June 30, 2014

In Which Ren Is Pressed for a Warning

May 23, 1186

"My cook wanted me to ask when she could expect this year's first batch of vegetables." And Ren would have probably asked of her own accord had the cook not mentioned it. She didn't much care for vegetables in general, but whatever Laralita was doing to eliminate their inherent bitterness, she did it damn right. If they hadn't added the garden to the house, she would have gone to her grave never having guessed that her snobbish, luxury-loving stepmother had such a green thumb.

Laralita sighed. "Soon, hopefully. The house has been so quiet with just me and Lily and Marsden here. It would have been nice to have some in time for Conant's return, but I suppose I can still send some back with him for the journey. Of course, once he heads back, the growing season will be almost over, so then the waiting starts again."

"I'm sure you and Lily and Marsden will find something to do."

"Oh, I don't know. Fall is such a gloomy time." It would be, for a gardener. Restless, Laralita looped a finger beneath her braid and flicked it. "Say, this is a little early, but would you mind hosting Lily and Marsden if I go to Carvallon to visit Ramona in November?"

"Ramona?" Oh, no. "As in... Queen Ramona of Carvallon?"

"As in my daughter." Her mother-in-law laughed, apparently having found nothing suspect in Ren's tone or phrasing or body language. Somehow. "Though I suppose she is Queen of Carvallon, isn't she? I should very much like to see her thriving. And to meet my two little Carvalli grandchildren!"

Unless Mona had left out some crucial details in her last letter to Searle, Laralita had only one Carvalli grandchild. Ren doubted she'd react well to learning otherwise--especially if it came with the knowledge that Mona was not, in fact, a queen. Mona would have to be warned. "That's rather a long trip to make unaccompanied, isn't it?"

"I was thinking I'd take Farilon with me. Give him a nice break from that wretched girl he married."

"Ah... yes, of course." Weak attempt as it was, why had she even tried? There was no discouraging Laralita once she made up her mind. "Will you write to her first, at least?"

"I considered it--but I think I'd rather surprise her. She probably thinks she'll never see me again, after all. What better way to be proven wrong?"

Ren could think of about a hundred. At least November gave plenty of time to send word to Mona. Though, was such a message something safe to be put in writing? Searle would be making a trip to Naroni with Karlspan in the summer; perhaps he'd head to Carvallon after bringing the boy back. It was hardly ideal. Ren would have gone to Mona herself, but now that her latest bout of nauseousness and lack of course had been confirmed for what it was, that was out of the question.

But poor timing aside... surely they could still give her a few months' notice?

"Of course..."



Van said...

...I really need to figure out why so many different foods are making me sick lately. :S

(No, not pregnant.)

Ann said...

Oh shit! That's one visit that'll be ... interesting. O.O I wonder what Mona, Anna and Adrius will do. Though I doubt Devidra would let anything bad happen. Even if it does mean the entire court and staff has to play pretend. ^^ How to make little Telvar and Avirelle resemble Mona though... There's just no way Laralita would be fooled. Even claiming they're 'taking after their father'... it won't fly.

And is it just me or has Laralita become a lot smarter since Roderick's death? Certainly less self-absorbed at the very least!

Van said...

No, Devidra's not about to let anything go wrong on her watch, though the trouble is that most of the court is out of the loop. But yeah, Anna's kids would be a dead giveaway. :S

Quite possibly! At least, when Roderick was alive, they both preferred that he take care of the thinking. Now, Laralita has to think for herself, and while I doubt she'll ever be one of the great Dovian minds, it seems she's at least smarter than Roderick.

Penelope said...

Heh. Heh heh heh. Heh heh heh heeeeeeee!

Oh well. I don't know how they all thought that they could keep up the ruse forever. Or even why they would bother, really, except that with each passing year and each child born, it becomes it becomes 100% more scandalous. Is Anna even really queen if she was coronated as Ramona?

Van said...

It was kind of inevitable that someone would come to see Mona eventually, but I don't think Mona considered that. She did sort of write off her family as having cast her aside. But yeah, it's mainly about avoiding scandal now; if they dropped it, people would be talking about it for years, but it's too late for any "corrections" from outside parties.

Good question! I guess the technicalities would depend on who you ask. But in any case, Anna is queen for all intents and purposes.