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Her mind clouded with the strong alcohol in the drink, Sancturia still lived in her own happy world and did not understand the heavy atmosphere around her. Instead, her smile became wider at the praise of the Dark King. Actually, she could not register what he exactly was telling her since her ears worked but her brain not. The princess was only seeing his entertained face for whatever reason and that was enough for her. So Kiran was capable of liking something. She managed to notice that in her drunk state.
Sancturia offered the King a friendly smile when he placed the dessert in front of her and left the shocked leaders behind to rest. The princess waved his goodbye and her eyes glued to the dessert hungrily without feeling the stares on her. The adviser was finally out of the spell of horror and surprise. Slightly confused but surely embarrassed, he hoped his king wouldn't hear of what his sister did and grabbed Sanctiria's arm shakily. He tried to act cool and calm when he awkwardly smiled and bowed his head at other with a bit of apologizes. It was not easy to make the protesting drunk Princess stand but he managed only after she picked up the plate Keriran gave her and said a loud, cheerful goodnight to the now sneering royalties.
The poor old man pushed the troublesome girl out and had the maid help to lead her to her chambers.
Sancturia wanted to dance and sing all the night but of course they forced her on bed and choked her on any bitter herbal drink they knew to help her come back to her senses but seemed like they underestimated the red wine of Shadows. She kept saying nonsense until she finally passed out and let the servants rest too. Adviser William stayed up all night, thinking of making up this embarrassment tomorrow somehow.
Morning had a pleasant breeze but it did not help her with the terrible headache which woke her up. Sancturia whined weakly in her bed, her mouth dry and a invisible hammer hitting her head. Her worn out body prevented her from standing and she stayed under the sheets in her miserable state.
"[+blue My lady. It is already late. Please rise from bed and get ready for today's meeting!]" The adviser pleaded behind the door but who he was to make the poor Sancturia overcome the new experience of hangover.
Groaning, she pulled herself up and tried to remember what happened to her. The only thing she remembered was that she had important things to discuss about with some certain countries. But in this condition, she doubted she could even greet them.
The knocks on the door became louder and louder in her ears and she gave in, getting up. Her breath smelt and Sancturia decided to cover it with mints and herbs alike and also not get too close to anyone. Maybe bathing could help...Maybe.
Sancturia called for maids to help her wash off the exhaustion from her body and wondered why they stared at her strangely. She probably just got drunk but she doubted if she had done anything inappropriate. Not like Adviser William was going to remind her since he also wanted to forget it...Hopefully other would do the same.
The bath did a little part but at least she was more awake. Luckily the adviser could do most of the talking and she would be just smiling. They combed her messy hair and dressed her up before she smiled in front of the mirror though her eyes said else. That didn't matter. The leaders weren't there to buy her true smiles.
[size12 Keiran had tuned out the commotion around him. There was talk of various things all around him, the sound of dinner ware clinking against each other as people ate and drank to their hearts desire. But none has touched the wine Keiran had brought but that didn't surprise him.]
[size12 Keiran had come down to the last few bits of his meal when he noticed things started to get a bit quiet. He looked up and around to figure out what was going on and saw many people looking towards the other side of the table. He looked over to the princess of Light and his eyes went a little wide. In the girl's hand was the glass full of the wine he brought. Was she really going to drink it? Something told Keiran that she was about to do exactly that.]
[size12 And sure enough, she did.]
[size12 The girl knocked back the entire glass, people staring at her in awe. A couple of them looked shocked and fear leaking into their eyes. Keiran looked at the princess and saw the drink was quick to take hold. A slight flush of pink appeared on her cheeks. And she was looking right at the Dark King. Keiran couldn't keep the genuine surprise off his face.]
[size12 Moments seemed to have passed when suddenly, the girl spoke. The room went dead quiet. People turned to Keiran, expecting the worst out of him. Moments ticked by when there was an odd sound. Someone was chuckling. People looked around, trying to figure out who it was. It wasn't long till they realized it was Keiran that was making the sound. He had a look on his face that showed he was amused, which is a rare sight to see. He had a smirk on his face as he leaned back in his seat, chin propped up on his palm as his elbow rested on the arm of the chair. He watched the girl in her drunken stupor and couldn't help but to chuckle again.] [b "Of all the meeting I brought the Blood Oak to, you are the first girl that was daring enough to drink a sip let alone an entire glass of it. A effort worthy of praise."]
[size12 People gasped. Did the dark king seriously just praised someone, something he rarely ever did? People looked at him, disbelief painted clear on their faces. Keiran got up from his seat and grabbed the plate that held his desert. It was a pastry with a sweet spread and filled with berries and syrup. He walked with it over to the princess, people gawking in awe as he walked past. He placed the plate by the girl.] [b "This is much too sweet for me so you can have it. But don't let this go to your head. I'm not one to be impressed by things easily but that feat was quite impressive. I'm retiring for the night." ] [size12 He said before walking off towards his quarters. Everyone was left stunned.]
[size12 Upon reaching his living space, he had to laugh. Of all people to drink that bitter wine, it was the Light Princess. Having never had such a potent drink before, Keiran had to wonder just how the girl was going handle the hangover afterwards.]
[b "Perhaps it would be worth taking a peek com morning."] [size12 He mumbled before finding himself a book and laying down to read the night away.]
Completely distracted, the princess gave short but polite replies to the other leaders. Though they did not tend to discuss much with her since she was not the king in charge. Sancturia liked it better too. The politics was such a complicated thing, you were never sure if you have fully won or not.
What she paid attention the most, was the irritated feard king on the other side. He did not look up much except some glares which she carelessly ignored. She was slightly surprised by the way he respected the food and ate with some sort of eagerness.
So he did needed eating.
This meant they had a lot in common. It meant he enjoyed eating and joy was from light hidden within.
Sancturia believed that Keiran was not exactly what others saw.
The naive princess immediately decided not to give up until she saw the pure side of the king of shadows.
Her gaze dropped on the Blood Oak drink. It was from Shadow lands and Sancturia had never seen such a wine before. Curiously she reached out for one, noticing nobody had drunk theirs. This was slightly rude, she assumed.
Adviser William was discussing about farming with a queen so he was not watching her to stop the disaster.
Sancturia looked at her reflection in the Red Wine and guessed that it was the most valuable drink of the Shadows. How generous of him, she thought sweetly and didn't see some leaders paying attention to her with widened eyes.
A young girl trying such a drink...was a rare sight indeed. But nobody said anything.
The Light princess took a deep breath before gulping down the glass. The bitter liquid hit her tongue and she felt like gagging but she afraid that would upset Keiran so she bravely swallowed the whole glass, tears welling up in her shut eyes...
Sancturia already felt slightly warm and light. Slowly she opened her eyes, looking at the Dark King with a strange smile. William had just realised what she had done. The adviser had a memorable expression as he saw the empty glass in front of the slightly dizzy princess.
Sancturia felt the air heating up and she fanned her blushed cheeks with her delicate hand.
A smile played her lips for no convincing reason. Adviser William tensed, feeling a disaster coming. A shame for Light Royalty. Or even worse,
Because she was smiling directly towards the feared king.
Before the old man could make a move and take her away with an approving excuse, Sancturia had already started talking,
"[b King Keiran. It looks like you have a thing for eating! Me too, I have a weak will against the sweets~]" Tilted head, half closed eyes and a sweet smile. Sancturia was not in reality. She was in her own version of wonderland in which the king was smiling back in a friendly way.
The guests gasped and froze in place, catiously looking at the Dark King to see if his reaction would be worse than their guess or not. Even some of the guards stepped closer to their kings and queens, feeling alereted. The atmosphere was hard to breathe, nothing...nothing dared to break the sudden silence Sancturia made with her drunk comment.
[size12 The princess was lucky to have someone drag her away from Keiran. He was irritated enough as it was. The meeting began and talk started. Throughout the meeting, Keiran barely spoke. There wasn't much that he had to say anyway.]
[size12 Once the meeting was over, there was a period of time where everyone could go rest and refresh themselves before the dinner. Keiran took the time to relax for a while with a book. His chamber was one of the darkest which is what he preferred. With only a single lantern burning next to him so he could read, the rest of the room was left shrouded in darkness. There was a window but it was tightly closed and remained so till the night darkened the world.]
[size12 When the time came for the dinner, Keiran reluctantly mad his way to the others. It wasn't all that bad at this point. To the surprise of many, Keiran enjoyed the various foods. Everyone brought something that was a delicacy from their nation with a few family traditions thrown in. The Shadow Nation had many delicacies but one was famous. It was potent, able to knock the hardiest of men to the ground with only a couple glasses. Many call it Blood Wine due to it's crimson color but there is no official name. Made with a base of rice wine, it's brewed and mixed with various herbs and boiled down to reduce the water. Once the secondary base is made, it's left in vats with pieces of bark from a tree known as the Blood Oak. This wood gives the wine it's deep blood color and adds a woody taste. Once it sits for several weeks, the wine is bottled. The taste of it is bitter with a slight citrus aftertaste. Most avoid it but some test their tolerance and have a glass. Unless one is used to the drink like Keiran is, the hangover from it can last for days. Most can barely get past the taste though.]
[size12 Keiran wasn't paying too much attention to the other leaders. There was food to be eaten and Keiran was hungry. While the others chatted, he focused on eating. However, he did feel eyes on him. He looked up and saw from across the table that the Light princess was looking at him. He let out a light sigh and continued eating his meal.]
[size12 The night was going to be a long one.]
When the King opened his eyes, Sancturia curiously stared into them. She had heard from her nanny that once you look into one's eyes, you can know them better.
What a mistake she made.
The princes' felt her legs shaking slightly as his coldness hit her. She could not find any possible life in those dark holes. She found her mouth dry as her eyes glued to his and kept asking herself what kind of power was that?! He also introduced himself.
Well. She counted it as a good start and felt her heart lighter. But what he said next-which was more like a threat- froze her in her place and her eyes widened in shock. He was already pissed? What was wrong with him?! Blinking several times, Sancturia started talking with an unsure tone.
"[b Excuse me but what do you mean...For a gir-]" Before the naive girl could finish her sentence or possibly her life, the adviser stepped in between, giving an awkard bow to the king and pulling his princess away from obvious danger.
Sancturia protested slightly but was ignored until they reached a safe corner. The man rubbed his temples, adjusting his glasses.
"[+blue My lady. What in world you were doing?! Do you wish for death?]"He whispered harshly. Sancturia rose up her eyebrows, averting her eyes.
"[b What do you mean, Adviser William?! I did not disrespect King Kiren.]" William shushed her anxiously, looking around. "[+blue It doesn't matter what you tell him. This King is death and doom. Please do restrain yourself from approaching him again.]" Sancturia frowned, tucking her hair behind her ear. "[b I cannot understand. Nobody is death and doom. This King is fearsome....yet I don't think-]"
"[+blue No, my lady. Do not under any circumstances have private conversations with King of Shadows.]"
Sancturia was absolutely not convinced.
The rest of the meeting continued peacefully. Under Adviser William's watch, Sancturia did not even look at Keiran. Though she was deep in her thoughts, thinking of the King and only him. How could someone be feared aa much as him by others?! The princess barely noticed the end of the meeting and just stood up like the other leaders, bowing in respect to the other nations along with them. As they were leaving to their chambers, Sancturia watched the king leave silently. She was staring and when she realised it, she just hurried to her own place with the guards and the angry adviser rushing after her.
The moment she reached the chambers, the adviser closed the door behind and started giving her a speech. Sancturia sighed but politely sat down on bed, listening to the trusted man of Light nation.
"[+blue My lady. I'm quite shocked that you have not heard of this King's sins during his long age of ruling. He does not fear slaughtering his own people for his own satisfaction. He even murdered his own father for the throne. Gods know how he spites these peaceful meetings. He only adores bloodshed. This is his nature.]"
Sancturia stood up and looked out of the window. "[b You might be right. But one's nature can never be this dark. We all have a light. That's what we believe in, don't you remember?]" she watched the servants outside preparing the dinner table. The nations were to sit at the table and eat together under the night sky.
"[+blue I should disagree with you in this case. This man, has no light. Please consider what I said, my Lady.]"
"[b I will, Adviser William. Thank you.]" Sancturia murmured softly before calling her maids to help her dress for the dinner.
Music was being played and the skilled dancers moved with the tune. The table was a nice sight, designed with plenty of food and drinks. Each nation had brought its famous product for the night. The Light had served the Golden Drink. It smelled and tasted sweet and relieving.
Sancturia found herself gazing at the table for the Shadows' offering. She was seated at the end of the table, the Shadows King on the other end. They were the two most respected nations after all.
Sancturia remembered to keep her smile as listening patiently to the leaders but her attention was focused on the King.
No matter what they asked of her. She was curious.
[size12 The Shadow Nation has always been a dark and frightening place. Travel to the nation was a dangerous task. Without the protection of a guard, it was next to impossible to make it out alive. Those that do often suffer the years to come.]
[size12 Deep within the heart of the nation is the Kingdom of Dravenis, home to the Dark King. Like those before him, he ruled with a first of iron and tolerates very little. Very few dare to go against him. Those that do meet a gruesome end.]
[size12 It’s a few days before the Meeting of Nations. Keiran has always found it quite annoying and pointless. It was mostly speaking of updates in status, trade and the like. There was the occasional battle between cities within a nation but nothing special. It was boring and Keiran wish not to attend but because of the binds of the truce forged so long ago he must at least appear before the other nations.]
[size12 Keiran was in his study for most of the time. His study was so big and so full of book it was like a library. Shelves filled from floor to ceiling of books, scrolls and ancient writings. A place like this would be heaven to any avid reader. Many of the writings had come from all across the land. There was something from each of the nations in amongst the shelves. Keiran rested on a sofa, legs crossed and book in hand. It was one of the few moments where he seemed….peaceful. He was at ease reading. It was the only time he could truly relax between his duties as king.]
[size12 The study door, which was large and carved with intricate designs, opened with whoosh of air. Footsteps echoed through the vast space as someone approached the king.] [+red “My lord. It only a matter of days before the meeting.”] [size12 A male voice said.]
[b “What of it?”] [size12 Keiran spoke, his words cutting through the air like a blade.]
[size12 The male twitched from the sharpness of those harmless words.] [+red “I’m sorry my lord but it seems they wish you to not be late again. There isn’t much time to spare. Only two and a half days till the meeting.”] [size12 Keiran closed his book with a snap and set it aside on a table. He stood up, towering over the other man. He moved towards the door, his stride long and slow.] [+red “My lord?”]
[b “Shut it.”] [size12 Keiran said before leaving the study. He moved down the halls of the castle till he came across a large open room with a massive round table made of stone and dark wood. It was carved with an expert hand and worn with age. There a small group of men spoke amongst themselves. One man looked up and the smile he had on his face faded to something cautious but still a smile.] [b “Anything important?”]
[+red “Yes, my lord. We have found a possible new trade route. There is a small town in the Land of Nomads that have access to some valuable items that may be of use to us.”]
[b “I see. Secure the route and schedule a meeting with the leader for after I return from the Meeting of Nations. If they want a meeting sooner, send Hemway in my place. I must prepare to leave.”]
[+red “Yes, my lord. I wish you a safe journey.”]
[b “Che.”] [size12 Keiran said before moving on. He traveled through the castle till he made it to the throne room. The area was the biggest area in the castle. It was the first thing people saw upon entering the castle. There Keiran grabbed his sword and a pack with the various items that was needed for the meeting.]
[size12 Outside the castle rested Keiran’s two trusted beasts, Pharos the phoenix and Scarros the serpent. With them was a woman dressed in a red so dark, it was almost black.] [+red “I have prepared them, my king.”]
[size12 Keiran ignored the woman, climbed up on Pharos and took flight. Scarros slithered along the ground and followed the pair.]
[size12 After two days travel, the king had made it to the Neutral Lands. The sun had just begun to set which was what he was counting on. He landed and made it to the castle where he would be staying for the week. Everyone was either preparing for bed or already asleep so it wasn’t know that Keiran had arrived. He headed for his room after giving instructions to his companions. He settled in rather quickly, having changed and plopped into bed within a matter of moments after arriving.]
[size12 The next morning had come and Keiran was already pissed. He took his dear sweet time making his way to the tower where the meeting was held. It was quite a beautiful sight but it just irritated the king even more. Upon entering, a clack of his heel alerting his arrival to the others. He was actually early for once. The others in the room glanced towards Keiran but quickly averted their eyes and returned to talking amongst themselves.]
[size12 Keiran made his way through the room. He noticed the King of Silvaria was absent. He moved about the room before reaching a wall. He leaned his back against it, crossed his arms across his chest and heaved a sigh.]
[size12 Some time had passed when some commotion started. There was a new arrival. A young girl as innocent as the sky. He didn’t pay no mind to her, closing his eyes. Moments later, Keiran heard her voice by him. He opened his eyes and looked to the girl. This girl was the one representing the Light Nation? It was hardly believable. Keiran gave the girl an unpleasant look, his silver eyes ice cold. This was the first time meeting the princess of the light nation. He didn’t know there was others besides the king. Not that it mattered to him. He sighed and looked towards the others.] [b “I am Keiran of the Shadowlands.”] [size12 He said, voice low with a hint of growl.] [b “You have steely nerves for a girl.”] [size12 He grumbles. It was clear he was irritated with the situation. If the others weren’t careful, something bad just might happen. Keiran was, after all, notorious for flying off the handle over minor things.]
"O' Spirit of Chivarly..."
Deep breath, closed eyes, focused.
[i Block out your surroundings, You cannot hear, See, Feel or smell anything in this world. Put all your senses into the outside Worlds...the Celestial Worlds...Call the spirits...The spirit you summon...let the Light power spread in your arms and eyes...You and spirit are one. You both see, You both move your arms...One...Two...]
"I summon thee!"
She felt sparkles within her...it spread through her left arm and founds its way through one eye...She could feel the presence of the other...becoming one with he-
Exhaustion struck her knelt position and she fell down on the stoned floor immediately. The spirit left her body in a blink and she lost touch with the Spiritual World. As always, she failed to summon the Chivarly Spirit.
Panting, she rolled on her back and gazed up at the painting on the ceiling. The art was done by Merita nation. A gift for the previous king. It was history and the tales of the nations...Especially Light. Mostly wars, the losses and the victories. There was one horrifying scene at the center. The war between the Light and Shadows. Both armies were massive. Both consisted of several races. The king of Light shone in the middle but the other hand, the mysterious figure of the Shadows King was swallowed by pure darkness...Terrifying and powerful...Who he really was? All she knew was that he's seen ages of peace and war.
Snapped out of her thoughts, Sancturia sat up and gazed at the guards coming to stand at the doorway. Registering the coming person, She rose on her feet and bowed slightly for the arrival of her brother, the Light King.
"Welcome back, my lord."
Softly the princess said, looking to see her approaching brother. Tall, well built, proud and beloved by his nation. Wasn't he a belssed one? He sure was. All the fairies had wished him that. The rays of glory was upon him from the Heavens.
"You were training, my dear sister?" King Bahaadur stood in front of him with a satisfied grin on his cheerful face. Sancturia nodded with a small smile of embarrassment, feeling a hint of sarcasm in his tone. Maybe she was just imagining it. Bahaadur was unbeatable in Light powers. As expected from Silvaria's belssed King.
"Yes. Unfortunately, I still have a long way to-"
"Long way? I don't think it's about your skills!"Bahaadur interrupted her with a more serious expression." I think it's from the heart."
"You know Light depends heavily on your inner side. You easily summon the peaceful spirits...while you can't get a hold of the battle spirits." Bahaadur made a distance by walking to the other side and extended out a hand. With a slight glow of his form, the sword of Chivarly was in his hand."Strengthen your soul, dear Sancturia...then you'll see that your whole body can summon any spirit you call for." Bahaadur let the sword vanish and approached her once more to place a hand on her shoulder.
"Tomorrow is the meeting."
Sancturia looked up curiously. She'd been helping him in the Kingdom in many occasions. Yet, politics was not on her shoulders.
"Yet this time I cannot go. The border lands of our Kingdom are facing natural disasters and I should check them myself. The border is already being threatened by barbaric forces. I trust you to attend the meeting instead of me. Don't worry, nothing important would be discussed there."
Surprised by the offer, she bowed down respectfully with a pleased smile.
"I won't disappoint you my King."
Sancturia wanted to prove him wrong. She did have a weak soul.
A meeting between nations?!
Oh, she loved to meet the other rulers...
The dragon smoothly took them to the neutral land where the meeting was being held. Sancturia, followed by advisor and guards stepped down and the dragon snarled slightly at the other flying creatures of the nations before going to hide somewhere until they call him again. Sancturia looked around in Awe. So...majestic the tower of nations was.
She knew well herself that Bahaadur clearly offended the nations by sending her instead but that was Silvaria Kingdom's way; First your own people.
Anyway, since Light was powerful, nobody would really protest...
Maybe the Shadows? Sancturia hoped their King would accept an apology. She greeted the Kings and Queens dearly, her kind and pure attitude making them forgive King Bahaadur's absence. There she saw him...
Was far far far more frightening that what she thought. Slowly she made her way towards him. Her eyes were down but then she looked up.
She didn't have to play timid. Light had pride.
"King of Shadows. I am honored to meet you. I'm King Bahaadur's sister Sancturia of Silvaria..."
A pause before she gave one of her warm smiles.
" To be honest, I longed to meet you myself!"
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