Cooperative Fiction

Skip to content

Estate in Training

Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

By now, there were others to see. For assorted reasons. Partly because the Shining One felt a good lord was one accessable and approachable to the people, one who had time for them and their concerns. Partly because the drive and fervour presented was potentially lonely.

A feeling he had been very aware of recently. A lingering sorrow... lingered after matters were settled with Mavelle. While the decision to cancel the anticipated courtship was right and fair for both parties, she was a good and strong woman who was beautiful both inside and out, thus he missed her.

That he did so was no cause for regret from the paladin, his warrior-philosophy aided him now with the belief that pain and hurt was not always a bad thing. That he missed Mavelle reaffirmed the importance of their relationship, and the fact she was meaningful to him. Both of which he would not trade for any amount of ease.

Bizarrely, he also missed wearing armour. Why on earth he would miss the feel of sixty pounds of metal pressing down on his limbs and shoulders he was unsure, but even his layers of fur and leathers felt strange in comparison. Perhaps in donning steel there was a shift in his mental state, were he became the holy guardian before the man, and the holy guardian lived and breathed his cause.

Still, he had his sword with him, and the trappings of his purpose in life brought him great comfort. That the sword was blessed perhaps helped, was a tangible instrument of so much good which had been done, so many battles won and innocents defended or avenged.

For a moment, he bowed his head and closed his eyes, making a silent prayer for clarity of mind and purpose.

Which was granted.

Troubles forgotten, he resumed his intent to speak with those others in the compound while unclouded by such thoughts. Empathy struck like an arrow guided by his newfound clarity. One here would be more troubled than he. Rosemary had been uprooted from her home, cast into uncertainty with little familiar. As far as they knew each other, she was a friend.

Thus, he sought her out.

And found her tutoring refugees in embroidery and weaving, two skills which Sir Aorle did not possess. Nor did he have the patience to be good at such skills, his nature as a man of action made him well suited for the office of knighthood were decisiveness was a merit, and ill-suited for much else.

Striding forth to greet her, he finished with a respectful standing bow from the waist before speaking. "Good morrow Frau Rosemary. How fares you? We have not spoken much for overlong. I would see that remedied. Is now a poor time?" Perhaps this would interrupt the other refugees, though they would also see the respect with which a lady was greeted, and the fact that he asked. Regardless, Aorle was not one to hesitate before approaching where he wished.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Aorle’s greeting won a smile from Rosemary. She didn’t know what “frau” meant, but coming from him, she felt sure that it was a proper and honorable form of address. “Good morning, Sir Aorle. It’s nice to see you looking so well.”

For the moment, Rosemary withheld her reply to Aorle’s question regarding her wellbeing. She didn’t want to lie to him. But she also didn’t want to speak the truth in front of the refugees. Her problems must seem very stupid to them. You feel useless? We have spent our entire lives being roughly used. You feel lonely? We have never had a moment of privacy to truly call our own. You had a fight with your husband? We have never known the comfort of a good man’s love.

“It has been awhile since we had a chance to talk, hasn’t it? I regret that.” Rosemary still remembered the dinner that she, Aorle, and Julen had shared on the night of Julen’s brief return to Shim. Aorle -- still Railtus, back then -- had been such a kind, sympathetic listener when she spoke about her life. Several times since moving into the compound, she’d thought about approaching him. But he always seemed so busy.

Not that Rosemary begrudged Aorle his duties. To the contrary, she rather envied him. Watching Aorle bustle about, industrious as a father overseeing the welfare of his vast family, always aroused a deep longing for her own household. Her domain had included only one young husband. But it had been hers. She’d known her place in it, needing and needed in return. Here at the warehouse, she felt like a curio, a remnant from an earlier time which no longer served any true purpose, but which possessed too much sentimental value to simply be thrown away.

“Perhaps we could take a short stroll around the compound?” Rosemary wanted to be out of earshot, but remain clearly in sight. No good would come from creating gossip about why Aorle had slipped off with the wife of his yeoman. “I think I can be spared for a few minutes.”

Rosemary glanced at her small circle of pupils. Most were working very diligently one the simple practice patterns she’d created for them. One gnomish lady, however, seemed to be having trouble. Instead of using thread to fill in the necessary shapes, she was just pushing the needle in and out of the fabric, with a dreamy look in her eyes. “Fenella? Is everything alright?”

“Sewing by hand is so slow,” Fenella muttered, without looking up. “If I could design a machine to pull the needle, it would go much faster than a person. We could make lots and lots of things -- enough for everyone here, and more to sell.”

Laughter rippled through the other refugees, who were apparently used to such comments from their only gnomish comrade. “More likely, you’d just blow us all up,” one woman joked. “Or shoot us full of needles,” another one added. “You and your dreams, Fenella. That’s why you never got more customers. Damn gnome won’t shut up, they’d complain. I’m trying to get in the mood, and she’d going on about widgets, and wadgets, and god-knows-what.”

But Fenella had already returned her attention to observing the needle, and it was unclear if she even heard any of the friendly chiding. Rosemary shook her head. “Let’s just concentrate on doing it by hand for now. Once you learn the basics, you can move on variations.” At the rate Fenella was going, it seemed that mastery lay a nice, safe distance beyond her reach.

With that settled, Rosemary rose, prepared to walk with Aorle, if he accepted her offer.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

While there was a deep unease between Aorle and machines, borne mostly of the fact they made no sense to him and therefore had no basis to be trusted, he welcomed a budding inventor in their midst because this was someone with new life ambitions to pursue. "Dreams are good, Fenella. This place started with a dream. The more you learn of this, the better a machine you will be able to design."

"For the record, ladies." Now addressing the group. While he understood that no harm was meant by the remarks made towards the gnome, he felt compelled to speak in her defence, against what he felt to be disrespectful in manner, or at least not the treatment he hoped for those here to receive. "No man has the right to speak so of any of you. This is not your old life. Whether good or bad in your work before, 'tis now behind you and none of that should ever have happened. I wish for that to be understood."

Without delay, Aorle gave a courteous half-bow to the gathered crowd from the waist then began walking with Rosemary. If any wished to reply to his declaration, they would need to follow and catch up with him. Or shout very loudly.

Walking until out of earshot from the rest, concern began to show through. "How have you been feeling? I cannot expect all that has passed to have been easy. May ought be done for you?"
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Aorle’s reprimand was met with downcast eyes and a rustling of murmured apologies, all of which sounded genuinely repentant. “Sorry sir.” “Didn’t mean no harm by it.” “Won’t happen again.” “I was just jokin’, Fenella.” “He’s right. It don’t matter what those men said.” “They was probably just jealous of how smart you are.” “Most of them were too stupid to know which hole to put it in.”

However, none of the ladies felt any need to chase after Aorle, so their voices soon faded in the background.

As they drew away from the refugees, Rosemary smiled again, touched by Aorle’s concern. She knew that Julen sensed her sadness. And, in his own way, he tried to fix it. But he hadn’t actually asked her how she felt. He hadn’t tried to find out what she wanted him to do. Maybe because he was afraid that her answer would be something dark and terrible, an insatiable monster which he could never hope to appease. Rosemary could sympathize with that. But still, it was nice to have someone request her input.

“First, let me thank you for all that you’ve done to help us. Hiring Julen, and rescuing me, and giving us shelter here.” However unhappy she might be at the compound, Rosemary knew she would be much, much more miserable back home, vulnerable to the whims of every passing mercenary. “We really do appreciate it.”

“But it hasn’t been an easy transition. I guess...I guess I just feel out of place here. Like I’m neither fish nor fowl, if you know what I mean? I’m not a warrior. They treat me politely, but I’m not a true comrade. And most of the refugees think of me as being far above their station. They see me as a very proper lady, and they’ve suffered much scorn from such people. They’re rather wary of me. Rollick and Uluki have been quite friendly, but I’m not part of their family. I’m not even a wife to my own husband...not the way I used to be.”

Rosemary shook her head. “And that just, I guess.” Glancing over at Aorle, Rosemary saw him in a new light. “I suppose you do know how I feel. You’re not really a part of any of the groups either, are you?”

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

"Perhaps." Aorle answered, considering the matter. True, he had noticed the divide between friendship and leadership, and quietly regretted it. On the other hand, he was very much a warrior, evidenced by wearing a sword, a mace and a dagger with his casual clothing, and that gave him something profound to share with his Lightswords. Nevertheless, he saw no cause to protest what Rosemary spoke of.

"You have been uprooted from your home, and brought to a strange place, with no clear purpose save waiting for your home to be made safe once more." Sir Aorle found stating matters in such plain terms to be helpful, guiding, a way to dispel the illusions which cloud needed truth. "There is light I may shed on your troubles. You have devoted yourself to becoming a farmer's wife, and he is now a man-at-arms. 'Twill be a trying time for you both. I expect you feel distanced, wondering what part you hold in his life. Do you wish me to speak further of this matter?" To grant aid and succor to her distress was one thing, to presume to speak on how to conduct her marriage was quite another, so he would not state his views unbidden.

Lengthy strides and a warrior's posture accentuated the fact that Aorle was tall and strong, and he remembered to slow down his walk to make an easy pace rather than moving with his usual purpose. An incline of his head accompanied his continuing the conversation as they passed the shadow of a building.

"For the rest of the Lightswords, know that armsmen are men of strong principle and strict rules. We must be. Battle is no less than killing people in large numbers, thus, our sense of right must be more than the natural distaste for doing harm." This was how he was teaching her husband to think. "Consider your own morals. Do they stem from principle or from feeling?" He suspected the latter, a state which while not inherently wrong set him ill-at-ease when lacking the consistancy which he was assured of by principle.

Glances were cast left and right, but more importantly in the direction of refugees. On his face showed a seperate concern in that moment, though he returned his attention to Rosemary without delay.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Rosemary nodded her agreement to Aorle’s appraisal of the situation. “Yes. Yes, that’s exactly it.” Back home, she’d known how to be a good wife. She’d cooked Julen’s food. She’d washed his clothes. She’d listened when he whispered his dreams to her. Here at the compound, she helped prepare the communal meals, and she’d even begun organizing some of the women into a shared laundry service. But doing those things for everyone wasn’t the same as doing them solely for the man she loved. And instead of dreams, Julen seemed more prone to nightmares, which he hid from her in the darkness he refused to discuss.

“If all this was just for a little while, just until you defeated the mercenaries, I could hold tight. Ride things out. But it’s like you say. My whole life has changed.” No one in Shim was married to a member of the city guard, much less a man-at-arms. Julen had Aorle to teach him how to be a warrior. Who did she have to teach her how to be a warrior’s wife? Of course, Uluki was very kind and reassuring, but things were different with Rollick. Because of her magical ability, Uluki accompanied her husband into battle. She didn’t just sit at home and what, exactly? What could she do that would matter to a man who was many miles away, risking his life?

Again, Rosemary glanced at Aorle, and stubbornness fought with desperation as she considered his offer to give guidance. She held Aorle in great esteem, valued any wisdom he could share. But she also knew he would speak the truth. And the truth was likely to be more complicated than simply telling Julen he needed to get a grip, stop being overprotective, and start actually having real conversations with his wife. She would also be forced to hear what she was doing wrong. She would need to be willing to make changes, to compromise. Was she? Rosemary thought of the gentle young farmer who had visited her shop day after day, feigning an interest in pottery, and she nearly cried to think that he was gone. But better to have some remnant of him than nothing at all. When Rosemary imagined life without Julen, an emptiness opened up inside her, so strong that it made her dizzy.

“I do want to be a good wife to him. I want to be the sort of wife he wants...the sort of wife you would want, if you ever married. But I don’t want to completely lose myself.” Rosemary drew a deep breath, bracing herself for whatever Aorle might say. “Yes. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the matter. Thank you.”

Aorle’s next question caught Rosemary by surprise. Since she needed to work in the pottery shop, her father had taught her reading and numbers. But the idea of a consistent philosophical system was completely alien to her. “Why, I suppose I act based on feeling. Is that wrong?”

Behind them, Rosemary’s students worked diligently on their projects.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Being a leader demanded a knowledge of hearts and minds, a knowledge Aorle felt was unsuited for this case. Command was built on persuasion, example and compulsion - convincing them of what needs doing, showing them how, and making them do it. Such methods were not the means to an equal marriage.

More suitable was the knowledge of how to treat people, made abundantly clear by the Teachings of Angels. Ideals which by the practice of an honest and virtuous life served to better lives in this world, Sir Aorle may know little of matters of the heart, but he knew that husband and wife such as Julen and Rosemary would surely seek to better the lives of each other.

"Have faith, Rosemary." advised the Shining One, who spoke not as a preacher, but as one who knew the value of his guidance. "In Julen, and in yourself. When people help each other, everyone prospers. Ask his aid. Ask." Knowing his yeoman and the devotion the man held towards his wife, were she to call when she had need of him the answer would be a forgone conclusion. Thus, their problems had not been discussed together. "Julen must know what you need of him, and importantly, so must you."

Here he came to halt. This was not the conversation for a casual stroll. This was a matter of some importance. Were she to seek his advice, then he would grant it to the best of his ability. Having halted, he turned to face her directly, body-language demonstrating that she was receiving his full attention. As he saw, concerns such as this deserved no less.

"From watches I know you both spent last night apart, from this I know you have not yet made amends. Why not? As fair a question 'tis to ask Julen, I'm asking you." There was a moment of pause. "My best advice is to learn to treat wounds from Uluki. That should help you become more part of each other's new lives. Remember what has come before now, what you enjoyed since your reunion, and seek to bring more of that."

Finally, one matter upon which he could speak of as a warrior. "Good people can act on feeling, to a degree. The Path of Right leads straight and true, while feelings may change with the tide. Recall my Oath. To act with valour and compassion in all things. To stand upright and true in all deeds. To walk humbly and love justice. To safeguard the helpless. To do no wrong." Which reminded him, he needed to apologise to Thetta. Acting as commander was causing him to lose some of himself, drawing him into unwanted conflicts over position and authority, an issue he had rejected from the moment of his birth.

A mournful look flashed on his face, gold eyes darkened before resolve was resummoned.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

“I do my best to have faith,” Rosemary assured Aorle. “But having faith in someone’s heart isn’t the same thing as having faith in an angel. Angels don’t waver. They don’t get scared and make foolish mistakes. Hearts do.”

Still, Aorle had a point. Her doubts weren’t making anything better. Instead, they prodded her into starting arguments, which gave birth to even more doubts, and so on, until the distance between husband and wife became a vast wasteland. She wanted Julen to trust her strength. Unfortunately, shouting at him didn’t seem to be demonstrating the sort of strength he was looking for. Maybe a little more calm on her part would prove helpful.

“I’ll try to rise above my fears. I can’t believe that Julen and I will never make any mistakes. But I can believe that we’ll always realize them, do our best to repair any damage, and find our way back to each other.”

Aorle’s next bit of advice surprised Rosemary, although it really shouldn’t have. Ask? Could it truly be that simple? Perhaps it could be. After all, she’d just been thinking about how Julen should ask her what she wanted. Surely she owed the same thing to him. An honest request, as opposed to demands made during the heat of a disagreement. But what did she need from him? That was something she would have to give careful consideration.

As Aorle came to a halt, Rosemary did likewise. But his question kept her from looking him in the face. Instead, she stared at the ground, slightly embarrassed that he knew about the fight, and even more embarrassed because the only answer she could give him sounded foolish when spoken aloud. “Julen always apologizes first. I guess I was waiting for him. That’s pretty silly, isn’t it?”

Finally, Rosemary found the courage to let her gaze meet Aorle’s. There was something so comforting about the warm glow of his golden eyes. Looking into them, she felt like everything really would be alright.

“Learn how to tend injuries...” Pondering the idea, Rosemary remembered stitching up one of Aorle’s wounds. Helping him had made her feel useful. More useful than cooking or washing dishes. Of course, compared to Uluki’s magical abilities, mundane healing skills seem a little redundant. But Uluki couldn’t be everywhere at once. And if Uluki knew things that might one day save Julen’s life, then Rosemary certainly wanted to be trained to do them. “That’s a good idea. I’ll speak to Uluki about it as soon as I have a chance.”

Rosemary’s mouth bent into a frown of concentration as she struggled to understand what Aorle meant about following a code of behavior rather than being guided by your own emotions. She wasn’t opposed to the idea. But it seemed very difficult.

“Isn’t that hard? Always needing to think about a bunch of guidelines, rather than simply doing what you feel is right?” Rosemary had a sudden vision of Aorle flipping through some rule book, referencing and cross-referencing, as he tried to discover the proper course of action. “Doesn’t it take a long time?”

The brief look of sadness on Aorle’s face didn’t escape Rosemary, although she misinterpreted its cause. “I’m sorry. This must be very tiresome for you. All of us always pestering you with questions. What should I do about this? What did you mean by that? What flavor of jam should I put on my bread? You probably have much more important matters on your mind.”

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Feeling puzzled, Sir Aorle could only tilt his head in confusion to Rosemary's suggestion. "No, please. I welcome the chance to speak so. To speak beyond a commander's duties is a welcome change." he commented, eventually forming a small smile. He could not fathom why she would expect such from him, had he been impolite? As far as he knew, all he had done was give open advice.

And would do so further. So far Aorle approved of everything Rosemary had said on dealing with the matter, in particular on having faith in context. "Permit me to say that always expecting Julen to make the apologies will be destructive to you both. Every time he does is a time he takes action to restore the damaged bonds of love between you. Every time he does is a time when you have not. I trust this is not how you would wish things to be." Voice gentle and calm, advising in soft tones to offer constructive aid. Clearly she wished to know what was wrong, and he could aid her in seeing that. Few people made mistakes in full knowledge of their effects, that knowledge often prompted them to be mindful of their actions.

One thought in his mind at present was humility. When he spoke of his Oath, to walk humbly and love justice, he was concerned he was failing in that. The disagreement he had with Thetta over rank was fundamentally a power-struggle, which while a matter to deal with was not something he had ever wished to take part in. As a matter of fact, what bothered him most was how readily he jumped into such a thing.

There was also on his mind how he had spoken with the refugees. While his point was fair, he knew they may have been unsettled by what he said. Privately, he resolved to return to them and put them at ease once he had spoken to Rosemary. In fact, as soon as her mind was at rest he would attend to the matter before discussing further matters. To be seen doing such was not shameful, instead, he decided he would rather be seen taking responsibility for mistakes. But seen or not, it needed doing.

"Adhering to a Code of Right can be very hard work, yet work well worth doing. With matters of such importance, I find I would rather devote effort to them. Justice and Compassion must matter each time I draw my sword, and I must take care not to be blinded by anger when I do. 'Tis as you say, hearts waver and make foolish mistakes. Warriors deal in life and death, we need more solid guidance for our swords." While not one to miss the opportunity to persuade one towards rightness, his purpose was not to preach, but to assist. "This may explain the mindset to you better, so they feel less like strangers." The difficulty Rosemary was having with this concept may have been the cause for the distance in their courtesy towards her, for her temperament may unsettle them.

On that note, he gave a nod-like bow of his head. A gesture of respect intended purely to reassure her. He was speaking of hard subjects, and did not wish this conversation to be uncomfortable for her.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Rosemary matched Aorle’s smile, relieved to hear that she wasn’t annoying him with her problems. But what had caused the moment of sadness she’d glimpsed? Somewhere in the back of Rosemary’s mind, that question began tumbling around, while her conscious thoughts focused more directly on the conversation.

“You’re right,” Rosemary conceded, when Aorle advised her against letting the burden of apologies rest on Julen. After a fight, she always looked forward to the moment when she felt Julen’s hand on her shoulder. The moment when he presented her with some small trinket, speaking earnestly about need and regret, reassuring her with his unshakeable devotion. Of course, her own apologies quickly followed his. But the first uncertain step usually belonged to him. And that wasn’t fair. “I’ve been very selfish. I guess I just took it for granted, because Julen didn’t seem to mind. But you’re right. We both have a responsibility to maintain the bonds between us. I’ll apologize to Julen as soon as I have a chance.”

“I just...I got upset because he didn’t want me to go out anymore, not even if I had escorts. Because of Snyde. I know he was just trying to protect me. But it didn’t seem fair. He could put himself in all sorts of danger and I couldn’t even go buy fabric with Uluki and Rollick.”

Rosemary pondered all that Aorle had said about codes of behavior and why they were so important to warriors. The only time she’d used a blade, against a mercenary back in Shim, she’d done so in a fit of terror and fury. Indeed, the terror and fury had been what gave her the courage to slash a man’s throat. She’d always assumed that warriors must operate in a similar emotional state. But, come to think of it, the Lightswords didn’t seem like a particularly hot-tempered bunch. Some of them, like Numidar, were positively icy. They didn’t act on impulse. Their strength came from something else.

“So a code of’s like embroidery.” Rosemary was not a warrior. But she had mastered many domestic skills, and she understood what Aorle meant when he said that important things were worth spending time on. “You don’t just start sewing the thread any way that seems right. You draw a pattern first. You make sure that each stitch is tight, and straight, and fits within the overall design. That way, it all holds together right. It doesn’t unravel.”

As if drawn to it by some sort of sympathetic magic, Rosemary’s eyes came to rest on the embroidered handkerchief worn by Aorle. That was it! That explained his previous lapse into gloom. Rosemary silently scolded herself for being so wrapped up in her own problems that she missed such an obvious clue. “Varanghar mentioned to Julen that Mavelle left on a trip. You miss her, don’t you?”

It was, perhaps, a bold question. But then, Rosemary had just been discussing the intimate details of her marriage with Aorle. Certain thresholds seemed like they’d already been stepped over.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

So far all he had to say was of assistance, although he would not judge so harshly as Rosemary had judged herself. Strange how the time when she was most critical of herself was when she began making efforts to do right. On one hand, seeing mistakes made may prompt her as it prompted him. On the other, acts of personal merit need not be accompanied by a sense of guilt.

"Selfish?" A small shake of the head. "Unaware. Mistakes are made when we know not what becomes of our deeds." As was demonstrated now, she was willing to make efforts to correct the matter, and that was cause for salute. All men falter, women too, even angels saw not all ends. All they could do is strive to do the most good. "You saw no harm. Now you do. And now you act. Well done." As sincere as always. People needed to remember their strength.

Even so, he allowed himself a sudden grin. "Speaking from my vast experience of matters of the heart totalling eleven-and-a-half days of my lifetime." Which consisted of Mavelle and no other. While he did not doubt the worth of his advice, he appreciated the irony of being able to give it.

As accurate as Rosemary's analogy was, Sir Aorle felt uncomfortable comparing honourable conduct with embroidery. One was sacred and the other wasn't. Better for him to explain with context. "In a way. We value honesty and compassion. Any lie told undermines honesty. Any cruel act undermines compassion. When we make exceptions with our actions we make exceptions to what we believe in." Part of why he had proved willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of another was because the alternative would mean leaving them to die.

Finally, Mavelle. This mention caused Aorle to freeze up for a moment, close his eyes to gaze inwards, and compose himself. This was a matter he took great care not to speak of in public, not with the Lightswords, not with the refugees, not with any who had not found out from other means. While not one to care about female 'propriety', he was deeply concerned with preserving her reputation.

Deep breath. "And Julen told you? What have you heard?" While not offended by her question, he felt that no one bar Mavelle had any business sharing this information with Rosemary.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Rosemary beamed when Aorle complimented her. His opinion mattered a great deal to her. She was glad that he didn’t think she was a bad person, or an inept wife. And his confession about his own limited romantic experience drew a giggle from her.

“Like the barber telling a shepherd how to sheer his flock, huh? It makes for some pretty sheep, but not much wool.” Rosemary giggled again, before growing more serious. “Sometimes living through an experience helps you understand it better. But sometimes, being new to something can make you see it more clearly.”

If Aorle had voiced his concern about her analogy, Rosemary would have been surprised to hear it. Comparing the code to embroidery was not intended to diminish his beliefs, or make them seem profane. For her, embroidery was sacred. Julen came from a farming tradition -- his church was a freshly plowed field, his prayers were the tender green sprouts which grew in it. Rosemary came from a family of crafters. Spinning, weaving and sewing were her devotions. With them, she brought beauty into the world, as well as offering comfort and support to those around her. Every stitch was as carefully placed as the words in a monk’s mantra, because every stitch mattered as much. Perhaps more. Who suffered if a monk accidentally misspoke his chant? But a botched stitch could cause a coat to tear, could cause a man endure a cold winter unprotected.

But Aorle didn’t speak his objection, so Rosemary simply struggled to understand his more abstract explanation. Lying was bad, cruelty was bad. Following the code kept you from doing those things. Rosemary felt fairly confident that she could grasp the core of what he was saying. However, it required a great deal of concentration, like reading a book full of big words, without even pictures to occasionally break up the text.

“It sounds very noble. I suppose one must be quite clever and scholarly to learn such a code. Or possess a most disciplined mind. Still, I should like to try. Will someone be coming here to teach us about it?” Rosemary didn’t doubt that Aorle could do a good job of teaching it himself. She just assumed that he’d be too busy with other things.

Aorle’s reaction to her question regarding Mavelle wasn’t what Rosemary had been expecting. The closed eyes and hesitation might be further signs of his pain, but then he started grilling her. Aorle had alluded to the romance himself, just moments before -- unless his ‘eleven-and-a-half days’ of experience came from another source. Why was he suddenly behaving as if she had no right to know? The Angelsworn’s tone sounded even, and he didn’t seem angry. But Rosemary still couldn’t escape the growing concern that she’d just gotten Julen into trouble.

“Julen told me nothing he didn’t see with his own eyes or hear with his own ears. He said that you comforted Mavelle after the fight with Phelan, that you were gentle and affectionate with her. He said that Mavelle told him she wished to be worthy of you. That’s all. How could he know more, when your kin banned him from ever returning to their home?” A slight sharpness entered Rosemary’s voice as she said that. She wasn’t blaming Aorle. But she also wasn’t making any attempt to hide her opinion that House Anstrun’s treatment of her husband had been utterly unfair.

“Julen liked Mavelle, so when he sees Varanghar, he asks how she’s doing. Usually, Varanghar just says she’s fine. But yesterday he said she was going away on a trip. And I thought maybe that was why you looked sad for a moment. I thought maybe you missed her. I thought...I guess I thought you might like to talk about it.” Rosemary tilted her head, letting Aorle see the sympathy and understanding in her eyes. “I don’t have any codes to draw wisdom from. But during the four months Julen spent in Marn, I learned something about missing the people we care about.”

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

While he allowed himself a chuckle at the image of styled sheep, matters turned serious swiftly.

"Thank you." replied Aorle to Rosemary's offer, nodding slowly in both acknowledgement and gratitude. "Though I would not know what to say. And I never knew she went." Accepting offers of comfort was new to him, so often was he the pillar of strength, the supporter. In accepting such aid he could not be those things, and that would mean stepping apart from who he was. "Did you get the gifts she sent you?" Sir Aorle had wondered of this, and he also wished for Rosemary to know of Mavelle's good nature before covering the matter further.

For his own part, Aorle agreed with the decision to forbid Julen from returning to House Anstrun. True, he felt that cutting Phelan's head off would be a perfectly appropriate response to the events of that day, although fairness and truth moved him to admit he felt beheading Phelan to be a perfectly appropriate response to utterly unrelated events. In any case, as far as House Anstrun was concerned, Julen was part of violence against a family member within their home. That Julen was nigh blameless in the matter did not change the situation for the family - either they could forbid his return, or allow back the man who struck a family member.

Rosemary's explanation seemed very guarded, this matter needed to be addressed. "I need you to keep this private. Were word to spead of Mavelle welcoming the attentions of what was then a country squire, and is still a foreigner and exile, that could potentially be very bad for her. With that in mind, who we trust does not matter, she is the one with the right to share knowledge of this." Before speaking next, he relaxed, a sign of no agitation on the matter. "I will be saying the same to Julen." And that was all, he had no plans of further action, because he trusted his yeoman. He would ask that more care be taken, and know that more care would be. Trust and loyalty were wonderful things.

Exile. That was the word he used to describe himself. The only time Rosemary had asked him of himself was over dinner, and the circumstances of his exile made very poor table conversation, so that subject went unmentioned.

Then he smiled wanly, with still some sadness in it. Best to make the admission. At the very least, the act of speaking of this would be a step along the desired path. "My sadness is for another matter. Since taking command, I have been losing sight of humility. Power struggles, a distance from friends, being too busy for people. That is not the man I wish to be." One memory stood out, of being knighted by Amaranda herself and then aiding with the fortifications that afternoon. Yes, that man he much preferred.

One question had gone unanswered. Time to correct the matter. "I will be sharing the Teachings of Angels in services. Many of the Lightswords wish to learn more, and I see no reason to exclude the others. Most of the men-at-arms are qualified to speak of honour as well."
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

“Yes,” Rosemary answered, in response to Aorle’s question regarding Mavelle’s gifts. “Julen has brought me some of the creams and perfumes. They’re lovely. And he says that there are dresses as well, although too small to fit me.” Embarrassment flitted across Rosemary’s face. “I wanted to send her a note of thanks. But I was afraid to have anything with my name on it enter that house. I...I do not wish to antagonize Phelan with reminders of my existence.”

Rosemary sympathized with Aorle’s concerns about rumors which might harm Mavelle. Hurriedly, she tried to reassure him. “Julen has told no one except me about this. And I haven’t shared it with anyone. We take an interest in the world around us, but we don’t spread idle gossip.”

Exile. Rosemary knew that word too well, with all the loneliness and distance it implied. Yet hers was only a temporary banishment. As soon as the mercenaries were defeated, she would return to her farmhouse in Shim, and life would go on. A different life, perhaps. But she’d be home. Rosemary wondered if Aorle would ever be able to go home. She wondered if he would ever be able to make a new one for himself, balanced on the narrow line between two worlds.

“Do you miss your family?” she inquired. “Are you ever homesick for your old land?”

Rosemary nodded solemnly when Aorle spoke about the source of his sadness. She’d noticed his growing isolation. And now, in retrospect, she regretted not inviting him to share any more meals with her and Julen. Since moving into the compound, she’d been embarrassed by the plainness of the food she prepared. But perhaps fine food wasn’t the most important thing she could offer him. Perhaps a friendly chat, a few smiles, and a sense of inclusion would provide more sustenance.

“I think we’ve all been struggling to find our place in the new order of things. It’s not just you and Julen anymore. You have followers now, who look to you for leadership. How do you command them without engaging in powers struggles? How do you handle all your new duties while still finding time for everyone? It’s hard.”

“You made mistakes.” A smile blossomed on Rosemary’s lips as she repeated his words back to him. Not mocking him, but pleased that the advice which had helped her might also help him. “You saw no harm. Now you do. And now you act. Well done.”

Then, Rosemary’s expression grew serious once more. “I do know this. Julen thinks the world of you. If he’s become more reserved, it’s only because he wants to show his commander the respect and honor that you deserve.” Despite her usual reluctance to risk giving the wrong impression, Rosemary reached out, laying her hand on Aorle’s arm. “Go to him as a friend, and you’ll find that a friend still awaits you.”

Rosemary welcomed the news that Aorle would be conducting services about the Teachings of Angels. “I’ll look forward to attending those. And I know many of the other refugees will too.” She didn’t add that Aorle could stand on a pulpit reading the driest gnomish technical manual, and the female residents of Lightsword Hall would still flock to listen.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Bright, heartfelt laughter rung out as Rosemary returned Aorle's own advice back to him. Ironic. Delightful. Most importantly she was right. That brought him new cheer. When her hand lay on his arm, he patted the back of the hand briefly in appreciation and nodded in respect.

Mild effort was made to return to a serious demeanor, although he could not quite suppress a grin. "My thanks, Rosemary, I am grateful." Part of him wondered if this matter was different when dealing with an Oath before Heaven, although here he remembered the teaching of Nobility - that although ideals may remain unreached, the act of striving for them greatens the spirit, growing the character from dust towards Heaven. She was right. "Aye, hard, yet important."

Before addressing anything else, he wished to leave one matter clear. "Before her leaving..." Her a cautious reference to Mavelle, not wishing to overuse her name with such a sensitive subject, "...'twas agreed not to proceed with a courtship." Wide shoulders shrugged, apparently he felt no need to explain further. As Sir Aorle saw the matter, there were two main reasons against the courtship: that Mavelle was not ready for life with a feudal Temple Knight, and that Aorle was not able for a life as anything else.

Another smile. "I barely know my family. Training for knighthood begins near age seven, and we are sent away to the ruling household to train. I only saw my father once since then, which was when he sent me into exile for being an embarrassment to him." Spoken casually, without anger or shame. "My fatherland is much different to this. I have never set foot in a city before, these are strange places for me, with strange ways. I know estates, I know fealty. I know leading a retinue of warriors into a district to destroy a crime gang is not the ways of city folk." Part of Aorle could not help but be amused by that. Direct action had accomplished much, and in his mind was long overdue... and yet never failed to surprise the locals. "I try to use what I know as best I can here, although I am always on unfamiliar ground." Finally a small gesture indicated the compound. "What we do here is basically serfdom." A term which meant no evil to Aorle, the same as democracy alone meant no good. Where he saw true evil was in corruption, and the shantytown had shown to him that corrupt 'freedom' did just as much harm as corrupt feudal lords.

"I have no regrets of being sent here. I have made fine friends, achieved my knighthood, fought evils in need of fighting, and done at least some good in these parts." Perhaps he would do good anywhere, but perhaps did not change what good he had done here, and rather than speculate Sir Aorle was inclined to be thankful for that.

Beginning to move again, he now came to a decision. "Will you walk with me? I mean to set minds at ease." This could be done immediately, if not with the other minds then with his own, and delaying needed action was never easy for the Sword of Heaven. So he returned to the gathering who were working on embroidery, and began a step towards humility.

"Greetings m'ladies. My apologies for seeming harsh with you before, or dismissive. I do not wish to disregard all you have suffered." Since most of them were sat down on the grass, he sat down also, cross-legged, so to not be an imposing figure by towering above. "I do not wish to dwell on dark subjects, although please, allow me to say this. For a long time, each of you has been judged, by wicked men, using a wicked standard. That standard was how they could profit or pleasure from your misery. By what I have heard, for some, this has gone on so long that you begin to accept their judgement, having known nothing else to be judged by for so long." He shook his head meaningfully. "Know this. Each among you has shown great strength to survive all you have endured and with your kindness for each other intact." Here he touched his fist over his heart in salute and bowed his head, holding the bow for several long seconds.

"So if I may ask anything of you, I ask this: hold on to your dreams. We all have dreams, they are great things. My dream? A world where none suffer as you did. Such a world may never come to pass. Even then, none of my efforts are wasted. Because safety and shelter are yours for those efforts. This alone is worth fighting for. How did we all do this? My armsmen stood ready to fight against cruelty, and you were brave enough to find your way here, to bring friends with you, and to support each other through dark times for so long."

"So ladies, those of you who wish to speak of your dreams, I will gladly hear them."
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Return to Industrial District