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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gerome #5 Invisible People

Invisible People
Gerome #5

Writers Post Bloghop prompt is brought to you by Jo Heroux

The great tent collapsed, again.  Several small enclosures had been erected already, standing solid with their banners fluttering in the wind.  These small enclosures would offer privacy as needed. The great tent was proving to be much more difficult. It seemed each time they nearly had all the stakes pounded in a great gust of wind would topple it onto the poor crew inside. 

Fear was beginning to creep it’s way around the faces of the men and women working in the area.  Unspoken were the words of whom they may have offended to have the wind behave in such a fashion.  Gerome gathered them all together, looking each of them in the face he began to talk.  “We need this picnic to be a success.  He Lordship needs to wed.  We are a small barony within the lands.  If Lord Albert does not wed and conceive an heir soon, we may be subjected to a usurper, namely his cousin Lord Gorgan.  You have each felt the wrath of Lord Gorgan.  We have all seen the way he treats his animals, kicking the dogs and using clubs on his horses.  Not to mention his poor valet, the whip marks on that lads back bespeaks much cruelty.  This is not a man we want to guide our future.  I fear he would treat our lands as he does his own small villa, he would slaughter indiscriminately, he would rape and take that which is not his.  Even if he did not take our lives, he would kill us all inch by inch through his actions.  This must be a gala occasion.  This must work, Lord Albert has been infatuated with Lady Anita for quite a while now.  I don’t know that he would have another.  Our very lives depend upon the success of this picnic.  But with these winds, I am reminded of our festival two years ago.  Didn’t great blasts of wind topple the very stage we had built in the center of town?  Didn’t those same winds extinguish night lights?  Didn’t those same winds billow the ladies dresses for all the men’s pleasure!  Let us again, place the center mast for our grand tent and raise it to our future. The wind is just that, the wind.”

Every head there bobbed up and down in agreement.  All hands clapped as well as stomped their feet in approval.  Putting their backs to the task the tent was quickly raised, the Gerome’s great relief.  He cast his eye about, looking for the Nymph.  If she had anything to do with those great gusts of wind….He spied her twining her body around one of the horses.

“Nymph, enchanting that old nag will garner you nothing.”  Gerome called to her as he hobbled that way. 

“My name is not Nymph.  If you will not address me properly, I will not heed your words either.”  She turned her luminescent golden eyes to him.  They seemed to flash sparks at him and he looked at her with wonder. 

“My apologies, Your Royal Highness Princess Aquina, but again, enchanting that horse will do nothing but make her impossible for her handler.”  Gerome was beginning to lose his patience.  The Nymph as mischievous as she was beautiful making it all the more difficult for him.  She had only been around for less than one day and already too many unusual incidents had occurred.  Besides the great blasts of wind; firewood had suddenly become wet and difficult to burn,  fish jumped out of the water to land next to the fire, and oddest of all no birds were to be seen in the area.  If the others were to find out about her, they would bolt or worse try to find her and kill her.  Fear of the unknown does that to mobs of unenlightened. “If the horse is not willing to work with her own lifelong handler, there will be suspicions of magic and Fairies and witches.  We cannot frighten these poor folks.  They don’t know any better.  And, you should heed my speech, if Lord Gorgan is successful in a coupe, your people will be hunted as prey.”

To this, the lovely Nymph snorted derisively.  “I think not.  My people have journeyed the waters of this land for millennia.  One lone goblin, who names himself Lord, will not alter my people’s lives.  He may be able to bully stupid humans, but Water Nymphs?  Never.”  Flinging her long strawberry blonde hair over her shoulder, she stomped to the river and flung herself over the bank. 

Startled, Gerome spun at the sound of the Blue Jay sentry.  The bird called to this part of the forest that an intruder was nearing.  He nodded his thanks to the Jays, glad they were able to overcome their fears and stay moderately close to the campsite. 

Everyone in the camp hustled to the edge of the lane to welcome his Lordship and the entourage.  Naturally, his Lordship led the way seated upon his stallion.  The Lady Anita, traveling in a coach, looked wide eyed as she took in the scenery.  The well worn coach had seen better days, but to the eyes of one who had never seen a coach it was a thing of beauty.  The scrolled handles for entrance and egress gleamed against the lacquered coach body.  Painted flowers adorned the doors and ivy framed in the window openings.  His Lordship’s father had never allowed the niceties of a coach and Lord Alfred really hadn’t seen any need to alter that fact. Lady Anita had the privacy curtain pulled back to watch the passage of time.  Upon entrance to the camp site, however, she snapped the curtain shut again cutting off all scrutiny of herself. 

Following the coach were the rest of the “party”.  Since they followed behind, they were a bit worse for wear.  Dust covered and dirty, most had attempted to hang farther back away from the coach thereby avoiding the dirt lunch.  It was a bit of a rag-tag entourage following the Lady, but follow they did.  The billows of dust and dirt following closely behind them as well.

The footman hurried with the step, to the side door.  Accenting her flawless alabaster skin, her raven hair was neatly coiffed and adorned with pretty ribbons.  Her lovely blue gown matched the ice blue of her eyes.  Small feet filled matching blue slippers and the pearls about her neck glisten from much wear.  Gerome nearly swayed.  She was such a beauty!  No wonder his good friend Lord Alfred was so enamored.  This petite woman could easily rule the world with such beauty! Turning to her lady-in-waiting Lady Anita was about to speak.  Could the words sound anything other than music from such a lovely?
“Mildred, get fetch me some water.  I would find out if the rivers are sweet here.”  Her voice grated as a rusted gate caught in a wind storm.  Goose pimples ran up and down Gerome’s spine.  Gerome looked away, thankfully the spell was broken.  Thankfully, he would not embarrass his friend in that fashion!  Looking at Lord Albert, Gerome could see the rapture of love running across his face.  “Where is that foolish woman?  She is almost worthless.”

A smallish meek looking woman stepped forward. “ I am here at your side, Mistress.  Where I always am.” She too was neatly dressed, although not nearly as ornate.  It was quite obvious she belonged to the Lady Anita.  It was quite obvious, to Gerome, that the Lady Anita was accustomed to getting whatever she wanted from whomever.  She would be one to treat those around her as though they were invisible.

The Nymph peered around the backside of Gerome, startling him.  “That is no way for my future husband to look upon that woman!”


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gerome #4 - BFF 243 Roots

Gerome 4

BFF 243 : Roots

The sky was as black as Gerome had ever seen it.  The stars seemed to twinkle and smile at him.  After cooking his dinner, he allowed the fire to burn down to create a solid bed of embers.  He stoked the fire now.  Sparks crackled and skittered across the sky nearly out shining the stars.  The crescent moon hid behind a small gray cloud, peeking from time to time as if reassuring itself that all was well.  The rain clouds, from earlier in the day, seemed to have moved out of the area, as if a great hand reached out and swept them away.

Gerome fashioned a seat for himself, between the fire and the river.  Carefully placing the feathers on either side of the seat, within easy grasp he settled onto the seat he had fashioned.  He intended the feathers to inspire him for the stories he was about to tell.  He sat down to await his audience.

As his eyes adjusted to the dark, the “fish” began to jump.  Bright colors reflected from the firelight all iridescent and glittering with water drops.  Flashes into the night’s ebony sky seemed like the fireworks at Harvest Festival. 

A sound not unlike a flock of sand heron filled the air.  Gerome looked up as if in protection of these beautiful marvels, he would repel any heron who thought they might swoop in for an easy meal.  He quickly realized this was the sound of their language.  The language of the water Nymph was new to him. 

So enthralled was he, he nearly missed the assembly near his feet.  Sitting on smooth river rocks, were the apparent leaders of the water Nymphs.  Full regalia, they wore headdresses filled with all types of feathers, gems and other trinkets which had been cast aside by others.  Pottery shards, bits of lace, sea weed, and other items found at the river's bottom adorned not only their headdress but their bodies as well.  Noticeably, the importance of the individual was designated by the size of their headdress, the ornate decorations and the amount of items that glittered in the firelight.

Clearing his throat as he held up the first feather, Gerome signaled he was ready to begin.   Pausing for effect, the first feather was a bright red; a Cardinal’s feather.  He spoke of the significance and what the red feather as well as the Cardinal represented; courtship, fatherhood, understanding the power of the wind, finding your soul song and of course the cycle of power. 

Next he held up the feather of a Loon.  Running his fingers up the spine of the feather, he spoke of great deep lakes, lifelong partnerships of male and female, of territorial hunting and of migrations among friends.

With great ceremony and flourish, after each story, the feather was then accepted first by the most important who with his own flourish would brandish the feather off to one with the next largest headdress and so on until one would spin as they dove into the waters only to be lost from Gerome’s sight. 

Finally, Gerome held the largest of his horde of feathers for last; the Albatross.  He stood to tell his last story, giving it emphasis and importance. “As you can see, I have withheld the largest for last; the Albatross.  As I began this story of the feathers, with the Cardinal  who signifes twelve, this is the twelfth and last of my stories.  The Albatross is known for taking several years to court his lover, often leaving her for long periods of time, only to return and continue with the same dance at the very location they had left off.  The Albatross epitomizes eternal pacts of relationships and friendships.  All the while soaring above the earth and only alighting upon earth at sight of the one it has made the lifelong pact with.”  He again ran his hands up the length of the vane, spreading the individual barbs, and was flicking the calamus.  “Every feather found is a gift, whether it is a direct gift or an indirect gift.  It holds the magic of flight, it holds the magic of the bird that grew it, it holds secrets of the root of all flight, and it also holds the magic of the sky it has flown through. To own these feathers brings much power to your people; People of the Water.”

Listening to the sound of bodies returning to the water, as though handfuls of stones had been hurled across the surface, Gerome was certain he was again alone.   “I didn't even get their names.  I should have demanded names first, names are important, names are powerful and I didn't get them.”  He berated himself soundly.

Throwing more wood onto the fire, he started to make his way to his blanket, when he saw her.  One lone Nymph stood at the edge of the firelight. It was the same beautiful eyes that captivated him before.  Those eyes he felt he could drown in.  Remembering something he had been told as a child about one of the war tactics of Nymphs having the power to mesmerize in order to drown, he quickly looked away.

Slowly, she moved closer.  Speaking, she suddenly realized she had spoken in the tongue of the Nymph.  Blushing, she began again, “You are fortunate indeed, to have been traveling with feathers to barter with the Potamide.  And fortunate you are that you stayed out of the waters until after the bargaining was concluded, they would have taken you to their abode.” Her speech was so matter of fact that for a moment Gerome was stunned.

“They would have drowned me?”  He asked incredulously. 

“Actually no, not you, you would have been safe on this trip.  But, for the others, they would have perished.  We knew you would be here, there is more to this bargain that you first thought.” 

Gerome began to hedge away from her and closer to the fire, knowing she dare not “dry out”.  The Nymphs had to be hydrated and preferably wet.  He nonchalantly picked up a stick and poked at the fire.

“I will be the guardian of the river while your Lordship is at the river side.  Then you will take me with you when you leave.” 

“This was never spoken of.  This was never even impressed upon my dreams.”  Gerome knew he could not rebel against this Nymph, she held the power to cause great harm.  Besides, how much trouble could she be away from the river? 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Gerome #3 - Glass Half Full or Half Empty

Gerome #3

Glass Half Full or Half Empty

Gerome followed the path towards the river.  His Lordship and the court would be joining him at the riverside soon enough.  Gerome had work to do.  Work he really didn't want others to see, which was why he had traveled without companionship or protection all this long way.

Stumbling upon the Gypsies had been disconcerting, but eventually they agreed to leave the area.  They would go peddle their wares in the village while his Lordship was at the river. The old woman certainly took a keen interest.  He had heard about that type of perversion….no, no advances were made toward him.  No.
It was an odd life indeed.  The village people all thought he, Gerome, was magic.  Some would intentionally walk close enough to brush up against him, thinking some luck would rub off for them.  They reasoned the old Lord had died upon his arrival to town.

The young Lord had succeeded his father with no small amount of competence.  The village flourished under the young Lord’s guidance; the crops yielded exceptionally large harvests, there hadn’t been a stillborn child since the young Lord took over, and there had been no wars since the young Lord came to power.

It was time.  The young Lord needed to be wed.  He needed an heir. 

Immersed in his thoughts, Gerome cast a glance at the river’s edge.  There was a fine deep pool.  It would be filled with all sorts of fish.  Lord Alfred would be able to supply his guests with plenty of food.

Carefully, Gerome lay his pack on the ground near an uprooted tree.  The river had cut its path into the roots of the tree, toppling it so that he now had a makeshift bridge.  The bridge spanned the river at a sharp bend in the river which had created a whirlpool only a few feet from the river bank.   Propping his pole against the roots, Gerome hoisted himself onto the tree.  In a sitting position, he lifted his body up and dropped it back down ensuring the tree would hold Lord Alfred and they wouldn’t need to be fishing him from the river.

Sliding from the great downed tree, Gerome busied himself unpacking.  He gingerly laid a kerchief onto the ground.  With seemingly great affection he unwrapped feathers.  No ordinary Blue Jay feathers.  These were great feathers.  Feathers from several large birds; eagles, peacocks and guinea hens.  Gerome stroked the feathers, he seemed to preen them murmuring soft words as he did so. 

Taking a small guinea hen feather, he laced it with his fishing line as though it were a hook.  Casting the feather into the water at the opposite river’s edge, he slowly reeled the line back in.  Just as he was about to lift the feather from the water, a tiny hand shot out and grabbed it.  Hauling the feather under the surface of the water and up river.  Gerome played the line for only a moment, then he began the fight to land his prize. 

Sometime later, he reached for his net and scooped his prize from the river.  Staring into the large round eyes of the prettiest green eyes he had ever seen.  “Ah water baby, you are indeed beautiful and a prize worth fighting for.”  He exclaimed. 

Not letting go of the feather, the small creature showed her indignant displeasure.  She spouted water at his face and said, “We are not water babies.  Are you such a dolt you cannot tell a water baby from a water nymph?” She slapped the side of his head with her iridescent tail.  Moving so quickly even the stars it brought to his sight were in the blues, greens and purples of the water.

“Lady, I am learning quickly.”  Stretching his arm to move her further away from him.  “I am here on a mission and would enlist your assistance.”  He ventured to eye her again.  As human girls were concerned, he would have placed her around 20 years of age.  But with nymphs, who knew how old or young she might be.  She said nothing, but still grasping the feather, nodded her head indicating he should go on with his story.

Sitting on the bank of the river, with a water nymph at his side, Gerome told his story of meeting Lord Alfred and the past ten years.  He explained how important it was for Lord Alfred to wed. The nymph nodded her head indicating she understood his concern.   “Why not have Lord Alfred marry a water nymph?  We could supply all the fish your village would ever want and it would further cement the relationship between water and land.” 

Pretending to contemplate her words, Gerome looked out over the water.  “While your proposal does have its merits, my Lord’s heart is set on wedding the Lady Anita.  She won his heart years ago and now he would like to win hers as well.” He did know better than  to say that Lord Alfred really didn't want to have to grow gills in order to dwell occasionally among the nymphs either.

“I see the feathers you brought to barter with.  I know a few of them.  You will tell us the story of the rest tonight.  We will gather at the river’s edge, where you will build a fire, and tell us of the feathers.” With that she wriggled around and dove back into the water. 

Turning to the task of gathering firewood, Gerome grinned.  He had done it.  He had struck a bargain with the water nymphs.  He had heard tales all of his life, but never had he even seen one, that he knew of.  This was indeed a wonderful day.  His Lordship was going to be able to provide a feast to impress his Lady.  And to ensure the water nymphs didn't renege, he had brought a huge spool of netting.  When the lads finally arrived, he would have them stretch the netting across the river.  If they could not reel enough fish in with the fishing rod, they would capture them with the net.  He thought of his Grandmother. 

His Grandmother had raised him, they had a small cabin at the edge of the village, nearly into the forest.  She was a very loving and patient woman, always telling him life wasn't about what happened to you, but how your reacted to the trials and tribulations.  She said something about the glass being half full…but that was long ago and he may have only dreamed of her kindness. 

It was going to be a successful time at the river or his name wasn't Gerome the Hunchback! 


Fierce - Sandra's Workshop - Bloghop

Single-word Prompt


Sitting cross legged atop several pillows, within the relative comfort of the sultan’s tent, we were grateful for the invitation and yet repelled by the very thought;  create a safari business to show the uninitiated the savages of the desert.

The sultan sat back on his pillows and sipped his spiced coffee.  He grinned toward us, his grin as fierce as the wind railing against the tent walls.  I did not trust him and yet, but by virtue of sitting across from him in his tent, I had already entrusted my life to him.   


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gerome # 2 GBE 2: Numbers

Gerome # 2 
GBE 2: Week #78   Numbers

Gerome walked through the forest towards the river’s edge.  There, the Lord’s family would fish and picnic, wining and dining the young lady.  The village would rejoice at the Lordship’s nuptials.  Many visitors would journey to the village making the preceding days very profitable, indeed.

His mind off thinking of the ladies ankles he might glimpse, as they wheeled and danced.  Their supple breasts pushing for escape from the lace at their bodice, as they poured another flagon of wine. 

A loud crash brought his head upright.  Stepping into the brush at the side of the path, he peered about him.  Locating the cause of the noise, revealed it was  Roughly eight wagons had made a campsite in a grove of beechnut trees.

“Oh no!”  Gerome moaned.  “Not the Gypsies!  No, no, this will never do.  Not now.  There are too many important things about to happen.”  Gerome set himself in the direction with the intent of bringing their stay to a swift close.

“Hail hunchback!”  A tall dark man with flashing eyes smiled and waved to Gerome.  “Come join us for our breakfast.  We have been traveling far and would hear the stories of this land.” 

Moving as quickly as his club foot would afford, Gerome made exceptionally quick time.  While the people of the caravan were safely hidden, Gerome could feel their eyes upon him as he neared the encampment.  Moving to the fire pit, he settled onto a log they had perched for just such a use. 

“Tis a cold morning for a lone traveler in the woods.” remarked the tall man.  Gerome assumed he was the leader as he was the first to acknowledge Gerome’s presence.  “I be Rudolph, King of the Gypsies!”  Rudolph’s dark mane was slung back into a ponytail reaching nearly his waist.  Over the top he wore a bright multi-colored kerchief knotted at the back of his head.  His gold hoop pronouncing to the world he had traveled both by land and sea. 

Gerome nodded and accepted the steaming cup Rudolph extended towards him.  The two men settled next to the fire, sizing one another up.  From near the middle of the encampment shuffled a wizened old woman.  Her worn rose colored shawl wrapped around her head spread over her weathered shoulders fluttered as she moved through the camp to stand at the side of Gerome.  “Who did this to you?” She demanded waving her arm through the air gesturing to Gerome. 

“I was born this way; no one did anything to me.”

“So, cursed at birth.  Oh my, your family did something to irritate one of the Fates.  But which one?  Look at him, Rudolph.  Is he a number or a letter?”  Rudolph stared intently at Gerome, who promptly turned a bright red. “With that lump on his back he is either a 9 or a P.  Or perhaps with the lame foot dragging his leg he is an R? So, did his family insult Zenia who is obsessed with letters?  Or was it Nargrith of numbers?  Either way, this is a strong curse to afflict him for so long.  From birth…mmm.”  The old woman began to walk around Germone looking more and more intently as she did. 

“Mama, can you correct his destiny?”  Rudolph looking just as intently at Gerome furrowed his brows and frowned. 

Gerome leapt to feet; with fists clenched he took a deep breath.  Exhaling slowly, he looked from Rudolph to the old woman.  “You cannot stay here.  His Lordship is entertaining today by the river.  He is wooing his future bride.  It would be unseemly to have a band of Gypsies so close.  It would be improper to allow you to stay.  You must pack up camp and be on your way immediately.  And I was BORN this way, there is no family curse.  There is nothing to be done.  I have been poked and prodded by every known physician in the land.  There is nothing to be done.”  Gerome’s clenched and unclenched his jaw. 

Hearing the loud threatening tones of Gerome’s voice, soon the whole encampment had spilled out into the fire pit site.  Gerome was surrounded by the Gypsy family, some carrying weapons.  No one said a word, just carefully watched under hooded eyes. 

“Go ahead and leave, your Lordship and his Lady will not see us in the woods.  We will not molest them.  We will not sell them any of our wares.  Preferably, we would travel to the village where we might make a few transactions.  Then in two days time, when the moon is at its Crescent, you will return.  We have a destiny, you and us.  We must make amends, heal old wounds, and atone for our family that we might find a place to call home.”  Rudolph held his arm up, pointing the way to the river. 


Monday, November 12, 2012



The old monk sat upon his small pillow.  Legs crossed up, hands resting upon his this, fore finger gently resting upon his thumb.  His bald head tipped ever so slightly forward.  His eyes were closed, and his back was towards me and yet he called my name as I entered the room. 

“Jennifer, at last you have arrived.   We have awaited this auspicious day with great anticipation. “ A small smile stole across his lips.  His clear golden eyes opened and he winked at me.

“Grandfather, even I didn’t know I was coming until this morning.  How could you have been anticipating me?”  I looked at him with that questioning gaze I often found when I was around him.  He always seemed three steps ahead of me.  Knowing my next move before a thought even entered my mind.

Pushing his flowing robe to the side, he stretched his legs forward and his arms upward.  “Little one, have I not always known your next move?  You have come to hear me tell you the Keys of Life.”  Standing, he reached out to encircle me in a warm embrace. 

With my customary sigh, I allow myself to fall into the old pattern of safety.  To feel the kind strength within those arms.  Listen to the strong beating of a loving heart.  And know that where ever else I had been, I was now home.

“Quickly”, my grandfather laughed, “The first, and most important,  key is to have someone you love, love you back!” 


Beginnings - Gerome

GBE 2: Blog On


The trees swayed like kelp in the oceans current.  Their colorful crowns dispersing on the wind.  Dried leaves scuttled up the road like forest crabs off to the ocean.  Red and gold piles ringing the bushes at the side of the house, just waiting for some child to come along and scatter them.

The hunched back little man peeked furtively at the clouds gathering in the sky.  His pack was laden with an assortment of wares.  Mostly he carried the fishing gear; pole, creel, and net.  He anticipated capturing worms once he arrived at his destination; the river Avon. 

Yesterday had been a fine fall day.  Sunshine and a gentle breeze brought everyone in the village out of doors.  Under those conditions, today’s adventure had been planned.  Gerome a0 hunchback, hoped the day’s weather could slip back into yesterday.  Daring to peek again at the sky, he shook his head.  As he passed by the guard at the gate, he gave instructions to the guardsman. “Tell M’Lord’s house, that they will need the tents.  Tell them I said it appears there will be rain.  There is time to obtain a portion of warm fresh bread, if you are quick about it.”  The guard nodded emphatically to the hunchback, tuned and was on his way. Everyone knew who the hunchback represented.  He was at the beck and call of the Lord of the Village. 

Gerome passed through the gates knowing he had done all that he could to help ensure the day would go as planned.  He knew how long his journey would take him even with his bad foot.  His club foot  dragging in the dirt had been how he met his Lordship.   It had been raining that day, as well.

With sheets of cold water raining down by the bucketful Lord Alfred Talbot upon his horse, came cantering through the brush, barely able to hold onto the saddle horn, nearly knocking Gerome over.  “I saw your trail, lad.  I demand you direct me to my home.”  With a small amount of airs, Lord Talbot attempted to bully Gerome. 

“Lost, are ya?”  Gerome laughed at the pompous boy, barely astride a horse intent on rubbing him off on any available tree.  “And you demand I find your home for your?” Dropping his bundled load, Gerome grabbed his stomach as he guffawed, loudly.  And much to the dismay of his Lordship.

Gerome, finally able to stand again, reached for the horse’s bridle.  “Slide down off your steed, sire.  There is a small indentation in the hillside where we can make a small fire and perhaps calm ourselves. Don’t look so concerned, I’ll not slit your throat until you’ve earned it.” 

While hobbling Lord Alfred’s horse nearby, Gerome instructed the Lordship to gather wood so he could build a fire.  Initially Lord Alfred had begun to protest, but one stern look from Gerome had sent him scurrying up the hill in search of burnable wood.  Upon his return, it was quite evident he had met with the curve of the hillside more than once.  Muddied breeches, soggy boots, and dirt smudges across his face told most of the story.
“How did you get lost?”  Gerome asked between blowing on the embers and adding more kindling.

With downcast eye, Lord Alfred began, “We had been on a hunt.  I don’t particularly care for hunting. I understand, if you don’t hunt you don’t eat.  But, I don’t ride well, and then the rains began.  I was at the back of the hunting group.  No one came back for me. It was raining so hard it was like looking through the cataract eyes of one of the ancients.  I could not hear over the rain spattering onto the ground.  And it completely washed out any signs of passage, until I came across your rut in the dirt.”

After waiting out the storm, spending the night talking to one another the boy poured out his innermost dreams, Gerome decided he liked the young lord despite himself.  He hadn’t wanted to.  He had begun asking questions purely to pass the time and out of idle curiosity.  He had learned what type of man the boy’s father was. One that would leave his son stranded alone in the woods during a downpour.  A hard demanding man.

Upon their return to the village, the young Lord’s father had been enraged that he had gotten separated from the hunting  group.  He belittled the lad in front of the court.  Based on what Gerome had seen, he guessed this was not the first time. “You’re so inept, you had to be saved by a cripple!”  the young Lord’s father blustered. 

Overcome with empathy for the young Lord, Gerome stepped forward, “Oh no sire, twas his young Lordship that saved me.  I was lost, when he offered to let me get some food from your kitchens and sleep in the barn.  Oh, he told me, one night only, your Lordship.  He wouldn't want me taking advantage, even if I am just a cripple.”  Lord Alfred’s father became outraged that a hunchbacked cripple would dare interfere.  Eyes beginning to bulge, face red from extreme anger, he stood pulling his sword from his scabbard.   Barely had he raised his sword over his head, when he clasped his left arm and fell to the floor.  The wrinkled old sage was called. 

One of the tables had been quickly cleared of its table settings and his Lordship lain there. He was wild eyed and gasping.  He reached for his son, Lord Alfred who quickly came to his side.  Unable to speak, father could only hug his son. The old sage shuffled in her sideways scrabble, to the side of the makeshift bed.

She looked at him, rummaged in her satchel hanging at her hip.  Under hooded eyes, she glanced at the other lords in attendance and shook her head.  With one last gurgling gasp, the old Lord, fell silent.  All that could be heard was the murmurs of the other lords.  They began a clamor over who would succeed the Old Lord.  Gerome scuttled to the young Lord Alfred and pushing him, insisted he claim his father’s place.   

That was ten years ago, the lad had become a strapping young man. Gerome was proud to say he had no small part in shaping his Lordships personality.  Lord Alfred had become good for the village and the countryside.  Encouraging where his father had belittled.  Honest and even in his dealings with all he did business with.  He had built an admirable reputation.  And become a good horseman in the process. Now we were about to turn the page onto the next chapter.  A beginning if you will.  Lord Alfred was holding a picnic in an effort to woo a young lady.  It was time he take a bride.