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Everything's a mess when you hide all the lies

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37Posts
26Age5'9Height
"Why would they send someone without telling them anything? Just... find a person and protect them?"

And this man wanted them to believe that story? It was probably true--because it sounded stupid. But because it sounded stupid, it also didn't seem credible. Blanc wanted to shake his head. Who came up with this idea?

"They must have paid you a lot..."
70Posts
27Age5'9"Height
"Well, she was wearing a plain hooded cloak and I'm not familiar with the royal family," Seth replied with a shrug. "Yeah, this guy must have really pissed someone off," he remarked. He tilted his head slightly at the mention of enemies. "I don't know that much. The only thing I know about the enemies is that they want this guy dead."

He glanced at the priest. "It's called being discreet. It's also a big part of what I do." Seth raised an eyebrow as the subject of payment came up. "That's neither here nor there."
37Posts
26Age5'9Height
"Being discreet is showing strangers pictures of people you need to protect without knowing if they're friend or foe?"

Blanc smiled that innocent smile Yuriel had, as though pointing out something perfectly obvious. This man must not have been good at his job then.

Hell, Blanc could have done a better job of keeping Ero alive. And he had. He wasn't the only one on the former prince's trail... but he sure as hell would be the only one to strike the killing blow.

"Maybe I'll go downstairs to get a drink," he said as he rose. "Is that okay Ero? I'll be quick, there and back before you can blink!"
And my heart will be blacker than your eyes when I'm through with you
50Posts
25Age5'8"Height
"No," Ero said, reaching out to take hold of Yuriel's wrist to keep him from going anywhere. If he was anybody else, Ero would just let him go, but the fact of the matter was, he was a priest. And people had been eyeballing him since they arrived.

"It's not safe," he said. And he also gave Yuriel a strange look because... since when did Yuriel go for a drink? The way he worded it, made it sound like he needed to have some alcohol in his system... which wasn't something he equated with Yuriel. Indeed, the priests of the temple were meant to stay away from it.

Yuriel did have a point, though. Just because he'd been shown that image... and told that this person was here to protect him, didn't necessarily mean that he wasn't here to kill him. All the same, Ero wasn't that worried. If this was all a trap, then he'd fight him here and now.

So, slowly, he reached up and removed his mask, lowering it as he kept his gaze on this so-called bodyguard.

"They want me dead because I'm already supposed to be dead and somebody has a few loose ends to tie up."
70Posts
27Age5'9"Height
Seth shook his head at the strange priest. "This is a matter of urgency and I had to start somewhere," he said. He wasn't the only one who felt suspicious when the priest mentioned getting a drink. Seth wasn't entirely familiar with the priesthood, but he did know that priests were holy folk and didn't drink. Then his attention turned to the masked man as they revealed their real identity. There was no mistaking that face.

"Well, I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen."
37Posts
26Age5'9Height
"Not-not even milk? There was someone drinking milk... downstairs... so I thought maybe..." Blanc trailed off with a small and resigned sigh. Taverns weren't known to give patrons milk--and most didn't want any--but there had been a boy with colorful beads in his hair sitting at the end of the bar with a glass of milk. He'd been cheerfully conversing with the bartender, before Blanc slipped the latter his note.

Sadly, Blanc did feel the need for a strong drink but he wasn't stupid enough to think that he could waltz back with alcohol on his breath. Innocent little priests didn't do things like that. Neither did experienced assassins.

He shuffled closer to Ero and when the mask came off, he let out a jagged little "OoOh!" of surprise. Pictures couldn't do a man justice, could they? Most of his admiration was real as he leaned in to catch a better look at the unmasked prince. "You have eyes! Uh-I mean!" He let out a silly little nervous Yuriel laugh, the one he'd often heard when the young priest was caught off-guard.
And my heart will be blacker than your eyes when I'm through with you
50Posts
25Age5'8"Height
"Well," he said, "it appears she sent you in the nick of time."

Considering that the attempts on his life had stopped for a while and now they were back... He had obviously not been discreet enough. Somebody had found him. Should he be worried this one did, too? For all he knew, this man was trying to get close to him before slitting his throat. He was tired of having to be paranoid but the truth of the matter was, the only reason he still existed was that paranoia.

And now there were two people, looking at his naked face, the one he'd painstakingly hid behind a mask for so long. Now it was out there and they were both looking at it. And they knew--who he was. Why the mask was a thing. Ero didn't let loose his grip on his mask, all too ready to replace it on his face at a moment's notice.

Glancing over at Yuriel, he swallowed back his guilt. And of course, Yuriel said something stupid and naive. He didn't know whether to laugh or cry about it, so he did neither.

"Yes," he said. He had eyes. It was hard to look at Yuriel with him looking back at him like that. To the other man, however, he said, "You have a name, I assume? I go by Ero'yen now."
70Posts
27Age5'9"Height
Seth glanced at the priest briefly. He couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something strange about that man. He turned back to the unmasked young man. "She seemed very worried and time was of the essence," he replied. Seth nodded in response to the question and Ero introducing himself.

"Very well. Yes, I do. I am Seth."
And my heart will be blacker than your eyes when I'm through with you
50Posts
25Age5'8"Height
Seth. And somehow, his mother trusted this Seth with his well being. That made Ero wonder where she found him, what his credentials were, but most importantly, what had her sending somebody for him after all this time. It had been so long... Part of him still greatly missed his mother. The young boy inside of him, the one that just wanted her to hold him again, to tell him everything would be all right. Those times were long past, though. And his mother was doing what she could do for him from afar. He had to just trust in her choices.

Unless...

Ero couldn't help worrying that Seth had been sent by somebody else, that his motives were not what they seemed. He hadn't made a move to kill him, though. Perhaps because Yuriel was present.

Either way, both Yuriel and Seth now knew who Ero'yen actually was.

Taking in a deep breath, Ero lowered his head slightly. Then he gestured toward Yuriel.

"This is Yuriel," he said. "My... friend." He wasn't sure how else to introduce him. And now it seemed like Yuriel was stuck with him. He looked wearily at Yuriel, aching with sudden exhaustion. Yuriel, poor Yuriel... If only he had gone to the guild and sent him away with somebody, safely back to the temple.

"I suppose it's too late to send you away," he said to Yuriel. "I hope you don't end up regretting your decision..."
37Posts
26Age5'9Height
"Oh." A word saturated with disappointment. Even the real Yuriel would have felt the same way--merely a friend? Of course it was neither the time nor the place for such a discussion but Blanc imagined that a young priest, gullible and innocent and foolish, wouldn't be quite so restrained.

He nodded a touch glumly and intoned, "Yes, I'm his friend." From Blanc's observation of Ero'yen and the real Yuriel, friend was an inadequate description. And he also knew, perhaps even better than Ero'yen, that the young priest had no return path to Bilai temple. Only certain death awaited him there.

"I came all this way with you, didn't I, Ero? How can I regret anything when I decided to follow you?" He held on to Ero'yen with both hands, leaning closer to him to say, softly, "You're all I have left..."
70Posts
27Age5'9"Height
Seth nodded as Ero introduced the priest, apparently called Yuriel. "I see," he replied, glancing in between the two. He wasn't sure if Ero was being entirely honest, if Yuriel's reaction was anything to go by. Then again, Yuriel's feelings could be unrequited. Whatever the reason, Seth knew it wasn't his place to ask.
And my heart will be blacker than your eyes when I'm through with you
50Posts
25Age5'8"Height
What? He didn't understand the naked disappointment in Yuriel's voice. Friends didn't come easily to him, not after he'd been forcefully ejected from his place in the palace. Nobody could be trusted to know the real him, and as much as it hurt and made things lonely... Ero knew those things would only endanger both himself and whomever he let in.

Yet here he was. Admitting to having a friend. So he didn't understand the disappointment. But now wasn't the time for that discussion. Things were awkward enough as it was. And all the more awkward as Yuriel held onto him like he thought Ero was going to change his mind (again).

It was obvious that Seth didn't believe him, with that kind of reaction. That was none of his concern, though.

"Did my mother say anything specific about the dangers? She must have sent you for a reason. She's left me on my own this long so somebody must know I'm still alive."
37Posts
26Age5'9Height
Ah, friends. It was a loaded word. A distracting word. But that was Blanc's part to play here, at least for now--at least until reinforcements arrived. He didn't let go of Ero'yen's hand and instead drew even closer, listening intently to Seth's answer.

Having been away for quite some time tailing his target, Blanc was a little out of touch with the goings-on in court. And besides, this was the perfect time to find out just how much they really knew of his employer's plans.
70Posts
27Age5'9"Height
Seth frowned slightly at Ero's question. The woman had told him about the assassins, but she hadn't been too specific. "Only that your enemies have sent people to kill you. She said I was to watch you from the shadows. I do not know how she knows, as she chose not to reveal that information."
And my heart will be blacker than your eyes when I'm through with you
50Posts
25Age5'8"Height
Distressing...

"Of course she didn't..." In case Seth turned out to be a traitor or he was intercepted or her message to him was intercepted or somebody listened to their conversation. His mother was a very careful woman. If it weren't for her, Ero'yen wouldn't even be alive now. She loved him, without a doubt, although he had his moments of wondering if that was the case, when he was younger and lonesome.

"I suppose it doesn't really matter who wants to kill me. The end result is the same."
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