[P] Delivery and Divulgence
[[Backdated - Wordtober: Macabre]]

It wasn't much, but it was something.

A rolled pack sat on top of the bale on his back with what Pushok managed to collect, hunt and strip down for the family that lived across the Loch. The pale Hushhowl man had explained while working in the DenHouse Clearing, that the supplies needed to be sent now that the Cavaliers had settled and the new Lune was crowned alongside word that things had simmered in the territory. Rather than take Pushok away from his building, being that the Denhouse that had failed had been of his parents creation, he offered to make the day trip instead.

It did come as some surprise that Pushok had trusted him, but the boy was of a different make these days.

Yet, as Zetsubou entered the space where Mistfell Vale once stood, the uncanny nature of it gripped him. In the same aspect as his empty home had been, the Vale was a ghost of itself. The situation hadn't been as macabre as Sapient or what he had heard from the Court, but it was bitter enough for it not to go over Zetsubou's understanding. From what he'd heard, the Merchant was just plain tired of outliving his homes and had grown roots in the place that was now neutral territory. It was stubborn and he didn't quite understand it, but he wasn't going to fault the man. Everyone had their reasons, right?

The town of Winterwynd grew in front of his eyes and while some signs of life were there, it was nothing like it had been before as he'd passed through on his way to Del Cenere. The crest of the sun shined overhead as he found the steps of the Wyvern Church, the name unknown to him. Three heavy raps rattled the door as he kept an eye on his back," Casa di Cavalieri delivery," He spoke up to make it through the door, but not so much as to advertise his presence too far, "Hushhowl's sent me," Despite the fact they lived here, did not mean that others might not pass through in search of an easy target.

Ooc here
Ezra had come in for the heat of the day and he was nearly cleaned up so he could enjoy a moment to sit. Slender hands washed in the bowl aside the door as tall, black ears picked up sound from outside of it. He stepped away and dried them on a cloth that rested in the kitchen and returned it to it's place as the door echoed the sound of knuckles and a voice that was familiar, but not so closely that he could put a face to it.

It was the name Hushhowl that had him pointedly head for the door and open it with a kind expression, clearly ridden with curiosity. It was only after, when he saw the face that stood back, that apprehension filled him. He stepped outside, marbled eyes rather firm on the Cadet that stood before him. It was not lost on him that Mithra was in his care and the connection that the boy shared with Zetsubou. The story that was told him.

“Good afternoon. Zetsubou, forgive my caution. Neutral lands have the effect upon me,” The exhaustion was very obvious on the older man's features and even for a slim breed he was a little more angular than his usual, “Please, set this down here. I'll take the pack. Who was it that gathered these things? I'd like to give you my thanks to return to them.”

The mahogany man relayed the honest information. Pushok, the son of the late Darkness and Hartt. The young man was a friend of his and the name alone offered some respite from the sighthound's suspicion. Crispy, dry hay met the earth and the pack was given to Ezra with little fuss.

“Thank you,” He began, his voice shook from the unexpected weight. The Cavalier must be strong to hold this so easily, he thought. It didn't surprise him. Ezra knew his father just as well, even if he wished he hadn't, “I must ask, if you will forgive me. How is your father?” The polite question rode on the coattails of the fact that Zetsubou might know know of the ugly man's attempt on a Mistwalker, as well as the fact that Ezra had last seen them together after the fall of Sapient, but not once between then and now.

ooc Here

Ezra didn't take long to come to the door, and Zetsu offered him a bright grin that faded only slightly with the merchants strange lack of zealous friendliness. Condolences were offered and it was reason enough for the Cadet to not be offended by it, even if it were strange enough to warrant notice. Yet, there was something else in the dogman's eyes that the Cadet took notice of. The merchant never had a heated gaze before, but this? This was unlike him.

“Pushok gathered everything on his own. He's a hard-working young man,” Bale to earth and pack to Ezra's hands, he finished, “I was surprised that he had actually agree to me delivering them, but they're rebuilding the family home. I didn't want him to miss the build and it seems like he agreed,” The gentle chuckle was a bit forced as he tried in vain to lighten the mood. Ezra's next question, however, had met him like a brick to the chest.

Coincidence was wild in a place like this, so he relented, “I don't doubt that you'll be happy to hear it. Everyone seems to be,” Arms folded across his chest as his eyes slipped down and away from the unusually standoffish man, “Shaamah died. A family grudge came back to him. It was beyond his time to go, anyways,” The weight of everything that had happened, from the youngest moments he'd endured up to the moment that Shaamah's life within the eastern Canadian land was done for, came back in a momentary wash of exasperation in his body language. Shrugged shoulders dropped the weighted subject. There wasn't much that could be done about any of it.

“You don't have to apologize, though. I know why you'd want to know,” Lips tightened on one side of his face, accepting the fact of who his father was, and what he did with his days, “I can also understand if you don't want me around. I know who he was,” Apologetic gaze met Ezra as he took a few paces back from the church, “My presences tends to offend those that remember he and I together. I get it. It's just one of those things I have to live with,” The jingling tekko at his waste was almost like an insult to him after what he'd said. He'd never get free of his father's grip on the people he'd lead to ruin.

“I should go, anyway,” Polite smile met Ezra one last time, a sigh of defeat moved though him all the same when he turned around to make his way home. He didn't want to hurt the relationship that the Hushhowl family and the Vahn House might have with one another, so it was probably for the best that he leave.

Ooc here
There wasn't any particular response that Ezra was looking for, but what the Cavalier spoke did not seem to meet him as well as he thought it would. Shaamah's death was certainly something to celebrate, but the Cadet's discomfiture did not make Ezra pleased to do so in audience. Loss was loss. Zetsubou suffered more than just the death of his father, it seemed. Being the son of a man like that? There was quite a bit of courage in him to continue on.

“Zetsubou, my friend, please. Don't go on your own. Stay here for just a moment,” Taking the pack inside and purposefully closing the door behind him, he situated some things before returning. A bit of dried meat in hand with a waterskin; both were offered to his company before he made way down the path, “Come with me, won't you? We will take the bale to the stable and I will dress Fantasy to walk you back to the Ship,” A gesture came to Zetsubou, for him to follow, and the two made way down the path.

Stories were exchanged between the two, neither of them having much joy in them until the stables were reached. Arrow offered a wave as he passed, taking Muse along to the Mill to rest the other horses, followed in tandem by Fio on Recherchè.

“Hi, Papa!” Fio called brightly, “Hello, Cavalier,” She chimed, waving to the red toned man that bore the signature purple cloak of Casa's kind.

The two men waved kindly before entering the doors left open for them, and Ezra turned to Zetsubou to reignite their conversation, “You are not the only one to be done wrong by the hand of snakes,” He spoke, “They are a cruel bunch and despite they're claims? Not a bit of wealth amid them. It all seems to be show. Shallow hearts. Cold shoulders. I can see why your father would take you there. Why he'd make you that. What a burden that must be,” A hand gestured to the rest of the bales as Zetsu nodded painfully to his comment.

His voice rose as space came between the two, his hands soon busy with Fantasy and her tack, “I can also see why you might not speak of it in your home. Your secret is safe with me. It is something that some do not need to know,” The truth of his own suffering was realized, that he couldn't explain what those fools had done to him over false accusation. Fiora's life, and by acquaintance, Fiorenza and Arrow's life as well, could be at stake.

“The fact that you returned home to right what you believe was your own fault... It speaks a great deal of who you truly are beneath what you've gone through,” Leather croaked as he tightened the saddle and Fantasy's body shivered with the motions, twitches of her flanks ending when the saddle was settled, “You're a good man, Zetsubou. Lady Hushhowl is well off to have you, and your step-bother? It is kind of you to give him a chance.”

The Indigo mare was dressed and Ezra climbed atop her, Zetsubou at their side, “Are you sure you won't ride?”

ooc Here

It was nice to have someone to talk to, and perhaps, he'd said a bit too much. Those fears were quickly dissolved once they were under the roof of the stable. Not only did it seem like Ezra understood, but it was extremely comforting to know that the merchant wasn't about to abuse the information he'd gained. Beyond all that, the man had nothing but praise for him. Zetsu offered the man a crooked, pleasant grin to the compliments that he'd received,” Thank you, Ezra.”

When the man was up on his horse and ready to go, Zetsu shook his head, “I don't think that would be a good idea. I don't mind walking, though. It's nice to go where I please, when I please,” He noted, his history riddled with a copious lack of freedoms. As they set off at a comfortable pace between the to of them, Zetsu's expression shifted to a more curious nature.

“So, I have to ask,” The image of the mill was in the distance, the two that had passed shuffled the horses around just barely out of view, “What made you stay? After.... everything?”

Perhaps the question was a big bold, but as long as they were having such a heart to heart conversation, he wanted to know, “You remember Sapient, right? We really didn't have a desire to stay after what the Sagax had been found guilty of, but had it simply been a call to adventure? I don't think we would have stayed, either way. I wouldn't have, if I had the choice, anyway,” Fond memories of Sapient weren't exactly something that found him in his spare time.

Sights returned to the poet, brows lifted, “Wouldn't it be easier to find a pack to operate out of? Safer, for your family?” The questions all came out of one single event that could topple his own life into chaos. If the Cavaliers fell to ruin, as had been dangerously close with the loss of the Lune, what could he do to protect his own family but harbor them in a place that had territory and guardsmen? He couldn't be around them constantly, and the idea that being away from them could mean someone there to keep them safe? He couldn't image if he needed to make that choice. No, they weren't weak by any means, but things happened. Less things happened in a pack. For the most part, at least.

Ooc here
A chuckle slipped through his narrow muzzle when it was explained to him why the Cadet declined, “I understand,” Warmer tones than had met Zetsubou at the Wyvern Church came, and the merchant was feeling more like himself with a break from the focus of his work and someone so open to speak to.

When a return inquiry met him, though, Ezra's mirth seemed to wane, “I could not forget Sapient. It was a shame what happened there,” The response came with what he understood could have been baseless rumors, but considering how it was said in the current moment, it seemed the grapevine could have truths in it.

When Zetusbou finished, one of Ezra's fingers tugged down on the collar of his shirt. It exposed the long scar there that disappeared beneath the blue tinted fabric and the wooden pendant that decorated him, “The Frithr is my gift from Vinatta's disbandment. The scar, of the Court. I've had many places that I've called my home before then, as well. A ship's cabin, a shanty in ruin on the docks,” His hand came free of his shirt, “The hay loft of a stable. Many nights in inns, and many nights beneath the stars with nothing over my head. Nothing is forever.”

Glimpses of the places he'd live, the places he left behind replayed in his mind. Most of them were lonely places, and some, with a friend, “The place isn't what matters and safety? The news you share of Sapient, of your Lune, what I know of other places in this land alone do not mislead me into the belief that a territory marked is any safer than that without,” It could be the negative impact of all he'd gone through that lead him to this understanding, but it was his reality. He could not forget the harrowing brushes with death, or the time and distance between he and Fiora that had ended her in a slaver camp and himself at the hands of lesser men, “Our means are here. We do not live in excess, and it is work, but both of these things are good lessons for my daughter and Arrow. Should I be gone and they be left with nothing, I at least know that they can make something of it. They have what I have built for them. That alone will feed them until they have a place to go.”

A sigh poured from his maw as he shook his head, “I dreamed of being a miller. Twice I built it in the adoration of who I wanted to be. Ragnarok, the red star, took one from me, and the Court fell before I could build again. The Vale held fast and helped me with many kind souls on the one I built here, and I realized, it isn't simply a dream anymore,” Jaded laugh broke his speech for just a moment and he looked down at Zetsubou, “I'm an old man, my friend. I do not pretend that my dusty old dream means anything to me anymore. The fall of the Vale made me realize this. That dream? It is for my family to have something when I go. Here? I can give that to them. Should I leave? Well, whatever place I may find could fall. They're future is more potent here, than anywhere else, even if the idea of danger is, as well.”

Zetsubou didn't seem to like the answer, but it was the honesty in it that made it valuable. The Cadet would know that no pack lasted forever. He had plenty of example for that, “The world isn't safe, anywhere, my friend. Odds that you will survive are greatly hinged on what you can do for yourself. Some fight. Some craft. Those that fight may protect those that craft, and some, the other way around,” A more genuine laugh came from him as he noted the irony in that the craftsmen was walking the warrior back to his boat, “I do not claim to know what is best, but I know what I know. If I can do anything for them, I can pass knowledge unto them. My success means only as much as what they can do with it.”


Forum Jump: