joi, 31 octombrie 2013

The Gathering Storm

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.” 

On the far side of this land, near the Dark Sea, a tenebrous, old castle defies the mighty waves, its well-worn mures still struggling to resist each flowing tide. Long ago, this castle was inhabited by a Duke far gone in years and his young wife. But that was many years ago, and very few people still remember the old Duke's lour.

These days, in the gloomy castle dwells a so much younger Duke with his Duchess, both of them still bearing the same family name as the older Duke, whose steps no longer reecho along the damp galleries. Nowadays, a fire burns every day in each fireplace, carefully supervised by quiet servants.
The castle's living its glory again and monthly feasts are thrown only to amuse the Duke's family and maybe distract the people from the real problems that are beginning to make their presence felt. Because, even with the feasts and balls and all the splendour that radiates, everyone can feel the war clouds and knows that hard times will soon arrive.

There are two masters of this land and none of them can tolerate the other's presence, nor do they seem to try to come to terms for the good of their people. Up until now, and maybe for another couple of years, this dispute has been carried behind closed doors, but things are about to change. Gone are the poisonous flasks of wine and the tasters dying in the place of their master and gone shall they be for the next decades, for now each attempt has come to nothing and the two masters are starting to show signs of growing impatient.
The realm is divided and people are poor. Everyone wishes for better living, but ploughmen and peasants and merchants are in need of a mighty leader. And so, there will be one. Only one.

But what do children know of their parents' conflicts? Whose side are they supposed to take? For in the old castle, now live 6 children that, although have never seen their other 4 cousins, have been taught from the cradle how to hate them. But malignity and hatred seem to be a common emotion during brothers these days, because even if the two masters share the same mother and father and have been raised together, the days of their boyhood have long before been passed into silence.
For now though, the children have no knowledge of their father's schemes and they are unwittingly living the last years of their feathery childhood. The castle is replete with servants and dry nurses that would do anything to fulfill each of their young masters' desire.
As the chill in the air announces the imminent proximity of winter and the light of the day decreases, those 6 young noble children are happy to let themselves be carried by their mother's fingers gliding softly along the piano's keys, too mesmerized to take notice of their father's lengthened absence.

The Duke spends most of his time locked in his apartments, discussing various problems with his counselors, while his wife enjoys the fact that she no longer has to bear children, for her last pregnancy and delivery had been quite traumatic and had taken its toll on her.

Ever since she recovered her health, the noble woman became quite detached and even more fastidious, if such thing could even be possible if her case, leaving her children to be raised and cared for by various maids and governesses.

Related only by the blood of their father, the Duke's children don't seem to mind their mother's absence too much, nor the differences between themselves. The oldest of the girls, Maria, is barely 15, an age which would seem appropriate for a marriage, but in the absence of a proper suitor, she continues to spend her time with her younger sisters, playing grown up, while the oldest of the boys, Thomas, named after his grandfather, taken ill with phthisis at an early age, is far from the worthy heir his father would wish for inheriting the family's wealth and renown. Artless of his father's concerns, the boy prefers to spend his time instructing his younger sister, Agnes, in the art of chess.

The girl, while younger than her brother by a couple of years, is already showing an unhealthy interest in her brothers and father's affairs.

Last but not least, the other three children, a boy and his twin sisters, are far too young, for they have barely put their feet down the cradle.

4 comentarii:

Lama spunea...

Nice story so far! I can see that you mainly focus on the hard facts of motherhood. However, after four chapters it's too early to tell where the story will lead to. Please keep us updated with the coming chapters!

Auteur des Rêves spunea...

I've just got my first two comments and I'm so excited! ^^ Thank you for reading my story and, of course, for leaving a comment here.
Yes, it is somehow focused on Alleken's primary occupancy (that as a midwife), but I try presenting various events from the neighbourhood.
Thank you again for deciding to read my stories ^^

Sandy spunea...

This is an amazing story! Please keep it going! Love it!

Auteur des Rêves spunea...

Thank you so much for your kind words ^^ I know there are some people reading this story, but very few leave comments, so I really appreciate your effort ^^

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