A New Ruler in Bon Abbi – Eva Marie Mayweather
Bon Abbi, a safe-haven city on Rylie Glen, remained isolated from other locations. This was due to the mountain ranges on the East and West borders. Over time and help from Midland, Bon Abbi built several windmills used to process grains.
Evelyn, the daughter of the miller who managed all the mills, was always curious about the world. But her father, Roylo, never wanted to leave his service to the Mayweather family. So, Eve’s curiosity always put her at odds with her father.
Roylo and his wife Elysa, never had other children, sons to take over the family work. Evelyn made it clear she had no interest in this venture. Roylo wished a different world for Evelyn beyond that of housekeeping and service. He watched as Evie and Michael John, the youngest son of the ruling family in Bon Abbi, played as children. He knew those days spent together would soon be over.
Even in Bon Abbi, nobles and commoners respected the separation practiced over time. This would change with the younger generation. But not without challenges, nor with any assistance from other cities, especially Casselberry. As a caring father, Roylo protected Evelyn from the world outside the city walls as best he could.
But a single day prior to the start of the planting season would change everything. Nolan Baye, Michael older brother, returned from his training in Mercil. He traveled with his fiancé Ayla Garran. The city celebrated the return of their future ruler and his bride to be.
The next morning, after the celebration, several townspeople discovered Ayla. She laid in the square with an arrow piercing her heart. No one saw what happened, but the black and white arrow had the signature colors of Casselberry. Nolan had been hunting earlier that morning, never expecting the tragic news.
No one could console Nolan. Rando, his father, tried to reason with his son but to no avail. Nolan vowed to make Luka Dey, the son of the ruling family in Casselberry, pay for Ayla’s death. Rando watched as his son mounted his horse and rode after Luka, ignoring his pleas.
Rando told those gathered in the square not to worry. If Luka were responsible for Ayla’s death, he would be long gone before Nolan could do any harm. Michael couldn’t believe his father would not go after his brother. Something about the way Rando glanced at his son made the boy feel there were other reason’s that stayed his father’s hand.
Michael ran home and entered the kitchen, grabbing the first knife he found, and ran outside to the gardens where he encountered Evelyn, patiently waiting for him. The boy told Evelyn he would stand with his brother. She tried to keep Michael in place, but he was too strong. She watched as Michael ran past the manor and toward the Plains of Vandeer.
Evelyn froze in place, wanting to follow Michael, but she knew Lord Rondo had to hear what was happening. She found her father and told him everything. In minutes, the two men mounted horses and headed down King’s Road towards Casselberry.
Two days later, both men returned with Nolan’s body, who suffered a mortal sword wound. Evelyn asked her father why they didn’t return with Michael. He shook his head and asked her to head home and wait for him.
The townspeople mourned Nolan and Ayla’s death. To add to the tragedy, Michael John went missing. Something happened to the 10-year-old boy. Once Evelyn let it be known that the youngest Mayweather ventured in to the Filgore Valley, whispers began. It wasn’t too long when everyone believed the boy could never survive a Dragoon encounter.
The loss of two sons weighted heavily on Lord Rondo, who remained inside the manor for weeks, hiding from the well-wishers and the curious. Roylo kept Evelyn closer to him than ever before. What worried the master miller was that his daughter never cried. She kept her pain private.
Well into the planting season, life in Bon Abbi returned to work. Lord Rando brushed his feeling aside as he had a city to run. Roylo managed all of the Bon Abbi granaries, bringing Evelyn everywhere he went. But like most fathers, he groaned inside every time Evelyn withdrew from the things she enjoyed doing with Michael John.
Rylo quietly sent word to Midland, asking for help with his daughter. By summer, a friend in Midland offered to place Evelyn with the Healer group, but she would have to leave Bon Abbi for an extended time. Roylo felt the change to a new village, with meaningful work, would help his daughter through the sadness.
Evelyn, at ten-years-old, traveled to Midland, the closest city to Bon Abbi down King’s Road, her first time away from everything she had known. Through extraordinary circumstances, Sola del Sol, the Healer, and Alchemist, selected Evelyn to be his apprentice, but the girl first had to learn how to read and write. Spending most her days following Sola, listening at his continuous details of what he was doing, Evelyn wrote everything he did, promises he made, and meetings he couldn’t miss.
The girl would return to Bon Abbi for short visits, which remained brief, as she knew Sola depended on her. Over time, Evelyn earned Sola’s trust. She learned everything about the seven deadly compounds the alchemist had conjured. These compounds left little or no trace, except for the dead bodies. Sola cautiously shared with Evelyn how the seven compounds were already in use by Casselberry and why she needed to know how to combat those poisons.
Sola asked Evelyn to master the making of the antidotes, as Casselberry possessed these toxic compounds. But it was unclear how Luka Dey planned to use them. While it wasn’t obvious, Evelyn noticed Sola became more unsettled over time, always looking behind him for some unseen foe.
After eight years serving as his apprentice, Sola told Evelyn that a Bon Abbi herald requested assistance, and that Lord Mayweather struggled with health issues. The healer explained to Evelyn that the symptoms were signs of poison.
The alchemist sent Evelyn with a small group of younger apprentices to Bon Abbi. Sola’s warning that ‘Bon Abbi is in danger‘ made her fearful as she traveled back home. Upon arrival, Evelyn learned her father passed away days before. Other villagers, like Lord Mayweather, were near death. Leading the apprentices to prep arrowroot as the proper antidote, the girl prolonged Lord Rondo’s life, distributing the remedy among the villagers who were sick.
Evelyn became the trusted assistant to Lord Mayweather, never returning to Midland. She marveled at how many of the villagers never recognized her as the miller’s daughter, she had changed so much. Yet, she had to focus on Lord Rondo, who continued to struggle with his health. The young girl never hesitated, accompanying the Bon Abbi ruler, taking notes, prepping him for scheduled meetings. She watched helplessly as Lord Rando slowed his pace.
An influential councilman, Marvis Addewid, was the last to visit the ruler of Bon Abbi. He was to travel back home to Henley, the furthest burg west of Bon Abbi proper, with a promise to return. But Evelyn knew Lord Rando wouldn’t last but days. Before passing away, he told Evelyn that he no longer had children to pick up his mantel. She was his last hope. ‘Save Bon Abbi,’ was his last request.
The words reminded her of the healer’s similar plea that ‘Bon Abbi was in danger.’ For six months, Evelyn managed the city, ensuring things ran smoothly. The villagers knew Evelyn worked with Lord Rondo for months, urging the Council of Seven to name her as the next ruler of Bon Abbi.
Accepting the role was easy, but the girl knew it was at her own peril, as she was not of a noble family. Impersonating one would be certain death by those who wish to preserve tradition. The day would come when someone would challenge Evelyn’s role as the Lady of Bon Abbi. The Robions of Casselberry waited until the traditional six-month of mourning were over. A rider from Casselberry announced that Lord Luka Dey was coming to their city in a few days.
While Evelyn was out in the city square, she saw three men out in the meadows near the short wall, one wearing a hooded summer cloak. The youngest ventured into the Square to drawn water, making the girl curious as there wasn’t an animal that traveled with him. The young boy told Evelyn that they heard Lord Mayweather had passed, and how they journeyed to Bon Abbi to pay their respects.
She took them to the family plot, curious how these strangers entered Bon Abbi, as she spent most of the morning near the main gates. From a distance, the girl watched as each man whispered a prayer, except for the one with the hood. He stood quietly, then kissed his two fingers and pushed them away with a wave.
The older one with a beard placed his hand on the hooded man’s shoulder. He turned around and caught Evelyn’s eye. It was the first time she could see his face. At the appropriate time, she offered the men a meal and a place to stay as evening was approaching. While in the courtyard near the kitchen, Evelyn watched and followed, as the hooded man made his way to the barn in the Square.
She turned and asked the man to pull back his hood, which he did reluctantly. At first sight, Evelyn knew this was Michael John. How is it that he lives? She was ready to throw her arms around Michael, but hesitated. Something was different. The young man insisted that his name was Josah Evermore and not Michael.
Evelyn looked closer, convinced he was Michael. ‘You promised to marry me back when we were ten,’ she said. ‘I know who you are.” After some prompting, the hooded man admitted he was Michael John. But that young boy emphatically stated that he was now Josah Evermore.
Evelyn told him she didn’t care what name he chose as long as he was ready to pick up his father’s mantel and become the ruler of Bon Abbi. He was the rightful heir, one who could take on the responsibility. But Michael rejected the role as a noble and told her he was no longer a Mayweather.
The boy never acknowledged that he knew Luka Dey was coming to Bon Abbi, even when she told him. The girl told him of her fears that without his help, Luka could expose her as a commoner, which meant certain death. When Michael restated he was now Josah Evermore, no longer the noble or heir to any city, Evelyn could only do one thing—hold on to the mantle and face whatever destiny was in store.