Friday, August 23, 2013

Abbey, Orb's Year 929-932

Orb's Year 929

Gemma giggled as she leaned over to whisper in her friend, Farha Marchant's ear, "Do not look now, but I believe that he likes you!"

Farha glanced over at the boy and returned Gemma's giggle, slapping her hand playfully as she leaned to whisper in Gemma's ear, "No! Stop! Never say it's true!"

Lance sighed when the girls seemed more interested in giggling to themselves than talking to him.  Perhaps it would be best to go by Farha's shop later when Gemma wasn't around...
"Did you see the way he glared at me when he left?" Gemma laughed breathlessly.  "He was so angry!"

Farha had laughed so hard after Lance had taken his leave that she needed to stop to gain her breath.  "It's just that he's so... so..." Farha searched for the right word.

"A boy?!" Gemma laughed with delight and soon Farha joined back in, laughing until her sides hurt.

***

Abbess Mallory was so proud of her daughter.  Belinda had flourished here in the Abbey, learning the path of enlightenment. 

And it was obvious by the crowds how people respected her and listened to her knowledge!

***

Farha Marchant ran up the walk, heedless of the people she bumped into. Breathless, she stopped before Gemma and giggled her news.  "Gemma! I just had to tell you!" she whispered loudly, earning a stern look from Abbess Belinda.

Gemma whispered, "Sit down!" while glancing around to see who was watching.

Farha shook her head with a twinkle in her eye and Gemma's eyes widened.  Whatever Farha had to tell her was probably too good to wait!
Jerking upright, she quickly curtsied to Abbess Belinda and then both girls began giggling as they scampered away.
Once away, the girls collapsed to the ground with heavy sighs.  "What is your news?" Gemma asked as Farha rolled over on her back. 

Farha sighed deeply and rested her hand under her head.  "I have the most important news and I couldn't wait a moment longer to tell you."  Taking a deep breath, she announced, "I'm going to find my father a wife!"

Gemma smiled wistfully, "I have heard it said that he can love no one other than your dear departed mother!  If only someone would love me that much!"

"Isn't it romantic?" Farha said.  "But, I'm determined!" Lowering her voice, she added, "I see how sad he is and how much he misses her.  What about your father? Does he miss your mother?"

Gemma scoffed, "No.  He's very happy with his 'Englightenment', as he calls it.  But he says that if he had known the horrible care I would have with my mother that he would have forced her to hand me over much sooner.  He hadn't even known she'd abandoned my sisters and I until after I'd already been taken away."

Farha frowned and reached for her friends hand.  "Do you miss your sisters?" 

Gemma glanced down and hid her hurt.  "I have missed them very much, but they have never come to visit me.  They must not miss me very much."

Farha looked aghast at Gemma.  "I'm sure that is not true! I'm sure they love you and miss you very much, as well!  They were just young girls when  you came to live with your Father!"

Gemma leaned back and dismissed the subject,  "So, have you talked to Lance?" she asked with a smirk on her face. 

Seeing the blush on her friend's face was all the answer she needed.

Orb's Year 930
Mark sighed as he watched his daughter carelessly slide down the railing, "Gemma!" he said, more harshly than he'd intended. 
Gemma glanced up at her father and almost fell off. 

Mark rushed over to make sure she didn't fall.  "When are you going to stop acting like a child?" he asked.  "You are close to becoming a grown woman and grown women do not slide down the stair railing."

Gemma sighed, "But, father..." she began, but stopped short as her father continued his lecture.

"And where were you sneaking off last night during the lecture Abbess Belinda was giving?"

Gemma opened her mouth, "I just..."

"It's unseemly to run off the way you did last night!" he continued.

"Daddy!" Gemma raised her voice to be heard and was pleased when he stopped to give her a chance to defend herself.  "I did not mean any offense to Abbess Belinda.  But, Farha needed to tell me very important news!"

Mark's eyebrows went up and the disbelief on his face made it clear what he thought of her dearest friend's important news.

Hanging her head, she clasped her hands tightly in front of her, "I will try harder," she said quietly.
"Good! That is all I ask of you!" he said with a kiss to her cheek.  "Run along now and try to be lady-like!"

Gemma hurried away before he could list any more of her faults!

***

Hours later, Gemma found him outside.  Sobbing, she looked up to the skies and screamed, "Noooooo!"  She wasn't ready for this!  She still needed him!

Hearing her cries, Abbess Belinda materialized by Gemma's side.  
Pulling Gemma into her arms, Abbess Belinda rocked the girl and held her as she cried.  She knew the loss would not be an easy one.  Abbott Mark would be missed...

Rest in Peace Abbott Mark Grocer, Orb Years' 884-930

Orb's  Year 931
Gemma felt as though all of her happiness had drained from her.  All the carefree frolicking had been childish and irresponsible.  Her father had been ashamed of her when he'd died.  The thought brought tears to her eyes and she fought against the heartache that throbbed.
"Are you okay?" Farha asked quietly as she approached her dearest friend.

Gemma glanced up sharply.  "Of course not," she whispered raggedly, wishing to be alone.

Farha attempted to reach out to Gemma, "If you need to talk... I'm here..." she said solemnly.
Gemma jumped up and shook her fists.  "It's not fair! It's NOT fair!" she shouted, covering her face with her hands.  "He's all I have left!"  Fresh tears spilled from her eyes and Gemma worried that she would be lost in the pain forever!
Farha pulled Gemma into her arms and held her tight, attempting to comfort her in her time of great need.  "I'm here for you!" Farha said, with tears of her own in her eyes, "I hate to see you in so much pain!"
Gemma wiped the tears from her eyes and reached for Farha's hands.  With a shaky laugh, she attempted to smile, "What would I do without you Farha?"

***

Abbess Abigail glanced in the mirror and attempted to see herself as Mark had seen her... as a living, breathing woman.  He'd made her feel like a woman... now he was gone and any hope of ever feeling that was again was gone with him.

Gingerly, she reached up to touch her cheek, closing her eyes to imagine it was Mark's hand as he bid her farewell in the secret room so many years ago.

Disheartened, her eyes popped open.  It just wasn't the same...
"Thank you for coming," Abbess Abigail announced as Abbess Mallory and Abbess Belinda materialized before her.  "There is a grave matter of great urgency I would like to discuss," she announced.
Quickly, the three ladies took their seats.  Taking a deep breath, Abigail plunged ahead, "I would like to pass the mantle on to Abbess Abigail before I pass. I would like these last few years of mine to be spent in contemplation and enlightenment."
"You mean?' Belinda asked in awe... "You mean?..."  She just wasn't able to get the words past her lips!
Abigail smiled fondly at the girl she'd helped raise.  "That's right, you are now Head Abbess Abigail, in charge of the Abbey."

"Oh congratulations, dear!" her mother, Abbess Mallory called from across the table.  "Just what you've always wanted!"

"Yes, and should you have any questions, you know you may always ask me.  But, I know you have many ideas about how to make the Abbey a better place!"

As Belinda still floundered for speech, Mallory winked at Abigail.  "Perhaps we should give her a few moments to compose herself!"

With a blink, they were gone.
Belinda slowly stood, stunned and excited.  It was true, she was now Head Abbess Belinda of the Abbey!  Glancing up, she gazed at the portrait of her on the wall.

All her dreams were coming true!

***

So elated she had been, Belinda had not even considered that it would soon be her mother's turn to pass to the light...

Rest in Peace Mallory Kratz, Orb Years 882-931

Orb's Year 932
Fiona waited anxiously.  Her sister had sent word that she would soon be at the Abbey.  Her time with the Consuls was at an end and Farrah had sounded quite excited to be coming to live at the Abbey.

Spotting her sister, Fiona waved happily and raced out to greet her. 
"I'm so glad you're here!" Fiona said.  "It will be just like when we were young!"

Farrah laughed.  "Hopefully not!  I have grown quite used to having my own bed!"

Fiona smiled.  "I promise not to steal your bed!"

"So how go your grand plans involved piquing the interest of a nobleman!"

Fiona sighed, "Alas, the only nobleman I had any access to was your Blaze Noble... and from the sounds of it, his mother kept him locked up tight!"
Farrah giggled.

"Besides," Fiona added, "It never would've worked.  You know, I hear that Deanna has made herself a thorny bed!  It's rumored that Camelot Bradshaw is going to marry another and that she'll live in the household as his mistress with his children!"

Farrah gasped, "No! Really?  Who is he going to marry?" she asked, worried about her older sister. 

Fiona shrugged, "I haven't heard.  Must be someone that doesn't know about Deanna or doesn't care..." 
"Oh, Fiona, I'm so happy to be here!" Farrah sad, glancing around the Abbey.  "It's a dream come true!
Fiona looked around the place, trying to see it with her sister's eyes.  "It's okay," she shrugged.  "I just wanted something more from life," she added sadly. 

Farrah patted her sister's arm.  "Cheer up! We're going to have so much fun together! Now, it's time for me to visit with Head Abbess Abigail."

Fiona stopped her sister, "Oh no, it's Head Abbess Belinda now!  Abbess Abigail wants to spend her remaining years pursuing enlightenment."
Farrah waited nervously for Belinda in her solar.  Finally, Head Abbess Belinda came through the archway and sat down, smiling at Farrah.

"I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long," Belinda said.

"Oh no! Of course not, Abbess Belinda!"

"Good!" Belinda announced, still smiling.  "So I hear that you would like to learn the path to enlightenment."

***

While her sister was in with the Abbess, Fiona had one more plan that might see her swept away from this place.

With trepidation, she sent away a message for the matchmaker...
Nerissa greeted the young girl who had waited, cloaked in the dark.  Such nervous creatures, these young girls and boys longing to find love.  So anxious to have the world handed to them!

And so profitable for herself, Nerissa smiled.

"I have considered a few options and believe I have found a perfect match for you," Nerissa said flamboyantly.

"Oh! Who is it? May I meet him?" Fiona asked excitedly. 

Nerissa held her palm out and looked at it pointedly. 

"Oh yes! Yes! Of course!" Fiona fumbled with her drawstrings and pulled out the gold that Nerissa had requested. 

"Very nice, very nice," Nerissa mumbled, then glancing to the side, she called out, "Robin! Come!"
Fiona glanced down the path and saw the most handsome man she'd ever seen walking towards her.

Nerissa made the introductions, then waved the two away.  "Go! Talk! Shoo!"
She wasn't sure why, but Fiona battled a fierce bout of shyness when Robin stood before her.  He looked so strong and handsome!

Robin nodded, pleased with the match Nerissa had arranged.  "I am just returned to town and am quite anxious to settle down," Robin told her pragmatically.  "Are you sure a marriage of convenience is what you wish?"
"Oh yes! It is!" Fiona said cheerfully.  "I will make a good wife to you! I can cook, clean, and tend the garden!"

"Then it's decided.  I will speak with your brother to arrange a wedding quickly."
Although he'd thought Fiona beautiful at first glance, he was amazed by how a smile lit her face.  Leaning forward, he suggested, "And now... a kiss to seal our pledge?"

Fiona blushed and nodded, eager for her first kiss.
Fiona was swept away once Robin's lips touched her own.  When he'd finally pulled back, she had struggled not to let her disappointment show.
"Until we meet again," Robin said before walking away.
Fiona raised her face to the stars and smiled widely.  Her prayers had been answered!  She was going to be married!

***

Racing through the stone walls, Fiona ran up to tell her sister the news.   "Farrah! Farrrah!" she shouted as she burst into their room, "I'm getting married!"
Farrah hugged her sister with a laugh, "Details please!" she said. 

***

"Why do you look so glum sitting there," Abbess Abigail asked Gemma Grocer. 

"I... I just miss my Dad," she said sadly.  Then, more quickly, she poured her fears, "He's all I had and now I have to stay here because I have nowhere else to go!"

"Ah, but there is where you're wrong young one.  He made us all swear we would tell you of your heritage when you were ready.  Are you ready to begin your life away from the Abbey?"

"Oh yes, Abbess Abigail! I am!"

Abigail smiled fondly at the girl.  "Then let us go for a walk..."

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