Go Often Askew

Yet another author’s disclaimer: Turns out that Claire’s nightgown doesn’t have a pregmorph! And damned if I could figure out how to change it while she was at someone else’s house. ARGH! Suspend your disbelief, pretty please?

Waiting, Guinevere knew, was always the worst.

Waiting for news. Waiting for confirmation of disaster or salvation. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Claire was upstairs in Leona’s old bedroom, as comfortable as they could make her. Alison had sat with her, held her hand and wet her brow while Guinevere barked orders to the servants. One servant was sent with the fastest horse in the stables to fetch the midwife, another was sent with a much slower horse to track down Sir Bors. A third fetched an old, loose nightgown of Guinevere’s, because surely that tightly laced dress wasn’t helping Claire any. The Queen and one of the leading noblewomen of the land wrestled the unconscious Claire out of her gown and into the nightgown. From there they went to home remedies for fainting, none of which worked before the midwife arrived and shooed them out of the room.

They had done all they could. So now there was nothing for Guinevere and Alison to sit on the bench nearest to the staircase, and wait.

“You know,” Alison murmured, “perhaps — perhaps it would be better if I left. You certainly don’t need –”

“Don’t you dare!” Guinevere hissed. “You’re not leaving me alone with — with all this!” She sighed. “How long do you think it will take Mistress Thatcher to …?”

“I don’t know,” Alison admitted. She shifted, absently fluffing her skirts. Not a word about leaving now, Guinevere noticed. “If either of us had any idea what she was attempting to do …”

“I know.”

“If — if Claire is losing the baby …”

“We didn’t see any blood, when we were undressing her,” Guinevere murmured. “There — there’s supposed to be blood — isn’t there?”

“That’s what the midwife always told me to watch out for. But I never …”

“Nor did I.”

The two women glanced at each other. “Maybe it hadn’t started yet — for Claire, I mean,” Guinevere suggested.

“Or maybe she’s not losing the baby.”

“Maybe.” Guinevere sighed. “I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.”

“Aye.”

The two women went back to staring at the fireplace — and waiting.

They sat that way, in silence, until they heard a set of footsteps pounding along the walk and a body fly through the door. “Where is she?”

Oh, hell, was Guinevere’s first thought when she turned and saw Bors. Her second was, Well, I suppose this beats waiting.

She rose slowly, smoothing the front of her dress. “Sir Bors.”

He turned and stared at her. “Where’s Claire?” he asked. “Has she lost the child?”

“We don’t know yet,” Alison said. “The midwife is with her now.”

Bors nodded once to Alison, mumbled something that Guinevere guessed was supposed to be a thanks, and turned to Guinevere again. “Where is she?”

“Upstairs, in Leona’s room.”

“And where is that?”

He’s not seriously considering — “Sir Bors, you can’t possibly be thinking of going up there?”

“Why not? It’s my child that might be lost!”

Oh, Wright! “Because the midwife is working, and you can’t interrupt her now! Really, Sir Bors, both Claire’s life and the child may depend upon the midwife not being distracted and being able to do all she can!”

“Well, I wasn’t planning on staying there!” he snapped. He put his hands on his hips and made a face, a face like a wizened old woman might make at the merchant she thought was cheating her. “I simply need to know what is happening!”

“Lady Guinevere and I would both like to know what is happening, too,” Alison said, rising. She adjusted her hood, stuck up her chin, and did her best to look down on Bors while not actually being taller than he. “But Sir Bors, it is simply impossible to disturb the midwife now. We care too much about Lady Claire — to say nothing of the child.”

“Besides, it’s not like you’d even think of leaving before the midwife had done all she could for Lady Claire,” Guinevere added, just in case Bors did have a foolish idea like that in his head. “You’d have to wait anyway. Why not wait on the midwife’s convenience–”

“A peasant’s?”

“Peasant or not,” Alison replied, “she is the expert here, and you, Sir Bors, are not. I am certain that she will come down as soon as she is certain that leaving Lady Claire will be safe, and after she has done all she could.”

“Perhaps she has not yet come down because there was no one with the proper authority for her to report to.”

If Guinevere had been a Queen, and Bors — or anyone — had said such a thing as that in her presence, she would have been livid. As it was, she was still rather annoyed — even more annoyed, considering she’d had the servant who fetched the midwife take with him a few silver coins, just to make certain that Claire’s health wasn’t going to be sacrificed to Bors’s skinflint ways.

But, not for the first time, Guinevere was made to understand that it was a very, very good thing she wasn’t Queen. Alison didn’t even blink. “If Mistress Thatcher had felt it was safe to leave Lady Claire, then she would have come down,” she replied. “And though, naturally, she would have saved a full and complete report for you or someone else related to her, she certainly would have told us whether Lady Claire was like to recover, or whether she had lost the child or not. Since she has not come down, it is only reasonable that she is still caring for Lady Claire, and the child.”

Bors bit his lip, then beckoned to a page. “You — boy — tell the midwife that I’m here, and to come down as soon as possible.”

“Young man,” Alison said before the boy did any such thing, ” wait. What Sir Bors means is that you will go instead to what was the Lady Leona’s former bedroom, and you will wait outside the door. If the servant we assigned to Mistress Thatcher to fetch and carry and provide other assistance comes out of the room, you will give her the message to repeat to Mistress Thatcher. Thank you, you may go.” The page looked at Guinevere, who nodded, too impressed with Alison’s quick thinking to even consider doing otherwise. The page went running before he could get any more contradictory orders.

And before Bors could do more than level a glare at her, Alison shot him her most blinding smile. “That is what you meant to say, is it not, Sir Bors?”

“No, Majesty, it was not! I –”

“What a pity,” Alison replied. “My order was far more intelligent.”

Bors stared at her, nostrils flaring, fingers twitching — Guinevere sucked in her breath, ready to expel it in a call for guards —

But alas, though Bors could not give a sensible order to a page to save his life, he was smart enough to know that attempting to strike the Queen, or even scold her, was not the kind of act he wanted to do. Instead, he huffed, and like a spoiled child retreated to one of the other benches, to cross his arms and stare into space and sulk.

Guinevere and Alison retook their seats. The celebrations would have to remain until later — if, indeed, there was still anything to celebrate about, come later.

Guinevere sighed, and they began to wait again.

***

It was the sigh that first alerted Guinevere to the midwife’s probable presence, a sigh followed swiftly by slow, shuffling steps down the staircase. She knew the footfalls of her staff well enough to know that not one of them walked like that — she was already turning around —

Alerted by her reaction, Alison and Bors sat up and turned, too. Thus, when Mistress Thatcher finally rounded the corner and appeared on the landing, one hand rubbing her temple, she was greeted by a nobleman, a noblewoman and a Queen.

“How does the child?” Bors asked before poor Mistress Thatcher could even get down the rest of the steps.

Guinevere felt Alison’s gaze on her, but didn’t trust herself to look — if she felt herself emboldened by the Queen’s approval, it would probably take the strength of Lancelot, Will and Leona combined to keep her from hitting Bors.

Not that Leona would ever add her strength to that particular cause.

Mistress Thatcher sighed. “I wish I could tell you.”

“What?” Bors snapped. “Has she lost him or not?”

“If by ‘him,’ you mean the babe, no, she has not lost the babe.” Mistress Thatcher waited for Bors to puff up with pride before she added, “Yet.”

“What?” This time Bors’s voice was barely more than a whisper.

“Your lady is not well,” Mistress Thatcher replied. “Not well at all. Frankly, she’s exhausted and overwrought — this pregnancy has taken a lot out of her already, and she’s barely halfway through it. Frankly, if she doesn’t get a great deal of rest, and soon, I won’t be at all surprised if her body expels the child in order to save itself.”

“Nonsense. That’s impossible. Claire knows her duty.”

“With all due respect, my lord, duty has nothing to do with this.”

“Duty has everything to do with this! Claire will not lose the child if she can possibly help it! She knows better!”

“My lord, my lord, please calm down! Of course Lady Claire would never willingly do anything to endanger the child, or cause her to lose it. But her body won’t care about that. Her body will see that the child is taking up too many resources, to the point that it is endangering her health; nay, her life — and it will deal with that threat. Her body will only care about its own survival.”

Guinevere astonished herself, she really did. She felt truly sorry for Bors as the blood left his face. He gulped. “What can be done?”

He didn’t even spoil the effect by adding, “to keep the child safe.”

“Rest,” Mistress Thatcher said without hesitation. “She will do best if she is off her feet, in bed or on a sofa as often as possible. And by ‘as often as possible’ I mean most of the day. She can take gentle walks through the house a couple times a day, to keep her circulation going — and of course tend to bathing and, er, other bodily business, but other than that, she should be resting.”

Bors nodded slowly. “What else?”

“She should have as little to deal with as possible, in terms of — er — other duties. I mean duties of housekeeping –”

“My wife, mistress, hardly does much in the way of housekeeping!”

“Of course, my lord — forgive me, I lack the words for what I seek to describe — what I mean to say is, whatever other duties she has, by way of supervising the other servants, ensuring that the household runs smoothly, etc., should be taken off her hands completely.”

Bors made a face, but to his credit, he nodded. “Anything else?”

“She should drink plenty of water — not wine, but good, fresh, clean water. And — forgive me if this sounds finicky, but her clothing — when I was examining her, I noticed that there were red welts from where her clothing was too tight — from lacing and things of that nature. It would be better if she were to dispense with all that until the end of her pregnancy.”

“I will inform her,” Bors replied. “Is that all, or can I bring her home?”

Mistress Thatcher blinked, and glanced at Guinevere. “Er … my lord, that would not be at all advisable just now.”

“What? Are you to tell me she can’t return to her own home?” Bors snapped.

“She can rest well here,” Guinevere put in. “Sir Bors, you needn’t worry about a thing. I’ll make sure she’s taken care of.”

“Nonsense, Lady Guinevere, you don’t have your husband’s permission.”

“Oh, please, Sir Bors! Do you really think Lance would say no?”

He didn’t have an answer for that, or at least he didn’t have it very quickly. “My lord,” Mistress Thatcher said, “what I meant — well, when you bring her home, I would advise that she go in a hand-carried litter. Not a carriage, and certainly not on horseback. Since that will take a while … well …” She gestured to the window. “My lord, it’s getting late and near to dark. It would be far better to let her rest overnight, and take her home in the morning.”

“I see. I see.” Bors bit his lip. “Can I see her?” He sounded almost like a child asking its mother for sweets.

“Yes, of course, my lord. But I must warn you –”

Now what?”

“I gave her a sleeping draught — to make sure she rests. So she won’t be able to talk to you.”

“Oh. Oh, well, if that’s all …” Without so much as a by-your-leave, he headed upstairs.

Guinevere, Alison and the midwife exchanged glances, and without a word, Alison and Guinevere followed him.

***

They waited a good ten minutes before Guinevere (it was her home) got up the courage to knock on the door. “Enter,” Bors said, and Guinevere and Alison entered.

They stood at the foot of the bed, not saying a word, while Bors sat near the head. Claire was pale and unmoving.

“Sir Bors,” Guinevere said — almost choking on her words — “if you wish to stay the night — to be sure she’s well — you know you’re more than welcome.”

He looked up. “Thank you, Lady Guinevere.” He glanced again at Claire. “But that will not be necessary. Elyan should be arriving at home soon — and of course the servants have no idea — and I will not tell him of this in note form, or by a messenger. I’ll leave soon.”

That was so reasonable, even Guinevere couldn’t argue with it.

“But I would ask you ladies for a favor, if I could.”

“Of course, Sir Bors,” Alison replied.

He pursed his lips together. “I’ve been thinking of the girls — Gwendolyn and Clarice. I would rather not have to send this news to them by way of writing — there is no point in worrying them when there is nothing that can be done by them — but it appears that there is no other choice. So I have decided that it would be best if I do not write to them at all, but wait until Claire is well enough — that way, if they must learn that their mother is unwell by writing, they will at least see that she is in no danger.”

That was … less reasonable, but at the same time, Guinevere could see why he might want to do that.

“So I would ask — will you two, please, not write to your own children of this? It would be even worse if they were to find this out by rumor or hearsay.”

Guinevere bit her lip and looked at Alison. Alison looked at Guinevere.

“I think,” Alison replied, slowly, “we can manage that, Sir Bors.”

And hopefully, Guinevere thought, looking at Claire, we won’t have to manage it for very long.

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13 thoughts on “Go Often Askew

  1. Can I kill him? Seriously? I mean like push him into the reflection pool outside the Hanover palace? Can I? Please?

    I hope that Claire is doing better. It would be hell for Lynn and Clarice.

    And of course I saw the irony in the “she wasn’t Queen” line.

    Alison’s really good here. Very much in her element, I liked her taking all of Bors’ thunder away from him.

    Of course you still leave us wondering. >_<' You. Are. Mean! 😛

  2. Oh oh oh, I really do hope Claire gets to feeling better soon! He almost showed a human side when he agreed to what needs to be done – until he opened his mouth again and added “to keep the child safe”. Seriously, how can one person be so stupid??? I just don’t get it! 😛

  3. You’re just having pregmorph issues all over the place. Split the difference and it’s perfect. *pets* I love that nightgown– it looks so comfy– but it’s on a mesh designed for elders, so of course there’s no pregmorph. Perhaps it is a wishful-thinking nighty for Claire.

    Technically, what Kata described is housekeeping– the monumental duties women were intended to manage while men went out and ran businesses and tended lands and went to war. Somebody had to make sure the food was properly laid by, the menus planned, the servants paid, fed, clothed, attending their duties, the children minded and taught their letters, the mail answered, the big chores– beating carpets, cleaning drapes, airing rooms and mattresses– were properly scheduled, the wool or flax carded, spun, woven, embroidered, sewn… The art of keeping a household running. House-keeping. And it’s work. Don’t let ’em tell you it’s not.

    As such, it is completely within Guinevere’s power as the lady of the house to offer a spare bed to someone in need.

    Bors handled this about as gracefully as I might have expected for a man who has his heart set on having another son he might not be in the best position to afford so very, very late in life just to keep up with the Orkneys.

  4. Well, good to hear that Claire’s going to be taking it easy, at least. And really, I doubt that Guinevere’s bribe was necessary–Claire was in very rough shape, and Kata has the experience to recognize that. Here’s hoping Claire’s condition improves.

    Allison was really impressive here. “What a pity. My order was far more intelligent.” I nearly cheered when she said that to Bors 😀

  5. Since Andavri already has Bors in her game and has commenced with torturing, I think I’ll just put it out here that I do have a no-CC version of him available (the same one Andavri sent me MANY many moons ago), if anyone wants him for … whatever purposes. 😉

    So hopefully y’all won’t think I’m quite so mean.

    Saquina, alas, in Bors, the stupidity knows no bounds. It’s a pity, really, because if he weren’t so stupid, he and his kids and his wife would actually have a chance of a good relationship with him … but honestly, he’s so dumb he doesn’t even realize their relationship is bad, so … not a lot of reason for him to go a-changing his ways.

    Hat: Elder mesh? It’s for an elder mesh? *smacks forehead* Well, that explains that.

    It’s a lot of work, and while the other ladies — Eilwen, Gwen, Alison (naturally) and God knows Morgause — have decent servants underneath them to keep things running smoothly in case of emergency or temporary incapacity, Claire … doesn’t. And Bors has no idea how much work it takes to keep the house running like clockwork. “Don’t you just give orders to the servants and they take care of the rest?” Uh, gee Bors, do you just give orders to your troops and expect them to take care of everything else?

    And any other nobleman — probably a lot of the merchants and peasants too! — would know it was completely within Gwen’s power. And not just because it’s obviously an emergency and if it were there wife, they’d be too busy falling over themselves thanking Gwen to care whether Lancelot ever found out. (Well, except Mordred. He’d still thank Gwen, because he knows the basic rules of politeness, but he wouldn’t be falling over himself to do it.)

    And Van, I’m glad you liked Alison! I figured it was about time the Queen got some bite to her. She spends so much time being accommodating, I figured she ought to be allowed to tell someone where to stick it. 😉

  6. I have a certain amount of sympathy for Bors. Yes, he’s an idiot. But he’s an idiot who has no idea that he’s screwing up, so of course he’s completely out of his depth when something goes wrong. Because the world isn’t supposed to work like that, it’s supposed to work like this, and be all tidy and ordered and people stay in their neat little boxes and nothing ever goes irreparably wrong and nobody ever talks back, where ‘fair’ means ‘I work for what I want and then I get it, without fail.’ Yes, it makes him completely sucktastic to deal with, but I have never seen Bors do anything that makes me think he’s mean, petty, or seriously cruel. (Contrast: Morgause, who apparently thought Snow White was a parenting guide. I expect her to take an interest in apple trees any day now.) He’s not self-aware enough to realize he’s making mistakes, and not nearly self-aware enough to try to change himself or stop making those mistakes. It’s sad. Like a dog who keeps running into the same sliding door and wondering who put that invisible force field there.

    Also, yup. Elder mesh. Damn shame, really, because it looks so cozy. I kind of wish it had a pregmorph just for that.

  7. Okay, I must jump back in. While Morgaine and to some degree I agree that Bors doesn’t know that what he’s doing is wrong, he also refuses to get his head out and learn from his mistakes.

    If he stopped diving into the inner recesses of his GI tract, he might figure out there’s something wrong with what he’s doing.

    Now granted I am biased. I have a–sperm donor–who has more than a few things in common with Bors, so I have less than normal sympathy for him.

    But I’ve also read the book that these characters are loosely based off of–and having done so, I have to say I think Bors is just skull-fucked.

    Ignorance is no excuse for what he does and I give him just slightly more sympathy than I give the devil and certain politicians.

    (See, Morgaine only one! I can be rational even)

  8. Lemme just be clear– I don’t actually like Bors, and he isn’t really a sympathetic character, and I do totally get that he’s not a nice man. If he were my father, my husband, my boss, or my supervisor (let’s face it, he’s got Middle Manager writ large upon him in bold type), I wouldn’t be able to sit back and go ‘that’s about as well as he could have handled that, all things considered,’ because if I knew him in person, I’d be a lot more pissed off that he lacks the emotional intelligence to deal with, you know. People. And while I have had some experience with emotional abuse, I don’t think I’ve read the book all this is based on– or if I have, I don’t remember Bors specifically.

    But as a character, here, from what I’m seeing? I feel a little bad for him, because it looks like it’s next to impossible for him to realize he’s got his head up his ass, much less pull it out by himself.

    Bors, here, is not redeemable. There’s probably no real turnaround possible for Bors, no epiphany– he’s so entrenched in his worldview, so certain that he must be doing everything right, that he isn’t capable of having an epiphany. I don’t think anyone likes him but his wife and son; everybody else seems to fear him, pity him, or despise him– or some combination of the three.

    But he’s not written as villainous, or evil, or cruel, or even particularly thoughtless. He’s deluded– he’s even deluded in a certain way he might even be called idealistic. He knows in his heart there’s a certain way the world is supposed to work if you are good and pious and proper and keep to your place and keep others in theirs, and when the world doesn’t work that way he can’t see it as something being wrong with his worldview; something has to be wrong with the world, instead. He’s not trying to hurt his daughters emotionally (and any emotional uproar is only because they’re women, weak-willed and sentimental and silly, just like all women, from what Bors can let himself see), he’s not trying to give his son an inflated view of himself (because of course his son is the most important child he’s got, he’s the one that will be inheriting), he’s not trying to put his wife’s life at risk– that actually seemed to come as a complete shock to him. Whether it’s the idea that Claire and the baby could be killing each other or that his insistence on a fifth child put his wife’s life at risk or that pregnancy is actually a risky proposition, he clearly had no idea. He probably thought the whole thing was so hard on women because they are the frail sex and sometimes just don’t have the fortitude, constitution, or willpower to carry a child to term or survive the pain of labor.

    Even inside the story, he’s not treated like a villain or a monster; the other characters treat him like a force of nature, something to be weathered or diverted, not challenged or defeated or taught better ways. He can’t learn that he’s doing things wrong because he never sees that he’s doing things wrong because everyone goes out of their way to placate him, which makes him believe he hasn’t done anything wrong… and makes him expect that everyone else will fall in line (even if they’re just playing along until they can go do what they please, instead). Claire is submissive; the girls only do what they dare to do out from under their father’s watchful eye. Elyan knew better than to jump to his mother’s defense when Bors was shouting at her a while back; let Bors finish his storming and then go in and help with the aftermath, and Elyan is the kid Bors really wanted, really treasures. But that’s just Bors’s family– everyone I’ve ever seen interact with Bors does the same thing. Lancelot, rather than telling Bors that his wife is the lady of the house and most definitely isn’t a serving wench, pretends that instead of waiting for Guinevere to bring wine, he’ll lie and tell Bors he has a secret stash of really GOOD stuff. Because it’s easier to make Bors happy than to deal with him getting a reality check– even if that means prepping Leona to marry Elyan. Bors has decided de Ganis and du Lac will unite via marriage, and Lance is going along with it– for Elyan’s sake, even if he was able to slant the pre-nup to favor Leona ridiculously. Guinevere is going along with it, despite the fact that Bors treats her like a servant in her own home. Even Alison, the queen, the one woman Bors has to not just listen to but obey, tried to manage him and to reason with him and finally just worked around him rather than telling him to sit the goddamn hell down, shut his his fool mouth, and start praying that his wife lives, his child lives, and his Queen has the grace to forgive his appalling and hopefully momentary lack of manners instead of having him clapped in irons. No wonder he doesn’t mind the thought of Lynn being Queen and having rank above him; he thinks she’ll still answer to him anyway!

    There is no hope for Bors. He’s got his blinders stapled in place and they are blinders that his world tacitly approves of, so he’s going to keep making the same mistakes over and over and wondering why nothing ever works the way it’s supposed to. He’s going to lose his influence over his daughters, heaven only knows what’s going to happen with poor Claire, and Elyan, for all his faults, at least has spine enough to think for himself. (Wrongheadedly, but among his other issues, he’s a teenage boy.)

    I don’t want to offer Bors hugs and pie, but it’s a sad fate, being incapable of learning or changing– not just ignorant or unwilling. Incapable.

    (Sorry for hijacking, Morgaine!)

  9. Okay, I think I need to clarify a little too, and hopefully Morgaine will indulge me a little off topic too.

    I totally agree with you that Bors is incapable of changing in a lot of ways, he is a very static person.

    And I also admit my dislike of him is very much based off the fact that he does resemble someone in my own life. And because of that I’m not entirely rational about him.

    I think, though, what I was trying to get at, and not being exactly clear on, is while yes, you are right about the sort of person he is, you’ve come up with an excellent analysis of his character. It may be sad for him, but I–and perhaps not rationally–think giving him that sympathy is a tad more than he deserves.

    I guess I am irrationally linking two things together. Sympathy for the fact that he can’t change is not–exactly–sympathy for the man that he is. And I have no sympathy for the man that Bors is.

    Morgaine had a point when she and I were talking over IM about how the world would be in sadder shape if we only got sympathy when we deserved it. And you’re right, he’s not evil, he is not deliberately cruel for the sake of being cruel.

    I guess my view on the whole thing is that giving sympathy to someone like Bors, even minute amounts over his inability to change, is just a way that someone like Bors would would more than likely take advantage of.

    It’s not that he would want your sympathy, but in my own experience with the someone like Bors who is part of my life, that person can take that sympathy, pity and use it as a weak spot. And even if he’s just a character in a story and honestly has no way to hurt you as a real person I guess I think back on all of the things that real people do and I am incapable of giving that opening.

    And just for clarification the book(s) that these characters are based off of is actually Morgaine’s trilogy. It’s not a yet published series. (It will be some day because it’s awesome. *waves fangirl flag*) But I have been her beta reader/sounding board for almost six years on this so I know the characters a little too well to be objective I think.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to tell you that you can’t feel sympathy for him or that I think my completely irrational Bors Must Die! philosophy is the only one that has any validity in this space. Because it’s not. I guess it’s that my head can relate and understand but my emotions are firmly disagreeing.

    You can, hopefully, have your thread back, Morgaine.

  10. Allow me just to say that I don’t mind hijacking the comments and I’m almost kind of flattered by it. (Hey, one of my least likable characters inspired paragraphs and paragraphs of intelligent debate! I must be doing something right!) So feel free to debate as much as you like, as long as you keep it civil (which you guys pretty much did) and don’t go at each other with virtual knives. 🙂

    I agree with both of you … which makes sense because you both agree with each other in your estimation of Bors’s character. He’s got blinders on, like you said, Hat, and the blinders aren’t coming off because nobody is going to force them off anytime soon. Maybe someday, when the girls are finally removed from his influence, Lynn or Clarice or Angelique will finally tell him what’s what — but honestly, even if they do, I don’t think he’d understand what they were saying. They’re just women being foolish and obstinate, because that’s what women do.

    Whenever I think of Bors and how other characters interact with him, this one quotation from Poirot (Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective) runs through my head: “I do not argue with obstinate men. I act in spite of them.” In essence I think that’s what most of the other characters of Albion (those who would have the power to argue with him, which isn’t a lot of people — only the royal family and the other nobles) think when they have to deal with Bors: don’t argue with him, you’ll get farther telling the wind not to blow. Just let him say his piece, then do what you want as soon as his back is turned.

    There’s of course quite a bit of history in Albion that this blog didn’t cover because I didn’t think to start writing it until six months after I started playing. But Alison, Gwen, Lance — even other noble figures, like Arthur and Pellinore and Lot — they’ve all been dealing with Bors for almost twenty years now. And they’ve learned that arguing with Bors gets them nowhere, so they don’t argue.

    And of course there are issues of personality to go along with it as well. Lance has been dealing with Bors his whole life (they’re cousins), and on top of being used to him and in this pattern for forty-odd years, he’s a peacekeeper and just wants to try to keep everybody as happy as he can possibly make them. Guinevere doesn’t say anything because she knows if she opens her mouth once, she’s never going to be able to control what comes out. And Alison … part of Alison’s mind still thinks of herself as Mistress Blaise of Glasonland, not Queen Alison of Albion. And part of her mind is very, very aware of her “new” power and position and doesn’t want to let it all go to her head. Which is nice 90% of the time, but the other 10% of the time, she lets people get away with things when any woman who had been bred to royalty would be like, “OH NO YOU DIDN’T!”

    As for the other nobles … Pellinore just doesn’t want to deal with Bors, the man makes his blood pressure skyrocket and he can’t be rational around him. And so, rather than just letting his irrationality rule the day, he keeps his mouth shut. If you can’t say anything smart, don’t say anything at all would be his motto. 😉

    Lot … hmm. Ironically Lot would have to be the one who works with Bors most closely, considering that they’re both generals in the King’s army. But I almost want to say that Lot knows how to handle Bors. Then again, whenever they’re likely to get into disputes, it’s over work matters. And they both have the same goal in the disputes (trying to do what’s best for the army and the country), it’s just the means they might argue over … actually, if Lot’s a smart man (and most of the time he is), he would have arranged it so that he and Bors, while both still in charge of the army, have completely separate duties and therefore have to deal with each other as little as possible.

    And the King wins arguments with Bors by looking him in the eye and saying, “No,” in his scariest King voice. Because even Bors is not going to get into it with the King.

    So the only chance Bors is going to get what’s coming from him is from the second generation — maybe Tommy, or Freddy or Clarice (if they end up getting married), or Leona. Hell, DEFINITELY Leona if she ends up getting married to Elyan. She’s the only one with the guts to march up to Bors and try to rip those blinders off.

    But as for having sympathy for him … well, you know, I can’t really say much about that. On the one hand, yeah, if we all were only pitied when we deserved it, we’d be screwed. But nobody should force or feel forced by anybody to pity someone else. On the one hand, Bors is cruisin’ for a bruisin’ and at some point, he’s going to be left emotionally alone and unloved. (Well, maybe Elyan will still love him.) On the other hand … well, I certainly don’t want Claire, Lynn, Clarice and Angelique to go on loving Bors like he’s some paragon! He definitely doesn’t deserve that!

    So yeah. It’s tough. I’d hope this would be one of those agree-to-disagree kinds of things. Because you both made a lot of excellent points. 🙂

  11. I really do like a good debate, but I can totally agree to disagree. I just like to talk. Constantly. Also play devil’s advocate whenever possible. Thinky crap is AWESOME. (It’s easier to play devil’s advocate with a character like Bors, too, or even Brother Tuck, than an outright villain like Morgause. Tuck and Bors are at least trying to do the right thing as they perceive it; it’s kind of hard to argue that murdering and then resurrecting your sister’s lover or raping your daughter’s boyfriend could be for the greater good, after all.)

    Although, on Bors’s family loving him like a paragon… well, love and hate aren’t mutually exclusive, and you can love someone without liking them very much– somehow I’d think Bors’s girls are in that boat, at least if they still believe he loves them. They seem to fantasize about giving him a piece of their mind and getting away with it rather than locking him in a room with a cow plant.

    It does suck to BE Bors, but I’d never argue that it sucks worse to have to deal with him.

  12. Okay so I have a story explanation for your glitches. So when Lady Claire was standing, and with all those lacings, the baby stuck way out because there was no where else for it to go. And then when she layed down on her back the baby just sunk way down in her hips.

    That is pretty silly and all….but when I was pregnant with my oldest I had been a very small woman, petite and all. In the second trimester if I layed down on my back the baby sank down and I didn’t really look pregnant anymore. And when I stood up and faced forward the difference was….odd.

    • Gravity as an explanation — I like it!

      And I really like that Claire’s everyday gown was specifically designed by AAS to be a maternity outfit. It kind of makes you wonder about some of the design choices. *giggle*

      Thanks, Chicklet!

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