Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gypsy Grotto, Orb's Year 936, Teaser

Orb's Year 936
Dirk Baker had never felt freer than when he'd decided to leave his brother's household. 

At first he thought that he might help the Taveryns, his supposed family, grow hops for the ale, as a peasant of his station would do - but then he decided to cast aside the chains of his class.

Because although he might be a peasant, he was more than just that...
...he was a music connoisseur, a husband, a father, a born entertainer! He thought that there should be someplace for people to go to live freely - without restrictions and ridiculous family expectations!
Someplace like the Gypsy Grotto!

Abbey, Orb's Year 933-936

Orb's Year 933
Farrah Farmer was so excited about learning the path to enlightenment!  Abbess Belinda had given her a lovely new dress to wear and asked her to wait upstairs.
Farrah looked around the room in awe.  It was all just too spectacular!
"Are you ready to begin?" Abbess Belinda asked.
"Am I ever!" Farrah said excitedly.

***

Deanna Farmer glanced around the Abbey.   Suddenly, she realized that Abbess Belinda had asked her something.  "I'm sorry, what?" she asked, slightly embarrassed.
Belinda smiled kindly.  "I asked if you were sure this is what you wanted."

"I don't really have any other choices," Deanna replied.  "I can't go home and am unable to find work due to my... extenuating... circumstances."

Belinda patted Deanna's shoulder.  "We do not judge here.  But, are you sure you want to be only a servant.  Your sister is learning the path to enlightenment, perhaps you would like to join her in her quest?"

Deanna shook her head.  "I appreciate the offer, but no.  I'm afraid I don't believe in much of anything these days," she said sadly.
If only... Deanna thought sadly as she scrubbed the shower's clean.  If only I hadn't fallen in love with Bradshaw... If only I could've loved Camelot equally... If only...
"Here, I'll help you," Farrah said, grabbing the mop that was leaning against the wall.

Deanna glanced up.  "I don't need help. I'm fine."

Farrah shrugged. "I know you are," she said simply.

"Shouldn't you be reading about your precious Orb? You shouldn't be wasting time scrubbing the floor!"

Farrah frowned at her prickly sister.  "I just thought I would help."

"Well don't!" Deanna said snidely.

"Fine! I'll go!" Farrah said angrily.

"No! Don't!" Deanna said quickly.

Farrah threw her arms up in the air.  "Whyever not?"
"I'm having the baby!" Deanna said, reaching for her sister's hand.
As Deanna stared at the two emerald green eyes staring up at her, she sadly thought she must be cursed!  Two baby boys to remind me of their father.

***

She hated everything these days!  She hated living at the Abbey, hated the little boys that cried all the time, hated her mom for making them leave. 

But, she missed her dad!  Her Aunt Farrah said that she'd sent Camelot a note about the twins birth. 

"Perhaps he'll come visit," Farrah had said.

"Why wouldn't he come them?" Fatima had wondered as she waited by the windows, hoping to see him.
There he is, she thought excitedly.  Hurrying outside, she ran to him.
"Daddy! I missed you so much!" she said as she threw herself into his arms. 

Camelot hugged his niece tightly, wincing when she called him 'daddy.'  It broke his heart to lose her.  "Will you show me to your brothers?" he asked.
Fatima frowned as she led him to the nursery upstairs.  Didn't he miss her? she wondered.

Camelot had thought he would be immune to Deanna, but still felt the pang of rejection and heartache when he saw her.  He had offered this woman his heart and his hand in marriage and she had spurned him for the memory of his brother's love. 

Knowing that things couldn't remain the way they were, he'd told her that he'd decided to marry.  He could marry her or he could marry another.  She had stepped aside so that he could marry another, even though his child... children... were growing in her belly.
"Deanna," he sniped in greeting.  "You're looking well."

"What are you doing here?" she demanded.

"Visiting my sons.  Thank you for letting me know of their birth," he said with faux politeness.  In fact, her sister had been the one to send him the message about the birth of Guy and Hugh Farmer.  How it galled him to have his boys bear her last name.

Deanna shrugged, "I didn't think you'd care."

"Not care!" he demanded angrily.  "You are the one that left me! Not the other way around, Deanna!"

Deanna scowled, "You tried to force me to bend..."
"STOP!" Fatima cried.  "Stop fighting!"  Turning, she ran from the room, sobbing.  Why were they acting this way?
After a disgusted glance at Deanna, who had merely shrugged once more, Camelot hurried after Fatima. 

"I'm sorry you saw that," he said as he hugged Fatima.
"Daddy, why are you fighting with Mama?" she asked. 

"You know that I'm not your daddy," he gently chided.  "My brother, Bradshaw, is your father. I only pretended to be your father to protect you and your mother."

"I wish you were my real Daddy," she said tearfully.

 "I do, too, Fatima. I miss you so much!"

"Why can't we come back? I won't call you Daddy if you don't want me to!" she said, desperate to find a way for everything to go back to the way it was before the night her real father had come over and ruined it all.

She was killing him, Camelot thought. "I can't.  I'm married now. I can't bring you home."

Fatima turned from the only father she had ever known and ran.

Orb's Year 934
Farrah stood in front of her family and friends and waited as Abbess Belinda completed the ritual.
It was finally happening, she thought excitedly. 
She was an Abbess now!

***

"I was wondering if Deanna was available," Angus Laird said to the woman guarding the door.  "I'm an old friend of hers..."

Abbess Abigail frowned.  "This is most unseemly," she began. 

Angus smiled, attempting to charm the old battle-ax, but she continued frowning at him.  "Don't worry, we're old friends. I just wanted to congratulate her on the birth of her baby boys."

Still suspicious, Abigail gave him the directions to the nursery.
Angus found the nursery easy enough and indeed, there was the beautiful Deanna.  A pity she didn't come to me before coming here, he thought with a grin.  I'd love having her at my beck and call!
Sweeping into the room, he grabbed her hands and squeezed, "Dearest Deanna! How are you faring after the birth of these two little children!" he gushed.  "What a shame you have locked yourself away in this dusty place!"

Deanna laughed, "Oh, my Lord, I am not interested in Enlightenment!  I am merely around to clean and cook."

Angus leaned closer, "Well, that is fantastic news!" he said.  "I despaired when I thought I would never have a chance to kiss those sweet lips!"
A calculating look came across Deanna's face.  "Well, far be it from me to deny something.." she said before wrapping her arms around Angus' neck. 

A short while later they snuck away to the supply closet where no one would find them.

Orb's Year 935
"Happy birthday Guy & Hugh!"
Fatima fumed.  All anyone ever cared about were the boys.  The boys this... this boys that.  She hated it here!
"Fatima, where are you going?" Deanna asked when Fatima had started up the stairs. 

"To my room," Fatima sulked.

"But you didn't have any cake!"

"I don't want any! Leave me alone!" she cried as she hurried away.

Farrah watched the interaction sadly.  "Just give her time," she counseled her sister.
"What would you know about it?" Deanna demanded.   "Just stay out of it!"

"There's no need to attack me," Farrah said.  "I'm on your side!"

Deanna didn't need anyone offering her advice about her children!  "Well, nobody asked you.  Go stick your nose in those books you love so much!" she said before turning and striding down the hall.

Farrah sighed as she watched her sister go. 

***

Scooping Guy up from the floor, she took him upstairs to get ready for bed.
Abbess Abigail walked behind her with sweet little Hugh.
The boys were certainly ready for bed if their tempers were any indication. 

***

Abbess Belinda had seen the thin white cat and worried that someone needed to care for it.  Winter would be coming soon and she hated to think of the poor thing outside in the snow!
And what a perfect name that would be for the adorable little kitty.  Snow.

Orb's Year 936
Deanna saw the wrinkles appearing by her eyes and blanched.  Her youth and her beauty had been wasted.  If only she had listened to her mother and never involved herself with those blasted Knightley boys!  She could've been loved and cherished as her mother had been, but all she'd been was cast-off!

***

Deanna rushed to put the boys to bed.  Angus had sent word that he would be coming over tonight and she wanted to prepare herself before he arrived.

"Hurry, Hugh.  Go get your pajamas on!"
"Yes, mama!" Hugh said with Guy soon behind him.

***

"I'm so glad you decided to join us!" Abbess Belinda said to her dear friend, Brooklyn Taylor.  She saw much promise in the young lady.
"I'm so happy to be here and anxious to begin!"

Abbess Belinda smiled and announced, "Well, let's introduce you to the ladies!"
Brooklyn was in awe! She stood before the legendary Abbess Abigail and the new Abbess Farrah. 

"You'll love it here!" Abbess Farrah was telling her.  "Won't she Abbess Abigail?"
Farrah glanced behind her back.  "Abbess Abigail?" she asked with concern.  "Oh no!" she cried, dropping to her friends side.

Rest in Peace, Abbess Abigail Abbey, Orb's Year 881-936

***
Fatima had been elated when Henry followed her home shortly after his party.  They went up to the mezzanine of the Celestium to talk in private.
 "I've missed talking to you," Henry said.  "I was so excited you came to my party, but you left without saying goodbye!"

Fatima shrugged.  "You were busy."
 "Not too busy to say goodbye!" Henry tugged at a thread on his tunic.  "Are you mad at me?" he asked quietly.
"No, not mad," Fatima said, "I just... I don't know.  I kind of felt left out."

Henry reared back with surprise.  "Really?" Smiling, he pointed his finger at her and announced, "You like me!"

Fatima blushed. "Oh shut up, Henry! I just meant.. well.. everyone I love leaves me..." she said, appalled that she felt like crying.  Jerkily, she jumped up and was prepared to run to her room.
But Henry stopped her with a sweet kiss against her lips.  "I won't leave you, Fatima," he promised.

Diebin, Orb's Year 933-936

Orb's Year 933
"I will be gone tonight.  You will watch the children again?" Rebecca Wood asked.

Henna Diebin nodded her head.  "Of course I will.  Are you going out with Crystal Crimson again?"

Rebecca nodded. 

"Where are you going?" Henna asked, desperate to be included somehow.

"You know I can't tell you."

"But I can help you!" Henna argued.

"I need you here," Rebecca said as she got up from the table.  "Until your father returns, the most important thing you can do is protect your siblings."

Henna frowned as Rebecca walked off to prepare for her night-time escapade.
But, wanting to please, Henna cared for her brother and sister the best she could. 
Sometimes it wasn't easy! 

***

"Happy birthday!" Henna said, smiling at her siblings.
Ash...
Birch...
Despite their unconventional upbringing, the twins were close as could be!

Orb's Year 934
"Stay close to the house!" Henna lectured as the children flew outdoors.  Henna shook her shook.  The children didn't know that they had to be careful.  Rebecca & Crystal Crimson had ensured that the man who'd attacked them would not be back, but they still remained vigilant. 
"Ash! You're going too far! Henna said to stay close to the house!" Birch called, slowing to a walk.
Ash stopped, annoyed by her brother's warnings.  "What harm is there? We're in the forest alone! If we see someone, we can dart behind a tree!" she fumed.

Birch shook his head.  "You know the rules!"

Ash stuck her tongue out at her scaredy-cat brother and raced back to his side.  "You're such a baby, Birch!"
Henna laid out dinner, a scorched pasta... again.. and smiled at her siblings.  "I'm sure it will be tasty this time!" she tried to reassure them. 

Ash and Birch exchanged a look and smiled back at Henna. 
She'd been wrong.  The pasta had been horrid.  But, their bellies had been empty, so they ate the meal anyways. 

Finally, Henna tucked the children in and told them stories about their father.  It wasn't fair that he'd been imprisoned that awful night!  Henna missed him so much!  It had been four long years since she had seen him.  He hadn't been there the day his children were born or to watch them grow.   It just wasn't fair, she thought as she closed the book in her lap. 
Henna took the quiet time to straighten up around the house and then finally settled into sleep on the couch. 

Orb's Year 935
Henna's eyelid creaked open and she saw Birch running around the room pretending to be a bird.  Not just any bird, but an extremely loud one.   Squeezing her eyes shut against the light, she complained, "Birch, quiet! I am trying to sleep! Go play in the room!"

"But Mama sent us out here!" Birch said, swinging around with his arms outstretched.  "Look! I'm pretending this is a bird!"
Henna wearily got up and tried to fight her rising aggravation.  "Why couldn't you play outside?" she demanded.

Ash looked up from the book she was reading quietly, "You know we're not allowed out by ourselves!"

Henna sighed.  They drove her crazy sometimes.  "Then I will go outside to finish sleeping!  You stay in here and be quiet!"  she snapped as she stormed outside.
Laying down on a large rock nearby, Henna closed her  eyes and drifted back to sleep.

***

Stuart didn't know why, but he found himself near the Haunted Woods again, hoping he might run into the beautiful girl again.  None of his friends believed that he had seen anyone in the woods, but he knew that he had!  A beautiful girl! 

Sighing, Stuart's shoulders slumped.  Might as well go home, he thought dejectedly.  "Maybe it was a figment of my imagination.  Fairy, indeed!" he scoffed to himself.
But then, he saw her!

He hurried to her, surprised to find her sleeping soundly on a rock. 
The snapping of twigs alerted Henna that something was wrong.  Her eyes popped open and she saw the boy too close.  Quickly, she jumped up and looked around, but there was nowhere to go!

"Don't go! Please!" Stuart begged as he neared.

Henna looked at him, frightened that she'd been caught.  "What do you want?" she asked.
"I just wanted to see you again," Stuart side, stepping slightly closer.

Henna breathed deeply, trying to think of a reply.  She'd never spoken to a boy before!  "Well, now you've seen me.  You may go!" she said, dismissing him.

Stuart laughed.  "No one believed me when I told them I'd seen a fairy in the woods.  But, you're not a fairy.  You're just a girl!"

Henna gasped.  "You told people about me!"

"Of course! You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen!"

Henna grabbed his hands.  "You cannot tell anyone about me?"

Stuart's brows knit together, "Why not?" he asked, suspicious.

Henna searched for any excuse other than the truth.  "I... I don't want my father to find me," she said, hoping that would be the end of the questions.  "If you tell people about me, he might try to find me."

Stuart placed his hand over his heart. "I won't breathe a word about you," he said stoically. 

Henna breathed a sigh of relief.  "Thank you.  And now you must go, too!"

"Wait!" Stuart said, worried that she would disappear again.  "Will I see you again?"

Henna hesitated.  "Maybe," she said, trying to decide what to do.  "But you must go now!"
Stuart stepped close.  "Then a small kiss to send me on my way," he said.  "To prove that you're real."

Henna glanced at the slowly fading sun and knew that she needed to return home... and soon.  "Fine!" she said, leaning to place a chaste kiss against his lips.

Leaning back, Stuart smiled widely and sketched a bow to her.  "Until next time, my fairy!"
As Stuart turned to leave, Henna slipped behind the trees and placed her fingers to her lips.  So that's what a kiss was like, she thought.  Amazing!

***

Henna slipped inside, trying to pretend all was normal.  Rebecca glanced up, "Where were you? It grew quite late."

Henna kept her gaze on the food in front of her. "I was just outside."

Rebecca thought something felt off.  "I looked around outside and did not see you," she said suspiciously. 

Henna slammed the plate on the table and looked up at Rebecca.  "You are not my mother! I said I was outside!"

She felt bad immediately for her outburst.  Ash glanced up at her with her bottom lip quivering and Rebecca looked even more suspicious. 

Rebecca could tell that Henna was keeping a secret, but didn't want to push.  The girl had been through much already.  "I know I am not your mother, which is a good thing."  Rebecca didn't need to say out loud what she thought of Henna's self-serving mother.  "But, your father placed your care in my charge when he was arrested."

Orb's Year 936
The door opening surprised Henna. She whirled around and the bowl she had been cleaning crashed to the ground.

"Daddy?" she whispered.  "Daddy!"
Running forward she found herself wrapped in his arms.  "You're back!" she exclaimed, overjoyed.  "I missed you so much!"
"Alibaba!" Rebecca gasped from the bedroom door.  Henna stepped back to allow her father to greet his lover.

Rebecca launched herself into his arms, running her hands over his face.  "I worried I would never see you again!  Crystal and I tried, but we were never able to breech the castle's defenses!"
Alibaba dropped to one knee.  "For the last five years, I've waited for this moment.  I don't want to wait another moment," he said gruffly.  "Will you marry me?"
Rebecca nodded and Alibaba slipped the ring on her finger, binding them together.  Henna slipped into the bedroom with the sleeping children to give them the privacy they had been denied.
As they fell down onto the bench, Rebecca wrapped her arms around her husband. 

"I have fond memories of this couch," Alibaba said, pulling his wife close to him. 

"As do I," Rebecca grinned.

***

In the morning, Alibaba was introduced to his children, Ash and Birch.  "He looks just like me, doesn't he!" he asked with wonder.  He'd missed so much time with his family, but he was back now and ready to make up for all that lost time.

***

"You came!" Henna said, pleased. 

"As if I could stay away!" Stuart grinned. 
Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her into his embrace.  Every since that evening she'd given him a sweet kiss, they had started meeting near the edge of the woods every Sunday. 

She just had to make sure no one ever found out...

***

"Where were you?" Alibaba demanded angrily when Henna snuck into the home several hours later.   Ash and Birch glanced up, surprised by their father's tone. 

"She's been keeping something secret, but hasn't confided in me," Rebecca added.  "She sneaks out for several hours and comes home when the sun has faded.  Every Sunday."

"Rebecca!" Henna shouted, hurt that Rebecca would tattle on her. 

Rebecca herded Ash and Birch into the room to give father and daughter privacy.
"Is this true?" Alibaba asked, crossing his arms. 

Henna narrowed her eyes, "So what if it is true! I can take care of myself!"

Alibaba shook his head.  "We are a family! We do not leave others to fend for themselves. We do not go off on our own!"

Henna stamped her foot.  "Like you did not go off on your own when you turned yourself into King Barron!"  She wiped angrily at the tears dripping for her eyes.  "You left me!"
Alibaba reached for Henna to pull her into his arms.  "I had to protect the family. You'll understand that when you're older."

"No!" Henna said, pulling away from him. "I understand it fine! I'm not a child anymore! I'm almost a grown woman and I can make my own decisions!  I don't need you to tell me what to do."

Alibaba frowned.  "You are not a grown woman yet and you will obey the rules of the house.  Whatever mischief you have gotten into will stop, immediately."

Not waiting to see if she agreed, Alibaba stormed into his room and shut the door, leaving Henna alone.
Slowly, Henna sank down to the couch and hung her head.  Now what, she thought sadly.  She didn't want to give up Stuart, but couldn't go against her father.  But, she loved them both...