[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was busy with his new friend, ruffling her fur as Augustine approached and went inside and for a moment he looked genuinely upset when Ool called the wolf back to him. He watched her roll onto her front, turn her head toward him, then back to Nicolai, and almost moping with her head hanging a little she went back over to her master.
Having something to just hold, to play with and show affection to and that was so simple and easy to keep happy, it felt good to him. It was a visible and immediate joyful reaction from the animal. For the first time in a long time he felt like something valued his attention and affection. Again, it was very petty to compare five minutes petting a wolf to his relationship with Florence. One was an animal who would likely act this way to anyone who pet her, and the other was a woman with a past he still didn't understand. And yet here he was feeling devastated that he had to return to talking with the humans.
Sighing he stood up, waiting for Marko to head in before following and standing in the doorway as Augustine divulged just what the little man had requested of them and he bit his tongue. He wanted to chastise him. To tell him that he had to pick and choose whom he helped. A couple cripples and a goblin would win him no plaudits. Wistinians often only cared about what was done to help them, they were very selfish people. He also wanted to tell him to stop calling Florence [i 'mutti']. Now they were in Wistina he had to be careful not to be seen as a foreigner trying to wrestle control from a native son in Vincent.
But, he did not say any of this. Nicolai was being rather well behaving in staying silent and letting the others figure out what they wanted. As he had promised to Florence, he would step away from being the leader of the group and speak only when told. This was especially so after Augustines behaviour the day before. So, he stood silent and impassive by the door, curious as to Florence's response to such a decision. She was always one to speak her mind especially with her son.
Florence tried to watch what her son was doing from where she was seated, though it was somewhat difficult with Nicolai making a scene of himself with that animal at the doorway. And he was not making any friends with the woman inside with the comments he was making; though it was unlikely any of them would hold it against him. The older woman tried her best to push the entire ordeal from her notice as she saw Augustine come to some sort of agreement with that goblin. Hopefully he had not made a fool of himself.
Returning, the prince had to step over Cam to come back inside the inn. It was a moment too late that Ool called her back over to him. The wolf was hesitant to listen to him, but eventually did, even if she kept glancing back longingly at he elf. Ool stayed back, leaving space for the blond to talk to the others about what he had agreed to. He thought it awful strange that after there was such a hullabaloo about not consulting the rest of the group when making decisions, the boy was allowed to do as he pleased. Thinking back, the last argument had been settled when he chose a side as well… maybe he really was in charge. Which was all the stranger, as Ool had a theory about the elfin gentleman that was distracting his pet.
As he entered, all eyed were on Augustine. Between that and the tautness in the air, it was clear everyone wanted to know if he had sold their souls away. It wasn’t exactly encouraging, but whatever. [+coral “He doesn’t want money.”] That was probably the first thing on everyone’s minds. [+coral “He asked that we escort him and the remaining citizens of Perth to the next closest town... I agreed.”] It was straight forward and to the point.
Florence’s brow furrowed. She was not aware of all the details and this sounded to be quite the undertaking, especially with the three teens still not entirely confident with their fighting. However, her son caught her expression before she voiced any of these concerns. [+coral “I asked that we be a part of the planning process. Mutti, I want you and Nicolai to scrutinize everything. If you think there is any uncertainty with exactly what he wants to do or how he wants to do it, we will back out…”] Augustine was not afraid to go back into bargaining if it did not work out, but this was a perfect opportunity for them. [+coral “From the sounds of it, the people here are not going to be able to stay here forever but they also cannot leave on their own. I do not want to leave them behind to decline.”] He knew it was naïve to think to think he could help each and every person he came across, but this was something he actually felt they could do something about right now. [+coral “Besides, we came here to make ourselves known and build trust with the people of Wistina. We can’t do that by ignoring pleas for help just because they are inconvenient to us.”] And with people as distrusting as Wistinians, it might be a while before they had another chance to prove themselves like this.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Hand left out, palm up, he let the wolf approach him and place her muzzle into his hand as Ool called for Augustine to join him outside.[+royalblue “Nothing against you or the wolf – I'd just like everyone to be calm and the best way to do that is keeping this beauty away from the frightened girls inside. Isn't that right?”] His voice became a touch playful as he ran his hand down the side of the large canine, patting her firmly as she realised he was just wanting to give her the attention she wanted.
Watching Augustine and Marko trudge out to join the little goblin some distance away, he strained to hear although he was knocked back on his backside as the wolf charged his chest to regain his attention. Falling down before him she rolled and he was not one to say no to giving belly rubs, scratching at her chest as he praised her and talked in a tone he hadn't used since Natalya. Thankfully he did not make this connection, though he did ponder just how easy things would be with Florence if she were as easy to please as this wolf.
In some ways they were the same; strong, fierce, scary when they wanted to be. But thus far he had not been able to find Florence's playful nature. She was sweet and kind but perhaps given her upbringing she was a little cold at times. These thoughts were just a few but he could see he was looking for her flaws now and it was not fair to her to do so. And besides which he wasn't very well going to get up and go talk to her right now about it, so instead he focused back to the hulking wolf before him, leg kicking at the air as he found 'the spot' and smiled lightly.[+royalblue “Oh you're just a softy aren't you? You look tough but you are just sweet and cute aren't you? You just want attention like any other girl is all!”] He may have forgotten that three girls were still in the building, and two of them were not opposed to slapping him if he was being an ass.
Thankfully whatever meeting was going on between the silent one, the little one one and the golden child was soon brought to a close with a handshake between the latter two. Hopefully the boy got a good price for their stay and hadn't given more than he could offer. Nicolai did not like the thought of having to pay from his own purse, given he was not the nephew of a rich Northern King. Instead, as they concluded, he grasped the side of the adorably sweet wolfs face and shook her side to side, tongue lolling out her open maw as she whined and her tail swept back and forth rapidly on the ground.
For a moment he thought to offer to buy her from Ool, but either he'd say no or would demand a ridiculous fee. Besides which, given the look Florence gave this fur-ball she was not keen on being anywhere near to her. Pity.
Luckily the door was swiftly opened, but unluckily the man who answered seemed to be in a joking mood. Ool looked at him, a clear skepticism on his face. After staring him down for a moment and nothing seeming to come from it he rolled his eyes and sighed. He didn’t much care whom he talked to, as long as they gave him what he wanted. But as he tried to enter the tall man spoke up again, this time chastising him, or rather Cam, for trying to enter. [+sienna “Spend one night and you feel like you own the place, eh?”] He was awful demanding for a guest, but seeing as the goblin still wanted something out of them, he did oblige. [+sienna “Alright, she stays out here, but so do I, come on kid. I need to talk to you.”] Sticking a thumb out to point behind him, he called for the blond to come out so they could chat. He made no indication of what the violet-eyed one should do concerning the wolf. Her temperament would show for itself as she trotted forward to meet the man’s hand, tongue lolling from her mouth, happy for the attention.
Augustine heard what Nicolai said from the table he was sat around with his mother and friends. He thought it odd that he would throw him to the wolves like this, both figuratively and literally. Still, he stood and worked his way toward the door when he was called. As he rose from his chair Florence was about to call on Marko to go with him, just to be on the safe side, but it seemed the stocky lad was already on it before she said anything. Good, he had an idea of what role he was to play in all this. The woman was glad for that, both as someone who was thinking of the hardship to come and as a mother who was worried for her child.
Passing the elf on the way out the door, Augustine was still curious what exactly had caused the general to switch up his way of doing things all of a sudden, but for the time being he chalked it up to trying to get him more acquainted with the people of Wistina. It wasn’t bad, though it was a little awkward to be thrown into the middle of a dialog that seemed to have already been started between Nicolai and Ool.
The tiny man turned to walk away, he had no plans to go far; it just felt strange to stand in the doorway. But as he looked back to see if his companion was in tow he saw that she had stayed put with the elf. In fact, she was making a spectacle of herself by falling to the ground and rolling to her back, practically begging for tummy rubs. [+sienna “Traitor…”] Ool shook his head, but did not stop to try and call her away.
Once a comfortable distance away, what couldn’t be more than ten feet, the goblin took a seat. Augustine followed suit and Marko did the same right next to him. [+coral “We really appreciated your help getting us here and lending us a place to stay. We would have been stuck across the gorge without you.”] It was a fairly polite beginning to what he could only assume was going to fall into a bartering situation. [+coral “So what did you have in mind for repayment?”] They had money and he was willing to use it, so long as the goblin did not come at him with some outlandish price. There was still a strong chance that this was some plot to extort travelers who didn’t know any better. And while Augustine was young, he wasn’t going to give into something like that. For now he was polite, pleasant, and ready to listen.
Ool was beat to the point, but that didn’t matter much to him. So long as they got there, he was fine. He would be blunt as well. [+sienna “An escort.”] It was clear based off the kid’s expression that he was confused, so the brunette went on. [+sienna “As I was telling your friend there last night,”] he was slightly frustrated at having to say this again, [+sienna “this town is practically dead now that the bridge is out. Everybody that is left if either old or ailing. I don’t think they will be able to keep living here.”] Regardless of whether they wanted to or not. [+sienna “I’ve seen you folks in action. Any bandits or thugs would not be a problem.”] And they normally would be for such a slow moving caravan. [+sienna “I would like it if you can get the remaining citizens of Perth from here to the next town over. If you are continuing south, it probably won’t be too far out of the way.”] It was liable to slow them down though.
Well, this was… unexpected. Crossing his arms, Augustine thought about it for a minute. He knew what he wanted to say, but stopped short. [+coral “How many of you are there?”]
[+sienna “Six, including myself. Two of us are abled bodied, one child, two elderly, and one who lost the use of her legs. We’ve got the two horses you saw and a cart to carry those who cannot walk and their stuff. It will be slow going, but once we get through the gorge the trip should be uncomplicated.”] He had clearly been thinking this out for some time; Ool just never had the confidence to keep everyone safe for the journey.
Six. That would mean doubling their party for this leg of their travels. Half of their current group still wasn’t used to battle protecting themselves, let alone others. Would the more experienced members be able to compensate for that? He was sure they would, but it would put a great deal of strain on them. Nicolai already seemed to be at his wits end and Töka was never happy to take on more work.
[+coral “Do they have places to stay once there?”] He wasn’t looking to take them from one desolate situation to the next.
[+sienna “There have been arrangements to get them settled along with friends and family there that can help in the meantime.”] Ool was not looking to do this lightly.
Those being his main questions for the time, there was quiet for a moment as the boy thought. How Augustine saw it, there were three options. One: outright refuse and know that these people, his people, were going to suffer for it. Two: ask them to hold out until they could do something about the bridge, which could take years, so inevitably they would suffer for this as well. Or three: agree. There was only one acceptable answer in his mind. [+coral “Yes, we will take you as far as the next town.”] The others might not be happy about it, but this is exactly the sort of thing he came back to Wistina to do. The more people they helped, the better off they would be. [+coral “But, I want to go over everything beforehand.”] Route, set up, and anything else that could possibly be important, Augustine wanted it all to be scrutinized by Nicolai and his mother before they even thought about leaving town. That would be his stipulation. If they were not comfortable with how Ool wanted to do things, then that would be that. Though, he really could not imagine there was too much that could complicate such a task. It seemed straightforward.
Ool did not much care how things were handled so long as everyone made it safely out of here with their belongings. [+sienna “That works for me.”] Offering forth a small hand, he was met partway by the boy to shake on it.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat There was nothing to be said the rest of the night, Töka left to go sleep as Nicolai remained by the fire a little longer and built it all back up so that the building might stay warm for the rest of the night. Personally, he took himself to over by the door and pulled out a chair to sit before it. He was taking guard work to a literal level as he stared at the door with arms folded the rest of the night.
Morning was not far off, the sun rising and the others stirring slowly though it was a while longer before any of them ventured into the main room to find the silent elf still facing toward the door. Luckily for them any tension or awkward feeling would not be given time to build as the little goblin knocked at the door. It was still very early but as expected the people who toiled away in towns and villages like this rose promptly to get on with their long days. If they stayed in bed to sleep another hour or two then that was less time to get jobs done, and no-one was going to do it for them.
Nicolai stood up and pushed open the door, stepping out onto the dusty path outside as he held the door with his arm. Looking down on Ool quietly for a moment he then shifted to one side, opening the doorway for him to step in.[+royalblue “You'll want to speak with the blonde boy. He's the one in charge.”] He said succinctly and received an annoyed if confused look from the green man.[+royalblue “In a fight, I lead. I make sure they are safe. But now they are safe so the young sir is the one to sort out payment and the like.”]
Now Nicolai was being quite petty and childish in pushing off the mantle of guide. He had wanted control and the ability to guide them around, to act as their leader, yet now he was throwing it directly on the young King. In a way it would be a learning experience for Augustine. He needed to learn to interact with his people, so what better way than a sarcastic and blunt goblin?
Looking to the wolf he clicked his tongue however.[+royalblue “Can't have the wolf inside.”] It wasn't a threat, but he hoped the goblin had seen how nervous it made some of them to see the large beast the day before.[+royalblue “I'll stay by the door and keep it open so that she can see you and not fret, but I can't let her inside.”] He looked to the wolf and bent his knee to lean down and half offered a hand, looking to the little man to see if it was okay or if he should quickly retract his hand and stay away from the animal.
When it became apparent that Nicolai would not return in time to eat with the rest of them, and later to see them off to sleep, Florence became moderately more worried. However, it was not enough that she felt the need to wander off on her own and try to find him. The woman was confident that he would make it back. That being said, they had to assign someone else to kick off the night watch. Töka, whose motivation was probably that she did not trust the others to do it properly while Nicolai wasn’t around, ended up taking the position. Everyone else went down for sleep relatively early.
When the elf did come slinking back in, the warrior woman was still peeved that he had just taken off without her. Just because he didn’t want to play babysitter didn’t mean that she did. However, she did not bother harassing him about it, just wandered off toward the back to find an open spot to settle in for the night.
The night passed peacefully, in the sense that no one came to physically attack them. And for the most part, the group slept well. Flora was the exception, as Nicolai’s words kept cropping up in her head to bother her. It was unlikely that the girl would go to confront him about it, but it still plagued her enough to make it difficult to sleep. She woke early though. No matter how terrible she slept, she remained an early riser. Despite this she laid in bed longer than usual, savoring the fact that she was not on the ground. This went on until she heard some of the others wake. It was not long before everyone was up and ready for the day. Normally they would start something to eat for breakfast, but they were meant to wait for Ool who would in turn take them to someone who would feed them. At least, that is what he said the night before.
Much like Flora, Ool was up bright and early. He really was a creature of the night and preferred to stay up to savor the darkness, but that did not work out so hot when your job entailed taking care of mainly humans. He had been on a day schedule for years so he was used to it, but he still longed for his natural circadian rhythm. Either way, he used his morning to check on the others and make sure all was right. Even dropped in to give Margery another reminder that they would have guests that morning. After that was all in line, he made off toward the inn with Cam in tow like always. At the door it felt somewhat strange to just walk in, so he knocked, hoping that the group was awake and ready to answer. It was time to talk about what he wanted in return for letting them stay, though he had the feeling he’d mainly be dealing with that giant of an elf again.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Töka was a little annoyed to have been left by herself with the others, and at first she had followed out the door after Nicolai only to stop immediately in the street outside, turning this way and that in wonder at which direction he had gone. There was no sense in getting herself lost in this abandoned slum town so she puffed her cheeks out and returned inside to take her seat back in the corner, axe dropped down heavily on the table beside her. She took out her dagger and began to clean her nails as she settled in.
Nicolai for his part was gone until the sky was a navy black dotted by twinkling stars and a half moon. The air had grown colder as the sun disappeared but as beds began to beckon and the fire was allowed to lessen to a level that would not burn out of control as they slept, there was still no sign of the elfin man. Only when the moon had reached its precipice and the sounds of nocturnal creates sounded all about the tavern did the door open enough for him to slip inside the large main room with minimal fuss.
He took himself over to the waning fire and crouched down before it, bathed in its amber glow as he hovered his hands before the flames that licked at his skin delicately. He reached aside, drawing up a log, weighing it up for a moment before switching it out for a larger piece and feeding that into the flames and settling it within. He did not look up and around to see if anyone was still awake or whom remained in the main room and he remained quiet as he watched the fire take hold of the new fuel and begin to regain some of its lost strength.
Flora shrugged, she did not know Florence all that well. Sure, she held a very high opinion of her, everyone in Astoria did, but that was based more off the idea of her than anything else. Her suggestion was just how she dealt with people in general, though Nicolai did not seem to be a fan. And at the moment, he didn’t seem to be much of a fan of Augustine either. As shortly after the blond was off and she made her comment, he snapped. It confused Flora. Not long ago the man had made comment saying that Augustine needed to loosen up or he would never be able to relate to anyone and now that he had done that, not too differently to how Nicolai got along with Töka, then it was a problem and he was being inconsiderate. If there was some medium in between, and there likely was, the young woman was not seeing it. But that was miles less concerning than what he had to say about Wistina being home to the blond. If he did not think he should call this place home, then why were they here? Why was he helping someone who was especially a stranger to this land return to rule? She did not agree with it, nor what he said about Augustine not trying. He’d worked hard these last seven years and she didn’t think someone who swooped in at the very last second should be griping so damn much. Unfortunately, Nicolai was on his way out before she was able to vocalize any of this.
Marko looked to her confused and Flora looked away. It wasn’t until Florence and Augustine returned and asked directly where the man had gone that she gave an actual answer. [+plum “He went out, didn’t say when he’d be back.”] She motioned to the key as if to say that he might not return at all. Perhaps it would have been better to actually tell what had happened, but knowing that it might upset Augustine, she kept it to herself for the time being.
Florence was confused to find that Nicolai had left, but did not think too much of it. It was a little disappointing, as she had actually been looking forward to seeing him, even if it was in the company of others. He must have just wanted some time to himself. Being constantly in the presence of others was a lot to deal with.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Whether it was Augustine alone or all of them at once, it did not much matter. It was the fact the boy was supposed to be learning to lead. But he did not say that to her, lest she feel he was attacking her boyfriend too much.[+royalblue “If you think you can ask Florence Melbourne a direct question and get an appropriate response, you clearly have a more fantastical opinion of her than even I do.”] The woman was notorious in Nicolai's eyes for skirting honest questions or giving a blunt opinion. She was strong, confident in times and shy in others, but when he wanted answers she often found ways to squirm free of giving them.
Pausing their conversation he nodded for Marko to place down the packages to one side near a small table and chair. He was quiet, as per usual, but he seemed particularly keen to do as told and put things where he was told. Thankfully the elfin man was kinder this time and offered a thanks and nod of his head, waving him off to go sit down and await his meal whilst Augustine endeavoured to make the vivid-eyed man's blood boil again.
Was he taunting him with that open kiss to Flora's cheek? It was a petty masculine thing, but when the boy was so adamant that he and his mother hide their affection for one another and yet was so brazen with his own feelings for his woman it felt like an affront to Nicolai directly.[i 'I can do this but you are forbidden.'] Given how the boy did not show this warmth often it seemed entirely planned and he watched the boy as he left to go find his mother. Perhaps that is why he snapped at Flora when she spoke once more.
[+royalblue “This isn't his home.”] He was quiet, not wanting to raise his voice more than a low murmur lest the top finally pop off.[+royalblue “His home is castles and opulence. His home is servants at his beck and call, soldiers to protect him, his mother always at his side to clean up his messes. He [i thinks] Wistina is his home because his father was King. But he doesn't know these people or what it means to struggle, what it means to fend for himself or provide for himself. No idea what it means to be tired, to be cold, to be hurt and hungry. No. No instead of trying to learn, he wants to play up to his friends, impress them and act as King to four foreigners and an old man.”] As he spoke, voice level but the indignation ripe in his tone, his gaze levelled at the exit that Augustine had taken and his hand had subconsciously come to rest upon the sword at his waist.
His fingers toyed at the pommel, grasping it tightly as he came to a point and drawing it an inch or two from the scabbard on the mention of him being an old man. For a moment he was silent before slamming the weapon back down and turning without another word to Flora. The key given to him by Ool was dropped off on a table near to the door, kicked open with his boot and left to shudder and creak shut behind him as Nicolai left.
Flora guessed such a response meant it had not gone well. She lifted her hands as if to apologize, but Nicolai was apologizing before she had the chance. He told her it was quite the opposite and that Augustine was the one to throw a wrench in it. [+plum “I mean, to be fair, we were all rough housing, so it wasn’t just him.”] For now, she would exclude the fact that he started it. The point was for her to keep the entirety of the blame from falling on his shoulders. However, it did not look as though that was the only thing on the man’s mind. And as she would come to find out, it wasn’t.
Eyes on him as he took over tending to the night’s dinner, Flora wondered just what they had talked about. What surface had he scratched with that woman who always seemed a mystery to her. [+plum “Well, something is better than nothing, and considering nothing is all you had before, I think it is a good start. I mean, come on. The two of you have only been together a couple of weeks. It makes sense that you wouldn’t know everything about one another.”] That was completely disregarding the nearly twenty years they had known each other before that, but the girl really did not think any time they spent together in Wistina counted. [+plum “And that just means you have an excuse to talk to her again. That’s not a bad thing, especially if you say you are a poor conversationalist. You’ll get more practice.”] She grinned positively at him as she continued with her mini pep talk. [+plum “And if it really bothers you that bad, you can just think about all the things you were disappointed not to know and ask more directly next time.”] The worst thing that could happen is that she would refuse to answer, so Flora thought it would be fine.
Flora was about to go on, but Augustine was starting back this way so that he could do as he was told and track down his mom. And believe it or not, the red-haired girl actually had the decency to stop running her mouth when he came in earshot. She figured Nicolai didn’t want him in all his business. That being said he was just passing by, however along the way he did pause for the briefest of moments to kiss her on the cheek and flash her a smile. A rare sign of affection from him as he was not exactly gung ho about his mother watching. Flora kept eyes on him as he disappeared to the back where Nicolai had come from, obviously giddy at getting any attention from her beau. [+plum “He really is excited to be home...”] He’d been gone nearly as long as he’d lived there, so it made sense.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was so tempting to grasp a hold of Augustine by his arm and let him know just why he was in a foul mood – not least because his relationship with Florence was more confusing with each interaction he had with her, not knowing where he stood. He would tell him how he disliked the boy taking things so light heartedly, joking around with his friends and being more focused on his mothers relationships than just how he expected to take back his country. And how he felt he could talk back to the man who had saved his life at the beginning of all this, who had protected him and gotten him through the pass and north toward Astoria.
But, the satisfaction he would have on telling the boy what he thought and letting out these thoughts would be short lived. If he said any of this, there was the likelihood of long term effects that would be quite catastrophic to him helping in the retaking of Wistina. So he let the boy move off after his dark skinned friend and tilted his head toward the ceiling taking in a deep breath slowly. In his mind Augustine had grown soft in Astoria, lax in his duties and given more respect than he had earned. In a fighter like Nicolai, it was frustrating to let someone like that back talk him. But it was his future King and he sighed away his frustrations.
Unfortunately, that was when Flora decided to step up and ask him how his talk with Florence had gone.[+royalblue “I don't think now is the time to be discussing my relationship Flora.”] He started, voice sounding a touch annoyed and aggrieved at having to even talk. Thankfully he saw sense immediately and turned side on to look at her, face visibly softening as his hands dropped from their folded position.[+royalblue “Sorry. I'm sorry. Just things are beginning to finally bear weight and the constant juggling of duties and roles is tiring."] Between guardian, advisor, partner and atop that fretting that they would be found, it was taking its toll.
[+royalblue "We talked. It was going well. Just.. when I felt I was getting through to Florence, her son has to throw a distraction in.”] He glanced to the boy, talking to Marko as they gathered the packages.
Moving back a step he dipped down to grasp at the wooden spoon that had been put into the cauldron and he stirred the food whilst crouching low.[+royalblue “I did like you said I asked for her to tell me what she wanted, what was wrong, and I felt I barely scratched at the surface. I didn't expect her to crumble and tell me right away. But neither do I really know what I expected. Just.. more, I guess.”]
Nicolai sure was in a mood for barking orders this evening. Sure, he might have had a point that they shouldn’t let their rough housing get too out of hand, but they were just excited to finally be there and have a proper building to spend the night in. Even if it had been abandoned for a little while. [+coral “Gods, what has you in such a foul mood?”] Augustine raised a brow at the man as he stood from his spot in front of the fire and wiped dust from his person. He though the elf would also be caught up in the euphoria of being on familiar soil. But it was what it was, and he did not expect an actual answer out of the gentleman so he skittered off after Marko so that they could get the bag where they needed to go.
By that time Flora had finished rearranging the chairs to their original places. It was pretty easy to manage with all the dust acting as guidelines for where items were meant to be placed. That and nothing made it too far from where it once was. That gave her some time to contemplate what to do next. She [I could] help her friends haul the bags, but then again neither of them had lifted a finger to help her, so she decided to bother Nicolai instead. The dark eyed young lady had also noticed that he was being particularly nitpicky. [+plum “So… did your talk with Lady Florence not go so well again?”] Looking over to him, she was leaned over the backs of one of the chairs. The others had filled her in on what all had happened since they ran into those bandits, so she knew that the two adults had planned talks to hash out their disagreement. With how he was acting now, she could only assume it had not worked out how he would have liked. And that was a shame, considering she had pushed him so hard to reach out to her. Maybe she really didn’t know what she was talking about.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai watched the rabble of children pushing at one another and talking in muttered tones as he approached purposefully slow. Annoyingly, he did not quite catch what they had said, speaking far too fast in Astorian for him to comprehend. Just because he could speak and understand the language did not mean he was fluent. A number of times he had missed entire parts of conversations with Gregory and Florence, giving them nods and waves to pretend he had. So far it seemed no-one had caught on.
With his girlfriend abandoning his side and his other friend teasing him about something, he came to a stop before them and they dutifully looked up, answering his initial enquiry.[+royalblue “Good, you two are at least semi-competent. Perhaps by the time this is all over I won’t have to tell you how to prepare a camp – you’ll just do it.”] He may have been taking this new advisory role too serious, forgetting that the boy still required him to be there as an old mentor before everything else. However for now it would do them good to instil some respect and understanding between one another.
With Flora gone, and Marko semi-proficient, he switched back to Wistinian to continue.[+royalblue “Your mother is making them as presentable as she can. They look sturdy enough though please no tomfoolery tonight. I don’t want to have to explain to Ool why his furniture is broken, and you don’t want to start your stay in Wistina as the boy who broke a poor peasants home.”] It would be terribly unfortunate if that happened and the word spread. Not much love for a King who broke his subjects property as if it did not matter and then asked them to support his claim for the throne. He had heard of some farming folk holding grudges and fueds that lasted generations over a couple dozen eggs.
[+royalblue “I’ll take a half watch tonight, make sure things seem secure and safe and if need be I’ll wake one of you to take the other half, but I doubt I’ll have to. Place is next to abandoned and the only ones here aren’t exactly a band of fighters.”] He felt confident he could at least hold off any spirited attack until the others were awake – the building wasn’t all that large so they would hear him wailing. Now he looked at Marko and nodded his head to the side.[+royalblue “Go grab those bags and packages I gave you from the pack-horse, seeing as you’re have enough time to joke around.”] A little mean perhaps.[+royalblue “You help him bring them over. And then go check on your mother and bring her back.”] It felt good to be in command again.
Flora’s face scrunched to show her displeasure. She was not very happy at being singled out to pick up when she wasn’t even the one who started it. [+plum “I’m never coming to your rescue again.”] She whispered her annoyance Augustine’s way as she got up. He responded to her pouting by sticking his tongue out which quickly got him pushed over as his girlfriend darted off toward the tables, which was why the chairs were all over the place in the first part.
Marko snickered as he watched Augustine struggle, and inevitably fail, to keep his balance from his seated position on the floor. That being said he was quick to get back up. [+darkblue “See, even she can knock you over.”]
Green eyes glaring back at his friend, he had half a mind to retaliate against his friends comment, and so he pushed Nicolai’s question off for the moment. [+coral “We can’t all be built like a… how did you put it?”] He glanced over to the violet-eyed man as he thought. [+coral “Ah ja, a brick shithouse.”] There was a touch of humor to his words.
[+darkblue “Guess not, but that doesn’t mean you're not jealous, beanpole.”] He had never lost in their tussles, at least one to one, and he didn't plan to start.
Augustine’s face fell a little at that. [+coral “Oh yeah, well I am still taller than you.”] The boys stared at each other a moment. Their expressions staying intense up until Marko broke and began to smile. The blond lost it at that as well and they were both grinning stupidly. By that point it was abundantly clear that they were just giving one another a hard time.
With that one again out of their systems, it was time to turn back to the elfin general who was just about breathing down their necks now. Probably not the smartest thing to ignore him. [+coral “Yeah, we did everything like you said. It just needs time to cook now.”] When Nicolai looked into the pot he would see that the boy was telling the truth, though many of the ingredients were clumsily cut into bigger than bite size pieces. It would probably taste fine, but it was going to be a pain in the ass to eat. [+coral “How does everything look in the back? Should we even bother with the beds?”] If they were in too bad of shape they might all wind up on the floor for the night and the prince was really hoping that was not the case. Even if it would probably be warmer out here where the fire was.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Finding three teens all in a huddle, chairs strewn across the floor, and the fact they all turned to look at him in unison; it all spoke to something going on. Of course Flora played well to the role of sweet and unknowing girl, never does a thing wrong and is simply going about her day. Nicolai did not buy into it for one second however as he planted his feet and folded his arms over his chest looking between the three of them unamused.
In Astorian, so that Flora may follow along, he spoke,[+royalblue “Three teens left alone for five minutes and they are causing mischief. Is anyone going to tell me why the chairs are thrown about?”] He asked and moved his gaze from one to the other and back again.[+royalblue “Just because this may not be like your castle in Astoria, does not mean you treat it like a pig sty. Now Flora, seeing as nothing was going on, you can put the chairs back in place.”] His voice was stern but it did not raise to a shout. It was a way he had spoken to new soldiers in his command. They would come to see him as a tough but fair commander.
Whilst he wanted to act as their friend, to join in with their tribulations and joy, he unfortunately needed to be the voice of reason and judgement. As an adult, much like Florence, he was tasked with being a good, respectably example for how they should behave. One was royalty and the others were not exactly paupers either. It did not cross Nicolai's mind that he and said fellow adult had been making out moments before – not exactly model behaviour.[+royalblue “I see Flora has gotten the fire going – did you two do what I told you?”] He moved over towards them to see if they had gotten the food on the go. A stew took a good hour or so to cook and he was beginning to feel his stomach turning in hunger.
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