The Chronicles of Foxton
Lady Isobelle Hawthorne
A minor noblewoman sent to Foxton after her husband disappeared mysteriously; she becomes the Captain of the Baron's guard
A Rough Timeline
950 – Ten years after the occupation, Isobelle’s family marries her off to a Demurian Knight.
950 – Nathaniel and Isobelle web
952 – Caleb is born
958 – Hawthorne Estate
960 – Foxton
Lady Isobelle Hawthorne (nee Vallaire) (The PC)
Sir Nathaniel Hawthorne
Lord James Hawthorne
Year 958, Hawthorne Manor
“Nathaniel!” Isobelle shouted, it was too late, the crossbow bolt sailed through the air. His aim was off, he never was a good shot. The bolt was intended for William, the groundkeeper of the estate, who stood brandishing a sword, protecting Caleb.
The bolt struck home, Isobelle stood in shock as she watched the small boy look down and crumple. With a shout of rage Nathaniel threw the crossbow aside and drew his blade.
William fell as Isobelle reached Caleb and cradled the boy in her arms. She looked up at her husband, rage on his face, as William’s blade clattered to the floor next to her. William himself staggered a few feet before the final blow from Nathaniel killed the man.
“Monster.” She hissed.
He stood over, tall, imposing, angry. Her hand reached out and wrapped around the hilt of William’s blade. She hefted the weight, much heavier than the thin blades she had learned with in the limited studies she was given.
Isobelle stood slowly, her eyes locked with Nathaniel’s, “Our son.” She said softly, sorry and rage mixed in her tone.
Nathaniel looked down at the boy, wooden shaft in his chest, clothes soaked in blood, then at his wife. A foreigner he’d wooed, and finally arranged to marry. She thrust out and upwards with the blade as she stood to face him.
“Is that how it will be?” He batted the sword aside. He had years of training in the field, years of use. She had a few lessons from some fop or another. She was outmatched.
He had entertained thoughts of his lovely blonde wife joining him. It seems she had not. She swung again. She would be nothing without him in this land.
Nathaniel did not know the word mercy, and with two swift swings disarmed her and then slashed across her chest. The blood flowed as she fell to her knees, the green dress she wore soaking up her life.
She looked up at him, and in her last moments there was no sorrow, there was no surprise, there was only a cold rage.
Year 958, several months later.
Lady Isobelle Hawthorne opened her eyes, her index finger traced the line of the scar running diagonally over her heart. She sat up in bed and shook the memory from her head.
“Lady Isobelle,” James knocked at her door.
“I’m decent.” She said buttoning the last few buttons on her blouse.
“So, you’ve made up your mind then?” He said entering the room. She dressed as if she were one of her brothers from her homeland. Shirt, britches, leather vest.
“I’m going after him.”
“And do what?” James said with a heavy sigh.
She stopped and looked in the mirror in front of her, “Save him, and if I can’t. . .” She let the thought hand in the air.
“To what end?” He asked, “It’s not just his name that will be ruined. His, my, families name.” He looked at her.
She turned and looked at James, he looked so much like Nathaniel. And unlike her husband, his brother had kindness in his features.
“And your families name. Married to a fallen knight? He’ll be stripped of his title. You’ll be married to nothing more than a disgraced warrior.”
“What have you told others, my Lord?” She asked, it had been several months since Nathaniel had disappeared in the attack. Winter was drawing to an end.
“Brigands attacked, killed off everyone.” James said, “I couldn’t very well tell anyone he did all that.” He leaned against the wall next to the door.
“Pride. Pride holds us back.” She slid a sword belt on around her waist, “I’ve not time for it. Not anymore.”
“You’d be the widow of a fallen knight of Demoria. How would that bring any honor to your family? Or to you?”
She stopped, were it only her the decision would have been easy. As it was there were others involved in this tragedy. As much as she tried to forget about that, to focus her vision, upbringing seemed to win through.
“He killed Caleb.” She said quietly, “I’m never sure he didn’t mean to aim for him.” She wiped a tear away quickly. “And I’ve no stomach for my families ambitions in this wretched country anymore. They married me away, let them deal with it.”
“If you plan on running off on a fools errand, at least,” He held out his hands, “Learn the trade of a warrior first.” He dropped his arms to his side again. It was an obvious ploy, he all but ordered her to stay as the head of his family.
“I have training with a blade.”
“Bah!” He waved, “You’ve training with a blunted tip and padding at the hands of old men.” He said, “Cutting down a man, that’s another matter entirely.”
“What would you know of that?” She asked, voice rising in anger.
“I know enough that you haven’t the training. Not to best Nathaniel.” He pushed himself off the wall and took a few quick steps to Isobelle. “He never deserved you, and yet you loved him, and gave him a son.”
Isobelle said nothing.
“And what do you get in return?” It was a question neither of them wanted to voice the answer to, “Play along, train, draw him out.”
He sighed and her shoulders relaxed, “You have a plan, I see it in your eyes.”
“Stay here, through the year, Nathaniel is bound to show back up. Play the Lady waiting for the return of her husband.” He said, “Learn the sword, really learn it.” His voice was without amusement, “And if by the end of next winter he has not shown his face to account for the actions, then I’ll entertain the idea of you seeking your lost love. It will look better in the eyes of others.”
“I’ve no stomach to play the lady in distress.” She said.
“Then find the stomach.” He leaned in closely, “Or your actions will help him ruin the names and reputations of two families. And I’ll not abide by that.”
“Send for a teacher from my family. If I must play your games I’ll learn a noble swordcraft.” She said finally.
Lord James bowed, “The least I can do to comfort the Lady in her time of grief.” He said and took his leave.
“She’s an able blade.” Lord James offered, “Unseasoned, but able.”
“She’s a foreigner.” Baron Matthieu sighed.
“Of noble upbringing, she’s also married to a Demorian Knight, her loyalties to the land are not the question.”
“Then what is?” Matthieu leaned forward in his seat. They were in private quarters away from the ears of others.
“She’s got it into her head to chase after her husband.” James told him, “I’m hoping to blunt her ambitions by placing her here.”
“You want me to babysit some knights distraught wife?” Matthieu scoffed.
“I said she is able, and she’s a fire in her something fierce.”
“Likely that Shelinsibeau upbringing.” Matthieu leaned back. “All smoke, no fire.”
“She’s a noble still, perhaps even a minor title like a knight can be of some use to you. And I assure you this one has some fire.”
Matthieu sighed, and thought for a moment.
“She can play at intrigue as well as many, I’d imagine not much use out here.” James offered, “Unless you felt you needed less allies, consider her in your court the implicit support of our family. Should you need.”
“Very well, I’ll find a place.” Matthieu said.
“I’ve arranged passage to Foxton,” James said.
Lady Isobelle sat at a window, it was the first warm day of the year. She looked over at him, “You’ll let me go then?”
“Not specifically.” He approached her, “He’s not shown his face, but you can’t simply run out into the wilderness. We’ve no more idea about his plans and location now than we did last winter.”
“Your plans draw out time.” She said.
“Politics are slow.”
“I’ve no stomach for them. Not then, not now.” She stood up, brushing her long blonde hair off her shoulders.
“Take this letter, forge an alliance. You could do well to have allies for when this all ends.” He said, “If you plan on cutting him down as I suspect you do.”
“My hatred has grown to a cold thing.” She said, “You are right to suspect such. It sits like ice in my heart.” She absently touched the scar through her blouse.
“Then you will need allies for sure. And not just in this house.” James handed her a
letter, sealed already. “Take this, I have been in correspondence with the Baron of Foxton. He will accept you as an ally in the area. I’ve told him of your training, and I think someone of nobility, however slight, will be welcome.”
“Foxton is near the mountains?” She asked taking the letter.
“So far from anything.” She sighed, “It will be hard to find a man while held to one place.”
“Time, my lady.”
“Time.” She tapped her open hand with the envelope, “Time slips past.” She looked at him, normally bright blue eyes turning dark.
“The less likely he’ll ever suspect you will be coming for him.”
“Vengeance is best served cold I’ve been told.” She hissed, “I’ll follow your plans for now.” She said, “But I will find a limit to my patience for them.” She warned.
“I’m sure you will find what you seek before then.” James took a step back, “I will take my leave of you my Lady, tomorrow the carriage leaves for Foxton.”
Sir Nathaniel Hawthorne – motivations unknown.
Lord James Hawthorne – He seeks to minimize any damage to his families reputation that Nathaniel would cause should his deeds become public. The only reason he didn’t let Isobelle die is out of some sympathy to her plight, and possibly sees her as a tool to find Nathaniel.
Lady Isobelle Hawthorne – The simplest motivation is to find and kill Nathaniel for all she’s suffered. She harbors some ambition despite her words, and seeks to prove herself in her own right. Isobelle still wears her wedding band, refusing to let anyone know that she either believes her husband dead or plans to kill him herself.