Aden of Aden
Lord Mekurry and Lattalod treated the treats Princess Endullae bought as something for them to devour. I did believe that they had good flavor, although extremely sweet. Even with the kitchen staff mentioning the dishes they would be able to prepare with the ingredients she brought back, I felt the expense she paid for the treats would be quickly expended.
I was glad to have time with mother. Wanting to let her know what I experienced, I did my best to remember everything that happened. While I wanted advice from my mother, I also worked to let her know my reservation about some of the things I felt would be expected of me.
“ADEN!” It startled me to see her show no hesitation at the outburst with me feeling she was angry. “You have to take the initiative if you expect others to treat you as something special. You take the chance if you want someone special to take the chance on you.”
“Is that what you did, Mother?”
“ADEN OF ADEN!”
Both mother and I froze upon hearing the bellow from my father. She curtsied, but I spun. He showed no anger as he advanced. He did not speak to mother, and only held out an arm to me.
I was not angry at anyone. It helped my attitude to see father nod to me. I might have released some of my own emotions had I felt father would reprimand me. I however clearly gained the impression he was just going to handle the conversation. Not wanting to get either of my parents angry at me, I thought to move to my father.
A sudden fear came to me, and I shot to hug my mother and whisper, “Don’t you ever stop talking to me.”
She softly replied, “I will always believe in you. Now, trust your father.”
The words were enough for me. I moved to the side of my father, then took his arm in the normal fashion. He patted my hand while making a motion with his head at my mother. Accepting that his words would need to be enough at the moment, I waited for what he might say.
He directed me back into the castle, then said, “Be careful with your mother, Aden. She wants to hear it all, but you must remember that her first marriage was not a good one. While I know you want her council, she really does not want to provide you with any. I know I travel, and I know that you do not have that much of a relationship with Mersidda, but your mother is very worried about what she might tell you.”
“She has been there all my life, Father.”
“That is why I am trying to watch over you right now. As the person who saved your mother from her fate, and as your father, she will trust me. Use me as only a mediator if you must, Aden, or simply use me as someone who should already have a relationship with the royal family.”
“Then can I tell you what I told mother?”
Father directed me toward a parlor. It caught me by surprise for him to tell a servant that he wanted a beer, then look to me as if expecting me to order an adult beverage. I directed the servant to get me juice, then looked to father for what he might say.
He had me sit and do what I had requested. I obeyed and related to him all that I had told my mother. While he did not chatter in the manner mother would act, I did not doubt he was intently listening. Wondering what he would say, I sat and told him what I had told mother.
He paused when I concluded, but I was glad that he did not stay quiet. “You have no choice but to see your decision to a clear result. I do not see your problem with it. You are getting a trip to visit with another noble family. It should be fun.”
I replied, “But I am being put on a track that will ever change me.”
“Not for the worse. You might come to the conclusion that this path is not for you, but it will not be detrimental to you.”
“No, I guess not.”
Father seemed to recognize that my words were not a real sign of acceptance. He however allowed me to think over what had been said. I appreciated that he was willing to talk, and not simply expecting to make a point and have me live with it. I recognized it as a sign he understood he was taking over for mother, so needed the conversation to go both ways.
Wanting him to speak, I asked, “What type of life were you expecting of me?”
“For you? We live in Thiminy, Aden. We live in the place everyone wants to come to, but I knew that was not the option for you. I saw a lad coming from who knows where, you falling in love with him, and me having to console your mother as you left. I guess that is still going to happen, but it will be better on your mother if she feels you were part of the process in determining your future and not simply being the victim of it.”
“Mother feels that she was the victim?”
“She accepted Therlik, but she still stayed in the family castle waiting for men to come to her. The fact that you are going out she will probably feel is for the better. Don’t fear traveling, Aden.”
Those words actually touched me. I felt that he truly was understanding my situation. Hoping to get him to say more, I asked him more about mother’s first husband. Instead of hearing the same story over again, father actually spoke of what he knew of Prince Therlik. I listened fascinated at the new information, as nothing contradicted what I had learned. While I felt I knew a lot of mother from growing up with her, I felt the words touch me as I learned there was a lot about her I had not been told.
I finally said, “That is not how I grew up at all, or how I hear any of the nobles of our land growing up.”
“No, and I believe it gets said that our family is rather odd. Still, we do love each other. I love your mother and Mersidda very much. I told them when we first came together that they could not get angry with each other. I was too big of a man for them to have me settle their disputes. They needed to treat me gently to assure that I treated them in such a manner. Your mother and Mersidda have been ever wonderful ladies around me, and I have done all I could to be a wonderful husband to them and father to the children they gave me. Let me say that I felt your mother giving you her name just one more oddity in our family, but I have seen how she raised you and came to understand her logic. It is hurting her now, but she knew from the start that this time would come. What you need to do, Aden, is love your mother. She did everything she could to put you in this position. Take it, Aden, and let it take you far. For your mother, find a life that is wonderful.”
“I can’t promise that, Father.”
“You can promise failure, Aden. What I am telling you, asking you, is not to attempt failure.”
I again had to admit that father was speaking the words I needed to hear. He was correct. I could deny the opportunities being presented to me. Admitting that I needed to see where this path would take me, I spoke the words I felt Father needed to hear.
“You tell mother that she better never stop speaking to me.”
“Aden, there is a difference in never speaking and never listening. Whether or not she speaks, trust that she is listening. She might have me speak to you like I am doing now. Your mother is where she wants to be. This is not the life she expected, but she is happy with me and Mersidda. Find your place, Aden. Your mother cannot help you find it, but she feels that once you have made certain decisions she is the one to provide advice.”
I had to admit that the conclusion father had been stating only gained support, so I tried a different tactic. “Father, you work with the royal family, so can you provide advice?”
“They are not bad people, Aden. Enjoy spending time with them. People come from all over this world and from numerous other worlds to speak to them. You have that opportunity by your birth. I can say that you could become a bad person by not taking advantage of the opportunity you are being given.”
“Do you know the children?”
“The boys I know rather well. Venicht and Althery will actually show up at the castle. I am old enough to know about the girls, but I cannot say that I have actually met them. Since Mekurry lost his holding, he came to Thiminy rather humbled, but I have not found anything bad about him, Princess Enduallae, or their children. Let me stress that I was bestowed with knighthood from King Terish and Queen Straekin to assure their authority over the land whatever type of ruler Lattalod turns out to be.”
For some reason the way Father spoke I found myself interested in the politics. Having sat in on a number of the socials with the nobles, I had some knowledge of the various issues of the land. I had Father speak for some time on the topics, and actually found myself become interested in some of the things he presented.
I felt we had talked enough, but then I thought of something else, “Father, I am going to write a letter to Agrell. Could you deliver it?”
“It should probably be given to your mother.”
“If mother gives it to him, he might not write back.”
I felt Father was going to speak against those words, but he then said, “I guess he does not need to get it too quickly.”
“Maybe by having him wait to get it, he might understand some of the references I make.”
“Okay, Aden. Your mother wants another day. She spent the day going over the wardrobe being made for you with the tailors. Queen Straekin ended up being involved, but I believe it all ended positively. I am going to check on things. If your mother does stay, I am going to make it a requirement that she spends time with you.”
I thought over things, then said, “Tell her that I would like to know what she felt was important about my clothes. Father, did they wear strange outfits where she is from?”
He laughed while answering, “No. Mersidda started making clothes for me while over there. This shirt was done by Mersidda. If anything was normal, it was the fashion.”
“Then tell mother that we can talk fashion.”
“Aden.” Father reached to put a hand on my shoulder, so I knew to calmly listen. “Your mother would love to speak of fashion with you, but that is not what she will want to speak about. Be kind to your mother, Aden. She loves you deeply, but fears for you as much. She is not being distant to hurt you. I know you really do not want to hurt her either, so be kind to her.”
“But,” I worked to hold back my tears as I said, “that is not how she raised me.”
“Aden, your mother has been there for you all your life. Now it is time for you to start being there for her.”
And Aden gets a surprise encounter.