[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was relieving for the elven man to have her embrace him back. The thought of her ripping off his arms or pushing him away was a large concern, especially when he was so new to consoling someone like this. Often he was the one being consoled or rather pitied. He could see it was a difficult and near impossible task – how did Florence make it appear so easy and flawless? Now she pulled him in tighter and he moved his hand from her cheek to her head, brushing her brunette locks as she spoke against his chest and he nodded.[+royalblue “I understand.. it's hard to get past these feelings. We're both trying to put our smartness up against something that can't be explained.”] His poor vocabulary could be explained; he was drunk. Maybe that contributed to his feeling of not being able to help her. But regardless he continued.[+royalblue “But we will get past them.. together.”] His hands squeezed her a little tighter against him for a moment with that before letting her go again.[+royalblue “Whether as friends or more or whatever, we will help one another. We'll make new feelings, better ones,”] neither of those statements made sense but it sounded good,[+royalblue “and it will get better.”] He pressed his lips to the top of her head again then, though he did have one final thing to add;[+royalblue “Thank you for trusting me Florence.”] That had many more stipulations and meanings behind it than most other things said that night, but the sentiment held true and he was thankful for her wanting to open up so much to him.
Florence heard him shift before she felt him pull her in. Her eyes had be averted, so she did not see it coming, but the quiet rustling was enough to clue her in to what he was about to do. She was fine with it; there was comfort in his embrace. Normally when she got upset enough, it was Gregory who held her. Really, he was the only one she’d ever done this sort of thing with, except for maybe in her early childhood. But he was not around, and the woman was missing her outlet. Not that anything particularly traumatic had happened so far on this trip, but still, after having him around for all those years, she truly did miss him. When those feelings piled on as well, it became just a little harder to hold back her crying. She was not full blown sobbing into his arms, but Florence had given up on trying to hide it. That pretense was gone.
She could feel Nicolai’s words through his chest, a dull rumble as he gently caressed her face. They were kind, he was doing his best to sooth her, though overall they were a touch on the awkward side. Whether that feeling came from his delivery or the meaning behind them, she was unsure. Still, she sort of preferred it that way. If he was too eloquent in a moment like this she might be worried.
Arms wrapping around to his back, the woman pulled herself in all the tighter to him. He was warm and it felt nice now that the chill was fully creeping into the night. [+mediumseagreen “I know… it’s just I cannot help it. There’s no logic to these feelings... And that often makes it worse.”] She knew Eugene would never do anything to hurt her, and obviously Augustine wouldn’t either. They were good. But it was not about knowing, it was about the memories that still gripped her when she wasn’t paying attention. Most of the time she was fine, she was used to it, but every once in a while she was caught off guard by something that pulled her back in. The healing was never fully complete.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat With her opening parry to push the conversation elsewhere, already Nicolai was doubting this was the right thing to have asked. He wanted to know, but had he opened a bag of worms? Was he dredging up the past that she had hoped to leave locked away? Her warning only served to confirm he was wrong and he drew in a breath to stop her from going on, the steely stare she gave him causing him to hesitate and by then she was gone.
A deep, dull throb began in his chest as she recanted the long buried tale. Her moments where she tried to offer light humour did not do much for him, and when she had questioned who could do this to their child he was too shocked to offer any answers. The break in her voice crushed his heart and like her he went quite silent and still. What could he say to what she was saying? His usual means of dismantling awkward moments, jokes and humour, was far and away the worst thing he could do right now. He thought to just let her get this emotion out and to vent and to let her have the silence to show he was solemn and not to hurt her by saying anything. He also considered saying something about how evil and awful that man was, how although Nicolai could not relate to her distressing past he could understand her woe and show his own anger at the man who had done all this. But none of them seemed right.
If nothing else this showed why she was so insistent he keep his hands to himself and to allow her to dictate the pace of their relationship. He had had inklings that this is what may have happened in the past, though he believed it had been during her rebellion in Astoria by a stranger, not like this, not by.. As she finished speaking he wondered if this was why Augustine wanted him to stay away from her. He may have had good intentions but were his wants really as important as giving her the space she requested and the peace she wanted? No was the answer. Yet despite himself, and to spite his earlier statement that she leave him behind when this was all over, he didn't want to go.
As her tears spilled he had to make his mind up now on what to do and he pushed aside all his thoughts and feelings. Instead he removed his hand from hers, quickly pulling it back and around her, encircling her back and pulling her tight to his chest. His hands were gentle and she would be allowed to pull free if she wanted to, this wasn't about hugging it out or holding her so tight she felt constrained.[+royalblue “I'm here for you Florence, you're going to be okay now.”] He couldn't find any more meaningful words than to try and reassure her that he would help protect her, as if she needed him to say that.[+royalblue “But please, don't forget that Eugene is not that monster, Augustine is not that monster, because you were so strong for them.”] By now he had nestled her head to his chest, a hand coming up to cup her cheek and brushed his thumb through her tears.[+royalblue “Eugene is a King and Augustine will soon be one because they have you. I agree they are kind, they are compassionate like you said, but they can only be that way because of you and how strong and steady and selfless you are.”] He was trying to bolster her but, perhaps due to his own self-depreciation and natural inclination to put himself down, he wasn't sure if it was helpful.[+royalblue “Those eyes are not his, just as mine are not my mothers, because we are better than those before us. We are the survivors. We are the strong ones. We are..”] He let his voice trail away, tugging her just a little tighter into his chest. He was good at boosting the morale of flagging soldiers or trying to push reason ahead of emotions. This was not his best moment and so he hoped just holding her, his hand stroking along her back slowly in unison with his thumb, might give her a similar feeling of safety he got from holding her earlier.
Her face fell at his request. She had sort of expected him to ask this a while ago, more when they spoke of his family. Florence had thought she was in the clear, but apparently not. She understood his want to know, but it was not something she talked about… ever. The idea of even having to think about it in detail made her anxious. Her hand that had come to rest on his arm at some point tightened its grip. [+mediumseagreen “What an odd thing to ask for, you have met Gregory yourself, what more could you want to know?”] Her words were quiet, attempting to hold on to that lightheartedness they had been filled with only moments before. She knew that wasn’t what Nicolai wanted to know… and she knew her little halfhearted attempt to get out of it would not work. Beyond that, using the out he had provided her seemed wrong. This was important to him, and if she brushed it off with that it would denote a clear lack of trust and she did not want that.
[+mediumseagreen “… I know that isn’t what you mean… I am sorry.”] She took a deep breath. [+mediumseagreen “Alright, but I need you to know, none of this goes any father than your ears. Some parts of this story have not been heard by another living soul, so if I find out anyone else has this information beyond the two of us, then I will know what you did and I will never forgive you.”] Her eyes were hard as the stone they took their color from for a moment. She was dead serious. Her expression only softened mildly before she went on. [+mediumseagreen “That man was an Earl. My mother was a farm girl, but she was quite beautiful so he found himself in love with her, so they were married and they were happy. I remember that much. That and the compliments. Everyone used to say I looked so much like her that it must have been a sign that I was meant to be just like her. I would marry up and bring fortune to my family. I suppose that was not wrong, though it happened differently than anyone could have imagined…”] She let out a laugh at that, but it was heavier than the others. The thoughts of what was to come weighed on her. [+mediumseagreen “It was a charmed life, at least until she died... Something broke in the bastard after that. He distorted more and more as time went on. Paying more and more attention to me. Telling me how much I reminded him of her… most of the time it was just a lot of pressure to have to hear that, but when he was particularly bad he would visit in the night when everyone else was asleep…”] Her brow furrowed. To this day she still couldn’t understand it, but she didn’t ever want to. [+mediumseagreen “He would touch me, but thankfully that was the extent of it.”] What an odd thing to be thankful for. [+mediumseagreen “This whole descent into madness or whatever you want to call it lasted about a year before he fully snapped. He took us to town and then told us to wait for him and never came back, never returned to the house either from what I hear. He abandoned everything, but I can’t blame him. As far as I can tell the guilt of what he’d done must have finally caught up with him. After all, who could do that to their child?”] Her voice nearly broke at that question. It was rhetorical, but she almost hoped Nicolai would answer so she could have a moment. He did not however, so she simply took a few calming breaths. [+mediumseagreen “Unfortunately, that is not where the story end.”] She wished it were.
[+mediumseagreen “Eugene and I barely survived on our own. I was doing my best, but people could hardly take care of their own families, let alone the urchins in the street. We were just another couple of kids pushed aside so that the rest of their family might survive. However, we were lucky. Someone took pity on us and took us in… Gregory.”] This intermission of sorts was helping to sooth her nerves. [+mediumseagreen “He had been a part of a traveling group of hunters, but recently split off to follow his dream of being a bard… you know how well that was going.”] Poking fun at the old dwarf did bring the smallest of smiles back to her lips. [+mediumseagreen “It is a bit of a story, so I will spare you, but he convinced us to come with him and he returned to his old life. The group took us in, that was kind of what they were known for, a refuge for men who were willing to work and travel. It did not pay anything, but you would have food to eat until you got back on your feet or figured out a direction for your life. Men often came and went, but there were a few who were always there. They were like our family, though Gregory was always the one who directly cared for us. It was rough, but miles better than starving.”]
[+mediumseagreen “I became use to the lifestyle and eventually came to like it, but of course, something always has to ruin it… years later, who should come before us than that man. Eugene did not recognize him, but I did. I don’t know what he had been up to, but he sought out the hunters to ‘try and get a new start.’”] Her emphasis implied these were his own words. [+mediumseagreen “He came before me, probably worried I would out him for being the horrible monster that he was, and asked for forgiveness, claiming to have changed. He wanted a second chance, now that he had found me and Eugene he wanted to know us again. He begged me for that chance and I stupidly agreed, though my one condition was that he not tell anyone who he was. I did not want my brother to get too close to him. I also did not want to hurt Gregory. By that point he was by all means our father. I’d spent nearly as much time with him as I had with my birth parents, and Eugene had spend more. I did not want him to even consider that he might have to move out of the way for this man who waltzed back onto the scene by accident.”] Clearly this was not where the story ended either. Once again, she wish it had. Florence hesitated to begin again. [+mediumseagreen “…It was not long before he integrated perfectly into the group. Everyone loved him. Then in the height of that, it began again. On the nights he was in charge of watch, he would wake me. It started with excuses just to pull me away, to get me used to it, and progressed from there until it basically became a part of my weekly routine to have him on top of me.”] The last of those words were spoken through gritted teeth. Her eyes settled firmly in the grass below. She could not bear to look at Nicolai; there was too much shame, even now. [+mediumseagreen “No one else ever saw that side of him. I did not think anyone would believe me if I said anything. I am sure he planned it that way. Carefully constructed his persona and every moment with the others so that they would see him as perfectly disarming. Manipulative and meticulously thorough, that’s the kind of man he was.”] And part of the reason she hated that she had come to be that way as well. [+mediumseagreen “This went on for some months, but as I was on the cusp of being thirteen, something in me finally broke. I had my knife and so when he was through, I stabbed him… I kept stabbing him… I don’t know how long that went on, but when I finally came to my senses I was mortified. I did not know what to do. By some strange luck, Gregory woke in the middle of the night and noticed I was gone. He came looking and found me a complete and total mess. I didn’t have to say a word; he put everything together on his own. He was so angry. I had never seen Gregory that angry before or since… or that sad. Sad and guilty, like he blamed himself for not noticing sooner, I don’t know how he could have… He took care of the rest. I just sat in the river, trying to free myself of the disgusting feelings festering in me. The smell of the pyre on the wind did not help.”] He had been burned, a traditionally shameful death in Astoria. [+mediumseagreen “When we returned, me looked pale as a ghost, Gregory still seething, and that man nowhere to be seen, most everyone put the pieces together. They were all kind and gentle with me, which was well appreciated, but the party’s policy on permitting strangers to join the group changed from that day forward.”] She had felt bad about that as well for a very long time.
She had been still for a very long time, unmoving as if in some sort of trance. Part of it was the concentration to hold herself together. [+mediumseagreen “It was hard for a long time after that… I avoided Eugene for a while… It was the eyes. We both have his eyes. Augustine has them too... I prayed so hard that they would be blue like his fathers, but I’ve never been that lucky.”] Finally, she un-tensed the tiniest bit, head falling to he side. [+mediumseagreen “But that is nothing compared to his voice. They sound similar, eerily so... I’ve never heard anything like it before. Augustine has startled me a few times with it, I know it is not his fault, he can’t help his voice, but I wish…”] she cut off. Florence had had decades to cope with most everything other than this. The fact that her son now played the part of one of her most poignant reminders to what was undeniably the worst part of her life. She hated it so. Eyes watering, she tried her best to keep them from falling, but a few made it past her.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat A cheeky reply about her throw, along the lines of questioning her archery abilities if that is what she could do with a bottle, briefly flashed before his eyes and his lips had been about to move but for a faint voice in the back of his head saying [i 'you will regret saying that']. Nicolai hated this new conscience trying to be nice to her after all the teasing she had done that night. But she was happy, she was laughing, so he joined in and said little more. That was until her comment about his drills.[+royalblue "I'll have you know I'm a great tactician. It's just that the only thing we fought were bandits. Doesn't exactly prepare you for a war."] He had just finished saying how they would have been hopeless, but like a fat man calling himself fat, he took exception at her critique of his men. She soon moved on with a roll of the eyes and a light tap on his arm, a small consolation perhaps but he'd take it. Looking at her he mulled over his words for his question. He'd had it for some time and if this were to be his last he wanted to use it.[+royalblue "Its less a question more a request; will you tell me more about your father?"] Having taken them to jovial levels and brought it back to a nice mood he hated having to pull her right back into the emotional turmoil he had gone through.[+royalblue "I only ask because I don't want to bring it up at a later date or whatever. If we're doing the emotional stuff, the heavy hitting stuff, I want to get it done and out the way now so I can understand and be a.. somewhat acceptable boyfriend."] There was genuine doubt in himself to be anything but 'acceptable'. He hoped he could be more but again, it was best to aim low and exceed than aim high and fail.
Before he answered Nicolai excitedly ordered her to throw the bottle. Panicking ever so slightly, she waffled a bit before finally pulling it back and giving it a toss. As much as she had put behind the throw, the container barely made it over the wall, at least there was still the satisfying sound of glass shattering. Bringing her hands over her mouth she giggled violently. [+mediumseagreen “That was so damn bad.”] The comment being directed at her throw and not the act itself, as she continued to snicker giddily at herself before calming down enough to listen to the elf’s story.
The tale he told was an entertaining one. It was good to know he had learned some lessons along the way. And that he did not completely hate the life he finagled his way into. Seeing him smiling and laughing, Florence could not help but do the same. If he had put as much coin and effort into these men as it sounded like he had, then there was also a good chance the lives of the infantry had declined. The green-eyed woman tried to save that mental note, as it might come in handy later, but it would be forgotten by morning. Especially given she was quickly onto the next thought with his mention of imagining a war. She did not have to imagine. The ground troops would have been ill prepared for what they faced in a real battled against equally numbered and armed forces, but that’s not really what war was about. It was about the tact and hitting your enemy when they had neither of those things available. [+mediumseagreen “I saw some of those drills you were running, they might not have been completely hopeless. Get you a good tactician and I think it might have worked out.”] They could have used that the night of the coup, seeing as there was little to no help from the barracks, but that was likely because they had been corrupted from the inside. Which may have been Nicolai’s fault for not keeping them under his thumb in that shaky time, but Florence did not blame him for that. There was a lot going on in the months leading up to that fateful night. And she was not one to talk, considering she couldn't even keep him on her side.
[+mediumseagreen “I suppose that concludes my last question… what will yours be?”] She looked up at him, eyes glowing with curiosity in the light of the lantern.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was a good thing he had just swallowed the whiskey or they may both have been covered in a spray of the liquid following her comment. He had thought she would mention his jawline again or perhaps she liked his eyes or something along those lines. To mention his own backside was.. interesting. It was certainly not expected to say the least. Looking down at her he offered an incredulous look, one not seen all too often as he liked to pretend he wasn't fazed by much. As much as he was shocked though, secretly, he was actually swooning. Nicolai didn't get many compliments about his physique like that. Often it was 'oo, don't you have pretty eyes'. It was difficult to maintain a tough appearance with bright eyes like spring flowers.
When her question came, the bottle now empty and still sat in her hand, he could only think of one thing to say;[+royalblue “Florence, throw the fucking bottle!”] It was said with a grin and a soft chuckle, wanting her to join him in throwing it over the wall as it was a very cathartic and stress relieving act. Regardless what she did with it his mind soon wandered back to the original question she asked and he hummed quite similar to how she had.
[+royalblue “I guess I did. At first it just made me good money off buying cheap stock and pocketing the profit. It wasn't awful stuff, it was better than what they were used to, but for what I was charging Germaine it was coppers for every gold.”] He sounded a little annoyed in his past self for cutting quality to get more profit for himself.[+royalblue “Gerald didn't much mind either, the army was mine, he had the King's Guard to worry about. But Germaine, well he decided one day he wanted to have a parade. Just out of the blue. And, well.. it was a fucking shambles.”] He laughed genuinely at the memory, chest shaking at the sight that had greeted them once everything was arranged and set out as best Gerald and Nicolai could manage.[+royalblue “I had one horse for every five riders, a single helmet for every seven soldiers, and most of the bows didn't even have strings. Gerald though I was done for, but I made it work obviously! Germaine loved it, of course he would, but fuck me was it a kick up the arse.”]
Smiling to himself his eyes took on that distant look as he let himself dwell in the past and on one of his few moments where hilarious outcomes outweighed the negative situation.[+royalblue “I was embarrassed, truly ashamed. Father had taught me that presentation is key, and these men represented me. So.. I started to spend more. I took pride in seeing them in good armour, eating good meals, they looked so much better. But I wanted more. So I started training them more. Gerald had trained me since father passed, so he helped get them to be better, stronger, faster, smarter. That's when I made my Horse Guard. I spent years of profits buying them and myself the best horses, the best armour, swords, saddles, stirrups – everything you saw on those men was paid for out of my pocket. And I felt only right taking them out, showing them off to the people. I started to enjoy their attention and seeing the little boys look up in awe or the little girls clap their hands at all these beautiful horses. By the time you came around I was already in this mindset of wanting people to stop and look at me when I walked in a room. I wanted to have that power, that draw, that.. attention.”]
He stopped, but in reality, he wanted the attention he and his brother had never gotten. He wanted everyone to finally recognise him for him, not for what his mother had trained him to do like a performing animal. He wanted people to see him and his name to gain traction and popularity and adoration. Nicolai had combined his mothers need for attention with his fathers cold ability to get what he wanted and to damn the consequences. He couldn't change his childhood, only adapt it to his future.
[+royalblue “But Gods.. I can't imagine how badly we would have lost if there was a real war, I'm sure I'd have been beyond hopeless.”] The topic had been getting a little too serious again, and he preferred the lighter tone they had. Plus given her teasing he was sure she would have said the same, looking down to her with a softer smile.
His excuse made her laugh, as did his quick and deliberate digression into another topic, that being the alcohol. [+mediumseagreen “Oh come now, Nicolai. You act like you are alone in this. I told you before you caught my eye when I first came to Wistina. What did you think that meant?”] Albeit when she mentioned it before it had been incredibly vague. She was just drunk enough to add a little more detail to what she meant at the time, continuing to chuckle as she did so. [+mediumseagreen “You have a very nice ass, always have.”] Part of the reason she was able to say all this was because with him downing what neared the last of that bottle he couldn’t prod back at her. She was safe from embarrassment at least for a little while. And luckily, when he finished he had his own idea of how to proceed and it did not entail mortifying her by turning that conversation around.
Taking the glass container from him, she held it a moment. [+mediumseagreen “I suppose that is a good idea.”] Florence did not really want to part, as that was what she assumed going to bed meant, so the idea that this time was coming to a close soon did make her a little sullen, though it did not last. [+mediumseagreen “Oh, what a noble fellow you are.”] Smiling, she teased him that last little but before taking the final drink of whisky. [+mediumseagreen “Hmm… What should I ask…”] If she only got one more question, the woman was going to have a hard time narrowing it down. A look of half contemplation found her features as she continued to hum in thought. Finally she came out with it after deciding against asking silly things, like if he thought Helga was going to hide them for trying to go inside in this drunken stupor. [+mediumseagreen “Did you enjoy being Wistina’s general?”] Really she meant to ask if he liked it or if he just liked the attention that came along with the position, the feeling of being useful, as he seemed to frame it, but that is all that came out so it was open to interpretation.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Again it tugged at his heart to hear her say that. He could understand very well wanting the best for a sibling, but to hear her believe she wasn't better did give him a melancholic feeling. He kept quiet however, not wanting to start an argument over the matter as she was steadfast in her belief as much as he was in his own. Instead he offered a nod in understanding and it was his turn to lift her hand up to kiss the backs of her fingers. However he paused mid-kiss as she challenged his notion that he did not stare at her, a light pat at his shoulder to chastise him for such a statement. His cheeks subtly darkened a shade on being called out on this and he looked away for a moment as if he didn't really hear her, though he couldn't ignore her.[+royalblue “You're always riding ahead of me. What else do I look at? The horse's arse?”] Perhaps not best to mention a horses backside in the topic of your girlfriends backside, so he tried to quickly move on.[+royalblue “Look, we're almost out of drink!”] He called out as he lifted the almost finished bottle of whiskey. It was a third full at most, but he looked at it with a quiet tutting sounds.[+royalblue “Okay, how about we get one more question each, and then we go to bed?”] He made no mention of whether they would be in the same bed or not, or if they were then who's bed. But he smiled at her regardless.[+royalblue “I'll be the gentleman and let you go first.”] It was namely so he could get the final question in, but he was rather open to answering any more she had – just hopefully not where the air was getting colder and they could sit or lay down on something better than this grass. He lifted the bottle and took a liberal drink, though left enough for her to finish.
He kept shaking his head, so eventually she naturally began to do it back. Florence just couldn’t fully agree with him. It was a basic difference in opinion, but the side-to-side motion sort of made her head spin, so she had to stop soon after. [+mediumseagreen “I am not better than him.”] She held her tongue knowing that that would not have been the case because her brother would have taken the soldiers out of the country entirely to preserve life. In fact, it was very likely he had done that anyway to maintain face with Malidek. It was an ally they did not want to lose, and if that meant taking a break from using it as a waypoint on their trade routes, then so be it. [+mediumseagreen “I appreciate your vote of confidence, and you adoration, but intentions count for something. I did not do what I did for any grand or honorable reason. I just wanted Eugene to be happy. And a chance at a better life for him and Gregory.”] This was not something she wanted to argue about, especially since they both seemed to be steadfast in their conviction, even if her voice was soft at the time.
Then came the comment on her backside and she lifted a brow at him. He denied looked and she almost laughed. That was a decent distraction from what they were talking about. He might have been trying to avoid being hit, but it did not work as she smacked him lightly on the shoulder, more a playful gesture than anything else. [+mediumseagreen “I don’t believe that for a second.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai again shook his head, even as she looked up at him and he felt a touch of guilt to argue this point against such mesmerising eyes.[+royalblue “I would have done so too. I went in there fully expecting to die or.. or at best be put in his dungeon for the rest of my life. And now here I am, getting drunk with his sister, a free man. If my reasons for fighting were not based upon Adrian, if I had left Astoria and instead restarted the rebellion – then what? Then he is a weak King who lost more men due to his gentle heart.”] He sighed in frustration at himself more than anything. He was prone to arguing points that were not being discussed and he had to refocus himself lest he dither and move elsewhere.[+royalblue “What I'm trying to say is.. kind and gentle is fine, sure, but you can't be just that. If it were up to your brother Grisham would still be alive and people would still be suffering. That is why you are better. You are loving, look at Augustine, he adores you. You are forgiving, I am example of that. You are kind; hello? You freed a whole fucking country! Yet you have that.. edge to you, that ability to go that step further and do what needs to be done. [i That], is why you are better than him. And [i that] is why your mother would be fucking proud of your perfect little arse!”] He made his point, patting her arm as he tried to drive it home and make it sound all the better.[+royalblue “Not that I look at your arse much.. or anything...”] He mumbled a little after, an afterthought so as not to have her slap at his chest for talking about her in such a way.
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.”]
[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.
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.
[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.
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