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“Lyra… Lyra please look at me…” The elder elf pleaded to his daughter who sat across from him in the carriage. The blonde haired pale man with deep brown eyes stared down the girl across from him, she looked so much like their mother it was almost painful for him to be ignored but he pressed on until she finally turned those sapphire blue eyes up to look at him from behind her book. “There you are.”

“Don’t start.” The princess warned from across the carriage as it gently swayed the two of them down the road.

“Start what?” He asked in an attempt to be innocent but as he saw her gaze turn back towards her book he jumped into what he was actually meaning. “Lyra, thank you for doing this.” His sentence was met with a simple Mmhmm of acknowledgement but he ignored the sarcastic response and continued, “Without your agreement we could have had nothing but a continuous war and more bloodshed. Your agreement to this will save the entire kingdom.” Mmhmm was all he received as a response and he let out a sigh, obviously he wasn’t getting through to his eldest who was more pissed off about this than anyone else. “Lyra I…”

“You and I are doing what’s best for our country, even if it means years of unhappiness for myself; at least there will be peace and our people won’t die for reasons we can’t even remember anymore.” With that she disappeared back behind her book. Ever the stubborn one but she knew what was best for her people even if it wasn’t necessarily the best for her.

And to that her father just gave her a thankful smile.

The carriage rolled up to a house and stopped. The house was two stories and wide with a lack in the back along with a garden of flowers and walking trails to the surrounding forest. There was an joint effort between the two kingdoms to build the house intermixed with magical and mechanical properties while the house and the land sat with equal amounts between the two countries and at any one point, the countries would have a foreigner within it and it was okay. An idea both the kings seemed to agree on that was a good symbolism. Climbing out of the carriage first was Lady Lyra, accepting the hand of the footman as her feet touched the ground. She was in a long comfortable green dress that touched the floor and ballet style shoes. She looked delicate and innocent, almost everything she wasn’t.

Her attention scanned over the house, this was her first time seeing it since it was completed and she seemed relatively surprised. Pointing at the porch lights on each side of the double door entrance to the house she asked her dad what they were and his response was a simple shrug, he didn’t know. Their attention moved towards the opposite end of the road as dust began to move; the other kingdom was on their way and per the agreement, it was a two people, the king and the eldest to arrive. Today the elven kingdom showed up with a footman, a coach driver along with the Princess and the King, who would the other kingdom show up with? And… would they follow the rules in placed.

While the King looked confident, Lyra was not and she tucked some straight blonde hair behind her ear and tucked her book into her shoulder bag, the last of her belongings to bright to her… their new home.
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August looked out of the window of the vehicle, watching the scenery flash by in blurred streaks of green, mimicking an impressionist painting. Just like the world outside, the prince’s mind was buzzing, unable to settle on a single train of thought.

Am I doing the right thing?
Will they honour their agreement?
Will this bring peace?


So much of his internal monologue placed the kingdom before his own feelings, but every now and then,
What does my future hold?

August’s life was so full of uncertainty. Sure, war time had never been predictable, with each day claiming so many lives, with the advantage changing like the wind, but August knew war time. He knew how his people banded together, he knew how, even in moments of laughter, fear and death hung over them like an ominous cloud.

Now? August did not know anything. He felt his whole world had been torn asunder.

But they were entering a time of peace (supposedly), and for that August was grateful, even if securing it came at a personal sacrifice.

Anjou before Angevin.

“August.” The king, who sat next to his son, intoned in a commanding, but not unfriendly, voice. “We have nearly arrived.”

August blinked, turning look at his father, broken from his thoughts by the older man’s words. Sitting up straighter, August craned his neck in an attempt to see out of the front window of the car, but from his position in the back seat he could not make out much.

“Your Majesty, it would appear that the elves have already arrived,” the driver stated, catching the king’s eye in the rear-view mirror. The king simply nodded.

Soon enough the car rolled to a gentle stop outside of a two-storey building that was an odd patchwork of designs in an attempt to symbolise the unity between the kingdoms of magic and technology. Sure enough, as the driver had mentioned, already an old-fashioned carriage had pulled up in front of the building, and four strangers, who could only be the members of the Nephalm royal family and their servants.

The driver was the first to exist the car; first opening the door for the king, and then for the prince.

August was dressed in clothes that many in Anjou would have consider too modest for a man of his standing; dark trousers, knee high boots with silver accents, a brocade waistcoat in the same shade of navy as his hair buttoned over an off-white shirt, finished with an inky coloured, formal looking jacket.

“Presenting His Royal Majesty, King William of Anjou, and his son, the Crown Prince, August Angevin.” The driver announced, with a deep bow to the elven king and princess. King William stepped forward to shake the other king’s hand by way of greeting, while August gave his attention to the princess.

“Your highness,” August said with an elegant bow and a tone of perfectly rehearsed diplomacy, “it is a pleasure to make you acquantaince.”
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The sound of roaring metal and the cascade of smoke brought back some memories of the battlefield and Lyra placed her head into the palm of her hand as she turned herself away from the machine. You’re not on the battle field, you’re not on the battle field, you’re not on the battle field. This was her internal mantra to remind herself that peace had arrived and there was no need to fear the approach… machine that carried her future father-in-law and her future husband. Her hand slowly removed from her face at the gently coaxing of her father; for Lyra had been involved in the war for a long long time that her reaction came as no surprise to her loving father. But alas, the reaction, that PTSD was still ever present in her eyes as she turned her attention to the now parked vehicle before finally turning her entire body to face it, feeling less afraid now that it had come to a stop.

The announcement was meant with a small smirk from Lyra as she whispered to her father, “Such a fan-fare when we are the only ones here.” and to that she received a gentle scolding of ‘hush’ before the two humans arrived.

There was no doubt that the kings wanted peace, their handshake reminded Lyra of how he would greet his brothers. Her father truly saw this as a resolution to the war but Lyra wasn’t so sure. Humans and Elves have hated each other for longer time then she had lived. But her father lived in a time where there was peace and during his rise to the throne, he had made many attempts to form peace between the Humans and Elves, King William was the first to actually be willing to talk about peace when he took the throne and was the first to agree to a truce and to marry their eldest children as proof of the solid unity between the two nations.

Hopefully… everyone outside of the royal families agreed to this union…

August’s words caught her attention and her sapphire blue eyes flicked to him before she realized she was being spoken to. The bow was much more elegant then she had expected from someone who came out of such a machine and she seemed almost impressed, almost.

“Likewise your highness,” She said, returning his greeting with a graceful bow that seemed as a natural as breathing. Every movement of hers showed that a lot of practice had gone into the way she was raised and, considering her age, she had time to master elegance, grace and poise. And that she did.

As she rose up from her bow she folded her hands neatly in front of her with a gentle smile. “I am Princess Lyra Holaceran, If I may be so bold, please refer to me as Lyra from this point forth, seeing as our…” Her gaze moved to the building that would now be their home. “arrangements will have us be in a much more informal setting, I feel it would be best to forgo the formalities.” Her attention then moved back to him before her gaze went to the car, she… she had to ask and she could fee her father saying ‘don’t’ from behind her.

“What… pray tell, is that contraption? It moved as if you it has horses attached but makes a loud noise and spits smoke.” Ah… there’s the undertone of sass she was known for within the castle but now wasn’t the time to introduce all of it. Just… an innocent question right?
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The greeting between Kings seemed more in keeping with the peace than the interactions between the eldest children. But then, the sacrifice of the Kings’ was far less; although they were both entrusting their blood, their heir, to live with who, until recently, had been the enemy, it was not they who would have to endure the huge change in lifestyle, the uncertain future. The, quite potentially, unhappy marriage borne from political necessity rather than love.

“Lyra? That’s a beautiful name, for an equally beautiful woman,” August spoke in an easy tone with a soft smile, giving the perfect impression of a man content and assured with the situation; everything he was not, deep down inside. But for now, at least while he and his bride to be were in the company of their Kings, August maintained the air of easy confidence and gentle nobility; the perfectly perfected persona of ‘prince’. “Please, call me August.”

The prince noted that the princess was, indeed, beautiful, just as he had said. Blonde hair and sapphire eyes; she was bright where he was dark, her eyes were bold where his were clouded. And yet he saw something there, hidden behind those vivid eyes, something deeply familiar and heart breakingly sombre.

Lyra was as much a victim of the war as August was.

“Hmm?” August looked over his shoulder at the car he, his father and their driver had arrived in. It was such a commonplace vehicle in Anjou, it had never even occurred to him that there were still people in the world who would not recognise what one was. “Oh, it is a car my Lady Lyra.” August said, returning his attention back to the princess. “It does not need horses or any animal to pull it; inside is an engine, which burns fuel to create movement,” August gestured to bonnet of the car. “In Anjou they have largely replaced carriages such as your own, for we find that they are both faster and more reliable that horses.”

August cast a sideways glance at his father in contemplation, before continuing.

“Perhaps I could take you for a drive some time, if it pleases you?” August noticed a slight change in his father’s expression at his words; minor enough that anyone else, anyone who was not family, might not register as displeasure. The prince was not meant to be having fun; this was a political matter and the peace of the kingdoms was at stake.

But August would be damned if he didn’t at least try to make his situation bearable, at least try to have a marriage that was not built on animosity and resentment.
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Lyra’s fixation was on the car. What an odd contraption… Her gaze scanned over the black coloring and intensity it carried through its presence. On the battlefield she had experienced the humans’ creations but never something as simple or sleek as the car. Her head tilted to one side, the car gently rumbled but didn’t shake and the ground under it seemed unaffected by the rumbling. It was… odd.

“A car…” She repeated, her voice filled with questions and maybe…a hint of excitement? Sure, humans had shown a darker side of themselves with the war but… so did the elves; the amount of people, humans, that had died by her hands weren’t worth of keeping track of but she was just as tainted with red as any of the humans’ machines. But they didn’t just use their machines for destructive purposes; apparently it was also used for transportation.

She closed the gap between them and she could feel her father tightening with concern behind her, however her movement was as innocent as it was fluid as she spoke in a low whisper, as if it was a secret. “Can I touch it?” An innocent excitement filled her voice but she didn’t want it to seem prominent so, she reserved her excitement to share between the two of them.

Once at the car, she brought a hand out and hesitated before she placed it on the hood of the car. The hood was warm and the rumble could be felt under the steel. The material felt different compared to what she had encountered during her time on the battle field. This was smooth feeling, almost like silk and it obviously surprised her as she wore the emotion on her face. “It’s so smooth…” Her voice was soft, almost in awe as she stopped walking and put both of her hands on the car feeling it rumble under the weight of her hands. “It feels like many horses running. But there are none.” At this point, she was speaking to herself as she walked around the car and pressed her face to the dark glass, she couldn’t see anything then suddenly the glass move and she let out a yip of surprise, springing backwards away from the window and into August as the drive peered over the tinted window with a raised eyebrow of confusion behind his dark sunglasses before rolling the window back up, ignoring the blonde’s weird reaction to the car.

Lyra’s hand rested over her heart, “It moves!” Their glass didn’t move. And yet the humans had it so dark you couldn’t see inside and it moved up and down. She was astounded and seemed to stare at the vehicle with delight before she realized where she was. “Oh my apologies.” She said quickly stepping away from him once again before she turned her attention back to the car. “Will you keep one of these… ‘cars’ here? I would surely want to go for a ride.” Her head rose and fell in a nod as she continued around the car and put her hands on the trunk.

Confusion spread across her face as she looked over at August, “It’s… it’s not shaking like the other end… is it broken?”
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There was something endearing abut watching the elf’s curiosity surrounding the car and August could feel a smile forming on his lips. Her inquisitiveness was charming to behold.

Perhaps this will not be too painful to endure, August could not help but think to himself. Although they had barely met, already the elf, Lyra, was defying his expectations. Back in his Kingdom the rumours of the elves were of hideously blood thirsty beings, crazed with a lust for arcane power. Indeed, from what August himself had witnessed on the battlefield, elves capable of cruelty and torment. Subconsciously he flexed the fingers of his right hand, he false hand, as he always did when thinking of the more brutal side of warfare. He had opted to wear finely tailored, leather gloves for this meeting, as he always did for formal, public appearances, for he was oddly self-conscious of the prosthetic around all but his army comrades.

Of course, for all the trauma the elves had caused, both his Kingdom, his people and even himself, August knew that humans were far from faultless. August had killed and killed and been maimed in the process.

Such was the reality of war.

Lyra jumped back from the car in surprise and into the prince. Instinctively, August caught her in hands, steadying her. A soft laugh escaped his lips; it was not cruel or mocking but genuine and affable.

“Fear not, Lady Lyra. I can assure you it will not bite.” August said, still smiling. “It is another advantage that cars have over horses.” From the corner of his eye, August could see his father confirming as much to the elven King, putting the other man at ease with the fact the Lyra, indeed, was in no danger by examining the vehicle. The last thing either Kingdom needed was their heirs to be placed in, real or perceived, peril and King William, diplomatic as ever, assured the other monarch that the humans were keeping their end of the peace treaty. There were no tricks here.

“Aye, I have a car much like this back home at the palace. It has been arranged to have it delivered later in the week; for we wanted to focus on moving in now.” It was a half-truth; King William had also prevented the car from being sent earlier so as to effectively force August to spend time with his future bride, to remove any temptation to set off and disappear for hours on end.

It is not to say that August was at risk of running from his duties, for he would not; the peace between the Kingdoms would be cemented by this marriage and the Kingdom of Anjou came before all else. That was the reality of being prince; it was not a simple life of luxury, but a political and diplomatic game he had to play whether he desired to or not.

“No, it is not broken.” August stepped over, so he was stood next to Lyra at the boot of the car. He placed his good hand on the metal, fingers accidentally brushing against the elf’s. “Allow me to show you. Driver!” The prince called, rapping his knuckles against the side of the car; the sound had an unusual ring to it as, despite the covering of leather, metal fingers hit the car.

The boot sprung open, as from his seat within the driver unlocked it. August pushed the lid up, revealing the inside to have leather suitcases and other possessions that the prince was brining to his new home.

“What you feel quivering beneath your fingers is the engine, which is houses in the front. This end, however, is left empty and used for storage. Which, ah, reminds me,” August leant into the boot, unclipping one of the suitcases and rifling through its contents. “Here. If I might be so bold, this was to be given to you closer to our wedding day but… I think I would like you to have it now.”

August produced a small box, which fitted neatly into one palm, presenting it to the princess. Inside was an ornate object; hung on a chain, a disc that was decorated with three dimensional dragonflies, their wings carefully wrought. The prince turned a dial on the side of the disc, and, with a soft whirr, the dragonflies seemingly came to life, wings fluttering as they danced across the surface, moving to reveal the face of a dainty timepiece that their mechanical bodies had previously covered.

“It is a… Peace offering.” August spoke softly, so as their fathers could not hear them, as if his words were a secret just for the two of them, “Not between Anjou and Nephalm, but between a husband and his wife.”
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So it wasn’t broken, fascinating. A smile moved across her face as she looked down at the back of the car. This was a new experience and the humans were so mechanically inclined it was fascinating. His blue eyes darted towards the hand as it brushed against her fingers. Her first instinct was to jerk away from him, the whole situation was new but she kept her hand steady. If she was going to make this work, she needed to be okay with new things including being touched by a human that wasn’t in a violent fashion.

The ringing that came from knocking caused her head to jerk back in surprise. Is that something that happened with the car? What caused the noise? It wasn’t normal, or at least what Lyra knew as normal. Her gaze shifted towards the side of the car where his hand was; as if investigating the sound before the boot sprung open. The spring wasn’t hard and her hands rose up following the case before she pulled her hands from the metal. “Wow.” She responded with a small voice of true surprise.

“So this… compartment, can keep your things dry during the travels. That’s impressive.” Her response was honest and gentle as she let her hands fall to her side and stared down at the compartment.

That was until he stated he had something for her and her attention moved to him to see the small box he had produced. Inside was a shockingly beautiful design that began to move with the disc he turned on the side. She instinctively leaned down, staring at the device in awe. It was a weird statement to hear husband and wife; it was enough of a surprise to hear it as her eyes darted from their entrancement to meet his gaze again. There was a flash of surprise on her face before being replaced with an earnest smile.

“It’s… it’s beautiful.” She whispered to him as she reached out; her fingers gently brushed against the face of the device. “Wow…” She muttered under her breathe. Her attention moved to him as she held up a finger. “Please, wait here.” With that she went to the carriage, her father eyeing her as if she was going to run. However she climbed into the back of the cab and retrieved a small bag before coming out of the carriage and back to him. Her hurried steps confused the two fathers as she made her way back to the larger human.

“I had something made for you as well.” Putting the bag strap over her shoulder, she reached inside and pulled out a small long box. Turning the box to face him, she opened it so show a beautiful silver bracelet it was about ¼ of an inch thick and looked very sturdy despite its elegant design. On the back side of the bracelet there were ruins carved into the silver. But they were not viewable until she pulled it out of the box. “Magic is the elven specialty.” She began to place as she slid the box back into her bag and held out the bracelet to show him the detail. “But detection is a different breed of magic in itself because it requires a knowledge of all types of magic. A knowledge one gathers over many many years of life.” She flipped over the bracelet to show the back of the bracelet showing the ruins. “I spent a long time making this for the man I intended to marry. I hope you will accept this as a token to my husband from his wife.”

A smile moved across her face as she gently held the bracelet in one hand and hold out her hand with another, within her hand a small ball of light generated and the bracelet began to glow a soft shaded of white. “White for light, black for dark, blue for water, green for earth, yellow for lightening, red for fire and purple for healing. If you are near any form of magic your bracelet will react. I also hope that this will ease any apprehension you may have about being with someone with magical abilities, the instant knowledge of what magic is being used could be a relief for you. Will you accept this?”
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Watching Lyra’s growing fascination, August was led to wonder what new experiences he would encounter as a result of this union. Would he, too, be as inquisitive? Would he be drawn to elven magic with curiosity, as Lyra seemed to be to technology, rather than fear and disgust? From what little knowledge August had of magic, he knew it was something to respect from the destruction it had caused on the battlefield… But he had yet to see it in a positive light, or as something to admire rather than shun. After all, anything that was possible with elven magic, was not only possible with, but was improved by, human technology.

Right?

August was pleased that Lyra’s response to the gift was one of quiet amazement. After all, despite its beauty, its intricacy, it was still a piece of tech; there was every chance she might have spurned it. It would have been unwise to reject it, but there had still been every possibility that her reply would have been nothing but diplomatic politeness. As it was, she was either an excellent actress or her appreciation was genuine.

Before he could say another word, Lyra requested he stay where he was and disappeared to her own carriage. The prince raised an eyebrow in interest, watching as she fetched a bag before returning to where he stood at the back of the car.

The elf produced a small box, inside which was a beautifully wrought bracelet. Lyra removed the jewellery to show August, which revealed runes carved in to the precious metal; runes that were as foreign to August as magic itself. An easy laugh escaped his lips as Lyra explained she had crafted the item for the man she intended to marry.

“I doubt you ever suspected that man would be a human,” August said with a gentle smile. Certainly, he had never thought he would ever say a civil word to an elf, let alone be married to one. When he had envisioned the future, August had always seen himself stood with a Queen who was as resolute as she was wise, as fiercely loyal as she was compassionate. A Queen who was human.

He wondered who Lyra had always thought she would wed; had there been an elven man back in her Kingdom who she had loved? Or had she crafted this gift with only the dream of her ideal husband?

August had been in love once. One of his fellow soldiers. There affair had been passionate, with the pair sneaking moments of ardour between grim, hard-fought battles, seeking sanctuary in one another from the horrors that surrounded them.

She had survived the war, for which August was eternally grateful, but even before it had been suggested he were to marry the Nephalm princess, the couple had known their romance was doomed. There was no way the crown prince would ever have been able to openly have a relationship with a commoner. And so, as the war had drawn to a close, they had parted ways; their love for one another just another memory, another victim, to the bloody fighting that had consumed their Kingdom for so many years.

“Oh!” The prince gave a faint sound of surprise, flinching slightly, as Lyra conjured a shimmering orb of light in the palm of her hand. He hesitated, glancing between those sapphire coloured eyes and the bright white that danced at her fingertips. August had not been this close to magic since his time on the battlefields, when he was commanding troops to defend against it. He gave a soft sigh, before offering Lyra a smile.

“Sorry I… I am not used to being so close to magic,” he admitted, prosthetic hand flexing unwittingly as if he could still feel the sizzle of arcane energy that tore his limb from his body. August knew, however, that magic was something he was not only going to have to adjust to, but something he was going to have accept as a part of his new life, this joining of the Kingdoms. August would have to promote the acceptance of magic to his own people, just as Lyra would need to for technology.

He could not deny the usefulness of such an artefact though. Lyra was right her surmising.

“Aye, I think this will help to ease my discomfort around magic. You are a talented craftswoman,” August hesitated, looking up from the bracelet and at Lyra, almost as if really seeing her, rather than simply his ‘bride to be’, for the first time. “It is an incredibly thoughtful gift, so for that I thank you.”
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As soon as the prince flinched, Lyra closed her palm and extinguished the light quickly and without hesitation. “I’m sorry.” She said quickly as she opened her hand to show him that there was nothing in her palm anymore. She felt bad; she hadn’t meant to startle him. Magic wasn’t anything new to her; in fact it was part of her daily life so she couldn’t image her life without it. Yet her husband-to-be would find magic discomforting.

However when he expressed that he wasn’t used to being so closed to magic she gave him an apologetic look. There was an obvious look of regret for startling him as much as she did. “I’m so sorry. It’s such a common practice for my kind to use magic on a regular bases, it’s almost like breathing for. I will try to refrain from using magical without giving you proper warning.” A nod rose and fell her head. “Would it ease your mind a bit if I told you what I was going to do, why and how its beneficial to… whatever the situation is?”

At that she offered him the bracelet, “Thank you for your compliment. I’ve had many years to create it and now I’m blessed with a person I can give it to. May I?” She asked with a gesture towards the closet hand. Little did she know as she gently went to take it, it was his fake hand. However when she touched it; maybe a bit too bold of a move, she knew something wasn’t right.

“August…” She began softly taking ahold of his hand before he would have an attempt to pull away. She stared at it for the longest time, through the glove she knew it wasn’t real and her face slowly dropped and so did her heart. So this was a product of the war. It’s different from each side but now she was seeing something within the human’s side, a human’s suffering that now personally affected her.

Sadness rolled across her face like a river and she slowly brought his hand up and rested it gently against her cheek, her eyes collected a small pool of water within them. “August I am so sorry.” Her voice was earnest and true as if she was seeing the impact of the war for the first time from the other side and she felt horrible beyond measurable amount of words.

Lyra slowly pulled his hand from her face as with her hand holding the bracelet she wiped her eyes clear of the tears before gently lowering his hand down. “I lost myself there for a moment, I apologize.” She said quickly, her words nearly blending together as she spoke fast to try to hide her embarrassment. “I didn’t mean to grab your hand without your permission.” With that she gently gestured towards his other hand. “May I have your hand? I’d like to put the bracelet on you. And then will you put the necklace on me?”
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“That would… Be relieving. Thank you,” The prince admitted. Magic was clearly something that was important, not just to the elves, but the Lyra herself. His heather coloured eyes fell to the car; he could not imagine being asked to live in a world without the technology he had grown up with, that he understood and accepted as his culture. For that reason he, nor anyone from Anjou, could ask the elves to give up magic.

Having someone around who understood his aversion for magic, someone who would help him learn to accept it, perhaps even to be fascinated by it, was a huge consolation.

August was jolted from his thoughts as Lyra wrapped her fingers around his own and he looked back up at her. Rather than pulling away, August let Lyra take his hand, his false one and felt a twinge of sorrow as realisation and heartbreak blossomed over the princess’ features. Her finding out about his arm was an inevitability, but he had not wished it to go like this.

August did not nurture pity for his wound; so many of his comrades had lost their lives, so he felt himself lucky, in many ways, to have ‘only’ lost a limb. He could see, however, that Lyra felt his loss keenly; it was not one of misaligned sympathy, but grief for everything the war had cost them both. It was the poignant recognition that the humans had been scarred, grievously, by the elves’ actions, as much as they had been by them.

“Do not apologise, Lyra,” August said softly, “it is what it is. I do not wish to look in to the past, where I was hurt; I would rather look to the future. Will you look with me? Will you help me build a future for our people that is bright and magnificent and free from pain?”

As Lyra let go of his hand, the prince hesitated in thought before removing his fine leather gloves. He still felt self-conscious of the gun-metal grey of his right hand, but he had nothing to hide. Lyra had held his hand up to her face, the gesture tender, and August had watched, unable to feel her warmth. The prosthetic was excellently made and restored most of his lost function, but it did not restore any sensation. Although he had full control over the false limb, it sometimes it felt as if it were someone else’s. It was cold and numb, every bit a machine where he was organic.

August wanted to feel the touch of Lyra, of his future wife. He wanted to feel her fingers when she clasped the bracelet about his wrist, to share in that connection she had felt when she held his right hand.

“Of course,” August removed the time piece necklace from its box, draping the chain across metal fingers, ready to place it around Lyra’s neck before offering her his left hand.
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It was surprising, almost amazing, to see the humans were able to design and create a working hand, she had felt movement against her cheek and a twitch through the glove but it was completely shined metal. The blonde found herself staring at it, but not in disgust, she was looking at it in wonder she even bent over a bit to get a closer look at the device, her mouth slightly open in surprise before a very gentle whisper of “Wow.” Left her before she straightened herself up feeling like she might have been rude.

When he offered her his left hand, she gave him a soft smile. Gently taking his hand it was the first real skin to skin contact. Her skin was soft like silk, smooth and gentle like her movements and grace. Everything about her was tender and kind and unlike a lot of people, elves included, her kindness was true. Her fingers danced softly along his skin as if learning the hand that she was going to bestow this gift on. After gently running her hand up his fingers to his wrist she looped the bracelet around it and it fit perfectly and even she looked a little surprised. Though her surprise turned into a smile showing her straight white teeth, “It fits perfect.”

With that she stepped back and turned giving him her back before she wrapped her hands around her hair and lifted it up exposing her neck to him so he could wrap around and clasp it for her. “We will build a wonderful future together.” She whispered softly for him to hear, “No more war and our civilizations will learn to coexist in harmony and we shall lead that.”

“I do want make you aware, when the house was being built there is a mix of both magic and mechanical; if you’d like I can take you through the house and show you the magical items and how they work so they don’t startle you and could you show me the mechanical things?”
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Lyra’s fingers were both soft and warm; her touch was gentle as she fixed the bracelet around August’s wrist and the prince found himself smiling. The delicate metal was cool against his skin and the weight of it was reassuring and comfortable. Surprisingly, the fit was perfect; it was as if it had been crafted specifically for him. Perhaps the fates had intervened when Lyra had crafted the item; perhaps the world somehow knew what its inhabitants could not.

The princess stepped back then, baring her nape. August moved his hands in front of her so that he could drape the delicate chain of the timepiece about her neck. Drawing his hands back, August fiddled with the clasp, fingers brushing against Lyra’s exposed skin, before securing the necklace in place. August’s fingers hesitated at Lyra’s neck, as if he had something to say but thought better of it; he pulled away, his good hand feeling cold at the sudden absence of Lyra’s warmth.

“Aye the house, our home,” August began, the words feeling peculiar in his mouth, speaking of the life they were to share from here on, “will be full of surprises for us both, no doubt.” He eyed the electric lights, of Angevin design, that framed the front door and wondered just what else lay within. Things that would confuse him, things that would seem so common place and yet confuse her. Lyra’s response to the car, and August’s to her magic, was only a small indication of the things to come when living in such a juxtaposing home.

“Our first adventure, hmm?” August said with a grin, pulling a finely wrought set of keys from his coat pocket. He offered the princess his arm, the one made of flesh and bone, “come, let us explore and see what our Kingdoms have put together for us.”
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It was a little embarrassing to bare her neck to him; do to the fact that it was a huge sign ease, she was comfortable enough with him to expose bare skin to him and a weak point of her neck. Her instinct was that she shouldn’t have. She should have accepted the locket and put it on herself but alas, she wanted to show to him that she trusted him. And more importantly, to herself that she could trust him.

The feeling of his fingers lingering on her caused her pause, was something wrong? But they pulled away before she got a chance to ask. Upon turning around, she found him using the word ‘home’ instead of house and her gaze moved to the construct as well. “A home…” She repeated softly. Who would have thought she’d hear those words from a human’s mouth when it came to them being together but here they were.

The offer of his arm was met with a smile as she took it without hesitation. “Yes, let’s.” With that the two ventured inside.

The two story house was larger than it looked on the outside as the house was deeper than it was wider. Their entry into the home presented a beautiful foyer with a seating area to remove shoes and clothing, which Lyra did as she moved her cape and hung it on the wall, her bag still remaining by her wide hanging over her shoulder and her shoes were removed from her feet and gently placed in a small cubby built into the wall. The first place form the foyer was a sitting room; a few couches and chairs scattered about with coffee tables arranged with fine china already waiting for the possibility of hosting incoming visitors. Off of that was a lavatory indicated by the opening of a door.

“Oh” Lyra responded with acknowledgement as she guided him into the living room and over to the fireplace. “I recognize this. So this fireplace is ran by magic.” Squatting down she pointed at a small decorative pattern on the fireplace’s lining that went all the way around. “These are ruins, scripted into the stonework to look like art, a common practice in a hosting room as some ruin designs make people uncomfortable. It provides a barrier between the fire in the fireplace and the rest of the room. Magic conjured by fire can be controlled by magic with ease while fire hand created is much more wild in its design.” This would explain why fire was a much more feared particularly when the humans started using it against them than anything else.

“Knowing a human would have been moving in…” She stood up, her finger dancing against her lips as she hummed and scanned the fireplace for a clue. “Ah there it is.” After a moment she seemed to find what she was looking for and pointed to the artwork that hung above the fireplace. “See that painting there?” It was a beautiful painting featuring a sunset in the background while two loves embraced on a boat in the waters. “Normally, we create the fire ourselves but knowing they were working with humans and that a human would be living here they went with an activation instead of by a magical means. There a small ruin in the sun, if you look real close you’ll see it looks like two capital Ts connected together with a capital C on each end. This is a trigger ruin made to trigger magic. If you touch it, meaning the sun, it will activate the fireplace. And your bracelet will glow red. Do you want to try?”

Her voice seemed to give away that she was excited to share such things with her new found partner and she couldn’t wait to show him more about her culture. Maybe as tensions eased and their people started to feel safe with each other, she could take him into her village, her home and show him around. It would be a completely different experience for him but, it was an experience she wanted to share when he was ready.
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August walked into the house, arm linked with Lyra’s, with a little trepidation and a little… Excitement, was it? It was not the building itself that provoked such feelings inside him, but everything it represented. By stepping inside he was stepping in to, not just his new home, but his new life.

The first room the couple entered was a tastefully decorated foyer. The prince was impressed by the work the architect and the interior designers had done; it was not just the facilities that combined Angevin tech and Nephalm magic, but the décor itself was a seamless blend. Everything was simultaneously comfortingly familiar and attractively exotic.

August removed his coat, hanging it on a hook by the door, and his boots before exploring the house more fully. The prince followed his future wife in to the first room, which proved to be a living room. August was still admiring how everything had been put together, with designs from both kingdoms, when Lyra guided him towards the fireplace. There was an intricate pattern swirling across the stones, which Lyra explained was more than just decorative.

“So this… It appears to just be for show, but it is actually to prevent the fire from spreading?” August asked, tracing the pattern with a finger, “it looks like incomprehensible decoration to me… Does it mean something to you? Is it something you can read, or do you just know its use?” Perhaps magic might be easier to understand, to incorporate in to his life, if he could see it as another language, as something he did not yet grasp but could learn to do so.

Lyra appeared to be looking for something then and, finding it, pointed to a painting.

“Trigger rune?”
August repeated, eyebrow raising in curiosity, “like a switch then? Such as we might use for the lights?” Realising that Lyra may be unfamiliar with the term, he added, “ah, we use switches to turn our technology on or off. I am sure we will encounter some in the house, I will point them out then if you have not come across them before.”

The prince leant forward, inspecting the painting. It was charming to look upon, but August could not help but wonder what other secrets it might hold. Maybe none, or maybe there was more magic than he could comprehend within the delicate brush strokes.

“So I just… Touch it?”
August asked, raising his good hand a little hesitantly. He glanced over at his future wife and could both see and hear her excitement. It was… Wonderful. She was already a beautiful woman, but her elation only seemed to enhance the fact. Plus, her joy was contagious, and August found himself smiling in response, despite his disinclination to engage with magic.

August pressed a finger to the sun and, suddenly, as if by magic (for, indeed, it was), the fireplace crackled to life. It began as a small ember, but rapidly grew until it was sizeable enough to provide both heat and light for the whole room. August leapt back in shock; even though Lyra had told him what would happen, he was still surprised to witness it so closely. To witness magic so safely at that.

Glancing down, August noticed the bracelet at his wrist was glowing red, as promised. He lifted his arm, inspecting the jewellery.

“This is… This is remarkable, Lyra.”
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