January 17, 2016

In Which Severin Assigns Luck to the Comparative Sense

September 30, 1197

"It was good of you to come," Severin's stepmother commended him from the couch, though he didn't find his mere presence a praiseworthy event. The stubborn fire at which he prodded seemed to agree. "I know you and your brother aren't close, and I know your grandson is graduating today."

"Dalston took his vows at the beginning of the month; I was there for that, and he said that was the more important thing." And, in essence... well, that was probably true. But, beyond wishing the boy the best, he didn't much want to think about Dalston's situation.

Nor did he much want to think about Rudolphus's, but at least this one, he could understand.

"The doctors are saying that Rudolphus probably has a good month or so yet; I don't think either of us would have blamed you if you'd waited."

"I might have, though; Naroni isn't so near that I might have rushed over had he taken a sudden turn for the worse." Severin pushed one log off of its balance upon the other, a shower of sparks surging as it hit the metal below. He may not have been close with his half-brother, but they weren't so distant that a lack of goodbyes would have been bearable. Besides--Rudolphus wasn't the only denizen of his keep. He had always been close with Viridis, closer than most were with their stepmothers; if she had to bury her firstborn, the least he could do was stand by her side as Rudolphus took his place beside their father in the crypt. "There's no sense on my visiting Dovia without staying at least a couple weeks. Rudolphus and I weren't always brotherly, but I should like to remedy that while we have the time."

"I think he would like that too--and though perhaps I shouldn't be thinking of myself, it would mean the world to me." Viridis stood, her age apparent in the shaking of her joints as she rose. Eighty-five years were more than most dared wish for; if his attempt at bonding with Rudolphus could fulfill one of her last remaining wishes, then Severin wanted little more than to see it through. He would be at her side when Rudolphus passed. He would not leave until after the funeral. Nora would serve their shire well in his stead, as she always did during his absences--and she would understand.

Severin put down the poker and picked at a splinter in his left forefinger. That could have very well been a message from his father, earned by first picking up the tool with his left hand in his childhood home. It hadn't been until after his father had died that he'd learned he too had been born with the left hand preference. What would he learn about his brother, after his death? "You're allowed to think of yourself. Rudolphus is your son; a parent shouldn't bury their child."

"And you've buried two, and Rudolphus buried one." Viridis sighed. "Perhaps I've been lucky in that sense; I doubt I have many years left myself, and Rudolphus at least lived to be a grandfather several times over."

Lucky. Perhaps--but only in the comparative sense. Severin shook his head. "There's no sense in counting down your own years yet. You're still in good health."

"Yes, perhaps--and I still feel young at heart." Her smile backed up that sentiment as she rubbed him on the shoulder--like she had when he'd been a child, only now reaching upward instead of down. If she still felt young at heart, then Severin envied her. "But I won't delude myself about my mortality at my age. Your father was healthy as a horse until he wasn't, and same with my brother. Same with Rudolphus."

"Hmm. What you and I have to look forward to, I suppose."

"You not for a while yet, I don't think; I know I can't imagine Naroni going on without Severin of Veldora."

"Then it's fortunate that my grandson is also Severin of Veldora." Though here, with his beloved stepmother and her dying son, it was a painful reminder that there ought to have been Jadin in between. "I suppose we both ought to just keep living for now."



Van said...

Sunday blahs.

Winter said...


Poor Viridis. Although, at the same time, that she still feels young at heart is really sort of lovely and hopeful. Comparative to her class and era, she has put up with a lot of troubles with grace and dignity. It's no wonder why Severin felt compelled to be with her in a time of grief.

Ghoulish as it is to think about a post-Severin (or Viridis) universe, they'll live on in greater numbers. The sheer number of Severins will attest to a good father, a loving husband, and the lord Naroni needed to be a success.

Van said...

Viridis does have a good way of taking what life throws at her. Her spirits don't get down for long, but she doesn't roll over and take it either. She managed to find a way to... compromise with life, I guess, would be one way of maybe explaining it. She doesn't fight her feelings, but she doesn't let them rule her either.

Oh, there will always be many, many Severins in the Naroni area. And a not-insignificant number of Viridises, too. ;)