Characters:Kinoc, Seymour (mention of Braska, Auron, Jecht and Jyscal)
Notes:For owlmoose, who requested Kinoc, post-Braska pilgrimage and pre-game. This is shortly after Seymour's exile was revoked.
Kinoc half-stood to return the prayer bows, then awkwardly gestured to the upholstered chair across from him. While he was quite comfortable with the promotion, his new chamber was perpetually cramped and out-of-sorts.
Seymour sat, unwrapping a delicately-ribboned satchel in his lap. He looked more Guado than Kinoc had expected. The skin veined with silver blue. The strange stalks of --was it hair? Horns? He'd never known and it felt rude to ask.
"Quaw fruit?" Seymour held out a small handful of tiny violet citrus --cave oranges, the humans called them. A delicacy amongst the Guado. They were disgusting and stunk up a room for hours.
Kinoc declined politely. "I had a heavy breakfast."
"My father made me bring them. All these years, and he still hasn't quite grasped the human palate." His voice was gentle, almost apologetic. "Of course, I suppose I should be half-repulsed by them myself." He chuckled softly. "Mind if I?"
"Not at all." Kinoc smiled, holding his breath as Seymour peeled the first one.
"It's good to finally meet you. My father has spoken highly of you."
"It is an honor to serve him." Kinoc looked him in the eye, his voice serious. "And I want you to know that I am sorry about how you were treated. It was a different time, then. I hope your father and I can work together to make sure things like that don't happen again."
Seymour waved a hand. "It wasn't your kind's fault. And you don't need to do that to me. You don't need to politicize with me." He popped another fruit into his mouth and grinned. "I'm already on your side."
"That's good news." Kinoc returned the grin.
"So you knew High Summoner Braska and his guardians, didn't you? Sir Auron and Sir Jecht?"
"I did. Lord Braska and his guardians were some of the finest and bravest--"
"You're been asked this question a lot, haven't you?"
Kinoc licked his lips and continued. "I met Lord Braska when I was a warrior monk at Bevelle. He was still a priest, then. It was before he met and fell in love with his Al Bhed wife. Not unlike your father and mother."
"And his guardians?"
"Sir Jecht I did not know well. He was jailed for a short time, I know. He claimed to be from Zanarkand."
"But you knew Sir Auron quite well, yes?"
"I did. We were enlisted together. He was a thoroughly good man, and I was privileged to know him."
"He was loyal, my father says. An idealist."
"But you're a realist." Seymour sucked a string of citrus flesh from his long fingers. Kinoc stirred --Guado hands always unnerved him a little --too long, too tree-like. "Which is why you're here, on the path to Maesterhood and he is --where do you think he is?"
"Dead." Kinoc said flatly.
"And yet only Lord Braska has appeared on the Farplane. Why do you suppose that is?" Seymour's eyes glimmered with something Kinoc did not quite recognize.
"I don't like to think of it, but perhaps they have joined the unsent. It is a dangerous pilgrimage, it has claimed the lives of many strong--"
"A great summoner like Braska would never leave his guardians unsent." Seymour stood suddenly, his chair rattling on its hind legs. "As a Guado, I know some about the Farplane, but not everything. They won't tell me. They don't trust me, they think I'm not worthy because I--." His voice turned high-pitched, child-like. "Because I don't belong there."
Kinoc's stomach began to unfurl. There was something wrong with this boy.
"But I know this. Every cycle, every time Sin is slain, one guardian doesn't appear on the Farplane. Then, when the next cycle begins --the next time Sin is slain, the missing guardian suddenly appears on the Farplane. I don't know what it means --I don't think anybody does. But it's always been only one guardian, until now. I think--" He fell heavily into his chair. "I think there was something special about them. Maybe Sir Jecht really was from Zanarkand--"
"Lord Braska, for all his virtues, was far more trusting than he should have been. Sir Jecht was an ill-reputed drunkard. Auron fully expected him to run off as soon as he was free. I suspect he did just that and was killed by fiends on the trail. And Auron --Sir Auron-- is dead." Kinoc said calmly. "I pray Yevon keep them all."
Seymour stared silently, the frantic glimmer seizing behind his eyes. Kinoc noticed Seymour's hands had twisted around the arms of his chair, white knuckled and root-like. Those ugly Guado hands. Subconsciously, Kinoc swallowed.
"You're afraid of me." Seymour took on a tone that was at once accusatory and pitiful. "Mother was right. She said that if I returned here, I wouldn't be accepted."
Kinoc stared straight ahead and spoke softly. "I do not know what you are looking for, but I know I cannot help you."His eyes flicked upward. "Politics aside, I deeply regret what has happened to you, Seymour. I know that you have not had an easy time of it. But you are here now. Try for a normal life, if only for your father. I suggest you forget what has happened today and I will do the same."
Without so much as a shudder, Kinoc took Seymour's hand and gently put the fruit satchel in it. "Remember, I'm on your side, too."
That's all it was.
It took half a dozen sticks of incense before his chambers didn't stink of cave oranges.