October 31, 2016

In Which Aldhein Tries for Strategic Vexation

December 12, 1202

"Good morning, Nato." Aldhein clasped his hands together in feigned enthusiasm as he greeted his brother-in-law. Nato had never quite warmed up to him, which Aldhein had come to terms with on account of Nato rarely warming up to anyone. Today, however--well, Nato was bound to be in a bad mood. So, Aldhein figured it was his duty as a good brother-in-law to be as annoyingly chipper and patronizing as possible, just to give Nato a fair target for his discontent. "So! Tax time! And your father's letting you do the books. Excited?"

The battle-axe glare said that Aldhein had succeeded in his intention. "He's not 'letting' me do the books. He's making me do the books, probably at my mother's urging, because Lord knows border patrol is too interesting."

"Oh, yes. And too dangerous."

"Yes, the odds of having to single-handedly take on an invading horde are only slightly lower than those of bleeding to death after getting a paper-cut from the tax books." Nato rolled his eyes. "This is ridiculous. My entire life, anything I've had to do for more than ten minutes has proven to be mind-numbingly tedious. All I want is a life where I can wake up in the morning not being able to predict the day's events to a level where actually living the day becomes pointless, and my mother insists that I keep the books instead--because I'm so helpless and delicate or whatever."

"Don't say that. You're not helpless. If you were helpless, your father would have insisted on supervising you."

Nato was no more amused than Aldhein had ever seen him, but that said little as he didn't think he'd ever seen Nato amused. "I don't think you're here of your own accord."

"Now, now. Somebody has to be on hand in case you get a paper-cut." That might have been too low a blow, but Aldhein would dish it out anyway. If Nato had to be angry, then a short-term bout of fury Aldhein's way would at least distract him from his festering grudge against his parents. "Look, Nato... doing administrative tasks for your father isn't so bad. You're still a knight, you still get to inherit this castle, you're probably not going to die young--"

"Bullshit. They wouldn't have me cooped up in here if I wasn't expected to die young--and frankly, if I'm going to die young, I'd rather die doing something halfway interesting than foaming at the mouth over a pile of tax records. Not that I'm liable to die an interesting death anyway, given that this kingdom isn't worth the bother of invading, but the least everyone can do is give me something to hope for." Without so much as a glance toward the books on the desk, Nato brushed past Aldhein and made for the door. "I'm going out. If I have to spend my days in a windowless room, I might as well at least find one full of beer and naked women."

That, Aldhein had to admit, might have been better for both of them than his plot of strategic vexation. But-- "What about the tax records?"

Nato shrugged. "Tell my father to wipe his ass with them, for all I care."


1 comment:

Van said...

Last post of 1202!