Falling into PlaceStarted by Astraea Teresi at Jun 14, 2019 4:31 am
Einmanudur 9, 76
It had only been two days since her conversation with Evadne, but Astraea was pretty sure she'd come to her conclusion. Now it was just a matter of asking him and seeing what Essair thought of the proposal. It worked out well enough, because the weaponsmith had a prototype of the disarming dagger design that Kassandros had brought her previously. If it worked out, then good and if it didn't, then it was back to the drawing board to figure out how to make it work the way it was intended to.
And of course, if she was going to be here anyway she might as well just ask him about the other thing and get it over with because the sooner she started that process the better. And honestly she had no idea what he might expect of her so it was just one of those things that she wanted to get started while she could.
Putting it off seemed like a bad idea, given she'd already established that there was something going down hill too quickly with Marcus, even if she hadn't put a finger on it quite yet.
Astraea made a little small talk with the guard as he led her towards where Kassandros was. She paused for a moment, taking a deep breath, and then continued forward. She wasn't honestly sure why she was suddenly nervous - it wasn't like this was realy likely to end in any poor way. Either he'd be happy about the prototype, or he'd ask her to remake it. And either he'd be okay with her becoming his vassal, or he wouldn't. There wasn't a lot of room for trouble there.
... Try telling that to nerves, she supposed. Anyway. Astraea paused there and waited patiently for the guard to see if Kassandros would see her at the moment or if he had a time frame at which he'd prefer she returned. Master Essair was a busy man, after all.
Fortunately, Kassandros wasn't stupid. He didn't expect that conversation with Hien to go well. On the other hand, he hadn't honestly expected it to go that bad, either. Now, of course, he had to decide what to do, here. In the end, however, it wasn't up to him. This was more something Pantheras should be deciding, and it wasn't Kassandros' place to decide for him. He knew that. Some people didn't know what they were getting into, though, and Pantheras would likely want to trust Hien not to go and mess everything up. Of course, all of his issues with this situation might yet be rooted in something more relatable, and Kassandros knew that.
For once, he wasn't doing paperwork. Mostly, he was staring out his window and thinking to himself about how to handle this situation. All he could do was prepare Pantheras for how things could turn out, and hope the crash course wasn't too painful by the end. Ah, that looked like Astraea. It was so rare to have her stop by, he'd almost forgotten what she looked like from this angle. More to himself, he shook his head, shuffling away from the window, and back to his desk. She'd be up here soon enough, and if he remembered correctly, this had something to do with changing patron houses.
It was likely for the best. Marcus was a sinking ship, and the problem was, he knew it. He didn't even wait for them to make it to the door, shuffling over to it and opening it. "No time like the present, I guess," he said. "If you'd like a seat, feel free to find one. House calls are so rare from you, I'm almost honoured." Come to think of it, yes. It wasn't every day Astraea wandered over. He almost regretted that, because it'd be good for both of them, really, if they were a bit nicer to each other. He supposed this conversation might yet rectify that.
Ah, well, Kassandros seemed to be anticipating them. It was... a little surprising to have the door open before her escourt even touched it. But... apparently he'd seen her through the window below or something, it made sense really. This particular window did face the gate, she thought - if her sense of direction wasn't completely failing.
The guard left her alone with Kassandros. But Astraea didn't mind - she was a bit intimidated, meeting him on his own turf, but he'd always been kind, and Evadne did truly seem to like him and the combination meant that she was willing to do the best she could to trust that this was going to be okay.
"Hm. I wasn't sure they were welcomed. I'll have to remember that." He was a busy person, and Astraea usually allowed him to come by when he had time rather than risk imposing on him. But maybe she should worry about that a little less and at least send messages or something to continue the lines of communication between them. Well, there was time to rectify those things as they moved forward, after all. But, if his reaction was anything to go by, no, Kassandros didn't mind her presence here.
Astraea did take his offer of finding a seat, choosing one near the desk.
"So first I wanted to share this." Astraea drew out the prototype of the dagger design he had brought her previously. "I did some basic testing with it and it seems to hold well enough, but it will take more dedicated testing to see if it can be used the way you intended." She was satisfied enough with it to let him have this one, at least. "If it doesn't I'm more yhan willing to go back to the design stage with it."
She was, if course, hoping not to have to, but it was like that, sometimes.
Kassandros looked to the side, and up, a bit, an almost impish smile on his face, for just a second before it went away again. "Well, if you don't mind the fact I'm always too busy to breathe, I don't mind them," he said. It was true. Housecalls were, sometimes, much easier means of getting things dealt with, and sometimes his friends needed his help, or there was something going on he needed to know about, things like that. It wasn't necessarily ideal, but very little really was, and in most cases, he didn't happen to hate whomever it was. That was the only time it'd really trip his trigger.
Like, whenever Canius came by. ... but he'd be dead soon, fucking asshole.
Oooh, that looked very cool. Kass held his hand out, for it, looking it over, flicking the metal a couple times. It made a nice ringing sound, that was mostly why he flicked these this way. "We'll see how it holds up to a real fight," he said. "This design's actually for one of the guards. He'll eventually figure out he's very fond of dual-wielding daggers, but that leaves very little to defences. You know how that works, so this is designed to help offset that." Dual-wielding daggers, of course, relied very heavily on one's ability to overpower and overwhelm their opponent fast enough, the other didn't hurt them too much, but Kassandros wasn't quite happy with that. He set the prototype down on his desk, shuffling back to the window.
"Alasdair," he called, leaning out of it. "Could you come up here for a minute, when you get a chance, please? Thank you." He wasn't really in a hurry. "I'll let you know, of course," he said, turning back to Astraea, "if there's a serious flaw in it and how it handles. The guards often get into heavy-handed sparring." They were very good at keeping each other on form, which was a good thing, of course.
It also helped them pass the time when Leon wasn't bossing one or several of them around. (Who, exactly, was master of this house, him or Leon? The world may never know.)
Astraea didn't say much to that - there wasn't much to say after all. Just one of those things to file away. She knew he was busy, and would probably continue to avoid them unless it was important, with that in mind. Adding to things when he was too busy to breathe seemed more than a little unnecessary. The balance between was it worse for him to take time to come to her or for her to come to him and then leave would... take some time to examine she was sure.
Something to consider later of course.
Ahh. Well that explained a great deal. She nodded a little. "I look forward to finding out how they go." She did - but there wasn't any real rush on the situation. It was just, if they didn't hold up she wanted to know that so that it could be fixed properly. But she had high hopes for this particular prototype, so they'd just have to wait and see.
"It's a good idea," Just saying. If it worked the way it was intended to it should balance out the weak points of that particular style rather nicely. And if it did that then it would be rather more viable for a guard to fight that way. Which if that was his preferred style... that would be good. Less damage to the guard was always good. And of course it made sense that they would do some heavy sparring. ... Actually though that was a good thing because if any flaws were discovered in sparring it was less dangerous than it could be if it was all discovered in live combat with someone who might actually be trying to do real damage.
"There was one other thing." Astraea mentioned, feeling just a hair nervous, but trying to avoid showing it too strongly. "I've been considering a change in patron houses," The details were, perhaps unnecessary unless he wanted to know. She wouldn't keep them from him if he asked, of course. It wasn't a decision to be made lightly on either side, she knew. "And I was interested in Essair, if you'll have me."
For a number of reasons, but it did partially boil down to her sister's support and also the fact that Essair was the most direct opposition of Cassimer. They could use the support against her former house, and the financial stability that more... legal operations would help with.
If this worked out well, he might see about getting more of them made, and maybe teaching some of the girls to use them, too. Backed by a strong material, disarming and overcoming larger and stronger opponents may be much easier for the innately smaller female frame. That, of course, just wasn't done in Dalmasca, but since when did Kassandros ever really care what was and was not done in Dalmasca? Never, that was when.
Even with a blunted centre, rather than a bladed one, Kassandros thought it could be very lethal in skilled hands. Actually, he almost wondered about putting another prong on the other side... to make it perhaps more of a trident. Ah?
His gaze flicked back up at her, and then he smiled a bit. Yeah, he knew that. Of course, it might be less dangerous, if she moved her house beneath Asheron's banner, but Asheron, perhaps, didn't have the resources, right now, to protect Teresi from Marcus' backlash. Eventually, Kassandros was sure, Marcus would turn on the weaker of the two. Asheron weren't bending, but Asheron also had bigger problems, problems Kassandros didn't entirely understand, but it felt like he should.
"Okay," he said. "... I will probably ask Irovaine to send some of their number over, just in case. Mikhael and Gemini are good people to know, anyway, and might be rather interested in those Galacese blades you're learning to make." ... ahm. "Not that I should know that." No, he should not know that, but he did. Yes, he did also know about Shilthandien, and he knew where Shilthandien should be, too, and it wasn't Dalmasca. Kassandros would hate to be on the wrong end of King Viniel's ire over that one. The unfortunate guards apparently lost his eldest son, that had to end terribly.
"Ahm, pretend you mentioned that, I guess." Something like that.
Well she'd been planning on mentioning those but uh... see she'd been warned. She'd been warned that he knew everything and that still managed to catch her completely off-guard somehow. Then again, Astraea supposed she'd probably believed it was some kind of an exaggeration - perhaps a very good information network. But she'd told no one about that yet. So that was... uh. Unsettling, yes.
"I was going to say that shouldn't be necessary but..." Maybe it was after all. Marcus was not likely to be happy when he caught wind of this. She didn't blame him exactly, but that didn't mean she was willing to put up with him any longer either.
"Well, no harm. I was going to mention them anyway. ... I had intended to wait until I could more reliably produce them but..." She shrugged slightly. Ah, the harm was already done, and it wasn't likely to be any real harm at all. "Though if you know about the blades then it seems likely you also know about my guest." That was slightly concerning for various reasons. "...So did you hear that through the various rumor networks or... I'm only asking because I'm concerned for my guest's safety."
Even under her protection may mean nothing if the wrong information got out about him, that was why she was worried. But if he just knew things... then while that was unsettling in its own right, it wasn't so dangerous for her to shrug off.
"I do look forward to meeting your other vassal houses." Evadne had said something about him rescuing most of them, so that was... interesting. Probably made for quite the loyalty streak.
Yes, well, Kassandros knew things he shouldn't, he knew that. Of course, Astraea, if she was going to work with him and House Essair more intimately than she already was, would have to learn to handle that fact, too, which was, in hindsight, probably why he'd said that. It made the most sense. Hmm. Anyway, he wasn't fussing over the details because they weren't necessarily important.
On the bright side, Gemini and Mikhael didn't tend to know things they shouldn't. He decided not to mention that. That was probably obvious, because that was the norm.
"Prince Shilthandien is safe enough," Kassandros mentioned, arching an eyebrow upward. "Though he may eventually have followers. The Galacese royal guard are chasing him, last I knew. As I understand, he did not exactly ask his father before leaving Galace, but that's just as well I suppose." The answer, of course, would've been no, because the Galacese did not interact with Dalmascans on a frequent basis, and certainly not in Dalmasca.
And there were reasons for that, but, Kassandros was just going to hope that Shilthandien never learnt those reasons, first-hand, because some of them were quite unpleasant, and made Kassandros a little displeased to be hume. That was, maybe, neither here nor there. As long as he was with House Teresi, and House Teresi was below House Essair, he'd be fine enough. Maybe he could stay as naive as he was.
Well that was good. She was just wanting to make sure that he was still safe. Wait. Wait. There was a slight doubletake in which the full weight of what Kassandros said settled down on her. Prince Shilthandien? Well that was certainly...she'd been right to be careful about allowing his presence to become any sort of common knowledge, clearly.
"Well that's going to be an adventure all it's own." Dryly. Ah, yes. Dealing with a foreign royal guard was not really...something that Astraea was looking forward to. Honestly, it actually sounded like a really terrible idea for various reasons. Not the least of which being the fact that they could well be quite dangerous if they decided that she was a threat to the prince that she'd actually been protecting.
"That's good though, I just wanted to make sure it wasn't likely that he'd become the talk of the market rumor mill or something. Evadne mentioned you know pretty much everything." Without sharing how he knew everything. Probably she didn't know. But it didn't really matter either. "It will be a bit longer before I'm reliably making those, but I'll be sure to let you know when that happens."
She was sure that even if he didn't have a need for the weapons himself he'd have some idea of those who did - given Kassandros had already mentioned another house that probably would.
"They're not liable to cause too much trouble, at least," Kassandros assured. "... well, they may get into your gem stores." That was a marked possibility, yes. "Shilthandien has a habit of being a little extra precocious and perhaps a bit naive. This is fortunate for you, at least, as it means the guard are more likely to observe before making judgements." Of course, this was fortunate, because it was unlikely to cause trouble for her.
Kassandros nodded, there. "I'm sure. Good luck, I hear they're tricky." There were many different stages to creating a Galacese-styled blade that could go terribly wrong, and make a very decent blade suddenly become fragile. That wasn't quite how that was supposed to work.
"Well, currently, Mornaux and Irovaine are sending me about 4% of their income. If that's too high, we can lower it for now, but I could use the help. At some point, we'll be visiting Saqqara, so I will be gone for a bit, you'll have to talk to Leon or Merenwen if you need anything during that timeframe. Both are ilim, but given you're getting along fine with Shilthandien, I don't imagine that'll be too much of an issue." Most likely, she wouldn't even really need anything, but just in case... never could be too careful around here.