Northstar Vale pulchellus
Mereo
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#1
All Welcome 
arsenio was unhappy.

germanicus did not expect his old friend to make the trek to mereo. he made it alone, informing ruenna, @Aquene, and @Towhee that he would be gone for a day. two at most.

with mereo in capable paws, the imperator set off.

and when he arrived at the borders of epoch, he cleared his throat and asked @Arsenio for an audience.
Epoch
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#2
After the discussion that had been shared between Arsenio and Aquene, the mercenary had left Mereo feeling cheated.

The man had contemplated his feelings, unable to share them without bristling into a heated state. He had felt cheated, to start. After considering the offer that had been made to Aquene, he could not blame her for wishing to keep her family in the place it had originated. Moving children was a difficult task, even if the journey was a short one to the vale. Arsenio had considered storming to find the Roman, confronting him.

Why is it that when your wife is unable to uphold her duties, you seek to offer her place to the one woman who was intended to form Epoch?

When the Roman’s call sounded in the vale, Arsenio did not waste time to find him. The redstone wolf stood with a straight face and a slight wave of his tail.

Germanikos. It is good to see you here. Tell me, have your responsibilities lightened to allow for this visit?
Mereo
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#3
arsenio showed and without a smile. the eagle stood firm.

"yes."

he was aware that arsenio had spoken with aquene. he had insisted upon it. but his companion too must be given a chance to speak. it was for this reason that he did not move to say aloud his thoughts.

the imperator was quiet.
Epoch
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#4
A monosyllabic response, but what more did the Greek expect from the Roman?

Arsenio breathed a sigh through his nose, moving so that he might sit on the edge of the vale. An invitation was not offered to the grey-muzzled man across from him. He had considered it. He had thought hard before finding a place to sit. Their conversation would take place on the edge of Epoch. Depending on how matters were resolved, then he might consider a warm invitation.

I had gone to Mereo to visit Aquene and to ask how long she believed it would be before her family would join us here in the vale, you know. She informed me of a change in plans, much to my surprise.

The mercenary held himself firmly. His words were casual, but his expression was sharp, and his lips were thinned into a straight line.

She has told me that you so kindly offered a promotion! Your wife’s position in Mereo for Aquene.

The glacial blue of his eyes remained fixed to the Roman’s snout.

It seems there may be some changes that must be made, since she has accepted your kind offer.
Mereo
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#5
germanicus was quiet until arsenio had finished speaking.

"i went to towhee first. we spoke of how the matrona's role must not only be for ruenna. it must be for who has earned it. while kallik has traveled between here and the vale, building with you, aquene has earned the only rank of equestrian in mereo."

he paused.

"i thought it natural that out of respect the role be offered. and i told her that you are leadership in epoch, not i."

germanicus met the cold ocean gaze.
Epoch
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#6
The redstone wolf shook his head.

I do not need the politics behind your decision.

Arsenio didn’t care about the rightful ranks Germanicus believed the wolves in Mereo should hold. He did not care that Ruenna had fallen out of her ability to keep the Matrona role. He did not care that Towhee had been offered the position first. There were few things that the Greek man allowed to trouble him. He had found that a man was only worth as much as the words he could keep.

You said nothing to me. When we had discussed forming Epoch, I had stated that Aquene and Kallik were not just wolves who fill a rank – they are friends, to myself and to Tamar. Arsenio sighed, already tired of the conversation at hand. He wanted to be done with it so that he could focus on the future of their settlement and their family. You had said you were reluctant to give Kallik and Aquene. Now, you have taken your word back. With nothing said to me or Tamar.

Arsenio eyed the Roman. This was not the talk he had hoped for. This was not how he envisioned their comradery cracking beneath the strain.

You have a mind only for Mereo. Now my mind must be for Epoch.

A stoic expression found his features. There were no hints of the joyous smile that he typically wore.

I will not join you in the fight against the Saints. I do not believe Epoch and Mereo will have standing to be allies, or to be bound to one another. We will remain friendly, of course. This is the best for both Epoch and Mereo, I believe.
Mereo
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#7
germanicus was quiet. the pronouncement stung him but he could not allow it to show.

arsenio was not wrong for his focus upon epoch. perhaps this was the way things must be. the eagle had seen the building of an outpost before, had he not.

"very well." his voice was a rumble. he would not disrespect the greek by arguing his words nor mounting a defense. 

and yet he felt wronged.

perhaps it was only the newness of ruenna now a commoner and no longer beside him at his tasks.

the imperator stood firm. "let us meet again in wintertide." it was an offer for the future. arsenio could take it or not. but germanicus had only observed hierarchy. friendship mattered less to him than filling a role. that was their difference.
Epoch
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#8
It was clear from the Imperator’s response that he did not care about friendships or the relationships that had been formed. While this was a shame, Arsenio did not seem phased by it. The Roman had made it clear that he only cared for his mission and that he would cut away or abandon the pseudo-friendships that he had made to achieve that mission.

The mercenary found himself suddenly very sad for Ruenna. He could not imagine the transactional marriage that she must have formed with the Roman man. It burned his cheeks hot with secondhand embarrassment to realize that their love could only have been one that was founded on business and business alone.

Yes, let us talk again when the snows fall. Give your wife my best. I hope that her back does not trouble her too deeply. Arsenio spoke genuinely with this. Aquene had suggested that the Matrona- former Matrona had been forced to step away because of her pains. It was a pity to hear it, but Arsenio would not allow the Roman to step on him to fill that gaping hole. The Greek had already paid his debts to the Imperator.

I hope your journey back is a swift one. In other words, Germanicus would not be invited into Arsenio’s home.

The mercenary offered a half-assed smile and nodded his head to the other man in farewell.
Mereo
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#9
<3;;

"i will give her your regards. thank you, arsenio."

the imperator turned away. his journey home would indeed be swift.

having alienated the only man he might call friend, the temptation was great to disappear into the forest for a time. it was what he would have done as a ranger.

but he was not that any more. he was head of mereo.

part of him wondered if aquene might be able to straighten this out. but for now he perished the thought. he walked in silence back to the canyon, wounded and unsure of why the pain ached greatly. had he not lost a dozen friends to a dozen wars?