January 27, 2014

In Which Renata Notes the Welcome Change

July 19, 1184

"Seriously, where did you learn to parry like that?" As with most of his questions, Falidor accompanied it with a grin. Some of the other squires were sore losers, but CeeCee's brothers were not among them--not even Roddie, who might have had just cause to be bitter on the basis of age alone.

But if Renata had a sword to her throat and had to choose which of the two she preferred, it would have been Falidor. She had nothing against Roddie, of course, but Falidor just seemed to clear the clouds on a gloomy day. Always in a chipper mood, always willing to cheer everyone up... but in a sensitive way, a way that actually worked--not the way some optimists seemed to go about "improving" everyone else, with a subtle or not-so-subtle hint of guilt, as if it were a crime to not be happy all the time.

The fact that he was kind of cute didn't hurt either.

"I used to watch a bunch of the knights train back home. Until my mother forbade it, that is." But that hadn't stopped her from sneaking out at night to practice on a makeshift dummy. "I had my ways of getting around her, though."

"That's good. You're good at what you do and you enjoy it; it would be a shame if someone stopped you."

You're good at what you do. The squires in Naroni weren't a bad sort overall, and none of them had treated her rudely, but compliments were still scarce apart from the obligatory "Good fight", and certainly she hadn't had one so wide-reaching yet. What a welcome change from when she'd swing wooden blades with the pages as a child, only to be labelled as a freak and told to get back in the kitchen or given some sexual remark she hadn't understood at the time.

But she struggled to see Falidor or Roddie or most of the others saying anything like that, and with Falidor, his kindness was just that: kindness. Some boys were only kind because they expected to be rewarded, never once considering that kindness ought to have been the default. His parents had taught their kids well.

"Thank you."

Falidor smiled. "Just telling the truth. Anyway, my sister was saying that you two are going swimming this afternoon?"

"Yes, we are." For CeeCee's sake, she didn't mention the reason for the excursion: to celebrate the departure of the 'little visitor'. Poor CeeCee had spent the past week downing potions for the cramps and checking her own back in mirrors and dashing back and forth from her bedroom to change the cloth pads hanging from her belt; after a week like that, who didn't deserve a nice dip in the swimming hole in the heat of summer?

Renata was two months younger, and she knew CeeCee had started early, but she'd asked Aerina about when she could expect it anyway when the healer had showed up with CeeCee's mixture, just so she could brace herself. Aerina had said that thin, athletic girls were more likely to start later than most, fifteen or even sixteen maybe; Renata couldn't say she took issue with that.

Not that she imagined Falidor wanted to hear about any of that--or that she herself even wanted to talk about it. "I'd invite you to join us, but... you know. No boys allowed."

"That's fine. Searle wanted me to start breaking in a new horse any--"

Behind her, the castle gate creaked. Most likely Roddie or Sir Searle--or so she'd thought before Falidor met the sight of the newcomer with a confused frown. "Can I help you, sir?"


Renata knew that voice.


"I'm here for my daughter."



Van said...

Played a lot of Smash Bros. Brawl today. Typed a lot of this one-handed. Might need to sleep with the wrist brace...

Ekho said...

Bahahaha! So excited for the next post, to see what Severin has to say about Renata. I'm crossing my fingers that he can convince her father that it's what she wants, and that it's the best thing for her. Also, I'm glad CeeCee made it through her first period without any more incidents, at least.

Ann said...

Oh yikes! Speaking of unpleasant surprises. But I'm hoping Severin's silvertongue (and good sense!) can manage to turn this around. I'd hate for Renata to have to lose like that.
Especially since my matchmaker senses are tingling! ;)

Van said...

Ekho: Ideally it would be Renata convincing her father and his own, but alas, we both know that's not going to happen. :S

Severin can be pretty convincing when he wants to be. And when he's not convincing, he can be sneaky... ;)

Yeah, initial embarrassment aside, CeeCee's first period probably went as well as could have been expected.

Ann: Yeah, Renata may have left a courtesy note, but I think she was counting on her father being initially furious, then grudgingly understanding. But Severin has turned situations around before...

Matchmaker senses? Whatever set those off? ;)

Winter said...

My matchmaker senses are also tingling, which I like so far. Falidor is a good kid. A guy who couldn't acknowledge her skills wouldn't work well with Renata (or CeeCee, for that matter.)

Judging from the preview, Renata will be staying one way or another. Severin at work usually means good things in Naroni.

Van said...

Falidor is a good kid, and one of the more low-key Kemorins. He's not about to deny talent where he sees is, and that trait will be at the top of the list if and when Renata (or yep, CeeCee as well) starts thinking about what she wants in a boyfriend.

It would not be the strangest thing in the world if Severin could work some of his magic here. ;)