Fall of the Court

/ By Loxi [+Watch]

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The expression that crossed Nicolai’s face reminded the woman that he was still under a certain impression. And because of this she needed to be more careful with her words. However, his listlessness came and went quickly as he jumped right back into the conversation, now with a renewed interest in giving her a hard time. But this time Florence was determined to keep her footing.

[+mediumseagreen “I did say that, yes.”] She made a point of slowly looking him up and down. [+mediumseagreen “It is just that you looked rather… feminine before. Not to say that you were not attractive, as I did take notice of you, but I do like my men to look the part.”] Probably not the most admirable admittance for a widow to make, but it was understandably difficult being but twenty years old and married to a man already in his forties. There was bound to be some discontent and wandering eyes, though the only time she ever acted on it was when there was a need to bring Augustine into the picture. Perhaps if Nicolai had been blond and human, she might have sought him out at the time, though it was unlikely given his loyalty to Germaine and how hostile their relationship was back then. [+mediumseagreen “You have always been tall and had a jawline that looks like you could cut stone with it, but now that you have put on some muscle you actually look like a man who is worth his salt on the battle field. Rather important for a general, in my opinion.”] Florence kept her tone light despite being rather serious about what she found appealing in him. [+mediumseagreen “The only thing missing is some facial hair, but I suppose I cannot fault you for that.”] Her idea that men should have beards probably had something to do with her father being a Dwarf, but it obviously was not a deal breaker.

Florence was doing her very best not to pay too much attention to anything she said. She knew the moment she stopped and thought about it, it was over for her. The embarrassment would win and she could not have that. Nicolai had gotten away with far too much today and she wanted to try and turn the tables, so she just had to press on and not linger. [+mediumseagreen “I am nearly forty, I had better have learned by now.”] Forty was still some years off for her, but her point remained. [+mediumseagreen “Good is not the word I would use, cathartic maybe, but only because you had been such an insufferable twat that I did not know what else to do with you.”] In hindsight she knew why he did what he did, but at the time she thought he was absolutely intolerable. [+mediumseagreen “Though perhaps you are speaking more for yourself. You seem to look back on it a little too fondly, do you not?”] She raised an inquisitive brow his way.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 103d 17h 26m 18s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat For a moment Nicolai worried perhaps it was a bad idea to tell Florence about the swelling. In his mind it was innocent, it was of his own doing and Augustine was perfectly safe and had learned a valued lesson about himself. But of course from her viewpoint he had had her son smack him hard enough to leave a mark. What sort of person provokes another to hit them unless they want a fight? Thankfully the ruse dropped the moment she spoke and he breathed a shallow sigh of relief.

He didn't like to hear about Logan – for obvious reasons – and there was a moment his face showed this disinterest. But trying to be good for her he soon brought a light smile back to his face.[+royalblue “Oh be kind to the boy. He's barely hit puberty."] He was what, fifteen now? So young to the elf.[+royalblue "Besides, I was a thin and lithe young man and now look at me."] He had certainly bulked out.[+royalblue "You even said you like me better this way and I'm an old man now. Give him time dear.”] Explicitly she had said she liked the new him which was perhaps more so the personality than the appearance. The hair and scar was a unique touch but he found it served the purpose of showcasing his past battles. Who knew if it deterred anyone from attacking him over the years. Shuffling in a little closer then, so that he might hold both her hands in his, that familiar devilish smile returned.[+royalblue “In truth, I think he was holding back. I'll have to teach him to follow through. though you certainly don't have that problem. You know how to treat a man.”] He spoke in a hush now, just to her, a look of playful mischief in his shining violet eyes as he did his utmost to put her on the back foot, shy and embarrassed.[+royalblue “Admit it; in the dungeon, hitting me, it felt good, no?”]
  WI_ / 104d 6h 2m 6s
Blinking at the man, she honest to god had not expected that answer. Florence did not know what she expected, but it was not that her son had punched him. Nicolai went on to explain it was part of a lesson, but she was still confused how he had gotten Augustine to do it. Maybe it was as simple as asking the boy to hit him, but given this was Nicolai she was dealing with; she very much doubted it. It was mildly irritating to know that he was probably harassing her son, but given Augustine came out of it unscathed, and that he had not complained about whatever had transpired, she thought she might as well let it pass. The boy would probably get mad at her for making a big deal of it anyway. He did not like it when she mothered too intensely.

Sighing, she tried her best not to think about it and go along with the humor Nicolai seemed to see in the situation. [+mediumseagreen “If he cannot hit at least as hard as me by now, then I am afraid he is a lost cause.”] Truly, she worried for him if an old woman’s punch outmatched his. [+mediumseagreen “The boys in our family are late bloomers though, so he might still have a chance.”] Florence did think he was taking after her side of the family when it came to his physique. [+mediumseagreen “Eugene was just about as scrawny as Augustine growing up. He was nearly eighteen before he filled out.”] That was still a ways off for the boy, but she was sure it would pass in a flash for her. However there was still the chance that he was taking after his father. [+mediumseagreen “Logan was not nearly so thin either. He was sort of built like you actually, though I cannot say much for how he developed.”] It was not exactly something the two of them ever talked about when they were together.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 104d 7h 5m 54s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Seeing her flummoxed by the sudden kiss was amusement enough for Nicolai as she jested back at him. His hand took a hold of hers for his reply, thumb stroking along the backs of her fingers in a slow patterned movement. The excitement of the kiss was a touch strange. Here he was, almost giddy that he had put aside his concern on being caught by Augustine and kissed the woman he was meant to be in a relationship with. He had to remind himself that it was a most natural thing to do and yet it did not lessen his smile.

[+royalblue “I should have come to you last night and slept by your side, like we did in the pass. But that kiss will have to make amends for the time being.”] It was evident he was not talking of sex or the like – though he was not necessarily pushing that off the table. Rather he wanted to be beside her warmth and holding her hand again. To wake up to such a pretty face next to him again. Unfortunately that pretty face now turned on him.

As she moved his head to better look at him he sighed a little at first. He had hoped to get to that evening at least before having to explain why the bruise was there. But even as she looked on him like a displeased mother, he only smiled a fools smile at her.[+royalblue “I made Augustine punch me.”] He replied in complete truth, not fazed at all to give her what she sought.[+royalblue “I was teaching him a lesson and that involved him having to hit me.”] He rather liked how she held him delicately, her fingers soft and warm as he watched her inspect the swelling.[+royalblue “Not to worry, I rate it a six to your ten.”] He added jovially, though he was maybe skirting that fine line with Florence between humour and annoying her.
  WI_ / 104d 9h 7m 10s
Augustine split off to go see his friends, but Nicolai was making his way toward her. Watching him as he came closer, Florence expected him to say something, anything really, but instead he swooped in next to her and stole her lips. With this being so completely unexpected it took her a moment to really process what was happening, but as soon as she did, she surrendered and reciprocated the kiss. There was something charming about how casual it was. Typically, they were hidden as if they were trying to get away with some wrongdoing when they kissed, but this was different and in a most refreshing way. However, that did not do much to stop the embarrassment that came with such a blatant display of affection when he finally did pull away and she saw him still staring at her. There was a pause. She was lost for words as she stared back to the man before her. Whether it was due to him personally, or just his actions she was unsure, but what she did know was this was the second time today he had left her speechless and she was not happy about it. Not necessarily the kiss, as that had been all together pleasant, but her own inability to retaliate in a timely manner. Whether it was a witty comment, or something sweet in return, Florence was not used to being thrown off kilter so effortlessly.

That being said, the pause persisted up until the point where she had to look away from those lovely lilac eyes and she began to feel herself again. [+mediumseagreen “Getting rather bold, are we?”] It was not a pointed question, more of an observation of how he had heeded little mind to those around them. Even if they were turned away, it would not take much for eyes to turn toward them.

It was not until after she got her words out that she glanced back up at him. However, this time her vibrant eyes laid on something other than his. Her expression changed to something more serious. [+mediumseagreen “What happened to your face? It is swollen.”] Her hand came up to gently tilt his head so that it was easier to see. She was extremely careful to keep her touch soft and not directly on the affected area. The discoloration had yet to settle in, so it was difficult to read the story behind the affliction.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 104d 9h 34m 52s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was a hardy man in certain moments. Put him in a battle with a sword in hand and an enemy before him and there would not be a man within a thousand miles who was more masculine and strong and brave. Put a fifteen year old boy before him, wearing the armour he had just given him, thanking him – that hit deep in his chest. He offered a simple nod and gentle smile in return to his thanks, not trusting himself to keep a level voice if he spoke. Waiting for the boy to turn and start walking away he took a deep calming breath before following.

Walking out into the sunshine again he was grateful to see Florence there, leaving the young blonde to go off to his friends as he made a direct path across to her. Smiling as he approached he glanced over his shoulder as the trio gathered around one another to talk as they often did. It was becoming more apparent to Nicolai that they were inseparable. For a boy who grew up rather lonely, no other children to play with given his title, the elfin man was happy to see he was able to socialise and make bonds. It would be key to being a good King to know how to socialise.

He was silent for a few moments longer before he turned back to Florence. He didn’t say anything as he turned to her and instead he leaned in close and pressed his lips to hers. At first it was light and innocent though he raised his hand to rest at her cheek and the kiss became a more meaningful, confident affair. The kiss turned into several, each a few seconds long. Pulling away he opened his violet eyes to her having closed them at some point, again lost in her dazzling gaze much as he had been the night before. She would see a man before her who was smiling contently though looking at her in a mesmerized, loving and hungry manner as his hand left her warm cheek and dropped away.[+royalblue “Mm.. I needed that.”] He said quietly with a soft laugh as he brushed back his hair and the trepidation that usually came before a kiss with her now rolled over him in a wave.

He had timed the kiss rather well, Marko and Augustine’s backs turned to the grown duo as Töka toiled away at her horse checking straps and such. Only Flora may have seen the embrace, though perhaps her dark eyes were only for the strapping young boyfriend of hers.
  WI_ / 104d 10h 30m 8s
It was interesting to learn of the different mindsets Nicolai went through leading up to being here, but that didn’t make it any less depressing to hear he had resigned to his death not all that long ago. And while all this confirmed the boy’s impression that obtaining this gift was set in motion before what happened in Astoria, Augustine, like Nicolai was pleased that things had turned out this way instead. [+coral “I understand those feelings…”] There was a time when he was one hundred percent certain how his life would go, only to have it completely change course with the early death of his father. Augustine recalled there being a strange surreal-ness enveloping the following days, almost dreamlike, as Nicolai put it. However, before now the young man thought such deviations always led to heartache and disappointment, but as it turned out, they could be for the better, such was the case now. It was an inspirational revelation.

Augustine took a step back when the tall gentleman called to have a look at him. He would have to go by whatever opinion he came up with, seeing as there were no mirrors in this place. Not that it truly mattered; purpose came before aesthetic, but he was still happy to hear he looked halfway decent. He reflected a sunny smile right back at the man in front of him. [+coral “Good.”] Augustine’s comment was half directed toward how he looked and half toward how he thought Flora would react. He basically knew nothing would come of it. Now wasn’t exactly the time to be cuddling up with his girlfriends, however, he did like to tease her. And if she was swooning like Nicolai predicted then she was liable to wind up frustrated at the soft ban on contact. It was a thought that made him smile just a little bit wider.

[+coral “Alright, we should get back to the others. They’re probably champing at the bit to know what we are doing.”] Honestly Augustine was surprised no one had come barging in yet. There hadn’t been any specific instruction saying they had to wait outside, so it was kind of funny. But before turning back to the door, he decided to say one last thing. [+coral “Nicolai… Thank you, again.”] Hand coming up to his chest, he let it rest where his family crest would sit. [+coral “This really does mean a lot to me.”] This was the kind of moment he always imagined he would have with his father, one where something was passed from one person to the next. And while this was not entirely the same, he was glad to make a similar memory. Even if Augustine never felt like he would truly look up to Nicolai in that way, as a father figure, he was a man that he admired greatly and it counted for a lot.

Still not wanting to get too emotional with all this, Augustine made a point of moving on quickly. If he was any younger he might have been overcome with the urge to hug the man, but for now he was keeping his hands to himself and walking himself out the door with only those words of thanks.

Outside, the others were sat on the grass. It was a little bit of down time to let their food fully settle before they had to get to work. During this time Florence grabbed Töka’s attention and pulled her away to talk about helping the boys so that Nicolai would not need to. The woman did not get a straight answer, as it was very like the red-eyed young woman to not want to listen to anyone who was not Nicolai, but Florence kept hope that she might pull through later when she could make it appear as though it was her own idea. After all, this was in the ailing man’s best interest.

It was not long after she returned to the others with Töka that her son and his mentor emerged. Her green eyes watched them curiously, as she very much expected an explanation of what they had been up to.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 104d 11h 53m 13s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai smirked as he tried to imagine this young and shy boy spending a coin without his mother’s say so.[+royalblue “Oh I am delighted you did not have access to it. I can see it all so vividly now; you would have a harem of foreign beauties to suit any whim, any desire or need. Silken bed sheets that are changed each day even if you do not sleep in the bed. A golden litter to carry you around and then deposit you before a dinner table laden with expensive pastries and desserts.”] It was awfully specific, almost as if this is what he thought of doing if he were King and wealth was not a worry for him. Thankfully the little Prince brushed by to begin putting the armour on.

As layers came off Nicolai stepped in now and against to advise on which pieces to keep and which would leave him uncomfortable. Some padding was needed to stop the metal links scratching the skin or ripping out any hairs they could find. Not that the boy needed to know, but being an elf he did not have that problem. They couldn’t grow so much as a stubble so that hinted towards the rest of them. The maille itself was a little cumbersome to get on until Nicolai helped him to lift it up and over his head, focused more on keeping it from those blonde locks and tearing out a chunk.

[+royalblue “Just a word of advice – do not take this off without either someone helping or wrapping a shirt about your head first. You’re liable to lose some of that golden hair if you do.”] That was sage advice from a victim of said act. He could endure much pain but having hairs pulled out was just plain painful.

Satisfied he had the armour on correctly he watched as the leather gambeson was added atop. It was a light leather, expertly tailored so that he would look presentable whilst having that extra layer from projectiles. As he reached for the scarf on the table, Nicolai paused at the question. Grasping the light material he hesitated to answer, but given how today had been going he did not want to ruin the mood by not responding.[+royalblue “In truth, I did not plan on it. I had planned to die in Astoria.”] It was not in keeping with their playful talk but the boy deserve the truth.[+royalblue “Before Elizabeth left,”] he doubted he would tell the boy what happened there,[+royalblue “I had no plans to return to Wistina ever. I assumed you and your mother would find means to return and fight but I was not a part of those plans. After what I did, I thought it best to leave you alone.”] Running the fabric between his fingers he turned back to the boy.[+royalblue “Knowing what I did about Adrian though, I knew I had to stop him. I learned he was a leader of sorts in the army and conveniently the locals in Malidek had a cause they were fighting Astoria on, so I joined it. I tried to kill him on the battlefield, almost did, and when I woke up in the dungeon I was resigned to dying there – so long as he died too.”] Stepping closer to the boy he pulled the scarf up to wrap back around his neck, tucking it under the edges of the metal so it wouldn’t chafe at his skin.[+royalblue “I purchased the armour before I set off north again, had to use the gold I had stowed away at Helga’s homestead.”] Where he had gotten the gold in the first place would remain untold for now.[+royalblue “I would have told your mother about it before they took me away, so to be the one to give it to you, to see you put it on for the first time, it feels a touch unreal. The last few weeks have felt a little like a dream. You think life will forever be one way and so quickly it turns out differently. Poignant, no?”]

He brushed his hands across the boys padded shoulders, stepping back a little to look over him and inspect the outcome.[+royalblue “Let’s have a look at you.”] Casting a critical eye over the ensemble as a whole he nodded in an approving manner.[+royalblue “Rather fetching. I’m sure Flora will swoon quite heavily for you.”] He smiled.
  WI_ / 104d 17h 3m 37s
Smithing, of any variety, was not something Augustine was versed in. He could tell you which metals were good for what and where they were often used, but the actual basics of the skills and how long it took to learn them were lost to him. So he nodded along with what Nicolai had to say about it. It was a little bit of a relief knowing that Meredith had not completely changed, embroidery and leatherwork were not too far off from fashion and those sorts of things that she used to babble on about when she had someone other than his mother to talk to.

[+coral “I am just glad to know she is doing well. Hopefully one day I will be able to send her my thanks properly.”] There was no telling whether or not she wanted to return to Wistina, especially now that she was a business owner, but it might not hurt to ask if she wanted a secondary location here in her homeland.

As for Nicolai’s comment of forwarding the cost to the treasury, he laughed. [+coral “Yeah, I think that is a good idea. They already got off easy having me gone all these years. I can just imagine all the things I would have tried to empty the coffers with in my formative years.”] This was a joke of course; with his mother backing him as well as the other advisors, nothing too wasteful would have come to pass. But he could just imagine all the stupidly extravagant things child kings who actually kept their thrones got away with.

Looking back to the armor, he decided just to go for it. Unwrapping the scarf from around his neck, he set it on the table and quickly stripped off upper articles of clothing so that he could start fitting the maille to his body. Once finished, he looked down to the crest thinking it a shame that he was going to have to cover it. If his name did not give him away, that certainly would.

The bodice piece was adjustable, so there was obviously some thought behind him being able to use this for a long time. He appreciated that, though having something this nicely made did raise another question. [+coral “So, exactly how long had you been planning to return to Wistina with us?”] To Augustine, this did not look to the kind of thing that could be put together in a couple of days. Though maybe he was wrong. Maybe it was just a matter of customizing an already completed set of armor, but that was not the feeling the boy got when he saw this.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 105d 6h 42m 3s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat There was obvious relief in Nicolai’s expression when the boy was left a touch speechless and his hand had brushed across the crest at the centre of the armour. It had been quite the tumultuous time between the two of late – fighting lesson that morning aside – so he was unsure if this would be seen as him trying to buy the boys favour or a slight to his father’s name. His worry stemmed more so from Florence being annoyed at him if he had upset her son. Hopefully the boy maintained his composure so he didn’t have to explain why he had come out crying from the room.

[+royalblue “You think she could make anything like that? Takes decades to learn how to work Javin steel to even a basic standard.”] He certainly sounded the old veteran now, listing off how good this metal was to that and almost scoffing that Augustine could even fathom that Meredith would know how to do something like this.[+royalblue “No, Danny the blacksmith did it. Meredith only did the emblem and the leather work."] Praise were praise was due, thats what Nicolai thought.[+royalblue "I got her a job working in the blacksmith. She made a good face to the business, brought in a lot of work for the owner.”] It had near tripled the work coming into her.[+royalblue “Meredith took up embroidery, adding little pieces to inflate the price, make them pretty and comfortable.”] It made sense. Danny was a shrewd businesswoman and would want to expand her profit margin. To have another hand helping out, offering a complimentary service, was not farfetched.[+royalblue “She was paid well enough to become partner a year or so ago.”] He had clearly kept in touch with the young maiden he had left behind.

Whilst he was upset at her betrayal, he could not find a way to leave her alone and without some connection to her lost past. Their correspondence went to little more than reminiscing of things they missed about Wistina and talking of how things may go in the future. It was nice for Nicolai to have someone to talk with too away from Elizabeth and once he had left Florence and Augustine.

[+royalblue “She can’t take back what she did just as much as I can’t change what I did. So the best either of us can do is help you.”] It was a sentimental but genuine reason for offering the armour to the boy. They each felt bad for what they had done.[+royalblue “Still didn’t stop her charging me a bloody King’s ransom. Remind me to send the expense to the crown treasury once we’re done.”]
  WI_ / 105d 16h 33m 25s
It did not take long for Augustine to put two and two together and understand that they were here to discuss the package he had just asked Marko about. Though the man must have seen the hint of hesitation in him because of their last interaction. [+coral “Yeah, that is probably a good idea. I would like to be able to get the better of Marko every once in a while.”] Still hadn’t happened yet, the other teen could pretty much take both him and Flora at the same time, but he liked to think one day he would surprise them both and find a way to leverage his strength against him. It was a pipe dream, but a nice thought all the same.

When prompted to come closer, the boy obliged the elf as he peered into the now unfolded fabric. He really was not sure what he was expecting when he looked in, but it really was not this. Augustine didn’t know what to say. In fact, he had to bite the inside of his cheek just to stop himself from crying. All this talk of being strong and manly, he couldn’t just start bawling like a baby at this. But it was fairly difficult to stave off; he hadn’t seen that crest since the unfortunate night they left the castle. Luckily, Nicolai decided he was going to crow about the piece for a little while and it gave the prince some time to compose himself. At least to the point that he knew he wasn’t going to get all weepy. [+coral “Thank you… I don’t really know what to say. This is amazing.”] He was almost nervous to touch it, let alone put it on. This felt like something that needed to wait for the right moment. But then again, wasn’t that what Nicolai was saying before, that he waited for the right time to give it to him. As he was thinking about all that, something else was said, and it was probably more surprising than the gift itself, which was saying something.

[+coral “Wait, you got this from Meredith?”] He had been wondering just what happened to her for years. Turns out she wasn’t sold off in that shady town... probably. Color him surprised. [+coral “Did she make it, or does she just work in the shop you got it from?”] He was having a real hard time picturing that girl make anything like this, but then again Augustine didn’t have a very good opinion of her. Aside from her betraying them to the Taken, she was never very nice to him when he was growing up. He had no way of knowing it wasn’t him in particular and that she just wasn’t very fond of children, so it tainted his view of her.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 106d 5h 48m 7s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai took the silence from Florence with delight. It was always fun to get one over on her – in a friendly manner of course. No doubt she would get him back later but given how things had progressed the day before he felt more confident than ever that things were on a positive upturn. They had never had a particularly good relationship, but then it was partly down to him being so confrontational. Perhaps this more playful and affectionate approach may work.

Regardless, he moved into the tavern and over to the package left on a chair near the fireplace. Luckily he had asked or it would have been left behind and then Marko would be taking a number of night watches in a row. Regardless it was there and he heard Augustine come in behind him, the door shutting over behind him as Nicolai lifted the package onto the table. He glanced over to see the boy looking a little apprehensive and he couldn’t suppress a grin.[+royalblue “Don’t worry, I don’t want to fight you again. Though remind me to teach you some closer combat – you can’t stab if you can’t move.”] He knew the boy was good with a sword but he was lacking elsewhere.

Waving for him to come over he pulled the twine on the package and unravelled the fabric that had been acting as a screen. As the boy came closer he would find sat within a highly polished set of maille. It was impeccable in its design. All the links were perfectly aligned and sat in the middle, where it would sit on the chest, sat a coat of arms of Augustines family – that is to say Germaines crest. It was woven atop the metallic material itself, though it looked like it had been where it all began. Sat underneath was what could only be described as a leather corset. A little similar to Flora and Florence’s piece, it would provide good padding as the maille was only designed to stop slashes and the occasional sword thrust or arrowhead could puncture through the ringlets and go deeper. The leather would stop that.

[+royalblue “First and foremost you never ask how much this cost. I imagine your mother would not approve of what this set me back so let that question die right now.”] He moved aside to let the young boy getting a closer look and perhaps a feel of it.[+royalblue “I wanted to give it to you a week or two ago, when I came back from my days trip. But I needed to know you would be the strong King who deserved to wear it. Thankfully you showed it today – I was getting antsy waiting.”] He truly had been anticipating handing this over, though he did well to remain calm and quite professional.[+royalblue “Its Javin steel, made of iron from the Western Peaks.”] He had to brag, he couldn’t help himself. The peaks were renowned for the quality of the iron and Javin steel was some of the purest there was to have. If Augustine really did read as much as he let on, he would know the names. He took a step back rather than crowd in and point out all the details he liked. Women may have their dresses, but men had their armour.[+royalblue “Oh, and Meredith says good luck. She assured me it will stop a javelin from a giant or I get half off my next purchase.”] He had to give credit where it was due, but of course it had to be a touch humourous.
  WI_ / 106d 7h 15m 48s
Seeing his expression change from light hearted to something more critical, Florence realized she might have made a mistake. It took a moment more to understand what it was. Ah yes, he had reasons other than his age to be careful. He was so spry most of the time, it didn’t seem like anything was wrong with him, but then again it was the same with her.

Unexpectedly, he took it in good stride, but she was considering talking to Töka herself to see if she might take his place. That was until he completely threw her brain from its train of thought with his comment. Her face began to flush and whatever witty composure she had was gone for the moment. Florence really had not expected him to say something like that in front of the children; even if it was barely a whisper they could not hear. Before she had time to recover he slinked around her and was directing his attention to the others. It saved him from her making any comment to try and embarrass him in return. After the night before she knew he was not nearly as confident as he was letting on.

Augustine did not know what Nicolai said to his mom, and quite frankly, he did not want to know. Looking away he tried to busy himself with literally anything else before he heard the general call for him to follow. There was no way of knowing what he wanted, but the boy went along with him. He just barely caught the door before it closed. Behind him he could hear Florence calling out to them, saying that they still had about an hour before they left. Good, he wasn't in any rush to be put to work. Looking back, he nodded in acknowledgment before slipping into the building.

Inside, the blond followed after the dark haired man, waiting for him to say what he needed of him.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 106d 8h 29m 23s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The looks on their faces were ones of annoyance that they may be forced to do the hard work whilst the arrogant old git got to sit on the sidelines. It was nothing truly personal, as he would have felt the same in their shoes. And Florence seemed to agree. She turned to look at him as she taunted that he would be joining them and his brow furrowed immediately He thought of bringing up his illness, the injury that could be triggered by a knock or by great strain. Yet in truth he was ashamed of it. He was meant to be strong and powerful and a great man. And it was important to him that she think of him that way.

He was quiet as he looked at her, eyes narrowing a fraction as if he were considering challenging her on that point, but he shrugged lightly and the fur hood he wore shook lightly.[+royalblue “Well, I guess you are right, I am still quite strong. So, if you so wish dear, I’ll help the boys out.”] A small smile grew on his lips as he leaned a touch closer.[+royalblue “I just think there are better ways to use my energy.”] He whispered to her and quickly swept around her.

[+royalblue “Marko, is that package I had you bring in last night still inside?”] The boy jumped a little as he had not expected to be spoken to. He often slunk into the background to be forgotten, but Nicolai revelled in keeping him awake to the conversation. He offered a nod, a faint mentioning that it remained near the fireplace.[+royalblue “Lovely. Augustine, two seconds of your time before we leave.”] He added as he walked inside, leaving the door to swing shut for the boy to follow in behind him.
  WI_ / 106d 9h 24m 45s
While it was ever so funny to watch the elfin man try to worm his way out of this and tease the children in the process, Florence unfortunately had to be the one to burst his bubble. However, she did so with an amused smile on her face. [+mediumseagreen “Frail my ass, and you may be old, but you still act like a boy, so you will be right there with them.”] She actually was not entirely sure how old he was, but she knew he wasn’t so feeble as he was making himself out to be. Perhaps that was a question for later. [+mediumseagreen “How I see it, we are going to need at least three behind that wagon to make sure it does not take off down the hill, and seeing as their horses do not take to strangers, Jonathan is going to have to be up front to guide them down.”] Getting them to walk backwards was a feat enough, so his work would be cut out for him plenty. [+mediumseagreen “So unless you can convince Töka to take your place, you are stuck with the job.”] She finished off in a way that still kept up with the playful atmosphere he started, but she was quite serious. Maybe if Flora had been a little bigger she might have been able to help, but Florence did not want these kids getting run over. The more muscle they had behind this thing the better off they would be.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 106d 10h 9m 47s
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