View Full Version : Nice to meet you...mom. (7/17, brunch, Open)
01-15-2012, 06:15 AM
"Is she nice?"
"I think so. We shared a nice dinner last evening, and talked of the castle, and you, a bit, just your name, and that I loved you."
"Does she like my name? Does she like blocks or dollies?"
Keiren paused, in the midst of getting his daughter dressed, and frowning about that facet of Skye's base personality..."You know," he answered honestly to the agile and dainty three year old's query, "I didn't think to ask that. We shall of course, pursue this matter fully, and exhaust our resources, delving into the topic. I'm sure she's a block girl though. As for your name? Everyone likes that."
"Why come of the blocks?" Why come. It was Camberlie's go to response, meaning a sort of combo of 'why do you believe that to be so, and how come she feels it?'..
"Call it a hunch. Mkay. All tied." Another Camberism. 'All tied'. Her word for dressed. He supposed it made sense, laced little gown, and boots....he found it cute, along with her other sayings of 'By my own!' and 'Nes'...her word for yes. There were others...'afore, atween, ahind...any word beginning with 'be'...as in before, between, behind, got the a treatment. No one knew why, for she could say be, without a problem. It just was one of her 'things'.
"I will sit atween you?"
"If'n you like, my love."
"Then it is settled. Come. She's waiting for us, for lunch." Lunch was to be a picnic....and not just any picnic...a picnic on the nursery floor, complete with a Camber designed menu. There were, he was informed, going to be tiny sandwiches, small cakes, and 'tea'...which was chamomile tea liberally spiked with fresh whole milk and just a tiny dab of honey. It wasn't really tea anymore, so dilute it was, but it made Camberlie feel grown up, and like a big girl to say she was drinking it.
They left her bedroom and walked to the playroom and day nursery, where a tiny fleet of guards, nannies and nurse awaited the little madam, bowing and curtsying to her, a gesture she wobbly made back, returned to her staff. He smiled to them each, pleased to see the picnic blanket was laid out and his betrothed, said to be on her way. Camberlie was already rummaging through a huge expanse of toys, seeking which ones to impress the almost stepmother with. She knew her father was to marry....but to her, the concept was a shady and dim understanding. Marry meant a kiss. That was about it. He watched her in her little pale blue frock, small long bloomers and petticoats peeping out, along with tiny brown leather boots. Her hair was in a high double set of buns, one over each ear, ringlets on her brow and chubby neck. Brown eyes twinkled as she started pulling her blocks out.
.........she was ALL about the blocks.
01-15-2012, 06:30 AM
Skye had known many children in her lifetime. Nieces, nephews, cousins,siblings, etc etc, but never had she met one that she would need consider her own. She felt it important to make Camberlie her own, if she and Keiren were to have any semblance of peace and happiness this meeting today was key.
"Is she a good lass?"
"Does she cry?"
She had bombarded her maids with a flurry of questions as they once more did miracles in making Skye the peasant look like Skye the Lady.She had chosen a light blue dress, nearly the exact match of her eyes, and had done so for one reason. It would be easier for Camberlie to remember the name Skye when associated with a blue dress, maybe. Children were all so very different, but she would make every effort to befriend little Lady Cam, Daddy's little love and angel.
It never dawned on her to be jealous of the girl's mother, nor even curious about her much at all. She knew the woman who had birthed Camberlie was dead, and well, that's all there was to it. She wished she had a present to give the little girl, something anything. "Ribbons? Do I have any spare ribbons? Blue like my dress?"
"We did your hair without the ribbons my lady."
"Not for me, for the little girl. For Camberlie," she explained patiently and beamed when two lengths of blue ribbon were produced. That would need work. She was dressed in a modest gown, the seamstress having found enough fabric to cover her bosom completely, which made Skye extremely happy. She did not want her new daughter to see her like some tavern wench.
And so it was, ribbons in hand, led by secretary and maid, Skye Pellan, future Duchess of the Moors, was brought to meet her step-daughter. As she walked the corridor, her skirts swished, and her feet made nary a sound on the carpeted floors. Slippers were nice like that she thought.
She was announced and brought into the nursery, eyes going to Keiren first, a smile forming, followed by a blush, and then she lit her sight upon Camberlie. She was beautiful. "Oh.." Skye said aloud. "Excuse me Princess, I must have the wrong room. I am to meet Lady Camberlie ei and they brought me to your room instead. Please forgive me your highness."
Skye knew the truth of the matter, but this was a little girl. Little girls enjoy pretending to be princesses and this one may be no different. Her smile was wide, her eyes sparkling, as she made a deep curtsey to the little Lady.
01-15-2012, 06:43 AM
Dark eyes looked up, little girl seeing woman for the first time, and surveying her with naked interest. At the mistake, Skye smiled and walked over to her, pudgy arms packed with blocks, that she dropped at Skye's feet. "I don't wanna be a pwincess. I wanna be an ar'cha'tek. I am building." She stated, with all due seriousness, running back to get more blocks to construct with. Keiren took a moment to step in, and place a small kiss to the future duchess' cheek. She smelled of powder and lotions, soap and her.
"It's a bit of her obsession lately. Building things. Nearly killed myself six weeks back, I'd forgotten a book in here, one she wanted for a bedtime story...I ended up making a muck of it, stepped on her block, hopped, hit a small chair, and tripped, only to nearly off myself, avoiding her doll's house." He grinned faintly, welcoming her, and allowing her the scoop on Camberlie. "Black and blue shin for a week after that. See if I come in here candleless and after dark again."
More blocks arrived, and the child sat down in a poof of skirts, to begin assembling a castle at their feet. "Shall we?" The young and curious Duke offered, his hand extended to help the plump and winsome almost duchess have a seat. Talk he supposed would only come if they served as her unpaid labor force.....Skye and he the grunt workers to Camber's direction. "We need a tower." she explained, and pointed to where she wished it based.
.........And this would have been fine, save the fact her puppy was here, he barreled in, to stand on the block pile, and generally cause a ruckus. Small and fat, the wee spaniel had absolutely no qualms greeting people with licks, wags, and demands for attention.
The 'princess' wasn't spoiled. The dog? Another story altogether.
01-15-2012, 06:57 AM
An architect, how.. new for Skye. Her nieces all wanted to be seamstresses and hunters and mommies and here this little girl wanted to build buildings. She did not plop, but allowed Keir to help her to the floor lest there be an accident of skirts around her ears or some such. And as she sat next to Cam, Cam's puppy and Cam's Daddy, she held a hand out to Cam. "I heard your buildings needed banners, so I brought these. My name is Skye. How can I help you with your tower, or shall I hold this fearsome dragon?"
Skye scooped up the puppy and held it against her chest, laughing as she got licked and nibbled at. "Ohh its a ferocious dragon. We will need keep it away from the castle. And we need to keep your father away from towers at night. It sounds like he was a giant who tried to crush it beneath his big feet." Her eyes were drawn to Keiren, laughing lights in their depths. "You will need to teach me about building, Miss Architect," her pronunciation of the word hardly better than Cam's at all. "I have never built anything before."
Keiren's daughter was lovely, and though she had more toys in one room than Skye had seen in her entire life, she did not behave badly. It was easy to tell that the little girl was the center of her betrothed's universe. And so Skye held the 'dragon' while Camberlie began to show her how to build the blocks up and up and right up.
A good foundation was important for any building, and that included with new daughters.
01-15-2012, 07:17 AM
Reflecting back on it later, he'd confess it went better than he'd thought it might. Skye, earthy, round, easy going Skye, had been a natural fit as playmate, dog/dragon holder, and small sandwich eater. The dog, too, had tried proving his worth as a sandwich eater, and had to be shown the door, that he and a maid could leave the room, lest lunch be devoured by small puppy teeth.
Camberlie had enjoyed herself, that much had been clear. Numerous castles constructed, and large quantities of food consumed, she had eventually sat in Skye's lap, looking together at picture books. Rare,and a pricy thing, books were, and the little lady was pleased to show off her collection of some twenty of them, illustrated with pretty flowers and fat ponies, butterflies and yes, castles. She drooped slowly, tired, and at his nod, the nanny had carted the young miss off, for a nap.
It left he and Skye alone.
Last night their dinner had been a simple affair...soup, pheasant, salad and bread, with three types of cheese and pie to follow. He'd ordered it to be such, wanting her to ease into the grand dinner party style living oft embraced in Taldorach. His sisters and Grandmere, social butterflies, were devotees of the 'Season', a round of parties and visits that swirled with glitter and intrigue.
Skye........needed the basics. The Season? Was the deep end.
He sat on the playroom floor with her now, the room deserted save the vast army of General Camberlie's toys..."So...you are due two things about me, I suppose, per our...deal? Would you have them now?" He tilted his head, leaning back on his palms, watching the young peasant now lady..."Or shall I wait, and give all four to you tonight? Lady's choice."
She was plucky. He'd give her that. Her good attitude was almost...sort of....infectious. Even if her voice was rude and her manners...different....she did TRY, and that was more than he could say for many.
01-15-2012, 07:35 AM
She had enjoyed holding Camberlie, and looking at the books as Cam asked her to say each word. She had looked at Keiren for help, rescued by a "Why don't you tell her the names of the pictures as you remember them?" Skye rewarded her betrothed with a grateful smile. A favor owed for not letting her look dumb in front of his daughter. Often she had found her cheek on Camberlie's head as she nuzzled her, soft and sweet, innocence in a handful of adorable little girl.
"Do you think she liked me?" She could not get the words out fast enough when Camberlie was carted off for naptime, but then she was reminded, their agreement. "Two things, yes, from us both actually, if I remember the terms correctly."
Their lunch had been cleaned up, removed from the nursery before tiny cups and teapots had been washed and returned to their own shelf, displayed proudly. The room had been righted, all but the final tower built, left at Skye's request, "Leave it for her to play with later." There were blue ribbons wrapped around a block and hanging at the front of the 'tower' which Camberlie had dubbed "The Tower of Skye". Whether she meant the sky or Skye herself was unsure, but it had touched her future step-mother and she wished it left alone.
"Will you go first, your grace?"
01-15-2012, 07:49 AM
"I think she very much likes you. You gave her castle it's flags, after all, that is a prize."
"Did you like her?" For he was...nervous...some. Camberlie was his world, in a lot of respects. How would Skye and she get on?
"Your memory of our terms, my lady, is correct. I shall, if it pleases you. Let me think....two things that are things you do not know about me...alright. For one, I love horses....don't look smirky...that is not all I was going to say...I love them because as a boy I was very shy. Horses were a comfort to me. I didn't much care for other lads my age, I was a bit scrawny and short, small, I suppose. I'm tall now, but until I was well into my teens I was a scrap of a thing, ate all day, didn't gain an ounce sort of deal."
"But on horseback, I could beat anyone. I think I've jumped every fence, wall and shrub within fifty miles of here, in impromptu races and runs."
He considered his second, puzzling...."I hate politics, and yet....it's a large part of my job. Some love it, the inner weavings and machinations of court. Eh. Leave me to my horses, my lands, my family, I'm not getting my jollies butting heads in the capitol. Perhaps short sighted of me, but I happen to believe there is nothing better for a duchy than the footprint of it's Duke, here, on home soil. I travel to the capitol to support the crown, naturally. I'm a loyal son of the realm......but I think my best and brightest tasks occur here, in the Moors."
There. Two things.
"And not a bird mentioned. I might add." He winked, pleased to have avoided a cop out answer. "Your turn." He reached for, and stole her slippered foot, holding it in one hand as he laid down on his side, propped on an elbow. "Tell me of you."
01-15-2012, 08:06 AM
"She was adorable, and lovely, and so smart. Smarter than any little girl her age. You should be very proud of her. I mean, I know you already are, but you should be too, because she is." She stammered over her words and repeated herself, before giving up and nodding. "I loved her, your grace. She is perfect." A smile punctuated the statement, the luncheon declared a success.
"I would never have guessed you liked horses," she laughed remembering the time just days before when she had teased him about such a thing. "That is something I respect about you, or can respect. All living creatures have worth and none should be mistreated. And politics, I think I would be a poor politician, you are certainly skillful at negotiations though." She smiled, allowing him to claim that slippered foot as she leaned back and looked thoughtful.
"Springtime is my favorite time of year. I love the new baby animals and the new flowers. I love the rebirth of life after the cold of winter. I am not so fond of cold. Maybe not so much here, but.." she left off there and smiled. "The castle at least seems cool in summer." Watching him closely, admiring even, she pondered over her second choice.
She would tell him her fear, her failing, her dislike, all in one. "And for the second, I fear being thought of as stupid. I am not, it may take time to learn new things, but I will not stop trying until I do. I am stubborn like that. But to be called 'dumb' or 'stupid' hurts, really hurts. It is why I asked you to not be mean, because I don't want to be hurt."
She wiggled her toes near him, stretching out to lean on her hands, settled upon the nursery floor as a smile formed. "Do you think someday, maybe, our children, including Camberlie, will play here?"
01-15-2012, 08:14 AM
"Oh, I don't know if I'd call you bad at politics. You managed to arrange a marriage with a pretty eligible bachelor, after all, and charm a architect/princess all in one week. Plus tame a spaniel dragon and build a castle. That's a lot of jobs to have managed. Color me impressed." Said affably, as they spoke, the conversation easier here for some reason. Toy therapy? Being on the floor?
Maybe the lavish praise to Camberlie's very being? "She can be precocious too...I've caught her being quite the scamp, and running people quite ragged. She's charming and bright, sometimes too much so for our good. Three. It is a curious age, sincere, tender, and bossy."
"Spring, hm? I can see that fitting your personality...I wonder if you'll love spring here....I do hope so." For it would be different, very, than she'd known before. "Where exactly are you from? Tell me of your home before here?"
"And hm....I don't think anyone that managed to find me three times is dumb." That was sincere. He nodded and leaned in and kissed the foot he'd caught. "You irritated the absolute hell outta me. I couldn't evade you to save my life. It was...and is....impressive. And children...ours...yes......" He smiled faintly...it felt....odd discussing it, but it was what they were to do, breed, make heirs...lots.
"I would like to see that. Them playing here....very much so. Perhaps this time next year, we shall have one to call our own, in addition to the Lady Camberlie."
01-15-2012, 08:37 AM
"That... was not politics. It was good hunting and bad luck on your part." She laughed softly, watching him with a growing fondness. "On whose part I am unsure just yet." She teased him, yes she did. "as for the rest, Camberlie built the foundation, I just had to build the walls to begin our friendship. I was not sure what to expect, and I wanted to bring her a gift to remind her I am thinking of her. I thought she might like the ribbons for her hair, if she had been a prissy miss, but they worked well as banners, no?"
"It could fit in this room. There was a kitchen with a table, and a sitting room which became a bedroom. A loft, and everywhere you would look at night there were children sleeping. The fireplace kept it warmish in winter, but in summer it is miserably hot. Some of my male kin even sleep outside, preferring the company of insects to the heat inside. It was never the same after my parents died though." It wasn't really sadness in that statement just fact, and she was still smiling, which she did alot.
"I will love spring here, I do believe. Flowers aplenty I wager, considering the sheer size of the gardens and park." And for the first time, ever, she was truly considering children, of her own, and how it would be in spring if she were carrying his child beneath her heart. Freckles on fire, she was blushing and looked at his waist, chest, shoulder, feet.. yes feet were safe, except she wondered if what they said about a man's foot size was.. oh dear, shoulder, easy girl shoulder, safe spot to look at there. Breathe.
"Hunting was something my father taught me. Animals are creatures of habit. As are men. You may not have even realized it, but the instinct to flee takes you on a journey similar to that of a deer fleeing a wolf. The difference was you were on horseback, so I had to consider where the horse would run in tighter quarters, where you could fit. You wanted out, your horse sensed it and you both went where a hunted animal would. I know your forests, as well, or better than you. While you were doubling back, trying to cover your scent, I could get ahead. Simple really." She shrugged it off. "They may be your forests, but I know them better than anyone, brothers included," She beamed, proud. Then looked at him, unsure as she felt, yes a kiss, and she trembled.
01-15-2012, 11:50 AM
"So in short, I was outfoxed by a little fox?" He smiled softly, and reached up, leaning to brush a slight twirl and twist of auburn hair. "Only fitting, hm?"
"The banners were ideal. She'll treasure them."
Her background had him curious...his impression of peasant life not far from what she described, but perhaps a wee bit more...idyllic? Naturally he didn't see the inside of crofter's cottages, nor hunter's homes. It wasn't his place. Or was it? He aimed to help his duchy, of course, and he knew it on a level, but her talk was giving him the simple but unrelenting impression he'd overlooked a lot. "Take me." He said impulsively. "Take me today. I want to know it."
"Your home, village. I want to see your bed, your things, the people that helped you, and that fed and raised you.." Her parents dead, someone had had to step in, surely, right? She'd spoke of all those children...and he frowned, as he helped her to her feet..."Lots of children? None...yours?" Because he had to know...marriage minded, the gentry and nobility was. The peasants...eh...they were a less confabulated lot, filling in the gaps of morality with practical gestures. Children out of wedlock? Commoner than not.
"Would my lady prefer horseback, or carriage for the trip?" On their feet, he took her hands, suddenly motivated. Yes, they would go see her place of origins. He almost didn't want to see, but....................he had to. Something in him wasn't gonna let it go.
"We could bring gifts, if you like, as a celebration of our...impending nuptials..."
01-15-2012, 12:36 PM
Nooo no no he's going to bring you and leave you there and once you have tasted paradise, it's just not going to be the same. She was standing gripping his hands like they were the only thing keeping her steady, "Wait, your grace, please just a moment." Worry was filling eyes of blue. "I do not think.. you should.. well.. will you?" A deep breath taken then a straightening of shoulders.
"My family is large, and overwhelming, and if you thought I was, am, uncouth, you may find them downright barbaric." (points for my new words there Dukey-boy!) Needless to say, the currently future Duchess of the Moors was nervous, extremely nervous, about her soon-to-be-she-hoped husband meeting her family. "You might flee, and leave me there." With my family, when I want to be here now. She let her gaze find purchase beyond his shoulder, on the far wall of the nursery.
"If you insist, we go simply. Simple attire, simple mode of transport, and simple gifts, small things. Anything large will be seen as charity and harm pride. What we have, my family has, is all worked for not given, and though the land beneath the house and barn are yours, it is the work of Pellans that tends it, and it is about pride. Please, keep it simple?"
01-15-2012, 01:04 PM
"Leave you...there?" Oh, must bite back the laugh forming...he nodded, taking her seriously. "I shan't leave you. And simple. Right. I can do that. Simple. Keeping it simple. Don't look so frightened, honey dove..."
Cause he could do rural...simple...he could...
"Change your gown then, if you feel this one too...flouncy...although it is a fetching shade on you. I shall meet you at the front courtyard and it will be.....simple....See you in half an hour?" He kissed her chin and brow and cheek, soft, quick, noncommittal gestures that might be there for no other reason than not letting her reply......or........something else entirely.
And a half hours time later he was downstairs, at the gate to the courtyard, the heat of the day intense, but the breeze cooling. Dressed in buckskin colored pants and brown boots, a simple tunic of green edged in pale gilt thread, he wore a sword, and twin small gauge daggers, finely wrought, but nothing like he might wear to the capitol. The carriage waited just beyond, black and low, open topped and if elegant, not ostentatious. Why scream wealth when it was whispered more beautifully. Besides, he was not traveling in a cart...or on mule back, so she would have to deal with the carriage, almost phaeton style, light, airy, with two drivers, two footmen, and on horseback, to ride fore and aft...guards, two pair.
The gifts, whatever they were, were simply in the carriage, in a worn and typical looking reed basket with a lid. It was large, and it moved...
01-15-2012, 01:36 PM
She dressed in a gown her family would think too fancy and her husband's family would think too dowdy, but she could not please one side and not the other, so she would please neither. It was plain in cut and a pale blue with tiny beige flowers dotting the skirts and sleeves. The bodice was plain except for a simple button that was decorative and not functional. It had been painted with tiny blue rosebuds.
She eyed her betrothed appreciatively, he cut a fine figure, even if 'simply' dressed. "You look 'andsome," she admitted in her all too coarse speech, but the sentiment was conveyed nonetheless, a hand lightly drawn across his forearm as she approached the carriage then looked up at him. "I do not think I have ever ridden in a carriage, or anything so fine." She was rather wide-eyed as she peered at the conveyance, feeling out of her element. "Are you certain this is no dream?"
She started to climb in on her own, though she was quickly assisted by the footmen, her face coloring as she apologized. "Sorry still new to all this. What's your name? I am Skye." The footman looked terrified that he had been spoken to and in such a horrific and familiar manner, his gaze swinging to Keiren as he help the lady into the carriage. Skye could have imagined it, but someone had laughed, and she frowned, her brow knitting and her full lower lip jutting out more than normally.
"What's in there?" She motioned to the movement in the basket, not quite sure what to think. "Oh, we should have brought Lady Camberlie, she could play with my nieces and nephews. Maybe next time?"
01-15-2012, 01:45 PM
"Its all right, Hehvis, she's merely being kindly is all..." He assured the stricken looking coachman. The man stammered something akin to a greeting, peppered with many 'thank ye, mistresses' tossed in for extra good measure. They were off, the light carriage floating, flying, effortlessly, on the well smoothed roads leading from Taldorach, the wheels spun in blinding whirls, the horses, four matched bays, sped along under the high, wide old oaks and plane trees, the welcome purple shade dappling the way ahead. It was cooler, the breeze a relief, and the sun half cast with the heavy foliage overhead.
"And you look most lovely yourself." Not the gown he'd have chosen for her, but he supposed it fit the situation and circumstance....she wore it well, it set her figure, all curves, off nicely..and he had not the heart to mention to her that the light bounce and jostle of the carriage? Put a very alluring bounce to her, too...nice rack, this one had. Very...generous and firm and high and...ample. Lots of ampleness.
"In there? Pit vipers. Can never have enough pit vipers round children and family, I say."
He waited half a beat..."A dog. A pup, from the barn litters. It's a large wolfhound, white...well...it will be. It's a small white puff now. But I find them fantastic people friendly and smart creatures. I thought your family might enjoy having a Taldorach dog to help in their hunting and herding."
"Now, tell me about them....who shall I be meeting?"
And arm around her, he leaned in, ready to hear her out....and glance at the bounty of bouncing boobs. It was easy to smile seeing that!
01-15-2012, 02:08 PM
She was already blushing from the compliments of word and gaze before he mentioned pit vipers, and that sent her directly into his side, away from the basket, until he told her of the jest. Receiving a look of exasperation followed by a relieved laugh. "Not so terribly fond of snakes," she confessed as his arm looped around her. "A pup? They will be thrilled, the whole lot of them." She smiled gratefully at her Duke and looked ahead, watching the landscape go by at a rapid clip.
"Well, of my siblings, there's Baelin and his two sons. Baelin's the eldest. His wife passed in February trying to birth a babe during a winter storm. Aunt Cloree was there but there was little to be done for it. We lost them both. His boys, Agar and Ethan are four and two, and mops of red hair. Baelin has brown hair but his wife had hair redder than mine by a good deal. Except for their hair, they look just like their Da. Destructive little lads too."
She was looking at him when she was not looking outside the carriage, half-dizzy from the passing trees. "And then there is my brother Charles and his wife Mina. Charles is just under Baelin and older than my sister Patience. You saw Patience in the woods that day. I assume she got home. Hmm if not, she's going to be rip-roaring mad being tied to a sapling for a couple of days. Anyway, Charles and Mina have Engrel and Branir. Engrel is nearly four and Branir just two. Engrel is a little miss, prim and proper as you please. Bran, well he's a shy little lad. Now they have brown hair, and easily told from the redhaired brats of Baelin. And then there's Patience and then me, who you know already, then Honor and Bonnie, my younger sisters."
Skye placed her hand near the puppy's basket as he whimpered and smiled some. "Little lad not so fond of bouncing about I think." And then she continued with the remaining family members, "And see my uncle and aunt died, so we got Cailene and Cirwen, who are twelve and ten. And Aunt Cloree goes back and forth between home and Uncle Garus' house, where there are three more cousin, two his and one an orphaned cousin. But in our family, there's no orphans, else we all are. Between my brothers, their wives and my Aunt and Uncles we have all been well cared for."
They were not far, and she was half excited and half dreading this trip. She gazed at Keiren and smiled. "Thank you for this, your grace."
01-15-2012, 02:17 PM
"Most welcome, my lady....but as it is only us, please, call me my name. I'd prefer it. I would ask permission for the same, from you? To call you Skye? I hope that is not to forward." He was already committing to memory the names...and as she reached for the basket, he had to, to free with strong and gentle hands, the wayward puff of greyish white fur. It yipped and gnawed his hand, and he placed the small scrap of doggie in her blue fabric clad lap.
"Here. Perhaps he'd feel more settled were you to name him?"
They arrived at the small lane half an hour later, the fine carriage straddling the wagon rutted road, and making it's way up the grassy slope. Cows lowed in a field nearby, picketed to patches of wet summer grass, and sheep crossed in front of them, in a loud clatter of flat, dull bells and bahhhs. No paradise, this, it had an aura of being worn...being down on it's luck.
The house they arrived at was so small......that struck him first, as hens darted under the foundation and the rooster flew up into a lilac bush. He stepped from the carriage, then helped her out, her arms about the puppy, his hands about her trim waist, just above the flare of womanly hips. He set her down, then nodded to the coachmen to stand back. They weren't needed, nor the guards.
Dirt yard...rutted and barren..a small garden, a twisted gate, repaired far too often.
Arm offered, they walked to the little old house, as two tiny red haired bairns peeked out. He smiled to them, and squinted faintly..."Lairds Agar and Ethan, I do presume?" He gave a regal nod, as the neighbors down the way were beginning to filter over, watching..."Mind asking your dad, Goodman Baelin, if we might come to visit?"
01-15-2012, 03:05 PM
She beamed at him, clutching the pup to her as she looked up at Keiren. "I would like that, for you to call me Skye, and I to call you Keiren, and what shall we call him. It is a.. oh yes a him," she nodded as she held him up to have a look. Definitely a little male. "Hmm Moki?" She held the pup up near her face, "What think you little lad, are you a Moki?" She nodded, satisfied with his answer. And so she, and Moki, and Keiren rode along in the comfort of the bouncing carriage. Keiren's arm around her and Moki clutched in her arms.
When they arrived, she grew tense, and her excitement and dread blended together as one. The sheep. looked healthy at least. The heat of summer had not harmed them any. It felt like more than just a few days since she had left here. The passage of time unable to account for all the changes in her life.
While Agar went into the house to fetch Bae, little Ethan toddled to his auntie and tugged at her skirt. "Doggie, Anna'sky?" Skye grinned at him. "Aye my lad, it's a doggie, would you like to pet him?" Ethan bobbed his red head, before Skye leaned to allow him to observe the dog more closely. More little eyes were peering out the door as she smiled at them, and Bae bustled forth.
"Well, ye' went an got yerself a Duke didja lass?" Skye's cheeks burned scarlet as she sunk her gaze into the ground. "Well come on in yer majestynesses," Bae was shaking Keiren's hand and tugging him towards the doorway as little people, and some not so little surrounded Skye.
"Skye won, she beat ol' Patience in the eye, I seen it."
"Anna'sky got doggie."
"Aunt Skye, do you really live in a castle now."
"Can we come visit you, cousin?"
"Can you really pee in the house in a hole in a chair?"
And then the voice she least wanted to hear, but at least she wasn't still tied in the woods, "You cheated!"
Skye, for just a moment was overwhelmed, then handing the dog to one of the cousins, she rounded on Patience, her voice cool, crisp and far too polite. "I will have you mind your tongue in the presence of the Duke of the Moors, Patience Marie Pellan, or you will find yourself far away and in chains in no time. And if you do not think I can..."
she left the promise hanging on the air, before smiling at the others and answering each question in turn.
"The dog is named Moki and is a gift from the Duke to my family, who will be his family. I do live in a castle. You will be invited to the wedding of course. And yes there are chairs to pee in, with holes and chamber pots beneath." Bonnie was hugging Skye, telling her how much she missed her, and Skye gave hugs all around.
"We should go in to be sure Bae and Charlie are nice to my Duke."
01-15-2012, 07:42 PM
Inundated with handshakes and hearty claps to his shoulder...some of them hard enough to actually stun and sting, he had felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume and roughness of the exuberance meeting them. Carted off into the house, he, not an overly tall man, still had to duck his head to not whack his brow silly on the door's low top. A fire burned in the fireplace, a crooked stone affair that seemed to suggest that whomever had planned it had taken umbrage with anything approximating a right angle.
Chairs were scarce, benches the norm, huddled about a rough worn trestle table. Bedding crowed here and there, benches must serve for beds, he assumed...
It was clean, if phenomenally crowded. Salted ham hung from one rafter, laundry, drying, from another, and herbs from yet a third old wood beam. Pot on the fire, it smelled fairly good, if a little gamey, and the press of bodies around the fastidious duke was something he was not used to.
They were all so very....eager.
Children filtered in, along with adults, some neighbors, or cousins or..well...he had no clue. He shook hands, and blinked as a tankard of something suspiciously clear and smelling like pine sap and hooch was pressed into his hand...with the promise it was from the 'old still', which was apparently some veritable proof of goodness, via lineage. He took a sip, and instantly found breathing impossible. Liquid fire scorched all the way down to his belly, leaving him half blind, eyes tearing, and tongue hot, numb, useless. He managed to get the fire water down and nod his approval, and even though he was aching for water...dear Gods, this stuff was potent, he managed to croak his thanks. He was assured the second sip was much nicer.
Dark eyes, a little wide, roamed the tiny home for his wife, and as she entered, cousins and sisters and puppy in tow, he tried to imagine this rabble at Taldorach.
A smile flitted over his features.
"Come to the castle?" He asked one of the girls...brown haired little thing in a too short dress, with patched elbows..."Would you like to?"
01-15-2012, 07:55 PM
Well he had survived the drink, that spoke volumes for him. As did surviving the press of nosey neighbors and kin. Perhaps it was in that very moment Skye began to truly soften towards him, her eyes taking on something of a schoolgirl crush before a blush stained her cheeks and she looked at Cailene. "His grace is speaking you cousin, will you come to the castle?" Cailene was blushing and turned her face to bury against her cousin. She had always been a small girl but losing her parents had been hard on the girl and she had simply never grown much. She could easily pass for six or either though she was nearing twelve.
"I think that is a 'yes, your grace, thank you for the invitation', isn't it cous?" Skye tweaked one of Cailene's braids and smiled at Keiren. He was too kind, and she was glad for him especially in that moment. She felt herself captured from behind, strong arms trapping her before swinging her around, little people and pup scattering until she was set down, albeit it somewhat dizzily. A large boy-man had taken hold of her and now was dropping a kiss upon the top of her head. By the way he leaned instead of standing in the too short room, it was possible he did not live amongst the Pellans.
"Ahh Skye ye come back to marry me 'ave ye?" She blushed and motioned to Keiren. "No, Darren, but that is the man I will marry, very soon in fact." Darren looked crestfallen as he sized up the Duke. "'es little," was all he said before stomping out, the slamming door sending the entirety of the house shaking. She chewed her lip slightly, looking to Keiren once more.
01-15-2012, 08:06 PM
"Then we look forward to your visit, cousin." He addressed the small child. No clue as to her age, but as a shy child, once, himself, he allowed her the need to hide, duck down, and avoid an answer. She peeked up from Skye's round bosom and side, nodding a little. He took the time to set the drink down, and wink back at the child. He'd turn her over to grandmere. Nothing the older woman liked better than a project or two...plus, it'd keep the fiesty dowager duchess out of his hair, which was a plus. He loved her, his grandmere, but she never met a subject she didn't have strong opinions on.
It was then, amidst the blushes and rapid fire red neck meet and greet that the light of the open door suddenly blacked out, and someone the size of a tree lumbered in. Talk died, and so it was clear what the question posed was...as well as answer....and singular retort.
This was a moment Keir might have taken offense, for it was an insult...he could have insisted they leave...or called for apologies, or ordered the man whipped for the unfortunate outburst. It was all within his power to reply as such. He could have also chosen to ignore it all, to let it go.
He did none of that.
He took it head on, in his own way.."I feel his pain. He's lost a bonnie lass, and he speaks with foggy head, and sad heart. Understandable, that. Any man would...and as the victor, I hope to make my lady wife happy with the choice her heart did make...in selecting I, over the rather imposing other."
Which was a very NICE way of putting it....and it gilded the lily...an awful lot. Nevertheless, his honor intact, the lad's ensured, and the lady flattered, none could take offense.
That was no small thing....to take the pains and thought to spare feelings here, when he could have snapped fingers, and ordered the place razed. He smiled to his hosts..."Now, I do believe Skye was to give me the tour, if that is alright with everyone?"
01-15-2012, 08:28 PM
"I did promise the Duke a tour, now then, who will take little Moki and find him a place to sleep and something to nibble on?" At the raise of hands and multiple volunteers she smiled and offered the pup to Cirwen, her cousin, and motioned to the others. "He will be a huge dog one day, able to hunt and track. You will all be responsible for seeing him fed, and trained. Will you all be sure to take good care of him for me?"
Amidst the nods and chatter, she looked at Keiren again, smiling softly. He had done so well. "Skye, going to stay and eat supper?" That was Mina, to whom she smiled and shook her head, "No, sister, I think we need to depart well before dark not to be caught on the roads after dusk. Next visit we will not plan on the spur of the moment, so we can spend more time, I promise. For now, I would like to show the Duke around, but we will say goodbye before we leave."
And so somehow she managed to disentangle herself, and with more difficulty, her betrothed from her family. She led him out of the small abode which she had called home for eighteen years and a few days, and arm in arm showed him around. There was a cow pasture and a pig sty and then the nearby village, not so fondly nicknamed the Moor's Poor. "You were kind to Darren. Thank you."
She smiled up at him as they walked, pressing closer to him than she had to date, and spoke softly, "When we were children he always said he would marry me, but I knew it was just a boy talking, and never paid it much mind. I could out-hunt and out-track him, he could trap better though. He was my friend. Is my friend." Her fingers clasped his as they stopped in the town center, the people watching but pretending not to. It was hard for them to believe one of their own would soon be their Duchess.
Skye looked around, smiling at the people she knew, which was most of the bunch. "Keiren? Is there anything we can do to help here, without damaging pride?" Her words she kept low, not wanting to be overheard.
01-15-2012, 08:40 PM
He'd be lying if he said today hadn't impacted him. Moor's Poor. He'd never been here...why hadn't he? He could give an answer, but it flattered not himself, his staff, nor the people that called this hovel and sty style town home. It was a tiny dot on a large map, only a few hundred feet made up the main street, and there were more cows and hens than people. The rooftops slumped, the streets were crooked, and muddy, and the porches and buildings sagged, as if time had just worn them down.
The trees were tired, the people dressed in shades of 'dull' and 'drab', such that her blue gown seemed downright overblown and obnoxious, his clothing and blade worth more than most of these families might ever live to see, to earn.
"I feel like an ass. Being kind to him was hardly any skin off my back." He'd answered her tersely, mouth in a firm, down pressed line. There was knowing poverty was out there...and then there was seeing skinny barefoot urchins and their equally thin and tired mothers. There were the coughing infants, and pale skinned girls, not for the sake of fashion, but from base illness.
"What can we do? I don't yet know..." His hand closed over her arm, linked with his. He'd found her so...plebeian. So....vulgar and coarse. He'd been a jerk....the filth and poor buildings, the bad heath, the weariness this place had...he smiled wanly at her, and sighed to himself...
"Actually.....I do. I do know what to do. What about an orphanage?" He spoke, quietly..."Built here. That would take builders, laborers, carpenters...workers...food hunted for the tables...caregivers for the children....it would create jobs, yes?"
01-15-2012, 08:54 PM
"There are plenty of children who have lost parents, all of us have. I hardly know a single family who has not lost a parent or a child. I lost two sisters, a niece and a nephew, my parents. An orphanage, yes it's a start. My Aunt Cloree is something of a healer, she would be able to tend to any ill and sick children. Where would the wages come from, yo.. Keiren? There would be no money, or not much, made in such a place." She had ideas now, birthed from his, a school, a church, a doctor. All to build up the small village she had called home. "There's families who never have enough to eat. We all try to keep up with each other, but sometimes it's not enough." Yes, poachers, like me, tried, but she could not tell her husband-to-be she had been a thief, from his own woods.
It was a sad place, and yet, her fondest memories, except the last few days, were all here. "Don't think it's all dire, Keiren. The people make do. They are a tough lot, but if there's anything I, we, can do to help it along, I want to, please." She was looking at him with round eyes.
01-15-2012, 09:06 PM
She had ideas...he had experience. Together, they'd find a way, of that he was sure. It sped his mind along, and made him realize something. His wife to be? Was broke. As in, even now. He had made sure, er, rather grandmere had...that she had adequate clothes and more were on the way, in preparation for investiture and marriage.
Was broke. No coin. Hrm.
"I'll figure the money out." In truth, he wasn't really too worried about that facet. Money was a fluid thing, easily shifted, and moved around, and it was not a hand out, but an investment, one that would pay off, over time. Improving infrastructure and support was not a bad way to dole out one's tax revenue, it was paid by the people, they deserved the benefit of that pooled income resource.
"I would like you to consider the places here you feel most suitable for a few larger buildings. There are orphans and foundlings from all over the Moors. I could see a central orphanage here, perhaps? The land is cheap, much of it I may actually own already, and the people here in need of work, and steady work, at that." Details, the finer ones, and a business plan would emerge, but for now, rough details could be loosely hammered out..."We'd use fifteen, maybe twenty acres..the housing, a small school, a farm style garden, that'd cut costs, as shipping food in would be fiscally heavier."
These poor saps. Living here....he'd have gone batty.
Spoiled much? Maybe he was..but not so far gone as to not feel guilt over this.
His voice, cultured and steady, spoke of these things from the distant stage of one that was a planner, a visionary, not one that called this place home. "You may consider it a wedding present, if you like, to the town that raised you." For in truth, upping values and life here? only proper. It would be easier on her if people thought her of the middle classes, not so dirt poor.."As for you, an allowance is in order, I think. My lady ought have her own coin."
01-15-2012, 09:21 PM
She was thinking, considering. "There's land, nearer the creek over to the north there," she motioned with her little fingers, towards a small hill which was surrounded by forest on three wides, though too, the silver of a creek winding nearby could be seen. "There's enough land around it I think.." she was imagining it in her mind, grand fine orphanage, or house. She wanted the children to feel at home and safe, not like some sort of prisoners. Swings in the trees and a garden and flowers, lots of flowers. Perhaps hers was a romanticized view, but she was thinking of all Camberlie had and thought of how these things could be altered for other children, those needing prepared for real life, but needing to survive that long to live anyway.
"Could we rename the village, or even just the orphanage, Keiren? Arne's Reach, after my father, please? I don't care about coin for me, but that would mean the world to me." The look in her eyes, half hope, half adoration was turned on him. This would help people she had known her entire life.
"Darren, he's a strong builder.. Maybe? And my brothers?"
So much help to be had, and he was making it all possible, he would, she knew it.
01-16-2012, 07:29 PM
He nodded, amused at the things she asked for, not that he'd ever in a million lifetimes, dare laugh. He but nodded again, sober as a judge on seventh day, and spoke once she fell silent, the weight of her blue eyed stare on him, hard and fast.
"We shall write it down, together, and draw a map. From there, we may turn it over to our Ser Adam Bond, who does serve as a jack of all trades, primarily that of learned advisory counsel to the duchy. He can take our...our...ideas...gardens and builders, names and all, and sort of develop a long term overall lay out of the plan. Breathe it to life. We'll include it in our...again OUR....weekly meetings....you'll soon find we have many, my sweet..and we guide it as we see fit."
"But I think we can do better than just a village name, to honor your dad." He helped her back along the street, talking to no one, for no one dared stop and chat. He thought it just as well, she'd spend the rest of her life being stared at, gawked at, and seen as 'one of them' and not 'one of us'. Best she learn to deal with it, now....
"I had planned on discussing it with you tonight...but as you are to be a duchess, and they...your family...the family of the next Duke of the Moorlands...I feel it appropriate to consider raising them a bit. Squireships for the lads, and education for the youngers...the lasses...will need to wed better, when the time comes, something like sons of knights or town officials."
01-17-2012, 02:18 AM
She walked along with her husband-to-be, arm in arm, ideas and thoughts swirling around her mind. "You can write it down while I make the maps, yes?" Ser Adam Bond, she would need to remember that name, especially with having weekly meetings with him. Nineteen months of paperwork and schedules came flooding back to her, and today's schedule had been all but ignored, at least she thought so, while her lovely Duke came to where she had grown up.
"Better than that, Keiren, how?" But then she understood, or at least, she thought she did. He could not have anyone realizing his wife was from such a place, so building it up, raising her family in status would make it less an embarrassment. "And what if they refused, your grace?" She had warned him that her family was filled with prideful men, what if they did not wish to be raised in status, however he had in mind, because they had not earned it?
"The children, yes, but what of my brothers? It would need to be handled... delicately. Bae and Charlie, proud men, who won't take a step up just because the Duke is plowing their sister." It sounded harsher than she meant and she frowned. "Forgive me for being blunt, I just want to be sure their honor, their pride, remains intact, because strip away all the material goods and what does a man have? He has pride, honor and his knowledge. Please don't think I don't want better for them, I do. I just want them to feel like it wasn't handed over willy nilly without them wanting it."
She squeezed his arm lightly and smiled. "Thank you though, for wanting to give everyone a better life. The people, our people, deserve it. And it will reflect kindly upon you."
01-17-2012, 07:22 AM
He nodded, once, sharply, to her words. He thought he understood, but......he didn't. She spoke of pride and preserving that...but he didn't see the place pride had IN the damn equation. Had he seen Camberlie living in such rude means, he'd have bartered pride, health, whatever it took, to better her life.
Maybe those were easy thoughts to entertain, though, when you weren't living like that....and likely never would face that reality. He was struggling. Struggling hard not to growl out some retort about beggars and choosers, but that would be a low blow, and he did not wish her to feel chastised nor disrespected....for it did seem respect and pride were the coin of the realm of Moor's Poor.
So instead, he simply did as he always did when firmly tabling a discussion that was not going as he'd planned. He smiled, and patted her hand.."I hear your point. We shall think on it, then, yes? Now, are you ready to return to Taldorach?" All friendly enough, though he felt the sting of confusion and ....rejection....in himself. He hadn't thought she'd swoon with happiness.......but he'd hoped for more than 'eh, maybe not, ok, thanks.' Expectations. A dangerous thing to own, they were.
Birds sang. People stared, and he helped her off the small town path, and back to the one leading to the place she called home, and their carriage. He stayed silent, secretly let down...baffled...she was the most confusing creature. He was trying to help. She should be...receptive.
He could almost hear Ser Adam Bond in his head...'Well, your Grace, at least you are humble when you're lording over strangers. How droll for them to endure.' It'd be acerbic and biting and dry, as the elder statesman was wont to be...especially when setting the young duke to heel.
Point made, even by the head voice of a man ten miles away, Keiren conceded the loss..."I won't do anything. I didn't think it might shame them...and.......plow......ing? Plowing. Any man ever refers to you in such a manner will be facing the sharp end of a sword." Because no one was going to talk about his wife that way...even if she did come from the Poors. Only, he knew, they would. They would. And they'd both have to grow some thicker skin.
01-17-2012, 07:38 AM
"I am ready to go home," she told him quietly pondering the change.. in the air around him. She had upset him somehow and she had to fix it. And by home, she meant the castle. What girl would rather call this home?
"Your grace," she spoke up, finally, upon reaching their carriage, "I do not think I made myself clear enough." A look of... yes.. complete adoration to the man who had fallen silent. "I would not, in a million trillion years, turn down a better life for my family. If that is what you are thinking, I was hardly clear. I want better for them all, I do. I just want to see if it can be somehow... earned. I am not sure how, or why or what, maybe years of service to the duchy, maybe ole Bessie is a prized cow with the best milk and worth a fortune, but something that does not harm pride, and does not make them think they can just expect you to pay for everything ever they needed. It's a double edged blade. Swing to far either way and it will cut, and I do not want to see you, nor them, hurt. Only a better world for us all." She really did have a romantic view on things, not just him, but her making the world better thing, but too she felt like she needed to protect him from her family. What is they got into trouble, serious trouble, and it made him look bad.
She had turned to face him, close, very close, close enough her breaths blew against his chest, but her voice was low. "As for plowing, do you not plan to plow my fertile fields?" Was.. she teasing.. him? I think so. "I would be terribly hurt if you did not at least consider it once." Peasant girl flirting, wonderful.
And she left him to consider it while she wished a gaggle of children and teens farewell. The adults she spoke to, telling them all to expect gifts and to visit her soon. Poor Keiren, bad enough here,, but in Taldorach, he would be outnumbered and underclassed.
01-17-2012, 07:51 AM
He actually found it utterly impossible to hide a faint smile at the idea of Bessie suddenly being gold on four hooves..the explanation behind it funnier than it ought to be. In the capitol, people would ask of Skye's family..her kin, and for her to say, with a straight face 'It all began with Bessie'....and some well meaning matron asking 'Oh, is that your grandmother dear?....'No, she was our cow.'
He coughed to hide the chuckle...it wasn't funny. He was along with Skye, quite potentially going to be mocked. A lot. Stupid traditions. Why couldn't she have been a burgher's daughter? Or some knight's child? no....alas.....she was child of Yeehaw, Poorsville. They were going to be run up a rail.
"It's alright. I can be a bit overzealous."
He had to give her family some sort of better life, but she didn't understand....
He wasn't doing this to spare himself scorn. He had a duchy, and a rich one, at that. He was more, well, fireproof, in a word. He wanted her to have a sturdier background. Something she'd not feel embarrassed her. But..maybe she didn't feel that? She hadn't seemed ashamed...Maybe he was reading it all wrong. And wait, whatttt?
"Plow your...oh..OH....well..................yes........ ............thatishowchildrenaremade."
Cough, cough. She slid in closer, closer, and he could feel the bounty of soft breast pressed to his side. Was it hotter today than normal....? Had to be! "Con..consider...it? Yes...I...would...consider...your...er...fields... quite......ample and um....welcome territory...and...." Hot. Yes. It was definitively HOT. Hotter than it ought be. She was flirting. Boldly. So much for a shy kiss. She was talking plows! And why was he blushing?! He tried to seize the control back, failing miserably.."I should do so. Tonight."
01-17-2012, 08:40 AM
She knew how fields were plowed and how animals mated. Animal Husbandry 101 taught right here in the University of Moor's Poor, and his response got a single shake of her head, "No. You will have to wait until it's the proper time." She had gotten her answer though and she was nearly glowing from it. So his grace, Keiren Caldoran, did like her a bit afterall. AND he did want to plow her fields. But did he want to kiss her?
After bidding her family and childhood friends farewell, she snuggled in to Keiren's side in the carriage, her eyes closing as she just absolutely breathed in his presence. "Thank you," she whispered to him finally. "Now I can move ahead with my life, and not worry. You have given me so much and I do not know if I can ever repay that." Even with field plowing, and sowing, and then the harvest, so little for the much he was offering.
It was later now, the sun lower in the sky. She gently entwined hands with his, looking at the differences in them. Her own were not so terribly soft, despite the maids repeated soaking in honey and milk. She felt like they were going to eat her rather than bathe her when they wanted her to do such things. But her hands, if she admitted it, were softer, though certainly not fitting to be a Duchess's hands.
"We learned much about each other, and our families, today," spoken low, the carriage wheels flying over the terrain. "So if you want to forget the two things tonight at sup.. dinner, you may. Days like this can take the place of confessions."
01-17-2012, 09:21 AM
"Oh, lo, was that a refusal? Oh, my heart, poor shattered thing...I have been told to keep my self to myself till the wedding, hmm?" He was laughing, hand over his chest as she nestled in, and his laughter then slowed, died, faded. His pride, a little bruised before, now swelled and recovered it's former straight backed bravado, at her thanks. He smiled a little, arm moving to encircle her shoulders. "Most welcome, it was only fair. I'm hardly getting nothing in the trade, you know."
"I won the rights to plow the best tracker in all the Moorlands." He nodded, laughter rising again.."Even if my plow has been firmly told to mind it's own business for a few weeks longer. And no. No no, no getting out of confessions. You are so paying that one tonight. I wanna hear it all now, in fact. Two things. Your turn, missy. Go."
He leaned back in the comfort of the phaeton, chin brushing the top of her head, arm cupping her close, hand on her pale and freckled shoulder. Freckles. She had em, in spades.
It was, he thought, a strange day, eye opening, life...changing. To deeply understand their plight, it'd take more than one small visit....but he wasn't sure he could ever go back, and forget, to disremember all he'd learned today, about pride and the ache of poverty. "I'm very...." He almost said 'glad you caught me'...but he worried she'd think that silly. Her looks, well, they could be called endearing, and he secretly thought he'd won a bit of admiration too, from her, but he was not ready to say all he felt he might be beginning to feel...so he ended it with ..."very glad you showed me things, today..Now..you start with your two things. I'll go after, poppet."
01-17-2012, 09:34 AM
"A refusal, no, just a postponement," she grinned at him, freckles, by the spades, illuminated by the glow of her skin in the sunlight, or in the Keiren-light, "You, and your plow, will be ready when it is the right time," I hope I hope.
Two confessions, two. She looked at him and her face grew rather solemn, large blue eyes locked on him, riveted to his face as she whispered, "I think, and I know it is not always terribly in fashion, I might like the man I am slated to marry. I think I might even like him more than a little." That was one right? "And on that note, I am, a little nervous around him, because he is an extremely important man, and I am just Skye. Where I once feared silly things like no food or cold nights, now I fear disappointing this very important, special, and appealing man."
Freckles standing out.
Eyes darting away from him.
Embarrassment more than evident.
"Sometimes these confessions are hard because they must be a truth. And I feel like whatever truth is most true and pertinent to the moment should be spoken, by me at least." No she was not seeking reciprocal confessions from him, but more like explaining to herself why she had told him her secret.
01-17-2012, 09:44 AM
"I don't think cold nights are silly..nor hungry Skye tummy, as insignificant." She had blushed in the shade of crimson at her admittance, and so he began slow, letting her ball up a little in her own feelings, as he gently talked her off her self imposed embarrassed ledge. Ensnared in her own confession, he sought to ease her mind..."But we will always have warmth, aplenty, I think, close to each other."
He should have found a way out of this race, out of this contest and marriage. He should have somehow made it not happen. Too late now, he found himself all but shackled to the poorest little maid in all his realm, shy and unassuming and prideful and demure...and wary of plows...and now she confessed her 'like'. It was a delicate thing, and a brave thing, she'd done...his admiration for her, against better judgement, rose. She was brave.
She was strong.
She was resourceful.
She had great tits. Er...great fortitude. Both. She had all that.
"You know...that important man? He rather likes someone too. She is unconventional, and not the person he thought to wed, to be sure. She has opinions and ways that are new, and at times, confusing to him. But...that man is finding that he very much finds her in his thoughts, when they are apart. And he misses her voice, when night comes, and she is not near him."
"The second? Hearing that I'm liked...even a little, or maybe more than a little?"
"Makes me very happy. And all of it? It's not...not just Skye. Not The Duke. It's Skye and Keir. That's equals, isn't it? We could make it so...if we tried."
01-17-2012, 10:01 AM
Skye blue eyes peered up at him, "But who did you want to wed?" There was a knot in her stomach, or throat, or both. She supposed she had to know though, in case said woman came after her with a vengeance. Whoever it was, she was an awful tracker for certain.
Her little blossom of 'like' was a rather fragile little bud, just beginning to open its' petals, just slightly, but at his confession, of liking her too, she felt like one petal had opened, and then another. She really was beginning to care for this man. Not the Duke, not the prey in a hunt, but the man who had been both, or was both still.
"He does not have to be apart from her. He could see her anytime her voice went missing. Even if it is a strange voice." She grinned at that, watching him, adoration in shades of blue.
"Skye and Keir," it was whispered almost shakily, like holding a small blown glass object afraid to drop and break it. "I can definitely see that, equals, yes. Shall we try my... Keiren?" My lord, your grace and his name all came out as 'my... Keiren' which she was certainly beginning to see as truth. He would be her husband, he would see she was warm, which at the moment was borderline feverish, and he would see her taken care of.
"I wonder, when our confessions mirror, if we should demand more."
01-17-2012, 10:14 AM
"Want to wed? As in...a specific woman? No one. I'd...no one in mind. Just didn't want to wed at all, not yet. Not my call to make, however. Camberlie cannot inherit, she's not born on the right side of the blanket, and as much as I love her, I can't undo that fact."
"In your head, I suppose you ask why I didn't marry Cammie's mum, then, yes? I'll answer. I didn't know. It was a short lived flirtation, we were together twice, and...nine and a half months later I got a letter. You have a daughter. Only it was not from Maree, it was from her family. I came the next day to their holdings, to find Maree dead three days prior, infection, I am told, and this tiny baby girl, in a wrapping cloth. Maree's parents are good people, but decidedly cold. They'd not even named the child, in case she died, too. I picked her up, and called her Camberlie, and took her home, to Taldorach. Grandmere didn't speak to me for a month."
"To be honest...Cammie may not even BE mine. I couldn't begin to guess. I have thought of it a million times, why the Lady Maree simply didn't write me, tell me..her father was a knight, if aged and a bit poor...but I would have made things right. I don't have an answer, though, that answer lies in a grave some fifty miles north of here. I only know Cammie needed me, and so...I'm her father. If in blood I don't know, but she is mine, I've raised her."
"So long story short? I had no woman in mind. And then came along you...and me missing your voice when I woke last night, and lay there, then paced the house, thinking of you." He like her, felt the spun glass fragility of it all, this moment, spun in the tender trappings of a lot of what if's...
"I think....if confessions so mirror? More should be hoped for..I hope for more, from you." Laid out there, breakable and tenuous, to see her reply.
01-17-2012, 10:23 AM
She was relieved, not because a woman was dead, and a little girl knew not her mother, but because he was Keiren and he was himself. "She is yours. I see it in her eyes. She has the same expressions as you do. I just hope she thinks of me as hers someday too." As I do you. Such a fragile little creature this blooming.. not quite love.. maybe, but this little bloom of emotion. So tender and treasured. She knew with each word he said, she was becoming more wrapped up in all that he was. "I am glad there is no other." Her next confession. "We may be forced by tradition, but maybe, in this time, we can fill in what tradition did not. I think, I am already filling in, and not because I have to, or need to but because my heart just is."
She was falling.
"Camberlie is so smart," she said it with something akin to pride. "Her little mind is brilliant, working in directions I have no witnessed from other children. She is special, very special. Would it be alright, maybe, if we taught her to call me 'Mama'"? She was scared of jumping so far from safety, on a ledge that had no support, and could crumble beneath her feet, but she felt it was important not only for her and Keiren, but for Cammie herself.
01-17-2012, 10:33 AM
The carriage lurched to a halt, as the gates to Taldorach clanged shut far behind them. They were..home? He looked from her face, so heady with hope, and effort and admiration, to blink at the castle, white and stark against a stormy sky. Clouds on the rise, common summer afternoon weather, thunder rolling in the singed and bruised sky. At the door a woman's form waited, arms crossed, eyes sharp. One of his sisters, watching, her expression cold and hard. He returned the look, and under it's pressure, his sibling turned and vanished once more into the house.
He looked back to his betrothed, the sky rumbling again, and unleashing a torrential rush of rain...he grinned as it hit, and helped her from the carriage, cloak over them both as they dashed for the castle. Spanning the river, it was a fair run over it's drawbridge, and into the massive entry hall. Black and white checkered marble floors, two maids and the scent of soap and flowers met the damp duke and lady of the moors...and it was only later, after they'd gone to their own rooms to dry off, and change, only later, when he met her in one of the upstairs parlors by a cheery fire, as rain and storms collided and sluiced off the grand castle, that he answered her. He'd thought hard on it...and for some time.
"I think I would like her to have a mother, yes." And then he kissed Skye, softly, on her mouth, by the windows overlooking the storm washed gardens beyond.
02-28-2012, 07:03 AM
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