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Since Charles’ birth, Anais’ health had started to falter. Despite her most earnest desire, she was no longer physically able to go to vespers daily, so she set up a little altar in her bedroom. From the window, she could see the Manor Keep Chapel, and Castle Ayre, and the sea. That is where she said her prayers.
Charles often followed his father or Destiny around the house and orchard. For some time after Rourke was released from the tower, he had felt awkward around his son.
But in early autumn, the shock of his imprisonment began to wear off, and familial affection began to ease the pain. Life began to feel more normal again.
Anais enjoyed her husband’s attentions. She also noticed that he was more like his old self again, and they both began to hope she might be able to bear another child.
Destiny’s health was not robust, either, and she was no longer able to work long days in the orchard or garden. So the garden dwindled as plants were harvested, and no new ones were planted. Destiny continued to tend her few spinach plants and pumpkin plants, but mostly, Rourke now had to manage both the bees and the orchard without her help.
Reduced stamina did not keep Anais from continuing to plot an advantageous marriage for Destiny. After deciding the Blacksmith had neither the reputation or the religious fervor she was looking for, Anais turned her attention upwards, to the merchant class. The son of the toymaker, Justis, or, possibly, the older toymaker, himself, were excellent matches for her daughter, which would allow her to gain status and move up in class and station. Lubbert and his son were both devout followers of the Allfather who wholeheartedly believed in upholding the great chain. She had hoped to have Destiny’s marriage arranged, if not executed, by now, but this delay must have been due to the favor of the Allfather, rewarding her fervor and dedication with a better match for her daughter. As an added benefit, Karin Faber was Destiny’s best friend, and Anais hoped that would make Destiny more agreeable to the marriage, no matter her personal feelings about either of the potential bridegrooms.
Anais was becoming a bit eccentric, between her forced seclusion and her increased religious fervor. Although she relished social visits from devout followers of the Allfather, she could also be suddenly cold to the same person who was her lifeline. One such visit was when the Squire’s mother, Lady Elizabeth, admired Anais’ devotion to the Allfather.
Anais, who normally would have been flattered by a social superior’s admiration, instead gave a scathing retort along the lines that this was her duty, and pride must be avoided at all costs. The Squire’s mother, rather than being offended, felt she had been righteously rebuked, and was abashed. She continued to try to get back into Anais’ good graces by offering to watch Charles for a while, and later, initiating another conversation with Anais.
Destiny had rested, and was waiting for guests to arrive. In the meantime, she was trying to pacify Charles with some attention. Charles was active, demanding, and could be incredibly grouchy when he did not get his way.
As the sun set, Anais welcomed the guests: Lubbert Faber, the toymaker, and his son, Justis, and daughter, Karin.
When Destiny heard her mother greeting the Fabers, she ran to the front of the house to give her best friend a hug. She had longed to see her, but Karin found it difficult to steal away from work and Destiny could no longer leave the house to visit her friend, due to fatigue and susceptibility to disease.
As a favor to Brodie, who was new in town, the Fabers also brought the Blacksmith with them. In the summer, Destiny had felt shy when her mother invited the Blacksmith to dinner to discuss marriage, but now, she boldly greeted him. As she welcomed him under the rosy skies, she felt a rush of infatuation which she had never felt before. She had been barely more than a child when they had first met, but now, she saw something in his soulful face that lit her curiosity.
Meanwhile, Lady Elizabeth was taking her leave, but not before she and Anais had an animated discussion of a shared vision of Charles’ future. Lady Elizabeth told Anais that the sister at the Foundling Home would soon begin a school, and Charles was welcome to attend as soon as he knew how to read.
The Squire and her Lady’s mother had also dropped by to check on the health of the apiary and orchard. Rourke gave them a good report. All but one hive were thriving and the orchard was laden with ripening fruit for harvest. There would be plenty of luxurious lavendar honey, pears, apples, oranges, and perhaps, some mead for the manor keep’s larder. Lady Joslyn said she would prepare to receive the harvest and make sure they had help on hand to preserve the fruit for the winter.
As Anais and Destiny made the final preparations to feed their guests, the Fabers, Charles and Winnie went in and out of the still-warm night air.
Destiny’s heart sank to see the Blacksmith was enamored of her best friend, and immensely enjoying a moment with Karin and Winnie, in the entryway.
Tonight, Rourke was under orders from Anais to build a rapport with Lubbert Faber; a base from which to begin marriage negotiations for Destiny.
Destiny, for her part, was instructed to be gracious, charming, and demure, to make a good impression on the toymaker.
When the men moved to the front room, and played chess, Anais chaperoned her daughter and Justis as they shared a moment in the kitchen. To Anais’ dismay, the young couple began to bicker.
Justis did not have the same regard for Destiny as his sister. He saw the world more as his father did, from an authoritarian view, and Destiny and his sister seemed a little too interested in the problems of the masses, for his taste.
After the guests had left, Anais was disappointed, but not defeated. She was quite pleased with the toymaker and felt he would either see Destiny as a potential good wife, or be willing to smooth things over with his son to marry her. After all, there were no eligible merchant girls, except the tailor’s daughter, who was too young at this time, to marry Justis. The tailor’s daughter, Arwen, was probably far too spirited for his liking, anyway.
The next morning, Anais, having already said her prayers, was studying fire safety when Rourke came downstairs. Destiny was caring for Charles in the kitchen, but Anais heard her cough and tell him she did not feel well and could not play with him outside. Shooing Charles away, Anais quickly checked Destiny and found that she had a fever.
Anais isolated Destiny in her chamber and barred the door. Anais was almost certain that the girl had contracted the plague.
Anais firmly commanded that no one was to enter Destiny’s room; she would take food and water to her door, and take away her chamber pot and dirty dishes. Anais said extra prayers for Destiny’s recovery, and guarded the hallway so that no one entered her room.
Rourke tended the orchard, garden, and apiaries without any help, making sure to collect as much raw honey as he could to feed the bees during the coldest parts of winter. He took his son on hikes into the forested hills, to find more wild honey, and began to teach the boy how to find and safely retrieve honey from wild nests. Later, he would teach him how to move the hive to their own apiaries.
Anais was not idle, even though she must rest for many hours a day. When she had finished studying all she could about fire safety, she began knitting warm underclothes for the whole family for the winter.
Charles was an energetic and playful child, and although he loved attention and having a playmate, he found ways to amuse himself, even though his most attentive companion was locked in her room. His sister had read and sung to him since before he could remember, and her absence was strange.
Rourke began to teach his son to read for himself, and to play chess. Soon, he would begin instructing him in the technical skills needed as a beekeeper, but first Charles must learn to read so he could attend school.
Anais prayed long into the night, for Destiny’s recovery. She didn’t even presume to pray for a good marriage, for first, she must survive this plague.
Anais prayed so long that she was sick with fatigue, before finally retiring hours after midnight.
Rourke was lost in thought. For his safety, and Charles’, Anais had wanted them out of the house as much as possible. On a trip to the Harvest Faire, in the dark after sunset, he had danced, flirted, and furtively, yet passionately, kissed and caressed Jada Stirwuard. Rourke had a strong partnership with Anais; probably based as much on shared ambition as on attraction, and he did not want to jeopardize it.
As far as he knew, no one had seen he and Jada at the fair. Although Rourke and Anais continued to try for another baby, Anais noticed that her husband was more often lost in thought, but she attributed this returned distance between them to fear for Destiny’s life.
With Destiny still sick, it was becoming more and more difficult for Charles to entertain himself. Fortunately, Winnie and he had become friends, which was a credit to the cat’s tolerance.
But soon, Charles began to get into mischief.
He began to prod at one of the wild hives in the orchard, with a fallen branch. When he realized he had angered them, he suddenly wished he had resisted boredom.
Soon, the bees were chasing Charles around the yard. As he swatted and ran, they angrily buzzed around him, until finally, he outran most of them.
Rourke, who had been at the far end of the orchard, realized the time had come to take the leap, and see if he had prepared Charles adequately to begin school. He invited Jada, who taught Ayre’s yeoman and merchant children in the school room at the Foundling Home, to meet Charles.
Charles demonstrated that he could read, and he was accepted into the school. Charles and Jada dared not look at each other, or speak, beyond the necessary arrangements regarding Charles.
The next morning, Rourke sent Charles across the fields to the Foundling Home, to attend his first day of school. Charles was given a seat at the back of the room, and assigned letters. Next to him, Fiona McGobhan was also beginning her first day of school. Bran and Arwen Thayer, the tailor’s children, were on the front row. They were a little older than Charles and Fiona, and a little more advanced. This was partly due to the extensive tutoring their father had already provided them. After they finished their work for the day, Arwen and Bran left immediately, but Charles and Fiona stayed to play ball for a little while under Jada’s supervision.
Charles, who was a rough and aggressive child, threw the ball very hard. But Fiona was brave, and she did not mind. She happily continued to play, and improved a little bit at catching the ball.
When Charles returned home, his father was bidding his mother goodbye at the gate, saying he needed to make an overnight trip into the woods to find more honey while he could.
But Rourke made a beeline for the Foundling Home.
Jada was pleased to see him, and immediately, the went to her bedroom, not even removing their clothing in their haste.
Although they did not discuss it, both irrationally hoped for a child. Jada knew that if she had a child, she would have to return to the convent, but she had done that before, and it did not stop her. Rourke, who depended on Anais to plan, did not think of the consequences for her, or any child they might conceive. He had always wanted more children, and now, he might lose Destiny. In this moment, he did not think about what life a child with an unmarried woman might have or what kind of connection he would have with the child.
In the hour before dawn, they kissed goodbye, not knowing when they might meet again.
Destiny had recovered. Anais was certain her prayers had been answered, and she began to pray, with more faith, for an advantageous marriage for both Destiny, and in the future, for Charles. Charles was thrilled Destiny was up and about again, but when she kissed him, he acted disgusted and tried to wipe the kiss away.
Destiny had some scarring from the plague, which her mother believed they would be able to fade with the right herbs. It felt good to leave the room, and Destiny was able to harvest the apple tree she had tenderly cared for throughout the spring and summer. The fruit had a deep red color, and a luscious, firm bite that was juicy and just tart enough.
As Destiny put the apples in a basket, a light snow began to fall around her.
With the arrival of the cold, damp air, Rourke checked and re-checked each hive to make sure the bees were healthy. The bees seemed ready for the winter, and Rourke was as confident as one could be, facing the dark, cold season, that the bees, his family, and he hoped, his mistress, would continue to survive, and perhaps, thrive.
The Honeycutt family sold $3496 worth of produce and honey, and paid $2400 in rent, taxes, tithes. The Treasury balance is now $70,157, which means I can add two colleges to the neighborhood, and a new tavern or inn can be opened by a resident (when they have the money). Rourke saved all his plain honey, which was gathered from wild hives in the orchard, to feed to the apiary bees through the winter to avoid starvation, and he also has 34 queen bee cells saved in case any of the apiaries die.
Rourke and Jada started having an affair (flirtation & making out) at the Autumn fair, probably when I was playing the Porter household. Rourke was very attentive to his family for the first several days of the round but then Jada popped up when he was helping Charles with his homework, and suddenly his wants and fears panels were full of Jada’s face. But he didn’t flirt with her while she was at the house. However, when I went to play the school, after the students had left, either she made an ACR “booty call” or he came by, but either way, she didn’t have to greet him and he came in. Then they Tried for Baby autonomously. (It’s not my style to initiate extra marital affairs so I have my ACR set to allow autonomous TFB; otherwise all my family trees would be incredibly basic). Rourke and Anais’ ACR setting is for three children.
Anais was suffering from cramps during her “moon cycle;” she did not have a miscarriage. Despite a lot of autonomous TFB, she did not conceive.
Between the summer round for this household and this Autumn round, I did health rolls for all the sims, and Anais and Destiny both rolled for Fair health, which means they can’t leave the lot. They can only do four hours a day of standing work, so both of them did a lot of knitting and studying this round. I had Anais spend a lot of time chatting with any sims who came by who are followers of the Allfather, since she couldn’t go to church, because my head canon is that she is very devout, and with the religion mod that level of fervor is maintained by talking with other followers.