What Just Happened?
Apr 2, 76
13 Replies
Esmera @ Sep 13, 2018, 12:14 AM
18 Posts 26 Years Male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Esmera
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.
"Ah," Kassandros' voice interrupted what idle thoughts were running through Tristan's mind. He was helping with breakfast, again, this morning, and it'd seem Kassandros had a thing he wanted. "Now that you're both in the same room as each other," and here, the white-haired boy held up a piece of paper, and then started reading it, presumably. "I, Kassandros Essair, name my slaves, Sandalio and Tristan, no longer beholden to servitude, and free citizens under the name and patronage of House Essair. Thenceforth, they will be recognised as free citizens under Dalmascan law, with all right and freedom granted by such status."

"Wait," Tristan started, "what?"
Kassandros looked a bit amused. "You're free," he said, like that answered everything. "Both of you. I ah, took the liberty of registering you with the citizenship office under your real names, hope you don't mind."

Was he serious?

Obviously he was serious. Tristan had never known Kassandros not to be, but it didn't make this entire thing any easier to wrap his head around. He'd... just freed them, what on earth - well, he knew what on earth, logically, but it still made very little sense to him. Why now? Why at all? Wasn't Sandalio kind of invaluable? Far be it for Tristan to quibble too much, but - and besides, it wasn't like Sandalio was going anywhere. He... Tristan was pretty sure he had a thing.

Hadn't asked yet. Maybe now was a bad time.

"Nothing has to change, if you don't want it to," Kassandros mentioned. "Well, I'll be paying you starting today, that's a thing. Labour laws, and all of that, they apply now."
"It's okay," the younger said, giving this odd, lopsided half-smile. "I'm sure it'll take some getting used to. Estelle is also registered; I haven't bothered trying to explain the concept of being a slave one day and not the next and what that even means to a four year old, so, good luck. Well you probably want to wonder among yourselves what the fuck is wrong with me, and maybe decide if you're staying or going, I hear there's a caravan headed for Haradi soon, yeah? Yeah? Have a nice talk!" And Kassandros headed out.

Tristan, for his own, turned to Sandalio, one eyebrow arched upward. "... caravan to Haradi, huh? ... did you do something bad?" There was an awful lot of emphasis on that caravan to Haradi.


80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
It wasn't that rare for them to be in the same room, was it? Hm... Sandalio turned at Kassandros' words though, as soon as he'd finished with what he was doing. Wait, wait. A glance at Tristan. Yes, okay, he'd heard that right. He wasn't misunderstanding or anything like that. No, Kass had just friend the both of them, and apparently, Estelle. Which made sense given Estelle was his daughter, wouldn't want to separate them but...

Hm. His expression was somewhere between confused and uncertain. "I mean thank you but why would you..." Well it didn't have to change anything, which was slightly encouraging. Still, he had no idea why Kassandros would do that exactly. Seemed like it would be just as easy not to free them at all and let them keep doing their jobs. It was something to be thankful for, sure, but it was confusing. Sandalio couldn't see what Kassandros gained from this. Of course, before he had a chance to ask anything else, to try and get an idea of what he might be thinking, Kassandros had gone and left him alone with Tristan.

"Not unless you consider doing my job decently well bad." Sandalio was frowning a little, thinking back on things. "I don't plan on going anywhere though." Nope. He was going to stay and keep doing his job. He wanted to keep doing his job. "I wouldn't blame you if you don't want to stay." In a rather serious voice. ... And maybe... if he went, maybe he should take Estelle away from here before things changed and something went wrong. But Sandalio was going to stay right where he was. He didn't say that immediately though.

Or, well. He supposed that Kass might consider the fact that Sandalio liked him some kind of a thing done wrong, intentional or not. And... well. It was one of those things that Kassandros may well have recognized as a thing. It didn't stop him from doing his job - in fact it made him want to do his job. But Kass had always had some minor issue with just how well Sandalio did his job, and how seriously he took the bodyguard thing.

18 Posts 26 Years Male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Esmera
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.
Then what was that all about?

It wasn't like Tristan understood the guy. Certainly, he didn't understand him better than Sandalio, but if Sandalio was confused, well, they were both out of luck on guessing what Kassandros' angle was. It seemed strange a thing; the only explanation that made any sense was perhaps the freedom was because Kassandros wanted to reward them, or just one of them and the other two were just along for the ride by virtue of being related to him, for doing decent jobs, but then why the emphasis on leaving? Kassandros seemed more the type that'd be over the moon about being legally obligated to pay them for their services now.

Kassandros was a never-ending enigma, if Tristan had ever seen one.

"If you're not leaving, neither am I," Tristan answered. "I'm just confused. Not so much by the freedom thing, though that'll take some adjustment, it's more, the emphasis on the caravan to Haradi. Decent guards are hard to come by, particularly among the blood fighters, I'd figure he'd rather you stayed." Well, on the other hand, Kassandros wasn't stupid. A bit naive and occasionally somewhat short-sighted, but he wasn't an idiot. Maybe he'd noticed Sandalio had a thing? Then why not command them to go? He didn't even have to, he could've sent them to House Asheron, that wasn't a bad place to go, either.

"... you have a thing, don't you?" Despite the question, it was toned as if he already knew the answer, and by now, Tristan was fairly sure he did. "Have you told him this?" There was that possibility. It wasn't as if Tristan was privy to their probably countless conversations.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Well, that settled that then, Sandalio supposed. Because he wasn't going to argue with Tristan about leaving, of course. And Sandalio had no intention of changing his mind and leaving anyway. Kassandros had done a lot of good for them, and Sandalio wanted to continue doing his job as a guard. He liked the Essair boy, and it really was that simple, in his mind. Yes, he had his freedom, but as Kass had said himself, nothing had to change if they didn't want it to. And Sandalio didn't. If Tristan wasn't going to go without them then they'd just make do with what they had right here.

"He said something once about ruining my life." Something like that, he couldn't remember the exact words. "I feel like this is probably just cycling into he knows he has enemies and doesn't really... he thinks Lycaon and I do too good of a job, so far as I can tell. We care too much about ensuring his wellbeing." Tristan of course wouldn't have been privy to those conversations. "So that's probably why the emphasis on wanting us to leave. But... on the other hand, it doesn't change that I actually want to protect him." No, it didn't.

Of course Tristan would ask that. "Yes I do. No I haven't." Firmly. "And given he's already emphasizing being rid of me, I don't think telling him is a great idea, do you?" Toned in such a way that it was pretty clear that regardless of what Tristan said there, Sandalio intended to stick to his guns.

Telling Kassandros would only confirm what the boy probably already guessed. It wasn't as if Sandalio hadn't tried to calm him down that night, after Cygnus. That had been beyond his duty as a guard, and they both knew it. The danger had been eliminated. But... Sandalio had still been worried. And yes, he knew why. He knew it was because he cared about Kassandros.

He just didn't think Kass would take it well. Go figure that.

18 Posts 26 Years Male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Esmera
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.
Right. Ruining his life? That was new. New to Tristan, he should clarify, because it sounded like that wasn't new to Sandalio. Being bluntly honest about it, though, Tristan was failing to see how staying could turn out to be quite that terrible. The whole reason they were staying was because it was markedly better here than essentially anywhere else in Dalmasca. Barring only perhaps House Asheron, and few here had direct experience as part of House Asheron. Even House Lancaster, while it had certain members that weren't so bad, had horror stories passed around.

Given over half of House Lancaster was here, Tristan was going with, there was a reason why.

Tristan held his hands up, there at the end. "I wasn't saying tell him if you haven't," he said. "I was just asking if you had. I thought that might've been what this was about, but, apparently not. Then again, it's not like he's an idiot, maybe it is." It wasn't like Tristan knew what Kassandros had and had not figured out. But, as intelligent as he was, he was also very blind to some things. Maybe he had missed it.

"Well, you'd know him better than I would, and probably have a better idea of whether he's figured it out or not, so I'll leave that one to you." It wasn't like he had any ideas what was going through the guy's head. Well... actually. Tristan frowned, slightly, as that thought crossed his mind. It reminded him, a bit, of their parents. Tristan was old enough, he remembered things like that, hushed arguments Sandalio had probably long forgotten, but for some reason, had stuck with Tristan. It was debatable as to why, but the why didn't matter. He remembered their father never really liking it when their mother ended up fighting. Not because he didn't think she could or believed she wasn't a good fighter, but more because he knew that other people were good fighters, too.

The problem, of course, with being a decent guard was, sooner or later, you were gonna get hurt doing it. It was kind of the nature of the beast, and so long as Sandalio and Lycaon insisted on being decent at their jobs, that threat was always there. No. Maybe Kassandros knew, maybe he didn't. Tristan didn't think that had much of anything to do with it. That'd explain why he seemed to take issue with them being too good at their jobs.

"You know though," Tristan started. "The problem with guards that are good at being so is, they tend to get hurt eventually. I think, maybe, in his awkward way, he's having trouble making sure you're not gonna die on him while still respecting your personal agency. Unfortunately, the two are not exactly aligning with each other. So... maybe he's hoping, now that you're free, you'll just go, either for Estelle's or my sake, and solve the whole problem yourself." Unfortunately for him, well, that plan just fell through.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
"...Sorry." That had been slightly harsher than it needed to be, and he could recognize that that wasn't very fair to Tristan so yeah, apologizing there, a little sheepishly. Unfortunately Tristan might be on to something and that might have something to do with it. Which was, in a sense, frustrating because it wasn't like it was going to stop him from doing his job and doing it well. Aside from the fact that Kassandros had already mentioned that he thought they were taking it too seriously, and he was only interested in being "alive" and not so worried about the rest of it.

Sandalio had never agreed that that was good enough, so there was... that.

"I'm honestly not sure." He admitted mildly. "He might have guessed at it ... but maybe not. It's hard to read him sometimes." Kassandros was not exactly an easy trail to follow no. Sometimes he thought maybe Kassandros had figured it out, but other times it was more like he wondered if Kassandros would even recognize it if it slapped him in the face so there was... that. The kid was not great with emotions, that was for certain.

Sandalio considered that angle for a moment, thoughtful. See, that aligned well with Kassandros' stance on many things. He wouldn't order them away because he respected their choices and recognized that if he overrode them in that way that he was just like any other master, albeit with different priorities than most. Tristan was probably on to something there, actually, now that he was thinking about it.

"You're probably right." After several moments. On the other hand, he'd already decided that he wanted to see to it that Kassandros was okay as best as he can because he was important to Sandalio, and because he had helped a lot of people already. He didn't think it'd be an easy task by any means but it was still what Sandalio wanted to do. Sending Estelle away crossed his mind, because he didn't really want her on the front line, but also, he wouldn't want to send her alone. And Sandalio wasn't going to ask Tristan to leave him as the other had already decided not to.

Which meant they'd make it work right here.

...At some point he should probably tell Tristan that he did magic now though. Maybe.

18 Posts 26 Years Male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Esmera
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.
The unexpected vehemence actually just made Tristan wonder if there was something bothering him. Usually one reacted like that when they'd heard the same thing over and over, or it was somehow a sore subject for them. It wasn't like they were living paradise, here; sometimes, it seemed like the closer Sandalio got to Kassandros, the more he tried to push him away. Given what he knew about this house, it was, bluntly put, unsurprising. Humes tended to fear that which they didn't understand, and it crossed his mind more than once, whether Kass would know what to do with it, if someone felt anything remotely positive about him. It wasn't hard to imagine that it was, in its way, actually fairly terrifying.

Sandalio was smart enough to figure that out. To realise Kassandros was literally afraid of him, and in the same breath understood he had no reason to be. Maybe that was it. Maybe just watching the kid fight with it was starting to grate him, because, Tristan did have to admit, it was pretty sad, and he didn't even have a front row seat. He had to wonder if that was really his to ask about. Maybe it didn't matter, but... sometimes you didn't know something was bothering you, until someone made you think about it.

"Good to know I hit the right path on accident," Tristan said. "... so... something bugging you? Awfully defensive there for a second." He was just saying. And, you know, it was kind of difficult to play pillar of strength when you were having trouble staying upright, anyway, right? That was what Tristan figured. Besides, maybe talking about it would help, and sometimes Tristan managed to figure it out by virtue of being on the sidelines.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
"Not really." He responded, sighing a little. "Just, you know, this was a stupid thing for my heart to decide on anyway and here we are and there's not much I can do about it." Nope, it just was. "And Kassandros doesn't know that to do with it and... well. The closer I get the harder he pushes and given all the little pieces floating around I can't say I'm shocked." But he couldn't do anything about it either it just... was. This was the way things were going to be, and there was no point in pushing Kass because one wrong move and Kassandros could shut him out entirely.

But if he didn't push at least a little, then Kassandros would likely ignore it forever and then he'd die literally having no idea what it was to genuinely be loved. And that was... sad. Actually that was really sad. "And he's a seer you know." Quietly. "So I don't... I don't have forever to work through this with him." And that was probably the worst part of it if he was being honest with himself. He didn't have the usual amount of time stretching before them and sure no one had forever but most people didn't have another five years, tops. Maybe less than that, probably less than that even.

"And there's... something I should probably tell you. Unrelated." Mostly unrelated, but still important. He wasn't just going to dump that on him though so maybe waiting until Tristan had acknowledged it and he was sure the other wanted to hear about it. But that was weighing on him too, of course. There was every chance he was going to lose his own mind as the days went forward. He could ignore the magic and not use it, but apparently when he was upset he leaked it.

But he couldn't learn not to leak the magic without using it. And every bit of usage might bring him closer to the edge. And that edge was... well. No one had ever called Sandalio particularly stable before, and he wondered if that meant he'd fall much faster than most. It wasn't like anyone knew exactly what caused some to manage it safely for longer than others. If he wasn't one of the lucky ones he may well end up in a position where his own brother had to make that call. Sandalio didn't want to do that to Tristan but...hnn.

Okay maybe there were a few things bothering him. Maybe.

But at least he had opened up about it despite saying no? At least a little?

18 Posts 26 Years Male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Esmera
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.
Not really, he said, and then that. Well, at least Tristan hadn't needed to pester him incessantly about it. It wasn't like he wouldn't, if he felt like he should. On the other hand, obviously this was a lot to deal with already, and maybe Sandalio didn't really need him pestering incessantly. In any case, he had started talking, so, that was something to go with. Tristan was kind of disappointed that this was how it was; but he couldn't be angry with Kass, either, because Sandalio was right, and Kassandros likely had every reason to be pushing him away, as much as that reality was not one Tristan liked.

"Things happen for a reason," Tristan eventually said. "I'm sure there's a reason for this, too. I mean, given he's, what, seventeen now, and nobody's thought to try getting him to feel anything, and then you come along, you're at least doing decently in that way. Honestly, I'm almost surprised he's not crashed under the weight of... everything." Certainly, the kid had a rough life. And Tristan thought he had problems.

"You can't help who you fall for, though. And I know you don't really have the time to work through it, but, I think you're going to have to." Or none of this would ever make sense, and it was pretty sad to think he was going to die and not really have any idea what love even is. He had to be the most unfair thing in this entire nation, being blunt about it. Or one of them, anyway, but he was fairly high up the list at any rate.

Oh. Unrelated? Tristan looked confused for a second, but eventually asked, "And what's that?" Sounded kind of important. More so than usual.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Snort. Yeah, things happened for a reason alright. That didn't mean Sandalio had to like or even accept that reason. He didn't say that, though most likely Tristan would be able to recognize the sentiment. That didn't mean Tristan wasn't right of course. The kid was seventeen, and it was quite clear nothing had ever been easy for him. So, well, he wasn't surprised Kassandros didn't know how to handle his attention, that wasn't strange really. It wasn't something he couldn't understand it just... he didn't know how to handle it.

And he didn't know how to start working through this with Kass either, because where did you start when the object of your affection was someone who had no idea what love was or how to accept it? "I just wish I knew where to begin because being his friend is probably the best idea." But of course, time constraints. Which he was... he was okay with. And he would still try to do that.

But it was hard to be someone's friend when they were dead set on pushing him away, too. Ugh.

He took a deep breath and then released it. Well, Sandalio had brought it up. "I am a mage now." Casually. "Shadow magic, apparently." Yeah. "So that's... a thing. I guess." Slowly going crazy, one leak of magic at a time. And eventually he'd have to start learning how to control it which would either help or really hurt, depending on how quickly he started to slip.

But Sandalio didn't think trying to hide it from Tristan was a good idea.

18 Posts 26 Years Male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Esmera
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.
It probably was. It wasn't as if Kassandros knew what to do with anything more than that, and while it was a shame, it was also... what it was, more or less. What was, perhaps, even more unfortunate, was the realisation that perhaps Kassandros did feel the same, he just couldn't recognise it for what it was. Tristan knew of more than one fellow slave that had begun desensitising to their own emotions, becoming so separate from them that they hardly recognised them, in order to cope with traumatic experiences, and he was willing to bet that was more or less what Kassandros had done. Distanced and desensitised to his own emotions to the point that, when he did feel them, he didn't know what they were. Truth be told, Tristan had to wonder if that was part of his brothers' problems. ... well, Cygnus seemed to have a few other problems, besides.

It was difficult to say what'd be best, here. Some part of Tristan wanted to think that perhaps addressing it head-on would be a better idea, but, Kassandros was awfully unpredictable, in the same breath that he was predictable (how was that even possible). In the end, it could merely serve to make his pushing Sandalio away a little bit more insistent, perhaps quite a bit more insistent. "This is a pretty difficult one," he said. "For whatever it's worth, I'm sorry it is." And he was. Even if they started all the way back there, at how exactly Kassandros had become this way, he was, still, far too kind to have done much to deserve whatever made him this way. But the same could be said about too many. Tristan was finding himself wondering just how many Dalmascans became the way they are because another Dalmascan or several put them through hell. One Dalmascan became that way, and the rest, to survive, followed suit, and in the end, here they were, however many years later, and this violent predisposition was passing on from generation to generation of nobles, spreading through the gentry like wildfire.

Quite frankly, Kassandros was more a man than most, because somehow, he was still standing, and still kind, despite how desperately Dalmasca seemed to have tried to pass that wildfire on to him.

Wait, a what? Mage, he said. For a moment, Tristan wasn't entirely sure he heard that right, but Sandalio went on, and yes, he heard that right. He was a shadow mage. Tristan didn't know much about mages, being honest. All he knew was what everyone else said, and they all said a hume becoming a mage was akin to that hume catching an incurable disease. Someday... no. Tristan wasn't going to think about it. If it was going to happen, then, it was going to happen, and there wouldn't be anything for it. Nobody had ever met a mage that'd never gone insane before, at least, nobody that he knew of. There was no sense in getting upset about it. The ilim did it, though. Magic, without going crazy. The weres did, too, he thought he remembered Gannicus playing with the wind a few days ago, and he was a few thousand years old, so they said.

"I see," he eventually answered, quiet. He tried not to sound upset. Mostly, he succeeded. "Have you talked to Gannicus? I think he's a mage. Seems pretty stable to me." Besides, if nothing else, Gannicus was impossibly old, he may have an answer, even if he didn't have an instant remedy.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
"I appreciate it." He did, really, the sentiment was nice. It... didn't really fix anything, but he could still appreciate the fact that Tristan did at least sort of understand why he wasn't launching into this headfirst like he might have otherwise. It was a delicate affair and yet... he couldn't say he didn't want to, because he did. He wanted to do this, he wanted to share this with Kass and maybe see him smile.

But he didn't want to upset Kass in the process of getting there and he was afraid that was highly likely. Maybe he didn't have a choice. Was it better to leave it alone or try to move forward with it? At the moment, he wasn't sure. It was hard to guess at what, exactly, Kass would do if Sandalio actually told him instead of just ... continuing to act as his shadow. He was free now, technically he could share as much, even if he had to leave afterward because Kass didn't want him around anymore and refused to tolerate his presence.

On the other hand, Sandalio didn't want to face the possibility that Kassandros really might decide not to tolerate his presence at all. And he had to wonder if this was better than that option.

"I'm sorry." Somewhere amid the quiet between them after what he'd said. And he was, he was sorry to have to put that on Tristan's shoulders because it was not an easy thing. But... concealing it may well be worse so that was why he decided to share it, ultimately. It was important and it was the truth and here they were. Besides, in the longer run he thought Tristan would probably rather know than not.

"I hadn't thought of that." No, he hadn't. Hm. Sort of a thoughtful expression. "I'll do that." Maybe, yeah. If nothing else, Gannicus sometimes had angles he hadn't thought of, or answers he would have never heard of if only because he'd been around for forever. If anyone would know it'd be him, probably. "Thanks." No really, because Sandalio had to admit he probably wouldn't have thought of it on his own.

18 Posts 26 Years Male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Esmera
I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible. And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.
That... Tristan shook his head. "Not for you to be sorry for." It was what it was, really. Neither of them could really do anything about it. It was all water under the bridge, now. Things like this happened, more often than not; if the murmurs among the other slaves in House Essair - ... he was a commoner now, uh, among the slaves in House Essair were to be believed, and Tristan had never known them to be wrong, it was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Heck, it was apparently surprising that it hadn't happened already, and Tristan wasn't sure how to take that.

It wasn't like it was all that new. In the grand scheme of things, all three, well four now, of the actual Essairs were mage. Any damn one of them could snap at any minute, so, this was really kind of like a drop of water falling into a lake. Maybe it made ripples, but, not much else. That was probably a strange way of looking at it, but, he'd already decided not to worry about it too much. That just meant he was worrying about pretty much nothing, because once you were a mage, well, you were a mage.

"You're welcome." Yeah, he was glad that was helpful, at least. "Figured he may have an idea of what to do next, if nothing else. And... well, whatever happens, I guess that's what happens. Try not to worry about it too much, either. S'not like you don't have a bunch of other things to think about." Many of which were a little more pressing.

80 Posts 24 Years male Macenia Commoner House Essair Played by Lenara
Mm. Maybe not but he was sorry to have to dump this on Tristan's lap. It was something that couldn't be helped, and was well outside of Sandalio's own control but that didn't mean that he was any more happy about making Tristan deal with it than anything else. But uh. Tristan deserved to know, really. He deserved the truth and he deserved to know the risks that Sandalio was facing.

They were brothers and in some ways each other was all they had anymore. His twin was somewhere else, he didn't know where. And their families were gone and this was... home. As close to home as anything ever had been or probably ever would be.

At least Sandalio knew that if anything did happen, he could trust Tristan to take care of Estelle for him. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that any time soon. Hopefully there were answers to be found before that was something Sandalio had to worry about. But worry he did, a little. If only because abandoning his brother and his daughter and Kassandros were not things he really wanted to face.

"If anyone has a clue, it would be him." Yeah, more or less. "Mm. I know that. But it's hard not to think about it. Not to worry about it." After all, it introduced an awful lot of other issues.

Of course there was always the risk that worrying about it would only manage to make him more prone to trouble.