Florence listened to his theories on why her son was acting out the way he was. Honestly, anything was a possibility, though she had a feeling it probably was not the second option. [+mediumseagreen “I am more likely to hold a grudge than him...”] That being said, if this was a grudge against the elf for leaving, if she could get over it, he would too. [+mediumseagreen “Whatever it is, I am sure he will overcome it with time.”] There was also the chance that he was just at that age where he found the idea of his parent’s romance disgusting.
Nicolai mentioned that he would talk to Augustine and she nodded. [+mediumseagreen “I know I will need to talk with him as well, but maybe you are right. Perhaps this is something that is meant to be a conversation amongst men.”] She sort of wrinkled her nose at calling her son a man. He was indeed getting older, but she had a difficult time accepting that. Plus he was a long way off from being grown. Augustine may have thought himself an adult, but she knew he would look back on these days and find that he had been naïve.
Taking notice of his hand being placed behind her, Florence was able to predict where he was going from there. She tilted her head slightly, meeting him part way as he came in for a fleeting kiss. Nicolai moved back some, but the woman followed him. Leaning against him comfortably, she let her head rest on his shoulder. [+mediumseagreen “Hopefully he does not give you too hard a time.”] She smiled, genuinely wanting things to go smoothly between the two. It would be easier to continue forward with Nicolai if she knew Augustine was not so adamantly against it.
Keeping her place pressed to his side, things settled once more. It was mostly quiet. There would be the occasional sound projected from around the fireside as the others settled into sleep, but other than that there was nothing. Florence could have gone for some light conversation, but she opted to stay silent and simply enjoy this moment. She could not remember the last time she had been so comfortable leaned up against someone like this, at least with someone that was not family. However, this was different and she liked it.
Some fifteen or twenty minutes passed before she felt like she should probably follow the others’ example and get some rest. That or she ran the risk of falling asleep on Nicolai, and while she had the feeling he might not have minded, she would rather not. Shifting, she peeled herself away from him. The cooling night air filled the empty space and she almost regretted moving. Turning, she looked up at the man while still rather close. [+mediumseagreen “I should go now... Thank you for sitting with me and allowing me to pester you during your watch.”] Despite the darkness, her eyes had adjusted well enough to make out most of the elf’s features. The color of his eyes deepened without the light, they were closer to mauve than violet. Staring for a bit longer than she probably should have, Florence was filled with the urge to breach the distance once more. Somehow it felt natural. Bringing one hand up to the side of his face, she cradled his cheek gentle before coming in to press her lips to his. It was not an actions born of spite or obligation, but simply because she wanted it. The kiss itself was more than a peck, but not significantly deep. She would consider it a happy medium, and smiled sheepishly as she pulled back. [+mediumseagreen “Um… goodnight. I will see you in the morning.”] The contented expression would persist even as she went to stand and return to the others so that she could get some rest.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Things were quite serene for a time and they were left to just sit with one another, Nicolai turning his attention to the sky as darkness fell and finding the slow reveal of the stars to be quite interesting. He could pick out one or two though the world was rotated and he was looking on the sky from a foreign location. Thankfully the few he knew he could use to navigate from and he was about to make mention of them to Florence when a certain young man made his way over.
Hearing how the decisions in the group were being made without his or Florence's approval, it seemed the two experienced members were being overthrown by the youth. He knew the boy also wanted him away from his mother and so he offered a knowing smile before nodding.[+royalblue “I would be delighted, Sir.”] It was interesting that the only member of the group nursing themselves from injury would be put up for first watch. But if Nicolai wanted to be seen as strong and capable, this was the consequence. And it seemed Florence was aware of her sons ulterior motive and she quickly stepped in to advise she would remain beside the elfin man a little while longer. It left at least one party displeased and Nicolai turned back to her once the boy was back to the fire.
The light squeeze of his hand brought a nod from Nicolai.[+royalblue “I think it is rather sweet, trying to protect his mother from the mean old elf-man.”] He grinned and looked back to her. He had fought to get to this point, against Gregory and no doubt against Augustus and Eugene too. To overcome her sons disapproval was more trivial than daunting.[+royalblue “I think he still sees me as The General, whereas the years spent with you in Astoria have given him a more understanding viewpoint of you.”] They seemed closer than ever now and it that was good. He disliked how upset she seemed after the pass when the boy had pulled closer to his grandfather. Thankfully they had worked through their problems, though it did bring up a possible reason for his disapproval of their relationship.
[+royalblue “Or, rather than seeing me as The General, he sees me as the man who abandoned him in a forest and upset his mother.”] It was not a pleasant possibility but it was one he had considered upon her acceptance of his feelings.[+royalblue “He wants what is best for you and in a way is doing what I did; making that decision for you. I'll speak to him before we reach Wistina. Bit of man-talk might do him so good after spending so long around you and Flora.”] He lightened the tone of the conversation as he leaned in against her, hand resting on the ground behind her and kissing her cheek quickly, in and out in a moment.
Florence shook her head at his musings of being old. If tale of Germaine taking a young Nicolai under his wing were true, then he couldn’t be much older than she was. Though she did find it funny how he played it up as though just sitting down was some great task. He was just as bad as Gregory, though the dwarf really was an old man. It would have been easy to tease him over this, but thinking that a comparison to her father might not be the most flattering of things, she remained silent and just took in the view. The splendor of it held her attention well enough that she did not even notice his staring.
The vibrant orange made way for pinks that darkened into royal purples before the vast expanse above settled into the black of night. The stars were just barely beginning to peek through before Augustine made his way over to be a nuisance. She recalled that they had not finished their conversation from their time on watch together, but seeing as Florence did not care to continue it, that was fine by her.
[+coral “I am hoping to get an early start tomorrow to put more distance between us and the pass.”] He was basically calling curfew. [+coral “We also talked about falling back to singles for night watch so that we each have one night on and one off.”] Now that he and the other kids had some experience with it they were being tossed into the rotation as well. [+coral “Nicolai, can you take the first shift?”]
Florence could practically see the gears turning in her son’s head. He was not being subtle with his attempt to separate them. She hated to make him uncomfortable, but this had turned into a bit of a moment of self-indulgence for her and she did not want it to end just yet. Waiting a moment, she allowed for Nicolai to agree to the boy’s request before speaking up herself. [+mediumseagreen “I am not tired yet, so I think I will stay up just a bit longer with Nicolai, go on back without me.”] The shadowed look on her face conveyed that she was not about to budge on the matter. And seeing as Augustine had not come to make a scene, he relented, but was clearly not happy about it as he left on his own.
When the woman could see her son’s silhouette in the light of the fire, she sighed. [+mediumseagreen “He has gotten to be quite the handful, hasn’t he?”] Florence knew she could not avoid talking to him about this forever, but she still did not particularly feel up to the task. [+mediumseagreen “I would have thought he would be happy about this...”] She held on to the elf’s hand just a little bit tighter as she made the comment. [+mediumseagreen “He has always been very fond of you after all.”] She worried ever so slightly that Gregory might have filled his head with some strange notions, as he was more the one she expected to see such behavior from. But even with how overprotective her father was, she did not think he would go so far as to pass that burden down to his grandson. It left her with a bit of a mystery on her hands.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+royalblue “The past is the past. All I care about is us, here and now.”] Nicolai grinned as her hand took a hold of his and their fingers entwined with one another.[+royalblue “Bet you didn't think you'd hear that from me, huh? I may be an old dog, but I can still learn.”] It was true that before their separation he was a much different man. Before he would argue the minor details and all for pointless victories over friends.
In a way it was bitter-sweet though. Thinking on their past arguments and disagreements it was a touch saddening that he had fought her on such silly matters. Could things have been much different if he had not been a stubborn and foolish man? Perhaps had he held his tongue at the meeting following Germaine's passing, or put himself forward as suitor for Florence when Vincent had propositioned her? Maybe if he had made a public statement that he, and by extension the army he commanded, was backing Augustine for King he could have stopped the uprising.
Such 'what-if' scenarios could be played out a thousand times and still come to no solid conclusion because hypothetical's were just that. And he would take solace in going forward doing the right thing. Starting with going to Astoria and back to Augustine and Florence. And continuing by resting his hand against the woman's side as she leaned up to whisper and kiss his cheek. She turned from him a little as she came back down, his hand resting on her hip as she looked out at the setting sun.[+royalblue “I could think of nothing better dear.”] He spoke a little softer, watching her as she looked out and smiling like he had the night at the tavern after their last blow out.
Leaning across to the smaller woman he kissed the top of her head, squeezing both her hand and her side before directing her to sit down with him. He was very much happy to remain with her, but a days riding left an old elf aching and his knees needed the rest. An audible sigh of relief came as he put himself down on the soft grass next to her and reaffirmed his hold of her hand, thumb brushing along the backs of her fingers. He thought to say something, but perhaps this was a better time to just shut up and for once enjoy the peace about them, and so he just smiled across at her as the orange glow of the waning sun lit her beautiful face.
This had all started with her attempting to be there for him, but somehow after all these days it got turned around. Nicolai was reassuring her. Perhaps that was something she should have felt remorse for, however it was what she needed in that moment so she did not. Instead she listened to his feelings and they filled her will her own contentment.
Her eyes went to his hand as it waited for her in a familiar gesture, though this time it represented something different. It brought a bit of a smile to her face, as it reminded her of how far they had come. Emerald gaze flashing up at him, her intensity dropped back down. [+mediumseagreen “I must admit, that seems much too easy.”] It was strange to her that the effort expected from her was so low, even if in all actuality this was how things were supposed to be. [+mediumseagreen “But I will take your word for it.”]
With that she placed her hand in his, wrapping her thin fingers around his to solidify the contact. There was no chance of her crossing his palm here, but there was also no need. [+mediumseagreen “I would never think any less of your for circumstances outside of your control, just like you do not think any less of me… Or at the very least, I do not think you do.”] She looked up at his with a raised brow, as she made light of her own past. Sure, the ramifications of what had happened still left scars on her to this day, but that did not mean there were not times when she found solace in a little gallows’ humor.
A weight had been lifted from the woman’s shoulders. There were many more difficult things to come, but just having this one settled she felt better. Maybe it was because the source was at such close proximity while Wistina was still some distance off, who knew? But now that this imaginary wall had been knocked down from between them, Florence felt closer to Nicolai than she had before. More trust grew in her for him and maybe for the first time since this odd relationship began, she felt like she was beginning to see the reason he was so earnestly striving for it. Riding that thought, the woman took a step in next to him and came up to her toes. With her face next to his, she came in closer to his ear. [+mediumseagreen “I feel much better now, thank you.”] The whispered words were soft, happy, and soon followed by a gentle kiss to his cheek.
Coming back down to her flat feet, she did not replace the distance between them, opting to stay close with this hand still in hers. As she did so her eyes occupied themselves with the setting sun in the distance. The sky was in the midst of changing color and it was rather pretty. [+mediumseagreen “I came over here to have some time to myself, but upon second consideration I think I would like you to be here with me.”] All the while she spoke, her line of sight stayed off to the horizon. [+mediumseagreen “Would you sit and watch the sunset with me?”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Evidently he had misunderstood her and he flushed for a moment with the embarrassment of getting this conversation so wrong.[+royalblue “Apologies, I had thought you were talking of comfort in a physical sense. I forgot about verbal support.”] In fairness many of their conversations in the past of having a relationship had revolved about touch, whether or not the elven man could overcome that desire for physical contact to be with her.
It was good however that she was blunt and to the point. A military man like himself appreciated the directness, never a good diplomat it showed during their time in Wistina when he could not hope to match Gabriel and Vincent's scheming, leaving that to Florence.[+royalblue “It is my fault that you feel this way because you could not be further from the truth.”] At that he did take a small step forward.[+royalblue “You do not burden me at all Florence you help immeasurably.”] She was so good at speaking publicly that this weakness to talking with him privately was that little bit more confusing, but it was nothing in the grand scheme of things.
[+royalblue “You know how stubborn I am. I want to be that man's man, the man who protects you and who whenever you look at him you know you can rely on him.”] It had never done him good but a lifetime of military service did that. Warped a man's view of strength.[+royalblue “I did not want my new partner to think I was anything less after what happened to me. But that is just making excuses I guess.”] He didn't want this to be a pity party like old Nicolai, nor to turn this into a list of reasons why he did what he did.[+royalblue “I opened myself up to Elizabeth and that.. did not turn out so well..”] That was an understatement.[+royalblue “I know you want to help me and be there for me. But.. I am poor with words and it seems I am poor with actions too.”] He let out an airy laugh as he look down at the ground, hands coming down to rest on his hips.
[+royalblue “Finding the right words to help someone is difficult in the best of circumstances. When they have had time, years, to think over things and build their defences against others it is more closer to impossible. I've tried to reason with myself and I end up becoming more introverted in my ways.”] That was a word Töka had taught him, though perhaps neither of them was using it right.[+royalblue “I want you to know that even if you can't find the right words at the right moment, that if you feel you are not getting through to me because I don't convey my gratitude correctly.. you are Florence. You are helping. A smile here, a laugh or joke there, it all helps me.”] He could count the number of times he had lost his train of thought just from catching her gaze or her smile and it had gone all the way back to Wistina and the day she first arrived.
Moving a step closer again he offered out his palm to her. In a way it was quite similar to that moment years ago in the woods, his hand offered out to her, putting her in a position that he regretted many times over with hindsight.[+royalblue “I don't think you rushed into this. You have a fondness for me,”] he smiled a little at how it had been difficult to even get that much but he was appreciative of it,[+royalblue “and you know how I feel about you. We both understand that this is long term. We won't be the best of friends always and we will miss each others nuances from time to time. But it is a work in progress. I am here to show you that you are worth loving and that you deserve a loving, caring partner. And you are here to show I did not fail as a partner, as a father. And to show me I have someone to trust.”] He left his hand out to her and nodded.[+royalblue “Trust me, I don't feel alone.. because I have you.”]
Her expression fell when he asked if this all boiled down to her original insecurities, the ones pertaining too physical intimacy. That was not what she meant at all… Though what he said after that was still mildly helpful. The woman did take some consolation in knowing that she had been able to make him feel better in some other ways, though it still was not what she was talking about.
When he asked what brought this on and encouraged her to speak out about it, she found herself looking back over her words. Had she not been direct enough? Apparently so… She could practically hear Augustine’s lecturing about being more straightforward ringing in her ear. [+mediumseagreen “Nicolai, you misunderstand me.”] Her voice was soft, not meant to chide but simply tell. [+mediumseagreen “I did not mean touch, we have already been over that and I believe we have come to a mutual agreement... I meant with words.”] Florence wondered why this sort of interpersonal situation was so much harder than more general communications.
[+mediumseagreen “The other day, you told me more about what happened while you were away.”] She had hoped to not have to say it so bluntly, as she did not want him to have to think about it any more than he already did, but here they were. [+mediumseagreen “It seemed to take a toll on you.”] Given how unsavory the memories were, she understood why. [+mediumseagreen “You were unhappy and I wanted to comfort you, so I made an attempt to empathize with you. To try and show you that you are not alone, even though I knew I could not fully relate to your situation… I guess it was just my way of trying to let you know I was there...”] As awkward as it had been to try and fail at that, she found it even more humiliating to have to admit it all aloud like this. [+mediumseagreen “I am not entirely sure what went wrong… Perhaps I misspoke, or I was misunderstood, or I even stepped out of place with my words,”] any or all of these things were likely in her case. [+mediumseagreen “But you looked at me as though I had made the burden a little heavier.”] That was really the only way she could describe it. It might not have been the case, but that was the feeling she got when the conversation came to its close.
[+mediumseagreen “I think I have proven time and time again that I fail to find the words you need to hear when you are troubled or hurting. And I have been thinking that that is a rather large shortcoming to have as a woman, so perhaps I overestimated myself and rushed into this when I am really not cut out for it at all.”] That was basically a summary of her thoughts these last few days. It was not that she actually wanted to break things off and go back, she was just caught on her mistake, which in hindsight might not have been as glaring as she first thought. She half blamed the lack of distraction on this trip that allowed her mind to wander and fixate.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat That solemn and destitute smile now changed to a more genuine and softer one. He did not expect an admission of love and to get an 'increased fondness' was more than enough to sate him and he nodded a little as she stated several things she rather liked about him. All generic really, but he chuckled in good humour at her last point.[+royalblue “Good. Not unhappy is exactly the level I was aiming for.”] He could not keep that jovial tongue still at times and was grateful that she eventually came back to look at him.
She was clearly not satisfied with this minor points being made known to him and instead the track of the conversation shifted and left Nicolai a touch apprehensive for just what she was getting at. Yet her question brought a shake of his head and he busied his hand by brushing back his loose hair, the other resting on his hip.[+royalblue “Is that what this all comes down to? You worry that if I can't touch you I won't want you? Or perhaps you think I only find comfort in another's touch?”] He could be wildly off but that is how he understood it.
[+royalblue “If that is the case, then let me calm your fretting by denying it entirely. And to answer the question directly; comfort is very subjective.”] He had managed to get this far in a very diplomatic manner, now was not the time to answer questions with intrigue.[+royalblue “I took a gamble kissing you a week ago as I was putting everything on the line yet I found comfort in you opening yourself to me. I felt scared a few night ago, just before my episode, because I thought you would all think me weak and leave me behind – yet I found comfort when I woke with you beside me and your hand in mine.”] He had been terrified of them leaving him if they found out but it was perhaps best not to use such vivid words.
His cheeks flushed a touch but the dying sun helped to hide his embarrassment at discussing such feeling and emotion heavy content.[+royalblue “I find comfort when you look back to make sure I am okay, or when you smile at me for no reason other than you can. Perhaps it is new relationship bliss but I thought we were doing well. Do you know what is bringing on this trepidation? Ask any questions you have.”] He was trying to be open to her, but in his desire to do so he did not want to be over bearing or crowd in on her – thus why he had not moved any closer to her.
Florence hesitated. She was unsure what Nicolai was digging for with such a question. He wanted to know if she still had feelings for him, but she never recalled telling him that in the first place. She wanted to try, but she never claimed to have loved him coming into this. This did, however force her into thinking it over some. [+mediumseagreen “Well, I can say for certain I am more fond of you now than I was before.”] The woman was referring to what was less than a week ago when they first decided that they should officially make themselves an item. [+mediumseagreen “You are generally pleasant, especially when it is just the two of us. I find your antics endearing most of the time. The way you try to press me, but ultimately stay within the parameters I set… It sets you apart from any other man I’ve known…”] she used the term more in the biblical sense than literal. [+mediumseagreen “I am not unhappy.”] It was a touch embarrassing to say all that, and she found that she looked away from him at some point, but by the end of it her emerald green eyes came back to him.
She could see him struggling with what to do, he was longing to reach out to her, but he seemed to know better. That came with a different sense of guilt altogether. That one was more expected, as it was something they both factored in this arrangement before hand. [+mediumseagreen “I understand that we will not see eye to eye at all times.”] Florence had no expectation for that, especially given their track record. [+mediumseagreen “But that is different from this. Do you not want someone who can comfort you when you need it?”] Was that a huge part of being someone’s partner? Florence found herself falling back into the idea of this being a role that was meant to be a played a certain way, as opposed to something she was supposed to take solace in herself.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai couldn’t understand just how she came to these findings and his furrowed brow as she explained herself showed this failure to comprehend matters.[+royalblue “But Florence.. of course there would be a disconnect between us at times.”] He made it sound so simple as looked at her and made sure he met her refreshing green gaze.[+royalblue “We were apart for so long and our relationship has progressed so swiftly since I came back, I’m delightful surprised we are doing so well.”] Things had been going better than planned but he looked at her with an almost sorrowful smile.
Losing the smile as he tried to maintain a more serious view of the conversation he shifted on his feet uncomfortably. It was rather difficult not to disprove her and move forward to take her hands. But he managed it.[+royalblue “Look, we are two adults with particularly bad track records in trust and love.”] That was an understatement with Adrian and Elizabeth their latest partners.[+royalblue “But that is neither of our faults. It is just something we have to work on.”] His hands had to be folded over his chest to stay them from reaching forward to her and emphasising his point. And yet they quickly fell back to his side when he felt he was looking closed off and blocking her out.
He was thinking things over too much.[+royalblue “As you look at me now do you still have feelings for me? No games or funny business, just.. tell me how you feel.”]
Seeing his surprise, it was clear their chat had not been an incident for concern to him. Florence didn’t know whether or not that was a good thing. Once again they were not on the same page, but this time it was her who was dwelling on it. He was even comfortable enough to softly jest about how far they had come, which did bring a bit of a smile to her face, though it was not wholly happy given what she was going to talk about.
[+mediumseagreen “I would have to agree with you there; this is the best we have ever gotten along. But it is rather superficial, is it not?”] It was a somewhat rhetorical question as she planned to go straight into the main point. [+mediumseagreen “When we speak on more serious terms there seems to be a disconnect.”] Even if he hadn’t been mulling over it like her, she knew he felt it in the moment, back when he told her all those things about himself. [+mediumseagreen “It is difficult to attempt to reach out and empathize with a person only to have it completely fall flat.”] She in no way blamed Nicolai for that. Florence knew it was one of her own shortcomings, and one that had been pointed out to her on many occasions. [+mediumseagreen “I find my own inability to efficiently communicate responsible. And while I am certain that is something I can improve on, I am not so sure how many of my failed attempts you will be able to stomach as I work it out.”] She recalled his comment that he might learn not to put himself in vulnerable positions with others, as it had clung to her for these last few days.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was left stunned to be perfectly honest. Here he had come across for a leisurely chat, perhaps soothe any concerns she still felt about his injury and offer her some reassurances. Hearing she had been thinking of a mistake he ran through countless possibilities from even coming to Wistina to begin with, to leaving Astoria a second time and to all the minor possibilities in light of them. When she said it was their relationship she felt was a mistake that made his chest feel quite heavy.
It was a distressing experience but he said nothing of it as he just focused for now on keeping rather calm and collected. Looking up at her from his crouches position he was close to letting out a nervous laugh but suppressed the urge.
Throwing the grass away he stared down for a moment longer.[+royalblue “What brought this on Florence?”] He kept his voice calm and level and stood up slowly, knees creaking that little bit as he did and he placed a hand to his back to massage it lightly. It had been a few days but he was still a little achy.[+royalblue “I mean I might be a bit naïve here, but I thought we were getting along well. At least a lot better than we ever have before.”] It was light humour but he kept a soft face looking across to her.
For the first time in a while, Florence felt like she could take a bit of time to be on her own. Not only had it been too dangerous in the pass, there was also no place to go. At one time she had been used to the near constant presence of other people, but after years of having as much autonomy as she could want, it was a struggle to not be able to sit on her own, especially when she was mulling over her thoughts. So she was enjoying her time alone, but her solitary did not last. Nicolai came over, announcing himself in a gentle sort of way. It disturbed her a little less and at least for that she was grateful.
As she was about to answer his first question, telling him that she was fine because by all means she was physically, he went on to elaborate. So that is what he meant. That took a little more thought. Did she want to talk about things further, or would that only make things worse? Mentally, she weighted the options. He had opened up to her, but she felt that it had in no way gone well. It was an unhelpful thought, but in the end she did decide to speak with him. [+mediumseagreen “I have just been thinking… wondering really, if I have made a mistake.”] Knowing this likely would not be enough for him, she debated internally how she would like to word the rest of what she had to say. [+mediumseagreen “I am finding that I really am not cut out for these close and personal sort of relationships.”] Words spoken with a sigh, she was of course referring to the two of them. Florence knew she hadn’t given it enough time, and that she couldn’t expect to have it work so quickly, but her failure to reach him properly a few days prior was still plaguing her mind.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat In truth, Töka was just poking at the young King-in-waiting. True she did not sway to his orders as she was not his subject. She was only here for payment and on Nicolai’s request. But also she just did not like the thought of this boy ordering her about no matter how he had fought the night previous. It was a petty gesture to flip him off but she was often petty in her nature, and no doubt would receive a gentle if stern notice from Nicolai to remain humble and keep her hands to herself. Regardless of how Florence felt about her son being disrespected Töka would go about life as she had the past few years with Nicolai where he alone held her respect.
For the journey and the night ahead she was polite however, if only to give the elven man some respite and a moment to relax than keep his eye on her. It was new for her to be the one keeping an eye on him, her horse always beside his and offering up her water flask should he look any more gaunt than he had that morning. When they stopped to eat he was quick to turn them away, though being as stubborn as she was Töka forced him to eat a few hard-tack biscuits and wash it down with some water and some of his green medicine.
Two stubborn people did not make for a happy situation and only through not wanting to worry Florence more did the man relent and do as he was told. The woman had been rather quiet for the morning and indeed for the rest of the ride that day she was silent which was odd for her. The entire group was quiet for that first day. Those they passed by gave them a wide berth once they heard the clinking of weapons and put two and two together. Thankfully it gave them some peace to reach their first camp and the night passed without issues. The only issue was when Nicolai demanded to be given a slot on guard duty, taking the last slot with Marko and only then because he walked away from the others with his mind made up.
Out of the pass he told them to drop their sword piles, none of them worth anything to sell and their use all but done. Led into the grassy fields at the bottom of the mountain it was rather nice to have air on his face and come the evening, when they stopped to make camp, feeling the grass on his boots made a difference from the hard gravel they had left behind.
Allowing the others to start a fire and gather their items for that night, he found Florence towards the edge of the group looking over the small precipice they had camped beside. It offered a little height to look out around them and blocked off one way from being attacked in the night.[+royalblue “Hey.”] He spoke gently so as not to scare her with his appearance and a small smile turned his lips as she looked over to him.[+royalblue “How are you doing?”] His hands brushed at his pants as he crouched down next to her, snatching up some strands of grass to toy with and keep him busy otherwise he would have wanted to take her hand.[+royalblue “I know you’re worrying about a lot of things but you’ve been more quiet since the pass.”]
Honestly, Augustine had no idea why simply telling her that they were about to leave garnered him such a bitchy reaction, but there it was. He sighed. It seemed today was the morning everyone was going to give him grief and he was just going to have to deal with it. But with how tired he was, this had to be the worst time for all this. That sigh transformed into grumbling under his breath and he walked passed his mother. He just wanted to get on the way, so they could leave this place behind them as soon as possible.
Because he had not said what he was doing, Florence was curious and stopped to watch as her son shouted off at the dark-haired woman. The scene that followed was… interesting. She was not exactly pleased to see a member of their party disrespect him to such a degree, but this was the type of thing he would need to get used to. Not everyone he met in the following days was going to treat him as a King, nor would they all take kindly to his ideas of overthrowing the current government, despite its illegitimacy. Plus, given the fact that Töka was not liable to stay with them in Wistina when this was all done and through, all the effort it would take to correct her behavior would be wasted. If it got out of hand she would make Nicolai handle it…
Walking out to the others just in time to catch Nicolai barely manage to get up on his horse, Florence was still feeling uneasy about her conversation with the aching man. It was bothering her, but in the grand scheme of things it stood out as no more dysfunctional than any of their other talks, so she tried to keep that in mind as she mounted her own animal. She was not the last to do so, as Töka joined them shortly after. The young woman looked to still be in a foul mood. Florence had no idea why, but then again she also did not care. So there was that.
They left not long after that, stopping an hour or two later for a late breakfast. This was mainly Florence’s doing, as she was not going to see any of these kids go without eating if they did not have to. There was a little resistance at first, but as soon as the simple travel meal was in front of them all grievances disappeared. That was really the most exciting thing the day brought. The rocky terrain seldom let up, so aside from the occasional lizard or bird of prey flying above there was nothing of interest to see. Yet, they survived, and with minimal complaint too, so Florence was happy.
Like the day, the night brought nothing of excitement. Be it due to luck or the blatant display of the their slain foes’ weapons, no one knew, but that did not matter. They were glad all the same. From there it was another day’s journey to make it to the other side, but they were out of the pass before sundown. In fact they were able to make a small headway into Tyleth before stopping to make camp. With more greenery around them again, they didn’t have to worry so much about being out in the open. It brought a sense security back to Florence, even if it was superficial.
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