His name is Inigo but everyone here calls him Laslow. Oftentimes, he needs to remind himself that he isn't just Laslow, retainer to the High Prince of Nohr. He pauses to whisper in his mind that he is first and foremost, Inigo, son of Robin the High Deliverer and Olivia the Brave.
Laslow almost forgets how the syllable of his name goes. What would it be like to hear the name Inigo uttered by another's voice? But Selena and Odin are careful. They refuse to say their given names lest the walls do have ears. So he relies on whispering it to himself during nights he misses home or questions if he is Inigo or Laslow.
“There's a difference?” Selena raised a brow when she asked him what her thoughts about who Selena and Severa were. “They're me. It's just a name. What else is there to think about?”
Laslow had laughed but that did not answer his questions.
Laslow feels like an impostor. He feels like he was deceiving his lord and his friends. Was it just really a name that changed? Then why did it feel like he doesn’t know who he really is anymore.
The day Laslow told Selena and Odin about his thoughts of indecision in leaving Nohr, he paused internally. Was that Laslow or Inigo speaking? If it was Laslow, then did that mean Inigo was fading?
Because he knew that Inigo yearns the golden sands of Plegia, the white covered land of Regna Ferox and the green meadows of Ylisse. Inigo wants to go home. And he also knows that Laslow is awfully fond of his prince. He knows the lengths he is willing to go to for him. Laslow wants to see Prince Xander rise to the throne and change Nohr.
He doesn't know who to listen to.
“My name is Inigo.” He tells himself, sitting alone in the middle of an empty, far from the castle walls. “I have a wise father named Robin and a beautiful mother named Olivia. They taught me all I know. They are kind parents. They are dead but they are also alive. My little sister is a precocious thing named Morgan. She makes me laugh and she laughs at my misfortune. They are waiting for me at home.”
He closes his eyes and tries to remember what his parents and his sister looks like. He remembers the outline of their face. He knows that he has his mother's soft features and the color of her eyes but the color of his hair is his father's. But Laslow does not possess his father's colors. He has dull grey hair and not the dark colors his mother would brush out of his forehead before she kisses it.
They have been in Nohr for 3 years now. They have served under their respective lords for almost 3 years. He knows it is cruel but he wonders when the battle will happen so they can fulfill their mission.
Inigo wants to go home.
(Laslow wants to see Lord Xander change Nohr.)
“Ah! That one's private!” Laslow and Inigo united in their cry, face burning red as their private and most important possession was out for all to see.
There was a routine check in all the quarters - spearheaded by Lord Xander and Lady Camilla. It was better to be done by the royal siblings themselves than any others to make sure there would be no bias or hidden agendas. His room was being inspected by Lady Camilla and her entourage.
At present though, Laslow forgot to thoroughly hide his box. Lady Camilla held it in her hands and was trying to pry it open.
Perhaps this was all Inigo’s karma at work. Fate was saying he should never had opened and read Owain’s diary.
“Darling, mind opening it for me.” Lady Camilla’s words were pleasant but her tone was authoritative. The Do it or else did not need to be said.
“It's private, milady,” He said, face burning bright.
“Open it, Laslow.” Her singular eyes narrowed. “Lest something terrible happens to my darling brother's retainer.”
“Just open it, Laslow.” Selena hisses.
Inigo tried to tell her - to tell Severa why he cannot but it was as if she did not understand. She was probably too worried about repercussions to be done by Lady Camilla if he refuse.
Laslow sighs and moves to open the box with the key in the string wrapped around his neck.
As soon as the box opens and the sheets of paper are uncovered, Lady Camilla grows suspicious and unfolds all of them. Selena, it seems, finally catches on because she is quick to try and dissuade her lady to no avail.
“What is this?” Lady Camilla’s snaky voice was venomous. “These are the ones you called privates? Did you draw this yourself? Are these lovely ladies your conquests?”
He sighed. Inigo straightens himself and answers, “Portraits, milady.” He looked straight at her eyes. “And yes, I have drawn it.” He didn't answer the last part. The Laslow part of him says not to answer, screams about secret identity.
Selena cringes behind Lady Camilla.
“So it would seem.” She folds them back in. “Well, it seems like we're done here.” She pushes the box back at him. She leaves him, Beruka and Selena at her heels.
Selena looks back, apology at her face.
Laslow sighs in relief but the Inigo in him wanted to protest. The Inigo who wants to scream to all of Nohr about his mother and father and sister. About how beautiful they all are. He wanted to tell Lady Camilla that those are not his conquest. Those portraits were the only image he has left of his family.
Inigo retreats to the deep of his mind as Laslow forces a smile on his face.
It was harder to deflect the question when it was being asked by his lord.
“I have heard from Camilla of what happened during your inspection.” He said.
“My apologies for it.” He responded.
“No, you shouldn’t apologize.” Lord Xander said. “It was wrong of Camilla to push but know that she meant no harm. It was her duty to make sure no one plans any harm to the kingdom.”
“I understand, milord.”
“And,” a pause. “If possible, may I see your drawings.”
Laslow stops. Inigo breathes.
“I understand if you do not want to.” Lord Xander said. “But I am curious. Camilla applauds your talent.”
“If you do not want to,” Lord Xander said. “It’s just all right.”
Laslow is hesitant. Inigo is silent at the back of his mind. He wonders what he should do.
“It’s all right.” He said.
He was silent as he stared at Lord Xander’s face. The prince was carefully perusing the drawings. There were numerous there. He had colored them, trying to get the right shade of pink for their hair.
“These are beautiful.” He comments. “Who are your muses? I see three different people repeating in your portraits.”
Laslow swallows. He shouldn’t answer. It was part of the secret identity thing. But at the moment, it didn’t matter if it was Inigo or Laslow that feels it because it rings loud and true: he needs to speak it aloud.
“My family.” He says, fist in a tight grip at his side. A sharp inhale. "My father, my mother, and my sister."
Lord Xander exhales. The room is silent. Laslow can hear their breathing patterns.
“They are beautiful.” He finally spoke again.
And Laslow, Inigo, it didn’t matter - he felt something crack inside him. “They are, aren’t they?” He said, a little breathy. "I'm afraid I hadn't done them justice. It's been so long since I've seen them."
“Will you tell me something about them?” Lord Xander asked.
There was no need to ask. He was quick to speak about them.
“My sister,” he takes one of the pages to show the one with Morgan grinning widely. She looked young there, her eyes filled with optimism and mirth. “Her name is Morgan. She’s… she’s a jokester, our Morgan. She loves to laugh and smile. But she’s also smart. She’s so smart that she can make you feel so small with just her words.” He turns a page to show Morgan buried in her too large tactician’s coat that previously belonged to their father. “She would bite her lips when she’s trying to concentrate. When she’s frustrated at something, she scratches her head as if she wants to pull her hair off. When she lies, either her nose wrinkles or she pulls on her ears.” He shows him an unfinished sketch of Morgan as a toddler dancing ungracefully but with a huge smile on her face.
He then takes another page, one with Olivia in a dancing position. “My mother, Olivia. She was a dancer. She would dance in front of an audience, telling them stories with just her body, yet she was meek outside her performance. I’ve always wanted to be like her.” He touches Olivia’s face, immortalized in a serene expression in his drawing. “She taught me how to be brave. I made a promise to always protect my sister to her, to no avail.”
Laslow smiles bitterly at the sketch of his father. Robin’s long hair was tied behind him with a couple of strands framing his handsome face. His eyes were looking forward, a determined purse of his lips. His sketch was shaded and not colored. “This one is my father,” he said. “His name was Robin and he was the bravest man I know. He gave up everything just so we could have a future.”
Lord Xander was quiet for a moment. “Thank you for sharing that.” He said. “You have a beautiful family. You must really miss them.”
Laslow snaps out of his trance. "I do miss them so much. I,” he hesitates. “I can barely remember how they look like. Sketching them is how I try to do so. It has been so long since I’ve seen them in reality. I... It would not be wrong to say I wish to see them again soon."
Lord Xander gave him a strange, sad smile. “Do know this, Laslow, I do not require your company.” Laslow flinched. “I only require that you continue to draw breath. It matters not that I do not know where you are so long as I know that you continue to live.”
“When you leave for your family, and whether or not I may meet you once more,” he said. “Know that I will never forget you. You are more than just my retainer, you are also a cherished friend.”
Laslow breathes. He clenches his fist, unsure what to say. “Lord Xander, if I were to say that Laslow was not my true name then --”
“It matters not what your true name is.” Lord Xander said. “You may have another name that I do not know of, but I know that a man is more than his name. It is but a clothing one wears outside. The name may change but the man remains the same.”
Laslow wonders if that is true. He wonders if Laslow is Inigo as much as Inigo is Laslow. He wonders if he is not pretending to be someone else. He wonders if he is not the liar he sees in the mirror.
Those wonderings can be answered later, Laslow decided. He focused again on Lord Xander. The prince was telling stories of his younger siblings, his voice fond. And then Lord Xander looked at him, a small almost missed smile on his smile. Laslow’s heart danced and he smiled back, ready to tell memories of his own younger sister to his prince.
Inigo loves his little sister more than anything.
(Laslow knows his little sister is better than Lord Xander’s siblings and he will prove it.)
((Inigo and Laslow love their family.))