December 8, 2009

In Which Ceidrid Is an Upstanding Citizen

April 19, 1164

Rifden had been complaining of headaches lately, so today, Ceidrid had left him in Alsina's charge and headed to the village for some herbs from Laveria. Fortunately, she hadn't been particularly busy--and it didn't hurt that Ceidrid's brother was one of the healer's close friends--so he'd managed to get what he needed fairly quickly. Now, all he had to do was head back home and boil them in a pail-full of water from the well, and hopefully the kid would shut up about his headaches, therefore preventing any in either of his siblings. Oh well; at least Rifden didn't have anything serious. By this point, the Wythleits were well aware of what "serious" was, and this wasn't it.

"Look, I really have to get going..."

"Oh, but what's the rush?"

The voices were coming from the narrow gap between Laveria and Jothein's respective shops. Ceidrid recognized the first voice as Florian's, but the second was unfamiliar--breathy, feminine, and lyrical. Curious, he approached the end of Laveria's wall and peered around the corner; he knew it was rude to spy and eavesdrop, but he just had to see if that pretty voice had a pretty face to match it.

"I've told you three times already, I'm a happily married man!" Florian snapped. "You're an attractive young thing, and I'm sure you're absolute wildfire in bed, but I love my wife, all right? Can't you just get that? God, why couldn't you have come around when I was single? Or were you even born back then?"

"I'm seventeen!" insisted the girl.

Florian snorted. "I doubt you're even fifteen."

"You could split me open and count my rings, if you want."

Florian shifted, allowing Ceidrid to catch sight of the girl's face; he realized that the man had been wrong to call her attractive. To say she was attractive was insufficient. That was to say that the sun was only as bright as a candle, or that the smell of freshly baked bread was merely pleasant. Ceidrid searched his head for a word to more aptly describe this girl, only to find that either he did not know one, or it had yet to be coined.

She sent a smile Florian's way; if Ceidrid squinted, he could imagine it was directed at him. "You know, a man can love his wife and still have his fun on the side. Get with the times, you geezer."

Florian only laughed. "I'll have you know that I'm all sexed out right now. If you really want to get with me, maybe try right after my wife has a baby--and I'll still probably say no."

The girl raised an eyebrow. "Probably? What do you mean, 'probably'?"

"I mean 'we're not bumping uglies'."

Why should she be so intent on sleeping with Florian? It wasn't as if there weren't any other interested male parties around; what did Florian have that Cei--er, other men didn't?

"Besides, I don't even have any money on me."

...oh. Indeed, Ceidrid certainly didn't have much of that.

"Oh, stop making excuses," the girl scolded; there was something about her face, Ceidrid noticed, that seemed vaguely familiar. "It's starting to get annoying."

Annoying? So, she was past that point of wanting him as a customer--he was now bothering her. And what sort of citizen would Ceidrid be if he didn't come to the aid of a young woman in need?

"Florian!" he gasped, sharply turning the corner and dashing between the two of them. "Florian, thank God I found you! You, uh... you're needed! Uh... Falidor's house is on fire!"

Falidor's house is on fire? Where the hell had that come from? He really should have thought this through...

Florian blinked. "...What?"

Ceidrid nodded. "I can't believe I made it in time! Really, I'm surprised you can't see the smoke from here--I've never seen such a fire in my life! They need all the help they can get! I'll get Jothein and Willott--you get over to Falidor's as quick as you can!"

From the look in his eyes, Ceidrid couldn't be sure if Florian truly believed him or if it had just suddenly dawned on him that he was bothering this girl; nevertheless, he swallowed and took off in the direction of Falidor's house. "Don't worry, Falidor! I'll get there in time to save you and your children--but hopefully not in time to save your wife as well!"

Something told Ceidrid that he'd been grateful for the excuse to say something like that.

As Florian bolted out of sight, Ceidrid turned around to face the girl. God, those eyes were unlike anything he had ever seen... and yet, he could have sworn he'd seen them before...

"You're welcome."

"Hey!" he exclaimed as her hand flew across his face, leaving a stinging sensation disproportionate to its delicate size. "What the hell was that for?"

The girl scowled; somehow, she was still rather beautiful. "I'll tell you what the hell that was for! For costing me breakfast, that's what! And I was getting so close, too!"

Ceidrid shook his head in desperate protest. "You were not! Besides, you said he was getting annoying!"

"I didn't mean I wanted some kid to come and chase him off!"

In truth, Ceidrid hadn't really been listening. Somehow, the girl's eyes had set themselves upon another face, one a little older, a little worldlier, framed by unrestrained mahogany hair instead of raven braids...

"I just figured out who you sort of look like."

The girl blinked. "Sorry?"

Ceidrid nodded. "I thought you looked a little familiar! You look a bit like Mistress Indruion."

The corners of her mouth forming a thoughtful frown, the girl drummed her fingers against her chin. "Can't say the name rings a bell. Is that her married name?"

"Yes. Her first name is Honora, if that helps. I'm not sure what her maiden name is, though."

The girl pursed her lips. "What does she look like?"

"Like you," he answered, "only twenty-something and not quite as pretty. I don't really know her too well, though, so I can't tell you much else about her."

In an instant, the girl's face was inches from his own, her eyes bright, her smile wide; he did not know whether to lean forward or back. "Oh... but you can take me to her, right? I would quite like to meet this Mistress Indruion."

Ceidrid felt himself stumbling, though he could not remember even moving his feet. "Well... that might be a little presumptuous of me. Like I said, I don't really--"

"I'll make it worth your while."

Could she have possibly meant what he thought she did?

"I... I... I'm Ceidrid," he choked, hoping he'd managed to pronounce his own name right. "Ceidrid Wythleit."

"Ceidrid Wythleit," she repeated, bowing slightly and slipping her hand in his own; it was like holding the spring's first blossom. "I'm Evaleith. Evaleith Ladell."

NEXT CHAPTER:

11 comments:

Dinuriel said...

Sorry if that seemed rather half-assed. Long story short, I've had a very unmotivating day, but I ultimately felt the need to post something.

Also, if you have time or are just really bored, I would appreciate it if people read this LiveJournal post and maybe left their feedback. It basically has to do with warning labels on posts, and I'm thinking of adopting a new system, but I want to know what readers think first, since the warnings are in place for all of your comfort, not my own.

Also, if anyone cares, I've made a few changes to the layout of the character profiles blog. That obnoxious tag list has now been replaced by a more space-efficient cloud, and I now have lists of the top ten most appearances and point of views (well, there's actually eleven on the POV list currently, because there was a tie for tenth, but that can change at any time).

Thanks all :D

Penelope said...

Ah ha... I did think about Honora. Perhaps a sister of hers? We don't really know much about her background, do we?

Dinuriel said...

I was wondering if anyone would think about Honora, just because she's been completely off the radar for God knows how long *beats self with nearby objects*

Honora is one of the few characters whose back story was never entirely clear in my mind until some time after she'd already been introduced. From the get-go, all I knew was that her past was mildly sketchy, so naturally, that's all that ever got implied in the story.

Of course, now that Evaleith's here, that might get cleared up preeeetty quick--perhaps a little too quick.

Penelope said...

I always liked the idea of Honora. Probably just because she's so mysterious.

Dinuriel said...

Yeah, I kind of wish I'd written a little more about her, even if just in the background of other people's posts. I think the last time we saw Honora was right before Thetis gave birth to Alyssin, back in early 1159. Oops :(

Phoenix said...

Well...you know my reaction Van!

FLORIAN!!!! Oh man! You get better with age!:P

*clears throat*

Poor Ceidrid. I hope worth his while means what he hopes it means!:)

And this should be interesting! Off to check out the LJ post!

Dinuriel said...

Florian is going to make a wonderful octogenarian :D

Heheheh... who knows? Ceidrid might score :P

*runs off to read Lycan Tales*

Gayl said...

Looks like it just might have been fortuitous that Ceidrid happened along! I laughed so hard at Florian...he really is a hoot and a half.

Dinuriel said...

Yeah, who knows what Evaleith would have started trying? Fortunately, I think out of all the husbands in Naroni, Florian is probably the least likely to cheat on his wife, but still.

I think Ceidrid's pretty happy he went the check things out :P

S.B. said...

oh god Florian never changes does he?!

Ceidrid might get lucky, but it looks like he's going to have to work for it. I just love Evaleith's line about cutting her open and counting the rings to verify her age! That is wonderful!

Dinuriel said...

He'll be going to the grave like that, I'm sure :P

He might... but yeah, he's going to have to get her to really warm up to him. Either that or experience a sudden increase in financial capital.

Thanks :)