The King

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:41 am

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Ravenna felt him loosen up, and she felt as though she could breathe. She breathed in deeply and calmed herself, closing her eyes and trying to dry up her tears. “I have never been so unlike myself.” She rubbed her eyes and trembled before Dante embraced her, to which she stiffened in surprise. She had not expected him to accept her like this, while anyone else would have demanded her to go back immediately, or yelled, or worse, said nothing. Her father, as loving and perfect as he was to her, did have a temper. Thankfully, at his worst, all he did was walk away.

Her eyes filled with tears again, but she blinked them away and pressed her cheek to his chest. The moment of touching, again, left her at a loss to know what it meant. Would any other person have done this to her to comfort her, or did it have a deeper meaning? Her eyes closed when she heard him say he understood, and the girl said nothing and just breathed in his arms to calm herself and wash everything else away. Her entire being relaxed in his arms, and she did not move for quite some time, and the cries ceased.

He still held her when he asked what she wanted to do. She lifted her head and put her chin just on his breast with a view of his jaw and neck. She watched for a minute with more realizations that she had never been so close to a man other than her father. The strong shadow beneath his chin was different than her father’s, and the shape of his neck sloping down into his shoulder. “I want to plead for your forgiveness.”

There was amazement in her expression at how calm he was, even when he had panicked with her between himself and the wall. But then again, he was a medical doctor.

Her hands, which had been tucked against her breast in between Dante and herself, separated them gently, to which she turned just to view the sea again. She heard the gulls and the people talking. It was day, unfortunately. They would have to be careful about being questioned--not that many would really be too suspicious of two costumed people. “Can we go see the upper deck? Just to see the ocean more clearly? That’s all. That’s all I want.” She still felt the urge to confirm that she was not like her mother, she did not have the desire to run away from it all.

The truth was, she loved her life. She loved her father and her home, and the places she was able to go to in her own time. But when she was granted the opportunity, why couldn’t she go see other places her birthright had allowed her to see? Ravenna believed in God and fate, so why would her gift not be for her to use?

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:06 am

To go on the upper deck--Dante was full of doubt when he had heard Ravenna’s only request. It was daylight. There were people shuffling through the corridors of the ship, talking and laughing, and there was no doubt in his mind that it would be a risky enterprise. He did not know how this wish could accommodated. He let go of her in the moments after her request, no longer looking at her, but at the window which overlooked the sea. He stood in front of her, looking away, his features expressing a resolute apathy.

He remembered what they were wearing: costumes designed for the seventeenth century aristocrat. There was a chance that if they went up and were caught, they would be mocked and perhaps even mugged. Dante, having time travelled extensively, knew this only because he had experienced it. He was not naive to the risks, and he knew that Baldassare had probably suffered through a similar fate as well.

If this were Renata, she would have been much more stubborn. Dante believed that Ravenna could not have an ulterior motive for someone so young--she was pubescent, and he was sure that this characterised within her a desire for adventure. So he looked at her again, still very stoic, but inside he was resigned to her request.

‘We can, but you will have to follow me, and you will have to obey every thing I tell you to do. Do you understand, Lady Ravenna?’ Dante, though his voice was still and calm, his features expressed a subtle concern and harshness that was not typical of him.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:47 am

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The seeming daydream that she had had when she had laid her chin against his breast was shaken from her once she pulled away. She found it strange to be thinking of such simple things--the shape of his shoulder and neck, and when she withdrew, although the thought was less intense, she looked at his face and saw the difference in it compared to when they had been in the castle. His eyes were more intense, although it shamed her to see his fear there, something she had created. It was almost disappointing that she had not created happiness there, but fear and anxiety.

The way he looked at her was nearly harsh. The girl stared at him after his order, and she hesitated. Not because she had never considered not listening to him, but because she almost told him that they didn’t have to do this, she would be content otherwise. But when would someone else do this for her? Ravenna went to reach, almost automatically, in hopes to comfort him to make up for her hesitation, but she pulled her hand back before it even lifted. “I do. I swear I will.”

It was only a moment before she pulled away from him entirely to go to the boudoir and touch the outside of the cabinet door. Her hand felt along the handle, and she pulled it open gingerly to look inside and just gaze at the clothing. She touched the cloth, but not too much, and pulled it away just as quickly to shut the cabinet. She looked back at Dante with her eyes expressive and aware, still slightly swollen from tears. Her face was red as well. She hated when she cried. Her cheeks and forehead grew so red, and she could never hide from anyone that she had been crying. “Do you forgive me?”

And she asked as though it was the most important thing in that moment. She did not look away from him or even blink before he answered, or would give some notice, and she looked like a still deer. She had asked so many questions to him, or at least pleaded many, in the last few moments, but now this seemed like the most genuine one.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:19 am

Dante seemed to relax when she made her promise to him. He did not watch her as she walked away from him, but stood there deep in thought. He was figuring an easy route to get to the upper deck in a manner where they would not be seen or felt: it was more like a fantasy he had in his head, as he had no knowledge of the ship’s anatomy, and he imagined sneaking out into the hallway with the idea of finding some hidden staircase to a rather empty part of the deck. He then thought about what they would do if they were discovered skulking around the ship in 17th century costume. What would they say? That they were actors? Travelling eccentrics?

And then Ravenna’s voice, and her simple and sweet question, called Dante back to reality. He was curious, because her tone of voice called a memory to his mind. He could not place it, however, and stared at her as if she were a void until he saw the description of her features: the red cheeks and forehead, the swelling eyes and lips, the wateriness of her eyes. He could not help but look at her for some time, partially confused by her question and bewildered by her appearance--though he held no expression.

‘Of course, Lady Ravenna,’ he said to her. It seemed that he had only superficially considered her question although his mind was racing with many different thoughts. He went to the door of the cabin and leaned slightly against it, looking down at the knob and listening for any movement. There was none.
‘Come here,’ he said to her, and opened the door. When she came to him, he put his arm around her shoulders and gently led her out. He kept her in front of him, guiding her through the corridor. He was not quite sure where they were going. He paused when he heard a noise; it had only been a man talking in a cabin they were next to.

He continued to lead them through the corridor. He made sure to be quiet, and that Ravenna was before him in every step. Finally they came upon stairs. He led her up, but hesitated upon seeing a man slumped on the staircase, a bottle of whiskey at his feet. Dante held Ravenna closer to him and slowly led her up the steps. The man seemed to be sleeping, and did not budge as they climbed the stairs.

When the sunlight and sea breeze came to them, Dante took a slow breath and squinted his eyes against the light. He could see a group of people at the fore of the ship, sitting on boxes and talking. He looked to the sides of the quarter deck. There were sailors working the masts. The poop deck was behind them.

Dante carefully led her to the side of the ship. If there was anyone who noticed them, or gawked at them, he did not seem to notice. He did not want to pay too much attention and give anyone a reason to approach them with banal conversation. He brought her to the edge of the ship.
‘Here we are,’ he breathed. Dante did not like being on watercraft very much. He felt somewhat ill, but sustained himself by breathing slowly.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:06 am

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Ravenna did not take her eyes away when he looked at her by the boudoir. She only looked down when he said of course he did. He approached the door, and she watched him lean against it. He gave her an order, and the way it came from his mouth startled her. But, she went to him, and when he lifted his arm to put around her, Ravenna grew smaller.

She let him lead her and the girl felt afraid of being in front, having him lead her from behind, and it wasn’t uncommon in the short trip for her to look back at him. As always, he had a stoic expression, and in her quick glances, she could not read his eyes. She was as quiet as he was as they walked and asked nothing. He brought her closer when they saw a man on the steps, and Ravenna tried to tighten herself into herself to become so small that she would be nothing.

They reached the deck, finally. When she breathed in the salt air and saw the wide blue, Ravenna began to tremble a little, feeling the full realism of the situation. The girl went to the side with him and gazed out to the ocean with a calm expression. She did not speak, even after he did, for quite some time. She seemed to not even notice those around them.

“I feel so undeserving,” she murmured quietly. She couldn’t get her thoughts off of her mother and whether or not she had seen the same sea, or if Dante had ever been in the same place. She looked up at him instead of the sea. “Thank you.”

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:26 pm

When she had thanked him, Dante said nothing in return. He was struggling with his nausea, which was beginning to overcome him. He held on to the railing at the side of the ship, his face straight and his eyes looking out to the sea. He breathed in the air and tried to close his eyes and breathe. To someone who did not know he was suffering, he would have looked contemplative and serene in his stoicism.

It took him several moments, and he leaned over the railing and vomited unexpectedly. He knew Ravenna was there and was deeply embarrassed, but it did not show. He leaned over the railing after having vomited, and looked down at the water. Watching the water move, smelling the salt of the ocean, calmed his stomach. He watched the mucus of his vomit drift away, retched again, but nothing came out.

‘Excuse me, Lady Ravenna,’ he murmured. He reached into the inside of his cloak and took out a handkerchief. He was looking away, facing away from Ravenna. He sat on the floorboard and ran a shaking hand through his hair, leaning against the railing, and wiping his mouth with the handkerchief.

‘Do not worry about me, please. I am glad you are enjoying yourself.’ He took another thing from his pocket, a little purse with smelling salts. He sniffed them and sighed, his eyes fluttering slightly. ‘Do not feel undeserving.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:26 pm

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Dante suddenly leaned over the railing and the girl watched, somewhat horrified. Ravenna felt guilty for bringing him there at all. When he sat down on the floorboards, the girl fell there with him and looked extremely worried--entirely ignoring what he said. She saw his shaking hand and thought it was alarming to see the stoic man like this.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” She took up his trembling hands in hers while watching his face. Ravenna watched him and let him sit for a minute or two. Before they rose, she lifted her hand hesitantly to brush back his silver streaked hair, and the girl let out a small laugh. “I’m so sorry,” she said with a small playful smile. The situation was on the verge of a satire, and was almost ridiculous. It was telling that he had brought her up deck with some sort of knowledge of his weakness (or at least she assumed he would have that knowledge, with his age, intelligence and cultural prowess), and she found it sweet enough. Ravenna was flattered.

“Let’s go back.” She stood and pulled him up with her gently. A look of determination appeared on her face. She brought his arm around her shoulder, and her own behind his back to lead him back the way they came. She stepped over the drunk man with him, and if she was fearful or nervous, she did not show it, and had seemingly taken the role of Dante. When they reached the room they had come from, she shut the door and locked it behind her.

Carefully, she led him to the bed and sat him down. Ravenna knelt beside him and looked up at him. “How do you feel? At least here no one will come in; better than on deck or back at the garden for now. We can wait until you feel steady.”

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:47 pm

It was almost as if Dante could not hear Ravenna over his own mind’s din. He continued to be devoid of any emotive quality, but the shine of sweat could be seen on his forehead and he seemed not to be focusing too much on what was happening. He almost pulled away when Ravenna began to assist him in getting up, but he allowed her the pretense that he needed her help. In truth, he was a bit dizzy, even if he did not show it--it was probably better for Ravenna to guide him.

He looked briefly down at the drunk, as they passed him, and wondered how the man could remain asleep amid the din and the push of the waves against the ship. Then Dante wondered if the man might be dead, but he believed he heard him snort in his sleep.

When they came into the room that they had been in before, he allowed Ravenna to sit him down on the bed. He looked down at his feet and could feel his nausea subsiding. Dante knew he needed water, but he was not going to ask Ravenna to fetch him any--it was too dangerous. He would have rathered a quick trip through a mirror than another half hour stuck on the ship.

He glanced up at her as she knelt beside him. Dante took in a deep and slow breath.
‘I feel better. Thank you.’ He took a few moments for himself, watching her from the corner of his eye. He did not feel embarrassed, though all events were largely uncharacteristic of him. A minute or two passed before, without looking at her, he stated: ‘I think I am ready to return.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:37 pm

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Ravenna nodded. She did not take her eyes from him. She was thinking the same thing--water would be good for him, but it would be better to get it from the other side of the mirror. She glanced at his doctor’s brooch and the girl stood up with him to take him to the mirror by his arm. “We won’t go to the garden again,” she whispered. Ravenna hadn’t seen Dante’s chambers, so she couldn’t go there. She remembered a hall mirror in the long hallway of the east wing.

She looked at it, took a breath, and stepped through with him. They stepped through the long hallway mirror, and Ravenna led him to where his chamber door. It would be the very same second they had left in the garden. When they arrived at his door, everything seemed to come together at once to her.

Ravenna was surprised at the thought of the courage and determination that had overtaken her, how she had held his hands, touched her chin to his chest, how she had cried, and gazed at him so curiously...the girl took a step back from him, putting her hands behind her back. She didn’t want to go into his chambers with him in fear it was too far. “Dr. Bartolo…” The thought of what had made her bring him through the mirror in the first place made her blush deeply, and Ravenna opened her mouth, and closed it.

She had apologized enough, and now that they were back. Ravenna shrunk underneath Dante, her shyness and self-awareness returning. She was at a loss for words. She was between offering him further help or turning heel and making an excuse to get back to her room.

-

Hart had walked by himself with much encouragement and self preservation to the lakeside party. He saw Almara when he arrived and smiled cordially at her and bowed his head to her in passing. He went past a few others and took a seat at one of the little tables that had been set up. He crossed his legs. This will either be hell or purgatory, he thought. The emotions that surrounded him were ones of curiosity, contentment, indulgence. He watched them with heavy lidded eyes and tapped the table when a servant passed. They served him tea, and he took the cup in his hand, but did not taste it.

He wondered where Cosette was, but tried to push the thought down into his soul. If he thought of her any further, thought of her mouth on him, her sweet smile, her cheeks, he would die there. Instead he consumed himself in others, and stayed silent.

It was short lived. He felt a shadow over him, and looked up to see a dark haired man with tan skin looking down at him. He was older, in his forties, although he was extremely handsome and had a great, bright smile. He had a wide face and high forehead with his dark hair raked back, above wide, blue eyes. “Lord Irving Averin.” He bowed to Hart and Hart nodded. “Lord Hart Voltren.”

“Excuse my great enthusiasm, but I’m very curious in all the families here. I come from northern Russia. I’m interested in learning about the lineage of the Roshaun family while I’ve been invited to stay here.” Irving took his chance to sit beside Hart, and followed the man’s eyes across the lawn to view the guests. “I’m a sort of historian, so this is the best place to learn about everyone.” He clicked his tongue and leaned his cheek against his hand.

“I’ve not heard much about the Averins,” Hart said.

“Oh, we’re a bit reclusive. Not unfriendly, mind you. My Lady Averin has remained at home.”

-

Elisa attended the party with hesitance. She saw Lady Fiona Azerola and headed to her. She had never met her, only having met Asa Azerola on many occasions, and looked forward to introducing herself. The young woman sat with her and smiled at Fiona. “My Lady Azerola, I’m Elisa Cabrera. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. How do you fare?”

Elisa felt a huge temptation to comfort the woman for the previous night’s events, and was certain it would have been easy to take blame for Asa’s actions.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:18 am

Although Dante did not realise it, Ravenna’s strength was a great comfort. He appreciated that she was not bringing them into the garden, but was unsure of where exactly they would end up--he did not think of it too much, for fear that he might vomit again due to the sway of the ship on the water. He had gotten up from the cot when she took him by the elbow, watched her as she focused on the image they would come upon when they would cross the mirror to the other side. She was nothing like her mother, he was realising it more and more: she was more sensitive and serious. Renata was . . . Renata was prone to indecisiveness. She would have laughed and sat next to him on the deck, watched him smell his salts, and made a quip about how unexpected it was.

He had several memories of those kinds of occasions already. Baldassare and Renata suited each other in a certain kind of bawdiness, though Baldassare was--ironically enough--much more suspicious of people than Renata had ever been.

They appeared in a corridor and she led him to his chamber. He felt his head continue to sway from the ocean. Maybe if it was not such a sudden change, maybe if he had taken more time going up to the deck with Ravenna--perhaps he would not have vomited, he thought, but there was no helping it now. They stopped in front of his chamber and when Dante observed her she called him by his formal name. He smiled quickly, and then his face drained.

Dante watched her again. He saw her blush and coyly stand in girlish humiliation. She was so young. He put his handkerchief into the inside pocket of his cloak and coughed slightly. His eyes flickered to her rosy face and he stooped to pick up her hand. He bent and he kissed her knuckle.
‘Thank you, Lady Ravenna,’ he said. He paused, watching her for a few more moments, and dropped her hand gently, turning away to enter his chamber.

He would lay down for a while, drink tea, and wash his face. He would recall the colour of the inside of her lower lip: red, like the juice of a cranberry, and supple against his thumb.

--

Ahmose had been sitting with Ulisse Aylehart, discussing ships and ports. The prince had wanted to know the Lord’s chiefest imports and exports, as well as the kinds of ships he used. There were some thing which Ulisse had refrained from mentioning, and Ahmose understood--there was always an amount of secrecy when it came to business. Wachuku himself had his own mercenaries, but he would never tell the Aylehart such information.

The prince had arrived early to the party, early enough for a stroll around the lake. It was to his great pleasure when the nobles began to arrive. He had been keeping an eye open for a sight of Asa Azerola, curious to know if he would come to the party. Ahmose knew that the Voltrens did not know of the great insult that had happened the previous night, and he was curious if Asa would actually come--he wondered if the fox would believe his invitation was some joke, or if he would take it seriously. Ahmose had a strong feeling, in fact had had a vision, that Asa would not come, but he could never be too sure of what he saw.

--

Cosette came to the tea party dressed in what she had worn when she had put Hart in her mouth. She had swallowed every drop of Hart’s come, so there was nothing to clean up--besides, she wanted Hart to remember what they had done together only just before the tea party had begun.

She came fashionably late, her French lips spread in a pleasant smile, as she spoke with one of the lesser nobles who had accompanied her from the lady’s parlour. Cosette wore her hair down, as Hart requested, and stood straight and proud, a white silk parasol sheltering her pale skin from the day’s sun. She felt warm and happy, almost competitive in the way that nobles compete to provide the finest and most clever gossip, but there was a subtle sense of uneasiness and anxiety in her soul. Upon feeling Hart’s presence, however, the anxiety was relieved.

Cosette glanced at her cousin, who she saw was speaking to a strange man. She distracted herself in idle talk as she then looked at Almara, Ahmose and Ulisse, Fiona and Elisa. She was looking for the king.

Fiona, in her sad temperament, was very receptive to Elisa’s approach. She had been standing by a tree and sipping at a cup of tea, looking on beyond the lake. When Elisa approached her she smiled immediately and seemed thrilled to be in her presence.
‘Lady Elisa Cabrera, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am happy we have finally met! I am only too flattered you know who I am,’ she said in a strange voice, which held a strained sadness, though was only too full of joy to have Elisa for company. ‘I am faring well. How are you, my darling? I must say--you look incredibly lovely. Your seamstress must be the most expensive and artistic in the Nordic provinces.’

Clovis came when Cosette had surrendered herself to chatter with the lesser noble. He came on a very beautiful hack, followed by Emerson on a creature that was just as comparable.

When he had come down, he waited for Emerson before going directly to the rest of the crowd. He first went up to Cosette--though the first person he noticed in true form was Elisa Cabrera--bowed his head, and said: ‘My Lady, you are ravishing today. I want to extend my thank-you for the invitation I received this morning. It is a lovely day, and it is all-too perfect for a social gathering such as this.’

‘Your Majesty!’ cried Cosette in pleasure, laughing. ‘Come now, Your Majesty, I only did what I thought would be good. I am sure every one of us would have gone insane if we had spent another day inside. Some of us have been traveling for weeks,’ she smiled. ‘But, come. We shall have tea, walk around the lake, boat, and fish a bit. Everyone will. It should be grand.’

Clovis looked up at her and smiled briefly, but said nothing else. He nodded and excused himself. Cosette glanced at Hart again to see if he still was speaking to the same man, while Clovis walked toward the lake, setting his eyes on the tree that Elisa and Fiona were underneath. He wanted to approach them, and he did.

‘Lady Cabrera, Lady Azerola,’ he said, his features relaxed. ‘I am too blessed to be in the presence of the two loveliest ladies in Europe.’ Clovis looked at Elisa, but then quickly looked at Fiona so as not to make her feel left out.
‘Your Majesty,’ Fiona curtsied, offering her hand. Clovis took it and kissed it.
‘Will you go boating today?’ asked the king.
‘O, no. Despite all my years and experience, I have an outrageous fear of water.’ Fiona chuckled, shaking her head and looking away. ‘It is very beautiful, however. The lake. Marvelous view.’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:24 am

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Ravenna said nothing, and was left in the hallway when he went into his chambers. She turned and walked down the hall to her and Baldassare’s suite. As she walked, she realized how startled she was with herself and the entirety of the situation. It was as though she had taken all of Dante’s sea-aches and had them now in her head, as the castle halls seemed to sway, her steps off, and before she entered the suite, she had to center herself by holding the wall. All she could think about was Dante’s hands and the sweat on his brow, and how she had been able to hold his hands so gently. She felt so delicate around him, but he seemed to make her brave.

She took a deep breath before entering the suite. As she walked in, she brushed her hair out with her fingers and looked for her father. When she found him, she said with a happy exclamation, “Papa! I haven’t seen you all morning. Good afternoon.” She went to him and embraced him, but made it a quick one. “I have to bathe. I was invited to a teaparty with the Voltrens, but I don’t believe I’m going to go.” She clutched his arm for a moment, hesitating. No. She could not tell him. She wouldn’t. It didn’t matter, and all it would do is make him worry. Dante wouldn’t tell him, either. She had pleaded with him not to.

Ravenna disappeared into the bathroom and called a servant to help her undress and fill the bath. Once it was hot, she slipped into it and told the maid to wait for her outside the bathroom so she could dress again. The water was hot, and the seasickness she had felt in the hall was gone. She leaned against the hard, hot metal of the bath and submerged her shoulders. Her hair felt heavy in the water, and she lost herself in thought.

She realized she had not thought of Clovis for hours. It was strange to her, to think that she had not thought of the main reason she was even there for in so long. Her eyes opened, and she looked to the ceiling, then down into the bath. When she jerked up at the sight of red blood, water sloshed out of the tub onto the floor.

Her first thought was to call for her father…no. She couldn’t. She was embarrassed and frightened. Renata would have known how to help her. She needed a woman. Her breath became a bit short before she calmed herself and thought of the next best idea. Ravenna called for the maid in her steadiest voice she could manage. When she entered, Ravenna sat up in the bath. “Give me a towel, and call for Lady Fiona. Escort her in through the hall door, discretely. It’s a dire matter, tell her.” She took the towel and sat on the edge of the bath to watch the blood fade into the water.

-

Asa had thought it was a joke. What family would invite him to a party after the previous night’s scene? He didn’t know the Voltrens had been absent from it, so he assumed they knew everything and had witnessed it. Instead, the man stood in the window and sulked in his bruised pain. He asked the servants for ice and a warm compress, and switched between them to soothe his nose.

He watched the party from that distant and tried to pinpoint the guests. Ravenna was not there, nor Baldassare. It almost made him go in another form, but he planted his feet tight on the floor. It would be better to remain hidden for the day.

He thought of Ahmose, and every time he did, his brows knit together.

-

Irving rose when Clovis and Emerson arrived. “Excuse me.” He walked toward Emerson, not the king, forgetting Hart completely. When Emerson dismounted, allowing a servant to take the horse away, he was greeted by Irving. Irving did not bow, but shook Emerson’s hand. He shuddered slightly, which Emerson took curiosity to, but it was a faded thought by the time Irving began to speak again. He stared strangely at Emerson, and a grin appeared on his face.

“I have something to talk to you about,” he began outright, which Emerson greatly appreciated, as he was tired of formalities making slow talk. “I’ve been working on a great map for the king of his family. A family tree, as a gift. I am not here to offer a daughter or a wife...” (at this, Irving chuckled to himself, as though it was a wonderful joke) “...to His Majesty, but just my own services for my family’s appreciation to the King.”

“That would be well taken, thank you, Lord Averin. Is there anything you require from His Majesty?”

“To be introduced, at the very least, to His Majesty, before presenting my piece to him.”

Hart did not mind that the man had upped and left him alone. He was watching his beautiful cousin, who most likely still had come on her tongue, and he smiled airily at the thought. Her hair was down and her smile was enchanting. She was anxious as she arrived, but relaxed further after she glanced at him. Of course, his heart swelled.

He stood up and walked to the edge of the lake, where he stayed by himself. It was only by chance that Almara Aylehart approached him, to which he looked up at her with strong, emotional eyes. He smiled at her. “My Lady,” he bowed to kiss her hand a little more fervently than most. Their conversation was away from the rest of the group, and Hart’s emotions waved from anxiety, to lust, to pleasure, to satisfaction and contentedness.

His eyes, though, glanced at Cosette for some sort of confirmation, and he gave off a feeling of quizzicality. His eyes looked to Almara, then Cosette, when he was able to catch his cousin’s in his own. He desired permission to leave.

-

Elisa felt melancholy when she could sense the dear Fiona Azerola’s sadness in her figure, but she smiled brightly at the compliment and the genuine kindness. “I am very well, Lady Azerola. I do appreciate a good cut of cloth when I have the penny to spare for it. You are lovely, but your wisdom and kindness, I hear, surpass.”

It was not long before Elisa felt eyes on herself, and she looked up to see the king approaching. She curtseyed deeply on his approach and greeted him. She grinned at his comment, but said nothing, and looked to Fiona, as though she thought FIona was the better looking one for Clovis. Their moment was interrupted when a maid, who had walked from the castle to the party, approached Fiona and curtseyed. “My Lady, Lady Almaviva requests you at her chambers. It is dire, and she asked me to escort you.”

“Oh, I wonder what for,” Elisa said softly as Fiona left with the maid. “How unfortunate. I hope everything is alright.” Her eyes turned to Clovis, now that they were alone. “You should be informed, Your Majesty, that Norway is not a part of Europe, which would include myself and my family.” Her smile was a bit boastful, but she hid it behind her cup of tea when she raised it. "His Majesty must be quite exhausted from all the activities he's put through. Did you sleep well?" Her eyes were more curious to how he had slept with the vision, which usually costed many more than a night's sleep.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:17 pm

Baldassare was only just waking up when Ravenna came from her adventure. He had not worried so much over Ravenna’s absence or whereabouts: he knew that she would be curious and that she would stay close by. He had met most of the other guests at the ball the night before, and this too eased his mind. He had not seen anyone, besides Asa Azerola, who could suitably harm Ravenna . . . and he doubted very much that Asa would do such a thing again.

So when she came to him, chirping like a little bird, he was moderately happy and warm. He embraced her and kissed her on the forehead.
‘Good afternoon, blackbird,’ he said lovingly. And, like a true woman, she rushed to bathe--though he was confused when she stated that she would not be going to the tea party.
‘You aren’t?’ he asked, getting up from his bed--he had been drinking tea and, before Ravenna had come in, staring at the wall.

But he was too late--she had already gone into the bathroom. He looked after her, standing in his pyjamas, an expression of plain confusion contorting his face. He looked away, his brows drawn, and then sat, sipping his tea in thought.

--

Cosette’s neck expanded as she tried to get a look of Hart. She saw him walk on and approach Almara. The French girl continued with her banter, sipping at a hot cup of tea and listening closely to what the noble women who surrounded her were saying. They were all talking about how handsome the king was, how unfortunate it was for them to have no gift, and how lucky Cosette was to be an eligible bachelorette.

The Voltren simply laughed and played along, making witty phrases and jokes. When she saw that Hart was looking at her, as if to ask a question, and when she felt his uncertainty, she could only assume it had to do with Almara. Why did she need her permission? Nonetheless, she smiled and raised her hand to wave at him politely, as if she were greeting him--but it was a cue for him to know that whatever he wanted to do, he could do it.

After that, she continued to keep an eye on them. She wanted to watch them wander off together. O, was he really going to do it? How delicious would it be--how delicious would it be, if afterward, Almara told Cosette of all the details of their lovemaking. She wanted her cousin to pour every ounce of disdain for the Ayleharts into sowing her. Cosette knew that if Ulisse ever found out about it, he would probably be petulant . . .

--

Fiona left at once when her presence was requested by the young Lady Ravenna. She left her tea with a servant and politely excused herself from the company of Clovis and Elisa. She hurried as well as she could, though the servant who led her seemed concerned both for Fiona’s persistence as well as whatever the Lady Ravenna might be suffering from.

They reached the bathing room which Ravenna was in. Fiona was led inside discreetly, and when she saw the girl in the tub, she quickly curtsied, then stood straight and looked on at Ravenna with maternal worry.

‘Lady Ravenna, I came as quickly as I ought. What ails you?’ she asked.

--

Clovis had watched Fiona go, wondering the same thing as Elisa, though he did not speak it aloud. His expression was serious, though he was quite placid. He refused tea when it was offered to him, not needing anything to distract him from the loveliness of Lady Cabrera, and peered intensely at her when she corrected him.

Not a part of Europe! He flushed and looked down. He would not speak against her correction, though a part of him was hurt that she did not perceive the compliment the way he had wanted. Clovis looked up at her again when she asked about his quality of sleep. He almost smiled sheepishly, feeling flattered that she would ask. How considerate!

‘I did sleep well, in fact,’ he said. ‘I think I owe it to last night’s wine. And yourself? Did you have a good evening, a nice morning?’ he asked. He had the gifts in his mind as he gazed at her. Clovis did not have them with him, but he wondered if he should say something to her. He had to be tactical.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:47 pm

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Hart didn’t want to offend her by leaving her party! He smiled slightly at the silliness of it, and extruded an air of amusement as he lifted his hand to wave back at her. Almara was patiently waiting, very aware of what Hart wanted and intended to do, and she took his arm once he looked away from Cosette. “I would love to walk along the gardens with you, Lady Aylehart.”

Almara tilted her head and smiled at Hart as they walked away from the party. “How about we just fuck in the chapel?”

Hart blushed, but his smile did not change, and he led her away toward the castle.

-

Ravenna was crossing her legs, but a line of blood was falling down between them. She was pale when she saw Fiona, and frowned. “Please forgive me, but...I don’t have a mother, and...I didn’t want to tell my father...I’m bleeding.” She looked down at herself with her shins in the water as she leaned against the edge. “I’m not sure what to do. My maid Ellie would, but she didn’t come with us.”

The maid who had led Fiona to Ravenna waited outside the door for any instructions. The water was getting murky with the dripping blood, and Ravenna pulled the towel that was around herself closer. She was extremely embarrassed, but managing to hold herself together to an impressive standard, by her own thought.

-

Elisa smiled and seemingly did not notice his hurt or surprise at her response. She did notice that he seemed very interested in her, which made her wonder if he had read her note. “I slept well, thank you. The morning was just as fine. I’m thankful for the nice day, although I’m not so used to the heat of summer. I’m more likeable to the cold.”

Something very unlike her happened: she was at a loss of what to talk about. It was the discomfort of the way he looked at her, how he had complimented her. Elisa looked down at the ground in quiet shyness, a habit of hers, but then when she looked up, she seemed confident again. “Have you met all of the potential ladies here? I haven’t talked to many of them, but their personalities seem so different. I’m at a loss how you will make a choice.”

She may have been too bold in her statement, but what was the risk if she didn’t want to be married?

-

Almara was so tight, and she flexed her muscles when Hart was inside her. He fucked her hard and rough, and was certain that her backside would be bruised by how hard he pushed her against the floor. She was hot inside, and he did like it.

They were on the floor between the pews and he was over her with her dress lifted and his trousers down. They were both shining with sweat, and Almara’s black hair was dark against the white floor. Their gasps and breaths echoed in the long hall. Hart’s hand rubbed her clit while he was inside of her, just to feel her emotions rise and fade when he let go, and it made him grin and lean down to bite into her shoulder.

“Hart, I never knew,” she said between breaths in a low, sensual voice. He smiled against her skin and lifted her hand to run it through her hair. His mind was all on Cosette. He tried to push his emotions out to her, have them be so big that Cosette would feel them at the tea party. He began to thrust into her again and lifted his body to look into her fluttering eyes.

He found quickly, though, that her emotions weren’t enough. She was pleased, but he knew that he wasn’t the best she had had. He clawed one of his hands into her ribs while his eyes bore into her. There was something missing. Their feelings weren’t shared, and her emotions weren’t enough. It wasn’t fire, even though her body burned beneath him.

“You’re nearly bored,” he growled suddenly.

Almara’s brow quirked. “Bored? No. I always want more, though.” Her legs wrapped around his waist, but Hart just panted above her. He moved his hands up to her throat and squeezed as he pounded her. Almara laughed at first, but when his hands were tighter around her throat, fear peaked in her.

And Hart liked feeling that.

He squeezed harder as he fucked her, and it seemed to make up for that lack of shared feeling. He smiled above her and groaned in the pleasure, but Almara was beginning to struggle, her legs falling from around him. Hart did not stop, feeding on the fear and anxiety that was in her body, and the competing pleasure she felt. He lost control of himself, his hands, his body, and when he came inside her, everything returned back into his view. He sighed and laughed slightly, and looked down at Almara.

Her face was blue and her eyes were half open, along with her mouth. Hart lifted his hands from her throat. It was already beginning to bruise, and he was amazed at how soft it had been beneath them. Hart licked his lips and rose from her. His mind was blank, and Almara was dead.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:24 pm

Fiona put her hand over her mouth to laugh slightly when she saw how worried Ravenna was over the blood coming from her vagina. It was adorable to see a pubescent girl finally flower to womanhood. Fiona’s heart swelled with maternal understanding--secretly she had always wanted a daughter, and took every chance she was offered to play with or chide the young girlchildren of her servants at home.

She called for the servant and asked her to bring an extra towel and a menstruation rag with a belt. As the servant left to retrieve the items requested, Fiona turned to Ravenna again and approached her, looking down at the murky water.

‘Do not be afraid of it, child. You are a woman now. The French say it is a sign of fertility. Don’t be embarrassed,’ she said. ‘How old are you, love? You look rather young. You’re too thin. We ought to fill you up with food and some nice warm wine. It would be good to fatten you up a little bit--I don’t think you’ll be able to leave your chamber for a few days, my dear.’

She was gently smiling at the girl, going around to her and rubbing her shoulders as if she were her mother. ‘Relax, sweet heart. You can continue with your bath. Don’t mind the blood. You’ll be living with your new-found friend for some time.’

When the servant girl came in with what Fiona requested, the older woman clapped her hands together and collected the items. She drew up a chair to the bath and sat on it, facing Ravenna.

‘Now, this will be very important. Are you ready, my Lady?’

--

Clovis crossed his arms as he spoke to Elisa. He was a little nervous, speaking to her, for what she said and the way he said it he could think of a million responses for. And he was still unaware of just how much he liked her and felt comfortable around her. It was almost as if he was blind to his own actions.

‘I believe cold weather is rather poetic. A warm night begets love and dreams, but I believe a cool winter day is more characteristic of true literature . . .’ he paused. ‘I enjoy cooler weather, myself. It is good for sitting by the warmth of a hearth and reading tales of faraway lands.’

He was being utterly romantic, but his brows were drawn in as if he were having an intellectual conversation with a philosopher.
‘Yes, I have met all of them--you saw me dance with them,’ he smirked. ‘To be quite honest, I am at a loss myself. Not because of the competition--’ he hesitated, ‘but because I want to make a good decision for my country. A man cannot always choose for someone he loves most, especially not in political situations. And, if you pardon my boldness in saying so, I believe some of the bachelorettes would not be good for politics.’

He did not know why, but Clovis felt as if he could say such a thing to Elisa. He was sure she had heard stranger things, given the strength of her power. He had known that the Cabreras had some quality of a confessional service about them. It made him feel like he could be honest to her about many things, but in no way did he want to burden her or take advantage of her sweetness.

--

Cosette watched Hart and Almara walk away, utterly delighted, though she became disappointed when she could not feel Hart’s presence anymore. She continued to banter with the women, keeping a careful eye on Ahmose and Ulisse. Ulisse did not seem to notice his sister’s disappearance, but she felt a gnawing anxiety in the Egyptian prince. She felt that he knew something which everyone else did not, and it was beginning to bother her.

That was, until she felt a sudden jump in her soul. She faltered on her feet for a moment; it was like an infiltration. Something had infiltrated her, and she recognised instantly that it was Hart. The noble women she was with asked her if she was all right, and she said she was, though she had to sit down. Cosette was flushing, and her heart began to flutter. She was feeling the intensity of Hart, his ecstasy, his power. She felt his frustration, and then he had become full of vigour and lust.

It was difficult for her to concentrate on anything else. Some of the ladies had a servant bring her water. She sipped at it, but her womb stirred in secret passion. She pressed her thighs together in an effort to help herself, and she wanted so bad to be able to see what Hart was doing.

It continued this way for Cosette, uncomfortably, until she felt his release and pleasure. She herself almost came without even being touched, and the ladies could all see the discomfort and began to believe she would suffer from a heat stroke. After all, the Voltrens were pale and sensitive to the sun. But then, just as suddenly as she felt Hart’s sexual catharsis, it ended abruptly. She could feel him no longer, and she became incredibly curious.

Ahmose had only grown more uncomfortable. He had ended up excusing himself from Ulisse to retreat into his chamber.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:02 pm

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“I’m fourteen years, my Lady.” Ravenna was relieved with how utterly kind Fiona was, and sunk back into the water easily after dropping the towel on the floor. But she jumped back up when Fiona mentioned she wouldn’t be able to leave the chamber for a few days. “No, I have to! I can’t stay here. I have to see Clovis, and socialize, and see others. That’s the whole point of my being here.” Worry filled her expression. It would also mean her father would find out.

Her eyes followed the items brought in like they were torture devices. Her face paled further.

“What do you think my father will say? Will I have to tell him?”

But she fell back into the water when Fiona drew up the chair, and took soap that had been on the small table beside the bath. She started to scrub herself and wash her hair, frowning a little as she did. She wasn’t liking this already. “Ready...for what?” She looked up at Fiona, twisting her hair to let the soap and water drip from it.

-

Elisa smiled when he began to describe in detail what his idea of a perfect day was, and she was charmed by it. “You are very poetic, Your Majesty. You would like my home country. I enjoy the cold nights myself, and…” She hesitated, as though she had not told a soul before. “When I was younger, I would go out to the horses and lay with them to study when it was snowing.” She would often read them aloud passages from the bible.

“Just because you danced with them does not mean you met them.” She gave her empty cup away to a passing servant and listened to Clovis. “I hear women are not well suited for politics in the first place. But, then again, I’ve avoided delving into them myself..” She wasn’t sure if she was trying to push him away, or felt intimidated by Clovis. Her eyes met his in an effort to be more gentle. How could she have been so charming the night before, but so blunt now?

Elisa squeezed her hand slightly, hidden behind her dress. “Forgive me, Your Majesty,” she said quietly. “I’ve been quite on edge as of late. Sometimes I speak...and I’m not sure what will come out.” Her brow knit slightly. “I believe the Queen should be someone who is honest, and kind, and graceful. Anything she’s missing, I believe you will encourage her with your own gifts to make up for them. There would be a balance and...politics would hardly need to factor in with your own courage and knowledge.” Elisa bowed her head, blushing slightly, and looked away to the other guests at the party.

-

Hart stared at the body for quite some time. His fingers traced along her neck, twisted into her hair, just before he rose and dragged her to the tall confessionals. He shut the door and tore the edge of her dress, twisting it tightly. His eyes were determined and cold as he looked up to the rafters.

When he left the chapel, her body was hanging behind the confessional door. For the first time in a long, long while, Hart felt nothing, and his emotions were blank. He reached for his flask and took a long drink from it. He walked through the halls and looked through the windows that showed the lake and the silhouettes of the guests at the party.

He felt satisfied. He had shown his true warning to the Ayleharts in his own way, and that was enough for him. He would forgive them. Ulisse would have his position as Commander, as he had heard, and Hart would forgive them. It was a fair barter. Hart stopped in a window and drank more from his flask as he leaned against the wall.

He would tell his fiancee everything in bed as he touched her, and feel her emotions rise and fall with the tale. He smiled to himself. Cosette would be pleased.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:30 pm

Fiona simply smiled when Ravenna told her all of her frustrations. She began to tut at her, shaking her head, but her humour remained. Her cheeks were as full as fruits as she looked upon Ravenna, though the sadness reflected in her eyes remained. Fiona wished her own daughter had lived long enough so that she could have experienced such a life-altering event.

It was the dawn of womanhood for Ravenna, and it was natural to be frightened of it--blood was something that only warriors were thought to see, and in Fiona’s mind it made each young girl a warrior to know that they shed their own blood each month.

She watched the girl wash herself. When Ravenna paused in asking what she was ready for, Fiona took in a deep breath and settled her hands on her lap.
‘Well, my dear--a woman bleeds once every full cycle of the moon. It is a natural process. It can get painful to bleed--your womb hurts from it, so it is important to soothe the body and drink much water. A girl of your size might benefit from eating more . . . you look so pale and thing, you could become ill from the loss of blood!’

She paused. ‘The extra towel will be for the blood when you are finished with your bath. This contraption,’ she continued, lifting the belt, ‘is to fasten around your waist. These straps hold a thick linen rag that will absorb the blood. You wear them as underwear. It might be more uncomfortable than a chemise, and will make it a bit difficult to use a chamber pot, but it should help with the blood.
‘You might want to tell your father, because it is an important event for a girl. He will be happy to hear. I can’t imagine any father that could be upset with their daughter for bleeding for the first time.’ Fiona grinned.

--

Clovis had not noticed any hardness in Elisa’s personality at all. He actually quite liked the honesty. He appreciated it. She was not the kind of woman to tell you what you wanted to hear, and the more she spoke of herself and what she thought, the more profound she became to him. What she said about being in the stable to study was an absolutely curious little quirk which he admired. He could imagine her doing so, and it almost made him smile in a nostalgia which did not even belong to him.

He was surprised to hear her say that women were not well-suited for politics. Clovis was very much a progressive man. He did not necessarily believe in those stereotypes of women being unsuitable for certain positions, but though he did not voice his mind in these matters very frequently, it was strange to hear a woman of such noble and powerful nature to say that women were not politically fit. He remained quiet.

‘Of course I would encourage the woman I marry to flourish. I like a woman who is as courageous and intelligent as I am--perhaps even more,’ he said gently, grinning. ‘Do not apologise, Lady Cabrera. Perhaps it is a delicate subject with you . . .’ he paused, wondering if that would suffice enough as a hint that he had read her letter. Clovis almost felt as if she needed a certain space from him, as if his presence commanded too much attention. Maybe she was self conscious and thought they were being watched.

‘I should excuse myself, Lady Cabrera,’ he said, bowing to her. He went to join Emerson.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:22 pm

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The girl was frowning when she heard it all, and dropped her arms in the water restlessly. But she gentled and looked at Fiona. “Thank you for helping me, Lady Azerola. I’ll tell my father.”

She got out of the bath and took the towel off the floor again, drying out her hair and body. She put on her white undershirt and picked up the belt that Fiona had gotten for her. Carefully, and with her nose scrunched, she put it on herself, and then pulled on her petticoat. With her feet still wet, she started plaiting her wet hair over her shoulder.

“It will hurt a lot?” She looked at Fiona uncertainly, with a little fear. “It hurts for everyone?” She began pulling on the rest of her dress, but her eyes didn’t seem to leave Fiona. She was so gentle, but seemed a little sad. Ravenna wanted to know why that was. But, she remembered Asa--anyone who had a son like that would be sad, she supposed.

Ravenna let the maid in and had her help herself dress. Ravenna stood as the maid laced up her corset.

“I didn’t plan for this to be our second meeting with each other. I was hoping you would be able to show me your jewelry making skills soon as well, my Lady. I…Oh! Will you come with me?” She put on the last of her things and opened the bathroom door. “Father, Lady Fiona Azerola is here. I wanted to show her my jewelry.” She led Fiona excitedly to the little parlor they had, and disappeared to her suitcases to bring back a big cigar box. She held it out to Fiona.

Inside, there were multiple pieces of jewelry. Most of them were crudely made, often having a bit of discrete bends, or the jewels put on with thick glue. But a handful were smooth and shined, one of them being the circlet she had worn the day prior. There was another ring, a man’s ring, that was well shaped and had tiny blue stones around it. “Some of the metals I’ve gotten from...other places.” She smiled a little. “When I have the chance to go.”

-

It was not as though she believed it. She believed women were suited for anything, but to see Clovis’s reaction comforted her. He was a good king. She said nothing to how she really felt about the matter, though, and the young woman’s eyes flickered strangely to him when he mentioned it would be a delicate subject. Her chest swelled with her breath. It pained her to think of what he knew, of her note, of what she truly wanted. Or, what she thought she wanted.

“You are...very kind,” she said slowly, as though it was not something she always said of people. Her brow knit together. She remembered laughing with him the night before, and a ghost of a smile appeared. “I hope we can speak again.”

When he rose from his bow, there was a different emotion in her eyes, one of nearly pain and longing. She wanted him to understand her, but this was not the place to tell. “Thank you, Your Majesty.” She curtseyed, and looked away. My calling is not with him, she assured herself.

-

Emerson was still with Irving and when Clovis approached, Irving grinned at the King. “Your Majesty! Lord Irving Averin. It is a pleasure to meet you.” He bowed deeply, but also held out his hand to shake it with Clovis.

“He has been discussing with me plans to create a large family map for yourself, Your Majesty,” Emerson said. “What do you think of the idea?”

-

Hart returned outside and went right to Cosette. His emotions were tumultuous, but excited was blanketed over most of them. He bowed and kissed her hand, then rose to stand beside her. Her emotions were like wine to him. He breathed a sigh. “How is your party faring?” He looked around, his eyes on many, but they went back to Cosette.

“Did you feel me?” He asked, as though it was nothing, and he leaned against a tree, smiling dreamily to himself. He already knew the answer, but wanted to hear her say she did.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:07 pm

‘It may not hurt too much sometimes, but it does hurt for most girls. If it hurts too much, we can summon the royal apothecary and he will give you opium.’ Fiona watched the girl as she dressed. She was reacting in a very adult manner--Fiona wondered if she was perhaps an old soul, but then she remembered just what Ravenna had said earlier: she did not really have a mother. They had something vaguely in common, then. Where Fiona had never had the chance to experience the joy of having a grown daughter, Ravenna had never had the experience of being raised by a true mother.

Fiona knew all about the story of the Almavivas, of Baldassare. She quite loved Baldassare--he was very kind and passionate. When she asked him about Ravenna he had been full of enthusiasm and concern for her growth as a woman. He would certainly be a happy man when he found out his girl had become a women. It was strange and eerie, too, that Ravenna looked very much like her mother . . . but her mannerisms were indeed quite different. Renata was always very lively and gay; Ravenna seemed more quiet-spoken and serious, delicate.

‘Of course I will come with you, my dear,’ Fiona said, getting up. The girl was adorable. At only ten and four years, and she was beginning to see how well Baldassare had raised her on his own.

Baldassare was still in bed and surprised when he saw both Ravenna and Lady Fiona come from the washroom. He immediately lifted himself, knowing he was not dressed for guests, and laughed.
‘Lady Fiona! I apologise. I was not expecting company,’ he said.
‘Don’t you worry, Baldassare,’ Fiona replied, laughing herself.

When Ravenna showed Fiona the jewelry she had made, the older woman was thoroughly impressed. Though the work was rough around the edges, it definitely had the delicate touch of her personality mingled with autumnal fancy.
‘This is remarkable work, Ravenna . . .’ Fiona said, picking up the pieces and turning them over in her hands, gently smiling and inspecting the jewels and the craftsmanship. ‘I would love to teach you a few things. Asa usually helps me with metalwork--he was a page once, you know, but do you have a smithy at home?’

--

‘Lord Irving Averin, ‘tis a pleasure!’ Clovis cried out, taking Irving’s hand and shaking it enthusiastically. He looked at Emerson when he introduced the man as having an interest in building a family map, and nodded.
‘I think it’s a grand idea. I don’t think we have a proper one, actually. The only family map we have stopped with my grandmother and her husband. There was nothing else after that. Shall we discuss this in my study after the tea party, Lord Averin?’

--

When Hart came to Cosette, she had excused herself from the rest of the group to stand near the lake, throwing bread crumbs into it and watching fish come up to grab at the morsels. She had felt Hart before he even came close, and wondered if he was tumultuous because the act he had just performed was controversial. She looked at him when he came close enough to her, smiling when he bowed and kissed her hand.

‘The party is going very well,’ she replied, feeling a glow within her when she looked on at her cousin. ‘I felt everything,’ Cosette said, wringing her hands and looking away at the lake with a shy smile. ‘It was too much. As soon as I felt it I thought that I must have you. Everyone thought I was ill, but I was absorbed in your pleasure, dear cousin.’

She looked back at him with a coquettish grin. ‘And how was Almara? Did you enjoy her, as frustrated as you were?’

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:33 pm

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The apothecary. Ravenna thought of Dante, though, even though she knew that it would be a burden on him during his invited time here. Not only that, but it would have been worse for Dante to know rather than her father.

The girl knelt at Fiona’s feet and took out a woman’s ring she had made. A simple silver band, delicate and well made. “Yes, we do have one at home.” She tried to imagine Asa as an innocent page, and Ravenna said nothing, nor reacted to the vision. Her mouth twisted a little in thought, and she lifted the ring to Fiona. “Will you keep this for me, if it fits you? As thanks?”

Ravenna had been raised in kindness. Her father, although he had a bit of a temper, was always kind to strangers. He would raise his voice when it was necessary. She thought it strange that Asa was the son of Fiona, who seemed so kind. She also hadn’t thought if she would have taken offense to Baldassare punching her own son--Ravenna regretted she hadn’t thought of that before bringing Fiona to their suite, but she seemed to be alright with Baldassare.

-

Irving smiled gratefully. “That would be wonderful. I could do the rough draft in front of you both, if that would suit.” He looked at Emerson as well. Emerson quirked a brow. “I don’t think that I need to be there for it,” he started, but Irving laughed slightly. “Believe me, you’ll be interested! You seem close enough to His Majesty to be family, anyway. Am I wrong?”

Emerson smiled, and it was a true, happy smile. He liked it when people noticed their friendship. He looked at Clovis, then back to Irving. “I suppose I can.”

“We can work on a design as well. Perhaps something with a lantern after your family, Your Majesty.”

-

“Everything,” he repeated with a smile. “Well, good. I was hoping you would." He watched her as she gazed at the lake. She was beautiful. He almost wanted her painted. He came up close to her, placing an arm around her waist and kissed her temple.

He wasn't worried. He was very content. He was thinking about what would happen when they found the body, or how Ulisse would respond. He wondered if he should take a few more steps in getting rid of the body, but anyone here who would be able to help him was not necessarily his ally. He thought of a Seagrave, but he had not seen any in attendance.

“I will describe everything to you when the party is over. There musn’t be anything to spoil now.” He pulled away from her and looked over the lake. He couldn't wait to tell her everything. He wanted to feel her heart beating underneath him when he told the story, and feel all her emotions. She would always be satisfactory to him, and thinking of it gave him great joy.

-

Asa felt very anxious today. He paced in his bedroom. He hadn't wished his mother good morning, which guilted him. His nose hurt, which guilted him more. He thought of sending some sort of apology to the Almavivas, but then he felt shamed. When he closed his eyes, he thought of Ahmose, and that annoyed him and further confused him. He went to the window again and looked for Ahmose, but did not see him.

He paced a little more, then changed his clothes. He wore a black and gold doublet with a cloak over his shoulder with his sigil-- a red rearing fox. He left his chambers and walked through the halls to Ahmose's. He stood outside the door for quite some time, shifting in his spot. He should have sent forward a note to ask for an invitation, or warn him beforehand. His brows drew down and he frowned, just before he lifted his hand to knock on the door.


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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:04 am

Fiona looked on at the gift Ravenna bestowed upon her with a peculiar face: her eyes spoke of sadness, but there was a certain happy reverie, almost as if she were remembering a gift that her daughter had given to her once when she was alive. She turned the ring around in her fingers and put it on her right hand, on the pinky. It fit perfectly.

‘Of course I’ll keep it, my dear,’ she replied. ‘And don’t you think about thanking me. You would do well to ask the smithy to teach you how to metalwork--if there are days that you can’t, then have him do it for you. He will help you get a feel for metal that is smooth and solid. I am sure your father won’t disagree with you practising metalwork. If he does, you tell him that he will have to confront me.’ She giggled.

‘Now, I ought to leave. You remember what I’ve told you about your . . . womanhood, darling. And don’t be shy either . . . come to me if ever you have a question. I would be happy to welcome you, and Asa can frolic somewhere else if you are uncomfortable with his presence. By the way, I must apologise for his behaviour. He can act like a rotting piece of mutton. Unfathomable. He’s charming when he wants to be, but he’s disgusting when he thinks he’s being clever . . .’

--

‘Please. A lantern would be perfect,’ Clovis responded, nodding. ‘And I do think that I would like to observe you sketch it out. It would be absolutely fascinating. I don’t know very much about my grandmother, but I know my mother did not like to talk about her.’ He laughed. ‘Sometimes I feel there is a bit of fire in our gift of light. Certainly, the women of the Roshaun family have never been ones to cross.’

Clovis had a sense of Irving that he was to be trusted. He looked at Emerson and noticed he had an expression of flattery when the Averin mentioned their proximity. Indeed, Emerson was family.

‘So, when shall the appointment be, then?’ Clovis enquired.

--

When Asa knocked on the door to Ahmose’s suite, a slave answered. It was a female slave, veiled, with blue eyes and tanned skin. When she saw Asa, she opened the door further and bowed her head.

‘Lord Azerola,’ she said softly. ‘Ahmose is waiting for you in his study. I will show it to you.’

She led him in, closing the door behind him, and with her head bowed took soft steps through the sitting room to a door on the far right. She opened it, and within it was Ahmose, standing by the window and looking out. He was looking towards the chapel. When the door opened, he did not look, but bade the slave to go.

‘Good afternoon, Asa. Are you all right?’ he asked, looking at him. He seemed somewhat grim, but forced a small smile so as not to make the Lord too uncomfortable.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:46 am

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Fiona’s giggle was delightful, and it made Ravenna smile so broadly that her cheeks hurt. “He shouldn’t have an issue with it.”

Her smile faded, though, when Fiona apologized for Asa. The girl looked very surprised. She bowed her head. “Thank you, Lady Fiona. You are so very kind. You shouldn’t have to apologize for his actions, but thank you.” When she thought of Asa, her heart grew dark, and she wondered how such a horrible man could come from such a graceful woman.

Ravenna took the box gently from Fiona and bid her farewell. She set the box on the little table in the furnished parlor, and returned to their bedroom. She was noticing the discomfort of the horrible belt Fiona had given her, and although she didn’t feel any pain, the discomfort was worse enough alone.

Her heart swelled when she saw her father, and the girl immediately jumped to him to embrace him. There was never a moment in her life where she was disappointed to see him, and she didn’t remember a time when she had ever fought with him or disagreed.

“Father, Lady Fiona said that if you do not let me use the smithy at home, she will fight you. Her exact words.” She looked up at him and smiled. “I have not seen you all morning! Please take lunch with me?”

-

“Make the appointment, say, 4 o’clock today, if that pleases His Majesty?” His eyebrows raised and he looked to Emerson, who seemed to be thinking.

“You have nothing scheduled.” Emerson looked to Clovis. Irving looked away and was already drawing up a plan in his head of what he would be able to sketch.

-

Asa flushed when the slave told him that Ahmose was expecting him. As he walked, he rubbed his cheeks to try and warm himself out of the shyness he felt. Asa stopped near the doorway, startled slightly by Ahmose’s appearance. He felt some great symbolism in it. If Ahmose knew he was coming, why would he still be standing near the window, facing away?

The slave left, and Asa took another step or two into the room, He looked at Ahmose’s eyes, and he felt startled, once again, and hoped that the expression was not obvious on his face. He reached up and touched the bruise below his right eye. “I hurt a bit more than last night but...yes, I’m all right, Your Highness.” He hesitated, and fumbled for an excuse. “I was hoping that you would have some of that ointment from last night. I’m embarrassed to go to the royal apothecary.” Or anywhere, he thought after.

He walked a bit closer to Ahmose, his eyes looking out the window beyond to try and see what he was seeing. “You’re troubled.” He didn’t ask, he stated. His eyes looked back to Ahmose with a somewhat set jaw, determined to know what it was that could trouble such a stout man.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:28 pm

‘It’s done then,’ said Clovis, reaching out to shake Irving’s hand. ‘We will have supper together if you like, within my study. Emerson, I would love it if you were there,’ he continued, looking at his friend briefly. ‘We should all have supper together and have wine. I would love to know more about the Averins, Lord Irving, because frankly--and please pardon any offense--I do not know much about the family.’

‘All Hail the King!’ rang a voice, purely electric, just from behind the group. It was a woman who had spoken. She laughed afterwards, as she approached them. The woman was of moderate height, wearing a pastel dress, a parasol over her head. Her hair was wild, splayed out in tight brown curls, and there was something ruddy about her, though she was dressed very nicely.
Clovis turned around and laughed when he saw her.
‘Morgana!’ he cried out, and made as if to embrace her, though she put her hand up.
‘Please, Clovis, you know I don’t like being touched by men. What’s all this hully-gully? I came straight-away from Italia when I heard you were having matrimony. Where is your bride?’ she asked. Morgana had a Scottish accent.
Clovis paused and looked quickly at Emerson.
‘Emerson, Lord Irving, do you know Morgana Ferguson? She’s an artist. A very popular one. I wanted to commission her for some portraits.’
‘O, yes. We’ve been speaking through letter for some time, aye.’ She looked at Emerson. ‘I feel as though I’ve met you before,’ she said, squinting her eyes at him and tilting her head. ‘Have we ever met?’


--

Ahmose seemed relieved to hear that Asa was feeling all right, and nodded when he requested more of the numbing ointment. As Asa approached himself and the window, Ahmose walked away to his desk, where sitting atop was the same little bowl with the ointment in it. He paused when Asa stated what he observed of the prince.

‘I am,’ he replied, picking up the bowl with the ointment and bringing it to Asa. He opened it and, as he did the night before, dipped his finger in the stuff and began applying it gingerly to Asa’s face. It was strange, really: the prince had very large hands and fingers, but they made very delicate gestures and weren’t brutish at all.
‘Do you remember what I said last night to you, about the Lord Voltren?’ he said softly, his eyes flickering up to look at Asa’s. He trusted Asa. He didn’t seem to mind his shyness or the way his jaw set. He was calm, non-judgemental, and understanding. And there was something about the Lord Azerola, as reckless as he was, which was very soft and which needed a certain closure and support. Ahmose recognised it and liked this bit of vulnerability.

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Re: The King

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:18 pm

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Emerson’s eyes saw Morgana before she came over--she was not difficult to miss. The reagent stared slightly, and it was very unlike him. When Clovis went to embrace her, he went to stop him, but was glad when Morgana stopped Clovis herself. For a King to go to embrace a woman who was not courting him in a party before women who were courting him...Emerson made a note to chide Clovis for it later.

Normally, too, Emerson would have interjected to explain that Clovis did not yet have a bride. But his mouth was slightly open, and he was silent. He did not know her, and yet, she did seem familiar. Emerson shut his mouth and swallowed, then bowed to Morgana. “No, I do not know of her.” He turned towards her and met her eyes with her head tilting in curiosity. “Though, I do feel the same way, Miss, no, I don’t believe we have met before.” There was a slight fear in Emerson, though, when she had said she did not like to be touched by men. He felt enchanted by her, and there was a fear in him that she would reject him in some way.

Irving gave a cry of delight. “Oh, this is just perfect.” He did not make an attempt to shake the artist’s hand, but did bow to her. He looked between the other three, and his eyes landed on the woman. “Gospazitza Ferguson, I was just telling His Majesty and His Excellency Lord Emerson Dracing that I would be making a family tree. I would pay you to do portraits for the final product, if you would be so willing.”

Emerson looked up, slightly startled that Irving knew his last name so clearly from his head without Emerson having spoken it. Irving’s eyes flickered to Emerson in a silent secret, but was jovial all the same. He looked back to Morgana. “All the way from Italy! My dear, what brought you there? Your accent tells me it isn’t your home.”  

-

He watched Ahmose bring over the ointment, and he felt a strange flash of disappointment when he was briefly certain Ahmose was just going to give him the small bowl. Asa, as though preparing for hurt, winced slightly as Ahmose’s hand came to his face. But he relaxed and refocused onto Ahmose, who had affirmed he was troubled. Before he could ask, though, Ahmose, answered it with a question. Asa stared at Ahmose, and grew pale.

“Lord Voltren...he…” His eyes widened and he kept them with Ahmose’s. “He killed someone? Today?” The young lord frowned.

Asa could deal with treachery, with mischievousness, but death was what made him uneasy. Asa could wish death on others (like Costanza) mindless play, but he didn’t think he could ever kill. He looked toward the window again, trying to piece together. “Should we tell the King?” Asa blinked, smirked slightly. “I mean, shouldn’t you?”

He looked down at Ahmose’s hands once they had fallen from his face. They were huge. He was so dark, but his palms were so light and pink.

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Re: The King

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