Sitting at NoT killing back and forth with Dato, when:
15) Benedicto: "Listen, we've never really gotten on. I understand that. So what I'm about to say
may sound odd but...what is happening with you? These mad attacks on Enorian. It is not like the Rashar I thought I disliked. I at least respected that Rashar. This new person you've become is...something else entirely."
I phase, head to Eno. Message him about guards and yada, he invites me to the Shining Trident.
You have emoted: Slipping back into the here and now, Rashar is already walking across the bar. Minus the coat, he rolls his shoulders easily and glances around, eyebrows lifted as he surveys the area. And then Benedicto. "Feller," he greets with a lightning-quick grin as he sinks down into a large chair on the backside of a table, facing the door. His arm comes up, slender but still large, and indicates the seat across from him.
Benedicto watches you carefully, as one might watch a rabid animal, unsure of how it will act. As you seats youself, he moves to the bar, nodding a familiar greeting at Brayth, the bartender. [Now I know why you chose this place, you cheap showoff!]
Benedicto takes his beer in one hand and walks over to take the seat opposite you.
You have emoted: "Times must be hard," Rashar notes as he observes Benedicto receive the free beer. He seems completely unperturbed by Benedicto's gaze, by the strange look or the hesitation.
"Rather, I say never look a gift horse in the mouth." Benedicto responds with a tight smile, raising the tankard to his lips and taking a small sip. "I am here in the interests of Enorian." He states bluntly, though he hesitates before adding somewhat awkwardly, "And because I treated Nola badly and I believe that this, perhaps, is a way I can make amends."
You have emoted: "You and Enorian both," Rashar states quietly, leaning forward now. His forearms come to rest on the edge of the table, and his light demeanor dissipates in an instant - gone with the same rapidity with which his eyes sink down into a deeper dark, a very dark gray bordering on pitch. "I might have stayed, were it not for the way you all treated her, Benedicto. Might have ground my teeth and took a vacation from the disgust I felt every day of waking."
"I would be wary of how you bandy around that 'you' word, Rashar." Benedicto responds mildly, taking another sip of his beer. "I was not here for the situations that led to your departure. I had no hand in it."
You have emoted: Rashar tilts his head slightly, meeting Benedicto's gaze unflinching. "And would you have stood beside her, then? Would you have called out your city for the sake of your friend?" Silence descends, weighted. It is clear that the Idreth has more to say, but just as clear he isn't ready to say it. Not quite. He leans back, weight causing a creak in the chair he sits on, and idly flicks at the edge of the table. "I think you might have," he admits. A twitch in his lips follows, and he adds, "I think some of those fools worship you nearly as devoutly as they worship their Gods - certainly, if it had been you to speak on it, someone may have listened."
Benedicto seems slightly surprised by your admission, the beer in his tankard nearly slopping onto his surcoat. He recovers after a moment of stun and gives a nod in reply to your question. "As you say, I stand for what I believe is right. Not what a group of people tell me what I must believe is right. I would have stood with my friend, against any persecution."
You have emoted: "I've never considered you anything less than a man of integrity," Rashar notes, finger still dragging along the wood. He seems amused more than anything at Benedicto's display of surprise. "An oversized, egotistical unicorns maybe. But, eh. We all have our flaws, yeah?" Reaching down, he slides his dirk free - sheath and all - and tosses it onto the table so that he can adopt a slightly crooked lounge, one arm draped over the back of the chair. "What do you want, Benedicto?"
"The only thing about that differs between your assessment of me and mine of you is just that I'm oversized." Benedicto quips in reply, eyeing the dirk as it is placed on the table. "I am here
because I would protect my citizens. But also because I would protect your future too." He sits forward, his pearl-white eyes blazing with enthusiasm. "Enorian is on the cusp of an awakening I feel. Change is in the air and I think that it will lead to a new age of enlightenment within the
city. One of more...openness."
You have emoted: "Want to protect your citizens," Rashar mutters stubbornly, "Tell them to quit running their mouths and making threats if they can't fight and don't care to leave the Godsdamned city." He moves to cross his arms, jaw set, but seems to realize it at the last minute and scowls, glaring over as if daring Benedicto to say anything. It takes him a second, but he lets out a long sigh and reaches up, dragging his fingers through silvery gray hair. "I'll believe that when I see it," he says, firmer but still tinged with bitterness.
Benedicto gives a faint shrug, though his expression seems one of acceptance of your doubt. "I cannot guarantee anything obviously, but with a referendum in the works about letting all those who live within the city, dependent on their being pardoned for past crimes of course, it means that the city can take it's first step away from the closeted mindset that it has developed over the last few centuries and return to being a place of true light. Where life actually can be experienced instead of safeguarded like it were your daughters virtue, jealous of any imagined threat to it!" At some point during his words he stands,, waving his hands around in enthusiastic gestures, seemingly disregarding the beer that spills from his tankard as he waves it about.
You have emoted: "Would that I had your faith," Rashar rumbles quietly, watching Benedicto with a look that contains genuine curiosity and no little skepticism. He sighs somewhere in the middle of the tirade, though it was likely lost amid the crashing waves of fervency, and when he finish, the shadow-skinned Idreth does his best to offer a careless shrug. "I have no faith in that place, feller. If you truly believe in good over righteousness, you're a unicorns novelty around there." His eyes are narrowed, and his gaze settles on the wall behind him as he loses himself momentarily in his own thoughts.
Benedicto follows your gaze over his shoulder, sees nothing there and then turns back again. Upon realization that you is musing something, he lowers himself back into the chair opposite you.
You have emoted: "I hate them," Rashar admits quietly, still not looking at Benedicto. "I try not to. I never did before. Disappointed, maybe. Disgusted, many times. But I never hated them." Another sigh, and he leans forward to rest his forearms once more on the edge of the table. Gaze fixed on the center of that piece of furniture, he continues in the same subdued rumble, "Even the ones that don't deserve it."
"Why?" Benedicto asks simply, his eyebrows raising in question.
You have emoted: "Their belief?" Rashar asks, though the question seems rhetorical. "That damned -sickening- attitude that they're so much better than everyone, because of their faith. As if a man is defined by his God, and not his actions. The hypocrisy." Restless, he abruptly shoves off and stands up, beginning to pace a loose loop. Step, step, half a dozen steps. Quick turn, return. Repeat. "I never wanted or intended to do anything other than my best for those people, you know. I worked hard. From day one until the very last, I worked hard. I became a Herald because it allowed me to get more accomplished. The same is true with being Vanguard, though I shouldn't have done it at that point in time. Through it all I fought for things. Tooth and nail to get Haven returned. To get Phoenecia returned. To do the -exact- same Godsdamned thing you fellers are doing now, because of some unicorns scrolls you found. And through it all I was accused. Chastised, bitched at, called a shadow. Told I was doing the work of the North already." At this, he snorts, derisive and bitter. "I could stand no more when for the second time your Gods made more of faith than good. When Nola was treated the way she was, I turned my back and left. And you know.. I could forgive all of that." Now he turns, whipping around to face Benedicto. "But the way they treated Roux, who deserved -none- of it? Who does -nothing- but quietly contribute?" His fists clench, and he relaxes them. Clench again, and he turns away. Glaring at the wall, it seems as if he might strike. His head tilts, slowly, and something pops in his neck. And then it's over, and those shoulders fall. Smoothly, he slips his hands into his pockets and turns back to you.
Benedicto remains still through the tirade, his webbed hands wrapped around the tankard that rests upon his lap. He listens to you quietly, patiently and through it all remains silent, absorbing your emotional words. "You're referring to what occurred with Lady Auresae?" He asks at the end, carefully waiting until the anger abates and you relaxes.
You have emoted: "Yes," Rashar replies curtly, sliding back into his chair. He tries to relax, visibly, leaning back and hooking a foot beneath the table, crossing his arms in a less than stubborn gesture this time. Still, the signs are there. The tightening at the edges of his eyes. That seething darkness in those stormy eyes, an apt indicator of his carefully restrained temper for those who know him. "Among other things."
"Would it reassure you to know that when I awoke, though this was after you had gone, that I spoke out to Lord Damariel's own about Her actions? I quoted passages from His own holy book to Maite and asked for an explanation how they, as an Order, allowed Her to do as she did." Benedicto shifts slightly in his seat to pull the left leg of his trousers up slightly so that he might cross his leg over the other more easily. He picks a fleck of dust or dirt from the black material and holds his arm away from himself, fingers wiggling to discard it onto the floor by at his side. "Finally an answer came back from Father, through Maite that I was right. That there was no condoning Her actions." He wraps his hand around his tankard once more, his stare firm as he looks at you. "Liberty is not just something that I fight other mortals for. True Freedom, such as Father preaches, is also freedom from our reliance and strictures of the Divine."
You have emoted: Rashar's gaze is still tempestuous, as if the words were a bitter pill to swallow even if he wanted to. Even if he cared to. "And the death God, Dhar? Does his stinking, skeletal fingers still wiggle, pulling the strings of every influential member of that city besides you?" His eyes narrows, and his jaws clench twice before he sighs out, "You see, Benedicto? I have nothing but bitterness left in me.. nothing but -anger-. How does a feller get through that?" Turning to the bar, he waves and begs, "Whiskey, please," before turning slowly to the conversation at hand. "It does not help, because what is done cannot be undone. Roux is still without a city, I am still a pariah. I still wear the scars of my descent into darkness, however brief." With that, he reaches up and pulls aside the hair on his forehead, indicating with a brief gesture a thirteen-pointed star of the Indorani.
You have emoted: Rashar receives the service with another curt nod and downs three shots in a row, lips pulling tight and before he offers a simple shiver.
Benedicto examines the marking on your forehead with narrowed eyes, his expression a mixture of understanding, sympathy and nostalgia. "I too had a star. It was burned into me by the God-King himself, Desian." His features cloud at the memory. "You find something to fight for. Until you do your anger and bitterness will continue to grow until you alienate anyone you ever cared about. Anyone you have left." He sighs, his pearl-white eyes drawn down to the amber liquid in his tankard. "Revenge is no use. If you fail, all it does is cause your anger to grow. If you succeed then all it leaves is emptiness and then more anger as you realize that you have done nothing to calm the rage that drove you to revenge in the first place."
You have emoted: "I care very little for revenge," Rashar admits quietly, staring into his own empty glass and then reaching for another. "I did, in the beginning. That is why I turned to those, mm. Darker arts, if you will." He shrugs, one bare shoulder lifting in feigned indifference. "And then I never used them. I'd like to say I never got around to it, but the truth is it just isn't me. Pit, feller, I don't even use my Carnifex abilities. I tamed a hound once, for an interview." A grunt, and a few moments of silence. "No, I don't care about revenge. I just.. eh. I can't bring myself to give a unicorns about the place." His words sound sincere, but his expression speaks of lies. "Fellers run their mouths, I go to whack them. What do I care about a bounty? They've made me into a villain already, in their heads if nothing else. Why not give them one?" Again his arm rises, and another glass falls prey to his thirst. His nose wrinkles, and he turns an assessing gaze back up to Benedicto. "What do you want from me then? Protection for your citizens? I've murdered one, ever, that didn't deserve it. And believe me, I punish myself far worse for that than you ever could. I will make amends to her, in time."
"Not just that. As I said. I came also for Nola." Benedicto sighs, takes his tankard in one hand and downs the rest of the drink, his throat bobbing with each gulp. With a loud gasp of air and a belch that signifies the end of the drink, he lowers the tankard and directs a penetrating look at you. "You are, as much as I hate to say it, a good man who has been treated badly. You do not belong with the undead or those who serve Shadow. Though, you also do not belong in Enorian as it currently stands. However, I feel that the Enorian that will be, now, that will be where you belong."
You have emoted: Rashar's brows lift, but he snorts. "Good luck with that," he murmurs. "Those fellers won't stop hating long enough to put away their eye sigils, let alone welcome me back. And that's if your changes happened, which is a damned slim chance." A pensive look, a swirl of his whiskey. "Besides," he says, "I have found home enough in the Carnifex. They allow me to work on my own, and focus on things besides light and darkness, life and undeath. I am.. -over- those things, Benedicto. They've caused nothing but grief to me and mine. Where can I go to focus on just being a reasonable feller? Where I can worry about real threats, like the Dreikathi and these shadow critters that even the Gods fear? Where I won't be looked at sideways if I might have to talk things over with one of the villainous Spireans?"
"You've been speaking to Sibatti." Benedicto states with a grin.
You have emoted: Rashar tilts his head to the right. "I have," he admits, looking slightly puzzled. "I don't remember discussing any of that, though. What do you mean?"
Benedicto chuckles and gives a vague shrug. "I spoke with her the other month, she said much the same as you. That there are greater threats as you say. That we should be focusing our attention upon them and not upon each other. The biggest threats to our way of life have not come from each other, but from those like the Reikathi, the Nazedha, Demons."
You have emoted: Rashar inclines his head. "Then we are of like mind," he states simply. "You ask me? Dhar is the single biggest threat to the safety of -everyone- around here. And you know why? Because His followers are so stubbornly, stupidly blind to anything but whether a feller breathes or not that they'll ignore the destruction knocking at their back gate." The man's dusky-skinned arms extend out wide, and he admits, "I wasn't around for any of those things, feller. But I've seen the fallout. Seems a lot more destructive than any battles you've had with Bloodloch, or the Spireans."
"They do tend to take a far greater toll and leave a much longer impression on the land. Take what was Ashtan, or Hashaan. Both completely eradicated." Benedicto admits, nodding in agreement. "I do not disagree that there are greater threats, but those greater threats do not try to kill the people I care about on a much more frequent basis. They would not breed us like cattle just to be fed off later. That is what the Vampires would make of us."
You have emoted: Rashar lifts an eyebrow. "Never said I was a friend of the leeches," he says simply. "Think I've met about two of them in all my life that were half tolerable to talk to for more than a couple shakes of a monkey's junk." For the third time, his elbows find perch on the table before him. "And so what, then? This referendum. Tell me of it."
Benedicto gives a nod of approval. "Good. Those who serve Shadow, they're redeemable. Undead, they can be cured. But the Vampires. No. I've seen Vilimo Fields and there'll be no forgiveness there from me." He follows your change in subject, shaking his head to try to rid himself of the anger that the thought has provoked in him. "The referendum, simply put, is that Enorian ceases it's blanket enemying of those living members who serve Shadow organizations. Those who are enemies will have an opportunity to have their enemy statuses revoked depending on their actions since. Some will have it revoked upon asking. Others-" He gives you a look, "-will have to pay their fine or wait a set amount of time according to the punishment of the crimes they've committed."
You have emoted: Rashar grunts. "And I'm sure those will be made with absolute objectivity," he drawls, and then waves off the words, or any protestation they might elicit. Continuing after a more modest sip of his whiskey, the Idreth states, "It's a start. Where do you think it goes from there? How do you truly sever such.. judgment.. from politics in a city full of the religiously zealous? That self-righteousness?" The words aren't spoken with accusation - instead, he seems curious.
"By being an example to others." Benedicto replies softly, his pearl-white eyes meeting your. "By showing them a better way. That is my battle. My fight. My goal."
You have emoted: "A worthy enough fight," Rashar rumbles quietly after a time, sliding back his chair and standing. A finger's width shy of seven feet, he still only tops the larger, seated man by one or two of those as he reaches out to grab his dirk. Securing the weapon with ease, he sinks his hands into his pockets and pauses, lips pulled into a thin line. "I will cease hunting Sotir within the walls," he states. "As for Catherine - I will make amends, as I said. That is between us. I wish there were more I could do, Benedicto." Silent steps carrying him around the table and towards the door.
"As I said. A good man who has been treated badly." Benedicto calls over his shoulder to you as you heads for the door.