July 12, 2017

In Which Dea Urges Asking First

June 12, 1204

"That is exactly what I wished to hear. I shall begin a review of all issues I wanted to address with both Dovia and Carvallon immediately." Dea had dared hope, at least, that the upcoming nuptials between Prince Oswald and Princess Avirelle would ease the long-standing tensions between Naroni's two most significant allies, but given the current players on both sides, she wasn't about to make many assumptions. Hearing this firsthand from one of King Oswald's own sons made for a welcome bout of relief. "My best to both your nephew and his bride-to-be. I'll be unable to attend the wedding myself, but my sister Geneva and her husband will be there as my representatives--along with Celina, of course."

"Ah, yes. My stepmother. A lovely woman, but... I do still struggle to think of her as such, especially given the distance." For that, Koradril couldn't be blamed, Dea supposed. The duchess's marriage to the King of Dovia was a political arrangement, one that required her to stay in Naroni as an ambassador of all parties, more of a bridge between the two kingdoms than anyone's wife. That marriage had also happened long after Koradril might have been young enough for a stepmother to make much of an impression. "I did rather enjoy meeting her granddaughter, though--your cousin, who was here earlier."

"Camaline? Yes, I'm quite fond of her." Camaline had indeed been helpful, and quite sweet about it too. Dea just wished she could offer her something equally substantial in turn.

"I'm glad to hear it. I, uh..." Koradril swallowed, as if he might draw back the verbal stumble. It was rather unlike a prince with both formal and informal studies in governance. "Forgive me, as this is rather sudden, but it occurred to me as I spoke with Camaline that my family might still honor her betrothal in spite of my nephew's death. My Tivalia has been gone for five years now, and I had started to think about remarrying, both for my own sake and my children's. Granted, I'd understand if Camaline had no interest in an older man with children from a previous marriage, but... well, it was a thought."

"It... certainly is a thought." Dea flexed her jaw, unsure if even Camaline knew much about her own taste in men having grown up with the fixed idea of Farilon. On the surface, she found little to object to about Koradril, but simply 'not objectionable' did not an ideal husband make. "I can't claim such intimate knowledge of my cousin's heart, but she's approachable. I don't believe there would be harm in asking."

"Then I shall gather up my courage and ask." Koradril managed a wistful smile, shyer than most princes had much business in being with a foreign queen. For such a tall man, Dea found the difference in their heights held a sudden insignificance. "Do you think her parents would find the match acceptable?"

"I wouldn't worry about her parents." And not just, she wanted to say, because of who they were. "Ask Camaline herself first."

NEXT CHAPTER: