Actually, Kassandros wasn't even certain where the nearest museum was. He vaguely recalled visiting one, once, but to be honest, he wasn't sure if it was an event that had legitimately occurred, or if it was a vision of a future event, or if maybe it was a past life. He supposed it didn't terribly matter. The point... the point was... somewhere over there in left field, he guessed. Kassandros wasn't certain where he was going with that. Probably, it was just something safe to think about, and, anymore, his mind didn't seem to like focusing on anything safe. He tended to take advantage of it when he could get his mind to dwell on a safe thing for longer than ten seconds.
What if he did go? No, it was a silly thing to wonder, because for one thing, that was what Kassandros wanted (it was), and for another thing, Sandalio had been entirely too resistant to the idea so far. As much as he hoped he could, Kassandros didn't think Tristan could change his mind. Marcus was playing a game Kassandros knew the rules to, a game Marcus generally did not play. He was planning something, and Kassandros knew it. What, that he hadn't figured out. Whatever it was, either the light had yet to decide to tell him about it, or the light had yet to see it. By this point, he had little doubt, if they did get into something troublesome, Sandalio wouldn't do the smart thing and back down from it.
That wasn't how it was supposed to go.
But if Kassandros attacked first... and never mind he wasn't certain he could, if he attacked first, he'd be the wrong one, and he knew it. Even if, by some miracle, House Essair's forces managed to overcome Cassimer's, if they moved first, they'd have to deal with the justicars. Theoretically, Kassandros could then remove the justicars, too, but not all of them were terrible people (actually, most weren't, it was a matter of Dalmasca's system trapping them as much as everyone else), and that wouldn't endear him to too many people. He'd have a damned civil war on his hands, for sure, and logically, he knew this wasn't a better idea, he knew that wasn't worth one person's life, no matter how attached he may have gotten to them.
He knew that. He didn't like it, but he knew that.
"You know, Leon," Kassandros answered, "that's almost creepy." Almost. "I know this, logically, but do you have to point it out?"
Yeah, he figured that'd be confusing. "I mean, I'm sure you wouldn't really know what to do with your own room," Yishai said, "but that's kind of why I wanted to give you one. You know, so maybe you won't be so confused when I die and you're free. That'll be in my will. Technically, freedmen are still indebted to the house they served last, but my parents probably won't bother you. Unless they need a guard again, I guess." The chances of that were kind of slim. Well, his parents might adopt after he died, if they couldn't have any more kids of their own. They might want a guard for their other kids, someday.
That was kind of a depressing thing to think. Next thought.
"I guessed not," he answered. "I'll have to teach you, probably. I may need you to read stuff for me sometimes." There were days his condition was so bad, he couldn't hold a book up. "I'm doing research on obscure medical conditions. Kind of a passion project, I guess. I probably spend more time buried in books than anything. Well, if we're lucky, this arrangement won't be too eventful. I know you've probably dealt with worse, I hear stories, it's just..." Just what? Maybe he shouldn't say that. It was a stupid thing to think, and a stupid thing to feel, and honestly, Hadrian was a slave. He probably didn't really care.
Shai had to remember that. He was here because he had to be, that was all. Yeah. Mixing duty up with caring was a dangerous thing.
He shook his head, instead. "Anyway, my room's this way," and he headed down the hallway. "It's got a nice view of the garden, if you like flowers and stuff. In the morning, the sunrise comes in right through the windows, so, I hope you're a morning person." The sun, of course, was pretty bright. Hard to sleep through that.
"Whoa, careful what you wish for, my friend," Yishai warned, though he did sound a bit amused as he did so. "Wouldn't want to run into anything worse than the metal phalluses. We'll try and stick to the less adventurous side of the festivities." Yes, indeed. Yishai wasn't really one to shy away from such things - he was, after all, Dalmascan, and had been born and raised in such environment - but this one was not Dalmascan.
"Let's start with welcoming Iuna back from her winter slumber, and giving thanks for the coming season," he decided, heading a specific direction. "That's pretty tame. In the wintertime, Iuna goes to sleep, and the earth follows suit. Makes sense, right? When Iuna awakens in the springtime, the flowers begin to bloom and life returns to the fields. So to thank her, we make things out of her gifts and exchange them. Weaving together baskets from the reeds and crowns from the flowers, and such like. It's fun, and might be a good skill to learn someday, if you're interested, weaving baskets together. Or you can just buy one, if you're not feeling adventurous."
Yishai, on the other hand, would be making a flower crown, no doubt. And maybe he'd give it to Hadrian. Yeah. "A bundle of flowers, please," he said, stopping at a flower stand along the way to Iuna's altar. The peddler happily gave him a large cluster of different coloured flowers, and Yishai gave him appropriate chips in return, then separated the bundle in half, and offered that half to Zhihao.
"Many just leave a single flower on Iuna's altar," he explained, nodding down the street. At the end of the cobblestoned pathway was a long row of stone tables, with candles, bundles of flowers, single flowers, some in vases, some not, crowns, and food, at the foot of a large marble statue of a female figure wrapped in drapery. She looked peaceful, her hair in braids to her ankles, her arms held just slightly up and out, her eyes closed and a small smile on her face.
"Iuna is not as demanding as many of Dalmasca's gods," Yishai explained. He figured the Dalmascan gods were new to Zhihao. "She is happy just to be remembered and offered something. Some leave her honey and buttered bread, as well. House Essair probably do. Iuna's one of the few gods Kassandros isn't perpetually mad at." Yishai giggled a bit. Yes, it seemed Kassandros was constantly all but at war with them. "How's the culture shock, anyway? Bet it's a bit overwhelming, sometimes, huh?"
It wasn't like Tristan understood the guy. Certainly, he didn't understand him better than Sandalio, but if Sandalio was confused, well, they were both out of luck on guessing what Kassandros' angle was. It seemed strange a thing; the only explanation that made any sense was perhaps the freedom was because Kassandros wanted to reward them, or just one of them and the other two were just along for the ride by virtue of being related to him, for doing decent jobs, but then why the emphasis on leaving? Kassandros seemed more the type that'd be over the moon about being legally obligated to pay them for their services now.
Kassandros was a never-ending enigma, if Tristan had ever seen one.
"If you're not leaving, neither am I," Tristan answered. "I'm just confused. Not so much by the freedom thing, though that'll take some adjustment, it's more, the emphasis on the caravan to Haradi. Decent guards are hard to come by, particularly among the blood fighters, I'd figure he'd rather you stayed." Well, on the other hand, Kassandros wasn't stupid. A bit naive and occasionally somewhat short-sighted, but he wasn't an idiot. Maybe he'd noticed Sandalio had a thing? Then why not command them to go? He didn't even have to, he could've sent them to House Asheron, that wasn't a bad place to go, either.
"... you have a thing, don't you?" Despite the question, it was toned as if he already knew the answer, and by now, Tristan was fairly sure he did. "Have you told him this?" There was that possibility. It wasn't as if Tristan was privy to their probably countless conversations.
"Oooh, I think he knows..." Livia answered. "He doesn't strike me as the sort that's more blind to his own feelings. It didn't take you very long to figure it out, did it?" She didn't think so. On the other hand, quite frankly, she had no idea when he'd figured it out. Maybe it'd taken him longer than she thought. "Or, maybe he knows, but he doesn't know? Like, he knows he feels a thing but what thing is in the air?" ... Livia was not making sense. Nope.
"... I should go home, huh?" That would probably be the safest thing to do, yes.
Kassandros, for his part, eventually managed to find Icarus, and wandered that way. As he came up beside his brother, he made a face at him, somewhere between amused and annoyed. "Livia is drunk," he said, somewhat flat. "... did you know she has no filter when she's inebriated? I didn't." He'd make a mental note to stay away from her when she was drunk, yes.
"Hope you're having a better time of it than I am." Where was Cygnus, anyway? Not that Kassandros particularly cared what his youngest brother got into, but he also very much did. Cygnus clearly couldn't make proper decisions about who to interact with on his own, and yes, Kassandros worried. Perhaps a hair more than he needed to, but this was Cygnus, he who has no concept of social decorum, nor any concept of acceptable individuals to interact with.
It never ceased to amaze him, how good at pretending everything was fine, even as the world crashed down around him, Kassandros actually was. And at the same time, somehow, and yet perhaps unsurprisingly, it made Leon angry. In most particular situations in which Dalmasca screwed over one of its own, Leon had a hard time caring. Most of the time, whoever it was deserved it, at least in the upper class-those in the lower classes rarely did anything except exist, but that was another problem altogether. Kassandros, though, maybe he'd done a thing or two to somebody, but Leon was willing to bet that whoever it was deserved it. Kassandros was a storm, that much was certain, but he was a very discerning storm, one whose lightning bolts struck only where it needed to. Maybe he did screw someone over, but they always had it coming. And yet, it seemed, somehow, he managed to be the one that suffered the most. And why was that? If Leon ever figured that out, he'd be in business.
"That'd be boring," Leon said. "The boringest. Nobody goes to museums anymore, Kass." Absolutely, that wasn't the point, and Leon knew that, but the entire conversation train wasn't the point, and they both knew that. Leon wasn't really sure how to make them reach the point without setting off Kassandros' often very intense hypersensitivity. Making Kassandros shut down wouldn't help anything, and Leon knew it; he also knew, it was very easy to do. Kassandros was a bit like trying to deal with a flighty deer, sometimes. It had its moments where it was frustrating beyond logical understanding, but, in the same breath, Leon understood why. It did not make it any easier to deal with, however. Leon was constantly unsure of what his next move should be, what constituted pushing too far too fast. Sometimes, dealing with Kassandros and his delicate balance was difficult, but someone had to. Sandalio did. Icarus and Cygnus had, by now, probably forgotten they should. It wasn't right, or healthy, for him to stay closed off this way, especially not after the other night.
Leon was nosy. He knew it. "Yes," he answered. "Breakfast got done a few minutes ago. But you aren't out here passing the time waiting for breakfast to be done." It wasn't a question, because Leon knew the answer. "And don't try and say it's nothing. You can lie to other people, but you can't lie to me. I can smell it."
He didn't know if it was okay for Hadrian to take the weapon. Not yes you can use it, or no that one isn't acceptable. But he didn't know. For a moment, at least until Yishai explained Hadrian wondered if it wouldn't be best to wait for the master of the house then. The explanation was quick on the heels of the statement. Ah...right. Hadrian brushed away his confusion and inclined his head in a nod. Right, then he was going to keep this one because the weight was comfortable and it was a style he was familiar enough with to use without hesitation. So yes, apparently this weapon was fine. And if it turned out later that it wasn't, Hadrian would deal with those consequences then.
"I'll remember that." But Hadrian didn't have another name. He supposed Yishai had his reasons for saying that. And that was fine, it was a sweet sentiment, and confusing, but maybe the lesser of the confusing things Yishai had said so far. So fine. ... But Hadrian was his name, and it was always going to be his name. Yeah. Well maybe not always, he may eventually get an owner that took offense to it and changed it but that was... well. Apparently not going to be this house.
"I'm sure I can manage helping move some things around your room, don't worry about it." In a mild tone that was an attempt to be pleasant, really. Still, the more the kid spoke the more Hadrian realized he probably really did need a guard because if he was that fragile... it was a miracle Dalmasca hadn't killed him already. And it would probably take some work on his part to make sure it remained that way. ... Not the worst way to spend his time though. The kid was confusing, but his personality was pleasant so far. Hopefully it stayed that way. Being cordial with him would make things easier.
Wait did he say extra mattress. Confusion, crossed his expression. "...If... you insist." Not arguing, but where did the kid even come up with an idea like that. Giving a bed to a slave. But it wasn't a bad compromise, all things considered. Clearly the kid wasn't liking giving up part of his space very much as it was.
"I think it does." Yes, technically. It was an upgrade from his previous position, for sure, Hadrian thought as he followed the boy. "A little, but it's fine." It was a good weird? So far? Hm. "... No, I can't." Some slaves could, but he was not among that group.
"Hm..." Zhihao had heard enough about the Cassimers that he didn't want to run into any of them. As far as he could tell, they weren't... on the nicer spectrum when it came to the Houses here in Dalmasca. In fact, he had lucked out, running into a vassal of House Essair. He was starting to see that the more and more he learned each day. Trying not to shiver at the idea of what might befall House Essair if they out-wealthed the Cassimers, Zhihao admired the nearby glasswork instead.
He wondered which slave it was. Could he tell if he saw the glasswork? Was it somebody he had already met? Zhihao had met quite a few people by now but many of them were in passing. Zhihao tried desperately to remember all their names and to match those names to faces but it was true that if you didn't use it, you lost it and if he didn't interact often enough with them, they were relegated to generic slave status--like the ones he knew back home. Not that he'd openly admit that to some of the House Essair friends he'd made. He got the feeling slavery wasn't quite as well liked as it was in House Zhu.
"Ah... wow." The part about the um... metal penis. Well, he hoped they didn't run into that because he didn't know how he'd possibly remain stoic in the face of that. He'd never seen one before. Real ones in bathhouses. Not so much as big metal ones. Well, he did say it's a fertility festival. He was too afraid to ask if that meant there were orgies. He'd heard back home there were such things in Dalmasca.
Clearing his throat, he tilted his head forward.
"All right, lead the way. I want to see everything!" Except the metal penis! And who knew? Maybe his wish would be one of those that came true.
It wasn't that rare for them to be in the same room, was it? Hm... Sandalio turned at Kassandros' words though, as soon as he'd finished with what he was doing. Wait, wait. A glance at Tristan. Yes, okay, he'd heard that right. He wasn't misunderstanding or anything like that. No, Kass had just friend the both of them, and apparently, Estelle. Which made sense given Estelle was his daughter, wouldn't want to separate them but...
Hm. His expression was somewhere between confused and uncertain. "I mean thank you but why would you..." Well it didn't have to change anything, which was slightly encouraging. Still, he had no idea why Kassandros would do that exactly. Seemed like it would be just as easy not to free them at all and let them keep doing their jobs. It was something to be thankful for, sure, but it was confusing. Sandalio couldn't see what Kassandros gained from this. Of course, before he had a chance to ask anything else, to try and get an idea of what he might be thinking, Kassandros had gone and left him alone with Tristan.
"Not unless you consider doing my job decently well bad." Sandalio was frowning a little, thinking back on things. "I don't plan on going anywhere though." Nope. He was going to stay and keep doing his job. He wanted to keep doing his job. "I wouldn't blame you if you don't want to stay." In a rather serious voice. ... And maybe... if he went, maybe he should take Estelle away from here before things changed and something went wrong. But Sandalio was going to stay right where he was. He didn't say that immediately though.
Or, well. He supposed that Kass might consider the fact that Sandalio liked him some kind of a thing done wrong, intentional or not. And... well. It was one of those things that Kassandros may well have recognized as a thing. It didn't stop him from doing his job - in fact it made him want to do his job. But Kass had always had some minor issue with just how well Sandalio did his job, and how seriously he took the bodyguard thing.
He tried not to sigh too loudly, really, he did. Admittedly, it came out more resigned than exasperated. Someday, maybe the answers to these sorts of questions would be different. Yishai wasn't above anyone else, and that was that. Certainly, he wouldn't be acting as if he was; it just happened, he was dying, couldn't easily defend himself, and his parents had money. That was all. That was the only reason Hadrian was here at all, and maybe it was a bit humbling to realise that. Sad, too, because if it weren't for all that, who knew where the other would be. It was sad to think that, he and everyone like him were just stuck with whatever the universe doled out to them. Yishai wasn't naive, anymore. Sometimes, he wished he was. That was why. Why his mother getting him a dang slave of all things as a bodyguard upset him, but in the end, it was either following Yishai around, or ending up back in the arena, or worse, and really, Yishai was probably the guy's best shot at a life that didn't suck.
And that just made him sad-angry. That was an odd thing to feel, sad-anger.
"I don't know," Yishai answered. "You can use any blade in there you want, but I don't know what your training's like. Whatever's easiest for you to handle and most comfortable, really." At least, for now, he may have to give the guy a bit more direction, until he figured out, or accepted, or both, that Yishai was quite serious about that whole 'whatever you want,' thing. It was very likely he had no idea what 'want' even meant. There went that sad-anger feeling again. He'd have to get over that.
"Well, that's okay," he said. "Many don't, but, I figured if there was a name you felt more attached to, I'd use that instead. If you ever decide you want to be called something else, just let me know, and I will, okay?" It occurred to Shai, of course, that the other might be lying. Some became almost defensive of their real names, as if in sharing it with someone they didn't necessarily trust, they were giving away the last shard of themselves that was still theirs, and maybe it felt that way to some. Shai would never really know - he'd never been in that situation, and never would be, maybe, if fortune was kind to him (he figured, this whole dying business, that was more than enough misfortune to last him a while). If he was omitting it, out of a disinterest in telling him, maybe someday, Shai might earn it.
Anyway. "Well, I should at least move stuff around so you don't trip all over my research and hurt yourself or something. I might need your help moving things around sometimes. Um. I'm pretty much a wet noodle, and moving heavy stuff wears me down really quick. Can't even hold a sword for longer than a few seconds, if that." Really, Shai wasn't the best owner-person. He had nothing going for him, as far as making them stay. That was fine with him. If, someday, a slave murdered him and escaped, that'd be a good death. "Uh, oh! We have an extra mattress, actually! Maybe we can just move a bed into my room so you get your own space and also aren't far. Sounds like a decent compromise, yeah?" Well, apart from it'd be Hadrian doing the moving, part... unavoidable side-effect. But, Shai didn't want to make the guy share a bed with him, that was - that was so Dalmascan - unacceptable, that was what that was, but being fair, Hadrian was right. He'd be able to do that guarding thing much easier if he was nearby.
"... does this make you kind of a body slave?" he asked, moving to lead to his room. "Hmm. Guess that's not so bad. Probably weird for you, though, sorry about that. I'll try not to be too horrible. You can't read, can you?" Most likely, no. It was rare to find a slave that could read; rarer, still, to find a blood fighter that could.