your mind is at for…your sword, if I win. Sworn to my hand. What say you?"

"My sword, sworn to your hand?" asked Sammel with a quirked brow as if to ask if she were joking. Then abruptly a shrewd glint entered his eyes, a playful little bit of malice of his own. He gave a wide and toothy grin as he dipped his head and said: "Why but of course. My sword to your hand." His torsoe flowed in an almost double-bent bow. It got blood to rush to his brain, and his head to thumping, but he ignored it. When he straightened out, he indicated that he was ready when she was.

"Correct, your sword, sworn in service to my hand. For the duration of…well, I suppose there should be a duration, shouldn't there. Otherwise it wouldn't be fair and then you'd never be free or you'd just foresake service. Sworn before the Temple of the Four." Because well, since he'd agreed already, there'd just have to be some solid terms. "A year? No. Six months. I don't want it to be a punishment, after all. And you did say that you were a gambling man, Sammel." My but her eyes were glittering, not with malice either, but with mirth as she watched him bow and with a glimmer of admiration for all the neat way he managed it with his bow and that elegant, from atop a horse no less. "Whenever you're ready, you may co..no, because you'll know when you're going to finish. Do you have an objection to my maid doing the signaling for us?"

"I think we had different swords and different oaths in mind, my Lady," murmured Sammel with an easy smile, using his knees to steer his steed closer to hers. It was a firebrand, but he kept it under control none the less. His eyes followed hers the whole time. Merry was the knight, too, his chuckling heard as a subtle counterpoint to the stirring of leafs on the warm summer breeze. "Because my knightly services already belong to Riedel, and even if you were the most beautiful woman in all the kingdoms… And perhaps you are.. I still wouldn't ever forsake the oaths sworn to my father." Made to circle her, once, never taking his eyes off her. "For -that- kind of service rendered, and not just to your hand, there would have to be other terms I'm afraid. For a kiss? Of my choosing.. I would offer it for a single day, during which you could ask of me do to nothing that would imperil my knightly honor, nor an act that would go against my House nor Kingdom."

"And what did you have in mind?" Victricia murmured, her head canting curiously to the side as she watched him. The way his horse pranced and his hair drifted on the breeze. That smile. Though she didn't turn to try and keep her eyes on him as he circled, instead she sat tall in the saddle, proud and regal as her mare and let him look as he pleased. "Not just to my hand?" Her tone was curious, while she tossed that great blond mane over her shoulder and glanced back in his direction. "We share a Kingdom, I would remind you. I would see no harm come to it nor my Prince. Nor would I ask that you go against your House. Yet a day does me no good. I have no need of you, yet. Offer me something else."

"Best left unsaid, I think," what he had been thinking. Though the mischievious look in his eyes only grew brighter. Then he shook his head. "Who you are today might not be who you are tomorrow," Sammel told her, smiling even as he was serious when he said it. "What pressures and threats hang over your head might shift. I don't think they will, but who am I to look into the future? I'm just a knight, and all I can do is say what -I- wont do." All around her he had circled, confident, wind in his hair and pressing the fabric of his shirt taunt against the outline of well developed muscles. He was a grown man, and looked it, even if there was something boyish about his careless ways.
"One day. Any day. Should the need arise where you need a knight's service, you would have me to call upon. Within the limitations specified. But if you want something else? A favor? A gift?"

"And here I thought that you would be honest with me," Victricia murmured, watching him when he passed before her; though she never turned again to look when he drifted behind. Beneath her the mare threatened to shift restless from his circling, like some beast on the prowl but Vi's hand and gentle crooning made to still it.
"But the gossip from a single kiss could harm me for weeks, if not a month. Thirty one days then, to call upon you as I see fit, within the limitations you have set. I have no need of gifts," a hand to her necklace with it. Lingering as pondered. "And favors would fall within your realm of service." Sweet smile.

"Honest? I thought I was being nothing but," murmured Sammel in a low tone. "With my service already bound, I thought you could mean nothing but the same as me." Which was perhaps not a complete truth, though the way his eyes danced made no real attempt to hide it either. "But there's more than one sort of sword to be unsheathed. And you did want it in your hand..?"
"Only if someone sees it, and tells of it. I would never. Discretion, my Lady, you're looking at the very picture of it." His horse threw its head, impatient, stomping the ground as if knowing there was a race to be had, and not approving of the stalling. "A week. Seven days. To be served in one go; no chopping it up into little pieces as you please and drawing it out forever. And I decide the sort of kiss I get."

The way the color absolutely climbed up the young woman's cheeks only went to serve just how very different their thoughts had been, though she sat straight yet in an attempt to ignore it. "If I am looking at the picture of discretion, I wonder that it did…bah." Because she had nothing and she knew it. He'd thrown her off and that, in turn, served to her annoyance.
"Two weeks. In one go, but beginning at the time of my choosing, as I said, I have no need of you. Now. And you paint a rough and rugged picture of discretion, given the current rumored state of your affairs."

"Fine, fine. Two weeks, starting at any point of your choosing," Sammel agreed with a benign little wave of his hand. When she had been sown with crimson seeds in her cheeks, he hadn't laughed. For once, his mirth contained, and instead there had just been a bit of thoughtful bemusement as he studied her reaction. No commentry at all, for all that he had hardly withheld his needles before during their banters. So perhaps he could have a sense of discretion.
He turned his horse down towards the course of their race, saying: "Whenever your maid feels herself at the ready, then!"

"Fine." Chin up, the lady's attention slid from the man, to her mare as her weight shifted in the saddle to at the ready. Before them, the maid, whose expression was more akin to worry than delight for this bit of good humor raised her voice for the count down.
"Three. Two. One…GO!" And silently prayed that no one broke their necks.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Victricia=Horsemanship Vs Sammel=Horsemanship
< Victricia: Good Success Sammel: Success
< Net Result: Victricia wins - Marginal Victory
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Sammel=horsemanship Vs Victricia=horsemanship
< Sammel: Good Success Victricia: Good Success
< Net Result: DRAW
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Sammel=horsemanship Vs Victricia=horsemanship
< Sammel: Good Success Victricia: Great Success
< Net Result: Victricia wins - Marginal Victory

"FOR FUCKS SAKE!" Raged Sammel as the girl kept inching ahead of him. He could tell that he was the better rider; he was good enough to know. Yet he was also the heavier rider, and he had the dark suspicion that his horse was more occupied sniffing the damn mare's ass than it was wanting to win. Temper in the knight's eyes, dark and stormy, the same sort that had seen him throw off his helmet and stalk away from the field of the joust during the tournament. Of late, luck was not his companion. Angry, though he didn't dispute her victory. That petty he was not. But if luck wouldn't give him anything.. then.. His horse moved forward, up against her side face-to-rump, and his arm shot out. And without an ounce of shame the knight very much intended to put his hand against her neck, and draw her in to steal the damn kiss. A hot, angry, flush kiss. Gods be damned. He hated losing. He really, really, really did. Something had to give.

Vi knew he had a temper, she'd seen it. Knew it existed on more than one level and more, that he had a hangover and wasn't likely to take losing kindly. Of course, she didn't either and as it stood, she had more to lose. What had he to fear of a woman's control for two weeks? It'd harm his reputation none at all, thanks to the standards which he'd set on their agreement but her? No. The girl's body hugged down low against the mare's neck. Giving the horse its head as her hooves thundered down the tracks. Trees whipped by, as they raced towards the cool grove that cut down by the stream; as good a place as any to finish and more, one that'd give them a place to let their horses quinch their thirst.
It was only when those shadows swept above her that she sat straight in the saddle, the sound of her laughter helping to muffle his outright vulgarity as that triumphant little cheer went up. A bright grin on her face, when she glanced over in his direction, for all that a frown threatened in the wake of it for the way his stallion was nosing her mare and yet, before she could get a word out edgewise he'd caught her neck and threatened her balance; spooking the mare all in one go. Terror rolled her as her seat threatened to disappear, heat suffused her from the warmth of that kiss and her heart was hammering just as loudly as those hooves had been against the worn path, there against her chest.
Vi didn't reach for his neck to cling, when the mare pranced away though; she reached up to slap him instead, even if it meant the ground rose up to knock her in the arse. Indignant. Angry. "What's wrong with you?!"

As far as kisses went, it didn't last long, but while it happened he was nothing if not thorough. If her state of surprised shock allowed him, he'd take advantage of any mouthed o to make it more than just surface deep, too. A kiss that stormed with fury. A kiss that took without mercy or hesitation, and yet in the end gave back, too. Gave back in passion and undeniable intimacy. For a man who'd been on a bender, he didn't taste too bad, either. He'd brushed at morning, and his ale had been sweet, and his breakfast mostly fruits. His smell was distinctly masculine.
A warrior, he knew a strike coming when he saw it. His left arm lifted, not to catch her wrist so much as just deflect it against the outside of his strong forearm. And when she threatened to go onto her ass? He'd make to catch her.
"Many a thing, my Lady," he told her, grin threatening. "Too many things to list. But now there's one less thing wrong with me: I can scratch off: 'Has not kissed the most beautiful woman of the twin kingdoms.'" He threw his head back and laughted, hard, earnest. "Fuck. I hate losing.. but my service is yours."

Plundering her mouth wasn't recommended, while there'd been a shrill mouthed o of surprise, when she realized just what he'd done with that, he'd find her teeth, sharp and just as merciless as his kiss. Equally without hesitation. That he blocked her arm, only turned a shrill cry into a huff of outrage while she flailed again, this time trying to free herself from his grasp so that she could get her feet beneath her, or her horse; as that hard yank on the reins was meant to serve.
"I sincerely hope that's not a line you use on every other lady that you force your attentions on," Vi all but growled, while the sound of hooves betrayed the encroching presence of maid and guard. That he was laughing about it all, only made her want to slap him again and this time, without being blocked, damn him. "I don't care if you hate losing, that was uncalled for and uninvited and you owe me," small wonder she managed to leash the vulgarity that threatened to slip from her tongue. "An apology. I'm not particularly happy with you right now."

He was probably ready for that, too. Abeit not so ready he would get away scott free; a bit of blood made metallic taste in his mouth when the kiss was over. A throb of pain that wasn't particularly pleasent, but non the less endured with a smile. Having caught her from ending on her rump, he gently pushed her back up while she tugged on her reigns, shoving her from what had likely been a mostly horizontal position, back up to the dignity of a proper seat. His hands left her body as if they'd never been on her. Even if he'd leave behind lingering indents in dress and flesh.
"Can't say I do," he told her. "Though it seems to me, if you were planning on kissing me on a loss, why, the suggestion of the possibility already lay implicit in the air." He let his horse take a few strides forward, leaving a more proper distance between them. "I thought it was perfectly called for, and I cannot right apologize for something I don't even for a second regret, my Lady. It would be a lie." He turned on his horse, looking back at her with quite serious blue eyes. "And to treat you with a lie right after out lips touched, it would be beneath the respect I have for you. But I do owe you.. two weeks' service."

"Do you think me so frivilous as to wager my reputation on a horse race that I could possibly lose," there wasn't arrogance in that, so much as the same conviction with which she'd started. "The only reason I agreed to such an outlandish request is because I knew you'd owe me service and so you do, after the diservice I've just been given." Her nostrils flared as she huffed out in annoyance, straightening at her dress while that wind swept hair fluttered about her shoulders.
"Milady?" The maid's voice called down, "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Nina. The abruptness of my stop threatened to unsaddle me, is all," Vi called back with her voice pitched to carry, before looking back towards Sammel. "If you'd respect for me, you wouldn't have thought to do that and most especially not with your reputation appearing as it currently does." Closing her eyes, just to keep from rolling them, Vi reached up to rub against the bridge of her nose as she took a calming breath and it when it lowered, spoke anew. "My thanks, Sir Sammel, for the…educating ride, though if you'll excuse me, I have matters of import that need attending."

"I think you true, my Lady Victricia," Sammel murmured with a small smile. "I do respect you. But what can I say? I'm a man of conflicting motives and emotions. But.." he lifted a finger in warning. "I suggest you do not so frivilously question my reputation. Someone has been wagging their tongue. Do not mistake that for anything but what it is; someone wagging their tongue. My reputation is sterling. The day anyone but those I would consider a friend, suggests otherwise, on the basis on anonymous 'he said she said', I will relish in the oppertunity to cut them down and prove to all the Gods' favor on my honor."
He offered her a bow as she made her excuse. "You're most welcome, my Lady Victricia. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But it would be a poor knight who did not offer you escort back." And so that was exactly what he intended to do.

"Your reputation is, as you say, sterling and my appreciation for the kindness you do me in sparing me your temper but your actions…," the lady wrinkled her nose. "Don't do that again. It wasn't tongues wagging, nor the speculation of someone else. That was you showing me first hand." The chit looked rumpled for it, with her brows furrowed and her lips pressed together; though her tongue was tasting against their insides.
The smile she found was polite as manners befitted, for all that it was thin. "Thank you." It'd be a ride made in silence, for all it slength seemed longer without the race.

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