In many accounts Vaush has displayed the ability to function at almost any social level. He is reported to be equally comfortable at the Entian Court as among the wagons of the highlanders. Vaush could drink tea with the Empress of Aranaad or swill stale stout with the sailors of Hartwich. This social mobility is due in part to Veronica’s willingness to see the young man exposed to the rougher world at large. It is to be wondered at; was this intentional? Did Veronica intend for her son to be so adaptable? Though in his account, Veronica was concerned at Robert’s influence. By any accounting however Vaush was a social chameleon capable of blending at nearly any level.
- G.M. Frasier Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University of Cadris
Sometimes when I fart, it burns. To much wine, I think. The stuff has always given me gas. Not that I haven’t loved it from time to time, but to much wine and I can clear a room. Most intolerable at fine gatherings among the horribly arrogant gentry. It was some years later when I dined with … never mind that is a story for another time; much later.
For now, I will tell of of my life before wine and wind made for privy moments.
Robert trained me hard for several days after the incident with Quail. By all accounts the boy was healing fine. His mother and father were relieved to have him returned. Robert’s training had taken a turn for the more interesting. While we still tumbled and rolled, squatted and jumped. Now, however we worked on movement exercises. Robert erected dowels and I was to move among them; it was an exercise that I took to; easily moving among then. The patterns became rapidly more complex and still I was able to move among the vertical sticks with ease. The complexity continued to increase until Robert ran out of dowels. In time he added another dimension. He would feint and strike as I maneuvered through the wooden maze.
In any case it came time once again to ascend to the social heights of the Lord Baron Locke. Oddly I found myself looking forward to visiting the Simon. Even at this age I was suspected the relationship was being unnaturally fostered for the usefulness that it represented. However I found myself growing fond of the young na-baron, even though I would not admit it even to myself.
As we arrived in our usual state of ridiculous luxury, it became apparent that we were not alone. Our visit seemed to have been usurped by the arrival of a band of highlanders. These rough folk had brought with them a pack of horses and a brace of lumber. I was astonished that the women were working among the horses and stacks of wood along with the men. They were all armed with bows, arrows and swords.
Inside we were greeted with the usual pomp and circumstance. We were introduced to the McPhersons; which was the clan of highlanders that we had seen upon our arrival. After that we the piano lessons began. Veronica, with her usual grace performed and educated us. In time the Lord Baron himself arrived and invited Veronica and I to stay for dinner and to meet his family. An odd invite to be sure; the baron inviting his whore and her son to dinner, but if that was his want, then so be it.
At this point it entered my mind that Simon and I were in danger of sharing sibling. There was nothing for it, but it disturbed me just the same. After the lessons we were shepherded to private rooms to prepare for the evening’s meal. I was dressed in a few moments. Gail had arrived; word apparently was sent back to the manor. Veronica however took considerably longer. Gail politely asked me to go somewhere else so my mother’s dignity could be preserved. That’s a laugh, as near as I could tell she was spreading it all for the Baron. If she wanted to maintain the virtuous illusion with her son, then so be it. I left the room and was suddenly at my own devises.
With the axiom of the you can’t go wrong by going right, I departed in the opposite direction then I had come. There were doors and posh hangings, nothing so extravagant as the Eve’s Palace, but well enough. I poked my head in a few doors. Saw lots of storage places and peeked in on a highlander girl taking a bath. Her name was Amber I learned, and she cleaned up well enough. On my way back down I was spotted by one of the servant. I claimed I was lost and it took a few moments for ingrate to understand where I was from. I had said was Vaush Rush. The thought made my skin crawl and I did not even like the sound of it.
I eventually ended back with the piano before we, Simon and I, were called to dinner. There was tension there of a feminine variety. A near on cat fight between Veronica who arrived in tremendous splendor. I thought the men around to table were going lustfully explode right there at the table. The Baron practically choked on his own spit when he saw her. It makes me laugh even now at the greatly different reaction of Amber’s mother, Ruby Mcpherson. There was such an air of contempt there that the ether about the table fairly congealed into ice. The rough highland woman could have ripped Veronica open and laid her giblets on the table in a moment, but Veronica danced polite circles around the woman.
This was all the undercurrent however. The conversation was held by the men of the manor, but driven by Veronica who steered, asking questions. By most about the table it was obvious. Veronica was probing for information; discovering things that, while they were hardly state secrets, were most likely things that no one would want Rush to know. The less that monster knows about you the better.
Blaze Mcpherson and the Lord Locke, distant relatives yammered at each other as only old friends could. Simon himmed and hawed himself into a summer in the highland camp. Veronica thought that I could toughen enough within the walls of Eve’s Palace and I was momentarily sparred the indignity.
After dinner we left and I told my mother that perhaps an opportunity had been missed by not accepting the invitation. She queried me about young Simon and if I was growing fond of the boy. I told her that he could be useful. She balked at this with a sour retort that I was spending to much time under the guidance of Robert. She should talk, the harlot.
In time however it was decided. I would travel the highlanders east to Glenfeld. There was preparation that was required and I would be given a crash course in horsemanship. The next weeks were a blur.
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