the darkness is always there first
Apr 2, 76
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Kassandros Essair @ May 29, 2018, 07:21 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.
Even this soon after winter had come and gone, the sea wasn't really cold. It was an odd thing, but, Kassandros had eventually deduced the southern water currents brought warm water into the Aont Strait, breaking into two south of Jihon and going around the island. It was part of what made the weather so... so, and it was interesting to learn about. Kassandros liked learning in general, but there were only a few things he found really interesting. The sea was one. The sky was the other.

Somewhere amid the morning routine, because that was the only time he could escape the house, Kass had disappeared, scurried down the side of the estate, around the outer perimeter of the wall, and then down the short cliffs. The beach was all sand, to the east of the estate about a quarter mile, if that, and about two or three hundred yards inland, giant, rocky cliffs rose and seemingly held the land up, but there was one side where the cliffs dropped off, and the sand gradually transitioned into dirt. Kass always used that transition spot to scurry out onto the sand, usually barefoot and still in his pyjamas, just a pair of loose pants and a simple shirt, and, despite not always intending to, he did normally end up in the water, at some point.

He'd waded out to about his waist, watching the light gleaming on the horizon. The sun was over there, a bit to the left, lighting up the waves. It was always somehow enchanting, to watch the sunlight shimmer on the waves, listen to the constant hissing of the water rushing onto the beach, feel the current push and pull against his legs. By now, he was accustomed to remaining upright in the water, even if the sea got a bit rough, he could usually keep his footing, but fortunately, his favourite spot never got terribly rough, anyway.

Birds passed by overhead. Kassandros closed his eyes, starting to give off that faint glow they got from being in direct sunlight, breathed in the briny air. It was calming, in a way most things weren't. Watching the stars had a similar effect, but it was stronger, and also weaker, somehow. He reacted to the sun so intensely, it kind of made sense for him to do the same with the stars. Lights in the sky, after all, logically, they'd all count. Eventually, Kassandros turned a bit, finding a place where the waves weren't as strong, and then laid down. He went under the water for a second, but bobbed back up, floating and rocking as the waves rolled under and around him.

... did he tell anyone where he was going? ... eh, he'd figure it out. He could see the estate from here, so, he wasn't far, anyway. Besides, here was a decent place to hide from Cygnus. Though, it seemed to him, Cygnus was avoiding him, too. Kassandros wasn't sure if that was good or bad.

20 Posts 17 Years Male Galace Slave House Essair Played by hephaestus
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but it is many times harder to do.
To say the least of it, most of those in House Essair were concerned about Kassandros (then, weren't they always), and when he disappeared somewhere between dawn and breakfast, some of them tittered around in a mild mess of panic. Leon, despite, or in spite of, his propensity toward panicking, had shook his head, and barked something at them about getting on with it. Kass would come back when Kass wanted to come back. In the interim, Leon would focus on making breakfast, and leave the direct concern about Kassandros' immediate whereabouts to Sandalio (the titanic Macenian was getting better at trailing him, anyway).

Yes, they knew. Of course they knew, how couldn't they? Perhaps none knew details and such, but they could put the pieces together. Finally, it'd seem, Cygnus had pushed too far, and, in his gentler way, Kassandros had pushed back, albeit he didn't seem to have aimed it at the person it damned well should've been aimed at. That wasn't Leon's business. Kassandros would do as Kassandros does, and there was little sense in getting huffy over it. After all, it wouldn't get anyone terribly far, and there were better ways of expending energy.

Soon as breakfast was done, though, Leon scurried round the side of the house, his paws barely making any sound on the stone floors, and not much more in the grass outside. With some work, he shimmied up the side of the wall, facing the sea; yep, there in the water, Kassandros bobbed back and forth. "Figures," Leon murmured, more to himself, and then slipped back down the wall, headed for the gate. Even if Kassandros wanted to pretend nothing had happened, that he hadn't destroyed his bathroom, scorched his floor, melted the bismuth inlays out of his door, and made that gods awful shrieking noise, said something about not wanting to feel anything anymore, it didn't really hide the subtle changes in his behavior. Kassandros could pull quite the unreadable expression when he really put mind to it, but he couldn't fool Leon's senses.

At some point, during his time here, Leon had come to realize and accept that somewhere along the way, he'd grown to quite probably love Kassandros, in the way, up to now, he'd only really loved Aenwyn. He'd lost Aenwyn, because he wasn't fast enough, because he wasn't strong enough, because this was Dalmasca, and destroying is what Dalmasca did, but he wouldn't be losing Kassandros, figuratively or otherwise. No one knew stubborn til they'd met a determined ilim that'd found something to fight for. ... or, you know, Sandalio, he was pretty stubborn.

"You know," Leon started, stopping at the water's edge, the waves lapping happily at his paws, "if you stay here too long, you'll turn into a raisin." At least he'd be a pretty raisin? Leon knew better than to say that. Kassandros was awfully touchy about his aesthetic attractiveness, and... well, maybe everyone had an inkling of why, now.

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 wouldn't someone follow him?

Strictly internally, Kass sighed, a bit. There was always someone nearby, and now more than most times, he found it rather irritating. That was his own fault. He was the one that got a guard. He was the one that had dozens of guards, if you wanted to get technical about it all, the one that had a house full of slaves because he couldn't quite stop reuniting splintered families and separated friends, because he had all this house and no time to care for it anymore. Icarus and Cygnus certainly couldn't keep up with it on their own, and Kassandros hadn't the time to try helping, between this and that. Or maybe the truth of it was, he wanted to be impossibly busy, so that he had a good excuse to ignore everything else. Because his priorities were mangled, tangled, and broken beyond belief, and if he were being honest about it, he'd thrown himself into running House Essair partly because he wanted to make sure his brothers at least had that when he was gone, but also partly because it kept him from remembering that he never did decide he wanted to die, necessarily. That he had reasons to live, and then another reason to live waltzed into his life in all its six foot two grey-eyed snarky glory, and there went all those pretenses he'd worked so hard to build up, and now what?

Some part of him should probably hate him for that. Maybe some part of him did, if hate and love were alike enough they felt more or less the same.

And Leon was just another complexity that he never did figure out how to deal with. Neither of them said it, but Kassandros knew, and Leon knew, and maybe Leon knew Kassandros knew, that the ilim would do damned near anything Kassandros asked him to, maybe even a lot of what he would never, maybe merely because he would never. And Kassandros wasn't sure what was worse, being in a situation to have to ask someone to die for him, or having someone decide he was worth dying for on their own. But that line of thought brought his mind back to - and he didn't want to come back to - so he didn't.

"I'm sure," Kassandros said, "but I'd be a very pale raisin. Maybe they'd stick me in a museum. Palest raisin in Azaleon, how special." But you know, rhetorically speaking, he'd near already been stuck in a museum and left there, if museums were places where - never mind. "Breakfast is done, then?" Leon wouldn't leave the kitchen if it wasn't. Or there was an assassin, but the assassins had all but completely disappeared, and yet Kassandros couldn't quite shake the feeling there was someone still watching him, and he was quite sure Marcus would be. The eagle may retreat from the snake, but a smart one didn't take his eyes off it, and he'd never truly taken Marcus for a fool.

20 Posts 17 Years Male Galace Slave House Essair Played by hephaestus
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but it is many times harder to do.
It never ceased to amaze him, how good at pretending everything was fine, even as the world crashed down around him, Kassandros actually was. And at the same time, somehow, and yet perhaps unsurprisingly, it made Leon angry. In most particular situations in which Dalmasca screwed over one of its own, Leon had a hard time caring. Most of the time, whoever it was deserved it, at least in the upper class-those in the lower classes rarely did anything except exist, but that was another problem altogether. Kassandros, though, maybe he'd done a thing or two to somebody, but Leon was willing to bet that whoever it was deserved it. Kassandros was a storm, that much was certain, but he was a very discerning storm, one whose lightning bolts struck only where it needed to. Maybe he did screw someone over, but they always had it coming. And yet, it seemed, somehow, he managed to be the one that suffered the most. And why was that? If Leon ever figured that out, he'd be in business.

"That'd be boring," Leon said. "The boringest. Nobody goes to museums anymore, Kass." Absolutely, that wasn't the point, and Leon knew that, but the entire conversation train wasn't the point, and they both knew that. Leon wasn't really sure how to make them reach the point without setting off Kassandros' often very intense hypersensitivity. Making Kassandros shut down wouldn't help anything, and Leon knew it; he also knew, it was very easy to do. Kassandros was a bit like trying to deal with a flighty deer, sometimes. It had its moments where it was frustrating beyond logical understanding, but, in the same breath, Leon understood why. It did not make it any easier to deal with, however. Leon was constantly unsure of what his next move should be, what constituted pushing too far too fast. Sometimes, dealing with Kassandros and his delicate balance was difficult, but someone had to. Sandalio did. Icarus and Cygnus had, by now, probably forgotten they should. It wasn't right, or healthy, for him to stay closed off this way, especially not after the other night.

Leon was nosy. He knew it. "Yes," he answered. "Breakfast got done a few minutes ago. But you aren't out here passing the time waiting for breakfast to be done." It wasn't a question, because Leon knew the answer. "And don't try and say it's nothing. You can lie to other people, but you can't lie to me. I can smell it."

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 guessed they didn't.

Actually, Kassandros wasn't even certain where the nearest museum was. He vaguely recalled visiting one, once, but to be honest, he wasn't sure if it was an event that had legitimately occurred, or if it was a vision of a future event, or if maybe it was a past life. He supposed it didn't terribly matter. The point... the point was... somewhere over there in left field, he guessed. Kassandros wasn't certain where he was going with that. Probably, it was just something safe to think about, and, anymore, his mind didn't seem to like focusing on anything safe. He tended to take advantage of it when he could get his mind to dwell on a safe thing for longer than ten seconds.

What if he did go? No, it was a silly thing to wonder, because for one thing, that was what Kassandros wanted (it was), and for another thing, Sandalio had been entirely too resistant to the idea so far. As much as he hoped he could, Kassandros didn't think Tristan could change his mind. Marcus was playing a game Kassandros knew the rules to, a game Marcus generally did not play. He was planning something, and Kassandros knew it. What, that he hadn't figured out. Whatever it was, either the light had yet to decide to tell him about it, or the light had yet to see it. By this point, he had little doubt, if they did get into something troublesome, Sandalio wouldn't do the smart thing and back down from it.

That wasn't how it was supposed to go.

But if Kassandros attacked first... and never mind he wasn't certain he could, if he attacked first, he'd be the wrong one, and he knew it. Even if, by some miracle, House Essair's forces managed to overcome Cassimer's, if they moved first, they'd have to deal with the justicars. Theoretically, Kassandros could then remove the justicars, too, but not all of them were terrible people (actually, most weren't, it was a matter of Dalmasca's system trapping them as much as everyone else), and that wouldn't endear him to too many people. He'd have a damned civil war on his hands, for sure, and logically, he knew this wasn't a better idea, he knew that wasn't worth one person's life, no matter how attached he may have gotten to them.

He knew that. He didn't like it, but he knew that.

"You know, Leon," Kassandros answered, "that's almost creepy." Almost. "I know this, logically, but do you have to point it out?"

20 Posts 17 Years Male Galace Slave House Essair Played by hephaestus
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but it is many times harder to do.
That wasn't the point. Leon shouldn't be, and generally wasn't, surprised that Kassandros was still trying to skirt around the real issue. It was almost insulting, but, Leon wouldn't be admitting to that. This conversation was not supposed to be about him, after all. Leon could handle a few likely unintentional slights, if it meant they eventually got around to the point. Kassandros needed someone to talk to, and clearly, he wasn't going to talk much to Icarus. Most likely, that was more of an aversion to his twins, more born of Cygnus' disastrous fuck-up the other day, than anything to do with Icarus specifically.

No. There was one other option. If Kassandros felt, in any measure, bitterness or resentment, because Icarus had never noticed, and come to think of it, none of them in the House had (Leon took that one somewhat personal), it was possible he'd shove it all down and pretend it wasn't there, like always he did. If only because he wouldn't want to be being unfair, but that in and of itself wasn't unfair. Toss in the added complexity in relation to Sandalio and Kassandros' muddled feelings for him, particularly at right this moment, Leon figured he'd have a lot to hide.

"Oh, so I hear," Leon answered. "I know you know. Sometimes, I think it slips your mind, though." No, more likely, he purposely ignored it. He wondered if Sandalio had figured out he liked Kass back. On the one hand, he could ask. On the other, though, he didn't think Sandalio was the one he had to bother about this. Perhaps now wasn't the time for that, anyway. Kassandros had some healing to do; on the other hand, as much as it pained the ilim to admit it, Kassandros never would unless something made it hard to ignore, and some part of him felt rather terrible about using their feelings for one another as a spring-board for that. It was bound to be messy. Then again, if he didn't, Kassandros would just ignore it and ignore it and ignore it until it got so bad, he either shut down as a defense mechanism, or it erupted out of him.

Some of it already had. Some of it already had, and yet, it wasn't enough, because Kassandros still insisted on ignoring it. His buried emotions were practically crushing him, and he was content to remain that way. It occurred to Leon, at some point amid this wreck, that perhaps some part of Kassandros was comfortable, now, under all that weight, and was near afraid to lose it all. Kassandros... oh, Kassandros, why are you such a mess? No, he knew why.

"Are you at least going to talk to Sandalio?" he asked, toned cautiously. "... you know, about the thing?" He knew Kassandros would know, try as he might to have no idea, what he meant.

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. It didn't slip his mind, he deliberately ignored it, sometimes. Certainly, Kass wouldn't be admitting to that. Leon didn't need to know that, if he didn't already suspect it. Besides, he supposed it was rather quite rude, wasn't it, forgetting things others were good at. Kassandros would say something here about how it wasn't intentional, but it was, and so he didn't say anything at all. It didn't matter. That, he knew, was not the point of this conversation, albeit the point of it, he was not even going to really bother with right this second.

Most likely, this had something to do with how Kassandros needed to talk about his feelings, or whatever. Varying individuals in the House had been on about that since the incident with Cygnus (after which, Cygnus had been more or less magically managing not to be anywhere near him, for which Kassandros was secretly very grateful), but he still wasn't certain if he could. Even his small freak-out in Sandalio's general direction had neither helped, nor made anything worse. Actually, Kass didn't think he felt much of anything, just a flat neutrality.

It was possible it hadn't sunk in yet.

"What thing?" Kass asked, managing to genuinely sound like he had no idea what Leon meant. "As far as I know, I did that already. He, Tristan, and Estelle, are now freedmen, and my job is done." There was, of course, nothing else to talk about. Nothing. Because Kassandros had no idea what Leon meant, there couldn't possibly be anything else to discuss. And even if there was, it was stupid, anyway. Whatever it was. If, hypothetically, there was another thing to talk about, which there wasn't.

He needed to work on his lying skills.

20 Posts 17 Years Male Galace Slave House Essair Played by hephaestus
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but it is many times harder to do.
They were what? Why on Azaleon's good earth would Kassandros do that? Then again, thinking about it, Leon understood it. Kassandros seemed to think himself some kind of destructive force. It wasn't his fault this was how Dalmasca operated, and anything that happened, that was terrible, was generally because of Dalmasca, not because of anything Kassandros did. All he was doing was protecting his own. If that caused Dalmasca to lash out at him, that was the fault of the nation. Getting Kassandros to understand that, though, that was harder than it sounded, and Leon knew it. He'd been trying for months now. If he thought about it, most likely, Kassandros was afraid of dragging them down with him. But pushing them away wouldn't solve anything, either.

The ilim loosed a tired huff. This had all become very complicated, very quickly, and on the one hand, he could argue that their feelings for one another compounded the issue. It was, however, likely very unavoidable. You couldn't help who you fell for, after all. And maybe it didn't need to be helped, either. "That's not what I meant, and you know it," Leon said, settling down a bit back from the water. Kassandros knew what he meant, and Leon knew he knew. He could, of course, sense that, too. In some sense, Leon was just relieved. That Kassandros had ended up unwittingly reciprocating Sandalio's feelings, it meant he wasn't completely shut down in there, and some part of him, despite, or in spite of, himself, still reached for others.

Leon worried, about him. A lot, to be honest. And he thought, hoped, perhaps, that Sandalio would be good for him. Even if only because he reminded the hume that he was, in fact, still hume, and he did still have feelings. On the other hand, Leon knew him well enough, by now, to know that, at least some small part of Kassandros resented the part of him that was hume. Because someone, at some point, had convinced him that hume was synonymous with weak, but Leon had never known humes to be particularly inherently weak.

"Sandalio likes you back, you know," Leon mentioned, somewhat nonchalantly. "I can smell that, too."

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.
Yes, he knew that. And, unfortunately, Kassandros knew that, too. As was normal for him, he pretended he had no idea. He did have to wonder, though, what exactly it was that Sandalio had come to like, anyway. There really wasn't much there, but that could also just be his own self-hatred talking, heck all if he knew anymore. It still managed to surprise him, somehow, that he insisted on staying, because maybe, as a master, at least, he was a decent person, but as a person? Wow. Kassandros had seen knives with more personality than he had.

Truthfully, though, he supposed he'd never really know what it was that Sandalio had found to latch onto. Unless he asked, at least, and like fucking hell was Kassandros doing that. So far, you see, he'd been doing quite well keeping it to himself. Sometimes, he thought Sandalio might've figured out he knew, but then other times he acted like he couldn't possibly have figured that out. Unless Kassandros asked, he'd never know if he knew, and he'd never know what he'd clung to. Maybe Leon was right, when he said there was still some hume in him in there. Kassandros hadn't seen it in a long time, at least, right up until the other n -

He wasn't thinking about that. As far as Kassandros was concerned, that night had been a really bad nightmare, and had never happened. If he pretended, long enough, the memories and emotional reactions would get weaker and hazier. Still, everyone said that wasn't how you were supposed to deal with it, that it didn't work, but if it wasn't supposed to work, then why did it? He preferred not to think of that, either. It worked, and that was all Kassandros really needed to concern himself with. Beyond that, it didn't matter.

He knew Sandalio cared, probably far too much, about him. He'd figured that out somewhere in there, and despite knowing that, he still pretended he had no idea, because for one thing, that was dangerous, and for another thing, he had no idea what to do with it. What was he supposed to do with it? And it was too late, now, he should've sent him somewhere else, gotten him away from all this, before Sandalio got attached to him, before he decided he cared, and it was too late for that, because here they were. What was he supposed to do now? Because he highly doubted Tristan would get him to go on his own, Kassandros could make him but he couldn't do that and still claim he cared about things like making one's own choices and personal agency. So either he dealt with this mess and let it unfold how it'd unfold, and accepted that sometimes, letting people make their own choices was also letting them crash. Or he became exactly what he hated to make sure Sandalio didn't.

And as if that wasn't complicated enough, let's throw in Kassandros' very muddled feelings for the guy, too.

Not like Kassandros would know love if it turned into a fucking cobra and bit him, so what the hell'd he even know about what he felt? Leon could claim it was this thing or that thing all he wanted, but that didn't necessarily make it either one.

"He's not said anything," Kassandros answered. "I don't make a habit of jumping to conclusions. Besides, none of that really matters." Kassandros stood up, then, pausing for a moment to wring the saltwater out of his pant legs. "It's not fair, Leon," he whispered. He hadn't entirely meant to say that, but, maybe it didn't matter whether he had or not. He reached up, shook the water out of his hair, and turned back toward the house. It was too late for maybe I shouldn't have said that, so, he wasn't going to dwell on it.

20 Posts 17 Years Male Galace Slave House Essair Played by hephaestus
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but it is many times harder to do.
No, Leon didn't suppose he did, even when that conclusion made sense to jump to. Instead of answering, right away, though, the ilim looked deeply upset, for a moment, and stood up when Kassandros did. He kept hoping, somewhere along the way, that he'd heal a little, but in some ways, maybe Kassandros was clinging too hard to his own pain. Leon wouldn't pretend to know why; he could make a few ostensibly educated guesses, but there was certainly no guarantee that he'd be right, and maybe guessing, with Kassandros, was a dangerous thing to do.

But it did matter, and Leon didn't intend to let it go. The ilim frowned, slightly. "Kass, you're being ridiculous," he said, resting his hands on his hips. "This isn't about fair or unfair. What's unfair, if you want to go there, is acting like you're the only one involved in this, or pretending how he feels about it, and you, doesn't matter. Look, I know this isn't how you wanted things to turn out, but whether you like it or not, this is how it is now. And ignoring the entire thing is just invalidating his feelings, and saying you don't really care about what he wants. If I remember right, that's the opposite of what you want to do."

Leon certainly wouldn't pretend to understand him, because most of the time, Kassandros was a never-ending enigma. But, in a very real way, it hurt him, to watch this on the sidelines and not say anything. Sandalio was keeping his distance because Kassandros was; because unlike Kassandros, he obviously did have the ability to think about other people, or at least see situations from a more unbiased standpoint. Sometimes, Leon wondered where his Dalmascan was, and then, well, he found it.

"And don't even tell me some bull about you don't want to hurt him," Leon went on. "You are. And to be honest, I think he'd rather die than hurt you, if that's what you're afraid of." He was just guessing.

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.
... yes, that was the opposite of what he wanted to do. And yet, in some sense, no it wasn't. Damn. Why did this have to be so complicated? Why couldn't he just be any other Dalmascan? He still needed to go get some spiricite, and depending on how long it took his aura to go back up, that may end up being quite a bit of spiricite. And then what? Then he had to live chained to spiricite. Wasn't it one goddamn thing hanging over his head to another one? Sure, he could release the damned wave whenever he wanted, it didn't necessarily mean he had to right now, but the prophecy still said he did, and he was still stealing one of his brothers' powers and dying because of it. Even if he did make himself stop that, it went to one of his brothers and started killing them, instead. So where exactly was his autonomy supposed to be in this? Ytias could crow on about how he made his own decisions here but that was a fucking lie from the darkest part of Iuna's fucking ass.

Like hell he wanted to drag Sandalio into this bullshit. It just seemed Sandalio was intent to drag himself into it. Never mind all the normal problems, like, you know, what the fuck even was love, anyway, Kassandros never figured that out. Marcus was still a problem, and at this rate, Kassandros wouldn't have to worry about any of this seer or Messiah shit because Marcus was going to kill him, and that'd be that. Hey, great fucking idea at this point.

"That's not -" he stopped. "... not all of it." Part of it, sure. "Either way, Leon, he has enough problems. Okay? He doesn't need to be fighting through mine, too. And even if this will ostensibly hurt worse, I'm not doing that to him. I barely know what I feel, Leon, how is it fair to him to bother trying to do anything with it when I don't even know what I feel?" He just... wished Sandalio would make better choices. Would ... fall for someone that wasn't him, god, anyone else, damned near. "He deserves someone that can love him back. And that someone is not me." Because it wasn't like he had any idea how to love anyone, it wasn't hard to imagine this would be no different.

He didn't say it, because Leon meant well enough, but about a week ago, he'd have said Cygnus wouldn't hurt him, either. Everyone knew how that'd ended up. Maybe he was right. Maybe he wasn't.

20 Posts 17 Years Male Galace Slave House Essair Played by hephaestus
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but it is many times harder to do.
Not all of it? So what was the rest, Leon had to wonder. The admission was almost surprising, but, Kassandros did actually tell the truth, you know, once in a while. Still, even in having suspected as much, Leon found himself frowning in sadness. Yes, he knew that, that Kassandros didn't know what he felt, and that was, incidentally, a good deal of why Leon was pushing so hard, for Kassandros to try going with it. Perhaps he wasn't sure that Sandalio wouldn't hurt him, but, Leon was. Leon was, and he'd like to see Kassandros learn what love is, and sometime this century would be nice.

It wasn't as if Kassandros' concerns were somehow unfounded, it was simply that, clearly, Kassandros couldn't live like this. He couldn't live always being afraid of doing anything because it may or may not hurt. Yet, at the same time, Leon understood why he did, because in the vast majority of cases, his presumption things would go terribly were, in fact, quite right. Ah, this was a mess. Surely, Leon knew that, before, it was simply compounded, now, made more clear. What to do about it, though? Leon certainly didn't have the answers to everything, wish he did though he may.

"Valid," Leon answered, frowning in thought. "But you know, I don't think Sandalio's particularly stupid, though he seems to claim he is. Never known Macenian warriors to miss things right in front of their face, at least. Nobody said it'd be easy, Kass. But it might just be worth it, no? And, and maybe you'll always be a little stunted, or easily confused, but it's no more your fault than it is his. How is it unfair for him to have to deal with it, but it's not unfair for you to live with it on your own? I bet you wouldn't think like that, if it was him. And I promise you, it is, to some degree. Nobody comes into Dalmasca and lives in it this long without some scars, you and I both know that much. ... you know, you really suit this martyr stuff." He came by it naturally, apparently.

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.
"Oh gods damn it," Kassandros growled, turning around and walking away, just a few feet. "Has everyone learned that damned trick?" First Ytias, now Leon. Yes, to say the least of it, Kassandros was annoyed, but in the same breath, he couldn't say he blamed them for it, either. It was, as it happened, a very effective trick, indeed, but being blunt, he hated them for it, anyway. There were reasons Kassandros didn't think about things related to him from the angle of it being someone else. On the one hand, it wasn't like he really cared what happened to him, or at least, he said he didn't; clearly, that conversation with Ytias had proven different.

On the other, it made it easier not to think about the injustice that his entire life had been. It was easier to turn a blind eye to it all, and that made it ultimately much easier to function like a normal person, instead of wallowing in whatever else he might feel. Then again, by now, he didn't know what he felt anyway, so there went that.

Still, he couldn't deny Leon was right. If their roles were reversed, yes, Kassandros would think differently about it. "... I feel like I should be offended by that last part, but I'm too tired to be." And he was sure Sandalio did have his own scars, but that didn't mean he had to deal with Kassandros', too. Then again, only someone that had scars of their own would be able to see his, exactly as they were, and both fully understand what they meant and how they'd inevitably affect him, and fully accept them, too. Everything happened for a reason, so they said. Kassandros was fairly certain that he saw the visions he saw for a reason, too. Some of them, he never did figure out what that reason was; others, he'd been too young, when he'd seen them, to wonder why they were things he knew.

"I've known about him for a long time, you know," Kass said, turning slightly to somewhat face Leon. "I didn't know his name for a few years longer, but, for whatever reason, my visions decided to introduce us, sort of. Every once in a while, I'd get another few second vision of him, and I wouldn't have another for a while... seems like a strange thing for the visions to focus on. He's the only consistent thing about them." Otherwise, his visions were rather quite random. He wondered if there was a reason for that, but, presumably, a seer's visions were linear and had a purpose behind them; on the other hand, Ytias said that Kassandros was not meant to be a seer, so who really knew the rules, anymore. Kassandros sure as hell didn't.

He just... "I just don't know what to do with it, Leon," he admitted, finally. "It's not like I know how this is supposed to work. And maybe... maybe it's better, not to make him deal with me flailing my way through it. Never mind the longer he stays here, the more dangerous it gets. You and I both know Marcus better than this. He did not give up. He's still not my best friend, and sooner or later, he's going to stop playing shadow games and actually strike like he means it. And, I'd rather Sandalio wasn't here for that." And yes, he knew Sandalio wasn't afraid of it, but, only one of them was supposed to die that soon. "I... think I'm afraid of losing him," he admitted, very quiet, almost a whisper. Yeah. That was it. A good deal of it, anyway.

20 Posts 17 Years Male Galace Slave House Essair Played by hephaestus
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but it is many times harder to do.
Quiet, Leon listened, and at the end, let out a little sigh. Well, maybe the visions had focused on him because he was important. Maybe more important than Kassandros realized. Far be it, for sure, for Leon to try telling him what he had his visions for, because that was really something the gods knew, and not Leon, but if he had to guess, the ilim was willing to bet Sandalio was, in fact, important. Maybe he didn't know why, just yet, but he did know what he saw. Gods if Kassandros didn't need someone to love him, without anything else attached, just the way he was, someone to see his flaws and imperfections, and love him all the more for them. Leon both was and... was not, that person. Sure, he did. But maybe he'd never really be enough. Because Leon couldn't love him in all the ways Kass needed to know it, and that was fine.

It wasn't like Leon was upset about that. He did wish he could do more. But if he helped, at all, then that was good enough for him. The ilim shook his head, shuffling over to Kass, setting himself in front of him, and reaching up to take his hands. "Listen," Leon started. "I know this is scary. This is really scary, but things like this always are. Sometimes, for some people, it's a bit scarier than usual. And it's okay, Kass. It's okay to be scared. You don't have to be that giant support pillar you think you're supposed to be. I know," he added, very quickly, "I know. You were built to protect Azaleon from itself, not to love, or so you keep saying. But Kass, there's a good deal of you that's still hume, and humes were built to love and be loved. It's not some magical, instant thing, you know? Nobody ever said it'd be easy. Love's more complicated than that. It's a journey. Something you try for, every day. It's a path you walk, every day, a thing you make, every day, and it's never done. There'll always be something you'll need to work out. This, Kass, this is such a normal part of loving someone, it's really kind of ridiculous, I think it's the most normal thing you've ever faced."

In hindsight, that was, maybe, a bit sad. "Talk to him, Kass. You're going to have to make the first move. Because I think he doesn't want to scare you away. And I know it'll be hard. You'll have to try really hard, to remember that he's there to support you, and you can talk to him. I know that. Heck, I'm sure he knows that. Love's this big, clumsy beautiful messy funny wreck, it's not perfect, and neither are you, and neither is he, and that's okay. Kass, it's okay to mess up. And if you trust him at all, trust him to understand when you do. Talk to him. Let him in. Trust him with the pieces of you that maybe aren't entirely whole. Because you can't keep hurting yourself like this." And Leon really didn't want to be stuck watching it for the rest of Kassandros' life.

"Oh, and, you're forgetting a small detail," he added. "Sandalio is a blood fighter. I think, whenever Marcus gets around to getting serious, he'll be in for a bit of a rude surprise. You don't quit something because you might fail. So don't give up on Sandalio so early because he might die. Shit, Kass, I might fall down the stairs tomorrow and hit the wall too hard. It's kind of a part of life." Death did tend to be that.

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, that was not how that worked.

Or maybe it was. Maybe it was supposed to be, and nobody had seen fit to tell him that. Then, honestly, there were very few things, at least things of direct importance to him, that anyone had seen fit to tell him. You know, like how he wasn't supposed to be a seer. How he was supposed to have a choice, in what he did, as the Messiah. Still, he wondered if Azaleon was ready to be all mage; quite bluntly, he expected a lot of people to die, if he did that. And maybe he didn't want to be responsible for that kind of chaos.

Anyway, Leon was still talking, and Kassandros had always tried to listen to him before. Usually he was right. It was odd, how well the ilim had started knowing him, and some part of Kass wondered when that had happened. Then, he supposed it didn't really matter, either. The point was, he did, and maybe Leon was right. Hume, huh? That was funny, because he did and did not feel like one. Sure, he certainly looked like one, but he'd never fit in with humes. Certainly not Dalmascan ones. He wondered if it'd always be like that. He didn't seem to get along with Jihonese humes any better, though he had yet to meet a Macenian hume he didn't like. Granted, the situation there often was very particular, so of course he tended to get along with them. He was nice to them.

"Everything's just complicated, Leon," he said, quietly, there at the end. "And I'm getting about damned sick of everything being complicated." By this point, maybe it was no wonder. "I'll think about it. S'not like Sandalio's going anywhere, anyway. In the meantime, breakfast sounds like a good idea." Or at least tea. Gently, Kass pulled his hands out of Leon's, ruffling the ilim's hair, and heading for the house. And maybe he would think about it. More likely, though, he'd try very hard not to.