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Mariana can’t help the smirk that breaks through her mask at the King’s pettiness. As he moves to take his cloak back, Mariana stands rose in hand. The threat he whisper’s in her ear is almost enough to draw out an actual laugh from her, but she maintains her composure enough to quell it. The pure annoyance in his eyes tells her that she has struck a nerve, something to tuck away for later. While she knows it would be better to keep tight lipped, her pride over rides her logic [#DAA520 “You do not have to worry your grace, I have no intention of leaving until you’ve truly dismissed me. I wonder though, if you truly believe that threatening me would be what forces me to learn my place, or if you are just displeased that I didn’t meet your expectations.”] Mariana refuses to look away first, even as she curtseys to him.
When the guard joins her side, he seems practically afraid of, like the wrong word would get him hurt. The boyish face of the guard is made even more boyish by his freckle covered face and doe eyes. [#DAA520 “You do not have to call me my lady; I am not high born nor am I actually the king’s bride, which makes me of lower station then you. Please, my name is Mariana, what is your name Ser?”] She asks, falling into line beside the guard, allowing him to lead her out of the garden. [b “I am Ser Gallivant Edun; my older brother is Lord Edun, the lord regent of sector Cledor. I have been assigned as your guard during your stay here at the Orchid’s Keep.”] He says, almost on autopilot, obviously something he was forced to practice before their arrival.
[#DAA520 “Well, I am very pleased to meet you Ser Gallivant, I look forward to getting to know my personal guard, as well as the handmaidens I’ve been assigned. I’m hoping that at the end of this experience I’ll have a few good memories and hopefully a few good friends as well.”] She admits, keeping a very steady pace beside Ser Gallivant as he leads her not only out of the garden but through the castle. He seems a bit taken back by her comment, but doesn’t speak up again until they turn into a wing that seems to hold bedrooms of some kind based on the servants rushing around. [b “This is the princess wing, you will be staying here during your time in the Orchid’s keep. This is your bed chambers, inside you will find three handmaidens that are assigned to you to assist you in your daily tasks, as well as the head of your seamstress team, and she will be taking your measurements as well as your preferences so they can properly design your attire to best fit you. Once this has been finished I will be escorting you to the tea room for evening tea with Princess Vivian.”] Ser Gallivant says, stopping in front of a white door that has blue roses carved into it.
Mariana nods, pushing the door open to find four women standing not far into the room staring wide eyed at her. Three of the women are wearing the same kind of uniform, clearly the handmaidens, with the fourth dressed in a pair of nice pants and a loose fitting blouse. [b “Lady Mariana, we are pleased to be at your services. My name is Cheyenne; I am the head handmaiden in charge of your care. This is Morgana and Tiffany, the other handmaidens that will be assisting me during your stay. If you ever need anything at all do not hesitate to ask. We are also to find out if there is anything you would like for your chambers to make the place feel more like home, so once you return to it tomorrow afternoon it will all be prepared for you.”] Cheyenne says, gesturing to the other two women in uniforms in front of her. Before Mariana can even think of a response [b “My name is Andrea, I am the head of your seamstress team, usually we have a bit more time before evening tea to ask more questions and discuss things a bit more, protocol, fashion preferences the whole thing, but you were asked to spend time with the King before being shown your room, so I have a questionnaire for you to fill out before going to bed, but for now we have to do your measurements.”] Andrea says taking Mariana’s hand and gently guiding her towards a stool.
Mariana goes over her answers as Andrea takes her measurements, letting Morgana fill out the questionnaire as time passes. She is redressed in a simple gown, nothing flashy, and a pair of flats, something she is grateful for, before she’s basically shoved out of the room again and Ser Gallivant is escorting her through the halls again.
By the time they make it to the tea room, Mariana’s head is spinning a bit, with the magic vibrating in her veins. She is going to have to expel some of it before the nights end or she is going to burst. She takes a deep breath, biting the inside of her cheek hard enough to draw blood. The action provides a slight release to the pressure, allowing her to calm her racing heart a bit as they enter the tea room.
[font "Letter" [center [center Ulrics blue eyes never left her becoming a little relaxed before tensing up as the woman smoke his soft features now becoming stiff. [#00BFFF “Hmm, so you don’t even want to be here it is a privilege. Of course, there are many other women who want to have your place this very moment but it is you who are here you should be happy for this opportunity to help out your small little town right? Your right I forced you to be here I will force you to finish the trials and if you so wish to do something fickle because you do not wish to be here, you will not like to know what would happen to you then. remember i am the king my word goes. Im not the kind king everyone wants me to be”] The tall male walked behind her placing his hands on her shoulders taking his Cloak and came close to her ear whispering. [#00BFFF "I can have you easily treated as those witches, all i have to say is you tried to put a love spell on me. My people will believe me. its my word against yours. You are dismissed Lady Mariana."]
Ulric’s domineer changed he was no longer the charming man the woman once said he was he thought he could use it to make her fall for him but he was wrong she had said it he forced her here and he will continue to keep her here along with the other women. The silver haired male clipped his cloak back in place before looking back at Mariana. [#00BFFF “Learn your place in front of the king. You may go now I am sure my sister has something planned for all five of you. Don’t try to sneak off because I have a guard assigned to each of you. Have fun with your tasks.”] He laughed, grinned and finally whistled for one of his guards to come to him.
[#00BFFF Take the young lady back to her room to dress for the evening with my youngest sister I am sure the woman has something for the women to do. Tell the princess to meet me in my Chambers I have something important to tell her.”] He hissed his tone filled with annoyance.
[b “Yes my lord, As the king wishes.”] He walked to Mariana’s side kneeling down the knight had red hair short with soft features. [b My lady im sorry I must escort you out of the garden now. Please come.”] He bowed his head more not to anger his king that stormed off.
Once the selfish yet childish king got back to his chambers he hissed the woman he was most interested in turned out to be nothing more than a nuisance she was going to embarrass him in front of his people. It curiously made him want her more she was intriguing better than all the other women. The male changed into his Night robe than sat near his window staring out in the garden the moon hitting it just right revealing all the roses of different shades.]]
Mariana is highly surprised at how easily the king was able to read her discomfort. She makes a mental note to keep her features even more in check from now on. As the King speaks, Mariana can't help but be distracted by the surge of heat that came from the brush of his fingers. She knows that his words are flattering and charming, that she should be wooed by the handsome King and his lovely rose, but she is not so easily won over.
Mariana smiles while thinking of all the things she would like to say to him, but thinks better of it, knowing far better than to fall for that kind of trap. She pulls the cloak to a more secure position on her shoulders before walking passed the king and into the gazebo. She sits down and faces the water, weighing her words carefully.
[#DAA520 "You are incredibly charming, you grace, with your kind words and simple gestures. You are also very observant. You did in fact pick up on hatred in my eyes, but you must understand that it is towards the situation I have found myself in. The portion of Aspa that I come from is very secluded, with not even 300 people living in my village. We have the one mandatory viewing screen and nothing else. It is a vastly different world than that of it's capital. I am certain that there are a great many women who would have killed for this opportunity, but I am not among them. With this tradition being mandatory for the selected women, I was not given a choice in whether I wanted to leave my home or not. This event has altered my life forever and has forced me into the public eye for the rest of it as well, no matter how minor when the competition is over. This is not something I have chosen for myself nor is it something I could change, unless I were to intentionally make a fool out of myself on national viewing. Given that I will not disgrace my mother, that is not an option either.
"So given that I have been forced to participate against my will I find it hard to be happy in these circumstance And I am afraid that it will take something far more substantial then charming words and simple gestures for me to feel anything but resentment for this current situation and you, as you are the one who has forced me into the situation."] She says, locking eyes with him while maintaining a very calm and even tone. She sets the rose down in her lap, awaiting his response.
Ulrics hair reflected in the light as he stood waiting for the presence of Mariana his face looked upon the lake which seemed to be filled with sadness something he showed to no one not even his sister. He didn’t want to show anyone the pain he felt on the inside. Soon he heard the clank of his sister Vivian’s boots making contact with the ground as she walked with his guest towards him.
Ulric was at a loss of words the woman looked amazing in the golden yellow dress it was much better than all the others it was more unique and elegant the perfect color to contrast with his. The Silver haired king snapped back to reality once he heard her speak to him he walked to her side taking his cloak off wrapping it around her shoulders. [#00BFFF “Yes, but first to keep the nights breeze from causing our night to end early.”] He spoke nodding to his younger sister to leave.
He waited to speak again to the clanking of his sister’s footsteps were gone he pulled a rose from one of the many Bushels. [#00BFFF “I want to get to know you first its why I brought you out here, you’re not like those girls you were different you were straight forward but also seemed like you wanted to challenge me I can see the hate in your eyes from the moment you began to speak to me which sparked my interests. I don’t like a boring woman because my life is already that. When we have a ball for the five chosen I wish for you to be the first and last that I dance with. I will show no more favor for you for the other women may get outraged. But take this as a token of my appreciation of a fine young woman.is there anything you wish to say to me no one is close enough to hear your words but they are watching from afar.”] He grinned mischievously.
Vivian went to the kitchen kicking a pot that was on the ground pouting. [#FF1493 Not fair Soon enough my brother will have no time for me he will be all about creating a Heir to the throne. You two make some tea im going to to get the women into the library bring it there I must go over some ground rules but first I must dress more like a princess don’t you think?”] she spoke as one of the two maids nodded and started water for the tea.
Vivian walked to her room unhinging her armor with the clank of the metal hitting the ground Vivian opened her Closet walking in the young princess huffed not knowing which dress would be best for a night time tea so she grabbed one a little less flashy and revealing. The silver haired girl picked out a beautiful white and light blue dress with its arms a violet color along with the chest her collar was decorated with beautiful Sapphire jewelry. Vivian then traveled to the back of her closet searching through her crowns finding a silver crown also decorated with Sapphires putting it upon her head. Vivian picked up her dress walking gracefully to the library where the tea pots were waiting ready for the women in whom she sent the servants to go get.
Mariana nearly sighs in relief at the mention of going to her room before the king singles her out. When he approaches her, she can't help but notice how handsome he is, with the way his silver hair reflects to light and his pale blue eyes seem to be looking directly into her soul. Mariana can't help but pity that such good looks are wasted on a man filled with such hate.
She watches as he leaves, her face remaining perfectly stoic in the time it takes for the remaining guests to leave and Princess Vivian to lead her into the garden. She silently follows the young princess, faltering only as they pass under a canopy of flowers that seems to practically lead them into a completely different world. Off in the slight distance, Mariana can see a vast pond with the nights moon reflecting off of it. There are more flowers in this garden than Mariana knows the name for, and it has her staring slightly wide eyed at the beauty of it all.
Eventually they come to a stop at a gazebo that rests just over the water. There are wild roses that are growing over and around the gazebo, claiming it as theirs, and reflecting their deep red color off of the water in such a beautiful manor that it could almost be mistaken as a painting in of itself.
Mariana looks over to find the king waiting, and can't help but wish for a split second that she was the kind of monster he makes her people out to be and could vaporize him with a simple ball of fire. [#DAA520 "Your grace wished to see me?"] She says instead, deciding that keeping her cool would be more beneficial. She stands at the entry way of the gazebo, feeling the slightly chilled autumn air blowing around her, tossing her loose curls around her in waves of raven black hair.
Ulric yawned looking over his shoulder at his sister who smiled at him. [#FF1493 Some of them are cute others not so much. You can tell wealthy from just wealth. They don’t look very interesting so they all fit your tastes.”] She played then stood straight up as the first woman walked up introducing herself as the daughter of Lord Baker, of course this man did some good trading’s with the kingdom but Ulric was not interested in this woman and hoped she was not the people’s choice. To Ulric it was way to well-rehearsed He wanted to speak out but he was on National television and the snark remarks.
Ulric gritted his teeth as the next woman Jocelynn came to speak again to his ears this was just another well-rehearsed spokemenship. Not only did these women train here but have been trained all their life for this opportunity. Ulric now wondered if either one of the first two women would be good for the kingdom. Of course, one brings wealth and the other council, but they must have had another they loved well so he thought since they seemed a tad bit nervous. But who wouldn’t in front of a king who would have you killed at the slightest hint of magic.
Next was Rebecca, Ulric Yawned bored out of his mind as the women were all well-rehearsed would this one be any better. At least this woman could stand on her own she was trained with a weapon. Ulric looked up at his sister who looked like she was about to fall asleep yawning he elbowed her. [#FF1493 “This one is more interesting. At least she can protect herself but it’s my job to protect you as your sister.”] She spoke yawning again Ulric nodded then the fourth came forward so he re-adjusted himself.
This girl wasn’t like the three before her she didn’t seem like she practiced her speech over and over but she seemed a little too young and innocent for him he would admit she was very beautiful more than the girls before but again she was too young for him. Finally, the last woman came up this one intrigued him making him sit at the edge of his seat once she finished introducing herself he began to laugh it put a smile on his face. [#00BFFF “All of you are very beautiful and it was a pleasure to meet you all. As you know I am King Ulric, beside me is my sister Princess Vivian. She will be watching you all for the next few weeks and report back to me every day. Just know if any of you beautiful young women try to sabotage each other you will be immediately escorted out of my home. But for now, you may go to your room besides you Mariana.”] He spoke looking into the cameras as he spoke.
He then waited for camera crew to leave and walked down to the line where the women stood looking at the Mariana. [#00BFFF My sister will show you to the garden I will be waiting the rest of the ladies will be shown to their rooms to be prepared for tomorrow.”] Ulric then left the throne room walking out to the garden looking up at the night moon the roses shining from the reflection in the pond.
Vivian Yawned looking at the woman sighing not knowing why her brother decided to take this woman out for the night in the Garden. [#FF1493 Are you coming or what the king requested your presence. Let’s go I’m ready for bed.”] The younger short princess demanded walking to the doors looking back.
As the five women stand at the gates to the castle, there appears to be some kind of commotion going on inside the castle grounds. A servant arrives and requests that the camera crew follows them. They are gone for but a brief moment, coming back a little paler than before. Mariana looks a bit nervously between the different girls, trying to remember all of their names, but only recognizing two. After a few more minutes of silence, a young girl dressed in unusual armor practically skips out of the gate. She waves for them to follow her, and Mariana doesn’t even bother to question it. As she follows the girl, it becomes rather obvious who she is, given her flowing silver hair.
The princess leads them to a set of vast wooden doors within the castle. Throughout the halls there are portraits of previous members of royalty, as well as tapestry so perfectly crafted for its intended theme. Once they arrive at the doors, “Wait here,” the princess says before heading into the room first. Obviously once she has settled, the vast doors are opened for them, with rows of meticulously dressed nobles sitting on either side of the walk way, not to mention the camera crew recording every moment of their introductions to the king for the national viewing. Mariana manages to keep her face as relaxed as the rest of the girls, appearing even just the slightest bit bored by this whole thing, the same tactic she has been using since this whole ordeal began.
The women walk into the throne room in a single file line, giving each other plenty of space before the next one follows in, just as they were forced to practice over the past few days. Once the first woman is standing in front of the King, she begins her introduction [#8b0000 “My name is Alyssa Baker, Daughter of Lord Robert Baker, from the Titanos sector, I hope to bring good fortune to you and your Kingdom my grace.”] She manages to give a very deep curtsy, simultaneously showing off the very deep neckline to her gown as she does so. Mariana looks around the room, wondering if she even recognizes anyone in the room. Aside from the King and his younger sister, she recognizes the faces of a few guards from the murders they’ve preformed on those born with magic in their blood.
[#f08080 “Your grace, my name is Jocelynn Turner, daughter of Head Master Jonathan Turner, from the sector Klistar, and I hope to bring sound council to you in times of need”] The next woman gives a perfectly composed curtsy, clearly coming from a very regal family herself, her fiery red hair flowing around her giving her an almost ethereal look. If the witches that they murdered had actually been malicious, the amount of guards who had performed the deeds would be the ones dead. Mariana stands there, feeling a familiar itch running through her veins, alerting her to the fact that she needs to release magic soon.
[#4b0082 “King Ulric, I am Rebecca Roose, daughter of General Roose, from the Illea sector, may I provide you strength in times of conflict.”] There is a very strong appearance to the woman curtsying in front of the king, despite the very feminine and flattering dress she is wearing. She wonders what way she’ll be able to release her magic, perhaps she can go with the classic lighting a fire, or maybe she’ll be lucky and they will have a garden she could help bring life too. She does her best to push down the surges of homesickness that follow this train of thoughts.
[#228b22 “Your grace, my name is Amberly Foster, daughter of Lord Foster, from Mother’s Crown, I hope that I bring joy to your life in times of stress.”] The short, doe eyed girl curtseys before the king with a bright and joyous smile. Mariana figures that there will be a fire place in her room so that’s likely going to be the easiest moment for her to release some magical pressure. She might be able to convince someone to allow her to have a few potted plants, which would be the most useful.
Mariana notices that the girl takes her spot on the left hand side of the throne room and steps forward, [#DAA520 “Your grace, I am Mariana Faye, my mother is a simple medicine woman from a small village inside the sector of Aspa, I hope to bring humility to your side.”] She says, giving her best attempt at a curtsy but successfully managing to pull it off as if it’s intended to be half assed. Mariana’s introduction gets a few hushed whispers amongst the crowd, and she doesn’t even have to turn around to feel the daggers being thrown at her from their tutor for going off of the prepared introduction she was given.
She steps into her designated spot, maintaining her bored appearance, waiting for whatever is to come next.
Ulric woke up in a cold sweat dreaming of his father once again two men ran into his room hearing his screams as he awoke from his nightmare. A younger woman following behind the two jumped into Ulric’s bed it was his younger sister Vivian she was to young to remember their father killing their mother or himself she was lucky unlike him. It was also a curse to not know the real reason their father died, It was kept from most of the kingdom.
[#FF1493 Brother, are you okay? I heard your screams.”] The young woman spoke her metal armor clanking together. [#FF1493 later today the gates open for those five women but first a few of the men found a woman using magic. From what they said she was going to curse the women since she did not make the cut. Hermes caught her shes in custody her hands tied down and gaged so she can not utter a word her eyes also blinded. Shall we bring her to the middle of the town so everyone can watch her be punished to death brother?”] her voice was stern yet soft. She clung to her brother until he shoed her off.
The king stood up his silver hair glowing in the rays of sunlight escaping into his room his sister had intreagued him saying that another went against the Kingdoms rule of no magic. [#00BFFF “Yes and make sure that everyone is there for this execution. I will stand from my balcony and warn the people of my Kingdom then we will continue to find me a suitable wife. But for now leave and Vivian go get Hermes take that woman to the town before then cut her tongue we don’t need her to curse the women.”] He demanded and the company left his chambers.
Ulric hissed he couldn’t believe that someone would come out after the rule had been passed what did this woman expect to gain by using magic. The blue eyed male snapped his fingers and two hand maidens rushed to his side bringing him his under clothes and armor. His under cloth was red with the kingdoms crest while his armor was a pure golden color the purest and strongest iron in the kingdom. He let the women help him put his cloth on but when it came to his armor he trusted no one afraid that someone would poison his armor or something.
He awaited for his hand maidens to bring his breakfast which he had only grabbed a piece of bread before going to his balcony. [#00BFFF “ Grab all the servants in the castle and have them go out into the garden and watch what happened to those who disobey orders from the king.”]Ulric hissed between his teeth and the women left.
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Vivian walked down to the dungeon smiling at hermes then frowning at the woman. [#FF1493 Hermes my love, Brother has sent orders to cut out the woman’s tongue before we take her to the center of town to execute her. So she cannot curse us as she is beheaded.”] The young princess wrapped her arms around Hermes purring and giggling. The woman did use magic but she was not going to kill the King or put a curse on anyone she was just healing a soldier that Vivian made sure “Disappeared” her brother believed every word that came from her tongue.
The woman was about the age of 13 and stood about 4’5 she was also one of the best soldiers he had by his side that Hermes had trained. Her hair was long and silver she had two warrior braids on the left side of her head. Vivian’s eyes shined like the bluest ocean she worse silver ore armor a half top and a iorn belt that protected her hips while a cloth draped over her womanly areas. To her it was easier to move and would distract others.
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Hermes patted her head and nodded [b “My lady must hold her mouth open as I cut her tongue.”] he spoke as the two came closer forcing her mouth open then chopping her tongue finally sticking a part of a cloth in her mouth so she wouldn’t choke on her blood, Vivian’s brother wants her to suffer not die this quickly.
Hermes then grabbed the woman tying her hands behind her and a iron plate on her eyes so she couldn’t make eye contact. They walked to the middle of the town bringing her upon the wooden stairs to the guillotine.
Ulric watched as they walked up to the guillotine. [#00BFFF “My people. This woman here had decided that she was going to not listen to the kings rule. She will be made and example of. Hermes, Princess Vivian you both can dispose of her, let this be a lesson. I told you any magic in this kingdom and ill make and example. Now I have a busy schedule so if you excuse me.”] He waved his hand in the air and Hermes cut the womans head off and Vivian threw her head and body into the fire.
Ulric made his way to the thrown while his sister opened the gates leading the women into the thrown room to meet King Ulric. The girl stood by her brothers side her hand on the hilt of her swords.
There are moments beyond our control that alter the course of our lives forever. Such an event occurred the moment letters were sent out alerting the kingdom to the beginning of the Queenstrial, an old tradition adored by the people of Cresal. A competition that compares to no other, for the grand prize is a marriage to the King. There is one lucky woman selected from each sector of the kingdom, totaling out to be 30 women, which are transported to The Hunting Grounds. The Hunting Grounds holds the first portion of the Queenstrial, testing everyone on their survival skills and combat prowess. During this time frame 25 out of the 30 women are eliminated from the competition.
Most would relish at being able to compete for the chance to marry the King, but news of the lottery was a somber day in the Faye Household. The chance of being close to the King is the last thing Mariana would desire, for she descends from a magical linage. However, the lottery is a mandatory drawing and there is no changing who is chosen as the sectors competitor. So on the day of the drawing, Mariana and her mother said few words, barely noting that the chance of her being drawn is slim, but couldn’t bring themselves to be anything but worried. So there they stood, in the town center, surrounded by lots of eager young woman, praying that Mariana’s name wouldn’t be drawn. But as fate would have it, the announcer draws Mariana’s name, changing the course of her life forever.
During the days prior to her leaving, Mariana and her mother searched for a silver lining, finding only the money granted to those who make it into the final 10 as a positive result. The money would change their lives for the better, allowing them to make much needed repairs to their home and grant them tools that would further assist in their day to day life. Yet what they wouldn’t be able to predict is Mariana becoming a favorite of the people, who furthered her ranking.
Being the favorite of the kingdom is something that Mariana couldn’t have accounted for, but she certainly wishes she had. For now, Mariana stands in front of the gates to the Kings castle, one of the finalists. The iron work of the fence before her is delicate and detailed, and Mariana isn’t sure if she should be in awe or terror of the master crafted gilded cage before her.
All the while, Mariana smiles, waiting what she expects will be her last few weeks alive. For her darkest secret is the kind that gets you killed on National Viewing, the ability to perform magic. If she has to go out from discovery, she is grateful for the chance to be near the king, because at least she has a sliver of a chance to change his mind. She knows the likelihood of her succeeding is slim, but it’s the only thing keeping her from running out into the surrounding woods.
So here she stands, in the finest golden dress she had ever seen and shoes so delicate she wonders if they will hold her weight, waiting for the gilded cage to open and allow her and the four other girls to enter.
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