(514-09-14) A Talk With Mother
Summary: Aluksander gets some motherly advice about fighting with your spouse
Date: September 14, 514
Related: None

514-09-14 — Pitton Manor, Salisbury

Sitting in the family's private salon by herself, rocking in a chair and knitting this evening next to the fire, Merial de Pitton is quietly minding her own business. That is, until her son comes tromping by, headed for his room. Without looking up from her knitting, she calls out to him, saying, "I wonder if the fire might not need a little stoking."

Aluksander stops in his tracks as he passes, blinking and looking over at his mother curiously. She's sitting /RIGHT THERE/ … why would she not just stoke it herself. His brow furrows for a moment as he considers her, and then sees that she has her knitting all set about her, meaning getting up would be a bit of a hassle for her. And, since he's already up …. With a sigh, he nods and moves towards the fire. "Yes, mother," he responds, reaching for the poker so that he may adjust the logs providing his mother warmth.

Merial smiles as her son dutifully responds to her comment without asking and with only a slight hesitation. However, she's not finished with him yet! As he approaches the fire, and still without looking up, she says, "Sir Deryn has certainly been away for some time. It's no surprise she faired poorly in the joust; she must not have had a proper rest beforehand." Knit knit knit.

Aluksander stops once again when his mother brings up Deryn. He glowers, clenching his jaw, but doesn't respond immediately, instead continuing on his mission to poke the logs. Just poke the logs and get to his room. Yup.

Unfortunately for Aluksander, it doesn't look like his mother has any intention of allowing /that/ to happen. She continues her one-sided conversation casually, eyes never leaving the yarn in her lap. "The Earl must have grave need of knights, such that he can't even allow one to return home briefly to see her poor mother. I certainly hope she's not put into any danger while she's out there. So much trouble, these days. One may wonder if there will ever be peace again."

Okay. So, Aluksander has had enough. He puts the fire poker back and turns to his mother. "What is it, mother? What are you trying to say?" he asks her pointedly, folding his arms across his chest.

Merial again refuses to take her eyes off of her task in hand, shaking her head as if to dismiss Aluk's question. "Why, I'm not trying to say anything, dear. Did it sound as though I were?" she asks. "I was simply saying that Sir Deryn left many days ago and has not been back since, and that there must be a very good reason for it."

Aluksander's brow furrows and his jaw clenches again. "You know very well the reason that she left. I don't know why you pretend otherwise. There is no servant in this manor that has not whispered about the fight that we had in the garden the other day," he replies, shifting his weight and glaring at his mother.

"A fight, you say? Well, now that is a little interesting. But who listens to the whispers of a servant? They always have so much to whisper about," Merial says, still completely unconcerned with the obvious irritation growing in her son. What is there to be upset about? "Surely any such talk would be exaggerated, anyway. I wouldn't believe that you'd be so callous as to have a fight with Deryn. Not my sweet boy."

His mother's lack of agitation only seems to stir Aluksander up even more, and he spreads his arms out, flailing a little. "Yes, mother! We had a fight! She quite certainly yelled at me and called me a fool right to my face! And now she's left, and seems quite content to stay gone, and I've no mind to go and chase her home!" he says, voice raised but not quite shouting. It /is/ his mom, after all.

"Oh really?" Merial says, finally quirking an eyebrow, even though she doesn't look up from her work. "Well, if Sir Deryn were to be cross with you, I'm certain she'd have a good reason for it. She is the honest type. I do wonder, though, she would not come home. She is well loved in this house, you know," Merial reminds him, as if he /didn't/ know.

"I /know/ you love her, mother. As do I! But if she would rather be off hunting bandits and serving the Earl than home with me, I'm /certainly/ not going to try and change her mind," Aluksander responds, his arms hugging tight across his chest again as he turns halfway away from his mother. Because he certainly would never turn his /back/ on her.

"Oh dear. Well, that certainly doesn't sound like a loving and caring husband," Merial replies, lips turning down slightly as she knits. "It's no wonder she'd stay, then, if her husband is so uncaring that he wouldn't have her return. I wonder if he ever loved her at all, or if he married her only to explore his fancy, and has since decided to put her away now that his curiousity has been sated."

/This/ turns Aluksander around and turns his cheeks bright crimson. "I would /never/ do such a thing!" he declares, pointing adamantly at the floor as he marks his point. "I /love/ Deryn, with all that I am. /That/ is the reason I asked her to marry me. Not for any other reason," he insists.

Finally, Merial lowers her knitting and looks directly at her son, still utterly calm, but also absolutely serious. "Then why is it that she hazards abroad and you stand here before me declaring your adamant refusal to have her home?" she asks. And the look on her face speaks volumes of her displeasure with her son.

Aluksander grimaces when his mother looks up and all of his ire quickly wilts under her stern gaze. He takes a slight step back, his hand running up to rub at the back of his neck like it always does when he's suddenly uncomfortable, and his shoulders raise. And as much as he wishes he /could/ look away, there's no salvation from his mother's stare. "Well … uh … you see …," he tries, but can't really find an answer just yet.

"I thought so," Merial concludes, turning back to her knitting. "You will go and apologize to your wife, beg her forgiveness, and pray that she comes back home. Take the flowers that are waiting in the kitchen. And go with speed, before your temper convinces you otherwise," she instructs. "And let that be the end of it, my dear, sweet boy."

Aluksander blinks and his brow furrows again. "But she /yelled/ at me! And she chastised me! She was the one who was wrong, why is it that /I/ should be the one to apologize? It was her who offended, not I."

Merial pauses again and sighs, lowering her knitting and looking back up at her son, this time far more softly. "Aluksander. While you are not a boy, anymore, you still have a great deal left to learn. About women and about marriage. I am truly sorry that you did not get to see your father and I, or even your grandfather and Nanna. But, you will come to discover something that is very true, that you will be much happier to know the sooner you accept it. You cannot tell your wife she is wrong, no matter how true it may be. If you quarrel, apologize first, and let love convince her otherwise. For if it should be Monday, and she says Tuesday, you cannot make up her mind for her. Instead, apologize, agree on the day, and when she discovers her mistake, she shall love you all the more for letting her. In love, as in life, you can be right, or you can be happy. Rarely are the two the same thing."

At first, Aluksander is ready to defend himself. However, when his mother begins talking about his father and grandparents, he quiets. And then, he finds his way to the seat next to his mother, where he listens intently. He frowns at what she says, though he continues listening until she finishes. He shakes his head a little and glowers, reaching out to take his mother's hand. "But, I /am/ right, mother. She thinks I abandoned a fight and left myself vulnerable, but I didn't! I saw the other knight coming and used the opportunity to leave. And she blames /me/ for her distraction! That is so … it's so wrong! If she were distracted, twas not my fault. It was her who lost focus, how can she blame me for that?"

Merial clicks her tongue and reaches up one of her hands to stroke Aluksander's cheek, reaching to tuck a few errant blonde strands of hair behind his ear. "My dear, sweet, foolish child. How can you be upset that your wife cares so much for her that it over-ruled all her years of knightly training, all that she's been taught and drilled to be reflexive? That you draw so much of her attention that even what should now be instinct is instead an afterthought to your well-being? So what if she blames you? It only shows how deep is her love," Merial murmurs softly, smiling gently at her boy as she continues to pet him tenderly.

And Aluksander very much resembles a boy in that moment, once again being taught a lesson at his mother's side. His brow furrows as he considers her words, genuine thought being had, until it sinks in and his expression changes. He is quick to slap palm to forehead and lean back, shaking his head. "I had never thought …," he starts, but stops himself. Obviously, his mother is already well aware of what hadn't occured to him. He sighs and droops, nodding slightly now. "I've been a fool, dear mother, and she quite right to stay away. I'm not deserving of so much love, if this is how I respond to it. Do you think she is regretting her vows at this point?" Aluksander asks, finally looking back up at his mother with concern and regret written across his expression.

Merial chuckles and shakes her head, still patting his cheek gently. "Oh, no, sweet child. Not at all. She is as in love with you now as she ever was. It is why she stays away. Were she any less your wife and devoted companion, she would have sent for her belongings, or would be here just ignoring you. You are lucky that her feelings are so large that there isn't room enough in the manor for both her love and your displeasure."

"So, what should I do, mother? Should I send for her right now? Should I head back to Sarum and try to find where she is staying?" Aluksander asks, brow knitting with worry again.

Merial shakes her head and pats Aluksander's hands as they hold one of hers. "Go to her, son, and fall upon your knees and beg forgiveness. And as I said, take the flowers. They will help. Apologize for everything and she will welcome you into her arms once again. You will see," she promises.

Aluksander nods and rises, turning immediately to go do exactly as she has instructed. He's almost halfway to the door when something else dawns on him and he stops, turns about face, and quickly moves back to his mother so that he can bend down and kiss her on the cheek. "Many thanks, mother. I'd be sore lost without you."

"Oh, I know you would be, son. Now go, and send her my love as well," Merial says, smiling knowingly as her son bends down to kiss her cheek. And as he leaves, she takes up her knitting again, humming quietly to herself in a very pleased fashion.

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