(514-08-02) What Their Future May Hold
Summary: On the way back to Laverstock, the two speak of what may happen after the news is broken.
Date: 514-08-02
Related: A New Morning, A New Life
eirian elrick 

The ride between Amesbury and Laverstock, minus a very significant interlude, is a sweet, lovely idyll. Some knights dream only of transporting themselves and their lady loves under fluffy white clouds and robin egg skies, with no ill intentions rolling over the horizon in a grim, screaming wave. The envy of those who live in peaceful times and quiescent reasons will always be challenged by the violent, the ambitious, the rapacious.

Eirian rides side saddle again, ginger and unwilling to move overly much, but content in the bone-deep sense of a happy young woman out with her cherished beloved. Havoc’s graceful stride could be utterly silken and she would still occasionally gasp or flinch, though not in an entirely pained manner.

“I should think the future would be a wonderful thing if we are able to spend at least some time traveling the length and the breadth of the county,” she murmurs. “Does it bother you I have similar occupation, or will you find yourself as my champion in the name of the Earl?” Her fingers remain curled in her lap, and she looks up to Elrick, smiling in that dreamy fashion so rarely witnessed in the city of Sarum. It might horrify her to know how serene and dreamlit her visage is. “What arrangements should happen afterwards? Do you anticipate hiding me in your trunk or am I to wait at Burcombe until you have convinced your parents and Sir Trystan of my existence being no harm to them?”

Natural she should loathe the notion of separation.

It is already mid day by the time the newly wed couple departed from the inn they were lucky enough to come upon the day before. Breakfast was taken late, or perhaps lunch early, the two no doubt attending to other more important business at hand as those newly joined must do. After the had gathered their things, for Elrick it would be hit knightly kit without armor, for her, most likely her personal belongings, which will number greater than what the knight owns. But eventually they will be on there way after bidding the innkeeper and their staff farewell, all in good spirits.

As the journey home to the Laverstock Manor continues, Elrick is more than content to have Eirian ride sidesaddle with him again, even if they are not bound tightly together with the red and white cords as the day before. Macha no doubt is doubly pleased at having another day without any burdens, merely to trot along with the charger and his two riders. The path that the Laverstock chooses would take them around Sarum, skirting the city and most of the traffic going through the plot of civilization.

When Eirian speaks of the future, he is silent for a moment, apparently being afflicted with a more practical side of himself this morning. First, he answers her question though, "It bothers me not, Eirian, we all have our duties and callings. You with your flowery tongue and sharp wit will serve His Grace well, while my skill with horse and lance and blade, in a different manner. But both of our talents will have us travel to lands farther than this, it will be up to the Grace whether we go together or not.

As for more immediate plans, Elrick's expression remains passive, neutral, as he comes up with a plan for a meeting with family. "How we approach our family, we shall think on it but I prefer that we face them together. I truly do not know how my father or Lord Trystan will react, as I gave them no notice, which in hindsight may have been a terrible mistake. But worry not, I have no regrets of our decisions." The arbitrary knight that he is, sometimes mistaken for reckless. "With luck, he may fully support me on this endeavor and reach out to your family. At worse, he may disown me, or not recognize our marriage and I will most likely choose to leave the Manor." But what then?

The solemnity of the revelations settles over the serene maiden, already lost to the butterfly brush of anticipation warming her thoughts. His ability to significantly dead her good cheer is limited in this respect, though a delicate line marring her brow indicates taking those words to heart. Strange glamours and moods overtake her readily, though not so much out of sync with conversation that Elrick speaks to the horses and not his lady wife. Those spells, when she proves incapable of expressing herself at all, are fleeting rare.

"I have faith in your family to be reasonable, and see the advantages which such a match would bring," she says quietly, bestowing the ironclad certainty however she might. The light burns in transcendent blue eyes, resolved in the neat poise of her features. "I cannot imagine they will banish you for sake of wedding another without an extensive conversation beforehand, though I see their bruised feelings and discomfort for being left behind. Impulse is not something which the planners helming the house are oft fond of." Chuckling softly, the patter of soft notes fall from her lips in delicate blossom chords. "Whatever decision is made, I will stand by you regardless. If we live in the Faefyre in a humble hut until our castle is done, then so be it. I require no great trousseau, no vast manor to sustain me."

Indeed, they could probably have a hut and a pile of thatch, and she might be content. Dirty, but content. "If you are cast out, let me speak with others. There are debts owed to me, at least, that could sustain us until we are prepared to break away to our own fate. But I don't think that should be necessary."

Realizing the damper that he has placed upon them, Elrick quickly gives Eirian a quick squeeze with the arm that is around her, keeping her safe on his saddle. "Apologies, dear wife, for bringing up the subject when you are in such a good mood." He does nod her agreement with her assessment, "I do trust my family, I truly do and the will forever have my love and my sword, no matter the outcome. I also have full trust in Lord Trystan and my father to do what is right."

But that is the crux of the issue, what is right. And that is what worries Elrick, not the actual decision making that his Head of House will have to make, but if they are forced to make a decision that he does not prefer, how will he prepare for their future. With his lady love relying on him now, he must show more prudence after the string of extreme recklessness the past few weeks. "We will do what we can to convince Lord Trystan and my Father that our union has merit. But Eirian, my wish is that if they have made their decision otherwise, we will accept with grace and proceed as we must." It appears that he will support his family, no matter what, even if it means sacrificing his name.

As for his wife vowing to stand by him, that does bring a warm smile back to his solemn visage, "I have no doubt you will, my love. And I too, will stand by you no matter what path opens to us." For now, he does not worry too much on how the Burcombe would react, he awaits Laverstock first as each step Havok takes, brings them closer and closer to his home. One bridge to cross at a time, he prays that when it is crossed, it is not with flames behind him.

"No, you do not apologize for that." Eirian cannot move swiftly on a horse, not unless she wants to end up in a heap on the side of the road. She instead lifts her hand and touches Elrick's shoulder, a sign of solidarity given the marks from the red and white handfast cords are still bruised onto her skin if one looks close enough. "I give you liberty to speak as honestly and freely as you desire in my presence. There may be things we cannot speak to one another of, by right of our positions, but you are not required only to bring sunshine into my solar. That is a fantasy contrived by unrealistic women afraid of disruption to their dull, safe lives. I am not one of them. Let me be your comfort and your shelter, but also the audience to your truths. I swore as much to you then, and I reaffirm it now. A mood can change. Your goodwill and regard is a much longer lived thing, yes? Therefore more precious."

After that admission made, she strokes the horse's neck and gets her fingers into his coarse mane, scratching at those spots hooves have never served to reach. She digs her nails in to administer proper relief.

Quiet for a time, her shoulders drop in forcible relaxation to banish the anxiety they might mutually conceive in such a conversation. "If it comes to it, you could seek to serve the Earl. That would entitle you to an income and lodging for a time, and we would arrange something in Sarum. Or I will prevail upon my uncle to offer us something discreet in Burcombe or Wilton. If we both belong to the court, it won't be a scandal. And this is scarcely scandal when our king and queen did the very thing. They may be the greatest precedent of all."

Perhaps it was his upbringing or just the pride of man that depicts most women being a fragile, delicate thing. But he knows better, especially after the reassuring words spoken by Eirian. "Then I will accept such liberties you offer, Eirian, and would ask for the same. Let us hide no truths for one another, lest duty to our lieges compell us. Thus, you will be able to offer me proper comfort and shelter, while I your shield and sword. And we know, you and I, that no matter what is spoken, our hearts and souls remain true to each other."

As for a possible path he may take, if the road home becomes impassibly blocked, Elrick nods his head when she brings up the Earl, "That was my thought as well. If I am no longer able to serve my family, then I will seek His Grace to see if he would offer a disgraced knight shelter in exchange for loyalty, sword, and shield." The thought of serving Burcombe was a foreign idea to him, especially for one who has stolen one of their daughters from under their noses, like a Saxon raider though with better intentions.

At the mention of the king, there is an amused smirk that appears, "But he is the king, and I am merely a knight not of the main line of my House. But our course is set, we shall face the outcome boldly and courageously. Once a lancer commits to the charge, he moves forward without fear, without doubt, for if either of those dark tendrils grip his heart, he will fall. And I have no intentions of falling, my love."

"I am not afraid of the outcomes. We will make do. If penance is required, then penance we give. If explanations are sought, you tell the tale. I think anyone looking at us can see our commitment to one another." Eirian shakes her head slightly as she watches the fields and countryside of a land relatively prosperous and stable roll path. "They have greater concerns than two newlyweds, neither of whom are in contention for inheritance. The Saxons? Picts? Cornwall is half ablaze in rebellion, the king there deeply offended by the Pendragon adopting a round table for all his knights. If you seek a chair at that, we may have to start by heading to Devizes -the capital, as it happens- and seeing whether an opportunity exists to make headway there. The Earl would appreciate someone who can speak favourably of him and the concerns of the Pendragon."

On that note, her lips round slightly and she tips her head back. "Or, I suppose, if you could recover any Cymric hostages held as surety… I would have to make some inquiries and search for information as I could. There surely are sources. That may be a starting point well worth the trouble, in fact." Her fingers still and her hands fall back into her lap, the faraway look in her eyes surely seeing sunken Ys in the Atlantic and the lost isles of ancient Greece at that rate.

"You alternately can commit me to the household of your family to demonstrate goodwill. I will drive them utterly mad, but whatever we must do, love, we will do. Is that the assurance you would seek? I am your champion of a career and profession, and will be until our last breaths into the next world. Then, I may think, we can both feast and fete one another."

As Eirian begins to pinpoint various paths that can avail them in their future if this one closes, Elrick can't help but smile as he listens without interruption. "I can see that His Grace has chosen, most wisely, for you to serve him. I would not commit you to the household as it would do the Earl a great disservice to remove one so valuable from his staff." When she reveals the grand chessboard that is at play, it does put him at ease to know that she is the most experienced guide.

"But I will surely seek your council, and quite frequently, for I may be able to steer this charger but you are the navigator. With you, I have no worries of out future." The Laverstock certainly feels that he is on surer footing now after having shared his doubts with his wife. And she has done her part most dutifully to offer comfort where unease previously took hold. "We can discuss further our options after meeting my family. Just beware, they may be relentless with their verbal barbs but ultimately harmless. All out of love." The way he speaks, it may be a confession and an excuse all the same, since in the past, he had unfairly terrorized his sister and she has not committed a political faux pas anywhere close to what he has done.

The praise meets with an acceptance of what it is, and the source of appreciation. Eirian merely bows her head to her husband's affirmations, basking without swooning or making a fool of herself. Her part is said, after all.

"I expect no less from your siblings, once the dust settles. They can laugh all they like. They will be required, at times, to watch over their niece or nephew as the gods decide to curse them by our blessings," she replies lightly. "Imagine how fine a quip they will make when exhausted and trying to change a crying infant. The best revenge is the one served with your own bloodline, and they can do not a thing about that. Suppose your father would tolerate you and your brother throwing punches at one another while his grandson is trying to crawl towards him?"

Once a Burcombe, always a Burcombe. There will always be a dagger up the sleeve, a loaded die, a solution of the unconventional sort. She is not smug, but there is a feline quality to that smile which speaks volumes.

Hearing that sort of revenge being set upon his siblings does bring an amused laugh from the Laverstock as he nods his head, "They can laugh but I know they will be envious. My brother may have had his marriage banns announced, but it seems like I will be stealing his thunder. For good or bad, we shall see. I also wonder what progress my sister has made with that poor Dinton Knight, I have a feeling he still does not know what he's getting dragged into. Poor soul."

As for offering a grandson or granddaughter to his father, Elrick does look a bit thoughtful, "Perhaps that is a point I can remind him of, that he will have to prepare for his first grandchild. That may lessen the blow he wishes to deliver upon me." Another weapon added to the verbal arsenal he will be wielding later.

That will be Eirian’s gift, adding unexpected weapons at the cost of her own life like some Grecian tragedy. Only fair, when he offers his sword arm, his shield, striking beauty and keen mind in her service. All said and done, she wins that.

“I hope your brother will not complain overmuch. If he does, then you can point out he will have the great festivities whereas we slipped into the dawn together, which was quite how I prefer it. I will not be made a spectacle to bore others with,” she playfully notes, “and I much rather share your company whenever I can. Let him be the one Laverstock remembers.”

How the tables have turned, it was Elrick who originally envisioned himself being the prized knight for the Laverstock name. Where he would dedicate his knightly service to receive accolades and fame throughout Salisbury, perhaps even further. Now, it appears the Laverstock has ventured down the opposite path, one fit for the shadows, possibly casting him as the black sheep of the family. Yet this does not unsettle him, in fact he embraces it.

"You would not have been a spectacle, the envy of all the ladies present perhaps. Which in turn, I would then become the envy of all the men." He says with a light laugh followed by a slight shake of his head, "But you are right, having the ceremony just to ourselves, the way it was done… it felt more meaningful."

Doubtful that the Laverstock will cease to be the glory bearer for his family, especially what with other members taking a different route. Two carousers, a woman bound for another house, and the remainder given to their political efforts leave plenty of opportunity out there. Replacing that aim or ambition was never Eirian’s goal, and she brushes her hands against her legs, adjusting her posture on the horse. “No,” she says slowly. “I mean to say I wish not to be a prize trotted across a stage like the mummers do. The meaningful celebration we had matters much more to me than standing in the cathedral or the abbey or wherever people in Sarum deem worthy, stared at by crowds of onlookers, in a dress that is too stiff and hot. Much more I value how we approached it, in a natural and down to earth fashion, where we do not require ourselves to be other than who we are. When I want to perform, I assure you husband, I will not want for a stage or the skill to do it. Nor shall you, I am sure. But this is our marriage, not some feast day to celebrate Ceridwen and her cauldron.”

Besides, it’s not as if she hasn’t already charted her way to the stars with him, and claimed a few planets. All within the next few months. Ambition? Meet its daughter.

Eirian's view on the pomp and ceremonies appear to resonate with Elrick, at least the Elrick he has become after meeting her. There is a slight nod of understanding and agreement, his words almost echoing hers, "The ceremonies are more for them than us, it allows them to celebrate for us." There is a slight shrug to the Laverstock's shoulders as he continues, "Perhaps if my father and Lord Trystan finds this marriage of ours agreeable, and family agrees, they may have us hold a ceremony regardless." A playful poke is made on her leg, "And you will still be the prize they trot out to show off."

“Then I consent to whatever you see fit, after discussion.” No depriving people of their parties. Eirian does smother something of a sudden grin as a revelation breaks over her, the idea a spark setting flame to her entire understanding. “We do have a terrible habit of missing parties in our honour, though, and I do love the idea of making this a habit.” She laughs when he prods her with a finger, rotating at her torso to face him a bit more directly. “Oh! Is that how it is to be? As if I am the prize. Your elder brother, your cousins, they are going to be wed to a great heiress or partner, surely. I doubt they will forget me, but I will always be your wife and forget what matters of fame and fortune. This is enough.”

Greed does not look good before the gods. Humbleness that is not truly humble does not either. “You know what would be lovely?” She gestures towards a field, and the long-limbed trees growing in a neat row. An orchard, it would seem. “Apples. Strawberries. Bumbling about munching on a honey cake, but I will take this. Come, dear knight, let us reward Havoc and give him a rest. When was the last time you climbed a tree?“

The smirk returns, one part amusement, one part admonishment as he hears her speak of missing parties on their behalf. "It would be a bad habit to have, Eirian, especially at court. Though I do not visit court often, from what I have heard, propriety is supposed to be adhered to. Or some such." Perhaps that is why he avoids going to court, plus he would have to dress up in uncomfortable hose instead of his preferred leather trousers.

As for the detour that is suggested? Elrick glances out towards the orchard and releases a sigh, as if he could deny her nothing. Or his charger. "Very well, I believe we have past Sarum and Laverstock won't be too far away. Cross a river and then we turn south, that is where home lies." He then looks back at the mare that has been traveling with them, "And I am sure Macha is terribly bored as well." With a cluck of his tongue and a gentle tug of his reins, the Laverstock steers Havok towards an open grassy area, with a tree.

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