Words as WeaponsStarted by Astraea Teresi at Jun 01, 2019 11:19 pm
Einmanudur 7, 76
Astraea listened thoughtfully to Evadne's response. Barely notable was a surprising thing to hear, but listening to the longer version didn't give her any reason to doubt the phrasing. Occasional strange requests but never anything that put too much strain on them or put them in too much danger. Essair took care of its vassals.
Astraea nodded - yes she did remember. And she remembered offering what support Teresi could but it hadn't been enough. And then things had improved. Apparently because Essair stepped in. Which, that was something of a comfort in the sense that if things went too far south Essair would probably at least try and help.
Though house Teresi had been stable enough she didn't think that was going to be necessary, unless Marcus got a lot nastier than she was anticipating. Which was possible but also... not something she was as worried about as she probably should have been. It would be difficult for Cassimer to act against her if she hadn't done anything wrong. Short of merely turning violent. That was... well, it might be a problem.
"That falls pretty well in line with what my interactions with him have seemed like." Astraea admitted mildly. "There's only a handful of people that really speak badly of him." And given who the ones she could name were, Astraea was pretty sure it was primarily a difference in morals that caused that to happen. Sure, she was under no illusions that Essair would be completely without compromise. Nothing between two houses ever really was, after all.
"I was just looking for some perspective." Astraea admitted mildly. This was a big change to make, and not one she really wanted to make blindly. But it seemed that it would turn out to be beneficial for more reasons than simply sliding out from under the possible impending disaster that Cassimer was shaping up to be.
"...Mild side track, but I can't imagine Yishai was pleased about being sent after a brothel slave." Ah, no. That... that seemed like a very strange thing for Essair to ask indeed. Not really her place to ask but what.
No, Evadne didn't imagine too many had truly awful things to say about Essair. Since Vopiscus' death, primarily, Essair had kept to itself. It seemed more like Kassandros was trying to solidify the foundation the house stood on before he started attempting to spread their wings, so to say. It was, admittedly, difficult to fly when your feathers weren't even fully in. He was doing a fairly good job, she thought, not only keeping Essair afloat, but also raising them up.
"I imagine," she answered. "It's a very big change, and potentially somewhat dangerous. Leaping in blind wouldn't be very intelligent." But, she'd never known Astraea to make decisions like that lightly, either, so the questions weren't surprising. "The only other house I hear good things about is Asheron. Here's a good note for you, ask the slaves. You can learn a lot more about a house by what its slaves say than anyone else. House Teresi would be an asset to either one, realistically." Evadne only had personal experience with one, of course.
Oh, yes... Evadne snorted, softly. "He's still throwing a fit," she said. "But Kassandros asked him, and he seems to almost idolise him and took it a bit better than he took my handing him an ex blood fighter as a guard. I suppose he doesn't have to handle the brothel slave very long, whereas Hadrian is going to be around for the foreseeable future... he is having fun getting the poor boy clothes and helping him reacclimate to not being in a brothel anymore. Kassandros is supposed to come get him in a few days, so he's not here long." Which was fortunate, depending on your outlook.
Astraea nodded slightly. "It is a big change, and there's.... I'm not sure how Cassimer is going to respond to it." Probably not well but on the other hand Straea was relatively sure it was worth the risk of his angedr being directed at her, if only because once she was free of it things would probably improve rather drastically and she wouldn't have to worry about Shilthandien being noticed or ... wonder what he was going to do with that thing he insisted she make because she could just refuse to make it.
There was a lot that went into this, but the risks might be worth the potential benefits on multiple levels. "That's actually an interesting idea." Asking the slaves. ... On the other hand, it might be a little odd to just wonder over and start talking to his guards or ... something. Still, maybe she would at least interact with them mildly if she ended up going that way. It may prove to be somewhat enlightening.
Teresi probably would be an asset to either. And in a sense it was more than time for Astraea to remember just how strong of an asset her house could be, and take some additional precautions to ensure that they weren't being used to further the ends of a house that would eventually burn them all to ashes.
Of course he was. And... well it wasn't surprising that Yishai was throwing a fit, but she could also see why the boy may have decided that it was worth doing with less fuss than usual, given who was asking. Astraea was just slightly curious what Kassandros could possibly want with a brothel slave. He'd never really seemed the type to her, but then again... most people were different behind closed doors, she supposed. "Well, at least you won't be supporting an extra slave for too long."
Yes, that was a concern. On the other hand, if she ended up moving Teresi below House Essair, then most likely, Essair would arrange Irovaine and Mornaux's forces to hang around closer to Teresi until Marcus was tempered. Fortunately, it was likely Asheron would do similar, so it wasn't even as if she had to choose one specifically to gain that kind of defence. At that thought, Evadne relaxed a bit, to herself. Either way, this shouldn't end too messily.
"One potential concern just crossed my mind," she started. "He really does know everything. Those rumours aren't entirely exaggerated. Secrets aren't well-kept around him." If Teresi had anything to hide, Kassandros likely already knew about them. "Interestingly, he also took in the remnants of House Kenleigh. The eldest, Cyprian, has apparently learnt to create glass pieces much quicker than normal, and from what I understand, the revenue from it mostly goes to the Kenleighs, not Essair, so he is unlikely to demand much of your income in tribute. He doesn't demand much of ours, either." But of course, they transported, not created, and while they had a steady income now, it wasn't a lot.
Evadne laughed slightly. "It's not too bad," she said. "Kassandros sent hessions with him. And besides, Yishai seems to be making friends with him. It's probably about time he had friends his age." Something like that. And unfortunately, the slaves were less likely to gut him than another Dalmascan. Funny how that worked out.
Well.... that might be a concern, but on the other hand there wasn't much of anythign Astraea really thought she would absolutely need to hide from him. Shilthandien even wanted to talk to him, and the ilim was really the only 'secret' she was interested in keeping. The rest she didn't really mind being bare to him if only because.... well. She tried not to deal too underhandedly, and with her patron house least of all.
But the warning was perhaps worthwhile if only because it was quite unsettling to realize that he did know everything and that those rumors weren't as exaggerated as one might have believed. It was a good thing to remember - and important, really. If it came down to it, lying would not work, and hiding things was dangerous.
Honestly Astraea was expecting anyone she went to take at least as much as she was giving Marcus already, but if he demanded less then.... well. Expansion to improve everyone's position was possible, or she could save for a rainy day for either house, or give him more than he asked for, just, in general. They'd see, she supposed, given she still had a decision to make between Essair and Asheron.
Oh. Well, that was good. Astraea smiled. "Glad to hear Yishai is having good luck making a few friends." Finally, really. He honestly needed a few good friends. It was also good that Essair had apparently actually contributed to the new slave's upkeep, which was honestly more than Astraea had been expecting.
"I appreciate the warning about secrets around Essair." Her tone was genuine. "Because I had always sort of assumed that those rumors were at least a little exaggerated." And apparently not... really. Which, yes, might be something to keep in mind for the future, because just because it didn't necessarily apply now didn't mean it wouldn't ever be an issue. Though Astraea did have tow onder how he knew everything.
Yes, finally, Yishai was making friends. Her being overprotective of him likely didn't help, but on the other hand, perhaps it was to be expected. Losing him someday was, perhaps, inevitable, but it wasn't something she had to deal with right away. Primarily, Evadne liked to pretend it wasn't going to happen, and decided to do the usual overprotective mother-hen thing that seemed to be fairly common for mothers.
"It's good to see, yes. Strange that it took so long, but I guess I didn't let him do much when he was younger, either." She could at least admit to that much. It wasn't like she was getting more lax, either. He was getting better at evading her.
Evadne snorted, softly. "I thought so, too," she said. "And then he started on about something that'd happened that morning and he shouldn't have known about, one day, and, well I decided it wasn't exaggerated." She paused a moment, thinking about it, and then tilted her head, shifting her weight slightly. "Thinking about it, knowing that much, it's a wonder Kassandros doesn't constantly have a migraine. ... unless, of course, he does, and has simply gotten very good at ignoring it." To be fair, she supposed that was possible.