Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again

Endskel 30, 1014

Eilwen hesitated, her hand on the door leading from the music room to the library. The metal leached the heat from her fingertips, leaving only a cold ache behind.

This year had left only a cold ache behind.

Eilwen sighed, her head coming to rest against the door with a thunk. Why had she invited all the children here? At the time it had seemed a good, almost joyous thing. Maybe Pellinore and Lamorak would come to visit if they were all together. Maybe it would do them good to see the family managing to pick themselves up and cope in their absence. Maybe …

“Mama? Is that you?” came Dilys’s voice from inside.

Maybe Eilwen had best stop woolgathering, pull herself together, and be strong for her family, as she had been for the past year.

She pulled the door open and passed through to the lighted library. “Yes, dear, it’s me.”

Her skirts trailed across the stones as she made her way to the one open chair. Her eyes narrowed as she looked down the length of the library. This arrangement had seemed to make sense this afternoon when she been in here with Florian and asked him to move some chairs around so she could get a feel for the room. Now that she saw it with people in it … well, a Day of the Dead gathering in a family so recently bereaved was supposed to be a solemn, careful thing. The effect would be rather ruined if you had to shout across the room to have a basic conversation.

Oh well. She practically collapsed into the chair. Perfect holidays were things that happened to other families. Once upon a time, she’d even preferred it that way.

“No Garnet?” asked Delyth.

Eilwen shook her head. “She wasn’t feeling up to it.” And Eilwen could not blame her. With Percival, Eilwen hadn’t even known that Garnet was increasing until she began to, well, increase. This baby was being rougher on her. Garnet had been so ill some days that she’d spent the whole day abed, getting up only to eat and use the pot (for one thing or another). Luckily that was all past now, but still she tired easily and some days seemed to have a hard time dragging herself out of bed. Lady Morgan came by every few days to check on her, and from what she said to Eilwen, it appeared that everything Garnet was going through was “in the range of normal,” to use her words. But to judge by her face, there was cause for worry.

But at least we don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. A lifetime of counting your blessings died hard. If this year hadn’t killed that habit, Eilwen could only suppose she would die an optimist.

At least Garnet could rest when she needed it. At least she had the best medical care the kingdom could provide. At least she had friends who still came by, never mind that this was theoretically a house of mourning, to do their best to cheer her. Why, Lady Leona had been here two days after Robertmas, mounting the steps two at a time to surprise Garnet while her husband stood at the foot of the steps with his hands over his eyes, shaking his head.

“She’s still in good health, Mother?” asked Dindrane. Eilwen looked up. “Garnet, I mean.”

“Oh, yes! Lady Morgan sees no reason for alarm.” And that was technically true. Worry was not the same thing as alarm. Dindrane ought to appreciate this as well as anyone.

Maybe sometime when Eilwen could catch Dindrane alone, she’d fill her in and ask for what help she could give. But she did not want to bring up Garnet’s health or lack thereof here. She wouldn’t want to worry the twins. And then there was Babette …

Eilwen could avoid thinking ill of her daughter-in-law by clinging to this knowledge: Garnet would not want Babette to know that she was encountering any problems. And surely it was no crime to protect the privacy of her daughter-in-law, even if that meant not being perfectly truthful in the presence of another daughter-in-law?

To judge by her raised eyebrow, Dindrane wasn’t buying that explanation. Luckily Babette was not quite as sharp as that. “Well! If she needs her rest, she ought to take it. After all, it’s only the Day of the Dead. It’s not like there shan’t be dozens of others for her to go to.”

Aglovale stared at his wife, his jaw hanging open. He shook his head slowly.

“What?” Babette whined.

“Nothing — just — nothing.”

“Oh come now, Aglovale, you may think that you can put on that stern and disapproving face and get somewhere with your sisters, but you shan’t be pulling that with me …

Babette went on, but Eilwen didn’t hear the rest. Delyth took care of that for her. “I wonder which sisters Aglovale thinks he can be stern and disapproving with?”

Dilys giggled — strangely enough, the giggle sounded relieved — but Eilwen felt duty-bound to glare at Delyth. “Delyth.”

“What? I’m sorry, Mama, but you and Papa taught us better than that. We think for ourselves, and just because he’s older and a man doesn’t mean he can boss us around with a look.” After a second’s hesitation, Delyth added, “More importantly, he’s not that much older.”

“He’s still your brother, and … well, as close as a head of the family as we have, and you owe him … well, you owe it to him to not be laughing outright at him. At least not in public,” Eilwen replied.

Her eyes wandered down the long library to rest on her son. Her only remaining son. Eilwen took the same deep breath she had been taking for three months whenever she remembered that. Lord, this never got any easier.

But the grief didn’t displace the worry. Aglovale had had a great deal of responsibility thrust on his shoulders very suddenly. Unlike Lamorak, he hadn’t been raised with that idea ever-present in his mind. And he’d had no warning, again unlike Lamorak, who at least had a few days. Was it any surprise that Aglovale was snappish and sullen, or that he thought sternness and bossiness were a substitute for gravitas and authority? Especially when he dealt with his younger sisters? In a way it was almost a pity that Dilys’s future was the one that was taken care of, for Dilys had always been the more placid of the two. Delyth would fight him; Dilys would persuade.

Or perhaps not. “Mama, I think Delyth has a point. Just — just because he’s older and a man doesn’t mean he shouldn’t show us respect. Kay’s older than me … and he shows me respect.”

There were many things a good and proper mother could have pointed out in reply to that. The obvious was that Kay was Dilys’s betrothed, and he cared about her very deeply — of course he would have a kind of respect for her than an elder brother, particularly one of Aglovale’s disposition, would have found difficult to manage. She could have added that Kay was royalty, and more often than not, royalty could find their way to being more gracious than nobles or commoners could imagine. She could have said that all that was beside the point: Aglovale was still head of the family, at least until Percival came of age, and so they would respect Aglovale.

She said none of those things. “I’ll talk to him,” she promised.

Eilwen looked past the twins to where Aglovale was sitting and endeavoring to get Babette to see his point of view on — something. “After all, he ought to learn that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. If he’s to be on the Council …”

The sentence was barely allowed to trail decently off before Delyth ran into it like a runaway horse. “Mama, why don’t you take the Council seat?”

Eilwen jumped. “What?”

“You ran the estate with Papa, didn’t you?” Delyth asked. “And you helped Lamorak and Garnet while they were still learning everything. You’re doing a lot of the day-to-day work now, aren’t you?”

“Delyth, dear, I don’t think you understand … for one thing, Master Carey can manage most about everything day-to-day. When any decisions need to be made, then Garnet and Aglovale have to come to an agreement.” Eilwen took a deep breath. “Those were the terms of Lamorak’s–will. And that is how things must be.”

“But it says nothing about the Council seat, Mama,” Delyth pointed out. “And who do you think the King would rather have on his Council?” She turned to her sister. “I know who I’d rather have …”

“Delyth, don’t …”

They were doing it again, speaking that secret language the two of them had always shared. Eilwen had heard that some twins made words and sentences and presumably whole grammatical structures to keep their communications secret. Eilwen’s had never needed to resort to such stratagems. A shrug, a raised eyebrow, the flick of a lock of hair could speak volumes between the twins while being as opaque as the densest Sminese to an outsider.

Usually Eilwen tried to read the exchanges; now she didn’t bother. The Council seat …

The King would never want her to have it. It had nothing to do with her. It had everything to do with the amount of grief he would get from Sir Bors if he so much as considered it. He wouldn’t want to put up with that, and Eilwen couldn’t blame him. And she wouldn’t want to do that to Aglovale.

He could be good at this: a stern but fair lord, or at any rate the next best thing to a lord. He could be an able enough politician. He just needed time, and he needed everyone else to be patient. And, muttered an imp deep in Eilwen’s mind, he needs to stop thinking he can boss his sisters around, because that will never happen

They just needed a chance, all of them. To stay in one place, heal from the losses. Catch their breath. The Gwynedds would rise again, Eilwen just knew it …

But now, Eilwen needed to catch her breath. She closed her eyes and took a deep one. “Girls — Aglovale — please excuse me — but I think I ought to check on Garnet.”

And when her children nodded their assent, Eilwen hurried back out of the library.

Perhaps it was wrong of her to want to escape … but … shouldn’t this night be for remembering the past? Not fretting about the future that was sure to come, and sooner than anybody wanted it? Tomorrow would be the first day of the 1,015th year since St. Robert had conquered Death once and for all. It would be the first year that Pellinore and Lamorak would not be here to see. Was it so wrong of Eilwen to want to stay in 1014, the one year that both of them did see, for just a little longer?

She closed the door behind her and leaned her head back against it — softly. She was being unfair. Everyone grieved in different ways. Pellinore and Lamorak’s absence from the Robertmas table had been raw and aching, like a wound that refused to close over. Could she really blame the twins — or anyone, really — for wanting to focus on anything but that loss tonight?

No. She couldn’t. But when she came back down, she would try to steer the conversation towards happy memories. In the meantime … she had best check on Garnet.

She hurried into the corridor, up the stairs, and down the hall. “Garnet?” she asked, knocking at her door. “It’s me. I just want to check and be sure that you’re all right. Can I get you anything?”

No answer.

That’s … odd … Normally Garnet would at least say something …

Eilwen hesitated for a brief second, then she tried the handle. Unlocked. She would just peek inside …

She had to do more than peek. She had to go in to double-check what she thought she saw but the light of just the one flickering candle.

There was no one there.

Eilwen’s hand rested on the knob. Where could Garnet be? This wasn’t like her …

Unless …

Letting her feet do the thinking for her, Eilwen shuffled across the room to the communicating door that led to the nursery. She just opened it a crack …

She saw what she needed to see. “There you are,” she said, stealing inside and letting the door shut behind her. But softly.

Percival was sleeping.

Garnet looked up with a faint smile. “Sorry. But I couldn’t …”

“Don’t apologize. The Day of the Dead is meant to be spent with family.” Eilwen tip-toed across the floor to the other side of Percival’s crib. She bent down and kissed that soft black hair. It was already growing to be as curly as his mother’s. As his father’s.

And his eyes, when they were open, were so blue … it was like looking into Lamorak and Pellinore’s eyes both …

“I just thought …” Garnet’s voice was soft, even by the standards of not wanting to wake a little one. “Maybe, if I stayed here … maybe Lamorak would come see Percival …”

She turned her head, and Eilwen could barely hear what she said next. “And then I would see Lamorak …”

“Oh, sweetheart,” Eilwen replied. “I think — I think what they say, about the dead coming … well, we can’t see them …”

Garnet turned to her with a withering glare she must have copied straight from Lady Morgan. She did it well, too; part of Eilwen seriously considered retreating. “I’m a witch.”

Eilwen blinked. “So … you can … see …?”

“At least in theory,” Garnet shrugged. “And surely …” She reached into the crib and stroked Percival’s cheek. “Surely Lamorak will want to see Percival …”

Eilwen was never sure why she asked what she asked next. But she never regretted it. “Do you mind if I join you?”

Garnet blinked. “Of course not.”

Eilwen grinned — then she ducked into Garnet’s bedchamber, grabbed the chair from the spinning wheel, and hurried back with it. She sat.

Both of them watched Percival.

“I thought …” Garnet whispered. Eilwen had to lean closer, to strain to hear. “I thought Lamorak would have been here by now.”

Eilwen bit her lip. Then her tongue. But she couldn’t help herself. “Have you ever … seen …?”

Garnet looked up. She shook her head. “No. But …” She sighed, leaning back. “I don’t blame my father for not coming back. It–by the time the Day of the Dead came, Mother was dead, too. By her own hand, rather than face execution. He wouldn’t have wanted to see the family like that.”

“Don’t say that,” Eilwen chided. “No matter the state of the Orkney name, he would have wanted to see you and Mordred and Agravaine. You’re his children.”

For some reason that made Garnet flinch. “Maybe. But–he never came. Or at least … I never saw him.”

Eilwen nodded. But she said nothing. Something told her that more was coming.

“But Morgan says …”

“Yes?”

Garnet sighed. “She says … she thinks that souls that died at peace don’t come back. Or if they do, even witches can’t see them. She says … she says she’s felt the presence of her mother and father, sometimes, especially at the Day of the Dead, but she’s never seen them. And she knows they both died peacefully.”

“That makes sense.” Sometimes she thought she felt Pellinore’s presence, too, watching over her, comforting her from afar. And so what if she wasn’t a witch? Love was stronger than magic.

“But Lamorak didn’t,” Garnet whispered.

Eilwen wished Garnet hadn’t gone there.

“And …” Garnet went on, almost oblivious to Eilwen’s presence. “That was how Morgan knew that something — something was wrong with Accolon. Because he didn’t come to see her and Ravenna on the Day of the Dead. He–she knew he died violently. And she knew — she knew — if there was any way for his soul to get to her that day, he would have gone to her. Even if it was only for a minute. He would have wanted to be sure she was all right … but he didn’t come …”

Eilwen decided she didn’t want to know what that could have meant — other than, of course, what it had meant, and which hadn’t been so bad for everyone, all things considered. “Well, surely that won’t be the case with Lamorak.”

“I don’t know … I don’t even feel him … I’ve never felt him, not once.” Garnet bit her lip. “Do–have you ever felt him nearby?”

Eilwen’s stomach plummeted. Now that Garnet mentioned it … no, she had not …

DON’T! That was the voice of her better sense shouting at her. There were some things that Sims were simply not meant to know. They could not understand it. And when faced with those kinds of things, wasn’t it better to step away from the abyss and not look down into it, lest it stare back into you?

There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy …

Was that Pellinore’s voice? Her memory of his voice? It sounded like something he would say. Something he would have read somewhere, something that he would take to heart and repeat as necessary.

Pellinore. Somehow just remembering him made Eilwen sit up, feel the life-giving air fill her lungs, buoy her up with hope.

All was not lost.

“Now, you hear me, Garnet,” she began.

“I don’t pretend to know, or understand, where we go or what happens when we die. I know what I believe — that the good go to their reward, and the bad go to their just desserts — but beyond that, it’s a mystery to me. But I do know this. Love counts, Garnet. It means something — something more than all the hatred and all the evil and all the spite in this world. If you weighed all those things in the balance, and put only love on the other side … why, love would win, hands down.

“And I know something else. Lamorak loved you.” Garnet looked up, her eyes shining, breasts — already fuller than usual thanks to her baby — heaving. “Yes. He did. Don’t look at me like you don’t believe me. You were the apple of his eye. He fought his father to have you — and you know how much he loved and respected his father. He went waltzing into a viper’s den — I’m sorry to speak so harshly about your brother, but I can’t look well upon him after what he did to Dindrane–”

Garnet laughed wetly. “You think I like him much after what he did to Dindrane?”

“Well! At least we’re in agreement!” Eilwen grinned, but she could not be long deterred. “But Garnet — he tried to patch things up between us and the Orkneys, and at the end of the day it was all for you. Because he wanted you to have all the love you could get. And–and whether you feel him or not–whether you see him tonight or not–I want you to know — he is with you. Always. He couldn’t be anywhere else.”

Garnet swallowed. “How can you be sure?”

“Oh, honey … come here.” Eilwen pulled Garnet to her feet. She came willingly, if a little unsteadily thanks to the weight of the baby inside of her. “I know I’m no scholar. If anything, Lamorak got his brains from me … but I think, if you don’t mind me bragging, he got his heart, too. And that kind of heart …”

She pulled Garnet into an embrace she was sure the younger woman needed. “That kind of heart doesn’t let a little thing like death stand in between it and the people it loves. If you believe nothing else I say …”

She squeezed Garnet closer to her. Was it her imagination, or did she feel a faint pressure, a faint drumming, where Garnet’s belly pressed against her?

“Believe that,” Eilwen whispered. “Always, always, believe that.”

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9 thoughts on “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again

  1. Poor Gwynedds. 😦 But I think the one thing that reassures me is the knowledge that Pellinore is at peace, because I’m assuming that the dead have a greater insight as to what’s coming–maybe not exact clairvoyance, but a sense. Pellinore was a good man who loved his family–still is, still does. He would not be at peace if there was never going to be justice for his murdered son. He would not be at peace if either his daughter-in-law or his grandchild wasn’t going to survive the birth. He would not be at peace if his remaining son was going to tear the family apart, if his daughter was going to die shunned and miserable and without anything to keep her going, if his daughter and her children were stuck tied to the biggest dick on the planet for the rest of their lives.

    Maybe 1015 will be the Year of Karma where Mordred is concerned, or at least a Year of Relative Calm for the Gwynedds. Maybe Dindrane and Garnet and Eilwen together have all the pieces and it’s just a matter of talking it over.

    Eilwen should absolutely take the Council Seat! If Bors has a problem with that, I see no reason why Arthur can’t sit him down and remind him that Arthur is king, and Arthur is happy to have Eilwen on the council, and Bors had better keep his mouth shut about it if he doesn’t want to be treated like a misbehaving schoolboy in front of his contemporaries.

    And Aglovale should respect his sisters, and I’m glad that both twins have no problem reminding him of this (and it made me feel a bit more hopeful for Delyth; if she’s saying that, then she at least knows that she’s worthy of respect and deserves to have her desires acknowledged). And what the hell is Babette’s problem? It’s sick to think that anyone would be selfish enough to take pleasure in her recently widowed sister-in-law’s rough pregnancy, and if she reacts the way Eilwen thinks she would, then daaaaamn do I hope that there’s a Curse of Baldness and Garnet has mastered it!

    • Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head with Pellinore being at peace. The dead in Albion certainly don’t know the future unless the Demigoddess tells them, but the Demigoddess does tend to let the ones she likes knows that Everything Will Be Ok. (Assuming, of course, that everything will in fact be ok.) If everything will, sooner or later, be ok with the Gwynedds, you can bet your ass the Demigoddess let Pellinore know that.

      Plus, being dead enables you to not sweat the small stuff, or worry too much about the short term. 1014 was a pretty rotten year for the Gwynedds, but 1015 could be a much different story.

      Other than the problem with Bors, I think the main problem with Eilwen taking the Council seat is that Eilwen doesn’t want the Council seat. She doesn’t want to cast a vote of no confidence in Aglovale, and she doesn’t want to have to leap feet-first into politics at her age. She’d much rather counsel and advise from the sidelines. However, you’re right that Arthur could and almost certainly would veto Bors’s objections if a qualified woman wanted to take the Gwynedd Council seat. So should Garnet want to fight for it, once she gets mentally & physically on her feet again, it’s entirely possible that she could get it.

      I don’t think that Babette would be openly gloating over Garnet’s bad fortune; even she’s not that cruel. But … well, Babette has a talent for being annoying that few can even hope to approach. Even if she were to be genuinely sympathetic, she’d manage to do so in a way that made Garnet want to pull her hair out.

      Or curse Babette with baldness. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks, Van!

  2. Oh. My heart is breaking all over the place for all of the Gwynedds, especially Eilwen. (Okay, not so much for Babette, but she’s a moron and doesn’t count.) They don’t deserve this and how can you do anything but be pissed as hell at Mordred for doing it to them.

    I’ll bet the reason why Lamorak didn’t come see them is because of what the Grim said to Dindrane. That he was resting because of what he’d gone through. He’s probably not healed enough from that to go waltzing about, even to check up on Garnet and Percival and his mother and the baby.

    So, is that another small visit from the demi-goddess in the form of the quote that Eilwen remembered?

    And I’m glad that Eilwen is astute enough to pick up on how Garnet and Babette feel about each other. (Not that I ever really doubted it but it’s still good to see.) Babette would probably lord over Garnet that she didn’t have that kind of trouble with her second pregnancy. Then Garnet would probably at least think about shooting back with the fact that peasant stock breeding shows. And then Aglovale would get offended and it would be a mess.

    I do hope, just as a random aside, that Garnet thinks more of the Wesleyans like Heloise than judging them all by Babette. I mean even grouchy old Heloise is better than brainless Babette.

    Still hoping this year will be better for the Gwynedds. They deserve it.

    • Babette is only a Gwynedd by marriage, and barely that, so she can not count. πŸ˜‰ However, even Babette doesn’t deserve everything that Mordred has thrown at them. *sigh*

      You may be very right about why Lamorak did not put in an appearance! And if you are, it would explain a lot. It’s not been that long since he was killed. He may have a bit more recovery to do. And the kind of rest the Grim was talking about isn’t something you can just wake up from — the timing has to be right. (Besides, something tells me that the dead have a bit of a fuzzy relationship with time to begin with.)

      As for the voice Eilwen heard … well, it sounded like Pellinore … it is the Day of the Dead … and love is stronger than magic … so you can draw your own conclusions. πŸ˜‰

      Yeah, putting Garnet and Babette in the same room — especially when Garnet is this frazzled and raw — is a recipe for disaster. Babette would say something, and then Garnet would say something, and then Babette would demand Aglovale say something … somebody would end up hexed before the night was over. Best for everybody is Garnet claims she’s “just not feeling up to it” and Eilwen takes her at her word.

      Sometimes I think Garnet wonders how it is that Heloise and Babette are even related — plus she knew Rob a bit, too. She must be wondering what the hell went wrong in that family to produce that. (And it’s not all Ban’s fault. Lancelot might not be much brainier than Babette — at least, if you consider raw intelligence, not intelligence + experience, which he’s got a lot more of — but he’s a hell of a lot nicer!)

      Hopefully next year will be better. I’d say it couldn’t be much worse … but Mordred would hear me, and knowing him, he’d take that as a challenge.

      Thanks, Andavri!

  3. Yes, poor Gwynedds – and of course, having someone like Babette in their midst doesn’t exactly help. πŸ™„ (Damn it, Aglovale, if you couldn’t keep it in your braises, couldn’t you at least have been a little more discriminate with where you put it?) Yes, just as she would gloat if she knew Delyth is barren, she would gloat if she heard that Garnet is having a difficult pregnancy – but she would do it in a phony-sympathy way that would show everybody how she liek TOTALLY wins at life. “Poor Garnet, having such a rough time. Funny, I never had a difficult time with any of my pregnancies, they were both a breeze! I guess some people are just born to be mothers! πŸ˜€ ”

    Speaking of Garnet, this was one of the few times that I actually felt sympathetic towards her. Your other readers will probably hate me for this, but I find it very, very hard to feel sorry for her even though I know I’m supposed to. (I don’t mean that you write her badly, just to be clear, but she’s the kind of person I’d never be able to stand IRL and I honestly don’t care what her excuse is.) But I love Eilwen. She’s awesome. πŸ™‚

    • I think the thing that keeps me at all positive in regards to the possibility of Babette’s gloating is that, if the post where Aglovale had to get the twins to come home from Camford is any indication, both Dilys and Delyth know that Aglovale was not planning on marrying Babette–and if the twins know, I’m sure Garnet and Dindrane do too. So, if she makes any cracks about Delyth or Garnet, somebody could easily fire back with something along the lines of “Hey, Lamorak married Garnet because he loved her/Whoever marries Delyth, we’ll know he’s marrying her because he loves her. Aglovale married you because Pellinore forced him to; he wanted to marry someone with money and leave you and the baby to be Mark’s problem.” Then she and Aglovale would have to deal with that and would therefore have to mind their own business for a while.

      That said, Aglovale was a jerk to lead Babette on like that; he never said he’d marry her, but he never said he wouldn’t either. At least Babette, through her interactions with other women (Nicole in particular at this point), has proven that she’s a jerk too, even though I still wouldn’t say she deserved that because Aglovale was well aware that she was getting ideas about marriage and babies, he was the one who asked her to stay the night, and not being clear about your intentions with someone is just a dick thing to do–especially if you live in a society where one one party will be more heavily scrutinized than the other based on something nobody can help (gender, in this case), and that party is the other person, not you.

      Plus… if Aglovale had been forthright, Babette probably would have dumped him and found some other guy, and then the Gwynedds would have one less problem. πŸ˜‰

      I always liked Garnet, though. She can be a bit cold, but given her nearly life-long treatment at the hands of the person who was supposed to love her most, I can’t really blame her for keeping people at arm’s length.

      • Ooh, I’ll have to go back and reread that chapter! And Aglovale was a complete and utter jerk, you get no argument from me there. πŸ™‚ I think he richly deserves having to face the consequences of his actions and be stuck with Babette … I just don’t think it’s fair that all the other Gwynedds have to be stuck with her as well. πŸ˜‰ If she does start to gloat, it would be so very, very sweet if someone would tell her that no, Aglovale didn’t actually marry her because he was deeply in love with her and this generally upstanding guy. 😈 Yes, it would be cruel as hell (and I don’t imagine Acting Earl Gwynedd will be at all happy about having to admit that he wouldn’t have taken responsibility for anything if Pellinore hadn’t twisted his arm almost out of joint) – but both she and Aglovale need to grow up, and Babette especially won’t do that until she’s hit with a clue-by-four, hard. πŸ™„

        Funny thing is, I didn’t dislike Babette that much in the beginning, I just generally rolled my eyes at her. It wasn’t until she went all Lady Gwynedd and started to turn up her nose towards everybody who would have been her peers five minutes earlier that I started to loath her with a fiery passion. No, I don’t think she deserved getting knocked up, but I do wish she would realize how incredibly lucky she was that it turned out the way it did and be a little more humble about it – which of course won’t happen unless you hit her with that clue-by-four. This is Babette we’re talking about here. πŸ˜›

    • … Yeah, Nix, that is pretty much exactly what Babette would do! It’s not quite open gloating, but it’s sympathy mixed with just enough superiority that I think we could make a case for “justifiable homicide” if Garnet snapped and killed her …

      I’m honestly a little surprised at times that Garnet is as popular as she is — she’s not a nice person, she can be a bit self-centered, and she has a really hard time letting people in. But I think she has plenty of reasons for being the way she is, so she gets sympathy from the readers for that … plus, you know, it helps that none of us actually have to put up with her IRL. πŸ˜‰

      I don’t think that Dilys and Delyth know the whole story about Aglovale & Babette; they certainly don’t know just how Pellinore had to strong-arm Aglovale. They do know that the pregnancy was unplanned, and the wedding was rushed. Plus, watching Aglovale with Babette, they can probably figure that this was less a “love match” than a “got caught” match. Given that, they can probably guess that Pellinore had to do some convincing … but the only person Pellinore would have told about his conversation with Aglovale would have been Eilwen, and Eilwen would have never told any of her other children. So they don’t know-know.

      But yeah, Aglovale was a jerk to Babette, leading her on the way he did. I think he’s paying for that now. With interest. *sigh* At least he loves his kids? And he’ll do what he can to make sure they’re not as stupid as their mother?

      … And can I just say that I love the phrase “clue-by-four”? It does so perfectly encapsulate what Babette needs … It’s too bad that most of the Gwynedds are too nice to hit her with it, and Garnet, who isn’t too nice, has the least information of all of them.

      Thanks Nix; thanks Van! πŸ™‚

      • Why is it surprising that Garnet’s popular among your readers? Sure, she’s flawed, but she’s flawed in very human ways that make her a well-rounded character. When Garnet gets upset, it’s never really disproportionate given her history, and she doesn’t react to problems in ways that make readers want to punish her. *points at Babette, Bors, and Mordred* Unlike some. Garnet is sympathetic, relatable, and easy to like, and for all she may not have the most nice points in the kingdom, that aspect of her personality seems to express itself as cynicism, not cruelty.

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