P is for Pastoral
Godwin wiped the sweat from his forehead, glancing toward the sun. He had been chopping wood all day and piling it near the house.
Kenrick had left early that morning and had not yet returned. It was getting late. Though Kenrick could care for himself, Godwin was nevertheless concerned.
Men under the command of Aldred had recently begun to cause problems near the tiny town of Hedengarde, which Godwin now called home. These men had burned a house two nights ago, enraging Kenrick. Joan’s father ranted about it all day yesterday, and left this morning saying he would do something about it.
O is for Oriel
Godwin stared down at the struggling tiny person. “So beautiful,” he whispered.
The baby gazed back at him with dark blue eyes, making tiny sounds as she worked her hands open and closed. Her face scrunched up and she began to cry.
“Oh no-no-no,” whispered Godwin. He started to walk, bouncing the baby gently. “Sleep my little Oriel.”
Joan padded slowly back into the room. “How’s our darling?”
N is for Nuptials
Godwin smiled at Joan, then buried his face into her neck. She giggled, stroking his sweaty head.
He marveled at how he felt in this moment. He was at peace, comfortable, satisfied.
Definitely not bored.
Oh how court was boring. If only he had realized that being no one of importance was the best thing that could ever have happened to him.
“David,” Joan whispered.
“Aye, my love.”
“I didn’t know I could be so happy.”
He raised his head and propped himself up on an elbow. “I didn’t know such happiness could exist, either.”
M is for Mustering
Godwin grunted as he hefted the log into his arm. He ambled cautiously back into the house and dropped the log into the rack beside the fireplace.
“There you are,” said Joan. “What are you doing up?”
“I’ve got to earn my keep,” said Godwin. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been useful at all.”
Joan hustled toward him, blocking his way back outside to collect more wood. “Father said you should rest.”
L is for Lift
Godwin sat with his legs dangling off the side of the bed.
“Planning to go somewhere?” said Kenrick.
“A journey starts with just one step,” said Godwin. “I need to walk.”
“And then what?” said Kenrick.
“Then I’ll do as I’ve promised. I’ll make myself useful.”
“Boys,” said Joan from across the room.
Kenrick sighed. He slapped his thighs and stood up. “Well, I’m going to wash up.”
“You do that, father,” said Joan. She pointed at Godwin with the knife she was using to cut vegetables. “And you’re going to sit right there, David.”
Godwin smiled. “Well now, how am I supposed to be useful all the way over here?”
K is for Kenrick
Godwin enjoyed watching Joan cooking. In truth, he just enjoyed watching Joan. She was cheery and full of life. Maybe plain, but real, and earthy. Bertram would never have approved. She was perfect.
He chuckled to himself, then struggled to sit up a little better.
“And you’re moving around,” Joan said, looking up from the pot that hung over the fire. “How are you feeling today?”
Godwin shrugged, looking away.
“A man could question your motives,” said Joan’s father from across the room. “I see how you stare.”
Godwin moved his hand slightly, expressing mock surprise.
“No doubt you’re not completely innocent,” said the father. “Surely there’s some reason for the beating you took.”
J is for Joan
The spoon touched his lips and Godwin opened his mouth. He wasn’t sure he could really taste the broth, but he knew that’s what it was. He could smell it.
He groaned slightly. The effort to swallow was unbelievably exhausting.
The woman cooed over him. “Another bite,” she hummed.
Godwin whimpered as a spoon touched his lips again. He was so urgently hungry.
He blinked and thought he saw the flash of the fire. He turned his head slowly to look. It was there again. A tiny bit of light.
I is for Injuries
Something cool was dabbed on Godwin’s face. He heard the crackling of wood in a fire, and could just barely smell it. But his eyes would not obey his command to open and look for the flames.
A woman was singing, cooing over him.
He wanted to move, but pain was everywhere and heavy. His body refused to move.
The woman hushed him.
Something sweet touched his lips. He licked at it.
H is for Heap
Course, dusty fabric scratched across his nose, trapping heat against his face. Godwin didn’t move.
He couldn’t move.
His head thumped against a wooden plank. Muffled, somewhere in the distance, wheels rolled across stony ground.
Movement stopped. Distant voices. Muffled.