Aurelia did not like to see her friend’s face take on such a stony state, not when he should be happy. She frowned as chill bumps pricked her skin, not sure why they had suddenly chosen to show themselves, but she figured it had to do with him running his hand through the strands of her hair. This didn’t feel as innocent, but it didn’t feel wrong to Aurelia, though she had a sneaking suspicion that if anyone else had seen this they would have thrown a fit.
It was in that moment that she realized she didn’t have a normal friendship with Norvel, at least not by the English’s standards. She let her hand drop and gave a soft laugh as he insisted on a subject change. “How’s your kitten?” She asked fondly, remembering the little grey ball of fluff. She wondered how the kitten had taken the change of location again. Aurelia stayed close to Norvel, not shooing away his hand from her hair or anything of the like. She enjoyed the closeness that she and Norvel shared. It was nice after her husband’s seemingly distant behaviour.
He gave her hair a quick ruffle before dropping his hand to his lap. He honestly did not know how he would have handled this new strange place without her. Talking to her always somehow put him at ease. Suddenly, Norvel found himself grateful that Thaddeus and Aurelia did not share chambers but were separated by house alliances. Though Norvel thought the other man his friend, he did not much appreciate his brooding and overbearing nature. He wished there was something he could do to make the man like him more, but Norvel was honestly at a loss for action on that front.
He smiled as she mentioned the kitten. “Uther is doing fine.” He said, happy that the topic of conversation had been changed. “He likes to hide under the bed and grab at my feet though, which is adorable but painfully so.” Norvel winced, remembered the spot on his foot where Uther had nicked him this morning. It was amazing how the smallest scratches always seemed the most irritating. “He’s quite accurate, I’m sad to say.” Running a hand through his own hair, he looked her over. “And how is Thaddeus?”
Aurelia never wanted to hug someone so badly and at the same time want to hit them. She could tell that this wasn’t Norvel’s idea and that he didn’t agree with it in the slightest, but she was annoyed that she couldn’t even hear the reason they couldn’t see each other from him. Perhaps it would be better if she did talk to Thaddeus about this herself, but without Norvel there, she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to express her true anger at this situation. Norvel was her closest friend… her only friend, actually.
Her jaw clenched, a vein ticking on the delicate jawline. “I will ask him.” She said, her voice hard. At his sad expression, she softened. This wasn’t his fault and there was no reason for her to take it out on him. “Norvel, I will get this straightened out.” She said with a softer tone.
He reached out and gave her hand a small squeeze. “I know you will.” Norvel pulled away quickly. He knew she would somehow fix everything, the way she always seemed to, but he hated to think that her actions on his part would get her into trouble or further disrupt her marriage.
“Don’t do anything stupid.” He said with a wry smile and tight throat. Coughing, he blinked furiously, steeling himself. “I need to go. We can’t be seen together.” He reached down to give her hand another small squeeze, before walking past her to the castle, forcing himself to not look backwards.
Back from HP World and Disney!!! Anyone up for some Viking plotting? :)
Aurelia knew of the things he had to do as a viking warlord, yet she couldn’t hate him for the crimes he had committed. It was the way of their people to be ruthless in war, and even out of war, to enemy countries and she knew that Norvel had only been doing what he was ordered to do and she couldn’t fault him for that. In fact, she thought he was extremely brave for walking away from it and deciding that being a warlord was something he didn’t want to do.
She had missed him when he was disowned and exiled from Twonk, one of her only friends so far away from her, though she had begun to miss him while he was at war. She pulled away and her hand rested on his cheek. “You don’t still blame yourself for those actions, do you?” She asked softly, moving back a bit. She could see why he would, no matter how Aurelia tried to rationalize it and make it better, the fact remained that he had still done the things.
She did not move from her spot, not finding it inappropriate in the slightest the way her hand rested on his cheek in a friendly way. She cared deeply for Norvel and supposed that she always had, ever since she was but a little girl.
Norvel sighed as his eyes cut to the floor. “Of course I blame myself.” He had done those things. Yes, he had been ordered to lead raids and the like, and though there was always something in his conscious gnawing at him, he had dismissed it and in turn given orders to others. Warlord, such a glorious title. Viking was just the same. Meaningless and full of spite, rage, and a blood thirst that had no place in this world.
He straightened up, passing a hand through the strands of Aurelia’s hair which hung over her shoulder. “Regardless of how you would try to defend me, I did what I did. I did it.” Norvel said with finality, his face hard as stone. He ran his fingers through the long blonde strands and found momentary distraction. It was easy to forget that he had turned his back on everything he knew and that he had no real place to belong. She was such an easy distraction too. Always so forgiving, always so understanding. Norvel was very lucky indeed that she was his friend.
“This is depressing.” He said with a cough. “Let’s discuss something else.”
The smile that had been on Aurelia’s face turned instantly into a frown; she was confused. Why wasn’t Norvel allowed to talk to her just because Thaddeus thought her English was improving? She nearly scoffed at the idea that she was using Norvel as a crutch. It was true that things were easier with Norvel around to translate, but she’d been going out of her way lately not to have to use him for that. “But Norvel, my dear friend,” she started, not sure what she was going to say next.
Aurelia felt like she was going to cry; how was she supposed to get used to this strange new place with no one to help ease her in? Thaddeus only seemed to want her to change, to learn the English language and fit in, or at least that’s how it seemed. “I… We’ve been friends for so long!” She felt like a child and resisted the urge to stomp her foot in protest. She lowered her voice. “Do you agree with this?”
He felt his throat tighten as he watched her face fall. Every instinct he had was screaming that this was wrong. Suddenly, Norvel was filled with blind rage, the desire to beat Thaddeus to a pulp overwhelming him. How dare he try to separate them when neither of them had done anything wrong! This was ridiculous, but he knew that if he didn’t get away from her soon, that Thaddeus would somehow find out, and though he was here on Helga’s permission and employed by Aurelia’s family in Twonk, Norvel had no doubts that Thaddeus could easily remove him from his sight.
She said his name and it was almost too much for him. He turned to go, but his feet wouldn’t allow him. “Aurelia….I’m so…” He reached out a hand to her, but it fell short, hanging awkwardly by his side. “I know.” He said, “I know.” It was stupid to let some pompous Lord tear apart his only meaningful relationship. He looked at the ground, staring at his feet. “I….” He paused. Of course he didn’t agree with this. How could he? “No. I don’t agree.” He swallowed hard, looking back up at her. He had to leave. He couldn’t stay much longer for fear of someone seeing them together. “Go ask Thaddeus.”
It had been days since she’d seen her friend Norvel and Aurelia was starting to get worried so she set out on the grounds of Hogwarts. She hoped that she would be able to run into him since he had not come to visit her. From a distance she saw him out by the lake and called out to him, waving slightly.
It was so second nature to Norvel that he could not stop himself. He was already moving from his perch near the lake and was upon Aurelia before he remembered his last conversation with Thaddeus. Lord Thaddeus did not trust his translator with his wife. Norvel had been told to keep his distance, even though the woman in question was his best friend. He swallowed the warm greeting that had been working its way to his lips and then coughed, however, he hadn’t stopped approaching her.
The smile that had been on his face turned into a scowl, and then a rather pained look. He stopped less than a foot from her, and his face completely fell, and though it tore him apart inside to say what he had to, he did. Quickly and in their native language, he muttered, “Thaddeus doesn’t want me to talk to you or to see you anymore.” She might as well know the cause of this forced separation. “He thinks your English will get better if I’m not around as a crutch.” He lied badly, attempting to pull himself away from her. He knew he needed to walk away but he couldn’t.
Aurelia’s mind went back to when she had been but a child when Norvel was already on his way to becoming a man. She’d been enthralled with him back then, following him about the village and watching as he did his various jobs, but hiding when he would look behind him or in her general direction. She was only five at the time, so she was far too nervous to approach the older boy. Eventually, though, she spoke up and asked what he was doing, what that was used for, etc., and she hadn’t stopped talking to Norvel since. For a while after she spoke to him for the first time, she’d follow him more obviously, covering her shy smile with the doll she usually held in her hands. The memories were sweet treasures to her, something she could look back on and laugh or smile about.
Even though it was unladylike, Aurelia shifted so her feet were tucked under her again, making her more comfortable. She was about to bring up tales of their childhood when he tapped her nose, making her want to break out into girlish giggles, but they were kept quiet by the next thing he said, which only made her frown. It didn’t sit well with her when she thought of Norvel out in battle -her sweet, kind Norvel. She had always known that he would become a warlord, but it wasn’t until she was older that she realized how wrong the title would be for him.
“I’m very glad you are here with me,” she said, watching the scowl on his face with worry. “You are not a man of war,” she joked, lightly hitting his arm. She hoped he would raise his head and look at her and that the scowl would disappear. She felt the need to hug her friend, to cheer away the darkness that had surrounded him thanks to the subject and didn’t stop herself in the privacy of her chambers. “I care about you far too much for you to be on a battlefield,” she said, pulling away a bit. “I’d worry to death that you’d get hurt.” She hoped that she wasn’t insulting him by making it sound like he couldn’t take care of himself. That wasn’t the case at all, but even the best warriors have a bad day.
Norvel too found himself taken away with his memories. Times were much simpler when they were younger. The world had not seemed so large and confusing then. He remembered fondly the days when he used to carry a small, giggly blonde girl around the village on his shoulders.
He had not known then the future that awaited him. He had not known he would one day raid and pillage until it sickened him. He had not known that his quitting would lead to his father disowning him while his mother sat by, helpless, and did nothing. Nor did he have any inclination a the horrible dreams that would haunt his sleep or the memories that would creep into his mind, uninvited. Then he had been so happy to just tote Aurelia around, as she squealed, sometimes out of fear from his antics and other times out of joy. As he was coming of age, she had been a welcomed distraction from the horrors of viking manhood.
He was jerked out of his memories by Aurelia’s hug. Lightly, he hugged her back. Wrapping his arms around her shoulders, Norvel was reminded of just how small she was in comparison to himself. He had always been half terrified of breaking her in half even though he knew she was stronger than she looked.
He hugged her tightly but gently, resting his chin on her shoulder as her familiar scent washed over him. Somehow, it calmed him, though he could not stop himself from saying what he did next. “It was never me I was worried about.” Norvel said rather grimly, audibly swallowing. “It was everyone else.” Surely she knew the monster he had been? Surely not even she could be so forgiving.
Aurelia gave Norvel a fond smile as his large hands surrounded hers. He had a point, as always, and it cheered her up some that Norvel thought there was hope yet for her marriage. “Thank you, my friend,” she said, bringing up her other hand to lay on top of his. “You’re always very good at brightening my mood.”
“I believe part of the reason I am so melancholy is because I miss Twonk,” she said looking down at their hands. “I miss home, but here is my home now.” She gave a little sigh. “Scotland is our home, now, right?” She knew Norvel wanted them to maintain what made them different, but did he consider this home?
“Of what use would I be if I made you feel worse?” He asked rather seriously, and then broke into a peel of loud and deep throated laughter. “Do not worry. Thaddeus just needs some encouragement. Perhaps I can talk to him.” How exactly one managed to tell someone to stop ignoring their wife and not sound like an ingrate was currently beyond him. However, he was sure he would figure something out.
He followed her gaze down to their hands as she asked him where home was. It was a rather hard question for him to answer. Norvel was not sure where his home was these days. He was not welcomed in Twonk and ever since he had arrived in England he had been shuffled from Court to Hogwarts like cattle. “I miss Twonk too.” He said, the weight of his past decisions weighing heavy on him. Norvel ran his fingers along the back of Aurelia’s hand, trying to decide if he considered this place home.
“Yes.” Norvel said definitively, lifting his eyes from their hands to meet hers. “This is our home now.” He smiled and looked around the room. Keeping one hand in hers, he reached out and grabbed the nearest pillow on the couch. “We just need a few more drapes and a few more of these.” He said, gently lobbing the pillow at her with a chuckle. “And then it will feel like home.”
Talitha whirled around the moment she heard a strange voice from behind. The girl was quiet as she looked at the tall man with the bright blonde hair. It had startled her for a moment, and was almost at loss of words as she looked down to his features finally. The smile was friendly, thank heavens. Placing a smile on her lips, she looked about the ballroom.
“Different in the sense that it has been a long time since I have been away from family obligations to go about my own.”
The ginger looked up over at the male, “I am Lady Talitha Yaxely of Greenforest.” Talitha smiled, knowing very well that a new friend was something that she needed. A friend that knew nothing of her and her family, or so she hopped he knew nothing of her family. It was not that she was embarrassed of the others or anything. It was just that she rather have met someone that knew nothing of her, and taught them who she was without the rumors floating about. The last thing she wanted to be known as was the mad woman who believed she would be able to find a dragon and tame it.
Of course, that was going to happen one day.
But right now was another story to be told. “How has the Tourney been coming along? I couldn’t get myself out of the house until now, and I am desperate to know how the winners came to be. Have you attend every day?”
Norvel smiled, glad to have found someone else who wished to escape their family. However, it saddened him that someone else should feel the same needs to rid themselves of family the way he did. Silently, he wondered why she was glad to be rid of her family, but even he, the foreigner, knew better than to ask such a question. He had never heard of her family, nor her, so Talitha had found the perfect person she talked to if she wished no one to judge her. A kindred spirit, Norvel wished that she had heard nothing of his warmongering and would not judge him if she had.
“Pleased to meet you.” The tall blonde said, taking her hand, and gently bowing. straightening up, he smiled, warmly. “Norvel tee Vikink of Twonk.” His accent was thicker with more familiar words. Norvel watched Talitha carefully, hoping that his being a Viking would not put her off. One could never be certain of how someone would react.
“Oh, tee tourney. Vell, tee rules are a bit confusink to me. But, I have been attemptink to follow, and I have attended every day.” Norvel smiled, trying to think back over the past few days. “I am sorry.” He said with a small laugh, “But I cannot remember voo von each day, only where my friend stood in the rankinks.” Norvel paused, considering himself. Was Thaddeus really his friend? Was there a more apt label for the man married to his dearest friend? He supposed that Aurelia’s connection with Thaddeus did indeed make him his friend, however distant the man had appeared as of late.
“Lord Taddeus von the archery competition.” Norvel amended with a somewhat prideful smile. “And I believe he came in tird to Sirs Brutus and Godric in the joust.”
“I’m his wife that he doesn’t know… at all,” She said in response to his first statement. Norvel had different ideas of marriage than what she was used to hearing nowadays, but she liked his ideals immensely.
“You’re right,” she conceded, noticing his sour look. It wasn’t that she expected Thaddeus to adore her, but she had at least hoped that he would like her. She gave a slight half-smile, her mood still dampened by the idea that her husband didn’t like her. “I suppose the sooner I realize that, the easier this will be on me.”
Norvel pondered what she said, debating how best to console her. He leaned forward, resting his chin in his hand. “To be fair, you were strangers and still are to a large extent.” He frowned, his obvious distaste for English court-life showing. He did not like what he had seen of it so far. It was too rigid with far too many rules. Perhaps he was just not one for society. Viking life displeased him,as did English life on ocassion.
“Once we are settled in at school, you will have more time with him.” He smiled, trying to sound encouraging. “The two of you will get to know each other better then, without the hustle of court.” Norvel reached out, taking her small hand. He cupped it between his two large ones. “Thaddeus will come around. Don’t worry.” He said, smiling and giving her hands a little shake. He truly did want them to be happy, for their marriage to work. He wished there was something he could do other than just be the translating third wheel.