Monday, January 26, 2015

Farrier, Orb's Year 945-948


Orb's Year 945
Despite the grey-hairs that now framed her lovely face, Juan Farrier didn't think his beautiful Evelyn had changed one bit.  He still loved her as fiercely as he had when he was a young boy.  A smile from her and he was lost...
Smiling to himself, Juan shook his head as he sat on the edge of the bed and put his boots on.  He'd let her talk him into a long afternoon "nap" while the children minded the horses.  He shook his head.  He could just imagine!  Those children had feathers in their head!

 ***

Bianca shrieked with laughter as Andre chased after her, pummeling her with a pillow.  "Cease, you rogue! Cease!" she cried happily, ducking to avoid the sure hit.

Andre grinned confidently.  "Do you yield?" he asked.

"Yes! Yes!" Bianca cried, straining to catch her breath. "I never should have said you smell like the horses!  It was so utterly wrong..." she said, placing her hand over her heart and attempting to appear earnest.

Andre crossed his arms and nodded regally.  "That's more like it!" he announced.

"...and utterly TRUE!" she yelled, lifting her skirts and hurrying away.

Juan shook his head with disgust.  Feathers in their fool-heads, he thought sourly.  "ANDRE!" he bellowed.

Both children dropped their pillows with chagrin.  Evelyn hurried inside to complete her chores and Andre walked with his chin held high towards the lecture he was sure to receive. 
"Is there a reason that the stall is empty of customers?" he asked.

Andre attempted a charming smile, "Would you believe no one came by to buy anything?"

Juan shook his head.  "This is not fun and games, son.  This is our livelihood and responsibility..."

Andre nodded his understanding and drifted off as the lecture continued.

 ***

Bianca glanced up and saw her brother walk in as she was setting the table.  "Did you get yelled at?" she asked.

"Even worse," Andre conceded.  "A lecture."
Bianca grimaced in sympathy as she took her place across from her brother.  "He just doesn't understand us!" she groused.  "What's the harm in having fun before we're pressured to be responsible?!"

Andre shook his head.  "I know my duty.  I am his heir and need to know how to take his place one day when he's gone... but... I just... I don't know what I want..."  Andre stood up.  "Excuse me," he said, striding across the room to the ladder that would take him to his new bedroom in the loft.

Bianca sighed as she gathered up the dishes and took them to the sink. 
As she crossed the Great Hall to go to her own room, she saw her little sister Camilla, oblivious to the world around her, nose in a book.  "You're so lucky you're young!" she said with a sigh, grumbling under her breath, "And there you are wasting it..."
"What?" Camilla asked, blinking up at her sister.

"Oh nothing. You're so lucky that you don't have the responsibilities that Andre and I have! It's not fair! And then, you waste that freedom by reading a silly book!"
Camilla jumped up, indignant.  "I'm not wasting my time! Books are amazing!" she protested.  "And besides, I do have my own responsibilities that Mama and Papa gave me!  I just do them before I'm in trouble!"

 Orb's Year 946

Bianca glanced out the window and gave an elated cry.  "Brock is here!" she called out excitedly, rushing outside to greet her half-brother. 
"How are you? Are you enjoying the Abbey? Did you bring me anything?!" she asked in a rush as she gave him a hug in greeting. 

"Slow down, little one," Brock told her teasingly.  "I'll tell you everything once I've greeted Mother."
"Oh I've missed you so much," Evelyn said as she held the son she thought lost to her for all time.  "You can tell us all about the Abbey over dinner. You look like you need some more meat put on your frame!" she added after critically looking him over.  "They're working you too hard there!"

"I'm fine!" Brock called after his birth mother with a laugh.
Evelyn busied herself with preparing dinner for her son's visit.
"There is something... magical... about being there!  Sister Faith and I have been learning together.  It seems that there is so much to learn!" Brock said, waxing poetic about his time at the Abbey.

Evelyn looked around the table and smiled, "It's so good to see my family at the table altogether again!"

"Tell us more, Brock!" Bianca said excitedly.  "What about Sister Faith? Is she very beautiful? Do you like her?"

Andre scoffed, "You're not allowed to like anyone at the Abbey, Bianca. You're supposed to devote yourself to the Celestial Orb!"

Brock blushed. "She's very nice, of course. Everyone is!

"He's blushing!" Bianca cooed.  "He likes her!"

Juan put his hand on his daughter's shoulder. "That's enough, Bianca. Leave the poor boy alone."
After dinner, Evelyn and Camilla remained with Brock, discussing the Abbey and the Celestial Abbey. 

"It sounds like a perfectly lovely place!" Camilla said wistfully.  "They must have an amazing library collection!"

Brock nodded.  "There are some rare and ancient texts I've never seen before, as well as some instructional books the prior Headmistresses have written themselves.  You're welcome any time to come see them!"

Camilla's eyes lit up. "Oh I will!" she said fervently.  "Oh that would just be perfect!"

"I can't wait to see you. Just send word and I will escort you." Sighing heavily, he glanced at the window.  "But I fear it is time for me to leave now.  I have missed you all and will see you soon."

Evelyn covered his hand with her own and squeezed.  "Thank you for visiting," she told him, valiantly holding the tears back.  "I had lost so much time with you. I treasure these moments with you!"

Brock squeezed her hand back. "I feel the same."
"Be safe and the Celestial Orb bless you!" Evelyn called out as she watched Brock whisk away.

Orb's Year 947
Andre read the note that Giselle Taveryn had sent him about a small gathering in the Haunted Woods.  Cannot wait to see you... she'd written flirtatiously.  A smile lit his face.  Maybe Gabriella Marchant would be there...

"Bianca," he called out to her as she prepared breakfast in the kitchen.  "Hurry up.  Plans have changed!"
Bianca giggled excitedly.  "I can't wait! This shall be the best fun ever!" she said as they snuck past the horses stall where their father was hard at work. 

"Quiet, he'll hear," Andre cautioned her. "He would not like that we're skipping the instructional classes..."  He, too, was looking forward to speaking with Gabriella... perhaps convincing her to give him another chance...

***

The first thing Andre saw as he approached was Gabriella and he smiled at her in greeting, hurrying to her side. But, she'd immediately turned her back to him and spoken to her brother.  And then, worse, she'd turned towards Grant Pettas, laughing and flirting with him.
He'd watched, dumbstruck, as his chance walked away with Grant's arm around her shoulders...

"Cursed Orb," Bianca grumbled under her breath.  "You're not still hung up on her? Are you? You can do so much better!"

Andre shrugged his sister off.  "Of course not," he denied. "Why would I be!"
"Great! Then there's someone I want you to meet!" she beamed, tugging on his arm.
"Andre, this is my dear friend, Cara Hsu.  Cara, this is my brother!" she said, pushing the two towards each other.  "Oh look, there's Mayhew Grocer! I should go say hello!" she said as she slipped off, leaving the couple staring at each other awkwardly.

 ***

"Oh, you're not still mad at me are you?" Bianca said as they walked home.

"You left me alone with your friend," Andre huffed.  "It was awkward!"

Bianca rolled her eyes.  "I just thought you might like her!"

Andre turned towards his sister suddenly and shook his head, holding up his hands. "Just don't. Okay? I'm fine. I don't need any help from you in my love life!"  he said before turning again and hurrying towards the horses stalls. 

He didn't need his father's reminder to work this time...

***

Andre devoted his spare time to their business. He haggled prices with people interested in their horse flesh.
He collected payments and minded the tin box.
He took over the stocking items when they were running low.
He even worked late into the night, crafting the horse shoes, working the metal with a forceful blow.

But none of it wiped out the memory of Grant with his arm slung around Gabriella's slim waist.

He pounded harder.

He'd lost his chance...
 
***

"Andre? Your mother wants you to come in for dinner," Juan said, shaking Andre out of his thoughts.

Andre glanced over his shoulder.  "I'll be inside in a moment," he said wearily. 

Juan paused a moment and watched his struggling son.  "Is everything okay, son?" he asked with concern. 

"Of course," Andre answered brightly.  "What could be wrong?"

 Orb's Year 948
Bianca couldn't believe the nerve of that faithless wench!  Gabriella Marchant was here at their shop! Angrily she approached her.
"What do you think you're doing here?" she demanded, poking Gabriella's shoulder.  "Haven't you hurt him enough?!"
"What are you talking about?!" Gabriella asked with confusion. Was she talking about Andre? He'd proven that he could care less about her!

Ignoring her, Bianca snapped, "Get out of here! Your gold isn't needed here!" Angrily, she shoved Gabriella again.  "Go on! Get!"

Eyes flashing, Gabriella lifted her chin and walked regally away, pretending not to be hurt by her old friend's treatment.  Crazy, fickle Farriers! she thought sourly.
Andre saw Gabriella hurry away and felt his chest tighten.  Glancing across the yard, he saw Bianca with her hands upon her hips and looking quite satisfied.  Anger flushed his face as he realized what must've happened.
"I thought I told you not to interfere in my love life!" Andre accused angrily.

"WHAT love life, Andre? You've let her suck all the joy out of your life!" she replied hotly.  "You're not the same anymore!"
"I've grown up, Bianca. I'm not a callow youth only concerned about fun and games, like some people!"
"Oh please! You're pining for her! And it makes me so mad!" Bianca said hotly, tears building up in her eyes. 

Andre pointed his finger in his little sister's face.  "I don't need you interfering with my life, Bianca! Grow up!" he shouted before stalking back to the stalls.

Bianca whirled around and ran inside, covering her mouth as she sobbed. 

***

Andre worked late into the night, hoping he would get relief from pounding the hot metal.  But he couldn't stop wondering why Gabriella had come by.  Had she intended to talk to him? Maybe he hadn't lost his chance...
Dropping his hammer, he bolted from the stalls.  He had to see her...

***

The rain matched his mood, Juan thought somberly.  He'd tapped on Gabriella's window and she'd actually come out to him, but only to turn him down flat.  (Marchant, 948)  It was over.
He walked back to his anvil and picked up his hammer, ready to pound metal to his wishes.  He raised his arm to strike, but never made contact.  The hammer clattered to the ground and Andre buried his face in his hands.

He'd lost her....

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