A Minor Form of Despair, Disguised as a Virtue

Imsdyn 6, 1015

Patience is a virtue. It was a hackneyed line, a perfect cliche. It was something that Tamsin had heard from her mother’s mouth a thousand times — usually growled at one of her siblings, showing just how close Lady Lilias was to running out of her own virtue, that is to say, patience. Relatively speaking, Tamsin was not often at the receiving end of that sentence. But she could still hear that growl as clearly as if her mother was sitting by her side.

She wondered if her mother would have been growling it now.

They were six days into 1015, and Tamsin wasn’t married yet. She told herself that was not the only reason for her impatience. No, she would have been perfectly happy with a wedding date any time in the first fortnight of 1015. She might have even managed to grin and bear a full month. It might have even been fun.

But here she was, almost a week into it, and she didn’t even have a wedding date yet.

The reason was simple: Elyan’s sister, Princess Gwendolyn, was expecting her baby any day now. Naturally, such things as “when a baby is likely to come” were difficult to predict. Tamsin understood that. And she knew it would be a sad thing for Elyan’s sister to have to miss his wedding because she was in labor. It would mean that two of his sisters would miss his wedding, given that one was supposed to be delivering the baby. And of course Lady Claire would want to be by her daughter’s side. So it was only reasonable and logical to try to postpone the wedding until after the baby came.

So Tamsin had suggested, reasonably she thought, a date of the fourteenth or fifteenth. Surely the Princess would have had her baby by then. But Sir Bors had stared at her, his jaw hanging. “What?” he had gasped. “We cannot possibly make wedding plans until after Gwendolyn’s child is safely delivered!”

And that, Tamsin had realized, would be that. So here she was. Hiding out in the room Tamsin had quietly named the “book nook,” trying to re-read a book she had read a hundred times before, trying, above all, to be patient.

She was not succeeding.

With a sigh, Tamsin closed the book and placed it on the table beside her. Flinging it would have given better vent to her frustration, but the poor book had done nothing to deserve such treatment. Deciding she didn’t care a whit what she did to Sir Bors’s furniture, she swung her legs up on the sofa beside her and leaned her head on her arm.

She wished she had known about Princess Gwendolyn’s condition back in Seryl, when the betrothal papers had been signed. Her father had stipulated in the contract that she and Elyan could not wed until after the start of 1015. It had seemed reasonable enough at the time. The lands that had been perfectly appropriate as a dowry when she was to marry Soren were suddenly not a good option. So her father had needed time to raise enough money to function as an equivalent. It had all seemed perfectly reasonable, all clear and aboveboard. But if she had known … well, she would have asked her father to change the date that they were allowed to wed to be Endskel 1014. It was only a month’s difference, but she and Elyan could have married as soon as they arrived in Albion, before Princess Gwendolyn’s time had been so near as to preclude all plans.

No, be reasonable, Tamsin. The problem here isn’t Princess Gwendolyn’s condition. It’s Sir Bors.

She pushed her heavy bangs out of her eyes and sighed. She had known from the moment she met Sir Bors that he was a … stubborn one? Maybe that was the best way to put it. He had firm ideas of the hierarchy of the family, and he had made it very clear that a mere daughter-in-law-to-be had no precedence over his daughter who also happened to be a Crown Princess. Everybody must be made to dance to the tune of the most highly ranked individual. Perhaps that was the way of the world, but Tamsin had been raised to believe that there was such a thing as compromise. At the very least, Tamsin lived in a world where most people understood that, at bottom, they were all Sims together, and had to try to get along as best they could. That meant even the high-ranked had to bend sometimes to please the lower.

And the worst thing? The absolute worst? Tamsin could not help but suspect that Princess Gwendolyn would have had no objection to plans for Tamsin’s wedding being made before her time came.

Tamsin sighed again —

“Ah — there you are.” Lady Claire crept into the book nook, wearing the small smile of a shy person trying her hardest to be welcoming and open.

Tamsin scrambled to sit up. “Sorry,” she murmured.

“Sorry?” Lady Claire repeated. “Why are you … oh.” She looked at Tamsin’s feet, then at the sofa. Then she shrugged. “There’s nothing to apologize for. It’s not like you’ve been jumping in mud puddles recently.”

Tamsin giggled, trying to flush. She had enjoyed jumping in rain puddles once upon a time … though not mud puddles. Getting wet was all part of the game, but getting muddy was just no fun. But she had to say something, so she reluctantly pointed out, “I know it’s a new sofa …”

“Which shall someday be an old sofa, and more importantly, was created to give people a place to sit in comfort. If we can’t be comfortable sitting on it, then I for one would very much like to know why we spent all this money to buy it.”

Money … Why, Tamsin wondered, was money sprinkled through the conversation in this house like spices over meat? It was not something you brought up in polite company … and while Tamsin wasn’t technically “company” any more, she was not yet family. But this constant mention of money … it was like a nervous tic. Or perhaps evidence of an ill-done deed. No matter what the family members were thinking or saying, money became part of the talk, clumping into the conversation like the tell-tale heart of a murder victim beating under the floorboards …

Tamsin stopped there and shook herself. She really was getting bored. When was the last time she had been so fanciful?

Lady Claire seemed to sense that something she had said was being taken amiss, for she stopped, lip caught between her teeth, unsure. Tamsin smiled and Lady Claire tried to smile back.

This was going to be the most unusual mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship ever, if neither of them could stop being polite long enough to begin to irritate each other.

“Er–anyway, what I meant to ask you is — is everything all right? I mean, is there anything I can get you? Do … for you?”

“Er … no, I’m fine,” Tamsin replied. “Thank you?”

“You don’t have to thank me. I just–want to make sure you’re comfortable, that’s all.” Then Lady Claire stood awkwardly, hands frozen stiffly at her side. It was as if she wanted to wring them together, but politeness forbid it.

“My lady …” Tamsin started. “You–I thank you for all of your concern — but you don’t need to — to worry so much about me. After all, it’s not as if I’m … a guest here or anything …” She swallowed, and before she could think better of it, added, “I … hope?”

Lady Claire’s mouth opened. She closed it. Her shoulders slumped. “Oh dear.”

“I’m sorry …”

“No — no, please don’t apologize. I … I should be apologizing … all this waiting can’t be easy on you.”

“Well, I know it can’t be helped …”

Lady Claire’s eyes narrowed. Her hands fell loosely to her hips. “Can’t … it?”

“… Well, maybe I’m just an innocent maid, my lady, but if there’s a way to make a baby come before it decides it’s ready to come, nobody’s mentioned it to me.”

A sudden laugh sprang from Lady Claire’s lips; blushing, she put one hand on her mouth as if to force it back in. Then she sighed. “That’s — that’s true, Tamsin, but … well, I think we both agree that perhaps the waiting might be easier if there was a date set for the wedding?”

Lady Claire was watching her so narrowly … so carefully … it was all Tamsin could do not to squirm. What was the older woman looking for? “Well–yes. It would.”

There. She’d said it. And now the chips could fall wherever they damn well pleased.

Lady Claire sighed. “I–I thought so. Do … do you mind if I sit?”

The idea of refusing the lady of the house a seat on her own sofa was so far past ludicrous that Tamsin was amazed she had the mental wherewithal to shake her head and gesture to the empty space beside her. Lady Claire sat. As soon as she had settled herself, she drew in a deep breath and sighed it out.

Tamsin picked at a loose thread on her skirt and tried to think of something to say, or, failing that, listed the reasons why it was better to stay silent.

“I wish I knew what to tell you,” Lady Claire finally admitted. “You–you must think we’re all so strange here.”

“Well … I can tell you’ve a close-knit family,” Tamsin answered. “I think that’s lovely, really. The–the fact that everybody is expected to make it to the wedding–I think more families of our class wish they had that.”

Everybody, of course, except her family. They had bidden their farewells to Tamsin back in Hybel. Her father still needed to be close on hand to King Constantine, always trying to seek offices and lands and preferment. Besides, her mother had told her that far from rejoicing at a closer connection to the Albionese court, King Constantine had not been well pleased to hear of her father’s plans for her marriage. To leave the country, her father would have to ask King Constantine’s permission, and sometimes it was better not to even ask than to ask and be refused.

“Perhaps …” Lady Claire agreed. “But …”

Tamsin waited.

“I just wish I could make it up to you–somehow,” Lady Claire sighed. “I don’t … I don’t want you to be unhappy here, Tamsin.”

Tamsin blinked. “… Why would I be unhappy here?”

Elyan, if she had recalled correctly, had worried about the same thing … he wouldn’t say it in so many words, though. But Elyan had a problem with saying things, particularly emotionally difficult or fraught things. He much preferred half-truths, careful allusions, and perfect elisions to frank speech. Tamsin had pegged that as something they’d have to work on, but hadn’t thought too much more about it.

Now Lady Claire was doing the same thing. What the hell was going on here?

Lady Claire’s hands fell to her lap. “I’m sure you’ve noticed that my husband can be … difficult.”

Tamsin tried to think of a polite way to reply. She failed and settled for a truthful way. “With all due respect, my lady, you’d have to be quite oblivious not to notice that.”

Lady Claire’s smile came out. And it was gone almost before Tamsin could blink. “Yes. Exactly. And he … well … he spent his whole adult life thinking that, in this household, his word was law, and we must all abide by it. I–I’m afraid I let him think that …”

“So?” Tamsin asked. “My mother says that plenty of gentlemen, particularly older gentlemen, think that. And it’s the duty of ladies, if they seek to live a peaceful and happy life, to let them continue to think that while working around them.”

“… I hate to say it, my dear, but … I don’t think your mother is quite right. Maybe that kind of philosophy will work for some men … but for my husband … it just made things worse. Of course, I didn’t even seek to work around him until recently … maybe if I had, things might have been different … but you know, I don’t think Elyan is quite that way. I think–I think he’s chafed enough under his father’s restrictions that he won’t want to put someone else through that.”

Lady Claire almost sounded as if she was pleading. It was the almost pleading, Tamsin felt, that doomed her. If she’d come right out and pleaded, Tamsin might not have said what she said next.

“Has he?” she asked. “He … he certainly doesn’t seem to mind about the wedding …”

And maybe that was what was bothering her, deep down. If Elyan had shown himself just as annoyed about the lack of a date for the wedding as she was, this might have been easier to bear. But he seemed to bear it … not stoically or philosophically. If you had to be stoic or philosophical about something, that meant that underneath, you cared. He seemed to bear it nonchalantly, as if it didn’t even matter to him.

That rankled.

Lady Claire’s vaguely floating hands dropped to her lap. “Oh. I see.”

“Surely you’ve noticed?” Tamsin pressed. “Or … maybe he’s said or done something to you, in front of you, that shows he’s annoyed, even if he won’t show me?”

Lady Claire stared at her, mute, then looked at the opposite wall. “I … wish I knew what to tell you …”

“A hint would be appreciated,” Tamsin tried not to snap. She wasn’t as successful as she would like to be. “It’s his wedding too. And — I thought he liked me.”

“Oh, he does!” Lady Claire replied, turning back to Tamsin. She tried to reach for Tamsin’s hands; Tamsin moved them away. “I’m sure of it. It’s just — you see … Elyan … Bors …”

“What, Lady Claire, what?”

Lady Claire sighed and leaned her head against the wall. “In some ways — Elyan is his father’s son,” Lady Claire admitted. “I think–if you asked him–he would tell you that marriage is the domain of women, and … well … when he weds, he’ll wed. And then … Tamsin, I’m sorry. Elyan thinks of marriage as a duty, a necessity, not–not necessarily a pleasure. It’s something to do. Not–not so much something to look forward to. I’m so sorry –”

“Not even lovemaking?” Tamsin interrupted. “Not even children?”

“Bors — Bors always saw both as duties … and I think he taught Elyan to see them the same–”

Lovemaking?” Tamsin repeated incredulously. “A duty? Has he tried it?”

Lady Claire’s jaw fell. “Er … it’s possible …” Her eyebrow rose. “Have you?”

“No!” Tamsin snapped, a little too indignant for her own liking. “But I’m not an idiot! Unfortunately one of my earliest memories is standing outside my parents’ bedroom door and wondering why they were making those funny barnyard noises! And Soren and I–well, we both had a care for my honor, but we were almost-betrothed for a long time! Do you think we weren’t experimenting?”

“When you put it like that … of course not.” Lady Claire shook her head. “But Elyan — Tamsin, whatever my husband might tell you, whatever he might believe in himself, we did not have a happy marriage. All Elyan was able to see is that marriage is a duty, and if he listened to his father — which unfortunately I know he did — he may have even convinced himself that it’s primarily a woman’s duty. You … you’ll have to teach him otherwise.”

Oh, she would. She would teach him all right. If he thought for one minute that he was going to get away with treating their marriage like a solemn duty that engaged only his brain and his privy parts, but not his heart, he had another think coming. Why, as soon as he got back from training today, Tamsin swore she was going to grab him by the ear, drag him somewhere private, and they would be having a talk.

But before she could say as much to Lady Claire — though she very much feared her face was doing her talking for her — a soft knock came at the door, and the steward stuck his head in. “My lady, the King’s steward is here, requesting to see you.”

“Ambrosius?” Lady Claire asked, gasping. “Oh, send him in, send him in!”

And in that moment, Tamsin realized that she and her problems had been relegated back to their proper place in the de Ganis family hierarchy — the very bottom.

Perhaps that was unfair. Perhaps it was only natural for Lady Claire’s breath to quicken and her mind to snap toward her daughter. But Tamsin was not in a mood to be fair.

And when the strange Servo steward stepped in, Tamsin knew she had been right. “My lady, the Princess is in labor. She’s requested that you come as quickly as possible. I took the carriage, so if you wish I can bring you back when I return.”

“Yes! Of course, I’ll come immediately. Just let me send for my bag –” Lady Claire stood, ready to follow Ambrosius out the door. Leaving Tamsin alone, to wait — and stew.

Lady Claire stopped. She turned around. “Tamsin …”

“Yes, my lady?” Tamsin forced herself to stand up, to smile even.

“Would — would you like to come along?”

Tamsin’s jaw fell. “… What?”

“With me. To–to see to Lynn.” Lady Claire tried to smile. “After all, you are family … and obviously, well, Lynn will be there, and so will Clarice — they might be able to help explain some things about Elyan, about our family, that I’ve struggled with.”

“Er … won’t that, um, distract from the task at hand?”

Lady Claire chuckled. “Trust me, Tamsin — there is always plenty of time at these kinds of things when nothing in particular is happening, and everybody is forced to start talking about the weather. Besides, I daresay Lynn will be happy for the distraction, when she’s able to converse. So … what do you say?”

Tamsin swallowed. “Are — are you sure it won’t be intruding? On the Princess?”

“Well, if she’s not comfortable with having you in the room, you can always sit with the men. Freddy and Prince Tom are sure to be there — and both would, I’m sure, be glad to … fill you in on some things I haven’t been able to explain. Their outsiders’ perspective might even be more helpful to you than ours. And–well, like I said, everybody will be glad for a distraction, something to keep our minds occupied.”

There was certainly that to be said. And besides, even if nobody wanted to talk to her, Elyan was sure to show up sooner or later — Tamsin could talk to him there.

So she nodded. “Then — then I thank you, my lady, for your kind invitation. Let’s go, shall we?”

After all, Tamsin couldn’t help but think as she followed Lady Claire and Ambrosius to the waiting carriage, it’s not as if I have anything better to do today …

***

Imsdyn 10, 1015

“Claire?”

“Yes, Bors?”

“Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“It sounds … almost like someone’s laughing …. at me … but why on earth would anyone do that?”

“I can’t imagine.”

Mission accomplished!”

Author’s note: In case anyone was wondering, Lynn gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Maylis. Mother and daughter are both doing splendidly, and Tommy is over the moon.

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5 thoughts on “A Minor Form of Despair, Disguised as a Virtue

  1. The Ferreiras got their revenge! Oh, I so hope that the someone that Bors heard laughing was Maude! I hope she was laughing so loud that you could hear it all the way from heaven! You look like an idiot! I’m glad to see that Elyan was smart enough to wear his uniform before his father could make any suggestions.

    It’s interesting that Constantine is kinda pissed about Tamsin marrying outside of Glasonland. I wonder what’s up with that and what it may mean about relations between Glasonland and Albion.

    Bors is just a jackass, isn’t he? For years it was all about Elyan and Elyan and more Elyan, now they couldn’t even set a wedding date because Lynn hadn’t given birth yet. >_<' Is it too much to hope that Bors dies this year? I think you said something about somebody having a funeral… I hope it's Bors. Well, no, I hope it's Mordred, followed shortly by Bors before he can do any more damage.

    I hope that Tamsin spends the first bit of her married life running circles around Bors and Elyan. Elyan's getting better than he deserves in marrying her and he damned well should get that through his head. And Bors, I hope, gets to frequently run into a brick wall because the fact that Tamsin even suggested that they just set a tentative date shows she's not going to just let him continue to steamroll over the top of everyone in that house.

    Anyway, to paraphrase the gnomes: Hey Bors! Roll over and play dead–and never mind the playing part!

    • Of COURSE Bors heard Maude laughing! (And he, Richard, and Bianca were the only ones to hear it. Maude wouldn’t want to freak people out, and nobody else in that room either did anything to earn her ire or was in on the joke.) And yes, Elyan deciding to wear his dress uniform to the wedding was quite possibly the smartest sartorial decision he’s ever made.

      It’s not that Constantine is pissed about Tamsin marrying outside of Glasonland, or even into Albion — it’s who she’s marrying. I’ll be addressing all of that when I reply to Van and her theories, so just hang on. 😉

      Bors is indeed a jackass. But even he is a jackass with some basic rudiment of common sense — i.e., he realizes that he can’t force Lynn to give birth according to his schedule. So, since he doesn’t want the birth to get into the wedding or vice versa, the wedding must perforce wait for the birth. And you’ll notice how quickly the wedding was after Lynn gave birth to Maylis — I imagine that Bors was being a jackass again, and as soon as the baby was born and declared healthy, he instantly went into Wedding Mode and demanded everything be made ready very quickly. (At least Tamsin already had her dress …)

      We might not see too much of Tamsin’s first year of marriage, just because I’ve got other things to be dealing with … however, you never know! There might be other places I can fit them into the schedule. 🙂 However, fortunately or unfortunately for Tamsin, she will do something very early on (within 2 months of the wedding) that will please Bors greatly … I’ll give you 3 guesses what it is, and your first two don’t count.

      At least she’ll be happy to have done that thing. 😉

      Thanks, Andavri!

  2. Maude showed up! 😆 😆 😆 I take it that Richard and Bianca noticed too! 😀

    Glad to hear that the delivery went smoothly (and that Tamsin didn’t have to wait as long as she’d feared). And man, I hope that talk with that future husband of hers went smoothly too. Elyan may be his father’s son, but he doesn’t have to be his father, and I hope his and Tamsin’s marriage evolves to be much, much better than Claire’s (not that that would take much…).

    Interesting point about Elyan’s preference for mincing words over frank truth. The de Ganises in general do have a certain aversion to reality–or at least, Bors does, and he’s passed that along to at least Elyan, Angelique, and Lynn, more likely through behaviour than actual genetics (though I wonder if there is some genetic component at play here? From what we know of Bors’s earlier life, it seems that he was very malleable until he was made to be a stubborn ass…). Here’s hoping that Tamsin and Claire (at least, until Elyan fully grows into his own) will be the primary influences in the lives of any future children, as well as Evette and Lionel from this point forward.

    I’m glad you posted a (mostly) happy/hopeful post tonight. It’s been a rough couple days and I needed something good to happen, even if it is to fictional characters.

    • Aaaand I forgot until I read Andavri’s comment that I had a thought about Constantine’s objections to Tamsin’s marriage. *facepalm*

      The first thought that occurs is Mordred, and the fear of a marriage between a Glasonlander knight’s daughter and an Albionese heir leading to the discovery of that connection, which… I don’t know, that sounds to me like Constantine’s getting a bit paranoid, which is interesting. I mean, logically… if Constantine did his research on Elyan whenever he was first informed of the match, he’d realize that the de Ganises have yet to form a marital attachment with the Orkneys, and that Elyan’s father has a not-so-pleasant history with the one house that has–and that Bors and Mordred are probably neck-in-neck for least popular noble in Albion, and for good reason, so given those numbers, they’re not exactly likely to be friendly with each other. Even in a kingdom as small as Albion–hell, maybe even especially, since it’s small enough every potential noble companion for Tamsin can be investigated on a personal level–Tamsin will probably only see Mordred at large weddings and state occasions. And even when she does, I doubt she’d be willing to put up with him when there are much more pleasant people around, and he probably wouldn’t be too interested in her either.

      And hell, even if Tamsin was marrying someone in Mordred’s own household (and lucky for her that there’s no one there she can marry right now! God, I hope Agravaine decides he wants to live with Nimue…), Constantine knows that Mordred isn’t about to let anything slip, at least so far as he’s aware of Mordred’s current mental state (he probably doesn’t know that it’s on the downward).

      And also, given what you’ve said about Albion still needing a Big Bad when Mordred goes, I’m going to assume that while Mordred is bound to get busted for what he did to Lamorak eventually, his very-definitely-illegal-yet-clearly-sanctioned-by-Constantine involvement in Constantine’s triumph probably won’t come up until after he’s been dealt with accordingly (which, in my mind, would have to involve some sort of very painful death).

      Another possibility is that Constantine has designs on Albion, and an alliance between a knight he knows personally and an Albionese noble family somehow inconveniences him in this–though knowing Constantine, I think he’d find a way to use Tamsin and Elyan if this was the case, and therefore wouldn’t object.

      And then there’s… well, kind of a long shot, but maybe he wanted Tamsin to marry someone else? I mean, if Beau had a wife in Glasonland, that decreases the risk of any foreign potential love interests he may have met at Camford coming to his rescue… like, I don’t know, a clever redhead with cunning ex-pirates at her disposal…

    • Yes they did! There might have been some all-too-mortal snickering mixed in with the ghostly laughter … 😉

      Well, I imagine that the talk with Elyan went … as smoothly as could be expected? I don’t think Elyan has much of an idea of what he’s signed up for with Tamsin. He knows that she’s not Leona, that she’s generally biddable and agreeable — but she has her principles, and she knows what she wants out of life, and she’s not afraid to make both known to Elyan. Tamsin expects to be his partner and his teammate, not just his wife, and I don’t think that Elyan has any idea what he’s supposed to do with that. Their marriage ought to be an interesting one to watch.

      I think at least some of Elyan’s preference for mincing words does come from Bors — if not from watching him/learning from him, then from dealing with him. Bors really isn’t one to mince his words; he usually means what he says and says what he means. Especially when it’s facepalm-worthy and has, as you pointed out, a tenuous connection to reality. But anybody who has to deal with Bors learns very very quickly that the only way you’re going to get anything done with him is to speak your truth in a way that allows Bors to draw his own conclusions and then let you do what you want. He probably carries that tendency over to anybody else that he’s not sure he can convince with frank truth.

      But at least you don’t have to worry too much about the kids! Little kids are firmly the domain of Women, so Bors and Elyan will be leaving the little ones more-or-less alone for the time being.

      As for why Constantine objected to/wasn’t happy with the match between Elyan and Tamsin … it actually doesn’t have much to do with Mordred (though I’m sure that might have been lurking in the back of his mind). It has more to do with Lynn.

      Lynn’s going to be Queen someday (duh), queen of a country which has at least a few bastards of Vortigern living in its borders. A country to watch. And now one of Constantine’s retainers has gone and made his daughter the sister-in-law of that future queen. Without consulting him beforehand.

      If Sir Carlisle had come to Constantine before he made the arrangements and pointed all this out to him, adding he had a daughter of the right age to marry into the de Ganis family and was currently speaking with the Earl of Sarras about it, and asked for Constantine’s opinion on the matter, Constantine would have probably told him to go for it and would have been grateful for the connection. But Sir Carlisle did it “behind his back” and then presented it to Constantine as a fait accompli, expecting to be congratulated and rewarded for it. In other words, Sir Carlisle showed that he has ambition and the capacity for independent thought. Constantine had both of those before he became king (and still has them). He knows what ambition and independent thought can lead to. So when Sir Carlisle broke the news, he kind of freaked out about it. It had nothing to do with Tamsin or Constantine having other plans for her — I don’t think Constantine even knows her name. It had everything to do with his retainer, who before Constantine became king was just a normal knight, whose other children were married in a way Constantine considered “befitting their station,” who had never shown what Constantine considered to be outsized ambition before this, suddenly seemed to have caught the ambition bug in a big way. That scared Constantine, and rather than show fear and look weak, he showed anger to attempt to look strong.

      And in a way he’s right — this is more ambition on Sir Carlisle’s part. And that ambition is directly tied to Constantine becoming King. Before Constantine was king, there would have been no point for Sir Carlisle to marry his daughter into Albion, or at any rate the benefits wouldn’t have outweighed the drawbacks of having her so far away and having to raise a dowry appropriate for a future countess. But now Sir Carlisle sees a way for himself and his family to rise higher, and he’s going to take it. He’s not even considering gunning for the top spot, which is what Constantine fears. But I think Constantine isn’t able to see that, or he wasn’t when the match was first presented to him. He might, however, change his mind and be able to use this match once he’s calmed down a bit. And in a way that would even work out better for him — since Sir Carlisle would imagine that now he’s been “forgiven” and would be even more eager to please Constantine than he already is.

      After all, careful blow-ups at the underlings keeps them on their toes, keeps them guessing, and keeps them too scared of you to be disloyal. Or so Constantine would like to believe.

      And for it’s worth — Constantine didn’t have any other plans for Tamsin. I doubt he would have considered marrying her off to Beau … Sir Carlisle would have had strong objections to that, and for good reason (starting with the fact that right now, as far as the public is considered, Beau is not in a position to be buying life insurance and he probably shouldn’t start any long books, either). Plus, a marriage between Beau and the daughter of one of Constantine’s retainers would have signaled to Beau and to everybody else that Beau is a candidate for rehabilitation. Constantine doesn’t want to send that signal, or at least he doesn’t want to send it yet.

      Thanks, Van! 😀

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