(514-05-01) Beltaine: Of Summer and Winter
Summary: The Pagans — and some Christians — gather at Yarnbury to witness the great Battle of Summer and Winter.
Date: May 1, 514
Related: None
caewn elrick eirian llewelyn aldreda abigail lainn catryn caerwyn braelynn seraphina llwyd kamron heulwen amalthea selivant aeron morwenna morag maelgwyn iolo isyld 


The Beltaine Fires burn bright tonight, filling the twilight skies with pockets of pyre hues. Unlike Stonehenge, where the great festivals take place within and just outside the standing stones, Yarnbury is a giant sprawl — thirty acres easily — of fresh grasslands surrounded by a bank and ditch that is tirelessly maintained. This space provides a wonderous stage for the Battle of Summer and Winter — a sight to behold each year as three avatars are chosen to represent the gods honored on this night: Blodeuwedd the May Queen, Lugh the Summer God, and Gwynn ap Nudd the Winter God.

An actual elevated stage has been set up at the center of the grassland sprawl. It is primarily made of wood and stone with a flower-covered throne at its center where the May Queen sits to judge the battle between the two gods. Arches on either side of the stage have been erected, each representing Summer and Winter with wheat and leafy branches on Summer's, and deadwood on Winter's.

The avatars have not yet been presented, but the horn has been blown to summon in the onlookers of this rite. The feast is over, the socializing tapers, and people are starting to gather around the stage. Colored ribbons and garlands are being worn to represent which god a person might be supporting. Surprisingly, it is quite an even split between the summery gold ribbons of Lugh and the black ribbons of Gwynn ap Nudd.

After the feast and the horns blow, the two Laverstock girls begin to move in that direction. Both Abigail and Aldreda are wearing matching grey cloaks with the family's coat of arms lovingly sewn into the rear left shoulder. Both of them walk with their hoods down to enjoy the night air, speaking quietly. They've seemed quite animated in their discussions with each other, but overwhemlingly in high spirits. After all, this is Aldreda's first. There's not much explaining to do, but there are stories to share. Both of them head towards the stage, though, with Abi sporting a ribbon in support of Summer.

The feast was indeed magnificent, the food and drink fully enjoyed by Elrick. However, this time he doesn't over-indulge during the feasting, oddly enough taking things in moderation and even excusing himself early. The reason for the disappearance was for preparations of the main event, where he had to shed his earlier attire to don the outfit and mask of Gwynn ap Nudd. Oils have been anointed onto his body, giving him a rather nice sheen, and the Laverstock had taken the time to stand over a herb burning brazier, inhaling something wonderful. This helps Elrick settle his mind into the role he is to play today, despite not being a skilled actor, liquid and herbal courage are there to assist. With the preparations completed, Gwynn ap Nudd awaits, ready for the battle that is to come.

Selivant moves to join the crowd aound the stage as the events get under way. A gold ribbon of Lugh joins the fine attir ehe has selected to wear during the holy day. He doesn't seem to be with anyone; however, he greets everyone with a smile and a nod. As he watches the two avatars stand ready he watches to see how the battle between winter and summer will unfold. Though, which side he favors is certainly obvious.

Aeron has ridden in as well, having come from his nearby manor to attend the festival, and perhaps make sure the family's livestock gets properly blessed and such. He nears the 'stage' as well, as the horns are called, signalling the ritual is about to start.

Arm would through Abigail's, Aldreda is light on her feet. She's wearing an outfit in shades of green; suiting the green man stitched upon her cloak. The hem of bliant and cloak pull through the dewy grass, but the young Laverstock pays no mind. Her long hair is braided and woven with golden ribbons to match those of her older sister; the color flashing in the firelight, stark against her dark hair and cloak. There is, to something said by Abigail, a quiet laugh as they find their place for the ritual to come.

With the sound of the horn Braelynn begins to make her way toward the stage. Instead of attempting to tame her hair into its usual bun she has left it in a simple loose braid to hang down the middle of her back. Tiny flowers have been woven into the braid with their stems, as well as ribbons of black. A simple black ribbon is tied around her throat like a choker, and it contrasts sharply with her pale flesh.

The ride across the wide, unfarmed grassland might be as much of a highlight to the evening as the ceremonies themselves for Morwenna, who takes the chance to ride fast and free on her pure white stallion, skies soaring above, grasses waving below like a vast sea. Such moments of pure natural beauty are as much or even more of an affirmation of her faith than any human ceremony, but faithful as she is, those she attends as well. Her and her mount arrive in due time, and the animal is then given food and drink and rest while she too attends the feasting, albeit lightly. For those watching for such detail, she wears a black ribbon on one arm. Not an optimistic sort, one might suppose, this maiden knight!

Tonight is not the night for armor atleast for one Knight of the realm for as others arrive, one lady on a black horse waits at the top of the bowl before slipping down to touch bare feet to the soil and make it towards the stage.

That lady would be Seraphina de Newentone, dressed in a lovely creation of flowing under and over tunic in black and blood red, small designs of the warrior lord and lady painstakingly embroidered along the edges. Her dark hair has been piled on the top of her head, allowing small flowing spirals to mix with the soft blooms of honeysuckles and a long teasing ribbon that caresses her exposed throat. The colors highlight the soft pale golden skin and casts another vision of the Lady Knight.

Selivant smiles at Abigail and Aldreda as he sees they share gold ribbons with him. "Ahhhh, fellow summer supporters. You have made an excellent choice." Then he sees Braelynn's black ribbon and smirks a bit. "Want to keep those flowers tucked away in winter's cold for a few more weeks?" he asks in a teasing manner. He looks back at the stage to watch the ritual continue, as others join the crowd.

Braelynn reaches up to touch the black ribbon at her throat and gives Selivant a little grin. She says confidently, "I have my reasons." With that she moves closer to the stage.

Abigail holds to her sister's arm while they walk, sharing their quiet laugh and smile. Anyone who knows the family knows they've been thick as thieves for as far back as any can recall. Selivant's comments to the 'older' sister have Abigail grin over at him. "Of course. If you must choose a season, bring Summer and its warmth. Nothing brings a smile like the feeling of the sun on your face." She grins and walks towards the stage to stop by where they seem interested to watch from.

The Pagan clergy has gathered together on the stage — thirteen in all, and a mix of man and woman. Each wear plain threads and their feet are bare. Some don the ribbons of Lugh, others the ribbon of Gwynn ap Nudd. There is one, however — an elder woman in her fifties or sixties — who wears both. Her white hair is drawn back and brushed smooth, and she appears to be the center of the clergy. She murmurs something to a young bearded priest and a young priestess, who bows deeply and moves off to the short ladder that allows him to easily descend the elevated stage. He cuts through the crowd to a low building not far from the stage — normally an old stable for the cows that oft graze on these grasses. He is joined by the priestess, and they disappear inside.

Murmurs pass through the crowds. Another low blow of the horn is sounded, announcing the incoming arrival of the avatars. Eyes begin to turn to the High Priestess, who steps forward and lifts her arms in symbolic praise. The sleeves of her loose undertunic fall back to reveal her painted arms and palms. "Hail to the Twilight of Beltaine!" Her voice carries quite far, almost as if empowered on an esotric level. This call continues to hush the crowd as eyes turn to the stage to watch the processional of the gods.

Dark brows rise in interest as Selivant speaks to them and Aldreda cannot help the smile that spreads across her features. Yes, the young woman is quite pleased. A close look would find she is barefoot; enjoying communion with the earth. Her slippers are tied to the belt that secures her bliant, by her hip. A warm breeze tugs at layers and sends the ribbons in her hair fluttering. "Summer is when we can run with the beasts of the wood and dream of those who take wing. It is a time for life." And Aldie, so prone to bright as it is… would certainly cleave to the idea of life. When the horns play and the Priestess speaks, the girl presses into Abigail, nudging her older sister towards a good spot as they watch. Her lips are parted just-so, dark eyes wide.

Aeron stands amongst the crowd still, arms crossing over his chest a bit, and he cranes his neck just a bit to watch the arrival of the priestess on the stage, hushing down to watch and listen to the goings on and such.

Selivant laughs lightly, "I am just happy for an end to the cold weather being near." He quiets then and shifts his bae feet to face the stage more fully as the High Priestess calls for attention.

The avatar for sovereignty and the land's fertility drifts into the flower-dappled field, at once attentive and spellbound. The barefooted May Queen nonetheless glides along on the priest's arm, the trailing hem of her linen undertunic whispering across grassy carpet. Slim fingers curl around Caewn's arm for only the slightest support as she, too, plays her part in the night's affairs. Her arrival may have been marked moments before the high priestess called the faithful supplicants to observe. Maybe she has been there all along, stepped out from a mossy henge or manifested from the cool mist that still collects late into the eve. Meadowsweet slips through her dusky hair, the cluster of tiny white flowers feathering against Blodeuwedd's nose, and her mouth curves. Serenity broadcasts from her despite the weight of the surreal around her, and she turns that gentle benediction of a smile upon all those gathered. Even for the gods, devotion must surely be humbling.

"We may all wish for the warmth of summer and its gifts, but the cold and dark must be honored. It does not fear nor hesitate to take its due if it is not given willingly… and even then." This is Morwenna's contribution to some idle conversation heard amongst the gathering, chilly words in a soft voice. Her eyes are mostly fixed ahead now, on the gathering of clergy as they prepare to begin the main ritual, and despite her aloofness, there is a keen interest in the proceeding.

This isn't Lainn's first Beltaine. He's seen and been apart of the whole ceremony/celebration in previous years, so what he's watching isn't anything new, and yet, it's still something he makes time to appear for. Leaning up against apart of the old stable, an old cloak drawn up over his head. He's watching, more or less, having come here by himself. Which isn't anything new. Some of the faces he notices he's a little surprised to see, but hey, whatever.

Kamron is not just a Christian in a sea of Pagans, he's a Christian knight with two Christian female relations in a sea of Pagans at a festival including a ritual sexual act and followed by a big bang-up of a party. Clearly, he is nervous. And that does not even include the fact that there is likely a certain Pagan lady knight in the crowd who is far too entrancing and interesting for his own good. Clearly, he is very nervous. But it wasn't like he was going to let his sister and cousin go without him. He watches the stage, licking his lips as he looks to the women with him and then back to the stage. They remain at the outskirts of the celebration for now, although close enough to hear the words. They're here to study, after all.

Arian de Laverstock is in full Beltaine regalia — which is about as scarce as her Imbolc regalia with a few minor alterations. Her dark hair is twisted up in a wisteria crown, woven with bright spring flowers and the golden ribbon of Lugh. Her gown is made of thin wool and is dyed as bright as the midday sun. Her feet are bare, and a braid of twine has been wrapped around her ankle and wrist. She bounces up to her elder brother's side, immediately catching Lainn's arm. "Have you seen him yet?" She says in a hush, speaking of course of their brother, who is the chosen Gwynn ap Nudd. She uses Lainn to draw her up on her highest tip-toes, aching to see what is happening on the stage.

If Caewn is privileged, Morag is doubly so. With flowers in her hair and bare feet, a knight at each shoulder has her hand fitted firmly to his arm as they are guided toward the stage. She doesn't look at either of them for a moment, but the ribbons showing her alliance to Lugh flutter from her wrists, and her loose hair is twined with a bounty of flowers. When they arrive at the appoined spot, each man receives a press of her hand to his forehead and a softly murmured blessing before she steps away.

Braelynn lifts her hem slightly with her right hand and wiggles her toes, feeling the grass between them, though she shivers slightly from the cold dew that also seeps through them. With her left hand she pulls her cloak more tightly around herself. She stands alone near the stage, watching intently, a look of intense concentration on her face.

Caewn maintains a steady hold on the May Queen's arm, and his warm hand lifts to touch hers gently. "Remember," he says, his tenor warm and whispered, "You are no longer who you once were. Until dawn comes, or the spell is broken, you are the blessed May Queen." He offers her a wonderfully boyish smile, and his bright blue eyes carry the warmth of an early autumn sky. He leads her forward, and the crowds part around them in a broad parting. Heads bow in humble respect to the May Queen, and some offer Eirian flowers, garlands, and other praises. Caewn leads her to the ladder, and assists in her climb so she can take the stage.

The High Priestess turns to regard the May Queen, and she draws her arms together to bow deeply. The other clergy also bow, and they step aside to give her a free journey to the throne that awaits her.

Seraphina drifts into the crowd on silent feet, each bared sole sinks into the dew grass without leaving much of a print behind. As the ritual begins she simply moves to a spot that calls to her, her colors trailing behind her with a soft swirl of motion, but still without sound. If nothing else, the lady has learned to make the most of shadows and lack of sound..

Sir Maelgwyn de Burcombe is on the edges of the ceremony. He's never cared much for the entire thing, he's always found the other parts of Beltaine to be far more enjoyable. Still, he is quiet and contemplative as he moves slowly closer to the center. He is wearing an outfit of dark leathers and a dark cloak with the hood pushed back, his hazel eyes sparkling as he looks for a place to sit. Finally he ends up taking a seat next to two women (Abigail and Aldreda). He flashes them a quick smile and then looks ahead to the ceremony.

Eyes slant to the side, allowing Arian to take up his arm. There's a headshake, face half-veiled in shadows, leaving his lower jaw exposed. "I haven't. But I'm sure he's just itching to show himself off." he remarks, turning his gaze slightly to take note of his sister's appearence. "Haven't been a year where you haven't gone all out. I would, but it looks better on you." He's not dressed in anything spectacular, beyond the necklace he's wreathed together made of branches. "I hope for his sake he's remember all his line. I remember when it my turn for that role. I think I tripped." Beat. "Twice."

Once the Pagan Priestess Morag approaches to escort him, the avatar to Gwynn ap Nudd knows that the appointed time has arrived as he offers a respectful bow of his head to the young lady. As he is escorted by the priestess, the young warrior playing the part of the Lord of the Wild Things matches her pace, his gaze quickly focused on the May Queen, the night's beauty that he will be fighting for. Once they arrive to the pre-determined spot, Gwynn ap Nudd gives thanks to Morag when she places her blessing onto him.

When summoned, the figure of Lugh appears from his appointed cow-shed! Or at least, some wiry ginger looking fellow they've dressed in a yellow mask in immitation of the summer deity. Close enough! The man beneath may well be recognizable enough in the outfit for the fact of his protruding, fiery beard alone if one should happen to know him. But then again, he's no one to most of the assembled knightly host, and thus MYSTERY AND SECRECY are achieved. No matter his anonymity, as he is led at Morag's side toward the platform, his strides on one hand seem poised and graceful, and yet also somewhat, somehow off, weaving a sort of zig-zag forward rather than a straight line. It may reach the point where Morag occasionally has to tug him back toward his proper path. Even as he walks, the divine proxy seems distracted by the trappings of the ceremony all around them, his masked face and concealed gaze turning this way and that to survey the gatherings, and then pausing to fixate on some seemingly random point in space, and stare off for a while. Whatever the haze that clouds his thoughts, he ascends to the platform without accident, dipping his head for the small prayer he receives. When that is done, his attention too turns to their Queen, and there remains for a while.

One Laverstock is a god for the night. Two others remain at the rear of the gathering. And two more yet — sisters, shockingly alike — near the stage. Aldreda has never attended Beltaine before. Her mother withheld her for some time. Often to watch over the ones too little to run around the ritual. But now another is old enough to have such duties and the young, dark-haired woman is allowed to attend with her family. Unlike Arian, the two sisters are attired in fine, suiting clothing, but no explicit gowns. Still, Aldreda's feet are bare and she wiggles toes into the grass and dirt. Her hair is braided through with golden ribbons. She may be as fey as the rest, in the thick of it all. Only briefly do her eyes drift from the avatars for the evening and that is when the Burcombe comes to rest by her and Abigail. There is a warm smile from Aldreda and a dip of her head in nod. No, she does not speak; no need to risk breaking the spell upon the evening!

"It would be impossible to forget," says the May Queen sotto voce, a chord dissiapting into the general crowd. Tapestries in the manors of great families pale in comparison to the natural motifs in her hair, as though oak-flower and roses naturally bloom there. Others join the milieu, taken from the many hands offering up simple chains of violets and showy lilies, and she favours everyone she can with a word of thanks until they reach the stage. Then her bare feet tread the boards barely more than a moment at a time as she is guided closer to the throne which she will cast her judgment over the battle of the seasons. And, let's be honest, enjoy the display of everyone in their finery or lack thereof.

Abigail grows quiet in the chose spot, holding to her sister's arm, watching as the voice draw her in, then its the ceremony beginning in gusto. Her chin lifts with an easy smile, swelling with pride, looks on as things unfold. Spotting Lainn, though, she shoots him a wink and then looks back to the on-coming.

Heulwen remains close to Kamron on the outskirts of the gathering, practically tied to him at the waist it seems, as she squeezes his elbow with her hand. Her eyes are wide, but on her face is a dreamy smile, as if perhaps she is not so appalled by the enchantment of the evening. She leans in as if to whisper something to her brother, but the activity the dais calls her attention away. Conversation can wait, obviously. Her head tilts, and a lock of hair falls over her shoulder; her dark, intent gaze searches for Amalthea, willing her cousin to make eye contact, but eventually she returns to the ceremony. The somewhat impressionable young Dinton seems thoroughly enamored as she gazes up at the May Queen.

The High Priestess waits until the May Queen has been delivered to her throne and the two gods ascend the stage. She then turns to then, drawing from her altar a bowl of blue paint. She steps forward, murmuring prayers and blessings while she marks Gwynn ap Nudd and Lugh with their holy sigils. Then she bows her head. "Blessed be the Summer and Winter… May you each forever reign, but may tonight decide the glory of your presence this year."" Then she steps away, and the clergy begin to leave the stage, leaving the gods to battle.

Cheers are already starting to go up, some for Lugh and some for Gwynn, but all with a religious and spiritual fervor.

If it weren't so unladylike, Amalthea's mouth would be hanging open. Whether Heulwen possesses some magic, or just a kinship bond that is used to such things, Thea turns to the other woman and to her stare, staring back with owlish eyes, like 'RIGHT?!' She inches just a little closer to Heulwen and Kamron, ill at ease, but clearly rapt.

Arian scoffs at her brother, though she hangs onto his arm and leans adoringly into him. She offers him a wry smile. "I find myself torn… I have always cheered on the Avatar of Lugh… but since Elrick has been chosen as Gwynn ap Nudd…" She shakes her other wrist slightly, revealing a thin black ribbon to counter the yellowy gold ribbon woven through her hair and wisteria crown. She then starts to cheer as the gods emerge, and she bounces on her heels to try to get a better view. "Why are we so far back, can't we not get closer?" And she starts to tug on her brother's sleeve like an appropriately annoying little sister.

Seraphina ends up near the gathering that includes Braelynn, Selivant, Abigail, Aldreda and Maelgwyn. She nods to anyone who is looking but like most eyes stay on the stage as the woman drops gracefully to a spot on the grass, leaning back on her palms to keep those amber eyes on the sights before her. It's hard to say if she has been to Beltaine before, but giving her age it's doubtful she has not.

Gwynn ap Nudd's focused gaze on the May Queen is finally drawn away when the High Priestess approaches with her bowl of blue paint. Once more, a respectful bow is offered though under the calm demeanor, the crowd can see that the Horned Hunter is eager, very eager to begin the battle of the Gods. With a soft word of thanks and another bow once the holy sigils are marked and blessings offered, Gwynn ap Nudd turns to God of the Sun, Protector of the Harvest, lips curled up with a touch of wickedness, "Sun God, it is time for your descent and to let the night reign!" Loudly and clearly, each word is spoken confidently.

Selivant leans over and whispers to Braelynn as the battle begins. He eyes the two combatants and seems to be sizing them up.

Kamron nods to first one Dinton woman and then the other, keeping his voice quiet, "And now, apparently, they fight. Not to the death, of course. Just to the determine if we will have a rich summer or a poor one." He clears his throat, "And who will disappear with the May Queen for a time." He's totally not going to say what they're going to do once they 'disappear.' At least not unless one of them makes him. "No one should give you any trouble, but you should stay close anyhow. Because none of us want to get lost in the crowd." And not because he can keep an eye on them to make sure that they don't get in trouble if they stay close. Really.

Braelynn glances at Selivant, seemingly distracted from the intensity by which she was watching. She seems to ponder for a moment, and then whispers something back before turning her attention to the rite.
All channels have been gagged.

"Our dear brother can take his lumps accordingly." Lainn utters wryly. "He'll be fine. While I considered to start taking bets on how he'd fare, I decided to be nice this time around since it's his first. I will however, never let him live it down if he messes it up somehow." Because that's exactly the kind of thing that elder brother do to the younger ones. Be an eternal terror. Arian just happened to be the lucky one. Speaking of, he frowns at her, then sighs. "Alright alright. Just…" he laces his fingers together. "Get on my shoulders. I know you've been looking for an excuse to ask. Just do it." Lainn is a bigger man and it's not like it's the first time he's let his sister ride around on his shoulders. Because she's so damn short.

The Lugh-figure will continue watching his Queen for some time still, head turning to follow as she ascends and takes her throne and gaze lingering for some time further still. Whether pantomime or reality, she has clearly captured the deity's attention, and holds it until the High Priestess approaches and begins to mark him with paint. This causes the man to look back and watch the process, as if fascinated by it, until the woman departs, leaving the stage to their threesome. And since the May Queen isn't down like that, well… it seems they're going to have to do something about all of that. The other god's words make that doubly clear, and it is here that with a motion first languid and then sharp, Lugh sways and then snaps to attention, staring across at Gwynn ap Nudd. His bare (and hairy!) arms open slowly from his sides, fingers writhing as if in anticipation of seizing his apparent foe, his stance increasingly predatory. "Nay, we've had more 'an enough of yer gloom and cold, it's time ye shove off. I'll be risin' today, in more ways than one!"

Wtih her duties dispatched, Morag is given leave to go seek out familiar company. She doesn't bother to find shoes, and espying a familiar face, she picks up her skirts as well as her pace, flinging herself with abandon in the direction of her target for a hug. "Mael," she says warmly, "You made it." She offers a polite nod to the ladies he's accompanying. "I wasn't sure you would."

The crowds boo and cheer appropriately, and some are turning to one another to posture as the gods do. There is an electric energy that flows through the crowds, and it is feeding the fever dream that the avatars are no doubt having thanks to the herb-infused warmth of the stables.

Arian tips a wry smile to her brother again. "Now, now… I can beat up both of you if you think that would make everyone feel better." Then she laughs brightly at his offer for her to get on his shoulders. She shakes her head. "Like I'm a five-year-old…" Though she doesn't turn him down. She takes a moment to oblige, tugging her brother down so she can easily climb up on his shoulders, tucking her skirts in appropriately. Once Lainn rights himself, she is cheering loudly for the Avatars as they posture.

Maelgwyn glances up at the sound of his cousin's voice, a slight smirk crossing his lips. "Cousin. I decided that this year would be a nice. I am glad to see you here. More of our family should be present for such things, yes?" His voice is quiet, as he has no desire to cause any sort of a scene. He smiles at Morag once more and then gestures for her to sit next to him and then returning his attention to the the festivities.

Heulwen is far less ill at ease and far more curious. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, jostling Kamron accidentally as she tries to bob from side to side, peering between the bodies in front of her to see if she can get a better angle. She casts her brother a tight-lipped glance, something akin to 'don't rain on my excitement', but it is short-lived. The resounding response from the crowd is quite mystifying, but Wen jumps up onto her toes a second time for an adequate view. Her lips move as she mouths words to herself silently, and her expression shifts continuously from excited to puzzled and back again. "What does he mean—oh, I see," she hisses in a whisper to Kamron, her questioned answered by the murmurs of those around her, and she blushes prettily. How fun this shall be.

There's this rumor that the Winter God, Gwynn ap Nudd, is none other than the Black Burcombe. Crown of antler horns, bare-chested and bold in the cool spring night, with the bonfires burning bright in the yard. In the darkness as the moon climbs ever higher into the sky, a man or woman can be anyone. A prince can be a pauper, and a pauper a prince. Lovers are where we find them - stout of limb, or short of stature, Beltaine is wilderness compacted into Long Nights. Squinting into the night, one cannot really tell if it is a man or a God in man's clothing playing to the night crowd.

But it's clear that the Winter God menacing the May Queen so cruelly isn't Caerwyn. He sidles up to his half-sister and cousin, a terrible menace to all pure ladies, the dark doom to Cymric virginity, the Pagan Deceiver, the Night's Knight. But one would think the man would be more impressive. Slight of build though tall, Caerwyn is a fragile presence wavering in the flickering bonfire of Beltaine-night, a ghost lingering by his relatives. His Sunday best - or the pagan equivalent - is worn, a black tunic with silk embroidery of moon and stars, with a belt cinched around his waist. He lifts a brow at Maelgwyn and adds to the greeting by Morag: "The night is young and just begun, kinsman. Who shall watch the sheep when the watchmen sleep?" His voice is musical in its recital.

If Elrick wasn't so high on the… herbal remedies that was provided before this spectacular event, he would most certainly be worried about disappointing his family and what his older brother would say if he fails. But that is what the narcotics were for, to help push these mortals into their roles as the holy avatars they are meant to represent, and the Laverstock's mind is now Gwynn ap Nudd's.

With his attention fully on the Sun God, the Lord of the Wild Things laughs loudly in amusement at the words the other diety offers. "Very well, Lugh, but know this. Winter is coming!" And on that note, one hand goes to the sheath at his side, drawing the blunted dagger that is to be used for the battle. Though blunted, it is still intricately and expertly made, no doubt a loan to the counterpart to Arianrhod. Moving into a fighter's stance, Gwynn ap Nudd begins to circle his opponent, hunched forward slightly as his movements are fluid and sure.

So does Blodeuwedd, the flower-aspected, sit upon her throne, swaying to the side and braced on her elbow. Linen washes in thin waves along her torso and pools in her lap, hinting at the curve of her calf where she crosses her bare feet. The linen isn't the transparent fabric of the ancient Egyptians, but with the firelight and dusk as her handmaidens, her silhouette is by turns concealed and gilded. Arranging the tribute of flowers so she might sit comfortably without unduly crushing them, the maiden acknowledges the woad anointing of the warriors fighting for her favour — and the right over the land — in her subtle way. Lugh and Gwynn may both wonder for her favour, the neutrality of her judgment more than effect for the stage. Fragrant hawthorn flowers pushed aside, her mask still affords a modicum of anonymity for the sacred role she fulfills. It does nothing to blunt the intense focus blazing in her eyes, a distillation of curiosity and reverence. Every line of her being is aligned upon what the two will do. Minus the occasional glance after a few certain people out there, mixing among the crowds.

Watching the ceremony for a time, Morwenna gives no strong reaction - she too has attended Beltaine on prior occasions, although she has always seemed quite distanced from the proceedings, and with her reputation, it may be little surprise why. But there is a fascination in them all the same, particularly in the divine battle. She does not outwardly cheer her side in the whole affair either, though she does frown a little at the outwardly ribald 'deity' they have apparently recruited for one side. At some juncture, she spots the somewhat unique sight of a pair of confused-looking Christian girls being led through the crowds. Her brows stitch up slightly and she watches them, if only for the curiousity of their presence.

"You're adorable, thinking you can beat me in a fight. I'd make you famous, dear Ari." Lainn notes with a grunt, taking the weight on his shoulders. It's sorta like wearing armor. All on your shoulders. That moves. Though Lainn isn't the sort that fights at the drop of a hat, being the sort that saves that for wartime. His other relatives can have all the tourney glory. "Beat his arse, Lugh! He's a mighty big pansy! I used to tie his bedsheet together in his sleep!"

Arriving at the beltaine festival is the goat man, Iolo, perhaps a bit more in the spirit of things then some, clad in a rough mask, and having lost his shirt somewhere. He has a small harp with him today, hanging at his side, and a little grin upon his face as he peers up at the ceremony.

Seraphina glances towards Morag as she joins the small group, a little smile tugging at her lips as she watches her friend. A hand also reaches out to pat the foot of Braelynn where she stands with Sel. But it's the next arrival that has those sparkle amber eyes turning back to the Burcombe clan. With the wind tugging at flowing curls and the scent of honeysuckle in the air, Seraphina looks over Maelwyn curiously and then arches an eyebrow towards Morag in question. Caerwyn's arrival cause just another glance, way up to the male as she is relaxed on the ground, a pondering look and then the battle takes her attention once more.

"Goddess greet you, ladies." Morag warmly offers the Double A's, and shakes her head to Maeglyn. "There are others I have to - " and suddenly Caerwyn's there, eliciting a soft cry of delight from the young priestess. The exuberant hug she gifted her cousin with is nothing compared to the hug she favors her half-brother with. A few petals even shake off from her hair onto his shoulders.

Everyone is sitting for the festivities and Aldreda is still standing next to her sister. Perhaps Abigail needs the aid of being upright; how short she is. It's not as if Aldie is much taller, but the girl wore herself out during the feast. There was dancing! And food! And plenty of excitement to see who had been chosen as the May Queen and how utterly -gorgeous- they were. Surely the young Laverstock lady will be pestering her sister for flowers in her hair for weeks to come. For now, it is the golden ribbons of Lugh that live there. The golden fabric ripples as the girl unwinds her arm from her sister and moves a few steps towards the Burcombes that gather. No, she holds no qualms for her fellow Pagan house. Rather, she leans towards Maelgwyn and smiles brightly to the dark-haired man: "I would hate to get my skirts wet on the grass. Might I borrow you for the evening?" Her voice is quiet, to not break into the festive shouts and cheers that ripple upward for the battle between Summer and Winter. Rather than truly await an answer, Aldreda makes the choice on her own accord; settling her petite frame into Maelgwyn's lap once Morag has descended upon Caerwyn instead. There is a bright smile to the priestess, but the Laverstock is rather pleased with her choice.

Amalthea, the brunette more than a head taller than her cousins, has a decent vantage of the proceedings. There is no stretching upon tip toe for the unnaturally tall Dinton lass, clad as she is in a simple tunic of muted hues along with dark tights and tall stable boots. "This is almost like when horses are led to stu-" She bites her lower lip to silence the rest of that sentiment. Just because she's well acquainted with life in the stables, doesn't mean Heulwen has to be. "Except, far more ceremony." Her cheeks color. "More or less."

Critical Fail!
Caerwyn checked his awareness of 5, he rolled 20.

Success
Maelgwyn checked his Lustful of 13, he rolled 12.

Selivant chuckles at something whispered between him and Braelynn as the gods strutt about the stage, preparing to fight. He look over at the growing crowd of Burcombes and grins at the family allied to his own. He offers a wave of greeting to them, before focusing back on the fight.

"Nay, you'll be going and -she'll- be coming, when I'm through!" declares Lugh in response, hardly matching his counterpart in theatrical grandiosity, but making up for it in undiluted… well, let's just say the Christian girls in the audience are going to get a quick lesson if he keeps going as he has! For him, unlike his foe, there are no familial concerns, no interested relations watching, hoping for some sort of second-hand blessing through association with this divine play. Perhaps adding another level of contrast to winter and sun, he is decidedly the earth sort, compared to the more noble.

Regardless of all of this, verbal exchanges and whatever may or may not be at stake aside from some private time with a fire-silhouetted beauty, his sole focus is now on Gwynn, and on putting some force behind his words. In a mirror of his foe's motion, he reaches to draw one of the ceremonial daggers, while his free hand continues to grasp at the open air, needful of contact, eager to grasp. It will not have to wait long, for nearly as quickly as the weapon is drawn does he lunge forward, making a wide, wild slash in the air with the wooden weapon. The attack is barely coherent at first glance, a savage but artless attack, suggestive of complete, and maybe drug-fueled abandon.

Arian laughs brightly at her brother's words, and she shakes her head. "Come now, Lainn… you'll ruin the immersion." But then Arian cups her hands to her mouth and bellows her own support for Lugh, giving into her religious dedication. She is a Summer Daughter, after all. She tries not to set her brother's balance off, as they will both end up in a pile if she does that.

Giving his other cousin a nod as he approaches, Maelgwyn decides to just focus on the ceremony rather than get into a verbal sparring match with Morag. It's then that the young woman who was near him decides to up and sit on his lap. "Well, ah, certainly. Borrow me all you like for the evening." A mischievious little smile plays across his lips as he gives the woman's backside an appreciative little glance. A few thoughts run across his mind but he keeps those to himself. For now.

Abigail looks over to Aldreda as the woman moves off her arm. Hey, she was leaning on that! She tracks the sister the few steps over, taking her eyes off the fight. The older sister watches Aldie move to the Burcombe family and she follows at a few paces. She was -not- expecting the sister to simply plop herself into Mael's lap. Does it offend her? Newp! She just grins in spite of herself and drops a hand to ruffle Mael's hair gently once. "Careful, Sir Burcombe. This is her first." Mmhmm. Abi moves a few steps away. She'll keep an eye, but not TOO close. It is Beltaine after all! Looking to Morag, the Lavenstock dips her head. "Her greetings to you also." Its getting dark. She probably isn't even sure who she has met before. Introductions might be awkward.

Braelynn's cheeks flush with the whispers, and she glances away fom the stage to give Selivant a little shake of the head, as if chastising him silently, though there is a good natured smile on her lips. She crouches for just a moment to whisper something into Seraphina's ear, and then stands again, returning her attention to the stage and watching intently.

Tired, Catryn was tired, it had been a long journey home, but she had made it. Only taking the time to bathe in the river (if there was one) to wash off the traveling dust before coming to the festival.. in one of those dress tunic skirt things that are so popular in this time. It's mostly concealed by the cloak she wears though, completely ruining the effect. The hood of the cloak is left down and she meanders through people, casually taking in the happenings.

"Spare me, I heard you yelling at me the year that I was Lugh." Lainn points out, setting his feet apart to give them both a bit more stability. It's the weight of his siter, more to the point it's just being a big top heavy at this point. Watching on, he shakes his head. "He is so out of it. I'm surprised he's managed to stay upright the entire time. I suppose…" he considers, "I have to give him credit for that alone."

A light gaze rests upon Amalthea, Heulwen, and Kamron as they stand together. He offers a slight bow, with a flourish of his hand to the trio, as well as a bright grin upon his face as he starts to move further into the crowd, closing closer in towards the stage for that better view.

Seraphina blinks slowly as she is whispered to, those amber eyes narrow in through before she leans back on her palms a little more and peers up at Braelynn where she stands with the Lord of Durnford. An arched eyebrow appears before it becomes to dark to see and a wicked little smile crosses her lips before she winks to her friend and finally turns her attention back to the stage.

A light gaze rests upon Amalthea, Heulwen, and Kamron as they stand together. Iolo offers a slight bow, with a flourish of his hand to the trio, as well as a bright grin upon his face as he starts to move further into the crowd, closing closer in towards the stage for that better view.

Success
Elrick checked his dagger of 15, he rolled 9.
Critical Fail!
Llewelyn checked his dex of 18, he rolled 20.

"To stud," Heulwen finishes for Amalthea, not bothering to glance away from the verbal sparring on the dais. She laughs along with the crowd, finding great amusement in some of the innuendo, although most of it seems to go over her head. She glances sidelong to Thea and offers a sly grin before nudging her cousin the side with her elbow. "Come now, cousin, I'm not entirely naive." Slight overstatement, perhaps, but the young Dinton isn't about to admit to it. She inhales sharply as the fighting begins in earnest, and reaches up by reflex to grasp Amalthea's arm. Wen moves back a step automatically as people pass, and she catches sight of Iolo's nod. She greets him in turn with bow of her head before he moves away.

Normally, no, Aldreda may not do such a thing. She fantasizes, certainly. She hangs upon every word of tales of her family members and their… exploits. The young maid, however? Tends to flush varying colors and titter whenever thoughts of such turn upon her. But something has shifted in the past days, since the toruney and festivities in Carlion. She is a bit braver, perhaps. A bit bolder. Some might say she has grown by some measure. "Thank you, Sir-" it's difficult to see in the dark, but Aldreda is trying. "You are Burcombe, dear Knight, but I cannot see you clearly." The Laverstock twists to sit sideways in Maelgwyn's lap, looping an arm across his shoulder. She doesn't do anything overtly dastardly, no. No more than a dear friend, might… save the two have never been closely acquainted before now. Perhaps it is the magic in the air or the heady nature of so many flowers and crushed grass. "Aldreda de Laverstock," she provides in a quieter voice, just in case… before dark eyes are caught and held by the entertainment upon the stage. The men lunch and dance and twist and fight and she's wholly enraptured.

Success
Morwenna checked her awareness of 15, she rolled 13.
Failed.
Arian checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 19.
Failed.
Catryn checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 19.
Success
Morag checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 8.
Success
Heulwen checked her awareness of 5, she rolled 2.

The seated queen upon her throne rivals Guenever for a wealth of blossoms at her feet and signs of celestial favour, the moon in her palm and the sun's holy wheel inscribed on her delicate wrist. Planta genista and daisies rain bruised petals onto the brushed stage even for that subtle adjustment. Shadows romance over her where the distant illumination forms a spectral play, rays piercing around the two gods circling one another for a dance of daggers. If the crowd senses ceremonial danger, she scents ceremonial blood to be spilled after the festival's many other libations. Wine, water, smoke, and tears all to secure another year of prosperity and fertility. Blodeuwedd straightens for a moment, only to draw her knees slightly higher, her crossed ankles skimming against the sturdy wooden frame. Her tranquil, torpid reactions belie the quickening heartbeat, the steep rise in alertness. The goddess' sacred bird is an owl, after all, and they hunt in silence until dropping from the sky to deliver death. A storm of violence unleashed between the two men holds her fast, even as she may be relaxed during the whole affair deciding at least three smaller and greater fates. But then, looks can be deceiving.

From the crowds, closest to the May Queen's throne, a young man calls to the beautiful flower maiden. "Goddess, oh Lady! Choose me as your champion! These gods know nothing about the care and love you deserve!" His friend gives him a rough tug, and he bows humbly — though the impish grin remains as he's dragged back.

"M'Lords, m'Ladies," a bard with paint 'neath his eyes and bare chest thrust forward, says, carrying a tray wobbling with an array of mushrooms and lightly grilled fish, as well as green glass pitchers of honey-hued liquid. He lifts his tenor to the moon and lilts prettily to the company around the Burcombes:

"Tonight, I bring you the finest drinks and foods—
T'is best for the wildest, woodest, most Beltaine of moods.
Have these mushrooms, have a sip of this sweetest honeyed mead,
For tonight, the gods are calling, will you follow where they lead?"

The bard holds out the tray before the Burcombe boys (and the Burcombe girl) and the Laverstock girls - try, try, he says, wearing a mask of wolfish abandon - before holding it towards Aldreda and Maelgwyn particularly. If one girl should choose to sit on one boy's lap, perhaps a little something to loosen inhibitions and wet tongues? He arches a brow inquiringly.

Caerwyn glances about the parties assembled, shrugging his shoulders helplessly. "Beautiful girls, you are," he murmurs to both Aldreda and Abigail, "Tonight, we are all beautiful and wanted," he says with a wisp of a smile on his lips. He scans the crowds again, hoping, perhaps, to see someone he knows - that May Queen looks awfully pretty but she looks awfully familiar - before taking a mug and a mushroom off the tray absentmindedly, before popping it into his mouth. "… Morrigan help me, I haven't eaten all day. Let me have a few more of those, jester," he says, taking the lightly fired mushrooms and clearing -half- from the tray.

The jester can't help but look horrified.

Failed.
Maelgwyn checked his Flirting of 12, he rolled 13.

It's not as if Maelgwyn can see her flush or anything. His attentions are split among several different things. Still, when she asks her question, he responds in a low and pleasant tone. "Sir Maelgwyn de Burcombe. It is a pleasure to meet you Aldreda. Or at least, it's more of a pleasure to make your acquaintance in this fashion than if we had met in some other fashion." And that's when he reaches up with one hand and gives her backside the softest little pinch. Though his words are pleasant enough, they don't come out -exactly- as he would like. Maybe it's just not his evening.

"Not entirely," Amalthea agrees with Heulwen, though the gaze she tosses her cousin's way is all too pert and knowing. There's a roll of her neck, nudging the long chocolate cable of her braid to swaying. "Oh, look, the minstrel Iolo. But I know few others. Do you know anyone else, 'Wen? Anyone with a decent stable?"

Mushrooms eaten, Caerwyn lets his sister envelop her into his arms - the small, dark-haired girl squeezes hard! - and groans a little bit. "Sister, my bones, they are not meant to be loved so. Have you seen Father?" He keeps Morag cradled in his arms and looks down at her fondly. Except — why is her face purple and her eyes yellow all of a sudden?

Seraphina can't help it, that husky chuckle comes from the grass right next to the maiden filled lap of Maelgwyn and the mushroomed stuff Caerwyn, and amber eyes flicker from one male to the other as she shakes her head with amusement. "And the lusts of the eve start just as they should.." In this sitting her voice seems more natural, the deep huskiness fills the air and paints a sensual hue that blends into the night.

"I'll let him know you confessed your love for him, Lainn." Arian ruffles the hair of her brother before she looks back up at the stage with those bright, pale eyes luminous with joy and excitement. She then takes note of Caerwyn and the mushrooms, and she laughs again. "Sir Caerwyn! Didn't your mother teach you to share!" And she casts him a devious little wink from her perch on Lainn's shoulders.

If the avatar for Gwynn ap Nudd wasn't in such a drug infused state, he would have mocked his opponent's completely at that aimless slash into the air, but instead it is taken as a threat. A threat and a feint, one that was quickly identified as the man who is playing the role of the Horned Hunter certainly has the skills of a warrior. The Sun God may much more well versed in the arts of language and words, but Lord of the Wild Things is talented in the arts of the martial arena. Lightning quick, Gwynn ap Nudd's free left hand reaches forward to grab the forearm of Lugh's, belowing to the hand that wields the ceremonial dagger, keeping the attack at bay. Then instead of just plainly driving the blunted dagger into his opponent's midsection, the King of the Fae does a backspin and drives the pummel of the ceremonial weapon into the lower back of his challenger (avoiding the spine). The blow is hard enough to propel Lugh a few steps away and Gwynn ap Nudd takes a few step in the other direction with a smirk, "Is that all you have, Sun God? You would protect the harvest with that?" The tone is almost mocking but when an interloper threatens the Horned Hunter's domain with his words to the May Queen, he roars at the down at the young man that was a spectator, "You dare trespess on the territory of the Gods?! Begone, before darkness descends on you!" This distraction would most certainly give Lugh time to recover from the blow he had taken.

Selivant turns his attention to the minstrel as his greeting rings out. He watches the nearby Burcombes indulge in the mushrooms, some a little too much. "Uh oh. That doesn't look like it is going to turn out well." He laughs a bit and shakes his head, before looking to Seraphina as she comments, "Indeed. Rushing headlong with abandon sometimes pays off."

Heulwen hmms to herself, muttering nonsense beneath her breath as she places a hand on Amalthea's shoulder and uses it to help her rise higher onto her toes. She glimpses a familiar face, hovering above the crowdwell that's rather oddoh, on some shoulders. "I see someone, Sir Arian and her brother, but they are over yonder. Would you care to accompany me that way?" She spares a glance for Kamron, and then touches his arm before leaning in to murmur to him her intended destination. One hand is held out for Amalthea as Heulwen begins backing into the crowd to head toward the Laverstocks, and she threatens to be swallowed completely by the night in just a step or two more.

Failed.
Caerwyn checked his lustful of 13, he rolled 19.
Success
Caerwyn checked his chaste of 7, he rolled 6.

Braelynn chuckles as she hears Selivant. She says jokingly, "Or it can leave you plumetting from a cliff. Take your pick."

"Oh please don't." Lainn protests. "Then he'll actually think that I like him or something equally as horrific." Taking the ruffle with all the tolerance that an older brother can, he does grin a bit widely at Arian's jeering. "Is this a fight or a dance demostration! You hit like my sister!" He's already ducking his head.

Success
Aldreda checked her Flirting of 5, she rolled 2.

A resounding booing rises up from the crowds as Gwynn ap Nudd gets one-up on Lugh. Rattles of winter gourds are lifted in defiance as the Winter's followers retaliate in the face of Lugh's. Though there is not yet violence in the crowd between the two sides, each moment between the two gods heat the blood of true believers who truly believe that Summer and Winter has possessed these two men to decide the fate of this year's seasons.

"Sir Maelgwn," Aldreda repeats the name, casting eyes from the stage to Caerwyn so near, with Morag. There's a look, eyelashes fluttering, to those mushrooms. She recognizes that and might perhaps say something, but there is a hand upon her rear! The Laverstock lass squeaks, just a bit (and certainly not in dismay!) at the gesture. The words and touch may be delivered awkwardly, but she is young enough to be ill-equipped to tell the difference between a poorly executed pass and one wholly flattering and accurately placed. "Beltaine is the old sweeping into the new," she chimes. "So a time for meeting of new friends." And there, hand draped across the Burcombe's shoulder, she twists fingers up into his hair; it's there, she must try!

Abigail looks to the bard as he begins singing and she grins happily. There's a light sway to her hips before she reaches to take one of the honey-hued cups and lifts it in cheers. And a mushroom. Yes, she even grins when its offered to her sister. There's a pleasant sip, eyes smiling over the cup to Caerwyn as he compliments her and her sister. "Thaaaank you, good sir. You're quite kind, and quite correct. Tonight, we're all sought after." She winks and looks back, doing her best to not listen or watch her sister too closely. A small bite of the mushroom is taken and she chews, looking at it curiously. Nomnom. Hrm. A few moments later she tilts her head and looks back to the stage. Stuff looks funny.

Morag gingerly checks Caerwyn's eyes - yes indeed, he's been having a dip of the wormwood, or perhaps enjoyed a little mushroom broth. "I'm sure Father's somewhere in the fleet." she says reassuringly, stepping away. "I'm sure if he wants to be found, he will be." She leaves it at that, as some commentary drifts past her ears. Looking up at the May Queen, she presses her fingers to her mouth in a sacred gesture and extends her fingertips toward the throne befre offering perhaps somewhat randomly to Huelwyn, "It is so much more than a studding, milady." This is said with a surprising and sincere solemnity.

What business he has here is relevant to food, drink, or something else as tempting. That and the Burcombes. Llwyd wouldn't miss for the world. Which is flat, expensive, hard to miss. He is here, something to drink in hand, in both hands, unless there is food, then that is in his second hand. He needs a third hand in that case. He is watching festivities, getting his drink on, preparing for his quest of some sort. Quiet for once at least, that Cholderton cousin.
Kamron has disconnected.

Amalthea glances to Heulwen, biting her lower lip hard. "Are you sure that is wise?" The voice of caution can only hold so long against the actual tug of her cousin. "All right, all right. But only to make sure that you are safe," Thea mutters to Wen. "From others, but also from yourself." Because, family knows. The tall Dinton follows, weaving through the crowd carefully, employing her chaste look.

Assuming that any mushrooms remain as the bard comes by, Selivant decides to grab one of the remainders and take a taste. It's not the most prudent action but it is Beltaine afterall. It doesn't take long for the effects to hit him, as he starts to blink a bit at how the stage has changed. Everything seems so much more…real. Dude, his hands can touch everything but themselves! Looking back at Braelynn, he nods, "Yes, rushing headlong off of cliffs tends not to go well at all. Fortunately, there are no cliffs around."

"You, my dear, sound like a lady knight I know. Sir Arian, but somehow more completely beautiful than anything I've ever seen. When you speak, I see the golden colors shimmer in their wake, like some shooting star gone too long without finding its mark," Caerwyn waxes poetically at Sir Arian. "… But this is the kind of trouble I vowed to stay out of." He glances down at the girl in his arms. "… Oh Morrigan take me, have I — we —" He blanches a little bit, as Morag's smiling face swirls into view. What exactly transpired in the last three hours?"

And with that, Caerwyn stalks off, unsteadily, to nurse the mug he has in his hand (mead spiked with wormwood, which will only make the acute hallucinations worse). He walks right into Heulwen and her cousin, Amalthea - their faces swirl together, along with Morag's, who comments about studding — and suddenly, Caerwyn looks unbelievably pale. He looks straight into Heulwen's eyes, starts to say something (mouth open, flies enter) and then staggers off to a sheltered nook to close his eyes and hope for the best. Twenty paces off, he stops next to a tent and sits down beside it, eyes closed, sweating cold rivers along his skin.

"Oy, feck!" is shouted, again somewhat less theatrically or ceremonially, as the Sun-God's wild attack and more subtle follow up alike are easily deterred, and he gets jabbed in the back, albeit with the blunt part of the ceremonial knife. Stumbling a few steps with the force of the blow, he fortunately remembers that this is all for show and collects himself a little, or at least, doesn't keep yelling swears and curses! Drawing himself back up as the other God decries some rowdy member of the crowd, he stands tall (or as tall as he can, which isn't anything to write home over), and begins stalking forward toward his foe again. "Oh, I've got plenty more for yuh, y' fancy-horned bastard. I've put plenty of yer kind on the dinner-table!" The 'actor' (and this is a generous term) is really a hunter, after all, and in his haze he may have forgotten that his foe is a stag-headed god and not… an actual stag. But regardless! The Sun God's morale seems restored after his brief defeat, and he stalks forward again, one step, and another, and then several faster still, before he is charging outright toward the other man, nearly flinging himself bodily at his deific foe!

Braelynn laughs and reaches for one of the mugs. She watches Selivant with amusement, and pulls the mug to her lips to take a very small sip.

Flattery may get some men everywhere, but the girl selected for the May Queen is not cut from that flimsy cloth. Look several dozen yards down to understand why hers is a markedly more resilient fabric, as the matter of Britain hinges upon licentious embraces, bad song, and psychotropic hors d'oeuvres. Speak of horrors? She's got plenty. "You put yourself above the champions chosen for me, and claim my crown rather than they?" The Maiden of Flowers' voice is a dusky soprano warmed by the thrill in the veins and the open channels to the divine. "Can you stand against them unbloodied?" No idle question that, as a curl of her fingers indicates Gwynn chasing and circling around his stalking quarry. "No. 'Twould be such a folly to incur their wrath. The only way around it would be choosing two goddesses to vouch for my domain." She idly flicks her hand outwards the crowd, indicating a certain lapwarmer hanging about the Burcombe collectivity.

If they is a chaste look his way, Llwyd chastes with his own look, brows waggling a little, followed by a smile. He would give more chaste, but lo, his sis. With some fellow, laughing, he grins, lifts a drink to her, but doesn't interfere.

Braelynn spots her brother lifting a glass and grins. She returns the motion, but does not drink more… yet.

Iolo lets his attention remain upon the ritual duel going on between the two 'actors' on the stage, a slight grin forming on his lips as he hears the sun god's retort to the stag headed fiend, and he claps his hands together with a touch of joy at the sight. The shirtless man has found himself a spot in the crowd now, looking a bit back and forth at some of the other revelers watching the ceremony.

Arian blushes beautifully at Caerwyn's words, though she is in a very awkward spot to be flirting with a knight on her brother's shoulders. So she just smiles, dimples and all. When he starts to turn away, she shakes her head slightly. "Poor Caerwyn… always looking as if he has bitten off more than he can chew." Then she spots Heulwen's approach, and her eyes widen and brows arch. "Lady Heulwen!" She looks around as if searching for her brother — did she know the Dintons were coming? She then turns her gaze up to the stage, trying to track each movement from the fighting gods.

Failed.
Heulwen checked her dex of 11, she rolled 14.

Morwenna continues her quite vigil over the intruding Christian party, not hostile, but obviously mildly suspicious at the least of the uncommon presence in their midst. Of course, she herself may stand out as an oddity in the crowd, wearing animal skins where others have chosen their lightest, often most revealing dresses, although even her garb is lighter, scanter than it would be in colder months. In the end, the pair are talking horses, not preaching Christ, so it's not as bad as it could be, though the talk of studding… well, she catches Morag's echo of it, and steps near the priestess. "I do not know if they are right or wrong, precisely, but why are they here?" She's direct, at least!

Oh! A familiar face! Isyld weaves her way through people, even having to spin around a couple of times as she accidentally brushes too close to someone. Wearing an apologetic look, just in case it's a toe she steps on, she darts as lady like as possible to Llwyd. Placing her hands over his eyes from behind, she laughs, "Guess who?" Not disguising her voice any, and her laughter is probably a dead give away.

When the May Queen speaks, Gwynn ap Nudd looks up to the flowery throne, at the maiden goddess herself. The words she has spoken brings a wider grin to the intoxicated Fae King, but his attention is quickly drawn back to the arena as his opponent, Lugh, returns in much quicker than he had anticpated, due to the distractions nearby. Only at the last moment is he able to prevent himself being tackled outright, once more his free hand goes to the opponent's wrist that his holding the dagger, the other rises to block any blow that may be raining down. But the Lord of the Wild Things is almost knocked onto his back by the flying charge, only by pure strength and determination does he hold the Sun God at bay, barely, as he is leaning back and straining. "So you have finally revealed your true skills, Protector, but you know that night will always descend upon you! It is only a matter of time!"

Abigail is blinking rapidly, trying to focus. She absently chews more of the mushroom while trying to divine what's skewed her view of the night. Its washed down with the wormwood concoction. She hasn't been this high in… Turning back to look at the stage, Abigail is sipping her beverage when it hits her. The May Queen is aiming a finger at her. Vouching for domain? That- Abigail's cup falls right out of her hand. She's way too high for this and there's only one thing to do: Grin like an idiot and hope for the best. Abigail reaches to grab her sister's arm and tug her up. "We have been called forth, Sister! Come!"

Maelgwyn spares the briefest of glances over to his cousin and whatever… antics he is up to. He might have to speak to him later about finding out what had been drinking. His attention returns to Aldreda and he smiles. He says nothing when she twists her fingers in his hair. "Indeed, and I do so enjoy meeting new friends. How about you?" Reaching up, he lightly brushes his fingertips along one cheek, his eyes sparkling with something that lies between amusement and mischief.

With the wisest of Dintons at her back, Heulwen laughs loudly in a sound that mingles well with those around her. It seems she has taken up the spirit, and is enjoying herself to the fullest. She nearly skips as she weaves her way through the people on her way to meet Arian, and is busy glancing up to the dais as insults are exchanged. The girl is thus held rapt as she skips forward another step and barrels right into Caerwyn. Her hand yanks free of Amalthea's so she can catch herself, staggering back several steps and reaching out to grasp anyone around her to keep from falling. She inhales in astonishment, blinking owlishly, and it takes several moments before she recognizes the man.

By that time he has, alas, escaped. The young Dinton recovers, apologizing profusely to the spectators she has bothered with her clumsiness, and turns to check on Thea. "Are you alright, cousin? Did I tread your toes? Was that Sir Caerwyn?" She hovers for a moment, poised to move but suffering from indecision as she stares intently at Amalthea. And then just as quickly as it has all occurred, she makes up her mind. "Sir Arian is that way, the one sitting on her brother's shoulders. You have met her, yes?" With that brief direction, Wen whirls on her heel and takes up the chase, diving toward the edge of the crowd to follow where the Burcombe knight has fled.

Seraphina stretches slowly and reaches for one of the mugs that have been offered about, she then pulls herself up to a standing position with a flowing flicker of fabric. Those eyes once more move to the stage, but a thoughtful look crosses her features as she turns towards Brae and steps next to her and Sel to give a kiss to her friends cheek. "Behave.." she warns her with a little grin and throws a look towards Sel as well before she starts to drift off from that small group, making her swaying silent steps farther into the darkness out from the stage.

And there comes a distraction… Nay, not a distraction, an edict. The May Queen, festooned in blooms and blooms yet has spoken. The warm air brings upon the eddies a sort of headiness. Aldreda has not partaken of the mushrooms, but what was in that cup that was passed around? Aldreda seems rather content in the lap of her chosen for the evening. Be he chosen for the night? For the festivities? Or a mere convenient throne for the Laverstock for the ritual itself? Fingers extract themselves from the Burcombe Knight's hair and Aldreda is rising to her feet; cloak and skirts trailing against Maelgwyn as her bare feet find the grass once more. There is a shining in her dark eyes; a brightness of one enamored by the headiness of the night. It's only when Abigail catches her arm that the younger of the two truly begins to move. They may have to stumble and weave, but the May Queen has paid summons and they are drawn forth upon invisible thread. Alas, Maelgwyn will have to wait an answer to his question and there is a brief glance back from Aldreda; a flash of smile, a hint of more to come… later.

Lainn eyesballs Caerwyn ruefully. "If you're going to flirt with my sister, could you at least do so when she's not sitting on my shoulders." he says, trying to point out the fact that Arian is indeed perched on him, sitting on his shoulders. "Because that's not awkward to listen to at all." he says, then pinching the back of Arian's calf lightly. "Am I going to have to fend off all these men with a very large stick? Because I can. I'd have a lot of fun." The approaching Dintons are nodded towards, since that's about all he can do at the moment. "Evening, ladies. I'm sorry to report I only have room for one on my shoulders, at the moment."

His grin remains, Llwyd feigns jaw drop surprise when his eyes are covered. A fun game, he'll play along. "A high way bandit … I've given me taxes to the king. You'll have to figure out since other payment!" Then a smug chuckle, "I've just the thing, you'll have to trust me. It involves reading and writing." Then he turns to peek, "Oh … you … nevermind …" He know it was her, the later part more the joke.

One can practically hear the long-suffering sigh that Amalthea expels the moment Heulwen decides to make a mad dash through the crowd to the bumbling knight. It's /almost/ as if she might have anticipated such a move from Heulwen, and instead of following her direction, Thea puts those very long, wonderfully muscled legs to good use chasing after her cousin. "Heulwen! 'Wen!" All chaste looks are forgotten in consternation. "I will tackle you if I have to!"

Selivant smiles back at Seraphina. The slight high he is experiencing may not allow him to register the look she gave him. After she leaves he focuse on the two Laverstock women as they make their way to the May Queen. "Oooooh, chosen by the May Queen." Then his attention is pulled behind him to Heulwen and Amalthea running through the crow. So much is going on around him an dhe can't take it all in at once!

Morag's words to Heulwen go unheeded, but she doesn't seem to mind, her gaze refocusing on Morwenna. "They're here because they're curious. Because it might abate their fear if they acknowledge that which they don't understand. If they cause no trouble, why should we offer them any?'

Braelynn takes a second sip of the wormwood concoction, just enough to gauge the effects. She feels her shoulders relax slightly and turns her head toward Sera as she departs. She gives her a smile and then turns back toward Selivant, tilting her head as she looks at him curiously.

"Reading and writing!" Isyld counters with a playful smile. "But Sir, you have not even sent the letter yet, or it hasn't been received. That would be payment enough, I'm sure!" Taking a step back, she does lower her hands when he turns. "Though if you're disappointed it's me," her lower lip protrudes in a pout that is completely ruined by the smile at the corners of her lips, "Then I should find someone else to dance with later!"

All full of restored fury and vigor now, Lugh presses what advantage he seems to have against his stag-horned foe, pushing, driving him back, seeking to gain every little inch he can when his divine foe falters for even that short moment. He would drive him fully from the platform if he could, and nearly does, although Gwynn seems to find his own strength in the last moments, holding them both there, gripping one another's limbs, straining and pushing, but neither quite able to overthrow the other. "Aye, and there's more aplenty yet to come! I'll burn you all away, and then I'll get the Queen plenty hot besides!" he answers his foe, quite capable of boast, no matter what else he might have or lack in skill or polish. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, he does notice the May Queen's own gesture, however, and in turning to glance off at whatever spontaneous secondary ritual seems to be in the making, he too makes the mistake of leaving himself open and is promptly thrown back, although this time landing with a grace that might be substance-inspired, natural, or a bit of both. "Come on then, branch-head!"

Success
Elrick checked his dagger of 15, he rolled 9.
Success
Llewelyn checked his dex of 18, he rolled 5.

"I tried writing myself, I nearly most my eye … harder then it looks." A sure nod from Llwyd. Then a softer smile, "I know, I heard tale you may have been away, so I'm waiting for the right time, to have someone write it for me." Then a straight set to his lips, "You would dance with another, just to make me jealous. It wouldn't work, mostly … Okay slightly jealous, I confess. Who else would I dance with then?" His eyes wander, only slightly. Then a grin back to her. "I give, you can teach me to dance, and share this drink with me, not much left, just a sip." it's over half full.

"Welcoming their kind has seen ours dwindle," Morwenna answers, or maybe reminds Morag, making her point succinctly and without much elaboration. "But those two do appear harmless." Shrugging this off, though still watching after them, and then occasionally the bout above, which seems to continue in the favor of her own dark ribbon, she then moves a little closer to murmur something, "Is that… truly your cousin?" Pause. "Up there?" It seems someone is a keen-eyed little household knight. Oddly, there's a little dread in her tone, in the question.

When Heulwen (and her rapidly following cousin, Amalthea) find Caerwyn, it's by sheer luck - in the darkness, he sits there, as if mortally wounded. Breathing tight little gasps, pale as the full moon and groaning incomprehending, he glances up and then looks away. There is a moment, perhaps, of recognition - but here, is it this? His nightmare come to chase him? Why is the sky so black it threatens to swallow him whole? And this white face before him…?

Caerwyn looks ill, crumpling together in the fetal position should any approach him.

The summons blasted earlier on the horn called the worshippers to the Beltaine procession. A flick of the wrist summons two of them to the May Queen's very feet, at least the stage she sits upon. Such is a show of pure faith and raw power elevates the moment to a staggering revelation through the haze of whatever substances cloud them all. Mouth rounded, Blodeuwedd-nee-Eirian basks in the fruits of her audacity. "Blessed be the daughters of the fields and forests, that you may be as fair and fertile as this land," she calls out warmly, and sitting forward in her throne puts the wild, entangled shadows of her two champions painted against her like some puppetry used to entertain an audience on a midwinter's night. The fire won't answer to her, but she reaches for a handful of flowers and brings them to her lips, basking in the heady scent filling her lungs. Then she casts out the largesse of her grace upon Aldreda and Abigail, and possibly showering any nearby with the rainfall of petals accorded to those who walk before her. It would not do for her to rise and walk off, but she can give her charitable favour upon the others.

Success
Maelgwyn checked his Awareness of 15, he rolled 5.

Isyld peers into the cup, a dubious expression worn. "What is in it that you would share a drink so easily?" Certainly not suspicious by nature, she wears a lopsided smile as she looks up from the cup and back to him. "Jealous, Sir Llwyd? What a wasted emotion, I'm sure." But there's a sly look in her eyes though it borders more on playful. "If I write the letter for you, how would it be a surprise when I receive it?" For once, since she approached Llwyd, the Chalke looks towards where the happenings are and her lips twitch. "A good show.."

Success
Maelgwyn checked his STR of 15, he rolled 4.

Failed.
Llwyd checked his temperate of 4, he rolled 8.

As the Sun God continues to voice his claims on the Maiden Goddess, this appears to fuel Gwynn ap Nudd's competitive rage. Whether it is divined by the gods or just the mortal that is playing the role of its avatar, the crowd can easily see the strength that the King of Fae possesses. From his disadvantaged position of almost being knocked off the stage, Gwynn ap Nudd begins to straighten his posture, regaining leverage against his opponent. "Words, Lugh, all I hear are words! Yet in you, I sense weakness, one that is most undeserving of the May Queen." Pushing the Protector of the Harvest away, the Lord of the Wild Things is already charging when the taunting words are flung at him. Ducking any defensive blows that Lugh may throw at him, Gwynn ap Nudd's ceremonial dagger lashes out, the blunted edge slashing across the Sun God's chest, a solid strike!

"Thea," Heulwen murmurs, stopping short just a few feet away from Caerwyn. She waits for her cousin to catch her up (all two seconds it takes) and then looks up to her, frowning deeply. It is a frown of worry, however, and entirely clear of fear. Holding up a hand to give her companion pause, she steps forward slowly and crouches down beside the knight. The cowering—it is not at all like the man she recalls from their first meeting, and this, more than anything, bothers her. Her lips nearly disappear as she purses them together in thought. "Sir Caerwyn," she barks loudly, snapping her fingers in front of him to catch his attention, which only results in the man curling in upon himself on the ground.

With a heavy sigh, Wen straightens, peering down at him for a moment before looking about for his kin. Surely she might recognize some of his relations, having met a few on her brief sojourn to Burcombe manor. Her eyes alight upon Morag, perhaps one of the closest who may have a chance of looking their way, and raises her arm up in a quick wave in hopes of catching someone's attention.

Maelgwyn seems to spot Caerwyn having a bad go of things. He lets out a soft sigh, his eyes searching out that nice little lady who had adorned his lap for a time, his mind giving the possibilities one final thought before he stands up and makes his way over to his cousin. If he hadn't been family he might not even give a damn but.. family was family. Reaching his cousin, he bends down and hauls him up and lets the man lean against him as much as he may need. "Up you come, Caerwyn. This isn't the place to start coughing up your last meal."

Failed.
Amalthea checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 14.

A blessing of fairness and fertility upon her? Aldreda might be fit to burst from joy. There is rapture in her gaze and her hands go out, cloak falling from her shoulders. The blooms are gathered and she's already turning to weave some into Abigail's hair. Her fingers are deft and quick; twisting and winding stems into braids and alongside Lugh's gold ribbons. She wears dress much akin to day-to-day, but of much finger cut with elaborate embroidery upon it. Green, with hints of Laverstock's other colors throughout the thread upon the edging. Her slippers are there at her belt; ankles bare and deep within the fresh spring loam. The Laverstock leans in, at last, pressing a kiss to Abigail's brow. It's a pleased, happy sort of gesture. Love, from one sister to another. Not all is sheer pleasure, no. There is the overwhelming, budding joy of familial gathering in turn. More blooms yet are tucked into her own hair; one petal cascading down to land upon the tip of her nose. It doesn't remain long, for she's offering a bended knee to the May Queen in thanks before threading back off — hand reaching to clasp at Abi's — into the crowd. Perhaps in search of the Knight whose lap had been so willingly offered as an evening throne.

Hazel eyes give Heulwen a glance. "He is my cousin. I can drag him off somewhere else, though if you have a mind to help I would welcome it." He then mumbles something about Caerwyn deserving this under his breath.

In response, Llwyd offers a large shrug of his shoulders, "I'm not entirely sure, everyone is drinking it … when in Rome …" He will tip back of course, taking a good swallow. "So, I shouldn't be jealous, I should be off finding other dance partners? I am wounded, and amused, Sir Isyld, hunter if bandits, and keeper of the kings roads." He turns to watch the show, nodding along, "It is interesting. You are right, I must find someone to help he write a letter to you or I'll never have that visit to Chalke …"

Amalthea draws up short, dropping the hands that were, in fact, poised to tackle her young cousin. "All well and good, Wen, but Kam would have a /fit/ if he knew I'd allowed you to go running off without an escort." Not that she makes the best escort, of course, but better than none. So lacking in the ability is she, that she fails to even notice Caerwyn until Heulwen crouches in front of the man. "He looks ill. Heulwen, be careful! He might be contagious!" But then Hazel is speaking to them, and the taller, stronger Dinton sighs, resigned to her fate. There's a quiet mutter aside to Heulwen.

… Llwyd looks to his sister Braelyn with that thought, who indeed to write for him ….

Success
Maelgwyn checked his Awareness of 15, he rolled 3.

Abigail has trouble, nearly falling as she tries to climb the steps to the stage. Steps are difficult when they look so bendy. And are made of bread. Bread? The stage is bread, too. This is so awesome! She looks out across the crowd with wide eyes before rushing over to go to the Queen. But a blessing like that. Abigail's eyes go wide and she can't help huge huge grin or her own heart from bursting. Fairness and fertility! On Beltaine?? From the May Queen?? She takes up some of the petals and blooms and likewise begins to adorn her sister's hair, even tucking a few into the braids as best she can. But in her mind, she is planting these flowers. Her sister will grow them because that's what happens when you eat strange mushrooms. Her own kiss is returned and then a warm hug. There's obviously love between the two and she also bends a knee and bows her head to the May Queen. Before she can really think about what else is happening, she's being dragged from the stage with a squeek and a laugh. "We've been blessed!! Personally!" she laughs happily to Aldie, pure happiness in her voice.

Success
Aldreda checked her Awareness of 15, she rolled 7.

"And we do better to be good hosts than hostile neighbors." Morag replies to Morwenna, but the a waved arm is catching her eye. With a frown, she murmurs, "I'll be back…" at least she hopes so, and then there's a little sigh. "He's not contagious." This to Amalthea as Morag makes her way over and bolsters up Caerwyn on the other side. "Mael, hold him up for me? I've got something." There's a look over her shoulder at the May Queen, and Morag sighs wistfully.

Selivant watches the two women receive their blessing before they are moving to wonder off into the crowd, along with the sudden disappearance of many of the Burcombes. Well, that's a new addition to the Beltaine ritual. His attention moves back to the battle and whispers once moe to Braelynn, gesturing to Lugh a bit, as he talks.

The Lugh-player is not enough of an actor to display any special distress when 'cut' across his chest, the blunted slash far less noteworthy than the wound it would have given him with a truer blade. But behind it, Gwynn's continued defense of his every best effort, every wild swing or attempted grasp, is felt far more viscerally. There is real frustration there, amidst the pageantry, and while thankfully he doesn't announce each with quite the projected stage voice of his competitor, there is no shortage of further curses and snarled swears as he is driven back the other way. Now the momentum has swung utterly against him, and the man that is Lugh is pushed to the far edge himself, his bare feet fighting for purchase on the platform, his weight shifting one way and the other to find any point where he might counterbalance his opponent. "Words! Aye words and ye better hear em! I'll take yer bloody horns and shove them right up yer arse!"

Braelynn takes another drink of the green glass. She begins to watch the crowd intently, her eyes shifting from one person to another. Her usual tightly wound demeanor seems to be relaxing and as she leans up on her tiptoes to listen to Selivant's whisper.

Well, if Isyld was honest with herself, she was thirsty, and so she reaches for the cup as soon as he lowers it and takes a big drink of it herself. Now it was almost gone. "Thank you," she grants once she's almost finished it, handing the cup back, or at least offering it. "If you can find a better dance partner, I think it would be wise of you to find another one since you can do so, so easily." She sniffs, tilts her head and regards him with pure amusement, trying and failing to play stern with him. "As for me, I shall find a suitable dance partner for myself!"

"I am propping him up." Maelgwyn tells Morag, practically rolling his eyes with his tone of voice. "He's a little heavier than he looks. Maybe he should work himself a little more and shed a little weight, then the ladies might give him a second look." His eyes catch Seraphina off in the shadows and he frowns when she disappears. Guess she was of no mind to help in this situation. Shrugging, he returns his attention to Caerwyn. "Let's dump him in a river. That should wake him right up."

Mushrooms and Maelgwyns and Heulwens and heartstrings played, Caerwyn squeezes his eyes shut and lets the host of fly-headed men - giant bulbous many-fractaled eyes on human bodies! - drag him off. "I shall be eaten soon," he moans before his cousin with his sister's help carry him off to the dreaded fate of being eaten by many little mandibles. He squirms, feverish before opening his eyes again. It's none other than Heulwen -and- Morag hovering over him closely. The only thing worse than Heulwen being Morag, and thereby, being this strange incestuous crush, is Heulwen -with- Morag. He lets out a little gasp and then closes his eyes again. Perhaps the fly-headed men will bring him away to a better place.

Moral of the story is: Don't mushroom and drive.

Accusation in his eyes, she drank the better half of his drink, that he knows not what it is. Llwyd shakes his head even, gives the stern finger waggle that all parents know. "You bandit, worse then a fox … well sleek like one." A grin, a look over her curves. Then a nod. "Wait, I see what you're doing there. I'm perfectly suitable. I shall take this dance challenge to show I am perfectly suitable." He'll reach for her hand even.

"Not contagious," Heulwen murmurs to Amalthea, frowning in slight irritation at her cousin. "He's only—overimbibed. Many have." She gestures vaguely at the gathering with one hand before looking back to Caerwyn, but before she can step in, Morag sweeps by to lend her assistance…much to Wen's relief. She exhales loudly and offers the Burcombe lady a warm and grateful smile, albeit a brief one, but it turns a bit cheeky as she glances sidelong to Maelgwyn. "Well, perhaps he has done much to deserve it, at least a little bit." She seems quite sure in the abilities of those around her to tend to the knight, she she remains back a few steps and out of the way.

Once more, Heulwen reaches out to link arms with Amalthea, regarding her cousin's whispered warning with nothing more than a faint smile of understanding. Let it not be said that she does not reap what she sows, the precocious Dinton. "Provided he doesn't drown, of course," she pipes in, smiling. It is clear she'sperhapsrelishing Caerwyn's misery just a little bit. Only a little.

"Go forth and bring joy upon your houses, and life upon the land." The May Queen may well be calling to the men and all the audience, but she never departs from the wooden throne. The brief dizziness sends her back into the clutches of the solid arms and back, she practically pours herself onto the seat in an s-curve, imperiously dashing another handful of petals across the warring men and those behind their struggling silhouettes. Rose, cream, white, and soft butter blooms join with the greenery harvested from the field and pressed into her hands, the offerings blessed and given back to those who gather on Beltaine eve. Then comes the serenade of laughter tumbling from her lips, the thrill overtaking any sense.

Morwenna follows along behind Morag, if only because there is no one else about her and perhaps she disdains being left alone again. This brings her into the vicinity of the rest of the Burcombes and all the chaos that seems to surround them of the moment. Seeing their heir in the state he is, her brow does furrow, but only that. He won't be the only one around here in such a state, before long. "If you need any help in… subduing, or carrying him, I would be happy to assist," she offers helpfully, as she has assisted their family in other minor business from time to time.

And perhaps those flowers will spread and take root; such dark hair could be the embrace of mother earth or the bark of an old tree, afterall. Aldreda winds through revelers, fingers closely twined with Abigail's. She sheds some petals and her cloak is long-gone. Gold ribbons still trail behind and the woman is searching, searching. She does not release her best friend, her sister, no; Abigail must come along. "Blessed to be fair and fertile, but you-" a look over her shoulder, a broad smile, "are already quite fair, Abi." There's a lilt in her voice, as if she may be moved near to tears. Emotions run high and tremulous. But finally, what she seeks comes to her eyes. Fingers tighten upon the other Laverstock girls' hand and Aldreda leads her through towards Maelgwyn, who works with cousin to aid cousin. They're passing Heulwen and Amalthea and only this brings pause to Aldi… who removes a flower from her own hair and reaches out to deftly tuck it behind Heulwen's ear.

Since this is a battle of close proximity, what the crowd does not hear from Lugh, Gwynn ap Nudd does and it only widens his grin as more confidence rises within him, as if the narcotics and adrenaline wasn't enough. "Frustration, Lugh? Is that what I hear?" The question most certainly mocking now as if by his instinct as a warrior, the King of Fae's mortal mind, is more than willing to goad his opponent into a careless frenzy. As they near the edge of the other side of the stage, allowing that part of the crowd to watch the battle up close. Pulling away from the grapple, Gwynn ap Nudd is smart enough to know the dangers of the edge, especially in their current states, it may be easier to mistep than if they were clear of mind. Taking two quick steps back, the Horned Hunter tosses his dagger from one hand to the other, then back before beckoning Lugh with his free hand, "Come, Sun God, show those who wear your ribbons what you are capable of. Or do you wish to surrender now, to inevitable night?"

The accusation only serves to bring laughter from the Chalke, a dip of her head to hide the bulk of the amusement she can't seem to tamp down. When she lifts her head again at the waggling finger and the scolding words so playfully issued, she bites one corner of her lip, indecision.. after only a moment, she reaches for his cup he still holds, using his hand, she lifts it and finishes it off only to dart one step back after. He captures her hand and she lifts it and does a twirl around before dipping into a curtsy. "A dance for you then," agreeing. Music or no, she's going to dance.

Amalthea puts a choke hold on Heulwen's arm once it's linked through hers. "Overly imbibed? He looked feverish and hallucinating. What exactly did he overly imbibe /on/?" Thea queries to her cousin, eyeing the festivities with renewed caution and an immeasurable increase in prudishness. "And since when do you parlay with knights who would do such a thing, 'Wen?" TSK.

Selivant shouts loudly all of a sudden, "Come on, Lugh! Kick his arse!" He then clears his throat and tries to compose himself a bit.

Seraphina steps out of the shadows once more, this time she is carrying a long cloak and her steps take her over towards where Maelwyn is having to half carry Caerwyn, a little shake of her head, but those lips are still turned up slightly at the edge. Without a word she reaches up and drapes it around the taller Knights shoulders and looks towards Maelwyn, "Do you ned help with him?" She asks in that husky voice, probably/maybe being one of the stronger of the ladies near.

Failed.
Llwyd checked his dancing of 2, he rolled 13.

Success
Maelgwyn checked his Str of 15, he rolled 1.

Braelynn turns her head back toward the stage, and nudges Selivant with her elbow. There's no whispering anymore as she says, "See! I was right!" She gives him a smug, but playful smile and turns her eyes back to watch the Gwynn ap Nudd seems to gain the upper hand.

Success
Isyld checked her dancing of 5, she rolled 2.

Success
Morag checked her generous of 16, she rolled 3.

Failed.
Maelgwyn checked his Cruel of 16, he rolled 17.
Failed.
Maelgwyn checked his Merciful of 4, he rolled 17.

Selivant sighs at Braellyn's comment, "A horrible thing to be right about - a poor summer." He chuckles then and whispers once more to Braelynn, before offerign up more boisteorus support for the Sun God.

Seraphina steps out of the shadows once more, this time she is carrying a long cloak and her steps take her over towards where Maelwyn and Morag is having to half carry Caerwyn, a little shake of her head, but those lips are still turned up slightly at the edge. Without a word she holds out the cloak to Morag and arches an eyebrow in question.

Abigail certainly isn't going to be left behind. Besides, if she loses her sister right now, Abigail might not make it home with her sister. Likely it would be someone else in her state of mind and heart. She looks to Aldreda with the words and she grins happily. "Then we can be a twin of the other and it seems we both have some fairness and fertility to pass along, dearest," she laughs. Abigail looks like she could sing and there's a happy skip to her steps. Lead over towards the Burcombes, she comes to a stop and takes some of the petals from her own hair and moves first to place one in Morag's hair, then one for Amalthea. "Fairness and fertility," she tells each of them before pecking kisses to cheeks.

He never said he was good, but he does move. Llwyd is no stiff. He is just slightly awkward in his movements is all, but complete A for effort at least. He is chuckling before it even starts, music or not, it's in his head. His body gets it. "My drink, I shall have to quest for another. A dangerous mission, there are untamed beats about these parts." But he goes no where, except to show off how much he paid attention to learning to dance.

"This isn't how I wanted to spend my Beltaine." Morag mumbles under her breath, though she favors Abigail with a brief smile. "Fairness and fertility." she answers, trying to hold onto some hope. "Tossing him a river will just result in him drowning. Let's take him past the tree line." she instructs, adding, "I have something that will clear his mind. It'll make him feel weak and have horrid breath for a bit, but he won't be seeing things anymore."

Maelgwyn glances around at all of them. Finally he lets out a little snarl. "Look, I've got him. You all are crowding him." He grits his teeth, bending slightly and lifting Caerwyn up and over his shoulder. He'll carry the damn man like a sack of grain if he has to. "Come on Morag, let's make sure he doesn't die. I'll throw him in a tent even if I have half a mind to throw him into the deepest part of the river so he can learn a lesson." His hazel eyes flicker with annoyance at all of those gathered around. He feels a little crowded and that's feeding into the annoyance he's feeling at Caerwyn.

When the two are apart, and not caught in their violent grapples, Lugh seems a little more able to remember that he is putting on a show, not merely having a bar fight over a cross-eyed wench, and so with the Stag again at center stage, he paces on the sidelines. There are some shouts now from the crowd, and the ones in his favor, at least, seem to bolster his own morale… not that he has been timid or retiring for any of the match. "Surrender?!" This is met with as much shock as derrision. "D'yeh fear to face me till the end? Is she worth so little? Aye, there's no honor in yer ways, it's always how ye fight, waitin' fer yer foes to weaken and slumber, afraid to do 'em in outright in a go. Yer a feckless sort of season! A cowardly time of year!" Oddly, where he has faltered in the performative aspects thus far, some real emotion comes through as the man literally curses winter. And so forward he goes again, slower now, perhaps more determined - if just as easily too late in his renewed vigor.

Success
Elrick checked his dagger of 15, he rolled 2.
Success
Llewelyn checked his dex of 18, he rolled 7.

Failed.
Seraphina checked her forgiving of 10, she rolled 13.
Failed.
Seraphina checked her merciful of 10, she rolled 13.
Failed.
Seraphina checked her cruel of 10, she rolled 11.

It matter not to Isyld whether or not Llwyd can dance. The attempt was there and who was she to judge? Taking the lead, she guides him through steps to music only she could hear, or perhaps he could hear it too, but her feet seem confident with each step she takes. Once again, she uses her hand in his to lift it and twirl around once. "Perhaps we should be watching." A toss of her head indicates the show being put on. Finally, she does stop and curtsies again. "Thank you for the dance, good Sir." There's an impish look that immediately follows. "I do believe I am parched. Now where would someone find a drink this night?"

Braelynn flushes again at Selivant's whisper and looks at him thoughtfully. After a few moments she begins to giggle, and says teasing, "I guess you'll have to wait and find out!" She doesn't whisper this, but she does let her head fall on his shoulder as she continues to watch the stage, while taking yet another sip. At least they're small sips.

Seraphina shakes her head at the snarl and those eyes narrow at Maelgwyn before they flash over the rest on brother and sister. A moment and something flashes in those amber eyes. If the cloak is accept or not, it is left where it goes and Seraphina simply turns with a mutter curse under her breath as she heads back into the crowd.

Amalthea gets blessed with pagan fairness and fertility, and she reacts just like a spooked colt, thrusting Heulwen in front of her like a meat-shield and tossing her head. The petal doesn't even budge, though. The fairness, the fertility, it remains right where it is, on top of the Dinton stablemaster's chestnut head, taunting her. "Back to Kamron," she hisses to Heulwen quietly, trying very hard to summon what should be a smile for Abigail but looks probably more like an uneasy grimace. "Thank you. Much blessings. Many… of those."

Let's be clear. It was not Kamron's idea to approach the Laverstocks. Kamron has been hovering behind his sister and his cousin, and he was not quite quick enough to shove the Burcombe in his… altered state… off his sister. Neither is he quick enough to keep his cousin from receiving the Pagan blessing… even if he was going to. Instead, he merely nods to the woman doing the blessing, noting idly, "The winter god is a warrior." Not that some don't know his actual identity, but from an outsider, he seems to consider that an insight. "The summer is not." The words come from right behind the two Dinton women, and Kamron adds, "I'm right here. Where-ever are we going, though?"

Morwenna draws back a step when bid too by Sir Maelgwyn, not about to press where her assistance is not wished. Instead, she glances toward the two girls dashing nearby with their flowers and petals, although she has not received their blessing. "Summer seems to be faltering," she points out, upnodding toward the stage, although she may well have missed this last bit of resurgent energy from the 'sun.' "What if the frosts come again, and all the flowers die?"

Arian has been lowered back to earth by her brother, and Lainn moves off away from the crowds as the excitement continues to build. The Lady Knight is finally able to approach the chaos now in her sunshine yellow gown, wisteria crown, and bare feet. She is bright and blushing with the warmth of the fires and excitement of the crowd. She graces the presence of the Dintons in all her shining Pagan glory. Needless to say, Arian is quite high on Beltaine without actually having been locked in the cowshed with burning herbs like the avatars on the stage. She beams brightly at Kamron, and then to Amalthea and Heulwen. "You are all surviving alright?" Her pale eyes glimmer with mischief.

The younger of the Laverstock sisters has not crowded so near, no. She casts a concerned eye to Caerwyn, but trusts him in the hands of his kin; notably Morag. There is a smile for the priestess from Aldreda. One that speaks of a sort of confidence. She does not bustle about like her sister to bestow blessings on all, no. Rather, her dark eyes are caught by Maelgwyn as he hefts his cousin. She does not seem overly taken 'back by his ire. The girl is too slim to be a physical threat, no. Unless one is afraid of an overabundance of joy. Within the Laverstock's eyes show a recognition of Kamron and she smiles to him, pulling another flower from her hair and offering it to the Dinton Knight. "Winter fights to retain its hold over us. That's why we must have hope for the summer. No one man can win a war. He must have his allies and the love and support of his kin."

Iolo spots the spooked Amalthea, moving to flee with Heulwen from whatever creepy crawlies were just cast at her, and he moves towards the two, a bright smile on his face, and his little mask obscuring the upper half of it "Amalthea, I'm suprised to see you here at the festival." He says, keeping his voice hushed so as not to interrupt the ceremony being put on.

Cross-eyed /wench/? Good thing the May Queen can't hear that, or she might club Lugh with a sprig or an oak staff someone rustles up for her. "Oh!" The soft exclamation comes through the two gods exchanging blows and retorts with one another, and she forgets all else relating to the departure of Burcombes and staggering Laverstocks and spooked Dintons, leaning over the worked arm of her chair to watch the action closer than she has so far. Short of an assault of arrow or axe-blade, immediate responses aren't forthcoming. The dusky weight of her hair falls over her shoulders in a living curtain mixed by a tapestry of flowers, as though she really is part nymph or fae, rather than wholly human. But savagely batting it back, the irritation causes her a brief moment of distraction. "How un—-" Then she closes her mouth, not to offer further encouragement or discouragement. Instead, it's all she can do not to be caught up in the spirit of the moment.

Heulwen emits a quiet snort of a stifled laugh, holding up her hands palm-out to Maelgwyn to show she means no harm nor any interference. The lass is standing a few feet back, in any case, clutched tightly to her cousin's side. And she is standing this way right as Aldreda traipses by to wish upon her fairness and fertility and tuck a flower behind her ear. The Dinton girl is quite startled, and her mouth forms a little 'o' as she reaches up to touch the flower. She stares at the girl for a moment before stamming "F-fairness and fertility" in reply, for this seems to be the way of things, and offers a sheepish grin and a bob of her head.

Somewhat dazed, but happily so, Wen continues to reach up occasionally and touch the flower as she turns to Amalthea, only to be thrust in front of her like a poor shield. Wen barks out a very loud laugh, and struggles to free herself from Thea's clutches. She only manages to wiggle one arm free, but she leans up to press a kiss to Thea's cheek right where Abigail did nevertheless. "Fairness and fertility to you, sweet cousin," she murmurs in her ear before tugging on her arm. "Come on, Sir Arian should still be over here, and I can promise you that my brother will not be ang—" Ah. Speaking of brothers…

The happy-go-lucky Heulwen seems to wilt, as if all of her air has escaped her in one big go, and she turns slowly to face Kamron, staring somewhere in the vicinity of his boots. "Wewe'goin'see'rian," she mumbles, casting a fiery glance to Amalthea from beneath her lashes; she may be acting meek, but she certainly isn't feeling it.

The goading does appear to be working as Gwynn ap Nudd takes in the string of words that fall from Lugh's mouth, and soon the battle returns once more as the latter begins stalking the former. Once more, it is the mortal's overconfidence that seeps into the avatar of the Fae King, as he just stands there watching. No doubt prouder than he usually would be in his currently intoxicated state. But it is of course overconfidence that is once more Gwynn's downfall, because when the Sun God comes at him, he is slower on the defense, fending off only two of the blows before a third sneaks through his defenses, resulting in a growl more in anger than pain at having been hit. "You dare mar perfection! You will pay for that as I will soon distinguish you!"

At some point, though, the party does carry Caerwyn off, and he is squirreled away safe in a tent somewhere, much thanks to all his kinsmen and admirers. It will be a fitful sleep he sleeps. And with that, good Beltaine, and good night!

Selivant laughs at what Braelynn says to him. He slides an arm around Braelynn as she rests her head on his shoulder and watches the battle unfold. As the red-haired women sips at her brew, he reaches with his free hand to take it if she lets him and try a swig of the stuff to see what it does.

Abigail watches the reaction from Amalthea and can't help snickering. Blessings already in place! When it doesn't shake out, she looks even more tickled by it. "It would appear your blessings are there to stay, m'Lady," the pagan girl laughs. She also leans over to give a smooch to Heulwen's cheek before tossing a flower to Kamron. "Be well and use the blessing with care on a Lady you deem worth your efforts. Summer or Winter." She winks and blasts a huge grin back at Amalthea's grimace. Abi's too goddamned high and the grimace just looks like a funky smile. Turning, she nearly skips and glides while she moves, looking for new people to 'bless'. If Aldreda isn't careful, she's going to lose the kite-high little Lady In Waiting.

Failed.
Seraphina checked her awareness of 11, she rolled 18.

He dances, like no tomorrow, on two left feet. He knows full well she was the one doing all the work. "I sort of make us look good out here … you're welcome." No, it was all her, he doesslows down to watch the goings ons as she suggests. Following the toss of her head. "Thank you for humoring my attempt to dance, Sir Isyld. We are parched, let is venture to replenish my must full cup, which sone husey had stolen from me, leaving my lips parched the same." He will walk in some random direction that doesn't interfere with the festivities.

And the Summer God lands a strike against the Winter, there is a sudden and deafening cheer that rises up through the crowds. Men and women alike move forward, fists in the air and flowers and ribbons of gold being thrown at the stage in honor and glory. The followers of Winter are hisses and seething at the Summer's, the energies of the battle feeding into the crowds.

Success
Aldreda checked her Awareness of 15, she rolled 8.

Seraphina is making her way back over to where she was before, looking it would seem for Braelynn as she wonders up on her and Selivant lost in thought. But only to be pulled up short when she finds the pair cuddling together. This causes a little blink and then a shake of her head as those loose curls tumble more with the movement. She can't find into the shadows as she almost runs over her friend, so she just turns as if to move past them and into the crowd once more.

Braelynn gladly hands the brew over, and pulls her cloak tighter about herself, watching the stage intently. She seems oblivious to the mushroom addled Burcombe, the fertility blessed Christian. It's not so much that she didn't see it. She did, of course, but the wormwood brew has rendered her, for once, relaxed, and she just doesn't care.

When Morag returns from wherever she and Maelgwyn managed to take Caerwyn off to, she seems resolved in whatever action she needed to take. Her hands are wet, as if she's had to wash them quickly, and without further ado, she makes her way back to the platform, wanting to see if Summer and Winter are still slugging it out, and to get an eyeful of the Queen of May.

And there's Arian. Who didn't know that Kamron was going to be there with his relations. The Dinton knight bows his head to the other Laverstock Ladies, catching the flower and glancing at it for a moment before he snaps off the stem and tucks the bloom behind his right ear. "Then I might have suggested a knight for Summer and the commoner for Winter." There is a twist of a smile to his lips, the casual prejudice not intended to be mean-spirited. He blinks a moment, touching the flower and coughing, pulling it out from behind his ear, "Uh… this is supposed to be given?" Oops. Heulwen's response draws another quiet laugh from Kamron, and he shakes his head, "It seems that your favorite Pagan has found us already, Wen." Inclining his head to that worthy, he adds, "Sir Arian. A pleasure to see you here." Gesturing to the golden ribbons about her crown of flowers, he notes, "I assume those show your allegiance in this match? I wouldn't have thought so many would want more winter."

Things turn a bit more brutish as the two Gods close, and while it is all still in show with presumably neither of them trying to actually gravely harm the other, the physicality of the pair is fully on display, maybe not of two true gods, but of two fit men at least, grappling and straining for victory. And as is ever the case when men fight over a beautiful woman (especially of the NON cross-eyed, buck-toothed, tavern-serving variety), their struggles can become quite intense! Thus even without sword in hand, their thrashing and grasping and the mock stabs may leave bruises here or there. Lugh will have one on his back from earlier, to be sure, and his final blow snuck through, he may give Gwynn ap Nudd one as well. Not with his dagger, which the man obviously treats only as a prop without much training in the weapon, but with one fist that catches the other man in the side, underneath his defense while the dagger is dealt with. "Perfection? Och, you're not but slush when I'm done with you, time and again!"

Allowing Llwyd to choose the direction in which they depart, Isyld remains eternally grateful it was away from fertility blessings. "It was a good dance," she observes to the man at her side. "I think your lips will survive. If you listen really close there's water in the river nearby should things turn dire."

Braelynn blinks and slowly stands up straight, pulling away from Selivant. She stands on tip toes once again to kiss his cheek and whispers in his ear. Then she pulls away, and heads into the crowd in search of someone.

Oh, there goes Abigail. Aldreda is torn, but she makes sure Kamron receives the flowers. "Keep one. Gift one. Beltaine is more than fertility, Sir Kamron. It is awakening, rebirth, warmth, and love of friend, family-" There's Arian and her sister both. Aldie relaxes a measure. No need to locate her dearest sibling. She has lost track of the Burcombe, but he had important matters to attend to. The young woman smiles, brightly, at Kamron, before moving swiftly upon bare feet to catch up with her sister and wind an arm into Abigail's, falling in place at her side.

Amalthea will probably spend the entire night trying to shake that bloom loose. Curse her thick, clingy hair. She casts Heulwen a fulminating glance after the tiny woman half-lies to her brother. But, she bites her lower lip on the truth and settles for looking ill at ease and spooked. "I think I shall go back to the horses," she announces. "Mayhap give my flower to one of them." That last bit, on a grumble.

The punch is certainly felt as the blow isn't really pulled, which doesn't surprise the avatar of the Horned Hunter, as what may have been intended as simple theatrics would no doubt turn into what it is right now. A battle between Gods. With the power of adrenaline rushing through him as well as the narcotics, Gwynn ap Nudd is just like Lugh and mortal behind the avatar, wanting to win. Not just for the prize of beauty that awaits them on the flowery throne, but also for the win itself. No more words are offered by the Avatar of Winter and Night as blows are exchanged and blocked or dodged. Another fist flies at Gwynn ap Nudd but that is neatly ducked and when his own counter-slash strikes out for Lugh's midsection again, it is the Sun God's forearm that blocks the blow before it can strike.

Success
Arian checked her lustful of 16, she rolled 14.

Selivant nods to whateve is whispered to him, watching Braelynn depart, before turning his attention back to the stage as the two avatars battle it out. He shakes his head a bit as the Sun God still hasn't won a victory.

"Okay, it was all you, don't brad so much," says Llwyd with a slight nudge, after he bragged to fake take the credit. A look to the two men performing the ritual, curiosity in his eyes a moment, he finally turns back to her. "They will survive until we find this water of yours, then me feet shall desire to feel the bottom … good idea this river …" He continues on in their random direction.

The goddess' representative in the chair pulls her knees higher and wraps her arm around another handful of flowers inside the embrace of present. Blodeuwedd's teeth sink into her lower lip, and she rises onto her knees that she might briefly face away from the stage and shower those who think to sneak off into the darkness for activities of a lively nocturnal fashion. The snap of her wrist outwards leaves a tsunami of tumbling blossoms and sweet strewing herbs to anoint the suspecting and the unprepared. Let more be carried into the air, encouraging the cheering crowds to spread the wave far and wide in a spirit of camaraderie.

Abigail is moving. Moving. A few petals are handed off or tucked into tops, straps, and even once between lips of two people kissing. She's so damned high she starts to feel like she knows how a Fae feels. A little Fairy de Laverstock. Wheeee!! But when she spots her cousin Arian? Without a /BLESSING/. This must be rectified! Abigail has a tough time navigating crowds at her height but she jumps every few steps to keep track and snakes in like a kitten navigating the tall grass. When she arrives, she sneaks up right next to the other Laverstock and doesn't announce her intent. Two flowers. One tucked into each side of her hair. Then a kiss to each cheek. "Fairness and fertility, dearest cousin." Its said with a cheerful, meaningful leer and a grin before she backs away and tosses a couple more petals at her, the other hand grabbing for Aldreda's hand. There is more work to be done!

Arian swoops in on her cousin, and she presses warm kisses to Aldreda's cheeks in an earnest display of affection for family. When Aldreda speaks of the flowers, she brightens at Kamron. "You should find a lovely woman to give that to, Kamron… there's plenty of blushing maids about." There is something mischevious in her eyes. Her gaze lifts to Kamron's briefly, and then she turns to Abigail as she comes in. She brightens at the blessing, bowing her head gently as the flowers are given and she accepts them dutifully. Then she grins impishly, and it takes her a few moments to sober to smile with her best innocence to the Dintons.

Seraphina is simply wondering in the shadows for now, with everything happen on stage, with the girl bearing gifts finding those they can, it seems easier for the lady knight to somehow try to think… at a beltaine ritual.. really she must be having a bad night.

Heulwen is gazing off into the distance while fastidiously plucking blades of grass from her skirt, no doubt gathered from the near-tumble with Caerwyn. She is not about to volunteer that information to her brother, because he certainly hasn't asked for it. In this way she can avoid Amalthea's knowing glare, and all but ignore her cousin's irate grumbling about fertility. Her own hand reaches up to touch her flower, checking that it is secure behind her ear as she turns to Arian with a warm, wide smile of welcome. "Sir Arian! I think we are surviving quite well, albeit some more than others." A pause, and another glance to Amalthea, but suddenly the girl is distracted by the shower of blooms from the dais. "Oh!" she exclaims in delight, hopping up onto her toes but refraining, barely, from vaulting into the crowd. Kamron's presence is quite literally the only thing keeping her from it, in fact. One look to him quells her desire, and she presses her fists into her belly in an attempt to quiet the butterflies while forcing herself to return to the conversation. "Yes, brother, so many sweet maidens, indeed," she offers in a provokingly simpering tone.

It is probably something of a mismatched sight, the pair of men, increasingly competitive, increasingly violent and in all likelyhood increasingly sweaty and bruised, in their throes of testosterone-fueled male violence… while the May Queen, garbed like some pristine goddess and surely smelling of the spring itself, dispenses clouds of flower-petals over the crowd. These two images couldn't be further apart, yet they play out mere steps apart as the pair of men struggle on behalf of the woman just beyond their reach. It is hard to make out much of anything of the individual strikes now, as they are so near to one another, although Lugh continues his rally in a series of blocks and blows until he is finally slowed and thrust back, struck somewhere with the flat of the dagger hard enough for it to sting the flesh despite the lack of blade. Noting the assault, he snatches for the offending hand!

Braelynn heads directly for the shadows in the direction she saw Seraphina go, because she knows that's exactly where her dearest friend would go. Her steps aren't quite steady, as a result of the green glass of wormwood concoction she had nearly finished before she handed it to Selivant. She blinks a few times, and has to stop to catch her bearings. Everything seems too close and too far away at the same time, then she continues on the path toward Seraphina. Determined, if a little wobbly.

Success
Seraphina checked her awareness of 11, she rolled 3.

Success
Isyld checked her lustful of 16, she rolled 6.

Kamron has two flowers now. That can't be good. "Ah, thank you, Lady Aldreda." Amalthea's words cause a little frown to grace his lips, "If you would like, Thea, we can walk you back to the horses. But I think we're well before anything that might be objectionable." Arian's teasing words cause him to chuckle softly, "I think I should like to know more about the meaning of the flowers before I give any away, Sir Arian. It wouldn't do to promise something I cannot follow through on." He clears his throat, and then there's Heulwen offering her not-so-sincere reassurances. "Easy, Wen. Unless you're looking for fertility for some reason." He means it as a light joke, and that's how it comes out… and then a heartbeat later his brows draw down in a suspicious scowl, "There isn't any reason, is there?"

Failed.
Heulwen checked her lustful of 7, she rolled 13.

Success
Elrick checked his dagger of 15, he rolled 7.
Success
Llewelyn checked his dex of 18, he rolled 10.
Success
Elrick checked his dagger of 15, he rolled 6.
Failed.
Llewelyn checked his dex of 18, he rolled 19.

Somtimes you just know when your friends are ..not themselves and when they happen to be looking for you in a crowd full of people. This is the case with Seraphina as she stops in her tracks and turns to look into the darkness around her. A little wrinkle of her brow and then she takes a step closer to Braelynn, reaching over and wrapping an arm around the smaller woman. "You were to stay with the nice Lord Brae.." She tsks softly, that husky voice holding a little more growl than normal, but still rings with the sensual undertone.

"Oh look," Isyld tells Llwyd, "There is the source of the drinks!" Catching sight of the musician from the tavern, the one she had met, she takes Llwyd's arm and pauses with him. "Minstrel! Would you care to find drinks with us?" Perhaps they aren't normal drinks or maybe they are, but she gives him a smile of welcome, to Iolo, then looks at Llwyd, "Have you met?"

Braelynn lets herself be supported as she stands upon tiptoe to whisper again, this time to Seraphina. As she finishes the whisper she looks at her friend with piercing green eyes awaiting a response.

"Fertility," Aldreda overhears Kamron and that frown makes her frown a bit, "is not simply of a childbearing kind! Perhaps Lady Heulwen wishes well for your fields. Or maybe a healthy birthing season for livestock. That is what we're here for-" The Laverstock sweeps her hand. It happens to be the one holding Abi's, so both arms sway. "All the blessings of summer." She is swaying a bit. Perhaps growing tired. Certainly she is not as exuberant as before. The wee thing may need a rest!

The close brawling type of fighting apparently does not suit Gwynn ap Nudd as the style seems almost… foreign to him, as the Sun God that so many of the hopeful are looking to is most definitely quicker of the two holy avatars. More blows rain upon the bringer of Winter than is dealt back, and slowly the King of the Faes retreats a step, then two, momentum clearly shifting to the Sun God. Then there is a clear, solid blow that Gwynn ap Nudd takes to the chin where the mask is not covering, which no doubt prevents the cover from being knocked off, preserving the Lord of Night's identity. Reaching up and running his thumb over the spot where he was hit, Gwynn ap Nudd is now watching his opponent, as if re-evaluating the other avatar, the surge of confidence that was flowing through him having dissipated.

Success
Eirian checked her prudent of 10, she rolled 3.

"Well that was the shortest quest in the history of questing … but none to sooner." Nearly exclaimed by Llwyd he is keen for a refill to be sure. As if it has been far too many ages since his last drink. Minstrel, that gets his attention, a look and a shake of his head. "No, I'd never forget a face, mine certainly is unforgettable …" Giving a once over of said minstrel, he gives a nod. "A pleasure, good sir."

Heulwen opens her mouth to reply to Kamron, but Aldreda cuts in before she can. Feeling somewhat vindicated, the girl smiles smugly and gestures toward Aldie unnecessarily. "Fields, livestock, all of the above. Is it not my duty to wish these blessings on my family?" Hmm. Alright, that might be going a bit far. Swallowing visibly, Wen backpedals a bit and dips her head in gratitude to Aldreda. "As she said, I mean, dear brother. I will take my own into consideration when the time is right, and a not a moment before then." She bites her lower lip between her teeth, still looking somewhat guilty, and reaches out to rest her hand lightly on Kamron's arm. "I will come with," she murmurs, "if cousin Amalthea wishes to leave."

The bare chested Iolo turns about as his 'name' is called, settling his gaze on Isyld and her companion, "Ahh! Hello and well met!" he greets, flashing a bright smile to the two, "Drinks you fancy??" he asks, "I may have some drink ferreted away somewhere on my person, if it is what you are after. Perhaps we can find more as well in the hands of other revelers here to celebrate this fine Beltaine."

That punch brings Blodeuwedd off her pedestal, alighting upon her bare feet. The men might as well be upon the moon for all she can intercede with them, the distant sun tugging its gravity. From daggers to closed fists, the fluid transition of combat pulls her fully upright to her marginally unimpressive height. Flowers tumble with the gilded sheath of her tunic, the firelight responsible for its colour rather than any artifice in what might be the simplest robe here short of a peasant's. A sharp look over her shoulder spears the assembled priests and priestesses, especially the older woman whose seniority acts as a lodestone, and she parts her lips to an unspoken question. It can't be impossible to surmise her torn state of affairs, between intervention and withholding her hand, though she bites her lip in a worried curl. The pause will, itself, be a resolution for whatever balm might be at hand, presumably it's a woman worried about the pair of combatants.

"The questing knight has discovered all there is to know." Isyld teases Llwyd once more, "Or perhaps there will be swimming in the river later then." Having not forgotten his feet finding the bottom of it. As Iolo greets back, she dips her head to him, a smile playing over her lips, "I think I would never turn down a drink. Especially one offered so freely! Should we find somewhere away from the blessings of fertility and drink and make merry, we three?" Should others join, they are certainly welcome to.

"My cousin does speak honestly, Sir Kamron… there is a terrible assumption that we're all here to rut about like goats… but really fertility means many things." Arian offers a more soothing smile to the Christians, gesturing toward the great battle still on the stage. "Will Summer be long and fertile, or will Winter come early and set upon the fields before the harvest can be reaped?" Then she offers a smaller smile to the threesome. "Do not let our ways discomfort you, for we mean nothing by it." Then she offers a flower to Kamron. "I hope that the Dinton harvest is bountiful." The flower is a kind sort of truce — an offering to the three.

Seraphina sighs softly at Braelynn gives her puppydog eyes and she leans into whisper to the smaller woman, as she speaks, she turns them both to walk back over to where poor Sel was left moments before.

Obviously the common-born proxy for the sun god fights little enough like a knight, for he is no knight at all. Up close, he is a scrappy thing, and with the amount of escalating violence in even this mock match, one might wonder what a bar fight over the ever-elusive crosseyed tavern wench would look like! As he strikes the other man's mask, there is a roar of success, and while his foe has largely been silent in their close combat, he does not remain so. As each of the last few blows is dealt, it becomes clear that it was not some sudden burst of acting talent when he challenged 'cowardly' winter: "Heartless thing! Bastard frost! Ye dun fight the strong, y'steal the weak! Kill the helpless! Children too young t' fight back! Old men! Mothers taken sick or weak from child!" There is a -very- real undercurrent of anger there, and of raw loss.

Until a petal lightly descends onto Kamron, set adrift by a breeze or someone's hand.

Selivant cheers as the Sun God strikes a heavy blow. Though, they do seem to be a bit more vilent than past years. These avatars are reallly giving it their all. He doesn't notice the two women moving back in his direction or the happenings behind him with the others. his focus is entirely on the stage at this point. aybe he has some money riding on this?

Braelynn takes the first few steps with Seraphina, but she has a troubled look on her face. She stops in her tracks and says simply, "I'm going home." With that, she turns on her heels, as steadily as she can, and begins the trek home.

Morwenna has taken to silent observation this last while, not showing much interest in the dangerous libations or sprinkled flower-blessings, but intent upon the match. Oddly, as summer begins to rant and rave, cursing the unfairness of the colder season, the black-ribbon bearing maiden knight smiles. "It is good that he… understands."

Llwyd says, "Yes, precisely what we fancy, the drink on your person if you would share or one from anothers hand. I could enjoy this game." Not that he moves just yet. Llwyd turns grin on Isyld, "Agree, we three make merry, near this river. I can dance, just need someone to plaInquiy …""

Failed.
Seraphina checked her prudent of 10, she rolled 14.
Success
Seraphina checked her reckless of 10, she rolled 4.
Failed.
Seraphina checked her str of 14, she rolled 16.

… play music as we make merry."

Their blessings passed out to all and sundry, the two Laverstock sisters begin to fade. Well, Aldreda finds herself fading and needing a rest before the festivities continue anon. She's wound both arms around Abigail's midsection, nestling her cheek to her sister's shoulder. Both continue to shed petals from their hair, but they fade off to find a tent or table to sequester themselves away at. To rest, to observe, and to regain their strength…

Seraphina is not in the mood it seems for upset friends nor almost family growling at her, she turns and wraps her arm around Braelynn and simply lifts her to toss her over her shoulder. Sadly she is /that/ strong but the point is given and she simply carries her friend away before she does something silly, muttering the whole way.

Braelynn's sudden statement snaps Selivant out of his focus and he looks in her direction with a bit of surprise. He blinks a bit and wonders what is going on, but he doesn't move in the direction of the two women as it seems it is between them and it likely is not any of his business. Then Seraphina is carring Braelynn off.

Braelynn squeaks at unexpectedly being picked up. She glances up at the revelers and shakes her head. She says to Seraphina quite pragmatically, "What are you doing?"

Several onlookers watch the shrouded cloaked woman lift the lady and carry her off.

Kamron raises his brows slightly at Aldreda's explanation and Arian's that follows, and he nods slowly, considering the words. "Well spoken, M'Lady. You have put me neatly in my place." Taking the second bloom he was given, he offers it out to Arian, taking the bloom she offers as well, "May your efforts at the tourney to come bear fruit, Sir Arian." Nodding to his sister, he adds, "I will walk you back if you would like, Wen, Thea." And then the cheers go up as one of the avatars triumphs, and Kam looks up… just in time for a flower petal to land right beneath his right eye. He blinks, reaching up to touch it, but it sticks there tenaciously.
You paged Llewelyn with 'So, once this is done, Llewelyn will be tended to if needed, and even if he doesn't get the May Queen, he will have lots of groupies for the rest of the night and given the highest honors at the feast and celebrations.'

Seraphina stops at about ten feet and let's Braelynn drop to the ground, not hard but enough to get her friends attention. There covered in her cloak she places her hands on her hips and says a few heated words, some of which can be understood.. "You… …. can not… … After all that… .. Your family…. yell.."

Those who are more religious and entranced by the two Gods no doubt sense that the end may be drawing near with the Sun God holding the advantage now. But for Gwynn ap Nudd, the clamor of the crowd that is watching, the cheering or hissing, that fades as his mind clears slightly from the intoxicating fog, grounding his thoughts and thinking a bit more instead of just trying to brawl the night away. When the May Queen rises from her throne and looks as if to approach out of concern, the Lord of Night looks up at her for a moment and his lips curl up into a grin, one that had faded with the blows he had taken. A small dip of his head is given as if to assure the maiden goddess that all is well before Gwynn ap Nudd turns his focus back on Lugh, "Prepare yourself, Lugh, Winter is coming." That one line is all that is said and the warrior born advances forward, his strides sure.

Movements a bit sharper than before, the Fae King is able to block and dodge the blows thrown at him and when the opportunity presents itself, he swings up and catches Lugh's dagger with his own, and with a firmer grip, knocks the weapon out of the Sun God's hand. Then, in a very surprising move, instead of lashing out with his weapon or left fist, the Lord of Knight steps forward with his right leg and places it behind the Sun God's ankles. Then with a forceful shove with his shoulder, he brings Lugh down on his back. With a quick twirl of the ceremonial dagger in hand, the grip is reversed, and Winter descends on Summer, the blunted blade brought up to Lugh's neck. "It is over, Lugh. Night has come and Winter will arrive sooner than later. Though I may fight for Gwynn ap Nudd, I am here to warn all that Winter is coming. So the harvest can be prepared sooner than later, and our bounty preserved. You fought well, Sun God, but my holy avatar has spoken through my actions."

"Well, I certainly will share my drink, and my music!" Iolo exclaims to the two, "I'm curious to see who becomes the victor, life or death, summer or winter." He admits with a grin, "And perhaps we ought to see if any others would join us in drink and song, like you suggest. I am certain there have to be some revelers looking for revelry this eve.."

The fall of Summer is met with cries out outrage from Lugh's followers, and cheers from Gwynn ap Nudd's. Winter gourds are shaken in triumph, and drinks are already being passed around in celebration. In defense of Lugh, fair Summer Maidens are crowding to the stage to offer him flowers and ribbons and drink, all hoping to be chosen to comfort the Avatar.

Amalthea shakes her head to Kamron. "You two stay. I promise I shall be fine to get back, at the very least. I doubt the fertility works quite so fast as that." So saying, the taller Dinton lass heads off to tend to the horses, firmly back in her comfort zone.

Braelynn stops with the cheering and turns to look at the stage. She stares at the stage with a sense of wonder as she turns her head back to Seraphina and says in awe, "He won… " Then she seems to remember she's angry and her mouth purses up once again.

"Music," Isyld agrees. "And dancing and drinking and revelry." British Christian herself, she's not above a little fun. So on the fringes where they can see who will win, the drinks are taken from where they are being offered, and she beams a smile to both Llwyd and Iolo. "It will be fun to have everyone involved." And they are still near the river, it is convenient! A smile is given Llwyd as the Chalke takes a seat there, crossing her legs as she sits in the grass, reaching for a dandelion and plucking it. "Make a wish," she tells him and offers the round plant, "And blow off all of the things." A botanist she is not. Then a winner is declared, "Winter wins," she murmurs.

Selivant overhears the whispered conversation between the two women and manages to get his thoughts about him even with the mushrooms. He adds his own thoughts to the matter quietly, befor elooking to the stage to see that the distraction caused him to miss the Sun God being defeated. "Well! Maybe next year, I hope." He looks back to Braelynn again and nods, "Indeed, he did. Brrrrr, chilly." He smirks a bit at that last bit.

Arian smiles, and even blushes softly as she accepts the offered bloom. She draws it under her nose, taking in its scent before she tucks it up in her crown of wisteria. Then she turns to the stage at the rise of cheers, and she releases a heavy sigh. "Blessed be the Reign of Winter." Though she does offer a small applause to the crowd, though other Summer followers boo and hiss. Then she looks back at Kamron, and she laughs softly at the sight of the petal. "Hold, Sir Kamron." She reaches out, touching his cheek softly with her fingertips to brush away the petal. She does not immediately notice Amalthea's departure, but when she does, she quickly withdraws from the Knight's cheek and looks a bit embarrassed.

For several minutes, Heulwen is dead silent. Her attention, rather than focused on her brother and those around her, is affixed intently upon the battle. Her eyes are wide, her lips parted, and her breathing is quick and short - much like anyone who is wholly engrossed in the outcome of the fight. She inhales sharply as the tide turns unexpectedly, and when Lugh falls, Wen raises a hand to her lips. One does not have to be a pagan to understand what this means, especially when the participants are so obliging to explain it out loud. Before she realizes what she is doing, she has cupped her hands around her mouth and is hollering out a chorus of boos on the victory of Gwynn ap Nudd.

Failed.
Seraphina checked her forgiving of 10, she rolled 17.
Success
Seraphina checked her vengeful of 10, she rolled 6.

In what, by the end, was clearly a rather genuine sort of rage, and one no doubt worstened by whatever substances the two might have been given, Lugh surely loses his control of the situation, as well as any care for the trappings of the ceremony. The trip is quite well-executed, and likely the best thing, for while further strikes seemed only to enrage him, and while the drugs may well have dulled both their senses of pain, the hard landing he suffers both knocks the wind briefly from the man and shocks him through with the realization of both his loss and his vulnerable position. So while Winter speaks, Summer lays prone on his back, giving no more speeches, bawdy or bold, nor answer to the declaration of his defeat. And without much sense of remaining ceremony, when he is free of the other 'god', when Gwynn's attention inevitably turns toward his lofty prize, the other rolls onto his side away from them, and then over completely to stand up, crawling a few paces before lifting himself to slink away. The audience will have only silence from him, though those on the stage, his fellow 'divines', will hear him muttering sadly, in true and not merely staged resignation and defeat, "Aye, it always comes, 'specially for those we love."

The mask is thrown off some time as he slips down the far edge of the stage, and with his bravado and spirit quite sapped, the man stalks off, clearly uninterested in the remaining revels, as much as 'how about a night with a god?' would have surely been a workable pickup line.

Among those on the threshold of casting an enchantment of her own, the May Queen refrains from action in those critical moments. And in those moments the flowering of fates come into their fullest, reaping their ends. The Summer God's words strike some chord deep within for she pivots towards him, fingers curled against her breast. Compassion is naked on the ivory contours of her face, the mask still guarding at least a portion of her identity from prying eyes. "Does not the parched summer bring losses of its own: fever, agues, and war?" She does not threaten him for the sentiments, an echo of Lugh's fury and pain taken as her own lot as she whispers the inquiry through the darkness drawn on a stage. The final movement is upon them, a blur of phantoms drawn in from the periphery to claim a win for the King of the Fae.

So be it with a rising throng behind her, a tide of lovely maidens and matrons both, Blodeuwedd surrenders that portion of a fertile field. She draws a shallow breath, one resolved into one mildly deeper. Gwynn ap Nudd then may find his prize directly behind his left shoulder where a quick whirl might deliver the ceremonial dagger to her naked throat if he so desired. She extends her hand, and the wordless gesture, more than anything, is indication of a victory hard-won. And for them, the night is really but begun.

Seraphina narrows her eyes at Braelynn and then takes a step back, she looks over her shoulder at the stage and while she is touched by the God/Goddess of the night, something very much is troubling her. She gives a Knightly bow to her friend and those amber eyes turn to glance at Selivant. "If you might see that she is safe, Sir Durnford.." That voice is as growling as normal but rough with emotion as she turns and simply walks off before doing something very stupid.

"Splendid, the more the merrier," agrees Llwyd to Iolo as they start to walk to said nearby River. "Now, if the water is to deep," it is spring after all, "Just remember, I canonly swim up to about yay deep." He lifts the hand with mug, refilled along the way, to about his chest. The winner done, now easier to focus on river and dandelions, so he blows as hard as he can. Grinning, "If it comes true, it will feel like cheating, I like to earn my rewards." He opens eyes to see of others may come with them, maybe Iolo rounded you a few more.

Braelynn turns and begins to walk toward home, now that Seraphina isn't going to stop her. Her pace is slightly more steady, but perhaps that's just the anger having sobered her up slightly. She doesn't look back to see who, if anyone, is following her.

Selivant blinks at Seraphina's words, before stating, "I would be honored to do so, but I had planned to join the procession to the Burcombe manor." He looks at the crowd beginning their festivities, before looking back at the two women. "However, if you feel that you cannot, I shall escort her."

Winter is surely less represented in the crowds (who wants to cheer for frost and death?), but he has his few supporters, and Morwenna still numbers among them. With the frantic collapse of his rival, and seemingly the collapse of some of the pretense of the whole ceremony, she turns away. Like others whom have found little in the way of companionship or joy in the evening, her inclination may be to slip away, and she begins back toward where she left her horse. It's only in departure that she briefly catches sight of Seraphina, and may cast her a small, uncertain smile, before again searching out her steed. The after party seems the furthest thing from her intention.

Kamron snaps off the stem of the second flower, reaching up to tuck it behind his left ear. He's stopped, however, when Arian reaches up for the petal on his cheek. His ears start to turn red as he stands there frozen for a long moment as people cheer and boo all around him. Clearing his throat, he looks up, his left hand shifting over to just barely touch Arian's elbow in the confusion. "So. Winter has won. Are you disappointed then, Lady Arian?" His eyes cut over to his hollering sister, and he shrugs a little helplessly.

Once Gwynn ap Nudd sees that his challenger, Lugh, accepts the defeat that was dealt, the Lord of Night releases the other avatar and climbs back to his feet.Watching as the Sun God departs from the stage, unable to hear the words that are muttered, the flurry of actions from the throne draws his full attention. With victory claimed, there are no further aggression as the blade is safely sheathed. The avatar of the Lord of Knight is certainly a bit more clearheaded now, but the intoxication from earlier revelries and preparations has not completely left the man. The closing ceremony for the pair begins as the two are joined together with Beltaine ribbons and soon escorted to their next destination.

Perhaps it is all to Kamron's benefit that Heulwen is so wholly absorbed in the festivities as she is. Without anyone holding on to her and keeping her in line, she sidles away one small step at a time, frolicking with revelers and stopping to scoop up flowers that never quite made it to anyone in particular. She has a handful of blooms, some with stems and some without, and while she would most assuredly love to inhale their fragrance, she merely smiles at them sadly before letting the petals fall through her fingers. Already her nose is twitching, but she stifles the oncoming sneeze and flicks at her watery right eye. Alas, poor Wen.

Heaving a sigh of contentment tinged with only the faintest of bitterness, Heulwen winds her way between two groups of people preparing to parade to Burcombe manor and finds herself back near her brother and Arian. "Kamron," she announces abruptly, "do you think we could go to the celebration? At least for a little while?"

The Pagan knight is quite pleased by the blushing Kamron, but she does not torture him further. "I am, but this is not the first time that Winter has won," Arian says a bit wistful. Then she smiles to the remaining Dintons. Her gaze shifts between Heulwen and Kamron at the former's request to join the celebrations, and her lips thin a touch. She thoughtful for a heartbeat, and then nods. "You could certainly at least join in the parade to the Burcombes, Sir Kamron, Lady Heulwen… I will not be attending the celebrations. I have something… else to attend to." And she pinks softly.

Kamron tilts his head slightly at Arian's wistful look, and then his eyes widen slightly, and his cheeks take on a touch of the pink from his ears. Heulwen's return and request dashes that all away, however, and he clears his throat, "Ah… perhaps…" And then he nods to Arian, "I think that perhaps the parade to the Burcombes might be nice, but I think that we should turn aside before we reach the manor. It wouldn't do to cause tensions on another family's territory." And then he's looking over to the other knight, a hint of a frown gathering at his brows and lips, "Something else to attend to, on Beltaine… I'm almost afraid to inquire, My Lady." He tries to keep the half-question light… and… uh… doesn't really succeed.

Well. Heulwen glances once to Kamron and then to Arian, and then politely turns away, watching as the rest of the revelers disappear down the path - well on their way to celebrate madly with the Burcombes. Her lips turn down into a frown of great disappointment, but she offers no argument; Kamron has made too good a point to refute. Wen pauses, sighing deeply, and then turns toward her brother. "I will go fetch the horses." And then to Arian: "Sir Arian, it was—lovely. Truly, I have no words. Thank you. Thank you ever so much." And with that, she turns toward the trail in a whirl of skirts and scampers off to ready the horses so they, too, may join the crowd for at least a little while.

Arian catches the pinking of the Knight's cheeks, and she smiles shyly. When Kamron speaks to the possible plans, the Laverstock remains inobtrusively quiet. Then when Kamron offers forth that not-as-light-as-intended question, her own eyes widen slightly. She then shakes her head quickly, lifting her hands. "Nothing like that, Sir Kamron… I enjoy the flirting and teasing, but I have no intended company tonight." Then when Heulwen makes her leave, she offers Kamron a small smile. "Go… I will see you soon, Sir Kamron." Her pale eyes are warm and soft, and then she starts to step away in the other direction.

"I'm sure there will be plenty of fun to be had on the way south, Wennie." His words are distracted, his attention only half on his sister. And then she's gone, and he looks after her, back to Arian, and after his sister again. He's torn, but her words are a relief, and he lets out a little sigh, "Good. Let me know if I can… ah… help you." And then he looks after Heulwen again, "After I make sure that neither Thea or Wen has too much to drink." He's not going to insult the men in the area by suggesting they may come on to the good Christian ladies, but… he's thinking it.

Success
Arian checked her lustful of 16, she rolled 5.

The pale-eyed woman smiles over her shoulder to him, and she bites softly at her lower lip. "When you see to your kinswoman… I'll be waiting near the eastern copse just beyond the border of Yarnbury." She taps her nose gently, and then she resumes her departure, hands clasped behind her back. She disappears between some revelers who are still celebrating the night in passionate fashion.

Kamron's mouth is suddenly very dry. His eyes flicker up to the stage, then back to Arian, and he swallows once, "I'll be there, Sir Arian." Because there are still far too many people around for him to use any diminutive. He finally tucks the second bloom behind his ear, and then turns to go, glancing back only once.

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