endless rain
Mar 29, 76
45 Replies
Cygnus Essair @ May 28, 2018, 07:37 AM
80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
He was still angry. A deep seated rage, because wow not only did this brat treat Kassandros like shit he raped him too. He honestly couldn't fathom though why Kassandros could burn the hands off of a slave who dared to touch others, but didn't defend himself... even to a lesser extent. He let that alone though, shock and the like could cause odd reactions, of course.

There was surprisingly little resistance from the one he was dragging up by the back of the shirt. Sandalio wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Despite his original threat he didn't make any move to hurt Cygnus, he just held him firmly and made sure that he could not get back at Kassandros. Because no, this was not going to continue.

... Mostly because Kassandros clearly didn't want him to, even if Sandalio didn't understand the point of protecting him exactly. Didn't understand what he was doing? The kid was the same age as Kassandros, and knowing what Sandalio knew about Dalmasca, he had one hell of a time believing he didn't understand the concept of forcing himself on someone else. It was painfully common in this gods forsaken place. Not bother to think wasn't an excuse for abusing his brother, not where Sandalio was standing.

But it would clearly upset Kassandros more if he did hurt Cygnus. Sandalio didn't want to upset Kass, but he was also loathe to leave someone who was clearly incapable of controlling himself loose, who knew who else he'd hurt.

"Why is he crying?" Sandalio sounded incredulous somewhere amid the rage. "I don't know, maybe because you were raping him."  Once Kassandros was out of the room, he set Cygnus back on the bed. "Just. Listen to your brother for once." Was what he finally said, before turning and leaving the room himself for the moment.

Sandalio was in no way sure of his welcome, but he did make his way towards Kassandros' room. If nothing else, he at least wanted to try, because he wasn't sure Kass should be allowed to push this one down until he could pretend it hadn't happened. He hesitated for a moment outside of the door, taking several slow breaths. Being angry wouldn't help Kass, he reminded himself sternly.

Only when he was reasonably sure he was under control did he go ahead and enter.

light from the shadows
102 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary Dalmasca Warlord House Essair Played by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
Probably, his practically slamming his door behind him was quite loud. For several seconds, he just leaned against the back of his door, eventually looking up at his ceiling, trying to stuff it all back into its box. It wasn't going. But of course it wasn't. It was free, finally, after so many years of Kassandros holding it back, and holding it together, and being the pillar that held House Essair aloft, and being whatever it was his father needed him to be that time, and damn it, why was it always him being the strong one? Why was everything his responsibility, fix Cygnus, fix every broken family but your own, fix House Essair, fix Dalmasca, fix Azaleon, know everything. Some people spoke like it was some kind of fucking great blessing, that he knew everything, but it wasn't, it wasn't, because the vast majority of things he saw, he couldn't change, and he had to live remembering all the lives he couldn't save.

It really was a miracle, that he hadn't just blown the entire rock out of the sea. Why, bother.

He knew why. It didn't make him feel better, right now. A loud pop sound, from behind him, and Kassandros jumped, stepping away from the door. Behind him, one of the bismuth inlays in the door had started melting out of it. A look around, and he noticed his own light sorcery was... oh god, he'd stopped controlling his aura. Even where he was standing, he was charring the wood floor. Light, of course, emitted heat; and a lot of it when it was agitated.

A scramble, and he shot into the bathroom, where the floor was marble, pacing back and forth. "Stop it," he murmured, trying to sound commanding through the flood of tears that still refused to stop. "Stop it, back off, I command you, you don't command me," now if only, he felt that way. A light whip slammed into one of the glass jars of oil on the granite sink, shattering it. "I said stop it!" Oh fuck, if he lost it entirely... he wasn't ready for that... he didn't think he had enough aura to reach all of Azaleon now, anyway.

The door opened. Kass yelped in surprise, and turned toward it. Oh. Right. "I'm fine." It was almost reflexive, and fairly pointless, given his aura was forming light whips and slamming into the marble.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Sandalio closed the door behind him - only to give Kass back the privacy he'd had before Sandalio entered. It was rude to leave doors open, and maybe this wasn't a conversation anyone else needed to hear anyone. ... Assuming he could even get Kassandros to say anything, because Sandalio wasn't really sure he could. He was going to try though, because this was... this was not okay. And this wasn't something he should hold inside forever because if he did... well. It was bad, to hold things in like that. It was bad to pretend nothing bothered him because things obviously did. He'd seen Kassandros' emotions rise multiple times now, because of Cygnus.

And he hated Cygnus for pushing Kassandros that hard. Hated that he threatened to push Kass to the breaking point again and again and, according to Kass, he didn't even know what he was doing. Sandalio wasn't sure he believed it, but there they were. It didn't matter if he believed it or not, exactly.

He noticed the scorch marks on the floor before he really registered that Kassandros was really trying to claim he was fine. Sandalio sighed. "Of course you are, and I'm an Ilim." Without missing a beat. It was totally normal for Kass to break jars with his light magic, totally normal for the bismuth inlay to be literally melting partially, never mind the floor.

Yes, Kassandros was completely fine. "You know, I'm not sure you'll be able to rein that in without at least admitting the truth." Quietly. Sandalio moved to where he could see into the bathroom, but didn't make any move to get any closer, as much as he wanted to. Sandalio trusted Kass not to hurt him, he really did - but it would only distress Kass if he thought Sandalio could be hurt. So he'd stay back, until some of the aura explosion settled down.

"It's okay, you know. It's completely normal to not be okay. You can admit that. No one is going to think any less of you." At least no one that damn well mattered. Sandalio kept his voice somewhere in the vicinity of calm - like he'd already figured, being upset wasn't going to help here. One of them had to be thinking at least somewhat clearly because this could turn messy rather quickly.

Sandalio was just going to hope it didn't, honestly. He could handle emotions, but he wasn't really equipped for mage explosions.

light from the shadows
102 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary Dalmasca Warlord House Essair Played by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
He couldn't help the snort, albeit it was fairly hollow, somewhere between here and not. He was still instinctively trying to squirrel it all away into a dusty closet where no one would ever find it, but you see, that closet was starting to get rather quite full of skeletons, and Kassandros was running out of places to put them. It felt like one fell out, and he put it back, and then fifty more fell out. Ilim... pretty damn tall ilim, wasn't he. Nah. Sandalio wasn't passive enough to be an ilim, and you know, Kassandros wasn't sure how he felt about that, but quite frankly, he wasn't sure how he felt about anything.

Kass made a vaguely almost disgusted noise. "Yeah, I have time for that," he said, almost in a rush. "I have all the time in the world for that, you know, let me just pause everything and focus on my stupid pointless feelings. I don't. I have a year left, maybe, if that, and I wasn't made for shit like feelings and not being okay, I have one job, one purpose, one, and when it's gone, so am I, that's it, it doesn't matter. I don't matter, if I did then why the fuck did I get stuck with this, who the hell upstairs thought hey, great fucking idea, let's throw this kid in the absolutely worst fucking place to end up in, saddle him with knowing absolutely everything, and then conveniently forget to tell him what the fuck he's supposed to do with it? And him! What am I supposed to do with him! I can't think for him forever! I can't even think for him now, and I don't know what to do with him, I won't be here forever, and Icarus can't do it either, how the fuck is it even fair that the closest people to me are out of my reach? I can't save him, Sandalio, gods I've tried. I don't know how!"

The light whips all slammed down on the marble at once, one of the tiles breaking under the force, and Kass unleashed an unearthly shriek-cry, falling to his knees and curling up right there.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Sandalio was quiet while Kassandros spoke. He listened, he considered the words, but throughout the whole thing there was sort of a quietly sad expression on his face. He wasn't sure how to approach this, he wasn't sure how to explain where he was coming from. He wasn't even really sure if he was doing the right thing or if it would be better in some ways to let Kass continue with the way that he felt worked for him. He didn't have much time left, like he'd said. Maybe it would be better not to disrupt his careful balance. On the other hand, it was already disrupted, it was already not working. And even if he had a short period of time to do this, Sandalio thought he was going to have no choice but to find time to deal with some of these wounds.

Kassandros couldn't go on like this. And, of course, in trying to do so he seemed to only be hurting himself more. Sandalio wasn't sure how to explain that. Wasn't sure if he could fix that, either. Maybe it was too little too late but he couldn't just... let Kassandros destroy himself. Sandalio was beginning to wonder, the more he learned about while he was here... he was beginning to wonder if Kassandros had ever really lived. And it was sad to think that maybe he only had a year before being a seer killed him, and he would die without knowing what it was to have lived. It wasn't fair.

Life wasn't fair, but it still wasn't fair. And Sandalio couldn't help but want to try to make it at least a little better, to try and take some of that pain and give Kass an easier time of it in his last few months. A year was such a short time for that kind of healing though. Hnn.

That sound was absolutely heartbreaking for the record, and in a sense it was painful not just due to the loudness, though that was a factor, but in the way it made his heart twist and constrict in his chest. Someone had hurt him so badly... mm. He wanted nothing more than to at least pet Kassandros and make sure he knew he wasn't alone, but the reality was that there was still way too much light force getting around.

Sandalio settled for moving until he was just off the marble, just outside of the bathroom, and he sat on the floor there in the doorway. "They're not stupid, or pointless." Sandalio said in a quiet tone. "You do matter. The gods treat people as pawns, they don't care about us, and there's not a lot we can do about that, but Icarus and Merenwen care about you, they think you matter. Leon seems to care too. And so do I. I know it's not enough. I do." But Kassandros still mattered, to some.

"You're right though, it isn't fair." It wasn't fair, but that's how it always was. The ones closest, they were the furthest out of reach, always. "But you can't save someone who doesn't want to be helped. Until he hits whatever his rock bottom is, and understands he needs help, there's not much you or anyone else can do for him." And in some ways thinking for him would probably just delay that, but Sandalio didn't say that because of course Kassandros tried. He wanted to help him, he was his brother.

Even with Kass claiming he didn't have time, he still had shared something. Some of the root of it had come out. It was a start. "I know it feels like there isn't enough time. I know it feels like you have the whole world on your shoulders... and in some ways, you do. But no one can stand everything by themselves. You don't have to face it by yourself."

Given the scream-cry, he wasn't sure Kass was listening, or if he could even really hear him. But Sandalio hoped if nothing else the carefully chosen calm-supportive tone would get through. The impression of him being there, because as much as he wanted nothing more than to hug Kassandros, he couldn't quite yet.

light from the shadows
102 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary Dalmasca Warlord House Essair Played by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
Hnn, his head hurt, so much, like it was trying to split in two. It was pointless, but, instinctively, he'd reached up and pressed against his temples, trying to will it away, but his will wasn't as strong as it usually was. He used to be able to, to override physical pain, to make his brain stop processing pain signals, to make it stop because he didn't have time for it, but, not now. At this point, he didn't even know how he'd managed to stand upright for so long. He had no idea.

Maybe he just thought he was standing, and, instead, he'd been sinking.

"Nnn!" Viciously, he shook his head, winced in pain. "They're stupid. I don't need them. Someone really, really hates me, all I ever seem to get is pain. M'tired of hurting. M'tired of fighting, I don't want to feel anything anymore!" Another loud crash, another tile broken by a light whip. "Dammit I said STOP IT." Of course, in turning his attention back to the light sorcery, it answered in kind, crashing into the shelves to one side and sending them to the floor. ... so much for that.

Quieter, more drawn out, almost a scream, but not loud enough to really count, loosed, and Kass started rocking on the floor. There was a wall, here, in his heart, keeping all this behind it, a wall so full of chips and cracks it was almost amazing that it'd held for so long. That wall had a hole in it, now, and the floods of emotions he'd stuffed behind it had rushed out, and now he couldn't get it all back behind the wall, and the worst part was, the inside of that wall had spikes, and he was on the wrong side of it. All the sharp edges had, at some point, aimed inward, and some part of him wondered if maybe it was the pain that'd kept him going, because at least, at least, he knew what to do with pain.

Livia was right. Merenwen was right. He did know pain, far better than he'd ever admit.

"No," Kass answered, almost growled. "No... I don'wanna hurt anyone with it. An Essair doesn't show weakness. An Essair doesn't lose his cool. An Essair doesn't crumble to stupid shit like feelings. An Essair doesn't need help." That was what he'd always said. What his father had always said. Was he right? Maybe Kassandros just wasn't a very good Essair, maybe that was it. Most thought of him as some untouchable god, almost, and he'd made that reputation on purpose, because it protected him, because it shielded his brothers, because it kept the House standing. But it didn't manage to make the pain go away.

"He's not the first," he murmured. "Cygnus, he's not the first. And maybe he won't be the last. I just have to get over it, like I always do." Yeah, that was it. That simple, right? Then, he glanced up. Sandalio had gotten dangerously close - Kass instantly shoved himself backward, slamming into the sink, the light whips morphing into hard light bolts that aimed at the blood fighter. "Are you FUCKING NUTS?! I just melted bismuth being too close to it, don't!" He didn't know why, really, but, the thought of hurting him, even on accident, Kassandros didn't like it. It hurt him, just thinking about it. Don't tell the light aura what to do, it wouldn't listen, just ignore it, maybe it'd go back to slamming into the marble instead of firing. He glanced at it, from the corner of his eye. "I didn't tell it to do that," he whispered. "I hope you're good at dodging, I can't control it."

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
"I know. I know it hurts. And I'm sorry. I wish I could take that away from you." He meant it, really. Sandalio couldn't take it away, of course. But he wanted to. He wanted to make it hurt less, and he wanted to help Kassandros through it, but he didn't know how. He wasn't... he wasn't good enough at this, but he wasn't going to back down either, because no one else was doing it. No one else was stopping Kass from drowning in his own pain.

"I don't think it's going to stop until you calm down." Sandalio said in a quiet voice. Still calm, still not concerned with it even though he could easily be caught amid it and hurt. He believed Kassandros wouldn't hurt him. And he didn't think Kass was really going to calm down until he'd dealt with some of this. But that was, of course, easier said than done. Sandalio wasn't sure how to get him to at this point. And he wasn't sure where he needed to push.

Sure, the emotions were coming out, but that wasn't quite enough it would seem. ... Unless it just wouldn't be enough until Kass had run out of steam. He hoped not though, because it was something close to heartbreaking just watching Kass struggle with this.

Sandalio was quiet again for a moment. His expression thoughtful. "Who told you that?" It sounded like Kass was quoting someone, almost. "... Never mind, it doesn't matter. They were wrong, Kass. Everyone needs help sometimes. Everyone has their weak moments and their strong ones. A person is the sum of both." And there was no real way around that. It wasn't something Kass could just cut out of himself. He was already barely living, managing to actually kill his emotions would probably destroy him. And any drive he had to continue enacting change. Emotions were, of course, what made Kassandros do the good things he did, because he had seen the darkness in Dalmasca and he had known that it was bad, and that it couldn't stay like that forever. Not if Dalmasca was going to thrive.

Not if anyone was ever going to be able to live out a decent life here.

"That doesn't... that doesn't make it okay." No, it didn't. "And it doesn't make it less painful. That's not just something you can get over." Sandalio would know, hm? Having your mind and body violated wasn't something one could just... get over. Ah... shit. Okay.

Okay when Kassandros panicked things got a whole lot worse. ... ... He did not immediately point out that that was precisely what he'd told it to do by panicking at his presence. It was probably better not to, he didn't need Kass any more upset than he already was. "It's alright." Softly. "I'm safe right where I am, and I'm not coming any closer while it's doing this. I promise." Saying that first. "None of it was anywhere near me before. It's okay."

"I know you won't hurt me. I have complete faith in you, Kass." Calmly, steadily. "You don't want to hurt me. If you did, you already would have. I just... I just need you to believe you won't hurt me, too." It was a long shot, really. He wasn't sure Kass was capable of believing that at the moment.

light from the shadows
102 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary Dalmasca Warlord House Essair Played by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
That... confused him, actually, and the light aura actually flickered, for a second, shook as the base of its power did. Small fragments of light broke off, crashed harmlessly to the marble, glowing embers slowly dying out on the stone. Why? Why, fuck the gods, why? He wanted to ask. He was afraid to. Kass wasn't sure, even if he told him, that he'd understand. Because the mere idea, of someone caring that much, it didn't make sense, and it was terrifying, in a way. He always said, it was because he didn't want to get close to anyone, that he didn't have to, just by being who he was, like Icarus and Cygnus, because he didn't want to hurt them, but, the truth was...

The truth was...

Maybe not. But he'd forgotten how to calm down, how to stop the hurt enough that he could breathe again, and it felt like everything was crashing into him at once, but... he'd dealt with this before, didn't he? All of this, this aching burn in his heart, he'd dealt with that, when it happened. Or, maybe shoving it away, maybe that wasn't really dealing with it. So what was? A frustrated snarl-whine escaped, somewhere in there. He shook his head.

"Vopiscus," he answered. "My father." He rarely ever talked about his father, did he. "Cygnus... he takes after him." He wasn't sure who he and Icarus took after, really. It wasn't Ksenia, was it, except, she wasn't stupid, maybe they'd gotten her intelligence, at least. Ksenia Warwicke could, when she chose, be rather the vindictive little tactical genius of a snake, huh. He didn't care. She feared him; he feared him, too.

"I can't afford to be weak," he said. The panic, was starting to be overridden with deathly calm. It was actually kind of scary, how quickly he could shift gears that way, if he thought about it. "If I am, House Essair is too, and Dalmasca has no room for weakness. One opening... that's all they need. And there go all my fanciful little pipe dreams, but shit, it's not like I'll ever really get there, anyway. I try, because someone has to stand up and say enough, but I'm - Cygnus keeps calling me special. Great special firstborn brat of House Essair, I should be good enough. But I'm not. I don't even know who I am." He knew. If he bothered to remember who that was, but he'd hidden Kassi away like he had everything else, a precious little gemstone to be protected and shielded, and sometimes, he managed it. All of this... all of who people thought he was, it was a wall. A shield designed to be what he needed to be, because one of them needed to be strong.

"I thought I'd driven it out. I thought I'd driven all the weakness out. I missed a spot." Yeah, he missed a spot. Rather the large one.

Yes it did. That was exactly how that worked, he got used to it, and he got over it. He just looked confused again. The light sorcery shook, again, more stars falling. No... he didn't. He didn't want to hurt him, he knew that. But he wasn't sure if he could stop it. Strangely, the air started to cool; the hard light bolts just, stayed where they were, the crying starting to slow down. It wouldn't stop threatening Sandalio if he didn't calm down enough to control it. He was doing okay... and then, something Cygnus had said once, flickered through his mind, and his heart squeezed, and for just that split second, he wondered if he could control it.

The aura bolts took that as permission. Kassandros yelped, sensing the change, and scrambling across the marble.

A bolt fired.

Kass purposely put himself in the way, and the bolt stopped only a hair's breath away from his chest. "No," he whispered. "Hush now." More little stars fell off the light sorcery. One of the whips in the back broke apart, dozens of little embers falling soundlessly to the floor. Kass held one hand out, gesturing for it to come to him. The projections fell apart.

The truth was...

"Do you remember," he whispered, as the last whip broke into stars, "when Cygnus told me he hated me?" Of course he did. It was the first impression of him Sandalio got, and Kassandros kind of regretted it. It was Cygnus' own fault. "I hate him, too. Because he can't think by himself. His mind scatters the thoughts and the words, and they don't make sense, he doesn't understand anything. And I hate him, for making me have to bear it instead."

The truth was, he was afraid of them hurting him.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
His father. Well, that was a missing puzzle piece that Sandalio finally had, he supposed. He wasn't sure what to do with it exactly. Cygnus took after him, well Sandalio had known he wouldn't like the guy, but he was even more certain of it now. "I see." Calmly. Thoughtfully. He wasn't sure where to go with that just yet.

"Emotions don't make you weak, Kass." Quietly. "It is in the last inch of us, it is in our heart where we find our greatest strength. Where we find what it takes to overcome even the gravest challenges. Your compassion makes you who you are. If you didn't have your heart, you wouldn't have saved so many as you have. I know it's not enough. I know you feel it isn't good enough, but you have done a lot of good considering how little the world has given you to work with." How could he make Kass understand that? How could he get Kass to see that it wasn't necessarily weakness. Bravery was choosing to stand in spite of one's fears. Love drove people to great lengths.

"You are good enough, Kass." In the same gentle tone he'd been using all along. "But no one can stand alone forever. No one can bear the weight of the world on their shoulders alone. It's too much for anyone, special or not. Strong or not. Everyone has limits." And they couldn't necessarily just be ignored as Kass wanted to. "Needing help doesn't make you weak."

"It's only weakness if you shove all the hurt down until it explodes. Letting it out a little at a time, letting yourself deal with them will let you be stronger." He wasn't... sure how to explain that though. He wasn't sure how to make sense of it so Kass' all-too-logical mind would absorb it instead of pushing it away.

Oh no. No, no. Sandalio froze slightly when the bolt loosed, not quite sure if he could move in time even if he wanted to. Kassandros moved between him and the bolt, and that worried him even more, in some ways. But It seemed, at the last moment Kassandros got control of everything. He spoke again in a whisper, and Sandalio frowned. Gently, very gently, he rested his hand on Kassandros' shoulder, sensing the walls threatening to close him out again. And yet... and yet. He was right there, still right at the edge, right? It couldn't have closed that fast, could it have?

"I think that's completely logical. It's a burden you shouldn't have to bear." Kassandros was his brother not his parent. It wasn't Kassandros' job to raise his brothers. And yet it was obvious, very obvious that that was precisely what had happened. "I'm sorry you've had to for so long."

light from the shadows
102 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary Dalmasca Warlord House Essair Played by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
A very slight jump, sharp intake of breath, but he didn't start panicking, again, it just startled him. For some reason, he wasn't expecting the contact, and he wasn't entirely sure why? Most people didn't touch him, though. Unless...

He squeezed his eyes closed, sniffled quietly. "It's not his fault," he said. "Not something for you to be sorry for, either. I don't know what's wrong with him. What's wrong with his head. I don't know how to fix it, even if, by some miracle, Cygnus accepted that he's not functioning right. We don't have names and explanations and fixes, for things like that. And maybe it doesn't excuse it, but he doesn't even realise he doesn't think right, I think. I can't explain it to him. Whenever I think I should, I just think, he's happy. Maybe... maybe I should just let him stay happy, and blissfully ignorant of it all, instead of destroying his self-concept. Even if, in the end, it'd be better for him, I can't take that away from him. I can't flip his world upside down like that."

And, some part of Kassandros probably didn't want him to be aware of it, lest his Essair come out, and he learn to use it to his advantage. But wasn't he, already? Maybe it was too late for that.

"How do you... say things? I've heard it, from time to time," Kass explained, turning around, brushing his tears away. "That I should talk about things, more. But I don't know how. Sometimes, I can't think of anything, and other times, I've got it all arranged in my head, nice and neat, it makes sense, it goes in a sensible order, but when I try saying it, the words don't come out, and then they scramble, and I just... give up. It's not like I don't want to, I think... in not talking about things, I hurt Icarus, probably Merenwen and Leon, too. You? Sometimes I want to put words to things that don't make sense so much, it hurts in and of itself, but it never works. I think... maybe I never learned how to deal with it. I just did what I had to, to keep standing, in the moment, but, I guess that's not right?"

It wasn't like he'd really know. Emotions weren't things that Kassandros was good at parsing. Essentially, he ignored them, because he never knew what else to do with them.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Given the ever-so-slight jump, Sandalio decided not to do anything further. He did let his hand linger where it was resting, thinking he could probably use it if it were so unusual it made him jump. Sandalio still sort of wanted to hug him, but given what he'd just broken up a bit ago, he thought perhaps it was best not to touch him any more intimately than he currently was. Hugs could be seen as restraining, after all, and Sandalio had to be careful to remember that what would be comforting for him might not feel the same way to Kassandros.

"Kass, his happiness shouldn't come at the expense of literally everyone else's." In a calm, quiet voice. "And it can't forever." Like Kassandros said, he was going to die eventually. And even beyond that, the kid was a ticking timebomb. The longer he went able to get along with the excuse 'he doesn't understand' the more damage he would do. And, ultimately, the worse it would be when Kassandros, or someone, finally made it clear to him that something was his problem. At some point in everyone's lives they had to learn that their actions had consequences. It was way past the time that Cygnus should have learned that. And he couldn't blame Kass, of course he didn't want to shatter his brother's view point, of course he didn't want to hurt his brother. This of course brought them back to the fact that he shouldn't have had to - but here they were. Life wasn't fair and this was the reality of the situation. "Though I can understand that that's not an easy thing to have to face in your own brother." Especially the not knowing how to fix it.

"Ah... now if only that were an easy thing to answer." Sandalio could at least admit that it wasn't. It wasn't easy to explain how to talk about one's feelings, especially when Kass mentioned that the words didn't really come. He considered it for a moment. "Ah, but I would say yes, that closing us out is painful. Because watching you struggle to move mountains all by yourself is painful." It was, it could be. "And I'm sure those that love you are aware of the damage it can be doing, even if you're hiding it well." Or thought he was, at least. "I mean, everyone has to push things down sometimes. The thing is, eventually you have to let it back out or it slowly festers until it creates enough pressure to explode."

He was quiet for another moment, thoughtful. "It doesn't have to make sense at first. You can start with what's on your mind... what your thinking about. And then, well, some emotions are a direct result of certain things happening to you. So sometimes starting out talking logically about those things can lead to exploring how you feel about them." He wasn't sure if that made sense either. Hnn. "So that might be somewhere else to start. If it's a thing you'd be upset about if happened to your brothers and you didn't know, maybe try talking to someone about what happened?"

That actually might be a useful angle in general. What would he want his brothers to do. Because he certainly seemed to care more about them than himself. That made Sandalio a little sad, but sometimes he had to work with what he was given.

light from the shadows
102 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary Dalmasca Warlord House Essair Played by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
He shook his head, gaze falling to his lap. It didn't really matter. It was hard to stop thinking that, because he'd thought it for so long, it was hard to imagine it was wrong. He just had a momentary lapse, that was all. His brothers were different. His brothers would make it longer; some part of him wondered if Icarus could take over the House, when Kassandros was gone, he needed to teach him how to, before he was gone and it was too late for that. Father had never taught him. Someone needed to, so he knew what to do. But, what for? Maybe it'd be better, for them, if he pulled House Essair out of the major houses, tucked them neatly in as a vassal of House Asheron. Livia would be able to help, if Icarus ever lost his way.

But he couldn't think too hard, about that. His brothers still needed him. House Essair still needed him, even if he did get to Imperator, and changed things, Dalmasca would still need him, and he hated that, he'd be gone when they still needed him.

Maybe Icarus could get through to Cygnus. Because Kassandros wasn't sure what else to try; distracting him didn't work, ultimately, because sooner or later, Kass wouldn't be there to distract him. Sometimes, he almost wondered, if it'd have been better, if he hadn't tried shielding him from everything, because he was starting to think, maybe he'd done too good of a job. Kassandros didn't think he even knew what the word rape meant. Sure, this was Dalmasca; he'd heard the word before, no doubt. But Kass didn't think he knew what it was. He had enchantments on him. Every time someone got interested, Kassandros pulled them onto him. It wasn't hard; they looked exactly the same, anyone interested in one was probably interested in the other.

He worried, really, that he'd accidentally neglected Icarus in trying so hard to protect Cygnus. Gods, there wasn't enough time for anything, and maybe that was the worst of it, seeing all the things he needed to do, and deal with, and figure out, knowing there was not enough time for it all. How did he decide what to focus on? What was important? Maybe that was the hardest part. Figuring out what he needed to find time for.

A breath in, shaky, but it was calming down, and Kass sat back up, watching Sandalio for a moment. "I built myself to protect," he said. "Because our parents weren't going to do it. I'm the light that chases away the darkness. I'm the sun that rises in the morning. I'm the flint that sparks the flame of hope. I can't slow down. I can't fall apart. There's no point. I'll start figuring it out, and then I'll die, and all that time that could've been used for something else is wasted. I have to save Dalmasca before it's too late." Before...

Not that he was complaining, but, this really wasn't in Sandalio's job description. Very gently, very hesitantly, like he wasn't sure if he'd randomly start burning things again, Kass reached up, and brushed back a few stray strands of Sandalio's hair. "Why do you care, anyway?" he asked, quiet. "I'm just another Dalmascan bastard, like all the others. Besides, you should probably be afraid of me. I'm the Messiah. Someday, I'll ruin your life."

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Sandalio was quiet for a moment, allowing Kassandros to focus on his own thoughts for a moment. It was... mm. He wasn't sure what to say, exactly. "It's not easy to change the way you look at things." Sandalio said after a moment. It wasn't easy to shed defense mechanisms that had seemed to work for so long. But that was just it, they'd only seemed to work. And now Kass had even more to deal with than he would if he'd handled in it small amounts over the years. And the Macenian wasn't sure what to say here, or how to help.

"Dalmasca is only your problem because you make it so." He said finally. "You don't have to save it. I'm not sure one person can save it. It may be more prudent to focus on building up your family so that they won't crumble when you eventually fade." Calmly, quietly. It would be better to concentrate on those who actually cared about Kassandros rather than wasting the year he had left on fixing a nation that was intent on burning itself to the ground.

It would be better to spend that time building up his brothers, slowing down and taking care of himself and his family. Rather than wasting time on a nation that would give absolutely nothing to help Kass.

Maybe something could change Kassandros' fate. Maybe they could do something that he would have more than a year. But Sandalio wasn't quite sure what, and he wasn't sure if Kass would go with it... if they did find something. Anyway, something to think about later. Focusing on this at the moment.

Sandalio frowned a bit, at the question - and at the implication that Kassandros would ruin his life. "I care because I do." It was very arbitrary. "Because you aren't. You aren't like the other Dalmascans. You don't have the same disregard for everyone else. You don't seek to destroy anything that just happens to be slightly different. You are very kind to us. You've spent time reuniting families when no one else would even bother considering we had families." that was important, to Sandalio. "And you do all this in spite of having so little time left, as you put it. It's an odd thing to expend energy and precious time on." It was appreciated, but it was still strange.

"Dalmasca already ruined my life, Kassandros." His tone was mild. "There's nothing you can do to me that hasn't already been done short of killing me." And some might have considered that a blessing. The messiah, they said, would eventually kill anyone who wasn't a mage already. But all men died eventually.

light from the shadows
102 Posts 17 Years Nonbinary Dalmasca Warlord House Essair Played by Esmera
Is this your salvation? Is this all you can give? I will not stand in reflection of someone else's dream.
No, he supposed, technically, Dalmasca wasn't really his problem, and his insistence on messing with it was what made it his problem. If he'd just left well enough alone, a vast majority of the shit he'd dealt with the last three or four years wouldn't have happened at all, and he knew that. Really, he'd brought this on himself, because he knew what Dalmasca was like, and he knew what Dalmascans were capable of, when they felt threatened, and still, he'd done it.

And why? That was a great question, why fucking bother, because ultimately, he wouldn't make much of a dent. One voice made no difference in a chorus of off-key, and he knew it. From day one, he'd set himself up for failure, but he had to try. He had to try, because -

... wasn't he? Hmm. He guessed, aside from Livia, Umbrius when he was around, Regillus if he wasn't trapped in a bad situation, Kassandros needed to fix that, come to think of it. Ah, sometimes, it was always him fixing everything because that was what was expected, and other times, it was his own fault, too, and maybe that was part of why he had so much trouble feeling like he even had a right to complain, because wasn't all this his own damned fault, anyway? ... aside from them, he supposed he was one of the kinder Dalmascans. But wasn't that cruel, in its own way? Because one day Kassandros would be gone, and, presuming Dalmasca didn't destroy itself, another of the good ones would be gone, and things would be right back to normal, for everyone in his house. Icarus couldn't stand against Dalmasca's insanity as long as Kassandros had.

Don't bother with that. Let it go.

Kass snorted, softly, dealt with the last of his tears, set his hands back in his lap. "I guess," he answered, softly. "But you know, the aurora could kill you." He knew how to change it. It was still his aura, albeit there was so much more of it than there should be, it was still his; he could turn the aurora into a death wave, he knew how. And sometimes, he'd never admit it, but sometimes, it was tempting.

But there were voices in this, small, quiet voices drowned out by the cacophony of the nobles' games, voices that were too meek by themselves to be heard, but he heard them. "Dalmasca is not my problem, by default, you're right," he said, not quite as softly as his voice was before, threads of certainty in it. "I could give up. It'd be so easy to, and maybe I should focus on my family, the gods know it's so damn broken, and this isn't fixing it. I can fix every broken family but my own, hmm? Ironic. I'd never forgive myself for that, though. Even if I never unleash the aurora, there is no imperator, Sandalio. He's been dead for three years. What happens, when someone finds that out? Marissa and his vassals cannot lie forever. He has no heirs. The nobility will immediately turn on each other, scrambling to replace him. You're not Dalmascan. You know whose backs they'd stand on, you know where they'd direct their frustrations, and things can get worse." And maybe it would merely be another pebble in the river, but, it didn't have to be.

"Maybe Dalmasca isn't my problem. But Dalmasca is not entirely Dalmascan, actually the vast majority of those here are slaves, and maybe they're not my problem, either, but if I have even the tiniest chance of saving them, how can you possibly ask me to pretend they're not there and turn away when I could be the only hope they have of ever going home? Of ever knowing what home even means? I can't. I can't do it."

And maybe that was really kind of a personal failure, but, there it was.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
"I'm sure." Sandalio said in an easy tone. "But I'm not really afraid of dying." No, he wasn't. "Lots of things could kill me." And so the reality was that he wasn't worried about the whole dying thing. Sandalio had been a blood fighter and they died all the time. He'd learned not to go into things worried about dying. If he spent an entire fight worrying if this was going to be the last one, then he couldn't do his best. If he couldn't do his best, then he was almost certain to die. And, being honest about it, guards died all the time too.

So no, he wasn't really afraid of dying. And it didn't really make him any more concerned about Kassandros than anyone else. Kass wasn't special in that sense. Lycaon could kill him in a lucky fight, Leon probably could to.

At least Kassandros recognized that. "But that still isn't your problem." Sandalio said calmly, quietly. "Sometimes all you can do is take care of yourself and your family. You cannot bear the burdens of the whole world, Kassandros. And a year is not enough time to fix this." All a year would do, at absolute most, is mean that when Kassandros died, someone else had absolute chaos to attempt to rectify. Icarus was a decent kid, but Sandalio didn't think he could manage the House and Imperator. "I may know who's backs they stand on, but I also know that one man cannot stop a raging stampede."

A year wasn't enough for even a quarter of what Kassandros wanted to. He wondered if Kass wouldn't be happier if he would pick something that was more ... doable in the time he had left. Sandalio wasn't sure how to explain that to him. Or maybe more accurately, to make him understand that.

Sandalio sighed a little, shaking his head. "I know I can't change your mind. I just... there almost has to be a better way." There had to be a way that wasn't going to create an explosion waiting to happen the second Kassandros himself died.