Chapter Ninety

March 23, 2013


9th of Storemonth


            We arrive back in Heltragen to much fanfare and rejoicing.  Briggette rides into town on Arany’s back, putting on a stunning aerobatic show for the assembled masses.

            “If she does that again, I’m going to have to unseat her,” Ulric says as he turns to Gustav with a grin.  They sweep down over the group as we ride in, then rise again just to dive fast and hard to land at Ulric’s feet.

            Ulric grins, “Welcome home, Briggette.”

            Arany looks around, and says, “Oh, I forgot to roar.”  Briggette urges him to do so, but he hesitates as little Stefan is sitting right there.  She goads him on, and Arany lets out a loud roar that scatters most of the horses and men in the area.

            We begin to make our way toward the castle.  Briggette dismounts and she and Ulric share a very chaste and proper kiss.  Arany transforms back into his human form, and we head to the great hall for a feast.

            After the meal, the floor is cleared for dancing and drinking, and the party carries on into the night until people start to pass out.  Eventually, Ulric and Briggette retire to their room for a proper reunion.

            That night, as I always do when we travel, I creep into Boian’s bed.  I remember the talk he and I had several weeks earlier where I explained that, though I could never be his first consideration, I still want to be with him.  He had told me that he would think about it, and after the night of reunion and joy, I am impatient for an answer.  I turn over and explain that I don’t want to pressure him, but that I need to know he is still thinking about it.  We talk well into the night, and he doesn’t refuse me, but doesn’t commit to a course of action either.  He says he must talk to Ulric.  At first, I am upset at not getting a straight answer, but then I realize that him wanting to talk to Ulric means that he wants to pursue some deeper relationship with me.  Satisfied and content, I snuggle into his chest, he tightens his hold on me ever so slightly, and I fall into a deep and restful sleep.

            The next day, Ulric does not hold court, but instead spends the day with Briggette and Stefan.  Gizli spends the day in a state of anticipation, but Boian does nothing in the day.  The following day, Boian seeks his audience with Ulric.

            Gustav is confused, but announces him as per proper court procedures.  He enters in a tabard with a quotal on it, in his full livery and regalia.  He takes a knee in front of Ulric, and Ulric addresses him by his full and proper title.

            “Your Excellency, I come to request to purchase land with ellodial title.  I know this is odd, but my order’s directives are clear.  I must owe service to no one, whether I would or not.”

            Ulric replies, “I will grant you lands.  You do not have to purchase them.  I will have Gustav write you up title to to the lands of your own.  You have done my wife many services, and you have protected both her and my son.  I am happy to grant you this.”

            Boian also says there is a personal matter he’d like to discuss at a later time, and they agree to meet after court today.  He bows and makes his way out of the court to prepare for their visit.

            After a long talk with Ulric, complete with much wine, Boian seeks an audience with Briggette.  He presents a very logical, albeit emotionless, argument as to why he should marry me to perpetuate his line.  She is resistant, mainly because he does not profess to love me.  “To me,” he says to her, “your word is law, so long as it does not directly risk your life.  If you tell me not to marry Gizli, I will not do so.  I will find some peasant woman to marry.  But my line must be continued.”  Briggette tells him that he is not hers to command, but he objects.  He says that he will take her word on this and will proceed or not at her whim.

            “Do what you will, Boian,” Briggette finally replies.

            Finally, about two in the morning, he comes to bed.  I have no idea what has gone on with his conversations, nor even what his conversations entailed.  He says, “Everyone seems accommodating.  You should assume you're going to be a bride, and you should select a date.”

            I am flabbergasted by the less-than-romantic gesture, and can barely manage a stifled, “Wow.”

            He seems to realize that he has been somewhat rude, and he kneels down on one knee, “Gizli, I am Boian, servant of the Beautiful Serpent, Protector of the House of Bellyn, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

            “I will,” I reply quietly, still not sure if this is only duty, or if he has any measure of desire for me at all.  He pauses, and I tease him a bit, “All those women you slept with for duty or information, did you not have to pretend to be romantic with them?”

            “Of course, I did,” he replies.

“Then pretend a little bit,” I reply.

He seems slightly offended, “but you may always count on everything I tell you to be sincere and truthful.”  I apologize for being flippant, and I pull him off of his knees.  “Come to bed,” I tell him, and pull him up next to me.  He pulls me into his chest tightly, more tightly than ever before.  He says that he will not impugn my honor, but will wait until we are married to be with me.  I simply laugh and close my eyes.

A simple kiss would have been nice.