November 3, 2013

In Which Severin Is at the Mercy of the Threat of Diapers

September 12, 1183

It was about damn time for some peace and quiet.

With Severin's sister-in-law about to give birth any day now, the household had been cast into a state of constant chaos that had nearly resulted in his seeking refuge at the home of a friend--or would have, if Severin had been the sort of person who bothered making friends. His mother waddled about with the start of her own baby (why so many bloody babies?) sticking out of her, only fretting over Esela's comfort until Hamrick or his father or usually Esela herself reminded her that she needed to rest too.

Add that to Falidor's frustration with his first taste of neglect, and Aldhein's resultant whining over why Falidor wouldn't leave him alone... Evera and Setran's frequent visits with their noisy brood... Alyssin and Aidric and their babies... Podrag and Ceira and their baby... Ellie and Medur (and thank God, no babies! ...yet)...

He supposed he loved his big, annoying family. Even the damn babies, maybe. But surely he could love them better from a distance? He had half a mind to see if he could start at the university a few years early. No sense delaying the whole grouchy bachelor hermit lifestyle that had been his future since they'd forced him to share a crib with his twin sister and he'd kept the whole house up with his audible displeasure.

But for now, finally, there was a quiet moment in which to practice that sacred art of solitude--whether the family had calmed down, or he'd simply learned to tune everything out. It helped that his father was still at work, and Hamrick was out in the fields. And there was a new doctor in the nearest village, so of course his mother had pestered Teodrin into going to see him about whatever-the-fuck-it-was-Teodrin-kept-going-to-doctors-for-even-though-obviously-none-were-helpful. Not that Teodrin tended to contribute much to the noise. Even when they were both in their shared bedroom, Severin barely noticed he was there.

His mother's knock, however, was not so prone to invisibility. "Severin? I'm sorry to disrupt your reading, but Esela's having the baby. I need you to watch your nieces until your father gets home."

And nor was her voice. God damn it. "Can't Alina do it?" Alina actually liked kids!

"I promised Alina that she could attend the birth; she and Evera are with Esela right now." Of course they were. "And before you ask, I sent Hamrick to get your father, and Setran to get Lady Arydath."

Of course she had. Sometimes, he suspected his mother deliberately left him as the only babysitter because she knew how much he hated it. "Isn't Thetis old enough to be in a room by herself for a while?"

"Yes, but she's not old enough to watch her little sisters." His mother sighed. "Seriously, you get your bum down there right now, or you'll be on diaper duty all week."

And she would make good on that threat; he'd already seen more of Falidor's bare shitty ass than any of his other siblings had been forced to endure. Severin groaned. "Fine."

"Good."

His mother's footsteps hurried back along the hall and down the stairs as Severin put away his book. God, he couldn't wait until school started in January and his family would be obliged to leave him alone while he studied! Maybe he's just live at the school. Or not, since he might get stuck in charge of any snot-nosed brats who got there early.

He shuffled out of his room with his eyes to his feet, only the scarring memories of his youngest brother's excrement pushing him forward. At least Thetis was past that phase, even if she was still too young to be interesting. Was Electra? Alyss, at least, probably wasn't. Damn, if she didn't keep it in until somebody else could deal with it...

"Uncle Severin!"

Thetis would meet him at the bottom of the stairs. "Uncle Severin, guess what? Guess what?"

His honest answer would have been 'I don't care'. He compromised with "What?"

"Papa paid my school fees today! That means I get to go to school with you!"

He wasn't sure why his nieces liked him so much. He never tried to be nice. "Well, not the same class..." Thank God.

"Still! I'll see you at breaks! And you can walk with me!" That last bit had probably been his mother's suggestion, as if it wasn't bad enough being stuck walking with Aldhein already.

"Uh-huh. Any idea when your father will be back?"

"I don't know." Was that a surprise? Thetis rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet, as she often did; behind her, her even more annoying little sisters munched on Falidor's dolls. At least Falidor himself was down for a nap. Knowing Severin's luck, though, he'd wake within the hour. "How far away is Lady Arydath?"

Severin sighed. "Too far."

His niece laughed. "You're funny, Uncle Severin."

"Not funny. Just pissed off."

"What's 'pissed' mean?"

...shit. "If anyone asks, it's a word Uncle Podrag taught you."

"All right. But what does it mean?"

"It means that I'm supposed to sit down here until your father and grandfather get back." Given the context, he supposed it was true enough. Severin didn't like to lie to his nieces. Kids might have been so much more tolerable if only adults didn't insist on lying to them all the time--not fully, but more. "So, what do you want to do?"

He regretted asking immediately. "I want to play lady's maid!"

And here he thought he got credit for bracing himself to play horsie. "Do you even know what a lady's maid does?"

"Uh-huh. They dress up their ladies and do their hair and stuff. Auntie Ellie told me." Then why couldn't her father have told her more about being a knight? Severin hated playing knights, but at least Aldhein had gotten him used to it. "So I'll be Auntie Ellie, and you can be Lady Rona!"

Years later, Severin would look back on this moment and consider it a marvel that he didn't teach Thetis yet another swearword--and not one so mild as 'pissed'. "Can't I be a guard or something?"

"No!" She grabbed him by the wrist and dragged him toward the couches. That did it. If he so much as saw another diaper before he headed off to university, then he was breaking the news to his mother that she wouldn't be getting any grandchildren out of him. "Now come along, milady! We need to get you all dolled up for the banquet!"

NEXT CHAPTER:

9 comments:

Van said...

Early for no other reason than "I felt like it".

You know, thinking back to the original incarnations of the founding characters, I think this Severin is actually the closest to the original Severin--cranky, bookish, loner, pretty nasty to everyone except the people he's sleeping with (and since this Severin is thirteen, no one is sleeping with him yet).

But oy, be prepared for many, many Severins in the near future. I have both Severin Indruion and Severin son of Lonriad on my outline before the year is up.

Ekho said...

Happy to receive however many Severins you can throw! I like this Severin, although he seems to be hitting that arrogant-teeny bop phase, what with all the dramatic complaining, but I like his attitude. I know how he feels with all the babies around, I loose track of who's who in my game sometimes :P

Van said...

All the Severins! XD

He is pretty dramatic, isn't he? And yeah, I'm sure some of the attitude is teen angst, though a lot of it is also native Severin.

And there are a lot of babies, for sure! Can't blame him for not being thrilled about any more. In addition to Esela and Thetis, Evera and Alyssin are both pregnant as well. Lots of new Tumekrins. :S

Ann said...

Oh man, this guy is hilarious! XD I love it! I kinda feel bad now about the punishment inflicted on him... ^^ nah, not really. :D
But damn, with that kind of snark I attitude I can only hope we'll see lots more of him!
I agree with Ekho, any Severin you can throw at us will be welcome! (Gotta catch them all! ;) )

Van said...

He is rather amusing in his bitterness. And probably equally so all dolled up. ;)

I do have plans for this Severin. We'll be seeing some of him in 1184, and that storyline will probably go well beyond that.

And yes, I have plans for other Severins too. ;)

morgaine2005 said...

Huh. I know you mention The Original Severin in your comment, Van, but I can't help but think that maybe this Severin has more in common with his father at this age than with anybody else. Am I the only one who sees in this Severin the grumpy Florian we first met so many moons ago?

And of course, if Severin is this much like his father at such a young age, I have high, high hopes for the future. :D

In the meantime, my sympathy goes out to the poor kid, trusted as the default babysitter when I can't help but wonder if he would have preferred to be with Esela for the birth. Or anywhere other than where he is, really.

Good luck to Esela and the Tumerkins' newest additions!

Van said...

He's certainly more Florian than Thetis, especially in the early days. I don't know if Severin has the same appreciation for eccentricity that Florian has, but he does have the grumpiness and general disdain for those around him. :)

Yep, I'm sure Severin would have rather been anywhere else, birthing room included. XD Actually, he rolled Biology for his university major (got way ahead of myself there), so who knows? He might end up becoming a doctor.

Since the news is up on both the profiles and my Tumblr, I suppose I can announce that Esela's labour resulted in the birth of a healthy baby girl named Leonora. Mother and daughter are both doing just fine. :)

Winter said...

Move over, Searles of the Naroni-verse, the Severins are coming home to roost.

Cranky or not, I like this Severin. He does seem like an unholy cross between his father (pre-Thetis) and his namesake, but maybe he'll get more of the best of each as he grows up. And if not, there's nothing wrong with being a cranky bachelor.

I would pay money to see Severin pretending to be Lady Rona, though ;)

Van said...

There are rather a lot of both of them. Crowded 'verse! XD

This Severin is rather fun in his grouchy way. He is a lot like his father, with bits of his namesake (current incarnation) as well. And I suspect he'll be a cranky bachelor even if he does get married. :P

I doubt his impression of Lady Rona was impassioned enough to convince anyone, but that would probably be half the fun. :)