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Passages, Part 1 - Farewell

Started by Jerusha, March 14, 2012, 10:41:17 AM

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Jerusha

This is a story in three parts.

****************************
Passages, Part 1
Farewell

Tehryn Keep
Barony of Tehryn
Early March 1129

"He can't be gone!"  Jäna de Tehryn's voice broke in a sob as she stretched her small hand forward to stroke the grizzled, gray head.

"He was very old, Jäna," her eldest brother stated.   He was the pragmatic one of triplets.  "You know he couldn't live forever."

Justin, a bit more sensitive than his identical twin, gave his brother a stern look and reached around to hug his sister's slender shoulders.  "It's all right to cry, you know."

"Tehryn doesn't cry!"  But the look she gave him was despairing and her lower lip was starting to tremble.

"Who says Tehryn doesn't cry?"  Baron Jerrill de Tehryn rocked back on his haunches from where he had been kneeling beside the now dead pony.

"You did."  Jäna's thick auburn lashes were wet with unshed tears as she turned her face toward her father.

"Now why would I say a silly thing like that?"  Baron Jerrill raised himself enough to move closer to his daughter and sat in the straw beside her.  Justin released his grip on his sister as de Tehryn pulled the five-year old girl onto his lap.  She burrowed her head against his neck and beard. 

Jared gave his father a questioning look.  "But you always say..."

"Not now, Jared."  The old Baron gave his eldest son a firm look and the boy looked at his twin for support.  Justin shook his head.

"Saffron was Jayce's pony," Jäna sobbed, her voice muffled from within her father's arms.  "He was all we had left of Jayce, and now he's gone, too."

"I know, Kitten, but Saffron was very old.  You took very good care of him these last months."  Baron Jerrill rocked her gently and sighed.

They had never known their eldest brother.  Sir Jayce Justin de Tehryn had been but twenty when he died, fighting alongside Prince Nigel Haldane on the fields of Jennan Vale to restore order to a kingdom beset by enemies within as well as without.  He still had the letter from Prince Nigel extolling how bravely his son had fought and how much the Prince regretted the loss of a young man with so much potential and promise.  Many times Jerrill had wondered if it would have been different if he had been able to ride out with his son in service to the Duke, but the aggravation of an old injury to his hip prevented him from riding the distance.  His only child and heir had been eager and willing to go in his stead, the sable Tehryn banner with its golden wyvern carried proudly by his son's first squire.  Neither one had returned alive.

The passage of time had made legends of the stories he told the triplets of their brother.  The tales he told of Jayce's adventures as a Carthmoor page and later as a squire.  The description of Jayce's knighting by King Brion and how proud his family had been.  The stories of how the young boy had learned to ride his pony, Saffron. The pony that now lay dead on the stable floor.

Saffron had been the link to the legend.  The children had their own ponies to ride, but Jäna was determined to provide the aged pony with the best of care and loved him dearly.  They all loved him, of course; the boys just hadn't been quite so flamboyant about it.  Jäna never allowed Saffron to eat a bruised apple, and she was happy to redirect all carrots from the kitchens to the pony's stall.  The fact that Jäna hated carrots was carefully and frequently pointed out by Jared. To Jäna's dismay, most of the carrots continued to be served at table.

At the end of January, the winter cold had begun to take its toll on the aged pony.  Saffron grew frailer with each passing day.  In spite of selecting the best of the apples from the storeroom,  Jäna could no longer tempt the pony to eat.  Jerrill had decided to end Saffron's suffering that morning, but the pony had died peacefully during the night, sparing the Baron his task. 

Jäna's crying subsided.  Baron Jerrill stood and took her gently by the hand and began to draw her away from the pony's head. 

"Jared, have the stablemen come now and look after Saffron," he said. 

"Yes, sir," Jared responded with a noticeable stiff and turned toward the stable yard where two men waited respectfully at a distance. 

Jäna pulled her hand from her father's and looked up beseechingly.  "Up, Papa, please?" 

The old baron looked down into his daughter's green eyes and said gently, "You're getting too big to be carried now, don't you think?"

"Not yet, Papa," five-year old Jäna replied without hesitation.

Baron Jerrill smiled gently and scooped his small daughter up into his arms.  "Perhaps not quite yet, Kitten." 

She leaned her auburn head against his iron-grey one as he carried her back toward the main hall, her twin brothers joining them, one on either side.

Inside the hall, Jerrill paused before the family portrait he had commissioned shortly after Jayce's knighting.  In the portrait he was younger, his dark brown hair and full, bristling beard threaded with grey rather than the solid grey they were now, and there were fewer lines around his blue eyes. He had always thought he looked stuffy and uncompromising standing at attention in the portrait.  Anya had teased him, telling him he looked more like a warning for intruders than a welcoming host for visitors.

Not so the woman who sat in front of him on an ornately carved chair.  Anya de Tehryn had not been beautiful in the strictest sense, but she had been a captivating woman.  She certainly never failed to captivate him!   She was gowned in her favourite green for the portrait, with a matching green veil framing her fair face and highlighting her emerald green eyes.  The silver circlet securing the veil had been his wedding present to her.  Not a wisp of her deep auburn hair escaped the confines of her veil.  Her smile in the portrait was as warm as it had been in life, yet there had always been the faintest hint of sadness, suggesting a life that had not quite been perfect. 

Wistfully he turned his gaze to Jayce, standing tall and proud at his father's side, behind his mother.  Jayce's appearance favoured his father; an oval face framed by cropped, dark brown hair and a close-clipped beard, laughing blue eyes and a boyish grin.  He had never been able to remain serious for very long, finding humour even in the mundane.  Yet this trait had not deterred him in his determination to win the accolade of knighthood, and he had earned the respect of both peers and superiors.  He had certainly made his parents proud.

"Do you still miss them, Papa?" Justin asked quietly.

"Yes I do, son, and I always will.  But now I have the three of you to keep me busy and out of trouble."  He bounced Jäna slightly in his arms for emphasis. 

"Papa, did you ever get into trouble?" Jared asked, turning his head to look up at his father.

"Of course not," Jerrill responded gruffly.  Jäna looked at him with a mixture of disbelief and delighted affection, so much like her mother would have looked at him if he had said the same to her that it caught at his heart.

"Down, Papa, please!  I am too big to be carried into the hall."

"Why, so you are," Jerrill said with a smile and set her down, taking her hand in his.  "It should be just about time for the noon meal, I think."

As they started in to the hall, Jerrill turned to look back briefly at the portrait. The sunlight drifting through a window caught his wife's face, and for a moment, he thought it reflected approval in her eyes.
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 Jäna.  And for a moment there, until I realized it was a pony that died, I thought you were leaving her an orphan and that I was about to get a chance to.  ;)

And now I find myself wishing I knew more about young Sir Jayce, poor lad.  He must have been quite a sterling young man to have impressed Prince Nigel.
"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!

Elkhound

This is a very good beginning; I am looking forward to the rest.

Alkari

Excellent start, and look forward to seeing more of the triplets.

LOL at carrots being carefully 'redirected' to the stables, but alas still turning up at the dinner table!


Jerusha

As you may have guessed,  Jäna reflects my own personal opinion of cooked carrots!

(With humble apologies to those who actually like cooked carrots. *Shudders*)
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 like cooked carrots, but preferably cooked with honey or brown sugar or some other sort of syrup glazing, and perhaps a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ground cloves.  Though I'll eat them with just butter, salt & black pepper as well.

I prefer them raw with a ranch dressing dip, though.  ;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!

derynifanatic64

#6
Very good start to a great story!!  Carrots and peas are both the epitome of EVIL--they are the Walter Branigan of vegetables!!
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

Evie

#7
LOL!  Peas?  No, no, no, Brussels sprouts!  And cooked leafy greens of any sort.  *shudder*
"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!

Elkhound

So I guess you aren't from the South?

Evie

I was born in Florida, and despite a Navy upbringing I was raised mainly in the South, and have remained in the South (Mississippi and Alabama) since I turned 13.  I turn 50 later this year.  And I still loathe greens!  :D

My mom was born and raised on an island only 4 miles or so across, and she can't swim.  And despite being half Filipina, I don't like seafood either.  ;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

#10
I'm pretty well omnivorous (probably thanks to boarding school since the age of nine!), and happily eat peas, carrots and brussels sprouts.  I adore seafood: the only two things that I absolutely Will Not Eat EVER are tripe and okra.

My old horse agreed completely with Saffron: he loved carrots and would quite approve of anyone redirecting a steady supply his way.  In his retirement years, if there weren't a few chunks of carrot in his dinner, he would give A Look that had you apologising profusely for this example of total neglect, despite the fact that dinner had lots of other goodies in it  :).  He totally refused to eat sugar lumps or polo mints, insisting on carrots, apples, bananas or wholegrain bread (didn't like the white stuff).

Elkhound

Quote from: Alkari on March 15, 2012, 03:10:59 AMI'm pretty well omnivorous (probably thanks to boarding school since the age of nine!), and happily eat peas, carrots and brussels sprouts.  I adore seafood: the only two things that I absolutely Will Not Eat EVER are tripe and okra.

I will eat okra if it is in a stew or gumbo, but not by itself.  I've never had tripe, but I like liver and sweetbreads.  I don't like kidneys.  My late father loved brains with scrambled eggs, but I can take or leave them.  Never quite had the nerve to try Prairie Oysters.

(I'm told that the custom in some police departments is that when a rookie sees his first 'floater' [a body that has been in the water for some time] the senior officers will take him to a diner and order scrambled eggs & brains with ketsup---and then take bets on how long before the rookie has to make a dash for the bathroom!)

AnnieUK

Aw, what a nice if sad start. I am happy to eat most vegetables, but seafood will provoke the same response in me as that bloated corpse!