(515-04-02) Lovely Challenges - Round 1
Summary: In the first round of the performance contests, Leodwen faces Zaira, and Darchelle competes against Arianne.
Date: April 2nd, 515
Related: Other Spring Pageant logs!
leodwen darchelle iago 

It is the first round of the performance competition, and Leodwen de Falt is there, a slight rosiness on her usually so pale complexion, she attired in a modest dress of dark blue linen, and no adornment present apart from a brass pendant worn on a string of leather about her neck. After blundering at the contest of beauty from the previous day - in fact Leodwen almost fell off the dais where she was to present herself to the jury - a slight limp can be observed in her gait, and so she keeps her movement to a minimum, stepping slowly onto the stage where she is to present her little piece. Her long blonde tresses are worn in an open manner, unmarried as she currently still is, and her hazel eyes scan the crowd with a bit of excited nervousness. She has done this before. And she'll manage again, or so she hopes.

"Welcome to the stage… Lady Leodwen de Falt!", announces the herald towards the audience, "lovely sister to that bull of a knight, Sir Custennin! She will entertain us today with a song, I believe."

"Yes." A word, that slips from Leodwen as she straightens, hands folding before her, a bright smile flashing in her demeanor as she addresses those who have dome to watch and hear. "A song, of my home, The lovely Manor of Falt." And here she clears her throat, lowering her gaze before she launches into her song.

Leodwen checked her Singing of 12, she rolled 7.

It is a lovely song, delivered with the amiable routine of a cheerful young lady, cheerful despite of being a widow already, and her intended having vanished just recently on his travels to the continent. Right now, in this moment, Leodwen de Falt is lost in fondness of her origin, the lovely manor of Falt and the scenery there, which she pays homage to with a rather pleasing delivery.

Leodwen's competitor appears to be in her late thirties, possibly early forties. She is sitting in front of the stage, in order to see Leodwen's performance. The woman's skin is smooth, with a tint of golden tan. Light blue eyes peer out from a greyish frame of laches, seated under a pair of trimmed, almost yellow brows. Her lightly blond hair descends so her wavy curls just dust at her slender shoulders. Zaira's chin is tapered, high cheekbones, and thin but soft lips. The older lady wears a very simple black dress, but the belt around her slim waist is decorated in gold. There is a golden cross-pendant hanging on her neck. Her fingers nervously play with it, while her lips whisper some quiet prayers.

When Leodwen enters the stage and is introduced to the gawkers, some of them start to whisper. Some of them whisper and giggle. Maybe remembering the competition of beauty. Some, mostly men, look the young unmarried lady like predators, while others seem to be just honestly curious. Zaira stabs her keen gaze at the young lady too.

However, once Leodwen starts to sing, everyone grows quiet. Some people start to sway to the sides slowly and the smiles grow in their features. At the end, Leodwen is praised with loud clapping and cheerful encouraging words, "It was beautiful! Amazing! Again!"

As if to prove her detractors wrong, Leodwen lowers herself into a graceful curtsey, receiving the applause with a beaming smile. "Thank you," she says, even if it takes her some composure to disregard the discomfort of her left foot, and to make it to her seat in a somewhat elegant glide. Taking that seat then, she smiles expectantly, her gaze flitting here and there as she seems curious who her competitor in this first round might be. Her hands still (or again?) folded before her, in her lap.

Zaira did not show any emotions toward Leodwen's performance, Maybe she was too worried about her own. However, once her name is mentioned by the herald, the older woman releases the cross-pendant. She stands up and moves to the stage with grace usual to an older lady. She offers a brief smile to the audience, while the herald makes a more proper introduction, "Lady Zaira de Yarnbury. A true example, that it is never too late to find joy in music! To start learning something new!"

Such words from the herald makes Zaira's eyebrow rise. Yes, she gave more attention to stewardship, reading and religion in her earlier years, but she doesn't feel old right now! The woman's cheek blush a little bit and she takes a deeper inhale. Once she turns her look away from the herald with obvious irritation and haughtiness, the man leaves the stage mumbling something and allowing for the woman to start.

The men are less interested to older and married lady, of course. Some just peek at her and then try to find waitress for some ale or young beauty. Zaira raises her hand to lips and hawks up, requiring attention. It's a silence that follows up what draws attention of most. She then offers a curtsy to the audience. The blonde woman parts her lips and… nothing. A pause.

"Sing, finally!" someone more drunk shouts from the crowd. Zaira hawks up again and starts:

In days of old in a kingdom bold, there lived a fearsome dragon.
And the King he was in great distress and the countries spirits flagoned.
Until one day there came a knight, he was handsome, bold, and charming…

Zaira coughs. A pause. The bottom of her lip flinches and a tiny tear shows up in the corner of her eyes. Maybe this song is too important to her? But she manages to gather herself up and finish the song. Then she offers a curtsy again and not even waiting for applause, she leaves the stage in a hurry. Her hand moves to the cross again and her lips start to whisper prayers once more.

Gareth makes a check for Young Lady Singing at 10, he rolled 18.

Leodwen listens with good-natured attentiveness. She applauds politely when Lady Zaira is announced, and then leans back, expecting to enjoy whatever the other lady will present, devoid of any competitiveness in her manner. But soon her brows jump up and she leans forward, a sympathetic glance given the older woman who still has chosen to brave the challenge. Her dark eyes flash with concern when Zaira leaves the stage, and before she can do otherwise, Leodwen is already on her feet, hurrying over to the woman. "It was lovely, my lady! Thank you so much," she congratulates, slightly breathlessly, offering a cheerful smile to Zaira. "You are a woman of Christian faith, such as I? Whatever the verdict may be… let us talk later. At the inn perhaps. Leodwen. Leodwen de Falt. So pleased to make your acquaintance!"

The herald clears his throat. His gaze shifts to the jury, and catching the gesture there, he announces: "The winner of this round is…. Lady Leodwen de Falt. Thank you, Lady Zaira for taking part."

Lady Zaira de Yarnbury did not even wait for the results. She already knew that the youth will win. However, the woman smiled at Leodwen, who approach her, "You were just marvellous, child. Never give up your talents," if allowed she will take Leodwen's hands to pat it gently and offer a motherly smile to Lady Leodwen. Very brief, but kind smile, "If the God will see a reason, he will twine our roads again. Enjoy your victory, lady Leodwen de Falt." And she left before the results were announced.

This whole performance was watched by Iago and Darchelle Woodborough. The pair is sitting somewhere in the middle of the crowd. Darchelle's arm is tightly wrapped around Iago's, "Oh, did you hear her? Did you hear that Lady Leodwen? Her singing was so marvellous! Do you think I will be able to sing as well as she? My legs are trembling now. I have never been on stage before, Iago. I am so worried," Elle keeps whispering in the ear of Iago, while Zaira was singing and the herald introduced various other performers. "Also, did you notice what a beauty she is? You should… Look, she is sitting alone. You should go and talk to her!" Elle pokes her brother mildly, "You should definitely compliment her, after my turn. We both will approach her, right? Right?"

Darchelle decided to turn her worry about upcoming performance into match-making. So, she does not even hear how the herald announces, "Lady Darchelle de Woodborough…" The man looks around and after a pause repeats, “Lady Darchelle de Woodborough!" But Lady Darchelle just continues, "I bet she is Christian. She looks like one. But she seems to be very kind, you know. And pretty. We shall talk to her later."

"Up next to compete is Lady Arianne de Dunston," the herald announces then with a shrug. And the crowd falls silent, waiting expectantly.

Next up is a dark haired woman, green eyes studying the audience with a confident expression as the lady in her early twenties straightens, oh so aware of how her modest dress might protest against the movement. The color of the dress is a nice eye-catching hue of purple, and her long hair falling about her shoulders in full waves of almost black color.

If Leodwen catches the glances of the Pagan lady and the one who is with her, it does not show. She holds Zaira's gaze, before the woman moves off. "We'll talk! Later!", the blonde Falt lady repeats. But then it is on her to return to her seat and so she does.

Smiling as he listens, Iago looks to Darchelle. "You will do well, I'm sure of it," he tells her, before he nods to the rest. "Yes, she sang quite lovely, that's true." A brief pause again as he hears his sister introduced by the herald. "Good luck," he offers to his sister again, turning to watch the rest of the performances now.

Leodwen makes a check for Average Lady Singing at 13, she rolled 2.

And Arianne sings! It is nothing spectacular. And she seems to know it herself, using her poses to her advantage, offering a wink here and there, a coquette tilt of the head to accompany her delivery of an only slightly bawdy song that is quite popular in Salisbury. She keeps the pitch, and does not blunder. No. It is quite a nice and charming rendition of "When three knights saved the lovely maid of Ruxton".

"Oh?" Darchelle's eyes grow wide, "It will be me against her?" Elle's eyes scan Arianne and the redhaired girl grows quiet. She listens to the other patiently, but her fingers nervously play with her belt. Just sometimes she murmurs, "He invited me and I did not show up… Oh boy. Not a good start, Iago. Not a good start…"

Darchelle is of a friendly type, of course. So, when her competitor finishes up, she stands up and claps, "Well done! I know that song and I just love it! Well done!" She shouts and looks down at sitting Iago, "That one is pretty too!" She chuckles.

Arianne seems pleased herself with her performance. When she hears the applause - more than one would have expected - her green eyes scan the spectators, landing on Darchelle just in the moment the herald spots her as well. And he exclaims: "There! There you are! Please! Welcome Lady Darchelle de Woodborough. She is up next!" A pleading glance he shoots her way, brows furrowing as if that would prompt Darchelle to hurry up. Only a hint of rebuke in his gaze, that soon softens, when the herald relaxes and tilts his head, expectant of Darchelle's delivery.

Iago smiles as he hears Darchelle's words, "You will do well, I promise," he says to his sister, before he pauses momentarily. "Lots of pretty women around," he replies, with a shrug. Smiling as he watches his sister head up to perform, he applauds.

Darchelle inhales some air once she is invited to compete again. This time she literally runs toward the stage, "Yes, I am here! I am here! Didn't hear ya by then. I was talking to my brother. He is up there!" She points at Iago and waves to him, sending a quiet giggle toward the audience. "That's quite an amazing event and I am honored to be a part of it!" She does not even allow for the herald to add a word or two, "I am Darchelle de Woodborough." She offers a curtsy to the ones sitting on the right side of the stage. Then she dusts her skirt and offers a curtsy to the ones on the left. Finally, a curtsy is offered to those who are sitting in the middle. Each of the curtsies are followed by wide smile and sparkling eyes.

Elegance to the overall look of the Elle is provided by the flawless white skin, decorated with a few tiny freckles on her cheeks. When she laughs and smiles a small dimple appears on the right cheek. She does have expressive eyebrows, which match the color of her locks, and a deep gaze in the shade of the fresh spring grass. The slim form of a lady is covered by a light linen dress. The bodice of the dress is dark brown, while the skirt is pure white which goes down to her ankles. The neckline of the dress is pretty wide. However, many of the leather lacings curl towards her neck. Some are very close to her neck, some go down to her navel. The strings are decorated with colorful stones and wooden miniatures. The waist of a petite girl is surrounded with a light leather belt. A part of the belt falls down to dangle somewhere around her knee. The dangling part is decorated with many feathers of various sizes and colors. It's not a look for performing and more suitable for hunting.

"Before I start," she continues without any shame, "I would like to say that I really enjoyed the performance of Lady Leodwen de Falt. I hope you won't run away after the event. I would like to exchange some words with you," she smiles at Leodwen and then straightens up. Her eyes start to wander around the crowd. Woman or men, she flirts with all of them, offering each of them her song:

Twas Friday morn when we set sail
And we were not far from the land
When the captain, he spied a lovely mermaid
With a comb and a glass in her hand

Oh the ocean's waves will roll
And the stormy winds will blow
While we poor sailors go skipping to the top
And the landlubbers lie down below…below, below…
And the landlubbers lie down below…

Darchelle checked her Singing of 13, she rolled 6.

Leodwen looks up when she hears her name being said by the contestant, surprise flashing in her hazel eyes as she offers Darchelle a slightly perplexed nod of thanks - but then she is already listening to the performance, thrilled with it obviously as the wide smile adorning her comely features suggests!

The herald himself seems to be lost in his fascination for Lady Darchelle or her song - who can tell…? Before a nudge reminds him of his duties and he sends the jury a glance. A nod then. A clearing of his throat, before the herald announces the winner of this challenge.

"Lady Darchelle de Woodford! She is to continue to the next round. Lady Arianne, thank you for your enchanting effort."

Iago listens with a smile, leaning back where he sits, listening carefully. He smiles as he hears the result announced, applauding as he gets to his feet. Proud older brother.

"By the Gods!" Darchelle squeals in a high voice. She was not yet leaving the stage. So, the young lady springs to hug the herald tightly, if he allows, since he was the only one close to her. Then she beams brightly at the audience, "Thank you!" And then she hurries from the stage in even better mood. She waves to Iago that he would join her if he wishes, but Darchelle herself moves to Leodwen, "M'lady," she offers a bow of her head, "Congradulations with your victory."

When Darchelle suddenly approaches to greet her in person, Leodwen de Falt moves to stand, with her fingers moving over the fabric of her skirts and a bright smile flashing in her mien. "Congratulations to you as well, Lady… Darchelle. A pleasure to meet you. Who knows…? Perhaps we will have to face each other in one of the later rounds?", she remarks with an amiable smile tempered by cautious optimism.

Making his way over as his sister waves, Iago smiles, with a polite nod to the Falt lady. “Congratulations, my lady,” he offers, before he looks to Darchelle again. “See, I told you you would do well,” he offers, smile widening a bit now. Looking a bit unsure of what else to say, he goes quiet again now.

“Yes, yes! I was great, you were right!” Darchelle gently pokes Iago before turning her attention to the other lady, “I would be honored to face you in the next competition. We will see how things will go.” She sways a bit adding after a brief pause, “I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable, when mentioned you on a stage. I just really liked your singing and it’s one of the first times I went so far away from home. I kind of want to meet new people, if you get what I mean.” Elle beams broadly, “Also, I have a feeling that you are still a free lady, and my brother here,” she gestures toward Iago, “Is a free man too and could use a friend, you know!” She winks and takes a step backwards, giving some space to two others.

Leodwen de Falt offers Iago a smile in turn. "Thank you, Sir," she says, executing the hint of a curtsey. And she looks pleased indeed, that she made it through the first round. Her brows jump up though, when Darchelle addresses her and apologizes for mentioning her before the audience. "Oh! It's alright," the blonde lady assures, warmth flashing in her gaze. Even so, the next remark will have her enthusiasm dim somewhat. "I am a widow. And the fate of my betrothed is unclear, there hasn't been any news since autumn; and I fear for the worst." The smile fades, her hands fold before her, and Leodwen's eyes take on a thoughtful expression. It is a brief moment, concern and a tinge of sadness evident in her demeanor. Before she lifts her gaze to look towards Iago, and she gives him a polite smile. "Sir. My lady. I believe we shall have plenty of opportunity to speak. Why, indeed! It could be that we will have to compete against each other. In any case… I wish you good luck in the next rounds, Lady Darchelle. It has been a pleasure talking to you."

The de Falt woman offers a curtsey to the both of them - before she moves off, with a slight limp hampering her gait.

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