December 17, 2016

In Which Arydath Isn't the Person to Ask

March 5, 1203

"So you had planned on that happening."

Thanks to a particularly tedious paper she'd put off until the last minute, Arydath hadn't attended the party a few days earlier. But, as pretty much everyone else she knew had, she'd heard about Aspen and Nato's drunken nuptials within her first waking hour the next morning--and that, despite his not having told her he planned on attending, her betrothed had been there. Said betrothed being Aspen's own brother, his presence at the party that had birthed the marriage--his presence as a graduate at a party on campus--merited some investigation. Not being one to take the roundabout way, Arydath had opted to ask Darry upfront.

At least he'd been honest with her. "You're an idiot."

Darry sighed. According to Celina, his parents' scoldings hadn't sunk in immediately, but that had been yesterday. He'd had the likely-sleepless night to reconsider. "It honestly seemed like the best option. Or... the least worst option, at least."

"As opposed to just letting her go?" Not that Arydath thought Aspen's plans had been any less horrifying than they were, but it was Aspen's life. "I would have thought that to be the least worst option, though at least we agree on the lack of a 'best'."

"I should hope we'd agree that letting her absorb an island's worth of illness isn't 'best'."

"Might I remind you that you know nothing of what it's like to be Aspen?" Arydath craned back her head and braced herself for whatever wave of stubbornness she was bound to get in response. Darry had been forced to admit his own abilities to her years earlier, when she'd stumbled across him telling off an old oak for complaints about the weather. Of course, admitting that had led to his having to let her in on Yvanette and Aspen's abilities as well. She was half-convinced he'd only started courting her to buy her silence on the issue, but that hadn't been necessary. She could see why his sisters, at least, would have wanted silence on the issue.

And that seemed to have been exactly what Darry failed to grasp. His own power was relatively invisible, didn't have a downside beyond having to put up with the occasional annoying conversation, and remained in constant use even when there were no trees around to overhear. Yvanette's powers, before they'd shifted with the birth of her son, had led to emotional decay and borderline agoraphobia, her lack of control and her ability's insistence on asserting itself making her half an invalid. Aspen's insistence on using hers, therefore, made Arydath wonder about whatever happened when she didn't. "It might be a choice of taking illness willingly, or taking it... unwillingly."

"I-- I'll admit that I didn't consider that until Yvanette mentioned it yesterday." With a pitiable twinge, Darry collapsed onto the bench, arms like a discarded rag doll. "And you either figured it out instantly just now, or you worked it out ages ago and assumed I'd done the same, because of course I should have. I'm a horrible brother."

"Don't say that. You did take Celina to the party, at least."

"Yes, because I needed an excuse to make Aspen go--and I don't think Celina's exactly thankful for the hangover."

Arydath shrugged. "It won't be the last hangover she ever has. As for Aspen... well, no one can claim you don't care, at least, even if you've been an idiot about showing it."

"I hope you're right." But he slouched in resignation, like he didn't think she was. "Do you think there's any chance she'll stay now?"

"I'm not the person to ask about that." Not everyone had Arydath's apparent patience for cute idiots, after all. "If Aspen finds reason to stay, she'll stay. That was the case before, and it's still the case now. Just leave her be for a while."


1 comment:

Van said...

Since I don't expect anyone to keep religious tabs on any Naronian family trees, this Arydath is Hilla and Bernardo's older daughter.