There is an old joke, playing on the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” that goes “where there’s a will, there’s a relative”. Lord knows that I understood that well enough when Mother decided to appoint me executor of her will, once I had passed all my exams. Though, to be fair, in her case it was more a matter of “where there’s a will, there are numerous charities and good causes”. The family knew well enough what her intentions would be, so I did not have to deal with a sudden influx of distant cousins telling me how much she loved them. I had more than enough on my plate without that.
The matter of wills came up in a rather strange conversation with Aoibheann this afternoon. I had only gone over to do my daily stock-check when I found her outside the tavern, looking somewhat pensive. She was also somewhat dressed up. I thought I had seen the dress before, when she went with Alec to some art exhibition, but I complimented on it anyway. I keep hoping that one day she will get used to accepting compliments gracefully, but I’m not holding my breath (a rather strange expression to use, now that I no longer breathe). She was in one of her evasive moods, even managing to evade my enquiry as to her health and wellbeing. She started to answer, then diverted herself by making me promise, yet again, that I would deliver her box of treasures to Daimon, should anything happen to her. I reminded her that she had already asked me and assured her that I would keep to that promise, no matter how hard it might be to find Daimon. I asked if she was planning on leaving, or doing something dangerous, and only a rapid biting of my own tongue prevented me from ending that question with the word “again”. She promised that she wasn’t planning on anything, and then revealed an unsuspected sense of self-awareness in saying that she wasn’t the best person at making decisions. I forebore to comment upon that, as I sensed she wanted to talk about things. She then added that she wanted me to make sure that the kids were taken care of. I promised her that I would do so. I would have done that even if she hadn’t asked, since they are rapidly becoming part of my extended family. My Hiinaa, as Mitternacht might say.
I suggested to her that perhaps she ought to make a will, so that her last wishes could be documented and carried out as she would want. She wasn’t too familiar with the concept. Apart from anything else, where she came from, women didn’t own property. I explained the general principles and suggested the various things she might want to specify – what happens to her box, her money, the tavern, leaving an allowance for the children, what to do with her pet tree, Ardan, even the style of her funeral, should she wish to. She seemed rather bemused by the concept that anybody would care what happened at her funeral, half laughing, half crying and expressing the wish that she did not want to die, while admitting that it was going to happen eventually. Then she asked what would happen if she went missing. I told her that I did not want her to die either, and suggested that maybe making a will, and a similar document for if she went missing might ease her mind a little, because at least then, she would know that things would be taken care of. I offered to sit down with her and help draft the documents, assuring her, despite her protests to the contrary, that it would not be a burden. After all, I had done the same for my mother. I left her to think about it, promising I would talk with her soon.
A curious conversation, I thought. I can, to some extent, understand her preoccupation with her possible demise. By the standards of her culture and time period, she has already lived the majority of her life and lived longer than might have been expected under the circumstances. While her life expectancy might be better in Jasper Cove, given the absence of marauding dragons (for the moment, anyway), she does take enormous risks in dealing with the Huntsman, with the White Stag and Daimon, and possibly even with whatever is going on with her and Llwyd, so perhaps her expectancy isn’t that much better here. And that’s without her inability to tell a deadly berry from an edible one.
Thinking of the matter of wills, it occurs to me that I have been neglectful in the matter of my own family. As a matter of course, I prepared a new will once Alexandra and I were married, but at the time, made only provision for potential children of the marriage. Of course, that all went by the wayside when Alexandra died, and with all the grief and subsequent changes to my life, I never got round to drafting a new one. Although Arthur is technically covered by the potential children clause, his adoption by my brother might have complicated that. I would draft a new one, if there was any way I could get it back to my time, my country of origin. Alec said that our trading agreement was between BHT Trading and his Jasper Cove Louisiana subsidiary in 1891. Perhaps something could be sent that way. Of course, there is the minor complication of my legal status. It seems the general view of mortals that a vampire is already dead, despite all the moving around and talking and such like. I could have myself declared dead, so that Arthur can inherit, but then, that would preclude me from seeing my family ever again. Such are the trials of this strange existence. I should consult with Brigitte. She has been in this state far longer than I; surely she should know something of these matters.