Monday, June 8, 2015

Carpenter, Orb's Year 945-948



Previously...
Robin Carpenter watched his wife drop to the floor in tears. 
"My own sister!" Fiona wailed, pulling at her hair.  "How could you have done this to me?!"

Robin's patience was slipping by the moment.  "Get up!" he hissed angrily.  "How could I do this to you?" he asked with incredulment.  "You left me to raise the children on my own!"

Fiona looked up towards him with tears in her eyes.  "This is all your fault!" she screamed.
The noise drew Amber from her room.  A smile broke over her face when she saw her mother.

"Mommy!" Amber cried, running to her mother's side.  "You came back!  I told him that you would!"

Anxiously she glanced between father and mother.  Why were they fighting? They should be hugging and kissing!
Fiona rose to her feet, ignoring her daughter by her side.  "Well, he didn't wait very long, did he?" she asked scathingly.

Amber glanced up at her mother's sharp tone of voice, then back towards her father guiltily.  "It didn't mean anything, Mommy," she said quietly.  "He didn't think you'd come..."

Robin cut his daughter off. "Amber, go back to your room," he said.  "We'll discuss this later."  He watched Amber hang her head and trudge back into her bedroom and shut the door.  The conversation he needed to have with Fiona was best done without the children.

Glancing around, he noticed that Farrah was gone.  When had she gone?
The open window in the bedroom told Robin what had happened.  She'd gone...
Stalking back into the living room, he glared at Fiona.  "Cursed Orb, she's gone and it's your fault! You left me with the children to raise FOUR years ago!  I might have remained married to you in name, but only because I couldn't find you to take that name back!"

Fiona gasped.  "But what will I do?" she whined petulantly. "Where will I go?"

"Back to whatever hole you crawled out of!" he shouted at her pointing towards the door.  "By the time I'm back, I want you gone!"
Then he ran from the house towards the Abbey.  Hopefully that's where he would find Farrah...

***
Fiona stormed from the house with a scowl on her face, muttering under her breath.  He was going to regret the way he treated her, she thought gleefully.

***

Robin had found Farrah at the Abbey and had convinced her to come home with him, to be his true wife and mother to their children.  "Come, let's tell them the good news," he said, holding Farrah's hands in his own.  "They'll be so excited!"
They rushed into the children's room and found it empty...

Orb's Year 945
Farrah woke up, quietly slipping from the bed. 
It was still early yet, but she wanted Robin to sleep a little longer.  He hadn't been the same since her sister took the children.  He'd been searching for them every day since, hoping to get word on where they might've gone.
Every time a new message or letter appeared, they held their breath, hoping.
Her hand shook as she reached into the box with the scroll.  Would it contain new information to help them find the children?
Briefly, she scanned the message and felt her heart slam in her chest.  "ROBIN!"

***

"The message said that they'd been spotted in a port city near here," Robin told her.  "I'll be gone a few months, but I should be back by the time our child is born."
"The weather is beginning to turn cold, are you sure that you should leave now?" Farrah worried.

"What else would you have me do, Farrah? If I don't go I'll lose all trace of them!" Robin countered angrily.  "I'll leave shortly."
Farrah sighed and grabbed the plates, resting her hands along the sink basin for strength as she closed her eyes and let the sadness wash over her.

Nothing had been the same since Fiona had returned and stolen the children.  Robin could barely stand to look at her pregnant belly, feeling that if he took joy in their unborn child that he was forsaking his missing children. 
With barely a kiss on the cheek, Robin left.

Fiona watched him go and wondered how long they could keep living this way.

***

Weeks turned into a month, which turned into two with no word from Robin.  Farrah felt the sharp pain and clutched her stomach.  No, it's too soon, she thought frantically.  Robin wasn't home yet!
But, time did not wait for any man and Farrah labored through her delivery alone.
They're perfect, she thought, unable to stop staring at her children.  A little boy and a little girl, Andy and Becca Carpenter. 

Unwilling to leave them, she laid down down by their pallets and slept, keeping her watchful eye on them.

 ***

Robin returned home, alone.

When Farrah heard him at the door, she rushed to greet him, throwing herself into his arms.  "Oh Robin! I wasn't sure you would come back!" she said, peppering his face with kisses.  "I'm so glad you're okay!"

Robin wrapped his arms around her tightly and squeezed, but didn't say a word.

Farrah pulled back slightly, "The children?" she asked quietly.
Robin shook his head.  He hadn't found them.

 ***

Time moved sluggishly for Robin.  He knew he should be making more furniture for the Marchants, but his heart wasn't in it.  At the back of his mind, there was constantly a voice screaming at him to find his children.  He'd left them with her.  He'd failed them. It was his fault.

He couldn't even take joy in his newborns, to both his and Farrah's distress.  How could he shower love on them when his other children might be in danger, uncared for...  He shuddered to think of what his unbalanced ex-wife might do to them.
Then, he received another message.

 ***

Robin had paid informants, posted rewards, and done anything and everything he could think of to keep tips coming in about where Fiona and his children might be.  He'd run into dead-ends, been given misinformation, but clung to all new leads with all his heart.  "...He wrote that he'd spotted her in a little town west of the mountain."
"But, it's winter! The passes will be closed!" Farrah said.  "How can you go?"
"I'm going to sail.  It will tack on a few extra months, but I will get there earlier than if I had to wait for Spring."
Farrah felt her jaw drop.  "You're going to leave us here for 6 months while you go off on this wild goose hunt?" she demanded.  "There's go to be..."

"There's no other way, Farrah! I can't wait! I can't sleep! I can't know that they're somewhere and not go!" he said.  "Maybe if they were your children, you would understand!"
The words slapped Farrah across the face. She flushed with anger and hurt.  She stood quickly.  "I have raised those children as my own and love them just as much as I love our twins!" she managed to say without bursting into tears.  "At least I have love for all our children!"  She stormed from the room, slamming the door behind her.
Robin's head dropped as Farrah slammed the door behind him. 


 ***

As he came into the room, he saw her crying by the window.  It pierced his heart that he'd caused her this pain.  And that he'd continue to cause her pain until he found his children.  He could no more stop looking than he could stop breathing.
Walking up behind her, he pulled her into his arms.  She went willingly, sobbing against his chest.  "What are we going to do?" Farrah asked miserably, looking up into his eyes.

"I love you, Farrah.  And I love Andy and Becca, too, even though if hurts to show it.  I'll be back before you know it."

"I don't want you to go," Farrah said sadly, wishing that her words would make a difference.

Robin stroked her cheek.  "I know," he said quietly.

Orb's Year 946
They shared a poignant kiss before he left.  "I'll be back before you know it," he told her.

"I'll pray every night for your safe passage," she told him, wiping his curly lock from his face. 
Then watched him head away to the docks.

 ***

Farrah had known it would be hard being alone.  But this time she had two young babies to raise. 

At times she felt like she would go crazy caring for everything by herself!  Robin had said he would only be gone for six months, but soon it would be a year.  She barely had money for food, let alone anything else.  Worse, tax time loomed in the future...

 ***
Unwilling to let the twins 2nd Orb's Year Celebration pass without some commemoration, Farrah had invited a few friends from the Abbey over. 
Andy and Becca didn't mind their unconventional guests.  They were so young that they'd be unlikely to remember any of it.  They loved eating the cake and all the extra attention they received.
"I can't believe you left the Abbey for this!" Abbess Brooklyn said with distaste, shaking her head.  Abbess Brooklyn thought that once you chose the Path of Enlightenment that you should not walk away from it, not even for family.  

Farrah opened her mouth to try to explain, but shut her mouth.  How to explain the bonds she'd forged with Robin while caring for her niece and nephews.  Especially now that he was gone for so long.
Visiting Abbot Gordon greeted her.  "Do not forget," he said conspiratorily, "The Path of Enlightenment is within you!"

"It's time for us to leave now, Farrah," Head Abbess Abigail said.  "Send a message or bring the children by to visit if you get lonely."

"Thank you, Abbess Abigail."

Abbess Abigail hung back a moment, reaching out to touch Farrah's arm.  "If he doesn't return," she said hesitantly.

But Farrah shook her head firmly against the unspoken, "He's coming back." 

Abbess Abigail nodded kindly and left behind Abbess Brooklyn.
Farrah peeked in on her sleeping children.  He had to return...

 ***

The Path of Enlightenment is within you!

Farrah bolted upright from where she'd napped, Abbot Gordon's words echoing in her mind.  "The Path of Enlightenment is within... me.." she repeated.

Who was to say that the only place she could seek Enlightment was at the Abbey?
Eagerly she set up a cauldron and her spell book in her husband's workshop.  He wasn't using it, so I might as well make use of it!

***

She watched the merchant head back home.  She'd given him a sample of Magically Spiced Sugar.  Perhaps if he could sell it, then she would be able to earn money... in case Robin didn't return...

Orb's Year 947
Farrah wandered around the house, making sure doors and windows were locked.
Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something...

"Robin!"
She rushed from the house...
"MAMA!" Curtis Carpenter cried when he saw her.
She opened her arms and he threw himself against her, hugging her tightly.

"Oh, Curtis!" she said, tears in her eyes, rocking him in her arms, too overwhelmed to say anything.  Glancing up, she saw Robin and Bryan standing a short distance away.
Kissing Curtis' head, she stepped away to pull Bryan into her arms.  "You've grown!" she laughed tearfully.

Bryan shrugged, embarrassed over the fuss she was making over him.
Farrah turned to Robin, looking around questioningly, "Where's Amber?" she asked.

Robin shook his head sadly.  "She wanted to stay with her mother."

 ***

Inside, Farrah wasted no time putting a hot meal in front of her boys.  In her excitement, she'd burned her pancakes.  She'd been worried no one would eat them... but...
Both boys ravenously ate the food in front of them.  Curtis stuffed the food in his mouth, cramming it full, as though he could store food in his cheeks like a little chipmunk.  And Bryan, he ate quickly, wolfing down his food as though he wasn't sure when his next meal would come.

Apparently being on the run with Fiona had left unseen scars...

 ***

"Now that we're done eating, sit down over there," Farrah instructed the boys, fussing over them until they were seated on the bench.  Then, she hurried into the nursery.
"I have someone I'd like you to meet," she grinned, walking back into the room with Becca in her arms and Andy trailing behind her.
For the first time, Robin felt joy as he lifted his young son up into his arms.  A tear ran down his cheek as he hugged his child to his chest.  He'd lost so much time...

 ***

Bryan and Curtis entered the nursery, their old room, and stopped short.  There were no beds, just palettes on the floor for the toddlers.

"Where are we supposed to sleep?" Curtis asked, turning to his older brother.
Bryan shrugged.  "I don't know!"

"Maybe we should get mama or papa," Curtis said, heading towards his parents room.

"Er, I don't think that's such a good idea," Bryan said, grabbing his brother's shirt and tugging him back.  "We've made do with less before."

***

And so the boys fell asleep in the livingroom, one child on the hard bench and the other propped against the wall.

It was much better than some of the other places they had bedded down for the night.

 Orb's Year 948
Mama had been appalled when she'd seen her boys sleeping without a bed.  She'd ordered papa into the workshop immediately to work on their very own beds.  Then, papa and Bryan had worked on turning some of the attic space into living quarters.

It wasn't much, Bryan thought as he looked around his new room, but it was his.

 ***

"I thought we could take the family out to celebrate," Robin told Farrah.  "Make it a day to remember."

Farrah smiled.  She loved the interest Robin was showing in all his children.  He seemed so much more at peace than he had before!  And Bryan and Curtis had settled happily back into the family.

"I'll go tell them!" Farrah said.
"Guess what?" Farrah said, coming upon Andy and Becca in the nursery.  "Papa's taking us out to celebrate your Orb's Year!
"Alright!" the twins cried, hurrying behind her.

***

Bryan looked at the menu.  "What can we order?" he asked hesitantly.
"Whatever your heart desires!" Robin told him. "It's a day of celebration!" he added magnomiously.
Hansel Cook delivered platters of food that were ordered.  It was a regular feast with all their personal favorites of hot, delicious food!

"Enjoy!" Hansel said before heading back to the kitchen.
Curtis wasted no time shoving food into his mouth.
"Ew! Mama! Why does Curtis eat like that?" Becca complained.  "It's yucky!"
Curtis sheepishly looked down at his plate, dropping his fork. "Sorry," he mumbled under his breath.

"Becca! Apologize!" Farrah said in defense of Curtis.  "You wouldn't like it very much for someone to point out something that you needed to work on."

Becca looked across the table at her half-brother.  "Sorry," she said quietly. 

***

Back home Robin approached Farrah.  He wasn't quite sure how to tell her that they had no money.  He'd spent all they had to pay to find Bryan and Curtis, to fix up the attic space, for a last splurge at the Kitchen and then finally to pay the King's taxes.  He'd had to take out a loan for 5,000 gold pieces.  If they couldn't find a way to pay that back, he'd be going to debtor's prison...

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