• Closed • Brothers, Reunited

Alistair returns home much to Andraska's surprise and delight.

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
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"My two natures had memory in common."
  • 33rd of Zi'da, 716
  • Footsteps walked briskly down the hallway, the figure dressed in dark leather with a metal helmet tucked under his padded arm. His hands were covered in gloves, contrasting against the red apple being lifted to Andráska Venora's mouth, and he stopped suddenly while taking a bite, a man waiting for him expectantly.

    “The reports on House security, m'lord. Just as you requested.” Paperwork was handed out towards the young noble, and the armored knight hesitated before stuffing the fruit between his teeth and wiping on hands on his pants and taking the documents. He gave a small grunt of approval, his mouth filled, and was about to walk past when the man called out again, “Ah, m'lord, the maps of Sabaissant and patrol routes.”

    Another grunt, and the servant stopped him once more, the last of his delivery being offered, “Ah, if I may, young lord, I believe this will garner your attention.”

    Andras' green eyes settled on the middle aged man, and he looked down to see what was being offered to him. Another sheet of paper, this time with a plethora of words – a report or a letter of some sort - and he craned his neck to try and get a glimpse of some of the writing.

    The servant happily gave it up, “There has been word that House Venora may soon face opposition from smaller families wishing to make claims of power against us,” When Andraska's brows furrowed and he started to skim the article, the man was quick to clarify, “You wished for me to bring anything to your attention that may challenge the security of House Venora. I understand the repercussions this may have on your family, and this occuring so soon after – ah... Lady Zvezdana's mishap,” he spoke as if she had flirted with the king, not started a civil war, “I believed this was of significance.”

    Andras tried to understand who exactly thought they could take advantage of their current position, and was suddenly very engulfed in the report in front of him. He nodded solemnly, displeased.

    “With your father's trip to Burhan and the departure of your siblings, I was unsure if this matter would interest you. Shall I send a carrier pigeon to Lord Venora about these matters?”

    His father. Andras would have grimaced had an apple not been clutched between his teeth and juice dripping down his chin. He leaned forward, holding his mouth forward and after a moment of hesitation, the man plucked the fruit from the noble's mouth.

    “No need,” he said smoothly, smiling to cover up the lie he was about to tell, “I will review this and bring it to my father's attention. There should be no need to worry him until I have investigated this further. Thank you for your thoroughness.”

    Andráska did intend to dig into the matter, but telling Kaleb Venora was an entirely different matter. After having his eyes opened to the darkness of his father's past behavior, the youth didn't feel the man worthy of the trust of a duchy. It was times like this he wished for his brother's guidance, but sighed, opening his mouth and looking to the servant with expectation.

    The apple was stuffed promptly in his mouth and the items in his hands shifted and out of the way so that he could have his hands again. He was skimming the patrol times when he was passing the closed doors of the foyer. Two women were speaking in rushed tones – and after craning his ear, he quickly realized – they were quite vexed.

    He stepped to the side of the door, pressing his ear conspiratorially against it, quickly recognizing the fall and lift of his mother's lyrical voice, and the crooning of his grandmother Ebony. He thought he heard the words 'irresponsible'.... 'selfish'... 'inconsiderate'. His eyebrows rose, and he smiled sadly. Some poor servant was getting an earful, or so he thought, and he tried to hear the rebuttal of whoever they were chewing out, but the sound of a woman clearing her throat nearly sent him flying out of his skin.

    His head whipped to the side to see another servant quite aware of his eavesdropping and a tray in her hands. She was younger, perhaps twenty-eight or so, and he realized what he must look like – bent forward slightly, listening for gossip like a nosy girl. Practicing the new concept called lying, he straightened, “I dropped a nel.”

    A faint smile pulled on her lips and she rolled her eyes, sliding past him without a word and slipping into the room like a shadow. Straightening his back, Andras took a deep breath, knowing he needed to pay respects to his mother, having not seen her since arriving in Venora a few days ago. He strolled into the room, his long legs propelling him across the polished floor with a relaxed ease. He took another bite of his breakfast, wiping his lips on the back of his hand, and looked up.

    Before him was indeed his mother and grandmother, but not a servant. No, far from it. Standing in his full height was not an illusion, not a dream, but the flesh and blood of his brother. The first born, the eldest child of the baron and baroness. A jolt of excitement struck Andráska so fully, he was shocked into stillness before walking carefully into the room and sliding his things onto the nearest table, his breakfast included. His brother's necromancy was a distant memory, so surreal it had felt like a dream, but in that moment, he only felt gratitude in his presence. In an attempt to appear more professional than the last time they had met, Andráska politely closed in on the group, giving a kiss to his mother's cheek and smiling patiently, “Well,” he tucked his hands into pockets, unable to control the genuine grin that lit up his face when he looked at Alistair again. He was really here. “This is a surprise.”
Last edited by Andráska Venora on Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1053
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"Irresponsible. Completely irresponsible, Alistair! How could you just... just, break your engagement with one of the most excellently bred women in the country, leave with little word, and come back nearly a whole cycle later and expect... expect for everything to be as it was? Expect for everything to be the same?" The woman was clearly distressed. It was his mother, Willow Venora, with the Duchess watching over the argument with a clearly perturbed look on her face. She seemed... sad. Her relationship with Alistair had always been one of great kinship, and so his long leave was surely something she did not enjoy, especially the further she went on in years.

Perhaps this all reminded them too closely of when he'd disappeared for nearly a year - they had all thought he'd died, but officially to this day they believed he'd been kidnapped. He still told them as such. They could never know that the arc-long search was merely due to his own foolishness, leaving the Duchy with the Coven of Ellasin to pursue intellectual enrichment. The scorn for his mother and father had grown too strong, and he'd needed to leave. When he came back, he was nearly hollow. They'd all said it, all over - the called him the Wilted Rose, a man with nothing but emptiness to his name. And they were right.

But now that he was back, it was the opposite. Not emptiness, but something more - he was filled with emotions that previously had never existed. And they were displayed now, before both his mother and grandmother.

"How can you expect me to believe the same way I once did, after all that?" he asked, his fists clenching. He was clearly impassioned - he was . . . angered. "Even after you abandoned us in our childhood, and created a disaster as a result of your negligence, you still hadn't learned from it all. You abandoned Zvez again, and left her to die. And, you know what? I did too. I abandoned her. I took the side of the King over my own sister, who stands as the only person in the world that knows truly what I felt all those years in my youth. Zvez is dead, now. And you're all in denial. You say she's merely gone. Gone where? Some prison camp? The gallows? A pike outside of the palace? Don't fucking play with me, mother. If anyone's irresponsible, and selfish, it's you. I may have left Venora for a hundred trials, but you left your children to the slaughter for twenty years. That--"

The door opened. Andraska entered, though he didn't seem completely coherent of everything that had been said. Instead, he looked... shocked. Completely stunned. Alistair was, too. He hadn't seen Andraska since... since that mistake. Since he'd cursed him out, and insulted him, and gone awry. He missed him, and he'd never had the opportunity to make amends. Look at me now, he thought. Finally come home, and all I can do is argue. Is this the man I wanted to be?

"Andraska," he called to his brother, his eyes moist from the beginning of tears welling up. Not from seeing his brother, but from the acknowledgment among all present that in all likelihood, Zvez was dead. And this was the state of the House - angry, tired, argumentative. This was Venora now.

"It's been a while. How are you?" he asked, attempting to change the subject. His mother was fuming, and the Duchess? She seemed solemn. As if she were irreparably saddened. Alistair felt that, and he knew. He knew why. Everything had gone to hell.
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It didn't take long for Andráska to detect the intensity of the situation and his smile faltered. The closer he stepped towards the trio, the more the hair on his neck stood up. The young noble slowed his footsteps, suddenly feeling as though he had made a mistake entering whatever fury this was and he rested a steady gaze on the supposed guilty party in the room – his brother.

A quick breath was all it took to notice a detail he otherwise would have missed, but it was so out of place on Alistair's features, it seized his attention: wet eyes, most with the promise of repressed tears on an otherwise stoic face.

András stepped closer, ignoring his brother's change in topic and looked into his brother's eyes. There were things he had never seen before. The most alarming of them all?

Sadness. Regret. Pain.

A pause, “What did I miss?” he asked, his voice lowering to a dangerous level. It was the same tone their father often adorned, and meant one thing – Choose your next words very carefully. A surprising resemblance that otherwise would have shocked Andras himself had he not been so preoccupied with the emotional tension in the room.

His body was still facing Alistair's when his upset mother jumped into a tirade, ready to get the last word in. She spewed so many words, her voice rising higher and higher in hysteria as she grasped for proper footing. Zvezdana's name was mentioned. Their father's name was mentioned. She drilled in about the engagement to Celeste Andaris. She sounded on the verge of tears when Andráska's nostrils flared and he spun around to face the women,“Enough!”

The power in his voice boomed through the hall, and the authority in it alone seem to shock the air with electricity, “Why are you whining? You wanted him home, here he is. Or is it the engagement your upset about?” Andras' voice was rising, firm and commanding as he spoke, “I have written to Celeste Andaris, and I imagine the situation is handled the best way it can be.” So much anger, so much tension, and Andráska bulldozed through all of it, “If it's Venora's reputation and the war you're worried about, I think the house has recovered fairly well since Tristan and I saved the King's life. Now,” While Andras' wound had mostly healed since Vhalar, his leg still ached from time to time, his body adjusting to the new scar that decorated his thigh, “You can not put all the weight on his shoulders and still expect him to be perfect,” his voice had softened now, but still had a solid undertone, “You have two children. Here. Now. If you want to marry someone off...” He hesitated, his confidence failing slightly as he looked between his mother and grandmother, and remembered Alistair's pain, “Sell me. Let Alistair love who he wants for Seven's sake.”

If that was possible. He tried to push away the memories of the dead men in his closet, or how his brother had covered up a murder without another word. He had been so... foolish, then. Andráska owed his brother, and if it meant letting his mother and grandmother sacrifice him for awhile, to keep themselves busy and give the eldest some breathing room, so be it. More than once his brother had suffered with Zvezdana, and he had never known. It was time for him to stop being selfish. They needed to be a team.

The youngest swallowed, suddenly exhausted from having to scold people. Since when did he scold anyone? Andras' offer to be married off was perhaps the biggest shock of all and the thing that shifted the mood of the room. He had never.... ever... shown interest in furthering house affairs and now he was at least willing to consider a political engagement? And he had taken steps to repair reputations without being begged to? Had Rynmere ceased to exist?

Brushing off the shocked expressions of the older women, Andras cleared his throat, and tried to find a way to dismiss them, “Grandmother... Mother... Please, I know you're upset and stressed, but please,” he emphasized the last word again, hinting at his exhaustion, “Let me talk to Alistair for a moment. Go, plan a wedding, or a rebuttal, I don't care. I have about five thousand things to do today, and I could use about five minutes of peace and quiet. And I'm sure the heir of Venora,” he held out a hand to his sibling, “Could use some time to get settled. Good? Good.”
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His brother's air was... refined, noble, strong. He had never expected such a clear display of discipline from Andraska, who had always been the wild one between the three. He'd changed a lot, it only took looking at him to notice. Why was that? Was it because of the war? Knighthood? The apparent death of their sister? The heir's mind scrolled through so many options - dozens, hundreds. He'd seemed so strong right now, for the first time. He could hear it in his voice. Perhaps the boy had finally become a man.

Of course, their mother didn't care. She didn't even notice. She was always so... wrapped up in whatever she cared about. She wanted Alistair and Celeste to have perfect Venora-Andaris children, like back in the days of Verne and Cyrene, and many other pairings after them. She wanted to be proud of the Lady she'd picked out to marry her son, to tell all of her noble Lady-friends from other Houses about how beautiful their wedding was, in the cathedral of Masienne, impassioned under the two suns risen in the sky. That was all she cared about. It wasn't Alistair leaving, it was him foiling her plans that had upset her. He knew. He knew her all too well.

"Your sister, Zvezdana, nearly ruined our House!" she yelled. "All because of a misunderstanding with her father, she flared and flared against me. She didn't even invite me to her bloody wedding!" The woman cried out, running over to Alistair to slap against his chest. She was hysterical. "And you wouldn't even allow your mother the pride to see her son finally married to a good match! You had to leave the Kingdom so that you could... suck cock overseas!"

. . .

That was enough. That was more than enough. Andras' strong words came through, and while the Duchess was ready to leave the two brothers to their own, Willow continued to flail against her son and say things that he couldn't even begin to respond to. A misunderstanding? He repeated that in his head, over and over. The part about his sexual preferences flew over his head. It was what she said about Zvez that truly angered him. No matter what Andras said to appease their mother, he wouldn't be able to appease Alistair.

A mis-fucking-understanding?

Hearing Andras' words about being married off, the woman's eyes glimmered in delight, and somehow those crocodile tears of hers dried up in a singular motion. She turned around to face Andraska, a smile upon her lips. It was only a second after, however, before she was pulled back - Alistair's hand locked around her wrist. "Get the fuck out of here," he snarled. "Don't fucking talk to my brother, you witch. How dare you call what happened to Zvezdana a misunderstanding? What was there to misunderstand, mother? Hm? Are you going to tell me she led our father on? Don't even dare tell me that. I will not allow you to speak of my dead sister as if she's some fucking whore. Get out."

His expression was angered. Seriously angered. He could feel the mark on his back flaring, and if Andraska weren't here, he would've let loose. Willow Venora could've been a bloody slab on the floor. He had no love for that woman any longer, especially not after what she'd just said. It was time for her to leave.

And she did. She listened to Andraska, not looking Alistair in the eyes. She pouted, and threw a tantrum, and left, complaining about her son's "violence" and "soullessness" as she left the room, the Duchess following slowly behind her, cane in hand. As the door closed, the man's fist beat against the wall, hard. He yelled.

"Of course I'd leave," he said, his hands shaking. "Why would I ever want to call that woman my liege Lord? How could she say that... about her own children? She knew - she knew. She knew what was happening to Zvezdana. To me. And she just calls it . . . calls it a misunderstanding. How? Why?" He hit the wall again, then turned around, his back sliding down the material as his butt landed on the floor. He sat down, his eyes lowered. "I'm sorry, Andras. I know this isn't the first thing you wanted to see, but this is how this had to happen." He sighed. "I'm not going to marry a nice noble bride. I'm going... I'm going to marry a man. I'm going to do what makes me happy. Because we've all suffered too much at the hands of proper custom. It's time for the customs to fucking change."

He looked away, to the corner of the room, at the beautiful flowers stemming from the vase. This was home, that was for sure. In all its... challenges.
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The whole morning had went up in flames, making Andras wince at Alistair's anger. The last time he had seen his brother, the same anger had been directed at him, and he knew how humbling it could be. He didn't say anything else, only lowered his eyes and crossed his arms. He tried to end things there, but his mother – for as verbose as she could be – clearly chose the wrong choice of words. Hearing her fury at Zvez steeled his own heart against her for the remainder of the encounter, and he released a slow breath to try and keep his own anger under control. While Andras was normally the one with enough emotions for an entire estate, it seemed his other family members stole them all, leaving him only with exasperation.

He wanted to find the right words, to fix everything, but his mother and grandmother quickly skulked off, leaving the sizzling silence and Alistair free to pursue his wrath. Andraska cleared his throat awkwardly as Alistair yelled and took careful steps to where he had left his things upon entering. Picking the bitten apple back up, he walked slowly back over, listening attentitively to Alistiar's words.

Their mother knew.

Alistair remembered how Zvez had talked of their brother. Her pain when she told him Alis and their father had helped themselves to her womanhood long ago. But seeing how broken up their sibling was over her... He felt there was more to the story and he had only received one telling. Likely his mother had another version, but that was for a different day. He looked at the fruit in his hand, not really seeing it, but at memories long past.

Alistair likely didn't know he was aware of the past he shared with Zvez and their father, and he slowly made his way to where his brother had sunk to the ground, and stood by his side. Turning around, he pressed his back to the wall and slide down in place next to Alis, releasing a soft sigh and letting the silence settle upon them. He took a bite of the apple, using the back of his hand to wipe away some of the juice from his lips and chewed thoughtfully.

They had so much to talk about.

He followed his brother's eyes to the vase and swallowed, leaning his shoulder into Alistair's and nudging him lightly, “Let me handle Ma,” he said, more of a reassurance than a suggestion, “She likes me best. She'll listen to me,” It wasn't a statement to rub anything in. It was true fact. Throughout their childhood, while Willow Venora was ignoring her other children, it was Andráska she fretted over. It was one of the reasons, other than Kaleb's hatred, that he fled so much.

Andráska held out the apple to his brother, mentally agreeing that things needed to change. He had felt that way for a long time, and he bit his lip, pinching his eyes closed and then turned his body to face his brother, waiting for the servant to leave the room, “I have to tell you something,” The change would have to come now, “A few things, actually. First, I think you should have left.” He glanced up, meeting his brother's eyes, and then realized how it sounded, “Not because of... that,” The necromancy, “I missed you, Alistair. I just... never understood why you didn't fight back. I'm happy you did something for yourself for once.”

His voice was soft, and a smile began curving the edges of his lips, “I assumed that's why you left Celeste," he shrugged, knowing his brother's sexuality would never bother him. He had woken up in a bed with both men and women after parties. Those details were fuzzy, but who was he to judge? “As for Zvezdana, she's alive.” She hates you, but she's alive., “You're just going to have to trust me about that. But no, I'm not keeping her in my closet.”

The boyish grin that had been a trademark of Andras' childhood, split across his face, a rarity now. It seemed to chase away the shadows that plagued him now, giving him a youthful glow, if only for a moment. He beamed at his joke, nudging his brother again and rose to his feet, offering Alistair a hand so that he could rise with ease.

“C'mon, I want to show you something.”
Last edited by Andráska Venora on Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 765
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Willow liking Andraska the best wasn't something that had bothered Alistair, not in the slightest. He was fine with that - it meant she at least had some guilt over what she'd done before. It was why she could never look Alistair into the eyes when they spoke, at least not without visibly clenching every muscle in her body, always ready to be thrashed out against in case the young man decided he would choose that day to force her to answer for her sins. She chose Andraska because he was the one she hadn't entirely wronged. He had been kept safe from all of this, and among the two of them, her conscience could lay relatively clear.

First, I think you should have left, his brother told him. Alistair nodded his head, agreeing with him completely, and happy that his brother could understand his motivations. The eldest Venora attempted to calm himself down, and with a bit more words from Andras, he successfully managed to. His brother always had that effect on him, even during his more sleazy days. At least he knew how to talk, and how to have fun.

"I missed you too," he admitted. It wasn't long before he leaned into his brother, too, his arm moving to wrap around Andraska's back. They sat against one another as they spoke, the older man happy to be in the comfort of his beloved brother. It'd been too long since they'd spoke with any degree of harmony, and the last time they'd spoken at all, Alistair scarcely knew any emotions but ones of want and negativity. That had all changed. It was time for them to reconcile.

And, it was all going smoothly. He understood why Alistair had broken the engagement, why he'd left, everything - it was like he'd just... read him. The older Venora's eyes lit up in amazement to see how mature he'd become. Andraska must have missed him dearly, to have thought on his leaving this much while he was gone. Still, he felt regret, leaving his brother behind after all that - after the apparent death of their sister, the war . . . it must've been hard. Very hard. He made a silent vow to himself to never leave Andraska like that again. Not if he could help it.

What was most surprising was when he said that Zvezdana was alive. The mage was skeptical, almost unwilling to believe it. He couldn't even begin on that one - he decided to nod his head, hope his brother wasn't lying to him, and change the subject. There was no need to dwell on that now. They could take it as it came.

He took Andras' hand, though as he did so, he pulled his brother against his chest and gave him a firm, powerful hug. An embrace like he'd never given him. "Brother," he called him, his eyes closing, "I love you. I feel like I've never told you that, but I do. You've always been good to me, no matter what I did, and no matter how harshly I deserved your ire. Even after all that in Andaris, you can still bear to speak to me. It's... amazing. And I don't deserve it." He shook his head, releasing him from the embrace. "Thanks, Andras," he said, giving his brother a small smile. With that, he allowed his brother to lead him to wherever he wanted to go, interested in seeing what he had in store.
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Alistair claimed his full height and in a swift motion, was embracing his brother in a powerful hug. The force behind it was surprising, but the raw emotion in conveyed was staggering. Andras tensed instinctively, taken off guard as he was pulled against Alis. The eldest was quick to pour out feelings Andraska had been convinced were impossible for him, and he felt his throat tighten. So many things the younger sibling wanted to tell Alistair... and he couldn't put them into words.

What was a little magic? Sure, it was scary and dark, but his brother wasn't. And as far as he was concerned, their relationship had been uneven for a long time, but not because of Andraska's forgiveness. Wasn't it Alis who had looked over him? Who had gotten rid of the dying mess he had brought to his doorsteps in the middle of the night? Was it not his siblings who had protected him the best way they knew how from their father?

He thought Alistiar deserved a lot, but not his ire. How could his brother even think he was still mad when Andras had been the cause of the anger? Nearly as tall as Alistair now, they were almost cheek to cheek in their embrace, and he rested his chin on his brother's shoulder when he relaxed, overcome with... feeling. It had been a long time since someone hugged him, and they never thanked him during. As a result, he felt...valued and a great mix of melancholy and happiness surged through him at the realization that their was someone else he could connect with, and they were home.

To be lonely, to always be by himself and then to be appreciated when he had been convinced otherwise, he could only nod at first. Letting his brother pull away, his voice was coarse when he spoke, "I couldn't bear not to speak to you," He let his hands drop to his side, taking a step back and when his brother smiled, he offered one of his own, "Love you too, Alis."

Whatever trip his brother had taken, he felt it was for the better. And whether or not his mother, grandmother, or seven forbid - their father, noticed, it didn't matter. Andras did and he quickly grabbed his paperwork and reports, wiping his hands on his pants and briskly moving towards the door. The apple laid forgotten on the floor.

With each step, his excitement and nerves pulsed through him and he glanced more than once behind him to make sure he hadn't imagined the whole thing. He didn't take anything, had he? Up the stairs and down a hall, take a right, and down another hall. Portraits of deceased Venora and bouquets of flowers lined the walls, even the carpet and rugs were lush under their feet. They were going to a different wing of the house, where Andras' inhabited and where his room waited. Majority of the doors were not closed, the empty bedrooms filled with sweet smells and the soft glow of winter.

When they reached his room, he was suddenly nervous and he pushed open the door, clearing his throat and stepping aside for his brother to enter first. The room was simple enough: the walls a pale cream with accents of santorini blue. Morning sunlight poured past the sheer curtains and caught a number of colored glass bottles that lined shelves and hung from beams of dark wood, casting a myriad of brilliant hues to dance along the walls. All the shimmering pigmentation gave the room a gentle and welcoming warmth, despite the chill of Zi'da that laid just beyond the grand bay doors and snowy balcony.

Andraska grinned sheepishly at Alistair, moving inward. His sword, crossbow, and armor was displayed like a dark shadow awaiting use, looming in the corner. It was a black stain on the wonder of the setting, however one could argue all the bottles were a more ominous warning. The younger noble extended his hands and gave a flourish, "Welcome!" Andras moved quickly to the desk that sat in the corner, covered with a messy array of papers. They were scribbled upon, evidence of a mad man and hardly legible if you didn't know what to look for.Beside the table was a stunning cello, standing tall with gold inlaying and carved pegs. He yanked open the desk, quills floating to the ground, and shuffled anxiously through the papers while his brother looked around.

His nerves continued to grip him, and he gave a silent prayer to Zanik, 'Please don't let me mess this up. Please let me play this right.' and then, 'Pier, Pre, Ilaren... I don't know what you could do, but moral support, ya?' Andras released a breath and found what he was looking for. A composition; the same one he had told Celeste about in the garden, and the one he had written for Alistair, "I-uh," he rubbed his nose, yanking a chair to the center of the room and motioning for his brother to take a seat on the bed, "I wrote you a song...f-for your wedding," Oh, he stuttered. Andras wanted to die, feeling his cheeks flame. He was going to play this for an entire court, but somehow that felt more appealing than a one on one audience, "It was supposed to be my gift to you."

What if Alis didn't want to hear it? The thought sent him into a mental panic, "If you don't like it, that's fine. I just... I haven't played it for anyone else," he glanced up at his brother and then down at the papers in his hands, "And I just thought it would be waste...Do you," he swallowed, remembering the hug. Alistair loved him. He wasn't their father. He wasn't even their mother. It would be okay, even if he did make a mistake, as he had already made plenty, "Do you want to hear it?"
Last edited by Andráska Venora on Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1024
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Alistair
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Brothers, Reunited

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The moments after the toxic arguments he'd shared between he and his mother had been... surprisingly serene. It didn't take longer than a few bits before he and Andraska were actually enjoying their time together. They hugged, they professed love for one another, and they meant it. It was something Alistair had never really experienced, not since they were children - but that was so long ago, and children didn't really understand love. Alistair certainly didn't; he'd been made morbid by everything. Love, to him, had become a word of pleasantry, with utterly no meaning. Since he'd gone away, and even since he'd met Duncan, that had changed. "I couldn't bear not to speak to you either," he admitted, standing on his toes and kissing his brother on the forehead.

The two of them followed down the hall laid out for them, moving quickly past the portraits, the lists of achievements, the decorations, the handmaidens and the artsy boys painting on empty canvasses hung up on the walls... new decorations for the whole of the family. The doors were open, light shining, shimmering through the windows. Then, they finally made it to Andras' room, and what Alistair was greeted with had to be one of the cutest moments he'd ever live. Welcome, the younger man greeted his entry, proceeding forward and expressing that he'd written Alistair a song. For his wedding. The one that had never come, because he'd called off the wedding with Celeste.

What was so... adorable about it all was how clearly embarrassed the young man was, and nervous - Alistair had only to wonder what he was nervous about? The man wasn't quite a virtuoso himself, so he couldn't judge Andraska if he wasn't of astronomical quality. What mattered was that he'd written him a song as a gift, and Alistair desperately hoped that gift would be delivered. It meant a lot to him that his brother had even put that much thought into it, considering around that time was when they'd had that... huge debacle in Alistair's apartment. "Andraska," the man began, a half-smile on his lips, "Of course I want to hear it. What are you worried about? That you'll perform badly? I don't care. Do you think I even recognize what a good cello performance sounds like?" he asked, laughing lightly. The clear answer to that rhetorical question was no.

Alistair had always been quite disconnected from the other Venora, particularly in terms of their individual artistic talent. He was the least artsy of all of them, pursuing more educational, scientific and magical venues for his studies. In all likelihood, Andraska would dwarf anything he'd heard, especially considering half of Alistair's history in music was listening to fringe groups of drug-addicts in coastal Lamonte.

Raising his hands slightly, the man began to speak, a swirl of energy appearing over his flattened palm. "I have a gift for you, too," he said, "but I'll only show you if you perform for me. So go and do your thing, brother. Don't be shy." Andraska might have questioned what the heck the swirly magical doohickey was, but hopefully it wouldn't distract him from his performance, his older brother could only hope.

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Andráska Venora
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Brothers, Reunited

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Andras always got a case of nerves before performing, but his brother was quick to reassure him and he felt a small, imaginary weight lift off his shoulders. He was right. What was the worst that could happen? Andras nodded slowly, going to retrieve his cello and bow. His brother announced that he had a gift for him as well, which wasn't expected, and so Andras' grinned, “If you say so.” He grabbed a small stand, and placed the papers upon it, scooting them around until he was happy and in place.

Hoisting the instrument up with gentle hands, Andras made his way to the seat and settled in it. The cello placed between his legs and cradled against his chest. He plucked at a few strings, the sound bouncing off the windows and he began to fine tune it. With each string, he would run his bow across after tightening it, listening.

His eyes dropped from his brother and focused solely on Nadia, the air shifting. His attention was on his instrument now, the thing that had kept him sane all these years and when she was ready, he gave a long pause.

Green eyes found the score sheet, noticing the scale. He mentally re-familiarized himself with the music, remembering what his instructor used to say so long ago: take your time. Inspect the whole piece first. Feel the rhythm in your mind and then....

A low, soft note vibrated through the room. Driven by a long stroke, Andráska's fingers shifted, pressing the string down by the tips of his fingers. His hand strained, and another long note sounded. The piece began slowly, gently with wisps of melancholic sadness. A strange beginning to something written for the occasion of love, but as András had wrote it, he had thought of his brother. How tall and stoic he had been, how calm and yet... trapped. He had thought of soft breeze carrying fall leaves, being blown where the wind willed it.

He closed his eyes, the music rolling through his hands and up his arms. It soothed him and his fingers shook with soulful vibrato. Out of practice, the sound wobbled before stabilizing, and Andráska refocused, his foot silently tapping to keep his count.

Andras learned very quickly how loud his music would be in such a small, intimate space, and with the glass placed around the room, the notes rang clear and lingered like ghosts. His hands continued their caress, the instrument cooperating nicely as his eyes glanced up at the piece and ran along the score. Once he started playing, it felt like it was just him and his cello, and then he stopped suddenly, realizing that the piece required a piano.

He pinched his eyes closed, momentarily pulled from the serenade, struck with worry that it wouldn't convey the vision he had in mind. He kept his eyes focused and his posture straight, signaling he was not yet done, and then his rest was up. His bow kissed the strings, pushing and pulling and nothing seemed to stop it. The sound lifted with power and then died, fluctuating with emotion until it gently rested, and Andráska allowed his bow to fall.

“All done,” he whispered, finally allowing himself to look at his brother once more. He smiled shyly and grabbed Nadia to put her away, once again anxious,“Alistair's song. Not very...” what was the word? “Fitting for wedding. I guess it's a good thing you didn't have one, right?”
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Alistair
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Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:12 pm
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Brothers, Reunited

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Alistair's song.

The way Andras's fingers played into the bow, dancing along the strings of the cello... Alistair hadn't heard something quite like it, before. It was wondrous - it was Andraska, his own style, powerful and enchanting. And it was a song that he'd written for him, his brother, to celebrate a wedding. And how fitting it was. What wedding would that have been? One so melancholy, just like the song.

Alistair's Song.

He repeated the words in his head, and stood up, helping his brother put the cello away. As soon as the instrument was set safely away, the man moved to embrace his younger brother, squeezing him tightly in gratitude, and joy. Why? Because he'd never heard something quite like that before - something that resonated with him, so well. The struggle in the sounds. The fear. The desire. He would never forget the notes.

"Andraska," he called his brother's name, "More than almost anyone, you understand me. That song would've captured the wedding perfectly," he whispered beneath his breath, pulling away from the hug to allow his younger brother room to breathe. "That was a sad song, but ours is a sad life. We've been through so much together, all three of us. Even now, our lives seethe in arguments and division. That song illustrated everything to me - I could see it all." He nodded, his eyes almost watering. The nobleman was truly impressed with the performance.

"That wasn't my song. That was our song. I'll give it a name," he began, placing his fingertips beneath his chin, "Brothers, Reunited. It signifies so much about the two of us. And I loved it - and that you wrote it for me."

He held his hand out once more, and within it, a shield appeared bearing the Venora Rose. Engraved on it were words: Shield of the Gallant, written in small letters, carved along the bottom. Alistair presented it to his brother, smiling brightly as he did so.

"Here's my gift. Not quite so original as a song, but I tried. I've never really been one for artistic talent. Forgive my daftness," the man whispered, waiting patiently for his brother to accept his shield.
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