A Stranger Face 001: His Return

[Stasia is in town running errands for the household. It’s fall and chilly out!] -03:56 Aug 17
[Eadund is on his way home, his uniform partially hidden beneath a coat and both horse and rider covered in dust and snow from the trail.] -04:01 Aug 17
Stasia: An overcast fall day left the air chillier than normal. So Stasia was wearing a good long coat as she walked down the market square with a bag in one arm and a basket in her other hand. Gloves would have been a good idea, but she hadn’t counted on it being this cold so soon. She stopped at the fish vender to negotiate a good price! -04:03 Aug 17
Eadund: The town market, a welcome sight after endless field littered with debris and abandoned equipment. He was home, finally, the war won and honor earned. He wasn’t expecting her to be there though, he hadn’t expected to see her at all. He reigned in his horse and watched her, wondering what she was doing here alone, then walked the horse up to the fish vender. "Might I be so bold as to ask you the way to Virnice Hall?" -04:07 Aug 17
Stasia: "I don’t believe a man like you has any trouble being bold." she remarked with humor. Stasia accepted a package wrapped in thick paper and paid the vendor. Then she was examining the man. A stranger in town… didn’t look like he fared well in the war at all. Most men didn’t. "As a matter of fact, I’ll be returning there myself in a few moments. I can take you. I suppose you are looking for a job?" -04:10 Aug 17
Eadund: So many ex soldiers were looking for job, unneeded by thier country they were dumped and left to fend for themselves. "Actually I have a message about the master of the house. I knew him on the field and he is worried about his estate while hes gone. How fairs it?" -04:20 Aug 17
Stasia: That was a surprise! It was even clear on her face a moment before she turned to start walking down the street. Once or twice she had tried writing the man a letter, but she doubted they ever reached him. After so long, she had thought he might’ve been dead! "I see… Should I give the honest answer or paint the rose colored picture for a pining soldier?" Stasia was debating it. Who would want to be away knowing their home was a mess? -04:25 Aug 17
Eadund: He walked the horse next to her and spoke down at her, she didn’t recognise him as her husband. It wasn’t a surprise. "I assume you are the lady of the house, the description he gave me of a woman whose beaty was only matched by the sharness of her tongue fits you like a glove." he looked down the familiar, but changed street. "I apologize for not offering you a seat on my horse but shes as dirty as I am. And please, give an honest answer, I can always omit details when I recount it." -04:31 Aug 17
Stasia: "I think that description was a little exagerated." Thank the gods for a cold day. Compliments were so few and far between, she was actually blushing. Stasia leaned just a bit to regard the horse with a grin. "The house itself is falling apart. Our mutual patriachs are trying to spend us dry. Most of the staff have been fired or quit. I am fairly certain I am being driven mad, and to top it all off there’s another family trying to bully us off the property. War might be easier at this rate." -04:36 Aug 17
Eadund: He frowned. "I see. Then you are in need of a firm hand lest you lose it all. You have my sympathy." He thought for a moment. "And you m’lady? Are you awaiting his return, if a mained old soldier may ask?" -04:39 Aug 17
Stasia: An enigmatic smile was her response as she stopped at another vendor, leaning over to mutter that she was picking up an order, before she finally spoke. "That is a more personal question… And I could say I both wish he’d return and fear the day, and it would be the truth." -04:44 Aug 17
Eadund: His interest was piqued. "Fear? He couldn’t take his eye off of her, the only one he had left after the war. "I am sorry to hear that. I know he is homesick, yet worries. But that is between a husband and his wife. I shall give you his message at you convenience once we have arrived." -04:48 Aug 17
Stasia: "I only met him once, you know, the day we were married. And that day is such a blur that I can barely remember a thing now." she sounded like she regretted that. Taking another package from the vendor in exchange for some coin. "I guess I am glad to know he worries. All that I know of him has been told to me from our fathers and my brother, and I am honestly not so sure any of them are telling me the truth anymore." After a few paces down the street she stopped to turn to him. A frown across her face. "…I don’t mean to ramble. Could you not pass that to him?" -04:55 Aug 17
Eadund: He smiled. "As M’lady requests I shall not tell a soul." he was hard for him not to lead the way knowing it so well. "But I do know he took your letters into every battle with him, and was furious when they were lost when he was carried off the field at the battle for our capitol. Its his wounds suffered there that delayed his return. One of his concers if with his scars you would find him repulsive." -05:00 Aug 17
Stasia: There was another surprise! He did recieve her letters after all? Her expression soften and out of nowhere she began to laugh. "If that’s his biggest concern, he’s going to be very surprised to get home. As long as he still has arms and legs to work with, and won’t be an unholy terror, I think I will survive." Her grin was wide and teasing. With the last of her errands done, she was leading the way out of the small town towards the road that returned to the house. "What IS he like, since you know him so well?" -05:09 Aug 17
Eadund: He stoppe the horse. "He is a decorated hero, but he doesn’t think that counts for anything other than a shiny bauble for his uniform and he insists that there are braver men than him in the earth around the capitol with no one to thing thier praises. He put himself at risk when he didn’t have to when he though it would lead to fewer of our own being hurt. While off the field he was a loud critic of many of the tactic used, and wasn’t afraid to share a meal or a drink with the rank and file believing it to be important for moral. I think thats why his men trusted him. Its dificult to explain but I’m sure you will get a chance to form your own opinion soon. Now I will repeat my offer of a ride, if you don’t mind the dirt. Or at least allow me to carry some of those parcels for you." -05:16 Aug 17
Stasia: The information made her feel both, a little bit better about the nature of her mysterious husband… and vexed by the nature of her family. The information didn’t match, but she was far more likely to trust a soldier that faught with him, than the men wrecking chaos in her home. Stasia eyed the horse and considered it… "Can we both take the horse? I’m sure you’re exhausted yourself and the faster we return, the sooner you can rest." -05:23 Aug 17
Eadund: He offered her a hand, the ring finger missing and nodded. Take hold and I’ll pull you up. Nightwish is timer too but her can carry us both." he was both looking forwars to and dreading going home. "You are kind to offer me lodgings." -05:28 Aug 17
Stasia: A missing finger too. The man really did not have any luck in the war. Stasia made sure everything was stuffed inside her basket and hitched securely to the horse before she took his hand. She was casting him another grin. "Don’t worry, my charity is a myth! A fully intend to have you help me chores until you must leave." -05:31 Aug 17
Eadund: "I’ll keep a note of that." he said pulling her up and then once she was secure he gauided the horse up the road and towards the manor. "And I would be more than happy to do my part, sounds you need someone you can trust and who isn’t afraid of work around." -05:34 Aug 17
Stasia: "I must sound like I have nothing but complaints." she mumbled, leaning to eye the ground warily. "You can leave that part out when you speak to him also. I’m glad I have a nice home and people to take care of me. I don’t want him to think he’s coming home to a spoiled witch and a mound of trouble." -05:40 Aug 17
Eadund: Taht last sentence made him laugh. "I’m sure he doesn’t think that at all. Though it doesn sound like you have your plate full." he turned up a road that would lear then right up to the front door. "Hes just as worried as any man would be." -05:42 Aug 17
Stasia: "With plenty of justification! I’ve seen plenty of men come back to find their homes gone, or their wives with new husbands. I suppose he could be coming back to worse circumstances." Stasia lift her fingers to breath on them. Next time, gloves! It was too late in the year to do without them. "You know the road well, are you sure you haven’t visited once before?" -05:46 Aug 17
Eadund: He didn’t answer her question. "Many soldiers now feel nothing but bitterness towards the tzar and say hes abandoned them just as they’ve won him a hard victory, combined with them going home to fing thier lives vanished I fear for them. Your husband is lucky, and It must speak for your character than only after meeting him once you would stay." -05:51 Aug 17
Stasia: "Does it? It could just as easily be said that I might be a mindless coward, doing as I was told and playing it safe." She was teasing, the humor still in her voice. "But thank you for the compliment. I’ve always felt loyalty was important. He accepted our fathers’ arrangements and married me knowing he was getting nothing but a debt in return. I think he deserves a wife he can trust." -06:00 Aug 17
[(Timeout) Eadund was sacrificed to the roleplay gods by a tribe of wild newbies.] -06:24 Aug 17
[Eadund enters.] -06:28 Aug 17
Eadund: "and he can trust you? -06:30 Aug 17
Eadund: "And he can trust you?" he asked "With his life in nessesary? Even though you barely remember his face?" they were coming up to the mannor now and he couls see the disrepair. "Maybe he was too weak and cowardsly to refuse his father’s wishes." -06:33 Aug 17
Stasia: "I like to think he can. Whether or not it will be true will likely depend on what I got myself in to." Her beautiful home… Well, her -husband’s- beautiful home, now with holes in the roof, a boarded window here and there, missing stones, over growth and gods knew what else. It was a shame to see it like this, and just as much her failure as the other caretakers fault. "We’ll be quite the pair, both bending to the whims of our fathers." Once they stopped, she jumped off the horse and unhitched her basket. -06:38 Aug 17
Eadund: He dismounted and noticed the lack of anyone to take the hourse. "I’ll stable him then do you want the message or do you want it immediatly?" he wasnter to see how long he could ge withoug her recognising him but that would be wrong of him. "You don’t need to worry military life has taught be how to take good care of horses." -06:42 Aug 17
Stasia: "I’m not worried about the horse." she grinned. Stasia gave it some consideration again. …she really did want that message. But he had probably traveled a long way to give it. "The stable is around the corner. I have to get prepared for dinner, so you can come to tell me after you’ve had a rest." -06:48 Aug 17
Eadund: He left her and walked the horse aound to the stables… they had once benen full but now… It wasn;t really feeling like home. He could always leave… He unsaddles the horse and shed his coat to give him a brush down and and a feed. After he was sure the horse would be fine be holed his coat over his arm and went to the back enterence into the kitchen and pushed it open, expecting it to be empty even though when he was here if never had been. -06:52 Aug 17
Stasia: Stasia was the only one in the kitchen. Her coat was gone and there was an apron tied neatly around her waist. Most of her purchases were spread out on a counter and she was preparing to fillet up the fish. When she spotted him she jumped, hand tightening on the knife. Then she looked a bit annoyed about being startled. "I hadn’t expect you to come through the back. Would you like something to drink?" -06:57 Aug 17
Eadund: "It would be heavenly." he said lovign to the corner of the room to place his coat down and then shed his uniform jacket leaving himself with just a shirt. He wanted to poke her with more questions about how she felt but seeing her in an aprin was surprising. "You do all the cooking? You really have no one else?" -07:00 Aug 17
Stasia: She laughed, moving to grab a heavy mug and then to the stove where she had something heating. "Don’t sound so surprised. I am a lady that can cook. If you want to eat, you learn very quick." She poured the drink in to the mug before she brought it over to him. It smelled like fruit and spices, with the vague scent of alcohol. "It’ll keep you warm. And no, I might have two people left… One that tends the animals and the land and one that does the hunting. IF they are still here." She paused, now having to think about it. "….I should probably check." -07:05 Aug 17
Eadund: He sipped the brew and smiled apreciativly, now satisfied with his investigation, almost. "Where are your fathers?" he asked. Once that was answered he’d tell ehr that he was her husband returned from the war. -07:09 Aug 17
Stasia: "That is always the question of the day, isn’t it." Stasia was back to the counter again, fussing with that fish. "I supposed if they’re not sleeping off a late night, they’ll be out arguing over the right way to hunt. If not there, they may be in town gambling and meeting women. They are always on time for dinner, though, so you’ll have your chance to see them." -07:13 Aug 17
Eadund: He took another sip shaking his head. "Is that another thing I am not meant to tell you husband?" he asked "Because despite these informal surroundings I would prefer to tell you the message now before they get back." he placed the mug down and moked over to a basin to remove the eyepatch and scoop water up with his hands and wash his face as best he could before replacing the patch and turning around." -07:16 Aug 17
Stasia: Stasia watched him curiously from the corner of her eye, but was still busy all the same. She let out an exasperated breath. "Apparently I talk too much. Tell him if you think he should know, I suppose. I hope he’s blessed with an over active imagination so what he returns to isn’t nearly as bad as he expected." Stasia finally set down her knife, resting her hand on her hip as she turned to him. "All right then, what is this message?" -07:21 Aug 17
Eadund: He ran a hand through his hair and studied hermaking sure the patch was in place and knowing that a cleaner face meant that the scars were more visible. "The message from Eadund to his wife is a simple one." he said stepping forwards so that they were just out of arms reach of eachother. "I am home." -07:24 Aug 17
Stasia: The look of confusion was first as she mulled over the words. Then it was wide-eyed shock. …finally she looked just plain annoyed, even taking a swat at him! "And you let me blabber on like an idiot?! About you and this house… and …!" Stasia shut her mouth quick, turning away to grip the counter. He was home. For the first time in years he was home, and she had pretty much confessed that life was a mess… and took a swing at him on top of it. "I’m sorry. You should have told me." -07:31 Aug 17
Eadund: "I wanted to know what you thought of me." he said. "Mever meeting eachother and then having our wedding, adn then me leaving to war. I wanted to know if I had been made a cuckhold, if there were problems, and there plainly are. I am sorry for tricking you, but at last I know what you think." -07:34 Aug 17
Stasia: "Well. Now you are aware that your wife talks to much to strangers and keeps secrets." she mumbled. This was awkward. Stasia had hoped she’d be able to prepare herself for this. Not be caught off guard and covered in fish! She finally turned back around to really examine him. Not just as a stranger, but her husband. "You fought hard…" -07:39 Aug 17
Eadund: He nodded. "There was a lot of hard fighting." he looked at her, now not hiding the fact that he was. "But I also know you think highly of me without reason to, and I’ve always though highly of you Stasia. Thank you for staying faithful even as everythign falls apart." -07:44 Aug 17
Stasia: She looked away again, sure that her face was turning red again and there was no way to hide it as a chill from the air. Stasia brushed her hands over her apron. "A man should be able to trust his wife and vice versa. …Welcome home, Eadund. I’m sure your father is going to be thrilled to see you." -07:48 Aug 17
Eadund: He wasn’t so sure. "I am much more concerned about what you feel." he said taking another step closer. "You were the one I was thinking about over there even though I barely know you. We’re married and I want to get to know you." -07:51 Aug 17
Stasia: "I think I’ve blabbered enough to give you a frustratingly accurate idea of how I feel!" Stasia was embarrassed, and worst she wanted to run out of the kitchen like some addle-headed child. But she remained rooted to the spot with some small spark of pride. "What do you want to know, Eadund? I need to do something about your dinner…" -07:58 Aug 17
Eadund: "I just want to talk." he said. "I know how you feel but I want to know you. I think only seeing you once before leaving was a mistake. Despite your worry lines when you think too hard you look prettier than I remember you. My other regret was losing the ring with my finger." -08:01 Aug 17
Stasia: "You didn’t have much of a choice about leaving… I suspect you didn’t have much choice in losing your finger either." Probably not the sort of thing she should make jokes about. But Stasia still cracked a wry grin, and nodded her heads towards a chair for him to sit. "Sit. I can cook and answer questions at the same time." -08:05 Aug 17
Eadund: "No, I really didn’t." it had been artillery that had cone it, shrapnel, one minute he had neem on his feel, the next he was in a hospital tent. "I don’t remember most of it, but I al glad you don’t find me repulsive. Though you should be telling me about yourself." -08:09 Aug 17
Stasia: "I run a house and I cook meals. There isn’t much to me." she confessed, returning to getting that fish cut up, along with vegatables to toss in to a stew pot. "You shouldn’t worry so much about how you look. You’ll be a good husband, won’t you?" her teasing smile was back again. -08:13 Aug 17
Eadund: He sat back down and drank from the mug. "I’m here to help you now, I’ll help you run the house and fix all those problems you spoke to be about." he took another sip. "This is good too by the way. really good." -08:15 Aug 17
Stasia: Stasia looked pleased about that. She was grinning wider. "You’ll get no trouble from me about fixing things, that is for sure. The old men could use someone to boss them about a bit. All they think I’m god for is cooking their meals, and I haven’t been able to keep anyone around thanks to the pair of them." -08:20 Aug 17
Eadund: "Then I’ll do my best so long as it keeps buying me those smiles." he said smiling back at her. "This place needs a lot of work but if its going to become a home then we’ll make it into one. I think step one is limiting the wine and women budget." -08:23 Aug 17
Stasia: She was struck silent for a moment, though her grin never vanished. Stasia had been so worried him returning home would just be more trouble. It was nice to know that it might actually be for the better. "An excellent idea. You are more than welcome to be the one to tell them. I don’t see them refuses orders from a scruffy man with an eyepatch." -08:28 Aug 17
Eadund: He tapped the pollel of his dres sword with his hand and grinned again. "The family will be rebuilt adn this place restored, I’m just glad I have someone rescourcful to do it with. We are now the heads of the houshold, and it may be this brew talking but I don’t see a way we can fail." -08:32 Aug 17

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