Alas, the tournament is over, and, sadly, Lord Hugh went down to defeat….but only in a cyber, virtual manner. Eleanor wrings her hands a bit, gazing out the window at her forest, but, ultimately, she knows that in the real world, there is no one who could vanquish Lord Hugh, he of the intense blue-eyed gaze that sets her pulse racing!
Down the winding stone staircase she goes, directly to the Great Hall. ‘Tis time for a goblet of wine while she awaits the entrance of the real, flesh-and-blood (Eleanor blushes at the word ‘flesh’) Lord Hugh. He wishes to discuss her supposed mismanagement of her lands, and she must be at the ready. How can she argue with him, she wonders, when every time her eyes meet his, every cogent thought she has vanishes from her brain? Courage, she tells herself. She can do this! What think you, Gentle Reader?
‘Tis the day of the match! You have only a few hours to vote, Miladies and Milords! Eleanor is clasping her hands in hope — loosing them only to sip a bit of wine from a silver goblet every now and then, as she waits for the close of the match. Aaaaah, if only Lord Hugh will win….!
The day of the tournament approaches, gentle readers, and Eleanor is quite beside herself! Next Thursday, March 12, is the day when her handsome — but, oh, so arrogant! — Lord Hugh will challenge another hero on http://www.entangledinromance.com. She cannot imagine precisely how this will work (what IS the internet? she wonders), but, as long as Lord Hugh is involved, her heart is there. She blushes. What if anyone else knew how she felt about Lord Hugh — most especially he? Her heart races. No one can ever guess, she vows. What would happen if Lord Hugh discovered her secret longing for him? She shuts her eyes….
Gentle readers, as you may remember, Eleanor is beside herself with anticipation! Lord Hugh has been entered in the Entangled March Madness Tournament! She now knows ‘t shall take place March 12, a day she now awaits eagerly. Ah, yes, ’tis all about Lord Hugh, for, those who wish can vote for him ‘gainst his rival, Drake. This Eleanor understand clearly.
However, there is one aspect of this tourney that troubles her, and, perhaps, gentle readers, you may clear her confusion. She has heard it bruited about the castle that one must go somewhere called “the internet” to vote for Lord Hugh on March 12, at a place that (this truly makes Eleanor blush!) is called http://www.entangledinromance.com. What, pray tell, is the internet? ‘T cannot be a village in England, Eleanor muses. Perhaps ’tis some tiny hamlet with only a few crofts and peasants. If so, how can she or others even hope to find it? And the http://www.entangledinromance.com? Is that the name of a croft or somesuch? She is mightily perplexed.
In any event, she will investigate as best she can, all the while gazing out her window every now and then, hoping to catch a glimpse of that arrogant, but handsome, Lord Hugh, whose blue-eyed gaze makes her shiver from head to toe.
Stay at the ready!
She has heard this rumor in the castle, and she is indeed perplexed. She heard that a certain type of book, an e-book, was free. The title, COLORS LIKE MEMORIES, appeals to her, but she has not the faintest notion of how to find this. Can you help her?
What is this all about? Eleanor wonders, picking up her quill pen to write in her journal. She is, no doubt, one of the few women within hundreds of kilometers who can write and read, but, that would not surprise her, this being 1272 in England. What is bemusing her is the talk she has heard ’round the castle and even in the village regarding some sort of special apple that is causing a great deal of quandary among the townsfolk and castle-dwellers. Hmmm, she thinks. ‘T must be a very different apple, indeed. What if it has evil powers– such as the apple which the poor Snow White ingested, at the behest of her wicked stepmother, who was so jealous of Snow White’s beauty that she was willing to end the poor girl’s life? Why would anyone want a new apple? Eleanor asks herself. Does it taste better than another? Will it make people more intelligent? More insightful? More thoughtful? Truth be told, if a new apple might make Lord Hugh take notice of her and treat her as she should be treated, instead of as a brainless ninny, she, herself, might purchase a new apple. And *then*, Lord Hugh had best watch himself! Eleanor smiles and begins to write in her journal…
Eleanor is quite pleased! She’s heard that it’s European Maritime Day, and she knows that all the captains and sailors will be gathering to share stories about their sailing craft and techniques and ships. Perhaps the captains will discuss how to build better railings on ships to keep inebriated gentlemen from falling into the sea and drowning, as did her late husband, that cur Edgar. Of course, she never would have wished that would happen to Edgar, (she’s not *that* kind of person), but, since it did, her life has been happy without the horrid man. Indeed, she wonders if Lord Hugh, her arrogant neighboring lord, will be in attendance. She blushes to think of him, striding about, his handsome head held high, his intense blue eyes piercing into everyone’s soul, just as she feels it does to hers. Eleanor sighs. What can she do to convince him she’s not the person he believes her to be? How can she make him understand her sister Mary is not the one for him, but that she is the one? How she would love to be on the deck of a galleon in full sail, Lord Hugh’s arms around her, holding her closely…
Heavens, forfend! Eleanor is quite puzzled by the talk about the castle and in the village. What in heaven’s name is a “credit card”? How can that cause people such problems? She knows full well about credit, for her marshal collects the rents from the peasants on her land and sometimes extends them credit when they cannot pay. But, a card of credit? A card of wool she knows, or a playing card, too, but not a credit card. In any event, Eleanor stares out the window, glad to know she does not have to worry about credit of any kind. No. Wait. She frowns. Yes, she does. Lord Hugh does not credit her with even a smattering of sense. Now there’s a credit problem for her. How can she solve it?
Ah, only if Eleanor had had access to this information! She would be riveted by the fascinating bits of information and insights to be gleaned from these maps. A nerd ahead of her time, she pores over ancient maps and navigation charts and suchlike that come her way. This particular map is one of her favorites. Think of how powerful her beloved England is, conquering more than half the globe. Ah, conquering…that brings up an entirely different subject. Gazing out of her window at her forests, a far-off look in her eye, she daydreams of sailing away to places on those maps…and, she blushes at the thought….not sailing alone. Nay, how she wishes she could sail away with Lord Hugh, he of the strong hands and intense blue gaze. But, how could she? she scolds herself. Lord Hugh has asked for her sister’s hand in marriage, and he treats Lady Eleanor as if she were a ninny. If only he knew what she was really like. Might there be a map to show her the way to enlighten him?
Eleanor is quite taken with the whole idea of Christmas. Giving gifts to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child is a time that she looks forward to all year. She arranges for the Great Hall to be decorated with swaths of greenery and red velvet, and she has been busily doing her needlepoint to sew something special for her dear sister, Mary, a small bag to keep her treasures in. How she wishes she could make a gift for Lord Hugh, but, she is sure he would turn that arrogant gaze on her and sneer. Well, maybe he wouldn’t…after all, that time that his hand brushed hers and he looked at her longingly and searchingly….what had happened, then? In the meantime, she studies the picture of the lighted tree on the hillside. How did people accomplish that? Did they actually light candles all about the hillside? She is puzzled, but admires the beauty. She dreams of Christmas — and of Lord Hugh. Back to the needlepoint, she turns with a sigh.