Gotta Start Somewhere

Started by Hien Tran at Apr 06, 2019 2:16 am
Einmanudur 6, 76
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Hien Tran

don't trust me 14 Posts 22 Years Young Male Hume Ujalin House Tran 5' 8" Jihon

You could stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down.



Somewhere around here, Hien had already decided, was his brother. Once in a while, just wandering around, it seemed some people almost seemed to recognize him. He had, however, no real leads. Mostly, he was just wandering around, and hoping brilliance struck him. It'd likely serve him better if he found someone here that knew how Dalmasca worked, among other things, and perhaps the best place to start would be... here. Kirinyaga had to have led Hien here for some reason, right? It wasn't by accident, as much as it seemed like it was, that he'd ended up here in House Essair. No, something or someone was looking out for him, and, it was as good a place to start as any.

Besides, perhaps not ignoring someone in their own house was a good start toward getting somewhere. Hien wasn't getting anywhere on his own, and, as much as he was loathe to admit it, he'd need help. That was the end of that. Thus far, everyone in House Essair had been very kind and welcoming to him, so, perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to start here.

With that in mind, sometime after breakfast, Hien scampered up the stairs, one hand reaching out to brush against the wall. It seemed like it was some kind of stucco, gritty and rough, nothing like what you'd find in Jihon. He both liked it, as it was different and interesting, and didn't, as it was... very different, and he wasn't sure he favored the rougher texturing. As he went, he counted the doors; like any well-raised Jihonese man, he didn't pay the slaves any mind as he passed them, though it was hard to tell which ones were slaves, here, as they were not really dressed the part. He wondered, momentarily, if that was smart, but then it probably inspired quite the significant amount of loyalty for a pittance of expenditure on a bit more fabric than typical. ... simply, it reminded him, that, for all that House Essair were kind, he should watch his step. Kassandros was also very intelligent, perhaps dangerously so.

Ah, this door, he'd almost missed it in his musings. Hien stopped, and almost went to open it, then rethought that decision. Perhaps he should knock, instead. So, that was what he did, rapping on the door, almost uncertainly, and waited. It'd be best to approach this somewhat like he would if it were his father, probably.


Kassandros Essair

light from the shadows 149 Posts 17 Years Young Nonbinary Were Dragon Warlord House Essair 5' 9 Light Affinity Dalmasca

When one door closes, another one opens. And if it doesn't, kick the bitch in.



This could be dealt with later, this went over here... half-paying attention to everything else, Kassandros was separating things and organising his desk. Mostly because it'd reached the point, quite some time ago, really, where he couldn't find anything on it. That was frustrating for many reasons, and really didn't do much to help his already occasionally crazy anxiety. He had a lot to do in a short period of time, and the quicker he managed to get himself back on track, the better. The only bright side in this was, for all that he was a scattered mess at the best of times, what plans he had seemed to be unfolding rather well. Nothing had gone terribly wrong, at least, not related to any of that, and he wasn't sure if he was glad for that, or waiting for the hammer to fall. Maybe a bit of both was valid, really.

In any case, he had several guests of the house that had yet to bother him; one of them was going to eventually (and yes, Kassandros did happen to know where his brother was), but the other still didn't seem to have figured out what, exactly, he wanted. Mostly, Haku more or less avoided him, and that was fine. He still had to figure out if he even wanted to be an ujal, just like Kassandros still had to figure out if he wanted to be Imperator (the answer, most of the time, was no, but once in a grand while, he thought maybe he did). Kassandros' problem, of course, was separating what he actually wanted, from what he only thought he wanted, and that was proving more of a complicated mess than he'd have liked. It really shouldn't be so hard to sort himself out, but alas, this was the world he lived in.

Speaking of his guests... for a moment, Kassandros eyed the door, wondering if the one on the other side of it was going to knock, barge in, or walk away, but eventually, the other knocked. Kassandros debated, momentarily, just leaving it, and not answering (he was getting about sick of saving everyone but himself, as it turned out), but he sighed quietly to himself, stood, crossed the room and pulled the door open. Ah, Hien. Well, Haku had no reason to really bother him, anyway, but Hien had one of those, and a very pressing one, as it were. "Have a seat, if you like," Kass said, shuffling away from the door and returning to his desk.

"Don't mind the minor state of disarray," he added, "just reorganising things, nothing really important." Or, at least, he didn't think so.


Hien Tran

don't trust me 14 Posts 22 Years Young Male Hume Ujalin House Tran 5' 8" Jihon

You could stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down.



Somehow, he hadn't been expecting Kassandros to just open the door. Certainly, it'd have made more sense, at least to Hien, had he gotten a verbal response, that he could either open the door, or fuck right off, in not so many words, were Kassandros not feeling up to entertaining him. On the other hand, it wasn't as if this was truly entertainment, so much as a very pressing attempt at finding his brother. Vinh had been gone a good while, now, it was almost long enough for Hien to wonder if he even still breathed.

He'd know. Hien always believed, if Vinh was really dead, he'd know. It was most likely to be a very silly belief, as people didn't tend to simply know things about each other, when they'd been separated as long as they had, but neither were they twins for nothing. At least, that was what Hien figured. He didn't know what he'd do, if his brother wasn't around, anymore. Maybe he'd never go back to Jihon. There wasn't anything in Jihon, for him, if Vinh was gone, no reason for Hien to bother trying to make it as an ujal, no reason to care. Heck, he hardly had a reason now.

Oh, maybe staring at him was rude (how did that work in Dalmasca? He'd long forgotten those lessons). On the other hand, it wasn't as if Kassandros wasn't terribly pleasant to look at. Hien smiled a little, more to himself, following Kassandros into the room, and closing the door behind him. It'd been closed before, it made sense he might want it closed, still? That was a difficult one, but he was going to go with it.

"No bother," Hien answered, after a cursory glance around. It was actually tidier than his father's office could be, at times. "I just..." How did he explain this... "I came here, for a reason, of course. I'm looking for someone, and it seemed like a better expenditure of energy, to talk to someone that knows Nydema better than I do." He was new to the city, after all, and he didn't recall any mention of Nydema in his tutoring back at Jihon well enough to have more than a sparkle of an idea what he was doing. The other two from Jihon, the Tachibanas, didn't seem to be doing much better than he.

Not that he intended to talk to the fucking Tachibanas, bloody disgraces.

Anyway, Hien did shuffle off to the side, a bit, away from the door, in case someone else meandered by. It seemed prudent not to get smacked in the ass by the door.


Kassandros Essair

light from the shadows 149 Posts 17 Years Young Nonbinary Were Dragon Warlord House Essair 5' 9 Light Affinity Dalmasca

When one door closes, another one opens. And if it doesn't, kick the bitch in.



Of course it wasn't a bother. Because if it was, Kassandros had a couple words for him, and the first one was "go," and the second one was "away." Yes, there were some things even Kassandros wouldn't generally put up with. Often, it came as a surprise, as he seemed to have a very infinite tolerance, the patience of a saint, some said. Only in certain situations, admittedly. There were somewhat specific situations in which his patience seemed to be water in a container with a hole in the bottom.

Fortunately for Hien, he didn't seem to find the hole at the bottom.

Yes, Kassandros knew that. Actually, he knew exactly who Hien was looking for, exactly where to find him, and perhaps a bit more about that someone than Hien himself did. (Sad, when you thought about it, but Kassandros had a few unfair advantages, so to say.) Kassandros did have to wonder how Hien would take the whole brothel-slave thing. Perhaps not very well, and perhaps that wasn't Kassandros' business to be spreading, either. Maybe that was something Kassandros should leave to Vinh to decide to tell him, or not, just like his being a mage, among other things. Just because Kassandros knew something, didn't necessarily mean he'd say it.

Then, it also occurred to him, Hien didn't seem to know Kassandros knew. Hmm. Maybe Kassandros liked it better, that way, when Hien didn't know he knew. Certain interactions became much easier, when they didn't know what he knew and didn't.

"I see," Kassandros replied, folding his hands together in front of him, and rocking back on his heels slightly. "Well, I've lived here all my life, I suppose I could probably point you in the right direction. It'd help if I knew who it was you were looking for?" Despite that not being worded as a question, it was toned as one. The good news, he supposed, if there was to be good news in all of this, was he'd gotten quite a bit of practice pretending he didn't know things he did, when his father was still around.

There were things he knew that Vopiscus most certainly did not need to, after all, and Kassandros had eventually learned to keep quiet about it. (If the visions truly did belong with Cygnus, and not Kassandros, perhaps it was best they were with the elder, for now; Cygnus wouldn't know subtlety if it turned into a cobra and bit him, let alone could tell when to keep his mouth shut.)


Hien Tran

don't trust me 14 Posts 22 Years Young Male Hume Ujalin House Tran 5' 8" Jihon

You could stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down.



Hien supposed that might help a little, in the way of finding Vinh, yet in the same breath, Hien wasn't so certain how much he wanted to divulge. Certainly, he still wasn't so sure he trusted anyone here, and Kassandros was not just yet an exception to that rule. Many in Jihon were kind enough to their Dalmascan neighbors, seemed fine with them being around, but Hien never really was. Dalmasca did have a notable habit of expanding anywhere they thought they could, and Hien was not convinced that Jihon's islands wouldn't eventually be on the list. Dalmasca already had several military encampments and bases on Jihon's southwestern island. What was stopping them from expanding further?

The simple fact of the matter was, Hien did not know Kassandros very well, and neither did he have any reason to honestly trust him. The Jihonese deferring certain things to Dalmascan houses wasn't even that far-fetched; Dalmascans could move about in Jihon without much trouble from the locals, and that kind of mobility would be priceless for any Jihonese house, and Hien was quite aware House Tran were not exactly best buddies with a few other ujalin lines, such as Tachibana, and House Zhu were beginning to overstep their bounds.

He had to be careful how much he gave away, and what he said. Outwardly, he smiled placidly, crossing his arms, one finger tapping softly against his arm. "I'm looking for my brother," Hien answered. "I haven't seen him for a few years, but I believe he's in Dalmasca somewhere." If asked to explain how or why he thought that, Hien wouldn't really have an answer. He just did. Still, all the same, he knew it was possible Vinh really was gone now, that the twin-sense thing didn't work as well as it seemed it should.

"He's my twin," Hien explained. If anyone understood this entire thing, he supposed it'd be one of a triplet set. "I haven't heard from him or anything, I just, know he's here." He just knew. And maybe he was wrong, he'd admit that, but he believed he wasn't enough to be here at all. Hien figured that counted for something, particularly given he didn't really trust house Essair.

He imagined, house Essair didn't really trust him, either.


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Kassandros Essair

light from the shadows 149 Posts 17 Years Young Nonbinary Were Dragon Warlord House Essair 5' 9 Light Affinity Dalmasca

When one door closes, another one opens. And if it doesn't, kick the bitch in.



Kassandros was still, frankly, trying to figure out how this was his problem. How did he end up with these messes to fix, anyway? Mostly by virtue of being a nice guy, he was sure, but he was still getting about well fed up of fixing every problem but the important ones, or at least the ones important to him. It sounded a bit callous, in his head, as if he was implying he didn't care at all, about anyone else's problems, but you know, Sandalio was right; Kassandros would certainly have never admitted it at the time, but the Macenian was damned right that his life would be a lot easier if he didn't get so damned invested in everyone else's problems.

That was a thing he should muse on... perhaps later, not now. He was helping this idiot - er, this one - with finding his brother, and certainly were Kassandros in his shoes, he'd also likely take any help he could get. ... presumably, though, Kassandros wouldn't need it. But then, there were still plenty of things the light didn't see fit to tell him, and maybe that was a personal failing on his own part. Maybe it told him in a way he couldn't decipher. He was still seventeen; it wasn't like he knew literally everything, despite everyone being quite convinced he did.

"I see," Kass answered. "Well, I suppose the bright side is, I know what you look like, so I should recognise him if I see him. In the meantime, you could try the ports. Most of them have ship records of all the ships that came into them, and those ships generally have cargo and passenger records. Presuming this twin of yours wasn't a stowaway, if he came in through a ship, he should be on the lists. Even the slaves that come in that way are on there." Though, Kassandros knew he wasn't on those. Pirates used different ports, and even if he was, he wouldn't be listed as Vinh.

"Which, does bring up, if he ran into certain kinds of trouble, he wouldn't be on those under a name you're liable to recognise. Try not to get too upset if he's not." There were always slaver markets, but finding a family member or a friend from one of those was tricky for the same reason. They didn't use a recognisable name.

Fortunately for this one, Kassandros already knew who he was after. So despite Hien's inevitable utter failing, Kassandros wouldn't fail. Wasn't that so lucky.


Hien Tran

don't trust me 14 Posts 22 Years Young Male Hume Ujalin House Tran 5' 8" Jihon

You could stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down.



And just what exactly was he implying? Of course Vinh wasn't a stowaway! That implied Vinh had wanted to leave home, and Hien couldn't recall any reason why he might've. It wasn't as if home was a terrible place to be; perhaps the expectations were a bit much, but, Vinh worked decently well under pressure. The reason he was probably going to end up leading, as much as Hien had the temperament for it, he also really didn't, neither did he have much in the way of the patience for it. Hien did what it was Hien wanted to do.

Maybe you don't want to find Vinh for the reasons you think, some small corner of his mind whispered. Hien had thought that, a few times. He was decidedly ignoring it.

The slaves? Who cared about the -- what else was he implying? "I'll try and remember that," Hien answered, somewhat tersely. "But if he's a slave, now, we'll fix it," he added. "It's just a silly misunderstanding, nothing to be too worried about." His brother wasn't a slave, of course, he just had to explain that, and everything would go back to normal, and they could get out of Dalmasca, and forget this place existed. Well, almost. Hien wasn't quite so sure he'd forget Kassandros anytime soon. They didn't make'em like that in Jihon, that was for sure.

Not that this was at all important, he had more important things to be concerned about, like, finding Vinh. The rest, honestly, could wait.

"Do you know which one gets the most traffic from Jihon?" he asked. "It seems prudent to start there. And I don't think he'd go by whatever they decided to try calling him, so maybe his name's on the lists." He was honestly willing to bet. It wasn't like his brother was a pushover, just a bit less stubborn than Hien was, that was all.


Kassandros Essair

light from the shadows 149 Posts 17 Years Young Nonbinary Were Dragon Warlord House Essair 5' 9 Light Affinity Dalmasca

When one door closes, another one opens. And if it doesn't, kick the bitch in.



Quite frankly, by this point, Kassandros wasn't sure if he was being that ignorant on purpose, or if it was something that came naturally to the older man. Hien wasn't quite the same level of maturity as Haku was; actually, he seemed a bit more like dealing with Cygnus than dealing with either of the Tachibanas, and Kassandros did have to admit, that raised Haku a few pegs in his eyes. At least Haku was trying to overcome his prejudice. This one didn't seem to know he even had any, and it was becoming concerning. Haku was willing to help his sister try and save a slave woman he barely knew, but Hien's inability to understand slavery and how it affected someone, especially something like being a brothel slave for as long as Vinh had been, that was dangerous. Hien could do some very real damage to his brother by being ignorant, and while he wouldn't know any better, if anyone understood that it didn't take the fucking pain away, it'd be Kassandros, wouldn't it.

Just slightly, if one was paying attention, the lighting in the room seemed to change, dimming just a bit, changing in response to Kassandros' emotions. Most of the time, it was subtle and harmless, and sometimes it shifted in a way as to darken the shadows in the room and make him more imposing than he actually was. It was kind of amusing, if he bothered to think about it. As it was, Kassandros stood a little straighter, his gaze icing over, one eyebrow quirking upward just slightly, more in disbelief than anything. His weight shifted, hands folding together in front of him, leaning against the outside edge of his desk.

"You do understand," he started, "how slavery works, correct? Things like who calls them what aren't things slaves get to decide on, Master Tran." That was, in a sense, the point of slavery, and destroying any sense of self they had, that was the end-goal. It made them easier to command, and less likely to rise and fight against their lot in life. How, exactly, it was that one man ever got the right to tell another man how to live, that was beyond Kassandros, but he'd never thought of it too hard, either.

There were some things in the world, he didn't think he wanted to know, and that was one of them.


Hien Tran

don't trust me 14 Posts 22 Years Young Male Hume Ujalin House Tran 5' 8" Jihon

You could stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down.



At the moment, Hien really wasn't sure why he cared how slavery worked. It wasn't really his problem. His only concern was, locating his brother, and maybe getting the hell out of here. One thing was for sure, while some of the people here were very attractive, they tended to open their mouths and ruin it, and everything else about this place just grated Hien's nerves. The only reason he was even here at all is because he didn't know enough about Nydema, or Dalmasca in general, to be able to manage himself in this foreign place without some help. As it happened, House Essair were the first to offer assistance, and perhaps Hien should've been a little more scrupulous about accepting it.

It was somewhat interesting, to him, that this one seemed intent on focusing on details that didn't really matter. It wasn't like any of that made a difference to him, in finding Vinh, it was all just an unnecessary side-track, a pointless waste of time, and if he'd intended to waste his time, he'd have stayed in Jihon, no doubt. Of course, staying in Jihon would've had much different complications and implications than coming here had, but he also knew if he went back without Vinh, then he was going to get stuck leading House Tran. Quite honestly, he didn't want to. Hien was destined for bigger and better things.

Maybe this one just needed to get laid.

"Nobody really minds it much, in Jihon," he said, shifting his weight a little. "It doesn't matter what the slaves call themselves. Most of the time, it's not really something anyone fusses with too hard." All in all, those in Jihon ignored their slaves to the extent that most often, their masters had no idea what their name was supposed to be, anyway. So, in the end, it didn't really matter what they were called; their Jihonese masters weren't extremely unlikely to remember what it was, anyway, and it was probably quite common that they got called one thing one day, and a totally different thing the next.

Hien, for his own, also didn't pay much attention to it. Mostly, his slaves were, 'hey, you.' At least none of them were particularly stupid, they seemed to have little issue figuring out which 'hey, you' he was addressing.


Kassandros Essair

light from the shadows 149 Posts 17 Years Young Nonbinary Were Dragon Warlord House Essair 5' 9 Light Affinity Dalmasca

When one door closes, another one opens. And if it doesn't, kick the bitch in.



That was nice, but, it really wasn't terribly valid, here. Because here was not Jihon, and not-Jihon did not work like Jihon, funny that. Instead of saying anything, right away, Kassandros just arched an eyebrow. Was he really running on what he knew and understood of Jihon in Dalmasca? No wonder he hadn't gotten very far, as it was. Then, if he was guessing rightly, the it was probably quite the fight just to get his family to let him come here in the first place. They understood what a lost cause it most likely was. Hien was just naive enough to believe there was a Vinh still left to find, and while he was right, his naivety was going to get him into trouble.

And apparently, he was still approaching Dalmasca like it was Jihon. By this point, Kassandros truly did need to wonder if he was being ignorant on purpose, or if it was something he didn't have to work at.

"I see," he answered, shifting a bit in his seat. "There's just one flaw in your thinking, and that is this is not Jihon. This is Dalmasca, and Dalmasca will do whatever it deems necessary to break a slave. Are you sure they don't really fuss with it, and not your house doesn't?" That was a very big distinction, and Kassandros knew that, because there was a very big distinction between how Dalmasca treated slaves, and how Houses Asheron and Essair did. The difference meant a good deal to some people. Kassandros was not often a very proud creature, at least, not in the insufferably Dalmascan ways, but he was very proud of that. House Essair was not like the rest of Dalmasca, and thank the gods for that, because he didn't want to be like everyone else. Considering how much everyone else sucked, perhaps that was the least surprising outcome.

This one, even, was unfortunately not in a very good place, right now. On the one hand, House Essair were one of the only two noble houses that could get him what he wanted, and would, and yet on the other, neither of aforementioned noble houses were anything like the rest of Dalmasca. It led to some mild dissonance, Kassandros was sure. But adjusting to those differences also did not honestly matter, because, Kassandros assumed, after finding his brother, Hien would be returning to Jihon. Or at least, he thought. He'd admit he could be wrong, it wasn't like he could read minds, though often it seemed he could. Sometimes, that impression served him well, so it was somewhat frequent an occurrence, that he decided not to correct such misconceptions.