1223.4 Mama I'm Coming Home

Iolair walks quietly along the road to Insula Canaria, lost in his own musings. An extremely handsome man, he allows his long dark hair to fall wildly onto the brat that wraps around his shoulders and covers the traditional white léine that stops just above his knees; clothing he’d appropriated from a farmer’s clothesline in Cill Chuimein.

He’d traveled ‘on the wing’ to the great Loch Ness from the northern coast of Ireland over the last few months, still contemplating all that he’d learned from his ancestor, Fireun. It was a trip he made out of impulse, although that was nothing new for him, but one that he had been longing to make for some time. While Eilid was not his Mater according to the rigid structure of the Order of Hermes, she was the one who’d recognized his gift, brought him into her covenant and started him down the path to learning who, and what, he was. He felt it only appropriate now that he return to her and thank her for all she had done for him.

The trip also gave him the opportunity to look in on his first family; the parents who had birthed him into this world and raised him as a child until Eilid had found him. They were kind, hardworking people and he respected them greatly, but they were no longer truly his family. He’d considered stopping by their small cottage, to show them the man he’d become, but instead chose to look in on them from the sky and let them continue to lead their mundane lives. He’d sent them letters in the early years of his apprenticeship, but eventually his memories of them gave way to fleeting remembrances that brought a smile to his face but little else.

As he approaches the crushed-stone path that marks the boundary of the covenant, he notices the Revel Hall and smiles; he’d found his way into much trouble with the muggles there when he was a young apprentice, always to the consternation of Eilid. Stopping just this side of the crushed-stone boundary, he pauses and takes a deep breath before calling out, “Hello? I am Iolair Maruhis, a traveling maga seeking an audience. I wonder if the maga Eilid still resides here?”

(I’m not sure if there are any covenfolk here that have been around since 1203, which was the last time Iolair was here, but if so they might recognize him, but know him by his birth name Cathal mac Caerill vice his magus name)

It's the middle of February, and while the winter isn't brutal, it's still fairly chilly (a little below freezing), and there's a thin frosting of snow on the ground...not more than two or three inches (six or eight centimeters). It takes a couple of minutes for anyone to come greet him, but it's not anyone he recognizes – a dark-haired, clean-shaven young man, maybe in his early 20s if that, wearing a heavy cloak. Iolair can see that the man has a hand on a sword at his hip.

"You say you're looking for Eilid?" he says.

Iolair leans back slightly on his heels and keeps his hands in view as he offers a friendly smile to the young man, "Yes, I'm an...old friend of hers. Just stopping by to say hi."

"My brother is fetching her now," the guard says. He will stand there, about ten or twelve feet away, watching him but not inviting him or engaging him in conversation.

After a few minutes, a very familiar-looking brown-haired woman arrives, dressed in tan robes with a gold necklace (which Iolair recognizes as her Talisman). Although she doesn't look any older than she did when he saw her last, she looks a lot more tired or weary than he remembers her.

"Iolair?" she says in disbelief. She then runs and grabs him in a long hug. "How are you, my...my sodalis?" He can hear the catch in her voice as she stumbles over what to call him.

((Curious as to whether Ezio is in tow, or with his vulgar mother.))

((This is happening simultaneously to the dinner in the Revel Hall with Aodhan, Tintavius, Talia, etc. So, your call - he could be with Talia, he could be with the nurse, he could be with Eilid.))

Iolair smiles deeply and returns the hug affectionately. "I am well Mater," he replies, never having been one too caught up on propriety or tradition. "How are you, and how fares Insula Canaria?"

Eilid breaks the hug and looks down. "So much time has passed," she says, shaking her head. "And so much has happened to us."

She reaches into the purse on her belt and pulls out a casting token, pressing it into his hand. "Iolair Maruhis filius Adelle Passer of Bjornaer, I invite you to enjoy the protection of our Aegis."

She smiles wanly. "If you haven't eaten, join me in the revel hall and we can start to get caught up. I've already eaten, but I would be happy to share some drinks with you."

Iolair nods in agreement. "Yes much time has passed. I would be grateful to hear what has passed in the years since I left...and share some of my own stories as well."

He reverently accepts the token offered and follows Eilid to the Revel Hall. "Food would be most welcome. I haven't eaten as a man in over a month," he says with a smirk.

To set the stage:

Already in the Revel Hall is Aodhan, seated next to a petit man dressed in tan robes, with brown skin and silvery-white hair. Aodhan seems to be acting almost deferential toward him.

Talia is there, walking away from them with a playful smile on her face. The stranger is looking at her, while Aodhan looks embarrassed.

Meanwhile, Eilid (who, basically, never takes her meals in the Revel Hall) walks into the Hall with a dark-haired hunk of a man, dressed in clean, if humble clothes.

Talia walks over to Eilid and the newcomer. In Latin, to Eilid, "Who do we have here? A stranger come in from the cold?"

"More like a prodigal son," Eilid says with a smile.

"Talia, this is Iolair Maruhis...a former apprentice of mine." Her smile falters as she speaks, but as she's looking at Talia, the Tytalus would see it but not Iolair.

"Iolair, this is Talia of Tytalus, one of our newer members." She pauses. "We have agreed that I will apprentice her son when the time is right."

Iolair chuckles softly at Eilid's apt description of of him, and then turns and smiles warmly at Talia. "It's a pleasure to meet you Talia. As I'm sure you know, Eilid is a wonderful teacher. I can only hope that your son will be a better student than I was," he says with playful wink.

"We shall see. Ezio can be willful like his father, but I'm certain he's in better hands than he would be if his father was his master, or one of his father's amici, for that matter."

Aodhan stands up at the new arrival and approaches, eager to change the subject about he and Talia (and the fact that he had not actually slept with her).

"Talia...sodale, who is your friend?"

"Eilid's friend, Iolair. I just now met him... Talia looks at Aodhan quizzically.

Iolair turns to Aodhan and smiles as he offers his hand in greeting, "Good evening, as your lovely sodales here said, I am Iolair Maruhis of House Bjornaer. I was but a child when I was last here, as a student of Eilid."

Talia looks concerned, suddenly, "So it's true? Sometimes apprentices of Bjornaer are moved around?" Talia makes it all about her, of course. She hasn't been anything close to an exemplary mother, but she still wants to be as good a mother as she can be, and with reality that Ezio might be leaving, even if Eilid takes him as an apprentice, she looses that ability.

Eilid nods, somberly. "Yes...although not as freely as Bonisagi do. It's mainly at the Gathering of Twelve Years. In our case," she says with a glance at Iolair, "it was simply a matter of my teaching style not being suitable for his learning style.

"Which is why the timing has to be the way it does, Talia. I don't...I can't lose another one."

Talia appears a bit chagrined at having mentioned it, and simply says, "I'm sorry." And grab's Eilid's hand, showing she really didn't mean to make it a comment like that.