(515-04-04) An Old Friend and a Trip
Summary: Maelgwn and Erylys have a chance meeting outside of Sarum, and end up taking a trip back to Tisbury together to release four wolves in the woods there.
Date: April 4, 515
Related: Next: Releasing Wolves Then on to Tisbury
maelgwn erylys 

Maelgwn checked his singing of 10, he rolled 15.

Riding towards Tisbury lands, Sir Maelgwn cuts quite the impressive figure on his roan horse- his helmet at his hip, opposite his sword. His lance strapped to the charger and he dressed in the armor appropriate a man of his station. As he goes, he sings- albeit off key. "On the seashore are red roses, On the seashore are white lillies…"

Erylys checked her recognize of 3, she rolled 14.

Out hunting, or so Erylys was. It would seem the morning proved to be especially productive, for her pack is hanging low, a few various bird heads lolling out of the top to flop with her steps. Duck, a quail, and even a grouse. Someone had a good morning! With two dogs at her feet, the young lady is heading back to Sarum, though hearing the song being sung, she frowns, shaking her head, only to call out good naturedly, "I should be glad I am done hunting, or you'd be scaring my prey off.." She doesn't immediately recognize who the knight is as of yet, it would appear.

"Aye, that I may." Maelgwn returns to the huntswoman, "I've been accused of scaring more than prey off." he retorts, as he turns on his horse to fully face Erylys. He wears the colors of Tisbury, his house, although its the scars on his face that are most telling along with his size- a true giant of a man. "Better they hear me coming, though. Won't give them quite the start when the get a look at me." he says with a touch of self-deprecation.

Lifting a hand againt the sun shining down, Erylys finally gets a good look at the knight upon his head. The colors of his house are first noted, and as her eyes rise upwards, his words finally connect about the time she takes in his features and the scars that mar them. "Oh, sweet Goddess… Maelgwn??" And then comes her laughter, that flash of a warm smile as she hurries a few steps closer, "It's Erylys… from Berwick! "

Maelgwn dismounts, giving a hearty laugh. "Ah! Little Erylys! Good to see you again- its been at least two years!" he says with a grin, as he comes to stand next to the woman. "Ah! Looking well, I see- and a good hunt, by the looks of it." Maelgwn was never much of a hunter- a touch too clumsy.

Should he allow, Erylys offers the big knight a quick hug in greeting before she steps back, her dogs well mannered and soon flopping over in the grass to wait for her. "It was a very good hunt. Thankfully, I get to return before most of the day is gone." Studying him, she smiles further, "It has been a while. I see that life has been somewhat good to you in the meantime? " He's still alive! "You heading into Sarum to see the Earl?" The question comes as she glances towards the walled city, then back to him. "I work for the Earl now for the last year, since the Pendragon's wedding. One of his Master huntsmen."

"No, just riding towards home. I've been off doing my leige's business, as required." Maelwyn replies, not pulling away from the hug- putting just a single large arm around the Lady's back to give her a squeeze when she gets close. "Well, I live still. That's good." the scarred knight returns with a quiet grin, his deep, basso voice easy to hear. "Good on you, hunting is in your blood. Never much took to it myself." he says with a chuckle, "Lucky there are those who find the sport thrilling."

"Home is good. Especially if you've spent a lot of time away from it…" Erylys answers as seh draws back from him slowly. "And it is good that you are alive. Too many…" A sad shake of her head is given, the comment going unfinished. "Some of us make good knights, others of us hunters. We each have our place." A curious look is soon given, "So, do you travel home to find out if they've decided to marry you off yet? I keep waiting for them to send me a letter.." Hey, as many announcements have come of marriages and betrothals, not to mention babies… it's a good question!

"No, not so far. As near as I can tell I'm still quite unmarried, and un-promised. No messages telling me to pretty up and get ready to meet a future bride." Maelgwn says with a laugh. "I imagine its more difficult to get a lady to want this face beside her on winter nights. Though, I am apt to scare those diseases away." he says again with a bit of an easy grin. "Aye, though, on death. It comes for all when the time comes." he says, with a nod of his head. "I've had many brothers in arms die these past years, but duty dictates we go on."

Erylys checked her flirting of 3, she rolled 6.
Erylys checked her honest of 13, she rolled 4.

Erylys blinks a few times at his words, her gaze to study the large knight for a moment. "Well, I think any lady who would think that you are not worth having at her side, to be a silly twit. Good looks fade and change. Might marry a handsome man who turns ugly anyways." A shrug is given by the huntress before she tilts her head, offering a flash of her smile, "I'd rather have a man who's good inside, anyway. " And then comes a tease, "As big as you are… you'd certainly keep a girl warm during winter too." Hah!

"Ah, but that's the thing- who knows if I'm good inside." Mael replies, with a good natured shrug. "Though, its sweet of you to say. As for keeping someone warm in winter- It be a veritable bonfire." he teases back, with a cheeky grin. "AS for now, though, that's all conjecture. Who knows who'd be matched with me- perhaps when I'm better known for my deeds instead of those of my grandfather." he grins still- a wide thing.

"Has so much changed since we were at Berwick together?" Erylys asks, a note of seriousness to enter into her voice, though her gaze lingers upon the big knight. "Certainly, not that much, at any rate." The tease in turn draws a hint of color to her cheeks, but the look given is one of certain curiosity now. "Perhaps… who knows. All in good time, yes? With spring here, Beltaine will be just around the corner." And it is something she is looking forwards to.

"Yes, among my favorite holidays, for certain." Maelgwn replies, still smiling. "And I do not think so much has changed since Berwick- I still can't swim worth a damn, hate to hurt animals, and fancy myself a singer." When he gets it right, its actually pretty good, his voice. "All in good time, though, as you say, dear Erylys." Even in his youth, Maelgwn was religious- all from that same attack that so scarred his face, his faith bloomed deeply. "I should be around for this one- instead of at the front, though I imagine I'll be called back. The Bear of Tisbury is needed to strike fear in the hearts of DorsetMen and Saxons alike."

"It is mine as well, though I have been too busy to take part in the festivities lately." Erylys admits, though as he continues, she suddenly ohs softly, "I need to show you something.. would you come with me? I have a small cottage nearby. The other huntsman took one in the city, and I choose the one outside near the woods.." She's suddenly rambling, her thoughts a bit distracted. "I should have…now that I think on it… I.. you.." Maybe she needs a good knock in the head.

Maelgwyn's eyebrow raises slowly as Erylys rambles on, "Aye, I'll come. Berwick remains in my heart, and can trust in Maelgwn to answer." he assures the young woman as he takes his horse's reins in hand and begins to lead the lumbering beast, ready to follow Erylys with an easy smile. "Lead on!"

"Well then.." Erylys smiles, then leads the way. It's not so far to the edge of a small strip of woods where a cottage sits, belonging to the Earl, and often used by the Master Huntsmen under his household. The place has been recently fixed up, and now appears occupied. As they get closer to it, the two dogs with her take off, their yips bringing about several more from dogs that are kept in a kennel to the side of the cottage. A small pack of about 6 dogs total in a mix of breeds that are used for hunting. "I went to Staple Langford towards the end of last summer, to help them with a wolf problem…." She begins, glancing aside to him with a slight duck of her head - she knows the way his family sees the wolves of Tisbury. "They were slaughtering their sheep and chickens, even got a dog or two. They were worried they might go after a child." A small pack that found easy prey in the animals and pets of the villagers. Generally, not a good thing.

"Hmm." Maelgwyn returns, nodding his head quietly. Wolves are often a problem in Tisbury- with the great forest there on their lands. "It is the way of wolves. Sometimes the pack must be culled, but should be done with reverence towards The Goddess." he says, with a quiet nod. "Always a dark day when the wolves are culled, Abnoba demands they be sacrificed and burned." he remarks, as he follows along- looking to the dogs. "We can defend ourselves, but one hopes the corpses were treated with proper respect."

"Of course they were. I made sure of that." Erylys offers quietly before she turns back to the clearing near the cottage. Giving a sharp whistle, the dogs fall quiet in the kennel, suddenly alert to the huntress. It's then she gives another whistle, one that may not normally be used with the dogs. Something unique. From the woods come four shapes running straight towards them. There are two grey-brown and a black one in front, and he would immediately know them for wolves. Tamed, to a degree. They pause upon seeing him, noses lifted to sniff the air before slinking forwards towards her. "There were four pups within the den.." Four, but only three are seen at the moment. Within the edge of the trees, another figure might be glimpsed, this one pale. Wary is this one with the stranger there. "Luna, come!" The call is given out, and only then does the fourth step out of the brush to reveal the pure white wolf.

Maelgwn looks on towards the wolves, kneeling down to come face to face with the creatures- his dark eyes reflecting back at them as he looks up. A white wolf, "Well…" he says, swallowing as the color drains from his face. "What a majestic creature." he says, "Beautiful." he says quietly, as he just looks towards the White Wolf- a silence there as he just looks quietly towards a creature he'd not seen in such a long time. Rare, are wolves of that color.

"I knew there was a reason I accepted the pups.." Erylys murmurs half to herself as Luna warily makes her way forwards to the kneeled knight. Unlike the other three, she heads towards Maelgwn instead of Erylys, her golden eyes upon the man. She comes to a stop there before him, to return the stare he offers her, ears twitching atop her head as he speaks. "She's the leader, and while she listens to my commands, she is far warier than the other three." The quiet words are given by the young huntress who stands there with the other three at her feet.

Maelgwn bows his head to the white wolf, a quiet motion- eyes averted. He whispers softly a prayer of thanksgiving, a heart-felt thing. "One like you saved me when I was a boy. Fought off the bear that wished me dead. Alone, and without her pack, she fought for me and saved my life." he offers so quietly, a hand extended for the wolf to examine if it so chooses. "I promise to you that the forests of Tisbury will long remain home to sacred hunters like yourself." he says softly, "And again, my deepest thanks to your Mistress, the Goddess of the Hunt."

Erylys makes a check for Wolf Avoidance at 10, she rolled 11.

Luna watches the kneeled knight, ears twitching at his quiet words. There's a moment she might have drawn back, but at the last moment, she steps forwards upon silent paws. She might well surprise him, for she licks at the hand held out to her, bumping it with her head before turning to grasp his wrist in her muzzle between her sharp teeth. She doesn't bite him, but merely holds it there before finally releasing and stepping back. A quiet chuff is given, and the three other wolves move away from Erylys and melt back into the woods, the white wolf the last to disappear.

Erylys watches quietly, then turns her gaze to Maelgwn, "I could not see them killed, and have raised them with some commands. But neither could I tame them completely. Perhaps…. perhaps they would be happier upon Tisbury lands. At least, Luna would be, I think. And perhaps Nox as well.. the black one. The other two are content to stay with me, most of the time."

"If they would be safer and happier there, I would bring them with me." Maelgwn offers with a nod of his head, smiling rather brightly when the wolf seems to accept him to a certain degree. "Probably safer for them there, than here close to Sarum." he says as he stands slowly once the wolves have disappeared. "Thank you." he says softly then to Erylys. "Although I make yearly sacrifices at the stone in the forests, there is a certain something about being able to thank the goddess through one of her signs directly."

"Would you mind if I traveled with you? I wouldn't mind visiting Tisbury.. and to say goodbye to them as well." Erylys asks of him, glancing to Sarum, then back to him, "I managed to keep them safe during the winter, but now that they are grown, I have worried about them with summer and autumn coming." The smile returns, a hand lifted to brush a lock of hair back, "You are most welcome, Maelgwn. It is strange sometimes, how things work out. I knew Luna reminded me of something… someone.." And it wasn't till she saw him again, that it clicked finally!

"Of course. You can travel with me- I'd be glad to have the company." Maelgwyn says with a quiet smile, "It is a long ride west to Tisbury- perhaps half a day's ride past Denton. You should bring camping gear-" he notes, before that teasing smile shows. "Unless you plan on simply sharing my bedroll." he offers with a playful laugh, a deep thing. "Do you think we can travel with them that far? I imagine we'd have to take the back roads so as not to scare travelers." he continues.

"I would need to let the Earl know, but that is easy enough for me to do. He's understanding.." Erylys says before turning back, nodding at his words as to the journey to Tisbury, "I can do that.." She begins to say before the tease comes, a brow arched upwards as she seems to give a moment consideration, "It does still get a little nippy at night.." As for the wolves, she says quietly, "They will stay in the woods, if we manage to travel near enough to them. They'll travel with the horses easily enough. At least mine is used to them."

Nodding, Maelgwn takes a moment- a thoughtful moment. "It'll take us a little out of the way to stay on wood's edge, perhaps another half day travel. But, I see no harm in it." he finally says, "I was in no hurry to return to Tibury, if I'm being honest." There has been bad blood with Maelgwn's line and that of the rest of Tisbury- a stain on their honor due to a murderous grandfather. Although not outcaste- they are certainly not trusted by the rest of the family. "It will be nice to travel with a friend, and the forest's edge isn't so rough. Fairly flat all the way to Tisbury."

Picking up on his mood, Erylys steps closer, her hand reaching out to touch his own for a brief moment, "Then I will be glad to go with you, and have the chance to renew an old friendship. If you like, stay here, and I'll make a quick run into the city to let the Earl know I must travel to Tisbury, in case he has anything he needs to send. You can refresh yourself here while you wait? Unless you need to go to the city as well? " The offer is made for him to take the hospitality of her home while she is gone.

"I am well rested, and happy to wait for you." Maelgwn replies, with a quiet nod of his head. "It will be a nice journey, I'm sure." And any bandits in the trees would think three, or four times before attacking a man of Maelgwyn's size, with such a well-loved blade on his side. Probably the safest trip in all of Salisbury. "Thank you, Erylys."

"You're welcome. Let me run to the city, and I'll be soon back." Erylys will leave him there, inviting him to feed and take care of his horse if he wishes, while partaking of food and drink inside the small cottage as she turns and heads back to Sarum. She's gone likely an hour or two, returning minus the birds she took to the cook at the castle. "I have the week, which should be long enough for the trip." She carries a few documents, likely to be delivered to the manor as well. "I'll gather my pack, and be ready soon enough."

"Aye, should be easy enough." Maelgwn agrees when she heads off- Spending the next few hours mostly caring for his horse. He partook sparingly of Erylys' food and drink- just a few cups of mead, or wine- a little snack. Respectful, really. When Erylys returns, he's outside the house giving his horse a rubdown- having clearly taken the time to give the animal a much needed break without all that gear on its back. "Ah, welcome back. Yes, a week should be more than enough time. I figure two, maybe two and a half days ride at most heading there. Should only be a day or so back when you're not taking the round about route." he says, as he starts to re-equip his horse.

"That's what I was thinking." Erylys answers, moving into the house to gather her things - bedroll, clothing, and weapons. She returns to get her own horse ready as well, saddling the mare and strapping on her bedroll and pack. "One of the kennelboys is going to come here and take care of my dogs and watch over the cottage." So she has no worries as far as that goes. "I did keep one bird, and grabbed some extra bread and all for the trip." She pats one of the packs she had with her upon her return.

"It will go nicely with my salt-pork, and biscuits." The food of a soldier. "We should be able to get some herbs from the meadows near the forest on the way- should make for a nice bit of tucker. Take a few eggs from the birds now that we're in early spring." he says with a bit of a smile, "So, shall we?"

"Sounds like quite the bounty between us." Erylys agrees, then nods, "I'm ready whe you are." Once his horse is saddled again, she moves to mount her mare, and with that odd whistle, calls the wolves out of the trees again, "Follow." The command is given, the four canines to move forwards, staying near the trees, and yet keeping pace with them as they head off away from the cottage. "Where have you been here lately?" She asks, conversation to be had, her natural curiosity shown.

"The front. Between saxony and Dorset." Maelgwn replies with a smile as they ride forward along the forest's edge. "War has kept me from home, but now, I go forward." he says with a smile over as they begin to ride. " And you? How is the life of a hunter for you?"

"Where you… there.. when the sun went dark?" Erylys dares to ask, glancing to him as they ride, her gaze to study him and his answer, though with his questions, she smiles, "I have enjoyed it, truthfully. It got me away from home. I've been able to meet people… and Berwick is noticed for my position." All good things.

"No, I was elsewhere when that happened." Maelgwn states, "I was at the border, watching for Saxons." he offers, "But the sun went dark there, as well- though, we had no ghosts." he says with a smile, "I am glad to hear that this works well for you, I hope only good things for my friends of Berwick St. James." he says with a smile. Still, as they ride, he is watchful- an eye on the forest's edge, and the land they ride through. On guard- as one might expect a knight who'd spent a few years in skirmishes.

"No ghosts here, but.. it was very odd." Erylys states quietly, "I still wonder of the rumors I've heard from the various priests and priestesses." Confusing in some ways. Riding easily at his side, she is alert as he, though perhaps a little differently - her attention upon the woods and bushes, always keeping an eye out for game, and the wolves that skirt their path.

"Well, I am sure the Gods had reason for such things." Maelgwn says, "I can't imagine what, though. But, I am a simple man who does not pretend to know the mind of beings beyond my knowledge." The giant of a knight says, as he rides along at an easy pace. "It was a frightening experience, though, to watch the sun be swallowed by darkness. I''ve never seen anything quite like it." he admits, "But, that is the way of the fairfolk, confusing, frightening, and mysterious."

"I am certain of the same, and yet… I wonder as well, the meaning behind it." The words come as she watches the black wolf pounce one of the others before the two run off back into the brush. "I was on a hunt. Thankfully, I was by myself beyond a couple of the kennel boys. I can't imagine if I'd had some of the knights or ladies with me." Shaking her head, she glances to him, "Never seen anything like it myself. Part me hopes to never do so again either."

"It is beyond me. I would ask a priest or priestess." Maelgwn replies as they continue their ride. "It was interesting- some called to the Gods, others to their Jesus." he begins, "There were no ladies present, of course, but I do know that I was terrified by the happening. It is something I would hope to never experience- and honestly, it sounds like I was lucky. No dead rising." he says with a quiet nod, looking back over to Erylys.

Erylys shakes her head, wrinkling her nose a little, "It was bad enough to have returned to Sarum to the quietness there. I'm glad I didn't see any dead, though the woods…" She pauses, trying to think of how to explain it, "There was an awareness there. I got out as quick as I could…" A rub of her hand is made against her thigh, "It was the first time I ever felt unwelcome within them."

"I think we all felt a little unwelcome when the sun disappeared." Maelgwn says with a quiet nod of his head as he rides on forward. "I mean, it was as if night bled out from everywhere. You could feel the cold of this world without the sun, even. Quite terrific." he agrees, before adding. "Of course, I know well the dangers of these forests." It shows on his well-scarred face. "We are always visitors. They belong to the Gods, we merely rent our time in them through proper worship."

"I know, but.. even so, I have never been so scared, so ready to run back to the city than that day." Erylys says quietly, frowning at herself. "The first time I wished I had someone to go home to so I could cling to them for a little while." The big bad huntress admitting she wanted to cry like a little girl!

"Honestly, I don't blame you, Erylys. I rather wanted someone to hold me, too. I could swear the Gods were upset- that we had done something wrong." Maelgwyn says, with a nod. A quiet thing as he just lets the words sit between them without more to be said. He rides high in the saddle, still watching as they speak. "Lets hope we realize what needs be done to ensure that all returns to proper balance." he adds, finally. "And keep open our hearts for those who need such support."

To hear that he felt the same seems to release some tension within Erylys, for if a man such as he felt like that, then it wasn't so odd that she did as well. "I've been thinking of going to the stones, to seek some of the druids to see what they say, but.." She's been unable to leave. "That I hope as well.." That balance is found across the country again.

"It sounds a good plan. I know I plan to make a sacrifice once I get back to Tisbury. Perhaps you'd like to join me in the ritual." Maelgwn offers, "A kid goat, to wet the earth." he says, "Body burned to ash after." he continues quietly, "I've never much understood the Druids, I mean, in what they say. Again, though, I am a simple man who only knows he knows very little."

"I would like that, Maelgwn. If you do not mind another joining your ritual." Erylys accepts the invitation with a quick smile, "Perhaps with releasing the wolves to the woods as well.." They will never be completely tame, or wild, but far happier in the woods of Tisbury than near Sarum, this she knows. As the miles continue to pass with the slow steady walk of their horses, she considers his words, slow to give another nod of her head, "You and me both… well.. a simple woman am I, not a man." Amusement to show within the tones of her voice and within the expresion upon her face.

"Then once we are in Tisbury, we'll visit the stone." Maelgwn says, with a quiet nod. "It will be a small thing, but perhaps that small thing is important." The large man says quietly. "The acts of simple people, perhaps, will be something the Gods will appreciate. We can only hope." he smiles then at Erylys' final statement. "You are not a man, that is very true, Lady Erylys. I would be hard pressed to accuse you otherwise."

"A small thing it might be, but as you say, important in the grander scheme of things." Erylys agrees quietly. "I think our hope will be rewarded." She has faith in that. In the end, she laughs, offering him a lingering look that ends with a wink cast in his direction, "Even wearing leathers and tunic, and not wearing a fine dress, hmm?" A tease more given.

"Faith is not undertaken for rewards. It is the reward." Maelgwn begins, before giving a wide grin to Erylys as she winks and says, "Even wearing leathers and tunic and without a fine dress, yes. Although, it be all the easier to see in just the tunic." he teases back, with a waggle of eyebrows.

Fastforwards to making camp…

Evening had come to Salisbury- and so it was time to make camp at the edge of the great forest. A few Maelgwn-sized armfuls of dead-wood were more than enough to set up a nice fire for the chilly spring evening. Flint and steel sparked together and warmth and light would wash over the area. The fire wasn't particularly large, at least not now- something smaller and simpler to cook by. A small travel pot from Maelgwn's gear was set on the fire with salt-pork and forest greens added to create a broth, that simmered now. Meelgwn was busy crushing trail-biscuits, hardtack bread that would last for months on the trail. Simple cooking for a man who spends his last few years at war.. and without servants to make his meals.

While he gathered the wood and got the fire going, Erylys would spend the time gathering the greens, a few herbs, and getting the bird she'd brought prepped to be roasted over the flames. With the beginnings of the stew going in the pot, more meat will be added once the bird is cooked well enough to be cut into pieces and dropped in to add further flavor. There's an ease in her movements, even in comfortable silence in which they work together to get the camp set up and the meal cooking. Not a lady who needs to fill the silence with idle chatter. Once things are done, she joins him near the first to await the meal.

The wolves have watched them from the edge of the trees, and it's not till Erylys settles down and gives a soft cluck to them, that the four will join them on the opposite side of the fire, curling up within the warmth. Luna watches the two more than her siblings.

Maelgwn offers a smile to Erylys when she returns to the fire- having little to say for the moment as the meal cooks. Once some of the water has boiled off and the broth has gotten flavorful he adds the crushed biscuit to the water to help thicken it up, giving it a stir with a wooden spoon that might very well be self-carved. He stirs quietly, letting the soup thicken with the crushed biscuit.

"I worry they may be too friendly." Maelgwn says as the wolves come close, "We should probably bring them deep into the woods to give them the best chance to have a happy life."

Turning as he speaks, Erylys considers his words, "I'm not sure on that. They would only join us after I gave the signal they could. And I've made certain to always use different signals than what is common to use with the hunting dogs." She thought ahead in some ways. "As much as I have wanted to keep them, I knew as well I couldn't. I wanted to give them the best start that I could." There's a note of sadness in her voice at the thought of telling the small pack goodbye once they reach Tisbury. She's always been rather softhearted around animals - no doubt, he remembers the many times she would have brought home birds that fell out of nests, the sick animals she would try to nurse back to health.

Maelgwn nods quietly, "Well, I'm sure that will be good enough." he offers, as he gives a quiet look towards Erylys. "Otherwise, I will watch for them." he offers, "There are other packs they might join in Tisbury lands." he says, "They will learn to be complete wolves that way." Maelgwn himself isn't particularly violent of a man- not at heart. Strong, certainly, a giant among men- but gentle in heart. He is kind to animals and small children both. It is Just and right to defend the weak, and those who can not speak for themselves. "It is for the best they remember the deep forest. They will be happier there."

"I will be certain to hit you up for any news of them whenever you might pass through Sarum." Erylys promises to bug him in such a manner. "Surely it was the Goddess who led us to meet today, for I had been thinking recently what I should do with them. I could take them to Berwick, but I know it wouldn't be.. wouldn't be as good as Tisbury." Worried had she been for her wolves. Dropping her gaze to the fire, she leans forwards to pick up the wooden spoon to give the stew a stir, "There's been a bit of a lady's pageant going on in Sarum here lately. "

"I had heard of it. A sort of tourney for the prim and proper." Maelgwn says with a chuckle, "You are always welcome to visit Tisbury." he assures her, "And I'll keep an eye out for them. I'm sure they'll do well there." he reiterates. "So, why didn't you join the pageant?" he wonders of Erylys, then.

"Yes… for the ladies who are not knights." Erylys says with a nod of her head, only to end up laughing as she spreads her hands a little to either side, "I am not exactly the prim and proper type, though…" There comes a note of pride to her expression, "I did win the crafting event, though not with perfumes or neat embroidery." Humor shows then, "I made a pair of rabbit fur slippers this winter and entered them." So very different from the usual craft entries made by ladies!

"Those sound warm. Rather nice for shuffling about a cold manor house in winter. Those floors do get rather cold." Maelgwn replies, with a little smile. "Anyways, they sound useful. Perfume always tickles my nose- like someone rolled in a field of wild-flowers and fruit." he states with a little grin. "Congratulations on your win."

"They are. I have a set myself. Even managed to sell them to a lord who wanted them for his wife." Erylys states with another of her quick grins, "Won a few coins, got a few more for selling them. Surprised me, in truth." But she's chuckling, nodding her blond head, "Perfume doesn't quite work when you're in the woods hunting, especially larger game. They tend to pick up on that with the shift of the wind." She goes for more natural scents, things easily found in the woods to scent her skin with - fresh herbs, the earthy tones of certain tree leaves broken and rubbed into one's clothing. Things not too amiss when game might pick up on the scent.

"Of course." Maelgwn agrees as he peers into the stewpot- things seem to have thickened nicely, and the smell is fantastic. He pulls it off the fire- "Ah, the burdock leaves really give it that something." he says, a pair of wooden bowls produced from the man's pack- he pours first for Erylys, adding a hard-tack biscuit for something to dunk in the stew. He crumbles his to add texture to the stew. "Nothing nicer than a good trail dinner, and good company."

As the first bowl is offered to her, Erylys takes it in hand, and thanks him for the food. A deep breath is taken in, and a happy sigh soon to escapes. "Smells delicious." A soft word of blessing is given, thanks offered to the God and Goddess both once more for the bounty found upon the land. With spoon in hand, she dips into the stew, stirring it a little before the first bite is lifted to be blown upon to cool down before tasting. By her expression, it's more than just passable trail food.

"It took a couple of years, but I figured out the best way to cook that salt pork the Earl provides his soldiers. You have to soak it for twenty minutes in sweet water." Maelgwn says, with a grin. "Get most of the salt off of it. Throw the water away, its basically sea water at that point." he says, "What little salt remains makes for flavorful stew." he says, "Always helps to add a few herbs and spices, when they're available."

Erylys takes note of what he says, to remember in case she ever has to use it herself in the future, "Makes sense…" She does say after another bite of the stew, the flavor of salt pork with the roasted bird a perfect combination with the herbs and greens. "I've always managed to find game or fish when in the woods for any length of time. Or have jerky that I made with me." Dipping the biscuit into her stew, she soaks it for a moment, then nibbles on it, soon to wonder, "What's the worse thing you've eaten in the field?" Surely he's got some stories there!

"The biscuits typically leave something to be desired- got a good batch last time, but typically there are bugs inside. You have to hit them a few times to get them out. The whole thing goes foul. Sometime the pork is old, too, blue and hard to eat- even after soaking it. Stored for a year or more in saltpack it loses a lot of itself. Sometimes we forage- and that can bring bad results. Bad crawfish, or fish from local rivers that have been traded through the ranks."

Erylys listens, wrinkling her nose a little, and even shuddering. There are some things she would not eat. "I think there'd be times I would go hungry.. " A soft chuckle escapes before she shakes her head, "The life of a knight is not so easy as some might think, hmm?" Surely there are all the stories that romance the life, glossing over the hard times.

"Aye. I thought that way, too. But, when you get hungry enough your standards lower and while its not always the best meal- sometimes its good enough." Maelgwn offers, as he eats some of the stew with the crushed up biscuit inside soaking up some of the liquid. "A knight is a servant, like any other. One can always forget the bad when the good shines so brightly. Still, without that darkness the brightness wouldn't be the same." he agrees with a smile,

"There is that, I guess. I've been lucky to not be so hungry.." Erylys says with another of those wry smiles as she takes another bite of meat and greens dipped from within her bowl. Looking back to him as he speaks again, she nods quietly, "True. Without the darkness, the light doesn't shine so bright, as you say. Without the bad, the good isn't as.. good. The opposites must exist, as bad as some might be to deal with." This she knows and understands.

Some sound within the nearby woods has Luna shifting, rising to her feet, golden eyes turned to peer into the darkness. Hackle rise upon her back, and a low growl rumbles in her chest. It's enough to gain the attention of the three other wolves, all soon rising to their paws to stare into the woods as well. Eventually, whatever was there, seems to move off, and the four calm and resume their relaxed lounging.

Maelgwn checked his awareness of 10, he rolled 6.

Maelgwn, still dressed as one expects of a knight, looks up when the wolves rise- a certain caution there as he gazes into the woods- he could have sworn he heard something- a hand rests on his blade- just in case. "Sharp eyes." he says softly, just watching the edge of the woods with quiet for a long moment. He doesn't move to his feet- not yet, but he watches.

Erylys checked her awareness of 10, she rolled 18.

Erylys is distracted - either by the food, or the company, or some idle thought that crosses her head. Not to say she isn't alert when the wolves rise, and Luna gives that warning growl to whatever's in the woods. But she has food. And a knight who seems prepared to defend her! While her own belt knife is at hand, her bow and other weapons are still to the side next to her saddle.

Maelgwn stays on edge now- he's spent too much time on the front as of late to not expect the worst in a situation like a simple forest-side camp. He puts his food to the side, and stands to his full height- calling out in his deep, basso voice. "Hark! Who goes there?! Reveal yourself!"

Erylys isn't one to let Maelgwn stand alone, however, and once he rises and calls out, she sets her bowl aside and does as well. There's no answer, and with the wolves settling back down again by the fire, she hmms, "It might have been another wolf, or an animal. Luna gave the warning growl and it backed off." Coming out of winter, it might have been something bigger as well that decided that the pack, small as it is, wasn't worth the trouble.

"Perhaps." Maelgwn says, with a nod- looking towards the wolves that have joined them- its an unusual experience to be so close to the hunters. He sits again, picking up his stew to return to dinner. "Better safe than sorry when dealing with potential ambush." he says, with a quiet smile. "We'll tie the food up and put it in a tree before we sleep- in case its a bear."

Settling back down again, Erylys reaches for her bowl, only to end up laughing quietly at the last comment, "Yes, the only bear I wanna wake up poking me is you.." So says the huntress, talking aloud, only to realize just what she said, and blinks a few times, soon to snort at herself. Nevermind the rise of color to her cheeks.

Maelgwn eats his stew, looking over to Erylys when she speaks- giving a little grin. "I'll keep that in mind when the chill of the evening hits us." he offers with a little grin, shaking his head a moment with a little smile. "You let me know if it gets too cold."

Erylys starts to say something, then decides to just nibble on the last of her biscuit instead, merely giving him one of those knowing grins. With the last of the stew soon finding it's way into her belly, she offers to do the washing of the dishes as needed once he's done as well.

He just grins in return, as he he nods to the offer. "Ah, well, I should come with you." Maelgwn states, "That whatsits could still be wandering about." he remarks as he helps to collect the pot, and other cook gear. He then takes the food, and puts it in its sack with a rope attached. Its tossed up over the branch of a tree not far from the camp. A simply bear bag. "Lets get to the stream." he says, with a nod of his head.

"IF you wish.." Erylys answers, soon to take up her spear, just in case. With bowls and all in hand, she makes the short trip to the nearby stream, once the food and all has been hung in the tree. Luna and Nox follow them silently, keeping track of the two of them while the other two sleep at the fireside in the camp. Crouching down, she uses a bit of sand to scrub the bowls and pot, rinsing well in the cold water of the stream. Setting them aside, she washes her hands, and does the same for her face after the afternoon of riding.

Maelgwn joins Erylys in cleaning up from dinner. He takes the time to wash his own face, taking a slow breath to absorb the scent of the forest. "Its a lovely evening." he remarks, "A good night to follow from a good day." he says, with a quiet nod, running wet hands through his hair before again washing his hands. He then collects his cooking kit and brings it to dry near the fire- setting it down. He adds some fuel to the fire, making the pit longer so the fire would burn slowly across a line, giving heat through the night. A small pile of dead-fall sits just near the fire as he begins to set out his bedroll. A bit of rope, and a canvas tarp are used to make a leanto- it would keep the dew off them, and hold a bit of the fire's heat in the night. Its all tied together to trees and branches- a simple camp. Easy to make, and easy to take down.

Looking up at the stars in the sky, Erylys smiles, "That it is. I like the spring and fall the best, I think. When being out in camp, is easier to manage than when it's hot during the summer.." Rising to her feet, she follows him bakc to the camp, to help put things away and build the simple camp. The brush is placed upon the ground to offer extra padding beneath their bedrolls, then she helps tie the tarp up to the nearby trees to form the lean-to. "A right proper camp it is.."

"Well, you take what comfort you can on the road. Little things like a tarp make it a home. All I really need is a fire and a bedroll, to be honest." Maelgwn says with a quiet smile as he begins, finally, to remove his armor- he's not on the front, and can likely sleep without it. The chainmail is taken off and set carefully to one side. It leaves him in just a tunic, and trousers. His blade is removed next, and put close to where he'll sleep, in case its needed. He checks again on his horse, and removes the creature's feed bag, putting it away. With all that done he returns to his bedroll to sit at the foot of where he'll be sleeping and remove his riding boots, with spurs attached. "

"As long as the night is pretty, then I'm the same - give me my bedroll and a fire, and I'm content." Erylys chuckles, "And if it's nasty, then I can hope to find a cave or hunting lodge if such is available. If not, then it's going to be a long night." No armor to remove for her, leaving her to settle upon her bedroom, her own boots removed. Her knife is kept close, along with her spear, though her bow and quiver remains near her saddle. A glance to the other side of the first shows the four wolves curled up together, noses tucked under tails.

"Aye, look at 'em. Sleeping like pups." Maelgwn says with a little smile, "It'll be good for them to be in Tisbury- I'm sure they'll be happier there than stuck in the glade near Sarum." he says, with a little nod of his head, before laying back to look up into the dark sky- at the stars. "The sky is the same everywhere I've been. The same stars. It gives a certain sense of location, of home." he says, "Being able to look up and see the same stars."

"They aren't like the other dogs who don't mind coming inside the cottage and sleeping there. A few even been known to sneak into the bed with me…" Erylys murmurs as she watches the four wolves for a moment, "And it was something I didn't encourage either." As he lays back, she turns to watch, letting her gaze linger on him as he stretches out and looks up at the stars above. She soon follows, laying out next to him, bedroll close, but not touching,s haring in the lean-to's protection. "I'd never thought of that before.."

"It something I tend to do. Keep quiet, listen, watch. Think." Maelgwn says with a quiet smile. "Lay there in camp and stare up when everything seems foreign and get that sense that I'm not so far from home. Its helpful, when you feel so far away from everything." Maelgwn states, "And, it does help to get a sense of place- the stars move, but not all of them move. Some are always in the same place every night, and with those you can get a sense of direction- just like knowing that the sun rises to the east, and sets to the west."

"That, I do.." Keeping quiet, listening, watching, thinking. One tends to do a lot of that when you're a hunter. "I get it from my father.. not something mother could do." The woman was always busy, and still is back in Berwick, helping in the kitchens. Looking up, listening to the rumble of his voice, she falls silent, and yet at times, her head moves enough to allow her to cast her gaze towards him before returning to the dark sky above.

Maelgwn nods quietly, "Good. Keep thinking. Always better to think." he agrees, his basso voice rolling through the evening as he continues to look into night sky. He feels her eyes on him, looking quietly over a moment- their gaze caught on each other. He just smiles quietly to her when she looks towards him, giving a little wink. "I was thinking of offering myself as Keeper of the Law for Earl Robert. It would require I spend much of my time in Sarum." he says, after a moment, letting that information just sit between them.

"If one does not think, then one becomes stagnant. And that is one thing I would never do." Erylys answers, chuckling softly. Falling silent, she does look to him, and when eyes meet, she grins at the wink offered. When mention of the position he is considering, she ohs softly, thoughtful. "You would do some traveling, but… it would keep you near Sarum at other times." Oh, how she thinks upon that!

"Very true." Maelgwn says, nodding quietly. "I would do some traveling, but my duties would be largely within the realm. I would be protecting the home front from those who would do harm to the people." he says, with a little smile. "It would be a welcome change from seasons on the front, although, I would likely still be required to assist thusly." he shrugs, "But, much of my time would be in Sarum." he then goes quiet a moment, before asking. "What do you think about that?"

Erylys hmms, "Protecting those that would have some take advantage of them. It is a sad thing to hear about.." Shaking her head slightly, she considers for a moment, soon to turn her head, to once more meet his gaze when questioned, "I like it.. I won't deny that the idea of seeing more of you does not appeal greatly to me, Maelgwn." She soon shifts, rolling to her side to face him further, "I will be so bold to say that you have always appealed to me, but I know you had duties, responsibilities, once your training was done."

Maelgwn blinks once. Twice. "Have you now?" he asks, turning a touch to face her fully. He's quiet now, just looking into Erylys' eyes. "I had not expected that." he says then, "All the more reason to spend more time in Sarum." he says, with a little grin. "I will always have duty, of course- but duty doesn't mean I can't make time." he continues, "Particularly for you."

"You find it so surprising?" Erylys wonders, questioning him quietly as they face one another. "I was not so sure what you might think of me ten, and as I said, I knew you needed time once your training was done." And who knows what might have happened in those years between. But, as he grins, she smiles back at him, flushing a little, "I will certainly make time for you as well."

"I've never thought myself as one to be fancied." Maelgwn replies simply, "I suppose it makes some sense- you did follow me around while I squired. I.. suppose in that sense, though, I'm something of an idiot." he admits, with a laugh. "There are few women who's company I find as enjoyable as yours."

Erylys laughs softly, "At first, it was merely the fact you didn't turn your nose up at me, and didn't mind me following you at times. Later…" Later she noticed more about the young man he was becoming when the thoughts of kids turn to those of a young lady. "Not an idiot." That comes quick enough, a slight furrow of brows given as she shakes her head, leaning in towards him while holding his gaze, "You are not an idiot by any means, Maelgwn." She won't hear him put himself down. The intense look fades, a certain pleased one to take it's place at his words, "I'm glad to hear that."

"No, I mean when it comes to women. I'm out to sea." Maelgwn returns with a little grin. "But, thank you." he offers quietly. "I didn't mind, that much is true. You never really looked at me in the same way others sometimes do." he explains, "That look of horror they get, the stares. I've never really liked it- I accept it, though." he shrugs, still smiling- his dark eyes focused on Erylys still. "You have such blue eyes." he mentions, "They put sapphires to shame."

"Oh, well that.. I wouldn't know. Not much better myself. Even if I find it easier to talk to guys about hunting and such, over the ladies and their gossip and embroidery." Erylys says lightly, chuckling at herself. As he speaks of those that look at him in such a way, there's that subtle bristling of her mood. "They are stupid…." She bites off more she might say before shaking her head, "Means then, that they loose out on a good man. All the more luck for me, hmm?" She says then, though as he compliments her so, she seems surprised, and actually blushes!

"I like the way they sparkle in the firelight." Maelgwn says, a quiet statement. "Like the stars-" he begins, looking up again to the sky. "I think they could give me the same sense of place. Of home." he remarks to the young woman, before looking back with a little grin. "I didn't expect my journey back to Tisbury to be with company. I figured to get it over with as quickly as possible… Now, I think I'd rather tarry and take my time."

"I… thank you." Erylys finally says softly, daring to reach over to brush her hand against one of his if able, to offer a quiet squeeze as she lays down again, only to chuckle, "I have a week before I must return to the Earl's side. Court is called then as well.."

Maelgwn's hand, like the rest of him, is huge- almost like a bear's paw compared to Erylys' comparatively petite form. He takes Erylys' hand, giving it a fond squeeze- exceedingly gentle, despite the obvious strength. "Then, let us enjoy what time we have and give these wolves a good life." he says with a quiet smile, squeezing Erylys' hand again. He lets his grip loosen- Erylys able to pull away easily if she chooses. "I suppose we should get sleep. The morning will come soon enough."

Twisting about in his grip, her hand seeks to lace fingers with his for a moment, his larger one dwarfing her own easily. And yet there's a sense of comfort in that fact, much the way she feels laying at his side. Comforted. Protected. Erylys chuckles softly, "I suppose we should, but if we're going to take our time reacing Tisbury, we are not on a forced schedule to ride at the crack of dawn either even if we should sleep in." As much as one could with the sun coming up to wake you. No walls or curtains to hide you in shadows here. As a bit of wind kicks up, the flames dance, sparking a little, making her shiver a touch until it calms back down again.

Maelgwn notices that cool breeze, and sees her shiver. "If you grow cold, come close." he offers, "I'll shield you from the cold." he offers with a quiet smile- enjoying this closeness, with hands laced together. "And you speak true- we can spend some time in camp." he smiles at that, "Enjoy a nice breakfast and ride with leisure."

Erylys considers, then dares to scoot closer to him, closing the distance that might have sat between the two of them, though bedrolls certainly touched before. "I will not turn away the chance to be warm, with the fire to one side, and you to the other." While one hand remains laced with his, the other is bent, soon serving as a pillow for her head as she lies on her side, still facing him. "More and more, I feel the touch of the Goddess in this day."

Maelgwn smiles quietly, nodding before one arm between them- fingers entwined together as he presses close- looking into her eyes as he lays there. "I think you may be right." he offers, nodding in quiet agreement. "Good night." he says then, daring to lean forward to press a kiss to Erylys' cheek.

Erylys smiles, and when he leans in to offer the kiss to her cheek, she dares to turn, to allow his lips to brush her own instead. A light kiss, a promise of something more another night. It lingers but for a second or two before she draws back, "Sleep well, Maelgwn. May the God and Goddess keep you through the night." And with those soft words, she seeks to curl up there against him, to allow the crackle of the fire, the sounds of the woods, and the feel of his nearness sing her to sleep.

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