"True, Sir Alec isn't half the fencer I am. But then, no Guardsman is, except Baron Tomor of Crowther Grange, and that's just because of his magic drinking horn. Claims to be our best fighter, but he's feeble as a kitten until he sneaks away and has a nip from his flask. Alec and Tomor gamble together at the Blue Iris. Perhaps they've entered some blue-blooded aristocratic alliance against me."
How does this horn look and how hard is it to get a simile? That could be a lever to turn the Lady...
"Well then, let's make the mistake his! Respond to the challenge, I will take steps to delay the Baron so that you are victorious. You will restore your honor and by removing an enemy of the Duke will stay in his favor." Of course I won't, I will work with the two to have her killed.
#1 and #2. It may actually be a chance to eliminate some enemies and make away with the magic horn.
Lady Lynette leaps out of bed and begins flourishing a longsword. "My father trained me. Squire of Cowford, best swordsman in the county. He wasn't a noble like Sir Alec's parents, but Duke Maxen recognized my family's quality when he made me a baron. Behind my back, Sir Alec said my parents were dung-eating peasants! I'd like to carve out his tongue and make him eat it."
A cad like that can't have many friends. Who is Sir Alec allied with in court?
"Why would he say such a thing when you are known to be so very deadly? Perhaps he has allies at his back and was looking to goad you into a mistake." (My purpose is to subvert the Lady's influence or remove her from the picture, perhaps she can tell me what can help that.)
Everyone's family has a humble past, if you go back far enough. It's great deeds that people remember! You need to give everyone something else to talk about. Do you have any ideas? I fancy myself a scholar of history.