February 16, 2009

In Which Severin Looks Into an Alternate Universe

July 22, 1156

"You and Celina sure know how to raise a gentleman, Dalston," Octavius mused aloud as he watched the three toddlers playing on the rug. "He's perfectly content to let the girls play with Noah and the animals. I imagine he fancies the young princess a little, maybe."

Smiling, Severin turned to the duke. "Just as well, isn't it, Dalston? Chances are, Roderick wants Leara to marry Lorn when they're older."

As awful as he felt about it, he still hadn't quite forgiven Dalston for his attempt to arrange a match between Raia and Lorn; he had to admit to taking a certain, rather twisted pleasure in suggesting the daughter of Roderick, of whom Dalston was not fond, for Dalston's own son. He would feel repentant later, he was certain.

"Mutual grandchildren with Roderick and Geneva?" moaned Dalston. "I wouldn't wish that fate on my worst enemy... although I suppose that's what Octavius will get if the baby's a girl."

Octavius chuckled. "My baby isn't even born yet and you're asking me to think about grandchildren already? I'm only twenty-six years old, you know."

"My wife is only twenty-four, and she thinks about grandchildren. I doubt your wife does," the duke sighed.

"Yes, but your wife actually treats you with respect," Octavius assured him, "plus I don't imagine Celina has to shave. Medea does."

"Medea shaves?" repeated Severin in both disbelief and secret delight. He'd tried to like Medea, he really had, but the task seemed beyond him; she was just too snobbish and self-involved for his taste. Alina disliked her even more than he did--he was surely a horrible person, but he couldn't wait to see the look on her face when he told her of Medea's facial hair woes.

"Who shaves?"

Celina had stepped into the sitting room, the new baby in her arms. "Your son, Octavius. Medea named him Sparron, for her father."

"Congratulations, Octavius," Severin acknowledged him. "Also to you, Celina, and Geneva."

He hadn't quite known what Octavius had been thinking, letting Medea have her way and summoning only the queen and the duchess to deliver the baby. The experience of Arydath Diarn was something Severin would not have wanted Alina to labor without, but Medea would not have a peasant woman be the first person to ever see any child of hers.

"He has his mother's eyes," sighed the new father as Celina handed him his little son. "I wonder if he will grow to have her beard as well."

Celina blushed, clearly trying hard to repress her giggling. "I must say, Octavius, your beard is much more enviable than your wife's."

"That's true. Thank you, Celina."

He smiled at Sparron once more, then looked up at the duchess. "My dear, if you don't mind, I would like you and your husband to be this boy's godparents."

"It would be our honor, Octavius," Dalston answered.

Suddenly, the door opened to reveal Geneva... and someone else.

"Congratulations, Octavius," declared the queen. "You have a daughter, the future Queen of Naroni."

Octavius's eyes lit up in delighted surprise. "A son and a daughter? At once?"

"Oh, the beautiful irony!" exclaimed Severin, grinning uncontrollably. "She was reluctant to give you even one, and when she finally does, she has twins. Your brothers the Fathers must have put in a few good words for you."

"Indeed," the baron agreed. "I shall call her Jedaline, after my mother."

He then turned to Celina, who had settled on the couch beside her husband. "Celina dear, would you mind taking my son again for a few minutes? I should probably speak to my wife."

"Of course," Celina replied, pulling herself to her feet.

Severin stood, then whispered to Octavius, "Maybe bring her razor to her."

"Will do," the other man laughed, "if she hasn't taken it out herself already, that is; she's rather obsessive about it."

His comment was rewarded with a brief glare from Geneva; he then proceeded to leave rather quickly.

Twins. No wonder Medea had looked as though she'd swallowed an entire peasant family. Severin should've seen it coming, now that he thought about it; she'd been even larger than Thetis had been.

He found himself wondering if he and Alina would ever have twins. Surely not this time--five months along, this baby was not even quite as big as Raia had been at that stage--but maybe the next? Or the time after? Alina wanted a large family, and after having grown up with nine siblings, who wouldn't? Severin also wanted a large family, and after having grown up with one half-brother, a busy mother and a stepfather who beat her, and a father and stepmother whose marriage was on the rocks, who wouldn't? Twins would definitely take the strain of an extra pregnancy off of her... if one wanted a large family, it would make sense to also want to get two babies out of one labor.

"Severin," Geneva addressed him suddenly. "Would you mind going to the kitchen and checking how far along the cook is with our dinner? I'm feeling rather peckish."

"Will do," he obliged her, turning on his heel. "Raia, you be a good girl for a few minutes."

His daughter didn't answer; she was too preoccupied with Princess Leara and their dolls.

He headed out into the hallway, where he was greeted by an angry voice coming from the open door to Medea's chambers.

"No, Octavius! And I'd appreciate it if you didn't even consider asking me again, because I am not about to change my mind."

"But Medea..."

"No!"

Severin frowned; poor Octavius, already getting shouted at, not even an hour after his babies had been born. For a brief moment, he debated minding his own business, but that notion was quickly dismissed. He made his way to the open door and peered inside.

"Medea, just listen to me," Octavius pleaded from the bedside. "You're their mother. You have to nurse them."

Medea snorted. "I most certainly do not. I didn't even want to give birth to them in the first place, you know full well, and already I regret letting Geneva talk me into having them. If you care about the little snots so much, you'll find them a couple of lactating, peasant hussies who'd let them suckle at their tits for a small fee."

Octavius's eyes bulged. "Medea... don't you love them at all?"

"Why should I? What are they to me other than an inconvenience, and undeniable proof that I am doomed to spend the rest of my days with you? Jedaline is for Geneva, just because she wants her son to marry a daughter of mine; do whatever the hell you want with Sparron."

"So I take it you'll never want to have another?" asked Octavius softly; Severin knew the answer, and he didn't doubt that the baron did as well.

"No," Medea replied bitterly. "I don't want to find you in my bed ever again, and I shall never venture into yours. Fill it with whores, for all I care; just don't ask me to be your hole."

This scene was both familiar and unfamiliar. Once upon a time, many years ago now, a man had asked his wife for more children, and she too had refused.

But she had not been as Medea was, Severin reminded himself as he wandered back toward the sitting room, no intention of stopping by the kitchen now. She was a kind, loving woman. She cared deeply about her family, and when she had told her husband she would bear him no more babies, she had not raised her voice. She had not given him reasons of pure, unbridled selfishness; simply her thoughts, her feelings.

And her husband was no Octavius. He had never been one to take defeat lying down, and was likely not above taking what he felt was rightfully his. Also, unlike Octavius, he'd deserved his wife's refusal, and more.

As he returned to the sitting room, Severin's eyes fell to young Jedaline. She was in the arms of her future mother-in-law; fitting, that the current Queen of Naroni would be the one to bring her successor into the world.

"She has her father's eyes," he mused aloud.

"She will be a great lady, like her mother," Geneva insisted.

Severin shook his head. "Much greater."

"Papa?" Raia addressed him from where she was seated on the floor.

He sent a quick smile her way, then gently lifted her into his arms.

"Say goodbye to everyone, angel," he told her. "We're going home to Mama now."


August 23, 1140

Hide-and-go-seek was not a matter to be taken lightly among seven-year-old boys. It was the third round now, and Severin felt the need to redeem himself. Rudolphus had been 'it' in the first round, and it was his birthday, so naturally, Severin had chosen a lousy, obvious hiding spot and allowed his brother to find him rather quickly. In the second round, Alina had been 'it', and he always let Alina find him, but now it was Vulcran's turn, and Severin felt no need to make things easy.

So he'd chosen to hide in his parents' bedroom. The other children weren't allowed in that particular room, and he himself was no exception, so he supposed it was cheating, but that was fine; according to his stepmother, his father cheated all the time.

He would hide behind Viridis's screens, he decided. That way, if Vulcran dared peek his head inside, Severin wouldn't be seen.

Plus, Severin noticed as he moved closer, they had little holes in them; he could look through if he wanted. It was a useful innovation for hide-and-go-seek, but he had to wonder why on earth his father had bought his wife dressing screens with holes in them... or maybe they played hide-and-go-seek every once in a while, only they weren't limited to certain rooms?

And a mirror too! Now he could even spy with his back turned! His father and stepmother were very smart people, to think of all this; he found himself debating which of the two of them was better at hide-and-go-seek. Viridis, certainly. She was smaller... but then again, Severin's father had wandering eyes, or at least that's what Viridis said. It was nice to finally know what she was talking about.

Severin panicked slightly as the door creaked open; how had Vulcran thought to look here so quickly? However, a quick look in the mirror told him that it was only Viridis.

He'd have to stay quiet anyway, though; he didn't want to get in trouble.

Severin's stepmother was so pretty, with her fair hair and large brown eyes. He'd always thought she was especially pretty when she let her hair down; there was something rather matronly about women who put their hair up, and Viridis really was a lady who only lacked a certain youthfulness to make her absolutely exquisite.

His father often joked that Viridis was far too lovely to be his wife; Viridis would then ask him why felt the need to take so many mistresses, if that was the case. Severin didn't exactly know what a mistress was, except that his mother was one, but every time he'd asked any of the three adults, they'd change the subject. Rudolphus had told him that a mistress was a whore, whatever that was, but Severin knew this wasn't true because these whore things got paid, and his mother only ever got paid for cleaning.

Oh, but poor Viridis was looking a little worse for the wear. She had dark circles under her eyes, like Severin's father had every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday morning when Severin saw him coming out of his mother's bedroom. He wanted to run to her and give her a hug, but then she'd know he was in her room, where he wasn't supposed to go.

Once again, the door opened. If Severin had revealed himself to Viridis alone, he would have gotten off with a quick laugh and a light scolding, but now it was of the utmost importance that he remain hidden.

"Well, hello there, beautiful!" Severin's father greeted his wife as he prowled toward her. "I was wondering where you'd gotten to. Searle and Riona a little tiring for you? Or is it their brood? Ten children, pretty much one right after the other... can you imagine?"

"I don't doubt that you have ten children as well," chided Viridis.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, Lonriad had seated himself down beside her, grinning widely. "Oh, but you don't. Ever thought about joining the club, sweetheart?"

Viridis bit her lip. "I daresay Rudolphus did enough permanent damage to my hips as it is."

"Your hips are perfect," slurred Lonriad. "And if you're worried about what nine more babies can do... Riona's hips are perfect too."

"Yes, I couldn't help but notice that you were looking."

Lonriad chuckled. "If you were a man, you'd look too."

She didn't seem particularly amused. "Lonriad, I'm twenty-eight years old. My only child is eleven. I'm not having any more babies."

"But honey," her husband protested, "that's not because there's anything wrong with you. That's because we haven't had sex in ten years."

"I haven't, maybe. You certainly have. Clever, having Laveria sleep in the room right under this one, really, and don't pretend it isn't you occasionally making the maids pant and moan in the nooks and crannies."

He sighed. "Look, before you know it, Rudolphus will be getting married, and Severin will be off on his way, and we'll still be relatively young with no one left to care for. Don't you want a pretty little girl, Viridis? Or another strong, strapping boy? People are talking, Viridis."

Silence. Then--

"Let them talk, Lonriad. I told you when I found out about Laveria, I told you when I found out about the women before her, I told you when Severin was born... no more. I shall not hinder your quest for new notches in your bedpost by preoccupying you with an old one."

She then stood. "I still have to show Riona and her girls the new paneling in the ballroom."

"Have fun with that, sugar," Lonriad acknowledged her. "And remember. If you change your mind... well, you know I like a warm body to hold close at night."

"Indeed I do," she assured him. "Why else would you spend three nights week in Laveria's room?"

Viridis left rather in a hurry, closing the door firmly behind her.

Severin couldn't say he understood. Why didn't Viridis want more babies? She was a great mother--better than his own, though he felt a little guilty admitting it. And she would certainly have pretty daughters, maybe just as pretty as the Sadiel girls... well, except for Alina. No one's daughters could be prettier than Alina.

His father let out another deep sigh, then leaned forward, placing his hand on his forehead.

"Dammit," he muttered to himself. "Dammit, dammit, dammit. Ten years. Ten fucking years. Dammit!"

All games and rules forgotten, Severin emerged from behind the screens. "Papa?"

This seemed to return Lonriad to his usual self. "Dammit, Severin! What the hell are you doing in here?"

"I was just... just hiding," admitted Severin. "I didn't want to lose three rounds in a row; I promise I didn't touch nothing."

"Anything," Lonriad corrected him, clearly annoyed. "Come here, boy. Now."

Hanging his head, Severin trudged forward. Surely he'd be hit, or sent to bed without supper. Surely not that latter, he hoped; birthday feasts were a rare treat, even if it wasn't his own birthday.

"Sit," his father commanded.

Severin sat.

"I hope you realize how lucky you are that you'll never marry," Lonriad chose to begin his lecture. "Women! Especially wives; they can be such disagreeable creatures. Sometimes, a man's just got to be his own man. You're damn fortunate, Severin, damn fortunate."

He shrugged. "I dunno. What if I want to kiss and cuddle ladies?"

"Don't say 'dunno'; it's 'don't know'. And you can kiss and cuddle ladies without getting married; where the hell do you think you came from, stupid? The village market?"

"Rudolphus said I was an import from Bohemia."

His father laughed. "Don't listen to your brother; he's an idiot. I'll tell you where you came from. Your mama shoved you out from between her legs, because nine months earlier, I shoved my cock in that same place. Satisfied?"

Severin raised an eyebrow. "That's silly."

"Oh, you think so now, but give it another seven or eight years, and you'll see how much fun it is," Lonriad promised. "Don't tell your brother about this, he'll be angry if he knows I told you before I told him. But take my advice, kid; when you've got your cock in some woman's cunt, if you feel this really good feeling coming on, take it out. A few times, I forgot to do that, and that's why you and your brother are here today."

Rudolphus had been made the same way he had? That was news to Severin; he'd always assumed otherwise.

"Papa, is Rudolphus a bastard too?" he inquired thoughtfully.

Lonriad scowled. "Who called you that?"

"I dun--er, don't know. People," answered Severin. "Why? Is it bad? What is a bastard, anyway?"

"Severin," his father sighed. "Severin, Severin, Severin. You understand that I'm married to Viridis, right? And that Viridis is Rudolphus's mama?"

Severin nodded. "Yes?"

"And you understand that I'm not married to your mama?"

"Yes...?"

"And that I'm both your papa and Rudolphus's papa?"

"Yes...?"

His father frowned; Severin had often seen him angry, but never before had Lonriad looked so grim. "You see, a bastard is someone whose papa wasn't married to his mama."

"Is it bad?" Severin asked once more.

"Some people think so," replied Lonriad, "but I don't. Would I keep you and your mama around if I did?"

Severin sighed. "I guess not..."

"Oh, cheer up, Severin," his father ordered him. "I promise you, I love you just as much as I love your brother, and that's a damn lot, considering how useless the both of you are. And if anyone calls you a bastard again, just send them to me and dare them to say it again."

NEXT CHAPTER:

7 comments:

Dinuriel said...

Sorry about a few little glitches in this post. For example, Viridis looks a lot older than she should here. This is because I normally have the "middle age" makeup on both her and Lonriad, and for some reason, it wouldn't let me take it off of her when I went to change her appearance. I've had that problem before with things like facial hair, but that was the first time I ever encountered it while taking pictures, so I was pretty pissed off about that.

Also, you may have noticed that both Raia and Leara--and maybe even Lorn too--have waaaaay too much hair for nine-month-olds. I take full responsibility for this, and I don't regret it at all. I was going to give them really short, wispy hair, but then I realized just how many toddler hairs I had and I was just kind of like "gaaaah fuck realism, let's give them the pretty hairs".

Also, just asking for opinions... Naroni/Ashelia cameos? Do it? Don't do it? It won't affect any storylines, just might make certain bit roles a little more interesting for anyone reading both blogs (but it won't affect the story for anyone who's only reading one). I've already got pictures of Adonis-as-a-royal-groom for the next Ashelia chapter, so... should I continue with the whole cameo idea?

Penelope said...

Ooo I really like the name Sparron and I don't know why.

"Rudolphus said I was an import from Bohemia."

bwhahahaha!

You couldn't take the make-up off? That's a strange glitch.

Adonis is in Ashelia? Coooolllllll. I can't wait.

Yeah sure, go for the cameos.

Dinuriel said...

I like that name too. I'm sure he'll probably get "Sparrow" while he's still little. He grows up to look a lot like his mom; I think I'll keep him around, but I do think his dad is better looking than he is, which definitely says something.

Jeda, however, turns out shockingly pretty. I was expecting any daughters of Octavius and Medea to be hags, but I honestly think Jeda is the prettiest baby girl born in Naroni so far.

Now that you mentioned that line, I wonder when I should bring Severin's brother Rudolphus into the story. He does have a sim, so...

Yeah, my bootlegged game has some incredible glitches. Like, any lot that goes in my lot bin can never be entered again. And memories and job wants don't have icons. And a few other relatively harmless, but still rather annoying things like that. I really wish my lot bin worked, though. I kinda hate building.

Phoenix said...

YAY!!! I caught up!!! Finally right?! Haha!! Okay!

Can I just say I LOVE Florian! I don't know what it is about him but I always end up grinning after reading anything deal with him. Maybe it's his blunt manners but I guess when you're going to die you figure what the heck right?!

Poor Thetis. Is it wrong of me to hope that she and Florian get a little loving before(if?) he dies? I mean I like Electra but she can have a life AFTER Florian dies! And Thetis will be stuck with freakin Norwan! Grr!! Ohhh...maybe she'll end up married to Falidor?

Okay, Severin? Who isn't in LURVE with him? HE should be king but then again I don't think he has the ability to play games with people that heads of states need! *sigh* I enjoyed the flashback as well. I mean it makes sense that his father would think that his stepmother shouldn't be upset because of his affairs given the time period. I'm surprised he ALLOWS it though considering that people are 'talking'.

Oh gosh! I'm really enjoying this story. Your characters make me really care about them! I've imagined several death scenes for Norwan and Geneva just cracks me up! She was SOOO born in the wrong century! All the relationships and intermingling of those relationships through marriage and not to mention the back story all make this an enjoyable read!

Okay, I'm done gushing! *scurries back to to work on her story*

Oh btw, I still have to catch up on Ashelia at War!

Dinuriel said...

Yay, Phoenix! Glad you're enjoying the story so far! :D

Florian is by far the character I have the most fun writing. I think even if he doesn't die, I'll still write him as being blunt and sarcastic, because... well, that's Florian :)

Haven't quite made up my mind about a Florian/Thetis romance yet. It's certainly a possibility at this point. I'm surprised you mentioned Falidor... we'll be seeing him again after the little bit of unfortunate drama coming up in a few Naroni months.

Severin would definitely be a better king than Roderick, but you're right, he's a little too honest for the position. Plus I don't imagine he'd like having that much power. As for his father and stepmother... well, they don't hate each other or anything, but they were never really in love, exactly. They're good buddies where sex isn't concerned, but obviously, they have their own little opinions where it is. Lonriad is pretty crude, but he's a decent enough guy, which is why he puts up with Viridis being a prude.

Haha, Geneva. Geneva's antics will play a bit of a role come the beginning of 1157. Not sure if I've said too much there... :)

Ooooooooh new Ravensworth or Lycan Tales!

Ashelia, fortunately, is much shorter than Naroni at this point.

Emaena said...

I'm not sure if I like Severin's father's branch of tough love. Viridis is rather pretty, though. So this was the scene Severin was recalling? At first I thought it was a scene between his mother and his stepfather... Mm, it seems Severin loves his stepmother. Will she come visit someday?

Dinuriel said...

His father's softened up a bit over the years... perhaps a little too much. But you'll see what I mean pretty soon :P

Yeah, Severin and the stepmother were pretty tight. Interesting that you should mention his stepfather, though. There have only been a few off-hand hints about what happened there, but it'll eventually work its way into the story.