Maureen liked embroidery.
She adored the look of the fine threads pulled tight against the coarse fabric. Next to her sat her young apprentice, a pockmarked brunette named Elizabeth, who was having some difficulty with a complicated stitch. While she struggled, Maureen silently leaned over to correct her. Elizabeth murmured her appreciations and dutifully fixed the mistake. Maureen turned back to her own work. As she pulled her needle through the cloth, she smiled softly. She was forever thankful for her gift. Through it, she had escaped the drudgery of serfdom forever.

The setting sun prompted the women to lay their work aside. Maureen blinked several times, and stretched her arms out. Elizabeth leapt up and trotted to the small window. Drawing aside the heavy curtain, she peered out at the dusky sky. "It looks like another perfect evening!" chirped the flighty girl, "May I go now, Maureen? Please?"
"Oh, yes, of course." Elizabeth dashed past Maureen with a large grin. Maureen watched her go with some hesitation. She did not remember being so energetic as a child. No doubt the girl had some boy she was meeting. That was always the way with young girls. She heard Elizabeth clatter down the castle stairs and sighed. No grand lady would hire the girl as a seamstress if Elizabeth continued to be so unladylike. An aristocrat looked for a patient, calm woman, not prone to bursts of sloth or forgetfulness. Casting her concerns aside for the moment, Maureen stepped up to the window.

Off in the distance, a speeding horse was raising a cloud of dust. Small fields of wheat and grain formed a patchwork design on the earth. Maureen's gaze drifted towards the dark outline of the faraway forest. In the darkening light of evening, Maureen thought the forest looked eerie, and foreign. Maureen shivered and hurriedly closed the curtain.