March 23, 2016

In Which Riona Hadn't Expected

March 4, 1199

"You're staying here tonight?"

Lily only asked because she and Cambrin had a castle, while Conant and Meera were in their mother's old house. Cambrin didn't need the stress of hosting his widowed sister-in-law and her children on the night after his brother's funeral, and Riona didn't have it in her to be any sort of gracious house guest.

And in truth... the relative smallness of the house would suit Riona tonight. If she wanted to check on her children as they slept, she didn't fancy a candlelit journey to another floor, another wing. She'd sleep here, in her mother's old bed, with her two small girls beside her. Her boys would be in the next bedroom, from where she wouldn't miss so much as a skipped snore.

So, she nodded. "Meera told me she doesn't mind. I won't impose longer than tonight.

"I just... I think I need a night elsewhere before I can sleep soundly in that bed without Lonriad."

It had been a political match, arranged by their mothers years before they'd ever met. She'd grown fond of Lonriad, Riona supposed, and she thought he'd felt similarly about her, but it had hardly been a fairy-tale romance. She hadn't expected to miss him quite so much.

Then again, she'd never thought much about him dying. Lonriad had been a healthy man, and healthy men didn't waste away, leaving their wives time to prepare themselves for the inevitable. Healthy men died suddenly in freak hunting accidents.

Riona would have preferred if he'd been sickly.

"You're sure?"

At least she had her choice of sisters here in sweet, open-hearted Lily--even if all she really wanted, just for a moment, was her only-somewhat-more-than-platonic husband back. "Yes. Thank you, though."

"I can call here tomorrow morning, if you like."

"All right." Her sister, bless her, would be worse for wear if she didn't at least let her try to help. There wasn't much help to be had, but there was something to be said about the effort. "I could probably use some adult company for the ride back home after breakfast."