Rhett Forester’s wife wasn’t speaking to him, which made for a tense and quiet morning meal, especially with the baby, Idonae, still in her crib asleep. The family had been rudely awoken to the unfamiliar stench of goat dung and the sound of bleating. He wasn’t sure if Eva was more livid about the stolen goats or the other woman, but he knew that either were valid complaints.
Eva had risen, dressed, and angrily come outside to confront Rhett about the new additions to the family, only to find him embracing Ella Wise.
While Ella gloated, and Rhett tried to wipe a guilty smile off his face, Eva asked her to leave.
Rhett had a reputation as a flirt and, at times, he had affairs, but Eva kept a strict boundary for fidelity at her doorstep, so Eva held Rhett more responsible in this case.
Lora, a girl of 13 years, took after her father. She had noticed the herald, John, and was working on making sure he noticed her. She thought he might make a nice first kiss; her thoughts really hadn’t gone beyond that point. Lucky for her, the herald was making rounds, alerting the residents of Ayre that a goat had been stolen and to report any information immediately.
Idonae had woken, and Gervase, the younger of the two Forester brothers, was entertaining her. He was usually just as happy to tease her and make her cry, as he was to be sweet to her, but today, he had a feeling it was more important to stay out of trouble.
Later that day, Ralf asked his father what they were going to do about the goats. Ralf was furious about his father’s affair with Ella Wise, but avoiding prison was more urgent at the moment. Rhett told his son that night they would slaughter the goats and begin preserving the meat.
Just before sunset, Daralis Gothard came by, inquiring about her goat. Rhett quickly shooed her away, explaining that the women were away at the well, and he wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety. As soon as she left, he resumed preparations for the slaughter, chastising himself for not returning the goat and telling her he had found it.
That night, before they could slaughter the second goat, a fire broke out. They had stoked the fire too hot, trying to boil enough water for all the necessary steps and to clean up the blood before daylight.
They fought the fire for what felt like hours. When it was finally extinguished, Rhett went to sleep in the main room with the children. He didn’t even bother asking Eva to let him come into their room.
Rhett woke in the wee hours to prepare to go into the forest to gather wood to sell. The nanny seemed ok for now, and he didn’t really know what to do with it. He woke Ralf, who would help him in the forest, and said goodbye to baby Idonae.
The pure, crisp air cleared his head. He’d lost it over Ella, who seemed to have some kind of power over him, although he knew he couldn’t blame her; he’d seduced his share of maids and married women before. And although he’d love to be with her momentarily, he was more worried about his long-term relationship with Eva, staying out of prison, and feeding his family.
The winter had been horrific; food stores were stolen by soldiers fleeing battle, no one wanted to buy lumber to build anything new, and everyone was gathering their own fire wood since they didn’t have anything to trade. Rhett felt badly about taking the goats, but once he’d done it, he couldn’t confess for fear he’d end up in the tower. He’d stolen the goat out of fear that they weren’t going to make it and would need the food, or maybe, if another rogue armed party came through Ayre, he could trade it for their safety.
Rhett and his son, Ralf, hiked up into the forest. As dawn broke, they looked out over Ayre. Rhett tried to explain, and to apologize, for everything, knowing his son was rightfully angry with him.
Ralf washed the ash and grime from his body in the cold mountain water. He was considering forgiving his father, but he wasn’t quite ready yet. There was still some anger there that he couldn’t ignore. He was even more furious with that witch, the Wise woman. He was afraid his father would become a witch too, or be burned with her.
It was a clear spring day. The men worked together gathering wood and scouting resources. By early afternoon, they bundled the wood they’d gathered, and headed home.
The men found the women of the household busily selling firewood, when they returned. Lora was talking with the Squire about the cost of a bundle, and explaining the different types and benefits of each. It cost more to buy the wood they’d painstakingly dried, and especially the hard woods, which burned so much cleaner than the oily pines.
That evening, Ralf and Lora went outside in the clear, spring air to escape the tension in the house.
Early in the morning, when Eva returned from her morning ablutions, Rhett started trying to smooth things over. He knew where some red roses grew in the wood, and Eva had always loved their scent and velvety petals.
He also told her he’d figured out a plan for the nanny. Together they talked to Gervase, telling him to take the goat into the woods and if anyone stopped him, to say he’d found it and was returning it. He was to leave it in the woods, and if someone else found it, no harm done. If not, perhaps they could slaughter it when they were next at their forest camp.
Gervase did as he was instructed, and reached the forest camp without being seen. Before returning home, he told the goat that she would like the woods. “There’s plenty of grass, and water, and you can use your horns if an animal tries to eat you.”
Rhett was watching for his son’s return that afternoon, as he tended the saplings. He was so happy, when he looked up for the fiftieth time, and finally saw Gervase, grinning at him over the wheelbarrow.
Rhett went inside to find Eva, who was waiting for him on their bed. He scooped up the little one, and took her to her sister, outside.
Rhett made sure that Lora was watching Idonae, and then, his heart leaping, headed back inside to his wife.
Rhett returned to the bedroom, certain that he and his wife would finally be reunited. She accepted his kisses but when his hand moved down, she sat up abruptly and gave him a look to wither his heart.
Mortified and crushed, Rhett made a beeline for the Hefty Hedgehog, where the bar tender, Giles, fixed him up. One of the men-at-arms made sure Rhett made it back to the hovel before returning to the barracks.
Weeks passed, and the family’s prospects were looking up. Business had improved greatly, and peace seemed to have returned to the house. No one had seen the goat, and no one had made any accusations, so it seemed Rhett had escaped punishment, this time. And, if Eva had to say so, Rhett had been a model father and husband, helping around the house, caring for the children, and even helping with the sale of wood. She hadn’t seen or heard anything about Ella Wise and in a small hamlet like Ayre, that meant something.
The baby had taken her first steps with the help of her big sister, Lora. She was so cute, such a tiny person, wobbling around the place. It was hard to hold a grudge against her father, even if Eva wished she could.
Eva felt that her son, Ralf, was a little forelorn. He wanted love, and he wanted to have his own family, but Eva and Rhett hadn’t had any time to try to figure out which girl’s family to approach, for him, and they weren’t sure he was ready yet. Two of the natural choices, Gertrude Wise, or Hadley Gothard, both had obvious complications caused by tensions with their families. Ralf was just going to have to wait for love and family.
Eva missed passion, and she missed the fun she and Rhett had together, and eventually, that won out over her pride and over teaching him a lesson. One night, she crawled into the small bed with him, and they both woke to Idonae’s piercing screams together.
It was hard for Rhett to leave Eva that morning, and go into the forest, but, he did, taking both sons with him.
Everything seemed good, except Ralf’s persistent depressed mood.
Rhett began teaching Gervase, as he had with Ralf, how to find his way in the forest, and how to decide which trees to fell, which to leave standing.
- This post was late, partly due to the holidays, but also because it was just really hard to get into. I think there were several reasons. First, playing big families is daunting, and especially, beginning this challenge with nothing and the pressure of taxes, rent, and tithes. Also, Rhett had stolen (I thought) one goat, which turned out somehow to be two goats, and I didn’t know what to do with them or how to proceed. I decided if anyone came in or saw the goat, they’d be caught, and he would be sentenced to prison and/or a fine (according to the MCC rules). To get rid of the goat, they could not just sell it to the catalog. They’d have to either slaughter the goat, sell the goat to a stranger (which there aren’t in a clean install), or take it into the woods. They slaughtered one and did not pay taxes or report income on it, but their fridge was full and couldn’t hold any more food. The other, as I showed, Gervase took into the woods. I was sure someone would be in the woods when he and Ralf went there, and I made him stay a bit but no one came. The goat wasn’t there when they returned to the woods. Finally, this family was really hard to play because their needs go down so quickly and they love to play! When trying to run their business they would constantly stop and have water balloon fights, or play ball with the customers. However, they ended up doing better with their business than anyone so far. On day three, after Rhett’s aspiration failure (from rejection from Eva), they were all in low aspiration and mood so I spent the whole day just trying to get them out of the dumps.
- Poor Ralf just wanted to have his first kiss and go steady, but he didn’t have any opportunity. By the MCC, his parents have to have a certain relationship level with the bride’s parents to arrange a marriage. He was furious with his dad and Ella. Lora, a romance sim, did pretty well by flirting with Giles one day at the well and by flirting with John, the newspaper guy (the Herald), but she didn’t get a first kiss yet.
- The Foresters ended up doing very well this session, thanks to some good profits on Day 4 and 5, as well as two money perks for business levels. They have to pay $2350.00 to the Steward, leaving them with about $1351.00 to squirrel away (and some of that will go to Lora’s dowry).