July 10, 2013

In Which Searle Sets Aside the Here-and-There Thing

February 10, 1182

"I'm not--"

"I know." If only because she was a recent widow for the second time over, Searle strained to ignore the fact that his mother had seen Ren nudge him back out the door to brace him for a minute in the hallway. What had she supposed they were talking about? The weather? "I know you don't intend to stay here."

She nodded--not that he didn't trust Ren, but the source was dubious. Nonetheless, it was a relief to know firsthand that his mother did not expect that of him; however deep the reasons he had, his contemporaries would not have stood for it if she had asked and he'd refused. "I just... there was no reason for the children and me to stay in Naroni. They're having supper in the kitchens now."

"I see." So she'd remembered her children this time. It was petty to be bitter, but old agony never bowed to circumstance, and his mother would never know the difference anyway. "Have you considered asking in Valcria?"

"No. I couldn't do that to my parents, not with the state of things there." His brother must not have told her about the state of things here. "I will find somewhere else; I just need some help. It's been a while since I've lived in Dovia."

"No one is more aware of that than I."

His mother's head drooped, her blond braid dangling across her chest with the same limp, alien resignation that lurked about the rest of her. That might have been too much. "Searle..."

"No. That was out of line. I'm sorry." Sorry for saying it, at least. For saying it today of all days. But it was a mistake for which he could atone. "I shall have a house built for you. It won't be as luxurious as what you're used to, but it will be large enough and comfortable enough for you and the children. I'll send for an architect first thing tomorrow. I suppose you'll have to stay here tonight, but after that..."

After that what? What had he been about to say? He'd probably been about to tell her to stay with Ietrin, but Ietrin was in no state to be housing grieving relations--not when Ietrin's own daughters, as of three months prior, were officially Searle's wards. And Laralita was in no state to hear about that.

Then again, she would find out anyway. The girls' presence here would not go unnoticed long. "Would a distraction be helpful?"

"A distraction?" Her lips pouted, as if she were somehow unfamiliar with the concept. Then again, when had she ever been swamped? That required depths he'd never glimpsed in her. "What sort of a distraction?"

"Ietrin needs help. Running his lands, I mean. And his household, and everything." She blinked. Sure enough, that had never made it into Ietrin's letters. Perhaps Searle should have swallowed his pride and written her himself. "He hasn't be the same since Ramona died."

"Oh."

In his own head, Searle winced. What an idiotic thing to say. Clearly, the Laralita standing before him knew exactly how Ietrin felt.

But whatever blow-up or crying fit he braced himself for, it didn't happen. His mother only swallowed. "I suppose I could help him with the household, and it might be a good experience for Farilon and Conant to help him with the lands. I do owe it to him, don't I? I did miss his entire life."

"Well... that is neither here nor there." It wasn't. It was here and there and everywhere. For now, though, he'd have to set that aside. He didn't need that on top of everything else. "But he can use all the help he can get, and it might be good for you to take your mind off of things while your new house is being built. I'm sorry if that isn't as convenient as you'd hoped."

She sighed. "Nothing in this past while has been convenient."

Searle nodded. "I know."

NEXT CHAPTER:

3 comments:

Van said...

I am that irritating state of sick that is sick enough to want to lie in bed forever, but not sick enough to be excused from doing things. Work tomorrow should be... interesting...

My apologies for the recent wave of sloppily-written angst. Next post marks the start of a more lighthearted little mini-arc (though you wouldn't know it, given the visible parties there), the later half of which will involve copious amounts of Florian. ;)

morgaine2005 said...

+10 to Searle-the-no-longer-dying for being thoroughly decent. He has a lot more reason to be cruel to Laralita than I-Wish-He-Weren't-King Ietrin does, but here he is, building her a house and letting her stay (presumably on his own dime, since Laralita hasn't mentioned what Roderick left to her and the kids), whereas I-Wish-He-Weren't-King Ietrin kicked them out with only a week to pack.

Poor Not-King-But-I-Wish-He-Were Ietrin. :( But at least Laralita will know where he's coming from. And hey -- maybe the house Searle is building now will come in handy for Ren or whoever little Karlspan marries in time. Or maybe Karlspan can use it as a newlywed nest if Laralita doesn't need it anymore.

You never know when some extra real estate might come in handy! :D

Van said...

Searle absolutely has more reason to be cruel to Laralita than Ietrin the jerkface does... but I don't think Searle is cruel at heart. He can hold a grudge, but grudges for Searle do not mean leaving someone without a place to live.

It will probably come up later, but Roderick did designate a not-insignificant amount to Laralita and her children (he might have been a bit unsure about whether he could trust Ietrin; Roderick loved all of his kids, but I think Ietrin was the one he associated most with Geneva, as unfair as that is to pretty much everybody involved). Searle will pay to have the house built and furnished, but Laralita can and will support herself after that.

Things are not going well for the not-an-asshole Ietrin. He's been in a limbo for a while now, if his daughters now have to live with Ren and Searle. Laralita will know how he feels, though.

Yep, Searle and his family could always benefit from a nice little house to their name. Karlspan could use it as a newlywed nest if he marries before Searle dies, which I'm thinking he probably will (and, fun fact: I'm pretty much 99% decided on who Karlspan will marry). Searle could also package it with one of his niece's dowries (his daughter, and any future daughters of his, should be able to make great-on-paper matches in any case, being granddaughter{s} to both the former Queen of Naroni and the current King of Dovia). Even after Laralita dies/moves elsewhere, the house will have its uses.