June 28, 2014

In Which Renata Does Not Want

May 1, 1186

It was not the first time Renata had entered a room to find only Sparron, and he'd failed to greet her. He did the same with Octavius, Florian, Camaline, the children... almost everyone. Only Prior's existence was consistently given the benefit of the doubt.

She didn't know the feeling, but she could see the logic in his behavior. In Sparron's mind, it made sense that some hallucinations were better ignored than indulged--maybe it chased some of them away, though Renata didn't want to assume. Some days, especially after particularly scarring episodes, it was a danger to take reality for granted. Renata could have very well been a figment of his illness.

But she might have been reading too much into it. It was a sensitive matter, and perhaps not her place to speculate. The best she could do for her stepson was accommodate him, keep him comfortable. In cases such as these, the best way to proceed was to speak of something mundane, as it seemed his delusions rarely did. "Seems the rains have stopped."

"Oh." She doubted that syllable had a thing to do with the weather. "It's you this time. The real you."

Oh. She still wasn't quite clear on how to proceed when he said things like that. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Sparron shrugged. "I think I knew it wasn't you. You looked younger."

"How flattering." Though... her stepson was one of the few men who saw any sign of age in her, one of the very few who leered, and in an odd way, it was refreshing.

"Holladrin was there too." He slouched, the mass of his torso favoring the further leg somewhat. "And my mother."

"Sparron..." She let his name trail in a sigh as she came closer. She didn't want to cut him off if he cared to keep talking, nor did she wish to force him if he didn't. "Your mother--"

"You and Holladrin tried to chase her away. Thank you for that--even if it wasn't really you."

To be haunted by a long-dead mother he'd barely even known. As if he wasn't suffering enough. "Sparron, your mother wasn't a bad person."

"So the illness made her cruel?"

"No!" How could it have? Sparron... wasn't. Not really, she didn't think. "Your mother... she was miserable. Most people don't bear misery well. I don't think your father did either back then."

"But I'm miserable too. And I've been cruel--very cruel." The heel of his boot hit the couch frame with a thud!. His mother's old furniture. Renata doubted he cared if he broke it. "Just ask Lettie."

"Lettie thinks very highly of you."

"Then she's a damn better friend than I deserve." He didn't elaborate. She didn't want him to. "There's no difference between me and my mother."



Van said...

This almost didn't get posted tonight. I was out all day, and by the time I got some writing time, I was torn between this and the novel. But I figured if I started with this and got it done quickly enough, there'd be time for both.

Ekho said...

Poor Sparron, it must be so hard for him - knowing that his mother was the same, having the memory of her haunting him. Curious about why he feels Lettie can agree to him being 'cruel'...

Van said...

Suffice to say Sparron's feelings about Medea are pretty damn complex. :S

As for Lettie... well, she's the one who has to pick up pieces of Searle every time Sparron "breaks" him. Plus, there was Prior and Alina's conception and birth, which I think Sparron still feels kind of guilty about. Never mind his being a general ass to her before that happened and they managed to get their weird friendship going.

Penelope said...

I'm glad you did get a chance to write this one last night! Brief but impactful. There is a lot going on here. First, I am sad that Sparron's condition is degenerating. :( I am really curious to hear the way that Octavius is handling this. It has to be agonizing for him on a couple of levels. Does he regret imprisoning Medea? Renata seems to hint at that here. Sparron himself is always so steeped in guilt that all I could think to myself was that he really can't know what it is to be cruel. His parents, when they were young, could be cruel. Sparron's motives have only ever been to spare other people from suffering (even if the desired result is almost never achieved). Also, does Sparron dislike Renata? I got the impression that she thinks that he does.

If not for Prior, I bet Sparron would have just crawled into bed and never gotten out of it by now. :(

I had a bunch of other thoughts about this chapter that I don't remember. D'oh! I'll have to come back later.

Van said...

Sparron has held out for a long time. :( He still has his good days, but without regular therapy and modern medicine... yeah, it's an uphill fight. :S

Octavius probably isn't handling this all that well. He puts on a brave face in public, but he's worried. Very, very worried.

Yeah, I think Octavius has learned a lot since Medea, so it's a reasonable guess that he does regret it. I doubt he's ever going to remember her fondly, but with Sparron suffering from mental illness and Jeda under looming threat of spousal imprisonment... yeah, I think there's a more sympathetic face on Medea's pain now. Which shouldn't have been necessary, but, well... yeah, I think he knows now that no one deserves that, even if it is too little too late.

Renata and Sparron. I don't think Sparron dislikes Renata, but he is fairly awkward around her, probably due to the fact that she's Lettie's mother. It's then easy for Renata to read that as dislike (I think Octavius has told her that Prior isn't Camaline's child, but he didn't tell her that Lettie is the mother; if anyone tells Renata that, it will have to be Lettie herself). Plus, she knows that he already had a beloved stepmother in Holladrin, so she may worry that he sees her as moving in on Holladrin's territory. That's not the case, but it makes sense.

Prior is Sparron's rock these days. I don't think he even knows how much. Poor kid. :(

Penelope said...

It's interesting that he knows that he is hallucinating and has enough control to not react. If he can do that, then he can't be far from knowing what to ignore and living his life as normally as possible, yes?

Van said...

He is closer than most people would have expected. That said, he has some difficulty distinguishing when he's hallucinating versus when he's not--hence Renata's need to prove herself real. So he comes across a bit catatonic in early conversation at times.