Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Baron's Lady - Chapter One, Part One

Hello, readers. If you are new to this story, be sure to read the three part introduction, now found in the archive on the left side of the home page. Enjoy!


Owen hefted his practice sword up above his head, and then swung it down. It met Lucien’s sword with a solid blow. Owen swung from the right, only to have his endeavor and his arm flung aside. He tried again, attempting a mighty jab, using all of his energy and might in the effort…only to find himself face down in the dirt when Lucien countered, and then used his heel to take Owen down.

“You have great passion,” said Lucien. “But you must learn to attack with purpose. Use your head, and not your heart.”

Rising to his knees, he took Lucien’s extended arm. It was not the first time his brother-in-law had bested him. Lucien was, admittedly, much stronger and greater in size. But he knew that it was not the height and breadth of a man that truly mattered. It was the strength of his spirit. Determined not to be morose, he held out his sword, challenging Lucien once more. A slight smile of self-confidence graced his lips.

“Shall we begin again?”

Lucien returned the smile. But he sheathed his sword.

“Were it not for other matters, I would continue. But alas, I have made a promise that must be kept.”

Owen’s smile faded. He sighed, lowering his weapon. “To your wife, I assume?”

Lucien’s amused expression gave his answer. Owen shook his head as he put his sword away. Lucien and Thea had been married for several months, and even though Lucien was as dedicated as ever to his soldier’s duties, one could always sense that he wished to be elsewhere. Namely, with Thea. Owen found the notion difficult to fathom, but Lucien only smiled at the sour looks he received.

“When one day, you are in possession of a wife, you will come to understand,” he said.

Owen scoffed. “I understand that women are full of wicked wiles. Was paradise itself not destroyed by a woman?”

“A woman can be a paradise all on her own, if you know my meaning.”

A shudder passed through Owen’s body. He curled his lip in disgust. “Good God, man. Do not say such things in regards to my sister. You will make me ill.”

In response, Lucien only laughed. He clapped Owen on the shoulder.

“Come, brother. It is nearly time for dinner, as it is. I wish to see my wife, but I am also famished. Let us eat, drink, and make merry.”

As they made their way to the house, they heard the sound of geese softly honking. He and Lucien were not surprised to find Evelyn sitting beneath a tree, surrounded by several of her pets. The three geese, along with two greyhounds, kept company with her. While the dogs lay stretched out, absorbing the afternoon sun, the geese ate seed from Evelyn’s hands. One of the birds, all of whom were female, saw Owen and Lucien. The plump grey goose took several steps forward with her wings outstretched, hissing. Owen sneered at her.

“Do not threaten me, you waddling bag of bones. I shall truss you up and have you for dinner.”

Lucien and Evelyn both smiled, and Evelyn looked at Owen with an amused expression. “She has never favored you.”

Owen scoffed. “With the possible exception of Mama, I do not seek the approval of any woman.”

He was not surprised by Evelyn’s reaction, which was a grin and a twinkle of her blue eyes.

“A fact well known, brother.”

As he and Lucien walked away, Owen tried to suppress a smile. Despite the occasional verbal jabs that they shared, he and Evelyn were quite close. She was just a year younger than he, but she had the soul of a woman far beyond her age. As children, she had often acted in a motherly way towards him, offering him kindness and consolation, or a kick in the pants when he needed it. She had also been a great playmate, despite being a girl. She was a fantastic archer, and being lighter and swifter than he and his mates, she had always outrun them in footraces or bested them in tree-climbing. Those years were long past, but he recalled them fondly, and at times, he felt sad that time was moving so swiftly.

He shook his head, dislodging such thoughts. The prospect of dinner was a safer thought…much more so than emotions or regret, neither of which he cared to dwell on. As he and Lucien crossed the threshold, they looked up to see Thea coming their way. Owen bristled, knowing that he rarely encountered his older sister without it resulting in an argument. But for Lucien’s sake, he bit his tongue. Thea took Lucien’s arm as she came to his side.

“There you are, husband. I have been waiting for you.”

Lucien smiled. “Forgive me, love. My practice detained me.”

She nodded. “Yes, well, I am in great need of a private word with you. It is a matter of much importance.”

“Of course,” Lucien replied. “Allow me a few moments to make myself respectable, and then I shall join in the garden.” Taking her hand, he kissed her knuckles, and she smiled lovingly.

Seeing the softness between them, Owen felt a twinge of awkwardness. He was used to witnessing such gestures, but they still put him out of his comfort zone. He excused himself, and departing to wash and dress for supper, he sighed. Lucien was a fierce warrior, and he was close to being a perfect knight. If only he was not so easily swayed by his woman.

As he turned at the top of the stairs, he saw his mother and father at the end of the hall. They were standing close together, and though they were partly concealed in shadow, he could see they were smiling at one another. When they lovingly kissed, Owen quickly turned away. It wasn’t that the sight of such affection revolted him. But it seemed rather improper to his way of thinking. They were a married couple, and they were certainly not newlyweds. Why they continued to act as such was far beyond his comprehension.


There was an air of excitement at the table. Thea, especially, was all smiles and blushes, as though she held within her a very great secret that she wished to tell the world. Looking around, he saw that his mother and father were wearing similar expressions. When Guy rose to his feet, with his cup in hand, Owen knew that something momentous was about to be announced.

“I am pleased to announce a most happy and divine event that is set to occur in our lives. Lady Theodora, our beloved daughter, and her husband, Sir Lucien, will soon welcome a child.”

There were gasps from around the room, and then, a round of applause. Owen sat still in his seat, stunned. He wasn’t quite sure how to respond. He and Thea had always been at odds, and in his eyes she had always been a spoiled and childish creature. Never had he imagined her as a mother.

A mother.

The thought of it was bewildering. He slowly rose to his feet to join his father, mother, and Evelyn as they congratulated the new parents. For once, he and Thea were cordial with one another. He kissed her cheek, offering her his blessing, and she smiled happily at him, thanking him. As he stood there, watching the happy faces of his family, he felt a shove to his shoulder. It was Evelyn, who was smiling, but looking at him with a curious expression.

“You stand like a block of wood, Owen. Are you not happy for Thea?”

He nodded. “I am. Truly. But…”

She waited, her eyes all expectancy. “But what?”

Owen shrugged. “Is it really possible that she is to be a mother? I find it difficult to believe.” He sighed, thinking it a startling notion that he and his siblings were no longer children. “Time does go by,” he remarked.

“That it does,” Evelyn replied.

Time was, indeed, moving by. And too quickly. He wondered if, perhaps, the time had come to make decisions he had put off for far too long.


  1. Oh my gosh - Guy is to be a grandfather!! The family is certainly growing!. Owen intrigues me, I like him! More to this lad than meets the eye.

  2. I love family reunions. In particular when the Gisbornes reunite. There is so much love in that family.

    What awkward decision has Owen to make? This I'll be pondering in the following days.

  3. Wow! Sir Guy having a large family is great! And, that he and his wife--pray tell who she might be?--are still in love.

    Cheers! Grati ;->
    P.S. I really need to find your earlier story posts on this so I can catch up. I had read last week The Baron's Lady ch. 5 and 6. Are they to follow this? Or were they part of a prequel?

  4. Gratiana,

    I've condensed the introduction into three parts, and you can access it on the left hand side of the blog using the archive. I created the "Introduction" as a way to explain how Isabella and Rene began their affair. From this point on, the story will focus mostly on Owen and Isabella, with a few dashes of Guy and his family thrown in. And Rene will feature a bit too. :)

    Happy Reading!