from_the_west: ([mac lugh] brenan - the hound)
[personal profile] from_the_west
more bebe!brenan. this one follows right after the last. oh, and that was the first.

****

Delande found that old habits died hard; the child in her had the excuses ready, as she hurried into the hall in which Lugh was more sprawled, by her way of looking at it, than properly reclined--he'd given up sitting on the throne in favor of sitting on the steps at the foot of it and using the seat as a small table to hold a cup and wineskin; his cloak and shirts and sashes everywhere, his hair in disarray above the gold coronet, and a pipe to his mouth. She took a moment to simply look at him, and smile, before she spoke.

"Did I miss anything exciting?"

His tune flickered, and a pause and then his answer was in the music--every note corresponding to a sign that was also a syllable, and her training such that she immediately recalled the sun-drenched hall she'd learned this language first. There were others watching besides him; his companions were ever-present, but she was far from shy. She loosed one of her silk-wrappings, so it fell away from her body, raised her hands and one foot, and made the movements that were also the signs, she danced the answer.

It is the quiet of sunrise, the workers are resting. The dove goes to touch the fleeting light and fire of the sun before she hides her face in her cloak again.

And then his question--

From whence came the butterfly?

He stopped, and reached for the wine, and she danced the answer to nothing but the birds singing and his open admiration, first, and then again, singing the words so he could see how her choice in steps tied to the words--this language was her mother's, and Avalon's, and he was still learning it.

Our son as bright as the stars, as lively as a mountain stream, as quick as foxes; we were lost in our games.

He titled his head a little, and then played it. She laughed, "Tá, just like that!" and he grinned and played again, not the message this time, but a snippet of a verse of a song she'd heard him sing before, though this time it was his men and woman in the places along the walls that picked up the tune, laughing merrily--

"When we speak of foxes
the words grow feet and tails
they creep below our fences and
bite the heads off all our hens, lo!

Speak not of foxes dear,
Speak not, m' darlin'
Speak not of foxes dear
or hungry we shall e'er be."

Then she saw what prompted this--she turned and saw fox kits come tumbling, driven by the feet of a very young and fierce boy. Behind him came a woman of some age, and some distance behind them and slowly, came Claravis--One of the companions hurried to offer him an arm so he need not bother with the weight of his stick, and settled him in the place of his choice, where she hovered near, ready to serve.

In the meantime, the small boy attempted to kick one of the kits once more, but the fox unfolded to be a crouching, disheveled, copper-haired child of indeterminate sex, a mischievous grin and very red wings, and the sidhe boy's foot went right through the fravashi child with no harm done at all. The fravashi child in turn stood up straight, put a hand to the new-comer's head and gave him a shove; the poor sidhe boy fell backwards and stared up at the fravashi in astonishment for a moment before bursting into tears, as the other false fox kits fell off their paws in gales of giggling. Her heart went out to him at once; he looked a bit like own Alistar at that age, but then again, she ruefully admitted to herself, she was so smitten with her child at this point that the worth of all other children in the universe were judged on how much they may or may not resemble her own.

"Ah! Brenan! I told ye to leave them be, nil hea?" The older woman scolded as she drew him away to hide behind her skirts again, richly dyed layers of cutin, cut to halfway down her calves, and open almost entirely in the front, over snug-fitting, brightly striped woven pants, and short leather gaiters. She had something to do with textiles, Delande decided, either weaver or dyer--an actual tailor would have likely fussed more over form.

Claravis immediately let out a sharp trill, and all the rest of the foxes became wee fravashi. Those little ones lined up, faces downcast and bright red or blue wings drooping, to be quietly chastised in one of the strange languages common to their kin. Even as he began to speak, she saw them start to waver and shimmer, like hot air rising from the pavement. In another few seconds, they all began to lose form entirely, in their shame, and he had not even finished speaking before half of them had become nothing more than a faint shimmer of sun on a skein of mist. Two were left, as tiny crawling red, black-spotted beetles on his hand.

"That is all. Fly away home, children." Claravis said mildly. He blew very softly across his palm, and they were gone, too.

Delande had watched all this, and she also watched Lugh, of course--she found his manner and method of dealing with the seemingly constant chaos of his court endlessly fascinating. He was on his feet, leaning on Nuada's old spear, which he had taken as a sign of his charge. He appeared reasonably regal, if not still somewhat careless of his appearance as ever; perhaps the sense of royalty was simply in the very evident ease he dealt with power. He wore his bright aura as if it were just another of his cloaks, and the exquisitely embroidered and fur-trimmed silk with the same manner as simple wool, and all the same, despite the general benevolence he exuded, Delande had seen this often enough to follow his lightning-fast, silent measuring and re-measuring of the scene, missing next to nothing. If only she had access to the process itself, and what he might be thinking, tá.

"What's all this, then?" He asked, and everything went rather still.

The woman, simple weaver or dyer that she was, went a bit wide-eyed, looking around at companions and hall and Delande and then at him again, as if suddenly recognizing the magnitude of company in what she'd walked into, and then made a very deep curtsy and went on quite determinedly anyway, which made Delande smile.

"If ye please, Ard Ri, sir, I'm called Grainne Frangag, and there's a problem of my daiv I'm hopin' ye could solve."

"Isn't that the sort of thing ye bring before your cridhos?" Lugh asked, looking mildly puzzled.

"If he was a sensible sort, I might trust him to handle it, but he's not, and if it's not a problem I can solve m' own self, which it's not, then I'd just as soon bring it to the best and most competent of us, tá?"

"Kindly keep that sort of thinking to yourself, lady, you'll put us all out of a vocation!" called a fravashi--a proper adult faery-born, rust-winged and wearing a cridhos' white and purple, who stood among the bystanders in the hall that day.

There was laughter, and the lady in question looked a bit indignant--she turned on the fravashi with an annoyed --""He's Ard Ri to all of us, and I hear tell I've every right to his attention, for good or ill, as any lord, nil hea?" Delande was delighted at her boldness, and the fravashi itself bowed its head briefly in respect.

Lugh waved everyone to silence.

"I thank ye for the compliment, I think--and you're right, and true, Grainne Frangag, I am Ard Ri to everyone--but I do draw the line at helping people thread their needles and plant their seed. Now then, let Us hear your problem, and hope it doesn't involve any of what I've mentioned."

"Nil hea, Ri-me, I'm not fool enough to bother you with naught I could do with my own hands. Tis this one here--" She attempted to draw the boy out from behind her skirts, but he clung most stubbornly, sniffling. "--he's a good strong lad, but he's young yet, and already his own mother can't handle him--she's covered with the marks of his temper." She gave up the struggle and continued on, hands raised in a minor shrug, fingers spread in apology for his behavior. "Tis on her behalf I bring him here, afore he ruins us. We're hopin' to see him off to his aithre, but she doesn't know him. He's of a power, though, we're certain."

"Ah." Lugh said, stroking his chin. "So it's a name you're wanting."

"Tá, Ri-me, if ye could."

"Your escort might have answered your question all along, had ye asked." Lugh grinned. "What say you, Ard Cridhos? Feel up to playing the norn today?"

Delande saw the Grainne do a double-take at her former escort, and had to bite her tongue to keep from giggling.

"I think I can manage." Claravis both answered Lugh and winked at Grainne reassuringly at once. "Bring him here."

Grainne Frangag managed to shuffle over to him, despite the boy still clinging rather tightly to both legs. He stared up at Claravis with such obvious apprehension that Delande wondered what it was he might be seeing, beyond a fragile, sickly, young-old man just beginning to shiver from a spreading chill, now that he'd come in out of the sun.

Claravis leaned over a bit, and extended a hand to the boy. "I should introduce myself properly, then. 'Ello there, Brenan. I am Ard Cridhos Claravis Secundus. It's very sorry I am, about some other fravashi's children. Although I think you'll find that other people's children tend to hold trouble in general, regardless of what their parents are."

He was entirely too young to understand most of what Claravis was saying, but he seemed to relax a bit all the same; he let go with one hand, but that hand was promptly wound up in his mouth. Claravis smiled. "What? I thought you were a warrior in the making, the way you kick. Did ye not want to clasp arms like one of the Ard Ri's company?"

Brenan continued sucking his fingers and regarding Claravis solemnly through eyes still slightly watery from his earlier bout of crying. Claravis extended a hand and opened it, and there rested the four-pointed star from his collar. The boy blinked at the sparkle of amethyst and diamonds set in gold, and took it from his hand. Claravis grinned and gently laid his free hand under the boy's hand and wrist and forearm, as Brenan carefully examined the broach and then tasted it, just in case it proved as good on the tongue as it was to his eyes. It wasn't, but he tried again, a different part, just to make sure. And just that quickly it was done. Claravis straightened a bit, smiling.

"Have ye seen his aithre then?" Grainne demanded to know.

"I think so, and I have all new sympathy for the trouble this child no doubt has caused ye both. You may tell her that I will see to it that the father will know his son and Brenan will be well-cared for."

"Se maith! You'll take him now then, and I'll go back to m'own home." Grainne said firmly. "I want to spend the night in my own bed by m' own fire, if I can. I've lost this day's work already."

"Tá, this only makes sense. Well met, Grainne Frangag. I wish you a swift and safe journey."

"Thank ye, and thank ye, Ard Ri-me." Grainne curtsied to all assembled one last time.

"Nil abair." Lugh smiled.

"Be good, lad, tá? Make us proud." She said, and gave the boy a kiss and a gentle hair tousle--and then remembering something, she fished around her skirts and handed him a somewhat faded but still obviously-well-crafted blanket--he clutched it close--and she turned and hurried out of the hall, without looking back, and Delande felt for the woman, who clearly hadn't realized that she might even miss the hellion the boy must have been, until it came time to leave him.

The instant she was gone, everyone turned to Claravis, who was trying, very gently, to convince the boy to give him his pin back.

Lugh cleared his throat very loudly. This did nothing.

He tried again. "...Ard Cridhos? Claravis?"

"Hmm? OH. Tá, Lugh, sorry. My pin...." He held it up apologetically, and Delande saw what was coming, and quickly pounced and picked the boy up before Claravis lost a shin to a well-placed kick.

"So come now, tell us who he is!" Lugh grinned, possibly a bit predatorily, as he laid the spear aside and seated himself on his throne. All around the hall, Delande could hear the whispers of wagers being placed.

"Let's see if you can guess, first." said Claravis, and he gestured for Delande to hand the boy over--easier said than done, because he had become fascinated with the beading on her silk, so she unwound herself from it after she passed him over, only to have him become deeply interested in the embroidery on Lugh's shirt. Stepping back, Delande looked at them together, blinked, and put a hand over her mouth. It couldn't be.

"RAWR." Brenan declared, pointing.

"Tá, that is a lion--oh, actually no, I think that's meant to be horse, actually. That there's a lion, though." Lugh bounced him quite expertly, and he looked at all the faces, full of the same dawning realization that had struck Delande first, quite oblivious to the anticipatory glee. "Cute, isn't he?"

"You would think so." Claravis agreed solemnly. This gave Lugh a moment's pause, and Delande had to laugh at his expression after the light struck.

"....Really? Someone here was actually mad or stupid enough--or both--to have a child of mine merely for the sake of having children?" Lugh puzzled out loud, as the hall filled with peals of laughter.

"Indeed, this one will be getting it from both sides, tá." Claravis Secundus remarked, below the hearing of all save he and Delande, and for once, Lugh had nothing readily on hand to use for a retort.

"OH." Delande exclaimed, all wide-eyed innocence. "Gavian is going to have all sorts of fun finding a purpose for him. After you tell her about this one, anyway."

Lugh gave her a rather dark look.

"...Can I watch?" Delande sparkled.

He gestured to her then the door. "Get out of my hall, witch."

She laughed, gave him an elaborate, sweeping curtsy, nearly to the floor, with palms pressed together and her head bowed over them, and started away.

"Nil hea, wait. You can indeed watch--"

She turned back.

"--My son." He added, as he nodded to Brenan. "If it please you, Rivuthaven? Can I trust ye to look to what he needs? I can't hold court with him on m'lap all day. He'll not be distracted for long, what with his being all tired from the trip. Dirty and hungry too, tá."

"You had best be very, very nice to me from now on, Lugh Samidanach." She said only half-teasingly, as she reached up for the boy.

He watched her cradle him close, taking back her lost length of silk along with the child, and already starting a song to soothe his cranky protests. "For this? I will." he said, with a deeply affecting sincerity.
Her arms full, she decided to let this pass without a fight. He might well be telling the truth this time. Or his very colorful version of it.

***

"You'd better be as you agreed." Delande murmured, once well past his hearing, against a cap of dark and sweaty curls. "As you may have caught me with the first, but I might raise this one to drop the sky on your head."

She walked back to her rooms, singing, carrying Lugh's youngest son and trailing silk behind her.

Date: 2009-06-15 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] youraugustine.livejournal.com
Although I think you'll find that other people's children tend to hold trouble in general, regardless of what their parents are

Certain persons who may at times wear red wings find this a very true statement! (Her children, on the other hand, are perfect.)

"You'd better be as you agreed." Delande murmured, once well past his hearing, against a cap of dark and sweaty curls. "As you may have caught me with the first, but I might raise this one to drop the sky on your head."

*solemn* This is why Himself likes her.

Date: 2009-06-15 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
uhuh. it's always other people's children. =p

delande can get rather pointy at times. i suspect one of the major reasons the back-and-forth with her and lugh didn't get particularly explosive was that at one point she decided she really liked tirnanog, and had real intention of going back home.

Date: 2009-06-15 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
uh. "NO real intention." *sigh*

Date: 2009-06-15 03:15 pm (UTC)
ext_12410: (Default)
From: [identity profile] tsuki-no-bara.livejournal.com
how many unrecognized kids does lugh have? also, i really like delande. altho i'm not 100% sure i'd trust her to raise lugh's kid....

Date: 2009-06-15 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] klgaffney.livejournal.com
that be all of them, as far as i know--random spawn of lower lords are more common. there's generally a motive involved when having the child of a title, because it's a challenging thing to try. most people quail at the idea of having a toddler being potentially a hell of a lot more powerful than they are--assuming they survive the pregnancy. >_>;

[he's kinda flailing about that one--unexpected kid was unexpected.]

Date: 2009-06-15 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
whoops, wrong login. =D

Date: 2009-06-15 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] illian.livejournal.com
"OH." Delande exclaimed, all wide-eyed innocence. "Gavian is going to have all sorts of fun finding a purpose for him. After you tell her about this one, anyway."

Lugh gave her a rather dark look.

"...Can I watch?" Delande sparkled.


Aaaaand there is Lugh being hoisted on his own petard. Almost literally.

And then he hands the child over to her.

. . .

I'm reminded of the part in Bujold's Vorkasigan books where Cordelia is utterly flabbergasted at the Counts having decided to shut her out of influencing the Empire.
By assigning her as guardian and teacher of the kid who will be the next Emperor until he turns 10 or so.

Lugh and the Counts both have a fine grasp of tactics. Their strategy needs some work however.

Date: 2009-06-15 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
yeeah. i gavian had, by that point told him that if they kept popping up out of the woodwork like that, she was going to stop going out of her way to keep them from each other's throats when they grew up. lilmin was quite the last straw as far as she was concerned.

*snerk* Yes. agreed. luckily delande's conflict in interest was gradually leaning more in his favor than against--but what a thing to take a chance on. >_>;

he quite literally didn't know what to DO with that one, and handing it one of the other mothers was rather out of the question--at this point i wouldn't be surprised if delande was essentially just splitting mommy-duties with the snake, as nemanda was barely interested, the tree was rather...confused as to what to do, and lilith had to be convinced that it would go really badly for her if she ate any spawn that weren't her own.

Date: 2009-06-15 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] illian.livejournal.com
Delande would probably turn a mass choir of wibbling little children on Gavian.

Well, my impression is that whatever may else may be going on, Delande wouldn't act against a child's interests, barring the end of the world scenarios. And even then it'd be a toss up. Faever nurturing instincts will EAT YOUR FACE. Which, as far as I'm concerned, is perfectly reasonable. Lugh's a big boy, he can fracking look after himself, especially if he is so stupid careless to keep siring children and then not taking an active interest in their rearing. But then I have issues. O:) Which seems to be a common theme amongst the royalty/nobility other than Oberon. (I'd have to go back and re-read to know for sure. Woe is me.)

We need need more mothering-snake time. My head-people so demand. *eyes them warily*. I can just imagine the dryad going "But, I've already DROPPED the seed! What more am I supposed to do?"

Date: 2009-06-15 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
what cracks me up is that gavian is agitated just with delande AROUND. she'd tried to give a purpose to the faerever children, but oberon flailed at her and said no. she's still possibly a bit cranky about that.

oberon...has interest, but his interest in his girls tipped in the other direction---possibly too selfish for a king to be allowed to have, really? and he ended up screwing his world over it. lugh tends to glee at the cute, but he ultimately he finds his children MUCH more interesting when they're old enough to actually do things. i've got him and jia again, but it's mostly imagery, him showing her around the forge. i'll have to find something else that doesn't demand quite as much research for the sake of a two para snip. (then he can teach them stuff and unleash them on the general public!)

*cackle* *adds lady bai + brood to the list* yeeeah, elidh is very nice tree, as far as trees go, and this whole thing is very interesting, but she's totally the mom that leaves her kid at checkout in the grocery store while shopping every. single. time.

Date: 2009-06-16 06:51 pm (UTC)
zero_pixel_count: a sleeping woman, a highway stretching out, mountains (Default)
From: [personal profile] zero_pixel_count
...isn't Claravis taking one hell of a risk getting within range of bad-tempered baby!Brenan?

Date: 2009-06-17 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
yes. yes he is. he seems pre-eminently sensible and wise, but every now and then he chooses to do something that makes me go "....." at him. not sure WHY he does these things, but he still appears to be here and in (mostly) one piece, in spite of himself.



Date: 2009-06-17 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparkindarkness.livejournal.com
They sing and dance a conversation and pass messages on the strings of instruments and elegant movements. That is so elegantly, beautifully faerie.

Favrashi kiddies, I don't know if they're funny or should be strangled :) At least Favrashi can control them!

Lugh is so perfectly a king. no trappings or procedure or formality, just him :)

I have to agree with the Favrashi though, everyone coming to the king would be chaos. Or not, being the independent Tirnanog sort and all :). It's certainly interesting - I can't see an Alfheimer or Avalonian doing it (and I suspect the Tanko folks would freak). And she's so... businesslike about it. Kind of like "I need a horsehoe, I'll see a blacksmith. I need a barrel, I'll see a cooper. I need advice, I'll go see the king."


Lugh is surprisingly good with kids - but I bet he's overly indulgent :)

Date: 2009-06-17 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] from-the-west.livejournal.com
most everything seems to take place on gaia, so it's nice to have room to play with this sort of thing. =)

the fravashi try, anyway. the range of success uh, varies. there's some pretty awful fravashi and descendents of fravashi roaming around out there. >_>;

nope i think the feathered one's right--it would be a mess. it just doesn't occur to everyone that they can just go and do that, luckily! cridhae are far more accessible and most people don't object to them quite as much as she does.

i suspect so too. i mean, he's only behaving at all because he's an ard ri and has certain responsibilities. his kids? not so much.

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