(514-01-26) Do You Bite Your Thumb?
Summary: Burcombes and Dinton quarrel, as a Laverstock and a Stapleford look on.
Date: January 26, 514
Related: Last Minute Challenges
caerwyn catryn kamron arian adwen 

The skies bear the look of rain, to the commonfolk - storm grey, clouds pregnant with promise, threatening to bring both life and death upon the county of Salisbury. There is a fine line between the two - it is the difference between a steady rain that nourishes the crops and grows the barley and the torrential downpours that wash away life and dirt. It is the difference between a hacksaw that saves a man's life (but shears his foot), and a hacksaw that bleeds the same man out with its jagged teeth. So it is, in Britannia, men and women both walk a fine line, living lives that are often solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Despite the impending rains, however, promising cold sleet in this late January, the Eagle Market bustles with presence. Well-to-do gentrymen and women browse the goods alongside serfs who have come to barter what they have left after a long winter for the tools, the seeds, the will to carry on their lives. At least one visiting lord's contingent has passed through, on its way to Dorset, presumably, with knights who casually peruse the stalls for gifts for their lady-loves. Life goes on, as it has always done.

Catryn and Caerwyn of House Burcombe are not impossibly large, or larger than life. But both are beautiful roses among the vast field of potatoes and turnips that attend market day. Skin pale as snow, with hair dark and unblemished by the same frost, they are well-dressed and well-fed, though thin still. Matching pair of eyes, both green - the sister twin has vivid grass-green eyes, in comparison to the faceted, darker hues of her brother's emerald green. Casually, they stand by a stall offering baked goods. Caerwyn is dressed in a woolen tunic, maroon or faded blood's red, with velvet trim on its V-neck, and a pair of fashionably fitted breeches. Over it, a mail-shirt of fine links is worn, tinted gray-black with a dark iron hue. His helmet, however, has been left with his other goods. "Sister," he says tentatively. "… What exactly brings us out to Sarum Castle to-day? The villiens have nothing to sell, only buy and…" He cants his head to the side. "It is too cold yet to campaign. You're looking for something. Might I be able to assist you in finding it?" There's a tense distance between the two twins, one that repels the two as strongly as it binds them, like an actual rope of loyalty, blood, fear. Their relationship is a complicated one.

Despite the threat of the rain on the horizon, or perhaps in spite of it, Catryn has escaped the confines of the dreary day to day and found herself among the more common folk at the market. With her brother at her side, both carrying a proud demeanor about them, she considers his words almost absently. Her attention is focused not on the stand of baked goods, but the men standing behind, running it. Her lips press together in disapproval but her voice is held for a long moment as she makes her dissatisfaction clear to the merchant. Only after that silent treatment is apparent does she drag her gaze away from them to land squarely on her brother. "Oh brother mine, I am always looking for something. I never seem to find it, however." With a flash of anger in her eyes, she transfers her gaze back to the merchant. "Carry on," she tells him in clipped tones.

Kamron checked his recognize at 5, he rolled 16.

Kamron is not dressed quite so splendidly as the Burcombes, his tunic and cloak a little faded with age and wear, but graced with precise, intricate stitchwork. His cloak and hood are drawn about him to ward off the sleet as he strolls through the market. He is without his armor and axe, only a simple dagger belted to his waist. He wears his spurred boots, however, so he is not without the trappings of a knight entirely. Looking down at the wares of a silver-merchant, he brushes fingers paled by the cold over a finely-engraved broach. Looking up to the twins as they walk in his general direction, he bows his head in greeting, offering up the start of a smile along with the gesture.

Caerwyn checked his recognize of 5, he rolled 7.

If the Burcombe twins are roses blooming in the vegetable garden, than Arian de Laverstock is in invading wildflower. Even in the cold sleet, she moves with a kind of raw natural energy, and her chosen gown of vibrant green seems to be in defiance of the wintry day. Less than a month is all that remains between now and Imbolc — the Pagan festival of candles and the welcoming of Spring, and that is what brings Arian into the market. She is at the candlesmith's stall, cradling a half-dozen candles in her hands and breathing in the sweet scent of beeswax and bay laurel. She has not yet noticed Kamron nor the Burcombes, but certainly by the time she exchanges pennies for candles, she will be more attentive to her surroundings.

"Aye, that you are," Caerwyn replies cryptically in response to his sister.

When Kamron hails the two twins, Caerwyn tilts his chin up and his head slightly to the side, cocking it as a dog might, quizzically. He has not had interactions with the man in a while and immediately, his hand falls to his hip, not as a warning, but simply as muscle memory. There, his broadsword rests, sheathed in a leather scabbard with the dull glint of a garnet in its pommel. When he notices the man withour armor nor axe, but simply a dagger, his hand falls away. "G'day to you, goodman. It looks like rain, no?" His eyes flick up at the stormy sky, before considering Kamron. "I am Sir Caerwyn de Burcombe," he announces, "And this is my sister, Sir Catryn de Burcombe. Need you anything?" He arches one skeptical brow before drawing the wooden heater shield off his back. It's painted in gold and yellow, with a cross in the center - red crescent moons tip each end of the four cardinal directions of the cross, while two daggers are in the upper-left and lower-right quadrant. He taps it with a fist. "Aye, our coat of arms."

Caerwyn checked his awareness of 5, he rolled 8.

Catryn cuts her eyes towards her brother again at his cryptic response, brows arching, eyes narrowing slightly. Deciding not to take offense to it, she takes his arm so he can escort her properly. Hearing Kamron about the same time her brother does, she turns in unison, looking almost blank. Everyone looked different with their armor on. Or off. "Sir Kamron," a head of dark hair dips just a touch. "This is my brother." Her eyes rake over him briefly. "I trust you had a good day at the challenges? Were you able to score a victory?" At the moment she has not noticed the other noble.

Kamron may not recognize the siblings, but he knows the name, and the faint curl of a smile that the use of 'goodman' to address him twists up at one corner, turning rather crooked, "Sir, actually, Sir Caerwyn. Sir Kamron. Sir Kamron de Dinton. I can, of course, forgive the misunderstanding, given my rather unmartial attire." When he is introduced to the sister, he begins to power, and then stops midway into the gesture, finishing it a good deal more stiffly, "We have already met, I believe, Sir Catryn. And no, unfortunately the tides of sparring went against me. Those days."

Arian turns away from the candle vendor with a warm and laughing farewell, tucking the festival candles in her satchel as she does. She is almost tempted by the near by chirurgeon and herbalist, but then she spots the familiar Dinton Knight. She hesitates, turning sideways to consider the market with a glance. But then she breathes out a slow exhale, and she draws a small smile on her lips. The pagan Knight starts forward, drawing the strings of her satchel closed to protect her collected fare from the rains. She nears the gathering, drawing her white fox-lined cloak closer around her to stave off the chill that runs through her.

A laugh of mirth, loud enough that it might cause the surrounding shoppers to look at him, comes spilling out of Caerwyn, perhaps surprising the baker's assistant so much that a cloud of flour explodes in the stall over. His interactions with knights have not been with kind ones, apparently, and any sudden movements seem to have elicited a bit of a start. Caerwyn slaps the side of his leg and points at Kamron. "Cat, didn't you push one of the Dinton boys into the River Nadder when we were only wee children? It must've been your sibling. Or was it the Baverstocks? I forget. I apologize on my sister's behalf if she had ever pushed your brothers or yourself into the river. T'was only in good fun," he says, a grin cutting across his lips.

Straightening, the handsome Burcombe twin rests his hands on his hips and then shrugs. "But Sir Kamron, it has been a long while since we've traveled. I'm thinking of holding a feast at Burcombe Manor, a competition for knights of this county to show their hand and to dance with ladies. I've recently had a wine merchant from London this fortnight past bring a fine Cambrian red, and I thought to share the joy, no? We will drink, break bread like old times. My father, he still rules from his roost. You should come see."

Granted, even though Dinton is just down the river, old times may be as far back as grandfather's times. British Christians and Pagan houses who hold to the Old Ways don't necessarily mix.

To say Catryn is pleased by the stiff greeting would be a gross understatement. The reaction from the other knight is duly noted and brings a calculating expression to her features. "I almost didn't recognize you, Sir Kamron. You seem to have your feet beneath you today. You're a good deal taller than I had imagined from the prone position I saw you last." The invitation from her brother is met with laughter, not of amusement, but of relief. "Oh yes you really should invite people over for a celebration of dance and all things lovely. I'll gratefully be gone out of town. A group of us have been assigned by our liege lord to a mission. I'm afraid I'll be absent for about six weeks. I'm looking forward to it, actually, and testing my sword against those more deserving to meet the steel of it." Lips twitch, "I thought that was you pushing Sir Daran into the river?"

As of yet, Catryn has not noticed Arian..

Critical Fail!
Kamron checked his modest at 13, he rolled 20.

Kamron spreads his hands to his sides at Caerwyn's apology, "What are we knights good for if not forgiving old trespasses?" There is perhaps some enforced levity from the Dinton knight, but at least the levity is there. "Most like one of my cousins, by the way. I am not of Sir Cynfarch's direct line." He even takes the time to glance over to Arian as she approaches the group, smiling brightly and greeting her, "Sir Arian…" Catryn's words banish any levity from his face, however, and stopping his greeting and causing him to draw himself up to his less-than-impressive height, "Really, Sir Catryn? Is taunting someone who your lack of chivalry and courtesy allowed you to overmatch really the way you want to be remembered? You do know that it takes more than a a sharp sword and a sharp tongue to be a knight, do you not?"

Caerwyn checked his proud of 13, he rolled 7.

The Laverstock woman has finally closed the gap between her and the gathering. Her name is uttered by the Dinton, but there it stops as Kamron is swept up in a rather sharp conversation with the lady of the Burcombe pair. She opens her mouth to speak, but then promptly shuts it against her initial comment. Instead, she settles on greetings instead. "Sir Kamron." She draws her tongue lightly across her pale-colored lips, needlessly wetting them in the cold rains. She glances between Kamron and Catryn, soldiering forward. "Forgive my interruptions… Sir Arian de Laverstock."

Caerwyn checked his deceitful of 7, he rolled 3.

"Sir Dalan? Have you -seen- how big the man's gotten? I couldn't push him into a river if my life depended on it, Sister. We were both eight years of age and the same height and then… -whoosh-." Caerwyn makes his arm zip up at the sky, indicating just the direction Sir Dalan went, before turning to watch a lady of noble birth cometh this way. Quick of wit, he quickly chastises Kamron - but does so in a way that seems clever and in a tone that seems nice. Gently, he urges to Kamron, "Sharp wit and a sharp sword may not maketh a knight, Sir Kamron, but neither does admonishing a lady knight with thick tongue, do you not think? My sister would not deign to be called a lady anything, but a knight she is and a lady she is as well. I am pleased—"

Caerwyn times this carefully, before turning to look straight at Arian, meeting his eyes with hers. Brilliant emerald green to clear-skies blue, he holds the look for a moment past socially acceptable before clearing his throat. "Sir Caerwyn," he indicates himself, "and Sir Catryn de Burcombe. At your service, m'Lady Sir Arian." A slow smile spreads across his lips.

Caerwyn checked his flirting of 8, he rolled 14.

… Perhaps a moment far too long than seems acceptable, actually.

Arian checked her recognize of 3, she rolled 15.
Arian checked her flirting of 6, she rolled 17.

Catryn checked her modest of 7, she rolled 14.

Oh, a verbal spar. Catryn looks genuinely amused, the mirth in her eyes so very apparent. "You would question my chivalry and courtesy? Why, are you not then doing the same with my liege lord who holds me in enough esteem to keep me in his service? I am a loyal knight, surely you are mistaken in executing judgment on me with only a few circumstances. Perhaps your own prowess as a knight could then be called into question if you dare question mine?" As her brother jumps to her immediate defense, she gives him a shrewd look, debating whether to chastise him as well. "I fight my own battles, Oh Brother mine. Surely you know this from a young age." At the arrival of the lady, she dips her head, "My lady," the greeting offered as she considers her quietly before looking at her beside Kamron. Her brother's reaction only serves to amuse her further. "Fortunately, I must away and prepare for my journey that will be happening very soon."

Kamron checked his forgiving at 10, he rolled 17.
Kamron checked his vengeful at 10, he rolled 8.

Kamron shakes his head at Caerwyn's words, "It is ever the duty of a knight to chasten those who stray from the path of chivalry, Sir Caerwyn. Unless you are saying that a Lady Knight is a lesser knight than a male knight, and cannot handle chastisement?" His eyes flicker over to Arion a moment, a hint of a smile touching one corner of his mouth, and then he looks back to the twins, "Whatever I may think of an individual, I would never fault an entire group for the actions of one." Turning a tight smile to Catryn, he responds, "I do not question your prowess, Sir Catryn, as you would do well not to question mine. What I question is your courtesy and chivalry." That smile tightens even harder, "Fare thee well, Lady Catryn. May your journey be quiet and without event."

Caerwyn checked his prudent of 10, he rolled 14.

Arian's attention is captured by Caerwyn's response to introduction, and she cheeks flush a soft pink at the intensity of his gaze with hers. She drops her chin away, clearing her throat. "Merry met, Sir Caerwyn." When she draws her gaze back up to meet his, there is a palpable awkwardness about the Lady Knight and she does not seem quick on the recovery. So, she drops her gaze to her feet, finding her bearings, and then looks back up toward Kamron and Catryn as they engage in a swift back and forth. Then when Catryn announces her withdraw, Arian offers a quick nod. "Blessed be your travels, my lady." She glances over toward Kamron, and her brows seem to speak without needing words as they both arch together in wordless inquiry on what she has just strolled in on. "I fear we are all dangerously close to losing our courtesy." And by we, she actually means the Dinton and Burcombe.

Caerwyn glances to his sister and then back at Kamron. And on his way, while his wand'ring eyes are traveling, the half-way point is dark-haired Arian. He turns to glance at Kamron and ponders his words carefully. "Well, Sir Kamron, I'm not saying she cannot handle chastisement, I'm merely pointing out that you are chastising my -sister-, Sir Kamron. I must needs -insist- you take back your words, lest you threaten the security of House Burcombe. We Burcombes are proud folk, and bend not easily. Take your words and cast them aside or else—" He flushes angrily before pausing just long enough not to voice his actual threat. He turns to Arian and dips his head slightly, recovering just so. "The Lady Knight Arian is right. Perhaps t'is best I accompany my sister," he says, drawing away.

"If you have an advantage Sir Kamron, press it. I have found that pressing an advantage most oft has its own reward in the end, surely. Indeed it has. I have been invited to the tournament to be held when our King marries his Queen. You seem to believe you have every right to question my courtesy and my chivalry, however, my liege lord has no quarrel with my prowess as his knight, nor my loyalty.. perhaps my chivalry when fighting the Saxons has also not been called into question, so again I repeat, who are you to question it after all?" A dip of her head, prepared to leave, when Arian is addressing her. "Good day to you, my lady, I wish you safe journeys wherever they may lead." Her brother is given a slight shake of her head and she gently presses a hand to his arm. "Do not allow yourself to lose the pleasure of the lovely lady on my behalf. I shall be with my squire, preparing for our early morning departure."

Kamron checked his modest at 13, he rolled 7.

Kamron shrugs a little helplessly at Arian's silent inquiry, his lips tight with anger for all the gesture. Her words, however, cause him to incline his head, "Indeed, Sir Arian." His gaze sweeps around the small group, his usually-fluid voice tight and carefully-controlled, "I apologize, Sirs, for I came perilously close to breaking the bounds of courtesy." He nods to Catryn as well, "I can assure you, Sir, that when I fight the Saxon, I do not hesitate. But when I fight for love, I remember that I am fighting someone who serves the same Lord as I. Sir Caerwyn, I bid you fare travels as well." And then he steps forward, moving to cut across the group and offer his left arm to the Laverstock, "Sir Arian, have you found what you came looking for here at the market?" For all the slight smile on his lips, his voice is still very tight.

Caerwyn checked his forgiving of 10, he rolled 1.

Arian checked her lustful of 13, she rolled 12.

Catryn checked her forgiving of 10, she rolled 12.

The tension does not seem to be dissipating, only departing. Arian feels caught in the midst of it, doing her best to not get in the line of attack. She looks to be on the brink of breaking her passive observation and stepping in if tempers continue to fly, but finally Kamron finds his senses and she relaxes a touch. She is turning to regard Caerwyn even as Kamron steps up to her side. "Sir Caerwyn, if you must go, so be it… but I hope we cross paths again." A soft, dimpled smile is offered to the brother of the Burcombe twins, and then she gently takes the offered arm from Kamron, and finally answers his question on her intentions around the market, "Yes, I suppose."

There would be another one approaching the market today. A woman - her clothes marking her as noble, with furs to line the hood and cape she wears, with boots - muddied from travel. Whether the skies themselves saw fit to release their bounty of rain or not would not matter.

For errands must be done regardless.

There was an escort beside her - a elder man of the Stapleford line, with prominent sword at his waist and likewise, he wore shelter against the weather. Adwen wore a sheath at her waist as well, and as she approaches the market more properly - the gathering therein draws her eye. Pursing her lips, she lifts her chin just so. "Good even," the widow says, her tone of voice a bit drawn. "I don't suppose anyone may know the location of the cloth vendor?"

"Ah, sister, I can't let you claim -all- the honors at the tournament," Caerwyn says, trailing off. "I can attend, but I suppose having merely one of the Burcombe twins there would do. But it's the wedding of the High King." He turns and then smiles good-naturedly - it doesn't even seem forced. Caerwyn might be the kind of sociopath to start angrily at someone and abruptly switch to forgiving, once he's gotten his aims met. Or maybe he's just mercurial. He bids his sister farewell with a nod and a wave before turning back to Arian and Kamron. "Sir Kamron, Sir Arian, I do apologize — perhaps tempers get the best of all of us sometimes, aye? Will you not attend the tournament at the wedding of the Pendragon and his Queen? There's a certain sense of romance, no?"

But Kamron and Arian seem to be departing. Stuck in the middle, Caerwyn turns to watch Kamron/Arian going one way and then his twin sister, Catryn, going the other. He mutters something to himself and lifts his face to the sky, the light drizzle mist so common to Alba, kissing his face. He closes his eyes, breathes in for a second and then instead, heads to a nearby stall selling feathered products - quills, bodkin arrows, hair accessories. He pauses briefly and looks up at the sound of a female voice. "The linen and wool vendor is near the gate," he indicates with a sad-looking tent nested against one of the walls, "That way."

Catryn remains silent during the apology offered by her fellow knight, a man from a rival house. Despite the words her features remain stern and unforgiving. "Perhaps you should hold your tongue in the future, Sir Kamron, then your proximity to peril should remain a distance you are more comfortable with." Intending them to be her parting words, she dips her head once more. Her brother and his apology get a bit more of an amused smile, perhaps slightly indulgent of him and his ways. "Good night, brother dear, I shall see you upon my return." A nod to Arian, "Pleasant stay, my lady." As she heads off, she passes Adwen, a nod is offered, but she does not stay to chat, simply disappears within the fringes of the remaining crowds of people only stopping once to give the baker the evil eye.

The despair that Adwen imagined - or observed, upon Caerwyn's face gives the woman pause. Lips purse, eyes narrow just a touch. One wouldn't expect Catryn to linger when a strange woman did approach - so the nod that was given was beyond what Adwen could have expected. Still - a light gleams in the woman's eyes, and she inclines her head in return to the other.

"Siblings," she says, her voice on the very edge of sounding delighted. "Do you live here in town?" she asks Caerwyn, canting her head to the side. Perhaps a bit like an owl observing something far off.

Perhaps it's cowardice as suggested, perhaps its courtesy, or perhaps it's a vested interest in another matter, but Kamron leaves his back turned to Catryn as she snaps back at him. Unfortunately, that means that the more temperate words of her brother are ignored as well. Forcing some jocularity into his voice, he offers up a smile to Arian, "So you came to the market looking to walk up to a shameful display of disagreement from two knightly families?" At the remove of a few paces (and a turned back), he is evidently willing to lay at least some of the blame at his own feet. "I think you must needs be more careful what you come to the market in search of, Lady Arian, lest we be forced to provide it."

Kamron checked his flirting at 7, he rolled 4.

Arian checked her honest of 13, she rolled 1.
Arian checked her flirting of 6, she rolled 4.

"I will be there," Arian reassures Caerwyn. "I plan on entering in at least one of the competitions." She offers Caerwyn an apologetic smile beneath her furlined hood as Kamron seems intent on trying to sweep away from the tension, and take her with him. Then as another woman catches the knight's attention, she does not seem quite so worried about the Burcombe twin. Her nails dig into Kamron's forearm at Catryn's words, warning her newfound friend against continuining at this point. She inhales deeply through her nose, trying to stand taller than her meager five-foot and a breath. "I actually was just coming to purchase some candles for Imbolc." She does offer him a dimpled smile. "Though I find your burgeoning romance with Sir Catryn quite endearing, Sir Kamron. She suits you quite well."

"No - no, I don't," Caerwyn replies, glancing back down at the feathers. He doesn't elucidate where he lives either, and promptly turns away, striding towards the castle. Fur-lined hood and meek voice, Caerwyn doesn't notice Adwen's unearthly beauty - he's concerned with other things instead.

Kamron arches his brows, "Imbol — " his question is forgotten at the dimpling words, and he nearly stumbles in surprise before a merry laugh — truly merry for all the tension of a moment ago — breaks free of his throat, "Yes, we are quite the pair. Her fiercer and less forgiving than a Pict, and myself gentle and polite as a friar." The British Christian sort, not the Roman Christian sort. Of course, he's also being more than a little facetious about his own temperament. "You know, I think it more likely to be a bludgeoning romance than a burgeoning one."

The Pagan glances over her shoulder to watch the Burcombes go, and then settles her gaze back on Kamron as he leads her onward through the market. "I don't know… I have seen happier marriages start from far more dangerous beginnings." She shakes her head a bit, trying to be gentle in her admonishment. "You should not have been so quick to rise to her words, though." She breathes out a slow sigh, sinking her shoulder against his in a companionable manner. "And yes, Imbolc… the Festival of Candles. That's what I came here for… the candlesmith always makes me bay laurel candles this time of year."

Kamron shakes his head with a laugh at her first comment, although the second causes him to look down a moment, "Perhaps not, Lady Arian, but there are some things that should not be forborne by fellow knights. Some of our fellows do not understand that it is not solely a martial profession…" he trails off from his blathering, blinking in surprise and looking over to meet the lady knight's pale gaze, "Festival of Candles?" His words are cautious, careful, "For… the people of Laverstock, then? For their celebration?"

Arian checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 6.

Arian becomes aware of his caution, and she quickly brushes past the topic of the Pagan festival. "Yes," she replies to his question. "For the people of Laverstock." Neither a lie nor a truth. Her grip on his arm loosens a bit as she allows a bit more space between them. She watches her feet for a few moments, feeling the hard, frozen ground beneath her sensible boot soles. She lapses into silence now, drawing inward and becoming thoughtful. When she speaks next, it is on a new topic. "Has there always been tension between the Burcombes and Dintons, then? Or is this more personal?"

Kamron checked his awareness at 9, he rolled 11.

Kamron nods at her response, apparently accepting it without further question. The slight withdrawal is noticed more readily, however, and he reaches across the pat the Lady Knight's hand with his free one, "A little bit of both, Lady Arian. There is bad blood, but I am also a firm believer that knights, no matter their family history, should be chivalrous to their allies." He shifts the conversation to lighter matters as they continue walking through the market, his smile eventually returning full-force.

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