New BeginningsStarted by Nero Essair at Jun 12, 2019 10:37 pm
Einmanudur 19, 76
That was, unfortunately, one of the things he was sure Kassandros would know, were he conscious enough to share that knowledge with someone else. Nero might ask Icarus if he'd mentioned it, sometimes he had, of course, but he wasn't going to hold his breath, either. If he ended up in a house, though, it was possible there were purchase records to go through, so even if Icarus and Kassandros didn't know, maybe Nero could, given the right prodding of the right friends. (Nero did still have friends.) Judging by Pantheras' reaction to that question, Nero was going with, he was onto something, and maybe he would like to see him again, before he left.
"One thing at a time, in this," he decided, "might be the best thing. Sometimes it's easier to take things as they come. First up, then, House Essair isn't coming to us I guess." No, that it wasn't. "Nice meeting you, kid," he said, reaching over and ruffling Yishai's hair.
He just seemed a bit vexed, smoothing his hair back down. "I'm glad you didn't die!"
"Hmm, things I never thought would be said to me, go." No, that was fair. Military men died a lot, anyway, as it were. He should've expected it.
Anyway, the good news was, once he figured out where it was, House Wynbrandt wasn't too far from House Essair, and the walk wasn't liable to knock him onto his ass. He did, though, still limp a little. At least he wasn't going to keel over.
Mm. Pantheras nodded slightly at that. That was true, the house wouldn't come to them. And as much as he was nervous about being reunited with his brother finally, he was excited and he did want to see him again. And of course he wouldn't be able to do that if they didn't go so that was... they were going to have to do that. It'd be okay, he told himself. It was going to be okay. It was his brother, it couldn't be that bad.
Even if he didn't get to see Axelius again. It wouldn't be the end of the world. It'd just be... disappointing. Upsetting. But he'd survive it.
"You're right." He admitted quietly. One step at a time. That was probably the only way to manage just how drastically the world was going to change around him now. How different everything was going to be as he continued to try and make sense of what was to come.
Pantheras snorted slightly. "I guess that wouldn't be on the expected list." Probably not no. That was... that was odd. But Yishai was just the sort that would say something like that and absolutely mean it. At least, so far as Pantheras had seen while he was here, he did.
He gave one final polite bow to Yishai before ge moved closer to Nero, sort of waiting for him to take the lead. Partially because while he really did want to see Hien and really was kind of excited he was scared. ... And partly because he didn't know where they were going anyway and getting lost seemed like a pretty stupid thing to do given he had a guide.
Ah, generally not, no. He snorted, slightly, turning to lead the way to Essair, now that he'd figured out where they were going (it was probably good he'd had this being lost bit before he'd gotten here). "Generally not, no," he answered. "Kind of a pleasant surprise. I actually had no idea so many people outside my family paid attention." He was supposed to be the one nobody really remembered existed. He was fine with that, and changing things suddenly on him was a little jarring. Nero was more accustomed to being the one that faded into the background, anywhere but at home. Home was another story; Aemilius sure did adore him, before, and while Nero hated it, it was actually somewhat beneficial to his brothers.
"I say kind of because I'm not really used to anyone knowing my name outside home, and now that I'm thinking about it, I think I prefer that. Funny how that works out." Life was much easier when you were a nobody, and once upon a time, his name hadn't meant anything to anyone, and he much preferred when it didn't. Most people minded their own business, back then. In some ways, the commoners were much better off, because they could at least live without half the noble caste being up in their business all the time. It was even better, usually, if they had no ties to any other noble house, because they really were likely to be left alone, and maybe only get accidentally caught in crossfire.
Things were very hard that way, though. He knew that.
"So we'll probably go see Icarus first," he mentioned along the way. "To let him know you're here, and such. And I... don't know off-hand where Hien would be anyway, so it's probably not a bad idea to check if he knows. He might. Unless you'd rather wait." Wanting to get his bearings with the new house first, before diving into all that, that was valid.
Pantheras followed quietly. Well, he supposed it would be a pleasant surprise to realize that people outside of his family cared about him one way or another. Theras wouldn't really know one way or another what people thought of Nero but so far indications were that he was a decent person and obviously something had happened.
That did sort of make sense though. He wasn't used to being noticed so it was strange that people were doing that now. Theras was pretty sure he wouldn't necessarily like a sudden uptick in the amount of attention being paid to him. Especially after some event happened that led to people thinking he'd died. Probably he would just want to be... left alone and allowed to recover and relax a bit.
It was weird hearing that phrased as if he had a choice in the matter. Based on his time with Wynbrant he could extrapolate that he did actually have a choice there and that it wasn't rhetorically worded. But it was still very strange to Pantheras to hear after all this time.
"That sounds fine." Might as well get the introduction to Essair over with relatively quickly, right? It made sense to him. And everyone kept telling him they were good people so it seemed like it wasn't likely to be a particularly painful process or anything like that. Asking after his brother was a thing he'd do too of course because despite his misgivings he did really want to see him, of course.
He'd missed Hien a great deal since he'd been brought here after all. And maybe just seeing his brother would probably put the worst of his nerves to rest anyway, when things inevitably went as well as they had gone so far in this process of being brought away from the brothel.
"For what it's worth, I didn't really know anything had happened, but I'm glad you're okay, too." He'd been a nice guy, from what Pantheras did remember. The world would definitely be worse off without him in it.
Good, that was a plan, then. It was very likely to be standard, boring things, like which room was his, and maybe some confusion from the fact he was allowed to do whatever. That took almost anyone forever to get accustomed to, and hey, you know what, that was fair enough.
Oh. "Well, thank you," he said. "I appreciate that." Sometimes, though, he wondered if it wouldn't have been better if he wasn't. But he wondered that a lot, and if anything, his not-quite-but-close dying was enough to inform him that maybe actually dying wasn't a good idea. At least he was back, and, eventually, whenever they got past this part here, he could figure out how to move their family forward.
Come to think of it, he didn't remember the Jihonese freeing their slaves very often, did he know that was normal? Hmm.
Usually, mind you, Nero got sent the other way, to go butt heads with Macenians. (Macenians were a pain in the ass. He also was one, so that didn't help, he was sure.) Nero admittedly didn't know much about Jihon, except that they didn't think much of... um, anyone, actually.
"You know how being free works, right?" Maybe he'd just, ask. There wasn't much harm in it. He'd never known the guy to get terribly upset about questions, even if he should theoretically be offended. It was probably because plenty of people in Dalmasca did very rude things, and asking questions generally wasn't on the list.
Pantheras didn't say anything else along that topic. It wasn't really his place, and as he'd already hinted he didn't really know what had happened to begin with. Just uh, he'd felt the need to say that because the world really would be slightly less off without someone like him in it. And certainly his family would prefer to have him than to not.
Pantheras continued to follow along quietly, and if Nero was paying attention it was pretty clear that that question caught him off guard. He knew what the word in question meant by definition but not in this particular context. And there had to be some catch to this particular context because people didn't just release slaves from captivity. They generally had to earn it through a very long life of serving and most would die long before they ever managed it.
Private slaves almost never found that happening to them.
Someone who'd just spent the hessions to buy him wouldn't immediately free him, it didn't make sense. It absolutely didn't make sense that the house would take the loss of buying him and then clothing him and not keep him and expect him to offset that loss one way or another.
"I can't say I do in this circumstance." Was what he finally said. It was simple and got the idea across. Nero had asked so there wasn't much point in lying. Having some forewarning of what he was getting into seemed like a great idea anyway.
That was unsurprising, if sad. Nero smiled a little, more in slightly-depressed acceptance than anything. Jihon was a lot stricter about things like this than Dalmasca. It was a matter of which bonuses and drawbacks were more tolerable, which was the lesser of the two evils, because sure, you had the opportunity to be freed much sooner than the end of your life in Dalmasca, and do things with your life after, but most masters were too self-absorbed and often outright abusive. In Jihon, you were unlikely to ever be freed, but at least service wasn't a terrible way of living. Most people spoke of the slave trade as if it was all the same, but, it was the farthest from it. There were two different slave trades in Azaleon, as far as Nero was concerned. Perhaps three, because blood fighters were yet another story.
"In Dalmasca, once you're freed, you're freed," he said. "Essentially you become a commoner of the house that freed you, as far as official Dalmascan law goes. You're considered part of that house, and anything you do will reflect on the house, and by extension, inherit the house's reputation, too. Your name, in Dalmasca, is most likely Pantheras Essair, but I don't think anyone will call you that. As freedmen can come and go, you can return to Jihon and pretend nothing happened. Things can more or less go back to the way they were." Or at least a very similar caricature of the way they were. It was almost more cruel, wasn't it. Because maybe in Dalmasca you could be freed and have your old life back, but you'd never be the person that lived that life again.
Well, there were a few caveats. "Of course, you can also stay in Dalmasca. Admittedly, you can't run for political office, and can't vote, but you can own land, amass wealth... there's a stigma attached, of course. Some may be rude to you just because you're a freedman. They can't legally do anything. Even if they tried, I don't think they want to deal with Essair's wrath. Maybe especially not now." They weren't exactly feeling generous.
There'd be a bigger stigma in Jihon. He'd be one of, if not the, only people in Jihon under 60 to return from slavery. That'd probably be even more uncomfortable. "You're not the first House Essair's done this with. Half the guards on the grounds ended up in the same boat you're in. Except most of them don't have anything to go home to. Most of them don't have a home anymore." But they understood, at least, probably far better than Nero could.
That was a really strange concept, somehow. Pantheras listened carefully though, carefully absorbing what Nero had to say about the subject as it was rather informative and knowing was much better than not really being sure what was going to happen to him now. Still the idea of being bought literally just to be freed seemed... strange. It didn't really make any sense.
Wasn't that a waste? Even if it did turn him into a commoner of the house.
Could go back to the way they were. ... Could they? Could they really go back to the way things were before? Pantheras wasn't so sure that was possible. Not after everything he'd seen and been through. Sure, it hadn't been nearly as much as some but that didn't make it any easier to fall back into a quiet life at home. Pantheras couldn't imagine his parents simply overlooking what had happened, but then again it would be no problem at all if it just hadn't happened.
Vihn wasn't sure which would be worse, actually. His parents going on like nothing had happened, or his parents acknowledging that their son had been a slave. ... Neither would be a good situation, that was for sure. The thought of going home was... of course he wanted to see his family, he did. Just... it was a lot more complicated than he really knew how to handle.
"I'll keep that in mind." He would because maybe one of them would help him sort out the tangle of thoughts in his head. But then again they were his thoughts and his problems and maybe in the end they were ... his problem a tleast partially because it was Jihon and no one could really tell him about how his family was going to react.
He wanted to see his brother, badly. He was still nervous as hell about seeing aforementioned brother. Was that ever going to go away? Probably not until he'd actually done it. Somehow that knowledge didn't really make him feel better. "That's comforting though, that most people will probably leave me alone."
It'd be a good thing for him to remember. Yes, House Essair absolutely meant it when they decided that he was free, even if he didn't feel like that was right. There'd be an adjustment stage. There always was. And that was fine, it wasn't like it was something they could just skip over or rush through, and that was fine. Nero just hoped it didn't get too overwhelming, trying to figure out how to be a person again.
Ah, though there was one other thing, this one was from a brothel, "One more thing," he said. "And I need to make sure you understand this, because if one of his siblings or someone doesn't do it, Kassandros absolutely will and he won't be kind at all about it, your physical person and sexual agency are now your own. If someone so much as touches your shoulder and you don't like it, you say something, because someone will find out and it will not end well. Basically I have permission to stab people for getting too handsy. And I'm not the only one." Nero didn't hear details about what happened and the things Marcus did, but he also didn't need to. He saw the aftermath, and he knew what kind of person Marcus Crassus was, and what kind of person Kassandros was. He didn't have to hear details. Anyone with half a brain could figure it out.
"That will definitely take some getting used to, and figuring out, but, just try to remember it. Continuing on like nothing changed just because of habit isn't really good for you, anyway." And that, too, would take time.
They came up to the gates, and fortunately none of the really scary guards were at the gates. Nero smiled slightly, getting the gate open and holding it for Pantheras. The outside wasn't as impressive as the inside, he didn't think, with its centre fountain, but the outside was nice. The bricks weren't in perfect shape anymore, and the vines had been allowed to do more or less whatever they wanted, but it was a nice touch. He had a vague idea where Hien was, and had mentioned he was after Pantheras before he went, so maybe he was around the front of the estate somewhere.
( incendium hi hey hello commere pls )