Help From Afar
« on: March 27, 2019, 07:49:06 PM »
Digging out latrines. Picking ticks off the livestock. Accidentally striking his thumb with a hammer. Those were just a small selection of the tasks Briar would rather do than this one. Maybe he was being a tad bit dramatic but who would blame him? Greet queens after suffering under the worst of them left a bad taste in a man’s mouth. If anyone had the gall to judge him for it, then he would put them back in their place. Or at least frown so mightily they would be afraid he might. Truth be told, Briar was not much of a warrior. He was a diplomat and a natural leader. Facts he was slowly coming to accept.

Today being a leader of the fledgling settlement of refugees involved standing around for an hour while Lady Ardelia constructed the altar necessary for a Dark Gate. He had not been able to borrow a mirror in time so he was less tidy than he would have liked. Shoes polished, and shirt tucked in but it was wrinkled from being stuffed in his knapsack. A sparse tint of hair grew along his upper lip and the beginnings of stubble dotted his chin. He was in dire need of a haircut, putting him on the very thin line between presentable and slovenly.

If one had to judge by his smile alone, however, they would assume he was very happy to welcome the small party that came through the gate. That was part of being a diplomate too. All the tension in his strained smile hidden by dimples and eye creases. He had learned in Witch’s court that people couldn’t tell a smile was fake unless you looked them right in the eye. The trick was to keep moving. To speak expressively. And to take the lady’s hand between both of your own when you greeted them. Head lowered so there was no reason to make eye contact. It was good. He did not think their guests from Shalador suspected his discomfort.

Ilithain certainly had. A long winded letter of half apology and half firm reminder of duty warning him of their arrival. He could hardly say no, or be truly disappointed. The people he had been charged with organizing, protecting, and resettling needed… well everything really. They were healing. And hungry. Cold. Sleeping in tents when the wind came down the mountain to spin frost through the grass. Without supplies they would not make it through the winter. So he had to be charming, even while turning his gaze- finally- to the queen made his stomach twist in warning.

With the depth of his Red he wrapped masking shields around his barriers. Letting not even a hint of his emotion through. Giving her only his soft handshake and gentle smile to judge. ”Greetings, Lady, welcome to Askavi. Or, back, I should say.” He recognized her once he looked. A vaguely familiar if forgotten face. Seen a time or two in the halls of the Keep. Which would mean she likely knew him too. He swallowed the lump of strange feelings in his throat. He had to cough to clear his chest to breath around it. No one, he reminded himself, would make him bow again. No one. So when he did, it was of his own free will. ”The Lady sends her warmest regards and regret for not being here to welcome you herself. When you’ve seen enough of the refugee camp I’ll escort you all to the Eyrie, I’m afraid we’re a little short on accommodations.”