(514-08-02) A Difficult Homecoming
Summary: One Laverstock returns with unexpected and troublesome news.
Date: August 2nd, 514
Related: A New Morning, A New Life and What Their Future May Hold
arian eirian elrick padrig trystan 

One of the missing sons of Laverstock has finally made his return after the successful raid into Sussex. Interesting enough, when Elrick heard about the arranged marriage that had been set up for Lainn, he decided to avoid heading home with the others. It may appear like he is avoiding the temptation to tease his older brother all the way home, and while at home, but his reason is clearer today. Lughnasadh had already begun, being that it is the second day of August.

It is late into the afternoon when Elrick reaches the Laverstock manor, his return anything but normal this time and those in the town will notice, especially his siblings and cousins if they are about. The Laverstock knight is mounted on his charger, Havok, and trailing behind tied is a mare. What is most noticeable is that he is not riding alone in his saddle, sitting side saddled in front of him is Eirian. For those that know her or have seen her before, she is a daughter of House Burcombe, and twined around her forearm and wrist are interlaced red and white cords. A rather conspicuous way to return home.

Arian de Laverstock has been in the training yard with her new squire — the young and cheerful Avane from a neighboring manor house. Both are rather dusty and muddy from working with Avane's borrowed rouncy — a rather docile mare from the Laverstock's brood that is perhaps the best horse for a squire learning how to saddle and pack a horse for long travel. The two are approaching the front of the manor, both dressed in long tunics and breeches. Avane looks a touch uncomfortable in the clothes, though Arian looks at ease. She looks down the road leading to the manor as she hears a horse approach, and she recognizes Elrick's ride before she realizes it carries two riders. She blinks, and turns to the open door of the manor.

"Trystan! We have… company!" She frowns a bit, concern easy to read on her expression.

Since Elrick didn't return to Laverstock as expected, Trystan has been not-so-patiently awaiting his return to find out why he wasn't with the others. It would have been lucky for Elrick if no one had seen Elrick approaching. Unfortunately, Arian did see him and the call into the manor brings out a rather annoyed looking Trystan. He's dressed for the practice yard, and he's carrying a blunted sword. Apparently he was going to get some training in when he was so interrupted. As he comes out he look to Arian, brow raised expectantly, "Yes, cos?" he intones, and then the rider, and the tied up horse and the…Second rider catch his attention. If he was annoyed before, he is quite displeased now. "This is not good…" he murmurs.

The bay trots along amiably after Havok on a lead, sporting a few packs and an obnoxiously spirited disposition. Never mind the blood mare has a few leaves stuck to her black socks and another chewed in her mouth, lending her the appearance of a forest spirit attempting — badly — to masquerade as common horseflesh. Rather different from the young woman invested sidesaddle atop the charger, swathed in a summer-weight cloak and a coronet of meadow cranesbill and traveler's joy upon her hair. Nothing terribly much speaks of injury as far as she goes; rather serene carriage and introspective mask of her features serve to suggest all is quite well. The call of voices traveling over the distance serve to enforce tipping her head up towards Elrick, smiling faintly upon the knight. Then again, registering one's positive reactions by the fey maiden of Burcombe may not be precisely the most accurate omen.

It seems as if the main yard is busy with Laverstock activity. Padrig is seated on the ground beside his own squire, a mop-headed boy named Dey, with loads of practice gear spread on the ground before them, and the two are busy tending to the art of the field repair - that is, the art of managing on-the-spot makeshift armor and weapons repair to tide one over until a smith can be sought. "No no, if a weapon breaks, you're just going to have to chuck it and get a new one, why would you even ask that?" he mutters to the boy and cuffs him over the ear in a mostly-friendly manner. The two pause in their work and look up as Arian calls out about company, and Paddy squints and lifts a hand to shield his gaze from the sun in order to see better. "I think it's Rick, 'coz, and…"

It certainly looks like a complicated return, but Elrick's expression isn't one of worry or guilt, he appears suprisingly… calm about the whole ordeal. Perhaps it is due to how his mind works, instead of one that adheres stricly to tradition, he chooses what he feels is right. Seeing Arian, he offers his sister a slight wave and mentions to Eirian, "Looks like my sister has spotted us. Which means…" And Trystan appears, "Lord Trystan is there too." With Paddy sitting while training his squire, he is not spotted just yet. When the charger nears the stable of the manor, the Laverstock Knight motions for one of the stableboys to assist in holding Havok steady as he slips off of his steed first. Then he would help the lady that was riding with him, making sure she has firm footing before turning his attention to the gathering.

Then, a surprise to most no doubt, Elrick would be escorting the young lady with his hand linked with hers, fingers laced through hers towards the head of the house, Trystan. A respectful bow is offered, courtesy observed to the Lord of the manor, then a quick glance to Arian and also in Paddy's direction before the returning knight's gaze returns to the Lord. "Cousin, may I introduce Lady Eirian… de Laverstock. Formerly Eirian de Burcombe." Direct and to the point, he is not beating around the bush on this, and without missing a beat, he looks to his new bride, "Eirian, this is Lord Trystan de Laverstock, my cousin and Head of the our House." Now he waits for his family's reaction.

Arian frowns deeply as the two come in, and she clasps her hands together behind her, trying to look composed. But then Elrick introduces Eirian, and the color drains straight from her face. She glances quickly between Elrick and Eirian, and then back at Trystan. She sucks in a tight breath, and immediately tries to remember just where their father was supposed to be. Did he say he was taking a ride to Falt? Or maybe he was going to be riding home from Falt? Or has he already returned? She frets, trying to figure out where Sir Gallaloc might be, and how she can make sure he doesn't appear at this very moment. "Elrick…" She gasps softly, and then looks at Eirian. Her brainlock prevents her from greeting her goodsister properly, leaving her thrown.

Dey is sent off to tend to Elrick's mounts while Padrig busies himself with tidying up the armor. He is content to listen from a distance - but a close one nonetheless. His gaze roves over both his cousin and his cousin's apparent bride, and he shakes his head to himself in complete silence as he kicks up a pile of dust and damaged armor and wooden practice weapons.

Well…That wasn't what Trystan expected. He figured, worst case scenario, Elrick had just run off with someone's daughter. Not that he'd married her without permission. And so, Trystan stares at Elrick. And then the stare turns into more of a glare. He grips the handle of the sword more tightly. There's a flash of anger that crosses his features. He probably would have smashed Elrick in the skull if he'd been Padrig.

"That's funny…" Trystan begins, taking a step towards Elrick, "Because I don't recall you coming to me for permission. Nor do I recall anyone from Burcombe contacting me to arrange for a marriage." He looks to Arian, then back to Elrick, "Maybe I was sleeping when their riders approached and no one could wake me?" Brow raised he falls silent there and then taps the tip of his sword against the ground. The tapping turns into something closer to slamming after a few taps. He hasn't even looked at Eirian yet. Maybe he won't at all?

"So, please, explain this moment of levity and hilarity to me, coz, as I seem to have lost my sense of humor."

The slender bands wrapped around her avian wrist in a complicated fretwork of cream and scarlet in no way inhibit Eirian from getting to her feet, although she holds out her hands for Elrick to lower her down from the horse. Dismounting somewhat easily, she alights upon the ground and awaits the knight before moving forward. A metallic crescent moon winks at her brow as she brushes a lock of her dusky hair back behind her ear, and then awaits upon the other Laverstocks to approach within speaking distance. When Elrick bows, she sinks into her own formal curtsey a marked note lower. Far from stiff, holding that polite pose lasts over a span of heartbeats before she rises again to her modest height. Silence remains, the bell tones of her voice locked behind closed lips, and her expression better suited to one of the Roman statues overlooking the bathing pools at Aquae Sulis — Bath, as it will be known — than anything like a shaking, frightened maiden unleashed by the full fury of one knight among many.

Not having that blunted blade clubbing him into unconsciousness is as good a sign as any, from Elrick's point of view. The unrelenting verbal assault from Trystan is to be expected, and if he was in his cousin's shoes, he would be doing the same, or worse. At no point does the man being interrogated interrupt the Lord of the House, only when he is finished does Elrick incline his head slightly, taking his turn to speak.

First, a release of breath, perhaps to calm his own mind so he can lay out what lead to this… decision, wonderful in the eyes of some, a possible catasrophe to others. Finally, Elrick answers, "It started at Beltaine, cousin. Lady Eirian is also the chosen May Queen, and when I claimed victory to be her champion… well, that day changed me, and her." The origin of how this all started. "Then, I accepted invitation to visit the countryside of her manor, by Wilton, where I learned more about her. Where our feelings for each other grew, the bond that was created at Beltaine strengthened, as if planned by our gods."

Another breath is taken, as if continuing on to another chapter, "Then the Saxons attacked, and there was the Siege of Sarum. I was one in the numbers of defender behind the walls. Lady Eirian was also there, helping the those unfortunately caught in the siege. That is also where she learned of loss, her brother, Sir Maelgwyn. And I was with her, for most of the time until Sussex." There was a glance to Arian and also Padrig, both there after Sarum. "It was due to all these events, that upon returning from Sussex, that I realized at any day, this could end. By axe or spear, by an arrangement out of our hands taking us from each other. This was not the traditional way of doing this, cousin, but I… we could not wait." The action most likely spurred on when Elrick's older brother was married off.

Arian worries a bit at her lower lip once Trystan's reaction is given. She winces a bit at the sternness in her cousin's tone — and she swears she can almost hear her father. After all, Gallaloc was basically all their fathers in some capacity. She offers Elrick a worried look behind Trystan, gesturing a bit in hopes that her brother catches the gesture and doesn't… do that. He mentions Beltaine, and Arian turns a sudden pink — after all, she had been the May Queen herself. She twists her lips a bit, waiting quietly for her brother to finish his explanation… and she immediately looks to Trystan for his response particularly when Elrick says that he could not wait. Is that envy or concern she feels? Arian isn't sure… "Elrick," she murmurs. "This isn't… this isn't done…"

At least Trystan listens. It could be worse. He could have smashed Elrick in the head while he was talking. Elrick would have likely been better served with his explanation. Trystan isn't known for being particularly emotional. Good humoured, sure. Moved by emotion? Not often. So Trystan just stands there and listens. He still doesn't address Eirian yet. She's a problem of a different sort at the moment. And potentially the sort that could start a feud between their houses.

"Could not wait…" he begins, nodding slowly as he starts to pace back towards the manor, then turning and pacing back again. "Could…not…wait." His tone remains calm, cold, neutral. Sure, he's angry, but he isn't yelling. Yet.

"Let us speak plainly, Cousin." Trystan takes several steps towards Elrick now, "You absolutely could have waited. You could have come to me. I could have reached out to Burcombe, arranged this for you." He seems to mean that, seems to want things to be different. They aren't.

"You didn't though, instead you went behind my back, took matters into your own hands and put me in the position of having to clean up your damned mess!" Now the yelling starts. Trystan's voice booms across the yard, he uses his 'Lord of the Manor' voice. The one Elrick and Arian's father taught him. "Did you bother to speak to her family? Has she been promised to another already? I have no idea, but I pray that you do!"

Certain houses have their reputations. Burcombe's is well-earned in some quarters; reckless abandon notwithstanding, they tend to be a dramatic lot where the inheriting line is involved. Eirian weathers the impassioned words as peaceably as one may, her dark head bowed slightly and surreal blue gaze directed to a point well behind the lord of the Laverstocks. But she is unwavering, and her hand remains entwined with Elrick's.

Doth the lady have a voice, she knows how to use it. Now whether the words will serve as the elixir to ease turmoil may be another matter. Timing, too, is so very much up in the air. A soft chord, plucked in its natural soprano, slips into the extended pause following Trystan's exclamation.

In the end it boils down to the simplest of inquiries: "Have I your leave to explain on behalf of my kin?"

As Trystan approaches, Elrick is able to stand his ground, even if his cousin is a lot more intimidating than an army of Saxons right now. He knew what was coming, and to be still talking right now is better than being clubbed or immediately told to leave. When told to speak plainly, Elrick inclines his head to his cousin, "And my brother, Lainn, did he ask for the match he had?" Given leave to speak plainly, he does, and it appears that when they returned from Sussex with news that Lainn was to be married off, that certainly spurred him into motion. "I know it could have been my father, who made that match. But then could he have made mine as well?" Knowing his father, it would have been difficult for Trystan to say no, perhaps that was what happened with Lainn.

As for speaking with the Burcombes, there is a shake of head, Elrick did not come home to hide anything. He did come home to bring news, and also to step forth to receive judgement, to put his trust in Trystan and accept any decision laid upon him by their head of house. "I apologize for the mess, My Lord. But when I made my decision, when Eirian and I swore our vows at Stonehenge by Amesbury, I was ready to accept /your/ decision. I understand that you must do what is best for our House, my love for you, my cousins, my sister, my brothers, and my Father will not change. Will never change." It appears that the younger Laverstock was ready for even exile if that was the decision.

When Eirian speaks up though, Elrick falls silent and glances to his wife, at least under the eyes of their Pagan gods. She can feel a firm squeeze of his hand to hers, a hold he had not relinquished since he had helped her off her horse. It appears they were here together, unified.

Quietly in the background Padrig and Dey have cleaned up their mess. The horses have been tended to and stabled, but the goods have been stacked by the stable doors and not yet sent to rooms. This is, perhaps, as clear a message as any. Not usually one to present a united front, Padrig silently appears somewhere behind and off to the side of Trystan. His expression is neutral, and he doesn't quite make eye contact with anyone, but he also doesn't shy away from looking between the others gathered here.

"Elrick," Arian finally speaks more clearly, stepping forward before things get too messy — particularly with Eirian stepping up to speak. "Rick…" She intakes a breath, shaking her head. "This is not just about what you want, brother… trust me." Her eyes tighten. "I know what it is to want, and to want desperately… but to take a woman from her house without so much as a nod of approval from either side… the Burcombes could go as far as the High King himself to demand reparations. We could be accused of not respecting either the Earl's nor the King's court." She intakes a breath, clasping her hands tighter behind her back. She looks to Trystan as her cousin's temper reigns, and she tries to sooth him with a gentle, "Trystan… you need to speak to Father, and you need to reach out to Sir Roaman… before things get worse."

Timing is, indeed everything, and unfortunately for Eirian, Trystan wasn't ready to listen to her speak. "No." he states flatly to Eirian, "No, my lady, you may not speak. My cousin may have earned the majority of my ire in this, but I do not hold you as any less guilty." And Trystan then falls silent as Arian speaks, nodding at what she says.

He takes in a deep breath and then steps away from Elrick and Eirian, "Listen to your sister here, coz." Trystan starts pacing once more, taking slow steps as he does so. An absent nod is given to Arian and a wave of his hand, as if to indicate that was already on his mind, "Yes yes…I already know I need to speak to Sir Roaman." And then he glances up and over to her, "Where is Uncle, anyway?"

The location of Rick and Arian's father is a passing concern though and he looks back to Elrick, "Your brother's marriage may have been arranged by your father, but that doesn't mean we couldn't have arranged something given your strong preference." He then hurls the blunted sword back towards the manor. Metal clangs on stone as it hits a wall, "But you couldn't be bothered to try!" he shouts now and once more his temper has flaired. "So now you want me to approve of this, condone what you've done." He shakes his head, "I can't do that, not until I've spoken to her family and ensured they don't plan on demanding reparations." Because that would change everything.

The admonishment from Trystan causes the Burcombe girl to straighten slightly, her shoulders snapped into a straight line beneath her bliaut. Metal glints on her collarbone when the steadying intake of breath elevates the cloak-pin fastened into the thin folds of wool, the lone indicator of an emotional response. Expression schooled into that relatively neutral state, Eirian retreats into observant silence. Practice in the court at Sarum serves admirably in this state, such she does not so much as flinch when the sword crashes into a wall. Zeus threw lightning, the Britons have their own tempestuous gods who raise the waves and shake the earth in their rage.

To say that Elrick did not consider the complete ramifications of his actions would be an understatement, as his focus was elsewhere. He knew that he himself would be in trouble, potentially incredibly deep trouble, but that was he himself. When Arian mentions the possibility of the Earl or the High King becoming involved, he shoots her a look, suddenly more uneasy about the situation. But he knows the deed is done and he will stand by Eirian, and also his family, if it means presenting himself to the Earl for judgement as well.

Then when Trystan begins to pace, Elrick's attention shifts back to his cousin and there is a slight wince when the blunted blade hits the side of the manor house, the angry tirade continuing. He also feels Eirian tensing slightly next to him, offering another squeeze of hand, as if to silently ask her to keep her peace which she is already doing, professionally so. "Cousin, Eirian and I were already going to visit her family after this, to speak to them as well. We decided to come here first because we wished to see your judgement first." Or Father's, if he shows up, which he is partially relieved to see Sir Galalloc absent. "If… if this is truly that damaging to our House, cuz, you can relieve me of my name." That option is now present on the table, showing that Elrick was willing to accept even that punishment for his House.

Padrig is quite oddly, and perhaps utterly miraculously, silent on the entire issue. He mimics Elrick's wince when the sword goes flying to clang off the wall, but otherwise doesn't move from his spot except, perhaps, to politely sidestep Trystan should he accidentally find himself impeding his brother's path. There is little he can or would say or do at this point in time, but he does turn a pinched expression and questioning gaze toward Arian.

A sigh is released by Trystan and he nods to Elrick once. His gaze falls on Eirian for a moment, then he looks back to his cousin, Rick once more. Deep breath in…and out. Trystan turns and looks to Padrig. This is one of those few times when Trystan doesn't want to punch his brother in the face. Trystan rubs at his eyes and and starts pacing again, "You will not go to her family alone. If you go to them, I must go as well to meet with Roaman and try to sort this mess out."

And then he stops next to Padrig on his way back towards Elrick and Eirian. "So brother…you've been quiet. What do think in all this?"

Nothing akin to putting Padrig on the spot, right? The shift of the conversation flowing suddenly back around the younger brother and cousin causes Eirian to lift those pale cornflower eyes of hers, measuring his reactions and all the tactile, nonverbal tells for clues as to an answer that might be presently locked up in his head. Does anyone ever want to survey the mysteries of a young knight's mind, particularly one of his creative peccadilloes? In all fairness, she counts as unconventional as they come sometimes. The slight tightening of Elrick's fingers around hers earns a responding squeeze, braceleted cords pressing into his skin. She still remains utterly silent, though that might take biting through her tongue sooner than later.

There is no argument from Elrick when his cousin tells him that he will not be going to the Burcombe manor alone, which is partly a relief though it creates a new worry, of how the discussion would go there. He had entertained thoughts that the Burcombes would slay him or lay a curse upon him for stealing Eirian, but then again, he trusts her and the protection she would offer. When Trystan asks Padrig what his thoughts are, that is a bit of a scare, Elrick's gaze immediately shifting to his other cousin who has been oddly quiet, which means that this is indeed a very serious issue for the family. Profound words are expected now, no doubt.

Padrig shifts his gaze to Trystan when his brother turns toward him, and he exhales loudly through pursed lips when the question is posed to him. It almost - not quite, but almost - comes out sounding a bit like a frantic whine. "I think a marriage for love, particularly an elopement, is stupid," he replies rather bluntly, and he offers Elrick a faintly apologetic shrug. "But I also think it could have been done far worse, brother. He could have raided a Christian house for one of their beloved virgins, and then we would have been drowning in our own blood. Perhaps Sir Elrick's luck is on his side and he chose a lady crafty enough to know her own father's mind, to know that Sir Roaman will not be particularly put out by their unannounced marriage. I think with luck and a little fortitude it isn't out of the realm of possibility to conclude this marriage peacefully, dowry in tact, and without issue provided they can contrive to look even a little bit humble."

His piece said, Padrig holds his hands palm-up to Trystan as if to demonstrate said humility. It does not suit him in the least, but he attempts it nevertheless. "Test the waters first, yes? Don't assume he'll drown."

A nod is offered to Padrig. "I agree…" Which is a shock in and of itself. "This was a foolish union." His tone is quiet, cool and flat. It's no secret that Trystan isn't much of a romantic.

Trystan frowns, because he's been forced to agree with PADRIG. The horror is real. He looks to Elrick, pointing a finger at him, "I'm not through with you yet. You have betrayed my trust and the honor of my house. We will resolve that amongst ourselves, the Laverstock way."

And then a moment later Trystan looks to Eirian, "Now, Lady Eirian." He does not include 'de Laverstock' on that yet. His pointed finger is directed at her, "Now you may speak. Explain to me why Roaman won't use this marriage to sully the name of my house?"

Patience in time is rewarded, a mark against the hasty action. It was Augustus Caesar who admonished the world to make haste slowly; maybe she can live up to his other great maxims. Eirian's mouth moved in silent correction during Padraig's statement, though she cannot bring herself to quite interrupt. The point will be addressed in short order anyways. "Loyalty, Lord Laverstock." She cannot quite bring herself to call him her lord, overstepping an invisible line carving their affinity in twain. Nonetheless, the remarkable fact her capricious nature has gone into eclipse suffices as another miracle of the night.

The answer unfolds in a broader stead, each word shaped and delivered in a soft, clear tone. "Loyalty to family, the gods, his oaths, and Salisbury." She does not waver in maintaining eye contact with Trystan. "Strategically what would he stand to gain by weakening an ally? Laverstock and Burcombe secure the River Nadder to the River Bourne between them, and with House Falt, guard the Dorset frontier. Lord Roaman is pragmatic but devout. Your family demonstrates their unequivocal support to the gods, as do we. Why else did the priesthood choose us for the sacred rites?"

She draws her breath, then shakes her head gently towards Padrig. "My father died in battle against the Saxons, same as my brother at Sarum. Lord Roaman honours the children of his brother. By his own words, he forswore the arrangement of unhappy partnerships for us. None absconded with me against my will. He has no reason to question your honour or intentions, only my wit."

If Elrick had chosen the smart path, they would not be here having their current conversation, and that is something he would easily acquiesce to his cousin's very well worded reasoning. So well worded that for a moment, there is a look of either confusion or almost suspicion on the guilty knight's part. In most cases, love does cause someone to do something stupid. At the mention of Eirian being crafty enough, Elrick's lips thin, but not from displeasure, but actual amusement as he offers his newly wedded wife a quick glance, as if to silently say that Padrig is right in regards to her wit.

When Trystan speaks of the Laverstock way, Elrick can only nod his head understandingly, in grim agreement, as he knows he has indeed betrayed his cousin's trust and put his own house at potential risk for rather selfish reasons. To invoke the Laverstock way was not a surprise at all. When Eirian is finally given leave to speak, Elrick's attention shifts to the lady at his side, knowing that she has been waiting her turn with extreme patience. The explanation offered has him nodding his head slightly as each point is listed, though no words were spoken from him. It was her turn to speak, her turn to be in the spotlight. To potentially impress Lord Trystan.

Padrig watches Trystan briefly, and to his credit he does not grin or do a happy dance (though he sure as hell may want to) when his brother agrees with him. Instead, here merely nods once and crosses his arms over his chest, perfectly content with having the attention shifted back to the pair where it rightfully belongs. When Eirian speaks, his response is simply to stare at her briefly and then look back to Trystan. Not his battle, not his concern.

"If loyalty were all that was required to ensure one Lord didn't use situations like these against another, then one would never have to worry about politics." Trystan replies with a half nod. He isn't committing to the notion, but it doesn't seem to be enough for him. "More to the point, why make a rash decision and elope if you are certain that everyone would be in favor of your marriage?"

Trystan then looks to Elrick and shoots him a quick glare, "And don't tell me it's because your love simply could not wait." A hand is run through his hair and Trystan looks back to Eirian, "You may well be right about Lord Roaman. I hope you are, but I will not make assumptions where the reputation of my house is concerned."

"Time." Eirian's answer is agreeably short and punctual, without the unnecessary explanation. She glances through the downward thicket of her lashes towards Elrick, and whatever long message might be conveyed there takes only a second or two to divert her. "It was perhaps rash, and I will own the situation is not under the best of circumstances. There can be no excuse for that in the proper order of things, and I am sorry to have caused any undue trouble to the Laverstocks or the Burcombes." She raises her hand slightly to her breast, turning towards Elrick in a way that positions her squarely against his side, almost sheltered at some subtle level. Though her gaze is downcast, the set of her posture is somewhat unusual, not entirely defensive. "We could not afford to wait, Lord Laverstock. I had seen already the death of my brother to a Saxon's axe from the walls when your cousin rescued me in the aftermath. That was Annwn's harsh reminder to us to secure the inheritance of the next generation properly."

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