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(Archive) Parental permission

Tags: Brev,  Niamh/Braedon (Isobel)

Short Summary: Brev manages to confound Lord Braedon. What price for peace and quiet in the Taurdain household?
Date (real-life): 2013-01-18
Scene Location: Esgaroth: Taurdain Suites
Date (in-game): December 3057
Time of Day: Afternoon
Taurdain Suites: Entry Hall
 
 This villa is filled with various examples of natural beauty which give testimony to the Taurdain's bond with the Elves of Mirkwood. The high ceiling of the entry hall gives a feeling of expanse, although the suites are generally modestly furbished. Potted plants bring a warmth to the space, and a vine covered fountain near the entrance gurgles quietly. A bench of elven craft offers comfort to visitors, crouching steadfastly opposite a grand staircase that curves up to the second level, and the quarters of the members of the Household.
 
 A hall leading off behind the stairs leads to the kitchen, with an open double doorway granting access to the formal dining room. To the east of the staircase are two doorways; one opening into a warmly appointed sitting room where guests are usually received. The other leads to the house's library. Across the hall, to the west of the staircase, two more rooms; a closed door leading to Lord Taurdain's quarters, the room next to it reserved to guests of the House.
 
Obvious exits:
Ornate Door and Out

----

Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service

Real Time: Fri Jan 18 03:47:37 2013 MST
 
Dale-Lands Time:
Monday, mid afternoon on a stormy winter's day, December 20 of 3057

----

The wind whistles outside, driving flurries of snow against the windows of Taurdain Suites. Even in airy entrance hall the light from the tall windows seems curiously muted, and in the private sitting room the effect of the dimness is almost claustrophobic. Perhaps that's why Taurdain's newest retainer looks somewhat uncomfortable, rubbing irritably at his cheek as a servant ushers him into the room for a meeting that he himself has requested. Is it to discuss the Wharf project, perhaps? But Brev's hands are free of any items of wood, leather or rag rugs, nor does he bear any paperwork for inspection.
 
Once inside, the man leaves off his fidgeting and smooths his face into a polite, neutral expression, stilling the twitching for now, and greets pleasantly, "Good afternoon, Lady Niamh, Lord Braedon." He inclines his head slightly as an acknowledgement of status.

[Isobel(#23796)] Almost all activity in the room stops - Lady Niamh ceases her needlework and her talking but Lord Braedon still looks as if he really wants to be somewhere else. Possibly somewhere quieter. He nods and gravely greets the intruder, yet gives Brev a look which is unaccountably sour. Niamh is much more hospitable, a smile lighting her countenance. "Master Brev, how nice to see you!" The side-long glance from Braedon to his wife seems to suggest otherwise.

Is that sour look offputting? Doubtless it is, but Brev strives not to show it in his features as he replies graciously, "It was good of you to take the time to see me. I appreciate how precious the hours can be." He offers a wry, lopsided smile. Then there is a moment's pause while he chooses his next words.
 
Eventually he settles on the direct approach - it may not earn him any prizes for subtlety, nor for courtesy, but at least it'll be done with all the sooner. He clasps his hands before him and speaks evenly. "I wish to discuss your daughter Isobel. She's a remarkable woman, quick of wit and strong of will." And no doubt filled with grace and beauty too, going by the distant, dreamy look in the man's eyes for a moment. "Over time we've become close, and now I'm in a position to speak my heart. I would like your permission to wed her."
 
There, it's said. He waits patiently for a response, a slight whitening about his knuckles betraying his tension. He's long since learned that a smile from Lady Niamh often precedes some particularly devastating statement.

Though Niamh may be smiling broadly (perhaps there is less to fear than Brev might think) Braedon sits with the dazed look of a man just clubbed over the head. The tea cup he lifted is suspended half-way to his mouth and he eyes Brev with unrestrained wonder. "What... that is..."

"Close your mouth, dear husband," Niamh murmurs happily and for a moment she almost seems like she's gloating. Braedon gives her a side-long glance and incredulously demands, "And is /this/ why you've talked my ear off about this fellow for at least a fortnight?" His eyes narrow and in a low, accusing voice he adds, "You /knew/, I suppose." His wife just sniffs and shrugs, bending over her needlework.

"And you," Braedon continues impatiently and returns his attention to Brev, "if you had had any compassion for me and my peace you wouldn't have done half so many good deeds. With how much my lady wife has praised you one might think you had defeated an army single-handedly." The cup clinks sharply as the lord sets it down, the tea slopping over the rim. He draws himself up straight and, clearly irritated, runs a hand through his russet hair which is streaked with grey.

"Now, sit." The imperious tone brooks no objections. "I am not accustomed, Master Brev, to having strange men approach me in this manner or on this matter. And despite what Lady Niamh has told me," a side-long glance, not friendly at all, at his wife, "you are a stranger to me." ("Only because you spend your days holed up with your parchments and stories," Niamh mumbles in a sing-song voice)

"If you want to meet with any success here, perhaps you ought to remedy that. You are a stranger to this place," Braedon states coolly, "and before I consent to letting any man be a part of my family I would like a measure of him." (Lady Niamh looks up and smiles brilliantly at Brev - cheerfully she tells him, "His Lordship is rather grumpy because he had to leave his solitude. Forgive him, he doesn't get out much!")

 

At Braedon's revelation about his wife, Brev does twitch slightly, though he's careful not to look at Lady Niamh (perhaps he'd rather not see her expression right now?). When Braedon's attention turns his way, the man's brows furrow slightly. Is it possible to be /too/ good? Perhaps he's trying to recall which particular deeds he's actually done.

The order is obeyed: Brev gingerly perches on the edge of one of the chairs, sitting bolt upright. He meets Braedon's eye before he speaks, careful to keep his tone as deferential as he may. "I would expect no less where a daughter's welfare is at stake. Please, Lord Braedon, voice your concerns. Perhaps some I can refute - if there are other objections, those I can work to overcome. Because," he turns his head now to regard Lady Niamh, and unlike her his gaze is solemn, "the last thing I want is to come between Isobel and her House. After all," an awkward, hesitant curve lifts one side of his mouth, "it's my House too now."


Isobel(#23796)] Braedon actually smiles, however grimly. Will Brev find that comforting? "So it is, man of Taurdain. But who are you? Who was your father? It is difficult for me to discern your character since you are not from here."

Niamh shakes her head and impatiently cries, "Tosh, Braedon! Breeding is only one part of what makes one's character; what you make of yourself and what you believe certainly counts too." Her husband gives her a sullen look and otherwise ignores it, instead looking at Brev expectantly.

Perhaps Brev does indeed find that smile comforting, however it might have been intended. He carefully does not look at either bickering party but instead folds his hands in his lap and half-closes his eyes a moment, as though composing his thoughts. Eventually he lifts one shoulder in a shrug and recites in singsong fashion, "Breveg Telartair, mac Barseg Tiarna de Bear, Laoch de Rannoch, Saor e Eiridd." Despite the lilting tone, the language is oddly guttural. Then he snorts softly. "There's a string of titles that says nothing at all. But I'll try to answer more plainly. Where I was born men use another speech, but I'll put things into in the Common tongue as best I may."

"I was born west of the Mountains, in a land less forgiving than this, where men struggle to eke out an existence against the efforts of goblins and the elements to scour the place barren. There are ... Houses, you'd say, great ones and lesser. My father, Barseg - well, he was a stonemason by trade. But he was also a leader of men - for a while he ruled a House. Then he stepped down, left the role to another and became ..." his brow furrows, "... an advisor, maybe? That was when we left the Keep ... uh, town. I spent the remainder of my boyhood in a little village in the foothills."

A moment's silence follows, then he glances up. "As to my mother, she was a fighter, a warrior. That's," this time the hesitation is perhaps not one of translation, for he glances away and clears his throat, "not usual amongst my folk, perhaps even less so than here. But she died when I was young, it was my father and my stepmother who had the raising of me."

 

[Isobel(#23796)] Those titles produce nothing but a blank look at first from both nobles. They exchange a thoughtful glance, perhaps not readily decipherable to Brev, full of speculation when he continues his account. "You speak the Common tongue well," Braedon allows graciously. "I presume that where you come from the leaders are chosen, much like we do here? The successor to each House is not named solely on lineage but also on capability."

He strokes his chin. "And how do you come to be here? Was there a quarrel or just a young man's urge to wander?" There's nothing admiring in the way he says the words - clearly this Lord doesn't approve of such urges.

 

Brev looks faintly amused at Braedon's first words. "I've spent almost as long outside the homeland as in, now," he murmurs. "'Sides, my father insisted we learn the Common. It's handy for trade, for- well, many things."

The next question is answered with a nod. "Aye, you have the right of it. Each ... House chooses differently: one strongest, another the wisest, a third the richest. Sometimes these things run in families, but there's usually half a dozen leaders in between. Raids and skirmishes claim most lives - few men make grandfather. My own father was gone before I reached manhood." It's said almost matter-of-factly, as though there were nothing untoward about this.

Of course, the final query is harder to answer. A long silence ensues, and then ... "Perhaps something of both," Brev concedes. "With things as they were ... in the end I chose to follow one of the lesser Houses. Their leader was a great man, a visionary. And my friend." His gaze drops to his hands and stays there; the muscle in his cheek starts twitching. "He saw the need for change, the need for unity if men were to hold onto what they had. Few would listen, of course," scorn for his fellow-men creeps into his tone there, "and in the end he sought elsewhere for aid. And we left the land some call Dunland." He stops there, no doubt tired of the sound of his own voice though he's far from reached an ending to the tale.

 

[Isobel(#23796)] Did anyone tell Brev that Lord Braedon loves a good story? Niamh's smile is certainly knowing as she casts a furtive, side-long glance at her husband, surely noticing the way he's started to lean forward, his hands on his knees, and how he seems to be following Brev's tale with rapt attention. "And then?" he prompts. "You came from Dunland to here? Seems an odd place to seek aid. And where is your friend?"

Brev swallows and rubs one hand across his twitching cheek, then sighs and forces himself to continue the tale, making sure to look at his audience at least part of the time. "Not here. We went north, though still west of the Mountains, to the place they call the Breelands. Bland, tame little lands farmed by tame little men - no help to be found there. So we hired a local guide, a lad named Gidon, and moved on eastward. Carac - my friend - had found old records mentioning a folk kin to us, and naught would do but that we go in search of them. We headed into the wild lands, and then ..."

He blinks suddenly. "Then fate separated us. There was an incident in one of the villages and Gidon was hurt," his jaw clenches and he looks away from his hosts, staring blindly toward the fire. "Carac could not wait for him to heal, so he and the majority of our group went on with another guide. I ... I stayed. The lad and I had become close, see. Figure he reminded me of my brother, sometimes." Briefly one side of his mouth curls up. "He's still the nearest to kin I've got, shared blood or no. And he had noone else. So-" he shrugs helplessly, "I waited for him. Oh, we had it all planned out, how I'd meet Carac and the rest once we were across the Mountains. Only it never happened." He focusses fully on Lord Braedon now. "We went on once Gidon was mended, as much as he ever would be. We searched high and low. We crossed the Mountains twice, followed this trail and that. But ... nothing. Not a word of him, not a sign." His features are grim.

Perhaps to distract himself, he glances towards Lady Niamh and her embroidery. "Our next few years we spent on the road, shuttling between Bree and the Mountains like threads on a loom and taking work where we could find it. The villages strung out on that road are no stranger to attack - bandits, trolls - and there was always somewhere needing rebuilt."

 

[Isobel(#23796)] Whether it's intentional or not Brev has certainly found a good theme - there is precious little Taurdains like so much as hearing of good, selfless deeds, judging by the soft and affected look on their faces. (Apparently Braedon's aversion only extends to his /wife/ telling him) The lord clears his throat. "Then for some reason you two decided to cross the mountains /again/?" he asks incredulously, a thin smile curving his lips. "I suppose you didn't have enough of snow and goblins and the Mirkwood the first time around..."

Niamh grins and cheerfully adds, "Do not forget the Beornings, dear. Clearly Master Brev and his friend had a longing for a simpler life." Braedon chuckles at that. "Aye, so 'twould seem. Suppose the honey makes up for it."

 

"The Beornings?" One corner of Brev's mouth twitches; he looks away. "Sadly they didn't appreciate our talents fully. Gidon's a most excellent hunter, and I've always preferred to wear leather." When he looks back he's grinning, the tension of earlier gone. It seems that, intentionally or no, Lady Niamh has brought his thoughts back to lighter subjects.

He continues his tale more easily. "As to what brought us here, there's not much more to tell. Gidon was seeking his kin, his mother's folk. His Da always claimed they'd come from round here. We'd balked at crossing the Mirkwood before - staying alive had more appeal - but the second time we were lucky. The goblins were likely off causing mischief elsewhere. Anyway, we made it here in one piece. That was - what, five years ago?" He tilts his head sideways, reckoning. "No, six. And since that time I've been in Esgaroth, setting up a carpentry business, and I got involved with the Infirmary project when Elodie was starting it. Got caught up in the Buhr Marling mess too and later some other trouble, down at Iach Celduin. And by the time the dust had cleared ... found the place was starting to look like home." A wry smile, he spreads his hands and the tale is done. Well, with certain little omissions.

 

[Isobel(#23796)] Too soon to relax - while Braedon is nodding thoughtfully Niamh smiles, indulgently as one might towards a child, and shakes her head. "Now, aren't you forgetting to mention someone, Master Brev? I assure you, it's better out than in. He'll just be cranky if he finds out later and from someone else."

Braedon turns his head sharply to regard his wife. "What do you mean?" She shrugs, matter-of-factly informing him - "Oh, Master Brev here had certain connections to that savage girl who skipped town a year or so ago, when she was carrying someone's babe."

The lord's eyes narrow immediately and he addresses the carpenter somewhat flatly. "You're the one she ran out on? It's your child? I remember hearing about it, but..."

 

"No!" That swift denial comes hard on the heels of Braedon's query, with a ripple of anger beneath. "She may have treated her second husband as she did the first, but I assure you I had nothing to do with that."

A couple of heartbeats silence then Brev lets his breath out in a sigh and tells Braedon wearily, "Caoimhe came to Laketown six years ago, as my wife. It's best I speak of her as little as I may, for in truth I'd say little that is good and biased opiniond rarely help matters. Her actions are the talk of the town as it is." His jaw clenches tight. Looking to Niamh he suggests succinctly, "Perhaps, Lady Niamh, you could fill Lord Braedon in on any details of which he might be unaware?"

 

[Isobel(#23796)] Braedon flinches and his brows knit together at that first exclamation. And yet the disapproving furrows smooth out again when Brev continues, and there's almost something like understanding in his gaze. "Ah." He leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees, hands folding together and mouth set in a tight, grim line. He stares hard straight ahead (at poor Brev) and most certainly does not let his gaze stray to his wife. Perhaps he knows a thing or two about unhappy marriages.

Lady Niamh smiles but her blue eyes are very cold as she takes in her husband's unmoving profile - perhaps she thinks she knows what is running through his mind? At any rate she tells him, whether he's looking or not, in a quite pleasant voice: "Suffice to say that the lady in question left Master Brev to take up with Master Ban, that moneylender who has some business with Isobel, I forget what it is... with him, at any rate, and then she wed him- oh, Master Brev and she dissolved their union and... then she ran out on the second one too. While carrying his babe, none the less."

She sniffs and not without a measure of prim satisfaction adds, "I can't /imagine/ the shame her family must feel. Although /she/ sounds quite shameless. Poor, poor Master Ban." No doubt 'poor Master Ban' would be even happier if noble ladies forgot about his embarrassing misfortunes. Niamh glances at Brev - "Did I leave anything out?"

Brev, of course, is carefully not quite looking at either Taurdain party. He settles instead for gazing at a most interesting point of wall midway between the two (though to the untrained eye it might look just like any other patch!) Lady Niamh's words have him hunching his shoulders slightly. "Her family," he mutters indistinctly, "would be west of the Mountains."

He's silent a while when the noblewoman is done, then he prompts sourly, "Didn't you forget the fellow who brought her here in the first place? A share of the blame for her actions rests with him. He'd failed to live up to her expectations, clearly." His gaze shifts from wall to ground; when he lifts his head again his expression is resolutely neutral. Stony, almost.

[Isobel(#23796)] Niamh lifts one shoulder in a careless shrug. "Perhaps, but I suppose even he must have been surprised by her actions?" Braedon has used the time to recover from his dark mood - not that the man seems cheerful but at least he's not trying to stare a hole through Brev's jerkin anymore. He runs a hand through his hair wearily, making it stand on end. Niamh tracks the movement and quells a quick smile at the sight.

"Never mind /her/ family," Braedon mutters, "/This/ family, however... I presume there is nothing that ties the two of you together anymore?" Firmly he adds, "Taurdains do not separate from one another. We wed for life, and that's that. Consider that, Master Brev."

 

Brev doesn't give Niamh's words an answer; he's focusing on controlling his expression and stopping his cheek from twitching. He shakes his head dumbly at Braedon's initial query; at the final words he nodes. "I have considered it," he states sombrely. "I've also considered that Taurdain do not break faith with one another. That ... matters a lot." For a moment his gaze is distant and his mouth curves up slightly; likely he's not even aware of it.

 

[Isobel(#23796)] If his words touch on a nerve there is no sign of it -both nobles appear quite untroubled. Niamh even laughs. "Maybe the swan should be our emblem instead of Arathmor's. Like swans we mate for life, and like swans we are fierce in protection of our nests." Is that a quick, meaningful glance at Braedon, who looks vaguely uncomfortable for a moment?

The lord clears his throat again. "There's a thought," he agrees mildly with his wife, "but I doubt they would give it up to us. For myself I rather like the tree. At any rate... Master Brev, I suppose you are confident you can support a family?"

 

Brev shakes his head to clear it of whatever dreams might have lodged there and smiles politely at Lady Niamh's words, without volunteering any comment. Lord Braedon's question takes him quite by surprise: he blinks and purses his mouth. "I've little use for coin myself," he admits. "But I'm hardly lacking in employment. Carpenter's Guild rates are good, certainly - with that alone I'd earn enough and more. Though I'd thought to cut back on the carpentry," he admits suddenly. "Being a retainer of Taurdain will bring its own duties and responsibilities."

 

[Isobel(#23796)] Niamh blinks and perhaps her words slip out without intention: "Really? A Taurdain craftsman who doesn't want to ply his craft, or earn the title of master? How... queer!" Then she bites her lips and squeezes her eyes shut briefly. "Ah... that is, I didn't quite mean that as it... sounded?"

Braedon's mouth smiles but his eyes don't. "My wife does have a point. I am not sure what... duties you presume we would lay on you, but I assure you, they will not be so taxing." His brows arch as he adds, and sounds quite amused, "My boy, did you agree to this without reading the fine print? We offer /you/ protection and aid in your endeavours in return for loyalty, mostly. Though I suspect in your case it may also be..." He glances towards his wife and hazards a guess. "Infirmary?"

Again the woman shrugs and Braedon leaves it. "My point is that being a retainer will not be... anything you have not already been doing, I should think. Or why else retain you? But if you don't want to be a carpenter..." The lord shrugs, his brows drawing together to give him a faintly disapproving look.


This time it's to Lady Niamh that Brev looks. "I'd assumed I was being retained so that my skills and services would benefit the House, rather than being used for private projects," he states matter-of-factly.

Braedon's words set his brows furrowing (but then these folk are probably unaware of his vision of retainership as a leash used to bring an unruly dog to heel). He listens in silence until the Lord is done: then the final query elicits a surprised, "Kiern, no! That is - of course I want to craft things. But the carpentry, it's ... something I do for /me/. Whereas my other work - the Infirmary and now the Wharf project - those jobs are things the town needs. And right now there's noone else to do them. I've tried to split some of my Infirmary duties with a colleague, get her more involved in the administration, but she's wed now, in time a bairn will come and she'll have to cut back again - not to mention she hates paperwork even more than I do." A wry little smile twists one side of his mouth. "As to the Wharf project, I'm hoping that in a few years someone else will have the energy to take it on, but right now it needs me. I've my experience in the Infirmary to guide me there." He stops - for good? No, only for breath. "With the carpentry, I've one prentice, Ottar, and a duty to see him trained, but other than that I'm not truly needed. There's a Guild full of equally well-qualified folk able to do any job that comes up. So if something's got to give ... well, it's the obvious choice." Brev looks down, and then murmurs to his hands, "If ... if I were wed, I'd want some time to spend with my wife, too. I can learn from my mistakes."

When he looks up again it is to address Lady Niamh, a faint quirk at one side of his mouth. "Naturally, I would appreciate it if you did not inform Master Stanric I consider myself expendable." For a brief instant, quirk becomes smirk.

[Isobel(#23796)] Niamh and Braedon exchange a look and it is the woman who quite gently speaks up. "It might make him feel better, you know. I'll wager he'll become very nervous. But I promise not to say a word. As for the carpentry... you're still keeping your workshop, I take it?" She makes a very short pause, maybe to collect her thoughts, and wets her lips. "I understand that you live there. I suppose you do understand we would expect you to move here? I don't know what your... wedding customs are but here the one of lesser rank usually goes to the one of higher standing."

"What?" Brev blinks at Niamh, the inference quite clearly having gone right over his head - why, he's even forgotten to address her by her title. At least the next words are easier to understand. "Aye, I'd keep on the workshop. I still have Ottar to train, after all. I hope I'll be able to take on enough commissions to earn the coin that's needed of me." For a moment his lips twitch - perhaps he's recalling the 'feed a family' inference of earlier.

The other issue is met head on. "Everything Isobel loves is here - her home, her work, her family." He lets his gaze move from one interrogator to the other, and nods imperceptibly. "I'd not take that from her - not now, not ever."

[Isobel(#23796)] Niamh grins. "Well, you could try, I suppose, but I wouldn't advise it. You'd get an earful, and that would just be from me. But..." Her grin fades, morphing into a faint show of concern. "Are you sure you can adopt our values? To us family comes first. And I am not referring to us three, I speak of the House as a whole. Unity and loyalty. We will always help others when we can but we must still flourish in order to do so."

Braedon has for now left the reins to Niamh but he stares fixedly at Brev as if seeking to discover any chinks in his armour.

Here is one question that can be answered more readily than the others. "I've already done so, surely. The moment I agreed to become a retainer of the House." He sits calmly now, without the earlier twitching, letting the Taurdain pair stare as they will.

[Isobel(#23796)] "Just making sure we agree," Niamh replies placidly, then suddenly there's a sparkle of mirth lighting her eyes. "And I don't think you need to worry about coin overmuch. You don't need to buy food, or wood to warm the hearth. The House provides for us all." She smirks. "You only need to keep Isobel's supply of parchments, ink and books stocked. Hm, maybe you ought to take on some more commissions..."

Braedon snorts softly and gets to his feet. "There is probably one or two practical things to settle, I expect. There always seems to be," he mutters under his breath and pulls a face (Niamh rolls her eyes behind his back, almost as if she knows who will be in charge of organizing these practical matters). "But..." he throws a quick look over his shoulder at his wife, a searching look, and they appear to be in agreement when Braedon turns back. "But you have our approval, Master Brev." He even holds out his hand for the carpenter to shake!

Then Braedon blinks as if struck by a thought and worriedly adds, "Ah... you /have/ discussed this with Isobel, haven't you? I can't really give you my daughter, we don't hold with that sort of thing."

Perhaps Brev's calmness has been something of a facade: he manages to keep a more or less straight face at Niamh's words about books and parchments (there's a certain betraying twitch at one corner of his mouth), but when Braedon speaks he lets out a slow breath of relief.

He stands to shake the older man's hand, only to stop mid-gesture at the next words. Something suspiciously like a snort escapes him; hastily he turns it into a cough and pointedly does /not/ look at Lady Niamh (perhaps he's already imagining what comments she might make). "Why don't you ask Isobel her views on the matter, Lord Braedon?" he suggests politely. "I believe that might set your mind at rest."

[Isobel(#23796)] Braedon's forehead lies in furrows, like an erratically ploughed field. "No need to be cheeky, young man," he retorts, still expectantly holding out his hand. Behind him Lady Niamh seeks to cover her laugh with a cough.

This time Brev does indeed shake Braedon's hand. "Thank you, Lord Braedon," he says simply, "and to you, Lady Niamh." He turns to smile at Niamh, any urge to laugh held firmly in check. "I'll go and tell - that is, I believe Lady Isobel and I have much to discuss."


Date added: 2014-11-28 09:47:25    Hits: 63
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