Memory (1): Birth and Loss
Experience One: The origin
Burgundy Countryside, 98X AD
I Berhta, am daughter of no one, serving girl and nursemaid to the brother of a minor noble.
My life has been large sorrows and small pleasures. I am the last remainder of my family. My siblings taken by injury and accident, my parents by a winter fever when I was just old enough to be put to work.
Memory (2): Friendship
Experience One: A trip to a river
Burgundy Countryside, 99X, High Summer
Thieda and I escape the heat of high noon, the urgent thrum of summer insects in our ears as we wander out past the village.
There is a stream hidden amongst trees where we hang up our skirts and splash, carefree and bare, in the cool waters. We find matching river rocks. It is the last time we truly play as children do.
Memory (3): Service
Experience One: Small moments alone
Burgundy Countryside, 99X, Early Autumn
In the chill of morning, the palest sliver of pre-dawn rouses me. I move, ghostly, waking the house but not its mistress. In this dim, bleak hour, the house and all its soft mysteries are mine, and I am my own.
This morning, I work slowly, sore from yesterday’s admonishments. I urge the chickens not to lay much today. Let her go hungry, for once.
- I have much patience with the very young
- I can creep silently among the sleeping as I work
- My ear for gossip is well honed
- A collection of stones kept in my pocket and worn smooth
- A bracelet made of leather strips braided into a pattern
- A nice enough set of clothing in which to work, without shaming the household when I’m set to market
- Charibert, whose home and children I tended to, brother to the viscount
- Mauriana, Charibert’s second wife and a terror to me
- Thieda, my one truest friend, Charibert’s oldest daughter from his first marriage
- Hrodulf, a newcomer in town, my betrothed and a delivish creature in disguise
- A ragged bite along the nape of my neck, easy enough to conceal, but the wound never closes
Memory (4): Secrets
Experience One: Scandal in the Parish
Burgundy Countryside, 99X, Late winter
Though fare at the market is meagre before the thaw, it still deals abundantly in whispers. The word on the wind is that young Sister Trudlinde is missing, along with several costly candlesticks.
Odd, that the Danish trader who seemed to turn her eyes from God’s departed before the snows had truly started to turn, and so publicly announced his route. I sprinkle this observation shrewdly, and soon the tale is of a fall from grace, and a romantic passion.
May she find more comfort in his embrace than our Lord’s.
Memory (5): Love and Death
Burgundy Countryside, 99X AD, Midspring
Hrodulf, the newcomer with hair like the morning sun and a tongue too witty for his own good has asked me, with a gift of cleverly knotted leather strips, which I wear as a bracelet.
Knowing I cannot hope for better, I have accepted.
I die with flowers in my hair, a new gown, and a river of red erupting from my neck, a keepsake of my betrothed’s final kiss before he was chased from the village.
It is not so bad a death, and the kiss I am certain I shall remember for the remainder of my endless life.