Friday, September 15, 2017

Chapter 26.5

Mabel stood with her ear pressed against the thick wood door that was used more often than the other. Of course, she could hear nothing. Sighing to herself, she turned back towards two sets of eyes that showed fear, pain, loss and love. Elias had been gone for hours. The children hadn't had their supper since she didn't know if it was wise to try and feed them with what was going on outside. She knew better than to make a bunch of noise, let alone, finish making supper that the smells could have easily caught whatever was outsides attention. Smiling at Oweynn and Sybil, she reached down for the little girl and playfully ruffled Oweynn's hair.

Sybil touched her cheek, trying get her attention and then touched her mouth indicating she was hungry. It's the most communication she'd seen the little one give since she'd arrived almost five months ago. According to Robert, Elias's Brother's bastard child had shown up on their door step and ended up living with them for a time. It wasn't until Elias's late wife was about to give birth to their fourth child that Marion had started showing signs that certainly would have alerted the adults suspicion if she hadn't been so good at keeping them hidden. One fateful night, events took place that allowed Marian to exact her revenge on the Bishop family, unfortunately for her - She'd been caught trying to drown little Sybil. Thankfully Thomas was able to distract her just long enough for Elias to interrupt and save Sybil's life. It was the only reason she felt that Elias allowed her presence on his farm and around his children for it was Mabel who'd taught him as a child to resuscitate someone. However, he still had to get her to the hospice in town and couldn't take Thomas with and Sybil, so he made the decision to leave Thomas behind.

She knew he still blamed himself for Thomas's death. She also knew Oweynn, too, felt responsible for his little brother's death and partially for his Mother's passing as well. None could convince either of them otherwise. Smiling at the little girl in her arms that she'd come to love and care for as her own daughter, she nodded in response and put her finger to her lips indicating they needed to be very quiet. She sat Sybil down on the floor in the sitting room and gestured to Oweynn to keep watch over his little sister before heading to the kitchen where she grabbed some bread from the bread basket and some cheese. Knowing Grace would be awake soon from how full/tender her bosom was, she knew it was almost light out. She was starting to understand the fear she saw in the children's eyes. Keeping a straight face, she marched back into the sitting room with a smile on her face hoping like hell her eyes didn't betray how she was really feeling.

Mabel gave them each some bread and cheese and went back into the kitchen to pour each a glass of cows milk that she managed to warm by the dying fire. She'd set them at the table and had just gotten when she thought she could hear the sounds of horses hooves pounding on the ground down the road. Her heart began to race has she strained to hear whether or not the rider, or wild horse - though she silently hoped it had a rider, was merely passing or visiting, but alas she heard nothing more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chapter 25 PART II

Crouched down behind one of the bushes on his farm, Elias silently stalked whatever made it's way upon his land. Law still stood firm on staying in doors after the sun set and without needing to, but out of habit, glance towards the sky he knew the moon was full tonight. Full Moon's were a treacherous sort. It brought out not only the worst kinds of people, but the things in which the law was made to keep people safe to begin with. Elias knew better than anyone that a Full Moon didn't stop a person cursed from taking the form of a wolf-man, or as Ole Tillie referred to them as, Werewolves. Its what Tristan and his nephew, Sebastian, would have certainly become if he hadn't handled matters that fatal day they had been attacked by William Hersh, who'd been cursed for Lord knows how long.

Turning his attention back on his livestock, he could see the animals herded into a corner in their pens. He could not only feel the fear radiating off of them, but he could hear it as well. The bleating lambs and mewing of the cows.. Elias knew a predator was among them, he just wasn't sure as to what it was exactly. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as did the hairs on his forearms. He knew whatever it was, it was dangerous and he very well could not make it back to the house. Fighting the urge to look back at what he knew was a house that would be black as pitch as all the windows were boarded/bared closed as were the two doors into his home, but he made it a point to snuff out all the lanterns outside and kick dirt into the fire under the spit Oweynn was turning supper on, so as to not draw the predators attention in that direction.

Keeping low, Elias stalked towards the animal pens and discovered blood on the ground around the pig pen that was still warm, fresh. Taking only seconds to confirm one piglet dead and one missing, Elias quietly pressed on not having time to stop and mend the fencing to keep any of the other pigs or piglets from escaping. He arrived at the edge of the Corn Field and the path to the family plot. He knew taking the time to check the plot could mean life or death for his family if the predator wasn't satisfied with the two piglets or other livestock, but he also knew the cons of heading into the Corn Field. It'd be very difficult to tread quietly and it would take time. Glancing back up at the Moon he tried calculating the time until the sun started to rise, lightening the dark sky with bright colors of Reds, Oranges and Yellows. He had about five hours to pursue, find, and kill it. Taking a deep breath, Elias made the decision to head into the Corn Fields.

 He hadn't been in the Fields but an hour, maybe more, when he heard the muffled sounds coming from 10 feet to the left of him. Silently, Elias crouched down below the leaves on the Corn Stalks and picked up speed hoping that whatever it was didn't catch his scent as he cursed at the winds for changing direction.

'Dear God,' Elias thought to himself, his heartbeat quickening as he took position with his bow and arrow. 'It's MASSIVE... bigger than Hersh!'

A Werewolf, standing four feet taller than Elias, was crouched over the missing piglet that seemed to still be alive as it played around with the poor thing. Finally giving in to temptation, or hunger, it sunk its teeth into the tiny body and with a twist, snapped the piglets neck ending any noise that further escaped its snout. As it started tearing the flesh and chunks of meat off its bones, Elias took aim. Just as he was about to release his arrow, the werewolf moved into a hunched position, making it difficult for him to get a clear shot. Elias unconsciously side stepped his foot landing on an ear of corn that was dropped or knocked from where it grew. The crunch of the tiny yellow kernels gave way his position. He watched as the werewolf locked onto his position, standing up he dropped the piglet from his jaws and let out a ferocious growl that sent shivers down Elias's spine. It spun around and took off in the direction of the house.

All he could think of were the faces of his children, of Mabel. He couldn't allow it to get too close! He'd risk life and limb to keep them safe from harms way and if that meant he died, then so be it. He no longer cared about being quiet anymore as he leap up and chased after the werewolf that probably outweighed him 10 to none. Just as Elias was almost clear of the Corn Field, panic in full swing as he pictured horrific images of his children and Mabel slaughtered dead in their home, he barely missed ducking in time as the Werewolf he was chasing swung down with open claws at his head. Tucking in towards himself, he rolled across the ground and was back on his feet. Bow and arrow raised at the beast before him who let out another treacherous howl.

'Don't think about who it was before, kill it now! Kill it before it can kill Oweynn, Sybil, Grace and  Mabel. Kill it so that it can't harm any one else's family. Kill it for Isolde.' He screamed at himself.

Not wasting time, he let the arrow fly as he reached back and grabbed another, positioned it and let it go, and again.

He'd let off four arrows before he registered that the howl had turned into a whimper. Stepping back, Elias took a fifth arrow and aiming it straight for the werewolf's head, Elias let it go and watched it as it sliced through the creatures eyeball and into it's brain.

Without giving pause, Elias took the blade from his boot and stabbed the beast in the chest, straight into his heart.

Once he was sure it was dead, he began cutting off its head.

[[Creators Note: All pictures edited by the lovely shortcakes over @ I want to take a minute to personally thank her for taking the time to not only edit all of these pictures, but she sent them to me after each one was done to make sure that it was correct and one with my story line. She is truly inspiring and I am so fortunate to be able to get to know her. I hope this is the beginning of a life long friendship! Thanks shortcakes!!!]]

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chapter 25.5 PART I

Elias stood watching his eldest son, Oweynn, as he tended the fire and turned the meat from today's catch on the spit. The tantalizing scents of the different spices and herbs Mabel used on them wafted in through the open window that could cause any man's mouth to salivate with hunger. He half smiled as he watched Oweynn and listened to the sounds of Grace cooing at Mabel as she fed from her breast. He didn't need to turn around to see that Sybil was probably either at the woman's feet playing or sitting next to her with her head in her lap. He'd be lying to himself if he said that the red haired woman's arrival hadn't been a blessing, which it had. Grace wasn't but five days old and still refusing to nurse on Goat or Cow's Milk when Mabel barged into his home after he'd answered the door to tend to his infant daughter. He still had mixed emotions about Mabel as he still deeply loved his late wife, Isolde, but he knew that without her he would have also lost Grace.

He turned back to working on shaping a small bow for Oweynn, shaking his head at the memories of Mabel's first arrival. He hadn't wanted her there. He didn't want her taking care of him or his children. It wasn't until Robert had arrived two weeks after Mabel that he fully understood what her being there had meant. He faintly recalled Robert expressing his concerns after Isolde's death and just before Mabel's arrival about Elias's state mentally/emotionally and the well-being of his grand children as Robert explained to him again that she was intended to be his wife. Elias, for the first time he could remember, had completely come undone. Robert had been there and he held the man he considered his son as he wept and screamed and let out the pain he'd been  holding in since losing his son and his wife.

"She'll never be Isolde, Robert. I could never love another woman the way I loved my wife. Trust me, I've tried. I left remember? I was gone for years before coming home and I never once looked at another woman, never once loved another woman, as I did her." Elias all  but whispered to the man he once called Father. Now he wasn't so sure if he was still allowed to do that seeing as his reason behind calling him Father was buried in the family plot.

Sighing, Robert knelt down next to Elias on the ground. "Elias, Isolde wouldn't want you to end up like I did after loosing her Mother and my unborn child to the plague. She wouldn't want to see her children..." He stopped himself from finishing what he was about to say, sighing again and turning to look at the sun setting in the distance before continuing. "Mable is a good woman. She understands loss and pain. She also can help you with your daughters. Grace needs her and so does Sybil. If you won't do it for yourself, at least do it for your children. Give them a Mother who can be here for them to care for them in ways you cannot. Teach them things that you cannot."

"I don't want another Wife, Robert!" Elias stated through gritted teeth. Anger taking over anguish.

"Want and need are not necessarily the same thing, my son." He gripped Elias's shoulder firmly, his hands weathered with his old age were still rough and strong from working in the mill and his land. "I am not asking you to love her. I am asking you to love your children and give them what they need... and to help out a poor woman who's own child and husband passed."
Elias looked up at the man who's somber expression made him feel ashamed of the hatred and anger he felt towards this woman. "Wh.. uhm..."

Robert held up his hand, dropping his voice low he told Elias what had happened. Mabel was a Doctor. She'd been pregnant and given birth to a healthy baby boy and had stayed home with him as long as she could before the demand of caring for other people called upon her to leave him at home with her husband. She'd been in town at the hospice when the fire had started, by the time word had gotten back to her about it - Mabel had been too late. Her home had been engulfed with flames and the screams of her husband could be heard for miles as he slowly burnt to death along with their son. Mabel, instead of being crippled from loss, buried her son and husband or what they could find of them and returned to work caring of other people. She wasn't heartless, many people could account for seeing her crying when she was by herself or shedding tears while she was working over small children. She was grieving the only way she knew how and using that grief to care for those she could help.

Elias's thoughts were interrupted by Sybil's crying. He dropped the bow on the table and without even looking to see if Mabel was still breastfeeding Grace, ran into the next room and scooped his daughter up into his arms, holding her close and making soothing sounds to console her. He could hear Mabel's light footsteps upstairs as she went to lay Grace down. He leaned his head back to look at his daughters tear streaked face and smoothed her hair back off her forehead. "What's the matter, sweetheart?"

Sybil simply shook her head, still refusing to speak. He could hear Mabel as she started towards the staircase, what he couldn't hear is what started his concern. Elias pressed his daughters head to his chest and kissed the top of her head as he strained to hear outside. He could make out the sounds of the fire crackling, the handle of the spit turning, but he no longer could hear the animals making any sounds. Mabel approached them quietly, as was her nature - soft and quiet, and absently he passed Sybil to her which caught her attention immediately. The look on Elias's face put her on alert, her eyes darted to one of the windows closest to where they were, but she made no move to approach it.
Cradling tiny Sybil to her breast, Mabel reached towards Elias, grasping his arm. Elias's eyes immediately looked to her small, soft hands on his arm then to her face. Her eyes were wide and he could tell she wasn't breathing. He could literally feel her fear hitting him like a horse kicking you in the chest. She tore her eyes away from the window and looked  at him with, tears filling her eyes, "Oweynn's still outside."

Elias grabbed her hand and held his finger to his mouth and pointed to Sybil who gripped Mabel's dress as if her life depended on it. Mabel immediately pulled her hand from Elias and pressed the little girl to her, holding her tightly as she quietly headed upstairs. Elias walked back into the kitchen to look out the window to see that Oweynn, still turning the spit, was looking off in the direction of the animals. He too aware something was amiss. Elias went to the door and quietly opened it far enough to ease out of the house, but made no motion to open it any further. He felt her presence without hearing her and looked away from his son long enough to acknowledge Mabel and to motion her to bar the other door and windows.

Elias turned his attention back to his son, who was now standing straight no longer bothering with turning the meat. Sensing his Father's presence, Oweynn looked to him for direction. Elias nodded to him, setting Oweynn in motion. He quietly grabbed the spic with the speared meats and vegetables using two cloths to protect his hands and walked as quietly as possible back inside the house. Moments later he reappeared at the door to hand his Father his bow and sheath of arrows. Elias placed his hand on his sons shoulder after accepting his weapon and nodded to him, kissing him on the top of his head. He waited until he heard Mabel help Oweynn bar the door before he set off to hunt whatever threatened his family and his farm.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chapter 24.5 - BACKSTORY

Isolde and Elias couldn't leave a child to defend themselves especially a young, naive, frail little girl. So they decided to take Marian into their home. After all, she was a Bishop, was she not? Even if she was the bastard child of his late brother, Tristan Bishop, Elias couldn't turn her away though he could hear his Father's words in his ears.

"Be gone with ye. Ye have no place here."

Isolde had lost a child, but strangely her stomach had continued to grow after burying Robert with Anne. Elias called on the Doctor who'd informed them after an extensive examination that Isolde had been carrying two babies in her belly. One she lost, but one she still had in her belly. Months later, she gave birth to a little girl whom Elias and Isolde named Sibyl. She was very tiny when she was born, but she thrived and was so alert. Matilda confirmed that she'd survive and she did.

Winter was fierce that year and came sooner than anyone could have anticipated. The Bishops lost most of their livestock as well as their entire wheat field. Poor Thomas was already a frail and sickly child and suffered the most causing Isolde to worry constantly. Even more so because the Doctor had passed. A few months after Marian had come to live with the Bishop's, Isolde had found herself with child. Things were going good. Isolde was hardly on her feet, just to be safe, and little Thomas was always close by his  Mother so she didn't stress over his well being. It was after the Doctor's last visit that his wife whispered to Isolde that she was almost positive that she would have a girl that the Doctor and his entire family perished in a house fire.

The news of the Doctor's passing was tragic in deed. The closest Doctor was in Town, too far for Isolde to travel and too far for Elias to fetch when it was time. Ole Tillie had taken it upon herself to see to Isolde's needs with Marian's help, though after a few weeks Matilda had dismissed Marian and told her to ask Elias for something else to do. This was a bit surprising, to say the least, of Matilda who was quiet fond of children in general. She seemed to share strong feelings of dislike for Marian. As did little Thomas. Though Isolde and Elias had chalked that up to jealously that his older brother played more with Marian then with him, they couldn't however convince him otherwise, so Thomas stuck close to the house or to his Mother whenever he was feeling ill.

By the time Isolde started showing, she was moving around the house, but not at the pace she would like. She had to rest often as this pregnancy took quiet a lot out of her. Marta and Samuel visited often bringing Elizabeth and John along. John and Thomas were about the same age and played contently together over in a corner of the house while Elizabeth napped in either Marta's or Isolde's arms. Marian didn't seem to care for the squalling baby, though Lizzie was often very quiet and content as long as she was held, and stayed away whenever Marta visited. With or without the smaller children in tow. Isolde had expressed concern with Marian's behavior after being dismissed by Matilda to Marta, but Marta felt it was probably anxiety due to the new baby's arrival possibly taking her place and maybe fear that she would be kicked out after it was born.

Feeling more energetic over the course of the month that followed, Isolde planned a trip into Town to fetch some things while the weather was nice and clear. They'd depleted her stock of dried spices and cheeses and she needed grains and other items to last out the winter. Especially with most of the ponds, lakes and rivers frozen over and most of the animals were in hibernation. They wouldn't have enough if someone didn't make the trip in. Elias had the same idea for he'd left before Isolde had waken to go hunting for anything that he could find. Frustrated, Isolde asked Oweynn to stay behind and watch Thomas while she and Marian made the trip to Town, but Oweynn pointed that if Isolde went into labor Marian wouldn't be able to direct the horses or even ride one back to fetch Tillie, so Marian opted to stay behind with Thomas and Sibyl. Thomas was frightened. Marian scared him. He immediately hid from her. He wanted to hide Sibyl, but his Mother had always told him not to pick her up without help from her or his Father. He prayed that Sibyl would be ok. That Marian's hatred was only directed towards him and not his baby sister.

Thomas was getting hungry. It'd been more than two hours since his Mother and older brother had left for the Towns and he knew where his Mother kept the dried meats that she sometimes gave to Oweynn and Thomas whenever they were being good. He climbed out of his hiding spot and was creeping into the kitchen when he noticed how cold it was. Hadn't his Mother started a fire before she'd left? Abandoning his previous mission, Thomas had wandered into the sitting room to see that the embers faintly glowed, but flames no longer licked at the the pot of stew that his Mother had made with the last of their stored meats and vegetables. He also noticed the empty cradle that Sybil was in when his Mother left and there was no sign of Marian.

Thomas was half tempted to return to his hiding place, but he remembered his Father and Oweynn telling him that he should face his fears. And that it was his job to protect Sibyl because he was now a big brother and that's what big brother's do. He'd crept around until he found Marian outside in the bathhouse. She was leaning over the bath. Water was splashing about everywhere. Thomas slowly tip toed closer. Marian must have heard or sensed his approach because she flipped around, her eyes wide until she saw it was Thomas. Her surprised expression turned into an evil sneer as she smiled wickedly while glaring in Thomas's direction. She'd stood, her dress soaked, she took three steps towards him before they heard Elias calling out. His voice getting closer. Marian took a step forward and shoved little Thomas to the ground before Elias rushed into the bathhouse, coming to a halt.

Thomas started screaming. He yelled that Marian had something in the bath and she was going to kill it. Elias looked from Thomas to Marian, seeing her dress soaking wet he walked over to the bath to find Sibyl at the bottom, her skin was pale and her lips were blue. He reached in and grabbed her, the ice cold water biting at his skin. He started pressing on her chest like he'd seen the Doctor do to his Mother. He breathed into nose, something he'd learn from a girl he knew that used to live nearby when he was a young boy.

'Never blow into a child's mouth, you blow into their nose. I know, because I am going to be a Doctor when I get older.'

Water bubbled out of her mouth and down the sides of her cheeks and over her chin. He roller her over on her side and patted her back. Taking his cloak off, he wrapped it around his daughter and when he turned around to question Marian.. she was gone. Thomas sat there, silent tears streaming down his face. Elias sighed and pulled his son into his side and kissed the top of his head. He'd asked Thomas where Oweynn and Isolde were. Learning that his wife had gone into town was upsetting enough knowing she could go into labor any day. His son wouldn't be back for at least another hour maybe two and he needed to get Sibyl to the Doctor in Town, but he wouldn't be able to if he had to take Thomas with him.

He looked down into the eyes of his son that were so much like his Mothers and his heart filled with pain, fear, and love. He asked Thomas if he could hide until Oweynn returned. Thomas said he could. Said Marian didn't know where his hiding spot was. He grabbed his favorite Teddy Bear that he never went anywhere without. It belonged to his eldest brother, Sebastian, when he was little and his Mother said she'd given it to him when he was an infant. He hugged his Father fiercely, determination set on his small features, and his kissed his baby sisters forehead before he stood holding out his hand. He walked, head down against the wind, next to his father. His small hand in his large, warm one. Elias bent down, wrapping Sibyl more securely, then kissed his son on his forehead sending up a prayer for Thomas and his daughter's safety.

Elias mounted the horse and nodded at Thomas who turned and ran inside the house. He heard the smack as the long board dropping into place. He waited for the second before he took off at a dead speed, Louis on Horse's hooves, towards Town. With Sibyl safely strapped to Elias's chest. Thomas scooted the chair back to the table and ran to his hiding place. He'd just secured himself when he heard banging on the front door. His heartbeat had quickened, panic started to set in. Thomas reached for his bear, but didn't find him. He must have left him in the kitchen. He knew he should stay hidden, but his bear would be very afraid without him and he had to protect him. He slid out of his hiding place and crept into the kitchen. It was very dark in the house without the fire going. Dark and very cold. Thomas held his breath as he slid along the wall, his back pressed against the cold solid brick. His eyes flicked around, but he saw nothing but shadows. So he didn't see when Marian came up next to him and hit him upside the head with a piece of firewood.

Oweynn was half way back to the his house, Matilda was sick and after he'd stocked her fire and set about putting together a stew for her, she insisted something was wrong and he needed to get back home quick. She had no horses, or she'd have lent him one, his legs were tired of running. The wind was fierce, blowing against his lean body, making his push forward on his tip toes to cut through it. He kept thinking of his Mother, in Town without his Father knowing.. at least she'd be close to a Hospice in case she needed to bunker down. And there was the Church. Brother John always stopped by to check on them especially when the weather was really nice, or right after a storm. He would take care of Isolde. He thought of his Father, who'd left to go hunting. His Father was smart, he knew how to make a shelter to stay warm and wait it out, but Thomas and Sibyl were alone with Marian and he knew Thomas was afraid of her.

To be honest, lately, Marian had seemed weird. She was weird anyways, but he always thought that was because she was a girl. But Avice Borstell was a girl and Oweynn didn't find her to be very weird. He felt his cheeks grow warm just thinking of Avice. He planned to marry her when he was old enough, a man. His Mother liked her very much and Father definitely approved. Thomas adored her, probably had a crush on her, too. Losing himself in his thoughts of Avice, he didn't see her at first. He'd thought it was an animal coming, moving along the treeline of the wood. He'd ducked behind a bush off the road. When he felt brave enough he leaned out to see if he could spot the animal, but was shocked when he saw it was Marian. He squinted against the wind, his eyes watering, to see what she was doing. She looked like she was running, looking back over her shoulder as if someone was calling to her. In her left hand was Thomas's favorite bear that he didn't go anywhere without.

Oweynn ran towards her, she didn't even see him when he pummeled into her, knocking her off her feet and to the ground. He screamed in her face, even though it was close enough to feel her hot breath against his cheek.


She kneed him in his private area and kicked him in the gut after she was standing. She threw the bear down at him and spat in his face before turning to the road at a dead run. She was headed to town, but there was a stretch of wood from here to the village. He knew his Mother was in there.. panic set in. His Mother. Thomas. Where was Sibyl? Should he run home to check on Sibyl, or turn to the wood, where his little brother might be? He felt the ground, it was cold and  hard. Within a half hour he knew it'd be frozen. Too hard for Marian to be able to dig a hole, even a shallow one, to bury a body. Thomas knew almost as much as he did to survive a storm, but Thomas was frail, sickly and weak. He was closer to Thomas. He ran to the treeline. He could hear the wind whistling through the treetops, but other than that it was quiet. He knew she would have had to have taken him deep in the wood to be able to lose him and make it back to the treeline without Thomas seeing her and successfully follow her back.

He wasn't too far in when he felt a hand grasp his shoulder firmly and spun him around. It was his Mr. Borstell, Avice's Father. He'd asked him what he was doing and when Oweynn explained what he thought happened, Mr. Borstell's eyes barely visible as he squinted them, his eyes darting around behind Oweynn, head cocked to the side as if listening for something. When Oweynn was done, he was close to tears, but he didn't shed a one. Mr. Borstell told him he'd see his Father earlier riding towards town carrying something close to his chest, but he kept glancing over his shoulder back towards their homestead. He told Oweynn to head back to his house and get warm. Avice would make him something to eat and Mr. Borstell instructed Oweynn to let his eldest son know what he'd just told him and tell him to bring weapons. He was going to start looking for Thomas. When Oweynn made it to the treeline, he tore off his cloak and secured it to a tree to mark where he'd entered/exited from.

It was hours later, the sky was as black as a piece of wood that's been burned for hours. Oweynn stood looking out the window at the treeline. Avice stood next to him, holding his hand, her head on his shoulder. Mrs. Borstell coaxed the children away from the window closer to the fireplace. She draped a blanket over Oweynn and Avice before she headed back into the kitchen muttering something about making some tea. Avice sniffled at Oweynn's side. She was scared, too. Avice's older sister was sitting across from them on the floor, hugging her knees. She was a year younger than Marian was. Oweynn looked over at her, wanting to ask her questions about Marian, but he couldn't seem to find his voice.

The Borstall's eldest son burst through the door out of breath. He told Oweynn that his Father was joining the party, but that he was to stay here for the night. Mr. Borstall had already approved. Elias had left his daughter at the Hospice with his wife when Samuel found him and told him what had happened. Marian had been caught, she claimed a bear and dragged Thomas into the woods and she had ran after it and him to try and save him, but had gotten lost. She was currently being held in the Town's prison waiting judgement. Sam walked a few feet away from Elias, quiet and searching every brush and fallen tree for Thomas. When it became too dark, whispers set about the search party that the boy was for certain dead. No one went into the wood after dark.

Elias headed for home, Sam came with him. Marta and the little ones were going to go into Town in the morning to check on Isolde and Sibyl before fetching Oweynn from the Borstall's. Upon entering his home, the smell of blood filled Elias's senses making his head swim. Samuel went about lighting all the fixtures and started a fire. A puddle of almost dried blood was on the floor just outside the entrance to the kitchen. Samuel squeezed his shoulder before heading over to the sink and filling a pot of water and putting it on the well lit hearth. He turned to Elias and told his best friend to go get some rest. They'll head out before day break, he'd clean up the mess.

Elias didn't sleep. He sat on the bed he shared with his wife and cried. He should have never left Thomas alone. He should have found a way to make it work and took him with him and Sibyl to Town. Standing, his body stiff from sitting in the same position for hours, he made his way for the door. Samuel already was waiting for him. He knew he wouldn't be able to wait until it was light out. They mounted their horses and headed back to the treeline where Oweynn's cloak marked where they needed to enter. They tied off their horses at the Borstall's and walked back over, entering the wood. It was deathly quiet. It had snowed. A grave feeling took over Elias knowing the odds of Thomas's survival plummeted with the few inches that stuck to the ground. Louis was no where to be found. Samuel said he'd had a fit at the door and had opened it to see if there was anything there and he'd shot off. He'd tried to stop him, called him back, but he was unsuccessful. Louis was a good dog, he knew he'd come home eventually so he wasn't worried.

They were about a mile in when they heard a dog whimpering. Elias held up his hand to Samuel, signaling for him to stop. He followed the sounds until he happened upon a heap of snow. Out of the snow he could make out Louis tail. He pulled on the dog's hind legs until he pile of snow was broken up and was sliding in every direction as Elias pulled Louis away, dusting the snow off the old dog. Louis yipped and pulled away from Elias and began nosing the mound of snow. Elias immediately dropped his bow and arrows and began digging through the snow. He felt someone's shoulder, it wasn't a tiny one like he'd been anticipating, but it did cause him concern. With Samuel's help, they were able to uncover the body of Matilda. Why was she out here?? Oweynn had said she'd been ill. He'd left her resting in her bed before he headed home.

When Samuel, pulled her body towards his, cradling her to his. Her eyes fluttered open just as Thomas's tiny body fell from her embrace into Elias's arms. Dear God she'd found Thomas. His lips and around his eyes were purple from the cold. Samuel carried Matilda back to the Bartsoll's with Elias carrying Thomas right on his heels. Oweynn was still asleep in the spare room when they quietly were ushered into the house. Mr. Barstoll was building a fire, putting on more wood and kindling than he would have normally. Mrs. Barstoll started boiling water in the kitchen and getting blankets for Thomas. They wrapped him up in Elias's arms, while Elias sat in front of the fire. He regained some of his coloring, but was still shaking. Matilda was conscious and refusing any help insisting she'd be more help tending to the boy, but Mrs. Barstoll wouldn't hear of it.

Mr. Barstoll's eldest son had left on Elias's Horse to fetch the Doctor from Town. He'd made it back within two hours time. He looked over him closely, Elias never putting him down. The Doctor's face was grim. Thomas had a fever, the fact that he was even breathing was a miracle, however the Doctor wasn't optimistic. Elias refused to hear any more and told the Doctor to leave. He decided to take Thomas home. Mrs. Barstoll said she'd let Oweynn sleep and send him home once he's awake and has eaten something as he'd not eaten anything for supper. When Elias arrived home, the house was warm. The fire that Samuel had made should have died out, but was blazing hot. Isolde came bustling around the corner and burst into tears when she saw her husband and her son. She ran to them immediately, her hands skimming over her baby boy's body and then she leaned over and kissed her husband on the cheek. She took Thomas into her arms and carried him into hers and Elias's bed chamber where she laid him on the bed, with her beside him, running her fingers through his hair. He briefly opened his eyes and looked up at his Mother, a half smile on his face.
He whispered he loved her, Isolde kissed his cheeks and his forehead and nose and told him she loved him, too. He was such a brave boy. He saved his little sister's life. Marian was never coming back, ever. Thomas smiled and slowly he closed his eyes. He sighed "Mama" one last time and Thomas never took another breath after that.

Oweynn arrived to a horrific scene. Samuel and Marta stood in the kitchen, both of them crying. Elias was holding a screaming Isolde who was on the floor in her husband's arms. The door to their bed chamber was open and Oweynn could make out Thomas's little body on their bed. He ran in and looked down at his little brother. So sweet, so gentle. Thomas was dead. He'd never see him smile again. Never teach him how to fish, or hunt. He'd never grow up. Oweynn openly started crying then. He felt his Father's arms wrap around his chest. Screams interrupted their mourning. Isolde clutched at her belly as a puddle of water began spreading out from under her. The baby was coming.

Matilda burst through the doors barking orders to Marta, Oweynn, Elias and Samuel. She leaned down and whispered something in Isolde's ear. Isolde looked up into the old woman's eyes as she placed her aging hand upon the young frightened woman's cheek and nodded her head. So many emotions flitted across Isolde's face before she accepted whatever the old woman told her. Matilda was surprisingly strong as she supported most of Isolde's weight, lifting her up and off the floor and helping her to her bed. Tillie gently picked up Thomas and carried him into his room he shared with Oweynn, laying him on his bed before she returned to Isolde's side.

Hours of pacing, hair raking and pulling. Hours of waiting, mourning, stressing. Isolde gave birth to a beautiful baby girl whom she named Grace. Hours after giving birth, Isolde passed away from blood loss. Elias sat there holding this tiny baby girl, who stared back at him curiously, wondering how he was ever going to take care of an infant, a 2 year old and his 12 year old son alone. Marta and Samuel stayed at Elias's for a few months after Grace was born. Robert and Anne also came to stay. They buried Isolde and Thomas together so that neither would ever be apart again. It was during the months after that Robert had approached Elias about marrying again. Elias wouldn't hear of it. There was no one else out there for him. Isolde was it. She was his heart, his soul. It was painful enough living without her. Raising their children, without her. And for her own Father to ask Elias to even think of marrying another woman, someone other than his own daughter, outraged Elias.

To be fair, Elias was only lashing out. Isolde and Thomas's death was out of his hands and he took the blame for the deaths to heart, but Grace was refusing the goats milk and the cows milk. She needed to eat, but there were no nursemaids in the area. Robert again beseeched Elias to see reason. If he wouldn't remarry for happiness, then he should remarry to save his children. He knew of a widow who'd recently lost her husband and infant son and her breasts were full of Mother's Milk. Elias was a at a loss and when later that evening a brown eyed, red head showed up in his door step he stood staring at her dumbfounded. She wasn't like anything he'd ever seen in a log time. Her skin was a creamy silk and he could make out her full breasts under her dress along with her belly still slightly rounded from recent childbirth.

She smiled slightly at Elias then rolled her eyes. She introduced herself and memories long forgotten from Elias's childhood came rushing back to him. Mabel Tulle was the little red head that lived with her Father two farms over. She'd moved away with her Aunt before she came of age so that she could get a chance at a better future. She'd wanted to be a Doctor, Elias recalled. She nudged her way past him and entered the sitting room where Grace was crying. She looked to Elias and asked permission to hold her, he nodded in response. She picked up his daughter and held her to her bossom, the baby immediately begin nuzzling at her dress. Mabel pushed her dress off her shoulder and pulled her breast from under her dress. Grace immediately latched onto her nipple and suckled with a hunger that was somewhat endearing. Elias couldn't help but take a few steps forward as he watched in awe. He'd never watched Isolde feed Thomas. The realization cutting through him like a jagged knife. He looked up at Mabel's face, who until just then didn't realize she'd been staring at him.

He could see his own pain mirrored in her deep brown eyes. He knew it was her son she wished was nursing from her breast. He knew she wished it was her husband she was staring at instead of him. Elias cleared his throat dismissing himself from her presence. He wouldn't agree to marry her, but he wouldn't turn her away, he'd decided. He'd wait and see.. he'd watch her closely. He wouldn't make the same mistake he made when he let Marian into his home.


Marian was to stand trial in a week. If found guilty, she was to be hanged.
It seemed cruel, but that was looking at her as if she were just a mere child. And though she was, she was a child who tried to drown his daughter and who bashed her son in the head and dragged his body into the wood and left him for dead. She was the one who kicked his oldest boy and took off and tried lying about what she did. She also was the one who vowed to kill all Bishop's until she was the last one standing. And he felt nothing for.

Chapter 23.5

Isolde and Elias sat Oweynn down and explained about Robert and Elias took him to the Family Plot where they discussed life and other 'manly' things. Isolde was resting in their bed chambers when there was a knock on the door. She waited until they knocked a second and third time before she eased herself out of bed and slipped on her dress. Slowly opening the door, she squinted outside at the stranger that stood before her.

"Hello Ma'am, sorry for the intrusion, but I have a delivery for you." a man who was slight stood gripping his hat tightly with both hands, wringing it in a worrisome manner. She knew Elias was just down yonder and decided to give this man a benefit of the doubt and stepped outside. He beckoned her to follow him to his cart that was being pulled by two pack mules. A few people stared at her while others looked around in awe. She heard of people like him. Someone who took pay from foreigners, slaves and thieves for easy and fast transportation.

She'd only just slightly started to doubt her decision when he started beckoning towards, she assumed someone, from the group sitting in the back of his cart. The slight man put his hat in his back pocket and reached his arms out to help whomever, whatever, off the back of his cart. To her utter surprise, a little girl with curly red hair appeared out of the cluster of strangers. After easing her to the ground, he bowed to Isolde and turned to the girl, bowing as well, before heading back to his seat at the front of the cart and with a snap of his whip, the Mules took off down the lane headed towards the outskirts of town. Isolde watched until they were no longer in sight and then turned her attention turned back to the little red haired girl.

"Hello," Isolde spoke quietly to the child who stared at the ground at her feet. "What's your name?"

The little girl pulled folded piece of paper that had been pinned to the front of her dress and extended her arm out towards Isolde. With raised eyebrows, Isolde took four steps towards the girl to accept the paper, "Is this for me?" She asked, a smile on her face, but nothing seemed to coax the girl to make eye contact with her. Frowning Isolde opened the letter and read it to herself. She read it three more times before she looked at the girl with the curly red hair who still looked at the dirt at her feet and then red the letter again.

She could hear Elias whistle as he approached their homestead. Isolde turned and saw that he was alone and silently she thanked the stars that Oweynn had either wandered off to process this new bit of life he'd learned today or he had gone to fetch Thomas from Matilda's. She could see Elias frown from where he stood by the barn and quicken his pace until he stood at Isolde's side.

"Who's this?" Elias asked, eyeing the little girl and then side glancing his wife. Innocent curiosity shown from her husbands eyes making her wonder if he even knew who the girl was or if she was as blindsided by this news as he was about to be. Or not. Silently, Isolde handed Elias the letter the little girl with red curly hair had given to Isolde.

'Dear Tristan,
       If you are receiving this letter that means that our Marian is also standing before you. I do not know at what age she will be when she is brought to you by our neighbor, a kind man who has willingly brought her to you without any pay so please be kind to him, but whilst you read this letter know that I am no longer a part of the living. Months since we last laid eyes upon your person, I discovered that I am very ill and that I will soon die. You reading this letter and having our daughter in your presence is a sure sign that the end has happened and I am leaving her to you, her Father, to care for. I hope that she finds you well and able to care for her though you are sick yourself. I love you, Tristan.

All My Love,

Elias's hands were shaking by the time he read the short letter. So the rumors had been true.. the things his younger brother told him about on his wedding day, were true. Tristan had Fathered another child with another woman while he was still married to Isolde. He looked at the little girl and back at his wife who was also staring at her. Sensing her husbands stare, she turned and looked to him for guidance on what they should do.

"Please tell me this isn't true.." she whispered to her husband, though it wasn't to keep her concerns from the little girl, who finally glanced up at them. Elias's eyes widened slightly as he made eye contact with Marian. Isolde, watching her husband closely, turned her head and looked at the girl. She had bright, crystal clear, blue eyes. All the breath within her lungs puffed out of her as she gasped, "Bishop Blues."

She jerked her head in her husbands direction, "Elias.. she has his eyes. YOUR eyes! MY SON'S eyes!" her whole body trembled. He couldn't tell if it was from rage or betrayal.

Isolde closed her eyes briefly, "How old are you?" she'd asked quietly, trying to keep malice and loathing from her voice. She must have succeeded for the girl quickly answered her.

"I'm 12 years of age, Ma'am."

"No.. No, Isolde, no." Elias pleaded with his wife who had yet to open her eyes, but tears still betrayed her feelings. "Marian, have you ever met or seen your Father?"

"Yes, he came to bring us money he earned during his travels. He'd stay with us for a fort night to a month and then he would leave again. Sometimes he'd be gone for years, sometimes he'd be gone as less as weeks. Why?" Marian asked, genuinely curious to the stranger's question.

"Do you know who I am?" Elias asked her, looking her directly in the eyes.

"No, Sir." She answered politely, looking around and then back to him. "Where's Father?"

 Isolde could no longer contain the pain and betrayal she felt and burst into tears, her husband immediately taking her into his arms. "Shh.. shhhh.." he tried to soothe her.

"Don't!" She pushed him away. "You knew about this. I know you did otherwise you would have denied it the first time I asked you."

Isolde turned to the little girl, shaking her head she marched back inside the house. Elias called after her, but instead of a response, Isolde slammed the door. At least she didn't bar them out. Turning back to Marian he tried smiling down at her, but he was in utter shock.

"Marian.. do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" He asked her.

"I'd rather see my Father, sir." Marian answered, her eyes squinting. Distrust flashed across her familiar blue eyes that were so like his brothers.

"My name is Elias Bishop, I am Tris-your Father's older brother. Did he ever talk about me?" he asked.

"Oh.. sort of. He told me I had Uncles. Three of them." She smiled up at him. "I've met Uncle Henry! I quiet like him. I stayed with him for a short period of time after Mother got really very sick, but then our neighbor called on me and said it was time for me to go live with my Father."

"Did you not bring anything with you?" He asked, looking at the girl in her thin dress seeing no satchel on her person to count for.

"Mm, no Uncle. I wasn't allowed to bring any of my belongings with me." She answered without hesitation this time.

"May I ask why?"

"I don't know how to pronounce the word, but I think Uncle Henry said it was so that I couldn't get anyone else sick or myself."

"Contamination?" Elias pressed.

"YES! That's the word. Father said you were quiet smart. Maybe you can teach me to read and write, Father is always so busy." She smiled up at Elias and his heart broke as memories of his Mother flashed through his mind. "Is he here?"

"Is who here, dear?" he choked out the words.


"Marian.. we need to talk." Elias put his hand on the girls shoulder and guided her towards the Family Plot. He hoped like hell he'd never have to have this conversation with Thomas.

It was hours later that the door to the house flew open. Isolde turned around sharply, she'd been standing by the fireplace adding wood before the fire went out completely. The sound of the front door startling her.

It was Marian. Tristan's bastard child.

"M-my Uncle explained everything to me. Everything." Tears streamed down the little girls cheeks, her eyes turning a sea blue. "I understand if you hate me, but I have no where else to go. Mother is dead. Father is dead. And my Father was a liar who used my Mother and you... please don't turn me away. I can cook and clean. I can even fish and tend the chickens and cows." she trailed off as she looked up with pleading eyes.

"You wouldn't have to pay me! And I can be very quiet!!"

Suddenly, Marian lunged at Isolde, wrapping her arms around her waist.

"Please... please..." she begged, sobbing into Isoldes dress.

No longer able to hold herself back, she embraced the little girl, cradling her in her arms, "Never."

After Marion gathered herself she asked Isolde to accompany her to the Family Plot.

"Isolde... Do you think he loved us? Me?" she asked.

"Yes." short and to the point, no sense in trying to shield the child  who was already more than her years.

"Do-Do you think he was a good man??" she whispered.

"I'd like to think so."

"I think my Father was a horrid man," she started weeping. "I hate him. I hate him, but I love him and that makes me hate him even more."

Isolde didn't know what to say to the girl. She herself was experiencing a range of emotions, some she's never truly felt and they were coming from the very core of her. Betrayal, Hatred, Loathing.. but underneath she still loved him. He gave her Anne, Sebastian and Oweynn. She hugged herself as silent tears poured down her face as she stared at the back of the child's head. She was trying to be brave, but eventually the loss of her Father. Her hope. Her salvation, caused her undoing and her entire body shook as she silently cried over her Father's headstone.

"Papa.." she whimpered.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chapter 22.5

Oweynn was sitting by the family table entertaining Thomas when Sam showed up for Elias and his eldest son. With winter fast approaching it was vitally important that they stocked up on enough fish, produce and other fine materials to last in case they got snowed in or if they couldn't leave their homes to fetch a doctor.

It'd been a month since Molly and Agnes were buried, Elizabeth seemed to be doing fine and Marta threw herself into taking care of her son and Grand-Daughter whom she and Sam decided they would call their own.

Isolde still hadn't been over to visit her friend and within reason. The men had been waiting in the sitting room while the boys played by the hearth when the Doctor and his wife came out of Elias and Isolde's bedroom.

"Elias.." the Doctor nodded at Samuel as she beckoned the other to follow him outside.

Oweynn, always curious, stood and watched the two older men outside the window.
"O! Up!" Thomas called to his older brother, who picked him up and began making funny faces at him, already forgetting what he was doing.

"Elias, as you know Isolde is a bit.." he paused briefly, but long enough for Elias to interject.


"Well, yes, but she's also with child. As to how far along she is, I couldn't say at this point in time. Early enough that you should be on watch. Keep her off her feet." the Doctor squinted his eyes as he looked Elias up and down. "How are you and the boys feeling?"

"We're just find, Doc." Elias was more than fine. Words couldn't begin to describe how he felt right now. Elated would be a good word. Worried would be another. Worried because his wife's emotional state was very down with the passing of Marte's daughter and Grand-Daughter. Down because they'd lost two babies since having Thomas. The Doctor patted Elias on the shoulder before turning to his cart where his wife dutifully sat waiting.

Turning on his heel, he headed back inside to fetch Sam and Oweynn. He peeked in on Isolde, laying a sleeping Thomas next to her and a note letting her know he'd be home before supper. He met up with Oweynn who eagerly waited for his Father by the Horse Stables.

"Papa, what did the Doctor say about Mama? Is she sick?" Oweynn, watched his Father's feet as they made their way down to where Samuel waited with the horses. "Is she.. goin' to die?" he whispered.

Elias turned around and looked down at him, "What makes you think your Mama is going to die?"

"Because she gets this look in her eyes like she's seeing the Lord." he tugged at his scarf, it was very itchy, but his Mother always demanded he wear it.

"Your Mama isn't going to die, son. She's goin' to have a baby." he grinned wide as he ruffled the top of his hair.

"A baby!?" Oweynn squeaked. "Wow, Papa.. a baby."

Elias scooped Oweynn up and threw him over his shoulders. "You ready to be a big brother all over againt!?"

"You bet, Papa! Only this time, I'd like a sister." Oweynn grinned as he clung to his Father for dear life.

"Another girl around this old farm wouldn't be such a bad thing would it?" Elias quietly spoke to him as he carried Oweynn the rest of the way to Sam and the horses over his shoulders.

"It sure wouldn't!"

Elias put Oweynn down and grabbed the ropes to Horse and Enya. He helped Oweynn mount his horse before climbing his own. Sam was already ready to go and sat patiently waiting for them. "Sorry for the wait, Sam." he spoke softly as to not startle the livestock and wake Isolde and Thomas before they left.

"It's quiet alright. I enjoy the quiet." he sighed, his breath visable in the cold morning air. "What say the Doctor?"

"Isolde is with child and is feeling melancholy." Elias stated matter of factly. There was no beating around the bush, nor did he expect a celebration of life when two were lost not too long ago.

"Really?" Samuel's eyes lit up, and though it was a little sad, he smiled at the notion of another tiny person running around. "Congratulations my friend."

"Thank you."

"I'm going to be a big brother again." Oweynn said, his head held high and his shoulders squared back. Pride shining from his face. "I'm going to catch the biggest fish for Mother and the baby."

"And Thomas?" Elias chuckled.

"I'll catch him his own fish." Oweynn said frowning. "Mother needs the biggest one though."

Elias turned around on Horse to look at his eldest son. "You'll make a great Father some day, Oweynn."

"But then I'd have to kiss a girl.." Oweynn said under his breath before sticking his tongue out in mock gagging.

Samuel and Elias burst out laughing which got the Mule kicking. "Let's make hast before we wake your Mother. She needs her rest."

With that the men took off to go fishing and try to catch some game for the Winter whilst Isolde and Thomas lay fast asleep in their warm bed at home. Matilda would call on them later and offer to take Thomas to her house for a spell to give Isolde some alone time. Marta was to come by at some point and bring John and Elizabeth over, but she secretly hoped her friend would change her mind.

It was mid day when Matilda left with Thomas. The day was only slightly warmer than when the men left that morning, but she knew Thomas would be safe and warm with Tillie. She paced the house for a time.. something in her gut telling her something was off. She pushed it away as it were Marta's looming visit that had her on edge, but when she really thought about it she knew she was only kidding herself.

She could hear children's laughter outside and had run to the sitting room window to peer outside only to come short. Doubled over in pain, Isolde gasped for air. Her eyesight went dark and then came back clear as the cold day outside. Blinking rapidly, she tried to stand only to double over in pain again. She felt like someone was stabbing her in her stomach and her back simultaneously. Realization dawned on her as another wave of sharp, agonizing pain ripped through her mid section.

"No, no, no, no!!" she said through gritted teeth. Her brow dripped with sweat, trickling from her hairline down her neck and back. Within minutes the collar of her dress was soaked with sweat and tears. Her knees shook so hard, she no longer could stand and collapsed to the floor.
"Elias.. oh god, please.." she panted as she clutched her hard belly. "Please, Please.. not my baby!" she weeped to an empty room, nothing but the crackling of the fire to answer her quiet pleas. The urge to push was too great to ignore, but ignore it she tried. She was able to last for only another three minutes before she eased herself backwards onto the hard floor, her body shaking from pain and from the new sobs as she came to accept that she was going to have a miscarriage.

As she accepted this internally, her heart shattering in anguish as she felt the gush of fluids and blood rush out between her legs, soaking her dress and the animal pelt underneath her. She laid there for as long as she dared, waiting for the pain to subside. She slowly raised herself up onto her elbows testing her strength and finding she had little left, even though a bit wobbily, she scooted herself into a sitting position. Pulling at skirt of her dress until she clutched the hem, she pulled it back and down her thighs until she could part her legs and look between them. The sight was gruesome and enough to rip her heart out. Laying there was what to be hers and Elias's child. Much further along than the Doctor had assumed to say a loud.

Pressing her lips together and her forehead to her knee, what was left of tears silently flowed down Isolde's face as she wept for a son she would never hear cry, who would never take a breath. Who'd never laugh or run with his brothers. She eased her dress off her shoulders and down to her rump and she gently eased it under her and pulled her legs out of the dress. Stark naked, covered her blood, Isolde walked to the next building where she poured a pail after pail of water into the bath. She quickly bathed herself and dressed then she carefully bathed her son before wrapping him in a clean thick blanket. She held him for hours before she decided what to do.

Isolde, cradling her son who was born and taken too soon, carried him down to the family plot. She gingerly walked over to her daughter's headstones, kneeling down, she dug a hole elbow deep and gently laid her son in the earth. Saying a quiet prayer out loud, blessing her son's soul and asking the Lord to take him into his arms until the day she can be reunited with him in Heaven. Before covering his lifeless body with upturned earth, she named him out loud.

"Robert Bishop."

Standing up, she looked down at the tiny headstone, looking around for something sharp that she could carve his name into it, but seeing nothing she gave up. Her shoulders dropped, her arms went slack, as more tears formed along the brim of her eyelashes. She could heart in the distance the sound of Louis's barking and Oweynn's hooting and hollering as she imagined him riding ahead of his Father and Samuel. Quickly wiping her tears, Isolde slowly made her way towards the house.

She'd made it only a few feet from the entrance of the Family Plot when Elias, Samuel and Oweynn came over the rise. Oweynn waved at his Mother and Sam smiled, nodding in Isolde's direction. Elias, squinted at his wife. His brow furrowed and he knew. He knew as he made eye contact with Isolde what had happened. What she'd done. He swung his leg over to one side of Horse and jumped down not bothering to stop him first or tether him. Sam, managing to grasp his reins before he could get too spooked, calmed him down and when succeeded he turned his head in time to see Isolde collapse in Elias's arms and the two of them laid sat on the ground rocking back and forth crying together. Their sobs sounding as if they were coming from one person. Not needing to ask what was wrong, Samuel put the horses in the stables and picked up Oweynn carrying him back to the house away from his parents and all his questions he was shouting in their direction.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Chapter 21.5

After Thomas was born it was as if time was non-existent. Seasons passed. The boys grew faster than the weeds from Isolde's garden. It'd been almost four years, but no child grew in Isolde's belly. Elias found his wife sitting at the supper table, staring at the wooden walls of their home. He sighed internally before approaching her.

"Isolde?" He'd asked cautiously. She turned her head at the sound of his voice, but her eyes didn't register who he was until he said her name again. Shaking her head, she blinked rapidly before looking around the room and back to her husband.

"Oh, Elias.. I-I didn't hear you come in." She slowly stood and went to the kitchen. She tossed the cuttings from earlier in the day before grabbing out a slab of meat and vegetables and went about getting a stew ready for dinner. Usually she did this earlier in the day, however, Isolde often was lost in her own thoughts these past few months and with good reason.

"I just came from Sam's." Elias stated, as he leaned against the wall next to where she began dicing carrots and celery. "They buried Molly and her child today." Bowing his head, he sent up a silent prayer.

Isolde cleared her throat, "How is Marta and John?"

"Why don't you go visit them? Take Thomas or Oweynn along with you. I'm sure Sam would love to see the boys, and John." He tried coaxing her out of this spell she was under.

"Oh, I..." she sniffled as she wiped her brow with the sleeve of her tattered dress. "I just can't. I have too much to do around the farm. I'm behind on all of my daily chores." Shaking her head as she threw handfulls of raw meat and vegetables into the pot that was now hanging over the firepit.

"We could all go." He said gently, as he wrapped her arms around her waist from behind. "Marta misses you. She needs you right now."

"What good would I do her going there. I couldn't help her before, Elias. I couldn't save Molly or that baby." She sighed before her body began to shake. Elias turned her around and pulled her into his arms. Isolde buried her face into her husband's neck and clung to him, crying. "I'm just a reminder that she lost her daughter and Grand-daughter."

"No, never." His voice thick with emotion. His heart ached for his wife and her best friend. Molly had went into labor, Sam had barely gotten Isolde back into time for her to turn the baby around, for it was coming feet first. They had no idea that there was a second child. Twins. Molly had lost so much blood and the second baby didn't even take her first breath. Molly was so weak, she couldn't even hold her own child on her own.. She hardly managed to whisper her name before she passed away. She named her Elizabeth, after her little sister who'd passed away. Marta and Sam decided to name Molly's other daughter Agnes, after Sam's Mother. Sighing, Isolde pulled away from Elias and went about working on her stew.

Before Elias could interrupt her again, Thomas could be heard squalling from the sitting room.


Isolde dropped everything and ran to her youngest son.

  She stopped dead in her tracks as her baby stood and walked to her, "Oh my boy!! My Sweet, Sweet baby boy!" She squatted down and reached her arms out to him. He had the most loveliest smile. So much like Bash when he was a toddler, she'd thought to herself.

"Mama!!" Thomas giggled as she threw himself into his Mother's arms. Elias clapped his hands and ruffled his son's hair.

"That's my boy!!" He'd crooned. "My Thomas!"

Isolde kissed her son's cheeks and snuggled him to her breast. It was the only time he'd ever seen her truly look alive, when she was with Thomas and Oweynn. She looked around the sitting room, her brow furrowed. "Where's Oweynn?" she'd asked, as if reading Elias's thoughts.

"At Tillie's." he stated before kissing Thomas on the top of his head and kissing Isolde on her forehead. "I'd best go fetch him before it's too dark to see straight."

Isolde walked over, balancing Thomas on her hip, and poked at the fire. It was unseasonably chilly, fitting weather for what had occurred today, she'd thought shaking her head as if it try and rid her mind of the memories from the previous days.

She sat in the rocking chair, snuggling Thomas as close as she could to her chest. "Don't ever grow up, Thomas. Ok?" She stated as she pressed her cheek to the top of his head. He no longer smelled like a baby, this was slightly disheartening, but Isolde tried to not let it get to her as she absently rubbed her flat belly with her free hand sighing.

She'd fallen asleep and was awoken by the sounds of Oweynn and Elias's laughter as Oweynn told her Father all about his day over at Matilda's and the new things he'd learned. "She called it 'Fly Fishing,' which is just silly because fish don't fly! I told her this and she said, 'How do you know they don't fly if no one is there to see them?'" And with that he burst into a fit of laughter which woke Thomas, who leaned far out of his Mother's embrace with a huge grin.

He loved his older brother and followed him everywhere.

Elias plopped down on the couch as Oweynn stretched out on the floor, "Supper smells delightful, Mother."

"O! O!" Thomas called to his big brother as his Mother placed him gently on the floor to check on the stew.

"Hello Thom! Do you want to learn about 'Fly Fishing!'" Oweynn giggled, eyes twinkling as Tristan's had whenever something had excited him. The thought of Tristan was unsettling for Isolde as she'd been thinking a lot of her late husband and son these past few months. And with Molly and her infant daughter's passing, she couldn't help but feel a pang of loss as it so reminded her of loosing Baby Anne.

Sighing, she stirred the pot of stew, letting the warmth from the dwindling flames warm her chilled flesh as the sounds of her children and husbands laughter warmed her heart. "Oweynn," she'd called to her eldest son who promptly answered and came running.

"Yes, Mama?"

"Could you please go fetch some cow's milk? And see if there are any egg's?" She smiled up at him from where she sat on the stool by the hearth.

"Yes, Mama!" he smiled and kissed her forehead before running outside.

Elias watched Oweynn from the windows before he felt a tug on his trousers, looking down he saw his youngest son smiling up at him. "Papa!"

He scooped him up into his arms and held him close.

"Let us see how much you've grown." He had Elias's coloring and his hair color, but he had Isolde's eyes. The first in the Bishop family to not have the 'Bishop Blue's'. Elias didn't care though, he adored his children the way they were.

"Out, Papa! Go O!" Thomas pointed at the door that Oweynn ran out of.

"Oh not today, Thom. It's too cold outside." He answered, frowning along with Thomas to avoid laughing.

Fake gasping, Elias reached his hand high above his head, "Oh no, Thom! It's... It's.. THE MOSTEROUS CLAW!"

Thomas gasped, his eyes grown wide in mock terror before he let out a fit of giggles and squeals as his Father tickled him.

He did this repeatedly until Oweynn came back inside with basket of egg's and a pail of fresh Cow's milk. Turning towards the kitchen, Elias took the pail from his son and set it on the counter before he set Thomas down and reached for the basket of egg's. "Why don't you entertain your brother for a bit until supper is ready, Oweynn."

"Sure thing, Papa!" He reached down and lifted Thomas and carried him off to the sitting room. It was the warmest place in the house aside from the kitchen where Isolde sat staring into the flames.

Elias walked over to his wife and knelt down in front of her, taking her face into his hands and pressing his forehead to hers. "Come back to us. Please.." his voice breaking.

Isolde blinked rapidly as tears began to spill over her eyelashes and down her cheeks, "I'm trying, Elias. I'm trying.." She wrapped her arms around his neck and weeped until her body went slack. Elias picked her up and carried her to their bedroom where he tucked her into bed and returned to the kitchen to finish and serve dinner.

So much loss. So much death. Winter was approaching fast and fierce, icicles already forming on the branches that haven't even lost all their leaves and the stress of the cold and what comes in it's wake was enough to send any Mother or Father who's lost into a state of depression. Elias feared for his wife's sanity and for what was to come to their family in only a few months time.