Submitted Date 08/10/2019

Chapter Two:
Muttering for only Oakley to hear, was Corbin Sorrels warning remark of, "He needs another beating from our Liege-lord for sure, might shake out the rest of his arrogance. His memory needs to be washed clean and reminded that the precious Lady Kate, saved his life! If it were not for her intervention, he would be dead or dying still...Her Grace is particularly tender hearted and cried for days unforgiving towards our Liege, due to all that transpired. If only he could see, that his problems are mostly a result of the things he does so – stupidly!" he bitterly finished with a sad shake of his head. He sighed heavily and silently pondered whether the knight would ever learn.
"Aye, but there's no telling Coleus that my friend, he does have that arrogant pup attitude which is so cocky it's unreal at times. He acts like he is better than us all, and above everything of nature. He is going to have to wake up sooner or later. Because otherwise, I fear, it will cause him more pains and problems in the job than solutions, that's for darn sure." agreed Adrian Oakley pursing his lips tightly.
Before turning back to look out down to the city lights further down the hill, from the cottage. He gave off a sadly wry chuckle as he leaned in a little closer to Sorrel whispering, "You know, I could be mistaken, but he acts like he is in love with her and denying himself by using her as an excuse to his anger. When in actuality, he is more burning with the fact he can't have her as his own."
Sorrel gave him a knowing smirk in turn, his eyes gleaming brightly in the darkness as he said snidely, "Well, well are you not the astute one, in our association of high captaincy? How daring and bold, to even entertain such a notion, my dearest Oakley... but you know what? You may well be right." with that both of them began to laugh, before going back to gratefully sipping their warm tea.
Of course the night air was still enough that Agrivane could hear some of that discourse which floated beyond his hearing as he stepped up to the doorway and pushed open the portal to enter within. He wanted to slam it in turn to the accusation. But his reserve of duty prevented him from doing so. Quietly he latched it back up and grumbled a couple of choice cuss words under his breath instead. His stoic demeanor now scowling heavily into the back of the same device.

Coleus having now entered inside the cottage sighed heavily, as he slipped off his shoes. It was ruddy well icy cold outside and although no wind was blowing, the sky crystal clear, it only seemed to heighten the freeze that was gripping this part to the country. It was pretty outside despite this and his encounter with Sorrel secretly threatening him had already slipped from his mind. As he hung up his cloak, to turn and pad along the corridor towards the stairs in his thick socks he sighed again. Admonishing the idiocy of reckoning from Oakley's lips by muttering to himself the words, "Stupid damn ranger! Always assume everyone thinks like they do, with the wrong ruddy staff head! I am not, in love, with Kate Haggis!"
Dandein came out of the living room area looking non-too pleased about something. Momentarily Agrivane glanced over to watch as the paladin-cleric grumbled under his breath before also heading towards the stairs that led to the first floor and the attic. Pausing briefly as they met at the edge of the first step.
"Everything well, with you?" inquired Agrivane kindly with genuine concern. Leihn had been a little dull in coloration for a couple of days and fretting over something he refused to divulge.
"Kate is awake. Lord Robert went to check on her fire, and found her crying in her bed. I am going up there right now, to sit with her a whiles, till her father has finished his discussions with our beloved Regent." he stated calmly as he began to trudge up the stairs quietly. The wooden construct barely creaking under his footfalls as Agrivane followed closely behind, just as softly.
"How long has she been awake?"
"I don't know, Lord Robert only just came back down, but from what I guess, he had been up there for quite a whiles sorting her out. He wants me to run her a bath. Sort out some clean linens for her bed chambers and the likes. Then sit with her till he can come up." Dandein had not even looked at the knight by his side climbing the stairs solemnly as he spoke so distantly.
He rounded the landing and strode towards the last set of stairs that led to the attic chamber which held the bard. Stopping by a small door way set aside on the landing, opening that up first, to reveal a well stocked linen cupboard. Pulling out what was needed. Before once more walking purposefully towards that last climb.
"If you like, I can run the bath water for her ladyship? Making sure the fire by the water tank and within the water closet is burning well enough." came the polite offer of service from the knight.
Leihn stopped half way up leaning slightly on the banister rail that ran it's length. Glancing to Agrivane and gave him a wan smile. "I would appreciate that greatly. Thank you Coleus. Then perchance you should go gain of your rest."
"It is not a problem, anyway I can help." he nodded and turned back towards the bathing chamber and toileting area that was on the first floor, down on the other end of the landing. Glad that he was not changing out her sheets. But then he had to wonder why, they were being changed in the middle of the night. Also, what had caused her to be crying?
She had probably had a bad nightmare, Kate was prone and well known to have those. It had increased dramatically since her rescue from the Mountain of Ifrinn, where Agrivane's own twin brother, Aegneus Agrivane had died along with several others who had risked their necks or lives to retrieve her from vile necromancers who had set up shop in a labyrinth there. Leihn Dandein had been present during that terrible time too. Coleus wanted to talk more to the paladin-cleric about his experience of that quest, but also did not wish to dredge up any painful memories.
He understood too, that these ghastly haunting dreams that terrorized her on a more regular basis, from what he had been told, also had something to do with what had happened during the ranger festival a few months previously, but she would divulge nothing to anyone. It would not be the first time she had been heard screaming or shrieking in a cry out of painful desperation during her slumbers. Awoken and unable to rest peacefully through the rest of the night.
Kate barely slept more than a couple of hours a night now, by his own estimation and this was obviously not a good sign. The dark hollow circles had begun to circumvent around her eyes again, which had lost some of their sparkling luster. He pursed his lips and wondered if she would ever recover from the trauma of that time in her past.
Some scars though, were easier to heal than others, Coleus knew this to be a fact too, for he carried some himself from so far back that there were days when he felt that restlessness and isolation it brought with remembering. There had to be something which could be done, to make her sleep and rest more undisturbed, other than magic, divine craft or potions. All of which were about exhausted upon the bard.
The only person who seemed to calm her significantly down apart from her father, was of course strangely Dandein. But as yet Coleus had not worked out, how the latter was managing that exactly. He half suspected it was because the paladin-cleric had been there, in the Mountain of Ifrinn, where they had recovered her from the grievous torture she had been subjugated to. Still he would have believed that would not be enough to keep her calm. There was so many questions that raised their ugly heads to this situation that surrounded and cloaked the woman in darkness and shadowy secrets of a rather sinister nature.
Sometimes despite all his anger directed her way, or his disagreement to what others seemed to perceive as the bard, he actually felt sorry for her. So much burden, so young, and filled with such a horrendous loneliness and pain. Which begged to be taken and yet she held onto tightly selfishly.
What the knight failed to recognize was that this was not a selfish act on Kate's part, it was an altruistic heart of not wanting to hurt others that kept her clammed up with her secrets and the darkness that festered and tore away at her soul. Shredding her already tattered self esteem and confidence further.
Nightly she battled her demons and some nights she lost that fight, only to be awoken refreshed in her terror of understanding that it had happened. Relinquishing another piece of the spiritual battle only to fear and knowing that it would start undoubtedly all over again, when she closed her eyes to rest. The only thing that kept the youngest born of Trellawny-Snowfell clan going, was that she had to and she positively refused to allow it to take her life completely.
But of course, as aforementioned, Agrivane did not quite see it as such. He believed she was doing this foolishly and selfishly, as if to use it to manipulate others in bouts of sympathy, and ultimately getting her own way in a lot of areas, usually out of bounds to such notions. However having said this, only three days before, Coleus had found her in the bathroom downstairs, by the basement section of cold storage with a very sharp small peeling knife to her wrist, crying and contemplating slitting her own wrists.
He had only gone into the storage area, to find out whether she had found a box or not that was her original claim for heading down there. He had pulled her to him, wrestled the knife easily from her grasp and she had collapsed in tears. But he had held her tightly in that embrace. Even now, as that sad memory flooded his minds eye, Coleus recalled the smell of her hair. The trembling of her body, those shaking heaving breaths of apology. Why had he not said anything to anyone else in the household he had no clue. But now he regretted it. He should have said something. Should have, could have and sure he had had ample opportunity to do so, but had not.
Simply because in that one moment. In those few meager minutes of holding her in his arms, his heart crushed into his chest again, just like it had all those years ago before he had been rescued. Tears had filled his own orbs. Deigning him to cry with her. And he kept thinking, believing, he could restore that gaiety about her personage once more.
Again he admonished himself for such foolish notions filling his preoccupied mind, he had better things to be doing. Than saving that which obviously did not want to be. Unfortunately this was a constant conflict residing inside his head, that he could not win. For a private selfish part to him, had kept that dark secret merely because he did not wish to share his personal time with her, with anyone. For any reason. Which is now what caused him confusion as he turned and paused. A flat hand to the wall he gasped for breath.
Why did he feel so conflicted over Kate?
What was it, that drove him to these manic episodes of angry outbursts yet, when it was just the two of them, he wished he could stay in that private sphere bubble away from everyone?
Why did he feel so...jealous, when others spoke to her and she did not glance his way?
He straightened himself up once more steely faced and set as stone. Inhaling sharply he clenched his fists. Again the overwhelming temptation to pound his fist into something, like the nearby wall grabbed him fiercely. In truth he felt like he could scream.
It took all his self control to calm down and ignore the infuriating burning questions that swarmed and buzzed through his head with more activity than a hornets nest in summer. He entered into the bathroom area reserved for the family only. His head would not let up. His mind remained ill at ease with the culmination of all that was going on inside it. It was giving him a headache. He had to think rationally. There had to be a more rational reason for all of this – had to be, because the other option was one he could not possibly deign to see and believe as true!

Head hanging down slightly he set to work. His mind numbed by the series of events that had led up to his servitude in the Trellawny-Snowfell household. Kate had gone missing, had been kidnapped viciously and taken to be experimented, tortured and endured a most horrendous fate at the hands of the realms enemies. Some vile perverse necromancers, was what he had discovered from others.
Why had they taken her in particular? What makes her so special and such a vulnerable target? Obviously Neithan sees something in her too, or else why would he pursue her so hardily? Ran the rampant errant thoughts through his head in a whisper of daring.
Damn necromancers! Spat his brain with severe contempt. Practitioners of some severely dark nefarious spell craft and arts that were forbidden. Taking a poor helpless, defenseless woman!
Yet it was due to those sick individuals taking her, that their lair had been discovered, so some good had come of the whole nasty business. As a result, a group of volunteers, ( tauntingly his mind scorned, why had my brother volunteered for such a hopeless venture?) had taken up the mantle to rescue the bard and clean out the labyrinth of the vile personages who held sway over it's occupancy. Several had died. Dandein had gone there, he had been one of those party to volunteering his unique training and skills in such matters. The change he had witnessed upon the paladin-cleric's return had been quite impressive, and he was still no closer to understanding as to why.
Still he continued to process the events meticulously to any details he may have missed previously. So yes, Kate had been kidnapped, and people had been sent out to find her. Volunteers with unique special abilities and personally hand picked. Several had died, his own twin included.
It had ultimately been discovered, that she had been spirited away by these brutal cohorts all for some scrolls that she had tampered with upon realizing what they truly held and were. It still makes no sense. All for some poxy scrolls of their craft? No, there has to be something else I am missing here; rang his inner voice inside his head in a soft hiss of admonishment. But the facts remained, and that was all he knew.
Now they, those same necromancers were still apparently after her, and although the bard professed to not recalling very much, just simple flashes of dark imagery, it was becoming increasingly obvious to those closest to her, that this was not the case. She definitely knew more than she was letting on. Agrivane was certain of it. He felt it with every fiber of his being, that she was holding some relevant important information back from everyone, and he could not fathom out as to why she would do that.
In all honesty, no one was able to.
But it was of course, because of this factor, the pursuit of those perversely wrought practitioners, and the suspicion that she was recalling more than what she insisted which had brought about several conclusions from the elders. Also what had caused several arguments and heated discussions over her care. It was one of the other reasons that Neithan was so insistent on having her under the protection of the main Elonathesei Citadel in Nairn City.
Then she had been brought with Trellawny, under his specific insistence and care, to the Ranger Festival in the Phallachian region. Where she had not only healed the High Prince Regent completely after an incident in which he should have died or at the very least been in a coma for months to recover from, but had apparently done the same with him! It was truly mind blowing.
Having pleaded for his life to be spared first then sneaking behind Neithan Elonathesei's back to gain access to him and use that same ability of spiritual healing to aid him too. Of course the High Prince Regent had known it was her all along, of this Agrivane was assured, for whilst he had been still laid up in the healers area from his injuries, Neithan had personally paid him a visit and another long harsh talk of the most absorptive threatening nature had ensued.
Groaning the words of, "Damn that woman.." lowly under his breath he attempted to shut down the rumble of thoughts that rolled and collided in his head. Making the ache increase in his temples.
He blew out his cheeks in a stream of air as he stoked the fire to make the embers pick up and placed some more dried peat and wood on it to burn. Chanting a little bit more to make it flare brilliantly. Then taking a thin taper, he used the flames in the hearth to light it.
Before steadily, carefully carrying it towards the two hanging trio-wicked candle holding lanterns that were often used to illuminate the chamber. A warm glow filled the room with the scent of honeyed wax and some soft floral scent combined as the candles flared with light and life. Their flickering flames casting shadows and light to dance in brilliance of soft play against the walls and reflecting off the objects in the immediate surrounds.
The very large copper tub here, was rounded on the side facing the doorway, but fitted perfectly tucked into the corner section of the two outside walls. The large tank above it began to make faint sounds in the copper pipes, indicating the water was heating. He turned the lever to check the temperature for himself. With his hand under the trickling flow.
The water was still cold. But this device like all the ones used in the city would not take long to heat. A few minutes at best. He turned his attention back to the bath tub below the lever, and saw that the drainage area was still open. Glancing about for the small screw down plug, that fitted it. Finding it behind him on a shelf with an assortment of scented oil bottles and soaps. He smiled. Trellawny did seem to like his comforts mused Coleus softly to himself in his head.
He lifted the lid down into the tub and began to screw it down snugly, till it was tightly fit. Then opened up the lever more fully. The tub itself was only three and a half feet deep. He was not sure what he should put in the water as he watched its mesmerizing flow into the strangely shaped tub.
Rising back up off his knees, he started to read some of the labels that were on the bottles. Chewing the inside of his mouth absentmindedly as he did so. A hand hovering with unsurety over each of the ones he read. Some types of oils, he had never even heard of before. Indecisively he stood unable to decide. He had no clue as to what type of stuff she liked in her bath tub, nor what might soothe her upset nerves.
Again his mind replayed that moment of the scent her hair had held, and he wondered what that had been exactly. It had been subtle and calming and certainly delicate. Out loud he caught himself declaring roughly in a curt mannerism, "Stop thinking about it Coleus Agrivane! You should be ashamed of yourself enough – no need to be guilt tripping yourself up! You'll get into more hot water than this tub can ruddy well hold! Get a grip of yourself by the stars and trees!"
When it came to those oils he was now hesitant and reluctant, finally with some semblance of control over his wandering mind. Deciding to leave it well alone, till Dandein returned he sat on the small stool provided and waited for the tub to fill.
The steam rising in thick warm delicious plumes that snaked up into the rafters above. Causing him to smile as he watched them trail in twisting dances of enchantment. The room was warming up nicely now too he noted, as he dipped a couple of fingers under the water flow to feel it was particularly well on it's way to being toasty.
There was a sound by the doorway, that startled him to rising swiftly to his feet in attention stiffly. Kate was standing there with Dandein guiding her by the shoulders. She was wrapped simply in a large comfortable blanket. Bare feet poking out from underneath. He bowed his head in acknowledgment.
Her eyes were dark with apprehension and that extreme intelligence she bore, needling into his core and seeing right through his mask of stoicism. Unnervingly viewing him. Her face solemn. There was definitely evidence of tears having been shed, for the eyes as much as they were dark were also red rimmed and had circumvented bruising hollows set about them, giving her that haunting appearance she held.
"I was unsure as to what scents or soaps, you would wish to use, so I leave that to your own capable hands, ma'am." he said very much just going through the motions of his station. Attempting hard not to make her feel uncomfortable after having stared at her appearance. Yet his own orbs grazed her in sub-thoughtful appraisal as if undressing her, or similar. Not that anyone seemed to notice but himself.
A subtle attempt of a smile was offered up to him from her. Back to solemn apprehension and unhappiness filtered through her features as she said rather weakly in turn, "Thank you kind sir. Now, if you mind not? I would like to bathe."
"But of course. I shall wait outside the chamber till you are done if you like? I can clean the bathing chamber up and..." he began helpfully.
"No need. I can empty and clean a tub well enough by myself. Dandein here, will wait for me. Thank you so much for your kind offer, but Leihn and I have this all in hand." she replied so quickly it caught him off guard. Her resolution of voice though still weak was firm in a no nonsense kind of way. It was startling the clarity that carried to weight her words.
He nodded firmly and departed as they made way for him to come out to the landing once more. As he passed he could not help but hail the faint odor of blood. Was it possible? Was the woman on a cycle again? Indeed it would explain the need to change her bedding and the likes. He padded down the landing to the small bedroom he had been assigned to using whilst here.
No, it couldn't be another cycle, that was impossible and besides it smelt, more fresh if it was. For some reason that worried him even moreso. Has she attempted to..? the thought trailed off in a lump of sadness for her. Oh dear Ivura, I should have told someone when I caught her in the basement! Finished his thoughts in a rumble of guilty displeasure and once more fury invaded his countenance.

Coleus Agrivane had been actually pleasantly surprised that the cottage had as many bedrooms as it had on this floor. It was rather spacious on the inside, moreso than he would have given it credit for, if he had of judged it from the outside. He dutifully headed for his own that he had been granted whilst his service to the house-clan remained.
Opening the doorway he felt a small current of very cold air assault and rush past himself. He realized sadly as he peered into the gloom that his own fire had gone out, and undoubtedly that chill would not ease out till later hours of the morning, even if he did re-light the fire. He walked in and at this point, gave up any semblance of hope for the comfort and warmth. He was too worn out, his own body was tired and taught with the intermittent events of the day.
So Agrivane closed the door quietly with a click to the latch and padded the few steps towards the small singular sized bed set out. Flopping himself down backwards with a groan. Arms outspread and staring in the darkness to the ceiling which was dappled in moon shades and shadows of silvery grey and blacks. He closed his eyes and barely managed to lift his own legs up onto the bedstead, as he rolled disinterestedly onto his side. Falling asleep hard before he knew what had hit him. Dreaming deeply and fitfully, though he would most likely not recall them by the time he awoke.

There was a frosted spiral pattern on the small square panes of glass that made up the window to his room. It was more than freezing and the light filtering in through the chink of curtained nets, was a deep pale thick gray. Agrivane was shivering vigorously. Realizing only too late, what a mistake it had been to not have taken care of his hearth when he had returned to his chamber in the early hours of the morn.
Still dressed from the night before he groaned. He ached from head to toe and felt under the weather, his stomach growled loudly and his stomach roiled. Personally he blamed Dandein's cooking. It had not been the greatest meal in the given realms the night before. He had gratefully chowed down into the food which to him, was filled with way too much grease and basted food groups. His stomach now churned painfully and he rushed to get up, staggering to his doorway in the pale gray light, pulling it open harshly as he rushed to the latrine.
Feeling a little better though he was fearful of having another attack of similar ilk, he washed up briefly. Staring glumly, critically into the oblong mirror that hung on the wall above the wash stand. He was shaking. Nothing unusual after having such an upset.
Turning his face slowly one way then the other, he examined his goatee beard. Pondering on whether to shave and trim it, or change the style entirely. But it was still winter and to help protect his skin and face, it was best to keep it as it was. Perhaps just neaten it up a little. It was more scruffy looking than he preferred personally. The small cabinet that sat in silent solitary beneath the wash bowl, was full of care products for such things.
He did not have his own kit with him, and was reluctant to go back to his room straight away to fetch it. It was not that Coleus was lazy, he just needed a little extra time to himself. Something more to focus his thoughts upon other than dealing with the family who were obviously up and busy downstairs on the main level because he could smell the processes of food cooking and occasionally there was voices in muffled incoherent notes floating up to grace his ears.
Searching in the neatly labeled and boxed formation of shelves he found, apart from cleaning items, a small set of presentably immaculately sharp shears for such as his needs requested plus some small screw top lidded jar which had instructions of usage.
Curiously he read through to find that it was some kind of soft sculpting wax for beards and mustaches. This caused him to arch a brow and wonder why Trellawny would have the likes in his cupboard. Till he took the lid off and smelt it. It was not offensive.
In fact there was practically no odor to the product at all, except a faint whiff of what might have been coconut and lemon grass. He stared at himself again in the mirror. Suddenly noticing there was something written on the bottom of the jar. He tipped it up and it read, 'Kennet's blend ' ah yes, well that would explain it. He smiled knowingly to himself.
Admittedly he had something similar in his keep. Most knights or paladins that sported a more neatened appearance usually did from simple beeswax to other such concoctions. The more better the product, the more expensive, so the results varied. However, the side label wrapped about the jar insisted this particular make was from the Trellawny Apothecaries. Which had to mean it was the really, good stuff.
Of course he should have expected this, for the Lord of Lios Alfreon was the son of the Lord Trellawny and obviously would be given this kind of fine grooming such as his station in life allowed. That made perfect sense. For a brief second, the stray wonderment if Kate was privy to such luxuries too, stole his mind to blank out.
However, this jar was here and not in Kennet Snowfell's personal room. If it was in the guest wash room, surely it meant anyone could have use of it, if needs be? Sure he thought, Kennet Snowfell would mind it not if he borrowed a small smidgen. After all, he was a good friend to him too.
With that happier presentation in his brain he began to comb, clip and trim. Then shave the sides where stubble had grown in the last couple of days. Finally finishing it all up with a small braid that was pointed and neat. Then a finger dab or two of the waxing preened into it. He also took time to cut his hair as best he could.
Normally Agrivane would go to see his friend who was better at making sure it was even and well groomed and set straight, but he had no time for that. He merely did as best he could. Then tied that all back in a short braid too. Pulling his hair back taught from his head. It did have the effect of changing his appearance quite drastically. He gave himself an approving smile and nod. Hurriedly cleaning up the area and putting things away. Then marched back to his room. Changed and dressed for the day.
As he walked towards the stairwell once more, he stopped by the bathing room, to place his dirty clothes from the previous day, into the wicker lined basket, that sat outside of it. Lifting the lid he noted with interest Kate's garments and her bed linens were already stuffed down into it.
But there was no scent of disturbing cycling or otherwise germinating up as he pushed his own garments in. Robert was a stickler about such things, the dirty laundry container was probably a very expensive enchanted one for such a purpose. Another smile encompassed his stony solemn features briefly. Well the house-clan did have quite the income.
All of the main household themselves worked too from what he knew, all except their youngest one, Lady Kate. Maybe she had not found her niche to work within as yet? Or maybe it was for some other unfathomable reasoning, but as far as he was aware she did not work. He frowned. Suddenly very unsure of that sobering thought. Uncertain of his assumption of her not being employed. Did she work or not? She was a bard, right? So, surely she did something along those lines, that made income? Now he became uncertain to that concept and even more confused.
That niggling thought brought him back to scowling a fraction as he trundled his way down stairs quietly. Listening to the growing coherency of voices that were in the dinning room it seemed. He could not hear Leihn Dandein, nor did he hear the youngest born of Trellawny-Snowfell, but he could certainly make out Robert, laughing broadly, and the voices of both Kennet and his betrothed, Brian Kiln chatting animatedly about some tale they were regaling which seemed to be entertaining to the elder of their clan.
There was now a loud eruption of laughter from all three of them, as he slid back the dinning room door's panel to find them all sitting around the very large oval table with a feast piled high and plates all neatly set out in placements. Being kept warm on flat stones that had candles burning beneath to retain the heat evenly.
Suddenly the laughter halted to a trickle as he stood there and all three turned to view him. Robert smiled and rose up stating, "Well don't just stand there laddie, come pull up a chair and sit with us, whilst we wait for Dandein and Kate to get in here for to eat."
He nodded apprehension filling him to the core. He could not help but wonder why they had suddenly stopped laughing as he entered in. It was almost as though, they had been talking about him. Paranoia swept an insidious wave across his mental state as he moved with leaded footsteps, towards the table.
"I see, you've changed your beard style." remarked Brian Kiln casually with a smile, as he lifted up the teapot closest to himself, and gave Agrivane the look of asking if he would wish some.
"Eh yes, I did." he nodded consensual for the tea to be poured, and watched its golden red amber colored liquid fill the large gray and green patterned cup before him. "Thank you master Brian."
"I need to fix mine up at some point." remarked Kennet casually as he lifted his own cup and took another long sip of it. His dark slate gray steely eyes flickered briefly towards the knight as he added flippantly, "But I also need to get some more of my wax product from the stores, not sure where I placed my last one."
"Is it the one from your gracious sires own apothecary?" inquired Agrivane cautiously. A sudden horrible sinking feeling pitted his stomach. For a brief nanosecond he thought he might have to run to the bathroom again. Nervous tension filled his core.
Just as Robert stated incredulously, "What do you mean, you lost it? I made that specifically for you last year! That pot was a new blend, and only for you! Even holds yer name lad!"
Skillfully the Lord of Lios Alfreon gave his father a brief glance before turning that cold penetrating stare of his back to the knight. Placing his cup down carefully and stating, "Aye, that it was, as you can tell by mine own tachre's fussing o'er it."
"Well I thought, it was left for others to use. I must apologize but it was in the guest toileting and wash room. So I merely borrowed some. A couple of dabs no more." he explained softly and as sincerely as he could manage.
"No worries, feel free to use it. If you wish to. Now that I know where it is at, I am grateful. For a whiles there I was thinking it might have been stolen. Glad that it was still in the house here, since my last stay." he gave Coleus a very brief nod and smile that did not hover in his eyes.
"Last time you stayed here," came the pointed rebuke from Trellawny, "Was o'er a month ago, why did you no tell me you'd lost your pomade?"
"I had others to use in the mean time. It was no great a loss..." began Kennet simplistically, reasonably.
"No great a loss?!" exclaimed the old healer lividly with indignation.
"Now, now...gracious Lord Trellawny sir, it has been recovered, and I am sure my beloved will insure to take better care of his possession, from now on." smoothed Kiln, always the peacemaker as he raised his hands in a gesture for the same. Before capturing the Lord of Lios Alfreon and urging, "Is that not right Kennet? You will, be more mindful of where your personal stuff is, from henceforth?"
"Of course. Sorry tachre." he apologized very genuinely as he conceded to the point.
"As for you Coleus Agrivane, your usage of it, is off limits I say!" snipped the healer pointedly. "I will personally make sure you have your own, pomade. But that one I made for my laichroi, is for him only. It has his favored oils in it. You need something a little more...suiting to your own self." he smiled thoughtfully with that. A twinkle possibly of mischief filling his watery gray eyes.
For a brief moment a thought struck Coleus of where exactly Dandein and Kate could possibly be at this hour of the day. It was still early or so he believed. He paused sipping his tea, wearing a frown and glanced up asking, "Might one inquire as to the whereabouts of Leihn and your daughter?"
Kennet growled in the knights direction, his orbs darkening a fraction as he ground his jaw. Only to have his hand patted gently by Brian to calm him.
Robert seemed not to notice as he replied contentedly, pouring himself another cup, "Oh they went out and about on a wee errand for me, to the chapel of Ivura, and Kate said she wanted to go visit the orphanage there. So I told them to be back afore lunch was served. They left just afore the snow started."
"It is snowing?" came his next remark in disbelief.
"Aye, has been for near an hour now Coleus. Quite thickly too. I do hope those two are able to get back up the hill in the small carriage mine tachre loaned them for the trip. As you know, mine dainochre has a very tender heart. She was up just before all of us, making breakfast and what she calls cookies, the latter to take to the orphanage as a treat for the wee bairns housed there." explained Lord Snowfell in a quiet rumble of his voice. He was eyeing up Agrivane with a lot of critical discernment to his demeanor. To be perfectly honest, he was not exactly liking the set up of the knight staying within their family housing.
"They should be back shortly." appeased Brian swiftly. The small talisman maker and cleric beamed brightly, "After all, Kate had already prepared almost all the food herself, readied for her gracious father to cook or heat up. They did say they would be here shortly, from what conversation took place a few moments before you decided to join us down here."
"I see. That is a relief then. I am glad she is feeling better, from last nights escapades." he responded again without thinking on his wording or how offensive that might have seemed. Only to realize that mistake way to late, as a breaded round was thrown and it hit him squarely to the side of his face from old Trellawny.
The healer had a scar that ran the length of the left side of his face which had visibly darkened with his displeasure as he spat out furiously, "Escapades? What ruddy escapades might you be referring to exactly? Kate had a very nasty, rough night last night! There were no, escapades, involved! You disrespectful wee twit! Do I need to teach you manners whilst you be under mine roof?"
"I.. I didn't mean anything like her stupidly running to do something she wasn't supposed to." came the flurry of further words flowing from the high captains mouth. His eyes widened in terror as Kennet rose up in the blink of an eye, turning out of his chair with a glare of murderous proportions.
"Excuse me?" he growled in a low bellow that erupted from the paladin knight of the order. The eldest born of the Trellawny-Snowfell clan towered over Agrivane's seated position. Looking fit to commit murder without blinking an eye or any hesitation.
Just as Robert cried to Brian of, "Go fetch me a belt! He needs a bloody tanned hide! I'll teach him to speak ill about my wee one like that! Ungrateful wretch! After all she's done for him!" He had already risen angrily from his seat and was looking at a rather cringing Kiln, who was sat speechless at these developments. Then the healer gave Kennet a look and stated, "Gi' me yer belt laddie!" His Khenvadoin accent now in full brogue and filled with fury.
"Oh no, he's mine first, tachre." came the low threatening termination from his son in turn.
"No, his arse is mine to tak' first!" shouted the man in greens, as he rounded the table towards Agrivane. "I be the elder and in charge of this household, as yer maichre is no here!"
Suddenly the latter seated knight, panicked severely.
What could he do or say to make this right? He had not meant to openly attack the bard's wayward antics or accuse her so readily afore her formidable family males. "Accident! Sorry, I am very sorry!" Coleus covered his head with both of his arms, for he dared not lift his own in self defense or try to raise a weapon in turn, let alone cast any magic.
Kennet was already unfastening his buckled belt with lightening speed and precision, preparing to beat the living crap out of Coleus or hand it over to his father, the knight couldn't be sure, but he dreaded what might follow next! Her family were not known to be kind over an attack to one of their own. They would defend her with all they had, and the stars and trees, help those who were stupid enough to invoke their wrath. Hope was apparently the worst for it, but her husband and Kennet both came a very close second.
Robert snatched the belt from his son and raised it at an angle and was just about to deliver a nasty deadly strike at the cowering knight before him, when there was the sound of someone coming in the front door and the stomping of feet on the mat.
He paused, handing the belt back to Kennet with the calmer more controlled words of, "Here, that's probably our lassie. Going to make sure she is warm and dry afore we serve the main course up. Put your belt away lad. Coleus, had better remember well the thrashing he was about to receive. Next time though, you can punch him out, on my behalf." before walking out of the dinning room.
Snowfell, who was the Lord of Lios Alfreon leaned down low towards Agrivane's head as he slipped his belt back on without even looking, and said in between clenched teeth and snarling countenance, "Mine dainochre is good to you. I best never hear you utter a single word against her again, or so by Ivura's light, I swear, I will hurt you in a way you never, believed possible, Agrivane."
Then he too stormed out of the dinning room. Leaving a rather stunned Brian Kiln still sitting in shock at this outcome and a very shaken knight still cowering by his placement at the table. Slowly, cautiously, Coleus pulled his arms away. He was shaking, trembling all over.
Now all aglow with perspiration to that close call. This encounter had truly been unexpected. He had never before felt so scared, save when his Liege-lord had sent for him over a matter that had angered him. His breathing labored and his heart was still pounding with the adrenaline surge and fearful compromising position he had exactingly put himself in.
"You really ought to be a little more, careful with what you say around my beloved and about his family." finally spoke the cleric still wearing a worry wart expression. "He will not think twice to killing you, if he thinks it would serve his purpose to protect his sister. He loves her very dearly. She means the realms and back to him. Please do not make him so volatile again. You are both supposed to be friends of ages..."
"I am so sorry, Brian – I do not know what possessed me to say it all like that. It was unintentional and very ill mannered of me. Please forgive me." begged the knight still tremulous and fearful.
"I am not the one you should be requesting such a boon from." muttered the future husband of Kennet sadly as he rose up adding, "Just keep your head down, and perhaps speak less?" Then he walked towards the warming cupboards and began to open up the small areas, pulling out the wracks that held a variety of dishes kept hot and fresh within. Using two large mitts on his hands. Setting the dishes carefully onto the table's length.

Leihn Dandein came into the dinning room, and he was accompanied with Kennet, who had his arm about the paladin's shoulder and the pair were avidly discussing the depth of the snow and how it had now got thicker in places, that might stop travel up and down the hill to the cottage entirely.
"Even the terraces where the fruit trees are, you cannot see them from the main gate." came the words of the paladin-cleric casually, "And your lovely sister, hit me with a ball of that stuff too! She got the kids in the orphanage to chase me around the yard for a good half hour throwing balls of snow at me. That is why I was so plastered. Thank you for the towel and fresh attire. I much appreciated it my brother-in-arms."
"You are always welcome Leihn, and how did the message go with the high priestess there?" inquired Kennet sincerely interested. Grinning at the thought of his sister's playfulness briefly.
"Oh well enough. Though she thought you might like a reply. So I had to wait for her to scribe one. That is when Kate asked me into the yard, and I got pummeled." he laughed at that. "A paladin of mine training taken out by some children with snowballs!" Snowfell joined him with laughing about that. "This then, is for you." smiled Dandein politely and he passed the note to Kennet.
"Thank you most kindly for bringing this and delivering the message requested." he said as he walked over to Brian who was anxiously viewing them both from his peripheral vision. He kissed his mate softly on the cheek and whispered something that no one but the smaller counterpart could hear and wavered the note he was holding at him.
"Good morrow to you, Coleus, I see you are finally up and awake. But you probably got up soon after we left. Sorry that I missed you this morn. Left half way through breakfasting." smiled Dandein completely unawares of anything having ever happened.
"Actually I have not been up that overly long. An hour perhaps at the most. Maybe less." admitted the latter feeling a little more secure now that the paladin-cleric was here. There was comfort in the fact he did feel that Leihn was partially sympathetic as well as on his side in most matters concerning the bard.
"Oh good, then you can do half my patrol around the garden tonight then..." he joked back in turn.
"Think I will pass to that offer, thank you." he smiled back, more at ease.
Now the table was set, Robert came in and Kate came waltzing in behind him. Not wearing anything a lady of this realm would be reasonably allowed under any normal circumstance. Thick pair of black velvet trousers that were baggy, a black t-shirt that had some brightly colored blue box and logo painted on it. Completing her ensemble was a long grayish blue cardigan of wool, that had moth holes in places along with a thick pair of stripey grey, green and white ankle socks.
The first thought to shunt through his brain as she came in was, "By Ivura's light, what in Sheols is she wearing? How can old Trellawny be alright with her wearing something like that?"
Her hair was tied back neatly and she was wearing a purple, with plain black paisley patterned head square on. Folded in a triangle over her unruly locks that were obviously still wet and drying in tight ringlets and curls that had gone dark, with the cascade half way down her back.
Her skin was bright and clear, holding a soft glow to it. With cheeks a ruddy merry red along with the tip of her nose from being outside. Her lips were still a purplish pinkish blue hue in pigmentation. A strange combination but not uncommon. Her eyes were a fabulous coloration of light gray, pale green with touches of blue flecks in them. As soon as Coleus saw her, his jaw almost dropped to the table mat before him. Amazingly she caught him, as often had been the case by surprise.
Her orbs lit up further upon spotting his presence and she smiled even more stating delightedly, "Oh wow, you've changed your bearding style – it looks great. I love the way you've braided it. But I think your hair looks better down than tied back like that." in an honest declaration of warmth that stunned him further. He was speechless. Her smile, to him, personally was so completely different and bright. Warm, welcoming and rendered him dumbstruck. The way she tilted her head slightly, was so cute. All further machinations of his brain ceased to function at this point.
Kennet walked past him, momentarily blocking his sister's view as he nudged the knight hard with his elbow, then hissed the words of, "Had you not better state something in turn sir?" between clenched teeth of annoyance. Prompting him further with, "When a lady pays a compliment..." his eyes narrowing viciously and darkening at the same time.
"Why erm, thank you most kindly dearest lady, I trust your excursion went well?" Agrivane finally inquired politely in an embarrassed way, almost shying from her piercingly bright gaze in his direction as Kennet moved further away once more, setting out a large tumbler with some kind of orange colored liquid in it.
"Oh yes, so much fun!" came her grin and small chuckling response. "The children really enjoyed and appreciated the visit. Must admit, so did I." At this she turned to her father and still holding his arm she walked around the table to the head seat and let him be sat first.
Only to sit right next to him, opposite to her brother, who swiftly walked around to where she was and pushed her chair under her elegantly pecking his sister on the cheek with the soft endearing remark of, "Glad you made it back for lunch my darling dainochre. I must say I am surprised, you would be wearing your t-shirt I got you, it only arrived yesterday evening."
"Its perfect!" was her gleeful response happily. Again her whole countenance radiant as she went on with a small childish grin of, "But how did you know, I loved the Dr Who series? Did you get that information from Ellenyannesei or Leihn?"
Kennet sat down and gave her a mysterious smile replying with, "Oh my lips are not quite sealed as to how I found out, maybe I will let you know." rather teasingly as he then added more reasonably, "But I am glad that Ellenyannesei was able to understand what I asked for and find it. It is a very colorful piece of attire and if you are comfortable in it, then that suits you well Kate."

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