October 19, 2019

In Which Celina Is Looked Out For

May 21, 1205

"I didn't know you knew Mistress Ildaras all that well."

"I didn't. Not really." Celina didn't care to lie to her brother, but if she admitted to more of a relationship, she'd spark Wolf's curiosity. Of course, her request was likely to spark it either way, but she'd established that he wouldn't learn more--not from her, anyway. "Aunt Leara held her in high regard. So did Mother."

"Then chances are that one of them has set up a trust for her son, if Camaline didn't beat them to it."

"You're welcome to confirm that before setting up this one, if you like."

"I will." Wolf sighed. The prospect of the audits and paperwork involved likely troubled him more than his sister's apparent random act of charity. While she didn't want to burden him, this was why Celina had opted to talk to him over her grandfather; her grandfather would suspect something. "How much were you thinking?"

"I don't know. Enough to make sure the family is comfortable, and to get the boy educated. If they already have enough, then a reasonable gift-sized stipend."


"Wolf, I know that Father delegated each of us a portion of his monetary inheritance from Grandfather, and I know that Grandfather still plans on honoring that; just consider this an early withdrawal from my portion."

"That money is supposed to be a safety net for you."

Sweet of him to look out for her. In different circumstances, he would have understood her looking out for Farr. "I don't need a safety net. My husband is young and healthy--and even if he died today, our daughter and I would be left with sufficient means. Even if that wasn't the case, there's no safety net better than a relation to Grandfather."

"I suppose I can't argue with you there." Wolf indulged her with a defeated grimace, his eyes briefly to the ceiling with the slightest of a roll. "Fine--but you owe me for whatever time I spend on this."


October 11, 2019

In Which Dani Wouldn't Risk

May 21, 1205

It would have figured that the man Dani married would be one of Celina's cousins. Of course, Celina's cousins seemed to comprise about half the population--hell, Dani herself was a relation on her mother's side--but Severin was a first cousin. An honest to God, father's-brother's-son first cousin.

Enough of a cousin to merit a visit upon return from Dovia.

Why was she here, even? Dani had written promptly with the news of Aydelle's death, but judging by Celina's levity, she'd left Dovia before the letter had arrived--either that, or she was more callous than Dani had thought.

No. Celina was a lot of things, but if she were entirely heartless, she'd never have asked Dani to keep an eye on the kids. She'd left Dovia before the letter had arrived. She was probably in Naroni for yet another of her family's baby booms; CeeCee had just birthed twins, and Severin's stepmother was due any day now (and given the size of her, Dani suspected yet another set of twins). The timing was also such that Celina and Marsden could meet the Dovian delegation to the Princess Viridis's wedding as they returned from Carvallon, then accompany them back.

Val happened to turn her little head just enough to catch sight of her lingering by the doorway. "Mama!"

Dani tried to smile as her daughter beamed and her husband got to up to greet her. "Hello, sweetheart. Severin. Celina."

"Ah yes, my cousin here is trying to make as many visits as she can while she and Marsden are here." Severin kissed Dani on the cheek, lucky enough to not even suspect that his cousin may have had an ulterior motive. If Celina made a point to call on pretty much everyone she knew, then none would think it particularly odd if, say, Nearina and her children were included in that lineup--or, as Celina probably intended, Aydelle. "How was your day?"

"Oh, well enough, I suppose. I'll fill you in on the details over supper." In truth, the events of her day had quite slipped her mind at the sight of her old acquaintance. How lovely it would have been to have lacked the curiosity to get involved in the first place! "Would you mind running down to the kitchen for some biscuits? Since Celina's here, I might as well get her opinion on something--a woman's opinion."

Her husband smirked. Severin was clever enough, but possibly due to the melodrama of his parents' relationship as he was growing up, he had that exact lack of interest that would have spared Dani from her unfortunate role in Celina's mess of a life. "I'll make a point to dawdle, then."

The acoustics of the house were such that footsteps were prominent; Dani waited until Severin's left the stairs and fell to the floor before she herself approached Celina. "Here for the births, I take it?"

"Yes, although only because the timing was fortunate; I know I won't be able to make every family event, but the timing worked well in this case." Celina's eyes flicked to where Severin had sat before. "Are you going to sit down, or...?"

"No. I have a few things to do. You can resume visiting with Severin when he returns." Dani bit her lip. Who knew if anyone would tell if she didn't, and her distaste for her husband's cousin was not so strong that she would risk Celina showing up at Aydelle's old house only to make things awkward for her son and daughter-in-law. She also had no reason to force Cenric or Leonora into telling it yet again. "I take it you didn't get my letter."