(515-02-20) Pre-Conceived Arrangements
Summary: Nerys comes to visit the knight she squired under, and learns of arrangements between families.
Date: 02-20-515
Related: None
bastien nerys 

As the snow starts to clear, and life starts to push it's way back through the mud and muck of the courtyard of the Falt home, there's hustle and bustle as men, women, lords, ladies, and knights alike get to the tasks at hand. Sir Jacqueline had sent a missive out to check on her former squire, to assure Nerys made it through the winter without incident. In the meantime, her son is out on the courtyard. He's supposed to be training, judging by the fact that he's in his gear, but he's found a bench to settle at, a book perched between his knees as he peels the skin from a pear with a dagger, cutting off pieces of the flesh to snack on as he reads.

Although a simple message could have been sent in return, Nerys has instead decided to make the trip out to Falt in person. It's likely not shocking that she's fully armored and armed, and accompanied by at least one squire of her own. Not her own her own, but one attached to the family. It's an unusual thing, in fact, to see her traveling with someone else. She's far too often stupid or crazy enough to venture out on her own.

Bastien checked his awareness of 8, he rolled 5.

Apparently Bastien's nose is not so far buried in the book that he doesn't hear the clopping of a pair of horses in the mud as they approach. Reaching to close his book, the knight sets aside the leatherbound tome on the bench as he moves to rise to his feet. A faint smile - perhaps a smirk - touches upon his features as he recognizes the young woman approaching with her squire and he casually peels off another piece of pear to pop into his mouth. "Hullo, Lady Nerys." he greets, not using Sir, he may know it rankles her nerves, and he does enjoy teasing her just a little.

"Hello, Sir Bastien." Nerys responds, the only visible evidence that the lady being used over a sir is in the semi-curt tone, "I came to see if your mother was doing well." Instead of waiting on her squire she slides off her horse, pulling the reins down over the horses head before she tosses them to the squire, giving him directions to walk the horses to cool them down, then water them.

Peeling off another piece of the pear, Bastien cocks a brow. "She's doing well enough, I suppose. Father's death last year hit her hard, but she's recovered mostly." he admits as he tosses the pear pit aside and cleans off the blade on the side of his tunic to sheath. "I didn't realize she had sent to see you. But she's in the study, if you do not mind me leading the way?"

Nerys tugs her helmet off once she's on her feet, passing it off to the squire before he can wander to far off, "She hadn't sent for me, just sent a message to check..I thought I'd come by to visit." She glances up towards the manor house, then back, "If she's busy I can wait."

"It's that time of year.." Bastien glances towards the manor house, and she might see his eyes roll a little. "She's preparing the finances for the year, and I was helping her until I started laying out the fact that we needed to close down a few things in order to pull through the new year - and she sent me out to train until she could mull over my suggestions.." there's a little chuckle at that as he glances back to Nerys, "…she still doesn't like that I learned to steward when I was younger and reminds me of it occassionally."

He considers for a moment, as he turns his attention fully to Nerys. "I'm supposed to be training with the sword, but it gets boring just facing against a wooden dummy in the yard or beating on the scarecrows. You up to a little practice like the summers of our youth?" he asks with a quirked little smile.

"They're fair suggestions, she just wanted to mull them over." Bastien responds, a tug on his lip in the opposite direction of hers as he considers. "Training swords to the third hit?" he asks, keeping his weapon sheathed. First one to score three taps on the other wins, in other words. Up above, from the second story window, Sir Jacqueline has come to the window to look down in the courtyard. She had received word of Nerys' arrival and is watching the interactions of the two - one a son by blood and birth, the other the daughter she wished she could have had after Bastien.

"Only to three?" Nerys wonders, a pale brow flicking upwards a bit before she shrugs, "If you think that is all that you can stand…first to three." She doesn't look up, probably expecting someone ran to tell Sir Jacqueline about her arrival, if not what was happening. Or, she just doesn't trust take her eye off the prize, that being not losing.

"Oh, I'm sure we could go further, Nerys, but I wouldn't want you to use the excuse of the long ride for poor performance." Bastien teases just slightly, as he considers the woman. "The winter has done you well.. I mean.. you've grown and filled in and.. all." he manages, perhaps an awkard attempt at flirting - or just attempting to catch her off balance as there's a slight lunge from him as he tries to get the early advantage over her, once she's ready.

Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 3.
Bastien checked his flirting of 5, he rolled 9.
Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 7.

The lunge might just have been expected, which might explain why she wasn't silly enough to take her eyes off him. She shifts to the side, moving instead to take that opening to take the hit on him, "Perhaps if you were paying less attention to my growth and more to your own this would go differently."

Bastien checked his proud of 7, he rolled 8.
Bastien checked his modest of 13, he rolled 3.

"Perhaps you're right, Sir Nerys.." Bastien says as he feels the tap to his side and he moves around to bring his weapon to a more defensive position. "I.. well.. nevermind." the knight says as he blows out a breath, concentrating on the woman and her blade instead of the beauty that she's grown into in their time apart.

From the open window, Jacqueline smirks slightly.

"I'm certain that I am right." Nerys replies as she watches him, measuring his stance and the distance between them before she moves in to take a strike at him of her own. She might be willing to trade barbs, but she still is far more serious about fighting than she should be.

Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 17.
Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 9.

Perhaps too seriously. As Nerys concentrates, Bastien watches, and when she comes moving in, the knight steps back, forcing her to over-reach with her sword arm and takes advantage of it to move witin and gives her a light tap to the armor at her midsection before he moves away to set himself, adjusting his sword in his hands. "That's the problem with certainity, it speaks too much of pride."

"Does it?" Nerys doesn't sound too ruffled about him scoring a hit on her, she then just circles around, giving him that same overly serious look. "I believe that the sin of pride is something that I have ever suffered from. But perhaps I am simply blind to it." She then takes another swing at him, hopefully this time with less telegraphing of her movements.

Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 12.
Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 4.

Bastien seems more relaxed in his stance - but she knows better than to believe that he isn't taking her seriously, despite his words. That's proven as while she's able to score the tap, it is only because she has to force her way through his defense as their swords tangle again, and he considers as she scores the point. "Blind, or chosing to omit it?" he asks her quietly, testing the young woman's thoughts on her faith as the knight attempts to take advantage of their close conversation to retangle their swords and even the tally.

Critical Fail!
Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 20.
Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 7.

"Blind?" Nerys wonders, once more a brow flicking upwards before she uses her shoulder to shove into him, her sword twisting to whack into his sword as she uses the height difference in her advantage to both knock his sword from his hand, and attempt to dump him on his ass in the mud as well. It's a dirty trick, and one that is likely shocking from someone like her who has a reputation for being very honorable in methods.

If Bastien was looking to illicit a response, then he gets one in spades as the woman works underneath his arm, knocking his breath from him and seperating him from his sword. The continuation of the movement forces him down and he slides back in the mud and he finds himself staring at Nerys for a moment before he grins at her, a turn of his lips as he considers her. "A little more feeling than you care to admit, Nerys?" he starts to ask her, before a new sound echoes from above.

At the window, Sir Jacqueline applauds - whether for son, former squire, or their dance isn't immediately known as she says shortly. "Bastien, stop dallying and show Nerys to the study, I will speak with you both there."

"No more feeling than I care to admit or not admit." Nerys replies, then her attention is pulled upwards by the sound of Jacqueline's voice, her sword lifting before she turns around to hold a hand out, offering to help Bastien to his feet.

Bastien accepts the hand, pulled to his feet with some assistance. "Good to see you again, Nerys." he offers quietly as he knocks some mud off as he goes to gather his book. Tucking it away, the knight bows with a gesture. "This way, though I'm sure you remember where the study is." It's a short walk, really, but they have to climb the stairs into the noble area of the manor, before they arrive at Sir Jacqueline's office.

The woman offers a thin smile - much a mirror of the one Nerys offers as he turns her scarred face to the two. "I did not expect your arrival, Nerys, but I am pleased to see you again." Crossing the floor, she grips Nerys' forearm first in greeting a comrade, before pulling her into an embrace, more befitting a woman greeting a dear friend, niece, or child.

"I do happen to remember the way." Nerys agrees, but she follows his lead up the stairs to the study anyways, pausing just inside. She offers Jacqueline a smile, then an embrace in return, "It is good to see you. I thought to take the chance to come see you again."

"I suppose that your timing is appropriate." Jacqueline responds, releasing Nerys and gestures. "Please, take a seat - not you, Bastien. You're muddied." To the victor goes the comfy chair. Bastien rolls his eyes a little, but nods. "Yes, Sir." he comments to his mother as he folds his arms loosely behind his back.

Going to take her seat at her desk, Jacqueline folds and laces her fingers together in thought. "You have been my squire since you were age fifteen, Nerys. I've watched you grow, blossom, and become a full-fledged knight, a woman I can be proud of and call a sister in arms and love almost as much as my own son." she starts off.

"And you, Bastien.. I carried you under my heart for nine months, the only one I ever have. There is nothing that I would not have sacrificed for you, and I have always been proud of you, especially as you fought through illness to become the knight.. odd as you may be at times.. you are today." she comments before she considers them together.

"Are you aware of the nature of the agreement that brought you to my service, and Bastien to the service of your father, Nerys?" she asks her.

Bastien straightens up a little, apparently a little proud of the praise from his mother as he flicks slightly at some of the mud on his side. And as he listens to her words, the knight turns thoughtful. He had assumed it was just an agreementg between the houses, nothing much more than that.

"Thank you." Nerys replies as she moves to take the seat, listening to what it is that Jacqueline is saying, nodding just a bit when she's asked about the agreement. "I'm aware of much of the nature, although I'm certain there is some my father never bothered to tell me."

Jacqueline frowns. "I see. And I did not bother because I had assumed that this day would not approach as such." she admits as she sets her hands on her desk. "I am sure you are both aware of the feelings of both Falt and Bishopstone when it comes to the House Bodenham." the knight begins with her explanation. "While Falt does not believe in as strongly that Bodenham will pledge allegiance to Dorset - after the skirmishes of the autumn, I find myself having to revisit the agreement that both of your fathers made."

"As part of securing you as my squire, Nerys, I was supposed to introduce you to Falt. To get your feelings and thoughts on it - to grow you accustomed to it, just as Sir Alibron was supposed to do with Bastien. We had hoped that there would be a mutual attraction between you both. But you're both strong-willed in your own ways, and tied to your own ideals." she says quietly, a chuckle. "And I had thought by now, you would both have discovered what your hearts wanted. However, were that not to be the case - you turn twenty-five this year, Nerys. Your fathers had agreed that if the two of you had not married by then, we would match you together in marriage to tie our houses together."

The news seems to come as a surprise, and Nerys glances towards Bastien like he'd just sprouted four heads and turned purple. She then glances back towards Jacqueline, "Pardon?" If it wouldn't be considered rude she might just stick her fingers in her ears and try to clear them out to make sure that she was hearing correctly. "I…no. I was not aware of that part of the agreement."

"I'm sorry, mother, but maybe I bumped my head when Nerys tackled me.. what did you say?" Bastien seems in as much shock as Nerys does at the idea that the two of them are supposed to… he just looks blankly at the other knight for a moment, and then he laughs. "That's a good jest, mother, surely you don't mean.."

"Every. Word." Jacqueline replies, looking between the two. "You have a choice.. either one of you marries someone else before Nerys reaches twenty-five, or you marry each other. And if I recall, you were born in the spring, Nerys?" she asks, looking towards the woman. "Of course, this was an agreement between two men that have passed - so I will not force either of you to honor it.." she starts to say, though there's that slight tone of possible disappointment to her voice. "If you have another in mind, Sir Nerys?"

"No." Nerys replies, shaking her head at the question, "I've not spared much time for thoughts of marriage prospects." Which would be obvious and well known to the both of them. She's always had her sights set firmly on a lance and a horse. "So either one of us marries someone before my birthday….or we marry each other?"

"And what if I were to find someone?" Bastien decides to ask, which draws a withering look from his mother as Sir Jacqueline frowns.

"You were given opprotunities, Bastien, but your love of the word has overriden your own need for a bride. I do not see where there would be an issue with being Sir Nerys' husband. She has already shown that she can more than equal you - and.." she turns to Nerys, "He's shown that he can bring out part of you you choose to hide. I saw that passion in the courtyard. It is how his father and I used to fight. Hard. And we learned to love each other just as much."

She considers for a moment and sighs. "I know that this is a surprise to both of you, and you need to mull it over. You can talk to each other is you wish, or you can do so seperatedly. If you decide not to honor the agreement, I expect Sir Nerys to ride away in the morning."

Nerys joins his mother in giving him a withering look. It doesn't matter that she might just be thinking this is as nutty of an idea as he is, he clearly doesn't get the right to decide someone might be better than her.

Nerys then glances back towards Jacqueline, "While I do not wish to dishonor my father, his agreements, or certainly yourself. I do think that I need time to think this through."

Bastien returns Nerys' glare - he can do that to her, who died and decided she was the best thing for him, after all? Wait, don't answer that. The knight turns his attention back to his mother. "Yes, Sir." he offers smartly, as he straightens to attention. "Will there be anything else?" he asks.

"Don't pout, Bastien, it's unbecoming. She is a good woman in her own right. And you could do far worse." she points out before she looks to Nerys. "As for you - if I was good enough for you to squire under, my son should be equal to the task, would you not agree? But as I said, this is not for me to decide.. I retire this year.. I have reached the point where war no longer sates me - I long to feel the warmth of a newborn grandchild in my arms." she admits. "And if it is not through the two of you - I'm not sure who."

Guilting mom is guilting.

Such guilting should be outlawed. But since it's not, it seems to work. Nerys sighs faintly, getting to her feet before she nods, "We will discuss it." She then turns to start pushing Bastien out of the study before he can pout more, or say anything that'll get them both guilted again.

Pushed out into the hallway, Bastien barely has time to offer a bow of his head to his mother before Nerys gets him out of the room. "The hell?" he asks her, pushing back slightly. "This is insanity.. I have my studies.. you have.. whatever it is you have." he nearly flails as he walks down the hall with her. "We don't need to talk about this, you can just ride away, and there won't be a single hard feeling - I mean, mother didn't even /expect/ you.." he tries to protest. Perhaps muchly.

"No, but she'd have eventually sent for me, or told you…or it'd have gotten to this point eventually anyways." Nerys hisses back, glancing over her shoulder to make sure that his mother doesn't hear them. "You have your books, I have my sword. We can both agree to this farce of a marriage, make your mother happy, and never have to spend more than ten minutes in a room together. As dearly as I love your mother she can't live forever, and…babies take time to have or something."

"Knowing her, she'd lock us in a room until she was sure you were with child." Bastien grumps as he grabs her hand, slipping it under his arm to give it the appearance that the two of them are having an agreeable stroll. "Or you can find some Lord that wants to put up with your sword play, or I can find a Lady that likes books, and /you/ won't have to worry about your precious little figure." he growls back.

"Yes, because that is my concern." Nerys rolls her eyes at him, "Face it, if either of us were going to put any effort into finding someone we'd have done it already. I doubt there'd be time for either of us."

"I really dislike it when you make sense and agree with my mother at the same time, Nerys." Bastien responds as he looks towards the sky with a heaven help me look. "Fine, we do this, and then what?" he asks. "You only show up once a year to act like we're a happy couple? You know she'll see through that in a heartbeat. If we're really going through with this /farce/ as you put it, we better find some common ground, pretty damn quick."

"We have common ground. I can beat you in a fight, you can read your fancy books." How either of those things are common ground is anyone's guess. She shakes her head, "It'd be more than once a year…well, more than once a day at least. It'd be an entire winter, but we can still avoid each other as much as possible."

"I think I would surprise you still yet, Nerys." Bastien responds with a snort. "And what, you can take whatever lover you want when we're apart?" he asks her with a frown. "I am a man of my faith, Nerys. I have not shared a bed with another, and I planned to only do so with the one I marry - and I expect her to agree to the same."

"Excuse me?" Nerys comes to a stop at that, the hand on his arm tightening to jerk him to a stop as well, "I'd like for you to consider what you just said, then say it again. Because if you are saying what I believe that you just mistakenly accused me of…."

Bastien is yanked to a stop, forced to face her. And as he does so, he forgets about the child that used to spar with him in the woods while their parents talked and plotted behind their back. The knight draws in a breath. "I apologize, Nerys. I did not mean to accuse you of being unfaithful." he admits. "Fine. One more time. You win, we go through with this insanity our parents put us through. I win, we figure out another way."

Nerys's brows inch upwards, "You mean have this all come down to a sword fight?" She glares at him for a moment, then turns on her heel to start heading down the stairs, "Fine, come on then."

"You're so confident you will win, put it to the test." Bastien says as he finds his way back to the courtyard with her. "Same rules as last time?" he asks her, as settles, his stance taken up loosely, but there's a new seriousness in his eyes. If she wants to have this work, he's going to make her earn it.

"I'm confident that I can win against you, but I doubt this is winning for either of us." Nerys responds, but she moves out into the yard, picking up the training blade once more. This time instead of waiting she goes in for a quick attack, swinging at him with a little more force and purpose behind it.

Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 4.
Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 9.

Bastien catches the sword, his own swinging around to collide with hers, the tap to her side may come as a surprise as the knight seems oddly focused as he considers the woman. "Then what would you consider a victory for you, Sir Nerys?" he asks her as he responds, feinting to the left as he steps in, and tries to catch her off-guard, and get the advantage fast and early.

Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 5.
Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 5.

Advantage he's got, seeing as how he managed to land the first of the blows. But she's still moving with a lot more focus than the previous fight, not that she never takes a fight seriously, it's just this requires more attention to things. "Not being in this position?"

"Then all you have to do is lose, and there will be no more position to worry about." Bastien hisses as he presses his hilt against her, trying to overpower her smaller frame, the two of them close enough together to touch before he pushes back, seperating himself from her, going for the quick strike to her side. "It's obvious after all, you harbor no feeling towards me."

Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 11.
Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 8.

"Oh, well that is clearly not true." Nerys retorts, baring her teeth at him before she takes another swing at him, "I find you annoying and insufferable!" Which, might just be what his mother was talking about before.

"And I find you hung up upon yourself, prideful and overconfident!" Bastien hisses back as he grips his sword, taking a two handed swing at her - perhaps a little too hard - apparently he's just as mad as she is at the idea of marriage, and perhaps the whole surprise. Though there's something about /her/ that makes his blood boil for who knows what reason.

Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 13.
Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 4.

"Me? Me?" Nerys' actually stopped counting the hits by this point, and has quite gotten lost in the fact that she's just moved beyond irritated by the entire thing. "You think you're too good! You with your fancy books and your ideas."

Bastien likewise has lost count, his sword at least still sheathed as he holds it to the side. "You're the one that thinks I can't do /better/ than you!" he scoffs. "All you care about is your sword and your lance, and nothing else will ever matter to you." he snarls. "You're the one that suggested that this would be a /farce/, not I."

"Like you think it'd be anything but a farce!" Nerys counters, pointing her sword at him, but not actually swinging it this time. She steps towards him, at least no longer yelling at him, "Fine, if you think you can do better, then do better."

"Fine." Bastien says, and he lowers his blade, unsure of what else to say but.. "Fine." Putting the sheath back in his belt, it seems he's agreed to her idea of walking away. Wasn't that the agreement, after all? He wins, they walk away, and possibly for the best?

It seems almost like a sudden smack against a wall, all that anger and frustration just hits a wall. With no where to go now she just glares at him for a moment before she grabs him and jerks him forward to do…something. It never goes anywhere and instead she just stands there without any actual response.

Yanked forward, Bastien grabs her wrist to keep her blade away from him as he finds himself nearly nose to nose with him. Confusion colors his features, replacing the anger that was there just a moment before as he stares at her, a mild defiance still showing up within him. Now what?

That seems to be the question. She certainly doesn't have any idea what next. There's no end to the confusion, which is not helped at all by the fact she just keeps staring at him, not letting him go.

Bastien checked his lustful of 7, he rolled 4.

She set his blood to a boil, a faint sheen of sweat from the workout as the two of them passed blades and put everything into the argument. And now dragged to her, close enough to smell and sense her near, Bastien finally takes the initative. Grabbing the front of her tunic, he pulls her in, his mouth pressing hard to hers as he takes his first kiss from her, and it quickly passes the time of a chaste moment, if she allows.

Wait. What. Nerys was possibly expecting a number of responses, except that one. It easily crosses over from being chaste to not chaste not for any desire on her part, but simply because she's too stunned to react. Too stunned to have any reaction, from pushing him away to actually kissing him back. It's just like she's a fish that has been jerked out of the water and tossed onto the ground to flop around.

And her response, or rather - her lack of one, says all Bastien needed to know. Breaking away from her, he shakes his head. "I yield." he murmurs, before he steps back, attempting to pull away from her so that he may finally retreat, unless otherwise stopped, unsure of what he's doing, or why he's doing.

He yields? Now that poses an interesting question…if he yields, that means she wins. And if she wins, that means they get married. It's a bit of a mind twister, and that shows before she jerks him back towards her when he tries to pull away. This time she kisses him, since he yielded and everything.

Who knows what the hell they're doing at this point forward as he sets his hands on her, returning her kiss as the two find themselves facing the emotions that neither of them assumed the other had, which makes things even more interesting.

Well.. not everyone. From her spot on the second floor, Sir Jacqueline smiles. "About damn time." she says as she smirks slightly and steps back within, allowing the two to figure it out - just as couples have had to do for generations past.

Bastien's eyes widen slightly before he pulls back. "Nerys?" he asks, studying her. "What are we..?" he's unsure of everything now, thanks to her.

"I guess that we're getting married." Nerys replies with a shrug of her shoulders, finally releasing him from her hold. As quick as all that emotion was to surge forward, she's just as quick to try and bottle it back away where she doesn't have to figure out what all those little emotions mean.

"I guess so." Bastien finally agrees, releasing her, though not before their hands touch for just a moment. "I should clean up. Unless you change your mind and ride off in the morning, shall I see you for breakfast?"

That takes a moment of thought, but then she shakes her head after a moment. "I'll be here for breakfast in the morning." She then turns on her heel to go search out where her squire has gotten off to.

- The Next Morning -

"So did you want me to leave?" Nerys repeats her question, since it's a fairly important question on what might happen next.

Bastien checked his honest of 10, he rolled 17.
Critical Fail!
Bastien checked his deceitful of 10, he rolled 20.

The question gives Bastien pause. This could be easy. He could put the blame on him, that he's not.. but he is. He knows he is. "Before the winter." the knight finally starts, "There was a girl I met. Her name is Braelynn - and she's .. as you put it, bookish, like I am. And dropdead gorgeous. But.. I wasn't interested in her romantically. And every time she made a romantic overture, I would step aside.. and I spent the winter wondering why I rejected her advances." he says quietly, honestly.

"And then you came back into my life. And we do as we always do.. we argue, we rarely agree.. and we both balked at the agreement we faced."

"But.." and he prays that Nerys has stayed with him through this as his voice lowers, and a faint colour touches on his cheeks. "…kissing you was equally as passionate. I don't know if we will ever fall in the type of love that I read about in some of my books. However, I wish to honor the agreements of our fathers and my mother, your knight. The question becomes.. do you want to leave now that I have spoken so plainly. I know your glory is on the field of battle, and the idea of carrying a child may hamper such, however, my mother was able to do both as well."

She stayed with him, and deceit isn't her thing so the ripple of emotions that crosses her face is plain for even him to see. Everything from waiting for the other shoe to drop, to irritation when he mentions the woman from before the winter, to suspicion when he finally comes around to the end of what he says. She leans back in her seat, her arms crossing over her chest as she glares him down. After a moment she just eases up on the glaring, "If you'd rather make an attempt with this Braelynn you still have the time before my birthday to see if it'll happen. You'd still be honoring the agreement, it's not past the deadline."

He tells her all this and that's her response? Anger shows a rare appearance on Bastien's face. "I just told you I had a feeling for you and that's your response?" he sighs, shaking his head, pushing his book away from him for once. "I… nevermind. If that is what you want me to do, Nerys."

"You tell me that you liked kissing me, but that you don't know if it'd be the epic love story you read about in books. I give you the chance to decide if you can live with perhaps never having this epic love, or choose to try and seek it with someone you may have more in common with." Nerys leans forward, reaching over to grab the book that he shoves away, picking it up, "I can't read. Not even a single letter…and I do not have the romantic heart I keep hearing about by the bards and singers. I have my sword, and my belief in duty and God. But I do understand that some people want more than the cold comfort that might bring to them. I'm giving you a choice."

"And perhaps my idea of love is skewed by these.." Bastien admits, reaching to tap the book she holds as he considers the young woman. "We've only spent summers together, a little at a time since we were both old enough to squire. And I carry those memories with me deeper than any memory I may have of a couple of visits from someone met in Sarum briefly. We both hold a strong belief in God, and commitment. And it is something I would bring into marriage. We will have to negotiate and communicate a lot - there will be things we don't meet in the middle on, I want to try though. I choose you, Nerys."

Nerys glances down at the book in her hand, then she reaches over to place it down on the table in front of him. "Then when your mother is available we should inform her of the decision." That's communication, right?

Critical Success!
Bastien checked his romance of 2, he rolled 2.

If she's not quick, Bastien will capture her hand. He holds it for a moment, considering it for a moment, before he lifts it, placing a light kiss on her knuckles first, before turning it to place a second one on the inside of her wrist. A commitment to her, and her alone before he moves to release her hand unless stopped, "I believe she's fussing over the funds for our part of the family, yes."

Inevitably there will be a lot more than hand holding that will come later, so she makes no move to stop him when he reaches out to catch her hand. She frowns just a little at him, but not in irritation or anger. It's the thoughtful frown of someone puzzling through something that might usually require long hours of deep thought. When he moves to release her hand she catches his, her fingers curling around his to give his hand a quick squeeze before she starts to let go.

The squeeze does much to bolster Bastien's thoughts as he releases her hand to take up the book before he rises to his feet, offering his arm to Nerys after she rises so that they can present a united from to Sir Jacqueline. There's a glance to her, and he draws in a breath. "We'll make this work.. if I may call you Nerys?" He finally asks her to call her by the intimacies of her name without the title.

Nerys's not going to pass up the chance to take another hurried bite of food before she gets to her feet, but she at least makes it quick and doesn't make a mess of things. She just nods in agreement instead of talking with her mouthful, a hand reaching out to take the offered arm. Apparently this is what he's chosen, somewhat flawed in all kinds of interesting ways.

She had to make the same decision, so really, who's the flawed one here. It'll make for an interesting match indeed as he lets her get in the last bite of food before he and Nerys make the trek up to Sir Jacqueline's room. There's a knock, and the knight's gruff voice bids them entry. Sir Jacqueline is currently sitting on the floor, her skirts pooled around her as she works through a few forms that were left on her desk. "Son, Nerys. What may I do for you?" she asks as she picks up a form.

"Sir Jacqueline." Nerys greets, taking in the woman that she squired under for all those years, watching her for a long moment before she takes a breath. "It's morning, and I'm still here. We've agreed to honor the agreement and arrangements made." Romantic? No. But it's direct.

"Hello, mother." Bastien greets. And he starts to say more, but Nerys obviously has the subtelty of a bull in a china shop. Sir Jacqueline smiles slightly as she moves to rise to her feet, smoothing her skirts. "I am more than pleased to welcome my former squire as my daughter." she responds as she moves to embrace Nerys. "I know there is much for you two to figure out and work through. I do not wish to rush you into a ceremony. How long would you like to court?" she asks the two, but mainly Nerys. "Will the Spring be sufficent?"

Nerys doesn't tend to mince words, it's true. It isn't that she's uncautious, but she simply doesn't see much point in dancing around something when the direct approach works. She returns the embrace, "Spring would be fine. Whatever is a suitable period of time."

"Spring will be fine, mother." Bastien agrees. He's in no rush to usher Nerys down the aisle, and it gives the two of them time to learn each other better. Jacqueline releases Nerys and takes her hand to place it firmly in her son's hand and squeezes them together. "I didn't love my husband at first sight either, Nerys. I eventually learned." Oddly, she says nothing to her son on the subject before she releases their hands. "Now I have work to do, and I'm sure you have plenty to discuss.." she says, and then smiles a little mischeviously.

"And do keep the swords in sheathes."

"Of course." Nerys probably thinks she literally means to try not stabbing him, too. She turns to start back out of the room, her arms reflexively crossing over her chest as she steps back out into the hall. It's not until Bastien follows and the door is shut that she questions, "What more is there to discuss?"

"I'm not sure.. maybe she expects us to learn more about each other? Surely you're not just swords and jousts and that's all you do. Your other pursuits, and all that." Bastien offers, as he considers her as he looks towards her. "Unless you'd rather just go ahead and avoid the whole courtship thing? I thought you could use the time to get your affairs in order?"

"I'm mostly just swords and jousts." Nerys informs him, a half-smirk sliding across her lips, "I'm afraid you'd saddled yourself with someone that is truly boring, and about as what you see is what you get as possible. But there's very little affairs I need to get in order, I keep them fairly tidy in case I don't come home one day."

"So, I already defeated you in a sword fight." Bastien responds, returning that half-smirk right back at her, though he hasn't released her hand yet from where his mother joined them together. "Do I have to defeat you in a joust next to prove I'm worthy of you?" he asks as he considers her. "I don't consider myself saddled.. you're a puzzle.. and I have years left to solve and understand you.. and.." there might be a blush. "I look forward to the challenge."

Critical Fail!
Bastien checked his flirting of 5, he rolled 20.
Nerys checked her flirting of 10, she rolled 11.

She realizes exactly what he's trying to do, and not get her to get pissed off. Right? She doesn't imagine that's what he's going for, although there is that brief moment where she almost bites into that possibility before she smirks right back at him. "You wouldn't be able to defeat me in a joust…but I'll consider the willingness to try as proof."

Bastien checked his proud of 7, he rolled 16.
Bastien checked his modest of 13, he rolled 9.

He rises to the challenge, however, the smirk melts into a smile. "Then should we head downstairs and change into our armor and give it a run at the lists?" he asks her, then considers. "If you win, what would you wish to claim as a prize?"

"I don't need to to claim anything as a prize." Nerys replies, shaking her head a bit before she pulls her hand away from his, "But, Sir Bastien, I shall meet you in the lists." Apparently, well…it's on.

"And I will be there waiting for you, Sir Nerys." Bastien says, seperating from his betrothed as the two of them head in opposite directions to prepare for the

"And I will be there waiting for you, Sir Nerys." Bastien says, seperating from his betrothed as the two of them head in opposite directions to prepare for the joust.

Time passes, and the knight rides out from the stables, heading to one side of the lists to prepare for his squire to hand him his blunted lance, and waits for Nerys to arrive.

It doesn't take too long for Nerys to tend to what needs to be tended to, and she rides to her side of the lists with her own squire at hand. She ties her hair back, the one concession to vanity she's never given up despite the fact it has to be more trouble than it's worth. "If you are ready, Sir Bastien."

Her hair is rather nice, Bastien has to admit to that - just not outloud. Settling into the saddle, Bastien gives a nod of his head as he lowers his helmet into place. "I am, Sir Nerys." the knight offers as he adjusts his lance into position. Setting with a grim resolve, he turns his attention to the joust as he starts his charge towards Nerys.

Bastien checked his lance of 11, he rolled 2.
Critical Fail!
Nerys checked her lance of 15, she rolled 20.
Bastien rolls 5d6 and gets (5 3 2 2 4) for a total of: 16
Nerys checked her horsemanship of 15, she rolled 5.

When he says that he is ready she tugs her helmet down onto her head, and reaches out for the lance from her squire. She shifts her horse into position, adjusts her grip on the lance, then digs her heels into the sides of the horse to send it charging towards Bastien. It could be lucky for her that she manages to keep herself on her horse, but just barely, and her lance breaks against him.

The two collide in the middle, and when he heard the splintering sound, he at first thought that he had broken his own lance. But when he reaches the end of the lists and Bastien sees that his own lance is intact, and hers is shattered. So she's obviously taking him seriously for once. Turning his horse about, he prepares to take to the list again after a moment to assure that she's well still.

Bastien checked his lance of 11, he rolled 16.
Nerys checked her lance of 15, she rolled 6.
Nerys rolls 4d6 and gets (6 5 1 2) for a total of: 14
Critical Success!
Bastien checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 15.

She's…well, she's sitting, breathing, and alive. So she's perfectly fine, except for the very solid hit to her pride that it took. She tosses the broken lance down, waiting for the next one to be brought by the squire that scurries towards her. She spins her horse back around to face Bastien, then she braces the lance more solidly before she kicks the horse into motion once more.

This time, Bastien's lance only gets a glancing blow upon Nerys, however, her lance collides solidly with him - yet he manages to stay in his saddle as he turns his attention back around towards Nerys. There's a nod of his head as the knight acknowledges the point that she scored. At least she knows now that he's not taking it easy on her either. Perhaps that will earn something in the way of respect from her.

Bastien checked his lance of 11, he rolled 8.
Nerys checked her lance of 15, she rolled 6.
Bastien rolls 5d6 and gets (2 2 1 4 3) for a total of: 12
Nerys checked her horsemanship of 15, she rolled 16.
Nerys rolls 1d6 and gets (4) for a total of: 4

It's increasingly clear that he isn't taking it easy on her. This point is driven home with a thud as she rounds for another pass, this time when his lance lands on her she's unable to keep her seat. The horse continues, but Nerys ends up flat on her back with bells ringing in her ears.

The collision of lances causes Bastien to hold to his seat as the knight turns to deflect the lance, his lance hits home and knocks her loose from her saddle. Turning about, any smugness that he may feel from his victory vanishes in the moment he sees her on the ground, and he rides over to her, sliding from the saddle to offer her his hand. "Nerys?" he asks, his helmet hastily removed to look her over.

There's a groan as a response. Signs of life. But her bell is soundly rung for a moment, so she doesn't immediately reach up to take the offered hand. When she does she doesn't do it just out of reflex. She actually does use his help to get to her feet, her free hand reaching up to dislodge her helmet, giving herself a visible shake.

Relief washes over Bastien's face as he makes sure that she's whole and didn't break her butt, and then he offers the faintest hint of a smile. "Glad you're alright." he doesn't gloat over his victory, it's not Christian to do so, but he's brave enough to touch the side of her face in a quick caress, trying to convey a moment of relief.

Nerys blinks at him, taking a second longer to focus than she should before she grimaces a moment, "I'm not sure where my horse went." It's perhaps the most ridiculous thing for her to say, but it's the first thing that pops into her head. She reaches up a half-second to slow for that quick caress on her cheek, then she drops her hand again.

"I think he went to the other end of the list." Bastien offers, unable to hide a slight laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. "I'm glad you're alright." he offers as he lets out a breath he didn't even realize he was holding as he starts to step back from her. "Well, that was one way to work back up an appetite.. would you like to dine with me?" he asks her. "Then perhaps we can take a patrol together, if you'd like?" Better to ask her for a partol than a social ride - she may actually agree to the patrol, right?

"Hopefully someone catches him." Nerys glances towards the other end of the lists to see if someone did in fact manage to catch the horse before she looks back at Bastien. She then nods to both questions, "We should." It was apparently a good bet that she'd agree to a patrol instead of a social ride.

Bastien and Nerys' squires are already working on the horses, and the bonus is they don't have to change out of their armor for a patrol. Noticing a bit of straw in her hair, he plucks it out to flick away as he turns over his own horse. "Make sure they're watered and switch out the lances for patrol." he comments as he moves with Nerys for the two of them to dine together.

After a brief respite and meal, it's back into the saddle as the couple are riding away from the Falt manor to head out onto patrol in the countryside. "Part of our patrol skirts along the side of Camelot forest, near Bondenham lands." he explains as they start in a leisurely southern manner, keeping to the east for the most part. "The river Avon divides our lands."

"Usually I'm on the other side of Bondenham." Nerys observes as she follows him out into the lands, looking a little more stiff in the saddle than normal. It's likely being knocked from the horse earlier is going to leave a rather nasty bruise when she finally does take the armor off. She glances around, refamiliarizing herself with the lay of the land.

Critical Success!
Bastien checked his awareness of 8, he rolled 8.
Nerys checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 17.

"Right. We sort of have them in the middle." Bastien starts to say as he notices her stiffness in the saddle. "When we return to the manor, I'll make sure to have you a hot bath drawn to relax your muscles." he offers to her before he suddenly pulls on his reins, bringing his horse to a halt as he holds out his hand to slow Nerys. "Up ahead." he gestures. "Cart on the side of the road, two on the side, you see it?"

About hundred fifty yards away from the two, there is a cart that's been pulled to the side, and two highway men currently have swords drawn, holding a man and woman hostage while another bandit is digging through the cart for valuables.

Nerys pulls her horse up as well, pausing to scan and look where he spotted. It isn't until he points out where, and what, that she actually sees what is happening. Her first instinct is to ride straight for them, but she holds herself in place, glancing towards him to see what he wants to do.

Bastien makes a check for Sword Bandit 1 Valourous at 10, he rolled 8.
Bastien makes a check for Sword Bandit 2 Valourous at 10, he rolled 11.
Bastien makes a check for Cart Bandit Valorous at 10, he rolled 16.

Glancing to Nerys, Bastien nods his head. He doesn't have to be married to her to know her thought on the matter. It's drilled into them as knights. Lowering his hand, he draws his blade, and once she's done the same, he spurs his mount forward in a charge, hoping to break the bandits with fear before they actually get close enough to attack.

As they do so, one of the bandits turns to face the oncoming knights, as the one on the cart quickly moves to cover, and the other bandit on the ground breaks ranks to start to run towards the safety of the woods. It's up to Nerys who she chooses to pursue.

<OOC> Bastien says, "1-3 me, 4-6 you."
Bastien rolls 1d6 and gets (4) for a total of: 4

As Nerys rides after the man running for his life, Bastien is charging the man that's holding his ground. The man in the cart rises up, pulling up a bow, and notches an arrow. "Nerys!" Bastien barely has time to call out to warn her before the bandit lets the arrow fly as the Falt knight charges down the sword knight, who takes a swing upon him.

Bastien makes a check for Cart Bandit Bow at 10, he rolled 6.
Nerys checked her dex of 15, she rolled 12.
Bastien makes a check for Sword Bandit 1 Sword at 12, he rolled 16.
Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 8.
Bastien rolls 5d6 and gets (1 6 5 4 6) for a total of: 22

The call catches her just in time, her horse being pulled up to a stop as she hears the warning, twisting around to see just what it was. It brings her to a stop just in time to see the bowman, and she twists out of the way, spurring her horse to the left.

Bastien makes a check for Cart Bandit Bow at 10, he rolled 2.
Bastien makes a check for Sword Bandit 1 Valorous at 10, he rolled 16.
Bastien makes a check for Sword Bandit 2 Valorous at 10, he rolled 5.
Bastien checked his dex of 12, he rolled 19.
Bastien checked his horsemanship of 15, he rolled 8.
Bastien rolls 3d6 and gets (2 5 1) for a total of: 8

Apparently there is some anger that is brought forth by the cowardly attack on Nerys' back. The bandit that held his ground takes a swipe at the charging Bastien has little chance as the knight cuts through him with his blade, sending the bandit bleeding to the ground with a scream of pain, his sword dropped and forgotten about as his arm was nearly taken off in the attack. The cart bandit, realizing that Bastien is the closer threat fires an arrow towards Bastien, striking the knight in his abdomen, causing him to slump in pain for a moment as he pulls his horse to the side, staying in the saddle as his hand drops down to cover the wound.

The fleeing bandit, seeing the success of the bow bandit, starts to turn, that is until he sees his companion fall, and then he moves, not charging - he's cautious about the idea of going on the attack.

Bastien makes a check for Cart Bandit Bow at 10, he rolled 16.

As Nerys comes charging in, the bow bandit takes up another arrow to fire at Bastien, but when he fires, Nerys is able to draw enough attention away to throw off his aim and the arrow goes wide. Bastien moves his hand for the moment, turning to cut off the bandit attempting to return to the fray. "If you know what is good for you, criminal, you will throw down your sword and surrender."

Good, distracted is good. Nerys rides for the bow bandit, but doesn't move to strike him down. Instead she gives him the chance to throw down the bow and surrender like Bastien is giving his pal the chance. Judging by her expression, however, the man is quite lucky to be being offered this chance.

Critical Success!
Bastien makes a check for Bow Bandit Valorous at 10, he rolled 10.
Bastien makes a check for Sword Bandit 2 Valorous at 10, he rolled 6
Bastien makes a check for Bow Bandit Bow at 10, he rolled 7.
Bastien makes a check for Sword Bandit 2 Sword at 10, he rolled 7.
Critical Success!
Bastien checked his sword of 14, he rolled 14.
Bastien rolls 10d6 and gets (6 6 3 4 4 5 6 1 1 6) for a total of: 42
Nerys checked her dex of 15, she rolled 6.
Bastien rolls 3d6 and gets (4 3 6) for a total of: 13

"Stupid wench!" the bow bandit calls out, drawing up another arrow and fires it at Nerys as point blank range, so he doesn't have much time to put much power on it as the woman comes charging in. His companion refuses to give up as well, drawing his sword to try to take out Bastien's horse - but the knight strikes hard, burying his blade into the man's head and when he yanks it out - the bandit's head is near split in half as he takes a few steps shambling forward and then falls into the grass, dead.

Nerys checked her sword of 15, she rolled 3.
Bastien makes a check for Bow Bandit Dex at 7, he rolled 14.
Nerys rolls 4d6 and gets (2 4 4 1) for a total of: 11

When the next arrow comes from such a short distance away Nerys' twists, trying to move out of the way. However, when she doesn't fully get out of the way it really nails home that this guy isn't going to give up. She kicks her horse, moving closer so that she can swing her sword down towards the man, "You had your chance!"

"And you shot me!" Nerys points out the obvious to the bandit, keeping her sword aimed at him as she kicks free of the saddle, sliding to her feet. She moves towards the bandit, "Knees, now." She instructs, keeping her eyes on him while answering the rest, "I'm fine…and if there happens to be any rope we can drag this one in. If someone could assist Sir Bastien.."

The bandit stays on his side, as Bastien stays in his saddle, keeping watch of the goings on. The woman shakes her head. "I can try to treat his wound, but I'm no healer, Sir." she offers quietly to Nerys, as the man is taking a length of rope to bring to Nerys to tie the lone survivor up.

Bastien makes a check for Civilian First Aid at 10, he rolled 4.

The woman is able to break off the arrow and wraps the wound that Bastien has. "He should be good for the ride back to your manor, Sir, but he's going to need a healer and rest. Thank you so again." she offers, as he waits for Nerys to finish wrapping up their present. It's a short ride back to the manor, where the prisoner is left for the house guard, while Bastien is shown to a side room, where a healer can start to work on his injury, while another healer checks on Nerys' minor wound.

Bastien makes a check for House Healer Profession (Nerys) at 15, he rolled 18.
Bastien makes a check for House Healer Profession (Bastien) at 15, he rolled 5.

When the healer flinches, Nerys hisses, but she remains perfectly still otherwise. Impatient, but still. As soon as the healer is done with her, though, she's moving for the other room to check on Bastien and his wound.

The healer moves aside. Bastien is on the bed, his midsection wrapped. "He's going to need a couple of weeks to heal, and keep him on bland foods." she instructs Nerys, assuming that the Lady Knight will be staying to see Bastien through his recovery as she heads out of the room, leaving the two of them alone. Opening his eyes, Bastien offers a pale smile. "Hullo, Nerys." he offers, starting to try to push himself up so that he can greet her from a sitting position at least.

"Don't try to sit." Nerys moves closer to him to keep him from sitting, evidently she is at least going to stay for a time. She moves to pull herself up a chair next to his bed, a hand reaching for his hand, "The healer said you need to rest."

As she bids him to lay back down, he does so, Bastien slipping his hand easily into hers. "Are you alright?" It's his immediate concern as the knight glances up to the woman, eyes searching her face with worry. And it's probably the blood loss, but he smiles a little. "You look even more beautiful from this angle, Nerys."

"Are you certain that you weren't hit in the head?" Nerys wonders, reaching forward to press her free hand against his forehead, "I'm fine, really. You took a much more dangerous hit than I did. It's you that I'm worried about."

He's cool to the touch, but that can be attributed to the loss of blood as Bastien gives her hand a squeeze and reaches up to brush his fingers into her hair. "I think that's the first time I've ever heard you admit to worry about anything." he says with a little chuckle. "I do not think it was a terrible wound, it only hurts when I laugh. Or cry. Or cough."

"So it basically hurts when you do anything." Nerys replies, pulling her hand away from his forehead, "I'm sure that I've admitted to worry about things before." She keeps his other hand in hers, making sure that he doesn't move too much, however.

Bastien checked his flirting of 5, he rolled 17.

"Well.. there's something I could do that may not hurt.. you know, maybe a kiss?" So much for being flirty about it - but really, Bastien and Nerys seem to really only understand is blunt and plain speak. There's a little smile offered up, but the knight for the most part doesn't seem to be pushing too hard at the idea.

"Maybe a kiss?" Nerys gives him a steady look for a moment before she leans down over him to give him a kiss on the cheek. It could have been on the mouth, or forehead. But all he seems to get from her is a kiss on the cheek, "On the condition that you rest."

A kiss on the cheek will have to be all he can get - so he'll just have to accept it. Bastien nods his head. "As long as I know I can see you in the morning?" he asks, hopeful really that she's planning on staying. "But if you need to return to Bishopstone.." He knows she has things she needs to get in order, and perhaps eventually pack to move to Falt.

"I'll stay here." Nerys adjusts the seat, moving to kick her boots off before she props her feet up on the edge of the bed, holding onto his hand still. "So I'm fairly certain that you'll still see me in the morning."

"Oh dear, ankles, how scandalous." Bastien manages with a smile as he moves his fingers, twining them with hers. The knight considers for a moment, "You were really good out there, Nerys." he tries, lamely, attempting to compliment her, but really falling short. There's a little sigh. "I'm sorry, Nerys.. I've not really tried to be.. well -" he laughs a little. "I've never tried to be serious with a woman as far as marriage.. or well, anything before." he admits. "When I was young, I thought I was going to be a priest and it never kicked in I was supposed to find a wife.." Then again, she knows all of this already.

"You did very well out there yourself." Nerys replies, curling her other hand over his, "However I'd prefer you to not let someone shoot you with an arrow." She doesn't make any comment about the ankles, though, or try to hide said ankles.

"Next time, I'll make sure they ask permission before they shoot at me, Nerys." Bastien responds, bringing over her hand to place a light kiss on her knuckles. "We were looking for things in common, I don't think matching arrow wounds was included in those ideas." he admits with a little smile.

"I think that you might have the better looking scar after this. I was just winged." Nerys replies, glancing over at him, leaning forward to rest her hand on his shoulder, "Your mother is going to be furious with us both, I'm sure."

"We both came back alive and we watched out for each other. I doubt she will be very angry." Bastien responds, and as she leans over him, the knight lifts his other arm to loop lightly around her neck. "Nerys?" he asks quietly, studying her eyes and face. "May I kiss you?" There, at least he asked her first?

- Fade -

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