(514-07-03) No Toothless, Old Hag Please!
Summary: Rowan and Steffan have a discussion about love and marriage.
Date: July 3rd, 514
Related: None
rowan steffan 

Wylye Salisbury
May of the year 514. — Sat Feb 06 21:00:23 2016

Upon entering the manor you feel the wattle mat beneath your toes, so placed to keep you from tracking dirt onto the wooden floorboards. The washing on the wood gives a welcome brightness within an otherwise dark interior; there are only two windows - one on each end - with vellum stretched over them to allow light in but keep draughts out. Most of the light within the manor is provided by candles which burn animal fat and the stone chimney which emanates a pleasant smoky heat for all those lucky enough to be inside.

At the far end of the hall the dais sits the chairs of the lord and lady. On both sides of these high seats run benches for the family, and a long wooden table where they often feast.

Along the exterior walls are alcoves which serve as places to sit or do hand work during the day and to sleep at night. The lord's family's more private rooms lay beyond the dais end of the hall, on the opposite side of the screens passage.

It is evident that the hall has more than one entrance, located on the opposite side. There is a small building nearby, separate from the manor, which serves as the kitchen. A handful of servants travel back and forth frequently, likely preparing the next family meal.

Rowan - A somber young knight with wavy auburn hair and brown eyes. (App: 11)
Steffan - A very young knight with light brown hair to his shoulders and dark brown eyes.
Exits: [O] River Wylye

The sun set upon another day, and Rowan returns from paying a visit to the Dinton manor. Against the backdrop of the dimming sky, the citizens of the manor and it's village have turned in for the night after another day of hard work. The gusts of winter were not missed.

The servants of the manor were busy preparing the last meal of the day for the household, though it was far from a grand feast: pottage today, pottage tomorrow, and likely pottage for the rest of the week. The young lord of the manor sits comfortably in his chair, seemingly lost in his thoughts and hardly aware of the people milling around him.

Returning to the manor with a few of the armsmen of House de Wylye, the younger brother of the Heir was out leading a patrol around their lands to ensure there were no Saxons lurking about, after losing their way in Salisbury. Opening the door to the main building, Steffan steps inside and closes it behind him, his helm tucked under his arm. Being the prudent brother, the younger de Wylye did not linger in Sarum after not finding his brother that day. Saving money, he had taken up Amalthea's offer of a free bed in the stable, a haystack to be more exact. Then the next day, he would have departed from the city to see to duties at home. Seeing that Rowan has returned, Steffan's daily routine changes as he approaches, "Brother, you're back. Any developments in Sarum and the Saxons?" Not a question on how he is doing but instead asking questions that may pertain to the safety of their House.

His brown eyes alight upon his taller little brother when Steffan's voice reaches him, almost surprised to see him there. He shifts in his chair and sits up, straightening his posture and focusing his attention on the new knight of the house. "Nothing beyond what you already know. I have not found myself in the thick of the action, but… I have heard we have taken some losses." The deaths of a handful of knights he vaguely knew of, as well as other nameless faces. "I am pleased to see you have escaped harm, as well. Were you looking for me?"

"I have heard the same, those Saxons have quite a lot to pay for, for what they did to our people." Steffan says with a shake of his head before the scent of the evening meal catches his nose. Looking over to the servants, he sees that it is pottage again. Just like yesterday, resulting in a sigh, "Guess dinner is stew again. I already miss Sarum." As for him looking for his older brother in the city, Steffan answers with a nod, "I lead a patrol into the city and knew you were visiting Sarum as well, so I was going to see if I could find you. Did you eat yet?" He is already approaching the servants who preparing the final meal of the night, ready to take a bowl for himself and one for Rowan if needed.

The lord of the manor chuckles lightly. "I've tried to make some biscuits, but I can hardly read the cook book… I think we ought to leave the cooking to those who know how, even if they can stand to be a little more creative from time to time. But yes, get me a bowl." The ride to Dinton has left him in want of something other than dried meat, and the aroma of cooked vegetables and broth was enticing. His brother was hardly a servant to be ordered about, but since he had offered… "It appears we may have just missed each other, then. I had wanted to fight some Saxon bastards myself, but the fight was already over when I arrived. I visited a lady instead."

"Either the Saxons decided our lands was too much trouble to try and take or missed us completely on their march, but we were safe." Steffan says with a nod of agreement on the Saxons, he would have preferred to aid in the defense of Sarum but duty at home comes first. He does take two bowls that were just filled by the servants and brings one back towards Rowan. At the word of a lady though, the younger of the two de Wylyes fixes his gaze on the older, "Was it Lady Amalthea de Dinton?" Straight to the point, it appears that Steffan has gained a nugget or two of information when he was in Sarum.

Rowan gingerly accepts the bowl of steaming stew, careful not to spill it for numerous reasons. It was wise to wait for it to cool. Steffan's next question immediately nets his attention and his eyebrows jump up his forehead in surprise. "It was…" There's some confused blinking as he stares back at Steffan, expression unreadably blank… for now. "Do you know her, brother?"

Taking a seat nearby, Steffan begins to stir the pottage and blowing on the surface, the steam rising from it showing that it is indeed hot. The face he wears is one of usual solemness, not one to show much mirth or unnecessary expressions. "Indeed, she is a kind lady, and from the sounds of it, not like one of those ladies in court that can only rely on their beauty." Meaning she is not an airhead. "She was considerate enough to invite me to sleep in her stable." No smirk or smugness there, quite straightforward with that admission.

Rowan checked his trusting of 10, he rolled 2.

Steffan, too, is evidently schooled in the art of stoicness. Rowan searches for the slightest hint of nervousness or anxiety and finds none on his brother's features, which is enough to set him back at ease. Had it been any other man he would be outright suspicious, but he trusted Amalthea as well. "Aye, she is sharp. And she is not afraid of hard work. She is now the Earl's stablemaster." Rowan stirs his soup absently, not yet daring to take a bite, but clearly contemplating it. "It is kind of her to offer you succor. Does she know you are my brother?" Did she fawn over him unknowingly!?

If Steffan was disappointed that Rowan did not take the bait for his sibling, it doesn't show. Instead the first tentative spoonful of stew is scooped and blown on, then into the mouth. "Yes, she told me about the position she had earned, quite impressive. Not to mention some talent with numbers, writing, and stewardship." All rather good qualities in a match, which the younger de Wylye may be shiftin the conversation towards, "Once I introduced myself, she recognized the name of our House immediately. So you certainly have made an impression on her, brother."

Rowan checked his courtesy of 3, he rolled 2.

The first hints of a smile form on his lips, but it remains subdued. He scoops a spoonful of pottage in his wooden spoon and shovels it into his mouth before he opts to reply. Thankfully he takes a moment to chew and swallow it down before opting to reply. His lessons in manners may have not gone through one ear and out the other, after all! "I did not know she enjoyed math," he confesses sheepishly. It did not occur to him to ask! "But I have visited the Dinton manor and spoke with her uncle regarding a possible match between our houses, through a union between us. He was a friend of our father's, and our father squired his son; a betrothal seems to be the next natural step in securing an alliance which seems all but declared." A thoughtful pause. "And it sounds like you approve, as well."

Seeing how well mannered Rowan is right now is a surprise, as Steffan is usually the one that is looking out for proper etiquette, so this change is definitely noticed. The update from his older brother on a visit to the Dinton manor only cements it, "I don't disapprove, brother. I just wanted to make sure this decision is the best one for our House. You are the head of our house, a marriage is not a decision to be made lightly." Another scoop of stew delays his next words, which Rowan shouldn't be surprised, as it is a very prudent question, "I assume you have already calculated the gains of such a marriage? Not just for an alliance between our two Houses, but for the Lady Amalthea to join our household?"

Rowan tilts his head at the other Wylye, marveling at how insistent Steffan was about analyzing just about everything from every angle. He gulps down another spoonful; it appears he will be continuing the conversation in between consuming his dinner. "She gets to be the Lady of Wylye. That alone puts her ahead of many of her peers. Her first son will replace you as heir." He smirks faintly. "Are there other benefits I may have missed that you have realized?"

Not missing a beat, Steffan has an answer ready for Rowan, perhaps even expecting his older brother to ask, "Will the Dintons unquestioningly offer assistance to our House if trouble rises? Does Lady Amalthea bring wealth to the union?" The tone from the younger de Wylye is not critical in nature, but straight forward questions from a practical point of view, "What allies do the Dintons possess and what enemies? If she weds you, we may share the same and for that, we must take great care."

"She will bring a dowry with her, as is the custom. Higher than the one we are paying for Lunete's marriage into Baverstock at the very least. We will need to go over the exact details on another visit," Rowan answers succinctly. "And I believe they would offer us aid without hesitation, with or without the match, brother." His brows knit together softly. "But I am unfamiliar with how their neighbors may view them. They are a Christian family and there are pagan manors nearby but… I have not heard of any violent transgressions between them."

With a serious answer given by Rowan, Steffan appears to be more than content. It appears that the younger de Wylye was not exactly looking for the right answer from his older brother, but just how it was answered. If his brother's answer was a passion filled, adamant protest, he would have been more worried. But now, Steffan nods his head, "I am glad that you are keeping that in mind, brother. That you are considering the match from the point of view as one who is the head of our House, and not a love stricken young man." There is a slight shake of head from the younger de Wylye as he stirs his stew some more, "Love is the downfall of many great men."

Rowan regards his brother with another quiet, studious stare. "Do you not wish to feel love at least once, Steffan? Even if it may not lead to the outcome you may desire? I understand keeping your wits about you, but there is value in passion." His smile turns wistful now. "I wonder if you can ever allow yourself to ignore the reservations you may impose upon yourself…"

"The reservations I have protects not only our House by myself as well." Steffan says rather nonchalantly, as if it was an issue he had already tackled with himself, especially after he had attained his own knighthood. More stew is scooped and eaten, not one to waste, "Why would I wish to feel love, brother, when it will only result in pain? We all must do our duty, to House and Realm. It would help no one if I were to demand that you fulfill my selfish desires."

"You are not as bound with obligations as I am - I would think you would relish the freedom. You are free to pursue any woman you'd like provided she is not a viper and at your leisure." He continues to peer thoughtfully at Steffan. "Though lust and love are two different things. Still, you love your family - so it cannot be a wholly bad thing destined for ruin. But…" His brown eyes drift back to his dinner. "That is something you will have to discover on your own. I do hope you don't completely dismiss the possibility."

Shaking his head, Steffan apparently disagrees with what he sees his duty is as temporary heir and brother to the head of house, "That freedom is an illusion, brother." With the bowl empty, he cradles it in his hand while focusing on the subject they are on, "Father left us too soon, and you were forced to shoulder the burden. I will do what I can, what I must, to lessen that burden for you. I do love my family, that is why I will be pleased if you make the right match for me, one that will benefit you and the de Wylyes as a whole." There is a pause before the younger brother actually cracks a joke, a blatant one, "Just try not to make her a toothless, old hag. I would appreciate it. But if she has a cave full of gold, then I will understand."

The older but smaller Wylye looks perplexed. "Illusion?" As Steffan goes on, however, his intent becomes more clear: he was dedicated to Rowan and his family, first and foremost. This was not news to the eldest brother, even if he felt it made Steffan's world view needlessly gray. "Father would value your happiness, Steffan, but I understand." The joke has him chortle in reply. "Be careful. If you manage to ensnare the heart of an aging widow with several manors I might hold you to that sentiment, brother." He closes his eyes and nods firmly. "But enough seriousness - let us finish dinner."

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