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evolve Mar 11, 76 333 Views
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Started by Kassandros Essair, May 21, 2018, 06:55 PM
Kassandros Essair
light from the shadows
Warlord
85 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary 5' 9" House Essair Warlord Written by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
May 21, 2018, 06:55 PM / 704 Words
When he'd thought he might get an arrow along the way home, that really wasn't meant to be an invitation for the universe to do just that. It wasn't as if it was much of a hindrance; Kassandros had rather the pain tolerance, being honest, and the arrow presently in his shoulder joint didn't hurt much, at least, by now. It had at first, and undoubtedly would when it was pulled out, but for now, he hardly noticed it was there.

Ah, where should... well, Merenwen would be rather miffed with him, should he decide not to go essentially straight to her with this arrow, so she could get it out and heal it. He could, of course, simply pull it out, and let it heal on its own, but Merenwen would rather take the time to heal it, he was sure. It was rather the waste of time and effort if you asked him, but Merenwen was a worrying type. She especially worried over him, and he couldn't say it was odd. It was just kind of one of those things Merenwen did, she worried, particularly about him, because Kassandros was always doing something not quite intelligent.

Being fair, he never did anything particularly stupid, if you knew what his angle was. But that was sort of the problem; most couldn't quite figure out what was going on in his head, which worked in his favour, and Kassandros would likley never make himself easier to read, at least not on purpose. Yet, when he did something, it wasn't ever apparent or obvious what the point of that was. Kassandros had plans and made decisions based on plans that wouldn't come full circle for weeks, sometimes, and occasionally, even he lost sight of what he was doing something for. Suyis was never surprised and he had a lot of guns. Kassandros was never surprised and he always had a plan. May not always be a good plan, but he always had one.

At the moment, though, he'd much rather just float in the sea and pretend the world didn't exist. He had things to do. He and Livia had worked out a very good course of action, a solid plan, something to go on, more sure than just winging it, as Kassandros could admit, to himself, he was occasionally doing, he had things to do, changes to set in motion. He had finances to deal with, markets to visit, had to visit the town centre to see about getting that plot of land behind the estate, a wall to knock out and rebuild, aura barriers to weave, should probably have some idea of what the hell they were growing. And yet, he wasn't really in the mood, right now. Pain, she said. Like anything was painful except this stupid arrow whenever he pulled it out.

Speaking of which; he'd stopped, after he'd gotten in the gate, eventually redirected, staring over the other side of the wall at the waves gently rushing onto the beach below the cliffs. When the tide came in, the water often covered the entire beach, pushing up to the rocks. It was almost mesmerising to watch. Kassandros took a breath in, reached up, and ripped the arrow out; unsurprisingly, the loud shrieking yelp that elicited came out before Kassandros could bite it back, and more in annoyance, he tossed the arrow into the dirt a few feet away, blood starting to snake down his arm. It'd stop eventually.

... what first... probably, he should make sense of his ledgers. They made sense, but they also didn't make sense. They made enough sense he knew he wasn't broke, and had managed to pay his taxes on time, but he had no idea how much was excess. It wasn't like House Essair had financial allowances for land plots and blood fighters; he supposed, that'd have to change. Sepheres had nothing else to do and could do maths, that sounded fine. ... he should go in. ... in a minute.

Lycaon
No title
Blood Fighter
5 Posts 21 Years Male 6'2'' House Essair Blood Fighter Written by Lenara
May 23, 2018, 12:43 AM / 412 Words
Sandalio had gotten him into the kitchen and working - Lycaon didn't mind though. It had looked like Sandalio found a friend, if nothing else. He was happy for the other blood fighter, and certainly didn't mind taking over so he could focus on that. Lycaon wasn't a spectacular cook or anything, but it was hard to make mistakes under the guidance of Leon - who was doing most of the delicate work anyway. Once he'd finished Lycaon had sort of been at a loss for what to do.

At the moment he was sitting quietly out of the way in the sunlight. And that meant he was probably one of the closest when that shrieking yelp pierced the stillness of the Essair grounds. Even if the stillness was only perceived it was still... Lycaon was on his feet before he'd really processed much of anything except the direction the sound was coming from - and he started that way rather immediately.

Something was wrong, very wrong. And in case that something was still an immanent threat, he wasn't going to ignore it. Lycaon was not quite prepared to be faced with an arrow on the ground and Kassandros bleeding - but the picture it painted was clear enough. There was concern on the blood fighter's face.

"...I see the adventure this morning went well." Sandalio's tone was a cross between sarcastic and concerned. He  had come armed, but that wasn't particularly surprising. It seemed he'd disengaged from his friend. Lycaon wondered, briefly, if it was because of the sound or because they'd parted ways for other reasons.

It probably didn't matter. Lycaon's gaze flicked over the area - it seemed undisturbed. ... Well, he supposed it was possible that Kassandros' injury had taken place earlier and he'd merely removed the arrow here. Lycaon also had to admit that Master Essair looked almost disturbingly unconcerned about the turn of events that had him still bleeding rather profusely. How was it that someone who had made such a noise a moment before appeared so unbothered just moments afterward.

"This happen out there?" Lycaon decided he'd rather confirm whether that was accurate or not. Knowing if there was a loose assassin was probably a good thing all things considered.

Kassandros Essair
light from the shadows
Warlord
85 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary 5' 9" House Essair Warlord Written by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
May 23, 2018, 03:42 AM / 760 Words
Oh.

As if not quite registering anything, blue eyes, somewhat glossed over by the clouds of thought, turned to the Macenians. He did have a guard, yes; it'd take some getting used to, he was sure. It took getting accustomed to Leon caring enough to bother helping with the assassins, and, being honest, the only real reason Kassandros had bothered with getting a guard in the first place was more for Leon's benefit, than his own. Leon was a small thing, somehow mighty, though, but he was not infallible. Aenwyn... yes, he knew about Aenwyn. These two wouldn't. They were gone, before Vaenos and Aenwyn had found disaster in House Lancaster, as most often did.

"Did you find him?" Kassandros asked, gaze falling on Sandalio. He'd spent long enough in the sunlight, his eyes were starting to glow, just so. "And it did go well," he said, and his tone wasn't sarcastic, more a statement of fact. That morning had gone well, he'd just, gotten an arrow along the way. "And yes. They're dealt with, already. It was only two." Which, that was better than usual. The ones brave enough to cross into Kassandros' territory were few, and, like he'd said, the numbers had dwindled and remained relatively low, only one since last he'd left, so long as he remained in the walls. But you see, Kassandros was a dragon, and dragons did not do well in cages, no matter how insignificant, how familiar, that cage may be. His gaze turned back to watching the waves, a spark of gold alighting in his hand. The bleeding slowed significantly.

"No matter how insurmountable the cliffside seems, someday, the sea destroys it, one crashing tide at a time," Kassandros said, more to himself, tone airy. "Have you ever watched the forest? Dead branches fall from the trees. The brush grows wild and unruly, starving the plants beneath of sunlight. It grows, in time, sick. Sick with its own fortune, you could say, the kind of sick that happens when nothing stands in your way, when you're the baddest cat in the brush. Dalmasca is sick. When the forest becomes sick, it burns, and in burning, it breathes again. Dalmasca needs to burn, too, or someday, it'll become so sick, it destroys itself, and takes the rest of us down with it." For a moment, he wondered if that even made sense. He decided not to think about it too much, shaking his head slightly, turning around. He was more present, again.

"One day, soon, I hope, I will be Imperator. Getting there won't be easy. My father left me a mess, being frank about it. House Essair stands, but it stands only just. We have wealth, but it's the kind of wealth that is not hard to stop, and I've become threatening to the likes of Marcus Cassimer and his friends. The higher up the warlord ladder I climb, the harder they try to push me back down that ladder, but if someone doesn't stop it, Dalmasca's on a fast track to misfortune and destruction. I know you won't quite know what I mean, but just understand nothing is as it seems in Dalmasca, and everyone is hiding something. Eaten away by years of war, Macenia dangles on the edge of folding, and behind Macenia is Galace, not powerful enough to stop Dalmasca's expansion, not alone. The Free Cities may step in, but in a battle of sheer numbers, they fall, sooner or later. Between Dalmasca and Jihon, the war may be hard, but they could knock down Haradi and Saqqara. Durya and Highwind don't have the military to put up a resistance. And then all of Azaleon is either Dalmasca or Jihon, and there is no hope anymore. Civil wars will tear apart the commons, slave revolts cut through population numbers in droves, all the while the Dalmascan nobility are busy getting drunk on power and wealth, the Jihonese are killing each other for fun, and the blood games continue standing and murdering, and for what." And if that wasn't enough... Azaleon wasn't the only rock in the sea.

Kassandros snorted, softly, more to himself. "The point's gotten away from me. I need an army. How do you two feel about training one?"

Valerius
No title
Blood Fighter
66 Posts 24 Years male 6'2'' House Essair Blood Fighter Written by Lenara
May 24, 2018, 05:51 PM / 511 Words
Sandalio frowned for a moment, obviously confused by what Kassandros was asking. It took only a moment before he realized what the other must mean. He was supposed to be getting used to it, this thing where Kass just seemed to know things, but he hadn't quite expected that particular thing to be on the list. Maybe Kass really had set this up so they would meet. "Yes, I met Tristán." He said after a moment, calmly.

Well, Lycaon was glad he thought so. But the arrow in his shoulder seemed an indication that the morning hadn't gone as well as it sounded. Then again, maybe there had been good news before that, or something. Some good news was enough to override all but the worst problems in the longer run.  The Macenian blood fighter could at least accept that, even if he didn't entirely understand.

"Good." They were dealt with, already gone. Nothing to worry about except for whichever ones came by next. And of course, they were less common inside, because of the walls and because Leon was a terrifying mage - Ilim often were. Still, they would be more useful as guards if they went outside the walls with him, where the assassins were clearly more prone to striking.

The pair exchanged a glance as Kassandros began talking about the way a forest grew. The metaphor wasn't entirely lost on either of them, but Sandalio at least had to wonder why Kass felt the need to tell them that. Dalmasca needed to burn - was he telling them that he intended to be the one to set the fire? Or was it merely an observation of what Kass had noticed in his short life time?

Kassandros turned to face them, and continued talking, so there wasn't much time for either of them to dwell on the sea metaphor - suddenly they were faced with new information. Ah, he wanted to be Imperator. There was the Dalmascan streak he'd been trying to find in the boy. It was there, clearly, he saw that now. But he'd wondered at first, merely because Sandalio hadn't noticed anything about him that seemed particularly like nobility.

That was... quite a lot of information for a deceptively simple question. "Willing, sure." Sandalio allowed carefully. "But while both of us are fighters it takes a lot more than that to train an actual army." It took a level of skill neither of them were likely to have off the bat, and the time it would take to learn it ... well. He wasn't sure what kind of a timeline the kid was trying to work on. They could train others to fight but it wouldn't be the same as a real army, not exactly.

The discipline of blood fighters was different than that of the military.

Kassandros Essair
light from the shadows
Warlord
85 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary 5' 9" House Essair Warlord Written by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
May 24, 2018, 08:23 PM / 573 Words
"Good," Kassandros answered. "Still tracking down the other one. He changed Houses on me. Your sister, too," he added, glancing at Alasdair. And the light, thus far, hadn't seen fit to tell him where either went, and neither had his more mundane resources found them, either. But the Cobras needed to pull back, anyway, duck back into the shadows from which they'd come. There was a time for walking in the light, and there was a time for waiting in the shadows; this was the latter. Icarus and Cygnus should be back, soon... he didn't have an exact time-frame, just, soon.

Their confusion would be more amusing than the forewarning. He didn't mention his brothers.

Kassandros smiled; it was one of those half out of it smiles, one of those faint ones that didn't reach his eyes, but never did his smiles reach his eyes anyway. Not anymore. That was the 'I know something you don't know,' expression. Kassandros had different smiles, and different glares, it was merely a matter of figuring out which was which. Most never bothered. It was safer if they didn't. Someone besides Icarus being able to make sense of his glares, well, that was scary, in a way he didn't even have to think the words to know it was.

He turned back to watching the waves. "Of course," he answered. "You'll have Gannicus to help, soon. First, I need to make more precise sense of my finances. Sepheres can do maths, it's easy work, so I figured I'd ask him. May take a few days before I'm ready, but I want everything planned out. We're knocking down and rebuilding the wall, expanding into the back land plots, a little at a time, starting farms, gaining defensive numbers... if I'm lucky, Cassimer will never directly hit Essair. But Marcus is not a man to be outdone. If he did nothing, I'd wonder when he'd died." Because, whoever was running House Cassimer, was not Marcus.

"I may not make it," Kassandros admitted, quietly. "I may never make it to Imperator. It's a long way to go, and I don't have much time to do it in. But I can at least put House Essair on a stronger foundation than it stands on, now. Change, you see, doesn't happen when no one moves. Change only happens when others make it. If you drop a stone in a still lake, the ripples spread across the lake's surface, going farther and farther... but something must start them. I will." Because he didn't know what else to do. He was built to protect, not to love, not to want. No one got told what they were here for, of course. That was normal. But he did have to wonder, why he saw everything, absolutely everything, he had the whole world in his lap, and he had no idea what to do with it. He knew, he had a purpose and a reason for existing. And that was it.

The tricky thing about having a reason to exist, though, was that, that reason must always continue to be there. Because once it was gone, so were you.

Valerius
No title
Blood Fighter
66 Posts 24 Years male 6'2'' House Essair Blood Fighter Written by Lenara
May 25, 2018, 02:01 PM / 498 Words
The pair exchanged a glance again, obviously confused. Lycaon considered, for a moment, advising that there was really no point in wasting his time trying to find siblings. That just giving them a house that wasn't terrible was enough. But he... didn't think there was much of a point, probably Kassandros wouldn't listen. And of course, he did want to see his sister again. He just... also knew that it was something like seeking a needle in a haystack, and he had to believe that Kassandros had more important things to worry about than that.

Sandalio nodded, though Kassandros was no longer looking at them. "Okay." Gannicus was older and wiser, if nothing else. He'd been around a long, long time and there was a good chance he had a much better idea of what to do than they did.

"Sepheres will probably appreciate the something to do." Lycaon mentioned - the boy had been awfully confused without any guidance so far. He helped where he could in various places, but an actual job that was his would be nice. It wasn't as if the kid was any more used to entertaining and busying himself than most slaves.

Sandalio considered the threat that Cassimer posed - probably quite a large one, honestly. He had to echo Kassandros' hopes that it wouldn't come to a direct conflict but... well. They'd see how things unfolded as time wore on. It did seem though that nothing was as simple as it had first seemed. And Sandalio supposed he understood now where all the assassins were coming from.

Not much time to do it in. The statement was a reminder that seers died, eventually. Everyone did, but seers younger than most. He wondered how much time Kassandros had left - but he didn't ask. "I suppose we'll see where the ripples you make take us." Sandalio said instead.

He was right, of course. Nothing changed if you didn't do anything. But then, Kassandros was just one man, and Sandalio wasn't sure the ripples made by one man's passing could be enough to create the kind of change that Dalmasca needed. It was as Kassandros had said, Dalmasca was sick. But that sickness was in so many roots and trunks and branches that he thought it would take more than a simple fire set to fix it.

But he was a slave, and it was his job to follow orders as they were given, not question if what his master wanted was even possible. The Imperator at least had a lot of power, so maybe... maybe the right sorts of ripples could be made if he was high enough. Still, Dalmasca had become so diseased he had to wonder if the blaze meant to cleanse it wouldn't destroy it instead.

Kassandros Essair
light from the shadows
Warlord
85 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary 5' 9" House Essair Warlord Written by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
May 25, 2018, 10:05 PM / 672 Words
"I thought so, too," Kassandros mentioned. "Glad to hear I wasn't too far off base." Or, at the very least, he wasn't the only one that thought so. It was nice to hear he was thinking along at least somewhat normal logical lines. Kassandros was never sure if he was, or not. A lot of what was in his head, was put there by the light, but he didn't always remember it, anymore. There were plenty of visions he'd had, and then forgotten. There was a limit, of course, to how much a mind could recall.

Kassandros snorted, softly. "A war," he answered. "Either one, or two. I intend to release conquered territories and render slavery illegal. Dalmasca won't take nullifying slavery very well. As Dalmasca is the only other market Jihon can buy and sell slaves to and from, they won't either. There's too much underbrush. Dalmasca will burn, fiercely, for months, maybe years, before it finally runs out of kindling. And I won't live to see it end. All I can do is set Dalmasca on the right path, and hope that the ones after me can keep the momentum going."

His head snapped up, staring across the sea. "... no... I'm thinking too big, too fast... I just have to nudge the wheel in the right direction... and if I try to set too big of a fire it'll destroy all of the forest before it stops. Smaller, controlled fires... allow conquered territories to choose their own leaders, but remain under the Dalmascan flag. Even if they never fully separate, it would give them more freedom, maybe even give them their names back, make them more like protectorates. Give slaves legal rights, and protect them against abuse... yeah... smaller fires..."

Yes. Yes, that would work better, probably, some people wouldn't like it, but it'd start Dalmasca on the right path, without causing a massive social upheaval. Some things would change, but it'd change in smaller ways, slower. People took change better, when it was slower, gradual. Governments had used that to their advantage before, by changing things so slowly no one noticed when they became oppressive, why couldn't he do it in the other direction? What to do about the blood games... he could theoretically leave them, but he'd have to devise a way of making them less terrible. Outlawing deaths in the arena would be a start, but it didn't... was it enough of a start?

"How -" but he stopped, just as he turned back to them, to ask them what they thought about that; and he stared at nothing, gold lines lighting up in his eyes, glowing brightly, his body freezing as he watched what the vision had to tell him. He called it the light, partially because it lit his eyes up like that, partially because sometimes, the sun rays filtering through the window whispered to him. After about ten or fifteen seconds, the lines suddenly disappeared, the gold glow gone, and Kass blinked, moved again.

And then - "Ah!" - raised his hands to his head in pain, as lightning shot through his skull. That was new; his visions hadn't physically hurt, a few weeks ago. Time was running out, and that was how he knew. Shit. "Shit, shit, fuck, shit, dammit," and there went the panic. He ignored his shoulder throbbing in pain, shot between the Macenians into the house, grabbing a sword off the wall and tossing it over his shoulder, fastening the strap. Then, he went for the secret wall, zipping into it and grabbing one of the pouches; these had around 250 hessions each, it should be enough, and then he bolted to the stables. Missa was at the docks. He needed to go now.

Valerius
No title
Blood Fighter
66 Posts 24 Years male 6'2'' House Essair Blood Fighter Written by Lenara
May 27, 2018, 12:23 PM / 410 Words
Okay, that was - he intended to do what? There went the finally thinking he'd found the Dalmascan, but it also brought with it a wave of concern, because change couldn't be enacted that way - not so violently. If it was... Dalmasca really would destroy itself in the blaze that happened. Maybe that was what Kassandros wanted in the end, but ... Sandalio frowned, wondering how best he might try and explain that there had to be a better way.

Especially if Kassandros wouldn't make it until the end of it. Because... well, realistically, if he died before it was over, then chances were the next person would do what ever it took to put out the fires, even at the cost of whatever strides that Kassandros had made towards his vision of ... what he thought Dalmasca should be. Chances were no, no one would carry it on after him.

It seemed that he wouldn't have to though, because Kassandros seemed to come to that conclusion on his own a moment later. Sandalio nodded a little - mostly to himself and Lycaon since Kassandros had turned around again. "That sounds like a better idea. Less likely to trigger a civil war that'll destroy absolutely everything, at least." Which was a start. It was still confusing mind, giving slaves rights... considering releasing the territories. Kassandros was...

What was he, anyway? Lycaon wasn't really sure how to answer that, either. Every time he thought he finally had a handle on the way he could expect Kassandros to act, something else came out of the woodwork.

Okay, that was kind of creepy. Even so, Sandalio watched with slight wonder at the patterns of light that seemed to mark the visions' coming. It was, however, a stark reminder that he was a Seer, and everyone knew seers had short lives. ... He also didn't think visions were supposed to be painful. Sandalio frowned slightly.

He didn't have time to ask before Kassandros ran off - which led to Sandalio whirling around and following him into the house and then... apparently out into the stables. "... I don't suppose you'll explain what's going on?" Clearly he didn't think there was much time but uh...

Going this way though, to find tack for the horses. He was still listening though.

Kassandros Essair
light from the shadows
Warlord
85 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary 5' 9" House Essair Warlord Written by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
May 27, 2018, 09:22 PM / 329 Words
He supposed it wouldn't hurt, to explain. Kass was, at least, a bit busy getting one of the horses saddled. Technically he didn't need reins, but this one already had part of its lead on, anyway, and he was a pretty fast horse when he decided he wanted to move. Kassandros was just going to hope that he wanted to move, today. The worst that happened, he supposed, was he had to fuss with him a bit. ... okay, no, the worst that happened was, he took an impromptu trip to Jihon.

He didn't think Jihon would much like him, but, hey.

"Missa," he said, latching the straps. "They're sending her to Jihon. She's at the docks." He wasn't sure when the ship would leave, the vision didn't tell him that part, but it was enough to push him into hurrying. "You can stay, it won't take long," Kass mentioned, arching an eyebrow. ... and then his shoulder twinged, and reminded him why that was a bad idea. "... never mind." If nothing else, Missa was a tiny fifteen year old girl, and if they ran into assassins, the help would be good and better for Missa's survival rates. Yeah. He could deal with that justification.

Kass did, on the other hand, hold his hand out for a second, sparking gold. His shoulder glowed for a moment, at least fully closing the injury, and then he went back to dealing with the saddle, making sure it wasn't going to fall off or slide around, and then up he went. That had to be record timing. He was amused. Anyway, it was in Missa's best interest if he waited for Sandalio.

Yeah, you're really get up and go, Kass, but slow down a second. No sense getting her just to get her killed, right? Right.

Valerius
No title
Blood Fighter
66 Posts 24 Years male 6'2'' House Essair Blood Fighter Written by Lenara
May 28, 2018, 04:43 PM / 316 Words
... Missa. He wanted to rush off to the docks by himself to go get a tiny fifteen  year old after he'd already been injured once? ... At least Kassandros seemed to realize this was a poor idea. Sending Missa to Jihon though... that was terrifying. Not that Kassandros had any reason under the sun to be so worried about what happened to Missa. Then again he'd had little reason for many of the things Sandalio had seen him do so far, so maybe that was just par for the course.

"I'm proud, you realized that was a bad idea on your own." Most would have probably thought that was meant to be sarcastic, but Sandalio actually kind of meant it. Kassandros had run off once today by himself it wasn't hard to imagine he might have done it again, injury or no. Sandalio was fiddling with the girth on one of the other horses. He was admittedly somewhat slower than Kassandros, due to a simple lack of practice. He didn't want to hold him up longer than necessary, but taking a fall from the horse would be far more problematic.

Besides, Missa was smart, but Sandalio didn't want her to have to try and fare against these assassins by herself. Kass was a strong mage, Tristán's story had made that clear enough. But... still. He did notice the slight glow from the corner of his eye. Yes, that was probably also a very good idea. Not bleeding continuously for their trip to the docks was probably in everyone's best interests.

After a moment or two longer the titan finally settled astride the horse he'd been saddling. "Alright, lead the way." Kass probably didn't need telling, but ah. Making it clear he was ready, maybe? Yeah.

Kassandros Essair
light from the shadows
Warlord
85 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary 5' 9" House Essair Warlord Written by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
May 29, 2018, 04:43 AM / 622 Words
Um.

What?

... in hindsight, he realised, it was rather sad to be so confused by that. He'd only heard it once, from his uncle, a long time ago. His father had never said it. His mother hadn't, either. It seemed really weird, the second time he heard it, it was from a blood fighter that'd only met him a few days before. What'd that mean, anyway, being proud of someone? Frankly, Kassandros didn't know, but he'd had no reason to think about it, before, no reason to really consider it. It didn't matter, really, at least he didn't think so.

Stupid, that a silly word could strike him kind of dumb for at least ten seconds.

"Thanks..." he murmured, tone still half confused. He thought that was the right response. It wasn't like he'd know. The light told him a lot, but, apparently had never mentioned that. Sometimes, he seemed to know everything; even he thought he knew everything, but the truth was, there was a lot he was missing, a lot he didn't understand. Maybe that was normal. A sign that he was still seventeen, and hadn't randomly become fifty.

Right. He decided to put that out of his mind for now. It wasn't important right this second, anyway, he had no idea when that ship was leaving. "He goes fast," Kass mentioned, nodding at the mane of the horse he was on. This was Starstrider, a buckskin stallion; and he could've been a race horse. "I'll try not to outpace Silverheart there," he said, nodding at the one Sandalio had chosen. Silverheart was a dapple grey stallion, and he wasn't slow, at least. A slight tug on Starstrider's reins, turning him in the direction Kass needed him to go, a light kick, and the buckskin started off toward the gate, more of a trot at first, and then he took off. Kass just waved the gate open, following the road toward the town centre, but then took a sharp left right after the Cassimer estate. There was a faster way to get there, this went through the back of the commons residential district.

As they got closer, he could tell the ship was still there, the one he'd seen. Good, it hadn't left port yet, following the road curve to the right, and then it opened to the back of the docks. Kass slowed Starstrider down, sitting up in the saddle a bit. Which side... ah, and he nudged the horse farther to the right side of the docks. He stopped, behind the slavers, scanning the small group.

"... him too," Kass murmured. Yes, that one, too, that was Nikias, where was Missa... he slid out of the saddle, crossing over to one of the slavers. "There are two here I want," he said.
"... Master Essair, so nice to see you again," albeit the tone made it obvious the slaver didn't really think so. "Which ones?"
"Vitus," Kassandros answered, gesturing at the older Macenian, "and Medea." He hadn't found her yet. This side of the docks didn't look familiar, was she on the other side?
"Eh, ye be usin' names... gotta check the bloody lists..." the slaver grumbled, before shuffling off to find said 'bloody lists.' Kassandros tried not to look too annoyed, but apparently this time he was using his words.

Valerius
No title
Blood Fighter
66 Posts 24 Years male 6'2'' House Essair Blood Fighter Written by Lenara
May 30, 2018, 07:05 PM / 410 Words
It was kind of sad that Kassandros was confused by that. Sandalio wasn't sure how to address that exactly though, and decided not to. He wasn't sure what to say, and he wasn't sure there was anything he could say that would make it not confusing. So he just kind of smile. "I wasn't being sarcastic." No, he wasn't. ... maybe that was what had confused him though? That he thought Sandalio was being sarcastic? Somehow he didn't think that was it, but, well.

"And I'll try and keep the pace you set." He trusted Kassandros to know his own horses well enough to manage that. The other good news was that horses were herd animals, and most would run to keep up with another animal they were riding with unless notably restrained from doing so. Sandalio turned Silverheart carefully - with a touch less grace than Kassandros, but he was careful not to pull too hard on the horse's soft mouth. And he nudged the stallion with his heels.

It had the desired effect. He followed somewhat behind Kassandros, tracking the other carefully with his eyes to make sure that he didn't miss an important turn.

They made it to the docks relatively quickly. When Kassandros dismounted, Sandalio did as well, but he hung back a bit with the horses. Him too? Sandalio didn't actually recognize him, the one Kass ended up indicating. An older man. Hm, no Sandalio didn't know him. Not that he was the only one Kass was collecting people for. Still, he wondered what this one's purpose was.

Vitus was a bit bored, really. He was supposed to be being sent away - he didn't know why. Chances were no one in Jihon would want him either. He was out of his prime, not much good for the Arena these days, and his other talents also required physical labor that he may or may not be able to handle.

The older Macenian looked up when he heard the name the Dalmascan's used as his. Blue eyes narrowed slightly as he considered the one speaking to the slavers. He looked young, incredibly so. Probably younger than his youngest - no, he certainly was. Nikias had to wonder what the kid thought he wanted him for.

Medea
No title
Pawn
3 Posts 15 Years Female 5' 5" Written by andromeda
There's no sense in trying to go backwards. Going forward is hard enough.
Jun 01, 2018, 05:04 AM / 505 Words
She had figured, at some point, her pretending not to speak Dalmascan would get her in trouble. Not to say she was terribly upset by this; Jihon may not have been particularly kind or generous about their slaves, and even freedmen may as well not exist in the island nation's borders, but, they weren't known to be terribly cruel, at least, not the way Dalmascans were. Those of Dalmasca, on the generalised whole, were a special sort of vicious that only they managed. Perhaps, someday, she might be lucky enough to become valued by a powerful Jihonese noble, and manage to earn her freedom, if she was really lucky, that'd be sometime before she turned eighty.

Missa had looked, already. None of the others from House Kenleigh were at the docks, this day, and it was either a good sign, or they'd gone to Jihon before she had. Some part of her regretted that, most likely, she'd not see them again, and if they weren't already in Jihon, they had to stay here, where it was ostensibly worse. Missa couldn't help the jiggling she was doing almost constantly, nervous and yet not, she wasn't sure what it was, half paying attention to the crowds of slaves around, half to the slavers. Most of them left her alone, at least, though there were a few that leered eerily at her once in a while. Missa wasn't a stranger to that. If she just pretended she didn't notice... but, some got upset if their object of interest wasn't paying attention, so it was really pretty hit or miss, anyway.

"Oi! Bring Medea over!"
... that was her. She tried not to look too interested.
"Why?"
"House Essair wants her."
"Which one's she?"
"The frizzy-haired one on the fifth post, third row."
"From which side?"
"Left."
"Mine or yours?"
"Oh you dingbat --"

Missa looked disinterested, still, perhaps a hair confused, because, House Essair? She'd heard their name, before. Most spoke of them as tricky snakes that weren't terribly trustworthy, something about often turning on the best Houses. But, Dalmascans had a very skewed idea of what was a good house, anyway, so that really didn't help Missa figure out if it was a good idea or not. In any case, she followed where the slaver led her, of course, looking bewildered the whole way.

"Aye, ya sure you wan'er?" the slaver asked, dropping her chains in the first slaver's hands, but he was looking at a blond boy that looked about her age. "She's kinda cute, yanno?" Ah, yes, cute, but Missa still wished he'd stay over there. Over there was good.

Kassandros Essair
light from the shadows
Warlord
85 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary 5' 9" House Essair Warlord Written by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
Jun 01, 2018, 05:28 AM / 397 Words
While they waited, Kass tried not to pace. Yeah, trying not to pace, because if Missa was already on a ship and headed for Jihon, then, he had some words for the light, and they really probably weren't terribly pretty. Kassandros almost always had some choice words for the light, and the gods, because, you know, the gods fucking sucked, more often than not. He'd survive, probably. For now, anyway.

"I don't imagine you know your way around plants, do you?" he asked, looking at Nikias, and while it was toned as a question, he already knew the answer. Kassandros wasn't sure he wanted to start talking too much about it, with the slavers right there (he didn't trust a damn one of 'em), but, he thought perhaps telling the guy at least partly what Kassandros was interested in him for, it might kind of mitigate some of the discomfort of uncertainty. Maybe. Maybe it didn't really help.

Eh, too late now, Kassandros supposed.

Another slaver wandered up with Missa. Good. Kassandros took a moment, looking her over; seemed fine. Seeming and being, though, they were different things, and Kass, of all people, would know that. She was close enough to being fine, for him. He'd ask her, later, because either he or Merenwen could fix whatever it was.

"Sorry?" Kass asked, arching an eyebrow. Yes, he did? Oh. Of course. Kassandros' eyes narrowed, just a bit, and he shifted, moving his hands behind his back and wiggling his fingers. A very tiny spark of light went off in his hands, only noticable if you were right next to it, as the sun's brightness drowned it out at any sort of distance, and searing hot light sorcery snaked up the slaver's pantleg and up his backside; and then part of it pushed the back of his knees in, intending to knock him over.

Yeah. Cute. "I'm sure," he answered. Kass pulled the little pouch of hessions out, counted about a hundred, that'd cover them both (Nikias was fairly cheap, given his age), and handed them to the first slaver. "Keep your chains," he said. "All of the chain. Yes, I'm sure."

Valerius
No title
Blood Fighter
66 Posts 24 Years male 6'2'' House Essair Blood Fighter Written by Lenara
Jun 03, 2018, 08:27 PM / 340 Words
Sandalio stood steadily to one side. Watching and listening, but at least attempting to keep his head down and not cause any trouble here. He didn't want Kass to have problems more than he did already. ... He was curious though what he wanted with the older male slave. ... At least, he was until that question came up. Kass wouldn't have asked that idly.

"... I do." Nikias sounded confused, just a touch. "I maintained a farm before I found myself a slave in Dalmasca." There was a lot more to that story but like hell if it was his one's business. He wasn't really young enough to do so anymore, but... well. A smaller farm he could probably manage, or a larger one with help. Not saying that either - it was generally better to volunteer absolutely nothing and wait for what his new owner expected of him. But if it was plants, he could probably make something work.

Sandalio gave Missa a visual once over when she was brought over. She looked... okay. Alive, in one piece. It was the best he could ask for at the moment, so Sandalio started to relax. At least, he did until he said that. Gray eyes narrowed sharply. Sandalio didn't move toward the slaver in question, but he did bristle rather noticeably. ... While bristling he did notice that little flash of light in Kass' hands and frowned, a little. He didn't say anything though. Not something that needed attention brought to it.

And there was Kassandros' absolute rejection of chains, right on time.

Wait, keep all of the chain? Nikias was predictably confused, given he didn't know nearly as much about Kassandros as Sandalio did. To be fair, he wasn't terribly threatening, and the small girl was... probably not either, honestly. That was probably what it was. Still, that wasn't really the reaction he'd expected.

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