February 2, 2014

In Which Rina Is Granted a Glimpse

July 23, 1184

Rina dreamed of a staircase.

Her classmates stood at the top, and so did her peers back in Dovia, her brother and her barely-older aunts. She was close enough that she could see them, but she never got any closer. She walked, she ran, she barely more than lifted her legs step by step, but every step she cleared reappeared at the top of the set.

Every pair of eyes at the top fell upon her. Some of the faces were laughing, some of the fingers pointing, some of the mouths shouting unclear taunts that she nonetheless knew to be hurtful. Some looked upon her with pitying eyes, shaking their heads. Others still grimaced, as if to pretend they hadn't noticed, or to offer empty encouragement despite knowing it to be futile. She wasn't sure who up there she hated most.

Her younger uncle passed her on his way up. Her little brothers. Her cousins, her age, younger, younger still. Some of them even crawled, and the laughter from the openly cruel swelled.

Rina... someone called, near and far both at once, barely audible amidst the noise of the crowd. Rina, Rina...

Severin Tumekrin emerged from the crowd and ventured down a few steps to offer her a hand. She grabbed it and he returned to the top, trying to pull her after him, but no matter how many steps she climbed, their distance remained constant.


"Stop!" she screamed to her mocking peers. "Stop it! Leave me alone!"

More cackles, more taunts, louder still. An extra stair emerged between her and the top; Severin's grip on her hand weakened.


"Go away!" she yelled again as more steps spawned, as she held to Severin merely finger to the finger. "Go to hell, all of you! Don't look at me! Don't look at me!"

What remained of their grasp broke and she tumbled backward, past toddlers and babies and the not yet born, the noise of the watchers deafening. She rolled further and further, unable to stop herself, until she fell from the stairs entirely. She landed on a sickly, saccharine pink mattress, wooden walls and babyish toys surrounding her. If she looked up, all she saw was her father, glowering down from his great world of blackness.


Stop it.




I wish I was dead. Just let me die!


Her eyes snapped open. Her father was gone. There was no cradle, no stairs, no jeers from ruthless bullies. She was in bed, in her room at her Uncle Garrett's castle.

With the only person in the world who could maybe make it better. "Grandfather?"

She sprung from her bed and ran to his outstretched arms, like she had when she was a child after all those times her father had chastised her. "Grandfather! You're here!"

"Oh, Rina." He squeezed her a little tighter and kissed her on the cheek. "I had to see you."

"I didn't want to go away." Surely not if he would have recovered!

"You did. You don't know it yet, but you did; you just wanted to leave on your own terms. I don't blame you for that."

His embrace eased and Rina's tiptoed feet fell flat. Her hand lingered on his arm as she looked him in the eye. "Grandfather..."

"I wanted to apologize. I should have stopped your father. I've spent the past months regretting that I couldn't."

Why would he say such a thing? "It wasn't your fault. You were ill..."

"Yes. That changes nothing." But it did! He would have helped her had he been well. Surely he would have? Some days, it was the only thought that kept her going... "I'm so sorry, Rina. But I need you to know that things will get better for you."

Rina grimaced. Her grandfather was not a liar. But neither were her grandmother and her aunt and uncle, and they told her that far too often. "Grandfather..."

"I know you don't believe it, and you're probably sick of hearing it. I wouldn't say it if I didn't know for sure." He took her hand and squeezed it. It had been months since she'd felt so warm. "I've been granted glimpses, Rina. I haven't seen everything, but I've seen the important things--enough to know that it will get better."

Glimpses? "Grandfather? What are you talking about? What do you mean?"

"Take care of yourself, Rina." That wasn't an answer. "And if you can't, remember that I'm never far away."


"I have to leave now." But hadn't he just--? "I love you, Rina. I always will."

Why had his voice grown more distant? "Grandfather--"






Van said...

Online courses have started. Not sure yet how this will effect updates.

Mimus said...

So, she woke up from a dream into another dream with her grandfather, only to wake up again. @.@
Well, looks like Rina's grandfather has passed over now...
That means Count Felron now, doesn't it? -.-
At the very least, we probably won't see too much about him. Ietrin and Elarys are enough villains right now. xD'

Ekho said...

Naroniception! ^^ Haha love it.

Wow, this post has to be on my list of all time favourites. Not just because I have a soft spot for the supernatural - premonition stuff, but also Rina reminds me of myself a little. I think she needs to realise that it isn't what other people think that makes her who she is, she needs to come to terms that you can't please everyone and someone is always going to look down on you no matter what you do. I'm glad Severin tried to help her in her dream, and I know he would do the same thing in real life as well.
Maybe this visit from her grandfather will ease the pressure she's putting on herself, I think she needs to indulge and do things for her own happiness and not the happiness of others. Maybe Severin can help her figure out what she wants to do with her life, because really, she could do anything she wanted right now. Without the ties of her father holding her back, and with the encouragement of her family in Naroni.

Ann said...

Once again you make me tear up. It's so sad when good guys like Tertius have to go while jerks like Felron get to stick around and cause misery. :(
And Tertius feeling so guilty for not being able to defend his granddaughter. He must have pushed quite a bit to be able to visit her in her dream before he had to leave. Not sure what it takes in Naroni-canon to allow a departing soul to do that. Can't have been easy anyway, or more would do it.
I'm glad he did it anyway. :)

Van said...

Mimus: Naroniception indeed. :)

But yes, Tertius is dead and now Felron is count. Sadly, we will be seeing Felron fairly soon, but he'll be in Dovia (and luckily for Rina, she won't be in the post).

Ekho: Aww, thanks! :)

You know, in our age range, I think more people are like Rina than not, even if they won't admit it. The need to fit in and to be well-regarded, the constant feeling of being left behind while everyone else seems to be moving ahead, the desire to grow up and self-actualize despite so much holding them back.

I do think she needed to see her grandfather one last time, and Tertius would agree. I don't know if she'll believe him right away, but she does know that he wouldn't lie to her. Socially, she is in a better place than she was in Dovia.

Ann: Sucks how that works, doesn't it? I still look back and wish that Mordred had accidentally stabbed himself with that thorn instead of Pellinore. But alas, plot... :S

Yeah, I haven't quite worked that out yet (might just let it stay a mystery), but it must have been effort to get to Rina before departing. I think it will be of ultimate benefit to the both of them.

Winter said...

The imagery of the dream was brilliant, Van. I really loved that. It fits Rina's situation so well, the isolation and helplessness.

As it sounded like he was quite ill, I'm glad Tertius is past his pain and could 'visit' Rina a last time. Her time in Naroni has so far been filled with good people, but sometimes you need that old, familial bond. People who knew her all her life loved her still; they weren't all like her horrible father. That's something positive in a tough time.

Any hope of Felron being visited by a certain insane wizard with an axe to grind in that next appearance? Bees would be only too fitting.

Van said...

Thanks! I'm glad it worked. :)

Like Lot, Tertius was confined to bed and unable to communicate, so at least he's out of that discomfort now. But he did want to see Rina one last time, and you're right: Rina needed to see someone familiar, someone who'd loved her all her life.

I don't know about insane wizards, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Felron being the target of a grind-ready axe... ;)

Penelope said...

Naroniception! *HAHAHAHA* *DIES*

Oh man, for a while, I was afraid that Rina was dead too. It wasn't until Tertius told her that things would get better that I knew she was not being taken over to the other side. :o

Van said...