Eyes like Stars
Princess Bride - Elorwin & Laurefinde
Buttercup awoke with the dawn, the beautiful song of the birds not making it any easier to pry herself from her warm bed. Going through the process she did every morning she lay day dreaming a few extra minutes, thinking up new ways boss around the farm boy. This always brought a small smile to her lips and gave her enough motivation to throw back the covers and haul herself from under the warm quilts.
Her room was small but to her liking, the stone walls and floors covered in a variety of simple tapestries and woollen rugs. Not only did this give the room a more homely feel it also helped insulate it from the cold during the winter months. Turning to a plain mahogany chest of draws Buttercup selected the dress she wanted to wear today. Making her choice she picked up her long brown woollen dress with the square neck line and her white cotton shift with long sleeves.
Dressing quickly Buttercup threw open the window and shutters and stood in the sunlight that came streaming through the window, brushing out her long wavy blonde locks with a soft silver backed brush. The brush was one of the few nice things she owned; it had been a complete impulse buy, having no other use other than brushing her hair and making her feel special. Leaning against the windowsill Buttercup let the sunlight warm her hair while she brushed and she watched the farm yard scene before her. The animals were starting to wake, the chickens were beginning to file out of their coop and peck enthusiastically at the grass, searching for seeds. In the higher fields the sheep were starting their day of grazing and from the stable Buttercup could hear the soft whinny of the horses.
The sound of her horse brought a smile to her lips and the thought of the exhilarating ride made her put down the hair brush and leave her bedroom. Pausing only to pull on sturdy brown leather boots Buttercup walked outside. Moving swiftly to the stable Buttercup began to saddle her dun stallion. She did not know where her farm boy was at the moment but he should be up already from his bed, which was above the stable. Knowing he should be around Buttercup adopted her authoritative tone which she used for the farm boy.
“Farm boy, I am going riding now. I wish for you to have fed the chickens by the time I get back!”
Westley woke before the sun had peeked its fully golden light above the horizon, he stretched in a singular moment of laziness upon the simple mattress of his bed and breathed deep the comforting smells of the stables. He felt as if it were going to be a good day as he rolled off his bed to dress in his normal shirt, pants, and sturdy boots to get ready for his day. Westley looked about his room with a little smile playing upon his lips. It was plain, but sturdy, with some of his clothing lying about from where he had left it the night before, and the straw that inevitably managed to appear no matter how many times he swept the floor. The room was kept warm enough in the winter by the horses beneath, and the extra quilt that lay folded on top of the cedar chest where he kept most of his belongings.
With one more stretch as he left the room, Westley headed to the small farmhouse, rejoicing silently in the quiet stillness of the hour just before dawn when the sky was just lightening on the eastern horizon and the air held the promise of what the day could bring. With these thoughts, he snatched a bit of bread that had been baked the day before, and headed back to the stables. He efficiently greeted the animals while he finished his breakfast, and then made the rounds of feeding and checking on each of the horses.
"Farm boy, I am going riding now. I wish for you to have fed the chickens by the time I get back!"
Westley heard Buttercup's sweet voice ring out through the air and felt a smile tug at his lips. Her voice always sounded so sweet to his ears, even when she was doing her best to sound stern and commanding. He paused only long enough to make sure he had no straw in his hair or on his clothes, before he stepped out of the stables, feed bucket in hand.
"As you wish," was all he said in return, wishing silently that he could think of more to tell her.
Eyes like Stars
Buttercup rode her dun hard across the fields surrounding her farm; together they jumped hedge rows and over streams. They dashed through the sunlight and raced the wind. Buttercup was an excellent horse woman, horses seemed to respond to her will and both seemed to form close relationships with each other. This particular stallion was of impeccable breeding; he was fast and strong and didn’t have an inch of fat on him. He was by nature a hunter, with a long gait and excellent jumping ability. Buttercup loved nothing more than putting him through his paces with several jumps of varying heights.
Right now she rode Horse slowly and gently along a country lane, giving him a small rest after the hour they spend galloping along. It also gave her an opportunity to address the thoughts that were buzzing around her head. Her life had been running by nearly as swiftly as her beautiful hunter and everything seemed to change so quickly. Only a year and a half ago Buttercup had lived on the same farm, although it had been smaller back then, but she had been living with her parents.
Nothing sinister happened to them or their farm or to their lives, her parents had just lived hard lives making the farm a success, raising a daughter and providing for her as they had never had. The year before he had died her father had actually gathered enough money to pay for hired help, so the masters of the farm did not have to work so hard, this is where Westly, her farm boy had come into her life. Then winter came and it had been particular hard that year, her parents both frail with age had succumbed to pneumonia and passed one night.
Losing her parents had hardened Buttercup, it was about then that she started acting out and abusing Westly. She was in truth surprised by his patience, no matter what she threw at him or how menial and demanding her requests his countenance never changed. He was always steady and secure, willing and loyal. She smiled gently to herself; yes there was something intriguing about him.
However by noon Buttercup was starting to get hungry and Horse was tired and covered in a foamy sweat. So turning Horse back towards home she began an easy trot back. As they reached the outskirts of the farm Buttercup paused before they entered. She felt as if something was watching her from within the trees, but as she stood in the stirrups and turned around she could see nothing. Sitting back down she tried to shake the feeling and rode Horse back to the stable.
“Farm boy!” She called swinging herself down from Horse. Although she loved to ride she found she was quite tired now and to her dismay her legs shook a little from the exertion. “Farm boy,” she called again “I need you … before I fall” She whispered the last part under her breath as she clung to Horses’ saddle.
Westley smiled a bit to himself as he watched Buttercup ride away. He did not always know what to think about the way that she commanded him and always seemed to think of new tasks for him, but he knew that he enjoyed his life on the farm. Many of these tasks were things that had to be done on a daily basis anyway, and thus, her actions did not bother him. When Buttercup and Horse had disappeared mostly from sight, he went about his tasks, humming softly to himself. He fed the chickens as he had been instructed, and then went to shovel the stable before beginning to lay down fresh hay.
It was in the midst of this task that he heard Buttercup return and call for him. He dropped the hay on the first call, and was walking to the door of the stable when he heard her second cry. Twice? She rarely calls twice. He thought to himself as his steps turned quicker and he rushed to her side. Westley placed a steadying hand upon her arm and kept her from falling to the ground. He paused for a moment, thinking quickly before he scooped Buttercup into his arms and carried her into the kitchen.
He carefully kept a straight face as he set her down on a chair, and turned from her once again. A moment later, he turned back, and handed her a glass filled with cool water.
Eyes like Stars
Buttercup gasped in surprise as she felt Westley’s strong arms sweep her up as he carried her into the house and sat her gently down up a chair. She watched him cautiously her bright eyes taking him in, hating having to rely on him but and she blushed again, enjoying the closeness. She took the cup that he gently but insistently placed into her hand and sipped the cool water from it. Tossing a lock of golden hair back over her shoulder she looked at him, needing a way to regain her power, after all being swept up like a damsel in distress by a farm boy was not dignified.
“Farm boy I need you to go check around the farm I thought I saw some tracks around the bushes and Farmer Hughes said he heard of a rouge wolf pack in the area. I don’t want them getting in, so we need to make sure all the fences are secure.” She paused to look him in the eye. “And when you’re done make sure the cow is milked."
(OOC sorry its so short)
Westley held her eyes with his gaze for a moment before he nodded, and a small hint of a smile touched his lips. "As you wish," was all he said in return, but before he left the kitchen, he made sure that he refilled any of the water in her glass that she had drunk, and placed a thick slice of bread before her, as he had no wish to find that she had fainted from the exhaustion she had shown after her exertion.
He stepped back outside with a bit of a spring in his step. He knew that he was the only one there for Buttercup to call for when she needed help, but that she accepted more than what she had called for made him feel warm inside. He turned his feet first to the stable, he could not leave Horse in his sweaty, worked state. He led Horse into his stall where he was unsaddled, brushed, and fed, before he hurried to the fences. Westley carefully checked each post and rail, taking note of the few places that needed to be tightened as well as made a mental list of the materials he would need. Once he had finished he returned to milk the cow, and stored the milk in its pails as always.
Westley then gathered the tools and wood that he would need to fix the fence, placing them all into the wheelbarrow. He ducked into the kitchen to grab an apple to tide his hunger over until dinner that eve, knowing that the repairs would likely take him the majority of the rest of the day, and then returned to the fences he had walked so recently. As he worked, shaving the wood to make the rails tight in the posts, inspecting more thoroughly the ones that would need replacing soon, and driving some loose posts deeper in the dirt, his eyes searched for signs of the wolves that Buttercup had heard word of from Farmer Hughes. It was not until he reached the farthest point from the farmhouse that he found the signs for himself. They were not much, just the faint impression of a large canine paw in the dry dirt, and he found himself grateful that he had just replaced this portion of the fence not two months prior, so they had not gotten in to worry the sheep.
Westley hummed while he worked, removing his shirt under the mid-afternoon sun to relieve some of the hotness, as well as to enjoy the light over his skin. He kept his mind busy with thinking of ways to make Buttercup's life a little easier, but found himself not thinking of any new ideas, which was a bit disappointing, but he resolved to keep following her wishes. Then, as he was replacing his shirt, his eyes lit upon a bunch of beautiful flowers. Perhaps she would enjoy to find them in the morning. It was an idea that bore some merit in his eyes.
Eyes like Stars
Buttercup sat for a moment or two once her farm boy had left her, his small kindness had not gone unobserved and she took another grateful sip of the water. She knew he would perform the tasks she had set him and all the others he had to make the farm work. Buttercup was quickly back to her old self, it had only been a moment of brief heat exhaustion.
Buttercup continued on with the small chores that she had to accomplish, she churned the butter, smoked and dried several meats and herbs for storage and she finished the laundry. With the basket of laundry balancing on her hip she proceeded outside. The sun was hot and bright, the sky was a clear cerulean, the perfect day to dry some washing. Buttercup sang idly to herself as she hung the wet linen out to dry, her voice echoing the sweetness of the day she found herself in. Her song continued, following its own path as if the melody was a sentinel creature not of her control, the bright sun and fresh breeze of spring seemed to grant new life to even intimate objects.
She had finished putting out the washing by the time she realised what song she had been singing inadvertently. Her mother’s lullaby. As soon as she realised this the wave of emotion came sweeping over her, the smell of lavender that was her mother, the deep, throaty chuckle that was her father. A small wispy cloud scudded across the sky, so like her parents, one moment they were there, alive and vital and the next moment there was nothing but darkness. They had left her and there was nothing she could do about it, even if she drowned in her salt tears it would not bring back her parents.
Buttercup huffed and took several deep breaths in an attempt to stop her eyes watering; this was all she needed after the embarrassment this morning for her farm boy to see her getting weepy. A small voice in the back of her mind gave her a little mental nudge that made her look over to Westley.
“Not completely alone.” No she wasn’t alone, calm and steady Westley who was as unmoveable and unchangeable as the foundations of the farm. Somehow she knew he would always be there when she needed him.
Allowing a small smile to creep onto her lips Buttercup quickly retrieved her laundry basket and headed back inside the house. With a slightly lighter heart Buttercup continued her song, this time she changed it, added a few new notes of her own as she started preparing the evening meal.
Even though Westley worked efficiently upon the fences, it was still nearing sundown when he finished wheeling the tools and wood back to the shed near the farmhouse. His mouth opened in a jaw crackling wide yawn, distracting him just enough that he dropped the handles of the wheelbarrow, sending it and the tools to the ground in a loud clatter. He berated himself softly as he picked the mess off the ground, before he entered the shed to put them away, as well as hide just in case Buttercup had heard his blunder. When he judged it to be safe from her investigating the noise, he left the shed and began to hurry through settling the animals down for the night.
Even though he was not through with his work for the day, Westley appeared at the table for the evening meal precisely on time. He offered Buttercup a small smile and nod of his head, his face a little rosy from the heat of the sun that afternoon. He then sat as was normal for the meal. "The fence is secured," he told her, as an update to her earlier request. "As you wished."
Eyes like Stars
Buttercup looked up from the pot she was stirring over the fire as she heard a large banging noise coming from outside, it almost sounded like Westley had dropped every single tool he owned. However she chose not to go an investigate it; instead she continued to flavour the stew as it bubble contentedly. At the exact moment the stew came to the boil and was perfect Westley walked in the door and offered her a smile, informing her that the fence had been completed.
As he took his normal seat at the table Buttercup ladled out the stew into Westley’s waiting bowl and she was happy to watch him sniff at it with an eager smile. Dishing out her portion Buttercup put the pot back near the fire to keep it hot and then took her seat. With a small smile Buttercup watched Westley out of the corner of her eyes, knowing that Westley would not start until she encouraged him. Catching his eyes she smiled happily.
“Eat up.” Buttercup spoke softly, It was an order as normal but spoken with an almost affectionate tone. He nodded to her and as one they began to eat in a comfortable silence, the fire crackled merrily as it consumed the logs in the hearth. Only after second helpings each, Westley had even finished three helpings. Buttercup was aware that he had probably had to force himself to finish that last one but he had once Buttercup had mentioned that her culinary master piece would at least feed the pigs.
With a smile Buttercup piled all the dishes into the cooking pot and took them outside to be washed at the pump, feeling Westley could hardly be asked to move when he was fit to burst at any moment. Humming her new song she quickly made her way over to the trough where the pump splashed out cold and clean water. Throwing the pot in she began to happily pump the water and began to scrub away the dirt.
She carried on for a few minutes, happily humming however she had a nagging feeling that something was watching her and no matter how many times she glanced over her shoulder she could not find the source of her uneasy feeling. Finally she became so annoyed that she abandoned her task and moved out towards the hedge row where she sensed the presence. Dipping down to look around Buttercup saw some kind of tracks but it was hard to see in the moonlight, she glanced under the bush and could not help the scream that was ripped from her throat. Glowing, crazed eyes glared up at her from the gaunt face of a half starved wolf. It snarled furiously at her as it stepped out from the hedge’s shadow. Buttercup took a faltering half a step backwards, panic rising inside her, making it hard to think. Suddenly there was another snarl behind her and spinning round, her golden hair flying Buttercup turned to see the rest of the half starved pack approached. Judging from the blood around some of their mouths they had already been in the chicken coup but it seemed they hadn’t disturbed the larger animals.
Buttercup was brought out her blind hysteria by the sudden movement off to the side as one of the more daring wolves sprang forward, aiming for her throat. She was quick but not quick enough. With a scream she dodged out of the way, instead feeling the beasts’ dirty claws rake down her shoulder and arm. Knowing there was no way for her to get away from this half mad pack there was only one option left to her. Voice thin and high with panic Buttercup screamed the one word she knew would make everything better.