Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Marchant, Orb's Year 905-908

Orb's Year 905
 Amar was proud of his growing family.  He couldn't wait for his unborn child to be born.
He'd begun to notice Alana withdrawing, but assumed it had to do with typical pregnancy troubles.  He'd attempted to break through to her, but she'd always claimed she was tired or some similar complaint.

"Alana, I wanted you to know that I'll be headed off to the neighboring county to collect some new wares Grocer has arranged for me to see.  Will you be okay here with the kids alone?"

"Of course," Alana said, a flicker of hope beginning.  Perhaps she would be able to see her pirate again!

"If you need anything, Aidan Taveryn has said that he would be available to help."

"I won't need anything," Alana assured quickly.

Amar hesitated, "Are you sure you're okay, Alana?"

"Of course," she said, "When are you leaving?"
Alana waited anxiously as Amar lead the carriage away.  The children were at the instructional school and she was alone!  She prayed that Trent Noble had received her missive and would come.  She could not help but be bold for time was precious.
When a knock sounded at the door, her heart leapt into her throat.  It was him!  Feeling strangely powerful, she let him in and led him straight back to the bedroom.
Amar returned home, tired and weary from the voyage.  He was surprised to see the children awake and running around.

"Where's your mother?" he asked in surprise.

Baji shrugged, "She's sleeping.  She said she was tired."

"And we're hungry!" Barika added.  "She didn't fix us dinner!"

Amar ruffled his children's head and tried to hide his worry, "Well, then.  Let's see about fixing that!"

Orb's Year 906
Alana's pregnancy seemed to last an eternity!  And now that she had tasted happiness with Trent, she resented the child in her belly all the more.  She still dreamed of Trent confessing his love for her and leading her away from this bland existence to a place with balls, palaces and adventure! 
For now, she had to settle for diapers and children, though.  As soon as baby girl Caira was born, Alana had handed her straight to Amar and then laid back in bed, pulling the covers over her head.
...Mixed in with a few moments of stolen pleasure.
Amar was unsure of what was going on with Alana.  He now knew that it went much deeper than just womanly trouble.  Unsure of how to proceed, he dove into work and committed himself to their mercantile store and the children. 
"...and then he told me that my store was the best of the best!  Can you believe that kids?" Amar announced proudly.  Eagerly, he looked to Alana and waited for her praise. 

Alana pushed her food around her plate, not really focusing on the children or Amar.  She couldn't even really say what they'd been talking about.  

"Alana?" Amar asked. 

Alana's head jerked up and she saw everyone looking at her.  She smiled wanly.  "I guess I'm just tired.  I believe I'll retire for the night."
Alana had slipped into her chemise and attempted to soak in a bubble bath, but Caira had found her way into the bathroom and created a holy mess. "Baji! Barika!" Alana called.  "Come clean this room up and put Caira to bed!  Please!"
Baji and Barika stopped playing together and went to the bathroom to see what their mother was yelling about. 

Barika sighed.  "Oh, Caira.  How did you get out of your crib?  We never should have taught you to walk!"

Baji chuckled.  "You put Houdini to bed and I"ll clean up the bathroom."


Orb's Year 907
Amar was so proud to see his children helping in the store.  He watched as Barika struggled to restock the shelves...
...and as Baji attempted to sell a few items. 

He knew that in time they would hone their craft and make their mercantile store even more successful.
As Amar's Celestial Orb dimmed, he thought about how much more he had left to do in this life and regretted not being able to accomplish more.

Amar Marchant, Celestial Orb Years' 864-907

The tears that sprang to Alana's eyes had surprised her.  Amar had been a good man and a good husband.  It wasn't his fault that he didn't provide her with the physical comfort that she craved. 

Orb's Year 908
Since Alana would not step foot into the mercantile store, it was up to Baji and Barika to tend the store.  They opened it to the public in the afternoon after they returned from instructional school until the sky darkened.

It was hard  to keep up with everything, but together brother and sister managed to do it!

Their mother was no help at all.  She only came out of her room while they were away, it seemed.  She seemed to think that they weren't aware that her torrid affair with the nobleman had ended badly and that she'd taken to bed with a great sadness.
All the while, Baji struggled to learn how to give change, how to stock and how to persuade a customer to make a purchase.  He couldn't count the number of times he'd upset a customer by pushing too hard.  He wondered how in the world his father made this look so easy!
Baji scooped up Caira as he came inside.  Barika was at the stove preparing dinner.  "Just a few more minutes and dinner will be ready," she promised him.  

"Good, I'm starving!"

"Me hungry," Caira chirped. 

"Are you, little one?  Well, I believe I can fix that quickly!"  Baji got Caira a bottle and sat down and  stretched his shoulders.  His glance fell to his schoolwork sitting by the table. 

It seemed as though it would be a late night again...
The next morning as Alana draped her belt around her dress, she noticed that her clothes were fitting a little tighter.  Perplexed, she loosened the belt a notch and wondered how she could have gained any weight while she'd hardly been eating anything at all...

Taveryn, Orb's Year 905-908

Orb's Year 905
Carrie Baker scrubbed the counters to make sure they were clean.  She was not quite a servant, but certainly not the lady of the house.  Despite her love affair with Aidan Taveryn, she was still expected to see to her daily duties. 
And she didn't mind.  She enjoyed making sure the pub stayed clean and orderly.  Aidan had even let her manage the drinks a time or two!  It was exciting to serve drinks and talk to all the different people that passed through!
She was even in charge of making sure the boys ate better.  She couldn't believe the slop they had been eating before she moved in!

Brand had joked that he had gotten tired of cold porridge day in and day out.
"I think Brand likes me," Carrie said as she climbed into bed beside Aidan at night.

Aidan glanced over at her, "What was that?"

"I said, I think Brand likes me.  He even let me help him with his instructional assignments this evening!"

Aidan was confused.  "Why does it matter if he likes you?"

"Well, because if I'm going to be... with you... then I'd like him to like me... like a family."

Aidan frowned.  "He doesn't need a mother.  He's almost a grown man!  Don't go coddling him!"

Carrie hurried to make the frown on Aidan's face disappear.  "Of course not! I was just saying it's nice to feel needed!"

Aidan swore that woman didn't make a lick of sense.  "Of course you're needed! I wouldn't have hired you if you weren't!  Now quit your woolgathering and come here!" he teased.

Carrie fought the urge to roll her eyes.  Men!

Orb's Year 906
Despite her many attempts to make over their home, Aidan was quite pleased with Carrie.  She had a strong eye for business.  
She'd convinced him to hire a bartender for the busy times in the pub.
And she'd had the excellent idea of renovating the unused barn into a hang out area.  She had convinced him that people would hang around much longer if there were fun things to do.  People wandered from the barn to the pub for more drinks continuously, even in the cold weather!
Brand was feeling restless.  He couldn't seem to decide between the two Debbies in his life.  He knew that Debbie Alioto was much more suited to his station in life, but at the same time - he was strongly attracted to Debbie Baker.  He decided that he wouldn't worry about it and just enjoy the ride.
Carrie mentally counted back the days from her last monthly.  Surely she couldn't be pregnant, could she?  She worried about what Aidan would say.  Whenever she tried to talk about their future or hint about getting married, he got agitated.  She wondered if she and her baby would have to go the Celestial Abbey in shame!
Aidan saw the flames leaping from the fireplace and reacted quickly, dousing it with water.  Turning on Carrie, he snapped, "What in the world were you doing?!  You could've burned down my pub!"

Carrie wiped tears from her eyes and stomped her foot, "Your pub! Your pub! Your pub! That's all you care about, isn't it!"  Quickly, she ran from the room and slammed the door.

Oh, for the love of... Aidan thought irritatedly.  Women are nothing but trouble.
Aidan had slept on the couch, not wanting to go anywhere near an emotional female.  As he went in his room to get ready, he saw Carrie sitting on the edge of the bed crying.

"What in the world is the matter?" he asked, exasperated.

She glanced up at him and wiped the tears from her eyes.  "I'm pregnant."

"Well, why didn't you say so?" he asked.  "That's not the end of the world!"

Carrie looked at him in confusion.  "What do you mean?"

Aidan helped her up, and tried to comfort her.  "I'll take care of you and the babe.  There's nothing to worry about."

"You mean you'll marry me?!"

Aidan frowned, "Marry? No.  I'm not going down that road again.  But, there's no reason that you and the babe wouldn't be welcome here.  I'm... well, I'm quite fond of you."

Carrie smiled sadly.  Well, fondness was a start for stronger feelings of love, wasn't it?

Orb's Year 907
Aidan was extremely elated with how well his pub was doing. Why, one night, even the King himself had come down to have a few mugs of ale.  That had been a night worth re-telling!
The teen boys, especially, enjoyed the games in the barn, often spending hours outside perfecting their aim and bragging to their friends.
Late in the year, Carrie delivered their child after a decidedly uneventful pregnancy. She had never mentioned marriage again, seeming to accept the way things were.  Aidan was glad of it.  After all, no matter how much he might care about her - she was still a peasant and his servant. 
Aidan was pleased to see a beautiful little girl with black hair and brown eyes, like his mother.  "I'm sure she'll grow up to be a beauty like her mother," Aidan said as he hugged Carrie romantically.

Orb's Year 908
Brand had barely registered a new half-sister or anything else going on at the pub.  He was too consumed with Debbie Alioto.  She came by nightly and led Brand on a merry chase.
Finally, they both felt that it was the right time to make their relationship official.  Once Debbie had shyly told him "yes", he'd hurried around the homestead looking for a nook or cranny to consummate their relationship!  Finally he'd tumbled her down onto a pile of hay.  She had laughed at his eagerness, but her giggles had swiftly ended.
After that night, she began spending the nights and had slowly began moving in her things.

Aidan gazed around at their make-shift family at the dinner table and smiled.  It had just been him and his son for such a long time, it was nice to have a few other friendly faces at their table now!

Knightley, Orb's Year 905-908

Orb's Year 905
The closer that Breena and her father got to Knightley's estate, the more nervous and unsure Breena seemed to feel.  Aragon had to drag her from the coach and lead her up to her new home.
 Every step made her angrier and angrier.  "I'll never forgive you for this!" she screamed in frustration.

Aragon tried to give her a hug goodbye, but she pulled away.  "Never!" she repeated.  Sadly, he turned to leave, promising to return the next day for a visit.

"NEVER!" she shouted at his retreating back.
Feeling, hungry, she wandered into the kitchen and began making a sandwhich.

"Good, I see you've found your way around," Arthur said, startling her.  Gasping, she dropped her knife and cursed.

"You might give someone warning that you're moving about," she grumbled as she stooped to pick up the knife.  "I could've killed myself!"

Arthur seemed unsure of what to say, sensing that Breena was on the edge of an explosion.  He racked his brain for something to say to an upset teenage girl.  Tentatively he started, "I know this must be hard for you..."

"This must be hard for me?" Breena demanded, interrupting him.  "Why, that's the understatement of the year!  Unbidden, tears sprang to her eyes, which only served to make her angrier.  She did not want to cry in front of him.
 "I hate you! You... you... thick-headed lout!" she cried out before racing from the room.
She made her way upstairs and stopped in a room that had clearly been decorated with her in mind.  Wearily, she buried her head in her hands and wondered why her life had had to change so drastically!

Orb's Year 906
Arthur was about at his breaking point with Breena.  Any overtures he made towards friendship were brusquely rebuffed.

She'd demanded that she be allowed to continue seeing Vincent Huerto, her proclaimed first love, despite the fact that she was promised to him.  When he'd pointed out that they were practically engaged, she argued that they weren't engaged yet because of her age.  While she had a good point, he knew no good would come of her forming an emotional attachment to a boy that she could never be with.

The food was never tasty enough, his rules were too strict, and she never wasted an oppurtunity to declare that he was a thick-headed lout if he disagreed with him.

Rolling his eyes heavenward for patience, he thought that old man Aragon might have been playing an evil trick on him, tying him to such a bundle of sass!
Dark had fallen and Arthur was sound asleep.  She knew because she'd checked.  He'd been sprawled in the big bed, snoring.  Hmph! She bet Vincent didn't snore like that!
Hurrying through the Hall, she hurried to the coach waiting for her with a lamplight.  Vincent had come to take her out... unchaperoned!  She knew that if it was discovered, her reputation would be ruined and Arthur would be able to contest their engagement.  She didn't care!  She knew that Vincent would propose to her and marry her instead!
Arthur had heard Breena's slight steps outside his door as she had attempted to quietly peek through his door.  At first he'd wondered what on earth she doing coming to his room, but the coach and horse stopping at the front had been a blaring sign.

He briskly walked to her room to discover what he'd already known.  Breena had gone.  And it was unclear to him whether it was the night or forever.

Pacing around the room, he tried to fight down the impulse to ride after her and break the weasel Vincent's neck and return the bossy girl to her father.
The next morning, Breena came down the stairs and joined him for breakfast, ignoring him, as usual.

Casually, he queried, "Did you have a pleasant time last night?"

Breena squeaked, "How did you know?"  She'd been disappointed that Vincent had been less than chivalrous and she'd had need of the self-defense moves she'd read about in the ancient texts.  She didn't think that Arthur had been awake when she snuck back in the house.

Arthur merely raised his eyebrows.  "Perhaps there is more to me than being just a 'thick-headed lout'."

Breena felt uneasy.  "Are you going to tell my father?" she asked.

"No, this is between you and I," he told her.

"Oh."

"I trust that there will be no more rebellion on this matter," he asked.

Breena hung her head.  "No.  I'm sorry."

Nodding decidedly, he clapped and then stood, "Good. Good day," he said before he walked away.



Orb's Year 907
Ever since the night she'd snuck out, Breena had promised to behave.  And to her surprise, Arthur was actually very easy to get along with.  He wasn't as illiterate and imbecilic as her father had ranted about through the years.

She sorely regretted calling him a thick-headed lout, especially because she could tell that it hurt his feelings.

But, he had forgiven her for her childish behavior and gone on as though nothing had happened.
She often found herself staring at him and thinking about the kind of man he was.  He was strong, smart, loyal and full of honor.  She supposed she understood why her father had promised her to him. 

 Orb's Year 908

"I would like to propose a toast!" Arthur called out to the room.  "To a very special girl... nay... woman now..."
 "...You have taught me that I want a house full of boys!"

Breena blushed.  "You are awful to bring that up, sir!"

Raising his glass, he announced, "I had thought to marry for love once upon a time and then Aragon tricked me into this arranged marriage."  He saw Breena start to narrow her eyes at him.

Arthur smiled at her tenderly, "But in all honesty, I must profess to all before us today that I have come to love and respect you for the smart, lovely woman that you are today!  Cheers!"

"Cheers!" the crowd called as they raised their glasses in celebration.
Arthur & Breena stood under the matrimony arch and swore by the Celestial Orb to love, honor & respect each other until the end of their lives.
Breena stared down at the ring on her finger and felt elated.  It was funny how life worked out sometimes.  To think, at one point she had railed against her father for bringing her here and now she couldn't imagine not having Arthur in her life now.