[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was doing much better than he had earlier when talking about himself. In a way this was just letting someone else know about someone he cared about. Whilst it was sad and tragic in its own right, because it wasn’t him he was able to put some emotional separation between him and the subject. Her hands didn’t help much with trying to regain his composure as she took a hold of his cheek and turned him to her. He didn’t want to see her upset or troubled by his life – that was not the point of all thus. Yet when her other hand came up and squished his cheeks a little, he nodded gently to her words. This wasn’t his accepting no responsibility, for he had had this same conversation with himself many times before, but he was willing to not focus on his role in what happened to his brother. It was better to speak of him, to let someone other than himself know about the young boy, though he was glad to have her staring directly at him.[+royalblue “I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Given how your life started, I don’t want you thinking this is me trying to say I had it worse. I didn’t. I just..”] He took a deep breath and his hands came up to rest on each of her forearms. Though they weighed a little heavily on her, he wasn’t trying to pull her hands away, his thumbs beginning to brush across her skin.[+royalblue “Men aren’t meant to be this way, you know? We’re meant to be the strong ones, the stoic ones, the ones who help others when they feel down. And just when you and Augustine need me most are the times where I crumble and run away or.. well, this.”] He knew he wasn’t exactly the epitome of masculinity, especially at this fragile moment, and it perhaps hurt him more to be showing this weakness in front of her. This was not becoming of a bachelor before the woman of his greatest desires and respect.
At first her heart was being pulled to sorrow for the man at her side. He looked miserable even before he began to speak. Florence held his hand tightly, trying to comfort him. But then, he actually got into the story and her sadness was replaced with something else: rage. As a person, she found the actions of Mrs. Anna Windsor deplorable, but as a mother, the green-eyed woman was filled with an indignation that manifested as she squeezed his hand. She knew what it was like to go without food, how terrible it felt, but to purposefully subjugate your child to that was unfathomable. For Florence there was no line of thought that would ever come to that conclusion. The woman was shaking, but glancing over to the elf at her side it faded immediately. This was not about how she felt. [+mediumseagreen “Nicolai…”] His name was soft on her tongue as she called for his attention. Despite this his eyes stayed down. Brow furrowing, she decided to be a little more forceful about this. Setting the bottle of whisky to the side so that her other hand was free, Florence brought it up to the raven-haired man’s chin and turned his face to her. There she wiped at the watery trails on his cheeks. [+mediumseagreen “As far as I can tell, you were the only one who [i was] there for him.”] Releasing her grip on his hand, she brought that one to his face as well, sandwiching his cheeks between her palms perhaps a little too tightly in her drunken condition. [+mediumseagreen “What happened is [i not] your fault. If I’ve learned nothing else, I know you cannot blame yourself for when others around you make terrible decisions, even when they effect you, and especially when you were a child.”] After all, what could a child have done to stop someone that much bigger and stronger than them?
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai let out a deep breath at her choice, chest puffing out as he tried to give himself a little clarity and align his thoughts. It was clearly distressing just to come to talk about that worn stone and the name assigned to it. When her hand had sought his it was tightly wrapped about the wine bottle, though her touch found purchase and soon pried his fingers from the cold glass and into her own. It was warm and comforting and he felt his confidence was being placed in her hands, not that of the strong liquor.
Regardless what she had tried however he could not shake the look of displeasure on his face, eyes having sunken a touch.[+royalblue “Vataly..”] It was a deathly whisper, as if the name itself had some magical capabilities from simply being spoken aloud. It had been a while since he’d said it openly and his eyes looked across to that particular stone. Swallowing the lump in his throat he was close to abandoning her hand to take back the bottle but he refrained, for now.[+royalblue “I was six when he died. He was three.”] That a lot showed it had been near four entire decades since his passing and yet it held such a hold over him he was still so affected.[+royalblue “He wasn’t like the other children.. he was.. special.”] His pauses came as he was unsure of how to word this, wanting to give his sibling the respect he felt he deserved.[+royalblue “When he was brought home he looked fine.. he had pale blue eyes like father.. he had mothers dirty blonde hair.. he was a normal baby. He was loud, sure, but all babies are. And he would cry for all hours of the night, but Natalya would do that too.”] He licked his lips, biting gently on his tongue, not wanting to go on but he felt the need to. It was a weight that had been on his shoulders for a long time, thirty plus years all told.
[+royalblue “When he was a little older, maybe one at most, it showed more. He didn’t smile or want to play like mother wanted. She couldn’t show him off to her friends like a prized horse, make him do tricks or say words on command. He was very specific about what foods he would eat and mother would get angry at him for not eating what she gave him and put him in his crib.. and he’d just cry for hours.. hungry. Starving. But you see, I knew he would eat mushy and mashed food. Something about the texture, I think. Like cooked carrots, or some boiled potato or peas! He loved peas..”] A melancholic smile tugged at his lips though his eyes were shimmering once more and a slight warble threatened at the edge of his voice.[+royalblue “And I would put some in my pocket or a napkin and I would sneak to his room at night to feed him and.. he would be quiet.. it was as close to happy as I’d ever see him.. and he would go to sleep.. but mother found me one night. She thought I was disrespecting her by feeding him behind her back, ignoring her or something.”] He took a very deep breath, holding it before slowly letting it out through is nose, steeling himself.[+royalblue “She’d regularly smack us both. With him, it was on his arm, the backs of his legs, his face, his head.. but whenever she smacked his hand he would only cry more.. he didn’t like his hands being touched. I would try to stop her at first. I would distract her or something, so she would focus onto me, but she was hurting me too much and I just stopped.”] His cheeks puffed out as he drew in and let out another deep breath. He knew he had failed his brother there and that was what affected him most. That sense of defeat and failure didn’t wash away easily.
Yet a spark of a memory flashed before him and it just came out without him thinking on whether he should say it or not.[+royalblue “I always remember how he waved. Not with a strong wrist, side to side like most people. He would just kind of.. flop his hand at you.. like back and forth, you know, like when you eat something too hot..”] A laugh came out, short and cut off immediately, the jolt of such an emotional outburst jostled a tear free and again a track mark ran down his cheek reflected in the pale moons glow. Again he licked his lips, as if his tongue were unsure where to be or what to do with itself, no words forthcoming as his hand tightened on hers just a little.[+royalblue “I found some letters in the study after father passed. He’d written to a lot of religious healers asking for salves and balms and the like to fix him, like he needed fixing.”] He clearly and emphatically disagreed with that notion.[+royalblue “Most replies seemed to point at either demonic and evil means, or that he only had half a soul, or some other shit that made no fucking sense with ways to fix him like cutting off his big toe or feeding him only ashes for a week. It was all the usual crap you get from those bastards trying to trick you out of more and more coin.”] He was afraid of diverting on a tangent and didn’t want to escape too far from his remembrance of his brother, so he took a shallow breath and nodded.
[+royalblue “Father took me to Hox one day, it’s a small fishing village south of here. He had to speak with a merchant there about something, and he brought me. Something about learning from him. I remember following him and seeing this hollow wooden ball. It was a set of five of them, all painted green. I must have been staring at them too much because he actually bought them for me. I guess whatever business he had had went really well. Father never bought me toys. But I didn’t want them, I wanted them for Vataly, because they just looked so much like peas.”] Again another short and choked off laugh, biting down on his lower lip as he momentarily felt that same moment of elation as he had on that same day.[+royalblue “We got home late that night and by that time he was gone..”] It had been just that sudden in reality. One morning he had a brother and by evening he no longer did.[+royalblue “Mother said that he had began screaming and shouting for no reason. She was trying to ignore him as usual. And then the crying just.. stopped.”] That final word brought another glittering track down his other cheek.[+royalblue “I didn’t believe her but the servants wouldn’t tell me anything and Father just didn’t seem to care. They didn’t let me see him, they said it wasn’t right for me to do so, but they made this big parade of his death.”] It still infuriated him that they would try and turn his brothers passing into some spectacle.[+royalblue “I wanted.. no, I remember, I demanded a cairn for him, I said it had to be done, it just had to!”] It was an elven thing, the dead buried in large mounds of earth, the entrance sealed with stones brought by those who attended to show their remembrance of the person who had passed.[+royalblue “They didn’t care. It was their day, not his. I remember Germaine came to the service as did Gerald and a lot of the other bigger nobles. Not one of them one knew who they were there for though, it was just a social gathering to them, a means of talking with one another. No-one cared about Vataly.. no-one but me.. and I wasn't there for him.”]
Feeling acutely aware that he had been talking for a few minutes now he stopped and let his chin drop to his chest softly. He hated that he was confronting himself with these long-repressed memories. It was for this reason he had ignored them, pushed them down, sealed them off and done well to scare off anyone who tried to get closer to learning about him or given them false ideas and cryptic answers. Similar to how he felt he had failed Augustine and Florence in the capital, this was also his failure. Despite his age and despite his lack of means to do anything, it didn’t diminish his belief that if he had done more, perhaps stayed home or took more beatings, perhaps his brother would be with them.
As Florence expected, this was not an easy topic of conversation for the man. He had wanted to be alone in this place for a reason. She was just rude enough to interrupt, and that was before all the alcohol, so it only made sense that despite knowing better, she asked the question anyway. Nicolai came out and told her he did not know where to begin. That meant that it was likely a long story, but because he seemed to separate the three of them, it meant it was not a single moment of tragedy that took his family from him.
The Astorian woman had a choice to make. Her gaze lingered on each of the markers for a couple of seconds before moving to the next in a cycle. Which one would be hardest for him to tell? There was no way for her to know, and even if she did Florence doubted that would help her with the choice. Still, eventually she came to a decision. [+mediumseagreen “Your brother. What happened to him?”] She believed that was the far right stone. The one that was most worn. It led her to think that he had been passed the longest; this would place them closer to the beginning to all this sorrow. Personally, had she have lost her younger brother, she did not think she would be fit to talk about it, no matter how long ago it was. That was just the relationship the two of them had. She could not help but wonder if it was similar for Nicolai. Her hand searched for his beside her, so that she might be able to hold him just that little bit. It was a small gesture, but hopefully a helpful one.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was hard to argue her points even if she did concede that perhaps it wasn’t a truly righteous act they were doing. She was right that Wistina could withstand change for longer than Astoria, and that it would take drastic actions or several generations to reach the state she described for her home. But like she said, this was all for Augustine. This was about getting his throne back and she was there as his support, as his mother no less.
Her talk of family did hit home with him and like her he looked away to stare at the ground between his boots. It was rather difficult not to think back to both his families and draw similarities to what she was saying. He too never thought he would have a child, nor a wife, and before that fateful night he was surprisingly happy and content with how things were going. There were parts he had not yet explained fully to Florence about the days leading to his enslaving, but what she perhaps did not know is that he enjoyed his life with Natalya and Elizabeth.
His other family, the ones before them and where his eyes now turned, was another issue entirely. The pastel eyed man should have expected further dissection of his family. Still, he did not like this, and visibly he would lean against her more for a moment.[+royalblue “I don’t know where to begin.. which one do you want to learn about first?”] His gaze travelled between each stone but with each he remained just as dour as the next. Each of their stories would not be pleasant to tell and much like his breakthrough earlier in telling her his regrets, it would be the first time he spoke of this to someone. She wanted his honesty, she would get it.
Florence leaned into the kiss, not paying any mind to the strong alcohol on both of their breaths. It was short, but she was happy with it. She was getting more and more used to these little moments, more comfortable being so close with Nicolai. It was nice, though she still blushed when he complimented her with that handsome smile on his face. Her emerald eyes flittered down, glancing up at him intermittently as if to test if she was done being embarrassed or not. [+mediumseagreen “Yes, of course…”] That reaction was almost humorous, considering how much of a brick wall she normally was when it came to talking about herself and whatnot.
Jumping to another question that was similar in strain, the woman did not need long to think about her answer. [+mediumseagreen “Yes, I have. It was something I considered before ever leaving Astoria.”] While she did not have the current feedback after seeing Preth and Creswell, it was still something she knew was likely to be the case. [+mediumseagreen “Wistina is wealthy, it takes a lot more for poor rule to inflict the same sorts of suffering we were seeing in Astoria. At the end of the day, most people don’t really care who is towering over them so long as they can go on with their lives… so yes. This might not actually be good for this country, even if Vincent is an absolute snake.”] There were those who felt the man’s change of focus for the country was leaving them behind, and there was some discontent there, but for the most part, he was actually keeping the country running. [+mediumseagreen “However, regardless of whether or not it is a good idea, my son is determined to do this. And I cannot let him do it alone.”] It was very similar to how she had felt all those years ago when Eugene spoke of making a change in the world, though this held a more personal retribution for the two of them. [+mediumseagreen “I know that is probably not easy for you, seeing as this is your home, but so long as this is what Augustine is hell bent on doing, I will continue on with him.”]
There was a bit of silence, then she piped up again. [+mediumseagreen “You know, it is so strange... I never wanted children. I mean I did when I was very young, when I still thought I would grow up in a regular fashion, but after what happened to me I decided I did not want all that. I was fine with the family I already had. But then, as always, life took an unexpected turn, I was down here in Wistina and soon enough I had Augustine… and he was the most perfect thing I have ever seen. I did not know I could love something as much as I loved him the moment I laid eyes on him.”] That was of course a biased opinion; most parents felt that way about their newborns. But for her it was a revelation that partially changed how she viewed herself as well. [+mediumseagreen “My family has always been the most important thing to me.”] Her view of family included more than just her blood ties, people like Gregory and Augustus, they were there too. She was stringent with who she let herself care about to that degree. Perhaps that was another reason she was so hesitant to let Nicolai in closer than he had to be. With that thought, she noticed she was rambling about herself again. It was time to put an end to that. [+mediumseagreen “… what happened to your family?”] It was a difficult question, one that drew her eyes to the stones nearby, but Florence hoped he might tell her so she could understand a little bit better.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Listening to her it wasn’t exactly a time for jovial input or humorous antics from the elven man. She had gotten a little quieter as she spoke, and he had taken on a more respectful if solemn look. What she said was just as interesting as the information about Bismarck and Grisham and Astoria. He was understanding more about what made her as she was now, how she came to be strong and how she maybe shut off her emotions to help her family and friends – even going so far as to marry Germaine just to give her brother better diplomatic relations and help in that respect. He also noted that she held her alcohol well; so many big and complicated words like ‘malnutrition’ and ‘prematurely’. His alcohol riddled mind was applauding silently.
Following where her hand came to rest, he tried to look over but with how she was dressed and where he was currently seated it was rather obscured by her prominent chest. He quickly averted his gaze lest she see him as leering over her whilst she was talking about such a serious topic. He left his hand at her hip even though really he wanted to run his hand across where her scar sat much like she had done with his own. Not wanting her to dwell back in the past too long, much as she did with him, he saw that light smile grow and he smiled back. Letting the bottle sit between his knees he brought his hand to her cheek, turning her to look at him before he kissed her lips. It was short and sweet – the whiskey and wine mingling in some delightful concoction – and he pulled away still smiling.[+royalblue “You’re more a warrior than anyone I know.. thank you for telling me.”] It was best he says that part aloud to her than keep it in. He wanted her to know he appreciated her opening up to him like this. However, another question gnawed at his conscience and he wanted her opinion on it. Despite what they had been through, this night included, he had worried about it the moment they went to Preth. Just so happened it loosely related to her freeing of Astoria.[+royalblue “Do you ever think.. maybe us starting a rebellion and fighting Vincent.. isn’t good for Wistina?”] It sounded silly to say out loud. Here was the Prince, his mother, and a former General all coming back to retake what was rightfully the youth’s land. But from what they had said in Preth and the general opinion of those he had talked with on the road, he was getting the impression that the general population wasn’t too fussed by his rule.
Gaze falling down, the woman sort of smiled to herself at his compliments. She had never expected him to be so excited over something like this, at least not in this way. Maybe over the war and gore part, but not over her accomplishments. [+mediumseagreen “I can’t really pretend that I am that noble. Eugene, yes, he wanted to do it for everyone. To improve the lives of the many, me I just wanted a better life for my own family. They were all that mattered to me.”] It was a selfish reason, but it was enough for her. In the end she had gotten more than she bargained for, making her brother king and all. The goal had been a life where they did not need to worry about the world falling to pieces around them. The actual results were a few steps beyond that whether they liked it or not.
When the elfin man pulled her close, she snuggled into him a touch. The closeness was welcome and Florence was a tad disappointed when he pulled away. She let him, only looking at him the slightest bit longingly before he asked his question. [+mediumseagreen “Oh, that…”] She was not so excited about that topic. There were many regrets locked inside of her about that day. [+mediumseagreen “No, I have never told you about that… I do recall I mentioned my weak constitution some years ago, but that was a result of malnutrition in childhood. After we were abandoned and before Gregory found us, Eugene and I lived in the streets. I knew he stood a better chance of survival being a boy, so he became my focus. We were both pretty bad off, but I nearly starved by the time we were taken in. I obviously recovered, but was prone to fevers and sickness afterward.”] That was so long ago now it felt like a dream. It was a bit hazy, fuzzy around the edges, but she remembered it well enough. Though realization soon donned on her and she looked over to Nicolai apologetically. [+mediumseagreen “That is not what you asked. I am sorry… I got distracted… The incident you are asking about, I was shot. It was one of the final major battles we had. We won and things were winding down, however we did so prematurely. Sometime during the fighting they sent an archer to our side. He kept hidden until things settled and took his shot. Augustus and I were talking; he saw the arrow before me and tried to stop it. Not exactly the brightest idea he has ever had considering it completely pierced his hand and still hit me, but it threw it off course enough that it did not strike me square in the chest.”] Her hand came up off the bottle she was clutching to press tightly to the spot just below her left breast. This was by far her worst scar, the one she hated the most. [+mediumseagreen “It hurt like hell, but we would have been fine if it were a normal arrow. It wasn’t though. It was doused in Astorian sidewinder venom. Nasty stuff, necrotic so it just eats away at whatever it can get its horrid little tendrils on… Augustus took the brunt of it since he was hit first, lost his arm up to the elbow as you’ve seen.”] The guilt she felt over that had faded over the years. They had talked about it a lot. However, it never completely disappeared. [+mediumseagreen “As for me, it ate away enough of one of my lungs to make it nonfunctioning.”] It was a huge hit for her, but to be frank she was lucky that it had not spread much farther than that. A lung was nothing compared to her life. She knew that, but she still mourned her loss knowing she would never be able to do some of the things she used to. It was a solemn thought. Thankfully her current condition made it difficult to stay too serious. [+mediumseagreen “But hey, I got a great lesson out of it: the battles not over until you’ve scouted the surrounding area. Just like that thing you said the other day about scars and what have you.”] Calling back to that made her smile just a little bit brighter.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+royalblue “The fact you did it for such a nice reason, to help a whole country, only makes it that much more.. more wow.”] His vocabulary was minimal now, and he was perhaps gushing over her a little much, but in his tipsy state it was a two fold reason. It was undeniably cool. It was astonishing and amazing in equal measure. But he also wasn't sure if she felt bad about it, especially when she mentioned how he had been confined to a bed. It may not have been some epic battle to the death but she was right that some statements – even those that are otherwise seen as barbaric when done without reason – had to be made to ensure the safety of the majority. He had faced a few of those himself, and regrettably he had never been able to muster the courage like she had. Perhaps it played a part in him holding her up as some fantastical warrior queen.
Although he let the topic drift away after that comment, he held tight to her. She was warm, he was happy, and it felt right to hold her. If this had been that morning in the bed he would remain with arms around her and resting against her shoulder. He kissed her cheek and let her have a little room should her bottle be needed again but his questions still remained;[+royalblue “This injury you said you had. I know you've told me a little bit about it before.. but only really that it left you out of breath?”] He was unsure if there was more she had said, likely there was.[+royalblue “Sorry if you've told me before. I just guessed if you know about mine, I want to know about yours. I want to know all about my little fighter.”] A soft squeeze of his hand against her side and a warm smile, flanked by rosy cheeks, showed he was trying to be considerate and caring.
With the quiet, Florence could not help but wonder what the man at her side was thinking. But by the way he grabbed her and held her tight, it could not be anything too negative. By the time he spoke up and complimented her, she could not help but laugh. Why had she been so nervous? [+mediumseagreen “I don’t know if I could be called that anymore, but I used to be quite formidable.”] To be called such by Nicolai felt like quite the compliment, though it did make her long for the past just the tiniest bit.
Nicolai was such a boy. For the first thing to come out of his mouth to be the fact that she decapitated someone was rather funny, especially with the way his eyes lit up. She did not mind it thouhg. He was rather cute in this state of awe. [+mediumseagreen “Yes, yes I did. I needed to make a statement. Everyone needed to know he was dead on sight, so I did the one thing I could think of that made that perfectly clear. However, carrying it out and presenting it might have been a touch overkill, but I was young and overzealous.”] A quiet chuckle shook her chest. [+mediumseagreen “And I am sure it is not quite as cool as you are thinking. He had already lost and was confined to his quarters. It was not much of a fight…”] that bit she did feel the tiniest bit bad about. She did not see there was much choice in the matter though. It had to be done or else Astoria would not have been able to move on.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was listened with great interest. Not only was this learning about how Florence came to be royalty and how her family had ascended – for he had never heard of her family name uttered about Astoria before the ports had been closed – but he was getting to hear from her own lips how she thought about things from a personal perspective. It wasn’t that others decided something and thus she acted on it. No, she was front and center with her brother and friend and she drove this movement from nothing.
Although he didn’t say it, it really bolstered his belief that they could get this whole rebellion on the go and turn over Vincent and the Taken. They didn’t have to worry about a God-King or any religious angles, the King merely the Lord of all the lands and not denoted by mythical god’s. As far as Nicolai was aware Wistina survived solely on ‘whoever held the most power’ and listened to that person. Most people liked the royal family, but they weren’t as fanatical as it seemed Florence was painting out Astorians to be. Or rather, how they used to be. He couldn’t tell if Eugene was held up as the new God-King or something else.
Although he knew she had finished speaking he was quiet for a while. He wanted to show respect to the fight she had had in getting her country to where it was. To just push that all aside, to ignore the deaths and the struggle and the fighting and speak up would be disrespectful – and even a drunken Nicolai was respectful of other warriors. An unwritten code amongst those who considered chivalry a key proponent to their lives. He was unsure if he still did, but for right now he would. Instead he let his hand lift from the soft grass behind her and curl around her side, pulling them both closer and resting her head against his shoulder some. He enjoyed just holding her like that for a time, wanting to be there just holding her and not talk, but he felt compelled to say something.[+royalblue “You’re a fucking badass little thing..”] He commented softly, the awe in his voice like that of a child who had just seen his dad fell a tree or lift something super heavy!
[+royalblue “I have so many questions, but first of all; you cut a guys fucking head off?”] Again he spoke in that same soft but amazed voice, fingers squeezing her as he said this. He was drunk and his morals regressed to childhood where cutting off heads was cool, like jumping in puddles of mud or play fighting with sticks – at least that was what he assumed kids found fun. He just watched from afar.
As he gave her something along the lines of a time stamp for everything that last round of drink was really setting in for her. That only made his mock anger all the more humorous to her. [+mediumseagreen “You know I did not mean it like that, you are absolutely charming.”] Her low voice agreed with him wholeheartedly, laughing along with him as he drank again. She refrained for the time being.
He soon he jumped subjects, though there was a bit of an alarming break in between. Then the spotlight was back on her, this time her past. [+mediumseagreen “It is a little more complicated than that… the goal was not the crown, but a better Astoria.”] Thinking back to those days she shook her head. She had been more optimistic back then, though only marginally so. [+mediumseagreen “You have to understand, our country was in a terrible state. King Bismarck succumbed to madness and paranoia at a very young age… he closed out country off from the rest of the world. And while we were like that the state of things deteriorated.”] Given this was a story she had heard and told a million times, she was able to recite it with some level of clarity. [+mediumseagreen “The nobility horded the few resources we had and left everyone else to fend for themselves. Unfortunately Bismarck lived a long life and was succeeded by his selfish and idiotic son Grisham. It was so bad, we are still clawing our way out of the poverty they created. But, things are much better than they were. When we were growing up, children were lucky to see adulthood. Oftentimes they died before they made it to adolescents.”] She and her brother were lucky to survive as well. [+mediumseagreen “My brother has a soft heart. He does not like to watch others suffer. So, he had this crazy dream that we could make a difference if we got the king’s attention. Augustus and I did not think this was a bad idea, though we knew it would take more than passionate words to get it done. It all started as a bit of a joke, but the more and louder we talked about it, the more people seemed to agree with us.”] Hence their ability to grow a rebellion in the first place.
Looking down to the bottle still in her hands, Florence took another small sip before continuing. [+mediumseagreen “We all had different goals, my brother just wanted to make Grisham see the light, Augustus wanted to replace him with someone else, and I wanted to dismantled the system as a whole, but for the most part we worked together. Eugene has a way with words, so he called the most people to his cause, but in the end Grisham was too blinded by greed and self-importance to care about his people. He had to go, and I had to be the one to do it… things are different in Astoria than they are here. The king’s word is straight from the gods themselves. He acts as a conduit for them to steer Astoria in the right path. That’s part of the reason it took so long for the people to rise up, no one wanted to take that curse on themselves. I don’t really believe in that sort of thing though, so I hobbled in after we took the castle… Oh yeah, I was injured a couple of months prior and missed the main of the fight. It was terrible… and I took his head.”] This was a long story, and it was kid of cobbled together since she was in this drunken state, but Florence thought she was doing all right. She just hoped he did not find it a bore.
[+mediumseagreen “Then came the topic of ascension… No one much cared for my idea of being done with a monarch entirely. It was written off… If they could, I think they would have written me off as a heretic, but because I managed to kill the gods’ vessel and not be struck down, many believed I must have been meant to be the next in line for the throne, but it went against what I was initially fighting for, so I refused. Augustus would have been next, but in the same attack I was hurt, he lost his arm. Doesn’t exactly make a pretty picture for a king, so it fell to Eugene who accepted because he knew it had to be one of us. We were the poster children of the uprising, everyone knew and trusted us."] Even if they had never met in person. Many felt like they knew them by association with the cause. [+mediumseagreen "He was still only sixteen at the time, so I agreed to act as regent until he was of age.”] It was at his coronation that she met Germaine, but that was another story entirely.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+royalblue “Oh no, you are so much more scary than she is but in an endearing way,”] He smiled as he leaned across, kissing her cheek very quickly and retreating away with a boyish grin as he raised his wine once more for another sip. He was nursing it now with only its remnants the last of his alcohol – at least without going back inside, and no doubt Helga would be waiting with a stick to force him back out. Nicolai’s easily distracted mind was brought back by her laugh though, so sweet and light and he looked at her with smitten eyes. He shrugged at her question.[+royalblue “I’m not really sure.. I’m a little drunk and the whole bear on head didn’t help much..”] It was true that whilst he could recall so much of his past, it wasn’t exactly easy to mark the days and months when you were more concerned by finding enough food to survive to the next day.[+royalblue “As I remember, me and Liz were gone for about a year, maybe a year and a half before we had Natalya. She was almost four when I lost her.. and Töka and I only started fighting your lot about a year and a half ago? So maybe two years at most?”] He was truly struggling with times but what he had told her was quite accurate and could be confirmed by his red eyed companion.[+royalblue “And I take.. erm.. take anger with you suggesting she [i shouldn’t] follow me. You being here is proof enough I am a fucking great and charming fellow who everyone wants to follow.”] It was such an outlandish remark it made even him burst into laughter, knocking against her several times in his hilarity. By the time he calmed down he was feeling parched and thus the bottle came up and fell back down one more time.[+royalblue “Wait a god damn minute..”] He held up a finger as a dull throb came to his head but he managed to overcome it slowly but surely. Thankfully for him it didn’t feel like one of his episodes, his hand momentarily falling to a small pouch at his waist where he kept his supplies – he didn’t want to be without it if needed.[+royalblue “Why were you and Eugene fighting for the throne of Astoria? What made you two want to become King or Queen or whatever? Who was the King before you guys and why was he so damn bad that you had to kill him?”] He was on the front foot now, his questions all coming at one but all on the same subject.
She nodded emphatically to his question. The story of how his scar, what almost seemed to be the centerpiece of his new look, came to be had not escaped her mind just yet. Florence listened intently to the rest of the story. One would think people would be considered a valuable commodity and they would be sure to make sure a man was fully dead before throwing him out, but the elf should thank his lucky star that was not the case. What was most surprising to her though was how this also turned out to be how he and Töka met, unless he knew another scarlet-eyed young woman. Though she could not help but wondering if it had been the red eyes that unnerved him or the fact that they were eerily similar to Adrian’s? The dark-haired woman kept that thought inside. [+mediumseagreen “She is rather unnerving. I thought I was imposing, but that girl has quite the presence and she is definitely not afraid to stand out.”] She laughed lightly. Töka often made little to no effort to get along with the others, she was fine being her own person, and while that was not a bad thing, it did hurt their potential teamwork just a bit. [+mediumseagreen “How long ago was that again?”] Florence was not actually sure he ever said, though it would be nice for reference. How much time he spent between then and coming to Astoria. [+mediumseagreen “And what in the world made a farm girl drop her life and start following you around?”] Likely it was much more complicated, but her brain was not in the mood to try and work up some story. She would rather just hear it from him, so she kept asking away. It seemed if he wanted to reclaim his turn, Nicolai was going to have to jump back into asking questions. He gave her an inch by forgoing one round and Florence was taking a mile and some.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her child like clapping was uplifting as it was so sweet and innocent and yet she was applauding him for bringing across her alcohol. She really was a different woman when she had some alcohol in her and he would have to remember not to use that against her in the future. He would have commented that she had seen his painting’s before, but the conversation had moved on by the point and as he tried to work at the bottle he found she was complaining about his country’s language – the one they were currently talking in and quite well for two drunken adults. He had just managed to pop the stopper from his bottle, sending it flying off to the grass somewhere, when he heard her state how simple Astorian was. He let out a single bark of laughter as he leaned back against her.[+royalblue "Aww, mein maus bär, du hast weltschmerz!”] It was one word he loved to use, not the nickname though that always sounded lovely on the ear, but ‘weltschmerz’. She wanted to say Astorian was simple but he hoped that showed sometimes simpler was sometimes the wrong option.
No matter what he said she was quickly pawing at his hands, pushing the wine onto him and snatching at the whiskey. It left him a little speechless that he had gone all that way to get the bottle, brought it all the way back, [i and] removed the stubborn stopper only to have her steal it from him before he could have a drink. He supposed it would be worth it to see her smile, but she merely guzzled down a mouthful and moved on to her next question. Wasn’t he meant to have a turn? Rolling his eyes he lifted the wine to take a taste and confirmed it was an exquisite vintage. She didn’t know what she was talking about.
[+royalblue “Nothing heroic or some.. clever planned out idea and so on. Though maybe I’ll add some little white lies when I come to write my life story. It’ll make me look good.”] He smirked a little and his free hand – free since she had taken his whiskey – moved over to rest behind her, propping him up though it did also bring him a little closer to her warm figure.[+royalblue “You remember how I got it, die narbe ja?”] He clicked his tongue, trying to not flitter back and forth between languages.[+royalblue “The scar. The bear cub? Well I managed to kill it sure but I blacked out after that. I must have looked like some.. mashed up, beaten, bloody bit of meat. Woke up.. I dunno, I think a day or two later? I was in a shallow pit with other dead prisoners. Guess they thought I was too. Ended up shuffling my naked arse to a farm, where the farmers daughter found me apparently curled up in an empty paddock of their stable. I remember waking up to those red eyes watching me.. god did it ever scare the fuck out of me.”] He shrugged lightly as if it were an everyday occurrence to wake up in a mass grave or to fall asleep naked in a stable and wake to Töka watching him. A shiver ran along his spine at the memory of those eyes and he took a long drink from the bottle of wine, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.[+royalblue “Like a fucking demon come to kill me off for good.”] He said and grinned, softly laughing.
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