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Old 11-22-2008, 10:14 AM   #336
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After the archery contests were done, Eodwine went to Degas and called him aside.

"Will you take a stroll with me, my friend?"

Degas agreed and excused himself from his sister with a bow and a smile; Eodwine did likewise. They were seen to begin a circuit of the current borders of Scarburg. Once they were beyond earshot and the eyes of the others, Eodwine opened up his mind to Degas.

"As you no doubt recall, Degas, about three months ago I made Saeryn the lady and host of my house, an arrangement that was both very unusual and done without your permission."

"Yes," Degas replied, "although my permission though useful to you then, was not legally binding as my brother was yet the head of our house."

"And that is now changed. You asked me what it was that I was doing, and I had the cheek to call it a betrothal." Degas allowed a half smile. "Which," continued Eodwine, "went against all custom of our folk, and it is no wonder that Saeryn fled in the end. In truth, the fault was mine, for I allowed myself to be blinded and deafened by the workings of my own heart."

Eodwine lapsed into silence, considering how his words shifted blame to himself of all those things he had been holding against Saeryn since she had fled.

"Go on," Degas said.

"You have blessed me with knowing your desire that Saeryn become my wife, for which I thank you. But we have not spoken, you and I, of bride price and dowry. Now that you are head of your house, and Saeryn is your sister, what would you have from me in plight for the good of your sister, both while we live, but more to the point, for her security in widowhoood?"

They had reached the southeast corner, overlooking the swamps, and turned the corner, aiming for the scar as Degas screwed up his face in thought.

Eventually he spoke, uncertainly.

"I am not rich," he began. "My family's... my... holdings have always been of modest scale and I still do not know the extent of the damage that has been done in my absence. I do not know what power I hold. I do not know what my lands and my people need with or without my sister, their favorite. Also, rather to the point at the moment: I cannot believe, knowing what I now know of my late brother, that Saeryn's dowry is intact. I do not know what I can give you to help your marriage any more than I know what I should ask of you to help with my lands."

They were approaching the scar, and the area where Dan had apparently gotten stuck, only to be saved by Scyld; or so the story went. Eodwine had doubts about that story, but that must be saved for another time.

"I have a thought," he said. "As you can see, I have little enough to offer in bride price, which drops us both on the same cheap saddle, as it were. What would you say if we three, you, Saeryn and I, swear an oath like that which Gondor and the Eorlingas have sworn to each other, to be friends for life, and come to each other's aid when called? Let that be both bride price and dowry for as long as at least two of the three of us live. What think you?"

"I think well of the idea. It will help neither of us much in the short term, I fear, yet a life long brotherhood is a kingly gift. I fear only that I should die before fathering an heir, and there will be none to hold to my promise in my absence. I will swear to this: as long as I live, you shall have my aid and friendship, and once my own family is settled and growing, you shall have their aid and friendship as well. I only wish I could offer more than the future affections of children not yet born to the wife I have yet to marry."

"My friend, you offer much more than I asked for. I dare not speak for my heirs, and I would not have you speak for yours, if such come to either of us. For now, let it be between the three of us, if Saeryn agrees. If there are heirs on either or both sides, we can consider such things later. What say you?"

Degas laughed, relieved, and clasped Eodwine's hand. "I am much relieved," he grinned. "I say we have a deal."

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 12-02-2008 at 10:38 AM.
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