26 Alasair, 228: A Timely Reunion

A Timely Reunion
Summary: Wenna is reunited with a cousin she hasn't seen in eight years, and whom Caedmon thinks he has a use for.
OOC Date: 13/Sep/2013
Related: None
Wenna Caedmon Eoin 
Greenshire Suite - Darfield Castle
The main room for the apartments for the Greenshire family is very large but cozy and smells of herbs and flowers. The stone walls have been washed with paint; they are a soft sun-kissed yellow. On the stone floor woven rugs have been placed instead of rushes for the comfort of those staying there. In this room there is a long walnut bench; its back has been carved to show a farming scene. The bench also has comfortable cushions covered in a woven fabric with four ground colors: white, light blue, yellow-green, and pink, each print including red roses and blue flowers. It makes a lovely focal point for the room as it is sitting in front of the fire place at a comfortable distance, allowing room for more chairs near the fire. The large stone fireplace is flanked by two comfortable wooden chairs. The cushions of the chairs have been covered in a heavy light blue fabric. Before one of the chairs there is a small foot stool. Above the fireplace hang two bearded axes. They have an elaborate silver inlay, thus showing the status of the owner. The fireplace itself has an oak mantel that is heavily carved with a likeness in favor to each of the gods and goddesses of light. Sitting on the mantel are two silver candelabras holding bees wax candles. Near the fireplace in the corner there is a spinning wheel and small loom. On the opposite side of the room near the two large windows overlooking the courtyard is a long oak table. Set around the table are matching heavy wood chairs. On the table there are two more silver candelabras. At each of the windows there are window boxes filled with herbs and flowers. On the wall near the table there is a large shield with the coat of arms of the Count's family and two ornate yew longbows inlaid with silver and gold rest beside it.
26 Alasair, 228

The oppressive heat still hangs over the city and the air humid. No sunlight can be seen because the dark grey clouds obscure it from view. A warm rain falls and it patters against the windows and eaves of roofs. Where the ground is not cobbled it is muddy. Within the castle many are seeking shelter from the rain and heat. One of them is Wenna, Aldren's twin the Baroness of Blackforge. The widow sits quietly in the main part of the Greenshire suite working at loom near a cold hearth. All the windows are open and both she and her handmaiden are dressed simply. The hand maiden in a sleeveless linen undergown and the baroness is in a gauzy silk undergown though over it she wears a cotton sleeveless surcoat over it for the sake of decency. The Baroness' undergown is a pale rose color and the surcoat a deep crimson. Not a sign of morning can be seen on her. Her long chestnut brown hair has been braided and bound up.
She continues to work at her loom. Her eyes are bright and her cheeks red from the heat. Through the open windows rain comes in and waters the plants in the window boxes. The scent of mint, herbs and flowers seem to fill the room. A servant comes in and starts to set the table for lunch.

Because the suite is larger and more open than his cramped office, Caedmon returned soon after breakfast with his writing paraphernalia and a bundle of appears. He sits by the window at a desk, reading missives that the king rarely sees directly - reports on various matters in the kingdom, letters asking for some favor, and other things that are beneath the royal notice except in a summary that the chancellor prepares in a neat hand. When the servants begin to deliver lunch, he looks up and nods to them. Then he looks toward Wenna and comments, "Wherever Aldren is, I hope that he is cool. I, for one, will be glad when the autumn has brought some breeze here."

Eoin is recently arrived it would seem, for he still has the look of the road about him as one of the castle servents leads him through the upper hall and to the suite set aside for the lords of Greenshire. Pausing to thank aid servent before they depart back to their other duties he also takes a moment to straighten his tunic and finger comb his hair before striding in with a warm smile on his features. "Cousin!" he greets warmly as his eyes fall upon Wenna, "a pleasure as always. You must tell me, how is life here treating you? It all looks very nice, but the climate seems ghastly." Its apparently only then that he notices there's someone else in the room and he blinks in surprise for a moment before recovering himself and offering a polite bow of his head. "Good day My Lord," he starts resisting the urge to fish for a name by turning back to Wenna to see if she'll do the honours of introduction since. It seems a safe enough bet that she knows him after all.

"Oh he has been tending business he is sweltering as well. He will be in need of libation and hopefully it will cool off come evening." Wenna says to Caedmon as she looks over at him and she offers a smile. She then slips the shuttle through and uses the beater to tap the thread tightly into place. She then repeats. "I did receive that note you sent out have you heard back from the Prince Caedmon?" She asks him.
The servants bring in cold mutton, bread, spinach salad that has been tossed with strawberries. Next they bring in cold clay jugs of watered wine that had been placed in the ocean to make it cold. Beads of perspiration drip down the side of the cold jugs. When the door opens and another is allowed entrance into the room and they hear the cry of cousin they go to set another place.
When the door opens Wenna turns to look. She studies him with moss greens eyes that are just like Aldren's it is as if she trying to figure out who he is; none the less a warm and bright smile appears on her lips. The smile brightens her words and touches her eyes. "Cousin, life is grand. How are you? My brother is out as are my sisters but would you care to join us for lunch? I will have a guest room set up for you if you are staying in the city? In the meantime you may use that room over there or the other one to clean up." She points to two closed doors that are not far off. The she introduces Caedmon. "This is Caedmon Kilgour, Baron of Albion he is the acting chancellor and the Voice of the King." She does not give her "Cousin's" name out. She moves to get up from her loom. Her movements on her right side are stiff. She offers him a slight curtsy as is proper.

Caedmon stands and bows to the cousin. "Good day," he greets. He looks at the collection of papers on the small desk. Then, with a second bow to Wenna, he offers, "If you have an appointment or need to discuss some business of the family, I will be glad to take my leave."

"I would be truely delighted to join you," Eoin replies, still beaming warmly, "if it will not be a trouble to you of course." Yes, he's seen that the servants are already on it, but there's form to be mindful of. He notes the offered rooms and answers, "a week or so at least, likely longer." As Caedmon is introduced he corrects his previous nod by raising his hand to his chest and dropping his gaze for a moment, then looking at the man again, "Baron, an honour I am sure." There's a pause as he waits for the reciprical introduction that never comes and then tilts his head to study Wenna for a moment. There's a flash of amusement in his eyes and his grin broadens as he turns to face her once more, holding his arms out in a wide gesture. "Cousin! Has the sea truely changed me so much these years that I your eyes can no longer tell you my name? Why, I fear it must have, for your beauty is as radient as ever I remember it." As Caedmon offers to leave he turns back to the man and waves a hand to dismiss the idea. "Please, do not feel the need to depart on my account. I should, perhaps, spare the Lady's blushes though. I am Eoin Haravean, an entirely unimportant cousin to the Count."

"Nay Caedmon, please stay and have lunch with us." Wenna says to him with a warm smile. "You know that you are or will be part of this family. Aldren and I squabble around you as it is. There are no true secrets." With him offering an embrace and hearing his name there is recognition in her eyes now. She moves stiffly to embrace Eoin tightly. "Cousin, the sea has not changed you but time has dulled my memory or wits if you would." She laughs with delight. "Beautiful, I will tell Aldren you spoke of him like that." There is amusement in her voice. Her hug is fierce. "I have not seen you in 8 long years; you will stay for lunch and you Caedmon will stay as well." She laughs warmly. "There will be no arguing you may stay here with us when you are in the city."

"I would not dare to argue with such an invitation, Wenna," Caedmon answers with a warm smile that remains when he looks to Eoin and sees the gesture of even deeper honor. He shakes his head and waves his own hand in a dismissive manner. "You need not worry about such formalities," he offers. "As for importance, I measure that by service, not by the number of titles that might cause your hand to cramp when you close your letters." He smiles to the servants when they hurry to prepare another place at the table. "We should dine before that food has a chance to warm in this swelter," he urges. Then he steps toward Wenna, offering his arm to escort her to the table. "The loom deserves some rest, too, my dear."

Eoin returns the hug with one that is at least it's equal. "Eight years," he wonders out loud, sounding slightly incredulous, "has it truely been that long?" Then, more firmly, "I flat refuse to believe that anything, even time, has dared to attack your wits though. I know I could never find a way past your guard when we sparred so." Pulling back a little so he canlook over her again he notes Caedmon's comments about lunch and is about to offer his own arm when he's beaten to it. Offering the man a brief, and somewhat speculative smile, he steps a half pace so as not to be in the way and allows them to lead. There's a faint nod to acknowledge the comment about formalities before he adds, "if it is by service that you measure a man, then know that I strive to keep Aldren's coast and ships free from pirate hassle. A duty which I very much enjoy."

Stepping away from her Cousin Wenna goes to take Caedmon's arm. She chuckles. "Aye eight years, Fallon did well to keep me away, but that has changed. My guard you mean my brother." She laughs again. She leans on Caedmon as they walk to the table which is near the window. "Autumn cannot come soon enough. The city has been sweltering for weeks. I now understand how a candle feels when it is melting as it is being used."
She looks over her shoulder at her cousin. "I think that you would like to know that Caedmon's Barony does have a very good number of skilled shipwrights."
When they reach the table she lets go of Caedmon's arm. She offers the Baron a tender look.

"Indeed we have, and will have more in the coming years," Caedmon confirms to Eoin. "I take from your words, sir, that you protect merchant ships." He nods. "If that is so, then your coming is doubly fortunate. We might need every seaworthy hand soon to defend our coast against a threat. How exactly do you serve? Do you command men, a single ship, or a fleet? If you do not object, I would introduce you to his majesty the king, and his royal highness the crown prince, who is also the Royal Marshall commanding our forces at land and sea." When Wenna mentions the eight years, he looks at her curiously. "Do you need time to speak with your cousin about all that has transpired?" he asks, looking again as if he does not want to intrude, even though she has assured that he has almost as much right ot be here as any member of the family.

Following the apparent couple to the table, Eoin moves to the newly added third placing, although he'll wait for Wenna to be seated before doing so himself. "Shipwrights you say?" he says to Caedmon, "splendid. I must confess to be using this lull in the winds to have some work done by our own before the winter storms close in." Hence why he has the time to be riding to Darfield. He tilts his head a little at the talk of a threat, enquiring curiously, "pirates, or is the war looking to open on another front?" Then, in answer of the query, "I command as many ships as the Count feels fit to entrust to me at any given time. It varies of course, given the level of threat at a given point as we are always in need of more hulls to carry goods, but a small fleet is the easiest discription I think." He looks a little surprised at the mention of such high introductions so quickly upon his arrival but he answers with a deep, confirmatory nod, "It would be an honour." Then there's mention of Caedmon leaving again and he shakes his head, "I do not believe my cousin will accept anything but both our precences I am afraid. Besides, there is plenty of time for catching up when we need no longer worry about the wine warming."

Caedmon pulls her chair and Wenna takes a seat, once she is situated he goes to take his own as Wenna assures him again. "Caedmon, your company is needed and it would be good to have you here as well to help explain what has been happening in the city and with the court." She says to him. The servants move to pour them each a glass of the cold watered down white wine. Next they are served the strawberry Salad. The cold mutton is left on the table along with the bread. Next cold pickled beans and cucumbers are brought in along with fruit and cheese. "Please forgive our simple table cousin, but we eat as we would at home unless we are with the court." She says to her cousin. "To start you must tell us how you have been I am certain you have a story to tell about your sailing?"

Caedmon nods to Wenna and then Eoin. "Albion is a small port when compared with Stormvale, but it serves its purpose, mainly merchant and fishing vessels, nicely enough. The town is only a day's ride from here, so it serves often as an overflow port to receive ships that cannot dock here," he explains. He takes a helping of the spinach and strawberry salad, and pours some of the chilled watered wine into his cup. "As for the nature of the threat, it is more than pirates. You are aware of the kingdom of Laniveer. Are you not?"

Now seated, Eoin accepts the wine with a hint of a nod to the servant. Sipping it he then sets it down and smiles to Wenna, "Cousin. I have been weeks at sea and then riding here; the taste of home is most welcome let me assure you." It's really quite hard to get fresh strawberrys when miles from land after all. The journey has worked up an appetite it would seem, for he takes a fair spread of the dishes on offer and starts to eat. His attention is drawn back at the mention of stories though and he replies almost theatrically, "stories? Why, there is many a tale I could tell." Although there a flash of amusment over his features which possibly suggests that not all of them are suitable for the dinner table. "What would you hear of? Tales of daring against pityless foes? Courage and endurance against the conditions? Or something more sedate perhaps? I could tell of how the Carpenter's Mate was revealed to be a maid and asked to be married forthwith to the Boatswain?" It seems they are to be spared such entertainemnts for the moment though as Caedmon exponds a little upon his earlier comments. "I am aware, although I'm likely a little behind the times with the news."

"Caedmon can fill you in Cousin, he has his hand and his voice is heard in both the War Council and the Council chambers." Wenna says as she casts a warm look at the before mentioned Caedmon. "I can imagine they would not do well, we have a way to dry them and they still are not as good as the fresh ones, but they are decent enough. Have you had them dried? They are not as good as dried bog berries." H eyes are bright as she says this. "Now I would suggest surprise us with a story, one that you long to tell." She lifts her glass and takes a long drink as she enjoys how cool the fluid is.

Caedmon inclines his head to Eoin when the man settles into his place and accepts the cup. "By all that we know, Laniveer intends to lay siege to this town and castle if we do not stop them at sea," he summarizes succinctly. "If you would like to help with our efforts to prevent that, then, as I mentioned, I will be glad to introduce you to his royal majesty and his royal highness for purposes of discussing plans." He looks at the various foods, and urges, "For now, as my lady, your cousin, suggested, let us hear what tales you wish to tell, so that we might know what has brought you to us."

Eoin mulls Caedmon's words as he takes another drink of his wine, it's watered enough that he doesn't need concern himself with sipping, so he enjoys the refreshing coolness in slightly larger quantites. "I will gladly lend what aid I can to his Majesty," he starts, before a slightly more thoughtful, "my timing here does seem to be fortuitus. Perhaps it is the Gods' will." Another drink and then the turns back to the lighter conversational thread. "A story I long to tell? Alright then, I shall tell of the capture of the Count Aldren, or the Rainbow as she was known then." Food forgotten for the moment he leans back in his chair a little, relaxing with his glass in one hand and using the other to emphases sections of the narrative. "This was a few years back now, but still, it bears telling to fresh ears." A drink. "We'd been out, standard patrol, not seen sign of another ship for about a week when we come across a merchanment from Lakeshire. She'd heard word that the Rainbow, a feared pirate vessel, was heading up the coast, sheltering in bays and such until she got beyond out waters and could make a break for home. Now, I'm not sure if you are aware, but the Count Aldren is the fastest ship in our fleet, so we knew there'd be no way we could catch her if she got the wind behind her in open sea so we had to think and act fast. Anyway," another drink, "we set out hunting, quiet like, and a couple of nights later we got news from some fishermen that there was a ship matching her silloute anchored around a headland from their village. There were too many rocks to try and get alongside, and it was too quiet to put out our boats so we were starting to think that we might have to wait til morning and try to head her off before she could get going." His look suggests that that plan had little chance of success but he continues. "Then, a couple of the leadsmen volunteered that they could swim, and with it being a moonless night they went over the side and swam into the bay without being spotted. They cut the rudder ropes and made a few small holes where they could, so that come daylight we rounded the headland and she had no means of escaping us. Beached herself on a shoal she couldn't stear to avoid and we took her as prize with remarkably little bloodshed."

"What did happen to the Captain of that ship and was it during my father's time or my brother's?" Wenna asks him as she puts things into perspective. She had been listening intently and only those questions come to mind. She appears to be delighted with the tale. She then moves to pass around the bread mutton cheese and more fresh fruit. She fills her plate with a little of each. "It would appear you may be here a little longer than planned Cousin. If things go the way I think they will, but honestly I hope they do not."

Caedmon takes each dish in turn and, like Wenna, helps himself to some of everything. He smiles when the bowl of peas comes. Looking to Wenna, he teases, "I think that we should save a good portion of these for your brother." He listens to the story, and grins at the part about the men slipping to the other ship under cover of darkness and sabotaging it. "The count has not told me much about his ships," he admits to Eoin, "except that you have been patrolling regularly to protect Blackforge and other parts of your shoreline from piracy. I hope that those men received a grand reward for their courage." He nods grimly to Wenna's prediction about how things might go in the near future. "Perhaps your cousin will help us to turn that tide to our advantage," he suggest. "The archers already promise to do that to some extent."

"The Captain?" Eoin repeats, as he thinks back for a moment. "Oh yes! We could see as we drew closer that he was preparing his crew to try and counter our boarding efforts, likely to try and counter board us, take my ship and use that to sail away. However, he forgot about the Greenshire archers, we had a couple up in the tops'ls and one of them put an arrow through his chest before we were even alongside. Took a lot of the fight out his crew I can tell you." Setting his cup down for a moment to add both meat and cheese to his plate he enjoys a small mouthful before noting, "my Lord Uncle's, although it was towards the end of his time." Nodding to Caedmon's words he states as he rolls up a slice of meat with a blob of cheese inside it, "we do what we can. It's never entirely enough, as finding ships at sea is a difficult task, even if you know where they are, but I've had no complaints about my efforts so I assume that my cousin is content enough with my work."

"It will be a fleet from my understanding." Wenna shares as she paces the meat and cheese on her bread. She then eats it that way like any commoner would. When she is done chewing and swallowing she speaks again. "Now that captain deserved what he got, how could he forget? Clearly he is not from this area." She explains. "Then again those from Greenshire are forgotten unless there is famine or a need for archers." she says this to both of them.

Caedmon nods at Wenna's words. "Reports say that a fleet is approaching," he agrees. "I, for one, hope that we will defeat it at sea. I would not mind seeing some of Laniveer's ships sailing into our harbor under our flag," he emphasizes to Eoin. Then he nods to Wenna and adds, "Each part of the kingdom deserves honor, and Greenshire no less than others. You have warmer weather than we have. I am sure that you grow foods that would benefit all of us even in times of feast. When Aldren and I spoke of trade, my concern was not only for my barony, but for Greenshire's reputation. You have good things to offer. There is no better place for that to become evident than here at the court."

"Fleets are generally easier to find," Eoin replies with an easy smile after finishing with his meat and cheese roll. "They have to sail at the speed of the slowest which gives more time to find and track them. There's also the fact that it's damned hard to sail in anything but the loosest formation as soon as there's any kind of weather. They're likely threatening now before the weather turns for winter and the storms set in." Reaching for a chunk of bread he gives an acknowledging nod to Wenna's final comment though, it's true enough from his experience. Caedmon is then given a smile at the mention of taking prizes and he raises his glass a little to mark his agreement. Continuing to eat as there is talk of trade he contents himself with nodding at relevent seeming points before offering, "I am glad that such things are in hand."

"There is something in the soil, we have a saying that idle hands make for idle mischief and to keep form mischief one should not be idle. I think many of us live and breathe by that saying. We grow them tall and proud for certain." Wenna says to the gathering. "Perhaps you will show us your ship? Cousin do you know how to swim?" She pauses then for a moment. "Caedmon do you think he could sit on the war council while he is here?" She asks thoughtfully.

Caedmon continues to dine while Wenna speaks, but clearly, from his frequent glances to her, she has his attention. When she asks about the council, he is reaching for his cup. "That will be for the king to decide," Caedmon cautions. Turning to Eoin, he adds, "I see much sense in your words. I will urge the king to hear from all voices of experience." Then he adds, "I, too, would like to see your fine vessel. From my youth, I have loved ships. However, I would suggest that we wait if your men are on leave to enjoy Stormvale."

"She's hauled up getting her keel scrapped and some strengthening work done on the hull back home," Eoin replies ruefully, "I rode here expecting to surprise Aldren and enjoy a few days here myself." Picking at his bread he eats a small chunk as he things through options in his head. "A rider could be sent, but you've got the time it'd take him to ride, then a day say to get her back in the water and the crew back onboard, and then the sail up here. If the Laniveer fleet is imminent then she may not be of much use to you I fear." He seems to be genuinely regretful of that, and not just because he really doesn't want to be stuck on land if there's action to be had on the waves. "We can try though, if you think there is the time."

"When you speak of the sea, I can see that you long for her as a man longs for his beloved." Caedmon declares with a firm nod. He glances to Wenna before he continues. "If your ship is that far, the king should lend you one, and crew to command." He picks up a piece of bread while he speaks. Before he eats it, he reiterates. "I am sure that the king should meet you and hear what you have to say as soon as he has time."

"Only mistress a man truely needs," Eoin replies back to Caedmon with a knowing smile before reaching to pour himself some more wine. Glass refilled he offers to do the same for the others as the conversation continues. "Far be it from me to tell the King what he should or shouldn't do, but it'd be a generous offer were he to do so and one I'd be most honoured to accept." That's both to the ship and the meeting, he's just saving time so he can fit more eating in given it's still a bit of a novilty to have fresh food once more.

"Aww that would be grand and forgive me for my boldness." She says to both men. Lifing her cup she salutes both men as she listens thoughtfully. She smiles warmly. "I will try and keep it as a secret from my brother." She tells her cousin. She then casts a look at Caedmon before her case goes back to Eoin.

"I cannot guarantee his response," Caedmon cautions to Eoin. "Still, I will recommend you. Under the circumstances, we cannot afford to neglect experience from those who are loyal to the crown." He glances to Wenna. Then he adds to Wenna, "There is no harm in such boldness, especially if I soon will be part of the family. It is good to bring talent to light."

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