September 21, 2014

In Which Dea Is of More Use

March 14, 1187

Not once in her life had Dea ever been her mother's designated comforter after a funeral.

That had always been Uncle Sparron's job.

Dea had no idea how to go about it. There were many things she did well, but social interaction was not one of them--particularly at sensitive times. And while she had been close with her mother in her younger years, there was no point in pretending the relationship hadn't strained since Holden's birth; hell, this may have been the first time they'd been alone since her brother had entered the world, and only because Aunt Camaline had taken it upon herself to keep him occupied, a colossal sacrifice given her usual opinion of children who weren't Prior. Gennie would have been the better choice, but she'd taken it upon herself to stick by Prior's side, and Dea had to admit that he had the most need of a shoulder to cry on out of all of them.

But Dea missed Uncle Sparron too. No one else quite understood her like he had--and even after Prior had been born, he'd never failed to make time for her and her mother and siblings.

But however much she missed him, surely--she couldn't deny it--her mother had to have missed him that much more. And she'd been alone in his old room for nearly an hour now, and Dea had debated remedying that for upward of twenty minutes. When her father had tried to make a messenger of her, she knew she couldn't put it off much longer. "Hello, Mother."

"Hello, Dea." Her mother picked at the laces of her oh-too-restrictive black bodice. "People will say what they want about your uncle, but he didn't have a cruel bone in his whole body. The good hearts of this world don't get nearly enough time." She'd probably spent the past few days wondering why her brother was gone at thirty while her husband was alive and well. Awful thought it was, Dea did not think she would have missed her father much either. Even with Holden, he'd never forgiven her for not being a boy--and she'd never forgiven him for not thinking her good enough.

"No. I suppose they don't."

"When you were born, your father became unbearable." She'd never been told that, but she'd always known it. "Your uncle and I used to make forts out of cushions and blankets, back when we were children. When you were a baby, he came to the castle one day when Ietrin was out and we did just that. We sat there for hours, just you and me and him. You cried when your father got back and made him leave."

"I wish I remembered that." Though, if she thought about it, she recalled flashes of later forts. A laugh in one image of her and Gennie sounded much like Uncle Sparron's.

No one ever heard that laugh much. No one ever would again.

"Father said he wanted to head back to the castle." Dea pressed the tips of her forefingers together, unsure if she'd given the right response. Her gut said she did, but who knew if her mother would agree. "I told him that no one was stopping him."

Her mother sniffed. "No one is."

"He's arguing with Grandfather now about the rest of us going back."

"That is the last thing your grandfather needs."

And her obtuse father would never figure that out on his own. "Shall I go and help get rid of him?" At the moment, she thought she might be of more use to her mother at her grandfather's side.

"That would be for the best."

"Yes, Mother."

Dea made her way back to the door and tugged at the handle, the hallway beyond empty in front of her.

"Dea, wait."

She turned her head, and not without blinking first. "Yes?"

"Your uncle thought that you should be queen." Her mother slouch down toward the pillow, her crown slipping off her head and falling to the side. If she noticed, she didn't care. "I want you to know that I think he was right."



Van said...

Sunday afternoon.


Winter said...

I just love how Ietrin's interest in his family shows itself whenever he can make them miserable. He should just go home and enjoy not hating the family he hates in the castle. Nobody wants him at Tetran (or anywhere else.)

Would Jeda ever risk telling Dea about Hollie? I thought she might do it here for a moment. Whenever Dea does find out, I hope she understands why Jeda had to attach herself to Hollie and that Jeda understands how personally Dea took it and why. As survivors of Ietrin, I hope they can be close again someday.

Winter said...

not having the family he hates*


Van said...

Yeah, Ietrin's only interested in Jeda and his daughters when it comes to asserting his dominance (and Dea, at least, is increasingly resistant to that attitude). Even Holden is more of a status symbol to him than anything else; if he had any interest in his son beyond that, he'd have found out that he doesn't actually have a son via Jeda by now.

I don't think telling Dea about Hollie is out of the question for Jeda. In fact, it may one day be necessary to let another person into the know, and Dea would probably be the best option (while Dea could technically benefit from outing Hollie as a girl, she wouldn't throw her mother and sister under the bus like that) since of the two, Gennie would be more likely to let it slip. The Dea/Jeda relationship is perfectly salvageable as long as each side is willing to listen, which I think they would be if it came to it.

Mimus said...

But then again, if Ietrin had actual interest in his family, he probably wouldn't care what gender they are/would try to get his daughter on the throne, now that his father is dead, so the whole Holden/Hollie-debacle would not happen right now.
And I have to admit that I also expected Jeda to tell her oldest daughter about her "brother" now. She's old enough, I think. But then again, maybe Jeda wants to shield her from any fallout by not saying anything?

But I have to say that Dea looks really pretty in the second picture. I had my doubts at first with Ietrin's genes...

Van said...

If Ietrin cared about more than himself at all, it's true, there'd be no need to pretend that Hollie is Holden. He wouldn't just dismiss his daughters as dowries he'll have to shell out and would have no problem if one of them succeeded him should he die without a legitimate son.

(Though, I will note--because this might come up later--that inheritance laws in Dovia/Naroni are a bit inconsistent when it comes to royalty, since each monarch can choose whether to prioritize female descendants or other male relatives in event of a lack of crown prince. Ietrin, since he was so intent on an heir, never bothered to pick one or the other and write it down because he refused to acknowledge the possibility. So, if Ietrin died tomorrow, whether Dea or Farilon got the throne would actually be up to Roderick's designation.)

As for why Jeda hasn't told Dea about Hollie, that's exactly it: Dea's safety. If Dea and Gennie can honestly plead ignorance if Ietrin finds out, then they'll be better off from what Jeda can figure.

Dea is quite pretty! Actually, Gennie is a teen in-game now, and I have to say that Dea is the prettier one. That said, Gennie will probably have more romantic success because she's a more sociable personality, which wouldn't bother Dea all that much since romance isn't at the top of her priority list; if she falls in love, great, if not, not the end of the world. I suspect that Gennie will be the one putting more effort into the controllable aspects of her appearance as well.

Penelope said...

So sad! Aggggghhhh!!!

Van said...


Pen said...

Did Sparron roll an early death date or was it more planned (due to his illness)? Has someone asked this before? I don't always read the comments like I should. (D'oh!)

Van said...

He did roll an early death date. :( But even if he hadn't, I struggle to see the poor guy as an old man.

Pen said...

I just noticed that there is a story on your sidebar called "Penelope's Journey". *giggles* I'll be clicking that later.

Van said...


It's definitely worth checking out!