Sunday, June 29, 2014

Knowles, Orb's Year 945-948


Orb's Year 945

Carey Potter had made it safely to the Knowles household and was ready to begin his tutelage under Lord Knowles.
Hyun Knowles looked at the distracted young man doubtfully.  "This is the young man you believe will be an asset in my research?" he asked with apparent disbelief.

His wife, Danica Knowles, wrung her hands in consternation.  "Carey has always been a top performer in his classes. He is perfect for this job."
With a heaving sigh, Hyun approached the young man to introduce himself.  "My lady wife says that you are to study to be our scribe.  You are aware of the honor and prestige that comes with this position, are you not?"

Carey nodded his head quickly.  "I am, your lordship.  Thank you for the privilege."

"Don't thank me yet!" Hyun said, leading Carey into his library.  "We have work to do!"
Carey quickly settled himself and reached out for the quill and parchment nearby, prepared to take notes as Hyun read aloud.

He would prove himself worthy of this apprenticeship!

***

Danica waited patiently that first week for Hyun and Carey to settle into a routine.  Finally, unable to stand not knowing any longer, she approached her husband.  "So? Has he proven himself?" she asked eagerly.
Hyun grinned widely.  "You were right. He has surpassed all of my expectations.  He will make a fine scribe!"

***
Carey had gotten used to his new living arrangement.  He was allowed a small area in the stable as living quarters and welcomed at family meals.  Despite the hard work, he knew just how lucky he was to be given this opportunity.  He was the first peasant to be trained in such a manner, and he intended to make the most of it!
One crisp morning, he had just pulled his shirt over his head when he heard someone come into the stable.  He turned around and faced his love, Gene Baker.
"Gene! What are you doing here?" he asked as he pulled her close for a hug.

Gene held on to him tightly.  "I... I hadn't heard from you... Gena said you were done with me..."

Carey shook his head.  "You should know better than to listen to the hurtful things Gena says! I haven't been by because I've been so busy! His Lordship relies on me!"
"But... what about me?" Gene asked sadly.  "What if I need you?"

Carey fidgeted.  "Gene, you know what a boon this position is for us! I must serve my time here! But, imagine! When I return, I will have respect, prestige, and be able to support our family well!" He clasped her hands in his own.  "You won't have to labor over the stoves!  You'll be like a princess!"

Gene frowned. "I'd rather have you," she argued.

"You know that I am a second son and thus I must make my own way in the world.  And this is the way that I have followed.  Will you support me? Will you wait for me?" he asked passionately, eager to hear her pledge.

Gene nodded. "My mother waited for years for father to come home.  I can wait for you, as well."
Gene pulled her back into his arms and lovingly kissed her forehead.  "The time will go by before we know it," he promised naively.

Orb's Year 946
Carey took his apprenticeship as scribe to Lord Knowles very seriously.   
He labored over the research notes that Hyun scratched out, responded to correspondence.
He even attempted his own research, following the procedure that Lord Knowles had taught him.
Hyun glanced up from the ancient text he was pouring over and glanced at Carey.  "Are you happy here, son?" he asked.

Carey glanced up, startled.  "Of course, Lord Knowles!  I am learning new things every day!"

Hyun nodded thoughtfully.  "Very good.  And have you given thought to what you will do in the future?"

"The future?" Carey gulped.  "What do you mean?"  Was Lord Knowles letting him go?

Hyun sent his scribe a kindly smile.  "After your service is up, will you stay and continue on with us?  I have so much more to teach you! But, perhaps you have someone waiting for you at home..."

A denial of any ties dangled on Carey's lips, but he was saved from uttering it by the young Cassandra.
"Papa?" she asked in a small voice.
"Will you read me a story to sleep?"

Hyun set his book to the side and took his daughter's hand.  "I would be honored, mi'lady," he told her as he led her up the stairs.

Carey dropped the quill and leaned back in his chair.  He had been close to forsaking Gene and pledging himself to the Knowles household.  What did that mean?

***

Beau Knowles played outside with his friend Tobias Langerak and his little sister, Cassandra.  But, their tame child's play was almost grating.
He was far too old to be throwing a sack cloth around the yard, dipping and dodging in child's play.
He was a knight's son!
And it was time that he learned to wield a real weapon!

***

Danica went outside to find her daughter and found her locked in mortal combat with the neighbor Tobias.
"Cassandra, the hour has grown late. I think it is time to say goodnight to your friend," Danica advised her young daughter. 
"Good night, Tobias!" Cassandra said, giving him a quick hug goodbye and then scurrying off.

***

At the witching hour, a stark white wolf prowled near the castle, sniffing at Lion-Heart inquisitively.

Orb's Year 947

"Hyun! You can't be serious!" Danica wept.  "She's far too young to begin marital negotiations!"
"Would that it could be any other way, Danica.  But there aren't that many young men her age.  If we do not plan ahead, then she may wind up with someone like that fool's boy Laird. No, we must plan for her future carefully."

Danica wiped the tears from her eyes. It hurt to think that soon her little girl would be grown and leaving.  "Promise me that you will offer her the choice."

Hyun reached across the table to grasp Danica's hand.  "I will offer her the choice if it is within my power, you know that I will."

***

Hyun found Carey and grasped him by the elbow.  "Come, we must sent announcements."

***

Alessandra looked around the room at all the nobles in their finery, then leaned over to her cousin, Eleanor Knightley.  "Look at all the boys prancing around the room!" she giggled.

Eleanor laughed, "And look at the way Callum stares at you across the room! He thinks he's Orb's gift to women!"
Both girls dissolved into giggles at the thought.
Emboldened by their smiles, Callum trotted over to greet the girls.  "Alessandra, you are looking lovely today," he said, ignoring Eleanor outright.  Ever since her father had accused him of absconding with her sister Florence, he wanted nothing to do with the Knightleys!

Alessandra scoffed, "It's the same dress I wear every day! Nothing special about it!" she said, deflecting his flirtation.

"Well, then you must have a certain glow about you today," Callum said, pressing on.
Alessandra scoffed again. "Callum, I wouldn't have you if you were the last man in the Kingdom!"

It was Callum's turn to scoff. "Please! As though you would find any finer sample of malehood in this room!"

Alessandra laughed with Eleanor.  She playfully turned around, ready to point out all the boys she deemed more exemplary than him when she saw him... Spencer Langerak!  "Oh!" she said with a quiet exhalation.
It seemed that young Spencer was just as taken with Alessandra!
Callum frowned as Alessandra hooked arms with the other man and sauntered off.  He turned to Eleanor. "So, it appears it is just you and I..." he began.

Eleanor loudly yawned, radiating her disinterest.

***

Danica hugged her daughter as the young men filed from the home.  "Did you enjoy yourself?" she asked.
"Oh mama! I'm in love!" Alessandra sighed wistfully, grabbing her mother's hands in her own.

***

Hyun was glad that his son had an interest in the knight's guard.  He was proud that his son would follow in his footsteps.
They began teaching Beau everything he needed to know to be successful. 
He swung his sword and knocked Beau's to the side.  "Watch the swing!" he counseled.  "You leave yourself wide open!"

Beau sighed heavily.  There was more to learn about being a knight than he had first assumed!

***

Above all else though, Danica instilled a love of learning & knowledge seeking in the household.  She made sure the children all finished their school work before they did anything else.
And so the children often chose intellectual pursuits rather than frivolous entertainment.
Much like their parents...

***

It was a cold, wintery night when the wolf trudged back to the Knowles home.
This time it left behind four bounding pups with an inquisitive father, Lion-Heart.  He seemed to recognize that they were his pups.
The oldest of the pups let out a howl when it realized that it's mother had abandoned them in the unknown place.
The ruckus brought the entire family out. 

"Aw, they're little puppies!" Cassandra said, picking one up.  "Aren't they so cute?!"

Beau made fun of his sister for cooing to the pet.

But he stopped short when his mother lifted one of the other pups into her arms. "They're so adorable!" she exclaimed.

Hyun glanced over at his son, holding in a chuckle, "Well, it appears we have a few new pets!"

Cassandra looked at her big brother, "Aren't they cute, Beau? Admit it!"

Beau shrugged. "They're dogs, Cassandra. It's not a big deal."

***

Beau glanced around to make sure no one was around.  Quickly, he picked up his favorite pup, snuggling him in his arms.  "You're such a handsome pup! Aren't you? I can already tell you'll grow up to be big and bad, just like me!"

Orb's Year 948

Hyun greeted his brother-in-law warmly, "Camelot! I see you've brought all the children! But, where's Eryka?"
Camelot returned Hyun's greeting and plastered a smile on his face.  "She couldn't make it," he said tightly, without any further explanation. 

Hyun nodded his understanding.
"Bradshaw! Thank you for coming!" he told Danica's eldest brother.  "Princess Daphne," he added with a respectful nod. 
He called everyone over to the table and held up a bottle of wine.  "Everyone gather around. There's something I'd like to say!" he called out loudly, waiting for everyone to gather around.
"I called you here to celebrate the love of my life - Danica.  I could have found no better wife, friend or mother to my children."  He raised his glass to his wife.  "To Danica!" he cheered.

The family cheered and saluted Danica as well.
Danica looked across the table at her husband and smiled as she raised her own glass. "To my husband!" she said with a smile.  "Though the years steadily pass by, our love remains as young as it did when we were wed."

***

And how the years passed...

Soon Lion-Heart was dwarfed by his off-spring that the family had foolishly let Cassandra name.  Duckie, Kitty, Wabbit, and Bunny.  Beau had shaken his head with disgust and announced the names were absolutely ridiculous, but no one joined his protest.

***

"I've called you to discuss something that will be difficult to hear," Hyun said cautiously. 

The children all quieted and turned to face him.

He took a deep breath. "We have too many pups in the home and we can't keep them all - it's just too much."

He paused.

"We will have to pick the favorite two pups and give up the other two..."
"No!" Cassandra cried, leaping up.  "I love them all Daddy!"
Hyun kneeled down in front of Cassandra, intending to comfort her, but she pulled from his arms and ran away, blinded by tears.
Danica followed her daughter upstairs and wrapped her arms around her, rocking her as she sobbed.  "I'm so sorry, Cassandra. I know your heart is broken, but we'll find them good homes."

"I'll never forgive him, mama! Never!"

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