King's Secret

/ By bellerose1207 [+Watch]

Replies: 62 / 247 days 8 hours 40 minutes 15 seconds

Allowed Users

  1. [Allowed] shesmorethanamemory


[size18 [google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Sue+Ellen+Francisco] [sue+ellen+francisco [center The King of Cresal has finally reached the ripe age of twenty-one - meaning the kingdoms most adored tradition is about the begin: The Queenstrial. Thirty lucky woman between the ages of 17 - 20 are selected, one from each sector of the kingdom, to compete for the king's hand.]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center The Queenstrial is composed of two major competitions. The first being three months of intense combat where each young woman shows the king and their kingdom exactly how capable they are of protecting the people of Cresal should war break out. During this segment, twenty-five competitors are eliminated - leaving the remaining five to be tested in a far more subtle warfare: that of the King's court.]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center The second part of the trial takes place within the heart of the kingdom, the home of the royal family. The remaining five move into the castle where they will be expected to partake in studies of etiquette and history. Each week the girls will have to put on a banquet for visiting dignitaries to show how capable they are of hosting members from different cultures. This does however provide the young women with the opportunity to get to know the King.]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center However, there are is some history that won't be taught - like the real reason magic is outlawed in the kingdom of Cresal. A very well hidden secret of the royal family is a long line of powerful shape-shifters. However, the previous King had been romantically involved with a witch for several years outside of his union to the Queen. When the truth of their endeavors came out, the King promptly ended the affair to save face. This did not end well for the king though, for the witch then placed a curse on the king and all that are descended from him. A curse of an uncontrollable beast that craves blood shed, that takes control at night one week out of the month, to which the only cure is a married forged from reciprocated love. ]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center Having not believed the witch, the king continued on as though nothing happened. But upon the next full moon the king transformed into a monster of nightmares - slaughtering his beloved wife and several innocent servants of the castle. The devastation caused the king to go mad and take his own life.]]]


[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center The loss of both of his parents due to this curse caused the young king to outlaw the use of magic, an offense punishable by death, not knowing that magic is a genetic abnormality. Like his royal bloodline, magic is not something that people acquire - they are born with it, or have it inflicted upon them.]]]

[center ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~]


[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center Years pass and the mandatory lottery is held for the lucky women selected to take the king's hand in marriage - yet somehow Mariana feels anything but lucky when she is announced as the Aspa Sector's chosen contester. If anything it begins to feel like a curse when she becomes a favorite of the people and makes it into the final round, for she has a secret of her own. And if the king finds out, she could lose her head.]]]

[center ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~]


[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [i ~ * ~ The Finalist ~ * ~]]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco[b [center [#DAA520 Mariana Faye]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/gEB51LV.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Mariana Faye
Age: 17
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Bi-sexual
Romantic Orientation: Bi-romantic
[b Physical]
Height: 5'7"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Tan
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Green
Identifying Marks: Bullet Wound Scar on the back of her left shoulder.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Brave, Confident, caring, passionate
Character Flaws: stubborn, withdrawn, temperamental, easily attached
Likes: The feeling of cold rain on her skin, sunrises, honesty, the feeling of moist soil, food
Dislikes: total darkness, dishonesty, unnecessary violence, squishy food, wasting food
Hobbies: gardening, sparing, reading, sketching, horse back riding
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Moon
Occupation: Healer's Assistant
Powers: Control over the natural elements
Color Code: #DAA520]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [b [center [#f08080 Jocelynn Turner]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/inDz4SB.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Jocelynn Turner
Age: 20
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Hetero
Romantic Orientation: Hetero
[b Physical]
Height: 5'9"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Fair
Hair Color: Fiery Red
Eye Color: Green
Identifying Marks: None
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Polite, Scholarly, Reserved
Character Flaws: Conniving, Controlling, Perfectionist
Likes: Soft music, delicate jewelry, quiet
Dislikes: Loud talking, people stepping out of station, dysfunction
Hobbies: Reading, Dancing, Playing the violin
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Sun
Occupation: N/A
Power: N/A
Color Code: #f08080]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b [#4b0082 Rebecca Roose]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/yHUlFN8.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Rebecca Roose
Age: 20
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Pan
Romantic Orientation: Pan
[b Physical]
Height: 5'6"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Tan
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Identifying Marks: Triple Goddess Dream catcher tattoo on Left Hip.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Logical, Kind, Strategic
Character Flaws: People Pleaser, Planner, Disconnected
Likes: Privacy, Order, The smell of Apple Cinnamon
Dislikes: Law Breaking, Chaos, Greed
Hobbies: Sword Fighting, Horseback Riding, Reading
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Secret Follower of the Moon, pretending Follower of the Sun
Occupation: City Guard Captain
Powers: An Affinity for all animals, controlling them, healing them, altering them.
Color Code: #4b0082]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b [#8b0000 Alyssa Baker]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/QIthqQE.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Alyssa Baker
Age: 20
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Hetero
Romantic Orientation: Hetero
[b Physical]
Height: 5'4"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Slightly Sun Kissed
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Identifying Marks: None.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Confident, Determined, Tender
Character Flaws: Malice, Selfish, Two-faced
Likes: Revealing Clothing, High Tempo Music. Gourmet Food
Dislikes: Losing, Thunderstorms, Being Called out
Hobbies: Painting, Swimming, Shopping
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Sun
Occupation(s): N/A
Power(s): N/A
Color Code: #8b0000]]]


[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [b [center [#228b22 Amberly Foster]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/vmQMCqc.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Amberly Foster
Age: 17
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Questioning
Romantic Orientation: Questioning
[b Physical]
Height: 5'10"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Tan
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Green
Identifying Marks: Thick Claw Marks covering her back.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Generous, Kind, Strong Willed
Character Flaws: Naïve, Insecure, Sickly
Likes: Snow, Cats, Warm clothes
Dislikes: Unnecessary Violence, Animal Cruelty, Elitism
Hobbies: Horseback Riding, Gardening, Dancing
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Sun
Occupation: Horse master
Power: N/A
Color Code: #228b22]]]


[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco[center [i ~ * ~ The Finalist in Art Form ~ * ~]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [b [center [#DAA520 Mariana Faye]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/fhSaAbw.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Mariana Faye
Age: 17
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Bi-sexual
Romantic Orientation: Bi-romantic
[b Physical]
Height: 5'7"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Tan
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Green
Identifying Marks: Bullet Wound Scar on the back of her left shoulder.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Brave, Confident, caring, passionate
Character Flaws: stubborn, withdrawn, temperamental, easily attached
Likes: The feeling of cold rain on her skin, sunrises, honesty, the feeling of moist soil, food
Dislikes: total darkness, dishonesty, unnecessary violence, squishy food, wasting food
Hobbies: gardening, sparing, reading, sketching, horse back riding
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Moon
Occupation: Healer's Assistant
Powers: Control over the natural elements
Color Code: #DAA520]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [b [center [#f08080 Jocelynn Turner]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/0x99ON4.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Jocelynn Turner
Age: 20
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Hetero
Romantic Orientation: Hetero
[b Physical]
Height: 5'9"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Fair
Hair Color: Fiery Red
Eye Color: Green
Identifying Marks: None
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Polite, Scholarly, Reserved
Character Flaws: Conniving, Controlling, Perfectionist
Likes: Soft music, delicate jewelry, quiet
Dislikes: Loud talking, people stepping out of station, dysfunction
Hobbies: Reading, Dancing, Playing the violin
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Sun
Occupation: N/A
Power: N/A
Color Code: #f08080]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b [#4b0082 Rebecca Roose]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/VQ5Ba4z.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Rebecca Roose
Age: 20
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Pan
Romantic Orientation: Pan
[b Physical]
Height: 5'6"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Tan
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Identifying Marks: Triple Goddess Dream catcher tattoo on Left Hip.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Logical, Kind, Strategic
Character Flaws: People Pleaser, Planner, Disconnected
Likes: Privacy, Order, The smell of Apple Cinnamon
Dislikes: Law Breaking, Chaos, Greed
Hobbies: Sword Fighting, Horseback Riding, Reading
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Secret Follower of the Moon, pretending Follower of the Sun
Occupation: City Guard Captain
Powers: An Affinity for all animals, controlling them, healing them, altering them.
Color Code: #4b0082]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b [#8b0000 Alyssa Baker]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/Fc5xn9f.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Alyssa Baker
Age: 20
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Hetero
Romantic Orientation: Hetero
[b Physical]
Height: 5'4"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Slightly Sun Kissed
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Identifying Marks: None.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Confident, Determined, Tender
Character Flaws: Malice, Selfish, Two-faced
Likes: Revealing Clothing, High Tempo Music. Gourmet Food
Dislikes: Losing, Thunderstorms, Being Called out
Hobbies: Painting, Swimming, Shopping
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Sun
Occupation(s): N/A
Power(s): N/A
Color Code: #8b0000]]]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [b [center [#228b22 Amberly Foster]]]]]

[pic http://i.imgur.com/ztNf9Kp.jpg]

[size18 [sue+ellen+francisco [center [b Basics]
Name: Amberly Foster
Age: 17
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Questioning
Romantic Orientation: Questioning
[b Physical]
Height: 5'10"
Race: Cresalite
Skin Tone: Tan
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Green
Identifying Marks: Thick Claw Marks covering her back.
[b Personality]
Character Traits: Generous, Kind, Strong Willed
Character Flaws: Naïve, Insecure, Sickly
Likes: Snow, Cats, Warm clothes
Dislikes: Unnecessary Violence, Animal Cruelty, Elitism
Hobbies: Horseback Riding, Gardening, Dancing
[b Other]
Nationality: Cresalite
Religious Affiliation: Follower of the Sun
Occupation: Horse master
Power: N/A
Color Code: #228b22]]]


[center [b ~ * ~ Rules ~ * ~]]

[center [i ~ * no godmodding * ~]]

[center [i ~ * no instant romances * ~]]

[center [i ~ * 1000 character limit for the posts * ~]]

[center [i ~ * no need to post everyday, we all have lives, but try to post at least once or twice a week if possible, and message me if not * ~]]

[center [i ~ * don't auto-request to this rp, pm me first please * ~]]

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Roleplay Responses

Quietly Mason’s quill scratches pale yellow parchment paper. Like any dedicated student, he scrawls notes across pages stitched together with fading worn yarn. Mason’s preference for handwriting notes about magic stems from his respect for the castle’s long history. Dictating by candlelight anything that he found interesting, thought-provoking, or surprising, he marches forward in his quest to find a cure for his own curse. He pauses in his notetaking long enough to recognize the warning signs of a headache. Standing, he starts toward his bathroom to fetch some pills he has stored in the cabinet before he is dropped to his knees. What had started as a small throb escalated suddenly to a vomit inducing jackhammer. Too stunned to cry out, Mason collaspes on the floor of his bedroom feet from his desk. He pushes the heels of his palms into his eye sockets while squeezing them shut tightly. Bile rises in the back of his throat as his stomach rages like a summer storm. Mason’s legs shake like leaves in caught in a strong wind. The tremors makes their way up to his spine to his arms as a cold sweat breaks out on his brow. An invisible force shoves him to the ground like an enemy soldier’s boot. For a terrifying moment he could feel someone’s, or something’s, hot breath on the nape of his neck.

“Oh Gods….” He chokes, a curled body on the floor with sweat dripping from his cheeks and his eyes bulging against his palms. Seconds seem like hours, minutes drag like years. The pain lasts forever. Internal thoughts ricochet off the walls of his mind and cause the hammering to worsen. The smallest outside noise makes him want to howl. Using all of his strength he keeps quiet. Mason waits, tears mixing with sweat on his cheeks, for the pain to stop. Begging every god and goddess he can think of for healing. Promising to seek redemption for any sin he might have committed; though none come to mind.

“I’m going to be sick…” He moans, deciding that he had to crawl to the bathroom; at least make an attempt. The pain continues to ripple through him as he lays his cheek to the cool floor. Mason then proceeds to inch his way to the open too clean bathroom. The sparkling marble and white candles acted like daggers in his mind. After a few feet Mason had to stop and lay his forehead against the floor, alternating between his cheeks. He blinks away tears and swallows thickly against an ocean of salt in his mouth. The rooms spins like a carnival ride at the harvest festival. In his stillness he gathers strength and rests; waiting for the nausea to subside before crawling any farther.

Weakness invades him, leaving him breathless and shaking. Mason could hear a servant enter the room, but he could not see who. The floral perfume that servant wares makes him assume that it is actually a she. The woman’s voice calls out to him, but it is as though he is listening from behind a wall. The woman’s touch is gentle and hot. Flinching away from her, he tries to tell her he’s not ready. That it would be unwise to try to move him. Mason’s words are garbled by his cheek pressed to the floor and by a weak tongue. The woman screams for help, the sound lurching his stomach as he squeezes his eyes tighter. Mason is convinced that the screaming woman is a curse sent from the underworld to torture him. Her burning hands and shrill voice revive his sickness. Four hands are soon lifting him off of the floor. Mason hangs listlessly between two guards as they start toward his bed, one mentioning to the other that he’s heavier than he looks. A quarter of the way to his bed Mason’s stomach gives in. Peach colored puke covers the front of him and the toes of his shoes. The guards halt immediately and turn their heads away, the one on the right turns green. He tried to warn them.

Together they shuffle him into the bathroom where they lay him in the tub. The white porcelain is appreciatively cold against his skin. Keeping his eyes shut, he minimizes the mental stimulation. Mason finds himself alone in the slumped in the tub with his own vomit burning his nose. Too weak to do anything, he is completely at the mercy of his servants and guards. His only hope is that word would reach Rhea quickly and she would soon arrive with her herbal remedies. In the meantime, Mason found that he had no choice, but to wait while muted voices clash in the other room.
  Mason Crator / shesmorethanamemory / 6d 1h 27m 52s
Mariana can feel heat rising to her cheeks as she watches the King step down from his throne and take a step towards her, creating a space most would call intimate. Mariana could easily step away, allow the fissure between them to remain, not bother taking the risk of any attachment being created. The sight of Joffrey beside the throne keeps her still. She isn’t doing this for her own gain but for the better of the kingdom. She gives into the bashful feeling that comes from the Kings compliment, while Mariana has plenty of experience with different things, compliments and affection do not fall into the realm of things she has the slightest amount of knowledge.

[#DAA520 “I would like that very much, Mason.”] Mariana looks back up at the King’s eyes to find them a vibrant ocean blue color, soft and beautiful, not at all intimidating like that of his lightening eyes. She can see what all of the others can see, the young and beautiful man that has the world on his shoulders. His features seem softer and hopeful, causing something to stir inside of Mariana, something she can’t even begin to understand [#DAA520 “Has anyone ever told you that your eyes are the most amazing shade of blue?”] Mariana can’t help as the words fall from her lips. She realizes how much she’s staring at them and looks down, clearing her throat. [#DAA520 “Well, I guess I will head to my room for the night. I look forward to our date tomorrow.”] Her cheeks are burning a bright red as she takes the final step towards the King, closing the distance between them before kissing his cheek very softly. “Until then”] she walks backwards for a few steps before turning on her heel and walking out of the throne room.

Mariana could join her fellow contestants in the sitting room, but decides to go to her room instead. The guards silently join her as they all make their way to the Princess wing. She isn’t sure what to say to either of them, but one of them ends up speaking to her [b “I know it may not be my place Lady Faye, but don’t you think that you could have told the King you intentionally prolonged how long you took to do your scavenger hunt to allow someone else to benefit?”] the golden eyed guard asks as they turn into the princess hall. [#DAA520 “What would be the point of that? I would sit there and basically be telling him ‘oh look at me I’m great at everything and decided to allow someone else to win’. I don’t need to be the best at everything, I just need to do what I’m good at and that’ll be enough for me.”] Mariana says walking backwards in the hall, causing her to unintentionally run into Rebecca. [#DAA520 “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry Rebecca, I should have been walking forward are you okay?”] Mariana asks as she helps pick up what Rebecca was carrying.

A very large bird with vibrant blue feathers squawks from within the cage that had fallen to the ground. [#4b0082 “Oh don’t worry about it Mariana, I’m okay, but I don’t think Fredrick is too happy about being dropped. Are you heading back to your room already? The rest of us were going to watch some movies in the sitting room, talk about everything that we’ve gone through during the first part of the competition, I know we all saw some stuff that leaves a bit of a dent on you, ya know?”] Rebecca genuinely seems concerned about everyone, and they had all been through a lot together in the testing field. It had been a hard six months on all of them, and with some of the contestants not surviving the trial it left scars on all of them. Mariana could use someone to talk to about it all, but not right now. She has a battle she still has to fight, and this one she has to fight alone.

[#DAA520 “I was actually about to go write home, I haven’t been able to write my mom and tell her how things are going since we got out of the arena so I was going to do that, but I’m definitely down for talking another night.”] Mariana gives her a bright smile and steps around her, heading towards her room. As Rebecca shrugs and walks away, Mariana could swear that she sees a bright blue feather sticking out of the collar of her dress, but doesn’t linger on that.

She steps into her room, thankful that the guards are standing outside the door. Mariana tosses the box onto the couch and flops down onto her bed. She may have promised to help the King, but Mariana doesn’t have the slightest clue how to even curse someone, let alone undo a curse. Ask her to grow a plant from just the seed not a problem, ask her to bring some rain and she’ll bring a storm. She can heal someone, no problem; even ensure peaceful sleep but a curse? No clue.

Mariana sits up and paces her room, trying to figure out where to start. She decides to start with what she knows and starts a fire in her fire place. She writes the kings name down on a paper and sits before the fire, crossing her legs and silently chanting a blessing with the parchment in hand. She tosses the slip into the fire when a surge of electricity burns through her.

The curse that the King feels completely fades from him, the hallucinations that had returned vanish once again and the pressure he feels of the beast constantly trying to get out vanishes, albeit briefly.

Meanwhile the curse has transferred to Mariana, the surge of electricity burning through her, the pressure of the beast waiting to tear through her flesh, the hunger that comes with being so close to the full moon swirls through her. She stumbles to her bathroom, wanting to see the beast’s true face. Her hands cling to the sink counter watching as her hand flash into the claws of a monster covered in thick and deep fur. She raises her eyes to the mirror, seeing her face with the lightening eyes. She holds the curse inside of her as long as she can, watching as her face shifts to that of a beast. Her skin tears away, breaking through to a pitch black muzzle and hungry eyes. She stares at the face of the monster feeling the monster gaining control of her, wanting to cling to the more powerful host that comes with magic. It takes a few moments for her to regain control of herself [#DAA520 “Show me your master.”] Mariana manages to force out.

The face in the mirror changes into that of a woman with a pointed nose and slanted eyes. The high cheek bones and flawless skin are all far too familiar. She could be staring directly at Rebecca if not for the pitch black hair that falls in a river and similarly black eyes that show age around them. In the craziness of the past month, Mariana has seen Rebecca’s family, and the woman staring back at her most certainly isn’t part of it, but the similarities are uncanny.

Mariana is about to let go of the curse when the face in the mirror shifts, decaying quickly before vanishing. Just as the face disappears the shot of electricity in her system slips away, indicating that the curse has returned to its original host. Mariana’s knees give, but before they can collide with the ground, a set of arms and keeping her up. A quick look over her shoulder indicates that Farley is standing behind her and holding her up. [#4169e1 “I see you’ve decided to stick around and try to help, but that was incredibly risky Mariana, things like that could backfire, you could have taken the curse entirely and then it would be you locked in the dungeon once a month.”] Farley says as she helps lead Mariana to the bed.

[#DAA520 “I know, but I had to start somewhere, and it’s not like the king is going to tell a nearly complete stranger that he’s cursed to turn into a literal monster.”] Mariana points out, finding the bed far more comfortable then previously. She realizes that food had been brought to her room, but after what had just happened she isn’t sure she has the energy to eat. She wants to fall to complete exhaustion, but instead allows Farley to help her into some pajamas. She’s about to curl up on her bed and go to sleep, before remembering to do something else.

[#DAA520 “Hey Farley, can you bring me two pots of dirt?”] Mariana asks, as she steps back into her closet and digging in the pocket of the leather jacket she brought from home. She digs out a small bag full of different kinds of seeds. Farley gives her a small nod at the sight of the seeds and leaves the room. While waiting for Farley to return, Mariana writes two letters. One to her mother, detailing how much she misses home and just how different everything is and wants everyone to be here with her and that she sends her love. In the other she writes to the King,

[#DAA520 Dear Mason,

I had asked Farley to try and get a few of these for me last night, because another property that comes with these flowers is a good night’s sleep. I had also wanted to give one to you as a peace offering. When I returned to my room tonight I found them waiting here for me, so I hope you’ll accept it as a gift now instead and sleep well.

Mariana]

When Farley returns with the two pots, Mariana is quick to put seeds inside of them and with a little bit more magic, she allows the plants to grow, creating beautiful blooms of star shaped flowers. After that she collapses on the bed and quickly falls asleep. While Mariana may have blessed the plants to prevent any bad dreams from occurring the blessing doesn’t work on Mariana like it does the king.

It’s the same dream as before, running and screaming, getting all the way to the throne room before dying. The only difference is that this time when she dies, it’s from something tearing her apart. She isn’t able to see the creature, just as before, but she doesn’t need too, she already knows what it looks like. When she’s woken up, it’s by the morning sun, and not from her own screaming in the middle of the night. She’s soaking wet from sweat, but chooses not to talk about her dream and just goes through the motions of getting ready for the day and heading to breakfast, in the same half-awake state as the day before, haunted by the hallucinations once again, though not nearly as bad as the day before.

Included with her breakfast today is a large cup of coffee, placed before her by Joffrey as he sets down juice in front of everyone else. [#2F4F4F “We thought it best not to wake you again, you stopped screaming on your own so I imagine you managed to get some sleep last night. Let me know if there is anything I can do to make your sleep more comfortable my lady.”] Joffrey says in a hushed tone as he leans down to Mariana’s ear to say so. [#DAA520 “Thank you Joffrey, I’ll let you know if I can think of anything.”] Mariana says as she cradles the cup in her hands, loving that the warmth floods into her system.

Meanwhile the rest of the table is lively with chatter, talking about the testing the day before and how everyone thinks they did, at how excited they are for Jocelynn’s banquet at the end of the month, hoping that the visiting dignitaries from Griffinwald bring the chocolate the kingdom is famed for with them.
  Mariana Faye / bellerose1207 / 103d 2h 40m 55s
For the first time since his childhood Mason is can look around and see the actual walls of the hall. Wonder clouds him momentarily as he’s taken by his surroundings. The walls are deep and rich. The tile below them sparkles in the hall’s natural light. The sun kisses every surface and blesses the faces of all inside. With Mariana’s back to him he can marvel at his castle. Swallowing thickly and attempting to wet his dry mouth, he forces himself to remain standing still. Chin tilted toward the ceiling to stare at the mural there. The painting shows a famous battle. The battle of Berk, where the goddess is said to have fought a hundred enemy men. The remaining soldiers of a far away kingdom whom refused to retreat after their initial defeat at Anihall. Anihall being a fishing and mining town on the border of northeast Cresal. The rogue soldiers believed their general to be a coward, tempting them to push their luck. In spite of their diminished supplies and horses. Cresal’s goddess of the sun tried to reason with the men, standing atop a hill and calling out. Bravely she stood and defended her country.

Mariana’s voice brings him back to reality. Back to ground level. Taking a step forward on unsure legs, he attempts to bridge a gap that had formed suddenly between them. A gap he is as equally responsible for creating as she. Mason nods. Obviously, she wanted nature. To be as far from this cursed castle as humanly possible. Somewhere far and secluded. If he didn’t know any better, he would think she wanted to lure him a way to assassinate him. Such a feat would be improbable with constant guard supervision and his own combat skills surpassing hers. Though he doubted it mattered. Even the highest-ranking general succumbs to the poison on an arrow or knife.

“Of course. You will have as you wish. I was considering something in the garden. I accept that you are unaccustomed to nobility and the flare that follows. For that I do not blame you nor have I ever. Tomorrow night I will fetch you from your room for our evening. If it suits you.” He said. Watching her and forcing himself to focus on her face rather than the room around them. A brief pause follows before he continues.

“Forgive me, for the assumptions I have made. We have been unfair to each other. You are incredibly different than the other contestants. Beautifully so.” Mason finishes, nodding softly to himself rather than her. Confirming his own words. Blue eyes flash with finality, the lightning once in them gone. As if the curse itself gave them unnatural life.
  Mason Crator / shesmorethanamemory / 103d 6h 22m 57s
Mariana keeps her eyes steady, noting that something seems off about the environment, but she refuses to move her attention from the King. She had flinched last night in front of him, but not again. She accepts the gift from him and gives a very genuine and blissful smile to him [#DAA520 “Thank you, your majesty, I am sure your gift will be far more then I deserve.”] Mariana gives him another curtsey and turns to leave. She walks a few steps towards the door, before actually looking up. She finds herself staring at a beautiful carving of the Sun Goddess, elegant and perfect staring up at the sun in her hands, completely at peace. Mariana slows to a stop, taking in the beauty of the carving as she realizes that there is no blood pooling around them or phantoms screaming from the walls. The curse is gone, temporarily, she isn’t sure how she knows this, but she knows that it’ll return at some point.

The monster in the portrait she had seen the night before is the real curse and the only way she can help get rid of it is by getting closer to the king. She has to truly know the extent of the curse to figure out how to get rid of it. The only way for her to do that is by sucking up and apologizing to the King, as much as it might pain her.

Mariana turns around and walks back towards the King [#DAA520 “Your grace, if I may speak freely for a moment I would like to apologize for last night. I said a lot of things that I know nothing about. I know nothing about you and it was far too unfair of me to make assumptions from the persona you are required to put on for the cameras. I was chosen and am lucky to be here, last night was a brief moment of insecurity. I am far from accustomed to this world of yours and it is beyond terrifying. So many people require so much from you and you are under more stress then I could ever imagine. You have been nothing but nice to me and I lashed out.

“I am completely in the wrong here. I do hope to make up for my mistake though. I may not know anything about your world and may have a lot to fear from it, but I am willing to learn and prove that I am far more than a moment of fear, if you’ll allow it. I may not have the connections or experience that the others have, but I do have a lot that I could offer you, an outside perspective for example. So if there is any chance that you haven’t already written me off I would like to start over, starting with our date. If you would allow it, I would like to take it as an opportunity to get to know the real you, not the one you put on for show, and let you get to know the real me, not the one fueled by fear.”] Mariana may have her attention focuses on the King sitting on his beautifully crafted throne, but she does notice Joffrey giving her a small nod and an approving smile.

Mariana can’t help the small seed of hope that this will actually work being planted in her heart. She hopes that if she can get enough information about this curse she can show the King that magic is not just a source of evil, but a source of good as well. She wants to prove that her life is worth living. She takes another step towards him [#DAA520 “Please Mason, give me another chance.”] She can feel her heart pounding rapidly in her chest, clearly anxious to get rid of the curse, because what other reason could she have for her heart pounding so much.
  Mariana Faye / bellerose1207 / 103d 8h 13m 5s
Mason stares straight ahead at the coal black camera. A young man with short brown hair and unremarkable brown eyes blinks slowly at him. Sitting properly on his throne, he watches the few camera crew fuss with lights. A woman with long blonde hair approaches his right side. With a soft smile he welcomes her. In her hands are several different colored powders. Taking a soft sponge, she dabs dark powder across his cheeks, matching his naturally tanned skin perfectly. Once finished highlighting his face, she goes back with a lighter tone under his eyes to remove the dark circles presently there. Everything to make him look different on camera. More otherworldly. The good people of his kingdom needed a strong image to cling to. An image with a name that came synonymous with royalty, strength, and grace. Patiently he waits for the woman to finish with what she needed to. Her back disappearing in his peripheral vision. Finally, the host of the Queenstrial, a tall woman with shapely legs positions a chair at his feet. Mason looks down at her as the crew adds a few more lighting touches. All little changes used to make him bigger. Older, wiser, mature. Even though many thought of him that way it couldn’t have been farther than the truth. The truth hid in plain sight. In the way he still drizzled syrup on his pancakes. Or found himself getting excited over fair days. How he watched the ships in the harbor, the way the wind filled their sails and ignited a want to escape. Blinking away his distracted thoughts, he returned to reality in time to catch the woman’s name.

“It’s really an honor to be sitting across from you, I am Norria Knight. I won Miss Auctumnitas…” the woman continued with her credentials. Mason could see the beauty in her face. How she would easily been given the title with her hair the same shade of rusty red as autumn leaves. A dappling of freckles across her cheeks and a smart little mouth. Norria’s nose rose to the height of a mountain in the center of her face. The only thing that didn’t fit her was the pastel pink skirt and blouse they put her in. Her ivory skin clashed with the soft color.

“It’s a pleasure.” Mason said. His eyes flashing briefly as her quick heartbeat fills his ears. She was terrified. Terrified to be sitting across from such a powerful figure. A sweet floral smell swims around them, no doubt coming from her. Clogging his nose and making his sinuses ache. Other than that, she was an agreeable girl.

“Alright, in 3….2…..1….” The producer interjects, mouthing the word ‘go’ after one. Focusing on Norria took his mind away from the blood dripping down the walls. Mason was able to ignore it soaking into his shoes. Norria’s voice reminded him to mull over which prepared answer he would give her. Keeping his shoulders straight and his chin tilted slightly down. He speaks directly to her rather than to the camera. A few nonsense questions prologue the main one. The one the audience is anxiously waiting to know. Norria wanted to know the answer as well. Her blood fumed with necessity.

“What happened the night of the feast? When Mariana and yourself disappeared into the garden?” she asked.

“Mariana is….different from the others. She doesn’t come from any sort of house. Or noble name. This makes her sensitive to any type of flare that comes with being noble. The night of the feast she simply became overwhelmed, it happens to us all at some point. She hasn’t quite adjusted to being in the castle and that isn’t her fault. I brought her back from the maze in which she’d wandered, after listening to her.” Mason answers. The conclusion to the question leaves many more questions unanswered. An unsatisfied feeling settles in Norria. The episode following the feast showed that something had changed between them. That Mariana was falling out of favor. Licking her soft lips, she holds her tongue. A few more questions follow leaving the same unsatisfied feeling within her. Norria stands once the interview is over, stretching her hand out to take the king’s. Subtly they nod at each other ending the conversation. The camera crew stop the recording and begin packing away their things. Mason moves from his throne for the first time in hours. Stretching his legs as he strides across the room. Mason’s footprints fade in the ankle-deep blood just as quickly as they appear. He lifts a glass of water to his scarred lips. Norria joins him soon, leaning against the table as they watch the cameras being packed away. Their lens smeared with blood and their carrying cases quickly filling with the crimson river. Swallowing thickly around a lump in his throat, he tries his best to ignore the twinge of nausea.

“Off the record, who do you truly favor?” Norria asks. Her deep green eyes staring up at him. With a soft smile he turns toward her. Who does he favor? He didn’t know. Each girl was unique in their own way. Each having a talent that waited in the shadows to be discovered. Though it was too early in the competition to really pick favorites yet. At first it had been Mariana, simply for her compassion toward his gold stallion Buddy, but her cruel words wounded him the night of the speech. Creating a fissure between them. Secondly he would say Rebecca, because she had made an attempt to get closer to him on her own. Stepping out of the boundaries set up by the competition. He admired that. Admired audacity. There was also the ideal that she was a gladiator in the arena, even though she had been protected from any real battle. Now that things have changed between him and Mariana, Rebecca came first then Jocelynn for her quiet manner.

“Rebecca, as I said the first time.” Mason said easily, looking at Norria’s disappointed stare. Quickly she realized that the king wasn’t putting on a show. That what you saw was what you got with him. Nodding slowly, she returned to the rest of the crew and gathered her things. Only he could see the blood and bits of brain clinging to their lighting kits. With the crew gone, Mason could return to his lonely thoughts. Joffery appears in the doorway, his ancient eyes studying the young man looping back to his seat. Neither speaks as Joffery moves to Mason’s side. Two long tables have been laid out to welcome the girl’s items. Surprisingly, Jocelynn is the first through the doors. She carries her items neatly in her hands. She lays her scavenger hunt before him, allowing him to check the items for himself while listing them. Arranging the items in a perfect manner, from big to small, she waits for the king’s praise. Which he gives willingly enough. Mason steps down from his throne, wanting to be closer to the intelligent girl. Somehow, he should have known. With Mariana having the upper hand, he expected her to be the first through the doors. With three of her riddles already answered. Jocelynn’s brains revealed be quicker. Relief fills Mason at the prospect of being separated from Mariana a little. Since their arrival, his entire world seems to have been revolving around her.

The second through the door is Alyssa, she arranges her items in a clump on the table. Clearly unimpressed by Jocelynn’s presence and the pair’s closeness. Alyssa had her entire house watching her. Judging every move. Every failed challenge she was being laughed at. Mason stood at a distance from her, talking lowly to Jocelynn. Crossing her arms over her chest and flicking her hair over her shoulder she attempted patience. Watching them. Time was increasingly becoming limited. Whereas Alyssa had the advantage in nobility, the encompassing knowledge of etiquette, her lacking skills in combat and intelligence were dragging her down. Currently she ranked somewhere in the middle. The two girls are dismissed to their rooms for the evening with brightly wrapped boxes. Mason returns to his throne. Joffery stands at his side with his withered hands tangled in front of him.

“Have you heard?” Joffery asks under his breath.

“Heard?” Mason questions, his stare locked on the mouth of the bleeding goddess.

“Yes, Mariana has picked Boclen.”

“Goddess help us.” Mason pales. The inexperienced girl has picked the most pain in the ass culture to host. Their people being of the most religious and picky. Mentioning only briefly that Mason still has been unable to create a stable treaty with them. The trade routines between the two kingdoms remain open, but barely, and tensions are high when negotiating prices. The gap between the older king and younger king remains wide and impassable. One believing the other to be too young to lead. Borderline insane. The other clinging to the idea the older should die already.

“Is there anyway we can assign her another?” Mason asks. Tension floods the room as a light sweat breaks out over his skin. Joffery softly shakes his head. There was no way that the girl could be given another choice, unless she declared that she had made a mistake. Frankly Joffery couldn’t see her admitting she had made an unsure decision. Not only would it punch a hole in her creditability, it would embarrass her. Mason’s teeth click together. The remaining girls filter through the doors. Experience less attention that was paid to Alyssa. Even Rebecca.
Mariana is last through the doors. Mason, whom resigned his attention to planning an apology letter to the king of Boclen and planning the best routes in which to have gifts sent, is pulled back to reality by the disappearing blood. A dark eyebrow arches as the crimson liquid seeps into the mortar where it came from. Acting like water on a hot stove. The phantom voices singing in agony fall to a whisper and stop. Mason no longer felt spiders and webs covering his body. Curiously he looks up toward the opening doors. Knowing that Mariana had entered the room before meeting her gaze. The goddess’ mouth closes, drying the flood of blood that previously flowed. Stunned, Mason listens to her recount her items. With a finality, the rabbit is placed on his lap. The small creature keeps his wide eyes on Mariana, though remains. Carefully, hopefully, Mason reaches to stroke the rabbit’s soft fur. The first time in a long time that an animal hasn’t fled from him with the moon so close. Tenderly he scoops the rabbit off his lap as he stands. Approaching Mariana and dipping his swollen stature to a bow before her. Praising her efforts. Joffery, missing nothing in the young man’s face, smiles softly. Unnoticed by Mason. Straightening the king offers the rabbit back to her.

“Thank you, Mariana. Your effort has been recognized. Beautifully said and done. Take this gift to your room to enjoy.” Inside the box was a book of careful selection. A novel about a young heir saving her kingdom from impending war by having herself exiled in her father’s name. Wrapped in silk beside the book was an overcoat of silvery black. Something that noble women wear over formal sleeveless dresses. Tiny diamonds sparkled between the threads. Mason’s hands tremble as he passes the box to her. Her name delicately written in his own handwriting.

“For losing the challenge however, you will not be offered the advantage in the next.” He finishes his required speech. He returns to his throne. Hands trembling and confusion settling in his heart. Where had the hallucinations gone? Was this the curse evolving to something worse? Would the corpses of the slaughtered servants rise from the graves and chase him through the halls? Just as he was beginning to understand, to believe that he was a step ahead it changed again. In his surprise and confusion; Mason fails to connect the peace in Mariana with the disappearance of his hallucinations.
  shesmorethanamemory / 104d 2h 40m 53s
Blood begins to fill the cracks of the tiles, rapidly building until they are standing in a crimson pool, wading their ways through the halls. The sound of a low growl is quick to accompany the gruesome hallucinations and cause the hair on the back of Mariana's neck to stand on end. Mariana looks up at the center of the kings back, wanting to focus on the stitching of his shirt then the scent of copper filling the air. She notices an unnatural gloss to his clothing, it takes her a moment to realize that it's an icy coating, covering his whole form and growing thicker by the second. The ice becomes opaque, making it impossible for her to see anything besides the moving ice until he turns to open the door for her, then she's able to see his lightening eyes staring hungrily at her. She gives him a small curtsey and a quick thank you before slipping into the testing room. It's rather apparent that his offer was merely out of niceties rather then an actual off, not that she'd take him up on his offer anyhow.

The tests are given to each of the contestants separately, allowing them privacy that seems very necessary to a few of them. The tests have three main categories: Combat, Knowledge, and Etiquette. The physical tests come in a series of endurance testing and sparing. Mariana is assigned two grimstones as her sparing partners, and then as her personal guards for her stay here, who will be taking turns guarding her. By the shocked look on Bree's face, Mariana can tell she did far better then was expected of her as the last commoner of the competition. The disgusted look of her etiquette tester shows that she didn't do so well with those rounds of tests, but Alin's blank face gives nothing away for her knowledge testing. Overall the testing proves to be nothing more then the perfect distraction for Mariana to forget the previous evenings events.

When all of the tests have been completed the girls are able to pick which dignitaries they will be hosting, as Mariana is the people's favorite, she gets to choose first. With her lack of knowledge on the different groups visiting, she ends up choosing the Empire of Boclen to host, only to find out that it's the only visiting party that Cresal is still in works of establishing a full treaty with. Alyssa wishes Mariana luck, as they are very big on ceremony and can be very temperamental as a result of their religion, granted the luck she wishes her is far from genuine. Mariana can't help but feel lucky that she has two months to prepare for their visit, as long as her head can stay on her shoulders long enough.

Once everyone has selected their visiting groups, they are handed their list of riddles and let to explore the castle for their items with their guards in tow. Mariana gives a quick glance over her list, thinking for a second that she could easily find her items and turn them in. She moves to start, before the memories of the night before and the horrific images on the wall cause her to stop. She holds onto the paper but silently moves through the castle and out into the empty field beside the stables, likely the location where the horses are allowed to roam. [b "My lady, I don't believe that one of the items would be located this far from the castle, part of the point of the task is to allow you to learn your way around the castle."] The stern yet tender voice of one of her guards says. Mariana slows to a stop and looks at her two guards, the one that's to her right towers above her with fair skin and golden eyes that are stern and slanted with a very unnerving look about him, whereas the one on her right has a very welcoming look with a deep chestnut skin tone and soft brown eyes, they couldn't be more different with the same task, protecting Mariana.

[#DAA520 "You're right, it is, but I just need some time away from it all, I figured I won the first competition so it would only be fair to let someone else win this one."] She can't help but lie, knowing that it's not either of their faults that she's in this situation and taking it out on them wouldn't be right. She lowers herself to the ground and just lays there, feeling the warm grass scratching at her skin and the warm sun blazing down from above bringing back a warmth she didn't realize was missing. This far from the castle, Mariana feels like she can breath freely again. She just lays there and soaks in the sun for a little bit, wanting to be the last person to turn in their items rather then the first. She wants to fall to the background, unimportant and uninteresting, an average girl with little more then survival skills and not qualified to be a queen. Someone who helps the king from the background without his knowledge and tossed to the side when he's done with them.

A soft cough from one of her guards startles her, making her realize that she's dozed off, however briefly as the sky seems relatively the same. She slowly lifts herself off the ground and brushes herself off [#DAA520 "I guess I should probably get started now."] She mutters under her breath, gaining a soft chuckle from the friendlier guard before they make their way to the castle. She looks over her riddles and realizes that whoever wrote them made them transparent, it was far too obvious that who ever made them wanted her to win this competition. She can't help but wonder if Joffery had a hand in making this simple, and if so why he would want her to win this competition so badly. She slowly makes her way through the castle, stopping in the woman's room first, in awe of the sheer amount of books that line the walls, finding the Grey Maine rather quickly, the worn leather book stands out amongst the newly bound ones. The mirror held by a statue outside the ballroom is placed inside the book to keep it from falling and breaking, and the sigil ring from the grand library is placed around the mirrors handle. A hair piece from the royal family jewels is placed haphazardly in her hair, followed by the blue rose from the garden maze. The friendlier guard carries the family portrait of the king and his true parents delicately as Mariana places the letter opener in the book as well followed by the eye glass. The stern guard carries the candelabra with three red candles made in the likeness of the same goddess Mariana's seen around the castle. Finally at the end of the garden's maze, Mariana finds a grey rabbit as her last item. The rabbit does not run or fight as she picks it up, but instead curls against Mariana with immediate affection. With all ten of her items located, she makes her way to the throne room, only slightly distracted by the beauty of the rabbit and peace she receives by holding it close to her.

She has never been one to grow quickly attached to a creature, but the rabbit causes her walls to fall down quickly. It's calm and beautiful, soothing and delicate, it eases the building tension caused by Mariana being in the castle, making the hallucinations of the curse fade into background noise hardly heard. Mariana hardly notices when the throne room doors are pulled open, and any hallucinations given to the king in that room vanish as Mariana steps into the room. Mariana may believe that it's a result of the peace brought by the rabbit, but it is in fact brought by the peace inside of Mariana from the joy she currently feels.

Mariana holds her head up high, with a genuine smile on her face and a true peace swirling through her as she approaches the king. Her guards move towards the table of items and place the portrait and candelabra down before taking post by the nearby windows. Mariana does her best to curtsey to the king with her arms full of the rabbit and book, managing only an awkward dip. [#DAA520 "I am sorry if it took me much longer then the others to return my items, I got a bit distracted, but I do hope having these items back bring you some solace."] She puts most of the items on the table before returning to the king, with the rabbit in tow [#DAA520 "Most of all, I hope that this adorable little guy is able to bring you warmth and a peaceful companionship as it has me."] She says giving the creature a small kiss on it's head before placing it in the kings lap. The rabbit gets comfortable very easily, but still focuses on Mariana over all else. She gives the King another more graceful curtsey and waits to be dismissed.
  Mariana Faye / bellerose1207 / 103d 8h 24m 38s
Mason’s shoulders ached. Overall Mason couldn’t help the feeling that he was swollen. That somehow his body was soaking up the blood Mariana and he were standing in. Swallowing thickly, he tries his best to focus on her. Feeling and hearing the blood soaking into Joffery’s shoes and making them squishy as he saunters away. Mariana’s words are nearly lost behind the phantom screams echoing from the castle vents. Mason’s eyes flash at her apology, his heart hammering in his chest as familiar claustrophobia creeps from his stomach. Uncomfortable, he shifts away form the wall, toward the middle of the hallway as he focuses harder on her. A cold sweat starts on his forehead which he attempts to hide by turning away from her at Joffery’s instruction.

“It is not your fault Mariana.” He begins, his back to her. Walking down the hall, the cream tile stained deep crimson red. Broken crushed fingers threaten to trip him as they push their way through the mortar. Absently, Mason brushes a veiny cobweb from his hair, chasing skeletal spiders from his stubble with a shaking hand. The hallucinations had worsened as Alin carried Mariana away. As though the curse was further angered that they were apart. During breakfast he’d seen the headless body of Rhea lowered from the ceiling. Twine rope cutting roughly into her naked body as her blood generously flowed from the gapping hole in her neck. Expertly Mason had ignored it. Watching Rhea’s blood shower all at the table. With each soft clink of silver, he heard the spirits scream that he was next. That he was the spitting image of his father. Sighing, Mason brings himself to reality as he places his hand on the knob to the arena.

“Nerves can get the best of us all.” Mason pushes the door open, inside Alin and Bree wait for them. “They’ll be testing your skills. I will be waiting for you to bring me your items from the scavenger hunt. I’ll be in the throne room if you’d like to talk more.” Turning away from her, a remorseful ache warms his veins. Even to himself he was being too harsh, too cold and distant. Taking a deep breath be continues toward the throne room. Mason controls his gait carefully, not wanting to sprint down the hall for no reason. Without Mariana to take all his focus, Mason is forced to suffer with the claustrophobia. Whipping his hands on his trousers, he attempts a quicker gait, trying to look in a hurry rather than a panicked boy running from his father’s mistakes.

Once inside the throne room, the high ceiling and far walls are welcomed. Rotting paint and alien faces push bubble and fester, though it is more tolerable. Pausing, Mason stares at the gold throne, the only part of the castle that remain untouched by the curse. As though it somehow was afraid of it. Mounting the stairs of the stage, piled bodies of past kings, queens, servants, and guards, he takes his place. Looking at his blood-soaked hall, Mason truly faces his reality. Long dead voices echo hollowly off the walls. Dreary voices only he could hear and faces only he could see. Sickness rises within him causing him to hang his head in his hands to wait. Taking a deep breath, he could smell warm bodies moving behind the large double doors guarded by his bleeding goddess. Mason could hear voices whispering about which girl they liked best, which one they wished won, which one they thought would win this challenge.

Deep inside of him Mason’s darker side crouched closer to the surface. Waiting for his time where Mason’s body was at it’s weakest. Watching and waiting, in two days’ time he would be able to shed this mortal’s body and be in his real form. Hatred, seething and hot, burned inside of the monster. Electric lightning flashing brightly in the boy’s eyes as crimson images of death clouded his mind. Apprehension, dread, and worry twist the boy’s stomach into knots. Two days, he only had two more days and then everything would blur by. Then he could be normal again.
  shesmorethanamemory / 160d 8h 16m 4s
Even the glorious scent of perfectly cooked food isn't enough to pull Mariana out of the disconnected state she is in. Instead, she simply mechanically scoops food on her plate, ending up with a medium size pile of eggs, four strips of bacon, a biscuit with some sausage gravy drizzled over just that and another biscuit with some jam on it. Since she is not partaking in the conversation at all, she gets through a large portion of her food before the exhaustion begins to take hold of her again. She fights as hard as she can to stay awake, going as far as digging her nails into her palm hard enough to draw blood, but it doesn't seem to work.

Surely the horrific change to her surroundings indicate that she has fallen asleep at the table. She'd be mad if she thought that Amberly was truly eating some form of brain, and that Rebecca was tearing into blood covered intestines. Alyssa's mouth is dripping blood as she laughs at some joke Jocelynn has made. Mariana is looking around the table trying to keep calm as she takes in the sight, but the scent of blood is growing to be too much, and just as she thinks she may keep herself under control, a low growl comes from behind her.

The smell of blood and the fear twisting her stomach causes her to get sick. Without realizing it, Mariana pushes herself away from the table and rushes to the corner of the room to find an empty bucket waiting for her. As she's throwing up she feels a cold cloth glove touching the back of her neck followed by a soothing sensation washing over her. She doesn't even have to look up to know that Mareena is trying to sooth her a bit.

Once she finally stops throwing up, Mariana feels a set up strong arms picking her up and cradling her against a broad and warm chest. [b "I'll take her to the infirmary."] Alin's voice is very deep and low, with a rasp that strikes Mariana as familiar, but she can't place it. That's all he says before carrying her out of the room. Mareena is walking in front of him, opening all of the doors and dabbing her face with a cold cloth every few feet. However once they are actually in the infirmary and she's been checked out, it's determined that nothing is wrong with her. She is perfectly healthy and it's likely just nerves that are causing her to be sick, the doctor recommends soft foods and lots of water until the nerves settle down. If only she knew the half of it.

Alin had left shortly after he had dropped her off, and Mareena was called away to assist another maid with something, leaving Mariana alone until someone brought her oatmeal. She ate it slow, and as though he knew when she was almost done, Joffery shows up.

[#2F4F4F "I hope that you are feeling better Mariana, because there is still much for you to do today."] He helps her off of the bed and gestures for her to follow him out of the room. [#2F4F4F "Since you were unable to finish breakfast this morning you missed what today's assignment is. Once your skills have been fully assessed you will be given most of the day off today. During your free time you will be given a total of 10 items to locate in the castle. Whoever finds all ten of their items first wins tonight's competition. As the winner of yesterdays competition, your list will contain the answer to three of the riddles needed to locate your items. Once all of the items have been located you are to bring them to the King in the throne room. You will also have a chance to select which dignitary visit you must host today as well. Throughout the competition a total of five sets of dignitaries will be coming for various reasons and it will be your job to host the welcoming ceremony for one of the visits. As you are the people's favorite you will get to choose first. I recommend choosing wisely."] Joffery explains all of this as they walk through the castle and towards the testing area.

They stop suddenly because they almost run right into the king. [#2F4F4F "Ah, your grace, I'm glad to have run into you. I have some final things to take care of for tonight's competition, so if you would be so kind, please lead Lady Faye to the testing area."] Before the King even gets a chance to respond, Joffery turns abruptly on his heel and walks away, practically vanishing from sight.

Mariana turns towards the King, afraid to make eye contact in that moment. She instead focuses her attention to the wood floor directly in front of her. [#DAA520 "I'm sorry if I caused any worry this morning at breakfast your grace."] Mariana says, waiting for him to move before she starts to follow.
  Mariana Faye / bellerose1207 / 169d 5h 41m 33s
Bree approaches Mason wearing white trousers and a dark brown undershirt. A shirt which she’d stolen from the men’s armor rack. Today her thick curly hair was pulled back in a short ponytail at the base of her skull. Sparkling tawny brown eyes lock with his own as her black skin shines from this morning’s bath. After she’d helped Mariana, she retired to her barracks, there she washed with the other soldiers and did a few morning exercises. Coaching them sternly through a few new attacks. Reminding them that even through they were the best in their kingdom, they still had much to learn. Alin stood by watching closely. The morning sun dappling his skin in the arena. Every so often he would bellow randomly, his voice echoing suddenly off the walls and startling several soldiers. A few would laugh light-heartedly, but all knew why he repeatedly startled them.

“Are you going to want your date with Mariana today?” Bree questions. Mason stares down at her, his eyes narrowing for a moment before he silently shakes his head no. Bree had no intention to tell him about what had happened between Mariana, Cheyenne, Joffery, and herself. Somethings Mason didn’t need to know. Those things would be carefully kept from him. Respectfully, Bree nods. Noting Mason’s distance. Stepping to his right, she escorts him to his place at the head of the table. Dipping her head as Joffery approaches the quiet table with a silver platter covered by a silver cloche. Placing the food in the center for all to reach, Joffery listens carefully to the tense air hanging over their heads. Mariana, surprisingly had been placed a few seats away from Mason, though not entirely at the end of the table. Jocelynn and Rebecca to his left and right. Alyssa sits to the left of Mariana and Amberly across from them. Mason notes how Alyssa leans forward, her long waved hair blocking Mariana completely from his sight. Today she wears a deep chested dress. As usual her bust threatens to spill out and ultimately distracts him for a half a second. Placing a hand on the back of Rebecca’s and Jocelynn’s chairs, he waits for drinks to be brought to the table. Once the table has been completely covered with breakfast, he takes the time to pour everyone a tall glass of Cresal apple juice. Silently he goes through the motions, making sure each is served equally and then lifting the cloche, he allows them to serve themselves breakfast. Forking a helping of eggs and a few strips of bacon onto his plate. Grabbing a breakfast roll from another platter, he butters it with one hand and glances at the pale faces surrounding him. All watch him as he starts to eat while making their own plates.

“Eat all you want.” He begins. “There is plenty.” This isn’t a test, just a simple generosity. After stacking his plate, he sits between Rebecca and Jocelynn. Noting how Amberly stared at the bacon for a few moments before settling on two rolls and a medium helping of eggs. During the feast last night, he had overheard her speaking to her handmaidens. Answering questions about her home life. Mason learned indirectly that she was the horse master in her hometown. How she fought for animal rights and didn’t eat meat from animals that she didn’t know if they had been cruelly treated. Rebecca on the other hand piles her plate with eggs, bacon, and chunks of a roll she’d ripped apart with her fingers. Next, she smothered it all with the available gravy. Alyssa on the other hand carefully portions her eggs to bacon ratio, picking a single roll and ripping it in half. Jocelynn separates her food with her fork and spoon, careful to match each pile and to have the same quantity of each. Mason couldn’t see how Mariana ate, Alyssa’s golden locks blocked her from view. A steaming tray of boiled ham is then brought to the table. In which Rebecca and Mason grab three pieces, Amberly and Alyssa politely refuse, Jocelynn takes a piece and cuts it in half and then into tiny squares. Mason glances down and focuses on shoving his face with breakfast, leading him to miss what Mariana had picked.

Amberly picks up a quiet conversation with Jocelynn and this fills the silence over breakfast. As the girls chat among themselves, this leaves Mason to drift away again. Worry and a sense of dread keeps him from completely joining the real world. Bree notices his absence and tries her best to ignore the familiar apprehension to creep into her chest. Standing with her arms crossed over her chest, she watches the table and finds herself empathetic with Mariana. From an outsider’s point-of-view, it looked like Mariana had all but been forgotten overnight. Alin steps into the hall, wearing his formal armor used every day. Together they wait for breakfast to end and for Joffery to announce today’s events. Mason expressed to Bree in the hall on their way to breakfast that he wanted to spend the day in the arena. To work out some pent-up frustration that he had. Bree naturally agreed to spare with him, arching her dark eyebrows when he told her about Rebecca. Bree needlessly cautioned him against it, warning that in his heightened state he could hurt her, but he shook his head. Reassuring her that he would work all of it off before sparing with her.

Joffery approaches the table and begins taking empty plates to the kitchen to be washed. Mason easily hands his over and fakes interest in whatever Alyssa had inserted into the conversation. Once the dishes had been cleared and breakfast had been concluded. Joffery approaches the table again, this time standing opposite Mason in the empty space at the foot of the table. Politely he waits for the chatting girls to give him their attention before outlining today’s schedule. Breakfast was not intended to be taped, but once they left this hall the cameras would capture each of them. The challenge for today would be given to them. Then they would be taken one by one to a private room, so they can relate their feelings and any other thoughts, comments, concerns, general gossip to fill the rest the of the episode with before they were then returned to those that would be giving them their skill checks. Mason would then be called into the room to give his general impressions of the girls. Already he had planned to keep a lot of things to himself. To try to keep everyone on an equal level this early into the contest. Though Mariana had made that difficult. The audience already knew something had happened, what they didn’t know. The audience would want to know what had happened and so did the camera crew. Last night Mason had carefully prepared several answers for the camera.
  shesmorethanamemory / 174d 8h 43m 14s
Once Mariana has finished her bath, she is left with nothing but a silk night gown and a plush bed. On the nightstand there is a bell, she assumes is meant to be used if she needs anything. She climbs into the bed and does her best to get comfortable enough to sleep. After a few hours of tossing and turning she finally caves and strips the bed of its sheets and pillows and makes a make-shift bed on the floor before falling quickly asleep.

Wet soil mushes underneath her feet, soothing her homesick soul only for a moment before terror boils from the pit of her stomach and the urge to run takes her over, carrying her throughout the dark woods. She dodges trees, leaps over logs and runs as fast as she can, hearing a low growl progressively getting louder. The feeling of a hot gaze causes Mariana to turn her head, if only to see the creature hunting her before her legs give out. However she finds nothing, and turns her attention back to the direction she's running, only to find herself slamming into the double doors of the throne room. The expertly carved goddess stares at Mariana with haunted and dead eyes and a mouth agape in terror. Mariana tries to open the door, slamming her entire body on it to break it open, but it won't budge and the low growl returns to her ears. She turns quickly on her heels, ready to fight for her life, only to find the room drenched in blood once again, but empty from an assailant.

hesitantly she steps forward, letting her hands ignite, preparing for an attack, though the only thing she finds is the delicate sound of a violin singing a soft song. Mariana spins around, trying to make sure she is truly only, but as she does so the fire on her hands die and she is suddenly spun into a massive gown that weighs her movements down. While the gown would normally be considered beautiful, the fact that it's drenched in blood takes its beauty away. The soft music is killed by the blood curdling scream that comes seemingly out of no where. As Mariana desperately tries to find an open door to escape the scream something grabs her foot, causing her to fall to the ground. When she looks at her assailant it's a twisted man, with skin of wood, crawling from the wall. Mariana does her best to regain her footing and make it to the suddenly open double doors. This is to no avail, for the twisted man is not alone. The victims on the wall join him, walking and crawling to Mariana, digging unnatural claws into any part they can grasp, whether it's skin or fabric. The pooling of blood seems to deepen, for the monsters that hold Mariana are falling into it and pulling Mariana back and down with them. The copper scent fills her nose entirely as the blood fills her mouth.


Someone is violently shaking Mariana, pulling her from the depths of terror and into reality. Her throat is raw and burns as though she had been screaming in terror. Staring at her with deep concern is none other then Cheyenne and Bree. [#f08080 "Mariana are you alright? Did you fall off the bed? Were you attacked?"] Cheyenne's voice is shrill, terror seeping into her at the sight Mariana assumes she currently is. [#DAA520 "No, No, I couldn't fall asleep on the bed, it felt like I was sinking into it so I moved to the floor and I must have just had a bad dream. I don't want to talk about it though. I'm sorry to worry you both."] Even though Mariana does her best to composure herself as quickly has possible, the terror still boils in her stomach. The memories of the dream are vivid, and too sharp to forget any time soon.

[#a0522d "Get up girl, your coming with me."] A knowing look has formed a hard shell on Bree's face, but she extends her hand and helps Mariana to her feet all the same. Before Mariana even has time to ask what's happening Bree collects the blankets and pillows from the floor and Cheyenne grabs a plush robe and a pair of slippers from the closet and returns to Mariana, practically forcing her into them. [#a0522d "Follow me."] Bree says as she leads her out of the room. If not for the fact that Mariana is drowning in fear and the pulls of exhaustion she'd be able to ignore the haunting gazes of the victims on the wall, but she can't, feeling the terror boil hotter before Bree steps in her line of sight [#a0522d "Don't look at them, just at me and follow me."] The hard tone Bree takes causes Mariana to snap into reality. She has just exposed herself to one of the generals, one that raised the King at that. She is dead. Tonight sucks.

Silently Bree leads Mariana through the castle, taking her down a series of unfamiliar halls to what could only be the dungeons. Mariana is certain that the morning will come with her execution, so certain that when Bree opens the door to a library Mariana stares in shock at her. Bree doesn't bother gazing back, simply going into another room through a door in the far corner. She returns empty handed, but Joffery follows closely behind her. The two of them move over to a beautifully crafty tapestry of what is likely the love story of the late king and queen. They lift it off of the wall and reveal a hideous monster staring back at Mariana. The beast is massive, with unnatural features and horrifying eyes the color of lightning. The muzzle of the beast is drenched in blood of which likely belongs to the mutilated bodies surrounding it's feet. [#a0522d "The castle is haunted by much Mariana, but you should not allow yourself to be haunted as well."] Bree says, taking Mariana's hand and moving her towards the wall with little force. She places her hand on the beasts fur, which surprisingly actually feels like the coarse fur of a dog. [#a0522d "You haven't made it all the way from Forest Edge to let fear get in the way now Mariana. confront your fears Mariana, face them head on and don't let them make you run. You control your fear, not the other way around."] Bree's voice is confident and soothing in the same moment, making the terror slowly seep away.

[#2F4F4F "He needs help and Mariana you may be his best chance."] Joffery says, placing a cool hand on hers, taking it from the wall. [#2F4F4F "For now you need to sleep, tomorrow will be a big day."] Joffery puts Mariana's hand in Bree's before she guides her into the other room. This room is as [i bare] as the room Mariana was in previously, but it seems slightly smaller, and once she's laying on the bed, she finds it much firmer then the previous one. [#a0522d "comfort your fears, but you should wait to comfort Mason. Let him get to know you before you confront him about magic. It'll be the best chance you both have to survive."]

Mariana doesn't remember falling asleep, but the following morning she woken to the sound of Farley rolling in a cart of clothes. [#4169e1 "Ah, good morning darling. Cheyenne told me about everything that happened last night, so I let you sleep a bit longer then I normally will, but it's time to get up and get dressed, it's a big day today and you need to get to breakfast. I figured after yesterday it would be better to allow you to pick you own clothes, at least within reason, but then you'll need to head out, you have your first breakfast with the king and then your skill checks are in place of your normal lessons for the day so they can create a proper lesson plan for you. After that you'll get some true alone time today, unless the king intends for your date to be today."] Farley makes quick work of pulling Mariana out of bed and gathering her sheets.

It doesn't take Mariana long to get ready, choosing a simple teal blouse and a pair of black slacks and boots, keeping her accessories simple, her mothers ring, a delicate pendant and a sleek pony tail. She still feels stiff in the clothes but far more comfortable then previously. She's lead by a silent guard through the halls once again and to the dinning hall. Once inside she finds everyone standing by their assigned seats, with Rebecca to the right of the Kings chair and Jocelynn to the left. Mariana takes note of the kings choice, but the lingering numb sorrow is all she can manage to feel from the night before. She finds her seat at the far end of the left side of the table, and stands in front of it, barely noticing that the rest of the girls are wearing much fancier attire and dresses at that. Mariana closes her eyes for a brief moment, imagining that she's somewhere else before the sound of opening doors draw her attention to the current moment.

The King walks in and is almost immediately stopped by Bree, and if Mariana had any doubt that she was telling him about the night before it's killed the moment they both look at her. She looks quickly away and down at her plate, doing everything she can to compose herself and to shake at least a bit of the lingering sensation away. This is to no avail, as they sit Mariana is unable to hide her emotions with anything but the numbness that comes after strong emotions. All of the girls at the table take note of this, but only Amberly seems truly concerned about her. Rebecca gives a sympathetic look, likely already knowing about the night before's events at least slightly, for her room is next to Mariana's. Jocelyn seems to take note but not linger on it, focusing her attention on the king. Where as Alyssa smirks for a moment before leaning forward on the table, blocking the sight of Mariana from the King.
  Mariana Faye / bellerose1207 / 183d 23h 34m 30s
Rising at her usual time, the sun goddess greets her fabled king. Mason stands facing the sea in the window room. Grey blends and twists into an early morning sunset of reds, oranges, blues, and pinks. River fish sparkle under the foamy waves as sailors drag themselves aboard their ships. An old man with worn overalls struggles into a flat-bottomed boat. A butterfly net stretching on either side of him. Looking at the trees sends a shiver down his spine. Mason could hear them screaming in the wind. Closing his eyes for a moment, he tries to pretend that he can’t hear passed the sound proof glass. That he couldn’t smell the sea and the fish decaying in discard barrels. That he couldn’t smell the old man’s bait and the grungy earth clinging to his skin, under his nails. Running his wet tongue over the roof of his mouth, Mason tries his hardest not to taste the ale flowing from a tap in the tavern by the docks. Tries not to taste the wine lingering on the whore’s lips as she drinks herself silly. Anything to make her job easier to handle. Opening his eyes, Mason refuses to face what he can see in his own reflection.

Turning away from the blue eyes staring back at him, Mason makes his way to the now empty hall. Still grey light filters down through the high windows, coloring the cream tile dark brown. Forcing one foot in front of the other, he begins his morning lap. Stretching his muscles and strengthening his resolve. The full moon would rise within four days, he could feel it crawling under his skin; digging into his veins. The monster within him longed for it. Wanted to be released just as any caged animal would. Rolling his shoulders half way through the lap, he tries to make the feeling go away. Attempts to chase the itching bug feeling out from under his skin. Somehow it felt deeper than that. Closer to the blood pumping through his veins and possibly the smallest spaces in his atoms. His very genic make-up.

With a groan, the double doors to the hall open. Lifting his head, Mason is not overly surprised to see Rebecca drifting through the doors. Pausing, he lifts his hand in greeting to her. Soundlessly, she greets him in the same way. With an unexpected grace she makes her way toward him, wearing thin black pants made to go under armor and a white blouse. Her house colors represented by a shimmering bracelet and matching necklace. Rebecca’s footprints stood out on the floor as an illusion that only he could see.

“Good morning, Rebecca.” He speaks finally, creeping dread paling his skin and drying his mouth. Her full red lips pull into a smile reserved for him.

“Good morning, my highness.” She returns, joining him at the shoulder. Dipping his head again, he motions for her to start as he corrects her, asking her to call him Mason. A light flush shades her cheeks pink as she looks down. Rebecca’s heart slams against her chest. Silence stretches between them. Comfortable and refreshing. After a few moments Mason finds he can zone out, only her footfalls next to him reminds him that she’s there. On the other hand, Rebecca has watched the king grow up. Every important moment in his life has been broadcasted on live T.V. Along with the rest of the kingdom, Rebecca felt proud of him in a way. Mason could have grown to be a tyrant, a horrific spoiled brat. Instead he has turned into a conscious, intelligent man that has suffered for the lives of his people. Sacrificed his well-being so they could live happy and free under his rule. Rebecca admired him in more ways than one, standing next to him made her feel inadequate to be his queen. Mentally Rebecca vows to settle to be his best friend.

Mason stares into the floor, ripping the boards up with his eyes and letting reality sink into him again. After each full moon felt like a summer. The warmth and weightlessness of being worry free, of knowing he had an entire month before he dragged himself into the basement to wait, made him forget. At least while he was where he couldn’t see the images etched into his mind projected on the walls. A lap turns into two, then three. Rebecca keeps her stride long and her tongue silent. Mason, too far away to notice, feels the burn in his calves and thighs. Together they walk until the grey light turns golden and servants begin to pull long tables through the double doors. Finally looking at Rebecca since beginning their walk, Mason notices how the golden light streaks her hair, tans her skin, and floats around her. With a soft motion of his hand, Mason directs her toward the window room. Wanting to see the full effect of the sun on her and wanting to get out of the servants’ way. Joffery supervising the servants, making sure everything is perfect for breakfast and the announcement of the next competition, nods to them both as they exit. Mason catching his wrinkled eyes as he holds the door open for her. Half curtsying, she continues through the doors and turns to wait for him.

Rebecca bites her tongue against the endless questions welling up in her. Quickly she notices that he didn’t mind silence. That in fact he appeared to need it, as much as fish needed water or horses grass. Content, she waits for him to break the silence. Taking a seat closest to the door, Mason motions for her to join him. Feeling as though he was dragging her from room to room uselessly. Even though they didn’t speak, he felt closer to her somehow. As though in the silence between them he knew more about her than if they talked. In her eyes he found that she was bursting with excitement, anticipation maybe. In spite of this, she didn’t attempt to fill their silence with endless chatter, and for that he thanked her mentally. The slow realization that he was lonely made him thankful that she was there.

“Later this evening, would you like to join me in the arena?” He inquires lowly, not wanting to startle her with his sudden voice.

“Yes, I’ve heard a lot about your expertise in sparing. I’ve been waiting patiently for the chance.” Rebecca laughs softly. Bringing a smile to Mason’s scarred lips.

“Did you bring your own armor?” He asks her. Clearly, she was the gladiator out of the five. While others merely did what they could to survive, Rebecca toyed with her opponents. Often taking more than one on at a time. Rebecca’s skill in battle was whispered about through the highest of places, often brought on by bragging of her father. Rebecca wouldn’t call herself a “Daddy’s girl” more of a “Daddy’s deadly warrior”. Though her father’s reputation and connections kept her from any real battle, she still carried the rank of general and was respected as such. Rebecca nods, letting the silence between return as he adverts his eyes to the sea and the ship. Loaded down with sailors and cargo, it sways in the breeze carrying gold and various exports to other kingdoms. Bringing back with it other goods they needed.
  Mason Crator / shesmorethanamemory / 190d 10h 13m 6s
With the cold metal in one hand, Mariana begrudgingly takes his arm and allows him to lead her back inside. The unnatural heat radiates through, severely unwelcomed. However the warmth from inside of the castle certainly is welcomed, right up to the point that she realizes he is leading them back towards the banquet. She wishes to turn and run back into the freezing rain, preferring that to the warm smiles painted on the masks of those around her. She refuses to move though, not wanting to expose another ounce of weakness to the monster king.

The castle of the party comes to a halt as they re-enter the room. Mariana gives a small curtsey and walks down to her clearly worried hand maidens. When the king announces the end of the party and leaves the room, Mariana can very easily see the cameras being turned towards her and does her best to cover herself in the polite mask she wore before. She feels the tug of exhaustion pulling at it though, threatening to tear her down and pull her into a pit of despair.

She's thankful when the rounds of good byes are complete and the girls are released to their rooms for the night. They may leave as a group but the other four contestants walk nearly ten paces in front of Mariana, clearly upset about her time alone in the rain with their beloved king. The sound of them talking fills the halls as they walk towards their rooms, bouncing off the tormented faces that will haunt Mariana during her stay.

When they finally make it to Mariana's room, Farley immediately leads her to the bathroom. While Cheyenne and Mareena do not follow to the bathroom, they do seem to busy themselves with preparing the room for bed. Once inside of the room Mariana is stopped directly in front of the bath tub that is about the size of her entire wash room at home and stripped. Hot water begins to pour into the tub filling the air with steam and bubbles before Mariana is put into the warm water. She realizes that the water should burn, but with her elemental abilities including control over fire, the warmth simply chases the cold away quickly.

Farley makes quick work of washing Mariana's hair, giving her that time to fully calm down and finally relax a bit from the trials of the day. However when she finishes she finally begins to pepper Mariana with questions about the events in the garden. So Mariana tells her, having little energy to keep back the flood of emotions surrounding the days events. She goes into detail, even revealing how she had lost control over her magic, something that has not accord since she was very little. She talks about how pompous and arrogant the king is to think he knows what she needs. She pours out her soul to this person, feeling as though she can truly trust this complete stranger.

[#4169e1 "You are wrong."] Farley's response is simple and very startling to Mariana. The bluntness certainly catches Mariana off guard, but she's grateful for someone to speak plainly to her. Once the shock has worn off Farley continues [#4169e1 "He is also wrong, but you were too mean to him. His intention likely was not to tell you what you [i need] but merely to assure you that you do have a place here if you want one. In my opinion you are a fool not to want desire the crown. If anyone has the most to gain from getting the crown it is you. You should go easier on him, the chance you were given and try to change his mind on magic, rather then throwing it away by simply being callous. As we both know he is cursed with more then being an orphan, but despite that he truly is a kind hearted man. Even if he is a misguided king. You should at least think about acting as his guide to the right path."] Farley lathers up a rag with some highly perfumed soap before handing the rag to Mariana. Once she has handed over the rag she walks out of the bathroom, allowing Mariana to bathe herself.

She is completely dumb struck. She hadn't even considered his side of things. He may be blinded by his hatred of magic, but so is she of her hatred of him. Being blinded prevented her from truly seeing the opportunity available to her. She truly doesn't believe that she will become Queen, but if she could change his mind on magic then she could leave the castle better then she found it in. Maybe she could even find out how to reverse the curse that has been placed on him.
  Mariana Faye / bellerose1207 / 198d 7h 28m 42s
Mason turns his hard jawline toward her, his bright eyes flashing. Wordlessly he offers her his arm, as any gentleman would do. A few tense moments pass as he refuses to move an inch without her giving him her arm. Once that silent quarrel is over, he leads her back to the sparkling castle. Mariana’s words had silenced him. Truly he had not intended to mean what she took from them, but if she wanted to be that way then so be it. Mason takes his jacket back from her, retracting his warmth just as easily as he had given it. Pale noble faces greet them as they step through the door once again. Bowing his head to them all, he announces the feast had been concluded and that the rain has chilled him. All sympathetic nods meet him as he sweeps passed his guests, pausing to help a woman into her overcoat. Everyone in the hall senses something has changed, the camera crew follow Mason’s retreating figure to the double doors. The camera then pans back to Mariana. A blinding white question hangs in the air as all exchange glances. Quietly the crowd dissipates, heading out to their personal carriages to leave to their own homes.

Safely inside of his room and away from the glaring camera, Mason strips his undershirt. Hanging his damp jacket on the back of a chair for his handmaidens to fetch it later. The room surrounding him could be described as a mini library. Floor to ceiling bookshelves hold hundreds of tomes. The books range wildly between fiction and nonfiction. The wall under the shelves are cream, the carpet a crisp white color. Between the master bathroom and the door leading into the hall is a tall square table a few feet wide. Books covering every scientific approach on witchcraft lay open on the tabletop. A notebook of parchment paper lays nearby, neat handwriting decorates the pages. Turning his back on the table and on his king-sized bed, he makes his way to the bathroom. There he showers, changes into night clothes and prepares to spend an hour writing notes on the fundamentals of witchcraft. Hatred toward magic users has turned into an obsession. This obsession fueled by the images following him everywhere. In the more recent years the images have started to thicken, turning into flesh peeling from the walls and blood pouring from his beloved goddess’ mouth. Fear made him want to rip apart the walls, tear them to shreds, leaving nothing but the insulation between the dry wall and studs. Repeatedly his notes told him that ripping apart the walls would do nothing, would only cause phantoms of his dead relatives or the servants killed that unfortunate night to crawl between the studs and haunt him. Mason had already pissed off the curse by hanging the pictures and carefully decorating the halls, so the images were not as prominent.

Returning to his bedroom, wearing a lose fitting shirt and black trousers, Mason sits at his table and begins working. Obsessively he notes anything that might be worth noting, careful to spell everything, cite pages, and dates. A soft knock at his door rouses him. Rhea waits impatiently for him. Mason’s disappearance earlier upset her. Mariana’s unladylike behavior made her curious. Mason swings open the door to his chambers and allows one of his many mothers inside. The feeble woman takes a seat at the chair where Mason takes his notes. Smiling warmly, Mason retires to his dark red comforter. Silence stretches between them. Rhea didn’t mind the silence, in fact she liked it better than actual conversation. Though that isn’t what she came for. Shifting her pale skirt to one side, Rhea approaches the subject carefully.

“What had ye done, Son?” Rhea drawls. Her Eswa accent blooming in the privacy of his chambers. Mason considers her question for a long time, pulling his legs up and under him, he sits watching her. Waiting for the right answer to come to him as it had before. Unlike last time, the answer refuses to come to him, refuses to make itself known. In that moment, Mason knows he isn’t supposed to be right. That the real answer is admitting that he was wrong.

“I was wrong, Mother. Pride got the best of me. I forgot the face of my goddess and I let the excitement of the Queenstrail get the better of me. I hope you forgive me all the same.” He returns. His voice soft and velvet to the old woman’s ears. Rhea thought her son a perfect gentleman, she told all who would listen so. She more than anyone else boxed his ears and corrected him, not letting him run wild like a spoiled brat.

“Acceptin’ wrongness is correct.” She praises, twisting her arthritic hands together. The knuckles on each finger standing out sharply. She couldn’t help but feel that something had been changing within him in the last few months leading up to the contest, what that was she didn’t know. Mayhap it was just him growing, she thought to herself over and over. Trying to convince herself more than tell the truth. Deep in her, she knew it was the curse. Rhea is one of the few that know the boy’s secret, keep him protected and watch over him during a full moon. The basement had been converted into a holding cell for him, complete with wooden posts to destroy. The night of a full moon, fresh meat was brought down. Anything to keep the monster guarded. Bree kept watch all night long, always praying to her goddess for the night to be over. Bringing her back to reality, Mason relates what had happened. Telling her in detail about the rain and the shooting star. Rhea found herself moved by Mason’s speech and oddly hurt by her words as well.

“The girl doesn’t know how to take good kind words, ye think?” She questions in her special rhetorical way. Continuing after a brief pause. “If it be space she wants, let her have it.” Rhea nods confirming her own words. Mason couldn’t help but smile at Rhea’s spirit. She was fired up today. Standing as Rhea stands Mason offers the older woman his hand and aids her to the door. Patting his cheek and giving her over to the guards to make sure she makes it to her room. Mason returns to his room feeling a little better now with the consul of his mother. Mason settles at his table to continue to write his notes.
  Mason Crator / shesmorethanamemory / 203d 2h 41m 3s
The cover of his jacket provides little comfort against the raging storm, for the chill of the rain is nothing in comparison to the storm inside of her. However the gentle brush of his fingertips as he places the jacket around her sends the unnatural heat flowing through her. While the sensation leaves her feeling raw, her body seems to cling to the heat, holding onto it with every fiber it can, attempting to fight itself for warmth to fill the space in her chest.

Mariana continues to watch him as he walks over to the bench and takes a seat. She watches carefully as he runs his hand over his face, noting how his fingers drag against his scar and inadvertently his defined cheek bones and down over his even more defined jaw line. She forces herself to look away and instead focus on the intricate floral design carved into the stone of the bench, thinking about her friend Rusty back home and how much he adores the chance to care into anything. This art is simple yet elegant, clearly done with steady hands and a detailed mind.

If not for the pouring rain and the fact that Mariana is hyper aware of each droplet of her magic inside of the rain, the silence would overcome her and swallow her whole. When the king finally begins to speak, Mariana can feel the pull of her magic easing away. Now as he stands but a breath away with his words handing in the air, the familiar comfort of her magic vanished, taking away her control of the raging storm. Mariana is left with nothing but the pounding of her heart as she stares into the softness of his ice blue eyes. The genuine tenderness in his eyes pull out a desire within her to fall for his words, to believe herself safe within his presence, however the magically conjured storm keeps her grounded in place.

[#DAA520 "You speak as though you know anything tangible about me or what I need. No matter what kind of file you may have received about me and my life I assure you it would not tell you enough. Do not assume that I am the white flower you search for. I am not the white flower that [i needs] your lover and nurture to grow. I am many things your grace, but none of them belong to you. The only love I [i need] is the one I choose for myself."] She squares her shoulders and moves her hair out of her face, confident that the blue has fully faded from her eyes.

She pulls his coat off of her shoulders and hands it back to him [#DAA520 "The only thing I need from you right now is to show me how to get out of this maze and possibly back to my room so I can get out of these wet clothes. Then you can go back to pretending that you know what your potential brides want and need."] She can't help as venom drips off of her tongue with each word.

Standing there before the man who has murder many people like her claiming that she is what he wants causes her stomach to twist into knots. The mere thought that she [i needs] his love and affection to grow is Ludacris, that he knows anything about what she needs is insane. If she knew her way around the castle grounds she'd leave on her own accord and simply part ways with him until she felt less disgusted and weren't biting her tongue to tell him to shove his opinion where the sun doesn't shine. Instead she simply walks around him to pick up the golden collar. She looks back to him, waiting for him to lead her out of there, hating the ever pouring rain.
  Mariana Faye / bellerose1207 / 205d 1h 4m 6s
Approaching her carefully, Mason strips his jacket from his shoulders and drapes them around hers. With tenderness he settles the warm almost heavy fabric on her shoulders protecting her from the rain. Though he doubted she minded it in the slightest. With her protected from the rain he moves from her side and goes to the bench that she had found. Sitting, he puts his elbows on his knees and rubs his face with his hands. Thick black droplets soak into his hair and clothes. Bright white-blue eyes watch her, watch a woman whom clearly doesn’t want to be here of believes that she belongs here. After a few moments of silence and deep thought, he realizes she is waiting for him. Waiting for what he’s not entirely sure, but waiting just the same. All his years of gentleman training and etiquette hasn’t given him the right answer for this situation. Thinking back to his mother and father, drawing inspiration from Rhea and Bree, he wonders what each of them would say. Rhea would no doubt scold the girl for thinking silly things, reassure her that what makes her different is the sole reason she should fight for the crown as the others are. Bree would possible tell the girl to toughen up, that someone had to be queen and that he needed a queen that spit on others that looked down on her. His mother and father would just shake their heads and smile, remind the girl the goddess was watching and waiting to see what she did. That no matter what Mariana chose to do, the sun was in front of her and behind her, shining warmth.

Confessing that she had wished with every fiber of her being that her name being called was a mistake somehow hurt him. Emotional pain that flared in his chest was closer to empathy rather than hurt ego and pride. Hearing that she was considering her way out this early into the competition unsettled him. Admiration for her will rose in him and nearly over powered him. A plea perched on the tip of his tongue and he couldn’t think to a reason why he would want to beg her to stay. If she truly didn’t want to be here, they why continue to force her. Knitting his eyebrows together, he carefully pondered her words, listening to every implied meaning and syllable. The answer floats to him slowly.

“I have been blinded.” He begins, rising and moving closer to her. “Your Shooting Star is not just a flower. The white petals are a symbol for something greater, something more than the mundane. Arranged in beautiful bouquets and weaved into baskets, the flower is something greater, turns the most ordinary thing into a work of art and beauty. Jocelynn, Alyssa, Rebecca, and Amberly are massive blooming roses of every shade of red. Then there is you: a tiny Shooting Star, hidden behind the stretching petals, reaching for the sun when you don’t know you’re doing it. Jocelynn Alyssa, Rebecca and Amberly are all ready to be picked and placed into a vase, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a small white flower hidden in the grass that needs to be nurtured, watered, and loved for her to reach her full potential. I am looking growth, not something that has already grown and can grow no further.”
  Mason Crator / shesmorethanamemory / 209d 9h 37m 11s
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