Story for the Day: The Baronet Breandan UiBrien
The Baronet Breandan UiBrien is Brigdan's father and King Dorrin's closest friend. He plays a key role in many facets of the Galleisian War Saga, but there is no office greater to him than that of father and beloved husband. A family piece, just in time for the holidays:
The journey from the capital to Varralla was little more than a quarter of a day’s ride, and as the roads were not made impassable by any subsequent heavy snows or ill weather, Baronet Breandan UiBrien arrived at his estate in western Varralla by sunrise. He would have arrived earlier, but his wife’s anxieties for his wellbeing while traveling obliged him to have the horses driven at a measured pace. That she was being over-scrupulous, he must admit, but he would rather heed her advice than invite any remonstrances upon his returning home. He adored his beloved baronetess, and as he would rather be later home than do an ungenerous thing on a holiday, he would accept the longer venture though it cost him some pining feelings along the way. After a whole week spent in the throes of court, a whole week passed in Diras with the bustle of the capital under the ascendancy of the holiday, he was desperate to be with his wife and son again and escape to his estate for a little quiet cheerfulness. His fondness for King Dorrin, his longstanding friendship and sought after confidence with His Majesty, was the only thing that could ever keep him from his family. He treated Dorrin as though he were a brother, just as the king was always disposed to treat him. He was forever inviting the king to the estate in Varralla, though he knew that His Majesty should never suffer to leave his keep for more than a few hours together; forever being invited to join him for a glass of wine or a cup of tea, and commiserate over the day’s triumphs and woes over games of fidchell and brandubh; forever inquiring after his health and his son’s wellbeing, and discussing how eager each was to have their son’s meet and befriend one another. His son, the thought of whom furnished the baronet’s deliberations while the carriage turned westward along the road and began the greater part of the long journey.
The seats of the post chaise lined with sheepskin, the headrest fluffed and feathered, the steel-rimmed channel tyres gliding along the path, the body of the carriage oscillating under the influence of the undulations in the road did little to assist the baronet through the various attempts at sleeping; the stars gleamed overhead, and he could do nothing but glance up at the lighted canopy, eyeing Aghus as he lighted Fuinnog and blessed Reine’s reign over the night. From the corner of his eye, he descried the dry stone wall borders of Tyfferim blurring by. The passing of the fork in the road leading toward Farriage marked the beginning of the greater part of their journey. In a few hours hence, he would be home and enjoying all the raptures that a warm reception from the two whom he loved best in the world could give.
The baronet took his Sewynpadir of Eithne from his pocket and remarked it momentarily, thinking of the first time the charm had been put into his hand. It had been the day of his son’s birth, and after the cooing child had been put into his arms, the effigy of Eithne had been tucked between his fingers. You are a father now, she said to me, he conceived, and returning home safely to his wife was become more a duty to her than right. Being a trusted friend of the king and a much needed advisor in the courts had its pleasures, but there was no joy greater in claiming his responsibilities as a father. Now he must be home more often and travel with more caution than he had been used to do, for he had a legacy to tend, a son to rear, and a boy to love. He studied his charm and remembered the appeal he had made to the king with regard to his seat’s being empty for the afternoon sessions, that he might travel back to Varralla to be with his wife and son for the better part of the evening before returning to court for the following morning. It was an exceptional time, one that continued well into his son’s childhood and through his early adolescence. Afternoons were sometimes changed for mornings, the king would allow him to miss the day before Gods’ Day, as to give him more time with a young boy who was in need of his attention and tutelage, and due to the king’s kindliness, his son had a father who was ever nearer, ever at the ready to supply him with lessons and teach him all the necessities and cordialities that were his inheritance, and ever there to overturn every frown and dry every tear that the tumultuous wreck of a happy childhood spent in the estate woods could excite. They read together, wrote together, studied Frewyn’s ancient histories together, and when the height of his son’s adolescence came, legends and myths gave way to philosophy and politics, arithmetic and reason, and though he had, upon his son’s maturation to manhood, returned to court for the full day’s proceeding, his return home for Gods’ Day or a holiday was made a triumphant ritual. They would play games together, discuss the various reports from around the kingdom together, talk to each other of cases, of conundrums, of contrivances, draw up schemes together, even hunt for their meals together. The child who was once his writhing babe, cooing and crowing with life, was now become his greatest companion, and all his joy and peace in the world was in seeing his son again and spending every hour, every moment in his close conversancy.