Friday, June 21, 2013

Taveryn, Orb's Year 925-928


 Orb's Year 925
Dirk sighed as he pushed his food around his plate.  He wasn't very hungry.  His appetite had fled the day he'd learned his love was secretly married to old man Flowers. 

Scowling, he pushed his plate away with a jerk.
"Dirk!" his mother exclaimed.  "What in the world has gotten into you?!"

"It's not fair, Mama.  I love Caira! Why wouldn't Madam Marchant allow us to marry! She's a spiteful old witch!"
"I always told you no good would come from not teaching them their place in life.  Both thinking they know more than their betters!"  Deb said snidely from the kitchen.  Glancing at Dirk, she pointed her finger at him.  "She didn't want her lovely daughter consorting with a lowly peasant! That's what you are! A half-class peasant!"

Dirk jumped up from the table and ran from the room.  Glaring at the woman she despised, she said angrily as she followed her son, "Did that make you feel better? To take out your bitterness out on him?"
Deb went back to stirring her batter, furiously whipping it with the spoon, mumbling to herself, "Not sure why everyone gets mad at me! I'm just telling them the truth!"

***

The thing Brand loved about not running the  pub anymore was not being tied down!  If he wanted to sell some drinks, he could.  If he wanted to go off to another pub, he could.  If he wanted to greet their customers, he could.
If he wanted to play a jig for a pretty lady, he could...
Gwen Consul smiled at Brand.  "You played so well! It's a wonder there aren't women flocking to your side!" she said, flirting heavily.

Brand lavishly kissed her hand, bowing low.  "You give me a great compliment, my lady!  I would be honored to play for you anytime!"

Gwen pouted prettily, "But what if I have an interest in other diversions?"

Brand stepped closer, "Well, I would be honored to help you with... anything... you might desire, my lady."
"Good!" Gwen said as she goosed him, "I'll count on that."
 "Perhaps my lady would care for a... preview..." Brand suggested heavily as he pulled Gwen into his arms.



 Orb's Year 926
"Well, well, look who keeps following me home," Brand ruffled the dog's head.  "Aren't you a fine looking mutt!" 

Brand had noticed the dog sniffing around the trash the past few days and had begun leaving out some food for the mutt.

Now if only he could talk Deb into keeping him...
"You want to keep that filthy mutt?!" Deb asked in disgust.  "It's probably rabid."

"Oh, by the Orb, it's not rabid.  When did you turn into such an old sour-puss?!" he demanded.  "It's a stray mutt that needs a home and some food."  Throwing his arms out wide, he yelled, "Look around! We have a home! Last time I checked, we had some extra food!"

Deb glowered at her husband.  "There's no need to raise your voice to me like that Brand Taveryn!"  Then, a crack of doubt shimmered through her facade.  "You think I'm an old sour-puss?"

Brand felt like he'd kicked a puppy when he saw Deb's disappointment.  Sometimes he wondered how in the world they'd managed to stay married for so many years with so much anger and distrust between them.  He guessed they were both too stubborn and ornery to call it quits.

Offering her an olive branch, he gentled his voice.  "No, Deb, you're not an old sour-puss. Not most of the time.  Just a bit harsh sometimes.  I'd like to keep the dog. The kids will help me bathe him and he'll be right as rain in no time."

Deb tried, but couldn't resist it when Brand had that look on his face - so earnest and hopeful!  Perhaps that was why she'd stayed with him all these years when he ran around behind her back making a fool of her!  "Fine! Fine! Keep the dog! But don't forget I warned you! If he goes rabid and bites you, don't come crying to me!"
Connor didn't know how his Father had talked his Mother into keeping a dog, but he loved it!  After giving the poor dog several baths, they'd settled on the name Balin.  Connor thought Balin had to be the smartest dog in the kingdom!

"Here you go, boy," Connor said as he greeted the dog after his lessons.  "Go eat your dinner and I'll eat mine"!
Connor sighed when he went in and was greeted with the smell of toasted sandwiches again.  Devon was cooking again.  That meant there was a fifty-fifty chance the food would be edible.  "Remind me why Devon is cooking all the time now...."

Deb glanced up sharply.  "A lady must be able to make dinner for her husband!"

"I don't know about your husband, but I sure would love a leg of turkey instead of a sandwich after a long day!"

Devon giggled, "I don't think I'm quite ready to prepare a turkey, Connor!"

"Nonsense. Sit down and eat your dinner, Connor," Deb said, tired of his fooling around.  "Can't you take anything seriously?"

Connor's smile froze in place.  He'd been on the receiving end of his mother's lectures and snide remarks for too many years.  He didn't know how his Father stood it!  "Oh? Perhaps you'd like to have a serious conversation about treating Auntie Carrie and Cousin Dirk like human beings?"

Deb opened and closed her mouth in shock, seeming not to be able to come up with a response.  "I know you consider them lowly servants, but they are my kin & I would see them treated well!"  Adrenaline coursed through Connor's veins and he felt light-headed from finally confronting his caustic Mother.  "Now, if you will excuse me, I seem to have lost my appetite!" 
Connor strode from the room towards the pub, ready to see to the family business.  He heard his Mother snapping at Devon as he walked away and winced.  Even when you won, you really lost. 

He waved at his Father behind the bar and walked around greeting people.  His worries about his Mother slipped away as he went about business.
Deb sought out Dirk later that night.  She hadn't been entirely truthful though.  The hard truth was that Dirk was a half-class peasant.  And he did think himself above his station in life! 

But that was no excuse for her to have said such harsh words to him.  She'd known him since he was a baby.  Had held him in her arms and soothed him when his mother Carrie had been busy doing her duties.  

And, sadly... Caira being wed to Remington Flowers had nothing to do with class... it had to be with having the blood of a Taveryn coursing through his veins.  If Dirk wanted to be mad at someone, he should be mad at his half-brother, Brand, for not being able to control his passions. 

Although, that would provide no solace for the boy, she thought as she walked away, unnoticed.
Dirk hadn't even heard Deb come in.

He got that way when he played these days.  Sometimes he could spend hours playing without even realizing it. 

 ***
 

 "The time has come for you to stop moping about, Dirk.  I love you and I know Caira marrying another man broke your heart.  But your heart will heal if you let it!"

"I'm trying Mama!"
"Well, try harder! I know you can do it! Have you considered where you're going to work? We can always use a steady hand in the pub playing the music or serving the ale!  Blessed Orb knows Brand isn't very dependable!"

Dirk looked slightly guilty, "I actually took a few jigs playing the fiddle around the village. Hopefully I can make it as an entertainer of sorts." Uncomfortably, he glanced away, "I just don't want to be tied to the pub.  It's Connor's heritage, not mine."

Carrie patted her son's shoulder.  "Your heritage is what you make of it.  Your father would be proud of you!"

Late one night at another pub in the village, Dirk let the music flow from the fiddle.  He was working for tips tonight!
Usually when he played, the crowd disappeared and all he focused on was his music.

But, tonight, there was electricity in the air...

He glanced up and stopped mid-song...

It was Caira!

She'd walked in and stopped abruptly when she saw him.  Both Caira and Dirk stared at each other for what felt like an eternity.
When he took a step to walk to her, she broke out of her reverie and fled. 

He did the only thing he could do... he picked up his fiddle and began to play...

Orb's Year 927
"Thank you all for joining me on for this birthday celebration!" Connor called out to his family and friends.  "Let us hope I blow all the candles out so that my birthday wish comes true!"  Glancing over at Christa, he winked. 

Everyone cheered as he blew the candles out in one long huff.
Devon laughed, "Move aside! It's little Edrick's turn now!" 
The crowd cheered, "1... 2... 3... Happy Birthday!"  Edrick leaned forward to blow out the candles.
Racing over, he grabbed up the fiddle and began playing a racing song that had everyone dancing and clapping in the room.

Brand smiled at his son.  "He's got a gift, that child of mine!" he bragged.  "Comes from being brought up in the pub!"
Amongst all the dancing and merriment, Connor made his way to where Christa was standing.  Leaning forward, he asked loudly over the music if she wanted to go someplace quiet.

Her eyes gleaming, she nodded enthusiastically.
Connor and Christa snuck into the lean-to off the side of the Dance Barn.  No sooner were they enveloped in the dark than their arms were around each other, grasping.
 All the laughter and merriment drowned out as they made love for the first time.

***

"Come on, Devon. Give me another chance!" Darius Marchant pleaded.

"Give you another chance? It's been ages since you'll called on me! Why should I spare you any time!"

Darius reached for Devon's hands, but she pulled away.  Frustrated, he thrust his hands in his pockets.  "Come on!  I had to wait for my Mother to settle down!"

"Oh! So you're going to let your Mother rule your love life, eh? I wish you luck with that, I do! She broke Dirk's tender heart!"
"It's not like that Devon! I just needed some time!" Darius sighed, adding sadly, "Really, we're all scared of her, except Baji.  But even Baji couldn't keep Caira from marrying Remington. We're all worried she'll do something to muck up our lives, as well."

Devon's heart softened.  But it still wasn't good enough.  "I'm sorry, Darius.  But, I'm not going to let you break my heart!" she said heatedly before running towards the pub.
Dashing inside, she smiled largely and clapped her hands while Connor played a tune on the piano.  Her father glanced over at her questioningly.  "Is everything okay?" he asked.

To keep from crying, Devon grinned even bigger.  "Everything is perfect!" she assured him.  If she told herself that often enough, maybe she would believe it.

Aidan sighed.  If there was one thing he'd learned about women through his lifetime, it was that when a woman told you everything was fine, it most certainly was not!
Christa slung ale like she'd been born doing it.  The boys all crowded the bar in hopes of talking to her.  Connor had teased her that having her tend the bar was good for business!

 Orb's Year 928
"It's break time," Connor said, pulling Christa towards him.  Motioning to his father, he led Christa to their home space. "There's something I want to talk to you about over dinner..."
 "Wait? You mean it, Connor?!" Christa asked excitedly when Connor had pulled out the ring.
 "Of course, I told you I loved you!I can't see myself with anyone other than you!" Connor said haltingly.  Part of him was worried she'd turn him over.  "I want our future joined together!"

Smiling, Christa slipped the ring on her finger, then reached for his hand.  "Me too, Connor.  I love you!"

***

The wedding celebration was held in the pub, of course.  All the merchants throughout the village were invited.
As they exchanged their vows and the rings, the family clapped.  Dirk couldn't have been happier for his brother.  He knew that Connor and Christa were head-over-heels in love. 
Glancing around for the 100th time, he finally caught a glance of her.  Christa had pulled him aside before the wedding and told him that she'd invited the Flowers.  He'd assured her that it didn't matter to him and that he was over Caira.

That wasn't completely the truth.

When he spotted Remington leaving Caira unattended in the room, Dirk acted fast.  He fought through the crowd and grabbed Caira's hand, tugging her towards the empty hall. Caira stumbled after him as he dragged her away towards privacy.
 When they were alone together with the world shut away, Dirk reached up and stroked her cheek.  "I've missed you."

Caira closed her eyes as she felt her heart race.  She couldn't make herself say the words that would betray her husband.
Words weren't necessary, though.  Dirk wrapped his arms around Caira and kissed her until they were both breathless.

Pushing away, Caira said, her voice hitching,  "I can't, Dirk!  I'm not like my mother! I'm not!!"
 Spinning, she turned and ran from the room.
Dirk watched her go, his heart cracking into a million pieces...

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