Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Knightley, Orb's Year 937-940


(and don't forget the cute little kittens!)


Orb's Year 937
Bradshaw held his little girl, Eleanor, is his arms and felt overwhelmed with emotion. 

***

Princess Daphne shared a smile with the ladies of her circle.  She envisioned a tight friendship with these ladies, much like existed between her sisters and sister-in-laws!   And as much as she loved her sisters, sometimes it was quite trying to be the youngest.  She knew they meant well, but they could be so patronizing!
Here, in her own circle were women her own age and beginning their families like she was!  Although some were newer to an esteemed class than they were used to.

Eryka Knightley tried valiantly to fit into the group, but never seemed to find an opening.  It was a little unnerving to now be in a princess' Great Hall!  If only her crazy mother could see her now!

Finding a lull in conversation, she broke in and related a funny joke that she'd once heard from a merchant boy.
A hush fell throughout the room as all the ladies gaped at Eryka.  She immediately flushed.

Daphne took pity on the young woman and tried a half-hearted smile.  Perhaps Eryka was in need of guidance, as she had been when she first married Bradshaw.  "A lady never uses such a course word in polite company," Daphne explained patiently.

Slowly, the ladies began discussing again, but Eryka remained quiet...

***

"Thank you for coming," Bradshaw said as he hugged his half-class daughter, Fatima. 
It was Eleanor's birthday celebration and everyone that mattered in his life was invited!
But before they cut the cake, they filled the Great Hall with laughter and dance.
"Happy birthday Eleanor," they cheered as Eleanor wiggled to be set down. 

Soon the hour grew late and the guests trickled away.  Bradshaw scooped Eleanor into his arms and prepared to take her upstairs for bed.  It made his heart tighten to see she was the spitting image of her beautiful mother!

***

Especially when he discovered they would soon have another precious child.

Orb's Year 938
Time flew by quickly and Daphne soon delivered their second child, another daughter...
Sweet little Florence, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed angel!
Eleanor crawled over to her little sister and babbled happily.
Bradshaw tucked his daughters into their cribs and smiled broadly.  Two... no three... beautiful daughters, he thought happily.  He was a man most blessed...
...but even more so because he had Daphne at his side.

***

Tragedy struck when Daphne lost her dear friend, Thadius.  All the cats hurried to the room lovingly nick-named the Cats' Hall as though they knew what had happened.

Daphne was beside herself with grief.  Thadius had been a great friend to her when she'd first moved to the Knightley home and was at odds with Bradshaw.  He had curled up against her many a night and soothed her angry tears.
Bradshaw urged Daphne to sleep, gently brushing her hair from her face.  "It will all feel better in the morning," he whispered.


Orb's Year 939
"Thank you for coming," Bradshaw greeted the woman...
...and the adorable snowy-white cat that came with her.   "Daphne will love you," he promised as he bent down to pet Sassy's head.

Gathering Sassy up in his arms, he hurried inside.
"Daphne!  A surprise for you!" he said eagerly when Daphne approached. 
"He's beautiful!" she cooed as she dipped down to stroke their newest addition. "Thank you, love!"
"But, I have something for you, too," she said with a grin.

"What is it?" Bradshaw asked, just happy to see a smile back on her face.  She'd been long sad over Thadius' passing.
Grinning, Daphne grabbed Bradshaw's hand and laid it on her belly.  "We will soon have another new addition to our family!"
***

Family and friends crowded the dining hall as the Knightley's celebrated their daughter's birthdays. 
Eleanor smiled shyly at all the people gathered around.
While Florence grinned up at her daddy.
Daphne was smiling as she walked into the other room and ran into her sisters, lined up in a row.  What lovely ladies, she thought to herself as she gazed upon her wonderful sisters.  (I just had to share this picture.  I loved the sisters sitting next to each other with their gem-stone dresses!  left-right; Princess Catherine Consul, Queen Deidre Royale and Princess Kea Royale)


Orb's Year 940
"Uppsey daisy!" Bradshaw grinned as he hefted Florence from her crib.  "Time for morning!  Your sister is visiting today!"
"Daddy, do I have to play with Fatima?  She's so old!" Eleanor complained.

Bradshaw frowned.  "She's not that much older than you, dear-heart. She's only 7 years older!"

Eleanor rolled her eyes.  "That's ancient!  And if she's really my sister, then why doesn't she live her Why isn't Mommy her Mommy, too?"

Bradshaw sighed, "It's complicated.  I'll explain when you're older."  When he saw Eleanor's mutinous expression, he fixed her with a stern look.  "You will behave and act kindly towards your sister, Eleanor.  And that is the end of this discussion!"

***

Downstairs, Bradshaw seated himself next to Fatima and smiled as he watched his daughters, all his daughters, talk and play. 
Soon Eleanor had grown weary of conversation, though.  "Fatima, come with me outside.  You can swing me around!" she said imperiously.

Fatima glanced down sharply at the young girl, offended by her tone.

Bradshaw sighed and corrected his young daughter,  "Say please.  You cannot command her to play!".

Eleanor looked between her sister and father with confusion.  "Whyever not?  She is a peasant, isn't she?" she asked.

Fatima held up a hand to forestall further reprimands.  "Do not worry, papa."  Looking down at her sister, she smiled a half-smiled,  "I am a peasant, but I would be happy to swing you around, sister."

Bradshaw sighed as he watched Eleanor run off with Fatima trailing behind her.  He'd never wanted her to feel second-best in his home.  He would need to speak with Eleanor, at length, about her treatment of her sister!

***

"I told you, papa.  Do not worry.  She's young and stubborn.  Young girls of any class can say the most awful things.  She meant no harm, though.  She just wanted to play."

Bradshaw bit his tongue and nodded.  "If you say so," he said, unconvinced.  He was still determined to blister Eleanor's ear once Fatima returned to the Abbey.  "I would hate to make you feel uncomfortable here.  You know I am always glad of the time you stay with us!"

Fatima smiled shyly.  "I know, papa.  I enjoy being here too, even though it must be difficult for your lady-wife."
"What is difficult?" Daphne asked, coming into the room for the last of the conversation.

Fatima blushed.  "I was just saying that it must be difficult having me here, because... you know..."  Fatima stammered and glanced down.  Now that she was older, she knew the offense her father and mother had committed against the King's daughter.  Her very birth was unseemly!
Daphne hurried over to her step-daughter and grabbed her hands.  "Lugging this eight-pound child around in my pregnancy is difficult, raising my Eleanor to be a proper lady is proving to be difficult, but your presence here has never been a trial.  I quite enjoy your visits!"

Fatima blushed again.  She hardly knew what to make of such a declaration!  Over the years, her own mother had assured her that her presence was a trial!

Glancing between her father and step-mother, she knew that she hated the very idea of returning to the Abbey.  She wished she had a place here... amongst her family...

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