There was silence. Had her words changed his mood? Was he angry? There was no outward change in how he looked, although he had moved from the chair she had been sitting in. Now, he stood tall -- looking like the spitting image of his father when Xerdonis had been in his youth. When Constance and he had first married and spent that fleeting half a century together before parting.
Death do us part, she thought acidicly. She had, she supposed, died in a way. Constance Hund was certainly long dead, gone with a whisper, her name like an eroded statue blown away by the sheer force of wind itself. If she met Xerdonis that day, they likely wouldn't have even known each other.
Or they would have connected. They could have touched. Held hands. Press their foreheads together, whispering, "I love you"s.
Tears pooled at the corners of her burning eyes and fell. Alistar wasn't exactly like Xerdonis. He had inherited some of her own features -- his hair color, the most obvious -- but his remarkable resemblance to his father was enough to yearn for the man whom she had not seen in over a century.
The silence was broken as Alistar began to speak. He spoke of his school years, of how he had been bullied by his peers. How Arwen and Alphonse dealt with it; how he dealt with it.
She knew she should have expected her children to be picked on in school. Elf-drow hybrids weren't treated kindly by elves or drows; the other races might have been more tolerant, or, perhaps, as children did, they would fall into the habit of spitting mean words at who was different. Constance had no formal schooling, aside from Evercrest, to compare Alistar's story to, but she had taught enough students to have a basic understanding of the system.
It was hardly surprising that Xerdonis would have taken the triplets out of public school if they'd been treated so badly by the other children. Homeschooling... it fit him, actually. He'd always been the caring type, the quiet sort of nurturing jokester, and he had never backed down from mentoring a student. In fact, their combined experience in mentoring had led to their decision to have children. They both knew the risks, that their offspring would inevitably end up bullied and broken, but they had been confident in their abilities to thwart any sort of trouble that would befall their family.
Well, they had been wrong. At least Xerdonis had been, in entrusting her with becoming a parent, a role model. Where was she? The top of Hangman's Point. Wealthy beyond compare, all the power she could ever want, but miserable.
Alistar's psychoanalysis of her was, frankly, laughable. From his starting line -- branding her a "user" -- she had a nasty, thin-lipped smile on her face and she shook her head with every word he said, no matter if it were true or not.
"Killing someone must take a toll," was perhaps one of the most understated things she had ever heard, and, while she did have to admit some kind of truth to the fact that murdering people had a negative impact on her psyche, she knew it wasn't what she was "running" from. The faces in her nightmares, the ones that whispered to her when she was high -- they weren't the reason for "running."
She was her own reason for running. She was so disgusted with herself. Maybe, yes, maybe it had to do with the murders, but it ran deeper than that. There was something deeply imperfect about herself -- even when she had been happy, she still hated something about herself.
Alistar talked about how Xerdonis always said he was similar to her. She bared her teeth in a sneering grin. Just like Mom.
"Xerdonis was, is, right," she said. "There is no doubt that you're my son." She shook her head and pushing stray hairs out of her face. She wasn't crying anymore, but wet trails still stood out on her skin. She pushed herself off the table, swaying backwards, still grasping her bottle.
"You're wrong, though," she continued. "About me. You only know some romanticized version. Some kind of happy person. War heroine. Doing good for her country." She cleared her throat, then upped her voice an octave, "'Why isn't Mommy here?' 'She's busy saving the world.'" She scoffed; rolled her eyes.
"Look at me," she gestured to herself, down at her robe and her bare feet, "do I look like someone who could save anything? For fuck's sake, Alistar." She shook her head and rolled the bottle neck between her palms.
"This all happened because of money," she said. "Oh, there were good intentions, sure, give you all a good life. Try to do good, bring in enough oolms to keep the family afloat." She laughed cruelly. "Well, I got what I fucking wished for, didn't I?
"I can lie and tell you that I didn't have the time, but you and I both know that isn't what happened." She shook her head, tapped her nails against the bottle. Looking back, she didn't even understand her own lack of action. There had been plenty of time to go see her family, even when she claimed that there wasn't. She could have done both -- been a class head and a mother -- but somewhere along the line, she had decided against it, consciously or no.
Alistar had so graciously caught her up on his own life’s story. The thought crossed her mind that she should have been more concerned about her son falling between the cracks, turning into a drug dealer, learning to manipulate people just because he was bored and partially because he had to. A good mother would be upset with him.
She wasn’t a good mother.
"After I became class head, my entire life became letters, talk shows, press interviews, what I would change about the eraser class now that Greenwich was gone," she said. "I was right underneath you most of the time. Just a couple floors down from the penthouse. Too busy." She spat out the words like they were poison. "With all the money in the world, it was easy to make myself feel better about what I was doing to you by buying things. Dresses, tea, alcohol." She shrugged, waved the bottle, then threw it to the ground. It landed with a loud thunk, but didn’t break.
"But, you know what? Those things don’t make you happy. Drugs, though, they probably do, don’t they?" She walked back over to the table and stuck her fingers into a tin of white powder. She pinched it between her thumb and forefinger, and held it up to her face. "They don’t. Nothing makes you happy except for the thing you’ve lost. I wish I would have realized that earlier." She wiped the powder back into the tin, then looked at Alistar.
She opened her mouth, then closed it. I’ve been actively trying to kill myself for the past hundred years, was probably not the most appropriate thing to say, regardless of how she felt.
"You were right about one thing," she said. "I did decide that you wouldn’t tolerate me coming back. It had been too long before I realized my mistake. A couple decades to realize that, hey, abandoning your family is bad, that, surprise! Material things don’t make you happy."
@Alistar Hund with 1246 words