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Estate in Training

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Rosemary bit her lip when she heard that Aorle and Mavelle had ended their courtship. The news didn’t truly shock her -- Julen had described Mavelle as a sweet young lady who, unfortunately, lacked the strong spirit necessary to be Aorle’s equal. Still, even without the force of surprise to spur them, questions and sympathetic comments jostled for position inside Rosemary’s throat. She wanted to ask Aorle what had happened. She wanted to tell him how sorry she was, how disappointed she knew they both must be. But the questions were none of her business. And in situations like this, spoken condolences always seemed trite. So, instead of saying anything, Rosemary simply gave his arm a quick squeeze, before letting her hand drop away.

Aorle’s description of his youth sounded very lonely to Rosemary. Even though she wasn’t currently on speaking terms with her family, she still treasured the time she’d spent with them. Perhaps Aorle’s early separation from his closest kin explained why he sometimes struggled against becoming isolated. Isolation was familiar state for him. Once again, Rosemary resolved to be more sensitive to that, to remember that when Aorle seemed distant, it wasn’t necessarily because he didn’t want to be approached.

“It seems that our two lands share one thing in common -- the fathers in both places are very easily shamed by their children.” Julen had told Rosemary about the ‘offense’ which led to Aorle’s banishment. “When Julen and I have children, I hope we manage to judge them more fairly than you and I have been judged.”

“And I know what you mean about the city. I visited a few times before now, but I never really saw it. Parts of it are so loud, or strange, or rundown. I guess it scares me a little. Maybe that’s why I really want to be allowed to go out and face it.” Rosemary gave a little shrug. “I don’t like running from things that scare me.”

Rosemary rewarded the conclusion of Aorle’s answer with a bright smile. “I’m glad that you have no regrets. Since the day you returned my husband to me, I’ve thanked whatever fates, or gods, or angels brought you into our lives. And I’ll continue to do so. But I’ll feel a little less selfish, knowing that you don’t mind being here.”

Then, curious about exactly what he intended, Rosemary followed Aorle over to her embroidery students.

As they approached, a half-dozen pairs of eyes rose to meet them. Some of the women appeared pleased by Aorle’s return, while others seemed nervous, as if expecting to be scolded or punished. But when he sat on the grass beside them, even their apprehension faded into looks of curiosity. All listened intently while he spoke.

His salute earned him some murmurs of surprise, along with a few nervous giggles. Overall, though, it seemed to please his audience, who sat up a little straighter, and held their heads a little higher.

However, when he inquired after their dreams, a hesitant hush fell over the women. Some looked confused. Others appeared thoughtful, as if they were trying to remember where they’d buried their most precious treasure. Clearly, none of them had ever been asked such a thing. And so, perhaps, it wasn’t suprising that the first dream to be voiced was a fairly conventional one.

“I want to have a big house to live in. I’ll eat only the tastiest food. And I’ll hire servants to do all the chores.”

“Ooh, Stella. You gonna invite us all to your fancy new house? Maybe we can have a ball. A ball would be a fine thing, wouldn’t it?” Stella, it turned out, was the name of the plump woman who still wore Julen’s locket around her throat.

“I want to open up a small shop. Earn my living designing and selling pretty dresses.”

“I’d like to meet a good man.” That came from a girl with scraggily blonde hair and a pock-marked face. “Get married. Raise a family.”

Bawdy laughter greeted her announcement, and several of the women elbowed each other. “You got your sights set on anyone in particular, Portia? There’s plenty of men here to pick from.”

“Just not the Northern one. He likes Jenny. Said her heart is as strong as the best warship.”

“Really? Jenny?”

“Maybe Portia fancies the orc! Do you fancy the orc?”

A blush had begun to creep across Portia’s cheeks, but she was smiling shyly. “I...”

“Don’t knock the orc! Think about the size of him. I bet he could really satisfy a woman.”

“That’s ridiculous! He’d kill you.”

“Oh, but what a way to go...”

“I wouldn’t need an orc to satisfy me.” A sudden fit of boldness seemed to seize Portia, and she lifted her eyes to meet Aorle’s. “You’d do just fine, sir. If you’d have one such as me for a wife. I can cook, and clean, and all the girls say I have good wide hips for childbearing.”

Sensing that the conversation had veered off in an awkward direction, Rosemary glanced over at Aorle. She was prepared to jump in if he needed her help. But she didn’t want to presume that he couldn’t handle things himself. After all, he had asked...

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Professional swordsmen were well-schooled in the art of deflection, a talent which served them many a time. Like so. "There are many good men here, my lady, enough to choose one you truly want over one who would merely do just fine." By all appearances, he read no hint of a personal attraction in what Portia had just suggested, as though he believed he was chosen simply for being conveniently present.

Resolve to be humble could be so useful at times.

Most heartening was the word of Sigvard's affection and regard for Jenny, heartening enough for him to smile inwardly at the thought. One of the truest compliments he had ever heard spoken of anyone, honest and meaningful. How Sir Aorle remembered Jenny was as likable and well-grounded, although far too shy and timid when they spoke. Sigvard would be good for her.

Now for the other dreams. One of them was greeted with a warm smile. "A dressmaker? You will be welcome to join me on my eventual estate, we would have use for that skill. Not for me of course, whatever you may think of my surcoat." The other dream, Stella's dream, was greeted with a cheerful question. "Would you not get bored?"

Briefly casting a glance back towards Rosemary to see if she was eager to resume walking, he adjusted his position to half-kneeling. So far he was glad to have returned for this, to see this brighter effect. "Ladies, do any of you have questions?" Were Rosemary eager to move this subject was suitable for bringing the conversation to a close, if not, this might serve to include any who had remained quiet out of nervousness.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Falcon Bertille on

Rosemary moved her hand to cover her mouth, hiding a smile as Aorle gently deflected Portia’s proposal. The women’s rather frank discussion of various matters -- especially Krarug’s ‘size’ -- had brought a touch of color to her own cheeks, and she admired Aorle’s ability to remain cool under fire. Also, Rosemary couldn’t help imagining how Julen would have handled a similar conversational assault. Probably by making a face like a fish and forgetting to breathe until he passed out. Was it possible to blush yourself to death?

Portia, for her part, seemed pleased by Aorle’s answer. While he hadn’t exactly set a date for the wedding, he also hadn’t mocked her or struck her with the back of his hand, which was the customary response when one such as her made a suggestion like that to one such as him. Instead, he’d implied that he was the one who wasn’t truly worthy of her. So kind. So gallant. Making a noise somewhere between a giggle and a sigh, Portia bowed her head, and quickly returned to her embroidery. She knew the others were going to tease her about this for a long while to come. But it had been worth it, to truly speak her heart and not be scorned in return.

Aorle’s comment about his surcoat earned a ripple of laughter and the potential dressmaker positively beamed. “Oh sir, I’d be so happy to be in your employ. And I’ll make you all the sir coats you desire.”

“I ain’t never had a chance to be bored,” Stella admitted, in response to Aorle’s question. “Maybe I’d like it.”

Rosemary listened to the former prostitutes speak about their dreams with growing interest. Such humble things. Things she already had -- she’d worked in the shop her family owned, she’d married a good man, she’d even had an occasional taste of boredom. And here she was, feeling sorry for herself, just because her life had hit a few bumps. She needed to be stronger than that. She needed to follow the example of these brave women.

So, when Aorle asked if there were any questions, Rosemary turned toward one of the women who hadn’t yet spoken. “Tulip? Do you have any dreams?”

Tulip blinked, like someone shaken from a deep sleep. “I...I was just remembering when I felt the sun on my face after we got rescued from that horrible place.”

This was followed by a long pause. Rosemary had nearly decided that Tulip must be finished, when the young woman started to speak again. “And at first, I thought my dream was to feel like that forever.” The words came slowly, as if Tulip was untangling some precious piece of thread, which might all too easily be lost or broken. “But then I remembered all the girls who are still in the shanty town. And I realized what I really wanted was for them to feel the way I did.”

“I guess my dream is to help them.” Tulip glanced down, slightly embarrassed. “I don’t know how I can. I’m not a warrior who can save them the way I was saved. But it’s like you said. Even if I don’t succeed, the effort isn’t wasted.”

Re: Estate in Training

Post by Sir Karsimir on

None of that came as a surprise from Tulip. She was the woman who recognised a risk taken to save her life before even making the rush for freedom, the woman who assisting in bringing the other refugees to safety, the one ready to take action for the sake of her fellows. She had impressed Aorle from the very first and stood out in his mind.

As indeed, she impressed him now. "Where wisdom begins is the words 'I don't know', because only then are we able to learn." On that subject, he had made mistakes, and what he was learning from them may be of use to her. "I have some knowledge to share. One way to achieve that dream is not by your hand or mine, but by the hands of those we have saved. You help one, and they may help another, who helps another, and another." Here he was drawing on his teachings on Humility, which was found not in contempt for the self but instead in respect for the rest of the world.

(move to Bargains).
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.


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