|Kingsgrove Wedding Feast|
|Summary:||The wedding ceremony has finished and now it is onto the grand feast for noble guests.|
|Related Logs:||Other logs of events happening around the wedding of Aeliana and Stafford|
|Grand Hall, Braeburn House|
|The Grand Hall of Braeburn is of masterful design, despite its small size; the standing support in the four corners of the room the trunks of great trees from the Grove, felled not by the hand of man, for all things are kept sacred, but by nature itself over time. Polished and preserved, they set the framework and tone for the space whose light pours in to spill across the marble floors from coloured glass windows that grant light from either side; between which hang the banners, both for House Groves and Mallister to whom their sworn.|
|March 8th, 290|
The Grand Hall had become a place of loud feasting and drinking once evening had settled and all the official toasts, dances, and ceremonies were out of the way. A beautiful if somewhat stuffy wedding, with no great scandals or surprises. After Lord Stafford's last brush with engagement, that was all likely very much on purpose. All the benches were crowded with guests, nobles and knights, and of course the servants that catered to their whims. Though the main meal was over, there was still a constant stream of drink and food to fill the platters of those who demanded it. The stone floor had gotten moist with spillage.
Due to the Minstrel Competition a couple of days hence, a healthy number of entertainers were also pleasent. Not all professionals, mind, though they all had a hope to become so. A noble house's patronage turned a harsh smalfolk existance into a life of leisure in comparason. So music was everywhere, abeit sometimes crashing against each other as instruments viewed for drunken supremacy.
The Jast is currently seated where he was assigned to with the lady he has escorted to the wedding earlier and to the Great Hall, the Lady Arabella Fenster. He had eaten his fill and is already a few glasses of wine in but with a strong constitution, the alcohol has not affected the young knight much, at least not yet. He is now leaning back in his seat, the lap cloth that he used to keep his newly designed form wear clean is now tossed on the plate that holds the remnants of the feast. Turning to the Fenster, Erik offers her a smile as he swirls his wine cup, "Now that was quite the feast, wasn't it? And the ceremony earlier was quite nice."
It had been a wonderful day thus far and it seemed to only be getting lovelier for the Fenster who is accompanying the Jast Knight. Indeed the wedding had been beautiful and not at all stuffy in the opinion of Bella. Content now to watch the others as they meander around alternately drinking and continuing the celebrations in their own way, she glances up at Erik as he addresses her, replacing her own goblet down on the table, the same wine she had been nursing the entire evening. "It was perfect, everything was from the ceremony to the feast and the after party." Her own meal having been long since finished. "Are you anxious for the tournament tomorrow?"
There are those who may say later, that it looked more funeral than wedding, for as suspected and to some few promised, Aeliana Groves nee Ashwood had indeed worn the full on black of mourning. In fact she wore it still. But it was fashionably done, to say the least, where she'd given a nod towards joined houses in the embroidery against the ends of those long bell shaped sleeves in the sharp line of crown trees that adorned it. There had been no passionate kiss for the joining and the lady sat, even now, with a polite smile fixed on her face. Laughter and good cheer had greeted those who'd spoken but…only those few who could claim to have known her for any length of time, might realize that bright happiness had never reached her eyes and of those same few, could see easily that she drank steadily; which for her was more than usual.
"Anxious? I wouldn't call it anxious… eager perhaps. The time will come when we see who is courageous enough to ride against me." The Jast says with a rather confident grin that is directed at Arabella before lifting his cup of wine to his lips, taking a sip. He is definitely looking forward to see how many would skip him over and challenge the new Lord Husband directly. Erik does shift his gaze to the head seats from time to time, watching the newly wedded lady.
The Young Lord Stafford had drunk in the earlier toasts, but at this point in the evening the contents of his golden goblet - a wedding gift from the Freys if one could believe it - consisted of one tenth wine and nine tenths water. The sort that would not put a fog over his head for the tomorrow. His manner where he sat at the pinnacle of the high table with his newly annointed lady wife at his side, was of lordly contentment, offering benign and hospitable talk to any who paused to address him. His smiles were small but seemingly genuine, his eyes sparkling. Every now and again his left hand would reach other in Aeliana's direction to brush a light stroke across the top of her knuckles, or to lean in and say a word or two. Even so, there was none of the clinginess of mooneyed lovers in the behavior, no bubbling passion and overwhelming happiness.
Eager. Bella might have guessed and the look of chagrin she gives him mixes well with the amusement in her eyes. "Ride against you? I think you may be surprised at how many challengers you get, Ser Erik. You have quite the reputation of being one of the best, so some would dare come to challenge that for that reason alone." Her own wine is watered of course, though it is still halfway full. Her own gaze seeks the newly wedded couple though they do seem rather melancholy despite the say. With the recent happenings it was understandable, but the flash of concern in her eyes is genuine before she looks away at the others present. "It looks as if the party will continue awhile."
With a bride in black and the Young Lord offering polite distance, the pair made a fitting image where they sat. He with his watered wine and she, drinking surely what he chose in absence. She'd turned her head as well, to listen and then, even the politest of frozen smiles fell away, as the lady turned up the last of her wine and signaled a servant to refill her glass. "If my lord will excuse me," Aeliana murmured and while she did offer a touch of a smile, it didn't linger and she rose up to her feet once the glass was refilled; her dark eyes searching out the crowd for one face in particular out there on the seas of it. And if not within? Perhaps without. Thus does she begin her search.
"Well, let us hope I live up to my reputation then. There hasn't been too many tourneys that have been held here in the Riverlands since I've joined House Ashwood, so I am certainly looking forward to the one tomorrow." Erik says with a nod of his head, taking another drink of the wine from his cup, one that is no doubt watered as well though the instructions to do so would have been given quietly to his server. Eyes do scan the nobles that are present tonight, most likely seeing which ones he recognizes and which ones he does not. At Bella's statement about the duration of the party, he nods his head, "Indeed, the festivities usually continue deep into the night, sometimes well into the day as well for some."
Having been circulating through the crowd, Robben is walking with Lady Aemy Erenford. Offering some quiet words to the lady, with a bit of a chuckle afterwards, as he sips his wine a bit thoughtfully. Looking around for a few moments now, he spots Aeliana making her way through the crowd, and starts leading the lady in that general direction now.
Young Lord Stafford's expression briefly flickerd with a sign of weary frustration as Lady Aeliana made her excuse, one that he as a cordinal knight politely accepted. He rose to his feet with smooth elegance, bowed, and then only sat back down once she had moved on. The sip he took from the glass of watered wine did not much satisfy his needs just then. For a second he glanced towards the nearby servant, frowning at the poor boy who was reduced in seconds to uncertanity. "Never mind," he said under his breath, turning back around to the high table. His polite mask had returned, not a hitch in it at all.
"When have you not lived up to your reputation?" Bella asks quietly, the accompanying smile somewhat amused still. That she is enjoying the event even moreso than the newly married couple does not escape her. When Erik looks around at the crowd, she tilts just a little nearer to speak quietly. "Are you observing the possible competition?" Sharing a quick grin with the Jast Knight.
With another sip of wine, the dark haired nee Ashwood wove her way through the crowd and when she caught sight of the side exit, there was a moment when she almost ran to reach it. Drawn up short, by the sight of Robben changing paths to head, with his betrothed in her direction. And for a long moment, she looked at him, studying his face as if she saw someone else there instead and then? Well, then the lady did run. Bolted in fact; one hand in her skirts to make the running easier.
With her hand lightly placed in the bend of Robben's arm, Aemy strolls quietly beside the Ashwood. Having spent little time with his family here in Kingsgrove, she was not quite so familiar with them. However the mood was more somber than she had expected it to be for a wedding. At his side when he leads her to his sister and her bolt, she glances up at him with a furrowed brow, worry evident even as she removes her hand. "Please, go to her, she will need you. I will just.. meander around." Encouraging him to go seek her.
A thin lipped but otherwise impassive face followed the path that Lady Aeliana took across the feasting hall, not so much as blinking, not even when she bolted like a startled deer caught by a huntsman's sights. Instead he took another sip, murmured something about: "We're both a bit exited," to some older guest seated next to him who made a comment of concern. A moment later he had summoned the servant of earlier, to follow after his fleeing wife to make sure that she was fine.
"Let's hear the Jolly Boar," he called out to the nearest musician, who had fallen into silence upon watching wide eyed the Lady Aeliana's departure. Stuttering only for a moment, and then the riotously happy song about boar hunting (or for those with a keen ear for undertexts, what it felt like to rut with a fat and hairy woman) filled the chamber. Theo ther musicians picked it up.
"Most of them, I'm sure, not all though." Erik says with a slight shrug of his shoulders, one hand still on the cup of wine, not relinquishing it. "I have not jousted yet here at the Riverlands but that will be changing tomorrow." As for the possible competition, the Jast smirks and nods, "You know me too well, My Lady, I am." But he is also observing the progress that Lady Aeliana makes after departing from the head table. It seems innocent enough until the newly wedded lady suddenly departs in haste from the Great Hall, causing Erik's eyes to tighten. The break is music was barely noted and the young knight turns back to his date, "Shall we go speak with Lord Stafford? He is to be Champion for Lady Aeliana's honor tomorrow alongside myself."
Robben blinks a few times as he sees the running bride, and looks a bit unsure of what to do for a few moments. Pausing again as he hears Aemy's words, he blinks a bit again. "I'm not sure…" he begins, before he lowers his voice a little, whispering something. Looking around the room and over to where Aeliana left for a few moments now, expression a bit worried for the moment.
With concern Bella watches as the new Groves Young Lady runs out and she knows there is nothing she could possibly do to ease her troubles. Resigned, she offers a slight inclination of her head to the Jast and is rising even as he suggests it. "Of course, Ser Erik, that is a good idea." After standing, she reaches for her wine, cradling it in one hand while slipping her other easily into the arm of her companion. "Unless you would like a private word with him?" The last is offered as that idea just occurs to her. "Or the lady."
Even at the quietly spoken words, Aemy tightens her hand on his arm briefly, "Perhaps, Lord Robben, that is precisely what he needs at the moment. Please, go see to your lady sister. It is her wedding day, you are her closest family here and she needs you." Not really taking no for an answer, she begins leading him in the direction of the run away bride.
Stafford had gone back to reclining in his chair, occasionally making small conversation, and putting on every appearence of nothing at all being wrong. As if brides ran off from their wedding feasts all the time, and shame on anyone for acting as if they didn't!
When Arabella suggests that he goes to see if Aeliana is all right, Erik looks towards where the nee Ashwood had exited before his gaze spots Robben. "I see Lord Robben is in attendance. I am sure her Lord Brother will see to her well being. They are family." By blood. With quieter words, the Jast adds, "I am sure the Lady is grieving still, the loss of her Lord Brother was a great one." Rising from his own seat, the young knight offers his arm to the Fenster and would escort her to the head table.
Robben nods after a few moments, letting out a bit of a sigh now. "I guess you're right. But she probably knows where to hide away if she doesn't want to see me," he offers, before he adds, "Will you be okay here for now?" Glancing around for a few moments, he spots Erik and Arabella, offering them a bit of a nod now.
Anticipating his offer, Bella was ready with her hand to take his arm, her wine glass balanced in the other with ease. At the mention of the other Ashwood, she turns to glance over and notices him heading towards the door with his betrothed. "I am sure she is.." As would she be too, if she had lost her brother. Allowing him to lead him to the newly wed Stafford, whom she had met more properly the day before, she offers quietly. "The Young Lord has talked me into performing for the talent portion of the competition." The flush on her cheeks gives way her hesitancy to do just that.
"Ser Erik Jast.. Lady Arabella Fenster," came Stafford's companionable greeting to the two of them as they approached the head table. There were a couple of seats vacant, most notably the one belonging to his newly earned bride. So he swept a casual hand in invitation for the pair to settle down and join him. "Have a drink with me. I didn't know the two of you were so familiar with each other." His eyes scanned across ERik briefly, searching for any favors offered beforetime, even if the most proper was to deliver them in public and when in armor. "I hope the two of you are enjoying yourselves? The food, drink and music to your liking?"
"I will be fine, Lord Robben, I will wait here for you." Aemy has her maid and there is a guard or two of hers somewhere around the perimeter of the room, watching her. Her hand reaches for his and she gently squeezes it before dropping it entirely.
Hearing that Arabella will be competing, Erik looks surprised as he turns his gaze from the head table to the Fenster, "Did he? Now that wouldn't be fair, you would outshine them all with your talent." There is a brief squeeze given to her arm, one of reassurance as he sees her hesitation and they arrive at the main table. Bowing respectfully to Stafford, the Jast greets in turn, "Lord Stafford, congratulations on the union with Lady Aeliana. The ceremony today was wonderful, a perfect couple." He then leads Arabella to the seat next to the Groves Lord, letting her sit in between himself and Stafford. "I will gladly oblige to your request, My Lord. And I was very lucky to have the young lady here honor me by allowing me to be her escort. In fact, it was here at Kingsgrove where we first met, before the boar hunt. And the hospitality has been amazing, Lord Stafford, a true testament to your House."
Robben nods a little as he hears Aemy's words, and as she squeezes his hand, offering her a smile in return. "Thank you. I'll be back again soon," he offers, before he slips out of the room now.
"Young Lord Stafford, how nice to see you again." What did one say in times like this? Bella has a warm smile, a sympathetic look and after a proper curtsy, she rises, "Your wedding was lovely, please allow me to offer my congratulations to you and your new wife." When he mentions the two of them knowing each other so well, she glances towards Erik. "Ser Erik and I met here in Kingsgrove once upon a hunt. Then again at the Flint Camp when I was a healer out there." That is all she says about that. If he is seeking a favor from her on the knight, he would not see one. At least not one from the Fenster.
"I assure you, Ser Erik, my talent does not lie in musical instruments, though I have agreed to play the fiddle for the event. If I can find the courage when the time comes, to perform in front of.. others. Usually I practice in the privacy of my own room, so that I do not harm others with the pitches." Taking a seat when she is led, she sits demurely at his side, her hands resting on her lap after placing her goblet on the table before her
"Ah, those were some pleasent days," said Stafford mildly as they mentioned the Boar Hunt, even though he had ended up with his side ripped open by one of the boar's vicious tusks. "A bit too much drink on the occasion, though. I've learned my lesson as far as that goes; in moderation only before facing down dangerous foes." The server at hand brought out a pair of new drinking vessels, for the superior wine that was served at the high table. The rest of the Hall increasingly lesser vintages depending on just how far down and away from the most notables that one were sitting.
"I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. I look forward to seeing the best of both of you, tomorrow," for Erik, a nod in the knight's direction, "and the day after," for Arabella. "And again, I'm certain you'll do fine and more than fine. How great a loss for all of us if you'd passed up on the oppertunity. So, am I to guess that in the lists tomorrow, you'll have a favorite?"
The Jast only gives Arabella a reassuring smile, as if he has full faith in her talents in the fiddle, "You will find the courage, My Lady, I am sure of it." Then he turns his gaze to Stafford and nods his head with an amused laugh, "Indeed, My Lord, tomorrow the challengers may not be as skilled or dangerous as those boars, but there will be many. I hope that when the day is at an end, we will remain as champions."
For a moment, Bella says nothing, only listening to the two knights talking about the hunt. As the new drinks are brought out, she very easily switches from the old to the new, a nod of thanks given to the Young Lord without interrupting his words. Finally, she leans forward just a little to look at Stafford. "I will be tuning it up the remainder of the evening in anticipation." Though as he queries about a favorite, her smile widens. "Of course I do, Young Lord Groves. I do indeed have a favorite." Though since he had not asked who, she gives him a smile full of mischief and deliberately leaves the answer out, even if it had been insinuated.. leaving it for him to ask of he wishes.
"It would be a pity if I put all this effort and coin into arranging a proper Joust, and ended up knocked off my horse on the very first pass," said Stafford dryly. "I've never been the best of losers, though I was told in my youth a proper lord is always gracious, even in defeat." His lips curled with the quote, part bemused and part in obvious struggle to live up to that bit of wisdom. "My goal is to stand Champion still at the end, and anything else would be a disappointment. We'll see how harsh the comptetition is, though."
A quiet laugh and a broad smile followed Arabella's teasing little witholding. "Ah, very well. I shall press you to name it, my Lady."
The Jast reveals his usual, cocky grin as he hears Stafford's words, nodding his head understandingly, "Those who win, and win often, are often not gracious losers, My Lord Stafford. That is because we're just not use to losing so we have not had much practice on the… 'gracious' part." As for the other man's goal, Erik may have something to say about that but it won't be said here, "May the Warrior stand with the best tomorrow." When a name is pressed on the Fenster, the Jast can't help but smile with amusement, eyes settling on the young lady now.
The expense of such an event must be vast, along with the whole weekend of activities planned. Keeping such musings to herself though she instead looks around, "You have been an admirable host, Young Lord Groves," tilting her goblet towards him, her smile is warm and genuine. "Those are indeed words of wisdom." When he does press the issue, her gaze settles on the Jast. "Though it probably is not prudent of me to favor one champion of the newly wed bride, I must say that for sentimental purposes only, I favor the Jast Knight to win, for during the hunt here last I had dubbed him Hero of the Hunt. To have him follow that pattern and win the joust would only serve to prove myself right. I suppose I could be vain enough to claim that I had seen the potential from long ago." Over explaining things intentionally, for when she does look at the Jast, the mischief is still there though so is a carefully admiring expression. "Or.. I could say that he is a man who dislikes losing just enough that he would never dare to be seen publicly doing so."
"I choose my Champions well, faithful service and devotion, strength," Aeliana muses, picking up the conversation upon her return; that glass still in hand and half-full, though whether or not it's the same that she left with could be seen there in the glaze of her eyes and that hint of redness to their depths. "Love." Where it rose in quiet salute to Stafford. "You see, Ser Jast rides for Ashwood and by his armband, for Aleister, with whom this auspicious occasion might have never been possible. What surprises me, is that he's chosen a Fenster for company, when the House has proven itself to be so traitorous to Ashwood all along. /That/ part, I confess I do not understand. Though I do hope that you're enjoying the festivities."
"Hah, you migth just be right, Ser Erik. Learning to lose well does require frequent practice."
Young Lord Stafford was up to his feet when Lady Aeliana returned, offering his new bride the flourish of a proper bow. His smile and demeanor - as it had been the whole time that she had been gone - suggested that nothing had ever been amiss. That she'd simply stepped outside briefly for a bit of air while he continued playing the generous host.
Surprise in his eyes, though, and in his roguish features when she named 'love' the quality for which she had chosen him as her Champion. What could he do in response but to lift his watered wine high, and offer her a toast in return? As for the cutting words that followed, they too surprised him, though perhaps not quite so much. He looked towards Erik and Arabella for their reactions.
When the nee Ashwood returns, Erik also rises to his feet to greet the Lady who had hastily depart in grief, a smile gracing his features as he also bows. However, the smile slowly fades when the words are spoken by the Lady, the Jast's face turning passive, a face he wears often in public when he wishes not to reveal what he feels, "The House may have made ill decisions, My Lady, but the fault does not lie with the youngest." He appears to be wishing to speak more words but nothing else is mentioned, his lips tightening slightly though he is finally able to say, "I hope tomorrow I am able to prove that you have not mistaken in naming me as one of your Champion."
"Yes, my lady, the festivities were indeed lovely, thank you for your concern." Bella speaks with a cautiously polite tone of voice. Either way, the lady was hurting and it was not her lot to add to it. In addition, it was her wedding day. With as much grace as she can muster, the youngest Fenster smiles and the warmth almost reaches her eyes. "Lord Aleister, your brother, dismissed the Fensters when the Charltons made their… foray into independence." The words are not cutting nor biting, simply stating the facts as she had been informed. She does not bother elaborating or explaining, instead she tips her goblet back and finishes the remainder of the wine before rising and offering an ever so polite curtsy to those assembled there. "If you will excuse me, I wish you both the best of luck in your future, and both of your champions on their success. I am quite sure you will indeed be the Queen of Beauty and Love." Turning on her heel, head held high, she dismisses herself from the festivities, every inch a lady, composed and graceful.
"Forgive me, Ser Jast, I have cost your your company. And while yes, I grant that the youngest are not to blame for their decisions, the lastest…was entirely in her hands. You know how much I love my family. Remind your girl of that, when next she causes scene with my Uncle?" Hurting, however, was a kind word. An understatement. "I look forward to seeing you ride, however. With the hope that your disagreement with me tonight will not hold some sway over your skill." Where the smile she finished it with was genuine, before she moved, drifting to claim a space by Stafford's side, her hand falling to rest on his shoulder as she dipped low, offering a quiet word against his ear.
Stafford didn't look as if he completely approved of Aeliana's words, at least not here while both Erik and Arabella had been partaking in cups of wine with him. However he said nothing of it, and once his wife came to his side with that stroking hand against his lean shoulder, even that mild suggestion of disagreement melted away. In response to her words, he put his hand against the side of her face, intent to drawing her in for a light brush of a kiss upon her cheek. A few words in return.
"I doubt she is the only lady like to swoon over Ser Erik on the morrow," he said dryly, putting a sprinkle of light humor over the cutting remarks of before.
Since it is Aeliana's night, Erik nods his head slightly when she offers her form of an apology, but the passive mask that the Jast wears does not fade. "The scene with your Lord Uncle, Ser Harold Charlton." There is a pause in the name, and if the young knight had heard different about what had happened during the public scene between the Fenster and the Charlton, he does not voice them now, not on Aeliana's night. "I will ride as I would have, My Lady, though I should see to Lady Fenster for I am still her escort, thus her safety is my responsibility. We do wish to congratulate you on a wonderful wedding."
"Aye," the woman agrees, sprigs of mistletoe still worn in her hair. The Charlton. "May you ride well then, but…of course you will, it's the start of a name and names are important, not to mention all the noble ladies and other, that will no doubt swoon at your feet. Go find your lady, Ser Jast. Offer…my sincerest apologies. It has been a most trying night." And with a bow of her head, the woman joined arms with Stafford when he rose and prepared to make their departure.
Bowing his head, Erik's expression finally softens when Aeliana speaks of her night, "I understand, My Lady, and I am sure she will as well." Both had witness the nee Ashwood departing the room in grief to compose herself, "She may be upset but she is intelligent enough to know the situation. She is certainly not cut from the same cloth as the other Fensters, which is a surprising and refreshing change. Tomorrow, I hope we do you proud, My Lady." Nodding his head to Stafford, before turning to make his own departure.