"Duty before self." -- Motto of House Dawnherald
He tells the living and the dead alike he doesn't dream when he sleeps--that "sleeping" isn't the proper term for it anyhow; he's awake to what's around him, insensible as he might seem--that the apparatus of dreaming long-ago decayed along with his sight and his reason and the other useful parts of his brain; and like everything he's invented and re-invented about himself since being dragged half-blind into the twilight realm of undeath, that isn't strictly true.
The aftermath of terror stirs the muddied waters of his consciousness like a prowling shark, sending rotting fingerlings of half-digested memory skirling in its wake. They aren't important--most aren't important--and more than anything after a shock to his system so severe (he lied and i believed him gullible fool my fault m y f a u l t stupid stupid
slut) he wants to let exhaustion take its course--decorum be damned--and let him sleep.
But Memory's awakened, and Memory stirs, and puts on a pretty, green-eyed face, and Larkspur dreams:
"I should have strangled you at birth, for all the use you've been to me!"
She is beautiful and fierce and perfect, even standing outside the bars of his cell, saying things that aren't--that can't possibly be--true. Hair so wheat-pale as to be nearly white, fine of feature and delicate of frame in a way that hides deceptive strength, Dionaea Sunwatcher is beautiful and no one watching the two of them could mistake the lines of heredity that tie the pair together.
"--or never let the old fool sire you on me in the first place! Ridding myself of him was the best thing I've done for our House! And now this!"
She is beautiful and absolutely insane and he is in love with her, a gaping fool for her, exactly as she planned it.
She slaps the bars in front of his face and he shies back like a startled horse.
"You stupid, filthy little traitor. Do you know how much this has cost me, you little ingrate? Do you understand what you've done to me?"
Somehow in the midst of the shock of revelation--(she killed Father?)--and the sheer inside-out, upside-down madness of the entire scene he finds his voice and finds it calm: "This wasn't for you, Mother. This was for Silvermoon."
He isn't sure what's worse: The look of utter incomprehesion she fixes him with, or the words that follow:
"Silvermoon? You stupid little fool, I raised you to be loyal to me, not some faceless fucking city!"
"Shut. Up. You're useless to me, Larkspur."
"I would be lying if I said it is not a bitter pill to swallow. Everyone wants to be first sometimes. To not always feel like second best. Or third. Or fourth."