Always Just Like ThisStarted by Pantheras at Apr 06, 2019 2:18 am
Einmanudur 6, 76
Pantheras had long since lost track of how long he'd been in this particular brothel, much less how long he'd been away from home. He'd tracked the moons at first, using that as a touch stone to remind him of how long he'd been away. He'd made friends here in the brothel, of a sort. They took care of each other, sort of. Without them he didn't think he'd have been able to survive this long. He'd been something of a sheltered kid when this all started, after all.
Vinh mostly hoped that his brother was doing okay without him. It was... possibly a silly thing to hope for, given he knew he would not be doing well were the positions reversed. Still, he did hope for it. One of them should be doing okay, at least. But the world didn't really work like that so it was kind of hard to say.
He'd finished cleaning up from his last client a little bit ago, and so found himself wandering into the main entry room. Since there was no one new there, Pantheras settled himself off to one side - out of the way, but obviously present for when it was his turn to take on another client. To be fair, Helene usually knew when he was no longer occupied and would send someone back anyway but ah, just as well really.
... Pantheras did need to find time to redo his hair though, the roots were starting to be visible. It wasn't a huge deal, as it wasn't like any of his clients really believed his hair was naturally this color, but keeping up appearances was still sort of important, at least. Especially given in this place appearances were all he had. Theras didn't want to even think about what would happen when he didn't have that going for him anymore.
Well, not something to worry about just then, he supposed. On the other hand, sometimes it was hard to do anything but think about it. He wanted to go home. It was just too bad that he'd long since figured out that wasn't really an option.
Anyway. Vinh pushed that thought out of his mind and raised his head slightly - he thought he heard someone coming in.
Brothels made him nervous. Really really nervous. Kassandros was lucky Yishai really liked him, or he'd probably have handed the hessions back like he'd lost his damned mind, and really, he was well convinced he had. House Essair wanted a particular, specific brothel slave, from a particular, specific brothel, and frankly, Yishai didn't know why, but he remembered his parents telling him that Essair frequently bought slaves out of brothels just to reunite them with someone else. Essair, particularly Kassandros, bought and freed slaves all the time.
Why him though...
No, he knew why him, logically. It wasn't like Kassandros had the time to do everything, it made sense, and he'd probably need someone he could trust. That meant, one of his vassals. And there was nothing terrifying about the Wynbrandts. The only thing that made him feel better was, he had a guard now. At that thought, he glanced back at Hadrian and then went on his way. ... what? Just making sure he was still there. By now, at least, he'd had time to find him actual clothes, loose and breathable so they weren't too uncomfortable and were easy to move in. He was still pretty sure the guy'd gone along with it because Yishai was his owner and that was what slaves did.
Anyway, uhh... it was this one, right? For a moment, he stopped outside, looking at the signage above the door. Yes, this one. With that figured out, he took a breath in, and pushed the door open. Interestingly, it wasn't very crowded, though he heard talking somewhere down the hallway. Oh, wait, there was this one guy in the lobby... he almost looked like the one Kassandros had described. But he was looking for a lady, a blind dark-haired, medium-skinned curvy lady named Helene, Kassandros said she handled the books and could get his purchase cleared with the owner.
"... hi. ... uh. I'm looking for a lady named Helene." The quicker he got to leave, the better in his opinion. ... and jeez what the hell was he wearing - not his problem, Yishai sternly reminded himself that was not his problem...
Ah, so he had heard someone. Pantheras gave the other a small smile, some small corner of his mind appraising the other as best as he could.There was a reasonably high chance he'd end up with him, after all, unless this particular person was more interested in a female partner. Pantheras had never seen him, but that wasn't uncommon, really. New people came, sometimes.
Shy, or perhaps nervous. And he came with an escourt. That was.... interesting. Unusual though. Not that it was any of his business. And of course, Pantheras wasn't going to comment on that directly.
Ah, Helene, of course. Well this one knew enough to know her by name so maybe Pantheras just hadn't met this one yet. That happened, too. It wasn't like they had a bunch of time to be extremely social here or anything. The smile stayed in place as Pantheras rose from where he was sitting.
"Well, she's normally there." He inclined his head slightly towards the space where Helene often waited for customers from. "She'll probably be back soon. Sorry about that." Pantheras really did look rather contrite. "Is there anything I can help with in the mean time?" 'theras wasn't really flirting with him. .... Maybe a tiny bit, but not very hard.
... that was graceless. He should, he should have a little more rhetorical grace than that, and really, he knew that. Most of the time, though, Yishai wasn't really the one doing the public socialising and that. His parents did it more often than he, and really, thank the stars for that one. He could certainly be glad for it, it wasn't like Yishai was terribly good at it. On the other hand, he'd never get better at it if he never had the opportunity to do it. Ugh, he hated that logic, and how it made sense.
"So apparently my timing sucks," he said, smiling a bit. Apparently so. "I don't know? Hmm." Maybe he could... but Yishai didn't know how these things went, so it wasn't like he had an answer. As he pondered, though, a slightly dark-skinned, curvy lady wandered in from the hallway, one hand running along the wall. Oh. Apparently he didn't have to figure it out.
"I thought I heard a new voice," Helene said, patting her way to her chair and sitting down. "Welcome. Any idea what you're interested in, or are we doing experiments?" He sounded awfully young, to her.
"Uh. Master Essair sent me."
"Oh? And who's he after this time?"
Helene looked a bit surprised, and then gestured vaguely in the direction of Pantheras. "You were speaking with him, actually. Shall I assume this one as permanent as the others?"
"Yes," Yishai answered, looking a bit sheepish. Well, he had thought this one looked about right to be Pantheras. He was on the money today.
"I'll have to get it cleared," Helene replied, standing again. "In the meantime, I suppose, Pantheras, you'll want to go collect anything you want to keep. How much this time?"
"Uhhh, about fifty, he said you owed him from back-pay."
"We do, so he was right about that, at least. I'll be back in a moment or two."
With that, Helene shuffled back down the hallway, her hand against the wall. Yishai rocked back on his heels a bit. "I'm Yishai, by the way, um, and this is Hadrian." Perhaps names might be good, since apparently this one was the one coming home with them. Kassandros said he'd come get him in a few days, but he wanted to give him some time to readjust to not being in a brothel anymore, and that was pretty sound, so, Yishai didn't question it much.
Hm. Well, Pantheras didn't know either depending on what it was this one was looking for. Thankfully Pantheras didn't have to consider the situation for very long before Helene returned as he'd expected her to. That did make things a little easier since that was who this one had been looking for to start with.
Oh. Master Essair sent him. The one who kept coming and buying slaves here and there.
Theras had no idea what master Essair did with all those brothel slaves that he took home, but the whsipers about him alternated between hatefilled and implying that he seemed to be a pretty decent guy. The Jihonese man wasn't really sure who to believe there. Helene though never said anything bad about him, and really that was something that he could take to heart more than most other people's words.
Permanent. Of course, they always were.
Pantheras wasn't sure what to think of that exactly.
"It's a pleasure to meet you." Pantheras murmured, though he wasn't really sure if it was or not yet. He'd trust Helene, given it wasn't like he had any choices in this situation. Master Yishai and Hadrian, Hadrian looked like he was probably a bodyguard, and probably a freedmen at least given what he was wearing.
Helene had said he should gather anything he wanted to keep. There wasn't much but he did have a few things that he'd been allowed to keep. "I, uh, if you don't mind there are a couple things I'd like to grab. It won't take but a minute or two." Even if they ended up being confiscated at some point by his new owner it was .... worth it to try and take them, he thought.
Just a couple of small trinkets, and nothing of any real value beyond sentimental.
What? Pantheras wasn't about to just walk away from the guy who was talking to him.
Yishai couldn't help the eyebrow arch. It was nice to meet him, he said, but also he had no idea if it actually was... yes, he knew, the guy was probably just being polite. Was Pantheras actually his name? Something told Yishai, probably not. "Circumstances are sort of a drag," Yishai said, smiling a bit, "but, nice to meet you, too."
Oh, right, "What're you asking me for? ... you're not actually mine, anyway, I'm just um. Kassandros figured you could use the adjustment period between here and a house. Not sure why, exactly, so, I'm really just kind of your momentary caretaker or something, so, I'm just me. I'd suspect you're getting freed soon, anyway, after Kassandros comes to get you." Something like that? "But uh, don't worry, I'm really not going anywhere..." Uh, no, he was going to stay, right here, where Hadrian was, and wait for Miss Helene and this one to come back.
He had an interesting accent, very slightly. Yishai wondered where he came from, because it wasn't an accent he recognised, off-hand. Then again, he hadn't really heard many of them, so that didn't mean much, in the end.
Pantheras shrugged slightly. Were they? Well maybe to the kid they were. He wouldn't really know. For Pantheras it was just more of the same that he'd gotten since he arrived in Dalmasca. Nothing new, nothing surprising. But he was used to smiling and charming strangers and not having many choices in the matter and that was... well it wasn't okay and he honestly hated it but he'd decided at some point that he'd rather survive and have a hope of maybe getting out of this and finding his brother again than cling to his pride and die at the hand of some Dalmascan because he displeased them.
Leaving his brother alone in the world wasn't something that he wanted to do. ... He already had but that was rather beside the point. This he could control, that he hadn't been able to.
Be...cause this one had been talking to him and it was rude to walk away? He'd learned that at home. It was a useful carryover. Walking away from a Dalmascan speaking to you was generally a very.... very bad idea, especially for a slave. Pantheras looked confused but obviously didn't want to be percieved as talking back so that was uh. Fine, that was fine.
He did give Yishai a strange look at that bit. He 'suspected' that he was going to be freed? Panetheras wasn't sure what to think of that, but he certainly didn't believe it because who spent money on a slave only to turn around and free them directly after?
Pantheras bowed and slipped down the hall that led to the rooms that they stayed in and entertained in. It really didn't take all that long for Pantheras to find the things he was looking for. It was a strange thought to be leaving this place. He'd made friends here and he wasn't sure how being a slave in a house was going to go. But it couldn't.... it probably couldn't be much worse. .... Then again, this brothel was rather particular about the way its patrons treated the slaves.
Of course, unsurprisingly, Yishai really did stay right there; okay, he might've tucked himself further back, closer to Hadrian, and more like behind him, a bit, because brothels really did make him nervous. Come to think of it, Hadrian was rather cute, too. Shoot. Well, already here, they were already here, and it wasn't like Yishai had spare guards. He almost didn't even have the one, so there was that. ... well, he looked like he could probably stab someone just fine. "... by the way, if anyone gets flirty with you and you don't like that, feel free to threaten them." He was just, putting that there. Foreign, maybe, but there it was.
Not long after Pantheras returned, Helene made her way back, her hand following the wall, and she settled down in her seat. "Keep the fifty," Helene said. "He said he'll consider the debt made even again."
"That's very kind of him," Yishai answered. "I'll let Kassandros know. ... he said he's after you next."
"He keeps saying that," Helene answered, sounding amused. "I'm still here."
"Yeah, I wouldn't expect to remain here much longer," Yishai said. "He's kind of running out of people he can salvage from here." Go figure that.
"Right, well, we should probably go, and I hate being in the pleasure district too long anyway, okay then, nice to meet you, Helene, come along! I'll absolutely race you!" And he started off out the door, much faster than normal. ... and then significantly slowed down. "Ohh, okay, maybe not." That actually sort of hurt.
Helene, for her part, looked amused. "Good luck, Pantheras. House Essair is a good house. Just be yourself." House Essair took most things well. She couldn't think of a reason things wouldn't go well for him, but she hoped what she said maybe calmed his nerves, some. Changing owners was always difficult, but going from being a public slave to a privately-owned one was even more so, particularly when you'd never really been a privately-owned slave before.
Well, it was House Essair. It was Kassandros. He'd be fine.
True to proper form for a slave and bodyguard, Hadrian had followed Yishai into the brothel and he stuck close to his young master. He also remained quiet and mostly out of the way. Only barely nodding when his name was mentioned by Yishai to the slave they'd been sent here to purchase at Essair's request.
His job was simple, really. Just stay close and make sure no one did anything that put Yishai into danger. And... make sure that if Yishai's condition got out of hand he was safe, and get him home if that happened. This was different, but mostly more of the same. This particular brothel didn't seem to be busy with particularly rowdy people, so that was nice. Not as bad as he'd expected.
Hadrian gave Yishai a strange look at that before shaking his head slightly. There was no point in arguing with him - no point in mentioning that doing such a thing was a good way to get in trouble - potentially even executed depending on the person that decided to take notice. No, he would probably just grin and bear it and be glad for the fact that his master was probably not going to grant consent for whatever they may want to do to him.
As it turned out the transaction appeared to have gone in their favor. The guard turned and moved with Yishai, frowning a bit as he pushed himself too far before slowing down. "Don't do that." Murmured quietly. "We'll be home before long." But it would actually take longer if Yishai over strained himself.
As he'd promised, it didn't take him long to return to the main room. And as the other boy had promised, he and the guard were waiting for him there. Helene wasn't even back yet, at first. That was good, it meant that he really hadn't kept them waiting.
"Thank you, Helene." His tone was genuine. "For everything." She'd helped him settle in as well as she could, and the others had done a lot to smooth his adjustment time in ways that probably wouldn't have happened anywhere else. This was... well. He was worried about it to say the least, but he could appreciate that Helene seemed to genuinely believe that this wasn't a bad change for him.
He trusted Helene more than most. She'd never given him a reason to doubt her. It stayed some of his fears as he moved to follow the boy and the bodyguard. Still the suggestion that he just 'be himself' was kind of a strange one. ... What even was himself anymore? Of course there wasn't time to contemplate such an existential question, and he pushed it out of his mind as he followed the other two, sticking reasonably close to them.
Getting lost on the way to his new home seemed like a very bad idea, even if he was allegedly only supposed to be getting used to life in a house as opposed to a brothel. Besides, without the protection of the brothel... no. Pantheras definitely didn't want to be separated from these two. The one at least was clearly an armed bodyguard, most would probably hesitate to do anything too stupid.
Pantheras hoped, at least.