I finally found a few quiet moments to do the pronunciation video! I have also added it to the Pronunciation page (for future reference) under the Guide to Everealm, up top ^.
The poll for the next short story is finished so I will begin working on a new short story for Bree & Rowan, as children. I will leave the poll up for a few more days so you can vote for your second favorite choice, and if I find time, I will write up a story for the 2nd place choice, as well. In the meantime, here is a quick short story from Reeve and Gabby’s first few days in Everealm, before the tournament!
Gabby Gets Her Way
“I want to come and watch you compete,” Gabby said. “I want to see you knock the other men on their asses! Come on, Reeve. Please?”
“Gabrielle, we’ve discussed your choice of using swear words. It is very unbecoming of a lady.”
“I don’t see a lady here.”
“You may not, now. But one day you will meet a boy that you want to impress, someday marry, and you will find that your bad habits are hard to break.”
“If a boy wants to marry me, he will have to like everything about me,” she said. “And that includes my choice of using swear words. Besides, Mother used them, all of the time.”
“And our mother died alone, Gabby. With no husband,” Reeve said, picking up his sword and shield. “Do you want to end up like she did? A gypsy woman, living on her own with two children?”
Their mother’s parents had been true gypsies, traveling from one place to another, staying just long enough to drain the people they met of their money and jewels before moving on to the next village and a new scam.
Reeve and Gabby’s mother, Giselle, had been raised to follow the same tradition. Marry young, to another gypsy, and follow a similar path in life as her parents. Those same parents who were killed when they tried to con the wrong man.
But life had turned out a bit different for the daughter of the gypsies. The boy she was supposed to marry had died from disease. Then an unexpected pregnancy left Giselle without even a prospect for a husband and after the death of her parents, she found herself alone, with a small child. And even though she was able to pull herself together well enough to provide at least an occasional meal for Reeve, Giselle hadn’t been a very good mother to him.
On more than one occasion, she left him alone for days at a time to run off with a man, mostly complete strangers to her. At times, Reeve was forced to eat scraps that the neighboring farmers set out for their animals each morning.
Once Reeve was old enough to work, he found jobs in whatever town they were staying near, in order to take care of his mother and himself. And between working and tending the few animals they could afford to keep, he taught himself to write and read. He thought that if he were able to provide for his mother, she wouldn’t feel the need to run off with strange men for money. It worked, mostly. She began to build a home for the two of them, the best she knew how. Though, she did leave for a week when Reeve was twelve. Giselle returned, as usual, but discovered later that she was pregnant. Gabrielle was born two days after Reeve’s thirteenth birthday.
Holding his tiny sister in his arms, Reeve swore that he wouldn’t allow her to face the same childhood that he had been forced to endure. He made it his mission in life to care for her. If not for Reeve’s persistence that Gabby get an education, she might not have ever learned to read.
It was that same wish to educate Gabby and provide better for her that influenced Reeve to enter the tournament. He found out about the tournament on their first day in the village. The innkeeper saw Reeve’s helmet and assumed he was a squire, competing for the title of Knight of Junacave.
The prize money, alone, would be enough to pay for tutors and new gowns for his sister. Even though Gabby liked to hunt and spar (she was quite good with a small sword), she still got sparkles in her eyes when she saw pretty gowns, like most thirteen year old girls, he assumed. And while entering the tournament was not his actual reason for coming to Junacave, he had to admit that the idea of competing excited him. And his sister seemed to be just as anxious as he was.
“So… can I go? To the tournament?” she asked. “I will stay in the front, I promise. And I won’t talk to anyone I don’t know, which is everyone, since we’ve only been here for six days.”
“I don’t know, Gabby. I would feel better if you stay here, where I know you will be safe.”
“You don’t really know I will be safe here, though. Do you? The man downstairs could be one of those insane men who like to rummage through people’s trunks and wear their clothing.”
“Your imagination is terrifying. But you’re right. I don’t know the innkeeper very well, though, I doubt he is an insane man who wants to wear your nightgowns.” Reeve gave her a blank look, then sighed. “Yes, you can come. I will probably be eliminated in the first few days, anyway…”
Gabby smiled. She knew she could win him over, eventually. When it came to her, Reeve was soft. But when it came to the tournament, he would be fierce and she knew it. That’s why she had to be there. He wouldn’t have a single person in the crowd to cheer for him, unless she was there. He wasn’t from this place, after all.
“I’ll get my cloak,” she said, and hopped down from the wooden stool that she had been sitting on.
Reeve was glad he didn’t have to face his sister in the tournament because he would certainly lose. He shook his head and muttered, “Every time. She wins, every time.”