As Dawn BreaksStarted by Inetkaes Lucain at Apr 06, 2019 1:21 am
Einmanudur 1, 76
The sun was just on the horizon now, and the moon's presence had faded. The full moon was over. Inetkaes' transformation had come to its end - and her experience had allowed her to at least know to be close to one of the shores when that happened. Being a shark had its negatives, but at least Nydema was on the coast - it made her time in this particular city much, much easier. It also meant that she didn't have to halt her search long enough to travel to the coast for safety during the full moon - which meant more of her time could be spent actually searching.
The down side, of course, was the fact that there seemed to be Lucain all over the city. It was fainter in some places than others, and she'd met several who smelled like Lucain very faintly. Clearly her nephews had had children over the years - this was in no way shocking, of course. It was, however, making things more complicated when it came to finding them.
Inetkaes had already retrieved her dress by then, and was resting just beyond where the waves met the sand. Water magic had been used to wash the feel of salt from her skin - it was unpleasant once it began to dry. The scent of Lucain was strong on the wind here, stronger than it was in many other places along the water's edge. The only other place that had had a similar strength had been what amounted to a sheer cliff with no way for her to get up the side without quite the display of magic.
So of course, here she was. Ah, but it was barely dawn, and even if she wanted to approach whatever house it was further on, it was probably better to wait a little longer. In a bit, she'd probably go to find breakfast and then circle back. Yes, that was a good idea.
Unless, of course fate had other plans. Because she thought there was someone else coming. Inetkaes visibly remained calm about it - after all most wouldn't be able to sense the approach even if there was someone coming.
So early in the morning, things were fairly peaceful in house Essair. Kassandros was doing his usual meditation thing, and Gannicus, well, he was probably sleeping. Tihaan had heard, though, that the were's eldest had suddenly shifted into a snake on Leon last night, as the full moon had risen, and so there was understandably a bit of a buzz about the house concerning that. Tihaan was amused. True it was, he didn't understand how weres worked well enough to say for sure if that was normal, a lion and a snake, but he supposed it didn't matter. Even if it was strange, he was not going to say anything about it, at least not where Atenra could hear it. He didn't want to make the younger boy self conscious about it. Turning into a snake in and of itself would be difficult to handle anyway.
For now, while Kassandros did his meditating, and presumably, Leon dealt with getting breakfast done and ready to be served, Tihaan was making his way around the grounds, checking for anything out of the ordinary, potentially dangerous or merely interesting though it may be. By now, Tihaan had a small collection of seashells he'd found scattered across the grounds. Yes, even this far from the shoreline, he was finding shells. He wondered what they were from, but the not knowing was a good bit of their attraction. As he made his way around the outer perimeter of the grounds, he was picking up small shells here and there, but mostly, he was watching and listening. Soon enough, he stood upright, pocketing another small shell, the smallest yet, and noticed someone on the shore, not far away, as he straightened out.
Somehow, the figure looked a bit familiar, but Tihaan couldn't quite place it. The figure, female, didn't set his nerves on edge, at least. Cautiously, he shuffled into speaking distance, stopping a bit away. A few moments of silence passed, thoughtful, mostly, and Tihaan coughed slightly. "I don't think anyone really minds, but, I'm curious why you're here?" He was, yes.
She was aware of him before he made a sound. His scent on the wind, the slight feeling of his aura in the air. Inetkaes knew and was not threatened by him. The woman showed little sign of that awareness, taking the moment instead to figure out which one he was. He felt like Sidonai and yet... that wasn't right. No, Tihaan, that was his name. Sidonai's son, the prince.
Golden eyes turned towards the figure when he finally made a noise and gave her a reason to allow her attention to drift to him. Clearly he wasn't going to go on his way - either because he was curious about her, or because he recognized her, or perhaps because he had not decided she wasn't a threat, or something similar. She couldn't blame him - he'd been young last time they saw each other, and Inetkaes wouldn't be shocked if the prince didn't really know who she was except a stranger on the beach.
Perhaps he thought she was in trouble, even.
"Prince Tihaan, right?" Her tone didn't carry far, but should have been loud enough for him to hear her. It wasn't really an answer to his question, but an acknowledgement of him, more than anything. "Ah." Hm. Her gaze lowered for a second. "I'm Inetkaes. And I was looking for someone who seems to be somewhere nearby, is all." It was an easy enough explanation. "But it's only barely dawn so I thought I'd wait a while." And maybe Surya would come to her, or maybe it would take time and she would find him at a more normal hour.
"Sorry if I was disturbing anyone."
For a moment, Tihaan made a face, somewhere around befuddled, with perhaps a bit of a cringe, in there. It'd been a long time, since anyone had called him prince Tihaan, and, quite frankly, here he was, some six years later, still in Dalmasca. Some prince he was, huh. And just how, exactly, did he propose he keep his people from being enslaved when, bluntly put, he couldn't even get himself out of it? Albeit, he was sure, if he asked, Kassandros would just let him go; that wasn't the point, entirely. Ah, it was difficult to make sense of what the point was, even in his head.
Inetkaes... that sounded familiar... ah! "Sahura's sister," mumbled more to himself, as the pieces fell into place. Then, that meant, she was probably here looking for Gannicus. "No disturbance," he said, more sure this time. "And just Tihaan is fine. I was just doing morning patrols and you seemed familiar, though I ah, couldn't figure out why, at first. G-Surya, he is probably asleep, still. But, welcome to the nicest house in Nydema, this is House Essair. ... barring House Asheron. Ah, you're welcome to come in, if you like." A were as old as her, if she were a threat, she'd have already been a threat. "Master Essair's probably meditating, Leon's likely got breakfast well underway, though he may be talking Atenra out of the kitchen supply closet... ... oh, one of Surya's sons, actually. We discovered last night he's a were-cobra. Surya seemed oddly amused." Well, that guy was amused by a lot of strange things.
"I'd imagine Master Essair's already expecting you." He was like that. "Wouldn't be a bother, or anything. Actually, Leon likes to feed people. If he catches scent of you and you didn't come eat, he'll be pouty all week."
"...No prince?" Immediately upon seeing his reaction to her saying that. It was fair enough that he didn't want her to call him that, she thought. If the people here didn't know it might be dangerous to allow them to find out that way, after all. And it may be simply that he didn't particularly like being called that. If her memory served Tihaan had been missing a relatively long time, considering his age. Time was strange to Inetkaes, but Tihaan was one of the short-lived races, and he'd grown up a lot here. Several years at least, she thought. ... That was sort of sad.
"That's right." She answered with a slight nod. Sahura's sister. The slightly less crazy Lucain. But only slightly, obviously, given she was here in Dalmasca still seeking her nephews all these years later. She knew they weren't dead, that was all, and so she wouldn't give up on finding them. All things considered it was probably slightly impressive that he recognized her at all. Inetkaes thought it had been a long time since he saw her last, since she was always in and out because of her seeking Surya and Sati.
"I'm not surprised you couldn't. It's been a while." It had been yeah. "Sounds like you all had a mildly eventful full moon." Given a brand new were-cobra. Even with Surya around that was likely a bit jarring to face. So Surya was in this house with Tihaan, that was a relief. If only because while she had scented him and thought so, she'd been wrong before here and Nydema was... certainly not making it easy to find the blood fighters it practically revered.
"Why would Master Essair be expecting me?" Asking that before allowing herself to be led inside seemed prudent. She had little doubt that she wouldn't be able to handle whatever it was that awaited her within, and she doubted Tihaan would deliberately lead her into a trap but... Inetkaes hadn't gotten this far in Nydema by being careless. Asheron and Essair, both names she'd heard before. Well liked by some, detested by others. Tihaan was in the house and had been here.
If anyone could give her a little insight before she was faced with the young master Essair, it would be him, yes? Exactly.
"No, no prince," Tihaan answered. "Haven't been a prince of anything in a long time now, it's a bit weird, now, to be called that." Honestly, he hadn't even been called Tihaan in a good long time. Surya insisted, and, so had Miss Livia and Master Kassandros, but that certainly wasn't the norm around here, not with a blood fighter. Of course, he hadn't been in the arena in a long time now, either, so he wasn't entirely certain one could still call him a blood fighter... well, he still fought like one, and had been in the big arena and lived, so, sure he was.
Yeah, eventful was a word. Of course, Kassandros hadn't seemed surprised in the least (but then, that guy never was), and Gannicus was more amused than anything, and then Atenra had just darted into the kitchen supply closet, so he didn't even hurt anything, just went... away. That was just as well. He hadn't hurt anyone, or himself, and apparently had been quite content to remain there until morning, so perhaps that was the best outcome anyone could've hoped for, anyway.
"He's a seer," Tihaan answered. The Lucains were never untrustworthy, and he had no qualms about telling the truth, instead of being oddly cryptic. Besides, cryptic really wasn't Tihaan's style. "Expecting things is sort of what he does, no?" It was a gift Tihaan most certainly did not envy him.That had to be a fairly tough thing to live with, knowing all these things before they happened. Supposedly, it was so heavy a burden to bear, the weight of it eventually killed, so perhaps that was unsurprising, in the end.
"Ganni-Surya. Damn it," he was still getting used to it, apparently, "he and another blood fighter named Lycaon sort of tag-team lead the house guard." He thought he'd heard something about raising an army, but he didn't remember what was said, exactly, or what for. That was a good question, but House Essair had many enemies, he'd learned that quite early on, so perhaps that was not so good a question, ultimately. House Cassimer seemed to be at the top of that list of enemies, and Cassimer had legions upon legions at their disposal, had they the mind to mobilize them. Whether Marcus would or not, that was debatable, but he also seemed to consider Kassandros rather the threat. He probably wasn't wrong.
Inetkaes made a bit of a face, but nodded anyway. If that was what he preferred, it wasn't like it was hard for her to avoid using the title, so for his sake she would do that. As long as she could still call him Tihaan and not whatever the Dalmascans had decided to name him because no. She was just not giving them that kind of validation. He was Tihaan, son of Sidonai of Haradi.
"Oh." Well that explained a bit. No, he wouldn't be surprised if his visions had decided she was important enough to warn him of, and perhaps she was in some sense. It depended, really on things that Inetkaes herself certainly wasn't privy to. She'd learn eventually if it came to it. In the mean time, she would be relieved that she was finally making headway towards meeting up with her family for once. "Well that would explain that."
Of course it would.
Mm. She nodded a little. "Sounds like Surya." It did, honestly. Leading the house guard, fighting for something he believed in in some sense, it had to be better than being a full-time bloodfighter and risking his life on the sand just because someone paid good money to watch him fight. Dalmascans were... primitive in that way. Ine didn't think she'd ever really understand them. Maybe she didn't have to though. .... In fact, maybe it was better that she found herself unable to understand them. It meant that they hadn't rubbed off on her too much during her time here.
"I think I look forward to meeting this Master Essair." And she hoped that he turned out to be a reasonably decent sort. But so far based on her exchange with Tihaan it seemed like he couldn't possibly be that bad.
Then again, being fair about it 'not that bad' for a Dalmascan had the potential to be quite bad for someone who generally thought that slaves shouldn't exist at all and just wanted to take her family back home where they belonged to get them out of this god forsaken place. ...Okay it probably wasn't actually forsaken at all, being fair about it.
Inetkaes was, after all, rather biased against this place.
Yeah, he was sure it did explain that. Tihaan just smiled a bit. Seers were rare, of course, and for good reason. Most of them didn't live terribly long, go figure that one. He still did not look forward to the day they lost Kassandros, if ever they did. It wasn't important, just now, but he couldn't help dreading it. Something told him, House Essair would never be the same again.
And Surya took quite well to it. Most of his family were here, as well. It seemed like maybe that was where he was meant to be, in the end.
"I think you'll like him," Tihaan said. "He's the first one to call me my name. Actually, G-Surya, had forgotten his, almost, and Kass insists on using it. Oh, he doesn't like 'master' or anything, so just... stick to Kass. Kassandros is tolerable, too." It was better than master Essair, which, notably, made him wince every time someone said it that way. Unless they were an uppity Dalmascan prick.
"HEY, YOU DUMBASS," a tiny voice from the house wall screeched. "COME IN FOR BREAKFAST OR I SEND THE LION AFTER YOU!!"
... "That's Leon, I AM!" Tihaan huffed, more in amusement. "He's the master of the kitchen. ... also one of the best archers I've ever seen, and he can shoot aura. It's pretty neat. Kassandros got him one of those Galacese aura bows, even. Apparently I'm being summoned, at least." With that, Tihaan rolled his eyes and headed for the gate.
Well, if Tihaan thought he'd like this master Essair then there was a relatively high chance she would. He was generally a reasonably good judge of character in her experience. And of course, he knew this Kassandros better than she did. She could trust him for the moment, and she would.... assess the situation on her own as it came. That was likely the best option at the moment.
Didn't like master, call him Kassandros. And he knew basically everything. Fair. Okay. "Well I'm glad he's using your real names." It would mean far less confusion when she did so. .... though it was sad to think that Surya had basically forgotten his own name. Not angry, Inetkaes was not angry because it wouldn't solve anything.
Blink. Well that was quite a threat. Her expression was slightly bemused, nodding along a little. "And threatened, so I hear." Okay, given the lion was probably Surya the threat was probably mostly harmless in that there was little chance that Surya would actually hurt Tihaan in coming to get him. Just bully him into eating apparently. Good that they were so insistent that food was gotten though. It boded well for the whole taking care of those below him thing.
Ultimately Inetkaes was still a little unsure, but she went ahead and followed behind Tihaan. She'd been invited, and Tihaan seemed sure it wouldn't cause problems for him. And she really wanted to see her nephew and know that he was really something resembling okay. The details could be worked out later.
Yeah, he supposed she would be glad for that. Tihaan, on the other hand, he just found it kind of weird. At least, though, Kassandros hadn't insisted on the prince title. At this point, it was a question whether or not Tihaan would even return to Haradi, not because he couldn't, but because out here, outside Haradi's walls, he had reasons to fight, and for someone that'd spent perhaps too long in the blood arena, something to fight for was a marked bonus. And, as much as it pained him to admit, maybe Haradi's method of keeping its citizens sequestered behind walls and pretending they were safe just wasn't good enough anymore. Maybe, they were a part of Azaleon whether they liked it or not, and it was high time they started acting like it.
Being here, in Dalmasca, maybe it wasn't the best thing to ever happen to him, but he had learned a lot, and if anyone had more than a vague sparkle of hope of stopping this mess, it was House Essair, or House Asheron. Given they were allied, chances were, both would be major players in the fight to save Azaleon before it was too late, and they all destroyed each other.
And if Dalmasca won against Macenia and Galace, what then? There'd be no more opposition, and Tihaan would bet his fucking life the Free Cities were next. No, those walls were not safe, maybe they never really had been, just an illusion of safety, and if he wanted to make sure Haradi really ever was safe, and not just pretend-safe, his place was here, not there.
"I'm not entirely sure he means it," he said, bemusedly. "On the other hand, Surya doesn't seem to have much trouble shoving his head under me and carrying me off, either. So maybe he is kidding; Surya won't be." It was kind of endearing, and Kassandros seemed to approve of the consistent Leon-sourced come-eat-dammit. As they got closer to the gate, he did indicate Lycaon out there. "This one's Lycaon, and that back there is Tristan, one of the House's freedmen. Somewhere, there are three small children, one boy and two girls, the darker-skinned girl is Estelle, the other two are Ashihei and Xiaolian, they're uh, very excitable. Of course. Well, Xiaolian's fairly quiet, but she does get curious." Now that someone was encouraging her getting curious, but she seemed far more happy to chatter excitedly at her father than anyone else; almost like she knew he wouldn't take it badly, but others might, and that made sense, given they were Jihonese. Leon met them partway across the lawn.
"Oh, new friend?" the ilim asked.
"Old friend, actually," Tihaan answered. "This is Inetkaes."
"Ooooh, sounds Saqqaran," Leon immediately decided. Seemed he recognized naming patterns pretty well. "... smell like Surya."
"She's his aunt."
"Oh goodie, more family reunions! After breakfast though, come on, chop chop, it doesn't stay hot forever and Kassandros has already come and gone, you're late, you know I don't like late," the ilim insisted, moving around to shove Tihaan at the knees. "Since you're here, you're welcome too, Miss Inetkaes! Oh, I'm Leon!" ... Tihaan probably mentioned that, but, just in case.