Friday, July 26, 2013

Abbey, Orb's Year 925-928

 Orb's Year 925

"Oh I'm glad I caught you before you headed off to instructional school," Abbess Mallory said when she saw Fiona Farmer.  "I was hoping I could convince you to make sure the downstairs was ready for our feast tonight."

Fiona hedged.  A day of cleaning or instructional school. Neither was a very fun choice...   Sighing, she responded, "Of course, Abbess Mallory.  I'll start right away."

"Oh splendid!" Mallory exclaimed.
As soon as Mallory was gone, Fiona groaned.  "Why me?" Life was just so unfair
Gemma never had to lift a finger all because she was Abbott Mark's daughter.  Everyone fawned over her to make sure she was happy! Perhaps everyone had forgotten that Gemma's mother was a no-good, selfish peasant!  It was so frustrating that Gemma was her cousin by blood, but had the comforts of the merchant status.
And Belinda! Everyone treated her like royalty! She was so kind and charitable, nobody had a bad word to say about her.

It just wasn't fair, Fiona fumed.
In the hot afternoon sun, Fiona was still grumbling over the inequalities of life when she heard a piercing whistle.  Her head jerked up.

"Cade!"
"Come here, munchkin!" Cade called from the entrance.
Fiona ran over to greet him as fast as she could.
"Come see your big brother!"
Stifling a cry, she buried her head in his shoulder.  "It's so good to see you," she sobbed.

"Hey, what's this? Why are you crying?" Cade asked, leaning back a little to look at her face.  "Is everything okay?"

Fiona wiped her eyes.  "I just miss everyone so much!  It's so different here."

Cade frowned.  "Are they treating you kindly?"

"Of course. Of course! It's just so terribly lonely here. I hate it! I wish I'd gone to the Consuls instead of Farrah.  Why'd you have to get it wrong, Cade?" she accused.

Cade ruffled his sister's hair.  "Just to make your life interesting, I guess.  But, it's probably just as well with the scandal Deanna has created at the Knightley's.  You're just as boy-crazy as she is.  Mother is talking about bringing Farrah back home since Blaze is now a teenager and Finn is close to one, as well."

"Oh, I wish I could go home," she sighed wistfully. 

Life was so unfair!

Orb's Year 926
Every afternoon after school, Abbess Belinda played a few games with Gemma before helping her with her homework.
"Remember, 'Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it (Albert Einstein),'" Belinda stressed as they practiced Gemma's sums. 
"Good job. See what happens when you apply yourself," Belinda congratulated Gemma when they were finished.
"Yeah, I just wish it wasn't so tedious!" Gemma sighed unhappily.

***

"Father," Gemma began, "Can I talk to you?"

"In a moment," Mark replied distractedly.  "Let me finish this section."
Gemma sighed and absently fiddled with anything nearby.  Finding herself in front of his Book of Knowledge, she leaned over and traced the decorative writing.  It didn't make a lick of sense! 
Glancing back at her father, she sighed.  "Never mind," she mumbled and walked away.

Mark lost his train of thought as he watched Gemma walk away.  She looked so sad..

***

Mark found his daughter outside splashing in a puddle.  "Gemma! You'll catch a cold!" he scolded.

Gemma scowled, "Who cares?"

"I care, of course! Everyone does!"

Gemma folded her arms and turned from her father.  "I just feel so lonely here!  Like I don't belong here..."
"But you do!" Mark assured her.  "You're my daughter, in name and by blood. Aren't you happier at the Abbey than at the shack?"

Gemma frowned. "I don't remember living there," she said sadly.  She didn't have many memories of the place where she'd been born.  She was only 5 or 6 when the lady had taken her from her sisters.  She remember the smell of pies.

"Well, you came to me filthy and in rags.  Your sister's tried, but they just weren't able to care for you."
"But that doesn't mean I belong at the Abbey! I don't want to be like Belinda... or Abbess Abigail! I want to be kissed and to fall in love!"

Mark stared at his daughter and began to understand where she was coming from.  "I see.  Well, it was never my intention that you follow in my footsteps at the Abbey.  When you're old enough, you may make the choice for yourself.  If you choose to go out in the world, I will give you what protection I can."
Gemma threw herself into her father's arms.  "Thank you, Daddy!"

Orb's Year 927
Abbess Belinda was excited.  Tonight she was be hosting her first lecture.  She wanted to make sure she was prepared.
As Belinda spoke to the enthralled crowd, Abbess Abigail used a spell to materialize at the back of the Celestium. 
She noticed how the crowd seemed to soak in everything she was teaching them.
And Belinda has such passion for the Celestial Orb and the path of enlightenment. 
Her decision made, she decided to convene a council.

***

High atop the Abbey was a secret room that had no stairs.  Only masters of enlightenment were able to transport through the walls.  

Abbess Abigail smiled at her friends.  "I have called everyone together to have a council regarding the future of the Abbey."
"Abbess Belinda, I was quite impressed by your inspiring lecture, as were all the townspeople that came.  You have brought honor to our Abbey."

Belinda blushed, proud to receive such praise from Abbess Abigail.  "Thank you, Abbess."

"I would like to call a vote for the next head Abbess of the Abbey.  When I am gone, we will need someone to continue the tradition.  I would like that person to be Abbess Belinda!"

Everyone nodded with agreement.
"As we are making arrangements, I would like to talk about my daughter's heritage.  If she chooses to leave when she reaches her majority, I would see her leave with the dowry from my passing to my old home."

Abbess Abigail nodded her head, "Of course, Abbot Mark.  She will be taken care of if she chooses another path."  Glancing around the room, she asked if there were any other pressing issues that they would like to discuss.
When no one spoke up, she raised her glass for a toast.  "To the Blessed Orb!"

***

Abbot Mark smiled at Abbess Abigail as she walked by and a faint thought came to mind.  Contemplating her, he considered his question.

"What is it?" she asked crossly after he stared for much longer than was polite.

"Oh nothing, it's just something that Gemma said.  She said that she didn't want to be like you, never being kissed.  But surely you've been kissed before!"
Abigail scowled deeper at his impertinent question.  "How thoroughly improper! I have devoted my life to enlightenment and knowledge, not frivolity and lust!"
Mark was shocked.  Abigail had never been kissed!  And for some reason it made him want to kiss her all the more - to show her what it was like to be a woman instead of a paragon of knowledge! 

His intent must have showed through as he leaned forward to gather her in his arms. 

His face met with a hand as Abigail pushed him off. "I do not require a lesson in the fine art of kissing," she snapped.  "Kindly keep your hands to yourself!"
Mark shrugged, mildly disappointed, but determined not to let it show. "Fair enough.  Let me know if you'd ever like that lesson!" He casually said as he walked away.

Orb's Year 928
Fiona grumbled all the while performing her chores.  Why couldn't Gemma make her own stupid bed? 
And why couldn't the guests put their own dishes away?
Or scrub the walls of the shower?
"It's just not fair," Fiona grumbled to her sister on one of her rare visits.  "Why do we have to do everything?"
Farrah shrugged, "Because they have other things to work on?" she suggested.  "If Cirdon Consul had to do the dishes instead of designing something for the town - then think of how long it would take him to get anything done!  Besides! I like it much more than working on the farm! And I love having my own room, my own clothes & my very own soft bed!"
Fiona jumped to her feet, angry at her sister for accepting their lot in life.  "Well it's not fair! I hate it here!"
"What can you do about it, though?" Farrah asked angrily. 

Fiona tapped her foot and thought.  "The same thing Deanna did! Catch a noble!"

***

Belinda sat gracefully in her chair, considering the honor that Abbess Abigail had bestowed upon her!  The next head Abbess!  What an honor!

But there was something bothering her.. something she wanted to talk to Abigail about...
Belinda cleared her throat.  "Thank you for speaking with me, Abbess.  I hope that I may be frank."

Abigail smiled and patted Belinda's hand.  "Of course, child.  What questions do you have?"

Belinda tried to think of a polite way to phrase the question, and then finally blurted out.  "Do you ever regret never having children?"
 Abigail's eyes widened with shock. 

"Oh forgive me, Abbess. I meant no disrespect! It just seems so terribly final to me!  To become the next Abbess, I'll never be kissed, never fall in love, and never have children.  And although right now I don't care about those things, I wonder if it will ever weigh heavy on my heart."
Abigail nodded her head, "I understand your dilemma.  I cannot honestly say that I have not had regrets.  But, I truly believe there is no path in life that is not littered with regrets.  The key is to fill your life with knowledge and enlightenment so that you live a full and rewarding life."

Belinda cocked her head to one side, "But, couldn't one argue that having a love and raising a family together would be just as full and rewarding?"

Abigail sighed, "Perhaps the path to a rewarding life lies more with the soul of the person.  Knowledge has always filled my heart with joy.  But, take for instance Gemma, she longs for friendship and companionship more than knowledge.  She would never be happy here as an Abbess."

Belinda nodded.  "I think I see what you're saying. Thank you, Abbess! You've answered my question for me!"  Belinda bounded up and rushed upstairs to put her thoughts into writing.

***

But Abigail was left with many questions unanswered.
Transporting upstairs, she used her knowledge to call forth Abbott Mark.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded when he suddenly appeared before Abigail. "Is there a council scheduled?"

Abigail felt butterflies fluttering in her stomach.  "No.  I want a lesson."

Mark's mouth dropped open in surprise.  Never in a million years had he expected Abigail to drop the guard she'd carefully erected. "Well, then, I suppose you should go ahead and kiss me," he said.

Abigail frowned.  "I thought you were supposed to kiss me," she said.

"Ah! But then you will blame me for corrupting you. I'm afraid it's you who must reach out and take what it is that you want."

Frowning sternly, Abigail attempted to wait Mark out, hoping that he would make the first move.  When that didn't seem to work, she grew impatient. 
"Oh, for Orb's sake," she grumbled as she leaned forward and pecked him on the lips. "There! This is so silly! Such fuss over such a small thing!"
As she turned to leave, Mark reached across and pulled her to him. 

"What?" she said in surprise as she found herself against Mark's chest. "You said I had to kiss you and I did!"

"Ah, but I said that you had to take what it is you want.  But, I am, after all, your teacher.  It's my job to show you how to improve.."
As Mark kissed her deeply, Abigail felt desire sweep through her veins.  So this is why people became silly ninnies when it came to the opposite gender!  She had nothing to compare it to!  No books had ever come close to describing the pleasure and joy that came from such a simple action!
Fearing she would become lost to herself if she enjoyed another moment, she pulled away.  "I cannot!" she cried.  "It is too much!" Attempting to compose herself, she said primly, "My curiosity is quite satisfied and now I will better be able to council. That is all."
Before she could dismiss him, Mark further flummoxed her when he stroked her cheek.  "If we are to pretend this never happened, permit me to say that it was a pleasure while it lasted..."  Then, using his knowledge of enlightenment, he vanished.

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