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The Tale Of Timothea

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : Lark Westerly

ISBN :978-1-4874-3803-6

Page :68

Word Count :15227

Publication Date :2022-12-23

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : The Tale Of Timothea (prc) , The Tale Of Timothea (pdf) , The Tale Of Timothea (mobi) , The Tale Of Timothea (epub)

Category : Fantasy Romance , Christmas

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-3803-6

One Christmas Eve, Timothea sang while her true-love-to-be played his fiddle. She gave him her name, and he called her my angel. That’s what she thought he said. It was hard to say, considering where they were. After that, of course, she didn’t see him again for a very long time.

Timothea met her true love while she was stuck in a tree, wearing a primrose gown. They shared a Christmas carol, then he was gone. A gentleman rescued Timothea, which wasn’t as romantic as it sounded. She turned down a proposal before it was made. She carried out a trial of valour and had a most uncomfortable talk with her maman. She got stared at when she danced with a damsel and advised by a leprechaun. It was an eventful ten years. Then, when she’d given up hoping, she and her true love reunited on another Christmas Eve. She learned why he played his fiddle in the Yule grove all that time ago. And then, she told him her story—the tale of Timothea.

Christmas Eve

Cygne Manor

Timothea was thrilled when Giselle invited her to Cygne Manor to help make Yule garlands for the ball.  

Giselle had been to the manor before. She told Timothea about it while they waited for Giselle’s mother.

“There’s a huge grove of trees—the Yule grove. At this time of year it’s decorated in tinsel.”

“Is it a maze?” Timothea asked hopefully.

“No, it’s a spiral.” Giselle swept her finger in a pattern in the air. “In the middle is Grandpapa Yule, the oldest tree in the grove.”

“How many trees are there?

“Nobody knows.”

“Surely someone has counted them.”

Giselle said, “Cousin Alouette said nobody dares. If anyone starts counting trees, they have to keep going until they get the right answer and pronounce the number aloud in front of Grandpapa Yule. After that, they do a trial of valour.”


“If they succeed, they’ll see their true-love-to-be. That’s what Alouette said!”

“What if they already have a true love?”

“They’ll see that person.”

“What if they don’t?”

“I don’t know. Maybe people with true loves wouldn’t count the trees.”

“We can, though.”  Of course, they could. They were much too young to have true loves. It was never too early to think of them, however. Timothea and Giselle had resolved to be prepared.

Giselle grinned. “That’s what I hoped you’d say. I’ve written down what we need to do. We can’t go wrong.”

Lillianne came out of the manor. “What are you two giggling about?”

“True loves,” Giselle said.

“Really. Well—come along. Cousin Rinette’s expecting us.”

The lady of Cygne Manor wasn’t really a cousin. The Cygnes and the Skiptons were connected somehow, but Timothea wasn’t sure how. In any case, Rinette had become a Cygne only after she wed the heir to the manor. Lillianne and Timothea’s mother, Lovella, were not by-blood Skiptons either. That meant the three ladies were by-love related, but their daughters were kin by-blood.

Timothea’s thoughts were interrupted as Lillianne turned to face them. “Will you hold hands, or shall I take one of your hands each?”

“We’ll hold hands,” they said in chorus.

Timothea took Giselle’s left hand and Giselle put her right one into Lillianne’s.


They stepped forward together. The bright summer scene blurred as they went, bypassing time and distance until Lillianne said softly, “Three, two…”

“One!” chanted the girls. They stopped walking and dropped hands.

Timothea looked about. Across the park, she saw trees that must be the Yule grove. It might have looked forbidding in winter, but at Yuletide the trees glimmered under their airy nets of tinsel.

Before Timothea could comment, the manor door opened, and Mistress Cygne stepped out to greet them.

“Grand Yule!”

“Grand Yule,” they murmured back. Apparently, that was a Cygne Manor tradition. Their families said Merry Christmas or Grand Noelle.

“Lillianne and Giselle and—” Mistress Cygne looked at Timothea.

“This is Timothea. She’s Giffrei and Lovella’s daughter.”

Timothea bobbed a curtsey.

Mistress Cygne smiled. “I see the resemblance. She and Giselle are like enough to be twins. Come in, dears. My girls are making the garlands in the solar, so go and join them.”

They entered the manor and Giselle took Timothea to the solar where three older girls sat weaving garlands and eating comfits.

Two had fair hair and blue eyes, like their mother—and like Giselle and Timothea herself. The third had black hair with a curious white streak in it, and dark eyes. She was shaped like a grown-up lady, but her face was young.

Timothea assumed she was a visitor, but Giselle introduced the three as the sisters Alouette, Lizette, and Odette. They were distant cousins, but even Lizette, the eldest, said she couldn’t explain exactly how.

“I believe a Cygne lady named Georgette wed a Master Primrose and their daughter was Hester or maybe Harriett—er—”

“My grandmama Skipton,” Giselle said.

“Quite so.” Lizette handed out bundles of ivy and ribbon to weave into wicker frames.

It was easy work. Timothea added bows in red, silver, gold, and green. Timothea approved of bows. She had a big bow on the sash of her primrose gown.

They had been working for an hour when a note landed on the occasional table. Lizette conjured it over and read the lines. “Time for tea and cake,” she reported.  

“That’s enough garlands anyway,” Alouette said. She waved her hand, and her finished garlands looped themselves over a rail set up between two chairs.

Lizette sent hers to a different rail and turned to eye their sister. “Hurry up, Odette.”

“I haven’t finished. You go along.”

“Very well.” Lizette turned to Giselle and Timothea. “You permit me?”

They lifted their hands away from their work.

The garlands draped themselves.

Timothea watched enviously. She and Giselle couldn’t conjure yet. Neither could they go without holding the hand of someone older.

It might not be too long, they hoped. Most courtfolk could conjure at eleven, and surely by the time they were twelve.

The ladies were taking tea, and the four girls helped themselves to cakes and summer fruit cup.

Odette joined them a few minutes later.

Timothea whispered to Giselle, “When can we count the trees?”

Instead of answering, Giselle said, “Maman, may Timmy and I go for a walk?”

Lillianne glanced at her hostess, who nodded, smiling.

“I’m sure we have enough garlands to dress the ballroom twice over. Do you need someone to escort you?”

“I know the way,” Giselle said quickly. “I’ll show Timmy the grove.”

They left by a side door, and Giselle said, “That was lucky. I thought we’d get stuck with the others.”

“I expect they’ve seen the grove plenty of times.”

“I suppose so. Odette was the one who showed it to me, after Alouette told me the story. It was wet so I borrowed Rodan’s old boots. There was a spider in one because he hadn’t worn them in so long!”

“Who’s Rodan?” Timothea asked.

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Tags: Romance, Christmas, Holiday, Fantasy