Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by bloonewb
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While the others sitting at the table were occupied in their own conversations, Vyarin began shoving dry little lumps of bread into his pockets. It was a bad habit that he had never quite outgrown; his younger self did at times get into trouble for it. There was nothing that stirred the blood in his hands quite like the backs of them being rapped fiercely by a thin strand of willow, its fibres pulled taut. However, that never seemed to stop him; just make him a better sneak. Besides, one gets used to the sensation. He never regretted not having the occasional nibble of something when he had time to himself, usually sometime between the noon and evening meals. The Astalian bread was so light and airy, it hardly felt like biting into any substance at all. Best to take a few more rolls, just in case.

However, his dastardly heist was cut short by the sudden arrival of one of the absent princes, the well-built figure of greenish hue. Vyarin had no way of telling whether the sudden interloper had seen him, and was simply pretending not to say anything to avoid a scene. He dropped the lump in his hand, it landing with a soft pat on the tablecloth. The other prince ambled to the table and joined the diners there, making sudden conversation. Yes, the ball. Just one more battle in this grand campaign. Vyarin nodded along, slowly getting to his feet and hoping his pockets didn't protrude too much that the others thought something off.

"Excusing, please," Vyarin said, quiet as he could while still feeling like he could be heard. "I am worrying; I come to here with men. They are of me; I not see all of the night. I go to look; they are not to go away." In his mind, he irked at the half-lie. It was true, he was worried about how his loyal men were faring, but there was far more than that. He made a mental checklist of the tasks ahead. He had to destroy the letter from his father, before any of the local eyes and ears made note of it. He had to find a way to dress up in Astalian manner, to appear at the coming gathering. Most importantly, he had to talk with Annalise the eldest, at least to make his name known in person. He left the dining hall, making proper obeisance to their host the king, but not quite knowing if he appreciated the gesture. There was much to be done indeed.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Mistress Dizzy
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Jinayah smiled warmly at Prince Erick’s acceptance of her offer to ride. “Excellent. I’ll be ready in about two hours. I will meet you at the stables. Just ask one of the servants to point you the way.” When Prince Gil spoke, she turned her head. Her mood dipped just a touch.

“Yes, it is a big day. I, for one, hope that you’re ready to dance your shoes thin.” There was an excitement in her voice that was entirely false. The lie was given away in her eyes. She didn’t mind socializing with the Princes in private. They were just boys, after all, and she’d spent her childhood dealing with them while she trained. No, it was the other nobles that would be in attendance. She could very well do without the conniving, backstabbing, constantly calculating courtiers.

As Prince Vyarin made his excuses and exited, she too, stood. “Well, I’d best get ready. You enjoy your breakfast. Prince Erick, I will see you soon.”

-

One and a half hours later, she was at the stables. She had switched out the armor for an embroidered tunic and pants, with high riding boots. While she brushed her favorite riding horse, a rose gray mare with an elegantly braided mane and tail, she hummed lightly under her breath. Blossom always liked the humming. Hopefully no one was looking, as she practiced her dancing footwork to her own music.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by LostDestiny
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Annalise took the long way to the library, more or less deep in her own thoughts as she walked. There was so much at stake here, her country's future as well as the futures of the countries the Princes hail from. Would uniting really make them all stronger or would it simply make it easier to take out the remaining heads of the larger countries. The Empire had no problem lying in wait. This much she knew from accounts of how the other countries were taken over. Especially in the beginning. She quickened her pace, she needed to find a book, one that accounted the start of the war. Would there even be one? She had scoured the library many times for Gilthan history but all had been lost.

After a bit of walking she finally entered the large room that was the castle’s main library. There were smaller libraries scattered about but those only contained copies of the books held in this room. Any book the royal family owned would be found in this room. Books were not allowed to leave this library, so the collection should be complete, so long as nobody had snuck one out. Some of the castle’s staff approached the Princess as she entered but they were quickly waved off with a polite smile. She didn’t want or need the help. Immediately she got to work scouring the shelves, pulling anything down that she thought would have any sort of relevant information.

It took her a bit but eventually she had quite a few books piled up on one of the many tables that were scattered around the front of the room. Annalise got to work skimming the books, moving everything she realized was not helpful to the side. The discarded books were taken and put back by the staff that occupied the room. Books were watched closely here, even when in the hands of one of the Royal family. The rule was not to be broken, by anyone. This was the one place the mages had more authority than she did, and she was always careful to respect that. She would spend the next while skimming books and placing them to the side when she didn’t find what she wanted. She figured this task would take her a while, keep her busy until she was either interrupted, or the time to prepare for the ball began.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by bloonewb
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First on the checklist; the letter from his father. Ducking out of the breakfast hall, Vyarin was greeted with the familiar disorientation imposed upon him by the majestic palace of Astalia. Rooms upon rooms, hallways upon hallways, as to what led where he could only guess. Absentmindedly, Vyarin fished a bite of bread from his pockets and took a bite. He hoped this wouldn't be a long morning. The first challenge, he realized, was where exactly he would find a suitable fire. He had no place in a kitchen; that was the domain of skinners and stewards. No doubt he would get chased out like a boy before he could place his vellum message anywhere near where they made their meals. No, that would not do at all. For a guest to intrude upon their host in such a manner, for that is what they were, even the lowly Krebos, is beyond undignified.

His luck finally turned, however, when he stumbled into a common room, with a growing fire as tended to by a muttering servant. When he approached, she took one glance up at him before scurrying away, muttering apologies in Astalian. Vyarin felt a little demoralized that the mere sight of him, or the breadth between their status, had banished her away like an evil spirit against a fetish, but for his purposes it served him well. He fished out the parchment, now covered in crumbs, and tossed it gingerly in the fire. The corners blackened, then curled, crumbling back into insignificant dust. There, his little conspiracy might escape his fool mind or his fool mouth, but never via his father's hand.

It then occurred to him that he heard a noise, the shuffling of documents and the dragging of wood against wood. Was someone planning a campaign? His mind immediately leapt to paranoia, but his reason won out quickly. Nobody knew of the coming armies of Logon. Nonetheless, doubt crept back into his mind and bit down. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to check, just to make absolutely sure. Carefulness, after all, is the highest of duties, among others.

The neighbouring room was much different from its adjacent; it was covered in racks, but rather than holding weapons or shaman's herbs, it was dedicated entirely to scrolls and arranged stacks of parchment so thick it resembled blocks. Immediately a stern aide wearing the colours of Astalia approached him and began either instructing or insulting him, he could not say for certain. When the aide gestured to the scrolls with purpose, he glared up at Vyarin, almost totally unafraid of the difference in their statures. Vyarin admired that; in another life, in another world, this diminutive scrawny man could have been a mighty berserker.

Vyarin's luck was truly with him today, for the source of the noise was none other than Annalise, daughter of Harold. She read quickly, arranging the pages before her with the vigour that came with worry. He almost didn't want to interrupt her.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by CassyK
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Prince Erick gave a soft smile and a nod to Jinayah to express his confirmation of their ride, ..two hours to sort himself out.

The polite conversation that murmured around the table was interrupted by the rather late appearance of the Orc-prince; despite his size, his gentle manner barely broke through the uttering - or perhaps Erick’s hangover rendered him a little less attentive than usual. The Prince Gil was unusual to Erick, but he supposed he wasn’t quite so familiar socialising with Orcish royalty as he was the boorish countryfolk Jörda had appropriated from the very fringes of the Afdan kingdom. The ball.. Erick’s eyes briefly scanned those present at the table to gauge their response; Gil seemed to mention it in a fairly nonchalant tone whilst gathering generous helpings of breakfast - the Jörda prince looked on bleakly at the large pile of food and was at once reminded of his nausea.

Erick felt a hot flush and once again the colour began to drain from his face, just then Vyarin arose to make his leave with a plausible and polite excuse, although he seemed hastened, Jinayah too shortly following suit - would it be impolite also for Erick to depart from the company of the Orc-prince leaving him to eat and drink alone? The pace of his heart quickened and he arose puffing his cheeks to expel a breath, he cleared his throat, “Princess Jinayah” he gave a shallow bow of his head to acknowledge her when she bid him her wishes, his eyes followed her briefly as she vacated the room before they flicked to Gil. Throwing up would not be polite. “Enjoy your breakfast” Erick managed to slur out the words before storming off, he felt hot and was yet simultaneously breaking out in a cold sweat - where was his chamber again? Oh hell.

In this state the prince was neither convinced he could make the journey back to his chamber or remember the route, he also did not want to draw attention to his condition - thankfully Grìmur was nowhere in sight. Erick charged along the corridor until it quickly became quiet - a small off-shoot with a large handsome plant and a tall deep pot seemed like the only sensible location, there was no negotiating it really. Gripping the rim of the planter his body ejected the pathetic stomach contents and continued to unproductively strain a few more times, the prince spat and panted when it ceased - he really should have done this earlier. After a few short moments indulging the feeling of relief he remembered where he was and pulled back from the planter wiping at the edges of his mouth - he peered around and could see no one, but could hear activity further down the halls.. he’d need assistance back to his chamber and would have to prepare himself for the morning horse ride, of which he was certain should be a gentle affair.
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Annalise had been consumed with her search for any information, no matter how old, on the country that not only threatened her freedom but the freedom of her people and the other remaining independent countries. She had been so consumed in fact that she hadn’t heard the large Prince enter the room, let alone the scolding of the scholar who had attempted to communicate to Vyarin that he was not to touch any of the parchments without permission from one of the mages. Though it seemed the scolding fell on deaf ears, at least in terms of Annalise. The scholar, seemingly annoyed that the large male either didn’t understand him or didn’t care to respond, marched over to the table Annalise was at and slammed his hands on the table after attempting to get her attention verbally for only a second.

The blue eyes of the eldest Princess looked up at the scholar with a look that communicated both that the action had startled her and that if the man did something like that again their next interaction would not be a pleasant one. She may not have authority when it comes to the books but she was still to be respected as, more or less, the heir to the Astalian throne. The Scholar however seemed to not be concerned by her expression and instead motioned to Prince Vyarin before speaking. “Please inform your…guest, that he is not to touch anything in here unsupervised. This includes anything you currently have on this table.” The man did not give the Princess a chance to reply and instead seemed to walk away to leave the Princess, Prince, and the Book Keeper that had been watching the Princess to do whatever it is they were going to do.

Annalise’s gaze followed the Scholar’s gesture to the Prince. Her expression still annoyed from the interruption but her gaze softened when she realized it was one of the suitors that was the cause. As much as she was hoping the men would find a library a boring place to meet, and as much as she certainly did not expect Vyarin of all people to find himself there, she had to remain civil. It was for the good of both of their countries after all. She closed the book she had been shuffling through after she noted the page she was on and slid it over to the side, next to a pile of other books and scrolls.

“Prince Vyarin, what a lovely surprise to see you here.” She started in his tongue though it was likely much more of a formal or technical way of speaking than perhaps he was used to. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” She inquired, not moving from her standing spot on the other side of the table. The chair had been pushed to the side long ago, it was clear she had no intention of sitting in it, so she offered it to Vyarin. “Would you like to take a seat? I am simply doing a bit of research on…” Her sentence trailed off, she had told the group she was doing research for the preparations for the ball, if she told him she was instead researching The Empire, what would he think? She casually placed a few rolled scrolls over the book covers that were exposed, attempting to make it look like she was simply clearing space for him. “On various customs of the people around this great continent.” She finished after a brief pause. It wasn’t totally a lie, The Empire was part of the continent. Though she hoped he did not pick up on her hesitance.
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Vyarin gave the princess a nod, seemingly calm, but his mind was quickly turning. He didn't want to tell her that he had simply stumbled on her by chance; that simply sounded like a lie. Surely she must have been chased into many a room by some ambitious young prince "in a mere turn of fate." Quickly, he did what he did best and assessed his surroundings. He was beginning to become very skilled at this; who knows, a few more months here in this court and he shall be the greatest observer in the world.

"I am of apologies . . . again. You and me did not the talk very in the night, yes. It is good to meet, though I to know name-you." Slowly, Vyarin was becoming accustomed to the fluid cadence of Astalian. Though it still twisted his tongue in knots, there was no denying that the reputation Astalia had for a land of grace and beauty in all things was not in the slightest unfounded. He pointed at the table. "This is . . . painting? Painting of 'Glila Tharr' land. Land of 'krebo odzar.'" He recalled the letter from his father. Zarrir 'Usurper' did not secure preeminence for their bloodline by making idle accusations. If he says that the Gilthans were threatening an invasion, it was because he knew with near certainty. "Is good. To learn many of the enemy. We men of the Zpina have many story of the krebo odzar. You wish I to say to you? It to assist, possible."
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by CassyK
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The servants of the Astalian palace dutifully escorted the Jörda prince to his quarters, although they’d initially seemed perplexed that he’d appeared alone in this area of the palace it was quite easy to assume he’d gotten lost. Erick paid particular attention to the turns and landmarks en route to ensure he’d remember this section of the building, and if more drinking were to occur he’d be avoiding that damned Afdan wine..

The prince took a deep breath of Astalian air as he stepped from the entrance of the palace, making his way to the stables, the salty marine scent mingled with the foreign smells of the surrounding city - the smell of horses though, never changed. Erick felt a little better after bathing - of which the Jörda people were most conscious and thorough - and reassured himself that a gentle ride, with gentle talk, with a gentle lady would be an easy and pleasant morning. His clothes for riding were particularly understated, with a light linen belted tunic and loose pants, these were paired with woollen leg wraps and low cut boots, he still wore several articles of gold however which made his station quite apparent. For comfort, he’d rolled his sleeves to bare his forearms, which were as scarred with old nicks as his face, and silver beaded charms were lashed to his wrists with leather bracelets. Upon entering the stables, Erick soon caught site of Jinayah despite the sheer size of the yard - she was tending to her steed, all the while whistling and scuffing her feet through the dust in a most choreographed way.

“Very beautiful” he stated aloud, Jinayah had her back to the prince and there was some part of him that hoped to surprise her, perhaps too he could fluster her with the slight ambiguity of the statement.
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Annalise looked down at the table when he pointed, almost glaring at the piece she hadn’t managed to cover up from him. Almost offended that the image had given her away. But her expression lightened again when she looked up to Vyarin. She considered his request for a moment, though she almost blurted out a hurried yes to hear his tales. It was a solid couple seconds of her thinking, almost long enough to be an awkward silence. Blinking a couple times she relaxed the facade she had been wearing up until now faltering, her gentle smile no longer resting on her face, replaced with one of neutrality.

“That’s right, I forgot your country borders Old Gilthan.” She almost whispered this to herself. If she was honest she had forgotten that Vyrain’s people had likely been fighting Gilthan longer than any of them. “I heard they fight with more magic than most other countries have access to, but nobody knows how. Magic is such a rare skill, how can one country possess so much of it?” She was more asking this to herself than to the Prince in front of her, she doubted like the rest of them he had no clue.

Shaking her head she sighed, the gentle smile returning to her face. She looked to the book keeper who still remained a respectful distance away. “Make note of the items I have out now, I am finished with them right now but I wish to return to them later.” The book keeper nodded and moved to start putting the books and scrolls back in their places. She then turned to the man in front of her, still smiling lightly. “There will be plenty of time to discuss The Empire and its ways. We have to focus on forging Alliances for now, to strengthen all of our countries.” There was just a twinge of bitterness in her voice when she said the last part. She still wasn’t pleased about essentially handing over what was rightfully her throne to some forign prince, but she couldn’t let the suitors know that.

“How about we get some fresh air? We are going to be trapped in a stuffy ball room with court officials judging our every move tonight.” She didn’t really give him much of an option but rather walked to the back of the large book filled room opening the doors to a balcony that overlooked the sheer cliff leading to the ocean. The place being placed right on the cliff always made her nervous but she couldn’t deny that the sound and sight of the sea, stretching on for who knows how far, was one she would never not enjoy. “I always found it silly that the most important room in this entire palace was placed so close to a cliff face that could simply collapse at any time.” She remarked as she stood near the railing but not quite on it. Turning back to see if the Prince had followed her. “This view never gets old though.” She motioned to the sea turning back toward it as she did and closing her eyes, allowing her hearing and smell to take over. Once again she relaxed though a genuine smile graced her lips now, a rare occurrence as of late.

After a moment of silence she opened her eyes once more and focused back on Prince Vyarin. “So Prince Vyarin of Prozdy, I have been curious, and of course you do not have to answer, what happened?” She pointed to her left eye hoping he would understand that she was asking him what happened to his left eye. “Between the two of us it seems we might only have one pair of functioning eyes.” She hoped the joke would both explain her question more and alleviate some potential tension. She wasn’t even sure the suitors had noticed her own ‘defective’ eye.
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Jinayah pivoted lightly, to the beat of her own music. She dipped into a graceful curtsy, and back up again. It seemed she had heard him coming, and didn’t seem surprised. Her brown eyes sparkled with mirth. “Beautiful, indeed, Prince Erick.” She gestured to the sturdy, calm horse beside her. “You must have an excellent eye for horses. This is Blossom, my second favorite.”

Blossom snorted as if offended at coming in second, tossing her braided mane. Jinayah giggled behind a hand, rubbing the mare’s nose with fondness. “Oh, come now. Don’t be like that. You would be tops if you were fast. When I don’t want to be fast, you are the champion.” She reached into a pocket of her tunic and fished up a cut chunk of apple, which she held out to Blossom.

“Forgive me, my friend?” The treat was sniffed and accepted in due course, and the Princess smiled warmly before returning her attention to the Prince. Her sharp gaze swept over him in a quick way, and it would be quite unclear what she was seeing. Was it the warrior who was looking him over, or the woman?

“You seem a little less pale. I’m glad to see that.”
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Vyarin nodded along as the Princess Annalise spoke. It seems, to him at least, that the Clan Altera has something of an inborn habit of speaking to themselves aloud. This was no object to him, of course. It was as his grandfather, the late Zarrir the Elder, had said to him once; that who listens has everything to gain from who speaks. Besides, it was far better this way. The less he said, the less he could embarrass himself further with his choppy Astalian. However, a concern tickled at the back of his mind. If the two of them were to marry, as his father desires, would this be their fate forever? For one of them to speak only to themselves, while the other can only play pretend at listening? He shook his head at the thoughts within; this was simply more sign that he needed to master the language, and quickly.

Tangentially, it seems that he was beginning to piece together the sprawling palace in his head now. Certain halls and chambres were even beginning to look familiar. There, that one would lead down to the Court of Roses. There, the adjoining hall that it shares with the Princess Jinayah's armoury. It was amazing how daunting it all seemed in the days before. The more he looked, the smaller the world became. Princess Annalise continued to lead him, or at least he hoped she was, toward a balcony overlooking the sea. The morning sun glittered magnificently over the rolling waves, amid the distant thunder of their striking the earth. Despite the constant struggle of land against water, the scene was peaceful, harmonious even. Nature and fate has a way of piecing together everything and setting them in their rightful place. Vyarin hoped that by following his instinct, he shall arrive there as well.

"Oh." She had asked him a question. He reached up and touched the rag, feeling the ever-present wetness of it. As to what fluid had decided to invade it today, that was perhaps beyond the consideration of even the wisest shamans. "It . . . the hair . . . knife?" No, that sounded wrong. There was simply no way that phrase would translate cleanly from Prozdy or Ellion to Astalian, so he switched to his native language. "In our way, it is not to be spoken of. There was a disagreement between my father and the Prince of Geriozdy, and I settled it for him. In our tongue we call it a 'country haircut,' when speaking between equals." He trusted Annalise was familiar with the euphemism, with how many books she had in front of her when they met. "It is good luck, to settle differences. It is better they be buried forever, instead of left to grow. Clans have and will war against each other, and kill to the last son and daughter if an agreement is not reached. Sometimes the price is an eye." He paused, thinking about his own words. He was not truly ready to say them yet.

"If . . . you like . . ." he began, switching back to Astalian. "You . . . to help me. To teach. I learn your way. The talking Astalian, the . . ." he gestured vaguely around himself. "The all." It was somewhat awkward, and possibly, he conceded, a conflict of interest. He knew as well as she that both daughters and suitors would be under heavy scrutiny, most of all from each other. Though he was loathe to admit, he could not be blind to the truth; all seven of them were looking for ways to undermine him, to limit Prozdy's prestige and thus the balance of power forged by a marriage. Could he truly rely on Annalise's sympathy? He mulled it over, but finally nodded just slight enough that he could feel the weight on his neck shift. Yes, perhaps he could. It was his instinct speaking to him, that pulled him along the path of fate like everything else. He could trust her, at least for now.
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In contrast to Erick’s expectations the Princess Jinayah returned an artful courtesy; she’d been aware of his approach - her armoured display at breakfast hadn’t been entirely for show it seemed, and he considered too that perhaps she was quite attune to the subtle alerts from her horse. Blossom was robust and of a steady temperament, and not unlike the kinds of war-horses in stature that Jörda employed to pull wagons and weapons, or as charge horses that crashed through tough enemy formations. Given Jinayah’s attire and absence of stable hands, the prince could assume that she was an experienced equestrian - this was not unusual of women in Jörda but in this place, he’d held some notions that the Princesses would be far more in need of his gentle assistance.

The conversation between the Princess and her horse elicited a grin from the Jörda prince, he folded his arms as he observed the communication between them and failed to entirely conceal his slight discomfort when Jinayah shot him a sharp gaze, all of sudden inspecting him. “Yes I feel well” he croaked and cleared his throat, “thank you Princess” he reaffirmed more deeply, he was keen to change the subject.. “I shall prepare Sinir, your horse may rest this morning, you will ride with me” his thick accent cloaked the sentiment of the statement and it wasn’t clear if it was a command, a suggestion or a question - perhaps a small fraction of panic prompted a clumsy attempt to re-establish whatever he supposed his position ought to be.
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The eldest Princess of Astalia listened carefully to the words Vyarin said. It wasn’t hard to tell that he was having issues learning her language so when he swapped to his own Annalise had to concentrate a little harder on his words. Despite her insistence on learning the languages of the other countries on the continent from a young age, she only had a basic, conversational grasp on most of them. Enough that she managed to piece together his explanation. The smile that had found her facial features after her joke was very quickly replaced with one of concern, one she was not able to hide.

She hadn’t realized that The League had such practices. It was a stark contrast to how things were done in Astalia. She supposed at least it was less complicated. She always felt like she was walking on eggshells or even glass shards around Astalia’s nobles. A balancing act she had managed to master at this point in her life. Everyone was polite to each other's faces but it was a very covert game of chess that most of the nobles played. At least it’s how it had been since her mother passed leaving the country with no male heir.

Her blue eyes watched Vyarin carefully as he seemed to change the subject, asking for help with her tongue. She wasn’t used to people admitting their weaknesses to her, and she certainly would not have expected it from the Prodzy Prince. Was he simply acting clueless in order to drop her guard or was he legitimately asking for her help. She squinted a little at him though it only lasted a few seconds, clearly sizing him up, trying to determine his motivation. She mentally shook away that way of thinking. From everything she had been told and observed, mind games were not the way of the Prodzy.

“It would be my pleasure to teach you the language and our ways, no matter who you chose it is information you will need to know.” If this alliance was to work out Vyarin would need to know how to at least speak very basic Astalian, as well as read it. “Other than the language, is there anything you would like to know specifically? If not then perhaps a simple history of the country would be in order?” She was sure he had specific questions to ask so she decided to give him an opportunity to ask as many questions as he felt he needed. Better now than later, Prince Vyarin having some knowledge on Astalia would likely keep the other nobles from protesting too much if Annalise were to marry him.
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The Ball


The day carried on with the aristocrats going about whatever they had planned for the day. Eventually the time came where they needed to head to their respective quarters to get ready for the ball that was to be held. It was the last opportunity for the Princes and Princesses to get to know one another before selections would need to be made the following afternoon. All eyes would be on them in the coming hours with all the guests at this ball pondering who would be paired with who.







Eventually Annalise had to leave the bubble she had created in the library to head to her room and get ready for the ball. A bath had been drawn for her and she spent as long as she possibly could soaking in the water before allowing her handmaids to wash her. She could faintly hear an argument about the dress she was going to wear between the handmaids who were to dress her. Something about the dress she was to wear no doubt. The Princess did her best to ignore the conversation and take in the scents that had been selected for her. Some combination of Lavender and vanilla, with a hint of something she couldn’t quite place. Perhaps something native to the Prince’s more Northern lands She wasn’t quite sure.

The moment Annalise exited the bath she was swarmed by various attendants. She had given up years ago attempting to convince them she was not so frail that she couldn’t dress herself. The image of her had been long since established and there was nothing she could do about it now. She had other things to focus on anyway.

Before she knew it Annalise was standing in front of a mirror staring at herself in a color she had never worn herself at least not these shades. The girl she saw in the mirror was not the one she was used to looking at. Gone were the light blues and soft pinks she saw in her everyday clothing. Replaced by more cerulean blue and silver of the royal family crest. Annalise had worn similar colors before but her stylist chose to lighten the colors to match her skin tone, and maintain the frail appearance of the first born daughter. Now she wore the true colors of her family and her country. The women around her looked more than pleased with their work. The dress was primarily cerulean blue but had more than its fair share of silver branch and leaf like accents, similar to the stag’s horns on the crest, though obviously with some creative differences. Her hair, for once, was left almost completely untouched. Save for two braided pieces in the front that had been pulled back and pinned with a similar branch and leaf-like accessory though she hadn’t seen much of it when it was put into place.

After spending a few moments of admiring herself in the mirror she finally headed to the ballroom. She was sure some of the guests would have already arrived. She could hear the sounds of music echoing through the hallways. Her father would not be making any big speeches tonight. It was time to celebrate what was to come so the festivities would have already started in order to entertain the early arrivals. There were always those who wished to be the first to see the royal family or speak with the King.

Annalise slipped into the ballroom from one of the servant’s entrances so as to avoid being announced. She hated the attention it got her even if there were only a few guests present at this time. She quietly placed herself next to where her father was standing speaking to some of the court members, smiling at them politely as they noticed her. The conversation quickly shifted from whatever they were speaking to her father about to how stunning she looked in her attire and how either of the Princes would be lucky to have such a beauty for a wife. As if there were not many other reasons she would make a good wife other than her looks. She was, of course, used to these comments. Most of the court members refused to acknowledge that she was, in fact, the crown Princess. The one who held the most claim to the throne, the one who’s heir would take the throne when the time came. The one who would likely hold the throne until such time as Annalise had no intention of allowing whichever man she married to take her country from her.

She said nothing, simply smiling at the comment and looking around the room at all those who had arrived. It wasn’t many, but the room would quickly fill. It seemed the first to arrive had been the members of the court, the Lords who would bear witness to the selection the following day. Likely wanting to get a feel for who each Prince would choose before the actual day. She had no doubt the Lords of the court had some form of wager on the matter.

Soon enough Annalise’s attention was taken by other guests of the ball and she was no longer watching the door for the others to arrive. Distracted by socialization and maintaining the friendly, delicate image for the onlookers.

Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by bloonewb
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bloonewb Primordial and also soupy

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"Most Respected Father," began Vyarin, before scratching the address out with his quill. "Mightiest Father" was similarly dismissed, as was "Most Honourable Father." Everything he wanted to say to him was wrong. Everything he could say would draw his ire. He had gone to Annalise, the woman he had intended to court, mewling like a child for her to teach him the ways of the land he was already supposed to know everything about. He still hadn't settled the matter of the match, and he had no more than five days before his uncle would make his presence known here, at a most generous estimate. The eldest princess must have already dismissed him as a candidate for her hand. As he sat on his plush guest bed, his breaths became short as he thought of all the weight of his failures crash upon his shoulders, bringing him to his knees. He collapsed on the ground, not daring to cry, as if his father were standing over him right there in that room.

He didn't even know exactly how he managed to get up onto his feet again. How he managed to get the water heated and poured into the empty bathhouse, washing himself as he would do week after week. It was discipline that was keeping him alive; the routine that had been beaten into his bones like iron ingots. He immersed himself in the searing water, and then his soiled clothes, and scrubbed them both furiously until the water had taken on a slight opacity from the fatty soaps and the grime. He emerged almost restored, if a little damp, ambling half-alive through the halls in a new and more respectable set of clothing, following the noise to where he knew he needed to be; the ballroom.

Colours and patterns whirled around him, on the cloth they wore, on the banners adorning the walls, even upon the tablesheets and hanging from the ceiling. The contents of the room could purchase a city; they spared not a single dusting of gold and grain. It was like a fire of textiles, bursting like Gilthan 'stars-of-light', the marvel of the north immortalized and frozen in place here in the southlands of Astalia. He could not spot the princesses nor their illustrious father among the crowds and the ranks. Though the food upon the table looked tempting, Vyarin doubted it would have been appropriate to sample some. Nobody around him seemed much interested in it; it could have been made of wax and nobody could tell. He shifted uncomfortably in his traditional jacket and boots of his homeland, now appearing downright drab in comparison to his surroundings. He was underdressed, he realized, with a growing horror. He was awkward. They were ogling his height.
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Hidden 14 days ago Post by CassyK
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A joyous composition filled the extravagant ballroom, it filtered through the air and echoed out into the halls, the deep bass of the instruments running waves of vibrations through the stonework, Erick could feel it in his chest. The event was busy and bustling with dignitaries and the esteemed social classes - they were surely examining the foreign visitors with interest, but well concealed behind polite smiles.

The fresh streak of broken skin along Erick’s left cheek had stopped bleeding, at least - he’d explain it as a small accident of course. The Jörda Prince scanned around for the Princess Jinayah, but as of yet he could not locate her. Vyarin however, even disregarding the man’s size, stuck out like a sore thumb - Erick could sense the discomfort of the Prodzy Prince before he even need approach him.. he smiled, inwardly, but refrained from letting it tellingly break across his lips. Jörda would have the crown princess, undoubtably.

Erick was equipped with as much finery as they could pack with them, and adorned with it only with the curtailment that excess would be obscene at such an event; nevertheless, exquisite fabric, furs, gold and ceremonial weaponry ensured he was both somewhat encumbered and hot; his warm skin emanating the patchouli oil dotted at the base of his neck. The Prince approached Vyarin, who seemed to be musing over the untouched banquet from a distance, the Prodzy man smelled of soapy linen if not a little..humid? Like cloth that was not quite dry. Erick too examined the table, “do you think it is a test?” he joked, it was hard to gauge at times, in this land, if things were as they seemed they were.
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