[IRP] Redcroft Manor

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Thea
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Thea »

What came next Thea was not expecting. She listened in silence as Aileigh spoke. She did not interrupt her or give any sort of expression which might indicate her mood. It was an outlandish proposition, but that was why it intrigued her. The fascination was enough to keep her from immediately rejecting the offer. Thea was on guard though and she had questions.

"Who is trying to control you then?"

The two had both stopped walking now and were facing each other on the path. Thea crossed her arms over her chest as she looked at the woman. Beneath the collar of her shirt, she still wore the simple wedding band from her previous failed marriage attempt, a constant reminder of how her actions could have life-altering consequences. She was not quick to forget that.

"Why do you want to marry me? We are not friends. I am a stranger to whom you owe nothing. So what do you get out of this?"

There had to be something Aileigh wanted from a marriage to Thea. It was the only way this offer might make sense.
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Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Lady of Redcroft Manor | Cousin & Ward of King Zuan | Mother of Zevander | Wife of Aileigh
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Aileigh
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Aileigh »

“Who is not trying to control young women?” She asked aloud before offering specifics. “My mothers. Or I suppose just one of them - Aishe. My aunt, Morjiana too. My people and their expectations. I…”

Aileigh sighed, confidence faltering for a brief moment. “I am on a path different to what they envisioned. I renounced my claim to the BDR throne. I am fighting to have control over my life, but people have a hard time believing a young woman could know what’s best for herself.

I grew up in Bravia City.”
Thea probably did not care to hear her origin story, but she felt it could explain where she stood. “While my mother was pregnant, Akos was abducted and presumed dead. I was born and lived my first few years shielded from the world because my mother thought it was too dangerous for me to be in public. Mom returned when I was a few years old; they rescued her. But, I was still kept under lock in key in our apartment above the bakery.

Fenia gave me freedom… And Fenia threatens my freedom. I will never be locked away from the world again. I will not let evil or good men dictate my life. I want to hold my own fate.

Don’t you?

I will be honest: I like Zhou. I like him a lot - but he is not good for me and I am not good for him. We are not compatible and would live in misery. He is just another man who wants to control me - he just happens to be cuter than the rest.”


It was the first time beyond private conversations with her best friend, Elisa, that she admitted to seeing Zhou. He was a sweet talker and knew just how to push her buttons enough. He triggered her stubbornness and playful side, but it was destructive. It came at a cost. He was exhausting and she understood they would never be happy if they married. He did not respect her culture. He hated her mothers because he loathed his brother. She was just a cute new toy to him and he was a fleeting crush. She knew this, beneath the laughs and teasing.

“Maybe some day, we will both find love. We can divorce and go our separate ways. In the meantime, we could offer each other security and support from those who are controlling us.

I think we could grow to be friends, but even if we are just partners in controlling our own lives, I am okay with that. I could help with your son. I can attend all events you do not wish to go to, on behalf of the both of us. We can see others, divorce when we want.

I thought maybe, just maybe, you want freedom as much as I do.”
Aileigh Mae Maarah Sanchari Winterbourne | Rajkumari of BDR | Lady of Wisp Marsh
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Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Niece to Morjiana & Mallory | Granddaughter to Nisha
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Thea
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Thea »

The explanation was long winded and only parts of it made sense. Thea understood that family could be controlling, her own family had always demonstrated this exceptionally well, but she was lost when she talked about 'her people' and the 'BDR throne.' She knew very little about Aileigh's culture and what she did know was very limited and superficial in understanding.

When Aileigh then mentioned her dalliance with Zhou, Thea scoffed. Of course. The women in the family were all kept on a tight leash while the men were allowed to run wild.

"So you want your freedom. That is it, nothing else?"

Thea felt in her gut that there was more to this.

"What about children? You offered to help with my son, but do you not want any? Two women cannot create a child."

The fact that Thea was not parental material was besides the point. She could already tell that Aileigh wanted kids.
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Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Lady of Redcroft Manor | Cousin & Ward of King Zuan | Mother of Zevander | Wife of Aileigh
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Aileigh
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Aileigh »

That’s all?

It was not. How could she explain it in a way that did not make her crazy? In a way Thea would understand and it would not deter the decision? How could she tell her of a very dim future she saw and that Thea seemed to be a path away from it? How she had reached the conclusion of Thea was winding and confusing. She was not entirely sure if she would be able to fully explain it if she tried.

The mention of children diverted her eyes. Thea’s unwavering stare was almost unnerving. There was a steel in her grey eyes, sharp as a knight’s blade. Aileigh dared to look back at the Winterbourne.

“My mothers had three children before Zuan. No men were involved. I was created from soul weaving.” She offered a shrug. “Not that I presume you would want to have a child with me. I would not hold you to that. But, I do believe I will be a mother in my own right someday…”

And it will be Winterbourne.

She kept the rest of her sentence unsaid. She did not need Thea getting the idea that a marriage was just a way to run. She did not care if she had a child out of wedlock. The taboo was there in Fenia, but amongst the Roma, children where a blessing, no matter what. She knew her mothers and her family would not judge her differently if - or when - she was with child.

Aileigh sighed, “Can we sit?” She barely waited for an answer before moving to a nearby tree. Sitting on the grass, she stretched her legs out of the shade to soak up the sun.

“I saw a dark future for myself. I am a seer, but I am still learning. There’s much I do not know.

You owe me nothing and I owe you nothing. But, I think we could be useful to each other if we wanted it….

I fear the figure I’ve seen. They say abuse creeps up on you. The one clear path I see is… You. There’s so much I can’t control and that terrifies me.

… Which I am sure has a good look on my proposal. But look, starting now, regardless of what happens going forward, I shall endeavour to always tell you the truth. So, the truth is, this marriage is protection and security.”
Aileigh Mae Maarah Sanchari Winterbourne | Rajkumari of BDR | Lady of Wisp Marsh
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Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Niece to Morjiana & Mallory | Granddaughter to Nisha
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Thea
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Thea »

To Thea, soul weaving did not sound like a fun activity and enjoyment would already be lacking with a pregnancy and a child. That was not relevant now though. There was something in Aileigh's voice that told Thea there was more to the picture that had not yet been presented yet, she could feel it. A thought crept into her head. What if... The Sanchari girl spoke again before she could ask.

"Can we sit?"

Thea shrugged in response.

"Sit if you would like to."

She, however, remained standing. Her posture remained guarded and her gray eyes were alert as Aileigh sat down by a tree. She then began to explain her powers as a seer while Thea remained a looming tower of skepticism a few feet away. It was not that Thea did not believe in seers, she did not even doubt that Aileigh could be one. What Thea found difficult to believe was that she personally was Aileigh's path away from darkness. The marriage to her was protection and security.

"You say you will tell me the truth, then tell me this: are you already with child?"

The words chosen by Aileigh had been careful not to explicitly say this. Thea suspected that Aileigh was already pregnant and the path was in front of her. She had reached a crossroads. Convince Thea to marry her and keep her away her from whatever fate she foresaw.
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Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Lady of Redcroft Manor | Cousin & Ward of King Zuan | Mother of Zevander | Wife of Aileigh
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Aileigh
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Aileigh »

Despite the gaze, Aileigh did not feel at odds as Thea remained standing. Perhaps she was sucked into her thoughts, which held more unsettling things than the girl her own age. Slender fingers plucked a piece of grass, which she began to idly twist between her fingertips. The lack of response from Thea was not promising.

Perhaps coming to Redcroft was a mistake after all.

Bright eyes lifted when the haunting question was asked. Considering she had just promised to speak the truth, always (what a dumb idea), there really was no way to skirt around the inquiry. So, instead, she looked on steadily and lifted her chin to garner confidence.

"Yes." The blade of grass fell to the ground and she leaned back onto her palms. "Barely. No one knows, not even Elisa. I cannot even hear a heartbeat yet. It is not why I am here though. I had intended on coming to speak with you for a while now. I am not.. Broken."

But maybe she was in need of saving.

"I don't think Zhou is the darkness I see. He is not exactly a good man, but he is far from a bad man. We could never be married, but I do not think he would..." Her brows knitted together. "I don't think he'll care enough to do much of anything."
Aileigh Mae Maarah Sanchari Winterbourne | Rajkumari of BDR | Lady of Wisp Marsh
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Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Niece to Morjiana & Mallory | Granddaughter to Nisha
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Thea
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Thea »

Thea felt a sense of kinship with Aileigh. A girl who made a decision and now had to deal with the consequences, even if Aileigh claimed that was not why she had come. The timing could not be ignored and Thea knew that all too well what it was like to be in that situation.

"Will you tell him? Will you tell anyone who the father is?"

There was an idea forming in her head. A potential solution to a problem she had.

"You say that we could have children with this soul weaving, correct? If I agree to this marriage... what if you do not tell anyone who the father is. What if you say the child is mine through whatever magic it is you use?"

She paused and moved closer to Aileigh now. Apprehension was evident as she sat down in front of the other girl. What Thea was going to say next might deter Aileigh from agreeing to the idea.

"I am not a good mother, I should have never become one. I do not particularly like children. I know it is wrong and for that I feel guilty, but I do not want him to grow up like I did. He deserves better than I had. You could give that to him if we get married. In return I will claim any child of yours as my own. They can have my name and whatever protection that might give them. No one has to know the truth."
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Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Lady of Redcroft Manor | Cousin & Ward of King Zuan | Mother of Zevander | Wife of Aileigh
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Aileigh
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Aileigh »

Will she tell him? The question never really occurred to her, but then again, she had yet to even speak on the topic before now. What did it say about her that her first fear was that he would try to take the child, if she told him? Maybe she should not mention a thing to him, but he was not stupid. The seed of doubt was planted though. What if he did try to take her child? He could claim parentage and just rip the babe right from her arms. He was royalty. He was one of the few people who could argue he was above her in station.

It was strange to feel the rising panic. How had she not thought about it already? Clearly, she had been too focused on Thea, a marriage, and the dark figure that threatened her journey. Now, in Thea's presence with her situation in the open, her mind was processing unrealized fears. Yet, the moment was brief because Thea broke through the fog of doubt.

Aileigh rose an eyebrow, looking at Thea quizzically when she sat down. She listened intensely, waiting for Thea to finish before opening her mouth. It was such a spin from Thea seeming against the idea to offer to claim her unborn babe as hers.

"Are you sure? That is a lot more complicated than a meager marriage." Was it because Thea felt sorry for her? But then, no one would ever be able to take her child. All the fear she had felt were being soothed just as quickly. "I will have to tell my mom, so she can support the idea. I do not possess such magic."
Aileigh Mae Maarah Sanchari Winterbourne | Rajkumari of BDR | Lady of Wisp Marsh
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Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Niece to Morjiana & Mallory | Granddaughter to Nisha
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Thea
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Thea »

"Everyone gains something."

Thea said in answer to the question. Was she actually sure? Absolutely not. But it was the best solution she could see. Thea would not be forced into a marriage that further limited her autonomy. Zevander would gain a mother that actually liked children. Aileigh would gain whatever protection she believed this marriage would give her.

"When should we do it? The wedding. Probably soon if we are going to sell the story that the child is mine."

She was not thrilled with the idea of another wedding. Maybe Aileigh would want a small ceremony unlike her cousin Cordelia. Either way, they could not put it off. From personal experience, Thea knew that it would not be long before Aileigh's body started to change and show signs of pregnancy. Even subtle changes could be noticed within the first few weeks.
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Dorathea "Thea" Sanchari Winterbourne | Lady of Redcroft Manor | Cousin & Ward of King Zuan | Mother of Zevander | Wife of Aileigh
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Aileigh
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Re: [IRP] Redcroft Manor

Post by Aileigh »

In a world of magic, pregnancies were risky. There was an urgency they both understood, if they wanted to go with the idea that the child was Thea’s. Soon, a heartbeat would be detected - that in itself would be a giveaway to those like her with enhanced hearing. The wonder over Thea’s agreement was silenced by the planning. While it felt wild that she got Thea to accept the proposal so easily, arrangements had to be made.

“How do you feel about the 24th? Twenty four is my favourite number.” It was a stupid reason probably, but she shrugged it off. “We can claim this has been an ongoing plan, just one we have kept private. You are a private person, so it does not seem far fetched that you wouldn’t want to blast the discussion of betrothal. People may expect more from me, but I think respecting my betrothed’s privacy is a reasonable explanation for the “suddenness” of our ceremony. The public would not know any better.

We have all the resources we could want to make it happen so soon. I always imagined having a big wedding, but… Something small and private seems more appropriate.”
She did not wish to make Thea uncomfortable and it would be easier to put together something smaller. “It will be lavish, but small. Is that okay? We could do it right here, on the grounds of Redcroft… Close to the palace, but secluded enough to give us privacy. It really is a beautiful place.”

She paused, blue eyes wandering the landscape around them. Her tone shifted to a softer, more wistful one. “Do you want me to live here? With you and Zevander?”
Aileigh Mae Maarah Sanchari Winterbourne | Rajkumari of BDR | Lady of Wisp Marsh
Image
Wife to Thea | Mother of Zevander
Daughter of Aishe & Akos
| Niece to Morjiana & Mallory | Granddaughter to Nisha
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