Difference between revisions of "Esredes Rosemond"

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! <div style="font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; font-variant:small-caps;"><b>Alphinoix Luitomiere,</b> <i>Client/Sort Of Boss?.</i>  <b>(</b><font style="color:#54b5eb;" size="2">♥</font><font style="color:#6B8E23;" size="2">✔</font><b>)</b> - <b>The Angel Of Revived Flesh.</b></div>
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! <div style="font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px; font-variant:small-caps;"><b>Alphinoix Luitomiere,</b> <i>Client/Sort Of Boss?</i>  <b>(</b><font style="color:#54b5eb;" size="2">♥</font><font style="color:#6B8E23;" size="2">✔</font><b>)</b> - <b>The Angel Of Revived Flesh.</b></div>
 
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| <div style="font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px;"><b>Character's Thoughts:</b> <i>“Maybe it’s not as surprising as my mind makes it out to be that he is completely unafraid of my presence, yet still. Even the good sort are often hesitant. And to then want to trust me as an equal? ...I cannot let such an individual down. He most of all deserves my help, and I want with everything in me to see him fare well.”
 
| <div style="font-family:Georgia; font-size:14px;"><b>Character's Thoughts:</b> <i>“Maybe it’s not as surprising as my mind makes it out to be that he is completely unafraid of my presence, yet still. Even the good sort are often hesitant. And to then want to trust me as an equal? ...I cannot let such an individual down. He most of all deserves my help, and I want with everything in me to see him fare well.”

Latest revision as of 05:58, 3 August 2022

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General Information

Esredes is a former Temple Knight turned heretic. After an incident with dragon’s blood from his childhood came to light and he was nearly killed as a result, he turned against Ishgard and became devoted to winning the Dragonsong War for the heretics by either taking over or destroying Ishgard. Now fueled by a mixture of vengeance and the need to liberate his people, Esredes continues to press on after years of fighting, refusing to give up the fight no matter how much it takes his toll on him.

Nominated to take Iceheart’s place by his own people after the climax of the war, Esredes was later officially pardoned by Aymeric and allowed to return to his original home under the condition of adhering to the new law and government. In the wake of the ashes of the war and his movement, Esredes continues to operate in a delicate balance between law and necessity, helping the new Ishgard while being well-prepared for a potential resurrection of the war. Despite his many doubts about his own abilities, he has taken up the mantle given to him of Her successor- continuing to convert people to his side and ideology and carefully watch and infiltrate ongoings in Ishgard.

Perhaps there will be salvation in the ashes, or perhaps there is naught to do but delay the inevitable oblivion. One thing is for certain for the man: the war will never truly be over until he can make it so…. Or be forced to enact its resurrection.

His blog is here.

Personality

Serious | Determined | Judgemental | Ambitious | Selectively Confident | Manipulative | Driven | Irritable | Reserved | Narrow-minded | Dramatic | Cunning | Calculated | Cautious | Snarky | Vicious | Selectively Hostile | Motivational | Protective | Selectively Empathetic | Selectively Compassionate | Selectively Polite | Selectively Blunt | Leading | Logical | Sadistic | Realist | Intense | Loyal | Selectively Deceitful | Hateful | Selectively Dense | Analytical | Introverted | Selectively Delusional | Self Sacrificial

Esredes is a person for whom much is said or whispered about, often conflicting in nature. For many people, he is a dangerous, exploitative force of malevolence that no one seems to know how to stop and put down for good, an individual that one should stay away from or else they will either perish or be warped into another evildoer like himself. Yet for others, he is an unsung hero, a caring soul that heals the minds and hearts of people he passes, who many defend and stand by at all costs. But no matter what exactly is said about him, one thing is clear about the man: he is a driven individual with a cause in mind he will never forsake, wielding himself as an engraved, fancy blade with a sharp and rough edge against the opponents of his life’s mission, until such time as a blade finally takes to the fate of all its kind, to break in half and be discarded without a second thought.

At first glance, Esredes typically appears as a serious and reserved individual, often even standoffish to a degree. He usually starts off with anywhere from a simple and sometimes indifferent politeness to a neutral form of a speech, and even at times an outright distinctly unfriendly demeanor. By default, he is someone who trends to using fewer words and prefers being somewhat blunt and to the point with a tone that is not particularly emotional, but this can shift to going on for several sentences at a time and even monologuing with much more passion in his voice the moment something strikes his emotional chord or brings up something he knows much about. He isn’t opposed to conversation by default, but his sociability often depends on how much a person is of interest to him, also typically indicated by his tone taking on more emotional inflections. Regardless of his level of conversational effort, his noble upbringing ensures that he speaks with some level of higher vocabulary, but his inability to fully pick up the grace that comes with it results in some of his speech coming across as awkwardly phrased, or when angered, partially foregoing this pattern in favor of much more swearing. Beyond conversation, the air that Esredes carries around himself has a certain powerful, elegant and regal feeling- regardless of how plain and ordinary he chooses to dress- yet weighs heavy with an unmistakable feeling of tenseness, shrouding itself in mystery all around him. Just beyond the fog and faint to the eye are the deep and dark depths within the man- but to approach them is to risk falling straight in, and perhaps some things are best left undiscovered.

A soldier at his core, Esredes wields himself equally in mind and body, well equipped for either physical or mental warfare in whatever battle manifests day to day. His mind operates primarily in the medium of logical thinking, strategy, and a realistic outlook. Whether it is simple everyday life or a matter of life and death, Esredes prefers to have at least some sort of plan, and often evaluates his actions to figure out what is the safest, most efficient way to go about them, when to and when not to take a risk on something or someone. Years of operation in this mindset have allowed Esredes to most of the time end up as the person in the room who comes to the best plan of action the quickest, or at all, but it has also lead him to assess situations and people as threats in ways that cause him to behave abnormally at times, assume and react before he has enough information to go off of, or be controlled by paranoia. Esredes almost always takes situations more seriously than everyone else, and will always assume the role of responsibility when there is not a clear person elected to, having no hesitations about immediately shutting down anything that doesn’t meet his standards of safe or effective, no matter the social or emotional costs it has. He keeps his own clear standards for himself in all areas of mental performance from the strategic to the moral, and is reputable for being headstrong and stubborn in all of the ideals he holds in his own head. His secondary modes of thinking are those of emotion and negotiation with others, both of which are more hit and miss in nature. On one hand, he is skilled at using his more primary mode of logic and reasoning to sway people to his words and hopefully even to his side, and is able to fester doubt in peoples’ mind about the nature of themselves or their situation to trigger a realization. He can read and manage someone’s emotions quickly and effectively, defuse tense or hostile situations, and calm others down with effective communication. But he is just as likely to be at a loss for how someone is feeling and how to manage it, or say the exact wrong thing to make a situation worse. Depending on how a situation plays out, Esredes is either a clever and cunning strategist and negotiator… or a clueless and dense, socially ineffective fool.

Yet all of Esredes’ constructed ways of mental operation, walls, and carrying himself melt away in certain circumstances, revealing the core, unfiltered person beneath everything. Esredes’ purest form of self is that of a perfectly ordinary, average person forced to use what he has to appear and live as much more. When he cannot be calculated or clever, he reverts to the only somewhat about average intelligence person he truly is that doesn’t actually possess the traits of extended higher thinking one would expect from his position. When he decides not to be serious, he instead either becomes a playful and amused, more snarky person, paired with frequent smirking and more remarks than usual, or he reveals a more dorky part of himself that is endearingly a bit slow to grasp some cues people give to him, and says things either intentionally or unintentionally more goofy in nature. Regardless of the perception others have of him and that which he projects, Esredes operates on the simple idea that he is but the same as any other individual- not a driving, singular force that alone can turn a tide, but merely a small part of a much larger whole, an easily replaceable tool.

This reality does not stop Esredes’ unwavering determination and drive in life from being motivated by his need to put himself behind a cause higher than him and contribute to what he views as bettering the world. While many would do this for moral purposes, and he is no exception, for him it is also a matter of simple practicality. Anything less and more self-centered would be boring and unfulfilling and leave him restless. He puts his cause and his allies all above himself, and is more than willing to die for either. Combined with his undying loyalty, this leads to it being extremely difficult to put a stop to him once he is set out on a task in the name of his greater good. He doesn’t hesitate to save those he perceives as in peril, even if it means occasionally being fooled by a trap, and generally keeps his word and deals he makes with others. In addition, Esredes is a proficient leader to his people, preferring to foster a relationship based on trust in his capabilities over raw authority and drive his subordinates to become their best selves, even if it means taking the time to check in on them and ensure they are in the best condition to continue on and listen to him. In the same vein, he is willing to do what needs to be done, even if it is unpleasant and hard, to save others from having to do so instead.

But his definition of what should be done… does not quite match up with a lot of others’. Esredes sorts people into categories- categories that dictate if someone is worthy of any consideration before being killed or not. And those who fail to meet his standards of consideration- such as people who are too self-centered or contribute nothing to the world or those who harm and destroy it and other people- are people he will kill without a second thought, often times even taking sadistic enjoyment in the act and believing he has simply offed a lesser being that is wasting space with its defectiveness. True to the form he gave himself, Esredes does not shy away from enjoying violence and fighting to a certain extent and being brutal when there is time and reason for it. While he keeps his calm and calculated manner about in fighting for the most part, the right combination of events loosening his mental restraints under too much pressure can plunge him into a state of mind pertaining to his more inherently chaotic side, a repressed spirit of his personality that controlled him in much of his childhood characterized by rash, destructive, and impulsive behavior. While in this state, Esredes will lose all of his calculated and effective execution in favor of hyperfocusing in on a single target no matter how wounded he is and trying to destroy it entirely, leaving him vulnerable to being wounded more and making his actions much more unpredictable. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to snap him out of this state and allow him to regain his former composure. Even beyond the battlefield, Esredes has a somewhat selective form of empathy that only applies to people he deems complete enough to deserve it, and he has a strong tendency for manipulation, not opposed to stooping to deception, psychological tactics, and guilt tripping and gaslighting to get people to do as he needs, though he has more limitations depending on how much he genuinely cares for a person. Without those limitations and a particular distaste for a target, however, Esredes is prone to becoming emotionally and verbally abusive when he believes a person deserves it. He is even capable of inflicting harsh psychological warfare on others and breaking apart their very reality for his own warped sense of justice and pleasure. While not incapable of feeling remorse and trying to make up for his actions later if he learns he has distributed his twisted sense of justice unfairly, he otherwise holds none and even a lot of pleasure about tearing someone apart physically and mentally.

Even without resorting to these measures, Esredes has plenty of other ways to appear generally unpleasant. He is very judgemental by nature, often looking down on people and seeing their flaws before their good traits and holding them in lower regard until they prove themselves worthy of a higher tier of consideration. He will often knowingly or unknowingly talk down to people, and explain things to them as if they don’t already know them or as if they were almost a child. This narrow-minded mentality of his is very unreliable and often too black and white, putting people in boxes and jumping to conclusions without proper evidence. It also contributes to a situational and mild form of arrogance manifesting in the man. Esredes also doesn’t hesitate when there are no consequences to let someone know he dislikes him, and openly insult them while having fun with it. A lifetime of letting hate fester in the black part of his heart has made it all too easy for him to give in and let it consume his actions.

But there are two sides to every coin, and Esredes is no different. When he finds people in his good graces and worthy, he is just as capable of building people up as he would be tearing them apart, and quite likes encouraging others and building their self esteem, allowing them to see their positive traits and teaching them about what they’re missing. He is willing to give out love and affection to people who seem to need it in hopes of a return in the form of loyalty to him, and he can be surprisingly patient, kind, and even tolerant of the stranger and less effective parts of people, even understanding and a good listener on top of it. He has a particular soft spot for people who are abused, downtrodden, and vulnerable, and feels compelled to build them up into better people. After all, when you see a clearly broken thing in front of you, is it not common sense to fix it? Esredes’ inconsistent emotion reading ability also makes him capable of seeing into peoples’ issues easily and psychoanalyzing them, and he is blunt enough to tell people what their problems are and offer them advice and help. In the same territory, Esredes is a chronic worrier, unable to stop himself from always being concerned about his loved ones and their well being. Past a certain level of bonding, there is little he won’t do for someone he cares about. However, he will not hesitate to resort to weaponizing his affection and guilt tripping when he feels someone is taking advantage of or trampling on his kindness, or even falling right into verbally abusive territory if he feels particularly violated.

But beyond the man’s great capability for both destruction and salvation, beyond his calculated and structured mind or fallen irrationality, and beyond the simple person at his core, lie the depths of a dark abyss left to fester for multiple decades until it became but the most ordinary thing. Esredes views himself as nothing but a weapon, the perfect soldier. And to be the perfect soldier, he believes he was carefully constructed from the beginning with an intentionally hollow center, lacking the true humanity of an ordinary person in order to be an acceptable disposable body and not be tempted into being anything more. In addition, he is not entirely lacking self awareness about his tendency to be perceived in a negative light, and believes he is meant to be an undesirable individual that attracts hatred in order to absorb it so others don’t have to. He has resigned himself to the fate of a soldier’s death on the battlefield from a relatively young age, and fights on until this inevitable fate take holds of him.

Yet once the war ended, all of this went from being a simple truth to breaking down and overflowing into his regular mind, leading to greater difficulties in maintaining his usual composed and together mindset. In addition to believing he is a complete failure for not winning the war, he now questions if a worn down weapon has any place in a world that asks him to adapt roles he is ill-suited for, or if he should seek out another way to complete his fate in the wake of the ash…

But be it towards his own, inevitable destruction or a hypothetical reevaluation and rebirthing of his very being, Esredes will always press on and keep going. For the sake of his cause or people, nothing short of death can truly stop Esredes from follwoing the path he refuses to abandon.

For a soldier must live to fight, until his very last breath is past.

Appearance

Esredes stands a little under average male Elezen height at 6'0, and is more widely built than the in game model. He resembles a Gridanian Elezen better than an Ishgardian one, with his light brown skin and crimson hair, swept back behind his head and forming into tips behind it. His eyes resemble a fire with their orange coloring, and when he is experiencing intense emotions, they often feel as if there is one burning within. In relation to the in game model, it should be noted he lacks the widow's peak, and the hair in front of the ears. His appearance is often geared to intimidation, and he gives off a distinct powerful, but uneasy aura. When not in his own version of the typical haubergeon uniform, he usually keeps his outfits relatively simple and not attracting attention, save for the ever present shade of red- but traces of his former highborn fashion sense still remain. He also keeps his sword and sheath on him in most situations.

His second form is that of a red and golden quadruped wyvern, standing tall at nine foot five and stretching outwards to eleven foot seven, though he occasionally takes on an in between form, in which he maintains his bipedal size and shape but with all of his draconic features intact.

Despite the resemblance, he is not in any way related to Jannequinard.

History

Esredes was born into a noble Ishgardian family, and was raised on conservative and strict values, told he must uphold the dignity and honor of the family. However, as he developed, he began to exhibit behavioral issues and this eventually caused his family to try and hide him away from the public in their shame as they tried to get his behavior under control.

As his parents struggled to deal with the eldest child, elsewhere in Ishgard lied a small group of common folk with an agenda against the elite and the system, who were hatching a plan to bring the entire system into question, by slipping dragon’s blood into the drink of a few select elites at a party and letting the uproar dismantle the rest of their family and bring the entire elite under fire. The moody and impatient young Rosemond kid was selected as one of these targets, as not only was a kid an easy target, it would bring much more backfire if a child was killed. Though the actual process itself was a success, the group was then killed in a violent standoff a week later during another criminal act, thus letting their scheme die with them.

Unaware of all of this, when Esredes began to experience the effects of the blood the next day, he was full of panic and terror, thinking he had been cursed, but he did not tell anyone about it. He was old enough to somewhat understand this would be taken badly, and kept it hidden and never tried to experiment with his ability to shift. Hiding this only increased his behavioral problems as well, and eventually peers began to turn away from him for fear of being brought into trouble, leaving him isolated. His parents eventually stepped in and forced him to behave at age fifteen after an incident warranted it being the last straw. After some resistance, he finally conceded and began to behave like a young adult willing to take responsibility for himself. From there, his family and social life returned to stability.

He later joined the Ishgardian military upon reaching adulthood, as it had been his dream for a while to fight, and he was confident in his ability to hide his secret and still become a war hero. He began to win back family honor by becoming a formidable soldier and advancing in the ranks until he was near the top. However, one day during a battle, he was knocked off a cliff ledge to what would have been certain death if he had not shifted wings and glided to a lower ledge for safety, passing it off as a miracle survival. He thought no one had saw it when they rescued him later, but when a group of people showed up with weapons to surround his location later on, he learned very quickly someone must have said something. While he attempted voicing his innocence, it fell on deaf ears, and so he was forced to use the military skills and strategies he had gained, suffering several injuries and injuring several people to escape.

Now on the run and lost without anywhere to go to, Esredes continued fleeing, aiming to make his way towards Ul’dah. He was discovered again in the process and suffered much worse injuries escaping from his pursuers, but was found by a band of heretics and taken for medical treatment. After being told their side of the story, he reluctantly agreed to help them fight against Ishgard, if they would help him achieve something. This deal was then fulfilled, and so he began to embrace his dragon side and become loyal to the heretic cause. He has since become a powerful member in the group and continues to lead sieges against Ishgard.


After enduring countless hardships and countless witnesses of his people being slaughtered, the war finally reached its turning point and Esredes was left in the dust as it spiraled far beyond the heretic's control. He held down the faction after the death of his beloved leader, and was planning to disappear from Eorzea entirely as the war ended- only to be approached by an acquaintance and informed he had been pardoned by the new leader, legally able to return to Ishgard as a normal citizen.

After much deliberation and hesitance, he opted to accept this offer, not so much for himself, but for the sake of his people who would do the same, and once purchasing a house in Foundation on money borrowed from a few highborn ally sources, he remains in the city-state working as a negotiator between it and dragons, all while dealing with frequent surges of depression.

Ideologies, Beliefs, and Stances

  • Esredes’ feelings on his own nation are complex. Much as he has come to loathe the nature of the people of Ishgard and how insufferable they can be, he knows it is a pot calling a kettle black for his own former ideology. He believes Ishgard and its people to be something that must be freed and saved from itself by people like him, whether it was in taking the place over and rebuilding the system as he believes the answer before the war’s end, or onward as him getting the people of Ishgard to truly embrace the truth for everything it is and go on freed from the shackles of Ishgard’s conditioning.
  • While capable of admitting they were not right in everything, Esredes still fully believes in Iceheart’s cause for everything it stands for, and thus when it boils down to it, believes he is on as much of the right side as there can be in a war of this nature, even taking a lot of pride in the fact that if it were not for his people peace would never come. People who try to dismiss or belittle this quickly piss him off.
  • In classic Elezen fashion, he has a mild sense of racism towards Miqo'te. He won't say anything, but he will definitely think it, and occasionally make a racist comment to someone else. To him, he's almost never met a smart Miqo'te, and seriously wonders if they're just inherently dumber than the other races, on top of believing that most of them love to be scantily clad. He also is very ill versed in the culture of either clan, to the point he barely knows the differences between Seekers and Keepers beyond the eyes and one living in Gridania.
  • Same level of racism goes to Viera and Hrothgar, though he has yet to form an opinion on their intelligence levels or sexuality. He just dislikes the look and vibe both give off. Still, like before, it's often kept in his head and he's not outright hostile to any of the three races at first, if they prove useful. Often he pretends he isn't racist at all if they are.
  • He's no longer able to commit to any type of religious practice, not even that of Shiva. At most, he sees her as a beacon of hope, and any sort of prayers or thanks he gives to her are more just for the expression. This effectively makes him someone who doesn't deny the existence of gods, but does not waste time following them.
  • Regardless of his bitterness towards Ishgard, he can agree like most that the Garlean Empire is a much bigger threat that needs to be taught to stay away from Eorzea. He has no reason to hold back on them. He takes pride in the fact that dragons took them down the first time. This becomes even worse after Heavensward. However, he does have a more tolerant opinion of turncoats, considering several of them were his allies as a heretic.
  • He really does not like Ascians. You'd figure that'd be common sense, and yet they took one of his family members and keep threatening to take others close to him. Needless to say, he wishes he knew a way to make them not exist so he could have all his relationships back.
  • When it comes to his general view of people, he has a hard-pressed realist outlook. He believes that people are not inherently special or meaningful, but because everyone is born with willpower, it is the key to creating a person who has a purpose and a use. Your skills and mind are what matters more than background. And he definitely includes himself in this with a level of self-awareness that he too is a completely average person given shape by what he's learned to do.
  • This is one of many reasons why Warriors of Light inherently piss him off. He can tell they're all completely average people who everyone latched onto the special power of. It's an unfair and unhealthy way to cheat the system that he's only ever seen result in a fall.
  • He then believes he was born to be a soldier, and that people are, while inherently meaningless in birth, born with predispositions to being certain classes of people. To himself, he is the soldier build because he lacks talent beyond fighting, is disagreeable and thus perfect for inciting aggression on a battlefield and drawing the fight to himself, and because he also believes himself to lack the full depth of a person, he is the perfect temporary and disposable being to die so a more fully realized one can live. He believes this is the way the world works, and that people who aren’t fully realized like himself die for fully realized ones to keep the world in the best state possible.
  • He also believes everyone similar to him or much worse- that is, people who are lacking empathy or morality to a sufficient degree and therefore a less fully realized person by his own standards- are also meant to serve this role of living and dying for better people, and if they go against this and be selfish they are instead a parasitic entity to be taken out.
  • Furthermore, people who also live parasitically- that is, existing only to benefit themselves without contributing anything meaningful back to the world in pure selfishness- also should be eliminated or die for better people.
  • He believes Shiva isn't a real primal. Even after everything. He will only describe her as primal-like or imitating one, but he doesn’t believe a person can become an actual primal, as he thinks that primals aren’t in the same class as people because them only existing based on the will of their summoner means they’re not truly sentient and alive, which Ysayle most definitely was.

Abilities

Combat/Physical

  • Skilled in swordplay. Not so much with a shield.
  • Not very speedy overall, but able to go faster in quick bursts and sometimes manage just based off quick reaction and reflex times.
  • Has a high pain tolerance.
  • High endurance. Often able to press on and keep going at a task when others would succumb to exhaustion.
  • Physically decently strong, especially in dragon form, where he is able to pick people up in his hands or fly them on his back. Not to mention he can muster enough force in the form to break some kinds of bones with his bare hands.
  • Due to the Blood's presence, his sense of smell is somewhat enhanced. He can pick up on scents the average person cannot detect.
  • Melee ability in Elezen form is okay at best and not his strong suit.
  • Knows how to use a knife and a dagger. Neither is his strong suit.
  • While his swordplay is a more practical and brutal style in a real battle, he can manage a certain level of more graceful and elegant, artistic swordplay in friendly duels or by himself.
  • Has used a gun once, but doesn't actually know how to use one beyond pointing and firing and hoping for the best.

Magical

  • His aether is entirely tainted draconic and a lot of it is built up in his eyes. If you discount the eye aether and the draconic taint, however, then he has a normal amount of aether, particularly aspected to earth and mind.
  • Transformation: The ability to transform into a wyvern. Esredes will become shrouded in black and lose shape and form, the mass rising upward and reforming into the shape of a wyvern. The blackness will then dissipate and the transformation will be complete. He can control the speed of the transformation and stop it at any point in the process, rendering himself somewhere between forms. The blackness will not appear if shifting an individual body part or a small area.
  • Geokinesis: A broad ranging ability that grants Esredes control over the ground itself. He is able to exert pressure on the ground in order to move it up or down (with several seconds of delay or more depending on how loose the ground is), cause very minor earthquakes in a limited radius (about the size of a clearing or so), and lift up and throw small rocks. This effectively gives him terraforming capabilites, given enough time and effort. It also grants him the passive ability of being more sensitive to changes in the earth. If an earthquake or geological event were to be on the horizon, he would likely sense it before anyone else.
  • Disorient: Esredes’ tainted aether grants him the ability to fire a pink beam of mind magic from his hand towards the target’s head. While the exact effects vary per mind, generally the target will experience dizziness, loss of balance, head pounding, a sense of confusion, and a loss of awareness about where they are. The effect usually wears off in anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds, and grows less effective with successive blasts in a short period of time. The less developed the mind is (such as the mind of an animal or young child), the more effective the move usually is. It is semi-permeable and can pass through thin layers of matter, but only works if it hits the head and easily dissipates if hit by something else.
  • Cloaking Illusion: A minor illusory ability that allows Esredes to target someone’s mind and project into it so that he is hidden against the background from their perspective and effectively invisible. The effect shimmers if he moves, can only be projected up to a certain distance away, and he can only handle having it displayed into 2-3 minds at once.
  • He lacks any other sort of magical abilities or proficiency, or any sort of aether sensing abilities. Can cast a basic cure spell pulling from his own aether if he has a conjurer's wand, but that's about it.

Mental

  • Esredes' main intellectual strength is strategy and planning. He is skilled at battle tactics and clever moves to catch the enemy off-guard.
  • Has an above average vocabulary, and it shows in the most ungraceful ways when he speaks.
  • His emotional intelligence is very hit and miss, sometimes being able to understand people and get through to them in ways others don't, but otherwise often being very unsure of how to handle someone. His ability to read people, in addition, is mostly based on psychological stereotypes.
  • He is skilled in logical thinking and can keep his mind rational and calm even in the middle of a battlefield. Exceptions apply.
  • His mathematical skills only extend to basic math.
  • Not particularly creative in the artistic sense.
  • He is good at explaining things to people, motivating and encouraging others, and inspiring them to be more self-confident.
  • Skilled in persuasion and manipulation.
  • Can speak Dragonspeak.
  • Decent at keeping up an act for a period of time.
  • Psychologically torturing people if he can figure out their weak point.
  • He can keep himself and his spaces organized and is good about being responsible.
  • Determination and stubbornness.
  • Overall somewhat above average intelligence.
  • Can typically detect someone is lying if they're not good at lying.
  • Knows a lot about Ishgardian history, both the real and fake kind, and has some knowledge in the histories of the other areas as well.

Miscellaneous

  • He knows the basic stitches and basic needlework.
  • Has neat and semifancy handwriting.
  • Can make a few basic kinds of tea.
  • Inflicting pain. Questionable ability at physical torture.
  • Knowledgeable about combat medicine and how to treat wounds without magic.


Trivia

  • Esredes' favorite animal is a rabbit. He has no desire to own one, but he is quite fond of their unique look and how cute their eyes and ears are.
  • Though he is somewhat of a picky eater, he favors most meats and trends to savory over sweet, generally having more of a stomach for it. His years of being a soldier on rations have left him with a limited capacity for food, and he has trouble finishing larger portions and prefers to save the rest. True to his Ishgardian upbringing, he also favors tea of various kinds, and has a particular fondness for La Noscean oranges, to the point he pays the expense of importing them to his home to let them sit in a fruit bowl by their own. If he allows you to have or gives you an orange, it's a sign he likes you. You can read about his food preferences here.
  • Underneath his clothes are a lot of scars to no surprise, but there is a particularly nasty area of scar tissue on the center of his back. Though never quite prone to scar dysphoria before, the end of war brought with it a sudden onset. He also does not allow people to touch his neck, as years of it being targeted have left the sensation of anything touching it an uncomfortable reflex.
  • He has not changed the sword he uses in more than two decades. Anytime he loses or breaks it, he replaces it with an identical copy he has created ahead of time.
  • His Meyer-Briggs Personality Type is ISTJ. He'd also be a proud Gryffindor.
  • His current hairstyle was born out of letting his hair get too long in the back around a year after he became a heretic and experimenting with ways to hide its shaggy appearance until he could get his hands on scissors. He wasn't sure if what he settled on looked stupid or worked until people told him the latter. Now he refuses to change it unless he's in a situation of disguising himself, in which he will simply deflate the tips in the back to rest at his neck.
  • His name is the result of his parents wanting their firstborn to have a unique name that only he would ever hold. It's not unheard for Esredes to acknowledge the strangeness of his own name, but he does in fact like it for being truly his name much more than he could ever feel embarrassed over its weirdness. In an OOC sense, it doesn't mean anything. I literally just made it up but I think it's funny when people mistake it for a lore friendly french name.
  • Esredes is weird about names in general. He forgets the names of people he doesn't know well easily, and he tends to not start using peoples' names until he considers them relevant enough to himself. He also will almost never actually introduce himself by name until directly asked unless he wants to make an impression on someone. This sometimes leads to characters not knowing his actual name for multiple interactions.
  • He does own a bathing suit, but he cannot swim.
  • His character design is based off being a gijinka'd take on this dragon I got from a hatchery on Flight Rising. The eye color and general look of the dragon form ended up being dropped entirely in favor of something more in line with the antagonistic concept that emerged for his original universe.
  • Both shadow and fire were considered for his elemental powers and motifs, but earth and mind were instead chosen for being more unique and representing the character in better ways. Instead, the remaining three traditional elements take on literary motifs with him, air represented by wind in the form of signaling a warning that a mistake is being made or about to occur, fire representing his general drive, personality, and destructive capabilities, and water, specifically cold water, representing his negative emotions.

Impart onto the collector the contents of your heart, and I will take it into my gentle hands…

RELATIONSHIP STATUS LEGEND
Family Involved Romantic Unofficially Adopted [Explanation] Unofficially Adopted By [Explanation] Platonic Counseling Client Friend Acquaintance $ Business Deceased Positive Negative Neutral Unsure
FAMILY
Mother, Loving, but complicated. ()
Character's Thoughts: "I appreciate all she did for me and all she put up with. But I can never again be the son she was looking for."
Mother is a stern lady, but one who takes action. During his teenage years, he was mad at her a lot, for various reasons relating to his acting out, but came to regret it all once the behavior passed. He always tried to do what he could to make up for all the stress he put her through- and for some time, that worked out. Until he had to confess to being a dragon after rescuing her, and subsequently, why he couldn't leave the heretics.

Since then, everything is always strained when he visits, and he can feel her disappointment even if she started trying to make an effort to hide it. He can't blame her. He failed her, and took everything from her she had worked for all her life. And he knows he'll never, ever, be able to make up for it.

So all he can do is endure the perpetual turbulence of an airship, fated to crash, and yet never going to hit the ground.
Father, Loving, but also complicated. ()
Character's Thoughts: " ."
Description of their relationship.
Seraphiaux Rosemond, Little Brother. () - The Broken, Lightless Pendant.
Character's Thoughts: "There comes a point when someone has to give up on what is not possible. No matter how much it hurts.

Why didn't you love me? Why couldn't I be enough for you...?"
Once upon a time, these two got along.

Even during the height of Esredes' teenage rebellion phase, when everyone else shunned him away, his adorable precious little brother was there to try to cheer him up. And it helped a little, having him to turn to when he felt loneliest. It was the kind of debt he would never forget.

Back then, he had no reason not to love his little brother. He was such a kind little kid with what Esredes was almost convinced had a child prodigy level of healing talent. Oh, sweet little Sera.

So time passed, and Sera grew. Esredes went down his path of becoming a knight, and succeeded, and all was well.

And then the time bomb stopped ticking. And the teenager was traumatized by an Inquisitor. And Esredes knows he probably blames him for it.

A year passed since the incident, a year of Esredes trying to get Seraphiaux to open up to him, to just let him comfort him, a year of patience as Seraphiaux was consistently distant. He wouldn't even allow him to touch him. He finally reached his limit when he caught Seraphiaux leaving home, and he tried to lie to him about doing so until Esredes begged him to talk to him- then told him he would go register at the conjurer's guild, and was fine if Esrey visited.

It didn't take long for Esredes to find out this was another lie.

So he confronted Seraphiaux, even as he tried to run away from him on his Chocobo. He released all of his pent up anger at Seraphiaux for his horrible treatment of him, and shattered in front of his eyes a pendant he had given to him a few years ago as a good luck charm, before telling him he genuinely hopes he could learn to love someone again, and telling him goodbye until that happens.

And so the debt had to be forgotten.

What made it worse later down the line, is that Sera did learn to someone. And it wasn't him.

Esredes can feel nothing but a numb sort of emotional pain now. He had displeased his parents before, but never Sera. Yet it meant nothing, in the end, all the times they spent together as kids. Well, that's just the icing on the cake of losing every single relationship he had before becoming a harrier. And if he wasn't certain enough he was a lost cause already, eventually Esrey finds out Sera also gave his allegiance to the Ascians. Wow. Because that is so much more holy than being a dragon, isn't it? There was much more darkness in him than Esredes ever thought, and if he can't turn himself around like Esredes told him to, then Esredes can't feel much of any regret officially disowning him sometime down the line.

At least Ysayle makes for a better little sibling than he is. To fill the void in his heart that Seraphiaux left for him.

Unlike him, she doesn't leave.
Morven Rosemond, Dreaded Cousin. () - The Burdened Castle’s Watchman of Daggers.
Character's Thoughts: "I never really completely liked him.

That’s not to say I hate him, as I can’t really hate any member of my family besides Seraphiaux for a long time- but we really never had meaningful conversations, we never had much to connect on, and by the gods could he be insufferable. He often made me feel smaller, but then he’d also try to encourage and say he’s proud of me and just- I can’t with him.

I really don’t want to see him again, out of both fear and respect. I know he’s not going to take my presence well, and I want to leave him to his own life."
Morven is the sort of person Esredes never had a chance of having a fully stable relationship with.

When he was eight, he once got angry at him and punched him in the face for calling him slow in a game of tag. And while he regrets childish gestures like that, sometimes those urges don’t truly go away, for the man was ever the master of saying what was on his mind and having something to say about every family member, both positive and negative, but especially the negative, in a way that really grates at you. And it never felt like the more positive and loving gestures of the man made up for it, like he was just doing it in part because he had to.

Combine that with not sharing many common interests and never really having a desire to spend quality time with Morven, and Esredes never felt like he had much of a connection or relationship with the man at all. And now that the ashes have been spread, he knows there will be nothing left to come back to, and honestly, he’s okay with that. He’s content to let it lie and leave it there and accept their relationship is over.

Would it be the man could do the same in return, unbeknownst to his knowledge…

Nadia Rosemond, Knightly Cousin. () - The Fallen Pride.
Character's Thoughts: "I liked her the most out of my cousins, I really did. Sometimes I even thought we had something meaningful, but ultimately… no. I don’t think either of us were the people we hoped the other to be, and honestly? It kind of hurts. It hurts more than the others. I’ve long moved on, as it’s as dead in the water as the rest- but a small part of me will forever wish she actually wanted to be there for me."
Being only a year apart in age and with an aggressive shared interest, it was Nadia that Esredes wanted to talk to the most of the cousins. She wanted to be a house knight, and him a temple- they had so much to talk about. He was jealous she got to start training earlier than his parents would let him do, and even asked her to train him in secret- but it didn’t last long, for his parents caught them, and she withdrew to focus on her training after that, leaving him alone with just Seraphiaux.

They continued to bond over knightly activities, until sometime after Esredes achieved his own goal. He hoped she would be wholly supportive and want to discuss everything with him- instead, he found jealousy gripped her heart as he became the pride and joy while her achievements were thrown by the wayside, and suddenly felt as if they couldn’t discuss that which they shared without tension boiling.

Needless to say, Esredes felt rather hurt and crushed, and couldn’t find a meaningful substitute for their foundation. And so they drifted apart, even before his fall destroyed everything, and that ended that.

He expects she’d have a bitter, flaring hatred for him now like all the rest- if not for one questionable detail in his mind, anyhow.

Nadia became a Temple Knight. And he only knows it because he saw her- out there in the battlefield, in mutual recognition of each other, and when she had the chance to end it, he watched her lower her blade.

After his escape from that moment, Esredes has been left unable to fully process or comprehend it since. He prefers not to think about it, as it’s certain to open up old emotional wounds.

He still wants to tell himself they’re best left apart, as he doesn’t want to face all of those emotions for what they might be.

FELLOW HERETICS
Ysayle Dangoulain, Sort-of Leader, Sort-of adoptive little sister. () - The beacon of hope/ice daughter.
Character's Thoughts: "Everything about Ysayle is wonderful. She's taken such a large burden on her shoulders, but I believe in her to bring in the new age."
Esredes remembers when Ysayle first came to the camp, a child who had lost everything. He remembers how everyone took an interest in the new heretic and the mystery surrounding her. And he remembers when she revealed to him, and eventually the rest of the camp, the nature of her power. Once she could prove it was real, all he could see in her was overflowing potential. The potential to unite the heretic factions under the charisma of her being. And he couldn’t be more proud of her for what she’s accomplished for their people.

He sees Ysayle as almost a little sister of sorts. She’s still young, she’s still vulnerable in the mind. He wants to continue to be there to help guide her along and make her learn to love herself. Despite her being the leader of the heretics, Esredes sees her less as his leader and more as the one who’s guiding everyone along, to which he then inputs on and assists. She can’t exactly boss him around, with him being there longer than she has by a few years. It only works one way.

But with her around, the heretics have hope to create their ideal version of the future. And she is the ship that will guide them to shore. And he, for one, will continue to be one of the navigators aboard.
Lycelle Monteaux, Ally In The Walls. ($) - Strange, but good to have around.
Character's Thoughts: "She's like a map with missing routes. You can't figure out where everything is by a simple glance. And yet, perhaps it's not important."
Having been an ally within the walls secretly sending them wagons full of supplies for them to raid, her contribution to the heretic movement is a very appreciated one. It’s always nice to find highborns who didn’t lose everything like him that are willing to assist and believe in the heretic movement. As for her as a person, she is rather intriguing. A glance into her eyes reveals cloudy mechanism he can't help but feel an urge to see clearly, but beyond that, she is by all means polite enough to ensure smooth interaction. He also really wishes he could kill her family. They are awful people, the kind that one can’t resist the urge to murder.
Celandione Averre, Pupil. () - The Red Storm and The Ripples/Anger daughter.
Character's Thoughts: "Dione has been through some rough times, but I want nothing more than to help her shine with her true potential."
Since he picked her and her brother up out of a chance encounter in the Coerthan wilderness, already heretics now wanting to join the Disciple's effort, this one has been a journey. A journey he doesn’t regret and is fine with going on, but a journey nonetheless. He likes Dione for her passion and dedication, and he thinks she’s a good kid- and boy does she act like a toddler half the time it seems- but she has to confront her inner demons and delusions and learn to control herself. Only then is she going to achieve a better sense of herself and be able to become the warrior he wants of her. He also knows something horrible has happened to her in the past, and he doesn’t have a way of understanding it, nor does he want to know the details. There’s nothing he can do but feel sympathetic for her in that regard. But she’s making progress despite that. He believes in her, he really does. And with his guidance, she’ll become something great.
Reveilleux Averre, Much Needed Reprieve Fellow Harrier. () - The brother/Intelligent son.
Character's Thoughts: "Rev is a sensible boy. He may be no fighter, but he's a lot of other things. One of which is definitely someone I want to keep around."
Her brother is a sensible type, and he appreciates being able to talk to him when he’s having difficulties deciphering Dione. It’s low effort to interact with him. He’s the ideal combination of mild-natured and someone who won’t push back. And that’s a headache Esrey doesn’t have to have. Overall, he hopes if he makes progress with his sister he’ll make him feel better in turn. Rev deserves to have that peace of mind. As more of a joking meta note, he's definitely the favorite son.
Luken Lorea, Endearingly Naive Fellow Harrier. () - Duskwight Son.
Character's Thoughts: "Ah, he's kind of cute in how much he stumbles. But at least he doesn't manage to fall over in the process."
Esredes picked Luken up after getting rid of a group of knights that were pestering him, likely for his heritage, and with the boy's rather naive and unconfident demeanor, it was easy to keep him around with his existing love of dragons. The boy certainly has some spine growing to do, but surprisingly his lack of confidence doesn't particularly bother or irritate Esrey. Perhaps its because he does as he's told, without question. He's a good kid, if nothing else, and Esredes hopes to get something interesting out of him in the future.
Rae Chival, Steady and Reliable Fellow Harrier. () - Summoner son.
Character's Thoughts: "I'm still learning about who he is, but I like what I see so far."
This new kid is shy, but intriguing, mostly for the things he can do with that book. Who ever heard of summoning representations of primals…? That could certainly aid their cause. In the meantime, he’s still evaluating him to figure out what he needs to know about the man. Nothing strikes him as particularly unfavorable or off yet. So far, so good.
Diamat Luneris, Ally Inside The Walls. ( ) - Duskwight Mom.
Character's Thoughts: "She seems like a good natured woman. Another source of aid in the basket."
A former heretic turned noble? How interesting. When she showed up to the harrier camp searching for her brother, he knew there was an opportunity to seize, and seize it he did, as she left empty handed but with promise of providing them aid. While he's still in the process of reading her, he's unaware of her own subconscious projections of her lost brother onto him. For now she seems to need nothing out of the harriers in return for her assistance, so the setup is ideal.
Caudecus Patenaude, Ally From Elsewhere. () - The Broken Pirate Scholar/Book Dad.
Character's Thoughts: "I pity him, that is for certain. There's a lot of tragedy to him. But that just means it falls to me to make something of the pieces. And I can at least try."
Initially mistaking him for an enemy, Esredes thankfully learned he was instead another victim of Ishgard's cruelty, in a particularly gruesome manner, and from ripping that information out of him, he thinks he immediately knows what's going on with his psyche. There's a worthless, insecure, vulnerable, and above all, asking for death person contained in all of that.

Though Esredes feels bad, he can't do much yet to help matters except gently nudge him in a positive direction when he can. And so that means dealing with his self-destructive tendencies as he assists him with his questionable research efforts, hoping it will yield a power that Esredes can turn upon the See in the future, all while also filling him in on all the truths of Ishgard he missed by not becoming a heretic when he left Ishgard. Needless to say, even if such a quest ultimately fails, at least he can make something useful out of a network ally in the Maelstrom.

In the meantime, the man is fun to tease, and call a pirate mockingly even though Esredes is well aware he isn't. Another person who falls under his powerful aura without much resistance and stands in awe of him is always a plus. He hopes to be able to use his power of influence to pull him away from his broken bubble. And regardless of what happens, at least this one will reveal himself to be a loyal ally in the long term.

Upon more interactions, Esredes has grown to respect him somewhat more and talk down to him less. He's still scatterbrained and sometimes oblivious for sure, but he can also pull his own weight in combat and be quite useful. What Esredes hasn't realized is his patience in putting up with him has caused the man to grow quite attached to him even in a short period of time. And he's likely to keep underestimating that factor for a long while until something pushes it to action.
Rusty Axe, In And Out Woletic Ally. () - The Confectionary Mystery/Brick Wall Son.
Character's Thoughts: "I wonder several things about him, but I'm not sure how to retrieve the answers given his personality. Either way, he seems like a good fit for us, so hopefully things work out?


...Yeah, he's a good kid. Different, but he tries his best, and is rather perceptive about some things. I think he will last."
After rescuing the Roegadyn from what would have been Inquisitor interrogation and allowing him to be around their camp, Esredes' main impression of the man is reserved. Not seeming to be of any ill-meaning, but reserved and with a bit of a barrier. Fair enough. He'll have to figure out a way around it, as he suspects him to be part of a mysterious movement of adventurers into Coerthas, and he wants answers as to why they're there.

Regardless, he has agreed to helping out some, in the rather unique way of making candy for the camp's children and teenagers, and he's already befriended a fellow new recruit. It seems like the man needs a bit of help himself, so Esredes has hope this can all work out to the measureable positive.

There were a few bumps in the road, but he got to that point. He understands now that Rusty is someone who unfolds in stages, and that is all right with him. The kid has become much more relaxed and comfortable, and it makes him much more enjoyable to be around.
Alise Roth-Houki, Traveling Ally Turned Fellow Camp Member/My Most Beloved Friend. () - The Rekindled Fire.
Character's Thoughts: "...I did not expect most things that happened with her to happen. But in the end, I am grateful to have her by and on my side as we continue our work for a better future."
Unknown to him at first, Alise was an echo from his past.

Once during his sixteenth year, Esredes ran an errand for his parents that took him to Foundation and discovered a group of highborn boys- some of who he recognized as the same ones to call him the troublemaker- beating a hyur child up. When they quickly ran off when he called them out on their hypocrisy, he was left concerned for the poor little random lowborn. Who picks on a kid that young?

He allowed the kid to accompany him on his errand and chat with them a bit afterwards, but unfortunately, he could do no more for them than that. His parents would not want him befriending a lowborn child, and he was not about to start lying to them again. So he forgot all about that day, and proceeded on with his life.

Only to find out, that the mysterious yet friendly Hyur woman who had tracked him down in the snow using a Wanted poster just to talk to him not long after the calamity, was in fact the same kid- who clearly remembered him better than he did her. Well, it wasn't always that such a clear opportunity to make an ally out of someone was presented- and especially not on the basis of him.

He quickly grew to like Alise as a friend and ally. She was amusing, funny, had a lot of strength and fire to her he could appreciate. He appreciated her positive opinion and concern for him greatly, even if he didn't always show it. And he also owed it to her for saving his life once shortly after reconnecting. But that friendliness of hers was stolen away by a traumatic experience and a woman Esredes would love nothing more than to rip apart, and it left him feeling helpless as a part of the person he was just getting to know died.

Even so, it didn't change the fact they were allies and in this together. That they could keep helping each other through every step of the way. Everything in him compels Esredes to do and try whatever can be done for her- while in turn, always underestimating what she would do for him.
Levi, Ally Sort-of Friend. () - The Emotional Support.
Character's Thoughts: "Levi's fun and amusing to have around, and I can see why Alise takes such a liking to him, even if sometimes he really does act like a child. It still doesn't undermine his usefulness or the desire to keep that innocent personality as is."
Levi is Alise's partner in everything she does. While she's the physical side of it all, he's the mental as he studies and takes notes fervently and has a million ideas for a new invention of some kind at any point. Well, Esredes can appreciate a classic inventor's personality, especially with its potential use to the effort.

Esredes doesn't interact as intimiately with him as Alise, though he sure does like to tease him. He's fun to tease. He's too cute and easily flustered to resist teasing. What he does know is Levi is an escaped Garlean with an abusive father who must have taken his toll on him in some form, even if he can't see how yet. And that more than anything, Esredes is just relieved he got out of there and didn't become the typical Garlean. He's too emotionally impulsive and sweet to conquer and enslave others.

Currently, Levi is grateful to Esredes for being able to save Alise from harm, and Esredes is just relieved it makes him feel better. What this gratitude might mean for Levi's view of him in the future Esredes probably won't perceive- he's still not all that knowledgeable about who Levi truly is as a person. Still, with how much he means to Alise, he's obligated to look out for his wellbeing.

Jove kir Farren, Garlean Ally. () - The Weary One.
Character's Thoughts: "I know she has no real care for our people or our cause, and I appreciate her honesty about it. But I still choose to view her in a positive light for doing everything she did. And she's more to my liking than one would think. I have hope for her."
The first of four ex-Garlean allies Esredes picked up as the result of a mission to rescue captives and destroy a secret Garlean base that had made its way into Coerthas. Farren was the one who actually helped Esredes and one of his allies get into the base to infiltrate it, and for her help he owes her it all, as he would have never gotten far without it.

While she admits to not caring about anything in Coerthas and still loving her country, Esredes has still been able to decipher from her reactions to certain things and the way she speaks of them that she isn't entirely apathetic to the wrongs of her country and still cares about people. It's Esredes' hope that maybe time away from her country will make her feel better overall as a person... but he really can't be certain of that at all.

Even if not, he still likes her somewhat. She has a rather tired personality, but is also very real about things, something that Esredes can interact with fairly well. At the least, he can see her being of some use in the future to the effort, belief in the cause or not.
Cynric dus Ivelle, Small Garlean Ally. () - The Mask of Trauma/Garlic Son.
Character's Thoughts: "Poor kid. Though he does get on my nerves slightly at times, I pity him a lot for what he's been through. Perhaps there's something I can do to fix it."
The second of four ex-Garlean allies Esredes picked up as the result of a mission to rescue captives and destroy a secret Garlean base that had made its way into Coerthas. As one of the ones who had no idea his allies were about to betray the Empire, Cynric was unwillingly dragged into the entire incident- but Esredes can certainly see why. The guy's still a kid. Young. Impressionable. Someone who didn't deserve to die in an explosion, for sure.

At first, Cynric unnerved Esredes a lot. He acted way too casual being around human experimentation, and it made Esredes feel he didn't take it for what it was at all. But upon witnessing the kid get slapped across by the face by his own uncle and called useless, and react with nothing but a clearly forced smile and the same casual attitude, it clicked for Esredes that the entire thing was an act and a coping mask. Now that, was sad. And it made him want to do something to fix it all, to be gentle with the poor little thing.

In the wake of the aftermath, that describes very well Esredes' way of interacting with him. Gentle. Well, as gentle as Esredes gets. Gentle and patient, willing to help the kid out as he adjusts. He said yes to joining the harriers before any of the other Garleans, after all- now he just has to go through the initiation and see what it takes to turn a Garlean into a heretic.

That's not even addressing yet that he's Levi's cousin and doesn't know it. That is a can of worms Esredes is not willing to open just yet.
Tomo kir Moriya, Garlean Ally? () - The Avatar of Anxiety.
Character's Thoughts: "...I don't dislike her or anything, I suppose, but she gets on my nerves a bit. I hope she calms down soon enough, because she's kind of difficult to talk to as is."
The third of four ex-Garlean allies Esredes picked up as the result of a mission to rescue captives and destroy a secret Garlean base that had made its way into Coerthas, and the second one that was not expecting it. She appears to be close to Farren in some way, so he can infer why she took her along; but he's also quite content to leave Farren as the mediator, because he doesn't know how to talk to her. The way she keeps jumping to a bunch of little conclusions about the camp doesn't rub him the right way. But it's negligable, he supposes. He just hopes she will listen and work with him once she does calm down more about the whole affair... if she calms down about the whole affair...
Quincius sas Thiessen, Very Wary Garlean Ally? () - The Object of Affection.
Character's Thoughts: "...Is it wrong that something in me pities the man, even if I probably shouldn't? It must have taken so much to turn on his sister, and yet... everything he's done..."
The final of four ex-Garlean allies Esredes picked up as the result of a mission to rescue captives and destroy a secret Garlean base that had made its way into Coerthas, and the head of the plan. Brother to the lady who was responsible for this atrocious operation of kidnapping Ishgardians and injecting them with Dragon's Blood in order to control them in their Dravanian forms, he only seems to have turned on her because he grew attached to Levi. Well, Esredes told Levi that falling in love with your 'Ishgardian' employer was a bad idea, and it sure turned out to be when the two were actually Garleans and kidnapped them both.

According to both of them, the story goes that his sister ordered Quincy to kill Levi and he instead let him go and took his own eye out to pretend there was a struggle. Esredes, by all means, does not know what to make of this man. He's clearly crazy in some sense of the word to take his own eye out, and yet he was an immense help in the escape and was the one who blew the whole place up in the end. When interacted with in the aftermath, he acts quiet, probably depressed, and remorseful over his previous actions.

And boy is that something for Esredes to think over. How can he argue in favor of not executing the man? Should he be as a reward for staging the operation and atoning? Atoning that might have only happened because of infatuation? Just how much of a danger is he to himself and those around him? There are difficult questions for Esredes to answer, and he's not sure of any of their answers yet. For now, he at least doesn't hate the man.
AnnaBelinda, Ally...? () - The Contractor.
Character's Thoughts: "...I can only pray that I didn't make a mistake."
A voidsent captured by Garleans for reasons he still doesn't understand, now not only let loose to freely wander the camp, but bound to Alise's very lifeforce to keep her alive.

While, sure, she hasn't done anything... typical of voidsent, no, she's been very person-like and helpful and nice, she terrifies Esredes for being something he is entirely uncertain of. She could hurt Alise, even though she doesn't seem like she ever would, turn her void corrupted, turn him void corrupted for making the deal... There are just so many things that can go wrong if she isn't as she appears at surface level.

He can only hope she will be a helpful and good ally like all the others... because if she isn't, it's going to be his fault.
Fortuna Altona, Truce. () - The Twisted Reflection.
Character's Thoughts: "...She makes me nervous, though I feel bad for her. I can only hope I can help her and don't end up having to kill her or anything. We're... supposed to be about saving people, after all."
A loyal Ishgardian knight kidnapped and experimented on by the Garleans, she did not fare well in the process and appears to have become stuck between forms. He couldn't, of course, have left her to die, loyalist or not; and she did prove useful in the fight to escape.

It's the aftermath that's more concerning. While he's put her under watch at the camp for now, as she has nowhere else to be, he doesn't know what to do with her if he can't convert her. He supposes he'd just drop her off in another city state and tell her to find a new life. But for now all he can offer her is trying to figure out how to get her back to normal, and hoping she'll listen to him in the process. After all, she reminds him too much of his previous self.

He's also pondering how long it'll take her to ask the inevitable question. As she made mention of recognizing him by name as 'the traitorous heretic', and he certainly was not going to bother to explain any of that while they were in the middle of a Garlean hideout.
Eyleth Lanna, Uneasy Fellow Harrier. () - Spear Daughter/The Scream For Help.
Character's Thoughts: "Somehow she is both trying and not trying my patience at the same time. Lovely and yet ever so slightly unpleasant. I appreciate her willingness to try, but she really needs to cut the act eventually."
A fresh recruit and aspiring dragoon captured on her first deployment by harriers and forced to drink the blood. That, is a rather unfortunate tale, and when he found the scared, imprisoned girl in the wake of a slaughter, he couldn’t do anything but take her in and try to ease her traumatized mind.

While she’s got a good head on her shoulders, she’s still naive and unsure of herself. And not quite in control of herself, either. Though he keeps trying to be patient and helping to her, and she does reciprocate, he can only reassure her of the same thing so many times and that no, this is not a cult where everyone has to drink the blood or have people sacrificed to Shiva. Eventually, his patience is going to thin and he’ll have to sprinkle in more passive-aggressive tactics.

Still, once she adjusts, he has hope he can turn her into a fine and powerful harrier, once she has experience and perspective. And protect her physical and emotional wellbeing at the same time. But that is something that lies at the end of a much longer adjustment period than usual.
Heliereaux Descombes, Mistakes were made ally. () - The lost little one waiting to soar/Jock son.
Character's Thoughts: "...I regret what happened with him, but I intend to make up for it bit by bit. Sometimes I can't always tell what is a sad child and what is a threat, all right? Regardless, the kid is fine. He just needs to, you know, gain the basic intelligence that comes with losing loyalism."
There are a lot of... creative ways that Esredes makes new allies.

Having a lone dragoon taken down in one hit after he pursued a camp member in dragon form, dragging him to the basement, and beginning to torture him only for him to break down and cry after just a minute, resulting in Esredes planting his usual seed as he told him about the truth of things and that he didn’t need to be locked into his path, would certainly be a case of a creative recruitment.

Yet it worked. He had gotten the man in enough pain and fear to make him to agree to join over dying, and all it took was switching his tune, while still holding a dagger he had stabbed him with, to something more gentle, and taking him to the infirmary after patching up said wounds. In retrospect, yes, Esredes absolutely feels bad about what he did, which is why he showed up to deliver a cake slice to the man’s infirmary room as a way of apology. After having another chat, he feels a lot better about himself and the kid for the future, and that he can continue to properly make it up to him.

In the meantime, he simply worries for the man’s mental health the way he does about any of the younger recruits who are so uncertain of themselves and their identity. But surely, he will be like all the others, and find his way to being more comfortable with himself and where he is now, as his spear is locked away somewhere he can’t access. Esredes is just content to be on the sidelines for respect of giving the man time and space- he already has a mentor to help him out in the meantime.
Olivette Simoneaux, Dearest Ally. () - The Strength Of A Heart’s Fire.
Character's Thoughts: "Vette is one of my allies I am most emotionally intimate with, because she understands and looks after me in a way many of the others can’t always manage. She has been through a lot, and I never expected to become the new, next thing her heart bonded to… but it is something I will accept even if I fear hurting her sometimes"
Vette is the story of a noblewoman from the start of the Dragonsong rescued by a dragon who she fell in love with and lived with until he was killed, causing her to wander close to the gates in blind anger without a plan. How fortunate for her, then, that Esredes’ group was out scouting and could approach the clear fellow heretic and ask what exactly she was doing.

It wasn’t hard to convince the woman that he might be able to track down who is responsible, and that in the meantime her best bet was to come with his and help them out. Vette made for a good addition to the heretics, as her raging anger made her quite the useful weapon against the enemy, and she was quickly passionate about restoring Ishgard to its previous state.

What Esredes had not really accounted for, as he often doesn’t when he probably should, was the heart of a dragon latching so closely to his own between the leading and best attempts to ease her broken heart, allowing her to be both human and dragon. It was easy enough to try and be soothing and then watch her power rampage, easing it back when needed, but she soon became one to take deep comfort in him, and even more, strive to truly try and make him a happier person and look out for his emotional state, the fluctuating and volatile thing it was.

As time has gone on, this has made Vette a trusted and comfortable presence he feels he can always confide in without judgement and depend on emotionally, be his true self around without his usual array of masks. Unfortunately, this means she has also seen him at his worst as well, but Esredes always comes back to apologize when he knows he’s hurt her.

Perhaps most of all, Esredes worries for her when his own self perishes. He knows he can ease back her emotional heart, but who fills that void once more without his insignificant little self and withered heart?

Yulionne Maribelle, Ex-Enemy, Fellow Harrier. () - The Rise From Darkness.
Character's Thoughts: “...It’s okay, I forgive you. You’ve done so much better with yourself, and I will continue to forgive you each time, even when you stumble...

I regret every time I see her what I did to her. I don’t know if I can ever fully make up for it, but I’m still going to heal and protect her like the rest. I freed her, and I want to continue to set her free.”

An unexpected reinforcement when Esredes was showing down the Inquisitor who ruined his relationship with his brother, coming to save her girlfriend from the terrible fate that awaited her at Esredes’ hands. Unfortunately she failed, landing herself in exactly the same position as Murielle when Esredes simply captured them both and threw them into the torture chamber together.

The second surprise besides her very existence came when she revealed herself to in fact have the Blood, a sign that something was incredibly wrong here. It turns out Murielle fell unknowingly for a forced Nidhogg heretic broken free and wanting vengeance, who thus came to be under her wing.

That’s fucked up. That is fucked up on so many levels, and Esredes didn’t hesitate to weaponize Yulionne’s existence to further make Murielle feel horrible, as well as torturing her in order to get to Murielle. While he initially declared there would be no forgiveness for either of them and thus tore into her without remorse in much the same way, watching Yulionne slowly break down and suffer guilt and self-hatred, even giving in to his methods and turning on Murielle eventually broke past his generalized anger, and he could no longer bring himself to hurt such a sad thing.

Perhaps that is why when Yulionne broke under the stress and began to beg to live, he complied with her request. Unlike Murielle, who clearly didn’t really regret her actions enough to be meaningful no matter what, he witnessed a certain awakening within the woman that made her out to be a more remorseful, less guilty soul that could be saved still. But his priority was still causing Murielle the most pain possible, and so he only granted Yulionne’s request on a condition- she must prove her willingness to join his cause, by being the one to deliver the killing blow to Murielle.

This request was obeyed, and now that he had traumatized her again, Esredes upheld his end of the deal and spared her life, allowing her to instead join his camp.

Reality only began to sink in soon after that he now had to share the same location with the woman he had just tortured and put through emotional turmoil for his own desire for revenge, and once he cooled down and came off of that high properly, guilt settled in. He had gotten too carried away like he did sometimes with the sweet allure of long-awaited revenge, and she had paid the price for it. So Esredes resolved to amend this the best he could- to slowly and respectfully expose his own presence to the woman to make his remorse known and extinguish the fear reaction he had created.

Things did manage to get better, but it is not lost on Esredes that he has to remain gentle and encouraging with Yulionne in order to not accidentally send her mind back to that moment in time, always telling her that she’s doing better and is forgiven and helping her to appreciate herself. He has come to genuinely like and appreciate her as like any one of his own, but that guilt is always going to remain to some extent. Even still, the best one can do is move forward and keep trying to better the outcome that is her and her well being, and thus he intends to continue to do so.

OTHER RELATIONSHIPS
Bellona Marcellus, Cusp Ally/Former Ally. () - The Wood Wailer's Worst Nightmare/Hypocrite Daughter.
Character's Thoughts: "I liked her while it lasted. I had a feeling it wasn't meant to last, but I wouldn't have minded if it did. In the end, she's just a naive and clueless adventurer, and I can't say I didn't try my best."
It's not very often you manage to manipulate someone into assisting the heretics by inviting them to come along to a robbery, and said tactic actually succeeds. Perhaps then, it was rather convenient the two of them met by chance right beforehand, and that she had such a dislike of the Wood Wailers.

And what does an adventurer do but help others? So of course he kept leading her on, finding her in Limsa every week or so to invite her along on a mission with the harriers. Perhaps he planned on eventually telling her the truth in a way she could accept it, but he didn't quite get that far before slipping up, and couldn't salvage what was left of their partnership.

Either way, while it lasted, he did grow to appreciate her company. Her snarky and teasing attitude was fun to compete with, but she also never questioned things too harshly so that he couldn't talk her out of it or dismiss her question. She never really got beyond being semi-closed off, but he took her to have some kind of vague ambitious nature, even if it had no plan and she had little confidence. Too bad. Maybe if she had learned to take from him she'd be better able to pursue whatever it is.

At first, he didn't really care whatever happened once that they had parted. She could go back to adventuring and her own business. But of course, she's the first Warrior of Light he encountered before they all started throwing themselves at him like desperate children, and that means one can only hope he won't want to burn her with the rest once certain events go down.
Alastor Izunia, Unreliable Contractee. () - Stupid Cheery Miqote/Cat son.
Character's Thoughts: "He really is a lost cause, and I'm out of patience for stubborn kids who won't learn their lesson."
There are a few words that come to mind when describing Alastor: Stupidity, incompetence, a voice that won't adjust to the concept of tolerable volume, even in danger, complete cluelessness, insensitivity, uncontrollable infatuation. And of course, that means he's a Warrior of Light. Because why would Hydaelyn pick someone who isn't useless?

Needless to say, when the last stupid Miqo'te leaves you, an even dumber one takes its place, practically begging you to take him along on your ship heist. And he'd definitely have Bellona back over this. Even if it's no effort to manipulate him, he's also too stupid to be all that useful at all. So much for the echo meaning anything.

What irritates Esredes most about the Miqo'te is not his stupidity or uselessness, though. It's the fact he wanted to try and help while explicitly informing him he's kissing a loyal Ishgardian in the background, all with the weak excuse of "he was really cute?" Are hormones still dominant at that age? Ugh. Needless to say, it comes off to Esredes not just as clueless, but completely insensitive. That man has killed who knows how many heretics, and you're still going to act like there is no problem there. Please, who took this child's brain?

With all that in mind, when this predictably ended in Alastor not joining the heretics after their first complete disaster of an adventure, Esredes barely even cared at that point and just wanted to never see him again. Except of course, he came running back to beg him to help him save his adoptive father when the same demonic presence that tormented them on their first adventure rose again and kidnapped him. A task Esredes only accepted for the chance to put a bullet through the perpetrator's head, but nevertheless made Alastor agree to being servitude-bound to his people for a while in exchange for.

As he tries to figure out what the cat could possibly be useful for, Esredes doesn't grow much fonder of his presence, mostly taking advantage of his pushover nature to let his own abusive tendencies be taken out on him. Perhaps if the cat had a brain, he wouldn't feel so unsympathetic towards him. As is, he's bringing his own disaster upon himself, and Esredes won't miss him when he's gone.

Unless wanting to kill someone counts as missing them. Because he immediately assumed Alastor to be as guilty as the other Warriors of Light when Snowcloak and Shiva happened, and had him painted as a target as he went to hunt as many down as he could. It was only by the graces of intervention that he was stopped and informed of his innocence before it was too late. But the trauma had already been dealt to the cat's nonexistent brain.

Needless to say, he does feel bad about the incident, even if only because his accusations were misplaced. In the end, the cat is not as bad as his father- at least he actually tries to do something sometimes. But Esredes is still content to let this be the note their relationship ends on. He has no further desire to see Alastor in any form.
Heilyn Hraesar, Standoffish Acquaintance. ( ) - The useless father.
Character's Thoughts: "Everything about him pisses me off and I never want to see him again."
Heilyn is Alastor's adoptive father, and oh boy, he does not like him. He thought he was going to be someone decent, someone who would, perhaps, display the basic level of gratitude for being saved from a psychopath. And it turns out this assumption was very wrong.

People like Heilyn are some of the kinds that piss him off the most. Trying to claim moral high ground while he, a fellow heretic, does absolutely nothing about the Dragonsong War. He can take the moral throne he thinks he’s sitting on and shove it directly up his ass. By the hells, at least his son, however incompetent he is, is actually willing to do something.

Either way, for when he is forced to interact with him during Alastor's servitude period, he at least tentatively tried to reason with him. Not that he thought it really worked at all. But something within him told him there’s a chance to get through to him. At least until his patience ran out when the heretic manifested a very weak attempt to kill him, and he was all but completely done with him. Fortunately, by that point the servitude was essentially done, and Esredes was content to say a goodbye and a fuck you and never see him again.
Ezekiel Amatti, Ex-Employer. ($ ) - The "Client".
Character's Thoughts: "I was so close with him. It didn't have to be like this."
Ezekiel was but another target. A man rumored to be working with magitek... and Esredes wanted to get his hands on it for the harriers. So he posed as a sellsword and got himself hired by the man... only for one of the other sellswords he hired to put a stop to his plan.

Does he feel bad about deceiving and trying to rob the man after he was nothing but polite to him? Well, yes, especially considering he turned out to be a heretic. But he can’t say he didn’t try to get him to become an ally. If he had accepted, Esrey would have called off his plan.

All things considered, he can’t in good earnest hold any ill will towards the man. It’s fair enough that he probably hates him now. He just wishes he’d learn to find peace with his draconic side.
B'ahm Pilate, Ex-coworker. () - The mysterious enemy you can't entirely hate.
Character's Thoughts: "He's not the worst thing you can encounter, but that doesn't mean he's not still a highly irritating nuisance."
B'ahm bothers him.

There’s something up with him and he never quite figured out what it was. He’s much more powerful than he should be, and on top of that, a strange one. Esredes does not understand how this man thinks, or what makes him operate. While he was fine to play polite and nice with him when they both operated as Ezekiel’s sellswords, he now wishes B'ahm had not been a part of the equation. If he hadn’t, the operation might not have been a failure.

Still. He can’t fault him for being pissed at him either. Nor does he understand why he let him go in the end, but he remembers that action very well. This is why he was less than delighted to see him turn up when Ishgard started letting in adventurers, trying to help with the war effort. He’s not Ishgardian. What business does he have helping them? One of the people Esredes least wanted to see show up on the opposing side, with how absolutely frustrating he is to battle. Even if he is an enemy, though, he’s not the worst thing Esredes has to deal with. At least he is strangely merciful to him and his people. And Esredes still owes him a favor back to him for sparing him. And he’d rather not have to violate that, if he can help it. Which is why he simply just wishes B’ahm would go away. Go away, and not be such a difficult part of the equation.

Clover Hawthorne, Ally. () - Small/Autumn Daughter.
Character's Thoughts: "When it comes to things that are sacred and precious in this world, Clover is one of them. I can only wish and work towards the best for her. Gods know she deserves it."
There’s something about this kid that Esredes is just drawn to. Perhaps it’s her imperfect sense of responsibility and maturity, and how much she tries to do good, perhaps it’s mixed with pity, especially for how the poor orphan thinks of herself as disposable. If she’s not going to help herself, he feels morally obligated to help her in the little ways he can, and try to push her self perception in a more positive direction. But her mellow shyness and soft voice also seems to just match well with his more assertive behavior. Perhaps he likes being able to tell her things to battle against all her self-doubting comments. Furthermore, her display of regard for life deemed unfavorable by society demonstrated by rescuing dragon eggs has lead him to trust her even with his name and identity as a heretic. He knows she’s walking a neutral path, but he thinks it the good kind of neutral, even if she is a Warrior of Light. She's one of the ones he doesn't despise, a true image of a hero. Overall, he just wants to see her believe in her own worth, and for her well being to not decline. She’s a good kid, and bad things should not happen to innocent, good little kids.
Agatha Alfheim, Ally. () - The Free Maiden.
Character's Thoughts: "She seems like a pleasant young lady. I can only hope she is enjoying her freedom, because she very well deserves it."
Esredes met Agatha in a cry for help to save her from her abusive knight husband by taking care of him, a call he gladly accepted, for a price. And in having to return to see the lady again to collect her debt, which ended up being a lot more than he was expecting, it only felt natural that the two would attempt to speak a bit more, to ease over the awkwardness of the nature of their interaction.

And awkwardness, certainly was in the air. She makes no attempt to hide that he frightens her a little, and yet she seems to flip between being afraid he'll hurt her or asking her to protect him based on her mood. It irritates him ever so slightly, but yet not enough to really bother him, enough to be tolerable. Otherwise, he finds her to be... kind of cute. She just carries herself with a certain level of cheery adoration, and it's kind of charming. But he can tell she's also not necessarily the frail maiden she wants to appear as, because her ability to take action into her own hands to save herself is the mark of a stronger spirit. All in all, he's not really sure what will happen with her. He likes being able to answer her questions about the lies Ishgard gave her and be in her presence a while, but they're not exactly built on a lasting foundation. That's fine with him, though- she's paid her debt tenfold, and she can enjoy her freedom however she wants.

...And this is one of many instances where people fail to fit into his boxes and he is wrong. He figured her lack of attempts to hide her fear of him would make her eager to stop seeing him after another little adventure. Instead the lady started crying when she thought she had upset him and went on about how she doesn't have any friends and just wants a friend. Needless to say, as confused as he is by her back and forth, he didn't like seeing her cry, and reassured her that everything was fine. If she really wanted to be around him more for some reason... well, okay then, he supposed. There wasn't really any harm to short breaks from activity to help her get more settled into her free life, could there be? He just continues to pity her enough for the effort.
Murielle Mercer, Enemy. ( ) - The Banished Demon/'My Dearest'.
Character's Thoughts: "She truly is one of the most pathetic women I've ever seen in my entire life, even by Inquisitor standards. She fits the bill for a broken, malformed, empty being the Inquisition makes out of people. Behind her fake confidence and power complex, she is nothing but a weak and insecure, scared little girl, not to mention incredibly stupid and incompetent. How she ever survived long enough for me to undo her, I will never understand. But oh, if I could do over everything I did to her... I would relive those moments over, and over again. For days upon end. Little has ever given me the amount of sheer satisfaction to watch her wither away in the hands of the people she wronged. Justice has a sweet taste, and she can rot in all seven hells. I will never feel an ounce of remorse or regret for what I did to her. She got exactly what she deserved, and I will always be grateful to her for giving herself over to me to die for her sins in such a spectacular fashion."
There are a lot of people Esredes hates. He hates Warriors of Light for ruining his only chance at a happy ending. He hates Thordan and Nidhogg both for being completely remorseless about sacrificing their people for an endless war. But Murielle occupies a special place in the blackened parts of his heart for Esredes' pure, unfiltered ability to hate.

Murielle is the Inquisitor responsible for torturing his family, especially his little brother, after he was exposed for having Dragon's Blood. Accounts from his family after being rescued told him this was a merciless and completely emotionless woman who he would have loved to have the opportunity to kill for what she did. Seraphiaux never recovered from the horrible torture she must have inflicted upon him, and for taking away one of the only two people in his life Esredes was certain would never leave him, he would spare her no mercy if he ever were to have the stroke of luck to be the one to kill her and take his revenge. But he knew this would never come to be, and the ghost of this horrible woman who had ruined any chances of him having a true familial relationship ever again simply haunted him for years.

And yet the opportunity came to grant his wish, in the form of a useless, pathetic, spineless man by the name of Heilyn coming back after their unhappy departure from each others' lives to beg his help in order to get rid of her for good because he was stupid enough to come back to Ishgard and just hope she wouldn't find him again. While Esredes certainly still had no regard for the man, he could not pass up the opportunity to finally rid himself of one of the lurking demons in his mind. The mission was successful, and Esredes took her off to his camp's special room to begin all of the fun that was to come.

And oh, once it began, he made sure to make it slow. So very, very slow. And he delighted in every second of delivering her actions back unto her in his own creative ways, the way he slowly brought her psyche down before finally letting death take her. When made to face her own atrocious actions, the once scary Inquisitor melted down on Esredes much too easily, constantly sticking to a ‘woe is me’ attitude as she went on about how she couldn’t fix her mistakes even if she did regret them and that if only someone had shown her kindness after her parents died things might’ve been better.

What horrid excuses for the fact she couldn’t just face the consequences of being a truly abhorrent being. The woman who had taken so much from Esredes was nothing at her core all along, just another warped and broken mind that doesn’t scare him at all. Esredes enjoyed poking at her mind and tearing it down and calling her out over and over again on how truly awful she was. If she was going to be weak and pathetic and self hating, he would drag her down even further than she could drag herself while he tore her apart. He had particular fun in calling her ‘my dearest’- a mocking, intentionally creepy nickname he knew she would hate and find uncomfortable that worked perfectly in talking down to her and irritating her further.

Sometimes good things do come to those who wait, and she was a victory that he was all but absolutely delighted to have. He only hopes the nutrients in her corpse aren't too polluted that the soil beneath it can't enjoy them. There’s a certain glee Esredes takes in looking back at Murielle. In the end, she was perfect. Perfectly atrocious. She was exactly the kind of person needed for being someone to do Esredes such a wrong, someone who couldn’t fight back, someone who split open and allowed herself to be taken away by his punishment. He looks upon her with a twisted fondness now more than he does hatred, as the delivering of justice brought him too much happiness. His mind may never be at peace with what she did, but it is now at peace with her and can gladly move on now that he knows he did everything he should have done to set the balance right.
Mumune Mune, Acquaintance. () - The axe lady.
Character's Thoughts: "I don't really know her, but she seems all right, if not overenthusiastic. I can always foster a level of appreciation for someone who hates Ishgard. Wonder if there's any chance she has a favorable opinion of harriers.


....It turns out I was wrong. Oh so very wrong. And it's to her regret that I am."
He met Mumune in the aftermath of his Coliseum match with B'ahm for the role of sellsword, with her for some reason wanting to fight him as the loser of the match. Though really, he barely got to do so with a third strange competitor deciding to interject into the match. Still, they talked a little in the aftermath, and she revealed how she didn't like Ishgard for how it called her dad a heretic and made him pack up and leave, which made Esredes like her at least a bit. Perhaps they need to have a more proper fight sometime.


...And he didn't know how much he would desire that after realizing she's a Warrior of Light. The same group of people who committed atrocities against his people at Snowcloak. Well, so much for being likable. Now she has to pay for her crimes, if he gets the chance to administer justice.

Haurchefant Greystone, Who is he and why do all the Warriors claim to be in love with him? () - The most sought after man in Ishgard???
Character's Thoughts: "Whoever he is, he gives me a bad feeling. I'm not sure I trust what everyone says about him."
Esredes is actually unaware that he's heard his name somewhere in the past and forgotten its association to a story of a knight saving a lord and getting knighted for it. How impressive that story was, but one someone ultimately forgets about. Instead, he just keeps hearing his name from all the Warriors he runs into, half of which seem to claim they love him, and worse, who all but cite him as a reason they can't help Esredes, which is rather frustrating, to say the least. As if one supposedly nice man makes up for all the atrocities Ishgard continues to commit. Do they not know he must sit back and do nothing about people being thrown off of cliffs to their deaths? Yes, truly a nice man he must be. Needless to say, Esredes isn't quite convinced. He feels like there's something hiding there, but he'll never find out what it is, so it's not really worth worrying about. Now if only the children would shut up about him- he must be a somewhat young knight for them to have fallen for him, right? Well, perhaps he's just as clueless as them, or perhaps Esrey's speculations are correct.
Vesevont Nevelaux, Acquaintance. () - The Lost Knight.
Character's Thoughts: "While I don't dislike him, I find the man a bit odd and rather concerning. He clearly isn't handling being exiled from Ishgard very well."
Rumor has it a knight flew on top of a silver dragon's back over in Dravania.

Not the oddest or most out of place rumor. But when he spotted the pair for himself, he had to investigate. What was the nature of their bond? What sort of hardship or unique circumstance brought together such a beautiful union of man and dragon?

The answer is absolutely not the cute or endearing story he expected.

And that is how he learned about an older ex-knight and how he's been stuck with an absolute brat of a young adult dragon for the past several months because the dragon is insecure and wanted something more pitiful to laugh at. This is Stockholm Syndrome, right? Something like that? Esredes sure would believe it. He sure couldn't have claimed before he's seen an older man get bossed and ordered around by a kid.

In managing to get him to agree to come back to the harrier camp and offering to find out what happened to his adopted son, Esredes hopes to show the man some actual positive air, see if he'll feel better among their people and perhaps decide he's better off there than with that asshole of a dragon. The problem is the man's tense and unsure personality makes it hard for him to know if that will end up being the case at all. At the least, the living doormat obeys him while he's there, and despite how he's clearly something of an airheaded mess, that can be put up with and fixed. While he's determined to try and be nice to the man in the Esredes definition of nice, despite his unusualness, he also won't feel much is lost if it fails.
POST-HEAVENSWARD ONWARD ADDITIONS
CHANGES TO EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS
Ysayle Dangoulain, Grieving. ( ) - The sacrifice that didn't need to be.
Character's Thoughts: "Why did it have to be her? Out of everyone I didn't want to go... I thought I would be able to be there for her forever. Was I ever even there in the first place? Please, gods, not her..."
Perhaps the most potent single reason for him falling into a depression after the war ended.

After everything he had done for her, after everything he had done to try and build her up to rise above her inner demons, none of it mattered in the end. When she died, Esredes could feel his own light dying inside him.

Even as months pass, his mind can't stop thinking of the girl who deserved to be in his place. To be sharing the select little moments of joy he feels through the fog. Why couldn't it have been him? Who'd miss a damaged, now useless weapon, especially when she could be doing so much better in his place? When she has the ability to touch so many more hearts?

...But maybe things don't have to be this way. Maybe there's a way to reverse the process, to make the sacrifice who it needed to be instead... To bring back the one who truly matters, who this new age truly needs...
Alastor Izunia, Friend. () - Cat son.
Character's Thoughts: "The kid is trying his best, and I for one find reason now to hope he succeeds."
What it took to get to the end of the Dragonsong War took a toll on everyone, and Alastor is no exception. When it really came down to it, seeing the optimistic light fade from his eyes and only seeing a sad husk of what had been presented to him before was not pleasing for Esredes.

So he repeated a tactic previously used with Dione, and put Alastor through his own improvised therapy technique to allow him to confront and learn to control his inner demons. And something of being told by someone Alastor thought hated him that he was not okay was the wake up call he needed to acknowledge it and talk about it.

From that point on, he accepted the cat's presence as one that wasn't so bad. In his own state of being, he was ill equipped to turn down the support of someone who still insisted on seeing the best in him, despite everything he'd done to him in the past. So Alastor remains something of occasional company to enjoy for what it's worth, when he isn't being whisked off to go be a Warrior of Light. But it's for that exact reason he still worries for him.
Heilyn Hraesar, Coworker/Friend. () - The Emotional Support Dad.
Character's Thoughts: "He's not as bad of a person as I thought he was. No, when he gets his head out of his own ass he is surprisingly kind. Well... kind in a subjective way. Still, he's come to be the closest ally I have."
Even before the war ended, these two encountered each other again in a cry for help on Heilyn's part. And it certainly wasn't a happy reunion, and Esrey didn't hesitate to let him know that much. Still, he ended up putting aside his hatred for the man and agreeing to helping him- not for him, but for a combination of his son, and the fact he needed an Inquisitor that Esredes would very much like to get rid of gotten rid of. And when the deed was done, Esredes was content to never see him again.

Until he did, in the same line of diplomacy he had started as a job back in Ishgard. Well, wasn't that just wonderful and lucky of him? Except to his surprise, the man practically broke down into tears with an apology. Consider that the first time anyone has ever cried giving an apology to him.

Needless to say, regardless of how he believed his sincerity, the man was a Fortemps who wanted to make up for his previous actions towards him. An exploitable connection Esredes certainly wasn't going to let go of. But he found Heilyn to be a lot more than exploitable- no, the man was capable of being a genuine friend and ally, both of them united under the same goal. And the more they can both come to understand each others' emotional needs and who they are as a person, the closer they come together as being something to get the other through each day. It's very likely Heilyn will be a lifelong friendship for Esredes, one that can help him work through a lot of darkness within himself he wasn't even fully aware of.
Seraphiaux Rosemond, Little Brother. () - The Ghost In The Flesh, Pulled From The Air.
Character's Thoughts: "You come to me at a time when I don't need you anymore. I can only hope you truly learned your lesson, because my heart does not drain easily of bitterness once it is full."
Of all things he did not expect to appear at his doorstep off the distant heels of a near abandonment of everything, he did not expect a ghost to show up.

Not a literal one, of course. But for all Esredes was concerned, Seraphiaux had died eight years ago, and that fact hadn't changed. So when Seraphiaux responded that no, it wasn't him trying to invite him to join the Ascians, and they were no longer a part of him, he was well beyond surprised.

It felt like in that a moment, a small hand tried to form inside his mind to reach out to him.

And then turned to dust as quickly as it formed. Because nothing could stop the years of anger from boiling quietly inside him every time he looked at him.

Needless to say, he didn't immediately dismiss his little brother, but he did not open up. He had so many angry words to say. So many other people who didn't show up so many years too late to confide in. To put it simply, he was conflicted. All at once angry, passive-aggressive, withdrawn, and yet, in being so, wanting to see Sera push to try and get past his own brick wall. To know he actually cared enough to try, just as Esredes had all that time ago.

A long, rocky road lies ahead for these two. For Esredes, it will take time and effort on Seraphiaux's part for him to want to put his emotions out to him again. To know that he truly cares. To know that he truly learned, somehow, after way too long.

Even so, his very presence, no matter how turbulent, is an important step for Esredes to keep himself back from tumbling into a mental abyss. Even now, he would hate to put Seraphiaux through losing him, to have him just shatter right all over again like that. And after all Ishgard took away from him... Well, it's about time he reclaimed something of it.

To think. One sibling needed to be here more than him. And the other needed him. They could never exist in the same space, one always out of reach.

How do you fill a void that isn't yours to fill?
B'ahm Pilate, Strange Friend. () - The uneven dad.
Character's Thoughts: "...I suppose I owe him a lot. He's fine to have around, in doses. Though I really don't always understand why he cares."
Instead of going away, B'ahm showed up at the heretic's doorstep beaten and bruised. How his comrades managed to do that, Esredes will never know. What he does know is that B'ahm will never stop being full of surprises and confusions. Like the fact he pushed for Esrey to join him with the Warriors in killing Nidhogg, aided in convincing Aymeric to pardon him, and seems for some reason to want to stick around him as if they hadn't been fighting each other before the war ended.

Leaving himself as Esrey's only source of person to talk to directly in the aftermath of the end of the war. Not the one he expected, not the one he considered ideal- but somewhat helpful, nonetheless. And he learned quickly the man was not going away so easily, not before he could... let's just say 'teach' Esredes a few things.

In several ways, Esredes couldn't rightfully deny his appreciation for all B'ahm has done for him. Nor deny that he can be something of a comforting presence. But he also tends to experience negative emotions over the way he tries to 'fix him', or calls him a child.

Still. So be it, he supposes. Most people like to talk to him that way. And for what he's worth, he's tolerable most of the time. And certainly potentially useful, have Esredes ever the need for his seemingly endless abilities. It's just likely that something may eventually boil over that needs to be addressed for their relationship to be completely functional.
Rusty Axe, Friend. () - The Never-Ending Journey/Nightkin Son.
Character's Thoughts: "Rusty is the sort of staple presence in my life that will always come in and out, but always come back. He’s family, simply put. Family that’s grown emotionally, and no longer needs me as much- but I always am happy to hear about all the adventures he’s going on, even if sometimes I feel he goes backwards and has to be dragged forward by me, again."
Since the war’s end and the long stretches of time since, Rusty has been very in and out. He takes multiple journeys to find himself, only to come back, and then be off again, and Esredes has gotten used to it.

Out of the many people Esredes has mentored, he feels Rusty is one of those who matured the most and came to grasp the world outside of his damaged shell far better- it was a beautiful evolution, watching him go from withdrawn and secretive to boisterous and outgoing. And while he can always give in to his emotions and be a little much, grates and all, Esredes loves him genuinely for how much he is and means to him.

Sometimes Esredes gets to see Rusty around social occasions and hear of things like his Blitzball championship- he has never quite fully processed that rescuing him once allowed a Blitzball star to be so close to him- and sometimes the two must come together in intimate spaces and discuss the nature of Rusty himself. As Esredes tells him time and time again, he does not believe him a monster despite his heritage, and he will forever stand by that and him.

Esredes has learned to be more open with Rusty about himself, as well, after Rusty called him out viciously on his lack of doing so, more particularly about his past and the like. There are some number of his fellow heretics Esredes doesn’t believe would understand or get it, but Rusty is not one of them. On some level, he’s come to believe Rusty does genuinely understand who he is now.

Esredes is proud of who Rusty is, even through all the road bumps that will come and go. And while he need not be a constant presence for him, Rusty is a home to Esredes just as the reverse is true, and family always comes home eventually.
Mumune Mune, Truce. () - The Little Awakening.
Character's Thoughts: "My previous words on her were said in a lot of anger that has not gone away, but I no longer have the means nor the desire to kill her. She's changed enough that I can no longer accuse her of being an unempathetic monster, and she is a friend to multiple of mine, and I can't get between that. Maybe I am being too harsh on her when a lot more people than just her were at fault, I don't know... but it's not that easy to just let go of anger."
Esredes has never forgiven Mumune for her part in Snowcloak, but thankfully, hasn't really seen her much since then either. At least, until he became more on the sidelines involved with Dione's airship company, and had to deal with being in the same room as her. Though he tried to hold back on his anger for the sake of his loved ones who were friends with her, everyone in the room noticed, and it couldn't help but eventually boil over with him explaining his issue, causing someone else to fly into a panic attack and attack her. Feeling obligated to agree that they had to at least truce in light of that, Esredes has simmered down in hostility towards Mune in the times they've been forced together since then. While she initially tried to reject and argue that she was looked down upon the world as well- her fellow crewmate attacking her was the wake up call she needed to tap deep into her own guilt she was capable of feeling over all her previous actions, and on top of that, she's been more respectful to Esredes since, both things that Esredes can't really get mad at. She doesn't really understand him, which is nothing new, but the fact she has shown herself to be capable of self reflection and acceptance of her own actions, as well as Esredes putting together that it was Dione's company that really taught her how to feel and be a true hero and give her somewhere to belong, has at least deflated Esredes' anger to the point her presence doesn't cause issue for him. Given time, Esredes may defrost further to her and learn to stop associating her with his grief- but first, they need to connect on something that really gives them a basis to want to be friends or at least friendly with their differing personality types.
NEW ALLIES, FRIENDS, AND POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
N'theya Hawthorne, Pupil of Sorts. () - Void Granddaughter.
Character's Thoughts: "She's a good kid, I just wish she'd grow up.


...Now I feel terrible for all the things I thought before. I mean it this time, she genuinely is a good kid. And I want to help her be able to love herself."
He certainly couldn’t have anticipated Clover raising a voidsent like a child, but he’s come to respect her decision. N’theya is cute, and she has turned out to not be a monster... but she’s still a brat who causes her mother unneeded stress, and he wishes she would grow up and realize this. Because of all these factors, he’s a bit standoffish from her. It’s better to let Clover handle her than him. At least, that's what he thought up until recently, when she aged up to twelve and now seems... well, semi-aware. He can actually talk to her like a normal person now, and in the process his opinion of her has become much more involved and favorable. What stands out to him is that in her awareness, she has become much more angry and sad about what she is and that people hate her for it. A feeling that Esredes relates to all too well and empathizes with far too much to continue to be standoffish. No, now is his time to be the uncle she likes to call him and step in and teach her things, encourage her that she is not the only monster around, and is much more human than a good portion of Ishgard's population. In turn, she seems to respond well to and understand his explanations of the world, commenting often that he 'makes more sense than all the other adults.' Well, he's glad to be able to make sense. Because she needs guidance, and she needs support. Or else he'd hate to think what could happen to her. And he's happy to start emotionally protecting her for the good of herself and her mother.
Pipin Tarupin, Acquaintance. () - The Ul'dahn On A Mission.
Character's Thoughts: "While I don't know much about him, I do sort of like him. He seems rather chivalrous and noble in his persona, friendly, reasonable. And he's amusing when he gets all excited. I think we could get along."
While he's likely heard mention of Raubahn having a son before, he doesn't recognize him or his name at all. All he does gather about the Lalafell man is that he's Ul'dahn, probably of the Alliance? And also has a reason to dislike and hunt down the Crystal Braves, though Esredes is sure his motivation is nothing like his own, even if it also seems to be revenge driven.

Nevertheless, when he encountered the man out in Coerthas and helped him escape the cold, he seemed well meaning enough that Esredes agreed to help him hunt down the heretic-murdering fiends, as well as trust his Outsider mind with his special ability. Fortunately, true to being an outsider, his reaction was that of excitement and amazement at someone being able to transform into a dragon. He might be jealous. Esredes can't tell. That's fine. Be jealous, you should be.

He doesn't really know or is particularly concerned of what they might connect or learn on their little expedition. All that truly matters to him is delivering justice for all the bodies burned into his mind, one way or another.
Kalas Kazewoka, Celebrity Friendly Acquaintance. () - The Emerald Atoner.
Character's Thoughts: "What a truly intriguing individual. Eccentric in all the ways that just make me wonder why. Encouraging. And most of all, someone who sees me for how I should be seen. I just have such a desire to find out all the things I am missing."
When an Au Ra man in all shiny green showed up to a heretic-centric gathering, Esredes could only imagine why people were shouting something about an 'Emerald Eorzean' and who he even was and what sort of relation he even had to Shiva or heresy. While he still hasn't found that part out, he did unintentionally catch the man's attention and praise- and in the midst of such high spirits, was less hesitant than usual to indulge a Linkpearl exchange and a second meeting.

In talking to the man over a balcony in the city proper, Esredes was quite surprised to have him spill out his life story to him immediately, and to find it was a tale of sky piracy, bloodshed, and atonement. Certainly not what he was expecting, but he didn't really care about sky pirates and had no place to talk, so he has decided not to make judgement on it. Especially now that he has discovered, after a couple friendly rounds of fighting, that he can defeat him surprisingly easily without exerting more than the average effort in dragon form. Or maybe he just got lucky. He personally imagines the second.

Needless to say, despite his ungraceful jumps from acting like a normal, albeit dramatic and serious person to shouting like an actor and doing a bunch of poses, Esredes quite likes his company. It helps that he's pretty much the ideal person Esredes likes to meet at this point in his life- admiring him, not judging him on past actions, acknowledging him as a hero, feeling for his pain, and being fascinated by his dragon form rather than repelled. Yet Esredes still has so many questions- What exactly does he do that he vaguely describes as hero work? Why does he shout his attacks and pose, and why do they have primal names? What is with his soulstone remembering stories or something? Is there a reason his alternative form has a relation to the man who caused his atonement, or is it something else? Why does he always wear a mask? Well, Esredes intends on finding out the answer to at least some of these as soon as possible.
Sui Bian, Fellow Heretic Acquaintance. () - Little Missionary.
Character's Thoughts: "...I can't really tell if I should be bothering with this man or not. My desire to help the weak and broken tells me I should- just as long as a giant red flag doesn't reveal itself to me."
What an odd man.

He acts at least ten years younger than he appears, and clearly isn't the brightest person. He's nice and gentle, yes, but also quite pitiful, from what Esredes can tell. Considering a previous, and dead, version of himself, as well as many of his former allies, he knows he has no right to judge the devout- but when something seems like it's taking over someone's life like the average Ishgardian, well... he can't help but be concerned.

And the man is concerning. He has no doubt that there is some sort of tragic or horrible tale behind the man- but has gotten no hint to it except that Nophica apparently saved his life. And clearly, it has left him in a weak state of mind where he isn't even doing much else outside of clinging to religion for comfort. That's rather sad.

But Esredes has seen this so many times before. People have come to him seeming weird or pathetic, and practically throwing themselves at his feet (and this man certainly was no exception to the last part the moment he realized he knew something about Ishgardian politics), and he's managed to improve their lives. Does he not owe it especially to a fellow harrier, even if not the kind who stood with him, to see if he can improve him like all those before? Is reporting visions from Nophica that might indicate he needs help really much weirder than some of the other things he's dealt with? It depends on if he can get him to shut up about Nophica for a few minutes and listen to all Esredes has to tell him. An obedient little puppy made into a fully grown hound at his side- it's an opportunity he is never one to turn down, or at least to try and achieve. Here in this time after the war, the spirit of his former residence still resonates strongly within, and its principle still applies as much as ever- if it means making someone loyal and useful to him, he's willing to put up with far too much. He just only hopes this pattern is taking the exact level of predictability he thinks it is.
Fiona Delaine, Ally of Sorts. () - The Keeper of Hearts.
Character's Thoughts: "I like Fiona, for the most part. She’s a very kind and reasonable young lady with good ambitions to work towards, and she makes several of mine quite happy with her presence. What she dares to do despite what she really is is quite admirable. I think even if I’ve felt I can’t live up to her expectations at times, she shouldn’t pull away as long as I don’t show her all of what I am."
Fiona, or Asah Lye when she goes by her true name, is a Nidhogg broodling, and a rather young one at that, masquerading as an Elezen in Ishgard who Esredes met at a heretical ceremony. Through a later follow up, he came to learn of her story and told her in turn of his peoples’, and since then and through bonding with a few of his, Fiona has become an associate to his people, not someone who is directly one of his, but who is content to hang with them and help them out when needed. What he has come to understand is that Fiona admires him and likes his people, but she is still a dragon who has prior obligations to her company in the Knights- this means that there are aspects of both himself and his company that she dislikes or judges and he knows it, and thus, Esredes still has to put on a certain level of outward appearance around her to circumvent this, downplaying his more vicious or disempowered aspects. But really, what else is new about dealing with both another person and a dragon? He might not know Fiona that intimately, but he does not find her unwelcomed by any means, and more recent interaction has reassured him that despite anything, she looks up to and wants to learn from him and his, which Esredes is content with. She is a friend to his people, and that is what tends to matter most in Esredes’ mind.
Hilda Alarias, Friend. () - The Decent Loyalist/The Lady Caught Between Worlds.
Character's Thoughts: "I think I like her. There are, of course, lingering things to be wary of, but she actually knows respect. Something her kind is all too rarely found with.

We've had our ups and downs- really had our ups and downs- but I stand by what I originally said. I like her, and I consider her a valuable ally and friend. She's a good woman with good intentions and a good heart, and we've gone through things together that allow one another to learn the colors of each others' souls for what they're truly made out of. I knew my belief in her would not be not misplaced."
Having come to him out of the blue at night to ask him about her rather unique condition of having a dragon possessing her, Esredes was somewhat pleasantly surprised to have a loyalist- that is, his term for Ishgardians still loyal to the state- come to him on such a grave matter. Oh, how he wished that happened more often, and that all of them could be this polite and respectful and trying to quiet their loyalist instincts instead of resolving to be filth. He has decided he likes this one. She’s trying to be understanding and is even self-electing to pull herself further down the hole of learning about his people, something he is glad to guide her down. The more people, the better. For now, unless she reveals herself to in fact be a disappointing, like all the rest loyalist, he’s elected that she’s quite worth helping with her problem.

Trying to be understanding was a good way to put it, as it turns out, as Hilda would end up upsetting Esredes on several occasions. She would say something that made Esredes feel she was only there to get what she needed out of him and his people and keep them at an emotional distance otherwise, as if his attempts to help her meant nothing, but she would always say something afterwards to make Esredes forgive her and reset back to believing in her. It wasn't after a needed heart to heart and a journey together that resulted in Hilda's ailment being resolved that something truly changed, and Esredes realizes now that Hilda does truly consider him and his a friend. For managing to come around in the end like he always hoped she would, she's earned his permanent respect and even friendship, even though he expects minor things to still occur here and there. That is completely fine, it doesn't change that Esredes would trust Hilda to go with him through all but the undesirable parts of himself as a friend and an ally.

Alaice Devereaux, Friend. () - The Lady Encased In Ice.
Character's Thoughts: “I didn’t expect to be a part of her life, but I’m happy I got to be. Alaice is an endearing individual, someone whose presence never fails to brighten my day up a little with her lovely demeanor. She’s not someone I’m open with, but that’s all right with me. I just hope she remains on the road to recovery…”
Alaice is the widowed wife of a former supplier of Esredes’ movement, a man who claimed to be a believer in the cause that Esredes exchanged rare materials with in return for money to supply the cause. Yet when the war ended, despite having an unfinished deal with the man owing Esredes money, he ignored all of Esredes’ letters and had his guards turn away his attempts to visit in person, leading Esredes to accept he was a deceptive unbeliever all along.

This, however, changed when Esredes learned that he had in fact died some months ago after Esredes had long given up on pursuing him, leaving just his wife around. Thinking that perhaps there was an avenue to look back into the debt, Esredes set out to the apartment of his ex-ally’s former wife despite the rumors that she may have been the one to kill her husband.

A first look upon her rather harmless and sweet face had Esredes convinced she had done it. But the conversation that followed, while a little awkward as expected, had no signs of ill intent and deception on her end. She simply conducted herself how any one ordinary person might and even told him that while she knows little of her husband’s tangled affairs, she would keep a look out for any record of the debt. It was enough for Esredes to be content to leave her be- no guarantee, but a small chance, and he didn’t have to stick around long enough to find out what might be underneath her demeanor.

It didn’t occur to him until later, when she appeared at a Masquerade hosted by another friend of his and the two revealed they had known each other for years, that she would be more than a one note encounter. Subsequent conversations with Alaice have dropped her air of mystery and unease for Esredes- her demeanor and personality simply seemed too genuine to be a cover up, even if it leaves the still unanswered question in his mind of how she could have committed the act. But it’s not like he’s told her about the truth behind him, either.

Still, he’s not too concerned about that beyond just a quiet anxiety at the back of his mind that she could turn out to abandon him over it. For now, her kind and earnest demeanor makes her presence enjoyable to him- she just has a quality of both normalcy and innocent, pure enjoyment of what she takes to that’s a spot of relief from the other things going on in Esredes’ life. He especially enjoys talking about and encouraging her rekindling passion for baking- while he is no baker himself, there is just a joy to talking about and thinking about cooking with her that keeps him genuinely invested in her hobby and furthering it any ways he can.

Yet while he enjoys her pure spirit, he’s also quietly aware of the bigger picture surrounding it. For her retainer has told him just enough that he can fill in the blanks- her husband was more than just a deceptive manipulator to Esredes. He was a heartless fiend who treated his wife like an object and abused her, and sometimes he can see the effects of this come to light in subtle ways through Alaice’s demeanor. It sparks Esredes’ concerned, protective nature; while he doesn’t know Alaice well enough to truly be a healing force to her like he is for a lot of others, he wants to do whatever he can in his own way to gently nudge her in positive directions, support her, and emotionally protect her.

Beyond being just another soul to try and emotionally look after and heal, he sees in Alaice the potential to be a normal sort of friend. Someone who he can just have normal interactions and do normal activities with without making everything always about the identity he will never be able or willing to rid himself of. Even though he doesn’t have the assertion that she would just accept him and be willing to have a normal relationship like that, something in his heart just wants to believe in this ideal even without sufficient evidence, even without ever feeling he should truly open up to her.

For now, she’s declared to him- in front of her unofficial boyfriend no less- that he is in fact her favorite because he always encourages her and is nice to her. And while that sort of thing is but a mere cute gesture, it has resonated with Esredes as meaning something at least just a little special (even if she’s also admitted she would still laugh if he got pushed into a pool. People aren’t perfect, after all). Maybe he isn’t truly her favorite considering all she can never know about him, but it’s not like he’s usually the favorite of anything anyhow. What does matter is that he values her company and her friendship, and hopes he can make the best of it while also trying to indirectly help her on her long path to recovery.

Lobeaux Lounent, Sort-of Friend. () - The Confusion Inside An Awakening/Pink son.
Character's Thoughts: "What a poor soul. That's a terrible thing to have gone through. I find him all right, fairly harmless, fairly naive. But he's well meaning, and I can't help but be concerned."
Sometimes in life, there's a half feral Dragoon running around the wilderness partially transformed, and sometimes in life, you're dispatched as part of a team to neutralize him and bring him back home.

In reality, they could've just sent him, because Esredes handled calming him down singlehandedly with almost no effort, and damn if he isn't proud of it. But he couldn't help but check on the thing in the infirmary afterwards, even offering him a little box of chocolates as a sympathy gift. After all, you don't just leave someone forcefully injected to deal with their new form by themselves. And isn't he such a nice man with reason to exist further to offer him his services?

The kid's all right, though. He's clueless about a lot of things, clearly loyalist but trying to be better, and doesn't think before he acts, but what person his age is ever intelligent? There's nothing particularly new Esredes hasn't encountered, and the kid doesn't seem to mind his presence. So for now, he can't help but look out for him. He has a lot of rough adjusting to do, and needs a bit of a guiding hand.

Since their original few meetings, the kid has shed his loyalist skin and moved on from Ishgard to Gridania and is now exploring himself down there. While initially concerned about if the kid was doing all right, Esredes has come to accept that Lobeaux simply needs to go through the necessary messy growing phase of self exploration that comes with throwing oneself headfirst into the world to experience what is beyond it. Esredes now mostly sees him when he appears at gatherings with his sort-of new girlfriend with occasional visits to his apartment, but he is content whenever he observes the kid's progress in his self-development. He's become much more rightfully angry about the wrongs of Ishgard and Gridania and their mistreatment of certain races, and to Esredes this shows the kid is becoming aware of the true nature of the world. He feels the two will only have more and more they can comfortably talk about and use to vent their frustrations in the future going onward.
Rainier Vigneaux, Small Friend. () - The Prisoner of The Raging Shadow/A Piece Of The Cornucopia.
Character's Thoughts: “That poor, poor kid. He’s really such a lovely, pure soul that doesn’t deserve to be burdened with the mental issues he’s been given. I really hope I can help him live a better life, because he really does deserve the best.”
Rainier is a young man who frequently appears at Forgotten Knight evenings every Firesday who Esredes came to be acquaintanced with through these social gatherings. He didn’t quite know what to do or say besides say hello the first time the kid introduced himself, but as he saw more of his presence he warmed up to the kid’s cheerful, pleasant, enthusiastic and endearing demeanor he possessed. He’s just a mood lifter to have around with his tinges of purity that come with his still relatively young age, and it inclined Esredes to be nice and encouraging to him in a simple manner. During an evening at a Masquerade when he stuck around Esredes’ group most of the evening, Alise even declared Rainier to be ‘part of their cornucopia’- a creative term she used to mean the mismatched family Esredes had come to make out of his allies, and he couldn’t help but agree.

However, Esredes always suspected from the scars on his face that something was off about Rainier- and his answer came in the form of watching Rainier go into an unexpected feral state during one of those tavern nights, and having to be put to sleep with a spell. This was a condition Esredes remembered well from being on the receiving end of it in one of his own, and as the pieces clicked together in his own mind of what must be going on, he was horrified. He immediately set out to do what he could to help, by repeating the treatment method he had used the last time he experienced this condition, to results that didn’t magically heal the problem, but at least gave the kid some new ways to try and help and understand himself.

In the meantime, Esredes maintains a sense of emotional protectiveness- with respect to his existing emotional guardians- over the young man, while being sure to be encouraging and kind to him whenever they speak in a casual setting, and taking joy in hearing about the various things Rainier is undertaking or studying to help with his personal ambitions. He has decided it is best to step in when he is needed to help Rainier work through his mind or emotional issues, but leave him to his life when he appears to be in good mental health. There is much to be talked about, but such things take time- and Esredes is prepared to do what is best to help the kid, whether in good or bad times.

Tertia Bellator, Friend/Client. () - The Little Gunblade Painted Red and White.
Character's Thoughts: “Tertia was one of the rather unexpected ones, but I most certainly can’t be upset for any of it. I’m not sure I entirely understand all of why she sees me as highly as she does, but I think I can trust her back. It’s always nice to talk to her and see the true woman under the mask, and know we can confide in one another.”
At very first glance, Esredes completely brushed her off. She was a random, dumb foreigner with an annoying voice and attitude in the Knight and she didn’t make an impression on him beyond that, someone Esredes expected to fade into background noise as many people often do.

Until he witnessed her being entirely exposed by another friend who figured out she was in fact faking her accent and most everything else, and was actually a Garlean defector. But it wasn’t until he saw her again after that, already intending to apologize for dismissing and lightly insulting her before, that the two could finally talk as people, and he learned much more of her story. Something about defecting for redemption for something- the details of which were never provided, but which Esredes did not feel inclined to push to learn the specifics of those blanks, instead opting to simply reassure her she seemed capable of being a good person and turning over the new leaves she desired. In turn, she seemed equally wanting of him to be comfortable talking about his own emotions and life as he felt fit.

While fleeting, their interactions since were always something simple and pleasant, company enjoyed and pieces of heart exchanged. Then she took it a step further by signing up to come in and confide even more deeply than she had before to him in his counseling service, and since it has become apparent to Esredes he might need to play a somewhat deeper role in her life for the sake of her own well being going forward, forged on the soft trust they’ve built for each other over their scattered interactions.
Marcelle Petiot, Client/Friend. () - The Woman In The Out of The Bottle.
Character's Thoughts: “Marcelle has always been a weird one to me. I think she can be annoying, but I also think it’d be unfair to say I hate her. In the same vein, I think she’s all right, not the best nor worst person to talk with, but I don’t know if she’ll ever be more to me than someone who will never register me in full, nor do I know the extent to which I can help her- but if I simply try to help her and then she passes on her way, then I will be satisfied with that. At the least, I’d consider her an amicable enough acquaintance. She’s okay to be around in doses, and I remain concerned for her well being.

I think as things have developed, I can solidly say we’ll always be friendly acquaintances, at least. More than that, I’m not sure, but her presence is fairly comfortable.

Past that point, I'm proud of how far she's come. I couldn't be happier with seeing how much she's become her own person. Even if we don't talk much, I don't think we need to. I'm happy with things just as they are.”
A treasurer for the Holy See that Esredes originally dismissed and avoided completely because she gave off the feeling of believing the See’s lies, making Esredes assume she probably thought the worst and figuring she was just a harmless one to avoid. To add to it, she comments too much on his clothing and how it’s not fashionable, driving his opinion of her further down into apathetic indifference and no real desire to be anything but a passing acquaintance.

This changed, however, when Esredes slowly got a glance into what was really going on with her, accelerated by Marcelle coming to his counseling service under the false impression it could help her maximize efficiency with taking vitality potions, and there everything began to make sense to Esredes.

Marcelle was in fact, a victim. Brainwashed by the ideals of her family with nothing else to take its place, and taken advantage of by her workplace to overwork her to the point she developed a severe potion addiction and was foregoing sleep to keep up with the work, simply accepting it as the way of things because she was lowborn. Understanding all this drew Esredes to the conclusion that she was in fact not a bad person, but simply horribly misguided and trapped by a horrible situation, and it was up to him to calmly work with her to dismantle her delusions and try to get her to wake up to reality.

Much happened since that first session- each time, Marcelle slowly made a bit of progress, then got fired and jailed for stealing potions, taken in by a noble family, and was even temporarily paralyzed in the legs from the side effects of the potions. Esredes has sat with her through the ideas he held back from arguing with, the emotional breakdowns, and the discussion of how one gets out of the dark room, growing more concerned and emotionally protective of her each time in that slightly removed and professional way.

While he doesn’t consider her really a friend and doesn’t expect her to ever be, he’s grown comfortable talking to her casually and just brushing off anything that might be slightly annoying. The interesting thing is, as she casually brought up during one session, she’s even aware without details he’s a heretic thanks to a certain someone exclaiming it in front of them both once- but clearly doesn’t seem to do anything about it considering she still came to talk to him despite originally believing in Thordan’s way. And that’s not a conversation he is ever willing to have with her, so he’s taken it for what it’s worth and continues to try and guide her out of the room with both direct and indirect measures.

In the end, this task was successful- Esredes did manage to help guide Marcelle out of the room, and she's been doing much better for herself, having even started up her own café. While he can't recall if she's ever directly thanked him for his part in everything, he can tell by her giving him extra samples and gestures of those nature that she is silently speaking of a great gratitude. Now every time he sees her, he can't help but feel a little happier. It's nice to be reminded that his good deeds do pay off, and that healing even from such severe cases of brainwashing is possible.

The two never did talk about what he is, but he doesn't really mind. Perhaps it doesn't even matter, for they are simply something of friends regardless at the end of a long road, and nothing changes that.
Osiris Callineau, Awkward Old Friend. () - The Return From Elimination.
Character's Thoughts: "Hahaha, oh boy, I don’t quite know what to say. Osiris is… something special of a man, not exactly your typical fare, and boy if I didn’t know much of anything about the man from my earlier years. I’m only trying to hope that it’s… fine to reconnect with him, like this isn’t going against my morals somehow or my own people and well being. I’m trying to believe he is well-intentioned and better now."
Formerly an acquaintance from childhood, Esredes would spend some noble parties in the company of a fellow peer and his many siblings, content to pass the time with whoever was around to talk to. But between those gatherings and the occasional encounter in the Temple Knights, Osiris wasn’t really anything more to Esredes than someone you sort of know. And then of course, when all disappeared into the fall from grace, Osiris was all but completely forgotten when Esredes moved on from his previous life in Ishgard.

That is until he showed up in Esredes’ workplace one day wanting to talk to his employer, and Esredes felt like his past was about to show up to haunt him. Fortunately this was not the case, as it turns out Osiris is no one to hold him to what he became when he himself… certainly had blood to confess to there in the awkward silence of Esredes’ office space.

Even so, it can be hard for Esredes to know what to make of having an old friend reappear hoping to reconnect. On one hand, the usual layers of awkwardness talking to someone on the other side is amplified by sort of knowing each other, on the other, does it really matter if he is truly as well-intentioned and for redemption as he presents himself? Perhaps Esredes simply can’t quite decide to resist the little empathy tug of being in the presence of an old sort of friend who clearly has a lot on his plate and mind. For now, while the awkwardness hasn’t worn off in Esredes’ own mind, he at least feels comfortable enough around Osiris to talk to him and see if this works out as a rekindled friendship… of some kind. At the least, he seems in the middle of the line enough to be considered not in the way of Esredes’ goals.

Cinnieux Audoin, Friendly Acquaintance. () - The Resemblance of Regret.
Character's Thoughts: "Ah, the only member of the Fourth I genuinely like. He is lovely and pleasant to talk to, and he actually treats me and judges me as a person and not a word that no one knows the story behind. I didn’t think it was possible, but I cherish him. I just wish I could talk to him without feeling like I shouldn’t, with the dread he might justifiably hate me like all the rest. Why can’t I just have this one thing?"
Esredes has come to accept to just expect the weird and unexplainable or worst from the Fourth company. Shining example being talking to one of them in a weird outfit, and two more of them come out of nowhere with outfits equally bad in their own way, all while in Thanalan, and claiming to be so far from Ishgard because of classified reasons. Huh. In any case, wearing an obnoxiously bright pink shirt among them was Cinnieux, a man Esredes expected to start talking rudely to him the second the word his fellow people had no limitations on spewing came out. And to his immense surprise- that did not happen. He continued to talk to him like a human being, and in a completely normal manner.

That was the moment Esredes decided this one was his.

He followed this up with polite conversation allowing him to enjoy the young man’s bright, cheerful, and optimistic demeanor, solidifying his decision to keep this one. While he won’t talk to him when other Fourth members or people who will gossip are in range for the sake of the man, he cherishes the conversations they can have safely for brightening his day with that infectious cheeriness.

Esredes also found himself becoming even more important to the man when he requested he talk to his distant, completely sadistic and cold little brother, and try to begin fixing him towards being a human being again. That and additional promises to keep trying to help the boy have earned Esredes the status of being someone the family owes a debt to.

If only that was the end of the story, Esredes would be happy. He’d have his Fourth member he liked and wanted to keep a polite friendship with, encourage the good kid to pursue as he needs. Unfortunately, reality rudely shocked Esredes in the face when dealing with the aforementioned brother, who let loose the name of one of the family’s younger siblings who had allegedly died in a heretic attack.

And Esredes recognized the name of a fallen member of his group. Of someone he hadn’t been able to save, strewn by all the other corpses in his mind.

It was his fault. His fault that Cinnieux and his god forsaken younger brother were suffering. An inevitability, that all Esredes’ attempts for atonement and playing nice would be slapped back by his failures.

One mental breakdown later, Esredes has opted not to dare let Cinnieux find out and see what sort of retribution is waiting for him. Instead, he has decided he will keep playing nice to him and help his horrible brother regain humanity as another way of atonement, at least for as long as it takes to be found out and have to withdraw back into his political and social shields and respectfully not ever talk to Cinnieux again.

It will be nice while it lasts, and then Esredes will return to his own personal oblivion and accept the reality of his doomed existence, doomed much like the girl he failed to save.

Evianne Volane, Expedition Partner/Friend. () - The Explorer Into Her Beyond.
Character's Thoughts: "I expected nothing that’s unfolded with her to happen, but you know, it all just kind of… worked out. She’s fun to talk to in a casual manner and also fun to occasionally get into ruins with. I feel powerful and useful in her presence, and that’s a nice added bonus. But she doesn’t seem to judge or hold things heavily, so I feel comfortable around her."
Esredes first saw Evianne on an expedition to destroy a Garlean facility, but she was but one face among many even if she stood out by being the only archer there. Their first true meeting that had them focus on each other instead occurred out in the Dravanian Forelands, with Esredes encountering her with a sack full of wyvern wings… while in wyvern form himself. Fortunately, she had no intent to harm him, and even assisted him in chasing off an unexpected griffin attack.

If only he hadn’t taken a burn to the side from the aforementioned expedition to make it all the more obvious he was the same person from there, as she appeared in his office soon after asking if that was him. And yet… he just kind of said yes and they talked about other things. Like weapons, yes, weapons are cool, and he liked showing off his sword to her and even having a spar with her a couple meetings later. The sack of wings had all but passed out of Esredes’ mind by that point, as they were thankfully just those of Nidhogg’s brood and she said she would stop without him even asking her to.

But the true interesting thing about Evianne is she has taken to trying to restore her house by finding sealed, unopened tombs of history and selling off the artifacts… something that takes place mostly underground… and something Esredes’ geokinetic abilities is perfectly suited to handle. Luckily for him, the mere mention of it was enough to impress her into taking him along on one, and he got to put those skills to quite the use and test to get them out mostly unscarred, all while getting to enjoy himself on an adventure where there isn’t a battlefield of people dying or the crushing dread of your entire movement being wiped out and dooming the land to everlasting war.

Even despite literally putting his dragon form to use with her and everything, Esredes has yet to really talk about it with her, but has elected it’s not really necessary until it comes up organically. Having been away from Ishgard until some time ago and not a veteran of the war, Evianne seems relaxed about everything enough that he doesn’t quite need to make a big deal of it yet, and playing expedition is more fun to focus on anyhow. In that sense, Evi is ideal for being a more low stakes and simple relationship- they can be expedition partners sometimes, and talk casually other times, but they don’t have heavy expectations of one another- Esredes is already content that she took his form well and doesn’t feel there is any need to earn her approval, prove himself, or pull her into his faction. Instead, he simply appreciates her relaxed nature and inviting aura, and looks forward to whatever they might get themselves into next.

Elodie Guillaume, Sort of Friend. () - The Journey Through Wildfire.
Character's Thoughts: “I like Elodie, I do. I think she considers me a trusted family friend or something at this point, though as she herself has pointed out before, I’ve yet to ever be truly honest with her. Perhaps I should remedy that someday, but for now I enjoy her presence and her supportive, cheerful capabilities, yet I worry a lot for her well being. I even think as of recent, it’s becoming easier to open up a little more.”
A recently nobility elevated Dragoon who originally approached Esredes in his former counseling space asking about ways to help people feel better without being a counselor, she made a nice first impression on Esredes and he decided it would be best to send her off as a test of her abilities to two different people he considered to be hard nuts to crack and make any leeway with to see how well she’d do.

But even before she had the chance to do so and report back, she quickly had something of an emotional meltdown on their second meeting and confided in him about how sad and self-hating she truly is, trying to cover such up with making others happy, to which Esredes was happy to reassure her she deserved peoples’ consideration, patience, and forgiveness, and felt the conversation was productive for this little relationship.

It was fortunate for him that he never found out that she ended up interpreting his little challenge as being used and played for a fool and went through a period of wanting to murder him. Instead, what ended up happening was her confronting him about the hearsay of his true nature, and Esredes decided it would be safe enough to confide about being spiked with the blood and run out of Ishgard.

...Just not everything that happened afterwards, as she conveniently stopped the conversation there, and he is content to let it never be brought up again. Instead, he watched one of the people he told her to go to propose to her, someone who Esredes considered to have no redeeming qualities and a threat- and it was at that moment he realized he had made a grave mistake and could never hope to predict or lead the great force that was Elodie.

Even despite having to hide his disdain for her choice of husbands, Elodie seemed grateful to him at least for playing matchmaker, and he had no choice but to accept the gratitude and the place it landed him as a trusted entity to her house. And between that, her other gratitude for counseling her ward, and eventually even breaking up with said husband and venturing with him and another friend on a mission, Esredes has felt their connection strengthen and become more comfortable in where things are going. Through the things indirectly said, he’s decided she’s probably accepted what he actually is, and there is nothing to worry of as long as certain conversations aren’t had.

In the meantime, he continues to enjoy being a family friend, as well as seeing her in action. He just hopes that with all that’s happened, she will keep pressing forward and fighting.

Vallerin de Tremont, Client. () - The Violet Bolster In Your Abyss.
Character's Thoughts: “My favorite counseling client, as of right now, and the one that brings me the best feeling of job security. He’s got a good heart that’s had too much happen to it- I feel obligated not just professionally, but morally to heal and protect him. He is good, he is comfortable- and he trusts me to help him. I cannot let him down when he deserves so much more.
The good news is I succeeded- but it turns out the happy ending is... surprisingly quiet."
The first official and professional client for Esredes’ new counseling job, and therefore his first opportunity to prove to himself he can do his job properly, and for that purpose, Vallerin was the perfect client. A man who genuinely needs this service, horribly depressed and traumatized but not angry and unreasonable like much of his order, instead opting to be humble, kind, and most importantly, perfectly normal. Exactly the sort of Dragoon Esredes finds ideal.

It makes it hard to want anything but to do the best for the man, as he wants nothing more than to be able to function properly again and doesn’t hold grudges for what happened in the war, and he isn’t afraid to be emotionally vulnerable for Esredes or express his softer side. Vallerin is Esredes’ perfect opportunity to show he can counsel a typical case of a veteran and make him into a more functional person the proper way that does not exploit him, to only hold the pure and simple intention of doing his job.

Though Esredes is determined to help a man he deems to be good and worthy of it to be better, he also has to face in the process that Vallerin has many of the same issues Esredes himself possesses- emptiness, survivor’s guilt, only kept alive by the need to feel useful. But surely if it’s not himself, which he has accepted is wholly unfixable by this point, Esredes can still heal someone, right? He has to be a proper counselor, he can’t reveal to a client that he probably needs therapy himself for the same thing, he must merely find a way to fix it anyway.

But that’s fine. He feels an affinity and security with Vallerin that he can reassure himself of his insecurity with his job through, and so no matter how long it takes, he will heal the man piece by piece. And lord help if anyone ever tries to even so much as remark negatively on the man in the hearing range of Esredes if they ever happen to be nearby in public, they will find out just how vicious the wrath of an emotionally protective counselor can be. Some things simply don’t change.

After several therapy sessions, Vallerin stopped having the nightmares that initially plagued him, and Esredes has gathered through seeing him in public that he has recovered enough to no longer need to come, for which Esredes is glad to see. Even if he's found it leaves these two with nothing to really talk about in public encounters and reduced them to mere friendly acquaintances, such is the price of professionalism in his occupation.

More recently, though, Esredes has gotten more anxious, as they've both signed on to the same combat situations, and it becomes harder to keep up his identity of a mere Temple Knight turned therapist to his original client, and given comments he's overheard about how Vallerin doesn't quite trust peace with the dragons to last- he has a bad feeling that this one isn't a keeper, if it ever comes out.

But so be it, right? The purpose of therapy was never to simply get himself more friends, after all, and he was only meant to be a solution to a problem. So is the job of a counselor...

Hassan Black, Mystery Friend. () - The Shrouded Helm.
Character's Thoughts: "Hassan’s a bit of an interesting paradox to me. He’s the sort of mysterious person with a clearly dark past you would expect to be more closed off and guarded, and I suppose he is to a degree, but to also be this friendly and generally here and there around? Not really normal for people like him. Gods know what kind of person from the past I am talking to, but given the sorts of people I’ve had to make friendly with… how bad could it really be? He’s clearly someone different now…"
An outsider of a source Esredes isn’t sure of, though he highly suspects Garlean in some capacity, who appears here and there around Ishgard, always wearing a helmet that obscures his face. If the Fourth Temple Knight Company is holding a for fun dodgeball tournament, there this man is getting hit in the face with a ball. If there is a friend of Esredes’ in need of rescue, there he is come to fight and help. If there is a party in celebration, there he is in the same helmet with a tuxedo. And here and there around the usual spots in Ishgard, there he is as well. Esredes has not really gauged much of Hassan’s story besides that he explores the world a lot at his own pace and seems like a free spirit sort. Beyond that, he is simply a very friendly and surprisingly philosophical entity who seems to take an interest in Esredes’ more recent work and general lifestyle, an interest certainly not unwelcomed. The two cater to both casual and deeper discussions of life and belief, and Esredes always finds himself having an eased and good time in the man’s presence that has made him come to care for his well being regardless of what he is hiding.

He’s also gained a somewhat deeper level of trust for Hassan due to unforeseen outbursts in the group rescue meeting leading to the word heretic being thrown out and Hassan speaking up angrily about how such things don’t matter, and reaffirming that he supports him no matter what that truly means. Further conversation later had the both of them confiding in one another about how hard it is for people like them to win over others when seen as subhuman… all without actually divulging any details about their respective pasts to one another. But even without that laid on the table, Esredes believes it wasn’t truly necessary to lay it out. He feels Hassan understands his dilemma for the most part without him needing to say a word, and thus if he ever needed to put a great deal of trust in him, he could.

Though he still knows little of Hassan, he’s content to accept that will always be the case, and he doesn’t have to be thrust right into the deep shadows of a person for once in order to accept who they are and leave it there. It seems no consequence comes of chatting with the man and he’s had no trouble being accepted around Ishgard locally, and dealing with the claws people sprout is like breathing to Esredes. He’s definitely not normal, and he sprouts something very unnatural and which does not seem to be fully in control that Esredes got a glance at in combat- but by this point, Esredes is much less afraid of such a thing, helped by having to invent a special form of therapy just to ease people out of it, and has resolved that he will simply try to deal with it as he’s done any other similar situation over the years. As for what exactly it is- he doesn’t know, and isn’t sure. It could be any of several possibilities, and he’s not going to ask and does not feel inclined to theorize or make a large deal of it in his head like he sometimes tends to.

Hassan simply evokes that feeling- a content and respectful lack of care for the details. And if all of this is the case, what is a friendship between two individuals of shadows but simply that? Whatever comes of the future, Esredes is content with what both the man and his relationship with him is.

Elouan Sauveterre, Client/Friend/Platonic Lover. () - The Sunflower In Sand and Snow.
Character's Thoughts: “I love Elouan a lot, simply put. His presence is delightfully sunny and soothing, and his personality is the sort that will never see anything but the best of mine own, so I have no need to worry there. He’s adorable, he’s charming in his naivety but not so much it becomes annoying, I don’t think he’s as stupid as he believes himself to be. All in all, I always have a good and enjoyable time with Elouan, and while I cannot pour all the contents of my heart into him like he does into me, I will nurture his heart- I need not protect it, though I will when given the opportunity. He has protected his own heart for years.
Except I was wrong. Elouan is the truest sort of friend, and he does want all of my black heart. It's a comfort, and my, is it so rare someone makes me feel so much constant affection. I love my sweet tall Sunflower so much, and if it could all just stay right like so...”
A Gridanian born man from a very average background minus the Ishgardian nobility lurking a bit further back in his bloodline he never got any taste of, Esredes met Elouan at a party and chatted with him for a while, taking interest in the man’s sketchbook and his nice landscape paintings and having a pleasant little exchange before moving on with his life and mostly forgetting about it.

It wasn’t until another pleasant little conversation alone with the man in a community center turned into Esredes doing what he does best and accidentally opening up an emotional can of worms that Elouan became of more significance to him. While the man had already described him as safe- a compliment Esredes felt was unearned but appreciated anyhow- having to sit there and ease him out of a very heavy crying made it clear to Esredes this man could use his help, and so he made another counseling client out of him.

But things would quickly get much more intimate than even just that. For Esredes was invited along with him and his boyfriend Baptiste to accompany them on a trip to Gridania in order to stand up to Elouan’s horrible, neglectful and abusive father for the first time, a task Esredes was all too necessary for being the only one of the three who could keep his emotional composure during the events that unfolded. After a day of lows and highs that by the end of it resulted in the father being physically assaulted by Esredes not once but twice, a new scarf and sylph plushie being gifted to Esredes, and the three of them sharing an inn room together eating dinner in their sleepwear, Esredes knew he was going to end up a friend that Elouan desperately needed in his life.

Elouan is a sunny man by nature- someone who always chooses to look into the brightness of life and people without being unbearable about it, a manageable energy level for Esredes, someone who is very open and expressive and affectionate. In other words, he’s the exact sort of person Esredes finds comfortable and that he is able to relax in the presence of, as he’s not only happy to listen to Esredes, but Esredes knows he won’t judge him and will accept him for who he is, helped by him being removed from the world of Ishgard enough that matters do not weigh on him like they do Esredes. To this end, Elouan triggers Esredes’ more affectionate side, both physically and behavior wise, while being someone who he can relax around with low expectations, such is the luxury of the easily pleased. Esredes also grasped his emotional patterns quickly, and knows how to handle his often sudden downpours of emotion and calm him back to a better state of mind.

Of course, Elouan is as much a lion as he is a sunflower when the circumstances allow for it, a Paladin on Esrey’s level of swordsmanship but lacking the mental control thanks to his days of fighting in the Bloodsands in Ul’dah, and in sparring with him, Esredes saw what he suspected- that no, of course a beast lurked in Elouan like anyone else.

But what is Esredes if not a tamer of beasts? It only took one little therapeutic exercise to fix the lack of control Elouan had in battle, and so Esredes could go right back to being unafraid of Elouan and being content in having all of his patterns down to manage. He hopes to continue to help guide Elouan to a more stable overall state of being, but it remains to be seen how much of himself he is willing to give back.

Outsiders are a mixed bag that way- they understand some things Ishgardians don’t, but other things they simply can’t. And he’s not sure he wants to burden the rainy sunflower with too much of his harshness and true scope of cold.

That being said, he didn't really have much a choice. For Elouan could only go so long falling into his usual lures of being blocked from learning too much about Esredes before he confronted him rather harshly about it- probably not helped by Esredes trying to explain that Nidhogg's brood are hopelessly enslaved to the Song leading to the man thinking he could go out and befriend one and forcing Esredes to reveal to a man scared of dragons what he was and then think he could sweep it under the rug- and so Esredes tried confessing both what he was and that he had used this fact to physically and psychologically torture his father and an abusive ex girlfriend.

He watched Elouan's hand twitch.

And then he threw his arms around him and said they deserve it, and for the first time he seemed truly mad about the things done to him. Equally the first time, Elouan and Esredes actually talked fully on the same level, as themselves without masks.

While the hand twitch haunts him, Esredes has mostly put it aside in favor of being more relaxed and true to himself around Elouan since, even opening up about some of his troubles and letting Elouan care for him as well. And for it, Elouan has joined the narrow ranks of Esredes' truest companions and friends, and Esredes couldn't be happier to cherish his sunflower fully as himself. He plans to stick by Elouan's side and continue to throw himself as deeply into him as he has thrown himself into Esredes.

Corris Amberwright, Friend/Danger Companion. () - The Cracking Gem.
Character's Thoughts: “Corris is a lovely little woman, for whom I feel so bad for. She really seems to always get the short end of sticks, but she keeps going and she has a deep kindness to her that I don’t think she even comprehends the weight and extent of. I don’t think she comprehends how much she means and impacts other people at all, and it’s sad. I can only hope there’s a way to make her realize what she truly is before she fully resigns herself to perish.”
A healer from Gridania engaged deeply with Osiris, an old friend of Esredes’, Esredes had only really spotted Corris around a former congregation area of his with Osiris before she stopped in at Seraphiaux’s shop while the man was upstairs dealing with an ink spill, leaving him naturally the one to talk to her instead.

She made for a very pleasant conversation at first, curious about his counseling business and about himself, worried for Osiris, but speaking a little too much lead to Corris catching on to Esredes’ own problems and immediately wanting to help him. Something happened in that exchange to allow them both to implicitly trust one another, a fact accentuated by Corris going on to bring him along on a number of missions dealing with an obsessed Garlean woman who feigned after, kidnapped, and brainwashed Osiris, and her equally monstrous brothers and their experiments that keep harming innocents.

Corris is definitely no fighter or strategist, and each of their targets always seems dead set on going for her in some kind of creepy fixation, compelling Esredes to be protective of her as a proper knight to a healer. But even outside of these little missions, Corris is a creature of the heart, who continues to try and get closer to his out of that persistent general concern for him and his person. And while he’s not able to let her all in at once due to his natural inability to open up, he feels it’s safe to do so in small waves up to a point, for now.

What concerns Esredes most is that Corris is on a timer- due to overusing her life aether in the past, she’s only got a year left to live, and doesn’t seem too concerned about it. He’s no aetherologist or an expert into these matters, but he isn’t taking her ease standing up. Surely there has to be a way, for a monster infested world like this one is losing stability the more its flowers fade away...

Nivaar Swann, Client. () - The Pillar In The Void.
Character's Thoughts: “Nivaar is definitely one of the sorts I feel bad for. He’s an adult, but he is still but a mere kid trying to handle so many heavy burdens, and I know my task in his life is to but try and chip away at a great storm.

I just want to be the one to tell him of the warmth that exists in the blizzard. To let him begin to see it for what it is. It’s not a feeling I can feel too deeply, but others like him deserve to.”

A bastard of House Swann and a child soldier, left to be the one to take the house over after no one else was left, at least after Esredes encouraged him to talk to his staff to make the decision for himself.

Before all of that, though, Esredes merely knew him as the withdrawn young man who walked into his office requesting his counseling services, of which he was happy to give a handshake and an overview before proceeding to make a client out of him. Every time Nivaar comes in, there is always something new and concerning to speak of, but that is often par for the course. Nivaar tackles a mixture of schoolwork, estate troubles, the trauma that comes from a neglectful and lacking childhood combined with being a child soldier, as well as the fact there is also a voidsent attached to him he doesn’t know how to get rid of.

As Esredes has come to know something of the man, besides the usual empathy and sympathy, he’s come to appreciate how well mannered and kind he is, keeping it together under such a premise despite everything that’s happened to him. He can tell Nivaar doesn’t truly comprehend how much he deserves in life, and he hopes to gently nudge him towards said comprehension. The young man needs someone in his life to be a pillar, and while he is not someone Esredes has psychologically come to see like a son, he does nonetheless feel Nivaar needs an older figure like himself to lean on, and he is happy to be leaned on.

His concern and worry for Nivaar always seems to be growing, however, the more things are thrown at the man. And all the same, he still wishes to be seen as nothing but composed and elegant and professional in front of him, and for that he shuts off a certain part of himself to him. He can feel Nivaar seems regretful of killing those like his own people in the war, and he wants to be able to tell him he is forgiven- but that is not a topic to breach until it is breached.
Alphinoix Luitomiere, Client/Sort Of Boss? () - The Angel Of Revived Flesh.
Character's Thoughts: “Maybe it’s not as surprising as my mind makes it out to be that he is completely unafraid of my presence, yet still. Even the good sort are often hesitant. And to then want to trust me as an equal? ...I cannot let such an individual down. He most of all deserves my help, and I want with everything in me to see him fare well.”
High Inquisitor Alphinoix Luitomiere, a regal name Esredes had merely heard the deeds of throughout his years of heresy and made sure that in all of the snooping, spying, and setting up for traps his people did into Inquisitors, this one was strictly and completely off the list and left alone. For to do otherwise would be a crime in the truest sense, as Esredes has never witnessed an Inquisitor live up to the idea of what the position is supposed to be more than this man, almost to the point it doesn’t even feel possible or real.

An uprooter of corruption, even within his own ranks, a man who truly stands up for the innocent and those who are usually crushed by the legal system, constantly working to pardon those unjustly convicted and work for justice in the realest of senses. The man is often regarded as the living will of Halone herself, and Esredes for one, even despite his lack of belief in Halone anymore, can’t help but be inclined to believe it himself.

But that is all Alphinoix is to Esredes, the name of a distant entity that while he is unsure is something he can be all right in the presence of, he nonetheless holds a deep and rare respect for automatically out of belief in the ideals of justice he embodies.

Until he found the man casually having lunch outside the Fortemps manor one day, anyhow, and like the fool he is, was left confused for a moment as to who this person could be calling him by his name and asking him if the city was treating him well until he introduced himself by name. True to all that was said, the man was every part polite and kind, even relatively relaxed as if nothing was wrong- perhaps not even believing anything was wrong in the first place with how eased he was about knowing Esredes’ careers and offering him a scone. That would have been a pleasant little encounter by itself, but the atmosphere shifted from Esredes trying to ease himself in the presence of a high representation of the law as the man unexpectedly, after asking about how it was going, inquired as to if his counseling services were open to members of the Inquisition.

It was one thing to simply have a respectful conversation with the High Inquisitor who seemed to hold nothing towards him. It was another to expect him to want to talk to him, of all people, with surely complete awareness, in such a manner as to open his heart. But then again, if even a bad Inquisitor could find a reason to do it, did a good one not only make sense?

Needless to say, Esredes shifted his demeanor to be much more confident, but gentle in reassuring he was allowed, losing the standoffishness inherent to him on such interactions. Yet when the man actually arrived to his space, he quickly made it clear to Esredes’ words he was just a man here, not the High Inquisitor of her most holy. As is his own duty, Esredes respected this request, and spoke with the man as if he were but a simple colleague, gauging more of just how alone and unable to trust or be close to people the man was in his life beyond the Inquisition.

A man who if he wasn’t perfect, his entire kind would be beyond hope and to be hated and eliminated.

Perhaps this was indeed the perfect matchup.

Esredes is now past his usual paranoia and even doubt stage and glided right into a quick level of sincerity that isn’t common with such new relationships. There is little for him to hide from the Inquisitor, so he thinks, and he feels it only fair to reciprocate the immense trust given to him on some level by being the professional version of who and what he truly feels. A true self for a true self. And while he was already in a sense protective of the man by keeping him away from his own vicious people, truly seeing him in the flesh and seeing the horrible, nasty scars on his chest from the time his boss sent him into a trap of a dragon and he was ripped apart and miraculously reappeared alive months later has made Esredes much more concerned for how he’s an easier assassination target now, and how much Ishgard could lose if such a thing were to happen. It’s unfortunate for himself, then, how little he can offer in that regard beyond a blue safe space here and there and the good will of a whole network of people.

Nonetheless, in that restrained professional sense, Esredes has found himself falling into that pattern of behavior once more of investing a lot emotionally into someone he sees as a beacon of undisputable goodness. Perhaps he finally has a link to care about the ongoings of the Inquisition beyond his own monitoring and plotting, or perhaps he has the greatest shield of all, cracked as it may be...

Well the former turns out to be true to some extent, as Alphinoix hired him on to do counseling on prisoners of the Tribunal. And though it gives Esredes many conflicting feelings, ultimately he could not resist both the benevolence of the request and the opportunity to extract vengeances...

Aludove Leauciment, Client. () - The Night Sky’s Cold Strings.
Character's Thoughts: “I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve dealt with the void, dragon’s blood, dark magic, Garlean abominations, ascians, the echo, but whatever the hell fae stuff is? Absolutely not at all.

He’s well meaning, but by the gods does the man have issues, which I suppose is why I even know him. I can certainly help him, but I am going to have to be firm at times to get my points across. I just don’t want to end up regretting everything like I tend to because of magic I cannot deal with or foresee coming.”

Esredes wasn’t sure what to think when he read the appointment form for this man’s name. It was the longest description of what to seek counsel for he had ever gotten, and it contained a long winded description of Aludove being murdered and brought back as a Fae of the Court of Night and needing to deal with his problems now that he was immortal.

He supposed it was only a matter of time before he got one of the complex delusional clients to show up, but Esredes read through what sounded like nonsense to him and decided it was his professional duty to be kind and try to sort through these delusions without trying to outright break them on the first session.

After a mix of writing down more terminology he didn’t quite understand and recounts of the man’s childhood and experience in Ishgard that was much more familiar and comprehensible territory, Esredes accidentally distressed Aludove enough that he transformed into some kind of starry humanoid creature and teleported away, and it was in that moment he realized that none of what his mind had been glossing over was simply a complicated fracturing of Aludove’s traumatic life.

Afraid he had blown it on a first session again, Esredes later received a letter- via a large moth no less- from the man apologizing and recognizing he was merely trying to help, a relief for Esredes’ record and personal esteem that everything was fine and could keep going. After all, the man even mentioned Esredes was not his first attempt at counseling, and seemed more professional than them, somehow.

Even beyond all the things Esredes can only do his best to logic his way through by all the other supernatural and abnormal experiences he’s had, there is much he can relate to in Aludove. Mutual need for vengeance on the filth of Ishgard, though Aludove is much too past it in Esredes’ opinion, issues with being dominant over people Esredes is only half self aware of, redemption complexes- he certainly can’t say his own nonexistent love life is as tumultuous as the mans’, but he’s far beyond used to discussing relationship issues in this format by now.

Esredes’ feelings towards the man are all completely professional by this point beyond the usual stroke of empathetic concern- he’s mostly relieved to have somehow gained the man’s unsaid trust in so quickly a time after his previous experiences. Aludove is the sort that needs firm and plainly delivered doses of reality at times because of his own overindulged optimism in people, and Esredes worries his approach is a bit harsh, but it seems to work and not drive the man off. He’s mostly content if he doesn’t get blasted with a wave of fae magic again like he was at the end of the first session.

He has marked Aludove down as a no on the truth, however. At least the whole of it. While a former vigilante for bringing down the filth of Ishgard, Aludove has a traumatic incident with a dragon in his past, and Esredes does not want to traumatize any clients.

Victoriaux Brisbois, Friend. () - The Splintered Log.
Character's Thoughts: “Victor’s… not always emotionally stable, but he is a stalwart companion of a friend to have around, and one I find quite comfortable. Moments aside, I consider him to be a stable decoration on the table, so to speak, and he is definitely someone I can call a ‘buddy’.”
A lowborn carpenter with a glass eye from an accident involving a tree falling on him, Victor entered Esredes’ life as just some random stranger attending Elouan’s new little attempt at a social club, though not an unwelcomed one, since he was nice enough to carve a rabbit out of wood for Esredes as a little gift request. Esredes figured from this he was on his good side, only to have Victor try to blow up on him while overdosing and high for trying to help him, only to then apologize later.

Since then, they haven’t done much beyond bicker occasionally, and Esredes has gone back to being on his good side more permanently. Through the various meetings of the social club and also at Vette’s home, Victor has come to call Esredes his Rose Buddy and show that he appreciates Esredes’ presence as probably the only stable noble he knows, plus the only one that can explain noble logic half the time.

While Victor’s tendency to switch flip to an emotional outburst irritates Esredes, it’s balanced by him being surprisingly level headed… maybe forty to sixty percent of the time, when he isn’t sleeping with things he probably shouldn’t or other miscellaneous stupid things. This allows for a mutual ability to lean on one another, in which Esredes bails out and helps Victor out of the various situations of physical injuries he gets himself in to, and Victor makes himself a comfortable space for Esredes to vent, even to the extent of his real self and not just the mask.

It’s not exactly a perfect balance, as it feels like Victor only ever spends so long stable before he’s off into this or that stupidity or injury again, but it’s enough for Esredes’ ever dwindling standards of friendships. He’s fun sometimes, he cares, and Esredes can be himself even when it’s unpleasant. He’s not sure what him and Victor really are beyond the club, hangouts, and occasional opening up to one another, but he’s not complaining. Victor’s a solid little friend for the simple things in life, and even though they are very different people, they still have something to offer one another.

Xavierre Chatelain, Friend/Client. () - The Unknotted Thread.
Character's Thoughts: “Xavierre’s a good, pleasant man- he just has some built up things to work out within himself and he’ll manage to find his way. I had high hopes for him, much too high- it’s for the best he does as he’s needed to, but I still enjoy his presence nonetheless. He’s lovely company, most of the time, like a sweet little puppy that won’t leave your side.”
A noble and weaver who spent much time away and feels outcast and unbelonging in high society, Xavierre came to Esredes after making his presence known to him at a social club to inquire after Iceheart’s movement as one of those eager learners of the real truth, and Esredes was happy to oblige him in his office. Then he declared him a friend and offered to take him on a walk with his carbuncles- and the man’s enthusiasm and support for Esredes had him thinking he had a new pillar to lean on sometimes in the making, and he would make known his gratitude for it-

If the man hadn’t suddenly burst into tears at some question Esredes asked and brought the entire walk to a complete halt. And as he poured out his emotions to him, Esredes went as silent as he always does.

And so came the therapy forms, the sessions, the man crying every time they talked for a few times in a row, the repetitive reassurances and the water. And on top of that, the man confessing to him both drunk and sober that he found his serpentine like appearance attractive and had a crush on him. That was between Esredes having to escort him home drunk.

How wonderful.

Xavierre at least eventually got a clue and apologized to him for all of it, but Esredes doesn’t have much to say back. He expected a new ally he could let support him, and instead got yet another therapy patient trying to lean on him wanting a relationship that will never happen. It is often a phenomenon with Esredes that if someone begins to declare they’ll consider him, they will go back on their word within two interactions, and so he’s not holding his breath and putting anything on him, or else the man will probably just break and cry more. Well, so is his path to navigate for himself. He still enjoys Xavierre’s company and recognizes his genuine care, but they’ve not talked of anything personally relevant to Esredes since that second meeting, and so conversation tends to be one sided or fall flat, and Esredes tends to forget about him among all the rest happening all the time.

Perhaps he should finish what he started and be trying to make a loyal ally of him, but Esredes is unsure that Xavierre really has the fortitude or idea of what that actually entails. It’s a test for another time- for now, Esredes is still too busy forgetting about him half the time, and content to keep him more as something of an occasional, passing by friend.

Jude Lohengrinne, Friend/Limited Vocabulary Son. () - The Broken Wings On Unsteady Limbs.
Character's Thoughts: “Jude is a lot, but I won’t stop caring for him. Because not only does somebody have to when someone has been left so neglected, but getting to see beyond all the anger and unchecked emotions to the lost young man inside and to bond in that state of being has been all the rewarding, even if he’s overbearing sometimes.

Sometimes it’s like trying to put out a fire with an eyedropper with Jude, but I can’t give up on him no matter what happens. And oh, do things keep happening.”

A squire of House Swann who hails from another failing noble house, disgraced and kicked out of said house by his mother and left to find his way. Jude’s an individual in all senses of the term, the kind Esredes can’t help but empathize with because he’s been there before. When you’re nineteen with unchecked emotional issues, the world is a hard place to navigate without anyone around to help you make sense of it and how to be responsible.

Originally encountering him at Elouan’s social club and then subsequently in little public places or at House Swann itself, it took a lot less time than Esredes expected to break through to Jude and be accepted as an emotional aid to the young man, and since then Jude has been a very frequent presence in his life, coming into his office to tell him about this or that problem of the week or asking him to go on little adventures, and in group settings, often seems to grab his attention for things Esredes doesn’t know how to respond to.

The two also have verbal arguments here and there, an inevitable consequence of them being mutually stubborn people, but they always come around to remind one another they love each other. While Esredes doesn’t completely trust Jude’s reliability as a narrator, he has come to learn he can trust him with himself, at least. Jude seems to have gotten over the truth of his being rather quickly and takes to learning more about it all in stride. He even wants to ride him into battle, which would be fun if he knew how to properly dismount from the air.

Jude is a cute little stubborn kid, but one that Esredes believes in to find his way despite everything stacked against him. And he for one is never going to give up on ushering him along it, because he knows firsthand how it feels to be left by everything.
Kainen Marlowe, Temporary Commander/Friendly Acquaintance. () - The Long Reaching Branch.
Character's Thoughts: “I was a little mean to him at very first glance, and I still feel a little bad about it. He was undeserving. In fact, he exceeded my expectations, and I was being paranoid over nothing that never existed. No, I quite like and care for this one- even if he is full of mysteries- and it’s a pleasure to join him in war.”
Endwalker Spoilers Ahead

A knight commander Dragoon who it turns out is actually a native Gridanian recruited to Ishgard’s war effort, Ser Kainen summoned Esredes to the congregation to ask him to join Ishgard’s part in the Alliance in dealing with the mysterious new towers that sprouted up all over Eorzea.

Alas, this was a game Esredes knew quite well by this point, and forever wary as he is of a Vampire’s Promise- that is to say individuals who think they can ask anything of him for nothing in return- he did not immediately accept the offer. Not before making the man voice how much he was needed and that the past didn’t matter, or something to that effect, and carefully analyzing each word out of the man to read his true intentions, where he stood in the quietly raging storm of the war’s aftermath.

It wasn’t long before his reservation went and melted away, though- for at the banquet between members of the Alliance’s Ishgard Faction, the man’s linkpearl sounded and he was quickly telling Esredes to come with him- to the cells where a tempered woman was yelling about how Shiva would rise again.

It would be many peoples’ call to do all sorts of unpleasant things in this situation, but Kainen allowed him to give her her rosary back, let her out the moment she was untempered, and allowed her to be escorted back home at her request. Between this and conversation afterwards, Esredes’ trust in the man and his character and judgement grew to new levels.

Other Dragoons were typically harsh and spiky, after all, and while his armor had spikes, his demeanor did not. There is a gentleness and reasonability to Kainen which Esredes finds comforting and well utilized. The hyur already being at a slight disadvantage for Esredes taking his authority completely seriously being younger and therefore presumably less experienced, Esredes instead ended up with something of a mutual respect underlined by his genuine trust of the man’s decisions thus far.

In turn, Kainen’s not very visible with his emotions at all. A welcomed break from quite a few types of people Esredes attracts, but the serpent in Esredes still wonders after what’s going on inside. He simply has the feeling there is a lot not visible from the surface. Still, it wouldn’t be right or his place to pressure the man into anything. Esredes is content to simply continue to reciprocate support and goodwill and see what happens.

Through adventures together in the aftermath in the battle of Carteneau and Garlemald, Kainen remained pleasant to him, even doing small gestures that mean a lot to him such as giving him a flower when he was injured, permitting him to use his dragon form for rescue of fellow Alliance members, and calling him a True Knight and asking how he could help his comfort in Ishgard. Esredes also found the two talking together quite a bit compared to the other members of the Ishgard Division. Even in those leisurely, non-military encounters out in the Ishgard common, the two end up talking rather casually and normally as if they were mere friendly acquaintances and there was nothing else to be said, which Esredes has accepted and just went with for what it’s worth.

All in all, Esredes has found a stalwart and unexpected companion in Kainen, which he intends to cherish for what it’s worth in the field of battle, and be content to remain friendly to him outside of it. Whether there is any more to be said, or that should be said, is a question Esredes will only allow time to take its natural course in answering. He only knows he will miss their time together when it passes and he must return to the shadows of ash. But at least he can speak to Kainen, bathed in the light as he is, from his position at shadow’s edge.

ENEMIES, NEGATIVES, NEUTRALS, AND OTHER RELATIONSHIPS
Mazin Khin, Unfriendly Acquaintance. ( ) - The Empty Husk.
Character's Thoughts: "If this is what I have to deal with in light of the camp being gone, I’d rather be dealing with their idiocy. At least they had some respect and decency. This man has nothing but broken memories and an even more broken personality."
Having initially sought Esredes out since his speech at a heretic ceremony, Esredes was all willing to help this amnesiac man with his expertise on harrier camps to find his mother… for all of exactly one minute before the man proceeded to call him a monster and not take it back.

It didn’t help that after he walked out, the man took to stalking him and demanding he still help him for payment or else he would keep this up. At that point, he wasn’t even going to accept his apology, just do the task to get him out of his skin. Upon witnessing his birth home shun him away due to the nature of his mother’s leaving, Esredes couldn’t feel that sorry for him- but he still felt the need to lecture the man on his own problems before leaving things off.

For there is nothing to like about this man other than to pity his suffering. And he doesn’t. His suffering and inability to feel things doesn’t excuse him being a disrespectful, annoying, persistent, creepy, and ultimately completely fake and unempathetic person with the density of a rock on the ocean floor. No, he could try to perform with the man as he usually does, his tried and true act of empathy and patience, but he’s already decided the man doesn’t deserve it until he acts like a better person and so he simply told him to do everything he could to improve beyond an empty husk. While not the worst person he’s ever had the displeasure of dealing with, Esredes has no desire to ever see him again until something changes. And maybe not even then, either.
Silvaineaux Rosaire, Dislike. () - The Shades Of A Mirror.
Character's Thoughts: "What an unpleasant individual. I hope to every god for the sake of the people around him he learns how to manage those anger problems. I'll bet you he's hit people out of anger before. Either way, he's disgusting and I want to stay far away from him."
The only reason he knows of this man is seeing him visit Sui- something indicated only by Sui asking Esredes to hide away, an immediate sign that something was not right.

And oh, was something not right. For Esredes used his illusion to eavesdrop on their conversation, only to hear this other man as the exact kind of loyalist he really didn’t have time for- the kind who was self-righteous and set in their hatred, unpleasant, and overall just really not worth it. And he hated the way he talked to Sui, made worse by witnessing the two kiss.

This pissed Esredes off so much that he opted to pretend to enter the room again just to deliberately try and drive a wedge between them, and succeeded in pissing Silvaineaux off enough to make him shatter his wine glass and cut his hand. Because Esredes decided in that moment that Sui deserved much better than such an aggressive man with shades of controlling behavior, and if he wouldn’t realize how terrible the relationship was on his own, Esredes had to bring to light all the ways it was a terrible idea. As much as he respects Sui’s general neutrality, he draws the line at this. Esredes seems to care for Sui just enough to not want to lose him to some asshole loyalist.

He really doesn’t feel bad for what he did, in fact, he brags about it sometimes. What kind of man has anger problems bad enough to shatter a fucking glass? Even he would never do that. The whole thing is hilarious to him, but when you boil it down, he simply doesn’t care for Silvaineaux. He’d love to see him fuck off and leave it at that, because he’s not worth the time of day, and he’s not worthy of Sui’s gentle soul.
Liamont Arbeau, Begrudging Acquaintance. () - The Submission To Misery.
Character's Thoughts: "It's really not easy being the only person in Ishgard sometimes willing to practice decent humanity. Case in point: this broken, pathetic sadsack of a loyalist. I have a few words to say to whoever allowed him to get this bad. He's a sentient headache and a pain in the ass. But by god, does he need someone to put up with him."
Esredes will never think of Sui as a pitiful or sad puppy ever again.

Because this man? This man. Is so much worse. In every conceivable way. Not only is he sort of a loyalist, even if not a bad one, but he is one dealt the worst hand. A poor little lowborn man who ran from the military after his parents were witchdropped, turned himself in, and was sentenced to pay off the debt of all the families of the soldiers who had been affected by his desertion. Something that Esredes, of course, could immediately point out, while encountering the man in dragon form out in Western Coerthas, was a complete load of shit. And which the man argued was simply his just punishment.

Ohhhh boy. The more the man speaks, the more he reveals himself as completely brainwashed and practically brain damaged by Ishgard’s ways. He can’t think for himself at all, and is resolved to torturing himself with self-hatred because of the guilt over what he did and his status as ‘lowborn filth’. Esredes can see entirely through this man, and it concerns him deeply. If the poor man wasn’t an incredible source of headache for how delusional he is, he’d be a decent person, and Esredes can’t just let this injustice go on when he seems to be the only person to tell Liamont that he isn’t a complete waste of space.

So in all of his gracious knowledge, Esredes took it upon himself to try and help the man. Which meant he essentially subjected himself to a patience test of the highest measure, as the man often resists every attempt he makes to be nice to him, says the absolute stupidest things, and accidentally says incredibly insensitive things to piss Esredes off. Esredes makes one thing clear to everyone: this man is not his friend. He is a charity case, something Esredes can look upon and think, ‘oh, a challenge, if I can solve this one, I am practically capable of fixing anyone.’ And a challenge it is, something to make Esredes feel better about his own life.

Still, while his motives aren’t entirely pure, Esredes is determined to help the man improve, and be absolutely nowhere near him the rest of the time in order to protect against brain ruptures. And if he succeeds, the man will be less unbearable, and Esredes can pat himself on the back. Clearly a win-win, right?
Gerivien Greystone, Even More Begrudging Acquaintance. () - The Boiling Pot With A Sealed Lid.
Character's Thoughts: "Do I like that one? No. Do I get to express that? Also no. Make no mistake, I can't hate the man either, it would feel wrong knowing that he is just in severe need of help. But I expect it will be many headaches and too much effort on my part to see through all the way to his clouded heart.
Surprisingly, though, the kid has gotten better. I dare say I even kind of like him in a non-forced way. Maybe there's still room for that to be ruined, but for now I don't mind spending time with him. Far fewer headaches than anticipated."
Just when Esredes thought Liamont was the most pathetic thing possible, he learned that the only thing worse than Liamont is a Liamont who is angry instead of meek. Enter Gerivien, another member of that awful Temple Knight division who is insultive and hostile to everyone around him and refuses in much of the same way as Liamont to have any conception of not digging himself into holes. Esredes does want to feel bad for him, as he’s clearly gone through a lot, but much like Liamont, he can’t actually like him as much as he can tolerate him in doses for the sake of feeling obligated to get someone out of a vicious cycle. Sure, there’s a visible softer core somewhere down under all that anger, but Esredes doesn’t expect to catch more than glimpses of it for a long while.

Fortunately, after bothering Gerivien and lecturing him once, he’s found himself on Gerivien’s ‘hold in my anger because I want to prove I can control myself’ side, which Esredes will take for now. It means Esredes is not as directly bothered by his presence as before, but he’s still going to find ways to make Gerivien a secondary healing project...

More interactions since have landed the kid more into Esredes’ like range. When the kid holds back his anger and just interacts like a normal person best he can, he’s actually not that bad, he can be talked to much easier than his pathetic sad sack counterpart, even, and made to do some things a little more. Esredes knows it’s going to be slow to try and help the squire- of which he still doesn’t even connect a name to- but the more he glances into the young man whenever he’s in distress, the more he wants to try in all the ways he comfortably can, and has decided to put aside his past irritation for being nice to him with all the patience within him.

Clearly no one else has tried for the poor kid. Who else will, if not a fellow unfavored, wretched creature?

Darcy Crawford, Acquaintance. () - The Rising Dove.
Character's Thoughts: "She’s one of the few members of that unit I find pleasant enough to be around. I’m not sure if I can trust her or not, but she’s been nothing but kind to me. That woman is very capable and is going places, and for that I cannot help but admire her in a sense regardless of where she lands."
A recently promoted sergeant of the Fourth Company, from afar everything in Darcy’s life seems like it goes quick from Esredes’ perspective, not that he keeps up intimately. The woman was a squire when Esredes first vaguely recalled her existence, but eventually was knighted, and rose to sergeant and rumor has it even elevated from lowborn to nobility.

Nonetheless, Darcy is a somewhat intriguing presence to Esredes. She displays most of the virtues of a knight and from what little he can observe takes the position as seriously as one should, which earns his respect. As has been Esredes’ default for dealing with the Fourth, he always approaches Darcy with a calm and laid back attitude, a passerby greeting a recurring individual like a passing neighbor from down the street. And she always seems to reciprocate, even working with him to teach a couple noblewomen pool, letting him send letters to inform her of when to deliver bread to a former workplace, and chatting him up about politics and her life after suffering injury just earlier that day. Regardless of where she might stand, Esredes feels it the right and moral decision to continue to be nice to her and lift her up in small and indirect ways- gods know, it seems like the stressed woman could benefit from it at times.

Until he has any more insight into her, Esredes is content to commend the knight for her efforts and chat leisurely about whatever ends up coming their way- not to mention play pool again, if it ever comes to that, as he’s still astounded by her beginner’s luck. Being a lowborn makes it clear she had to work hard to get to her position, and that deserves its due respect regardless of anything else.

At the end of the day, though, he still perceives himself her superior despite being ‘retired’, and that underlies all of his interactions with her. Regardless of her competence, talent, and stances, she is still but a blooming flower to him, one he can only hope will be a beautiful plant in the mixed and wilting garden of Ishgard’s military.

Matou de Liautroix, Enemy? () - The Silver Birdcage.
Character's Thoughts: "I’m really getting sick of Inquisitors like him- which is to say, I am sick of Inquisitors. He really thinks he can just control and manipulate people and do as he wants and they will stick by him. His attitude is disgustingly arrogant, and it scares me how many people fall for it.

Why are people more willing to excuse blood if it comes from people with no empathy?

In any case, I just want him never near me, ever, and everything would be just fine."
An Inquisitor that by all means of Esredes’ very reliable perception and judgement, is a very typical one indeed. What makes him stand out from the next Inquisitor Esredes perceives to be a soulless husk lacking meaningful emotions is his connection to another of Esredes’ friends, a fact made clear by Esredes’ first introduction to the man outside of word being the man showing up at his office just to try and win said friend back, a friend who he had lead to commit heinous acts he was currently having a severe mental crisis over.

Needless to say, while not willing to directly challenge an Inquisitor, Esredes was not having it. He was all too happy to quietly remind his friend of all the ways Matou had been a horrible friend and drive the wedge further to keep them from coming back together, and then ask said friend to tell him to go.

It pissed Matou off, but it worked.

Since then, Esredes’ opinion has only continued to decline with every time he sees the man and witnesses more and more of his terrible characteristics, not to mention is, as he expected, passive aggressive and insulting to Esredes whenever he gets the opportunity. That much is nothing Esredes can’t brush off and not really care about as long as he doesn’t attempt to truly come after him; he’s mostly just concerned about his proximity to multiple people Esredes knows.

A little perplexing on top of it all is how the Inquisitor seems to keep wanting to lure him into an obvious trap- he has tried to invite him over as if out of ‘good will’ two times already, as if he truly believes Esredes is that stupid. And he even had the gall to ask his help reluctantly in a matter of Tribunal importance and then send back a mocking drawing of his face when he told him to inquire back with more information.

Inquisitors really do think their lack of ability to understand human emotion allows them to treat people however they want, as per usual.

And so Esredes’ emotions land on complete apathy and avoidance. Inquisitors are fun to pick at the demented, deformed minds of- but he is no longer in the realm where he can kidnap one and sentence them to an ultimate fate, and the game has become much less fun beyond the first, immediate sense of pleasure from watching one fall apart. At least this one won’t dare to walk into his counseling space after harassing him in public- he should by all means, if he can keep him away from his loved ones, be able to simply avoid ever coming into contact with him again.
Yvesoix Sellemontiere, Client/Frequent Acquaintance. () - The Dagger of Fire.
Character's Thoughts: “It’s hard to describe how I feel about Yves in a single sentence, because I… really don’t know. By simple terms, he would be approaching friend territory, but I don’t know if he’s safe. I don’t know if he will turn against me or embrace me, in the end, I don’t know if I can pull him away from deeper darkness, and everything lurking beneath him. Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but I don’t know. As long as he remains attached to horrible people, I am but one of several trying to cut the strings, and I will never open up my heart to him. It’s too risky, and it may end up stabbed.”
A brumeborn man who cut a deal with Inquisitor Matou de Liautroix deeming that if he apprehended heretics in his turf, it would be left alone. At least, this is what Esredes found out about the man in his first proper alone meeting with him, watching him tackle and hogtie a man then haul him off to a drop off point while inviting him to come along.

His actual first time encountering Yves was a bit earlier, however, mostly just watching him bicker back and forth with another man while standing next to Baptiste, and being content to write him off as someone he didn’t really like or have a reason to. This opinion decreased even further when the man tried to help a man Esredes despised escape Ishgard and even kicked Esredes for being an asshole about being ordered to heal him and putting snow on a burn when suggested.

There just wasn’t anything to like about a loud and obnoxious, gross-looking man who pelted him with insults, even if their second meeting had been relatively comfortable, much as he was only indulging it to gain intel on where the dropoff point for the people he was apprehending was.

And then the court sentenced him to mandatory counseling, at which Esredes quickly learned that was a thing that could be put upon him, and there was the man he didn’t want to perceive ever again stuck in his blue office.

Yet thankfully for Esredes’ sanity, Yves turned out to be far more amenable to therapy than he expected, and even apologized for the prior physical assault, which Esredes did decide to put aside with that. And between the therapeutic encounters and Yves’ presence in Elouan’s social club about bringing bees back to Ishgard, he’s effectively stuck with Yves being a recurring presence in his life for now.

Still, he’s found Yves seems to have warmed up to him more quickly than he imagined for himself being a heretic noble- for according to him he’s a ‘good heretic’, not like the ones he sometimes tortures in the dungeons… and that sentiment alone really summarizes how Esredes feels about him.

Yves’ story is a tragic and brutal one, that is for sure, but the man himself is a dark bonfire. Esredes is convinced no matter how many times Yves calls him a comrade and even sticks up for him that if he knew the full truth of him, he’d do as Esredes notices he sometimes does and change his opinion in an instant and get exceedingly violent- as one thing Esredes has learned about him is he does not comprehend when to and when not to be violent half the time. Even when he finally admitted it doesn’t feel good anymore to torture heretics and he stopped after meeting him, Esredes has performed small tests of if Yves is willing to go deeper and found him to fail, despite already being willing to be taken to Anyx Trine to him to meet dragons and having a great time.

Sometimes, Esredes even emotionally leans on Yves slightly- but then closes right back up when Yves wants to try and go deeper with him. While he’s not caused a fuss about Yves’ presence despite how untrusting he is of Yves’ darker nature because the others like him and he himself feels it would not go over well for himself and how he’s supposed to be the therapist, he’s just found he simply cannot trust him yet. He doesn’t feel Yves comprehends the full weight of his actions and how Esredes simply doesn’t look past a bloody and brutal past where everything burns up in flames.

Still, because Yves is not going anywhere anytime soon, he’s going to continue on with this dance in front of the walls, and be content to leave it there for as far as the foreseeable future goes.
Gaël de Vulort, Ex-Informant, Enemy. () - The Arachnid Burned In Its Own Web.
Character's Thoughts: “You don’t use my people as your playtoys and get away with it unless you’re a stupid child with powers you can’t handle, plain and simple.

He didn’t even try. Not that hard. Not to cover his tracks, not to be anything but blackhearted. He’s so demented and illogical in that murky, suffocating depths of a mind. And I delight in making it suffer.

Gods, how I long to pierce every part of his body, over and over and over again. And hear him scream. I simply don’t have a shred of empathy after everything he’s done.”

A mysterious- not that that’s anything unique with dealing in the shadows- informant only going by the name of ‘Spider’ who came forward to deliver unto Esredes and his people the information about the caravans transporting crystals that were one of the last shipments they needed to summon the Lady- and then the same person who also first ratted them out to the Alliance.

In reality, he’s a noble tailor within the city that worked as an anti-corruption spymaster of some kind, at least before he took a hard turn into doing anything but with it. All of this, of course, Esredes didn’t know for the longest time- anything could have set the Alliance off, and it wasn’t as likely to be the one who warned them in the first place, right? Even if he is to be on the suspect list nonetheless.

At least not until he encountered the man’s brother, who proceeded to have an echo vision of Esredes’ single encounter with the man and inform him of his true identity, though Esredes waited by until he was informed the man simply admitted to everything to let his anger boil and rise, and oh, that it did.

Unfortunately, Esredes knew the age of the usual punishment for traitors to the movement had passed- that of public execution- and so instead he resorted to the next best thing: letting the Inquisition deal with it and sitting back… somewhat. He still couldn’t resist confronting and intimidating the man in the meantime.

In the end, his unexpected connection to a High Inquisitor had the man assign Esredes to counsel the man in prison, of which he did anything but, and instead took the opportunity to reach his hand right into the murky and confusing, compulsively lying depths of his mind and dig around to see what disgusting goo his hand got covered in. And oh, it was a lot of goo.

Esredes doesn’t consider Gaël to really be a person. He lacks positive qualities entirely by his own definition- for Esredes writes off his charity work with the Brume as a way to defy his abusive father and use them for his own ends and won’t believe his claims otherwise. Not only is Gaël painfully stupid for being a spymaster who got away with it this long, to the point Esredes can easily manipulate him into giving away information if he doesn’t just spout it out freely, but he finds him to be more lacking in necessary human components than even Esredes himself, even if it might be due to malformed development and not naturally born so like him. He doesn’t seem to feel empathy or comprehend emotions on any level, nor can he cope with his own by doing anything but screaming half the time. He’s definitely lost his mind to the point Esredes can’t get a consistent tale out of him at all- and he really doesn’t even care what is or is not the truth at this point, because the man is so fundamentally lacking in living qualities he’s practically like talking to a bad simulation at a person and not a living being.

It’s a fun little study of a caged wild animal for Esredes to amuse himself with, but more importantly, a convenient way for him to take out his unending anger for not only the man himself but for his life in general on a pile of nonliving organic matter that thinks it’s still a person. And if he ever tires of it, he’d leave him to rot- but he’s not likely to tire of it. There is far too much to be angry for, and merely looking upon the man fills Esredes with an overwhelming urge to tear into his skin without fail.
Ciceroix Corentiaux, Certified Nuisance. () - The Worthless Glass Rat.
Character's Thoughts: "I want to bash that one’s face into a wall, over and over again. It would fix how absolutely disgusting he is. Nothing would change if he just dropped dead already. I wish he would LEAVE ME ALONE and stop trying to TOUCH ME. And if he doesn’t, I might have to resort to more extreme measures."
Some Temple Knight lowlife useless pile of flesh who spends all his time getting drunk and getting into fights and doing nothing meaningful with his time. This is Esredes’ impression of the noble man after he approached him in a bar while intoxicated and tried to pick a fight with him for standing around doing nothing.

Well. A shame for the man he got arrested for it, and that Esredes happened to be employed under a High Inquisitor to counsel prisoners, and his form to counsel him got approved. After tearing open the man’s rather unsympathetic and entitled mindset as to why he’s given up on life and opted to be useless, Esredes was content to leave him with a bit of actually helpful advice, and told him to never talk to him again.

And then got a creepy letter thanking him and saying they weren’t done, and then quite a bit time later he finally pulled him aside at a ball asking him to help him and immediately trying to punch him when he said they were even. And then going so far as to tackle him outside a social event later. Needless to say Esredes despises the man and has many urges to do proper violence on him. He thinks him the sort of person who is beyond salvation and will never learn, and at that point, the resources he could be using could be going to someone more worthy.

Beyond that, why bother? There is nothing, simply nothing there. Nothing but a device for violent urges if he gets creative. It perplexes him most of all that an old acquaintance is friends enough with the man to stand up to their entire antagonistic relationship and want them to talk- who the hell puts up with something that awful?

Most of all, Esredes is simply pissed he’s still considered a Temple Knight. He’s no real Temple Knight. Esredes can and would kick his ass to remind him of that.

Elias Mercer, Unsteady Acquaintance. () - The Torn Eye and Wing.
Character's Thoughts: “I. Do not. Understand that one. He is somehow the most typical and yet confusing Dragoon ever. Is he an enemy? Is he a neutral? He’s got to be an enemy, the evidence is there, but his thought process makes no sense. What do people see in him? They tell me he’s just like myself, but… I don’t think that’s entirely true.
Sometimes I wonder if I should have killed him when I had the chance. But I know that wouldn’t have gone over well or been a good idea.”
A hyur Dragoon who is exactly what you’d expect of one. Quiet. Antisocial. Barely speaks half the time. Doesn’t want to get close to anyone.

The most interesting thing about Elias is his power. He’s a true Dragoon who can do the whole nine yards of abilities available to them- and this is what gets him respect and yet terrifies Esredes about him, combined with his general complete uncertainty about where he lies.

Elias will save Hilda’s life while knowing she’s fused with a dragon spirit, then go tell a fellow heretic of Esredes’ that he will kill her for just having the dragon essence, then apologize, then accept Esredes’ word at face value when he tells him he was forced the blood and even say he was a victim, then seem genuinely concerned when Esredes nearly dies from a chimerical experimental abomination and check up on him in the infirmary, then tell him a story of how he helped out dragonkind with a blight and has a dragon eye given to him willingly in his spear, then go berserk during a critical mission and almost kill him, and then apologize later- while coming into his office with a warrant to investigate him for Dragon’s Blood.

Others will tell Esredes that Elias is a damaged soul they look out for, that he’s given in to apathy because it makes everything hurt less and feels everything underneath- and while Esredes hasn’t not enjoyed their conversations, forced and awkward and stiff as they are, he doesn’t entirely get it.

The two were even in multiple combat affairs together, from Dravania to Garlemald, each flittered with awkward conversation that was an effort at trying to connect, mostly on Elias’ part, oddly enough, for which Esredes has never quite understood the man’s seeming quiet interest in him despite his disinterest in getting close to people.

Now that Elias knows thanks to someone being too loose lipped that Esredes will give the blood to his harrier allies who ask, Esredes expects he is restraining an urge to kill him like most people are in this situation. And that is fine with him- as long as he never actually does or tries to stop him.

Otherwise, there is a giant and very deadly problem on his hands.

For now, Elias seems to be honoring the law, which gives Esredes a measure of comfort, because it is a better battlefield for Esredes to duel him on. As long as he simply complies with his investigation, it seems he will not find his evidence to do anything to him, and Esredes can go about his life avoiding him completely.

For there was never meant to be a bridge here, and really, Esredes wasn’t interested in building one. He’s known for a long time that Elias would never find him ‘appealing’ and let him in- he’s not cute or soft enough for that.

What is one more to the piles of ashes, crunched underneath one’s foot each and every day?

Mordred Jourdain, Uncertain Involved Acquaintance. () - The Double-Edged Blade Of Darkness.
Character's Thoughts: “I want to understand that one, I want to try, but I also don’t know if I can. I don’t know if I should. How can one man be so obvious and yet so completely confusing? He presents himself as a different man than he is, and I can see so plainly the man underneath- so why will he not admit to it?

He can see right through me. That’s perhaps just as scary as the power he wields and that Dark Knight Justice nature of his that I don’t find as comforting as he wants me to. I don’t think I can trust him like he claims, so why do I keep pulling towards him in the moment? Am I really so pathetic?”

Mordred is an open Dark Knight who renounces the vigilante ways of others and even allies officially with the Temple Knights. He’s also a former Dragoon. He also has an elder dragon’s spirit slowly fusing with him after passing one’s trial with his companions.

Esredes’ first proper impression of the painfully formal and permanent dramatic speech that's hard to understand at times Hyur was watching him take a temporary lethality order on a swarm of Gnath way further than he thought necessary, all the while acting like a storybook villain towards them. This was immediately followed by his first proper personal conversation with the man being one of Mordred dissecting him on the spot psychologically and emotionally with a quiet acceptance and understanding void of judgement- and needless to say, a case Esredes thought he had figured out immediately, completely blindsided him.

It all went rather fast. A second meeting and Mordred was confessing to being a killer of his people and Esredes was drawing his blade and yelling for him to stay away and Mordred was giving a speech about wanting to make an ally and friend and that he forgives him and the world can forgive him and he should live for it as his own person- and Esredes should have known far better than to take this at face value, but in the moment he did, and proceeded to tell him far more of the story of his people than he usually does to new allies.

When the two later fought to stop a Garlean superweapon together- a mission Esredes was only put on because Mordred wanted the power of his dragon form in the first place- Esredes even allowed him on his back on dragon form. This was to be followed by one of the other party members immediately trying to kill Esredes and in the afterparty social, Mordred telling him to be quiet when he tried to explain to an Ala Mhigan member of the party about Ishgard’s true history.

It all makes perfect sense, to Esredes. It’s the most obvious ploy. Pretend to ally with a heretic and throw him to the wolves, so you can either use him or let him die and move on to your next heretic you want to bond with until they’re all gone. Because Mordred never stopped with his executioner mentality, and Esredes is a wicked thing to purge for his crusade.

Yet according to his girlfriend that isn’t at all the case, and people are still willing to tell him it’s some kind of genuine attempt at trying. Despite Mordred’s seeming complete unconcern that Esredes was almost killed by his companion. Despite his claim that Esredes should be his own person and then telling him to quiet like he’s just another tool for the man to use.

Esredes is convinced something is wrong with Mordred, and he doesn’t know what. He cannot be this two faced and try to pass himself off as genuine without some kind of lack of awareness, unless he simply thinks Esredes is that stupid. Esredes likes the Mordred that Mordred presents to his face- the reasonable and understanding man who wants to learn more of the shadow world and cares for others, but he really does not like the second Mordred- the entitled to his sense of justice executioner that will probably off him if he does something he doesn’t like, who probably has no remorse for killing his people, and who seems to just want to use him for his own grand goals of obtaining more and more power and shaping the world anew to his justice like every other vampire Esredes meets. And should he be concerned for the man’s condition, or is it a warning to stay away?

This leaves Esredes at an awkward fork in the path. One path is to simply shut it off and be done with it, to declare Mordred a vampire and move on- but that would be to discount the amounts of empathy he does feel for him, and the man’s genuine attempts at understanding and looking out for him, if they were just that, and he sure as hells hates when others do that to him instead of letting him explain. The other is to try more, to see if this can work- and most likely just end up putting up with someone who doesn’t want to give him his own place and voice and won’t apologize or ever see what he did wrong, because that is simply the kind of person Esredes pegs him down as, and that doesn’t seem worth it either.

Regardless of which path he chooses, Esredes knows he doesn’t need him- Mordred seems to have fallen for the idea that his pledge to protect Esredes means a lot when Esredes has plenty of other Iceheart aligned Dark Knights to do the job, as planned- and Mordred doesn’t need him either, even though he seems to want him for his personal rises to power. But how does one truly grapple with and win over a vampire that can see into your very heart, other than to simply run away?

And gods, Esredes knows he can never run too far from these types of situations on the neverending battlefield.

On the day I crumble to ash and scatter to the wind,
When you see me again, in a nightmare or a dream,
Heed my fading soul’s simple last request, and,
Please, forget me.

I never had a place in your heart.

ಌ OOC Notes ಌ

OOC Information

Player Note
I'm Plat, she/her, a female college student. I get excited about characters the way anyone else does, and aim to someday create media out of mine. I am also a naive baby so excuse my innocence and please don’t try to destroy what remains of it. I use this AU of my character to explore whatever new facets I can discover of him, and to see how he can benefit the development of other characters. I am down to roleplay and figure something out whenever college isn't swarming me, so know your interest will excite me.
Personal RP Limits
Don't ask me to ERP, please. My character is not a sex doll and I am personally not comfortable nor familiar with roleplaying that kind of content. I will fade to black and that is it. My discord is available upon request, and I can be found on tumblr. I do discord and in game roleplay with Tumblr as a secondary, but in game can sometimes mean being put on a short waitlist.
I will play Anything from friendships to adding to my ever expanding kid empire to dramatic and dark content with enemies and murder and the like. Particularly interested in making more enemies, but I am never opposed to more allies and friendships.
I won't play Sexual content, for reasons stated above. Also, I don't think I can make him have any kind of positive relationship with a Warrior of Light if they participated in Snowcloak, as he will never forgive them for that part of the story and genuinely hopes most of them die from that point on, so keep that in mind if you have one. I also won't play anything that has too devastating of consequences on his psyche, because I would like to see him be less depressed at some point. He also has a limited capacity for criminal roleplay, as he cannot be caught by any costs, though the conflict of threatening it is always available.
Disclaimer
I am over eighteen.
Final Fantasy is not his original universe, and you will hear me make mentions to his canon universe. To hear an explanation on that, refer here.
He is, of course, a villainous character. He may not always be nice and can sometimes even slip into abusive territory, and almost always makes judgements about characters immediately and beyond. This is why I often like to have some chatting beforehand to figure out the chances of playing nice or not so nice with your character. If you're not the talk it out type, whatever happens happens.
I roleplay him achronologically due to the limited timeframe of heresy. One or both of us can decide if your character should meet him as a heretic or post-heresy depending on what fits better.

Character Tidbits

Potential Plot Hooks
Esredes loves to manipulate or drag people into helping the heretics, or perhaps your character can somehow be involved in a heretic-related affair. From things involving Ishgard to stealing from other places to help supply themselves, the heretics have to do a lot to get by, and Esredes is usually there to help or lead.
Any loyal Ishgardian or even just people who don’t like what the heretics are doing can easily become an enemy to Esrey and I think that’d be fun to play with. Or just encountering him and his personality can probably spark something, who knows.
Esredes wanders out into the world a lot and can meet people if he’s simply exploring for his own downtime, or is between or in the middle of taking care of heretic business and something else happens. Though this also tends to lead into manipulation.
Sometimes when heretics have time to not be up to awful things, he will take up short term Adventurer-esque work just for the money.
Allies to the heretics are scattered across the globe. Visiting another area to consult one for information or supplies is yet another activity he partakes in.
Post-Heavensward Additions
He prefers to seek out people in Ishgard who are heretic friendly and especialy those with power to suit his own agenda towards his people.
Whispers still get through of who he is, and back alleyways and shadowy corners are not safe places to be. Perhaps someone is after him for revenge, or perhaps someone else sees what's about to happen and wants to stop it...
He still offers himself up for short term combat work sometimes.
Esredes considers himself a resource for all who are curious about the usual heretical topics- the lost history, dragon’s blood and shifting, dragons themselves, or his own faction, and is happy to help those who ask him about it.
Any character involved in Ishgardian politics may have heard of the negotiator for the dragons, though he prefers to keep out of the eye otherwise and is essentially a background character in the field. Just one with a distinct appearance.
He keeps a list of people he encounters who he considers dangerous to the advancement of the new age of Ishgard. Inquisitors who won't let go, people who actively seek vengence against the heretics... But he can't clean up the filth himself with how he's being watched. But dark knights lurking in the shadows, however, don't have such trouble...
One of his outfits has a Fortemps crest on the breast, and he can often be seen around their manor. Perhaps this supposed connection to the family may intrigue someone to ask about it.
As of 5.3 onward, Esredes has taken up a part time position as a counselor in another room in his office. You may talk with him about it or schedule an appointment anytime.
Character Lore Adherence
Dragon's blood is a very iffy part of lore, and I've chosen to take the least consequential approach to it for my character. However others are affected by it is still fine as is, but he will remain fully in control at all times. In addition, heresy in general is a very vague area of lore that I've filled with headcanons in order to flesh out. Snowcloak is retconned as only one of the base of operations, and the main camp is elsewhere. I also take to the approach of their being a large group of Warriors of Light, as he interacts with several characters of the sort. Also, his name obviously doesn't follow naming conventions. I don't care.



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ಌ Information ಌ
Name: Esredes Rosemond
Aliases and Nicknames: Licano (Fake Alias); Esrey (A nickname only used for people he trusts); Red and/or Sir/Ser (Often used by others when they know not what else to call him); Esh Loon (Dragon Alias)
Pronunciations: S-ray-days Rose-muhnd; Leh-sah-no; S-ray
Race: Ishgardian Elezen/Dragon
Age: 33
Gender: Cisgender Male [He/Him/His]
Location: The Wilderness of Coerthas (Pre End of Heavensward)/Ishgard, Foundation (Post End of Heavensward)
Birthplace: The Pillars, Ishgard
Occupation: Disciples of Shiva Commander/Highly Wanted Criminal (Pre End of HW); Negotiator and Political Assistant (Post HW onward); Part time Counselor (5.3 Onward)
Discipline: Gladiator
Deity: Originally Halone, but no longer. Informally it is now Shiva, but in all reality, he doesn't believe much in deities anymore.
Alignment: Lawful Evil/Neutral

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