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Eligible ladies of High King Aurelius Ambrosius Pendragon's court, 480 e.v.


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One of my Player Knights, Sir Daerid ap Doraine, called the Benevolent, recently had a drunken dream in which the faceless horde of courtiers in an abandoned castle failed to remember him.  Outside there was a tree, a family tree he knew in that dreamlike way, his family tree, withering and unhealthy, clutching a Saxon's ax in one branch.  He then noticed that his arm had become a branch of its own and, upon being urged to "prune the tree", he used a Briton ax to chop it off.

 

His fellows, hearing him relay these phantasms upon awaking near the end of their first royal Pentecostal feast, have decided to arrange for him to find a wife.  Well, the Pictish Sir Uhtred mac Doughal, called le Beau, and Sir Briant ap Gerin, styled of the Open Hand, who at a young age took her dead brother's name to protect the family from an evil aunt, have decided this.  The Northman Sir Jasper Friggasdottir (yes, that last name is correct), the First Knight, the Knight of Women, is too busy between hooking up with Sir Jareth the Goblin Knight and discovering that the consent-challenged knight he near killed earlier in the court is the newly recognized Prince Madoc ap Uther's friend and second in the Knighting Ceremony.

 

Sir Uhtred will spend the next feast round gossiping to discover the eligible ladies of the court, so I'm randomly creating a bunch of lady NPCs to list out as potential wives for Sir Daerid.  I thought I'd post what I create here, for commentary, the amusement of others, and feedback.

 

First up:  the Lady Barrok bint Bazzu bint Amacei bint Ihtizaz al-Durr umm Shuruq

Barrok is an aristocratic 16-year-old lady from the great capital city of Zazamanc, Patelamunt, which is famed for its sixteen gates and many magnicent gardens which are watered by several wells within its wall.  Her ever-gentle and ever-soft hazel eyes would draw the gaze of any who looked upon her countenance, if not for the gleaming gloss of the brown hair above it and her dark skin ~ she is known to be pretty, but is often overshadowed by the truly ravishing ladies in the Pendragon’s court.  The fifth daughter of a petty nobleman of unremarkable wealth in North Africa, she has only quite recently arrived in Aurelius’s court, telling of years of siege stretching along her youth and a desire to put many miles between herself and her memories of Patelamunt’s glories sullied by desperate need.  She rather quickly adopted the Christianity common to her new home.
Despite her strange cultural ways, her scholastic nature, and her strident advocacy for the honor of the Saracen, her reputation for modesty and temperance has won the newcomer the respect and acceptance of the court.  A readiness to distinguish her readily visible love of her family from her service to it has helped, as well, allowing her to dodge accusations of loyalty to strange and untrustworthy foreign kings.  She has found that the natural deductive abilities she inherited from that beloved family are just as useful in court as they are while studying the ancient wisdoms preserved by her people.  Many a clucktongue has noted that she would make a good wife, perhaps a saintly one if only she could find some focus among the luxuries and writings with which she surrounds herself.  Too political she is, say her detractors, and not as focused on stewarding an estate.
 

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Estrigyr ferch Nadwg, called the Stone Wall


    Mentioned in the same breath as Barrok’s eligibility is that of her constant companion, the deaconess Estrigyr.  Her high cheekbones hold up hazel eyes that seem always half-closed, and her voice soothes the skin itself like silken velvet.  Those boorish knights wont to categorize the ladies of the court by their hair color have oft suggested that Estrigyr is the prettiest of the dark blondes in the Pendragon’s court.  The late-born 6th daughter of the Hertfordite chamberlain, in a family line littered with clergy and theologians, much hope had been placed upon her to be an exemplary wife like her five older sisters had been.  She disappointed every wagtongue who burdened her with those expectations; a gentlewoman she was decidedly not.  Those tongues soon turned from wagging to clucking, and that clucking grew louder when a pestilence struck her manor and killed her husband and children, leaving Estrigyr the only survivor.  The hardiness thus displayed, and perhaps other qualities as well, have earned her the epithet “the Stone Wall”.


    Faced with disapproval and rumor, Estrigyr sought and gained ordination as a deaconess and an appointment to a quite minor position in Aurelius Ambrosius’s retinue, hoping to wiggle free from her past and her grief.  It is in that office that she was assigned to Barrok when the younger and foreign girl arrived in the Pendragon’s court as a catechist and a teacher.  In this, she has found the success she needed to push back against the evil stories that haunted her, for she is, if anything, more of a scholar than her student.  Her library is starting to become a legend among the nobles surrounding the High King.  Knightly jokes portray her as cold and uninterested in all the usual tactics knights employ to win the favor of their chosen ladies; the more compassionate stories say that she remains faithful to her dead husband.  A very passionate woman, noted for the fierceness of her matched love of her family and loyalty to her lord, as well as the fervency of her welcome to any who might need it and the impregnancy of her honor, she is almost never seen outside the company of her young charge, than whom she is half again as old.
 

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Tulliola Rufa


Gnaeus Asinius Agrippa, at home in the wilds as is everyone in his family, served under King Vortigern as a scout during the Pictish invasion of 444 and 445.  This allowed him, alone and unarmored by the domestic faith of his battlemates, to witness the strange rites of those diminutive foreigners.  To this day, tales are told of Asinius Agrippa’s mercy, as he saved the life of a Pictish Druid in order to learn of their gods and spirits and ways.  The druid spoke well, and Agrippa took on the Heathen worships.  A tiny little wisp of a thing, the 16-year-old Tulliola is the fourth feminine issue of his first son’s loins, and maintains to this day the foreign rites common in her family.


All of these names are familiar to the Pict-descended Sir Uhtred mac Doughall, styled le Beau ~ His own stepfather, Sir Sansum, called the Stormcloud, is descended from Gn. Asinius Agrippa’s first cousin.


Tulliola’s brilliant red hair has caused much stir in her short life, with clucktongues whispering of beastly sexual desire and moral degeneration, spinning tales of Satan’s touch and a vampiric witchery.  No few of the more boorish knights have opined that this rumored lack of inhibition might be a fun diversion, for she is known as a beauty.  Her blue eyes and patrician nose regard all this fuss with a quiet stillness that is otherwise quite unknown on her expressive countenance and a silence that contradicts her reputation for speaking the Gods’ truth at all times.


If Sir Sansum’s dislike of the Picts is a common affliction in his line, that perhaps is the best explanation for the poverty of Tulliola’s family, a marked oddity amongst the wealthy lords and ladies that attend upon the Pendragon.  Their shared Roman culture, ever rarer in Logres with each passing year, perhaps explains her presence, in turn.  The situation has left Tulliola with a shrewd eye for quality, carefully selecting every item and experience to be the absolute best of that thing she can acquire ~ knowing that she cannot fill her life with luxury, Tulliola wants those fine things she can acquire to be as fine as is humanly possible.


Though she is known to be an ideal of service to her liege lord (the castellan of Warcastle in Wuerensis) and of a lady’s honor, both fade like stars in the dawn before the love she feels for her father, her family, and her ancestors.
 

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Considia Apis


Though everyone knows the truth of considia’s parentage, without the Pendragon’s official recognition, it matters only in Aurelius’s doting on this third daughter of a lady-in-waiting of Bees Clearing manor in County Ascalon, near the border with Cornwall.  The gossips say that her father merely wants to protect her from the roughness of her uncle, the current heir apparent.  Uther is a sweaty, mighty-thewed terror on the battlefield, not an ambitious politician, but perhaps it is indeed best for Considia that she not be between him and the throne, should anything happen to Aurelius Ambrosius.


Her cognomen is a bit humorous, considering her home.  That was merely a side benefit of the name, however, as it was a name given her for her legendary work habits.  A beauty of twenty-four years upon this earth, she stands as an inspiration to most of the inhabitants of Logres, of any gender, and a shame to the rest.  In truth, she has a poor reputation among those who have worked with her.  Though her domestic skills are impressive, her opinion of them is moreso.  Well, to speak more honestly, it’s not that she thinks overmuch of her own skills, but that she thinks overless of the skills of others.  The highest compliment she has paid to another women was concerning her very own sister’s needlework:  “It’s good,” she said, “but not perfect; would you like to know how to do it better?”  Most often, she is of the strident and vocal opinion that others’ efforts are only inhibiting the work.


It’s probably just as well that she can (and does) leverage a well-developed understanding of the law, mos maiorum, and customs of the court to avoid working with others, as few want to work with her,.  That being said, the old wagtongues whisper that she is a treasure of a wife hidden in plain sight, who will be a blessing to whoever can win her hand.


Considia keeps her ash-blonde hair in a simple, practical style beneath which her brow’s constant furrow can be seen and her blue eyes can focus on whatever her long fingers and visibly strong muscles are doing.  Her hate of the Irish is as fiercely burning as any Cornish Knight, and is matched only by her loyalty to the High King Aurelius Ambrosius Pendragon, though both are tempered somewhat by an honor that is nigh unimpeachable.
 

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