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If Apples Could Fly - Part 1

Started by Jerusha, June 14, 2012, 01:10:03 PM

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Jerusha

Just a little triplet romp.   :)

*************************************************

Part 1

Barony of Tehryn
September 1130, Late Morning


Baron Jerrill de Tehryn leaned his head against the apple tree.  From this position, sitting in the warm September sunshine at the edge of his apple orchard, he could see Tehryn Keep and the town below.  More importantly, he had a clear view of the three young children finishing the last of the honeycakes from their picnic lunch.  Jäna was delicately licking her fingers clean, the sun glinting brightly off her dark auburn hair.  It had been neatly plaited that morning, but now many strands escaped to frame her fair face.  Her triplet brother Justin sat beside her, passing the back of his right hand across his lips then reaching for the flask of small ale to wash down the last crumbs.  Jared, his identical twin, kneeled  slightly behind Jäna, gazing at his sticky hand, then at Jäna's back....

"JARED!" The old Baron gave his son a stern look.

"Sir?" Jared hastily drew his hand back, his face displaying boyish innocence although the green eyes twinkled with mischief.

"I saw that."

Jäna turned to glare at her brother.  "Don't you dare!"

Jared grinned obligingly at her and dusted his hand off on his tunic.

Jerrill sighed and crossed his arms across his chest comfortably.  His children were six years old and Jerrill was convinced they had far too much energy for his own good.
 
"Why don't you settle down on the grass and we'll all have a nice nap."

"Nap?"  Justin looked at his father doubtfully.  "On a day like this?"

"Papa," Jäna said, coming over to crouch beside him.  "Why don't you have a little sleep and we'll play hide and seek quietly until you wake up."

"Will you now?" Jerrill looked at the pert little face beside him and smiled.  "You think I need a 'little sleep'?"
 
"Well, Papa, we did play tag, checked all the cider apple trees and threw rocks at the targets.  You're probably a little tired by now."  She looked at him so seriously that the old baron found it hard to suppress a laugh.

"All right.  The three of you may play hide and seek provided you stay where I can hear you.  And no climbing the trees."  Jerrill looked directly at his two sons.  "Understood?"

"Yes, Papa," both boys responded.  "And we'll look out for Jäna."

Jäna looked at them with an expression that clearly gave her opinion of whether she needed to be looked after or not.

"See that you do."  The baron settled his back more comfortably against the tree, closing his eyes while ensuring his senses were tuned to pick up the slightest sign of any real trouble they might get into.  With a little luck, that wouldn't happen too soon....

***

"Nineteen, twenty.  Ready or not, here I come!"  Jäna de Tehryn lifted her head from her arms crossed against the tree trunk and turned around.  Any sounds of running feet had stopped by the time she had reached the count of twelve, so her brothers were a fair distance away.  She didn't bother looking up into the trees, since her brothers had promised not to climb the orchard trees.  She hadn't exactly promised not to climb the trees herself, but she was pretty sure Papa had included her in his admonition against tree climbing.

There was an outcropping of rocks far off to the left that could be a possible hiding spot.  She cast her senses in that direction; after a little concentration she was fairly sure Justin was behind the largest boulder.  And Jared was on the ground behind the tree to the left of the rocks, ready to try to sneak past her when she went after Justin.

Jäna sighed.  Hide and Seek wasn't fun anymore, now that her training from Lady Amah had taught her how to sense her brothers' presence.  Maybe once they learned how to shield themselves better it would be fun again.  Somehow she doubted it.

"I spy," she began as she dashed toward the rocks.  At almost the same moment Jared darted from behind his tree and headed toward the tree Jäna had abandoned.

"I spy Jared!"  Jäna changed her direction and now ran in a line to intercept her brother.  Justin ran out from behind the rocks to reach the tree from the other side.

"I spy Justin!" Jäna whirled, suddenly unsure which to pursue and tripped on a tree root.  The mishap delayed her just long enough for her brothers to reach the tree before her.  She kicked at the root in frustration.
 
"Well done! " Jared gave his brother a congratulatory clap on the shoulder.  "Do you want to seek this time?"
 
Justin shook his head.  "Not really."  He sat down with his back to the tree, pushing his dark auburn hair back from his face to catch the slight breeze.  Jared stretched out on the ground nearby, staring at the sky through the tree branches.  Jäna sat down between them, her arms wrapped around her knees drawn up under her dress.   She rested her chin dejectedly on top.

"What's wrong?"  Justin asked.  His sister didn't like losing but she never sulked about it.  She was much more inclined to get even.

"The letter Papa got from Prince Nigel."

"Oh."  The twins exchanged uncomfortable glances.  Papa had talked to them privately about it, before he told Jäna.

The boys would reach their seventh birthdays on Christmas Eve and Jäna on Christmas Day.  As they had since they turned three, the triplets would accompany their father to Rhemuth for King Kelson's Christmas and Twelfth Night Courts.  They did not attend the courts themselves, of course, but it was fun to see the sights in Gwynedd's capitol and at least watch from the fringes of some of the many activities.  There were treats and delicacies and gifts for their birthdays and Twelfth Night.  Last year Papa had taken them to watch the young pages and squires in their training.  It had been very exciting, until Papa had to explain to Jäna why she couldn't be a page like her brothers would be one day.

Now that day was coming.  The letter from Prince Nigel Haldane, who supervised the training of Rhemuth's pages and squires, had confirmed that the boys would be pledged along with the other new pages at Twelfth Night court.  They would remain in Rhemuth after Twelfth Night; only Jäna would return to Tehryn with Papa.
 
Jäna had been upset after Papa had taken her aside and explained the letter's contents.  Although she had agreed that it was a great privilege for the sons of the Baron Tehryn to become royal pages, she had stubbornly refused to agree that she should not be included.  After all, she had argued, wouldn't Queen Araxie like to have her own little girl page to serve her?

"It will be hard for us too, you know," Justin said.  "So many new things to learn that have to be done 'just so', and you won't be there to help us."

Jäna turned her head to look directly at her brother.  "I could be, you know!"

"No you can't," Jared stated with his usual directness.  "Papa needs you here in Tehryn to be his chatter-laine."

"That's chatelaine!"

"Close enough," Jared said with sly grin.  Jäna scooped up a handful of grass and dirt and threw it at his head.  "Hey, I was just trying to make you smile!"

Jäna sighed and lay back to look up into the apple tree.  "It's not funny."  She knew her father had arranged the day's outing to please her, but how could she be happy knowing her brothers were going away?

The three were silent for a while, lost in private thoughts.
 
"What if apples could fly?" Jäna suddenly asked.

"Huh?"  Jared rolled over to look more directly at his sister.  "Why would you think apples could fly?"

"Well, if we're not supposed to climb the trees, it would be a way to get an apple down." Jäna looked thoughtfully into the branches above.  "Amah's taught us how to focus." Her voice trailed off as she continued to gaze up into the tree.  An apple not too far up in the branches looked ripe for picking.  She took a deep breath and concentrated on making it move.  Slowly, it began to move from side to side.

"It's just the wind," Jared muttered.
 
The apple suddenly popped free from the stem and plummeted to the ground, landing with a solid "thud."  Justin crawled over to pick it up, turning it thoughtfully in his hand.  "I think you bruised it."

"It came down before I was ready for it," Jäna responded, reaching over to have a closer look herself.  There was a solid dent in the side of the apple.

"Try again," Jared said eagerly, "and show me what you did."

Jäna held her hand out to her brother, who clasped it eagerly.  "This is what I did."

Five apples later, the three sat joined hand to hand in a circle.  Ever so precariously, an apple drifted jerkily down to the ground in the middle, falling part way then slowing, until finally it settled somewhat gently on the ground.

"Now that was better," Justin said with a wide grin.  "We've almost got it right."

The pile of apples between them continued to grow.  Three apples now drifted down from the tree, one below the other.  Justin's was the lowest one, Jäna's was in the middle, and Jared's highest up.  Suddenly Jared let his drop, crashing into Jäna's apple, which in turn knocked into Justin's.

"Hey, watch out!" Jäna cried.  "Jared Jayce de Tehryn, you did that on purpose!"

Jared grinned broadly, pleased that he had thought of it first.
 
"You and Jäna try to keep two together, and I'll see if I can hit them both at once," Justin suggested eagerly.  The pile of apples on the ground continued to grow.

Soon two apples descended side by side, while Justin's apple drifted into alignment above; he was almost ready to release....

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

Jäna gasped.  With three distinct "thuds," all three apples fell to the ground at once.

Baron Jerrill de Tehryn stood with his fists on his hips, glaring at the three children still seated on the ground.  The triplets leaped to their feet, turning to look up at him with three pairs of wide, emerald eyes.  They knew that stormy look on their father's face, and at a time like this, there was only one thing to do; send in Jäna.

"Papa!  You're awake!" Jäna bent down and picked what she thought was the nicest looking apple.  "Would you like an apple?" she asked, stepping forward and giving her father her very best smile.

"No, I would not!  Look at all these apples on the ground! My cider apples!  What were you doing?" he asked again.

"Making apples fly," Jäna replied, a trace of uncertainty in her voice.

"Making apples fly," her father repeated.  He gave each of the three children a direct, pointed look.  "Show me."

Jäna turned back towards the tree and looked for another apple.  There weren't any left on the lower branches and there didn't appear to be very many left farther up.

"No," Jerrill said, "not another apple."  He held out his hand, palm up.  "Show me."

Obediently, Jäna set her small hand in her father's larger one.  The memories of the afternoon sped quickly across the contact.

"Could you not have stopped at one or two?  You've wasted the whole tree!"  The old baron took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, angry but at the same time grudgingly impressed.  Still, there was a lesson to be learned here.  He surveyed the apples on the ground again.

"There may be enough here for Old Johnny to start a small batch of cider.  The three of you start sorting through the apples while I fetch Old Johnny and stay right here until I get back!"  Jerrill de Tehryn strode back to the clearing where he had left his horse, leaving three dismayed children behind him.

***

Jäna de Tehryn looked up from the pile of apples as her father and the other man approached.  She brushed a damp strand of auburn hair back from her forehead and shaded her eyes with her small hand.  Papa had left his horse in the clearing again, and he walked beside the man leading the donkey that pulled the cart.  The cart's wheels creaked ominously.

Old Johnny Fen was the oldest man Jäna knew. His skin was wrinkled and leathery, and he had a big nose and wispy, white hair fringing a mostly bald head.  He was always gruff and direct, though never actually mean.  He had been Papa's cider master forever, as far as she knew.  He didn't exactly frighten her, but he made her uneasy.  Jäna edged closer to Jared as the cart stopped near the pile of apples.

"So these are the apples," Old Johnny stated as he reach down to pick up one apple and then another, examining them closely.  "They don't look too badly bruised, m'lord."

"This pile has the best ones," Jared ventured.  He pointed to a second pile of just about the same size.  "Those ones have more bruises, and the third pile has the worst ones."

"They were our first apples, and...." Jäna stopped at the sharp look from her father.  "We dropped some."

Old Johnny crossed in front of Jäna to check the other two piles of apples.  "If we use these two," he motioned with one gnarled arm in the direction of the first and second piles, "we should have enough for a small batch.  It should give us a good sample of this year's crop, at least."  He looked at the triplets.  "Load 'em into the cart."

The children looked toward their father uncertainly; he stood with his arms across his chest and nodded.

"And be careful you don't bruise 'em more!" Old Johnny stood back to supervise, occasionally directing the rearrangement of the apples in the cart to suit himself.

It had been warm work sorting through the apples the first time; it seemed warmer to the triplets now, piling them carefully two at a time into the cart.  Old Johnny lifted down a worn, leather flask hanging from one of the cart braces, uncorked it and shot a stream of clear liquid into his open mouth.
 
'You want some?" he asked Jäna.

"No thank you!"  Jäna replied quickly, horrified at the very thought of it.

Justin passed his forearm across his sweaty forehead.  All three had their sleeves rolled up and he was tempted to strip down to his shirt.  "May I have a drink, please?"

Old Johnny passed him the flask.  It contained cool water and he didn't mind that the stream of water that shot out when he squeezed the leather missed his mouth a bit.   "Thank you, sir."

Jared quickly followed his brother's example, carefully polite and courteous.  Jäna still wanted nothing to do with it, though she was thirsty, too.

By the time the cart was loaded to Old Johnny's satisfaction, the sun was slanting through the tree branches.  Old Johnny walked over to Baron Jerrill.

"We should have enough time to run these through the mill today, m'lord, and then I can load the press if it's ready" he said.

"Fair enough," Jerrill nodded and looked at his three tired children.  "You get your ponies and go with Old Johnny.  You're going to help him."

"But Papa," Jäna said uncertainly, "isn't it getting late?"

"You need to finish what you started," Baron Jerrill said firmly. "You have an example to set on behalf of Tehryn."

Jäna didn't notice the twitch of a grin on Old Johnny's face as she sighed and went with her brothers to get their ponies in the clearing, or the conspiratorial look that passed between the two men.  She was hot, she was tired, and she was thirsty.  Her afternoon outing was not turning out well at all!
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Elkhound

A cute story.  And I thin that Jana is going to find some way to become a junior lady-in-waiting.  Perhaps by developing her Deryni powers so quickly that it becomes apparent that she will HAVE to start training at the Schola.

Evie

#2
Oh, fun; another triplet romp!  I imagine parenting Deryni triplets can get to be rather challenging.  It's a good thing Baron Jerrill is up to that challenge.   :D

And "chatter-laine"....  LOL!   ;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!

AnnieUK

Raising Deryni triplets doesn't bear thinking about! And the Baron will have to be very careful - things he thinks are safely stashed away are well within triplet-reach now they have figured out that trick!

Elkhound

Quote from: AnnieUK on June 14, 2012, 02:53:19 PMRaising Deryni triplets doesn't bear thinking about! And the Baron will have to be very careful - things he thinks are safely stashed away are well within triplet-reach now they have figured out that trick!

That is frequently true even for kids without Deryni powers!

derynifanatic64

We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!

Alkari


Elkhound

In the words of Oliver Twist. . .  .

Jerusha

In the words of Scarlett O'Hara............  ;)
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany