THE ANGST AND THE ANALYST
From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston
(Rated PG-13: Adult themes, sexual situations, mild language, mild violence, brief nudity)
Chapter XI – Part II
Additional servants greeted our little processional of carriages as we reached the great house. Father was insistent that Drusay and Gernsey be guests, as they were ‘family’, not ‘workers’, and had secured many stewards and waitpersons for the reception. Gernsey was still concerned about the food, however, and was able to convince Father to let her peek into the kitchen on occasion – just to make sure all was going well and up to her impeccable standards. The great hall was decorated with festive flowers and silk and taffeta streamers. There was just enough room to comfortably accommodate our 300-plus guests in the great hall.
The orchestra was set up just outside the large glass-paned doors to the garden and an expansive dance floor had been erected for the guests’ pleasure after the banquet. Festive lanterns had been hung that would lend their soft gentle light once the daylight faded and the full moon rose over the east wall. Filled with lush roses and fragrant gardenias, Father’s exotic garden was probably his most favorite pastime. Well, up until a tenday, or so, ago when he made Waukeen’s acquaintance.
We had greeted each guest individually upon their arrival and they were properly escorted to their seats for the grand banquet. Exotic foods from the four corners of Faerun filled long tables and wait staff in red velvet jackets, crisp white shirts, and black breeches served every imaginable wine and liquor to the jovial crowd. An overseer stood unobtrusively at the side and dutifully watched his charges go about filling everyone’s whim and fancy. A non-clerical Marybeth Fatewatch, I thought as I watched him, but interested in the fulfillment of the physical needs, as opposed to the spiritual needs.
All had arrived and we finally took our place at the head table. I had been starving since we left the Church, and I urged Father most directly to be on with it. He stood, called for attention and the grand room respectfully quieted to listen.
He raised his glass of champagne. “I want to thank you all for being with us on such a grand and glorious day, the occasion of my daughter MorningGlory’s blessed union with Hendak, son of the lovely Goddess Waukeen.” Sitting next to him, he respectfully bowed his head to her, and ever so sweetly she smiled up at him. “And it is with the greatest of pleasure I would propose a toast to my Daughter and new Son – to a blessed and happy union filled with the laughter of love and faithful devotion.”
“Here, here,” Sir Ryan chimed in, lifted his glass and rose to his feet beside Father. The crowd rose in unison and a resounding “Here, here!” echoed through the house followed by the sound of tinkling glass. It was official. The feasting could begin, and not a moment too soon for me. It was noisy, it was jubilant, and it was delicious.
The chaos of just a few hours earlier was long forgotten with the food and drink, and Boo even converted a few of the timid as Minsc carefully introduced him to the more curious seated around him. A few brave souls even attempted to feed the little imp. And, under the direction of his master, Boo actually engaged a few guests in a trick or two. I even noticed Minsc attempting to make amends by dancing with Lady Smythe a bit later. For a rather large man, he was most agile and not clumsy at all, although he claimed he couldn’t remember where or how he learned to dance in the first place. Sir Ryan was even more ecstatic that Minsc had caught the dear Lady’s eye, as she, according to him, had been in ‘hot pursuit’ of our wonderful, widowed Knight even before Lord Smythe had grown cold in his grave, having passed on only a few months prior.
Sir Conrad seemed totally restored. He had changed into a spare set of dress whites generously offered by Sir Ryan, and Anomen had healed his two cracked ribs, but not before Charona had made his acquaintance by ministering aid and comfort at the Church. It was she who had approached Anomen and asked him to do a minor healing, as the young man’s pride and embarrassment seemed to prevent him from doing so. Anomen was only too happy to oblige her request. Maybe there was something good destined to come out of Boo’s little escapade after all, I thought, as I saw the young Knight and my assistant with their heads together in engaging conversation. The carefully placed giggles that Charona interjected during his stories told me she had more than just his good health at heart.
Riona and Anomen were totally wrapped up in each other. A marriage proposal seems to do that, I thought, and was happy to see them so totally absorbed with each other. It wouldn’t be very long and we would all be doing this again -- but for them. And after all they had been through together over the past four years, I could think of no couple more deserving of such happiness and the opportunity to begin life yet anew.
Father was the perfect host, and with Waukeen constantly by his side, and of course, Hamblen Davenport constantly by her side, everything went very smoothly. She did try desperately to ‘fit in’ as inconspicuously as a goddess can, and for the most part was very successful. Many of her faithful did come to pay homage, but only briefly and to tell her their hope and faith had been restored with her visitation. But, Father and she danced and the more-than-casual attachment between them was very, very evident to everyone, except maybe Hamblen Davenport. My Father and the Goddess, I thought, and could only sigh. It took a goddess to bring my father back to the world of being a real mortal man. I had to chuckle to myself at the irony of it.
The party lasted into the late evening hours. However, I didn’t make it that far. Not long after dark I began to feel very tired and Hendak and I excused ourselves from our guests to retire to our apartment upstairs. The faint strains of the orchestra and the gentle laughter of dancing couples in the garden below could be heard through our open chamber windows. But it wasn’t at all intrusive. It was, in fact, soothing and seemed to beckon the full moon spilling its light through our large east windows. The soft music and the dappled light completed the magic of the room already filled with the heady scent of gardenias wafting on the warm late-spring breeze.
“I want to undress my new wife.” Hendak slightly raised one eyebrow and half-smiled as he closed the door to our bedchamber behind him and immediately shed his white tunic and dropped it to the floor. As he approached me, the soft moonlight playfully shadowed across the pale blond hair on his muscular chest. The sight of him still made me catch my breath. “I want to see if this woman I married today has changed since she left my bed this morning,” he said in a low throaty voice.
He walked over to me and as he neared I could see the playful glint reflected faintly in his eyes. I stood perfectly still and smiled to myself as he walked behind me and began to deftly unbutton the tiny pearls down my back. “You were so beautiful today, my love,” he whispered and bent to kiss the nape of my neck. His lips moved slowly down to the top of my shoulder as he slowly pulled away the bodice of the dress He paused, kissing me again.
“Don’t see any change yet,” he said softly and caressed my shoulders with his warm fluid hands. I could feel the heat from his chest radiate against my bare back as he stood only scant centimeters away. He reached around and pulling gently, loosened each of the form-fitting sleeves. With my arms freed, the dress fell away into a billowy white cloud at our feet. “As beautiful as she was the first day I fell in love with her,” he sighed, sliding his arms around my bare middle. He cupped my breast with one hand as he pulled me back against him, hugging me close. His other hand came to rest lightly on my swollen belly and he caressed it lovingly.
“Thank the Gods,” he leaned and whispered in my ear. “I sense no real changes yet.” Then he picked up my hand and looked over my shoulder at the simple elegant ring. “The only difference I can see is the gold band on her finger.” He paused briefly staring at the ring reflected in the soft light and pressed his face next to mine. “All else is as it was and as it should be,” he sighed and I could feel his facial muscles pull against my cheek as he smiled to himself and again gently rested his hand on my stomach.
For a very long time, we stood there peacefully drenched in the moonlight, caught in the spell woven by the faint music and the sweet smell of flowers drifting into our bedchamber. “I want you, my wife.” He nuzzled his face into my neck and held me even closer and tighter to him. “I want to make love to you this first night as your husband,” he whispered, then without waiting for an answer, he scooped me up and carried me to the bed that was covered in the new silk sheets traditional of the wedding night.
We were scheduled to leave for the seashore for almost a full tenday the next afternoon. It would be relaxing after all the activity of the past several days. Mother Waukeen was going to stay with Father for a couple of days more then she would return to the Outlands. There were hints by both of them that some interim visits were secretly planned between the two planes before the birth of their Grandchildren. In the final days before the union ritual, the two had been left to themselves and I was suspicious that perhaps more than just a physical attraction and bonding had developed. I would query Father after our return from our trip.
Riona and Anomen were off to Trademeet at the request of the Mayor, a guest during the festivities of the prior evening. Some new problem possibly brewing in the region with which they could assist. They had taken Valygar and Minsc with them. And, of course, Boo. Riona had wanted to stop and visit her sister, Imoen, on the way back, so they could begin her wedding plans.
Father had invited Sir Ryan to continue his stay at the great house for a few more days, then perhaps after Waukeen’s departure, they would go fishing up in the north country until we returned. Sir Ryan had happily accepted.
“Someone has to look after your Father while you are gone,” he chuckled. “Who better than a Knight of the Order? Perhaps we will take Anomen with us to the North when he returns. Riona will want to spend time with her sister, so it is a perfect opportunity for a men’s fishing trip.” I couldn’t help but be wary now when I heard ‘men’s’ anything. A small chill ran down my spine.
“That would be good, Sir Ryan,” I smiled at him knowing the thought of being able to spend time with his son pleased him to no end. They were really very much alike – not only physically in their looks and stature, but in their sensitivities as well. It was of professional interest to me to see such similarities between related people that were not necessarily the products of mutual environments. As it was, I had the feeling when our first joint session took place in another ten-day, my job would be made easier by their own efforts to get to know each other. I found myself looking forward to charting their progress.
I kissed Mother Waukeen goodbye and thanked her again as we boarded the carriage to take us down the coast.
“I will visit again, soon, my Daughter,” she promised. “I have no intention of forsaking my wonderful, mortal family!” She laughed and smiled at Father. Yes, Father and I were going to have that talk the minute I returned.
“Dearest Daughter and Son,” began Father, “do have a relaxing time. All too soon will it end when you return and the babies arrive!” And he laughed.
Our trip was relaxing and fun and all the things one wishes and hopes for. We ate, we lay in the sun, we danced, we made love, and we became totally absorbed in each other as we let the rest of the world pass us by. It was over far too soon and several days later, late afternoon, we found ourselves pulling up in front of the great house.
“Daughter! Son!” Father greeted us at the door. “You have returned! And you both look marvelous! The rest and relaxation has certainly agreed with you!” He swung the door wide for us. “Gernsey has been expecting you and we will have dinner shortly.” He was ecstatic to see us and followed up with hugs and kisses for us both.
We entered the lounge and sat down. It felt good to be stationary. The carriage ride home seemed bumpier than when we departed and I was slightly road-weary. Father proceeded to regale us with various ‘fish’ stories from their trip of which he, Sir Ryan, and Anomen had returned only that morning. Very little was said about Waukeen and her departure and I knew Father well enough to know he was being deliberately quiet about her. I would have to wait until tomorrow when I had the opportunity to question him in private.
Dinner was long and leisurely and it felt good to be home. We were both tired, however, and retired to our apartment after I consumed a second portion of Gernsey’s special mixed fruit pie. It had always been my favorite since I was a little girl and she never forgot.
It felt good to be back in our own bed again and I curled up next to Hendak and we both promptly fell asleep.
I was really anxious to go to my office the next morning. Hendak and I shared a carriage first to drop me off and then to ferry him to the Coronet. He was looking forward to getting back into the stream of things as well and although he had full confidence in Bernard, he still liked being on-site.
“Mistress!” Ki said as I entered my office. “You look wonderful!”
“Charona didn’t give you any extra seeds, hmmm?” I mused.
“No, Mistress, but you still look wonderful. I missed you,” he said. I didn’t realize Kirani birds could ‘miss’ someone. I wondered if it was a learned response on his part, or if, indeed, he had felt that emptiness associated with the absence of someone or something. Regardless of whatever it was, I decided I wanted to believe he did miss me.
“Oh, Ki,” I said and leaned over and kissed him lightly on top of his head. “I missed you, too.” I did so love this big feathered almost-mortal-to-me.
“Mistress, when the babies come, will you stop coming to the office?” he asked rather timidly.
“For a time I will, Ki,” I replied. It occurred to me he was concerned about what was going to happen to him. “But, Ki, I am going to bring you home with me and you are going to help me look after the twins. Would you like that?”
“Oh, yes, Mistress. I could sing to them as they sleep,” he cheerfully replied. “And, of course, I can keep an ever watchful eye on the scruffy muffins.” Something else I had never heard of a Kirani doing, fabricating their own idioms.
“You may be their back-up nanny, Ki! How would you feel about that?” I giggled. Then Ki did something I had never seen him do before. He laughed and danced from foot to foot on his perch. That deserved a rice cake, I thought.
I sat down at my desk and called Charona into my office.
“Anything I should know about?” I asked. “Like how things are progressing between you and our young Sir Conrad?”
“Nothing of consequence, Mistress,” she blushed, changing the subject. “I cleaned the chair of the blood stains with a spell I made up, but I couldn’t do much for the desk. I found a carpenter who fixed it temporarily. But you are going to need a new one.”
“Thank you, Charona. I truly appreciate it.”
“And I trust your trip was restful and, of course, fun?” she asked.
“It was lovely,” I nodded and grinned. “When I have an opportunity, I will tell you all about it. But, do we not have a joint appointment for Sir Ryan and Anomen soon?”
She nodded. “They are expected momentarily, Mistress.”
“Very good,” I smiled. It felt good to be back to work, I thought as I pulled out my notes and readied for the session. I was truly looking forward to this one.
The session lasted until noon and was virtually effortless on my part. Their total acceptance of one another was uncanny. They had accomplished in two tendays what most fathers and sons take a lifetime to achieve, if at all. I was most impressed at how dedicated and bonded they were to each other. It had been almost instantaneous by practitioner’s standards. But, they were both very consciously aware of the ‘gift’ they had been given, and over the fishing trip Father had wisely given them a wide berth to discuss this at length. They had both determined to make the absolute most of this beautiful and precious revelation and to never take it for granted. It was reaffirming to observe these two men so consciously constructing this wonderful relationship on the mutual faith and trust that each had in the other.
As they left, Charona reminded us of the session for Anomen two days later. I was going to stay at the house the ‘morrow to catch up and to rest. Anomen also mentioned that Riona was going to be dropping by today later in the afternoon and I really looked forward to seeing her.
I was just finishing transcribing the morning session when Riona leaned her head around my door into my office.
“Got a minute?” she smiled.
“For you? Anytime!” I laughed and got up and met her at the doorway.
“Oh! Oh! The lovely Riona!” Ki couldn’t contain himself and began singing a beautiful love ballad. My suspicions were confirmed! My silly Kirani bird had a crush on Riona! Riona looked at me rather puzzled at his strange behavior.
“I think Ki has a special feeling for you, Riona,” I explained. “You may say hello to him, if you wish. I know he would more than appreciate it.” And I winked where he couldn’t see me. She walked over to him and he hushed immediately. He was almost shy in her approach.
“Ki, it is so lovely to see you again,” she said and planted a kiss on top of his head. I thought I heard him literally swoon and hoped he was firmly planted on his perch. I didn’t want to have to wrestle a 40-pound mass of fainted feathers back on his stand.
“And you as well, lovely Riona,” he cooed and rubbed his head against her hand. Yes, it was more than obvious he was totally infatuated with the beautiful Riona.
“Now, what brings you here today,” I asked and we sat in the two patient chairs facing each other. “Is there something with Anomen I should know?”
“Oh, no. All is very good with Anomen.” She smiled. “Actually, better than ever. I came to ask you if you would be my Standing Woman and if Hendak would be Standing Man at our union ritual.” She blushed ever so slightly. “I would ask you to be my maid, but my sister Imoen is going to be maid.”
“Oh, Riona, I would be most honored!” I said. “Now when have you set the date?”
She proceeded to tell me it was scheduled for two months away, and as I sat and we figured it, the proposed date was a tenday before the babies were due. Plenty of time before the ‘scruffy muffins’ made their appearance.
“Well, if nothing else, Waukeen is precise. If she said three months when I had the dream, she meant three months. So, I don’t see a problem with the twins interfering.”
“Good, I was hoping you would say that,” she said and hugged me.
We talked for a while longer and I told her about our trip and she told me about their trip to Trademeet and her visit with her sister. Then we laughed about the men going fishing. It was a wonderful, but too short, visit and she soon had to leave to attend to other errands.
Soon the day was done and Hendak stopped to pick me up for the ride home. We left Charona to feed Ki and lock up. Ki was still euphoric from Riona’s visit and still singing the ballad he had initiated earlier.
As I had planned, I stayed home the next day. I was thankful I had picked that one to stay in as it rained all morning and I stayed huddled in the window seat watching the dark clouds roll behind Waukeen’s Church spires. Father came home and we shared noon meal together. Since it was just the two of us, I saw the perfect opportunity to pounce on him with all of my questions about Waukeen. Not that it was any of my business, but I felt compelled to make it my business.
“Father,” I said. “You must fill me in on your status with Waukeen.” I licked the sweet raspberries from my fingers.
“And, Daughter, just what do you mean by the word ‘status,’ he replied as he leaned back in his chair and intently looked at me. Drusay served him his usual cup of café.
“Father, don’t be coy with me,” I said and giggled. “I want to know what’s going on.”
“Well,” he began, “If you must know, we have planned several visitations – both here and other places as well.” He leaned forward and picked up his spoon to stir his cup.
“Father!” I giggled more. “That’s wonderful! At least, I think that’s wonderful. It is, isn’t it?” I tried to gauge the reaction on his face.
He nodded and smiled, still stirring and staring into the cup. “Yes, Daughter, it is quite nice, indeed, but I do not intend to share anything more than our schedule with you. At least, not right now.” He chuckled to himself. My dear Father had suddenly rediscovered that lovers’ secrets were the best kind.
“Oh, Father, I am so happy for you,” and I reached over hugged him tightly, managing to slop his café over into the saucer. I was happy for him.
“Why, thank you, Daughter,” he continued to chuckle to himself, his face slightly blushed. “But I’m still not divulging any information.” He snorted and dabbed at the café in the small plate with his napkin.
The next day was clear and bright and at precisely at mid-morn Anomen made his appearance at my office door. He was in an extraordinary mood.
“Madam, you are looking radiant today,” he grinned from ear to ear and bowed low..
“Anomen, you are too charming for your own good. Please come in and sit down,” I giggled at him as he closed the door behind him and sauntered in to take his chair. He noticed the chairs and the desk had been replaced since Sir Ryan’s and his appointment of two days ago.
“New furniture, Glory? I did promise you, but how were you –“ he started but I interrupted him.
“Mother Waukeen has a thing for chairs,” I said. “My desk and the chairs – a gift from her. Somehow she keeps tabs on those types of things. It’s the image, I imagine. Can’t have the daughter-in-law of the Mistress of Coin operating in broken or shabby surroundings.” My beautiful new tapon desk and the chairs had been delivered yesterday in my absence and had been a complete surprise to me when I had arrived this morning. I walked around and sat down at my desk. It was time to get on with the business at hand.
“Anomen, I want you to talk about you today,” I said. “And, we have all day.”
TO BE CONTINUED………
The Angst and The Analyst XI (Part II)
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