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The River Ayre’s lumber mill wheel had been repaired, and it turned with the current. Logs came down river from the King’s Forest and workers guided them into the saw and turned them into timbers for the kingdom’s post-plague boom. Sir Roland du Bois, the Baronet of the Vale, oversaw the operation for Lord Stirwuard, with pride.
Soon, Sir Roland’s son, Piers, would go away to apprentice under the Squire of Ayre in fencing, and her mother, Lady Elizabeth, for classical studies. So Sir Roland was taking every opportunity to teach the boy his values: seriousness, activity, and being outgoing. Sir Roland excelled at diplomacy, and perhaps his genuine regard for others and desire to live and let live, was what allowed the Vale to prosper so quickly after the plague had decimated the population. Displaced people were settling in the Vale and doing the work that could be done before the cold of winter.
As the overseer of the Vale, it was Sir Roland’s duty to host the annual royal hunt in the King’s Forest. So on a bright, cool morning, he and Piers set out, with Pier’s hunting hound, Bruno, to set up camp.
By nightfall, everything was prepared and guests had arrived at camp. Lady Eithne, his fiance, arrived with her father, the Lord Stirwuard.
The Squire, Lady Jane Chevalier, arrived with her mother, Lady Elizabeth, and her ward, Edwuard Stirwuard.
The ladies sat around the fire while Lord Stirwuard and Sir Roland played a game of chess, and the boys played with Bruno, scouting around the periphery of the camp for animal tracks.
But it wasn’t until the second night of the hunt, that Bruno finally picked up a bear scent. Lady Eithne and Sir Roland had walked a little away from camp, with Piers as their chaperone, when Bruno caught the scent.
Edwuard, who had been following at a distance, threw a spear into the bear. He eventually brought the bear down.
That night, Lady Jane killed two boars with her sword, and Sir Roland killed a deer with a spear. The party sent word back to the Manor Keep that they were returning, and Lady Lorraine, Sir Roland’s mother, oversaw the preparation of a feast.
When he returned to the Manor Keep, Sir Roland and his guests enjoyed hot baths before the feast.
The Lord Stirwuard was pleased with his future son-in-law’s administration of the hunt, and the progress of the Vale’s economic growth.
The next morning, Sir Roland said goodbye to his fiance, Lady Eithne. The next time they saw each other, may be at their wedding in Ayre, in the winter.
The next morning, after the guests had all departed, normal daily life at the Manor Keep resumed. The baronet’s mother, Lady Lorraine, slept in a dormitory with the children and Liselle, the baronet’s sister, and oversaw their behavior and their learning. After returning from the hunt, the Baronet moved his son, Piers, to a bed near his chamber, in the main hall loft. The boy would not be a child much longer, and it was appropriate for him to leave the nursery.
Cassie Berry slept in an upper level of the stable tower. When she woke, she immediately began her chores.
Cassie cleaned up after the horses
Helped with the gardening,
and helped prepare the morning meal.
In mid-autumn, Zelda Berry came to the Manor Keep to visit Cassie and see how she fared. When Zelda departed, Cassie gave her a gift of fresh produce, fresh fish from the river, and some of the meat from the hunt to help the Berries through the winter.
Liselle and her niece, Cateline, spend most of their days studying under Cateline’s grandmother and Liselle’s mother, Lady Lorraine.
Piers, inspired by seeing the adults hunt bears, deer, and boars, practiced his fencing with renewed enthusiasm.
At the end of the Autumn season, the family invited Pier’s and Cateline’s grandmother, the dowager Viscountess, along with the Chevalier family, to celebrate Piers and Cateline’s coming of age. Liselle was happy to see her brother’s wife’s mother again.
Lady Cateline, the Baronet’s daughter, took after her grandmother the dowager Viscountess more than her father realized. One of the knights, Alistair, and Lady Cateline carried on a chaste conversation in the corner. With her father only steps away, Lady Cateline had no opportunity to act on her desire to flirt or try to get a first kiss.
Later, as Alistair talked with the Baronet’s sister, Liselle, Piers finished his cake and joined them. Alistair could see that Piers was there because he was interested in his aunt, Liselle. Alistair walked away.
No one noticed that Piers and Liselle lingered in the great hall after others had gone to sleep. Liselle, who had always thought of her nephew as a little boy up till now, was surprised to find how strongly she was attracted to him, and she responded warmly to his flirtatious approach. But Liselle still hoped to join religious orders, and she said good night, and went to the dormitory to sleep.
Liselle’s mother had noticed her late return to the nursery, and she discussed what was to be done with her son, the next evening.
The time had come for the young people to be sent out to other great houses or to the convent, to continue their studies and tutelage. As decided when Piers was younger, he was sent to Ayre to live with the squire.
There, Piers would study fencing and strategy with the squire, and study the classics with Lady Elizabeth. There, he had a fellow, Edwuard, with whom to practice and study. Lady Elizabeth, Piers found, was a much less kind teacher than either his father or his grandmother, and Piers found the Ayre Manor Keep to be cramped, damp, and less elegant than that of his family in the Vale.
The young ladies of the Vale, along with Cassie, were also in for an adjustment as they were met at the entrance to the convent by the strict Prioress of Saint Lorien.
Back at the Manor Keep in the Vale, Lady Lorraine and Sir Roland spent the last few days of autumn quietly going about their business and preparing for winter. Sir Roland oversaw the saw mill and trained the stallion, and Lady Lorraine oversaw the last of the harvest of the orchard trees. She planned the feast for the wedding, which would be held soon in Ayre, early in winter. Then the Manor Keep would once again house a family, and perhaps very soon, she hoped, more grandchildren.
- The MCC allows gentry to roll for a random amount of profits from “harvest,” and this season, the roll yielded d2, or $10,000.
- Sir Roland also got a chance card (he is in the political career) and got $10,000 more for that! His salary was $679/3 days. So the total amount he ended up paying to the Steward was $7500. After I went back and paid the dowager Viscountess taxes, which I forgot before, the treasury is at $82,657! Of course, I am not following all the rules, and have added families and other lots too quickly so my Medieval Charter Challenge is not “by the book.”
- Next family is the Wise family, back in Ayre
- Next time I play this family, Roland and Eithne will marry. I would love to fix up the main church in Ayre for their wedding but it would take craftsmen longer to repair the church, so to be realistic they would marry in the Squire’s chapel. We’ll see, I might just have the church magically ready in time for a fairy tale wedding 🙂 After all, it is going to take a lot of real-life time to finish this autumn round and get back to them anyway!
- Thanks for reading about Ayre!