[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was grateful for the rest but still felt better on seeing Florence return. Just seeing that flowing chestnut hair in a loose braid and those perfect emerald eyes as she neared was enough for him to forget the mild discomfort in his jaw or ribs. She was just that stunning to watch at times and smiled as she informed the ‘boys’ that they would be having to help in moving a cart – likely stocked with two elderly folks and an invalid. He pushed off the wall he was leaning on, moving over to take place at her side, just off her shoulder, as he turned back to the others.[+royalblue “You heard the lady boys. Make sure to do your stretches and get your muscles nice and loose. Don’t want you hurting yourself when you help with that wagon.”] He saw the look of displeasure on Marko’s face but that only made him shrug, holding back on smiling anymore as it did tug a little painfully on his jaw.[+royalblue “What? The lady said you boys – I’m an old man. I’m frail. You wouldn’t want this old man to become injured would you?”] He knew how to rile people up the right way – not least by skirting a job he did not want. That and it would be good torture for Augustine for striking him so hard.
Florence’s talk with Ool was stressful. Not because he was asking anything outlandish. No, strangely enough, it was all very straightforward and manageable. He had everything charted out nicely on a map he laid out on the table. The only real issue was that first incline going down into the gorge. Getting horses down it on their own was fine, but drawing a cart was going to prove more challenging. It was doable, but it was more than a two-man job, especially if one of those men was a goblin. She could understand why he wanted more help. But everything after that would be smooth sailing, even if they had to spend an hour or so at the bottom of that less defensible canyon. He made mention that there was a possibility of bandits, but if they came across them they shouldn’t be any more trouble than the ones from yesterday. So yeah, none of that worried her too much, so long as he was being truthful, what was bothersome was the wolf sniffing on the prowl for any morsels of food that had dropped to the floor. Thankfully nothing dropped near her, so Cam stayed around where Quinn had been seated, but she still didn’t like that the animal had free reign of the area.
All in all it did not take long to finish up. The goblin man had been more thorough than anticipated. Florence only minorly tweaked his plan here and there. Mainly that he wanted to push through without breaks. That would have been fine and dandy if they were all in good health, but it would be important that the older couple and their little one to have rest breaks. She remembered how hard a time Augustine had with the long traveling days up to Astoria when he was small, so she could only imagine Quinn who only looked to be around five would not be enthused at being told to sit for hours on end. However she did have one final question when it was said and done. [+mediumseagreen “How long do you think it will take for everyone to be ready?”] If they were going to need too long it might be beneficial to spend one more night in this place so they could get a decent start the next morning.
[+sienna “I am giving them an hour more. Jonathan and Margery will be moving back in with their family, so they won’t need to take a lot of their things.”] With their children already settled in the next town they really only needed items of sentimental value. [+sienna “And Duncan has been preparing to leave for a while, so I am sure he’s got everything ready to be loaded up.”] Samantha was starting to get to the point where she was going to need more help than Ool could give her way out here, so he was pretty sure her son was fixing to saddle her up on one of the horses and take just what they could carry with them.
[+mediumseagreen “Alright. I will make sure our group is ready to get started soon then. We can meet outside of town here in an hour.”] That was all the goodbye the woman gave him before heading out and back to the inn. There she found her son and friends with fully loaded horses. Good to know they were on top of things, though her guess was that was more Nicolai’s doing than their own. [+mediumseagreen “I hope you boys are full of energy after eating all that food, because you are going to need it.”] After receiving a couple of confused looks from the younger ones, she smiled. [+mediumseagreen “We are going to have to back their cart down that hill and you are helping.”] She certainly wasn’t going to do it.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was good that he understood as Nicolai did not feel he could explain it in a different way. It seemed both knew what the other was getting at and they were just going back and forth on semantics now. For the first time in a while, he was glad to have Flora find them and begin to talk to them. It broke them from their malaise but it also brought an end to this interesting scene. He let the pair talk to one another as he brought himself to his feet and stretched out his arms and back. Yes he was most definitely getting older. Things popped and clicked now.
Beginning to shuffle off he paused as Augustine turned to him. Doffing his head in agreement, he thought of a few names that came to mind immediately.[+royalblue “As you wish Sir.”] He said with no hint of sarcasm, just walking away as the boy turned back to the girl and no doubt talks of some arbitrary thing that youths of these days found interesting would soon begin. Perhaps it would be a talk of pants versus skirts for women? Or whether it was best to ride a brown horse or a mottled one? Nicolai was not sure what to talk about with girls at that age as he had much larger and far more urgent matters to attend to.
Regardless, he made his way back to the tavern, stopping outside to lean near the doorway and nurse aching muscles. Hopefully whatever Florence was agreeing with Ool, most of which Nicolai would have shot down in his usual negative manner, was something that could be accomplished quickly. The longer they were out in the wilds between towns then the longer they would be exposed to attack.
Pulling his knees into himself and resting his head upon them he listened. Regarding his mother there were a few things he would argue with him about, but as he pointed out, that was not what this was about. It was his lack of caution that would inevitably lead to the downfall of all of them. [+coral “Yeah, I understand.”] He wanted him to be more assertive, and he was probably right. Augustine didn't want to let others walk all over him and that meant starting with those closest with him. If he could stand up to his mother, Nicolai, and now Töka, then he could stand up to anyone. Or at least that was what it felt like.
Augustine lingered there for a while, continuing to think over the whole interaction and why it was important. He was the type that liked to mull over things and how he should apply them, even after he had the basic concept. Eventually Flora came looking for them, as she was finished with readying the horses and there was not enough left to pack to help Marko. She both wanted to know if there was anything else she could do and wanted to know what they were up to. But when she came across them, they were both just sort of sitting around. [+plum “Is everything alright?”] The girl had not taken any notice of the possible signs of a scuffle, she just thought it was out of place that they would be all the way off in some random courtyard.
Flora’s voice coaxed Augustine out of his thoughts. Standing up, he brushed some dirt from himself before answering her. [+coral “Yeah, everything is fine. How are preparations fairing?”] He doubted she would be here unless she was finished or there was a problem, he just wanted to know which it was.
[+plum “Oh, yeah, everything is going just fine. We are just about done at the inn, so I think we are waiting on Lady Florence… errr, Aurora? To finish up talking with Ool before we know what to do next.”] She had been stuck with Toka so there really wasn’t much of a chance to get exactly what happened during breakfast, but she was smart enough to follow a list of names and see when one did not match up.
Nodding, the blond remembered that they were all going to have to cement that name in their memory. Where did she even come up with it anyway? Not that that really mattered, they were going to have to use it either way. And it would probably have to stick for a while. They couldn’t change names with every new town they stopped in, it would confuse them and be counterproductive to the goal of building a presence. They were going to need to pick a name for Nicolai as well, though Augustine was hoping he keep his, especially if there were a bunch of frauds already out there stealing his name. With that in mind, he looked over to the elf. [+coral “Start thinking about an alias. We won’t be able to use it for now, but we should have one on standby to avoid this from happening again.”] With that, he decided this down time would be a good chance to give Flora a more complete idea of what had happened so that she was up to date as well.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It seemed to Nicolai that Augustine had become a little focused upon his mother. This was a lesson to teach him that he would have to be ready to stand up to those he trusted most. To try and reason with those who betrayed him was futile and he had to fight back. But it seemed he had touched on a sore note and he was in danger of missing the entire lesson at hand.
[+royalblue “Oh please, you think she is turning away from you? If her attention was a cake then I have merely a crumb to savour.”] An odd analogy but again, he wasn't good with words. Forcing himself to sit upright he leaned to his side to not put pressure on his ribs. Had the boy hit so hard as to bruise them? Little bastard.[+royalblue “Don't try to reason with yourself why I left either.”] Grunting he rolled onto his knees though he paused a moment before sinking back onto his ankles – it was not quite time to get up and stand.[+royalblue “I was a selfish man who wanted it all or nothing. And as your girlfriend pointed out I shouldn't expect the world from a woman I hardly know.”] He knew only what she would tell him, and that was very little. No-one else would give him the information – especially given those who knew her well, hated him for what he had done down in Malidek – and so it was about taking what trickle of details he could get from her directly and accepting it.
[+royalblue “I did many things wrong in the lead up to me leaving, a lot of them to your mother. So I'm grateful to be where I am – which isn't as far as you seem to think. You and Flora have a stronger relationship than we do.”] He was a touch envious of him and the sweet girl, but that was only because they seemed to be friends long before their relationship. It was doubtful Florence would have been his friend before this.[+royalblue “Look, emotional, girly feelings aside,”] of course they were men, time to talk about manly things and he offered a meek if wry smile,[+royalblue “you need to be careful Augustine. It's no longer just you and your mother you must protect. You are the leader here. You are responsible for all our lives and the lives of these people."]
It was not a passing of the blame or responsibility that he was trying to get across. He wanted the boy to understand that from here on out, now they were in Wistina, this was his campaign to forge. He would have help from his mother and Nicolai, but if he wanted the throne he would not be given it by either of them. He would need to step forward.[+royalblue "Don't expect it to get easier. People are going to die to get you to the throne, so just make sure they don't die only for you to be too kind or meek to assert your authority over those who get you there, myself included. Sometimes you have to be harsh to be kind.”] His hand rose to his jaw at that, wondering how he might explain this to Florence that would not have her admonishing him. Then again she was likely upset at him right that moment for one thing or another, she always seemed upset at him.
Nicolai took the words right out of his mouth. He was about to deny that Flora or Marko would ever turn on him like that, but the bright-eyed man was right. In all regards, Gerald was the type you would think would never turn away from his friends, but he did. There was a pretty big reason for it, but he still did, so Augustine stayed silent there and let the elf continue on with what he had to say, which lead somewhere he really was not anticipating.
[+coral “I, uh… I wish you were there too.”] The green eyed youth wondered just how different he would be if that were the case. At the very least he wouldn’t be so worried about managing to fit in with the people of this country. [+coral “But, it’s okay. I understand why you weren’t… a lot happened. It was probably a lot easier, and fairer to you, to let you process it on your own.”] Trapping him with them would have only made it worse, even Augustine needed some space from his mom when he discovered what all had happened. Although, he hadn’t had the luxury just to leave when he was a boy. He had to settle with not talking to her for a couple of years. [+coral “I am just glad you came back… and I think my mom is too…”] He begrudgingly admitted that last bit with a sigh. [+coral “I am used to having all her attention to myself, so it is weird that she is starting to split it up.”] He was confident if he gave her a hard time she would turn back to him, but that was not fair and he knew better. [+coral “I didn’t really start to understand and get along with her until a couple of years ago… so our relationship is running behind where it should be.”] Normally mother and child bonded much earlier and all these feelings would come and go at an acceptable age, but here he was right in the middle of fifteen and he was still throwing fits over having to share her like some six year old. [+coral “I don’t want her to turn away from me just yet,] because it was definitely happening. He could see that she was growing fonder of him with every day that passed. Augustine knew she wasn't going to just toss him to the side, but it still sucked. [+coral “So, I guess I am sorry too, you know, for being all childish and stuff.”] It was terribly embarrassing to say this all aloud, but since they were getting things off their chest and apologizing, he thought now was as good a time as any.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai somewhat understood the boy would have preferred not to get to this point. But then if it hadn't, the goal of all this was for naught.[+royalblue “I did it because you need to remember strength is what people follow, not words. The warrior leads, not the librarian or the poet. Fancy words are no substitute for a solid fist now and again especially when you come up against someone who doesn't give a fuck what you have to say.”] It was a roundabout lesson on having to use force to make some people pay heed. Not everyone would follow just on his word alone.
He remained laying on the floor, not quite ready to get up and his head still swam a little from the hit.[+royalblue “I made you do it because I needed to know you would do what is right. Sometimes, even the people you trust most can betray you, like Marko or Flora.”] A touch mean to insinuate his friends were anything but loyal, but he had a point to make and thrust a finger to him before he could speak turning his head.[+royalblue “Don't dare say it won't ever happen because it could. Gerald did it to me, my own wife, even my father..”] He was quiet a moment and closed his eyes, face turned back to the sky.
For a little time there was a silence between them as Nicolai allowed that message to sink in. It was never a pretty thought to think someone so close to you could betray you but it had to be considered.[+royalblue “I should have been there Augustine.”] His voice sounded a touch defeated, as if this was something he had thought a thousand times before now.[+royalblue “I should have been there to teach you these things, and to help you become strong and not fail where I did, but I wasn't there. And I'm sorry.”]
Just as soon as Nicolai was off of him, Augustine took his chance to get away. He rolled to the side until he was confident he was out of arm’s reach and turned back to the dark haired man. He was practically wheezing on the ground. Normally he might have felt bad for that, but he was still so mad at being pushed so far, he stayed crouched there waiting for him to move before he decided to rise to his feet. However, the man did not do anything other than speak. Out of him came words that almost seemed relieved and Augustine was left confused. He was trying to get him to do this? [+coral “What the fuck.”] He was so round about; it was frustrating. [+coral “Don’t you think there was an easier way to get your point across?”] The blond still wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted out of all this, besides to make certain that he would act when necessary.
Deciding to let his tension fall to the wayside as well, Augustine dropped back down to his backside. He took this chance for reprieve, taking in his own deep breaths. [+coral “I just don’t want to be the person who winds up being too reckless and getting everyone hurt because I jumped in too soon.”] That was rich considering how he just messed up with the whole introduction thing, but it was his hope. [+coral “I want to try and work some things out with words, if I can.”] There were obviously times to take up arms and react with violence, but he did not always want that to be his first response. [+coral "But I get it, maybe I waffle around too long..."]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Though Augustine may have doubted his hand-to-hand capabilities, the way in which he struck Nicolai – both times – was commendable. Pulling him in close reduced the need to swing wildly and he had quickly seen that his opponent was flagging with his laboured breathing. The wheezing was a good sign, the maille he wore softening the blow but only to the point he would not have bruised ribs come the evening.
When the fist hit his jaw he was thrown aside with the impact and rolled once, clutching at his side as he wheezed and spots flashed in his violet gaze. An uneasy feeling, like he wished to throw up, began to emanate from his gut and he wondered if he would have to quickly seek out a vial of his green liquid to stave off an episode. But understanding his illness very well he knew it would not be needed – this was just the after affects of being punched solidly in the jaw. It had been a time since he'd been in a fist-fight like that. Indeed he clenched his left hand into a fist, wanting to roll back over, to strike out and hit the youth.
Unbeknownst to the boy however there was a strong if brief internal fight in Nicolai's mind and it ended with his hand relaxing, eyes closing over as he began to slowly recover his breath and made the choice not to retaliate.[+royalblue “About.. fucking time..”] He grumbled, jaw clicking a little as his now relaxed hand reached up to brush at the skin. It would bruise nicely. Slowly he regained his composure though he remained laying on his back where he had come to a stop, opening his eyes to stare up into the clear blue sky. It took a little more time to get his breath to speak though he clutched his side when he did.
[+royalblue “I thought I might have to hit you first before you did anything. You talk too much at times Augustine.”] He commented though his voice had levelled, the anger and vitriol that had been there whilst against the wall or looming over him on the floor had disappeared.
[+coral “Why, because you said you won’t? You said it yourself, words don’t mean anything. And you are showing me right now that all you know how to do is lash out when you are frustrated. What are you going to do when she doesn’t act the way you want, are you going to throw her up against the wall too?”] It was a bit of a stretch, but Nicolai also did not have the best track record for handling his feelings.
There was a bit of irony in what Nicolai was saying, that he fought like a girl. Half their party was women and they all fought fairly well, but Augustine knew what he meant and did take offense to it. [+coral “What do you call what I was just doing, you absolute ass?”] He was literally making an effort to fight right now, if he hadn’t he would have been pressed to the ground like this. [+coral “Fine!”] He wanted him to go for blood then he would. Augustine could still use his arms, he just wasn’t able to push the elf’s arm from his chest to get much range. However, he was not entirely out of luck, with Nicolai leaned forward he could reach his torso. A quick jab to his diaphragm would knock the remaining air out of the man who was already trying to catch his breath. From there, the pressure against him let off just enough to push the arm from the top of him and he was rewarded with full range with his arms again. Quick as he could before he was forced down again, he grabbed tight hold of the fur lined collar at Nicolai’s neck.
Augustine knew how to throw a punch, that you had to put your weight into it to have the desired effect, but in such a position he could not. So instead he used his left hand at the man’s lapel to pull him in and hopefully give his punch the heft behind it he wanted. His right fist connected with Nicolai’s jaw, hard enough that he was going to have bruised knuckles, but he was just hoping it would be hard enough to get the chance to get out from beneath him.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was a little surprised by how the boy kicked at his shin, the one thing he had not envisioned really. The hard boot he wore connecting with the bone and making him take half a step back. It was enough for him to give Augustine enough room and he the full weight of the slight boy charged forward, arms wrapping about his waist as he was dragged down to the ground and the air was driven from his lungs.
For a minute or two there was just a struggle. An old man was no match to the youthful energy of the young Prince and yet he had him easily beaten on just raw strength alone. As Florence had seen, the man had spent the last few years fighting and his body was much more muscular than it had been years before. The wrestling duo rolled about the floor, each gaining a little advantage before the other countered it, but it was purely a case of overpowering one another as no punches were thrown nor knives drawn.
It was Nicolai who came out atop – literally. He managed to push the blondes head into the ground and swing his leg over his waist, keeping low as he sat atop the bow and placed his forearm across his collarbone to keep his back pinned. Panting a little heavily he stared down a little triumphantly.[+royalblue “Hurt her? You know nothing if you think that. But then again who would stop me? You?”] He pushed down a little harder with his forearm, trying to regain his breath.[+royalblue “I told you, you aren't a fighter. You kick and scratch like a girl. You don't fight like a man! And you're going to get them killed because you won't fight back!”]
His stance set out against being pushed back, but it did little when Nicolai changed it up to pull him in. They were breast to breast in a flash and Augustine had to listen to him berate him again. Where there was room for some diplomacy, the general tossed it out the window, instead opting to push him around. It was infuriating. [+coral “I will and I am!”] It did not take more than a second of being pinned to the wall for the boy to start struggling against him, but unfortunately, it did not do a whole lot. Augustine was thin, there was not a lot for him to work with and his hand to hand was lacking for it. His mother always told him he was going to fill out some day, but now more than ever he was impatient for that. He did not want to be so easily thrown around like this. [+coral “I have been fighting this whole time. I fought in the pass with the rest of you,”] he would have mentioned yesterday with the bandits, but Toka jumped in before he managed to. He was next in line, but Nicolai wasn’t interested in hearing what almost happened. [+coral “I spent my whole stay in Astoria fighting. No one thought I should come back here.”] Gregory least of all and he was not quiet about it. He was constantly worried that his grandfather would change his mother’s mind. His influence over her was very strong. [+coral “But I stuck through it. I did not roll over like you seem to think I would.”]
Augustine wrinkled his nose at the idea that he might just give up after coming all this way. [+coral “I am not going to cry. If I fail and I am alive I am going to get back up and try again. And I am not going to sit idly by and watch my comrades die. It is dangerous, and I am not so naive to think that we will all come out unscathed, but god damn it, I won’t just watch them die. I will fight, I will do what I have to, just like with Adrian.”] Thinking about the man boiled his blood. He killed him when he tried to hurt his mom, and Augustine did not regret it. It had taken a bit of time to come to terms with, but he had. [+coral “I wouldn’t just let him hurt her and I am not going to let anyone else, that includes you.”] Still unable to do much pushing against him, the boy finally decided to take a page out of his girlfriend’s book and kick. It was a clean shot to the shin, which seemed a little dirty, but if he couldn’t over power him, Augustine was going to need to learn to be more of a scrapper.
Taking his split second of opportunity, the spry boy pushed the man back. Well, less of a push and more of a tackle that sent both of them to the ground. Once again, not the best move, as he was not sure what he was going to do from there, but he wasn’t exactly thinking everything through at the moment. However, he was smart enough to try and restrain the elf. If not, he had the feeling he was going to get absolutely wailed on, and not in a fun sparing kind of way that he did with Marko. Whether or not his efforts would be worth anything at all was another story though. Augustine was beginning to think he should have put more effort into his hand to hand combat instead of focusing almost exclusively on the sword.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat There was much to retort and deny and say in what Augustine threw back at him and yet he spoke so damn quick it was impossible to get a word in edgeways. A part of him stayed quiet in respect also. He had remained silent when he spoke, so now Nicolai would give him the chance to speak his own mind – and boy did he speak it. Yet many of the points the one-time General had responses for.
His loyalty to Wistina had never wavered, only to those who purported to be working in her best interests, namely Augustine and his mother. If he wanted undying loyalty then he would find it in Marko and in Marko he would find obedience.
As to his mother he found it rather fickle to decry their interactions when over the course of the journey south there had been little to speak of. Florence had become quite shut off from him and their 'kissing and cuddling' before yesterday amounted to a few hand holds and talking alone with one another. He acted like he had taken his mother behind the nearest tree to roughly take her, moans echoing out across the plains. And regardless – why was he watching or even thinking about it?
Then he went into some talk about how he felt he bettered Vincent because he cared, going on to point out many factors that would lead to making a great King. All bar one. And that was where Nicolai felt he could actually talk – even if the boy did end on a rather sad note.[+royalblue “You think your words mean shit in this world? It's about what you do. And what do you do? You cry when someone kicks you, bemoan anyone taking your mothers attention away from you, hate being ordered about like the fucking child you are.”] Lifting his hand from his sword he grasped the youthful boy by his tunic, very tightly, pulling him close.[+royalblue “You want, want, want. Words mean fuck all in the real world boy. What are you going to do Augustine? Hm? Are you going to fight for what you want? Or will you do as you always have and make others do the work for you?”] He swung the boy aside, pressing him against the wall with his hand and rather easily pinning him place.[+royalblue “Are you actually going to fight for Wistina or just cry when you inevitably fail? You say all the right words but there is no conviction behind them, no action, just more words.”] Bringing him forward just a little he slammed his back into the wall of the house again.[+royalblue “You're a weak boy. You aren't a fighter. And that is what this country needs. You aren't going to do shit and that is going to get everyone killed because you don't know how to fight! You're just a mummy's boy and you're going to watch them all die one by one unless you do something!”]
[+coral “Good to know your loyalty is still so frail.”] Honestly, to be critical of one’s leader was normally a trait that Augustine would admire. He did not want to be followed blindly, but Nicolai was jabbing for sensitive places so he would as well. It was all he could do not to reach out and hit the man as he spoke his uncle’s name as thought it left a bad taste in his mouth. The fact that he was saying it in the same breath as Vincent’s was detriment alone, but to slight some of the only blood kin he knew was infuriating. [+coral “Excellent, I am right on par with the man who murdered my father in your eyes. I don’t know why I am surprised to hear that.”]
Augustine had just finished saying that he messed up, that he made a mistake, but here he was being made out as though he never took the blame for anything. [+coral “Maybe if you accused me of things that were actually in my control, I could help you out and own up to them!”] Try as he might, the boy was not seeing his lack of initiative in this area, that it was not really how he was coddled by others, but that he had never taken a step back and asked to do things on his own. Not until much later, like right now, when he was in over his head.
The word strong could mean so many different things, it was different to each and every person and yet here the elf was expecting him to conform to his personal ideals. Augustine didn’t even know what those were. He’d never taken the time to set his parameters; he was throwing around an arbitrary term that made him wonder if the elf had ever met anyone he considered strong. And the boy wanted to ask, but something else came up before he could. [+coral “So that is what this is about? It all boils down to you and my mom?”] Typical. [+coral “We sorted this already, I am not stopping you. I just don’t want to see it.”] That being the material point that was the issue here, as Nicolai had made the same request as if Flora had some relation to him. [+coral “You act like you have always been out of sight whenever you two kiss or cuddle or whatever. You never go very far away and are in sight more often than you are not.”] That was probably more Florence’s fault than Nicolai’s, but he was ignoring that and the fact that it did not take much effort to just look away. [+coral “So sorry that I didn’t stick to the boundaries that you had already been breaking for weeks.”] His own offense was a great deal more blatant than the other man’s but Augustine did not much care about that in the moment either.
Gritting his teeth, the green eyed boy was not so sure he wanted to fight for Nicolai to stay right this moment. [+coral “What I think are good reasons for you to stay and what you are think are good reasons to stay are very, very different.”] That was more than apparent at the moment, but he humored him anyway. [+coral “I think you should help because I actually care about this place!”] It was the main advantage he felt he held over Vincent. [+coral “I may not know the land and I may not know the people, but I want to learn. More than anything I want to know them and I want to help them and see them thrive. No matter how much time I spent away, I am a Wistinian, I can feel it in my blood and in my bones. I love this place, I got that from my father.”] If nothing else Germaine did hold a deep love of his country, even if he was too easily manipulated to always do what was right for it. [+coral “Wistina is great, but like all nations there are things that can be improved. Innovation and infrastructure need to take a frontline position so that we can improve the lives of everyone, but that starts at the helm. This country might be able to afford to let greedy men sit in a seat of power, but it should not allow it. I won’t let myself become a doormat to the selfish like my father. And I won’t surround myself with those who keep secrets to protect me like my uncle. I want those I can trust to keep what is best for Wistina in mind over what is good for them, those who will point me in the right direction when I stray… I thought you could be one of those men. I wanted for you to be one of them, but it seems that is not what you want.”] He was still mad, but a lot of the indignation had faded. It left room for sadness. Augustine did not want to be a disappointment. Despite everything, Nicolai was still someone whose opinion he valued greatly and to hear all this was a rather large blow. [+coral “I still have a lot of room left to grow, I know that.”] But now he was afraid that growth was going to be into someone he did not want to be. Someone even worse than Vincent.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was good to see the boy actually respond with some emotion for once than to either back down or whine. Though the response was less than he had hoped for and he simply deflected the attacks claiming they were out of his control. The elf had no doubt if he had done the same the boy would have seized on it.[+royalblue “I am here because you are the lesser of two evils and nothing more Augustine. Vincent is a manipulative little rat and he needs to be gone. But in truth if there was any other claimant to the throne right here and now I would be out there fighting for them.”] Perhaps that was a little too far to go but neither of them was thinking calmly. This was quite an emotional undertaking.
[+royalblue “But you are right; why should I be here? Why bother? All Kings are bastards, whether they are spineless cunts like Eugene or merciless and power hungry like Vincent. Why not just let that bastard keep the throne when his replacement is.. you?”]
It was a truth he wasn't sure would ever have been said to the boy, but he hadn't ever seen a King that was both strong and honourable. They either worked for themselves to the detriment of the people, or for the people to the detriment of the country at large. It was a hard task to juggle the two but it was needed for a truly good ruler. It was harsh to compare such a young boy to a grown man but he was showing signs of growing into a bad ruler – at least in Nicolai's viewpoint.
[+royalblue “You are better than he is but that margin is getting smaller and smaller the more I see of the man you've become. These people need a strong King. You're soft, weak, and when I tell you why you simply throw up your hands and say it is out of your control, a matter of birth and upbringing that you are not to blame for. It's not your fault and it never [i is].”] The frustration at having to explain his actions to the boy was growing more and he remained close to the boy as he narrowed his eyes. His other hand now rested on the pommel of his sword as he looked into those bright emerald eyes.
[+royalblue “And that makes me wonder why I bother. I try to guide you and you demand to be given space. I give you space and you accuse me of sitting idly by. You dictate who I may have a relationship with and yet flaunt your own before my eyes. So rather than questioning why [i I] am here, tell me why I should stay. Rather than expect me to be here, convince me I should be here Augustine.”]
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