Gold day

Sev stayed home today, and the day was the better for it.

It began in tranquility, a pleasant change. Sev commented on Pang’s silence at table, and I took the opportunity to request meeting with him on a domestic matter, if his schedule happened to permit.

Though I thought it perfectly reasonable to inquire, as his schedule had not permitted the day before, he seemed surprised, and acquiesed to meet with me for luncheon.

The early morning, while the children were in lessons, was given over to domestic affairs. I met with the cook and the maidservants for a number of hours to go over my specifications, and then met with Heiye to hear him on yesterday’s events.

He apologized to me prettily, and offered a charmingly diffident opinion that I should opine of my son what had caused his outburst. I assured him coolly that I already planned on that, and dismissed him. His manner was if anything more polished than ever. A very good expense, by my reckoning. I take pride in him.

What came next caused me a great measure of disturbance. I could hardly believe my ears, to hear such close friends as I had thought they were-

Pang, after repeating his assurance that he would join the military to the prince, was accosted by a lord and his lady. They called themselves our friends, though I think them too quick with a joke. The lord has many conquered holdings and a son in the military of about twenty years, but I never thought-

To put it simply, they told my son, “Why would the imperial army want you? It doesn’t even want your father.”

The prince laughed, Pang reports.

I can only assume he thought it a fine joke. It is good to know, but terrible that my son witnessed it. What hurt has he taken to heart? What burden has this placed on his young shoulders?

How can I now dissuade him from his military aspirations without disturbing that delicate thing that is a child’s honor?

I told Sev about it at lunch, over tea scented with flower petals. We took it in the garden.

He reacted as he does to unpleasant orders. He thinks on two levels, does my Sev. A general at a party may mention to him that they have decided not to pardon half of the rebellion in Sechwan province, the half composed of women and children, and Sev will go quiet and still and very polite.

On the other hand, if one of his men stumbles into one of our parties bloody and exhausted, which if I may say happens too often for my comfort, then he is all lightning, as if he doesn’t even have to think before giving orders.

My theory is that he assembles a picture of the situation from the orders he is given and the briefings he is given, and that because of that picture he never has to consult with anyone before acting. That is what his stillness this afternoon made me think of, and I sat quietly and sipped my tea while he thought.

I had almost finished my tea when he stood, and with one hand drew me to my feet. He kissed me, and he turned and went out. I do not know where, and I do not know precisely why, but I trust that he has taken some step to deal with these vipers we held to our breast.

In the meantime, I have had Pang and Pen before me showing off their lessons. I haven’t had nearly enough time with them over these past busy days, though I do enjoy my time with Sev.

Perhaps I enjoy my time with him even more than my time with them. It is hard to say, and I feel guilty thinking it. Still, who would dare accuse me of being a negligent mother?

I paid especial attention to Pang, but he seems to have calmed now that he has had his chance to speak. Heiye was in quiet attendance and thinking back, I applaud his ability to be unnoticed. I hardly even saw him there, and certainly thought nothing of it.

I have written for long enough. It has drawn on, and I cannot countenance it. A journal is an acceptable thing, but I will take no airs. Writing is a tool. It is not something I should find pleasure in.

Until tomorrow.

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