Medieval-Europe Role Play Forum

RP - British Isles Kingdoms => *Kingdom of England - Regno di Inghilterra => Duchy of Lancaster => Topic started by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 29 May, 2017, 02:41:13 AM

Title: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 29 May, 2017, 02:41:13 AM
There was a tidy pile of coins upon the table, glinting in the candle-light.  She'd just finished counting her fortune and a quiet smile gently curved the corners of her lips.  Not that it was a true fortune, but by Aiiane's meager experience, it was more money than she'd ever seen in one place in her entire life.  And, to add to her treasures was a plot of land which had just yielded it's first harvest.  She felt a little wicked to have so much and not be charged for her room at the tavern, but the owner merely shook his head when she'd tried to recompense him for his hospitality, stating it was the policy to assist such newcomers as herself and that, eventually, she would be asked to pay for her lodgings.

Aiiane's fingers ran down her new garments, no more seconds from her mother, although the bedraggled dress she had removed had been cleaned, folded neatly and tucked away.  It and the locket which hung around her neck were the only things of her mother's she owned and she would part with neither.  She sighed with contentment as she put her earnings into a leather pouch and slipped it between the folds of her mother's dress.

A small pot of soup, purchased from the market, had been warming on the hearth and she dipped herself a bowl and placed it where the coins had just stood.  As she ate, she thought of Lord Lancaster.  He was a good man and much of her new-found wealth could be attributed to him.  The money he had fronted her, she considered a loan and was hopeful that she would soon be able to repay him in full.  For now, her plan was to continue to sow and harvest, gather wood and do what jobs as she could find to continue to add to her purse.  Aiiane savored the last spoonful of soup.  Yes, indeed, her prospects were definitely improving and some day, it was to be hoped, she would be an important personage in Lancaster.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 29 May, 2017, 11:56:29 AM
They bellowed a welcome as she entered their pen, pushing a cartload of hay before her.  The cows began to move forward, looking forward to their meal and Aiiane hurried to pitch the hay onto the ground before they surrounded the cart and she would be unable to remove it from the pen.  Lord Galahad had warned her of this when he'd supplied his instructions on just how she should accomplish her task.  Once they were contentedly munching upon their supper, Aiiane was easily able to exit the pen without any risk of the cows trying to escape.

Many kindly Lancasterians had come to inquire of her and many had offered her jobs.  When she had completed her work for Lord Galahad, she was then going to visit Lord Clydog and he was going to show her the finer point of tailoring.  Aiiane was already a fair hand as a seamstress, for she'd made most of her mother's clothing and kept them well mended, even after they had passed on to her.

As she started up the lane toward town and the tavern so that she might freshen up and have her noon meal before heading out to the tailor shop, Aiiane could not help reflect upon her earlier days in London.  She had found herself in curious circumstances, alone and unprotected in a city unfamiliar to her.  To her relief, London seemed to be safe from whatever miasma had passed through the village where she had spent her life and a number of its citizens had provided succor while she gained her bearings.

When it became apparent that few, if any, from the village would survive the rector, in whom her mother had placed the life and safety of her only daughter before her own demise, determined that they must leave immediately if they were to continue on in this world instead of the next.  It was unfortunate that the man was near as ancient, or at least he seemed so to Aiiane, as the parish he oversaw and thus, as they stood upon a rise that gave them a view of the city in the distance, he collapsed with a final gasp and then breathed no more.  As best she could, Aiiane buried the man where he could ever face the city and the River Thames, glinting in the weak sunlight of the morning.  With supplies low, she hurried towards her destination, uncertain of her future but hopeful that providence would provide a less dismal future than the one she had just departed.

That Aiiane ended up in Lancaster, rather than remain in London, was another story and one upon which she had no time to think as she had reached the tavern and there were more pressing things to consider, such as the stew she could smell as soon as she entered the tavern door.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 30 May, 2017, 02:05:31 PM
Steaming water poured from the kettle's spout into the small wooden tub near the hearth.  Having consumed her supper and sponging herself clean, Aiiane now tended to her sore and weary feet.  Today she'd had the added chores of milking the cows and while she had been sitting during the milking, there was much leading to and fro the next cow to the milk shed.  While her life in the village had been anything but idle, her shoes had always been previously worn and no one had ever told her that new shoes could leave blisters.

Sitting back in the chair, feet in the tub, Aiiane let her mind drift as the heat worked to soothe away the pain.

Being the youngest and the only daughter, her mother had lavished her with such advantages as she could manage, considering her family was not well-to-do nor well-heeled.  Yet even as a young child, Aiiane had a natural bearing, a nicety of manners and a pleasant voice which set her apart from her siblings and most of the other members of her community.  Only the rector, who was the youngest in a long line of heirs of a local nobleman, carried himself so.   Aiiane's mother, at odds with the opinions of Aiiane's father, had put her under the rector's tutelage, and while the man did not see where such education and training would be needed in the girl's reduced circumstances, he nevertheless humored the mother and taught her daughter the ways of the upper classes for mere pennies per lesson. 

The girl was so apt a pupil and such was his enjoyment in imparting knowledge that was so eagerly absorbed, that the old rector eventually forgot about recompense and instructed Aiiane for the sheer joy of it.  Were that some of his male students so astute and willing to learn. Thus, Aiiane had a somewhat elevated opinion of herself and expected more from life than most inhabitants of her village.  It was with much insight on Aiiane's part that she grew to understand it would be through her diligence and willingness to apply herself that “more” could be attained, although she was positive her education would be of much advantage.

As she turned her mind back to the present, she gave a rueful grin at her last thought and of her aching feet.  Perhaps she should have given a modicum of attention to the more physical aspects of attaining her goals.

The water had cooled and Aiiane dried her feet gingerly before applying the paste of herbs that her mother had used for burns.  The blisters looked much the same and Aiiane prayed the salve would work as well on them as it had for it's original purpose.  She bound her feet in clean rags and hobbled towards her bed.  Snuffing out the candle, she snuggled herself under the covers and slept the well-deserved sleep of the diligent.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 31 May, 2017, 12:33:09 PM
The days were falling into a comfortable rhythm as Aiiane went about her work.  She was better able to manage her time and felt less panic about failing in her duties to fulfill the contracts she had entered into.  Today, she had a few spare hours with which she could indulge.  If she strolled the lane which fronted the market, she could pass by the mill.  Water from the River Lune had been diverted to turn the wheel and she stood there some moments watching the force of the water make easy work of turning the grinding stone.  It was just one of many differences which compared in stark contrast to the village where she began her life.

As she continued on down the path towards the river, she could not help thinking upon the strange happenstance which had given Aiiane such a new opportunity, had she can only the courage to embrace it.  As events unfolded, it was evident she'd found such spirit.  Her thoughts drifted to the recent past.

While a few London citizens had given her a modicum of guidance and encouragement, a purchase and brief discussion with a vendor at the market resulted in a letter from the Lord of Lancaster with an invitation to travel to that province and become a citizen.  His advice and offer of help overflowed with such generosity as she had not experienced from any in London.  It would be a daresome venture but, to Aiiane's mind, worth the risks she must, of a necessity, take.  At this juncture of her life, now was the time to take such chances if she were ever to gain standing and wealth, something she sorely wished to accomplish.

The trip to Lancaster had not proven to be over arduous, even though she had managed to accrue a goodly number of personal possessions in her short time in London.  Nevertheless, she arrived in fine fettle, if somewhat weary and took her rest in a private room at the tavern, it not seemly that she put herself on display in the common room to be gawked at by the patrons.  It had not been long that the owner tapped upon her door and presented her with a missive from Baron Gorey, welcoming her and letting her know that as soon as he could dispense with business, he would see that she was established with the means to earn a respectable living and contribute to the prosperity of Lancaster.

A tangle of briers, caught in her clothing, brought Aiiane back to the present. “What a age ago that now seems”, she thought and her hand slipped into her pocket to finger the coins resting within.  The purse hidden away in her room was becoming fat, for she was most frugal with her spending, only purchasing those things which were of urgent need.  She was very grateful for the assistance she had received and was positive that the generosity which had been bestowed was the reason for much of her success.

With a happy heart, she turned from the river and strolled past the castle, gawking at the grounds beyond the massive gate which, currently, stood open as a carriage had just passed within.  She circled around to the market and picked up her supper before returning to the tavern and her room.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 01 June, 2017, 02:55:46 PM
The hoe worked back and forth, almost of it's own accord, so use to the work had Aiiane become.  With the last seed sown, she straightened up and arched her back to ease the tight muscles along her spine.  Now there were two plots of land, fertile and planted.  It had been a busy week, but very fruitful and she was now looking towards a different type of labor.

Late in the day, her mentors suggested that she turn her head back toward her studies for a while and, as she would have to travel to do so, keeping the hectic work schedule she'd embarked upon would not be feasible.  It would be a pleasant change of pace, at least for the short term.

Gathering her tools, Aiiane made her way to the shed where she wiped them down and placed them carefully.  Hopefully they would last her a good long time before she'd need to replace them.  She sat in the doorway for some time looking out over her fields and then past them to the far distant foothills, barely visible in the fading light and haze.  Thoughts of her family crowded in and she could not help but wonder at her good fortune in the midst of such heartache.  How much farther had she come than her parents, but then it was what her mother had always wished for her daughter.  A life better than what she'd had.  Not that she ever complained and if Aiiane were honest, her mother seemed to be completely happy with her lot.  Perhaps it was the way of parents, Aiiane thought, to want better for your children than your own circumstances. 

Grinning, she got up and headed for the tavern and her bed.  She had no children and what Aiiane wanted was better for herself.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 02 June, 2017, 01:34:24 PM
Luck was with her!  As she struggled along the road to Lancaster, a kindly woman traveling in the same direction stopped and offered assistance.  There was still room in her cart for Aiiane's load of wood, furthermore, the woman was not pulling the cart herself, but was using a massive dog.

As they walked side by side, indulging in the chance to speak with another woman, the two traded bits of news and gossip as they had to offer.  All the while, Aiiane would eye the dog from time to time.  He did not seem to mind his task, nor did it seem to be more than the creature could tolerate.  Eventually, the talk turned to the animal and the woman was more than willing to share her knowledge of the benefits and issues of owning the dog.  To Aiiane's mind, the benefits outweighed the issues and that was the opinion of the woman as well.  She suggested that Aiiane procure a young animal instead of a pup, for it would be months before the pup could be of use and the training was time consuming.  She gave Aiiane the name of a man who bred and trained cart dogs and where he might be found. 

Too soon it was time for them to part ways.  Aiiane gathered her belongings from the cart, bid the woman a fond farewell and thanked her for the help and advice.

Rested as she now was, Aiiane made good time over the short distance remaining before reaching Lancaster.  Stowing the wood and tools in the shed on her property, she was soon on her way to the tailor shop where she trained under the tutelage of Judge Clydog.  All the while her mind digested the information she had gained during the trip home.  Mentally she tallied her wealth and weighed the cost against the benefit.  By the time she entered the shop, her mind was decided.  On the morrow she would make a side trip on the way to York and visit the man with the cart dogs.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 05 June, 2017, 02:26:55 AM
It had been an instructive day and a fulfilling one.  How odd that she had not realized there was such a void in her life.  For all her memory, Aiiane had been surrounded by family.  She felt their absence greatly and grieved for her loss, but the thought of filling the empty space created by their passing had not surfaced.  Perhaps, looking back it was not strange at all.  She had been kept occupied with the mechanics of her survival; finding food, shelter, and means to earn her keep, but the dog at her side made her realize that an emptiness had been filled.

Once again, as she had all morning, Aiiane let her eyes fall briefly upon the animal, intent upon his task of pulling the cart along the path leading into the forest.  It had taken some good time at the carter's, for he was most careful in pairing Aiiane with the appropriate dog.  He observed both dog and mistress as he presented each of the four which were ready for placement.  The one he eventually chose was an older animal.  To him, the dog immediately seemed to sense Aiiane's youth and vulnerability, moving directly to her side and taking up a protective stance.  For the young woman's part, she'd been visibly pleased, stooping to hug the dog and scratch behind his ears.  He was loathed to part with Crutch, so named because even as a pup he had seemed to prop up his litter mates, for he was of great help in training the other dogs.  Had he not had another as promising in disposition as Crutch, he would not have let him go, but he sensed Mistress Aiiane's need was great and thus parted with his favorite dog.

For his part, Crutch appeared to approve of his change in masters, leaving with the young woman without so much as a backward glance, pulling the lightweight cart with ease.  There had been much instruction on the proper way to hitch the cart to the dog, the needs of the dog (the carter being secretly pleased to notice Aiiane had carried an old chipped bowl and a skin of water with her on the chance her search would be fruitful, but let it appear that such was to be expected that she did so), and how to treat sore paws should rough terrain scrape the pads of the dog's feet.  Eventually the transaction was completed and, although Aiiane's purse was a great deal lighter, she was positive she had made a wise decision.

On the remainder of the trip into York, Aiiane was aware of the presence beside her and how much safer she felt than when she'd traveled alone.  Coming to her favorite spot to gather wood, she loosed Crutch from the cart.  He trotted a ways off and for a moment Aiiane's heart nearly stopped, thinking he was heading back to his home.  But no, he was only about his business and politely doing so a good ways off from her and the cart.  Her heart calmed and a smile full of gladness graced her face as he returned and came directly to her side.  There he remained as she picked up wood and neatly piled it into the cart.

She stopped when she'd gathered as much as she could have pulled herself on the old hide she'd used for the purpose, for she'd not burden the dog with more than she was herself willing to carry.  Once more in his harness, Crutch pulled the cart with as little effort as he had when it was empty and Aiiane was pleased.  On the way home she began humming a tune her mother used to sing when she worked, not even aware that she was doing so.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 07 June, 2017, 02:17:08 PM
Her hand trembled with excitement as she took the key from her pocket and it clattered briefly against the metal plate as Aiiane pushed it into the keyhole.  Crutch sat alongside, glancing from the door to Aiiane with an expectant look upon his face.  A click and a pull upon the latch and the door swung open on silent hinges.  She examined these before entering, for the hinges on her shed squeaked in protest every time she'd opened the door.  These were well-greased, but Aiiane could not determine with what substance.  However, she though animal fat would work as well and resolved to remedy the issue with the shed door.

Taking a deep breath, she crossed the threshold and entered her new abode.  Where she had dallied, Crutch had rushed in and was now nosing around, as if searching to make sure it was safe, although Aiiane suspected he was checking to see if the last owner had dropped a morsel here or there. 

The Tower, as it was called, stood tall against the morning sky.  The ground floor extension offered a seating area, hearth, and berths along one wall.  Two doors opposite opened into a storeroom and private quarters.  As guardian, these would be her quarters. Wasting no time, Aiiane deposited her personal belongings in her room, to be sorted out later.  Returning to the main room, she laid and lit a fire, tending it until the chill in the room dissipated.  Once satisfied that no stray ember would create a fire where none was wanted, she exited the end of the room through an archway into the tower itself. 

Stone steps, set into the wall, led upward and eventually she poked her head through a hatch in the wooden flooring.  The hatch was secured open, but could be closed so that an inadvertent step would not send one tumbling down the stairs.  Evenly spaced openings in the stonework provided sweeping vistas of the surrounding countryside and with her keen, young eyes Aiiane was able to see a great distance. The room was nearly bare, save a chair next to a small table and a bucket that sat beneath the table.  In times of trouble, Aiiane supposed that someone would be on constant watch, yet she knew it was easy to be lulled into a sense of security when peace fell across the land for long periods of time.  While it would be difficult with her current schedule, Aiiane planned to spend as much time as she was able in the Tower's uppermost level.  Besides keeping an eye out for any trouble, it offered a beautiful view that was afforded no where else Aiiane could name, except perhaps the castle.

A noise caused her to look from the window back into the room.  Crutch, having completed his survey of the floor below had managed to negotiate the stairs and was poking his head through the hatch opening.

Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 08 June, 2017, 01:11:18 PM
Thoroughly mortified, that is just what Aiiane felt.  That she could but wish herself to fall through the floor and disappear.  Two bright red splotches marked her cheeks as she discovered that her well-meaning intentions had nearly gotten an innocent man arrested.  'Twas through the good grace of the Almighty that Lord Galahad had arrived and explained that this was the trader, who's arrival had been greatly anticipated by himself and Lord Aidan, and thus prevented any action being taken against him.  Not that anyone was blaming her, but Aiiane lay much blame upon herself.

As quickly as she could, she retreated to the Tower and climbed the stairs to the lookout.  Sitting upon the chair by one of the windows, she lifted up her face to the cooling breeze, letting it wash her shame away.  Crutch, sensing his mistress' upset, had followed her upstairs and now laid his large head in her lap.  Absentmindedly, Aiiane began to stroke his ears as she gazed out over the countryside and found that it had a great calming effect upon her.  Soon she was giving the dog a wry smile, “All's well that ends well, eh Crutch?”  His ears perked up at the sound of his name.  Vowing to be just as vigilant, but not quite as hasty, Aiiane gave the dog's head a final pat.  “Let see about our supper.  The butcher saved a juicy bone for you and it's price was mere pennies.  And you may have what's left of my supper as well.  You do much work and need to be well fed.”  Whether he understood her or not, Crutch hurried to the hatch and down the stairs with Aiiane following more slowly in his wake.

Soon, with both sated, she sat before the fire with a cup of ale and Crutch made himself comfortable upon an old rag rug with his bone near the corner of the hearth.  Tomorrow would be another run to York for training and wood but tonight she'd relax in her own home and enjoy the fruits of her labors.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 11 June, 2017, 11:04:56 PM
A clatter of hooves upon the paved stonework of the courtyard entrance caused Aiiane to move her focus from the dummy and towards the rider.  Thus she did not duck when the quintain swung round and she took a blow to the back of her head, sending her sprawling into the dirt.  The drill master barked his disgust at her lack of concentration and called a halt to the exercise as the dismounted rider now made his way towards Aiiane.

He delivered unto her a scroll, took his leave, remounted and rode back in the direction whence he had come.  Refusing to rub the back of her head within view of the scowling countenance of the master, but giving it a slight shake to clear the fog from her brain, Aiiane opened the scroll.  A smile curved her lips as she read.  Praise be, she thought, this is good news indeed!  It would seem apparent that plans Lord Aidan and Lord Galahad had made were bearing fruition and they were to begin the building of the church in Lancaster. 

Headache forgotten, Aiiane slipped the scroll into her pocket and once again applied herself to her lessons.  A scant half hour later, with the session at an end and the scowl on the drill master's face replaced by a slightly milder expression, she gathered up her belongings, loaded them into the cart and attached the traces to Crutch.  She did not even take the time to eat at the tavern, but munched upon cheese and bread on the road back to Lancaster.  Crutch she did not worry about as the tavern keeper had given him a hearty portion of the stew that had been left over from last evening for his breakfast.

Several days had past and it was apparent that the completion of the church would not take long, but it was going to be in need of a number of things, some of which only a goldsmith could craft.  As she had not yet settled upon a profession and working with precious metals and gems appealed to her, Aiiane made arrangements to purchase her shop.  Now she must equip it and to do that would require some traveling.  Contacts were sent out and eventually a vendor was located who would sell her the needed gold at a reasonable cost.  The only hitch would be the trip to Cairo to pick it up.  However, providence had it's hand in things and now, not only was she traveling to pick up gold, but she was also bringing much needed items to England's King so that he might continue to compete in the tournament.

The thought was exciting.  She'd be traveling to distant lands and meeting new people.  But the icing upon the cake would be she'd get to see her very first tournament.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 12 June, 2017, 08:26:53 PM
From the first day she had set foot in Lancaster, her life had seemed to take a pace not of her own making.  Events evolved quickly, more quickly than Aiiane could ever imagine.  She had been bestowed a knighthood, had worked towards erecting Lancaster's first church and decided upon her future profession.  Now she had set out upon a journey which had never been visualized in her wildest dreams.

The first leg of the journey was by ship across the channel.  She spent much time on deck, for her quarters were cramped and Aiiane felt an uneasiness that she could not explain whenever it was needful to occupy the space.  The bellowing sails in the crisp air, pushed the ship forward at a great speed, the flags snapping and popping with it's turbulence.  Crutch did not know what to make of it, but it had been necessary to bring him and the cart along for not only was she upon a personal errand, Aiiane was to deliver much needed armor to England's liege for the tournament.  Much of her time was spent reassuring the dog that all was well with the world, even if it did tilt and bounce beneath his feet.

It did not take long before the coast of Brugge could be seen without the aid of a scope and soon enough they had disembarked and were making their way through Brugge.  The terrain was flat and the temperatures mild, so neither offered hardship for Aiiane or Crutch.  As they passed from town to town, she always stopped at the market squares to peruse the items each had for sale.  However, she did not make any purchases, wanting to hold onto her silver until she had obtained the gold she would need for her workshop.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 14 June, 2017, 02:24:05 PM
The weather was still fair as she traveled through Pfalz.  She had worried about Crutch pulling the cart with it's load of armor up and over the hills, but he showed no stress.  Instead his ears were cocked forward and his nose was in the air, listening to unfamiliar sounds and new smells.  Aiiane could not suppress a smile.  As much as he did not care for the sea voyage, Crutch appeared of be enjoying the journey.

As they eventually passed through Lombardia, the hills became a bit steeper and Aiiane took their leisure in the various towns to give Crutch a rest from his burdens.  The markets were full of rich and spicy odors, which Aiiane found delightful.  And, even though she had brought her own supply of food, she could not help sampling some of the exotic cuisine offered in some of the stalls. 

A few days later, she found Venezia much the same as Lombardia but the landscape had flattened out once more, making life much easier on her dog.  They rested that evening in town as they would need to take a ship out the next day, bound for Alexandria.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 15 June, 2017, 09:14:27 PM
The morning began moderately cool but as the day progressed and the further south they sailed, the day became warm and sticky.  Below deck was unbearable, thus Aiiane and Crutch stayed mostly above.  Even then Crutch panted incessantly and Aiiane dabbed at her forehead and throat with her kerchief.  Taking pity upon his passenger, the captain had a chair brought up and placed on the foredeck.  She sat where the breeze lifted the tendrils of her hair that had escaped it's coif, yet with the humidity it did little to cool her.  Crutch mostly stood at the rail but came and laid at her feet from time to time.  Every so often a member of the crew would bring up a cooling drink for her and water for the dog.  Aiiane always rewarded these kindnesses with a smile and a copper coin.

When at last they dock, the land offered no succor either, save for the shade of buildings or occasional tree.  Thankfully, the room she secured for the night faced the sea and once the sun began to set, a much cooler breeze flowed through her open windows.  How would they ever survive crossing Alexandria before reaching Cairo, Aiiane could not begin to imagine.  The proprietress had delivered a shallow wooden tub to Aiiane's room and a young girl, with skin the color of dark copper, filled it half full of water.  Luxuriating in it's coolness, she lost no time in sponging away the sweat and grime of her travels.  Once finished, she even coaxed Crutch into the water.  Once in, he immediately plopped down upon his belly and just lay there for a long while, his head resting upon the rim of the tub, watching his mistress go about her preparations for the next day before taking her rest.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 16 June, 2017, 05:02:57 PM
Deciding that the best course of action was to travel early in the mornings and later in the afternoon and take a long break during the most grueling heat of the day, Aiiane and Crutch set off just as the sun peeked with faint tangerine hues over the horizon.  The proprietress of the inn had given her good directions and even suggested a place for them to take their ease when it became too hot to travel.  She urged Aiiane to keep her delicate skin covered so that she would suffer no injury from the sun and even loaned Aiiane a head wrap to save her face from the scorching effects of the strong rays.

It was not long into the trip before Aiiane was beginning to feel a bit stifled by the wrap, but the moment she removed it and felt the burn of the sun upon her cheek, she quickly replaced it.  Better to smother than to burn, she thought with a wry grin.  They stopped frequently and took water, Aiiane taking particularly care to see that Crutch had plenty.  She even took some of the burden off his cart to lighten his load.

The establishment where Aiiane had been directed to stop when the temperatures climbed to nearly unbearable heights was, indeed, an oasis of cool from the shimmering waves of heat.  Large canopies were grouped together to offer shade from the sun, regardless of it's direction.  Strange chairs, whose seats stretched out so one might prop one's feet upon it were dotted about along with low tables set next to them.  A seat might be secured for a few coppers and a refreshing drink supplied for a few more.  The mixture was strangely flavored to Aiiane's tongue, but even though no coolness could be felt in the liquid she swallowed, it nonetheless gave the sensation of being cool. 

Crutch, relieved of his harness, lay upon the stones which paved a good bit of the area beneath the canopies near Aiiane's chair, he bowl kept full of water by those who waited upon the customers.  From time to time, some of the customer's would come to Aiiane and the dog.  Attempts to pet the dog was met with no aggression but a definite rebuff which discouraged such actions.  Their voices were thick with an accent that made it difficult for Aiiane to follow the conversation, but she would smile and try to communicate the best she was able.  The passing of time was spent pleasantly enough and left Aiiane and Crutch refreshed.  They both partook of a light meal before once more putting their feet upon the road to Cairo.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Pierre Du Vallon on 16 June, 2017, 08:20:40 PM
A Note in Cairo [/i]

The Cairo Marketplace: Late Afternoon

Mr. Pierre du Vallon gradually gathered up a few pieces of armor from his market stand.  Having been eliminated from tournament, he had decided to watch a few more matches. Some particular contestants intrigued him; but at the same time he knew that he should be moving on.  He remembered that his smithing business would have requests piling up for when he returned to France, and he had a fair way to travel.  Seeing as how matches were still taking place, Pierre had decided to leave some items on the Cairo market; but to take a few items back in case he stopped by a busy marketplace on his journey home.   The two helpers he had brought to the tournament would stay until the conclusion, and deliver any profit to him at a later date.

Then as he laid a piece of platemail into his wagon, Mr. du Vallon was rather stunned by what he saw.  Strolling through the marketplace was a rather slender and quite attractive lady, with a large dog by her side.  Having never seen her before, he was unsure how best to proceed.  For all he knew this could be a Queen from some distant land who was here to see the tournament.  Yet he would be a fool to pass up an opportunity such as this.  Pausing for a moment, wondering how best to proceed. He finally decided to just go with his gut, but to make it short & sweet because a lengthy conversation would probably be too risky.

Checking to make sure his appearance was presentable, and 'good thing he just had his beard trimmed the other day', he slowly approaching the young woman.  Waiting until he could get her attention.  Then he said

"Milady - I apologize, if this is to forward, but I wanted to tell you that you have the most beautiful eyes.  And also that your smile just now has brought a ray of sunshine to someone's rather lackluster day. My name is Pierre du Vallon, the Baron de la Roche, Constable and Captain of Her Majesties Royal Guards in France.  It is a pleasure to make your aquaintance."

 giving her a slight bow for the sake of formality.

"  If your dog would be interested there is a plate with some meat there.  It is quite good.  I had intended to have it for my midday meal, but getting this wagon ready has taken more time than anticipated.  Again, I did not mean to cause offense only to give a compliment to someone who richly deserves one.  I wish you a pleasant day at the tournament.  Myself, I have business that calls me back home, but my hope is to one day see your beauty again."

With that he gets into his wagon, and slowly begins to drive it out of the marketplace and city proper accompanied by his two assistants.

Once out of the lady's earshot, and eyesight he quickly turned to his men.  Reaching into the wagon he pulled out a couple small leather pouches that he had hidden away for safe keeping.  Handing one to each man he says here is your pay thus far, with a little extra for your professionalism.  One last thing, however, before we separate.  I want you two to quietly find out what you can for me about that woman I spoke with at the market before we departed.  Then with a small chuckle, Mr. du Vallon had a thought. Reaching back into the wagon he took out another small pouch, a bottle, a scrap of parchment, and his writing tools. 
Writing the following quick note on the scrap of paper.

"Whether enjoying a trip abroad, or watching a tournament, it is nice to treat oneself. Please enjoy this fine brandy, as a gift. --- Mr. Pierre du Vallon."

Handing the note, bottle, and pouch off to his men Pierre stated; find out where that lady is staying.  Give these items to the inn's landlady/landlord.  The money in the pouch should cover her stay for at least a couple nights.  Make sure the bottle and its contents along with the letter get sent to her room.  You two have served me well, this matter is of the utmost importance to me.

With that Mr. Pierre du Vallon left his men to their quest and traveled out of the city.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 17 June, 2017, 02:15:04 PM
Having arrived in Cairo, Aiiane first made her way directly to the tournament field in order to deliver the armor and weapons required by her liege.  She was given permission to leave her cart stored with the King's possessions until such time as she was ready to make the return trip home.  Thus freed of his cumbersome burden, Crutch cavorted a bit with one of the pages.  She exchanged pleasantries with a number of the King's court who had accompanied him to the tourney, gathering information about the bouts which had finished earlier that day and how the contestants fared.  Aiiane was happy to learn that His Highness would advanced, having won his bout.  After a short while, she snapped her fingers and Crutch immediately trotted to her side.  It was time to see to her lodgings for the evening and to see if she could find the man she was to meet to purchase her gold supplies for her shop.

Having barely entered the market area, a well-dressed, well-groomed man approached her.  The thought did cross her mind that this might be the vendor she sought, but how could he possibly recognize her?  They had only communicated through missives sent back and forth through couriers.  But no, as he began to speak, it was to shower her with compliments which made her cheeks grow pink.  Never had she heard such flowery phrases directed at her.  He continued on with, “My name is Pierre du Vallon, the Baron de la Roche, Constable and Captain of Her Majesties Royal Guards in France.  It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Ah, a man of some circumstance, she thought, but before she could return his salutation, he continued on.  Apparently he was in a great hurry for no sooner had her eyes drifted towards the plate of food he indicated for Crutch, did he take his leave and depart.  Bemused, she grinned down at her dog, who had quietly moved between her at the stranger, although he had not shown any sort of aggression.  “What think you, Crutch?  Was not that a most interesting encounter?  Pierre du Vallon”, she let the name roll,  off her tongue, attempting to match his accent, “I wonder if all French are thus?”  Crutch had no comment, availing himself of the donated food.

As she waited for the dog to finish his meal, she looked about and eventually spied a sign that hopefully meant she had found her gold-seller.  Crutch belched, causing Aiiane to look at him with some amusement.  “You shouldn't gulp your food so.  You shall make yourself ill with such table manners”, she laughed at him, “now let us go transact our business so we can make our way to the inn.  What was that name again?”  Crutch looked up at her with a quizzical look upon his furry face.  “Ah yes, El Sabil, they said it was.”

Later, she found the inn which had been recommended by one of the King's companions and much to her surprise found that her lodgings had been paid for.  She signed the register in her neat hand, Lady Aiiane Grey, Lancaster, England.  Greatly puzzled, she wondered had King Soldano made the arrangements as she made her way upstairs, but upon gaining her room she noticed the bottle and the note.  Reading it, she blushed again.  It would appear as though M'lord du Vallon was responsible for her largess.  Whatever would the good rector think, Aiiane mused, remembering the man who had instructed her in her youth.  His tutelage had been much practiced of late, even though he had always been of the opinion she would never be pressed to put into use the lessons of deportment, address and bearing.  She sniffed the bottle, the aroma was not unpleasant, but she decided against imbibing strong drink before having her evening meal.

After refreshing herself and settling Crutch down for the evening, she descended the stairs and entered the public area, taking a seat in the corner and placing an order for her food.  What a very strange day, she mused, thinking once more of the man in the market place.  Soon the food was brought and others entered, finding tables, looking for their own suppers.  Talk of the tournament filled the room and Aiiane soon got caught up listening to the recounting of the deeds during the bouts and the very tall tales being bandied about, causing her to chuckle softly to herself from time to time.  Eventually  the thoughts of the man faded into the quiet recesses of her mind.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 18 June, 2017, 08:16:33 PM
Having learned the date and time of His Majesty's next bout, Aiiane decided to take one more day's respite from her travels so that she could attend the tourney, hopefully supporting her liege to victory.  It would be her first opportunity to view such an event, one too rare to pass upon.

After breaking fast, she and Crutch made their way to the docks, for although she had enjoyed her trek across many countries, she wished to make for home with a more direct route, and that would be by sea.  The harbor master's office was bustling with activity, even this early in the morning, and it took some time before Aiiane could make her arrangements.  However, the harbor master was most solicitous, going to such lengths to send Aiiane with a dock hand to view the ship and the accommodations which would bear her to England.  This was a much larger ship than the two she had previously sailed and she found her berth to be most satisfactory.  Having bespoke her passage, she made her way into the town and the market square. 

Much enticed her there, but being frugal all her life, she was loath to spend on needless items.  Yet she could not pass upon a scarf of airy silk and as green as the color of the sea she had sailed over on the way to Alexandria.  When the vendor arranged the scarf over Aiiane's hair and around her neck, she gave Aiiane a looking glass to view the results.  Aiiane's hazel eyes were now as green as the scarf!  Her eyes had taken on the color closest to her face.  She could not resist smiling at her reflection before gently removing the scarf, lest she damage it.  A bit of haggling took place before the deal was struck, but both women were satisfied with the transaction.

She eventually returned to the inn to rest so that she might be refreshed for the afternoon's festivities, requested and received parchment, quill and ink.  As Crutch stretched himself out in a shady spot of the room, Aiiane sat at the desk and crafted a careful letter to her very generous benefactor.

18 June 1317

M'lord du Vallon,

Please accept my gracious thanks for your most kind generosity.  While I must admit, had you been present, it would not have become me to accept such largess, it does not mean I would be any less grateful.

I have yet to sip the mulberry brandy which you have bestowed upon me and I desire that you not think me ungrateful if I refrain from partaking of, what I am sure,  an exquisite liqueur until I return home to England so that I might share with friends.

Should you find yourself in Lancaster, know that I will most willingly open my home to you.

Your servant,
Lady Aiiane Grey
Knight of the Red Rose
Tower Guardian of Lancaster

Using a bit of melted wax from the candle, she imprinted her crest, which had been delicately carved into a signet ring by herself in her shop.

The outside was address thus:
Lord Pierre du Vallon
Baron de la Roche
Constable and Captain of Her Majesties Royal Guards

It was hoped that would be enough information for the missive to reach it's proper destination.  On the morrow, she would set it to be delivered through a courier.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 20 June, 2017, 01:20:53 AM
(ooc)::  There will be a short break in the story while the author is on vacation.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 04 July, 2017, 09:58:41 PM
Tears slid down slender cheeks from sea-green eyes, made so only by the scarf which draped over her head and shoulders.  Her King had won his bout, but alas, due to a misunderstanding of the rules he had been wearing inappropriate armor.  When he discovered the error, he had declared himself disqualified – an action which made Aiiane proud to be part of a country with such a ruler, but brokenhearted for her liege.  She felt sure he would have been victorious to the finish.

With a last few sniffles, she dried her eyes with her handkerchief and motioned Crutch to come.  The rest of the afternoon was spent packing her cart so that on the morrow they could set sail to England.  She was in a somber mood and the festivities which continued around her now grated where they had once caused her heart to be merry.  The tent where she had left her cart was one of many erected by the King's court and the offending helmet  - one which she had brought, much to her ever-lasting sorrow, lay upon a carpet, along with other pieces of equipment, ready for packing.  When she finished her task, Aiiane gave the thing a vicious kick, which relieved some of the tension she was feeling, but not the strange sense of guilt she felt.  Observing his mistress' behavior, Crutch approached the helmet and growled at it menacingly before following Aiiane from the tent.

A light supper was taken in her room and she watched the sun set.  The colors were fierce and bright, unlike the soft shades of the sunsets in England.  Crutch laid his head in her lap and she scratched around his ears absentmindedly.  While her travels had been interesting and, granted, she would not mind doing so again, Aiiane yearned for England, Lancaster and home.  The long voyage home would give her time to make plans, one being the start of a farm.  The expectations of things to come revived her spirits somewhat, for she was never one to be prone to melancholy.  She prepared for bed and soon, she and Crutch were fast asleep.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 07 July, 2017, 04:07:57 AM
The trip home had been quite uneventful and it was a very happy and exciting homecoming.  Lord Lancaster was there to greet her and escort her to the castle, directing the port hands to deliver her luggage to her Tower house.  Smoothing down her skirt, Aiiane thanked providence for the sudden notion to refresh herself before disembarking, pleased that she presented a clean and neat appearance.

There was a feast in her honor for her service to the King.  His Majesty had sent along a personal gift to her which was presented after the meal but before the festivities and it made her both glad and a little guilty.  Aiiane still felt some responsibility for that most disobliging helmet, but apparently the King held no ill will towards her, for which she was most grateful.

The evening stretched into the early morning hours.  Both Aiiane and Crutch had over indulged in the rich foods and Aiiane, unused to so many cups of wine, struggled to keep her head from spinning like a whirlwind as she was escorted home by both Crutch and a number of Lord Lancaster's men.  Once safely within the confines of her room, Aiiane sank upon her bed, fully clothed, held up her hand in the moonlight streaming through her window and admired the cool blueness of the sapphire that sparkled upon her finger.  It was the second piece of jewelry she could call her own, the first being the locket that her mother had given her, and although it was very dear to her, it was not as elegant a piece as was the ring.  Her last thought before falling into a deep sleep was the need to find a safe place for her treasure.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 08 July, 2017, 03:59:42 AM
Her life seeming to be traveling at the same rate as a shooting star.  She stood by the cow byre, the scroll in her hand, gazing across the countryside with unseeing eyes, her mind trying to encompass the startling news brought by the courier.  Aiiane had read the message once, then twice and then thrice to make sure her eyes had not deceived her the first time.  But no, the words were very clear and understandable.  She was to accompany the King to a wedding which would be held in the country of Sweden.  When Aiiane finally became capable of thought, the first one was whatever would she wear?  While she had carefully upgraded her wardrobe as she had gained status in Lancaster, she had nothing to compare to those gowns she had seen on the women who had accompanied their men in the King's entourage at the tournament.

In her early days, she had worked under the tutelage of Lord Gwynedd's tailor in his shop, thinking perhaps this might be her calling.  Perhaps he would have some fabrics with which to fashion appropriate clothing, but time was so short.  Only as she hurried toward the Tower did she remember several dresses wrapped carefully with yards of linen to keep the dust from them, which had been commission by a high ranking Lady.  Unfortunately she had met her demise before taking possession of the gowns.  Should they need adjustments to fit Aiiane, those would take far less time than having to create them from the start.

With a graceful motion of her hand, she indicated to Crutch that he was to continue on home, but she did an abrupt about-face and headed towards town and the tailor shop.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 08 July, 2017, 11:13:03 PM
By Odin's Grace, the gowns need little alteration.  Aiiane was thankful that the Lady who had commissioned them had impeccable tastes.  The fabrics were rich, but the designs had been classic and all that could be found fault was that Aiiane was several inches taller than the woman for whom the dresses had been made.

The first gown was a pale green silk and the overskirt was ruffled.  There was no more of the original silk to be had, but several additional ruffles were added to the bottom of the skirt in ever slightly gradients of green, which did not detract from it's design.  The second gown was a deep gold brocade, complete with a trailing train.  The train was removed and it's material was used to lengthen the gown.  To hide the fact that it had been altered so, a wide silk ribbon of russet was sewn over the seam and then embellished with two thinner ribbons of the same color above and below the wide band.  It gave a very pleasing effect and Aiiane was happy with the results of both modifications.  Proper undergarments, hosiery and shoes were added to the cost of the alterations and what payment remained upon the gowns and put a sizable dent in Aiiane's purse.  But one could not scrimp when one was to be seen in the company of the King.

Back home, Aiiane continued to make preparations for the tending of her fields and care of Crutch.  Thankfully he had taken a liking to the lad whom Aiiane used from time to time when she needed assistance about her fields and farms and the boy was ecstatic that he was to be entrusted with Crutch's welfare.

By the following day, all was ready.  She had visited her shop early in the morning and selected two items she had crafted for sale, but which would now serve as wedding gifts.  For the man, it was a handsome hat clip of silver inlaid with onyx stones that had struck her fancy in the Cairo market.  The other was a delicately wrought broach featuring intricately entwined flowers and studded with bloodstone, also found in the markets during her travels.  She included several other items in her chest in case the King should find something which he felt would be a suitable gift, providing he had not already attended to that detail.

By mid-morning Aiiane and her baggage was headed towards London and His Majesty's ship.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 09 July, 2017, 07:16:39 PM
Unbeknownst to Aiiane, while she was busy attending to her wardrobe a number of the good Lords of Lancaster had decided to gift her with an elegant gown for the festivities.  They all had been her mentors, guiding her in the ways of becoming a successful citizen and she was discovering that their kindness and generosity knew no bounds.

The light cart eventually caught the lumbering carriage and the small trunk was added to Aiiane's baggage.  The courier handed over a scroll to Aiiane before wishing her godspeed and safe journey.  The coach lurched into motion once more as she sat back against the cushions, thoughtfully provided by the post boy, and read the scroll, thus making it known of the contents of her newly acquired piece of luggage.  It brought tears to her eyes and a smile to her lips.  There was only one way she knew she could repay such largess and that was to represent Lancaster well as she traveled with the King and attended the wedding.  To this end, Aiiane tucked away the scroll and proceeded to reacquaint herself with the rector's teachings. 

As she relaxed and let her mind drift back to those early days, it was almost as if the rector was seated next to her and, just as in her earlier lessons, after the voice recited the intricacies of the noble household and of those who dwelt within, Aiiane would parrot each item or practice a gesture or respond with the appropriate response as was required.  All she could not do, such as practice walking or her curtsy must be reserved until such time as she had room to do so.  There should be plenty of time once she was aboard His Majesty's ship. 

Many hours later, she reflected upon perhaps the most important lesson of all.  Many, although not all the rector had stressed, had been born into households where such things were not only expected, but taken for granted.  And while nobles could still feel ill-at-ease amongst their peers due to differing ranks and status, they never allowed such feelings to be apparent.  Nor did one gawk and gape at the opulence in which they might find themselves.  Being noble came almost as natural as breathing and that is what Aiiane must strive for herself.  It had helped that her lessons had begun at an early age, that she had a natural grace and bearing and that she had developed the skill of observation of others and to incorporate those observations into strengthening her lessons.

Wearily, she closed her eyes and drifted into a light sleep as she waited for their arrival into London.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Pierre Du Vallon on 11 July, 2017, 02:53:25 PM
Having disembarked from his ship, and properly secured his temporary lodging in London, Mr. Pierre du Vallon gathered his aides and couriers in the local tavern's common room.
Having just arrived from his training in Brugge, Mr. du Vallon was still a bit sore, but happy to be here.  It had been many the day since he had last set foot in England.  Far toooften he tended to remain on the European mainland, or southern points of the Mediterranean. Something he would hopefully rectify in the future.

With a swift military-like precision he distributed jobs.

He set some people off to market to sell his various arms, armor, and handcrafted goods.
He also set others to London's market and those areas nearby to check for deals, and the goods needed in restocking the ship for it's voyage home to France.
Lastly, he came to his most trusted aide.

I have a special assignment for you.
Travel to Lancaster.
Seek out a Lady Aiiane Grey
Knight of the Red Rose, Tower Guardian of Lancaster, England

When you find her give her this sealed note.

Handing it too the young page, Mr. du Vallon felt nervous.
For while he could speak as well as the most talented of bards, his writing had taken on the short abrupt mannerisms of military instructions.  He truly hoped that his message would be seen for it's niceness and not necessarily for it's writing style.

"To the beautiful rose, last seen amidst the sands of Cairo.
I hope that you had a pleasent voyage home, and that all is well.
I myself have done a bit of traveling since last we spoke, and find myself for a few days in England.
In your last letter, you mentioned "opening your home to me".
Not wanting to be a burden, I simply ask that if it is possible hopefully you could meet with me for a meal.
A nice picnic in the countryside sounds most delightful.
I eagerly await your message, and hope that I may once again view your remarkable beauty."

Sending his aide off with the letter, he set about his own tasks for the day.

To his surprise though, early the next morning, a knock came at his door.  His aide had returned.

Is everything okay?  You are back much to soon.  What has happened?

I couldn't deliver the message though I inquired a great deal about her.  For you see, she has traveled to the Norse Church - Hof - OSTERGOT-LAND for the marriage between Gustav Wolfsangel and Clara Gabay.

For whom was she traveling with? Mr. du Vallon asked with hesitant curiousity.
The King m'lord.

Retaking his letter, Pierre sighed, and headed towards the inn and his room.
As he departed
Mr. Constable du Vallon, who was she?  Is she someone I should remember? 
Mr. du Vallon looks back at the man and states in a low sigh,
She is a wonderful noble here, and if things go as they are heading she may even be the English Queen one day

The female innkeeper would later tell a story about the most unusual of noble clients.
One who returning to the inn proceeded to buy everyone in the tavern a drink with silver, but then took his meal and a drink to his room where he ate in privacy.
In addition he departed much earlier than anticipated and as it seems left England on the morning tide.
In checking on the room.  She found a small purse with the enough payment to cover his anticipated stay in full.
A wonderful flower arrangement.  And two notes.  One still neatly sealed and the other a letter of inivitation from the Tower Guardian in Lancaster, which looked well worn from repeated viewings/foldings/and travels

Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 14 July, 2017, 09:45:20 PM
Home at last!  While she had enjoyed the journey immensely, there was no feeling quite like the one which filled her as she crossed the threshold of the Tower.  Perhaps, she thought, that is why people travel, to truly appreciate what you have in your own patch of earth. 

Crutch bounded towards her with what appeared to be a silly grin on his face.  Apparently he had missed her as much as she had missed him.  Even though she had been surrounded by people, it had all been strange and unfamiliar.  The lad she'd hired to take care of the dog while she was gone, had greeted her in a rush and immediately set to bringing in her luggage.  He was thoughtful and Crutch's vigor showed how well he had tended the animal.  Perhaps she would see if a more permanent arrangements could be negotiated.

As she took up her purse to pay him once he had brought the last piece of baggage, he stopped for a moment before dashing home.  “I near forgot, M'lady.  A gentleman came looking for you.  I told him he should speak to Lord Aidan.  I didn't think it my place to give information about your business, you see.” Aiiane smiled at the lad and gave him another copper. “You did well, Brenden and I thank you.  If you would like, come back tomorrow and we can discuss a position for you in my household.”  She had not kept the lady's maid, for truly there was little need of one here.  She lived simply and there were few in the way of celebrations in Lancaster.  At least none that needed the services of such a maid on a regular basis.  Hiring someone temporarily would suffice, should the occasion ever arise.

He bobbed his head in the affirmative and left for home.  As she went about securing a bit of supper for her and Crutch, Aiiane wondered who had called and to what purpose.  Eventually, with a mental shrug, she ceased concentrating upon it for that would not supply an answer.  On the morrow, she would visit Lord Aidan and see had he any notion of who the man was and why he was looking for her.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 15 July, 2017, 02:28:52 PM
The following morning, she sent a note round asking for an appointment to see Lord Aidan. Brenden, having arrived earlier, eager for steady employment and having come to satisfactory terms for both parties, discharged the task for her.

At the prescribed time, Aiiane presented herself.  They greeted each other warmly, for Lord Aidan was not merely the vassal of this region, but her friend and mentor.  Refreshments were served and they chatted easily upon the trip to Sweden and the wedding on her side and the news of Lancaster during her absence on his.  She was beginning to think she would have to bring up the subject of the stranger herself, when Lord Aidan began to apprise her of the visit.  The gentleman in question had not been seeking her himself, but on behalf of another.  When Lord Aidan spoke his name a shadow of disappointment flitted across Aiiane's face.  After a few more pleasantries, she took her leave for his lordship was a very busy man.

As she returned home, her thoughts were of the man she had briefly met in Cairo.  Nothing could be done for it, but nonetheless she felt most sorry that, if it had been his intention to visit, she had not be home to receive him, especially as she had made it a point to open her home to him should he ever have cause to travel to England.  She was still dwelling upon it as she changed into her more workaday clothing, addressing her remarks to Crutch.  “Tis a missed opportunity, Crutch, and one can never tell what might have been otherwise.  It does make one wonder at the changes which might have been wrought all through such unforeseen happenstance.” 

Crutch tilted his head at the sound of his name, but offered up no solution to the dilemma.  Aiiane laughed lightly, “Nevermind Crutch, I love you even if you can not provide me with the answers to such seeking questions.  But I shall dispatch a note to him and let him know that it deeply grieves me that I was not here to honor my invitation to him.”  Crutch wagged his tail as if to indicate his approval of the plan.

It took her some time to craft the scroll, for she wished to covey her depth of feeling without overstepping the boundaries of proprietaries.  Eventually, she had it worded to her satisfaction.

Lord du Vallon,

It is with much regret that I learned of missing your emissary.  I was unexpectedly requested to accompany our King as he attended the wedding of a comrade-in-arms and thus was away at the time.  While I have no clear indication as to his exact purpose, I can not think it was merely to have left a scroll, as none was left.  Thus I surmise it was to inquire of my availability to extend such hospitality as I had previously offered. 

Should such be the case, I offer my profound apologies for being away and that it saddens my heart to think I might have missed your company.  While chance seldom visits more than once, my offer of hospitality is still open to you should you return to these shores.

It is with much hope that whatever business brought you to England, it was concluded successfully and that you have safe journey.

Ever your servant,
Lady Aiiane Grey

She had not opted for such a formal closing as last time, considering that as he had perhaps come to visit, a friendlier tone was acceptable.  She addressed it as previously and had Brendon deliver it to a courier with payment.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 16 July, 2017, 04:04:36 PM
Later in the day, Aiiane had finished inspecting her livestock, pleased with the progress she was making.  She took herself to the Tower, standing watch for some period of time.  It occurred to her that, perhaps, observing was not quite enough.  That in order to keep England safe and secure, information was needed as well.  Aiiane's face grew thoughtful, a slender fingertip tapped gently upon her chin. She would think upon this further and decide what should be done. 

Taking up her spyglass once more, Aiiane moved to the west window and there in the distance, against the backdrop of the setting sun, billowed the sails of a ship, dark against the gold of the sky.  It may have sailed from Eire, but it could have also circumnavigated England to perhaps make a stealthy approach.  She would continue the watch until she could ascertain whether it continued upon it's way or if it attempted a landing.

It was late into the evening before the pinpoint of light from the main topsail's yardarm disappeared completely from her view.  If the ship were planning landfall, it was not along any part of the coast within the watchtower's view.  Aiiane stretched her back and slowly rotated her head, first to one side and then the other, to relieve the ache of tight muscles.  It had been a long watch, but with all the news of unrest in other parts of the world, she knew vigilance was England's first line of defense.

Both she and Crutch had been without their supper, so she quickly heated a bit of soup she'd purchased at the market earlier in the day for herself and gave Crutch a meaty bone the butcher had saved for him.    Her thoughts returned to the puzzle of gaining information which might be crucial to protecting her countrymen.  A slow smile came to her face.  There were several whom she might enlist in this endeavor, men and women who traveled far and wide.  Yes, there was her answer and she would be quick to put her plan in place.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 17 July, 2017, 03:01:27 PM
Her days were filled with activity.  With the sovereign approving the construction of the training grounds, Aiiane did what she could to help with the building.  It meant she would no longer have to travel to York to train, which would be a blessing.  Having the ability to stay closer to home, unless one needed certain materials that one could only obtain by traveling – or hoping a traveling merchant would come to Lancaster – meant more energy could be directed at enterprises which would result in monetary return and not wasted on tripping back and forth between regions.  There was also her duties in the Tower, her farms, fields and workshop.  It seemed like there was never enough time in the day to get it all done, but by end of day, all was complete.

As she passed by her fields, she eyed them sadly.  It had been her intention to improve them so they might better produce, but now with the grounds in progress, she wasn't sure when she'd find the time.  Perhaps after the slaughter of the pigs.  It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but having to travel back and forth to North-Cumberland to tend them was making them less profitable than they might otherwise have been.  No, once they had gained market size, she'd stick with cows for the time being.

Aiiane might not have been able to manage had it not been for Brenden and she was grateful for his help about the place.  Yet, she would not send him to tend the pigs, for his work was more valued in Lancaster and she could not spare him.  He knew a good number of people and had brought several deck hands to the house when ships were in the harbors.  Brenden had informed her that many preferred to find shelter elsewhere if they could as the docks could be vicious places.  So between the two of them, they had converted an old shed that sat upon the Tower property so it could provide adequate lodgings.

Brenden had an easy way about him and could draw the strangers into conversation.  Aiiane saw to providing meals and would then stand in the shadows where she was soon forgotten.  Talk flowed around the table and while some of the language would bring her to blush, she gathered much that would be of use to her.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 18 July, 2017, 08:13:30 PM
Epiro and Albania had declared war upon the Byzantines, although it would seem to be in retaliation. Prussia had declared war upon Saxony and the next target was Bremen.  Thus went the talk around the evening table when the sailors availed themselves of Aiiane and Brenden's lodgings.

She had thought to keep record of what had been gleaned, but upon reflection, thought better of it.  On the other hand, Aiiane knew she could not rely solely upon her memory, good as it was.  So it was that she finally hit upon an idea.  When young, the rector had given her a bound book whose pages were blank.  He had instructed her to make notes of her daily activities and thus could trace where time had been spent to good use and when it had not.  It would, he also said, give her ample opportunity to practice her penmanship.  After a time, the book became nearly full and as both her time management and writing skills had improved, she had ceased keep it.

She had all the supplies to craft such a book within her workshop, although her only orders thus far were for holy books.  Aiiane spent as many hours each day as she was able in her workshop until she had a lovely bound volume of blank pages.  In the evenings, before retiring, she would spend time at her work desk in the shop, notating the day's activities and doing so in a way which would also jog her memory about the information which had been gathered.  To curious eyes, it would appear as the workaday life of a busy woman, a ledger of sorts, detailing her earnings and material possessions, of opportunities and how to best make use of them.  Yet hidden within were the mnemonics to which she could refer about time, places and events, even names.

From the window of her shop, she could look out into the town.  There, alongside the castle, the training ground was taking shape.  Even at this hour, people could be seen working in the flickering light of many torches.  Many man-hours would be needed to complete the training facility, but people were coming from all over, enticed by the pay and the food.  She and Brenden had served many a meal thus far, although the majority of the food supplies were provided by the Lords of Lancaster.  Lord Mactic and Lord Gwynedd had just been made Lord of West Lancaster and Lord of North Lancaster respectively.  Good men and deserving of their titles and land.

Aiiane smiled softly as she snuffed out the candles before locking up and leaving for home.  Perhaps, just perhaps, with continued loyalty, diligence and hard-work she would also be as worthy.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 21 July, 2017, 01:15:31 AM
Upon the deck of the small ship which had been charted for this mission, Aiiane stared across the waves towards the English coastline and gave a chuckle.  For someone who'd had every intention of keeping her feet in Lancaster once she had returned from Sweden, she was once again upon the sea.  This time it was to take inventory of the buildings in England and the easiest way to do so was to sail.  Of course, there would have to be some overland journeys if there were no harbors built, which she knew to be the case in North-Cumberland, but as she was in that region often, she already knew the buildings there.  Hopefully, there would be more harbors than not and she'd finish with this trip quickly.

It was a tedious business, but crucial to their needs.  Crutch lay curled at her feet as she sat in the shadows, listening to the banter of the sailors as they went about their work.  If they realized she was there, language was circumspect and little was spoken other than a few pleasantries.  Should she manage to remain out of the line of sight and quiet, they would eventually revert to their normal ways.  It was only then, she could glean any tidbits of information.  True, such talk could be nothing more than gossip, but there were ways in which to verify what was so and what could be discarded.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 21 July, 2017, 08:19:12 PM
Becalmed.  Not a breath of air stirred even the telltales and they lay limp and flat against the sagging sails.  The sailors took advantage of the downtime to make minor repairs and catch up on chores which were left unattended when the ship was underway.  Aiiane took up a stitching awl, passing the time patching sails, otherwise the boredom would have been unbearable.  The heat was nearly so.

She sat cross-legged upon the deck in a shady spot, her auburn hair caught up into a kerchief tied about her head to keep strands from sticking to her face and neck, her skirt hem secured into knots to allow her the use of both hands when she needed to fold one sail and obtain another without the worry of tripping over her clothing.  Yet, even with her relaxed appearance, the men treated her with no less respect than before, for there was still an aura about her that brooked no familiarity.

Thus did they work, the captain meting out rations of ale from time to time so that the crew might refresh themselves.  Cold meats, cheeses and bread was served for the noon meal as it was far too hot to be cooking and consuming something freshly prepared.  Even then, appetites were not as hearty as usual.  Aiiane merely nibbled at some cheese and bread, the sultry air suppressing any feeling of hunger.

It was late in the afternoon when she felt a tendril of hair lift itself off her neck and blow against her cheek.  Aiiane stood up quickly and at the same time a shout from the men as the sails slowly filled with air until they billowed forward and the telltales began popping in the brisk wind.  They were underway once more and she marveled at the feeling of elation and could not help but wonder how it would effect one's psyche to endure days of just bobbing about the sea motionless.

Tasks were quickly concluded so that everyone's attention could be turned to the business of sailing towards their next destination.  Once the sail she'd been working on had been folded and stowed, Aiiane stood towards the bow, letting the cool air of dusk flow over her face, grateful to be on the move and hoping for no such further weather before her mission was ended.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 24 July, 2017, 04:32:38 PM
The mission was complete and she was headed for home.  There was much work which awaited her there, including orders for her shop, not to mention her need to participate in the upcoming training maneuvers.  She'd been in constant contact with Brenden, sending and receiving messages each time she made land to take census and was pleased that all things were in readiness for her return.

Her vessel was intercepted and there was another mission instead.  With deft maneuvering, the captain arched the ship about and they headed south.  Their ally, Savoy, was under attack from the natives and there had been a call to arms.  Thanks be to Odin, the winds were favorable and they made the coast of Aquitaine in good time.  A forced march across several regions finally found her upon the battlefield, ready to fight.  Alas!  It was not to be.  Through some error of transcription, it would appear that Savoy had not been declared as an ally, nor was she allowed to join a mercenary group so that she might help defend. 

It was a very despondent trip back to Lancaster.  Time and resources wasted to no good purpose depressed Aiiane greatly, for she was ever frugal with both.  There had been much to do and this detour had only put her that much further behind.  Her mood lightened somewhat when she neared home, for she was as pragmatic as she was practical.  The lesson this had taught her was a valuable one and she'd not soon forget it.  What this knowledge had cost her burned it's teachings indelibly upon her mind.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 25 July, 2017, 02:51:01 PM
The day began as usual.  Nothing in those first hours upon waking and breaking fast presaged anything amiss.  Yet as the morning drew on, it became apparent that something strange was happening.  First there were the shouts in the market square and vendors running about with shovels, pickaxes and hoes, banging at the cobblestones and creating a furious clamor.   Next the shopkeepers began flinging open their doors, with brooms swooping all about or apprentices with sticks and stones taking aim at the furry critters.  Lancaster was run amok with rats and some were far larger than what had been seen on any occasion before.  Even Brenden was fighting with them in the tower, deftly throwing his dirk with deadly precision.

When the carcasses started to pile up, Aiiane decided that if they wished to avoid proliferating pestilence and illness, the bodies needed to be burned and recruited several lads to gather wood and build a bonfire outside the town wall.  Using shovels and pitchforks, they piled the dead rats into her cart.  Crutch trotted back and forth between the ever-growing pile and the bonfire.

Couriers began to arrive from other regions with much the same story as what was happening in Lancaster, but there was no time to ponder the cause.  They were doing well to keep ahead of the infestation here and several citizens volunteered to travel to the less occupied areas to see if they could be contained before deciding to travel where food was more plentiful.

The killing continued well into the night, but there was no sign of abatement.  How long, Aiiane wondered, would this vermin war last?
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 26 July, 2017, 07:15:16 PM
The vermin infestation seemed to be well in hand in Lancaster.  A watch from the Tower pinpointed the regions still with large numbers, so she and fellow Lancasterians set out to see if they could not contain them before they reached the markets and homes of her neighbors and friends. 

She trekked across the land slaying the creatures where she found them until, at last, she found herself in Hampshire.  Rats scurried everywhere and once again she donned her armor to do battle.  Being overtired, she failed to thoroughly inspect her equipment and did not notice the damage which had been inflicted upon her long sword.  Whilst butchering the last of the large rats, it broke in twain and she had to finish the vile thing with her hands as she had not thought to bring a replacement.  Aiiane thought nothing of it as she made arrangements to sail back to Lancaster, but fell deathly ill before boarding the ship.  A courier was dispatched with all haste to Lord Aidan with news of her condition before setting sail.  In her cabin, she began to feel weak and unfocused with bluish swellings upon her arms.  She lay upon the bunk, in abject misery as they sailed around the The Lizard, the southernmost peninsular of the Cornish coast. 

Soon after rounding the point, the sails of a fast-moving knarr was spotted.  Not long after, the flag of Lord Aidan could be discerned and soon, it was coming alongside the cog.  None other than Brenden, accompanied by Crutch, transferred from Lord Aidan's ship carrying a small wooden chest.  Having suspected what might have befallen Aiiane, he'd send a curative so she might be treated as quickly as possible to insure a speedy recovery.

Brenden found Aiiane in a sorry state.  Burning with fever and shaking with chills, her hair plastered to her head with sweat.  Even before he could unpack the chest, Crutch had insinuated himself as closely to Aiiane's bunk as was possible, placing his great head upon her chest.  About to scold him off, Brenden saw that the dog's presence had an immediate calming effect upon Aiiane and that her hand was weakly stroking the dog's soft ears.  Her eyes, while they did not seem focused, had lost their wild fearfulness. 

Managing to wedge himself near the head of the bunk, Brenden gently raised her head and tilted the vial to her lips. “Drink this”, he encouraged in a gentle voice, “Lord Aidan sent it special for you and you will feel much better after.”  Thus soothed, Aiiane swallowed obediently and Brenden eased her head back upon the pillow.

He found a chair in the corner and prepared to take vigil through the night.  Brenden had not meant to nod off, but the rigors of dealing with the rats and his fast trip to intercept Aiiane had left him bone weary.  He awoke in the morning, stiffed-necked and still tired, to a wan, but smiling, Aiiane sitting on the edge of the bunk.  He would not have thought it from her condition last night, yet she seemed well upon her way to recovery.  Her youth and strength was on her side.  Even the strange swellings upon her arm were diminished.

Later that day they made port in Lancaster.  Aiiane was not quite her energetic self when she disembarked, but otherwise Brenden could not discern any other ill effects of her bout with the plague.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 28 July, 2017, 05:21:48 PM
The last few days had been slow ones for Aiiane.  After feeling so well upon disembarking, she'd had a relapse and the disease had sapped her strength.  Each task she undertook seemed to take twice as long to complete.  Between times would find her dozing to refresh herself before tackling the next job.

This day she woke completely refreshed and feeling extremely well.  Back to the removal of the rat infestation she went.  Reports from the north reported that region overflowing and when Aiiane arrived, the news had not been exaggerated.  Once they had been dispatched, she was off again, heading southward where more rats were being reported.  And she had not been able to check the status of buildings in Cornwall during her last trip down as illness had prevented it.  She'd also put that upon her list of tasks which needed completing.

Brenden was against her going, but she was determined.  However, she took some of the powerful elixir with her this time.  Just in case.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 29 July, 2017, 07:22:47 PM
The last of the regions had been surveyed and now Lord Clarence could complete his map.  It could prove a valuable resource in knowing which areas were developed and which were not.  Rats had been every where one looked and Aiiane had killed her fair share of them, but it seemed as if their numbers were diminishing.  One could only hope so, she was thoroughly disgusted with the tiresome creatures.

She returned home to be faced with a few more of the vile vermin running around the docks.  Aiiane quickly dispatched them and when about her way to the Tower.  Brenden was waiting for her with a hot meal of meat soup and crusty bread that he'd picked up from the market.  It was good to be home and there was now much to be done to meet the obligations which had piled up during her lengthy absence from Lancaster.

While she ate, Brenden filled her ears with the information he had been able to gather from their frequent guests.  It would seem as if the peace that had settled upon the world was about to shatter and all in the name of religion.  Aiiane sighed.  Why could not people worship as they pleased?  Why one religion must feel they were the only mouthpiece of the power which created them all and attempt to force their ideals upon others.  So much bloodshed over such stupidity.  Alas, it seemed it was the way of man to impose his might upon those less able to defend themselves and use any excuse for the right of it.  For her it was only about two things, no matter how one might ice the cake to hide the ugly crack of truth.  Greed and power – some people could never have enough and did not care who they had to trampled beneath their boots to attain it.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 16 August, 2017, 09:42:30 PM
My how time did pass when one was too busy to count the hours.  No sooner had the rat infestation been dealt than a call to arms had come from their King.  It seems the natives had run wild in Munster and the people of Eire had been helpless to defeat them.  A gathering of English allies soon began to arrive, battle plans discussed and decided upon, weaponry and armor accessed and distributed and the outfitting of ships completed. 

As Munster had no suitable harbor for landing, the combined armies had to land in Eire's capitol and cross that region and one other before arriving at a predetermined site.  An advanced guard was sent out to locate the natives and Aiiane had been a member of this party.  She could only surmise their lack of sentries and negligible defenses was due to the fact they had easily defeated the defenders of Eire earlier.

Returning to camp, their commander made his report and it was decided to attack the following morning.  The rising sun would be to the attacking army's back and thus give them a slight advantage.  They outnumbered the natives, which also would tip the scales in their favor.  After eating a light meal, Aiiane took to her bedroll, wanting to be fully rested before the battle.  Her level of anxiety and excitement made it difficult to fall asleep.  Eventually, lulled by the low drone of low voices, sleep came.

Pre-dawn found everyone busy preparing for battle.  Brenden brought her a thick slice of bread and cheese for her breakfast.  He was acting as her squire, helping her don her armor and weapon.  It would be be first time using a war axe, although she had practiced with it many times with her trainer.  Soon they were on the move and as the sun broke the horizon with dazzling light, they launched their attack.  Aiiane thought she would be fearful, but it was the truth of the matter that she was far to busy fighting for her life feel any fear at all.  It was only afterward, when two natives lay dead at her feet that she had needed to use her axe, not as a weapon, but as a means of keeping to her feet as her knees quaked.  Still she was unsure it if was fear or merely the drain upon her strength after wielding such a weapon, clad in full mail.

Brenden and Crutch soon found her and Brenden assisted her in removing the armor, placing it in the cart Crutch was pulling.  She examined the platemail and found that it was so badly damaged there would be no repairing it.  Aiiane sat upon the back of the cart and cared for her wounds.  Thankfully, there were not of a serious nature.  Brenden encouraged her to remain in the cart and she propped herself up against one of it's sides to make herself more comfortable.  They took a tour of the battlefield and it was then she realized they had been victorious.  All the natives were dead and they had only lost two of their numbers.

Back at camp, the kings were conferring and it was decided that Scotland would claim the region.  She later discovered that the Queen of Eire was highly perturbed at their intercession, yet Aiiane did not think Eire was capable of re-taking the region, else why had they not well-defended it and retained it for their own.  She gave a mental shrug, it was not for her to consider, but those greater and wiser than she had made the decision and she had followed her orders as she must.

Now back home, she was busy in her shop, watching the progress on the training grounds when, once more, a missive came.  She was now being required to study and would need to travel to London to do so.  It would seem there was no restful interlude to enjoy as she had thought.  Duty called and she would obey.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 23 August, 2017, 02:37:34 PM
Crutch lay stretched out beneath the cart, which was now serving for Aiiane's home away from home, his eyes ever watchful as his mistress prepared the evening meal.  Bowed willow provided struts upon which a large piece of oilcloth was pulled taut and tied down, creating a roof for the cart so that she and her bedding could be free from rain and prying eyes.  She set her camp not too far distance from the academy so it would be no great matter getting to and from class.  Aiiane looked out upon a field which was flat, verdant and full of wildflowers.  A fringe of trees which curled around one edge of the field provided shade and extra protection from the elements making it an easy choice for her campsite. 

Life in London, despite the numbers of it's citizens, was lonely.  There was little by way of the camaraderie of the folks in Lancaster.  Brenden had stayed behind to keep an eye on her shop and home, thus she was deprived of his company as well.  She did receive missives from Lord Aidan and Lord Galahad, which she replied when time permitted.  Thankfully she was allowed breaks between sessions, which provided her time to rest, eat, and tend to returning scrolls to report upon her progress.  Lord Clarence did often stop to speak with her between her lessons.  He was a kindly man and she enjoyed his company, but he was also a busy man and their contact was, of a necessity, brief.

Word of war had reached her this day.  The Scots had declared against the Irish and, considering the poor showing of Eire against the native uprising, Aiiane expected the battle to go against them.  Farther afield, some lunatic head of a church had placed a curse upon the Theologians, who were now suffering because of it.  This news she'd had from Lord Clarence who, being of the Theological sect, was feeling the effects of the curse. “Great Odin's teeth!” The oath exploded from her mouth as she slammed the iron lid down upon the pot of stew, nearly overturning it and causing Crutch to jump up and take an aggressive stance, while looking about for the danger.

She calmed, sorry to have upset the animal.  In a softer voice she called to him and, with a final look around, came to her.  Aiiane scratched around his ears, “Forgive me for startling you.  The stupidity of some people make me angry, especially when they use religion to place suffering upon others.  We each should feel compassion for our fellow men, regardless of differences in belief.  Yet greed for riches, land and power override our better selves and create evil in themselves.”  Crutch tilted his head as he listened to her, as if trying to understand.  It gave him a comical look and Aiiane laughed softly.  “No, my understanding of the matter is no greater than yours, dear Crutch.”

With that, she dipped them each a plate of food and they ate in comfortable silence, with only the peepers in a nearby stream providing a soft background to the otherwise stillness of the dusk.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 03 September, 2017, 01:20:47 AM
Brenden had met her at the dock, the cart's interior padded with multiple quilts.  Aiiane insisted on no assistance down the gangplank, but did allow Brenden to help her into the cart and was quite thankful to rest upon the softness created by layer upon layer of material and wool batting.  Crutch whined because he was in harness and could not get to his mistress, but Brenden soothed him with quiet words and encouraged him forward towards home.

Crutch had not left her side since and she was now sitting at one of the lookout windows of the Tower, taking in the view and the afternoon sun.  Her thoughts drifted to the battle every now and then, but just as quickly she would shut down the images of the hot tar pouring down upon the attackers, maiming and killing even before the fighting began.  The Irish had not been prepared, but the mercenaries they'd hired from Kiev most certainly were.

She had not been one of those at the front lines, but was no match for the knight she found herself against.  Aiiane had put up a good fight, but was doomed to failure as soon as the engagement between them started.  No wonder, since her training had been set aside for her studies.  The suit of armor stood between two of the windows, glinting in the soft light.  Brenden had clean and oiled it so that it would not rust and, considering the fight, it was still in good shape.  Only the plate showed some damage.

Word had reached them that one of the Irishers had brought a revolt against his Queen and Aiiane wondered would he be successful.  Someone who had the country's interest at heart needed to take the reins for it was quite apparent that the current Queen was unfit to rule.  Brenden's voice floated up the winding stairway, calling her to the evening meal.  Aiiane made her way slowly and carefully down.  After supper, she'd would go to the church and pray for all those who'd been severely injured or killed, regardless of which side they had been upon.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 05 September, 2017, 02:14:13 PM
He'd begged her not to go, but when she insisted Brenden stated flatly that he would accompany her.  Now she lay upon her cot, in the back of her cart, looking out over the battlefield and she was glad of Brenden's presence.  The platemail had been shattered beyond repair, but the rest of her gear was in fairly good condition.  Even though she had suffered a grievous wound and Brenden thought her dead when Crutch found her upon the ground, she still breathed, though painfully.  Yet, Cornwall had been defended against the natives and was still intact, so there was much for which to be grateful.

As Brenden sat upon a stool near the rear of the cart, cleaning what remained of her armor, he recounted all he'd heard from others, as well as what he'd seen for himself.  Lord Aidan and his wife had made good accounts of themselves, the Lady Gwendolyn having dispatched two of the natives. “Might fierce, she was”, Brenden exclaimed with pride, “and our Liege was mighty in battle!”  Many other names whom she well knew were mentioned, Lord Clarence, Lord Clydog, Lord Galahad.  One name gave her pause.  “Stay your tongue a moment”, she said jestingly to cease Brenden's chatter, “Did you say Alain D' Arcy?”  “Aye, I did.”  “Did we not hear that he was now Lord Gibraltar”, Aiiane queried. “I believe that is true, m'lady”, Brenden scratched his head as he thought, “It seems the man has been most busy, from the information we have gathered from our wayfarers.  Do you know him?”

Aiiane leaned her aching head against the cushions, “No, not personally but I have had correspondence with him in the past.  I am glad so many were unscathed in the battle and that Cornwall is intact.  When I am able to travel, we need to briefly return to Lancaster before heading back to London and my studies.  I forgot a few things at the Tower that I shall need.”  She closed her eyes and was quiet.  When Brenden checked her after cleaning and stowing the armor, she was sleeping soundly.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 15 October, 2017, 11:52:42 PM
Time passes.  Seasons change.  The cool, foggy mornings were followed by slightly warmer days, harbinger of the coming of fall.  The Pearmain had been fruitful and were being harvested.  Baskets of the just picked apples surrounded the trees, ready to be taken into kitchens to be cooked into pies and pastries, made into ciders and dried for the coming winter.  Soon the Nonpareil's would be ready for picking and then the Court Pendu Plats.

Winter crops had already been planted and those summer harvests had been stored.  It had been a plentiful year for which Aiiane was most thankful.  She continued to prosper just as England continued to grow.  Her business was thriving.  Brenden had taken a wife and she was of great help in running the Tower and tending to their travelers.  For the most part, peace was to be had in their known world, at least for the time.  Minor flares with natives were quickly extinguished and other than some royal couple squabbling over a divorce which did not appear to hold favor with their religious leaders, news from afar had been sparse.

Building projects were coming along slowly.  It seemed there were plentiful materials for construction, but not the man power to raise the structures quickly.  But, in the end, they would be completed, even if the schedule was somewhat slower than desired.

Aiiane had thought, at one time, to be a traveler.  Her trip to Cairo had whetted an appetite that she had not known existed, but it seemed that daily life had quietly grown tendrils round her feet and seemed to have such a firm grasp that escaping their bonds would be difficult.  As she worked a delicate pattern around a gold bracelet, she chuckled to herself.  She had become settled and it had been far easier than she had expected.  Brenden's wife, Marie, had brought her a small basket of apples which sat upon the window sill, glowing in the faint sunlight.  Deciding to take a break, she selected one and bit into it's tender flesh, savoring the sweetness that filled her mouth. 
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 30 October, 2017, 12:50:10 PM
The town of North-Cumberland was growing.  Early evening was already shrouded in darkness as Aiiane sat by the window of the small hut she occupied, pulling a brush through her long tresses before retiring for the evening.  Torches lit both completed and in progress buildings.  A tavern and the barracks had been the first buildings to be completed.  They had been needed to house those who came for work.  The market would be next to assist with providing the necessities of the workers.  But work had also begun on the castle and it's thick wall were rising albeit slowly.

Other structures were also being raised, yet had nothing to do with buildings.  They were the bonfires for tomorrow, All-hallows Eve.  Tomorrow she would travel back to Lancaster so that she might worship as well as resupply her pantry and also bring back baskets of apples for the celebration, knowing fresh fruit would be a welcome change from the provisions that were available at the moment.  She would also attend any correspondence and duties which needed to be addressed by herself, although Brenden did an excellent job of attending the majority of them. 

Crutch had been left with Brendan and his wife so that he could pull the cart from the orchards to the tower, but he would accompany her back to North-Cumberland when she returned.  Aiiane would need his strength to bring in the supplies and she'd missed his company, neither had he been overjoyed at being left behind.  Laying her brush upon the table, she stood and stretched, looking about her rough surroundings.  Aiiane sighed, she missed the comforts of her Tower.  Yet, if England was to grow and prosper, sacrifices must be made and she could not ask others to do so should she not be willing herself.  Smiling wearily, she snuffed out the candle and found her bed with the help of the dim glow of embers in the hearth.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 31 October, 2017, 01:48:19 PM
The morning of All-hallows Eve broke in glittering splendor as frost decorated roofs, windows, gorse and field alike.  Having returned from Lancaster the evening before with a cart heavily laden with bushels of apples, several kegs of freshly pressed cider and a number of other items, Aiiane slept soundly.  She awoke refreshed and ready for the day.  After breaking her fast, she enlisted the help of a couple of sturdy lads and went about setting up a makeshift table near one of the bonfires.  A serviceable cloth, fairly free of stains, covered the rough hewn planks.  Swags of brightly colored material, attached to the corners of the table cover with a few quick stitches to made the table look festive.  While she was busy with the finishing touches, the boys set up the iron tripod close by and hung the cauldron.  Beneath it they placed tinder and wood, ready to light.  Aiiane planned on heating the cider to keep the chill evening at bay once the celebration started.  Before the lads left, she gave each an apple, along with a penny, which earned her smiles and thank yous.

She returned to her duties, but left in time for her to return home and refresh herself.  Before beginning her day, she'd hung her gown so that it might air.  Aiiane treasured it as it had been a gift from her good friends in Lancaster.  Sitting on the table, in a box. was the headpiece that she found waiting for her when she had arrived at the Tower.  A letter had accompanied it and she'd been most surprised at it's author.  Much time had passed since she had heard from the Viscount, but she had remembered his face and manners.  Looking down at Crutch, she laughed, “You should remember Lord de la Roche, also.  For he supplied you with a fine plate of vittles when we met in Cairo.”  Crutch cocked his head and licked his lips as if he did, indeed, remember the man or at least the food.

After a while, she exited the hut in her finery.  She moved with grace to the square where sat her table and began to place apples upon it in neat pyramids for the enjoyment of the revelers.  One of the lads who'd assisted earlier ask if he could provide assistance and she had him fill the cauldron with cider and light the fire.  Lord Galahad had provided her with spices from his travels and she'd brought some sticks of cinnamon with her.  She dropped one into the cider.  When the steam rose, she took her silver cup from her chatelaine and dipped up some of the spicy liquid.  She breathed in the aroma and took a sip.  Her eyes beheld the spectacle of the lighting of the bonfires, but her mind was on the letter she had sent off yesterday from the Tower in Lancaster.

The Right Hon.
        The Viscount de la Roche

Such pleasant memories your letter has brought to my mind.  My great adventure to Cairo was all one could have anticipated and our brief meeting made it all the more memorable.  You flatter me too greatly, but I thank you most sincerely for your kind words.

You speak of meeting and I would be pleased to do so.  You will find me in either Lancaster or North-Cumberland, where much building is commencing.  There is no port in North-Cumberland so if I have advanced notice of your arrival I can make arrangements to meet you in Lancaster.

I would also thank you for the lovely gift.  Your kindness and generosity are great. I can only wonder at the happenstance that it perfectly matches my gown and I shall wear it during worship and on the morrow during the festivities of All-hallows Eve, thinking fondly upon you as I do so. 

Until such time as we may meet again I am

Your English friend,
Lady Aiiane Grey
Knight of the Red Rose
Tower Guardian of Lancaster
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 01 November, 2017, 06:34:28 PM
Cups of ale were hoisted skyward as everyone in the village celebrated the finished market square.  They had managed to complete it the previous day, yet with the festivities of All-hallows Eve it was only now they cheered and congratulated one another on a fine job.  They would rest today, but tomorrow would mean continuing work upon the castle.

The first stall was opened as Lord Aidan set up a servant to sell the Lord's wares from his inn.  A number of cheeses were proudly displayed and Aiiane took advantage.  It would be a respite from having to travel to Lancaster every few days to restock her food supplies. 

It was Aiiane's first experience in watching a sleepy little village grow into a prospering town and she could not help but take pride in her small efforts in this monumental enterprise.  The time, men, money and materials to see such projects to fruition was mind staggering.  Crutch lopped along just in front of her as she made her way back home with her purchases, his tongue lolling from side to side as he trotted along, ever watchful of their surroundings.  The air was crisp, the faint sun providing a little warmth and the earth smelt of rich loam.  For no particular reason at all, Aiiane smiled.  It was a good day.
Title: Re: [RP] A beginning in Lancaster
Post by: (RIP) Aiiane Grey on 14 November, 2017, 09:01:23 PM
She moved through the castle, slightly bemused.  How quickly she had progressed, more quickly than she could have ever dreamed.  Even though she would oversee these lands for only a short while it gave her a taste of what might come.  Aiiane smiled warmly to the servants, bowing and curtsying as she passed.  The Lord of this land had passed and a new vassal was needed immediately to insure the continuity of rule and she had been able to fill the void until such time as another could advance.  Hopefully, her place would still be in North-Cumberland, but this would give her much needed experience.

The steward had given her a tour of the castle and the grounds when she arrived.  Aiiane had then wandered about on her own, becoming familiar with the layout so she would not get herself turned around and look a fool.  Now she was on the way to her office.  There, ledgers awaited for her perusal, tenants awaited an audience and decisions would need to be made concerning any number of items on her agenda – all of which had been mentioned by the steward the previous day.

Dawn was merely a whisper in the early morning darkness by the time Aiiane stood at the mullioned window to watch it's approach.  A fire had been lit to ward off the chill and a servant tapped upon the door waiting to be granted entry with Aiiane's breakfast tray.  “Come”, and she motioned the girl in with a graceful flick of her hand.  The girl put the tray upon a sideboard and left.  Aiiane partook of a twist of bread and the cup of hot, mulled wine, moving to her desk afterward.  Setting her plate and cup upon the surface she sat and pulled forward the first of the ledgers.  Her day had begun.