Fall of the Court

/ By Loxi [+Watch]

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[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai grinned at the disappointed looks on the faces of the others as ‘mother-hen’ Florence opted to give them cider. He was curious to see if she would have given in to their hopes of joining his drinking habit but to see her turn them down so quickly was funny.[+royalblue “Ah hush the lot of you, you’re not old enough. You two don’t even have beards yet you want to drink?”] He gestured to Marko and Augustine though he was smooth chinned himself and it was most hypocritical. Then again all elves were beardless. He did wonder if it would suit him, but each mental image was a resounding no.

Taking a hold of his drink as he turned back to the table Nicolai sighed heavily, head dropping a little as he heard the shouted threat. Without having to look up or around he knew she was here and he sat motionless with his drink waiting for his accomplice to make her way over to them. She was not one to mince her words or her actions and in swift order she hunkered down beside him and began to complain of a thief. It was a little ironic to the elf but he said nothing of it.

Instead Nicolai smiled to the others and nodded his head to the side.[+royalblue “This lovely lady here, with the face of an angel but the tongue of a sailor, is Töka.”] The woman at his side was quite pretty in her own way. She had long flowing black hair down one side of her head, the other half shaved close much like Nicolai’s. Her eyes, whilst a more subtle rose come crimson than that of Adrian, were far more direct and intense beneath what looked to be a permanent furrowed brow. Under each eye, framing them and cutting across pale cheeks were two matching tattoos that gave the look of her crying tears of blood. It was a most distinct and beautiful addition. Her figure was clad in red cloth with leather bodice and shoulder pads, forearms similarly covered by bracers. She was the epitome of a strong and self-assured woman and she looked about the table at anyone who would meet her gaze.

[+firebrick “Three kids and an old woman. This is your idea of a fighting force Nico?”] Her assessment of the others met with a wry grin from Nicolai who went to answer but paused and took a hearty drink of his ale before handing it over to her.

[+royalblue “What this is, Töka, is the best we have. It’s more than adequate to get us to Wistina and then some. Now quit your bitching and drink up you whining sow.”] With her taking the cup from him he lay his arm around her shoulders, bringing her in for a sidelong hug, a quick one at that as she shot a glare at him, and he turned back to look to the others.[+royalblue “Don’t worry, she’s actually very charming. Just she’s never happy before her first drink and always thinking she’s tougher than she is.”] He was chuckling again before a hand struck the side of his face, a very audible slap resonating in the space between them all and he blinked repeatedly from the hit.

[+firebrick “Shut the fuck up Nico or I swear to God I’m gonna stab you!”] Although there was fury on her face when she said that, and her voice conveyed her anger, after taking a long drink from the cup in her hands she looked over at him and grinned, lips curling devilishly in a true Nicolai fashion.
  WI_ / 22d 22h 46m 8s
Drunken festivities in full swing, Florence wondered if they were actually celebrating something or if this little pass by of a town was just so bored this is what they did every night. They would only be here for the night, so it was of little consequence either way. But it did seem pretty packed. There seemed to be little unoccupied space, however, Nicolai... took care of that. She was shaking her head, more at the man so passed out he did not even flinch as he hit the floor, than the elf.

Ushering the youth to take a seat they were greeted by a woman who got straight to the point. [+mediumseagreen "The rest of us will have cider, thank you."] Nodding as she did not bother to write such a simple order down, the woman fluttered off to get what they asked for.

There was a mild air of disappointment in the children, but Florence chose to ignore it. She did not want to deal with a gaggle of drunken teenagers. Not tonight, it was likely she would have to let them get it out of their systems at some point, but what basically amounted to their first night out was not going to be it.

Judging by the fact that Nicolai was still looking around the establishment, his cohort was not in sight. Florence saw little use in looking around, as she had no idea who she was looking for. Only that it was a woman, but that did not narrow things down a whole lot. About a third of the faces in here belonged to ladies. Speaking of, just as quickly as she went the tavern maid returned with drinks for the five of them. In the middle of giving her their thanks a voice boomed outside.

[+firebrick "You wanna fucking die, asshole?"] It was a woman's voice, crass and obviously angry. It carried through the clatter of the tavern and the people inside seemed to go quiet. They naturally wanted to know what the commotion was about. But there were no words to follow. Instead it was a muffled thud against the wall. A few seconds later a rather shady looking man scampered passed the open window and a woman entered. Just by the look of her you could tell she was the owner of the voice everyone had heard.

Eyes falling back to their glasses in front of them, the patrons of the tavern quickly tried to go back to whatever conversation they were having before. An obvious attempt not to draw attention to themselves. They did not want any trouble.

The woman scanned over the crowd. Something shifted in her red eyes when she caught sight of what she was looking for. Crossing the establishment with purpose, she did not stop until she made it to the table with Nicolai and the others. Stealing a chair from a nearby table, she pulled it to the end of their booth and began grumbling. [+firebrick "That fuck was a hundred years too early to try and pickpocket me. He's lucky I didn't take his hand."] That probably would have stopped him from ever trying again, not that she much cared about that. So long as it did not effect her, it was not her problem. That unlucky sot just happened to pick the wrong target.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 22d 23h 38m 15s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was good to be back in the saddle and on the road. Whilst his few weeks in Astoria had been quite swift and eventful, the days before Florence and the others arrived were in stark contrast tranquil and peaceful. It was good for Nicolai to relax and eat and regain strength lost whilst being tethered to a wall and then a bed. In truth, he could do with a longer break to just sleep. But it was just his luck that they were so eager to get back to Wistina and start this fight back. He was not delusional; he knew it would take quite some time.

Still, the ride was peaceful and the others joined his talks willingly. Flora seemed to have much more of her mother in her than Augustus, given how much she talked. It perhaps would become annoying somewhere along the road, but she had energy in abundance and a few days on the road would soon sap her of that.

Looking back when she called out he nodded to agree with Florence. It was a quaint little town, perhaps akin to Vollenberg over seven years prior. This collection of homes however did not have an outer barrier, the buildings merely clumped together at the top of a small mound with a tavern right at its centre. It had been the focal point for the residents about to make their homes around and as they neared it there was a delightful buzz of joyful voices and chorus singing.[+royalblue “No doubt she’ll be in there.”] It was quite the party mood as he led them over to a stable for their horses and dropped a few coins in a boys hand. It looked rather shady to be perfectly honest but Nicolai spoke quietly to him for a few minutes before patting his shoulder.

[+royalblue “The horses will be safe here for the night.”] He said to the others as he walked back to them, pointing out the stalls for them to take the beasts into whilst the boy he paid rushed off to do his job. With the others collected the belongings they would need that night he led them toward the tavern and pushed open the door. The sound was overbearing, the songs loud and the banter deafening. But it was not angry. Just drunken happiness.

Nodding for them to follow him he found them all booth to sit at. Or rather they could, but there was a drunken man lying across it. Grabbing the man by his foot he pulled him off in a quick motion, his body hitting the floor with a thud and sliding along the ground for a few more feet before his foot was released. Walking back over Nicolai waved the others to sit down as he stole a seat from another table. Just as he sat, a woman with an apron over her front stepped over, smiling as she placed a hand to both Nicolai's and Marko's shoulders, squeezing just that little bit.[+coral “Hey all, what are we drinking tonight?”] She asked with a beaming smile as Nicolai looked about, hoping to catch eyes with Töka. He glanced to Florence and shrugged.[+royalblue "I'll take an ale. You?"]
  WI_ / 23d 1h 6m 10s
Things were going pleasantly enough. Flora was a great help to be able to keep up talks like this. Florence had no idea how long she would be able to keep it up. Her best guess would say a couple of days at most before she ran out of things to say. But then again, she had known Augustine some seven years now and was still finding plenty of material, so perhaps the red head would surprise her yet.

As thankful as she was to have the dull chatter in the background to keep time moving, Florence was doubly glad that Nicolai kept things appropriate when he did chose to speak. Of course she did not really expect for him to be too tactless in front of the children, but if he pushed it she was going to push him right off that horse.

[+plum "That's it, right?"] Far off in the distance, Flora caught sight of buildings popping up on the horizon. From this distance they almost looked like ants. She had sharp eyes.

Squinting, Florence made out the bumps as well. [+mediumseagreen "I do believe you are right."] They had not initially planned to stop here so she did not bother to memorize the name of the quaint little town, but that was most certainly the town Nicolai spoke of. The closer they came to it, the more of the place came into view. It seemed quiet. But size wise it was almost an in between of the first two places they had stopped. [+mediumseagreen "Where are we to meet with your associate?"] Surely he had a general idea of where this Töka would be. And if she had to guess it would be at an inn, seeing as this was to be the place they stayed for the night. Might as well enjoy the luxury of a bed before they headed south where the towns would be fewer and farther between.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 23d 11h 39m 14s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Florence's response made him chuckle and yet her chastising of the kids, Flora and Augustine mostly, was something he was quite proud of her doing. The old Florence would have let them moan and move on with her life as they were just children. Now that Augustine was older it was good that she was not going to treat him like his younger self. It would make their journey down all that more easier if he wasn't haven't to play the bad guy constantly getting them to fall in line and not act out.

The conversation was light and made their trip to the next town tolerable. Upon reaching it, and the stables, he stood beside Marko sniggering at how Augustine tried to cover for his uncle but did such a poor job it seemed only the fact she wanted to get on with the day stopped Florence putting the boy over her knee. The bags were stowed on the respective horses and Nicolai thought to offer riding with Florence. It would have been quite tongue-in-cheek and ridiculous but making people feel embarrassed was his agenda for the day. Managing to hold back on that he helped get the horses saddles and ready before nodding for them to follow after him.

[+royalblue “The next village over is where we will meet Töka. We can rest there for the night and you can tell me your amazing plan to win back Wistina.”] He addressed them all until the end where he looked to the young Melbourne child. He climbed onto his own horse, leaving the others to mount at their own leisure. Whilst he would have usually offered to help a lady onto her horse, Florence was quite independent and it seemed her namesake Flora was too, so he was glad to see Augustine did not offer. Then again they could be wrong.

Lesson one of women; you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

He led the way from the stables and it would only take them an hour or two on the horses to get to their final destination of the evening. He knew these lands and did not feel any threat would come from it given his rebellion had cleared it of highwaymen and brigands. He joined in now and again with the idle talk of the excitable Flora and even heard a few remarks from the silent Marko. That boy was a mystery. Where he could he tried to spark topics with Florence about varying things from favourite meal the Astorian cooks made to whether oak, maple or yew was best for a bow. The subject was started with her but the others could jump in where they wished.
  WI_ / 23d 4h 13m 6s
He seemed a little too pleased with himself and Florence mentally promised herself not to be quite so accommodating the future. At least when it came to his quips of this nature. Though that helped her very little now when he came at her with a strangely seductive insinuation. Trying to get through it as quickly as possible, she jabbed back. [+mediumseagreen "Surely there is nothing I could teach a rascal like you."] Her voice was low, but not icy as if she was actually angry. She was just trying not to be overhead by the others approaching.

She was saved by the children. For once, Florence was glad to hear their complaints. [+mediumseagreen "If you cannot handle this much we might as well turn around and get back on that boat right now."] As much as she would hate to have to go through that ride again, she knew that this was probably the easiest task they would have in the days to come. If they could not get over it, there was little point to go to Wistina.

That shut them up rather quickly, though really it was just Augustine and Flora. Marko was used to hauling lumber, so a couple of bags was nothing for him. Florence was somewhat regretting not sending her son down to the mill for a week to let him have a taste of what actual work was like. Apparently a day or two in the fields had not done it for him.

Once there was quiet, she took her own satchel from Augustine who happened to grab it. He lucked out this time, though she was aware that good fortune would look like she was spoiling him further.

Actually on the road, things improved little by little. The kids seemed to get used to the burden of the extra weight and then this just became a walk like they were used to. While they had never done this sort of traveling, all that walking around town to cause mischief seemed to finally serve a purpose. It readied them for at least this leg of the journey. Flora started up a conversation with the others and every once in a while she would call for Florence or Nicolai to chime in as well. It was sweet of her, but the dark haired woman was happy enough just listening to them goof around. For the time being they were safe to do so, so she let them.

Come a few hours they hit the next town. It was by no means big, but there was more to it than the first place. That being that there was actually a stable that held more than the horses necessary for life here. Therefore this was where they would be getting their animals. Upon speaking with the stable master, Florence confirmed that he had received letter from her brother with payment for the horses. The middle aged man brought out five fine looking animals. It was one more than she expected.

Looking to Augustine she eyed him suspiciously. [+mediumseagreen "You would not happened to have told your uncle that you were planning to sneak Flora along, would you have?"] There was a very heavy insinuation that what she really meant was 'why did you tell him and not me?' The blond shrugged in response, clearly not wanting to get Eugene or himself in trouble. It was a taste of her own medicine, so she really could not complain. At least they would not have to waste funds on securing another horse.

With that business through, and it still being a mite early to stop and eat again, they saddled and loaded the horses up to continue on their way.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 23d 13h 21m 19s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Glad that he was not immediately cuffed around the back of his head by Florence for his tap on the backside of Augustine, he was further surprised and happy to find his compliment seemed to his its mark. Had something happened since he had been shipped away? Perhaps he had just picked the right compliment to make and keeping it simple worked? Her return of his remark, with a soft smile and warm cheeks, was the cherry on top.

Nicolai looked at her with a soft smile and nodded lightly.[+royalblue “Sleeping rough, hunting, training every day – I agree, a training regiment can do wonderful things.”] He was aware his form had bulked out a touch, not as light and nimble as he used to be but he could bring power to his sword thrusts like never before. Whilst the others were collecting up the bags and complaining to one another about the unfairness of it, Nicolai moved a step closer to Florence, catching her gaze with his own, violet on green.[+royalblue “Perhaps later we can sit and talk, swap notes. We could learn a lot from one another.”] There was emphasis in the right places for him to end with a nod and knowing smile.

He did not wait too close for long, shuffling away as he saw the trio were already shuffling back down the docks with their belongings and he chuckled as they neared the two adults of the party. Nicolai began to finish off his sandwich in hand, the bread having soaked in that golden yolk and the bacon adding a salty crunch – it was lovely. As Flora neared him however he reached across, taking the bag from her hands and swinging it up onto his shoulder. Ever the gentleman or just looking to get them moving faster than a fat man's waddle? It was up for them all to decide.
  WI_ / 23d 14h 7m 58s
Nicolai seemed to have all sorts of family crawling out of the woodwork. Though she must have appeared confused at the fact, because he quickly explained that he did not mean a blood relative but someone who he had come to fight alongside at some point. That made vastly more sense.

While Augustine did not appreciate that particular motivation to start him moving, he did little more than send a glare Nicolai's way before headed back to the boat to grab the rest of their supplies with the others. He knew they would not be picking up the horses prepared for them till the next town over, so he was not really looking forward to hauling all the gear. They had packed with this in mind, but he still was not excited about it.

All it took was for the children to be out of earshot for the elf to start with his banter. She had thought he had a little more self control than that, but perhaps all that time in the middle of no where had destroyed his inhibitions. Though, his comment did get to her the tiniest but. Her face warmed, but it was nothing compared to her son's just a short while ago. The woman tried to play it off with a bit of sarcasm. [+mediumseagreen "Amazing what you can do when you are allowed to keep a training regiment."] She was of course referencing her time in Wistina when her only two things required of her were to look pretty and be a wife. Though given the lifestyle they led, that second one did not entail a whole lot. At least not outside of the bedroom. [+mediumseagreen "That being said, I am not the only one."] She nodded back to him with the comment. . Nicola had gained some bulk to him while they were separated. She had noticed it before, but had little reason to bring it up. He looked good. Florence, however, was not going to give him the satisfaction of hearing that come from her mouth.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 23d 15h 7m 43s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Flora’s complaint was met with a thumb’s up over the shoulder from Nicolai, not arguing about the matter and not particularly concerned. He had brought Gregory and Florence up north with him and they had not gotten along with him well either. He was well versed in people not being happy with him in fact, but he put it down to the girls’ upbringing. Whilst she was not as spoiled as Eugene’s children, having a job and living outside the castle, she would not be all that accustomed to sleeping outside and having to cook for herself. He might be wrong, as every assumption he made was thrown back in his face by Florence, but he would wait and see her prove him wrong.

With the three of them in tow he walked down to the docks, the ones he had been dropped at himself, and nodded a greeting to an old man sat off to one side with a fishing pole in hand. He was grouchy and muttered some curse under his breath but that was just how he was. He hated everyone. Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of who Nicolai would become. Seemed peaceful in his mind.

Spying Florence he was pleasantly surprised. From just her outfit alone he was especially pleased, given his desire for her the figure hugging pants were much better than the dress. Still, she was breath taking most times in any attire and he took a bite of his sandwich as she addressed the others. When she looked at him, questioning where his belongings were, he shook his head. Covering his mouth rather than spit food at anyone he spoke,[+royalblue “My belongings are with my helmet a few villages over with my sister, she’s keeping it safe. We’ll sleep there tonight.”] He commented and removed his hand, finishing the mouthful.

He was looking behind her, down the dock at their belongings, when he caught the look of wonder on both her and Augustines faces. It took a moment for him to realise and he grinned.[+royalblue “Oh, sorry, she’s not really my sister. More like a battle brother, but a woman. She’s been with me since I came North. It’s this whole long story I’ll tell you about sometime.”] He nodded to the three younger members then gestured to the dock.[+royalblue “Go on you three, go get it all. You’re young, you can carry stuff.”] He lifted his boot to kick at Augustines backside lightly so that they would move along, and with that one on the way he took his friend and girlfriend with him.

Once they were off moving down the dock he turned to Florence, smiling at her in that wicked way he had back in his room once she had removed his shackles.[+royalblue “I really like the pants. You’ve been working out lately, no?”] He winked at her in a teasing manner, still holding his sandwich in one hand.
  WI_ / 23d 16h 33m 48s
Marko's smile only widened as Nicolai praised him, Flora though, she went into into a bit of a tizzy. His added clause about it being nothing personal did little to help. She stuck her tongue out at him. [+plum "Then I suppose we might not get along, mister. Bows are in my blood."] She was being sassy more than anything else, as she did not actually believe that. Still her hands came up to her hips as she continued to shoot him a look that was promptly and rightfully ignored. Augustine was just glad it got her off his back for a little while.

The three of them got up and followed after Nicolai. Marko obliged him in carrying the weapon. Polearms were not exactly a common thing in Astoria, so this was his first time getting to see one in a hands on setting. He nodded, very much hoping to branch out in the near future. Even if he didn't convert to halberd, he was sure he could apply the experience somewhere.

Walking out to the one main street in this place, it led straight back to the docks. And just where they left her, there was Florence now sitting with her legs hanging off the wooden structure as the wave pushed on by. Stopping short of leaving the shore, Augustine called out to her. As soon as his voice caught her ear, the woman turned to see the trio had returned triumphant. There were four of them now and much sooner than she had expected. She still was not feeling quite right, but she was well enough to move along. So she made her way over to the others to round off their final grouping for this trip.

[+mediumseagreen "You all managed that rather quickly."] She wondered if one of them had developed a talent in tracking while she was not looking. Though now that she actually looked at this tiny town, she could see why the task had not been anything too taxing.

Looking over the dark haired gentleman, she noted the sandwich in his hand but no bag. Seeing as Marko had mysteriously acquired a pike, she looked over the others to see if he had pawned it off on them. But it looked as though he had done no such thing. Perhaps he was just that ill prepared, though Florence very much doubted it. [+mediumseagreen "Is that all you are bringing?"] Lifting a humored brow, she nodded to the partially devoured breakfast item.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 23d 16h 59m 59s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat A chuckle came from the elf on seeing how Augustine reacted to Flora’s delight on hearing he had called her cute. Perhaps he was stretching the truth to tease him, but the girl was quite adorable. It did not help him with trying not to think of his own daughter and how she was one of the most beautiful beings in the world. But he was rather good at hiding that emotion for when he was alone. It was best to distract himself from such things and Marko provided that. His grin was infectious when he nodded that he was indeed an axman. That was about all he got out of the boy however, save the fact that axes were his forte from working in a lumber yard.

Eyeing him in silence for a few seconds, his fork holding the remainder of a sausage aloft, Nicolai was motionless as if he was contemplating whether Marko’s skill was good or bad. Now the sausage was used to point and he nodded.[+royalblue “I like this kid. He’s good in my books. Doesn’t waffle, says only what he needs to, built like a brick shithouse and prefers a good solid weapon as opposed to a flimsy bow.”] He glanced to Flora before she could make any argument against his point about bows and shook his head.[+royalblue “No personal offence meant to you Flora, I just don’t like bows.”] His right hand went to his shoulder, where that arrow had punctured him years before.

He popped the remainder of the sausage into his mouth before grabbing the remaining bread, placing an egg and sliver of bacon between two pieces, and pressed them together whilst standing.[+royalblue “Come on kids, let’s go get mother and then we can head off.”] He found it ironic that they were like an odd makeshift family now, but he would be much more polite and speak in a sweeter tone when Florence was here. His cheek still felt sore this long after being hit.

He replaced his sword into the scabbard at his side and reaching over took up the polearm. Offering it off to Marko he nodded.[+royalblue “You can carry that. See what you think, maybe we can make you a pseudo pikeman come axman with a little training.”] He just wanted someone to carry his things at first, but it did make sense to give him additional training. All of them would be taught more on swords, Augustine included, as he wanted to know should they be forced to grab whatever was at hand they would be able to fight. For now, his egg and bacon sandwich was at hand and he made his way for the door so that they could head off to get Florence. He had no bag with him, just yet, but he knew where it was.
  WI_ / 23d 17h 59m 53s
Nicolai's teasing worked like a charm and Augustine's face soon lit up a bright shade of red that almost matched the scarf at his neck. It stood out magnificently on his light skin and only worsened as Flora practically span in her chair to bring her attention to him. [+plum "Ooooh, really? I would love to hear more, Augustine."] She leaned in toward him. [+plum "You are never that nice. I can hardly believe it."] That was not actually true, but he did tend to keep sweet words and acts to a minimum when they were not on their own. She doubted this was a sign that he was breaking of that, but she would have loved it if it were.

Marko shook his head at the pairs antics. This was pretty classic Flora, so he was used to it and it did not really bother him. But he did think they could tone it down just a touch. And as much as he didn't care for talking to strangers, he was almost glad to have Nicolai call out to him. It would give him an excuse to ignore the other two and not get pulled into their nonsense.

Listening as the man listed off possible weapons, he grinned as he came to the third and final option. [+darkblue "That's the one."] He had a not so modestly sized battle ax. It was still small enough to wield single handed, but he still thought it fit into the category of 'big fucking ax.' Besides that he had a couple of throwing axes and had taken to using a shield, as per Florence's request. When she found out Augustine had a friend that wanted to come along, she forced her son to bring him to the castle so she could get an analysis of his skill level. It was just about the scariest day of Marko's life, given that was his first time in the palace and meeting the rather critical woman, but she gave some solid advice that would ready him to fight in an actual battle as opposed to hitting straw targets.

[+darkblue "Worked in a lumber yard."] Short and sweet as was the usual for him.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 23d 18h 25m 33s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai nodded and went back to eating the moment he heard she was fine. Whilst he may think he had lightened his approach to his mother, he was simply taking it slower and was relieved to know she was okay. Thankfully he was allowed to leave, having been fully ready to wolf down a few more mouthfuls and forced to leave to keep up with them. Eyeing his food more than he did the trio of youth he tore off some of his bread to dip into the grease and fat on his plate as he was introduced to those around him.

He found Marko an interesting character given his rather simple nod of greeting. But Flora, well she was the opposite of her father. Hearing that Augustine had talked about him a lot over the years made him feel a little odd. It was peculiar that he would be discussed given how they had parted and how angry he had been when he had met him in the dungeon. But it was a little kind as he was thought about some. If only his mother was like him in talking of him. Oh well.

[+royalblue “I hope it was all good information he gave you, good and honest too. Augustine has a habit of making people sound better than they are, especially me.”] He looked across to the emerald-eyed boy and grinned at him a little as he took a bite of his juicy bread. It was delicious as expected and he took a breath in through his nose as he eyed Marko with curiosity.

Swallowing, and with cutlery still in hand, he pointed the knife at the boy with the ebony skin.[+royalblue “Now, I know who Flora is, and quite a lot about her in fact, as Augustine is always gushing about how cute she is – and she is adorable in that regard.”] That part was just to embarrass the boy as it would amuse Nicolai to let him squirm some.[+royalblue “But you.. you are a dark enigma, excuse the pun. He has not told me anything about you, but you look the part. All I am wondering is; what are you? Archer? Swordsman? Big fucking axe?”] He had become a little crass in his years away from the formal world in Wistina. Out here with the people, he was more prone to cussing.
  WI_ / 23d 19h 5m 55s
While the food did look very enticing, Augustine was still full from their breakfast on the ship. [+coral "We will have a seat, if you do not mind. But we just ate a bit ago."] Traveling on an overly full stomach was not advisable.

He, Marko, and Flora took up the three remaining seats at the table and Nicolai inquired as to where his mom was. Honestly, he had expected that to be the man's first question, but it turned out he still left room for niceties. [+coral "Back at the docks. The crew are keeping an eye on her as they unload... She doesn't do so well on ships, so she wanted some time to sit before getting along."] He had almost forgotten that Nicolai never got to see her in all her seasick glory. Augustine got the feeling he would have reveled in it a little too much. [+coral "Go ahead and take your time to finish, and then we can regroup with her."]

With that out of the way it was time to move on to getting everyone acquainted. [+coral "So, introductions."] His green eyes went between the other three and then stopped on Nicolai. [+coral "As you might have guessed, this is Flora."] He motioned a hand to the bright haired young woman on his right. [+coral "And this is Marko."] The boy's hand followed through over to his other friend who did little more than nod to the gentleman who was finishing up his meal.

Flora was not nearly so reserved. [+plum "Nice to finally meet you."] Dark eyes ran over the elf and she smiled widely. [+plum "I've heard a lot about you over the years.] Augustine talked about him almost everytime Wistina came up. But recently he came up more frequently. Mainly because of everything that happened. She had heard the lot of what her boyfriend knew, and the occasional detail that came from her father as he complained. It was a very complicated matter, but if Augustine and Lady Florence trusted this guy, so would she. [+plum "It is good to know we are gonna have a little more experience between us."] She had a lighthearted tone, but this was something she was actually very glad for. The better a chance they had at making it to the end of this alive, the happier she would be.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 23d 19h 31m 24s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was sitting at a table in the village inn, tucking into a large breakfast. It was the full works; succulent sausages, bacon cooked just crispy enough, eggs fried and their yokes a golden sunny yellow, with plump tomatoes on the side and several slices of thick buttered bread. It was a feast for him and he was already half way through it when Augustine and his friends walked in on him.

Dressed in the attire he had been captured in, though cleaned of blood now, he looked like most of the other villagers. The woollen hood was warm and soft after a way, and sat atop his shining silver chain armour. It was of dwarvish design to be both light but strong, leaving him to have the flexibility he needed whilst giving him his protection. On his leather belt sat several pouches and bags, though his weapons were sat on table beside his meal. His sword, the same that Florence had looked on and admired in the infirmary, was the same one he had taken with him from Wistina with the same crest in the hilt. The long pole arm he had fought Adrian with, left behind however by the Astorians, had been taken up by his own men and returned to him and was propped against the wall behind him.

He had informed them, the rebels he led, that he would be departing, instructing them to speak with the new representative of Astoria and from there to facilitate the end of the rebellion. They had gotten what they wanted; both sides had. Astoria would not be losing any more soldiers, would have a reduced presence in Vollenberg, and yet would continue to reap the benefits of trade. Meanwhile the Malidek peoples would have their homes back, and would be given help in reintegrating into the one small fishing village, to begin new and prosperous lives. It was only regretful that they had shed so much blood in the meanwhile.

Looking up from his meal as three shadows fell over him, Nicolai eyed the two that flanked Augustine with derision. Children? They had sent two children to assist on their journey? Oh what joy, this would make things that much easier no doubt. Especially as the one to the right, the girl, had the eyes of Augustus. She must be Flora.[+royalblue “Hello Augustine and friends. Care to join me?”] He said with a smile as he stabbed his fork into a sausage that oozed with succulent juices.[+royalblue “Where is your mother?”] He asked with a little worry in his voice, pausing from continuing his meal until he was sure of what was going on.
  WI_ / 23d 20h 11m 37s

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