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[center [I Once, a long time ago, Dragons use to rule and run the realm. In fact they use to be the only race here. That was until us humans had shown up and drove them to near extinction. Dragon's didn't know what to do. They didn't dare to fight back, they at the least defended themselves and their homes, but in this act Humans sought it out of Glory, and Riches beyond imagination. It was also in the blind greed that dragons found their opportunity to hide among their enemy. Transforming themselves to look like the humans Dragons decided it'd best to live as the humans did.]]
[Center [I It was their downfall, for they had not understood human kind, and many Dragons were killed because of claims of Witchcraft and black magic. Many years passed before anyone came to realize one thing however. That each royal family from the kingdoms across the realm had dragon blood inside of them. How you ask? Well its said that powerful dragons had offspring with the Royal families across the kingdoms, of course not mingling the blood lines of the dragons they kept to themselves.]]
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[Center Peace was at last found across the realm as the dragons had been destroyed. The riches and glory went to the kingdoms that claimed them, and the humans were peaceful at last. At least that was until one kingdom's youngest prince decided it wasn't enough for him. instead in a fit of rage he became jealous of his older brother and wanted the crown of the kingdom for himself, but alas he was the youngest of the family. His father still ruled and while doing so the boy would never become the King.]
[center The young prince hatched a plot that would gain him the thrown of not one, but three of the great kingdoms in one go. While executing this plan the prince killed his brother while the man slept. The king was furious, but his eyes were burning with tears for the loss of his child. The king was not seen for years. With no king on the thrown and no hindrance to his claim to it the prince sat himself upon it and ruled the country with an iron fist. At first his plan was going accordingly, however his future queen had kept refusing his advances, and so he declared war upon the kingdom.]
[Center While the youngest prince waged war upon the women's kingdom. the other kingdom's were preparing for war. They knew that if he succeeded in taking the kingdom that he would eventually come for their own, but what they didn't know was that the king yet had a son to live besides the Tyrant Prince. It was his middle son and new Heir to the thrown. Long forgotten the middle prince lived a life of peace inside the Temples of his father's realm, but the news of his brother's death surprised the man. In fact the boy seemed to fake his own death so he himself would not die.]
[Center The middle son however returned to his people, and called them up in rebellion against his younger brother, but to no avail. No army could match that of the younger prince. Rebellions were destroyed. armies and mass of people massacred all in the name of the Tyrant. So the Middle prince has asked aid from the other kingdoms.]
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hearing her words as he broke into his apple the third time about how she would have stroke down anyone if they had told her when she was younger that this would happen [b "No one believes they would take then thrown when they do. That is because of the age of war, it is because of strife, or disease, or an unforeseen nature. Not many take the crown upon their parent giving it to them so they can go live in seclusion in a mountain castle."]
Taking a fourth and final bite from his apple Erevan almost chocked when she spoke of the queen of the south. [b "I would not know my lady. While Tal'dori is in the south, that is much farther then our country. Tal'Dori is in apart of the middlelands. I had however heard only tales of the queens in the south and how they prefer to sleep separate and only bed a husband if they can beat them in a contest of their choosing. Perhaps that is why they sleep seperately is so she can constantly challenge him so she knows if he still deserves to rule."]
Taking ahold of of Tasia's hand he smiled. [b "We all hope to one day marry for love and partnership, You were lucky as your father wished to see you marry for such a purpose and not for political gain from any of the lands around him, or to a general for their loyalty or a noble to raise him up to the stats of prince and give him the crown. The issue with most of this however is that those who get married don't get to do so with the heart, they are complete strangers and tend to stay that way until their death."]
Holding onto her hand he smiled as his mind drew back to his oldest brother. [b "My brother was lucky. he was a prince of the nation and my father held him in high regards. He allowed him to marry who he wishes, and so my brother took up his bride Sheri. At the time Sheri was Captian of the guard to the keep and so they spent a lot of time together before hand."] releasing her hands from his own he smiled to her. [b "I am sure you will follow your father' s will on you and marry for love instead of political gain even if your council of nobles wish for you to do otherwise."]
Sliding his hand around the goblet he took a sip from the water and drew in a breath. [b "I know it is meal time Tasia, but we must talk about the next phase of the plans. We have learned that my brother has his forces spread to far out amount the lands of the kingdom. He is hoping to keep ahold of important key points within the kingdom so they don't fall to us while we force the country back into the rightful crown."]
Pulling out of his robe he had on he pulled out a specific map of his country. [b "I believe our next to move should be to move against my brother directly. Especially while he is yet regaining composure after loosing us in Afria. Also knowing that his men are unrestful means he has to make his grip upon their reigns even tighter or they will turn on him. I believe we can use this to our advantage."]
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Pointing to first one of many dots on the map. That is Westmeddow Village, he won't likely to have troops placed within as its not walled off and its in a hilly countryside so many of its villagers are expendable to him. Its because of this that he has given us a way right to him, but we can't fall for it. We have to first cut off his troops from him before we can attack him directly."] moving his finger just southeast to another dot he continued. [b "That should be our next target after Westmeddow. Its Delmarsh City. While it has a barricade it is only made of wood and dirt, so while he would likely have troops there they are few in number. If we capture this settlement as well he will cut off the troops from Bellmore Castle and any that maybe in the northwestern part of the country."]
Moving his hand again a little farther down the map he smiled. [b "Then you have Moreville Citadel, which is where we Will use as our base of operation within Tal'dori as it is a key point within the kingdom. It is the gateway into Tal'dori from the Darkmoon forest, as the land around it is mostly water and field for miles and unless one is prepared for it the road is dangerously full of goblins and other darker creatures. Moreville is the only place one can lay their head without danger and is within a three day journey to Canthi the capital, and also two days travel from Vertdale castle which is where he will very likely have posted a legion or two as well."]
Moving his hand again this time to the far south east he once again continued. [b "Then you have the Erimoor farmsteds, which is the main source for food within tal'dori besides the Blackpond fishing post and the trading posts. It will become very heavily taxed for food as we push into the country and especially when we cut off the fishing post. They should be our next target haver Moreville Citadel. We would need to hard march past Vertdale and the troops placed there, and it is a six and a half days march to the farmsteds, but the nobles that resides there will have their own personal troops few in number, but still a force that not even my brother can force under him. Some of the nobles may even join us in our cause."]
Moving his had a tad bit farther north Erevan took a breath, and looked up to make sure Tasia was following his idea of an invasion plan. [b "Once we take the farmsteads the nobles if we do get any of them to join us will March upon Fogpost the trading post just south of Na Tuan Fortress. It was set up to trade with Toris, Kalino, and Tazia. There will be probably a legion posted there if not two upon my brother hearing reports that wee are invading. The noble's will convince the troops there to join us, if they can't then their job is just to keep the troops busy while we march past the city. Our target will be Valynne city as it is also a key point so we will very likely meet high resistance, but reports I have been given says that my nephew's Iron legion is there, and so they will help us."]
Moving his finger to the far south. [ "The noble's next target will be Redloch Village and Fortress. We need as many troops on our side, and Sheri has been in correspondence with my sister who resides within Redloch fortress. She will join us and her troops with us."] Taking a sip of more water and a deep breath he smiled. [b "My sweet little sister is as deadly with a bow and arrow as I am with a blade."]
a small shiver went down erevan's spine thinking of his little sister in battle, [b "My sister and the nobles will then march again Na Tuan Fortress. Our next target we need to hard march again will be Mallow Hill watch. I expect my brother to have set high resistance in it as it will be his closest reserve of troops to him. We need to hard march against it however before my brother can call them to his side. We take the Watch and we will have a view over most of Tal'doris lands. The watch is placed at the top of the highest mountain within the Tal'dori borders. It is the mountain range that separates Tal'dori and Toris and is several mile's thick but there are few paths between the two and so we have a border in them"]
taking one final breath and another drink of the water to finish it off he moved his finger to the middle of all the dots. [b "We will then join whatever forces we have mustered at Na Tuan Fortress and deal with my brother. I suspect his men will be starving by the time we get there and cutting off the supply of food and water into and out of the fortress will cause stress amoung the guards, and even may cause some of them to join us as we push the fortress walls."] Taking a deep breath he put his hands on his head and seemed to struggle with what to do.
[b "The fortress itself is going to be the problem however. As the city has several stone walls and bulkheads outside of it. They have surrounded it. The Fortress itself lies on a river, and only has one entrance and exit point unless you use the river itself, but even if one does plan on it, Its hasn't fallen yet due to a water attack The cannon's placed upon it. Anyone willing to try it is willing to try suicide. The walls are Six feet thick and stand at least fifteen feet tall."]
shuffling around his hair to show a mess and the stress of this single battle seemed to weight heavy upon his mind. [b "My brother will also likely have the bulk of his forces with him within the forest, and those will be only made up of Fiercely loyal people to him, and even if we do manage to get a few soldiers to join us it will take all of our might to push into it."]
Standing to peer down at a different angle at the map he took in a deep breath. [B "There is a solution I have, but it is risky as it is how our civil war was ended many centuries ago, and anyone within the Royal line is told the story. Many believed it to be a fairy tale, but its also the biggest risk even bigger then a suicide shot against the river."]
Pale eyes watched the man before her and part of her noted his words and actions. She sighed and just nodded to him,
"I suppose you're right."
There was so much to be done, so much and her mind could barely comprehend it all. Erevan had chosen his words wisely and she was satisfied enough to know that he was not here purely for political gain. Perhaps she was not as alone as she had thought to begin with. Her eyes flicked with something... an undiscovered emotion perhaps, foreign to her and she looked away from Erevan, pushing a grape around absent mindedly
"I used to think I'd be Queen when I was older and wiser. I'd be married to some knight or ser or high born, I don't know. If anyone had told me this would happen I would have probably struck them down on the spot." A short laugh followed, laced with sadness.
"To have a whole region relying on me, and others is... staggering. I have to grow up and I don't want to. I have to adopt this... Queen approach and personality. That's not me. I come over as cold and heartless but... I used to love riding in the snow in winter, hurling around like I was invincible. Sparring and laughing with boys much older than me. Now, I'm barely myself. I couldn't get married, they would be marrying a sham, they'd marrying Queen Tasia, not Tasia herself."
She wondered if all this had ever plagued Erevan with worry the way it plagued her. He was a Prince after all, maybe that's why he shied away from it all and maybe she should have done the same.
"My father told me of a Queen in the south. Her and her husband slept in different bedchambers, only ever appeared together for public events and formal events. They barely spoke... they were strangers. They brought a child into it because it's the done thing. I want to be like my father in so many ways, Erevan. Married for love, brace, wise and strong, never faltering under pressure. And I'm already barely coping."
She rubbed her eyes and drew in a deep breath, taking a moment to just think. Spilling her worries was not in her criteria usually so this was a little odd for her and probably odder for Erevan. She looked weak, she knew she did. But Erevan was the only one she could feel confident telling this to. He wouldn't judge her, he wouldn't run to the council and bark about how the Queen was stressed and needed rest. She could be normal with him. She could be herself.
The male took the seat to the right of the queen instead of the one across the table where he originally sat after his brother and he had entered the land. Watching her closely the prince noticed how she dismissed the guards. Her words flustered him. He reacted however much differently. His hand went first to his face and to his arms as he shook vigorously. Waiting for the queen to finish her words he had kept an eye on her even through his own. It was indeed something he thought about. What was it he thought about this woman who now sat next to him? His own thoughts clouded his head. Pulling his hand away from his arm he stared at it for a moment.
The one thing that pulled him from it and back to reality was her last statement. Why had he not come? Erevan guessed she was speaking of her crowning her coronation. To think back was a horror the man didn’t want to think of nor go through again, but if it eased her anger at him he would do it. [b “I must give my apologizes for not attending your crowning my great lady, I was not yet healed the night of your crowning. I was still deformed and looked much like a monster. My face was yet torn apart and my head produced horns. My skin was leathery to the touch and not the fine course skin humans of hard work have found to themselves.”]
Rubbing his hands over his face to double check to see if the change had come again he felt his normal human like features. [b “Corean had taken care of me, but at great risk to herself. You see the nobles fear me and I can understand why.”] Pulling an apple from the middle of the table he looked across the glass to Tasia. [b “To answer your earlier question of what I think of you. You are a dear friend and rightful queen to these lands, even if your nobles do not believe so. You have a lot to bare on your shoulders as many rulers do, The hard decisions are yours to make alone and no matter what advise anyone of the people you choose to surround yourself with give you.”]
Taking a bite from the apple and holding his hand over the glass as wine went around he would only have water. [b “You are strong willed, and I believe in your decisions, even if it means having your nobles hate you. I will follow the great queen. Slayer of the Tundra witch and Queen of the north lands.”] Drinking a bit of water from his cup he put it down. [b “I also feel you should marry when you believe the time is right and with whomever you wish for it to be with.”] Taking another bite from the apple he waved his hand to the structure around them. [b “We know your father left you a legacy that will be hard to follow up, but I know my great friend you can do it.”]
Tasia looked to the door when it swung open and there stood Erevan. Formal and cold as always. She still had not forgiven him yet, even if it wasn't his fault, there was still hurt for his actions. She watched him carefully, studying him almost it seemed.
"I have to summon you now, to see your presence?"
She gestured for him to sit and sighed quietly, this whole Queen business was proving tougher than it looked and Tasia looked exhausted.
"You can also relax, I did not invite you here to scold you or have some formal talk. Quite frankly, I'm too tired for it. Is it such a shock to want to see a friends face because he's been hiding in the shadows of a temple?" She asked him and looked to the guards by the door and nodded that they could go, if she knew anything in these troubling times, it was that Erevan had a loyalty as fierce as a Lion to his pride. The dress she wore shifted and she still couldn't quite get over how uncomfortable these things were. She could not wait to get back to her fighting gear rather than this posh nonsense. She did find herself wondering if her father had thought the same. There were so many troubles clouding her mind and she knew she had to be mindful to not lose herself amongst all of this. There was so much to be done, everyone kept telling her.
[i "There threats everywhere your majesty, you have to move quickly." "We have to make sure there's enough food." "Do you trust these Elven folk?" "Foreigners running our lands cannot be accepted" "You simply must marry and produce an heir."]
The sounds were deafening. Her gaze returned to Erevan and she took a small drink of wine when it was poured, thinking carefully about her words.
"I have much to deal with, as you can imagine. My enemies surround me, my own Council wants me sold over like a breeding cow, my people need food and reassurances in these difficult times. So, Erevan, my question is this, what am I to you?"
There was a faint smile playing on her lips.
"A breeding cow who should do as every Queen does and allow herself to be impregnated at earliest opportunity, perhaps I am a dead woman walking with all these enemies around me, or maybe I am merely a fool."
She paused, briefly, letting the words mull over.
"Or maybe I am just lost, given a title that should never have been mine and those who followed my bastard brother were right, and he was the rightful heir all this time. Perhaps I'm cruel and unkind. The North is not a warm place, we are not always looked upon kindly."
She stopped and seemed to regain herself, at least in her mind as her composure had not slipped but there was a confused light behind her green eyes, something reminiscent of a lost and lonely child.
"Which is it? I trust you would give me an honest answer. You've no reason not to."
Perhaps hearing the one true and clear inclination from the only person she regarded right then as a friend would bring some clarity back to her clouded mind. She knew what she wanted to be and that was as strong and fearless as her father had been before her but it seemed so difficult given all the different voices pushing and pulling her to trust their decisions and go down their path. She was a young Queen, no one could deny that. Made even worse by the fact that she was unmarried and had no children so one foolish plunder into battle would see the crown slip from place.
Perhaps she was completely mad and completely alone in this world. Her own friend only saw her when summoned, he hadn't even seen her take up the crown. Perhaps she was mistaken. Erevan had only made an alliance with her because of political gain, perhaps she was that alone in this world.
Then her composure fell. It seemed to crumble like bread.
"Why didn't you come? One familiar face, Erevan."
Erevan had worked hard on his plan, but he saw the almost crushed looked that Tasia had on her face when he started talking of his war plans. He knew what she had wanted to hear, but to have such a talk would require time they did not have now, even less now that the campaign was well within grasp. His people, his home, no His heart would be released from his brother’s grasp. He would then be able to do what he wished when his nephew took the crown.
The male had watched the queen as she exited the temple. She had spoken only the few words that assured him that his plan would be the one they took, but to know the queen’s true intent was to pick her brain. The prince ad spent the day preparing a battle plan against his brother’s legions, as he knew that once the youngest prince learned when his country was going to be invaded he would turn his gaze to the north hoping to crush their armies and force them to retreat.
Erevan remembered his father had just barely won against namandu, however it wasn’t a battle of blood or men, but one of wit and strategy. The thought of his father loosing made Erevan shutter, it was not one he wished to think about as the man had nearly lost his life several times in battle to a spear, an arrow, a weapon of some kind, however never had he lost a fight standing proudly in front of his men. The prince had returned to his daily dose of bread and water for lunch. The prince had not left the temple until later afternoon. He stepped out of the temple in his the normal temple robes once again he had originally came into Namandu with. His single blade hanging from the left side of his hip, he had also strapped to his back bow and arrow made of the silver phoenix, his most prized weapon that was besides his magic.
Stepping to the foot of the castle the prince paused a moment, what would happen if he was to not show up to dinner? Would he forever be in Tasia’s eyes a disappointment? Would he have no redemption to return him to his best friend’s good graces? No he would not even think about running away this time. Pushing the door open the prince was greeted promptly by servants and guards alike. They had all turned to him as he walked in with his temple robes upon him instead of the royal colors of his own kingdom.
Being lead into the feasting hall by the same boy he had helped in the stables the boy seemed to have a great big smile on his face. He kept talking on and on during their walk about how he had been praised at how clean the stables had been by not just his own father, but by the head of the entire staff of the citadel. The boy kept thanking the prince, only to have the prince’s hand stop him from continuing [b “My boy return to the stables, for now they expect this of you every time you are assigned the stables.”] the prince let his hand drop to his side. [b “I am sorry, I have but made your job harder not easier. Yes you have praise of all those you are surrounded by, but its only momentary as hard work will always be demanded.”]
The prince had the door opened by a small framed man as he exited the hall with a small smile on his face. “The queen is expecting you young prince.” The prince had quietly stepped into the hall as the man pulled the door behind him closed. The prince stood at the door with a smile on his face. [b “I am told I was expected.”] standing across the table from Tasia the prince looked down to see the table had been set only for two.
Tasia was a master at hiding her emotions, especially when it came to Erevan. She had to admit when he started talking of battle plans, she was slightly crestfallen, perhaps thinking he met something other than battle plans. She followed his plan though, carefully processing everything he said. She watched his movements and thought for a long while in silence. She had completely forgotten the elves would only follow her and not Erevan. It was a shame because she knew he and Corean were good friends.
Eventually, after some time, she nodded.
"Then it looks like we have a battle plan, Prince Erevan." She commented with a smile towards him. War would be upon them within a week, and at the end of that, Tal'Dori would be reclaimed and perhaps there would be peace at last for many years. It was time like this Tasia felt her own mortality. She could die in combat, as could any of them but she would never break her promise to Erevan.
"Well then, perhaps you can join me for dinner tonight? Only if you want to, I understand if you would prefer to stay in the temple before we leave for war." Tasia offered, mostly because sitting in a hall by yourself eating was terribly quiet and lonely, most of the time she would take something to her room and isolate herself so she was alone on her terms and no one else's. She stood and smiled to him as she drew her hood up, eyes glittering as she turned towards the light seeping in from the doorway.
"Do not feel obliged." Given Erevan's history with avoiding her she would not expect much.
Tasia took her leave and spent her day singing off on declarations and papers, giving extra land to farmers further north now she ruled those regions as well. Namandu would see its economy rise after the war and she knew they would need it to bargain with other regions.
[b "Ma'am, dinner has been served downstairs."] A smartly dressed servant man reminded her at the doorway. An older gentleman, several years older than Tasia and quite the handsome man.
"Thank you Tobias." Tasia remarked and finished her signature before sealing it royally and setting it with the pile before heading downstairs. Her eyes looked slightly tired, itching almost as she sat down at the table. It was a small offering but Tasia did not like big meals. Deer with vegetables and breads and cheeses laid out.
[b "You are expecting company, Ma'am?"] Tobias asked from where he stood.
"Perhaps. One finds it hard to know." She gave a small smile to Tobias.
[b "Forgive me for speaking out of turn, ma'am but, why pine after such a man? He lets you down at every turn and I did not see his face at your coronation and nor did he make any effort to reconcile his misdoings."] Tobias commented, watching his Queen carefully.
Tasia smiled a little and took a small drink of water,
"The mysteries of the world, Tobias. Right now, I could not tell you why I keep hoping." She said to him with a small laugh.
Tobias just grinned, figuring it was her business. He had served her father since he was just a boy and her father had always been so kind to him. He had seen Tasia grow up and he figured any man should feel honoured to have such a woman care for him.
Erevan had heard the voice call out. It was Tasia. A smile played across the prince’s lips. The giant cat however still refused to move as the prince tried to move. With a more stern voice the prince ordered the cat away. She rose from holding him down pacing behind the queen a few times only to run outside as if something had caught her attention and drew her away. Wyn leaped and bound down the steps and into the city without hesitation.
The prince sat up on the area he made for his bed and looked across it, The queen’s words rang true his make shift bed of straw and blankets was not fit for anyone included those who would claim the temple as home, but in his eyes he would not use it often enough, nor long enough to tend to have a better bed. They were to attack His brother full force in two days now, so getting a proper bed for the temple would be to what use? No one it seemed claimed the temple as home, nor did it look like anyone took care of the entire temple itself.
The prince had heard the queen’s words of more to talk about. There was so much more he wanted to say, but now with the queen was in front of him and had caught the prince off guard. He had no words he could speak other than perhaps his plans of attack on his brother’s kingdom. Drawing upon that the prince stretched to his pillow and pulled out from a little hideaway cubby a map of his own kingdom in detail.
Drawing a few extra lines around the kingdom “The reports that I have been given from Corean My brother prepares for war, but not with Namandu, no instead he prepares to expand farther south He prepares for war again Kalino and Tazia.” The prince pointed to a northern land “The land of Namandu is here. The only northern border of Tal’dori, especially sense the fall of Elrieithal and the Tundra queen.” Moving his finger to woodland the prince went on. “This is the Darkmoon Forest. Where the elves reside and prepare for war, however on the other side is Afra, whom we have learned has sided with my brother.”
A heavy breath came from the prince as his head went up into a position that made it look like he was looking up, but his eyes were closed. “I cannot give commands to the elves, they won’t listen to them even if I did. So as you are Queen and leading the force of Namandu and the elves, I must ask that you have the elves stop, or at least Delay Afra from coming to my brother’s aid. We will have enough problems as it is fighting his forces alone.” The prince moved his hand to a south eastern border.
“This is the country of Kalino, They were friends to my father and are friends to the temples within our lands. They will help us. I have been writing the High priestess of the Goddess in their lands who has much influence to their Ruler. At first the ruler wanted nothing to do with our war, as he claimed it to be a civil war, but after learning my brother wishes war upon his kingdom he gladly accepted the invitation into our makeshift alliance. Below Kalino is Silveria, to Kalino’s east is the country of Lalishe, whom have also said they will join us in the war. I guess my brother has made a spectacle of himself at all their courts by demanding tribute from them or be conquered to make an Empire of Tal’dori. Silveria is a country of elves excellent with bow and arrow, along with foot sword and spear. The country Lalishe I’m not to sure about I only remember them vaguely as great raiders.”
The prince moved his marker to the southern border of Tal’dori. “The country of Tal’dori’s southern border is that of open water, however Upon those waters my brother has made a fleet of war ships that make ready to carry his men across the water to Tazia.”
The prince took a second deep breath and a third before going on. “The isle of Tazia is a land of ruthless murders, Thieves, and cut throats. My father had done the smart thing. Everyone who visits Tal’dori wonders why we have no dungeons or any blood on our country’s history of a mass murder or any of that. It is because anyone who does not like their life in Tal’dori is sent to Tazia. The country is one giant prison. As no ship is ever left on the island and there is no Trees to make any. There are no walls around the entire country, there are no guards, there is only rich soil and homes made of stones. My guess is that my brother sends his ships to offer freedom from the watery prison as long as they serve in his army.”
Erevan' swords touched Tasia but there was a block, a barrier of fear built up over past few days. Words were all very well but actions spoke louder. Tasia watched him leave with the smallest ghost of a smile on her lips. It wasn't long until she retired to bed herself. She was exhausted and she couldn't remember if she dreamt or not. It was just darkness.
On mornings light Tasia was up, washed and dressed. A green dress, dark in colour and her hair in a neat braided bun this time. She forsook her crown, leaving it in its place as she draped herself in a cloak, to keep away unwanted attention, drawing the hood up to veil her features from sight. She started down the halls and out into the city, thankfully it was early so the streets were sparse in numbers. She moved silently towards the temple, stepping inside and being greeted with the sight of Wyn pinning her beloved against the floor.
"I can imagine that's quite the wake up call." She remarked with a small smile as she took down her hood, revealing her features as she watched him and his giant cat with a small smile playing on her features. She entered the temple properly and looked around,
"Hardly suitable accommodation. Feel free to take a room at the castle, I can promise you just as much privacy. But at least a proper bed." She commented to Erevan. His words from last nights mulled over in her mind, wondering on what more she should know. His softness was not forgotten but Erevan was not totally forgiven. She understood his reluctance to see her but surely by now he knew she would accept him regardless of his form? Perhaps she had been too harsh on him.
"I suppose our words will be exchanged here." She took a seat on the floor by him. Her eyes were no longer youthful and full of curiosity as they once had been, something within her had matured since taking the throne. Her gaze fell on Erevan's, steely and ready for everything but there was a shadow of the girl that once was, she was not lost but simply out to the side for times when she could truly relax and be at peace. She could not see any of those times ahead. All she saw was war, death, loneliness and darkness but she had to believe there was a light at the end of it all, perhaps a husband and a son and peace, finally peace.
"You said there was more to be known." She prompted gently, casting her gaze around the temple once more. She imagined after all of this Erevan would have a peaceful life if he chose to return to the temples as he had previously said. If it weren't for the weight of a city on her shoulders solely, she would have liked to travel for years and years, perhaps get herself a companion such as a dog or a cat, have a small holding to raise children on. That would always be a dream now but somehow, she wouldn't change her present for the world. She was Queen, it was her burden and blessing to carry.
The prince had to admit her words rang true in his ears. He was worried about loosing his country, but was it the truth as to why he was scared of loosing Tasia? He honestly didn’t know. He was confused as to his own feelings about anything right now. He had spent six months in a temple by himself with a visit on occasion from a female elf who acted like she cared nothing for the world. The prince knew he had to be something more than just losing the place he called home.
“No my lady, I was not in fear of losing Tal’dori. The kingdom will never belong to me, yes It is the place I call home, however seeing the Beauty of the lands around the kingdom I could always live the life of a hermit in so many other places. I could start a temple for the Goddess in those I am allowed to do so.” The prince came around the side of the desk and knelt down. A single thought passed his mind which was to grab onto his lady’s hands. “No, I was indeed scared of loosing you Tasia. You are right I shouldn’t have let anyone slip through the fingers, however to show myself in front of you I wanted to be nothing but my best through and through.”
The prince released the queen’s hands as her words about marching upon Tal’dori in three days, however what rang in his ears and bothered him was if there was anything else. “There is so much more, however you must be tired, so I shall let you rest. Tomorrow I wish to speak to you about the plans on invading Tal’dori. I am only assuming here, however I wish to lay down upon you how the best way to invade would be. As I am sure my brother has his strongest and best soldiers within the capital.”
With those words the prince bent down to the Queen and placed a single kiss upon her check. “Goodnight Queen Tasia.” Without another word and before anything else could be said or done Erevan left the room closing the door behind him as he went. The guard seemed shocked that the prince yet lived after leaving her chambers. It was almost like they now feared their queen and in doing so respected her, not out of fear, but out of how much she had changed for her own people. The Guard however saluted Erevan as he left.
Exiting the citadel The prince had very little foot traffic between him and that of the temple grounds. He had taken a different pathway then normal this time, and so was stopped a few times by guards, however it didn’t break him as they soon found out he was the man from the temple as they had nicknamed him. Eventually returning to the temple he smiled at its familiar four walls and the burning candles which he had guess Corean had started before she had left so he could find his way around.
Placing his blade upon his palm he had drawn it across seemed to mark the prince. A little bit of blood pooled in the cusp of his hand. Walking across the temple to the stone table the prince let the blood drop into the center. “This is my offering to you Goddess. I need your help in the future to defeat my brother in battle and allow the lands he claims as his own to be freed from his Iron grip.” Dropping his hand upside down the prince set his hand on the table as well. “I will give my life if necessary to set things right.”
The prince withdrew his hand and wrapped his hand in linen. Stepping away from the table the prince went into a smaller section of the temple where he had made a bed lining and went to sleep. At first it was nothing more than normal dreams. Past memories of his family, a trip with mother and father to the northern lands; the first time ever seeing the walls of the temple back home and his first ever laboring into the night as well, the pain of the hard work within the years of the temples, which turned into boring learning from books years later.
Then the dreams turned to Horror The images of his sick mother dying slowly in front of him in agony. The Funeral pyre of his older brother burning in the distance from the temple grounds as it burned bright through the night; the rumors of his father’s disappearance and even worse his younger brother assuming the thrown without any base instead of passing it on to the rightful ruler. The prince had awoke with a startle, a bright set of Golden eyes staring down into his own. The prince went to sit up only to find that he was pinned down. “Alano Wyn, I need to get up.” The great cat only seemed to shake its head as the prince once again tried to move.
The great cat kept the prince pinned as yet another person came into the temple, but whom it was he couldn’t tell.
Tasia glanced up from her books and watched Erevan speak, studying him silently. She could understand him not visiting now but it did little to balm the wounded heart. She stood when Erevan finished turning her gaze to the hearth in her room.
"I can understand. I understand fear well enough now. Did it not occur to you that I was coronated alone? That I have been doing all of... all of this alone?" She remarked not tearing her gaze from the flames.
"My only friend, hidden away." She muttered, "You could have come after dark, you could have come privately to see me. I visited you, in the infirmary, I had expected the same courtesy." She said curtly before sitting back down. She closed her books, taking a deep breath. Her emotions could not get the better of her.
"Although you look well at least." She said, although she barely looked at him to make such a judgement.
"Still the past cannot be undone. You were not afraid of losing me, Erevan. You were afraid of losing the support to claim back Tal'Dori." She commented.
"If you are afraid of losing someone then you make an effort, you do not let them slip from grasp." She reminded him and rubbed her tired eyes. She did not know what he expected from her. She was young, confused, emotional and had the weight of a crown and all that came with it to weigh her down now. She was unmarried and childless which would cause no end of issues for her claim to the throne. Still, she could do nothing about it with war on the horizon. She had a job to do and nobody cared how she felt or what she wanted, everyone just wanted to know their realm was safe and guarded. That was what mattered. And she wanted to be a strong and beautiful leader like her parents had been.
"We will move for Tal'Dori in three days. I have some matters to attend here first, then my forces can move." She said. She avoided looking at Erevan, afraid her eyes would betray her emotions and she had no time to deal with disappointment or heartbreak right then. Perhaps upon her return but not right then. She never expected life to get so complex for her. She always thought her father would live to be older, she would find a willing husband she loved and start a settled life as queen and have a son and maybe a daughter. And yet here she was. Alone in the world, no parents, no willing husband and no children but the weight of the world upon her small shoulders.
"Is there anything else, Erevan?" She asked.
Eervan hadn't spoken a word before hearing the doors burst open and Queen Tasia's voice call out to the crowed of nobles. Fear was in their eyes, and more so his own. She had changed, but he could not blame her either. He hadn't come to see her on the night of her coronation, and it just grew worse and worse as he had gotten better. Now that he was fit perhaps was the time he would pay her a visit. He had so many conversations play out in his head the few months that he had taken away from all of humanity, He didn't get even a chance to speak before the guards had appeared and filed out with the nobles.
Turning to face his companion Erevan had wanted to say something, but before words came out of his own lips her. She had spoken how he was up and moving, but for the most it was true he couldn't hide it he should have visited her first and foremost. Hearing the pain in her voice however was evident and very clear for even his ears to hear, Before he could even speak to answer her she had cut him off and offered no resistance for him to try and push back either. Thinking of something Erevan had seen her leave the room to return to wherever she had been before.
The prince had stepped out into the hallway himself, his blade returned to him. He had made his way up the stairs only at a slower pace then what he guessed was important, as he reached the landing he had heard a door open and close. It was Corean who had just left the rooms of the Queen. a smile on her face as she saw Erevan at the end of the hall. As the two passed she placed a hand on his shoulder. [b "She cared more then you will ever know young prince. She now carries more then just the crown upon her brow."] The prince stopped at the door to raise his hand only to let it drop back to his side. She was festering and to catch her upon anger from the council disobeying her orders would make him just as much a target and enemy to her as those men she referred to as vipers.
Returning to the stables Erevan had found druid, the horse seemed also displeased in seeing the prince. The male however didn't step any farther into the stable then was necessary. [b "Young prince you return?"] called a soothing voice the prince had remembered from his first visit here to the stables. Turning to see the stable hand he only placed a smile upon his face. "Yes, I wish to yet learn of the story here within the stables here." The young male stepped up to be next to the prince and started putting food into Druid's pen. [b "That will take quite some time, as these stables are built with the stories of our Royal line as far back as the founding Family. You see every year we add another story to the stables here. This is how we preserve our history, and that of our people. Our books will burn if we are ever to fall, however our stables and our structures will always stand."]
The prince had listened intently and nodded like a little child as he heard the story of the stables. It was as if the story had been passed down from stable hand to stable hand. Seeing the boy however started falling behind on his occupation Erevan took to helping the boy. [b "Oh prince please I don't wish for you to get caught helping a low stable boy."] Erevan only shock his head. "I need to know the pleasure of hard work again, Besides being out of the temple for a change and not needed as a prince, a priest, or a warrior is a pleasure." The boy only smiled and kept going on the tale and his work.
Seeing the stable cleaned the boy smiled at the prince. [b "It will be dark soon. You should return to your chambers sir. Perhaps I can have someone bring a bath to the temple grounds?"] the prince's face turned red from embarrassment. "No thank you. I have one more person I must see before the day ends for me." The prince returned to the citadel of the capital once again to the landing of the Queen. Seeing guards outside of her room The prince stepped up to him. "I am here to see the queen." the male just eyed Erevan like he was crazy for coming to see the queen so late. Looking at the door the guard seemed scared of what the queen would do if he let Erevan even past him.
Erevan however didn't back down, and soon pressed his hand on the door as it swung open and again closed. "Queen Tasia." Erevan's voice held a little fear in it, and his body shook. "I must speak with you please." Seeing her at her desk with the three books open wide he stepped to the other side. Not even sitting down the prince's face grew a smile upon it to see her studying the books with interest. "Even if it means I speak and you not say a word." The prince paused only for a moment drawing in a deep breath. "What you say is right, I should have come to visit you as soon as I was able. You are right I hid away from the world, yes you are right I did it not out of necessity but something else completely." The prince took in another breath "However that feeling was fear."
Registering his own words in his head he kept going "It wasn't the fear of what the world say or do, but one specific person. I was scared of loosing you. You were the only person who did not cringe away from me, or were scared of me because what I can do. Instead you were fascinated by it, but when we faced the tundra queen and Vorro I had turned into a monster. With that new knowledge I was scared that you would turn out to be like the rest of the world and cringe away from me. I feared that how you would look at me would be different then what is was before it. I am a man of honor, but I am also a man of image."
Tasia' she eyes flickered upwards towards Corean, listening to her words and reclining in her chair.
"And I am to care? I suppose you expect me to go to his aid when the man has not even come to see me once?" She remarked and sighed. She pushed herself up and supposed she had no choice in the matter as she made her way down the halls and steps towards the council. She listened by the door for a short time before entering.
"The Council give commands they have no right to." She announced her entrance. She watched the men look afraid and she folded her arms, no even looking at Erevan.
"I have named my successor and you will obey him should I fall on the battlefield, is that understood? If any of you have a problem with it then I can see to it you find new jobs iutwith these walls." She snapped, irritably. "The Council will dissolve until the war is over. I have no need of such snakes. You will each pack your things and leave this place immediately." A few guards came in behind Tasia,
"These fine gentlemen will see to it you all leave." She remarked and waved a hand before watching them all get up and shuffle out, escorted by her guards. She would form a new council after the war, but for now it was a weight off her shoulders right then. Within minutes herself and Erevan were left alone in the room.
Tasia still refused to look at him, she was furious with him, hurt and upset. He had not once come to see her, even though he missed her coronation and had caused endless problems for her.
"Glad to see you out of the infirmary, although word reaches my ear you have been out for a long time. It seems the noble Prince Erevan couldn't even grace a friend with his presence." She commented the hurt evident in her voice.
"And don't bother with your petty excuses, Prince. I have heard them all before. You called me friend once, I fear no longer." She made for the door, heading out into the hall and taking a deep breath, of course she was upset. Perhaps the only person she could rely on now in all this political chaos and he had not even ventured to visit her. She made her way up the steps slowly, half wishing he would follow her but she knew better. She took a seat at her desk once more and looked to Corean.
"The matter has been dealt with, you can go." She said bluntly and looked to the fire,
"I thought Erevan a friend, then word reaches me of how long he he has been recovered and he chooses to hide away and not visit? Once Tal'Dori is taken, he can rule wherever he pleases and do whatever he wants, he will anyway. He has no thought for others, not unless the others benefit him." Tasia murmured.
"I was a fool." She added quietly, turning from the Fire.
"Leave me." She commanded Corean and walked out onto the balcony that overlooked her land, pale blue dress speckled with snowflakes within moments. The change upon her physically was something to behold. Facial features lined and accentuated, her hair braided and up with her mothers crown nestled in the tresses, the gowns she wore accentuating her figure. Many a man would find her extremely beautiful, she looked exactly as her mother had, a mirror image.
Tasia stood in the silence, night setting in on the mountains as the snow slowly fell in silence. Torches of fire were lit around the city and businesses began to close for the day as people retired to bed and some to the bars and taverns to drink. Tasia turned back to the room and closed her doors to the balcony, heading out into the halls. She glanced around and nodding to the guard at her door that she would be fine for a short walk. She covered herself in a cloak and headed out amongst her city and it's people. Her cloak hid her face so that she would not draw unnecessary attention to herself. Her people seemed to be thriving and happy, although talk was not of her but of Erevan, rumours he stayed within the temple. The ladies especially seemed warm to him and she couldn't blame them. She turned and went back inside, climbing the stairs to her room once more.
The prince had taken several days recuperate from the fight with the Tundra queen, not her itself, but from himself. He had turned into a monster, that part was real to him. Whispers had happened around the court and around the entire countryside of what had happened. The male couldn’t deny what had happened, in fact he couldn’t even remember anything of what had happened. He had taken a few weeks to himself. The prince had after recovering enough kept trying to force himself at first to sit up; it hadn’t been long before he was able to sit up, but his next was standing or even walking. Let along forcing his feet to once again be able to do the dance of death with blade and armor. He accomplished the thing with a few weeks of time; too much time had passed in the prince’s mind, the longer he allowed his brother to remain unopposed upon the thrown was more time he had to harden his leash upon Tal’dori.
The prince had gripped his hand upon his single blade dancing around the temple floor like a practice ground. The temple had in the past couple of days lost its last few wounded and so returned to its barren and silent stature. Setting up a small bed roll the prince had claimed the place as home for now. He knew he needed to stay out of public eye if they were to ever trust him again, even more so follow their own queen into battle with him at her side. Dancing around the temple floor with his blade his hand the prince seemed to have gotten back well into the practice. He had stopped in the center of the room breathing very heavy as his chest expanded and deflated with the intake of his hard breaths.
The familiar voice of Corean came from the doorway [b “Prince Erevan, you seem to be doing much better today.”] The lady elf had been her people’s envoy to the north, and the prince’s greatest ally in the eye of the public, making sure the whispers of what had happened died down. He had even heard the elf had become the head of the Royal guard to the queen. Rumors of course was all it was he could guess until he could talk to his dear friend and find out. [I “Thank you Corean, I feel much strength has returned to these brittle bones of mine.”] The prince had heard the queen had taken to the books quite well from Corean who came and checked upon Erevan at least once a week.
[b “Queen Tasia has had your men trained in the way of the northern fighting. Her own army stands at the ready and far better shape than when we had first arrived.”] The prince understood why the elf was telling him this, it wasn’t to tell him about what the queen was doing, but more pushing him to attack his homeland and his brother. [I “What day is it Corean? I have seen nothing but these stone walls these past couple of months now and lit the day by the sun and night by candlelight.”] the elf had kept her stern look about her as she walked into the temple with a cup of water and a single piece of bread. [b “It is Noon, on the eve of winter. The cold season will be upon your country soon young prince.”] the elf handed both food and cup to the prince and watched him as he ate the bread and emptied the cup. [I “Has it truly been six months sense we returned to these lands?”]
The elf had only nodded as another person came into the temple. [b “Lord Erevan, Your presence is requested by a council of nobles.”] the prince’s curiosity had been peaked, Last he knew half of them wanted him dead, the other half wanted him in jail to face much harsher punishment. [I “Does Queen Tasia attend?”] the young male shot a look to the elf, but only nodded their head no. [b “The Queen Does not know that the noble’s gather for a meeting. She is currently in her chambers.”]
The prince nodded and handed Corean his blade. [I “Tell the nobles I shall be there shortly.”] the male stood and disappeared. [b “Is that such a wise decision to face the noble’s young prince?”] Corean had spoken true, he was playing a dangerous game with the nobles almost like cat a mouse, but to upset the nobles was a gambit the prince could not play or afford. The prince had strapped on his armor only to shift under it. It had felt slightly heavier then what he remembered, but perhaps it was the fact he had yet to get use to it once again.
Feeling himself ready the prince had taken his single blade from the elf and placed it within its scabbard. Carrying it in his left hand the prince had marched down the street to the palace. Before however he went into the throne room the prince was pushed and pulled by several servants to the feasting hall. Confused as he was pushed into the hall he now understood why the servants had done so. Sitting in front of him were men and women of stature all looking at the doorway in anticipation for his arrival? The prince had relinquished his blade to a servant who stood next to him.
[b “Lord Erevan, we are gathered to discuss a proposal to you.”] one small short stout man said as he stood up from his chair as it scooted back. The prince had noticed the man barely taller than his waste, but he must have been important to be speaking. [b “Our queen needs to wed, however she refuses to because of the war with your brother that will surely come.”] With that the noble leaned forward and slapped his hands on the wooden table. A very angry voice came across from the man. [b “Because of this we have no king, and no heir to our thrown, and so our queen’s word still says if she is to fall you will be named successor. “] The man’s head went from looking at the table to looking at the prince with a deadly glare.
[b “We as the noble’s will never embrace you as our King if you were to become so. Which is why we have been discussing it, we want your assurance that the Queen will not die while in Tal’dori.”]
When the prince had left for the capital building the elf Corean had gone with him, only upon reaching the inside of it the elf had seen the prince be forced down the hallway to the feasting hall. The elf however was left unattended. Taking off in the direction of the queen’s chambers the elf had gotten to them and knocked. Before getting an answer however she stepped into the room and shut the door behind her. Kneeling down to the queen Corean was breathing slightly heavy, so her words came out in huffs between breaths. [b “My…Lady…Your.. nobles are.. speaking with…Prince…Erevan..in the feasting hall.”] the elf had stayed on the ground, only she went from a kneeling position to a sitting one on the floor to try and take in her breath.
The prince was stunned by the question. How was it he could guarantee that she wouldn't be hurt? There was no way of knowing in a battle, nor was there with knowing in a war, especially against his brother. The noble seemed to see this in the prince's eyes as his voice carried across the hall. [b "We do not want your word on the subject prince, we are informing you that you will not be king here."] The prince had turned to leave only to see guards by the door cross their blades blocking the way. [b "We called you here prince to talk about your plan for invading your country of Tal'dori. We know our men the best, and we also know we do not trust you to lead them, so you will discuss with us your plans on how you plan on taking on your brother and his much larger Army."]
In the next few days, Tasia had taken to the role of Queen much like a duck to water. It was early morning and she was standing atop one of the battlements, watching the land she now commanded. Things were quiet and she knew that soon, war would be upon them again. She had done well in restoring Namandu back to previous glory, happy people and ferocious warriors. The pale blue dress she wore was speckled in snow but remained immaculate. Her hair was braided and up elegantly with her mothers crown upon her head. Below her, warriors sparred and people milled around to watch. Their forces were now fearsome and the support from the north was undeniable. All had given into her rule. She ruled the North.
Tasia returned to the main hall, she had been reading a lot of the book the Prince had given her and she was now quite adept at making a small amount of ice form and twist and bend to her will. It was nothing too powerful but she greatly enjoyed it.
A short and stout man approached and Tasia rolled her eyes,
[b "Your majesty,"] he bowed appropriately, [b "The Council is beginning to whisper of your need to marry, I do believe-"]
"I've no need to marry, Ser Elen. We are at war and within the month we will be in the south. I have the Prince my word and I intend to keep it."
[b "Yes, of course but should you fall in the south, there will be no heir left to rule the North. You have no husband to take over. We were wondering if Prince Erevan would consider-"]
"See Elen my mother and father married for their feelings, not to please the council and I will not be forcing any to marry me. Is that understood?" A hint of annoyance in Tasia's voice seemed to betray her feelings. "Besides, Prince Erevan has no intent of marrying me and does not wish to lead." She muttered before turning and leaving the man looking confused. She headed up the steps and to her room, opening her curtains and standing on her balcony, looking over the city, covered in snow. She had heard nothing from Erevan, nor had she returned to see him. She was hurt by his lack of appearance at her coronation and how others spoke of him on her day.
Tasia sighed and leant on the stone that kept her falling over the edge, eyes watching the people roam and mill, peaceful. They deserved some peace before war was upon them once more. Tasia sat at her desk, a fire in her fireplace slowly crackling away and warming the room as she began flicking through her book once more. Her face illuminated by the firelight. Any issues or concerns and she knew someone would come and see her, a guard placed outside her room. Tasia had never felt so lonely since becoming Queen. She had no family now, no one she could turn to when she felt completely lost. Of course there was Erevan but he would be gone soon after the war, he had no intentions of sticking around she was sure. As for marriage... she didn't want to marry a stranger or someone she felt nothing for. It was simple enough to see why her annoyance lay in such things and Tasia would never admit such a thing to anyone, but she had feeling arising for Erevan. A man that was always a mystery, always managed to surprise her and who had been at her side through everything. And a man who felt nothing for her. It was a cruel joke to play and Tasia knew she had to come to terms in her own way. She had a duty to do, she had a kingdom now and whether she liked it or not, she could not hide from Erevan forever.
Corean had listened to the advice of the women standing in front of her. She would indeed needd to go to bed soon, but how soon was questionable. Perhaps making sure the Coronation ended with no fuss was a smarter idea. Watching as the Queen had left the gardens. Corean had followed suit, but in the direction of the grand hall instead, Before she made it up the stairs she fell a few times bumping and bruising her ass a few times here and there, however she finally made it up the stairs into the hall.
Everyone seemed to be doing just fine, still drinking and eating their heart content. Some had already passed out, other had left to return to their quaters, and those who were still awake seemed like the party wouldn't stop until the light of dawn broke the sky above everyone. Corean saw that the party was well watched as her elves were standing by. The elf at that note turned back to the door and left. Fumbling down the stairs on her way out Corean ended up passing out a few feet from her quarter.
The prince had heard rumors of what had happened on the field of battle, but if he believed them was questionable. They say he turned into a monster, Turned into an animal sent by the Goddess to punish them for taking a side in the war for Tal'dori's crown. Others were saying he was sent to be punishment on the enemies of the crown, to Throw out the spies and deceivers. Which either way scared him. If he could become this creature he could have it happen again, and to harm all those people friend or foe was what made him worry even more.
Understanding he would be under watch the male just had somewhat of a smug thinking. He was a creature of human nature, He was feared, it was something no human was happy about, but it meant they respected him. The prince had started to fall asleep when he heard the tap tap tap of leather on the stone. Having it stop at him he wanted o open his eyes, but his body would not it seem listen to him, instead his eyes stayed shut.
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