One day early in the Spring, Lady Rosalind heard an explosion in the kitchen, and ran to see what had happened. Feeling panicked, she whirled around, looking for help, or a bucket of water.
Brice, one of the men-at-arms, heard her cries and ran in, but he couldn’t find any water either.
Thankfully, both Lady Joslyn and Lady Elizabeth were there in just a moment, with buckets, and were able to douse the fire.
Outside, Millicent Wise was putting away the gardening tools and heard the yells. She called for Hadley, who was serving as a maid in the household to help pay off her family’s debt.
“Hurry and draw water to heat for the ladies’ baths,” she instructed Hadley, knowing that was what they would need after fighting the fire. “I will sweep up the ashes, and salvage the stew.”
Rosalind went last to bathe, since her elders were exhausted and needed to retire.
Just as Lady Rosalind sat down to a meal of lamb stew Hadley had prepared, the Squire, Lady Jane, returned home, with news. Lady Jane had decided it to be prudent, to enter into an oath of fealty to Alban Stirwuard, for the protection of Ayre, particularly from the old lord himself. Although Lord Stirwuard needed Lady Chevalier to administer the hold, because so many families looked up to her in memory of her father, and in gratitude to her leadership through hard times, Lord Stirwuard was deeply distrustful of Lady Chevalier, due to rumors that Lady Elizabeth was abducted by fairies before Jane’s birth, and even more so, due to Jane’s affection and loyalty to her Lady, Rosalind, rather than a traditional marriage of alliance with a man.
Lady Jane was the Chevalier heir, and a knight, since in these desperate times a woman’s skill was at least given grudging respect. However, without a male heir, her power and her claim to the land was greatly diminished. And, most of the fighting men of Ayre had perished, leaving the hamlet defenseless. It would not be difficult for Lord Stirwuard to find a pretense to take over the hold and remove the Chevaliers from their appointment.
“To seal our oath,” Lady Jane said, “We are to adopt a foundling nephew of Lord Stirwuard, who will inherit this hold. In exchange, Lord Stirwuard will permit us to administer the hold and to live as we have chosen, as if lord and lady.”
The day came for Edwuard Stirwuard to arrive at the manor keep. Lady Rosalind woke early to ready the household.
Edwuard was a young, fair boy with a quiet, but confident air. Lady Rosalind brought him to her Lady, Elizabeth, to inspect and instruct. Edwuard was to share quarters with Lady Elizabeth, his adopted grandmother, and his education was to be at her command.
Hadley was in the kitchen, preparing the morning breakfast for the family.
Hadley served the family and then sat in the kitchen to eat some porridge. Meanwhile, Lady Elizabeth laid out her plans for Edwuard’s learning.
Instruction in swordsmanship began after breakfast. The Squire sent for Mari, of the Berry household, as a role model for her new ward. Mari’s form was much more precise than that of many swordsmen twice her age. Jane watched Edwuard to see if the excellence of someone below his station motivated or annoyed him, and was pleased to see his even, but determined temperament shine through.
Meanwhile, Lady Rosalind pursued creative arts while Millicent tended the manor vegetable garden.
The Squire received inquiries and requests of the people after noon. Edwuard, returning inside to begin his instruction in letters, saw a woman in a muddy dress waiting for his adoptive mothers.
Lady Rosalind began the audience by asking if the family’s missing nanny goat had been found or returned, and Daralis said she believed it must have been stolen, since no one had returned or seen it. Daralis thanked the ladies for allowing their family time to catch up on their taxes and tithes. Beyond Hadley’s service to the family as a maid, she offered to be of service, and leave the Lord Stirwuard’s service if needed.
Lady Chevalier asked Daralis to swear her loyalty. She said there was something she required of Daralis, should she be trustworthy.
“Come and speak with me occasionally, so I can understand our Lord Stirwuard, and what it is that he expects of us, in Ayre,” she said. Daralis explained that she did not talk with Lord Stirwuard, since she spent her time scrubbing in the kitchen yard. Lady Chevalier explained that a lot could be garnered by hearing what the other servants said about their lord.
“We want to please our lord,” she said. “This will help us.”
That evening, as was often their habit, the Lady Rosalind and Lady Jane walked in the manor garden, where Lady Jane’s ancestors were laid to rest.
It was soothing to throw off the weight of the expectations, and think for a few moments, of only their own wants, and the way they had chosen. To forget, for a moment, that as women, followers of the Allfather regarded them as little more than property to be bartered and bred, and to take comfort in the Reaper, who truly takes as he sees fit, no matter the ethical code, or power, a man may think he wields.
When they returned to the manor keep, Rosalind went to tuck in little Edwuard. He was a sweet, and good, boy, and she knew that, despite the Stirwuard’s plan to supplant them in the end, they would be able to shape his future, so that even as lord, he would respect and regard them and their way.
But soon after leaving Edwuard, Lady Rosalind heard a roaring noise coming from the garden behind the manor hall. A fire blazed, where dry grass had been struck by lightning. Lady Elizabeth led the household in fighting the fire, through long hours, and then collapsed as the last flames were extinguished. Lady Chevalier carried her mother to her bed and called for Lady Joslyn to get the healer while she held her mother’s hand, and later, washed her body, blackened by the flames.
Lady Rosalind slipped away for a few moments before dawn to wash the ash from her body, and then collapsed in her bed, exhausted. When Hadley arrived at dawn, to begin drawing water and preparing breakfast, the manor keep was eerily quiet, the hangman’s post making a creaking sound as its noose blew in the wind.
Hadley collected the water, filled the pitchers and reservoirs around the manor and keep, and washed her face before attending to breakfast. Edwuard had found Hadley’s grandfather, Gabe, who sometimes fished in the Chevalier manor ponds to provide sustenance for the manor, and proudly showed him a fish he had caught.
But Gabe instructed him to throw it back, since it was under weight. He took a liking to the boy, and began to teach him about fish stewardship.
The healer had arrived, and she had tried some of her magic to improve Lady Elizabeth’s aura, but her magic had only a minimal effect. The lady slumbered, and Mildred thought that was for the best, although she also feared she would not wake.
After Lady Chevalier woke, she sat with her mother, while Mildred went to prepare a nourishing soup.
She returned, very displeased, to find her Lady, Elizabeth, trying to get up. She urged her to rest, telling Lady Elizabeth that her ward was being taught his letters as she instructed.
Little Edwuard was pleased at his new locale for lessons, and with the fantastical story of adventure that Lady Joslyn read to him, not understanding that Lady Elizabeth had come so close to being gathered to the Reaper.
Lady Chevalier strategized over her healing soup, as if reviewing a game of chess. They would bring up the boy to inherit the Chevalier title and lands, and work to ensure their own future through him. Lady Chevalier knew of another way to possibly gain an heir of their own, but whether that heir would be accepted by the people, she did not know; alliances with fairies were risky and outside her ultimate control. Furthermore, fae children were even less predictable than human ones. Perhaps it was best to rely upon Edwuard, who had reliably noble potential, and would, no doubt, learn to love them, and therefore, protect them.
Here’s the Chevalier Manor Keep from the front. To the left of the gate is the horse stable. Immediately to the right is the Ayre Keep, where everyone can stay safe in an attack. It houses the cisterns and toilets at the bottom, a place for Jane’s future alchemy lab (she’s a knowledge sim), and, high in the tower, a bedroom where her aunt, Lady Joslyn, currently has her room and studies. Under the bridge from the manor to the keep, there is the main courtyard where Lady Jane was teaching fencing to Mari and Edwuard.
The Manor Keep from the back of the compound. The Reaper’s Graveyard on the right front is a separate lot and a sacred place for Jane and Rosalind. Below it is the Squire’s chapel, which is the current place of worship for the followers of the Allfather, which the very pious Lady Elizabeth oversees.
- I played days 2 – 5 of the round without starting FRAPS; I had waited to have a chance to play and was so excited I forgot to check FRAPS. I usually only play a day at a time but played most of the round in that one session. So I decided to revert to the last back up and replay it so I would have screenshots.
- In between play sessions, I made a lot of changes to the Manor Keep , now that I’ve read more about early medieval castles, and started to get used to playing a medieval game, and since finding more castle-related custom content. Before, the family was sleeping in the keep but I added a floor over the dining area for the solar (master bedroom), which also has a small garderobe and now, a couple of fireplaces. R-13’s spiral stairs wall (the rounded decorative wall in the dining room and solar) adds a nice touch but I can’t remember where I found that particular download. I’ve checked the Smithy and Mod the Sims. It was probably on Plumbob Keep. Onto the manor I added a small wing for the reception area, and over it is the nursery. The bridge joining the keep to the manor is new and I got some nice architectural touches like the square watchtower and the basement window grate in the courtyard, from Kativip’s Legend City set. Finally, I expanded the manor kitchen a few tiles into the garden area, to create a bit of a pantry area behind the main kitchen work area and hearth.
- When I played the first time, the Maxis adoption pool gave them a blond boy who looked a lot like Edwuard, and had the Cancer personality, so instead of waiting for the in-game adoption feature (which takes an extra day), I made Edwuard and added him to the house when I replayed. I have Almighty Hat’s Stolen by Fairies mod, and Jane’s eyes and skintone are from that mod. I haven’t decided whether to try to have either Rosalind or Jane abducted in order to have a fae child. Another remote possibility would be conception through some type of magic or alchemy, but that seems really far-fetched. 😉
- There were so many fires! The session started off immediately with a fire, and then with that big fire in the back garden, I thought one or more of them would die. They fought it for hours. When Mildred, the healer, came, I thought she might be able to fix her moods, because she has the spell for that, but she wasn’t able to use it effectively. It only slightly increased one bar.
- The family did not net any money this round; They started with $20,000 as per the MCC rules, and $3100 were paid to the Steward. ($3000 rent plus $100 adoption fee). Next season, summer, according to the MCC rules, they can roll to make extra money from the yield of their fields.
- The idea for the oath of fealty came from reading Heloise’s Warwickshire Renaissance Challenge & Playstyle. A little more information about Heloise’s playstyle and Ayre is on this page, About Ayre.