Participants:

Luthor_icon.gif Valentin_icon.gif

Scene Title Perspective
Synopsis Luthor comes to deliver some packages and some awkward topics of conversation come up.
Location Gallows
Date Harvestmere 10 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Tytos being adorable, as per usual. A sword being sassy, as per usual.
Logger Valentin

It wasn't freedom, but minding the stalls out in the Gallows was actually one of Valentin's favorite tasks. It's outdoors, he can move, there are people he doesn't normally get to see… Sure, he has to face the reality of Tranquil existing, but he can live with that. Overcast and humid, Harvestmere's chill has set in properly now. The past week has seen rain on and off, but today has been dry. Technically, he's minding the stalls, but the Enchanter has started to make a loop around the Gallows for the sake of his own inability to sit still. Well, that and the fact that a large pawed lionette cub seems to be leading the way. Tufted tail flicking, a collar of silver and ceramic beads jingling around his neck, he plods along, sniffing at anything interesting and chirruping back to the curly haired mage following, smiling, in his wake.

Luthor Traske is a mercenary — a man who is paid, by definition, to perform tasks. Certainly it's true that the most common tasks he performs are violent ones — the armor he wears, the magnificent sword that's slung over his shoulder are a testament to that. But today, he's lugging packages. He has a pair of them under his right arm and he's looking around the Gallows, looking a bit lost. Here comes an enchanter with a lionette cub. Luthor stays perfectly still, watching the pair approach. And then he clears his throat. "Excuse me, sir?" Pure Ferelden, his accent. "I'm lookin' for a man named Valentin. A mage. Wonderin' if you know him."

And approach they do, because the lionette has spotted the new person. He's a curious creature, not unlike the mage that follows behind. Trotting over toward Luthor, Tytos chirps, sniffing at the air around the Ferelden man. And Valentin was following at an easy pace, and the Gallows have a lot of sounds, especially when he is walking. So between the cleared throat and Tytos' chirping being sent in a different direction, there is a very small moment of surprise from Valentin, mint green eyes blinking a few times. It makes him pause, turning toward Luthor, and his gaze settling just over his right shoulder. "Ah…" He says, smiling suddenly, "I do know a man by that name, yes. What is it you need from him?" Mischief. Pure mischief, this one.

Luthor doesn't answer right away — instead, he crouches down to meet Tytos, reaching out to stroke the animal's head. "Hello, mate," the armored soldier croons. He seems perfectly enchanted by the cub, stroking the side of its head. "Oh. My employer sent me over wi' some treats for the fellow," he says absently. "Some marshberries and a bundle of perch." He glances up and keen blue eyes lock onto Valentin's. He studies that smile deliberately for a long few moments. "She said they were to be delivered only to Valentin. Last chance before the cold really sets in for these berries."

When Luthor crouches, Valentin turns his head down and just slightly to the left, and that smile turns into a smirk. "This is Tytos." He says with a nod toward the cub. And though Luthor may look up to him, Valentin doesn't meet his eye. "Ohhh…" He says with a small laugh, "Yes, I do remember that." His hands spread before him in acceptance. "Well, you have luck today, as it turns out, I happen to be Valentin." Tytos, for his part, is quite enthralled with being pet. He chirps, but it cracks, broken by the deeper sounds that he will eventually make more reliably. Not now, though, now he's still got his cub spots, and these big golden eyes that, while his mage may not meet Luthor's gaze, these certainly do. All bright and welcoming, before he turns himself in circles under Luthor's hand.

"Hello, Tytos." Luthor strokes the lionette a few more times before he looks up again, shifting to face the mage full-on. "Thought you might be," he replies cheerfully. "I do know a man by that name, yes," he mocks, in a passable Orlesian imitation. "That's the funny thing about you folks. Y'think you're the only one who's ever watched a romance. Mistaken identity, men as women, blah blah. Yeah. I've seen Orlesian opera." He's still grinning, perfectly content to play with the adorable animal. He lays down the two packages. "Listen to you, Tytos," he says softly. "Singing away. Just beginnin' to notice the girl-lionettes, huh? I remember."

"Well, I have spent the last five years in Orlais, but I am hardly Orlesian myself, so I am not sure what you mean by 'you folks.'" Valentin says on a laugh, shaking his head. He turns a little, but again his gaze settles just slightly to the right of Luthor's face. The sun kissed skin, the wild black curls, he doesn't look Orlesian. Though, without all the beads and braids and daring cut of clothing, pinning down his actual country of origin may not be easiest thing, especially with his paleness. Tytos purrs under this attention, and then flops onto the flagstones on his side, tail thumping against the ground in a lazy rhythm. Valentin smirks, letting his hands fall back, his left hand fidgetting with a ring upon his finger, large, gold and ruby and a bright center stone rarely seen outside of Orlesian heirlooms. "Sadly, no lionesses up here in the Free Marches."

"Honestly, mate, I meant mages. Or everyone else who thinks they're cleverer'n me. To be fair, that's.. everyone. And they're almost always right." Luthor is still grinning, still playing with Tytos, and still studying Valentin. The way the other man just slightly fails to meet his gaze, the clothing, all come under consideration. "So you and Aeryn, you're friends, then." The remark is casual, and rather obvious, but it's also a question. He glances down at Tytos. "You're destined for a frustatin' life, mate," he tells the lionette. Stroking and petting in equal measure, he continues. "It's hard. Not bein' able to be with the ones y'want." The words are to the lionette, and to himself as well. "Mebbe you'll learn to love wildcats, mate. Eh? Love the ones you're with."

There is a very small twitch at the corner of Valentin's eye at that. Mages. Of course he did. And he tries to quell the huff that follows, but he fails. "I am sure that the Lieutenant to whom he belongs will make sure he has plenty of socialization." He says. It's the easier thing to address, it gives him time, a buffer, to collect his thoughts for anything else, because his mind had just come to a halt for a moment there. That ring upon his finger is turned in toward his palm, and he closes his fist, though not tightly. Tytos, though, he seems perfectly content to just lay there on the flagstones. Though his ear twitches, and something in Valentin's tone makes the lionette lift his head, looking back and up at his mage and chirruping inquisitively. That brings some of his smile back. "I think friends is a strong term." Valentin says, "Tytos introduced himself to Tiene, and she asked me for a favor, and when I agreed, she promised me marshberries and Tytos perch. I believe that was the sum total."

Luthor looks up for a moment, fixing his gaze on Valentin. He sees that closed fist and, perhaps, he knows what it means. "Mages are," he says quite softly, "always smarter'n me. That's all I meant by it." And the man seems sincere in that; he rises slowly, looking down at Tytos. "I saw the Orlesian opera," he says after a moment. "And I didn't understand a bit of it. Completely over my head." He's offering up his own embarrassment as a sort of salve. There's another brief pause as Luthor rubs at his stubble. "I'm a hammer in a world of knives," he muses. "And all the nails are hid." Reaching to scratch his cheek, he says, suddenly quite serious, "She's hired me to keep her safe. May I ask what the favor was?"

If Valentin catches Luthor looking to his hand, he doesn't let on. In fact, a moment later it's released, the ring returning to being fiddled with, spun around his finger in a nervous habit. Valentin takes a deep breath, holds it, and exhales audibly. "Mages, while many in the Circle have a good deal of education because much of how we spend our time is with books, are not inherently more or less clever simply by being mages." He answers with a small shake of his head, "But I can recognize that you did not mean offense." Tytos stands when Luthor rises, moving to rub himself along Valentin's leg through his robes, chirruping up at him about things of Great Kittenish Importance, surely. For now, Valentin pays them little mind. "I am a Healer of the Circle, such things are private matters. If she wishes you to know, I imagine she will tell you."

A long silence. Luthor is gauging the other man now, and despite his claims, there is a sharp intelligence to his gaze. Finally, he ventures, "Someone wants her dead. And I do not know who." He reaches up to touch the hilt of his sword, grimacing as a crackling sound emanates from the weapon. "I won't ask the details of the injury — I'll have that from my employer, as you say — but can y'tell me, sir, this much? Was it a blade?"

If Valentin realizes that intelligence, he also does not let on to that. In fact, he doesn't watch the other man at all. No, his gaze has settled well and truly just to the right of Luthor's mouth, and there it remains. Though there are little movements, tilts of his head at sounds around them, a widening of his stance as Tytos continues to rub against his mage's leg. On closer inspection, there are a number of little details about the mage that might be otherwise overlooked. His fingers are ink stained, and so are his robes, though mostly in places that are hard to notice due to embroidery. The ring on his finger is worn often enough to have made a tan line. His posture is good, but with the loose joints of a sailor, and for the very observant, right around his brows, and around his lips, and on one side of his nose, are very faint scars where once there had been piercings. His gaze does not track the reach to his weapon as most people's would. And the sound of crackling electricity actively makes Valentin tense, and take a step backward. There's another deep breath, much like the one before, then. "My magic has never touched her, the favor was not in regards to a wound. If you want any other details, I suggest you ask her." He says, and his tone is serious and curt and more than a little bit wary.

"I'll do as you propose, then, friend." Luthor glances up to the sword at his shoulder, which seems to have caused the man's tension, then back to Valentin. He's noted these details in his scrutiny, surely — but he doesn't seem to quite know what to make of them, nor of the man's reaction. "It's the sword," he explains tentatively. "She has a mind of her own — I think literally — and she ain't forgiven me yet that I'm not her previous owner. That's all it is. She just reminds me now and again." He considers for a few moments, then sighs, looking down at the ground for a spell. "I apologize. I keep makin' things worse when I'm not meanin' to. If the favor didn't have t'do with keepin' her alive, Valentin, then it's none'a my business and I won't pry. My focus is very, very, narrow."

Valentin's fear is the quickest way to get Tytos' behavior to change. The minute his mage takes a step back, the lionette's ears go down, and he steps in front of the Enchanter, dropping his weight between his shoulders and looking up at Luthor. He's just old enough to not go scurrying behind Valentin's robes. But the explanation comes and Valentin breathes a sigh of relief. He bends to scoop the protective cub up into his arms, nuzzling into warm kitten fur, and saying something quietly to him in what sounds like Orlesian. Then, though, he turns his attention back to Luthor. "It may be, but you are still better suited simply finding out from her. I am not the source you should be asking." He says, "I do not know her well. I have met her once, and her secrets are not mine to share."

"I completely respect that," says Luthor quietly. He rubs again at the stubble on his cheek, eyeing Tytos speculatively. "That animal loves you," he says, smiling. And there's even a trace of wistfulness in his voice. He looks at Valentin and tilts his head. "Alright," he says after awhile. "I gotta ask. What was it you thought I was doin' when Dragonstorm here let me know she's irked with me? Again." He pats the sword-hilt again — gets zapped again, mutters something that sounds rather foul, then summons his smile again. "If it's another thing I oughtn't ask, I apologize. Just curious."

"Yes, he does." Valentin says, scratching Tytos behind the ears as the lionette calms and then clambers halfway onto his shoulder, wide golden eyes sweeping across the Gallows, "I have helped raise him since he was very, very small." There's a smile at that thought, the memory of a squirming baby being placed in his arms only a few months ago. Lionette tail returns to it flicking, this time quicker, curious and excited by the world around him. Valentin still isn't looking at Luthor, though this time it's because he turns his head toward Tytos, nuzzling against the distracted cub's neck. "I was not sure." He answers then, quieter, "All I knew is that there was suddenly the sound of electricity, and that is rarely a safe sound."

Grinning sourly, Luthor says, "Absolutely the fact. When Mer..my friend handed me this thing the first time, and she zapped me, I thought it'd fade. Well, bein' honest, I never thought I'd have to hold Dragonstorm again. But life happens." His sour expression doesn't let up. "I suppose I should be lucky, eh? She zaps almost everyone else so badly that they can't see straight." A thought seems to strike him suddenly. "Hey! Your Circle have anyone who's really good at understanding magical weapons? Maybe someone could tell me what I gotta do to convince her to stop shocking me."

Honestly, the Enchanter doesn't know much what to say to that, so he simply doesn't, nodding instead. "Life, indeed, does have a tendency to do that." He says quietly, resting his head against the cub in his arms, closing his eyes, and seeming to take simple solace in the warm, sweet smell of kitten fur. Truthfully, his expression in that moment is more a father with a child than someone with a pet, though he doesn't quite seem to notice that is the case. At that question, though, he laughs. "I do not know. It is not my area of expertise." He answers, "You could try writing to the First Enchanter to request aid from the Circle."

"Hm. Seems more.. complicated than I would like. Still, thank you. I'll consider that." Luthor gives a wry look over his shoulder. But he softens as he watches Valentin with Tytos, smiling hugely. The sweetness of the moment seems to sink through his ill humor and erode it away entirely, returning him to a smoother equilibrium. "Maybe I ought to get a pet," he muses after a moment. "A dog. I always wanted a Mabari, but Pa could never afford one." He's watching Tytos speculatively. "I don't suppose those lionettes are easy t'come by."

At that, Valentin laughs a little. "No, I am afraid not. They're only bred in Orlais. Tytos is from Jader, specifically. And they are generally prohibitively expensive." He says, continuing to be just as sweet with Tytos. "But I am sure there are a number of places you could pick up a pet in the city. They are a worthwhile investment, if you have the time to care for them." Tytos chirps at a passing bird, trying to scramble up higher, unsuccessfully, making Valentin laugh again. "One of the Knight Captains has a mabari, his name is Dane. Very sweet. Perhaps she would know someone."

"Oh? Could y'give me her name, sir? That'd be very kind." Luthor smiles suddenly. "I just got paid, see, sir. First time I haven't had to fight in the Pit. Now I can just go bet on that crazy elf." His smile widens into a full grin, and he begins to chuckle. And then he stops, wiping a hand across his face. "..Anyway. Your lionette came from — Where was it? Jader? You're likely right, mate. I could never afford Tytos." Grinning again, he says "Wait. You said it was a.. lieutenant's pet?"

"Knight Captain Isolde Wulff." Valentin answers then, and that's likely not a name Luthor would be unfamiliar with. An Arl's daughter, the Knight Captain isn't easy to miss. Besides, a Ferelden name like that this far north stuck out. "I hope you find a friend that suits you." Valentin runs his hand down Tytos' back, soothing his excited spirit. He nods then. "Yes, he is Lieutenant Garou's, but I have known the Lieutenant for many years, and I mind Tytos when the Lieutenant is busy."

"Isolde Wulff." Luthor falls silent for a few beats, his features growing pensive. "I know the family," he finally says. "I met the Arl at Denerim. Just briefly, after it was all done." His tone is carefully neutral; Luthor glances back at Tytos and smiles, relaxing somewhat. "I'll track her down and ask her. Thank you, Valentin." At the explanation, he nods several times. "Garou. Not a name I've heard, but he's got good taste in friends. And pets." His head shifts slightly as he tracks a passing Templar, sizing them up without seeming to realize that he's doing it. "I'd enjoy meetin' the man sometime. To be frank, I'm not often around professional soldiers anymore. And I, well.. sort of miss it."

"Not many Fereldens I know would hear a name as Orlesian as his and be inclined to meet him." Valentin says, raising a brow, though still not looking at Luthor. In fact, his eyes are still closed for another moment. But Tytos has gotten exuberant enough to dislodge his affectionate leaning, and they open as he smiles. "As for soldiers, there's a man named Tyce, who you might want to introduce yourself to. If that is the sort of companionship you seek, and I think he could use the friend. May also know where to find yourself a dog in this city, he has a delightful mop of a hound named Balai." He bends to set Tytos down, then, and the cub goes back to busying himself on the ground, and Valentin seems content to let him. He's still too young to worry about wandering off too far, he's too skittish still.

"Tyce. Heard the name, yeah." Luthor considers for a few moments, then rolls his neck to one side. "Truth is, mate, two years ago, Id've spat on an Orlesian. Wouldn't have even crossed the street to piss on one, were he afire." He folds his arms loosely across his chest. "But I left Ferelden behind, Valentin. Orlesians occupied that land, not Kirkwall. And Kirkwall's my home now." An odd deviance from the man who goes out of his way to feed and protect Fereldan refugees. "So. Short of it is, I get t'have all the friends I like now. Ferelden killed the last hero of the Orlesian war, anyway." A loose, heavy, shrug. "Anyway, I've heard'a Tyce from a few people. Haven't had the pleasure, though."

Valentin takes a deep breath. Not the exasperated sort that come before, more thoughtful this time. "I honestly cannot say I have an understanding of that conflict. I spent five years in Orlais, but my time in Ferelden was brief, and I am Rivaini. I am glad to hear, however, that you have found enough perspective to see past that history." Then, though he nods, and… Again, over that same right shoulder goes his gaze. "Yes, I imagine that plenty of people would think you two might be suited. I certainly agree with them."

"They occupied us. Crushed us down. Teyrn Loghain of Gwaren — course, he wasn't Teyrn yet — drove them out with the king." Luthor waves a hand absently, as though this is all ancient history. But there's pain in his voice as he continues. He can't quite hide it. "The the king drowned, Teyrn Loghain was killed, the Hero who killed him died, and the new king's uncle is now regent. That's the story in total." There's something subtle in the way he says 'new king', a certain scorn that he simply can't conceal. "Perspective. Mebbe." Clearing his throat, he says "Anyhow. I'll look for Tyce. But I'd enjoy meetin' your friend, too. If he could stomach meetin' me."

There are some things you just don't argue with people. The occupation and warring of their homeland is one of them, and even Valentin, who sometimes fails spectacularly at tact, knows that much. So when Luthor tells his abridged version of events, Valentin just listens. There's a deep breath at the end there, and he considers for a moment before responding. "That sounds like a very difficult time to live in Ferelden, I hope that you can find peace with it someday." That's the best he has to offer. "Well, perhaps you will run into him someday. He is… Well, he is what he is." He tries to keep the fondness from his voice, he does, but for the observant, it isn't perfect, "Perhaps you two will find common ground, perhaps you will not."

"I hope so. You seem t'like him quite well. And I like making friends." Luthor finds a way to return the smile to his face; he offers his hand out toward Valentin. "I hope I've made one with you, mate. Y'ever need anything an old soldier can help with, y'let me know. Maybe sometime I'll need healin' and remember and come lookin' for you. I always feel better knowing the Healer who's workin' on me." He clears his throat. "Anyway. I best be going."

"He is a good man." Valentin says, still failing to remove the fondness from his tone. There is a point, where Valentin has learned someone's movements enough, where he can place them and their gesturing through sound, but it takes awhile. Handshakes were the bane of his existence. There's no glance to his hand, and Valentin does not engage with it, though he seems as though he has not been offended at all, as well. "Most people do." Valentin says with a nod, "It was good to meet you, serah." That even seems genuine, and yet there Luthor's hand sits.

Luthor looks down at his hand, and then back to Valentin's face. Blankness for a moment. Finally, he says very gently, "It was a pleasure to meet you as well. Valentin, if y'don't mind my sayin'.. y'hide your blindness very well." Clearing his throat, the man turns to walk away, making a point of scuffing his heel on the ground. "I look forward to seein'—speakin' with you.. sometime soon."

It always does take people a minute. Valentin shakes his head. "That is shocking." Valentin says, tone different somehow much hard to place, not offense, not jest, not snide, just… Different. Sideways. "As I am not trying to hide it." But he doesn't stop Luthor's leaving, just turns in the direction of Tytos' jingling collar and crouches. "Tytos, allons-y, canard." He calls to the lionette, who ceases in his playing and bounds back to his mage.


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