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Thread: Dragging Demons into the Light [10/29, early evening, Seamus & Aloise]

  1. #21
    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    The comment Seamus made about the party, about the consequences of wine and favor and tributes, was a lesson that would form a pillar of understanding for Aloise in the time to come. Some girls could begin their lives at court believing that people were, for the most part, moral and just. Aloise would make her first appearance knowing that people's loyalty and morals could be swayed for the right currency and price. This cynicism wouldn't necessarily make her popular, but it might just serve her well.

    Thinking about the party, and the circumstances of what had had happened and why, was no pleasant thing, though, and she left his observations unanswered. "Stone Forge...that's up the mountain, right?" She should recall from her studies who lived there, but the teachings on the lands outside the plains had been woefully patchy. Retrieving her arms from around his shoulders, she moved to stand beside him to better see the map, looking over it to see if she could find the city in question.

    "Wee Baby Seamus?" Repeating that, combined with the idea of anyone calling him that now, resulted in Aloise coming as close to giggling as she had in months. Her tired, weary face broke into a bit of a smile, and for a moment she almost looked her young age. It didn't last long, but the improvement lingered, as even when she continued on she didn't seem as shattered as she had been the last few times she talked about her family. "Babies are kind of gross, but they're not bad. I had four younger siblings, but I was only old enough to help with the youngest two. The ones right after me were twins, but I was only little when they were born, so mostly they were just loud."

    ----
    @Seamus Hepburn

  2. #22
    House Hepburn Seamus Hepburn's Avatar  

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    "Stone Forge is indeed up the mountain," he told her, pointing to the large pass that led to the city from the valley. "The Harvest Festival was held there two years ago. And that's where my sister is now Lady Hallward." Seamus missed Maera terribly. He had a better relationship with his mother than any of the other children, but he still always considered his sister to be the lady of the house. He wondered if she thought much about him and how far away from the forest he was as well.

    The knight caught the smile on her face and turned to look at her. He put his hands on his hips defensively, and glared. "Yes, the Wee Baby Seamus. You wanna fight about it," he asked her, pushing her playfully on the shoulder, but not really hard enough to budge her from where she was standing. "And I'm still the baby, and if you know what's good for you, you'll be nice to me. Because I might cry and tell Grant that you were mean." But that unfortunately was where his playfulness ended for the moment.

    Her feelings about babies aside, Aloise's words gave Seamus pause. Four younger than her. But none surviving younger than her. It made him feel bad that he had hoped the younger siblings died of natural causes. If he had found out that Dastan had put toddlers to the sword, it would only increase his ire. But Seamus didn't feel like now was the time to ask her. "We can be loud," he agreed, hoping his voice didn't betray his concerns. "We're going to need to get packed in the next day or two, if we're to make the coronation on time. We should get there a few days early, if we're gonna take you shopping for new clothes," he told her. Seamus had no interest in trying to track down her dresses, less it bring any more attention to his plans.


    @Aloise Peregrine

  3. #23
    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Were she more herself, Aloise would have responded to his playful challenge entirely differently. As it was, though, her reaction was still better than it could have been, because instead of cowering as she might've even a week ago, she crossed her arms and actually almost laughed, bumping her shoulder against his in retaliation for the push. The idea of Seamus crying was preposterous, and she couldn't even imagine him whining to anyone. He definitely came off as the sort of person who took care of his own problems...and other peoples', if this situation was anything to go by.

    He spoke of leaving in the next day or two, but Aloise still had a hard time believing she was actually leaving. She was willing to go with it, though, if only because it was what she wanted to happen so badly. "I'll help you pack, if you'd like." It certainly would take her no time at all to get her things around. Even if she'd thought she could move around the castle without getting caught, she had no idea if any of her old things still existed. For all she knew, they'd sold off everything they couldn't use or didn't want. And if she was honest, she probably wouldn't have gone after her own things anyway, although there was plenty she'd have if she could. She would want some token of her mother's, or one of the toys that had been passed down along the kids; some tangible proof that those people had existed, despite the attempt to wipe them entirely from the world.

    The prospect of new clothes should have been exciting, given the ill-fitting bits of clothing she'd been living in, but although she saw the necessity of them, she felt guilty she'd have to depend on the charity of someone who had already done so much. Looking down, her discomfort was clear, and she wrung her hands a little. "I promise, I'll do whatever I can do earn everything..." There wasn't a whole lot she could do, really, but she was more than willing to learn whatever she could to be less of a burden. Having been undergoing the training to be a proper noble lady didn't leave her with many useful skills, but she honestly hadn't been keen on that anyway. She'd much rather put energy into things that were fun and helpful instead of trying to commit to memory how to properly greet a potential suitor or the like.

    ----
    @Seamus Hepburn

  4. #24
    House Hepburn Seamus Hepburn's Avatar  

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    It struck Seamus as amusing what a pair of misfits the two of them were. She, the prisoner with no possessions, and him the traveling knight with naught much but a horse, a sword, and a cloak. "Well," he said with a chuckle at their combined silliness. "Guess it won't take us very long. A few papers, my cloak, and my sword. The good news is, everything will fit in our saddlebags." He could get food from the kitchens without a problem, and if he remembered his trip out here correctly, there were a couple of roadside inns that would mean they didn't need to pack a tent or bedrolls. "Can you ride," he asked her, not considering that she may not have any experience on a horse. His hobby was calm and amiable, but Seamus couldn't have Aloise slipping off of him.

    The knight had actually been looking forward to getting to Hebron and being able to spoil Aloise a bit. But her defeated look at the thought of imposing made him feel bad. "Sometimes, Little Sprite," he said, turning in the chair to face her, "People receive gifts for no reason other than people value their friendship," he told her. "I know you mean well, and I'm sure you couldn't understand, but on a very important level to me, I am in your debt. I was lonely, and needed a friend more than I knew. And even though you were scared, you were brave enough to give me a chance. And that will always mean more to me than a new dress and some fancy shoes will ever mean to you."

    Standing up, Seamus moved and positioned the seat so that Aloise could take it. He moved to the bed and sat, pulling his spare boots from under the frame and began tying the laces together. "There's one other thing, Lady Peregrine. I don't think I'm going to tell Dastan that we're leaving," he told her. "So I need you to write an explanation to your sister, and let her know that you are safe and that we'll be sending for her once we meet the queen. Is there somewhere you can leave it that she will find it?" Seamus was sure that Aloise would see Delphia again before they were off, but their escape depended on nobody knowing where they were going, or that they were leaving at all.


    @Aloise Peregrine

  5. #25
    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Aloise hadn't had much chance to ride horses, but she had learned. Sort of. Mostly. "I can, at least well enough to not fall off. I'm not very good at riding properly, but I was always better when nobody was watching and I could ride like a boy." She'd never gotten the hang of balancing side-saddle, and she found it awkward and uncomfortable. One of the grooms had mentioned she might do better with riding skirts, but her father had forbidden it, determined that any girls of his would be riding as a lady should, if they had to ride at all.

    That Seamus didn't seem put-upon at having to buy her appropriate clothes for their visit to the Queen made Aloise happy, but what made her happier was that he'd essentially said they were friends. It had been so long since she was anything more than a burden or a responsibility to someone, and she liked Seamus so well. Knowing he thought of her as a friend was a balm on her heart, and for perhaps the first time, she genuinely smiled. She didn't say anything, simply nodding her acceptance, but the smile lingered on her face until it almost looked at home there.

    She remained standing even as he moved to sit on the bed. "He wouldn't let you take me with you," she stated more than asked, although it was still enough of a question that he could correct her if she was wrong. She almost couldn't stand the idea of leaving without saying goodbye to Delphia, but she understood how telling her in person could be a big risk. "There is, yeah. I'll just have to get back to my old room to leave it for her." There was a rock that was loose in the wall between their rooms, and when the guards outside prevented them form visiting they would pull the stone out and whisper. Rarely, when they'd been able to scrounge a scrap of paper and a bit of charcoal, they'd leave notes or doodles under the stone for the other to find. She could use the same system now.

    When she sat down at the desk, it was more apparent than ever that she was a child of nobility. She sat on the edge of the seat, her back straight and her feet crossed at the ankle tucked under the chair. Pulling a piece of paper around and taking up the pen, Aloise thought for a long moment about what she was going to write before even opening the ink pot. A short time later she had a completed note, and she slid it over to Seamus to read. "Is that okay?"

    The note was vague and apologetic, careful to not mention where they were going or why. Aloise wrote of being safe with Ser Seamus - which she figured was okay to write, since it wouldn't be a secret that both of them were gone - but that she was scared, both of where she was going and of what might happen to Del. But she promised that it wouldn't be long before Delphia, too, would be able to leave, and then they'd be free together. The note closed with "I love you forever, and I can't wait to see you soon". Aloise watched as the ink dried, overwhelmed by how this suddenly now felt very real. She had to believe this would work, and she knew if it did it would be worth it.

    ------
    @Seamus Hepburn

  6. #26
    House Hepburn Seamus Hepburn's Avatar  

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    Seamus could only smile at her explanation, and nodded his head. "Well, so long as it's just us, you are more than welcome to ride like a boy if it suits you," he told her. His hobby had never been ridden side-saddle anyway, and likely would have been confused by the attempt. The less time they spent on the road the better in the knight's eyes, so if Aloise was more comfortable and quicker in the saddle, then so be it. "I won't tell anyone if you don't," he added conspiratorially, just for fun.

    Hepburn wasn't sure of course, whether or not Dastan would object to Aloise traveling to the capital. He didn't suppose that it would be permitted without an escort of his own men, just to keep an eye on them. That was something Seamus sincerely wished to avoid. "Not without wanting to tag along, I don't think," he said to her, knowing that De Angelis had no intentions of going to the coronation otherwise. He likely didn't have a suitable gift, given that he hadn't done all that much in the last few months to fix the economy of Welch Run, despite claiming that as one of the reasons he had taken power. "If you see Delphia before we leave, that would be best. It will be a goodbye for you. Your secret. I wouldn't keep you from seeing her. But we must be away before she knows we've left."

    Seamus went back to silently plotting their trip while Aloise worked, and when she finished and read over the note, he nodded and handed it back to her. "It's perfect, Little Sprite. It reminds me..."

    But the knight was interrupted by a loud knocking at his door, and turned his head lightly to look at it. "Hepburn!" The unmistakable young voice of Ethan De Angelis rang out with what Seamus perceived as annoyance. He was amused by the fact, though he could tell that Aloise might have been rattled. He put a hand on her shoulder as she sat in the chair, and rose from the bed to go see about the nature of his visit. He likely wouldn't have to guess why the boy had come.


    @Aloise Peregrine

  7. #27
    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Aloise thought about what she would say to Delphia, when she saw her. She would have to act like nothing was happening, especially if she saw her in a setting where there were other people around. And she would have to place the letter close enough to when they'd leave that Del couldn't find it early. At least Delphia was usually easy to find, as she didn't spend much time outside either her room or the kitchens these days, as far as Aloise knew.

    Letter completed and approved, Aloise looked at it for a long moment, her hands poised to begin folding it. It felt like too little, but it had to be. There was still a pretty good chance Delphia would be angry at Aloise for leaving and not taking her, but that was a worry that could be dealt with later, when they were free. The truth of it was, before all this had happened Delphia had been selfish and aloof; not so much with her own family, but enough so that Aloise had always been closer to her younger siblings. Factor in the age difference and it wasn't a surprise that they hadn't seen eye to eye on a lot of things. But Aloise had always somewhat idolized her older sister, and both of them had been changed after the attack. It was amazing what being the last few of an entire familial line did to bring people together.

    The loud knocking interrupted Aloise from her musings, and the voice that followed shot a bolt of pure, cold fear down the girl's spine. The boy was only seventeen, but he moved through the castle like he owned the place, unchecked by his father, and it was he who Aloise feared the most. If it hadn't been for Seamus's hand on her shoulder she probably would have shot out of the chair to put as much space between herself and the door as possible. As it was, even though she knew she was safe as long as the knight was with her, she looked like a rabbit who'd just heard a hawk's cry overhead. Hastily, she folded the note up and pushed it up the sleeve of her dress, glad the ink had gotten enough time to dry. They couldn't risk Ethan getting even the slightest clue that something was going to happen, and this way even if the boy pushed his way into the room he wouldn't be able to find the note. If she knew one thing for certain, especially after what she'd told him today, it was that Seamus wouldn't let Ethan anywhere near her.

    ------
    @Seamus Hepburn
    Last edited by Aloise Peregrine; 01-28-2017 at 11:42 AM.

  8. #28
    House Hepburn Seamus Hepburn's Avatar  

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    Seamus still had the knife on his belt, but he didn't anticipate needing it. As had been evidenced in the last couple of days, none of the guards would move on him without Dastan's orders, and he didn't think the boy brave enough to come at him on his own. Taking one last glance back to make sure Aloise was where he left her, Seamus reached for the knob of the door. As it came open, he saw the awkwardly lanky frame of Ethan De Angelis, his hands on his hips and his face looking impatient. But what the knight had not expected, was the presence of his Aunt Secily, standing at his left shoulder. Hepburn gave her a soft smile and wondered if she wasn't there to stop Seamus from acting unseemly. "Ser Hepburn," he corrected. "Can I help you, Master Ethan?"

    If he was in an unpleasant mood before, being admonished in front of his aunt only served to further his annoyance. Seamus could see the vein in his neck bulge as his blood pumped faster, but the knight did not allow his smile to waiver. "As you know, my father is returning in the morning. He will be angry when he discovers that you have moved Aloise. I demand that you return her to her regular rooms immediately," he said, and Seamus had to give him a small amount of credit for putting what he considered to be as much authority into his voice as he could.

    The knight's eyes flickered to Secily, but she only stood there, her hands folded behind her back. Turning back to the boy, Hepburn looked at him for a moment. "Uhhh...no," he finally said, not bothering to move or take his hand off of his belt where the knife was within close reach. "Was there anything else I could do for you, Master Ethan?"

    Ethan about erupted in anger at the knight's insolence, and the boys fists clenched against his will. "How dare you defy me," he began, and Secily's hand went to his shoulder. Ethan shrugged it off and continued. "You are a guest in my father's house, and you have stolen my property," he added, a single hand rising to point at the knight.

    Before he could spout off anything else, Seamus interrupted him. "Lady Peregrine is a peer of the realm, Master Ethan. Even were she not, she is no man's property. Slavery was outlawed in Tuneric during the Great Pardon at the coronation of Queen Eleanor more than seventy years ago." What Aloise was, was a hostage. It was a grey area, and for whatever reason, Cailen had decided to leave the girls here in Dastan's care. Technically, they were free to leave if they wanted to, but they were also free to be murdered by bandits the second they had cleared Welch Run. They were trapped, even if they weren't actually slaves. "I will be happy to explain to your father why I have moved her, and I am sure that he will agree that it is to mine and his mutual benefit," he told the boy, unsure if he would be able to do any such thing.

    The young De Angelis was about to speak again, but this time Secily's hand on his shoulder was more forceful. He turned to look at her, or possibly scream at her, Seamus couldn't tell. But her own velvety voice was already in the process of speaking. "We have taken up enough of Ser Seamus' time, nephew. Let us away." Ethan was about to object, but she merely twisted her wrist and turned the boy from the door. "Let us away," she repeated, her eyes never leaving the knight.

    Ethan stomped off, not bothering to wait for Secily to follow him. The girl allowed him a few paces before she finally addressed Seamus herself. "What will you do, Ser? When the hoofbeats are coming at you from both directions?" Her eyes sparkled at him, and she retained the distant look that had always confirmed to Seamus that she was touched.

    For his part, the knight wasn't sure what she meant, and no doubt that would be her modus operandi. "I suppose I will stand and fight," he told her, not sure if there was even a correct answer, or if he had given it. Now, as ever, all Seamus wanted was for Secily to go away. But that never really happened when he wanted it to.

    Shaking her head, the blonde woman laughed. It was as unnerving as ever. "He who hesitates is lost, Ser Seamus. Ever forward, into the charging lines. That is the way to victory," she said, turning on her heel. She had taken three steps and Seamus was about to close the door when she spoke again. "I shall not be here when you return, Ser. It was a pleasure. Whatever happens, just remember. The boy gave you no choice." And with a final smile, the girl disappeared around a corner.

    Finally closing the door, the knight turned back to Aloise. He wasn't sure what she would think. Seamus hoped that by not throttling Ethan on sight that he had not disappointed her. It just wouldn't have served their ultimate goal. "You alright, Little Sprite?"


    @Aloise Peregrine
    Last edited by Seamus Hepburn; 01-28-2017 at 05:46 PM.

  9. #29
    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    Aloise wanted to turn to face them. She wanted to be strong, to look Ethan in the eye and defy him. There was a perfect picture of it in her mind's eye: she'd look at him without fear in her eyes, and he would rage, knowing he hadn't broken her yet as he thought he had.

    It wasn't to be. And perhaps it was best that way, because from the sound of it Ethan was already angry enough. Without even looking she could see the expression on his face, how the vein in his neck would be sticking out as he flexed the aggression that he thought would get him what he wanted. He'd been like that when he'd argued with his father about his inability to take her to his room and do with her what he wanted, and she'd had bruises for weeks from where he'd held her tighter than he'd needed to as some sort of revenge.

    Although she cringed when he called her his property, Aloise tried to remain as still as possible. Her eyes and mind focused on the blank sheets of paper on the desk, picking out each strand of pulp while she tried to shut out as much as she could. It was impossible to ignore the conversation going on so close to her, though, and her attention pricked at the mention of her proper name. She wasn't sure what a 'peer of the realm' was, but even with that it was good to hear someone say out loud that she didn't belong to anybody. And then, when she was braced for Ethan to bite back, she heard a woman's voice, Secily, she thought, steering Ethan away. She could never bring herself to think well of any of the De Angelis family, as each one had played their part in the murder of her family - perhaps especially Secily, since if the boasting was right she was the one who planned the whole thing. But in this moment, she was grateful she'd been there, and that she was at very least wiser than Ethan.

    The woman's cryptic words were typical for her, and it made Aloise wonder which of the sisters had demanded she and her sister and cousin be spared. She could never remember, although it wasn't like she'd ever properly been told. But finally the visitors were gone and the door was closed, and Aloise felt safe to shift in the chair to face Seamus.

    She looked worse than she had, and tired from having to fight to keep the fear from taking over, but it could have been much worse. Nodding in answer to his question, one of her hands went up to cover a place on her arm where he'd bruised her; as always happened when she encountered him, she felt uncomfortable in her own skin, like she needed to scrub away the unclean feeling he left her with. "I hate him, so much," she said quietly through clenched teeth, like she wasn't sure she was allowed to voice such feelings. "No matter what happens after this, I hope I never have to see him again. I don't want to see any of them ever again, but especially not him."

    ----
    @Seamus Hepburn

  10. #30
    House Hepburn Seamus Hepburn's Avatar  

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    Seamus found himself to be remarkably calm, given that he wanted to break about half a dozen bones in the boys body. He could not be sure whether he had brought Secily to protect him, or whether the girl had decided it best on her own. Either way, they had succeeded, and the knight hadn't felt the need to put his fist into a wall. That was for the best, since Aloise was already skittish, and there was no sense in further upsetting her.

    Her words were almost a little startling. Not because they were unladylike, or particularly mean. But because Aloise had been so afraid before that he wouldn't have imagined that she could have found such emotion. "We'll be away before you know it, Lady Peregrine. We should like as not prepare for sleep anyway. Dastan will return tomorrow and I will have to deal with him. A good night's rest is in order in case we have to leave earlier than planned."

    It served the night to wait until the day following before they left, and he honestly believed that he could reason with Dastan about Aloise. The man doted on his son, but he wasn't going to let the brat cause an incident with the crown. Not over a slight as inconsequential to him as whether or not the youngest Peregrine, which had practically ignored, was sharing a room with his Knight of the Shield. In a perfect world for De Angelis, Seamus would have done what he didn't allow Ethan to do, and the youngest girl would be spoiled. Just the thought of it made Seamus angry all over again.

    "I need to walk down to the courier and get this letter away," he told her. "I should only be a minute, and I should be within earshot if anything should happen." Pulling the dagger from his belt, he laid it on the small table that was next to her bed. "If anyone but me comes through that door, you pick up that dagger and scream as loud as you can, do you understand?" Seamus would lock the door when he left, and take the key. There odds that anyone could force the door before he returned was slim. But now that he knew that Ethan had his blood up, he wasn't taking any chances.


    @Aloise Peregrine

  11. #31
    House Peregrine Aloise Peregrine's Avatar  
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    A good night's rest was never really something Aloise had access to, although she did sleep much better now that she wasn't alone. She'd even, to a point, gotten used to the snoring; most of the time it was a sort of white noise, even and predictable, present enough to give her something to focus on without being so loud it kept her awake. When she did fall asleep, her dreams were still unpleasant and frightening, but since the first few nights after she'd moved in here with Seamus, she didn't think she'd had any proper night terrors.

    The small girl finally stood as Seamus made to leave. She felt too shaken from Ethan's intrusion to sleep, but perhaps going through the motions of getting ready for bed would help. Pushing in the chair and tidying the writing surface, Aloise turned and watched him place his knife on the table by her bed. "I will," she promised, and she watched him leave, listening as the key turned in the lock. Taking in a shuddering breath, Aloise pulled off her dress and washed her face, but before she climbed into bed she made sure all her clothes were neatly folded and in the same place. If tomorrow did bring with it the need to flee quickly, she wanted to be as ready as she could be.

    Satisfied she could grab her things quickly if she needed to, Aloise climbed into bed and pulled the blankets up around her. She wouldn't lay down properly until Seamus returned - she was too wary to relax just now anyway, and she needed to be able to grab the dagger quickly if Ethan returned - and so she leaned against her pillow and worked her fingers through her long hair. Maybe the idle motion would be enough to soothe her nerves, so that when the knight returned she could fall off to sleep. Little as she wanted to meet what challenges tomorrow might bring, each day that passed was another closer to being able to leave this place, and that was what she focused on.

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