The Prologue, Part One: Family Feuds



The feud that flourishes between the Farwynd and Seyster families stems from an incident fuelled by jealousy, anger, and sabotage. The conflict between the men, and consequently their wives and children, has been consistent for well over a decade, and arose from a dealing of trade. Both Lord Farwynd and Lord Seyster are ambitious men, both of esteemed and well-deserved station, though both strive for greatness for their family and their reputation. They were acquaintances, both courtiers, and had once enjoyed each other’s company at a gathering or two, though there was nothing more to their relationship than that.

Travelling merchants brought a shipment of unique and intricate goods, but for the majority, it was consisted of fabrics that were uncommon in the Gondorian plains. The products were highly sought for, though the most notable names that had the desire for such a shipment, were Lord Farwynd and Lord Seyster. Given the demand for the shipment, the merchants arranged an auction, so that the goods were sold to the highest bidder. Both Farwynd and Seyster were the wealthiest, and so to many, it was suspected to be a competitive race between the two. However, it was not a fair deal, as Lord Farwynd deceived Seyster, by giving him false information, which resulted in Seyster’s absence at the auction, thus sabotaging Lord Seyster’s chances of winning the shipment. Lord Farwynd received the shipment, and so his wealth and reputation increased, though they have both held a vendetta of sorts against the other, as they still remain fierce competitors in Minas Tirith’s current market.

 

The first thing heard through the large doors as one enters is the waves of chatter in unison with the echoing music being played by a band in the balconies above, an airy calming tempo of string instruments. The music and volume of voices was hint towards a merry gathering yet there was an obvious divide of groups. Besides nobles stood household courtiers, decorated in the colours and banners associated with the families they served, ready to fetch drinks and food whenever the need arose. There was hardly a mixed house to be seen talking amongst the bobbing heads and only a handful were dancing.

The Seyster family conveyed from their residence to the halls that held the gathering, and so, were the next family to be announced as present, as they emerged through the decorated, stygian doors. They were led by the head of the family, alongside his wife, and his three children behind them; one of which was Elioriel. They were not alone, despite their clear entrance of unison, as behind them still trailed several individuals who represented and worked for the family. They continued through the doorway, and they were soon welcomed by others, as they were rather prestigious in their line of work, and arguably, their well-deserved titles. As for Elioriel specifically, her inquisitive eyes explored everything that was to offer, and those who were already here at the event, as they took the time to scan the intricate details of everything her eyes landed upon. Despite her curious nature, she did not stray from her family, and especially her Father's, side.

The Father of the Farwynd family looked over the sea of bobbing heads when the name of the other family was announced, over the music and the dull choir of chatting voices. Something he says causes a ruckus of intended laughter that was made to steal the notice from the arriving family, so people would look their way instead and wish to hear the key part of the joke. Some other men stood with the head of the family but the others, including the children of the man, stood by their Mother, who was taking advantage of one of the long cushioned chase lounges, where she sat, glass of wine in hand, revelling in being made a fuss over by one of her ladies. The children, however, were not fawning over their mother and instead shared in their own conversations. Trévyr was in the midst of talking with one of his closest male companions and fellow hunting friend, when he overheard his Fathers remark and, with a turn of his head, looked over towards the arriving family, uninterestedly.

The Farwynd family, and their attempt in overshadowing the Seyster family's entrance was rendered futile, or was, to an extent. Heads were turned by the ruckus, including the Seysters, though it was only but for a moment for some. The gaze of Elioriel lingered, whilst one of her slender brows was lifted upwards, curious of the reason for such a commotion, or more importantly, the need for such. Aware of the history, and the hatred between the two families, it would not have taken much to realise what their intentions had been. She was an analyst, or thought of herself as one, though the silent process was abruptly cut short, as her Father reached her side to speak with her. The family then dispersed, as the Mother took the two younger siblings further into the hall, along with her ladies, in order to settle themselves into the gathering. The Father of the Seyster children approached the Farwynd, and Elioriel and her two ladies lingered far enough behind, and quietly began a discussion of their own. He coughed, announcing himself abruptly; ''Have you got something to say, Farwynd?''

Lord Farwynd turned to see Lord Seyster and granted him a bow of sarcastic flare, "My Lord. Say? Why no, I was simply sharing some words with my fellows here, do you wish to join?" Snickered are shared behind him by his company but they too make effort to make space for the man, daring him to join them. "It has been too long since we enjoyed your company, Seyster, I see you brought ALL your family, good timing with these eligible about." The words were indeed intentional, hinting towards many opportunist things the Father might have been about. Trévyr had turned to watch his Father as the 'discussion' became something of a centre stage for the guests to watch. Drinking from his goblet, his dark eyes searched the faces behind Lord Seyster, at the mention of his family being present. He was unsure who was who and who belonged to the family and his eyes did briefly land on the Elioriel and then the people beside her.

Lord Seyster's eyes rolled. Although he was outnumbered, as in comparison, he was detached from those that would usually accompany him and be found in his company, whereas Lord Farwynd found himself in the company of his regular acquaintances and friends. His daughter, Elioriel, might have joined him at his side, though she was under strict instructions to do anything of the sort, as she was not to be associate with such a commotion, especially with her Father's intentions for her on this particular evening. She remained close, though, as she was curious of the conversation that took place. Lord Seyster, despite his 'disadvantage', he was an extremely strong-willed individual, and so it seemed not to faze him, as his own laugh bellowed through the halls; ''It is not a crime to bring my family to a gathering, Farwynd. You have done exactly the same.'' His arm was lazily waved in the direction of Lord Farwynd's wife and children, Trévyr included. The laughter caused Elioriel to turn her head, though it was one she recognised, so she did not pay much attention to it and soon returned to her discussion with her ladies. That was until a man, and his son, approached the small group, and then her concentration and narrative turned to them.

Lord Farwynd looked towards where his wife and children were gathered, talking in their own groups. "That I have, you remember Lady Farwynd of course? My two sons and my Daughter." Lord Farwynd turned back to him with a large bearded smile. "And who is this young lady"? he asked, looking towards the young woman stood in her father's backward shadow.

A few had gathered around Lord Seyster, as the conversation continued, though they would make room for Elioriel, once her Father was to call her. Lady Seyster was close, though also distant in the hall, though watched her husband carefully with a look of concern. Lord Seyster paid the Farwynd's a polite, though curt, nod, as he was not going to be one that was deemed blunt and impolite, even if he desired to be toward the man; ''That I do.'' He paused, as he glanced over toward Elioriel, who had since returned to talking with her ladies, as her conversation with the visitor had since ended; ''This is my daughter, Elioriel.'' He spoke loudly, so Elioriel would be signalled, which she was. She turned toward her Father, and so made her way graciously over to the small crowd, and to her Father's side.

Lord Farwynd looked over the young woman with a nod, for even he was impressed by the young women’s air and outward character. "You have grown, young lady, the last time I saw you, you were but as high as that chair there..." he said, nodding towards one of the dining chairs nearby their gathering. To this, Lady Farwynd rose up from her chase-lounge, softly fanning herself with a decorated dried canvas fan with golden cording, joining her husband’s side. "I recognise this young lady, too husband. She has the images of her Mother." Lady Farwynd was less upfront with her opinions when in such a public gathering, her smiles disarmed and though she smiled to Lady Seyster, the meaning would be unclear; but then women were always more cunning than men. Trévyr turned where he stood to face the other family that was now gathering near his own, next to his friend, especially now his mother had graced them with her own presence, enough to get off the sofa, that was a feat in its self. Elioriel he remembered but not the young woman before him, this influenced his curiosity and he listened to the conversation as he studied the woman now the centre of the discussion. His dark eyes watched whoever spoke, occasionally turning back to the woman to see how she reacted to everything being said.

Upon her arrival, which had been imminent, given that the distance between herself and the gathering had not been drastic. Regardless of the history, dislike, and hatred between the two families, Elioriel was not to be one that portrayed such, as she acknowledged each of the Farwynd's individually, and with pleasant intent. As she was spoken to, she listened carefully and followed any hand motions and movements that Lord Farwynd made, as well as his wife, as she casted a glance toward her Mother. She was intelligent, and so even if the pleasantry was not reciprocated in the way she would have imagined, she composed and presented herself in a way that was nothing but that; ''Time, as well as other novelties, have passed since we last saw each other, Lord Farwynd.'' She was wary of Lord Farwynd's wife, and so did not grace her with a narrative to respond, though instead looked to her Mother with admiration. She had looked to Lord Farwynd's children, though she watched Trévyr carefully for a moment, until her Father spoke again; ''My daughter has had no need, or want, to converse with you, so there is no wonder why your memory of her is from such a time ago.'' His tone was not as calm, or gentle, as Elioriel had been. Though, that was to be expected, as the bad blood fuelled her Father more than it would ever fuel Elioriel.

The comment rose several eyebrows and the smile that Lady Farwynd had adopted dropped to a look of some mild shock, for the most part, the compliment made by Lord Farwynd had been genuine, the insulted reply had once more fuelling his displeasure and dislike for the man. It was lady Farwynd who spoke now, as he closed up fan tapped her husband’s arm, likely in order to keep him sedated and calm. "That is a shame, for I am sure my husband was paying your Daughter a compliment in her blooming." she smiled charmingly and opened her fan again to push cool air towards her face, one wouldn't think there was any unpleasantness now she was smiling again. "You remember our Son of course" and she turned about, gesturing grandly towards Trévyr. Trévyr, upon being recognised, stood straighter and solemnly bowed his head to the family, whatever he was feeling was hard to read, but he certainly had an air about him. He was serious and firm, unlike his Father, his brows were sharp and cutting, appearing to scold and question and his jaw was equally as sharp and stern. He said nothing, just bowed.

Lord Seyster had not noticed, or if he had, he simply did not care, of the reaction that his comment had received. However, given Elioriel's observant demeanour, she had witnessed the impact and intended to rectify it. She spoke again, perhaps creating the risk of interrupting her Father and his quick, and on occasion, unnecessarily vulgar tongue. She directed herself to both Lord and Lady Farwynd, and her words were firm, though her tone was soft; ''And, it was certainly taken as one, so I thank you. What my Father meant to say, as I am sure that he intended to, was that our lives have been led on different paths, in different directions, so I am sure that is why we have not found ourselves in each other's company.'' She had adjusted the narrative of her Father's, so that it was more fitting for the surroundings that they found themselves within, though even she understood her action of speaking over her Father was to be frowned upon by some. Her Father was certainly one of those, as he looked to her with a stern and unreadable expression, and so Elioriel could not help but regret her decision. Nevertheless, as Trévyr was presented, her gaze returned to him once more. She formerly addressed him to, in the way that was found to be most fitting, though she did not speak again.

Trevyr seemed happy to leave it at that and turned back to his conversation, as nobody else spoke to him. But he did show some impression when she spoke over her Father, or maybe he was pleased to see her Father cast down, it was hard to tell. But with one last look towards the young woman, his attention returned to his companion. Lord Farwynd though looked more pleased than could be described, he had to stop himself from laughing and nearly commenting on the charms of he young lady when the Hall went hush and whispering, for at the far end of the Hall the Steward himself arrived with his people from one of the side doors to stand at the front of the Hall. The musicians stopped and lowered their instruments, and everyone stood, turning to face the man himself.

Lord Seyster remained displeased by his daughter's actions, which could easily be sought from the expression that lingered over his face, though Elioriel refrained from looking at her Father entirely. The Steward's entrance was welcomed by all, though particularly by Elioriel at this particular moment, as she was able to focus her attention on something other than the conversation at hand. She remained stood by her Father's side, as her Mother and siblings joined them, so they returned to be a united front once more. All of their attention, and time, focused upon the Steward, though Lord Seyster did spare a few disapproving glances at his daughter, as well as his wife.

The Steward, dressed smartly in his long fur lined cloak and hauberk, stood with goblet in his hand, which he raised as he gave greetings to everyone in the usual manner, thanking them for their attendance and expressed what he hoped their united talks would bring to the people and the land. Following more formal welcomes, he began to speak about the land’s current politics and news from abroad, in other lands, and the efforts of the Gondorian troops in each corner of the land. The speech was long and for the most part was filled with self-congratulations to the efforts of "his" people", like he himself were the grand architect and general, yet nobody said a word in contradiction. Lords smiled, women nodded and appeared pleased and sons appeared impressed and influenced. Well, some did. Trévyr looked on with a face that was still hard to read, besides it's stern layer. He even dared to have himself a drink from his goblet, whilst everyone else held theirs in their hands.

Elioriel found herself curious of every aspect of the Steward's speech, more so than some women may have been, as some issues would have become targeted toward the men, and the men alone. Elioriel was ambitious, though she was understanding of her own station and the expectations that she carried, especially from her Father, but it still did not stop her from making her own attempts to try and understand. Her eyes did trail elsewhere, but it was only for a moment or two, as they rested upon Trévyr just as he was to take his drink, for which both intrigued and surprised her.

The speech continued at length and gradually migrated to a round of questions being asked by some of the lords towards the front. Trévyr had listened throughout but towards the end, already guessed the speech was wrapping up and turned a little away to directly face his friend, but his eyes caught the looked Elioriel was giving him, which he returned with his dark brow questioning her motive for such. He did not want for any answer though, as his friend began to speak to him in whispers.

Elioriel did not seem phased when her gaze was caught by Trévyr, as she bowed her head ever so slightly, as if acknowledging him, though it was not enough to give him an answer, if he cared for one or not. As the speech concluded, Lord Seyster looked toward the Farwynd's briefly, but then his concentration remained on his eldest daughter, and he quietly signalled to his wife for them to vacant further into the hall, to both listen to the answers that the Steward was to provide the questioning Lordships, as well as obtain a beverage of some sort, since he had be seen to be without. He controlled where, and how Elioriel walked, as he placed a hand on her back, in order to guide her in the direction that he sought out. Lord Seyster was whispering to his daughter, though it was clear with the expression on his face, that he was doing so bitterly. Elioriel seemed calm, though regretful, as she conversed with her Father through whispers.

Lady Farwynd likewise seemed to have had her fill of the speech and moved herself to once more occupy the chase-lounge and resume her conversation with her female companions and her Daughter. The Father drifted away to speak to some of his men and company and even appeared to forget the presence of the irritable Seyster family and the speech turned into nothing more than a private audience towards the top of the room. So much for the speech, the musicians high up in the balcony resumed their song and so too did the dancing pairs in one corner of the room. Trévyr was not one for public gatherings such as these and it was not too long before he began to migrate towards the corridors to the less populated rooms. He knew, perhaps, it would not be too long before his father began introductions.

Extracts from RP.