Theodor 5-6, 229: A Different Kind of Kidnapping, Part I: The Crone

A Different Kind of Kidnapping
Summary: The Greenshire Tradition of Kidnapping The Bride
OOC Date: 08/01/2014
Related: None
Moira Shepard Rinder Aldren Rorey Brendolyn Eoin Caedmon Wenna 
Caedmon's Tower/Keep in Albion
A large stone tower that only looks ancient on the outside due to the weather -n the inside, you'll find a fine, cozy dwelling, far less prone to drafts than the old castle
Theodor 5, late afternoon to Theodor 6, early morning

It all started out innocently enough.

Shepard Kerrigan and his sister Moira simply went to talk a walk in the afternoon sun. If nothing else, it was an opportunity to try to lift Moira's spirits after the trying rumors of the last few days. So they walked, and talked, and generally had a pleasant time, but it seemed eventually it was time to return to the castle. They only made it as far as the Courtyard though, as as soon as they step through the gates, an unusual sight greets them.

Lord Rinder sits upon his steed, with several Kerrigan Armsmen behind him. Kayla sits on her own horse off to one side, holding the reins of Moira's own trusty steed. Shepard's young squire stands with the reins of both his own horse and Shepard's in hand. Rinder, of course, has a smile from ear to ear as Shepard steps up behind Moira and places a hand on her shoulder, speaking quietly, and with an entirely mischievous grin on his face:

"I'm afraid, Dear Sister, that you're going to have to come with us…."

Moira's eyes grow a tad wide for a moment, starting to query her father as to why all their man are mounted. That is, before Shpard speaks to her and she turns to him, momentarily perplexed until a dawning light enters her eyes and her face begins to glow almost like the Sun.

"I see.' with a mock hang dogl ook upon her face, "Well, if I must go and leave my lord, then I suppose Imust."

At least for the first leg of the journey…getting out of town, Shepard carries Moira along with him atop his midnight-black Darfield Destrier, laughing and joking with her along the way. Once out of town, though, the journey -really- begins, with Moira being placed more comfortably upon her own steed, and the party setting a vigorous pace towards the Barony of Albion. Rinder and Shepard have thought of everything, it seems, as there are further armsmen along the road bearing lanterns that join them as night falls. Darkness does slow their pace simply to be prudent, but either way, they make good time, and it is still well before sunup by the time they reach their destination. There's a bit of time for rest, but then Moira is attired properly as the Crone, in simple homespun wools and a grey shawl. The rest of the family changes into some of their best finery, and they all enjoy a light repast and reminisce over mugs of hot cider and apple blossom tea as they wait for Moira's betrothed to arrive….their last moments together before their dear Moira is joined to another family.

Of course, plenty of clues were granted as to the destination of the party, allowing Count Aldren to pick up the trail easily enough (and if bad comes to worse, Wenna's of course well aware of the full details). Though the message informing him of Moira's "departure" was of course delayed a couple or three hours, so it may well be near sunrise by the time his party arrives.

Cold. Yes, despite the suns return it is cold. On the outskirts of the barony of Albion is a small entourage. Hoods and cloaks make it difficult to ascertain exactly who but a few are obvious. The green and white banners denote the Count atop his mean grey charger. And the few Riogan guards along with Kilgour colors could give the idea that his twin is with him. The steed next to Wenna as she moves forward is certainly seated with the voice. Cold air is expelled from all the horses and the men as well, slicing into the cri light like a knife. Aldren looks quite pleased himself and in no hurry while he leads the group along the easy enough to follow trail. Wenna's readiness to depature did clue him in a bit along with the sudden prospect that he might wait another ten years! But hastily they rode out. No old rangers with them, only trusty guards and close family to accompany Caed's presence. "So! This should be a far more pleasurable trip then the last one!" He says happily to his kin. "Wenna, did you ever see the barony? Or will this be an experience we share for the first time together?" Harlik rides upside the Count and murmurs a few words, pointing down the road. Aldren turns and smiles at the noble pair. Wenna and Caedmon of course, any siblings a bit further back if they decided or were permitted to come. The Count spurs his horse a bit to speeden him, not much, but some.

Nestled in the sling across her chest is the infant, bundled up against the cold and protected by her body and cloak. Wenna laughs, her face is ruby from the cold and her eyes are bright with life and joy. She glows with health. "Brother this will be my first time here." She grins. "Husband, we will make a proper marriage bed yet." She teases him good naturedly. "And a bath when we arrive, I swear I am almost frozen to my saddle." She laughs again.

After two meetings of the council in one week, Caedmon eagerly seized the excuse to escape from the castle for a time, and pursing Moira's "kidnappers" seemed like an especially good one. While they ride, he grins and nods in agreement to Wenna's words. "She would have seen it on our last trip, but I'm equally glad that all of my close family and friends will see the barony for the first time together." Like everyone else, he is bundled against the cold, with his heavy wool gray riding cloak, gloves, sturdy boots, a stout shirt, and woolen gray breeches. "I sent a pigeon ahead, with notice to the steward. We'll have hot baths, and hot meals - room for everyone." Then he looks to the twins specifically, and adds, "I'm proud that Albion will be able to host a Greenshire-style wedding. If you need anything to make it complete, tell me and I'll see to it."

The place where the Kerrigans have taken up "residence" is not the estate proper, but rather a small tower that actually is the home of a Knight in Caedmon's service, who happily volunteered it for this purpose when he heard of the tradition…and Lord Rinder promised him a cask of some of Ashenfell's famed cherry brandy.

Of course there's a pair of very poorly-disguised Kerrigan guardsmen on watch outside, grinning like the proverbial village idiots when they catch sight of the "wedding party" on the road a short distance away. Which of course leads one of them to rap on the door three times to signal those within that they've arrived. Places everyone!

Ash, The Counts ornery grey charger proudly stomps through the snow ridden muck as the journey continues. He turns and nods to his sister. "Very well! I would see that marriage to the royal family consumated as well!" The last part with a grin and a smile to Caedmon as it is spoke. Surely he is in better spirits than a few days ago when he heard of the princes actions and the results. "But no more bathing rumors!" He adds to both. Even Harlik laughs at that one along with a few Riogans in the know of the rumor.

Aldren rides on a bit more and at Caedmon's words he says. "Yes. We will need an obscene amount of wine, some music and surely some discretion. You may regret this in the end." Another jape on the wildness of the Shire and it's folks. "But I only kid. You have saved me the castle and the temple. And I know that my beloved did not revel in the fact of not being taken to her home as is tradition so at least your family was good enough to improvise the affair and continue. A nice surprise added as well. Those Kerrigans" He turns specifically to Wenna, "You must admit, he at least had the right of them."

The party now nears that tower and it takes everything Aldren has not to spur forth. Instead, he straightens a bit and motions to Harlik. A small flask given, and even smaller sip taken, and he turns again. "Well, now there is just the matter of this /discussion." Shit-eating grin! He is kinda loosening up. Of all the things he has done and all the woman he has met there is no doubt that the look on his face would convey the fact that he is more nervous now than he has ever been. Confirmed as well when Harlik reaches over from his horse to pat him on the back and he almost jumps out of his saddle!

"Well my love and by lovely brother I will ride on ahead and scout. But I will say this, Caedmon was born in Skyforest I think he has more Skyforest in his blood and there for Greenshire than he realizes." Wenna offers her brother a wink and moves for forward to "scout". She uses silent commands to bring her grey leggy gelding to an easy canter. When she reaches the 'villagers' she calls out to the keep - "I have brought something the Crone will need!"

Oh, the horror of being 'abducted' from her betrothed, to perchance never to see him again. Laughing within the confines of the tower, while trying to appear properly 'kidnapped', Kayla helps her drape the Crone's cloak over herself and her wedding gown, that gown of green embroidered in silver - silver at great cost since some of it went to a certain hound's teeth at one point. Then, jsut before the Crone's clothing is fastened about her, turning to her Father, she takes a pin that looks like an apple tree with branches of silver, leaves made of a shimmering green stone and a few red stones that look like apples, she hands it to him.

"Father, if you would pin this on me. I wish Mother were here to help with this but since it's the one she, too, wore, perhaps in some small way, she is here with us." She glances over to Shepard and to Drogan, then at any of her beloved kinsmen present before looking back to her father.

Caedmon says, "Now, I'd call that a site for heroic deeds of rescue," Caedmon comments with a proud grin, slowing his own horse when they come closer to the large stone tower. "It only looks ancient on the outside due to our weather here," he explains. "On the inside, you'll find a fine, cozy dwelling, far less prone to drafts than the old castle. The old Sir served well under Callem's father, and earned a fine reward. As for the wildness, I'll remind you that the people of Albion are seafarers. When ships return safely to port, especially in winter, the parties are glorious with song and wine flowing freely." He watches while Wenna urges her horse forward, and he nods, remembering that part of the tradition well. "I hope that you've haggled well in the past, Aldren. I'm sure that you'll face a tough and wily bird soon.""

"Now, I'd call that a site for heroic deeds of rescue," Caedmon comments with a proud grin, slowing his own horse when they come closer to the large stone tower. "It only looks ancient on the outside due to our weather here," he explains. "On the inside, you'll find a fine, cozy dwelling, far less prone to drafts than the old castle. The old Sir served well under Callem's father, and earned a fine reward. As for the wildness, I'll remind you that the people of Albion are seafarers. When ships return safely to port, especially in winter, the parties are glorious with song and wine flowing freely." He watches while Wenna urges her horse forward, and he nods, remembering that part of the tradition well. "I hope that you've haggled well in the past, Aldren. I'm sure that you'll face a tough and wily bird soon."

One of the Guardsman makes a very proper bow to Wenna despite his disguise and his goofy grin, rapping on the door again to allow it to be unbarred so Wenna can come inside with the infant. Meanwhile, a misty-eyed Rinder moves over and pins the brooch upon Moira, leaning over and kissing both her cheeks, "She's here." Is all he says, before kissing her forehead, and smiling with good humor once more, gesturing towards the chair and allowing Wenna to provide her with the infant. As she does, Drogan steps forward from a side-room, bearing a small basket. He opens up one side of the lid, allowing Moira a glimpse of the small, furry, and feline cargo borne within, before he sets it on the floor next to the chair.

Shepard, who's been leaning against the wall nearby with a mug of that cider, takes a healthy gulp, and hands it off to a servant as he passes, waggling his brows at Moira and noting, "Guess it's time for my costuming as well." He moves over to give Moira a peck on the cheek, and adds, "Don't make it too easy on him." And then he disappears up the stairs with his squire for the time being.

"I will change her when you are done but I have her in seal skin stuffed with moss so she will not leak on your gown." Wenna is grinning as she says this hands the infant bundled up warmly in a bright patch worked quilt. "I should head back out and let them know I could not bargain." With a laughs she kisses Moira's cheek and moves to limp her way back into the cold.

Watches as his sister moves forward with the child. Not even now can he have an ill looks or remarks for the cute little girl. He does slow his horse now as this is a part he is familiar with and will simply slow to talk with Caedmon. "Yes, seafaring no doubts. I would like to visit the porst while we are here. Though I will have little time for that." A wink and an elbow that will not reach on horseback. Just then Harlik shows up and offers the wine again. "Nay." Says the Count. Pointing at Caed he says, "For the baron. He will drink to my success. I fear I will need a clear head for this." He smiles at both and spurs forth now. He makes his way near the /guards/ and smiles. "Count Aldren, of House Haravean!" He booms in a pretty convincing manner. "Stand aside!" All the while a playful grin to contrast the menacing tone.

Tears, glistening like stars, in her eyes hugs her father, tugging on his beard as she always does, before leting the Crone's clothing be fastening about her, covering her dress and her wealth of hair, nestled deep within a kercheif so it's not easily seen. A bright smile on her face when she sees what's inside the basket and she gives Drogan a hug and a kiss on his cheek before turning to Shepard, kissing his cheek and doing her one last impulsive thing from the days of when she and her brother's were children. yes, she sticks her tongue out at his back! "I shall try to make it very un…easy for him." before taking her place before the fire amidst of a gaggle of other women.

Taking Gwyn from Wenna, tapping the child's nose, before giving Wenna a warm smile, "I have no fears on that. She will be a perfect angel.And, Thank you Wenna. I am glad you will now truly be my sister…and will be sure to let them no how woefully you failed to bargain," as her eyes twinkle and soft laugh is again given.

Caedmon brings his horse to a stop and it snorts, blowing steamy breath into the chill air of evening. Caedmon dismounts and nods to a nearby stable. "Come! Harlik and I will take care of the horses, and meet you inside. I wouldn't miss this haggling for all of Daeren." He chuckles.

Riding along with Aldren, Caedmon, and the rest of the party to bargain for the 'return' of Moira, Rorey glances over at her big brother and grins at him. She brings her horse to a stand-still, and with a ladylike patience waits for one of the retinue come help her down from where she perched sidesaddle. Dusting her skirts off as she stands on the ground now, a song comes to her head and she hums it. One of the classic "Let's Go Get The Bride Back!" songs.

The slat of the door opens, revealing the eyes of Lord Rinder Kerrigan, peering outward with mock-bluster as his deep voice echoes out, "So…the Chief of the Haravean Clan thinks that he can claim the Rose of the Kerrigan Clan for his own, does he? We'll just see about that! Make your case, Chieftain, and make it well. You'll find no easy pickings here!" And with that, he steps aside. If Aldren approaches, he'll be able to see "The Crone" through the eyelet, waiting in her chair with the infant in her arms.

"My chief, my other half. I have failed you." Wenna's voice is melodramatic to keep herself from bursting out with laughter. "He would not take the seeds I brought!" She places her hand in a dramatic fashion against her chest. She limps towards the party.

"My chief, my other half. I have failed you." Wenna's voice is melodramatic to keep herself from bursting out with laughter, she says this as she steps outside. "He would not take the seeds I brought!" She places her hand in a dramatic fashion against her chest. She limps towards the party. She turns to look at the Lord Rinder Kerrigan and offers him a wink.

The Count grins at the sight of Rinder, but only briefly until his voice rings out. Then it is all dismounting and standing tall. A quick hug is given to his sister. "Do not worry sister. Your marriage negotiation tactics are known to all, surely they were ready for you." He grins at his joke and kisses her before continuing. His pace is slow and measured, wide as well. "In fact! The Haravean chief knows it! Though we know how the last tussle between our families ended." He grins now and adds, "I would rather have my bride given, than to take her in the fashion I could have some years ago." Bawdy japes? Insulting? Maybe, just the Greenshire way though and surely he means naught but good humor in the recollection of the near beating he took. After all he would try to save face some how even if ten years later. "But I rather seek to have her heart given. I feel it is only fair after she has stolen mine with no due cause." While he cannot make out the crone he has an idea of who plays her. Still, he moves slowly and continues, "In Greenshire there are men who speak of the Rose…. Though for each rambling and tale I have heard none due the justice to the famed beauty. The girl I met some eleven years ago. Often I have heard these fools speak of what they saw one day in the court of the Kerrigans. I have decided that there is no greater treasure in the County and that is my due as lord." A bit of pride ringing in his flattering words for her family.

Ina creaking voice, from amidst the cluster of women before the fire, "A man's words and meanings can oft be confused for mere bluster. Yet, kind words can and do indicate intent. Of an oft fondly remembered promise and time, and gentle reflections of days long past and words once freely given, there are remembered tokens of love once given long ago. Would the Mighty Count remember that small token, and return it, if needed, if that were the only thing that would garner the depth of his true intent? What is the true treasure of the Kerrigan that you wish to hold to your home and hearth?" A baby's soft nuffling is heard and a few quiet words to calm before a brief moment of silence.

While the others are dismounting and preparing to enter the tower, Caedmon musters the servants to care for the horses, and giving a few special instructions regarding the mounts that he knows. He works quickly, and returns his attention to the unfolding spectacle in time to see Wenna returning with her news about the first negotiation's failure. Inspired by the spirit of this merry farce, he gapes at his wife with exaggerated dismay. "How can he hope to win if even you cannot persuade the young lady's family?" he questions, throwing his hands into the air in mock exasperation. After Aldren regales the audience with his speech, Caedmon offers his arm to Wenna. "Come, my love," he invites. "We must see how this test of wits unravels, and whether our dear brother emerges victorious, as he should after such long-suffering and such loyalty to the lady."

Grinning so wide her cheeks hurt, Rorey hears her brother's speech and the called response, quickly joining him with Caedmon and Wenna. She looks from her brother to the door as the retinue approaches the tower door, where the Lord Kerrigan stands like the staunchest guard she's ever seen. Under her breath she says to herself, "Oh, yeah, this is gonna be good." And she tries to school her face into somewhat of a woe-is-we look… The keyword being tries.

Wenna limps heavily over to her husband and she moves she leans against him and savor the warmth his body offers. He moves to wrap his arms around her. She leans back and she nods at her brother's words. She looks over at her sister and she grins. Before she tries to look serious and fails. "Sister what can you offer to help our dear Chief and brother."

Aldren smiles at the crone's voice. "Aye." He says softly. His words carry a bit of sadness and he says, "Aye….I remember fond times. When my heart soared on the rays of the sun. The thoughts of what that sun could grow. And what I knew it would one day." He trails off and nears a little closer. "Promises…" Still a bit of a ways away. "If I had to return an envelope that I keep…One that contains the old dried and dead remnants of a Rose that never did truely die, for there is still some green in the stem after all these years, I would gladly do so. For I know the loss of that one material thing that I have held so close would bring about the growth of many more in the future. For the only treasure I would truely need in to hold in my home is the ever blossoming Rose. The walking Rose. The talking Rose." He grins at the ground and keeps his pace slow. He does add. "Though the sounds of the child do give me cause to consider some other treasures that might come with the bountiful harvest that that single rose I hold so dear could bring if I relinqueshed it."

"It is said love can last beyond time, beyond hardship, beyond hope. Should your dream come to pass, and you gain the treasure you seek," the creaking voice continues, "….what do the Kerrigan gain in return? For a father to lose his only daughter and brothers to lose their only sister - is truly a pain their hearts would feel keenly. What other treasures would you give to fill those places in their hearts, and the hearts of those in Ashenfell to lose their Rose: Their Walking Rose, Their talking Rose" and a faint pause, "…their /ever/ blooming Rose? You are sure that heart, their heart is yours?"

Another looks is casted at her sister and a wink. Wenna murmurs something into her husband's ear. Her voice is low and soft and his smile is all the brighter for it. Her eyes goes back to her brother and she motions for her sister to come closer to her and Caedmon as she whispers what she said to him to her. Her gaze then goes back to the where the crone is hidden with her and the father of the rose.

Wenna mutters to Rorey, "He… that poetic speech… the… If… us… would not… good student…. able… neogiate… won the rose from her…"

Ribbing her big sister, Rorey then hugs her and listens, wondering what suave rejoinder her eldest brother would have … what *could* he offer them? Besides, well, little Moiras and Aldrens? It makes her think too hard to sometime in the future, and bite her lip in the effort to resist giggling, and she tips her ear toward Wenna's words so none of them catch the air and perhaps anyone else's unintended ears…. And nods her agreement vigorously!

"In Greenshire a father does not lose a daughter when she is married. He gains a son. As her brother gains another sibling." The words come out loud and strong. His head slowly raising now, "If anything Ashenfell will prosper from the position their favorite lady will take. Surely one with such a wise and loving heart as the Rose I speak ofs would not let her people suffer from her loss. Surely I have never done so and would only favor them a bit more then i always have since the lessons of my father." Steps, steps, shorter now and gaining close, "This is no loss. This is a new beginning. For surely any child born from this union would be thrice the Count that I am with the mother that will raise him, and the father that will temper him. The people of Greenshire will thank both families for the gift we will bestow upon them. Of that there is no doubt." His head has come up full tilt now and the last part of his words ring with confidence and that all too familiar prideful tone.

"I see," says the voice, the faintest hint of something making the voice more tremulous than crekaing now, "And, if this Rose is yours, then surely as you've gone so long and hard to find her, after so much distance and time, then you agree that your heart and the heart of the Rose are destined to become as one? Is it so easy to find her and take this heart into your keeping?

"But Crone, the planting of the seed in fertile ground is what will solidify the union of these houses. The Chief Haravean of Greenshire takes care of his lands in the traditions of old." Wenna's voice rings out and she looks to sister and then brother. Her eyes then go to where the crone is as she speaks. "He has offered love, and family where many cannot even offer that. He has shown gifts that have endured the test of time and distance." She declares. Caedmon's arms tighten around her and he murmurs in her ear she nods her head.

The Count answers starting from the last, "Easy. Yes." His words carry weight, "They have been destined to become one since before the forging of the empire. Of that there is no doubt. I have long hoped to have a heart to share with mine and keep in my keeping. Though years of lonileness have left me confused, distorted, stuck….I have wanted…/needed/ only one thing…" His words seem to catch in his throat now. But he does finish after his sisters brief intervention. They come hard as they are difficult to speak in this company but must be. Remorse is plain in them for the /old crone/ "If it is devotion you ask of, I swear that it needs not be questioned. Marriage offers absolution of past things, while some are not needing forgiveness in the eyes of men they do in the eyes of someone you love. I promise things I have done will not reflect on the love I have held so dearly for so long. I am but a weak person who will benefit from the strength that Moira would deliver me…" Smiles now to the hooded old crone witht the child, and one for the child too. A sincere one no doubt.

At that, for anyone who gives to an innocent child a freely given smile, the words come out clearly, "Then come and find that treasure which you seek to hold always in your heart and let the two hearts become as one,knowing that it has ever been yours. That heart would promise always to hold yours in safe keeping - against all time and doubt, against any barriers that might be brought to bear up on it for that heart has not been truly whole until it finds that which is it's other half. "

Kayla, from off to the side, take a moment, to dab at her eyes with a handkerchief while all other Kerrigan kinsmen and women, watch and wait to see what happens next.

The tears that lie in the mans eye glisten. A happy sort. A small twinkle that is not unusual to those who know him but more the gay sort that has not been seen much since his arrival in Stormavale. The /old crone/ receives a soft smile now. One or two of those tears might drop now, but not enough for Shep Or Drog to see. Still, a certain someone will and he will step closer. Being a gambling man he will say, "May I?" Motioning at the child he will seem to want to hold her. His look will flash at his sister too though. If allowed he might even push that cloak down on the woman so she could share the moment with him as herself.

To the side Harlik will inch a little closer to Kayla and offer a hand to the shoulder with warm words. Wenna recieves looks from all as well, they are HAPPY!

Looking at her brother as he gains entrance Wenna looks over at Caedmon and she kisses him soundly on the lips. Then she steps away to get her daughter or ward from her brother and the Crone. Her eyes are bright and there are tears in her eyes that mirror her brother. Her steps are slow and limp pronounced.

Having placed the child in Aldren's arms who then later gives the child over to Wenna, the 'Crone' rises, the other women about her pulling the garb from her,r eavealing her in her wedding dress - that one the she and Kayla have been working on for so very long. A wide and burgeoning smile before her head dips slowly, once again a momentary shyness that is innate in her bearing before lifting her eyes to look upon Aldren, eyes sparkling. "Time and distance was no barrier and my heart is and was always yours from before remembering." She starts to go towards him, hands out stretched, the place into Aldren's. Wedded or not,none will gainsay her or say naught as, for this moment before the ceremony, she lifts her lips to touch up on his.

But, as their lips touch, Shepard's voice rings out in challenge from the stairs of the keep.

The infant is taken and Wenna snuggles her and holds her tenderly like any mother would she looks back at Caedmon and she smiles. He walks with her now to help her with her balance. She looks back to Aldren and Moria. When the challenge rings out a laugh escapes her.

There is no doubt that the first thing Aldren's eyes catch are the dress. Eyes move up and down, delight and wonderment in his gaze…..oh a lingering gaze near the bottom. "I daresay there is an extra shine near the lower half." Hints to threads or ankles? Pry both. Still, Moira receives more than lips, full joined hands become arms and a small jovial spin. The embrace is easily a million times the first dance they shared and until this point that was the most satisfying moment he'd shared with a woman. Aint no mystery ;) What Aldren would have wished years ago has seemed to come. Years fade away from his face now, worried lines seem to disappear and Wenna her self looks ten years younger for that moment. It is surely the most free loving thing he has ever lent himself to. Public or not. A few more of those tears would prove that along with the caring and smooth way he offered the child back to his sister that he is the happiest man in Mobrin. While Rorey and Bre hang back in the outskirts the girls show the help the way these things are celebrated.

Things get under way now. AS they would. Aldren relinquishes Moira for the last time since he has finally one her in front of those who matter and ready's for Shepard. "You've grown soft!" He screams before the fun starts. You know how this ends! In much fun for all and a great union of good people. No one suffers from this…long term. Long term effects are to be assumed as earlier stated.

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