The Cider Reach Chronicles
Tall, slender, strong and brave, she is a horsemaster and the scarred daughter of the Lord of Crossfield.
Adele Crossfield is the 3rd youngest of the Crossfield children, elder to only Sir Landon and Tristan. As a child of 7, she accompanied the family horse-master, her older brother, Deverick, and the rest of the party to Highgarden. They were going for tournament and to negotiate the purchase of some new breeding stallions. Adele fell in love with a hot-blooded little colt and convinced her brother and the horse-master to buy it, in addition to the other horses they had already agreed on. Adele had always liked animals and was very excited to have a stallion of her own.
On the way back, the group decided to camp on the road rather than staying at the crowded inns surrounding the tournament. At about dusk, the party was roping in all the horses and preparing the evening meal when Adele asked Deverick to go check on the horses so she could take her colt an apple. Deverick said there plenty of men about that she would be fine going by herself. Adele skipped out of the pavilion tent and found her colt prancing about and trying to get free of its ropes. When she reached the her colt, she saw what had him so uneasy: a 400 pound boar in the brambles near the camp. Adele stood between her colt and the brambles, screaming for her brother and the horse-master. In all the ruckus, the rutting boar charged the party. Adele grabbed a stick refused to move for the charging beast. She took the boar’s eye with the stick as it barreled down upon her and gored her face.
The boar’s tusks sliced her from her left collar bone to above her right eye before it ran off to charge her brother. Deverick flew into a frenzy severing part of the boar’s skull and shoulder in one blow. Adele was crying as her blood soaked into her clothes and eyes. Crossfield was closer than Highgarden, so Deverick rode hard and fast with Adele in his arms. Mister Willas worked quickly to heal her wounds, but the wind from the ride and dirt from the road had already formed a thick, dark scab across her face. Deverick had to sit in the hall, covered in his sister’s blood, while Mister Willas cleaned the wound.
Deverick waited until she was sleeping, and rode back to the party, who had already back up camp and was ready the make a their way to Crossfield Keep. When Adele woke, Deverick was in her room with the colt and the tusks of the boar.
Mister Willas had removed all the mirrors from the room and changed the bandages on her face several times a day for several weeks. On the wall of the keep, visitors can still see the skull of a boar, with a large hole where the side sliced off.
Adele healed quickly, and while the scar faded with time, it is still the first thing most people notice. Adele’s mother took the injury very hard, fearing that the mark would limit Adele’s ability to marry. She took many trips to Lilypond, praying for the Mother and Maiden to heal and watch over Adele. On one visit to Lilypond, while her mother was in prayer, Adele talked with one of the Septens. He felt badly for Adele, and took her for a walk around the ponds when all the flowers were in bloom.
“The Seven watch over all of us, and reward or punish us for our deeds,” he said.
“I don’t think the Maiden or the Mother will care for me anymore, because I am not going to be pretty like my sister,” Adele said.
“So many people have scars,” he said, “thank the Gods that you get to wear one on your face rather than on your soul. You will find your face to be like a candle, that shines light on the true nature of your fellow man. Be brave, strong, loyal, and honor the Gods, and they will keep you no matter what scars you have. The Warrior has lots of scars, just think how special you will be in his eyes.”
“It is ok to still pray to be pretty?” Adele asked.
“Of all the ladies who have come here, you have the prettiest hair I have ever seen,” he said, tucking some lily flowers into Adele’s braided hair. “I think they already made you pretty, and they protected your eyes from the beast so you can still see all the beauty and blessings they will give you in days to come. It is important to thank them an honor them first, and only ask for things you truly need.”
Adele left Lilypond with a renewed outlook on life; she stopped worrying about what would be and started being grateful for what was. As her mother refocused her efforts on Colette, Adele became quite the tom-boy. She spent lots of time with Deverick and her cousin, Hamsher Flowers, before they left to fight in the war 2 years later. When they left, she spent more and more time with the horse-master and stable hands, running about with local small folk, learning how to make saddles and bridles, but she always took extra care to clean and braid her hair.