February 7, 2017

In Which Camaline Has No Guilt

June 6, 1203

"Good Lord, this kingdom is even more boring now that I've graduated." The perfect Eliana Andronei sniffed in perfect distaste, her perfect hair bouncing perfectly against the perfect skin on her perfect shoulder as her perfect nose pointed to the not-so-perfect, apparently boring ceiling. "Not that Dovia is any less dull on even its best days--and knowing how twisted and deviant every other civilized country seems to think this one is, they've got to be even less interesting. It's enough to make one question the point of it all."

Camaline gritted her teeth. She'd spent enough time with her soon-to-be sister-in-law now to guess that Eliana's standards of excitement were too impossibly high for her to deem much even mildly interesting. That in itself wasn't Camaline's problem. Part of her problem was that she herself--even though she had yet to graduate--had little to do when she wasn't studying, so why shouldn't she keep Eliana occupied and out of everyone else's hair? The answer to that was that Eliana had everything going for her and everything Camaline wanted and no appreciation for any of it. She was beautiful, she was clever, she was betrothed and her future was settled, and all of that was just as much of a nuisance to her as everything else.

And Camaline, with her dead betrothed and no other suitable prospects on the horizon, and an education for the sake of filling her time with a focus chosen mostly because her uncle taught in the subject, had just about resigned herself to the fate of wasting at least a few of her prime years as a maiden aunt. Maiden aunts, unless everyone else in their families were useless beyond belief, truly did lead lives in which excitement was scarce and often second-hand, moreso than any others of Camaline's standing who hadn't felt called (or, as she suspected in at least some cases, were either forced or had given up hope for anything better than) to join the church. Eliana was an exaggerated and childish representation of what she feared would be her own misery without any cause for the same.

But oh! Didn't a good maiden aunt exist for the use of her relations? Wasn't it her duty to entertain the listless yet lovely sister-in-law so none of her effectual family members had to waste their time on her? In that sense, Eliana was double the grievance.

Triple, if Camaline considered that a person who could bring herself to refuse such tasks would be more capable of forging a better future--and that she was not that person. "Oh... surely there's something we could do. It's nice outside. We could go for a ride--"

"Boring." Eliana yawned. "I ride when I need to go somewhere. Why should I bother if I'm not? It's utilitarian. What brilliant idea are you going to suggest next? Sewing? Cooking?"

"No..." Well, not cooking, at least. Camaline certainly would have rather been sewing than attending to Eliana, though she shuddered to think that sewing may well be the most pleasant activity of her next however many years. "Do you paint?"


"Um... play the harp? Or any other--"


"Uh..." What had Eliana majored in, again? History? "We could go to the library, or stop in at the archives--"

"You know, I didn't choose to study history because I enjoyed it; it was purely for lack of anything better."

That was no surprise--and given Camaline's own choice in studies, it irked her to think they might have had such discontent in common already. "Surely you must have done something to entertain yourself before you came here."

"Don't be stupid. If I'd had anything better to do back in Dovia, why would I have consented to marrying a man who lived elsewhere? I won't pander to any illusions you have about your brother being any more than the husband equivalent of studying history."

A vein in Camaline's brow throbbed, and not for the insult to her brother. She loved Dalston, but he probably was the husband equivalent of studying history. But studying history was, at least, studying something. "Be grateful that you'll have a husband at all."

Eliana could have gone for another barb, but she took the more irritating route of an indifferent shrug. "I'd say you could have him, but he is your brother."

"Does he know you dislike him so?"

Another shrug. "I don't dislike him. On the contrary, I find him about as tolerable a person as might possibly exist. At least he sees fit to leave me alone."

"Well, I'm pleased to hear you say that." Camaline rose from her seat, the numbness of her needling legs about the best sensation she'd felt all day. "If what you find most tolerable is being left alone, then I'll have no guilt about going to my room to sew in peace."



Van said...

Back. Tired, but back.

LyricalNerd said...

Yay, welcome back! You have been missed.

Eliana's just a ball of sunshine, isn't she? Poor Camaline :/

Van said...

Thanks. I've missed... not having my brain melt as a result of travel stress. I think the main problem was that it was a very itinerary-heavy trip with little to no wiggle room.

Eliana... might be worth keeping an eye on. She's not like Danthia Sadiel, say, who's actively malevolent. Eliana isn't about to find any joy in making other people suffer, since she doesn't really find joy in anything. There may or may not be a reason for that.

As for Camaline, she's still got some time left at the university, so it's not impossible that things could be on the upswing for her before she leaves. She just doesn't see much hint of that happening right now.