silver windsStarted by Kohaku Tachibana at Apr 06, 2019 12:30 am
Goi 17, 76
By this point, his horse was rather quite sick of wandering around aimlessly. To tell the truth of it, so was Haku, and yet, it wasn't as if he had any better ideas. The white stallion, of course, still had not deigned to reappear, or even give him a hint as to where it was, within the giant, sprawling nation that was Dalmasca, he was even leading the man. Of course, Haku should be expecting no less, from a horse, and a mirage horse, at that, but he'd been hoping for some kind of idea what he was here for.
Still, he wasn't quite ready, just yet, to give up. Sooner or later, either the stallion would come back, or he would, but as it was, Haku remained willing to admit, at least to himself, he may as of yet have missed what the stallion was trying to tell him. It was stupid. His family would all tell him as much, and such was the reasoning behind not telling them what he was leaving for. As it happened, children he might have, but he wasn't really married, his brothers could handle House Tachibana and its lands in his absence. His children may as of yet come to resent him, for leaving, but Haku would go home, someday. Whether he meant returning to Jihon, or not, that remained to be seen.
If nothing else, he might want to give his horse a break. That thought in mind, he climbed out of the saddle, after reaching one of the hitching posts for horses, tied the reins to a post. His horse happily, and quickly, found a source of water, unsurprisingly. Perhaps he'd wander the market, see if he couldn't find a name that sounded, at least vaguely, familiar to him. One would likely imagine, sleeping in the wilds would bother an ex-ujal, but, he did not much mind it. Still, it was getting to hurt. He left his horse where she was, stepped a ways away into the crowd, listening for the names of houses that sounded familiar.
Alcides was just glad things had gone back to a relatively normal state, now that he'd returned home. No hard feelings, nothing unusual. Livia had made no effort to remove him, or ask that he leave - not that Alcides had expected her to. But some part of him had been illogically afraid that she might, even know he knew there was no reason to believe she would do such a thing. He was hardly the first slave she had freed who had chosen to remain a part of the house in some sense. Perhaps he was more central than most - he didn't really angle for a small farm in her territory, after all.
It worked for them though. Ah, but that return to normalcy left Alcides settling back into various tasks around the House as always. And today he was looking for some supplies - a few for the kitchens, others for the Blood Fighters. He'd found what he'd been looking for for the fighters easily enough, but now he was looking for other things on the Market, and it was taking a bit of time.
Eventually Alcides stopped at one of the stalls, and engaged in bartering on the price a bit. It didn't take that long before he'd finally settled on a price.
"How is the house doing?" The seller asked.
Alcides recognized the hope for a bit of gossip. He would have to be careful what was said, merely because the wrong words said in market could spread rather quickly. "House Asheron is doing well, as always." Firmly, and without elaboration.
The man gathered his purchase carefully and stepped away from the stall.
Amid wandering, it'd seem, fate had decided to throw him a rope, so to speak. The stupid horse might've dropped him in unfamiliar territory, without any idea what he was here for, or what he was looking for, but there it was. House Asheron; a name said quite a few market stalls away, but it sounded familiar, somehow. Haku wasn't certain how... it'd been some time since he'd needed to remember the names of the Dalmascan noble lines, but he thought House Asheron were mercantile, one of the big names.
There was, of course, still the tiny little detail of what to do when he found a house that maybe might recognize him, at least a little (there were, though, dozens of little ujals scattered across Jihon, and Haku had been but one of them). This would be easier, of course, if he had the faintest idea what he was looking for, what was here that was so important to the stupid horse (and, actually, having some idea of why he'd even followed the horse to begin with, that might help), as, quite truthfully, Haku hadn't the slightest idea what he'd even say, when he found a house that maybe didn't necessarily recognize him, but was at least willing to find him somewhere to sleep that wasn't the base of a tree.
No offense to trees, and all, Haku was just not getting any younger. Ah, if nothing else, someone from around here would likely have some idea of who all the houses were, refresh his memory for him. He'd dealt with a very small handful of them, and it didn't matter to him who they were now. And strangely, his mind had just, forgotten it all. That was helpful. That was so helpful.
He hurried around the other people, coming up to the side of the smaller one that had said House Asheron's name. "Ah, hello," Haku started, "sorry, I couldn't help overhear. I'm Haku, of House Tachibana, and ah, I was hoping you could maybe er, remind me what houses there are in Dalmasca, the major ones. I've never been to Dalmasca before, myself, and ah, maybe one of them I might be familiar... ish... with, sort of." Was that right? His Dalmascan, of course, was a bit broken and accented, but he thought that at least got the point across? He didn't look particularly rich, this one, did he? Well, he at least didn't look a slave, that was good enough for Haku.
Alcides stopped in front of the taller man who clearly wanted his attention for some reason. The smaller man held his purchase close to his body, and kept his gaze steady, obviously not intimidated by the fact that this one stood much taller than he did. House Tachibana. Jihonese then. Alcides was quite certain he wanted absolutely nothing to do with him, in that moment.
But, unfortunately, his actions reflected on House Asheron, and he'd have to be careful. If you've never been to Dalmasca then ... it's not terribly likely. Alcides thought, but he didn't say it, instead giving a rather bland expression to the other. "As you wish." Though obviously he didn't understand why this one was bothering him or what, exactly he was looking for. The names of houses and their leaders wouldn't take long to give him, at least.
But what did Haku of Tachibana actually want in Nydema. What was he looking for?
"The Major noble houses are currently Asheron led by Livia, Cassimer led by Marcus, Essair led by Kassandros, Grayson led by Adranos, and Lancaster, led by Titus." A pause. "If I were you, unless you're genuinely familiar with them, I would avoid Cassimer and Lancaster." Neither direct head of house was very kind. "Not that you asked."
But one could not say that Alcides had not tried to warn Haku. ... House Tachibana. Alcides was sure that was supposed to mean something to him, but he was failing to draw it forward. Well, he'd never had much experience with Jihonese anyway. They tended to avoid dealings with Livia directly - go figure, she was female.
Asheron, led by Livia, he said. Haku's expression turned clearly quite surprised; the name sounded feminine, at least, if Haku correctly recalled how Dalmascan names worked, it was feminine. Being entirely fair about it, Haku wouldn't really know for certain. Dalmascan names were quite lost on him, altogether, being as he'd never had occasion to become particularly familiar with them (and, bluntly, up until now, had not cared to). Certainly, Cassimer rang a few bells, as did Essair, albeit that was merely the recognition borne of having heard the name before, not having dealt with them. Grayson... Haku frowned, just so. That one he'd never heard, before. Lancaster was similarly unfamiliar.
He'd not dealt with Cassimer or Asheron directly, but these were the most familiar, to him. Perhaps - avoid Cassimer, the smaller one said. Haku arched an eyebrow. "Might I ask why? Cassimer is familiar, but, I've not directly dealt with them, I believe. Nor Asheron, but, this name is also familiar." Whether that was due to trade agreements, or because Jihon decided it collectively disliked that particular noble house, that was beyond him. Still, he'd been hearing that name since he was but a few feet tall. A house less likely to suddenly disappear, as newer houses occasionally did, was perhaps more prudent.
"In simplest terms," Haku started, "because my being here is probably somewhat complicatedly uncomplicated, I have need of somewhere to stay. It won't be but for a few scant hours at night, somewhere for my horse to rest, and most of the time I'll likely be... here." Here, for some reason. Here felt right, albeit he could not yet place his finger on why. It seemed as if, perhaps, there was something here he was supposed to find. That seemed most likely, but the horse could've told him that? Pointed him in the correct direction, perhaps, instead of leaving him to flounder and, try and explain this mess to others, without sounding like the rice wine he'd drunk six weeks ago hadn't just yet worn off.
Well, he was the one that decided to follow the stupid mirage horse. This, apparently, was what he got for that.
The smaller man noticed the surprise across Haku's face - but he did not comment on it, or address it in any way. Haku didn't say anything along that front, and so he wasn't going to pursue it unless Haku gave him no choice. The Jihonese man could make whatever assumption he wanted about the house and name. Alcides considered how to answer that for a moment. It hadn't occurred to him that this one would ask that. But then, of course he would - he had no dealings with Marcus himself.
"Dealing with Marcus Cassimer is... risky at the best of times." Was what he finally said. "It may go well for you, or he may manage to back you into a corner that it'll be difficult to get out of without help." It depended on the day and the question and the intelligence of the person doing the asking. Not that he didn't think this one was intelligent. But his grasp of the language was iffy enough that he sort-of wondered if there was a chance Marcus would talk him in circles until he ended up in a compromising position.
Not that it was any of Alcides' concern, really. But he was... generous. And he'd rather not give Marcus a tool, even incidentally. He could find enough of them on his own and all.
Alcides listened to Haku's story for a moment. ... He had some questions, like what was he looking for in this market place, exactly. But he didn't ask them, instead he seemed to consider it for a moment. "Well, I don't really have the authority to make any promises. But if you'd like to come with me, we can ask." Or he could go his own way. That one was entirely up to Haku.
That sounded decidedly unpleasant. It did, at very least, make some semblance of sense out of the warning. Haku could not recall much, in regard to House Cassimer, only that, those in Jihon with some experience with the House were, admittedly, reticent about the experience. They were, from what Haku heard, generous, but their generosity did not come freely. It was, of course, typical of Dalmascans, at least as far as the nobility went, and none paid the rumors any mind. But the way some of them said their generosity had a price... and this one's warning... it made him wonder, a little more than he had before.
He wouldn't ask.
"The opportunity is certainly nothing you're obligated to give, and I thank you for that," Haku said. "I wouldn't ask more. I should get my horse, first, and then I'd be glad to follow. I don't think I caught your name, though?" Had he said it earlier, and Haku had missed it? There was a lot of information to process, in Dalmasca. It worked nearly entirely differently than Jihon did, and it was so jarring. Thoroughly interesting, at least.
Jihon had problems. Haku had never fooled himself into thinking he could fix any of those problems. He was one person, and Jihon's main complexity was that it wasn't even possible for the rhanujal to fix it. It was a sad state of affairs, a state that would, inevitably, destroy Jihon, and Haku knew it. But what to do about it? Haku had no answers. Perhaps in wandering Azaleon, he may find an answer, but then, why bother? It wasn't as if he could do anything with whatever answer he found.
He'd concern himself with it later. For now, he needed somewhere to sleep, that was all.
Well, at least Haku seemed to take that warning seriously. He didn't say any more on the subject, so Alcides was content to leave it alone as well. It was better, really, to speak minimally of Cassimer. There was never any telling who might be listening, after all. And causing issues for Livia incidentally was... not a good thing. Cassimer was also notoriously easy to upset - at least Marcus was. Their houses were already somewhat at each others throats.
Alcides nodded slightly - accepting the thanks. Though he privately though it might be a little premature for the Jihonese man to thank him. Ah... well. At least he was polite - it would serve him better than being haughty here, at least. As far as getting the horse went, he could be polite enough for that. Ah... hm. "I may have forgotten to give it. My apologies. I'm Alcides." He was too used to being a slave, not a person. Too used to no one carrying what they called him - except Livia and the family. Of course, he had no family name to offer there, so he just left it alone.
But this one was Jihonese. So on one hand, he would care even less. On the other... he probably didn't know Alcides was a slave. To be fair, he was a freedman, he reminded himself. ...In Jihon there was little difference, but in Dalmasca there was. ... At least a slightly more pronounced one. Anyway.
Livia would have frowned at him for the momentary lapse in remembering how to act as a citizen instead, but years of slavery didn't easily go away. It was also generally impolite to fail to introduce himself. Whoops.
"Oh, and I don't mind waiting for you to go get your horse, though I'll probably move over there," He pointed to one of the more open areas with less people, "Just so you don't have to navigate through so many people with the horse." Some of them got spooked by crowds, and well, Alcides didn't see a reason to have Haku navigate through so many people when they'd just have to get right back out.
Probably, he'd forgotten it, yes. Haku didn't terribly mind, but it was somewhat rude to call someone 'hey, you,' or something. He had better manner than that, or at least, he liked to think so. Perhaps he didn't, ultimately. He tried his best, but, sometimes perhaps less than appropriate wordings or phrases slipped out, but he apologized for his blunders, where he made them, and continued forward trying to do better. It was all he could do. Wouldn't want to try going backward, anyway, after all; going forward was hard enough.
"I felt perhaps 'hey you,' to be relatively unkind," Haku explained. "Nice to meet you, Alcides. It won't take long to get Xiaomei, she's right over there." Assuming, that is, the horse didn't protest at having to move again already. Probably, he wouldn't attempt to ride, just lead her to the area Alcides indicated, so that she may not feel quite so put upon. Horses were sometimes very testy creatures, and Xiaomei certainly fell under that header. Of course, she probably wouldn't be quite so testy if he didn't often push her patience.
Anyway, Haku weaved his way back over to the horse posts, finding his horse and taking her reins off the post. "I won't make you carry me," he murmured, patting her neck, and tugging her reins. Reluctantly, she followed, seeming rather displeased by being made to move again, but she didn't fuss with him too much. He could tell, by the water dripping off her snout, she'd already had water, at least. Dehydrating his horse wasn't very good. Some maneuvering around the crowds, thankfully more interested in moving around him with Xiaomei there, and he and the mare made it over to where Alcides had gestured.
"This is Alcides, Xiao, say hi," Haku murmured, pulling some leaves out of her mane. She could use a bath, really. The horse, of course, was completely nonplussed. She didn't actually understand Jihonese, just, sometimes, Haku thought she understood some.
Alcides wouldn't have necessarily minded but he decided not to say that. "I suppose so." Was the response that came out instead. And a slight nod there. "It's a pleasure to meet you as well." Or so he said. They'd see if Haku continued to be a pleasure, or if eventually he regretted saying that. Still, he kept his expression level and when Haku moved away to go and get his horse, Alcides moved over to the clearer area that he'd originally indicated.
Some part of Alcides wondered what brought Haku here to Dalmasca. He was a long way from home, really, and so far it seemed Haku didn't actually know what he wanted here. It was strange. Not quite enough so that he was ready to ask but enough that he wondered to himself what was going to happen. And he wondered... what Haku was intending to be doing in Nydema in the hours he said he wouldn't be wherever it was he was going to rest and keep his horse.
It wasn't really Alcides' problem. But there was an awful lot of trouble one could get into here.
"Well hello there. Aren't you lovely?" Softly, obviously to the horse.
.... Right. Anyway. "Was there anything you needed here before we go?" He hadn't thought to ask that before.