(514-07-12) There's a Cow.
Summary: A trip to the bakery is interrupted by a cow.
Date: 514-07-12
Related: none
eirian gaius braelynn 


Everyone at the end of the day — or preferably the beginning — comes to Bryndon's. The ovens fired up long before dawn breaks to prepare for Sarum's residents to appear, hungry for a belly full of bread. The staple of the diet lends a heady fragrance to the air, a thick spill of yeast billowing out the open doors into the summer morn. A few day old loaves end up shilled out for a denarius at most to the commoners on a first come, first serve basis. The shuffling, scraggly line moves on rather quickly but a queue forms, mostly household women, those roused from their beds early to catch a pile of loaves or a handsome assortment of steaming, piping hot breads. The activity is considerable in the kitchen where dough is beaten and mixed, herbs thrown into the lumps left to rise.

Which makes the presence of a cow in the middle of the bakery even more of a stir. She isn't a large heifer by any means, probably only a year or two old. A juvenile cow, of eligible age, wanders in through the open door. The black beast has pointed horns and a string of grass and flowers stuck on her spotted legs. Simply put, she decides to sit down on a squishy pile of cheap cloth set aside, probably to be used as an awning for later in the day. Chewing her cud, the cow relaxes while a returning baker boy pokes his head in. He's about to say something but instead drops his bucket of water.

As Braelynn enters the bakery carrying a large basket she seems surprised, to say the least, at the presence of the large cow in a place where a cow is, at the very least, unexpected. Her mouth moves into a little "oh…" shape, then her eyes lift to the boy who has dropped the bucket of water. She informs him, as if he didn't already know, "There's a cow."

His return from Sussex was met with little ceremony. Actually it was probably met with plenty ceremony as they returned with a captured Saxon chieftain, though the Stapleford Knight had found a way to avoid the pomp and praise. Perhaps it was because of the circumstances of his time in Sussex, a guest of some Saxon warriors after being captured on his own quest. There are likely some rumors about, but most are gossiping about the prized chieftain and the rewards that will be bestowed upon the Knights that returned with him.
Gaius naturally finds himself starving from the long and hard fought journey, though his mood is still soured from events of the past. He had gone to Bryndon's to procure a loaf from himself as he prepares for a journey back to Stapleford lands to converge with family and friends. He had been away for far too long, and despite the recent events around Sarum, the man believes it best he rejoin his own blood for a brief refreshing moment. The man comes in behind Braelynn, cocking an eyebrow at the beast that has laid claim to the bakery like a dragon of old. "There is indeed a cow."

Where be the lady de Burcombe? In the queue, actually, shading her brow with her hand and speaking with another woman probably fifteen years her senior about the relative benefits of rue. Rue in the garden, rue in life. The conversation apparently is engrossing enough to neglect notice of a several hundred pound piece of livestock taking up residence inside the bakery, flopping down, and waiting for her order to be finished. Surely the cow placed a request by cowrier. Gossip floods back and forth between the pair of women and those around them, like magpies on a line, before the interruption starts to percolate through the sleepy little group.

Eirian has reason to be tired. Equally so to pull her head up, breathing through her parted lips. A somewhat familiar shape passes by in a shock of red hair, and then another by the time her focus is settling in. "Lady Cholderton!" Hesitation becomes a peal of greeting, warm as the sun will be, right as she disappears into the entrance. It may be that she calls the Stapleford as a lady of a pagan house. Egads.

The cow? She chews and ruminates upon existence, pleased as can be. "Moo."

Braelynn, just as surprised at the view of the cow, as the sound of her name being called, turns her head just in time to hear Gauis' confirmation of her rather obvious observation. She gives him a lopsided grin and starts to move toward the direction from which she heard her name called. Spying Eirian she smiles, and points to the interior of the shop saying quite matter of factly. "There's a cow."

There are many things that Gaius is unsure of. Life, Death, the Fey, the proper way to greet a Tournament Marshall, how to not upset a noblewoman at a courtly Ball. there also details he is positive of. One of those being his status as a Lady and being of house Cholderton. Despite that knowledge, Eirian causes him to glance around just incase some Faerie has played a trick on him and turned his world upside down. Thankfully Braelynn approached the other woman to confirm that yes, Gaius is not a Lady. The foundation of his world is secure. "Why do I always find you so near Cows, Lady of the Woods?" Gaius remarks with an accusing glance to Eirian as he watches to poor bakers contemplate how to deal with the non-paying customer.

The dark, spotted leg cow causes more than a little stir. The poor boy is still staring at her, and then a few flour-covered bakers emerge from the kitchens. Hands dust and flutter around, throwing powder into the air. "What's this?" A surprise lingers on the voice of a heavy-set fellow. "Why is there a cow about here? Who let this happen?" His florid face reddens and he peers past Braelynn to… the knight. "Is this yours? Some joke? We do not allow cows in here. Take your heifer out of this bakery. The fields are out back if you need somewhere to put her, if you raided her."

On her part, Eirian is just slipping within the bakery at the time this ultimatum is thrown out. A gauntlet down, as it happens. She cranes to stand on tiptoe and discover the nature of the interruption, her dark brows knit together as she listens to Braelynn's proclamation. "A cow. Is this a butcher?" She peers about the place she has been half a dozen times in the last month, surely, and then slips up towards the noble woman to flank her side. The Lady of the Wood inclines her head graciously towards the pair she recognizes, avoiding the bakers by interposing the Stapleford between him and herself. "I have nary a notion why it is so. Perhaps you have blighted Macha."

Braelynn, for what it's worth, speaks up for Gaius as she calls to the baker, "He arrived after I did, and the cow was already here." This is her defense of the knight. She glances at him and then looks a little more closely. She seems to be considering for a moment before she speaks up. "We've met, but I'm afraid I don't remember your name."

Accusations! Horrible terrible accusations of cow raiding! Unless he raided it from the Saxons, then cheers all around! It is surely that cows will haunt his dreams in the future considering all the run ins he has had with the creatures, both directly and indirectly. He looks at the baker in surprise and just shakes his head. "I can assure you I did not raid any bovine and then decided to deposit my prize in the middle of a bakery" he then glances over to Braelynn, and when your name is asked for you cannot hold it back! Unelss you do. "We have my lady. Gaius de Stapleford. Owner of no heifers at this time."

Failed.
You check your courtesy at 3, you rolled 10.
Failed.
You check your orate at 3, you rolled 19.

The baker scowls and the other baker assistants — bakerettes? — behind him look with fluttering urgency on the cow, the building crowd expecting their bread outside, and the interruption. "Oh," snaps the baker, "a likely story. A cow does not just walk into a building without encouragement." Even though they have and do, he seems dubious. More than dubious, eyeing up Braelynn. "Is this your business, lady? Did you help him bring that heifer into our business?"
The heifer lows happily, chomping.

Eirian's fingers slide over her mouth, her sleeve concealing the arc of her chin. Eyes spark with laughter and an odd light, mirth settling to a high level that warms her fair, elegant face. Shoulders tighten rather than tremble, and she struggles to exhale without betraying the high angle of response. "Pity he has none such. I hear the poets say they are the essence of a happy family life."

Braelynn just stares at the baker as she is accused of contributing to this debacle. She crosses her arms over her chest and says to him, quite perturbed. "I simply came for pastries, but I'm not entirely sure I want to eat a pastry from a baker with such unsanitary conditions as this!" She turns her back to him, and addresses to Lady Eirian. "They might be essences of a happy family life, Lady Eirian, but where there are cows there are flies, and dirt, and…." She wrinkles her nose and doesn't quite finish that sentence.

The cow's hooves scrape on the ground as she gets more comfortable, leaning on her side. Her tail swishes and she is certainly in no hurry to leave her comfortable perch on the awning. Anyone coming close to her doesn't get more than an ear twitch or a look through placid brown eyes.

"Perhaps we should take this conversation outside. Clearly this is not your cow, and they are upset," murmurs Eirian from over Braelynn's shoulder. She stands a very short distance away, directly behind the woman, and the scent of her rosewater perfume is a subtle note. "Would you like to step outside and offer someone the opportunity to rouse the cow from her perch? I have no talent for coercing that sort of animal to my hand or to follow me, I am afraid. Unless you have a hidden talent?"

A shake of her head is given, as Braelynn eyes the baker dubiously. In response to Eirian she says, "Yes, let's. I've no talent at moving any sort of animal, and that one looks quite content to stay where she is." While she says this, her eyes remain on the baker. Braelynn, who isn't inclined to trust many, certainly does not trust this baker, and it's highly unlikely she'll return here in the near future.

Failed.
Gaius checked his romance of 2, he rolled 16.
Success
Gaius checked his str of 12, he rolled 11.

The baker's irritation is fed by the growing line, the surprise of a cow, the twittering of the assistants behind him. "Back to work!" he tells the women in a booming voice. "So much to do, the bread must not burn. We will have to find a shepherd or something of that nature." A frown follows. "Go, go, Darwyn. See if you can find one." He nudges the boy to run out the door, all awkward limbs.

Gaius can't allow such a challenge to go unanswered. Even as the Ladies seem ready to depart, "A moment" he begs of them as he steps away, the man taking a second to unbuckle his scabbard to lay out near one of the bakery supports as he eyes the cow. "Now dear cow. You are clearly intruding. I must" he circles behind the cow, assessing the best point of attack! With determination he leans his shoulder into the cow's flank to try and at least get it standing and moving. Less sitting and mooing. "Insist you depart!"

The cow is not small. She's a cow. On the other hand, a juvenile cow weighs less than a full grown adult cow. She is more nudged along by Gaius and turns her horned head, narrowly grazing Gaius' shoulder and nudges. "Moo." Yes, what business is this? However, the push makes her roll onto her hooves, unwieldy as that movement is. Her bulk shifts and up she goes, hooves trotting on the ground with a weird clacking sound.

Facing all the activity, Eirian shakes her head slightly. "I have no quarrel with a bovine or a bread maker, but I would be more comfortable outside. I have no need to stall someone else getting inside." The slim arc of a smile lasts a few moments, no more, and she withdraws a few steps to open space to make a hasty departure through the doorway.

An nod of agreement is given, and Braelynn turns toward the exit. She looks over her shoulder dubiously as the cow stands, and quickens her pace so she isn't caught in the way of the exit. She narrows her eyes to watch the knight whose name she has failed to remember. She moves a short distance from the door and glances back to await Lady Eirian.

Success
Gaius checked his str of 12, he rolled 6.

The bovine obeys! Brute force at least. Of course a hard push with his shoulder is hardly brutish. Gaius uses a steady hand to guide the beast, a heavy pat of encouragement on the cow's flank to at least keep it calm. He treats it more like a horse as hes never had to ride or train a cow. In a way the cow is like a horse! It has four legs it eats grass. Very horse like. "Make way make way for Bryndon's famous raiding cow!" he declares as he tries to guide the cow out, shooting a glance back to the baker to see if he is happy. He better be!

Failed.
Gaius checked his courtesy of 3, he rolled 5.

Moo! The cow is big enough to stand her ground and shoving the placid beast is unlikely to win anything in the battle. A laugh bubbles up from a child waiting with his mother in line, and the titter of those watching this latest turn of affairs fills the air. Alas, Moira-the-Moo-Cow isn't about to be upended by whatever Gaius feels is appropriate. She does nudge him again with her broad flank, and walks around in a lazy circle. Her tail swishes, ears flat.

Eirian lightly touches Braelynn's arm and guides her to the side, making it straightforward to slip aside in case Gaius goes running out the door fast as his shoes can carry him. "They might try flapping some fabric at her, but I do not know. Suppose this is a love affair waiting to happen! A cow wanders in, and she is led out to the fields, finds a fine steer, and they live on happily?"

Braelynn seems mystified for a moment, and her eyes light up. She turns to Eirian. "Didn't we encounter the same knight at the tavern? The knight they were singing about cows? There is something to this, I suspect." She nods her head in affirmation. "Some sort of message or meaning to it, I suppose." She does follow Eirian willingly, though she is suddenly much more interested in the happenings, and she watches the doorway to see if man and cow shall depart presently.
Success
Eirian checked her folklore of 10, she rolled 1.

Gaius can see his future. He is going to be the Cow Knight. The child laughing does a bit to take a spear to the man's knightly pride. Most Knights would not bother with such a task, but then again Gaius has always been one to get down and dirty, helping a peasant dig a ditch, repair a bridge or gate, sharpen the grave digger's shovel (for he would not deny the grave digger his pay in digging the grave for him.) Gaius huffs and stares at the cow as it simply circles. He steps past the baker, reaching into a barrel of wheat to grab two stocks, tossing a small coin to the baker to pay him for his product. Do cows eat wheat? Hes about to find out as he tempts the bovine with the main ingredient of some breads. For now he seems to ignore the noblewomen and their chit chat, wondering about the Stapleford Knight and his dealing with cows. Did Eirian just call him a steer?

"Was he perhaps born under the sign of the bull? It could be an attraction rooted in the favour of the bull god the Romans had… Mithras?" Her lips lengthen, and then she tips her head. "Ah, the patron saint! Luke the Evangelist, he who has been equated to the winged of, the symbol of sacrifice and strength. Service, too, a fitting parallel for a man who wrestles the king of livestock." A pause follows, and she corrects herself. "Wait, a queen. Yes, there could be some metaphorical parallel there." If Braelynn peers in, you can be certain she is another set of eyes peering around the noble woman, like a stack of kittens eyeing up the dangers.

This particular cow, it should be said, eats grass. And whatever else fattens her up, so chances are good wheat serves as well as mash. She is not interested in bread, but sticking out a bag of wheat does end up well. Her nose will soon be stuffed in the bag. The cow, not Eirian, who is outside with Braelynn.
GAME: Save complete.

And no. Eirian suggested an actual male cattle — a steer — would be the match made in bovine heaven. Not Gaius. Not a-moo-sing, silly man.

Braelynn nods sagely to what Eirian says, and says to her, "Sacrifice and strength. I suppose that could fit a great many of the knights here. Though I suspect more than a few of them would consider themselves above trying to chase a cow from a bread shop." She continues to watch. This is, after all, the most excitement she's had in quite some time.

It seems the treat tempts better then the shove when it comes from the cow. As the heifer stuffs her head into the bag of wheat to enjoy the golden stalks Gaius takes slow ponderous steps towards the door. "When I find the farmer this cow belongs too" he mumbles to himself as he glances back to make sure Moira is following. He makes it near the door and Gaius settles his gaze on Eirian and Braelynn in an accusing manner. "Lady of the Woods. It will not surprise me if I one day find a magical portal in which you guide cows through to interfere with the life of us mortals" Another step guides the cow along. "And how convenient for you to forgot my name! A wonderfully crafted alibi." To Braelynn. Oh he knows how these women work!

"Many might say ousting a cow was a heroic effort, especially if a lovely young lady is involved. It will become an epic to sing of, and to think I laid witness! If your marriage is struck a few months from now, Lady Braelynn, I promise the minstrels will give an appropriate view of the heroics rather than any efforts that did not come to flowering on the first attempt." At this, she helplessly starts to laugh into her sleeve, as buoyant as Braelynn is thrilled.

When the farmer is found, he will probably be alarmed to know his prize cow walked out the door, much less *into* a doorway. Behold, the proud and mighty Stapleford leading the bovine by the nose, and four stomachs, with the heavy bag. She is rapidly depleting the contents by chomping up mouthfuls of the wheat intended for the grinding stone. Munch, much munching. Her clopping hooves are a steady tattoo of mockery. Or satisfaction. Out the door she goes into the sunshine, pushing around at the bag, probably threatening to knock Gaius over.

Failed.
Gaius checked his dex of 11, he rolled 16.

A pale hand flutters to Braelynn's mouth to stifle a cough of surprise as she hears first Gauis' words, and then Eirians. "Lady Eirian!" She then turns to the knight and says, "And you!" She shakes her head, as her cheeks flush pink. "Lady Eirian you read much too much into this situation! Maybe it is simply a cow!"

Freedom! More for the bakers and their business then the cow as the beast is led out the threshold of the business. Gaius pulls back the bag and tosses it out into the street to lead the beast further away, as it seems his duty stops at getting the cow out of the bakery. He doesn't have the time or the energy to lead the cow back to whatever mysterious farmer she belongs to. Gaius turns sharply at that, perhaps to bow at the success of his deed, or to levy my words at the two noble ladies. Moria, in her delight for more wheat, stomps forward, her flanks smacking into the Knight and knocking him to the ground. He lays on the ground for a moment, staring up at the sky. "I'm starting to think either cows don't like me or I am cursed when I come to this city. The woods suit me more. Wild creatures and Saxons be damned."

Innocence knows best. Eirian has practically her own halo. A halo made of roses in her hair, naturally, and all she needs are pointed ears and a glamour to throw over someone to truly be an inhuman monster. "I should think you would have an adventure start of this, Lady Braelynn, not be bound by the cow's presence. I do not attribute that to domesticated livestock." Does she believe wild animals produce unions spontaneously between people? One may wonder. "Sir Gaius has been quite the hero, nonetheless. Ingenious use of the bag of wheat, now if only she does not trample him when she realizes the bag is soon to be empty."

And then they see just that fact. Bad Moira the cow! When he stumbles, she does not hesitate in her action to move forward, hand outstretched to help him up or be pulled into the cow's way as a Christian sacrificing a pagan to the herbivores of the world. When in Rome…

Critical Success!
Gaius checked his dex of 11, he rolled 11.

Braelynn seems, at the very least, embarrassed. She shakes her head at Eirian, causing a red curl to flop onto her forehead. She says, "Sir Gaius, yes. That's his name!" She turns to watch this comedy of erros as the knight is knocked on his butt by the cow. She glances at him dubiously, and then at Eirian. "I don't know, Lady Eirian. Perhaps the songs will be singing of your match with him."

Thankfully Gaius is not wearing armor, otherwise the coming feat would be impossible. Or all that more impressive. As the cow lumbers forward with its single mindedness Gaius bends his back upwards before launching his feet forward to hop up from his back to standing on his two feet with a single spring. The Knight dusts himself off of dirt and gravel, as if he wasnt about to be crushed by a wayward hoof. The man takes a breath, as if re-evaluating his life. He is sure when he was knighted no one made mention of such adventures. "I can assure you both, you likely cavort with far more prestigious or interesting people then I. Don't set your sights so low."

He's a Minoan bull jumper?
Eirian. The Romoon general proceeds in heroic fashion out of the bakery, alas, not astride his trusty cow. It is a pity and a lost cause, for which Eirian slips backwards to avoid being squashed. "My match? Perish the notion. A Burcombe and a Stapleford would be a sign of the Second Coming and the demise of the Treasures of Britain into a slop pail."

Braelynn raises her eyebrow at this, her cheeks flushing with something. It could be embarrassment, or perhaps a touch of annoyance. Her voice has a slightly anxious note as she says, "I see…" She crosses her arms over her chest and watches the knight. She is offended, and this is obvious.

Gaius was attempting to be modest! And now it seems such a match would reduce Britannia to a slop pail! The knight's pride is only a tad bit impinged, a tad. "Yes well I believe Cousin Gideon has referred to the Burcombe as dangerous daggers in the dark… but then I believe such connections are even more necessary to bridge such divides…" he remarks, seeming to speak of a separate matter then if he would be a good match. He looks back to Braelynn, and can catch no luck today! "My lady pray take no offense, simply my knightly modesty…"

Offense be as it is, Eirian is not immune to identifying its potential source. "I jest, Lady. I have had opportunity to speak with Lord Gideon de Stapleford and discovered, as some may, that our beliefs are not so much divergent as very peculiarly placed against one another. He seems to possess the wisdom to reason with me on an intellectual level, although I fear his capacity to trust those of the manor somewhat inhibited by previous encounters or direct experience with the precociousness known to be carried in the blood. As long as I have known them, I may find at times it is difficult to disagree with his assessment, for all I would suggest the energetic nature they have is not intentionally harmful. He has a house to worry about, and traditions to uphold that may be imperiled by outside forces. I am not prone to blaming him or questioning his discretion. Indeed, in his own shoes, I might fear myself greatly." No dagger, and not particularly dark, Eirian tips her fingers forward and folds in a courtly bow that leaves nothing to be desired in its execution. Clearly she knows that much. "Of prior acquaintance, I may speak to Sir Stapleford's good intentions, and whatever social limitations may exist, they are not created by any malice or ill-will."

Shyness rears its head, Braelynn seems momentarily, at least, at a loss for words. She takes a deep breath and states, her voice still fraught with hurt feelings, "So when you were jesting about me marrying him it was a song for the bards to sing for the ages, yet when you speak of your own match with him it equates to the treasures of Britain in a slop pail? What does that say of your opinion of me, Lady Eirian?"

"Because," Eirian interrupts here, "it would cause a terrible shock. My family is known for strange sorts, and merged to the fearsome repute of his? I am not as virtuous as you."

At a glance Gaius does not appear to be a dreadful man. He does not appear to be a death obsessed man. His armor is not made of bones, and the depictions of the afterlife are not emblazoned on his surcoat. Of course most would be hard pressed to find any Stapleford with such finery. Gaius does not appear to be one of the famed death Knights of the Stapleford Manor, but the emblem and heraldry on his surcoat mark him as such. "Each Manor has their own secrets and traits that other manors whisper about. Some darker and more misunderstood then others. That is all she meant." Gaius says, supportive in a way, but he does seem to be interested in watching how Eirian reacts to the social tables being flipped on her, her mischief perhaps back firing a bit. The cow, Moria, gives a soft moo as it lumbers off.

Failed.
Eirian checked her Pride of , she rolled 2.
Success
Eirian checked her proud of 16, she rolled 3.
Success
Eirian checked her reckless of 10, she rolled 9.

Bad cow!

Eirian delicately inclines her head. "It takes a very special sort to deal with the likes of me, and the proper bindings and charms are hard to find that contain the influence of what I do. The curse of the otherworld, some would say, though certainly I do not feel such weighs heavily upon me." She brushes her fingers against her lips and blows a kiss into the air, her pale eyes glittering against the bright summer sky. "Have a care, Gaius de Stapleford, for perhaps we are not so misunderstood as you would think. There is something beguiling and familiar in our remote histories, where the entanglements arise from the same source. Your path in the wood was no accident, was it? Lady Braelynn, you need not shy away from me from thinking less of you. On the contrary, I think you have the mettle and fortitude to withstand shadow in the grace of your being. Which is something that transcends belief and lies in the core of a person, shining outwards. Alas, if only all could see as I see."

Braelynn looks at Eirian as she considers her words, and at least momentarily, she is appeased. She says, in a very matter-of-fact voice. "Lady Eirian. You say the most peculiar things." Her attention then turns to Gauis and she nods her head at him. "I apologize, Sir. We are being rude in speaking of you as if you are a third party not present. If what you speak of is true, then I wonder, what whispers have you heard whispersed about the Cholderton Manor?"

Gaius is a Stapleford Man. And a Stapleford Man must deal with a Stapleford Woman. Braelynn can rest assured that at least once in history a Stapleford Woman has talked about a man as if he wasn't there, when he was, and as if he had no say in the matter, he often doesn't. And by at least once in history, likely every other day. The man has folded his arms across his chest and watches Eirian in her display of placating the offended Braelynn. "You make me wary of peek on the other side of that veil.." he admits, his eyes hovering on the fey professed woman. "I have heard tale that the founder of your manor knows of a bear in his lineage. I must admit, not as dark as my own home, but an intriguing rumor none the less. Don't you think?"

Eirian stays quiet for the moment, though she does nod to Gaius' suggestion of ursine origins. Then again, this is a woman commonly thought to be a changeling, so there is only so much she can verify without engaging everyone in her madness.

"I'll admit to having heard some of those rumors myself." Braelynn glances at Eirian, and her expression softens before she smiles, "Though I see no likeness whatsoever, Lady Eirian." She winks at the other woman, in an attempt to lighten the mood somehow. She is obviously uncomfortable with the tension that is hanging in the air.

Obviously no connection between a bear and the lady with glorious red hair. None whatsoever. Nope. No one ever heard of a red bear. Braelynn's great-great-great-grandpapa was a red panda.

Gaius lets out a genuine laugh, "Truly? Well I guess the money I paid that bard was well spent! I do enjoy when the fantastical has some possibility of realty. I guess I shall avoid coming through your manor with a great bear pelt less it be some far removed uncle." Gaius remarks with a soft smile.

Braelynn gives Gaius a little grin and answers quite cheerfully, "And if you shall then I will thank my dear uncle for the warmth he is about to provide to his kin." She tilts her head and asks, her voice tinged with curiosity, "So what *is* it with you and cows, Sir Gaius? Every time I see you… cows. First the tavern, now here. Are you a dairy farmer and a knight?"

"I should think the ability of your manor to function in the wilds speaks well to that story. I have for myself seen Lady Arta's acumen with an oar and a rope. She pulled me from a sinking boat without the least hesitation, and that level of skill will be considerable in any person. It would make sense if your origins are ursine; they fear no water or wood." Also, they are probably all weak to the honey slathered rolls Eirian so often carries. Is there a connection? Do coincidences really exist? The plot thickens!

"I truly do not know my Lady." Gaius says and shoots an accusing glance to Eirian. "The last few seasons I had spent ranging south, and did not see a cow nor bull for several leagues, though I avoided most of the farms. And now, that I have returned to Salisbury, I find I cannot escape the beasts or their associations. Perhaps it is a sign. Perhaps I shall give up the sword and become a dutiful farmer, though woe be to any Saxons who decide to tease my land, hm? I imagine I could would a pitch fork rather well.." The knight shakes his head though, "Though I can assure you, the family animal and cows would likely not get along well." Then again the Serpent doesn't get along with anyone now does it? Except maybe Eve.

"I suppose there are far worse creatures to be plagued with than cows. I find them to be generally easy to please and good natured. The female of the species, anyway. But then, that is the nature of things isn't it? Bulls are often less agreeable than cows." She glances over at the nearby cow and nods her head toward her. "See? pleasant enough."

Critical Success!
Gaius checked his honest of 10, he rolled 10.
Success
Gaius checked his deceitful of 10, he rolled 9.

Women, easy and good natured!? No. He cannot accept this. No Stapleford man could admit to that. They do not hate their women, and perhaps prefer the hardened nature of their other halves. But Easy and Good Natured!? Mind you Gaius of course misses the designation that Braelynn speaks of cows and bulls and not men and women. "I generally find the women often impossible to please and ever demanding." The truth comes out, though Gaius quickly tries to recover, "I mean did you see how she demanded the attention of the bakery!?" Yes. Good recovery. Gaius did not speak badly of all women. Especially Stapleford variety women.

"I have yet to hear of a cow plagued by a snake. Particularly those on this island, which are peculiarly without venom or harsh bites, but rather curl around in the stones and sun themselves in the garden." That's right, garter snakes are everyone's friend. Eve's garden had a portal to Australia. Eirian pipes up after a moment of reflection. "Veritably your badge may be deemed as a greeting to all misunderstood creatures that give benefits to all and sundry, but humble themselves and labour under a difficult reputation. So too are serpents fond of saucers of milk and cream, and were a symbol of healing." No Stapleford man has a hope with that contrary fey of eldritch proportions and surreal countenance offering the sliver of a smile. "Perhaps then you may find the fairer folk demanding and difficult to please because of illusory standards based on a mistaken assumption, or worse, because you have not learned their language well enough to understand. Would you wish us to aid you in your comprehension?"

Watch every Stapleford mother, wife, daughter, and child recoil in horror at some distant alarm only they can hear.
Failed.
Gaius checked his reckless of 10, he rolled 14.
Failed.
Gaius checked his prudent of 10, he rolled 17.

"A brow rises as Braelynn looks at the knight dubiously. She seems to consider her response for quite some time. She says to him earnestly, "Then perhaps Sir Gaius, you have been keeping company with the wrong women." She nods toward Eirian and says to Gaius, "You would be wise to listen to Lady Eirian's instruction. She has quite a way with words, does she not?"

Somewhere, the cow moos.

"Lady of the Woods… I plan to return to the Stapleford Manor in a few weeks time. I do not wish to be smothered like some young animal that was tainted by the touch of another, Bear or wild Fey-like." Indeed, he knows what would happen if the Stapleford women got a sense of such education! "Perhaps another time ladies, when it is more… private." He says, clearly trying to throw them off with some innuendo. Hopefully blushing maidens decide to flee!
Critical Success!
Gaius checked his flirting of 8, he rolled 8.

"Smothered? Why, Sir Stapleford, is that how you speak to the tender sensibilities and generous spirit shown you by Lady Cholderton?" There is a distinct glint in Eirian's eye, and she glances askance to the delightful redhead, channeling the red panda of her ancestors. "I dare say you almost sound vexed, if not…. apprehensive at the prospect? What harm could the likes of we do to you?" She traipses her fingers to her throat.

Epic romance for the ages, she predicted. Eirian very much warps fate; destinies align to her colluding touch. "I think you do her a disservice, sir, and impugn her good name and gentle heart. Alas."

Braelynn flushes, her cheeks turning the darkest shade of pink they have perhaps ever been. She shrinks back closer to Eirian, but she's looking at Gaius with wide eyes. "Maybe.. but … I.." She stammers, unable to form a sentance. Suddenly that rough man who showed up at the tavern looking quite filthy the last time she saw him is looking mighty attractive to poor innocent little Braelynn!

Gaius has spent a bit too long from civilization, dealing with the wilds, beast and shadows. Barbarian picts and Saxons. Thieves and Bards. Whimsical and mischief fey and their rituals. Now that he is back in civilization he has to deal with different rules and different games. The innocent and civil Braelynn! The mysterious and possibly dangerous (entirely dangerous) Eirian! Lovely women in their different ways, like different spokes of a wheel. A wheel that Gaius now runs atop! Perhaps his suggestion and innuendo went a little to far, or was said a little too perfectly, as if he delights in what goes on in private! The teasing and mischief making Eirian and blushing Braelynn let him know he succeeded a bit too well. He simply smiles and sweeps out his hands "I simply uphold the traditions of my good house." Emphasizing good as if he knows there is little good about it!

Braelynn looks as if she would disappear entirely behind Eirian if it were at all possible. Her ears are bright pink, and she just stares at Gauis with doe-eyed admiration.

How did it fall to Eirian to be a shield? Who relies on her to be their defense, unless facing a Cardinal lawyer in an ecclesiastical court? There are superior protectors, at least in this particular corner of the kingdom. "Oh, verily, do you?" Eirian's mouth hangs in that delicate sickle, the moon in its narrowest phase. "Then I suppose I ought to live up to the traditions of mine, should I not?"

The womenfolk are not running. Gaius would make a truly terrible barbarian, as he seems rather ineffective at drawing out the lamentations of women. Of course he employs the improper tools. He feels a tad bit guilty at the blush that has spread across Braelynn's cheek, his innuendo at work destroying some of that civility and innocence! He of course eyes Eirian warily, "The Burcombe have many traditions so I hear… " he remarks, and perhaps now remembers some warning Gideon gave about Burcombe women. Placate them with stories but don't let them watch your back?

"Sweet rolls." An utterly *ominous* response from Eirian there.

Braelynn seems to have gained at least some sense of composure, as she says to Eirian. "Sweet rolls sound nice. Perhaps we could go get some?" A glance is shot in Gauis' general direction, but if Braelynn was shy before, she is doubly so now, so she looks away rather quickly.

Sweetrolls? Oh he could think of something sweet— No! Bad Gaius! He gives a simple smile to the offer of delights, "I will have to put off such a treat for another time unfortunately, I have to go convince the baker to sell me bread so I can prepare for my journey home." Hey his original intent with flirting has been accomplished, neither are attempting to educate him on women.

Braelynn moves to the line of the pastry shop, tugging Eirian along with her. She still watches the rakish Gauis, with a mixture of fear and .. something akin to a crush.

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