The next morning began in much the same way as yesterday; only this time Madame Vivian was in charge of the kitchen. When help arrived Sarah got the sense that these women new less about working in the kitchen than the previous group. Then, Sarah recognized Lady Angelina among the newest arrivals, and she realized the helpers were nobility.
“But I always do the soup,” Lady Angelina pouted when Madame Vivian told her Sarah was in charge of that station.
“Then I suggest you learn from her, as she made the soup yesterday,” the Madam stated succinctly before moving around to the next station.
There was a moment of silence between Sarah and Jason’s ex-fiancé.
“Why don’t we start by gathering potatoes, carrots and peas from the cellar,” Sarah told the perplexed woman. “Then I can show you how I made the chowder. It’s really simple.”
Lady Angelina nodded and followed Sarah down into the dark root cellar. Thankfully, some of the other women had already been down here, for the lamps were lit. It wasn’t until chatter had started up and Lady Angelina and Sarah were working side by side mashing potatoes that the woman spoke to her.
“You are Goodwoman Sarah, to whom Sergeant Phoenix is engaged?”
“Yes.” Sarah nodded. “We met at Lady Abigail’s once.”
“I remember.” The woman was silent as she dropped her portion of mashed potatoes into the soup pot. “I... I wish you both the best,” she whispered.
“Thanks.” Sarah smiled.
She wanted to say more, apologize for breaking up Angelina’s engagement with Jason or something, but someone asked Angelina how her family was doing and she joined in the general chatter. As with the previous day, Sarah refrained from joining the chatter, preferring to listen. There was more talk of the likely war with Azure from this group than there had been with yesterday’s.
In almost perfect timing the three knocks came upon the door and the Kitchen went from cooking to serving. Lady Angelina stayed with Sarah to help replenish the serving platters and soup tureens that were returned empty. The ease with which Lady Angelina had conversed with the others was gone and the two worked in silence.
“Do you know who this Memorial is for?” Sarah finally asked, not having been able to glean it from the conversation earlier.
“The Scouts,” Lady Angelina replied. “So many perished in defense of the King,” she sighed. “A Knight, and even one of Phoenix Troop.” She looked up to Sarah from carving the meat. “The enemy should not have gotten so close to His Majesty!”
“Who of Phoenix Troop perished?” Sarah asked, startled Jay hadn’t said anything the night before. Maybe no one had told him yet.
“Goodman Allen, may the Gods rest his soul,” Lady Angelina sighed. “Did you know any of them?”
“I spent some time with them.” Sarah refrained from saying more as the next round of empty platters was brought in.
“But,” Lady Angelina continued after the platters had been taken away, “your Tri-Luna with Sergeant Phoenix hasn’t even begun yet.”
“Well,” Sarah smiled slightly, “you could say Phoenix Troop rescued me.”
“Oh.” Lady Angelina smiled. “And you and Sergeant Phoenix fell in Love?”
Sarah was about to say something else when a little voice pipped up. “Sarah?” Ryan tugged on her skirt. “Lady Abigail is here for you.”
Sarah looked about and sure enough Lady Abigail was talking quietly with Madame Vivian. Uncertain of protocol right now Sarah kept to her tasks of dishing up the stew.
“Goodwoman Sarah.” Madame Vivian approached her.
“Yes Madame?” Sarah asked, noticing that Lady Abigail waited outside the back door.
“It is time for you to prepare yourself for your betrothal. Gods know we need some happiness amidst all of this. Come, Lady Abigail is here to take you back to her city house.”
“Good luck and much happiness,” Lady Angelina whispered.
Sarah smiled and followed Madame Vivian to the door, where Lady Abigail took her in an embrace. “It is good to see you again.”
They exchanged kisses to the cheeks before Lady Abigail held Sarah out to study her.
“Such a shame things happened as they did but there is naught that we can do. Come child, your things have already headed over. There is a bath waiting for you and you will meet the rest of the family, at least those that have showed up, tomorrow.” Disappointment tinged her voice, but she turned with a smile to Madame Vivan. “Thank you, Madame Vivian, for letting Sarah stay here.” Lady Abigail nodded to the Knights wife.
“I do but what the Gods ask.” Madame Vivian returned the nod.
“It is all we can do,” Lady Abigail responded and the two women turned to their own tasks.