September 27, 2013

In Which Farilon Is Remorseful for the Lizards

February 21, 1183

Unless the decorating consultation with his grandmother counted, Farilon's betrothed was the first visitor to the new house since the family had moved in.

Danthia had called a couple times when they'd been staying with Ietrin, and Farilon had mixed feelings about that. On the plus side, he'd a chance to get to know her a bit, to get used to her--to brace himself, if he was being honest. Then again, not meeting her until their wedding in April would have been one last happy year of blind optimism in regards to the match.

One last year--yes, that would have been nice.

He got the feeling that the distaste was mutual.

"Haven't you a servant to tend to the fire?"

Farilon gritted his teeth and prodded a chunk of burnt bark off the log. "It's the housekeeper's day off." Not that Danthia would have considered that servants had families or friends or lives of their own.

"Then perhaps you ought to hire a second housekeeper." She sniffed, and though he didn't turn his head, he knew that her nose was at an incline. "I have no idea how your brother expects your mother to run a household with only three servants, especially if she insists on giving them days off. We shan't be making that mistake when we move into our castle."

"Manor," Farilon corrected, though it occurred to him a little late that he might have been better off saying nothing.

"Yes, but that may very well be temporary. Your uncle knows that a prince ought to have a castle."

"Maybe." Not sure if he could tease any more out of the flames just yet, he put the poker aside and joined her on the couch, for all he would have preferred to rush out the door instead. "I could get used to a manor, though."

"Yes, but I could not." And if the note in her voice had anything to do with it, that was that. "I hear your sister-in-law had her baby. A boy, was it not?" Farilon nodded. He wasn't the brightest of men and he'd come to terms with that long ago, but he suspected he knew where this was going.

"A pity. If she'd only given your brother daughters, then you would have been king."

"I wouldn't make much of a king."

"Perhaps not, but I would make an excellent queen, and an excellent queen can make a mediocre king seem a great one." She pinched the velvet of her gown between two fingers. It was an odd sensation, empathizing with a piece of cloth. "Ah, but our fortunes may turn yet. Princes may be born, but there's never any guarantee that they will live."

Farilon swallowed, fighting back a sickly flush. He'd confided in his brother Conant that he thought Danthia had the heart of a lizard, but perhaps that had been unfair to lizards everywhere. "You're not wishing my nephew dead, are you?"

"I never said that. I was merely stating a fact. He may be the heir, but you are still his heir."

"And I could die any day too."

"A healthy young man of your age? Less likely--particularly since you're not the risk-taking sort. There's hardly an illness or object in existence that couldn't kill a newborn baby."

"Then maybe we should be concerned for our babies." Especially if your milk is as toxic as the rest of you. At least she would likely prefer a wet-nurse.

"I see no reason why I should be concerned for those who don't exist. But existence is a fickle thing, isn't it?" She shut her eyes, and he averted his own, back toward the hearth. A flame curled upward and tickled the air above while another ember retreated. "Perhaps your nephew will never be king. Perhaps our son will."



Van said...

I think I made that house too big. I don't have enough buy mode CC to clutter it up to Laralita's standards. :P

Pen said...

lol Girl be tripp'n, yo. Do you know who she reminds me of (even though we've only just met her)? Medea. This Danthia seems shallow but also kinda stupid. I mean... Naroni? She has designs on Naroni? It's hardly a blip on the map, and Ietrin is hardly a king.

Winter said...

Laralita always did have extreme tastes in decor. Perhaps she has to stagger her purchases of monstrous pieces of furniture and ghastly statues now to match her income?

How does a line that produced quality ladies like Renata and Alina also spawn ladies like Danthia? She makes even Laralita at the height of her snobbery look thoughtful. Farilon is right about her heart, but I think the lizard infection has reached her brain.

If there's a Queen Dea, I hope Danthia lives to see it.

Van said...

Pen: She's not one of the bright minds of her generation, for sure. But she may figure that Queen of Naroni is better than not being queen at all. We'll see more of these two in the coming years, so we'll get more of an insight then.

Winter: Perhaps so. "We must save up for a second statue". XD (There actually is a statue at the far end of the dining area there, but it's not visible in any of these shots.)

Every family does have a few... um, less-than-fortunate members. But yeah, I don't think Laralita would ever be openly musing about the death of a baby prince!

As for her brain... well, it might be worth noting that as a member of the Dovian nobility, she is distantly related to Ietrin and Roderick. Her mother's mother was also a Kelistine. Take that as you will...

I suspect Danthia's reaction to Queen Dea would be very fun to watch. ;)

Ann said...

Ugh! Poor Farilon! He does not deserve this fate! ~~ Poor boy...

Danthia is going to marry the wrong brother there. She and Ietrin deserve each other. Though I'm glad that'll never come to pass, because I shudder at the thought of what they'd do to Naroni!

Mimus said...

Geez, what an unpleasant woman!
But I am pleasantly surprised how Farilon seems to have turned out. He may not be the smartest, but he seems to have a kind heart.
Maybe Danthia will drown in a ditch one day.

Van said...

Ann: Farilon may not be king material, but he is a decent guy. Personality-wise, he could do much better.

She does seem like the most suitable woman for Ietrin out of everyone we've met so far, but I agree with you there. An Ietrin/Danthia combo would have been bad luck for everyone else indeed. :S

Mimus: That would be her middle name. :S

Yes, Farilon is a pretty good guy. He's not the brightest crayon in the box (though, for a son of Roderick and Laralita, he could have been much dumber), but he may have gotten the lion's share of heart in the family.

Who knows? Everyone does have to die in this story at some point...

Ekho said...

Hmm. This girl is ambitious, that's troubling. I agree she does seem to have quite an upturned nose doesn't she? Looking forward to how this shapes up.. Political wars in a torn family... My favourite!

Van said...

Nothing wrong with ambition, but she seems to have an unhealthy means of channelling it. :S

But yes, now we know that at least one person wants Ietrin's brother on the throne. And at least one person wants Kaldar on the throne. Only a few weeks old and poor Hollie already has enemies. :S

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm going to worry more about Farilon's health than Hollie's at the moment. If Farilon is still alive, he can refuse to have anything to do with an attempt to unseat Medea/Hollie/Gennie from the throne. If he's not ... and if he has a son living ... then Danthia could move to claim the throne as his mother. Not good. Very, very not good.

Of course, if Danthia is as unpleasant to everyone else as she is to Farilon, she may not have enough allies to do more than stew. However, she is related to the very numerous Sadiels, who might be all for having a member of their clan on the throne even if it means they have to put up with Danthia. So Farilon, you had best eat your vegetables and get plenty of exercise, because I want you around for a long, long time.

(Also, is Naroni on some valuable mineral deposits that nobody's mentioned? It's one reason why everybody else would be gunning for that throne ...)

Van said...

Farilon has no interest in being king if there's anyone else who can do it, and I think he's practical enough to realize that a woman with an inclination to politics would make a better ruler than a man without that inclination, even if it is The Times. So as long as he's alive... nope, he's not going to make a move. But who knows what Danthia would do if Farilon kicked the bucket after giving her a son, and the truth about Hollie were to get out... :S

I suspect that Danthia is her grandfather's pet. Her father is the Sadiel brother who ended up killing himself, and both her mother and stepmother were dead before that, so she's living with her grandparents (she has an older sister who is married, but they don't get along). Also, we haven't seen all of the Sadiels, so who knows how the rest of her clan would react, whether they like her personally or just want the added family status?

That said, I can't imagine she has too many friends, or much use for friends in general. :S

Both Danthia and Elarys have their reasons for wanting their relatives on the throne. Danthia's reasons are largely psychological. As for Elarys, let's just say that she knows something that everyone else doesn't (except maybe Deian and Ylwa...).