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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale was within his castle walls. It was silent during this time. The only sound that could be heard was the sound of the wind outside as it blew by. This ruler liked it when it was quiet. Well.... he liked it most of the time. Whenever he was stressed, some peace and quiet was certainly enjoyed. Anyway, the male in question was sitting in a certain throne of his in the main throne room, just a stones' throw away from the main hall. He was....thinking. There was a certain event coming up, one he had not hoped would ever have to happen. This ruler, this king, hated balls when he was a child. Others had ruined such events for him. If it wasn't the, now deceased, former guards accepting bribes from cold humans to allow said cold humans to gain access to the castle and try to go after him and anyone who may have been close to him, it was servants who were.... doing things they should not have been doing in the darkest corners within those stone walls, one could simply say, without actually saying what it was of course. Alexander HATED thinking about those days, just as much if not more so than he hated thinking about the event that was to happen. He was currently a bit.... unhappy, to put it mildly, very mildly. No one dared to approach him during this time, for obvious reasons. And so, they left him alone. They did not bother him, not even for a moment. They were to afraid of what he would do, and that was for starters. A sigh would soon be heard from him, and if anyone was in the room, they would see a frown upon his face, and his eyes staring down at the floor at his feet for a time. He did not say a word, not one little tiny letter was uttered from his mouth at that time.

of course, now, he had no choice but to attend a ball. This was his own ball. It was one he felt he was forced to throw. A tradition for one such as himself was to occur. A royal ball was held every time a ruler, or in this case someone like himself, was to wed, or simply to find a bride if you will. Every available female in the surrounding land, among others, were to attend. Being one to not disrespect, or shirk, traditions, or responsibilities, he felt he had no choice, no say, in this case. Alexander was now throwing a ball...if only to find a bride and wed as soon as possible. Others had begun to question why he was still unwed for some time, and it had taken quite a bit of effort to silence them, although he knew the questions remained within their minds, their thoughts. He would often see it in their' eyes. If he had no bride, he had no heir, and he needed an heir, and not just because of tradition. Anyway, the time was drawing ever closer. It was now the evening before the ball. He noted how time seemed to be passing now. Alexander could only hope to get it over with quickly, find a bride to wed, and then be done with it all. That was all he seemed to care about at the moment. That was what he was thinking when it came to the ball and such. Servants who were passing by, or through, the room may have been glancing towards him, but that was all they did, nothing more. Alexander would raise his head after some time had passed and glance towards a candle that had burned out. He noted how dark it had truly seemed to have gotten, indicating that it was no longer day, but night instead. Another sigh could be heard from the one who actually dreaded, and hated, this the most.
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Being the youngest, wasn't always easy; Some claimed that Rosalind was a burden on her parents; still being unmarried and at home. Others thought her too spoilt because she was the baby of the family, clearly under the impression that she got everything she ever asked for or wanted. But those were only harsh words spoken by those, that didn't take a liking to the royal family. For the Princess, the story was much different. She was doted on since her birth; by both her parents and her older sisters. Protected from the harshness of the world and it's cold realities. Never really sure, what she was being protected from. Did everyone think her too naïve and innocent, that she wouldn't understand matters of the world? Any time she asked, both her parents shut her questions down quickly. Instead of quenching her curiosity, they just made it grow stronger over the years. Rosalind never did figure it out. Not to this day. Stuck with the same questions and wonderings in her mind as she watched her elder sisters, get married; one by one.

First was her eldest sister Catalina; rumoured to have the best singing voice. Then came Nina, said to be a cunning smart beauty. Third was Penelope, shy and reserved off the sisters. Fourth was Angelica, apparently she was the best dancer. Fifth was Emilia, apparently she was a political bait in her family to secure a strong alliance.

As for Rosalind, she was said to be the most beautiful and elegant of all. Her family's treasured gem, so to speak. Appearing to have different attractive qualities and talents, rather than just one. So it left many curious, and stunned that no one had wanted her for a wife. She never appeared to be too fussed with the prospect of marrying; more like nervous and scared if anything. What if she married someone cruel and evil? Would she be a baby-making machine, just a pawn to provide an heir to some King and be left for dust? Unlike her sisters, she was secretly a bit of a dreamer, when it came to romance. Even though she knew, she most likely wouldn't get the privilege of falling in love, marrying for love seemed like a dream come true, for anyone. Maybe that's why she held out, on marrying. But she couldn't escape marriage forever. For when her parents got word, that there was a ball being hosted in a few kingdoms over by one of the most eligible rulers; her parents saw it as an opportunity. Opportunity for Rosalind to be married off, if the King decided to pick her from many other potential. But they tried to keep their hopes high; that she'd catch someone's eyes. Whether it was in a few days time...or a little down the line, when another opportunity would present it self.

The days went by quicker, than she could dare to blink. Preparing herself for the journey, and also mentally. It was quiet a long journey, from her home to her destination. Leaving early in the afternoon, a day before the ball. The journey would no doubt finish before the starting hours of the ball. Keeping herself occupied with a book on her journey; it kept Rosalind distracted. But from time to time, she would glance out of the carriage windows; watching the landscape of different kingdoms pass by.
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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale let out a sigh as the dreaded time had drawn near. The following evening.... it would be time, time for that awful event. Well....it would be awful to him, or so he thought. This was one ruler that was certainly....different than most royalty. Another royal, another king, or even queen, he knew would be quite thrilled with something like this. However, that was not the case for him. He was most certainly NOT thrilled, not one little bit. He would soon hear the sounds outside the window of his bedchambers, outside the balcony window that is. Alexander had returned to his bedchambers after a bit of time had passed. A few days had passed since then, and he was now once more there, getting ready, mentally preparing himself, when he heard those sounds. And so, he approached his balcony window and stepped out onto the balcony itself. He froze at the sight he would now see below. Out on the castle grounds, the servants had already prepared the front grounds for 'guests'. Carriages were already arriving, one by one, and through the large ornate front gates that stood there, guarding the entrance to the grounds, which in turn led up to the entrance of his great and respected castle. The castle was a symbol of the greatest power within his realm, power that came from the very shadows that they worshiped, the shadows that were their guardians and protectors, or so they believed. Anyway, Alexander would let out yet another sigh.

It was soon to be time. The 'guests' were already arriving. The servants would greet them, one or two or even three or more at a time. They would all be lead inside and, in turn, they would be shown into the various 'guest rooms' that they would be staying in. He frowned as he watched various nobles and aristocrats and the like enter his proud castle, his glorious estate, his great home. This was one ruler who did not find any enjoyment in the sight of what he was currently seeing.

"May the shadows give me great strength the eve after this one..."

He spoke quietly out loud. Then, Alexander would turn around and head back into his bedchambers. He would remain there until he was summoned by staff to either great those that had entered his castle, or to simply have a meal to eat. Either way, this underworld realm ruler would not look very pleased, and would keep to himself. The most he gave, as far as any orders or the like, would simply be to cook him something different, and that would be if they made a mistake with his food. The servants kept their distance unless they were following their duties and such. When all was said and done, he would end up waiting in the main hall, forcing a smile onto his face as he did so. He tried to hide how he was truly feeling with that forced smile.
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A sigh escaped her lips, as she rested her head against the seat. The long journey was tiring to say the least; taking a nap when the sky darkened from the shift in day-time to night. Needing some rest, so she wouldn't be tired during the ball. It wasn't the most comfortable place to rest, as every little bump from the carriage caused her to stir. Whilst Rosalind had attended few royal balls in her life-time; this was probably more further away from home than most she had been to before. The nerves slowly setting in; the closer she got to her destination. Wondering how many people, would be attending. Surely every eligible young lady, duchess or Princess would be throwing themselves at the chance, to marry a King. Right? Who wouldn't? Soon enough, it was the evening of the grand ball and the journey was almost at an end. Glancing out of the window yet again; the lands around started to look more darker, than other Kingdoms that the carriage rode through. Already missing the sunshine, and bright colours of home, the more she took in the sights before her. Rosalind spotted a castle in the near distance. Her eyes caught glimpse of the tower first; it almost looked eerie to say the least. To the Princess, it certainly stood out among the rest of the castle of the design.

Greeted with the beautiful golden ornate gates; Rosalind's carriage was one of the last ones to arrive. Seeing how many carriages had come and gone through the court-yard before hand. Stepping outside, the evening breeze kissed against her skin. Getting greeted by the servants; Rosalind was escorted inside the castle walls. Glancing around; as she took in the interior design. It was interesting to say the least. This particular royal, had a different taste than most. When she got shown to the 'guest chamber'. Each guest had some time to relax, and prepare themselves before the actual ball and dinner would take place in the grand halls of the castle. Especially since a lot of guests, seemed to have travelled far and wide; the rest was much needed and would be appreciated by many. Thanking the servants, she requested that one would come to help her, get changed for the ball later in the evening. Not opting to wear, the dress she had travelled in. Rosalind walked around the chamber for a few moments; looking out of the bedroom window. Seeing that her window was over-looking the large garden and lands that surrounded the castle.

Servants attending to the guests; checking up on them and offering them any help that was required during their time of rest. With the time ticking, even Rosalind slowly got herself ready with some assistance. After freshening herself up, with the help of a servant; she got dressed in a beautiful golden gown, with lace design. The dress perfectly hugged her slim, hourglass figure. Smoothing out the dress against her body, Rosalind took a few glances at herself in the mirror. Mentally preparing herself for the chaos that was to come, as everyone slowly piled into the grand-throne room for the event. Joining the many guests, that were roaming the hallways of the castle. She was lost in the sea of royals and nobility. Merely a number, to be considered.

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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale had just barely managed to get through the initial greeting of all those who had arrived the eve before. It was exhausting, to say the least. He hoped he never had to smile like that again. He rubbed his check again, his face still feeling worn out from then, even though some time had passed. Now? Now, he was finishing getting ready for what he, once more, would call a dreaded event. His formal wear would certainly stand out to say the least. A black uniform with gold trim was what he was wearing. There was red cloth lining the pockets. He wore a large medallion around his neck, if only for tonight. The crown worn by the king before him would adorn his head at this time. The crown would seem small for a king, but it was of a high-quality silver, with masculine gems along the edges just above his hair. The crown itself was a sign of the enormous wealth this king was said to have. Anyway, Alexander let out a sigh as he made his way down the corridors and halls, going down to the 'ball room'. The place had gathered dust since the day he assumed the throne, since it had never been used. It had taken a month or more of preparing to make it ready for this 'ball', the first one to ever happen in that castle in a long time. Now the room looked like it had never been ignored to begin with, and no one, not that he was aware of anyway, would be the wiser. The king in question would glance around that room upon entering it, if only to make sure everything was prepared for what he hoped would be the last of these events, and not just the first. He nodded at times and servants began to leave, but only to prepare the food and such. They would later return, escorting the guests.

Alexander took a deep breath as he made to approach the 'ball room' doors once more. As they were opened, he tried to act as calm as possible. This was also supposed to be a formal event. And so, he felt that he had to act as formally as possible as well, which meant he could not be himself, not now. He had a bride to choose, and a tradition to uphold. He had responsibilities. It was his duty, and not just because he was currently the king. He would wait as the guests had their fill of food, during the meal that was to happen before the 'ball'. He had already eaten. He was currently not one for large meals, since his appetite was currently not very large itself. When the time came, he would clear his throat and welcome them all to the 'grand event'. He just barely kept himself from shuddering upon saying those words.

"Welcome all, to this... grand event. I hope you all have a... grand time. May you all leave happy, regardless of what happens. I see many a young lady has arrived, whether escorted by their families, or sent here to seek me out. Well....perhaps one of you may be lucky enough to call this place your permanent second home tonight. Until then.....enjoy yourselves."

He would turn and walk away after that. But that was when it started. Many a young woman approached him, trying to ask for a dance, their eyes saying that they wanted to be chosen. Of course, there were others whose families nudged them in his direction, and convinced them to do that. In his mind, they would be rejected straight away. Besides, the shadows would guide him to her. If his shadow, guided by the magic of his people, touched hers and did not let go, that young lady in question would be his bride. He would made it well known that she had been chosen, that 'he' had chosen her. Until then, she had to be found, for she had not even been seen yet.
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The ballroom was grand, beautifully decorated. Rosalind's eyes travelled all around the room taking it in. Every single corner of the room was sparkling from the cleanliness. It would be hard to believe, that before the guests had arrived that the room was bare and covered in dust. To the guests, it looked like it was always full of life and well taken care off. Even though the guests felt well rested, including Rosalind herself. She did feel the hunger, and the smell of the delicious food had been calling to every single guest that was present. All sorts of various dishes and meat platters across the dining room tables. Fruit and bread platters, and deserts placed upon crystal dishes, surrounded by wine jugs. It was a proper feast, to anyone that had ever seen ones at balls. Rosalind could only assume, that the best foods had been prepared by the chefs in the castle. Food to show off the different culture in the Kingdom. Accustomed to every kingdom she had visited, to have different foods than that compared to her home. Finding her place at the table; Rosalind made small conversation with the other guests, whilst everyone enjoyed the feast that was laid out before them. The food tasting more delicious, than it had smelled. It seemed like everyone had big appetites, after their long travels to get here. The food certainly got rid of her hunger to say the least. Wiping her mouth clean, using one of the napkins after she finished eating. She took a sip of her wine.

That's when the King made his entrance. All eyes seemed to focus on Alexander. Rosalind tilted her head slightly as she listened to his speech. Somehow, the speech seemed forced. Like the King despised the very idea of this ball, yet hosted it nonetheless. "This is going to be interesting." The young Princess muttered to herself. Feeling a bit more nervous, now that he made his presence known. But she knew that her parents would want her to somehow, make herself known. That's why they made her come here, after all. Whilst it wouldn't be unwise to loose track of the reason, why she was here. Everyone was already trying to crowd around the host of this ball. Either it was a tough competition, or the other ladies were just desperate to be chosen; to become a Queen. Most of these were probably just power hungry, if anything. But it was a sad truth, in Rosalind's world. Most young women were raised to chase after status, money and power. But she herself was different. Even though she was born a royal. She could care less, about chasing after more power and money. Not daring to be so selfish. Rosalind always cared more, about what was on the 'inside', than anything else.

For now, Rosalind did her best to mingle around the ball room with other people. Not wanting to over-crowd the King more than he already was. As she moved across the ballroom, someone's shadow seemed to follow her around; as if by a magnetic pull towards her own. Not sure if someone was following her, to make conversation with her. Or simply, someone's shadow was just there with the close proximity of people standing together. But nonetheless, she tried to figure out who's shadow it was. Rosalind felt weirdly drawn to the shadow. A weird pull, she couldn't quiet explain.

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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale declined quite a few offers for a dance. He mainly just intended to be there for the sake of appearance and all that. None of the young ladies who had approached him, thus far, had caught his eye. His shadow did not connect to any of theirs' either. None of these women would be his bride, no matter what title and rank they held. This king just barely kept himself from sighing, growing more and more annoyed with each passing moment, thanks to those insistent ones who simply refused to leave him be for a few moments within the walls of that room. He declined any wine that was offered to him. None of the smiles that his eyes would see would work on him. This was one ruler who would not be swayed easily. This male made his way around the room, trying to make it seem like he was having, at the very least, a decent time during that event. He kept thinking about how much he hated this, though. He could only pray, and hope, for it to be over quite soon, or at least quite soon enough. He was rather quiet when he was not being forced to exchange words and conversations with the 'guests' of that 'ball'. He did his best not to frown, since everyone else would see it and he could not risk any sort of disrespect, nor could he risk the worst kind of rumors going around. He moved a strand of hair out of his face as he continued to glance around the room, remaining quiet, if only for a little while longer.

That was when he noticed it. His shadow was suddenly moving. He blinked and raised an eyebrow. His eyes followed the shadow, his shadow, as it stretched and, slowly and quietly, moved in the opposite direction from himself. His head completely turned towards that and he would see where it was going soon enough. It did not take Alexander very long to figure out what was going on, what it was doing. It was the magic he was thinking about earlier, and the guidance of the shadows themselves. His bride was nearby. He could feel it. His hopes actually rose that time, and went ever higher.

'This ball shall be over more quickly than I could have ever hoped for!' he thought, managing not to grin or the like.

He began to walk in that direction. He followed his own shadow. There would be eyes upon him as he made his way through the crowds gathered there. This king would not even look at any of them though, the owners of those eyes. His focus, his attention, was on one thing and one thing alone. Alexander would not be distracted, not easily. His footsteps could be heard as the noises soon stopped, everyone seeming to go quiet as they stared, watching him, not saying anything, not even a single word. Some frowned, but others were simply wondering what was going on. This ruler would stop in his tracks when his shadow finally stopped moving. It seemed.... even longer somehow, but that was not the case. The shadow seemed longer, larger, because another shadow had seemed to combine with it. It was as he was taught. His shadow, the magic and the shadows that guide them, had helped him make his choice, had found her. The search was over. The previous king would have been surprised, he thought, as it took that previous ruler three, maybe four balls, before he found his own bride, his queen. Alexander was about to stand out amongst the royals of his line, of the many generations and such.

Alexander took a breath. He cleared his throat. He walked in her direction(Princess Rosalind) and he was actually careful as he did so. He stopped in his tracks when he was close by.

"Greetings."

He held out his hand as part of the proper greeting. He managed a smile, and it actually seemed to be a true one. Gasps could be heard from the other, now no longer, potential brides, who soon started to narrow their eyes and they did not look happy, fearing the worst, that this princess was about to be chosen. Alexander ignored them all.

"I am his majesty, Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale. Of course, I am certain you must already know that."

He paused for a moment.

"May we speak for a time?"
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The young Princess couldn't recall a time, where she had seen a shadow move like that. If ever. Shadows didn't usually move like that. At least, not where she had came from. Rosalind could hear conversation around her; but she was distracted from watching the shadow move towards her. That she didn't reply to any words aimed towards her, in that current moment from the other guests. Her attention was focused on the shadow, that seemed to be getting closer and closer toward her. It seemed like everything in the entire room had stopped. All attention either on her, and King Alexander whom was making his way across the ball-room towards her. As her shadow seemed to meld with his; her brows squinted in confusion and surprise. 'What on earth is going on?' Rosalind thought to herself, her eyes still staring at their shadows, in utter confusion.

Eventually looking up, she saw the King himself was approaching her, even though his shadow had already reached her before he was fully in view. Feeling her heart quicken inside of her chest. Very much in the centre of attention, as everyone seemed to stop what they were doing. Watching the scene unfold. As the King approached her, the Princess took in his appearance. Young, quiet handsome up close. Compared to her, he seemed to tower over her with his tall height. Rosalind was always pretty short, compared to most. Noticing that the gold design of his outfit, seemed to match the gold colour of her own dress. Her chocolate hues, filled with curiosity as she watched him. Taking in his appearance, and the fact that he seemed slightly more happy than earlier that night when he was making his speech. About a million thoughts were running through her mind, at that moment. But nonetheless, the Princess tried to compose herself.

"Your majesty." She spoke softly, with a polite curtsy. Returning his greeting.

Her hand reached out for his, as he offered her his hand. A soft yet slightly shy smile on her lips. It would be a lie, if she said that she wasn't nervous. But she tried not to let it show. But the Princess was very much aware of all the jealous looks and stares; as everyone was watching them. No doubt, all of the ladies wanted to be in her position right now. Given the fact, he turned away a lot of young ladies and princesses, but here he was talking to her; not caring to give attention to the others. Wondering what made her so special, for the King to pay any attention to her.

"I figured as much, yes." Rosalind's voice was softer than silk. Everyone always described it like music to their ears, with how tender it was, when she spoke. "Princess Rosalind Amara Lynn Rochester. It's a pleasure to meet you, your majesty. The Princess took a moment to introduce herself to the King. It wasn't hard to figure out, that he was the King. As his attire stood out among the rest. Along with the crown on his head. "You have a rather beautiful ballroom, do you host many events often?" Rosalind enquired. Surely, such a beautiful space was used often. Or at least, in her head it should have been. It would have been a waste, not to give this room the attention and events it needed.

As he wanted to talk to her, Rosalind nodded softly. "Of course." She replied softly, feeling quite flattered, that he wanted to talk to her.
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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale raised an eyebrow. She was rather quiet, he thought. Why would the shadows guide him to someone like her? It did not really make any sense. But, he bowed his head in return. He saw her finally extend her hand, and he took it, as he was supposed to do, even if he had not extended his own first. He noted the type of smile she wore. 'That may change upon her calling this her permanent second home' he thought, not very happy with that thought. He continued to ignore the stares and everything that came with them as he and this young woman continued their' exchange. He did raise an eyebrow though, when she had said she figured as much, but luckily he had not given himself away very much further than that, if at all.

"It is more that it is a pleasure, for myself, to see YOU."

He did not say why. This is a king who would keep that to himself, at least for the time being. He noted how she, well, seemed to be staring at his attire. Of course, that would be a question best saved for another day. After all, there was to be plenty of time for them to exchange such things now, plenty of time indeed. However, she asked something he hoped that no one would ever ask him. Alexander would freeze, pausing that is, for a moment, silent. He had to think of what he was to say, since this was a circumstance where he would not lie, and yet felt he had to. And so, this ruler took a deep breath, managing to respond to that question.

"Events have been hosted here at one time or another, yes."

That much was the truth. However, this was the first 'royal ball' to be held since he took the throne, and had begun to wear that crown upon his head. It was not a lie, what he said, but it was not entirely the truth either. He could not tell her what was the whole truth, not now anyway. This king had every reason to hide it, as well as anything else, or so he was thinking. He gave a nod when she said they could speak for a time. He managed not to react in any negative way. Alexander was avoiding doing so, for obvious reasons. If his chosen bride was scared off, he would have no heir and all would be doomed, or so he and others have thought whenever that was brought up in the past. Anyway, the king took a breath before he spoke again.

"Did you desire to move to another corner of the room?"

For some reason, Alexander felt the need to ask her that. He did not realize he was still holding her hand, nor had he realized that he had gently squeezed her hand for a moment. The king was looking right at her, and his eyes had not, and still did not, looked away, not even for a moment.

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Rosalind was always more of a quiet, shy, reserved type compared to her sisters. It was probably one of the things, that made her unique and people were curious about her; because she was so different in comparison to her family members. Not that it was a bad thing. A lot of her sisters were a bit more on the overly confident side, bold, and straightforward. It made Rosalind feel somewhat intimidated by her own flesh and blood; given the fact she lacked such courage and confidence. But it also come with it's downsides; as not everyone found it to be an attractive trait in her elder sisters. But Rosalind kept true to herself. It usually took her a bit to get outside of her confined shell, before she'd open herself up to another person and get to know them, on more personal terms.

She couldn't help the surprised expression that crossed her face, when he expressed that he was glad to see her. "You are, my lord? But...why? I am just a simple guest, among others here." Rosalind wasn't so sure, what made her special in comparison to the others; that he'd be pleased to see her. But in all, it was a rather flattering comment. It wasn't often...if ever, for a host of a royal ball to be pleased to see her, like this. They were usually thankful to see all their guests; not just her. It made her more curious than ever before, to find out the reasoning for all the weird little things that had happened; including why he was so pleased to see her.

Rosalind's brows slightly furrowed at his reply about the grand ballroom. It wasn't exactly the answer she had been expecting. But the Princess didn't comment on it. But to her, it seemed like a waste of space; not using this present room often for events. Shame, for all that dust to be collected in a beautiful room.

From the corner of her eyes; Rosalind noticed a few glares in her general directions. Few...or rather, many a jealous ladies and royals felt cheated; that Alexander was paying her such attention; when he had rejected their offers for a dance, or paid them no such attention. The stares made her feel a bit tense. Feeling like all the prying ears and eyes, might burn through her very soul. "That is probably a wise idea. Rosalind said in agreement. At least, that way they might be able to have some sort of privacy, without being in the centre of attention. She had barely noticed that her hand remained in his, until it was time to move away. Feeling the slight tug against their connected hands, as she moved to follow him into a more quiet corner of the ballroom. Glancing towards their connected hands, a slight blush creeped up against her cheeks. "I am sorry...I." Not sure why she was apologising. But the words had slipped out, as she lightly retracted her hand from his. Letting her hand fall back down at her side. But her palm was left tingling, from where his flesh had been touching hers. Almost like her hand, had belonged in his. With how perfectly their hands had fit together, few moments ago. Feeling the absence of his hand against hers, already. Rosalind tried not to get side-tracked.

'Compose yourself Rosalind.' A voice in the back of her mind scolded her slightly. Knowing she was unusually nervous around the King. Maybe it was the anticipation of waiting to hear, why he was so glad to see her. Or maybe another reason all together.
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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale blinked. Was she truly that surprised? He was not sure why, and he found himself hesitant to ask about it. This king was actually trying to be a bit respectful after all. Their shadows stayed close. She was the one. He could not scare her off. He could not take any risks. He was afraid to do so. Anyway, he did find himself raising an eyebrow when he was asked why. She was questioning him about what he had said. Alexander did not like that, not one bit, but he kept that to himself, again not taking any risks. He cleared his throat for a moment.

"Why?"

He almost crossed his arms for a moment.

"Why do you ask? Why would I not be pleased to see you, my dear? There is one large answer, but that shall be saved for later, a surprise if you will."

He kept his tone as polite as possible. Alexander managed to keep calm and all that as he nodded and led her away, after hearing her agree with his suggestion of moving to another corner of the room. The stares continued, but he did not care. He ignored them all, every last one of them, at least for the time being. Anyone who acted foully would be thrown out of his castle in disgrace anyway, so they knew better than to lash, or act, out in any way. Besides, he had subtle ways of punishing them without risking a war. He hoped they knew that much. But for the time being, he would strictly refrain from doing such things, since he did not need to anyway. He blinked when his hand suddenly felt....empty. He glanced down. Her hand was gone. He found himself starting to frown for some reason, as if he was feeling.... rather disappointed. That was when he glanced up. This king saw her blush and blinked, starting to raise an eyebrow once more. Was she truly that flattered? or shy? or was she embarrassed? He had no idea, none whatsoever.

That was when he heard her apologize. He shook his head. Why was she apologizing? What could she have done that would require her to do so? He had no idea. The king was unaware of such an action, if anything had happened at all of course.

"What is the matter?"

He turned to face her completely. He continued after that.

"Why do you feel the need to apologize? Did you cause any ill actions? I think not. You simply followed me away from the center of the crowd, nothing more, my dear."

He managed a faint smile somehow.
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The young Princess swallowed, when she watched his facial expressions change slightly. It was subtle. But she thought she had seen a hint of annoyance, when she had asked that question. As quickly as she had seen the facial expression change, she seen it return back to what was considered normal. Rosalind did not wish to offend him, but the fact that he was so glad to see her for some reason, was indeed a curiosity to her. Still trying to figure out, what made her so special. What made her stand out amongst the others; that was something she never truly knew.

"I apologise, your majesty. I did not wish to cause any offense with my question." Rosalind said softly. Not wanting to give off the wrong impression. "But...I am just a simple guest. I don't see what's so different about me...than the others." Her brows furrowed in confusion, as he mentioned it was a surprise for later. Something about Alexander was enigmatic. Clearly a man, that was hard to figure out. It didn't take her long enough to figure that out, when being around him. It would certainly be an interesting challenge, trying to figure him out. Rosalind had noticed how their shadows still stayed connected; almost like magnets. It was almost as mysterious as the King in front of her. To her knowledge, shadows did not normally react like this. Yet they had done something impossible? Was it some sort of twisted magic, or a sign? It was something she had yet to discover and learn about, in time.

She was doing her best not to get overwhelmed with so many emotions. But she did get flustered easily. Not to mention, with so many eyes glued on the both of them; it was highly unnerving. Clearly, he had registered her flustered state. Realising she probably sounded silly, for apologising, when she didn't need to. But that was Rosalind. Shy, sweet, apologetic, easily flustered.

"I..." She wasn't even sure how to begin. Would he think that she was being silly? Taking a deep breath, as if to try and calm herself down, whilst everyone's eyes still seemed to dig into her. Clearly, not used to being the centre of attention. Even if they moved across the room; the eyes followed their every move. "I think, everyone staring is getting to me. I am sorry....it's a little...nerve wrecking." she admitted to Alexander. Pausing for a moment or two; to compose the rest of her thoughts, before she carried on. "Nor did I mean to....overstep any boundaries...earlier." She referred to the prolonged hand holding. They were strangers. She had met the man a few moments ago, and already she was a nervous wreck around him. It was unlike her. Hopefully, it was explanation enough as to why she had apologised earlier.

His smile, made her feel a little less nervous. Returning the faint smile. But her nerves still showed. Knowing, she needed to focus on something other than the prying eyes that she constantly felt around her.
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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale raised his eyebrow once more.

"You have no need to apologize, milady. You did nothing amiss. I was not offended, I can assure you. As well, you are more than a simple guest. That shall be explain by the end of this formal affair, so please be patient with me, milady. You are most certainly different from the others, and you shall find that out for yourself soon enough."

He suddenly managed another faint smile. It was very sincere. He had not been so genuine in a long time, or so the servants who had seen them in passing earlier were thinking. The king seemed to be... changing, somehow. He was....different now. Anyway, the king continued to listen as Rosalind spoke. Alexander took a breath before he spoke once more.

"You may ignore them if you wish. Those women are most likely...jealous, envious even, of yourself. Do not give them the time of day, milady."

He was actually trying to reassure her.

"You have yet to overstep any boundaries. I doubt such a thing may happen any time soon."

As he was talking, the shadows seemed to be embracing, almost. Rather than do the same as his own shadow, he simply settled for holding her hand instead, a simple and gentle gesture. He seemed to be acting, well... rather kind. Hopefully, this did not scare the princess off or the like. This was an important exchange, a very important one. The king soon cleared his throat a bit.

"Did you come here willingly? It seems almost as if you were influenced in some way. I apologize if the question offends. It is something I was simply concerned with. That is all."

He waited patiently for a response to that. He did not say a word after that, and he continued to be careful. Alexander, as stated, was not one to take risks, especially not huge ones. He was sincere and honest when he spoke, and when he asked her that question. This king also did his best to be patient.
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She certainly hoped, that he wasn't saying that for her benefit when he assured her that she hadn't offended him with her questions earlier. Despite his change of facial expressions earlier; she took his word, for now. But in the back of her mind, she was still a bit concerned. But kept her face neutral enough that her concern and feelings were hidden. Rosalind was a master of keeping her feelings to herself. Something that she had done well since childhood. Mainly because of certain pressures in her life, growing up had led to to keeping things bottled up. Not wanting to cause a fuss for anyone, like her parents when some matters had been brought up at home. Rosalind had always been obedient and kept quiet. Just like her sisters had. None of them had been brave enough, to question the authority of their parents or anyone else for that matter. It was probably why, she had a bit of a 'poker' face, even in front of people like this King here, himself. Knowing that a simple mistake, or her letting her mess of emotions be exposed...would cause some sort of issues. And she wanted that to be averted.

As he assured her, that she was more than a simple guest and special; Rosalind knew that she had to be patient as to why that was so. But she was willing to wait, to hear the reasons why she was considered to be 'different' than the other guests.

"It's bit easier, said than done." Rosalind said honestly, when he mentioned ignoring the others. Unlike Alexander, Rosalind wasn't used to ignoring people. Especially not when she felt all those prying eyes fixated on them. It was something, that she hadn't quite had gotten the hang of yet, whilst others may have. "I don't see why, they would be envious of me. Apart from the fact, that everyone most likely desires your attention My Lord." Rosalind was always ever so modest. But her words spoke volumes of truth. Whilst he may have been trying to assure her, that things were alright. It didn't stop her from feeling any and all prying eyes, that were settled on them during their exchange.

Feeling him take a hold of her hand once more, the young Princess felt the return of the familiar warmth of his hand against hers; along with the tingle that left against her skin. Despite the various emotions cursing through her right now, the hand touch brought her some comfort. Even if small. But no doubt, it was something that was probably noticeable between them; especially with so many eyes watching them. Whether from other guests, or the servants that were keeping an eye on the guests and making sure that their needs were being met.

His next question took her by slight surprise. Rosalind hadn't been expected for anyone to ask that. How did he even know? That was another question. A slight frown on her face; clearly not too happy about being asked such a personal question. When she probably wasn't in the same boat, as other Princesses, and young ladies here. Yet, he had signalled her out for some reason. "A bit more personal than I was expecting, if I am being honest. She answered truthfully, with a sigh. "But my parents, encouraged me to come here. They have been trying to find me a suitable husband, as any parent would for their daughter. I am sure, that many other people here, in that same situation, as myself." If that was considered influence, than so be it. The truth was out. Not sure how well he would receive such an answer. But she wasn't going to tell him otherwise. Rosalind was being honest. She wouldn't feed him lies, like other women might have. That was not in her nature to do such a thing. Watching for any change of expression; as she attempted to read his after what she had just told him.

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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale frowned.

"If you do not allow yourself to care, it becomes fairly easy. I can assure you of that, milady."

He tried to make sure he sounded as kind as he possible could. The king continued to listen to her as she spoke. He started to frown when she said she was unsure why they were envious of her. Alexander had assumed that it was obvious, and he thought that it should have been pretty obvious. He turned towards her so he was completely facing her now, as he had been turned away for a little bit. He took a breath before he spoke again.

"They are envious because you are the only one who has truly caught my attention. You shall see why soon enough."

He meant that. Alexander was quite sincere, not to mention he was continuing to be honest with her. Not a single lie had been spoken the entire time he had been talking to her. He would soon notice how his shadow now seemed to be trying to embrace hers, a comforting gesture or so that was what it appeared to be. Anyway, the king cleared his throat.

"Trust me, you are worthy of my attention, milady."

He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. The king meant for it to be a gesture of comfort, reassurance, and a kind action and such. He blinked when he heard her say what he asked was rather personal. He frowned, yet again.

"Then it is I who should be apologizing."

Alexander meant that. Then, he nodded a few times as she spoke.

"You should not have been made to come here if you did not wish for it. I cannot stand being forced into anything uncomfortable myself. It is one of many reasons why I have remained unwed up until this day."

The king paused for a moment before he continued.

"Yes, there are others. However, they were willing to attend a ball or be wed to a powerful ruler. The only thing they were made to do was come HERE of all kingdoms, of all lands, to pursue ME of a rulers."

Alexander continued to be honest with her. He did not wish to lie to her. He had something to prove after all, on top of other things.

"I hate liars and so I am glad you are being truthful, honest, to me. "

The king smiled a bit wider than before. It wasn't as faint as the previous one. Alexanders' sincerity could easily continue to be heard. This was a man who valued honesty, among other things.
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Rosalind could only imagine, it was easier for Alexander. Especially if he held that philosophy of thinking for a long time and was used to ignoring those, around him. But like him, Rosalind was set in her differing ways to those of Alexander himself. "I think we have differing philosophies, my Lord." she said softly. "I haven't exactly been raised, to think like that." If she had, for forbid what her father would do to her. Most likely be angry with her, for trying to ignore something of importance and seemingly be 'rude' by ignoring people. Rosalind Alexander could get away with it, most likely because he was the King. No one would dare question him; if he ignored someone. Right?

Of course, the young Princess could tell that he meant well, when he spoke to her. That much she had figured out from his gentle gestures, and soothing voice. But for now, it was a mystery why of all guests here to have caught his attention. It must have been something important, if he wanted to wait to tell her the reasons why. Rosalind was patient and understanding; she could wait. Not that she really had much of a choice either way. It would be rude, to pry it out of him and possibly would anger him, if she kept asking about it. For a few moments; her eyes glanced back towards their shadows. Seeing how his shadow, seemed to be trying to soothe hers almost, in what looked like an embrace. It didn't go unnoticed to her eyes. It would be a surprise, if anyone missed that weird sight of their shadows.

"I am flattered, that you think so my Lord." Rosalind said softly. A gentle smile on her lips. Feeling his hand squeezing hers; it brought her a sense of comfort.

As he apologised to her, it was her turn to give him a reassuring look. "It's quite alright. I know, there was no harm behind those words." Rosalind didn't need the apology, for his bold question and curiosity. Luckily for him, that she did not take any offense. If it would have been someone else; she possibly could have if they had asked it in the wrong context.

Rosalind watched the King in front of her, reading his expression as he spoke. He didn't seem to be angry that her parents had sent her here. No doubt, other young ladies were in the same situation as she was; encouraged by their parents to attend; in hopes of catching his eye so to speak. "No one truly ever wishes for an arranged marriage, or trying to find one's other half this way." Rosalind said softly. "But, from what I learned over the years. If someone wants to secure their future; there's not many other ways around it." It was the sad reality, for royals like themselves. It was but expected, even if it was uncomfortable and not what they wished for.

She could understand why he remained a single King for as long as he had. But one question was nagging in the back of her mind. "As much as I understand your line of thinking, does it not get lonely?" Rosalind asked softly. Surely he desired company at one time or another? Unless she thought wrong? Most people would desire company, a companion, someone to share a life with. Not just out of duty. His next point was valid indeed. "If it had been another Kingdom, another King; it would be no different than it is now your majesty. They would still attend in hopes of catching his eye." She pointed out. It just so happened, that Alexander happened to be the powerful monarch that everyone was hoping to catch the attention off.

Just like Alexander appreciated her honesty, she could only appreciate his. "I do not like liars, myself." Rosalind always tried to be as honest as possible. To do the right thing, if the situation allowed it. It seemed like the pair had that in common. Only time could tell what else they had in common to each other.
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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale

Alexander shook his head a bit. He managed not to sigh. It would seem she had misunderstood him and his advice a bit, he thought unhappily. He cleared his throat a bit before he proceeded to speak once more, to respond to her and what she was saying.

"It is not a matter of how I was raised, milady."

He paused for a moment before he continued.

"I have simply learned to do so over time. One tends to feel worse, more depressed and everything, when they do not do so. The looks sometimes do not mean anything, but it can hurt all the same. One must ignore such things if they are to focus on themselves, their duties, and being rational. Caring too much about what others may think of you is not a good thing, not always, milady. It does more than simply make you lose focus and such. It can affect ones health, both of mind and of body, and it can do more than simply hurt over time. There have been many these eyes have seen that have learned that the hard way, and these eyes have seen quite a lot, milady. The whispers...the stares....the sounds may be silenced, but the looks remain. One must have a thick hide to lead, as I, myself, have learned the hard way."

Alexander allowed himself a single, brief sigh. He took a breath as he heard her say that she was flattered.

"It was not an attempt to flatter you. I merely spoke the truth."

He nodded when she seemed to accept his apology.

"Some arranged marriages come about for either money or power, and I , myself, do not desire such a marriage. The shadows may guide me, yes, but I decide for myself if I wish to go through with such an act. They guide but I am in control of my own life."

Alexander paused again for a moment.

"Sometimes there are ways around it, but they are most often not found, unfortunately."

Alexander frowned, if only for a brief moment, when she asked about him being lonely. He turned his head away for a time as he spoke, as he replied to her, to that question she asked.

"It is better to be alone, than to seek someone who does not even know my name in full, let alone know ME."

He turned back towards her for a time.

"I would prefer to be in the company of someone I can truly trust, and those are few and far between in my life, especially as of late."

Alexander heard her, after that, when she said that she hated liars as well. He nodded, again, once.

"I have had many lie to me, it has been hard to find honesty in this day and age, even within my own borders."
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Rosalind listened to Alexander try and explain, why he thought the way he did. Whether it was naturally in him, from birth or he taught himself to overlook things like that it was still a matter of different philosophy. "I am not sure, that ignoring things to such a degree is good. One might over-look something important if they ignore everything. I can see why ignoring the bad things, would be off benefit. But bad things also help a person develop and grow as a person. Rosalind spoke softly, giving a bit of her own philosophy. "Surely, there are other ways of taking care of one's health...mental health and well being, than ignoring everything." Rosalind mused softly; almost as if she were thinking out loud. But still conversing with the King in front of her. Even if he learned the hard way, to avoid certain 'hurts' and 'discomfort' by ignoring things, Rosalind didn't exactly think it was the most of healthiest things. Ignoring would just eventually, be avoiding certain 'issues' by refusing to face them. And that wasn't something that would lead to anything good; or so she had been taught.

If he meant to flatter her or not, Rosalind wasn't going to explain why she was flattered. She being of modest thinking, did not see herself as something unique and special; like he might have viewed her to be. So anyone with her shared thinking, would have been flattered too.

Rosalind had never heard of arranged marriages being for any other reasons, than those they had mentioned. As Alexander spoke about the shadows, her eyebrows slightly furrowed in curiosity. "But my Lord, shadows cannot do such things. Surely, you speak of the impossible. The only guide there is...surely is just the heart." Rosalind said honestly. Of course she would be sceptical of shadows being a guide to ones destiny; despite the way their own shadows were behaving. But she had been a firm believer, that ones heart would lead and guide someone to their destiny, to make important decisions in life one way or another. It was somewhat inspiring, that he was a man in control of his life. But at the same time, she couldn't help but wonder why he would choose to live in solitude for so long. It was sad to hear, if anything.

Not sure if she had offended him with her question, Rosalind shifted her weight a bit nervously. Waiting for his response.

"In my experience, people can't truly know someone, if they're not given the chance. People can't just know someone on the first glance, my lord." Rosalind spoke softly, not wanting to offend him. "I would find it a sad and lonely life, not giving any a chance and be alone for so long." Speaking her truth. Wondering what had happened to him, that he avoided being with anyone for so long? Was it just lack of trust? People not knowing him? Especially if they were never given the chance to know him.

Rosalind sighed softly "I am truly sorry to hear that. But unfortunately, people will always lie to gain something or another in this world." There was no shortage of liars. She had yet to be somewhere, where people were always honest. But one way or another, politics was involved where liars were concerned. "I can only hope that you'll find someone worthy of your company and someone honest. Someone that in time, will know you. No one deserves to be alone." She added, gently.
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Alexander James Francis Maximillion Nightingale

Alexander sighed. He somehow had allowed himself to sigh yet again, and he had done so right in front of the princess... his chosen one. He glanced away for a time before he spoke.

"Ignoring things is a must for one such as myself. A royal must do whatever it takes to not just keep themselves sane, but to be rational and be a proper leader."

The king was not firm or anything when he said that, but he was not changing his mind on that anytime soon either. That much certainly seemed clear. It was also made obvious by the fact that he continued to ignore all those who had been staring at them during this time, especially up until they found a private spot to talk.

"The only things that cannot be ignored are the things that matter, the things that are truly important. I am certain you understand that much, milady."

Alexander did his best not to sigh once more. He continued to glance away as he kept speaking to her.

"Shadows guide myself, my people. Those are spirits that lead us above myself. The shadows have a life within them most do not see. It would appear you are among those others, those who do not see that as I do. There is more to our realms, and the magic that is held within them all, that meets the eye, milady. The sooner you see that, that you realize that, the better, or so I hope."

He took a careful breath and thought about what he was to say next as he made to continue speaking with her.

"These people, most if not all, have known me quite a long time. And yet.... most of them have yet to bother learning my name in full, let alone a lot of other details about myself. Loneliness is not a concern if one is more focused on other things, milady, and I HAVE given others a chance to know me, but they have failed...the entire lot of them. They have proven to not be trustworthy, milady."

He frowned.... again. Alexander was hesitant to look towards her, even if it was only for a moment.

"And it is such lies that further prove to me that I am justified in my current actions. Also, milady, I already have found someone, or so I hope. You shall find out soon enough....perhaps sometime tonight. You must be patient, please, milady."

It was then that he finally looked towards her. He was careful as he did so. He went quiet, if mainly to simply allow her a chance to respond further, to speak again. This king would not interrupt her, and would only speak when she was done, like before. He was showing her some respect, and so soon, it would seem. A servant passing by, keeping quiet so as not to bother them, narrowed her eyes as she watched. She did not like the look of that princess who was near him. But then again, she did not care for any of the women who were there to pursue him. She had been rejected simply for a single lie that was told to the king, and she vowed to get even... but that was not to happen that night, that evening. It, simply put, was not to happen just yet.
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Rosalind remained silent, as she listened to the King speak. But she did not say anything else about the matter, for she had nothing else to say about it. Nothing more of her opinion to share. Clearly Alexander was stubborn, but so was Rosalind herself. Each had their own views on the matter. But that didn't mean that one of them was wrong. Everyone had different views about such thing and that would always remain the same. But personally, Rosalind would never have the same thinking as him, to her ignoring things didn't make one a decent ruler. There were far better ways of being a good ruler and keeping one self sane; ignorance was not one of those ways. Ignorance made people cold and harsh, at least from her experience of those that ignored things, to big degrees. Hopefully, he wouldn't become one of those cold hearted and withdrawn people, because of it. Or so she could only hope. As for now, Alexander seemed different than most. At least on first few glances.

Sighing softly herself, she noticed him avoiding eye-contact for a while. It wasn't exactly a high point of any conversation, when someone broke eye contact. Did she offend him somehow?

Her brows slightly creased, as he spoke about his realm and shadow magic. Rosalind frowned a little, when he spoke about her needing to realise such things. If he would try and force ideals on her, than it would not go smoothly from here on out. Rosalind didn't like when people tried to shove different 'ideals' and 'beliefs' in ones' people face. Everyone was free to believe as they wished, so she never stopped people from having other views. "I never been in a believer in shadow magic, nor have witnessed such things to make me believe in them, your majesty." Rosalind said softly. "But you and your people, are free to believe in such things as you wish. I do not stop people from believing in things. Even if I myself hold different views and beliefs. But I do not like ideals being forced upon me, to try and make me believe something." Her words soft, but held a slight warning that he was slowly crossing a line; if he would try and make her believe in things that to her were nearly impossible. Not wanting to cause offense, but she again was speaking her truth. "If you are asking me to believe, in the impossible. You are asking me to be someone, I am not. And I will never be, anyone but myself." She said with all honestly. Just like she wouldn't force her beliefs on him, nor anyone else in his Kingdom.

Her world was light, whilst his was clearly dark. They were different, like two sides of the same coin. Yin and Yang.

Listening to him talk about how people not taking the time to know his name in full, or to know details about him. "To me, it takes a lot more than someone not knowing one's name and details about oneself, to be labelled as untrustworthy. If they don't know your name, or details about you, they are simple uncaring and truly ignorant My Lord. Uncaring and ignorance is vastly different to that, of trustworthy." She wasn't sure how different things worked here, but they seemed to be very different. But the young Princess spoke with wisdom and truth only.

When he finally looked towards her, Rosalind wondered what they could have done to him that he was so intent on calling everyone untrustworthy. What crimes did they commit? Alexander confirmed, that he had found someone. But unlike the others; she knew it wasn't any of her business whom it was. Others would be curious and asking questions to find out, whom it was. But Rosalind didn't get interested in such matters. As he once again, told her to be patient, she shook her head with a deep sigh. "I was merely speaking out of the kindness of me, and wishing you well My lord. I do not speak out of impatience and curiosity." Not liking, when someone was so presumptuous that her words of wishing someone well, was out of those two reasons. It felt like a mere insult, when someone thought such things about her.

"If I may be excused, your highness. I feel the need for some fresh air." Rosalind felt like she could suffocate in the heat of the room. Needing some fresh air to clear her head; especially after their current conversation.
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