Amata’s father, John, once saved a Baron’s life, as well as that of his oldest son, Richard. The Baron died from a fall while hunting bore shortly after the rescue. The newly minted young baron met Amata while ordering the monument stone from John. Immediately after the mourning period, Richard set out to woo Amata. Never a stupid young lady, Amata ignored Richard for a year. One day, soon after his father’s death, he arrived at the door and asked John if he would be opposed to his formally courting Amata. John agreed. In six months time, a marriage was arranged. Amata the mason’s daughter became a baroness. Amata was lucky. Her husband was a good and kind man. He was also wise. He approached the Royal Family and made arrangements for her to be given a yearly stipend and the right to carry her title for the rest of her life, or until she remarried, in case he preceded her in death. Richard knew his brother would not honor his request so it was taken out of his hands. This winter past, a fever swept through the manor. Servants, commoners, retainers, and the family were hard hit. John and Richard died, as did many others. The new baron declared Amata was to go back to her family to enjoy her “unearned stipend”. Amata moved in with her bachelor brother. Odo was thrilled his grieving sister joined his home. She, the youngest, had always been his favorite.
Amata has changed over the four years she enjoyed with her baron. Richard taught her to read and write. He allowed her the control of her own money (Amata already knew basic math.) Richard’s belief and support in her unleashed self-confidence. Living in the minor court, and visiting the courts of the minor and major aristocrats of the kingdom, made her wise. She now is determined to control her own life, much to her brother’s annoyance (and private pride).
Amata is determined to be useful and wants to keep the books of her brother’s Frippery. In it he buys and sells quality used fabric, trimmings, and clothing. He has two doors in his business. The front door for commoners, seamstresses, and the like. Upper class ladies and their maids use the back door so as not to be seen. They stretch their allowance buying used cloth for their daily wear, but would sooner go naked than be known to purchase used textiles. If one grand lady (or maid) sees another grand lady in the frippery no words are exchanged, no eyes meet. If you don’t acknowledge it, it isn’t happening. Of course, maids gossip as do other servants, commoners, and peasants. It’s an open secret.