The King

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:48 pm


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“Whatever gives me pleasure is my true preference.” He liked Ahmose’s smile as well, and watched him with near admiration. There was a man just like him who had risen to power and could use it well, all while gaining respect, but still could enjoy the pleasures of the flesh and earth. That was what made Asa admire him.

He took another drag and blew the smoke at Ahmose again, this time in his own skin, and the lordling’s blue eyes shined through at Ahmose. He felt like the feeling in the room and between Ahmose and Asa made his cheeks flush, as though he could feel the tension coming to a head. The younger stared at the prince. “Your Highness, what do you think they all think we’re doing in here, if they think of us at all?”

-

“My dear friend.” He returned to Clovis with his eyes sympathetic in the dark. “Cosette and Ravenna are kind, kind women. But that does not stop them from considering their blood above all. If we were to have children, there is a high chance that they will have no gift at all. That risk for a noble family is a russian roulette.”

He stood there and frowned slightly. How he hated to make Clovis worry. “Do not think that I am not happy, Clovis. My true happiness has come from supporting you, from making you comfortable and happy. And if happiness is from serving you for my life, I will die knowing true love.” He smiled. “I hate to see you worry over me when there’s no need.”

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:22 pm

Ahmose smiled and emitted a low chuckle when Asa asked what the party would think of them being in there together. Ahmose saw that Asa was becoming intoxicated, and it amused him. He dragged on his pipe and smiled at Lord Azerola.

'Honestly, I am sure they have forgotten. The few people who wonder, however . . .' he paused to sip at his wine, 'I am sure they have very wicked thoughts.'

He took a deep breath. The sound of the piano and conversations could be heard. 'How long will you be staying in the Castle Roshaun, Lord Azerola?' he asked, changing the subject because he was sure Asa liked to feel himself the seducer.

--

Clovis listened to his friend and brother with a frown. He was sad to have heard Emerson say these things, because although it touched Clovis deeply to hear of his devotion, it disappointed him that he did not have his own life. Everything which Emerson did was for Clovis.

'I understand, brother,' he said, though he did not fully. 'I will not worry about you, then. I appreciate . . . I appreciate everything you do for me, Emerson. I would . . .' Clovis stopped. He was going to express his desire to see Emerson happy, but there was nothing to be done. 'Are you retiring to bed? Or will you go to Prince Ahmose's private party?'

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:59 pm


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The tension broke with Ahmose, and Asa felt as though the prince was challenging him. The younger sat up and crossed his legs, still watching Ahmose. In the silence, he listened to the piano and the low voices in the apartments. He wished he could listen to their conversations easily in Ahmose’s bedroom. He wanted to discuss what they were saying with Ahmose, and analyze them, and perhaps judge them. He wanted to gossip with a prince.

“I’m not sure. As long as my mother needs to stay. I’m here for her.” He leaned over to put the pipe down on the nearest surface. When he came back he leaned close to Ahmose, looking up into his eyes, as though he was trying to see into his head. The lord reached up and took the prince’s face in his hands and kissed his cheek tenderly, and then let go of him. “Thank you.” He stayed still for a moment. “I should sleep.”

He took a last sip of his wine and placed it aside as well, then stretched across the bed and removed the shawl. “You’re getting what you asked for,” he murmured. “I will share your bed with you.”

-

“And I appreciate that you are able to forgive me for hitting and yelling at you.” He stood up and looked at the window, which was dark with rain droplets on the glass. They shined slightly with the flickering candles.

Emerson sighed. “No, I think I will be retiring after checking downstairs..” He clapped a hand on Clovis’s shoulder. “Do you feel better? There will be no more crying or thrown chairs until tomorrow?” He grinned at him.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:45 pm

The prince was very amused, and flattered, with Asa's response. He was silent when Asa decided to go to bed, and remained watching the Lord for some time before getting up himself and joining the others outside for a while.

When he retired to bed, he would sleep beside Asa innocently. He felt bad about having manipulated Asa, but he began to believe that it was not harmful. After all, Ahmose had a very real interest in the Lord--they would have met at some point anyway, he was sure, and if they had perhaps it would have become this way. He knew that he was doing Clovis a favour . . . but he began to feel as if it were not a favour at all, but a natural occurrence.

--

Dante Bartolo left the private party late into the night. He had found Ravenna's note on the floor by the threshold of his door and read it carefully. He was a bit intoxicated, but he put the note on his vanity and, without undressing very much, collapsed and fell asleep in his bed.

--

In the morning, Cosette had woken before Hart had--they had slept in the same bed together, had fallen asleep making even more love, with him inside of her from behind, and she had woken up with a bad hangover. She asked servants to bring her special invitations parchments, a glass of milk, and breakfast. They brought her a bowl of fruit, rolls, preserves, and salted ham. She let only one maid in, and had made sure the bed's curtains were hiding Hart in his sleep.

When all was done, she sat down and began to work on invitations. She was inviting all of the bachelorettes, as well as certain others, to join her for an afternoon tea party outside. She wrote that everyone should bring garments to swim in in case the weather would be hot. It was June, after all.

When she was finished, each piece of parchment was carefully folded and placed in an envelope. She could have had someone do these things for her, but she felt that it would mean more if she handwrit them all. She invited all of the bachelorettes, their company, the King (of course), his regeant, and the Prince Ahmose.

She handed the invitations to a servant girl and instructed her to hand them out to the butlers, who would distribute the letters.

Cosette thought it was a good plan. After all, nearly everyone would want to stay in their rooms for the morning, because of their hangovers . . .


Last edited by ixchelle on Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:12 pm


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Hart felt his head pounding when he woke up. He thought of the night before and he smiled into the sheets. It was not a dream and he was delighted. He reached his arm over and felt nothing, although he knew she was not in bed. She was across the room doing something else--feelings of hunger, and interest in something else. He rose and grabbed the nearest articles of clothing, which thankfully, was his breeches. He pulled them on and walked over to Cosette.

He approached her from behind and leaned down to brush her hair over one shoulder and kiss her neck. “Good morning. What are you doing?” His eyes looked over her shoulder as he nuzzled her and wrapped his arms around her. “Come back to bed. I don’t like you so far from me.”

What was enjoyable about all this was that Hart had no obligations in the castle. He was there to support Cosette. “Have you heard anything from the king? Should we expect something?” He rose and went to snatch an apple and bit into it as he watched her. He felt extremely jovial and conniving, but not malicious.

-

Ravenna woke early again. She went downstairs to the emptied ballroom and sat by the window. When she saw a servant, she called them and asked for a glass of milk, which she accepted easily with how empty the halls were. The ballroom was so different without anyone inside, but she liked it better. Ravenna didn’t stay long and walked the path Dante had taken her to the East window, and she watched the sun rise.

-

Asa woke with a start. He gasped and was sweating and shaking.

He clutched the sheets after sitting up and looked around, remembering that he was in the prince’s room. Asa tried to push the memories of his father out of his head. He remembered him at the top of the stairs, and Asa kneeling at the bottom of it in silent shock.

He got out of bed quickly and looked towards the hall where Baqi had been the night before. He wondered if the servant was there still. He clapped halfheartedly in his tiredness. “Baqi,” he hissed quietly, so not to wake the prince, and hoping the servant would respond.

He returned to the bed and sat down on the edge. He had to leave, he shouldn’t be here. Rumors would fly if he exited from the Prince’s chambers in the morning. He could fly out the window, he thought. The lordling looked back at Ahmose in the bed in silence.

-

Emerson quietly entered the king's chambers, balancing a tray in his hands with tea. He went to the table and set down the tea, then went to the king's bedside. "Good morning, Your Majesty." He sat down on the edge of the bed. "I've brought you tea."
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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:51 pm

Cosette was deeply pleased when she heard Hart coming to her--now she was writing in her journal, after having sent the invitations out, about what she expected from the afternoon. The rain had gone and she had opened up her curtains a little bit to expose the incoming sunlight. The journal was a thick tome, and she wrote very delicately:

Aujourd'hui sera une bonne journée. J'ai envoyé des invitations à tous Mesdames et Messieurs séjournant dans le château que je peux faire confiance, et je suis excité pour leur entreprise cet après-midi. Hart était au lit avec moi hier soir - il est trop scandaleux! O, mais tous ces moments, sensuelle et délicate, a passé avec lui: tout valait tout. . .

She did not close it when Hart came to her and embraced her shoulders. She shrugged her shoulders and leant her head back into his chest, looking up at him with a smile.
‘I am writing in my journal,’ she said softly. ‘I invited all of the bachelorettes . . . and some bachelors . . . to come have afternoon tea by the lake. You are, of course, coming. I want you to help me pick something to wear, Hart,’ she said, not responding to his request in her coming back to bed with him. She had a simple white silk kimono wrapped around her, but one could see that she wore nothing underneath. There were beige designs on the kimono, intricate, and beautiful.

‘As far as I know, dear Hart, we have nothing else to expect unless the King sends out his own invitations. Everyone will comply to mine, I’m sure,’ she chirped cheerily.

--

Ahmose was a very deep sleeper. There was not much that could wake him--a whisper would be impossible. He did not even stir. He was on his side, facing away from Asa, sleeping peacefully without snoring. He looked very vulnerable in his slumber, which was a very different look than when he was awake.

Baqi, however, had very sharp ears. He, being the attendant to the prince’s room, had to be a light sleeper and had to be very quick if he knew his name was uttered, even if the prince was obviously talking in his sleep. He heard his name said by Asa, and his response was quick. His hair, this time, was tied up, as he had helped the other slaves with the kitchenette during the party, and his eyes looked a little red from lack of sleep.

It did not take away from his innocence or youth, however. He seemed eager to please. He saw that Ahmose was still sleeping and he could observe a sense of alarm coming from Asa. Baqi thought nothing of his master and this Lord being in bed together: he was only there to take orders.

‘Yes, my Lord?’ he asked, in a quiet voice.

--

Clovis was already awake by the time Emerson had come in with tea. He did not feel sick that morning, owing probably to a late-night snack and a bath. He had been laying in bed, thinking of a dream that he had had with Elisa in it. It was very much like the vision she had given him, except that they had spoken more at the ball. They had danced together, which was something they did not do the night before, and though he did not want the dance with her to end, they were abruptly separated from each other. Men wanted their turns with her, and women wanted their turns with him.

He looked serious when Emerson sat next to him with tea, but smiled when Emerson mentioned it.

‘Thank you, Emerson,’ Clovis said, sitting up more in the bed. He crossed his legs, like a child, and reached over to pour himself and Emerson some. He poured in some cream for himself, and lifted the cup to his lips, where he blew the hot liquid.
‘Elisa gave me a vision yesterday. I don’t think I told you about it. What do you think of her, by the way? Before I tell you about the vision.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:25 pm


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He looked down over her shoulder at the kimono, and Hart’s lust flared. “Perhaps nothing would suffice.” He kissed her skin a little more, his eyes fluttering over the journal, and finally, he pulled away from her with a resigned sigh. “And I’m guessing you’re inviting Almara? I imagined it more intimate, just the three of us, but whatever you’d like.”

Hart went to her wardrobe and went through her dresses, seemingly disinterested, but he brushed his hands against the lace and the cloth. “But, when do we know if he likes you best? I suppose, the more time he spends with you, like today?” Hart wasn’t too sure how these things worked. All he could think about was her emotions and how much he wanted to encourage them to flare. And, he thought about Almara, and how pleased Cosette would be to see him taking her. He tried to smother them, and in a moment, he was standing there in front of her wardrobe, fighting with himself in silence, completely in a daze.

He tore himself away and came back to her side to kneel beside her. “Why do you need my help to decide what to wear? I’ve never been good with that, darling.” He took her hand gently and kissed it. He could feel her excitement and happiness, and the man smiled at it. Her happiness made him happy. He released her hand and looked at her with gentle love.

-

Asa looked up at Baqi. “I’d like some tea, and...I need you to check to see who is outside if I were to walk through the apartments and back to my own chambers on the second floor of the East wing.” He looked nervously at Ahmose, uncertain if he was a heavy sleeper or not, but he had yet to move. “It’s very important that you know who would see me if I left. Understood?”

His nose ached more than the night before. He went to Ahmose’s mirror and looked at himself. The bruising was much deeper under his eyes. He frowned and looked back at the bed and Ahmose. He was uncertain. He went over to him on the other side of the bed and watched him sleep. He did look so much more vulnerable--he crossed his arms and sighed. At least he was able to forget about his father in his thoughts of Ahmose.

-

Emerson took his own cup and sipped without adding anything. He looked at Clovis when he spoke and raised his brow. “Elisa?” He lowered his cup a little and thought. “That explains why she asked to be alone with you. Hmm…” He looked down into the tea. Elisa was charming, was very elegant and dignified. He had been worried when she took Clovis away, but Emerson also accepted that he was suspicious of anyone who took Clovis away from him.

“She is very kind. She is well mannered, gentle, and has a certain pride about her, but does not seem...proud. If I was in a room of peasants and nobles, she would be very easy to pick out as one of blue blood. However...I know her family is very tumultuous. She did not come here with a guest, although her father was assigned to come with her. Her brothers have all been married off young while her sisters were sent off to the convents. She seems like...a very lonely being.” He frowned slightly. “The Cabreras and the Azerolas are close. It’s not unlikely that she knows Asa. It makes me a bit suspicious of her, but, I would take that opinion of mine with a grain of salt.”

He took another sip of his tea. “What was the vision? You did say it told you about Costanza.”

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:10 pm

Cosette watched her cousin for a while, turning around in the chair she was in. She rested her elbow over the back of the chair, her hand touching the knob at the corner and stroking it. She sensed a sort of nervous excitement from Hart, and smiled softly at him.
‘I don’t want him to like me,’ she said. ‘I would rather him choose someone else. I am only interested in being a part of his council . . . I never really dreamt of marrying the king, you know.’
She sighed, her eyes drifting off into a void. Cosette continued to play with the knob, pinching it, fondling it. But she had to come back to reality when Hart knelt beside her, asking her why she needed his help in choosing an outfit.

Cosette returned his loving expression, stroking him on the cheek with the back of her hand.
‘I want to wear something you would like. Something which would tantalise you, my dear cousin.’ She grinned mischievously at him. She felt, with all the love in her heart, that she wanted to stir in his passion. Cosette liked it very much, his feelings for her.
She held him by the cheek and kissed him gently on the lips, whereupon she lifted herself from the chair, pulling the kimono close to her skin and wandering to her wardrobe. She began to look through it.

‘I think you could help me dress, at least. How about . . . how about this!’
Cosette pulled out a very simple, very pretty, powder pink dress. Its neckline was very low, but a square one. The waist was tailored to look like a bustier, but it was designed to look modest, not at all extravagant. ‘This and a lace bonnet, with some nice white gloves, and a silk shawl. How about it?’ she said, going to her bed and throwing the dress on top of it.
She felt very pleased with her decision. Hart’s excitement for her was becoming her own. She felt very happy, and not at all nervous.

--

Baqi did not pause to stare. When he received Asa’s full order, he bowed deeply and went out. It did not take him long to come back with a tray of tea, with a creamer and a small pot of honey, and he set it on Ahmose’s vanity, accustomed to the prince taking his tea away from his bed.

The slave boy went back to the bed, where Asa sat crossing his arms.
‘The halls appear to be empty, my Lord--all the way to the East wing. I asked a servant if there was anyone else awake, and he told me that the nobles are all nursing themselves. He said he doubted any of them would come out until high noon. Is there anything else you would like from me, my Lord?’

--

‘I understand that the Cabreras are close to the Azerolas . . . but somehow I am not worried about it. I do not feel that . . . that Fiona is a bad woman, at all. Her son has another plot, I’m sure, but I can’t quite see that Elisa or Fiona would have anything to do with it.’

Clovis paused to take a sip of his tea. He was thinking about the vision, and then he told Emerson every detail he could remember. He did not withhold anything from Emerson, but did not look at him; he was staring into his tea as he recounted it. Finally, when he was finished describing the vision, he took another sip.

‘I think the meaning is clear, but I want to know what you think about it, Emerson. The time I spent with her, although short, it was--I can’t really explain it. I felt relaxed around her. I even noticed that I had not thought of her provocatively.’ Clovis chuckled to himself. ‘Not once, Emerson. Could you believe it? She’s gorgeous, but I can’t bring myself to think of her that way. She’s much too delicate a creature to allow that sort of deprecation into my mind. I want to get to know her.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:26 pm


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“All I want is for you to be happy. If you want to be in his council, I’ll try to help you get there. You should talk to him about it, being on the council. I won’t tell any of our family.” He smiled secretively. He watched her when she touched his cheek, and he was gentled and grew soft in emotions. He watched her with great wonder, and took her kiss with the greatest sincerity. He reached to touch her face and he was left there when she rose. He rose with her and watched her cross the room. His eyes never seemed to leave her.

His heart felt close to bursting as he watched her. He wasn’t sure if it was actually love. He had always adored his cousin, but he wasn’t sure if their interactions together made him just obsessive with her emotions, or revealed his real love for her. If he thought about it more, he was certain he would be able to find the answer, but Hart earnestly did not want to think about it. All he wanted to do was revel in it.

“A pink dress,” he said as he walked over to her and looked at it on the bed. “I quite like it. I think you would look lovely in it.” He gazed at her and smiled. “The bonnet, though…You should let your hair down. I think you would look beautiful that way. You’ll be warm with it on outside.” He moved to the bed and touched the edge of the dress and seemed to be imagining her in it.

“Cosette,” he said without looking at her. He was curious and contemplative and passionate. “When do you want me to take Almara for you?”

-

“Good. No, that’s all.” He went to sit by the tea and poured it for himself, then drank his cup quickly. The hot liquid comforted him and that layer of anxiety that was beneath his skin. He didn’t know where it came from. Perhaps it was the thought of appearing to people again at all. It made his skin crawl, knowing the judgment they would have on him. Asa sighed heavily and tried to decide on what to do.

He drank another whole cup of tea and rose to go to Ahmose’s bedside again. He wanted to tell him he was leaving, but didn’t know if it was right. Something in him wanted to tell him, in case Ahmose had expected to share breakfast, or expected something else. Asa was so used to leaving before the sun rose in every one of his lovers’ beds. But Ahmose had tried to heal him, and took him in when no one else most likely would have. He clenched his jaw as he watched him sleep, then leaned down.

“Your Highness,...I’m going to leave.” He reached up a hand and pressed it to his shoulder as encouragement for him to wake. “There’s tea on the table.”

-

Emerson could tell how concerned Clovis was about the vision. He didn’t look at him when he spoke, and he spoke so seriously about the whole ordeal. The vision interested Emerson, but he tried to think thoroughly of it and it’s meaning. He at last laughed when Clovis mentioned that he could not think of Elisa in any provocative way. “Her vision must be trickery to get you to do that.” He smiled. It was a tease.

“It seems obvious. It was telling you to choose her. I mean...it was the best outcome for the kingdom, at least. I’m not sure if it told you it was the best outcome for yourself. It didn’t seem to go into detail of whether or not you would be more or less in love with Ravenna than Elisa or Cosette.” He sniffed and paused to think further. “I would say with the faith the world has in their visions, go for Elisa, if your goal is to find a ruler who would be best for the kingdom.”

Emerson watched his king. “What do you fear the most, Clovis?”

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:48 pm

‘O, why do you need to ask me when?’ Cosette replied to him in French. She slipped the kimono from her shoulders and allowed it to land on the floor. She bunched her hair up and walked to the vanity, where she surveyed herself nude before putting her hair up in an ivory shell-shaped clip. She looked at herself, saw waves of strawberry-coloured hair fall in strands over her pert breasts, and sighed.

She seemed to be focused on the day rather than on Hart’s little anxieties. But she paused, feeling bad, because he was as anxious for her as she was for herself. She could feel his heart flaming with love for her, could feel it mixed with infatuation.

She looked at herself in the mirror, her chin pointed downwards, and observed him through it, behind her. He was incredibly handsome, and she shuddered when she realised she was standing naked before her cousin. Cosette felt vulnerable. ‘I want you to do it when you want to.’ She turned from her vanity and went to the dress on the bed. She continued to speak in French to him.

‘You would not even have to take her in front of me . . . I think it would be much more exciting, much more wild, if you were to take her without anyone knowing.’ She smiled at him mischievously, and then began to put her dress on. ‘Don’t worry about the council and myself, mon chéri, I will take care of it.’ Cosette was becoming more composed with each sentence.

--

Baqi bowed and left Ahmose’s bedroom.

The prince continued to sleep, but stirred when Asa touched him. When he was touched, he woke up immediately, his eyes fluttering open. He seemed alarmed, but when he saw that it was Asa, he calmed down and smiled. All he had heard was that there was tea on the table.

Ahmose, after taking account of the situation, realised that Asa had been up for quite some time. He must have called on Baqi for the tea. He was relieved to know this. He was also relieved to find that Asa, instead of leaving quietly--as Ahmose had expected him to do, or foresaw--had decided to say something to him before his departure.

‘Thank you, Asa. It was a pleasure having your company. Take care, I am sure we will see each other soon,’ he said to the Lord, not bothering to sit up. He took a more casual position, and continued to lay in the bed.

--

Clovis shrugged in agreement when Emerson gave his opinion on whether or not Clovis would be able to find love. It was a thought that he had had as well, and was relieved to hear it from Emerson’s perspective. He thought the meaning was quite clear, but he could not stop turning everything over in his head. It was definitely a question of fate--what if he fell in love with Ravenna, the young girl, or Fiona, the placated woman? There were a number of things that were bound to happen, and he found himself scared of Elisa’s vision, scared of her gift, the gift of a foresight that she herself had no eyes to see, but that others could be blessed with. It was an anticipation which swallowed him, and Emerson’s question felt as if it were a reaction to the king’s own emotions.

He looked up at his friend and frowned. He was about to say something, but stopped, and sighed. He took another sip of tea.
‘I’m scared of upsetting the people of this country. Of insulting others for my own benefit. It’s a difficult decision, I’m realising more and more--who I would marry. I know nothing of these women--girls--besides what I know of their families and of the brief acquaintances we’ve made of each other. And Elisa’s vision . . . though it’s like a baptism, though I feel I have been shown the mind of God, who sees all possibility, I find myself scared of it. I find myself helpless to it.’

He finished his tea and poured another cup. ‘Maybe I am scared of God, Emerson. Maybe I am scared of what I am supposed to do. My mother never said it would be easy--in fact, she said quite the opposite. And I feel bad for these bachelorettes, because who is to say if I did marry Elisa, who is to say that she would love me?’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:33 pm


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Hart could not stop staring at Cosette. She let the kimono drop from her figure, and he looked down her bare back with its beautiful curves and bone. She looked at him in the mirror, and their eyes met. He saw her shudder, and he wanted to take her in his arms, but he refrained. She was vulnerable, and he wondered if it was because of what he had done to her.

His teeth chattered for a second, and he forced himself to look down at the floor, however much he didn’t want to. A flash of hurt hit his heart, because she was so focused on things other than himself, but could still tease him and control him so openly. He ended up turning away and walking to the window to stare outside instead.

His emotions were flitting back and forth. Anger, pain, shame, happiness, confusion,...He wondered if she had just wanted to take him out of lust with how she denied him so this morning and acted so inward. His brows drew down as he looked out the window. Perhaps she did not need him at all, but he knew that he needed her. She only needed him in the moments they were one.

Hart leaned down to rummage through his discarded clothing to find his flask, and he took a draught from it. It was only then he turned back to the window with the flask in his hand. He could feel how her mind was on other things, and it burned his heart. Perhaps he was just what she imagined; the stable boy in the river.

But she had cried for him! Hadn’t she? Hart shut his eyes in the window, knitting his brows.

Her voice, though, sounded in his ears, and it was beautiful in their mothertongue. Hart looked to his cousin and watched her almost sadly. She was pulling on her dress. He put his flask in his belt and picked up his shirt. “What time is your party?” His voice, without being able to help it, was cold, and he replied to her in the same language.

-

Asa made a sound in his throat, nearly wanting to speak further, but it just turned into a sound of resignation. He realized he had never seen a face who had woken up to his own, and it frightened him. “Goodbye.” He pulled away from him and looked away by almost force. He left the chambers and went through the apartments to reach the front door. He opened it a crack and fell down to form into his fox-self. He looked at the clothes that had fallen off his figure on the floor, and ended up burying his nose into them to take the shawl into his mouth and carry it with him.

He trotted down the hall to his chambers. What the hell has gotten into me? All he could think about was the night before and the prince in the morning. He hadn’t touched him during the night, although Asa had sensed lust in him. He had turned away from him. He had touched his nose to try and heal it, and had offered him nearly the world, when he hardly knew who he was. He hadn’t judged me. He hadn’t judged me. He wanted to know me.

The fox lord looked up and down the hall before transforming into his human self, naked with the shawl between his teeth. He opened the door and disappeared into his bedroom.

-

Emerson showed great sympathy for Clovis. He wished he knew the right words to say, and feared his wouldn’t comfort the king enough. But he tried. “There is always a balance. Elisa...or anyone, if you were to marry them, and they did not love you…” He smiled, pausing. “They could not be human. But, Clovis, they are wise enough to know they would have to learn to love you. They know how this works. There is no right or wrong way to do these things. You have to just follow what you know, and what you think is right.”

He shook his head. “I’m not sure what else to say. I am as afraid as you are. I just want everything to turn out well, and in the world of politics and love and death, it’s so much more complicated than just picking the right girl. I don’t, however, think there’s a reason to fear God. You should fear man more.” He took another sip of his tea. “If you are drawn to Elisa, let yourself be drawn to her. See where it goes. If you become drawn to another, let yourself as well. Trust your instincts.”

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:51 pm

Cosette could feel everything which Hart felt, but it was almost as if she was repressing it within her. She slipped into her dress with moderate ease, fixing her sleeves and skirt, and peered over at Hart. She heard, and felt, the coldness in his voice and flushed. She did not want it to be that way. Cosette believed her priorities were with herself--to be a part of the council, to finally be freed from her parents (who had, at a fault, taught her this kind of repression), to have love and not belong to any degree of mire.

She lifted a finger to her lip and bit it, watching her cousin pick up his shirt. Cosette approached him, still biting her finger, and grabbed his shirt before he could put it on.
‘Hart,’ she said. She smelled the liquor on his breath and sighed, smiling as she did so. His emotional confusion affected her. She seemed at a loss of what to say, but felt herself swimming with his heart.
‘I love you,’ she said in French, looking into his eyes. She took his hand and put it over her left breast, squeezing his hand against it. ‘Do you feel my heart? It beats for you,’ she whispered, bringing his hand from her breast up to her throat, where she closed his fingers over her neck. ‘I want what is best for us. I want you and I to be like . . . to be like two birds, dancing . . . I want you to kill me if I ever betray you.’

Her eyes were steady, but she was anxious. She had all of these memories of Hart, of them together as children, having little jokes that they shared only with each other. She could remember him comforting her. His face as he grew into a man.

--

Clovis nodded slowly to Emerson as he gave his advice. It was good advice. When his friend, his brother, stopped talking, Clovis looked at him with a gratuitous smile and sighed deeply. He genuinely felt as if Emerson understood. He was glad to have a friend like Emerson, someone so deeply involved in all of these charades, someone he could rely on if he ever needed help.
‘Thank you, Emerson,’ he said, just when a butler knocked and came in through the bedroom door.

‘Your Majesty,’ the butler announced. He bowed deeply.
‘You may approach,’ said Clovis, sitting up straighter and putting his legs over the side of the bed.
The butler approached and handed him a letter. It was an invitation. The butler handed one to Emerson as well. Clovis opened his and read it.
‘Cosette’s afternoon tea party,’ he smirked, looking up at the butler. ‘You may go.’

The butler bowed to both of them and left. Clovis looked at Emerson.
‘You have an invitation too. I am assuming she invited everyone on the court. She’s a clever girl, that Lady Voltren. She certainly knows much about literature . . . O, Emerson!’ Clovis exclaimed, suddenly erupting in laughter. ‘Did you know--’ he leaned in ‘--when Elisa and I were walking back to the ballroom, after she had given me the vision, we heard a noise and stopped to listen. It was Cosette and her cousin Hart making love in one of the servant’s closets! I was thoroughly amused. Elisa and I both were. It was outrageously funny, I only wish you were there to burst in and pour cold water on them. Making love while their king’s ball is happening!’ Clovis laughed again.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:42 pm


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He was still and cold when he came to her. He looked down at her and tried to bury his feelings within himself. He tried to put up a wall where she couldn’t read him, but it was fruitless. He could never hide from Cosette. She lifted his hand and he let her, and he dropped his shirt when she took it. His eyes stared into hers and he said nothing, but his face twitched when she said she loved him. His face softened slightly and his eyes fell to his hand over her heart.

He looked alarmed when she asked him to kill her in betrayal, and he gasped. “No. No, I couldn’t. I could never. No.” He shook his head and snatched his hand away. There was a moment where he wanted to squeeze her neck, ever so slightly, when his hand was around it. It scared him. He bit his lip and he was suddenly near tears, feeling her emotions and feeling his own overwhelming him. He took her face into his hands, almost forcefully, and kissed her.

When he parted from her mouth he still held her face. “I never want anyone else. I love you with all of my being. You know that. You’re the only one who will ever know how much I love you.” He stared at her and never tore his eyes away. “If what you say is true, marry me. Please, please, please. Marry me.”

He could feel the memories in her, and he remembered playing with her so innocently and growing up with her. He wanted to grow old with her. He dropped his hands and took her own with his mouth trembling ever so slightly. “I can’t stand even thinking about letting you go. Please, Cosette.”

-

Emerson took the invitation as though it was a wet towel. He waited for Clovis to open it, then opened his own. “Oh,” he said with dry enthusiasm. “Wonderful.”

He looked at Clovis when he began laughing with a raised brow, and then Emerson’s mouth opened. He struggled for a word to say, then blinked. “Hart...and Cosette Voltren,” he repeated. “I suppose that’s another bachelorette out of the running.” He shook his head and rose from Clovis’s bed to open the curtains of the windows. “Elisa found it amusing as well? You two must have the same sense of humor.”

He smiled slightly to himself at his own quip. He looked outside and found it to be a brighter day than the previous. “I would have poured cold water on the, too. I’m surprise you had forgotten to tell me last night when you returned from Elisa.”

-

Ravenna was afraid to return to her suite. She had been worried about her father from the previous night, afraid that memories had been dredged up and his own worry over herself. Half of her wanted to go back and embrace him just to comfort him, but it would go back to thoughts of Renata, which she had always been sure to avoid around him.

She wanted to talk about her mother. What she was like before she was born, before she had become intoxicated by her own power. The girl sat in the window far after the sun had risen, an empty glass on the sill. It began to become too bright as it neared afternoon, and she rose to bring the glass to a servant. “Thank you.”

She wandered down the hall, still trying to decide whether or not to see Baldassare or talk to him. She could act like everything was fine, which would comfort him. But she didn’t know if it would comfort herself.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:26 am

Cosette wanted to cry when she felt his reaction; when she could see his tears welling in his eyes. Each of their kisses melted her. Her hands moved to his chest, stroking his skin and staring into his eyes. She grinned at him when he begged her to marry him. It was a joy that poured from her skin, lighting her violet eyes and gleamed from her hair. She nodded to him, at first slowly, but then gradually more.

She was happy, incredibly happy. She felt a solace in Hart, a kind of peace she would never be able to find elsewhere. She wanted to be his for ever, and she wanted him to be hers. Yes, yes--she was sure he had planned on supporting her because of this familial love, but it went beyond. They had not seen each other in years, and now they had found themselves alone together without their family to focus on.

Cosette kissed him on the mouth. She kissed him deeply, passionately. It was like the first kiss they had ever shared. Her hands went down to his trousers, where she rubbed him through the cloth. ‘Yes, of course, of course I will,’ she replied, continuing to kiss him. She unfastened his trousers, kissing him on his face and shoulders, and steadily lowering herself. Cosette went on her knees and pulled down his trousers, kissing his pubic area, and finally placing his sex in her mouth.

She moaned as she did it, stroking his thighs to enhance their pleasure. Cosette looked up at him in tenderness as she sucked on him, feeling warm and dizzy with happiness and pleasure . . .

--

When Emerson mentioned that Clovis and Elisa shared the same sense of humour, it made Clovis pause in his thoughts. He did not really think about it. He continued to chuckle, thinking about the circumstance in which they were discussing, but suddenly he remembered how adorable her laughter was, and the little snort she gave. It was very cute.

‘I guess I wasn’t really thinking about that at the time. All I could really think about was Costanza. I don’t think it would have come to my mind . . . hearing a couple making love like that. They sounded very happy, and it was something which I am sure I would have wanted!’

Clovis gave a great big sigh, drank the rest of his tea, and got up from his bed with the invitation. ‘The tea party will be held at the lake. Splendid! I’ll have to get ready, then. Of course you are coming, too, Emerson. And you will have plenty of fun.’ His features became serious, though his voice was apparently jovial.

‘Now, let’s see,’ he said, suddenly walking out of his bedroom through a door that led to one of his personal studies. He took the invitation and placed it on a desk, then rummaging around the shelves. ‘I must find a gift for Elisa. O,’ he started, seeing a Celtic book on mythological deities. He took it out and gingerly looked through the pages. They had beautiful Celtic art. This was a gift from a monk to the Roshaun family. He smiled, and put the book on his study desk.

--

Dante Bartolo had come out for his morning walk. He had taken his breakfast in his room, mulling over the note that Ravenna had left for him, and thinking about the events that had transpired just the night before. He had had a quiet morning, with a small buzz of a headache, but he felt it was really nothing in comparison to what, he was sure, every other aristocrat in the castle was experiencing.

He missed the sunrise in the East Wing but had watched it from the tall window in his room, overlooking the country. He had thought about Ravenna in those moments, had thought about Renata, and felt some notion of regret. Regret? Regret for what? He did not search for a reason inside of that feeling, but it was one that came to visit him sometimes in doleful contemplation or remembrance.

But now he was strolling along the castle’s corridors. He had received the invitation which the infamous Lady Voltren had sent (infamous only for her family’s strange mental resemblance to the Almavivas . . . some families were very weak in spirit and mind, Dante supposed), and it had created some anxiety within him. Anxiety he had to walk off, because he had Ravenna on his mind. Well, it was because he was worried about her--worried about what that awful fox Azerola had done to her, he had heard all about it, and worried about what she could have been experiencing. Fiona had been very hurt and furious, Bartolo knew that much.

But, lo! Almost as if his thoughts were a rubbing lamp, and Ravenna the genie, he could see her before him, walking along the same corridor. He stopped for a moment, his expression completely flat, to see if it were true. They had happened upon each other. He had almost taken her for the ghost of Renata. He bowed to her.
‘Good morning, Ravenna,’ he said to her. ‘How do you fare?’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:04 am


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Oh, God! The happiness he felt from her, it was better than any drug or anything he had ever felt in his life. And he was so certain she would say yes, and there was no doubt in his whole soul that she wouldn’t. And she did, with her hands on his chest, and Hart’s eyes were closed. He kissed her, and he imagined her at the height of the council with himself waiting for her afterwards, always. He wanted to make it happen for her.

No other woman had ever made him consider marriage, yet in a day, he was at Cosette’s feet. His tears melted back into his eyes with her answer, and he could do nothing else but be at her whim. His breath shook from his lungs and his other hand reached to grip her shoulder.

“Cosette, Cosette…” he breathed as she kissed him, his face, his shoulders. He was filled with immense joy that matched her own, and he was trembling in her arms. His hand fell to the window to grip the sill. “I love you so much. Thank God for you. Thank you.” He gasped when she fell to her knees, and his head tilted back in exasperation. His feelings matched her own, and all he could do was stroke her hair in appreciation, as he knew that all the emotions she felt from him would suffice for her...

-

Emerson, who hadn’t meant it so seriously as the king took it, was more interested in how Clovis reacted. He watched him with interest as he analyzed himself in what he had been thinking when they had both heard the Voltrens together. Costanza on his mind...Emerson suspected that they had been lone lovers, and he admired Clovis a bit for his small love for the peasant girl, having a quiet monogamy with his mistress.

And he wondered what he meant by that: they sounded very happy. His mouth opened to speak, wondering if making love did not always sound like happiness, but he closed his mouth and looked away. Had Costanza and him not been truly happen? The questions bounced around in his head, but his next expression was the complete opposite. He rolled his eyes and frowned deeply. “I am obliged to obey, Your Majesty,” he replied with utter mockery.

He followed his king, though. “A gift? For today? What makes you want to give her one, if I may ask?” His eyes fell on the book and he went over to flip through the pages lightly, giving a slight sound of approval.

-

Ravenna heard steps and first took them for a servant, but when she looked up through her clouding thoughts, she saw the tall figure of Doctor Bartolo. Ravenna stopped in her footfalls and curtseyed deeply. She felt the invitation at her breast that she had been given by the servant, and she was uncertain about attending. She did not know the Voltrens well, and she was secure with Clovis in knowing she would be able to travel with him into the woods at some point in her stay. She didn’t need a tea party to see him.

Dante, as expressionless as always, bid her good morning, but the next question left her mouth dry. A flash reminded her that she had left a note for him the night before. Her heart jumped to her throat. It was even more prominent when she remembered his compliment and their dance together. A nice memory before the ones of a night gone wrong. “Good morning.”

How could such an emotionless man make her consider full expression? She wanted to tell him everything on her mind. Perhaps it was because he was a secretive man, or how trustworthy he had been in her father’s eyes. And how he had known her mother. He had known her enough to have Renata entrust him with helping her through childbirth, in helping her have her only child. Her mouth moved before she could catch up with her mind. “Oh, Dante,…I’m not so sure.” Her worry lines appeared on her face and she turned her head away, blushing, shutting her eyes for a flicker as though she had self inflicted a wound.

Thinking as deftly as she could, she reached into her dress and took out the Voltren’s invitation. “Did you receive the invitation as well?” She looked back at him as the invitation turned in her hands. Her fingers slightly traced against the sharp edge of the envelope, denting her thumb and forefinger.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:44 pm

'I want to give her a gift for the gift she has given me,' began Clovis, though paused when he realised he had only been thinking of Elisa. Was it wrong? He rubbed his hands together in thought, and without him realising it, light began to form between his palms and seeped through his fingers. Would it be wrong for him to give a gift to Elisa, and not to the others? The Almavivas had given him a beautiful horse carriage. He sighed and decided that it was all right, as long as he gave it to her privately.

He looked through more books, the light disappearing from his palms. ‘What she gave me was truly priceless. I figured that if I gave her a book, that would be almost as priceless. Visions, dreams, poetry--you know, it’s all the same, in one manner or another.’ He trailed on, focusing on the spines of the books that lined his wall. There was the Celtic one, and then there was one from the East. It was One Thousand and One Nights. He picked it out and put it on top of the desk. He thought giving both to her would be good.

‘Should I give them to her personally, Emerson? Or do you think they should be sent to her room?’ he asked, watching Emerson skim through the other one he had picked out.

--

His expression did not change when she mentioned she was not sure about how she was doing. Dante focused on her. He knew that the previous night had affected her sourly. He continued to watch her, saying nothing, until she asked him if he had received an invitation. She was attempting to draw the attention away from her own troubles--Dante could see that.

He looked down at the invitation. ‘Yes, Lady Ravenna. I did receive an invitation. I am walking to the garden. Would you like to join me?’ he asked stoically.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:19 pm


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As he skimmed through the books, he remembered the imperative that his father had had in him learning to read. He had not understood as a child how important his education would be, but as he grew older, he learned that his education and wit would take precedence in his life. What he could not use in place of his gift, he would use his knowledge.

Emerson had a knowing smile on his lips. He seemed amused as he watched Clovis go around the room to gather two gifts for Elisa. Emerson was entertained by how curious and interested Clovis was in Elisa, and his sheer ignorance to the strong effect that the woman seemed to have had on him.

“I think personally would make things clear within yourself and her. Too much can be assumed if you just sent them to her room. Although, there is risk of the other bachelorettes seeing you with her alone. I would recommend assuring privacy between the two of you.” The younger man looked at the second book chosen. “I’m sure she’ll enjoy the gifts, Your Majesty.”

-

Ravenna saw how he focused on her, and she found herself more nervous than she usually was around him. She shouldn’t have spoken about herself, how she felt. Any normal Lady would have masked it and said she was faring well. Ravenna hoped the note from the night before he had given her had disappeared into his bedroom, somehow been swept under his feet and crushed beneath another doorway or a dresser. Her desire to hear about her mother had gone too far, she thought, to ask a near stranger like Dante. He was a dignified man, who as far as she could tell, did not seem to appreciate childish talk like nostalgia and could-have-beens.

She tucked the invitation away and nodded. The embarrassed blush seemed permanent on her cheeks. He made her feel so small in his presence, as though he could pick her up with two fingers by the scruff of her neck and place her far away. She took his arm and walked with him, her gaze high, but misted over in deep thought. “I have yet to see the gardens here,” she said in a soft monotone.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:58 pm

If Dante knew at all of how uncomfortable and anxious Ravenna was, he did not show it. He seemed to be completely aloof of all emotion--one could not even tell what he was thinking, or what he would say, by observing him, despite that he had a particular gift for good conversation. He was always on-mark, clever, full of intellectual intrigue and human curiosity, however disinterested in the occasion he may have seemed.

He took her arm lightly, and a person who was especially intuitive would have said it was because he felt softly for the girl. Dante heard her when she had said she had not seen the gardens. The gardens were very large--in fact, they were several acres, and the lake at which they were to have their party was at one of the far ends of the entire garden. Dante had only planned to walk around the courtyard, which blushed with beautiful flowers, kept trimmed but only slightly unruly. As Clovis Roshaun was a bit of a romantic, he was unconventional. He liked the gardens to emulate their natural habitats.

It would seem the age of Renaissance was indeed upon them. But Dante could not see Ravenna enjoying the company of such a patron . . . he was one of those, like Bernini, but not so egotistical. Ravenna would have to be careful; many were spoiled by debauchery and aristocratic recklessness.

‘You said you were not sure about how you were faring. I would be happy to lend you an ear, if you need one.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:43 pm


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She wondered if Dante had heard her, or if he didn’t care, or if he wasn’t sure what to say. Ravenna inwardly felt like she was crumbling in thought. Too many overwhelmed her: about Dante, about Clovis, Baldassare, Renata,...

But the darker halls gave way to a brighter outside, and just being out there relaxed her. The girl closed her eyes and pulled on his arm slightly just to have him pause in step. “Wait,” she murmured. She breathed in and out, just for a moment, and shook her head slightly. Ravenna let go of his arm to take brush her hair over her shoulder, inwardly thinking to herself before taking his arm again. “I feel like I haven’t been outside in days.”

Which was nearly true. Traveling from her home in France in a dark carriage, just to come to Clovis’s castle and be stuck inside. She walked with Dante and looked up with more clear, surprised eyes when he offered to listen to her. The girl drew a breath and looked away. Dante wasn’t judgmental. He wasn’t talkative. He wouldn’t speak to anyone else, and her father had said he was trustworthy. But, he was friends with her father.

“I miss my mother,” she said quietly, at first. Ravenna did not look at Dante when she spoke, and tried to gain enough courage to speak further. “I feel as though I hardly knew her. When I did, she was...different than what she used to be.” She tilted her head a little. “It’s difficult to speak to my father about her. Which, I think, makes me miss her more.” Her eyes rose, finally, to look at Dante. “Do you remember her?”
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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:58 pm

Even when she took her arm away from him, just to brush her hair back, Dante remained still. He watched her, and felt something very strange inside of himself. The motion brought back an image, an image of Renata standing before a window, wearing a light silk dress in the middle of summer heat, and brushing her dark hair behind her shoulder. At that moment, Dante had been sitting at a study-desk, reviewing notes he had made on Renata’s condition. She was there for a check-up. Baldassare had been taking a walk that morning out of lover’s frustration.

He looked down when she said she had not been outside in days. He had been numb to her arm, which again found its way around his, but he was mentally aware of it. Finally, she said that she had missed her mother. As she talked and summoned up her own courage to say more, he took it upon himself to lead her around. He knew the gardens very well.

Dante, when asked if he remembered Renata, smiled in a flash, but it gone as quickly as it had come. In the moment after, he characteristically raised his eyebrows. He did not look at Ravenna.
‘I do remember your mother,’ he responded. ‘She was a wonderful, adventurous, and intelligent woman. She had something to say about every subject. Respectable, charming . . .’ his voice went on in a monotone. ‘She was quite ahead of her time. I think your father would agree, even if he isn’t prone to talking about her.’

He coughed under his breath. Dante was not sure what else to say, what the daughter of Renata would have wanted to hear. ‘I am sorry that Baldassare does not talk about her to you.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:29 pm


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It hurt her heart to hear about her mother, somewhat. She wanted to be just like her. Ravenna felt so shy, and felt frightened to speak on every subject in case she offended, in fear they would think of her differently. Ravenna, unfortunately, didn’t catch the smile of Dante when he recalled her mother. “I wish I could be more like her.” She took his apology and smiled. “No, don’t apologize. He is so kind to me. Everything he does for me, I hardly deserve it. I love him more than anything in this world. I don’t think I’ve ever disappointed him...and I fear the day I do. He just gets hurt easily. And talking about my mother seems to be at the center of his pain, always.”

She lifted her hand to protect her eyes from the sudden glare of the sun. Her eyes went to the flowers in the garden, and she pulled away from Dante to come closer to a certain area. There was a small metal gate that guarded a flush area of green grass, but there were hundreds of tulips--although all the same color. A white tulip with bright red stripes, then its edge dipped in the fire. Ravenna gasped, as though it was of utmost importance. “Come look!”

Ravenna’s eyes stayed on one, though, and she saw that there were not multiple tulips, but it was all an illusion. Mirrors surrounded the single tulip to multiply it, over and over, and make waves of tulips. “It must be from Dutchland. I’ve heard of how rare they are. It’d costs over a million francs for just one. That one is the Semper Augustus, the rarest. I wonder how His Majesty got it.” She bent down just to push her hand through the bar and touch the closest mirror. The glass was hot, and she pulled her hand back and looked at the display through the bars for a moment before rising.

“Did she love my father?” Her voice was not upset, but a matter-of-factly. She looked at Dante when she asked it.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:10 pm

There was nothing Dante could say after she had praised her father and expressed a desire to be like her mother. He wore the same expression, though he thought about how Ravenna was closer to being like her mother than she thought. Perhaps she was shier, more timid, certainly neater in the way she dressed and made-up her hair, but there were gestures, expressions, and certain things she said--and the way she said them--which was parallel to Renata.

He saw, in the distance, several servants bringing a wagon of tableware and pots toward the lake. There was a small house there, complete with a kitchen. It was the house of the Guard Chief, but he was staying in the castle at this time. Of course, it was necessary. It was dangerous, this being during the Thirty Years’ War, having so many aristocrats and courtiers around who came from different countries. The Roshauns were neutral to it, though they had allies. Usually the castle was closed off to political nonsense, but in this case, it may have had to welcome it.

The servants were laughing with each other over the whine of the horse-drawn cart. Dante could not have guessed what they were laughing at. But by this time, Ravenna’s arm slipped again from his, and she had wandered somewhere else. She called to him, and he wandered to her side.

He saw the tulips, but recognised the illusion. Dante was impressed by her knowledge, but was soon unsurprised by it. He reminded himself that she was an aristocrat, not the child he had delivered to a couple of humble spirit. She had had a governess, Dante was sure. He did not flinch at all when she asked her last question, but neither did he look at her.

Dante looked at the tulip. ‘Yes. They were clearly meant for each other, but there were complications. The Almavivas and the Voltrens both have one thing in common: the degradation of mental prowess. Your mother became manic and restless, but I don’t think she ever stopped loving your father. Nor could I imagine her lacking love for you.’ He put his arms behind his back. ‘I believe His Majesty received this flower as a gift from the esteemed Danish king, Christian the fourth.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:27 pm


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Ravenna watched Dante, and when he gave her his answer, the girl had a beaming smile on her face. “I’ve never doubted her love for me. But thank you.” She suddenly stared at him, looked at him up and down. He was so regal. He acted more like a servant than any aristocrat, standing there with his hands behind his back and answering her questions.

She approached him and stood in front of him. “Christian the fourth. You know a lot about His Majesty Roshaun.” Ravenna looked off where Dante had looked and saw the servants gathering the things for the lakeside tea party. She couldn’t imagine being among the older aristocrats trying to act their age and be on their level. She also couldn’t imagine Dante going himself.

“Did you always act like this, around my mother and father?” She looked back at him. “You answer all of my questions, you hardly blink at any of them…You’re almost…” She stopped, though. She would not stoop so low to tell an aristocrat that he reminded her of a servant. Ravenna twisted her mouth. “You’re very stoic,” she surmised. She looked right into his eyes when she said it, trying to find any hint or betrayal of emotion.
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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:40 pm

Stoic? O, he was not new at all to that statement. Most people thought it, told him of it in one way or another. But the way Ravenna had said it squeezed him deeply. It was exactly one of the first things Renata had ever said to him, after being introduced to her by Baldassare.

He could no longer keep his eyes away from her. Dante could not think about her poking at his knowledge of the king; he knew these things because he was studious and aware. He was a sponge for new information, as insignificant as it was, he was very detail-oriented. But here Ravenna was, looking at him like a very familiar ghost from the past, a little shorter than the ghost was, but with the same riveting eyes and black hair, the same pale face.

Dante had no expression when he looked down on her. He was not insulted, or happy, or bored with her observation. One hand quizzically went up, he took her chin, and put his thumb on her lower lip. He observed her like that, just for a moment, pulling her lower lip down, but then dropped his hand from her face.

He looked away and coughed again, a rumble in his throat. ‘I know,’ he said, but he could say nothing else. Dante could not think of anything else to say.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:03 am

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His expression showed nothing, but his movements showed otherwise.

Ravenna froze in place. No one had ever touched her like that. Her eyes stayed on his, and her entire body was still. She didn’t know what it meant. Her mind buzzed and her entire insides fluttered and flopped, and she had no idea what it meant, or how she was supposed to respond. No one had taught her this. She did not learn this in her lessons, and her father had not told her what to do if a man did this to her. For once, everything she had learned in her life did not help her, and she wasn’t sure what to do in response.

Her breath stopped when he touched her. It did not help her read him any more than before. The girl’s face did not flush or pale under his touch, and she stood very still even after he looked away--almost shy. “Tell me what you’re thinking.” The words that left her mouth she felt were not her own. It was so forward, so out of her means that she wasn’t even sure a second later if she had said them, or just imagined them.

She heard the servants beyond them, and was fully aware of the overlooking windows of the castle. There could be so many eyes at those windows, and it made her afraid. Her mind’s eye went to the gate behind them. The garden was so big, she did not know who else might be wandering among it. It would be crazy, Ravenna thought. It was a thought of her mother’s, she knew.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:26 am

What was he thinking! Indeed, what was he thinking! Inside a frustration was gnawing at him, the kind of eccentric frustration he had experienced as an adolescent. But now, as an older gentleman who steadily deprived himself of certain affections and desires, he had succumbed to something in the deeper part of his rather superficial carnality. He had touched her face out of curiosity and intensity.

He breathed in through his nose and sighed softly. It did not sound like Ravenna who asked the question. It had sounded like Renata to him. He felt tempted to answer fully, to tell her all of the things he thought of and wondered, like he used to do. Renata was always so curious about what went on in his mind. He used to tell her about his loneliness, his feelings of being misunderstood, and she had listened to him and understood those feelings. But now, years later, he had not thought about it. He had simply accepted these eccentricities of his and even used them to his advantage.

‘You look very much like your mother, Lady Ravenna. It is . . . a little stifling. I have not seen you since you were a very small child, so small I doubt you would remember me. But it does not matter. I hope I have not offended you by touching you. It was not very considerate of me, and for that I apologise. I think . . . if I may, I would like to excuse myself from your company. I believe you should be getting ready for the luncheon, if you want to be fashionably late.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:59 am

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Ravenna frowned at him. His appearance was beginning to crack. Stifling. She didn’t know what that meant. It was normally negative. She realized she didn’t know how close Dante and Renata had been, or how much he might miss her. She should have asked, but there was no use regretting it now.

He began to request leave from her, and Ravenna’s frown turned into a smile. She looked up to the windows of the castle, then looked the other way towards the lake. Her eyes laid back on him. “No, you may not leave.” It was such a risk. He would either hate her or tolerate her, but she wanted to go. “You owe me on two accounts now, for touching me and calling me stifling. But I’ll forgive you.”

Ravenna grabbed his arm and pulled him to the gate, pushing open the door with a quiet hinge. Where this courage was coming from, she had no idea, but she didn’t stop it. She brought him to the tallest mirror of the bunch in the display. When she reached it, she touched it, and her hand went through the glass. Ripples went through the mirror. She looked back at Dante before disappearing through the mirror, but pulled him through with her.

They both stepped onto hard floor. Ravenna felt the floor sway under her feet, and she looked up to thankfully see the mirror they had fallen through. They were in a small room, well furnished, with a small porthole window. There were two beds, a fireplace, a small table, and a woman’s boudoir. Ravenna went to the window and looked out and saw the endless sea outside. They were on a ship in 1913. She put her arm across her stomach and held herself up with her other hand against the wall. She looked back at Dante for a reaction, for anything.

But, the panic took over quite immediately. Her eyes looked to the mirror, then to Dante, and she clenched her teeth inside her mouth. Her father would find her missing. The guests would find both of them missing. There was a nagging sense of horror that she was risking a lot, not just Dante’s relationship alone. She breathed in, and out, and looked towards the door. Her choice of reaction was on Dante’s own.

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Last edited by Paperwingsxiv on Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:23 am

It was strange, seeing his own reflection look back at him in a sort of piteous surprise. Something had happened with Ravenna. She was acting very much like Renata, very suddenly, as if she had been possessed. Dante thought that it was strange. He considered her refusal of his request to leave her company, thinking it was very unlike her usual behaviour to do such a thing.

Ravenna was shier than that--at least, that was what Dante knew. Was she also this reckless when she was alone? He wondered this, after seeing his own surprise reflected in the mirror, after she pulled him into the future, 1913, in a private room on a ship. He heard the ocean and felt the sway, and saw Ravenna hold herself against the wall. He watched her hold her stomach and the wall as if something was supposed to happen.

But Dante only looked at her with raised eyebrows, and soon after he could see that inside she was panicking. The ocean swayed, the light filtered in, and he could hear seagulls. He could hear men shouting, people talking in other rooms, the crash of saltwater against the ship’s waterline.

He stumbled and went to her. The ocean being a little rough at that time, he pressed his body against hers in an effort to protect her from doing anything outrageous--he had seen her looking at the door and not the mirror they had come through.
‘Lady Ravenna,’ he said in a low voice, his head down. He was looking at her. One of his elbows were against the wall, while his other hand held her shoulder. ‘Please, Lady Ravenna. We are not supposed to be here. I am sorry for touching you and calling you stifling, but we should not be here.’

He paused, hearing heavy footsteps run in the hallway outside. He looked at the door for a moment, but nothing happened, so he looked at Ravenna again.
‘Do not panic. We can go back. Are you ready to go back?’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:47 am

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She was filled with disappointment, and with horror at herself in such a impulsive, non tactical decision. She hadn’t been through a mirror in so long, and she had thought that Dante would be someone who would understand the adventure of it. He rushed to her and held her against the wall, and she thought of her mother, and imagined the restraint they had tried to have against her in fear she was going crazy.

The girl saw his expression, and immediately, her eyes filled with tears. She lifted her hands to cover her mouth and nose as tears fell down her face. “I-I...am so sorry.” In the moment where he paused and waited for the people at the door, Ravenna lowered her face and sniffed, dropping her hands as in half fear, thought of the consequences, and thoughts of how Dante might feel about her. “I don’t have anyone to travel with. I thought you would understand.”

She had ruined it, and if she had been afraid of Dante telling her father about her worries over missing her mother, there was no doubt he would tell Baldassare about this. She lifted her face and stared at him. “I wasn’t really mad at you. I’m sorry. Please don’t tell my father. Please.” He would treat her differently, he would see her as a girl turning into her mother. She wasn’t like Renata, she thought, in that she was madly obsessed with going to another time, but all she wanted to do was be able to use her powers instead of being restricted out of fear.

Her expression was full of fear that Dante would also treat her differently. He was a doctor, most likely he was viewing this out of a medical eye, and the girl felt--literally--the weight of him on her, and that sickening worry of his. “I’m not...like her.” Her voice was pleading for him to understand. “I’ll go back. I’m sorry, Dante,” she sobbed, her voice cracking. “I didn’t mean to ruin everything.” The embarrassment of crying in front of him also overwhelmed her, and she had never in her life felt so young, so stupid, and so inexperienced.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:13 am

He had had visions of Renata as he did this, Renata panicking in a place she did not know, Renata confused about what she wanted in life, Renata begging to be taken away from the time she was born. She wanted to live like one of those “groupie” women in the 60s, or a “beat babe”, or meet Grainne the Pirate, or even live life in a far future where gender roles did not exist anymore. Both Dante and Baldassare had had to deal with Renata when she was inwardly collapsing and overwhelmed, when she was crying about suicide and lost dreams and cursing her own powers.

But this was not what Ravenna wanted. It was not the same as her mother.

As Dante began to realise this, as Ravenna cried and apologised, telling him what she had wanted, his body relaxed. His arms dropped so that, instead of blocking her, suffocating her with compactness, he embraced her. He listened to her pleas without saying anything, realising his own anxiety and fear. He had been afraid that Ravenna was acting out in a way that her mother did.

Dante sighed deeply. He wanted to comfort her, but could only embrace her. He knew that Baldassare was always much better with this. Renata was always happier when she cried in Baldassare’s arms. Now that Ravenna was in his, he doubted very much that she would refuse the chance to have her father’s comfort if it was offered to her.

‘I do understand,’ he said finally. He could not think of anything else to say, so he just held her. It felt awkward to have her in his arms. ‘What do you want to do?’ he asked.

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Re: The King

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