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Giles and Gertrude loved to play chess. Profit was never far from Gertrude’s mind, and chess was fun and developed her tactical skill. Giles just wanted to defeat his wife. And he had improved. Over the months they had been married, their matches had become longer and longer, as he was able to foil her strategies for longer. Their chessboard was their prized possession. Many mornings, they woke and played in their nightclothes until three or four in the afternoon, when they would finally go and open the Hefty Hedgehog for business.
The second night of fall, Giles and Gertrude had come home from a very long evening at the Hefty Hedgehog, and fallen into bed exhausted.
Giles woke with a start, and heard something downstairs. Without waking Gertrude, he crept downstairs.
Peeking around the corner from the stairwell, he saw a woman grabbing the chess table, cackling. She looked dangerous; he was sure she was armed. Giles, who had never won a fight, did not dare try to stop her, and hoped she would not try to come up the stairs. She left, and Giles returned to bed, all without waking Gertrude. In the morning, Gertrude was livid when she realized the chess table was gone, and that a robber had been in the house. Then, both Giles and Gertrude realized they wouldn’t be able to play chess anymore, since they didn’t have enough money saved to replace the chess table. After eating their porridge, they decided to visit the village green to play chess.
Giles and Gertrude were happy to see that no one was using the chess set, when they arrived at the Green, and they sat down and began to play.
It wasn’t long, before Rhett Forester came over from the Almshouse, where he was staying, and watched Giles. Giles found it hard to concentrate with Rhett staring at him.
That evening, Rhett came to the Hefty Hedgehog. He seemed angry but sat down to eat some hand pies that Gertrude had made. The Porters had heard that Rhett had lost his mind, and was staying at the Almshouse, across the street from the Hefty Hedgehog. “As long as he doesn’t hurt anyone, we’ll let him stay,” Giles ruled.
Meanwhile, Gertrude talked to Alistair about the break-in at their house. She described the thief, from what Giles had told her, hoping the men-at-arms could catch her.
But the men-at-arms didn’t recognize the description, and they couldn’t reassure Gertrude. She went home that evening, still stewing about the robbery. A warm bath, and a bit of cleaning, helped calm her a little. She and Giles both missed being able to play chess in their night clothes, while sipping warm ale. That night, instead, they sat on the floor in their bedroom and chatted before bed.
Autumn nights continued to become chillier and chillier. Some nights, there were more customers at the Hefty Hedgehog, whether because their reputation had improved, or just because it was warm and cozy inside. Only the grumpiest customers complained these days. Gertrude always made a special supper and many patrons would eat while they were there. Others just played darts, or table games. A few danced and drank ale, usually not to excess.
One evening, the bailiff from the tower, Seth, was there eating dinner with the blacksmith. The blacksmith seemed curious about how the guards had discovered where Gabe Gothard was hiding out, and returned him. He wanted to know where Gabe had been hiding in the Vale.
When the blacksmith left, Giles and Seth entertained themselves singing folksongs for a while.
But the Bailiff didn’t make it out the door before Gertrude stopped him to ask if he might recognize the description of the thief. No one seemed to know who she was.
Gertrude been brought up by Mildred Wise to grow and barter all she needed. But a taverner needed to supply the kitchen for customers, so she was quickly learning how to strike a bargain at the market.
One morning in mid-Autumn, when Gertrude was doing the marketing, she saw her mother there, and ran to hug her. The women chatted and caught up on each others’ news. “Are you coming to our house for the harvest feast?” Gertrude asked her mom, and Mildred agreed that the newlyweds’ house was the best place to celebrate the harvest.
When she returned home, Giles asked Gertrude if she would like to go eat at the Autumn Fair before opening the tavern, and she agreed.
They had a wonderful time, enjoying each other’s company in the brisk fall air.
Late in the season, Rhett came into the Hefty Hedgehog, and attacked Giles.
Giles ended up on the floor. Gertrude called for the Captain of the Guard, who happened to be at the tavern, and Henri escorted Rhett off the premises, charged with assault. Perhaps, he would not be fined, due to his insanity, but the Captain thought that was a matter for the Squire to decide.
Giles told Gertrude he had been thinking. This was the third time he’d needed to be able to defend himself or his home since spring. Perhaps, in winter, he would ask the men-at-arms to give him lessons in self-defense. Gertrude couldn’t argue that with him; it made sense to her.
The day of the harvest feast arrived at last. The Porters rejoiced. They had made plenty of money to pay their rents, tithes, taxes, and their guild fees, to Leonid. They invited James, whose wife, Daralis had just died of plague. James arrived alone, because, he said, Daralis’ daughter, Hadley, had become deranged after her mother’s death, and was staying at the almshouse. Since he was not able to work and watch Bonnie alone, Bonnie was staying there, at least temporarily.
Soon Gertrude’s mother and brothers arrived. Gertrude’s aunt, Millicent, had moved in with her sister, Mildred, but she couldn’t come for the feast since she was helping Lady Joslyn care for everyone at the Almshouse.
The goose was ready to serve.
As Giles took it to the table, to carve, Gertrude welcomed James. She was struck with how little grief seemed to be affecting James. She had thought he would be laid low, since he had wanted to marry Daralis for months, and she had died so soon after their wedding.
Giles gave the head of the table to his father’s old comrade in arms. Bentley, Gertrude’s more outgoing brother, sat by James, while Haylan, the quiet one, sat between Gertrude and his mom, at the foot of the table.
It was good to be together, with a warm fire and a juicy roast fowl. There was a solemnity, given Daralis’ death, but there was also joy.
I didn’t know that Rhett had anything against Giles, and when I checked his panel, he doesn’t! All of the sudden he attacked Giles, so I suspect it was due to a complaint about the tavern, but it may have been a glitch. At any rate, it fits in with the ROS that Rhett has lost his mind. The MCC fine for assault is $5000. According to the Warwickshire, Rhett will lose 100 Clerical Favor, 100 Royal Favor (based on Giles’ station, 4), and -2 moral alignment. That puts his moral alignment at -6. -6 and below means if he gets to -1000 Royal Favor, he can benefit from being an “evil” sim and get extra reputation points for some activities that are considered evil or neutral. Since Rhett does not have $5000 he will need to take an oath of indenture, if he is charged the fine. During the Squire’s round his sentence will be decided (whether he has to spend time in jail, and what will be his situation as a serf.) I am thinking the Squire needs a swineherd. But he has to finish any jail time and his ROS requirements first.
I waited to finalize this update AFTER playing the Gothard’s round, because I didn’t know what to write about Daralis’ death. After Daralis died, Hadley went into complete aspirational failure and was refusing to do anything but panhandle, so I sent her to the Almshouse to save her from starvation. Then, Bonnie had to go because James works as a night guard and couldn’t go to work if Bonnie were left alone. So James ended up alone at the Gothard’s house, with the goats and Bonnie’s cat. Having Daralis sicken and die of plague made my stomach physically turn. I was very tempted to have them plead for her life, but I decided that for a death ROS I will not do that. However, the Warwickshire rules say if a sim sickens, someone can plead for them as long as they’ve never pleaded for anyone else’s life before.