August 25, 2010

In Which Severin Encounters a Fellow Outsider

July 19, 1168

Against all odds, Severin had been feeling better since his night with Geneva.

He didn't really know why that was, and all he achieved by thinking about it was even further confusion. It had been... relaxing, as surprising as that was. Cleansing, perhaps, or at least some sort of temporary sanctuary. All throughout that night, he'd scarcely had to think; he had been in desperate need of an escape from his troubled, grieving mind, even if his longing for Alina had only strengthened after the fact.

She hadn't stayed long after they'd woken, and he hadn't seen her since, but never before had he noticed just how many women there were in his direct vicinity. Widowed cooks, unattached chambermaids, dissatisfied wives of neglectful merchants--they were everywhere. If ever he found himself slipping back into his previous depression, his productivity receding to such levels that would have formerly required a lengthy withdrawal to his favorite guest chamber, all he had to do was chat up the nearest willing lady and steal away to an empty room for a quick bout of mindless, fully instinctual passion. It was the only sure way to clear his head.

He'd spent the better part of an hour that morning in the company of the feisty little redhead who served as maid to his two older daughters, and found he'd been able to complete all of his paperwork for the next three weeks. It would have been nice to finish off the month, but his inkwell had run dry and he could not find a spare anywhere in his study; fortunately, he knew for a fact that there was one in his preferred sleeping quarters.

But upon entry, he found much more than an extra inkwell. "Oh. I'm sorry."

"Don't be; I had just finished dusting," the woman dismissed. She was simultaneously solid and spindly, with the beginnings of spinsterhood sags and a face that would be best described as comical, but there was something about her that was undeniably captivating. Perhaps it was the impossible blue of her eyes, or the shimmering hair that might have been spun of sunlight; most likely, however, it was her air of casualty, her assertive, unyielding stance. "I take it you're Lord Severin?"

He nodded, closing the door behind him and taking a few steps toward her. "And you are...?"

"My name is Marelle. I've been working here for a while now, but our paths haven't crossed; your son Searle hired me while you were indisposed."

"In that case, you should be flattered. My son has much stricter hiring standards than I do; I've been known to hand out jobs to every incompetent fool who asks for one, but Searle refuses to settle for second best." He watched as she turned away, stifling a giggle; she had a charming blush. "Have you been in Naroni long?"

"A few years," she answered, rolling her eyes as if the memory exhausted her. "I came along with one of the local merchants when he moved his family out here. I was his mistress for quite some time, but he traded me in for someone younger and prettier."

It was said with all the neutrality of one describing the weather. Severin blinked; he could not remember ever hearing a woman so bluntly admitting to an unconventional lifestyle before. "I'm sorry to hear that."

Marelle laughed, brushing the notion to the side with a flick of her slender wrist. "Water under the bridge, you know? I'm just surprised you didn't overlook my honesty and order me out of here on account of sins other than lying."

"What sins?" he demanded; he wondered if society would ever be over this wretched double-standard. "I see no ring on your finger, and I can't imagine this man's actions were against his own free will."

"Exactly." She took hold of a stray lock of hair and curled it between her fingers. "I'm sorry if I'm saying too much. You see, I'm a very open person, but most people seem to take offense to that; it's refreshing to talk to someone who seems to think otherwise."

"Between you and me, I believe that people could stand to be a little more open," he did his best to assure her. "The world would be a better place."

She nodded in agreement. "That it would. I can't imagine a single one of those judgmental pricks out there has nothing to hide."

"Indeed, the root of judgmentalism is insecurity." For whatever reason, his father's face flashed in front of his mind's eye.

Marelle leaned back and studied him, a grin swelling on her moist lips. "That may be the most startling piece of wisdom I've ever heard."

"For the sake of the next generation, I hope it won't remain so," he laughed. "You can't be very old; you have many years ahead of you, and if civilization is to progress at all, you'll surely hear many wiser musings than that one."

That rosiest of hues returned to her cheeks; she didn't seem like the blushing type, but her blood had a mind of its own. "In any case, the standard has been set pretty high."

"You flatter me. I assure you that I am nothing more than an outsider looking into a world not my own--bastard second son and all, you know."

She replied with a wink. "In that case, we are akin. The world wants nothing to do with filthy mistresses either."

He sent her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "There are worse things one can be than a mistress."

"And in your opinion, my lord, what might those things be?"

Her question had caught him off-guard. Had the conversation gone differently, he might have given her many possible answers. Cowards. Lechers. People who fell unquestioning into predetermined patterns and did nothing to break free. The possibilities were endless, if not for one technicality. "Any answer I give is a judgment, is it not?" Any answer was a judgment. Any judgment was an insecurity. Any insecurity was a fear--or worse, an admission he did not care to make.

She didn't press the matter, but if she made the connection, she didn't let it phase her. She brushed past him as she made her way to his other side. "You know, my lord... I've spent my whole life running. I ran from my family after my uncle caught me in bed with my stepfather. I ran from my village after I took a mixture to free myself of his seed. I ran from Dovia when the neighbors were growing suspicious of my relationship with the man I followed here."

Glancing down at his wedding band, Severin sighed. "I don't imagine any of us ever stop running."

"Agreed." She took a seat on the edged of the bed and grinned. "Care to catch me?"



Van said...

I hadn't originally intended for Marelle to be so anachronistic, but the post seemed to progress more fittingly than it would have if she had just been some shy little innocent caught off-guard by Severin's arrival. In any case, I'm not exactly known for my respect for historical accuracy, so I'm okay with her being a little too 21st century. Besides, in terms of the storyline, she's more of a plot device than anything else and I doubt we'll ever see her again, except maybe in the background.

Extras will be updated tomorrow, since I have an early morning appointment and should really get to bed :(

S.B. said...

at first I was stunned, and now I am THRILLED! This is wonderful WONDERFUL! Adoring the possibilities here, and Marelle is...well the word anachronistic wouldn't be my first choice LOL! A mature woman with a sense of humor and a hell of a lot of intelligence! Severin, grab her!

Van said...

She is quite bright, and ideologically, they're quite on par with one another. I can't see this developing into anything more, though. It took Severin a whole year to reach the point where he felt comfortable with sleeping around, so I doubt he'll be ready to actually commit to anybody any time soon. Meanwhile, I'm not sure Marelle would be happy being somebody's wife. She seems like the type who gets more out of life when single.

But as far as casual sex partners go, they do suit each other quite nicely.

Phoenix said...

She seems pretty cool!:) LOL! I can see those two just hanging out together either having sex or just chilling as friends!

Interesting that Severin is still wearing his wedding band when he's sleeping with other females. I would think that he would take it off or something! Hmm...

Van said...

I doubt we'll be seeing much of her in the future. I just needed someone random for this post (she's a repurposed NPC). I could always give her a slightly bigger part at some point, though, like a personal maid to one of the girls or something.

As for the wedding band... well, that's Sims for you :P The only way to get the ring off the finger is by divorce, and I don't think I could bear to do that to them (Alina's sim is still alive in-game). In any case, though, I can't see him taking it off unless he ends up marrying someone else at some point.

thewynd said...

It is interesting to see Severin falling into a pattern of behavior that he loathed in his father. On the other hand, if it is helping him cope I guess it is fine as long as he snaps out of it soon.

I'm curious, even though Alina is dead in the story you said she is still alive in the game. Do they still live together? I've always wondered if your families are...families in the game.

Van said...

And to think, he scarcely even seems to realize it :S

Yep, Alina still lives on the lot. I sometimes repurpose the sims of deceased characters, but I might need Alina for a flashback or a dream sequence or something. I'll probably have to move her out of the house if Severin gets married again, though.

Penelope said...

Oh goodness, is Severin going to wake up one morning and have a breakdown at the thought that he is turning into his Pater?

Actually, now that I have typed that, it is pretty clear to me that what Severin is doing is pretty different from Lonriaditude. Severin is looking for escapism. We have never had any indication that this is the root of Lonriad's promiscuity. He sleeps around because he enjoys the act in its self. His end-game is to get laid. Severin gets laid to achieve a sense of relief and of forgetting. Can't really say whether one is better than the other unless this starts to control Severin's life (and not because he enjoys it).

Van said...

I doubt we'll ever know exactly how Lonriad became so promiscuous, but looking at some figures in my database, he must have had a pretty tough life. He was thrust into a position of power when he was eight years old and he had his sickly little sister to worry about all the time. He might have originally turned to promiscuous behavior as a means of escape or stress management, but then found that it was his One True Calling to bang as many women as possible. I doubt we'll ever know, really, and I can't imagine Lonriad thinks about it.

As for Severin, I don't think he thinks he's acting like his father. Not at this point, at least. However, I wouldn't be surprised if he started thinking that eventually :S