May 6, 2016

In Which Searle Observes His Brother's First-Or-Second Strangest Child

January 1, 1200

"See, Uncle? I told you your room hadn't vanished."

"Ah. Righ'." Searle gave Celina a grateful pat on the arm as he tried to blink her face into focus. Melria had taken the children home shortly after dinner, but she'd told Searle she'd understand if he ended up staying late and spending the night; given that his horse wasn't likely to be any more cooperative than the last chair he'd tried to sit on, his father had advised that he do just that. "I don' remember the halls being this twisty."

"The halls aren't twisty, Uncle."

"They sure weren'--not back in my day! Your father an' me used to race dogsled rug all the time; no one fell into the wall back then." Well, maybe Jadin had, once. That would have explained quite a bit. "God, I miss your father. Don' tell your aunts an' uncles, but he was my favorite."

"Your favorite sibling?" Celina's head, still blurry enough that he couldn't quite make out her expression, tipped to one side. Maybe she'd flipped the veil on her hat to the front at some point? It was possible. She'd always been the strangest of Jadin's children, after all--well, except for maybe Dalston. Something about the pale skin and pale hair and grey eyes against the typically blue and black wardrobe. Or maybe that constant air of preoccupation with... nothing? Ish?

"E'zactly!" Searle clapped his hands together at the sound of the correct word. "He was my only big brother, you know. He protected me. And he always had a funny story--usually about him havin' sex."

His niece's head twitched again. God--her new betrothed must have had a secret fetish for chickens. "...I see."

"Oh, yes: three nuns at once in the bell tower, a chambermaid in the armory--made him wear a helmet--a tavern maid in the milking room, a milkmaid in the tavern, you name it. An' lots of women in that pond some people think is magic!" He had to laugh at that last one. Or cry, maybe. Any of the wishes he'd wasted there would have kept the other half of his heart alive and well. "He even got your mother there, back before anyone else even suspected she might be kinky. Hell, he tol' me once he thought they might have conceived you in that pond."

"Um... good to know?" In a strange way, it almost sounded like she thought it was. But again--the strangest of Jadin's children. Except for maybe Dalston.

"Huh. Maybe that's why you're the odd one."

Their family, at least--odd or not--had a reliable history of thinking oddness a compliment. "Uncle, I'm only saying this because I know you're too drunk to remember anything I tell you right now, but you have no idea just how odd I really am."

He thought he saw her face stretch briefly--thicken somewhat. Her neck too, maybe. Yes, must have been the veil. The veil, which he could have sworn she'd been wearing at the back of her head earlier, which for some reason was in front of her face now.

What an odd duck she was, his favorite brother's first-or-second-strangest child! "Young lady, I'll 'ave you know I've a memory like a tapestry! Say, could you help me find my room? These halls are twisty."


1 comment:

Van said...

Never send Sober Searle to do Drunk Searle's work.

Also, this week has been insane.

Also, I've come to the conclusion that Severin's kids' respective "favorite siblings" ends up working out perfectly:

Raia -- Lonriad
Jadin -- Searle
Viridis -- Vera
Riona -- Roddie
Falidor -- CeeCee
Donnie -- Thetis

Logically, Searle and Vera should start hanging out more. Searle does have the advantage there of being the only sibling who's aware of Vera's particular talents, even though that's a bit of a source of awkwardness for them. Good become a good bonding point some day, though. Searle needs a favorite with the advantage of being, you know, still alive.