Gareth Thayer hoped that in Ayre, one could be unfettered from conformity; although it was only a village, there seemed to be room for expression. The merchants’ guild wanted a tailor with creativity, they said, when they recruited him. Gareth had also deduced from their description of the squire of Ayre, that she was a radical, like him, and valued individual freedom above custom. After all, she was a woman who ruled, and her life partner was a woman.
Gareth parented a son, Bran, and a daughter, Arwen. Each day, he made sure that both children studied their letters under his supervision. Books, or more specifically, the knowledge they contained, were the most important thing in the world to Gareth, and although he wanted the children to be themselves, he did not intend for them to grow up ignorant.
When they completed the day’s assignment, Gareth encouraged the children to run free, and play. For this, he thought, Ayre was a good place to live. There was relative safety within Ayre’s palisade and the community was small enough that he knew the citizens looked out for each other.
Bran, the boy, was a perfectionist, but often finished his work first, since he brought more focus to his tasks.
Arwen, the girl, was independent and hot-headed. She had quite an affinity for Bobbette, the grey cat the family had taken in, and spent much of her free time playing with, or scolding, Bobbette. Bobbette, on the other hand, had not decided whether she liked Arwen, and would sometimes hiss at her sudden movements.
Soon after arriving in Ayre, Gareth took the children to the toy shop. Gareth strongly believed play to be the important work of children, after reading.
Arwen chose a foot ball. Her competitive nature secretly delighted him, but he did not tell her that her choice pleased him. He posited that praise was hurtful for a child’s development, lest the children act only to please him.
At the toy shop, Bran chose a kite, and the difficulty of catching the wind gave his perfectionist nature a challenging skill to master.
Gareth found joy that day in Ayre, as well. Leonid Stroganov, the head of the Merchants’ Guild, sent his wife, Natalia, to welcome the family. Gareth was attracted to this tall, striking, composed woman. Her self-assured demeanor made his heart beat quicker.
Of course, Natalia did not call on the new family alone. She was accompanied by the Squire herself, and the squire’s aunt, Lady Joslyn Chevalier. A little later, Jada Stirwuard, the Steward’s niece, arrived.
Gareth provided supper for his guests, and Lady Joslyn, who must have been over-tired from chaperoning, fell asleep where she sat.
As Bran finished his supper, and Gareth cleaned up the dishes, they wondered whether to wake Lady Joslyn, or let her enjoy a momentary break from propriety.
And so Lady Joslyn slept at the Thayers’ table. The other chaperones departed before Natalia, and when Gareth flirted openly with her at the gate, she flushed, and smiled, and showed clearly that she was also interested in him. Gareth, who regarded matrimony as nothing more than a type of ownership, had no qualms about flirting with his neighbor’s wife. If she felt something for him, and showed it, that was her right.
After Natalia left, Gareth went upstairs to read to the children, but both Arwen and Bran had fallen asleep.
The next day, when their studies were concluded, Gareth walked the children to the gateway greenway behind the shop, so they could play outdoors while he worked.
Bran saw the steep embankments at the tower gate and ran to slide down it.
And he immediately got a sore bottom.
So when his sister called to him to play ball, he happily obliged.
Arwen could kick the ball hard. As she looked at it, ready to strike, Bran prepared himself, focusing on the leather so closely he could see the stitching.
He dove. He missed the ball, narrowly.
Meanwhile, Gareth was opening the new shop.
The first customer was the Lord Stirwuard. His daughter was betrothed to the Baronet of the Vale, and Lord Stirwuard took interest in the wedding wreaths, as well as inquiring about the cost of various wedding gown fabrics, embellishments, and designs.
Through the whole afternoon, Gareth listened to the Lord Stirwuard as he described how he would like his daughter’s wedding gown to be made, and answered question after question, about price, delivery time, quality, and the durability of each material.
It was time to close the shop. Lightening struck the barrel just outside the door. And still, the Steward had not made up his mind about his daughter’s gown.
Finally, each and every detail of the order was decided upon. However, as Gareth struggled to record each facet of the order, and figure the price, the Steward became impatient.
Gareth feared the day’s work may be for naught, but eventually, the Lord Stirwuard relinquished the deposit, and left the shop.
Gareth breathed a sigh of relief. He looked and saw that the children had returned, probably to escape the storm.
Since they were playing happily, he decided to work a bit at the shop before returning home, where the family would go straight to bed.
Early one morning, while the children were studying, and Gareth was spinning, he heard a familiar “hullo…” from the gate.
It was Lubbert Faber, a somewhat distant cousin of Gareth’s, who was also their next-door neighbor. Gareth greeted Lubbert warmly and invited him in. Lubbert said that he wouldn’t come in; he was on his way to open the shop, but asked Gareth to meet him at Gateway Park at sunset. Wondering what his cousin wanted to speak with him about, Gareth went to open his own shop for the day.
That day at the shop, Lady Eithne came in with her father to inspect the gown fabrics, and to be measured. While Lord Stirwuard looked over the spun cloth that Gareth had made, as well as the imported silks, Gareth took the opportunity to charm his daughter. But Eithne’s consternation and fear was evident, and Gareth relented.
Later, after the Lord Stirwuard had left, the same representative of the guild that had visited the toy shop, visited the Thayers’ shop. Before she left, she bubbled over to Gareth about the quality of his goods, services, and the environment of the shop. Gareth was pleased, and relieved to have met the guild’s expectations, and he closed shop a little early to go to the Gateway Park to meet Lubbert.
Gareth arrived a little early, and while waiting for sunset, he was tremendously pleased to see Natalia Stroganov. She greeted him, enthusiastically. But after the rebuff of Lady Eithne, Gareth was a little more restrained, and limited himself to conversation rather than love-making.
As the sun began to set, Gareth kept an eye on the toy shop, and soon, Lubbert emerged.
Lubbert was practically ecstatic, and Gareth had never seen the man that way before. Normally, his cousin was formal, reticent, and gruff. Gareth soon learned the reason for Lubbert’s excitement when his cousin proposed that his daughter, Karin, would be an excellent match for Gareth, and that they begin betrothal negotiations. He explained that his daughter was accomplished at spinning and weaving, intelligent, teachable, and, he believed, had a constitution much like Gareth’s that made them compatible. “You love book knowledge, and she, well, has some ideas from blasted books,” he trailed off.
Gareth felt that this whole matter was being brought up much too suddenly, but he realized he had to at least hear his cousin and fellow guild-member out, no matter how much he disagreed, to preserve the relationship. He was about to gracefully suggest that he have time to consider, when Lubbert invited himself and his children to dinner.
Dinner was not a graceful affair. The tension between Lubbert and his daughter was palpable, and no one else dared speak. Karin, Gareth observed, was willful, in her own quiet way. When Lubbert explained that he and Gareth had already decided she would be betrothed to Gareth, she did not look the part of a submissive daughter or wife. Gareth admired a girl her age who could know her own mind in the face of an authoritarian father.
Inspired by her courage, Gareth explained to her father that he needed time to consider such a sacred commitment.
Karin watched Gareth hem and haw a bit, with an alarmed expression. Lubbert, realizing this may not go as smoothly as he hoped, told his daughter he would deal with her later.
All this time, Arwen studied Karin’s reaction. Gareth wished he could say something to let the girl know how much he admired her courage.
Lubbert got up, and left abruptly. As Karin left, Gareth asked her to wait. But not knowing what to say, he only looked at her awkwardly.
Through the rest of the summer, Gareth woke in the middle of the night, wondering how Karin fared. He cared about her, but he was sure he should not marry her. He regarded her too highly to subject her to being the wife of a man who flaunted custom and propriety in his flirtations as well as his political opinions.
- Gareth and Karina are both morally neutral “radicals,” one of the ethical alignments in the Warwickshire that are randomly assigned to each of Ayre’s sims. Morally neutral radicals believe mostly in individual freedoms, but they are lukewarm morally so they don’t actually inspire others to change or undermine society through evil acts. Also, he is a knowledge sim, and she is a family sim, and they are of the same class and station, so they really are a very good match.
- Lubbert is authoritarian, so I see him as being especially disappointed/frustrated with his radical daughter, and ready for someone else to deal with her stubbornness.
Arwen and Bran are Gareth’s children, but as a radical, I see him as spurning the idea of ownership, even for children. I think he would refer to them as “the children” rather than “my children.”
Gareth really likes Natalia and Eithne, both family sims. It will be interesting to see what develops, and what are the repercussions. I did not expect him to be so flirty and will have to keep an eye out for his activities while playing other lots.
Gareth ended up making a small profit of $402. for the season, and he owed 620.60. Every time he had to restock the shop it cost him quite a bit, and I had him take the influence, relationship, and assess mood perks instead of the wholesale or cash perk, so his profit margin was narrow. Hopefully, these perks will help him more as time goes on and he can get the wholesale perk later. The children will be teens halfway through fall so they will be able to begin to help with sales and restocking.
The treasury balance is now $37,380.00. At $40,000, I can build the convent (in the Vale) and add new sims, the sisters, who will be fluid socially, like the militia men at the barracks.