nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk) wrote,

Vorkosiverse not-really-fic

Not really fic, more some thoughts about a sub-plot of A Civil Campaign and Barrayar in general that I first had in fic form and have kept that way. They’ve been sitting on the bookshelf as a draft for ages, and it’s much easier to just type them up like this than to try to pull out the argument and make it coherent in essay form.

So, considerations of Dono Vorrutyer, legitimacy and inheritance.

‘A body birth?’ said Martya dubiously. ‘Isn’t that a bit of a risk?’

‘A bit,’ admitted Countess Vorrutyer. ‘The Vorrutyer genes have never been the most stable. But Dono’s always been perfectly sane – ’

‘Oh, perfectly

‘And he had his germ cells gene-cleaned while he was on Beta. So there’s no genetic damage on that side, and Koudelka genes are as prole as they come. We’re hoping for hybrid vigour. Enrique could tell you about that.’

‘Only if it comes with antennae. But I meant the risk for you.’

‘Oh! Well I’m a body birth myself, and Mama didn’t have any trouble.’

‘Mama,’ said Martya, ‘was Princess Kareen’s armswoman and had had every part of her genetic and physical fitness examined long before she even met Da.’

‘So’ve I,’ said Olivia. ‘It really isn’t reckless. I don’t see why you’re making such a fuss.’

Martya rolled her eyes. ‘Because it’s so stupid. Why ever are you doing it? Just because you’re a countess doesn’t mean you need to go all Time of Isolation. I don’t believe it’s some romantic fit all of a sudden, not after what Ekaterin told us about it. I thought Delia was going to be sick. And I won’t believe that Dono’s making you, either – he ought to know a bit about it himself.’

‘No,’ said Olivia, ‘but it is about the Countship. You were on Sergyar, so you didn’t really see - It wasn’t easy for Dono to secure the district. I don’t mean the Council of Counts, that was the easy part. It was either legal or it wasn’t. The district on the ground was a lot harder. Of course, a lot of people were pleased to have anyone but Richars, and there were plenty of others who knew that Donna had been running the place for Pierre for years and was the only reason things hadn’t got much worse. But there was still a good deal of disquiet, and not just in the backcountry, talk about mutants and things. Dono’s worked very hard. He’s been able to do much more for the district now he’s got power in his own right, and that’s won people round. But you can’t count on that sort of goodwill forever; he has to secure the succession.’

‘What’s a body birth got to do with that?’

‘Tante Cordelia says all true wealth is biological,’

‘Tante Cordelia’s a romantic.’

‘I bet Miles doesn’t say that. But what I mean is, she’s Betan. On Barrayar, all true power’s biological. Dono’s claim to the Countship rests on his being Pierre’s closest male heir. If his son’s claim is to be beyond dispute, Dono’s must be, too: not proven in the Council of Counts, but in the flesh. A Barrayaran man shows he’s a man by siring an heir.’

‘Proving his prick works.’

Olivia gave this comment the attention it deserved. ‘Dono claimed the Countship in the modern way. His son will get it the old-fashioned way.’

‘If it is a son. What if you have five daughters?’

‘We’ll swop the third in a warming pan. I said old-fashioned, not totally obsolete. You can do a lot with Betan tech.’

‘So Kareen says. But Dono’s hardly middle-aged, no-one’s going to be inheriting anything from him for decades.’

‘I hope not.’

‘Come to that, isn’t most of him still genetically XX? How does that work when it comes to aging; has he sacrificed years for inches?’

‘I prefer,’ said Dono Vorrutyer, entering the room, ‘to think of it as exchanging the possibility of a slightly premature coronary attack, for the certainty of an extremely premature assassination. Besides, the Vorrutyer heart only runs in the male line. It seems I have something to thank my genes for after all.’
Tags: vorkosigan fic
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