Fall of the Court

/ By Loxi [+Watch]

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[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai smiled when she made note of whom his source was. He had tried to keep the boys name out of this but it seemed he had tried without success. Oh well, it would teach him not to gossip as he took his mothers hand to his backside a few times. Hopefully she did not give him a closed fist like he had endured the day before last.

Although she refrained from telling him that she had sought his jealousy, he knew not to take her directly at her word.[+royalblue "Yes, I was quite petulant and childish in the past. Not an endearing thing, I can see why you thought of me as just another man but you are right in that I have changed and grown."] He brushed at her bedspread with an idle hand, smoothing out the creases as if it calmed him, though really he disliked talking of himself that much.

[+royalblue "I wouldn't call it a little white lie however. Given how I attacked him, and how angry that seems to make you, only makes the information I have given Augustus all the more.. delicious."] It was not a most appropriate word to use but the feeling of joy that he had gotten one over on such a difficult woman was nice.[+royalblue "But let us put the red-eyed buffoon to one side."] He was keen for them to move along from that man. Let the talk move back to each other.

[+royalblue "When did you mind change?"] His question came from a light pause but he looked up at her with true wonder.[+royalblue "I mean about me. Take away Vollenberg and Adrian, and you still seem rather upset at me. As does Augustine."] He laughed a little, more a chuckle.[+royalblue "Seems everyone does. But,"] the smile faded,[+royalblue "what happened Florence? I understand I made a mistake that night and I have made penance for my choice. Yet when I look at you I see more than just anger.. why do you hate me?"]
  WI_ / 38d 23h 33m 40s
Florence huffed at the compliment. This was neither the time nor the place… well, perhaps that was not true as a rendezvous in the middle of the night and in a woman’s bedchambers was most certainly the time and place to compliment her, but given the situation, no. As she went to chastise him, he backpedaled himself and apologized again. She nodded at this and nothing more.

At present, the blanket draped woman was trying to figure out how he could possibly look so content to be sitting a den of lions and ask such a pointless question. Though at mention of his source she rolled her eyes. [+mediumseagreen “You have already told me that Augustine visited you, there is no need to be coy.”] She very much doubted that anyone else would have offered that information. She was going to need to have a talking to with her son in the morning. This was absolutely unacceptable.

[+mediumseagreen “I would not be so excited if I were you. I promise the truth is much less hopeful than you are thinking.”] Florence rolled her eyes, still rather irritated to have been caught in her lie. [+mediumseagreen “Technically yes, although it is not for the reason you might think… You look very much different from you used to, and you claim to be different as well. I wanted to see how true it was. Surely had I insinuated something of that nature or been so blunt with you in the past you would have lost you temper, or at least sulked about it for a great length of time.”] It was a test of sorts, though she had chosen to drill him on nothing but a whim. [+mediumseagreen “I cannot believe you would come all this way, risking life and limb, just for a chance to confront me about a little white lie. With all that has changed about you, it is good to know your foolishness remains.”]
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 38d 23h 56m 22s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Keeping a close watch of her, primarily so he could roll out the way of an attack from some hidden blade she kept about her chambers, he watched her contemplate her options. He had no issue with her calling for help or even just running away. This was not an interrogation, he would not stoop so low as to tie her up just to talk with her. But he wanted her to stay and to speak to him, this being his only chance at leaving his shackles and moving about this castle.

He had forgone his escape to talk to her and at length she took up her blanket from the bed to cover over herself.[+royalblue "Apologies, I was a touch more worried about hidden daggers than I was about your attire. Though very beautiful by the way."] He smiled as she stared back and he held up a hand in further apologetic manner.[+royalblue "No, sorry, my bad."] He looked quite relaxed despite the fact his life hung on one yell.[+royalblue "Firstly, and this has puzzled me all of yesterday; why did you imply Adrian was still your lover when he is not? From my.. reliable source, I'm told you two barely kissed and after three months it fizzled out. Were you trying to make me jealous per chance Florence?"] He was both intrigued and a little titillated to know if he was right. Likely not, but she would always say he was wrong - she liked telling him he was wrong.
  WI_ / 39d 22m 30s
He watched her with a look of amusement in those shining violet eyes. It very much felt like a game of cat and mouse. Unfortunately, this time she was the mouse. Not a role she cared to play, least of all half dressed. When it felt like the fog in her brain was just starting to clear, he answered her questions in rapid succession. Florence was not entirely sure all those qualified as suitable responses, but she was not going to ask again. It would likely be more of the same.

Just as the idea to yell, or make some sort of fuss creeped into her thoughts, the elf spoke to dissuade her. It was a one-two punch sort of method where he assured her safety then threatened that she might regret it. And with how things had been going lately, he might be right. That left her with a very difficult decision to make. Was she going to hear him out, or not? Mostly she wanted to have him hauled back down to the dungeon, but a very tiny voice was telling that she needed to listen. So, taking a step back closer to the bed, she sighed and grabbed the blanket to wrap around herself. [+mediumseagreen “I am not going to sit down… but what is it that you want to talk about?”] She spoke in a defeated tone, still very much tired with this being her second night of poor sleep.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 39d 31m 59s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai smiled as he saw her coming around, his hand slipping away from her as she blinked and tried to clear the fog of waking up. He did not move as she shot up and out of bed, rather he crossed his ankles and clasped his hands atop his lap. A daft smile was on his lips as he watched her manage to throw out some semblance of words.

[+royalblue "Yes it is me, I am quite sneaky and elusive when I want to be, I came so I could talk to you and right now because I did not want any distractions from anyone else whilst we did. There we go; how, what and why."] He remained sat in her bed, a light smile on his face illuminated by the candle across the room. His amethyst eyes crackle in the light, positively shining - something they often did on their nights by the campfire on the way up here.

When she stared at him in disbelief he sighed, a light chuckle from his lips as he watched her.[+royalblue "I won't hurt you, like I said last time we spoke I am still very fond of you. If you want to scream then go ahead; but perhaps when they come and kill me, you may come to see your mistake and regret such a choice."] He pat the bed beside him, fluffing her pillow a touch.[+royalblue "Come, sit, relax some. It is very early in the morning and we have time to talk."]
  WI_ / 39d 46m 44s
Dinner came and went without a hitch, all of the adults and older children making sure to stay clear of less pleasant conversation. It really was not difficult with Eugene and Gregory around. They could go round and round about the silliest things and be content in just that. It was great for the youngsters, and Abigail always seemed to get a kick out of it too. Florence more often than not found it grating, but tonight it was just fine. She might even go so far as to call it pleasant. After food there was a bit of time to relax and wind down for bed. With the day she had had, the green-eyed woman was thoroughly worn out. She was confident that she might actually get some sleep this time around. And she was right. As soon as her head hit the pillow she was out. But rest came and went quickly; she woke feeling horribly groggy and not entirely sure how she had been roused from her sleep.

Eyes opening slowly, they met the light and shut tight again. The woman groaned unhappily, but then something clicked… there was light. It could not be that early already? Not so astute in this condition, it took till right that moment for her to noticed the slant of the bed. That finally setting off a sense of alarm in her, Florence’s opened again. It was difficult to stand even the low light, but she pushed through it as she sat up. Next to her was none other than Nicolai.

Having entirely no idea how he had got there or why he was there, the woman swiftly moved to push herself out of bed and away from the intruder. [+mediumseagreen “Nicolai?”] She exclaimed more than asked. [+mediumseagreen “How… what… why?”] Her brain cycled through all the questions she wanted to ask without fully completing any of them.

Now standing at the edge of the bed, she tried to put a bit of distance between them. Though she was not entirely sure what to do with it as he sat between her and the door. Florence definitely was not confident enough to think she would make it there before he made it to her. So now she was just standing there in her nightdress trying to put together a coherent thought, you know like maybe to scream for help.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 39d 1h 9m 49s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was gone midnight by the time the door clicked open and the same man from earlier had come back in, slipping in through the small gap he made for himself. Nicolai had almost fallen asleep and aside from the sound of the door opening, had been laying in silence in the dark. The guards within the room had left an hour or so ago, blowing out the candles and leaving him in the darkness. It was marvellous for the elf who felt quite adept in the shadows after his years outside, but he did feel a little longing to just stay and rest in the bed. However his plan needed to be enacted now, tonight, it could not wait.

The figure slithered across to his bedside once more, hands reaching down and grasping the elf's forearm to use as a point of location to find the shackle. From his other hand he produced the required key and with a little trial and error, given the darkness, he felt the metal loosen and come free. Nicolai felt relief like he had not known in days, nodding for the man to quickly move over to do the other, though he clicked his tongue when he realised the man could not see him too well. The other shackle was easier to remove than the last, left to drop on the bed and Nicolai sat up to gingerly touch his wrists. The skin was still raw, but the salve had done wonders.

Taking only a few moments to rub at particular aches, he swung his legs off the bed and moved over to the doorway. Using the little light coming through, he looked over to his accomplice.[+royalblue “Remember, I need time to get there and some more to get me in. I need you to distract the guards. Do you have the map I requested?”] There was a nod, then a shake of the head.[+royalblue “So you know what to do, but you forgot the map. Lovely. Fine, just tell me where to go from here.”]

The next thirty or so minutes were quite eventful for Nicolai. Having been given his directions he allowed the conspirator five minutes to get the attention of the guards in the way of his destination before leaving himself. With no shoes or socks, his feet were very light and silent on the flooring. He moved quickly at first but on entering some of the longer halls and pathways, he had to stop and start as necessary. Only a few servants were awake, cleaning up or preparing for breakfast and the new day ahead. They were distracted and therefore simple to navigate around. The one or two guards unable to be distracted by his friend would take a little more time and guile – a noise here, a call for help there. It dragged them from their posts and he was through.

By the end he was at the door of the room he needed and he was very careful to open the door quietly. Having taken a candlestick holder and its lit candle from a nearby stand, it gave him means of seeing inside – and as expected it was only his target in sight. Closing the door gingerly behind him, he moved to place the candle on the nearby desk where it gave a soft golden glow to the room. Moving across to the targets bed he was careful to move to one side, picking a good spot.

[+royalblue “Come now, time to wake up.”] Voice barely at a whisper as he slipped onto the bed, atop the sheets and sitting up with his back to the bed board. His hand reached across and with a gentle touch he brushed back several loose strands of chestnut brown hair with stripes of silver. She was quite serene and peaceful and he hated to wake her – but he did not do all this to watch her slumber.[+royalblue “Florence, wake up for me dear.”] He spoke a little louder, hand brushing her shoulder and rocking her very slowly.
  WI_ / 39d 1h 43m 4s
Accompanying the teenagers all the way back home, it almost felt more like she was a chaperone than an extra member of their party. After getting over Augustine’s reaction, Flora took it rather well. It made sense, she was generally a sweet girl, albeit a little mischievous at times. Florence thought it added to her charm. Her son on the other hand seemed more irritated that his parent was interrupting time with his girlfriend. He took every available chance he was given to let her know that too. Whether it was a dirty look, or a comment under his breath, he was not shy about it. He was just lucky that Florence found it more funny than actually insulting. Flora, not so much. She grew tired of it and eventually chided him for being rude to his mother. Honestly, the older woman thought it was interesting that the fiery haired girl would take her side in this situation. It might have been an act to try and garner her favor, but Florence seriously doubted it.

When they did finally make it back to the main wall, the middle-aged woman decided enough was enough and gave the pair their space once more. It would not be quite the same seeing as this area was much busier, but they really did not need true privacy anyway. They were still young, not to mention she knew it drove Augustus mad that they were so often unsupervised. She did not recall him being such a prude when they were that age, but it seemed becoming a father changed that about him. It was laughable, but she would keep it to herself for now.

The rest of the day passed in a quiet and leisurely way. Florence spent most of it on her own, but every once in a while someone would pop up and ask her a question. Having something to do helped the time pass all the quicker and before she knew it was time for dinner. It was the one formal meal that the family took. Breakfast and lunch were given little to no ceremony, but for dinner at least they all sat down together. As far as royal dining went it was fairly plain, but it was a time for them to enjoy one another’s company. Generally the table seated the King, Queen, and their slew of children, but in the time since his sister and father had returned they and Augustine came too. The invitation was always extended to guests and friends, however Augustus decided to go home early for the day. Despite all the time he spent in the castle, he and his kin lived in his family home back in the town. For the longest time Eugene tried to get them to move in, but Julia refused. Not for any prideful reason, but because that house doubled as her bowyer shop and it had been in Augustus’ family for generations. It would have been a shame to let it go now, so he made the commute daily. She always said it was good for him anyway.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 39d 2h 33m 26s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai had enjoyed some sleep before waking up near mid-evening. It was odd that he would wake up from a wonderful dream he was having, but his innate sense that someone was in the room with him as he slept woke him. At first he had thought it just one of the guards left to watch over him, but looking around he found the room quite devoid of these men. A few candles had been lit on a nearby mahogany dresser and unable to rub at his eyes he had to squint as he looked about. It was only when he looked to his side, where the curtains had been drawn, that he jumped a little and swore under his breath.

[+royalblue “[i Merde!] You bloody bastard, how about a more normal entrance next time?”] Seeing the man stood there so casually he fell back into the comfort of his bed, lifting a hand to grasp his forehead but finding it still shackled and he sighed as it whipped back to slap the bedspread. Thankfully due to the doctors work it was no longer painful, just annoying. Moving his head across to meet his hand he rubbed at his eyes and took a moment to ease his fast heart.

The man stood there only smiled lightly and nodded, waiting for Nicolai to regain his composure. It took a minute or so for his violet eyes to turn to the figure and he lay his head back on the pillow.[+royalblue “Well, you have completed the first part of the plan. I'm out of the dungeon. But now we have the more difficult part. Did you make the necessary arrangements for tonight?”] Looking up he saw the man nod again, quite respectful in that manner.[+royalblue “Good. And Adrian, is he dead?”] A shake of the head.[+royalblue “Even better. Now go about your day as usual. Check in on him, feign some of that pity and concern for him, really butter it up. I can't have you being found out just yet.”]

The man gave a final nod of his head as he moved forward to head out the door, though a click of the tongue brought his attention back to the bed and Nicolai was staring across at him.[+royalblue “Remember tonight, I will need time. Make some kind of distraction just in case things get a little.. loud.”] Both men grinned at one another before parting ways, readying for the night ahead. Now where was his food? He was feeling rather hungry from his planning.
  WI_ / 39d 3h 29m 5s
The tired looking man seemed to be in a deep state of thought before he answered her question. And when he did, it was all very vague, but that was about what Florence expected. In the end, she was just glad to know he knew what course he would take when the time came. Which was closer at hand that she thought. The doctor knew his stuff, even if he was a sneaky son of a bitch.

At his mention of sending a guard to look over Adrian, Florence nodded. [+mediumseagreen “I am sturdy, so I was fine, but I think if he would have grabbed that poor nurse she would have cried.”] Smiling, the woman made light of the situation. She omitted the fact that the incident had nearly put her in hysterics. It would only make her feel worse if she knew more people were worried for her. Besides, a bruised arm and a minor break down were the least of their problems right now.

[+mediumseagreen “I guess not.”] As much as she wanted it to be simpler tomorrow, the woman was not so optimistic. It was definitely a good idea to be prepared for it. She just hoped they were able to sleep better this coming night than the last. [+mediumseagreen “Perhaps, if we are lucky, the exhaustion will help us out with that. Because, quite frankly, we both look terrible. I would not be surprised if Julia left you with a face like that.”] A grin grew on her lips as she poked fun at the man. He rolled his eyes but inevitably joined in with her fun and they fell into a bout of insulting one another. It was all in jest, but from the outside looking in it probably looked pretty mean spirited. By the end of it they were both laughing. It was a nice distraction while it lasted, but like all good things it came to an end and the pair said their farewells for the time being.

There was not a tremendous list of things for Florence to do that day. So she found herself going for a walk near the fields. The air helped to clear her mind and the clouds in the sky gave her something new to look at. As beautiful as this place was, and all the love she had for it, she did like to have a change of scenery every once in a blue moon. That was what was so nice about the sky; it was always changing. And on this warm summer day there was a light breeze to move things along just a little quicker.

As she was thinking about turning around to wander back home, Florence caught sight of Augustine and Flora. They looked to be on their way back from town, hand in hand as it so happened. Smiling, the woman waited for them to come a little closer before calling out to the couple. The simple greeting caught them both by surprise and just as soon as Augustine heard it he sidestepped and let go of Flora’s hand. Really she did not know why he was so embarrassed. It wasn’t as though she did not know what they were up to. He had told her himself in fact, which only made it all the funnier. Though the girl at his side did not find it quite so humorous. She shot him a look that could have frozen the rivers over.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 39d 4h 52m 18s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus was glad she shared his trepidation about all of this, though it was not a positive thing as he had hoped she would have some fix-all solution for this. It was a wild hope, but sometimes when things were too difficult then you went to long guesses and the fantastical ideas. For two logical and factual people like them it was not exactly easy.

[+darkslateblue “We thought it was one sided toward Adrian. We thought this was Nicolai wanting to kill him because of what happened at the pass. Now its switched to the other side; it seems Adrian had tried something against Nicolai and now Adrian is getting his comeuppance.”] Her deep breath made him look up and over to her, having been solely focused upon the floor.[+darkslateblue “Florence..”] He sighed and stood up, taking a few tentative steps away, lifting his face to the sky and taking a deep breath.

Could he truly tell her what was going on? If he did, then she would react differently. He already had. He needed her to be objective in her decisions like he could not longer be, and yet he needed her to know so that he did not make a decision that was wrong or miss out a vital fact that would stop his actions. In any other matter he would speak to Eugene or Julia if he could not to Florence. But they would inevitably speak to her about it. So what was he to do?

[+darkslateblue “I have it hand. Depending on whether he lives or dies, I will act accordingly because I cannot now go after Nicolai without hearing from Adrian about what he knows."] It was true that to go for the elf would be easier with Adrian dead, a martyr of sorts that would make locking up or even killing Nicolai more justified. It still did not mean he wanted Adrian to die.

[+darkslateblue "The doctor told me Adrian will either break the fever or succumb to it by tomorrow evening at the latest.”] How the man knew so precisely he didn't know. Perhaps it was just the natural longevity of the infection and whether or not it took hold.[+darkslateblue “Just.. let us not make any rash decisions in the meantime. I will send a guard to watch Adrian so that he doesn't grab anyone else.”] He looked at her arm with a quietness that showed his displeasure.[+darkslateblue “We should both try and rest this evening. I don't think tomorrow will be much better or easier, whatever way this goes.”]
  WI_ / 39d 6h 5m 37s
Florence had honestly expected for this to be a part of what Augustus had been told, but after seeing his face, she knew that was not the case. She was right to tell him. [+mediumseagreen “Yes, it is beginning to look like he was provoked in some way… though we cannot be sure how.”] Her mind went to Elizabeth who had gone with him. If there had been some preconceived plan, the elfin woman may have had a part in it. That would also serve as explanation to why she parted from a long time friend for Nicolai, who amounted to little more than a stranger. But there was no information to prove or deny such a thing. The only way might be to ask Nicolai directly, and even then they would just have to take his word for it. [+mediumseagreen “This is all too one sided.”]

It had only been a few days, but if Adrian was going to die he needed to get on with it already. Florence was tired of waiting with nothing to do. And it was not particularly helpful that Augustus was keeping silent as well. Though he had let it slip that whatever it was, was a danger to the country as a whole. The scale of this was getting much too big, much to quickly.

For a moment she worried if they even had time to postpone action. Time was often a luxury and she did not want something to go amiss because the squandered it. However, the sense of unease in her did not last. Looking over to Augustus, she remembered who she was working with. She trusted him. If he thought that they should stand back to have a proper look at the situation, then he probably had a good reason for it. Idleness was a dangerous foe, but haste was two fold so. Taking a deep breath, she tried her best to keep these things in mind.

[+mediumseagreen “Do you have a plan for when we know for sure about Adrian?”] Even if they could not enact is right this moment, it would help her to know they at least had an idea in the works.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 39d 6h 49m 10s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus smiled at her belief that Gregory was content to keep the mood light. It was good to know the man still cared though still trusted him to look after this Kingdom alongside his children. Many times in the beginning he had thought the wise old man would come in, telling him what to do. But over his life he had been guided and entrusted to help Eugene when he had gone with Florence to the mainland and to Wistina. Still, that was thoughts for another time, as his eyes noted something.

The marking on her skin was a little raised and swollen and he saw her eyeing it with a little concern. When she spoke of what had happened, he could put two and two together to work out what had caused the injury. Yet when she reported exactly what Adrian had said it only made his eyes widen in alarm. He clearly had not been told this much by Nicolai and he sat back with a groan.[+darkslateblue “It is far more than simply troubling; it throws this mystery even further into darkened depths.”] Rubbing at his forehead for a moment as he processed and ordered his thoughts, after a little whilst he looked back to Florence.[+darkslateblue “You know what this means, right? If Adrian thought Nicolai was dead then it could be grounds for why the elfin man attacked. And it would give some, but not full justification to Nicolai's attack.”]

This feud between the pair had gone from a rather simple case of jealousy and lost love, to something much more. He could not imagine Adrian being someone to attack anyone unprovoked however, so perhaps Nicolai had struck a cord first? But then he had thought it was Ulrich on the battlefield, so Nicolai could not use that as provocation for why he had tried to kill Adrian.[+darkslateblue “So now we possibly have Adrian did something to Nicolai, or he at least had information that stated Nicolai was dead. And somehow that information was incorrect but Nicolai may have found out and used it as a catalyst for attacking Adrian. Meanwhile from what Nicolai has told me we have other dangers to Astoria to worry about. And until we know if Adrian lives or dies, there is nothing I can do.”] Could nothing be simple anymore?
  WI_ / 39d 8h 13m 52s
Florence made a face at the pet name, she did not much care for him using it in front of others, even Augustus. Not that that had ever stopped Gregory. She shooed him off without answering his request. There was no use in her keeping him up to date if he was perfectly capable of it himself.

Listening to her long time friend comment on the old dwarf, Florence nodded. [+mediumseagreen "He was trying to keep the mood light, my guess is that he is probably more upset than he let on."] He often used that jovialness to his advantage, so she would not put it passed him. It was likely he would find a different time and place to let out his frustrations instead of piling them on top of Florence and Augustus who already had their fair share to deal with. [+mediumseagreen "He has plenty of friends, I am sure he will find someone to talk to when he feels the need."] That being the end of what she had to say on that matter, it was back to thinking about more pressing things.

Her eyes dropped down to her arm, the redness persisted. Come this time tomorrow it would probably be a striking purple. She was not looking forward to it. [+mediumseagreen "Adrian woke... It was just for a short while. I do not think he was fully coherant; he kept talking about Ulrich and stopping him. I told him that we had apprehended the Wolf and that it was not Ulrich after all. I did so in hopes that he might calm down, but he ended up demanding to know who it was."] In hindsight she wish she would have lied, but she was too panicked int he moment to have thought of that. [+mediumseagreen "Admittedly, I ended up letting it slip."] She was not proud of it. [+mediumseagreen "But when I did, he could not seem to believe it. He went on and on about it not being possible, that Nicolai was dead... It was troubling to say the least."] The woman wasn't sure if this was going to be old news to Augustus, but she felt like she needed to tell him all the same.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 39d 9h 32m 46s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus found their familial bickering rather sweet if not a little stress relieving. It lightened the tone of the past few days and as ever it was the little dwarven man who was providing the comical relief. Florence took it in her stride of course, seeing her facial expressing that showed she understood what was going on, and it left the trio in a good enough mood that he accepted the invitation to join them for a light meal. It would put Julia's concerns to bed at least.

Allowing Gregory to take charge, as he did in the matters of food theft, he sauntered into the kitchen and near about put his finger in every pie that was available; all under the guise that he could not see what it was he wanted to eat. The man may be losing his sight but he had his sense of smell and soon honed in on three pies; apple, blueberry and raspberry. The kitchen staff were quite versed in how to be rid of the small man and so often left smaller pies and treats out in the hopes he would take them and leave the larger pieces be. And it worked a charm.

Satisfied with his haul, handing off the latter two between the younger pairing of his thief cadre, he took them with him to a small courtyard just off the main entrance. Under shade from the sun and with a good pie in hand, he made pleasant company and a gracious host for this light meal. Their conversation was pulled away from Nicolai, the dwarf knowing that the pair needed some time to relax and think of other things. Though he did embarrass them with talk of Flora and Augustine. What else would a grandfather do than meddle in young love?

After over an hour of their time, he gave a little yawn, brushing a hand through his beard.[+darkmagenta “Well, this pie thief could do with a little nap before dinner.”] He leaned across, kissing Florence's cheek and holding her fingers in his.[+darkmagenta “I trust you to keep me in the loop of whatever you're up to from now on Mausbär.”] He grinned and patted Augustus on the shoulder as he left them be, humming one of the songs he played on his instrument to himself as he toddled off.

Augustus gave it a moment, though in truth he was rather eager to know what Florence had requested to talk about with him. Only once the humming had become quite faint did he turn to her, sitting back a little.[+darkslateblue “Your father is still the greatest of characters. I thought hearing Nicolai was back may dampen his spirits but he seems as sprite and chipper as ever.”]
  WI_ / 39d 10h 26m 6s

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