Admissions of the Heart

Admissions of the Heart
Summary: Admissions from the heart, nuff said! Read on!
Date: 09/11/2013
Related: [http://gameofkings.wikidot.com/pie-and-prayers]
Players:
Collette Jaren Merrick 

Tp Room
On the trail to Estermarch
Nov 8 1329

The journey, which had to be so small, will be quite long after all. It looks like that Collette is trying to delay it as much as possible! They stopped many times, near the each place, which reminded Collette her past. So, the company has another stop.

The evening came too quick. It became darker and darker and right now the dark is so gloomy, that the journey can't be continued. Better to stay in one of the openings and wait for the first light.

The opening this time is quite nice. With a few broken trees, which provide seats. Jaren and Merrick made a fireplace and everyone were sitting, speaking for awhile, when suddenly Collette decided to take a walk, not so far away, just a few bushes separates the opening from a small river. The girl is sitting near that lake, resting her bared feet in the refreshing water.

Jaren this time decided to guard the surrounding and he went closer near the round, scouting, what is different direction from the river. Merrick was left alone near the fireplace.

Merrick was indeed left alone at the fire, stabbing a stick every so often into the middle of the wood, to keep the embers glowing and the flames dancing quite alive over the deadwood. His eyes flickered up from the orange glint reflecting in his gaze, turning toward the path in which Jaren had taken, then slowly in the other direction toward where Collette had left some time ago. Ensuring there's enough wood on the fire, the man pushes himself up onto his feet, checking that the horses are still hobbled and that their supplies are well protected incase someone were to come along. While he means to wait for Jaren to return, but he cannot delay… every time they came closer to their destination, the further he wanetd to be from it, buying into this fear that it could mean trouble for them all.

Merrick lowers to the ground at some point, checking for the path in which she went, finding her foot prints easily enough. The man looks over his shoulder once more to see that Jaren hasn't returned yet, guessing that he only has a little while to spend with Collette and the first break left him wanting.

"My lady," he murmurs into the darkness, eyes finding her sitting under the pale moonlight.

Collette turns her sparkling eyes to the source of the soft sound. The softest sound can be! It is her Wolf! She pats the grass besides her, swaying with her bared feet, making the water of the river murmur a bit louder, "My love…" She turns her gaze back to the river, "This place reminds me our first meeting! Don't you think so?"

Merrick moves over toward the spot she indicates, walking quietly over toward her before he moves to settle down, lowering himself to the point that he leaves one knee up, the other leg stretched out and he's sitting back on one hand, the other left drapped over his knee. His eyes scan over the river, then back to her, "Yes, indeed it does." There's a soft smile on his lips there, "We shouldn't have taken so long to arrive to see your brother, though I do understand the need for delay…" he looks back out toward the river, murmuring then, "Have you decided on what you were to say to Eldrick?"

"I think, I am. All I need to do - make him look like…" The girl suddenly turns and lies down, placing her head on Merrick's extended leg. Her curls spreads all over he leg. The girl stares at the sky, gently running with her fingers on Wolf's leg, "Like he is so powerful, clever, and awesome. That he is kind and good. And I should look like a fool, I need to be ashamed and… Do what I am not used to do. I need to apologize and humiliate myself. If I will look very misserable. My brother will feel so right about everything, and he will show his kind heart to let me live, but he will ask never to see me. At least it will happen, if I still know my brother… And I hope, that nor you, nor Jaren will speak, until I finish," the girl rolls, turning her face, likely to the abdomen of Merrick. She starts playing there with her fingers, "Just if my brother will ask something, or I won't succeed. Though… All I fear, he might do something to you, because you will stand on my side.

The girl takes Chosen's hand, which rested on his knee and she carries it to her lips, just to kiss a few times, as a humble wife does for her husband, showing affection.

Merrick observes with a restrained concern as the girl lies down with her head against his leg, his hand automatic to reach for the wildness of her hair and push it back from her brow with affection. "Do you think he wishes to see you in such a manner, weak and humble? Perhaps it is best you spin a tale of how you escaped the north because you knew it was wrong and they kept you held to their plans, despite what you wanted. And that the only way to free yourself was to create a way to break the betrothal? Perhaps then you'd seem wise and clever to him, while also humble in your apology. Perhaps he needs to know you are strong enough to carry on the family name?" He shrugs his shoulders some as his gaze draws up to the sky, "I would not sell yourself short, for perhaps he will see weakness there and cast you aside, but if he sees the strength that you have in you, my lady, perhaps you will be allowed more than you believe you are worth." His eyes travel back down to her when she turns to look at him, "I will say naught unless it is asked of me, though should I see you in trouble or they have cause to end your life, I will defend you and your honour, my lady."

"You are right, my love… I could do that. After all, prince Jerric really asked lord Augustus to capture the ships of Lohstren or something like that. To check where my loyalities stand. He said, if I tell everything to my brother, lord Augustus will die, if I won't tell to my brother, everyone in that ship will be slaughtered… But instead o doing one or another, I just ruined my reputation and appeared where I am…" The gilr raises her hand to touch Merrick's cheek, "But I do not want become a part of my family again. They will force me to marry random lord later for their purposes. And the lord won't be good, because I won't get my reputation back… More over, my love… I want to be with you… We will see, what we will speak, but I will do everything to remain in the positions, which lets me to be yours."

The darkness has descended on the travellers three, so they had come to another clearing on their journey made long because of Collette's dallying, wanting to enjoy what she believes to be her last moments of freedom before heading to see her brother and hear the fate in which he has in store for her. They had made camp, as best they could, with what supplies they had. A campfire was made in the clearing and the horses were hobbled. Jaren had gone off to scout after speaking for a time with Merrick, while Collette had made her way to the river nearby. Eventually Merrick, once Jaren had left for a time, had trailed after Collette, finding her path easy in the darkness.

At the riverside, they speak together now, Collette with her head upon Merrick's leg, both engaged in speaking of Eldrick and what plans Collette has for speaking to her brother once they reach him. Merrick listens for a time, shaking his head, "Show strength, that is what I recommend you do." That restrained concern upon his expression turns a little more sullen at her hand upon his cheek, to which he takes and softly squeezes, "They are your family Collette. You do not abandon them for any reason or cause. Show loyalty to them and they are likely to let you live in humble solitude or perhaps on a quiet estate out of the way, where you can be at peace." He nods a little at her admissions, "My life is bound to the Temple, you know this. They will need me when the time comes, should this holy war begin anew."

"Merrick!" shouts Collette, turning from the man, glancing back at the river, but still resting her head on his legs, "You start it again, as you do not wish to spend the rest of your life with me… They abandoned me first, they are not so true amily after all. And I love you… I want to be commoner, be with you and you can serve for that…" She inhales deeply and angrily, "or that Temple. Why I am ready to do anything to be with you, and you just… offer me these money and beautiful houses, which will be the darkness for my soul. Better I will die… Then you will be free to serve for the Chosen and I will be besides you forever, saving you from all the troubles… At least you won't be able to ask me to go back to my family anymore…" She takes his hand and whirls around hersel, but her gaze remains on river. She places a peck on man's hand again. Some tears start falling down her cheeks.

Sir Jaren is nothing if not thorough in his scouting. He travels out a good half-mile from the impromptu camp, and make as much of a circuit as he can manage with the river cutting off one avenue of approach. Still, the river itself is an effective enough deterrent, and the only means of crossing nearby is the single bridge that lies along the road they've been traveling. Reasonably sure that there aren't any bandits or large dangerous animals nearby, the Knight returned to the camp. He spends a few moments their removing his armor and changing into a more comfortable tunic and leggings to sleep in, stirs their small fire to keep it burning hot, and then plucks up their empty waterskins and heads towards the river to refill them, slinging the leathery sacks over his shoulder as he goes.

He's not making any secret of his presence, there is a reasonably well-worn little trail that leads from the campsite to the riverside, which makes traversing it rather free of any sounds of brush being pushed aside or twigs being snapped underfoot. He does hear the voices as he draws near, catching enough of the conversation…particularly Collette's part in it…to gather the gist. He pauses shortly before he would emerge from the woodline, then. He considers a few moments, then turns on his heel and begins to move right on back towards the camp, though as it would happen, this time a small twig he managed to (unconsciously) avoid on his way up does find itself snapped under his foot as he walks.

Collette's shout has Merrick grimacing, conflicted obviously with the outcome that she'll be presented, wanting the best outcome for her which doesn't include him. Merrick remains quiet though to her accusations of him starting in again on trying to put her right again with her family at the sacrifice of her contentment. As she becomes angry at her, he too feels the abrupt flare of emotions deep inside, as ravas stirs them fiercely. He grabs a hold of her and rolls her back to look at him, giving her a little shake, "Listen to me, I have sworn under the eyes of the Four to give my life to the Temple, an -oath- Collette, one in which I may have already broken for you. That may not mean much for you but for a man who has little else but his honour, it is my life. You will -not- demean me to say that I will not give up anything when you give up all." His features are hard, "I offer you these things, because I have nor will I ever have anything to give you. You will live in poverty or under the house of the Four, that is all I have. So yes, why would I -not- offer you a way out if you wanted those things, for if I did not, I could not claim to care for—" and that's when he hears it, the crack of a twig.

He tenses as he suddenly looks back toward the path that was well trodden and thereby exposes Jaren to his vision, even if it was dark out, the man could see the pale moonlight shifting as Jaren walks. Quickly, he dislodges Collette from him, placing her aside as he stands up, too late now to conceal what was and is, instead, asking to the darkness, "Sir Jaren?" Best that Merrick keep his hand by his hip, ready to draw a blade if so needed.

Collette curls on the ground, when she is tossed away and even shouted at. All girl's dreams fades. All these words, which were said by the man yesterday… They are so different today. He changes as a wind, but she still loves him. He will be rich, having him and poor without him.
The girl clasps her hands around her knees, stares at the river and sobs. Tears fall down as quickly as the river is running. She does not care about anything right now, just why the hell guardians are so cruel and can't let the man love her as much as she does.

"Aye, Brother Merrick." Jaren replies, pausing in his walk and turning back about, stepping into a patch of fading light to be seen more clearly now. "I…had come to fill the waterskins." He studies Merrick, then Collette briefly, and shrugs a shoulder ever-so-slightly, "And nothing else is any of my affair." He unslings the skins, and offers them towards Merrick, "But if you care to fill them when your conversation is concluded, I will will leave you your privacy." There's no tone of disapproval or flicker of judgment in Jaren's tone or expression. There -is- a hint of awkwardness, but he masks it with that stony expression he usually wears.

As the potential threat is exposed as their travelling companion, Merrick is then free to turn back to Collette, listening to her sobbing there as if he had just hit her or worse, betrayed her in some fashion he couldn't understand. Women, they would be the death of him and all seem to utterly confuse him. Especially this one. His eyes flash back to Jaren though, "Such privacy has alluded us for now," he shifts slightly, "I hope I can count on your discretion in this matter Sir Jaren," He asks, for a moment, trying to save face at this point, which seems to be harder than it looks for his concern continues to keep him half looking back to Collette. Perhaps this explains his rude behaviour prior? The confliction of riding a woman he cared about to her potential death sentence?

Collette just continues sobbing, though, her one hand falls on the ground. The young girl starts tugging the grass and her soft voice whispers, "I could live here, without shelter… I could live in a stables… I could build a small house in the woods on my own… I can hunt… I could live here, without shelter…" And she repeats that again and again, and likely the wind may carry the words in night's silence easily. Her voice is still trembling and she is still crying. "All I want… to be happy… Guardians… your servant… will do anything…" She changes her theme a bit later.

"As I said, it is not my affair." Jaren replies towards Merrick, "I have no reason to speak to anyone of it, but if you want my oath on it, I will give it." His dark eyes flick to Collette, and he tilts his head in her direction, "Go to her. I will watch over the camp. These can be filled later." Which is true enough. They still have a couple full ones, after all. Jaren shoulders the skins once more, and nods to Merrick, falling silent once again, and starting to turn to head back towards the camp once more.

"No," Merrick murmurs, "I would not ask your oath on it nor for anyone to hide the truth if they are asked," that is just the way Chosen roll, no lies, apparently! Nor would he force anyone into such situations. He nods at Jaren, "Perhaps we will speak later…" knowing that he could no longer really ignore the girl sobbing behind him. Merrick doesn't stop the man from leaving, turning now to Collette, kneeling down next to her as a hand reaches out to settle upon her shoulder. "The storms we must face could tear us asunder should we ride straight into them Collette, without any plan to do otherwise, we could be swallowed whole." He likes his metaphors, maybe he should've been a priest after all!! "Call upon the Guardians my lady, they will hear you, they do hear you."

The girl is still too much hurt about Merrick's words to even understand that there was Jaren. The girl turns her crying eyes back to Merrick. She watches the man, so lovingly touching his cheeks and running across his hair, "I think they do not hear me. I repeat them hundreds of times, that…" She sobs a few times, "That I do not need the house, the money, the luxury, the family who never trusts me… I repeat them, that all I need is their servant - you. I do not beg them to release you, but I do beg them to let you be with me. Forever… Merrick," she leans to peck his tip of the nose, "Why you can't believe me, that I do not need these things you talk about. I am a huntress, I was a raven between swanns in my home. Yes, I made all these nice dresses, but maybe this talent was given for me, that I could live with you and make my own money? Merrick, you can be a Chosen and I can be a simple commoner in the Laketown. I will hunt and I will become a tailor. I will have a small home, but they will be the most warm home, if you will come back there often. I will never have another, you will never have another. We will be family, even without marriage. Who needs marriage if our hearts are already tied together? My moonshine, let me be happy, never push me away with silly thoughts about what is better for me. I know, I have two options - live with you or die. And there are no third option," and she leans to place a peck again on Wolf's nose.

Jaren pauses in hearing a few more of those words, standing still a few moments, before continuing his journey back towards the camp. He sets the waterskins aside, and puts another log on the fire. There he sits, back resting against a fallen log, dark eyes reflecting the firelight as it crackles and flickers in the rapidly-fading twilight.

"They hear all their children and all those who are faithful," he tells her quietly, with a reassuring tone, "Do not give up hope, for faith is not easily rewarded and in time, you will know of their answer." The man rests his hand on her shoulder, soothing her with soft caressing motions, eyes watching her as she pleads for their servant to be with her forever. He lowers his head as her lips touch the tip of his nose, frowning as she tells him she needs not things of comfort. He still remains quiet, pensive for all the sentiments she makes. At the second kiss to his nose, he puts his hand to her cheek to wipe away her tears, before he gathers her up in his arms, "Come my lady, let us return to the campfire and not keep Sir Jaren alone. He has come all this way to help you, we do him wrong by not keeping him company." To all the rest, well, he remains silent on it all, taking her hand if she will have it and heading back toward the fire.

Not getting the answer she hoped to get, the girl just lowers her head, hidding the face behind dark curls. She takes Merrick's hand and follows the man, not saying anything, looking as a child, who did something bad and was just punished by the father. But is it bad to love?

Whatever Sir Jaren's thoughts on the matter, they remain hidden behind that somber mask he seems to near-constantly wear. He glances over towards the trail as Merrick and Collette appear, nodding towards them before turning his attention back to the fire. He's silent though, at least for the time being. There isn't exactly a lot of food to go around, given that they weren't really planning on multi-day journey. Still, there is a bit, at least. They won't be starving, and they've made enough distance that barring some terrible weather, they should arrive at their destination tomorrow. And if the weather -does- get bad, there should be at least a hamlet or two ahead where they can take proper shelter.

Merrick nods in return to Jaren, guiding Collette to sit on one of those logs pulled in to be used as a seat for now, giving over his cloak to wrap around her as the evening starts to take on a chill. There's some affection shown as his hands gently squeeze on her shoulders and he lightly places a kiss on her temple. His tone is low as he softly announces to both of them, "I must speak to the Four…" And the man is obviously in need of it now. He nods at both of them and doesn't offer them anything else in the matter, pulling up his hood to help him blend back into the shadows of the night, wandering back toward the river and through the trees to find some peaceful place to ask for guidance.

And finally! Finally the girl looks like a person who might be travelling his last mile. Her eyes are red from crying, she looks slimer than she was. Basically, now she looks like skin and bones. There are no smile in her features, corners of her lips are turned down. At least she is jot crying, but amber eyes lost their glinting. Even tbe wild and playful curls look like simple untidy hair. All yhe girl's beauty have faded. Actually, more fearful person, seing her would be afraid of seeing deadman already. More sensitive people would start crying. Oyhers… Oyhers just would see kiserable creature. The girl whirls in the Merrick's cloak and watches at fire, while her silent voice whispers, "I am sorry, sir Jaren, for my improper behaviour. I am just a fool after all and I am ready to drag two people in to the trouble for my fooliness… I am sorry, sit Jaren for making you a part of this… Nobody should be a part of this…"

Suddenly the girl's eyes widen. She stands up, placing the cloak on the log. "I never had to do that. I am sorry.." She offers a very deep curtsy and paces near her horse, starting to prepare it for a ride. She whispers, "I had never involve two most wonderful people in this thing… " She whispers for herself, ready to go now aloje to face her brother. The girl is trembling.

"Sit down, milady. I've just settled down and I'd hate to have to rush after you in the middle of the night, and doing so would only worry Brother Merrick and myself further." Sir Jaren's tone is gentle more than sarcastic. "You did not force us into this, nor did we come to accompany you with our eyes closed as to what that might entail." He gestures to the log nearby, "Please…sit. Warm yourself by the fire."

The girl continues nervously preparing her horse for the journey, but even this, what she knew how to do it, is pretty hard for her. And… First time in life, her Arrow snorts at the girl and moves from her. She is trying to hold him or catch, but animal is strong. And likely he is clever. Or she just tuged his manes tok hard. Collette trembles and whispers, "Sir Jaren, you are a good spirit, who showed up to help so wilingly. You are not real or blind… I can't avoid what must be done. I… Just… tell brother Merrick that I will be his forever and I love him… And I will be guardian of both of you for trying to help me…" Collette tugs her Arrow again, but he snorts quite angrily and stands on hislast legs threatening Collette and even touchin her, hurting the arm which was hit by arrow month ago. Coll falls down, but still tries to stand up and fight her beast.

"Whoa, Arrow….whoa." Jaren rises to his feet, moving over towards Collette when she falls back, trying to sooth the animal with his voice, even as he carefully wrapping his arms around her and pulling her away from the Horse. Even as he brings her back towards the fire, he speaks in her ear, "Collette, -listen- to me. Doing this would only hurt the one you love far more than anything else in this journey, and then he may well rush ahead and end up doing something foolish that could ruin whatever chance there may be for the love you share to endure." Once she's back near the fire, he releases her carefully, back on her feet. "Nothing brings more joy -and- more pain than love Collette. The latter is the price we pay for the former. But that does not mean we should invite pain unnecessarily." He gestures to the log, dark eyes imploring gently, "Please…sit."

Instead of sitting on the log, the young girl falls on her knees near Jaren, if he is already sitting) and she places her head on his knees ashe would be her father, who lectures now, "He doesn't want my love… I did not invited pain… It just came…Oh, sir Jaren,why I can't be so wise, calm and strong as you are? Could you teach me that? Maybe if I would be clever, always calm and strong Merrick wouldn't think I need glinting dresses and he…Oh, sir Jaren, teach me to be as strong as you…"

Jaren pauses a moment, frowning a bit, and reaching to place a hand gently on her shoulder, "If I have wisdom it is only because I have seen the heights of both joy and pain in love, Milady. I fear it is not something that can simply be taught…life is all nothing but one long lesson, and all too many of us never quite learn it before it's taken from us." He considers a few moments and notes, "If he did not want your love, he would not be here. But he is a man with duties he is sworn to, and if it seems he tries to dissuade you from his side, he only does it because he wishes you happy and healthy…and fears that he cannot give you a life in which those things will be secured for you." Jaren now, finally, smiles a bit, if sadly, "Men can be stubborn beasts in that manner. For all a woman may profess otherwise…there is often the fear that we may yet be lacking in some manner."

He chuckles softly now, "It is not so terrible a thing. It makes us try harder."

<ROLL> Merrick rolls his Stealth skill at a Normal difficulty: Success (3)

The Chosen hasn't moved off as far as he initially made it seem. The glow of the fire is still in his visual range. He's standing in the shadows, leaning against a tree trunk that hides his silhouette easily, as he wears no armor that catches the glint fire light, armour that of hard leather. He overhears some of their conversation, brooding there in the darkness about all of this. He will most certainly have to show his appreciation for Jaren's words if he gets the opportunity. Distraught and anxious, he closes his eyes as his hands clench around a bracelet of amber, comforted in the sanctuary of the darkness as he whispers a prayer over these amber beads.

Collette just sighs, movinv to lean at the log, but still sit on the ground. She grabs Merrick's cloak and drags it to herself. Not to cover herself with it, but to hug it tightly. "I do hope he finally will understand, that I won't be happy without him. I have just two paths, there are no third…" And she carries that cloak to her cheek. If the man will look at her, he will see how the dress becomes slightly red and wet on her right hand. Likely the Arrow opened her old wound. But the pain of the heart is stronger that the pain in the arm. The girl does not feel that. "You are a good person, sir Jaren. A very good."

"I try to be, milady. It's kind of you to say so." Jaren pauses, "Milady….your arm." Jaren frowns a bit, "You will need a bandage." Jaren rises to his feet, moving over to his saddlebag to bring out a clean bandage. He's no healer, but wrapping an arm is not beyond his experience. "Roll up your sleeve, please…." Assuming she does, he'll make sure the forearm is safely and securely bandaged. "Lady Claire will be most cross with me for allowing this to happen." Sir Jaren jokes ever-so-lightly as he puts the bandage in place.

The girl does, what is told, not letting Merrick's cloak from her hands. Hiwever, a very brief smile flashes in her features at the Jaren's joke.

"There you are." Jaren notes, finishing the field dressing, and glad he thought to ask Claire for a few bandages before he departed. "You should rest, Milady. Brother Merrick and I will keep watch."

Collette nods and cover herself with Merrick's cloak, closing her eyes. Nobody can tell if she is just resting or when she will fall asleep, will she sleep at all. But this time, she doesn't look calm even with closed eyes.

As time passes and the evening grows darker into the night, with the clear sky up above revealing an entire blanket of stars, cooling the landscape considerably as if to draw in further the breath of winter. Merrick has stood for a while in prayer, head bent, beads up by his forehead. The enduring silence carries, only the coo of an owl or the distant howl of a smaller canine cousin of the wolf breaks the otherwise calm night.

When Merrick does break from his concentrated moment with the Four, he returns to the camp to note that Collette has laid down to go to sleep, underneath his cloak. The air has a biting chill to it, though he doesn't seem to mind at all, lumbering slowly toward the fire to stand in the ring of heat it gives those by its light. His hands extend, gloved fingers creaking as he means to warm them. For a while, he says nothing, eyes drawn to the fire, seeing beyond their flickering dance.

Jaren is accustomed to silence. Indeed, it seems to be his natural state, and he takes no discomfort from it. He does give the fire a bit of a stir to keep it burning hotly just after Merrick arrives, but once that's done, he simply leans back, reaching to take one of the still-full waterskins and take a few gulps, before offering it towards Merrick with a tilted, questioning brow.

Merrick glances over toward the motion that has become directed at him, seeing the offering of the waterskin and waving it off with a slight shake of his head and a dismissive gesture of a hand. His hands settle more over the flame as he glances once over at Collette, rubbing his hands together until he takes a step back and settles down, knee up, arm drapped over it, the other crooked and opposite foot underneath the uplifted knee. The moments ebb on in silence, with only the crackle of fire for some break in the otherwise stillness. Yet, the rough voice of Merrick finally breaks over the fire, a look cast over toward Jaren, "I owe you an apology." His lips thin, before he frowns back at the fire, speaking again, "I did not show you proper respect when we first set out. I thought you weren't interested in Collette's plight, perhaps viewing this as an opportunity to elevate yourself," but here he shakes his head, once again looking toward Jaren, "I'm glad the Four proved me wrong in that, for a man who didn't have good intent wouldn't have said what you did to her." A beat, and a simple, final remark on the matter, "Thank you."

Jaren looks curious when Merrick starts to speak, and when he finishes, he inclines his head slightly in acknowledgment, "I do not think we are so different, Brother Merrick." Jaren comments quietly, not wanting to disturb Collette. "We are sworn to duty, and we have certain beliefs where that duty is concerned." He flickers a glance over to Collette, "I was raised with the belief that Knighthood was more than strapping on a suit of armor and swinging a sword when a Liege or Lord pointed their finger. That the values we profess when we take our oaths -mean- something. That there are responsibilities that we hold beyond our martial skills and obedience to our Lords." He looks back to Merrick, "Mercy is one of those values, and it is something I hope I may remind Sir Eldrick of should I be given leave to plead her case." He pauses a moment, then smiles, briefly, "And your apology is accepted."

Merrick leans forward until his knee is touching his chest, throwing a stick of kindling into the fire absently, listening to the other with a grave nod indicating that he was listening at least, if not in agreement of Jaren's words. "I am not sure if I will aid her or do more harm in this venture than good," he admits when there is a moment to interject, "I'm conflicted with the guilt of being the cause of her predicament, for the rumors were indeed partically to do with me," and there was always a little amount of truth in those rumors. He frowns, the more he broods over it, "I have no cause to believe I gain favour from a man I have never met, unless it is to wield the shield of the Temple to protect her by taking her in as one of us." As for the last, the younger man gives a nod, nothing further needs to be spoken toward the apology give and accepted.

"I cannot say. I truly do not know what will await us in Estermarch." Jaren notes, his expression grave, "It may well be that Sir Eldrick, his father, and the rest of the family have already chosen the path, and we will not be given any opportunity to convince them otherwise." He considers a few moments, "I've known Sir Eldrick to be a good man, but…there has been a great deal of scandal. I myself do not see what further harm would come from letting her live, and If they feel she must be punished…the stripping of title and family from her should be more than sufficient."

Jaren frowns, "But ultimately I have little say in the matter. I know the pain of lost family, albeit under very different circumstances…I would not wish it upon anyone. It nearly destroyed me." He flickers a glance to Merrick and smiles faintly, "But my love was among those lost…had she not been…things may have been much different."

"I dare to hope they have not decided on a path in which I cannot intervene, for there is some hope in calling on the protection of the Temple and the Four incase they wish to …" he doesn't even say it, for that would be bad luck in saying such unfavourable things. As for the great deal of scandal, he can only close his eyes and accept what part he had to do in all of that. Quite a little, in fact, a drop in the bucket, as the girl secretly stole away North to marry a Lord, seen as tratiorous by her family, thereby trying to end her life when she was made common and … well it gets so deliciously juicy that indeed, the amount of scandal has been extensive - and he was just the cherry on the top.

As for the pain of lost family, Merrick considers Jaren for a time, nodding, though he does nothing to compare his own situation to that of the knight's. "I fear Collette may one day realize the pain of such a loss and that is why I hope to convince her and her brother, to take her back, regardless if she is sent to some quite estate well out of place of all the court. She needs her family, as much as I need the Temple and my Brothers, for I have no other family but those of the Order, so I too know… the consequences of being without."

Collette turns on another side, mumbling something under her nose. Her hands move to hug Merrick's cloak as tightly as possible, instead of covering herself with it. It looks like the cloak is something very important for her jn ghe dreams or for real. But obvious, she won't give it away so easily.

"I believe she has already felt that pain. I do not gather the impression that she goes to her brother to beg him to take her into their family again." Jaren opines, flicking a glance back to Collette, "I cannot even truly say if she would accept it were it offered. You know her far better than I." Jaren falls silent a few moments, considering a variety of thoughts before speaking again, "Whatever the case, I hope the both of you find whatever measure of happiness you can." Another brief, wistful smile flits across his face, "As silly a platitude it may be, I must believe that it is better to love brief and bright and lose it than to have never known the joy at all." The smile dims a bit, "For I'd likely be a hopeless wreck if I did not."

Merrick sighs as his eyes climb toward the heavenly body, where it is sometimes said a person can see the glow of the Four leaping across the sky from time to time in streaks of light. None seem to favour Merrick's look as his eyes dart between the stars, "No… I suppose she is not going for that," he tells Jaren honestly, "Though I wish she would." He drops his chin, for there is nothing he could do to make her see the importance of family. She wants him as her family and that will never do, for he cannot provide things that a normal man could - Chosen hold no land, no titles, no wealth. The last sounds sensible enough, nodding, though he admits with a sudden urge to rise again, "Although I cannot fault you for that, I sometimes wish I had never felt any of this at all. She has turned me upside down and inside out." But that was love, wasn't it? Crazy foolish love. He moves to pick up some more pieces of wood, to keep the fire going. It was going to be a long cold night.

"it is a common condition where love is concerned." Jaren notes, his tone only a tiny touch wry. He grows more serious after a moment, "I…have had little faith in the Four since my family was lost. And I confess that I was not terribly well-versed in the lore of the Temple even beforehand, but…I should like to hope there is some path that would allow you some measure of happiness without compromising your own vows and duties. She speaks with sincerity when she says she cares not for land and title, I think." He adds, "And love can go a long way towards making any situation tolerable."

"Is it?" Merrick regards Jaren, brow lifting, as he grunts a bit while putting in a larger piece of wood that should keep the fire burning for a little while at least, before needing to restock it, eyes turning back to regard Collette thoughtfully, "I've never met anyone whose made me feel… like she has." His blue eyes watch the woman, as he grunts, "I'd do anything I had to, to keep her safe." Including throwing himself in front of Eldrick, that was clear. As for Jaren's lack of faith, Merrick nods, "Many people blame the Four for the loss of their loved ones," he says, perhaps not in the most tactful way, "Though we are not privy to their plans, for they could have something greater in store for those they took back to them." He steps around the fire and goes to Jaren, taking a seat by him again, so that he doesn't have to talk so loudly. "I have searched all my life to know who I am Sir Jaren, that I've spent many years wishing I had a mother or father to console me," he peers over at Jaren, "I cannot fathom why anyone would wish to give that up, when they have it. Even if they betrayed her first, their relationship is by blood. Ties that can never be broken. I do not want her living in regret for not trying to make amends with them," he frowns, "But whatever she wants now, I will be at her side…" however, there seems to be something else there that he does not speak of, some hesitation in his voice that suggests otherwise. "Do you want first watch, or shall I take it?" Abruptly, ending such silly things as speaking of emotion, for that had gone on quite long enough and they were men!

"I do not blame them." Jaren says simply. "One does not blame a general for losing a battle he did not command. I hold no ill will towards the Four or those that follow them. But if they've a plan for me or my family…I've yet to see any sign of it." Jaren shrugs a touch, then adds, before the conversation concludes, "You can take first watch. I somehow think you wouldn't get much sleep at the moment in any case. Wake me in a few hours."

"Faith is not easily rewarded my good man, one day you may see it, I pray that you will," Merrick is kind enough to say or stupid enough. Such a touchy subject, the loss of one's family. Either way, the conversation needs to end, for there is no point to dwell on ideals of love any longer. He nods at the taking the first watch, "I'll wake you. Sleep well Sir," and then, some gratitude, "Thank you."


Jaren has slept a lot longer than he should've. Merrick should've nudged the other man away a few hours ago, but he didn't. His mind was too full of thoughts to really put them aside for sleep. He stayed up as the fire crackled and burned low. He had moved near to sit by Collette, watching her sleep, his fingers working that amber bracelet together against his palm. Every so often he would walk around and ensure nothing was creeping in on their location and then he would come back to sit. He had just completed a round, sitting now, with a chill in his bones from the lack of a cloak to keep it from him. Leathers only did so much to keep the bite of the night from a man afterall. Cloaks were needed as a measure of protection. He tries to keep warm by the fire, every so often extending his hands toward the heat, blowing on them to keep his fingers from being too numb to even bend or flex.

Collette raises her small fists to rub eyes and then stretches, letting a soft "mmmm.." out. She slowly opens her eyes and first what she catches is the view of her beloved man, near the fire. Then her gaze slips to the cloak she is hugging and suddenly she understands, that it is not hers. The girl silently gasps and moves near Merrick, covering his shoulders with the cloak. The girl stands behind the Chosen and places her both hands gently on his shoulders, leaning to place a kiss on his head, "I am sorry, my moonshine," she whispers and remains standing there, playing with boy's hair.

The man lowers his head as he hears the movement of the young woman behind him, stirring perhaps because he came back too loudly or did his soft noises of trying to get warm wake her? Either way, as she realizes the cloak he gave her to keep warm has kept him cold, he stops her with a short look, "No. You keep it, stay warm." He adds another piece of wood to the fire, leaning over the soft glowing embers to try and welcome the heat into his hands, chest, face - where ever. Though, she does it anyway, putting the cloak on his shoulders, feeling her hands on his shoulders and the kiss to the top of his head. There's a quiet smile before he twists as he rises to his feet, pulling the cloak off him and back around her shoulders at the same time as he stands, swift movements, quick. Yet, he tugs her close to him with the cloak protecting her back from the chill - his own now faced toward the low burning fire. "You should go back to sleep…the sun is still a few hours from rising," he tells her, while leaning close to put his forehead against her own, sighing, "Collette…" his one hand lifts to cup her face, "I will do anything for you."

Collette clasps her hands around Merrick, to keep him warm and just because she wants to hug him. Her amber eyes are watching man's and the girl beams at his words, "Really? Then I beg you to believe me, that all I need in life is your love, not a house or money, or whatever you thing women should have," she takes his cheeks to her palms, "My heart wants just you and I am sure about it. You are my happiness, my love, my life and I am ready to do everything to be with you, sharing you with the Guardians, because that is very important or you," she giggles and kisses Merrick's lips, "So, promise me, that you will never ever speak again like you did today. I want you to do that. Just let your heart love me and lead the way. I have a harsh family and guardians know where you family is. We can create a new family for both of us, and that will bring happiness to both, please, believe me," and she gives another long kiss, before cuddling to the man tightly.

Merrick stares down into those amber eyes watching him like a hawk, no doubt seeing in them her desire to know what he thinks. It is hard to put his thoughts into words that do not offend her, that do not make her cry. So he remains silent. His cheek moves into her hands, eyes closing as she wants him to believe she needs nothing and he would have her think logically passed this emotion. His eyes slowly open at the lips upon his own, as his features appear to settle in a forlorn manner despite her giggles and kisses. His arms slides further around her as she hugs him, nodding to her pleas, resigned, "Alright Collette…alright."

Collette beams and becomes as happy as she was the first day they met. Finally, the man agreed! Maybe he still does not believe her words, but he will see that she is right. He will see that in the course of time. The girl tugs strongly Merrick to sit on the log near the fire, "You are cold. Why you did not get the cloak?.. I don't want you to get sick!"

If the man will sit, the young girl will cover him with cloak again, because she is warm enough and Merrick was freezing almost whole day!
Then Collette will sit near him on the ground and will place her head to his lap, "Thank you, my love… You will see, how wonderful we will live! I will make the most tasty food, I will always wait for you to come back from your missions, I will hunt and I will make wonderful dresses! And I will make you a cloak. The most beautiful one, that even Kings will be jealous, because you are worth everything, what is the most perfect!" Her hands will wrap around man's waist.


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