A Bitter Pill: Getting to Go

“Mama, I think you are being silly.”

“Really, Neils, there is nothing silly about this choice. The trip will be long and exhausting and I can’t imagine how bored you shall be on the road.”

“Solsey is going! He’s my age and he gets to go!”

“Neilia Resselin, you are not Solstan Arrowheart. I am sure there is a fine reason why Commander Arrowheart would bring Solstan along. This is no leisurely holiday, Neilia. It will be dangerous. The South always is.”

“You said I’m part Dunlending.”

“Yes, my father was from the Hillmen’s tribes.”

“It’s heritage, Mama.”

“Do you even know what that means?”

“It’s where I’m from. And we’ll get to go see Rohan.”

“Our people call it the Mark, darling.”

“And we’ll get to go see the Mark.”

“Eat your roast, honey, so that I can serve dessert.”

“Solstan doesn’t eat meat.”

“Is your name Solstan? Besides, you always ate it before.”

“He doesn’t like eating animals.”

“Our people hold in highest esteem Béma, The Huntsman. If you are so interested in them, honor our people by eating the bounty of the hunt.”

“Is that why you always say ‘Béma’s balls,’ Mama?”

“Neilia!”

“What?”

“Don’t…don’t say that, please. It isn’t appropriate, er, polite to use that phrase aloud, all right? Sometimes Mama slips.”

“The people around here say ‘Stockard’s balls.'”

Neilia Ress-“

“Sorry! Sorry, Mama.” Beat. “This is why you should take me with you. So you can correct me when I say things like ‘Stockard’s balls.’ What does that mean anyway?”

“It’s a swear people use when they are angry or upset or so surprised their mind stops working for a moment.”

“Oh. That’s boring.”

“Well, then, you shouldn’t use it.”

“All right.” Several beats pass. “Can I go with you to Dol Amroth? Solsey is going.”

“Neilia, we’ve been over this.”

“But it isn’t fair!”

“As I said, I am sure Commander Arrowheart has a reason for allowing him to attend such an arduous journey. Perhaps to ease the burden on his wife since she has such a young child to attend to in his absence.”

“Have you met Com’ander Arrowheart’s wife?”

“No. Actually, now that you mention it, it is a bit odd, I suppose. You would think I would have run into her by now.”

“Isn’t Com’ander Arrowheart really really really nice, Mama?”

“Hm? Oh yes, dear. I agree he is very nice.”

“He reminds me of Biramore how nice he is.”

“Hm. Sometimes, perhaps. He’s a good man. We can trust him to take care of the company.”

“See, Mama? Com’ander Arrowheart will take care of us and make sure nothin’ happens to us.”

“Neilia, really?”

“Mama, you said so. You said he’d take care of us and Solsey gets to go. I should get to go.”

“Neilia…”

Mama. Please, don’t leave me all alooonneee.” 

“Neilia.”

“I should get to go.”

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