Fall of the Court

/ By Loxi [+Watch]

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It never occurred to her that he might try and argue her on this point. To Florence it was a simple truth. She looked up at him with bright green eyes, never quite losing her smile. [+mediumseagreen “If I did not know what I knew, if I was exactly where he was with the information he had. No. You would have been a dead man.”] The Astorian was confident in that. [+mediumseagreen “But that is the problem. I would have made up my mind before walking into that room. Nothing you could have said would have changed my mind, right or wrong, I would be too stubborn to bend or break.”] Eugene walked in enraged but still heard out what was happening and changed his mind accordingly. Perhaps he would have been better prepared if they had briefed him on the entirely of the situation, but that is not what happened so she wouldn’t go into it. [+mediumseagreen “I think we admire different things in people… Eugene is gentle and compassionate. He may be on the soft side, but that is why he has Augustus around, why he had me. Personally, I wish I had been born more kindhearted in nature like him. That I would have taken after mother in that way… It is fine though, I think everything has worked out how it needed to.”]
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 87d 22h 13m 11s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai listened to her but as she finished speaking he was already shaking his head lightly. He disagreed quite heavily with her timid if subtle diversion of the belief her mother would not be proud. Perhaps he was not the best judge of good mothers, but she had not yet spoken of any issues between herself and her mother. He wanted to tell her no, to speak of how she would be delighted to have such a strong and tough daughter who had freed a country from tyranny and saved many lives by doing so. But that last comment, about Eugene deserving a family that actually loved one another? It confused and saddened the elf.[+royalblue “Florence.. I'm probably hearing wrong, I have drank.. considerably,”] that was an understatement,[+royalblue “but are you trying to imply your brother is any better than you? Because no offence to him, he is no-where near your level.”] He had many reasons lined up but each seemed light hearted or she would brush them off as the words of a man infatuated with her. All his words would be tinged by his admiration of her, but he found one point to hone in on.[+royalblue “If you were him, if you were in his shoes back in that meeting room, with me – the guy who had been killing his people for months in chains before you – would you have let me leave alive? Not a trick question.”] He felt he could guess the answer, but best to hear it from her.
  WI_ / 87d 22h 36m 13s
When he suddenly switched to Elfish Florence sort of blinked up at him. She knew little to nothing of the language, let alone enough to know what he could possibly be getting at with his colloquialism. It was not long after he finished it up that Nicolai continued along with a translation. The saying held an endearing idea, one she thought could be applied to many situations, though pondering what her mother would think if she could see the life Florence had lived, she wasn’t entirely sure if she would be amazed or disgusted. The bright-eyed man was probably right that it would be the former, but she could not help but be a little cynical even if she did not say it aloud. [+mediumseagreen “Maybe so.”] Still, she liked the thought of it, so she smiled. [+mediumseagreen “She’d probably be happier with Eugene though.”] There she went on about her little brother again, a habit that seemed it would never break. [+mediumseagreen “He is kind and caring and started a family that actually loves one another. Doesn’t it baffle the mind?”] Of course she had that with her brother and her father, but that was definitely something she lacked with her former spouse. Her current standing with her son was much better, so that was nice, though he was perhaps a little traumatized after losing his father. I made him cling to her, which Florence generally did not mind, but he would probably be better off if he worked through that and whatnot. [+mediumseagreen “He deserves it though.”] Her smile warmed the tiniest bit.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 88d 13m 38s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was interesting how she offered very little input now. He didn’t see it as a negative, quite the opposite, the fact she kept silent to him showed she was taking it in. She didn’t interject with questions or query certain parts, she just took in what he said and thought on it. Oddly for Nicolai, a man who often valued feedback and especially from Florence, he was just happy with her presence and her listening ear and smiled softly as she lifted his hand to kiss. He bet if he had done that, she would think it terribly cheesy. He said nothing though, letting her take a drink and then she opened up from no where. He had been thinking that would be the end of their talk, but perhaps the whiskey had set her tongue loose and he nodded at her words. Now it was his turn to be comforting and brought his free hand to her arm that nestled to his chest, squeezing it to him. He was truly flummoxed for how he could help her, but a spark from his own stories had given him an idea.[+royalblue “Elves, the early elves, were known for travelling far and wide. Often, we would leave home and never come back, lost in the wilderness or finding new homes. It’s why you find us nearly everywhere, just few of us. Well, a saying was created, to give thanks to those left behind who we could not likely see again; [i ‘même si nous ne pouvons pas être ensemble à la fin, je suis heureux que vous fassiez partie de ma vie’.“]] The words were spoken slowly but pronounced beautifully. He had kept up his elven over the years, primarily in the hope to teach Natalya when she was born, but also for the retirement he had planned in Calista.[+royalblue “It means, [i ‘even if we can’t be together in the end, I’m glad that you were a part of my life’]. I think she would find it fitting, and she would be amazed to see how far you have come.”] He again pulled her arm to him, wishing he could hug her tightly, but found this was a very fitting substitution than to unsettle her right now.
  WI_ / 88d 35m 4s
Like everything else, this was all news to Florence. One of the most surprising bits to her was that Nicolai’s father had been the one to gain the title of Duke and not Nicolai himself. For some reason she had always thought it was given to him by Germaine for being a help to him, for being a friend. He did love doing that sort of thing. Still, she listed to the story as quietly as all the rest and took in all the details her hazy brain could muster. Between this and what she had heard of his mother, the woman was able to see where certain parts of the elf’s character came from. Either because they were inherited, or as a result of the differing types of abuse, these parts of his past shaped him, for better or worse. To have it all laid out before her helped her understand; at least she thought it did. Whether or not she would be able to navigate all this when she was more sober and use it to treat and understand him better was another story altogether.

Bringing their connected hands up, she placed a couple of kisses to his knuckles. [+mediumseagreen “Thank you for telling me all this. I know it was not easy…”] Even if this last one had seemed to be a little better for him than the two that came before. Either way, Florence knew it was time to give him a break and perhaps turn the conversation back to herself. After he set the drink back down, she took it and took a small drink herself. It was probably an understatement to say she did not need any more, but she certainly was not thinking that clearly. The bottle was on its way back between them when she started. [+mediumseagreen “Illness got my mother as well… something was going around that year and she managed to catch it. We were kept from her so that it might not spread to me or Eugene, but it wound up killing her. There wasn’t really a chance for a goodbye because of it, I wouldn’t have known what to say or do anyway. Too young to really understand until it happened she wasn’t around anymore...”]
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 88d 3h 24m 28s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Before she could fully ensnare him, he pulled away long enough to throw the wine bottle after the last two in a quickly building trend. He had been aiming for the far-left stone but perhaps thankfully – now they weren’t showered in shards of glass – it sailed harmlessly over and toward the rocks below.

It was sweet of her to offer some words, even if not very much. Nicolai understood discussing one’s family was not exactly a group endeavour unless the others were part of said family. Here he was talking of losing his sweet brother, his adulterous mother, and he would have to discuss his father too, but he found solace in her touch and how she leaned against him more. Thankfully this was not as emotionally traumatic as the others, but she did well to move them on quickly and to point out the damage to the headstone. He let out a softer sigh as he followed her gaze, pausing from answering as he tried to defuse himself from the pain of his brother and anger at his mother.

Turning his head he kissed her crown, not wanting to disturb her just for a moment of self-indulgence. His hand squeezed hers a touch, the other free one reached toward the bottle she had brought across, popping off the stopper and taking a small swig. He replaced it between them and brushed back his hair.[+royalblue “Oh father. I sometimes think if we had never left Wistina to begin with I would have turned out like him.”] It was in part a compliment but his tone did not have that loving hint like most times when he spoke with Florence.[+royalblue “This one isn’t as sad as the others.”] A nice prefix before he began.[+royalblue “He was a money man. He loved facts and figures and making money and all that. If he could make five copper profit on selling pig shit he’d do it. Not himself though, he’d work in the cost of paying someone to do it and so on. He just seemed to love seeing his money get bigger, and he was thrifty with it too. He hated to spend any of it. Like a dragon I think he would have loved to just sleep in a bed of his own gold and jewels and such..”] It was good to have someone in a family who wanted to gain wealth and improve their holdings; however his father was very much the former than the latter.

[+royalblue “He was gone a lot of the time, visiting merchants or making deals. He didn’t really trust anyone to do it his way; or the correct way as he always called it, so he wasn’t here much. Maybe mother got lonely because of it, maybe that’s why she went looking for attention elsewhere.”] He was trying to defend her in a way, but it didn’t last long before he moved on.[+royalblue “He did alright for himself really. After mother passed he started taking me with him to meet people – mainly because I spoke other languages and it was useful to have me there because he learned people paid more if it was a family business as opposed to just him. Made him more trustworthy or some other bullshit. I was just a prop, a means of making more money, but it was nice, I guess. He taught me how to balance the books, how to make money from next to nothing, he was most excited when he showed me the different land deeds he had bought over the years and we now becoming worth something because the population was growing.”] He was rambling again. Like Vataly and mother he could have gone on for hours about the intricacies of his fathers business and so forth. But he wanted her to remain awake and not bore her. And he had yet to explain the stone.

[+royalblue “Anyway, once mother didn’t come home, we started going to the Capital more to do business. That’s where he bought his title; Duke of County Hoxonsea. It was complete lies, made up just to make him a Duke, make him feel more important, and he got to collect a little of the tax money from Hox. For a few years we were fine, life just went on, nothing really happened. I learned more and more, he made more and more money, and then he went north to Tyleth. He wanted to make a deal for iron or something, I don’t remember. But he got ill. There’s nothing really special to it. He just got ill and died in the night a week later. And like that, I was by myself. I remember being in the Capital, I was working with Gerald, bartering with some western trader for steel for new armour Germaine wanted. I didn’t so much as bat an eye when I was told. I just nodded and went on.”] That is what he meant when he said he would have turned out like his father. He was not affected by his parents deaths and only became more cold and heartless with time.[+royalblue “On that day, I was given his title as Duke and all the wealth he had horded away. And it was a lot of money.”] He was not exaggerating that his father was penny pinching and yet an astute businessman. That was why he was so surprised when he was younger and had been bought the toy for Vataly. A silver here or there for his son was the limit of his charitable causes. And it was charity, his son was a tax relief rather than his own flesh and blood.

[+royalblue “I spent a big chunk of it. Built the stables, had the cobble path put in, the house was expanded and so on, primarily so I could use this place a means of hosting other people. I was the more social of me and him, so I would use white lies and sweet words to sway people rather than just buy them off. Gerald became a frequent visitor and he helped me gain some really good contracts. I bought property in the capital because of him, and used it to get closer to Germaine. He had been helpful since father passed, but I made myself utterly.. utterly..”] Ah, the alcohol. He had been on such a good run with words too, and now one escaped him. He paused but she would feel his hand squeeze hers momentarily as it came to him,[+royalblue “indispensable.”] He sounded delighted just at that word.[+royalblue “I did that for me to him.”] And all his hard work for that word had failed immediately.[+royalblue “I became his armourer for his soldiers and would join Gerald in some of the drills. He let me lead some of them and Germaine got the idea that I was part of his army. From there I went up and up and up and boom.. General Nicolai.”] He sounded a little despondent, realising he had mistakenly been given his role in the army as if for the first time, though truly it was all planned and he was just too drunk to realise he had done it all on purpose.

Losing himself for a moment his eyes couldn’t focus on one thing for too long, running up his own legs and to the woman at his side, down her curving figure and along the grass to the back wall, along the wall and then to the stones before him and finally onto the visible crack along his fathers grave.[+royalblue “A-ha! The stone. I did that.”] Yes, he had mentioned that before had he not? [+royalblue “After one night of heavy drinking and.. other things..”] best not to mention those other things with her being at his side,[+royalblue “I had a breakdown. Not proud to admit it, but I did. I shouted at him for not protecting me and Vataly. I complained that he loved his money more than his own sons, even when we were desperate and needed him most. I swore so much I lost my voice the next day and at some point I had began stamping at the stone. I kept kicking and kicking until it fell over and it broke in half. One of the servants must have put it back up at some point. I haven’t been out here, to this part of the gardens since that night I don’t think.”] There was no reason for him to return to a place that held so many painful memories, each stone reminding him of his failures and his mistakes and how he doubted himself. As he had stated from the beginning, it was not an emotional affair with his father, much the same as it had been when he was alive. He did not sound upset and nor did this bring him any closer to anger or tears or the like. He was saddened that this was his upbringing; a violent and adulterous mother, a unloving and distant father, but that was life. Florence had her struggles, his were just more personal.
  WI_ / 88d 5h 54m 21s
There was a lot to process here. She wondered if Nicolai had any pleasant memories from his childhood. Certainly, neither of the ones he had told her. There must have been something in there, but that was not what she was currently asking about, nor was she going to. The idea that he might confirm such a notion was much too sad for her. So, the woman instead listened to what he chose to say instead of letting her mind decide what was true that he had not.

It seemed just about no one in this family received a proper funeral; though so far half of those who had died deserved it that way. That was perhaps a touch cruel, but no one was around to patrol her thoughts, and Florence herself was fine with it. The world did not need people like that. [+mediumseagreen “It is okay not to miss terrible people.”] This served as a reminder to herself and perhaps she should not have said it aloud, but it came out all the same.

His hand was still tight on hers, so she squeezed back with equal pressure, or what felt like it at the time. The woman did not want to linger here; she wanted to press forward. So, leaning over to press against him with her head rested a bit on his shoulder, her other arm came to wrap around his. It was not so dissimilar to how she woke up the other morning holding him. Like then, this was not some perfectly planning thing. She simply ended up here with little to no thought. It was comfortable, and she wanted to be near him. But as she moved in closer, her eyes stayed stared over to the final headstone. [+mediumseagreen “Alright.”] There was an odd sense of finality to that word. [+mediumseagreen “What about the last one... Your father, what happened to him and why is his burial marker in such a state?”] Florence did not need to be very loud with this closer proximity.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 88d 12h 19m 40s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai had imagined she would go for the distressing part of his stories first, wanting to get the woman out of the way. He understood how he painted the woman out to be and it wasn't with a heavy heart either.[+royalblue “Mother was all about public image. If it made her look better or improved her position in the world – she'd do it. Not only was she shrewd and devious; she was controlling and demanding.”] It was a wonderful start and he eyed the offered whiskey with desire for a few seconds. To drink himself to sleep would be quite nice about now but alternatively he didn't want to leave her out here on her own, or worse yet force her to try and drag his sorry arse back inside. So instead he just pulled her hand to him and squeezed it lightly.

[+royalblue “Everything had to be perfect. How we dressed, how we behaved, how we presented ourselves. As for us kids, she would make sure we were used just right to give her the most benefits. You know, I was only taught elven and Astorian so that I could be thrown before her friends and made to perform. They would clap and she would think she was a good mother. The bigger or more powerful a person was compared to her, the more she wanted them to like her.”] It was therefore quite obvious where he got his incessant need to be liked and adored from. It wasn't out of wanting good in the world or to do good deeds, but for his own vanity and his own personal satisfaction. For now he sounded quite calm, rather kept together, as if he had already mourned for her and this was not an emotional endeavour, unlike his sibling.[+royalblue “If we messed us, if we did it wrong, that's when the punishments would come, and it was for any reason. Like bowing, that was a big thing for her, always claimed it was an elven thing – I'll tell you it isn't but the fuck did some uppity human know? You could bow too much, bow too little, bow to the wrong person, bow at the wrong time, bow for too long or any other number of reasons and you would know immediately. She would come close. She'd hold you and hug you and smile and everything looked like just a loving and caring mother with their child. Only she could make being too 'motherly' a bad thing..”] It was odd to say his mother was too caring or too coddling. But sometimes coddling could be a very bad thing, especially from such a psychotic woman. By now his free hand had come up to sit on her arm and trace slow fingers along her soft skin in an effort to distract him.

[+royalblue “At first it was a smack on the arse, maybe she'd get one of the servants to bring a switch from one of the trees and she's whip at the backs of our legs or have us hold out our hands for her to smack. If you cried? Smacked. If you complained? Even more. No-one would help because it was always in private, she never hit us where someone might see her and her perfect image would be ruined. Once Vataly passed away she only had me, so that is when she became more.. creative. The finger bending, the hours spent stood in the rain, being forced to sleep inside the oven or other creative things.”] He could rant on for too long but he was beginning to flag having had so many ups and downs this night and he wanted to make sure he didn't leave her wanting. If it didn't come out now, it might never come out.[+royalblue “You get the idea.”] He had to finish this somehow, even though the end of her life was the most tumultuous.

[+royalblue “As I said earlier; she was a whore. Not just for attention, but an actual whore. Father never said much about it but she would often spend nights over at noblemen's homes or make visits to the towns and whatever. Of course, surprise surprise, when she came home she would have new jewellery or a new dress or she and father had been invited to a grand dinner or ball or gala and all that shit. Remember Vataly's funeral? Well no sooner were his ashes being put in his urn than she was laughing it up with Germaine, cooing over him, fawning for his and the then Queen's attention. When I was about eight or nine, my father got invited to a state dinner at the capital. They both went, with bags upon bags of clothing for her but only one for him. I was left behind. Apparently I'd just be in the way she said.”] His face hardened a little then, thinking on that memory of her climbing up into the carriage.[+royalblue “I never saw her again, only he came back.”] The last thing he remembered her saying was something about practising with his sword – she had some friends who also had sons around his age; they could fight together. It was perhaps fitting she hadn't come back then, as who knew how such 'fighting' would go down.

[+royalblue “He fed me some bullshit about how some nobleman's wife had invited her to stay a week. It was a different person every week, and it went on for months. Then the Queen herself apparently loved her company and she was there for even longer. Yet even when the Queen passed away she stayed at the Capital, and I just stopped hearing from her, hearing about her, as if she just stopped existing. I didn't dare mention her, just on the chance that someday she came home and though I was being nosy or rude or something. And so we just went along with this, until the day after my tenth birthday; when the stone suddenly just turned up. No funeral. No prior planning. Just.. there.”] He looked across to the stone and now the desire to drink was very strong. He could have finished all that whiskey if he had so chosen, going silent for a little time with thoughts and memories and feelings swirling about in wild alarm in his mind. He was more than grateful for her hand, holding it a little tighter but not painfully so. He just wanted her to know he was still there and soon returned back to the present moment.[+royalblue “I've never found out what happened to her. I once found a paper in the records room of the Capital that said she had been invited to a dinner with the King and some other smaller noblemen and women. But after that, nothing ever came up again. I wish I had asked Germaine or Father about her.. but I think secretly.. I was just glad she was gone..”] Even to him, the man who had suffered so much because of her, it felt unusually harsh to say that about her. She was still a person was she not? She was still the woman who had given birth to him, no? It was so complicated on how he should feel that he just looked down to the tanned womans arm in his lap and he pressed his palm to it in an appreciative manner, signalling he had finished with a small sigh.
  WI_ / 88d 22h 13m 28s
Florence watched the elf for any sign of dishonesty here. She could easily imagine him pressing himself too far for her, but it seemed he really did want to get this done and over with. Nodding, her braid bounced at her shoulder as she brought her hands back only to enthusiastically take his hand. A childish smile curling on her lips, there was no question she was happy about it.

His drinking gave her a moment to think on the choice she was given. It should not have been hard, seeing as she would have both stories if she kept her patience. But still, she thought on it for a couple of moments. [+mediumseagreen “… Your mother.”] That was her conclusion. Florence wanted to be done speaking of that woman as soon as possible. He had already mentioned that whatever happened, her body was not found. That was mysterious on its own, but she wanted to know the rest of what happened.

Seeing him finish the wine, the Astorian grabbed the bottle of whisky at her side and placed it between them. Nicolai probably did not need it, but it felt strange to horde the last of the liquor to herself, especially if she would probably be in a world of hurt if she tried to finish off the last of it on her own.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 88d 23h 44m 27s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The kiss rounded off a rather peaceful and endearing moment. If he remembered parts of this night, that would be one of the bigger ones. It would show him that not only was she there for him in his low moment, but she showed understanding. As she slipped back a little and enquired as to whether he wanted to go on, he let out a deep sigh, his hands coming down to his lap and he shrugged lightly.[+royalblue “I suppose I should finish, get this all out the way in one go..”] He could tell this was a thing for her, she wanted all the details and backstories on the table so that she could decide just what kind of man he was. Perhaps his recanting of Vataly’s life or the harm he had at his parents’ hands would show he was resilient and hardy, how he could handle tough and persistent problems and come out the end of them intact. Or perhaps she would see him as too broken, too much of a mess and not worth the time to stick around and mend him with her presence and time. Only sober Florence would know that for sure. For now, he took up his bottle of wine, offering his other hand to her if she wished to take it.[+royalblue “Which one; mother or father?”] He asked as he tilted back his head and drank back the remainder of the bottle. It wouldn’t be as emotional as his brother but he still needed a lot of drunk courage to get out what he had to say.
  WI_ / 89d 11m 25s
Being close to Nicolai like this actually helped to calm her as well. Florence was still rather worked up from his story. No matter how she tried to spin it, his mother was a terrible person. He had basically said that much himself, but it really sunk in having heard the tale of Vataly. When she could feel her heart finding rest, she opened her eyes to look at the elf, the remnants of a smile from his funny new nickname still on her face. It was fitting.

Leaning forward just the tiniest bit, she pressed soft lips to his. It was a slow and meaningful kiss, even if it was not extraordinarily hot or passionate. She pulled back after that, letting her hands fall to his shoulders. This kept her close, but put an end to the silent moment between them… for now. Florence was ready to move on, it was only a matter of whether or not he was. [+mediumseagreen “Would you like to stop at that, or are you okay to tell the rest of their stories?”] She asked out of respect for him and his boundaries. While the drunken woman did want to know, and it would be difficult to leave it at that, she was also okay if that was where he needed to stop for now. Surely there would be other nights like this where they could talk… though maybe not as soon as she would like. It could be hard to get time alone when they were traveling with this group.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 89d 36m 5s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her words did help though his eyes closed over slowly as she spoke, letting her soothing tone help him more to calm down. He hoped he could just blame all of this emotional outpouring on the alcohol, to lock all this off as drunk Nicolai and still hold her respect and admiration as sober Nicolai. The last thing he needed was for all this to end with her deciding he was too emotional for her. As her thumbs brushed over his cheeks he opened his eyes again, looking on her picturesque face illuminated by the lantern. Before tonight he would most certainly have taken exception to being told he was ‘enough’, but right there with her it felt like the biggest compliment he had received in a long time. A soft smile tugged his lips as she pressed their foreheads together, his hands leaving from her arms but not for long as he copied her action and cupped her cheeks softly.[+royalblue “Thank you Florence. Danke, mein kriegerkönigin.”] He told her quietly and closed his eyes again, just wanting to enjoy those gentle and oddly romantic moment with her. Not everything had to be words or actions. Like back in the bed the other morning just having her with him helped.
  WI_ / 89d 1h 8m 53s
[+mediumseagreen “It is not a competition. Comparing like that only makes it worse.”] She knew that for sure too. [+mediumseagreen “And I am not feeling pity for you, I am feeling angry. That is not fair.”] The world seldom was, but right now she was rather drunk and did not feel like going into that. Right now she wanted exactly two things, to be happy, which was the alcohol, and to know about Nicolai, which was more general. However, these two things almost seemed to conflict because the two of them had rather… troubled pasts. [+mediumseagreen “Personally I prefer this,”] she looked him up and down for emphasis, [+mediumseagreen “to bottling it up and leaving because it became too much..."] Her voice quieted down eve more. [+mediumseagreen “I don’t want you to leave again.”] Liking the way he stroke her arms subtly with his thumbs, she mimicked the motion on his face.

Sure, she did not want a man who was constantly falling to tears and whatnot, but in quiet times like this, Florence thought it was better that Nicolai show his emotions. [+mediumseagreen “You are fine. I don’t expect you to always be a rock for us. It is not fair to put all that pressure on you. You do enough, you are enough.”] Perhaps it was sappy to say, but she was being pulled into a sappy sort of mood. Pulling him in, she pressed her forehead to his. It was almost like a variant of what she did with Augustine. How she would kiss him there, but it was different, not meant to be something shared between parent and child, just a moment of quiet closeness.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 89d 2h 36m 41s
[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.
  WI_ / 89d 3h 28m 4s
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?
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 89d 3h 55m 48s
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