Fall of the Court

/ By Loxi [+Watch]

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[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_ / 186d 5h 5m 21s
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 / 186d 5h 55m 43s
[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_ / 186d 6h 51m 22s
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 / 186d 8h 14m 35s
[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_ / 186d 9h 27m 54s
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 / 186d 10h 11m 27s
[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_ / 186d 11h 36m 9s
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 / 186d 12h 55m 3s
[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_ / 186d 13h 48m 23s
When Augustus returned to them, he felt the need to explain himself. And Florence was ready to hear it. She had not been expecting him to give in to the doctor’s request. However, her feelings were different after hearing what he had to say. They had been had. [+mediumseagreen “I said no such thing.”] Her tone was incredulous. [+mediumseagreen “When he came to me I told him that he needed to make an appeal to you and, on the off chance you accepted, that he had to keep him separate from Adrian.] It felt as though they were parents who had been manipulated by their child. She was not very happy about it, especially with how they would look if they immediately dragged the elf back down to that cell. Sighing, she could barely believe that such a simple tactic had worked.

Gregory found it funny, or he would have if the surrounding situation was not quite so grave. Nicolai was dangerous, and he did not want him any closer to his family than he had to be. So for him this arrangement was not optimum. [+darkmagenta “For the most part… I heard rumor that the Wolf turned out to be a feral elf. And while I had my suspicions, I had not not confirmed until a minute ago.”] Florence blinked. She had been played twice today… it was not a good day for her.

The dwarf continued, even as Florence glared down at him. [+darkmagenta “I cannot image what I would say if I did go to see him. We were never on particularly good terms, though admittedly he grew on me some when we travelled together.”] Those sentiments were greatly diminished by their parting, but they had not completely disappeared. Perhaps if he had not been attacking people on the mainland Gregory would have liked to see him reunited with Florence and Augustine. If nothing else, he trusted the violet eyed man to keep them safe. Gods knew they were going to need it. [+darkmagenta “I am curious as what you first had to say to him though, Florence.”] She had been to see him at least twice from what he had heard, but that first one must have been a doozy.

Lifting a brow, she was not sure what he expected from her. [+mediumseagreen “Nothing at all, I hit him as soon as I saw his face.”]

Somehow the stout man was not surprised. He burst into a fit of laughter. [+darkmagenta “Don’t you think you should at least give a man the chance to defend himself?”]

Florence huffed up some. [+mediumseagreen “After what he did, I do not see why I should.”] The defensiveness was a knee jerk reaction to being teased.

[+darkmagenta “I thought you said that was more complicated that it first appeared?”] Honestly, he did not really mean anything by it. Gregory just liked to get her goat. Something that he could only do now that she was feeling better.

Florence knew exactly what he was doing, but regardless she would defend herself. [+mediumseagreen "It is."] All the more so after her run in with Adrian. His words shook her resolve to wait for the whole story, as well as her determination to treat him kindly. There was not a single part of this that was not complicated. Though, even if Nicolai was right in exacting his revenge, he was still a driving force behind killing Astorian soldiers. The death of her people did not sit lightly on her heart. [+mediumseagreen "But that and this are two entirely different things. He deserved it."] Another objective statement.

[+darkmagenta "Alright, alright. Do not get too wound up. Let's just get our snack and worry about it later."] Back to his go to deescalation. [+mediumseagreen "Would you care to join us, Augustus?"]

Allowing the conversation to fall to the side, Florence was still agitated. It would pass soon, but she wished her father did not rile her so needlessly, especially to move on so quickly. Now he was trying to get Augustus to tag along. [+mediumseagreen "Actually, that might be a good idea. It will save me having to track you down later. There is something I need to talk to you about."] Her tone implied that she meant just the two of them and after they did their pilfering.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 186d 15h 16m 29s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Ensuring the guards were placed where he wanted them, two men both spaced out around the room and blocking the exits, Augustus nodded with satisfaction. It was a safe and secure setup and he knew there would be no chance for the man to create an opportunity to escape now. He could whine and moan all he liked, but this was heaven compared to his last accommodations and Augustus was particularly keen to remind him of it.

[+darkslateblue "Remember Mr Windsor,"] a little respect could go a long way,[+darkslateblue "you act out, attack anyone, threaten anyone, and I will put you back in that cell with no clothing put the shackles higher than last time."] He had seen how much discomfort could come from those contraptions, and if they were higher he could not kneel or rest his feet.

Nicolai stared across at the one armed man with a little contempt, but it was all for show. A game of wills was at play between the two men and if he showed that he was happy and relaxed, he would be conceding. It was a small consolation but any wiggle room could not be given.

[+royalblue "Understood, Augustus. Though perhaps you could have one of the servant girls sent to keep me company?"] He grinned with impish delight though quickly shook his head, the question rhetorical.[+royalblue "No, what would Lady Florence think of me then eh? Thank you Augustus, but I should rest. No doubt I have questions to answer from many at this castle, and I would like a little sleep before then."] He lay his head back onto his very fluffy and amazingly soft pillow. He had not had a bed like this in nearly eight years - he was going to enjoy it.

Augustus closed the doors behind himself as he left the room, leaving one further guard outside the door. Making his way down the staircase he headed off to the kitchen to instruct them on preparations on meals for the prisoner. It would do no good to starve him, but he would be denied luxuries and sweet stuffs as well as anything that required more than a wooden spoon. He would not offer the man any chance to arm.

On approaching the kitchens he found Gregory and Florence together, neither looking particularly pleased, though he had seen them near the staircase.[+darkslateblue "I had to move him, the doctor said he was getting worse and I can't have him dying yet. He told me you consented, I understood it to mean you did not see any risk in the move."] He was not to know the doctor has used them both, but he moved along and smiled as he looked at the dwarf.[+darkslateblue "Gregory, I suspect you are up to date as to the goings on around here. Nothing gets past you."] It was true the man had an uncanny ability to know all that went on in this place. Like a spymaster.[+darkslateblue "I am surprised you are one of the few who has yet to speak to him, especially given your connection to Nicolai."]
  WI_ / 186d 17h 2m 38s
Luckily enough, Nicolai had not taken any notice of her or her father. Florence could only image him saying something to embarrass her in front of everyone. When nothing was said, she thought she was off Scott free, but not long after they passed Gregory spoke up. [+darkmagenta “That was the prisoner, ey?”] He sounded a little skeptical. His eyes were not the best, but he wasn’t blind yet. [+darkmagenta “That was no orc, least of all Ulrich.”] The voice did sound familiar to him though.

There was not much point to holding her silence any loner now that he knew that much. [+mediumseagreen “No, no he is not. The man in the mask turned out to be non-other than Nicolai.”]

There was quiet for a moment. [+darkmagenta “Well, that is an unexpected turn of events.”] His voice was rather solemn as they continued down the hall, even the building smell of something tasty baking did not seem to turn it around. [+darkmagenta “For all his faults, I would have never thought him capable of this. We all know he did not care for Adrian.”] Though that was putting it lightly. [+darkmagenta “But to think he would try to kill him… You spoke with him, did you not? What did he have to say for himself?”]

[+mediumseagreen “I got very few answers from him. He spoke; but told me little of consequence.”] Gregory looked up at her with suspicion in his old gray eyes. Sighing, the woman shook her head, as if to deny whatever it was the dwarven man was thinking. [+mediumseagreen “What little I did learn points to everything being much more complicated than we initially though. Augustus is working to sort it out, but he is keeping his lips sealed in the meantime. It seems all we can do it wait.”] With that being said, it brought her mind back to the day’s earlier incident. The things that Adrian said were damning. There would be no possible way for the ailing man to know Nicolai’s status so surely without playing some part in it. For the time being, Florence could not tell if this was what Augustus and Nicolai were keeping to themselves, but it was definitely a major piece of the picture that was being slowly painted before her.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 186d 18h 15m 38s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It took a little time to get the necessary arrangements in place for the prisoner movement. Shackles were brought for the doctor to alter with some cloth wrapped around them. It was quick and basic but it meant the shackles remained tight for Augustus satisfaction, which stopping any further chaffing of the skin for the doctors satisfaction.

The room he would be moved to was swept through by a number of servants and anything that could be utilized as a weapon, even thinks such as vases and a large candle holder, were removed immediately. They knew he was crafty and sly and nothing from Florence had made Augustus think otherwise. Even if he was tied to the bed he would feel better knowing nothing was left to chance. It left the room quite Spartan really. A bed, some large wooden furniture and a few chairs - but that was all that was needed and that was all he would be given.

Before the movement began, Nicolai was afforded a quick and rough wash by one of the more burly male servants. Cut from his long shirt and pants rather than release him, he was cleaned of the green paint about his arms and upper body, though he had threatened to break the mans hand if he had tried to remove his shorts to clean beneath. Not particularly keen to do so anyway, he was obliged and the servant helped him into some dark trousers, left in the black vest that he had been wearing. With that all done, the doctor and guards returned and Augustus stood in the doorway as the shackles were removed.

It was all very tense as the restraints were quickly altered before being clasped and tied together. Several soldiers in full armour were brought out to help with moving Nicolai, more for show and pomp than because Augustus felt he offered any threat. Two leading the elf, four behind and him at the back with the doctor. With a nod of his head he began their move.

Nicolai was rather pleased with the news of being allowed to lower his arms. The upgraded accommodation was simply a rather lovely bonus. He was appreciative of the chance to wash, but the man sent in was clearly one to disturb him. His threat had been all too honest though to be free of that paint felt refreshing and the removal of clothing felt all that better. When he was finally brought up the steps into the castle, he took his time. He was still in pain and tired, but he also was very interested in looking about the castle. So large and formidable he found it.. acceptable. Nothing compared to Wistina. It was decorated for luxury and comfort. If a battle ever happened he could see only a few fallback positions.

As Nicolai was brought by Florence and Gregory he did not see the duo. Rather he was busy, squaring up to one of the men following him who felt he was moving too slow and thrust him forward towards the stairwell. His violet eyes had turned back on the man and clasped hands pushed at the mans armour.[+royalblue "Je vais te couper la gorge si tu refais ça! Enfoiré!"] The elven was dripping with contempt, but it was all pomp and ceremony and as the unimpressed guard went to put his hand on Nicolai and push him off, the hand was batted aside.[+royalblue "Do not put your hands on me, je marche, je marche."] He backed off and turned around just as they got to the stairs and he complied the rest of the way - if a little grumpily.

The rest of the move went quietly, Augustus remaining in the doorway of the room as he watched the guards secure Nicolai to his new restraint's. These were on chains, one to each corner of the bed. It would allow a little movement but he would not be able to reach from one wrist to the other.[+darkslateblue "Do not think this means anything Nicolai, I just prefer not having to traipse down into that dungeon to speak to you. Nor do I want you dead; just yet."] He looked to be truthful but the prisoner could read that man quite easily, he knew it was for the good of his men in the room and he duly kept quiet on that part.

[+royalblue "Understood mon Capitaine."] He settled into the bed, letting out a deep breath and light groan - it felt so good to be able to lay down, to have his arms not upright and his shoulders not screaming from the pain.[+royalblue "And you too doctor, my thanks."] After all it had been entirely his idea to move Nicolai, so he thought.
  WI_ / 186d 19h 57m 23s
Finding Gregory was not terribly difficult. Like just about everyone else, he had places that he tended to hang about. This time it just happened to be out in the courtyard. The old dwarf sat in the grass, plucking away at the instrument in his lap. Even after seven more years of practice, he still was not exactly adept at it. He had quite the talent for butchering pieces he had seemingly played a million times over, but he also had fun. It was that enjoyment that Florence was taken by when he played.

As she came up to him, she kept quiet. Even though she did not speak, he took notice of her presence rather quickly. [+darkmagenta “Hallo, Florence. What brings you out this fine day?”] He spoke with a smile, halting his fingers over the strings of his lute for the time being. When she did not respond, he lifted a brow at her blurry figure.

Now in silence, she took a seat next to her father. By that time he picked up on her mood. Taking the wooden instrument from his lap, Gregory set it to the side. A stubby fingered hand came up to pat his shoulder. She took him up on the offer, leaning over and resting her head in the place he had stuck with his hand. Once she was comfortable, he brought his hand back up to lightly stroke her head.

They stayed like that for a long while, Gregory intentionally letting the silence go on before he spoke. [+darkmagenta “What is the matter, Mausbär?”] Honestly, it had been years since he’d seen her like this. Something had to have happened.

[+mediumseagreen “I do not want to talk about it.”] It was moments like this where she was glad he could not see so well. If that were not the case, surely he would have taken note of the bruise on her arm and jumped to conclusions. Then she would have a whole different set of problems, when really she was just upset with herself. She did not understand why after all these years little things still upset her so. It was frustrating and humiliating.

[+darkmagenta “Alright then.”] He accepted her answer gracefully, knowing that there were times when she just wanted to sit down and be comforted. That being said, the dwarf sat with her as long as she needed. He made sure to wait for her to move first before getting up. But when she did, he stood and stretched in a dramatic fashion. Then true to his nature he suggested they grab a bite from the kitchen. Normally, it was something the grown woman would pass up on, but in a twist of fate, she accepted the offer. Some blueberries would do her some good right about now.

The mood lightened a great deal after that. The two chatted about nothing of particular importance until a group of soldiers came marching down the hallway.

[+darkmagenta “What is going on?”] He was right to ask, this was highly unusual activity to be happening inside the castle. Had Florence not already had inkling to what was going on, and caught sight of Augustus with them, she would have been suspicious as well.

[+mediumseagreen “They are moving the prisoner.”] She spoke in a flat but confident tone, bolstered by the fact that she could see Nicolai in tow. Apparently the doctor had been able to convince Augustus, she was genuinely surprised at that.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 187d 4h 6m 7s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The doctor took the better part of an hour just to find Augustus. He was seated not far from the cellar entranceway and much like Florence looked in deep contemplation about going down those steps. His quandary was what could he ask? He had been directed to find the evidence for his own use, to verify it all, and he had. He just couldn’t think of a reason to head down and question him further, at least not in a way that wouldn’t betray his principles.

It was a most terrible conundrum. How did he balance his role as protector with the information given to him by a rebel? He could no sooner march down and interrogate him for his role in the fighting than he could set him free for his help with his investigation. It was perhaps with great happiness that the doctor had come up to him, coughing lightly to gain his attention.

[+darkslateblue “Ah, doctor, apologies I was in a world of my own.”] He looked up at the man, though slowly a brow rose in wonder.[+darkslateblue “Any news on Commander Adrian’s condition?”]

[+darkgoldenrod “I’m afraid not Sir.”] He shook his head lightly, hands clasped together before him.[+darkgoldenrod “He is still back and forth between this world and the next. The wound has not gotten any worse and we have stabilized him as best we could, so that is good enough for now.”] He was never one to show too much optimism, and Augustus appreciated the candidness.[+darkgoldenrod “We should know in the next two days how things progress. Either he beats the fever and infection, or it takes hold, and given where it is I do not expect any chance of survival.”] Again, blunt. But it assuaged Augustus’ worries. He had a time frame now.

[+darkslateblue “Good, that is good news.”] He tried to keep to his neutral reaction, not wanting others to know what he had told Florence about his decision to be made.[+darkslateblue “I trust our prisoner is also in good condition? I heard you visited during the night.”]

[+darkgoldenrod “Well, I wanted.. you see..”] He was terribly awful at asking things like this, so he decided to take a moment and address the question.[+darkgoldenrod “Yes, he is okay for now, but this illness needs good rest to be managed or I will be up and down those stairs twenty times tonight – the last time to inform you that he has died.”] The doctor had made it sound far worse that it was, but Augustus was not to know that, so he used it to his advantage.

[+darkslateblue “Well then it is good that he has nothing else to do but rest whilst we decide what to do.”] Augustus smiled in a friendly manner, though it dropped away the moment the doctor looked at him pensively.[+darkslateblue “What? You have something to add?”]

His head nodded as he wrung his hands together.[+darkgoldenrod “I wish to suggest that the young elf – the prisoner – is released from the shackles.”] He looked down at the floor a moment though Augustus stood up quickly.[+darkgoldenrod “I do not mean to tell you how to look after your prisoners, Sir, but he is quite ill and I wish to have him moved to where he can lay down and rest. It is for the betterment of my patient-“]

The hand of Augustus rose with authority and shut the man up immediately.[+darkslateblue “And where do you suppose we put him? Adrian is in the infirmary, unable to be moved. I cannot have them in the same room together.”] At least he was open to the notion of moving the elf. Unbeknownst to the doctor, it solved a problem. With him out of the cellar he could use the threat of throwing him back down there as leverage for answers.

[+darkgoldenrod “Precisely Sir, I would not expect any different. And well, I talked to Lady Florence about it, and she suggested perhaps one of the extra guest rooms.”] A flat out lie, yes, but once it was done she could not complain – she had demanded they be kept separate. And as Augustus had said, Adrian could not be moved.[+darkgoldenrod “You can still have him shackled to one of the beds there. I can add a little padding to it so that it does not harm his wrist anymore. That way he is secure, and safe.”] Ever the diplomat was this doctor.

Augustus was immediately apprehensive of doing that, moving Nicolai into the main castle. It was much easier to just unshackle him to roam about the cell down in the dungeon. But, he needed that leverage. And then the perfect room came to mind.[+darkslateblue “Fine, he can come up, but he will be put in the far eastern guest chambers. I want three guards inside the room at all times, he will be chained to the bed by his wrist and not allowed to leave for any reason at all without my say so.”] He sighed as he moved across to the cellar doorway to order those guards already stationed to do as he had just said. But he paused to look at the medical man.[+darkslateblue “And doctor, I will hold you responsible for him. If he attacks anyone then you will take the blame.”] It was a stern but fair warning that the other man nodded to immediately. Anything for his patients.
  WI_ / 187d 7h 13m 21s
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