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Jäna’s Gift

Started by Jerusha, December 22, 2011, 10:34:29 AM

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Jerusha

My thanks to Evie for her encouragement and previewing this story.
**************

Rhemuth Market
December 1126

It was not overly crowded in the wood carver's shop, though it was busy.  The owner was wrapping a carved horse in rough cloth to protect it from the winter weather.  A boisterous young man laid his coins on the table, accepted the parcel and tucked it under his arm.  He nodded his thanks to the shop's owner and bowed in the direction of the two men studying a selection of carved knights on a shelf by the window. The taller of the two men acknowledged him with a nod of his head and then picked the knight with a green painted surcoat.   The young man pulled his cloak more tightly around his chest and his parcel and left the shop, letting in a small flurry of snow as he passed through the door outside.

The tall man by the window eyed the green knight more closely.  The pale winter light glinted off his blond hair as he turned it around and checked for any sharp edges. 

"That's the one I like the best, m'Lord," Sean Earl Derry stated, bright blue eyes looking appraisingly at the toy. 

"I like the one that looks more like Kelson," Morgan mused, looking in the direction of another carved figure painted with a brilliant scarlet surcoat, "but that pike is too sharp and it won't be much of a present if Kelric puts an eye out with it."

"Two children and now you are the practiced, practical father." Derry laughed.

"No, I learned my lesson after Briony pinched her finger in the nutcracker I bought last year right before Twelfth Night court.  She was howling, Richenda was furious, and I had two of Kelson's guards charging about thinking I had been murdered."

Flurries of snow swirled again into the shop as the door opened and an older man entered with three small children.  Morgan glanced in their direction and then took a second look. 

He recognized the old Baron who entered.  Jerrill de Tehryn was nearly sixty but was a big, barrel-chested, bear of a man with a fighting man's stride.  His collar length hair had long gone iron grey, and his beard was full and bushy.  In contrast, the blue eyes had a merry light to them; he was a man who laughed much and heartily in spite of the loss of a beloved wife several years before.  He had retired from direct service to the Duke of Carthmoor a decade before and was often absent from Twelfth Night court.

It was the children that had caused the Duke of Corwyn to take a second look.  The two boys were identical in appearance; dark auburn hair framed fair faces with rosy cheeks from the cold and green eyes wide with delight at a shop full of carved toys.  The girl was a feminine version of the other two.  She was half a head shorter than her brothers but her hair was the same dark auburn and her eyes an almost emerald green.  Morgan realized they must be triplets and roughly the same age as his three year old daughter.

"Your Grace, and Earl Derry," De Tehryn said in greeting and made a respectful bow.  After a gentle prod the boys turned their attention from the toys and paid their respects as well. The small girl however, craned her head up, then up, then up still more to look into the tall Duke's eyes, her mouth making a small "o." 

"Jäna," her father said gently, "pay your proper respects and don't stare." 

"Oh!" She began to bend in a bow as her brothers had.

"Kitten," he said again.  "Remember how Lady Amah showed you how to curtsey?"

She looked at her father, and then her face settled into three-year-old concentration as she lifted her cloak up farther from her ankles, dipped her knees and managed to keep her balance.

"Thank you, young lady," Morgan said with a smile, and Derry gave her a courtly bow.

The petite girl rewarded both with an enchanting little smile then took one of her brother's hands, and all three walked over to look at the carved horses.

"Beg pardon, your Grace," the Baron said with an easy smile.  "It's the first they've been outside of Tehryn and they're a bit overwhelmed.  Jäna especially has to take everything in.  And I have to remind her occasionally that she's a girl and not exactly like her brothers."

Morgan chuckled.  "I think that will get easier as she grows up."

"And more obvious," Derry said with a grin.  "Shopping for Twelfth Night gifts?"

"Actually, we're shopping for birthday gifts.  My boys were born late Christmas Eve, and Jäna several hours later on Christmas Day," de Tehryn said.

"If I remember, Baroness Anya did not survive the birth," Morgan said quietly.  "It must make the season difficult."

"Aye, it does. But Jäna is the image of her mother, so in a way I have her still.  And think what she'd look like if she took after me!"  The old Baron stroked his beard and laughed.  "I'd better keep an eye on those three or I'll be carrying off a whole herd of horses when they can't make up their minds."

"Methinks papa may be a bit indulgent," Morgan said in a low voice as he and Derry turned back to the knights.

"And you're not?" Derry returned.

"Perish the thought."

The shop owner had pulled up a bench for the children to stand so they could see the carved horses on the table.  One boy held a light brown horse carved to look like it was moving at a full gallop; his brother was admiring a darker horse that reared up on its hind legs.  Jäna pointed to a black standing horse.

"That's a nice one, Jared," she said.

"It's all right, but I like this one better," he replied and moved the rearing horse forward in hopping steps.

Jäna shook her head.  "He can't move like that, Jared."

"Sure he can, if I want him to.  Right Justin?"  Jared hopped the horse forward for emphasis. 

Justin nodded his approval.  "But this one is faster."

Jäna sighed and turned around to sit on the edge of the bench.  Baron Jerrill noticed her disinterest and pointed out another shelf with carved dolls.  It even had a little carved cradle.

"That would be nice for your doll, Kitten," he suggested.  Jäna hopped down from the bench and wandered over to the shelf for a closer look.

Morgan had completed his purchase of the green knight and was waiting while the shop owner wrapped it securely.  He looked over at the boys and smiled as they continued to look at the horses, but always returned to the two that had first caught their attention.

"It looks like you've made up your minds."  The Duke accepted his parcel from the shop owner and he and Derry began to move toward the door.

Baron Jerrill crossed to his daughter's side and picked her up.  "Have you decided on something, Jäna?"

Jäna shook her head slowly, auburn locks falling across her face.  She pushed the hair back distractedly, looking once more around the room.  Suddenly she brightened and pointed directly at the Duke of Corwyn.

"Papa, I want THAT!"

Morgan looked startled and Derry mystified.  The Baron gaped at his small daughter then shook his head.

"Kitten, I can't buy you the Duke of Corwyn for a gift," he said gently.

Jäna looked at her father sternly.  "Not his Grace!" She managed the aggrieved tone of voice Morgan had heard from his wife on more than one occasion.  "The cat!"

"What cat?"   Bewildered, de Tehryn looked around the shop but saw no cat.

"BEHIND his Grace," stated Jäna emphatically and pointed again.  "See?"

Morgan turned around to look at the shelf behind him then moved to one side.  "Do you mean this cat?" 

It was a medium sized cat carved so that the grain of the wood gave the impression of fur.  It sat straight with its tail curled around its front paws.  The eyes were slightly closed, giving it a smug, contented look.  If Morgan hadn't known better, he almost thought he heard it purr.

Morgan reached for the cat and handed it to the girl. 

"This cat, Papa!  This is what I want!"

The shop owner eyed the piece with satisfaction.

"That's a fine piece of work and a good choice," he began, then caught the sharp look and raised eyebrow from the Duke of Corwyn.  "And very reasonably priced," he hastily added.

"That's nice to know," the Baron said dryly.  "I'll take the two horses my sons are holding and this cat for my daughter."

The three toys were quickly wrapped and paid for.  Derry had turned his attention to the doll cradle as a potential gift for Briony.

Jäna happily held her package as her father bid Duke and Earl farewell, then bowed with her brothers as they turned to leave.  The Duke smiled and Baron Jerrill rolled his eyes.

"Papa, hold my cat.  Please."  Jäna handed the package to her father then turned to Morgan and Derry.  She took two steps forward and made a graceful little curtsey to both men.  Then, with a bright smile that would have warmed the coldest winter day, she confidently placed her small hand in her father's larger one and walked out with her family into the swirling snow.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

AnnieUK

Good job! I like Jerrill already - a very indulgent, and proud, papa - and I have a feeling that if Jäna and Briony got together they could be a force to be reckoned with.  The story about the nutcracker was a nice touch, too.

Elkhound

I look forward to seeing those three growing up.

Jerusha

They may have an adventure or three along the way.   ;)
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Evie

I want to adopt Jana...she's so cuuuute!  :D

And no, Alaric isn't the least bit indulgent.  Never.  ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Alkari

Baron Jerrill certainly has his hands full with those three.  Nice to see he's a cheerfully indulgent Papa.    Not like Alaric of course ;)  And Uncle Seandry would never, ever be an indulgent uncle.

QuoteAnd I have to remind her occasionally that she's a girl and not exactly like her brothers."

Morgan chuckled.  "I think that will get easier as she grows up."

"And more obvious," Derry said with a grin.
LOL.  Why do I get the impression that young Jana will be something of a tomboy as she grows up, not to mention a magnet for male eyes?!    Her father had better keep in good fighting trim :D

Jerusha

#6
Quote from: Alkari on December 22, 2011, 02:27:19 PM
LOL.  Why do I get the impression that young Jana will be something of a tomboy as she grows up, not to mention a magnet for male eyes?!    Her father had better keep in good fighting trim :D


Jäna will initially grow up as "one of the boys" despite her father's and nurse's efforts to convince her otherwise.  It will be part of her charm, later on.

And no one should ever, ever annoy Jäna when her brothers are around. Though they will, of course. ;)
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Elkhound

Given their father's age, is it not unlikely that the triplets will be orphaned fairly young and become Royal Wards?

derynifanatic64

My niece is much cuter--but I am VERY BIASED!!  A great story!!
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

Jerusha

Quote from: Elkhound on December 22, 2011, 04:44:07 PM
Given their father's age, is it not unlikely that the triplets will be orphaned fairly young and become Royal Wards?

Unfortunately, it is very likely.  Baron Jerrill lost his only child, his son and heir, in the fight at Jennan Vale.  In spite of their ages at that point, he and his wife decided to try for another child.  The result was the triplets.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

AnnieUK

Ah! We were speculating last night whether he had any older children. That answers that, then.

Elkhound

Quote from: Jerusha on December 23, 2011, 05:46:46 AMUnfortunately, it is very likely.  Baron Jerrill lost his only child, his son and heir, in the fight at Jennan Vale.  In spite of their ages at that point, he and his wife decided to try for another child.  The result was the triplets.

Unfortunate for them, true; but not so much for us, as having them join the Royal Nursery would make for lots of interesting stories.

Mcath

This is a lovely story - I can see the the Baron Jerrill' s has been gifted with angelic errrrrrrrrr lovely children. :D More please.

Jerusha

Thank you very much.  There is another story in the works, slowly but surely.   :)
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Mcath

Quote from: Jerusha on February 08, 2012, 11:46:45 AM
Thank you very much.  There is another story in the works, slowly but surely.   :)

;) Does Baron Jerrill already have grey hair???? If he doesn't already I guessing he soon will. :D