Where the Heart Moves the Stones

Rosette had not been to the Orkney keep in years. Had it grown more intimidating in the meanwhile? Or had she merely forgotten the terror it was wont to inspire?

It crouched on its hill, silent and watching. The very stones must have been holding their breath in shock at her presumption; she couldn’t think of any other explanation for the unnatural stillness that blanketed the keep. Rosette’s legs quaked beneath her, and try as she might, Rosette could not put down the effect to simple tiredness after climbing the hundred steps from the base of the hill to the foundation of the castle. This was madness. She shouldn’t have come.

But if Rosette did not come, then who would?

She looked up to the windows, searching for a torchlight, a familiar form, something — anything to give her hope and direction, to show her that Mordred was near. But the red sunset winked off the windows like off blind eyes. They would show her nothing.

So there was nothing for it but to go in. Rosette took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and marched into the vestibule.

Once under the doorway, she hesitated — expecting a servant to emerge at any moment, demanding to know her business. But what would she say? “Oh, I’m Sir Mordred’s mistress, here to see him”? What if the servants were all loyal to Lady Dindrane? What if —

“Mistress Chevaux?”

Rosette spun with a gasp. “Master Barber!” The steward who always faithfully delivered her allowance. “Oh, Master Barber –”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

Rosette blinked. Master Barber had never been anything other than polite to her, frostily polite, but polite. She had never been anything other than polite to him. She had offered him pies and cakes dozens of times, always to have them refused. She had thought at first he was abstemious, that he was an ascetic, that he didn’t like sweets. But now she knew why he refused. She could see it in his eyes.

Master Barber was a man who believed in place: a place for everyone, and everyone in their place. Rosette had been born into a place, but she had quitted it. She had quitted it for a place that was acceptable to a woman of her rank and station at birth, though, so that was acceptable. But now Rosette was taking liberties. She was presuming. She was acting as if she was better than she was.

She had, in short, proved herself to be truly lower than the bug beneath Master Barber’s boot. It was almost enough to make her creep away again.

But if she did not help Mordred, than who would?

Rosette closed her eyes and stuck her chin out before speaking. “I need to see Sir Mordred.”

He — he laughed! “Mistress Chevaux, the King himself has been here to see his lordship and hasn’t gotten an audience. What makes you think you’ll get one?”

But I love him! And he loves me!

“I –” Rosette closed her eyes. “I need to see him.”

“Is it something important?” Master Barber’s eyebrow rose laconically. “You can count on me to send the message on if it is.”

Is it important? IS IT IMPORTANT?! Would she be here, quaking in her boots, if it wasn’t important? What sort of fool did Master Barber take her for? “I need to see him,” she repeated. “I …” Master Barber’s scornful glare left her no choice but to offer her reason. “I’m worried about him.”

Master Barber’s eyes went wide, then narrowed. “Leave now,” he replied, “and I won’t tell him about such — such –”

Presumption. Pride. Uppity-ness. But surely, such things didn’t matter between the two of them? Hadn’t they carved out their own little niche, sheltered from the storms of the hostile world, where their love could light them and warm them and help raise their children? Wasn’t that the point? If not — on what had she spent the past nine years of her life?

“Master Barber, who — who has been taking care of him?” asked Rosette.

The steward blinked. “I beg your pardon?”

“Who — who has been taking care of him? Not … not fixing his meals and making his bed and doing his laundry, but taking care — of him? Are — are you married, Master Barber? Doesn’t your wife …”

He narrowed his eyes. Apparently he did not even need to hear the question. “You are not, Mistress Chevaux. And Sir Mordred has a wife.”

“But — but –” Why couldn’t she think of anything better than stamping her foot on the ground like a little girl? “She doesn’t take care of him!”

Master Barber did not reply: his eyes said it all. She doesn’t have to. She takes far better care of him than you ever could, even not even trying. She is a noblewoman; you are not. She understands him in ways you never will. She knows what he needs, and you can only give him what pitiful love you possess.

“I need to see him,” Rosette heard herself start to plead. “Please? Please let me see him. Just — just so I know he’s all right — I haven’t seen him since before … before …”

She felt the hairs on the back of her arms begin to stand up. Her head turned before she could sure in which direction to look. And then she saw the golden light.

Rosette stood still as a startled hare, waiting for him to fully materialize, to join again the world they both shared. And when both of his feet touched the ground, when the golden light faded, when he was fully there … Mordred could only stare at her in shock.

Out of the corner of her eye, Rosette saw Master Barber smirk. So it was coming, her chastisement. But at least she had seen that Mordred was still all right, still breathing, still whole and hearty. That had to be worth something.

No sooner had Mordred taken her in than his eyes grew dark, stormy. His voice, though, when it came out was not with the full-throated looseness of thunder, but the tightness of fear. “Rosette? The — the children?”

“Oh!” Rosette gasped. “No, no, they’re fine! They’re with El–a friend of mine.”

He blinked — and then he smiled. And that was all the encouragement Rosette needed to hurl herself into his arms.

“Rosette!” laughed Mordred. He laughed! He still knew how! For some weeks after his father’s death — so long as Mordred had not an audience to perform for — she had wondered if he had forgotten. But he laughed for her, and if Master Barber scowled over her shoulder, well, Rosette didn’t have to see it.

As soon as Mordred pushed her away, gently, but away, he smiled at her and ran a finger down her cheek. “Now to what do I owe the honor of this visit, then?”

“I …” I wanted to see you wanted to rise impishly, bubbly in her throat, as if she was no more than the scared girl who had once waited in the gardens of the keep for no other reason than that. But she was a woman now, a mother of three children, neither impish nor bubbly. “I was … worried about you, my lord.”

She would not mention how he had not been to see her in weeks. She would not. That would only succeed in making her look childish and selfish. But Mordred frowned all the same.

He frowned at her only a moment before his frown was transferred to Master Barber. “Barber. I am taking my lady to my chambers. We are not to be disturbed.”

Master Barber did not argue; he only nodded. “Come.” Mordred took her hand and led her through the winding corridors and turning stairwells of the castle.

And Rosette knew not which was more surprising: the fine and rare woods, silken cushions, prize wall-hangings and all the other trappings and accoutrements of noble life — trappings, despite her four years in Camford, in Mordred’s very dwelling, that she had never seen close-up — or the fact that Mordred had called her his lady.

They met no one. If Rosette had had the leisure to think, she would have been — probably — grateful for that. She still felt like an intruder in this place. And if it got out that all Lady Dindrane had to do was to leave and she would be here, why, things could easily get worse between Mordred and his wife, and how could she live with herself if she caused that? More importantly, how would all the other citizens of Albion deign to live with her?

Mordred led her, finally, to a heavy door that he tapped upon a few times before it opened. When it did, he pulled her in so swiftly that Rosette barely had time to register the feeling of spiders crawling over her skin as she crossed the threshold. Still, she gasped and held her breath. Was he bringing her into his workroom? She had never seen his workroom at Camford —

But the room into which she emerged was not his workroom, or if it was, it was only his workroom in the sense that he completed the work of his estate in it. The only potential sign of the arcane she saw was a book on a stand with strange writing that skittered across the page when she tried to look at it.

“My Rosette,” Mordred crooned, reaching for her hands and springing her from her reverie. “You were worried about me?”

She didn’t know how to answer that. A simple yes was not sufficient. But to tell him that it was because he hadn’t come to see her … that was selfish. Yet it was not selfish! If he wasn’t coming to see her — if he didn’t get one pure dose of love every fortnight or sennight — who was to say that anyone was loving him?

Rosette swallowed. “Yes. Are — how are you?”

“Well, now.” He fingered her palms gently. The cold burn of his wedding ring against her skin made her almost jump, but Rosette forced herself to keep calm. “Very well, now that you’re here.”

He was lying. No — no, he was not lying. Mordred would never lie to her, would he? Surely for him to lie to her was as unthinkable, impossible, as it was for her to lie to him. But those new shadows under and more worryingly in his eyes said that he was not telling the truth.

“That’s — that’s not quite an answer,” Rosette tried to giggle. She swung their hands this way and that, like a girl courting with her first lover. “How — how have you been?”

Mordred sighed. “Rosette … can we not just be happy now? You and I, with no one to interrupt us for a long time?”

“Mordred — Mordred, listen to me.” She felt his hands start to slip from her grasp and gripped them tighter. “I love you. I want to see you … I want to see you happy. And I know … I know that …”

He hung his head. “My mother died but a few short weeks ago, Rosette. What do you want me to say?”

“That you — that you — that you’re not well, and not happy!”

Mordred looked up with an eyebrow raised. “And that would make you happy?”

“If — if it was the truth. Not, not because that’s the truth it is — but because you trust me enough to tell the truth even when it’s not pleasant.”

He smiled and stroked her cheek. “Now what in all of our long acquaintance would ever lead you to think that I would lie to you?”

“Nothing. But there’s a difference between lying and — and not telling the truth. Isn’t there?”

He sighed. “Rosette, I am a man, a lord, a wizard … there are things I cannot tell you. Can you not understand that?”

“I don’t want all your secrets, Mordred, but –”

“Then why can you not leave them in peace?”

“But –”

“They are not the sorts of things pretty girls like you should know or hear.” His voice took on a ring of steel. “Trust me.” And then — before the chills could finish snaking their way down her spine — he added in a perfectly normal tone, “Most of them wouldn’t interest you anyway.”

“Then don’t tell me those things. But … but Mordred, the things I want to know, they aren’t secrets.”

“I wouldn’t –”

She laid both of her little hands on his chest, one above his heart. Mordred was silenced. “It’s no secret that you lost your mother recently, Mordred. It can’t be a secret that you’re hurting inside. That’s all I want to know. What you’re feeling and how I can … help,” she concluded, her hand coming to rest over her own heart.

Mordred sighed and let his head fall back. “What do you want me to say, Rosette? We went over this when … when my father …”

“I know.” You never actually managed to talk about it.

“Can you not trust me to know what I need?” he asked, sighing.

She let a hand stroke through his hair, the silky strands parting like water before her fingers. “I … I wish I could.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“But, but Mordred, you never let me in. Do you — do you ever let anybody in?”

“You make quite a dramatic leap, to assume because I choose not to share certain … facets of my emotions with you, that I therefore must share them with nobody.”

Rosette winced. He might as well have slapped her. And Mordred — he didn’t even blink. He watched her impassively, as he might watch the rabbit his dog or his hawk brought back to him.

She changed tactics. “But I — I worry. They … they were spreading awful rumors about you at the marketplace.”

Mordred stiffened. “And you listen to common gossip? I thought better than that of you, Rosette.”

Rosette swallowed, tongue sticking to her dry mouth. “I … if you won’t tell me anything, what else am I supposed to do?”

“Not listen! Will of Wright! Do you truly have so little understanding of the way the world works? The great, the powerful, are always the subject of gossip! Do you believe every little thing you hear about the King?”

Rosette quailed before the onslaught.

“Well?” he barked. “Do you?”

“N-no …”

“Sir Bors, your old lord?”

“No, but –”

“Lord Pellinore? Sir Lancelot?”

“No, b-but –”

“Then why is it only me?” he roared.

“Because I care about you!” Rosette sobbed. “Only you! I don’t care about the rest of them! And the things they were saying about you, Mordred! If — I hope if they had been saying things like that about me, and you didn’t know if they were true or not, that you would listen, if only so you knew and could help! They said — they said, since your mother’s death, you’ve …”

A change seemed to come over Mordred. He no longer smouldered, bristled; he retreated, set his shoulders at an angle, seemed to have one hand near where he kept his wand. “They’ve said … what, precisely?” he asked.

“They’ve said that you’ve been locked in your rooms for days! That you’ve been taking food on trays! Oh, Mordred, if that’s true — can’t you see why I was worried? That can’t be healthy!”

Did he — but he couldn’t have relaxed. Or maybe he only calmed. “Ah, Rosette. Now I see. Yes — yes, of course you were worried. But you see …” He held out his hands to explain. “You don’t know the least thing about magic, Rosette.”

“No … no, I don’t,” she admitted.

“Of course you don’t. And I haven’t told you … because I did not think that you needed to know. Because I did not think that you would like to know. It is not always a pleasant study, love. Not always for pure and innocent hearts, like yours.”

Rosette hung her head.

“But I can tell you a little,” Mordred continued, and Rosette gasped and looked up. “When a … when a great witch dies, or a great wizard, there are always … magical loose ends to be cleared up. Spells, protections, wards. Without the witch’s or wizard’s magic to hold them in place, under control … they can do a great deal of damage if they are not properly tended to.”

“But … but I thought … your lady mother, her power …?”

Mordred snorted. “No. No, they didn’t take her powers away from her. Not completely. Had they done that, it would have … I daresay it would have killed her outright. A wizard’s power is too much a part of him to be removed entirely. But they did lock it away from her so that she could not use it.” Mordred shrugged. “A wizard or witch given that potion has never lived long enough to restore his access to his powers, so to the crude, it is the same as if the powers were taken away entirely.”

“When … when you say never lived long enough …”

Mordred brushed her hair away from her face. “Magic is not always a pleasant subject, my dear. And the people hate us. All of us wizards, no matter what they may say. Remember that.”

Rosette shuddered, and this time Mordred wrapped his arms around her. “You see?” he coaxed. “You see why I do not tell you these things? It is not because I do not trust you. It is because I know you, and trust you, only too well.”

“I’m sorry,” breathed Rosette.

“I’m glad,” Mordred replied. “So please promise me that you won’t ask me these sorts of questions any more. It pains me to have to destroy your innocence, my love.”

“But Mordred …” Rosette bowed her head. “I worry. You can’t — you can’t expect me not to worry.”

“You would worry more if you knew.”

She doubted anything would worry her more than hearing that. “But … but can you not just tell me, when I ask, that it is magic work, so at least I will know that much?”

“Ah! A compromise, is that what you seek?”

Rosette nodded.

Mordred stared at her, head tilted to one side. Then, without answering, he kissed her. It was the sort of kiss that was contemplated to make her stop thinking — stop protesting — stop doing anything but feeling the insistent pressure of his lips on hers, the force that she knew would leave bruises as soon as the morning came again.

Was it any wonder she paid no attention to what his hands were doing until suddenly she was in his arms, feet lifted from the floor.

Rosette gasped and almost giggled like a girl, but something — the waves of vibration that flowed through her as Mordred cast some kind of spell — killed all her mirth.

At least the magic was doing nothing more sinister than opening a door. Rosette wanted to nestle against him, until he put her down and smirked at her. “Well, my lady love?”

His lady — he had called her his lady!

He gestured. “Shall we?”

Rosette looked.

“Oh! Oh, no, Mordred! We can’t!”

Can’t?” Mordred hissed. “A few weeks and I am grown repulsive — is that it?”

“No, no, but that — not there!”

“And why not there?” Mordred asked, lifting her and carrying her unprotesting body to the bed. “It has a mattress, and a soft one, I’ll warrant — four posts — strong ropes — everything, in short, a bed needs. It shan’t bite you.”

“But it …” she whispered.

“But what?” he asked, crawling over her, his head hanging a few short inches from hers.

“It’s Lady Dindrane’s bed,” Rosette whispered.

Mordred stopped. It was, as far as Rosette was aware, the first time after his marriage that she had said the name of Lady Dindrane to his face.

He sighed. “No. It is not.”

“Mordred –”

“She never slept in it. No, listen, Rosette. She never touched it. It’s a new bed. I … I bought it, after my mother … you must understand, there are things about magic, about residue, I could not have that bed in the house any more …” He sighed. “And sleeping on it was quite out of the question.”

“Oh … oh.”

“And do you think, my lady,” Mordred asked, his eyebrows quirking, “do you truly think that I would ever defile you by laying you on the bed that she had polluted?”

Rosette no longer knew what she thought. But she did know with that answer she would have to be content.


15 thoughts on “Where the Heart Moves the Stones

  1. Hey, hey, hey! I’ve been given a spotlight in the SimStoryteller’s … um, Spotlight! The question post is here if you want to ask questions! Or you can leave them here, in this post, PM me at the Keep or at GOS — whatever, really! Ask me anything! πŸ˜€

    … Well, ok, not anything, but y’all know what I mean, right?

  2. Well, he’s certainly as mercurial as ever. You worried about me? You don’t understand magic! Don’t listen to rumors! Would you listen to rumors about me. Let’s stop talking about this and go fuck. Don’t worry, it’s not my wife’s bed. Let’s fuck.

    I dunno you, Mordred. At least all of this hasn’t killed his sex drive.

    But I don’t know that Rosette knows anything more than she did when she came in the door. Master Barber is kind of a jerk. I know it makes sense. But, still, I think he was being a little… silly… No Mordred wouldn’t see the king, but he blames Arthur for his mother’s death. So far as I know Rosette had NOTHING to do with that.

    So, really, if nothing else he might want to see her cause he’s not pissed at her. Besides, I’m positive that Mordred does things with Rosette that he doesn’t do with his uncle. So that kinda puts them on a little different footing, I think.

    And I think Mordred would listen to the rumors about Rosette, if he heard them, just so he’d know who to cast the chicken spell on. πŸ˜›

    • Well, as you said, this hasn’t killed his sex drive … so at least something in his head (and other parts) is working right. πŸ˜‰ Might be about the only thing, though.

      Master Barber’s logic is that the mistress doesn’t come to the house — not if she knows her place. If the mistress is coming to the the house, that’s a bad sign. It means she’s putting on airs and getting above herself. Especially given the state of Mordred and Dindrane’s marriage … she could be trying to set herself up as the next lady, and that just won’t do. So Master Barber is trying to be the faithful dragon and chase her away before she causes trouble.

      Unfortunately for Mordred, the mistress is probably the least troublesome aspect of his life right now.

      Yes, yes, be positive that Mordred and Rosette do things that Mordred and Arthur … never in a million years! *shudders* Seriously, I don’t even want to think about that.

      And chicken spell? Andavri, what makes you think that Mordred would put a chicken spell on somebody who insulted Rosette? I’m shocked, really shocked, that you think so little of him.

      It would be the bees at least. πŸ˜‰

  3. He doesn’t tell her things because he’s concerned about her innocence? I think I lost all respect for Mordred with that line. Times or not, that’s incredibly patronizing and degrading. Come on, man, she’s not six years old πŸ‘Ώ

    Curious about the bed. If there’s residue involved, then it must have had a stronger tie to Morgause than to Dindrane? That casts a bit of ambiguity on Mordred’s last bit of dialogue. I wonder if he’s found out the truth about his brother’s paternity.

    Congrats on the spotlight! I’ll make sure to think of a question πŸ™‚

    • Whoa, somebody’s losing respect for Mordred? Interesting, very interesting. *strokes Freud goatee* πŸ˜‰

      As for the bed … Mordred can tell that some kind of sex magic was performed there, but that was it. He didn’t investigate. As far as he knew, his parents’ marriage was happy, and they did in fact have a relatively active sex life until Lot’s stroke. So basically … Mordred knew that sex magic happened. What was the logical conclusion from that, given what he knows and he doesn’t know? That his parents were … having fun.

      Cue mental, “Eew eew eew NOOOO I am not sleeping in that bed!”

      (And certainly not sleeping with Rosette.)

      As for Dindrane, her bed is still upstairs, in Mordred’s own “heir’s” chamber. She never slept in Morgause and Lot’s bed, so that bed would have no tie to her at all. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for leaving a question! I think you might end up being the only one. And thanks for the first nod — this is an awesome honor!

      Thanks, Van!

  4. Finallly!!!!! It’s about time, seriously.

    Poor Rosette, she’s not my kinda girl. I like tough girls that act on their emotions and are not afraid once their mind is set, Rosette just loves too much, she’s hindered by all the issues of social hierarchy, but also I think she’s just a really passive person. Maybe that’s what Mordred interprets as ‘innocent’ in other words, he believes he is protecting her but in reality he’s just ‘using’ her, I guess you could call it that, because he’s taking advantage of her vulnerability.
    Hopefully after this Mordred will stop acting like a little child throwing a tantrum at everyone because he didn’t get his own way, I want him to MAN UP for Rosette if nothing else works, FOR ROSETTE DAMMIT!!!!!

    Hehe πŸ˜€

    • I won’t disagree with you on your evaluation of Rosette. (I won’t come flat out an agree with you, either, but I won’t disagree. πŸ˜‰ ) She certainly seems to go with the flow a lot — I certainly have other characters who wouldn’t stand to be treated the way Mordred treats her. And she thinks she’s being well-treated — that’s the scary part.

      Lol! But I love how you don’t like the way Rosette acts, but then try to use her to force Mordred to stop being a … well, himself. Whatever works, I guess? πŸ™‚

      Thanks Ekho!

      • It’s not that I don’t like her exactly…. I just wouldn’t put up with his shit if I were her, but still, love is love I guess, and she loves him so that’s what counts, that’s why he needs to shape up! πŸ˜€

        • I don’t think I’d put up with Mordred’s shit either. Dindrane certainly doesn’t, and that could be an underlying motive of the constant conflict between the two of them.

          But yeah, if he’s going to pull it together for anybody, it’s probably going to be for Rosette and her kids. So perhaps he ought to get on that! πŸ˜‰

  5. I asked you a question, but I don’t know if it’s too late. 😦

    I didn’t lose any respect for Mordred in this entry (probably because he had precious little of my respect to lose already). I think that he is very much a man of his time, and no matter how liberal and open-minded Albion is, the men are still held to be superior. Not that they ARE all the time, *cough* Finley *cough*, but the men hold the power in the kingdom. And because Mordred is a man, and a nobleman who is used to getting what he wants when we wants it, I am not even slightly surprised that he was thinking with his cock. Nor am I surprised that he would not understand Rosette’s concern for him over some rumors. He doesn’t understand that because she is a peasant woman, she doesn’t have access to the same information that he does, especially when it comes to him or his family. If he doesn’t tell her anything, then she knows nothing. She has no other ties to the nobility and very few ties to the peasantry, so no one really talks to her, as you pointed out in the previous entry.

    Anywho, basically Modred thinks with the worm between his legs and when his mistress comes to call, well obviously squirmy things are going to happen.

    • Bah, it’s not too late! The call for questions only went up on Monday/Tuesday. I don’t even have the official question list yet.

      There’s a lot of things about Rosette’s life that Mordred doesn’t understand, refuses to understand, or pretends not to understand. Her isolation is one of them. Or if he does understand it, he refuses to allow himself to see that it’s a problem. He’s given her a life in material terms that she would have never dreamed of — what right does she have to be complaining?

      I certainly don’t think he’s allowed himself to really think through the implications of Rosette being so isolated, only knowing what he wants her to know. Or if he has … well, he’s not seen it the way we see it.

      Yes, squirmy things will happen when Mordred and Rosette get in the same room together. She is his mistress, after all — isn’t that the point? πŸ˜‰

      Thanks, Naomi!

  6. This chapter, rather than the previous one, is making people lose respect for Mordred? I’m totally surprised that ‘well-meaning but patronizing’ outranks ‘plotting revenge, plotting against king and country, and breaking vows of fealty.’ Mordred isn’t a good person or even a particularly nice one, but he’s at his best when he’s with Rosette.

    Yes, okay, he’s ‘don’t worry your pretty little head’-ing at Rosette… which is not an unusual reaction for a man of his station in this (even fictionalized) time period, especially when said to a woman who (he believes) can’t possibly understand what’s actually going on. (And given that it’s magic, Rosette’s grasp of the whole thing really is pretty shaky.) But we’ve seen before that he doesn’t want Rosette to worry. He doesn’t even really want Rosette to comfort him when he’s mourning a dead parent. Why? Because Rosette is the tentpole of his secret, untouchable, happy life. The woman he loves and chose for himself, the boys who don’t have to learn to be lords, the girl who will never need to be on the international marriage market… Mordred does not want politics or Society or worry or sadness or bad luck to touch Rosette and her children. That apartment is his refuge from being Mordred, Lord Orkney, and Rosette being kept innocent… Well, compare her to the other women who feature in Mordred’s life. Morgause (even Mordred only described her as innocent when he meant ‘not guilty’), Morgan, Garnet (a witch, and thus Mordred thinks she at least understands things no non-mage could), Dindrane. Rosette, compared to those ladies, needs a protector.

    I actually think it speaks well of Mordred that his Deep Dark Secret is that he wants a simple, innocent, happy, apolitical family life.

    (And I think Master Barber needs to make some quiet inquiries as to where a mistress ought to be welcome and which door she ought to use when she pays a visit. It’s Rosette’s job, after all, to keep Mordred happy in ways his wife can’t– political marriages very often don’t satisfy emotional needs. Rosette may in fact have a very nice flat that Mordred has provided for her and their children, but it’s Mordred’s call whether or not she’s welcome at his castle, especially now that he is the unquestioned lord of it. He could install her and his bastards in a suite of rooms somewhere in the castle if he wanted to, whether or not Dindrane ever comes back.)

    • I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree there.

      Yes, making a shady alliance with Francis behind Arthur’s back is the opposite of heroic, but at least we can sort of see why he’s doing it. Arthur’s justice system sentenced Mordred’s mother to death. While we here in Readerland know for a fact that she had it coming–and Mordred’s subconscious knows it too–Mordred is still loyal to his mother. This is his revenge on the system that destroyed her and the man who runs it. Also, he’s not an idiot; he wouldn’t be pulling those strings if he didn’t see some way it could benefit him in the long run.

      Is it practical or ethical? No. Could it very well blow up in his face? Yes. Do a lot of innocent people stand to get hurt? Hell yes. But at least he has his reasons and we can see them, even understand them.

      On the other hand, his insistence on treating the only significant, non-hostile adult in his life right now like a child is far less relatable. I get your points about Mordred’s wanting to keep his worlds separate and leaving Rosette and the kids untouched by all the ugly and about Rosette needing a protector moreso than Dindrane or Garnet would, but if anything that just makes me resent him even more. If word of Mordred’s treason gets to Arthur, then he might not be around to protect Rosette and the kids much longer; wouldn’t it be in all of their best interests to keep Rosette as informed as possible, so she can better protect herself and her kids if it gets to the point when Mordred no longer can? By keeping her “innocent”, he is quite possibly making her–and their children–more vulnerable.

      And even if Mordred doesn’t want Rosette to worry, she is going to worry. You know what? I just broke up with a guy like a week and a half ago. I don’t really feel comfortable saying this here, but one of the reasons for the breakup was that whenever I’d express concern for an issue that genuinely and understandably worried me, like making sure I had enough credits for my degree or how my mother was going to cope during the first holiday season after her mother’s death, he would tell me “Don’t worry” in this patronizing, pat-on-the-head voice, this aren’t-you-cute-when-you-think-your-silly-problems-are-important voice that always made me want to grab the nearest blunt object smack him all the way to the next town. It got to the point that I was not longer willing to confide in him because I knew his reaction would just make me feel that much worse. Telling someone not to worry when they are clearly and reasonably worrying is not helping them; it just sounds like you’re trivializing the issue.

      Add that to Mordred’s insistence on “protecting her innocence” like he’s her Alred-esque overprotective father and it’s painfully obvious that he doesn’t think of her as a capable adult, but rather some sort of eternally youthful, eternally innocent figurine that he can tuck away in a timeless little snowglobe world and peek at whenever his life gets a little rough.

      And really… he is having sex with this woman. Times or not, romantic ideals or not, there is something seriously brow-raising with a man who wants to keep the woman he’s sleeping with as childlike as possible.

      Realistic behavior for a man of that time? Unfortunately, it probably is–hell, even today way too many men pull shit like this. But wherever and whenever the characters are coming from… well, the readers are from the modern world. Can’t blame us for questioning these things on occasion πŸ˜‰

    • I don’t need to mediate (because y’all are adults and acting like it — seriously, this is the Internet, how is that possible?), and I don’t want to take sides, so you can see why I’ve been leaving this conversation for a few days now. πŸ™‚ And I don’t know how to respond to both of your extremely well-thought-out comments without giving stuff away. Because of course you’ll notice … neither of these two posts were from Mordred’s perspective. πŸ˜‰ And his is the head, I think, that most bears examining right now. Take that in what sense thou wilt.

      But yeah, I can see both of your points. On the one hand, Mordred definitely crossed some sort of line with his gunpowder, treason and plot (since it is that time of year for our friends across the pond). On the other … if Mordred with Rosette is Mordred at his best … well, I can see why readers are a little upset with him right now.

      So, yeah. I’m keeping my mouth shut as much as possible and letting people come to their own conclusions. All will be revealed in time!

      … Possibly quite a lot of it …

      However, Hat, I will agree with you that Master Barber does need to have a talk with Mordred about where and when Rosette is welcome. I’ve mentioned before that most of the servants like Dindrane a lot, so that could be some of his hostility, but it’s really no excuse when Mordred is the one signing his paycheck. But as for Mordred moving in Rosette et al. to a suite of rooms in the castle … not if Dindrane ever comes back. Not because of plot reasons, mind you. (Although I shall have to think of a plot justification for it.) But because that house will never fit all of them. And it’s just too cool otherwise for me to build a bigger one. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks Hat, thanks Van!

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