(514-05-21) Balm and Balm
Summary: Drustan struggles to make sense of scents, finding aid in a redheaded bard.
Date: May 21, 514
Related: None.
drustan eiluned 

It has been a few days since the assigned group went to Ebble Keep to assist Lord Knight Oswallt with his ill wife. The mission a success, those in attendence were welcomed for at least a day to rest and partake of meals within the Keep before going on their way. Back in Sarum, Sir Drustan de Falt was quick to visit the manor of the family he had squired with. This led to… well, something perhaps odd for a Knight.


And here the man stands within the apothecary, walking along the shelves and staring at various jars and vials with a sort of… lost look upon his features.

Ebble may be a success, but Eiluned has work to do. In this case, attending upon the apothecary for a selection of herbal teas falls squarely within the day's errands. She brushes in to the shop, escorted by a rather dazzled, lanky young man who could be a squire or a scholar in another life. In this life, he plays pack mule to the bard, carrying her instrument over his shoulder in a leather pack and carrying a melody. For sake of all, the singer stays outside, practicing the long line of stanzas from an epic poem. It might sound like a proto-Beowulf. Close enough, anyways, to count.

What leaves the girl's mouth is a cheery, "Merry met!" to all and sundry. She tucks up her sleeves into her belt. They otherwise would trail on the floor and that will not do, so by leaving her hands free to turn over jars and peer into strange piles of herbs, sniffing out what they might be. One bunch gets a hopeful look: yellow broom, otherwise known as the most pernicious allergen in Britannia. Nope, not sniffing that. "Why are you even in here? Tsk, better at a dyer's." The latter is spoken to the offending sprig.

It is a display rack full of various sprigs and blooms that Drustan has stalled before. There are a few sample jars, but the whole of it appears to be constructed so that one can select their preferred scent for perfumed water. The man's features are screwed up in an expression of consternation. He'll reach towards a bottle, then retract his hand to fall back upon his heels. There's a lengthy sigh, but it's warded off by the arrival of music and other people. Shifting slightly, the Falt rotates. He is dressed much as he was at Ebble; in monotone. Black trou, grey coat, and a black cloak. Such limited wardrobe those Falts must have.

"A pleasure to see you so soon, Lady Eiluned. How fare you?"

Sprigs and blooms and lions, oh my! Wait, it's not the Otherworld. Wrong face. Much appears to be preserved with care and the endless succession of options holds little interest compared to loose petals and leaves suitable to be thrown into a pot and boiled up for a morning repast. She reaches for one of the jars of powders with a certain confidence, and tips her head, looking at the contents as though she can be served by sight alone to tell aconite from marigold. Truth is, you can, to a point. She pushes back her bangs from her face, and then sets the jar back on the shelf in favour of another. "Sir de Falt?" See, she's not blind after all. A kind nod in his direction meets with a pause, registering whether to curtsey once he turns to her. "An unexpected pleasure to find a familiar face here. And how are you this fine day?"

It's a welcome sort of distraction. Drustan was beginning to feel mildly flummoxed with the choices before him. Do you request two blended? Select just one? How do you decide what may suit another person? The conversation is a good reprieve from the stresses of such pursuits that the Knight simply isn't used to. He tilts his head slightly in acknowledgement of the bard's greeting. de Falt, indeed.

"I am well enough. And yourself? It is nice to attend to errands while the city is so quiet." With so many away in Carlion, it's almost as if one is on a private shopping spree at times.

"I have lived too quietly by half. Best to take advantage of the quiet and lay plans," Eiluned replies, her voice mildly rippling with laughter. "I find it hard to believe the city is this quiet. I've never seen it this way." Her tone doesn't convey the hint of a complaint, merely an observation coloured in slight wonder. Who knows when this will happen again, short of war?

She puts the jar aside on a counter, her intent to buy the dried yellow flowers plain enough. A quick look over the drying rack and other assorted components quickly lead to a summary conclusion. "Did you mean to buy something for yourself or another? I wouldn't wish to interrupt you about your business, although you do seem to be considering quite heavily."

"Hopefully it is not so quiet until another reason for festivities." As in… the hope that war does not come so near to Sarum that the manors and gates must empty their Knights to the battlefront. Better to be quiet for people off at celebration than for a mourner's cloth. Drustan looks to the jar that Eiluned has selected before turning back to his task. Slate eyes consider the wall, but they soon cut towards the bard at her query.

"For another. I'm afraid I've never selected such before and I fear the recipient may not even be keen to the idea."

"Just so. The harvest will keep everyone busy but that's not for several weeks yet. Imagine, thinking on the harvest when we barely have seeds in the field." Eiluned raises her head towards the light filtering in through a very small window, glass being too expensive for most. She nods in agreement. "I am grateful for the respite, but I shouldn't mind a bit more of an audience or fuller evenings. There is something odd about dining in a tavern without someone at my elbows." Her jest fades on a smile, an easy note. Falling silent is as easy for her as rousing herself to speak, and she has a sense of timing to the value of both. Drustan has all the time he wants to respond to her.

"Ah, the trials of choosing a proper gift. Would you care for help sorting through everything?"

Harvest. Drustan looks to the window in turn, brow furrowing. The man is used to being far, far afield at this time of year. He has missed many festivals and special events. Perhaps it is why the wedding phases him so little; it's just another in the long list of those that have already passed the Falt by.

When Eiluned speaks her query, he turns somewhat to face the shelves once again. "Some assistance would be nice, yes." Hands are clasped behind his back, slate eyes shifting over the offerings. "I do not think overt florals would suit her. Lavender, perhaps, but somewhat else.. to balance it."

May it is, but September is not so far off. Weeks away, barely that. Another month, another warming cycle, leads straight into the next. All the world rolls on in a sequence of stages, though the Christian faith is not especially receptive towards them. Neither here nor there, of course, but the trained filidh in Drustan's presence may understand the predicament of time as well as he wields a sword.

She nods. "I would be happy to contribute some feedback. A lady, then, is the subject. And you prefer a subtle scent, rather than one that would overpower her? May I ask her relative age?" She pauses a moment here, and then explains, "Certain flowers may be too childish for a woman, but others, especially spices, are quite heavy for a maiden. You might not wish her to smell like incense in the church, or the astringent herbs we use to purify the air after a death or sickness. She might not appreciate being associated with the sick room." So much to learn, no? "Marjoram and pennyroyal are both very pleasant, and fresh in season. Instead of a perfume, you could have a sweet bag made for her to wear or keep with her clothes. But if you favour lavender oil, I think a good balance would be orris root, balm, and marjoram; they are all modest scents but long lasting. The slightly woodsy scent is natural and mingles well with the lavender. Clean, without being soapy."

If one's eyes could literally glaze over, then Drustan may as well be a pastry upon a baker's table. The man watches Eiluned, unblinking. It may be an unsettling sort of gaze, were it not for the lack of stare behind it. His mind is at work and he is nigh lost to the present. The Knight shifts, perhaps uncomfortably, seeking out the herbs and florals as they are named by the red-haired woman. He cannot keep up with the names that are rattled off. Some he knows- particularly those that can find use in meals. Others have no reference point within his memory. There is a tilt of head in Eiluned's direction.

"She is about your age, m'Lady. However, a Knight in her own right. I think something that a maiden might wear would still be too… light for her. I wish something in the middle, I would guess. I chose lavender because I know it is a calming scent and-" Here, Drustan actually looks a measure sheepish. "I would like the chosen scent to have a reflection of my thoughs of her."

"Smell." The flowers are brought down, the powdered root located, and the grass offered up with the consummate skill of someone who can stumble around reading labels. Not everyone knows what they are, but she can guess, laying them out. Eiluned points. "Here, this is balm. Very light, you see. Sniff it. Try the marjoram, which is eaten and probably familiar. Orris root is a bit more potent, but the powder makes it different. If they are not your liking, we can try many other things. Verbena, for example, has a lovely smell like certain fruit. Lemons. Bee balm smells just like honey. Not too strong, not too difficult." Laughter shines in her eyes then, warmth and kind. "Calming is a good thing to have."

At the very least, Drustan seems able to read the labels. It's merely the unfamiliar names that trip him up. He could name a number of styles of sword and spear, but to identify the difference between this or that yellow bloom? There is a reason his ilk is not welcome in the sick room. He would be as likely to cleanse a wound with sneezeweed as something with cleansing powers. Each offered upin turn, he takes and has a quick sniff of.

There's though in his expression, but something calls to him with a glance upward; slate eyes grown dark with intent. "Verbena," the name is repeated carefully. "You say it smells of lemons? I think I may like that."

The smells are different. Balm has an almost light feel, something fresh and easy. It isn't offensive like the spice of spikenard; cinnamon, for example, is God awful. The powers of sneeze weeds notwithstanding, Eiluned is patient to let the knight fiddle with the herbs and work his way through what he wants.

"Verbena is a great healer, and lovely in the garden besides. It does indeed smell of lemons, and makes a very good tea. A bit strong to go with lavender, but if your lady is a knight, she is strong and feminine besides. So it might well blend." She moves off to find a jar in question, or the living plant. It's common enough. Eiluned does not flutter though. She wouldn't know how.

"What of the other one… Bee balm, you said? How would it pair with lavender?" Drustan watches Eiluned as she busies herself with gathering jars. He does appear a measure relieved, to no longer be seeking out these pairings on his own. There is a moment, however, when he sets aside a jar and clears his throat.

"She is not my lady." 'Yet' seems to be the operator left to hang in silence. He is a hopeful man. Not yet twitterpated, no, but certainly in an unfamiliar landscape. The shift from the chase of flirtation and fling into the desire to see something more grow within the garden. No wildflower, but something cultivated to bloom season after season.

"Bee balm is a honey scent. It goes with either, though I might suggest verbena is the stronger form. I personally quite like the smell and would match it with chamomile and lavender with balm, or bee balm. Light and effortless, a bit of honey. All the bees will want to chase her around." The smile is light, the tone mildly teasing. "The flowers do attract the bees, but the scent shouldn't. A joke, of course. If she is industrious, it would make a good statement for the lady."

Aww, he's not even romancing her yet. So cute! The bard nods to acknowledge the change. D'aww!

Taking this in, Drustan looks back to the jars and their labels. He seeks out what he's seen before- lavender. But this time, he studies what's within the jar before moving to the bundles of actual herbs. The correct one is selected; calloused fingers especially careful with their grasp. The faded purple fronds are turned in his hand and studied. He lifts it for an experimental inhale. His other hand extends, hopefully, towards the bard.

"The balm, please? What is the difference between… balm and bee balm?" Blue gaze is a mixture of 'lost puppy' and hopeful as he looks up to Eiluned. The man is quite desperate, it would seem, to get this right.

"Bee balm smells more honeyed and sweet. The balm is much more neutral. It is hard to explain. They come from other families, and the bee balm flowers and leaves are fragrant. Balm's flowers are much more suitable for scents, but they are very demure." That's the word she wanted. Eiluned brightens. "Yes, it's more of a background for the other smell. Lavender stands out a little more, because it's not fighting to be smelled." The flash of a grin shows, once she settles. "You can do well with both of them. If you want her to have only lavender, go for balm. Bee balm will give that extra note without becoming too much."

"And yet they have a similar name." Flowers confuse Drustan greatly, it would seem. Both hold the name balm, but they are entirely different? The man's brow furrows a measure, but he finally tilts his head in a nod. One hand still holds the lavender, but the other extends towards Eiluned, palm-up. "The bee balm, then. Which is it? I think… it may suit, you are correct."

"They do. Isn't that odd? It would be easier if we named all things as they were, not as they appeared." Iceland and Greenland! "Brittany and Britannia, how confused foreigners must be. Better if we're not being invaded." She shakes her head and then reaches for her own jar of herbs, all for a use of tea. "If it does not, then send this lady to me and I will take the blame for the error. Then she can conduct her own choice and I'll be the go-between or sing to ease her pains."

"There are so many plants, I would have to guess that it is easy to run out of unique names." Drustan wouldn't know. Armor parts all have unique, but oft-confusing names. Same with weapons. 'Flail' is just a classification, truly. Same with sword. One can get so fiddly with the details and to the right person? They mean so much. To him, flower is flower is blue or red. He takes both the bee balm and lavender, moving to the counter to await his turn to have it crafted into something appropriate.

Slate eyes shift and angle towards the bard, regarding her at length. "I am not certain that doing so would not harm my chances further. If I should fail, it may be best to simply accept the failure."

Eiluned does not chuckle at him, but nods. "A healer's job is no less difficult than a warrior's or a merchant's. They have much to remember and a great deal to learn." To a merchant, a flail is a flail, not a morningstar or a spiky ball on a chain or a heavy or a light flail, or arms thrashing around at the sides. The employee here, servant wench, is left to distinguish those ingredients into something remotely resembing a perfume, which involve a vast quantity of scented water distilled down unless he goes with the idea of a scented pouch or using resins.

The filidh will wait behind him, given the particulars of her order are very simple. A bag of the tea and she will content herself completely. "Such grey skies dampen all chance for sunshine. Come now, the wrong choice of a flower is not so bad. It is also a gift, and among us, is not a gift a sacrosanct thing? We cannot be honourable people and frown on a good intention." Realistic much, Eiluned?

Oh no, the man is rather set upon the scented water. To him, it seems 'right.' The other options seem almost too personal. Or perhaps too easily lost. A jar with this? Will sit in her room for a fairly long period of time. Not risk the chance of being lost in a field upon patrol. Drustin is thinking ahead, it would seem, and once his mind is set… he remains there. The Falt watches as the girl works, but looks sidelong over towards Eiluned. There's a slight tilt of his brow, into something of a frown.

"Were this a passing fancy, perhaps it would concern me less. However, there is something about this woman that demands the utmost care."

Scented water is perfectly fine and the concoction is a business of trying to distill the various herbs and flowers into a scent wearable and pleasant. It usually takes a few days, as the merchant will explain, and it will be easily performed. Not worth worrying about as a risk; it's a modest investment and not overly expensive. Think ahead, young man.

"Verily. Your forethought and care speak very well for you, sir, and you should be proud of your conduct," she says.

The timeline works. Drustan has other things to attend to as well. Putting in an order with the bakery nearby will also take time. The man leaves enough coin for the downpayment and steps aside, looking to Eiluned. His lip twitches. It's almost a smile, but that scar upon the left side of his jaw terminates it rather handily.

"Proud enough. I have found that planning and foresight are oft much more successful than simply working off the cuff. However-" He gathers his cloak a bit more properly; lest it's windy outside. "No amount of foresight and planning will help if the Lady is not willing."

Next Eiluned will put in her request, paying in a penny for the healthy dose of tea. She looks over the weight and nods to the shopkeeper, satisfied by the price and amount permitted to her. Then it's no matter at all to tuck the small satchel into a pouch upon her girdle, supplying another intriguing addition to her collection of oddities.

"True, we cannot know what the future brings with the utmost certainty. Let it be enough your intentions are good and your gift a kind one. I will not vex you further, Sir." Dipping lightly at the knee, she turns to make your departure. "Luck ride with you. Farewell!"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License