June 14, 2014

In Which Lonriad Is Alerted to the Air

January 25, 1186


Lonriad had been called away for an hour or so over some dispute at a nearby inn, and it figured that Maeja would have left that very morning, but he'd left instructions with the staff to make sure his young cousin was enjoying himself--or, at the very least, comfortable. He hadn't expected to find him playing with his children, what with the age difference and everything. Even Searle's sparring with Donnie was a bit of a stretch, not aided by Searle's apparent lack of interest in fighting. Since he'd arrived a few days before, Searle hadn't shown much interest or even mild curiosity toward anything.

So, really, comfort had been all Lonriad could hope to provide.

Searle nodded.

Still not talking? The kid had said next to nothing since his arrival, a few murmured Thank yous aside. The boys were old enough to realize that not all was right, and Alina was too young to notice anything was wrong, but Honora was in that unfortunate between and seemed to find Searle off-putting. With the silence, the malaise, the inability to make eye contact... Lonriad couldn't blame her.

But his father had a busy enough household, and if Lonriad was honest with himself, it was still in his best interests to keep himself as busy as possible. He supposed he owed it to Asalaye too. Had she been here to greet Searle, she would have found some unique, forward-yet-sensitive approach to the boy--a key to making him feel at home.

"I hope you don't hate it here."

His cousin shook his head. Not surprising.

But the voice that followed was rather moreso. "It feels different here."

"Different?" From Dovia? "What do you mean?"

"I don't know." Searle shuffled against the pillow behind him. Motion didn't become him. He was a small enough boy, and fidgeting just made him smaller. "Something in the air."

Having been to Dovia and Carvallon and even Spain, Lonriad could not claim to feel a difference in air--not one that couldn't have been the fault of the sea, at least, and Dovia was just as landlocked as Naroni. But that alone could not make the idea shocking. Ashe came to mind, back when he'd told Lonriad of Rona's latest pregnancy, nearly in overjoyed tears at the thought of a child not plagued by latent powers like the rest of them. "Like... magic?"

The boy shrugged, his brief verbosity forgotten--and a haunted glaze over what Lonriad could make of his face. The poor child's mother had no doubt beaten the boy at any mention of the unknown.

So Lonriad wouldn't elaborate--not yet, at least, not with Searle. He was his cousin's host, after all. His guest needed to be comfortable. "My apologies. I'll send Donnie up when it's time for supper; should be about twenty minutes yet."



Van said...

Sorry that such a short one ended up being so late. :S

Penelope said...

Poor kid is a complete vegetable. If only Asalaye were there! *sniffle* But I won't discount Lonriad's ability to forge a connection with Searle, even if he seems to discount himself.

Van said...

Yeah, kid's pretty catatonic. :S

Asalaye would have made a quicker connection. She had a way of being assertive without being forceful. But Lonriad is not the least sensitive of people, nor is he a doormat. If nothing else, he's not going to make things worse.