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Messages - Livia Asheron

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1
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: Jun 30, 2018, 05:22 PM »
Was that really something to thank her for? Then again, any other slave owner around here probably wouldn't have said anything to him at all, just rolled their eyes at Kassandros as often they did, and moved on with life. Technically speaking, though, that wouldn't have stopped Kassandros. When had it ever? He'd have just threatened and terrified someone into selling Rosalio to him, as, she heard, he did with someone else recently. Oh, and then there was the incident at the docks yesterday. That was going to take him a while to live down. Supposedly, he'd gotten hit with a whip saving someone else from getting hit with it.

Livia was nice, but she wasn't sure she was that nice.

Well, maybe it didn't matter. She just hugged him back and snorted. "I'd say no thanks necessary, but, I suppose this is a rare opportunity. You're welcome, though." Who knew? Maybe he'd find something else to do than fight all the time. Not that it bothered her, but, it was good to have some other things to live for. "You know how to find House Essair, right?" Yes, that'd only just crossed her mind; maybe he didn't. It wasn't like the estate stuck out. Certainly, it was no House Asheron or Cassimer.

2
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: Jun 28, 2018, 01:51 PM »
For a moment, Livia probably looked pretty confused. That was an odd - well, maybe it wasn't so odd a reaction. She of course, was fortunate in life enough to know hugs could be used to express quite a range of emotions, but she couldn't quite think of one that might fit, here. Hmm. Probably, she wasn't looking at it the right way. It wasn't like Livia had ever been separated from her family, at least not for long (damn her sisters always knowing where she was, it seemed, like ten minutes of peace, that was all she asked for), so she had no standard to run off.

Well, anyway. The confusion dissipated, and she huffed, looking amused. "Sure," she decided. "Why not? I'm so short, though, I'd figure that'd be uncomfortable." Uh. She did stand, then, because, yes, she was pretty short. "Maybe that's better." Livia was, as it happened, probably one of the shortest people in Dalmasca, but she wasn't actually Dalmascan, anyway. Not that genetic traits seemed to really make any logical sense. They just kind of made a mess of themselves, or maybe there'd never really been much of a genetic separation in humes in the first place. Later, thing to think about later.

He did seem genuinely pleased by all this, the maybe finding his family again, at least. Well, maybe it'd work out. Apparently she'd thought wrong, when she thought, for that split second, maybe the subject was a bad one.

3
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: Jun 23, 2018, 02:26 AM »
That almost seemed like a bad question. Interesting impression to get. Most around here, if they had family, wanted to find it. But it was possible, this one didn't really remember his, or hadn't liked his, maybe. Plenty in Dalmasca didn't really care for theirs, it was just, Livia had a hard time imagining it, herself. She didn't tend to jump to such conclusions, because she couldn't imagine life without her headstrong mother and her perpetually put-upon father, and her sisters that were too hyper for their own good.

Well, no. She could imagine it. She just didn't like what she imagined.

"That'd probably be it, then," she said. "Kassandros has an odd knack for reuniting people with their families and friends they've fallen out of touch with. Sort of his speciality, if you will. If you ever decide you'd rather be in House Essair, just let me know." Quite honestly, she couldn't really see it, if only because House Essair did not participate in the blood games. Their house wasn't boring, though. Certainly they had a lot more going on day to day than House Asheron, merely by being at the forefront of this war with Cassimer.

"I'll give you one of our emblems before you go, so the gate guards don't give you too much fuss. You are, of course, welcome to go whenever you like, Kassandros will likely already know and be expecting you, and you're also welcome to go back from time to time, if you wish." She couldn't well - ... well, she could make him, but, that wasn't Livia's style, either. There were things she was unaware of. Who knew if he even wanted to go? Not her.

4
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: Jun 20, 2018, 05:00 AM »
Yes, he did seem the type that would think that. Livia smiled, just slightly, but it both was and was not amused. Incidentally, though, they'd gotten into the house by now. She supposed which way she went didn't really matter too much, so she just decided to head for the parlor. There was almost always tea over there, and someone having it, so, worst that happened was, she had to pour her own tea. Terrible, really.

There were worse things than Kassandros Essair being interested in you. Most likely, if she had to guess, this one had family, somewhere. If usual trends held, probably in House Essair. That was generally what he wanted to borrow her slaves for, that was precisely what he wanted Gannicus for, apparently. He'd made it out to sound like that was entirely self-serving, but he was a liar. She figured that out at mention of having Atenra's brother. Which meant, quite possibly, another of Gannicus' children.

She'd never understand why he had it out for himself, but, whatever. Dalmasca did him a lot more damage than most, that was all.

"Whenever works for you, I'd guess," she answered, folding down into a seat in the parlor. "... you wouldn't happen to have family that are liable to be in Dalmasca, too, would you? Close friends you've lost track of, perhaps?" Either of those would explain what, exactly, Essair wanted.

[ooc: trynna just pick up and go, scuse the awkward if there is any]

5
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: Jun 12, 2018, 03:52 AM »
So he thought. Somewhere, out there, was something else he was good at. Neither he, nor Livia, had found it yet, that was all. It wasn't like slaves and blood fighters had a plethora of opportunities in Dalmasca. No one really did. Ah, but so many said the same about her, didn't they. She wasn't made to sit in a chair in a pretty building. Livia Asheron was a conqueror, so they said. Even if she never conquered with blade and army, she was always felling an enemy or six, usually in the shadows, through the grapevine. Whisper the right words, you see, in the right ears, and Dalmasca would do the rest.

Not a fucking one of them knew shit about her.

Of course, there were those that became made for battle, because there was no other choice. Kill or be killed; you'd think such things would be sequestered into the small, sandy territory of the blood arena. You'd be wrong. Dalmasca was forever kill or be killed, had been since long before anyone knew the name Livia Asheron, even her parents' names, and their parents before them. The eternal war that was this nation would stop, someday. Either that, or it'd break from the force of spinning so quickly. Who knew? Perhaps Kassandros, but, certainly not her. In Dalmasca, those that watched their backs, met death from the front, so really, there was no way around it. You either learned to stab a bitch, or you died. That was the way of this nation.

"There's supposed to be some great day-long games being held soon," Livia mentioned. "Dalmascan forces heavily damaged Diomike, and we're celebrating, of course. House Asheron have been invited to participate. There's also likely to be a blood fighter match or seven during the festival of Iuna in a few weeks, we'll probably be invited to that, too. If enough of the stable is interested in either, I'll allow it." She doubted the first one, though. Most of the military celebrations ended up with a hard pass, mostly because over half the Asheron stables were Macenian. She was Macenian. All the military victories were over the Macenians.

Ah, she'd almost forgotten. "Though, Kassandros mentioned something about borrowing you, this morning. I'm not sure why." He never did say why. Her knowing why he wanted Gannicus, that made sense, given they'd just had a conversation about it. The one she was confused about was not Gannicus, though. Not that she'd quibble. Kassandros was a difficult person to argue with, to start, and then, you know, he always had his reasons, even if those reasons didn't make sense.

6
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: Jun 10, 2018, 05:16 AM »
Probably somewhat unexpectedly, Livia just smiled a bit. It was strange of her, she'd learned, eventually, spending extended periods of time around her blood fighters. It wasn't the only thing she did strangely. When she still had the time to train her fighters herself, that was strange. Most blood trainers didn't actually do any training themselves. What a strange title to give them, then, wasn't it? It wasn't up to her what they were called, of course. But if Dalmasca insisted on calling her a blood trainer, well, training was what she'd do.

"If you like," she answered. "I'm not sure I'll be fantastic company, though." Unsurprisingly, she was already somewhat drained. Wall construction was going well, though, and really, that was the best she could ask for, in this. The towers would start going up, soon, too. Towers and walls; easily able to be torn down with the right machinery, but she highly doubted Marcus would go quite that far. Here, though... would he be foolish enough to hit the estate? That was a possibility to consider, she supposed. Well, there were ilim in this House. Not many, but a few. And her, she was a fire sorcerer; ironic, wasn't it. Fire had nearly killed her, once. Now it couldn't.

Ah, she could use to think about something besides Marcus stupid Cassimer, anyway. Why he'd taken such great offence to Kassandros, anyway, Livia couldn't fathom. Marcus was well past his prime. If he'd wanted imperator, he could've claimed the throne a long time ago. It was hard to be a threat to someone that was not even in your path. That was all semantics. "House Asheron's not too boring for you, is it?" She turned a bit to the side, making it obvious she was going to start walking somewhere. House Asheron's fighters rarely saw the arena proper, anymore. Some found it frustrating, but there was good money to be made in the street fights, anyway. Besides, it did endear House Asheron and its stable of fighters to the commons, and the vast majority of Dalmasca was commoner, after all.

7
House Asheron / Where the Heart Is
« on: Jun 10, 2018, 04:49 AM »
Some part of her had to wonder, how long they'd both felt the same way, how long they'd been dancing around their own feelings, both afraid for some reason or another, to admit anything. Livia, afraid to say anything, in case she'd misjudged it and he didn't really feel the same, afraid of incidentally asking him to love her back even if he didn't; and Alcides, probably afraid of things getting awkward, convinced she was out of his reach. Who knew? She wouldn't ask. In the end, it didn't matter.

It was kind of nice, having it said now, having it put to words, finally knowing for sure. She shook her head, more to himself, trying not to giggle too much as he changed colours, too. He kissed her hand, and she couldn't help it, stepping a bit closer and hugging him, incidentally leaning against him. "It seems kind of silly, now, doesn't it?" she asked. "Now that it's been said. Why'd it take so long, it seems like." It wasn't like feelings were terribly easy to deal with. And some people, they preferred not dealing with them at all. Livia never considered herself one of those people, but once in a great while, that was how things were.

"... we're never going to hear the end of this from Axelius, are we?" That was, it seemed, highly unlikely.

8
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: Jun 01, 2018, 04:30 AM »
This time. She'd noticed, this one got a bit excited, sometimes. It wasn't anything new, at least, not to her. Once in a while, she happened across a blood fighter that actually seemed to enjoy the games, and yes, some did. Men often did enjoy physical labour intensive things, enjoyed the adrenaline rush, and, when they managed to gain some semblance of it, the recognition. It wasn't new. And in some cases, they could easily get out of hand, and forget what was practice, and what wasn't, that was all. A few times, she'd had to sell one or two of her fighters back to market, because they'd somehow managed to turn morning practice drills into a death trap.

Those were not the best days of her life, to be sure. She'd kept at it, learned to curb it, but she was still a hair uneasy with the particularly overzealous ones. Sometimes, they were dangerous. Other times, they weren't. It was difficult to tell which one would be.

"Just checking," she answered. Naturally, she wasn't terribly close, and hadn't managed to set eyes on them long enough to figure that on her own. They tended to know better, anyway, but once in a grand while, she got a very gung-ho new addition, and often those were the ones that decided to break out the steel. Her fighters could get to it, being as they doubled as house guard, and this one almost struck her as the type. Almost. Enough that she asked about it.

When was the last time she was out here for this, anyway? Who knew. Livia was always so busy, now, between keeping House Asheron and its vassals and assets afloat, to trying to walk the young Kassandros Essair through claiming the imperator's throne for himself, rarely did she manage to come out and oversee training herself, now, albeit she managed small snatches of time here and there. For the most part, though, she left it primarily in the hands of her senior fighters, as they were trained by her, and most of them had similar combat styles, now. House Asheron had a notable lean toward bladed weapons, particularly swords and daggers, but there were a few fist fighters and spearmen around; Livia herself had learned blades (generally, if you learned one, you could sort of use the rest), but her senior fighters had started picking up rather the array of options, and that was good, anyway. It wasn't the end of the world, if she wasn't there to oversee training personally. It wasn't like House Asheron specialised in a specific discipline.

Livia loosed a huff of breath, slightly amused. "I am, yes," she replied. "I thought tea, or something, sounded like a good idea. Why?" She'd just come back from touring her nearest farms, overseeing the wall construction. Sooner or later, she was sure, House Cassimer would try tearing Asheron down, and she intended to make it damn good and difficult on them. Well, him; Lucius and Damian had oh so very little to do with their father's actions and decisions.

9
House Asheron / Fight Dirty
« on: May 26, 2018, 05:18 AM »
... those weren't live steel weapons, were they?

Livia wouldn't say anything, just yet. Instead, she stood to the side, hands clasped together in front of her, the ends of her long sleeves hiding under her palm. She usually dressed fairly fancily, and certainly looked wealthy, but on the training grounds, it was classically tasteful, long sleeved shirt that made it easy to move and provided some protection from sand and the like, stopping at her hips where it broke into a two panelled skirt, comfortable pants and boots under. It wasn't revealing, or skin-tight, just comfortable, without leaving anything too loose. Practical, but still rather aesthetically pleasing.

The fighters generally didn't practise with live steel. Neither did they do so with intent to actually kill each other... Livia didn't like her fighters dying, not because it was feminine and she was soft, but because she valued life a bit more than most in Dalmasca, clearly. She had nothing nice to say about other blood trainers. Petellius kept throwing his away, Titus wouldn't know a blood stable if it turned into a dragon and bit him, and... the rest? Well, mostly they just cowed to everyone else's demands.

Kassandros wanted to conquer Dalmasca. Livia wanted to conquer the arena. Funny enough, both sought to do so with as little blood-shed as possible. How boring, right?

"A certain level of ingenuity and resourcefulness is required in combat," Livia said, as they looked at her. "Admittedly, though, you don't train to cause actual damage. It's just practise. Nice thinking, though, both of you, but I might suggest a break, here. Those aren't live weapons, are they?" She should hope not. Most should know, by now, her stance on that. It was radical, she knew. Other trainers might have allowed their fighters to battle each other with live weapons, but Livia was not them. Funny enough, she let hers have actual weapons when patrolling.

But, well. If her fighters killed her, she probably deserved it.

10
House Asheron / auribus teneo lupum
« on: May 21, 2018, 04:33 AM »
... sometimes, most times, dealing with Kassandros, being honest, she really wished he'd share what was going on in his head. She could see the gears turning, of course, knew there was something running through his mind, about now. It'd be useful, if he could share some of that, if she had an idea of where his mind was going, and granted, sometimes he did. Sometimes, he did tell her, but it was always short, stunted, and wanting of a few things. There were things he did not tell her, and she knew it. Livia was fairly sure, she could probably manage to keep supporting him, even if she wasn't privy to all his plans (and really, it was better for him, if she wasn't), but it still... the part of her that didn't trust anyone, wondered if he really trusted her.

She wouldn't really blame him, if he didn't.

"Of course," she answered. Likely, he did need to have a better, more solid grasp on his finances to understand what he was capable of, right now. "That was a sound plan, but, no, it won't work for long. With any luck, you'll back out of this tour, and Marcus will get distracted with something else. Maybe he'll do us a favour, and drink himself to death in celebration." She knew her cousin was afraid of him, and for good reason. Kassandros, well, his name may not strike fear into the hearts of men, but it may not be long before it did. Livia almost couldn't wait until it did. But, being as he was afraid of Kassandros, afraid of him gaining too much traction, afraid of him surpassing him, afraid of him reminding Marcus of everything he could've been and isn't, maybe he'd celebrate indeed. And he'd be so busy being the disgustingly perverse sadist he was, he'd forget all about covering his bases.

"I'm curious what those other reasons are, if you wouldn't mind sharing?" she asked. "Gannicus and Atenra found each other yesterday. I wouldn't really want to separate them, already, but I'm not sure if Gannicus told Atenra the truth or not." She hadn't asked, being honest. It really wasn't any of her business, but she couldn't deny the curiosity. With Umbrius gone and Regillus away from him, it'd be good for Atenra to have some kind of role-model. Victoria, after all, was gone now, too, from what she heard. Jumped off the cliff in the back of Lancaster, and Livia mourned it, privately. Victoria had been a strong woman, and it was sad that she'd given up. She didn't know what'd happened. She didn't want to, either.

If nothing else, Gannicus was familiar, even if Atenra didn't know him very well. "I may send Atenra along, anyway," Livia said, mulling it over. "Gannicus is familiar to him. He could use something familiar in his life. Asheron most certainly isn't it. Essair wouldn't be, either, but at least he'd have a familiar name around. It's not much, but it's the best I've got."

She paused a moment, eyeing Kassandros in thought. "... you may want to get some of that pain off your chest, too." She wasn't an empath, but Livia didn't need to be, to see it in him. In the uncertain way he held himself sometimes, in the expressions that crossed his features when he thought no one was looking, in the sadness and hurt in his eyes that hid just behind the steeled determination that made her like him in the first place. Kassandros had a backbone, and, being frank about it, he was one of the strongest people Livia knew. But he couldn't hold it all in forever. There was always something eating at him, and she was afraid that, someday, it'd eat right through him. And knowing how the universe worked, it'd be at the most inopportune moment.

11
House Asheron / auribus teneo lupum
« on: May 19, 2018, 08:04 AM »
He didn't want to bother them?

There were days when Kassandros was every bit an Essair. There were other days when she wondered why in the name of fuck he wasn't an Asheron. Today was one of the latter. That sounded like her, back when she'd first decided a guard might be prudent. Livia was not, at the time, accustomed to the concept of having one, and hadn't depended on Alcides as much as she should have. Alcides, being more intelligent than most tended to be, figured out early on she wouldn't remember to tell him, when she was going somewhere outside the Asheron estate, when it may well get her killed, and had learned to simply... follow her around constantly. Livia didn't know this guard of Kassandros', and if they were as new to the job as they sounded like they'd be, they may not have any true loyalty to him, either.

The sooner they got started on fixing this mess, the better. Kassandros had the right ideas. He knew what he was doing, he was just missing some satellite complexities, he wasn't thinking far enough ahead. His plans probably revolved around expecting Marcus to underestimate him forever, or relying too heavily on his visions to tell him what was going on, but the problem with both of those plans was, Marcus wouldn't underestimate him forever, and his visions couldn't tell him what hadn't been decided yet. Sooner or later, dependency on that would cause him to end up blindsided, and Kassandros wasn't terribly good at being blindsided. He had a good head on his shoulders, and could figure it out, given time, but likely, he wouldn't have that time.

But he was thinking. And, he was thinking down the right pathways. Livia nodded, slightly, in approval, thinking as well, her head tilting the other way in thought. "Blood fighters would be easiest," Livia answered, her tone thoughtful. "Soldiers already have loyalty to something or someone. You're good at earning loyalty, of commoners and slaves, so I have no doubt you could get your blood fighters to like you. This could, theoretically, become the start of your personal guard. The farther up the ladder you go, the harder the opposing Houses will try and stop you. You are a king in a game of chess, Kassandros. If you fall, we all do. Don't argue about how you and your safety are not important." She could hear it already. He was thinking it terribly loudly.

"Start small," she went on. "Great kingdoms are not built within a day, and neither will yours be. Start small, with what you can manage now, and the more you accomplish, the more will be within your reach. You need more blood fighters. If you've not the ability to train them on your own, I wouldn't mind loaning Gannicus to you. Let him handle training, he knows what he's doing. Start with a handful, maybe ten, just to get your House secure. Reinforce your walls. Barbed wire was a great idea, but it will not hold up for long, not by itself. Perhaps start the first of your farming endeavours on the land you already have. It is already walled in, it is a solid beginning. Make friends. You certainly could use more. Galace may be willing to help you, as may Haradi and Saqqara. If they're willing to sell you land, even, that's farmland outside of Marcus' reach. As your economy stabilises, buy more blood fighters. They don't have to be stellar fighters, they don't even have to be proven; in fact, the less experienced they are, the better, as you can train them to suit your purposes easier. A bad fighter can be broken of his bad habits, but not easily. And for fuck's sake, start today, and start taking your damned guards with you."

She paused, mulling the words over. "And, if you really want my advice, don't take this tour. It is a distraction, as of now. It has potential to push you further up the warlord ladder than you're ready to get, right now. If you push too far too quickly, you aren't ready for the fall-out. Backing out of it may make Marcus think he's won, too, and stop pressuring you as hard. Sometimes, Kassandros, you must learn to step away and back off, so that you can regain your balance, and move forward stronger and more prepared than before. That is not defeat. That is smart."

12
House Asheron / auribus teneo lupum
« on: May 17, 2018, 02:49 AM »
He was still avoiding the point.

Livia released a sigh, shifting in her seat, setting the pen down and resting her arm on the desk she was sitting at, fixing him with yet another hard stare. Kassandros rarely ever gave more than a fraction of a fuck about himself, and if he gave that much, well, that was something to write sagas about. It was always concerning, to her, how little he seemed to care about his own well-being, especially given there were quite a few in his house that depended on him, most of whom cared about him, to make matters even more complex. Livia had been that way, once. Perhaps, given time, he'd have grown out of it on his own, as she did (he was still only seventeen, after all, and he'd grown in some ways, and not in others, as most that were forced to mature too soon often did).

And yet, the truth of it was, Kassandros did not have the time to grow out of it on his own. The fact of the matter was, he was flirting with death, practically. Marcus Cassimer was not a man to trifle with. If you were going to go head to head with him, you'd damn well better be ready for what that meant, because Marcus most certainly did, and would not fuck around. The fact he'd spent so many hessions and so much time and effort on assassins was, to tell the truth, a miracle, but Livia was convinced he was, most likely, underestimating Kassandros.

This worked in the young man's favour, at the moment, but sooner or later, Marcus would get serious, and when that time came, merely ignoring him would not be enough. She was sure Kassandros understood that, but, perhaps it had not quite sunk in, what that meant. Maybe he thought he could shoulder and brute force his way through whatever it was Marcus threw at him, but it wasn't merely him that was threatened by House Cassimer rising against House Essair. House Asheron could do only so much; short of moving part of her soldiers to protecting House Essair, and she couldn't feasibly spread her forces so thin without threatening her own economy, as Marcus would likely target her soon, there wasn't much else she could do. He had to figure out how to stand on his own, or he wouldn't last two seconds in the Imperator seat.

"If you have a guard, why is said guard not here?" she asked, arching an eyebrow. "I know you don't want to think about this, as far as you're concerned, this is a you problem, right? Marcus only takes offence to you, no big deal. But this is bigger than just you and Marcus, Kassandros. House Essair is weak. I know you don't want to think about that, I know you're enough to keep the House going, but all they have is you. What if something did happen to you? I'm not saying it will, but you should think about what if it did. Because without you, the House grinds to a halt. Without you, the Cobras stop. Without you, your grip on the warlord ladder fades. You cannot be the driving force behind everything, and expect it to remain steady if you are suddenly gone. There are slaves in your house that depend on you, too, families you have reunited, friends you have brought together. What happens to them? In the greatest, worst case scenario, let's say someone put you in a coma. What then? The Cobras stop, the trade stops, the House's income fails, money is not eternal. Without the income, the House starts to crumble. After paying taxes for several months, paying healers, maybe, supplies, your house needs food, the next thing you know your slaves are having to sell the furniture to keep going. And when they've run out of furniture, what then? Either they starve together, or they sell themselves back to market, and you are an island of serenity in an ocean of chaos. Some have never even seen that ocean of chaos. Islands that sink do not remain islands very long."

Livia shook her head. "You cannot be a wall, protecting an unarmed village, and expect that village to remain standing should you fall. Marcus does not play games. He's underestimating you. Take this opportunity to build more walls, to give your villagers weapons, to teach them to defend themselves, let them help you, because you cannot do this alone. No one can. Not you, not me, not even the great Spartacus could do this alone."

13
House Asheron / Where the Heart Is
« on: May 16, 2018, 05:59 AM »
Admirable, he said. Livia made a wistful, albeit amused, expression; well, Alcides never did say anything terrible about her, or her many odd habits. Sometimes, Livia wondered if this was because he had none to say, or because he just didn't want to say them. He was more diplomatic than that, at least. It was part of what she liked about him, but there was always some measure of wondering if he was really being honest, or if he was just being careful in his word choices. She had get up and go, yeah... she was also a hair selfish, and wasn't always the best at remembering there were other people to consider, at times. At least, Livia recognised these complexities, and did her best to curb them, when she noticed herself doing them.

Yes, maybe she would've gotten used to it. And yet, things would've never quite been the same, again. It wasn't the same, even now, and yet, she knew, despite his being free, now, Alcides wouldn't complain, if nothing changed at all. She'd have to be mindful of that. It wasn't as if she really ordered her slaves around, anyway, not like most did; she asked, politely, rather than demanded, was careful never to ask more of them than they were willing to give, never made them do anything she wouldn't do herself. That was strange, wasn't it? She'd heard all about how strange it was, many a time before, and still didn't care. Maybe adjusting to him being a freedman, now, wouldn't be as difficult as it may have been if she were like every other Dalmascan.

Well, barring Kassandros. But he was also an anomaly, as Livia was. All of House Asheron was, really. Kassandros was born into the wrong house; he even looked like an Asheron.

Livia frowned, noticeably, when he decided against leaving. Really, some part of her had always known that giving him the choice to leave, it was almost pointless, because that part of her knew he wouldn't take it. If the roles were reversed, neither would she, but it was the principle of the thing, really. Alcides was accustomed, by now, to her asking and really wanting the honest answer, in things like that. Her blood fighters were behind her, and she knew it, and, maybe Alcides had never been on the sands, before, but he was almost as much one of her blood fighters as the fighters themselves were. All were trained by her. And all had come to at least respect her, in their ways. Some took more time than others, to earn the respect of, but Livia never shied away from earning it.

Wait, what'd he just say?

It was, quite possibly, the first time ever Livia was at a total loss for words. Well, that saved her having to figure out how to say something, without actually saying something, being fair about it. Livia was always afraid of saying it first, that he might think he had to at least pretend he felt the same way, and that wasn't really love, was it? Livia didn't think so. Apparently, that was why he'd come back, to some extent. Here was almost all he knew, anyway, and she was and wasn't surprised, when Axelius had said he'd come back. Now, though, flickers of wondering if she was worthy of that crossed her mind, but, she stuffed them back into whatever corner of her mind they'd popped out from. Her silly little insecurities weren't really important, right now. All she could do was hope she was, and trust Alcides' judgement, but nothing was terribly new, there.

He said she didn't have to say anything, but, aside from the part where words weren't formulating in her head, properly, she did want to. She should tell him she reciprocated, at least. She shook her head, more to herself, crossed the space separating them, took one of his hands in hers, and gently kissed his cheek. ... and, of course, then turned scarlet.

14
House Asheron / Where the Heart Is
« on: May 13, 2018, 04:32 AM »
That time, Livia laughed, slightly, albeit it came out more of an amused huff. "The others have a bit of difficulty, keeping up with me." Alcides had always just fallen smoothly into step beside her. He didn't ask her to change, and she didn't ask him; he just learned to move at the speed of Livia on his own, decided to on his own. In every possible way, he'd become her shadow, and sometimes, she couldn't help but think maybe he'd wanted to. And maybe he'd come back, because - it was a stupid thought, or she believed it was. It was just silly wishful thinking, on her part. Still, she kept thinking it. But that slight scent... Axelius had the same one, and Livia hadn't quite figured out what it was, but...

She decided to just push that out of her mind. It wasn't important, anyway. All that mattered was, he was back. Alcides was back where, as far as she was concerned, he belonged, and of course, if he had come back on his own, maybe there was a reason why. This was normal, anyway. If nothing else, out there would be a very different life than the one he'd led so far here. And here, at least, Livia could be absolutely sure he was okay. Dalmascans often played games he wouldn't understand. He hadn't needed to, before, when he was a slave and it didn't matter, but on his own, as a freedman, it'd be a very different story.

Livia would much rather he were here, for many reasons.

"It was... odd, without you following me around all the time," she admitted, quietly, gaze falling to the floor again. "It was only a few days, maybe I'd have gotten used to it, but, I kept turning to tell you something, or make a face at you, and you weren't there." It had stung, every time. And it merely only served to underscore how firmly a part of her life he'd become, over the years. But that would happen, when you essentially grew up with someone, and suddenly they were gone. No, not so suddenly. She'd had warning. She'd meant to free him for years, really, but couldn't quite bring herself to brace for the very real chance he may not ever truly come back.

Oh, if she had her way, he'd be in the Free Cities by now, making a new, better life, than anything she could offer him here, and things were, if Kassandros continued down the pathway he was on, going to get fairly nasty. Even for her, maybe especially for her, as she was very firmly behind House Essair, she was one of Kassandros' biggest supporters, and she was female. She'd be assumed to be the weakest link.

"There is a storm coming," she mentioned, looking back up, her voice a bit louder. "House Essair moves to take the Imperator throne. House Cassimer and House Lancaster will undoubtedly be fiercely against it, already Marcus is trying to kill Kassandros, admittedly he's not doing a very good job. I am behind Essair, and, most likely, they'll think me the easier target. I've already begun scattering our soldiers and half the blood fighters across the vineyards and farmlands, and I'm building walls and sentry towers around them. This may get very messy. We may end up at war in all but name. Are you still sure this is what you want?" Some part of her hoped he'd change his mind, run to the Free Cities where he'd be safe.

Another part of her wasn't sure she could face this mess without him.

15
House Asheron / auribus teneo lupum
« on: May 10, 2018, 06:26 PM »
That was, indeed, probably a rather stupid thing to say. Of course Kassandros had noticed. The real question was, what'd he intend to do about it? Or was he doing what always he had done, and ignoring it? Livia did not favour her second-cousin, far from it, Marcus was a righteous sack of shit, but it didn't change the fact that he was, indeed, very powerful, and powerful men did not give up easily. There were rumours, even, rumours that had spread like wildfire once, about how Marcus would do near anything in his power to scare his opposition into backing down. Word was, he'd even done it to his own vassals, should they become too big for their britches.

Livia pinned him with a stare, her expression, perhaps, more confused, and a bit concerned, that he could be so nonchalant about having Marcus Cassimer on his ass, of all people. "Alcides came back, a few days ago," she said, still staring at him. "It was weird without him around, anyway, but you're avoiding the subject. Do you at least have a plan for Marcus, or are you just winging it?" If he chose, Marcus could be rather the hindrance, and Livia knew it. Hell, Kassandros himself wasn't terribly imposing, even, and Marcus certainly wasn't afraid of him. She feared, someday, he might just personally attempt to kill him, if not worse. Marcus and his varied friends didn't have the power to ruin Essair with hearsay and he-said she-said, if only because the rest of Dalmasca knew Essair were threatening Cassimer's place as the most powerful warlord-class house in Nydema, and few heeded anything Cassimer and their allies spoke against Essair.

But there were worse things than that. Kassandros was set to return to the military, soon, if Livia recalled. And when he left, nothing would be protecting his house, and he didn't yet have the influence among the rank and file to defend himself without it looking horrible while he was gone. Perhaps it was silly to worry so much, but Livia couldn't help but worry about him. If she didn't already establish things felt awkward and wrong without Alcides around, fucking hell if she wouldn't insist Alcides go with him. She trusted him with her own life, trusting him with Kassandros' was a given.

"If nothing else, maybe you should think about a guard." Certainly, he didn't really need one. Kassandros was quite capable of taking care of himself, she knew this, about as well as she could handle herself, and he was a very powerful mage to boot. But there were always instances and situations wherein one's own power wasn't enough, and she dreaded the day he got himself into one of those, and yet only had himself to fall back on.

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