His words shook her to her very core. His harden gaze locked with hers and her own heart pounded perfidiously. He wanted her to...leave? She sat back in her chair looking down at the golden marble floor beneath her feet. Moments past before her eyes met back up with his. She was ready, ready to say yes. Ready to do whatever he needed of her. But he stopped her. He knew she would do whatever he wanted. Alina simply nodded. She would take the time to think about her decision though she already new her answer.
Taking a deep breath she pulled her knees to her chest. She knew he would probably not approve of her stature however she felt her heart sink lower and lower in her chest. In the 10 years she spent with this man, she had never left his side. She had seen him at his worst and watched him grow as a leader and a man. Though they were almost a decade apart he was the closest person she had in her life. She couldn't imagine being a day apart from him let alone the amount of time it would take to infiltrate a kingdom as large as that.
The woman let silent minutes pass, both the prince and she did not speak. Her mind filled with memories of her first days here with Drych. Her first days moved to months as she learned her place in his kingdom. He had watched her immensely, and helped her find herself, her talents and strengths, It wasn't long before she was the one he wished to be at his side. She new his temperament, his likes and most importantly what he didn't. To Alina, he was an open book, and part of her believed she knew more about him that even even knew of himself.
Finally she stood from her wooden chair and walked to his left side next to his arm rest. kneeling down she placed her hand on the edge of the curved arm rest, being careful to to tough him. Her rose colored lips pressed together. biting the side of her cheek she was lost for words. Finally she smiled, her eyes brightened and she opened herself up to finally speaking her feelings for him. [b Thank you my lord, for bringing me in, and seeing value in my being. In a few days I will give you my answer, but till then I will do as I always do, and stay at your side]
“Would you spy for your kingdom?” He asks her suddenly, he face serious. Darkening his eyes regard her closely watching her expression. A part of him sunk, aching in the deepest part of his chest. The thought of her leaving his side caused him emotional pain that he remembered faintly as grief. Licking his lips, chasing the fading taste of the wine, he scans her flushed cheeks and her eyes. It wasn’t his intention to get her tipsy and then ask her to risk her life for her kingdom, it just now occurred to him and without thinking he just said it.
Everything about his new plan was dangerous, dripping in fog and unspoken tragedy. This would be the first time they would be apart since he’d found her stealing fig from his garden. Leaning away from her slightly he lets her know that isn’t excited about the proposition; in fact he dreaded it.
“You don’t have to.” He says quietly, like an afterthought. With her spying for them he would know every move they planned, every thought they ever had toward battle. Quickly his mind was already working on a story to get her to the king’s side, to get the king to trust her.
Their kingdom would suffer without her. His patience would grow thinner and thinner with every day that she would be gone, but sacrifices must be made. With her spying on and advising the king she would be able to lead the enemy into traps along with help them avoid traps. Longer consideration and more pondering made Drych realize how invaluable she would be to either side, how the fate of the war would rest in her hands and she alone could save or kill thousands. The more he put her at the king’s side in his mind the more he wanted her by his, the more he hated his proposition. It was still early in the game that is war, she had plenty of time to think about it. Drych vowed to himself that he would make her think about it, that he wouldn’t force her to go across enemy lines for him. He knows she would though.
“Think about it, sleep on it, I don’t want your answer until two days’ time.” He instructed, hating himself for even asking her. He should have asked Marybell, or another old loyal servant. Anyone, anyone at all except her.
Filling his glass with more of the red tonic, Alina looked up into his eyes as she felt him lean in. She blinked, her cheeks tingling with his face so close to hers. [b I would do anything for my country my lord. If I needed to give my life, I would.] she whispered handing him his glass of wine. She wasn't sure why he was questioning her loyalty to their nation however she just assumed he had a reason, there was always a reason for his madness.
Sitting back down at his side the woman took another sip of wine. [b My lord, is there something you need of me?] She was willing to do anything he asked of her. Theis prince was the reason for her entire existence. Without him, she would still be begging for rotten grul from farm pens, burning animal feces for fire and warmth. Her life would have been short, worthless and crul without this man in her life.
As her past flashed before her eyes, her heart grew heavy and she finished her wine in a few quick gulps. Taking a breath from the haunting reminder of her painful childhood, the young woman turned her pale face to his direction [b I would do anything for you and our kingdom....]
Her eyes were like deep black pools. Once could find themselves forever getting lost in their abyss.
Soon her cheeks begun to redden with the burn of alcohol in her system. Clearing her throat she gently placed her glass on the table, not wanting to take anymore for fear it would interfere with her duties. Alina could tell the man had much on his mind. He had a whole kingdom to protect, people from outlying villages aND their lively hood to think of. The woman held her hands tightly in her lap, waiting for her prince to respond.
Her humor surprised him and relieved him. Very few would recognize his change in tone. Taking another sip of the wine, he lets the alcohol burn his throat and taint his tongue. Leaning back in his chair further, he lets his shoulders slump and his face soften. Quietly his proper stance and expressionless face fade from him. The hard steel of his grey eyes turn soft like clouds full of rain, his full pale lips relax from their hard line. Swallowing the last drops of his wine makes his hard jaw relax. Without speaking he pushes his glass toward her, silently asking her to fill his glass again. Like a kicked dog, his youth crawls onto his face.
“What is best for my people?” He asks weakly; not asking anyone in particular. “I’m going to strengthen the mountain defenses and send messages to the villages along trade routes.” He decides finally, speaking to the ceiling as he locks his gaze to it. Uncrossing his legs, he stretches out further, sinking deeper into the chair; the weight of his kingdom resting on his chest and pushing him closer to the floor. With the first problem resolved, he could breathe a little easier.
“What would my father do?” He questions, he lips moving soundlessly. “He would murder the king as quickly as possible.” Instantly his mind is flooded with imagery. Turning his head toward her, he watches her face as he pulls himself into a proper sitting position.
“What are you willing to do for your kingdom?” He asks her, leaning on his left arm and toward her.
Alina watched as he invited her to drink with him. She gave it a moments thought before agreeing to his invitation. After serving him his drink she poured a small amount into the crystal glass and sat herself in the chair he had designated for her. Bringing the glass to her lips she slowly sipped the bitter tasting liquid and let it coat her palette. It's dry flavor filled her senses both in taste but also in smell. Closing her eyes to enhance the flavor she listened to his streaming thoughts. She knew well not to abndnswer him when he was like this. Mostly it was his own way to work through a problem, to be able to hear himself think.
Placing the crystal on the table she smiled gently when he mentioned visiting the man whom had so rudely interpreted their time together just before. [b Just make sure you do as he did, ask for a meal before your hand lays on the knife] She couldn't believe the manners the elder man had when bursting into his majesty's domain.
Giving a small sigh she thought of the upcoming turmoils that their kingdom and their people would soon be in. Her eyes over the years had seen so much over the last few years, mostly due to those who had angered the Prince. Even so, even with the amount of violence and blood upon his hands, there was a strong part of her that saw him as a true friend.
Looking down at her hands, she thought about her life in the castle. She was so lucky to have this man in her life, to have his unique kindness , and to have the ability to have a title in a world where you were your name. She owed her life to Drych, and she would do anything he asked of her. Now looking up to the stoic male that sat to her side she blushed. [b You will do what is right for your people, you always do. I trust you with all my being my lord]
Drych glances up as Alina enters. He is instantly pleased to see her, considering her one of his only trustworthy servants. His pleasure deepens as he notices her pick of his favorite glasses to choose from. Momentarily he is distracted with thoughts of choosing a glass. Gently he takes the red stone flute from the vase, he sets it on the table before him and nods softly for Alina to pour the wine. Coldly he lets his hand slip away from the it; to admire the situation before him.
“Yes, I would very much like your company.” He answers her question, only tolerating her company when aggravated. Gently, with his foot he nudges a chair closer to the table. Taking another deep breath, he allows her presence to calm his whirring mind. She has a power over him that no one else has ever had. He watches her as she pulls the cork on the wine and pours a glass.
“Will you have a glass with me?” He invites. The invitation is rare and only spoken when he finds himself in need of a companion and only when they are completely alone. Unlike others he surrounds himself with, he finds her to be perfect. She only speaks when he implores her to, never answering his rhetorical questions unnecessarily; ignorantly. Alina is his only servant that he hopes considers him a friend more than tyrant. He waits for her answer, allowing himself not to be offended if she declines.
“What should I do?” He inquires, the question is meant to hang on the air like loose petals in spring, only to be swept up by the servant that is his subconscious. This is how he works best, letting his mind turn over things and work through a problem without his knowledge. Knowing that his hardest decisions are handled better when he doesn’t think about them does not mean that it makes it any easier to not think about them.
“I can not risk weakening my defenses to the west, though I can not risk losing the mountains. If I lose the mountains how will I feed my people?” He questions her, he continues without waiting for her answer. “I can buy food from elsewhere, but the only reliable food elsewhere is wheat, grain perhaps. Fruit and meat, unless herded as whole cattle, will not keep for long. The sun will birth maggots within the peach flesh and worms will crawl in and out of apples. The farms to the south do not do well, surely not enough to supply my army and themselves, I cannot ask them. That is only the largest of my problems. The mountains are mostly forest and farming communities: they farm for themselves and what they don’t keep for themselves they give to the surrounding villages. I will have to have barracks built as well, I do not have any housing for my soldiers either.” He is quiet a moment, studying the untouched liquid in his wine flute. Slowly he picks it up and gently swirls the dark drink in a circle within the glass; he lets the liquid mesmerize him. Bringing the glass to his lips, he sips slowly letting the sweet burn of alcohol slide down his throat. Fluttering his eyes closed, he swallows and enjoys the taste. Setting the flute down he glances toward her, thankful for her willingness to let him question and ponder aloud. Not very often does he admit he needs her, but in this moment he could easily see where his kingdom would suffer without her.
“Am I being overly critical?” He smiles, lightening his serious mood with a gentle probing question. “Should I just show up on his door step, like he so rudely did to me? Should I just plunge a knife in his chest and end it all immediately, surely his guards wouldn’t be pleased; but it would save months of battle and countless lives.”
Alina nodded and with a quick turn was out of the room headed to the kitchen. Her mind was racing with all the possible outcome's wAR could bring to a kingdom. As she passed the chattering servants she couldn't help but think this moment would be the happiest time for the next span of time. Shaking her head she made her way down to the cellar. She new exactly where to find the red tinted drink he asked for. Not only was every bottle pristinely categorized by color, age and name, she also knew it's location because it was one of his goto drinks. With light feet, the young female found the corner of the cellar the bottles hid. Searching the dates she chose a 75 year old bottle, not the oldest, however it's flavor was rich and bountiful.
As she entered the kitchen once more she grabbed and few glasses and set of to the library. It took her only a few minutes to cross the castles grand halls before stopping just outside the door. She could hear him speak, his inner most thoughts excapeing his mouth as if a filter had gone missing. She knew best not to interrupt him during such an emotional time. However there was a deep part of her that wished she could take from the pain and discomfort that always seemed to surround him.
When the room was silent again, Alina entered softly. The bottle was sitting in a silver vase filled with frosted ice. Next to the vase were three glasses, one made of crystal, one made of engraved glass, and the other made of red stone. He would choose which to partake from, and she inturn would pour his glass. Stepping back, the young lady sighed unsure of what to say. [b Do you wish for me to stay my lord?]
Alucard’s words had upset him, but the balance of his kingdom and hundreds of lives rode on every move he made. Alina’s voice calmed him and allowed for more thought to enter his mind. Taking a deep, unsteady, breath he moves away from the window and toward the chair he’d been sitting in. Pausing just for a moment, he contemplates sitting down and enjoying a glass of wine before returning to his library to think; tapping his fingers on the back of the arm chair.
“Have a bottle of Ulysses brought to the library.” He asks of her gently before moving away from the drawing room. Circling his mind, his thoughts refuse to settle on one topic. There are several things he can do, the best option eluded him efficiently. Sending a few hundred soldiers to that part of his kingdom would weaken the defenses elsewhere, not sending soldiers there would mean the loss of farm land and supplies to the rest of his kingdom. Thousands of innocent freeman and labors would quickly starve to death. Those in higher places in society would barely feel the effects until the war turned up on their doorstep.
Taking a seat at his favorite table in the library he leaves no stone alone in his mind. Twisted together tightly his fingers battle each other soundlessly in front of him. Staring expressionless at the dark oak tabletop, he searches for the answers in the grain of the wood.
“I don’t have a choice,” He murmurs to the table, his eyes narrowing further as though the table had a face and he didn’t like the person staring back at him. “I have to send soldiers to the mountains, I can’t lose the land. I will have to have food to feed those fighting in the war, for the innocent as well. The cost of the war isn’t a problem,” Drych’s voice trails off as he continues to murmur to himself. Overthinking everything quickly and wanting to look at every angle from every angle. Leaning back in his chair and crossing one leg over the other, he focuses on relaxing despite the weight suddenly on his shoulders.
Alina was worried about her prince. It seemed as the days went forward many more irritations seemed to come about. Walking the hidden corridors of the castle Alina found herself in the middle of a rumored discussion. A warlord representing a foreign King wanted what was Drych's land. Quickly the young woman shhed the gossiping group, having them get back to their pre appointed duties. If this truly was the case, than her job would be made much more difficult.
Quickly stepping out, Alina made her way to the visitors wing where most likely their meeting was taken place. Quietly Alina stepped inside, making no noise as she did. Glancing around the room she saw him, General Alucard eating a dinner that Marrybell had generously served. Reading the man's demeanor, she could tell he was mostly there to send a message, as well as take advantage of the manors hospitality.
With a solemn expression, Alina kept her mouth shut, almost as if she wasn't even in the room. However, hearing a voice perked her ears, eyes moving swiftly in his direction. Her prince sat stone cold. His face twisted and his eyes like arrows piercing steel. Her heart leaped to her throat when Drych stood. Fearing for the warlords life, she watched closely to the prince's hands, knowing well he was capable of deathly harm.
As the two exchanged their final words, Alina quickly issued the guards to hurry and remove the guests from the immediate area. As this happened a group of maids rushed into the room to pick up after the old mans meal. However, seeing Drych silently reflect, his hands tightly bound behind him, she knew it be best to have them come back later. Quickly she shuffled everyone out of the room, till it was just her alone with the Prince.
Holding her breath, Alina walked forward, stepping to his side and bowing her head in silence. If anyone could calm his blood lust it was her, yet she too wasn't a stranger to his punishments. She knew well, even with being as close as she was to the man, no one was safe from his rageing hand.
When she felt all was sound, she spoke. [b My Lord.... what do you need me to do] As she waited for his reply, the noiselessness of the room around her sent a pounding through her ears. Her eyes hung low to the marble floor beneath, and her jaw clenched tightly together.
Alina never knew what sort of man he would become when entering a room. There were times when his gentle side peaked through, sending her heart racing, almost jumping from her chest. His touch sending her stomach into turmoil and a cool shock through her core. But it was often his darker side that often scared Alina. Never knowing when she would be the victim to his unrelenting battering.
A long moment passes between the old man and the younger prince. Without changing his expression Drych challenges the older warlord to banter. Not wanting to anger the already unpredictable man, Alucard drops his gaze to the floor. A wiser part of him knew that he made a mistake. Unwavering his cold stare Drych watches Alucard closely. Like most of the surrounding kingdoms he’d heard of Alucard’s grace and tenacity on the battlefield. Alucard proved himself to be a worthy opponent and often an advanced one. Slowly and softly Drych rubs his right hand across his cheek, tracing his jawline to let his hand settle under his chin; he breaks his stare with Alucard’s forehead. Favoring the pink Amaryllis in the corner. Without hesitation Marybell brings in dinner for the worn warlord and sets it before him. Pulling quickly polished silverware from her apron and rushing off to fetch some red wine, she exits just as quickly. Drych watches her appear and then go, her entrance pulling him from his thoughts and reminding him of his guests.
“Your visit could be viewed as uncultured ignorance.” Drych hisses, his voice low in his throat and dripping venom. Subconsciously Alucard flinches. With the changing of the hour Alucard’s mood flows away turning him into a serious general and wise man.
“My visit is as much as a warning as a declaration.” Alucard explains, carefully picking up the brass-buttoned knife and slicing a piece of meat in two. Chewing slowly and deliberately he studies the quality and size of the meal set before him. One thin piece of meat, only an inch wide, a scoop of potatoes, and green veggies he did not recognize: a meal fit for a servant.
“A declaration.” Drych repeats, letting the word hang in the air.
“Yes.” Alucard silences himself with another thin slice of meat. Despite the meal being small, the juices pool under the steak and soak into the fluffy potatoes. Unlike a servant’s meal it is prepared with a masterful hand and is warm inside and out.
“So be it.” Drych sighs watching his guest eat alone. His dark eyebrows knit together for a long moment. Dissatisfaction settles heavily on his heart as his mind starts to turn over a mental map of his lands. To the north, he held farm lands watered by mountains, to the east he had a coast, and to the west he had thick forests. Fixing his mouth in a deep scowl he nods slowly. Alucard does not offer anything else, a simple message would have easily summed up this conversation. Between the two men unspoken words wait to be pulled from the air. Carefully, as though not to make too much noise or startle his guards, Alucard places the knife on the table and then fork. He lifts the wine that Marybell had soundlessly brought into the room and took a curt swallow. Sitting across from him is the most dangerous prince in the region, his cruelty did not fall on deaf ears.
“Are you going to enlighten me?” Drych again breaks the silence. Impatiently he leans forward, looking deeper old man’s eyes. Gently putting down his wine, Alucard returns the stare. Alucard straightens his back and leans a little away from the prince, his predator eyes reminding him of a large lion getting ready to pounce.
“My King wants the mountains.” This appeared to be reason enough in Alucard’s mind for a war. In all his forty years, he had never questioned the reason for a war, he trusted the judgement of his King and his King’s need to provide for his people. Alucard was never paid to question an order, such a thing rose to sinfulness in his bible.
“The mountains.” Drych mused, suddenly standing and striding effortlessly toward his Amaryllis. Tenderly he cupped a single bloom in his left hand. “How does your king,” he spoke the words with hate. “know that I won’t sell him the mountains? Why must he jump to war?”
Alucard pauses, his hand still on his wine. In that moment, he felt he needed something stronger than watered down wine. “He can get more money out of war.” Alucard answers simply, hoping the short answer will satisfy the man.
With a cruel smile on his lips, Drych turns his back completely on his guest, placing his hands behind his back and twisting them together. Absently he chews the inside of his cheek just to taste his blood. Gazing down at the Amaryllis beside him he nods as though talking to its full pink bloom.
“Then he will pay more than he steals.” With that Drych orders his guests to leave.
A cool hand gently caressed her small one. a tender touch from an otherwise not so tender man. Alina had seen this side of her prince a few times before, but never was it a common occurrence. Her doe like eyes peered into his, constantly trying to read his thoughts and emotions. Not only was it her job to keep him happy, but she saw him, oddly enough, as a dear friend. He was someone she never wanted to disappoint. There were many times she felt sympathetic towards him. No creature in this world was born to despise and hate. These traits are learned, groomed, or a manifestation of past traumas. Which of these caused this man to act out the way he normally does? To be clear, the young woman was not set out to fix him, for he did not need to be fixed. All she wanted to do was comfort him and help him see the beauty around him. It was the least she could do for the man who gave her everything.
Feeling his hand caress her cheek, her emerald eyes lowered and her beating heart mellowed. What lasted for only a moment felt like a life time. A time she wished would never end. Something about Drych always seemed double sided. He was in a constant struggle, fighting himself over which side he wanted to display and show. No matter the side, Alina always made sure he would understand that she was always by his side. For behind every shadow is a source of light, and his was indeed Alina. Just as she was about to reach up and grace his hand with hers, a sudden disruption interfered with their time together.
His hard yet wondering stare that once was attached to hers was low lit with a flame. It took less than a second for to be on his feet, walking over to the poor boy behind her. Quickly she too stood. Thunder seemed to roar with Drychs growing frustration as blood stained the white marble floors beneath. As soon as the prince let the room Alina quickly tended to the young man. [b Obviously no one warned you...] She observed his already bruised and blackened jaw. His once boy like features now swollen and unrecognizable. Her heart ached. someones son, someones brother was now possibly dying on a cold floor, alone with no family. And the man who had given him his sever mistreatment was the one she held close in her heart.
A few guardsmen came through the secret passage way with a sheet in tow. They wrapped up the young man and carried him back to the infirmary, as if events like these were expected. None seemed to be bothered or cared for the young boys livelihood. Closing her eyes Alina pressed her thumb and index finger over her eyes and sighed greatly. She desperately hoped that the boy would be fine, yet she couldn't help but fear for Drych as well. Just what was going through that mind of his. regaining her composure, she walked down the empty corridors to the kitchen where she knew Marybell would be.
[b Mom] Alina called seeing Marybell begin to prepare a grand feast. Surprisingly the cook from before was still about, peeling and chopping away. Alina pulled her mother to the side. ALready chatter came from hustling workers, relaying the condition of the boy to other workers who wished to hear of the princes latest victim. Alina face drew to a frown, making it clear that such words and stories would no be spread throughout the castle staff. Looking back to Marybell she sighed. [b Who is it? What's so important that a boy, barley a private, had to barge in and set off the Prince? ]
Watching as she sunk to her knees in front of him, Drych gently gives her his hand. A dark overcast light darkened the room suddenly, the rain slapped harder against the window. Reaching up toward her face, he strokes her cheek gently. Hammering against her chest he could hear her heart, the thunder outside frightening her. In the years he’s known Alina, she has always been afraid of the yearly storms. Just like many strongholds built in the sixteenth century, Drych’s caste was constructed using stones. High walls protected the softer wooden insides before everything was reinforced with pearl marble. The spaces between the wood skeleton and the harsh stones created a booming echo that shook the castle nearly every time the thunder clapped. Knowing this Drych could understand why she was afraid of the storms. Offering her some comfort he trails his thumb over the back of her knuckles.
Using his other hand, he chases a strand of dark hair from her forehead. Thick eyebrows knit together slightly as he watches her features, reading the emotions there. Gradually his mood fades replaced with concern for her happiness. Keeping his face a hard mask he gently caresses her cheek, hoping to calm the fear in her chest and eyes. With a slamming sudden noise, a guard with a sweet face enters the library; intruding on their rare moment. Frowning deeply Drych lets his hand fall from her face and he pulls his hand away from hers, breaking all physical contact with her. Dark green eyes flick quickly between the two before the young guard can no longer hold his tongue. In his haste to speak he has forgotten his manners.
“Your Majesty, there are matters downstairs that require your immediate attention.” Growling low in his throat, Drych glares at the young guard. Taking a deep breath Drych runs a pale hand through his dark hair, scattering the thick strands over his shoulders. Pull his lips back away from his teeth in an ugly sneer. Hissing he stands and carefully makes his way around Alina. He is careful to not step on her or harm her in any way. Gracefully he strides across the long room. Stopping just a foot away from the inexperienced and new guard Drych unleashes his anger on him. Opening his mouth the guard makes his second mistake.
“Move, now hog shit.” Drych spits, interrupting the young man and sending him jumping to the side. The royal armor, light but still heavy for the guard, topples him. Suddenly finding himself on his back beneath his cruel prince, the guard looks up to the pale shadow. Stammering and floundering the guard tries to gather himself, to regain control of his stuttering presence. The guard is not given a second chance, a polished boot forces his jaw harshly to left. Inside of his mouth the guard experiences his teeth floating around in his own blood. An agonized scream escapes from the guard as Drych leaves the room in a storm; the door slamming shut behind him. In his wake the guard sees spot cloud his vision, his stomach churns from the pain in his skull. Soon unconsciousness puts him out of his misery. Spotting their cyclone of a prince leaving the library in flurry many staff members plaster themselves to the walls. Several of the women begin weeping, fear shaking them to the bone. Those that had heard the guard scream retreated to the secret passages criss-crossing the skeleton of the castle. These passages allow the servants to travel the castle quickly and without being seen when they were not wanted.
Taking the stairs a few at a time, Drych reaches the first floor quickly. Pausing only for a moment he listens carefully to the hushed voices. Turning on his heels quickly he picks out the source of the noise and enters the sitting room in the same way he had left the library. All eyes turn on him as he stands in the door way, challenging those that dare to make eye contact with him. Furiously he stares at the older gentleman sitting comfortably at the head of the gathering. The man’s beard fading from black to grey quickly identified him as the war consultant for Windshire. Composing himself carefully, Drych moves slowly into the room leaving the door open behind him. Three guards stood respectfully behind the older man, their hands behind their backs and their royal armor gleaming in the candlelight. Marybell, in her bluest dress and with her hair pulled away from her face using a dark green pin, bent slightly to fill another cup of tea. Glancing quickly, she acknowledges her prince before straightening and giving him a proper bow. Returning her quirt greeting, he silently praises her for tending to their unexpected guests. Taking his seat at the right of the old warlord, Drych attempts to clear his mind of anger.
“How may I welcome you to my home?” He questions suddenly, focusing on softening his features to a friendlier mask. Crinkling around his eyes, the man’s wrinkles show his pleasure at disrupting the young prince. Scared lips pull into a smirk as Alucard, Windshire’s royal warlord, finds amusement in the disgruntled Drych’s appearance.
“Dinner would be lovely.” Alucard nearly purrs, watching the older woman with curiosity. Nervously Marybell looks her prince for guidance in which he gives her a soft nod. Quickly she exits the sitting room to give orders to the chef. Returning his attention to Alucard, Drych keeps his voice even though the frustration and strain can be heard in his soft voice.
“Such an unexpected visit.” He sneers. Letting his lips fall from their good-humored grin, Alucard finally faces the mystery of his visit.
Alina had noticed a swift change in Daeron''s emotions. He had always a bit extremely and reckless. Yet after the death of his father, he seemed to fall deeper into his unwieldy mind. Watching him slowly spiral into internal chaos was hard on the woman. His smile, though already rare, became non existent. His eyes, once full of wonder for beauty, were now slightly dull as the overcast sky above. [b I will receive word from the messenger in the morn, as for your father's chambers, there still is no success.] pausing, she took a few steps closer to see the white software his hands and the stress in his face.
She looked down at her own hands letting the room grow quiet. She hated bringing him nothing. Letting him down brought her her own dispare. How could she let the man who saved her down? Shaking her head Alina brought up her hand to her chest, feeling the rapid beat of her heart. [b Your Majesty, if I may] completely stepping forward she knelt down so she was not peering down at him from above. [b I was thinking, the answer to opening your father's chambers. Could it be a personal connection. An answer to your father's heart. You know your father most out of anyone here. Use that to your advantage, and possibly your question will be answered.]
She had heard a few stories of the late king from Daeron, at least the stories were from before the paranoia set in. She knew of the love story between his mother and his father, yet anything more from Daeron''s past was unknown and foreign to her. Thunder crashed, raddling the glass of the fogged window behind her. Her eyes went from the prince to the light that flickered as lightning followed.
It was no secret the girl was fearful of the rumbling sky, yet she had to keep herself composed until she was alone. Waiting for hisanswer, another boom from the outside storm shook the second floor. Alina gripped her hands just as tight as he had gripped the chair. She did her best to calm her beating heart.
“What can I do for you?” Her question wasn’t unexpected, though he was surprised by it still. Sitting with his right leg crossed over his left and with his left hand supporting his chin he turns his dark grey eyes on her. Within the library thousands of books lined dusty shelves and candle holders attached to the walls were covered with white hardened wax. Many nights he had spent in the library, researching distant lands and trying to learn more about the northern kingdoms. Before his death, King Erolith, Drych’s father, had sent a message to the huge trading kingdom a few hundred miles north. Windshire Hold received the message just after King Erolith’s death, creating conflict between the two powerful kingdoms. King Windshire believes that Drych should not be king, the younger man proved himself to be impulsive and impatient; both being dangerous to a mostly peaceful kingdom.
In life, King Erolith was a secretive man. Drych looks a lot like him, both having pointed angular features and dark grey eyes. Erolith was somehow larger, his shoulders being thicker rather than wider. Unlike his son, his hands and arms were made for swinging a battleaxe or a mace. Erolith’s younger years were spent at the side of General Kal, a prisoner of war from a coastal barbarian empire. Erolith had spent years perfecting his technique, earning his right as king before the title was handed to him in the form of an arranged marriage. Drych’s mother was from a seaside village, her sweet and loving nature had brought her to the side of the wealthy, but dying man. In his last months Drych’s mother had cared for him and earned a special place in his heart. When the man died, he sent Drych’s mother to the capital to inform some of the man’s friends and connections. It did not take long for her to work her way through the royal chain and earn the motherly love of King Erolith’s mother. Erolith quickly fell in love with the dark haired beauty, their story is of true love and devotion.
“Thank you. Did the messenger come today?” He asks suddenly. Unlike earlier in the dining room, Drych’s voice is soft and lacking the angry authority it had possessed. Alina always heard this voice from him, unless she had truly and deeply offended him. Those occurrences never happened now. Clenching his right hand around the arm of the velvet chair he pushes the first few months out of his mind. When Alina had arrived, his father was still alive, though sick and Drych had already taken his place as king, though he does not hold the title as he is unmarried. Painfully the chair arm groans under his tightened fist, bringing him from his thoughts long enough to relax and save the chair though his knuckles were white from the effort.
“Have they opened my father’s chambers yet?” Drych inquires. Keeping his voice soft and as controlled as he can. Two massive iron doors seal the royal chambers. A complicated combination of symbols and strange markings lock the doors. Just before his death, in the height of his paranoia, King Erolith ordered the doors be crafted and then put into place. Erolith used every ounce of his remining strength to set the lock on the doors, in a way only he knew and understood, then he carefully closed himself in the room with only his most trusted nurses and doctors. Quickly the medical staff discovered they could leave the room, but once they left they could not reenter unless someone from the inside let them in. King Erolith’s body was the last person to leave the room, the heavy doors slammed shut behind him because of a careless guard. Since the burying of his father, Drych had been trying to get into the windowless room. Carefully the room had to be opened, his father could have prepared any number of traps or systems to safeguard his secrets.
Alina stood still watching as his majesty picked at his food. She knew it had to do with the rain. It was the rainy seasons the help of the castle despised most of all. Anything that was done was never to the perfection of their prince's eyes. Everything short of dissipating the dark gray overcast would be heavily under criticism. From her position next to the table she could tell the crust was underdone. Shaking her head she waited for his impulsive and rather dramatic response. [i CRACK] went a bolt of light just outside the window pane as the plate crashed to the floor. Her slightly full lips pursed into a frown as Marybell and the cook came rushing out. Honestly she was surprised the cook kept his job as long as he had, it was almost every other day a new set of plates were to be ordered and brought in.
Alina smiled apologetically to Marybell watching her clean the shattered mess of the cold marble floor. In the time she had spent with Drych, she had watched a many servants come and go. She also observed her mother grow old in age. Her mother being Marybell. When she had her alone time, she would often call Marybell her long lost mother, and sit to a cup of tea before the work day began. However, these tea breaks had became much shorter and often lost all together due to her growing concern for the Prince himself.
[b Come] she heard as his bellowing voice echoed through out the room. With a bow of the head and quickly walked along his side, quiet, calm and reserved. It was as if the scene that had just occurred had not and Alina brushed it off like dust off a shoulder. The sound of the rain increased, no longer in a steady rhythm but that of a rushing flood pouring down smooth flat rock-beds.
Much of the time the second floor was absent of all people, unless Alina had hosted an earlier event. But today, like most, it was quiet and still. The only sound being that of footsteps and two beating hearts. Once in the study, the young woman closed the door and waited for Drych to fetch his seat before speaking. [b You're Highness I have looked into the forecast for you. The next three days shall be wet and mostly cloudy. I have postponed the meeting with the north till after the storm and made sure your garden was tended too with blankets and heaters. Your most prized flowers will be moved to the green house till further notice. ]
Seeing he was in a moon, Alina bowed her head once more contemplating on her next move. Her hair was longer now, still a deep chocolate shade with large voluminous curls to frame her pixie like face. Eyes just as green as the day she entered the palace front. All that could be said about her was that she was fully developed. No longer a girl, but a woman with mature graceful features and a delicate gaze. [b What can I do for you?] She questioned hoping his mood would no improve that she was with him.
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