January 9, 2010

In Which Honora Is Invisible and Inaudible

June 11, 1164

Scanning the room for any lingering candlelight she may have missed, Honora bade her children goodnight, then descended the stairs. Good Lord, they grew up so fast; she could hardly believe it had been nine whole years since she'd first discovered she was pregnant with Had! Before she knew it, they would be off having babies of their own.

"Adonis? Are you there?" she called over the railing. She had been at the castle that morning, and had returned to find that Adonis had busied himself with the rotting floorboards in the barn's hayloft; while she appreciated his initiative, it did mean that she hadn't seen him all day.

He didn't answer, but a quick glance told her that he was, in fact, inside, seated in his favorite chair and staring off into space. Honora frowned; Adonis was too practical a man to be expected to brood. "Adonis? Is something wrong?"

Her husband grunted, only unnerving her further; he was not a man who used wordless sounds for replies. This would not do--something was troubling him, and she'd be damned if she didn't get to the bottom of it!

"Adonis!" she addressed him once more, twirling about the chair and stopping in front of him. "Adonis, talk to me. What's going on?"

For a moment or so, he only stared at her, his ordinarily dazzling eyes blank and lifeless as a pair of rocks. Then--

"Had told me he today that he heard you and Evaleith talking back when she first came."

It was truly astounding how one could be so unconscious of a beating heart, yet fully aware of the precise second during which its pulses ceased. "...sorry?"

Adonis shook his head; never before had Honora seen her resilient husband so defeated. "Please don't make me feel stupid, Honora. That's the last thing I need right now."

Gnawing on her lower lip, Honora fiddled with a lock of her hair. "Adonis, please..."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Did he really expect her to answer that? Somehow, it just didn't seem like a fair question. "I... I just... didn't want to talk about it."

"The 'it' you're referring to is your daughter, Honora."

His words were as frigid as the winter breeze. Her flesh was numb, and there was ice on her lashes. She was caught in a snowstorm; she searched desperately for any sign of shelter, but she saw neither house nor cave. There wasn't even a lousy tree.

"I'm going to go feed the animals," Adonis muttered, heaving himself out of the chair and making his way toward the door. "Don't bother waiting up for me. Sleep well, Honora."

Sleep well. The command seemed almost a curse. She might have found it less painfully if he had shouted it, or allowed it to seethe spitefully out of his mouth; his resignation was perhaps the most arduous torture of all.

She cringed as the door swung shut behind him. He would be back... wouldn't he? He couldn't just leave her... could he? Even if he no longer loved her, would he not stay for the children?

Not necessarily, she had to admit. Some men didn't stay. Some women didn't stay. Once upon a time, she herself hadn't stayed.


March 23, 1151

"Oh, don't!" Honora urged as Evaleith contentedly munched on her own fingers. "You were just playing on the floor--your hands are dirty."

The baby squealed and did as she was told. As usual, Honora was never sure whether the kid was obeying her or taunting her. God, what had she been thinking when she had turned around halfway down the path to the wise woman's house? She didn't know how to be a mother; she still needed one herself.

She did love the girl. She had carried her for nine months, birthed her, cradled her, nursed her... and yet, somehow, Honora still didn't feel as though Evaleith was truly hers. She might as well have been some other girl's baby. Of course, this sentiment was especially true when Adwyn was off on one of his voyages; it was also especially true when he wasn't. Perhaps she was simply not mature enough to be anyone's mother.

Sighing, Honora eased herself onto the bed next to Evaleith, who pointed at a spider on the opposite wall. Honora responded with a flick of her eyes. "Yes, we live in a hole right now. Get used to it--the way your father is, we're never going to have a permanent home, and probably never a nice one either."

It didn't seem right to speak ill of the man to his daughter, especially when said man could very well have been the difference between life and death for Honora herself, but over time, her opinion of Adwyn had become much like her opinion of a pagan god--handsome, exciting, and just devious enough, but with such frequent and total absences that she often doubted whether or not he even existed. This time, he'd been gone for a good three months; she found herself wondering if he would even bother coming back.

The familiar sound of the barmaid's fat fist against the door pulled her from her thoughts. "Come in."

Immediately, the woman entered, sweeping the room with her eyes as she always did; Honora could only hope that one of these days, she'd sweep it with a broom instead. "Beggin' yer pardon, missy, but Master Ladell be back fer yeh."

Honora rolled her eyes. "Speak of the devil. I trust he'll come whether I tell you to send him in or not?"

"Sounds a fair wager, missy."

Honora slipped off the bed and lit the only candle in the room; she liked the dark, but Adwyn did not. "All right, then."

A fair wager indeed--not a second after the barmaid had left, another familiar set of knuckles pounded on the door, these ones with such startling force that she very nearly toppled back into the baby. "Adwyn? Is that you?"

"No, it's God Almighty," he teased from the corridor, "or at least, that's what you'll be calling me tonight, angelface."

She rolled her eyes as he entered the room; as usual, plundering ships for weeks on end hadn't changed him at all. "Not tonight; I've been rather ill."

Adwyn closed the door behind him, then made his way toward her and locked her in a tight embrace--she resisted the urge to struggle. "Sorry to hear that, honeycake. You're on the mend, right?"

"I've been getting better," she assured him.

"The baby didn't catch it?"

"No, she's fine."

"Good."

He pressed a kiss to her cheek, then proceeded to Evaleith. Honora knew that a mother shouldn't feel envious of her child, but she could not deny that pang of jealousy as Adwyn approached the center of his universe; try as she might, she could not accept her demotion to merely the second most important person in his life.

What sort of woman was she? Resenting her lover for being a father to their daughter? Truly, she was nothing more than a spoiled little girl.

And yet, she couldn't help it; after all, who got to choose their own heart?

"Papa!" Evaleith squealed as Adwyn lifted her off the bed. "Papa home from sea!"

Adwyn beamed at her, his eyes adoring as ever. "Yes! And one day, when you're bigger, I'm going to take you and Mama with me! Doesn't that sound fun?"

Evaleith smiled, showcasing her small number of teeth. "Sea!"

Honora groaned inwardly. She had sailed with Adwyn once or twice, before Evaleith was born, and she had spent most of those trips leaning over the railing, vomiting more than she could have possibly have eaten on a pirate's rations; she could not say she cared to set foot on a ship again.

But she could not tell him this. He loved the sea. He loved ships and sailing and piracy. It was more than a livelihood to Adwyn--it was his life, his very soul.

And Evaleith! The one he loved most! How he had longed to take her along with him since before she was born, to show her the waves and sunset sparkling on the water and all the leaping dolphins. Oh, and it was obvious to anyone with eyes that the girl wanted to go too, with the way her face came alight at any mention of the prospect. One day, he would take her to the sea, and one day, she would go willingly with him.

And all the while, Honora would be sulking along behind, as invisible and inaudible as ever.

NEXT CHAPTER:

9 comments:

Dinuriel said...

Gah. I am behind on life. This is especially true with people's stories--there are so many chapters out there that I've read that I still need to go back and comment on, but that will have to wait, because I've been mildly ill and my back hurts and I'm unusually tired for two in the morning.

Anyway, I'm going into town tomorrow, on a perhaps useless quest to find a cheap expansion pack or two. I know, finally. Wish me luck!

Em said...

Argh. I had a lovely comment written when my connection died. Dammit.

Basically I said that I hoped you'd feel better soon, and that you found those expansion packs. ;)

Honora gives us some answers here (she's not bigamous! yay!), but she also gives us some questions. I do wonder what else she is hiding. I suspect this is only half of the tale. :(

Dinuriel said...

Aaaaaah, that's always frustrating when that happens! That's happened to me too on several occasions--definitely makes you want to throw the computer out the window.

Thanks Em. I'm feeling better today than I was yesterday, but I just woke up, so I guess we'll see :)

We'll get the rest of the story, like how Honora hooked up with Adwyn in the first place, next post, even though there will probably still be a few blanks to fill in. Next post is the last we'll be seeing of Adonis and Honora for a while--and then after one Ceidrid/Evaleith post several posts in the future, this storyline will be officially over :)

Phoenix said...

Hmmm...that life had to suck for Honora. Especially considering that she's a woman and most women during this time married for stability and a home. With her she wasn't married and she she didn't have a stable home. She had a daughter she wasn't really fond of and a lover who was gone more than he was there. Sad really. With Adonis she has everything she didn't have in her 'previous' life. *sigh* And I so badly wanted to dislike her!:P

YAY for cheap expansion packs! Hope you find some soon!:) And I hope you feel better as well! Take care of yourself Van!

Dinuriel said...

Oh yeah, it definitely wasn't happy times. I wouldn't say she wasn't fond of Evaleith, exactly. She was really young when she had her (she's fourteen in this flashback--she would have been thirteen when Evaleith was born), and Adwyn took to parenthood more readily than she did, so she kind of felt useless whenever he was around and abandoned whenever he wasn't.

But yeah, she has everything she could have dreamed of with Adonis. He's a stable guy, and she was actually mature enough to be a real mother to his kids when they came around (she was nineteen when Had was born).

Sadly, I couldn't find any expansions today. All I could find was Sims for PS2, which I'm pretty sure I can't use for storytelling. I was in kind of a more antique-and-coffee-shop area, though, so I might try somewhere different next time I go EP hunting.

Thanks Phoenix :)

Whymustallthegoodonesbetaken said...

Its so interesting to finally be able to hear more about Honora's past! I feel for her. Adwyn was quite the hot pirate! Of course I absolutely love Adonis though. Hope they work things out. Can't wait to see the next post!

Gayl said...

So she had some legitimate reasons for leaving...young, confused, feeling inadequate and probably believing at the time that her daughter would be better cared for with Adwyn (who I am guessing is much older than her if she is 14). And a pirate's life...that would be hard on them as well. No stability at all. And this brings to mind the question of why Evaleith went looking for her?

Plus I hope Adonis gives her a chance to explain and understands.

I hope you feel better Van! And that you find cheap EPs.

Dinuriel said...

Yeah, I'm happy that some of that is out in the open now. Just writing about it makes me feel for her a little more too, although I still think she could have handled the situation with Evaleith differently.

And Adwyn is rather attractive, isn't he? I imagine he was exciting too, or at least before Evaleith came along. He wasn't exactly marriage material, though (although in his defense, he was always a good daddy when he was actually around). But yeah, Honora's definitely happy with Adonis (at least, before Evaleith showed up in Naroni).

Thanks :)

Dinuriel said...

Oh yeah, she definitely had some legitimate concerns. Adwyn was twenty at the time of this flashback (which is creepy today, but would have been okay back then), so he was definitely better prepared to be a parent than Honora was, unstable lifestyle aside.

As for why Evaleith went looking for Honora... well, we'll have to wait a while to get that insight.

Thanks Gayl :) Unfortunately, no luck with the cheap EPs today, but who knows? Maybe I'll stumble across some at some point.