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...

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