September 27, 2016

In Which Nearina Finds a Shared Perspective

May 19, 1202

Ten days.

Ten days now, Oswald had been dead. The funeral had come and gone. Nearina had stashed her loathsome black gown back into its place of shame at the back of her wardrobe in obvious favor of her usual green, as if the emerald could bring her husband back by sheer virtue of vibrancy. It couldn't. She was a widow, at twenty-one, not even married a year, left to raise her baby daughter alone.

And her love was dead.

She didn't need any reminders of that fact, but everything was, from his scent on the sheets to the absence of his fingers drumming on tables. It would have been unbearable enough had she not insisted--apparently out of pure emotional masochism--on taking care of the loose ends Oswald had left behind herself. Tenants, hirings, firings, maintenance, working out with her father-in-law what would become of Oswald's castle. It would be part of Holladrin's dowry if she married a man who wasn't heir to his own family's property, but they'd have to revisit the issue if that wasn't the case and Nearina hadn't found other lodging. It wouldn't be much of a negotiation, if it came to that. If her daughter had no future use for the castle, then Nearina would leave, and Octavius or Prior or whoever was baron then could gift the place to someone else. The only reason she didn't leave now was that someone had to keep it running on her baby's behalf.

"My lady?"

Not that she was doing a great job of it, in her current gloom. She hadn't even noticed the guard in front of her. When she pried her head from the surface of the desk, she found she didn't even recognized him--and she ought to have, if she'd seen him before. He was almost certainly some Kemorin bastard. "My apologies. What did you need?"

"Today's my last day. I just wanted to thank you for the job."

Nearina raised an eyebrow. Had this man resigned? Had she processed his resignation? "Uh..."

"Oh, sorry--um, I gave two weeks' notice. Sir Oswald handled all of the arrangements. I just thought it wouldn't be right not to bid you farewell, and to express once again my sympathies. Sir Oswald was a great man."

Not quite. 'Great' implied some sort of renown. Oswald hadn't lived long enough to gain that. But Nearina wouldn't argue. "Thank you."

"I lost someone too, quite recently. My betrothed. That's why I'm resigning; she had a daughter from her first marriage, and I have to take the little girl to Dovia to live with her aunt. I'll be staying there, so I can keep an eye on her too."

"Oh." Given the age of him, his betrothed probably hadn't been any older than Oswald. Her daughter, certainly, would have been far too young to be without a mother. "I'm sorry for your loss as well."

The guard nodded, a hint of a tear caught behind a blink of his thick--Kemorin, no doubt--lashes. "Thank you. It's comforting, being around someone who understands."

It was. Not that she didn't have people in her life that hadn't known the same pain, but it wasn't so fresh for them. She wasn't quite ready for the perspective of someone who'd put this misery behind them, not when it felt so permanent in front of her. "Would you... maybe like to stay and talk, for a while?"

The man swallowed back a breath of air and bowed his head. "I would, my lady."



Van said...

Had to be up early for an appointment today, so I managed to get this up between that and work.

Winter said...

Poor Nearina. The Tamrion misfortune strikes again. It's enough to make you think green should be up there with black as a funeral/bad luck color. Though, it's good that she has a way to make herself useful to Oswald and Holladrin and maybe take a pinch of helplessness out of the situation. But nobody deserves to lose their love so early.

And it would be nice to say that it's good she has such a good friend in Celina, but... well, Celina did give her some comfort in the moment and she had good intentions. What Nearina doesn't know right now can't hurt her. But, Celina is proving Dani's point. If Celina was ever going to tell Nearina about anything, this is 100% not the time to do it. It's also really not the time to be using your sex-changing powers to force emotional intimacy. Maybe Nearina wouldn't have been ready to be open with Celina or have as frank a discussion with someone who she didn't believe understood her pain, and that should have been her choice. But, also, Celina's honest friendship would/will mean a hell of a lot more in the long run than a couple of hours talking to an anonymous servant who is disappearing into the mists of Dovia the next day. Celina is an intelligent woman, and she probably knows all that. I hope that maybe she can separate that sense from Dani's voice/her disdain for Dani and reflect on the consequences of her actions.

And while Celina is all about Nearina, I feel like there's a firm foe-yay vibe between her and Dani. Maybe that's just wishful 'it's fiction, who cares!' thinking ;)

Van said...

The Tamrions are prone to weirdly bad luck. It hasn't hit absolutely everybody, but enough have been struck with it to make you wonder if some ancestor royally pissed off some grudge-holding deity way back when. :S

Nearina seems to be the sort of person who prefers to keep busy, whether that's with work or leisure. Leisure probably isn't going to be too enjoyable for a while, so... work busy it is. And it does help her daughter--and Oswald, wherever he is.

If anything, I suspect it would hurt Nearina more in the end if she did find out that this dude was really Celina. Her friend might not have been able to honestly claim she understood (and hey, we here know that Mr. Guard here can't either), but she could have been there in other ways--supportive, trustworthy ways. I don't think Celina could come up with an excuse that Nearina could accept if the truth here got out, and it would take a lot to gain Nearina's trust back.

The next thing I plan on doing after writing this comment is writing the Celina-and-Dani post you see in the preview, so it's interesting that I got to read your comment just before starting on that. ;)

Heheh... at this point, I have no plans in the direction of Celina/Dani, but I do love some good foe-yay vibes. I suppose it's also not entirely impossible; Celina is weirdly insistent in her dislike of Dani, as if she has to keep reminding herself of it, and it's not as if Dani couldn't keep her distance from Celina if she really couldn't stand her...