tides turnStarted by Kassandros Essair at Apr 05, 2019 9:36 pm
Goi 9, 76
It was, unfortunately, already a long day. It wasn't over, of course, as Kassandros couldn't be so lucky, but if fate and fortune were kind, this would be the easy part of his day. Typical exchanges at market were painless, and uneventful, but the two of them were not exactly what one would call docile, and both were more than capable of being rather the bit of trouble. Together, they were even worse, at times, but Kassandros didn't expect to have much issue with either. The slavers, on the other hand, did not know that, and had trouble with them already. Mostly due to them being righteous idiots, but that was none of Kassandros' business.
He did have to find them, first. Usually, this was no real problem, as Kassandros often knew exactly where to go, but the Light hadn't told him, this time. He had not had the time to ask it, either, but he figured he could wing it, this once. If he constantly relied on the Light for everything, he would eventually turn into a helpless brat, and then he'd have to jump off a bridge, because he hated those. Whether he was kidding or not, even he didn't know. Perhaps he would, perhaps he wouldn't. With any luck, he'd never know.
As he crossed the market, the familiar scent of dirt, sweat, and the faint hint of blood became stronger. It was not the first time the leader of House Essair had come here, and it was debatable of it was to be the last. Well, he had a few years, yet. Perhaps some other sad story would get his attention in the intervening time. He would have to drag these two to House Asheron. One of Livia's was familiar with one of them. They could both use friends, anyway, and it was likely to be House Asheron they went to, when Kassandros was gone. Leon he intended to take to Galace, instead.
He should stop thinking about that.
Incidentally, his gaze almost immediately found them. For a moment, he just watched, silver embroidery shimmering in the light, only a cobra on the back of his shirt hinting who he was, but then made his way over. He knew they were tall, but knowing and seeing, apparently were two different things. Leon would be thrilled they could reach the shelves. It was either that, or Kassandros was going to move the shelves down, despite Leon's protests. Something about Kassandros needed to reach them occasionally, but Leon did all the time. The ilim should take precedent.
Why was that a no? Kassandros asked himself, from time to time, as if he didn't know the answer.
Wordlessly, Kassandros turned to the nearest slaver, handing them enough for both, then tapping their chains. These two. Thetis wasn't here to do it, but she'd laid the foundation for him. He'd continue where she'd left off.
(ooc: if this is utter shit, I'm sorry, I typed it on phone.)
It was sort of a miracle the two of them were still close together. Sandalio had been sure after their last little snarling match with the slaver they'd have been pulled apart, if not severely punished. Instead they still sat side-by-side, though his chains, at least, were a little tighter. Apparently there was some purpose to keeping them near one another though, despite the fact that they'd lost track of the twins a few days ago.
Sandalio was watching Lycaon out of the corner of his eye, but the other bloodfighter wasn't really paying attention, or at least, he didn't seem to be. Sandalio knew the other well enough to know that that half-lidded expression was anything but complacent, even in their currently chained down state. Still, even that knowledge didn't prepare Sandalio for the slight shift of the other beside him, clearly meant to get his attention. "Do you see that one?"
The words were very low, but they were enough to get gray eyes to focus away from the blue eyed warrior on his left and to look towards the slavers. It wasn't hard to see who 'that one' was. The newcomer stood out, something about his appearance, about the air he held himself with. It was ... certainly strange. Sandalio was about to ask Lycaon what had caught his attention about this one when the white-haired boy approached them and tapped on their chains.
Oh. Lycaon must have seen the young Dalmascan looking at them.
Sandalio couldn't immediately figure out why they would be interesting to him - but he also couldn't immediately place the house. From where he was sitting, he couldn't see the emblem. If their potential buyer hadn't been so close he might have asked if Lycaon had seen it, as it was there was no covert way to do that, so he just waited - at least not yet. Sometimes an opportunity would offer itself.
Eventually it would make sense, he was sure. In the mean time, the Macenian wasn't sure what to think of them being bought together - truly he hadn't expected anyone to be willing to attempt that. It was possible though that it was a house that wanted to acquire them for use in the Blood Games, in fact, that made the most sense now that Sandalio thought about it.
Lycaon shifted his weight lightly when indicated, but said nothing. Sandalio was a little surprised when their buyer hadn't said a word during the entire interaction. Their pair of them would practically tower over him Sandalio noted with a bit of internal amusement.
It was clear to Sandalio based on Lycaon's expression that the younger fighter had seen something Sandalio hadn't. He quirked an eyebrow slightly, hoping to get the question across without drawing their buyer's attention quite yet.
Lycaon noticed the raised eyebrow. Of course, trust Sandalio to notice his expression. 'Cobra' he mouthed at the other blood fighter, tilting his head just a fraction towards their buyer.
For a moment Sandalio didn't really understand. After a few moments the word registered - cobra - but it took a few seconds longer for it to really sink in. Essair, then? Gray eyes focused back on the buyer then, observing for the moment, but of course, it was not a slave's place to interact first.
Truthfully, he should've been more surprised the cobra had been noticed. There was only one House in Dalmasca that used a cobra as its insignia, after all, and it was partly a summary of House Essair's unique means of dealing with things. House Essair were no one's friend. Quite truthfully, were it beneficial for them to do so, Kassandros might even consider turning on House Asheron, as stupid a move as that might sound to be. But thus far, House Asheron were Essair's best allies, and Essair didn't strike at allies, if nothing else. That could quite easily change. In Dalmasca, everything and everyone were either your friend, or your enemy, and you kept your friends close, and, often, your enemies closer.
For a moment, the slaver stared at him like he'd lost his ever-loving fucking mind. Kassandros was sure, some would say he had. They both had rather the reputation, Kassandros knew that already, even worse of one together, and House Essair were not known to have any blood fighters. Kassandros never intended to become a blood trainer. That much wouldn't change. But it was none of this bitch's business.
"Ah, Master Essair, I really would not recommend keeping them tog -"
Slowly, Kassandros turned to face the slaver, nostrils flared slightly in annoyance, a deadpan 'did anyone the fuck well ask you anything' expression very obviously across his features. The slaver actually nearly took a step backward, but then coughed slightly, readjusted himself.
"Of course. Right."
Yeah, Kassandros thought so... he took a breath in, his expression levelling out, as the slaver dutifully detached their chains from the posts. Kassandros took a step backward, looking them both over. ... well, slaves weren't accustomed to clothing, blood fighters even less so. He wasn't sure if they had any fabric left to make them clothes that fit, he'd have to ask Merenwen, but that could be tended to later. Seemed they'd had some perhaps heated discourse with the slavers, but that wasn't surprising. Their last House had just fallen, and the two were rather fond of it, Kassandros did imagine they'd had some disagreements. Perhaps a bath and he'd have to see about -
Why the fuck was this bloody righteous idiot handing him the chains?
Kassandros looked annoyed again, tapping the part of the chain on the darker one, Sandalio, that was around his wrist.
"... the entire chain?" the slaver asked. "You want the entire chain gone?"
His expression flattened out, looking a bit annoyed, blue gaze falling to the dirt and blinking a few times, as if he couldn't understand why he was having to explain this.
"Right..." Fortunately, the slaver didn't make him explain it, just detached the chains the rest of the way, freeing their hands. And when he was done, Kassandros reached behind him, pulling one of the swords off his back, and handing it to Sandalio, then pulled the other off, and handed that one to Alasdair. He didn't tend to like people calling him that name... Thetis had done so, but she'd earned that right. He'd stick to Lycaon, until he decided to tell him his real name.
"Are you -"
A very annoyed sound loosed, and Kassandros waved the slaver away.
"... if you're sure... hey Aldrin, House Essair thinks it's gonna control those two!"
Kassandros sighed heavily, rolling his eyes. Moving on with life... he nodded, toward one of the streets, the one that lead straight to House Essair's estate in all its stoned glory, shuffling that way.
The pair considered the exchange between their new owner and the slaver. Neither said anything, of course. It wasn't wise to speak before the slavers, never mind there was a high chance their new master would take any chance to punish them. Sandalio knew from experience it was better to err on the side of silence. Mind, the Blood Fighter didn't always do so - but he thought for the moment it was probably in his best interest.
Lycaon, on the other hand, usually did err on that side. Except when you had him backed into a corner. ... Or, as it turned out, implied that their last master had gotten what she deserved. But given the circumstances, no one was surprised he'd taken that badly. Or, at least no one with any sense and knowledge of that particular slave.
Wait, the entire chain? Was this guy from Essair entirely out of his mind? It was bad enough having it confirmed that yes, they had been bought by Essair - did they even have a - no. Sandalio was almost certain they didn't. Were they being bought to start one? It was possible, stranger things had happened. Still that seemed... odd. And their buyer wanted the chains entirely gone.
The pair exchanged another glance only when the blonde boy gave them each a sword. Lycaon's eyes had the slightest flicker of confusion - they weren't even out of market yet, and they were being armed? Sandalio probably looked more openly confused, but also steadied his grip on the sword faster before lowering it to a resting state.
Their new master was something. Sandalio wasn't sure what yet. Brave, or perhaps stupid. He knew nothing about them. and daring to arm a new slave so quickly seemed... ill-thought out. Sandalio shrugged at Lycaon and moved to follow their new master.
"...Not a single word from him." Sandalio said it quietly, but Lycaon still shot him a clear 'he might hear you' look and didn't actually respond. Right, of course. Sandalio wasn't actually worried about their owner hearing that given it wasn't particularly negative, more of a surprised statement of fact but well... there'd likely be time to discuss it later.
Oh, it'd make sense, someday, were the gods kind. Kassandros had never known them to be, truthfully. In most cases, it'd seem the gods laughed at their plight. Fun fact, Erus and Pyxna were most empathetic to the plight of mortals, odd considering one the god of destruction and the other the goddess of chaos, but only they truly understood what it was to suffer, for they saw it all the time. Iuna had some vague concept of it, but that was the order of living and dying, of being and not being. Life, and unlife, went on, the lonely god of a forgotten era kept it moving, and mortals were but a fleeting, split-second glimmer in the darkness of the universe.
Well... that got dark fast, didn't it. It was hard not to think down pathways such as that one. But that was the fortune of one blessed with the eyes of Oanke as he was. To know one's own fate, for as long as one could remember, and be powerless to stop it. Most didn't, couldn't, maybe, understand or comprehend the vastness of one, small, seemingly insignificant change, tipping the entire course of time and causing undue destruction and suffering. It seemed so harmless, didn't it, saving one life, just one, but that one act sent ripples out across time, ripples that affected other strands of time in unforeseeable ways. Who knew what it'd do? Time was not, as most believed, for inability to conceptualise time in any other way, linear, but rather more of a giant ball of time-strand thread. Each thread gave rise to other threads, often shorter, which wove into other strands, diverged and reconnected. They converged and took shape, they tangled, twisted, unravelled, broke, and then connected again. That was time. And it was difficult, to say the least, for a mortal mind to comprehend. Even more difficult for that mortal mind to infer what would happen, if just one thing changed.
He had three years. He had a lot to do, in that three years. Truthfully, Kassandros didn't have time to be depressed or upset about it. He didn't have time to have feelings. He knew what he was supposed to do here. And that was all he had the twisting tangle allowance to do. He couldn't get distracted. He shouldn't have even gotten distracted with this, but he had personal reasons for intervening, too. Like how he was getting a bit sick of fighting off assassins by himself. It wasn't to say he couldn't. His stamina just wasn't what it used to be, never mind his patience.
"Of course not," Kassandros said, releasing a puff of air. "I don't tend to waste air on the sadistic sharks Dalmasca calls merchants." Ultimately, though, to be fair, it wasn't the slavers' fault slavery existed. Slavery existed because the Dalmascan people had a demand for them, no more, no less. Until there was no demand, there would remain slavers and slavery, and if Kassandros wanted to end it, he'd have to make the demand stop. And the only way to do that, was to make it more attractive to hire labour, instead of chain it. Just how did he intend to do that? He was working on that. ... as far as he was concerned, blowing something up should be about the trick, but well... maybe he ought to ah, explore his options a bit first, before resorting to firepower.
He could make a mean bomb, though.
He glanced over his shoulder, a slightly awkward, lopsided smile on his face, for a moment. "I'm Kassandros," he mentioned. "Master of the house. You can call me Kass. Blond twit also works, if you're in a mood. I have enemies. Many. I can't quite keep up with them all on my own. If you two are agreeable to it, I'd like if you were security, essentially. On the side, perhaps you might be up for helping the head chef? He's a tall ilim, but he's still an ilim, and can't reach some of the shelves. I keep telling him I'll move the shelves down, our last head chef was a very tall, stocky Macenian, but Leon won't let me." It was, ah, a little grating, but Kassandros didn't usually do whatever he wanted anyway, despite the fact he was, technically, expected to.
Sandalio had indeed been heard, apparently. HIs attention shifted back to their master rather insantly. ... Well, Master Essair wasn't wrong, but it was strange to hear such a sentiment from a nobleman.
That was one way to handle it. But Sandalio wondered if things wouldn't move faster if they didn't have to figure out what he wanted by look alone. ... Granted, it hadn't taken the slavers long to sort out what his looks had meant. ... Either it was a common theme, or they were slightly more intelligent than Sandalio generally gave them credit for being.
Sandalio wasn't sure of a safe way to respond to that, so he didn't. Allowing his attention to stray just slightly to pay attention to the bodies that they passed through. Sandalio wasn't worried, per se, but there had to be a reason they'd been armed so abruptly.
His wording was strange. 'if you two are agreeable to it' - given they'd just been purchased Sandalio wasn't sure there was - hm. There was absolutely no way this had happened twice. The chances were so astronomically low that Sandalio refused to believe it was even possible.
Still it was... odd. "As you wish, Master Kassandros." Sandalio was just cheeky enough to test the waters with that - he wasn't afraid of punishment, exactly, though he probably should have been. He could... almost feel Lycaon staring at him. Whether that was towards what to call him, or towards security detail, it was hard to say.
Lycaon, for his own, was frowning a hair. Had their new master just implied the Ilim slave was stopping him from doing something? ... The fact that he'd considered moving the shelves alone was surprising enough, but the idea that one of the slaves could stop him was bizarre. "I'm sure we can manage." Lycaon responded finally. And they could, probably.
Thetis had had them learning all sorts of little things, after all. So helping in the kitchen wouldn't be difficult. He wouldn't pretend he understood their new master, exactly, because he certainly didn't - but they'd see how things went.
It was difficult to miss the confusion, not in their words, but in the subtle ways their movements changed. Kassandros was accustomed to seeing confusion. Most displayed it, around him, in some form or another, particularly those that were lower than he. Kassandros was rather kind to lowborn, too, occasionally taking it upon himself to bring kindly, elder farmers more comfortable shoes, or help clothe small, growing boys in the winter. He was kind to everyone, so long as they were kind to him, and it was always the lowborn that were such with no duty or obligation colouring their generosity. It never ceased to astound him, how much more willing to share what they had those that were most disadvantaged were.
It made Kassandros wonder, if it was really the nobility that were wealthy.
At the title, of course, Kassandros stiffened, slightly, grimaced more at the dirt than anything. "Just... Kassandros. Maybe Kass, someday." Yes, maybe someday. He didn't expect it to happen anytime soon, at least, but he hoped, someday, in the next year or two. Yeah, that'd be nice, for them to use a silly little nickname for him before he died. It'd mean, of course, he'd done his part, as he was meant to. Most thought of him as a snake, untamed, unbridled, going where he pleased, and doing as he desired. That wasn't quite right, but the public image, it suited him. Kassandros never bothered to correct it, because what did it matter, if he was misunderstood? In any case, it meant no one underestimated him. Well, except for his father, but his father was dead, now, anyway.
Ah, here - Kass stopped, immediately drawing backward a step, and an arrow whistled past his nose, burying itself into the dirt a few feet away. Instantly, Kassandros darted across the dirt, snatching the arrow from the ground, and only then did he pull the bow off his back. Which one... ah, there, and the arrow shot back across the market's outskirts. A loud, hume sounding squawk echoed between the buildings. "NEXT TIME, AIM BETTER. ... well, suppose if that was poisoned, he's screwed anyway. Sheesh, it's almost a tragedy nobody can kill me. Ninth one today. Do they send cattle instead of assassins?" It had almost stopped being challenging, and become more annoying. Well, it wasn't entirely his concern, anymore.
And people wondered why he never left his estate. Aye, he did wonder. He cleared his throat slightly, putting his bow back, and continuing on his way. "... if it's any consolation," he mentioned, "I don't leave the estate often." Not that it stopped them from invading his estate's grounds. That was - well it was a semantic. They'd figure that part out, soon enough, he was sure. You know, if one paid their slaves, he'd likely give them a raise early on, just because, Kassandros was quite aware of what a chore it was to keep him alive (he'd been doing it, the last two weeks). What an avalanche he'd unleashed, but he'd ruined several peoples' fortune gained on the back of House Essair's misfortune, by fixing it, of course.
His father was so a righteous dumbass. If Kassandros ever found him in the next life, he'd deck him, too. "... do you two have any use for hessions?" Come to think of it, maybe he would pay them.
"...Right." Sandalio sounded almost skeptical. This was definitely one of those things he wasn't sure how to handle. Thetis had been one thing, an odd special case that ought not have repeated itself in the Essair line of all places. And yet... here they were. Listening to the same sentiments from a man most called terrifying.
At the very least it seemed unwise to call him something like that here in public. Sandalio didn't point that out - he wasn't sure that Kassandros would particularly care for that sentiment.
"...Ninth?" Lycaon sounded surprised by that.
"...Someone really wants you dead." Somehow Sandalio wasn't surprised to learn that fact. But still, nine attempts on his life in such a short period. Honestly though, the Macenian imagined many people wanted Kassandros dead. That was, after all, generally why someone went looking for a bodyguard.
And a snort. "No, not really a consolation, given it's hardly impossible for those who want to harm you to find their way within." Sandalio said it, but Lycaon's sound of agreement made it clear that the other Blood Fighter had already thought about it.
Especially if his enemies were this determined. ... Though also, apparently at least somewhat incompetent.
"..Er." Sandalio's step faltered for a second, and then he recovered. "Not particularly. What use would a slave have for hessions?" Exactly, none. Slaves didn't really own belongings, and there was no point in gathering things to be taken away or lost. Never mind slaves hardly had time to use coin, and most weren't permitted to go to market without explicit instructions. Especially if they were charged with keeping Master Essair alive - such a thing was likely to be a full time job, even with two of them.
Lycaon remained quiet through that brief exchange, considering more the implication of the question than the answer to it. No, a slave didn't have use for hessions, but but the question itself implied some circumstance in which they'd receive them. The only circumstance Lycaon could see that happening under would be if they fought in the Blood Fights and were permitted to keep some of their earnings, but even that was rare.
And Kassandros hadn't mentioned anything about the blood fights, only their capacity as guards.
Yes, the ninth. That sounded somehow impressive, sure - well, no. That was, after a moment of thought, the wrong word. For the life of him, though, Kassandros couldn't think of a better one. The only other term that came to mind was grating. He supposed that was valid, too.
"Hn," Kassandros grunted, sounding partly amused, albeit distantly, as it was heavily coloured by irritation. "The best part is, today is a good day." Nine was a fairly small number, compared to the higher side Kassandros had become accustomed to. The more time he spent in the Essair estate, the more common they became, when out in public. Most wouldn't think so, but Leon, as it happened, was rather the effective deterrent in the estate. The ilim could, if he chose to, pin a fly with an arrow 500 yards away. It made sense, then, that the smart ones had learned to run, the dumb ones had died, and the ignorant ones learned.
"Leon does well, keeping them away in the estate," Kassandros said. "It shouldn't be much worse." Barring the ignorant ones, it was comparably quiet. Thankfully. Kassandros was sure, he might well burn his house down out of irritation, merely losing control of his light expelling. Concentrated light rays were, incidentally, rather combustible.
Kassandros glanced at them, somewhat perplexed. He did realise there were some who didn't know what to do with hessions, even a vague concept of what others like them may want them for. He supposed that was a normal reaction. Still, neither were born in Dalmasca. They both were native Macenian, and both had family. A glance down, at the light splashed across the dirt, listening to the hissing sounds the light made. Only he could hear it. Only he could understand.
Ah. Only one knew.
"Some have family," Kassandros said. "Others want to go home. Some drop by taverns and brothels, or spend their hessions on hobbies. You could find something for them, I think, if you tried." Perhaps, however, it'd need more thought than Kassandros had been thinking.
He wasn't surprised. Just sad.
Sandalio winced slightly at the implication that nine was not an unusually high number. Well, they certainly wouldn't have a quiet time of things, it sounded like. That wasn't the worst thing in the world, but that didn't mean it would be pleasant. Still it meant they wouldn't be terribly bored at least, either. Which it wasn't impossible to entertain themselves, but having a clear indication of what they should be doing was helpful too, in its ways.
A nod. "I see." Whoever this Leon was would help. Still Sandalio expected they'd spend a reasonable amount of time busy. If only because someone like Kassandros couldn't stay inside all the time.
"Well we know what hessions are for." Lycaon responded, sounding almost amused. "But I, at least, have never been trusted enough outside of the view of my master to go to market or... whatever. I trained, I kept to myself." Things had been different in House Kenleigh, but even there Lycaon had never gone to market alone - always with someone else to carry things or something along those lines. It was a foreign idea to go and by things for himself. And brothels were not... no.
A slight noise from Sandalio. "Yes, that." Though Kassandros' response implied a level of freedom that neither of them were used to. And honestly, it would be hard to get used to it in the sense of actually taking advantage of it. They hadn't gotten that far in Kenleigh, really, even if it had existed.
He still didn't know why Kassandros would consider paying them for doing what they'd literally been purchased to do. That seemed... counter-intuitive somehow. Or maybe Sandalio was looking at this the wrong way, somehow.