Snippet #2791599

located in Fódlan, a part of Fire Emblem: Apotheosis, one of the many universes on RPG.

Fódlan

A continent divided into three different factions: The Adrestian Empire, The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

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Character Portrait: Jeralt's Journal
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I.Y. 1186 - Garland Moon - Tuesday the 17th
Derdriu - Evening - Cool
Sofia Esparsa


It was something of an inherently difficult enterprise, blending in. For Sofia, at least.

It wasn't that she was any great beauty, bound to draw attention for the way she looked or the way she moved or the way she smiled—that, she knew wasn't the case at all. She was pleasant-looking enough, she knew, but after spending such a long time in the company of others who were frankly stunning, she considered herself to have a realistic perspective on such matters.

She was, however, quite tall, and so it was difficult to lose sight of her in a crowd. This was presently quite unfortunate because she was fairly certain her cousin Mila was here, and if that was so, she would definitely be in pursuit.

Mila was the family's pride and joy, as it were, because she was the one who'd succeeded in doing what Sofia was supposed to do: marrying into nobility, specifically a family with a Crest. In fact, her husband was formerly Lord Gloucester, a minor relative of the family who was quite likely to end up its head now that Matteo and Fiona Gloucester had both been slain. Unlike them, Hans Gloucester wasn't much of a military type, though he'd done his service like most nobles in the Alliance did, before settling down in his little castle on family land and quietly marrying a rich merchant's daughter so as to be very, very comfortable doing so.

But then, Mila had always been like that. Beautiful, demure, and so very very eager to please. Sofia really didn't want to become the focus of her cousin's big dark doe-eyes as she asked innocent questions with hidden barbs in them, subtly flaunting her favored status with their family while showering Sofia with false flattery for her 'bravery' in taking up lance and shield for her people. Mila would want, and could probably manage, to have it both ways. Bask in the limelight that came with famous relatives, while still somehow holding herself above them for being the more conscientious, proper daughter of the Esparsa lineage. And as she was Lady Mila Gloucester now, she was very likely to be a Duchess within a matter of weeks, thus securing her position as easily the most valuable member of the family and its future leader.

Frankly, Sofia would be perfectly fine with this... as long as she didn't have to listen to it. Fortunately, Mila was slowed down by the fact that she had to graciously accept congratulations from everyone who stopped her and noted that her coming child was sure to be a 'future Duke,' as though they could already determine the child's gender and were simply assuming that Hans would be appointed to his deceased cousin's position.

Sofia had not missed any of this, and swept out of the ballroom to one of the balconies, releasing a breath in a heavy sigh and brushing down the front of her green and white dress. She was markedly less comfortable with showing skin than some of her friends, though much more comfortable than Sorcha was at least, and so while her gown was only short-sleeves and had a bit of decolletage exposed, it was overall a rather simple thing. Fortunate for moving around in it, anyhow.

“There you are!" Deirdre's voice called out. From the way she sounded, it was almost as if she were irritated with something. “I've been looking everywhere for you. Do you know how many people tried to accost me?! I was drowning in people!" She placed an arm around Sofia's waist and pressed into her side. She took a soft breath before shaking her head and pulling back.

“But the look on your face tells me you've had almost the same kind of night I've been having. Care to tell me what it is that's bothering you besides the obvious?" Deirdre stated, arching a brow up at Sofia. Unlike Sofia, though, Deirdre had been dressed in a dress that ended just above her knees and was strapless. It exposed all of her shoulders, and her collar bones, but it had been more modest than most of the dresses everyone else had been wearing.

Sofia groaned, perhaps a little too dramatically for the situation, but not entirely without warrant, she thought. "I've spent most of the night trying to avoid my perfect cousin," she said with a sigh. "I've told you about Mila, right? She's pregnant now, and Hans is probably the next Duke Gloucester, so you know she's looking forward to rubbing in my face how proud everyone is of her."

Taking up her fiancée's hand, she brought both to rest on the balcony's banister. "I'm sure plenty of your relatives how crawled out of the woodwork to annoy you too, though, right?"

“Not as badly as Mila is doing to you. They've focused all their attention on Alaric because he's Duke Goneril. I'm just Deirdre," she stated, pushing a heavy sigh through her nose. “And Mila's a snobby bitch. Perfect my ass," Deirdre muttered the last part and rolled her eyes. “Everyone's too blinded to see that the perfect Esparsa is right here. And she is my fiancée. They should all be proud of you and how far you've come. I for one am very proud of you, Sofi."

“And screw Hans. He's an idiot. If Mercer knows what's best for the Gloucester lands, he'd appoint a new House or divvy it up among the other Dukes," she muttered, pursing her lips together.

By the time she was finished, Sofia was giggling. She couldn't help herself, really—Deirdre just had this way about her that had always, somehow, managed to crack the facade of the well-heeled merchant daughter Sofia had been raised to be. It was, perhaps, her absolute favorite thing about the woman she was going to marry: what Deirdre felt, she felt strongly, deeply, and honestly, and she never hesitated to let anyone know what that was.

Sofia, who had been holding her tongue against her wishes her entire life, had fallen in love with that immediately.

There were, of course, plenty of other things to love about Deirdre, but that quality alone, that sheer honesty in a world and a life full of people saying what they had to and not what they wanted to... that would have done it regardless.

"Hans isn't so bad," Sofia said, shaking her head. "It's not his fault his mother made him marry Mila. No one should be subjected to that."

Deridre's honesty had a way of drawing the same bluntness out of Sofia, after all.

Deirdre snorted a bit harshly and rolled her eyes. “Hm, if you say so. He could have said no, after all. There was no real benefit to marrying Mila except marrying a pretty face. Though if that passes for pretty now-a-days..." Deirdre trailed off, shuddering visibly as if she found Mila repulsive. “Hans could have had a better choice. There was that one daughter in House Edmund, wasn't there? Oh, wait, no that was Lucien. Still, Lucien and Hans would have made a better married couple," she continued.

Sofia elected not to mention the exorbitant amount of dowry involved. As nowhere near the position of heir to House Gloucester, that had been a real concern for Hans, who had a name but not really much wealth, contrasting Mila, who had a lot of wealth but no noble name. That was the only way merchants' daughters ever really became nobility, but it was also sort of beside the point, so she didn't bother explaining it.

“How are you feeling, by the way?" Deirdre asked, turning to face Sofia with furrowed brows. “I know you've mostly healed by now, but I still see you limp from time to time."

"I'm fine," Sofia said honestly. "It still twinges from time to time, but even over the last few days that's lessened. I should be in the clear by the end of the month." She smiled and squeezed Deirdre's hand. "What about you?"

Deirdred hummed in a satisfied manner before shaking her head. “I'm fine," she replied, pursing her lips in Sofia's direction. “I might be short and squishy, but I'm not that squishy. You can't keep me down, no matter how hard you try," she replied, grinning lightly.

She sighed, though, and leaned a little further into Sofia's side. “Honestly I'm fine. I wasn't hurt as badly as all of you were. I had a couple of sprained ligaments, but that was it. I think it was from flinging all of those spells as harshly as I was," she murmured softly. “But it was worth it. We're all still alive, after all."

"You would sprain something throwing spells too hard," Sofia replied lightly. It was, honestly, just like her. Sort of part and parcel with her general earnestness and tendency to put her all into everything. "It makes me worry about you sometimes, you know." She said it lightly, but there was a grain of truth to it, too. Being as straightforward and direct as Deirdre was had its downsides, or probably everyone would do it. In her case, it had more dangerous downsides, too, if she could be injured in such a way.

"There's a reason I keep you behind the shield, and then you go and thwart all my efforts to protect you by hurting yourself. Honestly. What am I going to do with you?" She shot an aside glance at her fiancée and smiled a little to indicate that she was mostly teasing.

Deirdre barked out a short laugh, shaking her head lightly. She arched a brow in Sofia's direction as well, though it seemed mostly amused. “Oh, I don't know. I could think of a few things you could do with me, but..." she trailed off, the grin on her face turning a bit dark before it disappeared. She pushed a sigh through her nose and blinked slowly.

“If it means protecting you, too, then hurting myself is worth it. I can bear a few sprains and scrapes if it means you're alive at the end of the day. It's... I know I shouldn't be so reckless, but it's how I've always been, Sofi. You know this"

Sofia sighed. "I know. And I certainly can't blame you for wanting to protect me, considering that I'm the idiot who decided to learn to use armor and shields just to protect you. But please, Deir. Make sure it's just scrapes and sprains, okay? I care about you as much as you care about me, and that means we have to look after ourselves, too." She smiled. "Or the person we love most is going to be very cross."

“Well, you'd be very cross. I'd be very very angry and probably do stupid shit I shouldn't," she replied, smiling and shaking her head. “And you're not an idiot, Sofi. If you are, then I suppose that makes you my idiot, but then I'd also be your idiot. And as much as I like that, I'd rather not have idiot attached to either of us."

Sofia laughed. "I don't know, it might get people to leave us alone. I'd be all right with that."

“We could always just live a life of seclusion if we didn't want people to bother us. If I remember correctly, we have been offered places to live in Duscur, the Empire, and Faerghus once the latter are reclaimed."