Lord Reynard's Fancy Ch. 06byrosamundi©
I apologize for the delay, I've been very ill. Here is Ch. 6, which gives insight into Lilac's thoughts and personality. Next chapter will have more raunch and will be up in the next few days. Thanks for reading, please take time to rate and comment!
"Tell me your Ave and I will tell you its meaning in turn." crooned Lilac softly to the orphan splashing around in her tub at the hall hearth. Much as she loved reveling, she enjoyed the renewed quiet.
Sir Reynard listened in dozily as he warmed himself at the fire, unable to recall this child's name. There seemed so many underfoot he could never track them. When Lilac tended their own children he would mind him the names of the babes with aright. Instead of pushing aside the thought in vexation at John, his peace filled mind let it stand.
"...hora mortis nostrae. Amen." chirped the little one, "But Lilac, my Ave means naught, it only makes me to sleep better."
"You understand not, Nan, yet more on this later. For now, think you that you might keep a great secret, and never whisper it outside yourself?" she asked gravely.
"Aye." breathed Nan.
"You must pledge me your word, by which all good folk are known to keep to truth. When you once give your word to do a thing, you must obey yourself to keep your honor that others might trust in you. Is this plain?"
"Uh huh." Sir Reynard heard clear enough that it was plain as mud to the little maid, but that had not stopped Lilac from explaining chivalry to infants til now, and was not like to halt her on the morrow. His lips quirked as Lilac continued building fortifications of air.
"I want after your word, for the lady with the secret would cry out in distress to hear it told about the manor, though she is a goodly lady and the secret marks only of her worthiness."
"Nay, I would not make her to cry out." had him holding his breath to belie his mirth. Mayhap Lilac should take up the harp and staff and turn bard.
"So, you pledge me your word?"
Here the terrible screech of metal on stone and Lilac's shriek had Sir Reynard on his feet with his hand to his hip before his eyes were fully open. Before he could move an inch more, though, the shriek gave way to more splashing and laughter borne over by squeaky shouting. Lilac, drenched as a rat on a sinking ship, knelt before the tiny Nan who had leapt from the water naked, proud as an earl swearing fealty to his king.
"I pledge you my word on my honor that this worthy lady might trust in me!"
"Trust rather in Lilac to turn an urchin unto an earl." thought their lord.
A certain degree of hopping about and mopping with cloths ensued, and catching Lilac's concerned gaze he headed off to becalm himself. Lilac's quiet tale stopped him cold in the archway.
"Mother Genevieve, who wears no ornament but her paternoster, and dresses simply as any sister, is in truth a lady of high birth and great learning. She shows it not that we will fix ourselves to Father Talbot, whose degree in our kingdom is lower yet higher in God's. We orphans cleave unto her only as our worldly mother, yet she can read out from books as if they do speak with her and scribe into new ones too. She taught me when I was small that my Ave, which meant naught in my head neither sounding like to nonsense, still meant wise things in Latin, which is the tongue of the Church and heaven. Know you the Blessed Virgin's name, Nan?"
"Aye, Lilac, a babe might know that, tis Mary."
"Yet in God's tongue Latin tis Maria."
"Ave Maria! What means ave?"
"And..ave Maria gratia plena...what means Latin by plena and gratia?"
"Stay Nan, I will speak you the whole prayer together and then give you the words apart if you are wakeful, for they go not in the same way at the same time."
He sat down composing himself to be amused, but he was not, or at least not in the main.
"Good morrow, Lady Mary, full of grace..."
"Might we eat of her grapes?" called forth smiles from both adults.
"Grace, not grapes, silly goose. Our Lady is full of grace, which speaks of tenderness."
She sighed and rearranged the child on her lap, "I see I must needs begin anew with grace. We know that the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God, do we not, and through Him the mother of us all?"
Nan gazed up and nodded sleepily.
"Our Lady means most to you and to me, and to all whose mothers in the world have died. She is the Queen of Heaven, and can reach us here from there with our own mothers' tenderness and yet more. And so also she is our mothers' mother, and in her sorrow at being parted betimes from our Savior by death, I think me that she does show our mothers how we do grow and thrive below them, though we are parted by death for now."
"Could she show my father too?"
"I believe she not only could, but does, whenever he and your mother together wish to see you."
"And she the like can show your mother in heaven, your father and you together here..." Nan trailed off, asleep at last.
"Our Lady would NEVER show my mother that," Lilac whispered in a strangled voice, "for it would pain her full sore."