June 26, 2013

In Which Laralita Finds Nothing in the Violet

January 2, 1182

Two days was too soon for a funeral.

It had been closer to one day, even, given the late hour of Roderick's death. Laralita had been a wreck that night, as well as the day after, all tears and loose hair and God only knew what else, not bothering to dress or leave her bedroom or even eat for all the world seemed too large a place without him.

Today, though, she was numb. It was early for numbness if she recalled anything about loss, but perhaps the pain of losing Roderick had been so strong that her heart had been forced to retire, a day of sabbatical in order before the grief could go on. She'd overheard more than one acquaintance remark about how well she was keeping herself together, but she didn't think that was it. More like she might as well have died too.

But the funeral had been over a while now, and the last of the mourners had been filing out when she'd retreated to her bedroom with the only daughter she still had with her. She hadn't seen Lily or any of her other children at all the day before, and from what she'd heard, Lily had been distraught, but controlled. That apt description still applied from what Laralita could see; she wore a brave face, but at a moment alone, her father's grey eyes might have been brimming.

Ah, but she couldn't think about Roderick. It was impossible not to think about Roderick, but every thought was a reminder that she'd never see him again. She had to think about something else. Anything else.

"Your singing teacher says you have a lovely voice." Lily looked taken aback and Laralita supposed she couldn't blame her; she'd always found music a bit of a bore. But talking about music was the furthest thing from talking about Roderick. "I hope it won't be long before you let the rest of us hear it." A pity that your father never will.

"Did she?" Her daughter blushed, though her eyes didn't light. "Oh, I don't know. I'm not comfortable with it yet."

"Don't be silly. I know for a fact that music teachers are stingy with their compliments. If she says you have a lovely voice, then you must."

"I suppose I'm all right, maybe. But--" But 'what', Laralita never found out. Lily turned her head just as Laralita looked up, cued by the creak of the door and her stepson's shoes. "Hello, Ietrin."

"Sister." Ietrin didn't even look at Laralita. "If you don't mind, I'd like a word with your mother alone."

Unsure, Lily looked to her for confirmation first. Not up to an argument with Ietrin today, Laralita nodded. "It's all right. Go practice your singing for me."

Her daughter nodded and hurried off, brushing past her half-brother on the way out but not gathering a second of attention. Laralita had never known Ietrin to hold more than one thing in mind at a time.

"I didn't expect you to be so calm today."

And I didn't expect you to throw your father a funeral unworthy of the king he was. But she wouldn't say it aloud--every mourner had thought it, so it was only a matter of time before the sentiment got back to him somehow. For once in her life, she chose the direct option. "What do you want, Ietrin?"

"As I said, a word."

"You've never wanted a word with me."

"And I doubt I shall ever want one again." A little blunt, even for a man whose father had just passed. A lucky thing for him that she'd lost her will to feel. "And that is why this is necessary. We're both upset about my father's death and lesser people would excuse us for wanting to divorce ourselves from the world for a time, but I find no sense in delaying any crucial arrangements."

Odd that he would be talking to her then. Laralita had never been much for those aspects of her rank. "Such as...?"

"I shall be blunt. I've never liked you." He sat where Lily had the minute before, but no longer did Roderick's eyes pain her and comfort her. She found nothing in the violet. "My father loved you and I loved him, so I was willing to put up with you while he lived, but now that he is no more, I see no point in your continued presence here. You and your children have one week."



Van said...

Definitely ready for the upcoming long weekend... :)

Joseph said...

Ietrin, you fucking fucking dickhead! Ugh, why does Ietrin have to be a complete prat? Why can't he be poisoned? Why can't Severin be king?

I've never liked Laralita but that was just bang out of order. Seriously I just....

Ugh I want to kill him!!!

Ann said...

Oh, you utter ass! Gah! Can I strangle him please? Or maybe throw him in a pool filled with piranhas?

Poor Laralita. ~~ She didn't deserve that.

I hope his repution among common and nobles alike will suffer for this until no one will trust him! Maybe at some point someone will call back Fred to repeat his services on the new king. *fumes*

Anonymous said...

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? A week? A WEEK? Ietrin, you make John Dashwood (of Sense and Sensibility look like a saint!

Jesus Christ, Ietrin, you have a whole castle to play in. Just give Laralita and her kids a wing and don't go near that wing. Easy peasy.

I hope all the nobles are up in arms about this. This is cold-hearted, cruel, and utterly unacceptable. Naroni deserves a better king than someone who would treat his grieving stepmother and his own half-siblings like this. I vote for a rebellion that puts Queen Dea on the throne with her mother and Severin as co-regents until she's old enough to rule for herself!

And I really hope that wherever Laralita moves, it's not with Severin, Searle-the-no-longer-dying, or Mona.

Van said...

Joseph: No matter how I look at him, it's difficult to find empathy in Ietrin. He might be a psychopath. I don't know.

Yeah, whatever way you slice it, even though Laralita has never been popular among readers and characters alike, good luck finding anyone who wouldn't say she's the victim here. :(

Ann: I'm guessing the level of violence in Tartarus is about to skyrocket exponentially?

No, Laralita did not deserve that. She has her flaws--kind of a lot of them--but you don't kick people out of their homes for being who they are. She's never wronged Ietrin in his life.

I think it's safe to say that pretending to be a nice guy is not part of Ietrin's PR strategy. It's probably a bad move on his part.

As conflicted about his profession as Fred is, I'm sure he'd be happy to assassinate Jeda's asshole husband. ;)

Morgaine: Ietrin never seems to be kidding when he says he doesn't want to waste time. People with much less stuff than Laralita and her children take months to prepare for a move. You're right--if he really can't stand her, the decent thing to do would have been to give Laralita her own wing of the castle. Sadly, Ietrin is not decent.

As little as the other nobles like Laralita, I have no doubt that they'll take her side in this, and not just because they happen to dislike Ietrin more. And who knows? I'm guessing anything less than all-out rebellion wouldn't get through to him.

Those would absolutely be the three worst options for Laralita at this point. Mona is, strangely, the best of them; Mona not actually being Queen of Carvallon would be the least of Laralita's concerns right now. Searle would probably send her off to his younger brother's place without a second thought. Severin might let her stay for a while on principle, but only if she's actively looking for a permanent residence (and hell, he'd probably be looking behind her back).

Queen Dea cannot happen soon enough. :S

Winter said...

"You and your children"? They're your half-siblings, King Jackass. Heck, *Fanny Dashwood* would look like a saint compared to Ietrin here. And I wonder if Ietrin ever wanted to know his late mother-in-law? I have a feeling he'll be bunking with her in the afterlife (which can't come soon enough.)

The more I see of Ietrin as king, the more I think of this:


... only more evil.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if Ietrin would have turned out differently, if his mother hadn't left when he was still a toddler...

Throwing your unwanted (step-)parents and (step-/half-)siblings out or outright killing them was not unheard of, though, even if it isn't fair play.
Karl the Great comes to mind. I think he killed his own nephews (and maybe his brother...?) to become king.

Ietrin would also have to provide for his underaged/unmarried half-siblings, since he's head of the household now. By throwing them out he rids himself of that responsibility.

Anonymous said...

You know, I was just thinking ... we know that Roderick did something behind Ietrin's back that is going to put a crimp in his style. (And I cannot wait to read about what it is.) Is it too much to hope that Roderick also put something aside to provide for Laralita and his younger children? Or is that too much foresight for Roderick?

(And speaking of the Dashwoods, at least Daddy-Dashwood-who-dies-in-the-beginning-of-the-book had an excuse for not leaving his wife and daughters all that much, since the family property was all tied thanks to a stupid elder relative's will. Roderick, if you didn't put something aside for your dearly beloved wife and your children together, whom I am assuming you loved as much as you knew how to, I hope Ann punishes you in Tartarus even WORSE for it!)

Winter said...

Sorry for a double comment, Van, but I meant to ask... are Laralita and the children provided for in some way? Does Laralita have a jointure or income of some sort from either late husband, or is she stuck with charity? If it's the latter, maybe Severin and Searle-the-not-dying can go in on a fund to give her a home that's not near either of them...

Van said...

Winter: From the sounds of it, I need to read me some Austen one of these days. Alas, given how little attachment Ietrin has managed to have to anyone else, I can't imagine his half-siblings are exceptions.

Heheh. That video cracked me up. XD But yes, that plus evil does seem to equal Ietrin. :S

Anon: Good question. Honestly, it's a bit difficult for me to imagine a universe where Geneva had stayed at this point, but it's worth thinking about, for sure.

Thanks for the tidbit! I'll have to look up Karl the Great. And yeah--while it's certainly a dick move, I figured it wouldn't be unheard of for an heir to kick out his father's "second" family after said father died. He doesn't like them, doesn't trust them, doesn't want to pay for them. Sad, but true. :S

Morgaine and Winter: Don't worry--I decided before writing this post that Roderick did set aside some money for Laralita and the kids in the event of his death. Not enough to piss off Ietrin too much (or, well... it is Ietrin), but enough to keep them comfortable.