Princess Delyndra Allervai
As the musician from earlier came to the strange man's defence, Delyndra's indignation did not cool. But as the man spoke, his voice full of shame, she felt her heart soften. His words were calm and full of authority; she was unused to being spoken to in such a manner, though it reminded her somewhat of the gentle, wry instruction she received from Archmage Sinad. She accepted the scraps of fabric and the poultice he offered her wordlessly, her mouth still open as if she might speak. Instead, she simply pressed the compress against the cut in her face gently, wincing slightly at the stinging pain.
"I... the guards will not be necessary," she said as he walked off. For a moment, her indignation flared again - who was he, to turn his back on her? But then a moment later he returned, carrying the satchel of books she had left on the ground, and handed them to her without another word, and she immediately regretted that childish surge of anger. The satchel contained tomes that were frankly priceless, including a copy of Loranther's Fables: The Mageling and the Phoenix Dawn that had been penned by the author himself. Leaving them on the ground where they might have been trampled or stolen had been foolish, impossibly careless...
"... Thank you," she said, slinging the satchel back over her shoulder. "I will be alright." She looked at the two men in the alleyway with her with eyes unclouded by anger; the musician, the one she'd favored with a smile earlier. He was a tall man, with dark hair, a beard and a warm smile on his face; perhaps she was imagining it, but she thought she saw a kind of sadness past the good cheer painted on his face, somewhere in his eyes. It passed a moment later, like a clap of thunder. One thing she hadn't imagined was the Mark she glimpsed on his arm; that was nothing to remark upon, she told herself. It was the Festival of Destiny; the streets were lousy with Marked.
She was staring at him. Oh, gods, now she'd have to say something. "I heard your music earlier," she blurted. "I found it fine." She grimaced and turned back to the one who'd knocked her over, as though hoping that she could somehow distance herself from her own social ineptitude by ignoring it. "You're a tribesman, yes? From Mount Frostswallow? I've read much of your people, but I've never met one. Of you. Before." She swallowed, sharply, grinding her teeth. By the gods, she was bad at this. It was entirely unbecoming of her; the woman who would be Queen should not be embarrassing herself in front of any audience, no matter how small. Her immediate instinct was to bolt, run away and find a new conversation, one she could start over, but her sense of pride weighed her down like an anchor - she would cling to the sinking ship of this interaction until she managed to right it, and only with that victory under her belt would she sail onwards. Father's nautical metaphors were really affecting her today.
"This poultice was made from Thornwind, you say? Or... was it bladeroot? I have... such... trouble, keeping the two separate..."