How Deep Is Your Love?
Characters: Wirnan, Yriadha
Description: Wirnan takes the first steps toward following through with Bryvin's request that he perpetuate their shared blood.
Location: Sunstone Seahold
Date: month 12, day 23 of Turn 10
Wirnan would not so much say that he was dragging his feet. But he did
not rush to see Yriadha about this right away. At the same time, if he
was going to have to do this, it made the most sense to rip the
bandage off quickly. It was going to hurt, and he did not want to live
with the dread of that pain for any longer than he strictly had to.
When he was fairly certain that Yriadha was free to speak with him, he
went to her.
"Yriadha," he said, his voice emptier than usual. "I have something
important I need to ask of you." He might have asked Brina. But he had
already imposed on her enough when it came to this subject.
"May I have a moment of your time?"
The dark haired woman looked up from studying hides on her desk, her
brows raising as he stepped in. "Of course." She studied his face and
one brow arched for just a moment. "You look troubled. I assume it
must be something I might help with." She rose and moved towards the
klah pot. "Would you like a cup?"
"Please," Wirnan nodded. He hated to distract Yriadha from her work,
but he had done his best to come when she might have a moment, after
"I told Bryvin that I meant to ask Suynie to marry me," he said, not
seeing much point in dancing around the subject. "And he asked that I
should, instead, marry someone of high blood or status. That I might
also carry on our grandfather's lineage. I... thought you might have
some idea of whom I should pursue. If I'm going to be having children,
I suppose I should like to live to see my grandchildren. So I'd
better... hop to it, I suppose."
Dark brows rose in a bit of surprise, then lowered, with a slight,
"Ah." For a moment, she had a thought that Bryvin had pointed Wirnan
at her for that particular reason, despite her age and despite her
dubious lineage. Surely not. She may have time for perhaps one more
child, if that, considering that she was still fertile. She felt a
pang of carefully buried resentment and a tinge of hurt that she was
able to immediately conceal. "And he directed you to me? I see." She
took a breath. "Well, I certainly know of some _younger_ women who
might be suitable for you."
"Well, of course," said Wirnan. "I can't imagine I'll have that many
children with a woman older than I." He sighed and sagged. Though he
was resolved to do as Bryvin asked, he was hardly thrilled at the
"He reminded me that you oversaw the..." Wirnan waves a hand
dismissively. "... the _retinue_ that came along with Lady Asaile to
win his favor. And I thought that you would, of course, remember which
among them might settle for his cousin, given the opportunity. I...
There was one of them who tried to win my attention. I see it now, but
I was blind to it then. Perhaps you remember her – we was called
"She was so young. And... Well, I can't imagine she brought me cakes
because she _liked_ me... It's all together a heavy thing to ask of a
man who never stood to inherit anything. But I owe my entire life to
Bryvin, and I will do whatever he asks of me."
"I did indeed oversee the group of young ladies." Yriadha hid her
relief that Wirnan didn't seem to be interested in her, but in younger
women, which honestly, made far more sense. She offered Wirnan a cup
of tea and sat, not behind her desk, but in the other chair near him.
"Osila was a sweet, but forward, young lady. Unfortunately, she was
recalled back home when she didn't make a match."
Yriadha rubbed her chin in thought before sipping her tea. "They are
all young, Wirnan. The only one available at present who hasn't made a
suitable match is Lady Tarani, who functions as one of Lady Asaile's
maids. She's...spirited and her uncle may value a pairing close to
Bryvin." Her eyes narrowed slightly in thought as an idea came to
mind. "There is another option. There is a widow here who has a child.
She's not Blooded, but she has had some valuable connections that
Bryvin might think well of. She's still of child-bearing age and is
rather lovely as well as being a more mature match." She turned to
Wirnan and sipped her tea. "Have you met Sophque?"
Wirnan tried not to show his disappointment, but the corners of his
eyes still tightened. He was a fool to dare hope that Yriadha was
about to suggest some way that Bryvin could be convinced that Suynie
was a match. She was not much older if older at all than Sophque, if
Wirnan judged rightly. There was no reason to believe she could not
have as many more children – they just would not be the highborn
children Bryvin wanted.
"I know her name and face," he answered. "But we are hardly well
acquainted." She was beautiful, that was certain. And old enough that
she would know very well why they were to wed.
"I must say, I would be grateful for a more mature match, if one could be had."
In many ways, she was not very different at all from Suynie. She was
rather directly in Bryvin's service by way of Lady Asaile, she was a
widow, and she had a child of not quite ten Turns. If he was not
mistaken, both had lost their husbands to the sea.
Wirnan was not sure whether that would make it easier or harder to be
her husband. It certainly would not make it easier to face Suynie when
he had to tell her.
"If she and Bryvin both would be amenable to the arrangement, I
believe I would be a fool not to take your advice."
"I will speak to both ladies for you. Tarani might be a better match
as far as being of the Blood." She pursed her lips and then spoke more
gently. "If your heart is with Suynie, Wirnan, you know that as a man,
you don't have to give her up, don't you? Even if you're wed. It isn't
unheard of and it wouldn't be unexpected. You can abide by Bryvin's
wishes and your own....if she is amenable."
"I... would be lying if I said I hadn't given it thought," said
Wirnan. "I just... How could I ask it of her? She deserves a lover who
doesn't treat her like a dirty secret. And when I wed, my wife will
deserve a husband who honors his word. That's the trouble. If Suynie
and my wife both were happy to live that arrangement, then I would be,
too. I... In such an arrangement, I wouldn't even ask my wife to keep
herself to me, except when we meant to have a child. There are ways to
keep from getting pregnant in the mean time."
Or handling a pregnancy should one occur.
"There are indeed." Yriadha's brows rose, wondering if Bryvin too
would be amenable to allowing her some daliiances on the side. The
thought had occurred to her, after all. Discussing it with the Lord
Holder, however, was not something she was willing to immediately do,
but the man seemed to know almost everything that happened in the
Hold. A private dalliance would quickly be discovered. One phrase,
however, stung. **A dirty secret. I am Bryvin's. His family at least
knows about Yavin.** It hurt, but it was nothing but the truth. "It's
different for women sometimes, but it is nice to hear that you'd be
willing to compromise." Her lips pursed. "Perhaps it could happen, but
you would have to have that conversation, " the pursed lips then
quirked just a little, "not I." She exhaled. "I will see what I can
Wirnan tilted his head, wondering whether he had misinterpreted
Yriadha's point. She certainly seemed at least a bit shaken by his
candidness. It was different for women.
"I... I would hate to ruin my prospects by beginning with talk of
lovers and dalliances. But perhaps Sophque... being mature, herself,
perhaps she might..." He sighed. "Even a young woman can understand
the position we are in, so perhaps I should not count Tarani out so
soon. I spent so long away, I had forgotten some of what it meant to
be of the Blood."
"I should ask Suynie first. If she has no interest in being a lover
with no husband, then the rest of this whole thought exercise is
Wirnan paused for a moment.
"A-are you disappointed in me?" he asked, wondering if that was,
perhaps, the reason for Yriadha's unusual mood.
Yriadha blinked and arched a single brow in askance. "It isn't my
place to be disappointed in you, Wirnan. But I _did_ suggest it
myself, so why would I be? Your happiness is important to Lord Bryvin
and the Hold. Keeping the Hold running and the Lord Holder content is
part of our jobs, Wirnan. It just makes it more difficult for you
because you are also family with expectations to meet. Family duties
can be...onerous, especially if you're of the Blood, but necessary."
She finished her tea and set the cup aside on her desk. "Marriage is
rarely for love or affection, Wirnan. Perhaps affection can grow with
time for you with either woman. I hope you achieve that."
"When I asked you..." said Wirnan, "When I reached out to court you, I
did it not only because I thought it would be good for the Hold, but
because you are among my closest friends, and I thought maybe that
would be enough. I see now that it was never going to be," he added
quickly, "and I don't bring it up again to pressure you into accepting
me. I just... I care very much what you think of me, no matter what
your ‘place’ may be."
"I didn't think that you would be disappointed in me for considering
your suggestion – that I might have love on one hand and duty on the
other. I know that's a very common state of affairs among the Blood. I
worried that you might be disappointed in me because I have let my own
feelings make me so hesitant to do my duty to Bryvin and our family."
"It would all be simple, easy, just a role to play, if I had never...
If I did not have to hurt Suynie to do it. By the First Egg, I do not
want to hurt her."
The fact that he considered her a close friend surprised her, though
she didn't reveal it; she had so few of them. Sophque alone would she
have considered her closest. "I know you're not trying to pressure me,
Wirnan. I will never again marry and that is no one's choice but my
own. I was flattered by your suit, I'll admit, and that you think
highly of me. So, no. I do not think less of you nor am I disappointed
in you." Her words were spoken candidly, "as you said, you were not
thinking of your Blood, but your heart. So few have that luxury."
There was a flicker of real understanding in her eyes, an unspoken
hint that she had been placed in a similar position. "Wanting that is
Her lips pursed again and she considered him for a moment. "Then do
not." She took a breath. "It is my place to arrange duties in the Hold
as well as placement for Lady Asaile's retinue and the nursery. It
would cause her less pain, perhaps, if she was told that her services
were no longer needed. She would of course, be paid well and provided
for...outside of the Hold. Perhaps a recommendation to one of the
outlying smaller holds for duties."
"Please don't send her away," Wirnan said softly. He was filled with a
sudden, deep regret for his earlier lamentations now that they might
result in Suynie losing anything she had.
"Suynie is a brilliant nurse for the children, and I don't want them
to lose her any more than I want her to lose them. Or..." Or than he
wanted to truly lose her.
"I will explain my situation to her," he said. "And she will know that
if she will have me as a lover, then I will have her as mine, though I
can't have her as my wife. And if she won't, then... Then it will have
been her choice."
"If Bryvin approves, and if Sophque will have me, then you can tell
her, I promise that I would take care of her daughter as well."
"Very well." Yriadha agreed with a sigh. "I only wished to spare you
some of the pain, for your own sake. I'll not dismiss her." She
studied him, his expressions. "You must love Lord Bryvin very much."
"If not for Bryvin, I am certain I would be dead. He and Lady Brina
are all the family I have left. I think," said Wirnan, "that I would
do anything Bryvin asked of me."
"I apologize for being dismissive of your help, Yriadha," he went on.
"I very much appreciate your concern for me. But I would rather bear
what pain I must than send her away."
"I don't think you were being dismissive." She countered easily. "It
was only a suggestion and one I'll listen to." Her instincts about
Wirnan seemed to be correct and any hint of concern that she had about
his closeness to Bryvin dissipated. "I will keep you updated, of
course. As soon as I know anything."
"Thank you." Wirnan offered a small smile. "If there is ever anything
I can do for you, I daresay I am deeply in your debt. You are welcome
to what help I could give you, such as it may be."
"And I may call in that debt at some time." She replied with all
seriousness as she rose. "I will do what I can for you."
Last updated on the February 10th 2022