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It’s three days before the holiday, before the day where all assembled must present and be presented with gifts of cheer and love, things Vayne, a singular older brother now with far more important things (he claims in his attempts to not panic), has been avoiding collecting. It’s easy to pretend work is but all one has to do and tucked so neatly around a flaming pit late in the day, it simply will not let him rest, plucking and harassing his thoughts.

What does one give to their younger brother? He’s old enough he shouldn’t need such things, correct? It is Larsa and -

A heavy huff of air escapes his lips and there is a creak next to him, the unmasked array of random Judge Magisters who were dragged in for the early festivities all turning to look at him.

The heir looks back at them, brows raising in aggressive query. It matters not that he has sighed no less than three times in the past half hour alone, the lot of them do not understand.

The Judges are quick to turn away again, though Drace looks most disinterested in supplying him with further frustrations and she remains staring at him.

"He’s a boy, m’lord, he should be out playing.” The papers in her hands are put down as she uses them to form a shape. “Supply him with a ball.

There’s a rumble of agreement from the blonde haired man next to her, his head nodding, his own brow twitching at something unseen on his own pages. “Aye, or a pet?”

Across the table the second oldest man snorts, scribbling away (the possible source of Gabranth’s irritation), his hair greying slowly, harsh features amicable. “It serves to reason he’ll break a toy again, give him glue or something of the sort?”

Ghis is quick to drawl, seemingly finished with his own work for the moment as he toys with food on a plate, smooth but offended for Vayne, “Oh yes, as though glue will help a Solidor - my lord, pay them no mind, a series of thickly bound books on the subject of -“

The heir raises his hand and waves it gently, cutting him off. “Your proposals will be considered, and with all due haste thanks to the lateness of the hour.” Collecting his own papers and moving about the circle, he distributes what he has completed, bowing gently as they all rise in respect of his exit once he has completed his task. “My thanks again, please excuse me for the evening as I shall not be making a return until - ” his eyes flick to the clock, and he tries not to wince - ” until some hour less pleasant as now.”

There is a chorus of understanding, though a few pass each other looks of bemusement.

Vayne leaves before they can note the angry red flush to his cheeks.