EROTIC STORY: Noble Blood Chapter 1  

WritingVixen 46F
4 posts
3/12/2006 9:09 pm
EROTIC STORY: Noble Blood Chapter 1

It was not a crash of thunder that had awoken Dwynwen from her deep sleep, cocooned as she was within the wrappings of the heavy curtains that encircled her canopied bed. No one had called her name, pounding on the door in the dead of night to wake her from her slumber, pretending to call her to serve her Lady Kelari, but really needing her to take up some menial task another servant had put aside, or gotten to drunk to perform. Even Kelari’s bell was silent, hung from a rope that went to the room directly above hers. Dwyn always knew when Kelari would be awake, even knew better than Kelari herself, for she was a woman of patterns and rhythms, and Dwyn had been in the service of Kelari and at Kelari’s side since they were tiny children.

Outside the storm that had blown in during the night was rumbling as it wished, promising for a cloudy, wet day which would doubtlessly keep the entire staff entirely indoors, or at least struggling to keep clean the mess that those who traversed without had brought in with them. Slave though she was by law, Dwyn had mostly avoided most of the menial work such as cleaning floors by looking to Kelari’s needs and keeping her company. Today would be a day up in the solarium at the top of the tower where the natural light was best, though they would have all the shudders open to allow for such on this rainy of days. Instead of sewing outside by the light of the sun, the ladies of the castle: Kelari, her mother, her grand-dam, and a few of her sisters as well as her aunt, would weave or spin or read aloud to the others as they worked.

A raspy tongue across Dwyn’s cheek reminded her again of what had awoken her, and most likely why, as if the loud purring at batting at her hair had not done its job. The young cat Thunderpaw still made himself and his will known.

“Yes, yes, I’m hungry too,” she mumbled, as she got out of bed, pushing open the hanging curtains to the coolness of the rest of her room; it was still late autumn and she had refrained from keeping a fire going through the night. She dressed quickly and simply, pulling on her skirts over her linen chemise, and tying up her bodice. Today would not be a day for fancy dress, it would be for work, and though she put on her simple over-dress, she did not fasten it up all the way, choosing instead to leave some room for her to breathe this morning while the nobles slept, none would see the fair flesh of her bosom. Besides, she knew that only a few of the kitchen staff were up at this hour, preparing small morning meals for the staff to eat before hurrying off to their respective duties. Their larger meal would be taken later in the day dependant upon their duties and rank within the house. For her, being that she was handmaiden to Lady Kelari, second daughter and fifth child to the House of Breock, Dwyn’s day started before everyone’s except for the kitchen staff.

In padded slippers, and with her coppery, long hair put up in a simple bun, Dwyn strode from her room, Thunderpaw close beside her, making their way to the kitchens.

Emrys had had rotten luck lately. First his older brother just *had* to make fun of him by throwing him to the wind when they were out horse riding yesterday, but now he had to fulfill his end of their bet. Servant for a day, Emrys was fuming mad this morning. Racing around the village had been a stupid idea, but here he was.. Fetching his older brother's breakfast... Emrys stood near the doorway of the kitchen uncertain, but he squared his shoulders and entered.

Nisa, one of the cooks looked up at Emrys, 'Yes Master Emrys? What can I do for you this morning? You did not have to come all the way down to the kitchens. The food will be nice and hot, I promise you.'

Emrys sighed, 'Nisa.. I lost a bet to my brother yesterday.. So I am bringing him breakfast. Umm, where are the trays at?'

Nisa just shook her head, 'Fine fine. The trays are over there.' She points to a table across the kitchen near the far door.

Emrys just looked annoyed and walked over to the tray contemplating why he let his brother goad him so. So much competition.. and his brother won every time.

“Good morning, Nisa, am I too early?” Dwyn asked as she stifled a yawn while walking into the kitchens. Every morning it had been the same greeting, the same question, was she too early. For being one of the first risers in the house, and wise enough not to irritate the cooks, she had always asked the same question every morning. If it was no, then all was well, if it was yes, then she would simply stand aside and quietly wait.

“No, no,” Nisa smiled a little as she bustled through the kitchen. “Someone actually is up before you were. The bread is over in the warmer and I found some strawberry jam left over from the summer. You know where the sweet butter is and the apples. Be a dear as always and take them over to the servant’s table. You know how I dislike extra traffic in my kitchen, and you might want to show the new lad over there what to do. He’s looking a little lost.” Motioning with a large spoon, she pointed over to a figure looking over the serving trays, his back to the pair of them.

“Who’s your master, lad?” Dwyn called out to him, noting how nicely dressed he was for a new servant in the castle. Doubtlessly he was to serve one of the nobles to have such cloths, and they looked a bit familiar, too.

Emrys picked up a tray and heard someone address him, he turned around and was greeted with a vision of the pretty young lady.. probably the servant girl who liked to make shy glances at him in the halls. 'My Master.. that's a good one. More like my brother Sheeve is making me serve him his breakfast this morning... he forced me into a bet that he could race his horse around the village faster than my horse. After this... I gotta polish his boots.' He smiled easily because Dwyn was very easy on the eyes. He took her in with a bright smile. And then spoiled the perfect moment by yawning slightly.. way to early in his mindset.

Dwyn had learned composure over the years, had learned to hide her thoughts, her feelings, even douse them as the need arose, or at least muffle them. Emrys had been one of the few men in the house to catch her eye, along with his older brother. Both had the dark hair and gentle appearance that none of the soldiery nor the other nobles had, they even carried with them an odd appearance of innocence, placing them at a distance from others, untouchable in her mind. Then again, all men were relatively untouchable in Dwyn’s mind, for a variety of reasons, most notably their brashness, callousness, and the fact that she was going to make absolutely sure she would not be used to get to the woman she was not only a servant of, but confidant, and even friend.

“If you are to serve him, then you need to eat first,” she said as she picked up a basket of rolls and a pot of butter and made her way to the servant’s table. “You’re no good in service if you’re starving.”

Emrys shrugged with a sleepy smile and his stomach rumbled softly, 'I guess your right. I had not thought of it that way. Umm, do we need anything else for the table over there?' It is so glaringly obvious that he did not know his way around the kitchen that was rather cute. Dwyn's face was just a touch flushed, but she seemed all business this morning. Embarassing enough that he had been to be a servant today, but looking bad in front of a girl. Geez.

Emrys thought to himself, breathe and relax. You will get through this. 'Nisa, do you have anything else, umm, I and.. the girl over there can have for breakfast?' He felt like sticking his foot in his mouth for not remembering her name.

“Dwyn, you may want to take care of him. Keep him out of trouble and all of that, considering he’s just a passing guest,” Nisa smirked, as she started chopping vegetables. Dwyn had the feeling that she was trying not to laugh aloud if only to keep from embarrassing Emrys even further.

“So, what would you like to eat, Lord Emrys?” Dwyn remained wholly serious, knowing it would probably be better for him that way. “Normally we in service break fast on bread, jam, apples, and the occasional boiled egg. Our larger meal comes much later in the day just between luncheon and dinner.”

“Careful, Dwyn, you might spoil him. Remember, he’s only here for the morning, no need to be running him about too easily.”

Dwyn sighed, it had always been second nature to her to either serve, or teach any new arrivals the lay of the house before passing them onto those that would supervise them in their work. At least Nisa had been kind enough not to mention nor elude to the fact that Dwyn was a slave, and as such a servant to all by law.

“What is it that you wish, my lord?” Dwyn asked Emrys, ignoring Nisa’s teasing.

Emrys listens to the women banter back and forth, he wishes he had it so easy. The servants always seem to have a better time of things making the day go by. Most assuredly, they had nice long tasks to keep their days busy.

He smiles, 'Umm, bread, jam, and an apple would do me just fine. And please don't call me lord today. I beg you. If my brother overhears that, I will probably be scrubbing the halls outside his room with a very small brush and a drinking glass for the soapy water.'

He realizes he is quite out of place here and sits down at the servant table, quite unsure of himself. Ordinarily, he would still be in bed. Up at dawn to be sure, but this is still way early for him.

“Then what do you want her to call you, boy?” Nisa laughed as Dwyn hurried past her, gathering the last of the food for the servant’s table. “Ahh, you forgot the honey for him, he’ll need it to sweeten up his day,” she said as she found the honey pot and carried it after Dwyn to place it on the table and then returned to her duties.

“Don’t mind Nisa,” Dwyn said quietly, low enough that only Emrys could here. “You’re fortunate she’s having such light sport in you. You’ll make it through the morning, though, or do you need to be in service the whole day?”

Emrys regards Dwyn with the same tone of voice, 'All bloody day, you can call me Emrys.' Then his face looks a little flush, and he looks down, 'And I did not get a chance to ask you for your name. I have seen you around, but never got the chance to find it out.

Dwyn smiled a little, thankful that perhaps yet another soul did not see her passing through this life. Emrys did not even need to know she existed. “I am Dwyn, personal maid to Lady Kelari. Considering that you are not in the company of the ladies of the house, it makes no surprise, nor difference that you did not know my name. I know of all the lords and ladies in the house because I am supposed to know, but a lord need not know the names of all the household staff. Lighten your heart a little, you are not alone, and you have wronged none of us; we will be here to support you as needed.

“By the by, if your brother asks you to scrub the hall outside his room, that’s when you go looking for a member of the cleaning staff, it’s what they do. You, on the other hand, will serve as your brother’s personal aide. You get his food, his drink, and whatnot during the day, you even help him dress. Meals are taken care of by the household staff, mainly the butler, so you get a chance to relax then.”

Dwyn remained as at ease as she possibly could considering the close proximity of Emrys, taking on the guise that she was his tutor in service, and aiding him, while she attempted to shove all her other reactions to him towards the back of her mind. Fantasy and reality were two separate things, and though his brilliant blue eyes, and his youthful handsomeness had caught her eye and her imaginings in the dark of night, she could not cross the void. The likelihood of sharing even a touch, let alone a simple embrace was slim to none, she knew, the line between them, between noble and slave, for her could not be crossed, not unless he crossed them first, and as that he did not even know her name, she doubted that would ever happen.

Unthinking habit had Dwyn preparing a plate for Emrys, though, buttering bread for him, and cutting up an apple to place on the plate before him. Rank placed him as the one to eat before her, and she had to serve.

Emrys voice is warm with all the attention Dwyn is giving to him, 'I don't know if I could handle, uck, dressing my brother but I suppose the rest of it will be ok.' He reaches over to help himself to a roll and 'accidently' brushes a hand against hers trying to get a roll from the bread basket. 'Oops, sorry about that.' He considers she as an enigma, she is probably just being polite out of pity for the poor noble boy who should be spoiled rotten.

“I’m supposed to be the one preparing your meal for you,” Dwyn chided quietly, blushing as she tried to put aside the sill tingling sensation where Emrys had touched her. She remembered in the solarium how the other ladies had spoken of the young man, mainly in fits of giggles and laughter. Just as handsome as his brother, he too had come across in talk, the playful queries and wonderings among the women as to how pleasing he could possibly be within the sheets. In the end they would consider him an innocent, worthy of attention, but doubtlessly without the proper knowledge or the drive of a true man, or at least the kind of man that appealed to them. She had learned long ago that the women in the solarium were fond of talk, and most of it was just that, talk, ways to while and laugh away the hours at the loom, spinning wheel, spindle, or sewing hoop. It was a way to fantasize and joke, proving themselves unknown equals to the men within the walls of the castle, and probably without. Women could be as lewd as the men if they wanted to be.

“Rank is everything when you are in service,” she explained as she cut an apple into quarters and began to peal the skin. “Your rank depends upon what you do. The cooks deserve respect or else you’ll get a poor meal. Those that directly serve the nobles are practically considered noble status themselves. Now, here’s the rub: anger the cleaning staff, and like it as not your lord’s room might not be touched for days; anger the washerwomen and your lord’s clothing won’t come back right, and you’ll be blamed for all of it.” Placing the cut and pealed pieces of apple onto Emrys’ plate, Dwyn still did not stop there, instead going to gather a pitcher of spring water and a simple clay cup which she put before him. “I am here to serve, and even though you lost a bet to your brother, until I leave this kitchen, or until someone more senior arrives in the staff, of which all should be still sleeping, I am expected to serve you first before I can eat. Now, is there anything else you would like, my lord?”

“Don’t forget to honey his bread, my little sweetling,” Grigham, one of the senior chefs purred with malicious delight as he walked up behind Dwyn and began to caress her rump with a large hand. “Quite a handful she is,” he laughed, looking to Emrys as he gave Dwyn a playful swat to the rump that it was clear she did not appreciate. “Granted, you being a new lad to the service and all, and so young, maybe she’ll baby you even more than she already has, put a little honey on those plump nipples of hers and take you to her breast to feed you herself, eh?”

Dwyn stood absolutely frozen where she had come to stop after pouring Emrys’ water, but she was not looking at him. Instead she was staring resolutely at the flag-stone floor, silently turning a brilliant hue of red that spread from her face downwards.

“C’mon, sweetling, feed him nice like the pup he is while I take a taste from your real honey-pot, hmm, the one you hide between your legs.” Grigham laughed as he pulled up Dwyn’s skirts from behind and reached to put his hands between her thighs, groping for what he sought.

All Dwyn could do was turn even redder, standing in silence like a statue, knowing full well that to act would bring retribution. She was a slave, and by law the staff could treat her any way they wished.

Emrys has a flash of anger in his eyes now, 'Grigham, I remember your name quite well. I don't think she appreciates your affections. Whether or not I feel like eating from any honey-glazed portions of her body is for me to decide. You may move along now, I am eating my breakfast and desire her company without your presence. You may move along with your work.' His whole tone come out with the arrogant noble voice he show hated to use, but there is no mistaking the smoldering ember in his intentions.

“Why you snot-nosed little whelp!” Grigham’s hands came free of Dwyn, balling into fists as he moved to strike, only to find the young woman stepping directly in his way. “Move, wench,” he growled. “Get out of my way…”

But Grigham never got a chance to complete his sentence, nor lay a hand upon Emrys. Instead he let out only a soft grunt as he froze in place, his face turning only slightly as red as Dwyns if only because he was of a darker shade of skin.

Dwyn’s voice was calm, but firm, as if she was speaking to a child who had misbehaved. “Grigham, this is Lord Emrys, one of the tenants of this castle who eats your food. It seems that our Lord of Breock wished to send someone to see how it is with us in the kitchens and the house, and I am not so sure the news will bode well.”

Only a strained grunt came from Grigham as beads of sweat appeared upon his reddened face.

“Grig isn’t one of the brightest, my lord,” Nisa sighed as she appeared at the table, looking at the cook with unmasked derision. “By your leave, I’ll take him from here. I think the man has to have a sitdown and a good thinking spell.”

Emrys noded to Nisa, 'Yes, you may Nisa. You have may leave.' He hated being the stuck-up noble.. but Grigham was seriously getting on his nerves. And Dwyn was probably way too embarassed to talk much now. He took the roll with the jam and finishes where Dwyn left off, and takes a small bite of it.

Leading the limping Grigham off to the kitchens, Nisa left Emrys and Dwyn at peace, though Dwyn did little more than take her seat again, and seeing as Emrys was already eating, set to making her breakfast herself.

“I apologize, usually I am out of the kitchens and up to tending to Lady Kelari at this time.”

Emrys smiled, 'I can see why. I will have to speak to my father about Grigham, I don't think he would like that kind of attitude in the help.'

Dwyn stared at her bread. “Won’t do much good, even if he’s let go, he’ll either ghost about the place to find other work, or someone else will become just as bad as he is.”

Emrys noded sagely, 'I suppose you are right.' Emrys finds his food seems more appealing that he lost any reasonable chance of flirting with Dwyn this morning... talk about awkward.

“Does my lord require any assistance in preparing his brother’s breakfast?” Dwyn asked.

"Lady Kelaris likes to sleep late when she gets the chance. I am certain she would be pleased to do so today. Normally I look for things to do before I wake her so as to allow for that, so, here it is. The lady gets to sleep more today without her handmaiden pestering her.”

Emrys noded, 'I would normally sleep longer too.' He finishes his breakfast, and then begins to gather to empty dishes in front of him to take them to the sink to be cleaned.

"Excuse me, I do that, my lord." Dwyn gulped down the last bit of bread, hurrying to gather up the dishes from Emrys. "You're supposed to be serving your lord brother, not worrying about this. Come, I'll help you make his tray while I make my lady's."

Emrys looked slightly disappointed that she swooped over to get the dishes from him, but he followed meekly over to the prep area. 'Alright, I am coming.'

“Don’t sound so dour, the world won’t come to an end today,” she chided in gentle good humor. “Like it or not, I’m bound by traditions, and by status. You’re not. You can do as you please when you please, although it sounds like your brother has you over a bucket much like this.”

Seemingly without a care in the world, Dwyn let go of all the dishes she had been carrying at once, letting them drop as a heap into a large tub of soapy-hot water. Her reward for such kindness and tomfoolery, though, came in the form of a rather hefty dousing as the hot water splashed up and soaked her front leaving her top half drenched and dripping onto her skirts.

“I would not recommend doing _that_, my lord.” Wiping the water from her face, she took no serious mind of her state. “I’ve been worse, I think.”

“Yes, but not half-dressed in the morning, girl,” Nisa laughed. “Hurry, get up to your quarters and change, and take lord Emrys with you, in your state it would do no good to accidentally run into one of the letches within these walls. Begging your pardon, my lord, but it’d be best if you escorted her. Our Dwyn weaves very well her fabrics, and very finely with her linens, and it shows quite well how fine her hand is when her linen gets wet,” she motioned to Dwyn, wiggling a finger indicating her wet chemise. “You don’t need to be catching the boys eyes that way,” she smirked.

Emrys chuckled softly, 'Come on then Dwyn, I have to serve my brother here shortly so lets go you to your chambers straight away.' Emrys even offers Dwyn his arm, and easy smile to his face now with half a thought that Dwyn did that deliberately.

“Yes, my lord,” Dwyn shuddered, frowning. “Gads, I really doused myself, and I’m not going to hear the end of this once word gets out. Ahh well, let’s go, time’s wasting, and I’m starting to get cold.” She looked towards the door and then Emry’s proffered arm with complete bafflement. None had escorted her as such, even when in the service of her lady she had to attend formal events; she had paired with no-one, but remained in the background.

Emrys smiled softly, 'Please take my arm, it would be my honor to take you to your room. Please indulge me, I am in a better mood this morning even though I have to serve my brother. Please, I don't want you to catch a cold on my account.'

Hesitantly, Dwyn did as Emrys asked, placing a light hand on his arm. He was handsome, with dark hair, and striking blue eyes, but otherwise he was unavailable to her. He was noble, she a slave, but what was he up to, why was he acting so kindly when he did not need to. All he had to do was escort her up to her room, after that, he could come back to the kitchen and get his brother’s tray, moving on to the rest of the things he had to do. If anyone saw them, countless would be the gossip she would hear.

“Lead the way, my lord, my quarters are in the eastern wing.”

Emrys can see she is attractive.. and her smile is so nice. He can see the interest and surprise in Dwyn's eyes. He thinks bitterly the system of caste makes things so difficult. He is a little hurt by the look he gets from her. Spoiled noble.. if only she knew how gruff his father is. 'East wing it is then.' Let them talk about this, I am tired of my brother.. and twice damn my father too.

The halls that lead to the eastern tower were mostly empty save for a couple of guards making their rounds, and one of the washerwomen making her way past with an arm full of bedlinnens. For a moment she looked about to speak as she passed, but only gave Dwyn a low-voiced greeting as she eyed Emrys in curiosity.

“Fal is one of the quiet ones,” Dwyn murmured in assurance as she bustled up the stairs. “Keeps her thoughts to herself, and doesn’t talk all that often.”

Passing another guard that stood at the base of the tower stairwell, Dwyn nodded to Emrys to keep going. “The solarium is over here, it’s where we weave and spin, where the women gather. And here, is where I live.”

Opening the door to her quarters, Dwyn revealed to another soul besides Lady Kelari the place where she resided. It was a sizable room with a large fireplace, a canopy bed hung with heavy curtains, and a desk that looked more the size of a six-person table. A wardrobe stood in a corner with a dressing-table beside it. Near the fireplace stood a small loom and a spinning wheel along with a basket of what looked to be raw fiber.

“Umm,” Dwyn blushed. “If you’d like, you can go now. You know your way to the kitchens and I wouldn’t want you to be late going to your brother’s aid. It’s going to take me a little bit to change, and I really don’t mean to be a bother. It was stupid of me to have behaved like that in the kitchen, rather childish, really.”

Emrys smiles shyly, 'Oh yes, of course. How thoughtless of me. You will need to change. I will make my way back to the kitchen then. Are you sure you will be okay?'

“Yes, I think I shall be,” she replied honestly, not wanting to detain the noble against his will, nor wishing to make him uncomfortable. “Thank you, my lord, for the escort, and for your patience.” She bowed to him.

Emrys smiles faintly at her bow, and his blue eyes seem to sweep across the room as if to memorize every line and curve. Of the room and other things. 'Perhaps I will see you in the halls.' He starts to make his way out of the room, still convinced that Dwyn did that water thing on purpose.

“I doubt it until perhaps the hour of the staff’s supper.” Dwyn suddenly felt worn and tired, there were no excuses anymore for speaking with Emrys, let alone remaining in his company, and she was probably just looking girlish and stupid anyhow. She chuckled at a thought, a silly urge that had come out of nowhere in a sudden surge of rebellion against what she had been raised in, and how she had come to see things, and believe them. What if she took off her cloths, just threw them off to stand naked before one of the lords she answered to. She had heard of other female staff providing bed-warming services for the nobility, but had avoided it herself, keeping close to Kilari so as to prevent any of the men asking for services that as a slave she could not deny.

Then her eyes snapped open in the reality that she had forgotten to provide Emrys the respect he deserved, she’d forgotten to say, “my lord,” but quickly blurted the phrase out. “I am sorry, my lord,” she bowed again, but did not raise her head. “It was my error, I should have given you more respect, and for that I am heartily sorry. Please, forgive me, my lord, I am almost always in the company of the women and ladies of the house. Please, do as you wish to punish me, it is your right. Take whatever you like, it is your right. I have proven myself a poor slave this morning.” Dwyn winced, she had a feeling she had just made a bad situation worse. Had she just lost her mind somewhere?

Emrys turns around, it is self-evident that Dwyn is being dramatic, 'This morning I am hardly a lord, just a servant. Now please change before you catch a cold on my account.' He looks at the stir in her eyes, and he looks away. Her mix of loyalty and interest.. he will not be like his father. 'I do not punish what is merely the obvious fact..' Lights burn him he likes this girl. 'That you obviously wanted me to know the way to your room. I will not punish you for being coy. Perhaps your lady will let me get to know you. If you want to that is. I am not a harsh man..' Realizing he is babbling now, he turns around once more and begins to open the door.

Dwyn could feel the heat of a hard blush of embarrassment cross her face and seemingly run through her body. How stupid she had been, how amazingly stupid! She had not even thought she was being coy, but indeed she had been, and in a completely mindless way. A woman’s room, a single-woman’s room, was a place of privacy and refuge, a place of the ultimate in personal, almost as personal as undergarments. Here she had shown Emrys as such thinking nothing of it, and yet it was as if she had been waiving such items in front of him to attract his attention.

“If you speak to Lady Kilari, she will probably allow it, but you will have to talk with her,” Dwyn said quietly, feeling downtrodden as she silently berated herself and turned away. What had she been thinking? Actually, the problem was that she had not been thinking, and now Emrys probably thought her no more than a trollop in the house, as if Grigham wasn’t bad enough. Even if he did speak to Kilari, she would never hear the end of it, Emrys was of noble blood, and Kilari was a sister to her, which would mean that she would want to keep Dwyn from getting her heart broken.

Turning to her wardrobe to gather fresh, dry cloths, she wondered for a moment if Emrys would be the type who would go against decorum, or against how she saw him, not bothering with etiquette or formalities and just going behind everyone’s back to do as he pleased. Yet she doubted it, Emry’s was in his brother’s shadow, which probably meant that he was trying hard to get any sort of recognition from his parents and others of nobility. He was young and green, as she had overheard a pair of the sergeants saying one day when the ladies of the house were outside in the garden sewing, and she understood what they meant. There had been days when she was off running errands when she had seen martial practice going on in the courtyard, and Emrys and his brother, Sheevne, were sparring. Both were handsome, and the occasional talk of the sewing circle, but it was well known as to how formal their family was, how ridged and strict. Sheevne would go far, eventually, but Emrys, he still had yet to come into his own.

Deep in thought, she pulled at the laces of her overdress, wondering when would be the time that Kilari would marry, when would her father choose her husband? Neither Sheevne nor Emrys, were of high enough birth for her, and besides, her father would want to marry her off for the best alliance with another house. She knew there had been discussions about the son of Baron Roan of Tiroan some weeks’ travel away, and the Earl of Liot’s son as well. Yet there had been no solid answer, even as emissaries and messengers came and went. In a week’s time there would be a festival with a tournament of jousting and feasting, perhaps something would come then.

Pulling off her overdress and casting it aside, Dwyn sighed to herself as she pulled her soaked chemise over her head and threw it aside as well. The day Kilari wedded, Dwyn had no idea what would happen to her, doubtlessly the two would be parted. Kelari would leave with her husband, and as property of the House of Breoch, Dwyn would remain, but to do what? All of her life she had been Kilari’s companion, or at least what she could remember of her life, but the day Kilari would leave, who would Dwyn serve then? Would she be left to take up a station with the general staff, would she serve a minor role for the Lady Gersa, Kilari’s mother?

With a great yawn, she looked up at wooden ceiling for a moment, knowing that Kilari was still asleep, but wondering what she thought of the whole situation. Scratching her back with one hand, she opened one of the wardrobe doors and removed her other chemise from within. Dressing quickly, this time closing her overdress completely to cover her bosom and leave her with simple modesty, she turned her mind to the day’s work. There was Kilari to be fed, the upstairs room to prepare with fruits and foods and some sort of libations for the women while they worked. She would have go to gather the cleaned and dried wool from the washing room to take up for carting and spinning before it was woven.

Outside thunder rumbled again. This would indeed be an indoor day, so she thought, and wondered if she should ask for firewood to be sent up to the solarium as she turned to go.

Emrys can see that she has gone on to ignoring him now.. he sighs and sees that she is starting to undress. He softly closes the door behind him. He chuckles softly, 'Yes, she was definitely making a pass at me.' He makes his way back down to the kitchens with a low whistle on his lips.

He gets back to the kitchen and begins to put the tray for his brother together. Nisa gives him a hard time about Dwyn with a humorous smile on her face. Once the tray is ready, he takes it upstairs to his brother. Sheevne is already awake and yawns with displeasure, 'I told you I was going to waken with the dawning sun. Where have you been?'

Emrys bites back an angry retort, 'Breakfast is served, milord.' He brings the tray over to his brother. He wants to just dump it on him, but realizes he would never have met shy Dwyn if he was not in this predicament.

While Sheevne eats his breakfast, Emrys gathers his brother's clothes for the day. Sheevne makes some snide comments about don't get them wrinkled. Once Sheevne is done eating, he hands the tray over to Emrys. Emrys helps his brother get dressed.

Sheevne chuckles darkly with a wicked look in his eyes, 'I feel like a day of shopping. You will be my porter today. Hope you like to carry heavy stuff.'

Emrys looks down with his eyes, 'Yes, milord.' He quietly grinds his teeth, and thinks of Dwyn's graceful smile.

The pair start to head out of the castle and make their way down to the city..

Once Dwyn had delivered Kelari’s breakfast, and woken the young woman with the smell of sausages, she went about getting things in order for the rest of the morning. After the fiasco in the morning, she started to feel better as habit fell into place like the rituals of the nuns. She felt blessed that Nisa had said nothing to her as she passed through the kitchens to get Kelari’s breakfast, but still prayed that word would not spread of what had happened. Grigham’s attentions had been bad enough, and besides, Emrys did not need the bother.

The way to the washing room where the cleaned wood waited took Dwyn down to the courtyard. As that it was raining, she remained to the covered walkway that surrounded it, tempted as she was to just run through the drops for the fun of it. Movement had already caught her eye, told her that there were others about, and she did not want witnesses to her act of child-like behavior. Decorum dictated that she keep her eyes downcast, which she did not mind as that it meant that she could feel a sense of peace in isolation, and none of the men could catch her eye. If they needed her services, they would have to call her by name, and no wafting smile would ensnare her; she had avoided castle intrigues thus far.

So it was that she had approached the two moving figures on the walkway, head slightly bowed, eyes cast to down to the ground a little ways before her, and hands folded demurely in readiness to work as she went about her business. She was not sure who it was, but could tell that it was two men, and said the obligatory “my-lords,” as she moved to the side of the walkway and placed herself against the wall. She had to give them respect as they passed, and wait until they had passed before she moved on to gather the waiting bags of wool.

Sheevne sees Dwyn and sneers lightly, 'This is how is should be done, brother servant.' Sheevne pinches the demure Dwyn on the rump since she is obviously a servant. Should Dwyn look up, she can see Emrys's eyes look at his brother with disgust for just a moment as they pass by.

Dwyn blushed, recognizing the voice of Sheevne, and felt a bolt of anger. Handsome though she thought he was, with his shy grey eyes, and even shyer demeanor, she wondered now how wrong she might have been, to place this man on a pedestal so. Here he had called his brother a servant, though not a slave, yet it was still a slur, and though his brother was in his service for a day, it was ugly for him to treat him so.

“Assinus est,” Dwyn whispered in the ancient language to herself as she turned to go; he is an ass. Even if heard, she doubted if the men would understand her, only the educated and the ecclesiastical learned the ancient tongue, used as both a language for speaking to the gods with, and as a trading tongue for the elite of other lands.

Sheevne misses it completely, but Emrys chuckles lightly as if he understood what Dwyn muttered.. his scowl briefly turns into a small grin and a wink at Dwyn. They trudge out into the rain...

The rest of the morning went by with the normal rhythms of which Dwyn was accustomed. After gathering up the bag of clean fiber, she took it up to the solarium to be carted, spun, and eventually woven. The Lady of Breoch was not there, which was of little surprise as she no doubt had other things to do. Still, Dwyn sat beside the window, feeling the cool air wafting through as she read while aloud while the other women worked and waited for her time at the loom.

The story she had read was a bit of an interesting one, if not an outright cliché, to which the women laughed and joked about. It spoke of the greatness of knights at tourney, their generosity of love with the women they wooed. There of course the mysterious elves woven in, full of magic and questionable deceptions, things a hero had to overcome. There was also the comings and goings of the mysterious “black knight” to challenge the hero, to which the women laughed that the man had to have been desperately single.

The time of luncheon came around, and Dwyn went down to the kitchens again to gather the food for the women still up in the solarium. They would take a break from their work to eat, and leave enough by to nibble on during the course of the afternoon.

All morning long, Sheevne leads Emrys through the driving rain from shop to shop. Once Sheevne is done, 'shopping' Emrys is carrying four heavy bags that are soggy with water. 'Okay pack mule. Time to go back.'

'Yes master.' Emrys is sick of this abuse.. not even servants get treated this way. His brother must be having one of his bad days. Sheevne is not normally not this mean to him. I bet father told him he cannot ride out to join the knighthood again. So he is taking it out on me... again...

The sacks are full of all kinds of goodies and war junk.. just what Sheevne does not need is spending their father's money on crap... Sheevne does have the sense though to use the servants entrance. 'Take those up to my room, and then I expect my lunch forthwith. Got it?'

'Yes master.' Emrys follows his brother up to his room and puts the bags in a corner so they can dry off, and then he heads down to the kitchen... dripping wet.. Just before reaching the kitchens, he lets out a loud sneeze he has been holding for quite a while.

Dwyn, nor the others of the staff in the area of the kitchens could have missed it Emrys’ sneeze as he entered. There were a few mumbled inquiries as to why he was there, while someone hurried to give him a cup of hot tea. It was clear how soaked he was, the puddle gathering at his feet was growing in size.

“Poor lot that boy’s in,” grumbled one of the older fellows on staff. “Lord Sheevne’s no doubt got him working hard, but it’ll do the lad some good.”

Speaking with the head of staff in low tones, Dwyn was earning herself a frown, but the man was nodding. As the discussion continued, someone brought warm broth to Emrys, and a blanket along with an offer to sit beside one of the fires. “No use you getting sick there, lad, have a sit for a spell and we’ll take up the slack, no difficulties.” It was the same older gentleman who had commented on Emrys’ lot, holding two stools and nodding towards one of the large hearths where a spit with meat on it slowly spun.

The discussion between the head of staff and Dwyn grew heated, the man’s frown growing deeper as he patted her shoulder with a hand as if to show he understood. He said something to another woman of the staff, who nodded, gathered up a tray of food and left.

“Fine, fine, Dwyn, it’s your head, not mine,” the head of staff rumbled loudly. “But remember what you’re wanting to do is going to have repercussions. I do not know how this will turn out, but it may not be well. Be merciful and sensible, will you, girl?”

Dwyn mumbled something, then gathered up a tray that looked to be like the one Emrys had used for his brother earlier that morning. She checked to see what was on it, that it was arranged correctly, the correct utensils were provided, and everything was in order. Satisfied, she took it up, but when another of the male staff offered to take it for her on the behest of the head, she flat out refused with an almighty grumble.

“You stay here!” she said firmly to Emrys a she walked past him for the door, it was clear she was angry. If it wasn’t for her voice that said it, her reddening face most certainly showed it as she moved swiftly on.

“Dwynwyn, wait, you can’t go into the men’s quarters alone!” One of the other staff trotted after her hurriedly, a slender man with reddish-brown hair, and was perhaps only a few years older than Dwyn; he looked genuinely worried.

“Culhwich, stay in the kitchens!” Dwyn’s voice growled the command, but it was apparent, he did not follow her orders, as Emrys saw that the fellow made no return.

- - -

“Are you mad?” Culhwich asked as he practically jogged to keep up with striding Dwynwyn, incredulous that she was acting this way.

“Fuming,” she shot back as she walked on.

“Dwynwyn, dare I remind you that you are a slave?”

“I don’t care.”

“But what you’re doing isn’t right.”

“Isn’t right? What by thunder do you think I’m doing that isn’t right? Lord Emrys is worn ragged and down sick, so I am taking his brother, Lord Sheevne, his lunch. How, pray tell, is that not right?” She did not hide the anger in her voice, though the tray remained still in her hands, as if it were merely floating, unruffled by the bearer’s emotion.

“C’mon, Dwyn, don’t play like that. You’re going against the right and proper way. You’re supposed to be in service to Lady Kelari, not running lunch to Lord Sheevne. One of the manservants should be taking Sheevne his lunch, not you. I should be carrying that,” said Culhwich as he made to take the tray from Dwyn, to which she easily moved it clear of his hands all the while not slowing down.

“I’ve been in the House of Breoch since I was too small to remember, Sheevne, and his family have only been here, what, eight years? They’ve been here long enough to know the way. Sheevne’s being an ass to his brother, just like he’s already been an ass to me. I don’t mind, but when it’s his own kin he’s treating like a broken-down animal, then it’s time someone did something.”

“Dwyn, you’re not going to confront him about it?”

Dwynwen said nothing, but only kept walking.

“You’re out of your mind,” muttered Cuhlwich.

“And you’re out of time,” Dwyn whispered, before knocking on the door of Sheevne’s quarters. “Your lunch, Lord Sheevne,” she announced clearly.

Emrys smiles gratefully.. sogged of course, and watches Dwyn go with trepidation.. he sips the broth and tries not to sneeze. He watched Dwyn argue with the head of staff.. but he is in no condition to do anything about it... His brother practically marched up and down the market, and he is weary... very weary...


Sheevne calls announces through the door, 'Enter.'

Cuhlwich remained in the sulking in the hall and out of sight of the door as Dwynwen, carefully balanced the tray, opened it with one hand and then nudged it further with her foot.

“Where would you like me to place your lunch, my lord?” she asked, with half the mind to dump it in his lap.

Sheevne waves negligently at a small table near the door, 'Over there is fine since my brother is too lazy to do it himself.'

"No, your brother Emrys is too sick to do it, my lord," Dwyn struggled to keep her voice even, neutral.

'Fine packmule he is then. At least I got the morning out of him. Just means he will have to make it up to me tommorrow then.'

"No, he won't, my lord. He will be in no shape tomorrow to do so, a lord makes for a poor packmule and an even poorer servant. It is not his station, my lord, he was neither raised nor trained in service." Dwyn had thus far been successful in putting the tray down upon the table without incident, but still he had to pour his tea for him.

Sheevne just scoffs, 'Well, he will do better next time. Just because he is the baby of the family does not mean be should be spoiled.'

"And just because you're his older brother does not mean you should be an ass," Dwyn snapped back.

Sheevne gets off the bed now. How dare a servant girl raise her voice to him! He looks annoyed, 'Woman, you should mind your place. What business is it of yours to criticize what I do?'

Dwyn poured Sheevne's tea, still going through the motions needed to get the required work done even as irritable as she was. "I do mind my place, and it is my business to criticize when someone who is not supposed to be in my station, is lowered into doing so, and does so poorly. If you need someone to take your packages, my lord, you take a porter. You and your family have been here a quarter of the time I have, I was raised in this house, I know my station, and none of nobility have any business being in service."

Sheevne mulls over what she says, 'Maybe I was a little harsh on my brother.. but next time I will take a porter.'

"My lord, your brother came back soaking wet and has taken ill. His sneazes alone can be heard across the kitchens."

'Fine. Fine. If you can pass a message on to my brother for me then. Tell him I release him from the rest of the day.'

For a man who had earlier pinched her rear-end, Dwynwen was finding it pleasantly easy to bring Sheevne about, perhaps a little too easy, but she could not complain. "I will tell your brother as your wish to release him, my lord, is there anything else you require? A rump to be pinched perhaps?" Dwyn nearly bit her tongue on the last sentence, foolish as she was for bringing up such a small personal grudge. It was nothing, yet she dared to put words to it.

Dwyn just sighed in frustration, Sheevne, unlike his brother, was rather thick. "Yes, my lord," she said as she turned to go. "I was not implying your rump my lord, but mine. You seemed to wish to show your brother how a servant should be this morning. You had best mind your manners, my lord," she kept her voice gentle as he possibly could. "The hired staff do not take well to being abused, and neither do I."

Sheevne looks at her closely, 'Oh yes, you were the one this morning. I thought you looked familiar. So many servants running around here, I did not realize.' She is rather attractive, but he is still in his sour mood. That is brother is sick.. father might be a little mad at Sheevne. Good.. let father be angry.

"Do you require any thing else, my lord?"

'No thank you. And.. if it is not too much trouble, make sure Emrys gets some warm clothes? That will be all.'

Dwyn calmed a little as Sheevne seemed to be seeing reason. "Where might I find his clothing, my lord? I have not been in this area of the castle for quite a long time and do not recall. I'm sorry.”

Sheevne says softly, 'Cuhlwich, or one of the other male servants nearby should be able to give you directions to his room.'

Thank you, my lord," Dwyn said as she bowed herself out of the room.

Sheevne helps himself to his breakfast now, and feels a little guilty about getting his brother sick.. even though he unintentionally meant too.

“That sounded like it went well,” Cuhlwich remarked in a low voice as the pair walked away from Sheevne’s closed door. “I thought you were going to take his head off, or he yours.”

“Just show me to Emry’s room and let me get him some fresh cloths.”

Cuhlwich did so, making fast work of gathering things Emrys would need, though he did not see Dwyn leave a kerchief of her finest linen under his pillow. She had been pretending to straighten things up, though it looked as if the cleaning staff had already been there. Either that, or Emrys was a very tidy man.

Emry’s cloths in her arms, Dwyn and Cuhlwich headed for the kitchens, only parting as he had to speed off to the dining hall to aid in it’s preparation for the afternoon’s events.

“Here you go,” Dwyn said without any declaration of her arrival as she proffered dry clothing to Emrys who still sat by the hearth fire. “I’ve spoken with your brother, and he will not only no longer be using you as a servant, but he’s seen it wise now that the next time he should go shopping he should take a proper porter to carry his things, and not you. Now, if you will excuse me, I must return to the Solarium. I have work to do and you, my lord, have the day free to use as you please.”

Emrys looks up at Dwyn and stifles a violent sneeze. Through his nose mostly, 'TTThank you. I think maybe I will' *achoo* 'just stay here for a while.' He smiles thankfully and takes the dry clothes from Dwyn with a grateful smile.

“As you please, my lord,” Dwyn simply nodded, her mind on other things. There was work to do at hand, weaving mainly on her part, the cloth she made was highly valued by the Breock house, and she had to keep up with their needs, anything to settle down her disappointment with reality. Emrys and Sheevne had been handsome at a distance, handsome when she had not known a semblance of how they were. Emrys was clearly a quiet pessimist, his elder brother an unthinking lout, and there she had been acting a fool and sticking her foot in it, as well as getting one dress wet. It all had been enough to make her act out of rationality, or perhaps she was coming down ill. Either way she was beginning to realize the truth of the matter: if there would ever be a man that she would couple with once Kelari was married, he was clearly not within this castle, which would have to make her that much more wary; someone might get the idea that he could influence the lord’s daughter through her, and that would be no good.

The rest of the day went along with pleasant peace in solarium, but Dwynwen had fallen behind in her work, which although the other women did not mind, she could not accept. She had certain standards to keep for herself, and was loath to break them. Kelari of course knew this, and would not argue with her, the two of them had already spoken of what had happened that day, and Kelari knew Dwyn needed some peace. So, getting one of the other staff to attend to her at supper, Kelari made arrangements so that someone would bring Dwyn some food.

It was an early spring night, so by the time the sun had set it was getting horribly cold. Busy at her loom, Dwyn said nothing when one of the staff came in to close the curtains, and another started a fire in the hearth. Not being a small woman, nor one afraid of hard labor, she moved her loom so be sure to get better light for her work, but said nothing to anyone about needing any aid. She was alone, and she liked it that way. In the distance, muffled by stone, wood, and fabric, she could hear the singing and shouting going on in the main hall; it sounded like a celebration of some sort, though she could not tell why. Still, it made no never-mind to her, she would learn in the morning, no doubt, and the course would be run from there.

By the time Dwyn felt sufficiently accomplished, it had already grown late. The noise in the great hall had subsided into silence which meant that probably everyone had gone to bed, or at least had fallen asleep. On her loom was a finished length of linen with a river stitched into it pretty enough for someone’s dress or shirt.

Rising from her seat stiffly, she gathered up the tray her meal of bread and sliced meats had come upon, and made her way to the kitchens, stopping long enough to deposit her dishes and move on her way to the wash rooms where the large tubs sat. Here linens, fabrics, and bodies could be washed, and as that it was late, the water would be hot, and it would be quiet. It had been habit for her to wash in the evenings, after seeing to Kelari’s bedtime rituals, but tonight she thought would possibly be the latest she had ever bathed. More’s the better, was what she thought, she could wash and soak as long as she wished, and slip up to her room unseen in nothing but her chemise.

Emrys can see that Dwyn has other things in mind now.. out of sight and out of mind. He sighs, and warms himself by the fire quite late into the afternoon. Finally, he goes up to his room and changes into the dry clothes to get some rest.

Sheevne just goes about his normal business although he does inquire about his brother. The servants rather give him snide remarks about his brother is resting, and yes this mi'lord and yes that mi'lord.

Emrys wakes up rather late, he is still feeling rather chilled. He looks out the window, and it is very late.. he missed supper, but maybe after a nice soak in a bath he might be hungry enough to ask for a biscuit or something. He makes his own way down to the wash rooms, and takes care not to wake anyone with a sneeze.

Dwyn found gone soaking warmth in one of the tubs the washerwomen were not using. Linens, items of clothing, pieces of cloth hung from lines between every tub to dry. Fires were kept lit to heat the air under the floors, as well as the tubs, braziers kept the air within the large room warm to aid in the drying process, and somewhere something kept the water hot as necessary.

It was all things Dwyn no longer thought about, in fact she was not thinking about much as she lounged in the large tub, one of the many built for a large vat of cloths as well as for the several washerwomen who had to get into the tub to clean them. Hanging sheets of linen made impromptu curtains, allowing for privacy and solitude as she heard a couple of the wash staff milling about. Laundering was never finished, and at the far end of the great room she knew cloth was soaking in dye as well, yet all this she purged from her mind.

She was alone, no one would bother her, and as she let the cold slip away from her bones, she closed her eyes, caressing her skin with a light touch to ease away the work of the day.

Emrys finds the busy room to be quite entertaining, so much going on.. He excuses himself, and one of the staff chuckles softly, 'Mi' Lord Emrys. You are up rather late, there is an unoccupied tub over near the end there. Just have a care, you are not the only one up late.'

Emrys nods his thanks, and the washwoman goes on with her work carrying yet another basket of laundry to the back of the room to hang up to dry.

Emrys moves past lines of laundry, and finds a large tub. With great relief, he strips down.. makes certain the 'crossed' lines of laundry are giving him at least the resemblance of privacy, and gets in. He immediately gives a gentle sigh as the water warms him greatly.

Dwyn sighed, half asleep, not paying much attention to the movement around her and the sounds. The staff here was well to work. Even when she felt ripples in the water she paid it no mind. No doubt one of the women was putting in a bit of laundry in with her to soak, and said nothing, leaving her at peace and thinking her asleep. The staff was very considerate, and with them she was not shy.

Emrys is hardly paying attention to what might be in the water, he closed his eyes gently once he started entering the tub. And then his leg brushes against something rather soft. He opens his eyes.. and there is Dwyn. He pulls back his leg, and curls up at his end of the tub. In a quiet voice, 'Umm, I did not think there was anyone in this tub.. ahh, hello Dwyn.'

Opening one bleary eye, Dwyn looked at Emrys and gave a great yawn and then put a finger to her lips as a request for silence. It was a dream, that’s all it was, nothing more. No doubt the real Emrys was upstairs sleeping wrapped in warm blankets with a woman perhaps. It wouldn’t shock her. Women had to be virgins, supposedly, before they were married, but men were not saddled with that need. It was not uncommon for even a married man to take a woman to bed with him that was not his wife. Some women even did the same, though by stealthier means, but in the end it was all just the same no matter what the gender, power, passion, politics, they were always in play. But why did she have to dream of Emrys, not just some generic kind of fellow? Ahh well, even dream life could not be perfect.

Drunk in half-sleep, she smirked at Emrys, finding it rather amusing that she seemed to scare the fellow in her dreams. He had struck her as a kind of blasé sort of fellow with little passion in him, little life in him, but never as someone fearful of her. Maybe it was somehow tied to the morning events, but still…

“I guess we’ll just have to share a tub,” she said quietly, her voice low as she moved her legs about in the water, feeling the water move around them. “Don’t worry, I don’t bite. If you’d like, I’ll even scrub your back for you. Heavens only knows it’s the hardest place to reach.” Dwyn was a sedate dreamer, probably mores so than when she was awake. If anything exciting ever happened, she certainly didn’t remember it.

Emrys chuckles softly though nervously, 'If you wish Dwyn. I will just soak over here in this side of the tub. You don't have to scrub my back. I will manage.' Emrys cannot believe he is doing this.. Dwyn is cute, but.. His face is flush red, but he is not going to give up the hot tub. He needs it too much.

"Suit yourself," she muttered, unfazed at Emry's reply as she closed her eyes. Nothing interesting and exciting ever happened, definitely not to her, and even her dreams corroborated this. At least she was getting her bath in, although she'd have to start scrubbing soon. She had work to do in the morning, always had work to do. The nobility could just sit in luxury and act foolish, she could not.

Emrys get tired of being curled up in a ball and tries to stretch out a bit himself and accidently bumps into one of her legs again. 'Sorry about that.' He settles in, if this Dwyn is such a free spirit that nothing bothers her, it behooves him to be the same way. He leans his head back against the side of the tub to be a bit drowsy himself.

With a great yawn, Dwyn let herself drop below the water's surface, soaking her head and hair for a moment before rising up and wiping her eyes clear. Pulling her wet hair back from her face, she stood up enough to get the soap from the side of the tub and set about washing her arms.

Emrys continues to enjoy the warm water, even if Dwyn does brush aginst him slightly in the tub... He does peek an eye open slightly when she stands up some. His face is still flush red, but he stays still so as not to startle her.

Dwyn’s mind was relatively full, or at least half-full for a woman half-awake as she stood up to wash the rest of her body. Already she was thinking about the morning, about what needed to be done, and hoping that Sheevne would not be so stupid again as to send his brother kitchenside to be a servant. Oddly enough the elder brother seemed unawares of the power of his station in the castle, how else could she have scolded him and walked away unscathed? Bracing a foot against the edge of the tub, she yawned again as she washed her leg, then switched to get the other before plunging herself back into the water and starting to soap up her hair.

Emrys watches with curiousity, washing herself... he had heard stories before but she is so unabashed that he lets out as small gasp. Dwyn is quite beautiful indeed.

With another dunking, Dwyn rinsed her hair clean of soap as she continued about her washing. Tomorrow there would be more linen to weave, more things to do, but always the same, nothing changed. Nothing ever changed.

Emrys is tortured enjoying the sight of Dwyn, and yet he was trying to show her respect earilier. He was just shyly flirting this morning.. now it could be so much more. He is in a state of shock.

"Emrys is fortunate," she said to his half-sleep illusion, why did he not just go away, was she that far out of her mind. "He and his brother have luxury, have status, have whatever they want. There are always people there to take care of them, to see to their little needs from making them clothing to making their cloths. Sheevne, too, though I don't think either realize it. They can leave if they want to."

'Because my father is an arse. My brother made me a servant because we were raising our horses around the village. Sheevne would have been my servant if I had won. In a way we are rebelling. Once father learns what we did. He will be properly mad.' Emrys says softly, trying not to move.. afraid the vulnerable moment will pass.. all the while watching Dwyn scrub herself.

“How would your father learn if neither of you told him? Besides, that’s not a proper rebellion, racing horses,” she snorted. “If anyone would want to properly rebel, properly anger their father, I would imagine something more drastic would do the job.”

'How about flirting with a pretty servant girl?' Emrys blurts before he can stop himself.

Dwyn chuckled, fighting back a whole-hearted laugh by putting the back of her wet hand to her mouth. “I don’t think Emry’s would be able to flirt to save his life, his heart’s not in it. He can’t even tell a servant from a slave, but that’s probably because the slaves are treated relatively well. Besides, flirting is what all men are capable of in this house, it’s what’s expected of them.”

Emrys looks a bit hurt, 'How about accidently sharing a tub with a servant girl? Especially when he should have eaten supper first.' His stomach makes a slight growling sound.

“Emrys wouldn’t have the nerve to do so, it’s not in him. He’s got the innocence of the angels in those blue eyes of his, which also means that it would not surprise me if he had forgotten to eat. Angels don’t need to eat, I imagine,” she said as she scratched her nose and shrugged.

Emrys decides the fragile moment is becoming too embarassing, 'You are probably right.' The red is blazing on his face now, and he is feeling a bit dizzy.

“Well, that’s one thing true you have about Emrys, shade,” Dwyn sighed, “he never seemed to me as the kind of person who would fight, who would argue. His brother and his father have beaten him down too much. If there’s one thing I wish I could give him it’s courage and strength in himself, a nerve to let him stand up.”

'Maybe one day I will find that strength, if I could find my own calling.' Emrys sighs, she is speaking truth.. she seems drowsy but it could be a trick. 'Perhaps if I found something outside of myself worth standing up for, maybe I would.'

“Then Emrys would have to find it for himself. There should be a festival coming soon, people will be coming from all around, as well as from other nob


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