Skeletons in the BasementStarted by Damian Cassimer at Jun 12, 2019 2:01 pm
Einmanudur 18, 76
All families had shadows and secrets. Most noble families had a few skeletons in the closet, so to speak, that they preferred not to have spread around because it would hurt their ability to maintain positive relations with other Houses. Damian had never been under any illusions that the Cassimer name was pristine but this was not what he had been expecting. The 'skeletons' weren't usual literal things after all.
But there were actual skeletons in their basement. The remnants of a good number of people that seemed to have been tortured to death by Marcus. To say he was still reeling from this development was an understatement. However, it was probably time to tell Lucius what was going on in the main house and give him some forewarning in case someone wanted to talk to him about what was going on next.
Plus it might be nice to have an extra hand or two at... home. Helping with the issues because Damian was currently trying to sort through things to make sure the house didn't completely crash and burn, but he only had the faintest idea of what he was doing. Mom was incredibly helpful though, so there was that.
Still, it was that combination that led to Damian coming up the path to Lucius' side house, having not sent warning ahead of himself like he normally might have. Lucius didn't normally mind when he came uninvited, and he thought even if Lucius was busy that he'd be forgiven, considering the circumstances ahead of them. Damian caught one of the Ilim near the door and asked them to find Lucius for him.
Damian remained where he was - the ilim was more likely to find Lucius than he was, and it gave the younger man a chance to collect himself properly. It had been a long day already, and it was only barely mid-day.
It'd been a long day, but that was primarily because he'd spent far, far too long chasing small ilim children around the side estate. At this rate, he needed to get new ilim to help keep up with the ilim he had, but sooner or later, this generation would grow up, and be able to help with the next one. If he'd just let the older ilim handle it more frequently, most likely, Lucius wouldn't have this issue. But hey, he lived for making his own life difficult, it'd seem.
"Hey, Lucius?" one of the ilim said, scrambling into the room.
Lucius paused a moment, currently spinning one of the kids around. "Yes?"
"Damian's here," he said, pointing in a specific direction.
Oh. "Wonder why," Lucius said, more to himself. "I'll be out in a second."
"Maybe make it quicker," the ilim suggested. "He smells a little freaked out, honestly."
A little freaked out? That was concerning. Very little managed to freak Damian out, of all people. That in mind, though, he set the ilim child down. "Go find your sister, okay?"
"Okay!" And the girl ran off. Lucius then shuffled toward where the ilim had indicated. In the few seconds it took to get over there, and find his brother, he'd gone over everything he could think up in his head. Perhaps, though, the war with Essair had taken a sudden turn for the worst. It was always going to.
"... wow, you even look a little freaked out," Lucius said, shuffling over. "I'd... ask if you're okay, but that seems dumb, so, what's wrong?" How about that, that sounded smarter.
Did he? .... Yeah, he probably did, Damian supposed. There was no sense in denying it either, so he didn't bother trying. Instead just giving Lucius a slightly crooked smile, which still managed to look quite strained. .... So much for trying to put his brother at least a little at ease here.
"Yeah I.... I probably do." He admitted, sounding a little sheepish as he looked away, not quite meeting Lucius' gaze. What was wrong. Well that was an easy thing to answer and yet he wasn't sure.... he didn't really want to just *dump it* on him but on the other hand there really was no sense in beating around the bush. The reality was he'd come here for the express purpose of explaining what was going on so there wasn't much point in trying to soften the blow and yet...
Man telling someone that their father was an absolute psychopath wasn't on the list of things Damian had anticipated having to do.
"So to make a long story short, Marcus is a psychopath of some variety." Damian managed after a moment. "And there are.... quite a few bodies in that basement that we were never allowed to go into. I learned this rather unceremoniously yesterday." He didn't have a count on how many bodies just yet. They'd estimated at least ten, but probably more than that were down there and honestly Damian was just horrified.
And Kassandros Essair had almost been another one. And they still didn't really know if he would survive or not, Damian didn't think. At least, no one had told him yet. That was fine though, it wasn't as if he expected Essair to ever want anything to do with them again.
A psychopath of some variety, he said. Lucius frowned slightly, and then the frown got more pronounced, as Damian went on to say there were bodies in their basement. For a moment, Lucius was trying to figure out if he was serious, but he was quite certain Damian wouldn't joke about something like that. Which meant, there were some things back at the main house Lucius needed to figure out, and if he wasn't already gone, maybe he ought to make Marcus be gone.
(No, not his father, anymore.)
There were -- ... then again, if he thought about it... "I'd um," he started, blinking a few times in subconscious attempt at clearing his head, "I'd start trying to remember which of his political enemies up and vanished one day, because maybe that's where they went." It would make sense. He'd heard the rumors, of course. Anyone that frequented the pleasure district did. Most didn't have much to say about Marcus Cassimer, but those that did say anything at all, said he had interesting interests. That could mean almost anything, of course, but Lucius had a feeling he knew what it meant, now.
Okay. Okay, what now. "I hate that that makes sense." That should -- well of course it was illegal. Illegality was really kind of a toss. It wasn't really illegal unless you got caught, after all. Unfortunate, but it was what it was, and apparently at some point, Marcus had gotten very good at not getting caught. That would also sort of make sense of how much of a tight-ass he was.
"So... what's all happened? What needs to?" That was, perhaps, a better place to start. Most likely, Lucius needed to go back to the main house. Not that he didn't trust his mother and Damian to be able to handle things, but Damian was half freaking out, still, and if this all got uncovered and Marcus was in legal shit, that most likely meant House Cassimer was his.
... this was not how he envisioned inheriting the house. Just saying.
"...You might be on to something." As far as figuring out who all was down there. Though it wouldn't quite allow them to identify the bodies it would be a good start towards doing that. Which, eventually ... that was going to be something that they needed to do.
Yeah, Damian did too. Because it made sense and this had been happening right under their noses and they'd never known it. What in the hell else had Marcus done? They didn't know, and maybe they never would depending on what it was and that was.... yeah that was not a great thought. But now they were going to have to figure out how to pick up the pieces and go from here.
But their house's reputation was probably never going to be the same.
"Marcus has been arrested. They're investigating the bodies and figuring out how many of them there are. Probably after that will come trying to identify them." The justicars were piling on charges, but Damian couldn't really blame them given the trouble that was going on. "His fatal mistake was kidnapping and torturing Kassandros Essair." Just, uh, putting that out there.
"So, uh, the house is yours now. Mom's okay and helping straighten things out." Of course she was because she was mom and actually Damian really loved their mother. She'd always cared about him even though he didn't really belong, and it meant a lot to him. Just as much as Lucius always being kind to him meant.
"I'm... I have to admit I'm kind of afraid we're going to uncover something else because if he went this far..." It was hard to imagine that there weren't any stops on the road between 'normal behavior' and 'kidnapping and torturing my enemies' so... what had they missed exactly?
Unfortunately, yes, he might be onto something. That was an unfortunate realization, but it also made the most sense. Lucius wasn't sure what this meant, for them. Most likely, they'd never really be able to clear the Cassimer name of this mess, and Lucius had already, technically, been thinking about forking off into his own house. Now might be the time to do that. Not exactly, but something like it. They'd never get away from this otherwise, if they kept the same name.
It was unfortunate. He did like their name, but it was what it was. That was the least of their problems, right now, being realistic. There were so many other things to take care of.
Marcus was arrested, and the bodies were being investigated and counted... oh, really? The idiot thought he was going to get away with that? Funny enough, though, that meant he was right, and the war with House Essair had taken a sudden nosedive -- just not the nosedive he'd expected it to be. "Hey," he said, "if there's anything else, it can't be worse than this, right? It'll be something mundane like money laundering or consorting with pirates." Infinitely easier to handle.
It was good mom was still around, too. Lucius had a feeling she was going to be a lot of help. Alright, this all meant, Lucius should go home, soon... preferably very soon, since, legally, he spoke for House Cassimer, now. He did also want to make sure Marcus didn't take the entire house down with him, because neither he, nor Damian, nor their mother, had any idea what was going on here, and Lucius wasn't about to let his ... male genetic material donor ruin their lives, too.
"Alright, if I put some effort into it, I can probably get that way soon, oh, hey, Aelir!" One of the ilim was scurrying past, a little red-head with a bushy squirrel tail.
"Tell Ywyn she's in charge," Lucius said. "I have to go back to the main house, not sure for how long."
"Okay. Good luck with whatever it is!" With that, she scampered off. Lucius snorted.
"I love that they don't ask questions, but also they probably heard that conversation." Yes, most likely. "You want anything? I can be ready to go in a bit." He didn't really want to leave mom dealing with it by herself too long.
Well.... Lucius wasn't really wrong about that, Damian supposed. Anything else they found was bound to be easier to face than this and that was a little comforting. Only a little though, given Damian knew they'd still have to deal with it even if it was way more mundane. But it had to be better than literal bodies in their basement.
If he managed to find something that beat that, Damian may well just quit life, for the record. ... Okay, probably not really, because if he did quit life then he wouldn't be of any help cleaning things up and that was not very cool. He'd definitely want to quit life.
And he had to admit, he was really glad that Lucius was just kind of going along with this and immediately moving with plans to like, come back to the main house and help. Because honestly Damian wouldn't really have blamed him for wanting nothing to do with this mess. After all, Lucius hadn't been in the main house in a good long while now thanks to how little he got along with Marcus. ... Well, apparently Lucius had had the right of it all along. Not that that really surprised Damian but it really was unfortunate that this was how things had come out.
"I appreciate that." Mom was doing a good job, but Damian suspected she'd appreaciate the support as well. "Ah... and they probably did." They were Ilim and that was... you know, something that they tended to be good at. "I'm okay, thank you though."
No Damian was okay just.... waiting. Or even going ahead and having Lucius just follow him, whichever worked better for his brother. As much as the slight reprieve was appreciated, Dami didn't exactly want to leave mom alone dealing with it. It was kind of a circus, after all. She was capable, he was sure, but it still wasn't very nice
"I thought you might," he answered. "And I would like to be present for as much of the legal proceedings as I can be." See making certain the house didn't completely collapse in the wake of this. Lucius wasn't going to be able to prevent all of it, just enough to make sure none of them ended up charged for anything their former head of house was the cause of, and then he had to figure out how to soften the inevitable crash-landing.
He wasn't honestly sure if he could handle this, exactly, but unlike Marcus, he was fairly well-liked, and had a much higher chance of being able to temper this mess in some capacity. Perhaps it wouldn't be perfect, but in this instance, perhaps nothing really would be. He supposed, he was about to find out how many of his friends were actually his friends, and not just pretending for one reason or another.
"Alright," Lucius answered, nodding a bit. He was still thinking things over, in his head, trying to figure out what all really needed to be done before he left, but he thought the ilim should be able to manage fine. They usually did when he was away for an extended period of time. "Well, if you want to just head back, I'll be about right behind you. Someone should probably be around to help mom." Ah, but he thought he just... well, theoretically, he almost didn't even have to stop to get anything - it wasn't like Nydema was that far.
Meh, he did want a second to panic. Panicking sounded nice.
Damian nodded in understanding. It made sense, after all Lucius was now officially the one in charge of the house. It was probably for the best that Lucius was around for some of it, if they wanted to minimize the damage they took from the backlash. Which, ah, given they were still here, and still standing for the moment they would probably need to do just that in some way.
Being dragged down with him would not be great for any of them, obviously.
Lucius was fairly well liked, so if anyone was going to be able to manage to make sure the house didn't completely crumble in the wake of what Marcus had done, it would be him, of that Damian was certain.
Actually that was... probably not a bad idea. Damian nodded in agreement. "I can do that." Yeah, he could. "Get back to mom and make sure nothing else has happened while I was gone." He didn't think anything else would have, but who the hell knew at this stage. And well, Lucius would come when he had time. It wasn't like he didn't have things to set right here first, and Damian understood that.
This was kind of a lot to have just dumped on Lucius, but uh. There'd been little point in beating around the bush. "And for what it's worth, I'm, uh. Sorry about just dropping this on you." But telling him sooner rather than later had seemed... like a much better idea.
"No, don't be," Lucius answered. This was a lot, mind. It was a lot to process and he also had to come to terms with the reality that he really wasn't all that surprised and he wished to the gods he was. None of this was surprising, at least insofar as he wasn't surprised Marcus had fallen farther than he'd hoped. What was surprising was how much he'd apparently gotten away with, and for how long he'd gotten away with it. It was likely that, up to this point, he'd primarily targeted smaller names. People that might be missed, but on the whole weren't very well-known. And then he'd gone after one of the biggest names in Dalmasca and paid dearly for it.
It was no secret Lucius had never had much love for his father. Separating the rest of the house from this mess shouldn't be too much trouble, but he supposed it depended largely on how much support they had remaining. Salonus was only interested in the Cassimer coffers. He made money, but he dealt in... niche markets. Teresi had moved on to become a vassal of Essair not long ago, and something made Lucius wonder if that hadn't intensified the perceived rivalry between Essair and Marcus. If that move hadn't made Marcus feel even more threatened and decide to rid himself of the grating Essair whelp. Hmm. Possible. He supposed the motivations didn't much matter to him, but the justicars might be asking such questions later. He wasn't sure what to expect of Warwicke. Most of the time, they were just a vassal of another house for no other reason than they didn't have the legs to stand in the major house court.
They were very liable to lose their status, at least to some extent, and they were no Asheron. Their name alone was unlikely to carry them through this. But Lucius supposed he was getting ahead of himself. One thing at a time.
"The sooner I knew about this, you know, the better," he mentioned. "Means I can get my butt moving quicker. ... I am sorry you and mom had to deal with that one on your own, though." That had to have been unpleasant.