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The Maiden of Anjou (standard:romance, 1852 words)
Author: empressAdded: Jan 19 2003Views/Reads: 2294/1418Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
She was a maiden, he was a visiting English Lord...

Chapter One 

1062 Anjou, France 

Anacelle Jacqueline Baptiste-Rainfroy glumly stared out at the
sheep-filled from her second-story balcony. It had been almost three 
summers since she'd last seen her parents. They had been hopeful and 
happy, ready to leave for Athens to attend the wedding of Jacques 
Rainfroy, the brother of Anacelle's father. Uncle Jacques had been on 
his grand tour when he met with a beautiful Greek woman and proposed 

Six months, they had said. Six months and they would be back with many
presents for Anacelle and Alessandro, her older brother. Six months had 
passed, a year, two years. Still there was no news from the count. 

Today marked the end of her ignorance of their fates. Alessandro, who
was twenty, just received the sorrowful news that they had died in a 
shipwreck on the way home from Greece. 

This meant that he was the new Count of Anjou. 

Alessandro wasn't home today. He was probably checking on the progress
of the walls, which were being built around the chÉteau for defense. 
Anacelle sighed and walked back inside her family's grand and almost 
finished chÉteau by the river. It was a cold winter and the wise men of 
Anjou predicted rare snow up north, maybe even here for the first time 
in a decade. 

The house was no warmer than outside, and Anacelle shivered. She ordered
a chambermaid to add more wood into the tiny stone fireplace and added 
a thick sheepskin cloth to her attire, but nothing seemed to make the 
cold leave the room. 

Anacelle was used to hotter, even sweltering climates, and was a
stranger to this sudden arrival of winter. Alas, maybe it was a sign of 
bad things to come. The Normans and Bretons, their neighbors, were 
always attacking them left and right, trying to claim their lands. 

After a few moments of staring moodily into the fire, she rose up and
headed for the door. Her small hand was on the handle when she heard 
the chambermaid gossiping with the kitchen maid in the hallway. 

"Have you seen the travelers?" 

"What? There are travelers in Anjou? Wherefore? Why?" 

"They are just passing by. They are nobles! I saw them as I was going
back to the kitchen, carrying my the milk I just-" 

"Where are they? Are they handsome? Tall?" 

Anacelle smiled when she heard the two girls giggling and pressed her
ear to the door. She dearly wanted to join their conversation, but it 
wasn't allowed. She would have to settle for listening-eavesdropping-on 
them, but the two girls suddenly stopped talking. Footsteps were heard 
outside, which slowly faded away as they left. 

They were going to have a look at the nobles, Anacelle would bet her
best slippers on it. She opened the door and sighed. She would have 
wanted to have a look as well, but she knew it was improper of her to 
do so. 

Anacelle instead headed for the small chapel on the west end of the
chÉteau where she would offer a prayer for her deceased parents. She 
stopped at a mirror further down the hall to see if her light brown 
braids were fixed. Who knew, she might perchance happen upon those 
handsome noblemen. 

After scolding herself for vanity, she then resumed her walking. The
chapel was connected to the chÉteau by a passage on the second level of 
the house that was lined with arched windows. It was a beautiful walk, 
truly. It was like crossing a long, beautiful bridge with many windows. 

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