The Chosen Bride

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A Lady Keeps Her Head on Her Shoulders

Katherine stood by the window, staring out over the distance. It had been a week since Drake had left her and Mary. She had down everything in her power to distract herself.

It was strange how Katherine never realized how big of a role her husband played in her life until he was gone.

“Perhaps a walk in the town would clear your mind? I think a new gown would suit you very well.” Eleanor had declared, one day, as she ushered her out the door.

She reluctantly agreed, knowing that she was in desperate need of a distraction. So, they gathered up Mary and made their way into town.

The town outside the manor was a small, clean town with newly built buildings and a small white church in the middle. The merchants lined up along the streets, desperately attempting to round up any source of income.

The townspeople mostly kept to themselves, as they knew not to mess with the nobility. In France, the people would take from the pockets of the rich and hound them until they reached city limits.

It was a nice change.

“Perhaps I shall pick up some of those red berry things the cook likes. She makes those delicious pies we had for dinner and they were to die for.” Eleanor rambled as she searched the crowd.

Katherine hugged Mary close to her chest, “Are you sure it’s safe out here? What if Mary catches a cold?”

Eleanor looked back at her with a disapproving look, “That child will likely die of heat exhaustion before she gets the chills. Now, will you just relax and enjoy the town?”

Katherine nodded. She didn’t really want to, but for the sake of sanity, she would try to.

Mary squirmed in her arms, starting to work up a cry. She tossed her head to the side and tried to work herself out of the blanket.

If there was one thing her child was good at, it was pitching a fit.

“Eleanor, would you hold her for a second. She’s about to—” Katherine said as she quickly turned to her friend.

“Dear child, you are simply wrapping the child up to much. Let me hold her for a second and I will show you.” An elderly voice said from behind them.

Both Eleanor and Katherine turned to look at the cloaked figure behind them. “Go away from us at once. This child is just fine.” Eleanor hissed, bringing Katherine behind her.

The hood of the cloak was removed, revealing an older woman. She had kind look in her soft brown eyes. She looked experienced enough.

Katherine moved towards the woman, “I trust you.”

The older woman took Mary in her arms and adjusted the child with little effort. She nestled Mary against her chest and looked back up at the two gaping ladies.

“My name is Blythe.” She offered.

“How are you that good with children?” Eleanor asked, staring at the small bundle in complete shock.

She and Katherine had been desperately trying to calm the child for weeks, as her fits were uncontrollable. It was unfathomable that this woman could simply pick up the child and have it at peace.

“I had six children back in my day. All survivors. I learned the tricks of the trade as quickly as I could to ensure I would survive myself.” The woman replied.

“Are you, by chance, looking for a job?” Katherine asked, touching the woman’s arm.

Blythe grunted, “I’ve been on the streets since my last one weaseled off. I will warn you that I am strict but loving. I make sure what needs to get done gets done.”

Katherine eyed her, “Would you ever raise a hand?”

The woman scoffed, “Never!”

Eleanor looked over at Katherine with a pleasant look on her face, “You’re hired!”

Blythe fit in with the household quite nicely after giving her a new set of clothes and a sturdy wash.

Mary had not given up such a fuss since then. She had grown accustomed to being quiet and well behaved. She remained well fed and behaved.

It was a miracle.

Katherine was now able to get enough sleep so that she wasn’t dragging her feet around the house. Eleanor had even returned to her chipper mood.

Despite the extra time to herself, Katherine’s mood had not changed.

The sadness in her eyes must have come across to Blythe for one day, she sat down not to Katherine and promptly asked, “What is that look on your face for?”

It took everything left in Katherine not to laugh at the bluntness of Blythe, “I have no look on my face. I am simply—”

“Tired? That is what I would say every time someone would ask me what was wrong. You know, my husband was away at war once.” Blythe replied, picking up the nearest book and flipping through it, “He was my best friend, my companion for life. We had six, ungrateful, but blessed children. He was loyal to the King like nobodies business.”

Drake had always been loyal to his country but the moment his best friend became the King, everything changed.

Drake spent more and more time in English court than he had ever spent in the French court. She admired his loyalty more than she could express but the thought of losing him to a King not even of her own... it was unfathomable.

Blythe slammed the book on the table, drawing Katherine out of her thoughts. “The old goat got himself while marching off to war! Not even on the battlefield.”

Katherine looked at Blythe with wide eyes.

Blythe stretches out her hand to pat Katherine on the arm, “My dear, I’m trying to tell you that if your husband is at true war, you should see him. Lady Eleanor and I can handle the babe while Lord Jacque can handle the three of us.”

Katherine shook her head vigorously, “It is not my place to go after him. Besides, what would I do?”

Blythe stood, “Say your goodbye.”

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