Thursday, September 5, 2013

L'Adventurer, Orb's Year 933-936



Orb's Year 933
Geoffrey sulked as his wife calmly stroked paint across the canvas.

He'd been lounging right in this same spot when Alibaba's mistress had gotten the jump on him...

*** 

He'd been thinking about how best to handle Alibaba when she'd burst through the door...
She'd pulled her sword on him before he'd had a chance to grab his own. 
"Not so brave are you? You're the kind of cur that will pick on the weak - an old woman like Debbie, a child like Henna or a pregnant woman.  You're lucky I don't add another scar to match on your pretty little face," she'd scowled.

"Aw, I didn't know you cared," he'd taunted.
The tip of her sword perilously close to his neck convinced him to shut his mouth.  "You will leave my family alone or I will come back and finish this when you least expect it," she threatened.

***
 
Jumping to his feet, angry once more at the way the blasted woman had bested him, he shoved Celeste out of the way. 

"Why are you always painting this ugly shite?" he yelled, grabbing the canvas and tearing it apart, then throwing it on the floor.  "It's worthless!  You're worthless!"
Celeste buried her face in her hands, more hurt by his words than she would have imagined.  How did he still hold the power to hurt her after all these years.
Sobbing, she turned and ran up the stairs, desperately wanting to be away from him and his poisonous words.
In the nursery, she picked up Faith and snuggled her to her chest.

"Are you okay, Mommy?" Elyssa asked, glancing  up at her with eyes far wiser than her tender 6 years should've been.

"I'm okay," Celeste said, desperately trying to get her racing heart under control.  "I just wanted hugs from my two best girls!"

Elyssa stood up and wrapped her arms around her mother and hugged her as tight as she could.

***

Celeste glanced over when Geoffrey slid into bed next to her.  He reached over to pull her to him.
"No!" Celeste surprised them both by saying.  "Don't touch me!"

Geoffrey reacted as though she'd slapped him.  "You can't tell me no!" he said incredously.  "You're my wife!  And it is your duty to give me an heir!"
Celeste wrapped her arms across her chest.  "I said no! I've no wish to entertain you in bed! Go crawl into one of your mistresses beds if you desire warmth!"
Geoffrey leaped out of bed and pointed his finger at her angrily.  "You'll regret that, you ungrateful wench! The only reason I would attempt to bed you at all is to get an heir!"

Turning on his heel, he stalked from the room, slamming the door behind him. 

All Celeste could think was, Blessed Orb, he left me alone!

***
 
Still stung by Celeste's rejection, Geoffrey called the matchmaker.  He'd show her!  Slapping all the gold he had in the matchmaker's hand, he told her to find him someone to entertain him.
The matchmaker returned with a delivery girl.  He shooed the matchmaker away and turned his attention on the peasant.
"I have no time or patience for wooing," he warned the woman.  "If you fancy a good time, then nod your head."

Abbey shyly nodded.
Geoffrey wasted no time wrapping his arms around her and crushing her against him for a bruising kiss.  "Come inside," he said, dragging her through the doors.
Pushing her to the lounge, he followed her down.

***

Geoffrey watched Celeste sleep, still glowing from the pleasure the peasant wench had given him.  Once he'd finished, he'd given her a big of gold for her trouble and then sent her on her way.
Celeste's eyes popped open when she felt the bed shift with Geoffrey's weight. 
Abruptly she sat up and threw the covers off.

"Where are you hurrying to, dear wife?" Geoffrey asked.  "I thought you'd want to hear all about the peasant girl I'd bedded.  That is what you wanted me to do, isn't it?"
Celeste attempted to hurry from the room, but Geoffrey had rolled over the bed and jumped up in front of her, blocking her path.
"Wait, don't you want to hear all the details?" he asked her vulgarly, reaching forward to stroke her cheek.

"Don't touch me," Celeste said with a wavering voice.  "You're a monster!"

"Tsk, tsk," Geoffrey admonished.  "Is that any way to speak to your husband?"

This time when Celeste tried to walk around, Geoffrey stepped out of the way.
She wasted no time hurrying from the room.

Orb's Year 934
After that morning, Geoffrey had gone off somewhere, leaving Celeste in peace. Too soon little Faith's birthday came.  Celeste no longer attempted to wait for Geoffrey to come.  Birthdays were so much more pleasant without him!
"Happy birthday!" everyone cheered as Celeste leaned forward to blow the candles on the cake.
Faith L'Adventurer grew up to be a beautiful little girl!
"What'd you get me, Mommy? What'd you get me?" Faith asked.
Celeste smiled.  "First your alphabet and then your present!"
"A castle!" the girls squealed when Celeste showed them.

"I love it, Mommy!" Elyssa said happily. 

They loved playing with the little prince and princesses, often playing for hours.

It was such a happy time...

***

"What are you girls doing?" Geoffrey barked when he walked in and saw them playing.

"Pl...pl...playing knights..." Faith said, standing up. 

Elyssa ignored him and continued to play.

"I asked you what you were doing!" he roared to Elyssa.   She jumped up and looked at the floor, scared to say anything to him.
Angry, he stormed over and smashed the castle.

"When I ask you something, I expect you to answer!" he yelled.
Celeste heard Geoffrey screaming at the girls and ran as fast as she could.  "Girls - get in bed!" she ordered, attempting to diffuse the situation.  She saw the ruined castle at Geoffrey's feet and felt a ball of anger forming.  He ruined everything good in their life!
"What are you doing?" she demanded in a whisper.  "That was Faith's birthday present!"
Geoffrey glared.  "Is that any way to greet your husband?" he asked, reaching to pull her into his arms.

She struggled with him and pushed him off, checking to make sure that the girls weren't watching.  "Not in front of the girls," she hissed.
Geoffrey pushed Celeste out of the way and stormed from the room.

Orb's Year 935
Geoffrey was busy writing something when Celeste came downstairs.  She'd apparently startled him because he dropped the quill and rolled up the paper quickly.
"Why are you sneaking around?" he accused her. 

Celeste tried to look as innocent as possible.  "I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was quiet.  I was just coming down to check the larder." She busied herself with straightening the room, all the while covertly watching him.
He walked over and put the scroll in a wooden chest and locked the box, turning to glare at her.  She prayed that her hands shaking didn't give her away...

***

Much later, she listened at the stairs, sure that he'd gone upstairs to sleep.
Her stomach in knots, she walked over to the box and pulled out a matching key.  She'd had Ennis copy the keys that Geoffrey had, worried that he might try to keep something from her... or lock her in somewhere.
There, undisturbed was the scroll that Geoffrey had attempted to hide.  She took a deep breath and picked it up and read the contents.

When she'd finished reading it, all the blood had drained from her body.  Senses tingling, she'd dropped the scroll back in the box and then locked it again.

Oh God, she thought.  He really was a monster!

***

Not trusting her husband, Celeste slept in the nursery and locked the door.  She doubted Geoffrey would have known since he never could be bothered to come into this room...

...except when he'd crushed the castle toy.
Morning shone through the window and Celeste sleepily smiled at her children stretching awake.

"Mom?" Elyssa asked, confused. 

Celeste smiled, hoping Elyssa wouldn't ask too many questions.  "Come, let's get breakfast," she said quickly.
"Eat up, tonight we're going to the Queen's birthday party," Celeste said, striving to appear normal.  But, she jumped at every sound and was extremely jittery.
"Mom, what's going on?" Elyssa asked.
"Nothing," Celeste replied quickly, smiling down at Faith.  "Nothing at all."  Celeste could tell that neither of her children were buying her lies. 
When Faith ran upstairs to play, Elyssa cornered her mother.  "Mom, tell me what's going on," she said.  "I want to help."
Celeste's heart broke.  Her oldest daughter acted far too mature for her age, compliments of an unpredictable and verbally abusive father.  Clasping her shoulder, Celeste tried to reassure her without saying too much.  "No matter what happens, take care of your sister, okay? Everything is going to be okay."

Orb's Year 936
"You have your coats?" Celeste asked, hurrying around to make sure they had everything.  She'd been lucky! Geoffrey had gone off on one of his jaunts and hadn't returned.  The scroll felt like it was burning a hole in her pocket. "Okay, let's go!" she attempted to sound cheerful...
...and then she saw stopped mid-step when he walked through the door.
"Where do you think you're going?" he demanded.
"We're just going to the Queen's birthday celebration!"

Geoffrey scowled.  "I hate going to those bloody things!"

Celeste strove not to appear too eager.  "Well, I can make your excuses if you like..." she offered.  Damn, she thought when Geoffrey began to look suspicious.  She did her best to appear cool and distant, "I figured you wouldn't want to come. There will be so many children..."

Geoffrey scowled even more and crossed his arms.  "Tell the Queen that I am tied up with work."

Celeste shrugged as though it didn't matter to her and moved to pass her husband again.
He stepped out of the way and watched them go, still thinking that something felt off.
Eh, blast it, he thought, if all went as planned he wouldn't have to deal with the bloody frustrating Royales ever again...
 
***

The pounding on the door grated Geoffrey's nerves. 
Throwing the door open, he was surprised to see his brother-in-law, Benedict, as well as a few other men in the military and King's Guard. "What's going on here?" he demanded.

Benedict smiled at Geoffrey and announced, "We're here to arrest you."
Then at once, they pulled their swords and stepped forward.  Geoffrey didn't even have a chance to resist.  "On what grounds?" he growled, wrestling with the cuffs on his wrists.

"For the murder of the peasant Debbie Diebin and for treason against the King."  Benedict smiled and held up the scroll Geoffrey had hidden in the box. 

Geoffrey paled. 

***


Celeste walked towards the castle that she'd raised her children in, but had never been home.  Geoffrey was safely behind bars for plotting to assassinate the King with the help of some paid mercenaries and for the murder of the poor peasant Debbie Baker Diebin. 

It had surprised her to realize her husband was capable of such malice.  She could only thank the Blessed Orb that he'd never raised a finger against her or their children.

Now that he was gone, it was time for a fresh start...
...although as she poured over the account books... she realized just how destitute they were...

How could she have been so blind all these years?  What was she going to do?

2 comments:

  1. I am enjoying reading your story, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow!!! These last three updates kept me on the edge of my seat!

    xo,
    A

    ReplyDelete

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