January 31, 2016

In Which Tarien's Children Are Not Themselves

January 17, 1198

"My God! I don't think I've seen much of you since you were a little ankle-biter--and now you're a baron, of all things." Tarien chuckled to himself, but noted the slight roll of his sister's grandson's eyes. It had been so long since anyone had cooed over how big he'd gotten that he'd forgotten how annoying it could be; Arkon, as any young man his age, would prefer to be addressed as an adult. "Anyway, what are you doing in Naroni a good few weeks before your studies resume? Surely you wouldn't have come all this way to pay your silly old uncle a call."

"Not to insult your company, Uncle, but it's true that I'm here on other business. Is Koradril here?"

"Koradril? He should be. At least, if he's left, no one's told me." Not that Tarien minded, usually--if no one told him, after all, then he could safely plead ignorance in the event of any trouble. But Arkon surely hadn't come all this way for nothing. "I hope he hasn't roped you into any of his shenanigans."

"Not exactly, no." Arkon sighed, drumming his fingers against his hip. "He alerted me to a misunderstanding that I need to get straightened out, but certain details are best left vague in writing. I need him to fill me in in person; I'm surprised he didn't tell you to expect me, actually."

"I can't recall him mentioning you, no." Not in the context of a January visit, anyway. "Must be a fairly private matter."

"Somewhat, but not to the point where he'd need to hide the fact that I was coming. Besides, I don't expect to suffer much; it seems I've been mistaken for someone else, or have been intended to take the fall, but I'll work something out with the involved parties."

Tarien frowned. What sort of accusations would bring a young baron to a neighboring kingdom so suddenly? Surely not the sort of accusations Koradril could have known about, unless he was a much better actor than Tarien could have guessed; the boy had been his same carefree, unfiltered self for the entire duration of his break. "Hmm. Well, best of luck to you there, though I can't say that Koradril has given any indication of anything amiss."

"Really?" Arkon arched his brows, lips pursed. "That's odd. It's not often that Koradril makes an effort to keep his thoughts from breaching his mouth."

"You needn't tell me! The whole kingdom knows half of his early adventures in masturbation, and it's his own damn fault."

"Most of campus knows of his current adventures, given how he insists on keeping his windows open." Arkon smirked, but composed himself at the sight of someone over Tarien's shoulder. "Oh. I suppose we'll resume this particular discussion later, Uncle."

"The discussion of my brother's obsession with his own penis, you mean?" Cladelia, with all the directness one could expect of a daughter of Arydath. Many a father would have been mortified at his daughter's unabashed mouthing of the word 'penis', but listening to Arydath's tales of midwifery all these years, he'd come to realize that sheltering young women did more harm than good. "No need to present any illusion on my part; Koradril slept in the room next to mine around the time he realized it did more than just piss, and the walls aren't as thick as I would have preferred."

Rather than gasp in shock, Arkon chuckled--though, from what Tarien recalled, Arkon's mother Riona wasn't the most bashful of women herself. His sister Nata, here in Naroni as Renata's stepson's widow, surely could have made her fair share of sailors blush.

"Arkon, this is Cladelia--my youngest. Cladelia, this is my great-nephew Arkon, Baron of Rexus."

He turned his head just in time to see his daughter blink. "The baron?"

"I'm still not used to people calling me that, to be honest." Arkon shot her a grin about a half-second longer than Tarien would have preferred boys grin at his sixteen-year-old daughter, but managed to wrangle his mouth back to neutral. "Do you by any chance know why your brother might have written to me, recommending that I come at once?"

Cladelia blinked again--rather unlike her usual spontaneous, confident self. "Cladelia?"

"Um..." Her hand reached to her mouth in some girlhood reflex of nail-biting, eyes darting to the ceiling rather than either of the men in front of her. "About that... I, uh..."



Van said...

It's odd that it will be February in real life before it is in Naroni. XD

Winter said...

So, Arkon grew up *nicely*.

He's reading as quite confident that this isn't the real deal. He was planning on kids as a younger man, though, so there's more going on here re: his activities (or lack therof) at these brothels. Can't wait to see how Cladelia talks her way out of this pickle.

Van said...

He did! I was pleasantly surprised, given that his father wasn't exactly a looker.

Arkon's probably getting up to as much brothel activity as any other unattached heterosexual fellow his age, but I don't think he's the type to make a sport of casual sex with classmates, so he's probably thinking someone needed a man to claim her child and he wasn't the worst option. As for Cladelia... well, I suspect she talks her way out of a lot of things with her father and her friends, but Arkon is neither...