You look very nice (1 of 2)
Vestian brushed some piece of lint unceremoniously off his waistcoat
before holding his arm out for his wife to take. "Shall we go in?"
Porenne smiled her most radiant smile. She knew how to be the
decorative accessory to her husband's career better than most of the
other wives in the room. "Of course dear," she said and placed her
hand lightly on his arm.
"You look very nice, by the way," he said, more out of conventional
politeness than having noticed anything particular that would draw his
attention. She always did look nice on these occasions, and so it was
safe to assume as much. In truth, he had to admit that his wife was
rather pretty, though he rarely seemed to have the time to truly
"Thank you," she smiled genuinely flattered. So much of the time he
didn't even see her or that's the way it seemed at least. So she took
the compliment with a pleased look and squeezed his arm as they walked
"Master Vestian, Porenne," their hostess greeted with a polite bow and a
large smile. "Welcome! I'm so glad you could both make it tonight."
"Thank you, Mekia," Vestian said with his most winning smile. If
nothing else, he knew how to charm people. Art was a competitive
business, and it took a lot of salesmanship to get ahead.
"Mekia, What a lovely party." Porenne leaned forward to press her
cheek against the other woman's. "We wouldn't miss it. How are the
children." She didn't mind feigning a little interest if it paved the
way for her husband's rise.
"Growing faster than one could ever imagine possible," Mekia said,
throwing up her hands with a laugh. "My eldest son is nearing promotion
to journeyman now. There is a very talented master surgeon who seems to
be interested in him," she said with a maternal spark in her eye. She
could go on all night about each of her six children's achievements.
And Vestian knew it! "Talent certainly runs deep in your family," he
said with a very tolerant smile. "And speaking of talent, where is that
husband of yours?"
"I'm right here," said Torelt as he walked up behind Vestian and
clapped him on the shoulder. Then he smiled broadly at Porenne. "My
dear," he bent over her hand. "A pleasure as always."
"Why thank you Master Torelt," she smiled prettily. He was as tall as
her husband but his coloring was the complete opposite. "I was just
telling Mekia how happy we are to be here tonight."
Mekia's smile was slightly more forced as she made a point to take her
husband's arm. Of course he would rush over as soon as Porenne entered
the room. "I must say, we are all so proud of your husband, Porenne,"
she said, almost as a reminder to her own partner that this woman was
taken. "His Master's knots at last!"
Vestian was oblivious to all but her praise. "I can only thank my own
Masters for all their training in my youth," he said with humility he
didn't quite feel. He was good, and he knew that as well as everyone
Torelt didn't miss his wife's possessive maneuver and patted her hand
with a smile. Porenne might be the loveliest woman in the room but she
was maddeningly devoted to her clueless husband.
"Well your Masters did an excellent job and now you too can pass along
your expertise to a new generation." If the man weren't so sharding
talented he could at least be less generous in his praise.
Porenne turned a serene smile on the other couple refusing to
acknowledge the tension. Then she looked up at Vestian and back at
Torelt. "Is the Hallmaster going to be here tonight do you think?"
"Yes, in fact," Mekia said, her feminine pride now appeased. "A
dragonrider will be bringing him shortly, I hope. He is so busy, you
know, moving between the Weyr and the Hall so much."
"It will be good to have that business settled once and for all.
Harpers belong in Halls, not Weyrs." Vestian had painted several
portraits of dragonriders at the Weyr, but had little use for the place
otherwise. "It was hardly the place to raise children. Wouldn't you
She'd liked the freedom women enjoyed at the Weyr though she'd never
say so much in front of her conservative husband.
"Of course dear," she replied with little hesitation.
Her husband caught the slight pause in her answer, and he looked at her
out of the corner of his eye. **If you don't agree, just say so!** he
thought with a mental roll of his eye. Porenne had never seemed to have
an opinion of her own, and while it was convenient to have a woman who
never seemed to contradict him, it would have also been nice to have a
partner with a _bit_ of spirit to her at least. It would make trying to
hold a conversation much easier, that was for sure!
All this passed quickly through his mind so that barely a beat was
missed when he turned to his host. "So the Hallmaster's making a
special trip in for the occasion then? What did you get to tempt him,
Torelt? More ice wine from the Vintner Hall? I hope you're planning to
The big Master threw his head back laughing. "Of course I'll share
Vestian," he replied. "You know I'd have put some back for my own
use." He stepped behind his wife and dropped a kiss on the top of her
head. "I need to mix with some of the others but I'll be back to get
you when the Hallmaster appears. Come along my dear," he said letting
a hand slide down to her arm to pull her along with him.
He cast a final look at Porenne. It was too bad really. Vestian was a
lucky sod and didn't seem to even notice.
Last updated on the May 31st 2013