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[center [I Once, a long time ago, Dragons use to rule and run the realm. In fact they use to be the only race here. That was until us humans had shown up and drove them to near extinction. Dragon's didn't know what to do. They didn't dare to fight back, they at the least defended themselves and their homes, but in this act Humans sought it out of Glory, and Riches beyond imagination. It was also in the blind greed that dragons found their opportunity to hide among their enemy. Transforming themselves to look like the humans Dragons decided it'd best to live as the humans did.]]
[Center [I It was their downfall, for they had not understood human kind, and many Dragons were killed because of claims of Witchcraft and black magic. Many years passed before anyone came to realize one thing however. That each royal family from the kingdoms across the realm had dragon blood inside of them. How you ask? Well its said that powerful dragons had offspring with the Royal families across the kingdoms, of course not mingling the blood lines of the dragons they kept to themselves.]]
[Center [pic http://www.magic4walls.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/fantasy-wallpaper-castle-wallpapers-array-wallwuzz-hd-wallpaper-4802.jpg]]
[Center Peace was at last found across the realm as the dragons had been destroyed. The riches and glory went to the kingdoms that claimed them, and the humans were peaceful at last. At least that was until one kingdom's youngest prince decided it wasn't enough for him. instead in a fit of rage he became jealous of his older brother and wanted the crown of the kingdom for himself, but alas he was the youngest of the family. His father still ruled and while doing so the boy would never become the King.]
[center The young prince hatched a plot that would gain him the thrown of not one, but three of the great kingdoms in one go. While executing this plan the prince killed his brother while the man slept. The king was furious, but his eyes were burning with tears for the loss of his child. The king was not seen for years. With no king on the thrown and no hindrance to his claim to it the prince sat himself upon it and ruled the country with an iron fist. At first his plan was going accordingly, however his future queen had kept refusing his advances, and so he declared war upon the kingdom.]
[Center While the youngest prince waged war upon the women's kingdom. the other kingdom's were preparing for war. They knew that if he succeeded in taking the kingdom that he would eventually come for their own, but what they didn't know was that the king yet had a son to live besides the Tyrant Prince. It was his middle son and new Heir to the thrown. Long forgotten the middle prince lived a life of peace inside the Temples of his father's realm, but the news of his brother's death surprised the man. In fact the boy seemed to fake his own death so he himself would not die.]
[Center The middle son however returned to his people, and called them up in rebellion against his younger brother, but to no avail. No army could match that of the younger prince. Rebellions were destroyed. armies and mass of people massacred all in the name of the Tyrant. So the Middle prince has asked aid from the other kingdoms.]
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Mirriad didn’t speak as he didn’t answer her question and she just nodded. He was right. She murmured to her commander outside to gather their council members and have them meet her in the throne room in the castle. Maybe she hadn’t done the right thing and Erdil had assured Ezran that she wouldn’t be alone but how did he know? She gestured they should make their way to the throne room and she walked out, it was snowing again lightly and she took a moment. She needed to gather herself and come to terms with what happened. Erdil it seemed was so... emotionless. He wanted to deal with business and lol at maps. Maybe he hadn’t lost anyone like that before. Maybe he hadn’t ever been alone.
She walked into the hall and looked around.
“I’m sure word has reached you that Ezran will depart from us to marry King Xoles, who offers his alliance as aid.” She said to them, the words sticking in her throat as she sighed quietly.
“She will depart this evening.” She added, “Commander, you will escort her to the border if Xole’s kingdom with the Queens Guardsmen. I would have her be sent off in fashion.” She said to them but she would personally see to it her loyal friend was seen off with the highest honours.
“To business, I suppose.” She said as she kept a distance from everyone, not entirely listening to whatever Erdil had to say about strategies and war times. Her mind was elsewhere, understandably of course. She wasn’t able to do this, she doubted herself at every turn.
“Prince Erdil." She said as she gestured the room was hi to explain whatever plan he had. Most likely tactics and skills, it was all she could expect right then. Of course it was a difficult time for her because all she wanted to do in that moment was beg Ezran not to go but she stayed where she was, no matter how much she wanted to run. She had to keep her appearance as Queen no matter how hard it was right that moment. Watching Ezran go off to a new life would be one of the hardest things in her life, but she had to, for Ezrans sake.
Erdil looked at Ezran her blush apparent as she out spoke against marrying a King. She had said something along the lines of not being a queen or of Royal blood, but to the prince she was just as much of Royalty as Mirriad or himself. She had taken care of both of them when their parents were around and acted more like their parents then really their parents had even when the two were much younger. While their fathers went to war once it was before Erdil's own parents had succeeded their crown to the man he would call father later on.
There was only one other time Erdil saw his father march an army to the North besides to fight the war of the Trolls and it was still in the Aid of the North, as the invading barbarians from beyond the peaks had forced the trolls into the country and even invaded themselves. It had taken all of their might to push both the barbarians and trolls back into the mountains, it was that war that had claimed Erdil's actual father's life and full blooded older sibling as well along with him.
Hearing the command from Mirriad and her words of not being left alone Erdil just gave a weak smile, Of course once the war was over the Crown would return to the man that should be king still, the Sun to the Midlands. Ethen the Unfiery they called him. His body gave away no hints of his age; that was at least until the loss of his wife a few years ago, and then again more recently with the loss of his actual child his first and only seed that would have lived had the youngest not taken his life. It was then his age started to show, but he hid himself from the world only a few months later.
Erdil heard Ezran's threat and his smile never faded from his face. [#4d1256 "Don't worry Lady Ezran, You will not have to worry of Mirriad becoming lonely here in the North. And you will always be welcome within Elin. Although I am sure King Xoles would not be to happy to learn his bride has made friends with his allies enemies."] Putting his finger to his noise he pointed to the map, more specifically to Acror. [#4d1256 "Acror is Xoles's biggest trading partner in the current year. Xoles pledges his men to Help Mirriad which means he has learned of the Plight Elin and her allies are going through."] pausing a moment to look at the two he went on.
[#4d1256 "It also means that Acror has learned of the same troubles we face, if that is the case then we can assume they will strike at Elin when we move from the Capital to fight in the southern lands with my sibling. This means we are going to have to change up our travel plans."] sitting down himself Erdil looked to Mirriad. [#4d1256 "Can we call a war council my lady? This news is Urgent and needs to be talked about among your war commanders."]
Mirriad looked to the man as he knelt before her and she smiled a little,
“I hope your right, Erdil.” She whispered quietly and looked up at the message.
“King Xoles?” She was perplexed. That was surprising and Ezran looked just as shocked.
[b “I am not royalty, I can’t marry a King.”] She spluttered and Mirriad realised what this meant. She had met the king when she was younger, so Ezran most likely had too. She would lose Ezran, who had watched over her like an older sister all her life, even after she had lost her mother and then her father. She would barely see the woman again and it broke her heart. But Ezran has done her duties.
“Ezran-“ She looked to Erdil for a moment before looking back to her friend.
“Would you be happy with Xoles?” She asked quietly.
Ezran looked guilty.
[b “We spoke a lot on his visits. He is well mannered, a gentleman and-“] She cut off and sighed, almost ashamed.
[b “I would but you are my Queen, my friend. You are already without parents, how could I leave?”] She asked.
Mirriad bit her lip and looked to Erdil, as if asking for some strength.
“You will go and marry him... because I command it.” She said finally. Ezran deserves happiness.
[b “I cannot! And leave you here? By yourself? Right before a war?!”] She stammered. Mirriad’s heart was breaking and she sighed quietly.
“Ezran- please. You’ve served me so long. And I’m not alone.” She assured her with a small gesture to Erdil.
[b “Oh poppycock! He’ll go back to the south and then who will be there for you! Every morning I wake you, I make sure you are dressed! You’re like a daughter to me, Mirriad!”] Ezran protested and Mirriad shook her head quietly.
“And you are like a mother. But I want your happiness. After the war- if I should return, then I will be stronger and able to face challenges alone. And you will always have a home with me. Now please, do this for yourself. Do one thing for yourself.” Mirriad said.
Ezran was of course a hot head as she turned to Erdil.
[b “I won’t refuse a command from my queen. But should I find anything happened to her or you upset her, I’ll March my own damn army down from Xole’s kingdom and make you apologise after removing your manhood from your body!”] She snapped and left the room.
“That was... colourful.” Mirriad said and looked to Erdil.
“I can’t stop her happiness. She would never stop mine.” She murmured, though Ezran was right about some things.
“I don’t think King Xoles knows what he’s getting himself in for.” She whispered with a small laugh, because laughing right then seemed better than the alternative.
“She’ll be alright, won’t she, Erdil? Or have I made a horrible mistake?”
Erdil had kept his pace up with Mirriad, however her backlash at his line of thought had whipped him into remembering she was queen her rule was final. [#4d1256 "I didn't mean to question your judgment."] he looked to the defeat on Mirriad's face; before he could speak up or do anything about it however the subject changed and quickly at that. It seemed she would feel the pressure of being queen early, of course it was expected of her; the question was though if she could handle the mantel being passed to her from her parents.
[#4d1256 "The commander pulled me aside yes, however neither I or him won, as your duel was over before ours was. He showed me many a skills with the blades of the north. Their make and style is new to me."] pulling a thin like needle rapier from its sheath he held it up. At first it seemed like a giant sewing pin with a handle attached at the end, but when twisted one could see it was actually a spiral like blade twisted as it went up to the point. [#4d1256 "Your commander made a comment about my blade being very peculiar. Its called a Tri-edge Spiral blade."]
Hearing the change of the subject again Erdil nodded. [#4d1256 "I am glad I could help my lady."] seeing her sink farther into the chair she sat Erdil came and knelt down in front of her placing his hand upon her knee. [#4d1256 "If I may say.."] thinking carefully Erdil looked to Mirriad a glow in his eyes. [#4d1256 "You handled yourself, and the chiefs excellently. Had the challenge gone to my brother he would have just killed the man on the spot instead of allowing him to even challenge him. Your mother and especially your father would be proud of how you have lead the people thus far. Do not doubt yourself Mirriad even in trying times."]
standing Erdil spun around to see Ezran standing behind him. [b "Lord Erdil, Lady Mirriad, a message from Xoles."] Handing the letter over to Erdil first the male read it silently first, then handed it to Mirriad as he spoke out loud. [#4d1256 "It seems the North is More unified then my brothers or myself thought. Xoles's King has pledged his armies to our aid as well."] Ezran turned bright red [#4d1256 "The only thing he asks for in return is Ezran's hand."]
Mirriad listened to Erdil and honestly, she didn’t need corrected right that moment. It made her feel worse because Erdil was right and she had made her another stupid mistake.
“Alright- fine.” She snapped but quickly faltered.
“I’ll send for guards to retrieve him and place him under close watch.” She murmured and sighed a little. Everything seemed to be an effort and it wasn’t likely she would get any time of relaxation. She just felt like she was doubted at every turn by every person, even Erdil even though deep down she knew that was not his intentions. She was incredibly lonely right then. Her father and mother were gone from this world, she had no siblings and her friend was grown up and somehow seemed more distant than ever, given his confessions in the stables before the troll attack, which she would still refuse to speak of to anyone as was his wish. When she was a child she had looked forwards to being Queen with all her heart but now that it was hers, she realised she should never have wished for it.
Mirriad looked finally to Erdil, any boldness and confidence gone it seemed.
“My commander fought you.” She could tell someone had pulled him from spectating for fear of him getting involved and her Commander seemed the most likely suspect.
“You bested him I expect.” She mumbled as she looked to the maps. Her head was swimming and she wasn’t sure she could do this any longer and she couldn’t simply abdicate and leave the throne to no one. She had no heirs to take over and her kingdom would fall to chaos. She was doing her best, especially in front of Erdil to appear confident and more in charge of her emotions but it was more difficult than she anticipated. Her gaze shifted from his for fear he would read her too easily.
She thought of a change of topic so her mind would be distracted and with any luck, so would Erdils. Whether it worked or not for beloved friend was a different matter.
“Thank you, for last night. I’d most likely be dead if you hadn’t used your healing on me.” She remarked. It was the best she could come up with right then because it was so difficult to think clearly as she sank down inna chair.
Following the lady out Erdil was already at a disadvantage as he had no weaponry to call his own other then the single rapier like blade he had just so happen to be carrying on him earlier, but it wasn't sharp enough to do any damage and even less it was more only for direction then anything else. It wasn't until after he started making his way to face Mirriad that he was forced out of the way by the brute, Of course the man would cause more problems then he had already even after pledging his men and village to the queen.
Having himself yanked from the group itself by the commander Erdil heard his words, but even more so was more keen on finding out what was going on. Of course while the prince was distracted the commander himself pulled a weapon. [b "While the queen is busy dealing with her own battle I shall be the one to train you."] Erdil heard his voice but the words didn't seem to phase him as he only allowed his blade tip to fall to the ground. It was the battle cry that had come from the commander that drew the prince's attention away from Mirriad.
Being jabbed at left and right Erdil was agile and quick on his feet even adapting to the brute force of the commander. Of course many would call his battle style that of a dance, but that was to those who weren't watching Mirriad's own fight and that one drew much more attention. The prince only dove under the commander and tapped him on his chest as he passed signaling he would have been cut in two had the prince's blade been much sharper then what it was.
Hearing the uproar of the crowd as the battle finished between Mirriad and the man Erdil bowed to the commander and put his blade back into its sheath. Running to the group Mirriad had decreed the man was to be exiled away into the mountains, but if he was ever seen outside of them he was to be killed on sight. Taking a step next to the firmly placed Queen of the North Erdil walked next to her acting like they had private business to attend. It was only on Erdil's request to Ezran that instead of being dragged away to the Mountains right away but thrown into the deepest cell of the dungeon below.
[#4d1256 "Mirriad, Allow Eros to make the journey with us, he can not be trusted in exile as he may return with a horde at his back to take the kingdom while you are away. If he travels south with us he can fight there be it on either side and there you can give him proper punishment. Let him regain a little bit of humility for the Crown that sits upon your head and to show his loyalty to his country."]
Mirriad looked to Erdil as he spoke and she thought carefully about what he was saying. He was right, many men of the north had never been into combat with those from the south.
“Alright.” She said and nodded to her commander who stood by. She turned to Erdil,
“And you can teach me.” She said to him and moved out to the training area.
“My mothers sword.” She drew the blade, made of incredibly strong metal and light but devastatingly strong.
“My skills with a bow are unlike any others, but my swordsmanship is not.” She said to Erdil as she moved and stood opposite him, undoing her cloak and dropping it to the ground. Of course the exchange brought some attention because if Erdil meant to murder the Queen of the North then now he had opportunity.
“Just like when we were children.” She said to him because she could remember times they had swatted sticks at one another in endless play fighting and sparring and as they grew up it had been quite spectacle. Their fathers had even purchased them wooden swords, mostly for their own amusement of which child more promise. The answer was always Erdil when it came to close combat but Mirriad had always been clever, using her small size to her advantage. Mirriad’s father had taught her a lot, feeding her talent for the bow and Mirriad figured there was no better way to learn how to combat those of the south than with a southern prince. Of course her side still gave her some bother if she moved a little too quickly but it was forgotten about.
[b “Is this wise?”] Her commander murmured quietly to her and she glanced to him as she nodded,
“Lay trust in me.” She assured and looked to the other men. Fighting here and parring was a true establishment of strength and Mirriad knew that even though she did not have to ‘win’ a definite show of strength and skill would solidify her rule. However, things did not go as planned as the man from Eros stepped forwards.
[b “As is written by our ancestors, I challenge the leadership.”] His voice boomed as it had before and Mirriad raised an eyebrow. Such thing was almost treachery but she could no back down.
“Very well.” She said to him. The commander placed a hand on Erdil’s shoulder, pulling him to the edge of the training square where everyone had gathered.
[b “Do not interfere. It is tradition. Each ruler goes through this most of the time. Should Bandras succeed he will exile Mirriad or kill her. Or spare her, somehow I doubt it.”] He muttered and set his gaze to the fight. Ezran emerged, stomping through the crowds and shoving her way to the front to lay eyes upon the girl she had looked after.
[b “Bandras you brute! What right have you to challenge you old boar!”] She huffed and was silences with a look from Mirriad.
“Bandras lays claim to the throne of the north and it is written he must first dethrone me.” She turned back to Bandras,
“And I dare him to try.” She muttered.
Speed and her agility was her best friend because Bandras was a lumbering, heavy man but one blow from him would shatter her bones and slice her flesh. Her blade glinted in the frosted light and she waited. Bandras it seemed didn’t play fairly. After sometime of the two duelling, it was clear he had more strength than Mirriad as he swatted the blade from her hands and pinned her to the floor, Mirriad did not yield. His great meaty hand around her throat and Mirriad realised very quickly there would be no mercy from him if he won this. He lifted her very easily and laughed.
[b “You bring a southern man here. And ask us to follow him.”] He yelled and Mirriad kicked out, landing on her feet as the man dropped her as she scrambled for her blade and pointed it at him, heels flushed with colour.
“I expect you to follow your Queen.” This enraged Bandras as he charged but he was clumsy and Mirriad ducked, crouching and cutting the back of his legs as Bandras fell like a stuck pig.
“Yield.” She stated as she pointed her blade at his neck.
“Yield, brother from Eros.” She commanded and Bandras growers and attempted to grab and trip her legs but Mirriad had guessed he would do that as she leapt out of his way and finally drew her bow in the fray and pointed the arrowtip at Bandras,
“I do not miss.” She muttered. Finally, Bandras raised a hand to yield.
“Bandras of Erod. I sentence you to exile. You will go to the mountains and never return. Any who see him, he will be killed on sight.” She stated. Ezran practically passed out as Mirriad was declared rightful victor.
[b “Id have cut his he’s off.”] She puffed and sighed. However, it was evident Mirriad had over exerted herself, her hands shook as she sheathed her blade. Her side ached even with Erdil’s help the night before. The men dispersed and Bandras was escorted away.
“I’m fine.” She said as Ezran came forwards.
[b “All due respect you look ready to pass out. Come inside, if they see you like this another will challenge.”] She ushered the girl inside the empty barracks as everyone trained. Mirriad took some water,
“His grip was stronger than originally thought.” She said as she rubbed her throat.
“I can’t do this.” Mirriad said quietly, leaning on the table as Ezran sighed and left the woman to her thoughts.
The young prince was taken back slightly by the sight of the men lined up. It was a small process and many of the chiefs it seemed were already standing with the soldiers ready for war, but three still seemed undecided and this was more of a process for them to speak freely of if they were with or against the queen's wishes to aid Erdil and his brother in their war in the south. Upon entering the Barracks also the prince noticed several things as well, the building was Vast and could hold probably all of the country's population in it if need be.
The second was that even in here the building's beams and wood was covered in carvings that told a story and depending on how you read them the story changed completely or some details did. The boy's eyes returned to Mirriad when she greeted him, her words of course spoke truth the Midlands were in trouble and so was the Southernlands, but the north was in a civil peace mostly, but his brother the Tyrant would see to it that it would not last.
A few years was questionable at best thought Erdil. If his brother got what he wishes the troops he would loose to this fight would be replenished with the tide of the young males who would be under training as it was; And to have three nations to call upon their armies under his banner that would mean he would have triple the threat he did now and that was if he marched directly north and not finished with the Southern lands that aided Erdil, or even those who aided the Tyrant himself. That also meant a long drawn out wait from Zrava, but it would be a two year gap between seeing Erdil's fall and seeing an army on the horizon at his younger siblings call.
Watching as the three pledged their armies in their own ways the prince praised the Goddess and even Mirriad's own words that had all but forced them to do so. Watching as the others left the prince stepped up to the table seeing the axe and arrow within the table.
Of course her words of the last Chief being a troublesome rang true to his own ears. [#4d1256 "He is only protecting the lives of those under his command, and to pledge them to a plight that may never reach him drives a person between a hard place and a rock. Of course saying that the war is likely to come to the north in years to come is true as well. My brother won't sit idle knowing he still has enemies."]
The prince had stepped to the other side of the table. [#4d1256 "Lady Mirriad, know that the way your commanders have been trained to deal with the Midland troops is not going to work this time. My brother has changed his tactics and even their training. The ways of the midland from here are teachings from my father."] Putting his finger on his own country the prince comment. [#4d1256 "My men can help train yours and yours can harden mine up for the battles to come, but know that the Tyrant will use any means he can to win."]
The barracks were lined with men that were much taller and broader than Mirriam and she somehow held her own. Their armour was not elegant but it did the job. Her hair scraped back into a woven pony tail and her circlet firmly in place. Their armour was different.
A thick shirt with a tight leather corset that protected her vital organs, jodhpurs like trousers that hugged her skin but her shins and sides of her thighs were covered in thick leather. Her bow attached firmly to her back as she looked to Erdil when he entered.
“Prince Erdil.” She greeted him and looked to the others.
“The south is in disarray. Erdil has asked for our aid. And the north has pledged it.” She stated and that invoked grumbles of doubt.
[i “The south will turn on us.”] One man said and Mirriam raised a hand for silence.
“My father trusted Erdil’s father, ever since I was a child. As a woman and your queen, I hold that trust close still. But the one who sits on the throne now is the one not to be trusted. By all accounts, his tyranny will spread like venom to every corner of the kingdom, including the north” she said to them and paused.
“We can stay here and do nothing, a survive a few more years at best, hoping we are noticed by the south. And then they will come and we will be burnt out, enslaved, our women raped and our men butchered.” She remarked with a cool tone and glanced to Erdil.
“Or we can fight now and prevent such things from ever happening, and in that create a fresh alliance, one that leaves both parties with peace.” She stated to them and could tell she had struck a chord somewhere within them. Strands of hair fell into her face as she began explaining the plan whilst pointing on a map.
“I would have the men trained, their combat must be ready to deal with the south.” She said to them and looked to Erdil with a nod.
The men broke off and began to talk. Mirriad waited at the table and stayed silent, evidently nervous.
[b “The village of Osk pledges itself to the fight.”] With a thud the man embedded his ace into the wood of the table, where his ancestors had done before him.
[i “The clan of Regor pledges itself to the fight.”] An arrowhead embedded in the table this time and as cries rang out of victory, Mirriad set her gaze upon the chief who had challenged her last night at the feast.
[b “The village of Erod pledges itself to the fight, and will stand with its Queen.”] a sword embedded and Mirriad seemed relieved as she stood.
“Thank you, may your names ring out in history and song.” She said to them and nodded to her commander who began to run some training drills.
“That went better than expected.” She murmured to Erdil.
“Erod was reluctant but joined the fight.” She said to him and watched the drills as men sparred, arrows aimed for targets and swords clashed.
Erdil had decided not to retire to his chambers or away from the festival, but instead stay and be out of the way. While he was there he tucked himself into a corner close to the Throne and where Mirriad had returned herself to. Of course he partook in the food that was a plenty and openly flowed from the kitchen. However he would leave his cup empty of mead, wine, and the ales opting out instead for water. He would be clear of sense to know if he became unwanted in the hall. He would also keep his eye close upon those around as he would not have his life taken from him.
While the chiefs left the hall Erdil watched them go keeping his eyes upon the slowly dying fire. His eyes were focused on the last of the embers as their glow died down. The words Mirriad had spoken to him before she retired herself had him thinking. She wanted him there at the barracks with her; likely to be there with her when she addressed the troops and the chiefs to ask for aid in his plight. But that is what it was a plight of the midlands that they didn't have to worry about affecting them this far north.
It also meant that what troops do go, including Mirriad herself would not come back the same; the recruits if they survived their first battle would be scared for the rest of their lives with the blood of those they kill upon their conscious; Of course that would also require them to live the rest of the war also and not just the first few battles. Those old enough to have fought against the midlands were going to also be in for a surprise as his brother's extreme training regime was nothing like his fathers and knowing the boy the way Erdil did his brother would implore any possible advantage he could.
Erdil watched as the last of the embers blew out, but the glow from the hall didn't disappear. Sunrise must have come while he sat there in the hall sitting close to the fire to keep warm, but far enough not to get burned. It was the soft scuff sound of leather boots beating against the stone that drew Erdil away from his thoughts. [b "Lord Erdil, its Sunrise and you've not yet slept."] The voice that sang those words were one of familiarity, the women who had spoken them was an old lady now of course but she was like a mother figure when he was growing up; That is at least while he was here in the north and the two kings were away doing something together.
[#4d1256 "Thank you Ezran."] the silver haired lady smiled and came to sit next to Erdil. [b "What bother's you young one?"] Erdil looked to the elder with help pleading from his eyes. He didn't know if coming here was the right decision, but he also knew he couldn't fight his brother without help. And to have Mirriad call upon the Chiefs meant that she was as serious about this war as Erdil was and that meant a lot to him, but would the chiefs see it as the same or would they come to the same thought process as the young king himself and understand that what they did in the middle lands would not reach this far north?
[#4d1256 "It is nothing Ezran, but thank you for letting me know of the time."] standing one last time from the table Erdil placed his cup upon the table and had a servant show him the way to the barracks. There he was greeted by the sight of Mirriad dressed not in her finery from the day before, but Armor of a soldier ready for war.
Mirriad did not have a choice to retire no matter how stressful the day had been for her. As Queen she was expected to stay. She watched deep into the night until the last of the chiefs staggered back to their pitched tents outside of the city walls with their men. She huffed our deeply and slumped in her seat.
[b “Well done, ma’am”] her commander remarked and she smiled tiredly,
“Thank you.” She murmured and pinched the bridge of her nose as she relaxed slightly. No major outbreaks of aggression and she had survived the night.
“Go and rest.” She said to her commander with a nod as she closed her eyes. If it wasn’t for Ezran, she probably would have fallen asleep. A prod to her side made her open her eyes and Ezran was smirking.
[b “To bed, Mirriad.”] She said to her queen and Mirriad and waved her off, gesturing that she wanted a moment of peace. Her gaze was set around the room, servants diligently cleared the tables and other items away and she wondered if she had done a good job. She remembered these events very differently as a child. Her father had held her close, occasionally told her to sing a song of the North, and then Ezran would escort her to bed and tuck her in, but her father always managed to break away and make sure she was settled. Maybe because she didn’t have children, it felt different and like something was missing from how her father did things.
“Thank you, Erdil” She said to her friend with a nod as she finally stood.
“I would ask you come back to the barracks tomorrow, they are at the furthest wall from the castle. I will ask the chiefs for their aid in the coming days.” She said to him and patted his shoulder gently.
“Apologies. I’m exhausted.” She murmured quietly and headed back to her chambers. She washed the makeup from her face and got ready to sleep. It had been a long day and it would be dawn soon. She wasn’t sure she could sleep. She went out with some hot water with crushed berries and sat on her balcony. It was amazing how quiet the north fell at night, sounds muffled by the thick snow and everyone asleep. She took a drink and exhaled, her breath showing. Her thick cloak wrapped around her by she didn’t feel the cold as much as others.
Erdil had a small gleam of light in his eyes when Mirriad seemed to worry over him. Magic had its cost it always did no matter what it was you did with it, but he had to be of some use to his dear friend even if it meant taxes his own body with it. The cost was energy from him mostly, so after some food and well deserved rest he would be just fine the next day. That was of course once the feast for the Chiefs was over or he retired to his chambers before it ended, both of which were options. Having her had upon his check like they had done so many times growing up brought back memories of the past.
It was the first time they had actually met, both were young children, Erdil was but five years of age and Mirriad was four almost five at the time. It was spring in the midlands, so the weather was warm. Here in the north however there was still snow on the ground and the young prince was not expecting it. His father had told him many a times he would want to pack a fur or to wear it, but had he done so he would burn in the sun during their travels, but he also froze often during the chill travel in the north. The hall was a bit chilly, but Mirriad had brought him a fine blanket of heavy wool likely from the sheep raised here in the north and another blanket of a silvery white like the snow that seemed to fall. It had come from a polar bear.
She didn't say anything to him when she wrapped both around him, only placed her hand upon his check. To this day he still couldn't understand why she had done it, but he didn't mind it much. Clearing off one of the small benches on the landing the young prince sat down a bit gripping the fur and pulling it around him a bit tighter. The queen and his childhood friend wanted him to go right to her if any of her people gave him problems and of course he would listen he was a guest after all, but he didn't wish to cause her much of problems.
It was the voice of Ezran that had brought him to the world. Hidding away from sight he snuck back into the warmth of the hall and into a bit of a nook off to the side of the throne where he sat and would take his food for the rest of the night. He didn't seem to have problems from the chiefs as they were full of drink and food and were drunkards happy to have the warmth of the great hall keeping them and not a worry in the world as of that moment.
Mirriad watched him in surprise. She wasn’t used to seeing sick spells and magic, she’d skipped a lot of those lessons as a child mostly because they were boring and required a lot of reading. She wished she’d learned more because she couldn’t do any of this and she felt utterly useless.
Although Erdil was right, it was the most peculiar feeling. Warmth and a tingling sensation passed over her, it wasn’t painful as he fixed her nerves and injuries. She could tell the rib wasn’t healed but when he stopped, she could stand straight and it didn’t hurt. She smiled to him,
“Thank you.” She said to him.
“Apologies. I’m not usually this sensitive over things, those trolls must have gotten to me worse than I originally thought.” She excused herself and sighed. She watched him catch his breath and furrowed her brow.
“It’s taxing you, the magic I mean. Don’t- don’t do that again. I would’ve been okay.” She said to him quietly. She didn’t want him draining himself for the sake of her. Her injuries were not life threatening after all and what she lacked psychically she made up for in spirit, especially when it came to dealing with royal matters. Her dark eyes watched him for a moment.
“Be careful, inside. Any trouble and come to me immediately.” She murmured and maybe it was the lingering sensations in her body but she reached out momentarily, touching his cheek, as if asserting he was real and it was the young boy she had once known as a child.
Mirriad retracted her hand as if suddenly embarrassed before nodding to him and going back inside. She was greeted with warmth and now that the ale was doing its job and getting everyone very merry, it was a less tense atmosphere.
[b “Where did you go?”] Ezran asked and Mirriad smiled a little,
“I needed a moment and some air. Nothing to worry about.” Ezran glanced to the balcony and then back to Mirriad, rolling her eyes.
Erdil had known Mirriad wanted to be alone, but to see her in pain was not something he could handle very well. She was a dear friend of his and to appear weak to her people meant even worse things such as her men not obeying her or worse the chiefs putting another person on the throne instead. It also meant however an open rebellion was a possibility at all times. The position that she was in would have driven Erdil insane and that he had no doubt of, but to see her so composed gave him strength in his own. She was a model to be looked up to and he respected and admired her for it.
[b "This may feel a bit tingly, or a bit warm, or both."] removing his hands from her shoulders the prince held them between the two and formed a small ball of energy which he then thrusted into Mirriad, as the ball seemed to cover her he could tell what was wrong. A cracked rib, a pinched nerve here and there, even a couple of spots her spine seemed to have been pushed out of spot. Wiggling the magic around ever so gently he put the queen's spine back into place so she could stand without hurting. Even took care of the pinched nerves that were wedged between bone or between muscles to help ease it a bit, but the cracked rib was a different issue, that would take time.
Feeling around for more injuries he couldn't find any, Of course returning to the rib he focused upon the thing and started weaving a bit of magic around it, not so it wouldn't hurt as much if at all when she moved, but the spell would keep her bone from breaking or crakin even worse then what it was. In a sense he put a stint into her body without opening her up or having it show.
Stepping back with a few huffs of breath the prince let out. [b "All done. Sorry I couldn't do more. I don't have as good of healing hands as a priest or a doctor would, but it should do what it needs to."]
“A thing of little cause.” Mirriad said as she heard Erdil’s thanks and she finally straightened as she faced him,
“It may well.” She answered, thinking carefully. Every leader had to have some tact and she smiled a little,
“Let me worry about my men. You’ve enough to worry about.” She assured him. Relationships were complicated in the north, every clan and tribe wanted something different and there had to be a precarious balance. Her father had been an expert and she knew she had to learn but she also would not be question in front of a crowd like that. She watched her land and sighed, it was so difficult to think only this land as her own now, every creature and man or woman, they answered to her and that was a great weight to bear.
She was taken by surprise at Erdil’s words and his close contact, perhaps even a little wary. His keen eyes missed nothing and Gods how she hated him for it. They had known each other since they were children so it made sense he could see through her facade. She sighed out and nodded. She couldn’t deny it from him, she knew that, he could see right through her and sometimes that was the best and the worst thing about him. She was pretty sure she was still trying to figure him out and yet he seemed to have her all worked out. Maybe that was why she had given up. Erdil needed mystery in his life, allure and the call of something wild. He knew her, she was not full of surprises or mystique or allure. She was Mirri.
“Alright, alright. But don’t tell anyone.” She murmured. She didn’t want anyone seeing her as weak. Least of all Erdil but he knew already just by looking at her. He could see her as weak, sort of, because he had seen her best and worst moments growing up. The Snow was falling gently around them and Mirriad closed her eyes for a moment, breathing in the moment of silent clarity between them. She trusted Erdil entirely.
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