Where the devil was that boy?
As the days grew shorter and the shadows longer with the autumn growing late, still there was no sign of him. Sioned found herself watching the road leading up to ludwell, hoping to see Mabsant riding home.
With the first snows came a messenger from Sarum, with a message of nothing. In fact, the dowager countess was wondering if Sioned had seen her son. Mabsant was missing, and noone had seen him return. Worry was now a redcap, slowly eating her guts from within.
All that winter, she was slowly devoured.
Fortunately, she had much to keep her occupied. The messenger from Sarum had brought some good news. Mabsant had been raised to knighthood, and named warden of Ludwell. Pride in her son burned fierce in her chest. With her son the lawful warden, she leveraged motherhood to finally wrest control of decisionmaking from Bodwin. Carefully, both Lilo and Bodwin remained important advisors, and it was often invaluable. However, she could freely continue with her plan for the manor.
She had more to do than ever, complaints from the common folk, finding food, keeping the village and manor lands in good repair. She planned store and rations months in advance, hoping to make too little last for longer than it reasonably should. All in all she did so well, and despite feeling the pinch of saxon tribute noone starved that year.
A new face had come to Ludwell. An old man, Tienyn, had come from Dorsette, and such was the deference shown to him by the common folk that Sioned had invited him to Ludwell proper. He was the eldest of the Anarawd, and truly ancient at that. There was something about him. Some men grow frail and fragile with age, some gather about them a form of gravity that simply pulls others along. The old man had a will to match her own.
However, he did not often meddle in her business, rather he seemed to observe and offer advice, and as such was a surprisingly welcome addition to the house.
Sioned, too, felt herself changing. Something about Ludwell, about the old man, and the deep rooted beliefs and history that the Anarawd held were becoming a part of her. When Lord Caren, a wealthy knight in neighbouring Dorsette, sent word that he wished a young girl of the extended family as a concubine, Tienyn deferred the decision to her. She thought of it long and hard. In times past, she would have accepted without hesitation. The offer came with great compensation, and the family needed it. The pragmatist in her wanted it. Something else did not. It felt wrong, condemning the girl to a loveless life at the pleasure of another had become abhorrent to her. When she declined, the eldest of the Anarawd smiled, and kissed her cheek. “You are one of us, daughter”. She had rarely felt more proud, or more included.
It was Tienyn who suggested what she had been working towards on her own for a long time, to marry Mabsant into the Anarawd proper. He would wed Tiwlip, Gamonds eldest daughter. Indeed, she had never thought it possible, but apparently the family wanted the warden tied closely to their fortune. It was now more important than ever to find her wayward son…