Thursday, October 3, 2013

L'Adventurer, Orb's Year 937-940


Orb's Year 937
Celeste had thought that once Geoffrey was gone, all of her troubles would disappear.  But, if anything, her troubles only seemed to be growing!  Now Geoffrey had escaped with Gwen!  And her brother had informed her that Geoffrey might have fathered two girls with the spiteful wench!

She lived in fear that Geoffrey would come back and wreck more havoc on her family! She lived in fear that she wouldn't be able to support her girls.  She just plain lived in fear and it grew most wearisome!

She was prone to cry at the oddest times.

"Mama, don't cry," Elyssa said as she came over to hug her mother.  "It'll be alright!"
Celeste sopped up her tears and attempted to smile.  "I'm okay, Elyssa.  I just felt a little overwhelmed."

"What can I do to help?" Elyssa asked hopefully.  Her mother never asked for help, as though she thought Elyssa was too young to burden.  Elyssa might only be 10, but she'd been forced to grow up quickly in the L'Adventurer house.

Celeste turned to sit down and waved Elyssa away.  "Just check on Faith for me.  Play quietly." 
Elyssa sighed and went in search of her sister.  She found the little imp in the bathroom.

"Look Elyssa! It's raining!" Faith said as she skipped in the puddle growing on the floor.
"Faith!" she cried.  "Stop that this instant! You're making a mess!"

Sighing, Elyssa shooed Faith from the room and began to try to fix the tub.  She didn't want to worry Mama about the trouble, so she would just take care of it herself.

***

"Are you sure you can do without your own Castle Guard?" Celeste asked Deidre.  "I wouldn't want to affect the safety of your house."

Deidre smiled.  "We are more than protected!" she assured Celeste.  "And I would worry too much with you here alone with the girls."
Celeste hugged her sister-in-law.  "Thank you, Deidre.  It's been so hard knowing what to do.  Sometimes I feel so lost."

Deidre hugged Celeste tightly.  "You do whatever you need to get through the day, dear.  And remember to smile!"
She had thought she would find the Castle Guard obstrusive, but a sort of peace seemed to settle over Celeste, knowing that she was protected from a threat that had hung over her head for a very long. time.

Smiling, she threw herself into painting. 

***
Old habits die hard, Celeste mused as she settled into the chair to watch her children sleep.  A noise from the hall sent shafts of fear down her spine.
Looking up, she sighed with relief when she saw it was just the Castle Guard.  "Oh blessed Orb," she mumbled softly under her breath, working to get her racing pulse under control.

Soundlessly, the Castle Guard motioned towards the chair, as if it wanted to sit.

"You want to sit here?" she asked it, dumbly, feeling ridiculous for talking to the autonoman.

Again, it gestured towards the chair.

Standing up, she stepped to the side and watched the Castle Guard awkwardly lower itself into the plush chair. 
Once it was seated, it made a shooing motion with it's hands.

"You want me to leave?" she asked, incredulous.  "You'll watch over my babies?"

Again, it made the shooing motion.

Celeste hovered, torn between watching over her daughters and torn between the lure of a good night's rest.

Hesitantly, she left her daughter's lives in the care of the gentle autonoman giant.

Orb's Year 938
As time wore on, Celeste allowed herself to believe that Geoffrey was never coming back. Her brother, King Barron, had told her they had found some evidence that Geoffrey and Gwen had wound up in the isolated kingdom of Sim Bin. 

She finally felt free of him and his twisted games.  She'd long ago gotten rid of the things around the house that reminded her most of him, starting with the garish, over-sized bed that held no fond memories for her!
It was hard to believe her Faith was growing up so fast! 
Surrounded by a loving family, she didn't seem to have any ill-effects from the poison that her father had spewed.  She was inquisitive, bright and kind to a fault!

***

Celeste had been surprised when Berjes Faust approached her with a pretty line about her beauty.  In her surprise, she might have been a bit harsh in  her rejection of the young man.  Although her brother, King Barron, had annulled her marriage to the snake Geoffrey, she was unused to thinking of herself as a single woman.  Before all else, she was a mother!
Belatedly, she tried to soften the blow by adding, "I'm too old for you, anyways! In years and in the heart!  You should find someone pretty and young to practice your flirtations with!"

Berjes had the good grace to appear chagrined and hurried away.
Elyssa had watched the interchange with some interest.  "Mama, why didn't you at least flirt back?" she asked.  "You're not that old! And you deserve to find love!"

Celeste kept herself from scoffing at her eldest daughter's romantic notions.  "I've no use for petty flirtations or love, Elyssa," she said, unable to fully keep the sting from her voice. Again, she found herself attempting to soften the blow by adding, "What would I need a man for when I already have two beautiful daughters?!"

"Oh, mama," Elyssa sighed.
Celeste knew that her romantic daughter was disappointed in her, but it was the truth.  Her beautiful, talented daughters meant the world to her! 

Orb's Year 939
It was amazing how quickly the autonoman Castle Guard carefully watched over the girls, caring for the girls tenderly.
It didn't matter what they were doing, he was somewhere close by in case he was needed.
But, although he could protect the girls from physical dangers, there was no way to protect the girls' hearts...
Castle Guard watched as Elyssa greeted the boy, determining he posed no physical threat. 
Celeste stepped outside and saw Elyssa gazing up at the young man with fluttering eyelashes and sensed the danger immediately.

"Elyssa, Faith, the carriage awaits you.  It's time for school," she said, more sharply than intended.

The young man smiled and ambled after them.  "Wait up! I'll catch a ride with you!" he said grinning.

Celeste frowned.

***

Phillipe Patron did not want to let the sweet Elyssa out of his sight!  He'd met a few other ladies in his short time in Celestia Kingdom, but Elyssa was the first lady that had so thoroughly caught his attention!

He'd begged and teased for an invitation back to her home, certain he had met the love of his life.

They had barely crossed the threshold of her home before he'd leaned in close and complimented the unique color of her eyes, the golden glow of her skin...

He could've waxed on for much longer on her beauty, but he was stopped short...
A large, tin-metal knight grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, shaking it's finger at him.

Elyssa scowled with embarrassment.  "CG! I'm fine! He wasn't hurting me!" she said, shooting Phillipe a look of apology.
"Umm, perhaps you'd like to come upstairs and look at my artwork," she asked hesitantly, motioning her head towards the stairs.  If the Castle Guard stayed downstairs, then they could continue their flirtation in private!

Smiling, Phillipe bowed low and replied, "After you, mi'lady!"
Celeste came home from the marketplace and glanced around.  "Where's Elyssa?" she asked, sensing something off in the home.

Faith glanced up from her book and looked around questioningly.  Celeste sighed.  Poor Faith's nose seemed to be buried in one book or another and she rarely came up for air.

Just then, Celeste heard a giggle from upstairs.

Glancing up, she knew.
Hurrying up the stairs felt like it took an eternity.
Opening the door, she found her worst fears confirmed.  "Elyssa!" she said sternly.  "What are you doing?"

Elyssa looked up with horror at her mother.  "Nothing!" she said quickly.  "I was showing Phillipe my painting!"

Celeste held her tongue.  Neither teen had their eyes focused on the painting.

"It's a lovely painting," Phillipe said, "Your daughter is very talented!"

Celeste smiled tightly at the youth and nodded towards the door. "I thank you for your visit, Phillipe, but I find the hour has grown very late for company."

Phillipe nodded and shook Celeste's hand in farewell.  "Until tomorrow," Phillipe said as he bowed over Elyssa's hand, unable to tear his eyes from her as he walked away.
"Mother!" Elyssa cried once Phillipe was gone.  "You embarrassed me!"

Celeste's eyes widened.  "I embarrassed you!  You know better than to invite a young man upstairs alone into your bedroom!"

"I was showing him my painting!" Elyssa fumed.

"And yet neither of you had eyes for the blasted painting!" Celeste snapped.

"I knew you wouldn't understand! Just because you don't believe in love doesn't mean you should keep me from falling in love!" Elyssa cried as she ran to her bed.
Celeste covered her heart with her hand, surprised by how those words had pierced her heart.  Unable to say anything, she walked sadly from the room.

Orb's Year 940
This has got to end, Celeste thought as she peeked her head into the girls room and found Elyssa's bed empty.  Again.

Romance had made the foolish girl's senses take a leave of absence!  And to think, she had always thought Elyssa was her sensible one!
Sitting in the Great Hall, she waited impatiently for her daughter to return.
Finally, in the wee hours of the night, Elyssa came creeping in.  She stopped abruptly when she saw her mother waiting for her.
"What are you thinking, Elyssa?" Celeste demanded.  "I thought you promised that you would quit this nonsense!"
Elyssa frowned.  "Well if you would let Phillipe come over more often, I wouldn't have to sneak off to spend time with him!"

Celeste's hand itched to slap her daughter, surprising her.  She'd never been one to believe in physical violence! 
"Enough!" Celeste cried.  "I'm not sure were my mild-mannered daughter went, but you should think long and hard how to bring her back!  There will be no more visits with Phillipe until you have shown me that your behavior has changed!  I don't care if I need to start sitting the night in your room again, I will do it!

"But I love him!" she cried as she burst into tears and ran from the room.

***

Elyssa glanced around, certain that her mother was gone.  "You promise not to tell on me?" she asked her sister.

Faith glanced up and blinked owlishly.  "What?" she asked.

Elyssa repeated herself, "Do you promise not to tell Mother on me?"

"About what?"

Elyssa glanced around the empty room.  "I'm having a few people over."

Faith guessed where this was going, "And Phillipe?"

Elyssa waved a hand, "If he happens to come with some of the people I invited over, then it would be most ungracious to turn him away!"
Faith jumped up, "Don't make me lie to mama!" she said, angry at her sister.  "You're going to get us both in trouble!"
"Faith, we'll only get in trouble if someone tells!"

***

Faith did not like the looks of this one bit.  One of the first guests through the door was Phillipe...
...and he made his way straight into Elyssa's arms.
Faith stood shocked as Elyssa leaned forward and placed a kiss upon Phillipe's lips.  Part of her yearned to tell her mother of the trouble Elyssa was getting into, while the other part did not want to go against her sister.

What was she going to do?

***

"How was your day?" Celeste asked when she returned home.

"Oh wonderful!" Elyssa said brightly before Faith could say a word "We just puttered around all morning, didn't we Faith?"

Faith frowned, but her mother did not look her way or wait for her confirmation.

"Wonderful! I'm so glad that you're back to your usual, happy self!" Celeste said with some relief.  "Didn't I tell you that with time and distance from Phillipe, you would feel better?"

Elyssa smiled at her mother and nodded, "Oh yes, I see you were right," she said.

Faith frowned and opened her mouth.

"Faith! I must show you a book I ran across last week! Come on!" she said as she quickly pulled her sister from the room.

Celeste smiled as Elyssa led her sister away.  It was good to see them getting along so well, again.
 
***

Glancing towards the portraits she'd completed of her darlings, Celeste headed back out again for an appointment with the Marchants.
In order to bring in money to support her family, she had been selling her paintings.  Darius Marchant was sure that the artwork would sell well at his new store and he paid handsomely for any new pieces.

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