Into the Woods

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by AkikoYukito, Feb 28, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Bright light rose over the hills in the east, glowing so deep a fiery red that the hills became but a black silhouette. Slowly, the sun poked its head over the edge of the earth, throwing beams of golden light down onto the darkened world. Trees in the forests breathed to life, stretching their branches up and out as the sunlight poured down on their leaves. Cool winds wafted over the forest, the thin gusts of air stirring the stillness of the summer heat. For a good few miles in every direction, there was nothing but dirt roads and grassy or tilled fields. Birds were singing their morning songs, telling the world it was time to wake up. Cicadas buzzed in the trees, their humming a constant reminder that it was summer.

    At the foot of one hill, a whole quarter mile from the next house and from town, there was a small wood and brick house. For years the house had been vacant, standing alone and without attention in the vast expanse of the green meadow that surrounded it on three sides. It was big enough with two bedrooms, three if you counted the attic; a parlor; and a kitchen. Right outside the kitchen door, surrounded by a little fence, was a garden. Just beyond that fence, behind the house, was a wooden building that served as a blacksmith's forge and another that served as a stable. Also behind the house, not but yards away, was the woods.

    The town, called Esterwell, was well into the country. The woods grew up on the west side of it; and from the woods ran a stream that curved around the hill and ran in a beeline out past the town on the east side. There was one central road through Esterwell and went out of its way to go around the forest to the next town rather than take a shortcut through it. In Esterwell, there went an old tale about those woods. It was said that at the center of the forest, there was a great castle in which there lived a hideous beast. All who entered the woods were drawn to the castle and would be eaten. But those tales didn't stop the family that moved into the little house by the woods just over a month ago.

    "Bella, would you bring in some more firewood?" A woman's voice called from inside. "Sure." Bella called back over her shoulder as she stepped through the fence around the garden. She walked the short dirt path to the little shed that served as the stable. On the side of the shed was a wooden structure similar to a box with the top and side missing. She gathered as many split logs as she could carry and took them to her sister in the kitchen. Cutting wood was Bella's primary job since her family moved into the little house on the edge of town, along with tending the garden and grooming the horses. It was a job better suited for a boy, but Bella's brother-in-law and her father worked in the forge not too far off from the shed; her older sister did the cooking and cleaning of the house.

    "Thank you, dear." Her sister said with a smile as she took them and shoved them into the stove. Celine was older than Bella by seven years and liked to muse that she helped raise Bella. "Do you need anything from town? I'm done with my chores for now." Bella offered. Her sister thought about it for a moment before she answered. "Would you be a dear and take the thread I borrowed from Lucinda back to her? And be sure to thank her for me." Bella nodded and left the house, the spool of thread in hand.
    #1 AkikoYukito, Feb 28, 2015
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
    • Love Love x 1

  2. "I swear to you, this man took it upon himself to call us thieves. thieves! The nerve." An older gentleman, outfitted in a simple yet expensive grey suit, sat in an oak chair padded with comfortable upholstery and decorated with fine craftsmanship. He sat before a desk of equal luxury riddled with books, parchments and letters. Behind the desk sat Ben, who sported a suit just as expensive as the one worn by the man before him if not more. His attention was completely focused perusing the shops manifest, confirming every piece of inventory he ordered whilst adding his own signature at the end of each page.

    "I'll never understand commoners. They're too dim-witted to realize their own mistakes and too stubborn to take the blame for themselves. Either way, that's more money in our pockets, hmm?" Ben said nothing in reply, and continued filling out the manifest. The old man, who's name was Reiner yet he went by the title of Wolfshire, smiled in self-satisfaction at his own spiteful comment. He didn't mind being ignored by Ben, and was perfectly content with hearing himself speak.

    "You know, I ponder what your father may have thought, being called a thief in public by some measly baker." Wolfshire paused, curious to see if the young man would say anything, then continued. "How is your father by the way, is he still in Drylliad?"

    "No," Ben stated blankly, dabbing his quill into the inkwell as he spoke. "He is out of country for the summer and will return once winters passed." Wolfshire's face lit up. "Ah, out of country? Quite interesting. You know, he was never one to stay still. Always on the move that one."

    Ben was used to the old mans rambling. He had known the boy since he was a toddler and was an old family friend. He didn't care to speak with the man though, as his topics of conversation were usually redundant. With haste he filled out the last few signatures in the manifest before placing the quill inside of the inkwell and organizing the cluster of books and parchment on his desk.

    "In a rush?" Wolfshire asked in a curious tone. "I've to get this to the customs officer by noon, otherwise i'll miss the opportunity to start next month with a full stock." Once the papers and books had been stacked neatly Ben stood up from his desk, placing the manifest in his coat pocket. The young man finally turned his attention to Wolfshire and extended his hand. "It was a pleasure to see you again Reiner, thank you for stopping by, good luck with your trip to the capital."

    Wolfshire smiled, and shook the young mans hand. "A pleasure to see you too, Benjamin. Keep up the good work."

    With that, Ben started for the door. Pacing down the steps that lead up to his office, he marched through the first floor of his shop nodding at its employees who were getting ready to start the day. Moments later he was out the front door and off to the Inn where the customs officer and his caravan had been staying for the night. The morning sun illuminated the town of Esterwell as the buildings and roads came to life to start the day.
    #2 Gossamer, Feb 28, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
  3. As soon as the sunlight hit the rooftops of Esterwell, the city awoke. People roamed the cobblestone road, perhaps a surprising number for such a small town. Horses and carts strolled back and forth, carrying a variety of groceries and work supplies. Esterwell's market had an astonishingly vast variety for all one’s shopping needs. There was a produce stand where one could buy fruits and vegetables that weren’t grown locally. There was a shop for grain where one could get imported grains like rice, and the bakery with many different types of bread and flour. Then there was the butcher shop where they chopped the meat as well as cooked and smoked it.

    Bella took in the hustle and bustle as she entered town, smiling and nodding her head to those who greeted her. It hadn't taken long for word of the family moving into the forge house to spread. Perhaps it was the strange circumstances under which the family moved to the country that intrigued people. It wasn't every day that new people arrived from the city, and so far away as Valford, which was on the coast. Bella's father, Hugh, had a thriving business there, but it went belly-up and the family had to auction off many of their belongings and sell their house. Her brother-in-law Robby, who had worked for Hugh there, spoke of a friend who wrote to him about a house for sale and whisked them away to the country with the promise of a new beginning. Robby and Celine had only just announced their engagement then, and the two were married as soon as the family settled into their new life.

    As Bella entered the inn, a few people greeted her by name. Patrons' conversations mingled in conflicting pitches and varying degrees of loudness, each person trying to talk over the many other people that sat at the surrounding dining tables. It wasn't long before she spotted Lucinda. Lucinda Perryweather was the owner of Perryweather Inn, a business her husband started before he died and left it to her. She was the one who had written to Robby about the house with the forge; and she even cleaned it up and looked after it until they got there. The woman put down the tray of mugs she was carrying and threw her arms around the slim girl.

    "Bella, darlin'! How are ya?" Lucinda greeted her, a wide smile warming her round face. "Fine, thanks." Bella said, following the jolly blonde woman as she went to serve mugs of cider. "Celine asked me to return your thread to you, since she's busy, and said to thank you for her." When Lucinda had a moment, Bella held out the spool of thread for her to take. "Ah, well, thank ya for returnin' it. I hope it worked for her alright. Oh! I got a new batch of cider made an' I got some for ya to take home." The spool was taken and stuffed into a pocket on Lucinda's apron. The copper-haired girl stood to the side as the woman disappeared into the kitchen, trying to stay out of the way. One of Lucinda's younger daughters came downstairs and amused herself with playing with Bella's skirts.
    #3 AkikoYukito, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
    • Love Love x 1
  4. [​IMG]

    The day had just begun, and there was plenty of time left before the customs officer and his caravan packed up and moved onto the next destination in their route. Ben was well aware of this and was in no rush. The Perryweather Inn was in the center of town, as was his merchant shop, Ester Trading and Co. It was only a short walk away.
    The merchant shop had sat in the middle of Esterwell for decades, and by absolute chance had ended right in the middle of the towns market. As the variety grew, so did business. Ben's father quite literally changed in status from rags to riches in just a few short years, to the point where there was more than enough money to open even more shops. With reliable business advice from Wolfshire over the years, Ester Trading and Co. had popped up on the several trade routes throughout Carthya. Ben's father had ventured off to Drylliad in hopes of opening another, and was now overseas in search of potential clients to stock his stores on the coast.

    At the age of eighteen, Ben had taken over ownership and management of the store within Esterwell, and has been running the family business at a commendable pace ever since. Truthfully, Ben had left the office in such a hurry simply to get away from Wolfshire's incessant rambling. He truly was happy to see the man, but not to hear what he had to say.

    The young man continued through the towns market, maneuvering through the locals and working folk. He had lived in Esterwell all his life, the only people that didn't know his face by heart had either just moved in or were visiting from out of town. Even so, if one did not recognize the boys face, they'd certainly recall the name Carthwright. Some waved, some smiled, but most were so used to his presence that a hello was not necessary.

    As expected, it wasn't long before Ben was before the Perryweather Inn. The year he took ownership of the merchant shop, Lucinda Perryweather was the first client he had ever signed officially. The first week of every month he sent a shipment of frozen meat, various herbs and spices, and enough firewood to last until the next month arrived. All at a cheap price, too.

    As Ben entered the Inn, he briefly stood still at the entrance, scanning the buildings patrons for traders that had stopped for business and a night spent in the warmth of a bed. It was difficult though, as everyone seemed to be eating breakfast at the moment. Ben tore his gaze away from the Inn's guests and took a seat at the counter, hoping to inquire as to the room number of the customs officer.
    #4 Gossamer, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Bella lifted the toddler into her arms, bouncing her on her slender hip and dipping her upside down. The little girl laughed, thoroughly enjoying it. Bella loved little children, and growing up she'd always wanted a younger sibling. She was the baby of her small family; the opportunity to have a younger brother or sister passed when her mother did when Bella was but four years old. She never felt like she missed anything without her mother, as she'd had plenty of governesses and sitters to look after her when she was a child. Of course, the family was rich then.

    "Here ya are, dear. Fresh cider." Lucinda returned from the kitchen carrying a large pitcher. Bella put the inn-keeper's daughter down and carefully took the pitcher from the woman's hands. "Thank you." She said with a grateful smile, balancing it in her arms. Lucinda turned around to grab another tray from the counter, pausing as she spotted a familiar face. "Why, if it isn't Benjamin! How are ya, young Mr. Carthwright? I hear ya father's away on business?" The jolly woman asked cheerily, giving the young man a friendly slap on the shoulder.

    Silent, Bella watched the young man, head tilted slightly to one side. His name sounded quite familiar and she began to wonder whether or not she had met a Carthwright in Valford. If she hadn't, her father certainly mentioned one; having been a merchant her father knew everyone in the city. Perhaps one of his old business partners? After a moment of rambling, Lucinda came back to herself and stepped out of the way of Bella.

    "Ben, this is Bella. Bella Montagne. Her family moved here from the city not too long ago. They've made quite the adjustment to country life, I do say." Lucinda introduced the two, placing a hand on Bella's back and giving her a gentle push forward. She shifted awkwardly, and might have offered her hand if both hands weren't occupied with the heavy pitcher. Instead, she settled for a nod and a smile with a "How do you do?"
    #5 AkikoYukito, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
    • Love Love x 1
  6. [​IMG]

    Ben sat patiently at the Inn's counter, his chin resting on the palm of his hand. Patrons conversations filled the air as he stared at the wooden surface. The sound of a child's laughter caught his attention, tearing the merchant away from his own idle thoughts. He watched, curiously, as a woman he did not recognize lifted Lucinda's daughter into her arms. Her clothing did not suggest she had been recently traveling. Even so, there was something about her that felt unfamiliar, besides the fact she was a stranger.

    "Why, if it isn't Benjamin! How are ya, young Mr. Carthwright? I hear ya father's away on business?"

    The words pulled Ben's attention away from the girl. He turned to greet Lucinda with a mild smile. "Overseas," The young man replied. "He's to be gone until winters passed, once it's safe enough to travel by ship. It doesn't surprise me you've already noticed his absence." He listened patiently to the Innkeepers rambling. It almost took considerable effort not to shift his gaze back to the girl, he felt her eyes planted on him. Fortunately, the girl seemed to have been acquainted with Lucinda. As soon as the Innkeeper ceased her ramble she began to introduce the two.

    "Ben, this is Bella. Bella Montagne. Her family moved here from the city not too long ago. They've made quite the adjustment to country life, I do say."
    The city, The words tumbled around in Ben's head. That must've been why he thought her so peculiar. She looked nothing like the country-born women that had surrounded him his entire life. "Montagne," The young man repeated under his breath.

    "I am well." He replied. "You have a pleasant name, i've never heard one quite like it."
    #6 Gossamer, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2015
    • Love Love x 2
  7. Bella watched Ben intently, her smile downplaying the intensity of her gaze. She observed him with objectivity, scanning and taking in his features as if to commit them to memory. The first thing she noticed was that his eyes were blue, as she had a way of looking directly into another's eyes when speaking or listening to someone. His hair was a bit messy, but he was a man, after all. If Robby's hair was any longer, surely it would be an even greater mess. Despite this, he was well dressed and well kept, evidently a man of status in Esterwell. Bella had never thought there was such a thing outside of cities.

    "Oh, um.. Thank you." Bella smiled wanly and averted her eyes a moment. She could never quite get used to being complimented; that was something that always seemed to belong to her sister, at least before she got married. "How lovely! It tickles me pink seein' young peoples like yer'selves makin' nice." Lucinda broke the awkward silence that ensued with a jovial laugh that shook her round frame. "Well, I got drinks to serve. I'll be seein' ya both." Bella blinked as the woman excused herself, feeling a bit helpless for what to do or say to the young man. She glanced between the two a bit anxiously.

    "I, um.. I better be getting home. My sister will be wondering what happened to me. It was nice meeting you." The coppery-red head smiled, nodded to Ben, and turned to take her leave. Luckily enough, someone was entering the inn as she was exiting and held the door for her. It was strange to Bella, the small exchange she shared with Ben. Celine was the one who had experience talking to men, and as many times as she tried to give Bella pointers so that she may find an eligible suitor in the city, they never stuck. She walked briskly back home, without seeming too much like she was trying to run away; although, she kind of was. Relief washed over her when the kitchen door shut behind her and she was able to set the pitcher down on the table. Celine was intrigued to hear why her little sister was gone so long.
    #7 AkikoYukito, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
    • Love Love x 1
  8. [​IMG]
    As Bella averted her gaze Ben couldn't help but grin. She obviously couldn't take compliments very well, or maybe she just wasn't used to them. Either way, he was amused. Esterwell could be quite a boring place to live when one didn't have to work in labor hours each day to ensure their nest meal. The young man was glad Lucinda was their to observe the exchange. No doubt an exuberant woman like her would have some type of lovey-dovey comment to throw in that would hopefully provoke any curiosity between the two.

    Ben said nothing as the cheerful Innkeeper continued attending to her customers. His mundane morning felt suddenly interesting. The young man was nearly about to ask Bella about the city when she unexpectedly decided to return home."Oh-um, okay," Before he could offer to walk her home, she had turned to leave. Ben stood up from his seat, watching as the former city-dweller took her leave. He was taken aback. He was so used to commoners vying for his attention, especially those that lived in the country side.

    Bella Montagne, he repeated in his head, hoping not to forget the name as he'd require it later.

    "Excuse me,"

    Ben turned his attention towards a middle-aged man outfitted in tradesmen clothing. "Yes?"

    "Pardon me if i'm incorrect, but did I hear the Innkeeper call you by the name of Mr. Carthwright? Benjamin, Carthwright?"

    "Yes, that is me." Ben replied, rather perplexed. It took a moment for the young man to recall why he had entered the Inn in the first place. "Oh, Yes, you must be the customs officer. I'm sorry." He sat back down and reached into his coat pocket, pulling out the shops manifest. "Everything has been looked over, I just require your signatures."

    The customs officer did as he was told, removing a quill pen from his belt. Ben turned to face the exit of the Inn, his curiosity not yet satisfied. It wasn't everyday he met a city girl, especially in a place like Esterwell. He had grown weary of the company that surrounded him day to day.

    As soon as the man finished signing the manifest, Ben hastily tore a receipt from the booklet and placed it back into his coat pocket. The man began to extend his hand as Ben stood up. "Thank you," The merchant boy stated, abruptly heading for the door and onto the cobblestone streets cluttered with townspeople. The morning was in full swing, and although there were still a number of errands that required his attention, he hoped to find time throughout the day to stop by the town hall and inquire as to the location of a certain commoner.
    #8 Gossamer, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2015
    • Love Love x 2
  9. "Oh, Bella! I was starting to wonder if Lucinda had taken you hostage." Celine joked as her sister walked in the door, a smile playing on her lips. "Is that cider? That was awfully nice of her. I'll put it in a new pitcher, so we don't keep Lucinda's from her." She said with a sigh as she brushed a golden lock of hair from her face with the back of her hand, swiping a bit of sweat from her brow. Working over the stove all day in the summer made her quite hot and tired. She took the pitcher from the table and carefully emptied it into one she took from the cabinet. "So, did you meet anyone you haven't met yet?" Celine inquired as she put the pitcher in the cooler and took to washing the one Lucinda sent the cider in. The question was amusing since, within the first few days of the family's move to Esterwell, there were many people who came by their house to welcome them. That was likely Lucinda's doing, as she'd told everyone who entered her inn of them and everyone was predisposed to like whomever she liked.

    "Um, sort of. Lucinda introduced me to someone she knows, I guess." Bella danced around the question uncertainly. Her sister knew then exactly what was going on. "Oh, I take it that someone was a boy?" Her tone was teasing. "Yes." Bella answered simply, to which Celine asked, "How do you like him?" At first no words came when Bella opened her mouth to answer, then she settled for, "He's alright, I guess." Celine looked at her skeptically but let it go. "Well, lunch will be ready soon. Go tell Robby and father, would you?"

    Bella was glad to get away from her sister's questions, practically leaping out the kitchen door like a frantic deer. The door slammed behind her and she jogged the short dirt track to the forge where the two men worked. Robby was working on some horse shoes, Hugh was sanding down a leg for a table a customer in town asked him to build. The two looked up from their work as Bella stepped over the threshold. "Celine said to tell you lunch is almost ready." She said, lingering there if only not to have to go back to the house and face another interrogation about the boy she met. It wasn't long before Celine called them inside to eat. Afterward, Bella went out into the yard to collect firewood, her horse and cart in tow.
    #9 AkikoYukito, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
    • Love Love x 1
  10. [​IMG]

    Completely wide-eyed and awestruck, the girl remained hidden behind the numerous bushes and trees that populated the woods, staring at Bella with the upmost fascination. After many long, long, quiet years, a family - an actual family - moved into the house at the edge of the trees. And such a lovely one at that. Scarcely the girl could make out inhabitants within the kitchen, happily talking and conversing within each-others company, unbeknownst to her presence, and what lie further within the woods they neighbored. She turned her gaze back to Bella, filled to the brim with curiosity, eagerly wishing to make her acquaintance. Even so, she didn't allow this earnest sensation to derive her from rationality.

    Fluttering gracefully above the girls head was a monarch butterfly, its orange wings practically glowing in the shade of the numerous trees surrounding the two woodland inhabitants. Gently, it placed itself atop the girls head, who focused her gaze intently at Bella, her eyes still wide with a blend of curiosity and fascination.

    The monarch atop the girls head fluttered its wings wildly for a brief moment, causing the hooded youngling to perk up in surprise. "Does she? Does she really?" The girl asked ardently, a sudden warmth enveloping her heart. The monarch fluttered once more in confirmation, and she tightened her hold on the tree, resting her head on the bark. A gentle smile ensuing. How wondrous it felt to see a new face. The girl had already confirmed in her mind that she was to tell the others, so they could return at a later date and admire this miracle together. It would have to be at night.

    However, such a task could wait. She remained behind the tree, staring at the stranger, not wanting to depart so soon. Just a little longer.
    #10 Gossamer, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  11. Bella walked along the edge of the woods, amber eyes scanning the ground for sticks, loose scrub, or fallen branches she could pick up for firewood and tinder. In her hand she held the reins of the large dappled gray stallion that meandered along a few paces behind her. He pulled a small wooden cart which held the firewood gathered to take back to the shed to be chopped. She knelt down, sweeping her fingers through the lush green grass mixed with fallen leaves just on the edge of the treeline. The horse chewed meditatively on his bits, watching the young woman. Then there came a noise from the trees and he swung his massive head towards the woods, ears pricked forward to listen. The reins jingled and jerked Bella's arm with the sudden motion and she looked up at him curiously.

    "Farren? What's the matter?" Slowly, she stood and placed a hand on his neck so as not to spook him. She followed his gaze with her own, squinting into the trees to see what he might be looking at, if anything. Of course, whatever he saw or heard wasn't making itself known to her; but the horse was like stone beneath her hand. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to take a closer look? Bella glanced toward the forge, as if to make sure that her father and brother weren't watching, and stepped into the trees. If they saw her go in, they would get mad. No one was supposed to go into the forest, not even a little bit, and the tales that served as the reason why were ridiculous. At least, they were in Bella's opinion.

    "Bella!" An angry voice came from behind the young woman as she stepped into the first fringe of the forest. She turned at the voice, alarmed to see her older brother-in-law, Robby, storming furiously towards her. "I thought I told you to stay out of the woods!" He commanded, pointing a finger towards the trees. "I-I was just collecting firewood." She looked at him with earnest eyes and he calmed down a bit. "Just.. don't wander any farther, understand?" He lightened up with a sigh, rubbing at the back of his neck. He had smears of black on his face from working in the forge. Relieved that he wasn't going to give her the third degree, Bella just nodded and proceeded to pick up sticks as quickly as she could.

    It wasn't quite supper time when she finally filled the cart and took the wood to the shed. The shed was on the side of the stable, where she looked in on her horse ruefully. "It's your fault, you know." Bella frowned at him as he put his head over the stall door to poke at her with his nose. She patted his neck and nose with a sigh and turned to look toward the trees, which swayed ominously in the evening breeze. The horse pricked his black ears forward with a quiver of his nose, the white of his eyes showing. "It's alright. Whatever is out there, Betsy will protect you." She joked as she turned to go in the house. Betsy was the cow the next stall over.
    #11 AkikoYukito, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
    • Love Love x 1
  12. [​IMG]

    Anxiously the monarch began fluttering its wings, flying back and forth in front of the girls face vying for her attention. "What's the matter?" She asked quietly, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. She turned back to see both Bella and her horse looking towards the very trees she inhabited. As she began to step towards her, the girl was overcome with worry. It was too soon. Slowly she stepped backwards, and was prepared to turn and dash back into the depths of the woods when an angry shout pierced the air.

    She watched as Bella was slightly scolded by an older gentleman and felt a twinge of guilt. So it was true. The girl had overheard talk that those in Esterwell were aware of strange happenings within the woods, but had never seen in person how seriously the people took these rumors. She couldn't blame them for their concern, but it was still saddening. They were not beasts. At least, not all of them. There was an exception.

    As the older gentleman left, the girl slumped down beside the tree, making herself comfortable as she watched Bella collect the rest of the firewood. Already she had imagined their first encounter in a variety of different scenarios, all of which were happy and delightful. The monarch rested peacefully on her head as she did so. The girl had even considered keeping this information a secret. The others didn't usually venture too far off into the woods, there would be quite a significant amount of time before they had discovered this new family on their own accord. Time she could spend with Bella alone, in the comfort of an actual family.

    The idea caused guilt to creep up from within. She wouldn't dare deprive the others of communicating with the miracle. It was a selfish plot.

    Suddenly, the girl felt herself grow weary, and began to slightly panic. The surprise of having found a family within the house at the edge of the woods had caused the girl to lose track of how much time she had spent outside, away from her bitter source of life. As the miracle placed the last few pieces of firewood within the cart, the girl thought it the most reasonable time to make her departure.

    She gave one last admiring glance before venturing back into the gloomy woods she had inhabited for so long.


    "What was her last name again?" The clerk asked, skimming through the pages of a book so large and thick it grew rather dusty from never having moved from its spot on the counter. "Montagne," Ben repeated, too eager to discover the girls address to be irritated by the clerks lack of hearing. "Bella. Montagne." The clerk promptly rummaged through the pages of the book containing the very basic information regarding those that resided in Esterwell.

    "Ah, yes, Montagne. Mmm, this entry is rather new. Only a month old." He stated, more so to himself than to the young man. Ben let out a gentle sigh, his eyes planted firmly on the clerk with impatience. "The address?"

    "Ah yes, of course. Anything for the young Mr. Carthwright," The clerk removed a quill pen from its inkwell and tore a small piece of paper from, jotting down the information. "A client in need of your services, I presume?" He asked amusingly before extending the paper towards the young man. Ben eyed the clerk briefly, ignoring the humor in his tone before plucking the paper from his hand with his two fingers. "Sure."

    The day had been weary ever since Ben left the Inn. He failed to procure the same curiosity from his fellow peers and acquaintances that he had discovered whilst being introduced to Bella, even in their brief moment together. He regretted not having chased the girl down to walk her home, and very much wanted to remedy how little time they had spent in conversation.

    The walk back to the office felt long, and the young man pondered the many topics he would inquire upon their next meeting, which he intended to have occur soon.
    #12 Gossamer, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  13. "Bella was awfully quiet at supper?" Hugh observed from his comfy chair in the corner of the parlor, staring pensively into the low flames in the fireplace. This was more of a question than a statement, and he was looking for insight as to why his youngest daughter had said nothing the entire evening. "Maybe I bothered her too much today? I hear she met a boy in town and I couldn't help teasing her a little bit." Celine looked up from her embroidery with uncertainty and glanced between her father and her husband. She sat nearest the fire for even light to work by, Robby sat across from Hugh on the other side of the room. "Perhaps it was my doing? I yelled at her for getting too close to the trees. I fear I hurt her feelings." Robby said, guilt gleaming in his gray eyes, and rubbed the back of his neck. They only spoke of Bella since she wasn't in the room. She'd gone up to bed almost immediately after dinner.

    In fact, it was none of those reasons that caused Bella's silence that evening. Rather she was lost in thought. Ever since she'd put Farren away for the night, her mind kept going back to the woods. While she hadn't heard any noise or seen anyone in the trees, when she took that first step into the first fringes of the wood, she'd felt what she could only describe as a sort of magnetism. She didn't know where it came from or why it was, but she felt something strange had occurred without her knowledge and it bothered her. Perhaps Robby knew what it was. Was that why he became so cross with her? Bella sat on her bed, leaned up against the wall, staring out the window. The night was clear and, with the bright white light of the moon, she could make out the individual trees closest to the house.

    "Maybe it has something to do with that story? The one Lucinda spoke about?" Bella wondered aloud. On a day not long after the family moved in, Lucinda stopped by to see how things were going. She'd caught Celine and Bella in the kitchen and entertained them with a bit of gossip. In the lengthy conversation, the story slipped out, the one about the woods being haunted. Celine was wary, but Bella thought the story to be ridiculous and dismissed it altogether as a fairytale. But was it?

    Bella fell asleep soon after that, waking as the sun threw light through her window. She didn't speak much at breakfast, but she evidently wasn't unhappy, so her father, brother, and sister silently decided not to say anything to her about their discussion. Celine sent her to town to return the pitcher as soon as breakfast was cleaned up.
    #13 AkikoYukito, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
    • Love Love x 1
  14. [​IMG]

    Upon arriving to the office, Ben collected any and all paperwork that would have to be attended to the following morning and brought it all home with him. He made sure to thoroughly examine and complete in the comfort of his living room as he wanted to get a head start on his day tomorrow. An entire afternoons work completed with diligence in the short hours of the evening. He arrived to the shop the next day in the early hours of the morning as the sun began to rise once more. With an assortment of folders in hand, he jogged up the stairs to his office.

    In his old desk sat Bevin, a rather bright and young accountant from Drylliad whom the boys father had been acquainted with the following year before he had turned the shop over to Ben. Although he trusted his son, ethically it was not wise to leave the fate of a shop in one persons hands. That's where Bevin came in. Although he was somewhat older than the boy, his presence certainly made a difference.

    "Benjamin," The accountant said aloud, rather taken aback as the young man walked into the office. He fixed his rounded glasses, as if to make sure his vision was not playing tricks on him. "You're quite early today."

    "Indeed I am." The boy remarked, not stopping for small talk as he crossed over to his desk to file the parchments he had so diligently worked on the previous night. "Is that todays paperwork?" Bevin persisted, still perplexed. "Indeed it is."

    With the parchments organized he stood up from the desk and planted the heap of folders onto Bevin's desk, as was customary in their day to day lives whilst working beside eachother. "You can add these to our records and provide the proper receipts later, as i'm sure you were not expecting to do so this early." Bevin hadn't taken his eyes off the boy, and merely nodded. "I'm off for the day."

    The door to the shop shut behind Ben as the morning sun shone brightly on his body. He reached into his coat, pulling out the slip of paper he acquired the previous day. Although the young man usually came off as rather laid back and expressionless, there was a gleam of commitment in his eyes regarding this particular task.

    The boy recited his greetings and words over and over within his head as he walked throughout Esterwell towards the Montagne household. It wasn't difficult to exactly pinpoint the house they resided in, as it seemed to stand alone in the green fields surrounding. He had heard the tales of the woods that resided behind the home, but thought nothing of it at the moment. Now wasn't the time for such thoughts.

    Clearing his throat, the young man stood up tall and straight as he knocked on the houses wooden door precisely three times.



    Standing alone within the butcher shop, the blonde man perused at the variety of produce that surrounded him, his arm placed on the other as he rested his chin on his hand pondering what to purchase. A gentle smile permanently resided on his face. "It's that time of the month again, boucher." He remarked aloud to the butcher, his eyes floating across the canvas of delectable meats and vegetables.

    In reality, Landon didn't have to stand there and gaze at the merchandise before him. He always had a list of groceries prepared before setting foot in the butcher shop. It was simply nice, being in the company of others. At least, he thought so.

    "I'll need everything on this list," He stated gently, walking over to the counter to hand the paper to the butcher. "Prepped and ready to go as always. Feel free to take your time, as i'm in no rush."

    With that, Landon turned and exited the shop. It usually took a good five to ten minutes to get everything in order, it was, after all, a months worth of food. Letting out a sigh, the man slowly stepped over to a nearby bench and sat himself down, crossing one leg over the other as he watched the townspeople go about their morning with a smile.
    #14 Gossamer, Mar 4, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  15. As they did every day, the Montagne family got an early start. As soon as breakfast was finished and cleaned up, Robby went to work in the forge, shoeing horses whose owners brought them by. Hugh went to town to help a man repair his roof and Celine started work around the house. Bella started doing the few odd jobs that she'd lined up for the day. She ran the pitcher back to Lucinda, which took hardly any time at all. When she returned home, she went to the stable to clean up, since the firewood stock was full from the previous day's work.

    The first order of business was cleaning out the stalls. Bella let Farren and Betsy out to graze in the pasture while she worked. She scattered fresh litter in both stalls and filled the troughs with food. The cow went back inside without a problem, but the large stallion was stubborn and gave Bella a hard time. She hauled water from the stream to the forge for Robby and helped him shoe a particularly skittish colt. No one was around the house except Celine, who was in the kitchen sweeping dirt out the back door. At the young man's knock, the blonde leaned the broom up against the wall and went to answer it. She swiped her hands off on her apron as she opened the door.

    "Can I help you?" She inquired, a surprised but pleasant smile brightening her face. The young man standing on the other side of the door was one she had not yet met, which was a surprise in itself. There was a slight sneaking suspicion as to the identity of the young man, a suspicion that was confirmed upon his answer. "I'm Celine, pleased to meet you." Celine greeted and offered Ben a hand. She invited him inside just as Bella stepped into the kitchen.

    "Ah, Bella! You have company." At her sister's words, Bella turned, surprised to see none other than the boy Celine was so curious about the day before. "M-Mr. Carthwright? What a.. surprise." She stammered, hoping her words didn't sound as awful to Ben as they did to her own ears.
    #15 AkikoYukito, Mar 5, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
    • Love Love x 1
  16. [​IMG]
    "Mr. Carthwright?" Ben repeated Bella's words with a soft laugh, holding his coat over his right arm as he stood in the kitchen doorway. That same feeling of amusement he had experienced back in the Inn had arose once more. "There is no need for such formality, you may call me Ben." He insisted with a light smile before taking a few steps into the kitchen itself.

    Briefly his eyes wandered, observing the Montagne household with curiosity. It more or less lived up to the standards he had imagined during his walk through Esterwell.

    "You've a lovely home. I did not imagine the house at the edge of the woods to be so appealing." He remarked, glancing between both Bella and Cecile as he spoke. His eyes squinted slightly as he noticed both the broom leaning against the wall and Cecile's apron. He was not entirely familiar with the family schedule.

    "Um-" He began, turning towards Cecile with a worrisome expression. "Have I interrupted your chores? I did not intend to do so, I assure you if I was familiar with your daily routine I would have visited at a more appropriate time." Genuine concern could be heard within the young mans words, although in actuality he would have come regardless of their schedule as he was eager to recite the words he had practiced the previous night and well into the following morning.
    #16 Gossamer, Mar 6, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  17. "Okay.. Ben." Bella said in an overly-careful voice, as if it took effort not to call him Mr. Carthwright again. She made no move towards him, staying where she was in front of the sink, with her back to it like one cornered. Her amber eyes followed him as he stepped into the kitchen, watching intently as he looked around. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught her sister's smile and frowned. Celine held back a laugh, finding her little sister's behavior amusing.

    "Thank you." Celine smiled, moving to grab the broom. She paused a moment and shook her head. "Not at all. Sweeping isn't so much a chore as it is fruitless. The dirt never stays outside." She said, her words carrying a hint of sarcasm. With a few more strokes of the broom, Celine finished and put the broom away. "You can sit down if you like." She indicated the table as she moved toward the stove. "Would you like a drink?"

    Bella idled a moment longer before she moved towards the table and took a seat. Even if she wasn't sure what to think, she didn't want to be rude. She offered Ben a sheepish smile and asked, "So.. What brings you here?"
    #17 AkikoYukito, Mar 6, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
    • Love Love x 1
  18. [​IMG]
    "One of many repercussions one may find whilst living in the countryside, i'm afraid." Ben replied, hoping to humor the eldest sibling. "Oh, thank you." Placing his coat on the seat before him he sat on the chair closest to him, folding his hands together as he glanced briefly at Bella with a smile. "Yes, please."

    Bella's confusion was almost palpable as she hesitated to take her seat, further prompting Ben's amusement. He was quite unsure how this meeting was going to turn out, and had not anticipated his abrupt presence would bring about this type of affect on the girl. He was concerned whether or not this may have been good or bad, but the girls sheepish smile at least allowed the young man to assume his presence was not one that seemed to bother her, albeit it was surprising. Either way, it was too late to divert his course of action.

    "Curiosity," He stated plainly, grinning slightly as he spoke. "It is not often this town is afforded the permanent luxury of a family so admired by our merry Innkeeper." Ben silently hoped the fact that he had recited these words several times over was not apparent in his tone of voice. "You seemed to be in quite a hurry to return home yesterday, as to relieve of your sister of any worry, which is understandable. But - even so - I was disappointed as to how brief our introduction was, and felt obligated to better acquaint myself with you and your relatives. So, here I am."

    He remained silent, curious to see both Bella and Celine's responses before continuing.

    #18 Gossamer, Mar 6, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
  19. Celine filled a kettle with water and placed it on the stove. Aside from the light clatter of cups and saucers, the kitchen was quiet. The kettle whistled with steam after a moment and Celine took it off the heat to pour some water over the ground tea leaves she'd placed in the cups. She gave Ben his tea first as she placed a jar of sugar on the table, then she gave a cup to Bella and sat down with one herself. She was intrigued to hear the young man's answer and raised her golden brows.

    "So, I see. Lucinda gave us up." Celine joked with a soft laugh over a sip of tea. Bella smiled and shook her head; she should have known. Lucinda only told everyone she knew and everyone who stopped at the inn about the former city-dwellers. It didn't come as any surprise that Lucinda played a role in this. "Oh, sorry." Bella blushed behind her cup, feeling a tad guilty. Maybe she had been just a little too eager to leave. "I didn't mean to run out on you." She said albeit she knew it wasn't entirely true. Celine just smiled in amusement. A moment later, Robby came in the kitchen door, surprised to see a visitor.

    "Well, if I'd known we have company, I would've come in sooner." The black-haired man said with a grin. He introduced himself and offered a hand to Ben in a gentle yet firm shake, the strength of the young blacksmith evident. "Would you like a cup of tea?" Celine asked as she moved around the table to kiss her husband's cheek. "Please." He kissed her forehead and took a seat. Celine had his tea ready in no time and returned to the table.

    "So, what brings you here?" Robby asked Ben, leaning on the table. "Bella." Celine answered, which prompted a raised brow from the blacksmith. "'Bella?'" He questioned and looked over to the girl in question. Bella turned her face away from them, embarrassed.
    #19 AkikoYukito, Mar 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
    • Love Love x 1
  20. [​IMG]

    Ben sipped his tea, hiding the smile that occurred as Bella apologized. Initially, he thought her older sister would be of strict nature due to Bella's eagerness to return home. He had not expected such warm hospitality, and was relieved to find that it may be easier to befriend the girls family than he initially thought.

    The young man was caught off guard when Robby walked through the kitchen window, although he did his best not to make so visible in his expression. "Oh, no, it's fine. I showed up rather unexpectedly, after all." He happily shook the mans hand, vaguely intimated by his strength. He couldn't help but recall his fathers advice regarding how you can tell a lot about a person simply with the shake of a hand. As Ben watched Celine and Robby greet eachother, he felt curious as to how things worked in the Montagne household.

    So far, he had yet to be introduced or even hear of Bella's mother and father. Before he could ponder the thought any further, however, Robby began to address him, distracting him from his curiosity. He was nearly about to speak when Celine intervened, claiming that he had come simply for Bella, which was technically true, however he had not expected her to say something so sudden, revealing his intentions so soon.

    He wasn't exactly embarrassed, more so just taken aback by Celine's blunt statement. Bella, however, seemed to be rather red-faced. "Well, uh-" Ben started, quietly laughing as he turned to Robby. "Yes. Technically. I was hoping to better acquaint myself with Bella. We met yesterday, although our conversation was cut short as she was in a rush to get home." He stated with another quiet laugh.

    "But-" The young man continued, "I was also curious to meet you both as well," He glanced between both Celine and Robby as he spoke. "Lucinda informs me that you all moved here from the city rather recently. It's rare I hear her speak so highly of newcomers." He paused, eager to hear their response.
    #20 Gossamer, Mar 7, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.