January 7, 2016

In Which Raia's Joke Hits Oblivion

June 15, 1197

"I take it that you're enjoying having a baby around the house without having to have gone through the pregnancy and labor yourself?" Leara asked with a wistful smile as she sat down at the table, Leon and Xetrica left with free reign of the castle on the rug.

Raia couldn't suppress her private chuckle. In recent years, she'd come to worry that she and her best friend and had grown apart, what with her role as chancellor and Leara's as duchess, her increased closeness with Ellona and Leara's with her sisters-in-law. But, if she found Leara's continued obsession with babies more endearing than annoying, then their friendship was hardy enough that she needn't have fretted. "Naturally--but I more enjoy not having to worry about leaving any of the children anywhere else for the day, now that Rennie's here." She'd been surprised initially when her daughter-in-law--her equal in distaste for the domestic--had opted against pursuing a career in favor of independent study and contemplation around the house, but now that she thought about it, she struggled to see Rennie in any sort of subordinate role, be that employee pleasing employer or freelancer pleasing customer.

"Well... I can't say I can relate much to that, not working outside the home myself." That, and being a duchess came with certain perks, such as always having a nanny on hand. "But I do envy you having little Searle here. I wish Ricky would find himself a wife already."

"Oh." Dear Lord. Sometimes, Raia forgot just how her native class tended to think about such things--not that her own family hadn't practically been a class of its own. "Well, better he take his time finding someone compatible rather than marry just anyone, surely."

"It wouldn't be just anyone. Really, Lorn should have found him a wife, like he's found spouses for all of our other children--but since Ricky is the heir, only he can choose who will rule beside him." Leara's violet eyes rolled to her lashes. "Really, the heir is the one who has to marry. If Ricky has no wife and no children, then Dalston will be duke after him--and Dalston won't have picked who rules beside him, Lorn's made sure of that!"

"I don't know. You have nine children; if Lorn had just let them all find their own spouses, I'm sure at least one of them would have found someone they cared about and produced heirs for Armion."

"Being a Kemorin, you would say that!" Leara laughed. "It's a hefty chance. If all of our sons went unmarried and Armion passed to one of our daughters, then who's to say her husband wouldn't move to usurp her from his position of consort? I don't want my girls being treated like that, nor do I want control of the shire to leave the family any time in the foreseeable future."

Foreseeable future.
As if it weren't impossible that a meteor would wipe out Armion Keep and all of its inhabitants the night after tomorrow. "I struggle to see your girls falling for men like that."

"Most men are like that--creatures of pure ego. I'm just glad Lorn isn't, and is able to serve our sons with his example. But really, for the more immediate concern... my only grandchild is all the way out in Dovia. The least my firstborn could do for me is give me one who lives in my own castle."

"And here I thought we agreed that we were too young to be grandmothers."

"We are! But since I'm a grandmother anyway, I might as well be a grandmother twice over--like you are, might I remind you!"

"Possibly more times than that, now that Rio's discovered brothels." Raia sighed. There were definite downsides to being a Kemorin... but, if randy sons were the cost of having been able to marry a steward she loved rather than some baron's son her father had picked for her, then randy sons it was. "At least he's learned enough from his uncles that I'm sure he treats the women well."

"Hmm. Perhaps that's where all of Ricky's energy is going." Leara shook her head, but not without a fond tug at the corner of the mouth. "But seriously--if that boy hasn't found himself a betrothed before I find another grey hair, he's marrying the next woman who walks past the gates of Armion Keep."

Raia smirked. "Assuming that she's an earl's daughter or higher, of course."

As oblivious to the joke as a good princess and duchess would be, Leara nodded. "Naturally."


1 comment:

Van said...

...okay, I have not worked full time since August 2013 before this week. Now, it's Thursday night and I'm aching all over.

...How do people do it?