(514-06-26) It's All in the Family
Summary: Catriona nabs an ale from her cousin Bryce, but how can he really mind when she is taking care of some trade deals for the family? They catch up with each other whilst meeting by coincidence at an inn in Sarum.
Date: June 26th, 514
Related: Trouble in Sarum, Saxon Take Out Parts 1 and 2 (even if that has still to happen), Lysanor/Bryce betrothal stuff.
bryce catriona 

Wainwright's Inn - Sarum

A large common room here houses tables during the day, to serve visitors food and drinks. Though at night, this large room is converted into the sleeping area for visitors who can't afford to stay at other locations in the city. Much in the manner of the Great Hall. The walls here only have a few tapestries upon them, something down by the peasant folk that seems to eschew their way of life, mostly farming. The room has a good ten tables during the day all of them closest to the large hearth in the wall opposite the bar. Behind the bar is a door which leads to both kitchen and the home of the owner of this Inn.

About two days since Catriona has arrived, and she has been quite the busy one! Despite her moving throughout the city to speak with farmers and merchants, she still looks pristine in a simple, but fine, blue long tunic over off-white linen,. She's quite clean, and ornamented with a carved dark wooden cross accented with pewter to keep it strong. Her rich brown hair is braided in a fishtail braid over one shoulder, accentuating the thickness of her hair while keeping everything in place. She sits at one of the tables furthest from the fire — it is warm, after all — and she is speaking, rather animatedly, with a few merchants. Sons of merchants, more like — the business isn't important enough to meet with the merchants themselves, most likely. Catriona speaks quickly and clearly in a way one could almost describe as efficient. She's shaking her head, just now. "That's not something we can particularly offer on the winter wheat that isn't even in the ground yet. Some of the farms further away from the city may yet be at risk, and it would not be right to arrange for a smaller payment when the yield might not be as large, this year." Her eyes are bright, her face animated — she's enjoying herself.

The door to the inn opens, and another Baverstock enters. This a knight, judging from the maille worn beneath a tabard of black and red, and the sword he wears. His hair is not really orderly, but too short to be much of a fuss, black curls that frame a face of rather angular features. What the man may lack in height and bulkiness, he makes up for with a certain amount of dexterity, as becomes apparent when he evades a pair of farmers in his way with a rather efficient sidestep. Hazel eyes sweep the common room, where mostly farmers and other men of business usually can be found. His demeanor lightens up when Bryce spots his cousin, and even if she may deep in negotiations, he approaches with sure-footed steps. "Good afternoon," he greets casually, keeping his distance as not to interrupt Catriona's current dealings, and settles himself at a nearby table. Should she look his way she will see a smile offered to her, and a nod of greeting. His attention shifts ever-so-briefly to a serving maid, and he orders a mug of ale.

Someone's bothering! Who dares? Catriona is prepared with a glare when someone approaches and speaks, but it loses it's edge before it can be delivered when she recognizes the man. Instead her brows lift in surprise, and for a fleeting moment Bryce may catch Catriona's blue gaze flitting upward to his hair, then back to his face. She gives him a small smile of her own, a bit wry perhaps as if to fondly say "Oh dear boy". And then it's back to business. She looks to the merchants and makes some quick introductions, before concluding the discussion. "I appreciate what you've told me. We'll see how things sit when the winter wheat is in the ground, and we'll talk more." The men make their exit, leaving the cousins alone. Catriona turns to her newly arrived cousin. "I've spoken to a few of the locals here, and I think we might be able to secure a slightly better price for this harvest here in town than we might normally. Given the raids everyone's wary that some of the farms might be hit. Oh, thank you." Surely that ale that Bryce ordered was for Catriona, right? She has it now, and she takes a sip before looking over her cousin. There's mischief there for a moment, but it fades as she looks him up and down in a brief moment. "Martyn tells me that you're well, after everything. That you're alright." Though she speaks in a statement, it's clearly a question. There's concern on her face when she says it, too.

Bryce knows his cousin all too well, so that wry smile on her features brings a hint of amusement to his face. And makes his hand lift and run through his hair, as if in the feeble attempt to smooth it down. He listens in silence as Catriona finishes her business with the merchants, not interfering there, even if he certainly could have done so. But in fact, there is a bit of gratitude in the smile he flashes her as he moves over to join her at her table. Her confiscation of the ale he - most probably - had ordered for himself, has him almost protest, but then there is a shrug, and he orders another one for himself, leaving Catriona her refreshment. "You've certainly deserved it," Bryce says, brows lifting when he considers what she has told him. "The raids will most hopefully cease soon. Landon and some others will be sent off to counter the Saxon's attack, or at least hunt some of them down…" A rather thoughtful flicker there in his gaze, as he gives Catriona that particular piece of information. "That should teach them, God willing…" Focusing on the martial aspect of it all, rather than commenting on economics - not Bryce's strongest side, after all. Her concern for his well-being earns her a slight deepening of his moderate smile. "I am. I only sustained a minor bruise on a knee, when I helped in the defense of Sarum."

She seems more than happy that he's settled down to join her — expectant might be the word. She sips her ale again, and looks down at him when he mentions that he's got a minor bruise but no other injuries. As though she's checking up on him, just to be sure. "You know those are Lord's knees, cousin. You really ought to be more careful with them." Though her words may sound harsh, should Bryce look to the girl's face he'll see her relief there, which she does not bother to hide. "Or should I say those are a Lady's knees, now, since they shall be in the service of a beloved wife, soon enough." That, at least, makes her smile twitch at the corner, almost crossing into a mischevious little smirk. She covers it with another sip of ale. "Who is leading this new offensive, this new blow, that our dear Landon shall participate in?" Catriona asks, watching her cousin over the rim of the mug after she's spoken.

His ale arrives soon after, and Bryce raises the mug to his lips, meeting her gaze as he takes a sip. "Lord's knees…", he echoes with a low snort, "I shall be of little service to Baverstock Manor if I shy away from battles. And this time our enemies brought the war to us. To Sarum. Others were more seriously harmed. Like that Sir Idris de Bodenham." The smile has dimmed into a slightly serious expression. But Catriona calling his knees lady's knees, brings a flicker of bewilderment to the Baverstock knight's hazel eyes, brows wrinkling as he shoots her a glance. "You mean to tell me, that as long as I'm not wed I'm free to risk my knees, cousin Catriona?" Asked with a faint smirk to match her own. But then she inquires about the mission, and Bryce lifts his shoulders in a light shrug. "Sir Agramar de Sarum, or some other household knight of Earl Robert's court. I am not sure. But of what I am sure is that he will do fine, our Landon." Well, he is certainly bigger and stronger than Bryce, that is for sure!

Catriona lowers her own mug, her retort flowing easily as though they were talking about the weather. "I mean to tell you, cousin Bryce, that so long as you are not wed the only one who can truly chastise you for the risk of your knees is your mother, who has yet to hear of it. Though I do consider it my familial duty to make sure you are appropriately chastised for them in her absence. But once you have a wife, well I daresay she shall take particular interest in your knees and all the rest of you besides. And that shall not be so easily shaken." A thoughtful look crosses Catriona's features as her eyes sweep once more over the top of Bryce's head. "Perhaps she'll even take an interest in that hair of yours…" this is mostly said as a quiet musing, an aside. The statement is capped with that same little smirk. It fades when conversation turns more serious. "I have little doubt that Landon shall do very well, and see to the health of his own knees as well as the harm of the knees of his enemies. He worked exceedingly hard under my father for all these years, indeed I cannot say that I can easily think of a man with more dedication during his time a squire." Although it likely helps that Landon did his squiring directly before Catriona's eyes. "Will it be soon that he goes, or shall I return home to find him already gone?"

Why does she persist so much on the matter of chastising him? Bryce de Baverstock shoots his resolute cousin a wary glance, but even so he will fend her words off with a shrug of his shoulders. “My mother is well aware of what I owe our people and our family,” he states, and a slightly baffled chuckle leaves the usually so sombre and thoughtful knight when Catriona references his hair. The remark causes him to raise his hand once again and try to bring some order into his short dark curls - even if he will not openly admit to acknowledge the jab. “It is not your concern,” Bryce counters, shooting her a slight glare of his dark eyes. “Lady Lysanor has so far not remarked upon my hair - or anything else.” His voice is not particularly stern, however, as he is used to the sharp comments of his younger cousin, and has been tolerating them especially since Catriona has assisted her uncle Sir Lorcan with running the manor - at least certain aspects of it that Bryce very much prefers not to see to himself. Yet.

“I am not sure he will return to Baverstock before he departs with the others,” the head of Baverstock Manor intones thoughtfully, to the question of Landon. “If you want to catch him for a few words, your best bet will to do so here, in Sarum. However, I am sure he will be leaving Sarum in the next days, so you should better hurry.”

There are, of course, lines that one shouldn’t cross. Catriona, being the playful one that she can sometimes be, realizes that she’s found one of them. At least, despite her teasing, she seems to have the good sense to appear appropriately chastised, and lowers her gaze in an appropriate subtle gesture of respect and deference. “Of course, cousin,” she says when he speaks of his bride-to-be, and indeed the girl also has the wisdom not to press further in her little game. Playful? Yes. Obedient? Also, apparently, yes.

“There is no particular business I have with him, only that if I do have the opportunity to see him I would wish him well on this mission. Nothing worthy of seeking him out or offering distraction when he might be focused elsewhere.” She reaches up to adjust her own hair, just a touch, at the braid. “At any rate, I shall be returning home in short order as well. Martyn has suggested I travel with him, and so I shall, if it please you.”

Oh, she is still his dear cousin, and interactions have not really been that formal in the past. What she knows, is also young Bryce, Very very young Bryce, a boy who was enjoying to play her and her siblings pranks. Long before the demise of late Sir Nyles. And even if that young Bryce does not hold too much in common with present Bryce, Catriona knows some of that persona may still be somewhere hidden behind her cousin's facade.

Bryce accepts her defeat in regards to his slightly disorderly short hair with a nod and a twitch of a smile. "I am sure Landon would be glad to receive some good wishes. And… in a way I suspect he could use some familial distraction," is added after a moment, with a slightly mischievous glint in his eyes. He has another sip from his ale, studying Catriona thoughtfully, as she continues about returning to Baverstock. "I should accompany you," he decides. "Time for me to take care of some duties, and see what I can do to strengthen our defenses against a potential Saxon threat."

“I’ll let Martyn know directly that is your wish, then,” Catriona promises when Bryce says he intends to accompany the pair home. “No doubt he’ll be most pleased to hear it. As am I, surely,” the brunette says. Not so much mischief in her face now as interest, intrigue. “Are there any arrangements you would need made before we go that I may offer my assistance to? As I said, I may have found some slightly better prices here, given everything, for when our merchants come to these markets but beyond that I have little call upon my time until we go. Truly finding anything else to do save for Martyn’s suggestion that I find some bard to listen to would be most welcome.” If for no other reason than to spite her brother at his suggestion. Relaxation and music, indeed! Hogwash more like!

She lowers her gaze to that half-empty cup at the mention of Landon, rather thoughtfully. “If I see him, I shall surely offer my wishes. And I would ask that if you happen to speak with him you might do the same on my behalf. But may I ask why you say he might be in need of some distraction? The business of killing, I understand, is one that requires particular focus and concentration. Equally as much as the business of surviving, I should think.”

Bryce checked his Trusting at 10, he rolled 9.

"I have no further suggestions or arrangements," Bryce replies vaguely, "that need to be made, so yes, enjoy Sarum, for as long as we are still staying there. We shall be back soon anyway, if there should be that Summer Tourney I have had some rumors about." And no doubt, Bryce will show up to compete! The question about Landon brings a slightly amused expression to his face. "Oh, it seems Landon was slightly sought after, in regards to favors, when we were at Carlion for the Royal Wedding and tournament. I suspect," and here mischief glimmers in his hazel eyes, "my brother could need a break from such worries and woes from time to time, so he will certainly appreciate your wisdom and council."

That, at least, brings a little smirk back upon Catriona’s features. “Whatever he may call my company, I daresay wisdom and council would not be among the choice descriptions,” she teases herself a little, this time. The cup now emptied, it’s settled down rather gently on the table. “And I do wonder that he may need a break from being sought after. I thought that was rather a perk of doing one’s knightly duty in the lists. And with your own progression toward matrimony, it stands to reason that he is next in line for such business.” Catriona speaks of the whole matter almost clinically. “Well, at the very least before we depart I might find some sweet fruits from the continent at a reasonable price — it might be a nice gift to bring back for your mother and mine. Is there anything in particular that your Lady favors, that I might look for as well before we go?” Her gaze, once more, is curious and yet almost professional, too.

"Well, then just the relieving company of a female he does not feel the need to impress," Bryce counters with a smirk of his own. "And of course! It is about impressing and showing off, but…" His voice trails off and he shrugs. "I for my part, did ask for one favor alone and was content with it." He lifts his gaze after a brief moment of contemplating the many impressions of the wedding tournament at Carlion, and catching Catriona's subtle hint, the Baverstock lets out a soft sigh. "Of course. I am aware. But so far I am giving him a little time to enjoy his knighthood for a bit." That makes it sound as if Bryce were so much older and longer a knight, when in fact it is two years that separate them in age. "There will be time to think of such matters after the Saxon menace has been dealt with.", Bryce intones with procrastinating optimism, and a dismissing gesture of his hand.

The next question, while certainly intended to lighten up his spirits does rather the opposite, a hint of bewilderment evident in his angular features as he clears his throat and shakes his head. "I believe it shall be on me to… acquire such favors, cousin Catriona. But I thank you of course, for offering your help."

For a moment, there’s a twinkle in Catriona’s eye — like she might try to poke or prod at him or at something in her retort. But she doesn't, she catches herself perhaps and decides against it. “I’ll surely take the time to make a visit, then, before he or we depart,” she says, at last. “Perhaps it shall do me good as well to see him and share some words with him.” She looks away a moment, toward the door, contemplating something. She’s far away for a few seconds, her eyes and her demeanor becoming thoughtful, pensive. She speaks before she turns her head to look at him again. “I’ve taken up enough of your time, cousin. No doubt you have much to see to, and even in the summer the days can sometimes seem far too short when business is pressing. Do let me know, however, if there is anything that I may acquire for you while we’re in town. I’m happy to be of service, as always.”

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