Friday, June 13, 2014

Knightley, Orb's Year 945-948


 Orb's Year 945
Bradshaw Knightley slammed into the hall, angrily calling out, "There's no sight of the slimy scoundrel!" He watched as his wife, Princess Daphne, comforted their daughter, Florence. 

"There, there, sweetheart. He's just a horrible man making up lies," she told her daughter.

"But why would he say something like that to me?!" Florence wailed.  "Is it true?!"

"Of course not. He's a spiteful, jealous man.  Come, there is something I should tell you," Daphne said, ushering her children to the other room.
Once they were seated, Daphne found herself at a loss for words.  How could she explain the mess surrounding Prince Scot to her children?  The whole mess made her seem petty and childish!  She reached to Bradshaw and squeezed his hand.

With a deep breath, she began, "When I was young and silly, I befriended Prince Scot, thinking he was funny and amusing."
Eleanor interrupted, "But why would he try to hurt Florence?"

"Because that would be the best way to hurt your father, and me," she explained cryptically.  "He never forgot the slight your father paid him and has sulked and stewed for revenge."

Bradshaw scoffed.  "Apparently he didn't learn his lesson well the first time!  But, never fear, when I find him, he will sorely regret approaching my family once more.  The King will hear of this!"  Fixing the children with a stare.  "Until I have dealt with him, I want you to exercise extreme caution. Don't go anywhere alone. Be aware of your surroundings, and run to get us if you see anything suspicious!"







"Yes father," the children echoed.


 ***

"Can you believe our family has a nemesis?!" Florence asked excitedly.  "And he nearly absconded with me!" she added dramatically.  "I probably could have been killed!"
"Not even close, Florence! You're just making things up again!"


"I am not!" Florence argued. "My very life was in danger!  If it wasn't for my quick thinking..."


Guy laughed, interrupting his sister.  "That's rich, Florence.  The only thing you did was come running in like a baby!  If it was me, I would've grabbed a sword and shown him a thing or two!"


"You don't know how to use a sword, Guy Knightley! You probably couldn't even pick one up!"


"Could so!" Guy shot back hotly.
After Florence had run upstairs upset, Guy had scampered out to his father's training grounds and stared at the weaponry.  Reaching out, he ran his hand on the sword's handle before pulling his hand back quickly.  His father had a strict rule about not touching his weapons... but someday he was going to be a great Knight, just like his father and his grandfather!

***

"Oh Bradshaw, when I think of all the silly mistakes I've made, I cringe!" Daphne said as she rested in her husband's arms.  "If I hadn't been so blind to Prince Scot's faults, we wouldn't be in this mess."

Bradshaw curled his arm around her, "We'll find him Daphne.  I won't tolerate his petty attacks."

Daphne sighed.  "You've always been so wise, Bradshaw.  I should have listened to you all along.  I was such a young fool!"

"No person is without mistakes, Daphne..." Bradshaw said cryptically.  He was not without sin himself. The night he spent with the barmaid weighed heavily on his conscience...

 Orb's Year 946

Florence gazed in the reflection and attempted to smooth her hair down on the sides.  Frustrated, she blew out her breath when it curled back up.  Her stupid hair!

A gentle knock on the door distracted her from the drama.  "What is it?" she called out.

"It's me, Florence. I wondered if you needed any help getting ready..."
"You can come in!" Florence called.  "My hair just will not cooperate, mother!" she said with a stamp of her foot.  "These two pieces just will not stay tucked behind my ear!"
Daphne smiled and leaned forward to kiss Florence's cheek. "You look so grown up and lovely!  It's hard to imagine you were just a little girl!"

 ***

Daphne was so excited that her mother agreed to her inviting over all the royalty and nobles for an Orb's Day celebration.  Her father had grumbled about the expense, but she'd pleaded so prettily, he hadn't been able to deny her!
"Come on, Eleanor. Don't be a sourpuss!" Florence said, sidling up to her sister.  "Smile!"

"I am smiling," Eleanor said nervously.  She didn't know many of the people that were over and the room felt crowded and loud.

Florence just laughed lightly and flounced off without saying anything else. 
Something else had captured her attention...
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry to cut in," Florence said with an artificial smile to the blonde already talking to the stud, "But I just wanted to make sure you had everything you needed."  She fluttered her eyelashes becomingly.

Orb's Year 947
Florence clutched the scrawled note to her bosom and heaved a dramatic sigh.  "I am in love!" she said giddily to the ceiling.
"Eleanor, you cannot tell anyone, but Callum Laird has said he's going to come get me for a romantic rendez-vous!
Eleanor gasped. "But Florence! We're not supposed to go out alone!" she protested.  "It isn't safe or proper!"

Florence waved her hand dismissively.  "Please! Nothing is going to happen!" she argued, adding slyly, "Except a little kissing!"

 ***

When she heard his horse approach, Florence crept out to meet Angus.

 ***

She never saw the danger approach...

 ***

 
Eleanor bolted upright early in the morning.  Something felt wrong, but what?
"Florence?" she whispered as she turned to her sister's empty bed.  She groaned, why did she let Florence talk her into remaining quiet?!
"Mother! Father! Florence is gone!" she cried out, running through the house.

Bradshaw caught his eldest daughter as she darted through the room in a panic.  Holding her shoulders, he asked her, "What is it? What's wrong?"

"Florence went to meet Callum Laird last night, but she never came home..."

"I'll have his head!" Bradshaw clipped angrily before stalking to the door.
"Do you think she's okay?" Eleanor asked worriedly.

Daphne patted her shoulder. "Of course she is.  Your father will find her and bring her home.  Go back to sleep."

 ***

Daphne waited up, anxiously waiting for Bradshaw to return with their wayward daughter.  But, when he returned, he was alone...
He shook his head, and went down to his knee by her side as she began to weep.  "The Laird boy admits that he took her out to the Taveryn's Kitchen.  After dinner, he took her to a darkened area and he was hit on the head from behind.  When he awoke, she was gone."
"What are we going to do?" she asked tearfully.  "What are we going to do?!"

Bradshaw wrapped his arms around her and closed his eyes painfully.  "We're going to find her, Daphne.  I vow it."

 Orb's Year 948

"I've told you all I know," Connor Taveryn said.  "I wish I could be of more help."

"If I have to, I will bring all the King's Guard down here and tear this place apart in search of clues.  He was here!" Bradshaw said angrily.

"He stayed for a night, but he didn't have anyone with him! I swear it! I hadn't seen your daughter!"

Bradshaw fixed the merchant with a glare.  "Anything you might remember could be helpful.  Think!"

Connor anxiously tried to recall the conversation he'd had with Prince Scot when he'd paid for the room and left.  "He... umm... he was quite cheerful... said he was in a hurry to get back home..." Connor's eyes widened with recognition and shock.  "He... he said he had a very special package to deliver home..."

Bradshaw cursed.  "The tide hasn't shifted yet.  He can't be far..."

 ***

"Stop it! I'm tired of walking!" Florence said, pulling her arm from the man's strong grip.  Flouncing, she fluffed her skirts and sat down on a nearby rock.  "I have to rest!"
"Fine!" Prince Scot snapped as he began to pace back in forth in front of her.  "Why I thought you would be as docile as your mother is beyond me! You whine more than any child I have ever met!"
"I'm not a child!" Florence fumed.  "And my father is going to make you pay!"
"Ha! Your father won't find us before the tide has turned and we have sailed to my brother's kingdom.  "Too bad you're too young to make my own bride.  It would be a sweet justice for me to claim the Royale bride that was denied me!"

Florence gagged and scowled at the old prince. "Never!"

Ignoring her protests, Prince Scot stared at her thoughtfully.  "But, you'll make a very fine bride for my young nephew.  That should put me in my brother's favor once more!  I'm sure you can be taught to be more biddable with strict discipline!"

 ***

Daphne wept bitterly beside her faithful pet's side as Valkeryie's energy was drained. 
"I am losing everything I love!" she cried as she buried her face in her hands.

Eleanor attempted to comfort her mother.  "Father will find her. Florence will be back weaving wild stories and acting overly dramatic any moment!"

Daphne patted her daughter's hand.  "I know, dear. I know."
The waiting was the hard part.  The family waited on pins and needles for any news regarding Florence.
A knock on the door had Daphne's heart beating wildly.  "There must be news!"

 ***

Bradshaw had been drawn to the woods.  It was where the dratted Prince of Thieves had hidden, and it was where the coward Scot hid.

"You'll not get away with this!" Bradshaw called out, brandishing his sword.
Scot muttered a foul oath.  "I already have, Bradshaw! Come fight me, old man! To the victor go the spoils!" 
Their swords clashed. "Don't worry, I'll take care of Daphne once you're gone. I doubt she'll mourn for you very long with me in her bed!" Scot boasted.
Bradshaw ignored the filth coming from Scot's mouth and thrust forward with deadly aim.
"Father! I knew you would save me!" Florence called out as she ran into Bradshaw's arms.

"He can't hurt you anymore," Bradshaw promised.

Florence clutched him tightly.  "He was going to make me marry his bratty nephew! And make me sail on a ship!" she added with affront.  "He wouldn't even let me order a meal at the tavern!"  Her list of complaints continued as Bradshaw held on to her.
"Let's go home," Bradshaw told her with a small smile.  He had a feeling she would be perfectly alright...

 ***

 "Lady Knightley?..."

 ***

Bradshaw returned home with Florence in tow, never suspecting the cruel twist of fate that awaited him...

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