Story: The Mondian Chronicles (Archive/Index Under Construction)
Challenge: Creamsicle 8: wisdom
Toppings and Extras: Gummy Bunnies (#88: Thought from 100_tales) and Malt: From the I'll Jingle YOUR Bell ficathon prompt from mzyra "maids of honor, mistresses"
Word Count: 481
Summary: I wonder sometimes where we went wrong with him.
Notes: This piece takes place in 1132 AW. Henri has recently divorced his fourth queen, Analise of Konte, and is about to wed his fifth: Lady Martine Bauldry who is pregnant with his child. Elisabet is his mother. Andre is his younger brother. Eleonora "Elle" is a Segrian noblewoman that married a Mondian nobleman when she came to Monde with Elisabet's entourage.
Eleonora looked up from her embroidery. Elisabet, the Queen Dowager, was standing and looking in the direction of the window, though she didn’t think that the Queen was actually looking out the window.
“Yes, my lady?”
“I’ve noticed something about my son,” Elisabet said rubbing her hands together.
“I assume you are talking about His Majesty.”
“Yes. Andre is my good boy.”
“What have you noticed?” Eleonora said putting down the fabric she held.
“My son...he tends to choose his paramours and increasingly his wives from his previous wife’s service.”
Eleonora frowned. “I don’t understand.”
“Anna was a maid of honor to Therese and then Jeanne was a maid of honor to Anna and so on and all of his major mistresses have served under his wives.”
“I’ve never thought of it like that, my lady.”
Elisabet came over and sat down next to Eleonora. She picked up her embroidery, but made no move to start it.
“This new girl that he’s planning on marrying, she was a maid of honor to both my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter.”
“The girl is rather young, Eleonora observed.
“She’s five years younger than Marie-Therese,” Elisabet said frowning.
Eleonora was quiet. She watched Elisabet stare off into the distance.
“I just wonder, Elle…”
Elisabet looked over at her. “I wonder where we went wrong with him. I didn’t have much of a say in his upbringing as I did with Andre because he was the eldest. But I wonder if I had been more persistent, then he would have turned out different.”
“Oh, my lady.”
Elisabet sighed. “After the whole fiasco with Therese and Anna, I started seriously doubting myself. If I had just been more…assertive in his upbringing, then everything would be alright.”
Eleonora dropped her embroidery and knelt in front of Elisabet. She took her hands in hers.
Elisabet did not look at her.
“Lisbet,” Eleonora said softly.
Elisabet looked at her. She smiled sadly.
“You cannot blame yourself. Henri is his own man. You can only do so much. You just have to hope that your children take it to heart.”
“I fear I did not do enough, Elle.”
Eleonora gripped her hands tighter.
“You did not have a choice, Lisbet. You had two very headstrong people to contend with.”
Elisabet smiled. “Henri is so much like his father. He inherited that stubbornness from his grandmother.”
Eleonora smiled back. “Everything will be alright, Lisbet.”
“But what if it won’t? I have a bad feeling about this, Elle. He’s rushing into this marriage too soon.”
“We will pray,” Eleonora said standing up. “Maybe this girl will soothe his fragile heart. Maybe the child she carries will be a son. God Above willing, she’s young enough to have many healthy sons.”
“I hope so,” Elisabet said.
“You must believe so.”
Elisabeth sighed. “I don’t know what to believe in anymore.”