(and don't forget the cute little kittens!)
Orb's Year 937
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.
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...
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!
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.
Orb's Year 939
Gathering Sassy up in his arms, he hurried inside.
"What is it?" Bradshaw asked, just happy to see a smile back on her face. She'd been long sad over Thadius' passing.
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)
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!"
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!
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."
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!
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...