The Glint of SteelStarted by Astraea Teresi at Apr 06, 2019 2:10 am
Einmanudur 5, 76
Astraea only hoped that his gratitude wouldn't be in vain, because it was all too likely that there would be nothing to find, or that what she found would not be good. It was hard to say what was going to be there to find, but she would try, and maybe that was the best she could do regardless of what she hoped for.
But really, having a talk with her sister and making sure that Shilthandien was as little under Marcus' radar as possible, that was.... important. Something told her that would end terribly, and it was in thinking that that Astraea had it underscored that maybe this was something she should have done a long time ago. But the Cassimers had once been decent, and she had hoped to hold on long enough for the eldest to take Marcus' place. Lucius was a decent guy, after all.
Wishful thinking, she supposed.
"No, not rude. Honest." Astraea shrugged slightly. She could.... only imagine what he'd faced thus far, and she was not unaware of how things would go if a slaver caught him even though he was a free citizen of Galace .... because he was here, in Dalmasca and the slavers didn't recognize such things without protection of some kind being afforded.
"I can offer at least the protection of my house." Which wasn't as much as, say, wearing an Essair cobra and thus being claimed by Kassandros, but it was something, and many slavers would hesitate to cause trouble, assuming that the one wearing it 'belonged' to the house. "And, if you'll take it, a room to stay in in my home for the time being."
That part was more negotiable, it did require an awful lot of trust, after all. Still, she thought it was worth offering. It cost her nothing but food, and it might be better than leaving him to take a chance on sleeping in a tree even if he was wearing her emblem as protection.
He supposed that was more honest than rude. Still, it felt kind of rude. He let it alone, instead his ears simply drooped slightly. Well, she was decent and he wasn't terribly interested in accidentally insulting her. It seemed she didn't take it that way, fortunately. He'd let it alone.
"I'd appreciate that, thank you," he said. It was probably his best bet, at the moment. "I can clean a little, but I'm really good at hunting and fishing. I'm also an earth affinity." Tilling fields and moving stones wasn't too difficult for him to manage, so perhaps he could help feed himself and somewhat earn the rest of his keep. The bright side, here, if there was to be one, would be Galacese nobles weren't quite as pampered as the nobility of other nations. (He couldn't even really call the Free Cities' nobility as being pampered, as most of them weren't.) He wouldn't have too much trouble adjusting to the more simplistic means of living. Besides, he'd been sleeping in trees-this was already a marked improvement.
"... not much good at cooking, though. And some game's too big for me to skin efficiently." That was also a potential thing of note. But he supposed, he could certainly deal with the fishing and getting deer or so. They stunk a lot, but he could usually manage to carry the smaller ones. And thus, he wouldn't feel like too much of an inconvenience, and not being an inconvenience was somewhat important, to him.
"And if you've got any stray mages, I can teach them a thing or several." Not that mages were in high number around here, but you know, things happened.
Astraea hadn't really expected him to be so willing to take her up on that offer. She had, however, meant it. That was for the best in a way, this way she would know that he was safe. He seemed like a nice kid, if nothing else, she didn't really want to see him get hurt. And Dalmasca was full of people who would hurt an ilim - or anyone, really - given half a chance. It was unfortunate, but it was reality.
Hm. "Well, guests generally aren't expected to earn their keep." Her tone was mild. Nevermind that teaching her the art of Galacese blades was something that was worth a great deal. "You really don't have to do any more than you've already offered." Putting that rather directly, because maybe he just didn't understand quite how much of a benefit being able to create weapons that sought after would be.
It was the kind of thing that could allow her to refuse customers if she felt she needed to because those blades could command a higher price. It put her in a much better bargaining place for a number of reasons. And it would offer her enough usefulness that even if Essair wasn't friendly with her (though he was) they might consider taking her on as a Vassal. It was almost enough to offset the risks of upsetting Marcus.
Enough that Astraea thought it would be worth it.
Though if she'd had a stray mage or two, she may have taken him up on that particular offer. Maybe an ilim teaching them could help minimize the damage. But to her knowledge she didn't, and she didn't really want to go asking around. There were mages around, of course. No small number even, really. But they tended to either be too far into madness to teach or hidden well because there were plenty who would kill them for existing thanks to how dangerous they could be.
Which, that wasn't really their fault, but it.... still was a thing.
"If you don't mind hanging around a little longer I can show you home from here. Or you could come back in a while, depending on what else you intended to get done."
No? That made little sense to him. It wasn't, of course, as if Shilthandien or his House asked their guests to help with procurement of standard things like food and whatnot, but he would potentially be staying for a long time. As such, he'd be a little more expensive over a longer period of time to house and feed, and Shilthandien was not a pampered slouch. In Galace, though, nobility didn't quite work the same way, which, he'll eventually figure out.
"I suppose not," he said. "But I could be here a while, and I wouldn't want to impose too much. Besides, I enjoy contributing. I can teach a thing or two about plants, as well, if you know anyone interested. Oh, it probably happens a lot, here, so I can also save a mage from insanity." Corruption was something Shilthandien had quite a bit of experience fighting. Most everyone in Galace did, these days, and while he'd been on the front-lines for some time now, he'd felt it more prudent to come here, to try and stop this war with Dalmasca and Jihon, because Galace and Macenia had bigger problems, and this mess had gone on long enough.
Still, some part of him felt bad, about leaving them. Maybe he should've stayed, but honestly, they could use Dalmasca and Jihon's help, if they even had any mages left. If nothing else, the war was most likely complicating matters by generating more negativity for the corruption to feed on, and thus it grew stronger. They were in a very bad cycle, here, and the Ebondrake weren't helping matters, either.
This was getting very complicated, very quickly.
"I could use a break, anyway," he said. "Been moving almost this entire week. Oh, do you have some water?" Water sounded like perhaps a good idea.
Astraea nodded a little. "If you're sure." She'd leave it that that. If he wanted to help out then she was sure she could find things for him to do. Or that he could find things to do around the house when he wanted to. Or.... something, she was sure they could work out something if he really wanted to try and contribute more than he was already offering.
"I will keep that in mind." That had certainly gotten her attention. "There are sure to be those who could use that help." The trick would be getting to them before someone else did, but you know. That was, ah, a thing. A thing to know because maybe he could help if something happened to Yishai and no one would have to worry about testing their ability to do what had to be done.
Maybe it wouldn't have to be done after all.
Astraea nodded along mildly. "That makes sense." That was quite a long time to keep moving, it was no wonder that he was ready to take a break and ready to take almost any offer of help that seemed to be genuine. "Yes, actually I do. I'll get you some." It was an easy enough request, and she tended to bring water to the shop in case she wanted to make tea or in case a meeting with a client lasted long enough that offering them tea or some other drink was a good idea in regards to proper hospitality.
It didn't happen often but, well, occasionally when a client was ordering a number of items or something that required the design be refined.
Anyway, getting water for her guest, yes. And mentally looking forward to other things that needed to be done going forward. But, just a step at a time, that was best to remember.