Not What She'd Dreamed
Porenne stood at the window and watched as the children went out with
their nurse for a walk around the square. Vestian had been gone for
several days and the household had settled into its normal routine.
She gave a deep sigh and turned to walk across the room and pour
herself a cup of tea.
She couldn't remember a time in her life when she hadn't wanted to be
a wife and mother but her youthful dreams on the subject had been far
different from the reality of her first meeting with her husband. Her
father had arranged a match for her with the son of one of his
friends. She was assured that he had quite the prospects in the Hall
and would assuredly make Master some day. That was a very good match
for the daughter of a Master Singer.
And so she had waited in her mother's solar for the arrival of the
young man who would soon be her husband.
"Porenne! Stop that fidgeting," Her mothers stern warning stilled her
fingers that had been twisting the cloth of her skirt.
"How much longer," she asked.
"Thats the third time you've asked and they should be here soon."
They had not long to wait. Vestian had been standing in the entrance as
his father quietly imparted some final words of encouragement. Havess
was confident that Porenne was exactly the sort of woman who could take
good care of his son. He was sure that as hard as this was, Vestian
would thank him in the end. Finally, with an arm around his boy's
shoulder, he steered him towards the room the ladies were waiting in.
"Tiporla," Havess said with a warm smile as he proceeded his son into
the room. "How lovely you are this morning. Porenne, I have never seen
you looking so radiant. May I introduce to you both to my son,
Vestian." He stood aside and waited for his son to step forward, which
he did after the briefest of hesitations. "Vestian, this is Tiporla,
Master Rennald's wife, and this is their daughter, Porenne."
"Good day and well met to you both," the young artist said with a deep
bow. A smile was fixed to his lips, though his heart was pounding
wildly in his chest. He didn't even look at the young woman except for
a quick, nervous glance. "I of course have heard many things from my
father over the Turns about your family. What a lovely home you have
here." Shards, he hoped he wasn't talking too fast!
Tiporla smiled radiantly and rose from her chair holding out her hand
"Master Havess, How wonderful to see you. Vestian it is indeed a
pleasure to have you in our home." She accepted his compliments
graciously. "Why thank you."
Porenne rose a moment after her mother and kept her hands folded and
eyes downcast as she dropped a curtsey to the Master and his son. All
she saw at first were their shoes. "Nice to meet you," she said as her
eyes rose to the vicinity of their knees.
"Come come Porenne," Tiportly chided gently and put an arm around her
daughter to bring her toward the young man.
"Ahh, I see you've met," came the robust voice of Master Rennald from
the doorway. "Sorry I'm late my dear," he said and crossed the room to
buss his wife's cheek. His jovial good humor was well known around the
Hall as was his tardiness. He turned to the other Master. "Well he's
grown up well," he clapped Havess on the shoulder. He hadn't seen
Vestian for several turns, not since he'd been a young apprentice and
taking the general singing classes. Though no one would ever mistake
Vestian for a well trained singer he had a natural baritone that could
have been moulded should he have cared for anything but his brushes
"Well what do you think of him girl," he grinned at his daughter.
Porenne's eyes finally flicked to Vestian's face and what she saw she
liked... very much. "Papa, we've barely met." The corner of her mouth
twitched with an apologetic smile.
Vestian couldn't help to glance back at his father. **She doesn't like
me. She barely even looked at me...** Ignoring the fact that he had
hardly even looked at her.
Havess just gave his shoulder an encouraging squeeze. He knew better
than anyone just how nervous his son was. While Vestian had learned to
put on a brave face in front of new people, that had taken Turns of
practice. His father knew beside the cool exterior, his son's heart was
pounding. "Well, Rennald, we should leave these two to have a chat just
the two of them, don't you think? Let them get to know each other
before we ask their opinions."
At eighteen turns Tiporla had started to become concerned her daughter
might not find the appropriate husband. She was quite beautiful and
there had been many offers but Rennald had turned them down as he
wanted his only daughter to have the best. She smiled at Havess.
"Excelent idea," she said and took her husband's arm.
"How about my library," Rennald said expansively and headed there with
a pat to his wife's hand.
Porenne watched her parents leave and swallowed before she sat back
down. She didn't think he was going to try anything untoward but it
was still quite a change to be left alone with a man who was not her
relative. Let alone so much older than she was. The thirteen turns
that separated them in age seemed quite a huge gulf to her but she
resolved to try and make the best of things.
She offered a seat next to her on the sofa with a wave of her hand
as she sank back down on the cushions. "Father says you're a journeyman
Artist," she said.
**You're an adult, Vestian, and she's just a young girl. You can do
this.** Shards, she truly was young! But his father had chosen, and of
all the people on Pern, his father's was the judgement he trusted most.
He had to make this work, for Havess if for nothing else. Shoving his
feelings deep down inside, he turned a smile on her, like he would on a
perspective client. **Yes. Treat her like just another patron
commissioning a piece.** Imagining her in two dimensions was just
"I am," he said, turning his body so he could truly look at her. The
first thing that jumped out at him were her eyes. Such a brilliant and
unusual color! He started flipping through shades of green in his mind.
Emerald. Hunter. Forrest. Malachite. Jade. Yes, jade, with a hint
of malachite perhaps. "I paint murals and portraits. I will start
working on my Masters soon."
Porenne smiled back at him when he smiled at her. He was quite
handsome and she was beginning to think maybe her papa knew what a
girl wanted in her future husband. She found she did want to make a
good impression and wasn't feigning her interest in his craft when she
asked "Do you enjoy your work?"
"Very much so." He noticed that her face was surprisingly symmetrical,
which as an artist he knew added to her beauty. Most faces were not.
Her features were delicate, and all together pleasing. She would be an
interesting subject to put onto paper. He wondered how expressive her
face was. Good models must be able to emote with not just their body,
but their whole face as well. "What do you do in your spare time?"
"I like to sing," she smiled. "I also like to ride runners, though I
haven't had much chance recently. How about you?"
"I have ridden runners, though not for pleasure. Mostly just from one
place to another. Why haven't you ridden runners lately?" Her hair had
a nice texture for drawing. Some artists found light, wavy hair
difficult, but not Vestian. It was a joy to bring to life on the
"Oh," she waved dismissively. "Just the spring concert coming up.
Master Eilomar is rather demanding in rehearsal time." She looked to
the sideboard. "Would you like something to eat or drink?"
"No, I'm fine, but please, go right ahead." His stomach would not
handle either at the moment, as tied into knots as it was. His eyes
traveled down to her neck. It was rather elegant. If he were going to
paint it, a string of pearls would accent it nicely. Maybe with a
little pendant right at the base of the throat.
Porenne had looked away at the sideboard when she'd asked the
question. She got up and fetched herself a cup of tea with a little
cream and came back to sit next to Vestian. "So Vestian," she smiled.
"Do you have any hobbies besides your work?" She was becoming very
interested in the man who would soon be her husband and she began to
wonder what their children would look like.
His eyes were drawn to her hands. They were small and dainty, and they
moved with practiced grace. "I don't have much time for hobbies at the
moment as I'm starting work towards my Masters." Truly, he had found
nothing else that had truly interested him. Vestian lived in his
drawings and paintings. They were much more real to him than the world
around him. But he knew very well how boring that could make him sound.
"I do like to travel, though. I do that a lot for my work." That at
least seemed to make him seem a little more interesting.
"Your Masters! How wonderful Vestian," she said with a smile. "Your
father must be so proud!" She really was quite impressed with the man
her father had chosen for her.
"I hope so. I'm trying at least." Of course, there was no doubt in
his mind that he would succeed. He was already making a name for
himself, and everyone said it was only a matter of time and patience.
Hopefully she would be one of his supporters, as well. "Are you an
artist at all?"
She gave a small shake of her head. "I wish," she smiled. "I
appreciate it but don't have the talent to do it myself. I would love
to see some of your work sometime."
"I would be happy to show you examples of my work," he said with a
polite, acquiescent bow. Vestian regretted that she had not yet seen
any of them. It wasn't as if his exhibitions had been hidden from
public view! But, perhaps her appreciation was limited only pretty
prints sold at Gathers and the like. It was a bit disappointing. What
did they have to talk about now? He found himself relieved when he
heard footsteps in the hall getting louder. "I believe they are coming
And indeed they had returned moments later. She shook her head in
sadness. She'd been so hopeful back then. He was so handsome and could
be very charming to those he wished to impress but all of that had
gone away like the morning mist when they married. It seemed that
beyond his dinner, the only thing he seemed to want from her involved
grunting and sweating and the invasion of her body.
For a long time she had held out hope that they could really connect
in some way but her every effort had been futile. No matter how she'd
tried she hadn't been able to reach beyond the wall he held firmly in
place around him. He was as locked away from her as he was in his
studio, so their marriage had become a hollow shell. But even with
all that, she cared about him in a way she couldn't describe, even to
herself. She knew his struggles and yearned for a way to help him find
his own inner peace but she didn't have a clue how to go about it.
Last updated on the September 7th 2013