(1311-01-03) Catching Up
Summary: Several days after returning to Marsilikos, Eneas reaches out to Gwenaelle and visits the temple to see how she's been doing. Details are discussed about the kidnapping amongst other things.
RL Date: 16-01-2019
Related: After Found At Last
eneas gwenaelle 

Jardins d'Eisheth - Marsilikos

Tranquility and beauty of nature is what those coming to the gardens of Eisheth usually seek. There is a playfulness in the arrangement of paths through the greenery, and the way four of them wind to the center, where there is a pond surrounded by a few elm trees, beside an area with wooden benches and tables beneath an arbor, where ivy winds about wooden posts, and a roof of colorfully glazed tiles offers shelter from the sun but also moderate rain.

Bushes are trimmed, and the green is kept short, so that people coming here can enjoy the dramatic view over the coast all the way to the sea, with the harbor and the citadel slightly to the north. Slightly towards the south and close by is the infirmary with the herb garden beside, where a variety of plants used for healing and treating certain illness are grown under the immaculate care of the healers. Towards the east, a path leads towards the temple district, where the dominant structure of the Temple of Eisheth looms, the white marble shimmering almost otherwordly on late afternoons, when it catches the warm, orange light of the setting sun.

Triumphant return to the city. Or so it was for most of the crew of that cutter, and the guards and mercenaries. Of course the girls and the adept and the priestress? well, it might still be weeks if not month until they will not look over their shoulders when walking the streets, won't it?
Eneas had kept his distance, other than inquiring with Marin how she is doing, and how badly the injuries were. Seems he did notice that she was hiding some from him.

Passing a note to him after a few days and hearing she is doing better, he does ask her if she would meet with him anywhere she would choose, and after recieving a place, time and location, she would find him there, bundled up against the cold, near the pond, a bare tree overhanging a bench and a table where in fairers weather might picknick. He is sitting on the table, his legs propped on the bench and two cups of mulled wine next to him, but apparently he was way too early, for they are no longer steaming.

Marin would let him know that Gwenaelle is doing better, but that she had suffered equally bruised ribs besides that to her face. Luckily, nothing had been broken. No doubt, the priestess has only been out of the temple since her return to see her family who were quick to hug her tightly, and then promptly set her up with a ex-soldier cousin willing to take her on as a ward to guard. Lucky her.
Either he was early, or Gwenaelle is running late. May well be the last, knowing how she is at the best of times. Wrapped in a new cloak and winter robes, the redhead enters the garden and makes her way through it, followed by a large man with a sword at his waist. He doesn't wear temple colors, but those of House Merloit. When she finally sees where he has settled, her booted feet takeh er in his direction. A week has made the bruising begin to fade, though it's in that wonderful icky greenish colors that just class horribly with her eyes and hair. At least her eye isn't swollen up anymore.

Did Eneas know about the guard? Perhaps, though when first one, then the other come into view, Eneas does nod his head as if to himself, and of course grimaces a litttle in response to it. He keeps forgetting about the injury of his neck, who probably is likewise colorful even around the bandage he still wears from the blood that has seeped into muscles around the puncture and is now slowly being reassorbed.
When she draws closer, he moves his feet off the bench, to stand, and eventually step a few steps to meet her. There is a softness at seeing her healing, and a twitch of his hand, as if he is holding back to reach out to touch the bruise, before he speaks. "I am glad you came…".

Nihel follows after Gwen quietly, and once they approach Eneas, he can be sure that he's being checked over for whatever reason. Surely his name has been mentioned in some connotation by his cousin, or even the others around the temple who knows who he is. Once the pair meet up, he will step off a small distance, putting him close enough to help, but far enough to give them at least the idea of privacy.
Gwenaelle stops before him, her gaze to fall to his own injury, and one could say she keeps herself from asking to see it and even wanting to try and heal it at least some. About the time he speaks, she does as well, "How is your neck?" Her words fade off, and she shakes her head, "Sorry, you were saying?"

Eneas does offer another, much slower, much shallower nod to Nihel, though when he is not introduced, his attention falls back to Gwen, the topic of her new guard left for a later time, apparently.
As they seem to speak at the same time, only to stop, he has to laugh, that little snort-chuckle that surprise and tension sometimes cause people to make. He draws a deeper breath then. "Just…it is good to see you.", he finally admits. "And it hurts, but it is healing fine. No, no heat and only very little throbbing.". See, he did hear her, even when she bandaged it there on the clifftop. "I…", he turns, full body, perhaps by now having learnt that moving his head will just cause pain. Again. "…brought mulled wine, but…I think it is cold by now…".

There's a hint of a smile to appear when they both stumble over comments like that, his laughter to draw it out of her. "If you would allow, I'd heal it for you." Surely she's doing better herself, and while there might be a strain between them, she still hates to see that he is hurting or anything. Mention of the wine has her glancing to the table, hmming, "I could get them to rewarm it in the kitchen?" An offer made quietly.
Having noticed his attention to the guard, she does make some introduction then, "My cousin, Nihel del Merloit, once a playmate with my brothers, now my guard."A gesture back to the merc, and she says, "Lord Eneas D'Aiglemort, one of those responsible for tracking I and the others down." With that said, Nihel actually steps up and offers his hand, "Thank you for returning her to her family. We all owe you and the Lady, our gratitude." Once hand is shaken, he'll once more return to his guard duty.

The moment of levity, of smiles is cheerished by Eneas, and he finally stops resisting the urge, gloved hands to reach out for one of hers, to take and squeeze. "It will heal on its own, and…I would hate if you were too tired or drained if someone came in an hour from now that really needed your touch?", he offers the rebuke a lot gentler than on the rooftop. Well, he is a lot less tired now and in a lot less pain. "If you want to redress it, to make sure your collques have not been sloppy, though…", he does tease her a little.
The offer to reheat the wine, is considered and he finally seems to agree. "If you would prefer it hot, sure?". Before he can pick the two mugs up, however, he is introduced, the hand shaken. "I wish her family had taken an earlier interest in her safety, but…", he bites back the sharpness in his voice. "…but the companions were merciful on us, this time.", he glances back to her. "And gave her back to us. Even if not as unhurt as I had liked.".

Gwenaelle will accept the offer of at least letting her look over his wound. No, ther won't be anything said how another could do even half so well as she. Ahem. When he takes her hand, offering that brief squeeze, it is accepted as well without pulling away from him. Time and sleep has likely helped a good bit.
"I believe I would, yes." If nothing else, she will turned and with a whistle to get an acolyte's attention near the entrance to the garden, the two mugs might be passed over to be rewarmed. Turning back to hear his comment, she shakes her head, "Never before have any of us had to truly worry about such things happening to us, Eneas. It is not my family's fault. Nor is it even the temple's fault." Bad luck, is all.

Passing the mugs off to the acolyte when they are called over, whistled for even, Eneas cannot help but to smile a little. "Someone has gotten bossy since her return.". Surely she has been so before, he noticed it when they were in the kitchen, before everything, but he cannot help to not tease her a little bit, even if his smile is tinted a little by a stab of pain at that memory.
As for the lack of worry? Eneas sighs, opening his mouth, as if to argue the point and that he did call it and that guards are useless AFTER something happened, but he closes it again. "I…I am just glad you all are a bit more watched over, now. The ones living near the docks are thankful enough for all your work, but…". Well. Foreigners, right?
Another sigh, then, before he gestures to the table, to see if she would wish to sit. "Your ribs are feeling better?".

"Bossy? No.. we all know what it is to be an acolyte. You learn a certain…" She sighs, trying to put it into words, "Wehn I was one, I learned how important that my work, low as I was around the temple, was just as important, perhaps even more so in some ways, than that which the priests and priestesses do. " There comes that quiet smile of hers, "We can't do for our patrons here at the temple or within the infirmary, without the work that the acolytes do." Which is truth, though one might argue that having one run to the kitchens to warm up the wine again, is doing anything.. useful?
He might have called it, but one has to look at history - how many belonging to the temple have ever truly be harmed in the past? The guards might be needed to keep the odd theif out, or even to break up a fight that might have continued within the infirmary, but the temple is a safe place, and those that work within, welcomed anywhere in the city. Still, she tilts her head, "But it only takes one incident to change the way we do things, yes? I am just glad that Nihel can stomach blood, though we have yet to see how he will do when I am delivering a baby." A time when most men might be known to get a little green.
Invited to take a seat, she nods, moving to do so, tucking her cloak warmly about her. "They are, yes. Slowly. I had wondered if they were broken, but.." Again, lucky.

The lecture about the importance of acolytes has Eneas smiling lightly, her taking the tease much more serious than he was, perhaps. "We could have walked to the kitchen to warm them ourselves, I am saying. And..well. Whistling?", he points out, perhaps witha bit of mischief. "You could atleast have called by name…".
As for the guards, he sighs. "We will go on about this for hours.". As they have in the past. "I am just glad you are all a bit more careful now. I…", he stops himself, frowning, perhaps once more having thoughts go down a route he did not want to. A route that has been traveled plenty of times while they chased after her and even after they freed her. Instead he clears his throat. "We'll be looking into the signet ring.". Oh yes, Eneas has graduated from protection to hoping for revenge.
Her ribs and the status of it make Eneas glance at her. "Good. Good. You had me worried on the ship. I did not think the ship's chireurgon would have been much use if they were broken.". So he did notice? He pauses then, perhaps having run out of things to chit-chat. After a moment, he finally speaks again, if more quietly. "I…was not sure if you'd even answer my note.".

Perhaps they could, and yes, the whistle might have been a little wrong, but a hand lifts to brush against the bandage still worn about her own throat where the knife cut her, "I still cannot raise my voice that loud to shout their name." While she isn't whispering, she isn't speaking overly loud either. Perhaps he thought it was to keep their conversation from being overheard? Maybe.
"Perhaps we would, but you must understand, we were never given a reason to need such guarding before." She has a point. He might have seen the worse of people, but she's always been one who tried to see the best. A slight frown touches her lips, "Ring?" Maybe she lost track of that being discussed or mentioned. By the point it was made, she was a bit out of it, and a little upset.
Gwen wrinkles her nose, a hand lifted to brush against her side, "There wree times I wondered if I would just break them by being sick." Surely the bruising didn't help her seasickness at all. Miserable was she from the moment the boat took off from dock, to the moment it hit dock here. She really /wasn't/ kidding about how sick she got! A finger doodles atop the table, his last coment to finally pull her gaze to his, "I do not know how to feel… about it all. There are times I am scared. Other times I am so angry. Still others all I wish to do is curl up in a ball and cry. And yet a part of me wished to see you, and make sure you were okay." That injury of his and all.

Eneas ahs a little about her voice, those blue eyes growing more concerned. "It…still is not better?". That seems to alam him a little, giving the bandage a look, but of course, even if it was off, he could not see what damage that dagger did. The abductor sure enjoying to go for necks, didn't he?! Ahem.
As she inquires about the ring, Eneas lifts a hand to indicate the ring-finger with his thumb. "Their…leader had a signet ring? He was too much of a brute to hold much of an office or a title. So he was given it to be able to prove he works for someone. I want to know who.", he delcares, his mood to darken a little. Surely it takes little imagination as to why he might want to know.
"I…am sorry.", Eneas finally states. "I know you only agreed to the ship because…", he sighs. "Because you were worried it would get infected.". He realizes that now, and he does once more reach for her hand, especially when she admits the bundle of feelings. "I am scared as well. Part of me fears I will lose you completely. But I do not know if I am just being selfish and I should stay away to not cause you more hurt.", he admits, looking at her. "Part of me wants to just squeeze you, but…those ribs of yours would not thank me.". A touch of an attempt at joking.

"No completely, no. Not sure if it will eventually heal or what." Gwenaelle speaks openly and honestly. She took that chance to pull away and duck down to give Eneas a chance at the man. It could have been much worse, right? He did seem to have a fondness for necks, at least with his knife.
"Oh, yes, I remember seeing it before. I.. I didn't know it was a signet ring." Never got that close, or payed that much attention when he was hitting her! His words, that darkening mood has her glancing back down again, nodding, "They were Akkadian. They only referred to him as their boss, but they spoke of bringing us to him, to join his harem. Except for me, of course. Being such a healer, they hoped he would pay handsomely. Or they would find another buyer who would." Little things she might have kept from the other girls, as to not needlessly worry them. She continues to doodle with a finger along the top of the table as she speaks of that, of what she understood of their conversation. "I am not sure if the one you caught, will actually give you much information. The leader seemed to keep them in the dark about a lot beyond their job here. Only one was to have even gotten on the ship, the other two were supposed to return to Marsilikos to begin scooting for others to take once they returned."
When he reaches for her hand again, she finally lifts her head to once more seek his gaze, "I would not have you getting worse by taking the road. Not when on the ship, you could rest clean and at ease for the most part." When he continues to speak, she is quiet, but sighs softly, only to offer a wry smile as he mentions how her ribs might complain if he hugged her. "They might not, no."

Her information is absorbed, that much cen be sure, even if Eneas mood does not improve at most of the news, only grows a touch darker. "I'll try to make sure they hunt every single one down who was involved. If they had help, and if they are doing likewise in other cities…". Yes, Eneas is pissed. Skaldi raiders he battled for most of his life, but they had the decency to do their horrible work in night raids and not try to hide among them posing as friends and allies. "And then I'll see if I can trace that path back to Khebbel.".
Combined with the news of her voice perhaps never been the same, he closes his eyes. "Part of me wishes I could bring him back from the dead. I tell myself so I could question him, but the truth is because I want to hurt him more. For…every blow and every cut he laid on you."., he admits, his hand to squeeze a bit tighter. A deeper breath, before he looks at her again. "I am sorry we took so long to find you.", he finally states.
As for her wry smile, he smiles back. "Perhaps a light hug? Or…would that hurt too much, as well?", he wonders, searching her face. Surely the tone, the tentativeness of him asking might clue her in that he might not only mean her ribs.

"I would be willing to help, but .. I can only tell you what I overheard. And besides the four that were killed or captured, I never saw anyone else." Gwenaelle informs him, so trying to figure out who might have been left behind in Marsilikos, or their contacts from there, are only so good. "Maybe.. sketches of the men.. to use to question people?" It's an idea, right? Who knows what they might discover with such pictures?
She actually snorts lightly at hearing him speak of bringing the man back, and killing him again, "I took the hits so he wouldn't hurt Anette, Eneas. I took them because it meant that Lois and Zoe were still free, still out of his hands, and hopefully not returning to face getting on the boat." Her words are firm, and while the beating wasn't nice, she accepted it so that the other younger girls wouldn't get harmed. As for the last, she frowns, "Do you think I blame you for taking so long? Eneas, you said it before, it was pure luck you /did/ find us. If you had been half a day later, we would have been on the ship that was supposed to be arriving later that afternoon sometime. And then what? How would I have left clues then?" Shaking her head slightly, she murmurs, "I knew once we were on that ship, we would never have been brought back home."
When he makes the request for a light hug, something that wouldn't bother her ribs, Gwenaelle is quiet, but eventually will nod her head. She leans in, perhaps to give him that light half hug in return, eyes to close for a moment for whatever reason.

"We…I. I missed those clues for days.", Eneas admits, and there he might be actually disdraught for a moment. If he hadn't spend a day stumbling around in the city, or searching fruitlessly down muddy roads and just noticed those blue scraps earlier? What ifs, right?
Still, when she speaks of going onto the ship, of having been lost forever, he closes his eyes again. Oh, she might get those blue eyes to shine yet again, if she is not careful, going from one loss to the other. "If we'd been too late, I'd have gotten Helene to sail after them.", he admits. "From the description we got, there were only so many places the could have been from. It might have taken me some time, but i would have found you.", he seems sure of that.
Still, a deeper breath is taken, calming, and he once more turns to regard her. "Sketches are not a bad idea. Would you and the girls be willing to try? Sketching them? Or describe them to an artist so they could?".
When she nods to the hug, he does turns to do so, half-hug or not, being very careful to not hurt the priestress physically at least. He does turn his head, grimacing, at the pain that brings, but apparently he knew it was coming this time and still does, to place a kiss against her hair, her upper head. Brief, light. "I…do not know if I should stay away, Gwen, or try to meet you more. I..know you will need time, no matter what you decide. But…perhaps we can at least write?". Yes, he is missing her, in more than one way, already.

<FS3> Gwenaelle rolls Sketching: Good Success. (3 7 2 5 3 1 8)
<FS3> Gwenaelle rolls Sketching: Success. (1 3 5 1 5 7 5)
<FS3> Gwenaelle rolls Sketching: Good Success. (1 5 7 6 1 8 6)
<FS3> Gwenaelle rolls Sketching: Good Success. (4 1 6 8 7 6 7)

"I did what I could. That you even saw them eventually, is a miracle, Eneas." Gwenaelle states quietly. Perhaps it was the help of a Companion or three that led them to finally picking up on them? "You cannot blame yourself, not like that."
She doesn't mean to cause him heartache by bringing up such things. She but speaks the truth. "I would have kept some hope that we might be found, but so would I have attempted to make the most of our plight." It's the only way she would have managed to make it. "At least there were means open to me that weren't open to the others. Things I could have said to keep myself safe.." If you let it slip that your companion would steal your healing ability if raped… well, she could have kept that up for a while.
"Actually…" Gwenaelle might start to say something, but the acolyte returns then with their newly warmed wine, delivering the steaming mugs to them each. "Allan, could you do me a favor and go into my room. There's a journal laying on my desk.. or maybe my bed.. it is covered in black leather.. and bring it to me, please?" The young boy nods, and hurries off.
She doesn't finish or explain, but instead, leans into the hug, feeling the press of his lips there. A sigh is given, tension to relax a little, "I don't know the answer to that either. I.." She didn't know it would be so hard to keep away either. Sure, before, she wasn't always around him, but they were kept apart by duties or whatever. Now? This gulf that opened, is a different matter. When he asks to write, she nods quietly, agreeing.

Eneas sighs at her as she absolves him from him blaming himself. "I cannot help but to wonder, Gwen. Not when it could have saved you some harm and hurt. And when we cut it so close to…to losing you all. They were not far behind Lois and Zoe. Another hour? Perhaps they had caught up with them, and then what?". Okay, so perhaps he blames part of him for that. "Or…what if the acolyte had not come to look for you at the Estate? We were not meant to see each other for at least another day….". Yes, he does take a deeper breath at that. PErhaps a few Companions indeed, makes one wonder what plan they had and how much of it all was collateral.
Her plans to delay them, to keep herself safe that the others would not have had? Eneas kisses her head once more. "I…never doubted you were a smart and resoourceful woman, Gwen.", he says, drawing back a little to look at her. "I just…wanted to give you more tools to protect yourself. Please don't think I thought you stupid or…incapeable.". A faint smile. "Perhaps a touch naive and too well-thinking, but…never stupid.".
As she sends the acolyte to fetch her journal, he eyes her with curiosity. "What…are you up to?", he wonders.
And then they speak about the future, and he sighs once more, even while they hold the warm cups in their hands, though that she agrees to at least writing does seem to cause his shoulders to relax a little. "I must warn you, though. My handwriting is terrible.".

"If you dwell on that, then your mind will go in circles, Eneas. You will be constantly filled with those 'what ifs'. Do you do this when on missions with your mercenary group?" Yes, she understands the situation was more personal than any job he might have been hired on for in the past. It does change it. "It is over and done with. We move forwards to dealing with what happened, and attempt to work through what happened on the side." No doubt, the priestess may need some help from Genetian. Maybe. Who knows.
"I know my wish to not learn how to defend myself, didn't make you happy." She could see it, hear it in his frustration that day. "I did what I could do.. " And perhaps found out a little about herself in the process. Surely she never thought herself willing to take a beating for another, or keeping the girls calm and focused on getting away.
There is a snort then as he mentions his handwriting, "While many of us have nice handwriting, there are still many here that have the worse… chicken scratch.. you can imagine. I am surprised they do not end up poisoning someone because they cannot read their own notes."
The acolyte will return then with that black journal, handing it over with a soft word of thanks from she. Setting her mug aside, she unties the leather strips that keep it wrapped in leath, opening it to reveal a journal of blank pages where sketches in ink or charcoal are found. And she's actually not half bad. Flipping through, he might pick up on mostly herbs and flowers, landscapes of the sea that were from her hidden beach, or others at the waterfall. There may be a few people in there as well, likely family. It is the last four that she finally turns to, pulling them out, and handing them over to him. They are fairly good likenesses of the four men, one of them run down being not quite as good as the others. Likely less time spent in his company or something. "Here. You can have these. I… I did them last night." Couldn't sleep, decided to get their faces down on paper.

"There is no way to learn if one does not learn from the past.", Eneas counters instead. Yes, he is circling, and he knows it, but perhaps she does not get why he talks with her about it. "When on a mission, you don't have the time. You prepare as good as you can, and then it is acting, and reacting until you are through, Gwen. And…hanging on by your nails if you have to.". He does not even make it a jest.
As for his handwriting, he smiles a little. "Oh, good. You know. So, if I write something stupid, just assume it is you not quite reading it right and i meant something much better?", he tries. Yes, he jests with her, but there is that hint that the usualy so confident mercenary is worried he might mess it up further with her.
Still, when she brings out the journal, he sets his wine down as well, glancing as she goes through the pages. There is a bit of a inhale, before she reaches the faces, and then he nods, recognizing one at least, the other two he only saw from the distance and the last? Well, they can resketch him while he still lives, right? Ahem. "Those are….really good…", he comments, looking at Gwen. "I did not know you sketched so well…", he admits. There were a lot of things they did not know yet of another, was there?
As she offers them, he hms. "Perhaps a copy. I would not want to ruin your journal.", he says, and then he pauses, falls quiet for a moment. "I…they're still yours.", he begins, glancing at her. "Well, not the one with the glass house in the woods, but…the beach is yours.". Apparently he saw the drawing, and felt the need suddenly to let her know that her early trust in him, he does not mean to abuse.

"But still, you do not need to keep circling, keep asking all these 'what ifs', Eneas. You blame yourself for not noticing things, not getting there quicker. You can't keep doing that." Gwenaelle states quietly. "It's not going to get you anywhere's but upset and blaming yourself for things that were not your fault."
His handwriting is likely better than some she deals with. "Ah, well, don't blame me if I take it wrongly, and write back asking you what the heck you meant?" She'll just go with the WTH rather than WTF attitude in questioning him about what he wrote.
With the journal on the table as she flips through it, there comes a blush to her cheeks as he speaks up of how well she does. "I.. us it mostly to keep track of the herbs and flowers and such in the garden. Making notes in our records of the things we know, and things we learn from others outside of Terre d'Ange. "
The four sketches are on loose parchment, just stuck there in the back of the journal. Either they were already cut out, or just loose. "You can take them. They will serve you better than me by being in my book." She frowns a little at the four sketches of the men, but then glances aside to him, "I draw things that make me … feel." He might have even saw one or two of him. Maybe.

"Perhaps not my fault, but still my responsibility.". Eneas still argues, but then sighs. "I am not really secondguessing, love.", he tells her, that endearment slipping out before he might realize or stop himself, "…I gotten you back and for that I will be forever grateful.".
As she comments back, he cannot help but to chuckle at her. "That will be fine.", he tells her to write back, yep. Anything than losing all connection with her, apparently. The blush at the praise however makes him smile. "Perhaps you should write a book on herbology one day. With those sketches, people will have no trouble to recignize them.".
The offered pages? Eneas finally sighs and takes then, folding them carefully, before he places them into an inside pocked of his vest, to keep them dry and safe. As for things that make her feel? Well, he seeks to lift her hand, to kiss it. There is not much else he can say to it, can he?

Gwenaelle might argue with him, but that slippage of endearment has her turning away, glancing down at the book in her lap. "I know that I will not be able to thank you and her enough for finding me and the others… my family.." She can't say what it meant to see them again over the first few days that she was back in the city again.
His suggestion of writing a book leaves her thoughtful, though she does say, "Some of them have already been included in recent transcriptions and copies of old notes here in the temple." Scribes with pretty handwriting, and she with her pictures updating old or crumbling tomes.
The sketches are in charcoal, and thus won't run or smear if they get wet. Likely why she chose that medium over the other. As they are folded and tucked away, she turns back, beginning to close her journal back up again, to tie it closed before he takes her hand and offers the kiss to it's top.

Eneas snorts a little at her comment. "You do not need to thank me. Trust me, I was entirely selfish in coming after you.", he says, and perhaps for once there is no attempt to make light of it, no teasing note in his voice. "To think I lost you was not a thought I could even stand for a second.", he says, glancing at her. "But do not think for a moment you owe me thanks. Even if we had never met before….like me and Lois, I would still have tried my best to find you both.", he claims. There is a bit of hesitation there, as if he knows that it sound weak, that surely he might have tried but not to the extend and drive as he did. And then? He might have been that few hours too late that she berated him to obsess about.
As for the transcribing? "Well, there you go. Just inscribe all of that on one of their copper plates so they can be pressed, rather than having to be copied by hand.", he suggests. Gwenaelle, author of the herbological encyclopedia! Does have a ring to it, right?
Her hand kissed, he lets his lips linger only for a moment, before he draws back, silent for a moment. "I…I know I hurt you, Gwen.", he finally says, quietly. "And no matter how things go, I hope you can forgive me one day. I never thought I would meet someone as stubborn as you, that would out-stubborn even me.", he comments, lips curving upwards a little, if bitter-sweetly. "And remind me why Terre d'Ange is my home.".

"I do, owe you, Eneas. And if I can't dissuade you from your thinking in some ways, neither will you change my mind on this." Gwenaelle points out quietly, "But if we hadn't met, then you wouldn't have had the same wish to discover what happened to me. Would you really have looked into Lois' disappearance, or just left it to the City Watch to try and solve?" If she hadn't been missing herself and all. She ends up shrugging then, leaving it alone.
"The plates are nice, but at the same time, they can loose some of the details in the drawings." Gwenaelle explains then, though she is smiling, "One never knows, so I won't deny that I won't look into it. Or lend my skills to future illustrations."
Quiet is she as he talks, her teeth to once more worry her bottom lip in that way of hers. At least the split is mostly healed. There is a slow nod, perhaps a silent agreement that one day she might forgive him of the hurt. And yet, she glances to him, brows furrowed, "How.. would I remind you of that?" That Terre d'Ange is his home.

There is a faint grump as she points out that he won't budge, then she won't budge either from thanking him. As for him looking into Lois disappearance? He seems to consider that for a moment, perhaps long enough that she might think he would even admit that he would not have, and it was her who made it all happen. Certainly there is some truth to it. When he speaks, however, there is just a hint of teasing tone in his voice, he is jesting on some level, but on the other, she might get that he is also utterly serious even if that might show the more callous side of the mercenary. "Of course i would. Are you kidding? Finding and rescuing a missing night flower from scum like them? It would….", he pauses, "…will put me in high demand with all those nobles who cannot petition for a Casseline.".
As for her illustrious — ahem — career in book making, Eneas smiles. "I am sure you would soon be sought after. Even if your copper plates are not as detailed as your critical eye would demand.", he teases her a little at least.
The last however, makes him sigh, turning to look back at her. "For welcoming me back home unconditionally.", he tells her. Yes, the argued and fought, but she never tried to truely change him. Even now, she is not. "For reminding me that our way is far superior than the Unitas or most of the rest of the world that I know of.", he pauses, his eyes to drop for a moment to her hands. "And for loving me, even if I repay it by breaking your heart.".

Gwenaelle peers at him, waiting for him to admit such a thing, but when he finally answers, she hmms, slow to nod her head, "I guess you are right there." Even she can see he's got a good point. That such a rescue will earn him a few patrons, even if it's just the Salon in returing their missing flower.
"Maybe. But my main calling is still healing, still seeing to those that come the temple for their needs." The sketching is something she half does for fun, and for the other half, when needed in her work.
His answer may well surprise her, drawing a hint of color to her cheeks, though the last has her gaze dropping to whre hands may still be clasped together. A deep breath is taken, released, "You would ever have my love, I've told you that, Eneas. Even now." When such has happened between. "I speak easily of the possibility of having been drug away from Terre d'Ange, but it terrified me. I have never been away before.. "

Of course it only will work if they never learn how he missed those blue scraps for two days. Ahem. Seems they come full circle on the what-ifs in a way.
When they finally turn back to the such sensitive topic between them, it is given the floor rather then talk of possible book writing and illustration. He knows she will always be a healer, in all her ways. "I know I will. And you mine, Gwenaelle.". He meant those words, even as they sit there staring at their hands like schoolboys and -girls. As she speaks of being terrified of having be drug off Terre d'Ange? He once more squeezes her hand. "It is difficult, even with our allies, especially for women. They do not understand us, and many who think us weak. I couldn't count the men I had to break their faces for thinking even me weak. A worshipper of whores.", he points out. Again with the more cynical, sceptical view of the world around him.

Again, she worries her bottom lip, holding his hand, their mulled wine once more going cold before they could drink it, she ponders his words, sighing again. Before long, she looks to him, "But I would have had it easier than Lois, Anette or Zoe. They knew Lois was one of the night flowers, trained. They expected her to train the other girls on the boat so they would be able to better.. please a man. I would have told her to barter with them or whomever she was bought by, to be someone who could train others.." Perhaps make Lois important to them for more than just a concubine. "They knew what I could do. That I could heal with a touch.. someone had been at the temple when I healed.. they knew.. "

When she looks at him, then explains what he plans for the future were if they had been carried off? Eneas sighs. "Lois…would have been valuable, yes. The girls would have been at risk, if they did not do as they were told.", he closes his eyes at that, gritting his teeth. "Zoe not understanding why they would want to train her in Naamah's arts although the Salons wouldn't take her was…heart breaking.", he pauses, reopening his eyes to peer at her. "How are the two doing? The children, that is? If…if they need any help or money…", he trails off, giving a one-shouldered shrug.
As for them knowing? Eneas takes a deep, shuddering breath again. "I know. I mean. I suspected. They knew whom to target, when. How to get out of the city, and how we would respond if the crime was noticed. They must have had help. Probably d'Angeline, or someone who frequents our shores and perhaps Marsilikos often. That is why I wanted to know what the ship was, so we could try to track down what ports it goes to and so on.". Why he was so stubborn, even with that wound in his neck. "For every step ahead, it feels I am pushed two steps back on this ever since the night….you went missing.".

"For kids from the streets, yes, she is somewhat innocent." Gwenaelle would agree. Brushing a finger againts her knee, she tilts her head, "They are doing okay. I think Zoe may stay here in the temple. Anette.. I got her a position at my parent's house. She likes to cook, so she is going to be working with our cook." Surely it'll be a better life than being out on the streets.
"I don't know.." Gwenaelle thinks on this quietly, "I am sure they had planned on me, but the tension at times. I think Lois was just a a lucky grab? " Finally leaning against him for the moment, she murmurs, "but I don't think it is the first time they have taken girls from the streets. Or boys. And if they have no family? No one would have really missed them either. Especially during this time of the year." It's cold, there's lots of people moving in and out of the city for Longest Night.

"Good…", Eneas seems somewhat relieved that something good came out of it for the two girls at least and they will not be worse for wear despite everything. Even if life on the streets would be better than in most kingdoms in Terre d'Ange, yes, they having purpose and someone watching over them is better.
As she contemplates that she was the primary target and just lucked on Lois? Eneas narrows eyes a little. "Perhaps. If they did that before, and perhaps they did: At least the fat bastard seemed to have a clear idea of how to conduct this. With signals, ships, alternative escape routes…", he sums it up. "But there is money to be had, and that usually means people get bought off. Might even have been one of the City Watch, to look the other way. To intimidate anyone who reports a street urchin missing.", he points out that. "Thank the Companions, they got greedy and stupid. If not for Lois and you? I would never had been able to get as many eyes on this as I did.", he finally admits, in a wry smile. Yes, he knows he just thanked them that she was taken. "You still are a Mereliot. That made it easy to twist a few arms.".

There's a nod for the two girls. They did have it better here, but it wasn't easy, not like most have it. There's even a difference between those in the temples that came from commoners, than those on the streets.
Gwenaelle sighs softly, "I do not like the fact that they have been doing this. Finding out who is behind it, is important. And I know it was probably important to find the ship, but I don't think you would have caught up with it. We didn't know the signals to bring it close, and by the time someone could have gotten to the port, to her ship, and then turn to find it?" She is a Merliot. She does know some things about ships herself, even if they make her sick.

<FS3> Gwenaelle rolls Seafaring: Success. (6 2 1 7 5)

"Perhaps not. But you understand why I wanted to try? To lure them closer or to chase them down?", Eneas wonders, looking at her. "They kept slipping through my fingers, at this point? Every scrap of trail I would follow.". He pauses, then has to laugh as he realizes what he said. And what he had been doing. Following the scraps of her rope as a trail.
Still, he sobers up eventually, and leans forwards, to kiss her forehead, if she lets him. "I do not like it either. Not one bit. It is not SKaldi raiding parties, it is worse. They hide amongst us, disguised as allies. Or guardsmen. Or whoever else is helping them. And…", he snorts. Yes, she can tell that that makes his blood boiling. Angel of War, but it is also an Angel of Protection in his own way.

"I do now?" Gwenaelle will state quietly. "Then? You were injured. Pressing to continue. And likely do more harm than good to yourself. And then what, hmm?" The priestess asks, a brow raised slightly when she glnaces aside at him, "Doing more harm to yourself would have not done any good. You are here, looking into it further. And if it is known it has happened before, we can be more careful in future."
She doesn't draw away from the kiss, though she ducks her head slightly, not letting him see the expression on her face as he speaks of the others that must be involved as well in this. She may be generally soft-hearted, to know that this is going on? That there might be kids out there who are forced into situations where Elua's precept amongst other things, are being broken? Not good.

Eneas is wise enough not to argue too much about her being stubborn. Just, "Sometimes time is of the essence. And yes, then you walk on a broken foot, Gwenaelle.", he points out, before he takes a deeper breath, inhaling her scent, but he draws back, perhaps not trusting himself to do something silly if he stays that close to her. "I did offer you look at it. Just…You scared me. It looked like that pig hit you more than just a few times, Gwen. If you used your gift and it would have taken more out of you?", he closes his eyes again. Yep, he was not willing to take that risk.
As for the children that might have gone missing? Yes, Eneas is angry, but it is a subdued, underlying anger. "We'll ferret them out. If needed, I'll try to get an audeience with the Duchess when she is back in town.". A pause. "You would not write me a letter of recommendation, would you?".

Gwenaelle actually shakes her head, turning then to peer at him, "A broken foot? This was not something like that, Eneas." She reaches up, careful to touch his shoulder, "It was deep, and if it tore? If you'd lost more blood? You would have /died/ right there. I wouldn't.. I.." Okay, she could have healed him, using her connection to her Companion, because it would have been beyond her ability as a mere phsycian. "I had no broken bones. It was all bruising, a busted lip, a bloodied nose. It looked and felt worse than it was." Then the throat, but still minor compared to his, "Trust me to know the seriousness of your injury, and that of my own, as hardheaded as I can be about such things." He can close his eyes, refuse that risk. But he made /her/ do that as well. And she had a far better idea of just how serious the stab to his neck was! Ahem.
"You will want to consider a good translator you can trust to take with you. If you leave anytime soon, it won't be enough time to learn the language. It has taken me many years to learn it myself, to be able to speak with those patients that come into the temple needing help."As for writing him a letter, she nods, "I would, if that is what you wish or need. Between my family and the Salon, I am certain the Duchess will have many audiences waiting her return. "

Eneas sighs at her as she berates him again, though he does not shy away from her touch. "I know it was serious.", he lets her know. "Don't you think I have not seen the blood? Or felt how deep he gotten. But I know what a wound looks like if it is fatal there.". Yep, he is stubborn about it. "If falling over the edge did not tear it?", he points out. "What more could I have done to it, other than to poke a finger in it to amuse the girls?". Yep, now he is just horrible.
As for her own injuries, he gives her such a look. "You _thought_ you had no broken bones. You did not know it. You said yourself you thought it might have broken a rib.", he reminds her. "I know you, Gwen. You always put others before you and if it meant burning yourself up for…", he glances to the side for a moment, "…for me, you would have done it.". When he looks back at her, his eyes do harden a little. "Look me in the eye, then, and say, if you had been me, in that moment, and I you, would you have done differently?". He does have her there, does he not? Ahem.
As she comments on a good translator, Eneas looks at her. "It depends on what we find. And you do speak the language.", he points out. "As for going after that patron of pig-snout? I would like nothing more than to do it tomorrow, but I know it will take time and money and contacts to even find out who it is. Not to mention where to find him and how to get to him.". He smiles a bit wryly. "I suppose I will have to start learning Akkadian. I can say Khave, alreadly…".

Oh, now he's getting her stirred up, seeming to put down her own knowledge, and how serious his injury was. Surely he can see her slight temper rising when he dares to tease about poking his finger in the hole the knife had made. Chin lifts, she meets that gaze of his, "I would have trusted the healer to know what was best in the moment. To know how close life or death was. I have /seen/ men die from wounds like yours. One never knows what might make it give way. It might not have torn when you went over the cliff…" And she pauses there, eyes half closing at that particular memory. Hard to say which was worse- him being stabbed, or going over that cliff! ".. the fall might have set it up for anything else to happen, to be the final thing.." And so his gaze is met again, "I trust you to know things about fighting and warfare. Surely I have seen far more to do with injuries and sickness, than you." She likely has him there on that point!
"If help is needed, you only have to ask. Though I'm sure the Duchess has translators that work for her, who could be asked to translate anything that you might need." Considering as high profile an incident this is, the Duchess will likely be all over it in her own way. "Of course." She snorts softly at the single word he knows.

Oh, they are back to riling each other up, and while he narrows his eyes a little at her rising tone, even as quiet as it is with her injury, in the end he cannot help but to smile at her, bitter-sweet as it might be. That is how they met, and how they started, and it does stab at his heart. "Perhaps. And your own injury?", he asks, lifting a hand to lights brush that bandage on her throat. "How certain were you that was not going to tear? You had no time to look at that.", he does point out. Is he saying she is a do-as-I-say-don't-do-as-I-do healer? Ahem. "But a very bright and clever woman once told me, you cannot dwell on what-ifs. It did not tear. It did not kill me. And I did as I did and we are fine with how it turned out.". So he will use her words against her. Ahem.
As for the Duchess, Eneas seems to consider it. "Perhaps. But those I do not know, nor would I trust as blindly as I would trust you. I have the feeling that man we are hunting is rich and powerful and has connections that reach well into Marsilikos. He will make those trails disappear that might lead to him, as soon as word reaches him. And without knowing who is involved….", he trails off.

Ah, yes, they are right back there to riling up one another. Both too stubborn at times to acknowledge the fact that they are likely best to agree to disagree from time to time. When he questions about her own injury, she shrugs, "I wasn't doing anything that would tear it. Simply healing you would not have harmed me, unlike sticking around to possibly engage with others. Or knowing you, itw ould have been you who went riding off on a horse to the port, to get on the ship, and try to follow the ship." Which would have hurt him! Ahem. As he tries to use her words against her, she but snorts softly, shaking her head at hime.
Whatever emotions that were riled up, fade when confronted with that information. "You are right… and we can't be certain he won't be starting to make those trails disappear now that we were saved, and that a prisoner was taken." If the person is in Marsilikos and not somewhere's else.

"I wasn't going to ride for the ship. I am not that daft.", Eneas replies back at her, frowning a little. "If it was not getting closer, we would never have gotten everyone to the boat in time. And…",he puases, frowning further, taking a deeper breath. Yes, they are riling each other up. "…I wan't going to force you to ride hard for the ship, not without being able to make sure you were…all right.". His hope was on ligting a signal and see if they would be lured in like that.
As she speaks of making trails disappear, Eneas nods slowly. "We might have a few weeks, if he is still in Khebbel-im-Akkad. But he might have lieutenants here in the City, and they know we will hang them if they are found. Or worse.", he points out. "The pig-snout might have been their top man, but there are surely others who know something. And this will stir them up.".

Gwenaelle arches a brow upwards, as if to say she doesn't quite believe that he wasn't going to try and ride for the ship to give chase. "And I had told you, the one left, didn't know how to give the proper signal to the ship." Only the daggerman had that information, and he'd gone over the cliff by that point! Still, she finally shakes her head, hand lifted to brush a lock of red from her cheek, tucking it behind her ear, "And.. I wanted to make sure you were okay." She points out quietly then. Riled up or not, they were both just trying to take care of the other. Awww.
"I think it makes me sick wondering how long they have operated like this. Just a few months? Years?" It's the unknown that might worry her, and likely why she made sure that Zoe and Anette were in safe places. They all got away. One worries if they might try again for them.

Hmpf! "What? I wasn't!", Eneas reiterates to the look he gives him. Yes, she doesn't even need to say anything. As for the man not knowing the signal, he rolls his eyes. "I know! Still. If you sailed how long to get to the spot, would you just sail away if you see that someone is waiting on that cliff? What if pig-snout had been killed and only the three of them escaped. Or he was delayed? They might have approached even without the proper signal. Or at least gotten close enough to risk a look via spyglass themselves.". And then they might have gotten lucky and seen something in turn.
Still, when she speaks of being worried, Eneas does reach out to cup her face. "I doubt they will try for either of you four again. You are too watched now, too known. They got dumb, and greedy. To go for a Mereliot and an Adept? That was stupid.", he states, easily. "And now it would be certain to draw more attention to them.". A pause. "Does not mean you should not be careful.", he adds, before the priestress gets any ideas that her guard is not needed after all.

There's just another of those looks given to him when he speaks. Yep, right. Mmhmm. She's got some oceanfront property in Namarre she'd like to sell him then! "And if they've been at it a while? Have it all sorted, rules and things they follow by?" Then perhaps the ship wouldn't dare to come by, without that signal for surely every on that boat could be taken in for kidnapping as well! Men like that, are going to save themselves first!
When he cups her face, Gwenaelle is still beneath his touch, worrying her botom lip, "I can hope." And pray. It is likely something that scares her plenty, and has worked to keep her in the temple more than normally. "Do not worry, Nihel won't be letting me leave without him." A glance to her cousin who likely overheard his name, and looks over, "Not a chance."

"Then I would have tried and not gained anything.", Eneas is easily admitting. "But it was worth a shot.", he insists. Still, when they speak of her probably no longer being a target, Eneas closes his eays, and yes, leans in to kiss her forehead. "I hope so, too.". As for Nihel? Eneas does narrow his eyes a bit at the man as he call over. "You'd better…", he half threatens, before adding. "…and remember, they jumped and overwhelmed Lois single guard.". Yep, he might just get them to put another one on her detail. Ahem.
In the end, he draws back a little, then, however. "Your lips are turning blue. I should let you head back inside…",he tells Gwen, before he draws back a little bit, to look at her. "If I find out anything more…I will let you know.".

The kiss comes to her forehead, something he has done many times. This time, she blushes a little, half turning towards her cousin when he speaks up, "I have faith in you, Nihel.." Even though the men overpowered the single guard on the adept. Oh, can he imagine the grumbling that Gwenaelle might go into if /another/ guard was placed on her?!? She'd loose her mind!
As he prepares to leave, she draws back from him, moving to rise to her feet, though she says, "You'll let me take a look at your neck first. Quick." As for the rest, she nods quietly, soon to lead him back into the temple, then the infirmary so she might get a quick look at the wound, clean and re-bandage it before he leaves.

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