(515-04-14) April 515 Court
Summary: Robert calls court to discuss the past winter, how certain Houses faired, grant positions to a few, and handle the Willcott tragedy.
Date: April 14, 515
Related: None
erylys maelgwn braelynn eibhlin erion anwir joachim talaith lisbeth arta cerys claire letha drustan yorrick 


robert esyte liaze trindham 

The day of Court has proven to be a lovely one to travel to Sarum. The roads are good, if perhaps a little muddy from spring rains. The city itself has laid out the welcome mat for the visiting nobles from outside the city. Even the shopkeepers were said to have lowered their prices for the ladies! With Easter right around the corner, it's proven to be a good week to be in Sarum!

While nobles arrive within the hall, Earl Robert and his wife, Esyte, soon make an appearance. Both are dressed nicely in the colors of Sarum, the earl escorting his wife uponhis arm to the front of the room where the chairs sit upon a small stage. Seating his wife first with a kiss to her hand, the Earl soon turns and addresses the gathered nobles, "Welcome to Sarum. There are many things to discuss… so shall we begin so we might then feast?"

The winner of the prettiest competition, Cerys de Tisbury comes to the Great Hall together with her cousin sir Maelgwn de Tisbury as a representative of her father Lord/Sir Kenrick de Tisbury, who was not able to visit the Court today, and of the heir Uwain de Tisbury, whose location is unknown. "Maybe today we will hear great news about your position, cousin. I will no longer feel so lonely in this court," she speaks quietly and excitedly just to the man's ear to hear. Her gaze will wander through all the gathered people and she will offer a polite smile to those, whom she knows.

With a squared neckline, her dress is dark green and appears to be made of linen. The dress is ankle-length, the long tight sleeves descends far enough to stop just by the knuckles. Cerys wears four thick wooden bracelets over the fabric of a sleeve. They have various battles carved into the wood, and each battle scene is separated with thoroughly carved floral ornaments. Fitted along the neckline, a leather cord laces around the bodice under the bust and down to the waistline. The chord is decorated with a few tiny feathers. A black leather ribbon surrounds the neck, from which hangs a wooden pendant with brass accents, as the metal twists and spirals around the wood in a decorative knot-like design.

Erylys is already there, dressed as normally in leather pants and tunic in the colors of the forest. As Master Huntsman, she is not truly needed, but there is reason for her to be here this day. A nod is given to Maelgwn and his cousin, Cerys, when the pair enter, a quick smile offered before turning towards the front when the Earl and his wife enter.

"Go to your Lady, Cousin." Maelgwn says softly to Cerys as they walk in together- he chaperoning his lovely cousin as they enter a united Tisbury front. "We will see if I am to join the Court in such a fashion. I live to serve my liege." he says quietly, with a bow of his head- moving to wherever it is he would be expected to go in this situation- he is dressed nicely, but in his livery of battle- ready to come to the Earl's aide with blade and armor at ready. All he doesn't carry is a shield- a sign he trusts his Liege to defend him more than any shield could- that he accepts this hospitality. He nods with a smile to Erylys.

Dressed in a formal outfit in the colors of Woodford Erion arrives with his normal grace. He strides in and takes a place in the growing crowd of nobles. The handsome knight with his golden hair looks rather serious today. His tunic is a dark crimson trimmed in black around the sleeves and collar. It is paired with matching black breeches and boots and a belt. Offering a polite nod to those present that he knows he waits his turn his gaze drifting from person to person slowly and calmly.

Braelynn is wearing her new spring gown. It is pale green in color, the green matching her eyes nearly perfectly. There is a simple pendant belt of the same fabric, and that, along with the hem of the her dress has a simple pale orange flame design embroidered along it. Her hair has been left loose today, for the most part. There are two copper combs that pull it neatly from her face, and pale green ribbons that she purchased at the market yesterday have been attached to the combs, and they hang loosely down her back with her hair. The red curls stop just at the small of her back. She enters with Talaith and Lisbeth. She has a smile on her face, but she seems uncomfortable at the idea of being in such a crowd and that is obvious.

Lisbeth checked her courtesy of 10, she rolled 16.
Braelynn checked her courtesy of 9, she rolled 2.

Talaith comes in with Braelynn and Lisbeth with a smile on her face. The knight actually looks more like a lady today. She wears a dress of a rich grassy green that highlights her curvy figure. A black bodice is worn over the top of the dress pushing her breasts out just a little. Green ribbons hold the bodice closed and matching green ribbons have been braided into parts of her thick reedish brown curls. She gives Braelynn a look of gentle reassurance and touches her arm in a show of support. She walks beside the other two women as they make thier entrance.

Dressed in a simple green spring gown, Lisbeth is matching with Talaith and Braelynn, the three friends deciding to match for the Court. Giving Braelynn's hand a little squeeze, Lisbeth offers encouragingly. "A court scribe is often with a crowd." she points out with a smile as she straightens herself, unsure of the results of her own test. And so concentrated is she on cheering up Braelynn, she forgets for a moment she's in Court, the young woman tugging at one of Braelynn's ribbons to straighten it. "There, perfect." she nods in agreement with Talaith as she turns her attention finally to her surroundings and blushes a little as she realizes where they are.

Decked in the somber blacks and argents of Newton, the stout heir of Newton, Joachim, is waiting on news for his own House. With his father's health failing, the knight knows that he has to fill in the role. And with the pronouncement of his younger sister's betrothment, there is more than a little curiosity at the behind the scenes of it all as he folds his arms, a polite bow of his head given in time with greetings.

Arta is already at the court when her cousin Braelynn arrives with Lisbeth and Talaith. Arta is wearing her best well-tailored wool tunic. The tunic follows the contours of the body loosely, the hem falling low. It features a belted waist and long sleeves with slightly accentuated shoulders. The front of the wool tunic is double-breasted, drawing attention to the face. Arta is also wearing her hair on a bun with a single loose strand of hair falling down onto her forehead. She sheets of parchment with her this time.

Anwir is one of the last to come into court, the Laverstock bard seems to have the art of being fashionablly late but not too late down to a science. Dressed in fine attire in his house colors he manages to pair orange and green together in a single tunic without looking tacky. His breeches and boots are black and a lute is carried on his person as well. He enters and drifts about the room trying to find a good spot to observe.

Robert looks about the gathered nobles, taking note of those that are here currently. Nods are given to those that offer bows and curtseys to he and his lady wife. Once all have gathered, he smiles, "So, let us begin with this court, hmm?" Again, there is a pause before he speaks again, "I know many have recently come to Sarum seeking posts within the Court. A few to announce that I see here currently…"

His gaze finds the quiet and nervous Braelynn, "Lady Braelynn de Cholderton has served as assistant record keeper to my Court. With Lady Seren de Woodford following her brother to lend a hand in his station in Helvetia, I promote Lady Braelynn to Court Scribe…" A gesture is made to the place where generally Seren would be found, papers, ink and quills made ready for her. A slight amused smile appears on his lips, "If you will, Lady Braelynn?" Yes, the man is putting her immediately to work!

And from there, once Braelynn is settled and started her notes, he turns back to seek another out in the crowd, "Sir Maelgwn de Tisbury has sought the position of Keeper of the Law and was given the task to oversee a dispute between two ladies entered in the craft competition. I have looked over his ruling, and find it fair and just. I name him to the position of Keeper of the Law." A bow of the Earl's head is given to the knight.

Again, he turns, to seek another, and when he finds her, he smiles, "Lady Lisbeth de Chalke is known to seek the position of Ledgerkeeper. She and another looked over the books where an issue was had, and only she was able to discover the problem. I name her the Court Ledgerkeeper on this day. "

Maelgwn can't hide the grin of pride that crosses his face at being named Keeper of the Law. He falls to a knee, "I thank you for this honor, my liege." the large knight says, on bended knee- a quiet sign of reverence and loyalty to the Earl. He would remain until given sign, or word to stand.

Once her cousin will be allowed to stand up, Cerys will offer him a wide and excited smile together with a squeeze of his arm, if allowed, "I said that everything will be alright," she speaks to him quietly, "And you were so serious and tense!" Her eyes wander to the Earl and his wife and her eyes sparkling with joy is her way to say thank you to the lieges.

Talaith is beaming as both her friends and her older brother are granted positions. She offers Braelynn a bright cheerful smile as the woman is imeediately put to work. Looking to Lisbeth she whispers quietly. "See? I knew you could do it. Congradulations." Then she looks back towards the front her smile and good mood not fading in the slightest.

Erylys moves through the crowd along the backside of the wall, putting herself in position to offer her own quiet congratulations to the knight after he's risen to his feet, and gotten such from his cousin. "I guess we will see you more often around Sarum." She half teases in a quiet whisper.

Braelynn, having expecting to be promoted, since she was already in training for the position, moves quickly to the table and begins to transcribe the court proceedings. She does look up and give Lady Lisbeth a bright smile as her appointment is announced, and then it's back to work for the scribe. She does move a few things around on the desk to suit her own tastes, and she works very carefully to avoid ink stains on her new dress.

"See, told you you'd do fine." Lisbeth responds to Braelynn and when she's named Ledgerkeeper, the young woman dips into a curtesy. "When would you like me to start, Your Grace?" she asks as she mixes up her titles for a moment before she blushes a little towards Talaith. "Yes, well, I had high hopes, and Jesuit blessed me with the grace to carry them through." the new scribe's smile is returned warmly as she turns her attention back to the Earl.

A glance to the side to make sure Braelynn is catching up on things, Robert turns back to those he announced. The knight is given another nod by the Earl, "I have faith you will fulfill your position well, Sir Maelgwn." After his words, indication is given for him to rise before he turns to Lisbeth, "There is a matter I will discuss with you after court in which I will have need of you and your abilities.." A mission for the new Ledgerkeeper!

Maelgwn rises to his feet, again bowing his head respectfully to the Earl. "I will do my best to serve your justice, my Lord." he says to Robert, before dropping to quiet- giving a little smile over to Erylys when she comes close to tease. "Aye," he replies quietly- to both Cerys and Erlys with economy.

Lisbeth blinks a little, looking surprised. Like Braelynn, she should have expected to be put to work immediately. "I-I.. of course, Earl Robert!" she says cheerfulness forced up suddenly like so much happy vomit. That confidence was just called on as she curtseys again. "I shall get started on the ledgers as soon as possible."

Robert pauses again, to let people respond before moving on to the next topic, "Several of the manors were hit by sickness - Bodenham, Dinton, Winterbourne Gunnet, and Winterbourne Stoke to name the ones hardest hit. These four Houses are being helped get back on their feet currently, both in figuring out leadership, and how they faired over winter." With those words, he offers a look to Lisbeth, perhaps giving her clues as to what she may be tasked soon to help with.

That said, and with others in place, he continues, "In Steeple Langford, Sir Perin and his wife, Sir Evae, have answered the call of the Pendragon for a mission that would take them out of Salisbury. Due to this, the House has been left in the hands of the second son, Sir Kenrick, who will be seeing to the House's affairs.

Again, a pause, and the Earl continues with manor news, "In Tisbury, Sir Uwain has also not been seen since a skirmish near Ebble. No ransom has been demanded for his return either. Until confirmation of his death is discovered, his sister, Lady Cerys continues to serve as Steward of the House. " A nod is given to Cerys at this, "If the Court hears any news of your brother, you will be the first to know, this I promise."

Turning towards a younger man that has been seen, the Earl speaks up, "In Woodford, as mentioned, Sir Acwel, along with his wife, Lady Heulwen, and sister, Lady Seren, have taken up a post within Helvetia for the Pendragon. The House is being overseen currently by Sir Cadfan de Woodford with young Sir Erion de Woodford named heir. I have heard the marriage banns that have been posted between Sir Erion and Lady Eibhlin de Newton, and announce upon their marriage, that Sir Erion shall step into position as Head of Woodford House." Oh, another he's putting to work!

Cerys' smile fades when the Earl discuss matters of her family. Once she gets the man's look, she offers a deep curtsy to the earl and a nod, agreeing to stay as a Steward of her family's manor and thankful that she will be informed as soon as her brother will be found.

Now that Joachim understands his sister's sudden betrothal, the knight nods his head in thanks. He realizes the position that Vesper's removal caused, and the line of recovering his respect for the home that Robert has offered with this marriage bann.

Robert returns to Cerys at her curtsey, "I would speak with you further upon a few things, after court, if you would meet with I and Lady Esyte?"

Having been standing quietly until now Erion bows his head both as a gesture of respect to the Earl and to hide his utter shock at that announcement. He clearly never expected to be head of his house. There is a moment of shock and worry but he is quick to reign it in. Once he has his emotions and expression back under control he lifts his head once more. He glances thoughtfully to Joachim and then looks back to the Earl once more, paying attention to what is said next.

Cerys eyes grow wider at such a request, but she offers one more deep curtsy to the liege, "Of course." - is her answer.

Robert nods once more to Cerys, and when next he speaks, there's a serious tone to his voice, "I know many heard of the rumors of what happened at Willcott. There is much to discuss there, but it will wait till representatives of both Stapelford and Willcott are present to go into further details upon." That said, he draws a deep breath and releases it, the news weighing heavily upon his mind.

It's then that his wife reaches out to touch his hand, a quiet comment exchanged between the two. There's a moment where the man seems to 'oh' quietly and turns away, "I am sorry, there is another that should come forwards… Lady Arta de Cholderton? I do believe you owe the court a poem?"

Erylys murmurs something aside to Maelgwn as the court waits for the poem promised by Arta.

Maelgwn smiles, returning in quiet tones to Erylys- whispered words.

Arta checked her Compose of 11, she rolled 6.

Arta curties to Earl Robert gracefully "Yes, your lordship." she then steps forward, she is little nervous because her inspiration to write songs and poems comes mainly from her travels that she did in her youth while studying to be a Chirurgeon before returning to the Cholderton manor. Arta shuffles between a couple of sheets of parchments before deciding upon one of them. "Your lordship, your ladyship" Arta offers before beginning her poem "A heavy breath in the dark; Lips warm against my own; Slender hands upon my hips, pulling me close pushing me away. She dances with another at the ball, smirking at me through lowered lashes with each new partner. She comes with frightened eyes, skin darkened from abuse. Her tongue tells a tale of treason: A crown to be stolen through poison and lies; And implores my intervention. Blades drawn with a hiss of steel Clash together and shower sparks. Again and again they meet. Arms heavy from the sword, Legs tremble from the dance of death. A desperate thrust meets resistance. Righteous fury fades from his eyes as the Prince falls. My hands, stained crimson. Emerald eyes meet mine, Mocking, triumphant. She turns away, dismissive of my devotion. ''Begone.'' Exile. The pain returns No matter how hard I run." Arta ends the poem with a moment of silence.

Arriving a bit later than some, earlier than others, ducking down reflexively as he enters. The height of the doors to the great hall makes the ducking pointless, but a man of six feet likely gets enough practice at it for it to be second nature. Sir Bradwyn finds a place out of the way, yet in line with those waiting their audiance with the Earl. Wearing his best and sporting Idmiston colors, Bradwyn simply waits his turn. As the poem is recited the tallest Idmiston listens quietly, respectfully, and once it is done gives a subdued but appreciative clap for the effort given. Of course he'd wait for the Earl to approve first before doing so himself.

Robert steps back and sits so he might listen to the poem that is given to the Court, the topic earning a studious look from the Earl. Leaning in towards his wife, he ponders for a moment, conferring with Esyte before finally drawing away and rising to his feet, "A most intriguing poem, one that will have many within the Court here today talking, Lady Arta. " A pause, and with a smile, he wonders, "Might we tempt you with the position of Court poet, and hope to hear further selections in the future to help break up the boring aspects of Court?" The man knows that sometimes, it can get a little boring!

Arta blushes, something she tends to do often when she's nervous or concentrating hard. "Certainly your lordship. I will accept this position" Arta curtsies.

Maelgwn smiles to whatever quiet thing has been passed between himself and Erylys, nodding again before he looks forward as Robert speaks again- his attention soon undivided.

Braelynn looks up from where she has been taking notes on the court proceedings. She gives Arta a bright smile. She mouths to her "Love it!", referring to the poem, of course. Then she lowers her head and begins writing again.

That is not exactly a proper Roman Christian poem. Joachim looks a little perplexed by it all - but they can't all be hymnals, right? The knight just gives a nod of his head as Robert offers the position. Different tastes for different folks!

Anwir listens to the poem with interest a smile forming on his lips. His lute is shifted in his grip as he watches and waits for an opening so that perhaps he might have a chance to earn his own position.

"Then, we await further works from you, Lady Arta." Robert says as she accepts the position. A messenger comes in, soon to make his way to Robert. A quiet conversation, and the Earl speaks to those gathered. "IF you wisll excuse me for a short time, there is something I must attend. Please, stay and talk. We will continue things soon. " A moment, and he adds after a reminder from his wife, "There are some light refreshments laid out if any would wish something during this time." Wine and simple foods such as bread, cheese and sliced meats are found on a sideboard. Not the grand feast that is promised for later in the evening.

After a few moments Erion begins to make his way out. He tries to hide the worry he feels, keeping his expression as distant and thoughtful as he can. He exits the court quitely without a word once the Earl calls a break.

When Robert announces the break she cleans up the table, and rises. She stops near the door to tell someone where she will be, and asks that they come get her when Earl Robert returns, then she slips out quietly to go congratulate her friends.
Braelynn leaves, heading towards the Sarum Bailey and Castle [Sarum Bailey and Castle].
Braelynn has left.

Erylys curtseys to the Earl as he leaves the room, her gaze sweeping over those that might step out as well. Turning back to Maelgwn, she grins a little more, "Want something to eat or drink? One thing to be said for Court, there's good food…" She would know why! "I must admit to curiosity to the rumors around Willcott.." Another reason to stick around for later!

As a recess is called to events the tall knight makes his way over to the offered food, though simply pours himself a goblet of wine for now before moving aside so he isn't blocking access for others taking a light sip of his drink as he waits for court to reconvene.

With the announcement of the position in court, Maelgwn hasn't stopped grinning- an intimidating thing to see it across his scarred face. "I do believe this calls for some celebration." the giant of a man states, as he looks then to Erylys, nodding quietly. "Yes, lets get a drink."

Erylys is grinning as well, happy that Maelgwn got the position he was after. The shorter huntress follows the knight towards the sideboard, finding a pitcher of wine and a couple of glasses to pour them each one. Handing one over to him, she rises hers in salute, "To your new position, Law keeper!"

"Ha!" Maelgwn returns in good cheer, rising his glass to the salute with a grin. He then takes a deep drink, "And to those who's support I had in attaining this position." he returns a counter toast, and salute- largely for his family, and Erylys.

To that, Erylys can drink to, and with that grin, soon takes a deep drink of the wine. Lowering her glass, she glances around, soon to murmur, "Things have gone fairly well this time, though I'm certain it will be interesting later.." Court isn't always boring. Looking around, she does take time to study those nearby, giving others nods.

"Aye, I imagine there's more to be told done yet." Maelgwn says, with a quiet nod of his head. He sips the wine some more, "If anything, it will give the landscape of who's who in these lands." he notes, an important thing for a man in his newly minted position.

As soon as the messenger comes to fetch her Braelynn rushes back and takes her seat. She looks slightly flustered as she sits. She nods respectfully to Earl Robert and his wife, while preparing the quill and parchment.

Robert soon returns, his wife escorted on his arm. To the chairs they both head, and once more, a kiss to Esyte's hand is given though she does not take a seat just yet. Turning about, the Earl looks over, noting those that have arrived. The messager is sent for Braelynn to have the Scribe return. Once she's seated again to take notes, the earl speaks up, "I see two others who have requested positions within the court. First… my lady wife."

It is Lady Esyte that will offer the first position, "Lady Eibhlin de Newton, I accept you as handmaiden until your marriage to Sir Erion de Woodford. At that time, we will discuss where perhaps you might further serve me?" She smiles, then steps back, allowing her husband to speak once again.

Robert looks to one of the tall knights in the back, and speaks up, "Sir Bradwyn de Idmiston seeks a position, and knowing his achievments upon both the battle field and in tourney, I name him to the position of Guardsman." A pause, and the earl soon adds, "Perhaps soon, I may call you one of my Guard Commanders."

Eibhlin smiles and she nods her head as she watches Lady Esyte, she gives a light nod of her head to the lady and then she bows her head slightly.

Bradwyn had provided word he sought a position, really any the Earl felt suitable really. At the return of the Earl and his wife and another sip of wine that has barely been touched, why such a large man would nurse wine is anyone's guess. The goblet is placed down as he is addressed and he places the goblet down to offer a courtly bow saying, "You honor me more than I expected Your Grace, I am honored to accept the position of Guardsman." Pausing a moment he adds, "With your leave I have a gift from Idmiston for you, also an apology on behalf of my cousin Sir Talfryn de Idmiston who was unable to attend court due to injuries suffered in your service against a yale."

Robert nods to Bradwyn, "I look forwards to hearing of your deed in your new position." He frowns slightly at hearing Talfryn's injuries, but upon disclosure of the beast, he looks surprised, "A yale, you say? Sir Talfryn is well otherwise?" The question asked before nodding, allowing Bradwyn to step forwards if need be.

Bradwyn leaves his goblet on the board for now, likely not the safest option, but this is the court of Earl Robert. Stepping forward and offering another bow, Bradwyn draws a neatly wrapped bundle from his tunic and extends it submissively, "For Your Grace and his wife, portions of the yale's meat, enough for you both and proof of my good cousin's part in the hunt. He suffered injuries which are healing well last I heard of him, he and idmiston ask you accept this gift as his apology for his failure to appear to you today." No doubt the meat has been properly prepared so it doesn't foul or rot during the trip to Sarum. The package also isn't stained with blood or anything else, further suggesting such.

Robert steps forwards, accepting the wrapped package from Bradwyn, "I hope then that your cousin is quick to heal. Please send our regards to him upon your return home?" The package of meat is handed to a servant, with directions to take it to the Butler with directions to see about having it cooked in the next day or two for he and his wife's dinner. "I must say, I am curious as to what it might taste like." Not your usual beast. Again, he takes a moment to study those present, "Please, everyone relax and partake of the refreshments. Formalities will pick up as soon as others join us. "

Bradwyn nods to the Earl's words and says, "I am sure he will and I shall extend your warm and kind words Your grace." with a soft smile as he stands once more as formalities are called to an end for now. The six foot knight nods his head respectfully once again and returns to reclaim his wine, which he sips casually.

Braelynn speaks up from the scribes desk, it's quiet, but not too quiet for the Earl to hear, "I do have a few things, Earl Robert, though they aren't nearly as important as appointments. Should I speak to you of them now, or later?

Robert moves to take a seat next to his wife, but as Braelynn speaks up, he gestures, "Please, go ahead and speak of them, if you do not mind a crowd? If you'd prefer privacy, then that can be arranged later?"

Braelynn says, "My cousin arranged a betrothal between myself and Sir Padrig de Laverstock for last fall. I've heard nothing from him since late summer, possibly early fall. It has left me in the rather dubious state of not knowing if I am betrothed any longer. I was hoping you could help." She glances up at Earl Robert and his wife with a smile. "For my peace of mind, My Lord, if nothing else.""

Robert listens, and once the situation is known, he nods, "I would agree that being left in such a position must be troubling. Give me some time to speak with Laverstock and find out what is going on exactly? Either Sir Padrig needs to step forwards, or the betrothal will be dissolved."

Braelynn gives a nod to Sir Robert and she says, "Thank you, My Lord." She takes a deep breath and says, "With the appointment as your scribe I will likely be relocating to Sarum. I was hoping that there was a room for me somewhere that I could work and continue my studies? Perhaps a shared office and living quarters? Maybe with the new ledgerkeeper. Surely she'll need a quiet space to work, as well." She also adds, "I would also like to continue to act as a healer when I am not needed at court. This will afford me the opportunities to prepare bandages and medicines as needed."

"A room will be provided you here at the Castle. Likely with another, yes." It's then that Esyte speaks up, "Most of my handmaidens share a large room together, as do some of the other females within the court." There are no 'private' rooms outside those afford the family. "The Ledgerkeeper often works out of my office." Speaks the Earl again, "As scribe, you would likely work there as well." As for her healing arts, he nods again, "You could speak with our Chirurgeon, Lady Liaze de Allington, when not busy in case she has something you could help with?"

"Thank you Earl Robert, and Lady Esyte. I am still treating several for the aftereffects of smoke inhalation during the seige. I would have to see their care not falter in my absence." She gives them both a smile and moves to pick up her quill again.

Offerign another nod as the Earl and his wife take another break from official matters Bradwyn steps over, goblet still in hand and barely drained from when he stepped forward before, "Seems you are doing well Lady Braelynn." offering the woman he's spoken with a few times now a polite nod.

Anwir checked his Courtesy of 3, he rolled 14.
Anwir checked his Orate of 12, he rolled 7.

Anwir has been lingering in the hall for a while now. Speaking with a few people here and there he notices a lull in those approching the Earl for requests and business. Steeling himself he begins to approch for his own request. There is confidence to his steps and he bows with grace, its not quite a proper courtly bow though being a touch too flashy. Dispite his lack of knowledge of courtly matters when he opens his mouth to address the Earl it is with a well spoken tone and equally well chosen words. "Your Grace. I, Anwir de Laverstock would like to ask for the privledge to try out for the position of one of your court bards. With your permission?" The lute in his hands in held steadily as he waits for permission to play it. He may not know the rules of court but there is no denying he is trying his best to be polite.

As court continues, Maelgwn remains- happy to stand among those in the Earl's court. He watches quietly as Anwir joins the 'fray' of requesting a position in the Earl's court. However, he continues to drink of the Earl's fine wine in quiet celebration of being chosen to a position of honor. He hangs near Erylys, as his cousin Cerys seems to have gone to take care of whatever business her new position has wrought upon her.

Robert looks up from speaking with his wife when approached, a nod of his head given to the young lord who presents himself. A quirk of a brow is given at the request, though he soon speaks lightly, "A song would nto be remiss, though I do not have a single court bard, but instead, allow those musicians that wish to play here in court submit their name to my Scribe for a chance to play?" And yet, the young lords ease at talking has the Earl wondering, "Have you considered perhaps a position such as an Envoy or messenger? One with such skills in conversation.. would not be so remiss."

Bradwyn has returned to a position by one of the walls, msotly to be out of people's way as the six foot knight does take up his share of space. Watching silently as yet another asks for a position the tallest of the Idmistons takes another sip of his own wine, still on his first goblet but it is about half empty now!

Eyrlys drinks as well, going so far to make herself a bit of a sandwich with bread and cheese and meat to nibble on while people gather in little groups to talk and catch up on news. When the bard steps forwards, her gaze follows him, curious perhaps what he might say to the earl.

The Earls response draws a polite smile from Anwir. "I had considered serving as an Envoy yes Your Grace. However I will freely admit I currently lack experience in courtly manners and courtesy which are likely a requirement for such a position. I would not wish to give offense to anyone, however it is something I would very much like to work towards however. Perhaps if I spend some time in court playing music for those here I can learn what is needed to take another position." He bows his head clearly grateful to be given such consideration and he waits for the Earls response to his words before he will begin his song.

Robert nods once more at the young lord's words, and the admission of the lack of skills he believes is needed for the position. But, there comes a smile to the earl's face, "I agree. If you spend your time here, then you should gain the skills soon enough to try for the position. So be welcome, Lord Anwir.. and do entertain us a bit while we wait for others to arrive?"

Anwir checked his Play of 15, he rolled 8.

With another bow to the Earl Anwir straightens up and after adjusting the lute in his arms he begins to play. The melody starts soft, its notes upbeat and flitting about the room like a breeze. Then the pace increases and the tune grows bolder and more lively. Its a pretty song and the bard offers his audience a warm and merry grin as he plays it. The tune soon fills the room with its lively beat, Anwir's fingers dancing accross the strings with practiced ease.

The court has been going on all day, business handled when the right nobles are present. There's been breaks in between, with simple repast fit for the lenten season served on the sideboard.

Positions that have been given out:
Sir Maelgwn de Tisbury as Keeper of the Law.
Lady Braelynn de Cholderton promoted to Court Scribe.
Lady Arta de Cholderton as Court Poet.
Sir Bradwyn de Idmiston to Guardsman.
Lady Lisbeth de Chalke as Ledgerkeeper.
Lady Eibhlin de Newton as Handmaiden to the Earl's wife.

News about the manors:
Steeple Langford: Perin and his wife, gone on mission for Pendragon. Second son, Kenrick, now Head of House.
Tisbury: Uwain missing after a skirmish near Ebble. No ransom demanded. His sister, Lady Cerys to hold the house as Steward.
Woodford: Acwel and his wife and sister, all gone to Helvetia. House overseen by Sir Cadfan until the heir, Sir Erion, marries the Lady Eibhlin.

There has been entertainment, both in the form of a poem from Lady Arta, and music by the bard, Anwir.

Sir Claire de Stapleford, her assortment of official and unofficial titles notwithstanding, is dealing with her newest duty: Mother. Likely she has had to have her squire help her and keep the child outside while she attends to court business. Despite the long nights she has managed to show to court looking well. Having brought the family with her, she stands at the front of the small group. The woman is wearing a deep forest green bliant with black and gold stitching down each arm and a black squared design where each leg would be on the skirt, the trim done in gold. Across her shoulders is a swordsling with polished leather and is clearly what she wears only for official court function. The sword, however, is her battle blade but has been shined a bit. The large red ribbon on it has a peace tie done in a simple bow. The flat expression on her face and lift of her chin shows determination in adversity, doing her best to shoulder the weight that has been brought to her shoulders over the last year.

Maelgwn has been at Court all day- it was his plan to spend the day here anyways, to listen and see who's who. After all, he had reason now to know these Lords and Ladies… he might be called to judge any one of them. He stands near Erylys, eating a bit of meat and cheese and drinking wine. The large knight watches in quiet. Absorbing all of it.

Arriving in the Court, Sir Trindham de Willcott arrives with his wife, Lady Philippa. Having been summoned to the Court by the Earl, the two are dressed in the somber colors of mourning, not for the loss of Morlois de Wilcott, but also for the loss of the two Stapleford sisters at his hands as he moves to stand to await Robert's address before making his own query.

The Master Huntsman, Erylys, stands near Maelgwn, likely pointing out who various people he might not know, and that she's seen around the castle. No doubt, the quieter comments might offer a few juicy tidbits from time to time. Yet, and the lastest arrivals step into the hall, she ohs, whispering to Maelgwn and turning back to see what comes of the discusion now.

Critical Success!
Maelgwn checked his recognize of 10, he rolled 10.

Letha stands next to Claire, looming over the shorter knight with something of a protective air. The sizable blonde woman is likewise in the best of her clothing, a black arm band betraying the mourning she's in for her sisters and nephew. As may be expected of the Spear Maiden of Stapleford, she seems to have little to say. Her niece is outside, watched over by both Claire's squire as well as her own.

The arrivial of the other Master Huntsman is marked as Yorrick makes his way in, grabbing a small container and heads over to where he and Erylys ususally stand, giving his sister hunter an affectionate nudge in the shoulder. "Thanks for switching with me of the Falt hunt, lass. I brough ya back some salted shank to make into dried meat for the next time yer out in the field." the ginger offers, giving her companion a nod of his head. "Sir Yorrick de Cholderton. I'm Erylys' other half out in the fields."

The life of 'new parent' is not just a burden upon the mother. There is plenty for the father to do, as well, even if just sit up at night to play company. Reserved and distant, however, has oft been a marker of Drustan de Falt. The Knight is not one to go for anything remotely ostentatious in his attire. He wears black trou, a grey tunic, and black coat. The coat is not the padded number he oft wears in the cooler months, but a lighter (yet longer) one. The grey-hued raven he has taken as his heraldry marks the breast. He wears his sword at his belt, also marked for peace bonding. There is no extra markings in regard to a state of mourning, but one could say his entire wardrobe is built for it. Color? What's that? While the Lady Knights of Stapleford had their squires watch over the young, his own was tasked with tending to everyone's horses. Thus, the man ends up at his wife's shoulder; still, but with an alert gaze.

Maelgwn nods quietly, "Aye, Sir Trindham and Sir Claire." he returns, so quietly- a whisper, really. He's been paying attention, perhaps. He takes a slow breath, and another sip of his, "The tall blonde is Sir Letha." Maelgwn adds, before looking to Yorrick and nodding his head, "Sir Maelgwn de Tisbury, Keeper of the Law." he introduces himself, for the first time, with his new position added to his title. "A pleasure." he says.

Erylys nods, grinning a little as Maelgwn manages to fire off the names of those that just stepped into the hall. When they're joined by Yorrick, she nods, "Thank you. It'll come in handy. And no worries. I hope all is well with you and your wife? Still planning on heading to Cholderton soon?" She questions, but then, it's time to fall silent.

"Yeah." Yorrick says with a gentle drawl. "Birthing the baby in the pond where we right made him seems to be a good blessin', ya think?" he akss with a grin and looks up at the tall man. "Sure they didn't confuse ya for the darkness we had a few months back?" he asks good naturedly, before he adds, "Thought we were on the trail of a fallow deer, but one of the Falts, the groom, led us right to a pack of yale - I'll tell ya the story later." With that, he too falls silent as Robert returns.

Rousing from his seat upon seeing the arrival of both House Stapleford and Willcott, Robert rises to his feet, his very presence calling a quietness to descend upon the hall, "Sirs Stapleford and Willcott." A nod is given to Claire and Trindham and their respectful families that come with them. "First, let me address the issue at Stapleford before we discuss other matters." The Earl turns to Claire, his gaze to meet her own, "I know that Sir Gideon has been missing since a skirmish with Dorset. We have received no ransom for him. As of right now, we declare him missing. I understand that you have been overseeing the duties of your House in his absence. " He waits but a moment to get a nod of affirmation from Claire before he continues, "Knowing howthings are run within your House, and that your husband has no direct claim to the Falt House, then I would see you continue in your duties, but with the title of Head of House of Stapleford."

Stepping forth, Sir Trindham leaves his wife to the side for the moment as he steps up. Listening to the Earl's address, the knight head of Willcott has no comment, of course. He just waits to be addressed on the manner at hand before speaking.

Claire checked her Modest of 13, she rolled 17.

Under normal circumstances, talk of hunting would immediately distract Letha. And perhaps later the amazon will take the time to introduce herself to the hunters, but for now, it's all about family as she looms over her smaller but more powerful cousin.

Claire checked her Proud of 7, she rolled 12.

Claire does recognize Erylys and the Knight dips her head to the young Huntsman in appreciation and greeting, but says nothing across the room. She is here for official function and her hands remain clasped in front of her. But fewer things are more reassuring to her than having Letha and Drustan in accompaniment. Knowing Stapleford brings three knights when summoned is no small point of pride. When the Earl rises, though, she puts her eyes directly to him. The woman who reportedly raised the dead last November, riding through a sea of ghosts and howling with them, seems at peace but quite serious. When he seeks an answer, there is a cordial and quick bow of her head. "Yes, m'Lord." Looking back, she takes the rest in with barely any readable expression. At 22, having -just- turned, she's been handed a House. Officially. No reaction at all. "Thank you, m'lord. You are gracious." This does bring a deeper bow of her head and shoulders, though.

Robert dips his head to the young woman, "You are most welcome, Sir Claire. You have managed to hold things together fairly competantly, and earned the title." But while he may smile to her then, his expression soon turns as he then moves to address both houses, and those nobles that have lingered, no doubt to hear what will come up next.

The earl knows well how to speak, putting feelings and emotions into every word that falls from his lips. One can easily see that this topic is displeasing to him on so many levels. "I know all have heard rumors of what was discovered at Willcott at the end of winter. I sent both the Sheriff, Sir Pellyn, and the esteemed Chirurgeon, Lady Liaze de Allington, to discover what they believe truly happened between speaking with servants and family members, and taking in what evidence they could find at the manor. What they discovered has become a grisly story of deceit, treachery, and mayham that I have ever heard."

His gaze then takes in first Clarie, then Trindham. "I know as well that both families, Stapleford and Willcott have many questions, and perhaps just a few accusations they would like to make against one another. I would council you both to hold your words."

While he may have no direct claim to anything save a family name, the point that this means his son has a life otherwise is not lost upon Drustan. There's a brief flare of blue eyes as the Earl makes the decision on who will serve as Head of House for Stapleford known. Certainly it will not change what Claire has been handling, but to have it made official. He draws in a breath and stands somewhat straighter. One hand does lift; lightly placed to the woman's elbow. A small, socially acceptable form of support. When the topic shifts to the deaths at Willcott, the Falt's expression does shift and tighten by a measure.

Sir Trindham does hold for now, having made very little in the form of overture to blame anyone other than his brother for what has occured in his house. Only the shame that he had not been present to prevent the massacre himself and that it nearly claimed so many other members of his family as well.

Now this information clearly has Maelgwn's attention- this sort of thing isn't common- and such crimes are of the most heinous sort. He listens closely- his dark eyes like that of a hawk's as he watches the every movement of those nearest to the Earl now: Those he addresses.

There's a soft chuff of her breath from Letha, but otherwise no flicker of difference in her solemn expression. At this point, her sisters are buried, she has custody of her niece, and what's done is done. She could honestly care less, unless it involves robbing her of any of what has fallen upon her since she discovered her sisters' corpses.

"Again, thank you, m'Lord." Claire's appreciation for the words probably runs much deeper than she expresses outwardly. Holding a house together when the heir has gone missing, while everything else happened, has not been easy. Drustan being there probably saved her sanity. The gentle hand to her elbow is not shaken away, either. There is only a slightly higher lift of her chin. Recognition from the Earl is something that no one should take lightly and Claire is no different. But when the topic shifts, she listens more carefully. Those lips purse together a bit and she has to fight herself to keep from glancing to the Willcotts. For anything that might want to be said, silence wins the day. So far.

Robert continues, "In their interviews and questioning of both servants and family members, many details came out that paint a very unpleasant picture, one that ended in what was discovered that winter day." He looks from one House to another, his expression remaining displeased.

"It is said that neither wished to marry the other, and in fact, were not even the best of companions. They each resented the other for various reasons." The Earl pauses, perhaps to look for some confirmation from the family members upon this fact.

He soon picks up where he left off, "It was discovered that Lady Elsane was known to have secret affairs with many - both noble and commoner men. She sought to keep this from her husband, and managed to do so until the birth of her son, Rhyecan. There were many who whispered that the child did not belong to her husband, Morlois, and it became more and more evident the older the child became…" This is a topic that he does not like to talk about - adultry, what a sin! It even has his wife looking a uncomfortable, her lips drawn into a thin line.

There's a darkening of his expression as Sir Trindham listens. He glances across to the Staplefords, but holds his place, his attention returning to the Earl, his jaw tightening in thought.

Adultery is a terrible thing and yet… how often does one hear similar stories? Drustan casts a glance, quickly, to Claire. Perhaps grateful to have found a match so agreeable. He does not shift his stance or positioning much. This is a vital edict being handed down and he is patient enough to wait for the rest.

Claire keeps her impassive face. Mostly. She stares at the Earl as the man speaks, following him with her gaze. Apparently not privy to the details of the marriage, she neither nods nor shakes her head in denial of the words. But when the Earl speaks openly in court about the affairs of her cousin, and with commoners, Drustan can feel that arm tense. Her jaw clamps. A bit of anger and embarrassment creeps into her eyes and she risks that glance over to Sir Trindham, then back to Robert.

Sir Maelgwn remains quiet, listening ever closer. All of this is quite interesting, and horribly tragic. How Earl Robert deals with all of this, however, is the most interesting thing for Maelgwn- a chance to better know the mind of the man he serves.

Braelynn sits at the scribe's table. She rarely looks up, but at this she does hazard a glance at those in the court. Her cheeks flush pink as the mention of adultery is brought up, and then she buries her face back in her parchments with a sigh.

Robert is quiet, studying members of both Houses - they have his complete attention, not anyone else. "Servants spoke of many fights between the two, some that are said to have resulted in bruises being seen upon Elsane, but that it had quieted since the arrival of Lady Maeve to the manor. However, over the course of the following months, Morlois was said to complain often of aches and numbness, of not feeling as good as he had before. A few servants reported episodes of weakness, confusion and even sickness that kept him abed for the day." Robert motions towards the Chirurgeon Liaze, who steps forwards to speak up, her voice firm, "All symptoms of a slow poisoning happening to him over the course of the months." With such comfirmation given, the elder lady steps back.

Robert gestures then to the Sheriff, who steps forwards to have a say, "From various things discovered - poisons within both Lady's possessions, and the knife with Morlois' initials that was left in Lady Maeve's chest, to what servants could report hearing that last night, the following has been deducted: Something enraged Morlois enough to kill the infant, Rhyecan. Leaving him in the nursery, he went downstairs to perhaps confront the sisters over dinner. It was appearant to Chirurgeon Allington, " The sheriff nods to the woman, "…that Morlois had been poisoned slowly over the last several months, and that the food set before him that night and that he had started to eat, had enough poison in it to have killed him before he got up from the table. Bits and parts of an argument was overheard by servants. The best that can be gathered is that the sisters tried to kill him, he figured it out. He used his own knife to strike down Lady Maeve before turning to his wife, and choking her to death before falling victim to the poison he'd already ingested."

Those words are left to hang for a moment as the Sheriff steps back, leaving Robert to stand before the gathered nobles. "The sheriff also discovered tentative plans being made by Morlois to have bandits kill you, Sir Trindham, and your family, during travel to Sarum at some point this spring so that he might take over Willcott." Again, the Earl goes quiet, letting all that news be digested by the gathered nobles.

Letha doesn't move. She barely breathes. She knows she won't be judged by Elsane's actions - but at the same time, it's hard to swallow. She doesn't look at Claire or Drustan, but her hands visibly clench as she strives to control her anger.

Critical Success!
Yorrick makes a check for Sir Trindham Forgiving at 13, he rolled 13.

While listening to the report, there are several things that Sir Trindham wishes to say, however he digests the information, before he speaks. "I see." he offers quietly. "Lady Eirlys will be travelling back to Sarum with Father Garannon. As she is the one that discovered the grisly scene, she has been in a deep state of catonia since. It is hoped that some time with those of the faith will help her regain her senses." he glances over towards the Stapleford contingent. "We have offered our condolence to the Stapleford family for the deaths of their sisters, even in light of this new information, we stand by our regret. However, I believe that the price in blood on both sides of the ledger has been marked as a mutual loss."

None of what is said is good. Ills enacted by both sides. And yet… the worst of all may perhaps have been the murder of an innocent child. There is a tightening in Drustan's jaw, but the man remains firm. This is not a loss of blood relative for him, but a loss to the realm perhaps. Of a Knight. Of one who may have someday been a Knight. And of two who were kin to his wife. When Tryndham speaks, the Falt does glance over and there is, perhaps, a measure of respect within his mien.

Claire checked her Forgiving of 13, she rolled 14.
Claire checked her Vengeful of 7, she rolled 2.

Maelgwn's eyebrows knit together, and a frown crosses his face as more and more the troubles are heaped upon. It is clear, however, as his stance shifts that Maelgwn is troubled. His gaze falls upon those standing before Earl Robert. Listening as this litany of shame is read outloud.

Claire checked her Prudent of 16, she rolled 15.

Erylys seems surprised by most of what is disclosed, eyes widening just a little as each little piece of information is laid out. A glance to Maelgwn is given, then back towards the two Houses and the members there. She's completely forgotten the bit of bread and cheese she held in her hand!

Letha tits her head to murmur something low meant only for her cousin.

Yorrick passes some dried yale to Erylys and Maelgwn. This is better than watching the Sheep mate back home in Cholderton, that's for sure.

Maelgwn accepts the gift of dried yale quietly- with a nod of his head to Yorrick. Its not eaten just yet, no. The Knight stands- watching hands and feet and faces- one palm resting on his sword's pommel. This is a tense situation, and he is on guard now for high passions from those involved. He does, for a moment, whisper so very quietly to Erylys.

That is a lot to digest. The newly named Head of House for Stapleford lets her gaze drop while she tries to make sense of all of it. Her eyes search the floor in front of her as if watching the pieces slide together on some invisible puzzleboard that only she can see. Her breathing becomes heavier, too, while her heart races. Thinking of all the consequences of what may have happened- and did not. At the mention of a plan to assassinate the head of house, however, Sir Claire's head jerks up and immediately looks to Sir Trindham. Some of the confusion and anger is still evident, but putting it all together leaves the anger unfocused. Like Letha, her gloved hands are in balled fists and when she realizes it, they are quick to slacken. Trindham is speaking and she's listening. The weight of her house and their ancestors hangs over her and she can nearly feel their eyes on her. Being so young, her emotions run the gamut internally. The young woman knows she needs to reply. She seems about to when Sir Letha leans in and whispers to her. It schools her to silence for a moment and her gaze goes down and to the side, towards Letha. Anyone with that view can tell she is quickly thinking over what that means. After some long seconds, she lifts her gaze towards Trindham and then back to Earl Robert. "M'Lord, I consider the loss of family on both sides to be tremendous." Careful, now. It is clear that Claire is saying this but is probably going to have to talk herself into it later. "My condolences to Willcott for the loss of a Knight. Stapleford seeks no more violence or compensation for loss. We have too many external threats to draw more bloodshed or to sew dissent among your nobility, m'Lord."

Robert takes a breath then, releases it, "The question is, who was at fault? Should one house be compenstated over another? The best we can tell is that Lady Elsane sought to cover up her promiscuous ways after she became pregnant by slowly poisoning her husband with the help of her sister, Lady Maeve. This could have been fueled further by the fights that resulted in harm to her by her husband. That when it was discovered that not only was the child not his, but that they were attempting to kill him, he turned his anger on them both."

As both Heads speak up, Robert listens somberly, soon to nod once, "I can say, without a doubt, the only one not responsible in any way in all this, was the innocent child, Rhyecan. In this, I do believe we could all agree. His loss, be he bastard or no, is beyond sad…" The two have spoken, seeming in agreement, and as well as the Earl, "I believe that both families, that all of us, should pray for the souls of those lost in this tragedy, and not seek to cast blame in any way. The adults in this matter, were ALL to blame for what befell them in the end… "

It's only then does the Earl finally seem to address those gathered, his expression saddened, "I think there is much for all of us to learn from this. Things we should take to heart. A tragedy like this should not befall any House if any of us can help it."

Sir Trindham does speak up finally. "The child of Lady Maeve, Elenor, was given to the care of Sir Letha. As part of our effort to forgive ourselves for the loss of the child, we offer to help pay for the child's rearing and education in what path that Stapleford should decide." It is a generous offer, to try to soothe the wounds to both houses.

Letha still has nothing to say until the question of Elenor comes up. Only then does the Spear Maiden speak, her voice a low contralto with an edge of rumble to it. "If my Head of House consents to this, than as Elenor's guardian and closest kin, I will accept on her behalf." That will go quite far in Letha making sure Elenor is cared for, particularly when she has to go out on mission, and until Elenore is of an age to decide if her path will be that of knighthood or ladyship.

Yorrick makes a check for Sir Trindham Generous at 13, he rolled 7.

Still, Maelgwn watches and listens- he nods quietly in agreement with Trindham's offer to offset the cost for the orphaned child's rearing. He listens still, to hear if there is more to be said. In particular of Justice for the murdered child. The innocent who, to Maelgwn, cries still for justice regardless of the circumstance of his birth. The famously Just knight keeps his mouth closed, but stares quietly forward at the representatives of both houses. How this horrible event echoes and resonates to his own family's past, to the actions of his Grandfather. It leaves Maelgwn grinding his teeth.

Yorrick snaps into some of the dried yale meat and chews on it. Reaching over, he snags some bread and cheese from Erylys' plate. Her fault for just standing there like a bump on the log, watching the proceedings. He pops that into his mouth too, as he leans over to his fellow huntman. "How much ya bet this Morlois fella weren't all that innocent with the ladies himself?" Not that he knows about the advances he made on a Horton sister. Just an educated guess.

Sir Claire keeps that flat exterior expression. While the Earl speaks, she begins to watch him carefully once again. There is a slow nod and a drop of her gaze to the point about the child being the real victim here. When Trindham speaks about the child, though, her head slowly turns and there's genuine surprise there. -That- was very unexpected and it catches her off guard. Letha's speaking up has her look considerate and her gaze turns to her houlder once more as if measuring the cousin guarding her flank. Some of the anger looks to slowly slip away before she finally gives an assenting dip of her head. "Stapleford will accept that. Sir Trindham's generosity and openness with the matter will be made known among my manor. I consent to this."

It is quite likely a good thing that Yorrick is far enough away in the hall that Drustan cannot hear him. Still, there's a glance for the chatter occuring beneath the official ongoings. Just a flash of steel gaze before he's looking to Tryndham. Between one Head of House to another. His hand hasn't left Claire's arm and has largely just been a light touch… but as she accepts the offer, he squeezes gently in approval.

Eilla moves into the court, she looks around at the things which are unfolding. A frown eatches on her lips as she moves to help herself to some wine.

Robert soon speaks further, "As for the matter of Lady Maeve's daughter by Garis de Chalke, little Lady Elenor de Chalke… " Robert looks to Letha then, allowing his gaze to fall upon the Stapleford knight.

"Sir Letha de Stapleford has requested to adopt her niece. That is a commendable request, though… as knight in my service, I will have to decline your request."

Before Letha or anyone else can speak, Robert raises a hand to stall their comments, first accepting those that do come from both Trindham and Letha, agreed upon by Claire, "I will see this laid out.." He nods to Braelynn to make note of this, and to draw up any paperwork that might be needed before turning towards an older woman that stood towards the back of the Stapleford group, "Lady Esmene de Stapleford? I give your granddaughter's care into you, and House Stapleford, with allowances given to House Chalke who may wish to keep ties with her even though her father is dead, and his brother is now Head of the House." To the last, the Earl looks to the representatives from Chalke who nod their agreement in this - overall, they have been rather silent on all that has been discussed thus far.

Turning to Letha, he speaks plainly, "You are unmarried, and there are those who would see your adopting your niece as something they would not wish to deal with, when it came to inheritance down the line. I would save you from that headache. You are free to act as her guardian, her teacher, her /aunt/ whom she will need in the days ahead. I pray that you help her understand what happened in due time."

Robert falls silent, then finally speaks up, "Rhyecan should not be forgotten in all this. While we cannot exact punishment on those that were at fault for his death, we can see that he is not forgotten. I believe the two houses should do charity in his name, be it at their Houses or within Sarum. I would leave it to the both of you, to figure out what exactly." That last said to Claire and Trindham both.

Don't ask how it happened, but of all the things for Letha to notice, it's the expression on Maelgwn's face that catches the tall woman's eye. There's the faintest lift of her brow, the smallest of nods, as if to say she agrees, she understands that need…but there are matters more important, as Robert makes his declaration. No offense to her mother, but, "Your Grace," she begins, "If it please you, the custody of my niece is no headache to me, and the matter of marriage is one is not overt cause for concern. If any man would regard my value and love of family as a defecit rather than a virtue, he is unworthy to begin with." This may be the longest speech Letha's ever uttered. "It was I who cradled the body of my sweet nephew, son of my beloved sisters, wrapped him and carried his bones back to Stapleford to be interned. It is I who held my little niece in the saddle and let her sleep on my shoulder on the long, hard ride home. She is not a burden to me, but my honor and pleasure to care for. Please," she takes a breath, "My mother has much she attends to, and I would beg for Elenore to remain in my custody."

With Sir Trindham having nothing to add to this paticular discussion, the head of Willcott looks to his peer and gives Claire a bow. "I will have my steward set up the trust for your cousin's niece." he offers, before he bows to Robert and steps back to allow him to deal with Letha's issue with her niece, his look sympathetic for the amazonian knight.

Erylys notices Yorrick steal from her plate, and ends up offering what's left on it to the other hunter. A slight shke of her head is given aside to his words, a soft tsk beneath her breath be it to the situation, or to Yorrick's words in general. A bob of her head is given at mention of the charity work in the poor babe's memory, though Letha's words do gain her attention.

Eilla sips on the wine with a critics consideration, she holds it up and turns it round, smelling it as she rolls the glass in her fingers. The woman takes great pride in tasting the wine, drawing it slowly to her lips as she listens.

Claire wants to object at first, but the longer the man speaks, the less the inclination seems to be there. Her eyes drop once more while she considers what is happening and the why behind the move from Robert. There's a slow series of nods before she looks back to her Earl and liege. She does seem surprised at Letha's request and the new Head of House nods to the Willcott. "Thank you, Sir Trindham. Stapleford will not forget that you volunteered such." She returns the respectful bow. Looking back to Letha and Robert, the Knight steps to the side to let the larger woman plead her case - but she says nothing.

"Something happened to me and Enfys, I'd probably want Brae to raise my littles." Yorrick says quietly, keeping the conversation between the two hunters as he pops in some more cheese. "Better her than Arta, maybe. And I don't know what Enfys would want, though. Should probably ask her."

Robert listens to Letha's words, but then asks of her, "Did I not say you would still remain a part of your niece's life, Sir Letha? To be her guardian, her mentor, her aunt?" The quesiton is put forth to the knight before him. "Her overall care, will be given to your mother." But then he steps forwards, closing the distance between he and the taller woman, "You are a knight in my service. You have your duties to me, and to the Pendragon as well. How much time did you spend away from Stapleford in the last year upon one skirmish or another? Would you bring her to the battlefied? Would you drag her from one side of Salisbury to another?" There is a raise of his brow at that.

"This is beyond the fact that if you formally adopt her, she becomes your eldest child. Before any child you would have with a husband. This would be different if she was your child by another man. " He's laying it out there plain for the knight to understand the various politics behind his decision. "Do you suggest your mother is not competant to oversee your niece's care at Stapleford?"

Letha checked her prudent of 10, she rolled 13.
Letha checked her reckless of 10, she rolled 18.

Letha opens her mouth, and abruptly shuts it. She's not about to speak in detriment of her mother, regardless of her own issues with the woman who gave birth to her. "No. No, your grace. I do not." She isn't so savvy as to keep how displeased she is from radiating off her in waves.

Robert nods once as it seems Letha holds both words, and emotions, in check. "Spend time with your niece when you are home, Sir Letha. But know when you must attend your duties, that she is taken care of, hmm?" A brief look to Claire is given, as if to make sure that Stapleford will take care of the little one, be it at Esmene's hands, or another's. There's enough women in that family that someone should be up for it!

Claire seems to have little to say at the moment. She impassively watches the interaction. Raised as the Keeper of the Bones, her job is family first. Making sure she controls herself holds primacy. There's a look to Letha that the bigger Knight can see that indicates they can talk once they are outside. When Robert looks to her, she dips her head. "Stapleford will raise the girl as we would see any other, m'Lord." Hands folded in front of her, she simply waits and follows the Earl with her eyes.

Erylys stays till the end, then will head out with Maelgwn to discuss things over an ale and hearty bowl of stew. Poor Christians can't have meat right now! Hah!

"Yes, your grace." Letha conceeds the point yet again. Nevermind plenty of knights have children. Letha accepts the judgement. If her mother is anything like she's accustomed to, she'll likely fall into the responsibility again.

Eilla gets herself a bowl of food to eat along with her wine drinking, the Pagan looks all to happy to be attending court. She looks about for a moment longer and lowers herself into a chair to watch all the comings and goings of people.

Robert studies Letha for a moment more, then nods once, "I hope all of you will accept the hospitality of the castle before getting onthe road. There will be food laid out soon." That is said to all in general before he steps back to his wife, his hand offered to help her rise. And with that, formal court is ended, and people are released to find friends and enjoy the repast offered by the Earl.

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