(514-09-26) Forgiveness over Breakfast
Summary: After recieving a letter from Lady Baverstock, the Lord-Heir of Newton invites her to talk.
Date: 09-26-514
Related: Sweet Rolls Heal All Wounds
joachim catriona 

Dear Sir,

I am very young, and have spent much of my life in the embrace of family in my home, so I have had little opportunity to bring pride or shame to those that love me. I am most distressed to say now that I have dishonored the names of my family and those that raised me at your expense, and apologies are not sufficient to address my behavior.

Sir, I am so exceptionally sorry for my behavior both at the farmers stall and on the road this week past. There is no other way to state that I spoke in a manner unbecoming a Lady and a Baverstock. Coupled with my own impropriety I have shown a lack of empathy. I noted your mourning colors, but never spoke to it. I have been cruel and unwavering in all my treatment of you, sir, and again I would kneel and offer every apology I know to express my sorrow for being a source of your discomfort.

It has often been noted by those who have known me that I become too familiar in company that I find enjoyable, and will sometimes foolishly and wrongly speak sharply in order to speak candidly. My brother Martyn, most beloved to me in this world, is most often the victim of this. It is a flaw, and one that through prayer and effort I hope to overcome. Though our meeting was brief, I confess I enjoyed our conversation enough to speak and play too candidly. I do not say this to provide an excuse for my behavior, but to demonstrate that my harshness did not indicate a lack of respect and admiration for you, but rather the presence of it.

Truly I cannot explain myself in any acceptable way, so I shall not try. Know only, sir, that I regret what has passed between us, and wish only that I could take it back. Enclosed I have sent the only item known to me that may have the power to heal some of the wounds I have caused.

With my parting words I ask that God bless you and keep you, your future wife, and your family through many years of health and happiness.

Lady Catriona de Baverstock

Inside the parcel is a fat, fresh sweet roll.

Catriona de Baverstock received word from the Newton heir requesting a meeting. Word was sent back and general issues arranged to allow Catriona to take up the invitation on her return home, so it is some days after their argument on the road and the letter that followed. When Catriona does arrive, it is as promised and timely. The woman is fastidious as always, even for having traveled it seems she took great care to keep herself neat. A long, light riding cloak was worn over her clothes to keep off the dust, and in the yard of the Newton manor she takes the time to brush any hair back into its appropriate place in the plait over her shoulder. She wears an overtunic of blue today, with a light underpinning chemise of ivory. The long sleeves are easily visible under the sleeveless tunic. Around her waist she has a simple brown belt to cinch the outfit to her form, and a dagger hangs comfortably there. There’s no jewelery upon her person save a pewter and dark wood carved cross at her throat.

When she arrives with two Knights of the Baverstock household in tow, she removes her cloak and is helped down from the horse by one of them. She pauses with the animal, smiling into its eyes as she rubs his nose. “Stay out of trouble,” she says, in a voice that indicates both a scold and incredible fondness. The smile helps too. Only then does she turn to hand off the reins to one of the men as she fusses with her hair. “See if they’ll let you water the horses straight away. We shalln’t be here long,” she promises. Turning back to the house, her smile fades into a look of worry. “Do your penance,” she sighs apprehensively to herself. “Just do your penance.”

As the Baverstock party arrives at Newton Manor, they'll realize that they aren't the only house that is visiting Newton this day. There is a couple of Horton knights, escorts for Lady Lydia, and a few other more colorful tabards outside of the argent and sable that marks the Roman Christian house. As the lady approaches, the group is approached by a pair of House Guards. "Are you here to assist Sir Joachim with the water leaper issue, or just passing through?" One of them starts to ask, though there is an interrupting cough behind them.

Having seen the arrival of Baverstock colors, Joachim made his way out from the manor house to greet the small group personally. "My apologies for the current level of activity, Lady Catriona." the knight offers with a slight smile, his dark tabard still marked with mourning ribbons - though it's hard to tell with the already dark colors the house is known for. "Between the troubles with the border of Dorset and a beast that has caused production at the mill to grind to a halt, things are rather in a state of flux. But I am more than happy to take a few moments out of my day to enjoy a breakfast with you, if you would accompany me?" he suggests.

If she follows, Joachim will explain as they walk, "My betrothed is also visiting, but she wanted to practice her falconry this morning and knowing that you were going to visit, I promised that I would meet with her later. Perhaps if there is time, you could meet her as well. Alliances in the south should be strengthened, after all, and at this time - more so than ever." The manor is already starting to lose some of it's grandeur as it fades with age, and the inside is not much different. A rather religious family, they do not boast of wealth or reputation and the house reflects it. Guiding her to the great room, there's a small respite already set up of meats, cheeses, bread, juices and fruits. "I want to start by thanking you for accepting my invitation to talk in person. I would have written you back, but what I wish to say is rather done in person, or so I believe."

When Joachim does approach, Catriona releases her hand from the horse to turn and face the man completely. She lowers her head and eyes as she had on previous occasions, but now holds herself lower for a bit longer before she rises in response. “There is certainly no apology needed for a busy house, Sir,” the woman says, speaking easily and politely. “I daresay Baverstock is in a similar state, or I very much hope it is. Always so much to be done.” She smiles just a little, still quite polite, as she moves to follow him. Her eyes take in each space they pass through appreciatively, but she always remains just a half-step behind him, at hand for easy conversation or to be guided in the appropriate direction. In this case, to the great room and the table. “Of course,” she responds, when he speaks of the invitation. “I am happy to be of service in any way that I can, Sir. I confess some surprise upon your man’s arrival to request my presence. I hope that is not too forward for me to say,” she admits with a certain level of candor. Once he moves toward the table, she will as well to take any seat he indicates for her.

"With the troubles on the border, it is a good time for our houses to band together, aye. And we will probably both be seeing our fair share of activity in the coming weeks." Joachim pulls out the chair for Catriona to sit before he moves to take his own seat and folds his hands in front of him. "Your apology was well-received, m'lady." he decides to venture forth. "As I am not very capable of reading, I had to wait for Lady Lydia to read it to me. I hope you do not find discomfort in this, as it led to a conversation afterwards. One of which where I realized that you may have shouldered much of the burden for our egregious missteps, but I find myself with the need to ask forgiveness as well."

He draws in a subtle breath, the knight considering his words and mannerisms carefully. "When we first met in the marketplace, I had heard your discomfort with the farmer and had hoped to understand the situation before interjecting myself. Instead of announcing myself to you, I let you carry on until you struck me and then attempted to cover my embarrassment at the eavesdrop with humor that I was ill-prepared to give at the time." he confesses. "I believe that set us off on the wrong foot, and even my offering of a sweet roll was inadequate as I find myself coming to you to ask you in person for your forgiveness. Furthermore, on the trail with Sister Melana, I did not behave as a knight in standing - but rather a teenager spoiling for an argument. I shamed myself and my house in the process and I hope you will find further forgiveness in your heart for that. We both have made mistakes in our meetings - but I have the fondest hope that we shall look beyond them to the alliance that our houses may have in the field of battle in defense of Salisbury, soon." With that, he holds, waiting for her response, eyes watching her as his hands lock fingers in a slight pose of prayer.

Catriona listens, those bright blue eyes remaining upon the man as she listens. “However you have chosen to share these experience, Sir Newton, the only discomfort I experience is from my own behavior and actions, and all of that is deserved upon me.” She looks down, thoughtfully at the table before her, but her hands remain on her lap. Then her eyes look back to him, lifting her head as well. She seems as though there’s more she might say, something in the background, there. But she instead smiles just a touch more, still politely. “As is the blame, as you say. I did not come this morning in the hopes of forgiveness, nor do I ask for it for my role in these things. I did, however, come to ask one thing: that whatever your opinion may be of me, reasonable and just as I am sure that it is, I beg that you find it in your heart for such an opinion not to carry from myself to my family. They are not at fault for my actions, nor are they to blame. My fear now is that I have lowered the name of Baverstock in your eyes, and I deeply wish it not to be so. The world is, as you say, a dangerous place now. I could not stand the thought that it was I that caused a rift where there ought be none between two families of importance.”

There’s a thoughtful lowering of Joachim’s head as he considers the words offered to him. “Your letter spoke of isolationism and the troubles that come with it. I understand those ideals, for my House, for since I, or my forebearers can remember, have been isolated from the world at large. My father follows these same principles, and had it not been for my own travels as a page and squire, I may have ended up the same. My brother, rest his soul, did follow in those same thoughts. I want to take Newton around the corner, however. We can no longer lock our doors, shut our gates, and pray the world away. The first step made in this was my own betrothal to a Lady not only outside of Newton, but outside of the faith as well. It is a nervous time for us - and for myself. I have found myself thrust into a position I am ill-suited for. Running a household was never my intent, but here I am. As my brother married but only had daughters, I am thrust forward in the hopes that Lydia and I bear a son as soon as possible - for if I pass, it will pass to my younger sister to find a suitable Lord to bring in to lead Newton to its future. But I digress and speak too much.”

“I have more than forgiven you, Lady Catriona. We made a terrible first step and that cannot be taken back. However, I believe in your family and your house and will stand nearby should the reason ever arise to link arms in your defense. It is my fondest prayer that with this, we can break bread, start afresh and cleansed of our past transgression and forge anew a link between our homes of friendship. Adversity will only weaken the foundations of Salisbury as a whole. Any rift, real or imagined, is more than sealed, and I pray that your family and Home feel the same.”

Catriona listens, though by the end her eyes are somewhat downcast. Only when the man has completed speaking does she lower her head further in assent. “You are far too kind and generous, Sir Newton. I am certainly most grateful for that. And I am sure that my house stands with yours as they always have and shall continue to do so.” If there was any more she might say, any of that sharp tongue or playfulness she had previously shown, it makes no appearance now. “As soon as I return home I’ll be sure to renew such assurances to my cousin, and I daresay he shall be eager to return them in kind.”

“Then there is no harm done on either of our parts, and you may rest your heart and mind at ease knowing that I hold no ill-intents, Lady Braverstock. Your cousin and your family are good people, and once I convince my father that the way to the future is only through being open, I hope that can be shown more freely.” With that, the Lord-heir offers a smile, this one slightly more relaxed than the polite ones that they have shared so far. “Will you pray with me, Lady Bravertsock, and then we can break fast and I will make sure that your horses and men are well cared for before you are on your way. Should your travels ever find you in need of a roof in Newton, know that you may call upon me and I will respond favorably.”

"Of course, Sir,” Catriona says, and indeed she will pray with him at his insistence. “I thank you again for your kindness and hospitality.” Her own smile remains polite. “No doubt my cousin shall be most grateful for the care and attention you have spent upon those of his household.” Catriona begins to lower her head for the prayer, though when she does so her smile fades and her eyes and continence seem concerned, distracted. Still, she will make good on the opportunity to pray with the man and her polite smile will once more return when she lifts her eyes to him.

“If you stick around long enough, you may get to see my glass shoulder in full display against the water leaper that has come to roost in our village’s millpond.” Joachim says with a light chuckle, a hint of mirth in his eyes. “That’s why I have other visitors. A few days ago, there was an attack on the sheep there, snagged one right from the edge of the water and dragged it under. I don’t think it’ll accept sweet rolls as a peace offering, admittedly.”

Catriona had her head lowered when the man began to speak of his glass shoulder. She lifts her head rather suddenly at the mention of it, and he might be surprised to find a slow smile creep across her face. Not that other smile, not that polite and courtly one. One that shows off her slightly-too-big front teeth, one that has emotion behind it: amusement and gratitude. While she’s spoken of being grateful already this morning, he can now see that emotion clearly in her eyes and in that toothy smile. There’s still the courtly tension in her shoulders as she sits upright. “Perhaps that is what separates creatures of God from creatures of the earth — a divine understanding of the importance of sweet rolls,” she observes gently. “I am sure you shall do quite well against the creature, whatever it may be … so long as you stay at the opposite end of the table from me. I should hate to damage you before the fight’s begun.”

There is a slight pause before Joachim returns her smile. It’s good for him to see it bloom again, and feel that there is some genuine acceptance of each other’s apology. “Maybe I should offer it one before the fight has begun - it may very well beach itself in search of the divine treat.” the knight offers with a slight chuckle and reaches for a plate to make a meal finally. “As long as I remain away from those iron hands of yours, I shall be safe, I feel.” There’s a warmness to his tone that wasn’t there earlier as he relaxes just slightly. “But I know I go not into this alone, but with fellow knights and our Lord and saviour to drive the foul beast away. If you decide to observe, I beg you do so from distance, I fear you would strike it and the poor creature would fall dead - and you would have taken all the glory from the hunt.”

“For your safety, I shall be sure to take my leave just as soon as etiquette dictates I am able,” she promises the man, but there is a bit of that teasing in her tone — with a warmth of tone perhaps that was lacking when they spoke on the road some days ago. At the offer that she stay and view the killing of the beast, she can’t help but laugh a little through a healthy bite of bread. “Perhaps I should turn my tongue against the beast, rather than my hand — the former seems to be the more damaging.” She doesn’t quite sound as timid before, and is more similar to the woman he met the first day. At ease, and perhaps even confident. “When, may I ask, will you initiate this grand hunt?”

“Later this afternoon, once the hunters have assembled. With your sharp wit and tongue, we may sure to find victory as you would stun it into pause and allow us free attack.” Joachim chuckles at that as he continues his meal. “But in the meantime, please feel free to look around, I like visitors in my home - and I will always welcome a friend.” Which she has become now, in his eyes.

Catriona nods as she listens, taking a little sip of tea. She’s finished with a thick cut of bread and now bites into a slice of fruit, chewing thoughtfully before she swallows to speak. “Your invitation is very gracious, Sir Joachim. However I’ve already instructed my men the be prepared to depart once they have seen to the horses. My cousin has entrusted me to see to the acquisition of men and materials for necessary fortifications of our home in light of recent troubles. I was in Sarum seeking the cog we’d spoken of previously, and while I’ve sent some messengers to nearby manors seeking someone of the appropriate skill to manufacture what I need, there’s more work for me to do at home than sitting around the city. But of course, I wish you great luck and success in your hunt, and I am sure my brother and cousins would be most interested to hear what it is you find, when the deed is done.”

“I will be sure to pass word to them.” Joachim says as he rises to his feet. “I have much to tend to today - but I am glad and definitely wished to take the time to spend with you, Lady Baverstock. I pray you and yours have a safe journey home and that we will meet again soon.” With that, he offers the woman a proper bow before he turns to head back out into the main hall so that she and her man can have a meal before they head off again.

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