Where Is My Sanctuary?

“Dear, blessed St. Robert,” Mother Julian began her prayer, and then she stopped.

How did one ask this great saint, the only saint who truly mattered, what would be the best way to avoid going about his work?

There were stories in the Book of Wright of cases such as the one she faced. There was one in particular, the story of the conversion of Lord Don of Lothario and his so-called wives. There were at least six of them, she thought, though she could not remember their names. No — it was not that she could not remember their names, it was that their names were not given in the great Book. But the names did not matter.

What did matter was their story. Lord Don had been one of the latest converts of the lords on the Glasonland/Gaul border, probably because of the issue with his wives. Yet the first of his wife, Cassandra the Goth, had seen the good light and had pleaded and cajoled her husband to accept it. So Lord Don had. He and his wife Cassandra had been re-married in the sight of the Lord Wright, as was good and holy. And his other wives …

They had been sent to a nunnery, to atone for their sins in calling themselves the wives of a man already married, with his wife still living. They went “weeping and lamenting, and tearing their hair, to be separated from the man they called husband.” And yet, the stories claimed that they eventually found peace, “for yea, they gave thanks to the Lord Wright, and called it His blessing upon them, to deliver them from lives of such sin to such holiness.”

But Angelique was a good Wrightian girl; as far as Mother Julian knew, she had no dire sins she needed to be delivered from. It was not the nunnery or damnation for her. And, had Angelique come to Mother Julian of her own free will —

She would not, Mother Julian told herself in the midst of her prayer, and sighed. That was the crux of the matter. Angelique would not come to a nunnery of her own free will — at least, not at this point in her life. What right had she to force Angelique to walk down a path that she did not seek out?

Yet, what if it was the Lord Wright’s Will that Angelique walk this path?

“Mother Julian?”

Sir Bors stood at the door to the chapel, carelessly holding open the door. A woman slipped in behind him, her red dress the most bold and striking thing about her — other than that, she was blonde and pale, with eyes that fell toward the floor, making it impossible for Mother Julian to see their color.

These were Angelique’s parents. These were the ones who had marked out the path for Angelique to follow. Mother Julian prayed that they had done so with the Lord Wright’s good guidance. Otherwise …

Mother Julian forced herself to smile. “Forgive me, Sir Bors,” she replied, allowing her voice to boom and echo over the chapel walls. In a way, she was glad that he had found her here, and aye, interrupted her. Here, she had the advantage of acoustics. “I was praying.”

“Let me not interrupt your orisons, then,” he answered. Yet he gave no hint that he intended to move. Nor did he introduce his wife, but then again, Mother Julian already knew her name. He merely stood there, arms crossed before him, looking around with mild interest.

Mother Julian sighed. She would get no more praying done with his presence disturbing her peace of mind. Besides, at this point, she had done all the praying she could. It was up to the Lord Wright to help her now, or not.

So she made her way to her feet, slowly. Her knees protested more and more every year with each climb from the cold chapel floor. She had only been a nun these past seventeen years; she shuddered to imagine how women who had been on their knees all their lives felt. What would Angelique’s knees be like, twenty or thirty years from now?

She dusted off her skirt and walked to the front of the chapel. Sir Bors reached out and enveloped her hand in a hearty shake. “Good Mother,” he said. “What is it you wished to see us about?”

His wife wandered over to the stoop and blessed herself with the holy water. She said nothing.

“I think this is a conversation that would be better had in my office. Will you follow me, Sir Bors — Lady Claire?”

“Of course, of course,” Sir Bors replied. Lady Claire said nothing.

“An–Sister Angelique is well,” Mother Julian said as they walked down the steps that led into the chapel. “In case you were wondering.”

“Of course she is well,” Sir Bors answered, but Mother Julian saw the Lady Claire’s head come up.

“Is she?” asked the lady. Her voice was the whisper of the wind through a meadow.

“Claire! None of your nonsense. She is doing the will of the Lord Wright and her family. How could she be anything other than well?”

Mother Julian almost stopped and stared at the man, but she caught herself in time and kept walking. She did allow herself one quick glance over her shoulder at his wife, though.

And that made her stop dead. The look in the Lady Claire’s eyes, so wide, so helpless — Mother Julian had not seen that kind of despair in over seventeen years! Yet when she had seen it, she had seen it all around her … she had seen it after the fire in Pompeius, the fire that had wiped out whole families, whole streets, whole neighborhoods — the fire that had claimed neither her life nor her daughter’s, but their home, their little shop, their livelihood … Lady Claire wore, she thought, the look she herself had worn when she made her way back through the wreckage to where her husband’s shop had stood, had seen the ash and charred wood that were all her husband had left to her, and when she had known herself to be utterly lost, and utterly, utterly alone …

“They look so happy,” Lady Claire murmured, and Mother Julian almost jumped before she realized that the lady was talking about Nyasha and Rhoslyn, who played on their wooden structure, and laughed and chattered, and were utterly oblivious of the strange adults tramping through their garden. Just as children should be.

“I suppose it must be an advantage of youth,” Sir Bors murmured. He wrinkled his nose, as if he smelled something distasteful. “Do they know of the sin that went into their making?”

“Sir Bors, Nyasha is the eldest and she is only eight.”

“Still, they should know what they are.”

Mother Julian glared at him. “They are children,” she replied. “They are children who have parents who cannot take care of them, and so, we nuns do. They are children who are loved and cared for, because they are Children of Wright, just like you and me.”

Sir Bors snorted, but Lady Claire sighed. “How lucky for them.”

“Aye, that’s true, wife,” Sir Bors replied. “They could have been exposed at birth, or, worse, left with their sinful mothers.”

“All mothers are sinful. All Sims are sinful,” Mother Julian replied as she opened the door to the nuns’ wing of the abbey. “We of the Sisters of St. Coral do not judge which sins are worse than others. We leave judgment to the Lord Wright.”

Sir Bors snorted. “Aye, that’s all well and good for you, but I find that a dose of healthy judgment keeps most of the people in line. And is it not better to keep sins from being committed in the first place?”

“Certainly. I do not say that there is no place for compassionate judgment in this world. One must keep order, after all. But at the same time, these children have nothing to do with the sins that went into their making — if any sin at all went into their making — for, Sir Bors, unless you somehow gained access to our records, I have no idea how it is that you can be certain that these girls are not legitimately born, and unfortunately orphaned due to some catastrophe or catastrophes.”

She let his jaw move up and down as she ushered the two of them into her office, shut the door, and sat down behind her desk. Sir Bors instantly took the seat across from her, and his wife took the one next to him.

“Well!” Mother Julian said with her best and falsest smile. “I suppose you are wondering just why it is that I called you here?”

“Aye, we are,” Sir Bors replied. Lady Claire looked at him, face blank. “Is it a question of donations?”

“No, no, nothing like that — and your tithes to us are, of course, fully paid.”

Sir Bors snorted, and from that Mother Julian divined that Brother Tuck had gotten to him with his ridiculous notion of “streamlining” tithing by sending all the money directly to the monastery. Over my dead body will Brother Tuck be in charge of the whole abbey’s budget!

But she had not called Sir Bors here to convince him that Brother Tuck was a power-hungry fool. She would never need to, so long as she was Abbess and could look Brother Tuck in the eye and say, Over my dead body! — which, as it so happened, was exactly what she had said to him. “It has to do with Sister Angelique–“

“Oh, she is well, isn’t she?” called Lady Claire, wringing her hands together.

“Claire! Of course–“

“She is quite well physically, Lady Claire,” Mother Julian replied. “But … but I want to make certain that both of you understand the purpose of a novitiate. It is, you see, to weed out unsuitable candidates for religious life, rather than let them take their final vows, and make themselves and everyone else in the abbey miserable thereby.”

“Are you saying,” Sir Bors growled, “that my daughter is somehow unfit for religious life?”

Lady Claire gasped and held her stomach, rocking to and fro as if it pained her.

“Lady Claire, are you all right?” Mother Julian asked. Her hand reached out automatically to hold her, comfort her — or to push off the desk and run for Father Hugh, if that was what was necessary.

Sir Bors stared at his wife and blinked. “Claire?” he asked, putting a hand on her shoulder. Lady Claire took a deep, shuddering breath, shook herself — conveniently shaking off her husband’s hand as well — and looked up.

“I’m fine,” she said. “Truly. It was just — just a passing pain.”

Her face was pale and peaked; the only color in it from her lips, red from being bitten. If this was what “fine” looked like, Mother Julian prayed she would never be “fine.”

Sir Bors snorted and turned away from his wife. “Anyway, what is it that you were saying, Mother Julian?”

Mother Julian blinked and took a deep breath. “I was about to say, Sir Bors, that … actually, I was about to ask you and your wife what your alternate plans were for your daughter, should it … should it turn out that the Lord Wright has not called her to the religious life.”

“And you can tell the Lord Wright’s Will, Mother Julian?” Sir Bors snarled.

She narrowed her eyes. “Are you implying that you can, Sir Bors?”

“‘It is the husband to whom the Lord Wright speaks, it is to him that the Lord Wright reveals his Will. For the husband is the master of his wife, and his children, and his servants, and his chattel; just as the head of the body is the master of the heart, and the hands, and the legs, and the feet.'”

“Sir Bors, while St. Consort of Thebe was, in many ways, an inspired thinker and sage, his words are but the words of one man — a sainted man, but only one man. They are hardly infallible!”

Sir Bors snorted. “They are the words, as you said, of an inspired thinker and sage–“

“Who would have done much better had he kept his thinking to subjects in which he had some expertise — certainly not family life, considering what a mess he made of his own life!”

“A mess? A mess? Aye, his daughter and son-in-law died at a tragically young age –“

“Because of a feud St. Consort began with the Monty clan!”

“Even saints have their — their bad days! But he raised his grandson and granddaughters to be model Wrightians! Both of his granddaughters became nuns! Lord Tybalt, it is true, also died at a tragically young age –“

“In the same feud that killed his parents! And by the way, do you not remember — or did they not tell you, in St. Consort’s abbey — how Lord Tybalt was killed? His sister Juliette tried to make peace between the families by marrying Lord Romeo, heir to the Monty clan — and St. Consort ordered Lord Tybalt to kill Lord Romeo! They slew each other while Lady Juliette watched!”

“And after that, St. Consort realized the errors of his ways, repented, and founded a monastery–“

“And after that, St. Consort realized he had no heir and didn’t want his money going to his daughters or his granddaughters, so he spent it all to found a monastery, and spent the rest of his days writing anti-woman screed and rubbish! Did you know, Sir Bors, that serious scholars now believe that all of St. Consort’s so-called ‘insights’ and ‘discoveries’ were not actually his at all — but his son Kent’s, whom St. Consort had disowned years before for not being ‘manly’ enough?”

“Now, look here!” Sir Bors shouted. “How dare you? How dare you? You are but a humble nun, a woman — how do you dare to malign the name of the great saint, Consort of Thebe? What can you possibly know of the matter? Me, I spent two years in the great abbey that St. Consort founded –“

“What does all of this have to do with Angelique?” Lady Claire wailed.

One look at Lady Claire’s wide and glassy eyes was all it took to silence Mother Julian. And one look at the way Sir Bors wrinkled his nose, took a breath and opened his mouth was enough to start her speaking again.

“I will admit that St. Consort has nothing to do with Angelique–“

Sister Ang–“

“Sir Bors! I am Abbess here, and I will decide who is to be called ‘Sister’! Your daughter, as — as lovely a young woman as she is, does not yet merit that title, and she may never!”

Lady Claire moaned and flopped back in her seat.

What? What has she done?” Sir Bors demanded.

“Done? What do you mean?”

What has she done? What has that ungrateful chit done to make you say she cannot be a nun? It must be grave!”

“Bors!” Lady Claire moaned.

“Hush! I will not –“

“Sir Bors, you hush! Hush and let me explain!” Mother Julian waved her finger before him, as if he were a misbehaving student in one of her classes. “The only thing Angelique has done is her best — her best to force herself into a mold that was not made to fit her, her best to force a spirit that was meant to flourish in the wide world not to languish behind abbey walls, her best to fulfill your will, which she and you together have somehow managed to confuse with that of the Lord Wright!”

Lady Claire shrieked aloud, and without another word ran from the room. Her sobs echoed off the abbey walls.

Sir Bors was younger than she, was fitter than she, had military training — but somehow it was Mother Julian who first leapt to her feet and followed the fleeing noblewoman.

But she was not quick enough to reach the courtyard before Lady Claire disappeared.

Mother Julian looked left and right, frozen, like some sort of foolish character in a children’s story–

“Mother Julian!” Rhoslyn called out. “The crying lady went into the chapel!”

Mother Julian had only time to send a quick smile in Rhoslyn’s direction before she lifted up her skirts and ran for the chapel.

Oh, Lady Claire was in here, all right! Her sobs echoed from the vaulted ceilings. And though it was but one woman sobbing, somehow, it sounded more forlorn and despairing than all the sobs of all the women crammed on the floor of the Chapel of St. Coral, back in Pompeius, after the fire …

Mother Julian walked slowly up to the other woman. “Lady Claire?” she whispered, creeping closer. One hand moved as if it was underwater to try to rest on the other woman’s shoulder. “Lady Claire, what is it? What’s wrong?”

Lady Claire looked over her shoulder and tried to take a deep breath. It sputtered and shuddered with unshed tears. “Everything,” she whispered.

“Everything? Everything can’t be wrong. Come now, talk to me, I can help you …”

Everything!” Lady Claire shouted. The chapel called Everything! back in some sort of demon’s chorus. “I have failed in everything I tried to do! I’m a horrible mother, a horrible wife, a horrible — a horrible everything!”

“Oh, Lady Claire, surely –“

“CLAIRE!”

Mother Julian jumped, and beneath her breath, she murmured some words that surely were never meant to cross a nun’s lips.

“Sir Bors, I don’t think –” she began.

“Claire, enough is enough!” Sir Bors shouted, ignoring her. “I’ve been more than patient with — with your moodiness, and your crying, and even that horrible noise you insist on calling ‘music’ –“

Why was it that it was only the last insult that caused Lady Claire to wail?

” — but enough is enough! I thought you, of all women, would know how to act like a lady in public! For Heaven’s sake! How do you think it can possibly be acceptable to put on such a display? Don’t you know better?”

“Sir Bors! She is upset! Leave her –“

“You! You stay out of this! This is a private family affair!”

Mother Julian gasped. Then, her teeth clenched, she turned to Lady Claire.

She was about tell Lady Claire that all she had to do was say the word, and she would have this beast removed from the premises. She was about to tell Lady Claire that the nunnery had plenty of spare beds and one of them was hers for the asking. She was about to say that they would send to the King, both of them, because Mother Julian knew that the King was a compassionate man and would surely not allow this kind of treatment to go on beneath his nose —

But Lady Claire’s cringing posture silenced her with shock.

She said only one thing before she trotted back, obedient as a kicked dog, to the creature standing in the doorway. She whispered, “I just can’t take it anymore.”

That night, Mother Julian would pray with all her might that Lady Claire would do nothing desperate before help could come to her.

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8 thoughts on “Where Is My Sanctuary?

  1. Bors! 👿 Gah, what an idiot! Treating his wife like that in front of the Mother Superior? Of course, she’s a woman too… *rolls eyes and sticks up middle finger at Bors*

    I hope Claire does end up staying the night at the nunnery… although, then that leaves the poor babies alone with Bors and Elyan… *shudder* Any chance of Leona and/or Elyan graduating early so they can get Leona’s powers of awesomeness in that household right away? Or perhaps she could move in with them while waiting for Elyan to graduate? Someone needs to serve Bors a big piece of humble pie. It was good to see that Mother Julian tried.

    Thank goodness Mother Julian is aware of how unsuited for abbey life Angelique is. If only Bors would let his stupid, stubborn self see that 👿 Perhaps having Galahad for a son-in-law will prove punishment enough? 😉

    • The middle finger does seem to be the best one to point in Bors’s direction.

      Claire didn’t end up staying the night at the nunnery, she went home and was berated by Bors all the way through the carriage ride. Then she went into the music room and started playing her piano so loudly that she “couldn’t hear him” when he told her to knock it off. This went on for about three hours. At least she can be passive-aggressive from time to time …

      And … I really don’t see Leona going to live with Bors and Claire before she marries Elyan. Bors and Leona in the same house without Elyan to act as a buffer sounds like a recipe for MURDER to me. Bors’s murder, to be precise. Which, while that would be awesome from a poetic justice perspective, leaves me with several problems, not least of which is how do I let Leona get away with it without it corrupting her soul or something. 😉

      Besides, Lancelot and Guinevere know that Leona and Bors in the same house without some kind of buffer is a recipe for trouble, so even if Bors suggested it (hey, he’s an idiot!), their answer would be, “Oh hell no.”

      Lol, Galahad as a son-in-law as punishment … hmm, you know, he would be pretty exasperating to Bors. But somehow, I don’t think Galahad is enough of a punishment for him … still working on that. 😉

  2. …Okay, that’s it. I’m heading into Otherworld today. Bors is going to die, several times, after I disgrace him, humiliate him, and otherwise make his life miserable…

    But it could be good, I mean that Mother Julian’s seen this whole episode. She could be a lot of help to Claire too. I know that Morgan’s going to help, but I’m not sure that Morgan could help fix Claire’s faith. Not when she’s sleeping in and doing other things in bed on Sunday morning when she “should” be at mass…

    But I think Claire needs her faith.

    Bors though, ugh. Jeez, Hat, do you still think he’s redeemable? I mean he’d have done the same thing to Alison if she tried to go off on him. No matter what Arthur would have done if Bors had shouted down his wife.

    Bors is not going to listen, not if it’s a woman speaking, and women are the only ones who have their heads out of the sand enough to see that there’s something wrong. (They’re being ostriches, not asshats.)

    I did like the whole thing about Consort and the Montys. Lol, is there ever a bad place for a Shakespeare reference? 😉

    Angelique is miserable though, and I think it’s wonderful that Mother Julian sees that this is not a yoke that Angelique is meant to take up. Too bad Bors won’t see it along with her.

    … Maybe I’m alone here, but somehow I don’t know about Galahad. Yes, there is definitely a something going on between those two, but if he’s really going to sweep her off her feet and carry her off on a white horse… why’s he trying to take vows too?

    Well, actually I know the answer I’m likely to get to that question. (Which I am, btw, not actually posing to get an answer, just an over all I know what I would do with those two and it might not be the same as Morgaine, but it still wouldn’t be have Galahad defying Bors and the church to marry Angelique… comment posed to hint that I can certainly see more roads in this forest than just that one.) Anyway I know, I know. That’s for Morgaine to know and the rest of us to find out. 😛 lol

    • You had better put up a link with those pictures, Andavri. Since I already know you’re uploading them. Bwahaha! 😈

      Never mind, she put the link up!

      You’re right, Morgan is not going to try to fix Claire’s faith. Morgan’s own faith has been through the wringer so many times that there’s not much left to it. (Hey, it’s hard to keep faith in a faith that says you’re not to be suffered to live …) And she knows, through personal experience, that “there are more things in heaven in earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (how’s that for a Shakespeare reference?). So I guess it’s easier for her to shrug off the whole Wrightian thing — she can conform for appearance’s sake, but once you know they have A, B, and C wrong, it’s hard not to wonder if D, E and F are wrong too.

      Besides, if they’re right, she’s damned anyway, so she might as well sleep in on Sundays and sleep with her husband while she can enjoy it. 😉

      You’re right that Bors would have also gone off on Alison, if she tried to talk him down. Maybe he would have been smart enough to keep quiet if Arthur was in the room, though. Because Arthur is definitely the “haul off and slug” kind of guy if somebody talked to his wife like that. But still, Bors would feel no guilt about speaking to even his Queen like that.

      Lol, the Capps and the Monties are just as much a Van reference as a Shakespeare reference. Er … well, not quite. Van’s got some different things going on with Tybalt and Romeo. I won’t spoil it for you. (Confused? “In Fair Veronaville” is linked on the sidebar. Read it! Read it now! ;))

      As for Angelique and Galahad … yes, I do know, but like you said … for me to know, for you to find out. 😉

      (Plus, you know, not revealing my plans means I can change them if I manage to write myself into a corner or something …)

  3. What an idiot!!! I hope he gets hit by carriage or something (I wanted to say car, but that would look awfully weird in a medival world!)… I truly hope that Clair will be alright. It really didn’t sound good, like she’s given up and really may harm herself… Can’t wait for that update. If something happens to her, I hope everyone will blame Bors for it (after all, he IS the source of her unhappiness).

    • The nice thing about being a demigoddess is that you can arrange for car accidents when they’re warranted. And Andavri in her Otherworld has lots of nice fates cooked up for Bors, trust me.

      Besides, I can’t kill Bors yet, he needs to get his ass/headgear handed to him by his daughters at least once before I kill him off!

      And I have a feeling that, if something does happen to Claire, everybody — from the whores and Clarence on up — will be blaming Bors.

      But I’m not saying whether something will happen to Claire or not.

  4. Well, hey, look at that!

    Awareness without tacit approval. Someone with a smidgen of power in Albion has managed to see Bors at his worst, even if she’s not in much of a position to do anything about it at the moment. Well. Aside from keeping Angelique well out of Bors’s path, which… isn’t half bad, although it doesn’t much help Claire… but then Claire has Morgan for that.

    At least Mother Julian’s unspoken prayers have been answered. While it’s obvious that the nunnery is not the best place for Angelique, it can also protect her– for a while– from her father, and maybe provide her with skills enough to manage on her own when it’s unavoidable that she leave them. Maybe there’s somebody around who needs a governness or music teacher– it worked in Sound of Music.

    (Do I still think Bors is redeemable? I don’t know, but I know this isn’t going to make him see any problems with his own behavior, unfortunately– just a nun who belittles his patron saint and then dares to tell him his daughter might not make a suitable nun (except that’s not the real problem, the real problem is that the financial burden Bors thought he was permanently clear of could be suddenly foisted back onto him against his will, which is an outcome he clearly never considered), and then his wife causes a scene while he’s already all riled up… Alas, a snarly dose of ‘woman wtf r u doin!’ is perfectly in character for Bors in that situation. The whole ‘yes, well, scholars NOW say the saint you were dedicated to was an asshat’ thing coupled with ‘by the way, your daughter is trying but hasn’t heard the call, what’s your back-up plan for her? You have a back-up plan, right?’ rather understandably (justifiably? Maybe not) burnt his cheese. Likewise, I suspect he has lost a lot of, if not all, respect for Mother Julian, who would probably have to lean on Father Hugh to get anything through to Bors– but hey, there’s a non-whore topic for a sermon!

    Anyway, yes, Bors is an idiot, but he’s an idiot who’s been lectured, belittled, and blindsided before bellowing at his rather fragile wife. If you want to teach a dog new tricks, you don’t go teasing it first– not that Mother Julian knew before now that Bors is not exactly in the running for Gentlest Husband and Father of the Year.)

    Mmm delicious parentheticals.

    But. At least someone knows that being sent home isn’t a viable option for Angelique– or at least not a safe one.

    It kind of sucks to be Sister Margery, though– if Angelique is turned away as a novice, then she’s left with the running of an orphanage all to herself.

    … And suddenly I have my fingers crossed for Elyan standing up to his father just enough to say “Of course she caused a scene! She’s been miserable since saddling you with another daughter after being so ill, and now Angelique might not be a fit nun? Mother is just too delicate to stand up under that much failure at once.” Which is of course pure idiocy, but…

    • Claire does indeed have Morgan. And keeping Angelique away from Bors is probably the best thing anyone can do for her right now. Lynn and Clarice are at college, and Evette at this point probably only sees her father a couple times a day (she spends the rest of the time with the nurses), so this really limits Bors’s potential to do damage.

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite limit it enough, as Claire shows. 😦

      … And I’m trying to imagine Angelique as Maria, but it’s just not coming. She’d probably see all of Captain Von Whatever’s kids and think, “Ack! Not another orphanage!” and go running for the hills! 😉

      I don’t think it was Mother Julian’s intention to teach Bors any new tricks. She knew from the beginning that she had something difficult to say to him and was … not quite spoiling for a fight, but she was ready for one. Let’s say she had her sword drawn before Bors even knew they were arguing, let alone duelling. And then halfway through the duel, she finds out that he’s the worst swordfighter on the planet, but that doesn’t matter because his underwear is made of chain mail. I.e., she can argue and argue with him, but she won’t get anywhere with him.

      It also doesn’t help that Mother Julian saw him at least partially as a child. On the one hand, treating any adult as a child will not win you any brownie points with them, on the other … well, in some ways Bors hasn’t quite grown up yet. He hasn’t realized that the world does not revolve around him and his needs, or rather, the needs of him and his class. He doesn’t understand that behaving properly (and making sure everyone around you behaves properly) will not necessarily help you get ahead in this world. He just doesn’t get that his will is not law in his family, no matter how much he tries to impose it upon them. Most people figure these things out before they hit puberty, but the circumstances of Bors’s life have almost conspired to make him not come to these realizations. I mean, with the exception of his money troubles, Bors pretty much gets whatever he wants, sooner or later!

      I’d say he’s in for a rude awakening one of these days, but unfortunately, he’s so entrenched in his worldview that I don’t know what it would take to wake him up. Something horrible happening to Claire or one of the children (probably Elyan or Lionel, really), probably. And … Bors just isn’t worth making something horrible happen to Elyan or Lionel or one of the girls. I’m sorry, but he’s not.

      Actually, Sister Margery will be getting some help next round in the form of a random townie whom I am going to move in to the orphanage. Because I am losing my mind in the running of that place, and Angelique will be going to college next round. However, said townie will probably be an elder, simply so I don’t have to deal with her for long. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am that mean! 😉

      And that would be pure idiocy on Elyan’s part, however! It’s Bors’s idiocy. It’s idiocy that would get through to him. It might actually get him to give Claire a break! 😉

      And somebody could work on beating the idiocy out of Elyan’s head later.

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