May 11, 2016

In Which Riona Is Approached With the Practical Idea

February 13, 1200

"Thank you for agreeing to this meeting," Haldred began once Riona had shut the door behind them. "My apologies for having King Oswald arrange it on my behalf, but I believe I needed some reassurance of this idea myself, and he seemed the optimal source there--apart from you yourself, of course."

Riona raised an eyebrow. She didn't know Haldred Kelistine well--only as the heir to the Earl of Sarona, and as a man whose late wife had been sister to her late husband. His introduction to this matter was a fair example of why they'd never gravitated to each other beyond that: he was a cerebral man, with enough of a textbook understanding of etiquette that he couldn't be faulted but no real appreciation for his place among the nobility. Privately, he probably found her frivolous, as she herself found him aloof and alien. She'd seen little of him since Holladrin's passing and even less since Lonriad's, and that hadn't been a problem for her. She'd assumed that lack of feeling had been mutual.

"So... what is this about, then?"

"Right; I'll get to the point. I believe we should marry."

"That... might be the sort of idea that requires more build-up." Holladrin had been the pinnacle of a princess, but Lonriad must have been right when he'd said his sister had found her husband's peculiarities endearing; she surely might have taught him more social nuances otherwise. "But, since I'd imagine you put some thought into this and our mutual father-in-law doesn't think it so horrible an idea to forbid us from speaking, I'll hear you out."

"Thank you. I'll admit that I got the idea from my sister Cladelia, when she informed us of her engagement to her sister-in-law's widower. It's unconventional, perhaps, but undeniably practical. The children are cousins, and therefore already have an inherent basis for a sibling-like relationship--and neither spouse will attempt to usurp the place of their predecessor, out of respect for their own first spouse and those they loved."

"That explains why you thought to involve King Oswald."

"Yes. No one can speak for Holladrin or Lonriad, but Oswald is their father--plus, I'd imagine Celina told him about her experience when Nythran and Cladelia married."

Riona nodded, though she kept her eyes to Haldred's face as her head bobbed. Perhaps he wasn't emotionally removed as she'd pegged him? At the very least, he seemed to realize that other people might have their own opinions and feelings--and, if she were honest, that was a thing she herself had always struggled with somewhat. "That's probably true."

Haldred forced his mouth into an unpracticed smile. He'd never much bothered with expressions as far as Riona had seen, but he was a handsome enough man; he wore his own unease well. "I'd understand if you need some time to think about it; Lonriad hasn't been gone all that long, after all. But the issue of the children and our late spouses aside, I believe you'd make a fine Countess of Sarona one day, and I don't plan on seeking out anyone else's hand without allowing you the opportunity to give me your earnest answer first."

"I appreciate that." Lonriad hadn't been the crown prince, after all; 'Countess Riona of Sarona' did have a fine ring to it, she would admit. "You've convinced me to at least consider it. Once I have my answer, I'll waste no time in letting you know."



Van said...

Riona is definitely her mother's daughter, but I think spending her adulthood around Oswald rather than Roderick has been good for her. Plus, Laralita had gained some perspective before the end; it makes sense that Riona would experience that growth earlier in her life.

Riona has four surviving children, ranging from about one-and-a-half to almost twelve. Haldred also has four surviving children, the oldest of whom is fifteen and the youngest of whom is five. They've got two girls and two boys apiece; interestingly, Haldred's two teenagers are the girls, while Riona's older two are the boys. Or, at least, it's interesting to me. XD

Ann said...

Huh, not the most romantic of proposals by a long shot, but... I do think there might be something to the idea of those two together.
Seems like practical marriages are kind of a theme lately. ^^

Van said...

There have been quite a few practical marriages lately, since I have a lot of still-fairly-young widows and widowers running around at present. XD