[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai had been enjoying his slumber, head still aching from the several hits he had taken in a short space of time. His dreams flickered between joyful memories and even mundane ones, but overall they were pleasant, which was an oddity. He often had nightmares, attacks from ghoulish people from his past or emotional and heart rending pleas for his help from blank faces of those he could not help over his years. Though he portrayed himself a resolute and stony individual, it was not the case as Florence had come to learn first-hand for herself.
The reason he [i had] been enjoying his sleep was that in quick succession he had two visitors. Firstly the doctor returned, checking in on him and enquiring about any discomfort. His condition was stable to say the best of things, and though he had been relaxing for almost a whole day now he was still quite groggy and relayed the throbbing of his skull to the medical man. Understanding his illness as the medical man did, he took out a vanilla coloured powder and placed a pinch into Nicolai’s water beside his bed. It was very bitter but he was assured it would help with the headache. Thankfully he had not been feeling as he had yesterday, any falling spell put out of his mind for now though he did request the doctor leave him one of his copper tablets for future use.
Their conversation did not last long after that before Augustus entered. He made pleasantries with the guards and then sent them out of the room. They were becoming used to this routine now and moved without pause. With them gone he approached the bed.[+darkslateblue “ I trust all is well?”] He asked the doctor.
[+darkgoldenrod “As well as a malnourished man who has taken two severe hits to the head can be, Sir.”] A little smart mouth but respectful all the same and Augustus nodded with a light and very fake smile.
[+darkslateblue “Good. If you could, I’d like a word with him alone.”] The doctor eyed him for a moment, but he could not very well think of an excuse to remain now that he had administered his medicine and had a statement on the elf’s health. He nodded his head, collected his belongings and left the room – remembering to leave a tablet as requested. Once the man was gone, Augustus turned to Nicolai.[+darkslateblue “Good to see you are in excellent health Nicolai. I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear that Adrian is going to be okay and is awake.”]
Nicolai stared over at the man with annoyance written clear over his face.[+royalblue “It is only good news because he has information pertaining to my daughters location.”] Seeing there was only a brief registering of that information on the dark eyed man’s face he tutted.[+royalblue “Lovely to see Florence can be trusted with sensitive information just like you can. An Astorian trait, if you will.”] Although Augustus could see the look he was getting, he only shrugged his shoulders.
[+darkslateblue “Well if it’s about trust, I do recall locking you up in this room, yet you were seen out and about last night, free of your chains. And given the information you told me a few days ago about this castle, I find it suspicious that a man trying to claim innocence and point the finger elsewhere would sneak about when he should be a prisoner.”]
The news that Florence had told on him, like some childish game of ratting out a sibling to the parent, was not lost on Nicolai. He had half expected her to tell him but not immediately the next day. Now he would not be able to sneak out for any further midnight rendezvous with her, or Adrian.[+royalblue “Not to worry, we got what we wanted from one another.”] He left it purposefully risqué and vague as to what he meant, though of course Florence likely had told him it was not for [i that].
[+darkslateblue “Well if you prefer I can have her join us for my questioning, save me having to tell her it all later?”] She was his co-investigator now and he would value her input. But he knew she had things of her own to do and was grateful to see Nicolai look away for a moment.
[+royalblue “Just ask your question’s Augustus, I don’t exactly have a say in what goes on and the longer you suspect me of being the toxic party, the longer I am kept here in these shackles. Just do not ask me what happened to my daughter or Elizabeth because I do not know nor want to discuss it respectively.”] He had been waiting for the man to come back to him. And on the third day he had come again, as expected, offering nothing but a listening ear. Nothing that he would tell him would paint him in a negative light, but he had thought the same when he handed the information about the knife over.
Augustus nodded and retrieved a chair so that he may sit down and talk. Comfort would be nice for their long talk.
The nervous girl seemed to misunderstand Florence's call for her attention at first. The green-eyed woman had to assure her that she was fine waiting until she finished up her task with Adrian. But after that girl was able to bring her attention mainly back to what she was supposed to be doing. Florence on the other hand went ahead and found a seat on the other side of the infirmary. It was out of the way, so she would not be a bother. It was also a means of avoiding having to wait for the scatterbrained nurse to track her down later.
Waiting much longer than she anticipated, Florence began to wonder just how long it took to feed an ailing man soup when the other woman made her appearance. She apologized profusely for the wait, explaining that she also had to administer some medication the doctor had prescribed. She rambled on about the details before she was cut off.
[+mediumseagreen "No, no you are fine. I know you are busy so I will not take up much of your time."] Her voice was quiet. And while they were some distance from Adrian, she beckoned the girl to follow her out of the room. [+mediumseagreen "I only wished to ask that you might keep what happened yesterday a secret for the time being. Adrian is still recovering and I do not want any unnecessary stress on him. Do you understand?"] She felt the need to ask.
Again, the nurse nodded enthusiastically. [+darkorange "Yes, ma'am."] The younger woman thought it was awfully sweet of her to go through all this trouble. She had though Lady Florence was a little intimidating, but it seemed she was as kind natured as her brother.
[+mediumseagreen "Very good. Thank you very much. Sorry to have bothered you with such a little thing."] Florence took that opportunity to excuse herself. She had little idea what she was going to do with the rest of her day, but certainly it was already much fuller than expected.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus again made a mental commendation of Florence’s acting prowess as she skilfully danced around the dream that Adrian described. There would come a time when they had to explain how Nicolai was here, how he had been portraying himself as Ulrich, how he had been the one to attack Vollenberg and cause the man’s injury. And he would have to be investigated with regards to the knife. That would be the most difficult part.
Leaving her to speak with the nurse, he left the infirmary and passed by Captain Liam.[+darkslateblue “I trust you to remain silent about our prisoner. Keep all details to yourself, I will be the one to speak to Commander Adrian about him, when the time is right. Understood?”] He was quite terse with his response and his physical presence was felt by the man who nodded his understanding. It was good enough to satisfy Augustus’ desires and he left the man to wait for his turn.
With no other pressing matters, he made his way toward his office though found himself stopping at the top of the main staircase. He bit his bottom lip with indecision before turning to the right, away from the office with the knife and helmet, toward Nicolai’s room to go discuss a delicate matter. He had trusted him with information once, and though he had betrayed that trust, it had been to Florence. And considering he had broken free of his room then he was not as innocent as he wanted to portray himself. He would remind him of that.
When the man reached out to her, her heart jumped. As great an actress as she was, there were just certain things she had a hard time covering up. She was pulling away from him before she could think better of it. Luckily, he took no offence to her action. At least, not that showed on his face.
She blinked at him as he recounted the dream he thought he had. [+mediumseagreen “Strange indeed. I must admit, I have not thought of him either… but fevers usually come with outlandish dreams."] That was the truth, though she did not much care to learn what he actually dreamed of. Florence also made a mental note to let the nurse know that she was not to tell Adrian what actually happened or that Nicolai was presently somewhere int he castle.
[+mediumseagreen "Very well, I think I have interrupted your meal for long enough. Now please, do get some more rest. This is not over yet."] Compensating for what happened before, she pat his hand gently and stood. Not wanting to forget any loose ends, she turned to the woman who was still standing with his soup. [+mediumseagreen "If you do not mind, I would like to talk with you when you are done here."]
Not even remotely interested in denying anything Florence asked of her, the girl nodded her head vigorously. She did not know what the older woman wanted. Her assumption was that she lied to save Adrian's feelings, given their history, but that was a thought of the moment. It came and went and now she was just confused at the the King's sister could want from her.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Whilst Augustus had to commend her for her acting capabilities, he did not like how close she was taking herself to Adrian given how he had attacked her last time. He had seen her pause and the trepidation of being grabbed again no doubt worried her. But he trusted the man would not repeat such an act, not with himself nearby as well as Captain Liam, still left hovering at the edge as he waited his own turn to speak to the barely conscious patient.
Adrian had found Augustus to be his usual self, looking for information once he was over the formalities of asking about his health. It was not out of the ordinary and he relaxed into his bed thinking things were over and he could just relax – perhaps have more of that soup. Yet the movement to his side forced him to open his eyes and he saw Florence was moving over, taking a seat right by him. The first thing he saw, other than that warm and inviting smile, was the bruising about her wrist. Her explanation however was perfectly understandable and he nodded. The children were often running around, especially the younger ones, and he had taken a tumble once or twice to avoid hurting them.
Offering a very faint smile as she told him not to worry he nodded.[+maroon “I will be fine.. Doc said.. it’s a clean cut..”] He seemed happy with that statement as, like Nicolai, he understood cuts and wounds. Not how to fix them, but he could tell if a strike was fatal or not. Thankfully he had such a good doctor on hand. Looking at Florence he lifted a hand to place atop hers, the uninjured one, but she pulled it away and for just the briefest of moments he saw a look of trepidation flash over her face. It was odd but nothing more than her being concerned he would brush against the injured wrist and he put it down to her trying to nurse the injury.
[+maroon “Odd thing.. whilst I was out.. I swear I had.. one of the weirdest dreams..”] He licked his dry lips and let out a soft sigh, his version of a laugh whilst in such a painful state.[+maroon “It was you.. talking about Nicolai.. I can't remember where we were.. probably that tavern..”] It sounded so strange to him, and he missed the concerned look from Augustus.[+maroon “Why am I dreaming.. about him? I haven’t.. thought about that guy.. in so many years..”] He smiled a little again, finding the situation bemusing and quite funny. He was not to know that Florence and Augustus understood why he hadn’t thought about Nicolai for so many years. Why worry about a dead man?
Another good thing about Augustus taking the wheel was that it allowed Florence a moment to catch her breath and calm her mind. Watching from the sideline, she was able to think about how to best handle this. And when it came out that Adrian did not remember what had been said the day before, that made it all the easier. There was a chance that he was lying, but she would take that. Letting things be as they always were would rouse the least suspicion from him, not that she thought he would be able to do a whole lot in this condition. Though, he surprised her yesterday, so she would not put it passed him to do it again.
When she was called up, there was barely a second of hesitation before she came to Adrian's bedside. Florence doubted anyone other than Augustus would have noticed, that and maybe the nurse who knew what happened the day before. But after that split second all was well with her. She smiled warmly at the bedridden man, even going so far as to take a seat on the edge of the bed. [+mediumseagreen "You have given us quite a lot to worry about these last few days, Adrian. I expect you to recover quickly and make up for it when you do."] He words were double edged, but she thought them natural enough for the situation, at least coming from her own mouth.
The man nodded from where he sat, red eyes running over her and stopping at her arm. Brow furrowing, a look of concern graced his features. [+crimson "What... happened?"] It seemed to be a genuine worry, but then again it might have been. Just because he was a member of the Taken did not necessarily mean his entire personality was forged. Looking back, she remembered Logan to be a rather sweet person as well, despite the occupation.
[+mediumseagreen "Oh this?"] She acted surprised, as if she forgot it was there to begin with. [+mediumseagreen "The children were running amuck. They ran around me as we entered one of the drawing rooms and slammed the door. It caught my arm. That is all."] Her nieces and nephews did like to chase each other about a great deal and the door had been known to take a few casualties. But it seemed no matter how many times they were told, the behavior continued, so the story was not entirely unlikely. [+mediumseagreen “I am fine, so do not worry over me. You just focus on getting back on your feet.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus had thankfully replaced the knife into his drawer before they left the first time, and he was very happy he had done so now that someone had come into the room. Instructing Florence to leave the helmet atop the desk, primarily so they did not frighten Adrian with it but also to keep Nicolai's drawing safe, he locked the door behind him before taking off at a light jog to catch up to the woman. Thankfully she was privy to wearing pants these days, the dresses gone with her stamina training and thus they made excellent time getting down to the infirmary. She was improving, but maybe he was slowing down a little.
Walking in he placed a hand to her shoulder, holding her back just a moment as he stepped in ahead of her and toward the bed. There lay Adrian, prone on his bed but with his head propped up as he accepted small spoonfuls of soup from the nurse by his side. Those bright and vivid eyes were now sunken and his mouth trembled as he accepted the spoon one final time. The nurse saw Augustus approaching, and though she wanted to make sure Adrian ate, she knew her place and quickly retreated with a whispered apology.
Augustus moved in and took her seat, wanting to put a hand on Adrian's arm to take his attention. But he couldn't bring himself to do so. Thankfully he had never been quite happy and joyful about the man, so he would not have to feign such emotions. Being this close he was about to go straight into questioning him, but seeing Florence hovering close by he decided not to rush this. He would be defensive, they knew that.[+darkslateblue “Adrian.. it's Augustus, can you hear me?”] His voice was low as he tried to grab the injured mans attention.
Having been laying there and accepting food from the nurse he was a little bewildered to find the voice so deep and no further spoonfuls of warm soup offered to him. His eyes opened a little more, looking over to his general. Seeing him beside his bed he offered a weak nod of his head.[+maroon “Hello.. Augustus.”] With a hoarse voice, it would not be easy to have a conversation, yet it was the auburn haired man who continued it.[+maroon “The Wolf.. did I get.. him?”] He closed his eyes over, not needing to see the man to speak to him.
Augustus hesitated only a moment before nodding.[+darkslateblue “Yeah, we have him, don't worry.”] His answer was purposefully vague and he paused as Adrian nodded his understanding.[+darkslateblue “Adrian.. what is the last thing you remember?”] With him asking about the Wolf, rather than Nicolai, he wondered if perhaps he did not remember Florence's small mishap.
Taking a few deep breaths to ease his lungs, Adrian spoke.[+maroon “He got me.. too quick.. but I.. managed to hit him.. with my shield..”] He took time to regain himself, clearly still very weak.[+maroon “And then.. water.. a boat.. a woman speaking.. can't remember what..”] He sighed and eased back into the bed, wincing as a small spasm moved his torso and his pain receptors fired haphazardly.
[+darkslateblue “It's okay, that is good, it was probably the nurse this morning checking in on you.”] He cast a glance to Florence quickly, returning to the man before him.[+darkslateblue “Adrian..”] He hesitated and sighed. The doctor was hovering near to Florence, Captain Liam having finally caught up and waiting in the doorway. Seeing the look on the formers face, he could tell he wanted his patient to rest and eat in peace. It would do not good to press him today.[+darkslateblue “Keep resting, eat as much as you can.”] He stood up, a faint acknowledgement given as he moved away and beckoned Florence closer to talk with.v
He was looking for a smile, but her face got incredibly red and her expression turned more into a flabbergasted pout. She knew that he was teasing, but she had very little immunity to this sort of joking. Augustus knew that and was absolutely the worst for using it against her. Though when her small fit passed she did end up cracking a smile. He was lucky he sat among the few she was willing to let talk to her in such a way. Though she had her own way of getting him back. [+mediumseagreen "You better not be teaching my son any such sayings. I am certain it will come to bite you in the butt."] That flustered him just about as bad as he did to her. They both knew where to poke one another, but before he could barb back there was a knock. Odd, that anyone would check here since it was so seldom utilized.
Catching sight of the captain, he had some rather surprising news: Adrian was awake. Both she and Augustus were out of their seats and flying towards the clinic just as quick as their feet could carry them. There might just be a small window, so they could not go wasting it on travel time if it could be helped.
As much as she wanted to walk in there, temper fully flared and ready to start hell, Florence knew better. They needed to be particular about how they handled this situation. There were still those among the guard who placed their loyalties with Adrian, and if he truly was a member of the Taken, it would not be easy to get information out of him. No doubt his alibis had been rehearsed long before he came to the point of suspicion. Worried that she might say the wrong thing like the last time, the woman decided to let Augustus take up the helm this time as she followed him into the infirmary.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Florence made a good point about this Elizabeth woman. She was more hassle than she would be useful. He couldn't keep both men locked up for months until they found her. If they found her ever.[+darkslateblue “He could have been an unfortunate victim of whatever they were doing here. Discovered that the Taken were here and lost his child as a consequence.”] It was a half theory he didn't much want to expand upon. It did not sit well in his chest to talk about a young child like a commodity.
He laughed a little however when she returned his stare as the tension of this situation lifted a little. He nodded, each of them understanding his look and her answer all without a word spoken. It was not his place to ask, but Nicolai was his prisoner so he would like to know if they held anything more than a passing friendship with one another.[+darkslateblue “I won't ask what you talked about; what happens in a bed chambers stays in a bed chambers and all that nonsense.”] He teased her a little hoping to draw a smile from her as he leaned his head back and stretched his feet out.
Still smiling some he brought his hand onto the desk, toying with it idly.[+darkslateblue “In a way, I respect this elf for his sheer stubbornness. I feel if I were in his position, I too wouldn't want to speak such personal truths. But it doesn't half make all this frustratingly difficult.”] He had thought to go down to the kitchen, find something to eat and drink, but he was stopped by a knock at the door.[+darkslateblue “Come in!”] He had to shout; thick door.
It opened in and a little sheepishly, Captain Liam half stepped in.[+cadetblue “Ah, apologies for the interruption Sir, ma'am,”] he nodded to both and Augustus waved his hand for him to hurry up,[+cadetblue “Adrian has woken up. The doctor thought it best you come quickly, he's unsure how long he will remain awake.”]
When it came to Elizabeth, things were still a mystery. [+mediumseagreen “He would not speak of her. It sounds like she may have been in cahoots with whatever the plot against him was, thiugh I still do not quite understand why they would target him.”] If they were with the Taken, it might have to do with the death of their comrades. Nicolai had taken a part in that, but it also could have been as simple as his association with Florence . Lords below, she hoped that was not the case. She did not want the death, or worse, of that child on hear hands. A selfish thought, but true nonetheless.
[+mediumseagreen “Either way, finding her would be difficult and more time consuming than it is worth at this moment.”] If the situation was not so pressing perhaps they could send a party out to search for her... though that would be a burocratic nightmare in and of itself. They would need permissions unless it was a small squad disguised as travelers.
His final question was another one that she could not fully answer. She was getting tired of these. [+mediumseagreen “How I know is because he appeared before me. In fact, he nearly scared me senseless waking me in the middle of the night... I know he must have had help, but I do not know who should be so bold.”] He was giving her a look, the exact one she wanted to avoid. They both knew it was not for [i that], but it was more about the principle. He was going to fall out of his chair when she got around to telling him about what she had done in Wistina. Ultimately, she knew he would not see her any differently, but she still felt a great deal of shame surrounding it. But for her that was nothing new.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus found her remarks on Nicolai being brought to tears over the drawing to be most insightful. His interaction, and the reports he received from Florence, were of a very hardened and stoic man. A general and leader who was perhaps a little emotional when it came to anger, yet seemed to hold onto his sadness very well. In many ways the elf was like him. Nothing brought him to tears apart from Flora many times when she had been young.
This meant he understood Florence's response about killing him should this all be some awful ruse.[+darkslateblue “If it comes to that, just make sure to leave me some too.”] Being a father, and a father of a daughter, he disliked this talk of fake parenting.[+darkslateblue “But, for now, you trust him to be true so I will believe that the picture is his daughter. I'm guessing you got nothing about the woman, Elizabeth?”] The question was asked in hope and he got his answer quickly from Florence, leaving him to lean back in his seat and sigh.
[+darkslateblue “If we had her we could verify everything. She knew Adrian before this, she was with Nicolai up until some point. For all we know she is the mother of the girl. But, we have more information now. We have a possible motive for why Nicolai came back here, why he attacked us in Vollenberg – or rather attacked Adrian.”] Mulling over this he was still quite unsure how to go forward. Adrian wasn't very well likely to come out with a confession if he was with the Taken.[+darkslateblue “You said you knew Nicolai had left his room last night; how? I trust you did not release him, so who did?”]
[+mediumseagreen "I have; I thought about it the whole way over. And I know there is no way to know anything for sure... but I do not think he is lying. I-"] She paused, looking down at the picture and the smiling face on it. [+mediumseagreen "I have never seen him cry like that. Not when Germaine died, not when he got hit with that arrow, and not when we split ways..."] She had seen him in the throws of most grief, rage, and heartbreak, but there was nothing like that. But none of those compared to the pain of thinking you were going to lose a child. A sentiment that terrorized her for months after her husbands death and there were times it almost became a reality.
Looking up, her eyes were hard as the emeralds they shared a shade with. [+mediumseagreen "But if it does turn out that I have been deceived... I swear to you, I will kill him myself."] More than just that, she would make him regret ever stepping foot in Astoria if she found out this was nothing but a ploy. There were certain things that you just don't lie about, and for her, this was one of them.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Augustus was quite bewildered to see Florence entering with a helmet, Nicolai's helmet. He was unsure just what could warrant fetching it, but said nothing as she shut the door and approached the table. Perhaps from his solemn look he gave her his answer with regards to Adrian as she did not bother to ask. Which was good, as he did not fancy having to admit defeat verbally.
Eyeing the mask which she held so close to her in a protective manner, he did wonder if there was something he was missing. He knew a little of their past history but the whole incident at the pass was rather put to one side and left in mystery. Even Gregory refused to discuss it saying it was best left be. When she presented her news and offered the drawing, he carefully took it to inspect. The girl had elven ears, a chubby face typical of children and with a smile that seemed to light up the entire face. It was a lovely drawing but if a dagger could be faked, so could a drawing. It could be anyone's daughter he was passing off.
But Augustus didnt want to go down the devil's advocate route. Instead he looked up at Florence, nodding his thanks before handing back the paper.[+darkslateblue "You've probably already guessed my argument. Just tell me; do you believe he is without a doubt telling the truth when he says he has a daughter?"] If he was going to second guess her each step of the way then there was no need for her to be here. She knew the man for ten years. Even fleeting meetings would give her an understanding of his character. He just hoped this new Nicolai was not so different. Likewise he didn't want to question someone about being a parent, especially to a girl like himself. If this was true then his heart would truly go out to the man.
Coming back to the place they had agreed upon, Augustus beat her there. That was to be expected, as she had fully anticipated her task to take much longer, but here she was. By his face alone she could tell his search was not fruitful.
Closing the door behind her, she clutched the mask close to her body. It was almost as though she feared someone might try to take it from her. [+mediumseagreen “I do not have every detail, but I managed to get him to tell me his motivation...”]
The woman went quiet for a moment. She wondered whether or not he would believe it or think he was playing to one of her weaknesses. It would not have been a bad strategy, but she really did not think he was lying about this. It made sense with the other things he said, it fit the Taken's MO to a certain extent, and he seemed to be genuine. Not to mention this was not the type of lie she would forgive him for and if he wanted any chance with her, as he said he did, Nicolai would know better.
[+mediumseagreen "Apparently, in all those escapades of his, Nicolai had a child. A daughter... she was taken from him. That is why he is so determined."] The look in her eyes would communicate her belief, but to give it the same weight, she removed the picture one more time and placed it on the table between them.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat For a brief moment Nicolai saw the picture, from his angle it was not easy to. It brought back the memories, even the ones he had thought locked away forever. He had not looked at that drawing since placing it there over two years ago. Hearing someone say her name, a woman's voice and out loud, he looked up to Florence quickly. For some strange reason he felt she understood why he had reacted as he had earlier, that her motherly instincts and natural leaning toward children that most adults had, meant she could visualize what he could not say.
With the drawing replaced into the helmet, Nicolai felt better. It was safe and now Florence had something else to bring to Augustus. Her comment brought a lump to his throat but he remained silent as she left with the helmet in hand, the guards ushered back in through the doorway.[+royalblue “A good father knows where his daughter is..”] He said to himself, body slipping down the bed and closing his eyes as the throbbing in the side of his head began anew.
Augustus was in his office awaiting the return of Florence. It was only a few minutes for each of them to do their tasks, though his had been very quick. And it was not good news. With no branding anywhere on his body, Adrian was clear of that incriminating evidence. He sat wondering if she would get anything from Nicolai but he was not all that hopeful of it. He was not hopeful of much at the moment. The only good news is that neither man was going to be going anywhere in this land without his knowledge and a sizable guard contingent with them.
If Adrian was proven to be a member of the Taken, he would take some solace knowing he had been stopped before anything could happen, and it would work to Nicolai's favour. But if he wasn't, then he would still have to expel the man from the realm. He could not have someone who had been accused of that, living amongst those he cared so much about. He understood that people held grievances and with his position, his power, he would be able to cause quite a lot of harm.
All posts are either in parody or to be taken as literature. This is a roleplay site. Sexual content is forbidden.