Having received Uther’s promise of the hand of Lady Ellen in marriage, the first order of the day is to actually locate the king, Thus Earl Roderick sends out messengers to keep track of the whereabouts of the Royal Eyre. The knights Tristan, Dalan and Lucas are invited to attend the wedding, as they have been part in the quest for a suitable bride. They are informed to be ready for departure by the end of May, and to assemble in Salisbury.
At the Various Manors
In the meantime, between Easter Court and the wedding of Earl Roderick, the three knights are free to spend their time as they choose. Being a newlywed, Lucas spends most of his time making sure his wife Rhoswen settles in at Dinton Manor, and tries to avoid being in the middle of the frequent discussions between his mother and his wife, as their opinions on running a manor differ somewhat and Rhoswen is keen to take the reigns of the manor… When avoiding is not possible, Lucas wisely chooses the side of his wife to settle an argument.
Dalan intends to court the Lady Elaine, and pays her a visit. In his entirely Dalanesque way, he is all too straightforward and almost before he dismounts, he announces that he will wed her next year. (fumble courtesy) Taken aback by his attitude, Elaine receives him somewhat coldly and offer him a drink, but she claims to be very busy and really have no time for him. Dalan is of course surprised by this, and does not really understand why his visit is cut short. Upon asking in that direction, Lady Elaine replies curtly: “You will have to speak to Earl Roderick if the matter of my marriage is apaprantly already decided.” and turns away quite disgruntled. She is also disappointed in Dalan, as she had hoped to be treated with more courtesy.(Dalan loses the +1 on courtesy rolls regarding Elaine)
When Dalan leaves, he vows that he will make amends somehow, although he still is not quite certain what went wrong during this visit…
Maybe the wedding of Lucas and Rhoswen and the upcoming wedding of Earl Roderick and Lady Ellen have put something in the air, since Tristan also ends up visiting his love interest, in his case the Lady Adwen. In the first weeks after Easter Court, Tristan is at Wylye manor, to oversee how things are going, and to look into possible investments to increase the profit of his manor. During this time, he receives a message from Lady Indeg, who suggests that Tristan should invite Lady Adwen to accompany him to the wedding of Earl Roderick.
Tristan immediately thinks this is a very good idea, and wonders why he did not think of this himself. As the time is short, he quickly travels to Sarum to buy her a nice gift, some jewelry perhaps to wear during the wedding. He finally decides on buying a pair of lovely golden earrings, not too ornate, but in his opinion a suitable gift for a lady.
He then hastens to Chiterne manor, where it is most likely that Lady Adwen resides. When Tristan and his squire approach Chiterne manor, he spots a pair of riders leave the manor in the distance. Tristan is completely convinced that one of these riders is Sir Jaradan, only one knight can have a bearing that is quite so proud!
Tristan is received at Chiterne manor by a servant, who asks whether Lady Adwen is expecting him. When Tristan denies this, the servant looks a bit troubled, but leaves to announce his presence to the lady. Soon thereafter, Lady Adwen comes to welcome Tristan, and says that she is surprised by his visit, she was not expecting him. Tristan explains why he has come and finishes with: “It would be a great honour to me if you would be so kind as to accompany me to the wedding of Earl Roderick and Lady Ellen” He does not yet present his gift to her, as he feels this would perhaps force her to say yes out of politeness, and he intends to wait for her answer first, before giving the earrings to her. Lady Adwen hears his request and seems to have an internal struggle. She says: “I am honored by your request, and I would certainly like to join you for the festivities, but I have already made commitments, and if I say yes, I am sure to disappoint another. So one way or another, I will disappoint someone. Let me think about this, I cannot make this decision right here. Let us go inside and have something to drink and to eat.”
Tristan follows Lady Adwen inside, and they spend the afternoon in each others company. Lady Adwen talks a lot about her holdings, how much time it takes her to run everything smoothly. Tristan is impressed by all of this, and listens intently to her. During the evening meal Lady Adwen suddenly says to Tristan: “I have made up my mind. I will accompany you to the wedding of Roderick and Ellen”
Tristan is of course very pleased by this, and in his elation he presents her the gift of the earrings, while praising her beauty and that the earrings would look good on her. He goes on a bit, but then he notices the face of Lady Adwen, which has darkened during his speech. (fumble courtesy) Lady Adwen angrily says: “I am not a piece of cattle that you can buy!!” and she gives the earrings back to Tristan. (Tristan loses 1 of the 2 bonus points in courtesy rolls towards Lady Adwen) Tristan is startled by her reaction, he surely did not mean it that way. He sees his world crumble around him…
After a while, Adwen cools down a bit and she reassures Tristan that she will still accompany him to the wedding, but she adds: “Even if I were for sale, you would not be able to afford me…” Tristan takes his leave after making arrangements for their joint travel to Salisbury at the end of May.
On the Way to Heartland
At the day of the departure from Salisbury to Hartfort, where the King is supposed to be, the group of wedding guests assemble. The Lady Indeg is present to see everyone off, and she briefly nods to Tristan, seeing him stand next to Lady Adwen. He acknowledges her nod. Lucas has taken Rhoswen with him. Earl Roderick has decided to circumvent Silchester, and they travel through Gentian county to Heartland. The group totals about 80 men and women on horseback, and a number of pack horses, with a relatively large number of women. Amongst others, Lady Elaine is also present, as a lady in waiting to Lady Marian, the mother of Earl Roderick.
Another amongst the company is Sir Jaradan, and the look he gives Tristan certainly could kill… This does not go unnoticed. Tristan also notices that Lady Elaine appears to be remarkably cool towards Dalan, and he wonders why. At some point during the travel, Tristan talks to her to ask her what is wrong. Elaine is very brief in her answer, explaining what Dalan has said to her during his visit a few weeks before. And also to Tristan she says: “If I am entirely a business to be conducted then he should just talk to Roderick and get things arranged”
Tristan later talks to Dalan about this, and advises him to be a bit less blunt, and a bit more courteous towards Elaine if he wants to get back into her good graces. Lucas in the meantime spends most of his attention to Rhoswen. He briefly considers complimenting her on her riding skills, but with Dalan near, he does not do so, not wanting to embarrass either his friend or his wife. Other notable people in the group travelling to Hartford are Sir Amig, Abbot Brugyn, Sir Hyfaidd and Sir Jarran.
Chattering Glade and the Wedding
After two weeks of travel the company arrives at the royal hunting lodge of Chattering Glade in Heartland. The higher lords and ladies are given rooms in the lodge, while the rest of the company pitches their tents in the fields next to the lodge. The king is not present when they arrive, he is out hunting with amongst others Duke Ulfius, and is expected to return in the afternoon.
Tristan helps Lady Adwen to settle in her appartment, and when she is comfortable, he takes his leave. In the corridor he encounters Sir Jaradan, who blocks his path and says between clenched teeth: “She is not for you.” Tristan replies airily: “Oh? Has that already been decided?” Jaradan does not directly reply to this question, and only repeats: “She is not for you.” “I know enough”, Tristan says and pushes past Jaradan and leaves him tongue tied. He calls after Tristan: “Just so you know!!”
The Night Before the Night
“The Duke of the Vale looked grim alright, all through the wedding feast”
“Did you hear? Someone saw the Bishop of Dorsette in an altercation with a common serving wench!”
“Hah, I heard much spicier gossip about our sir Lucas. And 3 farmer’s daughters, no less! Leaving one of them with child…”
“Didn’t Lucas just get married?”
“He did! And I heard the same… Poor Rhoswen!”
That evening there is a meal served for the complete party, and it promises to be a good feast. During the evening a rumour about Sir Lucas spreads around: he is supposed to have been quite the Adonis during a harvest feast in Salisbury, and he has impregnated at least three women, and one of the women has already claimed that Lucas is the father of her child. Overhearing these rumours, Sir Amig informs Lucas: “I thought you should know what is being said about you…” Lucas is of course offended by this, and immediately looks for Rhoswen, to make sure that this rumour does not aggrieveher. He spots her in conversation with a couple of other ladies, her faceflushed bright crimson. Taking her aside from the gossiping ladies, Lucas explains just how false the rumour is, that he has been entirely faithful to her. Once Rhoswen has put the gossip from her mind, Lucas seeks out Dalan and Tristan, to ask for their aid in finding the source of these foul tales.
When Dalan enters the main hall, he spots a knight who is gesticulating wildly and in a loud voice is abusing a servant. Apparently the servant has spilled some wine on the clothing of the knight, and the knight is blaming him for ruining his clothes. Dalan does not stay near this knight very long.
Halfway through the meal, King Uther toasts in honour of Earl Roderick and Lady Ellen, who herself is not present this evening as of course it would not be proper for the groom to see the bride this shortly before the marriage – bad luck, even. At the high table with Uther are, apart from Earl Roderick, Sir Mercon, the sheriff of Hartford, Bisshop Quintus of Birchhill, who has a shrewd and calculating look around him, Sir Elystan of Castle of the Dangerous Ford and Sir Ulfius of the Vale. It doesn’t take a genius to see the bad blood between Ulfius and Roderick, their body language sign enough.
During the evening the story about Lucas gets embellished with every telling, at some point even the mothers of the maidens get thrown in for good measure. While finding the tales is easy enough, Dalan and Tristan get nowhere with finding the source of it. As the three knights are discussing the issue, they see in a corner of the room Bisshop Quintus, who is threatening to hit a serving wench. Dalan and Lucas see that the serving woman seems very scared, but Tristan is under the impression she is much less scared than she appears to be. They overhear her saying: “Please forgive me! But you cannot leave me abandon me in my need!!” Then the Bishop looks up and sees the trio looking at him. His face, already red, turns a deeper shade still, the bishop obviously not sure how to react – or how much the knights have overheard. Dalan nods at him, while Tristan and Lucas raise one eyebrow and then they sip their wine.
Tristan then turns to leave to go back to the main gathering, and mainly, back to Lady Adwen. She sees that Sir Jaradan is talking to her, likely about how wonderful he himself is, and he steps in and asks Lady Adwen for a dance, completely ignoring Jaradan. Lady Adwen is pleased to accept this, and they leave Jaradan wide-eyed standing alone. The pair moves to the dancing area, and the dance does not even go as bad as Tristan had feared. Adwen does advice him to take some lessons in dancing though. Tristan confirms this, and says that this has been his intention, but with all the missions he had to do for Earl Roderick, he just had not gotten around to it. Adwen then invites him over to her manor sometime, so that she can teach him a thing or two with respect to dancing. An offer which Tristan gladly accepts.
Lucas and Rhoswen are also dancing, and Rhoswen manages to avoid Lucas looking like a complete dolt… Oh, where would the men be without the grace of their ladies?
The Wedding Proper and the Feast Less Proper
The next morning, the wedding takes place. Earl Roderick is very curious to see what his bride looks like, only having her described and never having laid eye on her, himself… The marriage ceremony is takes plase in the glade in front of the chapel, with everyone assembled outside. Uther gives the Lady Ellen away, and they both speak their vows and exchange wedding rings. He grants onto Roderick as her dowry the barony of Anna’s Water with holdings both within and outside Salisbury, and several other manors as well.
With the ceremony complete, the group enters the church for the mass and the ecclesial blessing. Tristan sits next to Adwen, who is significantly more devout than he, and for her sake he goes with the motions of the mass.
After the mass there is a big feast with a lot of very luxurious food and a seemingly unending supply of drink. There is a lot of dancing and talking, and at a suitable late hour the newlyweds excuse themselves and leave for their chambers to consummate the wedding. In this they are of course accompanied by their staff and selected nobles – but at least in Salisbury the tradition is for the married couple to be left alone in their quarters for the consumption of the marriage, without witness.
Tristan drinks far too much (fumble temperate) but manages to refrain from any lustful indulgence – which seems like almost a first for him. He ends up snoring with his head on a table. Lucas suffers from the same affliction and drinks in great abundance (fumble temperate), but collapses face first onto the table next to Tristan, fast asleep.
Dalan intends to have a good party, but somehow the spirit of the feast eludes him, and he stays relatively sober. At some point, he notices that Lady Elaine is completely drunk and can barely sit upright, let alone stand. He goes over to her, and intends to lead her to her chamber, which she gratefully accepts. She hangs on to Dalan for dear life, as her legs seem to go every which way but forward. Dalan gently guides her to her room and when he wants to leave her on her bed in the care of her lady in waiting to help her undress, Elaine protests heavily and literally throws herself at him. Being only a man, and already attracted to the lady Elaine attractive, Dalan takes what is offered… (pass on lustful and reckless) He does have the wits to leave her chamber in the middle of the night, to avoid unnecessary witnesses in the morning, knowing full well that this was not supposed to happen. (Dalan gains a passion (lustful) for Elaine (12))
The next morning Tristan hears some rumours about Dalan and Elaine, they were seen leaving the party together and it took quite some time before Dalan reached his tent… Tristan talks to Dalan about this, who answers “A good time was had…”. Heavily hungover the knights join in the preparations for the return journey, departing by mid day. On the way back to Salisbury it is very clear that both Earl Roderick as well as Lady Ellen appear to be pleased with their luck in marriage. Riding up with Tristan, Dalan and Lucas, earl Roderick and thanks them for their help in finding his bride. Also Lady Ellen speaks to them, briefly, but warmly.
Dalan keeps an eye on Lady Elaine and at some point they have eye contact: She seems surprised and looks questioningly at him: what has happened? When the entourage nears Salisbury and espying a suitable opportunity, Dalan approaches lady Elaine and inviting her to a evening picnic by the lake, some distance from the main group. Of course accompanied by their squire and lady-in-waiting. He has arranged for a blanket and some food and wine. Lady Elaine accepts the offer, saying: “We indeed have to talk, sooner rather than later” and they walk off together. It is an intimate evening, without anything untoward happening. She asks about what happened in Heartland: “What happened in Heartland, has to stay in Heartland, but pray tell exactly what happened, for I do not remember?” Dalan relates the gist of the matter, apologizing a little, but what could he do? The flesh is weak with such a beautiful lady. Elaine nods and says: “I do not regret what happened, but: It did not happen.” emphasizing her last words and looking directly at Dalan. He agrees to her unspoken wish to keep silent on the matter, and soon after the night gets colder and they each go to their respective tents to sleep.
(All knights attending the wedding gain +25 Glory)
Until Winter Falls
The rest of the year 483 is relatively uneventful. Lucas had a poor harvest, but by spending 4 libra from his coffers manages to avoid an impact to his family and stable. Dalan has had a superlative harvest and gains +18 Glory. Tristan has a rich harvest and gains +12 Glory. None of the knight have become a new father this year, knowingly or not. Tristan invests in a second wicker weir and a ferry. Unbeknown to him, his sister Maeghan in far away saxon territory has married again.
The mother of Lucas has gone missing – maybe she really could not stand Rhoswen and has run away? Who knows…