Monday, June 25, 2018

Page 1845

((Triple Monday -- Page 2 of 3))
That was just like them, though. Even now, with all they’d been through, the Rainlords were still concerned about not being a bother or a burden to their host. They made that pretty clear. Repeatedly, even.

“Yeah, but the thing is,” said Hector, “you doing that is being a bother to me.”

Horatio Blackburn and Salvador Delaguna just sat there, looking back at him. The last mention of a heated argument breaking out had been between members of their two houses, though they refused to acknowledge it, much to Hector’s growing annoyance.

Hector frowned at their silence. “While I’m gone, Warrenhold and even Gray Rock is under the Rainlords’ protection. If you guys can’t even tell me what’s wrong, then how am I supposed to trust you to take care of all these people in my absence?” This was something he’d given a lot of thought to already, and he was trying not to sound too irritated with them.

Horatio just cast his eyes to the floor, still not saying anything.

Salvador, however, kept his gaze locked on Hector.

Hector had a hard time looking back at the man, though. Not because he was embarrassed, but rather because the man’s recent losses were so painfully visible on his face. The Lord Delaguna was one of the largest men Hector had ever seen, but that shrunken posture and those big brown eyes full of remorse made him seem somehow smaller.

Hector knew only too well how much grief the man was still coping with, how many family members he’d lost at Dunehall. It seemed wrong to be doing anything but trying to accommodate him, but after consulting Garovel a couple of times on the matter, he’d come to believe that treating Salvador any differently would just make things worse.

The man needs many things right now,’ Garovel had said, ‘but from us, he needs only normalcy and respect. We need to treat him like a companion. Not a child or a victim.

And though a part of him didn’t want to, Hector agreed. Remembering his own, personal experiences with such things, he felt like Garovel was right on the money with that assessment.

So it was hard to look back at him, but Hector did it, nonetheless. Looking away would have been disrespectful in its own way, Hector felt.

“...You are right,” Salvador eventually said, sighing. “My house is not in order...”

“Nor is mine,” said Horatio, glancing over at the man before sighing as well. “I don’t know how my uncle was able to make everyone feel so united and... I...”

“H-hold on,” said Hector, feeling abruptly like he’d just slapped both of these poor men across the face. “I mean... look, all I’m saying is that you should let me help. It’s, ah... it’s okay if things aren’t exactly stable for you, right now. It would be weird if they were. But you can’t shut me out like you’ve been doing. You can’t just... you can’t just pretend like there’s no problem when there obviously is, okay?”

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