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Adelaide von Hresvelg

Interacting with: Everybody & Nobody | Location: Garreg Mach Monastery - Classroom

In truth, Fódlan is experiencing an instability that hasn't been seen in centuries.

There was something profoundly amusing, hearing those words leave the lips of a ranking official of the Church. As if every single soul that shared the room did not already understand that. Her beloved Adrestia suffered worse of all, that much was true, but in the face of such calamity, the inhabitants of Fódlan's other so-called nations bickered and battled with themselves over the scraps of land that they had stolen from her ancestors. The Church was a profound force for good, that much was true, but it could only do so much to unify. There were those lords who paid only lip service to the Goddess, pursuing their selfish ambitions to the exclusion of the common good. Even worse, there were those within the Church itself who sought to stymie progress with their idealism. Adelaide considered Lysander Roland one of the latter category.

Surely, it was the kinder category for one to belong. But it was still an unacceptable stance. A weakness. Fódlan did not need friendship, for the reaching across borders and ideology to try and form a cohesive whole. That way led only to conflict of opinions, compromise, and fragile bonds that were ever only one generation, one falling out from shattering. What Fódlan needed was a firm, guiding hand. One leader, with one vision, and one purpose. There was a purity in such an arrangement. That much could be proven by the very foundation of Adrestia, blessed by Seiros in the name of the Goddess. Anything less was a corruption of that divine inspiration.

It was with such thoughts swirling about her mind that Adelaide watched—with an almost predatory interest in her eyes—each and every one of her would-be classmates stood and declared their names and titles. It was an eclectic mix of individuals, to say the least. Some were quite bold, like her fellow house leaders, while others seemed so nervous as to make her wonder whether their lordly fathers had instilled any leadership skills in them, to begin with. She cataloged each name, face, and personality away as the introductions seemed to ripple through the seats until, eventually, the flow reached her humble little perch nearer the back of the room. Without hesitation, she gingerly pressed her seat backward, sliding out of it and standing for all to see.

"Good day, esteemed classmates. My name is Adelaide von Hresvelg, Crown Princess to the Adrestian Empire, and inheritor of Saint Seiros' own Crest. It is an honor and a privilege to make your acquaintance, and I am eager to serve as a representative of not only House Hresvelg, but Adrestia as a whole."

The confidence that seemed to ooze from her very pores came easy with the statement, and Adelaide offered a polite bow of her head as she introduced herself, continuing once she had risen back to standing.

"My interests are multitude; I am as fond of swordplay as I am song, as interested in strategy as I am dance. The one thing I cannot stand, however, are those too meek to seize their destinies. Such uncertainty is beneath those of our station."
Adelaide von Hresvelg

Interacting with: @McMolly @Scribe of Thoth @Hero | Location: Garreg Mach Monastery - Courtyard

Adelaide offered only the slightest quirking of a brow in response to her betrothed's rebuttal. It was surely a bizarre way of voicing his belief, but perhaps conversation was not the man's strong suit. Or perhaps he was simply adept at shifting attention from his family's reputation for masterminding situations. Whether his presence was the result of politicking behind the scenes or honest-to-goodness chance, it mattered little. Fate was fate, and fate had dictated that he would be amongst her housemates for the remainder of the year. And as with most matters of fate, it would work to her advantage, one way or another. The princess withdrew her hand as he continued to mention the potential for 'networking'.

"It is a rare opportunity, indeed. Part of the advantage of Garreg Mach is the chance to mingle amidst nobility from both near and far. I am sure we will learn much from our foreign contemporaries."

The smile she flashed was one of agreement and reassurance. She certainly meant every word she said, of course, but the matters she desired to learn were perhaps a tad less than innocuous. If she were to rule over her subjects, they needed to know her, yes, but she also needed to know them. Who they were. How they felt. What they believed. The more she could discover about the men and women who would someday pay her fealty, the better she could function as their rightful sovereign. It went without saying that, as the head of the Black Eagles, she would dutifully acquaint herself with every one of them. But the Church's efforts to bring all the Houses closer together—to bring Fódlan closer together—allowed her to extend that reach all the farther. She could get to know the future rulers of Faerghus and Leicester. Their hopes. Their strengths.

And how best to best them, should the need arise. When the need arose.

"I do hope the disputes that afflict our neighbors do not bleed over into the school year too badly. It would be a shame to find themselves so fractured over matters of their sires. We should be grateful that Adrestia remains so unified, in comparison. No such strife is liable to trouble us."
Adelaide von Hresvelg

Interacting with: @McMolly @Scribe of Thoth @Hero | Location: Garreg Mach Monastery - Courtyard

Adelaide could not help but offer a soft chuckle at the mention of her uncle's disposition toward the romantic. She had not made herself a guest of his all that often, but it did not surprise her in the least that Ulrich von Vestra was one to discard the notion of romance as an unnecessary triviality. Her own father—his brother by blood—had a similar sternness regarding such distractions. Yet all the same, he found himself caught up in the whirlwind of courtship after years by her mother's side. Even the shadowy underhand that stalked the halls of the Imperial palace and silenced all opposition to the Hresvelg family had their more human moments. With any luck, a parting from the oppressive atmosphere of her father's estate would give Widolaic a chance to indulge in those, before duty recalled them both to the capital and plans needed to be made for the future to come.

If nothing else, she seemed willing to indulge in the moment.

"Interesting things? I do hope you do not mean forbidden things, Viddle. I do not wish to——"

It was unfair to say that Adelaide never let her guard down. Such a thing would prove more detrimental to her success than beneficial: occasional moments of rest and recreation were required to replenish one's vitality. But it was not something she allowed herself to engage in often. At the very least, not in public. It was a testament to her trust in her dear cousin that she had slackened enough for someone to get the drop on them, and perhaps a testament to that very cousin's dedication to her family's purpose that she was so swift to address the source of the disturbance. Regardless, the heiress of Hresvelg straightened up all the same, squaring her shoulders and assuming a most refined posture.

"Rudolf von Bergliez," Adelaide mouthed the name softly as she turned to face the boy, glancing across his features with cold blue eyes as if to place them in her memory, "I believe we have been acquainted."

It took a few moments for her to remember when. Which, itself, was quite impressive. Adelaide had, as a matter of principle, committed to memory the names and faces of the vassals with whom she had spoken. Unless they were truly so lowly as to never again pose a risk of meeting with her a second time, she cataloged them away in her mind, potential assets for the future to come. Rudolf von Bergliez, despite representing an asset of incredible value, cut a surprisingly unassuming presence, even in her mind's eye. His father, Otto von Bergliez, had always been a man of conviction and gravitas. There was little doubt in her mind that, under his command, the Imperial armies would have been a formidable foe to face. But like much of the Empire's old guard, he was no more. Instead, his son would be the one to strategize on behalf of her armies. Perhaps some would be disappointed by the comparison. Trading a grizzled old lion for his smaller, meeker cub.

Not Adelaide. There was little to fear from Rudolf von Bergliez. Whatever failings he may have had as a man, he would surely make up for them as a strategist and councilor. The Goddess had shown her that much. She offered the dark mage a warm, but politely composed smile, and raised her hand toward him such that he might do her the courtesy of kissing it in greeting, as befit a vassal to their sovereign.

"It puts me at ease to see you among our number, Rudolf. I do regret that we had precious little time to speak with one another during my investiture as crown princess. It is my sincerest hope that we might remedy that this year."

With any luck, she might even manage to instill some boldness in his otherwise timid spirit. What good was a ruler, in the end, who could not stoke the fires of valor in her followers? Not all of her vassals would need such tender care, however. That much was proven as her icy eyes followed the path of one such young man, toward her, then briefly towards a nearby assignment board, and then back towards her company. She could certainly put a name to that face.

"Fate can often put into motion fortuitous circumstances, Johann von Aegir, but I find myself somewhat skeptical that it is by chance alone that we find ourselves here," A rebuke that was just a tad harsh, but it would not do for her to simply accept their proximity as circumstance, and she offered him a disarming smile all the same, accompanied by a dainty hand, "Your presence is a comfort all the same."
Adelaide von Hresvelg

Interacting with: @McMolly | Location: Garreg Mach Monastery - Courtyard

Adelaide glanced thoughtfully across the courtyard, which grew all the busier as others began to filter their way from their classrooms out to whatever leisure awaited between education and prayer. An interesting little taste of what was to come. But it was not of potential recreation that her thoughts lingered. It seemed as though Widolaic had heard about as much about Johann von Aegir as she herself had. Not a surprising thing, considering her cousin's relative isolation from the greater Empire. All things considered, there were worse fates for a young maiden of noble blood. Some were married to tyrants and villains only interested in their dowries and the promise of a Crest-bearing lineage. Others found themselves engaged to men many years her senior. Even Adelaide herself had nearly faced such a fate, albeit a kinder one than the typical affair. Engel himself would be nearer to thirty than twenty-five by the time she came of age to properly wed him.

A man with a 'knight's heart' was an easier weight to bear, no matter how politely dressed a term it was. She could do worse than a consort who fancied himself a chivalrous sort. Even if he turned out to be a particularly pompous man, as those of his line tended to be, as long as he made up for his pride with valor and loyalty, all could be forgiven.

"I suppose I should consider myself lucky, then. I've always preferred honor to duplicity, and ego to cunning. It's far easier to keep a handle on an honest, arrogant man than it is the alternative," It all sounded a little cruel when stated out loud, but she was sure the pragmatism of her statement was not lost on someone of Vestra stock, "As long as he doesn't allow his pride to get in the way of my ambitions, I'm sure our match will at least be a tolerable affair."

That was a matter that would need to be handled as it came up, and not a moment sooner. Tilting her head so she could glimpse instead at her dark-eyed kinswoman, Adelaide offered the mage the smallest hint of a playful grin. It wouldn't do to just speak of her marital woes, of course. Others present had yet to set their romantic affairs in stone.

"What of you? You are to be a Marquise now, once my dear uncle has stepped down as head of the Vestra. Has he mentioned setting you up with any enterprising young gentlemen? Or should I expect to see you prowling the monastery's halls between classes like some sort of huntress?"
Adelaide von Hresvelg

Interacting with: @McMolly | Location: Garreg Mach Monastery - Courtyard

With such heavy expectations ahead of her, Adelaide took a moment to relish the hug she shared with her dear cousin. It was not as though she would have many such moments in the coming months, after all. When they parted, she couldn't help but flash a smile at the way Widolaic curtsied to her as if they were still in the halls of the Imperial Palace. How many more curtsies would she be subjected to before even the first day was over? More than she wanted, perhaps, but with any luck, just as many as were expected. Widolaic was family, and she could be given a pass for their familiarity, but not all those who would wear Adrestia's colors were so lucky. There was a line to be had, as a ruler, between how much one was loved and how much one was respected. Adelaide had every intention of being both in the heart of her subjects, but respect was the far quicker—and perhaps far more important—feeling to cultivate.

"We begin by making peace with the fact there is precious little time for all we wish to accomplish," That much was as true for the scant year spent at Garreg Mach as it was for life itself, "But acknowledging that we need to accomplish as much as possible all the same."

Her cousin was not wrong. The heiress certainly had come up with a plan of action on how she would approach the coming months. What great leader would not? But another terrible truth on the matter of planning was that no matter how diligently one planned, the future always had a way of shifting inscrutably this way and that. No plan survived first contact with the enemy.

Fortunately, her enemies were a matter of the future. In the present, her plans focused more on those who were all but assured to be called allies.

"I will need to make the rounds once we have been given some free time. Meet with those who will swear me fealty one day. I have it on good authority that this year's batch of Eagles has no shortage of future ministers, and the one who is not destined to lead a ministry is destined for my hand."

Adelaide had not put much consideration toward her own marriage. Not even when Engel was still among the living. It had not skipped her mind entirely, of course. Indeed, the diligence she had known toward her studies as a girl was in honor of the man who would one day call her his bride. But by the time she had a notion of what exactly a husband was, the matter had already been set in stone for her. There was no greater value, in her mind, in ruminating over it.

But then Engel von Hresvelg joined his brothers and sisters, and Adelaide was without an intended for the first time since she could toddle. There was talk here or there about who would step up and seize her hand, especially once the Emperor had officially adopted her as his lawful heir. The amount of scheming and hand-wringing behind the scenes must have been a terrible thing to behold. Something more the purview of her dear cousin than herself. But Widolaic had been... indisposed at the time, and a predictable candidate was put forward not so long before her seventeenth birthday.

"I do not suppose you are familiar with Johann von Aegir? I must confess, I know precious little of the man who would someday sire my children. I suppose that might explain his convenient presence at the monastery this year: his father has surely insisted he win my favor before the year is concluded."
Adelaide von Hresvelg

Interacting with: @McMolly | Location: Garreg Mach Monastery - Courtyard

What an exceedingly unpleasant man.

Such thoughts were not ones that Adelaide considered herself proud to have: after all, Tomai Malathice would be perhaps the singular most important member of Garreg Mach's faculty regarding her education for her stay with the Church. It was through him she would receive the dispatches from the powers that be, and the directives to hand down to her fellow students, who would inevitably look to her for leadership above all else. While the pleasantries of the court were not intrinsically linked to one's competency—and truly, his competency was all she was particularly concerned with—his dismissive nature was certain to eat away at the young heiress' patience sooner or later. Compared to the trials she had already faced, however, perhaps it was a small blessing that her only complaint thus far was the personability of a single educator.

The good professor's dismissal was sure to bring attention to her from those in attendance, and when she rose from her seat, the Empress-to-be offered a short bow of introduction toward her fellow Eagles before excusing herself to the courtyard, following what seemed to be the intended flow of things. Most of them would certainly find her on their own time, to greet their esteemed leader, and perhaps to curry some favor. Of that much, she could confidently say she looked forward. It was always a delight to see the ways different people would approach her, especially in the years after her declaration of inheritance. But it was not her eagerness for introductions to come that directed her stride as the crisp spring air welcomed her outside. It was a desire to reacquaint herself with an individual whom she already knew well enough.

Or, better said, knew as well as one could know.

"It has been far too long since we last met, dear cousin," Adelaide offered a genuine smile as she approached her older kinswoman, although they were not so far apart in age to engender too much formality, "I had heard you would be attending this year—a most fortuitous happening, and one I hope will set a trend for us. Especially given recent... setbacks."

The Vestra family were a secretive sort of folk. Their duties ensured that much. But even through the veils set up by that most shadowy underhand of the Adrestian Empire, enough information slipped through to a humble heiress. There was a time when she once had two young scions of the Vestra to call cousins. And now, for the machinations of her lordly uncle, she had but a single one. Her opinions on the matter were... mixed. Vex her though the nebulous matter did, there was one thing she was not unsure about.

"I am glad those setbacks have, all the same, seen you to me safely, Viddle."

Many students were beginning to mill about the courtyard, and yet despite their prying eyes, the future ruler of all Adrestia opened her arms all the same and beckoned inwards with delicate fingers such that she could share the smallest moment of warmth with her blood before others came to join their conversation.

I'd love to try Household. :)
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