HomecomingStarted by Nero Essair at Jun 02, 2019 10:56 am
Einmanudur 12, 76
[I'm tagging it open mostly to test the thing that SHOULD be posting in Discord when a thread's got this tag, because nobody's ever tested the tag-based integration.]
That was depressing.
Finally, he'd gotten what remained of his unit home. Of course, not all of them were from Nydema, in fact, the majority of them weren't, and that led to a bit of shuffling and trying to figure out how to get them where they needed to go. The Dalmascan military seemed to think they were gone (and damn sure they almost were), and hadn't bothered sending any help. It wasn't like Nero really needed it, but it would've been nice all the same.
But, then it was his turn to come home, and when he got there, all he'd found were the burnt out husks of what used to be his house. The side estate, which wasn't very far from the main one, was also burnt out. He supposed, the worst part, was not really knowing why and how things had apparently gone very wrong, while he was gone. On the other hand, that initial blast probably made it look like a hopeless cause, and the Dalmascan military had more than enough to be concerned with than trying to save a probably-already-dead unit. And Aemilius was not smart.
Nero glanced upward, toward the clouds, loosing a long sigh. So, what now. Apparently his house had fallen while he was gone, and while he couldn't immediately figure out why, he had a few guesses. Were his family still alive, that was a great question. Auhm. If they were, he supposed they'd be in slavery, now. So he should find some of his friends, and see if he could figure out where they'd gone.
... some part of him was actually a bit pissed off, because he'd almost died on more than one occasion for this stupid nation, and this was how they repaid it. No, there wasn't any time for being bitter.
Well, he'd been walking almost constantly since the Taogan, he really just needed a break. With that, he loosed a frustrated noise, fell onto his butt, then flopped over onto his back, and was content to sit there, in the concrete and bits of remaining ash, watching the sky. It'd waited this long. He highly doubted five minutes was going to make or break this situation.
Kassandros had told him to wander around the Kenleigh ruins today. Icarus had no idea why but he hadn't pressed for answers, either. His brother didn't ask things like that unless it was important and usually he could figure out what the important thing was when he was looking at it. Besides, those instructions never did come with context and he'd sort of just gotten used to just doing whatever it was that Kass wanted this time.
That was probably strange but eh. He didn't mind.
It took a bit of time before Icarus found someone laying on the ground in the ruins of the house. It took... probably heartbeat or two longer for him to realize that that was Nero laying there. Well, now that explained a lot and yet it also brought on a whole ton more questions, but most importantly what really had happened if they hadn't died?
Maybe he'd ask, eventually. Icarus made no effort to keep his footsteps quiet as he approached, and stopped a bit away from Nero. Pressing too close seemed unwise - he didn't know what kind of state the other might be in. And coming home to ruins was not good for anyone's state of mind. He was quiet for a moment, uncertain of what to say here.
At least he had some good news for Nero, and the other wouldn't have to wonder for long abotu the remainder of his family. "I can't say I expected to find you here." Icarus admitted quietly. It was nice to see him, but then again, he would have rathered better circumstances. It wasn't every day someone practically came back from the dead. But, ah, his house was gone, and most of his family was too and that wasn't... that wasn't great. And it wasn't something Icarus would have wished on his enemies much less someone that he considered to be a friend.
But Dalmasca rarely cared what one might have preferred in a situation, and this was the one they had. So. Making the most of it was about all Icarus could do here.
Somewhere in there, amid his musings, he heard the footsteps, and turned toward them. He was a bit sideways, from Nero's point of view, but that was Icarus, no? Huh. Well, Essair tended to know lots of things, so maybe he had a few answers, and he was infinitely less annoying to talk to than most in Dalmasca. The only other one he could think of that wasn't annoying to talk to was Livia Asheron. And maybe Cyprian's friend. ... Adranos? The one from House Greyson. (He had to wonder what happened to their vassals, now.)
For a moment, he just watched the younger man, and then sat up, snorting slightly in amusement. "Yeah, can't say I expected to be found," he said, reaching over and pulling his left sleeve up. Aura burns snaked down his arm. "Was kind of a big explosion. Lost a lot of my unit, maybe over half. Probably never going to get rid of the scars." It was fine, though. It wasn't like the scars were really a hindrance. Except, his mother may never be a grandmother from him, at least. He supposed that didn't really matter too much. Being totally honest about it, Nero never did want to bring a kid into this world. It was too fucked up for that, and he really wasn't interested in raising a child in it.
Just as well. Kind of needed a girlfriend for that, too, and Nero decidedly did not have one of those. (Thank the gods for that.) ... turned out, apparently, he still had a crush on Icarus, though. He figured that out, somewhere amid staring at him. (Nero had never said anything. He didn't intend to now, either, because the guy dealt with enough bullshit, he didn't need Nero's too.)
"So..." he started, looking around a bit. "I missed some shit." Yeah, he'd uh. He'd missed some shit. Maybe Icarus could at least give him a direction to start in. It'd be even better if he had more than just a direction, but you know, fate wasn't terribly kind, and Nero didn't expect more than maybe a passing idea of where to start. Unfortunately, unlike the twins, he was also very aware their mother was not exactly a free woman. That meant she could well be dead, if the justicars had figured out she wasn't free and had been masquerading as a noblewoman. Not just a free woman, but a noble one.
But, they all did what they had to, in Dalmasca, and he didn't blame her for her choices. Surely, he wasn't so certain he'd have made any better ones, in her position.
Icarus' gaze drifted to the revealed scars before returning to Nero's face. Well, now he knew what had happened, he supposed. Which, the younger man had been wondering given the entire unit had essentially disappeared. Apparently .... some kind of aura explosion. That.... wasn't great. "Well, scars certainly aren't the worst thing." Icarus responded after a moment or two. "It's good that a number of you survived." Since they'd been under the impression none of them had, yeah that was kind of a big deal.
Icarus had that... pieceful feeling he always got around Nero, somewhere amid the sadness. With it came the reminder that he actually did find Nero to be quite attractive but ah. He was just going to tuck that away in the corner and leave that alone, yes. Because now wasn't the time for that (and maybe there never would be).
"You could say that." Icarus responded quietly. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I know this isn't something anyone ever wants to come home to." Just putting that out there yes. "But I do know where your brothers are. ... All three of them." And that was most certainly to be considered good news. "They're okay, and with house Essair. Kassandros pulled them together before I'd even gotten back from tour." But they were alive and they were together.
It might be the only good news that he had for Nero, but it was pretty significant he supposed. Thetis was there, too. But she still hadn't woken up and Icarus had to admit that he was starting to wonder if she was ever going to. Certainly he wasn't going to lead with that information, so instead he focused on the siblings.
It was better than nothing, Icarus knew. And he thought he knew Nero well enought o know that his brothers were some of the first things on the list of what he'd want to know about anyway.
No, they weren't. He'd survive, at least. Or, he thought, anyway. He still wanted to know what the hell that was. They weren't Macenian. The Macenians didn't have the technology, or understanding of aura and how it works, to create aura bombs; technically neither did Dalmasca, they smuggled them in from very unscrupulous merchants in the Free Cities, so it was possible the Macenians had started doing the same. If they had, though, why weren't more Dalmascan units being aura-bombed? They'd sure as shit done quite a number on his.
Of course, there was also the knowledge that the event was not an accident. They'd committed those bombs straight to their medics. Within the first fifteen seconds, all four of their medical personnel had been aura-fried, and that was part of why they'd lost so many. Few of the remaining number had the medical skill necessary to save the ones that had been driven to the edge, but were still dangling off it for a while.
It was not an unfortunate accident that he'd lost that many. Honestly, it was probably a miracle he'd survived it. He did keep getting headaches, though.
At that, Nero looked a tiny bit surprised, making a bit of a face at the other, but it went away, a moment later. Kassandros had pulled them together. It'd figure, it was Kassandros that figured it out, and did something. But that was good; that meant they were unlikely to be in danger of disappearing one day.
"I appreciate that," he said, quiet. "But it's not really your fault. Kinda pissed off, actually. At least they're okay, but they could've so easily not been. Especially Cyprian. He's not really good with people. You kind of have to let him do things his own way, in his own time, and most Dalmascans won't. What a kick in the ass, right? Eight, nine years in the military, near die for this stupid nation too many times to count, and it can't even promise my brothers are safe. What even is that shit." Dalmascan, that was what that shit was. So, painfully, very Dalmascan.
He should've seen this coming.
Well, yes, Icarus supposed that was what Nero would be worried about most, if they were okay. And being honest they were. The damage had healed and they were alive and it could have been so much worse than it was.So, it was for the best that it had ended up this way, compared to the multitude of other things that could have happened to all three of them.
He nodded a little as Nero talked about Cyprian because yes, Icarus had noticed that about the eldest of the three. And it wasn't hard to imagine how badly the other might do in a normal environment where expectations were placed on him constantly and he wasn't allowed to do what pleased him as he worked through the fall of the house that had been home.
"I can't say I blame you. That was a pretty shitty way of repaying you for everything you've done for Dalmasca." And the fact that he may well have given his life up for this country and this is what they did to his family. It was... yeah it was pretty terrible and Nero was right to be angry about it. Unfortunately Dalmasca was... like that. It was kind to no one and liked to ignore that it owed anyone anything.
But there was a reason that he and Kassandros had been discussing leaving after all. "Then again Dalmasca doesn't seem to really care about much of anyone." Unfortunate but true, Icarus supposed. And the truth was maybe more important than sugarcoating at this stage. Especially since Nero was currently on the receiving end of how terrible things were at the moment.
"Ah, and no rush, but when you're ready, I'd like to take you home so you can get something into your system." Food and water were kind of important and probably not in great supply if he'd walked all that way. Also, maybe those burns should be looked at by Merenwen, honestly.
Yes, well, this was Dalmasca, and they both knew how Dalmasca operated. None of this was ever going to end well, and as much as Nero had hoped otherwise, he knew that. It'd been waiting to implode for years now, since long before him, as it happened, and upsetting this all might be, it wasn't altogether surprising, either. He knew better than to expect differently. Somehow, it still didn't make it any better.
"Not really," Nero answered, snorting a bit. Nope, Dalmasca didn't seem to care about anyone. It didn't have room for caring about its citizens. It was too busy conquering other nations with citizens it'll care nothing about. Funny, though, his brothers were claimed by Aemilius, and thus were Dalmascan citizens. Nero was, too, but his father was a slave and so was his mother, so if any of them should've ended up in this mess, it'd be him, not them.
Not that Dalmasca ever cared for technicalities, either.
"Probably a good idea," he said. "... honestly, not sure how long it'll take before I can stand again. I've been walking off and on since the Taogan delta, and my leg muscles are feeling it." Funny enough, he probably wouldn't have had this issue if he'd just kept moving, but he had to sit down.
Oh well. It ended in Icarus wandering by, and that made up for it in many ways. He'd ask Cyprian what happened with the rest of the house. He'd probably know. (For such a supposedly useless guy, Cyprian knew a lot about the house's inner workings. He knew probably more than Nero did, actually.)
Icarus hated Dalmasca. The more he really thought about it, the more he realized that that was an absolute truth that he was just.... going to have to get used to apparently. Or, at least until they went to Saqqara. After that he thought things would probably stop sucking so bad. But getting there, that was going to take some serious time. Getting the houses funds ready for it and letting their vassals know what was going on so they could make informed decisions...
There was a lot that went into it. But Icarus was confident that he and Kassi could do it. And he was also confident that it would be much better for the lot of them. The slaves would be free, and life would be much better when they could think and hopefully exist in a space that didn't hate them just for living.
If nothing else, getting away from the negative connotations of it all would be worth while.
"That's okay, there's no real rush." Not really. "Though if you need help getting up I can... do that too." Just putting that out there mildly. Nero would know better than he would, at the moment, just what kind of state he was in, and if a healer could really wait or not. "Because that's a very long walk and I understand not wanting to move, but I'm also pretty sure you'd be more comfortable on furniture of some kind." Instead of laying in the ruins of his home.
On the other hand, there were sentimental reasons to want to remain for a little longer, Icarus knew. And there was no rush to leave if he wasn't ready. It wasn't like Kassandros had given him anything else to do today, and probably his brother was well aware that it would take a little time for them to get back to the house from here.
It was most likely that he would be more comfortable on furniture, rather than on what had once been his... parlour, he thought, if he was recognising this flooring correctly (it was difficult to be sure, with this much heat damage). He also wasn't certain he could stand, being honest about it, because this aura burn went all the way down to his calf, and it'd been scarring and thickening since he'd gotten it. It was more likely that it'd refuse to bend in a manner that he could stand up in.
"I may just need your help getting up," he said. "This burn goes down over a good deal of my leg, and I think it might be an active hindrance to standing." Unfortunate, but it was what it was. It was likely a good thing there was someone here besides him because otherwise, standing up would be a much more annoying affair. Nero almost believed in fate at that thought. Almost. "Add on my muscles are not very pleased with me, and we've got Nero probably can't stand by himself." So they did.
"Nothing else has gone to hell while I was gone, right?" Maybe that was a fair question, at this point, given everything seemed to want to go to hell at once. What was that, anyway? Dalmasca had certainly gotten more messed up than he remembered it being, but to be totally frank about it, it wasn't as if Nero made habit of staying here very long.
Well, Icarus had been offering just that, so it was okay because he didn't mind helping. On the other hand it was a little unfortunate that the burns went quite that far because that was, uh, a significant portion of his body. And yeah, he thought the trip to Merenwen was even more in the cards now than it had been before. Icarus didn't mind helping though, which was why he'd offered in the first place.
"I... yeah I can imagine that would be a pretty significant hinderence to standing." Icarus sounded perhaps a little worried. To be fair, an injury that significant and old could easily be infected and could easily cause rather long term issues. But Icarus knew Merenwen could probably handle it. Besides that it couldn't have been that bad at the moment, because Nero had walked here. It would probably just take a little time for him to recovery fully.
Icarus moved closer to Nero then, carefully making his way through the rubble until he was just beside the other.
"I was going to say not really...." Icarus began after a moment. "But I suppose it depends on what you mean by that, and who outside of your family you're worried about." Because there were some other places that things had gotten pretty rocky indeed. But Icarus didn't really see much of a reason to mention things like the mess with the Lancasters because, well, the Kenleigh troubles were quite enough probably.
But then again, Icarus wasn't sure that compared to the Kenleigh disaster the rest of what was going on would really matter. It was all based on perspective though, so just putting it out there.