10.09.3013: A Troubled Past
Summary: Jeremy and Grayson talk. Tristan and Declan and Keanen have some tension before the talk.
Date: 20 September 2013
Related: None.
Tristan Declan Keanen Grayson Jeremy 

Soliana Promenade, Arborenin, The Spine
This is just one of the many residential promenades of Arborenin. It stretches between the various trees, providing a safe and easy passage to the various stairways that spiral up the thick trunks. Nestled in the trees are houses of various size and classification. There are clusters of apartments, tiny neighborhood of houses, and even larger almost manor-like domiciles. Despite these obvious human dwellings, they maintain the same organic, sweeping architecture of the rest of Arborenin.

At the center of the promenade is a small, residential park with a mossy lawn, dwarf oak trees, and patches of wildflowers. It almost looks as if a patch of the lower forest has been transported up into the canopies.

9 October 3013

Tristan nods as he hears Declan's words now. "I'd be happy to help with that," he replies, before he looks over at Keanen again, "Yes, what he said. Take care, Keanen." Looking back at his older brother now, lowering his voice a little.

"Good. When we have details on such an operation, I'll let you know," is the first of Declan's reply to Tristan, with the second portion of it punctuated first by the bit of whispering. This causes him to arch his eyebrows slightly and just nod. "Ah… very well, then?" It leaves him looking a little unsure of what everyone is doing or where they're going.

Keanen shakes his head at Grayson, "I don't need to show anyone my stuff. I don't need peeps judging me." He sighs, and tries to leave again. When Declan specifically tells him goodbye, he doesn't look back, instead, offering a spiteful, "Fuck off." And he walks away.

Grayson stands there in shock while Keanen just leaves with those words. He doesn't know what to do. He holds that camera tightly to his chest where it was pushed and keeps silent. He wasn't told he could follow nor was he told to stay. He makes a small mouse sound and watches Keanen leave. "You know where I live… Find me!" He tries to yell at the man's back.

Tristan sighs a bit as he sees Keanen walk off now. Muttering something under his breath, and then taking a few deep breaths. "Well…" he begins, trailing off again now. Just looking at the departing Keanen for the moment.

Declan doesn't seem especially shocked or surprised by Keanen's manner, as much as Tristan may be, although he is left yet again standing with Tristan and Grayson and… whatever semi-secret bit of business the two of them may seem to have with him. "Well… if there nothing more, I might excuse myself to work on some of those affairs I mentioned? I can find you later, Tristan, if you've business to discuss more privately."

Jeremy was just strolling along the Promenade, but he slows at the nobles grumbling, snapping, and striding off. He frowns, then bends down to ruffle the ears of the golden retriever pup at his heels, "No, we don't want to get involved in that, no we don't, Dax." The words are quiet, with a faint, faded backwoods twang softening them. The dog tilts its head to one side, arfing softly.

Grayson turns slowly and looks at Declan. "M'lord, I deeply care about your family. I wish to… have permission to … do what I feel needs to be done to help Keanen. No harm to him … but… a little bit to me." He sighs quietly and looks down at his feet. He's still gripping that camera. He's standing a little away from the nobles and he's not facing them.

"That's putting it mildly," Tristan says quietly as he hears Grayson's words, but letting the young man speak for now. Turning his head a little, he spots Jeremy and the pup, unable to hold back a smile as he watches the animal.

"Permission to do what you feel neesd be done?" Declan, seemingly on the verge of departure, holds when Grayson finally speaks up and turns a mildly critical eye upon him, more carefully contemplative than before. "What exactly is that? But- my brother may be young, but he is still a man grown, and I doubt my permission is as necessary as his own, for whatever you think might help him. Are you some sort of doctor or psychologist?" The question is posed in a dubious fashion, as if he very much doubts this to be the case.

The muddy man draws the pup's attention, and Dax goes bounding forward in the semi-coordinated manner of a dog that's almost a year old. Jeremy straightens up, "Hey! Get back here." He steps forward, bowing his head carefully to Declan and Tristan even as his eyes go white and there's a silent rustle as spectral leaves lift away from his form, waving in a non-existent breeze. And Dax stops abruptly, telekinetically tugged back by the collar. "Let's not bother the nice man. Sorry Milords."

Grayson bows his head as he turns to Declan and keeps himself in a very submissive posture. He sees the dog head towards him and he himself changes. His body becomes surrounded by mist and his eyes look like the night sky. His body becoming almost transparent. There is something said to the dog before the awakened powers stop and he turns back to the lord. "No…m'lord. I'm not… a doctor. I'm… a druid." He keeps his eyes down. "Your brother… needs someone to listen…that he can trust won't speak. He… doesn't seem to hate me. If I … made sure I could not speak but removing … " He touches his lips. "Perhaps, he'd open up."

Tristan looks over to the dog and Jeremy, offering them both a momentary smile for a few moments, before he looks back at Grayson and Declan as he hears where the conversation has turned. Studying his brother carefully now.

Although the explanation of Grayson's talent seems to explain things a bit to Declan, the man's further motion causes him a bit of a frown. "What? If I take your meaning… no, that is absurd. I will not have someone mutilating themselves for the sake of my young brother's moping. Eventually, we'll find him a nice girl and he'll get over the whole thing." Noting Jeremy on the periphery, and recognizing him from one of their prior engagements with the Hostiles, he does pause to give him a quick nod. "Sir Jeremy." His canine companion is also offered a smile. Yay dogs!

Dax tilts his head at the misty-looking muddy man, arfing again. Evidently, he's used to voices speaking in his head, and he's already learned to ignore them when they're giving him orders. Jeremy catches up with Dax, replacing the telekinetic hold with a physical one. The ghostly vines and leaves fade out again, and the blue of Jere's eyes returns. Tristan's smile causes a return one from the knight, but he backs up again. "Sorry Milord. Didn't mean to interrupt. Dax here's just a little… well, he's his master's pup."

Grayson winces and keeps his head bowed. "Yes, m'lord." He keeps that camera held tightly and stays with his head bowed. He doesn't talk back or say anything else. He does though side step towards Dax before going to his knees by the dog and holding his hands out. He's offering pettings if the dog wishes and sniffs as well. He stays silent though.

Letting out a bit of a breath as he hears what's being said, Tristan offers another nod and a smile as he hears Jeremy's words. "He looks like a quite nice pup too, Sir Jeremy," he offers, studying the animal for a few moments now.

"If you can befriend him and help improve his mood otherwise, it would be appreciated, but we cannot go so far to appease his moods," Declan continues to Grayson, before seemingly leaving the matter behind. Although he begins to move off, he does echo after his remaining brother, "It is a fine looking animal, to be sure. If you will all excuse me then."

Jeremy allows Dax to step forward to snuffle at Grayson's hands, "Oh, he's definitely a nice pup, Milord. And almost as popular as Lionel." He bows his head at Declan's departure, "Milord." And then he looks back to Tristan and Grayson, "I'm trying to teach him to heel. He's about as good at it as Lionel." An easy smile touches both his lips and his eyes, lifting a bit of amusement to his words as well.

Grayson bows his head and keeps it there while his hands brush over the dog slowly and then he starts to scritch his ears. He doesn't speak but he does put his forehead to the dogs head and goes very still, seemly carrying the weight of the world on his skinny shoulders.

"I see," Tristan replies, before he nods as Declan departs. "See you later," he offers to his brother, then looking back to the others. Looking a bit unsure of what else to say for the moment.

"His name is Dax." Jeremy notes softly to Grayson. He smiles faintly to Tristan, "It seems that I've come into a tense time. I've always thought that it's particularly important to take the time out to do the things you love during tense times." The words are musing, not a direct suggestion or even necessarily spoken directly to either of the two men, even if his next words come with a smile and are definitely directed at Grayson, "Even if that includes rolling in the mud."

Grayson takes a moment to compose himself before he looks to Jeremy. "M'lord, I didn't m-mean to … roll in the mud. I-I-I found a comfortable seat while … in the forest… then it…rained and I was sleeping. I… woke up like this." He keeps skritching the dogs ears. "Hi M'lord Dax." He brushes his cheek against the dogs and bows his head to the dog. His arms wrap around him and keep rubbing. Tears start brimming his eyes for only a moment before his face is hidden in Dax's fur.

Tristan offers a brief smile, before he adds, "When are there times that aren't tense, these days, Sir Jeremy?" A brief pause, before he adds, "But I agree. Which is why my keyboard is usually in use. Music helps me relax, you see."

Jeremy shakes his head at Tristan, "When we look at the beauty of life around us, Milord." His smile spreads slightly, "Or listen to it, as the case may be." Looking back to Grayson, he laughs lightly, "Not Milord. Just Sir. Sir Jeremy Keats. And I've been far dirtier than that. I grew up in the woods around here." Dax starts to wag his tail at the attention, unshed tears or not.

Grayson keeps the dog close and keeps rubbing him. "I'm…nothing. Call me whatever, Sir Keats." He speaks into the dogs neck and it's hard to hear. He pulls back and smiles, though the bitter pain is in his eyes. His hands rub the dogs ears and he lightly bumps his head with the dog's head. "I sing sometimes when I'm afraid… or… lonely."

"Singing works for most things," Tristan offers with a quiet nod, before he looks to Grayson. "And we're all somebody, my friend." Looking around again for a few moments now.

Jeremy frowns slightly at Grayson's response, "I can't very well call you 'Whatever,' all the young squires would get jealous of having their name taken." Dax starts licking at Grayson's face, and Jeremy shakes his head in amusement, "Now you're in for it. He's really quite fierce with that tongue of his." He nods to Tristan as well, then looks back at the youth, "Singing is great if you've a voice. But what do you love to do?"

Grayson lifts his face and lets the dog clean it. He thinks about that question before finally replying, "I love my Rune. My falcon. I-I-I love hunting with her." He tears up. "But…she's mad at me and flown away." He lets the dog clean his dirty face. Hey, there's a fairly nice looking young man under the mud.

Tristan nods a little. "I'm sure she'll come back at some point," he offers to Grayson, before he sighs. "I need to get going. There's a few things I need to take care of now…"

Jeremy lets a smile gather at one corner of his lips, although it is a faint little thing, designed more to comfort than to show amusement, "I'm sure she will, as Milord says. And if she doesn't, well, there are always more fish in the sea." He pauses, letting the oddness of the animal-as-animal metaphor stand on its own for a moment as he nods a farewell to Tristan, "Milord." Looking back to Grayson, he adds, "We will all likely lose someone we know and love by the end of this war," and there the smile and any sense of amusement fades away, "But we must be able to find our humanity among those who still remain with us."

Grayson bows his head to Tristan. "Th-thank you for talking…with me." He keeps his head bowed while Tristan departs. He finally looks to Jeremy. "I've…lost everyone." He speaks softly before his mouth has dog tongue on it and he quickly closes his mouth and scrunches his nose.

Tristan smiles, "You're welcome," he offers to Grayson, before he smiles, "Until we meet again, both of… all three of you." Including Dax too, before he heads off now.

Jeremy tilts his head slightly, settling down onto his haunches and resting his forearms on his thighs, "And yet you've also found several people, young man. Although if you don't tell people your name eventually, it might be more difficult to make more friends." The slobbery dog-kisses and the reaction causes him to smile faintly, "Don't worry, he's cleaner than most people."

Grayson turns the clean side of his face to Jeremy and watches him with bright blue eyes. "Sir Keats, my parents died a month before the fifth world came into the area. They killed themselves because they … wanted to die on their own terms. My mentor, he didn't … tell me. When the Hostile's landed in the Spine and the… " He looks down to the dog's paws. "The Hostile came through the brush and shot him. Killed him right in… front of me. So I ran home to have…comfort from my parents. They were hanging in the sitting room." He lifts his eyes and grins slowly. "I'm Grayson Baine, sir and I survive."

The grim history causes the knight to blanch a little, pain flashing behind his blue eyes. Jeremy is silent for a long moment, then he nods slowly, "That's a hard past to come from, Mister Baine." No more 'young man,' apparently. "And surviving is important. Perhaps the most important thing." There's a pause, "Perhaps. But if we don't have friends, people who make us feel human, are we any better than the Hostiles?" He gestures with one hand toward the other man, "You've the Talent. Did you Dream of the rain of blood too? And the growth that came after it?"

Grayson shakes his head and grins. "P-people have only brought me…pain. I try to avoid…that." He speaks quietly and keeps his blue eyes on Jeremy. "Please… don't call me… that." He finally looks away and nods. "I did." He frowns and shakes his head. "I-it was very vivid." He continues to pet the dog and he sighs. "I… live alone… in the forest. Up in a tree. I … sing while I garden, hunt, or just walk. I-I-I am the least… involved with people because… I'm always … wrong about them."

Jeremy tilts his head to one side, "Grayson then. And didn't the Dream give you hope? That even in the darkest times, the seeds of our recovery are being planted?" A helpless little self-deprecating smile touches the older man's lips, "That's what it did for me, at least. But I've been told that I'm an optimist." His eyebrows rise slightly, "And if you are always wrong about people, perhaps you should spend more time around them, so you can get to know them better and not be wrong so often."

Grayson shakes his head. "S-so they can hurt me?" He looks down. "I'll … end up some Lord or Lady's unwilling companion. I wash up well and have… a good voice. They'd…show me off. Present me… like a trophy. I… I was told by my mother that my looks and voice… they would make me miserable. People… would use me. Hurt me… do what they wanted… and leave me to rot when my looks fade." He leans his head into Dax's.

Jeremy arches an eyebrow at that, shaking his head, "No Lord or Lady of House Arboren would make you an unwilling Companion, Grayson." There's a pause, and a frown, "Even if a Magistrate couldn't get you out of it, the High Lady wouldn't stand for anything like that." A slow smile washes over his features, "Besides, you're not that pretty. That's a joke, by the way, not intended to be an insult."

Grayson turns slowly with a dead panned expression. "I am currently… covered in mud." He takes a moment and looks down. "I am not… dulled up. I swear. I'm blindingly hot when I'm dressed nicely…and bathed." He looks back to the dog. "You see it, don't you Dax?" He nods the dogs head and kisses his nose. "What… about slaves? Can I willingly… sell my… well I need some money. I need…to put up sensors around my home… to alert me before an…attack."

Jeremy blinks in harsh surprise at the question, "Grayson… there are no slaves anywhere in the Inner System. But I'm sure you could get a job. Farming, hunting, or even singing. Then you could afford a home in Arborenin, where you wouldn't need sensors, because there would be soldiers and knights patrolling around the city to protect it from attack."

Grayson shakes his head quickly. "My… home." He bites his bottom lip. "Sir, I can't… I grew up th-there. Memories… scents… my parents… my mentor… all that's left of me… it's there." He speaks softly. "I can't… leave. Home… the only comfort I … have left."

Jeremy shrugs helplessly, "It may not be safe there, Grayson, with Hostiles about. But you must make your own choices." A slight grimace twists his lips, "And I, I must be about on my business." Reaching out, he pats Dax's side, then rises to his feet, "That means you too, Dax."

Grayson lifts his eyes to Jeremy while he stands and he stands as well. "If you… ever need to hire me, sir. As gardener, companion, anything. Please…" He bows his head and looks down to the dog. "I will see you around Dax." He grins to the dog. He's much better with animals.

Jeremy looks at a loss there for a moment, then shakes his head, "I'm sorry, Grayson. Lionel and I don't need any employees. But I know that there are plenty of businesses around Arborenin that need able hands, or even any hands at all." Dax, being a cheerful sort, gives another 'arf' and wags his tail at Grayson. Jeremy frowns a touch more, then nods, "The best of luck in finding work."

Grayson grins and nods to Jeremy. "Reward him… each time he heels. Then… he'll associate heeling with… pleasurable feelings. He'll want to heel. Positive… reinforcement." He picks up the expensive camera and takes a breath. He reaches out and pets the dog again and grins. "Thank you, Sir Keats. You've…been very kind." He nods slowly and keeps his head bowed to the Knight.

Jeremy smiles a little, "My husband has a whole regimen for him. I just do what he says is best for Dax, but thank you for the suggestion." He bows his head in response to the thanks, "You're welcome, Grayson." And then he starts off, half-turning to beckon to the pup, "Come on, Dax…" and the golden retriever wags his tail and follows after the Arborenin knight.

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