Storm Season

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Summary

12 storms menace 12 holds and 12 lords have to deal with them. Persons will be seeking shelter with those lords, but what will their reception be. 12 storms happen in a storm season. Each one affects one particular hold in a special way. Which one experiences • A murder • A birth • A lost child • A lost cargo • A romance • A disaster • A lost missionary • A real damsel in distress ?

Genre:
Action / Adventure
Author:
Sarge
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
30
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

1st Storm, Lord Jedreck's Chapter 1

At the first, it should be noted that Lord Jedrek was not at home before the storm started. He was returning from a business trip to Jadara.It was two days from the estate that he and his family preferred to use in the winter, the storm season.He was into the second day of his ride back when he noticed the gathering of storm clouds.He began to hurry his pace and that of the retainers he had with him.He was a tall, strong, man with dark reddish hair, truly a lord in his prime.

He was on the main road leading into his estate. But there were other roads in and around the estate.Other people were traveling on them.Each of them, in his or her own time, noticed the increase in the clouds, the wind blowing more strongly, an increase in the chill in the air, and the sky growing darker too early.All of them knew that they would have to seek shelter for the night.Some of them knew where that was but there were some who did not.

The Lady Iolanthe was at home with most of the servants and children. Like her husband, she was dark haired, brown this time, of a good height for a woman, and a lady truly in her prime.The oldest son and the oldest daughter were out riding across the estate with their riding instructor.Their appearance was very much like that of their parents, both dark haired and dark eyed.The son, Gadi, was a year older than his sister, Nabila.Two of the younger ones were playing in the barns and yards surrounding the house.They were two little tow headed boys with hair the color of the straw they were playing in.They were twins.The others, two daughters and an infant son were playing in the house.They were both darker than their brothers.A governor was supervising the children’s outdoor play, a nanny was watching the girls, the nurse was looking after the infant son along with her own boy.Lady Iolanthe saw the gathering clouds too and moved to call the boys, twins, in from playing in the yards.

She donned her outside wear and walked down a short walk to where a bell hung. She sounded it loudly.Down she pulled on the rope, and then let it rise and pull down again, then again.This bell was there to send the workers out to the fields in the morning and call them in again in the evening.Though there were few workers here during storm season, she had effectively called them in too.

“What is it mother?” the twins asked in unison. They frequently did everything together, being identical twins.The Lady looked at the two little tow heads and said, “Bad weat-her is coming.Go into the house." Their governor, immediately behind them urged them on.The yard and barn servants who worked the most with the animals looked around and began to get their charges into the barns, coops, and sheds that were assigned to them.Food and water would arrive early tonight, being kept form freezing by the fact that the animals’ body heat would keep their spaces from freezing.It was a natural phenomenon that all the servants knew.

The children riding in the forest also heard the bell. “Better head back to the house,” their instructor told them.He too noticed that the air had become chill.“Seems like there is a storm gathering,” he said.

One the road there was a wander. Some people would call him a ranger.He mostly traveled about.He would stop from time to time and work for his living.It was also possible to hire him for a guide to areas that he knew.But he held a great secret from people and sometimes from himself as well.He was more noble then commoner.In fact he was more noble then he himself knew.His name was Galreth.He was slightly above medium height, with long black hair and a bit of a beard and mustache starting.His horse was laden with some armor.Though it was not the newest, he kept it in good condition.He had heard that there was a great lord’s estate just a little to the north of where he was.He hurried on to find it before the storm broke.

On another road there was a thief. He was a spar man, not having much weight on him.But he was wiry.His hair was a nondescript steel gray.His clothing was poor, being as poor as most thieves always were and never let on they were.He had been ‘working’ in Jadara and was now on his way into the nearby mountains.He noticed the chill that his coat would not quite keep out.He thought to himself, ’Lord Jedrek’s estate isn’t far.And he is a good and noble lord.He would not deny shelter to a cold and hungry stranger on a night like tonight.And if tomorrow some of those lovely treasures of his go missing, he might not notice for weeks or months.’But he was carrying a pack on his back, the booty from his work in Jadara.Where to hide it before he approached the house?He found a large white rock next to a large evergreen tree.Soon he had a hidey-hole made behind that rock.He pushed his booty into it and covered it with earth, leaves, and needles from the evergreen as best he might.Then he moved on down the road, almost running.

On yet another road, an old peddler and his young daughter were making their way home from a selling trip. He was of a good size, except for his girth.He had long white hair and a long white beard.“Muriel,” the old man said to his daughter, “There is a storm coming.We will not make it home before it hits.Better to head to Lord Jedrek’s estate.”“Yes father,” she said.As to her appearance, she had long reddish brown hair that flowed in waves down her back.She was old enough for marriage, but he had not married her off yet.He did not wish to marry her against her will and she had not found anyone she wanted to marry yet.She held on to the wagon as he turned his wagon down the side road that led to Lord Jedrek’s estate.They drove on for a few minutes with her father urging the horse to hurry.“Come on Kamoga,” he said as he slapped the reins on the big brown gelding’s back.The horse hurried his step as he smelled moisture in the air.

“Father,” Muriel asked, “What is their estate like?” “Very nice,” her father said.“Remember he is one of the greater lords of our land.To him hospitality is very important and this night we shall be the beneficiaries of that.Don’t forget to be thankful.”

And on yet another road there were two men. One was a fop.He was the son of a wealthy merchant, but his father was now dead and the man had spent almost all of the large fortune he had been left.Now he had very few things of any value left.One of them was the stallion he rode.He also had some fine clothes, all of which he was now wearing.His appearance was of someone who valued surface appearances very much.His long black hair was very carefully curled.His mustache and beard were also carefully combed and curled.One servant had not left his service.That was his man Lidio, riding a palfrey.He went by the name of Claudio.He heard the bell and thought nothing of it.But Lidio recognized it for what it was.“Sir,” he said.“I hear a bell ringing.It must mean that there is some great house near here.Perhaps it is the house of a great lord with a pretty young daughter to marry.”

“You might be right Lidio,” Claudio said. “We will follow the sound.It might lead us to our fortune.”He preened a bit and turned his horse back, for the sound had seemed to come from behind them and a little to one side. They found a small gated side road.But it was only gated against animals and not against people.They were through it quickly and on the way.What they crossed soon turned into a pasture.But they could see a fence in the distance and

another gate in the direction they were going in.“I hope this pasture does not mess up my clothes too much,” Claudio told Lidio.“I need to look my best if this is truly the house of a great lord and if I am to have a chance to woe his daughter.”

Lord Jedrek was just entering the yard when the snow started to fly. His valet, Garrin, dismounted and began unloading the horses.“Put the horses in their stable.You’ll have to groom them and make sure they are thoroughly rubbed down.We don’t want them cold and wet.They won’t be fit for riding for at least 6 months then.Give them plenty of food and water.If this storm is a bad one it might be sometime before we have the chance to feed and water them again.”

Servants came out of the house to assist with the unloading. While they carried the luggage into the house the guards took charge of the horses and took them to their stable.They were there when the oldest children, Nabila and Gadi, brought their horses in and did the same.Then they began cleaning tack lest it be ruined by neglect.They didn’t mind that so much.It was warming up quickly in the stable with so many horses there at one time.Since all the animals knew each other they occasionally nickered at each other.Their riding instructor, Khachig, looked on with pride.He had taught those children all they knew and they were using his instruction well.

They had just finished and the servants were headed back into the hall when the peddler’s cart pulled into the yard. Some of the servants recognized the old man and called a welcome to him, “Hello, Jeremiah.How has your business been?”

“Good,” Jeremiah said. Then he turned to his daughter.“Come,” he said and took her by the hand as she alighted from the cart.He was a man not to miss a meal.He wore a long white robe and had white hair and a white beard.He turned to fetch his money pouch to keep it with him.It was sewn into a simple black sash.Then he turned back to see the hall’s major domo, Morley, coming to see what was happening now.“Ah my good Morley,” he said.“This is my daughter Muriel.One does hope we may impose on Lord Jedrek for shelter in this storm?”

“My good Jeremiah,” Morley said, for he considered the peddler a friend of his, and they were of an age. “You know my master is a hospitable man.He would never say no to you under these circumstances.”

The servants quickly had his horse unhitched from the cart. The cart and anything left on it was quickly pushed into the carriage house.It would be dry there, but this time warmth was not a concern.The horse was stabled with the rest with good rations of food and water given.

When this was done the snow was falling harder. The servants were using lines that had been previously strung by Lord Jedrek to find their way to the hall.The field hands were finding their way to their cabins the same way, following lines that had been strung from the shed to the first of their cabins and then along the line of cabins until they found the one that they were assigned to live in.Now that they were in, they would not venture out until spring unless some need or other arose.After all these people were slaves.The servants all lived in the hall.

When Galreth arrived in the hall it was snowing harder. He rang the bell to let the servants in the hall know he was there.When Morley got there he introduced himself simply.“I am Galreth,” he said, “a simple wanderer.I beg shelter for myself and my horse from the storm.”“My master is a hospitable man,” Morley said. “You may have shelter in the hall for yourself and shelter in the stable for your horse.”Morley could tell with one look that the horse was clearly a destrier, a horse trained for war.Also Galreth had such weapons about his person.Whatever he was, he knew something of those weapons and how to use them.His various sheaths and his quiver looked well worn.But the weapons showed no sign of neglect.

Morley put his hand on the line that led to the stable. Galreth followed closely with his horse.

They stabled and fed the destrier and were returning to the hall when a man on foot entered the yard. He hugged his poor cloak about him.“My name is Hanus,” the man lied.It was a false name, but it would do as well as any for the time being.“I am, as you can see, a poor traveler.I beg shelter from the storm.”

“My master is a hospitable man,” Morley said. “He will allow it.” He turned to the hall.In the hall Lord Jedrek and the Lady Iolanthe were entertaining old Jeremiah and his daughter.Lord Jedrek always enjoyed talking to the man when he could.Jeremiah was more learned then most.They were in a room which Jedrek used for a library.There were scrolls of various sorts rolled up and in their holders.Jedrek had one in his hand now and was reading it aloud.It was a poem.“Fair are the blossoms of my native land to me,” he read.“Fair are their brows and shinning white as the clouds.”It was clear that the poet did not mean flowers.

The Lady Iolanthe and Muriel were upstairs. Lady Iolanthe had gone to check on the things that the governess was teaching her younger daughters to do.This would include things like embroidery, weaving tapestries, drawing and painting portraits. She might also teach them something of music and playing certain instruments that were considered proper for ladies to learn.All these things were designed to get them noticed by suitable young gentlemen when they were a few years older.Then hopefully the young gentleman’s parents would also notice them and the marriage negotiations would be on.She tool Muriel with her because Muriel would also have mastered these things, though perhaps slightly different styles.She would enjoy looking at what the girls had done.

In the library, Morley cleared his throat. Lord Jedrek quickly looked at him.“Two men ask shelter from the storm, sir.A traveler who calls himself only Gareth,” he pointed surrep-titiously at Galreth’s feet.On the way into the hall he had noticed that the man was wearing spurs.Only knights wore spurs.Lord Jedrek noted that too.He also noticed that Hanus was dressed in rags and that Galreth made no claim to having a servant.Based on that he decided on where they should go.“Hanus may bed down in the servants hall.Show Galreth to the room upstairs by the nursery.”He had already assigned the guest suit to Jeremiah and his daughter.After all there were two rooms there and it did not due to treat a child as being as important yet as their parent.

The older children were in the house now and were preparing for their dinner. They were beginning to learn part of the use of the daggers every adult carried.In a house as great as this one was, one dressed for dinner every night.A storm like this would not make any difference when it came to that.But only the older four children would eat with their parents.The younger girls had not had the time to acquire the manners necessary to eat with the adults yet.The baby would be fed by his nurse, then bathed.His parents would see him just before he was put to bed.

The cook was just finishing the preparations for supper when the last travelers, Claudio and Lidio finally found their way to the hall. They rang the bell and one of the footmen came out to them.“Tell your master that Master Claudio the Weaver son and his man Lidio bed shelter from the storm.”The footman, Kamau, said the same thing Morley had, “My master is a hospitable man.He will not deny you under the circumstances.”He brought them in and introduced them to Morley.“Master Claudio and his man Lidio.”Morley took a look at them and by that look his measure of them.Then he stepped into the library were Lady Io-lanthe and Muriel had joined Lord Jedrek and old Jeremiah.“Master Claudio and his man Lidio seek shelter from the storm,” he said. A feint at grabbing his forelock told the quick eyed Lord Jedrek that he thought the master a fop.“Master Claudio may have the smallest of the guest rooms upstairs.His man Lidio shall have to join the servant’s hall.And make sure cook knows there will be 10 persons for supper tonight.And also she does know about Jeremiah and Muriel’s dietary requirements.

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