The women sat in Sophies chambers, unlike Sebastian Helewys had a nursery an adjoining room where it was easy for her mother to get to her and Persia could not help but feel a little jealous.
Things had got better since Ailana had spoken on her behalf but contact with her son was sill limited, to a short visit in the morning and a few hours in the evening.
It occurred to Perisa that while everyone rattled on about it not being good for a boy to become too dependent on his mother, no-one seemed concerned about how attached Helewys may become to Sophie.
Not that Sophie seemed to have the same attachment to her baby as Persia had to her’s. Sure the Queen seemed proud of the little bundle and would happily display her for anyone who asked, but Persia rarely saw her sneak off for a quick glimpse or cuddle the way Perisa felt drawn.
Peering down into the crib the two baby’s temporarily shared, Persia suddenly noted how frail Sebastian looked in comparison to the larger and chubbier princess.
The midwife had told her she’d gone slightly early and that she shouldn’t worry he would soon catch up. However while Helewys already seemed so aware of her surrounding’s, grabbing and reaching for anything that came near her. Sebastian seemed so content to continuously sleep people often commented about how they had never seen his eye’s open.
“How is my brother?” Ailana asked suddenly “I haven’t seen sight of him since Sebastian was born”
“He’s spending a lot of time at home” Persia agreed, “Sebastian has more to do with it than me I’m afraid, but I’m grateful none the less”
“He’s enjoying being a father?” Ailana asked.
“He loves it” Perisa nodded, in truth she’d never known Abel so much at peace as he’d seemed over the past few weeks. In fact last week to her knowledge he’d only visited the chapel once and that was to finish arranging Sebastian’s christening.
“I’m glad” Ailiana replied “I hoped it would suit him”
“He’s very doting” Persia agreed, “it’s like he’s a different man, you wouldn’t believe it but he actually visited my chambers last night?”
“As in…. ?”
“Yes” Persia grinned, barely able to contain her relief “All of his own volition… I do believe it was the first time he hasn’t seemed to consider it a chore”
“Isn’t it too early?” Ailana replied “I mean surely he’d not hoping for another child already”
“Oh I do hope not” Persia chuckled, “I would like to get back into my nicer dress’s before I grow out of them again”
“Did you let him in?”
“Well I could very well refuse the first time he actually looked like he wanted to be there” she smiled.
“It won’t last” Sophie suddenly piped having been quiet for a long time.
“Oh Sophie you can’t know that” Ailana scolded, “Don’t you think it’s at all possible our brother has found a little peace”
“No” Sophie replied simply returning her attention back to her sewing.
“Ignore her” Ailana huffed, “She can be such a spoil sport sometimes and despite what she thinks, she DOESN’T know everything”
“So how are things with Joseph?” Persia asked, wanting to change the subject. She was pleased very pleased her husband seemed to be coming around but having witness’s many of Abel’s changing faces even she did not dare to hope it would last. “Is he almost ready for university?”
“Yes I think so, they plan to leave the day after Gabriel’s wedding”
Persia did not begin to understand the relationship between Ailana and her brother. Abel had tried to explain it, she understood the situation had been orchestrated by Gabriel to free up Lady Dawn.
What she did not understand was why Ailana continued to the façade of being remotely interested. It was clear to everyone who bothered to look that Ailiana’s heart belonged elsewhere namely with the dashing Sir Shieldsmith.
Still her brother seemed happy and he certainly seemed to intend to marry the girl in a few year’s. Now Persia was able to see her as something other than a tool for the great Hamdun take over she didn’t suppose she minded too much as long as he was happy.
“Did anyone find out who gave Lorcan Baeumont a beating at the wedding?” she asked suddenly curious.
Ailiana shook her head “Daniel says he isn’t talking he thinks it’s because it was one of the Baron’s Staff and he’s worried about his reputation, either that or he doesn’t want to get the servant killed”
“Oh” she nodded, slightly disappointed no-one seemed to have any more solid news “So who do you think he will marry now Anya has married the Baron?” she asked.
“Rumour has it, Orrick offered him Emily, but he refused” Ailana replied.
“I’m not surprised, my brother said he wasn’t happy when Orrick and Valdermar agreed the betrothal in the first place” she replied, “He doesn’t think much of the Vaux’s at least I think he was hoping for a more prestigious match”
“Perhaps he’ll find someone at university” Ailana smiled, “It would be nice to have some more real noblewomen don’t you think?”
Persia suddenly felt slightly offended, she was a ‘real’ noblewoman though not possibly to Hamdun standards.
Ailana suddenly giggled clearly noting Persia’s expression. “I wasn’t saying you weren’t a real noblewoman” she quickly clarified, “There is nothing wrong with earning your station, your father and grandfather certainly did that”
“She’s just talking about these women who think lying on their back and opening their legs makes them noblewomen” Sophie chirped in with distain.
“Well I wouldn’t have quite put it like that” Ailana grumbled. “but yes… Nicole, Holly they just slept their way into nobility and that’s ….. different… you can’t just marry a title and expect it to confer. Could you imagine if a peasant man married a noblewoman and expected to become a nobleman?”
Persia nodded. She’d always wondered how the Hamun’s got away with such elitism when technically their father had started life as a tailor. Now it was clear they believed there father had earn’t his station while the likes of Nicole and Holly had not. “but surely it is how it works… at least for women?”
“Technically” Ailana agreed, “But respect is earned and you can’t just expect it because you marry the right man”