Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farmer, Orb's Year 925-928


Orb's Year 925
 Beth Ann was so proud of her eldest boys.  Both of them married lovely women, Uma and Shanna, and she knew soon the house would be full with the wails of little babies.  She couldn't wait!
Braden and Cade were also hard at work in the fields, providing for their family. Ever since Uma had chastised Cade for making Braden carry the load alone, Cade had begun to help more.  She thought it was a sign her pleasure-seeking son was growing up.
Ennis raved about life at the Royale castle, working as a blacksmith.  He swore he had learned so much in a short time period.  He said he was very happy.

Her youngest, the twins, Fiona and Farrah seemed to be settling into their service positions.  Although Farrah seemed to be much happier at the Consul's than Fiona was at the Abbey.

Yes, all of her children were doing well except Deanna...

But Deanna... her eldest daughter....  her biggest shame...
"What did you think would happen?!" Beth Ann railed, angry that her daughter had not listened to her.  "Of course the Knightley's heir cannot marry you! You are a peasant and he is contracted to marry the Princess!"

Deanna scowled.  "It's not like I did it on purpose!" she snapped, before adding worriedly,  "Lord and Lady Knightley are very angry.  I have heard from Camelot that there is talk of sending me to the Abbey or back home!  I just need to speak to father..."

"No," Beth Ann said firmly.  "Your father is not well and you will not burden him with this.  He does not know."
Deanna faltered.  "You mean... I am not to see my own father?"

Beth Ann shook her head.  "Not in this condition! It would kill him! You have shamed us!"

"But Mother!" Deanna began to protest.
"Not another word! I warned you! Your Aunt Debbie flouted her shamelessness her entire life and there was nothing I could do!  But I will not tolerate this kind of behavior from my own daughter!  You will go to the Abbey with your unborn child and learn humility and remorse!"

Deanna hung her head and hurried from the house with tears in her eyes.  She had known that she might not be welcomed into the Knightley home with open arms, but never had she imagined being cast from her own home...
Oh, the difference being married made...

Orb's Year 926
The family eagerly awaited Uma's delivery.
Finally Uma's water broke and the baby would soon be born.  Beth Ann stood by as mid-wife as helped Uma deliver her first grandchild!
A little baby girl they named Gia.  Uma held her daughter in her arms and smiled.  She could not wait to rest the child in her father's arms!
Braden came in after working in the fields all day, stinking from sweat, but he wouldn't be deterred from holding his little girl in his arms.  When the baby wailed from his odorous scent, he finally laughed and handed her to Uma.  "I guess she does not like my smell! I'll go shower now!"
That night they cooked up a celebratory meal in honor of the newest family member!

Orb's Year 927
Shanna stroked Gia's head and sang her to sleep.  She couldn't believe how precious a child could be, but she was in love with everything about her niece - her soft skin, her smell, the little smiles and coos...
She couldn't wait to have a child of her own to hold in her arms...

***

Beth Ann found her husband outside near the fields that he had loved for so long.  Howling with grief, she sank to her knees when she realized he was gone.

Rest in Peace Able Farmer, Orb's Years 880-927

Beth Ann didn't know what she would do without her loving husband.  It was like a void just opened up in her life and she wasn't sure how to fill it...
They held a service the following day for Able.  All the peasants in the village came to pay their respects.
Life and death seemed to be so delicately mixed...

Caitlyn Potter asked Shanna when she was expecting.  Shanna had been startled at first, but had thought back and realized that she had missed her monthly.

Perhaps she was pregnant!
Sheldon gripped his friend's arm.  "If there's anything you need.  A hand in the field, a fish dinner... anything..."

"Thank you, friend," Braden said, appreciating the kind gesture.
Deanna cried into Cade's arms.  "I never got to say goodbye.  He didn't even know I was pregnant!"

Cade hugged his sister and wished he had something more to offer.
"Well, you've said your goodbyes, it's time to leave." Beth Ann said harshly from behind them.

Cade immediately wrung his hands.  "Umm... I believe I hear Gia crying. I'll go get her," he blurted, thankful for an excuse to leave!
"Come on girl! Let's get you to bed. It's been a long day!"
Deanna followed her Mother into the cottage.  "Why are you being so mean?"
Beth Ann turned to her daughter, exasperated.  "I'm not being mean! You've brought this upon yourself!"
Too weary to argue anymore, Beth Ann shooed Deanna away.  "Go on.  Be gone with you! You've made your bed! Now lie in it!"

 Orb's Year 928
 "I don't see what the big fuss is, anyway," Debbie maintained.

Beth Ann had called her sister's together for a little chat.  It had been years since all four had been together under one room.  With Able's passing, they were all more cognizant of their frailty.

Always the pious one, Emily rolled her eyes.  "Of course you wouldn't Debbie! You have given birth to four children with all different fathers and out of wedlock!"

Debbie argued, "That's unfair! Only Fancy and Fanny were out of wedlock!" Then fanning herself she grinned, "And who could tell that Taveryn no!"

Carrie frowned. "You should've said no. He was a married man!"  Carrie was still upset at how her sister's affair had impacted her family life, seeing as how she lived with the Taveryns!

Beth Ann sighed.  "Perhaps I am being too harsh.  At first I was so mad at her! I had warned her away from Bradshaw and Camelot.  I didn't want to see her end up like Carrie or Debbie. No offense," she hurried to say.  "I wanted her to spend a few more years in service and then find a nice man to marry and have a family!"

Debbie and Carrie nodded their heads, each knowing that the paths they chose had required sacrifice.  Emily alone took exception.  "And what's wrong with being in service?" she demanded.

Beth Ann smiled and reached across the table to grip her sister's hand.  "Not a thing, Emily, if it makes you happy."

Emily looked as though she had something else to say when a noise from behind them interrupted them.
"Help," Shanna said weakly before collapsing on the floor.

"Oh Blessed Orb!" Emily leapt up, wringing her hands.

Beth Ann quickly pushed Debbie towards the door. "Go call Cade from the fields," she said.  Running to Shanna's side, she patted her hand. 
Cade burst through the door and collapsed by Shanna's side.  At first it seemed that he had lost her.  He prayed quickly to the Blessed Orb and stroked her hair back from her face.  Slowly Shanna's eyes opened.

"Need... food..." she said weakly.

Beth Ann let out of litany of praises to the Orb and then rushed to the kitchen for some dry bread and soup.
Cade helped Shanna up and led her to the table.  His gut twisted at the knowledge that he might have lost her. 
"Take care of your wife today. Braden can handle the fields.  I'll watch Gia," Beth Ann said as Shanna sipped at her broth.
Pulling Gia from her bed, Beth Ann snuggled her little grandchild.  Childbirth was a hard time for women in this day and age - even worse when you were a peasant and often worked yourself weary. 

***

Beth Ann awoke early in the morning before the sun rose.  Hobbling down the stairs, she smiled at Braden.  He looked the very image of her dear departed Able, with his nose buried in a book.
Glancing the other direction, she saw Cade making a fuss over his very pregnant wife, Shanna.  She was glad that Shanna had survived her fainting ordeal.  It was Beth Ann's fervent wish that life stay just as it was today...
But, as she should have known... nothing stays the same...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Flowers, Orb's Year 925-928


Orb's Year 925
Caira had been humming, making her flower arrangements when a twig snapped behind her.  Alarmed, she turned around suddenly, gasping.

"Dirk!"
"I've missed you so much, Caira..." Dirk said as he reached for her.

Caira pulled away.    "No! Dirk! I can't! I'm married!  I must be faithful to my husband!"

"But what about your heart, Caira? I love you!"

A tear slipped down Caira's cheek.  "I know, but this is not right!"
Quickly, before she could change her mind, she hurried into the house and locked the door.  She could not give in to these impulses that made her heart beat when she was near Dirk!  She would be no better than her mother, cheating on her rightful husband and making a mockery of her family!

 ***

The yearning did not stop.  She picked up a quill a million times.  She was torn between writing to him and begging him to take her away and to never set foot near her again!  But, even dreaming about Dirk felt dishonest to her.
For although she did not passionately love her husband, she was fond of him.  He was a good, kind man.  Intelligent and with a keen sense of humor.
They made a good pair.  He was the businessman, seeing to the sales and the money.
 While she tended the tulips and arranged the flowers that they sold.

***

The village was aflutter with the news that the King was coming by all the shops.  Remington had attempted to persuade the King to take some lovely flowers home.  The King had been impressed and asked to speak with Caira!
She'd been so nervous to appear before the King, but he had been most kind and had complimented her work. 
Remington's hands shook as he calculated the total due.  He'd been shocked when the King had tipped them a gold piece extra!

 ***

Heading inside after closing for the day, Remington was elated.  "We did it, girlie!" he nearly cackled with glee.  "The King himself has given his stamp of approval!  People will be rushing in droves for our Flowers!"
 Laughing, he picked her up and swung her around a half-circle. 

Caira was surprised by the contact.  Usually Remington never touched her, not even as they lay down to bed!
That night, Caira became a true wife.

It made her resolve to put her youthful alliances behind her and focus on her adult responsibilities.  She would be the best wife Remington had ever had!

 ***

With the morning light came hard truths, though.   Remington had been apologetic and told her that he'd been swept away with excitement. 

"It won't happen again," he told her straight-forwardly.   "I'm getting up there in the years and it's a right rare occurrence for the equipment to work at all!"

Caira blushed when she grasped what he was trying to tell her. 

But, they had lived together as man and wife for this long without physical intimacy.  And the marital bed hadn't been all that spectacular... so she didn't think she was missing much.

Everything would stay the same...

 Orb's Year 926
 ...Except nothing would ever be the same again....
Caira realized she was pregnant and was quite hesitant to bring it to Remington's attention.  He could be gruff at times and his own grown children had no contact with him.
 "You're pregnant?" he huffed when she'd told him.  "Och! Have you been running around behind my back with some young stud?" he accused.
Caira reacted as though he'd slapping her.  "Of course not!" she gasped.  "I've been faithful to you!"

Remington eyed her carefully.  "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, girlie!"

Caira felt anger pulsing through her veins.  "I have not once given you reason to distrust me!  I've known no man but you!  You know that!"

Remington held his hands out, "Enough! Enough! I see your point, girl! But, I'll be counting the days until your birthing time, though! Don't think I won't!"

 Orb's Year 927
Caira had been so insulted and outraged by Remington's insinuation that she'd been unfaithful - especially when she felt like she'd forsaken so much to be faithful!

She would prove him wrong though and he would apologize when their baby was born 9 months to the day they shared the marital bed.
In the meantime, she tended her flowers - even planting a row of pretty roses to start new arrangements.
 Her roses sold so well!
There was nothing like the red rose for romance, it seemed!

***
 
Caira worked straight until her delivery, with no thanks from Remington.  He could be a gruff man, she thought uncharitably. 

"It's about time you delivered, girlie!  I was beginning to wonder!" he said as she labored.

"SHUT! UP! YOU! FOOL!" she huffed between the pains, livid.
 That night, they held twin babies - Floyd and Gladys Flowers in their arms.

"I should have known better than to marry a young girl!" Remington said sourly, "I didn't want one child, let alone twins!"

His words didn't even register to Caira, though.  She held the most perfect, beautiful children in her arms.

 Orb's Year 928
Caira was determined to prove Remington wrong.  He swore up and down, day in and day out that she was going to let motherhood interfere with her duties.

To prove him wrong, she planted a row of pansies and began selling another arrangement of flowers.
 Her new arrangements were bought up quickly, as well.  Gold pieces dropped into Remington's hand and he had still never acknowledged her contributions!  It was enough to drive her crazy sometimes!
 "What are you doing lolly-gagging in here, girlie! You've flowers to arrange! I can't sell it if it's not made!"
Caira snuggled little Gladys in her arms and turned to her husband.  "I'll not be working today," she said firmly.  "We've made plenty for me to take a day's rest and enjoy my darling children!"

When Remington started to complain, she held up her hand.  "No! I'm quite serious about this," she said.  "I will have a day of rest and I will spend it with my children.  You're welcome to join us."
Remington sighed and walked over to take Gladys from Caira.  Leaning down, she picked up Floyd.  Grumbling he asked, "So what are we to do today?"