Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Noble, Orb's Year 937-940


Orb's Year 937
"Farrah! I'm so glad you could make it!" Blaze Noble said, greeting his childhood friend.

Abbess Farrah smiled back, "Of course! Thank you for inviting me!"  It still amazed Farrah how many doors had opened since she joined the Abbey.  No longer did mothers worry about a scheming Farmer girl propositioning their sons!  They welcomed an Abbess with open arms and wide smiles.  It was weird, she didn't feel much different than she had a few years ago - but people certainly saw her differently!

"Well, come in! Come in! I want you to meet everyone!"
Blaze led Farrah in and then left her alone.  He loved it when the house was full of people having a wonderful time!
But no kids yet for him!  He just wanted the first few years of marriage to be together...
...Just the two of them!

***

"Oh, but, Blaze, I can't wait to be pregnant and have a baby!" Esther said unhappily.  She hadn't known that Blaze wanted to wait!

Blaze blanched as he looked at his new wife.  "Really?" he asked incredulously.  "I thought we would enjoy a few years together, without a baby in the way!"  Reaching across the table, he squeezed her hand.

Esther glanced down at the table. "I suppose it won't matter if we wait a few years," she conceded.

Blaze squeezed her hand again.  "Great! I swear you won't regret it!" he said cheerily, attempting to reassure her.  "Let's enjoy the whirlwind of pleasure!"

***

Esther was determined to enjoy the parties that Blaze threw.  But, sometimes she longed for a slower pace to their social activities.  It seemed there was always someone new to meet.

She felt a prickling sensation on the back of her neck as she spoke with Berjes Furst and glanced around the room, meeting Angus Laird's eyes. Sending him a quick nod, she turned back to Berjes.

A few moments later, Angus tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to dance.  Inwardly sighing, she agreed.  Angus thought he was a ladies man, but he was too touchy-feely for her liking! She knew she'd be fending off his groping hands for a short-time.
But, not wanting to appear to give him a direct cut, she smiled and accepted his hand to join him in a dance.
Blaze seemed to notice the moment Esther needed his help.  He hurried over and asked to cut in.
"Oh thank goodness!" Esther said as Blaze pulled her into his arms.  "That man is like an octopus!"

Blaze swiveled his head and glared at Angus.  "Did he touch you?"

Esther stroked his shoulder. "No, no. He didn't. I just dislike spending time alone with him.  He makes me feel like he's sizing me up for a meal."

"I want you to stay away from him!" Blaze said.

Esther rolled her eyes. "He's perfectly harmless, Blaze.  He just thinks he's Orb's gift to women!"

"I'm serious, Esther," Blaze argued.  "I don't want you around him!"

Esther was dumb-struck. Her husband was jealous! "Then I suppose you will need to stop inviting him over to our house where I must be a gracious hostess and speak with him."

Orb's Year 938
Esther had been very happy when Blaze had told her they would have a small family dinner.  It would be a nice relaxing break from the constant social whirlwind.

But, she blanched when Farrah took the seat of honor next to Blaze...

Esther hardly seemed to follow the conversation.  Everyone at the table were rehashing stories from Blaze's youth and laughing at his antics.   They fondly recalled loving memories of their mother, Princess Cassidy.

Except Farrah, she just smiled as she listened to Blaze speak.
"I remember that Mother was so worried that you would be a bad influence on Blaze," Princess Catherine Consul laughed.

Abbess Farrah joined in the laughter.  "I remember the afternoon she caught Blaze and I talking alone.  Her face turned bright red and in truth, I could not hurry away fast enough!"

Blaze smiled at the memory.  "She raked me over the coals! I told her that you were just a good friend!" he said with a laugh.
It was hard to join in the laughter because those years had been very hard on Esther.  She'd been scared to death that Farrah would make Blaze fall in love with her and that she would lose him.  She remembered making Blaze promise to never talk to Farrah again in hopes that it eliminated her competition. She knew that although Blaze claimed they were just friends, he had been half in love with her.  If Farrah had given him the slightest encouragement, then maybe their life would've turned out much different!

Feeling unsettled, she got up quietly, "If you'll excuse me," she mumbled before hurrying from the room.

Blaze was having a wonderful time reminiscing about the good old times.  He was surprised when Esther quietly excused herself, but was certain she was fine.  Turning his gaze back to Farrah, he listened to another of her stories about the Consul household.

 ***

Dinner was over and his guests retired to the Great Hall.  As Blaze walked into the room, his gaze stopped on Farrah.  There was something different about her these days... a spark of some sort.  Shaking his head, he attempted to clear his thoughts.  What was he thinking?  She was just Farrah, his childhood friend.  An Abbess, devoted to the Celestial Orb...
The hour had grown late and Esther tired of waiting for Blaze to come to bed.   Finally, she got up and went in search of him, feeling scared of what she might find.  Seeing Blaze in deep conversation with Farrah, she glanced around the room.  Everyone else had gone.

Blaze didn't even seem to notice her waiting behind him! 
Deciding that a wife did not wait while her husband spoke to another woman, Esther launched herself into Blaze's arms.  "Blaze! It's quite late! You're keeping Farrah up unfairly!" she said as she ran her hand up and down his back.

"Esther! What's gotten into you?" Blaze yelped as Esther cupped the seat of his pants.  Blaze glanced back at Farrah in embarrassment.
 Farrah frowned before hurriedly standing and making her excuses.
 "What's gotten into you? You embarrassed her!" Blaze said after Farrah had left.
"What about me? You were in here alone with her for hours while I waited for you in the room!" Esther said angrily.

"You could've come out to join us! Everyone else went home to bed.  We were just having fun reminiscing.."

"Yes, yes... about your wonderful teen years when you could stay up all night long talking to Farrah alone in a room," she stormed.

Blaze blinked.  Where had that come from?

"Are you jealous?" he asked her incredulously, "Of Farrah? She's an Abbess!"

"Did you ever kiss her?" Esther demanded.

"Of course not!" Blaze snapped.  "We were just friends!"
Esther slipped into Blaze's arms and kissed him passionately, tinged with desperation.  She couldn't lose him!

 Orb's Year 939
Life was going to change drastically now that Esther was pregnant.  She was sure of it!  She couldn't wait to settle down and raise their babies!

She just hoped Blaze was ready!
"Oh, you poor thing," Esther exclaimed when she saw the poor rain that looked like it'd been stuck in the rain without food for too long.  "Don't be scared! I'm not going to hurt you!"
Esther brought the poor bedraggled dog inside and cleaned her up.  "You're going to love it here!" she promised.
"Is that a dog?" Blaze asked as he walked into the hall. "Where did you find the blasted thing?"

Esther hurried to her husband with a smile on her face.  " Isn't she wonderful!" she asked cheerfully.
Just then the dog leaped up and growled menacingly at Blaze.  Blaze looked like he was about to heave the poor dog out the front door, so Esther hurried in front of him.
"Cecelie! No!" she sternly reprimanded.  "No barking!"

Blaze scoffed, "Cecelie? You gave the thing a lady's name!"

Esther turned to glare at her husband.  "She's staying," Esther said firmly as she turned and flounced away.

And damned if the dog didn't flounce behind her.
Blaze headed to bed late in the night, ready to make his apologies before snuggling up behind his lovely wife, but found his spot thoroughly invaded.  As he moved closer to push the dog out of his bed, he growled deep in it's throat.

 "Bloody dog," Blaze cursed as he grabbed his pillow and stalked from the room.
As he settled on the bench, he thought of every argument against the dog that he could think of.
"Cecelie, go get Blaze," Esther panted when she'd awakened in the middle of night deep in labor.

Cecelie ran from the room and licked Blaze's hand.

Blaze woke up to the dog licking him.  "Yeck!" he cursed angrily.  "Go on!"

But the dog just started whimpering and nudging his hand. Then Blaze heard it.  A low moan from the room.  The baby! Quickly, he jumped up and raced to Esther.
"Are you okay?" Blaze asked fearfully when he saw Esther panting.

Esther nodded as she labored to bring their child into the world.  Finally, there was a lusty cry as she held a small little boy in her arms.

"Welcome home," Esther grinned down at her son, Chaz Noble.

Blaze came closer and held his wife and newborn son. A nudge and a luck at his hand made him look down.  "Fine, you did a good job," Blaze told the dog.  " You can stay..."

 Orb's Year 940
Blaze had been worried that once they started their family, they would not have time to themselves anymore.  He was finding, to his pleasure, that wasn't the case!  Esther was just as affectionate, if not more!

 "I have a surprise for you," Esther teased as she lowered herself from his arms.  "But it's in the bedroom..."
"You wicked, wicked woman," Blaze teased as he hurried behind her, more than ready to play along.
The baby's cries stopped them abruptly.  Esther squeezed his hand and mumbled her apologies before hurrying to see what Chaz needed.

 ***

"I can't believe where the years have gone!" Abbess Farrah said when she saw Blaze.  "It feels like just yesterday you were newly wed, and now your son is turning three!"

Blaze grinned, "He's a good boy!" he bragged, "Strong and smart as can be!"
Esther cradled Chaz in her arms as everyone gathered in front of her for his Orb's day celebration. 
She thought he looked like just his Father!

Princess Catherine came over and pinched Chaz's cheek.  "He's a beautiful little boy!" she said happily before chatting with Esther about this or that.

***

Even Cecelie gave Chaz the stamp of approval...

Knightley Guard, Orb's Year 937-940


Orb's Year 937
It seemed that just as Eryka was getting used to being spoiled by Camelot, everything had to change.  He insisted on acknowledging his sons with his ex-lover, the serving hussy!  She was a noblewoman now! She shouldn't have to deal with this!
"Hurry, my boys will be over soon.  I'd like everything to be ready when they get here!" Camelot Knightley said excitedly.

Eryka grimaced.  "Toddlers are just so difficult to care for! I don't see why you need to invite them into our home as often as you do!" she protested.  "Can't we just send them money and be done with it?"
Camelot winced.  It was clear that his wife didn't have any love for his half-class children, but he kept hoping that she might grow to love them once she got to know them.  "I love them, just as I will love any children that we have,"  he said, gazing longingly into her eyes.

Eryka winced when Camelot mentioned children.  She wanted some, just not any time soon!  She was having too much fun living in the lap of luxury!  But, she knew that Camelot craved more children, so she smiled and nodded.

"Besides," Camelot added.  "The boys are no longer toddlers. They're strong little boys! I know with time, you'll care for them just as much!"

As least the seductress Deanna never came with them, Eryka thought silently.  Or his niece, Fatima.  Oh, he'd invited Fatima numerous times, but the ungrateful girl never showed her face.  She knew Camelot felt horrible about it, but she hoped with time, he would stop trying so hard to please the little urchins...
"Ah there you are!" Camelot called happily when the boys hurried inside.  Eryka pasted on a smile and greeted the boys.  They were so smelly! Didn't their mother clean them? she thought uncharitably.
"Guy!" Camelot said as he bent down to kiss his eldest twin's cheek.  "You're looking well!"

Eryka shared an awkward glance with Hugh.  When she bent down to hug him, he quickly pulled away and glanced towards his father. 
Already at wits end, Eryka made her apologies and scurried from the room.  They wouldn't need her this afternoon, anyway! They'd be able to do all sorts of manly things without her!

***

Camelot sighed as Eryka hurried from the room, but grinned at his two little men.  "So," he announced, clasping his hands, "Who is up for a sword fight?"

"Alright!" the boys called as they hurried to their father.

***

Hours later, Camelot bid his boys goodbye. "Promise to come again soon," he said as he hugged them tight and kissed their cheeks.  "Tell your sister I love her."

Hugh nodded, even as Guy shrugged. 

Camelot grinned. 

His boys.

***

"You can come out now, they've gone," Camelot said with more annoyance in his voice than he'd intended.

Eryka winced.  "I'm sorry, Camelot.  I just wasn't feeling well," she apologized.  Shyly she glanced down.  "Perhaps when I have our son, you can teach him the same things."
Camelot glanced at her sharply.  "Are you saying...?" he asked without daring to hope.

Eryka nodded.

Camelot reached for her hands and squeezed.  "We will have fine children!" he announced happily.

Orb's Year 938
Eryka supposed she should be thankful that Princess Daphne still came over to visit after she'd made a fool of herself at Daphne's ladies group (Knightley, Orb's Year 937).  I suppose that's what sister-in-law's do, she thought bitterly.  She was certain that Camelot had asked his sister's wife to look out for his poor, underprivileged wife. 
"Maybe if you didn't try so hard," Daphne suggested.
"I don't know what you mean," Eryka said.  "It's just that everyone holds my class against me!" Besides, she never seemed to have a problem when talking with noblemen!  It was only around noblewomen that she was treated coldly!

Daphne cocked her head to the side, "Maybe a confidence boost," she said, slowly considering Eryka's hair.
"What do you think?" Princess Daphne asked when Eryka came back in the room.
"I love it! Thank you! I feel so regal and pretty!" Eryka gushed.

"Good!" Daphne said, hugging her sister-in-law.  "Now you must promise to come to my ladies group this week!  Everyone will love you!"
Eryka glanced in her mirror and smoothed her hair.  Well, who wouldn't be impressed? she wondered happily.

***

Eryka was certain she had wowed everyone at the ladies social. Daphne had told her that she'd made a definite impression.  Eryka couldn't help but feel a little like a belle at a ball!
She couldn't wait to invite people over to enjoy her company! 
Especially the handsome noblemen...

***

Although she happened to be completely alone when her labor pains began in earnest.  In that moment, she would've traded all the friends in the world for her family...

...But it had been necessary to put them behind her ...in a past life.  She was a noblewoman now.  She consorted with princesses and noblewomen!  Her family were merely merchants, struggling to survive.  She was better than them now.
Just as her sweet daughter, Elyana Knightley, would be better than them, as well.

Orb's Year 939
"I'm sorry that I did not give you an heir," Eryka said with some disappointment.  She had been hoping that once she gave Camelot his male heir that he would stop spending so much time with his half-class children at the Abbey!

Camelot grinned at her, "It will be nice to have a little girl in the house again!"

Eryka's face fell.  He dared mention his half-class niece that he'd pretended to father.  To her?! His wife! "Well, I had wanted to gift you with your first son!" she said sharply.

Camelot stared at his wife, confused.  "Are you feeling well, wife? You know I already have two sons, Guy and..."

Eryka ground her teeth.  "Yes," she interrupted, dismissing the half-class brats, "But my son will be your heir," she insisted.

Camelot nodded tersely and walked away so as not to upset his wife.  He'd heard that women could be particularly moody after birth.  
In the room, he stroked the soft skin on his daughter's head.  "Boy, girl - it does not matter to me.  Orb's truth, I'm glad to have a little girl in the house again," he told the sleeping angel.

 ***

Eryka was angry with Camelot.  She didn't know why he needed to throw his half-class children in her face all the time! It just wasn't done!  They should have the decency to stay at the Abbey where they belonged!

So, she decided not to give him another thought until he came and apologized to her!
Angus Laird, the noted jouster had come over with his competitor Keev. 
 A girl could definitely forget about her cares and woes with this lively group!
Keev stepped a smidgen closer than what was proper as he invited Eryka to see him joust on the morrow.  "Perhaps you can give me something of yours for luck?" he said suggestively.

Eryka was thoroughly enchanted.  Keev was so masculine and so strong! 
 Leaning forward, she gave him a quick kiss.  "There!" she announced.  "A kiss for good luck!"

Keev moved to pull her into his arms, but Eryka deftly skipped away.  "My Lord! You forget yourself!" she chastised with her heart thundering.  She couldn't believe she had done that!  Camelot would never forgive her!

But, oh, it was so thrilling to steal that simple little kiss! 

If only Keev wasn't looking like he wanted a lot more from her at the moment...
As Angus walked by, he noted the high color in Eryka's cheeks and the determined look in Keev's eye.  Interesting, he thought.  Grinning to himself, he made sure to file that information away. You never knew when something like that might come in handy!

 ***

Eryka greeted Camelot warmly when he returned from work.  "Here, husband, let me rub your back!" she announced, turning him around. 

Camelot glanced at her suspiciously.  "What brings this on?" he asked.
"I just missed you today!" she said, shrugging as she pulled him into her arms.  "Let me show you how much!"  She'd been on pins and needles waiting for Camelot to return.  Her brazen kiss with Keev had left her in state of agitation all day!  

Hurriedly, she pushed Camelot towards the bed.

Camelot grinned as his wife pulled the clothes from his body.  Wow, he thought.  He knew that the mood changes after birth could make a woman moody, but this was spectacular! 
 Elyana's cries woke them up sometime in the early morning.  

"Ugh," Eryka complained, "When will she sleep through the night? I'm sorely tired of missing sleep!"

Camelot kissed her cheek.  "I'll grab the little one, you go back to sleep."

Eryka nodded as she made a trip to the bathroom.
Camelot hoisted his sweet daughter up from the crib and snuggled her.  "Good morning, little princess.  We simply must do something about our sleeping arrangement! I agree with your mother! It will be nice to sleep through the night again!"
Eryka fought the morning nausea down after awakening and scowled.  Well, so much for sleep! she thought sourly.  

Orb's Year 940
Camelot was overjoyed that Eryka was having another child.  He'd been slightly worried about the spacing.  Perhaps it would have been better to have delayed another child's birth so closely to Elyana's.  Especially with the moodiness that Eryka had experienced. 

After this baby's birth, he would be sure to let more time pass before impregnating Eryka again.
But, oh, how he loved his little girl!

 ***

"What are you doing?" Eryka asked as she came downstairs. 

"Just going to put little Elyana up into bed."
Grinning at Elyana, Camelot said, "Come, let us give Mama a big kiss goodnight."

Eryka edged away.  "Oh, Camelot, not tonight," she said quickly, then noted the look of displeasure that crossed his face.  "The baby.  Little toddlers are so dirty and sickly.  I wouldn't want to catch anything!"

Camelot lifted Elyana into his arms and kissed her cheek, then swept past Eryka.  Perhaps he'd misjudged his wife from the very start.

He could only hope it was the pregnancy moodiness.  But, he was beginning to believe he was cursed in love...

 ***

Elyana hated waiting in the crib for her nanny or her daddy to come get her.  She'd learned that when she'd rattled the bars very hard, they sometimes dropped down.
Giggling, she glanced around to make sure the coast was clear.
 Then slowly she climbed up on the bars and swung her leg over.
 Piece of cake she thought happily.
 Now it was time to find Daddy to play!

 ***

"Want Daddy!" Elyana screamed at the top of her lungs. "No Mommy! NO MOMMY!"

Eryka stomped her foot.  "Stop it, you ungrateful child! Stop it!"

Camelot hurried inside when he heard the screaming from outside.  Taking in the situation, he grabbed Eryka and pushed her away from their crying child.  "Eryka! Get a hold of yourself!" he said sharply.

"Oh honestly! She's doing that just to make me mad!" Eryka yelled, near tears.  The nanny had not come in today and Eryka had been forced to care for the watering pot all day long.
Camelot picked Elyana up in his arms and she instantly quietened.  "You forget yourself, wife!" He snapped.  "She does not cry to make you angry.  She cries because you've left her sitting in a filthy diaper!"  He hurried upstairs, putting as much distance between Eryka and his sniffling daughter.
Eryka watched Camelot hurry away and fumed.  Of course he'd take her side, she thought bitterly.

 ***

The pain doubled her over as Eryka clutched her belly.  Not another one...  please let this one be a boy so she never had to go through this again!