• Closed • [Warrick] Homecoming

Rafael returns to the Warrick Mansion and meets his father there.

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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Rafael Warrick
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23rd Cyclus 717
His nails dug into the soft wood of the chair, marring the fine piece of furniture while his knuckles turned white-hot. And yet, though he held onto the chair's armrests with all his might, he felt faint and light as though he was floating through a waking dream, drifting further and further from reality. Then, with a snap he was brought back into the world as Ned finally cracked and shouted with a voice like thunder. Like a flash of lighting, his father's anger struck, then vanished, and while he flinched at the outburst he was indeed Ned Warrick’s son and recovered just as quickly.

He leaned forward, heart pounding and  focused all his senses on what would follow.

Kaleni.

His mind somersaulted as he wrecked his brain for what Olyfer had taught him about the other noble houses. Yes...yes, the name rung a bell. She was still alive wasn't she? He suspended his curiosity for a few more moments as his father continued to speak. When he finished, the very room seemed to hokd its breath.

Rafael sat astonished. A million questions flitted through his mind yet he found himself unable to even attempt to grasp at any one of them. For a while he remained frozen in his chair, too dumbfounded to even breathe. Then, slowly he stood up and passed the desk that had seperated them for far too long. He still had many, many questions but in that moment, only one thing mattered.

Standing on the tip of his toes, for his father was tall and he was still growing, he pulled his father into the tightest embrace he could muster and rested his chin on the broad man's shoulder. A few involuntary shakes and sniffs passed through his frame before he pulled back and watched his father with watery eyes. "I'm sorry," he croaked feebly. "I thought you wanted me gone, I thought you- I thought you didn't love me..." his voice trailed off and he fell into Ned's strong arms yet again, shivering like a reed while hot tears streamed freely down his cheeks. It was a relief to give in and cry.

After he simply had no more tears left to shed, Rafael pulled back once more and dried his eyes with his sleeves while a watery smile broke through. "Now it's my turn, right?" He did not sit back down but wandered over to a cabinet in the corner, pulled a glass and a flask of brandy from it and poured his father a glass full of his favorite drink. "Here," he said shakily. "You'll need it for what I am about to tell you." In secret he wanted nothing more than to ask about his mother, to find out where she was so he could visit. But he restrained himself. He owed it to his father to tell him the truth. Besides, he could not bare to live a lie any longer.

"Dad," he started tenatively, "I mean to join the Qe'Dreki..." he paused deliberately, gauging his father's reaction. He could still pretend it was a joke should Ned not respond well to the notion that his son had ambitions to fight the crown.
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Ned Warrick had stood in front of those who would kill him, he had argued with the King once, he had taken risks that most men would not dream of and he had done so without pause because he knew and understood what it was to be a Warrick. Which meant that he understood what it was to be a lion, fierce and proud. And like a lion, he understood how to protect, how to defend and attack.

When, however, his youngest son hugged him, he had a split trill where he was at a complete loss. But it was the briefest moment of surprise and then Rafael felt his father's strong arms wrap around him. Ned hugged Rafael and his large hand gently stroked his son's hair. "It's alright, lad," his gruff voice was quiet and then Rafael separated slightly and spoke. At his words, Ned looked anguished, but he just held on to the boy and let him cry, let him sob it out. Then, when Rafael's tears were spent, Ned kept his hands on Rafael's shoulders, rummaging first in his pocket and handing him a handkerchief with a slight raise of his eyebrow. "You are my son, Rafael. You were conceived in love and I have loved you since that moment. It is not easy, sometimes, and I do not show it as I should." Which was an understatement and he knew it.

"But you are a barbarian. Use the 'kerchief, boy" Ned admonished with a smile. There was no telling off, he was jesting and, of all things, he ruffled Rafael's hair. However, he took the glass of brandy and looked at his son curiously. What could he possibly be about to tell him?

Rafael told him, in plain and simple terms, then and Ned's eyes widened. Then, of all things, he let out a laugh. "Oh, thank the Immortals. Rafael I thought you were going to tell me that I was about to be a grandfather!" It was pure relief on his face, genuine and pure relief. Joining the Qe'dreki? Ned considered it and then gestured back to the chairs.

"Come sit with me, lad, and tell me why." He didn't seem angry at all, he was just curious. "People join groups for many different reasons. Because of what they have seen, what they have heard. Because of an individual in it, one out of it. Sometimes, even, because they agree with the ideals." Ned gave a slight quirk of his brow at that notion. "So, tell me why, and I'll tell you what I think. But before you do, Rafael." His father turned a steely and determined gaze to him. "Tell me if you've told anyone else this?" He was safe here, they could talk it out. But others? Loose tongues wagged and Ned knew all too well the repercussions of that.
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23rd Cyclus 717
Rafael took the handkerchief and mumbled an apology under his breath. Clearly his time spent in the barracks had made him forget his manners, if he ever possessed any. He did not care. A blissful peace settled over his mind. He was at home. “Thanks,” he muttered. “I don’t always, you know, show it either, but I do…I do love you and I’m glad to call you my father.”

For the first time since they’d entered the study, he sat down normally in his chair and cautiously watched Ned’s response to his confession. His heart leapt to his throat, then fell again as he matched his father’s relief.

“You’re not angry with me?” He asked incredulously. While the air between them had cleared, it seemed they still surprised each other more than father and son should. “I haven’t told anyone else,” he said, though his eyes told a different tale as they flitted towards the ground. When he looked back up at Ned however, he composed himself. “I mean,” he sighed. “Alistair knows. And Olyfer.” His father had been honest with him and the least he could do was repay that favor.

He leaned forward in his chair and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial tone. “I want to join them because Cassander…” He flared his nostrils. “Cassander is cruel and unfit to rule. He is a foreigner, he does not know these lands like we do, he has nothing of the old blood in him and has no interest in keeping things as they are. Alistair thinks so too,” he blurted in a slip of the tongue. “Did we not use to back the Qe’dreki? Why did we switch sides? Aren’t we supposed to be brave? And what about the Empress? Does it not worry you that she wishes to unity the Church and the Kingdom into one? When Cassander and Emerson marry, they will have immense power. Nothing will stay the same. I'd rather die than let that happen!”
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Ned said nothing to Rafaels admission of love, just clasped him tightly to him. If there was moisture in his father's eyes, well he most certainly did not admit such. He simply shared a moment with his son.

That moment was over quickly, though, in one way. He laughed and gently cuffed Rafael, "You haven't told anyone except two people, means you've told two people, boy." Ned sighed, wishing that there could be a jovial conversation, but he knew better. "Alistair Venora? An interesting choice for sure. You trust him?" He did not ask of Olyfer, because Ned trusted him.

On Cassander, though, his father opened his hands, palm outwards. "Cassander has blood from six of the seven houses, Rafael. It is not as straightforward as that. If we are to talk of a return to the old ways, then we would have an Andaris on the throne. Which of those drunken bastards would you choose as your ruler?" It was an important point to Ned and he sighed. "There has to be a viable alternative, Rafael. I find it hard seeing one."

However, why had they changed sides? His father shrugged slightly and took a sip of his drink. "Lazuli, I believe, beseeched your grandfather, the Duke. Following the advances of young Theodore Venora." For a while there, it seemed like the two of them might combine our houses further. Now, it seems that Olivia will be wed with Andraska."[/b] Ned snorted, his opinion unspoken yet clearly stated about that situation.

"The combining of Church and State? I don't know, Rafael. Emerson Sands has always been a voice of reason, of mercy and compassion. If he does not marry her, who would you have him marry? That is always the question. You seek to remove him. I do not disagree. But who or what will you replace him with?"

And then, of course, there was the simple truth of it. "And how will they be better? By virtue of it, those who wish to rule are least suited. We need someone who will be a genuine servant of the people and I don't know that such a person exists in the options we have, boy. I really don't."
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23rd Cyclus 717
Rafael gave a small shrug. "I know," he muttered, feeling quite foolish all of a sudden.

Olyfer was not a risk. He simply could not imagine any circumstance under which his old tutor would betray him. Alistair however, was a different story. Olyfer had even warned him against his cousin, yet he had chosen to trust the Venoran heir. But why? To his own distress he could not really justify the choice. He had known at the time that trusting Alistair was a gamble but now that he reflected upon it, he wasn't sure if he would've made the same choice if he had spoken to his father first. He bit down on his lips and offered another shrug. "I haven't been arrested just yet." It was a lame excuse, yet the only one he could muster.

"I don't care about putting an Andaris on the throne. I've met Peake Andaris and he's the worst kind of person inagineable. Cassander is a sweetheart in comparison," Rafael smiled while shaking his head. He folded his hands in his laps and pondered for a moment. Who would be a suitable ruler? Who was fair, just, honest, and had a healthy respect for the old ways? He glanced up to the ceiling before his eyes darted back to his father. "You'd make a good King. And if you wouldn't want it, I'd do it myself." A fire lit in his eyes and he gave a sharp nod. "I'd make sure that Warrick would be respected again. I'd expand the Kingdom. I'd take the Eastern Settlement. I wouldn't play games with the noble houses...we'd be respected again!"

A clenched fist landed on the desk, hard enough to rattle the cutlery but soft enough to not be mistaken for outright anger. "We need more backbone and yet the only Warrick so far that showed any was cast out while Lazuli, who is too afraid to even speak up, is still in the family! I'm sure marriying to those velvety Venorans is going to help! Don't you think grandpa is getting too old for this?"

He puffed his cheeks at Ned’s remaining comments. "I disagree," he said sharply. "Someone who wants to rule is a leader, and that's what the Kingdom needs."
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Ned looked at Rafael and he sighed. "You'd replace one reckless young man with another, Rafael. You just told me that you trusted someone with an enormous secret and you don't know why." Ned looked at his son and asked, honestly, "Was that against Olyfer's suggestion and advice? I can't imagine that he would have told you to tell the heir of Venora your plans. The thing you have to do, Rafael, is learn to think about things."

It was, as far as Ned could see, true. The boy was young and brave, there was no doubting it, but he had all the political savvy of an inkwell. "A good leader needs to think through the consequences of his actions. Not just for himself and not just for right now." Ned looked at his son with calm eyes. "But for all of the people and for the long term."

So, it seemed, it was time for a conversation between the two of them. "If we replace Cassander, we are staging a revolution. Moving from one entire bloodline to another. History teaches us that is a time of unrest and I ask you, clearly, why we do it." Now, it had to be said, Ned wasn't anti the idea, not at all, but he had to be clear. "And the Qe'dreki. All we know of the remaining ones is that they weren't where Malcolm thought them to be. All military intelligence pointed one way. But if you want to find them, boy, and join them or even lead them then you tell me why." Ned looked at his son and asked what were, as he saw it, the important questions.

"What do they stand for? What politics, what policies? We know what happened, don't we? Who leads them now. To what end, Rafael, other than to overthrow a boy who has been pushed into being king too young? That revolution lead to civil war and to thousands of deaths. How will this be different?"
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"Olyfer told me not to," he admitted as he studied his father intensely. Despite both of their best efforts and despite the love Rafael felt for his father, it appeared they were on collision course once more.

"You're wrong," Rafael bit back, his usual stubborness returning to him. "You assume open war. I would never risk open war. Do you think so poorly of me that I would not have considered this?" It was hard to tell if his voice was passionate or venomous. A flash of annoyance crossed over his features. This was no longer the sweet boy that Ned had once raised. Between the moment that Ned had sent him to Malcolm and his return now, some dark force had clearly taken hold him and corrupted his thinking. It was as though a sickness had settled in his heart, an ravenous hunger for power, recognition, and respect.

He sighed, then stood up and walked for the door, his hand already rested on the knob when he turned to face his father once more. "Perhaps you should have taught me. You, not Malcolm, but you. Then, surely, I would not make so many mistakes in your eyes. I love you father, I really do," he spoke as he turned the knob, "but you're unsufferable bastard at times." He opened the door and slammed it shut behind him. Ned would be able to hear the familiar sound of footsteps racing up the stairs.

Rafael bolted to his own room, threw off his clothes and slipped into his pyjamas before collapsing on the bed. Why did no one understand him? Why did everything have to be so hard? He pulled the blankets over his head and listened to the sound of his own heartbeat. He couldn't even tell if he was angry, frustrated, or sad anymore and he'd already spent all his tears. Silently he wished for the heavy plodding of his father's footsteps on the stairs like he had in his younger arcs. There had been times then, good times, when he had pretended to be asleep and his father had come over to tug him in and kiss him goodnight.

There was only one happy thought lingering at the edge of his mind. The thought of his mother. He solemly vowed to himself that he would visit her as soon as possible, regardless of what Olyfer or Ned, or anyone else thought of it.
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Once upon a time, maybe his father would have come after him.

Once upon a time.

But not this trial. Rafael had spoken of a desire to lead, of a desire to be king and yet he acted rashly, then as rashly again. It seemed to Ned Warrick that there might well be turbulent times ahead with his youngest child and as he swirled the brandy around in his glass, he wondered if telling the boy about his mother had been the right thing to do. Somehow, he was starting to have his doubts.
Thread Complete!
Rewards Incoming!
Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 5/5

Knowledge:
Etiquette: It is acceptable to wash before seeing your father
Interrogation: Fire off multiple questions.
Leadership: A leader has to be a servant of the people.
Negotiation: I'll tell you my secret, if you tell me yours
NPC: Ned Warrick: A stern man
NPC: Ned Warrick: Loves you
NPC: Ned Warrick: Feels like he's failed you
NPC: Ned Warrick: Sent you where he thought you wanted to be
NPC: Kaleni Venora: Your mother
Olyfer: Assures you your father loves you.
Politics: Don't tell people your secrets.
Politics: Consider the consequences of your actions.
Politics: What are the alternatives?
Psychology: The state of a sulky teen
Psychology: The overwhelming experience of emotional outpourings
Storytelling: Well, father, it started like this.

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But great fun! I hope that you enjoyed this thread. Rafael is a fun pc to watch and I really do enjoy writing with you. Thanks for the opportunity to do so! Let me know if you want another modded thread in the future and pm me with any questions. Enjoy the rewards!
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