Daralis looked at Hadley’s garden, full of weeds and infested with blight, and felt despair. After the theft of the goat, Gabe’s fine for drunkenness, and now, Gabe’s ill-gotten coins and possible tax evasion, she was running out of choices. With this garden she had hoped to be able to repay the Steward and maybe preserve some tomatoes, along with fish, for the winter, but the tomatoes were mealy and the yield was terrible.
She could see little Bonnie growing right before her eyes, and Daralis knew there wasn’t going to be enough to feed him, not through the winter.
Gabe wanted her to be a co-conspirator. He had managed to steal 800 coins that they should not have. Daralis didn’t even want to know where the coins had come from. Her late husband’s father had suggested they bury them, to help them in the future when they needed a little food here or there. The comfort of having those coins hidden away tempted her, but she had worked hard to gain the Squire’s trust, and she thought that was more valuable in the long run than hidden coins. And she feared their arrest, should Gabe’s illegal activity be detected, and she was found to be in on it.
One night when Bonnie was asleep, and Gabe was out, doing who knows what, Daralis told her daughter her plans to marry James, after he took an oath of indenture to the Steward. Although she couldn’t do this as long as Gabe was around, Daralis figured he would either be caught for breaking the law, or would voluntarily move out, eventually.
Hadley knew that as serfs, their station would fall too far below the station of Brodie McGobhan, her love, and she would have no hope of a marriage to him. Daralis knew her daughter hoped to marry the blacksmith, but she also knew Hadley to be pragmatic and respectful. Hadley was the stable person on whom Daralis counted, because she worked hard and, despite her kind heart, was shrewd in business matters.
Daralis did not know that Hadley, who had only known Brodie for weeks, regarded him as her soulmate. Brodie’s sensitive, quiet kindness had already won her heart and she knew she would love him as long as she lived. To be unable to be Brodie’s wife meant she would be denied the possibility of love in marriage; any marriage would be a painful sham. To be sentenced to serfdom meant the end of her hopes for love, as well as her hopes to improve her station.
With heavy hearts, the women went to the Glen to worship the goddess. How could a follower of the Goddess follow her heart, and be part of a family where she was valued, with the oppressive Steward and the Squire, beholden to him, setting the rules?
Zelda was deep in grief for her sister, and Gertrude Wise, now Porter, was exultant in her fortunate marriage. Gertrude had the favor of the Squire, and the Steward, and had been able to marry above her station.
At least, Hadley thought, she was hopeful that her mother’s love, James, would be an acceptable addition to the family, when she saw him comforting Zelda’s sister Hilda in her grief.
Daralis made up her mind, and told Gabe about her misgivings. She told Gabe she was worried that people would wonder where they’d obtained the coins, should they try to buy food or new goats, or provide a dowry for Hadley. Gabe decided it would be best for the family if he were to run for the hills, leaving Daralis to turn in the coins and beg mercy.
But he had some business to attend to before leaving. He talked with the master of arms, Henri Fitz, and they agreed they were in favor of the match between James and his daughter-in-law. Henri thought that James was willing to take an oath of indenture to be with Daralis. “He speaks of nothing but her,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bonnie no longer looked like a baby. He still loved music, and dance, but he also had become an animal lover. He often talked to the goats, or played with Bell, the cat.
And Bonnie made Daralis laugh. Bonnie even made a little play thing for Bell out of a feather and stick, and the two entertained themselves for hours.
Bonnie was so attached to his mother, whenever she returned home from scrubbing at the Steward’s house, or going out and about, he ran to her.
Thinking ahead to the family’s needs after he was gone, Gabe continued to teach Hadley, and Bonnie, about fish husbandry.
One night when the summer sun had set, and everyone but the goats were asleep, Hadley left the house and went to the Village Green, to get away and get a breath of fresh air.
Brodie was there. Her heart stopped, and they stood, looking at each other without speaking.
After several moments, they parted, and Hadley returned home, her heart thumping in her chest.
Brodie followed her. She was breathless to see him. He reached out, and caressed her, pulling her towards him gently with a tiny bit of force to her chin. She leaned in, and he kissed her.
Hadley could hardly breathe. Then he told her, that he had inquired about courting her. His face told her that he had been told no formal arrangements would be possible. Hardly realizing what she was doing, she took him by the hand and led him into the dark house. Normally, Hadley was not only practical, but obedient to her parents and her superiors. Hadley watched herself make this decision, and she did not argue with herself. To have a child with her love was her hope.
They made love in the dark living room, silently.
Then they went out, under the moon, in the grass where the forest’s edge met the town. Hours went by like minutes, as they looked into each others’ eyes.
Near daybreak they kissed goodbye.
Hadley heard her mother stir in her bed, and though she did not know how, she tore herself from her lover, not knowing if she would ever feel the comfort of his arms again.
That morning, a new crop of tomatoes was ready for harvest. Hadley picked them in a daydream.
Gabe’s last order of business before running, was to replant the garden with one last fall crop. He tried to show the boy how to plant, and tell him how to care for the garden, knowing Hadley would need his help when Gabe was gone. But Bonnie was more concerned with showing off his latest antics to his grandfather, and could not understand that Gabe was leaving.
Hadley sold her crop, along with some dried fish, to the merchant. She got a decent price, but she did not think it was enough to pay their taxes, tithes, and rent, as well as their late payment and fines.
The first morning of autumn, when all their plans were made, and all his business was completed, Gabe left, under the light of the waning moon. Daralis was sleeping, so she could deny knowledge of his escape, but his grandchildren ran to the gate after him, afraid to speak, with heavy hearts.
When Bonnie grew up, I got a shock. For some reason, I thought Bonnie was a girl, but when I went to buy child’s clothing, I realized he is a boy. When I created him in CAS I must have accidentally made him a boy.
So, what happened with Hadley was not expected! She was in love with Brodie. She saw him at the village green, but they didn’t have any interactions.
When she returned home from the village green, he was standing at the gate. ACR took over from there, and I decided to see what would happen. They ended up trying for baby! Hadley is a fortune sim, and has a high neutral moral alignment, so the only way I could really explain this in terms of the plot, was the desperation of star-crossed lovers. It seemed out of character for her to do this, but even less like her to do it to entrap Brodie. It also seemed out of character for her to let Brodie take advantage of her. So I see it as her trying to have some control over her life by having a child with her lost love.
Financial Matters & Random Occurrence Scenario:
The Random Occurrence Scenario for this household determined that Gabe was to be socially demoted one level. That would require him to be an outlaw, outcaste, or serf. So I was looking for how to work that into the update.
In the end, counting the $153 owed from Spring, the Gothard family owed $2383 this round (see above). They only had $2360, even with the illegal $800 (see below), so there was no way they could relinquish the illegal money from Gabe’s chance card, pay their taxes, tithes, and rent, and put any away for winter.
Gabe, who is neutral on the moral alignment scale, decided to head for the hills and live as an outlaw rather than turn himself in (virtuous) or endanger his family further (evil).
After Gabe ran away, Daralis relinquished Gabe’s ill-gotten gains, plus the fine. (She paid $1000 to the Steward). She pleaded with the Squire and was allowed to marry James (with him taking an oath of indenture). The Steward, and the Squire, who need serfs to work the land, agreed. The marriage will be held in Autumn at the Glen.
That left Daralis with enough money to put aside Hadley’s dowry ($300), buy two nannies, and have a little left for the hard winter ahead.