Once Upon a time (1x1) ((FINISHED))

/ By darien [+Watch]

Replies: 3727 / 9 years 326 days 14 hours 29 minutes 15 seconds

Allowed Users

  1. [Allowed] Malachi


In a time long ago things were peaceful, and times were different. Now the creeping of war is settling over the area in the land of Bayadaire.

There are those that have willingly stood up but amid the turmoil one girl is being sought out for her uncanny ability. She can heal with a simple touch of her hand -putting a stopper to death. Can control the mind of any man. And can has the power of persuasion over beasts such as Dragons.

Taken now from a rebel leader to be kept safe from a tyrant king. A Dragon Rider steals away the simple farm girl, Gwendolyn, in the night. He vows to keep her safe and during their escape the king's men attack her farm killing her family to get her. But the Dragon rider and his dragon ride off.

Now as time passes what will happen. Will this rebel leader be able to keep the girl safe? Or will she run?

Girl: Taken
Guy : Malichi

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Roleplay Responses

FIN
  Laird Ticarthis Pryme / Malachi / 7y 82d 13h 6m 4s
"Gods be damned Yanai, get back in bed!" Gwen snapped as she dropped a folded blanket onto a table. "Tic -go get Rai to handle this before I throttle her!" Gwen said pointing an accusing finger at Yanai who had begun to pace the room. No sooner had she not so kindly asked Ticarthis did he go out with a grin to get Raiyla. Thank Gods when she entered.
“What are you doing!?” Raiyla snapped. Bowen walked with her.
“What’s it look like I’m doing? This is bloody uncomfortable!”
"Damn right this is bloody uncomfortable." Bowen growled darkly under his breath.
“When did you start using words like ‘bloody’?” Luther chuckled coming through the door. Gwen grinned as he walked in shaking her head and taking the warm water from the fireplace and pouring it into a small wooden tub for her to clean the baby with.
“Bowen uses it- unh!- all the, all the time!”
“Bowen’s a bad influence,” Raiyla sighed. Bowen frowned.
"Oh Aye, call me one now... I think any damage I could have done to the lass is done now." He confessed.
“So how many times have you fainted?” Bowen growled a warning at Luther.
"Still not as many as you did." He reminded Luther. Everytime Raiyla had cried in pain Luther had fainted for split seconds falling into his seat in the hall at the Palazzo.

“Yanai, please get back in bed.” Raiyla asked. Gwen nodded.
"Please Yanai, it's for your own good."
“It hurts to lay down. The pain- it is all the time now!” She cursed in Zabine. Gwen rolled her eyes and dropped her face into her palms.
"I'm going to throttle her." She mumbled.
“That’s because the baby’s coming,” Raiyla stated matter-of-factly.
“Tell you what,”Yanai bargained out of breath and in great pain. “I’ll get back in bed when you get me something to eat!”
"No Ya-" Gwen stopped short when Yanai damn near collapsed to the ground. It not for Bowen catching her with inhuman reflexes she would have gone down. Something had also changed in Bowen. He didn't want anyone getting too close to Yanai. Even Ticarthis as he came close to help the new father, was growled out with a menacing glower that was also tossed to Luther.
"Ooh." Gwen tensed. "I think it's time you boy's left." She whispered, and turned to Ticarthis as he full heartedly agreed and left, giving her a kiss on the way out with Luther.

It was time... it really was. Gwen had helped with Raiyla's birth of her triplets, but Raiyla was far more experienced at this then anyone here, and with no midwife like there had been for Raiyla, Gwen was happy to assist again, and was thankful she didn't have to do this alone -that she didn't have to do Raiyla's job. “Push Yaya! Push! I can see the head!” Raiyla called after fifteen minuets into pushing. At Those words there was a slight thump against the headboard as Bowen fainted. Gwen did her best not to laugh, so she bit on her lips and let them curl into a grin. Her blanket was ready to go, and while Yanai pushed, she didn't make a sound, her face was that of a concentrated warrior, and Gwen wondered if Yanai was doing that mental block thing she could -sort of like when she took Bowen's lashings at the bedouin post and never made a sound then. Dear Gods... Gwen knew she'd be crying and screaming. Cursing Ticarthis and the Gods, and complaining left and right about how much it hurt and how she couldn't do it. But Yanai, she just went for it, and when she grabbed Bowen's wrist -he was the one who helped in pain.
"Christ Lass! You'll break my bloody hand!" He tried to joke, but even Gwen could see his eye water as he cringed and tried to move his fingers.

Without Warning Yanai let out a shout in thick Zabine and it was followed by an infants wailing. Gwen caught him in her blanket. A boy. She'd been right. She smiled down at the tiny thing that fit even in the palm of her hands, well sort of, it was a long baby. He'd be a tall boy when he got older. Gwen just smiled and took him carefully to the little tub where she cleaned him off with careful hands. She delighted in his little cries, and once he was clean, Gwen could make out the dark skin, his light dusting of black hair on his head, and the way he looked so much like Yanai. She got him spotless before she wrapped him up in a soft fleecy blanket and handed him to Bowen who watched her intently. Gwen carried him over to Bowen who reached out and took the infant with shaking hands. "A healthy baby boy." Gwen said softly, as Bowen took him and turned him to take a crooked finger over his tiny head, it only served to calm the child little.
"He is so small..." He breathed.
“Let me see him,” Yanai whispered. Bowen obliged and lowered their first born into her arms where she cradled him, and looked him over, before pressing him to her breast. He suddenly beamed with pride at the sight of them both together, and had to suck in a breath. “I love you…” She whispered placing her head on his shoulder, and he wrapped his arms around her, helping her to hold their son.
"I love you both." He answered back and nuzzled her until her head tipped back and kissed her. When Gwen cleared her throat while collecting everything to take down to be cleaned, Yanai and Bowen broke their kiss and looked at them.
“Now can I have something to eat?” Gwen just smiled and nodded her head and walked out the door with the collection of soiled linens to give to a waiting maid out in the hall. With Bowen's help they were able to change the sheets while he held the now sleeping Yanai in his arms, and laid her back down in the bed.
"I will call for someone when she wakes up to bring her some food." He muttered softly his eyes never leaving Yanai. Gwen just looped an arm around Raiyla's and nodded.
"Goodnight Bowen... and congratulations."
"Thank you." He said looking up at them both. "For everything." Gwen suddenly sniffled feeling weepish again.
"Aww Bowe... go to bed." her voice cracked as she turned wiping at her teary eyes and leaving with Raiyla. "It's just so lovely..." She cried.

Out in the hallway, after bidding Raiyla goodnight so she and Luther could be acquainted with their new room, she stood by a window and looked out at the snowy grounds, sniffling. Damn her weepish tendencies, all this crying because something was so tender and sweet was going to exhaust her. But with one deep breath she was able to calm herself as she looked out past the lands of Soulstice and over towards the glittering cluster of the city. The one Massive temple like a beacon in the night sky. "It really is over..." She breathed out studying the five pointed star that perched the top of the Amphi Bell Tower. "Or has it just begun?" She asked herself. Perhaps her old life was closing the book, to start the next part of her life. When one door closes another opens, and as she looked down at her little pearl ring and then again to her still flat stomach she felt her lips curl into a smile. Oh yes... a new chapter indeed. Her old life was over, but a new one was beginning, and Queen Rose or not... she would still be Gwendolyn the farm girl, a hopeless romantic, well wisher and daydreamer, afraid of heights, but no longer afraid of much more then that... She smiled when she heard footsteps behind her, and the nearness of one particular man, as he sighed against her, or yawned. She glanced down as she felt his hand pressed against her stomach, and her's curled over his, intertwining her fingers with his.
"Tic?"
"Mmm?" He asked resting his chin in her hair.
"We'll be okay... we'll be good. We can fix Byadaire together, we can make it better." She turned then to look up at him and cupped his cheeks. "And it will be alright because I'll have you, and you will always have me Ticarthis." She smiled at him, her thumbs sweeping over his cheeks. "I love you more then anything else in this world, nothing else matters to me but you. I don't need the little cottage in the Highlands, or a big scary castle... I could live in the back of a wagon forever with you and be perfectly happy. You're all I need, all I'll ever need, and how lucky am I to have you for myself?" She blushed then and dropped her head to his chest where she curled against him. "I don't think I was ever meant for Luther the way the Amphi wanted. I think... I think I've always been yours -always been made for you and you alone. Even as a child I loved you, and when you were a stranger I loved you, and I love you still." She glanced up at him. "Things are going to be hard when we got to Byadaire... so please don't forget how much I love you." Ticarthis only smiled at her and gripped her chin in his hand.
"Oh I won't... I'd never... You just better do the same Gwendolyn."
"I promise." she smiled up at him. "I love you." she sighed.
"and I love you..."

So they sealed their pact with a kiss....

The End.

  Gwendolyn VanBuren-Pryme / darien / 7y 338d 23h 49m 13s
"Lass," Bowen chuckled as he pressed a kiss to her temple. Yanai closed her eyes and whimpered, curling tighter against him.
“Bowen… it hurts,” she whispered. He let her hide her face away.
"Is there nothing you can give her to manage the pain?" Bowen asked almost pleadingly Gwen frowned and glanced at Raiyla, and they both shook their heads no.
"Afraid not... Yanai, like every other woman... will have to do this without any sedatives. It could have an ill effect on the child," Gwen said and smiled at Yanai who peeked out and gave her a dark look. "Besides, she doesn't need it. She's a woman, and a Zabine woman to boot... I think she's going to handle this very easily." Bowen gave a slow nod of his head, before resting his lips against Yanai's hair.
“I’m so going to make you pay for this!” she muttered to Gwen who just laughed.

Yanai was stronger than she gave herself credit for. For the most part she lay there and spoke to them as if nothing was wrong, though more often than not she was cringing from the labor pains and her words were shaky from the ache. Never in her life did she love Bowen more than when he remained laying there, allowing her to curl against him while he rubbed her back and brushed his fingers through her hair whispering the sweetest of things. With him there she felt far stronger than she would have otherwise, and finally after a couple hours she fell asleep; already worn out.

Raiyla remained steadfast, dipping cloths in cool water and handing them to Bowen to wipe Yanai’s brow. She also helped Gwen prep hot water and salves, and gather blankets for the coming baby; and she was in the widdle of setting down a stack when the door opened and she found Mathias peeking inside.
"Mama?"
“Little bear,” she said softly and cupped his cheek. Just then Yanai chose to moan, curling tighter as she fought to breathe in her sleep and Rai had to keep from laughing at the shade of green he turned at the sight. “Why don’t we talk out here,” she smiled and ushered him out of the room to stand in the hall. Once outside she cupped his cheeks and smoothed his hair. “Don’t you worry,” she told him sweetly. “Yanai’s going to be just fine.”

He yawned and rubbed at his eye in a way that made Raiyla’s heart clench. Her sweet little bear… oh how she loved him. "I made sure that my brothers and sister were fed and put to bed so you didn't have to worry about them.” Her smile broadened.
“It does my heart good to hear you call them as such. You’re the best big brother there is.”
“But I'm tired." He yawned again. "One of the Maids... Kara, said there was a room that's connected to the Nursery, and she said I could sleep there. Can I? I want to stay close so I can protect them, cuz I don't trust anyone yet." She kissed his head and rubbed her thumbs over his cheeks.
“Of course. That can be your room for as long as you’d have it.” Suddenly there came the sound of footsteps and she glanced up to see guards walking past on their nightly rounds. Amazingly enough they paused just long enough to bow before her before going on their way, saying ‘my queen’ in the Cruig. Her brow furrowed, holding Mathias tight against her to protect him.
“I fear I’ll never learn this bloody language,” she muttered, her tone disenheartened.

Mathias turned and looked up at her with a crooked sort of grin that made him look so much like Bowen in that instant she had to do a double take. "I did learn two new words today," he said with a grin. "I learned Cruig for mama and papa. Wanna hear?" Riyla smiled and dropped into a crouch before him, smoothing his tunic with her hands.
“Of course I do.”
"You're matra and Luther is patrae. Matra and patrae. I think I'll learn Cruig really well-" Suddenly a pained shout came from the room beside them and Raiyla quickly stood.
“Rai! Come quick! I think it’s time!” she heard Gwen call. Mathias looked ill.
"I.... think I'm going to go to bed now," he shivered. "Yuck." Rai chuckled and watched him turn to leave, but before she knew it he had turned back around and leapt at her, arms wrapping tight about her waist. Raiyla blinked but then buried him in her arms and pressed a tight kiss to his head.
“Goodnight my little bear. You must always know how much I love you. More than life. I love you.”
"Goodnight matra," he smiled softly at her. "I like calling you that," he confessed. He hugged her tighter still. "I love you... promise to wake me up in the morning so I can meet the baby!" he said and let go of her before waving to Ticarthis who had poked his head out the door. "Night Tic."
“Goodnight Mathias. Rai?”
“I’m coming,” she said, watching him go. Suddenly Luther appeared, rounding the far corner of the hall and she watched as Mathias stopped him to say something and smiled when Luther ruffled his hair and replied.

“What are you doing!?” Raiyla snapped, horrified the moment she entered the room. Yanai was not in bed- she was standing up and walking around; one hand clamped firmly over her stomach and the other her lower back while Bowen held her arm.
“What’s it look like I’m doing?” Yanai seethed. “This is bloody uncomfortable!”
“When did you start using words like ‘bloody’?” Luther asked on a laugh as he peeked in. Yanai gave him a death stare.
“Bowen uses it- unh!- all the, all the time!”
“Bowen’s a bad influence,” Raiyla sighed and shook her head.
“So how many times have you fainted?” Luther asked Bowen with a laugh.
“Yanai, please get back in bed.”
“It hurts to lay down. The pain- it is all the time now!” She cursed in Zabine.
“That’s because the baby’s coming,” Raiyla frowned.
“Tell you what,” Yanai offered breathlessly as she gripped the bed post and leaned over, gasping. “I’ll get back in bed when you get me something to eat!” Raiyla passed a look to Gwendolyn and was about to comment when suddenly Yanai let out an inhuman sound and fell to her knees.

Bowen caught her before she hit the ground and scooped her up, laying back in bed. Ticarthis went to help, but the moment he touched the linens to pull them back, Bowen gave him a gold-eyed stare and growled so darkly that he backed off immediately. And that was their cue to exit. The animal part of Bowen’s brain was talking over, and all he saw were two other males in a room where is mate and offspring were. Not a good combination. Slowly Ticarthis backed away, kissed Gwendolyn, and escaped out the door with Luther.

Breathing hard, Yanai lay there and panted, hair spilled out over the bed, body trembling as she gripped the headboard above her. Her face was twisted in a mix of pain and supreme concentration and Gwendolyn readied a blanket while Raiyla got between her legs and aided in the labor. It was another fifteen minutes before the baby crowned, and surprisingly enough Yanai hadn’t screamed once; just grit her teeth and arched her back and she gasped for breath. “Push Yaya! Push! I can see the head!” Yanai strained and suddenly let one of her hands go. It snapped out and grabbed Bowen’s wrist, just to touch him; just to hold some part of him. And then she shouted out something Zabine, tipped her head back, and the baby slid out and into Rai’s arms with a wail. Quickly she snipped the cord and handed the infant to Gwen while she worked to patch up Yanai who was bleeding out onto the floor. Yanai lay there limp, eyes closed as she panted and Bowen kissed her eyes. Finally Gwen handed Bowen his first born. “Let me see him,” Yanai whispered and peeled open her eyes as Bowen lowered him into her arms. The baby bow was dark skinned with pitch hair and the high-browed features of a Zabine male. Immeadiately she put him to her breast and he quieted into a drowsy stupor. Yanai looked up to Bowen and smiled, head laying on his shoulder. “I love you…” And finally she looked at Gwen and Rai. “Now can I have something to eat?”

It was the last thing she said before she fell asleep with her son suckling and in the arms of her most beloved husband.
“I’m hungry,” Yanai grumbled from her bed. Gwen grinned from the table she stood by ringing out a cool damp cloth, while water boiled in the fireplace.
“Oh Yaya, I’m so sorry. You can’t- lest you grow ill.”
“I’m not going to grow ill! I’m just going to grow more hungry! This place is torture!” She huffed and crossed her arms. Gwen only giggled as she walked forward and laid the cloth upon Yanai's sweat riddled brow.
"You're such a needy woman... anything else you want?" She teased cupping Yanai's cheek before standing up.
“I want Bowen… please,” she whispered. Gwen's expression softened and she glanced at Raiyla.
"I suppose I'll be back." She said and stepped out of the room her sleek black boots patting softly against the polished marble floor.

Gwen walked out into the hall where Bowen was sitting on a bench, hunched over, still only half dressed, with his chest bare, and his face pressed into his clasped hands. Staring off into space, but the moment he heard the sound of the door closing and Gwen's boots on the floor his head was up and his one eye hard on Gwen, his other covered behind the patch once more.
"Is she-"
"Fine." Gwen said raising a hand. "She just won't shut up. All she asks for is you... and food."
"Then get her something to eat." Bowen said standing up. Gwen had to crane her neck to look at him.
"We can't Bowen... it could make her sick when giving birth..."
"Oh."
"Yeah." Gwen said with a grin, and Bowen slowly nodded his head.
"Well... can I see her? I...I have to see her? It's... it's the mate thing." Gwen smiled at him and nodded.
"That's why I'm here... she wants you too." She shrugged. "I think it's a bit unorthodox to have a man in the birthing room, but she wants you at her side, so it's Zabine's orders... and... i'm not going to take those lightly." She said with a little giggle. Bowen nodded and hurried past her into the room. Gwen remained out in the hall and faced Ticarthis.
"It's going to be a boy." She blushed suddenly. "Oh, Yanai's child, not mine -er ours..." She sighed and dropped her head still grinning. "Bowen and Yanai are going to have for themselves another boy. She's only halfway along where she needs to be... so... this might be a long night." She muttered then and held out her hand for him. "You'll come and stay for a little while won't you?" She smiled when he slipped his hand into hers and she led him back into the room.

Bowen had rushed to be at Yanai's side, reaching down and cupping her cheek in that moment and kissing her passionately.
"I'll stay with you for all of it." He whispered and settled into the bed behind her. He let her rest against him instead of the pillows, as he ran his fingers through her curly locks and watched everything Raiyla did to prepare for the birth of his first born son.
“How you doing Yaya?” Ticarthis asked when they walked in and he took to holding Gwen. She cozied up against him and Bowen looked from them, down to Yanai, who scowled at Gwen and Raiyla.
“I’d be better if I didn’t have the worst prison-wardens this side of the treaty line!”
“Aw, they’re just looking out for you.”
“Sure they are…”
"Lass." Bowen Chuckled as he pressed a kiss to her temple. "Is there nothing you can give her to manage the pain." Gwen frowned and glanced at Raiyla, and they both shook their heads no.
"Afraid not... Yanai, like every other woman.. will have to do this without any sedatives. It could have an ill effect on the child." Gwen said and smiled at Yanai. "Besides, she doesn't need it. She's a woman, and a Zabine woman to boot... I think she's going to handle this very easily." Bowen gave a slow nod of his head, before resting his lips against Yanai's hair.

For the next three hours they had to wait for Yanai to be ready, and during that time Gwen had left the room only once to get ice chips for Yanai to suck on. Bowen refused to leave Yanai's side. He cradled her, kissed her, and whispered sweet things in the best Zabine he could to her. Everytime she cried in pain, Bowen cringed as well, feeling a dull sharp pain in his gut, and knowing what she felt was exponentially greater. He constantly fretted over her, to the point Gwen and Rai thought Yanai might toss him out of his ass out of the room. However, just before everything happened, a knock came at the door, and Mathias peeked his head in.
"Mama?" He asked looking to Raiyla, but when he saw Yanai in pain -he looked sick, green in the face and faint. He wobbled out of the room and waited for Raiyla to come out and meet him. He looked tired, and it was pitch black outside, with the stars shining brightly. He yawned up at her. "I made sure that my brothers and sister were fed and put to bed so you didn't have to worry about them. But I'm tired." He yawned again. "One of the Maids... Kara, said there was a room that's connected to the Nursery, and she said I could sleep there. Can I? I want to stay close so I can protect them, cuz I don't trust anyone yet." He rubbed his eyes and yawned yet again, and suddenly his eyes brightened up. "I did learn two new words today." He said with a grin. "I learned Cruig for mama and papa. Wanna hear?" When Raiyla made it known she did he grinned. "You're Matra and Luther is Patrae. Matra and Patrae. I think I'll learn Cruig really well-" There came a scream and Gwen called for Raiyla, something about it being time, and again Mathias looked ill. "I.... think I'm going to go to bed now." he shivered. "Yuck." He whispered and turned a full circle, realizing he hadn't kissed Raiyla goodnight yet before jumping into her skirts and hugging her. "Goodnight matra" He smiled softly at her. "I like calling you that." he confessed. He hugged her tighter still. "I love you... promise to wake me up in the morning so I can meet the baby!" he said and let go of her before waving to Ticarthis. "Night Tic." He said and strolled down the halls whistling to himself and passing Luther as well. "Night..." He hesitated as he looked up at the Silver haired Rider. "Patrae." He finally settled with and his whistling faded as he rounded a corner.
  Lord Mathias MacKenna of Wenwick / darien / 7y 339d 15h 7m 55s
"I won't laugh. If you don't laugh at my fainting." Yanai sniffed and blushed, closing her eyes and curling her face into the warmt width of Bowen’s palm. "Mathias, bring the rest of the my clothes," he instructed and Mathias nodded ran off to do so just as Gwendolyn appeared with the other women.
"Let's go... we need to get Yanai into a soft bed before she gives birth."
“I don’t want to go to bed!” she muttered, but Bowen quieted her with a kiss that soon had her very willing to get into any bed…

Bowen carried Yanai to a waiting cart that would return them to the Soulstice palace and she curled against him with her head down, sometimes gasping for breath as the pains wracked her body. She kept thinking she’d get used to the sensations but every time they hit it was enough to make her double over. Luther took to a horse at the front of the line with Raiyla sitting with him. She clung to him too; arms wrapped about his waist as she looked around with a shy kind of curiosity at what would become her new home. When they finally arrived at the steps of the palace she gasped, eyes wide. Luther grinned and nuzzled her. “Welcome home.”
“Home? I don’t suppose I will be used to it for awhile,” she replied quietly gazing up at the twisting, gleaming spires. “Is it made of ice?”
“To be honest… I haven’t the foggiest. But it’s lovely. Quiet fitting for the loveliest queen in all the world.”
“Sill,” Raiyla said, blushing as he helped her down. “That title belongs to Gwendolyn.”

Inside they stood in the foyer which was surprisingly warm, and Raiyla let her cloak fall about her shoulders; curls springing about her cheeks. All this finery… even more so than the Pallazo- which she’d been quite certain was the finest place there was. And all of it seemed to hum with an ethereal power that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up; albeit not in an unpleasant way. ‘What do you think?” he asked her.
“It’s… big?” she offered. Suddenly a rash of sweet, bell-like laughter echoed in the air and Raiyla turned her head to see Attica in Mathias’ arms, laughing up a storm.
“Well your daughter seems to like it,” Luther chided. Raiyla smiled, and she couldn’t help but notice that even the guards who stood watch at the door and in the hall all seemed to soften their demeanor at the sound. Raiyla was beginning to recognize such a reaction as Attica’s gift from the Amphi. She simply made every one so much happier when the tiny princess was around.
“Your eminence?” a voice greeted them, and Luther put an arm around Raiyla and turned to see a stately looking gentleman. He bowen.
“I am Heiman Argsgrad- high chancellor. Please admit me to offer you welcome and bid you come with me so that I may speak with you on important matters?” Luther nodded and looked to her, pressing a calming kiss to her head.
“Don’t worry. Just stay with Gwen and she’ll keep you safe. I’ll be back.Tic?” he called and Ticarthis looked to him. “You make sure to keep tally on Bowen’s fainting spells. I want to make sure he becomes the lame-ass that beats my record!” Ticarthis laughed and shot him the thumbs up before he left.

"We will also need a maid to see to the three royal children of Soulstice, and I request the presence of Hana and Kara,” she got Gwendolyn’s voice, and Raiyla turned to make her way to Gwen who still cradled Odin.
"For you Lady?" the servant asked uncertainly. Gwen chuckled.
"No, not for me... for your future queen. there." Gwen turned and pointed to Raiyla with a grin. "Go, go. Don't dawdle."
“Are you sure that’s such a good idea?” she asked her as they watched the servant rush off. Gwen gave her a wave.
"You'll love Hana and Kara... they're very capable... but speak poor Anglish." Gwen said and smiled and suddenly two young maids came and bowed and collected the three babies much to Raiyla’s dismay. “But!” she said, reaching for them as they disappeared down the hall. Gwen assured them they would be safe.
"This way Bowen, Bring Yaya." Bowen nodded and without so much as batting an eyelash he lifted Yanai up into his arms. Yanai just curled and against him and muttered that she was hungry again and then seemed to fall asleep.

The room was large and embellished in silver and crystal accents. It truly was the most gorgeous place she’d ever seen. “Oh my!” Raiyla breathed as she looked about. Sure enough after a moment a door in the side panel of a wall opened and two girls who looked no older than fourteen or so came out dressed in gauzy dresses and aprons. They immediately jumped at the chance to hug and greet Gwendolyn, who they were obviously fond of and speaking in sweetly accented voices. Gwendolyn answered and before she knew it they had come to her side and walked around her touching her and talking excitedly as if they were examining her. Raiyla blushed.Gwen just laughed and they finally rushed off Odin, Attica, and Alex. Gwen gave Raiyla a sheepish smile.
"I promise you, they aren't always so hyper. They're still young." Raiyla fell onto the bed for a moment and stared at her feet, boots glittering where water collected on the marble floor from the melting snow.

The room for Yanai was just as large, with large windows which showed the sun on the ever horizon, and a huge bed with soft, white linens. Yanai woke immediately when Bowen laid her down, yelping in pain. She clutched at his hand and Bowen called for Gwen and Rai to come which they did and scooted him out of the room despite the need on Yanai’s face. They were mates, and during pregnancy Bowen would feel the inescapable desire to be near for protection. Yanai would want him. Almost as much as she wanted food.
“I’m hungry,” she muttered as she lay there in bed.
“Oh Yaya, I’m so sorry. You can’t- lest you grow ill.”
“I’m not going to grow ill! I’m just going to grow more hungry! This place is torture!” She huffed and crossed her arms. She was a little pale, and there was a sheen of sweat on her forehead that glittered as the sun began to set. “I want Bowen… please,” she suddenly whispered. Rai and Gwen shared a look and Gwen finally went to retrieve the two men.

“How you doing Yaya?” Ticarthis asked as he stood by the beside behind Gwen; arms around her and chin resting atop her head. She was snuggled up against Bowen, cheek pressed against his chest as she idly let her fingers trail against muscle and the dusting of hair. She gave Gwen and Rai a comical scowl.
“I’d be better if I didn’t have the worst prison-wardens this side of the treaty line!”
“Aw, they’re just looking out for you.”
“Sure they are…”
  Lady Yanai Mackenna of Wenwick / Malachi / 2y 221d 6h 37m 17s
"Bowen...." Gwen fanned him with her hands. "Bowen, for the love of god, shift back... You're a heavy bear." She finally nudged him with her boot and he groaned rolling over and waking up. She had under her arm a wool blanket. "Shift you sodding giant." She grit. Bowen gave her a look before, his body began to twist, and shrink down to that of his human self. As he turned she dropped the wool blanket over his lap. "Well you look pale." Bowen gave her another look, and growled.
"As I should be." Gwen just grinned and stepped away to collect his clothes. She stopped dead in her tracks when she spotted Ticarthis step on deck, and the snow began to fall. Luther had won. She smiled and broke for her original task and ran for him, leaping upon him to kiss him. No sooner had she done it did she feel foolish, and in turn weepish. She slid down him and sniffle. "I'm sorry... I was just so happy to see you." She tried to smile as she wiped away her tears before they could fall and turned away. "They're down below.' She muttered and hurried off to find Bowen's clothes.

Gwen instructed Mathias to help his brother get dressed, as the man was too lost for words at the moment. Sure he'd taken to the role of being a father, but having to actually sit through the birth of a child? He might lose himself. He was lucky to have his trews and boots on when Yanai came up the stairs. He fell over his own two feet running t get to her.
“Don’t laugh at me,” she sniffed at him. She had been crying?! He swallowed hard and cupped her cheek. Taking her from Ticarthis.
"I won't laugh." He whispered. "If you don't laugh at my fainting." When yanai gave him a look he just smiled. "Mathias, bring the rest of the my clothes." He instructed. Mathias nodded, happy to have a job that involve him being anywhere near the child birthing process. Gwen came up onto deck with a squirming Odin in her arms, followed by Raiyla with Alex, and Waela with Attica.
"Let's go... we need to get Yanai into a soft bed before she gives birth." Gwen said struggling with Odin. "Oh would you sit still?" She asked him. No sooner had he settled and just gave her his one tooth smile. "That's better." She said tapping his nose, and glanced back at Raiyla. "It was just a little persuasion, I did it for his own good... I would have dropped him if he continued." Gwen shrugged and tip toed across the deck glad to finally be of the frigid vessel.

They rode towards the Castle of Soulstice where they were greeted by guards, who warily let them enter. Luther was now their king, but that didn't mean they were eager to welcome him with open arms. It would a long and arduous trial for Luther to earn their respect. It hadn't changed from the last time she'd been here and she knew just where to take yanai. "I want my room dressed with clean bedclothes." She commented to a manservant who gave her a quizicall look. "Destiny... I want Destiny's room dressed with clean bedclothes." She said slowly as she walked ahead. The Servant only looked down at the line of newcomers and raised a hand.
"Ahh Miss." He replied in anglish for her Gwen halted and turned to look at him. "That room is reserved for her lady Destiny." Gwen blanched. She wasn't really destiny anymore... Brow furrowed she looked thoughtful, before taking in a deep breath and turning with a smile.
"I'm very well aware of that... but I would like my room." She said as sweetly as possible. "We will also need a maid to see to the three royal children of Soulstice, and I request the presence of Hana and Kara." the servant truly blanched then.
"for you Lady?" Gwen chuckled.
"No, not for me... for your future queen. there." Gwen turned and pointed to Raiyla with a grin. "Go, go. Don't dawdle." Gwen glanced back at Luther then and gave him a grin, before looking at Raiyla. "You're love Hana and Kara... they're very capable... but speak poor Anglish." Gwen said and smiled as two lady servants came forward. They couldn't speak a lick of Anglish, but they held their hands out for the infants, and Gwen carefully handed hers over along with Weala. "This way Bowen, Bring Yaya." Bowen nodded and without so much as batting an eyelash he lifted Yanai up into his arms and carried her down the many corridors and stairs to Destiny's room.

It was bigger, grander than the rooms Bowen and the rest of the quilette had stayed in during their visit last time. Hana and Kara caught up with them, both still so young and so pleased to see Gwendolyn.
"Oh Lady!" They breathed happily running for her, and rushed to her as they held her. "Oh we have missed you so."
"So very much!"
"Things were dreadful after you left!" Gwen just smiled and hugged them back before turning and looking at Raiyla, but before she could speak Hana gasped.
"Oh the Lady Yanai!"
"Having child?! Oh my!" Kara gasped as well.
"And Master Bowen." Haha blushed.
"Is having a baby." Bowen answered. The blush on Hana's cheeks faded and she nodded quickly, at the sound of Yanai's howl in pain.
"bowen we will meet you there." Bowen gave a nod of his head and continued down the hall to the room at the far end. "Hana, Kara... this is Raiyla..." Their eyes lit up.
"Master Aisling's wife?" Kara asked and they both rushed forward to Raiyla.
"We've heard the rumors of you miss, of your kindness and beauty."
"Your hair is so red!"
"And look how it curls."
"The freckles on her cheeks-"
"Girls." Gwen clapped her hands. "You're going to give your queen a complex." They both giggled an blushed giving Raiyla sweet curtsies.
"Your Ladyship." they muttered together. Kara glanced back.
"We thought she was with child."
"Was... already had them."
"Them?" Hana asked.
"Triplets." They both beamed and smiled up at Raiyla.
"Oh imagine! Little babes running the palace halls!"
"Oh I can not wait Kara."
"Nor I Hana. We will go see to them, keep an eye on them for you Lady."
"Yes, a good keen eye." Kara said and they both curtsied again before rushing off to find Odin, Attica, and Alex. Gwen gave Raiyla a sheepish smile.
"I promise you, they aren't always so hyper. They're still young."

Another shout from Yanai and Bowen made a call for them. It looked like it would just be Gwen and Raiyla on this one. No Midwife, no doctor... just them. So they rushed to the room and kicked Bowen out, while maids scrambled to bring hot water and towels. The room was already bedded in white with the palest of pastel blues, and Yanai was propped up on the bed. Gwen spared one glance out the window, where the sun was huge, and hovering just over the Horizon, and rapidly getting darker outside. It was only the early afternoon... but the sun spent less time in the sky this far north, and so it was already beginning to descend. This baby was likely to be a night baby.
  Gwendolyn VanBuren-Pryme / darien / 7y 340d 15m 56s
“Just try to relax, Yaya…” Yanai growled, brow furrowed tight as she gripped the bed railing; hunched over as she sat on the edge. It hurt. Dear gods but it hurt. Raiyla gripped her shoulders and she had to keep from smacking them away. She didn’t want to be touched. “Yanai it’s alright. Wait a moment.”
“Don’t-” Yanai began but the word subsided in a moan the moment Raiyla slid a hand down and started to need her lower back between her hips. It helped the pain a little and finally it subsided into a dull throb. He let out a breath and when she released her hold on the bed frame, she revealed it to be cracked. The door to the room opened then, and they looked up to find Waela there, her white-blonde hair swinging in a braid at her waist.
“The boy came up to tell us,” she said and glanced at Yanai, the gown on her lap soaked through. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Yanai breathed and stood up, rubbing her back. “But I could seriously go without that again. Raiyla stood up and checked on Attica who was all but asleep next to Alex. Odin was crawling about the bed, gurgling.
“I’m sorry love, but get used to it. You’ll be feeling them off and on for some time.”
“Oh goody,” he muttered under her breath. “Well, I guess I better go up and wait for Bowen. He’ll want to know first thing.”
“He’s already hear,” Walea said.
“He is?”
“Yes. He’s up on deck. Passed out but he’s up there.” Yanai blanched. “Passed out? Whatever for?”
“Gwendolyn informed him your water broke.” Yanai actually rolled her eyes.
“The big baby- ow!” She snapped and nearly went to her knees as the pain rippled through her again. Waela caught her arm. “Damn…”

“Come on, get back in bed,” Waela urged her.
“Hell no!” Yanai snapped, wrenching her arm away. “I’m going up those stairs! If I get back in bed now, I’ll never get up- and I’m not having the baby on this boat. Besides! I’m too hot, and it hurts to lay down, and I’m hungry!” Raiyla actually started to laugh.
“Waela, just help her up the stairs so she can be with Bowen.”
“No!” Yanai said, and hugged her belly, wincing in pain at the tenderness. The sound of footsteps coming down the stairs reached them and Waela quickly unsheathed her blade- waiting for the intruder lest it be an attack. “I don’t want to see Bowen!” Yanai stamped her foot. Suddenly Ticarthis appeared in the doorway. It had started to snow outside- light flakes for an end-of winter flurry- and his hair was speckled with white.
“Why don’t you want to see Bowen?” he asked her.

“Tic!” Raiyla exclaimed. “You’re back!”
“And alive,” Ticarthis smiled. “So you can guess what that means.” Rai looked faint and sat back on the bed, legs unable to hold her up for the sake of relief. “Now then,” he repeated and turned to Yanai. “Why don’t you want to see Bowen? You never not want to see Bowen.” Yanai stared up at him and suddenly, without warning she broke down into tears, sobbing into her hands with enough force to have Ticarthios’ smile fade into concern. “Yaya?”
“Because I’m scared. And he’s scared. And I’m supposed to be the not-scared one! But I am! And he’ll laugh at me for being scared and it hurts!” she moaned through her tears. Tic’s face screwed up like he wanted to laugh and he wrapped her in a hug.
“Shhh, it’s okay Yanai. No one’s going to laugh at you. Bowen isn’t going to think a thing of it.”
“Yes he will!” she sobbed into his chest.
“No he won’t.”
“Yes he- damn it!” she said and reared back, clutching her stomach. She wasn’t crying anymore- she just looked pissed off. “This sucks! Why does it do that! I hate this! It hurts! I’m hungry…” Ticarthis couldn’t help it he started laughing so hard his eyes watered and he had to wipe away the tears.
“Come on, I’ll help you up. Now that Luther is all but crowned, we’re being lead to the palace.” He wrapped a hand under Yanai’s arms and helped her climb the stairs while Raiyla and Waela gathered up the babies. Out on deck Ticarthis took Yanai to Bowen who was just sitting up from falling; helped by Gwen and Mathias. She blushed deeply.
“Don’t laugh at me,” she sniffed at him.
  Lady Yanai Mackenna of Wenwick / Malachi / 7y 340d 2h 9m 42s
Gwen and Waela had sat side by side on the deck as they waited for the men to return. The soldiers hadn't so much as budged from blocking the gangplank, but they did when Bowen came. He jogged slowly over towards them, before coming up onto the ship. Gwen was on her feet in an instant.
"Bowen? Is something the matter?" Gwen asked breathlessly.
"Aye! Luther, has his knickers all bunched up his ass because he can't stop worrying about his wife." Gwen could only smile, relaxing a little. Glad to know Bowen was here to keep an eye on them. She honestly felt safer too. Sure she and Waela could fight if they had to, but against Norsemen as big as the ones standing on the snowy shore? Nope... they both would have been slaughtered if they raised their swords, so it was a comfort to have Bowen on the ship with them, even as he pawed past them grumbling how he had to miss the fight.

Gwen watched Bowen as he laid down. It wasn't often he shifted, he hardly ever shifted, and she remembered the first time she saw him shifted during the Wendigo attack. That had been one scary event. Then, he had looked terrifying, the way he clawed and ripped at the creatures, and then again when he attacked Hoane for Yanai's hand, he'd been impressive... now? Now he looked like a giant teddy bear she wanted to curl up next to for some extra warmth. The look on Waela's face said about the same thing. So they sat down on the deck with him watching the horizon for the men, they sat that way for a long time before they heard a shout of horror and then footsteps. Both of them jumped up to their feet, as Bowen pounced on all heavy fours.

Mathias broke from the deck hatch, pale, and looking like he'd seen a ghost. "Ahhh, gross, gross, gross!!" he repeated running across the deck to the far end where he slammed into the railing and hung over it dry heaving before catching his breath. Gwen ran after him, catching him by his shoulders and pulling him away, but the boys arms wrapped around the railing so tight. "Nuh Uh!" He swung his feet forward to hold on.
"Mathias what is it?"
"You're not taking me back into that room!" He shouted. Gwen looked utterly confused.
"What are you talking about?" She snapped at him. "You're not allowed up here." Mathias gave her a grim look.
"Something happened to Yaya, and it was all wet, and it got all over her. Mama said something about how it was her water breaking-" Gwen sucked in a breath. "But I don't know how water can just break! It was aweful, and then Yanai groaned in pain, so whatever that is, or whatever is happening has to be pretty painful for Yanai to groan in pain." Mathias hissed with his eyes narrowed. He slumped down the to deck, as he clung to the railing. "You're not taking me back in there. I don't want my water to break! I don't want to catch what she caught!" Gwen broke out into laughter then, ruffling Mathias hair as Bowen came over.
"What it is?" Bowen demanded, Gwen only shook her head, wiping away a tear from her cheek.
"Oh Mathias... you're water..." She snickered. "You're water can't break... it's what happens when you are about to have a baby..." Mathias's cheeks heated then, as embarrassment took over. Gwen looked to Bowen.
"Yanai has just gone into Labor." Bowen blinked twice up at her.
"She... she'd going to have her baby.. now?" He sounded frantic.
"She might..." Bowen only let out a half chuckle.
"We're having a baby... it's coming..." And at the first shout from down below, Bowen's eyes rolled into the back of his head and he fell over, stiff as stone. Gwen's eyes widened... Bowen... of all people had just fainted.
  Lord Bowen J. MacKenna of Wenwick / darien / 7y 340d 2h 33m 53s
They stood facing one another, two powerful men, with equally powerful blades which they slammed against their shields in a sort of salute and marched towards each other at the center of the ring. “I’m giving you the chance to yield now,” Luther said, his voice calm, his grip tight. “Do so- and I let you walk out of this ring alive.”
“You think you would kill me so easily?” Auldran asked.
“They call me Shadow and War. I kill far too easily than ever was my liking.” Auldran didn’t reply and for a moment Luther actually thought he might have agreed; but no sooner had the thought left him than the Ta’taran swung his heavy broadsword and struck first. The blades clanged together in a shower of sparks- iron and steel pitted against one another.
“Yeild to me.”
“No.”
The words were said through h clenched teeth on both parts as the two men squared of with blow after blow- but it became quickly apparent that it was not an even match. Auldran was may have been bigger, but his strength had been whittled by age and exhaustion. He was fighting a losing battle and there was nothing he could do. Luther was fast and agile and repeatedly had the other warrior stumbling back.

He broke his shield. And then he forced him to the ground; straddling his chest, long legs pressed against his arms. Auldran was panting heavily, face streaked with sweat and dirt. Luther only had a streak of earth across his temple and a few flyaway strands of silver hair. He raised his sword and Auldran closed his eyes, but they snapped open when the sound that followed was not the separation of flesh. Luther had thrust the sword into the dirt next to his cheek. “What are you doing?!” Auldran snapped. “Kill me! That’s what you want, isn’t it? To take the throne! To cast me out of this world! Kill me!” Luther stared down at him.
“No. I never wanted to kill you Auldran. I will if I have too… but do I have too? Tell me now…” And suddenly Luther blanched. Auldran was crying; silent tears sliding down his cheeks and dripping onto the dirt. His face went soft.
“Kill me. I want nothing more in this world- in this wretched life. I will not yield to you. I will not and if you allow me to survive this match than I will return one day and slaughter you and all you hold dear. I won’t allow our race to see another ruler who would keep to the Amphi. I can’t. I won’t.” But Luther saw the truth in Auldran’s eyes. He wanted to die- to be with his wife and daughter again. This world was changing, the war was over; and that change was leaving the old ones like Auldran behind. There was no place in the new world for him.
“So be it,” Luther said. Auldran closed his eyes.

The sword went through his chest, buried deep. Auldran choked and blood trickled from the corner of his lips. With the last of his strength his hand snapped up and violently gripped a fistful of Luther’s tunic as he body convulsed and a deep red pooled out beneath him. Luther clapped his hand over Auldran’s fist and gripped it until he felt the arm go slack, and then he lay it calmly over his chest and let a hand pull down the pale lids so that his eyes were closed. With a breath he stood up and grabbed his sword, wrenching it free of the fallen Aulran’s body and turned to look at the circle of guards and soldiers who stood watching. He expected nothing, breathing just a little hard from the exertion; but his breath caught when all of them started to fall to one knee, fists slamming against their chests and stretching out towards him. Kløggen grit his teeth looking around him angrily but finally he met Luther’s gaze and he sank down too. Luther turned back to Ticarthis who was kneeling in the stone, helping Kyrian who was sitting and leaned back against him, breathing heavily. With a shaky hand Kyrian saluted him too. “My king,” he whispered in Cruig.
“My king,” the soldiers said.
  Luther Attercop / Malachi / 7y 340d 3h 33m 28s
Gwen watched as the men walked away to face off in a battle she would not get to see, and would be forced with Waela to sit and wait everything out. For some reason, her nerves jittered, and the apprehension of their return left her feeling light headed. She needed to sit, so she took to just sitting on a wooden crate and staring off into space. One hand curled about her stomach, as if to comfort her unborn child that Ticarthis and all of them were returning. Why did she always have to fear the worst?

Bowen carried Kyrian on his back all the way into the high fortress walls and to the training pitch, where he let him down. "You're heavy as hell." Bowen muttered before pawing his way over to a spot he could lay down. His eyes raking over the field and taking in every soldier, and sizing them up. Should things go wrong, he wondered if Auldran's men would attack them.
“You’ll each be given a shield and a sword,” Kyrian explained, both Auldran and Luther removed their armor. Dear Gods, if Raiyla or Gwen knew Luther was going to fight without armor, they'd have kittens. “You can aim to brake his shield- once it does the first battle is over and you have free reign to run him through. If he breaks your shield it is the same for him.” Luther looked like he had done this a thousand times, and today was no different. Good, Bowen thought. The man needed to show his unwavering confidence in order to take over here, he needed confidence that could boarder arrogance. There couldn't be doubt in Luther's eyes, or in the way he carried himself, and as Bowen watched a man who had begun as his enemy and became a brother to him, he realized that Luther was as confident as he acted, and he would make a wonderful king.

“Watch his upswing,” Kyrian warned. Luther hoisted up his shield “He doubles back on the upswing.”
“He’s a powerhouse,” Ticarthis said.
"The man is huge to say the least." Bowen muttered.
“But you’re quicker.”
“Any mathematical advice floating in the brilliant mind of yours?” Luther asked Tic with a smile.
“Yeah. Don’t die.” Luther laughed, as did Bowen.
"Fine advice Tic, I think we were all thinking the same thing. He's right... don't die" Bowen said looking up at Luther Lazily. "If you died, I wouldn't have anyone to tag team on Ticarthis over there." Bowen said with a grin, flashing his razor sharp fangs.
“Bowen?"
"Aye?"
"If anything goes wrong- anything; do not hesitate. You go to the boat and guard Raiyla. Don’t question- just go. You guys are safe- they won’t be going after you.” Bowen actually laughed.
"Luther my friend... you have nothing to worry about... but if it will easy your mind I will go now and stay on the ship with the women. Would hate to miss this fight... I hate Auldran, I want to see his ass get beat, but..." The bear shrugged. "There's nothing but a ship full of women, mind you capable women... and one adolescent boy... someone should keep watch over them, irregardless if Waela and Gwen are armed...' he said and stood up then on all fours. "Just do me a favor and come back in one piece, you have so much as a limp and your wife might faint..." Bowen grumbled and turned to leave, muttering how he always missed the best stuff and trotted off back towards the ship, snapping his jaws at a soldier who got too close.
  Lord Bowen J. MacKenna of Wenwick / darien / 7y 340d 12h 28m 35s
"Auldran!" He snapped around, eyes blazing as they focused on Gwendolyn who stood at the bow. Ticarthis tensed, ready to stop him should he make any wrong moves.
“Ah yes- our illustrious Destiny!” he called up to her with an ugly look. “Come to preach the word of your bastard deities and their cheapened praise?!” She merely smiled at him.
"I do hope you are prepared... for it is you who is going to fall today... " she stated it as if it were common fact. "And may the Gods have Mercy on your soul... For Aisling will not." He smiled just before he turned; cape rippling as he backtracked towards his men.
“We shall see…” he muttered darkly.

They would square off away from the longboat, on the ground most suited for such a fight. The Ta’taran training grounds was nothing more than a while stretch of frozen dirt that stood as barren as the white world around it. A contingent of guards were left behind on the shore to see that there was no treachery played out by Gwen or Waela. Kyrian, who was having trouble breathing, rode atop Bowen’s back as they made their way to the field and stood off to the side. Where Luther prepared himself, removing his armor and setting it in a pile. On the other side Auldran did the same; stripping the heavy breastplate and tossing it to the ground.

“You’ll each be given a shield and a sword,” Kyrian explained, hoarsely; watching Luther tighten his gloves. “You can aim to brake his shield- once it does the first battle is over and you have free reign to run him through. If he breaks your shield it is the same for him.” Luther nodded as he listened, tightening his ponytail and Ticarthis handed him his weapon’s. “Watch his upswing,” Kyrian warned, helping him fit his shield in his hand. “He doubles back on the upswing.”
“He’s a powerhouse,” Ticarthis said, looking AUldren up and down. “But you’re quicker.”
“Any mathematical advice floating in the brilliant mind of yours?” Luther asked Tic with a smile.
“Yeah. Don’t die.” Luther laughed. He turned his head to Bowen and gave the bear a smile. “Bowen? If anything goes wrong- anything; do not hesitate. You go to the boat and guard Raiyla. Don’t question- just go. You guys are safe- they won’t be going after you.”
  Luther Attercop / Malachi / 7y 340d 12h 50m 35s
“The crown is mine, Auldran,”


That was all it took for the ringing of metal blades, and pikes being raised and held at the throats of their men. Both Waela and Gwen tensed rushing to the edge of the longboat. Gwen's eyes bored holes into the back of Ticarthis' head, her heart racing as she eyed the dangerously close blade to his person. Bowen just looked agitated -snapping his jaw at the pike thrust at him. Gwen gulped, and wished at the moment she had grabbed her bow instead of her swords -a whole lot of good they were doing... so she settled to reach at her hip and grabbed a throwing knife.

Auldran was nose to nose with Luther, and while Gwen couldn't hear him, Bowen could and it made him growled dangerously low.
“You would do well to leave now,” Auldran hissed. And so the bickering began. If only Bowen could get closer to Luther. Gods knew that man had a temper, but Luther knew what was at stake here. If he failed... then he lost everything, and all of them were back to square one. As was normal between men in the beginnings of a fight voices raised, and Kyrian put himself into the mix. That, ended badly. Apparently Kyrian had hit a nerve on Auldran and he wasn't happy for it.

Everyone moved so fast. Kyrain was pushed back by Auldran, pinned to the ground, Swords were drawn, and Bowen roared jumping up onto his hind legs ready to take out a whole handful of soldiers. Bowen and Gwen watched as Auldran hd Kyrian pinned to the ground, with a foot over his throat. Choking him, that's what Auldran was doing, because Auldran had no remorse for the live of others.

“My daughter and my wife were killed because they prided themselves on spreading the word of those treacherous immortals! They speak nothing but nonsense and my family was forced to pray the price! I will be dead before I allow a king who would continue the folly of their praise and support to sit on the throne!” Bowen growled yet again, still towering over them all, and his claws hanging dangerously at his sides.
“Then raise your sword,” Luther said calmly. Bravo. Luther really had his head level today. ‘Raise your sword against me and see me fall.” A tense silence followed his words as Auldran hesitated to let Kyrian up, and when he did even bowen felt the hate that seeped off of the glare he gave Luther.
“They tell me that you cannot be beat. That the Amphi have preordained you as the winner, If that be true, what need have I to try and fight. I’ll fall. What will I have then?”
"Hippocratic Bastard." Bowen muttered under his breath to Ticarthis. Bowen was forced to remain upright, as Pikes were aimed high at him, and forcing him, unable to drop for an attack.
“If there are no Amphi, such as you’ve claimed, then prove your own claim. You’re bigger than me- stronger too. We both know it. You’ve had more training, more experience... and all those soldiers behind you. What does that leave me." A lot. "A fallen general- an incomplete master guardsman team, an uncrowned king, and a bear with a faulty eye.”
"Blind eye, it's not even faulty... just doesn't work." The bear said with a shrug of his shoulders. That was Bowen, always lightening the mood.
Luther only smiled and waited. “Fight me Auldran and be not a liar- nor coward in the eyes of your people. Take your vengeance and your revenge in my death.” Again Silence followed.
“Answer me one thing then,” he finally asked. “Are you prepared to die?”
“In the words of a great and wise Zabine I once knew… I am prepared to do what is necessary.”

From the deck Gwen glowered down, her blond brows knit together in anger. The words of Kyrain, were like a slap to the face. They stung, and they hurt. How dare he say such vile things about the Amphi. Sure she had her own place to say a few choice words about them, but to be fair -she had pretty much been their bitch for her whole life, and was sure she'd be their bitch again when the time came. She didn't know how Waela did it. Stood back, and let things happen. How she was so capable of just... following orders? Gwen could see it though, the desire to run down and grab Kyrian, make sure he was okay. Gwen understood that, and stood up by the railing of the ship and relaxed her hold on her throwing knife, but still held it precariously between her fingers.
"Auldran!" She called from up on the deck, making all eyes turn towards her, and his were none too happy. She gave him a pretty smile. "I do hope you are prepared... for it is you who is going to fall today... " she stated it as if it were common fact. Still she smiled prettily. "And may the Gods have Mercy on your soul..." She meant it too. She actually wanted Auldran to go forth, and be reunited with his family, to finally feel bliss, instead of the harrowing sadness he'd been forced to endure for those so many years. "For Aisling will not." she dared not look away from Auldran, as she too waited in tense anticipation for the fight.
  Lord Bowen J. MacKenna of Wenwick / darien / 7y 340d 15h 50m 8s
Auldran was less than please and it showed in the glittering menace that flooded his gaze. Curling his lip amidst the laughter of the group that faced him, his eyes locked on Luther. The soon-to-be-king was not laughing, merely standing with a smirk of epic proportions on his lips, a dark look in his eyes, and arms crossed over his chest. “So,” Auldran asked on a hiss, back to Cruig once more. “These are the kind of people you would sully yourself with? You sir are not fit to be King.” He gave a snapping wave of his hand and turned; intent on leaving.
“The crown is mine, Auldran,” Luther called out after him, head raised high. He did not say it with arrogance, mainly phrased it as fact. It made Audlran stop in his tracks, shoulders tensing. Finally he turned and marched back to Luther stepping so close to him that Luther had to lift his head ever so slightly to ensure their faces did not touch. Ticarthis and Kyrian both snapped their hands to their weapons, but Kløggen and another tough looking guard had their own swords unsheathed and at their throats in an instant. Up on deck Waela stiffened and gripped the ledge, her eyes glaring and hard on Kyrian.

“You would do well to leave now,” Auldran hissed. Luther simply burrowed his gaze hard into the other Tar’taran.
“Your threats will serve you no quarter here, Aulran. I have come to know my birthright when elicited by the Amphi themselves.” Auldran tossed back his head and laughed then.
“Look around you, boy!” he said and made a sweeping gesture to the castle behind him. “The Amphi have gone dormant. Their words no longer hold power!”
“How dare you!” Kyrian said and shoved the guard out of the way. Two more were quickly there to hold him back. “We are the Amphi’s people! Their chosen race! And you dare to speak such blasphemy?! On their own soil! You shame yourself!”
“No!” Auldran snapped back and reached out to grab Kyrian by the throat dragging him only inches from his face. “You shame yourself! The Amphi are nothing but righteous bastards who play at being gods! They are wicked and power hungry and they warrant nothing but our disdain! They say they revear us? Have chosen us especially among the mortals?! They stole our hearts! Took them like so much petty mockery- and with it our will! They laugh in the face of their own injustices and we are left to reap the suffering!”
“Think of your wife! Of your daughter!” Kyrian yelled. Aulran threw him down on the hard-packed and icy ground; a boot pressing into his throat. Luther snapped into a ready stance- preparing to fight. Wanting to fight. Except that Kyrian had warned him- Auldran had to make the first move or it truly would be forfeit.

Kyrian’s hands wrapped around the armor-plated ankle of the irate ruler as Auldran increased the pressure; gasping for breath. “My daughter and my wife were killed because they prided themselves on spreading the word of those treacherous immortals! They speak nothing but nonsense and my family was forced to pray the price! I will be dead before I allow a king who would continue the folly of their praise and support to sit on the throne!”
“Then raise your sword,” Luther said. Aulrdan’s head snapped up, eyes ablaze with fury. Luther glared. ‘Raise your sword against me and see me fall.” For a moment longer Auldran did not let up on Kyrian, but finally he released him with a shove; leaving the fallen general to curl on his side and grip his throat, wheezing for breath. Auldran looked Luther over, gaze as heated as an iron lance. “They tell me that you cannot be beat. That the Amphi have preordained you as the winner,” he said almost sarcastically. “If that be true, what need have I to try and fight. I’ll fall. What will I have then?”
“If there are no Amphi, such as you’ve claimed,” Luther offered, face stony, “then prove your own claim. You’re bigger than me- stronger too. We both know it. You’ve had more training, more experience... and all those soldiers behind you. What does that leave me. A fallen general- an incomplete master guardsman team, an uncrowned king, and a bear with a faulty eye.” He smiled and held out his hands. “Fight me Auldran and be not a liar- nor coward in the eyes of your people. Take your vengeance and your revenge in my death.” Auldran glared at him, but fell silent; truly considering it.
“Answer me one thing then,” he finally asked. “Are you prepared to die?” Luther smiled and glanced up at the sky before looking back to Auldran.
“In the words of a great and wise Zabine I once knew… I am prepared to do what is necessary.”
  Luther Attercop / Malachi / 7y 340d 16h 46m 47s
Gwen waited long enough for Raiyla to come back, the poor woman looked on the verge of tears, and before Gwen ever had a chance to go to her, Mathias had stood up, hoisting Odin into his arms and walked over to her. Her hugged her tightly, his face hidden against her chest while one arm held her tightly. "It's okay mama... Luther is going to win, and we're going to be very happy here." He whispered to her, he looked up then and grinned. "It's still winter here, and it will be for a long time, and I can make you a new snowman everyday!" He stepped away to raise a finger, and began to speak in a very matter-of-fact tone. "Now I've never made a snowman before, but the mechanics seemed simple enough when I asked Mira about them, I just have to find the right kind of snow... I think Saiorse called it... packing snow?" He shrugged. "I figure it out, until I make you the most perfect snowman." He grinned up at her, fully confident in himself. And when she smiled, he looked like he'd just won Tournament Joust Champion for her. Gwen stood up and smiled then, and handed her back Alex.
"I'm going up on deck.." She placed a hand on Raiyla's shoulder before reaching for her two short swords. "Stay here, stay safe... I'll be back shortly to let you know what's happening." She said and left the room. Mathias only looked back at Yanai, and marched over, struggling to hold Odin properly and sat down next to her.
"Hello baby sister." Mathias whispered and kissed Attica's nose.

* * * * * *


Gwen walked up on deck swords buckled at her hips and stopped next to Waela. The men were down on land, Bowen standing, shifted, on his hind legs, and this way, with his deadened eye he was the most ferocious looking bear Gwen had ever seen. Tall, towering over everyone present, with razor sharp claws and fangs... but the softest, warmest looking fur. Lucky bastard probably didnt even feel the cold here. She glanced at Waela and frowned. The men were talking and Luther was still wearing his arrogant expression as they all spoke fluid Cruig... another language Gwen was going to have to learn.
"I see they're getting along so well." Gwen muttered sarcastically, making the corner of Waela's lip twitch with amusement.
"oh so well." She muttered back. As Luther unsheathed his sword, they both watched intently.

“I’m not asking,”
“That blade!” one man snapped in Anglish. “Where did you get it!” Bowen simply gave a low clicking sort of warning growl towards the man not to get too close.
“A good friend gave it as a gift- and I’ve got to say, she’s beautiful… And handles real well.” Luther swung his sword forward and destroyed a soldier's weapon and Bowen fell down to all fours with a thud, and sent fresh powdered snow up in the air. he gave Ticarthis a look and shook his massive head.
"Show off." He muttered under his breath, but behind his grizzly face, he was grinning -though to the Ta'taran's they probably thought Bowen was looking at them like they were dinner.
“Now then- I ain’t got all day. Take me to Auldran or your head will be next.”
“There’s no need for that,” a familiar voice said. Bowen and the others turned to see Auldran walking forward, dressed like a king, and looking every bit as smug as one. Bowen's gaze narrowed, and even through his fur, the scar was angry and white, and it glowed as he strained the fresh scar. He didn't like the man before, and he certainly didn't like him now. The only reason he was tolerable last time was because Gwen was able to control him... now? They left her on deck because they didn't believe she'd have the same pull with him as she did before. Even though no one had spoken a word of her losing her powers. Auldran wouldn't have known better, but he would have figured it out.

“Well, well boy. Didn’t you learn your lesson? I thought I beat the lies out of you last time we met.” Luther offered him an equally evil smirk.
“I’m Ta’taran,” he said “I don’t go down easy…” Bowen chuckled then as a memory came to him and he dropped his auburn head.
"Something funny bear?" Kløggen snapped. Bowen nodded.
"Yes actually, something is very funny." Bowen turned his head over to Ticarthis, and even on all fours he reached the man's shoulders. "I didn't think it was possible... I honestly didn't, but looking at Auldran now? Well... let's just say... I've been proven wrong." There was a glint in his eye as he gazed at Ticarthis. They never were tactful with words.
"What's that Bowen?"
"Auldran really is a king... just look at him... The King of all Chapped Elk Asses..." from even up on deck, laughter broke out, and with one glance, one could see Gwen and Waela doubled over trying to stifle their laughter.
  Lord Bowen J. MacKenna of Wenwick / darien / 7y 340d 17h 53m 33s
"Over my dead body," Gwen growled her hands fisted tightly at her sides. Luther gave a hearty laugh. Gods but Gwendolyn would only ever be adorable when she was angry…
"Over who's dead body?" Bowen called out, and the three of them turned to see Bowen and a stately-looking Ticarthis making their way across the top deck towards them.
"Nothing..." Gwen informed him before looking back to Luther. "You have my word Luther... Waela will be with me, we can protect them if need be." She reached up and cupped his cheek then and gave him a smile. He smiled back and turned his head to press a fleeting kiss into her palm. "But you don't have to worry... you will win, and you will be king... and you can usher in a new era."
“Damn straight,” Luther grinned, releasing her. But even behind the confident and jovial tone he used, there was the obvious hint of desperation that would not leave him until the very last line of blood had been laid down in the snow. He would win- because there was no other choice.

“I’ve got your back, brother,” Ticarthis, wrapping an arm around Gwen’s shoulders. Luther smirked and nodded before turning back to face the shore which was now close enough he could make out the opther soldier’s faces. They looked nervous, but fierce.
“Let them come. I will see them rue this day…” Ticarthis glanced down at Gwendolyn, who turned and set her dainty hands against his thick jerkin, encased in fur-line gloves. She looked like a winter princess, and he smiled at her with all the love in the world.
"When you walk off this ship," she told him, her tone firm, "keep Luther in one piece... and by gods you had better walk back on this ship when it's over."
“Have no fear- this is no day to die.” She cupped his cheek in her hand, coaxing him down to her short height before gifting him a sweet kiss. “You be safe too, my star,” he said softly and lifted her hands to his lips; kissing them both before releasing her to go below deck.

*******


Raiyla was going to be sick. Pale from nerves, she sat atop the fur-piled bed of the longboats master room and cradled Alex to her chest. Yet even in her fear she wore a hardened expression- almost angry. She would not lose him; she refused. Their terror was over and she was done with the hardships! Odin’s laughter rang out in the hollow room and she turned to see him, bouncing about as he attempted to stand the way he’d been doing for the last couple of days. Mathais was sitting crossed legged on the floor, both hands wrapped around the red-haired, infant prince. Raiyla smiled as best she could at the sight. Mathais was an excellent big-brother and she had exploded with happiness when he’d told her he’d wanted to come with them; to live with them. Her little bear was as good as a son to her now, and she cared for him just the same. And the babies? They knew his face as well as hers or his father’s. Especially Odin. The two were inseparable. Attica loved him too, and seemed already smitten; cooing when he held her in his arms and wrapping his finger in her hands as if it were her favorite doll to hold…

“You okay?” Yanai asked. Raiyla glanced up at the Zabine woman who sat at the end of the bed. Make that one very pregnant Zabine woman. “You look a little pale. Do you want to lie down?” Suddenly Raiyla started to laugh.
“I think we should be asking you that, Yaya! Good lord but you are the strongest woman I know! You don’t even act like you’re pregnant.” Yanai grinned. It was true- up until only a month ago Yanai had acted exactly the same as ever. Now she was a little more tired than normal and had trouble using stairs, but she was still more than capable. Of course, the worst of it was the hormones. And not the crying type that Gwendolyn had experienced, or the angry hormones that Raiyla had suffered. No, they were the ‘dear gods if I don’t have you now I’ll die’ kind of hormones that involved Bowen and a very skilled hand late at night. Even now she blushed slightly to think of it. It often happened late at night when she would wake up heated and needy. Bowen, however, was either already awake or came too only moments after she opened her eyes. They were always that delicious burning gold- even if he was half asleep. He would take care of her until she’d had her fill, which needless to say usually lasted no longer than a few minutes she was so sensitive, and they both would fall asleep again. Yanai smiled and patted her full stomach with a sigh.
“Oh I feel wonderful. Heavy, but wonderful.” Raiyla smiled.

Suddenly the door opened and they turned to find Gwendolyn entering. Mathais looked up and grinned. "Look at Odin..." The red-haired baby bounced and laughed and Gwen smiled.
"He will be walking very... very soon..." She looked at Raiyla then. "Your life will be over once he starts."
“I worry for that one only,” Rai laughed. “He is already driving Luther mad!”
"No, mama will be fine, she has me! I'll keep him in line!" Mathias said with a nod of his head. Raiyla’s face softebned and she reached down to run her fingers through Mathais hair. He looked up at her with a smile that broke her heart it was so sweet. She looked at him with so much love. Gwen nodded.
"That's good of you Mathias...Raiyla, we near land...” Only then did Raiyla freeze. Nibbling on her lower lip she swallowed and looked to Gwendolyn who made her way to the bed and took her hand. “Luther and the men will be leaving soon... I'm going to stay here with you...”
“A-alright,” she said nervously.
“It will be okay,” Gwen assured her. “I have all the confidence in the world for your bastard husband." Gwen grinned then. "But I thought you'd like to go out and see him before we dock..."
“Oh! Oh yes, of course,” Raiyla said and allowed Gwendolyn to take Alex from her as she stood.
"Go on... I don't suspect they will lollygag on deck when we dock," she whispered. Raiyla glanced to Yanai who gave her a supportive gesture.

She climbed the stairs and exited up through the main hatchway, clutching a thick cloak about her; her thick cream gown fluttering at her ankles. What she saw made her heart skip a beat as she made her way onto the deck. The ferry had slowed, readying itself to dock. Fear consumed her at the sight of the contingent of guardsmen that had come to greet them. Dressed in battle armor and wielding lethal looking weapons, they were terrifying to her. Raiyla felt faint as she realized that even should Luther win- that would make her Queen- queen of these barbaric norsemen who could rip her apart with a single blow.

“Raiyla?!” Raiyla turned and saw that Luther and seen her and was marching towards her, Kyrian at his side. “What are you doing up here? It’s not safe.” He gripped her shoulders in his hands. “Go back down below and stay there until I come to get you. Gwendolyn will keep you safe.”
“I- I know!” Raiyla said, her voice laced with fear as she stared up at him; their blue eyes locking. “I just wanted to see you. To wish you luck.” Luther smiled and gripped her chin betwixt his fingers, tilting her head back so he could press his mouth over hers. The taste of him was divine and she wanted nothing more than to remain as they were in that moment. Her eyes fell closed and a tear slipped over her cheek.
“Come now, what’s this?” he asked softly when they had parted. Raiyla kept her eyes closed as he wiped it away. “Crying? For me? Don’t waste your tears my love. I’ll be victorious. You know I shall.”
“I know,” she whispered and fell against him. He hugged her tight.
“Aisling don’t,” Kyrian said quickly, a hand against Luther’s shoulder. Luther sighed but nodded and forced himself to pull Rai away from him.
“Kyrian’s right, Rai. They can’t see us like this. They’ll know you’re important to me. They can’t know too much. It’s not safe.” Raiyla opened her eyes and stared at him with tears but she nodded. Suddenly the entire ferry seemed to vibrate and the shudder to a stop and Luther stiffened. “We’ve docked. Go.” She stepped back and looked over at Bowen.
“Bowen? Keep him safe.” She looked to Luther once more. “Show him no mercy,” she said with all but a glare and turned to head back down. Luther watched her go, hands fisted at his sides.

As soon as the gangway had been lowered with a thud onto shore, Kyrian strode down followed by Luther, Ticarthis, Bowen, and Otto. Their faces were set in stone- their demeanors as still as the unwelcoming soldiers who immediately lowered their weapons until the spears and arrows were aimed at the newcomers. Luther gripped the hilt of his blade and frowned, but made no move otherwise; flanked on either side by the other men. Waela stood tall on deck watching them with arms crossed.

They were met by a man Luther did not recognize, but Kyrian did. He was at least a head shorter than the general, his long hair pulled back and eyes ringed with dark circles. He looked just a trite psychotic, but the glitter in his eyes informed then that he was very well aware of himself and his surroundings. Most of all, however, he was young; and he did not move, arms crossed over his chest with a smirk. “Kløggen,” Kyrian growled in thick Cruig. “Where is Karrot?” The young warrior called Kløggen arched a brow and grinned, curling his lip.
“He’s not available to do your bidding anymore, Kyrian. He’s been dead nigh four months. His eminence tired of him.” Kyrian looked furious, stiffening as Kløggen approached and raked his gaze over the line of men. Those blue eyes settled on Luther who glared back. “So…. You’re the bastard who thinks he is king.” Luther arched a brow and much to Ticarthis’ astonishment replied flawlessly in the same tongue. Apparently while he and Bowen were away- the Luther had been taking lessons…
“No- I am the bastard who knows he is king. And if you don’t mind, my friends here don’t speak our language. Why don’t you be a good little boy and speak Anglish.” Kløggen actually barked a laughed as he glanced to the soldiers on either side of him.
“Did you hear that boys? He wants us to speak Anglish! For his friends!” The soldiers all around them broke out into laughter that reminded Ticarthis of the courtroom in Troth’lenka during Antigone’s trial.

“I’m not asking,” Luther smiled darkly and unsheathed his sword. The impressive blade made Kløggen and those around them step back. The Ta’taran immediately recognized the sword. “That blade!” he snapped, voice thick as he spoke finally in Anglish. “Where did you get it!” Luther palmed the hilt with a sneer, the sapphire glittering.
“A good friend gave it as a gift- and I’ve got to say, she’s beautiful…” Without warning he swung out and the sword struck one of the crystal pikes that a soldier had- cleaving it straight in two. “And handles real well.” The soldiers looked astonished. Ticarthis and Bowen shared a look. Kyrian just looked proud- though he hid it behind his stoic mask. “Now then- I ain’t got all day. Take me to Auldran or your head will be next.”
“There’s no need for that,” a dark voice said. Luther blinked and turned his head to watch the sea of soldiers part to reveal Auldran dressed like a king, making his way towards him; eyes as steely as ever. Just as angry and heartless as ever. Luther could feel Kyrian beside him, go so tense he was liable to snap like a string.
“Well, well boy. Didn’t you learn your lesson? I thought I beat the lies out of you last time we met.” Luther offered him an equally evil smirk.
“I’m Ta’taran,” he said, using Kyrian’s very words. “I don’t go down easy…”
  Luther Attercop / Malachi / 7y 340d 20h 25m 27s
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