December 10, 2015

In Which Renata Sees and Is Seen

August 30, 1196

"Father!" It was the first Renata had seen of him since her graduation and wedding--and thinking back to years gone by, it was a relief that they could reunite happily. Her grandmother and Lord Severin had come clean to her father about her training in Naroni shortly after she'd begun at the university; he hadn't been thrilled. But, given the obvious joy in all the letters she'd sent him since her relocation, he'd gotten over it, even admitted that she'd make a fine knight. Her mother hadn't been so amiable to the idea, but it was a stretch to expect her mother to amiable to much of anything, so she'd settle for her father's coming-around.

"Ah, Renata." He kissed her on the cheek, then eased out of their embrace, looking her over with a bemused grin. "You look to be doing well."

But as she studied him in turn, she didn't think she could quite return the sentiment. Not with the added bagginess of his same old clothing, the dry lips, the pale of all corners of his face save the bags beneath his eyes. She had heard from the twins that their father hadn't been in the best of health this past while, but when she'd thought that had it been serious enough, he would have asked her to come and see him--and when he'd said he was coming to see her, then surely he must have recovered!

From the look of him, she'd been wrong about that. "It's good to see you."

"And you're in good time to see your new grandson," added Falidor as he lifted the baby from the crib. He'd been the one to greet her father; one look at him and he'd probably feared this would be the only time Abrich the Elder and Abrich the Younger ever met. "I can't believe it. Four days old, and his mother's already back to handing my ass to me on the training grounds."

"An easy baby!" Her father smiled down at her son, who stared--as newborns tended to do. "The best kind to have."

Still very aware of the toll Cat had taken on poor CeeCee, Renata nodded. "Any future siblings Abrich has had better follow suit."

Her father turned his head, simply to beam at her. "You gave him my name?"

"Of course. It's not as if Falidor's father isn't swimming in Severins already, and there could very well be another if Alya's new one turns out to be a boy."

"Arydath thinks it will, according to Roddie." Falidor raised his arms to kiss the baby on the forehead, then nodded back toward Renata's father. "You must be hungry, my lord."

Hunger was surely the least of his problems--but, her father managed a grateful grimace. "Some bread and soup wouldn't be the worst thing in the world right about now."

"Then I'll see what the cooks can do for you." Falidor handed the baby over to Renata and made for the nursery door. He didn't want to be a good host so much as he wanted to give her a moment alone with her father--because he knew what was needed. Falidor always seemed to know what was needed in these situations.

Renata didn't have those sorts of gifts. "His hair seems rather reddish, don't you think?"

"What little hair he has, yes," her father agreed. "Not impossible, given your Aunt Lettie and your Uncle Karlspan. And I believe some of Falidor's siblings have red hair?"

"Yes, though Jadin and Riona would have gotten it from their own mother. But Thetis has a dark red, like Nora's sister."

"Ah. Well, the sure thing is that this little fellow has your own eyes."

"Maelle noted that the minute he opened them."

"I'm glad you and your sister have managed to patch things up. The university has been good for both of you." Her father waved his fingers, probably in some attempt to get little Abrich to follow them. "Will you and Falidor be able to get to Dovia for her wedding this November?"

Renata stifled a sigh. November was two whole months away--but, somehow, she knew he was only asking because he thought that he himself wouldn't be there. "Barring some unforeseen emergency, we do plan on going."

"I'm glad of it." Her father smiled. "And I'm glad to see you now."

Because, quite likely, it was the last he'd ever see of her.

"Tell me you plan on staying a while, at least."


1 comment:

Van said...

The two siblings after Renata are also in Naroni for now, since they're that university (though they'll both be going back to Dovia). Maelle graduates at the end of September. Arkon will be graduating next June.