06.22.3013: Brotherly Advice
Summary: Erik asks Niko for some advice. About girls. Because, you know… they're tricky.
Date: 26 June 2013
Related: Blank Page, Fear Creates Distance, Arranging a Betrothal and others.
Erik Nikomachos 

A Sitting Room, Fortress of Phylon
It's a small sitting room with a side table, a couple of chairs, a desk, some wine… the usual noble stuff.
26 June 3013

Instead of being out on the Plains of Ares today riding patrols either by Godswintown or near the Rovehn convoy pods, Erik has returned to the Fortress and his suite. Not only that, he had sent a message to his eldest brother, Niko, asking for his brother for help with somethings. Nothing specific was mentioned in the message, just a vague request for assistance when the elder knight had time in his schedule.

Nikomachos was out on the Plains himself, but a request from your baby brother is enough to get a good older brother back from patrols. He's still wearing his bronze and gold armor, now scratched and dinged from actual combat. Tracking down his brother with the help of the Fortress's AI and the human servants, he knocks on the appropriate door, leaning in, "What's up, Erik?"

Hearing the knock on the door, Erik rises to his feet from his desk, a pad with a word processor program activated but no words written. "Niko, come in, please." The invitation is quickly extended and the younger Cindravale is already walking to the small table that holds his pitcher of wine and empty goblets, ready to pour one for himself and Niko unless stopped. "You know I've trained most of my life to fight the Hostiles, but I believe that I may be… lacking in some other, more 'official', areas."

Nikomachos steps in, beckoning for a glass of wine for him as well, "My throat is dusty as all hell." He crosses the room to take the wineglass off his brother, "How was your visit with Young Lady Ibrahm?" Collecting the glass, he moves over to one of the chairs and balances carefully on the arm, keeping most of his weight on his feet so as to not break the chair.

"I know all about it, brother, I never knew the plains held that much dust before. Makes you give it a second look in all its beauty." Erik says as he starts pouring the wine, a good amount for both Niko and himself. Putting the pitcher back down, he picks up his own and takes a long drink. "The visit to the Blackspire was… not as I had expected. But I had invited her out to another patrol here in the plains with me where it was… also not what I had expected."

Nikomachos takes a swallow of the wine, shaking his head slightly, "I'm still rather fond of the Plains… some very good memories there." The response draws a laugh from the elder brother, and he shakes his head, "Come on, baby brother, you're old enough to know that women never do what you expect of them. I know Father didn't have time to teach us much about that, but certainly you learned that as a teenage heartthrob." Niko flashes a grin with that term, crooked and teasing.

An amused smirk appears on Erik as he shakes his head, "That is not what I need help with, Niko, no worries. I've caught my fair share. It's just this time… I think I may have caught someone that I am not able to handle." There is a pause while he looks down into his wine before taking a drink, "She's as volatile as one of the many volcanos in the Crescent, though that isn't a surprise."

Nikomachos laughs softly at the description of Johana, "And she's not even Khourni, not directly." He nods his head, taking another sip and swirling it about in his mouth before swallowing, his grin fading into something a lot less teasing and a lot more thoughtful, "You've made an excellent catch for the family, Erik, or at least started to make it. But what about yourself? Do you think that Sir Johana is someone that you would care to live with the rest of your days, fire and all?"

"I don't think I would've even tried if she was khourni, brother. They are definitely a different breed." Erik says with another shake of his head at the mention of the Khournas. As for Niko's serious question about the possible future, that is where the younger Cindravale slowly nods his head, "That's what scares me, Niko, I think she could be. Fire and all. I don't just see her as someone who could increase my standing and a bond that could bolster our House. We're actually both slightly afraid and unsure, since on the outside, we are like opposites, yet like magnets we have fully attracted each other."

Nikomachos points a finger across the room at his brother's jibe about Khourni, "Smile when you say that. Ellie's father is Khourni." He nods slowly at the response to his question, however, a bit of an amused smile touching his lips, "You've talked about it together then. That's good." The elder Cindravale laughs softly, wryly, "At least, I assume it is. I don't have a whole lot more knowledge in these areas than you do. But that feeling, that fear, I think it's a good thing."

Erik can't help but laugh in amusement at Niko's warning, "Apologies, brother. It seems like we both prefer women with a bit of fire. And yes, we've talked about it, was a touchy subject but after we laid it out, it was something we both want to have." When Niko mentions not having as much knowledge as his younger brother had thought, he can only sigh, "I don't think any of us have a lot of knowledge in that area until we actually experience it. What I need your help with, brother, is to pen a letter to both Lady Sir Ibrahm and our father. I have a feeling the former is going to be a lot harder than the latter."

Nikomachos arches his eyebrows at the actual request, a smile rising up to his lips. He claps his left hand onto his thigh with a clatter of metal, "Excellent." Draining away the last of his wine, he sets the glass down, then touches a control inside the neck of his helmet, "AI, forward Erik the letter I sent Father on 11 June, subject line 'A Brief Request.'" A soft chime indicates that the request has been completed, "I wrote the letter to Princess Evony by hand… but it wasn't official. I just knew how busy Father is, and so I wanted to inform her of the request that I hoped would be coming shortly."

Without his armor, Erik has no AI to assist him but luckily they are in his room and his pad is connected to the system wirelessly. Following the chime of completion is a chime of a message with the sender being family, elevating its importance. The younger Cindravale glances to his desk before back to Niko, "I see, that is a good idea. To show that this isn't just some simple political request. Ana had said that she would speak to her mother as well, so… this will be interesting. How did you fin the words to write?"

Nikomachos nods his agreement with the idea of writing ahead, moving over to the side-table with the wine. He doesn't refill his glass, however, instead setting it aside and then moving back to balance carefully on the arm of the chair, "I spent most of the night writing and re-writing, honestly." Niko looks down, studying his gauntlets idly for a long moment, then continues, "I tried to show some of the emotion behind the request, but also provide the political benefits. I mean, I'm sure Father can provide those as well, but I wanted to prime the pump, so to speak." Looking back up again, with a dry smirk crossing his lips, he points out, "After all, it took Father nearly a week to respond."

"A week… the Hostile invasion is definitely taking all of his attention, I do not envy his position. I prefer to be out there in the field than stuck in some war room with a tidal wave of information and updates slamming into you constantly." Erik says before draining the rest of the wine, "It looks like I will be spending most of the night, if not more. Trying to provide the political benefits to an Ibrahm heir is a tall order."

Nikomachos shakes his head in amusement, "You and me both, but we both also know that there's no way he would want to be anywhere else." The question that follows drops Niko into a thoughtful frown again, and he drums the fingers of his left hand atop the armor sheathing his thigh, "Well, they have a tradition of horsemanship just as we do, and whether Princess Janelle or Prince Emund takes the throne, it will be important to have matches across the former lines. And there's always the connection with a son of the Knight Commander. Beyond the fact that we are a Paramount House…"

Erik knows about the Ibrahm's tradition as mounted infantry, "A tradition that is only half completely, they actually stop their horse and dismount before fighting." However, when his brother mentions what the match could bring in the future with the feud going on, that is when the younger Cindravale looks thoughtful. "Thanks, Niko. Hearing all that from you does make it sound a lot better, even if I am just the runt of the family. I'm very glad we had this talk, I really appreciate it but, sadly, if things go well for us both… the Cindravales will have two less to their names."

Nikomachos flashes a smile at the description of Ibrahm fighting, "Not everyone can be smart enough to stay in the saddle, baby brother." Nodding his head slowly at the last point, he sighs, "That is the only downside that I can see to this match if it goes through… I was raised as you were, to defend the Vale. I understand that we're all in this together, but…" his lips twist into a grimace, "…it will feel wrong to not be here between the people of the Vale and the Hostiles, if it comes to that." A mischievous smirk touches his lips, and he cocks an eyebrow, "So, how far up the Falls have you gotten?" A waggle of the elder brother's eyebrows makes it quite clear that he is indeed speaking lasciviously.

"I am sure it will be some time even if our betrothal requests go through before we officially move out, and even then, we are only a waygate away from the fight." Erik says as he knows that losting the Cindravale name is indeed a blow that he will feel, but the gains is definitely worth it in his eyes. As for the question that certainly has another meaning, the younger brother smirks and shakes his head, "The view from the top is amazing, brother, definitely much more amazing than I would have thought. A view that I would not surrender easily."

Nikomachos arches his eyebrows high at the careful wording, laughing richly and nodding his head, "It's amazing how the most difficult climbs can result in the most amazing experiences at the top." Rising up from his seat, he moves over to his brother, offering out a hand to clasp and draw the younger man into a brief, brotherly embrace, "Take care of yourself, baby brother. It would be a crying shame if you got too badly hurt to make it down the aisle."

The empty wine goblet is left on the small table as Erik moves towards his brother when Niko approaches. Taking the hand firmly, the embrace is returned before a nod is offered in answer, "Well, the betrothal is not final yet but don't worry, nothing will keep me from my own wedding, Niko. Thanks again, for everything."

Nikomachos nods his head, slapping his brother's back lightly with one gauntletted hand, then backs up again, "Nothing is ever final. Hell, I still don't know if I'll be getting married to Ellie. Princess Evony is… extremely protective of her children, especially her daughters." A smile spreads across his lips, and he shrugs in a wave of golden fire flashing down the face of his armor as he turns back toward the door, "Only the Six know if I will prove good enough for her eldest daughter."

"We are Cindravale, brother, we are the best. If we aren't good enough for our women, no one else will be." The usual confidence and cockiness to Erik has returned, perhaps a bit relieved after speaking with Niko and being given advice. "Now I have a great task in front of me, to finish the letters before returning to the front and the patrols. I was never great at this stuff but this time, I have the proper motivation."

Nikomachos nods his head, "Says me, says you, and says the rest of the family." He lets that wait for a beat pause, and then adds, "No one else is smart enough to realize it." Nodding, he stops at the door to add, "Stretch your hand between attempts. It'll cramp up otherwise. And yes, I'm speaking from experience." And then he turns around, heading out the door.

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