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06 April 2011 @ 11:10 pm
April Flowers Prompt #3: Who Gives This Woman  
Title: Who Gives This Woman
Author: mrstater
Rating & Warnings: G
Characters/Pairings: Iselle, Betriz, Cazaril, Ser dy Ferrej, the Provincara (Caz/Betriz)
Prompt: #3, one or more letters or diary entries
Format & Word Count: epistolary fic, 1710 words
Summary: The betrothal of Caz and Betriz sparks a flurry of correspondence between Valenda and Cardegoss.

Ser dy Ferrej,

It is my great pleasure to write to you that your daughter, my most trusted companion, the Lady Betriz, is just this day betrothed. She has done very well for herself, her intended being my newly-appointed Chancellor, and the man you knew as Castillar Lupe dy Cazaril. Long Betriz has loved him, and Cazaril her, though he thought himself so unworthy of her as to recommend himself to any girl's protective father, so I am confident that you will give your blessing to their union.

Iselle, Royina of Chalion-Ibra

P.S. If Lord dy Cazaril's age concerns you, know that the disparity of years appears greatly reduced now that his beard has been shorn.

Dearest Papa,

I am betrothed! The Lord Chancellor dy Cazaril--for the other great news of the land is that Royina Iselle has made him Chancellor of all Chalion-Ibra--has asked for my hand.

No, that is not quite true. I have been so bold as to ask for his hand. Or rather, I asked Iselle to give me his hand as a boon, because while I was certain of Cazaril's love for me, his humility would not allow him to court me. Though I am sure that his exalted station would have emboldened him to eventually ask me to marry him. Maybe.

Caz is the very best of men, and I don't mean because his keen intellect and self-sacrificing valor broke the curse on Iselle's house and saved her kingdom. No one could treat me with more tenderness, or make me as happy as he has done. At least, I am happy now that he has finally gotten it into his skull that I love him and would wish to be his wife even if he were only a lowly kitchen hand in the Provincara's house. Before that, he was quite infuriating.

Please, give us your blessing, Papa.

I hope to come to you soon, so that you may see my happiness for yourself. Though Caz says my smile is so brilliant that he shouldn't be surprised to hear that you can see it all the way in Valenda, outshining the stars and sun.

It is well that he became a soldier rather than a poet, is it not?

Your devoted daughter,

Respected Sir,

By now you will have received the Royina Iselle's letter announcing the betrothal of your daughter, the Lady Betriz, to me. It is with no small amount of chagrin that I submit to this protocol, for I would keep with tradition and request an interview with you to seek your daughter's hand. As the thing is done, I must content myself to seek your blessing upon our marriage, which I regard as a most precious blessing bestowed on me by the gods, and of which I shall strive to be worthy.

I know full well that I have nothing to give Lady Betriz which was not given to me, but all that I do have, is hers. If I am daunted by the task that lies before me as Chancellor of Chalion-Ibra, then I am doubly so by the enormity of being a husband and, gods willing, a father, and I pray the duties of the former shall never require the sacrifice of the latter. Though Lady Betriz assures me I am over-thinking the matter, and I suspect she is right, as she usually always is. (She reads over my shoulder and says that I am well on my way to being the perfect husband for admitting that she is always right. The only way I could be more perfect, she insists, is if I ceased to write poetry. But I cannot help myself, as your daughter is the sort of lady who inspires bad poetry. Which I mean as a compliment to her at my own expense, but I fear my giddiness at the present state in which I find myself has left me shamefully incoherent for a suitor, much less a chancellor, so I will now close, again expressing the hope that you will smile to call me son.)

Your humble servant,
Lupe dy Cazaril

Your Highness,

You do the house of dy Ferrej great honor in overseeing the betrothal of my daughter to your Lord Chancellor. Lady Betriz has benefitted greatly from her place as your companion, as well as from your friendship, and I trust that you would not have agreed to a betrothal to a man who would not make her a tender and faithful husband.

Congratulations on your own recent marriage. May the gods grant you a long and fruitful union.

Faithfully yours,
Ser dy Ferrej

My dear Iselle,

You may be Royina of all Chalion-Ibra, but you are still my granddaughter, so I will be forthright and say that it would behoove you not to wield some powers so lightly. Ser dy Ferrej is a gracious man and loves you as dearly as he loves his own daughter, so he accepts that you have not only acted within your rights but as a sister would in the interest of Betriz's happiness and security. But you have also deprived him of his right to give his daughter--his only daughter--in marriage to a worthy suitor. And I suspect that Lord dy Cazaril feels much the same about asking a father for his daughter's hand.

That said, it is an excellent match for your friend, and thank the gods I did not give Cazaril a place in my kitchens.

Your loving

P.S. Good work divesting him of that rat's nest of a beard.

My beloved daughter,

You cannot be old enough to be married, can you? But then, you cannot be old enough to be lady-in-waiting to the Royina of Chalion-Ibra, either.

I received your news with joy that could only be greater if your mother were alive to share it. We only ever hoped that you would one day marry a man who would give you a home and happiness, so if Lord dy Cazaril can give you both, he has my full blessing, whether he is Chancellor or the lowest servant in the Provincara's kitchen. Though now I rather regret not finding him a place here, so that I might keep you and my grandchildren close to me.

Always your

P.S. Perhaps Lord dy Cazaril is no Behar, but he quite rightly describes the relation of the heavenly lights to your smile.

My dear Lord dy Cazaril,

It is my understanding that congratulations are in order for your impending nuptials. Betriz is a lovely girl, which I am sure you know, though I am less sure you know she is exactly the girl for you. She will make you young again, though I also understand that your recent loss of beard has made her work in that regard rather less arduous.

I trust that you will pass the days between now and your wedding writing a great deal of very bad poetry, such as such lovely young ladies inspire. Because the Chancellery, as your predecessor taught us, has nothing else to occupy his time.

May the gods bless you as richly as you have blessed my granddaughter's kingdom.

Your devoted friend,
The Provincara

Lord Chancellor dy Cazaril,

Your letter is well-received by a father who finds himself a little bereft of tradition. By your own merit you have proved yourself a worthy man, despite circumstance, and who am I to argue against the combined forces of a daughter's assertions of happiness and the Royina's royal decree? Not because I have lofty political aspirations shall I be proud to call you son, and I can think of no man on whom I would more readily bestow my blessing.

Ser dy Ferrej

P.S. Chancellor of Chalion-Ibra though you may be, dy Cazaril, if I see her unhappy, I will personally kill you.
jeknijekni on April 7th, 2011 09:51 am (UTC)
Oh, how lovely! Well done!
What's Taters, Precious?: Tulipsmrstater on April 7th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm pleased to know you enjoyed this; it was fun to write!
katyscarlett76: Chalion: April Flowerskatyscarlett76 on April 7th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
(Hopefully LJ will hold out long enough for me to post this comment!)

This is such a lovely lot of letters :) All so full of joy and on Caz's part a certain bewilderment at his good luck :) I think you got the voice of each just right. I love that you chose to include messages from the Provincara in these, seems right somehow seeing as she's the reason they met. Lovely stuff and they put a smile on my face!
What's Taters, Precious?mrstater on April 7th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
LJ seems to be in proper working order since last night. *knock on wood* Let's hope it holds!

Anyway, I'm so pleased you like the letters! I'd wanted to write for this prompt but was uninspired the day of; last night this popped into my head, and it was a lot of fun, especially the Provincara's, which I hadn't planned to write at the beginning but added in at the last moment for a touch of humor. It's great to know you think I've captured the voices; Ser Ferrej's turned out to be the most difficult!

Thanks for putting a smile on my face first thing this morning. :)
The Grey Badgeridiotgrrl on April 7th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
Very, VERY nice, and exactly what would have happened!
What's Taters, Precious?: Spock/Uhura Makeoutsmrstater on April 7th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you very much for your lovely words. It's wonderful to know you think this fits with canon.
Elisel d'Ivant: bookselisel on April 7th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
I was so glad to see the summary for this fic! I've often wondered what the reaction would be from dy Ferrej and the Provincara after the events at the very end of the book. It was great to read your take on it.

I especially loved several things: First, Cazaril's letter to dy Ferrej, which starts with careful formality and devolves into happy rambling about Betriz. The Provincara's dry tone came through even in her letters, which is so very tutorial when she writes to Iselle and is both conspiratorial and grateful when she writes to Caz. (Ha! Everybody hated Cazaril's beard.)

And once again you end with a fantastic line. Which is a line I was waiting to read. :)

Keep writing, keep writing!
What's Taters, Precious?: Ivy Heartsmrstater on April 7th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Squee!
I've always thought this would be a fun missing moment, too, and the letter prompt provided the perfect vehicle for telling that story. I'm so happy you thought the letters worked for the characters; I'd originally just planned to write the three to dy Ferrej and end with a brief scene between him and the Provincara, but that didn't feel quite right so I thought to stick with the epistolary format instead. The Provincara's notes were my favorites to write, with Caz's in a close second, though it was difficult till I let him ramble!

Relieved you liked the last line! I always struggle with how to end things, and feared that wasn't quite appropriate, even though it was the obligatory future father-in-law remark!

Thanks for your lovely words of encouragement; thinking about today's prompt now and looking forward to my Tater Tot's nap time so I can write! :)
shimotsuki: chalion3shimotsuki on April 7th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this. You've captured all their different voices and attitudes, and I love the running jokes about the beard and the bad poetry. It's also wonderful to see Iselle so merry, and Betriz so joyful and insistent, and even Cazaril a little giddy (*ahem* 'dazed with his own happiness'? lol).

And I also like the way you've tackled the fact that Iselle has rather broken with tradition here, and that at least dy Ferrej and Caz might be a little taken aback by that.

Perfect last line from a future father-in-law, by the way. ;)
What's Taters, Precious?: Springmrstater on April 7th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This was so much fun to write, with the opportunity it presented to essentially write a bunch of drabbles in different character voices, and I'm very pleased you could hear the characters in each. Caz was definitely inspired by Shell Cottage!Remus.

And I'm happy you liked the last line--it was obligatory, but I was afraid it wasn't quite appropriate here, hehe.
beatrice_otterbeatrice_otter on April 8th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
I love this--you write the characters so well!
What's Taters, Precious?mrstater on April 8th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'm pleased you think I've captured Bujold's delightful characters. :)
gilpin25: Springgilpin25 on April 13th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
You know my one weakness for well-written epistolary stories, and this one is VERY well done indeed! Love the humour and obvious pleasure everyone takes in the news, how everyone had a less-than complimentary view on that beard (LOL!), and how you've woven in Iselle breaking with tradition (and Betriz;)) and getting a sharp reminder from the Provincara to behave herself. I also grinned like mad at the running joke with the poetry, which everyone has now caught on to - poor Caz will never live that down.

That last line is a perfect ending!:D
gilpin25: Sleepgilpin25 on April 13th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
P.S Forgot to say I think I did wonders to get through that without mentioning that other fella who was dazed with his own happiness. Except now I have. ;)
What's Taters, Precious?: Barefoot Writermrstater on April 13th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
I did think of you and "Between the Lines" when I was writing this, and I'm so very pleased you think I managed to pull it off without your epistolary expertise! My absolute favorite letters to do were the Provincara's, and I didn't even think to write them till the last moment. Very glad you liked all the beard and poetry jokes--poor Caz, his biggest shortcomings are such public knowledge, which makes them that much more fun for the fanfic writer!

And I'm relieved/thrilled/dazed at my own happiness that you thought the last line was apropos!

Thank you for reading and commenting. So much.

(Deleted comment)
What's Taters, Precious?mrstater on April 16th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed. I thought every woman who read this would agree that it was a father-of-the-bride thing to say, just was nervous about how it would actually work in Chalion-verse!
katyhasclogskatyhasclogs on April 25th, 2011 10:15 am (UTC)
This is simultaneously hilarious and completely adorable. I particularly love the Provincara's letters and Caz's flustered run-on sentences. :)
What's Taters, Precious?: Ivy Heartsmrstater on April 25th, 2011 12:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Those were my favorite two letters to write, and I'm really pleased the fic made you laugh. :)