July 9, 2014

In Which Karlspan Is Startled in Turn

July 26, 1186

"So I'm thinking I'll study Philosophy. It should be sort of interesting without being too time-consuming." Unless maybe there were a lot of papers involved. But if he specialized in logic, assignments would probably run more along the lines of short answer problems--at least, Karlspan dared hope. "What about you?"

"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it yet." That... sounded like Ricky. And Ricky's father, according to Karlspan's father. "I still have three years before I even go, and I don't think you have to choose your major right away."

"But it seems that most people have."

"Maybe. But everything sounds sort of interesting to me, and sort of boring too. I might have to feel all the faculties out."

Yes--his father had been right. The Mokonris were rather wishy-washy. The Mokonri men, at least; both of Ricky's full paternal aunts seemed to know what they wanted. Maybe there was hope for Celina after all. "Has your sister thought about it at all?"

"I don't know. Probably not; she's not starting until I'm a junior and you're a senior." Ricky lifted one hand from the ground and picked at his fingernails. Apparently he'd never heard of a file. "Why do you care what she wants to study?"

"Why shouldn't I care?"

"I don't know, but it's not like you to care." This coming from a kid who picked at his nails. "For all I know, she might not even want to go."

Really? "Why shouldn't she go?"

"It's not a question of 'shouldn't'. She might just not want to."

"Do you think she doesn't want to?"

"I don't know. But she wants a big family, and she might want to get an early start."

Ah, yes, the 'big family' excuse. When Count Felron had cited that during an angry rant about the university admitting women, all Karlspan's father had had to do was point out that it was only matter of time before there were more noblemen than reasonably-sized estates. Besides... "Your grandmother has ten kids and didn't get started until her twenties--older than she would have been had she just gotten out of this university. If Celina wants a big family, she can still have one if she goes to university first." Though, God--he hoped she didn't want ten kids!

"Hey, I didn't say I didn't want her to go. Just that--"

"Yes, yes." Karlspan rolled his eyes. "She might not want to. I heard you the first time."

"Then why do you--?"


Speak of the... well, it couldn't have been the best idea to think of her as 'the devil', even in his own head for the sake of an old expression.

"Ricky, I'm going to Veldora to see CeeCee and Renata--and to see if Lyssa's feeling better. Mama says you have to come with me."

"Aww, really?" Ricky groaned. There really was a world of difference between fourteen and fifteen, Karlspan supposed. Sure, girls Ricky's sister's age were a little younger, and Renata would probably always be plain, but CeeCee... no, there would be no such worries on that front, with her bouncing brown curls and her clever smile and her much-more-womanly-than-twelve body.

Not that Karlspan had any right to notice that now. But there was another opportunity to be had here. "I can go with you, Celina. I know the way."

"Oh." She stopped just short of him as he shot to his feet, eyebrows peaking as her brother sighed with relief. She wasn't any stunning beauty, but she was nothing horrible to look at either. Besides, she was only twelve; she couldn't have reached her aesthetic peak yet. And there were more important things than looks anyway. "That should be all right. I'll have to ask just in case, but Mama did call you trustworthy yesterday."

His father would be pleased to hear that. He'd told Karlspan to worry more about impressing the duchess than the duke before they'd left for Naroni; a mother's opinion, after all, meant more than a father's in such matters. "I'm flattered."

"Are you sure it wouldn't be an inconvenience, though? I mean, you are a guest, and Mama did ask Ricky."

"It's no inconvenience." For the sake of getting off on the right foot, he wouldn't mention that technically, Ricky had neither been asked nor been informed by their mother. "It will give us a chance to get to know each other. I don't know about you, but I'd like to have some idea of who you are before we get married."

Ricky choked. Celina was subtler, but the bulging eyes and the backward lean were an unmistakeable tell of a person in startlement. "Before... what?"

"Your father never told you?" Shit. Did most fathers not tell girls? It seemed a basic courtesy to tell them. Lia, at least, had been told about Cambrin Jamoran...

"He... didn't mention it." Damn. It would probably take the entire trip to cheer her up, if he could even do that. It might be a job better left to her friends. "Did they just decide this?"

Oh, double damn. He couldn't lie to her after that. "No, they made the agreement a few years ago now."

"A few years ago?" Why oh why hadn't his father warned him that she didn't know? More to the point, why had her father not told her? "Ricky, did Papa say anything to you?"

Karlspan followed Celina's gaze over to her brother. He doubted there was any more certainty there than there had been in regards to the university. From the looks of it, he wasn't wrong.




Van said...

Early tonight.

Penelope said...

Karlspan is a rather a judgmental kid. At least he seems to have enough tact to keep it under his hat.

And there goes Lorn, arranging marriages in a questionable way, just as he is wont to do.

Penelope said...

P.S. I love Jadin the dog. :D

Van said...

Karlspan is fifteen and haughty and full of himself. :P He'll grow out of the worst of it, but he's still his father's son (though he's arguably more tactful than his snarky father--though Searle has made a solid political career of making his lack of tact work for him).

Arranging marriages in a reasonable way is not Lorn's strong suit, though to his credit, I don't think he'd force any of his kids to marry anyone who turned out to be awful. Lorn doesn't always know what to make of Searle, but he knows him well enough to know that he and Ren probably raised the kids right, plus Karlspan will be an earl one day and therefore Celina will be a countess. For the record, I don't see Celina objecting to Karlspan himself; just being pissed and hurt that Lorn didn't tell her.

Jadin the dog! I forgot to tag that fuzzy little photo-bomber! XD