September 9, 2014

In Which Severin Tells the Truth

March 6, 1187

Severin's roommates, unlike Severin himself, preferred to spend their Friday nights out and about. And for the most part, Severin had no complaints about this. Easier to study without the noise and distraction of other people, after all.

But Severin had studied. He'd finished his essay, and his readings... and the next's week's essays and readings. He didn't want to write any more. He didn't want to read any more. No--he just wanted to scream and thrash and flip off the world, because quite frankly, he was done with it.

More than anything, he wanted to see Rina.

Tomorrow, he'd ride out to Tetran and call at Sir Garrett's. Maybe he'd drop by on his mother after that, just to tell her how badly the outing she'd insisted on had gone. But he had to see Rina first. He wouldn't mention her brother, but he would tell her how much he missed her. How frustrated he was with not seeing her every day. How anyone who had a problem with that could drop dead for all he cared.

On the other side of the library door, a pair of footsteps made their way up the stairs. Severin bit his lip. He'd long given up on peace, but now so much for quiet too. "Just study in the sitting room, whoever you are."

"I don't live here."

He would have preferred one of his roommates. "Go to hell."

"Look, I apologized to Rina, all right?" Arkon shut the door behind him, head bowed. "I just went last weekend to see her. I had some words with Brother Cenhelm, and he shed a different light on things."

"She didn't mention that in the letter I got yesterday." Severin forced himself off of the couch, knuckles twitching under the weight of the rest of him. The lingering pain of the thrown punched was second only to the ache to throw another.

"She doesn't like to talk about any of it."

"Yes, I gathered that. She cried when I saw her. But I did see her, and she'll confirm it if you ask." That would remain to be seen. For now, though, Arkon took advantage of his lack of a guilty verdict and made for the empty table. "Sit with me a minute? There's something I'd like to discuss with you."

"I'm not sorry for hitting you, if that's what this is," Severin hissed as he took the seat at the head.

"No, I'll admit that I deserved that. And while I've grown up with certain traditions, I want it to be known that I shan't force my sister into any life she doesn't want." Pulling himself into his most countly posture, Arkon stared. Severin countered his own need to blink with a firm frown. "As her concerned brother, though, I can't help but notice how loyal you are to her."

"What of it?"

"Well, I wonder if--assuming she's on board with the idea--you might be interested in marrying her."

...Eh? Severin's legs shot arrow-straight, pushing his chair back toward the shelves behind him. "Are you mad?"

"Look, I get that you're from a big family and you probably want a lot of children, but hear me out--"

"Children? God, no. I want children like I want an axe in my skull." And Rina's brother's eyes were brimming like it was the most beautiful image to ever cross his mind. "Let's cut to the chase here. You're telling me that you don't think your sister can fetch anyone better than a steward's son on her own merit."

"What? I didn't say that!" He'd come close enough. But what noble worth his salt didn't know how to backtrack? "It's just that, when you grow up in our world, children are very important. We have titles and lands to consider, and what happens to those titles and lands when we die. I suppose there would be second and third and onward sons more than willing to marry her, but as my father's only daughter, everyone will wonder why she didn't wed a first son. I know this sounds insane, but I think it would be better in the long run if she were to run off with a commoner and we could let the scandal run its course without any public speculation of her desirability."

"You're right. That does sound insane." Severin pursed his lips and blew a rogue strand of hair out of his face. The damn thing fell right back, as usual. "Besides, I'm sure she could find herself a much better commoner than me."

"That sounds like something only someone who really cared about my sister would say."

"That is irrelevant." He scuffed his boot against the floor. An old hand-me-down pair of Hamrick's, who was shorter than Severin now but still had bigger feet. A couple more harmless swipes and the leather could wear clean through.

"All that matters is that it's true."



Van said...

Can't swing a cat without hitting a Tamrion these days.

...I need to sleep now.

Penelope said...

I think Severin is too quick to dismiss himself here. For the people who know what happened, just the fact that a man thought her good enough to marry (even a gentleman) would have absolved her (if this is THE TIMES). Anyway, she would probably be happier married to Severin than spending the rest of her life trying to blend in with the wall.

Van said...

I guess he'll never know unless at some point, someone breeches the subject with Rina. ;)