|A Simple Question A Special Afternoon|
|Summary:||Otto prepares a surprise for Muirenn and asks a question.|
|Related Logs:||All the logs between Otto and Muirenn|
|A clearing in the middle of the woods|
|August 13, 289|
Otto leads the along the trail, riding the courser that usually Squeek would be riding. "I'm glad you agreed to the ride," he says with a smile, looking over to Muirenn. "I do hope that this is to your liking, my lady," he adds. They'd left the roost, with Otto inviting Muir and her entourage on a ride, promising that maybe they could find some proper clippings for her garden in the process. Little did they know the real destination he had in mind, and just why Squeek hadn't been seen in the past day since Otto's arrival back at The Roost. Otto had been mostly quiet during the ride, giving a few compliments here and there to Muirenn and even her Septa and handmaid, trying his best not to look guilty of anything, but failing horribly as he couldn't wipe the broad smile off his face.
Pryderi is glad to be out and ridden yet again and he prances lightly, playfully shying at shadows. Though he requires her steady hand and a bit of focus, Muirenn glances at Otto's wide grin skeptically but smiles "I am glad to have you returned safe Ser Otto…also I am glad for the opportunity to get away from the hunt. The smell tends to grow obnoxious to the nose after a while." Not that the maiden actually was involving herself in the task of skinning and processing the game that had been won, but she was there and trying to be supportive of one and all. Today it was clear she had stayed away from the action, the frothy pale green gown is embroidered all over of rosebuds and shows not a speck of dirt anywhere, not even the hem. Girlishly she gives a little kick of her pink slippers and grins, "I am excited about replenishing some of my herbs. We don't have forests such as this close near Seagard or The Roost, so this is quite a treat Ser!" Laughing she adds, "Whatever your business with your Uncle, it didn't seem to take long. I trust all is well? How are your cousins? It is good that everyone is back in time for the festival!"
"It went better than I could have hoped," Otto says with a smile. "My lady, I'd like to check out something along this game trail, if you don't mind. I think I may have heard something. Would you care to attend? Maybe we can find something to your liking along the way that we won't find along the main trail." As he speaks, he points to a well beaten, though narrow trail, one big enough for a horse and rider to ride single-file. There was the very faint smell of smoke and cooking coming from the general direction of the trail. His smile was every so broad, and he couldn't look Muir in the face, for risk of spoiling any surprise that might be ahead.
As the trail narrows, she glances reassuringly over her shoulder, one of the Mallister guards moves to ride directly behind her, putting himself between the noblewoman, her Septa and Miniella. Muirenn just nods "Sure. If you wish Ser." The guard's nod that all was well calmed her some, but the young girl still seems a bit edgy in the woods. The last time she was in a forest prior to the hunt she was captive. Sniffing the air she asks warily, "Ser Otto, you don't think there are bandits ahead do you?"
Presumably, Septa Waldsteinia had been let in on the secret and the elderly lady says tartly from behind the guard "My Lady Muirenn be at peace you know better."
"My lady, I assure you that you are safe with me and your guards," Otto says with a smile. He gives a reassuring smile to the Septa and to Muirenn as he rides ahead, ducking under a branch here and another there. "It's not far I don't think." As he rides, the trail widens a bit, just enough to ride two abreast comfortably.
After a few hundred feet, His destrier was there, along with a tent with a small feast set up underneath. A fire was burning, though mostly coals and a small pig was on a spit being turned by Otto's squire, Squeek. Roses, kinds picked from every garden between Heronhurst and the Roost were in abundance, draping the tent's ropes and hanging down. Along with Squeek were to maids and a small wagon, brought in along another trail opposite the clearing of the game trail that Otto had led them down. "My lady Muirenn, welcome to your private feast," he says with a smile. He dismounts and Squeek runs over to take the reins of the horse and to gather those of the others. Muirenn's stable boy was here, along with her falcon which was roosted on a long pole next to Otto's own hawk.
"I figured, with all the festivities at the Roost, my lady wouldn't mind a more private lunch surrounded by the beauty of nature. I hope she is pleased," Otto says, moving over to Muir's horse to assist her in climbing down. It was apparent that his squire, the maids, and even the stable-hand had been working hard at this all morning and even some the night before.
"I know I am Ser Otto, I just…well…it hasn't been so long ago. Please forgive me for my worries. I am not usually so jumpy." Muirenn gives an abashed smile and ducks her head shyly as nudges Pryderi forward to ride beside Otto as the trail widens. A green vine snags at the gossamer veil over her hair, but the girl reaches back easily smoothing the sheer fabric down. Glancing over at the taller man she gives a soft laugh, "Your smile is quite in abundance today Ser, while this fact pleases me more than you can imagine, it also makes me wonder wh…" Her words die off as they break out of the woods into the clearing.
The scene as a whole is taken in with a sharp inhale, Otto's words registering distantly as slowly each detail is absorbed. The guard's assist the young Mallister's Septa and handmaiden down, the pair chattering in soft, excited whispers. The teenager holds her arms out saying softly "Help me down Ser Otto that I might better appreciate the wonders you have gifted me here." The touch of the multitudes of roses is not lost on the girl but for now she just looks down at the man beside her.
Otto raises his arms to assist Muirenn in getting off the horse, his smile even broader now than it was before. "My lady, I hope you are pleased," he says with a broad smile. "I have something for you, as well." As he says this one of the maids comes over with a black velvet cloth and holds it out. Otto undrapes the top and exposes an ornate necklace, antiquated for sure, but lined with fresh water pearls, white opals, and silver.
"My lady," Otto says as he kneels before her, taking the necklace. "I must admit about my trip to Heronhurst. If you will have me, and agree, for it is the only way I will go through with it, then arrangements have been made and all permissions gathered or in the process of being made for us to be wed." As he speaks, he looks up into the woman's eyes, the necklace held out before him as he rested upon his knees. "I know this seems sudden, and we can take as long as you like, but with our past conversations…well my Lady Muirenn, I want you to be happy and I want to be the one who makes you happy."
The strength of Otto's hands, easily supporting her weight as he helps her off of the gelding is reassuring. "Oh, I am well pleased Ser and very touched. I have never had anyone do such for me. First the picnic and now this," settled securely upon the ground Muirenn twists to give Pryderi a pat as he is led away. Her guards and chaperones give the pair enough space to give an illusion of privacy, but are focused upon their lady's reactions almost breathlessly as she turns back to Otto just as he undrapes the necklace and kneels.
Moistening her lips, shock…awe…frustration…and something more tender war for predominance in her expression. Saying nothing for a moment, the girl just studies him…taking in not only his face and posture but weighing his words. Finally, her fingers reach out to lightly brush a stroke along his cheek, "Otto, while I am not thrilled at your impetuousness but know that from the moment we met there was a feeling that you were a kindred spirit and I am touched that you wish so much for me to be happy." There is a pause as her fingers trail along his jaw and then beneath his chin and then she gives a soft laugh, "Yes Otto. I am very sure that you will be successful in this venture." In typical Muiri fashion, she glances at her Septa just as her retinue releases their breaths and at a nod, she reaches down and gives the massive knight a giggling embrace, "I have never seen such a lovely necklace in all of my life! Might I wear it now? I know it is surely a trifle elaborate for feasting in the forest but it is sooo lovely!"
"Of course, my lady," Otto says after a moment’s pause. He stands up, with the necklace and moves around behind the woman, carefully draping it around her neck, careful to stay in proper sight of her Septa. "Forgive my impetuousness, my lady," he says softly as he clasps the necklace around her neck. "This was given to my grandmother by my grandfather," he says. "Then, passed to my mother and now to me. I give it to you, my lady. It simply did not look well with my armor," he adds with a wink, as he comes back around the woman. The jest helping with his nerves. "There are salads and fruit, venison and boar, salted mussels and trout from the rivers and nuts from the trees."
The man was quite nervous, and his hands were shaking a bit as he moved to lead Muirenn towards where the tent was set up. "Lady Muirenn, I believe we are true kindred souls, and I swear to you my heart and my fidelity. You will forever be protected and provided with everything I can give. If that is not what you want though, my lady. Say now, and forever we shall be friends. Tensions run high in the Riverlands, but even now, we might be lucky and able to go with not only the will of our families, but of our hearts."
Inside the tent, with its walls draped wide open for airflow and such, there is a narrow table with an elaborate setup of vegetables and fruits in tidy trays. It likely cost the young knight a great deal of coin to set this up on such short notice. "The flowers, Squeek and I picked ourselves along the roads back. None of them as beautiful as you, and most of them plucked from private gardens with the permission of the owners. None though is as special as this one," he says pointing to one growing out of the dirt, just in front of the table. Pink and white, with touches of blue were the petals of the wild rose, growing in the clearing. "One of the maidens of a local farmer told me of this when I had asked for the apples. It is why we chose this clearing for this lunch, and if you choose, we will carefully remove it from the soil and take it to your garden, though I truly believe it would be best to let the gods watch over it here."
The teenager is also nervous, though Muirenn's hand trembles only slightly in his. Biting her lower lip she gives a shake of her ruddy head "Ser Otto, in all my musings of my betrothal none of my dreams matched the sweetness and beauty of this that you have prepared for me. I could ask for no more charming a husband. I believe that you have outdone even my cousin Ser Kamron." Her grey eyes take in the feast that has been set up in the tent. Rather than sitting right away, the girl moves to go study the wild rose more closely "Oh it is so exquisite! Yes, it would perhaps be good to let it stay here…but" she glances up and then quickly lowers her lashes as she murmurs, "maybe we could return here after….to obtain a cutting for our home?" Looking up she smiles hopefully, "It is a lucky omen I think." Straightening she allows herself to be led to her seat near her Septa and handmaiden, "This all looks delicious! I am so glad that I missed breaking my fast this morning, I hope I can do this justice."
Otto seems to breathe a sigh of relief, smiling broadly and letting out a deep breath. "My lady, I am honored," he says humbly. His squire was pulling the small pig off the spit and laying it on a platter, diligently beginning to cut into the steamy flesh. "There is a bit of Dornish wine and sweet ambers, and watered red for your Septa and guards," he says as the stable hand moves to feed and water the horses.
"My lady, I could think of no other that I'd rather spend my days with," the large knight says humbly as one of the maids pours two glasses of wine for them and another was pouring and handing out flagons of watered down red to the other 'guests' in celebration. "The day I met you, my heart was yours, my lady. I knew that I wanted to be there with you, to protect you and honor you."
A flush rises to her cheeks, traveling down her throat as he speaks. She listens silently, focused on his face as if it were just the two of them and her chaperones and guards were not right beside her. Finally she extends a hand towards him and says quietly, "You are one of the most honest and honorable men that I have ever met Ser Elrick Otto Erenford. I know that my father must think so too if he felt you worthy of me" of Patrek she says little, knowing that her young cousin is overwhelmed with politics from all sides right now, "There are three people in this life who call me Rose. I would honored to be your Rose as well." Though her fingers tremble and her shy blush remains as bright as ever, her lips curve into an impish grin and she giggles softly, adding "Thorns and all."
Otto's smile is persistent, and there's a warmth to his face as he looks to the woman. "Then, Lady Rose, I am yours." He was so pleased at the way things turned out that he was at a loss for words. He had all this elegant speech planned out in his head, rehearsing it all the way from the Roost to here, yet now it has slipped him completely. He holds out a glass of wine, and sips at his own a bit nervously, his smile unflinching.
Taking the goblet of wine, Muirenn lifts it to take a sip. "Delicious!" She tilts her head and asks softly, "So…all of the betrothal negotiations are complete? I confess to surprise and to being quite impressed that you were able to manage things so quickly." As a plate is fixed for her she just keeps that radiant smile upon Otto outshining even the necklace that glistens like drops of starlight and moonlight clinging to her skin. "You have made this a very magical place and a very magical moment for me." The teenager looks utterly overwhelmed and swept up in the sheer enormity of everything.
"I have yet to meet your father personally," Otto says with a bit of hesitation. "I had talked to Lord Miraz of our courtship, and he took it upon himself to contact Lord Ser Patrek. A letter to your father, and I imagine a good word from one of your family that has met me, and well, he gave his blessings," Otto says.
Otto takes a sip from his wine and offers a weak smile to the woman, desperately hoping this wasn't a deal breaker. "I had hoped to speak with him personally, my lady. Sadly, with tensions brewing in the Riverlands, it has not been possible." He pauses to take another sip of wine and sets the goblet down, dedicating all of his attention to his 'Rose'.
"Oh, I am so relieved!" Muirenn says with a happy sigh, "Not that meeting Papa is bad, but that means you haven't met my Lady Mother yet and do not have second thoughts." The girl flashes a wide grin "She is a wonderful lady, truly, but is a bit" there is a long pause as Muirenn searches for words, "over protective of her children? A very forceful personality…though she loves and is quite compassionate." Glancing around she smiles, "Here, eat something," and goes about making her knight a plate. Biting her lip she gives another soft laugh, "I confess Ser Otto, I am so very nervous."
"My lady, you are not the only one who is nervous," Otto says as he follows along behind her. "I must admit, I was terrified that you might get offended by all this, but I wanted to make sure it was possible and it could not have gone better," he says with a broad grin.
Otto's squire and the maids, even the stable boy, they were stealing slivers of the roast pig as they made plates for the Septa and Muirenn's other followers, trying to give the newly betrothed space. "My beautiful Rose, there is not a soul out there who could dissuade me other than you from seeking out my heart, and my lady, you did not push me away so I take it that you are as happy with this as I am. What more could any person want than to be able to wed the one they truly choose? Such things are usually reserved only for the commonfolk, and even then it is a rarity."
Blushing at the effusiveness of his words, the girl murmurs "My parents wed for love. I imagine it was a bit of a scandal at the time, but they were distant cousins who had met. But somehow they were permitted. It is indeed a rarity." Taking up her glass, Muirenn sips at her wine adding, "I know that now we are good friends, but you seem to be someone whom I could develop quite tender feelings for over time. It is like a new plant that starts small but grows and flourishes into something wondrous with the proper nourishment and with time. I am exceedingly happy and feel quite blessed. I am betrothed to a man who is exceedingly handsome, is possessed of integrity and good humor, who is compassionate, and who says that I have captured his heart. There is nothing there that could possibly make me unhappy." Though her attention remains focused upon Otto, Muiri has quite regained her appetite and nibbles at the array of fresh produce that is such a treat after months of rationing, "You spoil me…this fruit is delicious!"
Otto blushes deeply at the kind words, "My lady honors me with her sweet words." He takes a bit of venison and snacks on that for a moment. "Let us enjoy our meals, our afternoon together, and maybe finish with a bit of hawking if you'd like," he says with a smile. "I know there are things at the Roost going on, but today I had to steal you away for but a bit."
"You are my betrothed and today of all days I am yours to steal away" Muirenn giggles and teases, "I would love to go hawking with you. I am not all that good at it, but I am working at the skill. I thought it potentially useful at helping put game on the table when things were so bad at the Roost." The teenager's smile seems to be a permanent fixture today, lighting up her face as she adds, "Perhaps I honor my lord, but I also am exceedingly truthful. It is why I am horrid at politics…though admittedly I find them quite interesting."
"I like those words," Otto says. "You are my betrothed, I like that." He chuckles a bit and picks up an apple, taking a bite. "And, don't fret my dear, I am not an expert hawker by any means, only getting into it in the past year, and my bird is still young and a work in progress." He chuckles a little bit at the mention of politics, "There are benefits, my Rose, to not being the direct child of a lord, such as Miraz or Lord Patrek. We are not used as much for politics as their true-born children. Granted, we're still pawns in their game of thrones, but we are not expected to be envoys as much."
"Well, it would be a direct child of my late Uncle Lord Jason as opposed to my cousin Lord Patrek since I am his elder by four years" Muirenn grins, though sighs after a moment "Lord Jason only had Patrek…but there are my Uncle Calven's daughters so it was not placed entirely upon my shoulders." Nibbling at the salads and some of the roast pork, the girl is silent for a while before looking up suddenly with a brilliant smile "I like hearing you call me Rose. I offered but was not sure how I would truly feel for there are only three who call me such and all three exceedingly dear to me, but I like hearing you say it."
Eventually, once everyone has eaten their fill, the young couple continues with the afternoon activities that Otto had planned. Muiri seems positively radiant, thoroughly happy and content. Every so often her hand moves to tenderly brush fingertips across the necklace that circles her neck.