(514-05-16) Allergic Reactions
Summary: Heulwen should really not be allowed to remain close to a lot of flowers. Like, ever.
Date: May 16, 514
Related: Shall We Dance, peripherally.
heulwen aldreda acwel arian kamron claire john 


It is early afternoon, and the cool morning breeze still wafts through the garden to greet any and all who seek to walk the paths. The heady scent of blooming flowers permeates the air, causing Heulwen no end of sneezing fits - poor lass. She dabs at her nose with a folded bit of cloth, offering Acwel an apologetic smile before gesturing to the flowerbed behind their bench. Heulwen and Acwel are seated on one of the more public stone benches, not but a few yards from the pond and clustered by blooming flowerbeds in a riot of color.

Wen's unbound hair floats about her face and dashes across her eyes periodically when the wind kicks up, and it is a constant battle to keep the damn locks tucked behind her ears. Between that and the sneezing, and it's a wonder she hasn't thrown herself from a window by now. "Oh, I did want to ask you, Sir Acwel — I know you requestd a tower as a gift, but I was distracted before I could keep track of the King's response. I heard something about stone, but I wasn't sure. What is it, exactly, that he granted you?"

The gardens, -oh- the gardens. Aldreda just -had- to see them. It's difficult, terribly, to keep one carefully manicured. Too much time to be spent to do other, vastly more important things. A few flowers here and there? Certainly. A full garden? The young lady, who oft enjoys to roam afield when she has the chance, just had to take the venture. Dressed in nice, but not overly -courtly- (good for Carlion, not for seeing royalty) attire, Aldreda walks along with a maid. A maid that holds the embroidery that her charge is supposed to finish, but, well… she's been given a break. Or so it'd seem. She's at least not being nagged for it as they enter the gardens and take to a path.

"It is no issue," the Woodford promises, smiling back to Heulwen. Perhaps he might make a mental note to avoid flowerbeds whenever he chooses the seating of their choice in future outings. "But if they bother your airs so, perhaps we can relocate to another bench," he offers, watching the Dinton lady for a moment before his attention drifts to the pond not too far from them.

Her question, and the messiness of her hair after a gust of wind draw his attention back, the former because it is an interesting question - something he'd contemplated - the latter, because it amuses him, in an almost affectionate sort of way. So he answers the question, "I believe he granted me materials to get the construction started, but that I should confer with the Earl to see about the remaining materials, engineers and stewardry for the enterprise. I believe that I can sell my request to Earl Robert but I am, as of yet, not sure what the terms will be."

Arian is quite the opposite of her well-maintained cousin. She has not been in courtly finery since the presentation of gifts, and has reverted back to her simple, but practical attire of a butter-yellow wool blaise and goldenrod undertunic. Her boots are senisble and meant for long, sometimes rugged walking. Her hair is loose, waves brushed out — quite casual. She does not enter with her cousin, but she is not that far behind her. She had heard quite a lot about the castle gardens, and now she finds herself in awe and surprise at the sight of the sprawl. So well-maintained, so tidy, so… unnatural. She has not yet noticed Wen and her company, but she has spotted her cousin.

Failed.
Kamron checked his recognize at 5, he rolled 7.

Kamron knows his sister's sneezing, and he tracks in on it, a slow smile spreading across his features. And then there's a second voice along with hers, and his eyebrows climb his forehead, the smile fading away quickly. His steps hurry a little, and he comes around the last bower, "Wen, and…" he blinks, then chuckles a little, perhaps with a touch of relief, "Ah, and Sir Acwel. My apologies, I did not mean to interrupt. I didn't know that you had taken my dear sister out for another walk. I might have warned you about the flowers." And then he would know where she is.

Heulwen's gaze drifts away from Acwel to take in the surrounding flowers, the hedges, the breeze that causes the surface of the pond to ripple merrily, sending the surface vegetation drifting to and fro. "No, no, it's fine," she murmurs, reaching up to blow as discreetly as possible into her handkerchief. There really is no delicate and ladylike way to clear one's sinuses, but the least she can do is avoid honking like a goose. She clears her throat a little and then returns her attention to the knight beside her.

"Well, surely you will not know the terms until you can meet with the Earl to speak about it, hmm? No point in placing bets or guessing as to — " Heulwen is interrupted mid-thought by her brother's appearance, and while his voice rising up suddenly out of the blue — er, rather, the green — causes her to jump, she has enough of her wits about her to bark out a quick laugh. "Ah, brother, how lovely to see you. Sir Acwel caught me while I was breaking fast, and you had already disappeared. My apologies if you were worried by my disappearance. How do you fare today?" Sniffle.

It's been a fortunate year for Aldreda. Her first season, truly, since reaching 'age.' And for there to be a wedding! Of the King! To a woman so reknown for her beauty as Guenevere. Aldie has been practically glowing over the perfection - in her mind - of it all. The paths wind and she seems to have no particular purpose as she follows them. If anything, it's to check upon this flower or that, opening petals to the sun above. Her maid just follows, seeming almost morose. "Do you think," the young woman asks quietly of her attendant as she pauses by a bloom of pale purple flowers, "they would be upset were I to take one, as a memento?"

One supposes that even the most unladylike ways to clear one's sinuses would still be some source of amusement to someone, however much an embarrassment it might be to the lady in question if she is allergic to certain things about the flowers. It certainly earns a smile from Acwel at any rate, even as the Lady's attention shifts to the pond and the flowers that surround them. The Woodford nods to her assessment, apparently in agreement regarding that, "Very astute observation, Lady Heulwen," he compliments, "perhaps you have a knack for the-,"

His attention also diverted by Kamron's entrance, there is a nod given to the Dinton, in greeting. "Aye, but now I know, at least. Something to keep in mind when I make invitations to visit my Manor, certainly. I hope that it was not an inconvenience for you that I took her for a walk, Sir Kamron."

"No," Arian says brightly to her cousin before the attendant can answer. "They will hardly notice one blossom missing." She reaches up to touch Aldreda's arm gently in familial greeting. "You're looking lovely and bright as always, Reda." Her ears catch that familiar voice, and she is turning slightly toward the Dintons and Woodford. Her brows arch at the sight of Kamron, but then she smiles gently and offers a companionable wave.

Kamron shakes his head at both Heulwen and Acwel's words, "No no, not at all. I had gone out riding," he looks aside, his voice trailing off, only to find his gaze going directly to the person he was out riding with, and he starts in surprise a little. It takes him a moment before he can return Arian's greeting, only then looking back to his sister and the Woodford, "I had gone out riding, and I was informed when I got back that you had gone out, Wen, just not who with." A little laughter touches his voice again at the last.

The attending maid looks utterly relieved. "Sir Arian," the woman utters, dipping her head to the… well, not elder. Just one who has earned the place of respect. Even beyond the simple place of maid to family member. The offering and greeting from her cousin is enough to distract Aldreda from her intent as she turns, offering a broad smile. "Ari! I had hoped to depart when you did, but I wasn't certain I'd be coming at all." She had wanted to attend with her sister, but Abigail's duties in Sarum kept her behind. "Did you see the King? I've heard some knights speaking of their gifts."

"Riding? Were you inspired by the races? I missed them, but I haven't found out who won. Who was it, Kam?" Heulwen smiles politely at him as she scoots over on the bench, leaving him room to sit—right between her and Acwel. She blinks in surprise as Kamron looks away, and she follows his gaze to spy one dear knight visible as sunshine in her yellow dress. With a secret smile playing about her mouth, Wen raises a hand to wave to Arian, and the lady with Arian, as well before looking back to Kamron. "Do sit with us, brother. I am sure she will work her way around to here in not but a minute. How was your ride this morning? I was just asking Sir Acwel about how he proposes to approach the Earl about the tower for Woodford."

Since Acwel understands very well the life of an older brother, he just laughs, making some room for Kamron as he looks over towards the pond, his gaze drifting over to Arian as he offers her a nod of his head and a brief smile. "But to be quite honest, Lady Heulwen, I stand to have quite the chance to convince the Earl of the merits of the tower. Woodford overlooks the river and is the central manor between the stretch of the plains comprised by Stapleford, Woodford and Newton. Perhaps auspiciously, my grandfather saw to it that we are also allied with our neighbors who share our faith."

Arian offers a small smile to Reda's attendant, and then she brightens two-fold to her cousin. "I did see the King… quite handsome, isn't he? Far more pleasant to look at than Earl Robert." Her eyes glimmer with mischief. She then nods at the mention of the gift. "I received one as well, but… I'm keeping it secret." With an impish smile, she draws her arm with Reda's. "Come, have you met the Dintons?" And Sir Acwel, of course. "You will adore Lady Heulwen." She starts to pull Reda along toward Kam, Wen and Acwel.

Kamron chuckles at Heulwen's question, his grin spreading sharply, "Well, let us just say that it was a Dinton sort of day, Wen. Thea won, Deyr came in second, and Sir Seth, the Shrewton who squired with Uncle Cadfael, came in third." Heulwen's invitation causes him to glance to Acwel, "Well, I certainly don't want to interrupt further than I already have…" When the Woodford moves over, he shakes his head, gesturing him back to his place. As Arian leads Aldreda over toward them, he adds, "It was quite the bold request, if I do say so. I'm glad to see that it came through." And then he's looking to the Laverstocks, "Good afternoon, Sir Arian, Lady." The last is to the woman he doesn't know, and he spreads his hands across to his chest, "Sir Kamron de Dinton," and then he gestures to the bower, "my sister, Heulwen, and Sir Acwel de Woodford, the Knight of Woodford."

"A secret?" Oh, Arian, you shouldn't have. It might become one of Aldreda's goals in life to learn the secret. Unlike her elder sister, the girl lacks something to keep her terribly busy outside of day-to-day at the manor. And one's thoughts can go quite wild when baking. The maid, at least, seems satisfied to leave the two cousins to interact. It frees her by a measure to simply follow along, at a distance. Aldie doesn't resist the draw from Arian, following along. "I don't believe I have." But already, introductions are being played out. The young woman affects a gesture of respect. "A pleasure, you all. I am Laverstock-" a glance, sidelong, to Arian, "as is likely obvious. Aldreda de Laverstock. Sir Arian is my lovely cousin." To at least provide name and placement within the familial ranks.

"Of course Thea won," Heulwen practically croons, clasping her hands together in barely restrained delight at the news. "I don't know a man or woman who can best her on a horse. She is like the wind, I swear to it. Have you met our cousin Lady Amalthea, Sir Acwel? I think you would be suitably impressed with her skill." Cheered greatly by the news, she turns a beam that could rival the sun upon Arian and Aldreda as the two approach arm-in-arm, and her greeting is most enthusiastic. "Sir Arian, and—ah! Lady Aldreda, just lovely. I am not sure which blooms greater - these flowers or your countenance. Please, please, do sit."

And so Heulwen sidles closer to Acwel once more, offering the empty space to her right to whomever will take it. She cannot be discouraged from pursuing an interesting topic, however, and so she turns her attention back to Acwel. "I think you have already made your case, good sir, whether you know it or not. When you approach the Earl, you must be direct and informative, present only facts, and above all - brevity is key. Any lingering details can be worked out as time permits after he agrees to assist you, but not beforehand. It wastes time, you know."

"I have not met her yet, except in passing, Lady Heulwen," Acwel admits, having not watched the horse race. He grins when she mentions Amalthea's seeming invincibility when it comes to horseriding, nodding to her words. "Perhaps I will meet her in some other occasion," he offers, glancing to the Laverstocks as they approach, "My Lady, Sir Arian," he greets, politely.

He certainly doesn't mind that Heulwen sidles closer to him, and at Kamron's gesture that he should stay as he was, Acwel does not move, more than content to remain in place. The Woodford Knight listens to the Dinton lady's advice, paying attention to her. "Yes, I will present it as such. Getting tangled with details at this point would be counter-productive to my intended goals. Thank you, Lady Heulwen." Then, a note, with some humor, perhaps a bit flirtatiously, "Surely, I must take your hand in marriage and allow you to do politics in my name. Before long, I would be a Knight Banneret for the Lord, I am sure of it."

"A secret… and you'll not get me to say a word," Arian teases her cousin as they continue the approach to the small gathering. Her smile remains soft and warm as she is drawn in by Kamron's introductions. She gestures to her cousin, but Aldreda is already making her introductions. Arian laughs. "It is good to see you all… I'm sorry we did not get to spend more time together during the wedding." Then she listens to Wen's words to Acwel, and her brows arch curiously. Her gaze flicks to Kamron and then back to Heulwen and Acwel, but she does not press for more information. Though then Acwel mentions marriage, and Arian's brows are quite high above her pale, glass-colored eyes.

Kamron smiles brightly at Aldreda, "I should have known such a beauty would be a Laverstock. It certainly seems to run in the family." His smile shifts to encompass Arian as well, and he shifts to open the conversation to all four of the others. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Aldreda." He glances aside to Heulwen, teasing, "I do hope that beautiful Laverstocks do not make you sneeze like flowers do, Wen." He watches his sister shift closer to Acwel, his gray-blue gaze shifting up to study the Woodford's features steadily. Things to not entirely improve when Acwel mentions marriage, until he carefully spreads a crooked grin across his lips, "If wishes were horses, we would all ride stallions." He'll leave further response to his sister… for now.

Perhaps Heulwen is a bit taken aback by Acwel's forwardness, even if it is in jest. Thankfully before she can reply another sneeze comes on, and she is ever so grateful for the chance to bury her face in her handkerchief. Perhaps she keeps it there overlong, making quite the play out of clearing her nose and waiting for a second sneeze that never quite comes. By the time she is able to look up, her face bears naught but the merest pink traces of a blush which could easily be written off as an effect of her allergies. Or not.

"If that were to be the case, Sir Acwel, I would much prefer to be a Knight Banneret of my own merit than to let another climb my shoulders and claim victory without effort. I know you as a knight are much to valorous to do such, but I have no doubt that some lesser men are grasping thieves, indeed." Heulwen smiles gently at the man before looking up to Arian and Aldreda. "I hope you are finding the gardens as lovely as I am, ladies. Despite their effects on me, I cannot help but admire the time and attention that must have gone in to cultivating such rich displays. Lady Aldreda, do you happen to know what this bright red flower is? I have pinpointed lavender, with much thanks to Sir Acwel for his assistance, but the rest are far beyond me. You, however, seem to have an affinity for them, and so I submit to your expertise."

There is a seat offered and Arian does not take it- thus Aldreda does. She gathers up her skirts and settles carefully on the bench. At least it's low enough for her feet to properly find the ground. It puts her near enough to overhear Acwel. Mind, it wouldn't be hard even if she'd retained her spot next to her cousin. The girl seems torn between -shock- and uncertainty, slim hands drawing up to cover her mouth. It's almost, but not quite enough to distract her from Kamron's words. No, these earn a flush in answer as she looks the man's way. There's a glimmer in those dark eyes. Oh, yes, compliments go far with this one. "You are too kind, Sir Kamron."

Before the young Laverstock makes a fool of herself, she replies to Heulwen. The strange moment is past and they're speaking now of the gardens. Her reason for being present in the first place. "It saddens me that they affect you so. It's such a rarity to see flowers tamed and gathered in such a place." The red flower, however, is given her attention. She leans in, pondering it. "I do believe that is helenium. It is sometimes used in a tonic."

There is a seat offered and Arian does not take it- thus Aldreda does. She gathers up her skirts and settles carefully on the bench. At least it's low enough for her feet to properly find the ground. It puts her near enough to overhear Acwel. Mind, it wouldn't be hard even if she'd retained her spot next to her cousin. The girl seems torn between -shock- and uncertainty, slim hands drawing up to cover her mouth. It's almost, but not quite enough to distract her from Kamron's words. No, these earn a flush in answer as she looks the man's way. There's a glimmer in those dark eyes. Oh, yes, compliments go far with this one. "You are too kind, Sir Kamron."

Before the young Laverstock makes a fool of herself, she replies to Heulwen. The strange moment is past and they're speaking now of the gardens. Her reason for being present in the first place. "It saddens me that they affect you so. It's such a rarity to see flowers tamed and gathered in such a place." The red flower, however, is given her attention. She leans in, pondering it. "I do believe that is helenium. It is sometimes used in a tonic."

One of the figures wandering into the gardens is actually two. It's hard to miss a woman like a Stapleford, though. Dark tones, all the way around. But at least they're earthtones? Maybe a Pagan, somewhere, complimented her and she went with it. Making her way through the gardens, Claire's talking quietly to her Squire who seems rather excited in only the way a muted and semi-housebroken fifteen year old squire girl can be. She spots the group of people gathered in discussion and angles slightly to make a pass and see if there is anyone she recognizes anyone. Those blue eyes search faces carefully. There are no celebratory smiles on that face. Or maybe she -is- smiling.

"But some of us do ride stallions; I doubt the same can be said about riding wishes." Acwel notes to Kamron with some wry humor, "still, what I meant, regardless of the jape, was that Lady Heulwen seems to navigate very well through the unpredictability of court politics. A boon to the Dintons and especially to the manor of the husband she joins in marriage." Acwel listens to Heulwen's reply to him, considering it.

"Far be it for me to receive my laurels at someone else's expense, my Lady. As long as I have an honorable death in battle, as a Woodford I can ask for nothing else, if my oaths aren't broken, my small folk are safe and my family is fed. If I am to have any accomplishments of note, let those be it. You are right, however, about grasping thieves." He falls silent, then, letting the others speak, his eyes drifting to the newcomer. Does he know her? Certainly looks familiar.

Heulwen's reaction to Acwel's words actually has Arian grinning slightly. She casts a glance toward Kamron almost knowingly and then she shakes her head. "Give me wild flowers any day," the Pagan woman says, perhaps to no one's surprise. She tucks a bit of short lock behind her ear, glancing across the courtyard when another enters the garden. The glance is casual, particularly as Claire hardly sparks familiarity. But, with this crowd, she is certain someone knows the newcomer. "I personally have never been able to navigate these so-called court politics. I put my trust in Aldreda here and my cousin Abigail. I assume they will let me know when things start heating up… or if I have gone and made a fool of myself."

Kamron shakes his head at Acwel's words, "Yes, but you don't ride one all the time, now do you, Sir Acwel?" The smile behind his words still isn't full force, however. Despite that, he bows his head in response to the Woodford's words, agreeing, "Wen is a credit to the family and to her tutors. She always has been." Beat pause, and then the man's nature wins out, "Except when she was getting mud in my hair and stitching my shirts too tight." And then he nods cheerfully to Aldreda, "I make it a policy to compliment beautiful, intelligent women. For some reason, not enough men do it, and I do so love to see Ladies smile." He spreads his hands a little helplessly, then inclines his head to the newcomer, smiling as he does.

"Helenium?" Heulwen echoes the word, leaning forward a bit to peer closer at the flowers. This is rather an unwise idea, because the pollen sets off the umpteenth tickle in her nose, and at this point she is finding her patience rapidly dwindling. Balking away from the flowers, she turns on the bench to face Acwel once more, and her nostrils flare as she fights back an oncoming sneeze. "I m-must apo-apo — apo — ACHOO!" Dear me. Right on him, no less, the poor man. Blushing furiously, Heulwen raises the handkerchief to her face, and then thinks better and reaches out to dab at the knight's tunic. "I am so sorry, Sir Acwel, truly. I think perhaps it is best if I find somewhere less — floral — to rest for a bit and wash my face. Truly, nature's splendor is a double-edged sword."

Thoroughly embarrassed, Wen rises hastily from the bench. Her hand remains outstretched, white fingers clutching the used handkerchief, hesitating with indecision: should she attempt to wipe him clean, or should she let it go? She pulls back, blushing furiously, and clears her throat. "I do apologize for my hasty departure, ladies and good sirs, but I seem to have entered the unfortunate state of 'indisposed'. I hope that I may catch up with all of you very soon." With that, she spins on her heel and makes her way out of the garden, holding up a pre-emptive hand should Kamron make shift to follow her. A girl is best left to wallow in her mortification alone.

No Dinton, Woodford, Stapleford or filthy pagan he- yet another knight seemingly wanders in, dressed for courtly presentation, deep blues and fine enough cut, even if on the poorer side of nice. It is likely that John de Bodenham does not cut an overtly remarkable figger. Still, he is hete, wandered like a mooning dog, with no direction or sense of people leaving or coming.

Success
Aldreda checked her awareness of 15, she rolled 11.

While there is certainly -brightness- in Arian's attire, the Laverstock that has claimed a spot upon the bench is in a mix of greens and blues. Aldreda's maid for the day stands off to one side, holding to a basket of embroidery work. There's also a purple blossom sitting atop; someone decided to be nice and pluck it, even after Aldie found herself distracted. Perhaps between the sound of an approach or Acwel's glance in that direction. She seems a bit stunned for a moment upon seeing Claire, a hand fussing at the edge of her cloak. It takes effort to return to Arian's words: "You kill Saxons, we navigate Court. It's the way of things." She at least marginally keeps a level tone as she says it.

There is a lot of conversation, but the girl is able to keep up. She may never find herself upon a battlefield, but she will miss little in court. "Perhaps you should become a tutor, Sir Kamron. Provide other men with those skills. I believe many in Salisbury would thank you." The smile, delivered with the words, hands them as a joke despite the levity they initially bear. Her attention has remained upon the male Dinton; in part because she can see Claire beyond him. She seems to be missing poor Heulwen's attack of allergies.

Claire watches some of the activity, slowing. The Squire looks eager to ask some kind of question but the Knight ignores the girl at her side. She doesn't smile outwardly as she comes upon them. Kamron's smile and nod to her has her return both, but the smile looks more like a ghost. Or maybe how a smile would look if someone tried to perform one after having it described to them. But its Aldreda's look to her that has her lock eyes. The fidget of the cloak. Its noticed. Claire is clearly armed with a sword so she doesn't look terribly concerned with shuffled movements. Passing closer, she dips her head to Aldreda, "Have we met?" There's a slight tilt to her head and lilt to her expression. "I'm Sir Claire de Stapleford."

Failed.
Acwel checked his recognize of 3, he rolled 8.

Whatever Hellenium is, many an individual might have cursed it if they sat next to someone with a very clear pollen allergy. After all, Acwel barely is able to answer Kamron with, "Well, sometimes a knight must stop for drink, food and sleep," and a somewhat close-lipped, amused smile. He nods to the man's other words, laughing at the childhood memory and as he turns to inquire something of Heulwen, she also turns to him, apologizing. Unfortunately, this makes him the receiving end of a sneeze. He grimaces, lifting a hand, but then dropping it. Lifting it again, and dropping it. He can't do it, damnit. "It…" it takes a moment for his position to straighten, "is alright, Lady Heulwen. And truly, these things happen." And then she's announcing her departure. "Yes, it is my hope as well, my Lady," he replies.

Finding no other solution but the most obvious, the Knight of Woodford wipes his face with his tunic. Oh well.

The other Laverstock woman grins impishly at her cousin when Claire sweeps up and makes introductions. She taps her finger aside her nose before she glances to Kamron. "Sir Kamron, I was headed to the tavern to grab a spot of a drink before I retire for the evening with my family's camp. Maybe you would like to join me? Unless you think you should escort your sister to her own lodgings…" She casts a glance to Heulwen and Acwel, though her smile is certainly for the former. She doesn't want to steal her brother away from her, of course. Pale, glass-colored eyes regard Aldreda. "Aldie, if you see Lainn about, tell him I need to see him? Otherwise, I'll see you at camp?" Arian takes a small step back in a subtle excusal from the gathering.

Kamron jumps a little as Heulwen sneezes again, then shakes his head and offers out his hand to help her up to her feet. And then she waves him off, and he frowns a little worriedly. Looking back to Aldreda, he smiles a little crookedly, "I have done my best for the rougher knights of Earl Robert's court, but there is only so much one man can do, I'm afraid, Lady Aldreda." Not that he's the only courtly knight about, not by a long stretch, but it sounds better this way. He nods to Claire again, then points toward his sister's retreating back to explain his sudden disappearance. Arian's invitation draws a slightly rueful chuckle, "I think I'd best check on Wen, Sir Arian. But why don't you come along, I'll stand you that drink afterward." See, he'll even pay. He waits for Arian's response, and then he's off after Heulwen with a polite nod and a, "Fare well" to the others.

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