Umbra 35, 228: Her Request

Her Request
Summary: The Baroness Caillin and her handmaiden discover one of her father's Royal Rangers has returned to Stormvale and she has a request of him. A merchant in the gardens tries to tempt her handmaiden.
OOC Date: 08/11/2013 (OOC)
Related: None
Players:
Caillin Gaela Araltaidan Venan 
Public Gardens, City of Stormvale
A broad path of crushed white stone runs in a wide circle around a fountain, ringed in turn by flowerbeds. Beyond them, the lawn continues, smooth and softly green. A row of rosebushes, in full bloom, are planted along the stone wall to the north, flanking the gate. The path branches off to the south, where it joins a shady avenue lined with lush green trees, and to the east toward a quiet grove.
Umbra 35th, 228

It is midday, the weather has turned cold but there is no bite to the wind. The garden is beautiful, the trees have turned color and the autumn flowers show in good display. An effort has been made to wash away the recent happenings in the gardens with celebration so merchants have been invited to set up small displays and noblemen and women and those of the upper classes encouraged to walk amongst the gardens.

Caillin slowly is walking across the gardens together with her beloved handmaiden and not so liked guard. The little baroness, who once was princess, finally decided to get some fresh air, where she used to walk before marriage.

And of course, many villages recognize her, bowing and smiling, while a few little orphans, who wonder around, even hugs their former princess, who even places a few pecks to their cheeks.

"I missed them so much, Gaela! I missed everyone… The castle is boring…"

Venan has taken place at one of the garden intersections. A small post with a flat tabletop has been driven into the ground and on it are a series of several small boxes and three contraptions of sticks and string. The young merchant sparks a bright smile as he engages those who pass in quite conversation. "…thank you my lord, my lady for taking the moment to look." He finishes as the couple and their attendants depart leaving him free. "Enjoy the park, and I've been told there is a bloom of quite remarkable beauty just a bit further on, last of the year from what they're saying."

Among those who are here sits a man alone. He is watchful of those who move through the gardens, sitting relaxed in a place that when the occasional passing clouds allow, bathes him in sunlight and warmth on the otherwise chilly day. The man looks to be an archer but what lays within his hands he is working on is not his bow nor arrows, but a lute. Patiently Araltaidan is removing a broken string from the instrument. Grey eyes lift to follow those who pass by though he says nothing unless addressed. Some may know him by sight for Aralt has served House Kilgour for some years as a Ranger.

Caillin remembers all names, remembers everyone, all servants and commoners, because her little heart likes each of them. She passes by the merchant, glancing at him a bit curiously, because he is one of these few, who Caillin doesn't know.

However, she does not stop. Her wonderful golden gown and flaxen curls just sways in a movement, while the young baroness rushes near the man with the lute.

She slips to sit beside and leans to whisper in his ear, "Will you play for me? Didn't see you around for quite long…"

Venan lifts a hand and his mouth opens as the Baroness approaches, then closes it with click, he looks to her maid and smiles, "Never did stand much chance of keeping a Lady's attention when competing with a warrior with a lute, did I?"

The rustle of her gown gives her away ere she ever comes over to him. Aralt's gaze lifts from his task to the young woman who comes to kneel and take seat beside him. The man from Skyforrest's initial reaction is to rise and get to his feet and bow to his Lord's daughter, but Caillin is too smooth, taking her seat to whisper to him before he might. His body had shifted to begin to do so, now arrested.

A brief pause, then Aralt gives her answer low in his baritone, "I am no bard, my Baroness. That you ask it of me, I shall if you will but give me a moment to restring the instrument and tune it."

Gaela tosses a glance at merchant, sniffing a bit, "If she would chose differently, I would be worried, she might be sick…" Her gaze, though, slips to the whatever Venan has, still peeking at the baroness sometimes.

The young baroness just giggles, "Bard or not, but you have lute in your hands. There are two options: one, that you attacked poor bard and stole his lute and do not know what to do, the next is that you know how to use it, while you are not fighting, you play," the girl shrugs, "I thought it will be second variant, because you served my father. You couldn't steal lute…"

Venan shifts his wares about on the table the boxes sliding open in unusually complicated manner while he hangs the string and wood from the edge of the platform. He winks at the maid, "Straight out of a fireside tale, that one, innit he?" He chuckles, "Actually, if he is what he looks to be, might have a tale of his own." He shrugs, "More the fool him, though, for leaving the more exotic beauty of the pair ungreeted to talk to me."

Araltaidan directs his attention back to the lute. Deftly he finishes removing the string and winds it into a small, neat coil. From a pouch at his belt he takes a new string already prepared by someone else's hand. The broken old string is put in and patiently he sets the new string to the base of the instrument first, then winds it around the peg he's removed to take up it's new residence. A moment later the peg is put back into place and carefully tightened. "Does my lady have request to that which I might play for her?" No comments are made upon her theories about his person.

Gaela glances at the man with who Caillin is speaking, then back at the merchant, "Naaah…" She just mumbles and stares at the wares for awhile a bit curiously, "What are these?.." She points to some of them.

Caillin lowers her gaze to her own belly, touching it gently with lots of sparkling love in her grey eyes. Her soft voice whispers, "What song should suite for the future warrior?.."

Venan considers Gaela for a few moments, "They're puzzles, mistress, but of a sort only a brave woman of unquestionable moral standing should attempt." He continues working the puzzle boxes which seem to come apart and go together in nearly impossible ways. Once they are all built and look to be nothing more than a series of three simple jewelry boxes he looks back up at her, "If you feel you're of the sort whose courage is equal to it and whose intentions would not be questioned I should enjoy showing you how they work."

The archer is not a man who has a wife or children of his own. Aralt considers Caillin's request as he idly tunes the string to the rest of the instrument. "Hmmm." He thinks about it and slowly he begins to play a song, an old but popular melody without lifting up his voice to sing. It is played softly, to accentuate the garden with the melody, and with the lovely young noblewoman who graces him with her presence. Aiden says nothing, focusing upon his playing and hoping not to embarsss himself or disappoint Caillin. His gaze flicks up at one point to study the merchant the handmaiden speaks to, and his many wares.

The string and wood puzzles consist of four wooden toggles and two flat pieces of wood. A string connects two of the toggles to each other then there is some complicated looking knotwork that joins the two strings with the pieces of wood and to each other.

Gaela frowns at the first words of the man. She almost shouts, "You call me?…" But then, she glances at the young baroness and manages to calm herself down. Though, if she would have a dagger, it would be in her hands now. Who calls Gaela not brave?!

Good that the man offers another question at the end, "I can deal with all the puzzles!"

Caillin joyfully turns to the man and starts clapping, "That is so beautiful! I love it!" And she pats her belly again, "And he loves it, I am sure!" But quickly grey gaze finds Aralt again, "You play so nice, why you chose to be not a bard?"

Venan looks a bit doubtful at the declaration but gives in, "As you say, mistress." He looks over towards the Lady and the Ranger then back to the maid. "You just need to take hold of these toggles, and I shall take hold of mine." He hands her tow of the toggles then takes the other pair. "Now, you just separate us without releasing your toggles, else be named a coward and a quieter."

Araltaidan's mouth eases into a smile as he keeps his voice quite low for Caillin, "Perhaps I was made for other things, my Baroness. If you learn to sew, does that mean you can not also learn to ride a horse and use a bow? I know that you do." The archer's hands continue to play as he pauses briefly in speaking ere he continues, "I have seen you grow from girl to woman. And soon you will be mother as well."

Those who have seen these sort of puzzles before might realize the trick is to loop the strings over and around one another in the proper order and fashion. Those who have never seen these puzzles before will have a much harder time.

Gaela just sniffs and starts working on showing how clever she can be!

Though, Caillin… Caillin suddenly stands up, tossing kind gaze at the man, "You are right and…" She sighs and for some reason sadness flashes in her features. Likely, because she remembers her childhood and she still would love to have it… And she just was reminded about it. The girl smiles at Aralt, "And I watched you never changing. Being the same handsome warrior… Thank you for a song!" And the young baroness rushes away being a bit nervously, "Gaela!.." She waves for her handmaiden to follow.

Gaela frowns at Venan, "I will be back…" and she follows her lady.

Araltaidan shakes his head with faint amusement at being called a warrior. He makes no move to correct her and lets the young Baroness flit away, "My pleasure, my lady."

Venan nods, "Of course, mistress, you can find me most nights at the Riverview Inn to prove your bravery and craft."

Venan bows as the Baroness moves away then glances over at the Ranger, "Pity, in a few more minutes I would have been quite entangled with that maid."

The merchant's comment makes him laugh, and easy sound if brief. "Aye, you might well have. Sorry that you did not for that may have been entertaining." The woodsman has allowed his music to die away. Aralt's hands make an adjustment to the tuning one last time before he's satisfied with it. He slips his quiver and bow off of his shoulder and rummages in a side pocket to bring out an oiled cloth to wipe down the lute.

You say, "Do you make the puzzle boxes yourself?"

Venan laughs and nods, "Quite entertaining, I should think." He then taps one of the three boxes, "This one I made, the other two I've not discovered how to mimic. I found them in Weston and the man I bought them from could not say who the crafter was. They're cut in such a way that I've not been able to manage the same with saw, knife, chisel or wedge." He rearranges the puzzle strings on the side of the stand. "You've quite a talent with the lute, though the lady named you a warrior, but you've not the bearing of a knight. How do you name yourself?"

"I am no warrior, no knight, aye." Araltaidan rubs down the lute with care. It shows plenty of signs of travel with nicks and wear to suggest some age and long use. Not all of the pegs match. "I am a woodsman. I travel and bring meat or news to my Lord's table. Sometimes courier." He shrugs, "I am no one of importance."

Araltaidan smiles to add, "Sometimes bard, perhaps."

Venan chuckles, "Ya may wish to remind the Lady not to greet you so familiarly then, men of no importance are rarely so warmly addressed. Though it nears time to fill my belly and it seems I'll have no more custom today." He begins packing up his kit, "Should you ever have need of a curio or present worthy of nobility or a woman you wish to treat as such you send word for Venan to the Riverview Inn."

The 'bard' lifts his chin to indicate the departed women, "It is my lady Baroness's way. She is well known for her kindness to low people like myself." Yet one corner of his mouth curls the barest trace ere he nods, "I shall keep that in mind when our paths might cross. Fair day to you, merchant Venan." The woodsman himself never offered up his own name. He goes back to oiling the lute before he folds the cloth neatly and tucks it back into his quiver case.

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