June 4, 2014

In Which Searle Doesn't Let Fall

**Trigger Warning

November 17, 1185

Searle was not sure why he'd come. His mother had never wanted to see him at the best of times, and she certainly didn't want to see him now. But like a weak little morsel to a beautiful predator, he'd today found himself drawn to her lair. Or not like that. More of a compulsion, maybe. He hadn't given his condolences. He had to give his condolences.

His mother had never paid much attention to Riona, but she'd scarcely left her private chapel since the accident--scarcely even by her own track record. It made sense, he guessed. Riona had been the favorite by virtue of not being Searle. He supposed baby Agathe was the favorite now, for all his mother seemed to have forgotten her existence the moment the wet-nurse arrived. Agathe would be better off, maybe. The wet-nurse seemed nice.

His mother knelt before the altar, fingers to the Lord but no light streaming down on her, not here so far underground. Her dress was olive green, the drabbest dye she could find that was still technically a color, and she wore a white wimple. She was the only woman Searle knew who felt the need to cover her head, and maybe that had been the norm in her homeland, but she never spoke of Byzantium, and nor did anyone else, so it might have just been her. Her hair must have been brown, based on his hair and his sisters' and her eyebrows, but he'd never seen it. He'd asked his father once, but all the only answer he got was 'ugly'. If their hair was the same, he hadn't taken offense. He knew he was ugly--and stupid, and wicked, and a lot of other unpleasant things. If his mother talked to him at all, it was to tell him that.

Whispered Greek prayer possessed her lips. He didn't understand a word, but there'd be hell to pay if he interrupted. His mother, his grandmother had told him after some nasty incident he barely remembered, had only ever wanted to be a nun. When Roderick of Naroni had called for potential brides for one of his noblemen, her brother had put an end to that dream and sent her off. Lord Severin had married someone else, and King Roderick had sent her to Dovia to marry Searle's father--on Searle's grandfather's request, if he recalled correctly.

His mother had been punishing the world ever since.

The Greek ceased and his mother stood. With her slow and teetering motion, it was obvious she ached. Lord only knew how long she'd been kneeling.

But did he blame her, really? The tiny, private chapel--not even a proper chapel, merely converted from some unused guard common in the dungeon--was the only place in Searle's father's manor that was hers. The only place in the world that was hers. If kneeling helped her forget that...

Who was he kidding. Of course it didn't. "Mother?"

She froze. She often did when he approached her, even if her paralysis made quick leaps to anger and loathing. Aunt Maeja said his mother was afraid of him, which made no sense because she was a scary lady and Searle jumped at the sight of mice like some three-year-old girl. Searle had been born three months early, according to his mother. Aunt Maeja said he'd looked exactly as any full-term infant should, but save the obligatory consummation, his mother claimed to have not been intimate with her husband until six months before his birth.

Yet, he'd heard his grandmother and aunt talking once, and no blood had been found on his mother's sheets for months before his alleged conception. Double yet--his grandmother swore that none could deny Searle's Sadiel eyes, his father's 'good looks' that apparently only other people's mothers could see. His father was no help; he could only bed his wife if he was drunk enough to ensure that he didn't remember it the next morning.

And there were rumors among the staff that he'd been born dead. The boy never made a sound, they said. Wasn't even breathing. Eyes wide shut, and not scrunched like most babies--sleep shut. Dead shut. And cold. Not even a heartbeat. It was only after they shut his tiny little coffin that something started crying inside. He'd asked his Aunt Maeja about that once. She'd gasped and dropped her knitting and told him not to listen to such horrible stories.

And yet, in one of the cupboards in the crypt, there was a tiny little coffin, not likely to fit anything bigger than a baby.

"What do you want?"

Snarling, his mother turned around, any grief for Riona forgotten in favor of her hatred for him. She'd hated him since he was born. Sometimes, he swore she'd hated him since she was born.

"I--" He what? He wanted to say that he was sorry for Riona. He wanted to say that he missed her too, even if he didn't dare confess he probably missed her more. People died. He'd told a lot of people he was sorry for their lost loved ones. But he couldn't remember just how he'd said it. "I--"

"Spit it out, you horrid little worm!" She grabbed him by the ear and yanked him forward. Curse his luck, today was not the day she finally ripped it clean off, the day his father had to notice his wounds no matter how drunk he was, the day he'd at long last be allowed to leave this awful place and seek refuge with Aunt Maeja and Uncle Marsden. Or the day he bled to death and joined his sister, the only person in this house who'd ever cared at all.

"I just--"

"What? Have you come with some hellish edict from your father the devil?"

"Father didn't--"

"Thou shalt not bear false witness!" Her hand flew across his face, a swarm of bees in solid formation. Every time she slapped him, they gained another stinger. "Why must you torment me so? Even here, in the presence of God?"

"I don't want to torment you!" And, privately, he had his doubts about God's presence.

"Liar! Blasphemer! Devil child!"


"I am not your mother! You are not my son! You are a satanic parasite that festered in me, tore me apart! You wouldn't even do me the courtesy of staying dead!"

"I--I'm sorry!" But not for Riona, not now. Lucky Riona had gone away. Not even the hell he spawned from was worse than here. "I'm sorry... that I'm here..."

"Liar!" The hand of bees struck once again. But he'd never lied to her once. "Liar! Demon! It should have been you who died!"

Searle bowed his head, deserving of another slap but not able to take it. Tears burned at his eyes but he didn't let them fall. She always hit harder when she saw he was crying. "I know..."



Van said...

I caught like eight typos and there are probably a million more. Sorry about that.

(I was up early today for an exam, and being up early never leads to anything good.)

Mimus said...

Ugh! Horrid woman! A good thing that Severin didn't even consider her. She would have traumatised his poor children like she does with her own!
Searle on the other hand is a sweetheart despite his parents. I can only hope he'll get out of there soon.

Van said...

Oh, Severin and Eumelia would have been an explosion. Vulcran is totally useless, so while he and Eumelia dislike each other, that dislike manifests as them avoiding each other and any inquiry as to the other's activities. His head is in the sand. Meanwhile, Severin would have known about this as soon as it started (his kids, unlike Searle, actually see their father as a safe zone; none of them would have waited to tell their father that their stepmother was abusing them). That situation would have ended with a very public divorce and probably a lot of chatter on both sides of the schism that is Severin's beef with the church.

But they probably hit it off badly. I seem to recall mention of one of the women smacking one of Severin's sons, and it was quite probably Eumelia. Actually, Searle's Aunt Maeja was also one of the women Roderick brought over; she's very nice, but she's much younger than Severin (like... closer to Raia's age), so she was out based on that.

Vulcran also never intended to be a father ever. He doesn't dislike Searle--and if this were a modern story and they were getting divorced, any sensible judge would give him custody here--but any social skills he has are restricted to drinking buddies and buxom chamber maids.

Penelope said...

Oh... yeah. Her husband is not the daddy. Eumelia is a whole heap of crazy, but I think she might be right. *pulls on overalls, pulls out wrench, puts on expert voice* So what you've got here is your classic case of cambion birth. See how this baby was born dead? Happens all the time in demonic conceptions. Yessiree, that is textbook.

Van said...

Vulcran actually is Searle's genetic father, but the conception was indeed not your typical tab-A-slot-B situation, and the birth wasn't any more conventional. If we're going with the idea that cambions are conceived by incubi using sperm collected from human males by succubi (which seems to be the case with at least Lucien's parentage), Vulcran would be a pretty easy target for a succubus. The man barely remembers when his own birthday is.

It's a pretty wild coincidence that they'd use Eumelia's own husband, but that's what happens when you make up new storylines for existing Sims on a whim. :S

Winter said...

I'm glad Pen and her wrench solved the puzzle, because I was o_O trying to figure it out.

Eumelia is horrible in a wonderful way. I do feel slightly sad that she got pushed into marriage when she wanted to go to a nunnery, but I don't think she would have made much of a nun either. I can't see her being any good at charitable tasks or any other tasks besides praying.

Searle the Unfavorite, get thee to Naroni and your fellow cambions. He seems like a good kid. I wonder what his power is?

Van said...

That was indeed some great deduction on Pen's part. :)

Eumelia's story is not a happy one, though you're right that she wouldn't have made the best nun either, unless she was in one of those super-heavy-duty cloisters and never interacted with anyone outside. To say she's not a people person is a gross understatement.

Naroni would indeed be a good place for Searle. Even his Dovian relatives would be still too close for home. He is Severin's nephew by marriage, so it wouldn't be too strange if he showed up in Naroni at some point. He is a good kid, but alas, he hasn't been given much room to develop any confidence. :(