(514-05-21) Riverside Luncheon
Summary: Just beyond Carlion, by the river, a few opt to escape the crowds…
Date: May 21, 514
Related: None
claire heulwen rozenn 

It was, ultimately, of little surprise that Rozenn lost the match in the joust. The woman expected it. Shame it was to a Dinton, but what can you do? The woman has opted, in turn, to take the rest of the day 'off.' She had her squire tend to her things and she took off for a bit on her own. Not far, but far enough. The Wylye river is a narrow, quiet thing full of bends and turns through the trees. A this particular stretch, it's far enough back into the woods that the distant revelry of the tournament is but a distant rumble. The shift from afternoon into dusk has aided the sense of tranquility as well. A few birds sing their evening calls, the breeze rustles fresh growth upon the trees, and the river merely gurgles gently.

The Burcombe Knight, herself, sits beneath a tree that butts up so near to the river that some of its root system is revealed and dipping into the waters themselves. She is attired in leathers; trou and vest. Her overtunic and cloak both rest next to her, providing an impromptu location for the meal she's brought along: a skin of wine and a cloth unwrapped to reveal meat, cheese, and even some choice fruits. The fruits hold her attention at the moment… barely. She eats one every now and again.

Truly, from most angles, she cannot be seen. The mare she rode in, however, is happily munching away at the flora beneath the tree it has been tied to.

There's the sight of a stone skipping across the lazy waters. It comes from off to the left, towards the tourney grounds, but someone is moving her direction from there and clearly doesn't know Rozenn is there. Or if they do, they probably aren't a threat if they are so obviously announcing their presence. When Rozenn finally gets a look, the Knight has her cloak drawn around her shoulders and it leaves her in a shell of black. The effect, walking through the setting dusk, is that of an undertaker. Her eyes stay to the ground and water as she walks, paying little attention to anyone on land. Given the blank, almost dour, look on her face and the black pall of clothing she wears, she's probably a Stapleford. Or a Falt. She doesn't seem to pay any attention, though and stops suddenly when she notices Rozenn in front of her and only five or six feet away. Those eyes blink. "Oh. So sorry." The words are quiet and she takes a step back.

You check your Recognize at 10, you rolled 3.

Perhaps it's been in passing, or maybe Rozenn's just doing better at picking people and their familial ties out while she's been at Carlion. Whatever it may be, he woman bears a flicker of recognition as she looks up and over in response to the apology. Pale eyes come into focus and rather than reply aloud (initially), she sets down the slice of pear — a precious leftover from the winter months — and retrieves the wine instead.

The skin is extended out towards the Stapleford, though Roz herself does not rise. "Would you care to join me? No apologies needed, I assure you."

That makes the young Knight stop. She wasn't expecting to be offered anything. There's a brief flash of warning across her mind that it could be a trick. That someone is trying to poison her- and she dismisses it. The ridiculousness of the thought has her look away and then sweep her eyes down and back to Rozenn. Wine. And someone is offering her to join them? "Thank you, I appreciate your offer." The young woman steps back forward and tugs at the cloak like a dress, holding it around her as she sits. It pools like a sirt but a hand reaches out for the skin and its taken - but not drank from yet. "I take it that you don't concern yourself too much with whom you dine? Or is there something else I missed? …I am Claire de.." She hesitates. Not even her title, let alone family name. "My name is Claire."

You check your Awareness at 15, you rolled 13.

Some of that suspicion might slip through because Rozenn opens the skin and has a quick drink of the wine. As if to prove; hey, it's drinkable. The Burcombe waits until her new guest has settled before offering and relinquishing hold of the wineskin. The query and halted introduction lead to not just one, but both brows arching over those blue eyes. Eyes akin to the sky at midday, though now it's painted — where one can see between the trees — in shades of orange and purple.

"Not particularly. If you worry about propriety, I believe being a woman and Cymric will make amends of anything, though as we are both Knight…" She spotted that shape of what must be a sword. Her own is alongside the other things atop cloak and tunic.

There's an easy, relaxed sort of smile to Rozenn's expression. Nothing so as to make her appear drunk, but still a woman who is relaxed. Once the 'skin is taken, she gathers up the bundle of food and moves it to rest somewhat between them. "If you're hungry, Claire. I am Rozenn de Burcombe."

Its drinkable. There's a bit of an apologetic look as it seems her expression was telling. Stapleford's aren't used to that with people outside their family. She takes the offered wine and sips from the skin, closing her eyes. There, that's niiice. But the reaction to her halted reply leaves the new entrant saying little to it. She simply offers the skin back. Being identified as a Knight, though… "Yes, well, I was thinking along familial lines but if that's not a worry I'll just stay anonymous if there's no quarrel to be had." All the main line Stapleford kids have the exact same deep blue eyes of their mother. Claire must be one. Then why is she out here by herself like this? Fingers reach for a bit of pear and she bites into it, then looking at what remains in her hand. There's a strange look on her face - no reaction. She just chews and looks at it. Rozenn can't even tell if she likes it. "Thank you. So you are Burcombe. Of relation to Priestess Morag, I presume? I like her. She is very serious but I appreciate her intents."

"Honestly, so long as you are not Bodenham nor Steeple Langford, I am sure we can get along fine." Rozenn's shoulders shift in a slight shrug. She leans back after taking the skin, shoulders settling against the trunk of the tree whose roots provide her current place of repose. A long drink of wine and the skin is set to rest against her leg; in reach for both women, but not in danger to escape.

"Should my reputation precede me, I assure you I am quite amicable so long as no one pays insult to my family." After a few tiffs, it can become easier to just provide the disclaimer up front. When Morag is mentioned, there's a brightening in Roz's eyes. "Yes, I am. Morag is my cousin." No 'half' even intoned here. Simply categorized much as she might do for Catryn. "She is a good woman and a talented healer."

"I am neither and hold no allegiances or alliances to either of them. I'm without reason to start a fight with any family at the moment. I lack the energy or concern with petty politics." Claire eats another bite of the pear, chewing and then swallowing before looking back to the relaxing Rozenn. "I didn't know she did healing also. That is good to know. I'll have to mention that when I see her again. I spoke to her about coming to the Pagan party where-in they jump over fire and there is the wearing of flowers in hair. I find myself intrigued with the idea of exploring new things, meeting new people. It seems so many here know each other or spent their squireships locally. Being away for many years seems to leave me at a disadvantage. Would you agree?"

It is the 'petty politics' that seems to most mollify Rozenn, though she certainly does not appear disagreeable with the rest. A lack of alliances to those that have been a thorn in her side is never a bad thing, in the woman's ken. She tilts her head in a nod. "She is a healer, yes. Talented not just with poultice and tea, but actual injury as well." The brunette picks up the small loaf of bread, handily tearing it in half. It must be to share, for half is set on the edge of the cloth nearest Claire.

"I am glad to hear of others wishing to attend Beltaine. We have our rituals, yes, but the parties-" There is a brief shrug. "It is to celebrate the coming of warmer months and the hope of a good growing season. The end of the reign of darkness." The final question quiets the young woman and she studies Claire carefully. Some of the dried meat and hard cheese are broken off their respective whole and eaten with a hunk of bread. The Knight seems to be taking the query seriously, but finally just dips her head. It's not a nod. Not entirely. It's a gesture of assent. "Perhaps at a social disadvantage, but unless you intend to be a courting Knight… I don't think it's that bad a thing."

Claire's quiet being seems to control everything else. Almost like the lack of emotion she's trying to convey keeps her from being too loud. The curious wonder is whether its a defense mechanism or just purposeful behavior to keep her from talking too deeply about whats going on. If she is Stapleford, though, not surprising for the Death Cult. "She can help with real injury, too? Such as swordstrikes? Not just what ails the body?" That seems to gather some interest and her eyes lift to look at Rozenn. It takes a moment of consideration before she pulls the bread over. "The rituals are what I wish to avoid, if I may be so honest." She tears off a little bread to eat. Claire seems to have a problem relaxing. "Its not that I find such things offensive. Some of it does, but you are following a different path than mine. Interfering in that is.." And her head shakes. "I seek no involvement or witness to your rituals because I do not believe it is a place for devout Christians. Drawing the ire of the pagans of Salisbury is not what we, as a religion, need." She nibbles the bread once more and looks to the water. "The social disadvantage can be as crippling as any other. It depends on intents but finding the advantage after being away so long is quite difficult. Though it is giving me a better idea of why spending years away was not bad. Did you leave for your Squireship? Or stay in Salisbury?"

It's late afternoon after a day of jousting. Really, it's actually winding into evening; sky painted in orange and purple as the sun sets behind the whispy, spring clouds. The Wylye river is a burbling, winding thing and here, just shortly into a copse of trees, is a bend that leaves it pleasantly shallow. The sound of water trickling by compliments the birds in their evening song nicely. The first noticeable creature is a mare tied to a tree, chomping at the fresh growth at its feet. Then, by a tree that butts up to the river — some roots revealed and dipping into the water itself — are two Knights. Rozenn and Claire. Roz is attired in leathers, with overtunic and cloak on the ground next to her; sword atop them. Across her lap is a cloth holding some dried fruit, meat, cheese, and bread. Leaning against the leg nearer Claire is a wineskin.

"Yes, such as sword strikes. And she is glad to help those she may." Breaking off some more of the hard cheese, the Burcombe listens to the rest. She pops some cheese and bread between her lips, chewing as she listens. There's a thoughtful sound, but the words wait until she has swallowed. "Offensive or no, it's a respectful choice. I don't think you'll find anyone bothered for it." The last question gains a mild shrug. "A bit of both. My Knight often served on the front lines, so we would often go on campaigns." There's a tilt of her head to look away, then back to the Stapleford. "Some would savor the isolation."

Claire is wearing a black cloak and in the shadows it almost looks like she's a floating head. Her long brown hair falls over the shoulders but her pale skin and bright blue eyes give her away. She might just be 'Claire', but the core children to the Stapleford family all have those same dazzling blues and dark hair. The black cloak seems only to confirm it. Maybe them or Falt. Few wear so much darkness around them. "That's a fine focus for her time. I wish we had more of her character and skill." There's a hesitation to her words before she lifts to drink more wine. "Aye, yes, my intentions is elsewhere. If it bothers people then my interest is nullified. Maybe have a few cups of ale or wine, talk to people, learn about what is happening." She looks away to the water in the end. "That sounds like excitement. Quite a different sort of thing I experienced, at least. I'd hoped to do more of that but it was not to be." She catches the look before the words and Claire's eyes return. "Isolation is good for many things. Away from family and comfort, yes. Away from everything and cut off from people, not so simple." She nibbles another torn piece of bread. "Did you study much religion during your time as a Squire?"

The early evening finds the tournament events winding down for the day, and slowly people begin scattering to their various encampments and nightly frivolity. One Heulwen has certainly had enough of people and crowds and noises and things, and so has taken to a walk—far, far away from the damnable gardens. She is not so far from the bulk of her cousins, however, to feel the need for a chaperone. She is also not exactly the sneakiest or most subtle of people; her boots crunch noisily through the vegetation underfoot, audible just barely above the pleasant burble of the river.

Some of the younger saplings populating the copse tremble as she passes by, running her finger over the still-soft bark to keep from tripping as she heads toward the water. Her cloak gets caught on a low branch, and she pauses to yank it free with a faint *whzzt* of a young limb bending and then snapping back into place. A quiet stream of epithets falls from her tongue in a muted mumble, and it's with some momentary difficulty that she manages to extricate herself from the clinging brush to spill gracelessly into the little clearing. "Bloody tree!" she declares, kicking a stone with her boot and then hopping up onto one foot with an alarmed squeak as she realizes the rock is firmly embedded in the ground.

"Just because she is a priestess does not mean she cannot find time to heal body as well as soul." Perhaps she's seeking reactions. Perhaps it is truly how she sees it. Rozenn leans back into the tree; shoulder blades grinding briefly to the trunk as she finds better positioning. The wine skin is retrieved and a long drink taken. "The party is much less ritualistic and perhaps even something Christians would celebrate. You have parties for things like welcoming the summer, yes? Maybe not as elaborate, but-" A slight shrug, intensified by the scrape of leather on bark. "Though perhaps there is more flirting to be had with ours."

This summons up a brief smirk from the Burcombe Knight. She, too, hails from a family with dark hair and bright eyes, but her attire holds a measure more color to it. Another sip and Roz is offering the skin over to Claire. "Not in a way as you might expect. My mother hoped I would follow in her footsteps, to become a priestess as well. I know some measure of things, but my path-" a glance to her sword, hand fondly capping pommel, "took me elsewhere."

There may be more to add, but Rozenn is certainly treading carefully. Finding that line between pride of her culture and what might lead to potential offense. The cursing and squeak, however, draw her gaze as she leans around the tree she's taken to resting against. Attempting to find the source. "It can be tricky to navigate as it grows dark. Need you assistance?"

"Mm. I admit to knowing little of the Priestess or her duties." Its hard to get a definite reaction out of the young Knight. Every word seems to be spoken as if careful not to give anything away - including her thoughts on any matters. Other than voiced, of course. Those aware enough might catch her social anxiety. One can certainly fight their way to becoming a Knight and still be left with problems that leave them weak in some regard. "We have no such things, really. We feast for our saints. And celebrate some more specific holy days." Exactly how that's done with the Stapleford Clan is left to unspoken words. The skin is taken in return and held carefully. "Ah. So you had the opportunity to possibly do both but turned it down? Or did you simply not have time?" There's no judgment, but the sense of someone trying to relate to another. "Do you like the idea of religion mixed with your duties in the path you've taken?" Claire stops very suddenly though and stares at the sounds. She leans a bit, sipping the skin, and lets her eyes wandering the shadows lazily. "There is safe harbor just ahead, Miss Squeek." .

"Nay, no assistance," Heulwen replies in a rather snippity tone, leaning against the tree behind which Rozenn is perched. She catches her breath, digging her fingernails into the trunk for a moment before rising to her usual ramrod-straight posture. Flipping back her cloak hood, she inhales deeply the fresh, cool air of early evening and finally saunters around into the open so as to be visible to the two women. Her own garb is dark and muted - a rich brown cloak over the deep green of her dress; indeed, it seems she is garbed just so she could hide more effectively in the trees.

The orange rays of the setting sun reach through the branches, dappling the clearing with enough light to see by. Wen's eyes narrow briefly, taking in the sight of the two ladies seated quite casually and enjoying their cold supper. Well, it seems domestic enough. Her features relax and she rocks back on her heels, flipping the edges of her cloak behind her shoulders. "My apologies," she announces, slightly breathless still, and offers a faint half-smile. "I had no intentions of disturbing your tete-a-tete. I was only looking for somewhere to rest away from…" She doesn't finish the thought, but she gestures in the general direction of the tourney field.

"It is not uncommon for a pagan priest or priestess to also train in the healing arts. Not all do, no, but enough. Better, I think, to be able to heal all than to need to call in another. Some come back from battle with a battered soul." In many centuries, it will be termed 'PTSD.' Rozenn considers the question, at least. "As for my path… I am content enough. My mother wished me to follow in her footsteps, but the call of the sword was too great. To truly take on the mantle of priestess, I would have to give up the blade. For now, however, I can tend to those on campaign that follow the same calling as I."

When Heulwen comes into the light, the Burcombe lifts her chin to look over to the Lady. If there's recognition, it does not show. Rather, she gesures to the bundle she holds. "Would you like to join us? It would seem we three have found this place for similar reasons." She may be making a bit of an assumption in regards to Claire's presence, but it's meant for polite niceties of the gesture.

"Mm." Her eyes stay on the shifting shadows while she listens. "I find myself sometimes thinking maybe that would have been a good skill to spend time on. Perhaps if I'd stayed the path to a Lady it would have been so. But.." nothing. The girl doesn't complete the thought. "Interesting. Does you family or your religion make your distinction between blade and the position?" For once there's a curiosity to her face. There's the foundation of something there in the words, but its impossible to pick out through the murkiness of her face. She could be anger, pleased, or on the verge of tears. All seems equally likely. Heulwen's appearance has the darker-dressed woman nod slowly. "I'm weary of the tournament and all happening. I do not think I shall remain much longer in Carlion before returning home. I find myself wandering, slow of thought, and without interest on most days." A pause. "Please. Join us." That might sound ominous from a girl who looks like an undertaker.

Heulwen checked her suspicious of 10, she rolled 7.

Heulwen shifts her weight from one foot to the other, either looking quite impatient with having not discovered a solitary spot, or she's nervous about something. Her eyes narrow again, letting on only that she is either thoughtful or not quite entirely trusting of discovering to somber strangers in the woods. Her response to both offers to sit is—silence. Well, silence for at least a solid half-minute before she lifts her chin in the slightest acknowledgment of their hospitality. Her gaze sweeps around the immediate area and then flicks back behind them to peer through the rustling growth as if divining the location of all the more cheerful tournament-goers. One would expect to hear the faintest sounds of revelry, but naught is audible above the sound of the small river.

Finally, Wen turns her attention back to the ladies and fans out her cloak behind her before lowering herself to the ground to sit. She positions herself outside of arm's reach, but near enough to maintain companionable conversation. "I am grateful for your hospitality, ladies." It is likely she has overheard their discussion, but she makes no mention of it nor seeks to push herself into it. Instead, she tugs loose the pouch at her belt and pulls out her own supper - an apple and an unimpressive wedge of cheese.

"I… cannot say either, for certain." Rozenn frowns, briefly. "It is very likely that I could, now that I am Knighted, return to some of the tasks and training as a Priestess." Pagan Paladin? "But I also fear that dividing my time could hold the risk of making me lose some skill upon the battlefield." Every so often, a shout does cut through the spring growth, but largely one can feel far-and-away from the celebrations. There is dried pear and cheese with the meal Roz has brought, but also some meat and bread. Nothing fancy, to be certain, but food all the same.

"I enjoy the tournaments, in theory, but sometimes I find I tire of them in practice. More showmanship than any true regard of skill. At least in some events. The Grand Melee should be good."

Claire looks up to Heulwen as the new arrival seems to try and make her decision. There's nothing to indicate hatred or supposition. Claire just seems very blank. The lines on her face don't hint at any more regular smiles than frowns. Once the Lady sits, Claire gives her a polite nod. Eyes watch the hand tug at Heulwen's belt, interest there as to what is produced. The dinner draws no surprise from her though and she looks back to the nitpicked bread in front of her. "Some people in our family say that being a better- being more religious makes a person a better fighter. I'm not so sure. I keep thinking that it has more to do with the fire you build inside. Maybe religion isn't the fuel but the heat." She looks into the dead space between them, not quite at the blanket but close enough. "Do you think it is so?" Rozenn's commenting to the tournament brings her some measure of agreement. There's- oh my god, there's even a tick of her lip. Was that amusement? A hint of a smile? "Showmanship. My brother and I spent many nights arguing over it when I was a child. I loved the tournaments when I was young and had faith in the romance."

Heulwen seems quite content with her meager supper, and she pinches off pieces of the cheese for nibbling. Her gaze drifts up and down between her food and the two women, although she remains silent for the time being. Perhaps this is not a conversation to which she has much to contribute. When she raises the apple to take a bite, the sound is rather jarringly loud as her teeth sink into the crisp flesh, and she pauses while chewing to offer an apologetic flick of her gaze two Claire and Rozenn. One shoulder lifts as if to say "what can you do?"

She seems quite intent upon her dinner, in fact, and stares down at the cheese as her fingers work away bite-size pieces. "I think without showmanship any tournament would be dull as watching grass grow," she murmurs in reply, pausing to finish a bite of apple before bobbing her head toward Rozenn. "It seems a rather nice balance between the two, no? No, I misspoke - perhaps between the three: showmanship, skill, and just a bit of luck. Without one of the above, the romance - as you put it so aptly, my lady -" a nod to Claire, "would not exist. We would have bored of tournaments long, long ago."

"I could see that, but in the general sense of your religion bolstering you and giving you faith through action. The path of a priest or priestess, however…Your own spend much of their lives as monks first, yes? It takes up as much, if not more time than Knighthood. We are not so very different. My life is dedicated to the Earl and the people of Salisbury. To divide my loyalties, even between faith and protection of man…" Rozenn leaves it off, there, picking up a piece of the dried pear to eat. The talk of the tournament earns a slight lift of one shoulder from the Burcombe. She's considering.

"There was a great deal of romance to it in my younger days. Knights bearing favor. Mysterious individuals winning it all. And certainly, there's enjoyment in the performances, archery, and even the personal challenges. It's the joust, I realized, that I've most tired of. Many judges grade not just on skill, but a level of… yes, showmanship." No other word suits. "And you may say my frustration is simply due to a loss, but I expected that. It's seeing others rate high numbers simply because of the display they put on, while those with greater technical skill can go ignored."

There's a glance to the bite of cheese but Claire doesn't seem terribly offended by food making noise. Its going to happen. But the nameless 'Claire' (unless someone recognizes her) seems to consider the words from Heulwen. There isn't even a glance at being called a Lady. Her eyes drift to the water. "I suppose. Tournaments are about entertainment. Seeing a performance in the market is little different, though with tournaments there is real danger. There is much acting, it would seem, though." The young Knight looks like she has a lot of burdens on her shoulders but still doesn't quite understand some of these things. It might look strange to stare into he eyes and watch the way she moves. The comments of religion from Rozenn have her turn those eyes and shrug. "So do. Some families have their own needs to religious services." It pretty much pegs her as a Falt or Stapleford, but the genetics of those eyes pretty firmly drop this girl as one of the central line of Stapleford children. "I suppose it does make some sense along side each other, though. What a person does within a family is a burden the family places upon them, though, not usually what the individual chooses. Honors are like that. I suppose you are correct about loyalties, though." There's an uncomfortable moment for her. "One cannot attribute their religion to their service too closely as many of us worship differently. To commit something that may be such a folly could bring ruin to a battle. Or family." Hrm. Claire looks down, seeming to have a lot of thinking to do about that.

There seems little more for Heulwen to contribute, and as the conversation shifts back toward religion, she frowns and returns her focus to her meal. Every now and then, she glances up toward the two from beneath her lashes, but having no real sense of who or which with regard to their identities or religious leaning, the Dinton lady is left to puzzle through it. And puzzle she does, with her lips turned down into a pensive expression broken only as she finishes the last of her cheese and dusts the crumbs from her gown.

A cool breeze causes a rise in the pitch of the rustling trees, and she glances upward with some startlement to realize that evening proper has settled upon the land. The twinkling of stars grows visible just beyond the faint purple rim near the edge of the horizon, although it is too early as of yet for the moon to have risen high. The result is, of course, an oppressive sense of impending darkness. Wen shifts anxiously to her knees and then rises up abruptly, pausing to shake the dry debris of dead vegetation from the skirts of her bliant. "I had better go before I am missed. Wouldn't want to raise an alarm." She draws up short and then offers the two women a brief curtsey. "I thank you for sharing your quiet respite with me."

"Which, I fill the role needed. My mother passed down the knowledge and skills of her mother to me." The exact terminology is not provided; no need to dance along such lines, where mere words can cause upset. It's explained neatly enough, if Rozenn's satisfaction for her phrasing is anything to go off of. The woman reaches for the wine skin, having a good drink of her own. Bright eyes observe over the 'skin as Claire continues her thoughts aloud. Some curiousity there, yes, but the woman does not voice it. She is, however, about to offer the skin to Heulwen when the lady stands. There's a brief moment of thought, before Roz tips her head in a nod. "Of course. Enjoy your evening, Lady-" Having gotten no name, she is only left with the presumed title. "I do hope the rest of the tournament is not too overwhelming for you."

And then it was two, once more. Rozenn breaks off another chunk of bread before pale gaze shifts, with mild curiousity, to Claire. "Why such an interest in matters of religion pertaining to family?"

"Mm. My mother passed down much, by my grandmother even more. Childhood was very confusing for me. I never knew my father so I've grown around women unafraid to fight or speak, yet a family isolated as well." Claire stares at the spread and eventually reaches for a small piece of cheese and tears off a piece. There's a glance up as Heulwen goes and the girl looks back to the food. Once Heulwen is gone, she shrugs to the question. "Mine is all intertwined and I'm still trying to find my place with it between many different opinions and people. I find myself curious how others handle it in their families. Maybe to find common ground somewhere among the local families, as well."

This answer mollifies Rozenn enough. She takes it in, observes it, and looks to the river's waters. They've steadily darkened as day turns to night, only highlights picked out upon the moving surface. The woman shifts, slightly, within the crook of the roots she's taken as her seat. "In some families, it is a matter of tradition and culture, I've found. They are pagan or Christian because their parents were such, and their parents before them. In other cases, such as myself, it is something that calls to them. My mother is…" here she seems mildly uncomfortable continue, but does so nonetheless; after breaking off some of the dried meat.

The chewing is an ample distraction and time to formulate her words. Or perhaps just to find the strength to say them, before this woman who is not pagan. "…is a hedgewitch. As have near all the first-born women in her line been. It was the path she expected for me, but after Saxons killed my father-" A tale as old and familiar as many others. That sense of familial duty and revenge.

Claire sits disturbingly still. In the darkness, her cloak begins to fade. The stitching has done well to create a turn to the fabric which doesn't reflect light so well as deflect it. It gives her the impression of looking like an assassin in waiting. Staplefords have always been forgotten on the battlefield so its hard to gauge just what sort of person Claire might be to fight. But the rumors of the family leave it a mystery. Are these the words of someone who worships the Devil, though? "Its part of being raised in our family. There are expectations. Not that we mind, it works well for us, but there is little room for knowledge outside our own. Its worrisome for me." The admission about being a hedgewitch has the darker girl finally show some surprise. "Tis a brave thing to admit to a strange woman." Understatement of the year. "If I were someone of the mind to call for death, I might. As it is, I think there's already enough death surrounding our lives." She looks at the food spread. "Are you the first beneath her? Do you feel the pressure to take up her power? The pressure to be what your family needs while still serving as you desire?"

"You may also risk the ire of the Earl were you to call death." It might be a joke, but it's delivered in a fairly flat, deadpan fashion. "Mostly I know to make tea and poultices. I may not be as good a healer as my cousin, nor have the steadiness of hand to sew flesh closed… But I can ted to other ills well enough." She doesn't bristle too greatly. It's more statement of fact than anything else.

In regards to pressure, the Burcombe shrugs. "I do not. It may be there, but I do no allow it to affect me or my duties. My mother understood why I chose the path I did and she has taught me what she can. Perhaps someday there will be more, but for now I've more than enough on my shoulders."

"Yes, well, I've better things to do than to make enemies of the Earl or the pagans. Many of our commoners at our Manor are pagan. We live with them in peace. Live and let live." Claire keeps her eyes down. "It sounds as if you have had some good knowledge passed along. Even if its not like your cousin, I'm sure the skills will always be of use in your chosen place of service." Claire finally looks back, though. The lack of pressure felt seems to bring Claire back to square one and she frowns. "Oh." It takes her a moment to really gather her thoughts on it. "I understand having more than enough." Without another word, Claire rises and flips the hood over her head and tucks the cloak around. At night it does give her the impression of a reaper. "Thank you for the company, Sir Rozenn. I wish you peace and prosperity in your path." She bows a bit before taking a step back to go.

The speak of live and let live does bring a measure of relaxation to the tension that had begun to build in the pagan Knight's frame. One can never be certain; she knows Houses that have pagans within the noble line who still speak ill towards the path. When the other Knight rises to depart, Rozenn's lips press into a thin line. She watches Claire rise and draw up the hood. Uncertain what she may have done or said wrong, the Burcombe just gives a slow nod. "Of course. You are welcome and I wish you a safe return to Sarum, should you decide to depart early."

It would seem she's not the sort to try to ply someone to remain if they should not wish. No. She's allowing the Stapleford to depart.

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