She Must Suffer
An impatient hand thrust itself out of door of the carriage until the
smartly dressed footman took it and with a look of utter patience,
helped the Lady to whom it belonged to descend gracefully down the
"Porenne! At last," she cried in delight, rushing forward to grab the
Hallmaster's wife's hand. "I came as soon as I could get away! Being
married to a man of high standing can be absolutely insufferable, as I
know you are fully aware."
"My dear Lady Wassa," she smiled. "How nice of you to visit." She
didn't mean a word of course but then part of her training at the Hall
had included acting. She hoped she was giving an adequate performance.
"What brings you to Emerald Falls?"
"Oh, who knows," the woman said with a dismissive wave of her hand
before using it to push a few imagined errant curls from her
immaculately coiffed hair. "Something about trade or tithes or Weyrs,
or all of the above. It's none of my business, really. I just came
along to see you!"
"And it's so lovely that you did. Would you like to take some tea?"
She led the way back into the Hall and toward the ladies solar.
"Yes, please," the Lady Holder said, turning with a swish of her skirt
and a discerning eye as she scanned the interior of the Hall. "Is
this one of the original buildings or one of the additions?"
"Oh the entire Hall was rebuilt by Lord Corowal after the fire.
Everything is new." Porenne, turned her back and rolled her eyes as
she walked toward the sideboard. "Sugar, Milk?" she asked as she
"Both please," Wassa said as she folded her skirts against her side to
take a dainty seat in a high backed chair. "And when will they
Porenne turned with a smile and two cups. "Oh they're already
finished," she said. "The Hall is so much better than it ever was. How
are things going for you?"
Wassa lifted an eyebrow as she once again scanned the room. **They
call _this_ finished?** She cocked her head slightly, deciding to let
that one go. After all, it was just a Hall full of crafters. It was
probably unfair to compare their attempts at beauty to those of Lords
and Ladies of the Blood. **Poor Porenne, how she must suffer.** Yes,
it was best to say nothing. Instead she took the offered cup and
taking up her spoon to give her tea a dainty swirl, she moved on to
more pleasant topics. "That odious uncle of mine has _finally_ died."
"Well I know you were under a cloud while he still lived." Porenne
nodded in mock sympathy. It was a bit harder to feign it in person
than it was in a letter and frankly she'd never thought the woman was
going to visit her. "But how is your husband faring on those trade
agreements you told me about?"
The Lady Holder batted away the question like a flying insect. "Oh
who knows. I'm sure he told me but I quickly lose interest in those
kinds of things." Unless it somehow affected her directly, why would
Wassa really care after all? There were far more important matters in
her little world, and she was sure Porenne would find them far more
interesting then dusty old trade agreements. "Do you know my uncle
didn't even _mention_ me or my children in his will? He's still angry
at me for marrying Yorvison instead of whoever that old man he wanted
me to marry was. As if _I_ had a choice in the matter! Of course,
Porenne smiled behind her cup. "Oh my," she said and shook her head.
"He didn't give it all to that horrid son of his did he?" That was the
son who'd commissioned so many lovely pieces from the Harper Hall
artists. He certainly supported the arts.
Wassa's eyes rolled. "Yes, Cavius gets the Hold and the bulk of the
treasury, with a small inheritance for uncle Cafton's latest little
wife. Enough to tide her over until she can get married off." She
leaned closer. "_So_ young, Porenne. Widowed at nineteen Turns. Can
you believe it? And not even a child to show for it!"
"Tsk tsk," Porenne shook her head. "Have you heard if she has any
prospects? Or are they waiting to be certain there is no child?"
"Oh, I don't know." The Lady again flicked the air with her fingers.
"Probably not. She's a rather strange little thing. I don't think
I've ever seen her outside an official function without a book up to
That one was difficult for Porenne, how many times in her life had she
wished for more time to read. But her eyes widened and she feigned
horror. "No! Is there no one to instruct the poor girl?"
"Not in being a _Lady_ for sure. And my horrid uncle just
_encouraged_ such antisocial behavior! Perhaps her conversation
skills were so lacking he would rather see the spine of a book than
her homely face." It was no wonder they had no children!
"Oh my poor dear Wassa, How ever did you cope with her?" Porenne went
to refresh her tea. "More?" She asked as she tried very hard not to
"Oh _I_ haven't spoken two words to her since her wedding besides
basic greetings. Between you and me," and anyone else who showed any
interest, "I don't think she likes me much. The feeling is mutual to
be sure. I had about as much use for her as I did her husband, my
uncle, for all that he was family. Do you know he used to go down to
the tavern to drink beer with his holders? _Beer_!?" Wassa said in a
loud whisper, which was only proper for so scandalous an admission.
"It is intolerable," Porenne shook her head **though not as much as
you.** "Oh my dear, look at the time. I do have to go pick up my
children from their classes. Would you like me to show you out?" She
looked concerned for the older woman and all the time her mind spun
with the news she was going to tell her Husband about the new Lord.
Last updated on the July 6th 2017