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The fall colors were breathtakingly vibrant, and the carpet of leaves on the ground retained their vivacious colors, for now. But knowing how soon these same leaves would turn brown, dry up, and blow away, Mildred felt more aware than ever, that she would not live to see many more seasons. She needed to train a successor, a healer, for Ayre. Taking on an apprentice had been postponed during the war and plague, as she worked endless hours healing, and trying to keep her family fed, and taxes paid. Plus, she had hoped that her sister-in-law, Ella, would be able to succeed her. But Ella’s interests were not in healing arts.
One fall afternoon, she saw Lady Chevalier, the squire’s mother, walking by. Mildred wondered how she was doing, after having nearly died in a house fire in the Spring. Without Mildred’s healing, Lady Chevalier may be laid to rest.
Mildred was happy to hear that Lady Chevalier was well. Lady Chevalier then asked Mildred, how was her sister, Millicent? Lady Chevalier’s sister, Lady Joslyn, had decided to retire Millicent as caretaker to the Almshouse, and she had taken a more active role in overseeing the Almshouse herself.
“Millicent is well,” Mildred told Lady Chevalier. What else could she say? That her sister missed her job nurturing the plants and the people who needed care at the Almshouse? There wasn’t anything that could be done about it, at least for now, that the decision had been made. Mildred wondered how they would make due without at the Almshouse without her sister’s green thumb, but she did not voice any dissent. No doubt, they would soon call for her to come lend a hand with the harvest.
Millicent was, in fact, a bit lost. She was used to having the whole administration of the Almshouse to keep her busy, and now she had relatively little work to do.
Her sister’s eldest boy, Bentley, was doing a good job managing the the hay fields, and preparing the household for winter. His slightly younger twin brother, Haylan, helped as needed, but was more interested in painting. He seemed to have some talent and a sensitive soul, helpful for an artist. Millicent thought Haylan may be able to find employment with the nobility as a painter if he kept practicing.
Meanwhile, Millicent began to pass along some of her knowledge of gardening to Bentley.
During the hay harvest, the boys were both working hard to dry, bundle, and sell the hay. This year, they had to make due without the help of Gertrude, who had married the innkeeper, and without Marigold, who had married the Fish Warden of the Vale. The one person in the family they did not miss, when it came to getting work done, was Ella. Ella, Mildred’s sister-in-law, was Marigold’s worry now, since she had moved with Marigold to the Vale.
Bentley still longed to spend time with Lora, but the harvest had allowed almost no extra time for that. Perhaps in the winter, they would have time to dance, and make merry. Maybe an negotiations leading to betrothal would resume, in the winter.
When Millicent returned to live with her sister and her nephews, she brought Hadley and Bonnie Gothard with her. Hadley and Bonnie’s mother had just died of plague, and their mother’s new husband, also distraught with grief, had brought them to the Almshouse hoping Millicent could care for them better than he could.
Mildred immedietely agreed to the arrangement. After all, she had helped Eva Forrester kick Rhett out of the house, and she certainly did not want Hadley Gothard having to live at the Almshouse with that lecher for any length of time.
In the past, Mildred had noticed Hadley, who had grown up next door, and had thought of her as a possible healer. She had mused that Hadley would be a better successor than Bentley’s love interest, Lora. She hoped now that her instincts had been correct.
When they arrived at the Almshouse, both Hadley and Bonnie were filthy and thin as could be. Millicent had cleaned them up, and nursed them back to health with soup and sleep. But Hadley was still sad, frequently crying, or alternately, morosely staring into space.
Mildred immediately got to work making a new dress for Hadley, and whipping up some herbal drinks to soothe her. In addition to grief for her mother, the girl’s heart was broken, and yet still clung to hope of a happy-ever-after with her lover, the Blacksmith.
The boy, Bonnie, longed to see his grandpa Gabe. But being a child, he more quickly responded to the family’s routine, and wanted to help sell the hay.
Hadley had noticed right away how different it was, here just right across the fence from the goats. She was living a few feet from the home where she had been born, but the house smelled of lavender, and sunny hay, and there wasn’t a goat dropping in sight. The pantry was overflowing with the best produce and fresh herbs. The differences went beyond the cleanliness and plenty in the house. The family’s future seemed brighter, like they knew they were not powerless in it’s grip.
When James came by to check on Bonnie, she made sure to give him some fresh vegetables. He asked if Bonnie would like to come home, now, and Hadley told him, “not yet.”
As she watched him leave, Hadley knew, without a doubt, nothing could entice her to return to the goatherder’s hut, now. She wanted to learn how to bend reality like this, the way that Mildred had done.
Mildred began to teach Hadley to make healing reagents from herbs and other natural substances. Hadley was a quick study. She was motivated to learn, and especially, after the death of her mother, to learn to heal. But Mildred sensed an obsession in her, that might undercut her progress. Hadley was obsessed with having power over love. Mildred knew that ultimately, a broken heart could not be healed through power, but only through acceptance. Power was not a type of magic in which Millicent was well versed, anyway.
When Bentley next went to the Autumn Faire to sell potions, hay, and herbs, Bonnie went with him. Bonnie had a few items from home to sell: some fresh goat milk, some butter, and some nuts he had gathered while foraging with Gabe.
At the Faire, Bonnie found James, his mother’s husband, drinking ale from the tap. Bonnie looked up to James; he had been a man-at-arms, and fought in the tournament! He had helped care for Bonnie when his mother became sick. And, he knew James had loved his mother. Bonnie liked living at the Wise household, and helping Bentley and Haylan, but he also wanted to live with James again. Somewhere deep down, Bonnie also hoped, that he were home with James, Gabe would return there. He longed to be with his grandfather, Gabe.
James was eager for Bonnie to come home, now that he seemed well.
Mildred had warned Hadley against making a love potion as a way to make Brodie yield to her will. But Hadley learned potions quickly, and she went ahead, and made one. Hadley did not realize it, but her love potion was flawed, and just before she finished it, Mildred worked a little bit of magic to make up for it. Mildred believed, if Hadley was determined to take this path, it was better to go ahead with the lesson it would bring, than to labor over it however long it took her to brew an effective love potion. This love potion would give her what she wanted in the short term, but nothing magical could change the reality of class politics, or her lover’s heart.
Hadley respected Mildred, and she was grateful to her. But she desperately wanted things to be easier between her and Brodie. She wanted to have power over the situation. She wanted it to be resolved. This might give that to her.
Hadley arranged to meet her lover at Forest’s Edge.
They went into the woods, near the deserted logger’s camp. Hadley gave him the potion, which he drank. There, under the stars, they spent the night, naked in each other’s arms.
In the morning, after they dressed, Brodie told her he wanted to marry her. He proposed they run away to Killshaw Heath, where they could live as they pleased.
This is what Hadley had hoped for. When she opened her mouth to accept his proposal, Hadley did not say yes. She knew Brodie would not, of his own volition, desert his daughter, Fiona. And, then she realized, surprisingly, it was not what she wanted, either. Hadley knew, she wanted her life on her own terms, and running away would not give her that power.
Hadley did not answer. Instead she closed her eyes, and kissed him full, deep on the mouth. When at last, they pulled away from each other, she said, “We can always run away. Let’s return home and give it time.”
- When Hadley moved into the Wise household, she had become an adult and her wants were, marry Brodie, have a baby. During the last household, du Bois, during the hunt, she and Brodie came to the King’s Forest and were in the tent all night together. So I had her give him the potion and they spent a night in the forest. Brodie has not rolled the want to marry Hadley until their date at the end of this round, and he is a Yeoman. I locked the want but I don’t know that I’ll keep it locked when I next play Brodie. Marrying an indentured goatherd would definitely be frowned upon.
- Hadley was a fortune sim, but I made her a knowledge sim so she wouldn’t fear being a witch and she would be inclined to study all the skills she will need.
- Hadley spent all her time learning magic, and with all of Mildred’s power to fill her needs she made a lot of progress (Ayre needs a good healer!) I even used the tempus interruptus spell for Mildred to make the throne to fulfill needs, so Hadley to study around the clock. Plus, she is inheriting all of Mildred’s reagents and potions so she doesn’t have to spend time making them all. Hadley is able to cast spells to make someone’s mood better, do lots of spells for cleaning and beautifying the area, clean her own body without a bath, make someone fit or fat, cure illness, and create food, along with making all potions and reagents. To be the best possible healer as a witch she will need to earn the rest of the witch craft points, develop her gardening badges, sewing or cosmetology badges, max out nature interest, and learn physiology and parenting. I plan for her to live with the Wise family through winter and then set out on her own.
- The family owes $1195 in rent, tithe and tax.