View Full Version : I Can't Do This, Brother... (2/16, Morning, Zacharias/Edmond)
02-07-2011, 02:22 PM
Now Rhaeger made his way back towards Orqua, Zach had been left to his own devices to return to Tiga. Back to the front lines, where he was counted on to be the buffer in the way of the Castells, should it come to that, but also to govern and manage his province against the civil war that now threatened to engulf them. It was a lot for one man, especially being as new to strategy and warfare as Zach was. His garrison, to put it bluntly, was a mess. All newly conscripted mixed with hearty veterans. The only thing still holding it together was Joss' upbringing of such Military standards.
He was learning, that much was true, which was good as he had always been quick to pick up new information and absorb it. But to actually order men to their deaths? The very thought of it was giving him nightmares. He had always been a sociable man, believing everyone had a story, everyone was to be cherished for their unique opinions. Now he was to be the reason they were to be cut short? To look them in the eyes and tell them to charge, to fight, to die. To act to their family as though it was normal, that it was honourable? He was proud of his family, of his nobility, but it was always the poor who suffered when armies collided.
Zach wasn't sure he still had the heart for it. It wasn't that he wouldn't, or couldn't do it, but with Zach it was about who he was. He would not break, would never compromise who he was in such a way to change. There was nothing wrong with him, no matter what any said, but when he looked at Rhaeger and the cold exterior, the carefree attitude that he took up the mantle that Chris had given him...Zach refused to believe that was in the best interests of the family. Sure, he should advise them for the Military, but for him to serve as such a crutch to Chris in such a dark time? It would only lead to pain and death, with naught but a stoic expression. Death, on such a scale as it would be, should be done with a heavy yet resolved heart. not a detached attitude. After all, when all the enemies were slain, what good was detachment then?
There was only one man he could put his hope in. His elder brother, the strongest and best of all Chris's relatives. Their family was naturally strong with himself, Ed and Quinn all having the willpower to match even the gods themselves, but willpower did no good when it was simply being tested daily. So he found himself in Dvanna on his way back to Tiga. He entered the castle with little ceremony, but made sure to follow all the etiquette neccessary when he approached his brother's study, speaking to the guards positions outside.
"Is Lord Edmond here? It is but his brother, Zacharias. I need to speak to him, if he is available?"
02-08-2011, 02:43 AM
“I am available,” Edmond said, having heard him at the door. He rose from his chair, not at all liking the tone of Zacharias’ voice, and immediately walked up to him. “Get out,” he said to the guards who immediately complied and closed the door behind them.
“Zach, sit down. You look pale,” he said, pushing him towards one of the chairs. Walking to the corner of his desk, he grabbed for the pitcher of water and poured Zacharias a glass before taking the seat across from him.
“You seem as if you’ve seen a ghost…” Though these days it was not so unlikely. “What has happened?”
02-08-2011, 03:48 PM
It would have been stupid to deny his brother's observations. If not a ghost, he had certainly seen an indescribable horror. He had been filling his days, each and every one, with sword fighting and tactical studies, squeezing every drop he could inbetween his normal duties. It was wearing on him, as Edmond's observations pointed out. His sleep, what little of it he was getting anyway, were punctuated by worse nightmares than Zach had ever experienced. He was torn between how to act with Ed, though, for surely his brother would be disappointed to learn he was being so weak. Chris surely would have been. He opted for the stronger option. Zach would never be as strong as his brother if he didn't act it. Though apparently his legs disagreed, as they allowed him to be pushed back into the seat.
His eyes were sunken, his skin pale and his hair tousled from a long ride and consecutive bad night's sleep. Edmond was a saint for not saying he looked the wreck that he knew he did, especially since Zach was more naturally geared to looking immaculate. His clothes were still impeccable, not a crease, but the contrast was remarkable. The trademark smile of the younger Mallory remained though, the shield and endearment that he hid behind and comforted others with serving as just what he needed. He withdrew the fan from his side and began to waft it gently in what was a deliberate, if subtle, infinity loop. It was a habit he had with the cane, when he was feeling particularly vulnerable. It helped to soothe him.
"I am fine, dear brother. Just tired from the long ride. Are you well?" He wanted to start things off lightly. He would not have used the fated sentence of needing to speak to his brother unless it was important, but there was time to be brothers, surely...
02-12-2011, 12:38 PM
Was he well? There was quite a question. The answer more elusive than ever. No, Edmund was not nearly so well as he looked. It was an incredible contrast, the brothers. Zacharias was one to wear his heart on his sleeve, whether or not he knew it. When his brother was feeling at odds or ill, it most definitely came through, the weariness and anxiety clear to Edmund who knew him so well. However, for his part, he was much better at hiding it… But not necessarily for the sake of hiding it. It had just simply been his way. The way that Jason had been. The way that Edvard had been. Most of the older Mallorys carried themselves in such a way that they seemed invincible… Christopher perhaps the youngest of the brood to do so. Though, to be fair, the women really had no need, though Cidney did quite a job of carrying on like the men.
Edmond had dressed well that morning. Adorned in a crimson tunic lined with gold, his boots polished, his hair combed. He walked tall, his chest out, head held high. But really, all he wanted to do was collapse in bed beside his wife, hold her, make her better. The death of Odelia had affected more than one person in this house… And while he was scared for how it had shaken his cousin, he was terrified for how it broke his wife.
“You don’t look fine,” he said, deflecting. “Are you sleeping, well, Zach? You look like a few more hours would do you good.” He knew there was more to it. Zach rarely ever sought anybody out looking so disheveled.
02-21-2011, 03:47 AM
Zach allowed himself a weak smile. Ed could tell something was wrong with Zach, that much was clear. To be fair, he wasn't making much of an effort, but what point was there to making oneself look smart and presentable when all that's going to happen is you ending up a mess from practicing anway? That or...Zach didn't even want to think about it.
"I just have a lot to learn and no time to do it in. But I won't let our house down, brother. There is not enough hours for that and rest, so I dispense with the rest."
When it came to their support for each other, they had grown up close enough to gain at least a bit of an understanding for the other. Ed had changed when his wife had died but Zach had learned to pick up on actions and words by that point. What his brother was leaving unsaid was as great a giveaway as if he had just answered it directly.
"I can't help but notice you dodged my question expertly, which is not like you, Ed. What's wrong?"
02-24-2011, 01:11 AM
Edmund frowned at him. Zacharias had a great deal of confidence in so much, and normally he walked around with his chest puffed out, his head held high, and a smile that unwittingly gave the proverbial finger to all those who dared condescend to him or think him strange. So it was strange now to see him carry around such doubt. So strange that Edmund was at a loss in terms of telling him what to do. He hated not having the answers for his brother.
“Surely if Christopher did not believe you capable of manning the border, he would not have named you the lord of the Tiga. Somehow, he believed you to be more capable than Lord Yronwood, and so if that is the case, brother, then perhaps it is time for some introspection. You’re the only one who does not see how you would benefit the family by being there.” He shook his head and sighed. “You need rest, Zacharias. What good is your sharp mind if it’s been addled?”
He frowned again and looked away. “Claire is ill…” he said simply.
02-24-2011, 03:13 AM
His mind was a conflict. Deep down he knew his cousin cared for them, that he was locked in grief and had no particular desire to seem weak, that his previous word had been infallible. But things were changing and Zach couldn't help but think he'd soon become a relic.
"When he appointed me, we weren't at war." he shrugged and shook his head, knowing his next words might be cruel for his brother. They needed to be said though, for who else could be speak to like such if not? "And you still had his ear, brother.."
Zach fanned himself idly and rubbed his heavy eyes with the back of his hand, the movement feeling as though he was pulling sandpaper across them. When he had made a conscious effort to talk to Claire at the start of the month, she had fallen ill then too. Plus, those red blotches...he had been researching to see if he could help, but nothing had become apparent about why it was. Ed would have know that Zach was with Claire back then, so he felt no particular difficulty in revealing that information.
"Again? Is it...the same problem?"
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