January 30, 2014

In Which Renata Has No Qualms

July 20, 1184

It was a battle to appear neither resigned nor hopeful as Renata stepped into Lord Severin's study. She tried instead for a mask of invincible confidence, as if a negative decision wouldn't sting, and perhaps a last convincing gambit in defense of a positive one. If her father was also there, though, then there was little point in hoping that would work.

But instead of her father's usual drab brown or maroon, a hint of teal caught her eye in the peripheral. The person on the couch was not her father, but her grandmother. "Hello, dear."

Her grandmother smiled, but Renata struggled to take that as a good sign. If her grandmother had come to defend her, then her father hadn't budged before. "Hello, Grandmother. Lord Severin."

"Renata." Lord Severin grinned at her. "Your father is paying a call to your Uncle Searle and Aunt Valira. Your grandmother and I thought we'd take advantage of his absence and discuss some things with you."

Discuss. In Renata's experience, that word never meant anything good from the mouth of an adult. She knew that Lord Severin would break it to her gently, but that didn't mean she'd be any happier about it. Maybe that was why her grandmother was here? A shoulder to cry on?

"All right..."

"Sit down."

She did, taking the empty seat next to her grandmother. The two adults shared a quick glance, sealed with a smirk. Renata wasn't sure what to make of that. "So, here's the thing. Your grandmother paid your Uncle Karlspan and Aunt Cladelia a visit this morning. I know you don't know them too well, but you must have heard something about them growing up, correct?"

Renata nodded. Uncle Karlspan was her father's youngest brother, and Aunt Cladelia was the daughter of two of his cousins. Whenever Aunt Cladelia was brought up, she was done so as the acme of ladyhood, the pinnacle to which Renata and her sisters were supposed to aspire--as if their mother had ever actually meant Aunt Cladelia. All she knew was that she was sweet, polite, and spectacular with a needle and thread.

"Well, since your father does think it would be in both your best interests and your mother's if the two of you lived under separate roofs for a time, so your grandmother suggested that you live with them for a while. They're only about a ten minute walk from here."

Only ten minutes? Then... she would be able to continue her training? "My father agreed to that?"

"Well... he agreed to your aunt instructing you in the womanly arts, and that you would have to live with her for that to happen." Oh. Well, that sounded... awful. But her grandmother winked. "But when he's back in Dovia, he won't be able to make sure firsthand that that's happening, will he?"

Sparked, Renata's back straightened out of her slouch. That... sounded much better. "So we're tricking him?"

"Tricking?" Lord Severin chuckled. "No point mincing words: we're lying to him. Unless you have any qualms about that?"

Not if her father had no qualms about trying to stop her training! "Of course not."

"Good. No one likes a stick in the mud." Lord Severin leaned back in his chair, the heels of his boots resting on the plank that held the legs of the desk together. "Your aunt has agreed to write your parents regular reports of your progress with embroidery and music and painting, and she's promised to be optimistic, yet realistic. Meanwhile, you'll really be over here, training with me. Most of our social sphere can be trusted not to let it get back to your parents, and the rest can be blackmailed; between your grandmother and myself, we must have something on everyone in the kingdom by now."

"And if they ever visit, your aunt says she has a few practice samplers and sketches of her own that she could show them. With any luck, by the time they're any wiser, you'll be in university, preparing to be knighted," her grandmother added. "And if we're not lucky... well, by that point, you'll still be older and it will be harder for them to deny you your own decisions, and you'll have no shortage of backup when it comes to persuading them."

They made it sound much too easy. But if it was a choice between too good to be true and certainly not good at all...

"I hope you're right."



Van said...

Hence why Renata's profile is located under Karlspan's household. Moving profiles can be a pain.

And speaking of profiles... ProBoards forced an "upgrade" on me, and it didn't play well with the colors I had, so I switched it temporarily to one of their default schemes. I'll play around with colors once I'm sure that functionality hasn't been impacted too much.

Ann said...

Oooohohohoho, now this is delicious! ^^ What a conspiracy! I love it!

Van said...

Everybody wins, or at least they get to think they do. ;)

Ekho said...

"preparing to be knight" is that meant to be 'knightED'?

I love how Severin is so upfront about it all, and I'm glad grandma Renata is sticking by granddaughter Renata! Though I'm curious on her take on all of this, and if she ever imagined one of her female descendants becoming a knight!

Van said...

Thanks for the catch!

Between Severin and Renata the Elder, I don't think they were going to let Renata the Younger go all that easily. ;)

I doubt that Renata ever imagined one of her female descendents aspiring to become a knight, but now that it's happened, she seems to have taken it as a welcome surprise. :)

Winter said...

Severin always finds a way. He didn't even make Renata's parents the villains - just the victims of an excellent scheme! Though, I would very much like to see her mother's face if she knew he was impressing a noble young man with her knightly abilities.

... and ditto the Severin & Renata Blackmail Network, sapping the dregs of the kingdom dry one by one!

Van said...

Sometimes, I think Severin just likes a good scheme. Recall the pirate plan. ;)

And yes, I think Odette would be very surprised if Renata won over Falidor with her fighting skills...

Penelope said...

Yeaaahhhh, I don't get it. Severin knows what it is to worry about his boys (and I emphasize "boys"-- they're required to combat train unless they're joining the church) and yet he can throw someone else's teenage daughter into a profession where she could be hurt or killed? Without her parents' consent? That's insane. She's a child.

Van said...

Luckily for everyone involved (especially me), Naroni is not going to war any time soon (Watsonian: they have nothing of value and no other country can see the point of attacking them. Doylist: there's no way in hell I'm posing a war.), so if Renata became a knight and stayed in Naroni, her chances of dying aren't really much greater than anyone else of her age and general health, fellow knights or not.

That said, I see your point. It would have been nice if Renata had felt she could discuss this with her parents beforehand. As for Severin, I think he ultimately sees this as "someone making decisions for their own life" versus "someone making decisions for someone else's life", and out of principle he's not about to switch sides there unless something drastic happens; as for her age, if Renata's younger brother is old enough for training, then so is Renata.