Completed Of Books & Brothers

"Yes, they sent us out here and there. I enjoyed Amol-Kalit and how the sun seemed immovable from the sky. I think there are many things you'd enjoy. It's culturally rich?" His time there had been spent destroying rather than educating himself about Kaliti customs. "Ah. The peaks of the Spine, some of them you can't see because the clouds block the view. There are people there, nomads, who move their homes across the mountain paths as the seasons change."

Elias rubs the back of his neck, "The scattered isles of Aina o Ka La... the Falwood. Cortos, several times."
  • Popcorn
Reactions: Elspeth Sirl
"I have heard many wonderful things about the Amol-Kalit," Elspeth conceded with a nod.

But so far as the Spine, Falwood, Aina o Ka La went? She had not much more than her formative educational years had given her which, Elsi was fairly certain, was heavily biased and quite skewed.

Cortos, however.

"Cortos is lovely," she said with a warm smile, "I've been many times. Did you know our family has residences in no less than ten Cortosi cities? Makes me wonder how we really ended up here, in Vel Anir of all places. How different our lives might've been had we grown up in Cortos proper..."

Her smile muted faintly as she thought on this, "Of course, magically gifted children have different fates there. Imagine, you might've ended up within the Radiant Church as a Priest of the Solar Choir."
"I knew there were some ties. Didn't think it was that deep." Cortosi had been taught at the Academy, among other languages. Tools of the trade. But Elias had known it by then. Spoke it fluently.

"The Solar Choir," he echoes and quietly scoffs, shaking his head with a smile, "They're some real hardline fanatics. Those Inquisition guys?" Elias whistled, "I've seen my fair share of cults, but those Sun-worshiping lunatics take the cake."

"Plus, they swear an oath of celibacy. I'd rather not imagine that."
  • Smug
Reactions: Elspeth Sirl
Elspeth made a face of mild amusement, "Celibacy is really not as bad as you make it out to be," no sense in being modest about the topic. By now, she'd seen pretty much everything the human body had to offer, and more than it offered when it was only alive.

"There's more to life than sex, brother, something I've heard from a few little birds that you spend an inordinate amount of time on. Why is that?"
Elias rarely pondered life's prospects. Much of the last decade for him had been spent in nervous anticipation that he wouldn't see the morrow. Suffer that one cut from a sword he couldn't recover from. Take a spear to the gut, bleed out in the dirt on the training grounds. Have his throat slit in his sleep. There was never time to explore options or possibilities beyond fighting and training, fighting and training.

But Elias couldn't find a sincere reason why for his sister, so he shrugged.

"I just have more energy than most folks, I reckon."
That was a terrible reason and they both knew it. The difference was that Elspeth recognized the subject as perhaps one of those things that Ollie had mentioned to her. Initiates dealt with their brutal lifestyles in their own ways.

"I see," she continued with another small bite of bread as she chewed on a second related subject, "are there ... any consequences of this that I should be made aware of?"

Perhaps not worded in the best way. Elsi knew what she was asking - where there any bastard children to speak of. But interpretation was likely up in the air.
"Heavens, no!" Elias laughs, almost immediately catching on to the implication. Perhaps it was a sibling thing. "No, I don't have the hubris to yank a soul from non-existence into this... meat."

And as far as he knew, he couldn't even if he wanted to. He thought the whole thing could be explained with magical nonsense, and so accepted the convenience of his sterility for what it was.

"At least I can't sully the family name in that regard," Elias smiled insincerely.
The laugh caught her off-guard, causing her to drop the piece of bread in her hand. It tumbled over her lap and to the floor where, had she owned a dog it might've been lapped up eagerly after a quick sniff.

"That's, ah," Elsi quickly reached to scoop up her wandering roll, "that wasn't really what I was getting at. Just that if there were," she frowned at the thought and placed the wayward bread in her napkin, "I would see that they were looked after."

Clearly not something their father would have done. He likely would find ways to quietly make them go away. Permanently.

"But if you are certain there are not ... that does make things simpler," she tried to smile reassuringly to him but it faltered as she realized shortly after what he'd said, "I suppose that means the duty of continuing the family rests with me, then."
"Simple is great," Elias reached across the table and picks up the bread his sister set aside. He picked at it, ripping off small pieces to eat as he continued. "But that sounds fuckin' miserable when you put it that way. You're not fuckin' livestock."
Elsi lifted her hand to stop him from eating floor bread then gave up as he immediately popped a piece in his mouth. Okay - eating floor bread was certainly not even close to the top of deplorable things she'd seen. Waste not, want not.

Gently clearing her throat , she turned to picking at her salad again, "Of course I'm not," Elsi replied, "but I would like to have children, someday. I've always wanted a big family."

She chewed a bite for several moments before glancing back to him with a shallow swallow, "I suppose I just always pictured you in it with your own."
"Sorry to say, but how to build a family wasn't ever included in the training curriculum," Elias leaned back, smirking. Made a quiet, amused snort.

"You and Ollie, eh? Big litter of young ones." He let the thought marinate, then nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, happy family, that. Be better than what I had."
"Building a family is not ... not something you're trained to do," Elspeth rolled her eyes with a faint chuckle of amusement, "just like you aren't trained to make friends. It just ... happens. If you want it to." She knew he had at least one friend, the girl he spoke of back at the infirmary tent on the frontlines.

Well, perhaps these things didn't just happen. Not really. But sometimes they did? Elspeth found making friends to truly be one of the easiest things in the world. There was a sort of hopelessness that clung to his side of the conversation, as if he'd just given up on life itself. It was worrying, truly.

"Well, that is the hope," she smiled warmly, meekly, faltering and wilting as she thought on their father and how he'd spoken to Ollie the last they'd met, "but father has not approved our betrothal. In fact he seems intent against it. He wants Olvir to prove himself worthy of our name, but I scarcely think anything Ollie does will be enough for father."
Elias would argue otherwise. There were mouths to feed, and that meant logistics. Timetables. It required careful planning and also adaptability.

"'Course not," Elias said bitterly. He nods, a gesture of certainty, "Don't worry about that. Ollie's a good lad, yeah? Got a good heart. He's smart, too... Does his father approve?"
Warmth colored her cheeks at the doting of Olvir Weiroon's many commendable traits. She agreed with Elias, of course, but it seemed her brother did not know their father as well as she.

"Yes," she replied but did not look as assured as he perhaps hoped she would, "of course he does. Tying his house to ours brings them prestige, clout, among other things. Father no longer sees the use of them that he once did before the revolution and thinks my betrothal to Olvir was premature and ill-conceived. He says he will be seeking better ...options for me."

A fate she had tried not to give herself time to fret about but it still managed to find its way into her mind in the small hours between business and being busy. Often she lie awake at night concerning herself over the idea of marrying anyone but Ollie.
"Sounds like him, eh?" Elias slumps back in his chair. He makes a thoughtful noise. Then a second, louder one. "I could just have one real rowdy night on the town. Maybe tarnish the family's reputation? Make it so nobody wants to come near nasty ol' House Sirl. Then what options could he explore?"

Olvir was Eli's mate, too. His best one for the longest time. Never mattered how long they went without a word, it wouldn't change the positive light Elias saw Olvir in.

"Maybe you should ask our father how many of his political rivals Ollie needs to stab in the dark to be deemed worthy of our great name, eh? His hands ain't dirty enough for the old man's liking, or what?" The Dreadlord shakes his head, "They never stop playing this stupid fucking game for power."
Her brother's sudden compassion for the subject had actually caught her off guard. It was jarring, considering the laissez faire attitude he'd given her about family up until this point and she wasn't entirely sure what was driving this sudden change. Frowning, she struggled to keep a wince from her expression.

"Please do not do anything rash on my account. Tarnishing our name also hurts me and my efforts to do good here," she leveled him with a look that implored him to calm his sudden strong feelings, "I have long since accepted the duty I am to fulfill for this family, whether or not it happens how I would like it to."

Strong words she'd practiced saying over and over.

"Our parents chose your life for you, and mine for me. We're just two sides of a coin, brother."
Elias took a deep breath as Elsi appealed against his suggestion. Then he raised his hands as if quietly saying, "I'm good," as she shot a strong gaze at him.

"I got sold out. They handed their son to some spooks in black, expecting to get a weapon back in return. Would've made father the most powerful man in Vel Anir if things didn't change. Serves him fuckin' right, eh?" Eli tries to hold a smile back, but fails, and his eyes wrinkle at the corners, "Isn't that fuckin' funny? Now he's got fuck all after thirteen years of waiting."
Perhaps there was a funny sort of irony to it all that Elspeth hadn't realized before but ... she could not help fighting the desire to feel it. The spite Elias held for their father was justified, of course, and perhaps so was her own misgivings for the man. Yet even still, she could not hate him. Could not hold the same loathing for him that her brother seemed to.

Doran Sirl was, by all accounts, a horrible human being on his best days, but she had seen that rare glimpse of the softness he had locked away behind his own rage and anger. The same expression she knew on her father's face so well reflected in the ire of Elias' sharp gaze. He truly had no idea how much like their father he was.

"He doesn't have nothing," Elsi replied quietly as she physically felt her remaining appetite drain from her, "he has me. I daresay I am all he has left."

She loved her father in spite of everything and she knew, deep down beneath the fire and ice and armor their father wore every day, he loved her just as much as he'd loved their mother. It didn't make what was happening with Olvir any less hurtful or distressing, but their father had nothing left but her.

"I love our father," she said with a frown, "I know a part of him that I believe no one else left on Arethil does. I don't expect you to understand my feelings for him as illogical as they may seem, and I don't expect you to give him the second chance he doesn't deserve. I just hope you'll be willing to give me one?"
Well, wasn't that just special. The loathsome old man still had her! It was touching enough to be written in one of the story books that Eli was sure his sister would have loved.

He listened to her plea, and didn't hesitate for a breath to give his answer.

"Yeah, why not? I mean, it was your job, right, but you helped me out in a pinch. And treated me to this nice dinner."

He smiles and looks into his sisters eyes for a moment, then the smile falls away. "I don't need to understand your feelings for him. I don't... It's not my business."

Elias looks at his empty plate and sighs, "Look, that's that, alright?" He clears his throat, "Thanks for having me for dinner, and sorry that I showed up out of the blue. I should be looking to get on out of here soon."
Why not.

That wasn't quite the spirit she was hoping for, but it wasn't a no. She'd take it.

Her own small, trying smile flashed at his words. That's that. A nod followed in understanding and acceptance. He liked simple, right? She'd try to keep things simple.

"Yes, of course. You've a long road ahead of you - Vel Castere might as well be at the other side of the world. May-" Elsi lightly bit at her lip in brief hesitation of what she was about to ask, "may I ask you a favor? Will you write to me?"

That was probably a big favor to ask, she realized, and she leaned forward with her hands held aloft to stay any concerns of what she was asking, "Not - not a lot. I realize you will be rather busy once you join the Knights, but I would very much like to keep in touch. Just ... tell me of your life and travels from time to time? I'll do the same for you and ... should you ever wish to come home, know that you are welcome here. Just write me ahead of your plans?"
Elias nodded. Vel Castere was quite a trip, but the newly appointed Dreadlord would enjoy the solitude and peace that came with it while on the road. It was rare for an Initiate to have so much time to oneself, and he intended to savor it while he could. His newfound freedom was something he could easily get used to.

"You'll hear from me," Elias warmly smiles at his sister, hoping to put some of her concerns to rest. He begins to slowly stand up, "Maybe I'll bring you back a gift or two, eh?"
That did light up her expression substantially. A smile bloomed across red lips, white teeth flashing. She'd not expected him to agree, and that he did so genuinely fed her hope that they might yet become closer. They might yet have a family again in each other.

"Gifts are..." Elsi sought out an appropriate word that would not offend as she also rose to her feet and smoothed her dress, "welcome but unnecessary. Your time and company is all I really want." She's never been much of a material person. Father had gifted her with many trinkets and bobbles over the years, but it was his time and attention she valued most. Perhaps he did it because of mother. Mother had always loved his gifts.

"Would you like another book for your journey?"
"Fair enough. I can do that." Eli says with a shrug and smile.

Thinking about how much he'd actually enjoyed The Winterspike Road and how uncertain he was about the length of assignments with his unit of Knights, a book to keep him preoccupied sounded perfect.

"I'd appreciate that. Maybe something... longer than the last one?"
Yes, her heart was feeling much lighter now. Perhaps she should have considered that he might just be saying words that would leave her happy without intention to follow through, but she couldn't even consider the thought. They were breaking ground here, there was real forward development. Her years of hoping for this sort of interaction had not been wasted.

"Oh," Elspeth continued to smile warmly, fondly, her cheeks were flush, "yes, yes of course. I know just the one. I really think you'll like it."

Leading him from their dinner and back toward the foyer of the flat, Elspeth detached to her abode and the bookshelves therein. Returning a few minutes later with a book of the same dimensions, but double the thickness.

"This one is from our manor by the shore, it was one of mothers books. It..." Elsi's eyes fluttered at the memory of their mother and she looked down at the book in her hands, "it was written by an elf by the name of Heirophae and it's the story of our ancestors. I don't know how factual or true it is, but I've read it at least a dozen times. It's quite old and I'm afraid my overuse of it has set the binding frail, so do take care with it."
The mention of their mother sent a sharp pain through a wound that was still rather fresh.

"What would an elf know, I wonder." A story about their ancestors? Previous inheritors? People who had been like Elias? The only accounts of his ancestors he was aware of were those that had been scribed in the Annals he uncovered while at Castle Sirl. He was immediately interested.

"You know I'll be out in areas of conflict," he eyes the old book uneasily, but his excitement couldn't be hidden behind his soldierly stoicism, "But you bet I'll be damn careful."