Fall of the Court

/ By Loxi [+Watch]

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[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It seemed she shared his desire for the time being as he found her lips sooner than he expected. The moment the kiss had began his eyes had closed over and he had nothing to think or focus on but the softness of her lips, their warmth, their taste. Without the fear that it would be his only chance for this to happen he was more forgiving, more gentle and above all more passionate about this one.

His hands squeezed ever so slightly at her sides though they moved after a few moments. His left began wrap around her back wanting her as close as possible though it hesitated along with the kiss for a fleeting time before returning to her side, an awareness that he was beginning to envelop and trap her to him. The other threaded the gap between her hand and his shoulder, caressing up her neck and her cheek and fingers running through her silken hair. It was closing on a minutes that this took place before he pulled away, a puff of frozen breath between them as the night began to chill though it felt rather hot in that small pocket of space.

Nicolai's hand at her side rose up now and placed atop her own on his shoulder.[+royalblue “Je promets de t'aimer pour le reste de nos vies, à partir de maintenant, jusqu'à mon dernier souffle.”] The elvish, whilst perhaps not entirely legible to her, was given its meaning and its strength in how he looked at her. And though he wanted nothing more than to pull her close, to hold her tightly and enjoy this moment that little bit more, he remained light with his hold of her hair and her hand.[+royalblue “[i Mon petit amour].”] He grinned widely.
  WI_ / 20d 23h 20m 15s
She did not think she had ever seen a man look so wholly relieved. His lilac eyes were practically shining down at her, even without the assistance of moonlight. The woman was almost transfixed by them, lost in the way he was looking at her. It was new to her. Staying true to that feeling, he took a hold of her once more and shared some of his thoughts. Whether the fact that he had very low expectations of her was a good or bad thing Florence was unsure, but she was glad to know that what she said had not all flown over his head. His joy in this was not blinding him. But even given that, he still felt need to compliment her. To tell her how he felt in that flowery way he was prone to doing. How he did not regret his feelings and how beautiful he thought she was. And while it might have been due to the moment, she could not help but smile back up at him, face warm from his sweet words. She did not feel she deserved it, but she was going to accept it. If she did that, maybe one day her outlook might change.

When he pulled her in again, she did not push away or fight him. They had already kissed twice that night, so there was little reason to deny him such a small consolation. Especially when he was aware that it might be his last time for a good while. Not just because of her skittish tendencies, but also the fact that they were not traveling alone. When would they have time to be with just one another? She did not know, so like him, she hoped to make this something worth remembering.

Coming up to her toes she met his lips part way. They seemed softer now, he was not so tense as he had been before. Her hands that had been placed lightly on his chest came up to rest on his shoulders. It drew them just the tiniest bit closer to one another as she tried to move her lips rhythmically along with his. The moment lasted longer than she expected, but not in a bad way. It had been over seven years since she experienced anything like this, and with the way she had romanticized that in her head, she knew she missed it. After all, she still longed for this connection, it was just unfortunate that it often times distressed her. However, now was not one of those moments. It was gentle and warm and pleasant. And most importantly, it gave her a little bit of hope that things might not always be so bad as she thought they were.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 21d 3h 33m 8s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her pause was perhaps the most aggravating and suspenseful moment of his life. She left him on edge as his hands held onto hers, warm and soft and squeezing enough so that she knew he was there. If her eyes closed, if she wanted time to think, she could have it all, but she would know he had not left and that he was right before her. Whether it worked or not he did not know, but she spoke quietly in an affirmative voice. Though she followed quickly with a more positive affirmation, he was already smiling and nodding his head he looked at her.

They had shared secrets over the past few weeks that had been unknown for years before and yet here he was, her hands now taking a hold of his and squeezing tightly as she did. It was odd in a way, more like a day dream than reality. But even though this began with an argument, as had many of their moments in the past, this one had ended just right. Neither of them was that aggressive and stubborn individual from the years before. They had matured with age and with hindsight perhaps each could see fault in their methodology.

So much thought would be devoted to this moment in the future, so Nicolai decided to enjoy it whilst he could, slipping his hands from hers to slide around her figure, grasping above her hips as his chest pressed to hers.[+royalblue “I understand you may shy from me come morning and this moment will be the only one for a long time, if not always."] He did fear she would change once her feelings were observed more objectively, thus the need to say this now, whilst she was open to him.

[+royalblue "But I also understand much more now about who you are, what makes you this,”] he paused as he squeezed her closer,[+royalblue “amazing woman and why that makes me right for falling in love all those years ago.”] He grinned looking down on her, a smile she may have only seen once before when they first met.

[+royalblue “And if this is it, if your mind changes tomorrow, then I should tell you right here and now, you are the [i most beautiful woman] in the world.”] And with that he lowered his head a final time to steal another kiss from her. If it was to be the last kiss he ever got from her, should her mind change and this all become some mistake in the morning, at least he would make it a mistake to remember.
  WI_ / 21d 10h 44m 6s
Quite frankly, this was something Florence never expected. To be able to tell all this to another person, more specifically a man who longed after her, and have him keep that feeling. Did he not think she was dirty, or ruined, or any number of terrible things that she had told herself over the years? Apparently not. He claimed he was not perfect, so perhaps he would not expect her to be. Funny, she would have thought that was already something she understood with all her blatant flaws, especially in dealing with Nicolai.

It was funny that he said that he was in the palm of her hand, when in reality he was the one holding hers. She stared down at their intertwined hands, it was sort of comforting. That little bit of contact was just enough. He must have noticed she was staring, because he brought them up and it prompted her to follow through with her gaze, meeting his perfect amethyst irises. She had always thought it a same such a pretty color went to a man, but the world seemed to make up for it just that little bit by giving him a daughter. Florence hoped that he would find her one day soon. She wanted that for him.

As for his plea that she finally give in and allow herself to have something she wanted for once, Florence paused. She needed time to think. That was not to say she was going to put off her answer. She just needed a minute or two to really think if this was the right choice. Was it okay to trap him like this? Would he feel the need to try and fix her and give up when he found it was not working as he planned? There were a lot of negative notes running through her mind, however she kept falling back to eveything that happened in Astoria. How she told herself she was going to trust him, and that so far he had not broken that trust. Sure, she had gotten irritated with him, but he had not done anything to prove her wrong for having faith in him. That was where her gut was, and it was probably about time she start listening to it.

[+mediumseagreen "I think... I would like to try..."] She realized how close that was to what she had said the first time, seven years ago when he confessed to her, and panicked a bit. She decided to try and revise it. [+mediumseagreen "I mean, in an official sort of way... If you really, truly and honestly, think that you can love me for the rest of our lives, then I will devote myself solely to you."] Gods knew just how tempting that romantic concept was to her. How badly the person she used to be wanted this. Even if her feelings did not quite match in this moment, she was sure they would if she let it happen. Much like she was going to let this happen.

Wrapping her fingers around his hand, she squeezed him back a little harder than he had done with her. An act that betrayed how desperate she really was. Officially, she was not sure where they stood. Did this make them lovers? Could they be called that without the act? She was not sure, but one this was certain they were definitely going to be more than they were before.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 21d 11h 32m 33s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was rather interested in her first comment. He had no knowledge of her birth family. Neither her father or her mother had even come up in name, there had always just been Gregory. It was not the time or place to ask, and he was not sure he would ever find the right moment to ask. But at least she related to his story about his father and understood his meaning behind telling her, that she may not like what she saw in looking at Augustine but the boy was not his father. It mirrored Nicolai's life partially.

When she asked her question however he couldn't help but smile. It was asked so innocently and with fluttering eyes that he could not understand why there was even a question to begin with.[+royalblue “I know you might have been blind to my interest, but let me tell you; I don't take arrow shots for just anyone.”] The recall of the moment it had happened was perhaps buoyed to make him sound better – there was no evidence to show it was aimed for anyone but him – yet he did not mind. His hand dipped down to take up hers, placing it in his palm.[+royalblue “I am not a perfect man Florence.”] Taking her other hand, he layered it atop her own.[+royalblue “But I think you secretly need that person who drives you a little wild, keeps you on your toes.”] His other hand now lay atop hers, sandwiched between his and squeezing just enough to feel the pressure.[+royalblue “I loved you without you knowing for ten years. I still do, so the hardest part is over. You have me if you want me, all in the palm of your hand.”]

He lifted their hands for a little more emphasis, looking from them and up to those eyes. It had begun with those eyes all those years ago and even now they shone brighter than any light he knew.[+royalblue “Just say yes to yourself, allow yourself to have this, what you want, and I will show you a lifetime of love and devotion in return.”] He braced himself somewhat for her to say no, to deny him once and for all, but to perhaps take the lesser reward of friendship. If it came to that then he would accept it, as he said he would in Astoria, and regardless of his feelings he would feel something good had come of this night.
  WI_ / 21d 12h 47m 19s
She did look up when she heard the break in his voice. Honestly, she had not expected for him to get so invested in what she was telling him. This was not something she talked about, the people who knew often knew because they had picked it up on their own, so to receive this sort of reaction was new to her. Well, except for Gregory. He knew most everything and was the one stabilizing force that held her together over the years, but he was not here now. She did not know what she was going to do. He was not here to lean on and comfort her.

Once he told her how he felt he could relate, at least as a parent, Florence felt she understood his reaction a little bit better. From his comment earlier about how his father had taught him to handle conflict and other negative emotions, she had inkling that this was the case, but what he said now absolutely confirmed it. [+mediumseagreen "It would seem both of our father's were not what they should have been."] It was clear she was not talking about Gregory.

Florence nodded along to the bits about Augustine and her brother and her friend. While there was something that Nicolai was misunderstanding, she could not bring herself to correct him. Perhaps she should have, but what did the dead care about their reputation? Either way, he was right. Everyone else's lives had gone astray in some way or another. Eugene had faced most of the same hurdles as her, Augustus could never return to his life as a bowyer, and her son, her poor sweet Augustine, he was having to fight for what should have never been taken from him. But unlike her they had an inherent happiness inside of them. Maybe it was because they all had someone to share there troubles with, it halved the burden, so to speak. All the while she was sitting here on her own trying to handle a load that at times felt like entirely too much.

It was his last comment that really hit her though. She could still have happily ever after. The woman was not sure if she believed it, but looking at him it was obvious he did. [+mediumseagreen "And you think I can have that with you?"] As sarcastic as it might have sounded, she was asking genuinely. She wanted to know, if after everything he had heard, he still thought that she was a person that he could love. Even if there was a chance that it meant he would not have quite the life he pictured he would. Then again, he may have just meant it in general 'chin up, you are not unlovable, I am sure there is someone out there for you' sort of way.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 21d 13h 16m 20s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai smiled a little when her head had come back down, wiping away her tears as she addressed him again and in a light, almost strained voice he replied,[+royalblue “It was not, no, but I feel it was the right answer.”] He was glad she focused on the ground, allowing him to masquerade his own shimming eyes through a flurry of blinks, clearing his sight as fast he could whilst she told him what she wanted as a woman. It was very basic now he thought about it. Sometimes partners, sex, relationships, they waned in comparison to life.

Hearing both points, about her son and her own childhood, it brought up its own questions about his daughter, about his childhood.[+royalblue “You know it does matter.. it all matters a lot.”] With his voice wavering so it was inevitable she would look up and find those amethyst coloured eyes shimmering in the light of the stars.[+royalblue “Sorry,”] he half laugh half scoffed at his inability to remain strong at this moment in time, quickly wiping off his own eyes with with both hands,[+royalblue “hearing you talk about Augustine just reminded me of Natalya.”] Sometimes he would find himself in moments of doing nothing, thinking back to her, and this heavy feeling would weigh down on his chest. It had been so in Astoria, when the laughter of a young child – likely that of Abigail and Eugene – would trigger memories and he would have to find means of returning to his room before the guard following him would notice. It sounded so petty to think about but it had happened a few times.

Looking at Florence though he cleared his throat, trying to put a bit of firmness behind his voice as he carefully chose his next words. Thankfully she did not try to speak, seeing him struggling a little but knowing he wanted to continue.[+royalblue “I was relieved when she was born, you know? Not just because she was alive, with ten toes, ten fingers, little button nose and pointed ears. She has.. just the most perfectly light purple eyes, like lavender flowers.”] He had lost himself a little in describing her, his hand slipping into the pockets of his pants as he looked at the ground, head tilted to the side.[+royalblue “But I was so relieved, because she was a little girl, not a boy. Relieved because I did not want her to be like me, like.. this..”] One hand pulled free and ran over his chest, as Florence had when she gestured toward him.[+royalblue “This.. this fuck up.. this person who took his fathers rage and anger and internalised it. Who took his fathers disappointment and turned it on others. Who is a spitting image for his own father and despite trying to fight that, to be loyal and trustworthy.. and tried to show he could be a strong ally, turned out just like him in the end.”] His hand had pressed to his chest, or rather the tips of his fingers had, on each and every time he denigrated himself.[+royalblue “I know what it is like to.. find yourself hating something you wish you could love. Even when I try to fight it, he's there. When I say a certain word like he did, or catch myself in a reflection, or catch the smell of something my mother would cook - he's there. And that reminder has been there since he died. Thirty years now I've been like this. Or rather, for twenty seven years I was like that.”]

He swallowed back on his emotional outburst then, trying to reaffirm himself himself and have some dignity about himself. He couldn't well blubber his way through this when he was trying to help her.[+royalblue “When I held Natalya for the first time I saw this new life, the start of a new chain. She was not my father, she was not me, she was her own person, because children are an amalgamation of their parents but they are their own person first and foremost.”] He let out a huff of a laugh at that, as he had when he realised this all three and a half years ago.[+royalblue “Augustine is his own man. What he shares with.. him,”] he had forgotten the mans name but it was best not said,[+royalblue “is mere resemblance. Just like I only share a resemblance to my father. I am not that.. well, that bastard.”] He smiled, just a touch, but enough that it broke a tear that had build on the corner of his eye, streaking down his cheek swiftly and leaving a glittering trail behind.[+royalblue “Augustine has not led a normal life. Neither have Augustus and Eugene, but they all, all three of them, have found a means of happiness with someone. They have overcome their issues whether it be leaving their homeland or losing an arm or having to physically fight for a better home and a better life. Their lives were different, and yet they have their happiness.”] Leaning a little toward her he found himself stepping closer, very small and light steps until he stood before her again.[+royalblue “You can still have anything and everything you want. You can still have that same happiness. You can still have a happy ever after Florence.”]
  WI_ / 21d 10h 36m 1s
Letting out a huff of a breath that was almost like a laugh at something that wasn't quite funny, she shook her head. [+mediumseagreen "What don't I want."] It was a long list. She looked up and at the stars. They were bright on a perfectly black backdrop, there was no moon that night. [+mediumseagreen "I want to be able to look Augustine in the eye and not see [i him]. Not to jump when his voice catches me by surprise. I want to not be afraid of my son because of that bastard. I want to be normal."] A slew of things she'd never admitted before, things she desperately tried to keep hidden from her son.

Her eyes getting wet at the corners, she wiped away the excess with the palm of her hand before bringing her gaze down to the ground. [+mediumseagreen "But that is not what you meant, was it?"] She was just selfishly unloading all of that on him because he had to listen. He was the one who asked so he had no choice but to sit there quietly until she was done. [+mediumseagreen "I am still human. I want companionship, I want a meaningful connection with another person... Sometimes I think back to when I was a little girl. How the only thoughts that filled my head were how I could not wait to grow up and fall in love and get married and live happily ever after. And I think about how nice that would have been if it really could have worked that way."] She shook her head, what an absolutely foolish longing. [+mediumseagreen "But that does not matter, because my life was different and I have to accept that."]
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 21d 14h 53m 12s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was good that she did not start with telling him to leave her alone. Or to go silent and hope that he left her be and not bother her anymore. Whilst the questions would remain, at least it would be easier to understand and pose his own answers towards them. When her answer had come he just felt.. well he felt like a brute and a fool to be perfectly honest. Sure he could not know all this without her saying such, he could not have thought of this even with his wildest thoughts as it always seemed to be more an issue with him that she had, not one with herself. It was the rose tinted glasses, painting her as perfect and flawless and incapable of having such concerns.

To tell him this he could see that it took a lot and she did not say it lightly. To admit this aloud was perhaps something she had never wanted to do and yet his constant nagging of her had led to her explanation. And he felt worse to think that such a secret had been brought out of her through her being cornered by him. Again, he could not have known, but perhaps it was best he left unanswered questions as just that; without answers.

The only thing he could think about when she had finished, when she had told him all these deep and dark wounds that hounded at her was one question. It was perhaps that all knowing question, the one that people asked themselves so many times in a day let alone a lifetime that there was no answer. And it could makes things better, yet equally make it worse. But if this was her warning him that she could not be all he wanted, then he had to ask;

[+royalblue “Forget what I want from you or what I expect from you. Forget what anyone else in this world needs from you. What do [i you] want for yourself Florence?”]

Her name was said almost breathlessly showing his trepidation in asking it. But it was key to know. If she knew what she wanted, they could work from there. The trepidation stemmed from the opposite answer, if she did not know what she wanted. Then things would be most confusing.
  WI_ / 21d 15h 30m 49s
With a little distance between them, Florence felt like she could think again. But now that her mind was clear and he told her he was not lying, she felt terrible. He almost looked like she had hit him, in fact this might have been worse because it wasn't a physical blow but an emotional one. The woman did not know what to say to that. But she did not have to. He continued with questions for her. Ones that forced her to think about this more thoroughly than she previously had.

[+mediumseagreen "I-"] Her eyes fell to the side as she tried to figure out whether it would be better to lie or just say what she really felt and what the actual problems were. [+mediumseagreen "It is not you, Nicolai. There is not anything wrong with you. In fact, now more than ever, I think you are really rather handsome."] If she had been any other woman, who had led any other life, she truly thought he would have had her long ago.

There was a long pause. Once again as she tried to decide just how much to say, if anything at all. But despite that, he waited, like he always did and it only made her feel worse. [+mediumseagreen "I do no think that I can give you exactly what you want... perhaps I could love you, but..."] She grit her teeth. [+mediumseagreen "It might not always be in the way you want."] Thinking about who he was, fundamentally as a person, as an elf specifically, it would be difficult for both of them. [+mediumseagreen "You bond with touch, I can only imagine that intimacies between yourself and a lover are rather important to you. I-"] Taking in a deep breath she was determined that this would be the end of it. She would bear her chest and he would do with the information what he would. [+mediumseagreen "I have a hard time with such things."] She knew rumors ran rampant around the castle, no doubt it reached his pointed ears. Whether or not they were fully accurate though, that she was unsure of. [+mediumseagreen "On a good day I might be able to tolerate your advances, but on a bad day..."] Hands shaking, she did not want to admit how much it effected her. Florence did not finish the thought, instead she brought her eyes up to his and started a new one. [+mediumseagreen "I am broken; I have been for a very, very long time. And if I have not gotten over it by now, I really do not think that I will."] Over the years she had gotten better at hiding it, but concealing and actually healing were two different battles entirely. Not to mention if Nicolai actually cared the way he said he did, it was not a suffering that she thought he would want to be hidden from him.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 21d 15h 52m 20s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Whilst he did not expect that exact reaction to his kiss, it was along the lines of what he thought. The heat of her cheeks warmed his hand and her body felt less tense in his other. She was not angry, or at least not enough for it to register on her features or her body to react and push or convulse and reject his touch. At least not initially.

When she did regain her voice he felt a little confused. Had she not done this so as to confirm his decision? Looking at her as she pulled from his hold he did not close back in on her or try to keep his hands against her. This wasn't about asserting a dominance over her so when he came to speak, it was light, apologetic almost,[+royalblue “A habitual liar yes, but that was a twenty year truth.”] Such a long time coming it felt relieving that what he had thought it would feel like, how he had imagined he would react, paled in comparison and he was not entirely sure how to take in that information. Instead he opted to talk. Silence would not help.

[+royalblue “Why are you so.. opposed, to anything with me? If it is a simple matter that I do not fit what you consider attractive, or you just dislike me, tell me. After that kiss, I don't want to play games any more Florence, because I know for sure what I want. I only want you.”] His head dipped a little though he quickly brought it back up, eyes looking on her directly rather than resort to that wounded puppy look.[+royalblue “Do you wish I was lying?”] It was a hard question to ask but one he wanted to know.
  WI_ / 21d 16h 32m 37s
He looked almost shell shocked. For a moment Florence felt like she might have gotten through to him, that he was just confused and infatuated and that this was nothing like what he thought it would be. When he did regain his wits, Nicolai even went so far as to say aloud what she had been thinking. That she was cruel. Finally he seemed to understand... or so she thought. He finished up his piece and then pulled her back in.

Perhaps she shouldn't have been so taken aback that he would do this, not when she had started it. But this was definitely different from the kiss she had given him. This was warm and inviting and arguably nice. Enough so that it did not leave room in her head for much of anything else. When he pulled away, she opened her eyes only to see him fastidiously taking in her expression, which unfortunately was not one of protest or disgust. That was when the embarrassment struck, her face reddening quickly as his violet gaze ran along her features. But the real cherry on top was his comment.

[+blue "That is everything I had hoped it would be."]

That sealed her fate. Cheeks heating all the more, the blush that stained them was now a reaction to his feelings and her own as opposed to shame at her rash decision. It did not quite make sense to her. How could he still feel that way? [+mediumseagreen "You are a liar."] That was a lot easier to say that to try and unpack all the other things going through her brain.

Feeling antsy in his arms, for more than one reason, she pushed off against him. Florence wanted to put distance between them and between this strange tangled ball of emotions that was pulling at her stomach.
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 21d 17h 15m 10s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat There she was, the Florence he had known for twenty years. The woman who always had an answer for everything. She would not admit her guilt or fault and everything could be justified. In a way he was similar, yet at least he had learned over their seven year estrangement that he could be wrong. He had admitted to his issues and problematic manner back in Astoria. Tethered like an animal he could have lied just to have sympathy, but he felt even she would see the truth in his gaze as he had spoken to her.

She began to edge closer as she derided him. With each step she questioned his motives, whether he was just a typical man after sex and following a sexual desire for her but nothing more, and then that once he had gotten that he would have left her be. The kiss was as confusing as it was sudden. Pulled the short distance down to her he was equal parts furious and in wonder. The question of why was answered quickly; her means of him getting over his apparent lust for her, a taste of something he had always wanted and now would see was not what he expected. And for a little time he did just stand there looking at her.

[+royalblue “It is another level of cruelty to do what you just did.”] Although she had pushed at him to create distance once again, he had moved barely half a step backwards. Instead he looked down on her with eyes filled with a deep seated animosity.[+royalblue “You take my feelings for you and use them against me like a weapon, as if we fight a.. deeply personal war.”] His frustrations released in a deep breath and he closed his eyes, the conflicting thoughts in his mind a little too difficult to arrange but in the end he came to a simple path. Opening his eyes a little he spoke,[+royalblue “Whilst I dislike this feeling of being outmatched, outwitted and played a fool, I won't let it, or your words, deter me. Not now.”]

He stepped forward, a hand slipping onto her hip and one up to cup her cheek and hold her closer to him, repeating her action as he moved fast and dipped his head. Whilst her kiss had been quite light and fleeting, his was more complete, warm lips pressed flush together and holding them together for several seconds. It was brought to a close slowly, pulling away slowly, eyes opening as he left a small space between them and looked down on her. His violet eyes ran from her lips to her eyes, back and forth as if trying to take in what he had done and every detail he could see.

[+royalblue “There.. that is everything I had hoped it would be.”]
  WI_ / 21d 18h 3m 51s
[+mediumseagreen "You'd be surprised how much you learn sitting in the center of things, but that is fine. Write me off so that you may be the sole authority and have your way with what Augustine and I have been planning for years."] If it went anything like it did before, he would get frustrated soon enough and be done with it. Then she would not have to worry about it anymore.

[+mediumseagreen "Augustine can work to those things without losing the other half of himself! You seem to forget that he is both, and now that he has experienced Astoria there is nothing we can do to change that."] When he was young she did try to shelter him from it so that he might fit in better within Wistina, but they rejected him and now he was going to be a hybrid regardless of what anyone wanted. [+mediumseagreen "But that is not a detriment as you seem to think. He has a chance to meld the cultures, to bring out the best of both places. He will do great things for Wistina, but we have to let him."] Augustine had a critical eye, he had learned what he could from Eugene, but all that time he was not absorbing it indiscriminately like a sponge. He was selecting what he knew would and would not work in his homeland. She was not going to let Nicolai force him to throw that to the side.

She practically laughed as he announced that she was worse than the pig he had eaten that morning. [+mediumseagreen "Yes, that is right. I am sorry I have to take the things you say with a grain of salt. They are all so laced with ulterior motives that it is hard to hear them."] Her mind went back to the wolfish way he'd looked at her back in the dungeon. [+mediumseagreen "So like a man, you see something you want and then you obsess over it until it is yours."] Even long after it should have been clear that it was impossible. Just look at the way they got along. [+mediumseagreen "Then it is off to the next thing... maybe that is where I went wrong. I should have just given in so that you could grow tired of me."] She took a step closer to him, there was a glint of something spiteful in her eyes. [+mediumseagreen "That or be so disappointed that it was not what you really wanted all along."] That was more likely, but it might not be too late to show him that. Closing the little distance left between them, she quickly took hold of his collar and pulled him down to her. She bridged the final gap with her lips, pressing them gently to his. In a way it contrasted everything she had done and said up to that point. But only briefly, this was cruel and she knew it, so she did not keep it up for long.

When she thought her point was fully made, Florence pulled back. Face still close to his she continued in a sardonic way. [+mediumseagreen "There! Was it everything you'd hoped it would be?"] She let go of the furry lining of his coat and pushed him away. [+mediumseagreen "Now get away from me. Astoria is and will always be a part of who I am. If you want nothing to do with it, you want nothing to do with me."]
  Florence Melbourne / Loxi / 21d 18h 42m 6s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was a surprise that she accepted they had to talk, rather than turning and walking away, continuing their chase and letting the mood build to a explosive moment. Yet despite his surprise she was ready to blow, and he stood still as she vented at him, not interrupting as it would have done no favours to this discussion – if you could call it that – if he turned it into a stop-start piece. As with Eugene, it had to be back and forth and only when she made her point on being a naive Queen did he see a moment to speak.

He licked his dry lips and chewed at his cheek for a moment longer until she looked done to begin.[+royalblue “I offer you to hit me because that is what my father taught me. Striking someone is the best way to get out your anger toward them. Whether it's a sparing partner, an enemy, even a loved one – it is the best way to be rid of your anger. Skin can bruise and heal but words can have a lasting effect.”] That part was dealt with quickly and in a matter-of-fact manner that he pushed away. It was just the way life was for Nicolai.

[+royalblue “As for Astoria, I agree, I don't want a thing to do with it, I don't want to talk about it or think about it. That is why I did not go with you there.”] The second and third points had melded into one to him and he would deal with them as a joint issue.[+royalblue “I don't care whether you read the entire library or talked with every servant because it means nothing to experiencing the people themselves and being out in that world with them. You tell me to shut my mouth about Astoria and in turn you should shut yours about Wistina. You never left the castle, never left your pretty gardens that you dolled up to remind you of another land. You pined for Astoria the day you left.”]

His hands had dropped from his chest now, at his sides though they accentuated his words where needed.[+royalblue “If he is to become King of Wistina, he must work to the culture and ideals of its people. Not to the preferences of you and your family. You want to pollute his mind with the ideals and thoughts of Astoria and to that I suggest you take him back there now whilst you are still so close.”] He knew she would not do so. If her son was to go south, and he seemed set on it, then she would accompany him. Whether foolish or not she had no say in the matter. Where Augustine went, surely his mother followed.

[+royalblue “For a woman so opinionated and headstrong, you expect me to believe that you were cowed by Germaine to stay in the confines of the castle? You expect me to believe that the woman who took over Astoria and fought for her independence then gave that all away to play pretty bride to an old man?”] Germaine had been old even to Nicolai, to call him such did not constitute an insult in his eyes.[+royalblue “Don't feel flattered by my words, it is only a most basic observation.”] He laughed a little, staring down at the ground, shaking his head as his hands came to rest on his hips.[+royalblue “Then again why would you be flattered? Get more use complimenting a sow than you.”]
  WI_ / 21d 19h 47m 8s

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