The new blacksmith’s heart-ache was felt by, it seemed, everyone in Ayre. His wife, Gretna, had been killed by enemy soldiers ransacking their village. All he had left was his trade and their beautiful daughter, Fiona. Soon after his arrival in Ayre, his fellow Yeomanry households visited him; Anais Honeycutt, first, and then Natalia Stroganov. Both were charmed by Fiona and both stayed and helped look after her for the better part of the day before saying farewell, feeling helpless to truly ease his pain.
Lady Rosalind came by soon after the family had settled in, and Brodie politely greeted her and invited her in.
Even though she missed her mother, Fiona never met a stranger and was rarely cranky. She could amuse herself but was also ready to meet someone new.
This was a great help to Brodie, who spent the time while neighbors helped with Fiona wisely, honing his craft.
Brodie had already received a few orders to bang out dinged armor, and an order for horseshoes, all from the barracks which was conveniently located right next door. One day in mid-summer, just when Brodie was beginning to wonder if everyone was tiring of helping with Fiona, Millicent Wise dropped by to check in on him.
She offered to send her niece, Marigold, to help with Fiona, on a daily basis. Marigold came over the next day, and she and Fiona hit it off.
Brodie’s thoughts often turned to his wife, Gretna. He missed her companionship and help, but that was nothing compared to imagining what her last moments may have been like. When he was alone, especially when he worked into the darkness of the evening, unspeakable pain seemed to burn its way into his heart and mind with more intensity.
Being able to go inside, to a warm meal, a cheerful, cared-for daughter, and another person, was comforting, and Brodie was glad for Marigold’s help. Marigold and Brodie were each content in silence or with a few basic exchanges of information about how Fiona was doing. Marigold, for her part, seemed to enjoy Brodie’s books, which she did not have access to at home. At home, Marigold tended to be the silly one, jumping on the furniture, or avoiding work, but here, Brodie depended on her.
The joy on Fiona’s face melted away some of the pain in Brodie’s heart. She was on the verge of learning to walk and with a little coaxing, would toddle into Brodie’s arms. He would lift her up as she squealed in delight. Then he would see a flash of a similar fate in her future, to her mother’s, and he would go to his bed suddenly, and let Marigold care for Fiona.
The summer nights felt long, for in the darkness, Brodie was haunted by Gretna. Sometimes he dreamt she was there with him, and felt the heart-break again upon waking. Other times, he slept fitfully, as he relived her death, this time standing helplessly by.
When he woke from those nightmares, he would go out to the workshop, trying to take his mind off the impossible task of coming to peace with her suffering. Sometimes, his heart would pound, and stop, and he would look around, sure he had felt her presence.
At the very end of summertime, a young woman Brodie had never met before came by the shop, looking for Marigold. Her name was Hadley. Hadley had a kind face, and she reminded Brodie of a mischievous pixie, but also seemed wise beyond her years. Brodie was intrigued and drawn to her.
That evening, he joined Marigold and Hadley at supper, and found himself unable to tear his eyes away from her face.
Hadley seemed drawn to Brodie, as well. Marigold noticed that Hadley often looked at Brodie longer than necessary, and, knowing how pragmatic Hadley was, thought she must be quite taken with him.
Gertrude arrived, to bring Marigold home, and Marigold begged Gertrude to stay and chaperone Hadley so that she and Brodie could continue to talk. Brodie and Hadley were so lost in conversation that they barely noticed Gertrude when she came in, or when she took Fiona upstairs.
Brodie found himself laughing whole-heartedly for the first time in months. Hadley made him want to joke, and play, and laugh.
After some time, Brodie realized how late it had become, the weariness of the day bearing down on his tired shoulders, and noticed neither Fiona, nor Marigold were there. He realized he had not even met Hadley’s parents, and it was probably not appropriate to be laughing and flirting with Hadley in his kitchen, with no one else around. Brodie told her he needed to say goodnight, and before he knew it, they were gazing into each other’s eyes, and he had gently kissed her forehead, and very slowly, let his arms fall from the back of her head.
Here is a picture of Gretna. She was by far the hardest of the Ayre random roll extra family members for me to kill off. (Mildred and Eva Wise’s husbands had to be killed off too, when I set their families up). Gretna was a family sim and with Fiona being so young, and she and Brodie being such a good match, it was terrible. The reason I created Gretna was that I wanted Fiona to have two biological parents , and yet their random roll was only for two family members, an adult male and a female toddler. She actually died by meteorite right after this picture was taken. Meteorite seems to me the least difficult of the options on the insimenator.
Both Brodie and Hadley were attracted to each other. The picture below shows them falling in love as Gertrude left the room. Hadley does not have a dowry so I haven’t worked out exactly how things would go if Brodie and her mother pursue his marriage to Hadley. It seemed a little unrealistic for Brodie, who was grieving, to fall in love, but it was so nice to see him enjoying life for once, I let them continue to interact.
This update was a little hard to play for a few reasons. I was disappointed to roll a single parent with toddler combination, because it is so hard to play, and then, Brodie had no skills so all he could make were horseshoes, and it took him a day and a half or so just to gain enough mechanical skill to make them! He basically skilled, and slept, ate, and bathed. Fiona did learn to use the potty and to walk, with Marigold’s help. Initially I brought Marigold over to watch her, with the insimenator summoner, but even when she was selectable she couldn’t care for Fiona, so took a hint from Mortia’s blog and moved her in to the household for the update. That worked out well, and I moved her back home at the end.
She and Brodie had no attraction for each other at all, in fact, at least one of them had the little x’s when I had them scope the room. I expect Marigold’s marriage to be arranged fully during summer, and since I have decided for Cadby to be a basket weaver or fisher, they will marry in the spring so they can have the best start.