Halfblood Part XIV--Varian's People

Fiction By Heather // 3/4/2010

~*~Hey everyone, sorry this is so short--thought I'd give you a bit to enjoy since I'm busy right now. Hope you like it. I'm super excited--this is my last post as an unmarried author!!! :0)~*~

 

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"Here's another of yer bloods' differences," Kearah said as they finally came to her front door.

"The hospitality."

"Aye. Dad would come home tellin' us of the Lowlands. None had our hospitality. He said that Lowlanders are suspicious of all newcomers."

"I wonder why."

"I think it's the land up here, in part. It's so inhospitable that we all come together and help each other to overcome it."

Varian nodded. "The Highlanders are overcomers in most of history. The only time they really failed was the Sunderin' War."

Kearah snorted. "I think ye'll find that bit of history was tweaked by some in your country."

"Why do ye say that?"

Kearah pushed the door open. "Ye'll see."

Varian followed her and was assailed by waves of noises, smells, and sights. Three little ones, two boys and a girl, ran shrieking in delight to Kearah. Varian caught sight of a well-laden table before he was enveloped in Lia's arms.

"Welcome to my house, Varian," she said. She shut the door and smiled. "How did trainin' go?"

"Didn't do much of it. The Lairds arrived before we could." Varian had to raise his voice.

"Oh, aye." Lia clapped her hands as she turned into the room. "Mika! Mishal! Tannre! Hush yer voices now, or outside, the lot of ye. Why don't ye sit by the fireplace, Varian? The girls and I'll have dinner out in nae time. Tannre, why donnae ye go find yer brother Solvar?"

"Right mother!" One of the boys ran out the front door just as three more girls came out of the kitchen, each carrying a large bowl of food. Varian watched them set it on the large table and mentally counted the number of chairs. He blinked and recounted. Aye, there were fifteen chairs set around the large table.

"How many siblin's do ye have?" Varian asked Kearah, trying to hold back his surprise.

"There's thirteen of us. Och, I know it's a large number. A baker's dozen, as Mother says. Three of them are out of the house, though."

"Solvar ain't!" someone said.

"Solvar isn't," Kearah corrected, twitching a corner of the tablecloth straight. "Well, he's gone so much on patrols that he may as well be out of the house. Our two oldest sisters are married with goodly families of their own. How many siblin's do ye have?"

"There was only my brother and I."

"Only two? Life must've been borin'!"

"Kearah!" Lia chided.

"It wasn't, really. Too much to larn and do."

"Such as?"

"I had weapons classes, and strategy courses, plus my regular subjects from a tutor."

"Och, book-larnin'." Kearah winced. "I dinnae like bein' cooped up in the house larnin' from dry books whilst I could be runnin' on the hills or flyin'."

Varian raised his eyebrows. "Ye fly?"

"With the best of them," Kearah shot back defensively. "I can fly as well as my brother Solvar, and he's a scout. I'm also an archer. Jokk says it's not a woman's place on the front lines or else I'd be trainin' with the other recruits."

"Aye, and right Jokk is," a male voice said from behind them.

Varian turned to see a young man with curly red hair enter the front door. His skin was olive in tone, and from his features Varian could see that he was Kearah's brother. He smiled and extended his right hand.

"Solvar. Welcome to our house," the Highlander said.

"Varian. Well met." Varian shook his hand.

Solvar greeted his siblings and hugged Lia. "Supper almost ready? Good. I havenae a warm meal for three nights now."

"Och! How does Jokk expect his warriors to be in their best health when they're nae allowed a fire to warm their supper, I wonder." Lia sighed. "Ah well, the man is a good captain and a better laird. He knows what he's doin'. How did yer patrols go, Solvar?"

Varian smirked as Solvar's eyes cut to him, then back to Lia. "Ye dinnae need to worry, Solvar."

"All the same, I'd rather nae speak of it until ye have been accepted by the lairds."

"Fair enough."

One of the younger sisters poked her head through the kitchen door. "Moira says to be seated and we'll have the rest of the food out here in a mite."

There was a clamor as the younger ones rushed to the table. Kearah directed Varian to a chair and took one across the table from him. Solvar started to sit by Varian, but a look from Lia directed him to reluctantly take the chair at the head of the table.

The three girls came out, deposited more bowls and platters of food, and took their seats. Solvar bowed his head and said a soft, quick blessing. As soon as he said the final words, mostly male hands snatched at the bowls, scooping food onto their plates and passing it to their right.

The meal passed quickly for Varian. All of the children had very outgoing personalities, and sometimes it was difficult to separate individual words from the babble around the table. With just one family, he felt like he was at the noisiest festival of the year. Questions flew at him from all directions. Everyone seemed to be interested in every single bit of his life history. Varian freely shared all that he could with them.

Kearah was one of the most inquisitive ones. Varian was surprised, but felt that for her to be anything other than curious would demote her to the rank of the simpering, giggling, flirtatious girls of the Lowland court. Her eyes sparkled as she asked him questions, waited for the answers, then went on to speak with her siblings, only to turn to him again within a minute or two. Her sarcastic wit was the frequent cause of laughter, none of the family taking offense.  

Varian smiled to himself. She's very different, but I like it.

The only one who didn't talk much was Solvar. He ate quickly, then sat watching his family jest and laugh with a crooked half-smile on his face, and though he looked alert, Varian could tell by his slumped shoulders that he was tired.

As the last scrap of food was devoured, Lia announced, "Kearah, Solvar, ye two sit by the fire with our guest and keep him company while the rest of us clean up."

"I can help—" Varian started.

"Not another word about it. Guests dinnae work for their food in my house." Lia stood and bustled about the table, stacking plates. The others followed her example as Varian moved to the fireplace.

"Ye're the most open Lowlander I've ever heard tell of," Solvar said, settling on one of the fireplace benches.

Varian shrugged. "Honest men are trustworthy men, as my father used to say."

"Aye, there's some truth in that."

Kearah pulled up a rocking chair. "Varian, ye told us how old ye is, that you like to practice the sword and read, and that ye was a prince. But are ye married?"

"Nae, I'm only twenty!"

"When my eldest sister married, her husband was only twenty and she was seventeen. I'm nineteen and not even a prospect yet, and nae likely to be one soon!" Kearah said laughingly. "Solvar broke the family tradition of bein' married before twenty-one. He's nigh on twenty-three."

"And in these times, I dinnae feel right marryin' when war could break out and I could be killed at any time," Solvar grumbled.

Varian nodded. "Yer brother has wisdom, Kearah."

"Och, I know that! But sometimes its hard to tell the difference between when he's bein' a stick in the mud and when he's being wise. How about this question, Varian: how long have ye known of yer Highlander blood?"

"Och, Kearah, such questions!" Solvar chided.

"I dinnae mind," Varian said. "It's refreshin' to have someone ask about me, instead answerin' unasked questions about myself. Kearah, my mother never made it a secret that she was a Highlander. But there's much I dinnae know about her—I don't even know how she and my father met. She died when I was eight."

Kearah's sparkling eyes dimmed. "Oh. I'm sorry. Then—then ye know too of what it's like to loose a parent."

A sharp pang knifed through Varian's chest. "Aye."

"And to be left wonderin' for twelve years! I dinnae know how ye managed to stay in the Lowlands for this long."

"I felt like it was my duty."

"Aye, a warrior's duty," Solvar agreed. "But I'm glad ye've came back to yer mother's people."

"My people."

 

 

Comments

Very Intriguing

I feel kind of "cliff-hanged" again... in the middle of a conversation.  But I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  I like listening in on these conversations.  Thanks for posting more.

James | Fri, 03/05/2010

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Just visited your other blog...

 How many more days until your wedding, Heather?!! Two?!!!

Sarah Bethany | Fri, 03/05/2010

Kearah has guts.

Kearah has guts.

Anna | Fri, 03/05/2010

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

:)

I'm so happy. :) Both 'cuz there's a new and wonderful chapter of Halfblood up, and because today is your wedding! :) 

I love Kearah's family. That's how I'd love my family to be someday.

Kyleigh | Sat, 03/06/2010

This story is just getting

This story is just getting better and better. :)  I like Solvar a lot...he's cool.  I imagine he's a spectacular warrior, for all his silence.

And congrats!!  By this time you're a married lady!  :D

Clare Marie | Sat, 03/06/2010

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"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

...

First off, Congrats, Heather!!! From what I've been told, you have found the perfect guy--God Bless, and good luck

Second: Great chapter--post more soon! LOL, isn't that always the refrain...

LoriAnn | Sat, 03/06/2010

Hey everyone, thought I

Hey everyone, thought I should reply to these comments now:

James: I know, I have this bad habit of ending a chapter with a bit of conversation. Sorry that it leaves you "cliff-hanged". But I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Sarah Bethany: Keep sticking around my blog...there will be wedding pics!

Anna: Yes, Kearah's like that. :0)

Kyleigh: Thanks! :0D I kind of based Kearah's family off my husband's family (I love being able to say he's my husband now!!!). Except there's only 10 kids in the family, but the last 5 kids are a little, chatty Down syndrome girl of 2, then boys from ages 13-5. It gts VERY noisy sometimes, and when we've been used to a quiet apartment, it can be overwhelming for a bit. ;0) I love big families!

Clare Maire: I'll give you a hint about Solvar; you hit the nail on the head!

LoriAnn: Thank you, and you are very right, but I won't post a list of Justin's perfections and bore you. And yes, always the refrain, but my artist's soul sucks it up like a sponge... :0)

And to all, I'm ow almost 5 chapters ahead in Half Blood and plan to start posting again in early April. If everything goes according to plan I hope to have it finished by the end of April, and we'll see how often I post chapters after that! :0)

Heather | Tue, 03/30/2010

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

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