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Hadley finished milking the nannies, as water heated on the hearth, for her bath. Today was her mother’s wedding day, and she had made up her mind to ask her lover, Brodie, to publicly admit his love for her by accompanying her, as her guest. Although the warm water was a luxury, Hadley rushed through bathing so she would have time to get Brodie before the family left for the hike to the Glen. As soon as she had scrubbed, Hadley jumped out of the bath and threw on a dress.
Calling to her mother, who was in the bedroom with James getting dressed, she shut the goats in the house and hurried towards the Ayre market, where Brodie’s blackmith shop was located.
Even though the sun was up and they were in clear view of the gate, and the market, Brodie embraced her.
Believing the embrace was a good sign that he would be willing to consider making his love for her public, Hadley quickly asked him, but he hung his head, wrung his hands, and looked distressed. “You know I can not,” he finally said, explaining that he was new in Ayre, and could not risk the good will of the followers of the Allfather, who disdained the practices of the peasants and their goddess.
Hadley was angry at his cowardice. Brodie immediately began to plead with her, but she did not listen.
Daralis was ready to leave for the Glen. Her hair, which she had washed and then rinsed with apple vinegar and brushed till it shone, was let down from her usual modest cap, for the occasion. The dress she had borrowed hung gracefully from her shoulders, looking as if it could easily be encouraged to crumple to the floor. James had a look in his eye that she knew well, and did not even want to resist. In fact, she knew that the time was right to conceive a child and she hoped that this day would be the one.
There was time.
A little later, Hadley returned, and the family set out on the hike to the glen. Daralis, Bonnie, and Hadley all hoped that Gabe might be able to join them in the Glen for the wedding, if he had been able to elude capture and hide near there in the forest.
Daralis and James stood under the handfasting tree and made the promises of the goddess, to honor, respect, and care for each other till death parted them. Many of the followers of the goddess were there, but Gabe was not among them.
As the feasting was concluded, the sun set. Brice, the former tournament champion, began to tell Hadley stories of his chivalry. Still angry with Brodie, she was willing to listen, although she was not beguiled by Brice’s bravado.
As couples began to dance, and the light faded, Hadley stood by the fire. Her anger with Brodie kept her from feeling miserable without him. Her earliest memories included the belonging and wonder of the Glen.
She began to be caught up in the music, and moved towards Brice.
When he extended his hand to her, she moved closer, and he put his other hand on her waist.
While the adults danced, the children played. Esmerelda and Bonnie, who just a few months earlier, had spent their time at the Glen fishing and running, enthusiastically chatted.
Under the starry autumn sky, the few friends who were left in the Glen with Hadley’s family swayed in the firelight. Through much of the night, they danced, and then, pulling cloaks over them, they slept on the beds of leaves that had fallen from the birches. Bonnie, still hoping his grandfather would appear, barely slept.
The next day, they returned to Ayre, to find that their billy goat was missing. They suspected it had been stolen, since the gate was closed. Bonnie ran to get the men-at-arms, and James’ good friend, Oakes, came to investigate. There were no clues to be found, and Daralis idly pulled a few weeds in the garden, and watched as her husband said a prolonged good bye to his friend at the gate.
Having taken the oath of indenture, Daralis felt less stressed over the loss of the billy than she had when their nanny had been stolen in the spring. The family had enough to eat, three new kids had been born, and anyway they had to pay back more than they could ever imagine paying in a lifetime, to complete the indenture. There was no urgency, other than that of their passion for each other.
Hadley’s hopelessness, however, returned full force that evening. She returned home from work at the Manor Keep, where the Squire’s mother had told her not to return to work, and refused to pay her. Lady Elizabeth accused Hadley of putting rotting cabbage in the soup, and stealing the good ones. “You’re no better than your thieving grandfather,” Lady Elizabeth sneered. Hadley thought the cabbage was still good enough to eat, and was mortified that Lady Elizabeth thought she was trying to cheat her and steal cabbages.
Between being fired and her argument with Brodie, now she barely had the energy to long for a prosperous future, much less, a happy one. Her love for Brodie was an anomaly she couldn’t reconcile with her desire to work hard, provide for her family, and fulfill her place in the great chain, in Ayre. She would happily forget him, if she could.
Supper was solemn. The herald had brought word that Gabe had been caught, arrested, and returned to the tower, where he awaited trial and sentencing. James was gone, patrolling as a night guard. Hadley could not find the energy to bring laughter to the table, and Bonnie was exhausted from the hike and being up most of the night.
The next morning, while James slept, Daralis was at work at the castle keep in the Steward’s kitchen, and Hadley was gathering wood and nuts in the forest, Bonnie cleaned up after the goats, saved the manure, and fed and watered them.
Then he weeded the garden.
Then, James asked Bonnie and Hadley if they would like to walk with him to the Village Green. He wanted to see if he could join a game of chess, and thought it might lift the children’s spirits to see friends. But once they arrived at the green, Bonnie was playing with Harold Berry, showing off his cartwheels, and slipped and fell.
James wanted to comfort Daralis’ son, and as the sun set, he played with the boy, whose embarrassment at falling was nothing next to his sorrow over his grandfather’s arrest. Hadley lingered under a tree with Brodie. She had not forgiven him. Although she was almost sure she would, she was not ready to break it off, quite yet, and she let herself savor the stolen caress of his hand brushing against hers, where James and Bonnie could not see.
As he had since he was old enough, Bonnie ran to his mother as soon as he saw her return from work.
Rhett Forester had begun coming by, on his daily circuit between the almhouse, where he was staying, his wife’s house, and the Hefty Hedgehog, across the lane from the Gothard’s. Daralis would shoo him away, and breathed a sigh of relief every time he left without an altercation. He seemed to have lost his ability to reason, and she worried he might become aggressive.
When Daralis came home, James was usually just waking, since he worked nights. They would steal moments to be together before he had to leave to guard the gate and patrol between the homes and businesses through the night.
When they had time to drift off to sleep together, Daralis felt she was in paradise.
Late in Autumn, Daralis knew she was finally with child. She had missed her moon cycle, and the familiar nausea had returned.
Although she had not told James, when he saw her loosened waistline, he knew.
James wanted a child, she knew, much more than he had wanted their marriage. He told her he wanted a child that first time in the spring, when they had surreptitiously slipped into the bedroom while Gabe chatted with Cadby. Still, several moon cycles had come and gone before she finally conceived.
James began overseeing the chores, and making sure that Daralis rested and ate well, when she was home from her long hours as a scullery maid at the castle keep.
She cooked, ate, rested, and spent what time she could with James and Bonnie, as the days grew shorter and shorter, and the family waited for the first snowfall.
Nausea had been her friend for weeks, but one evening, a swollen ache in her neck and underarms hit Daralis hard. Her head throbbed, and her abdomen wrenched with pain. Quickly, she woke Hadley and sent her next door to the almshouse to ask Lady Joslyn, or Mildred, or Millicent to come. Daralis knew the signs of plague, but an irrational hope had not left her heart.
Lady Joslyn came, but as soon as she felt the swelling in Daralis’ neck, she backed away, rebuking Daralis for endangering her, failing to send word about the plague symptoms. She told her to go in her room and forbid her children to help her. “You can not be saved,” she said. “But you can save your children, Allfather willing.”
James, disobeying her wishes and common sense, came in early from guarding the gate, as soon as he heard Daralis had the plague. But she had already begun to bleed and miscarry their child, and was weeping.
In complete denial of her death warrant, he tried to comfort her. Without reason or logic, he promised she would get well.
The next morning, Mildred, the midwife healer, passed by and he pleaded with her to help Daralis. She told him, there was nothing she could do, and she urged him to come to his senses and realize he must protect himself and Bonnie.
Daralis died within two days. She was gone before anyone had the time to understand they were going to lose her. The Black Death left the house as quickly as it had come, sparing the rest of the family. But Bonnie watched James go numb, and he watched his sister’s strength dissolve.
Hadley appeared the worst hit of anyone. Where James focused on routine and basic needs, Hadley refused to cook, eat, wash, or rest.
Her grip on reality snapped and she rocked herself in her mother’s bedroom, refusing to get up.
James called for Oakes, who helped him get Hadley to the almshouse, where Lady Joslyn sequestered her in a room and made her rest and eat. Bonnie stayed with Lady Joslyn, as well. Then James returned home, where he went through the day, performing the chores and his work. He thought of no one and nothing, and he tried to push the pain away, as if his whole life was not now centered around the wife he no longer had and their child who would never be.
When the harvest feast came, he accepted an invitation to the Porters. After all, he had fought with Giles’ father, and promised to look out for the boy. James ate, and he even surprised Gertrude by laughing, but he did not feel.
James did not have a fear of Daralis dying so his aspiration did not take a direct hit, and strangely, he did not cry over her death. I don’t remember seeing a sim grieve that way before. He has had a want for a baby since spring, and they have tried for baby many times, but he never rolled a want to marry. He’s a family sim, and Daralis was a knowledge sim. Hadley, however, who had been fired and was already depressed, went into aspirational failure and I could not get her to do anything but panhandle. I was worried about her so I sent her to the Almshouse, along with Bonnie, who needed a babysitter when James went to work as a night guard. Bell stayed home with James.
With James, Daralis, and Hadley working, the family made plenty of money to pay the Steward for their taxes, tithes, and rent, as well as for the indenture (10%). Hadley works at the Squire’s Manor Keep. She got fired in the middle of the session for a chance card about rotting cabbage that she didn’t throw away, but tried to cut around and serve. The Squire needs a servant so I imagine during their round they’ll rehire Hadley.
Ironically, Brice stole the family’s billy goat while they were at the wedding (after dancing with Hadley!) She has some attraction for him and I briefly thought perhaps that a relationship with him, a man-at-arms, could be a happy future for her, but he has left the barracks and is now going to head up the thieve’s guild.
Knowing that Daralis had to die due to the Random Occurrence Scenario, I put off playing this session for a couple of weeks, and then it took me a long time to write it. Daralis was one of my favorite sims and Hadley is probably my very favorite in Ayre. I loaded Brodie’s lot before playing this lot, just to check if they might elope early in the season, since that would affect how I would play the Gothard’s. But neither of them rolled many wants to be together and then they had a spat probably from chatting, since they follow different religions. Although they have 100/100 love for each other, and two bolts, I don’t know that they are really very compatible. (He’s knowledge and she’s fortune).
Adding insult to injury, the family had to pay the death tax (heriot), which is 25% of family funds for serfs and peasants. They paid $650 to the Steward for death tax.
I’m thinking that eventually, maybe her mother’s death would make Hadley more interested in apprenticing to Mildred as a healer. I don’t think she’d necessarily want to marry Mildred’s son, though they are friends, and Mildred would probably consider mentoring her without her marrying into the family. I am thinking about changing her aspiration to knowledge (to allow her to be happier about being a witch and skilling, and because she already likes skilling a lot). She already has a silver gardening badge, which would be an asset as a healer. She could be a bit of a hermit and happily make and sell her potions and herb tinctures, and help others who are sick or delivering a baby. Whether she carries on with Brodie or not is up to her and I have decided I won’t allow him to invite her over on his round since she would be on autonomous but it could affect her future a lot, especially if she became pregnant.