April 17, 2014

In Which Lucien Listens In

March 15, 1185

"Oh." Caught off-guard by the grimacing figure on the couch, Lucien's hand lingered on the doorhandle a little longer than necessary. Vera's brothers were not infrequent visitors, but they all had their patterns, and Lonriad typically limited his calls to weekends. Certainly Lucien didn't remember ever coming home from the university to find him seated in the front room.

And yet, here he was. "Hello, Lonriad."

"Hello, Lucien. Morgan."

Hardly the Lonriad of old, for whom greetings were elaborate bouts of teasing. But it had only been two months since he'd lost Asalaye, so Lucien supposed any greeting at all was a step in the right direction. He doubted he'd cope half as well if he ever lost Vera. "What brings you here?"

"Well, Raia said Morgan wanted to talk to everyone about their characters, so..."

"You want to talk to me about your character," Morgan finished for him.

So there had been merit Raia's insistence on Lonriad's inclusion in the masque. The idea had been that the poor man needed something of a distraction--especially after his father's fabled widowerhood low--and what better than a rather significant role in the upcoming production? For some, Lucien thought, it might have been too much too soon, but it seemed that Lonriad was of the sort who needed to keep busy.

Hopefully no one else in the family would have to find out what sort they were any time soon.

"If now's a good time." Another awkward, obviously-forced smile. Morgan nodded and took a seat on the other bench, but Lonriad kept an eye on Lucien. "Um... do you mind listening in? My memory hasn't been great lately, and it would be nice to have two people who can remind me."

"All right." Vera wouldn't be home for an hour or so yet anyway, and he could postpone picking up the twins from her parents' house for the duration of a character sketch, if his own had been any indication. Morgan had filled him in on the gist of Master Tower on the ride back one day last week, and they'd still had plenty of time for other conversation. Then again, from what Lucien had seen of Morgan's manuscript as a whole, Sir Mordred was a more prominent character. Still--there wasn't much in the world that couldn't be condensed.

"Well, in the context of his life as a whole, the trial is a major turning point for Mordred. I don't want to lay all the cards on the table just yet, but suffice to say that the conviction takes a toll on both his emotional well-being and his personal ethics."

"So he genuinely believes that his mother is innocent."

"Consciously, yes. That's why he never stoops lower than standard defense lawyer practice."

"Still pretty low," muttered Lonriad. Was that... a smirk? It had only flashed for a second, but surely...

Had Lonriad made a joke? He'd have to confirm with Ashe or Searle, but he didn't think Lonriad had made a joke since Asalaye was still alive.

In any case, Morgan let out a snicker. "Fair enough. But the key point there is that Mordred can be scarily intelligent when he sets his mind to it--that comes up later in his life--and despite that, he avoids any underhanded legal maneuvers because he's so convinced of his mother's innocence that he thinks they can win honestly."

"All right. But you did say 'consciously'."

"I did." And Lonriad was invested enough in this conversation that he'd remembered it. That was an improvement on a few weeks' prior, if that awkward dinner at Vera's parents' castle said anything. "Subconsciously... I think he knows his mother well enough that neither her vanity nor her lack of empathy are particularly surprising. So at least some part of him knows damn well that she's guilty, or at least acknowledges the possibility."

"But he doesn't want to live with that knowledge."

"No. And ultimately, it's his refusal to face to reality that leads to his downfall."

"All right. I think I can find a way to get that across." Lonriad's mouth twitched into a shallow grin. It wasn't much, but it looked to be as sincere as Lucien could have expected. "Can I ask you one last thing?"

Morgan shrugged. "Go ahead."

"Can I have a ridiculous fake mustache? Like, Jadin-level ridiculous?"

Now that--that was the old Lonriad. Buried deep right now, but still in there. If only Vera or Lord Severin had been around to see.

But he got the sense that Morgan at least sort of understood. "...I'll think about it."



Van said...

Lucien's POV only because it couldn't be Morgan's or Lonriad's, for reasons.

Ann said...

Oh Yay! Relief! I was worried about Lonriad, but he's dealing fairly well it seems. Pheeeew.
I love the 'Jadin-level ridiculous'!! XD Mustache, ahoy!

Van said...

It's been a couple months now since Asalaye's death, so while Lonriad is still far from a hundred percent, he seems to be at least coping better than his father did.

Jadin will never live down growing that thing. XD

Anonymous said...

Let the man have the mustache, Morgan!

I'm glad Lonriad is getting ... Somewhat back to his old self. Slowly but surely. He's got a ways to go, but he's a lot better than he could be.

And I hope that Asalaye is in a position to laugh her butt off at her husband's performance, once the time comes.

Van said...

All current plans point to positive on the mustache. ;)

He could be coping a lot worse. It will be a while yet before he's back to his old self, but at least he's more or less functional.

I have no doubt that Asalaye will find the whole thing highly amusing. ;)

Penelope said...

I never expected Lonriad to dive into a Severin-esque despair. He loved his wife very much, but he didn't have the same relationship with her that his parents had. Also, I'm sure that he remembers dealing with his father's depression well enough not to want to inflict that on his own family.

Sooooo... Any possibility of the masque being a musical?

Van said...

Yeah, while Lonriad and Asalaye was definitely a love match, it wasn't the same earth-shattering passion that his parents had. He'll be hurt for a while yet, but he'll heal like a functional human being and he might even love again. I guess we'll see.

Alas, the masque is not a musical, but I would love to Lonriad and Raia's characters doing some villain songs. XD

Winter said...

Lonriad in a Jadin 'stache? 1185 is looking up.

I like the casting choice. Lonriad is pretty damn dissimilar to Mordred. He should be able to hit on all the points of Mordred's character that sane people see that Mordred himself does not and do it without making a total farce of it. And it does give him something to do.

Van said...

That could be something worth seeing. XD

Good point there. Mordred isn't an introspective person, instead choosing to tell himself only what he wants to hear. Being a more-or-less sane outside party, Lonriad should be able to capture that better than someone more like Mordred would.

And yep--it is something for him to do.