Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post

Kazelia!

“Ma’am,” Tam Patterley says with quiet sorrow, “the situation on the ground is a sight more complicated than that. We’ve people back home we’re worried about-“

Asteria whirls about, and for a moment one might be afraid she’s just heard your sedition, but she’s grabbing you by the cheeks furiously for a different reason: someone’s not doing as she’s told.

“Kazelia,” she says, all poisoned sweetness, “I know you’ve been wasting your time frolicking among undisciplined Hyperboreans, but in my camp, when I ask a question, it is answered. Where is Alina Cascade?”

Her lip curls in disdain. (One of her camp staff has been cleaning the mud off her face as you’ve walked.) “If you don’t want to talk, we can always move forward with your etiquette training. Immediately.”
Kazelia does look sad when she hears Tam start to talk, and continues looking at Tam and not at Asteria. "That is sad, and it's just like my sister, who for some reason couldn't hear me earlier when I said that Princess Alina Cascade is right here in Askaia."

Kazelia gives Tam as much of an apologetic shrug as she can and keeps talking. There's a game to this of course. Asteria loves being the center of attention, but she's also getting her questions answered (she's also being terribly imprecise and given her level of careful military organization and micromanagement, she really has no one but herself to blame for asking a vague question). Asteria had always been like this though. Kazelia had memories of themselves as children. Images out of time and place somehow, little icicles forming on the window of a house and the sound of a slow rain clinging to them and drip, drip, dripping down somewhere, but a pink interior, warm, with a small child-sized table and dresses with lace on the neck and sleeves. Old images, where the figures weren't clear, but she knew she was with Asteria, playing the same game. No Tam of course, no knights, but a small army of stuffed animals. Kazelia was talking to Mrs. Penguin and Billy Buffalo, her little ward instead of to Asteria, but saying just enough to them to let Asteria know that her question about the quality of the muffins had definitely been heard. Even if the muffins were much worse than last week's and didn't Mrs. Penguin quite agree with that? Asteria, of course, became more and more desperate for attention because she wasn't getting it, and went to greater and greater heights of theatrics as a result. An old game, familiar, and happening now with a somewhat more interactive audience. Indeed, the audience here was entirely necessary because Tam was the one holding Kazelia in place for Asteria. No Tam, no restraints, nothing stopping her from grabbing her nearby lance lying against the side of the tent and finishing the job started earlier.

So, Kazelia keeps talking. "It's hard, having someone you want to protect. That's why I came in here, the dragon is a good friend of mine and I couldn't leave her alone to fight everyone, so I came to protect her. But you all, you've got a family to protect, and a land, and a princess, and a culture. So many things. It must be so hard, deciding what's the right thing to do. I'm sorry to put you in this spot. I promised I'd help save you all, I promised I'd make up for what I'd done and what my sisters are doing." Kazelia leans back into Tam's arms and listens as she waits for Asteria to cut in, as of course she will. Even here, even amidst the mist and corruption, she can still hear the singers and she begins to hum the tune she's hearing. Perhaps Asteria hears it too? Of course, it's doubtful she'll be pleased, but that's just how Asteria works.