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[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Stood outside, Master Terrill was pleased to be joined so swiftly by a fully dressed Kai. He never liked to be kept waiting and it was a good few minutes walk to get to the meeting hall. It was not a very elaborate robe, rather plain really, but he could forgive the boy for not wanting to stand out so early on in his employment.
Then again on his first day he was caught being accosted by the Medicus, arguing with his superiors, and threatening them with knives. Regardless of how the knife had come to be in the room, they were serious charges. Still, Terrill was silent as they set off down the hallway, a soft smile playing on his lips.
[+olive “You did well back there Kai.”] He started speaking with a proud tone to his voice.[+olive “You stood up for yourself, you asserted yourself strongly, you made sure he understood what you thought.”] The boy had done so well and yet there seemed to be a but coming.
[+olive “But, let me impart a little wisdom on you.”] The older man saw some promise in Kai, some hint of strength and resolve. He thought to offer him some choice words to ponder.[+olive “In order to simply survive in a place such as this, and that is if you simply wish to live to the next harvest, you need to control your tongue.”]
Turning down a larger main corridor they were illuminated by several large stained glass windows. There were a few guards here and there though very few servants were passing around these halls as they strolled down.[+olive “The moment you step outside your bedroom, you must be cautious of what you say and to who. Everyone is out to improve their position. Everyone will use you to get a pat on the head by the right person.”] He was trying to help him, give him something to understand the severity of the situation in a place where words could be more severe than actions.
As they neared the meeting room, Kai was pulled momentarily to one side.[+olive “Should the Crown Prince himself hear that you said the wrong thing to the wrong person, well, lets just say your position may become available. And there is no shortage of people who would be happy to fill it. Do you understand?”]
[font "Times New Roman" Kai didn't like the way that Medicus looked to him, but then again, he didn't like the way that Terrill watched him either. Both gave Kai the creeps, but at the moment he preferred Terrill over Medicus. When Kai took control of the situation and held the knife at Medicus, he watched the man's reaction. Slack jawed and shocked, he'd be furious later on, but for now he was shocked and surprised. When Kai threw the knife into the apple, Medicus had become a little calmer, and Terrill hadn't flinched, something Kai had expected with his demeanor.
Terrill then spoke and Kai went back to where his tunic and robe were set and gathered up his clothes and Medicus began sputtering in his regained anger. This pompous old fool was really trying Kai's patience this morning. Terrill looked to him mentioning that he was supposed to be looking to Kai's health, and after such a display with the knife, Kai had all but proven he was healthy, fit, and capable. Kai ignored the men as they argued, all the while thanking the Gods for this chance to get by the physician.
He pulled on his tunic once more, fastening it into place, and then his robe and once more he was dressed. He started to follow Master Terrill from the room, when Medicus began griping again. When Terrill spoke up about how they were keeping the Crowned Prince waiting due to the physician's incompetence - and the mention of the sexual assault - Kai glared at the older man as Terrill left. He made sure that he was presentable in all ways then followed Terrill out of the door to follow him to the Crowned Prince. He wondered what Master Terrill would tell the Prince. Were they late? The entire ordeal had been merely minutes, though in Kai's mind it felt like years when he thought his secret was out.
Since the Doc had a thing out for Kai, he had decided that unless it was life or death, Kai didn't trust Medicus and so would be handling his own medical issues as he had most of his life in trying to keep his secret. If it required removing clothes, he would handle it himself. No need to cause anymore of an issue than has already been caused on the first day.
Kai wondered what this meeting would be about this early in the morning. Though he could be rather rude, His Highness seemed to be almost spoiled. Spoiled and selfish. Nothing like the child he remembered. But then it has been a lifetime since then, and he did not know Kai from that night. He gave a mental sigh to himself and hoped that all of this didn't become a lost cause, ending with Kai soon following his Lord to the afterlife.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Medicus Sallas was rather blind sided by the quite progression of things. From being caught by Terrill and chastised for not completing this exam sooner, he certainly didn’t need to know the old man had woken late, now Sallas was being told how to his job by some jump start youth! So aggressive! So rude! So damn-
Terrill delighted in hearing the young boy telling the old pervert what was what, pushing him down a peg or two and making this so much more fun. He hadn’t expected to hear so much, but happily leaned against the table as the boy went on. It seemed he had a lot to get off his chest and vented onto the old man without mercy. With the focus shifted, Terrill eyed the bandages, agreeing with Sallas that they often weren’t used for covering scars. Perhaps it was a custom of Lord Edon’s people? Not one he knew of.
Watching a boot come up the physician was taken off guard and the knife released with a groan of alarm. By time his hand had come to his chest in defence of himself, the knife was pointed toward him and his mouth hung slightly agape.[i How had the tables turned so suddenly?!]
Thankfully the knife was thrown onto the table, passing by an unmoving Terrill who didn’t seem to acknowledge the knife in any meaningful way. He simply watched. He enjoyed watching. He learned so much.[+olive “Lovely, now that [i that] is over the Capital can return to some normalcy.”] He commented as he pushed off the table and began to make way for the door.
[+cyan “W-what? Over? Preposterous!”] The elderly man retreated to the table, feeling some safety beside the tall Atticus who kept his eyes averted in silent servitude.[+cyan “I did not say this was over! Nor do I intend to let this-this-this petulant childs actions go unpunished!”] His voice was grating, crackling in places, testosterone that had long been dormant now coursing through his veins. It had been some time since someone had so brazenly stood up to him.
[+olive “You are making a determination on the boy’s health, yes?”] Terrill had stopped beside the bed not far from Kai. Before Sallas could respond, he went on.[+olive “I don’t know about you Medicus, but he seems in very good health. Correct?”] He glanced to Kai but it was more of politeness than truly wanting a response, clasping his hands behind his back with a shit-eating grin.[+olive “Wonderful, then get dressed and follow me.”] He half turned to leave but some more guffawing from the table stopped him.
[+cyan “I am the Medicus of Crown Prince Lucien Barrastan! I am here on official royal instruciton! I am not some lowly healer on the streets.”] His chest puffed out as much as he could, back straightening as he took a pose of.. well, power? It wasn’t all that powerful.[+cyan “I will personally speak to the Crown Prince and inform him of your interruption of my royal duties Master Terrill!”] The threat made, he clicked his fingers at Atticus to begin packing up his implements.
[+olive “Ah, the same Crown Prince Lucien Barrastan who sent me personally down here to fetch young Kai?”] His beard rose with his grin as he remained with hands behind his back.[+olive “It’s going to be difficult trying to explain to him how your simple physical for a young, fit, strong gentleman descended into a sexual assault, and how that is why his morning meeting was delayed.”] He paused as if to consider and let out a soft sigh as if it was quite the ordeal for him.[+olive “Difficult but not impossible. Come along Kai.”] He turned and walked out then, stopping around the corner to await the youth to quickly dress and catch up.
[font "Times New Roman" Kai was starting to panic internally, though the old physician seemed to be a bigger idiot than Kai had thought. The old fool thought Kai was hiding a large wound instead of scars, simply because he wore bandages. Many people used the bandage strips as bindings, it was common knowledge to people outside of the palace. Was this man that ignorant?
Before Kai could prove himself, the old man was on him and grabbed his wrist tightly. This was where the old man had slipped up. Kai knew how to fight. And he would if he had to. Taking the knife would have been simple in about three to four motions and the Doc would be on his back. But a voice sounded from the door to Kai's room a moment, and there stood the man from yesterday, Master Terrill. The one whom Kai had thought to be wary of trusting.
The Doc and Terrill went back and forth, the old man's grip never changing, though the knife was lowered. From the sound of things Master Terrill outranked the Physician, and that just stuck in the old man's craw about as much as Kai standing up to him did. Soon, Terrill had asked Kai if he was feeling accosted. Kai seen the opportunity given to him and gave the Gods a silent prayer as he tugged the hand that held his wrist.
[#000080 [b "I understand he needs an examination, but I do believe that bandages, what ever the reason needed for them, are worn for many reasons, NOT just open wounds. He asked why I wore them and I gave my honest answer. He can't stand those younger than him, probably stuck in his envy and want of the change to be young again, and so when I stood up to his rude attitude, he wished to try and find anything that would have me thrown from here. If I have a bad enough wound, I might be considered "unfit" for the position requested for me.... and in such has now come at me with a weapon.... All I have to do to prove my words true is to tug the top of the bandage down an inch or two on my left shoulder. and I can prove that there ARE in fact scars on my back..... They are memories that I want to forget. People in the villages use bandage wrappings for many uses, not just for open wounds, and so I thought them a decent way to hide my past so that I do not wallow in that dark place. It allows me to do my job better so I am not distracted. Bandages, no matter the reason, do not need to be removed for any reason during an examination unless they need to be changed. Mine do not need changing. your physician has then since came at me with a blade. so yes..... I do feel accosted, and insulted for being treated like a young child. Its sad when I have better manners than one of the Palace..... I may be blunt, and sometimes crude, but I do have manners....."]]
Kai was sure that his long speech wasn't needed, but this was his chance to be heard, so he would take the chance to cement anything he could about himself. He had gone through several examinations with a physician, and had learned that bandages are skin tight and thin and therefore do not need to be removed. At first Kai had been confused on why he had been told such things so randomly. Today that knowledge had become useful and he sent a silent thank you to his old Doc Takoa. While this physician was still reeling from the accusations and rantings, Kai took the chance and managed to give a quick kick of his leg, that caught his arm and launched the blade skyward.
While he watched the knife, Kai twisted and pulled his wrist free before jumping up and catching the blade and then held it to a point at the physician with a glare and almost a snarl like an animal, before stepping back and tossing the knife to land in an apple on the tray next to Terrill. It had been mostly a show that Kai was no one to threaten lightly. He was more skilled than being a simple Horse Boy.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It would barely register but there was a look of surprise and amusement playing on Atticus’ face as he heard the berating his master was taking from this young boy. He said boy; he was older than the servant, but in front of this elderly statesman everyone was just a boy or a girl.
The hand that held the long blade tightened ever so slightly around the handle as Kai took to attacking him once more. He seethed with animosity and loathing and could very well have lunged if he had been some twenty years younger. But with age came the wisdom of past mistakes, and with the knowledge Kai provided about the bandages, a rather sickly smile pulled at his aged lips.
[+cyan “Say all you want, for you have slipped up and given me all the leverage I need.”] He took a few steps forward, hand still very much holding the knife aloft.[+cyan “Scars do not require bandages. Scars are sealed wounds. Only open wounds need to be wrapped.”] He had the sickening smile of a man who felt he was back in control.
[+cyan “So either you are hiding a serious injury, or you are lying about the scars. Either way, I intend to find out just what is going on under them!”] He approached Kai the final foot or so, seizing one of the boy's wrists in a remarkably strong grasp. Even with age he had hidden strength.
[+olive “I’m sorry, I seem to have intruded upon [i something].”] The soft and assured voice of Master Terrill broke the heightened tension of the room, eyes turning on him as he stood in the open doorway. He was in his usual neat and beautifully crafted attire and his scrutinizing gaze was fixated on the two in a small tussle.[+olive “Weaponry. Partial nudity. Watching bystanders."] The last remark directed at Atticus.[+olive "And I wasn’t invited? I feel personally slighted.”] He commented as he stepped in slowly.
[+cyan “I am currently conducting a physical exam Master Terrill, now, if you would please-”] The physician was stopped by a raised hand, a single finger extended, pulled to Terrill’s lips.
[+olive “I'm well aware how your physical inspections go. This seems rather par for the course."] He did indeed look unfazed by the state of undress and use of sharp weapons.[+olive "You were meant to have completed this before morning prayer, were you not Medicus Sallas?”] He strolled past the duo to the table, taking a moment to dangle his hand limply over the food before he took a single grape. He turned, sat on the edge of the table, and popped the fruit into his mouth.
[+cyan “I am very well aware of what my duties are around here Master Terrill. And I am aware that yours are not to impede me at every chance you get just for your own fun.”] Sallas still held Kai’s wrist, though the knife had been lowered to a less threatening stance.
[+olive “Oh? So you know for [i certain] I am here of my own free will? That I chose to be here for my own... amusement?”] He held up his empty hands as if he were surrendering to the elderly medicine man.[+olive “Don’t mistake my words, I am enjoying myself. You learn quite alot by being in the wrong place at the right time.”] He raised a slender brow before turning his attention on Kai.
[+olive “Kai, wasn't it?"] As if he didn't know.[+olive "What say you young sir? Are you being accosted here? How do you feel?”]
[font "Times New Roman" This pompous, overstuffed turkey only liked to apparently hear himself talk, unless they were praising him. She would bet that though he was respected as a healer and a physician, he probably didn't have many people around that liked him at all. The man went on about how they could have Kai out in the gutters, and Kai glared harshly. He already knew this man could do so, he just needed the right reason.
And he was close to getting one.
The moment the man had noticed the bandages that bound Kai's chest, he felt his heart nearly stop as he questioned them, but he had practice to keep his features from betraying him. His glare stayed strong. Kai didn't like the way the man was looking at him. Had he already been found out? Kai knew that no matter how much he worked out and stayed lean and fit, there would always be that soft touch to his body. If one looked to his bare stomach, the muscle cuts were there, but they were not like the hard abs of a man like they should be for someone who worked out as much as Kai did. They still held a softness. It had taken Kai many, many, many tries to get the wrappings right to hide anything feminine along his body
Kai had bared his torso, and yet was still in a way covered since the bandage wrappings kept anything actually hidden. But when he went for his breeches, the physician had picked up the knife from the fruit tray and held such a scheming face. Kai stopped immediately, pulling the pants back into place before crying out in his apparent outrage, anything to distract the man from learning Kai's secret.
[#000080 [b "What the hell do you think you need with that knife?! Its an examination, not a damned surgery! You've been too eager for me to get naked, not to mention that you keep leering at me the way a lecher leers at the women in brothels. You attracted to men, Doc? You think you can try and threaten me with your pompous, arrogant attitude and a knife? Try to take advantage of me because I want to make sure that I prove the good word of my Lord Edon to prove to His Highness that I am worthy of the position requested of me?! The bandages are to keep hidden the scars of my past so that I do not have to be constantly reminded of the hardships I went through. Is that your fetish? You like to see skin marred in scars? You sick perverted old cod!"]]
And this was true in many ways. Kai actually had scars along his back. Nothing hugely extensive, but he did have whipping scars that he had gotten when he was little. Such was what happened if you didn't walk fast enough, no matter how young you were. As Kai had gotten older, they had grown "smaller" compared to his size, but they were still reminders, and Kai was thankful that they were on his back and not anywhere else.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat A valiant if whole heartedly useless speech. Kai had spirit, he retained his strength from Lord Edon, but up against a very thick, very stubborn wall like the physician who eyed the youth all the more critically.
Perhaps the vitriol that was thrown at the physician came from a position of ignorance. Having been in the capital less than a day he had yet to learn whom held power, who to keep on the good side of, who had the ear of Crown Prince Lucien.
And Kai could not be blamed for that. The political machinations that ran rampant in the halls of the keep were plentiful and prevelant. It would take him time to learn.
[+cyan “I did not ask for rebuttal, nor do I have to stand here and listen to it. Now simply remove your clothing and pray to whatever Gods you worship that I find not a thing wrong with you, or I will personally ensure you are out of this castle and in the gutters before noon!”] His voice crackled with his words, a vein in his forehead pulsing with the fury and wrath he felt. To Kai? It looked like a blithering old fool trying to push his importance on the newcomer.
With the removal of the robe and tunic his scrutiny would grow. He saw only soft skin and someone in rather good physical condition. From looking at Kai’s thighs, his bare arms, the structural shape of his face, he found the boy quite attractive. It only increased his ire, like it was the boys fault for his confused arousal.
Watching Kai undress would be an ordeal for the boy, leering old eyes looking over his figure. The servant, Atticus, stood quietly beside the tools laid out on the table with hands clasped behind his back, staring at the ground in the respectful manner of a dutiful hand. When the bandages came into sight however the physicians eyes lit up with euphoria – he had his mark.
[+cyan “What are the bandages for?”] He enquired of Kai as he shuffled over to the table and reached out for a long and narrow knife.
[font "Times New Roman" Kai could hear the old man's ramblings. It wasn't anything to do with young or old. It had everything to do with the fact that too many people in this palace felt entitled when the only one who truly held any power was the Crowned Prince. He stood waiting as the physician came in and took up some apple before demanding that he disrobe as if he'd never been to an examination before.
[#000580 [b "The issues do not lie in elderly or youth... but in those that demand manners without giving them.... You still smell of breakfast and you are still eating, which means you meant to be up earlier than me and overslept, so you hurried through eating to get here. But what you do not know is that I have been awake and ready to go since first light. You did not need to rush. Also, you were knocking at my door in a rude urgency that was uncalled for when I have done nothing to cause such rude ire. Therefore, when I answered the door, I gave the same attitude I was given. If you do not like the way someone treats you, then you should think of the way you treat them first. Though I have the upmost respect for your profession and the many years you have given to its call..... you seem to still need to learn manners..... Also, in all of your seventy-two years, you were not always an elderly, so I am sure there were times in your youth that you were the youth you now so seemed to harbor anger towards."]] Kai finished and watched as the assistant continued to place instruments on the table. Kai knew he was in near perfect physical condition. The only thing was that he wasn't who he said he was.
Kai had decided that if he was going to go down so easily, then he was going to go with his dignity, and had corrected the old physician before he took a soft and steadying breath. He untied the outer robe and set it aside. He then pulled the side tie of his wrap around tunic and had started to remove it as well. This would leave him bare from the hips up, and the only thing that would keep Kai from being revealed as Kaila was the tight binding bandages that held in the curves.
He had only just expected the physician. It was easy when only one person knew. But with the assistant, it made things harder. Could the assistant be trusted if the Physician understood his predicament? Would the assistant blow the whistle on him? So many what if questions filled his head as he felt like the world had slowed down while he was disrobing his top half. Not even having gotten to his breeches yet as so many scenarios rushed his mind and whether or not he was to survive, or if he would be put to death. Then there were the varying ways that they could kill him. Cuts, beheading, trampled by horses, or pulled apart by them. Hanging, starvation, drowning. The list was endless, and yet was only mere seconds to pass through his mind as he pulled the tunic from his shoulders and starting to pull it away, giving way to the bandages.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat With the door swinging inwards, Kai would have a brief look of the man before him before he turned to retrieve clothing. Most notably he would see an old and large gentleman clothed in heavy dark robes. In his ear as he turned away, he would hear huffs and guffaws of dismay that such a young boy would be so petulant as to speak like that to a man like him. It was not a sound young Kai would be unaccustomed to; it was the prevailing tone and outburst of the affluent.
Indeed as he pulled on his robe and dried his hair, the man could be heard muttering in his deep tone, many a [i ‘well I never’] and [i ‘wait until the Emperor hears of this’]. His complaints would continue unabated until Kai returned clothed and hair in place. Now he would be able to study the man and see the thinning band of white hair that circled a leathery freckled crown. His face was a maze of wrinkles and sagging skin, dull juniper eyes underlined with heavy bags of charcoal and thin lips almost hidden behind a straggly grey beard littered with that mornings rushed breakfast.
[+cyan “It has taken all my seventy-two years to try and understand the minds of the young and their constant desire to belittle and denigrate their elders. But alas I fear it will remain one of the great unknown myths.”] Although Kai had returned the man seemed to be in lecture, shaking his wise head with incredulity and derision to a previously unseen servant stood to one side who bowed his head in acknowledgement and understanding. This man was talk, thin, with a pretty and feminine face, dressed in a simple white tunic.
Once Kai had returned, the attention was put back onto him however. The disapproval was evident and clear and it was something deeply ingrained to the well weathered man. It was a curiosity that he still held his role of physician to the Emperor given his animosity to youth. Perhaps there was a reason he was kept on through the transition.
The old man stepped forward without invitation, only a grumbled curse. About his neck sat a dozen long necklaces of silver, each with a bespoke pattern and amulet at the end. All these amulets jingled and clinked as he walked in – or rather shuffled slowly – over to the table to take up a sliver of apple. Turning back, his wispy brown furrowed when looking at Kai.
[+cyan “Well?”] He seemed expectant of something. With his patience worn down, he went on.[+cyan “I am told you lived with Lord Edon for many years. This can’t be the first time you have been present to a physical examination. Now, disrobe completely. Atticus!”] He barked and the tall servant stepped in, his master now chewed slowly on a chunk of apple.[+cyan “My implements, lay them out on the table.”] He spat juices with each word, a trickle running down from the corner of his mouth.
[font "Times New Roman" Kai was unsure of the looks he was getting from this girl, something about her did not set right in his gut. He would deal with the woman later. He sighed and looked to the closed curtain taking a deep breath and sat to eat before glancing back to the door. He frowned and moved to the door, efficiently locking it before moving to the room off the bedroom for bathing. It held a floor length mirror, and a window out to a beautiful view. Once again, Kai closed the thick silk curtains.
Slowly he disrobed, and released the bindings along his chest and then similar bindings along his hips before reaching up to let his hair down. He turned to the mirror, and glanced over the woman that stared back at him. Kaila. All curves, dark curls, and a lean body that most women would kill for. Most men, too. It wasn't that she didn't like her body. But she didn't want to risk being known as one of the women that got away so many years ago. She had heard about the other women's fates and feared joining them.
To hide, Kaila had trained and exercised hoping to keep a more lean and muscled build. But when her body took its own course, she had to rethink. And so every morning, she would rise early to bind her body almost completely from chest to thigh. The bindings helped in hiding the curves and flattening out the chest. Hair length didn't define anyone here, so she was able to leave it long and still pass as a male. But every year, the bindings had to become tighter until she finally stopped developing. Baggy clothes had helped until they did more harm than good, and she had to become smarter.
Looking in the mirror now, Kaila wondered how long she would live after this night. The Physician would give away her secret in the morning. Something had to be done. Her Lord would not have brought her here if he did not think it possible for Kaila to survive. She bathed and dressed for the night, climbing into the plush lounger bed covered in silk and pillows and let the world fall away.
[center [b [i ~-~-~-~-~-~]]]
At first light Kaila woke and finished eating some of the fruit from the trey, downed half the pitcher of water, then began her exercises. Once she had loosened her body, she worked to bind her body as was her usual ritual, and once again took the form of Kai, leaving behind the feminine figure, and taking that of a young male.
Kai had been in the middle of crunches when someone started knocking on the door. Kai was lost in thought and routine, and so ignored the sound until it would grow louder and soon was given a voice as well. He gave a growl and moved to the locked door and flung it open, his long raven hair flailing in the breeze of the door. [#000580 [b "I heard you the first time.... if people had more patience in life, they would live longer...."]] he growled not looking at the one at the door as he walked away from the open door. He was sweaty from his workout. He went to his bathing room and dried off with a towel before pulling his hair up into the usual bun and returned to the one at the door.]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat As she neared the boy like a wolf pouncing on a defenceless lamb, she was forced to stop abruptly. Her brow crinkled, that wicked smile fell away, her shoulders slumped. [i Was this boy denying her? Was he sending her away?] Her disappointment was evident and she pondered over why he would do such a thing.
Was she not pretty enough? [i Her reputation said otherwise and her many suitors were most pleased.]
Did he think he had to pay her? [i But she was already bought.]
Perhaps he was a virgin? [i Then again, she had experience with novices.]
Could his desires lay closer to home? [i Yes. That must be it, and she could not work miracles.]
Her musings played in the background as her momentary loss of poise and character was rectified. She looked at the innocent boy with sparkling eyes and a gentle smile and soon bowed her head in acknowledgement.
[+goldenrod “Of course Sir, I believe I understand now.”] Her hands folded together before her as she returned to the formal and courteous nature of a servant.
Lysella stepped forward to the open doorway, pausing only a moment to look up at the fair skinned youth; such a pretty thing he was.
[+goldenrod “I hope you find a means of relaxation Sir. The Capital can be exhausting but it is vast and it caters to all... desires.”] Her bright gaze dropped to Kai’s waist and her smile became all the more haughty with it. Turning away before he could answer however she left him there, down the hallway and out of sight – she had new information to share.
For the remainder of the night the room, and Kai, were completely undisturbed. No further callings from promiscuous servants bearing food or more carnal offerings. The Capital would calm though a general din of sound would remain in the background. The city never slept. As bakers, butchers, blacksmiths and more closed for the night, the taverns and brothels and gambling dens would open their doors, throw back their shutters, and proffer their own seedy wares to those of the night.
Come morning, with the sun having broken the horizon and a gentle breeze blowing through his window, Kai would learn that life with the Crown Prince was one very different from back with his old Lord. Heavy pounding on his door would draw him from his dreams and it would repeat every few seconds. As his senses returned he would hear a voice, muffled at first through sleep and wood, though soon rather clear;
[+cyan “Hello? Kai is it? Do wake up young man, it is time! Wake up at once or I will have the guard come tear down this blasted door!”] The voice only grew ever more impatient as the knocks became more frequent.
Kai was silent as he was led to his room. His mind was turmoil. His long time Guardian was dying. His newest Employer was a pompous and arrogant sort. So far keeping his secret was easy, but the next morning would hold his physical and thus proved a problem. He wondered if the physician would understand the need to keep the secret. Once he reached his room, he gave his thanks and took a moment to look around. The room was ornately and plushily furnished with silks and gossamer fabrics that would be the envy of any. Kai's hidden side couldn't help but to appreciate the lavished style that was carefully placed within the room. His outer side simply nodded softly, still stoic as ever.
Kai had closed his door, and then walked to the balcony and looked around to see all viewing vantage points before closing the thick curtains to block the evening sun. He loved to watch the sunset, but he needed to bathe and was not going to risk being seen naked, especially with his secret. He had started to disrobe when there was a knock at the door. Giving a growl he resituated his robes and went back to the door to open it in silent question.
It was the woman from before, that had offered her 'services'. She pressed inside carrying a tray and he stepped aside to let her. She spoke of her duties in bringing it, then asked if there was anything else she could do for him. He internally groaned. Before he could answer, she stepped closer, the scent of her bathwater and oils surrounding him. It was calming, sweet, and probably made up to make a man's blood heat up with want and desire. He met her gaze, his features never changing.
He reached to place his hands on her shoulders, an intense look in his eyes as he spoke up to the woman. [#000580 [b "You are a beautiful woman, possibly even cunning, very smart..... and you are right.... I am tired.... I have my own ways of relaxing and will not require any help. Please do not take this personally..... But such services you keep wishing to offer me, I will not accept. I am sorry. Thank you for the tray and hospitality."]] With that he moved from the woman and stepped to the door, opening it and waited for her to leave as he looked at her pointedly.
He wasn't sure if she liked offering such things, or if it was merely her job, but Kai did not agree with it, nor would he partake, not just for obvious reasons. A woman giving her body up to a man just for pleasure, it brought up his past and almost made him sick. It had been many years since he had a panic attack over such nightmares, but that didn't mean he was over such things. The nightmares still came, he just was able to handle them easier now than before.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The evening sun would linger for a time, the capital smothered in humid and close weather. The sea breeze was pleasant and constant enough, bringing some relief to the residents of the keep. Kai would learn that the air was dry and salty requiring constant sips of water to keep lips from becoming parched – though fine wine was also left in his room should he find his taste lean towards the fermented beverage. Indeed, after Master Pent had shown him to his room, he was left to his own devices for the evening.
The room was expectantly lavish even for a guest chamber. The bed was large enough that he could roll several times in his slumber and not fall off and he had a small personal balcony that gave him impressive views of the capital. Adorned with expensive silks and antique furniture, everything in the room was just that bit more expensive and of higher quality than the young boy would be accustom to with his old Lord. It would certainly provide a comfortable place to rest and seek some solitude.
Only once would he be disturbed, the servant girl Lysella entering his room once the door had been opened, bringing a platter of meats and cheeses, fruits and berries and a little olive oil and bread. It was an assortment of things to cater to Kai’s whim as the cooks would take time to learn his unique culinary interests.
[+goldenrod “Master Terrill sent me to bring you something nourishing for your first night here Sir.”] Whilst she spoke in a polite and courteous manner, there was a playfulness in her tone. With the platter placed on the table beside the wine she busied herself lighting several candles at the centre of the table.
The room was soon aglow with the flickering flames and she would turn to Kai, a mischievous smile played at her lips. Her figure was still well accentuated by her clothing and she rest a hand to her curving hip as she looked at the pretty young boy. He was petite, a little on the slender side for her type, but he was cute in her estimation and much closer to her own age than many of her... clientele.
[+goldenrod “Is there anything I can help you with, Sir?”] There was a pause, as if the offer was being mulled over; or perhaps Kai was in shock at being propositioned so early in his stay? She took the time to step forward towards the dark haired newcomer and that smile only grew.[+goldenrod "You must be tired after such a long ride. I could help you to relax.."] She stopped before him, hazel eyes looking into his own as the smell of jasmine and scented oils caressed his senses.
Of course, Lord Edon said nothing, though Kai continued to glare at this over pompous Crowned Prince. He let the spoiled palace brat say his peace before he stood, chided Kai some more, and then he watched as he left them to their partings before Kai would be shown his room. One thing was odd, the Prince called him "Kai of the West". This made no sense, Kai was not of the West, he was from the same area as the Prince. He thought back to the boy that had helped to save him so many lifetimes ago and wondered where that caring heart had gone.
He waited for him and his guards to leave before he glared to Lord Edon as the old man finished his tea and stood. [#210066 [b "There is no way in the seven hells that this is going to work. That is not the Crowned Prince I had met as a child. That is an aristocratic, royal pain in the--"]]
[b "Kai! Enough.... you are not a child anymore, do not act like one. I know he has changed since his younger years, but I would not be putting you through this if I did not believe you were able to handle this. You just need to show that you can be trusted, and he will open up to you. He never knows whom he can trust anymore. And with his going into his new role as Emperor, there will be many things that will come his way. I will feel better knowing that you are taking care of one another when I am gone."] He sighed and began to head from the gazebo and the gardens to head back towards the front of the palace and his horse. Kai quickly jumped up and followed him.
[#210066 [b "You were never going to tell me, were you? You knew... and never told me? How long have you known?"]] When the old man was silent once more Kai growled low under his breath. [#210066 [b "You knew before the war started and never said a word! What if you had died out there?!"]]
[b "Then I would have died fighting like the rest of the warriors that fought for our peace!"] He snapped turning to glare at Kai. [b "I had hoped that the war would have done me in so that you didn't have to go through all of this, but the universe has her own sense of humor. Either way, my dying wish was for you to come to the Palace where I know you will be safe and you will prosper. Your secret will be safe here, you kept it so well at home, it shouldn't be that much harder here... Now... I need you to trust me, Kai. Just this one last time."] With this he embraced Kai like a Father would a child before he whispered. [b "You will live, Kaila, you will be strong, and you will be free."]
It had been so long since Kai had heard that name. The full name he'd been born with so long ago. He embraced the old man back and sighed as he grew quiet. [#210066 [b "You're an old fool... and you should have told me sooner... I don't care if you thought you were protecting me or not. I deserved to know..."]] The old Lord said nothing and simply squeezed before letting the young boy go and then climbing up on his horse, calling his goodbyes and headed out, the same followed by his own guardsmen whom all called their farewells to Kai as they passed for the last time.
Kai was furious, hurt, upset, saddened, and betrayed and so many other emotions that he didn't know what to feel first. He stood their fists clenched at his side, though his features were stoic as always. Someone came up to him a few moments later and claimed to be Master Pent. A quick glance told Kai this one would be more trusted than the other, but he still needed to be wary and careful. He was asked if he was ready to be shown to his room and he simply nodded. One final look towards the old man's retreating figure into the distance, Kai sighed and turned away to face his new life and fate.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The Crown Prince smiled over at Lord Edon, glad to hear the man would be gone from his capital soon and he would not have to suffer through an evening meal with the man’s company. It was bad enough he had to sit here and listen to the man’s request, foolishly advised to give the old man some trophy for his [i achievement] during the war. But, of course, the outspoken youth decided now was a time to give some pre-prepared speech on just what could be expected of him.
Sitting in pure silence, rolling the peach about his hand as the boy spoke, his eyes narrowed just a touch. To be spoken to in such a manner by a [i mere stable boy!] The audacity this one had to talk to him as if he were an equal. Perhaps Lord Edon had been taken by such brashness, but Lucien was not one of those men, and he would make good to tell the boy. Leaning forward in his seat he leaned on his elbows, head tilting just a touch as he again took in the full appearance of Kai.
[+firebrick “Whilst I am appreciative of your early warning about your behaviour, I would be remiss if I did not tell you something that your Lord may have forgotten to divulge in his old age,”] a nice barb at the man, though he didn’t look across to see how he took the insult,[+firebrick “the Crown Prince [i asks] his advisors for their opinions when he wishes to hear it, they do not proffer it when they see fit.”] His tone had dropped, his voice quieter as he made sure the young boy knew this was no longer a trivial conversation but one much more serious.
[+firebrick “Additionally, when I deem I wish to hear your opinion on a matter, young Kai of the West, do not think to tell me [i ‘what is right’]. I will decide what is right or wrong.”] He wanted some ground rules set in place to stave this young upstart from thinking he had the Prince’s ear from the beginning. It took some men years to gain such a prominence in the Royal Court, and whilst he liked the boy’s energy, he would not let him relax so easy into his capital. At least, not until everything could be learned about whom he was. Lucien wasn’t so trusting of Edon’s little plaything.[+firebrick “Remember that and perhaps you can go a long way here. Choose to ignore my advice, and, well… things won’t go so smoothly.”] His hand held up the peach and casually he threw it aside, over the wall to fall down on the cliffs and waves below, a gesture of sorts made to the dark haired Kai.
Point made the Crown Prince would stand, brushing down his clothing and the young girl rushed over to take back the cup from him, bowing as she backed away. The guards he had brought with him, a trio of tall men in dull grey armour with blue wool cloaks, parted and readied for leaving.
[+firebrick “Enjoy your ride home Lord Edon. The Sunset Road is rather beautiful this time of year.”] He would address the older man before brilliant golden eyes, catching the sun just so, would turn on his new 'advisor'.[+firebrick “As for you Kai, Master Pent will come get you once you see off your Lord and show you to your chambers.”] Farewells over, rather quick as per his norm, Lucien stepped off the platform and made his way with his line of Royal Guards following in tow as he went off to do as he wished, such was the life of the Crown Prince.
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