December 7, 2014

In Which Lettie Acknowledges the Right

May 15, 1188

Lettie's eldest was not used to being summoned privately by her mother in such a grave manner. Rennie could be a spitfire at times, but she got good grades and kept to her principles and usually got along with others unless she was justified in not doing so. She was not used to getting in trouble, and when summoned in seriousness, didn't children tend to assume they were in trouble?

She wasn't in trouble. So far as Lettie knew, the only thing she might have possibly lectured Rennie about was the rather-longer-than-necessary kiss from her cousin Sev as the midnight bells tolled on New Year's. Lettie didn't much care if her eldest daughter was kissing boys, and least so long as she wanted those kisses, but Rennie didn't know that.

"Rennie, this isn't about anything you did or didn't do."

The girl exhaled, posture relaxing somewhat. A pity it wouldn't last. "It's about your father. You... you may have heard that he hasn't been home all morning."

Indeed--the stiffness, the tension, the alarm. It all returned. "He--he's not hurt, is he? Where is he?"

"He's fine." Physically. After just losing Jadin, still aching over Sparron, thank God. "He's at your grandfather's. You see... he went off into the woods last night. I don't know what he was doing there, but he wasn't in a good state of mind." To say the least.

How to proceed? She wouldn't tell Rennie about Searle looking for Deian, or about how he'd only calmed when Vera had brought forth Sparron's ghost to console him. That would be for Searle to tell, if he ever would. The poor man probably thought Sparron had been a dream. "Your Aunt Vera and Mistress Morgan found him wondering in the forest. He agreed to leave with them after--after some convincing. They summoned me to your grandfather's castle shortly after arriving there. The three of us spoke with your grandparents, and we agreed that it would be best if he stayed there for a few months."

"Will he be all right?" Rennie squirmed in her seat, as she often had when she'd been much younger, when Searle had solved most of his troubles with the bottle.

Lettie sighed. "I don't know. I know it's a lot to ask, but for now, I want this to stay between us. I'll give your siblings some abridged version, but you're old enough and mature enough that you have the right to know. I'll fill Arkon in soon, but I'd like to keep Alina and Severin as comfortable as possible." For as long as it would be possible.

Her poor babies. "But that's not all I wanted to talk to you about. Your father and I discussed it, and we agreed that it would be best for all of you and both of us if I took Sir Nythran's old house in University Village."

Rennie's eyes widened. She wasn't naive--and Lettie prided herself on raising children who weren't. It still hurt, knowing that she knew. "So you're... divorcing."

"That is the plan. We talked it over and we figured it was the only way we could stay friends in the long run. You and your siblings will each get to choose between coming with me and staying with your father, and of course you'd be welcome to go back and forth as you please." Lettie ran a hand down her sleeve, massaging her arm through soft velvet. It was her favorite dress. Searle had given it to her, long ago. One day, she hoped to wear it without her heart trying to break from her chest. "I'm sorry, baby."

"No. No, don't be sorry." But Rennie cracked a knuckle, a sign of frustration she'd inherited from Lettie's father. Lettie hated the sound, but she chose not to scold. "If you think it's for the best, then I trust you. I want the best too."

That made two of them. Lettie just hoped that Searle made three. "Thank you for understanding."



Van said...

*back to studying*

Winter said...

Good luck studying!

Thank goodness for Morgan, Vera, and the ghost of Sparron. And for Severin and Nora, to take the burden off of Lettie. Searle is going to need more care than she can be expected to give at this point, and someone still has to look after their children. Lettie did a good job of deciding what Rennie needed to know.

I imagine the children choosing where to stay only comes into play when Searle is on his feet again? He can't possibly be looking after anyone else for a while.

Van said...

Thanks! I have trouble focusing at home. I may be somewhat screwed. XD

Searle does need more care than Lettie can offer at this point. She did her best for a long time, but she's exhausted. If anything, maybe knowing they can actually do something for Searle might help Severin and Nora recover from the loss of Jadin, who they could only try to keep comfortable.

Luckily, all of the children are past the stage where they need constant supervision, but yeah, they'll all be with their mother at the castle until their father returns.