endless rain
Mar 29, 76
45 Replies
Cygnus Essair @ May 28, 2018, 07:37 AM
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 a blood fighter wouldn't be. Thinking about it, logically, it made sense. And, of course, why should Kass expect him to value his own existence? No one in Dalmasca did. Slaves, after all, were expendable. If you lost one, buy another, it was that simple. Because Dalmasca didn't see people, they just saw slaves. And maybe it wasn't what his father had intended, but that, that, was why he kept going, why he kept fighting, even if he was the only one doing it, because somebody had to.

But, no. No, he wouldn't get there. Even if he did, no, he wouldn't really change anything. Because Icarus... he'd never thought about it, too deeply, before, and yet he'd always known. Icarus wouldn't be able to do what Kass had been doing. And putting his brothers as high on the class ladder as he could, was actually putting them in more danger, just in different ways. Icarus would last maybe a few weeks, as imperator, before he had no choice but to start rolling back the changes Kassandros had started, or lost the throne outright. Even Kass may not be able to hold onto it for very long, and a lot of people would die to make sure he did, if, by some miracle, he kept it for longer than a year.

He'd ended up backed into a corner, and the only directions he could go led to failure, sooner or later. Kassandros had never accepted failure before. He always used it as a learning experience, an opportunity to redouble his efforts, and try again, hit harder, hit the right places, make every loss count. What the fuck was he doing?

What daddy always said to, he answered himself. Because you don't know what else to do, if he's not telling you.

And where would Vopiscus have led them? Straight into fucking ruin, that was where. Yes, they'd have been awfully powerful, no doubt about that. But with that power would've come a whole assload of trouble, because, the more visible you were, the more fire you took. No, no one had asked him if he wanted to die for Azaleon to have another fucking weapon to use against each other, but neither had he asked them if they wanted to die for his silly little pipe-dreams that were doomed to fall apart. Icarus didn't have the same drive. He could, if he tried, but it wasn't like father had ever taught him to lead anything, and Kassandros barely had the time to teach him how to handle the House. As unavoidable as it'd be, Kassandros' death would blow a massive hole in House Essair, and Kassandros didn't have the time to teach Icarus how to repair walls, and Cygnus would be no help at all, actually may be a bit of a hindrance and a liability.

When his brothers needed him the most, he'd be gone. And there was no point in fucking with that, because it wasn't like he could change that, but he didn't know what to do about it. The gods or the universe, or whatever, had given him the whole world, set him up for failure, and then sat back and laughed as it all burned down. It wasn't like he knew how to save his brothers, either. Cygnus had just proven that, yet again. And what if Cygnus never did change? Icarus needed some kind of support, but no thanks to Kassandros, he didn't even have friends because so many of them weren't really interested in being his friend, they just wanted a pathway to Kass.

It was no wonder Cygnus hated him. Icarus should, too. Kassandros had ruined their lives, and he was only going to ruin them even more, by being so human as to die at the most inopportune moment, when they needed him the most. But Kass was never there for them, anyway. None of that should be surprising. Kass was a terrible friend, a terrible brother, and he'd probably make a terrible ruler.

A better way... well, Kass didn't know that better way. He didn't know who would. A glance up at the ceiling, trying to blink the tears that had started back up away, but it didn't work. So, he stopped bothering, stood, and started pacing, instead. "Sorry," he murmured. "It'll stop in a second." Destroying his bathroom seemed to help him stop that, quicker than he'd expected to be able to, and he still had a damned migraine, but whatever. Maybe the physical movement would do it, too.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Sandalio watched Kassandros quietly. He wasn't sure what to say, and for a moment, he wasn't sure what was going on in Kassandros' mind. It didn't help that he wasn't sure what to ask at this point to continue getting Kass to open up here. It was... there was a lot here, and a lot of it was important. And of course, Kass had already had a pretty rough evening and maybe pushing much further was a bad idea.

But... if he let it slip away now, then it was hard to say when he'd have a chance to make any real progress again. Getting behind the walls had been a stroke of luck and timing - and if he let himself be walled out again, Kass would make it harder next time, he was sure. But he still didn't now where to go with this.

So his brother hated him, and apparently raped him when drunk. Seriously, why hadn't Kassandros just let him hurt the kid? ... Yes, okay he was still angry. Brushing that aside mentally because right this second wasn't a great time to deal with that, he'd revisit it later if he still felt it. Kass obviously liked Cygnus even if the kid was a complete wreck. Which, that was fair, they were triplets. Of course Kassandros loved him. So... realistically what could be done to mitigate the damage that his brought could cause?

"Don't be sorry." Sandalio said a moment later. "You've had a rough night. It's normal to be upset." No kidding there.

... Actually he really just wanted to. Hm. Maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to ask. All Kass could do was say no, right? Right. "Can I hug you?" It was an odd question, and it sounded kind of silly to his own ears. But really, he thought Kass probably needed a hug and he really genuinely wanted to hug him. It wouldn't really do much though some people found it comforting. He... had no idea if Kass was one of those people or not. But if he was, it'd be nice to be able to offer some comfort, all things considered.

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.
Kass couldn't help the snort, somewhat derisive and perhaps a hair annoyed. "Rough... I guess," he said, pacing back and forth. "Actually, this probably qualifies as one of the easier nights I've ever had." If nothing else, Cygnus hadn't gotten as far as normal, because Sandalio had interrupted. Icarus wouldn't have, because, you know, Cygnus knocked things over all the time when he was drunk, and of course he was going to be, when he came home after one of his stupid parties. But, no. He supposed it wasn't really his place to tell Cygnus what to do or not to do. It was his prerogative, and he'd thought, earlier, hadn't he, that maybe he was protecting him too well, that maybe Cygnus wasn't learning anything because he didn't listen to anyone and he never had to face the very real consequences of his stupid choices.

How was he supposed to deal with him after this, anyway? ... probably, the same way as always. It wasn't the first time, and Cygnus was still his brother. Even in knowing that, knowing he didn't mean any real harm, knowing he just didn't think before he did or said anything, it still hurt, and even just running into Icarus in the hallway unexpectedly could half send him out of his skin. He pretended well, oh, he really did. Could he still? He had no idea. Honestly, he had no idea how he'd done it in the first place.

Could he what? Kass slowly came to a stop, one of those blank stares on his face, watching Sandalio for a moment. ... come to think of it, maybe that was his panic face. Nobody'd ever asked that, of course, but it wasn't like anyone really wanted to hug him, anyway. Cygnus did it, once in a grand while, did it earlier, even, but it wasn't a real hug. It was more like one of those falling over onto him for physical support things.

"I... if you want?" When was the last time anyone had actually hugged him, anyway? Come to think of it, he had no idea. Most people didn't touch him, and Icarus wasn't terribly touchy, either. Merenwen was always busy. Cygnus, well. That was a complicated mess.

Gods. Why was a freakin' question so confusing. Why was Sandalio so confusing?

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Sandalio stared at him for a moment, somewhere between confused and something else, even he wasn't entirely sure how to put words to it, exactly. This.. was easier? What in the world qualified as a bad night for him? He was almost afraid to find out what qualified as worse than one's brother attempting to rape them, and then having his life threatened for it. "...How... is this an easier night?" The tone was curious, but mostly controlled. Surely there were much easier than this? Sandalio could barely fathom how that was possible.

Man, this kid. The Macenian was officially rather sure that Kassandros had had a harder life than many slaves. He wondered, for a moment, if he knew that. There wasn't really a way to ask that, and honestly, Sandalio wasn't sure he'd ask even if he could think of a way. Kass would deny it either way, if his insistence that everything was 'fine' was anything to go by.

Er. Okay, that wasn't the reaction he'd expected. That blank stare... Sandalio wondered if he should back pedal here and make sure he knew it was fine and that the guard realized it was a stupid thing to have asked him. But he didn't manage to say anything instead waiting to see what Kassandros was going to say, if anything. Because he was, honestly, almost afraid to speak again until Kassandros had decided how to react to that.

Okay, that wasn't so bad. Sandalio let go of the breath he didn't realize he'd been holding, and did stand up rather immediately - though slowly. And he approached Kass before allowing himself to think anymore about it, wrapping the other in a very loose hug. He was paying attention though, in case Kass gave any signs that he wanted Sandalio to back off again. "...I realize that was a weird question. Sorry about that." His voice was very low, given their close proximity.

Was there anything in Kassandros' life that wasn't going to make Sandalio sad or angry? ... At this point, maybe not.

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.
Despite not wanting to admit it, that was probably a fairly logical question, if one was under the impression this night was fairly rough. Kassandros wasn't, but, well he went through a lot of things Sandalio seemed to think were terrible. Maybe they were. Maybe, Kassandros had just desensitised to it all, because there was no sense in being upset about it, anyway. It didn't change anything. Ultimately, his father was right, anyway; it was a waste of time, precious time he could be using for something more constructive.

He shrugged one shoulder, a bit. "It just is." Cygnus was never terribly rough with him, anyway. It could certainly be worse. "He's never been rough with me. Just does his thing and falls asleep, at some point, but it burns off his excess energy. Makes him less irritable, for a while. I don't know why it was upsetting, this time."

Ah... you know, he knew, logically, the next step of this interaction was Sandalio was going to hug him. He still tensed up, slightly, but he didn't pull away. After a few seconds, he relaxed a little, leaned against the Macenian, and breathed. He shook his head, a bit. "No, I jus'wasn' expecting that. Yanno when the las'time someone hugged me was? Yeah, I don'either." Ah, but, just there, on the edge of his memory, was a faint melody and the scent of mint and something sweet... honeysuckle... that was what Ksenia had smelled like, he thought. It'd been so long, he hardly remembered her, anymore, because she was there one day, and then gone the next, before Kassandros had even started retaining memories, all the way. Some people seemed to remember quite a ways back, but, Kassandros' memories were mostly blank. Giant sheets of blackness that stretched on forever, with little, split second flashes of maybe-memory, like tiny little stars scattered randomly.

Why did he think of that song, when remembering momentary flickers of Ksenia? It was Merenwen that had sung that song, to him and his brothers, when they couldn't sleep, when they were scared. Cygnus used to be afraid of thunderstorms. Amusing, now, given his sorcery affinity, but he'd gotten over it, eventually. Icarus used to be afraid of dark rooms, particularly cellars. Kassandros didn't remember ever being afraid of anything. No... he had a few things he was afraid of, except, he'd never grown out of his. Unconsciously, he'd started humming the song under his breath. It was helping. He wasn't crying as much, now.

The melody trailed off. "I think, maybe my mother, was the last person to actually hug me," he murmured. "We were six, the last time we saw her." If he thought about her long enough, he remembered screaming, but he didn't remember why.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Sandalio could sort of see where he was coming from, but it was still happening. Arguably gentler or not, he was still being raped by his own brother. He didn't say that at first, instead maintaining his quiet. "You know, that doesn't change the terribleness of what he's doing." Was what Sandalio finally said. "Whether you believe he knows what he's doing or not, whether he deliberately makes it more painful than necessary or not... it's still happening." And maybe people had hurt Kassandros worse than that before too, but it didn't change that this time - and possibly many times before - the person doing the hurting was his own brother. Sandalio could imagine that was the thing that had eventually upset Kass about it.

It was his brother. One's brothers weren't supposed to add to the hurt heaped upon them. They were supposed to have each other's backs when maybe no one else did. But instead Kassandros had someone who hated him enough to do literally anything to hurt him, it seemed.

Sandalio just held him for a moment, seeming to relax just a hair then. He didn't know when the last time someone had hugged him was? That was... kind of sad, actually. All on it's own. "I see." Well, maybe he'd been right then, and Kass did need a hug. And that was... a pretty song actually. He didn't comment though, not wanting Kass to stop since it seemed to be helping him calm down a little.

Oh. Wow, not even his brothers, since he was six? "That's... a long time." Quietly. The last time they saw her. That was odd phrasing, but Sandalio wasn't sure exactly if it meant she'd left, or if she'd died or... something else. It was hard to say. "It must have been hard losing your mom so young." Perhaps it didn't matter if she'd left or died. The effect was the same to a six year old, after all.

How long had they been alone in this house, just the three brothers? Sandalio tried to remember, when the last time he'd heard about the head of house before Kassandros was, but honestly, he'd never paid enough attention to gossip that didn't affect the house he was in directly. And then his brothers had been away and it had just been Kass and the slaves. Well, Sandalio supposed that might have been a relief, all things considered.

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 unsurprisingly, Kass just shrugged. "Better me than someone else." Someone that might actually fight him, because Kassandros had no idea how Cygnus would take that. Given he was so impulsive, it could end rather terribly, and he didn't want Cygnus to actually hurt anyone. It was probably the wrong way of looking at it. Kass probably should've fought him the first time. It was kind of a cycle, if he thought about it. He and Cygnus were always fighting over something, and Kass had plenty of other things to fight for and over. In the end, he decided this one thing wasn't worth it, because he was so fucking sick of fighting.

He didn't want to, anymore. It wasn't like he had a choice on that one. Dalmasca chained her people as tightly as she chained her slaves, and everyone knew Kassandros was young. It was quite the big gossip topic, when he took over House Essair, because he was the youngest to ever take over a noble house, as technically, he didn't even legally have the right. The justicars eventually caved; House Essair had no one else to take it. Their uncle probably could've, but, no one knew where he was and Kass had conveniently forgotten to mention it. He was safer, in the Free Cities, and Kass wanted to leave him there.

He was probably looking at that wrong, too.

"I guess." It wasn't like he remembered her leaving. "I don't remember her much, anymore. She smelled like mint and honeysuckle, I think, and when I try and remember her, my mind gives me screaming, and I don't know why." A fight, he thought, but he couldn't remember anything that'd been said, so he didn't even know what it was about, or when. It didn't really matter. She was gone, and it wasn't like he could change that. "Strange, though. My visions show me damned near everything, but I have never once seen her." He just kind of assumed she was dead, now. Seemed logical, but, it felt wrong. Ugh, his mother was a complexity he didn't understand. Funny, how, as time went on, he started to find a lot of complexities he didn't understand.

"M'not doin' a very good job of anything anymore, am I." Despite the wording, his tone made it more of a statement than a question. He wasn't. He was figuring that out, a little at a time.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Sandalio frowned. "No, not better you than someone else." His tone was surprisingly bland given the surge of temper he'd felt at those words. "He shouldn't be forcing himself on anyone, much less his own brother." Just, setting that there. "And I know you said he doesn't understand, but that... he's seventeen years old, it's not an excuse at that age." He was old enough to learn that his actions were hurting people. "Not touching people without their permission was literally the first rule you laid down when we got here." And while in most houses that wasn't so, it was in this house. Sandalio saw no reason for that rule not to apply to the brothers too - the quieter one certainly seemed to act as if it did.

"Mm." Sandalio was quiet for a moment, considering that. "It is strange that your visions would give you everything but that. ... Even if she was dead the closure might be nice." Knowing if she'd abandoned them or if she'd died or... just knowing what really happened. But all Kassandros remembered was screaming, that was... sad, actually. Even if it couldn't be changed, not knowing had to be hard for someone who was used to knowing basically everything.

"I wouldn't say that." Sandalio said carefully, trying to choose his words well. "You're doing the best you can with what you have." Yes, he was, and maybe that wasn't enough for Kassandros, but it was still the truth. "But you have people around you who could help if you'd let them." And with that help, maybe he would have better luck getting precisely what he wanted done, done. Sandalio wasn't certain that had come out quite right, but it was closer than it could have been, so he left that alone for the moment.

But Kassandros needed to let others help. Or he needed to find a path that was going to do him far, far less damage. Because this? This was going to rip him apart at this rate, and Sandalio didn't really know how to stop that if Kassandros wouldn't lean on anyone else.

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.
Why did it matter?

He chose such strange things to needle at. These were all things Kassandros had just accepted as a fact of life, as things that didn't make a difference, as things he couldn't change, so why bother thinking about it? Sandalio got wind of them, and somehow they turned into the end of the world. Kass ignored a lot of things he shouldn't; logically, he knew that. When he got past the important things, though, he just never had the energy to care, anymore. And it really was better him than someone else. Kass could deal with it, he just had to sit there. Someone else may not take it so well, might fight him and make him incidentally vicious about it, and maybe it wasn't the best, but the only other - it wasn't like Cygnus listened to him. So Kass had found something that worked and left well enough alone.

Yeah. That rule was there because of Cygnus, actually. There was, on occasion, the rare new addition that didn't seem to understand that was a bad thing, so it was valid in other situations, but, it was specifically to keep Cygnus away from everyone else. Because Kass could handle it. ... or, he'd thought he could. A quiet, frustrated growl loosed. "I don't think he even knows what the word rape means. Everyone that's gotten interested in him, I redirected onto me. He doesn't understand euphemisms or metaphors. Bonus, he tends to take things at face value and not think about it beyond that. But Cygnus is too emotional. Even just that small bit of Dalmasca would destroy him. I don't want him to turn into me to function. I never said it was perfect. I just said it works." For now, at least.

Eventually, he'd need a different plan. It would be easier, if Cygnus got a girlfriend or whatever, but he was twelve on a good day. The only people that might have any semblance of patience for his immaturity and lacking cognitive functions would probably be the ones more interested in screwing him over, instead of just screwing him. Hence, why he didn't.

Kass may or may not have tricked one of his boyfriends' families into marrying him off already to get him away from his brother. No, he didn't deal in shit like that, why ever would anyone think that.

Another shrug, there. "Either way, she's gone," he said. "Doesn't really matter, I guess. I used to ask, sometimes. The light wouldn't tell me. Always said not to worry about it. Eventually I stopped asking." Obviously, he wasn't going to get any answers. "Everyone always said she left because I scared her. Because I was too much of a burden as a toddler and I only got worse as I got older, and one day she couldn't handle it anymore. I guess that makes about as much sense as anything else. You asked how Cygnus can hate me. There's how. I chased away his mother, I murdered his father, all our lives, everything's always been about me. Father was always more interested in me than him or Icarus. Merenwen paid them more mind than he did, because he was too busy lauding my virtues, and everyone knew that. We were always doing something, but once or twice, he forgot Cygnus' name. When he gets friends, sometimes, I scare them off, too, I'm always telling him what to do or what not to, and I don't have a lot of free-time, so when we do talk, that's about all I can manage to say. Now I'm after the throne, so all of Dalmasca can be just like father was, and there will never be a time when Cygnus is favoured over me. From where he's standing, I have taken everything from him. It looks like I hate him." Nothing could be farther from the truth, but, Kassandros understood Cygnus couldn't see that.

"You see, now? I am a great tree, so tall no one can see the top, and if they learned to climb, they could go so much farther than I can. But until they do learn to climb, all I can do is destroy them, by always being too much and not enough at once."

Back to that help thing. But he didn't know how... and maybe there wasn't enough time to figure it out. There was no point. Kass huffed, not sure how to explain it, again. "You're not going to like this. But it doesn't matter. It doesn't. My life is nothing. What happens to me is nothing. I'll be gone soon, and it's all just a single drop in a chalice of tears and blood, it's nothing. Giving a future to those that want to see it... preferably a better one, that, that is what I breathe for. No one told me what I'm supposed to do here. No one told me what my purpose is, but that's normal, no one knows that. That's what I decided I'm here for. To build a better world out of this mess, even if it destroys me to do it, and maybe someday, there'll be no more Cygnus' and no more Canius', and that is worth it to me."

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
"But it isn't working." Calmly. "Instead of him turning into you, he turned on you." Sandalio really wasn't sure that was any better. It was kind of funny though, listening to his concern about Cygnus turning into him given Kass kept saying he was fine and implying there was nothing wrong with the way he handled things. If the growl worried Sandalio, he didn't show it. "I know you're trying to protect him from reality, I can see that but..." He shook his head slightly and sighed, obviously at a loss for how to say what he wanted to. Because what he wanted to say was that protecting him from reality, shielding him from the consequences of his actions, those things weren't helping. Cygnus couldn't continue to exist like this.

Not only was it terrible for Kassandros, but the reality was that Kassandros had said it himself. He was dying and he couldn't protect Cygnus for forever, and Sandalio didn't think Icarus would do much better under those particular circumstances. What happened when Kass died, exactly? Cygnus wasn't going to magically understand the world at that point. "But even if it does work for now it won't work forever." Is what he finally said to complete his earlier thought, even though it wasn't exactly what he'd meant. It embodied enough of it, at least.

Sandalio made a sound that clearly indicated what he thought about Kass 'scaring' away their mother. No, she was a grown adult woman, she could decide things like that herself. She had chosen to leave them, if that was indeed why. "Your mother chose to leave. You were a child still, you needed her, she chose to ignore that duty and leave." Flatly. No, Kass didn't deserve the 'blame' for that. "And from where I'm standing when you're telling him what not to do, you seem to be doing from a place of keeping him from meeting consequences for his actions. Which I suppose he may not understand, but this comes back to for someone who was very much not spoiled, as you put it, he acts like a spoilt brat." Oh someone said no to me how dare they. That was not a way to live.

"You're right. I don't like it." Flatly. "You're also looking at it entirely incorrectly." Canius and Cygnus. Pff. What did this one know about- later. That was a whole other can of worms. "Like you said you're going to be gone soon, whether I particularly like that or not is not important. The point is, you can't make the changes you want to make. Even if you do make them, you're going to die almost immediately after and... what then?" He paused for a second to compose his thoughts slightly. "I'll tell you - Dalmasca is going to go back to the way it was. Icarus seems like a nice kid but he doesn't have your backbone. You've protected him and Cygnus beneath your branches for so long that when you fall... They're going to crumble too, and if it's not immediately it will still happen as the rot of Dalmasca presses in on them on all sides."

One person, one too-short life couldn't make the changes he wanted. And those who were posed to follow in his footsteps were incapable of doing what he had done. Maybe Icarus could learn, but there wasn't time for him to learn. "I know you don't have any reason to listen to me. Or to care about what I think but..." Finally after another moment or so. "What you want is a valiant thing, and if you had a full life time to do it, and to teach your successor, then you could do amazing things. But as much as I'm sure you don't want to think about what happens when you die, I think you're going to have to."

Because what was the point in destroying his relationship with his brothers, and destroying himself too if everything he worked for was going to shatter within months of his death?

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.
The worst part of this was, Sandalio was right.

He was right, and Kassandros had known it all along. He'd thought, at the time, maybe he could've made things easier, somehow, made it work, somehow, around what his father always pushed him to do. As long as he did what Vopiscus wanted, he didn't get pissy with him, and that was certainly a giant waste of time, so he'd tried to fit something better into the original plans. He didn't want the Imperator throne because he wanted it, he wanted it because he'd already started down that pathway, doing what the former head of house said to keep him pacified and out of his way, and then he'd gotten too far entrenched in the battle for the throne to be able to safely back down. If he pulled out of that battle, the other houses would take it as a sign of weakness and turn on House Essair, most likely to prevent him from changing his mind, or one of his brothers from taking up the sword after him.

Sandalio was right, though. This entire thing was doomed to fail because Kass didn't have the time to teach Icarus how to run the house, much less an entire nation, he wouldn't be here long enough to help his brother through the rough parts, and, no, Icarus didn't have his backbone. He'd get overwhelmed sooner or later, or he'd die, and Kassandros knew it. Cygnus sure as fuck couldn't do it, he could barely manage himself. Kass didn't know what else to do.

Sometimes, Kassandros, you must learn to step away and back off, so that you can regain your balance, and move forward stronger and more prepared than before. That is not defeat. That is smart.

Gods, he was tired. Not the kind of tired sleep could fix, the kind that seeped into the bones and took root. The kind that no amount of rest could be rid of, because it was in the soul. He had so very few choices, for someone that was, supposedly, so important. It was difficult, working within the gods' designs, but, he continually wondered why, exactly, he bothered trying to remain within them. Sometimes, he wondered if Azaleon even needed gods. Because it was a fat lot of good they did up there, anyway. Not to say humes were doing any better.

He thought he'd had it. He thought he knew what he was doing, he thought he knew where he was going, he had it all laid out, and maybe it wasn't perfect, but it was better than nothing. Time went on, as time always does, and he saw otherwise, a little at a time, but he didn't know what to do now. That was his own failing. Kassandros should've seen this coming, at some point, if he thought about it, watched the pieces long enough, he could see where he'd made his mistakes, could see where it'd lead, he didn't need the light to tell him that. Maybe he wasn't as good at this as he thought he was.

"... we should get some sleep," he decided. If nothing else, his mind was too scrambled right now, to think very straight anyway. "We're just going in circles. Maybe the break from it will help."

But he understood, now. It'd finally clicked into place. He was the only one that could do the things he wanted to do; yet in realising this, he didn't want to be the one to do them. Not because it was too hard, or because he couldn't, but because he didn't want to be remembered for that. He didn't want to be remembered. When he was gone, he wanted to be forgotten, he wanted his star to burn out so abruptly and quietly, that the other stars around him could be seen in all their brilliant glory, and no one remembered there used to be a brighter star there, at one time. So that no one was weighted down by the threads of regret and sadness that his rather unfortunate, abrupt end would leave behind.

It was too late, for that, wasn't it? Far, far too late. Ironic, wasn't it.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
The Macenian had no idea what was going on in Kassandros' head. He wasn't sure if he'd made any sort of impression, or if he'd just managed to upset Kass again. It was hard to tell with him at times, but Sandalio knew all he could do was deal with it as it came. He'd planted the seeds, so to speak. Hopefully the Dalmascan at least thought about them. That was really all he could hope for.

It wasn't like Kass was under any obligation to listen to him or consider his thoughts. But Sandalio did hope that he would think about it at least in the context of what this was going to do to his brothers in the longer run. Kass didn't seem to care about himself but if he could see the angle from their point of view then maybe... maybe he'd consider it important enough to think about for more than a second or two.

Well, that was... yeah that was fair. Sandalio nodded a little. "You're probably right." Sleep was a good idea, if nothing else. Reluctantly he let go of Kassandros and took a step back, away from him.

"Goodnight, Kassandros."

He wasn't really sure a break would help, but maybe. It'd at least give Kass the space and time to think about it. Sandalio started to move quietly across the room, intending at that point to return to his own space.

[Yay the feels train is approaching its final stop. ... for this thread]

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.
It seemed like something of a cop-out, but, he needed to think, if nothing else. He'd, somehow, managed to skirt right around the whole reason Sandalio had come in in the first place, and some part of him felt bad about that, but, he didn't want to talk about it. Honestly, Kass probably wasn't ready to, not yet. He had to process it, first. Had to make some semblance of sense of it in his own head, but, being realistic, he'd likely just ignore it, because it didn't matter.

Strangely, though, Sandalio let go, and for some reason, it made Kassandros' heart rate spike in anxiety. That was odd. Okay. This was expected, though, the separating thing, that was normal. Sandalio had his room, and Kassandros had his, and there was no reason for Sandalio to stay. And yet, somewhere in there, he realised he didn't want him to, and that was a weird -

"Night," he answered, softly, half-distracted. After a few moments, though, he scrambled across the floor and wrapped his arms around Sandalio's waist, leaning against his back. ... what'd he do that for? No, he knew why, it was just saying it, that'd be the hard part, because he was sure the Macenian would be about as confused as Kassandros was.

Crap. "... do... can you stay?" Yeah. As it happened, Kassandros didn't really want to be alone, right now. Some part of him was concerned, because, asking him to stay, it meant on some level Kassandros was starting to trust him. It was probably a good thing, given Sandalio and Alasdair were his guards, it'd be pretty silly to have them and not trust them. But if he was getting attached, were they? Maybe not Alasdair, if only because he had other concerns. Sandalio never went away, though. Maybe it was about time for them to go back to Macenia. Or wherever they wanted.

Guards died, sometimes, anyway. But he really didn't want them to leave, all the same. ... mostly this one. Damn it, why. Ugh, he'd think about it later.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Erm. Okay, that was not something Sandalio had expected, and his expression probably said so, despite the fact that his body remained as relaxed as it had been when Kassandros attached to it. Ah, okay. Sandalio stood still for a moment, patting one of the arms wrapped around him lightly. He didn't ask, figuring Kass would get around to saying what was on his mind in a moment or two. And of course, he was trying to process a little too because that was extremely unexpected.

That phrase had sounded like a dismissal to Sandalio, but apparently he'd been wrong.

Uh. Wait had he just - okay. His mind was still reeling, but that was okay. Sandalio thought he could work with this. "I can, if that's what you want." He said after only a moment of quiet. It was strange to think of Kass asking him to stay, given the conversation they'd been having, given what had happened tonight. And then it also wasn't.

Some people just... didn't want to be alone after something like that. Kass liked to pretend he wasn't most people, liked to pretend he was indestructible... but it wasn't true. Sandalio of all people had figured that out. "Come one." Softly as he turned around, intending to lead Kass to bed, apparently.

... How were they - did Kass want him in the bed or on the floor? That seemed like such an odd question to ask, but it was also probably the only way to get the correct answer the first time. He didn't necessarily have a great track record for guessing at the moment. "This uh, may be a silly question but where exactly do you... want me?"

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.
Well, he didn't take that wrong. That was good. Was that good? Yes. He was going to go with yes, and leave it there, because he was already doing mental cartwheels, and he really didn't need to be doing them again. He wondered, though. About a lot of things, and the complicated mess Sandalio had become when he wasn't looking at it was only one of those things. He'd never asked anybody to stay. So what made him so special? Hell if Kassandros knew. Most days, he really didn't care, either, but, his mind was already going a million miles a second, over everything and nothing all at once, why not this, too?

Oh, letting go, and then kind of head tilting. Where did - oh. His expression flattened, one eyebrow arching upward. "Considering how many times I've stared at you for ending up on the floor, in your own room, I'd figure that'd be somewhat obvious." Theoretically, he couldn't really argue with him about what he did in his own room, that was sort of the point of having his own in the first place. But this was Kassandros' room, and he was not sleeping on the floor. No. Okay? Just no. ... but he only had one bed. That meant, they kind of had to share, if Kass didn't want him sleeping on the floor. Oh, boy, he didn't think that through, did he. Okay. That was fine. Yeah. Totally fine.

He might've suddenly turned a little pink across the nose, but, he was ignoring that. Tactfully ignoring that. Sandalio probably wouldn't draw attention to it, so, Kassandros was just going to side-step it outright. That did not happen.

"... if I wasn't technically your owner," he started, "if I wasn't capable of giving you your family and friends back, would you still be as nice to me as you are?" Maybe. But maybe not, all the same. In another universe, maybe they'd have never crossed paths, and even if they had, maybe they'd never have spoken at all. ... well, in another universe, Kassandros would've been a blood fighter. He might not even be alive. There was another direction it could've gone, one where he ended up in a temple, and that wouldn't have led to them meeting, either. Sandalio wasn't exactly ah, religious. Most Macenians weren't.

It didn't really matter, the specific combination of random outcomes that had led to this, but he knew about them. It was hard not to think of them, from time to time, to wonder what life would've turned out like, if one of those alternate pathways had been the one he ended up following.