Greetings, Fair Cousins. My head is bowed in humility as I put these simple words before you. Mine has been a quiet life, by the standards of most. I have never run from the injustices of a strict uncle, have never defended myself with a sword in some glorious battle, have never dealt with deceitful merchants while running my own estate!
Rather, I was raised simply in the village of Soleil, here in France. Our small estate boasts some of the most fertile land in this part of France, but I have little interest in these matters. In my youth, I was most often found down in the village. This behavior would be considered scandalous by some, but my parents were tolerant of my interest in our people.
It was, unfortunately our undoing.
When King Edward III sent his cursed son here to France, the peasants fled before him in terror. Their eyes were haunted as they tried to escape the terrors of war, and where were they to go? The villagers and I took in as many as we could, and tried to find safe places for the rest. When my parents and brothers became aware of my activities, they were initially displeased. When they saw how vitally help was needed, their soft hearts overcame their fears, and they assisted my efforts.
Prince Edward's spies interpreted our actions as gathering to move against him, and he came with all his strength to squash us. Truly, I think it was convenient for him: we were already in his path of destruction, and a "Peasant Revolt" made handy justification! Our town was destroyed like so much of Beautiful France. My father and brothers were killed.
My mother and I fled to Wales where we had distant kin, and stayed outside of Dolwyyddllyn. On our way, I met a young Lord who had booked passage on the same ship. His name was Lord Crispin D'Ardenne, and he was being sent to work as an illuminator in the King's court. Lord Crispin was charming, and made the time pass tolerably well, and I remembered him long after we said farewell.
Mother and I stayed in Wales until the English decided our estate was too insignificant to be bothered with, and returned it to us. My mother married one of my father's closest friends from an adjacent estate, and the two were combined. She was happy, I think....well taken care of. My life again resumed quietness.
Soleil is located in the Loire Valley, near the river, which made it a convenient place for travelers. There was always someone staying with us, and I enjoyed hearing their tales of far-off places. Often the Lords who stayed with us would leave gifts, and one of these was a small prayer book. Imagine my surprise when I found my likeness in its pages! There was no mistaking it... but for the wings I had been given, it could have been my mirror image.
The Lord had recognized it, too, and when he returned to court he sought out the young illuminator. It was not really a surprise when Crispin came for me. Since our meeting, I had not been able to forget him, and the little book said he had remembered me as well. We wed as soon as it could be arranged, and now reside in Ardenne, a beautiful forest which was left unravaged by the war. We have a son, Gareth, and a daughter, Gloriana. And my life is what it always has been...absolute joy, quiet contentment.
Her device is:
Per Pale and Azure, a Cubit Arm Argent sustaining a Sun between 3 fleur-de-lis Or.
E-mail Iseult at:
You are listening to "Sumer is icumen in"