Difference between revisions of "Kingsley Family/Alyssa/Stormfront"
(Created page with "==Kingsley== 11/15/2019 Alyssa walked briskly to the Stormfront encampment. She was still tired from her lack of sleep. Dreams of Brive haunted her nights, and being near t...")
Revision as of 07:52, 2 December 2019
Alyssa walked briskly to the Stormfront encampment. She was still tired from her lack of sleep. Dreams of Brive haunted her nights, and being near to the horses did not help. Despite her tired eyes, she held herself high as she always did. She was a knight of Perdan after all.
Behind her, her elderly squire Graham, his face and one of his eyes ruined and scarred from Brive followed her closely, next to him the short and squat and magnificently bearded captain of her unit, Cal Reed. The early morning fog had settled over the Dim. The walk through Finchwood had been mostly uneventful, but Alyssa did get to wave at a cute young child who 'wanted to see the knights'. In truth Alyssa was the only knight among them, but the boy didn't know that, and she hoped their presence inspired him. His mother held him close and eyed Aly and her party cautiously as they passed through the town, but did not curtail his excitement as she nodded knowingly in his direction. We are here to protect you... She thought, but they had passed, and the little family returned indoors.
The old man grunted as they reached the camp, scratching uncomfortably at the torn and scarred flesh on his cheek, his old and battered armour clanking slightly as he moved his arm. Such heavy mail was not necessary for the simple policework they would be doing today but had not stopped him. Alyssa herself had wanted to wear a dress for her meeting this morning, but they would be leaving for patrol right after breakfast, and some protection would be needed, her squire had insisted. So she wore simple light armor and the sword at her hip, which she deemed sufficient for the day's duty. When they reached the camp they were halted by Everlight guards.
Graham growled, but introduced Alyssa, who stood tall and straight in a noble pose. The guard bowed before her and bid them wait as he fetched his lady.
"Try not to scowl, Graham. You are dining with ladies this morn, it would not do."
"Would you have me smile my lady?" He grumbled, before giving a pained, toothy grin pulling back the scabbed and scarred flesh on the old squire's face. It looked somehow worse than his scowl.
Alyssa grimaced. "No." Then she gave him a knowing look, her hands on her hips defiantly. "But do try your best to pleasant, please. Lady Isana is a bright soul and a true knight, we should be grateful to her for her invitation." Graham grunted, but said nothing as the guard returned, his lady in tow. Alyssa turned towards the lady approaching, standing at ease as Isana came near. Alyssa greeted her with a warm, yet tired smile.
Isana was going over policing procedures with her captain when her page burst through the tent flaps.
"Lady!" he panted, shrill, "You've a visitor! It's the Imperatrix!" His voice squeaked as the guardsman appeared on his heels, obviously also having hurried but with more poise.
"Cedric. You're out of line." she said flatly, though there was a bright note in her voice. "Bertram? Is it so?" Isana asked, rising.
"As he says, Lady. Dame Alyssa Kingsley has arrived with a small party, three of them together. The companions by badging are her squire and captain." the guard reported at attention.
"Excellent!" Isana grinned. "Bert, take me to her. And Cedric, you're to report to the mess tent, tell them we will have 6 seats for full breakfast set immediately. You can then offer your services to the mess for the rest of the morning, for whatever duties they need. Dismissed!"
The lanky page gulped and blushed his embarrassment in front of the guards, bowed, and disappeared in nearly as much a rush as he had arrived.
Captain Heinz was already on his feet in deference to his Lady. Isana beckoned to him and to her head healer, Dani, to follow. They ducked the canvas flaps into the brilliant early sunlight, blinking in the glare, and followed the shadow of Bertram the guardsman.
They covered the camp with long strides, Dani's height towering over the group by several inches. The somewhat older woman had come with Isana from the north of Beluaterra, her fair features and pale hair appearing almost spectral. It made for an interesting experience when she brought soldiers back from the brink, only to have them think she was an angel come to take their souls Beyond. Captain Heinz with his short dark curls and ruddy complexion contrasted with her paleness, a dappled shadow to her starlight. The sun shining before both of them was Isana. Energized by time on the road and keen to break bread with her friend, happiness glowed from the dark-haired knight as they approached the visitors.
Dame Alyssa was standing at ease, looking much more well-rested than she had recently, and her smile was small but true. Isana felt herself relax, seeing her friend dressed casually in military garb and ready for work. Noble propriety was something the northern knight was still working on.
"Welcome, Lady and guests, to the Everlight Stormfront," Isana said warmly, offering a soldier's armclasp greeting to her Imperatrix. "We are honoured by your visit! And thank you for coming to share in the grouse, so I don't have to decide which of the soldiers get seconds," she added wryly. "Might I introduce my Captain, Heinz Hahn, whom you have seen briefly before. And this is my head healer and travelling companion Dani, also of Beluaterra." As they bowed, she continued, "Whom do we have the pleasure of meeting this morning, dear Lady?"
"It has been too long my lady." Alyssa said still smiling as they released, and she returned to an at-ease stance.
"My Squire, Graham of the lesser house of Goldenfields." The old man nodded sagely but said nothing. He wore a neutral expression but his aged, maimed face drooped, giving him the appearance of a frown.
"Cal Reed, captain of Lady's Luck." Alyssa continued motioning to the short stocky man on her other side. She had hated the name of her unit when it was chosen over a year ago. Her old captain that dark-hearted rogue Jan had called it that to insult her. But now she took pride in it. They were her luck now, her loyal soldiers. Cal Reed bowed respectfully and spoke, stroking his thick red beard.
"I heard there was grouse m'lady?" He said with a hearty smile.
Graham shot him a disapproving look while Aly merely sighed. Her newest captain had been around her for quite a while but he was never raised with proper address taught. He was from a family of fishers, and they were never taught the same sorts of manners as nobles were taught. It was understandable, but his tone was much too familiar for the sort of respect Isana's station deserved. "Captain," She began, "Lady Isana is a knight of the realm, please be more courteous with her, she has invited us to her camp and should be given the respect she is due."
"Ah, aye m'lady Imperatrix." Cal replied. "Thank ye, I am nah used to such formalities. I reckon I'll need to learn."
She gave him a polite nod back and returned to Isana.
"My apologies, Thank you for having us my lady. I would be honoured to tour your camp with you, if you will have me."
“I would be honoured to tour your camp with you, if you will have me."
Isana felt her chest tighten with excitement and nerves, taut both with pressure to do well and happiness at the comraderie in her new home, a smile springing unbidden to her face. She inclined her head and said pleasantly, “Of course, the honour is all mine to host such company! Welcome all! Pleased to finally meet you Captain Cal, and you Squire Graham. We can have a tour en route to the mess tent—yes Cal, we have saved the grouse to share with you! This camp arrangement is the ring format here, my own holdover from service in Beluaterra where the perimeter guard is most important against the daimons and monsters…” she chatted on amiably for the few minutes as they strolled, answering Cal’s eager questions with an indulgent smile and holding space for Alyssa to remain at ease. She noticed Graham’s experienced eye scanned the camp keenly and he said little. Dani remained aloof, while Heinz seemed to Isana’s eyes to be a little star-struck by their visitors.
A warm salt breeze swirled inland from the Dimwood coast, gently rustling tent flaps and banners. Isana was pleased to note her soldiers being properly deferential as the party walked by. Thank goodness.
The center of the camp held a large fire pit ringed by the command tent, healers’ quarters, and an open drill ground. Just past the drill ground was the mess. The flaps were tied open and the inside set as requested, with mouth-watering aromas wafting all about the area.
“By the nose, Milady, I think it’s about breakfast!” Captain Heinz voiced all of their thoughts. Isana gestured the guests to precede her into the shade. The table was set and ready, lavish for a camp meal with fresh rolls, fruit, spiced tea, and two of the cooks standing by with covered trays that could only hold the grouse.
“Dame Alyssa and guests, thank you again for honouring our camp with your visit. Please eat, and welcome.” Isana requested formally once all were seated.
As they were served, Isana turned to the gruff Squire Graham and asked, “Good Squire, I noted you inspecting the camp minutely as we walked. Might you offer comment as to what you saw?”
Alyssa smiled quietly as she watched and listened to Isana excitedly explain her camp to her and her party. She shines so brightly. Aly thought to herself. Despite the war and being so far from her home and her family she still held a noble heart and an optimistic spirit. This woman is true. She thought as she watched the light snow fall from the gray overcast skies overlooking the Dim. Despite the grim days we have faced her spirit is strong as ever. Everlight is appropriate. She mused as they approached the Stormfront mess. She was surprised and impressed at the feast before them, she did not expect such lavish effort for a simple breakfast. She mustered as warm a smile as she could for her fellow knight while they took their seats, hoping her lack of sleep was not apparent. She sat down to Isana's right as the guest while her own men sat on her side of the table, Heinz on Isana's left and the rest of her staff on the left side.
"Dame Alyssa and guests, thank you again for honouring our camp with your visit. Please eat, and welcome."
"Thank you for your hospitality my lady." Alyssa added. "I am honoured."
Isana smiled and gave a nod as they began to eat. Alyssa took her time carefully with the food, despite how delicious it was and how ravenously hungry she was. She realized she had not eaten the knight before as she had spent the evening mulling over reports and drafting letters to allied leaders. She ate politely and gracefully like her aunt had taught her as a girl. Graham ate politely as well, decades of experience in noble etiquette shining through his grim and scarred demeanor , though not nearly as lady-like as his knight. Cal Reed tore in carelessly while Alyssa shot him a warning look which he apparently did not see. She could see Dani and Heinz share a look of their own as they watched him tear in violently to the bird on his plate. Alyssa bit her lip somewhat embarrassed, but Isana seemed to pay no mind, seemingly happy for the company. She took no note of Captain Cal and instead spoke to Alyssa's squire.
Graham raised an eyebrow towards Alyssa as Isana asked her question of him. Alyssa's face remained unchanged as waited for her elderly squire to answer, while the others.
"Your camp, my lady. It's set up atypically." The old man began, "Rows are more practical, easier to keep organized, to keep track of everyone, as well as better utilizing space available. There are no daimons on The Continent after all. In addition, the drilling ground should be away from the main camp. Too easy for someone to get hurt just passing through. Fire's too close to the command tent a bad wind blows through and all your plans gone up in flames, and it-"
Alyssa gave him a slight nudge under the table with her foot, a message the old man took immediately.
"it's a good set up besides my lady. Perhaps there are things we can learn from the Beluaterrans."
Alyssa nodded once. "Indeed. Perhaps you could share a tale from the far kingdoms My Lady? Thalmarkin sounds like an exciting place." She offered another smile and listened intently to the other woman.