Having paid a brief visit to Brookeley Manor in the fall of the year previous, Lucas was already contemplating his next step in marriage. The events of the Christmas Feast at Sarum however have added a new urgency. With Earl Roderick having declared his intent for the hand of lady Ellen, this will undoubtedly not sit well with his rival Sir Blains of Levcomagus and thus cause tension between Silchester and Salisbury. For a Salisbury knight to then ride up and ask for the hand of a Silchester lady might not have the intended result. Thus the ramblings of Sir Lucas when he makes his plans for the spring of 483 A.D.
The Earl’s Approval and the Abbot’s Writ
Before riding off to Brookeley, Lucas seeks to inform Earl Roderick. Riding off to the Castle of the Rock he seeks out sir Amig, the earl’s dapifier and requests the ear of Roderick. Lucas only has to wait for a short while before Roderick is available and willing to hear out his knight. Told of Lucas’s intentions, Roderick recalls how both Lucas and Dalan have spoken to him of the same lady in the past and inquires whether matters have been resolved between Dalan and Lucas. “As such matters can lead to conflict between knights that I will be calling up in these times of need, it would please me not to have them at each other’s throats.” Fortunately Lucas is able to relate how “Dalan has wished me good luck when we last rode together, for which I am very grateful indeed.”
With that concern set aside, Roderick wishes the young knight well, and soon after sir Amig politely informs that there are other visitors that need to speak with the earl.
Leaving the castle, Lucas heads for the abbey of St. Josephe to meet with father Brugyn, the abbot. Having previously engaged the abbot to write a letter of introduction to Brookeley, Lucas considers the favor still owed to father Brugyn. Will he call on it now? Or at a later date? Making his way across the abbey grounds, Lucas is spotted by the abbot who beckons for Lucas to join him in the kitchen. “Join me by the warmth of the fire and tell me what brings you here, young Lucas”.
Lucas enthusiastically tells of his intent to ask for the hand of lady Rhoswen, how much of a pleasure she is to be around and how he looks forward with great anticipation to her presence at Dinton manor. Brugyn smiles and nods. “Surely I am glad to hear yo speak so find of the lady Rhoswen. But tell me… Have you also given thought to the practical side of this marriage? What does the Brookeley family bring to this union? Is she of fertile stock? Oh, and are they a God fearing Christian family?” Going out on a limb, Lucas informs the abbot that they are indeed good Christians, and she did seem of good health during previous visits. “Tell me, does she have a great many brothers and sisters?”, the abbot quizzes. _"No, she is the only child, Father", responds Lucas, only to catch the mirth in Berwyn’s eyes – the monk apparantly teasing the knight in good nature, while also giving him something to think about.
Father Berwyn agrees to write the letter to announce that Lucas will be paying a visit to Brookeley manor in a few weeks time, early March. With the letter sent, Lucas has nearly finished his business in Sarum. Only a stop at the merchants remains where he purchases a glass decanter to suit the glasses he gifted sir Berwyn earlier, and a glass mirror to gift to the lady Rhoswen herself.
The Road to Brookeley, and an Ill Advised Stay
Headed for Brookeley, Lucas considers whether to bypass Levcomagus or to stop over and pay a visit to Sir Blains. Not wanting to give cause for offence, Lucas heads in to Levcomagus to meet the steward. Although he is indeed invited to stay for a meal and spend the night, the Salisbury knight is received coolly indeed. More so when sir Blains recalls that this knight has been privy to Earl Roderick’s plans of marriage, this having come up in conversation in previous years. Wisely deciding not to bring up the Earl’s intent – and least of all the decision to ask for lady Ellen’s hand at the upcoming Easter Court – Lucas in nonetheless put on the spot when asked “So pray tell, does Roderick still intend to further continue discussions on marriage with the lady Ellen?” Not one to lie, Lucas merely nods and confirms this. “I am saddened to hear he still sticks to that foolish ambition… Pray inform him of such.”
The tone not lightened by the topic of lady Ellen, Blains further inquires what brings sir Lucas to Salisbury. When told that the knight is en route to Brookeley manor to ask for the hand of lady Rhoswen, the steward glowers “Another from Salisbury who seeks to poach the ladies due to Silchester!” When Lucas restrains himself and answers only with a “Pardon?”, Blains motions disgustedly to the musician “Music, please.”
The remainder of the evening both knight and steward avoid the subject of marriage, and Lucas excuses himself for the night at the earliest opportunity. When he rides out the next morning, Lucas vows not to stop at Levcomagus on the return journey – whether his mission was succesful or not.
Brookeley Manor and the Question of the Lady’s Hand
Riding up to the manor, Lucas spots the squire Sear as he ducks into a doorway and out of sight. Instead the Lady Rhoswen and her mother Ceinwen meet sir Lucas as he dismounts, a fond greeting from the both of them. When sir Berwyn emerges, his greeting is substantially more reserved, quite unlikely the last time they met. As the stable hands see to Lucas and his squire’s horse, Sears remains out of sight.
Berwyn invites Lucas to join them for lunch, and mentions that he received the knight’s letter. A simple table is set, and Lucas offers the decanter to the parents, which is put to get use to serve the wine. When offering the mirror to the lady Rhoswen, Lucas sees his flirtatious comment of “How this mirror will present a gorgeous visage in her hands’” fall flat on it’s face. Nonetheless she seems enchanted with the gift.
A Tense Meal
During lunch it is mostly the father who makes the conversation – interaction between Lucas and his intended bride limited to frequent exchange of glances. Berwyn is curious what the past year has brought the knight, and in particular presses the knight when he hears how instead of marching on Bedigraine he again performed garrison duty. “Are you surprised to hear that there are voices that suggest you may not seek to join your liege on campaign?” shoots sir Berwyn “And is it true that your father also shone in garrison duty?” Unsure what has gotten into the man he seemed to get along with fine previously, Lucas responds sharply “Yes, that certainly does come as a surprise!”, and goes on to tell the tale of his father’s glorious role in the battle of Frisia.
Berwyn relents, explaining how the threats to Logres have him gravely concerned, and that he had to be sure that anyone looking to wed his daughter was at least capable and willing to defend his family. He goes on to share his distress at how much Logres knights have been opposing other Logres knights rather than Saxons. Too much internal tensions such as caused by the ill advised plans of Roderick to marry the lady Ellen are not for the good of Logres. Lucas agrees that those internal struggles suit nobody in Logres.
“Do you have the ear of the earl? Is there any chance you could change his mind?” Lucas responds that he already advised the earl to marry the lady Rosalyn instead, but that the earl very much makes up his own mind. “Pray this does not drive a wedge between Silchester and Salisbury”
The conversation thus turns to the harvest of the year past and the preparations all are taking for upcoming battle against the Saxons. A battle that Lucas suggests is past due to bring to the Saxons – a sentiment that Berwyn readily agrees to.
Ceinwen asks Lucas about his family, and Rhoswen joins in the conversation to hear about Dinton. When Lucas eagerly tells about the new apiary and his plans to invest in a herd of sheep, the young lady nods and smiles “So do you have family living on the manor with you?” “My mother lives there, and other family frequently visits” Rhoswen certainly is looking forward to running a manor of her own, she tells Lucas. He reassures her that he intends for her to do just that, and that he is sure she will be very pleased with Dinton and come to love it dearly.
The Fine Art of Negotiation
With the noon meal behind them, Berwyn invites Lucas to join him by the hearth to discuss the matter at hand. He informs Lucas he certainly isn’t the only knight seeking his daughter’s hand. He wants to hear from Lucas why he should give his daughter to him and not to one of the other suitors, especially when tension with Salisbury seems to be rising.
“Maybe exactly for that very reason!”, is the suggestion put forward by sir Lucas, as well as more practical matters such as bringing a manor of his own to the marriage. Lucas is so convincing in his argumentation (Crit on courtesy skill) that Berwyn cannot help but laugh “Enough, enough… Rhoswen has been harping on and on about how I have to say ‘yes’ when you put the question forward… And at least you’re not as much of an impossible fool as Dalan…” Coming to his friend’s defense, Lucas explains that Dalan may be impetuous at times. Even when told of Dalan’s rather improper advances during the ‘riding lessons’ given to Rhoswen, Lucas does not let up “I am sure Dalan did not mean it in such a way!”
Berwyn insists that they continue the more practical discussions the next day, and that they not spoil dinner and the evening with further negotiation. This opportunity is grasped by Lucas to inform lady Rhoswen of the progress, who only just manages to restrain herself from wrapping her arms around her likely husband-to-be, so relieved is she with this news. Instead, she smiles broadly and runs off to talk with her mother.
The next day sir Berwyn has invited the village priest to join them in order to record the deals of the agreement that he is sure they will be reaching. The first topic raised by sir Berwyn is the matter of the dowry. He puts forward an offer of 3 librum, which strikes Lucas as surprisingly low. Hopefully it is only a tactic in the negotiation rather than the character of the man or worse the family being in dire straits.
Lucas in turn puts forward his thoughts. He seeks to get married at the earliest opportunity, as he expects war and would ride off to war with a lighter heart knowing there was a bun in the oven. He inquires into the inheritance of Brookeley manor, with Rhoswen being the only child. Berwyn agrees to put in writing that, in the absence of male offspring, the manor will indeed be inherited by his eldest daughter. He only requests the condition that lady Ceinwen shall have Brookeley manor as her residence until the end of her times. After some further maneuvering, the future husband and father-in-law agree on a dowry of 5 librum and a wedding to take place at the Josephe Abbey in Sarum, well before Easter.
With a light heart, Lucas departs for Salisbury on the next morning, riding hard to bypass Levcomagus. Seeking out father Brugyn again, he gets the abbot’s agreement for the rather rushed marriage, for which the abbot insists on a simple price only – for the third son of Lucas to become a man of the cloth.
Two weeks hence, the wedding of Rhoswen and Lucas takes place. It is a festive affair, with the Brookeley and the Dinton family in attendance as well as a great many of Lucas’s fellow knights. The married couple only has a few days to enjoy the bliss of marriage, as the young knight has to ride off with earl Roderick on his mission to ensure a marriage of his own, at the Easter Court.