Eulalia hobbles stiffly into the morning room of the Doyle mansion, carrying a small package. Her arthritis has been much better lately, but yesterday's wedding put a severe strain on her stamina.
Palma: So nice to see you again, Eulalia. Here, have the seat by the window. Our tea will be here shortly.
Palma guides the old woman to a comfortable chair with access to the cool breeze, and sits opposite her.
Eulalia: Thank you. I've brought back your platter. It was just the thing on the head table, don't you think?
Palma: Yes, it looked very nice.
Eulalia: I am so glad that my son is successfully launched in married life. It must be even more of a relief to you. Daughters are often harder to settle.
Palma smiles insincerely. She thinks Pametta could have done much better than Pollovic, who's old enough to be her grandfather. But after her reputation was so publicly stained by the man....
Eulalia: They do seem happy with each other.
Palma: Yes, they seem to. I suppose they suit each other. They certainly have some controversial ideas in common.
Eulalia: Yes. This business about Simes. I do want you to know that I tried to discourage Brenn from making that invitation, but he was so sure that Pametta would want her brother to be present.
Palma: I'm glad he didn't expect to stay here. It was good of you to tolerate him, but I suppose you had no choice.
Eulalia: No, I didn't. Brenn already made it clear where he stands on that particular issue.
Eulalia is ~~ unhappy ~~ about it, but knows better than to pick fights she can't win.
Palma: And you have had Simes under your roof before.
Eulalia: Yes. Truth to tell, they were decent guests, for the most part. Kept to themselves largely.
Palma: They certainly looked out of place at the reception. Even that woman he had with him.
Palma is tactful enough not to say "that old woman" in reference to Ettil.
Eulalia: Brenn said something about how the Sime government won't let Simes travel here without a Gen to keep them under control.
Palma: Even they have to admit how dangerous they are.
Eulalia: They claim it's more for comfort than safety. Of course, they would.
Palma: If Pametta really cared about her brother she wouldn't have put him in such an awkward situation.
Palma isn't going to tell Eulalia that Eulalia's son was grandstanding again, inviting Simes to his own wedding, but that's how it was, really.
Eulalia: I don't believe Pametta knew Saag was coming until he'd already arrived. Brenn didn't want her to be disappointed if he couldn't manage to get the trip approved.
Palma: I see. So it wasn't her idea, then. I should have realized that she wouldn't try to embarrass her own parents like that.
Eulalia: No, she's a very level-headed girl, even if she doesn't yet have the experience and polish she'll gain later.
Palma: Well, I tried to raise her right.
Palma doesn't feel that she entirely succeeded. Well, Pametta is her husband's responsibility now.
Eulalia: I think she and Brenn will get along well. That counts for a great deal.
Palma: It certainly does.
Palma: So, I suppose they'll be in Simeland by day after tomorrow.
Eulalia: Well....no, they won't.
Eulalia suddenly looks very ~~ tired ~~.
Palma: They've come to their senses?
Eulalia: No. There was an... incident, last night.
Palma: An incident?
Eulalia: On their way home from the reception, they found a boy in the bushes outside our home.
Palma: A boy in the bushes?
Eulalia: He was well on the way to becoming Sime.
Palma: Oh no! She isn't... tell me she isn't dead! Or is it your son?
Eulalia: No, they're both alive. Brenn insisted on taking the boy to the Sime Center, but the coach broke an axle on the way. He... procured a horse, and proceeded on his way, leaving Pametta with the coach. The boy was very close to becoming a berserker, you see.
Palma: My God. Why didn't the man just shoot him! To take such chances! And with my daughter's life!
Palma: I'd think the whole matter should be up to the parents. In our case, unfortunately, it all happened out of town, we couldn't do anything ourselves.
Eulalia: They both wanted to save the boy, if they could. And they did. Unfortunately, Brenn fell off the horse as they arrived and cracked a few ribs.
Palma: Oh, dear. Well, perhaps they'll have had enough of Simes now.
Eulalia: I don't know. The Sime Center is sending them home this morning -- there was something about pain medication that had to wear off, first. Brenn's note said that he would be very glad to get rid of the manacles.
Eulalia: I gather he's got some sort of chain on his ankle. I'm not sure exactly why. The note was short.
Palma: I wonder why the Simes would have put a chain on him. Strange.
Eulalia: As I said, he didn't explain much about the manacle, but he seemed to think there was a key for it.
Palma: I should hope so. Or maybe one of your servants can saw it off.
Eulalia: Believe me, I'll see that Brenn doesn't go on his honeymoon -- where ever it may be -- wearing a chain.
Palma: I should hope so.
Eulalia: There is the dignity of the Senate to uphold, after all.
Palma snorts, in a ladylike fashion, of course. As if Pollovic normally upholds the dignity of the Senate!
Eulalia: It's certainly a good thing that we don't leave such details to the men.
Palma: Well, I hope Pametta can manage your son. With your help, of course.
Palma doesn't think either of them has much of a chance.
Eulalia: I have hopes. She's a bright girl and has shown some sense.
Palma: She's certainly bright.
Palma doesn't think she's shown much sense in several important ways this year.
Eulalia: Just as important, Brenn is quite fond of her. That will give her the ability to influence his decisions for the better, if she chooses.
Palma: There is that. But she's quite fond of him, too.
Eulalia: Let's hope then that they learn to care more for each other's reputations than they have for their own.
Palma smiles sourly.
Palma: Yes, let's hope.