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Offline Milady Kim

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Remember
« on: December 09, 2010, 12:46:23 AM »
What do you remember? It is the first question people ask when they find out I am an orphan. I find it a difficult question because I don't want to remember.

So, what do I remember?

I remember running through the fields carrying a wooden basket of food for my father. I remember listening to my mother sing as she kneaded her bread dough. We lived in the frontier on a farm. My father had built us a nice cabin. We had cows and horses and we were happy there. I do not ever remember my parents angry or unkind. It was heaven to me.

But mostly I remember the night I lost it all.

It was almost dawn, I awoke with a start. There was odd sounds coming from my parents room, and I could hear my mother crying. I was just about to run to her when she began screaming.

At first I wanted to hide, as any five year old would. Never before had I heard a more agonizing cry. I stood paralyzed for a moment or two, then my baby brother began to fuss. I ran to his cot and tried to quiet him as best as I could. But he was becoming louder by the moment. So I did what any scared child would do. I took him and ran.

My father had created a hiding hole in one of the out buildings. We kept it supplied with emergency rations and blankets and clothes. My father had shown me over and over how to get into the hole. My mother had always shook her head and smiled about his preparations saying it was unneeded. But he had insisted and she relented and let him have his way on the subject.

I have always wondered if she had known that the hidey hole had saved mine and my brothers lives. But, I don't think she did. And since I have seen more of the world and how horrible some men are, I fervently hope she was died long before we were safely tucked away.

It was scary in the hole, funny how it had never frightened me before. Not with my father standing above with his big smile. But, on that cold morning it was terrifying.

I did my best to keep my brother quiet for as long as I could. It was early and the weather was cold and the dampness in the hole did nothing to soothe the babe. I dare not come out until my father came for me.  More than an hour passed before I started smelling smoke.

By now, my brother was screaming for all he was worth and I had tried everything I could to quiet him. I couldn't stay hidden any longer. Besides, I could hear strange mens' voices outside the door of the out building. Even more worrying I could hear odd thumps, as if someone was stacking a wood pile.

I left Karven, my brother, in the hole and crept out to see. As I crept toward the door I picked up a pitch fork and held it before me, ready for anything. I heard muffled yells, then cursing. Cursing was not something my parents did, and the foreign words frightened me even more than I already was.

Suddenly the door flew open and I stabbed the cursing man as hard as I could with the pitch fork.

Mr. Pockets is what he had said his name was when he visited our farm in the past. He was a hermit who traveled the frontier. He had no permanent home, but occasionally he would get lonely and visit the farmers in the area.

He was a funny man who told some of the most exciting stories and I had always envied him his freedom. Yes, even at five I longed for the adventures his stories promised.

Now, he was not so jolly. In fact he was downright crabby and cursing a blue streak. I kept my eyes on him, because if I didn't I would see our lovely cabin burning and if I watched that I just knew I would cry. I couldn't cry, I had Karven to take care of.

Wolf, as I learned he was also called, explained we had to leave. At my insistence we brought our sole surviving cow with us for Karven. Wolf wasn't pleased, and I am still surprised he managed to catch the terrified beast while he screamed obscenities at her. But, eventually we trooped away from everything I knew. I did look back once, it was a sorrowful sight and I have always wished I hadn't looked.

It took us weeks to get to the army encampment. Wolf had been injured and spent days in delirium. It was down to me to lead the way. And I can thank my father for that knowledge. He often instructed me on how to get to help. I cleaned Wolf's wounds and he helped me care for Karven. We fashioned a sling to help him carry Karven and he leaned against the cow to support his weight while I led the way following my fathers instructions. There were days when we could see our previous camp and days when Wolf simply couldn't be roused to travel. I worried the man would die on me and I would be left alone.

But, he didn't die and because my father was such a prepared man, we did make the fort. In some ways, I didn't really want to go there. I was a frontier child and wasn't used to people or tight quarters. We had spent months on our farm where we only ever saw each other and that suited me just fine. The fort was teaming with people and wagons came and went at all hours. I hated it and wanted to go with Wolf.


When we left the fort we headed back into the frontier and I thought he was going to keep us with him. It was what I wanted, so I was a bit disappointed to find he was taking us to someone else.  The man he introduced me to was huge.  Even sitting down I could tell he was a giant.  He seemed nice and took me into his lap.  It was cold and I was tired, so I fell asleep.  When I woke up, Wolf was gone, he hadn't even said good bye.  Ramon was telling me how I would like the home he would take me to.  He made me promises as we traveled.  Promised me that Karven and I would be together, promised me that I would like his home, promised me that we would be well taken care of. 

Ramon hired a dwarven nanny for Karven and we left the cow behind.  He hired a wagon and we rode together. Where did the wagon take me? Why to prison, of course. Alright, it didn't really take me to prison. But to a child raised in the frontier, a child who spent hours running through fields and playing with hand made toys, it was a prison.

The first thing they did was take my brother away. It upset me more than anything else about the whole ordeal had done. It took me days to find him again, but let me tell you that my brother was the only thing I cared about. I was constantly sneaking out of my dormitory and classrooms only to be found searching other dormitories and nurseries for him. He was the only thing in the whole world that was mine and I wasn't going to let this prison take him from me.  Besides, Ramon had promised they would let us stay together.

I made two attempts to break out of Talmarrii Orphanages. The first time I was caught just outside the gates. The only reason the caught me at all was because Karven had gotten a cold in the horrid prison they called our "home". The second time, we had made it half way to the escarpment before we were discovered.

It was after this second escape attempt that the Lord of Talmaran first spoke to me. That isn't true actually, I first met him the day Ramon had brought me here. The day the prison broke his promise to me.  I told Lord Mandrake about the promise Ramon, his son, had made to me.  He told me he hadn't known, that Ramon should have written his orders down. He did understand my need for my brother and they moved us into a room together. Despite the fact this had already been promised to me, it was based on my promise to remain and behave.

I did so. But I still hated the prison. I really felt that we were being punished because our parents had been killed. Somehow it was all our fault, and so they locked us away to keep us from allowing any other parents to die. I laugh to think of it now, but believed it wholeheartedly then.
 
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 05:58:38 PM by Milady Kim »

Offline Milady Kim

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Re: Remember
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 11:12:26 AM »
I spent my time at Talmaran Orphanage as an unhappy child. This in stark contrast to my brother, who didn't remember anything else, he thrived and was happy. Occasionally we were subjected to hopeful couples who wanted to adopt. But, I kept a fierce hold on my brother and scowled at any who dared to approach us. The Lord of Talmaran had a solid and fast rule about siblings, they had to be adopted together, and none wanted the angry girl child I had become.

Lord Mandrake Telbrantil was a good man and spent as much time with the children in the orphanage as he could. He was called Papa Drake and most children loved him dearly. I was usually sent to his office when I had become to difficult for my teachers and nurses to deal with. So vice it to say, we rarely met during any of my better days. I had ceased my escape attempts, but still behaved as if in prison.

Papa Drake did his best for me. He was the first person, outside of my father, to put a sword into my hands. He told me if I could strike him even once he would release me. Oh, how I tried to hit that man. I swung that sword until I thought my arms would fall off. I sat in a defeated slump sweating and panting, he stood with a grin. "Now, what say you to learning how to use that sword" he had said with a barely contained laugh.

My training began the next day, not with Papa Drake, but with a Cadet of the Palatine order who was at that time an instructor. I did well, and the added exercise helped my mood improve. Though, I still felt trapped and imprisoned. Eventually I began learning healing and around my twelve year, I discovered my power. This sparked new classes in my life.

Throughout my days I had retreated inward and became quiet and patient. I had no friends and most children avoided me and my sullen moods. My brother on the other hand, had many friends and felt as if he was home. He took to all his classes, usually finishing them at the top of his class. He was happy and carefree, I was almost a burden to him. I often overheard his friends as I either approached or left talking about me. I began to see him less and less. But, oh how I missed him. He was my only family, but I would not ruin his life. He was happy and I wanted him to be so.

When I turned sixteen, my imprisonment came to an end. I did not have to leave, but I was never a good student. Don't get me wrong, I could have been and spent years studying on my own to continue my eduction. But, there, in that prison I was passing my classes with as little effort as I could. The only things I had ever excelled at were weaponry and healing. Herbalogy was also a favorite as well as any of the outdoor classes offered. I could track and hunt and survive the wilds.

Papa Drake brought me to his office and gave me a pouch of coins. Is it odd to say I recognized the pouch? I had only been five when I last saw it, but there in front of me was the small bag of coins my father had stashed away in the hidey hole. I almost cried when I saw it, but I would not. Could not, dared not cry.

"I can't take that" I barely managed to say.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 10:38:53 PM by Lord Palatine »

Offline Milady Kim

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Re: Remember
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 01:12:35 AM »
"Of course you can Lassie, it belongs to you. I have held it trust until you came of age" he replied easily.

"But" I hesitated, "what about Karven? That should go for his upbringing and education" I said with a bit of a stammer.

I suppose I could have taken him with me. And done what, returned us to the frontier? Begged and borrowed our way through the world. He deserved more than I could give him, and I knew that.

"He can stay until he reaches the age of maturity. After that, he can get scholarships to continue his education if he wants" Lord Telbrantil replied.

"No" I said with much more emphasis than I had intended. "He is smart and belongs here. Use what is there to start his education now. I will send all the coins I can to pay for it." I didn't know where I would get what I promised, but I knew I would do this and more for him.

Papa Drake sat back in his chair and studied me for a long time. I began to fidget slightly, "really" I said, "I mean it. I will pay for him. He needs to be here, he needs the stability of home. This has never been home to me, but it is the only home Karven has ever known. Keep the coins and use them for him." I was more worried about my eleven year old brother than I was about myself.

"No" Papa Drake finally said, "I will see your brother educated, but you will take these coins. You are going to need them" he smiled kindly but firmly. "When you have money, you can send it. But this" he pushed the bag closer to me, "is yours and could be the difference between living or starving."

With that he rose and ushered me out of his office. I stood in the antechamber holding the bag and reeling from the knowledge that I was free to leave. I returned to my dormitory and packed my few meager things before I went to find my brother.

What I told him is private and I will not repeat it to you. Suffice it to say that I told him to stay and do his best. I also told him I would not come back. I couldn't come back, it wasn't a happy place for me.

The next morning I stood outside the gates of Talmaran, free at last. I felt reborn standing on the plains with the wind blowing through my hair.

Who am I? I am Koralyn Galberon and this was the first day of the rest of my life.

------

I headed west, why west? Because the frontier was west. I had dreamt of the frontier for eleven years. I was going home, finally.

But first, there were things I needed. A sword for one, maybe a horse. Food, tent, my list of things I needed was long. But most were very essential, without them I would surely die.

The last city in my journey west was Dorbantant. I had passed through it on my journey to the orphanage and now I would see it again on my way home. It wasn't a large city, nor a grand one. It had suffered severe damage in many wars and skirmishes. The city survived because it was the closest city to the frontier. It was the place to get fitted up and the it was a busy place. It was not lawless, but it did have the feeling that something was going to happen at any moment. There was a tension in the air, I didn't care for it at all. But, I had provisions I needed and set about filling my list of required items.

I was mostly complete, save the more expensive items, when it became to late to continue. Shops were closing about me and with frustration I finally decided to spend the coin to stay at an inn. This was something I hadn't wanted to do. Sometimes though, you just have no choice. I sought an inn and finally located one that allowed unattached female patrons. I had never before experienced prejudice about my sex and found it slightly vexing to say the least. This inn charged more than the others and I could see no difference in the security. I didn't have much of a choice though, so I stayed. And paid more for the room than I had for a months worth of food rations.

I was eating my food at a corner table when the tall blond entered. She was tall, beautiful and wild, I had never seen anyone like her before. She was escorted in by a rough man who had the distinct military manner of a sergeant. He paid for rooms for them both then led her away to the far end of the central room. I probably wouldn't have noticed them had there been other patrons. But there weren't any others, so I watched them as I ate.

He was explaining that she had to stay here. He had arranged a job for her, she on the other hand was sulky and angry and kept shaking her head. They were a sight, the two of them.

I didn't linger over my meal and eventually had to leave. It was just as well, it was rude of me to watch them so.

The next morning I went out in search of a sword and horse. I had no idea finding a sword would be so difficult. And it was after three that day when I finally found one with the proper balance. Too late to start out, and I still hadn't located a horse.

I reluctantly returned to the inn and paid the huge fee to stay another night. On this night, the sergeant was gone. But, the blond was not. In fact she stood blocking the stairs, and seemed oblivious that she was indeed in the way.
 
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 09:44:28 AM by Lord Palatine »

Offline Milady Kim

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Re: Remember
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2010, 12:34:11 PM »
I didn't want to confront her, but needed to put my heavy pack in my room. Finally I went to her, "you are blocking the stairs, please move" I said as nicely as I could.

She looked behind her then around the room. Finally her gaze fell on me. "There you are" she said as if waiting for me. She moved slightly and I headed up the stairs and didn't respond. I had found that by ignoring people, they often just left you alone. This woman didn't seem to notice. She followed me up stairs. "What are you doing here?" She asked, but didn't give me a chance to answer. "I was sent here to get me out of the way. We should go out tonight" she said as I approached my room.

"I have already paid for my evening meal" I replied, then slipped into my room and closed the door. Apparently I was not fast enough though because when I turned around the tall blond was reclining on my bed.

"We can eat first, then go have some fun" she said with a winning smile. There was something about her that made you want to smile with her, but I resisted the urge. I opened my mouth to speak, then she continued on. "There is this great bar I saw yesterday with loads of tall handsome men inside. We could go and get us some" she continued on. I was too stunned to reply this time, but that was alright because she went on. "You are pretty enough, and it will be fun, let's see what you have to wear" she said grabbing my pack.

Now that was really just too much. "It belongs to me" I said yanking it from her grasp.

"Not to worry" she said shaking her head, "I have just the thing" she jumped up and left the room.

I took a deep breath and reached to lock the door. I was too late though as she flung it open again waving a dark blue cloak, "see" she said, "it will look nice with your leathers" she said holding it up to me. She was wrong, it didn't look good, but the woman was just so pleased it was hard to say anything.

I had never met anyone quite like her. She seemed oblivious to any of the hints of anger I was showing. She didn't even notice that I wasn't speaking or answering her questions. On and on she rattled about, well honestly I don't know what she was saying as I had stopped even trying to listen.

I finally interrupted her, "I am hungry" I managed to get out.

"Me too" she said and ran her arm through mine and half dragged me down the stairs to the common room. She was excited about going to the bars, she seemed to really enjoy flirting with men. Either that or she had never had the opportunity before. I was unable to tell which it was. Before I knew it, we had eaten and she was sweeping me along to the bar.

I had never been to a bar, in truth, I had never wanted to go to one. I could smell the stale ale from the doorway and wanted to leave, but she would not release me. She swept me inside, the bar patrons froze and the men's eyes all turned to us. The woman practically glowed, and the men were drawn to her. She finally loosened her hold on me and I stepped back from her. It was no use though, I had somehow been caught up in her magnetism and within seconds a man through his arm over my shoulder, "let's get you a drink" he said leading me further inside and up to the bar.

The blond, I still didn't know her name, and I were surrounded by handsome men. I was reeling from the whole experience and barely spoke. No one even seemed to notice. I learned some things that night, one was that this mysterious blond did know about men. The other was that for whatever reason she had chosen me to be her friend and I would not be able to escape. The blond was oblivious to many things, I wondered how much of that was an act and how much was real. I just wasn't sure. But, it when a particularly foul man tried to force me to dance with him, she appeared from nowhere and punched him. He dropped to the floor unconscious and I knew I was something she was no longer oblivious to. She grabbed my arm and led me back into the group.

I was a bit unhappy about her rescuing me, I could defend myself. But it is very hard to remain angry with this woman. She is a force of nature with strong charisma and an even stronger drive for life. She likes to have fun and nothing will stop her from doing what she wants.

She had said she was sent here to get her out of the way. I found it hard to believe anyone would want her to leave and that made me a little nervous about her.

It was late when we returned to our rooming house with our escorts. The men didn't want to leave, but the blond told them all that they could come see her tomorrow night and that made them happy. We went to our own rooms and I gratefully closed and barred my door.

It was just before dawn the following morning when I rose and went downstairs with all of my things. I couldn't afford to stay in the city any longer. I still hadn't found a horse, but I was doubting I would be able to afford one. So there was no point in staying.

I entered the common room and found the blond again. She waved me over excitedly, "there you are" she said exactly as she had said the night before. "I realized last night that I forgot to tell you my name. I am Franchesca Korlyn" she said as if I should know who she was.

I gave her a nod of understanding. I mean really, how was I supposed to know who she was. "I am Koralyn Galberon" I replied.

"Our names are almost the same" she exclaimed delightedly. "I have to go to work today" she said without enthusiasm, "Barcus worked it out for me" she frowned. "But tonight we should go out again" she said beginning to glow again.

"I can't" I replied, "I have to go. I can't afford to stay and I need to get back to the frontier." I didn't mention how long I had been away. Unless I had to mention it, I would never tell anyone about my forced imprisonment, I mean being an orphan. "I am almost out of mon..." I began and she interrupted.

"You will stay with me" she decreed. "Barcus has paid for my room and I will pay for your food. I do get paid for working" she shrugged, "we will have fun. Then when Barcus is back at camp and too busy to follow me we will go to the frontier together" she announced. It was clear that I had lost. It would be too hard to lose this woman and it would be better to have a companion when I returned to the frontier. I simply nodded and she was off onto her plans for us that night.

I wandered the city while Franchesca was at work. I was still trying to find a horse I could afford. I had visited the most of the larger stables before I overheard one of the hands talking about how low the prices were of the new stables of Selnen Outfitters. I left and hurried straight there.

They were not hard to find, but I was surprised to see Franchesca leading a hulking stallion around a pen. She was so at ease with the beast. If Kora had been a man she would have been lost in her admiration of Franchesca. Kora turned to go inside and saw that she had been right, men were infatuated by her.

He was a short man, but his personality was great. She looked back to Franchesca, "Franchesca sure is something" she said as she turned back to him.

He collected himself and nodded, "she is good with the horses" he responded diplomatically.

"Yes, the horses are why I have come" Kora said getting to the point. "I have been trying to find a reasonably priced horse and heard you had the best prices."
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 05:44:35 PM by Lord Palatine »

Offline Milady Kim

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Re: Remember
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 04:30:34 PM »
He reluctantly tore his eyes away from Franchesca and led me into his offices. There he asked me my name and we discussed prices, but alas I still could not afford a decent mount. It was as I had expected, then he surprised me by offering me to purchases a horse on credit.

"I am afraid my debt is already to much of a burden to acquire more" I replied reluctantly. I rose and went to leave, I turned to him and again saw his gaze went out to the window to look at Franchesca. "Lord Bragg" I said to gain his attention again.

He has not introduced himself, but I did know him. I had seen him speak during guest lectures in Talmaran. Not that I would ever admit that to him. "If you try to tame her now, you will break her spirit. Her spirit is what calls to you and you will find you have won nothing." I turned and fled from him. I could hardly believe my impertinence. Never before I had done such a thing, and I chastised myself all the way back to my boarding house.

What business of mine was it? I had only known the woman for a night and didn't know anything about her. How could I know about such things. But, I knew I was right and hadn't been able to keep my thoughts to myself.

Franchesca returned after her day at work smelling strongly of horses. it was clear that being around the horses made her happy, because she was relaxed and calm. It was a welcome change, but didn't last very long. By the time she had bathed and the two of us ate, she was again ready to go out.

This time though, the men came for us. It was clear to me that Franchesca was magnetic. Men practically begged for her attention, and she loved it.

Three days later she received a letter from Barcus. "He is home" she said waving the letter. "We can leave in the morning."

"Shouldn't you quit your job first?" I asked her. I admit that I envied her that job. With such a job, I could start to send funds back to cover my brothers education.

"He only hired me as a favor, I doubt he will even notice I left" Franchesca said with a shake of her head. "What do we need?" She asked me and we spent the next few hours getting a pack ready for her, as I had already prepared my own.

That night as Franchesca fell asleep I thought about Lord Bragg's interest in my new friend. He would miss Franchesca, of that I was sure. But perhaps he would have listened to me as well and would let her go. I hoped he would, for to bring her back would be a devastating blow for her ego and would dampen her spirit considerably. Besides, she was an adult, she was even older than I was, she should be able to choose her own path.

-------
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 05:45:39 PM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Remember
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2010, 12:24:21 PM »
...I can haz more?  :D

Offline Milady Kim

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Re: Remember
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2010, 12:05:41 AM »
Franchesca and I had traveled for days. It was a long journey, though Franchesca didn't realize we even had a destination. I had a goal though, I was returning to where it all began. I didn't know what I would find and was equally sure I wouldn't like it. But I had to go home.

Franchesca didn't complain about much, and I appreciated that. About the only thing the blond woman really hated was cooking. She could cook, and often made porridge in the mornings. But she hated it and when she discovered I was a better cook than herself, she ceased cooking. Franchesca was good at one thing though, and if I had known I would have saved the coin I used to purchase a fire kit. Because Franchesca could light even the wettest wood and within moments of our gathering the wood had a fire blazing. I had always enjoyed cooking and didn't mind the burden. I did insist Franchesca help with the washing up though, it was only fair after all.

All during the journey I watched for Wolf. I didn't know if he still lived, and knew my chances of stumbling across the man were remote. Still, I looked daily as we journeyed deeper into the frontier.

We had probably been traveling for more than a week when I began to recognize my surroundings. Not much at first, just familiar glimpses that sparked my memories.

Franchesca never knew when we arrived at my families farm. I almost didn't know. Nothing remained of any of my fathers carefully constructed buildings. No tools remained, the site was barren of anything touched by man. But, I knew, I could feel it in my bones and see it in my memories.

I suggested we stop early, Franchesca agreed. We weren't on a time table after all and it was a lovely place to camp. There was a stream with fresh water and a small cove of trees to set up our tent. Within a quarter of an hour we were set up and Franchesca had a merry little fire with a small kettle of water heating.

I wandered around dazedly seeing the images of my past everywhere I looked. Wheat grew wild, spread from seed that had never been harvested. A large berry bush my mother had planted from a seedling she had brought with her to this isolated farmstead from her own parents farm. Yes, I was home.

I might have cried then, but Franchesca called out to me. "Water is boiling, come make tea." I laughed instead. She was hopeless, I thought as I made my way back to her.

"Can't you even make tea?" I asked as I returned. I was surprisingly grateful for her interruption, but would never have admitted it.

"But you make it so much better" she said with a feigned pout. "Besides, we need bread and since we stopped early you have time to make it" she declared.

I laughed again and threw a empty bag at her, "I saw some berry bushes, go collect them and we will have dessert tonight." I didn't watch her go. I didn't need to, I knew she would like they change in diet enough to collect the berries.

I slept fitfully that night, my dreams were clouded with my memories and I had nightmarish dreams of that horrible night. Not true memories, they were more like the memories I would have experienced had Wolf not come. But, somewhere in that terrible night a peace came over me. I was home, I was safe and I wasn't alone. Nor was I that frightened child anymore. I was a grown woman now and I could take care of myself, and when I couldn't, I knew Franchesca would.

I woke with a start when that realization hit me. I had barely met her, why would I think that. I turned to looked at her as she slept. She would be there, I knew that but had no idea how I did. Franchsca stirred and muttered something. Then she opened her eyes and stared at me. "Good, your awake. I am hungry" she grinned and rose heading to start the fire. "I found a big kettle yesterday, help me bring it to the fire and we can heat water for washing" she said pulling on her boots.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 03:40:55 PM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Remember
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 11:10:56 AM »
We stayed two more days at the place that was once my family farm. We took advantage of the extremely heavy pot to wash all our clothes and ourselves before we hid it away in the berry bushes. We didn't know if we could use the pot again, but it was far to heavy to lug about with us.

After that we traveled aimlessly. We scavenged, forested and hunted to make our food supplies last. Was it glamorous? I would say not. Were we happy? Yes, we were free of the confines of regimented life and came and went as we pleased. It was everything I had dreamt of.

Franchesca and I got along well. We never fought and rarely argued. Franchesca learned quickly that I would follow unless I objected to what ever crazy idea she came up with, and that if I objected we wouldn't be doing it. So, things became easy between us. We didn't speak of our past. I have been asked over the years why we were friends. I can't really answer that, can anybody? But, I think it was because she was who I might have been had my life not been interrupted and I provided a calm to her waves of emotions.

A week or so after we left my farm we were following a game trail up a steep hill. When we reached the top we were surprised to see a man standing there.

He was a tall man with white hair and wore long white gleaming robes. He looked like a wizard and I knew him instantly. He was a wizard, he was Galen Chalise and he was the most powerful practitioner of magic our realm had.

I gave him a suspicious look, but Franchesca grinned and approached him. I had a sneaking suspicion that Lord Bragg had asked this man to watch over us. Though I never voiced this concern, after all what harm was there in his knowing we were alright. It would ease his worries.

Galen offered us a job and Franchesca leapt at the chance. She saw nothing wrong with excepting a strangers word. And agreed before she even asked me. I would not have objected anyway, because I knew Lord Chalise to be a kind honorable man.

We set off immediately to perform his simple task. Franchesca spoke almost incessantly after we had met him, though it was clear she had no idea who he was.

"I am going to be like that one day" she told me as we traveled to the crossroads. The crossroads were known far and wide. It was a place in the frontier where two roads, for lack of a better word, intersected. They had been formed by invading armies and were used to frequently that the roads had not been over grown as you might expect.

"What, an old man?" I asked her with a smile.

"No" she ignored my joke, "a powerful rich wizard. One day I am going to have the coins to send people to do the menial tasks I don't want to do" she informed me.

"How do you know he is a wizard, or rich for that matter?" I replied.

"Didn't you see his wizard robes? And he must be rich or he couldn't afford to pay us for the task" she said with utter sincerity.

I didn't argue further, she believed and nothing I would say could dissuade her. Besides, she was right. He was a powerful rich wizard and I knew it, but she didn't and trusted him anyway.

At the crossroads we were told to wait for four days. If someone came to the crossroads we were to take what they gave us and return it unopened to Galen. If no one came, we would get nothing and could go about our quest. He had told us to hide ourselves well, as the crossroads were dangerous and many fell prey there.

So that is what we did. On our first night we had sequestered ourselves in the woods and watched the crossroads. It was a quiet night, and we dared not have a fire. As we prepared for sleep the most beautiful sight I have ever seen came upon us.

Dragons flew over head in spirals and patterns. Hundreds of them circling and diving. It was the mating season and both Franchesca and I were mesmerized. It was so beautiful watching them soar in the light of the setting sun. We watched until almost dawn and as the first rays of the sun began to come over the horizon a gigantic red beast swept over our camp and blew our things around from the wind rushing past his wings.

We lay silent waiting for him to return, but he didn't. "That was great" my friend said with a ragged breath, "a real live dragon" she looked at me, "I think he liked me" she said with a serious face.

I laughed, I just couldn't help it. "I think he would like to eat you for breakfast" I corrected her. "He probably noticed our camp as he headed home and decided to see what we were doing" I said reasonably.

"It was a challenge" she countered.

"Well we are not going to answer it then" I said in my firmest voice. The one that told her I wasn't having any of her crazy ideas. "Besides, we are on a mission" I reminded her, "a paid one I might add."

She gave a sigh and a nod then went to sleep. I took a deep steadying breath and returned to our hiding spot to watch the crossroads.

We had spent three days there and I was starting to doubt anyone else would come. It had not been a bad wait and we had rested well. But I admit I felt a little let down.

And then, he was there. Standing by the post some past traveler had placed to mark the crossing. He hadn't been there a moment before, I am sure of that. I tugged Franchesca's sleeve and pointed.

"There he is" she exclaimed with a grin. "He sure took his time." We went out to meet him together, though Franchsca led the way. She was our unofficial leader, and who was I to argue with her.

The boy surprised me, he really was a boy. He looked about twelve or so and held out the bundle. Franchesca took it victoriously while I studied the boy. "How old are you? Are you alone?" I asked him concerned. He glanced at me, then turned and went back into the forest on the far side of the crossroads. I ran after him, but once inside the forest, I realized he was gone. Just like that, like a ghost. I was stunned and wanted to learn that trick. Franchesca and I traveled about making nonstop noise. This boy was silent and quick and even the leaves didn't notice his passing.

Speaking of the leaves, something was wrong with them. There were two or three, it was hard to tell, body shaped lumps. I approached one carefully fearing it was a trap of some sort and stuck a stick into it. I hit something solid and soft, then I noticed the smell.

"Franchesca" I called, "come see" I called again. I had found bodies, and they were without a doubt dead. They had been dead perhaps half a fortnight and they reeked. But, we did what we needed to do and we pillaged them but good.

Whatever or who ever had killed these men hadn't done it for their possessions because we came away with quite a few things. Exciting things, expensive things and most importantly magic things.

Not knowing what had killed them spurred us into leaving. We packed as quick as we could and hurried back to meet Galen Chalise. We traveled hard that day, wanting to put as much distance between us and the dead men as we could. We didn't stop until almost dawn, and then we took turns at watch. We only slept for two hours each before we headed back again.

"I have been thinking" Franchesca said to me as we traveled, "I don't think that was a man" she said simply.

"The dead men, of course they were men" I replied.

"No, the one we met. I think it was a woman" she said.

"It was a boy" I told her.

"Couldn't be" she disagreed, "he didn't even notice me."

I stared at her, this woman had more confidence than she could contain. "Maybe he isn't interested in girls yet" I countered reasonably.

"Nope" she shook her head, "men, boys it makes no difference. They all notice me" she said with a tone of finality.

I was dumbstruck, how does one respond to such a statement? I didn't, I just picked up our pace back to Galen.

When we returned he stood in the same spot. It was as if he had waited there the whole time we had been away.

Franchesca held up the package, but didn't approach him. "We had a deal" she declared. "I have our half, show me your half" she said defiantly. I could see her fingers of her opposite hand forming into her fire spell. Maybe I had underestimated her a little in my assessment of her deviousness. She had believed him, but only up to a point. She knew he would want what she brought, and wasn't all that certain he would pay when they returned. If he didn't pay, she would destroy it. What then, well then we would be fighting for our lives I am sure.

Galen held up a bag then gently tossed it to me. "We did have a deal" he nodded and never took his eyes off my friend. Typical really, men always watched her, I was a shadow compared to her.

I picked up the bag and looked into it, "he was truthful" I told her, "give him the parcel." She tossed it to him gently, but still her fingers held their waiting spell.

"Don't follow us" she told him as she backed away. She grabbed my arm and led me away with her. I stole a quick glance back at Lord Chalise and he had the oddest expression on his face. He seemed to be holding back laughter, I hadn't ever seen him laugh before. I gave him as much of a bow as I could while being carted away and he returned it briefly, then vanished.

That got Franchesca's immediate attention. "Oh" she exclaimed, "I must learn to do that" she said with interest. "How do you think he does it?" She asked, then spent the rest of our day prattling on and on about magic and the laws that govern it and on and on, and on and on.

I didn't listen very closely and only interjected when I heard obvious mistakes. See, I had taken formal training and she hadn't. Her powers were wild and mine were more controlled. We were opposites in that way, as we were in so many other ways. She took power from the world around her, I took mine from within myself. Hers was explosive, mine was calming and healing. We were the opposite sides of a coin, we belonged together and everyday cemented our friendship all the more.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 03:46:36 PM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Remember
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 11:46:55 PM »
We didn't linger on that hilltop. We didn't disappear in a blink of an eye either, but we traveled long and hard to get some distance.

That evening we paused and went through our findings. We hadn't told 'the wizard' about finding the bodies and he didn't ask. What we found was amazing. Franchesca held up a small coin pouch. It was odd and had tiny hands for a clasp. She worked them trying to loosen them before frowning. Then her eyes opened wide. "Its magical" she exclaimed, "I have seen this before, one of the officers had one." She worked harder and finally managed to get the hands apart. She put her hand into the bag and gave a smile of sheer delight. "Look" she said pulling out some gold coins.

I also had a bag, a magical one. Mine was different though. It was a saddle bag and it was far easier to open, having no enchantment binding it to a single person as Franchesca's bag had. "A bag of holding" I smiled happily at my find. My bag was limited, but the ten by ten by ten foot space was more than I needed. I quickly emptied my bag of the contents and found it contained mostly provisions. Helpful, for two women in the frontier with dwindling supplies. I removed the horse feed and hay and replaced them with my own pack.

Of course, Franchesca's bag held the real goods. If only we could figure out what might be in it. For her bag, she had to think of an item and it would come to her hand. I am sure the original owner had a mental list of what the bag contained, we were limited by our imagination. But, in an odd way that was the best part. We spent many a night guessing objects the bag might contain, it whittled away our evenings.

That was when we were attacked. We hadn't expected it, though we really should have. I think back and wonder at the fact that we had wandered for months, in the wilds, and we only had to defend ourselves once.

It was a viscous attack by a monster with multiple arms. He was over nine feet tall and had a barrel like chest with massive legs and giant feet. He swung clubs from each of his massive hands and when we were hit, we fell hard. Painfully hard, trust me, I remember. After his initial attack we managed to pull our swords and beat him back a ways. It was brutal work, we hit him over and over. It was like we were flies to him, and a single blow from him practically left us unconsciousness. I think it took us an hour to finally beat the thing into submission before we were able to kill it. We were sore and battered and covered in blood. We were a sorry sight, and what was worse was he had nothing for us to pillage.

We left the beast where he fell and hurried away. We knew the smell of blood would attract other creatures and we had no desire to battle again so soon.

A few hours later we came to a stream and were able to clean ourselves and our clothing of the dried blood. I patched up our cuts and healed the worst of our wounds.

"It was a Bugbear" I told a sweating panting Franchesca.

"What the hell is that?" She demanded.

"A large humanoid monster with multiple limbs that kills unprepared wandered?" I suggested lamely. "I don't know much else" I admitted. Monster classes had never ben favorites of mine and I rarely paid close attention.

We decided then to return to Selnendrin. We needed to recuperate and restock and after that wake up call we were both more than ready. We took a different route back, if only to see more land.

(OOC- I am matching memories of actual game play with writings from LP's book. There will be an edit when I have gotten the story complete to completely blend the two stories. Everything that Franchesca and Kora did happened in game play, all memories of being a child (save for her being an orphan) are based on a history created by Tim and myself.)

Actually, it was closer to the route I had taken with Ramon when I was a child. This was not by my doing, it just happens to be a common route.

We traveled along the edge of the Durgan mountains, though we did not visit the dwarves who lived inside. Our journey eventually took us onto the plains of Talmarii.

I was a bit trepidacious about my returning to the capital city of Talmar and urge us to make for Dorbantant again. I was happy with Franchesca easy relenting and that she didn't question my desires.

We still had no horses, but Talmarii was a horse clan and we found a out of the way stable that had horses for sale. Franchesca knew far more about horses than I did. I was happy to let her pick and negotiate with the owner.

He was a shrewd man, but Franchseca was used to dealing with men. She pretended ignorance and wandered the stalls looking like a bubble-headed blond. I was stunned and watched my friend again with surprise.

She found a mangy looking horse in the far back of the barn. It didn't look like his stall had been cleaned in days. I wondered why the man had allowed this horse to be so mistreated. Franchesca beamed at the owner. "How much is he?"

The owner gave a grin and an extremely low price. It was clear he would be glad to see the backside of this horse. "Your prices are so good" she exclaimed. "We will take this one too" she said passing him double the coin he had quoted. She didn't pause at all as she lifted the bars of the stalls and led the horses outside.

There are times in your life when you would like to remember an image forever. The look on that horse owners face was one of those times for me. He was so bowled over, he almost sputtered. He tried to say something a few times actually. It was more like a stutter, Franchesca didn't even notice. Franchesca was busy nuzzling the obnoxious horse. He sighed, and nodded at me. "It is worth it to see him gone" he resigned himself. It was fate. It had to be, she still has that horse.

I looked to my own newly acquired steed. He was a large stallion, dark brown and sleek smooth coat. There was nothing noticeably remarkable about him; he was a fine breed, well trained and had come at a great price.

"I am naming my horse after that monster we killed" Franchesca informed me. "Bluebear is a fine name for a fine horse" she said patting the horses neck.

"It was a Bugbear" I reminded her.

"Isn't that what I said" she asked, "Bluebear" she said again.

I laughed, why argue? It really wasn't worth the trouble, and what did it really matter in the end.

We returned to Dorbantant mounted with coin in our pockets. We had succeeded. Many had not, the wilds of the frontier were deadly dangerous. We felt like we had just conquered the world.
We bathed and ate well that night and we both rested after our long journey.

The next morning we made a list of supplies we wanted for our next trip. Then we split up the list and each headed our own way. This had been my idea, I had a few errands to run and didn't really want to explain them to Franchesca.

My first stop was Selnen Outfitters. I had a favor to ask of Lord Bragg. "Lord Bragg" I said upon being shown into his office. "I have a favor to ask" I said wishing I could think of another way. "I was hoping that you could perhaps deliver a small package for me. I wouldn't ask, but I know you visit the academy in Talmar frequently and I worry the package might" I sent down a small leather pouch with a ching of coins clanking, "not make it without a trusted person to carry it." I was so nervous, the last time I had seen him I had rudely interjected unasked for opinions, then I absconded with his stable hand. It could be possible he would just throw me out, but I doubted it.

"Of course" he frowned at the bag before looking at me with a questioning look. "Will this be an ongoing task?" He asked and his words made me worry that he was angry. He held up a hand, "here" he turned and rummaged around on his desk muttering about nothing being where he wanted it to be. "This" he handed her a stiff card, "will allow you to send letters and packages from any Selnen Outfitters for a small fee" he smiled, "it is a new service."

I smiled and gave a relieved nod, "thank you, My Lord" I opened the bag and slipped two letters into it. "Lord Telbrantil will know what to do with it" she assured him, then curtsied and fled from his office with the card held tight in her grasp.

« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 09:28:08 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: Remember
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2010, 12:10:13 AM »
We spent our days in Dorbantant gathering supplies and buying better equipment. My bastard sword was replaced with a great sword and I even managed to purchase a great bow. We spent our nights partying and flirting. We enjoyed ourselves greatly.

We spent the next year or so coming and going from Dorbantant as we explored the frontier. Sometimes we traveled with people we met, sometimes we traveled with just the two of us. The people we met were not people of note and we kept no lasting ties with them.

I don't know exactly how long we traveled in and out of the frontier. We didn't keep track of time. We did use that time wisely. We became stronger and more powerful with our magical talents everyday.

We had also been amassing small fortunes. I don't know what Franchesca did with her coins, but I continued to send money back to Talmarrii for my brother.

On one return trip Franchesca suggested we visit the capitol city. "All the important people live in Hestebur" she said in a tone that said we were going. I didn't argue. She wanted to go, I went. I suppose I could have refused, but she was my friend and I didn't want to lose her.

So, we traveled to Hestebur. It was a huge city, built on a flattened mountain and sheathed in marble. We rode up through the caves, and into the bussleling city.

We wondered the streets in awe. Or at least I was in awe. I assume Franchesca was as well, because she was unusually quiet.

"We need to find an inn" I said as we road. We had already passed large decadent houses and were now coming upon the houses of state. Ahead we could see the Pallace, parliment and Handron Hall. The three large buildings were surround with a great wall of marble.

"We are staying at The Traveler. It is the largest inn in the entire country and anyone who is anyone stays there" she announced grandly. "I checked" she assured me. Of course she had checked. How silly of me to have doubted it.

Across from the main gates to the Palace was a magic shop. Franchesca watched the store front as we rode by. I could tell we would be visiting that shop very soon.

We eventually entered the main shopping district of the city. There were so many shops, that I worried about spending all of my hard earned coins too quickly.

The Traveler was indeed a huge inn. It encompassed a city block and stood four stories tall. The lobby was crowded and we soon found out there were restaurants, shops, casino and boredello located inside. Everything was very grand and fantastic.

Grooms took our horses and led them away to stables while we paid for rooms. We bathed and dressed in our best clothes. Not that we had anything so grand as some of the other patrons.

We dined in the main dining room and were treated very well. It was as we were sipping our after dinner brandy when a tall man smoking a cigar approached us.

"I am Thomas" he introduced himself, "welcome to my inn. May I join you?" He asked the last part of Franchesca. She nodded and motioned for him to sit. He, like so many other men, had his eyes on her. I was used to it by now.

Franchesca was six foot tall, blonde and built. She exuded sexuality and confidence. I, in contrast, was five foot three and dark haired. Although I was in no way ugly, I wasn't a striking beauty either. Part of what drew people, men and women, to her was her confidence. She expected addoration and she received it. I expected to be ignored, and I was.

After dinner Thomas gave us a tour of the inn. All the while smoozing Franchesca. He didn't exactly ignore me, I was included, but it was Franchesca that had caught his eye.

"We are hoping to buy some property here in the city" I said at a lull in the conversation. "Could you recomend a good agent to help us?"

"Of course" he said easily. "Balfour Bragg is the man" he explained and told us how to find him. "I will arrange a meeting with him for the two of you tomorrow." The way he said it let me know that Balfour Bragg was a busy man, and he would agree to meet with us because Thomas asked him to.

He stayed with us for the rest of the evening. He tried to teach Franchesca how to gamble, but she wasn't good at it. I on the other hand had often gambled at the orphange. I was good and won a tidy sum before the end of the night. He escorted us to our rooms, and I am sure he was hoping Franchesca would invite him in. For once, she didn't.

When we were back in our rooms I spoke to her. "He sure is intersted in you. He would be a mighty fine feather in your cap. He is rich and powerful" I pointed out. "Of course, if you did entertain him" I shrugged, "he might grow tired of you." It was a mean thing to do, but she went through men so quickly that I worried about her. Besides, I liked the man and was afraid if he grew tired of her he would lose interest in us and we would be in this strange city knowing no one. At least he was a contact, and I knew he was a good contact to have. I knew this because he too visited the orphange and Talmar Accademy. He was a great benefactor of the orphange, and friends with Papa Drake.

"He would be a fun lay" she said thoughtfully, "we will see what happens." She said uncommitedly.

The next day we went to see Balfour Bragg. I wasn't sure how he was related to Cecil Bragg, but they were definately related. The were very similar in build and appearance, though they were probably not brothers.

Franchesca told him she wanted a fine estate in a good part of town and shortly after expressing her wishes she went off with one of his men to look at properties. That left me with Balfour.

"I am looking for a business prospect that will make me money. Not a lot mind you. But, I have to pay for my brothers education and I can't do that without funds."

He nodded wisely and looked out of his window to a small inn across the street. "What about an inn? It is small, but with proper management it might do very nicely." He rose and led me to the inn. It was run down and shabby and looked like it had seen some hard times. "It is cheap" he told me as we toured the closed inn. "If you spent the price again on renovations, it would bring in paying cutomers. It is nicely located just across from the Theater" he said pointing to a large building kittycorner to the inn. "Make it a cozy inn with a restaurant and you would soon be hosting couples on dates and housing newlyweds visiting the city."

His ideas were good and the price and location were optimum. "I will need to hire a staff" I said thinking of the expense of having employees.

"I will help you find a manager" he promised. "Is it a go? I can have the place in your name before the end of the day" he grinned. "I bought it sometime back because it had aquired an unsavory crowd."

I stared at him with a look of distrust at that point. "I am a Bragg" he laughed, "we don't cheat and we don't suffer fools messing about our intersts. It was a danger to my own intersts, so I eliminated the threat."

"Very well" I smiled, "on the condition that my manger also be a Bragg" I said, "then I can travel knowing I am in good hands."

"Done" he said quickly and shook my hand firmly. We had finished the paperwork before Franchesca returned. And we spent some time talking. I liked this man, he was kind and I trusted him. We became fast friends.

Franchesca sooped in, laughing. "I found the best house" she exclaimed. I smiled and left her to negotiate with Balfour. He did not own her house and it took days before her dream home was finally hers.

Within two days I had a manager, and he didn't let any grass grow under his feet. He had work crews there, clearing out the trash before I had even met him. Dannen Bragg was his name and he and I understood each other instantly. Dannen had brought simple plans he had drawn up for what he thought the inn should be like. I had very few additions, he had even planned out my own rooms. Something I hadn't considered. I had just thought to use a vacant room when I returned to the city. But he informed me that all fine ladies such as myself should have a private suite, and would hear no argument against the notion. I didn't own many things, and had no idea what I would do with the space, but as usual I relented and let him have his way.

Over the years I came to appreciate his thoughtfulness on that issue. Perhaps I was not a fine lady, then. But, he always treated me as one. I would dare anyone to refer to me as anything else in his presense, no actually I wouldn't. He might just actually accidently kill them.

During our renovations, Franchesca house also had to be refurbished, we lived at The Traveler. We both had Braggs we had hired to manage our properties, and construction progressed rapidly. I am sure that Franchesca paid far more than I had, and I know she required more staff than I. But in the end, my property earned me money and hers never did.

Thomas dinned with us regularily, always flirting with Franchesca. She remained unneffect by his advances. I have always wondered if she just didn't fancy him, or if she took my advice. I have never asked her, and now the point is moot.

After a month, both Franchesca and I were becoming antsy. We hadn't stayed in one place for long. And the extended city life was getting to us. Then, Thomas came to us and asked us to join him on a little trip he had to take.

It was an undercover trip, to a foriegn country. He wanted Franchsca to pretend to by a duchess and I would be her attending lady. He would be our escort, and there were a few others who posed as guards and the like.

We agreed, and Thomas bought Franchesca fancy dresses and other items a highborn lady might require. I did get a few dresses too, but not nearly as fine as hers.

We spent one night in our new homes before we left with Thomas. We traveled magically, or so I thought at the time. Franchesca was facinated by that and asked Thomas all sorts of questions about the procedure.

We stayed at a large inn and Thomas arranged for a fine coach to take us about the city. Franchesca was free to shop and flirt, I was left to spy and gather information.

She loved the trip, of course. She easily filled the part of a rich brainless noble lady. She flirted and was invited to balls. I attended them as well, and while she distracted the noblemen and women, Thomas and I did the dirty work.


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Re: Remember
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2013, 01:34:55 AM »
The next few years Franchesca and I spent our time split between helping Thomas with his investigations and the frontier. It soon became known that we were either in the city, out in the frontier or off with Thomas.

It was during this time that I learned the Franchesca had been raised by a frontier sergeant. She hadn't meant for me to know this, and I hadn't pried. Please do not think that of me. We were out in the frontier and ran across a small patrol. I might not have even noticed anything amiss if she hadn't been so jumpy. But, in her efforts to avoid these men she clearly knew too much. I knew the ranking structure and what the ranks looked like because of school. But she knew them by the stance of the man and the way he wore his uniform, she knew it the way one only does if they were raised in such an environment. If that hadn't been enough, they knew her as well.  They were also looking for us, so all her efforts to avoid then were wasted because they just kept coming. I must say, we did give them a mighty fine little chase for a week or so. But the fun was over when they finally caught up to us. The reason they sought us was to bring us news that (sergeant that raised her) had been injured in a bad fall.

All the games were over and Franchesca led us unerringly straight to his camp. I left her there and returned to Hesterbur. It was the first time I was in the city without her.

Actually, it was one of the first times I had been without Franchesca since I had left Talmarrii. I went to my hotel and after a week of relaxing boredom I decided to explore the city more fully. I went to every shop in the district. I was still bored, well why wouldn't I be? I dislike shopping, I always had.  I missed Franchesca and her zest for life.

Finally I ended up in the Traveler. I could have eaten in my own hotel, but I needed a change of pace. So I asked for a table for one in the grand dining room.  Shortly after I was seated and had ordered, Thomas joined me. It was a surprise, that he asked after Franchesca first off was not. Still, I would not turn down the company, it was good to have someone new to talk with.

This was the beginning of Thomas and I dining together. I don't think either of us ever noticed it become a habit, but it did.  Though that is a different story.

Finally after what seemed like months, but was really probably only a couple of weeks. I received a letter from Franchesca asking me to return so we could finish our trip. It was strangely accusatory, like I left just to irritate her. I returned and we headed out again.

This time we were stopped again, and again it was by the military. An officer pulled Franchesca aside and gave her a piece of paper. She read it and became livid, I moved closer having never seen her so angry before. I was worried, not about her, about him. I took the letter and read it, "you have been given a warrant of commission?" I asked her in awe.

"I am not in the military" she raged, "I never agreed to this" she said ripping the paper from me and thrusting it at the officer.

I calmly took it again and read it through to the end. I was surprised to see who it was that had done this. But I had seen that signature before. It was a true warrant of commission, no denying it.

Franchesca whirled on me, "I didn't write anything down and I didn't agree to this no one can make me serve" she said again giving the paper back, or rather trying to. He refused to accept it.

I sighed, "Where is the addendum" I enquired, clearly Francisca was too incensed to even read the paper.

Franchesca was angry, the man was confused. He had probably never had anyone get so angry about a warrant of commission before. Most purple were proud to get one of those, but Franchesca saw it as a noose and she hated the loss of freedom. Not that I could blame her, I am sure that I would not have been pleased with receiving the warrant either. But, I would like to think I would have handled it with a tiny but more grace and dignity. Oh, who am I kidding? I would have returned to the capitol and demanded to see the king so I could tell him how he had ruined my life.

It wasn't me though, so I got the pleasure of watching her rant and rave and scream and shout and put and in general throw a fit. It was quite the performance and in the end, that piece of paper still said the exact same thing and nothing she said could change it.

The addendum, it seemed was to be picked up south of us. These men were to escort us so that nothing could harm us along the way. Which, of course, sent Franchesca into a new set of rages. Her emotions were like nothing I had seen yet. 

It took some convincing, but I finally talked the men into following us where we couldn't see them so that Franchesca could deal with her thoughts more privately. And surprisingly, they agreed, after many promises to not run off.

When we arrived at the meeting point there was a fresh squad of uniformed men awaiting us. Or rather her, and Thomas carried the addendum. That we had the mission, I can tell you, what we did. That is not something I can or will discuss. Let us just say that we did it, did it very well and the king never rescinded his warrant of commission for Franchesca. From then on, all papers bearing her name also bore the rank of Lancer and she hated that. It was like a burr under the saddle that you just can't get at.

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Re: Remember
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2013, 11:12:41 AM »
It was sometime after this that Cecil Bragg came into our lives. We had seen him periodically over the years. But now he was a constant, he even moved into Franchesca's house. I don't think she noticed his constant presence. He was just always there, always helpful, always wiling to do whatever she wanted to do. He became such an important figure in her life, and yet even I could not tell you when it happened.

Me? You still want to know what I did? I studied, and furthered my education. When I wasn't doing that, I traveled with Franchesca Thomas and Cecil, I helped Franchesca build her duchies.  I stood with her when she married, when she had her triplets.  Francisca is a big part of my life. Perhaps that makes me sound like a follower, but I don't see it that way and I don't think Franchesca does either.
Family, no matter how you define it, is the world to both Franchesca and myself. Neither of us had a normal happy childhoods.  We are family, Franchesca is my wild crazy outgoing sister.

I have had very little in my life that was truly mine. My brother, my friend Franchesca and my husband Thomas, these are my all. Nothing else matters to me, nothing ever will matter more than those I love. I know all too well losing everything can happen to anyone.

I still make payments to the Talmarran Orphanage, I have probably paid for my brothers fine education ten times over. Keeping these payments going keeps me grounded. I still dislike the place and it still makes me feel alone and lost but I am also grateful to the generosity and patience of Papa Drake.  When he passed away I attended the funeral, though it was held in Talmarran. I would have gone even if I hadn't befriended him in my adulthood.  He was one of the most important men to me and my development.

There are three men who I owe for saving my life, Wolf, Ramon, and Papa Drake.  Without them I doubt I, or my brother, would have survived. I can not thank any of them as they are all gone for many years now. So I will dedicate this book to their memories.

To Wolf Bragg, may your spirit guide you to a lush land with ale waterfalls.

To King Ramon Telbrantil-Melldress I, may you always reign with a good heart. Yes, I wrote that down.

To Mandrake Telbrantil, may you always have a laughing child on your knee and may your spirit be free.

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Re: Remember
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 11:14:10 AM »
Expect big edits now that the story is done!

 

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