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    So, what's he like?

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    Curtana
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    So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 17/07/12, 11:36 am

    One evening on board the Highwind, after making sure that Kallista was engrossed in conversation with Delona and Agyness so that he wouldn't be interrupting anything, Aleyn went to Brenn's quarters to have a few words with the captain. He had some questions concerning Vedran that a good friend would be most likely to be able to answer.

    Feeling oddly nervous, he cleared his throat and knocked on the door.
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 17/07/12, 11:46 am

    Brenn flipped through the papers laid out on his desk, inventories and venture proposals scattered across its surface. Garen's Grove represented a major step forward for him, but further opportunities presented themselves. Brenn hated feeling idle.

    A knock at the door roused him. Kallista hadn't been gone too long, do he doubted she was already back. Perhaps Roscoe wanted another game of chess, or Agyness was stopping by to chat. Sorting the papers back into a semblance of order, Brenn stood and made his way to the door.

    He was somewhat surprised to see Aleyn when he opened the door, but he covered with a broad smile.

    "Aleyn, ever a pleasure. What can I do for you?"
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 17/07/12, 11:59 am

    "Hey Brenn... Um, I was just wondering if we could talk. It's about Vedran, and I know you're good friends with him, and ... gods, this is kind of awkward, but I thought maybe you could help answer some questions for me, if it's not too weird... but I'm just trying to figure out what's going on with him, and I figured someone who's known him for a long time might be able to help..." He trailed off, looking hopeful if still a bit anxious.
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 17/07/12, 12:07 pm

    Brenn gave the sorcerer a mockingly suspicious look, but waved him inside.

    "All right. I'll do what I can, come on in."

    He wandered towards his liquor cabinet, wondering what all Aleyn wanted to know. He'd give the man time to get to it.

    "Drink?"
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 17/07/12, 12:12 pm

    "Sure, that would be great. Whatever you're having, I'm not too picky." He glanced around the cabin, as if worried they might be overheard. "This is... well, Vedran seems pretty concerned with his privacy, and I wouldn't want to embarrass him, but ... it's probably okay to talk here, with you, isn't it?"
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 17/07/12, 12:19 pm

    Brenn poured two glasses of brandy as Aleyn spoke. As the man finished, Brenn turned, glasses in hand, pointing at the table.

    "Well, I've known Vedran for a while. I'm fairly used to keeping his secrets. And, so far as I've determined, you can't hear too much from outside the cabin." He paused, considering several admonishments from his crew after times Kallista had been aboard. "Usually."

    Brenn took a seat, setting down a glass for Aleyn.

    "So, what's on your mind?"
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 17/07/12, 12:26 pm

    Aleyn sat down as well, looking relieved, and picked up the glass to take a sip. "Thanks. Well... I guess I'm just trying to... well. Um." He took another drink, and tried starting over. "He's a great guy, and I really like him a lot, and I want to try and make things work between us. And I think they're going pretty well so far, but he... well, there are a lot of issues in the way, some of them I don't even begin to understand, and some he can hardly even talk about. Like... about his wife."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 17/07/12, 02:30 pm

    Brenn frowned, taking a long sip.

    "Yeah, Jacinthe is...a piece of work. Vedran doesn't talk about her much. I think he's wanted to maintain the image of a working marriage, but we all know how that's going."

    The half-elf sighed, staring blankly for a moment.

    "Did you have something specific you wanted to know about her? I'll help how I can."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 17/07/12, 02:37 pm

    "I guess it's not so much about her personally, as ... what effect she's had on him. I get the impression from occasional things he's said that he used to be pretty... well, different than he is now, I guess? But it's obvious things have changed, and I assume it's because of the marriage and whatever happened there. Which he won't, or can't, talk about with me - he freezes up when we even get close to the subject. I haven't wanted to press him too much on things like that yet, it's still early and I can tell that whatever it is, it's really messed him up, but..." He shrugged. "I just want to make him happy, but I don't know if that's even possible with the way things are, when I don't even know what's really wrong."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 17/07/12, 02:52 pm

    "Well, I'm not sure even Vedran knows what will make him happy at the moment. Right now I'll settle for what will make him less miserable, and he's going in the right direction."

    Brenn gave Aleyn a wink at that.

    "But, you need to realize, Vedran feels like a failure right now. There's a lot of pressure on him, from his father, from society, from himself. And this divorce...however much good it is for him in the long run, for the time being he thinks he screwed up."

    Frowning deeply, Brenn continued.

    "From day one, Vedran wasn't what Jacinthe thought she wanted, through no fault of his own. But I think she blamed him for it and never let him forget. That they have Macen at all is somewhat astounding to me, but they're both nothing if not dutiful. I think, in trying to be a good husband, Vedran internalized a lot of Jacinthe's anger and disappointment, all because he thought that was what was needed."

    "He's all twisted around inside. He doesn't really know which way is up right now, and, to top off his personal problems, he's trying to prevent some ominous unknown plans of cults and spies from coming to fruition. Sure, he's changed, but, gods, who wouldn't?"
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 17/07/12, 03:16 pm

    Aleyn nodded, blushing slightly at Brenn's wink. "I don't blame him, obviously - it's a lot for anyone to deal with, and I know it'll take time... And I fell for him the way he is now, it's not like I'm trying to get him to change back to ... whatever he was like before, when I didn't even know him. I just thought maybe if I could try to understand the things he used to enjoy, I might be able to sort of... remind him of them, about times when he was happier."

    He shook his head, sighing. "I know there's a lot of pressure on him, like you said, from his family - and he wants to keep things really quiet because of that, so it won't... look bad, or stop him from being able to get married again eventually..." Aleyn looked down into his drink for a moment - that thought obviously bothered him somewhat. "So it's not like I can take him out anywhere, at least not anywhere in Highmark, because he wouldn't go. I don't know. I was trying to think of a gift or something, but I have no idea what that would be..."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 18/07/12, 04:43 pm

    Brenn frowned at Aleyn's downcast look, considering the sorcerer's idea.

    "Tell you what. I've got some business with a few tailors in Thantopolis when we arrive. Come with me, I'll help you pick out something Vedran will like, a coat, or vest, or something."

    Each article would mean something different, but that could wait.

    "He'll be happy you made the effort, and it'll show you're aware of the things he likes. And, sure, maybe you can't be together in public right now, but he can wear it out and think of you. His father if fond of his little secret language of plants; this will be your way of communicating."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 18/07/12, 05:41 pm

    Aleyn smiled at that. "Clothes are really... not my area of expertise, but if you're willing to help me pick out something good, then that sounds like a great idea. I know he really appreciates nice clothes, but I would be nervous about getting something that wouldn't suit him if I had to do it on my own. So... thanks, I would very much appreciate the help." He considered the 'language of plants' issue briefly, wondering what messages he might have inadvertently sent with his little tokens, but decided he could ask Vedran that later.

    He paused, taking another drink. "Here's another thing. Vedran likes helping other people with their problems - maybe it makes him feel useful, maybe it's just easier than dealing with his own, I don't know. When he can focus on something else like that, he's more relaxed, even though it might be a stressful situation. So maybe it's good for him, to a degree. But sometimes I think he takes on too much, like... of course he has responsibilities and difficult things to deal with, but he doesn't have to carry them all alone. But it's so hard to get him to open up... that whole privacy thing again, I guess, or maybe he's embarrassed, he feels like it would be admitting failure? Do you think... well, I guess I'm just never sure how much to press him on sharing things instead of bottling them up. I don't want to make things worse."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 18/07/12, 06:54 pm

    Brenn took a drink, thinking about Aleyn's concern. The elomen knew better than most his friend's tendency to shoulder his burdens alone.

    "Honestly, its not going to be easy. I think you need to be...aggressively available, if that makes sense. The last thing he needs is more pressure right now, but he also needs to know you're willing to help bear those burdens. Just keep letting him know you're ready to be there for him, that you want to help, and that its okay for him to ask."

    Brenn sighed.

    "And, obviously, you'll have to do all that without it becoming something else he worries about."

    He gave Aleyn an apologetic smile.

    "I never said it would be simple."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 18/07/12, 08:17 pm

    Aleyn gave a crooked smile back. "Yeah, I figured it wouldn't be... nothing is with him." He was only half-joking, but at least he didn't sound bitter about it yet.

    "With his father being a Councilor, there's all of this political stuff that I really don't understand yet. I'm trying to learn more, but... it's pretty far above me, I'm nobody important. But I know it matters to Vedran, and appearances are important in that world. Vedran seems to be... well, not exactly okay with doing this in secret, but there's really no other option, the way he sees it anyway. Is that mostly his own ... I don't want to say 'hang-ups', but ... is that coming from him, or from his father? I guess what I'm asking is, is the Councilor going to have me strung up for interfering with his plans, or, um, his son?" He tried to ask the question lightly, but it clearly worried him.
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 18/07/12, 08:29 pm

    Brenn winced at the mention of Jesseryn. Vedran's father had little regard for Brenn personally, and the captain held a fearful respect for the Lord Callais.

    "Yeah, Jesseryn is...severe. He's not a monster, but I wouldn't put it past him to try to dissuade you, should he find out."

    Taking another sip of brandy, Brenn considered Vedran's feelings about secrecy.

    "As to Vedran not feeling like he has the option of an open relationship, you have to understand his situation. Legitimized or not, he's still the bastard son of a prominent lord. Vedran feels like his own life needs to be above reproach. That's why he stayed as long as he did with Jacinthe. Well, that and Macen."

    Brenn leaned forward, making to look Aleyn directly in the eye as he continued.

    "He can't marry you. I'm sorry, its terrible, and its terrible to say, but there is no way Vedran can have a public life solely with you. And because he can't offer you everything, I'm betting he feels he can't ask for anything. Its up to you what you're willing to give, and what you can live without."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 18/07/12, 08:54 pm

    "Oh, yeah, I know... I didn't ever expect that," said Aleyn sadly. "I know I'm no one important... And he's said as much, you're right, that he doesn't know what he can offer me in return for...for whatever I can give him, and I don't even know what that is anyway, when he won't even let me t-touch him..."

    He took a deep, shaky breath, trying to compose himself - he hadn't meant to get into that side of things with Brenn. After a moment, he felt able to continue more calmly. "I guess right now the best I'm hoping for is that whoever he'll marry will make him happier than his last wife did. I ... I don't really know what would happen after that - either from his perspective or mine. I don't know if I'd be happy being the guy on the side, if he was even willing to do that, which I don't know if he would be, he probably has to sign a contract saying he won't..." He shrugged. "All I know is, I'd rather take the chance that things will work out somehow, even if it's not completely perfect, than just give up on him. Does that make any sense, or am I crazy?"
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 18/07/12, 09:07 pm

    "Well, I'm of the opinion these things never make sense, but I may be the wrong person to ask."

    Brenn shrugged.

    "Like I said, you just need to figure if what you're both willing to give and take is an equitable arrangement, or equitable enough for the both of you, then act on the evaluation. I know that's an easy summation, but, really that's the long and short of it."

    "As to the crazy, I'm getting more acquainted with that side of it," he added quietly.

    "In any event, I refuse to believe the only thing you can offer Vedran requires physical contact, and I truly hope you don't actually believe that either."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 18/07/12, 09:11 pm

    "No, but you can't tell me with a straight face that you don't think that side of things is kind of important," Aleyn said with a sharp look at the captain.
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Josh on 18/07/12, 09:33 pm

    Brenn laughed good-naturedly.

    "Ha, of course its fucking important, but as much as its my duty to say Vedran needs himself a good lay, we both no he needs a lot more than that right now."
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    Re: So, what's he like?

    Post by Curtana on 18/07/12, 09:47 pm

    "Yeah... I just wish I knew what that was." Aleyn thought for a moment. "He keeps saying things like that he's never had a real relationship before, that people don't usually give him presents, that he's not used to... being romanced, I guess? Which - as much as I find it hard to believe, I mean, just look at him - well, that's something I can give him, easy. I can let him know I... care about him." He hesitated momentarily over the word 'care', as if he briefly considered, then discarded, another word instead. "And I can talk with him, and try to get him to talk more about his problems, as much as I can, and try to take his mind off those problems for a while when they get too much... I can do all that, I'd be happy to do that for him, if he'll let me. I just don't know if it's enough."

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