View Full Version : Carpe Diem, Baby.

Shinsou Vaan Osiris
08-26-2017, 07:33 AM
Closed to Nicolette.

It was a bitterly cold Salvarian winter’s day, but Shinsou wasn’t at all fazed by it. In fact, he seemed to rather enjoy it. The chill of the snowflakes brushing his cheeks and the beauty of the deep blue sea basked in the whites of winter was something he appreciated in that moment, an image he would gladly hold on to after the struggle of the last few months. Why? Because Osiris reasoned he would like to leave Salvar on a high note. He had spent the last year embroiled in a personal, poisonous vendetta against a slaver ring. He had met and freed the slave girl Amari. He had trained with the spirit in his sword, Shira, and tapped into new powers, albeit magic he was still in the process of mastering. He had reunited with the faun Philomel, his friend, rather unexpectedly. He had met his father, Telos Soltair, who had warned him about the Council of Five.

Life here wasn’t boring.

It had been an experience for the young Telgradian, but Shinsou was ready to go home, back to Corone.

Back to his house, back to the Brotherhood, back to training with Philomel and getting lectured by John Cromwell, back to drinking whisky with Storm Veritas in some dingy back-alley bar and back to waiting for the rest of the Council of Five to try and kill him.

Back to normality, really.

Normality? He wondered what that even was for him anymore as he paced the snowy path towards the port and then through a handful of dock workers to the end of pier number four. The memories that lingered in the depths of his mind of his crusade against the slavers and his rescue of Amari obscured the concept. Compared to the life he’d been living here, the people he had saved and the achievements he had accomplished, his life back on Corone didn’t matter anymore. There was little that would allow him to be with the people he loved. Only the Brotherhood could. That’s why the Brotherhood mattered and it was the only reason he wanted to leave Salvar in the first place.

“What will you do when you get back to Corone?” Philomel Van der Aart asked the slim man ahead of her, keeping her eyes on the icy water below her feet. She was sitting on the edge of a pier where a large ship was moored, her furry legs swaying below her. The faun had insisted on seeing him to the boat, something Osiris was grateful for. Veridian, her spirit-fox companion, sat in her lap staring endlessly out to see. The vessel bobbing next to them had seen better days, and judging by the state of the wood and the wear on the moorings, it had seen its share of action during its service, but it was solid and enough for Shinsou to get to Scara Brae on.

“I don’t know. I’ll probably train with Cromwell for a bit until you get back. Maybe then we can have a proper drink.” Shinsou replied, pausing for a couple of seconds to look towards the faun. Her expression warmed him and Osiris knew that he would miss her until she got back to the island. Though he couldn’t say it to her face, he could say it now to himself without a shadow of a doubt in his mind. He adored the faun and Shinsou hated to be away from her.

“A proper drink? Will the Brotherhood be paying?” she inquired again, this time turning and smiling over her shoulder. It was a look only Philomel could perfect, a glance that made her grey eyes sparkle gently and a smile that lit up her face. Shinsou repositioned his swords around his waist and smiled heartily at her question.

“What’s the point in being the co-leader of an organisation like that if you can’t flaunt some of the treasury once in a while? Besides, I’m not letting Storm drink, gamble or fuck the rest of our money out of the door on his own.”

Philomel managed a giggle at his rather partisan humour.

“Good. So you’re paying. That’s all I needed!”

The Faun concluded with a grin, turning her head back to the freezing water below and stroking Veridian’s head tenderly.

“Last call to Scara Brae! All passengers make your way to the loading ramp!”

The cold fingers of the bitter winds swept themselves through the faun’s tumbling hair, but it wasn’t that which caused her to wince. That call meant Shinsou would disappear again for weeks. Philomel pouted in an almost childish way as Shinsou grabbed his luggage from the wooden planked floor and slung it over his shoulder. Chuckling to himself, the Telgradian shook his head.

“Don’t worry. You’ll be back in Corone before you know it. First round is on the Brotherhood when you get home.” Shinsou added before he stepped towards the ledge and joined a line of people queuing to be added to the manifest. “Also, take care of Amari, ok?” he continued in a much more serious tone. She lifted her head upwards and looked at his face as the Telgradian ascended the ramp and disappeared onto the great deck of the good ship Khaia.

I’ll be thinking of you both.

08-28-2017, 11:51 AM
Morning descended on Caershire as lightly as a butterfly. It came without fanfare, slipping silently over the ragged mountains that towered above. There was a delicate grace to the dawn, as it settled over the cold, picturesque province. And gods, was it beautiful. Like the colors of a Monarch’s fragile wings, vibrant oranges streaked across the cloudless sky. In a word, the scene was perfect.

The scene in the north tower was quite different. The room, with its modest decor, was typically cozy, and inviting. Overstuffed furniture in deep crimson shades arced in a half-circle around stone fireplace. A painting of a hunt, with high-stepping bay horses and barking dogs, hung over the hearth. Bookcases with an assortment of books and trinkets lined all walls but one; the remainder was consumed by a wide window. It was there, bathed in the gentle light of the morning, that Josephine Langdon stood. Though she stared out over the sprawling lands, frozen in what seemed like endless winter, her eyes were clouded with concern. Her mind was far away. There was no warmth, grace, or perfection here - merely a stifling anxiety.

“Jo.” The voice was as gentle as a mother’s murmur, and came from the doorway. Josephine turned to find her husband, his expression largely unreadable. But if the woman had learned anything of her best friend, it was that his large hazel eyes hid nothing, and revealed everything. This morning, she found within them a gentle sympathy, and understanding. The Boyar of Caershire, and the strongest man she had ever met, experienced the same worry that plagued her. Somehow, that knowledge alone helped to calm her.

The hard lines that traced her entire being softened, and while she did not smile, she no longer frowned either. “Teddy.” It was the breathless whisper of a woman teetering on the edge of tears.

Theodore was across the room and to his wife’s side in mere seconds. He pulled her closer, and instinctively, she turned into him. “She is going to be fine,” the man mumbled into Josephine’s copper curls. There was an easy confidence in his words, but they both knew he was working to convince himself, as well as his companion. “She is not going far,” he continued, “and she will be escorted all the way. You know that Xander will not let anything happen to her.”

At this, Josephine pulled back slightly to gaze up at her husband, the first ghost of a smile playing on her lips. “That boy loves Letty more than anyone.”

Theodore feigned offense. “Even more than I do, Jo?”

Now the smile was undeniable, blossoming across his bride’s entire face in a way that never failed to catch Theodore’s breath. “Even more than you,” Josephine answered slyly, “though it is a tight race, I should think.”

“I would settle for a close second.” The man gave her a tight squeeze, before releasing, and taking a few backwards steps. “She will be in the courtyard in a moment. Let us wish her well.”

The pair found their young charge standing beside a small, black carriage. A driver, bundled so tightly he scarcely resembled a human, was perched atop the bench. A team of chestnut mares pawed at the icy earth, puffs of warm breath hovering around their flared, paper-thin nostrils. Out of habit, Theodore gave the nearest a pat on her neck as he moved by.

Josephine hurried to the young woman, her skirts billowing about her ankles as she drifted across the snow. She had nearly smothered Nicolette in a tight hug before she commanded, “you be careful, do you understand?”

“Is that an order, my lady?” Nicolette was nearly humming with goodnatured humor when Josephine held her at arm’s length. As Nicolette was not the true daughter of the Langdons’, the title was still appropriate. However, she used it as a term of endearment, rather than a formality. At nine years of age, and after the sudden death of her parents, the girl had been brought into the care of the noble family. Alexander Morgan, the Boyer’s right-hand-man, had become her true guardian. Yet as the Langdons could have no children of their own, their role in her life had been just as significant. In one evening, little Letty had moved from having no parents to having three.

Josephine beamed at the blonde child. “Always, my dear.” She planted a small kiss in the middle of Nicolette’s forehead, then moved aside so her husband could have his turn.

“Where is Alexander?” Theodore inquired, glancing around for his master advisor. “Did he come down with you?”

Nicolette shook her head. “No, he had a prior engagement. We said our goodbyes yesterday evening.”

“Well then, allow me to say mine.” The dark-haired man followed his wife’s lead, sweeping Nicolette into a hug, and nestling a kiss atop her head. When he spoke again, he addressed the other man. The twenty year-old had stood silently, his eyes averted politely from the family’s exchange. He wore light travel armor, and a sword, its hilt well-worn, clung to his hip. He was a knight of the royal army, and Nicolette’s best friend from childhood. “Look after this little one,” Boyer Langdon said. “She is precious to me.”

“As she is to me, sir.” Xander’s ears warmed a bit with embarrassment, as the words had fled his lips without thought, and perhaps crossed a line. But if Theodore was upset in the least, he gave no indication. Instead, he clapped the soldier on the arm, gave a final nod to Nicolette, and led his wife back to the warmth of the castle.

“They worry too much,” Letty commented, only loud enough for Xander, as he helped her into the carriage.

Often, when one ventured south of Caershire’s capital city, they found the climate much more favorable. The Langdon’s castle was built in the northern portion of the province, experiencing cold temperatures nearly year-round. This, however, was not the case when Xander again opened the carriage door; the port in which the travelers found themselves was nearly as cold, if not more-so, due to its place on the water.

The knight retrieved both his bag and his companion’s, slinging them easily over his shoulder. As they picked their way toward the ship, their path perilous due to frozen patches of splashed seawater, Nicolette could hardly contain her excitement.

“The Khaia,” she read aloud. “You know, I have never been on a trip outside of Salvar.”

“Nor have I,” Xander informed her. “Here’s to the first of many.”

Nicolette grinned. “The first of many.”