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Unread 8th of May, 2010, 20:40
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Cadrius
Refusing to Sow [Epic GM]

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"Burns?" Cadrius says, climbing in through the back of the wagon. "That it does. Though that has more to do with the company one keeps than the nature of love itself."

Nicos offers him a scowl and a rolling of eyes worthy of the stage. Juni's face is, however, is caught in honest contemplation. Cadrius smiles, appreciating for a moment that she does not understand the jest. There is an innocence about the girl that is to be admired, and, if not protected, then at least minded. Like Sarra.

Thoughts of his ward brings her back to the forefront of his mind. He had left her riding with the wagonmaster and his wife. She had, begrudgingly, agreed to help the woman with some stitching. Cadrius was grateful for the distraction. He had little to offer her when it came to instruction. Would he make her a swordswoman in the vein of Alessandra of Pommerand? No, the life of the sword is not a pleasant one and it always ends far too soon.

"Oh, it's true," Nicos snorts. "The courtly love of nobility is so pure that I forgot it even existed. Apologies, m'lord. Prithee, would you grace us with a lesson in the truer forms of love?"

Cadrius' traveling clothes are comfortable, well-worn, and already dusty from their six days on the road. He shifts the sword on his back around so he can sit on top of a chest of some sort. Cadrius has missed it, the wagon travel, having spent far too many days trudging through the leaves on his own. There is something comforting in the creak of the wood, the sound of many hooves plodding down the road. It is tranquil. There is security.

But most of all, he misses being in the company of people.

"It is far from pure, as you know," he says, taking his turn to roll his eyes. "In the Duchies there is a a Duke that is so well-known for his, hmm, indiscretions that the others refer to him simply as Pox."

"Oh," Juni says. "That's..."

"Disgusting?" Cadrius asks.

"Not surprising?" Nicos replies.

"Interesting," she says.

Nicos grins. "Our Juni is a polite one."

"Yes," Cadrius agrees. "I'm certain the good Duke appreciates your civility."

It is a moment of mirth and warmth. Cadrius recognizes it for what it is and tries to latch onto it, grasping it with hands that are not strong enough to hold something as powerful as this. It flees his grasp, slipping through his finger as surely as water, and dances down the road, capering and bowing.

"We're going to the Duchies," Juni says. "Shade told me you're from there."

Home. It is something he has studiously attempted to keep banished from his mind whenever possible. He has filled these six days with work, or conversation, to keep all thoughts of the land he was exild from, the land he fled, from cropping up. It has been an unsuccessful battle.

"I am."

"What is it like?"

"I..." he lets out a breath. "It depends on which duchy you're in, and who is in charge. Some are small, some are large. Forests and farmlands. Rivers and streams. Hills and dales."

"As varied as its rulers," Nicos says.

"Is it really as turbulent as the stories tell?" Juni asks. "Are the dukes always fighting?"

"Yes," he says. "They are always feuding, or scheming, but outright war is not so common. I would not listen to every story told of the place."

"The nobles are like a big family," Nicos says. "A big, bloodthirsty family, but a family. They're probably all related anyway--no offense intended."

"Please," Cadrius says. "The Duchies aren't the royal seat of the past. We do not marry our kin. Juni, do not listen to Nicos on this. With so many lands and so many families, there is a good deal of intermarrying, but bloodlines are also tracked carefully. We do not want to end up daft like the Mallisters."

"That makes sense," she says. "though I haven't heard of these Mallisters."

"There is a reason for that," he says. "They've kept their lands through sheer force alone. I would not want to be one of the smallfolk that live there."

"So what's Somerest like?"

"Beautiful," he says, "but every man thinks that of his homeland. There is a grand river near the keep where ships ply up and down. And there are rolling green hills and small woods flush with game. It was not a bad place to call home.”

“Then why did you leave?”

The question had lurked in the background, waiting for its opportunity to pounce and rend and devour the flesh of knowledge. He bears no ill toward Juni for asking. She can't know, wouldn't know, why he hasn't gazed on its green and blue for years.

"That is a very long tale, I am afraid," he says. "And unlike our friend here, I am no storyteller. I should tend to Sarra. Perhaps another time."

Cadrius nods to his companions and ducks out under the canopy of the wagon. His boots touch the earth and remind him that they are slowly, inexorably, winding their way back toward the lands of his birth, and the lands of his fall. But this is not about Cadrius of Somerest and the sins of his past. This is bigger than him.

At least, that is what he tells himself.