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{ B E C }

24 years old. Canadian.
{ Discord: beccablob#0130 }

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Updated (18/05/2019)
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Updated (22/07/2018)
Beldingford and Pennington were vaguely familiar names. Though she could not recall what they looked like, Cecilia was rather certain that she could recall these men in her father's company when she was a girl. That had all seemed so long ago... Now she was here conversing with her own 'counsel' of sorts.

Her lips quirked into a small smile at the mention of Pennington openly speaking out against Malva. Not many in the kingdom had the nerve to do something so bold... she looked forward to meeting him already. And a member of the Guild would be invaluable.

Their first real move. This was all moving so quickly, yet somehow she felt as if she had been sitting at the table for hours already. Her stomach growled slightly in protest, calling her bluff from earlier about not needing breakfast. It was hard to tell time from within the cellar, but surely lunchtime was fast approaching.

"It will be my pleasure to meet with these men," Cecilia said. "As I said, I'm in your debt, sirs. Without your help, my head would be the latest decoration at Proud Spire." Her half-smile turned into something that almost resembled a grimace at the thought. She wondered how Malcolm had reacted when she failed to make her grand appearance...

She brought her hands together and entwined her fingers, smiling at each of the Loyalists in turn. "So one week until Castle Galladorn," she repeated. "I suppose I'll just have to stay down here until then?" She made a point to glance around her cellar, taking in the glorious sights. It was better than the dungeon, of course... but it was still beneath the ground.

She exhaled softly through her nose, making an almost sad sound. "I don't suppose it would be possible to go outside, would it?" she asked, looking back to the three men with wide eyes. She looked almost girlish by the way she batted her eyelashes. Now that all of the business was taken care of, there were things that she missed so much that she longed to do again.
Cecilia listened to Monticourt's calm reasoning, her lips tight. He was right, of course. An army of loyal followers was a luxury that she simply did not have. Her sharp gaze flickered from the two talking men to eye Harper curiously. He didn't say much, that one. Just looked around and made odd faces. While he seemed a bit strange, he was at the very least loyal, and that was all that she could ask for in her position.

Turning back to Monticourt and Cromley, Cecilia tilted her chin down in a curt nod. "Very well, then. You may hire some mercenaries, but only on the condition that they are not privy to who I am, what we are doing, or where we are going beyond town immediately ahead of us." She paused and met the gaze of each man in turn. Her eyes lingered on Harper the longest, not because she enjoyed staring at him, but because it seemed to take half a second longer to truly get the acknowledgment from him that she was seeking.

"Anyone working for us out of gold instead of allegiance will be left in the dark on any matter that does not directly concern them. The last thing we need is anyone associated with my aunt being given the opportunity to get a step ahead of us." Apparently all those years of sitting silently at her father's side while he conducted meetings with his counsel had paid off. While she had not paid much attention at the time, some of it must have sunk in.

With that settled, the princess decided that it was time to move on to the next matter.

"Where will we be meeting these potential allies that you mentioned, Baron Monticourt?" she asked, addressing him directly this time. "I somehow suspect that it isn't safe for anyone involved here to keep me in one place for long with Her Grace's men scouring the countryside in search of me."
Cecilia met each man's gaze as they took their turns talking, staying completely silent the entire time. Her lips were pressed together, her gaze level, and her hands folded neatly in her lap as they told her of their plans. She realized in that moment that she was completely and utterly unprepared for this. She was not a Queen. She was orphaned at the age of 15, and had spent her entire adult life living in a dungeon. What little her father had taught her might have been handy at fancy parties and public functions, but this was not some jousting tournament or ball. This was real. This was war.

A short burst of panic made her heart race, but she kept her expression stoic despite her mind's protests of what are you doing? Are you out of your mind?

When they finally stopped speaking, she cleared her throat quietly. It took another moment for her to calm her pounding heart. Finally, she spoke, her voice perfectly even. "So you would propose that the next step is a tour of sorts," she said. It made sense. Cromley's fortune, while beneficial, could only take them so far. Just as Monticourt's connections had their limits. They needed her face, her voice, and her cause to get enough of the kingdom behind her to take town Malva. "Gather enough men and influence to have a chance against the Queen." So this was the 'icon' bit that she had Monticourt had discussed the night before.

"I must say now, Lord Cromley, that I am not too fond of the idea of hiring mercenaries," she added sharply. "My father led noble, loyal men who were loyal only to him. The idea of buying an army is one that I am wary of." Her expression was stern. "What's to say that they would not sell our secrets and turn their swords on us at the instruction of a higher bidder? There are many in Alvion who are just as loyal to Malva as they are to me, and would not hesitate to empty their pockets to see her stay in control."

She shook her head. "Everything else is fine, but I'll not put my life in the hands of sellswords." The way that her blue eyes darkened suggested that this was not up for discussion.

"Who are these men that we'll be meeting with?" the princess asked, moving on to the next issue. "And what is it exactly that you need for me to do?"
I'm definitely leaning towards espionage, but I could make either work! With the way that I've got Cecilia's character development in mind, I feel that the espionage would be a lot more fun to explore. :)
The princess nodded to each of the men in turn as they bowed to her. It was completely natural to her, falling back into the pleasantries of court life. Despite not being bowed down to by anyone since she was a child, it felt right. Still, she had to force herself to keep her expression neutral at the sound of Lord Cromley's voice. While he appeared to be a perfectly respectable man, his voice gave her an uneasy feeling.

"I can skip breakfast," Cecilia said. She placed a hand over her stomach and gave the men a wry smile. "I think I'm still full from the feast last night." Truly, the previous night's meal was more than she was used to eating in the run of a week. She suspected that she might not be hungry again for several hours. At the very least, she could wait until lunch.

"I would much rather hear your plans," she continued. "You say that this has been in the works for several months now. I suspect that my rescue was step one of an elaborate plot... I'm anxious to hear all about step two." She ushered them towards the table at the foot of her bed to sit, suspecting that they would commence their meeting in the cellar rather than risk being spotted above ground. She had only been missing for a few hours... surely Malva's entire army was on the prowl for her at this time.
When the knock came upon the cellar door, Cecilia had just finished getting herself together. She had awakened early. For once, it was not because of the gruff voice of the jailer, or Malcolm banging on her cell door, or even because she had not slept the night before. No, the princess awakened early that morning because she was excited for the day. It was a foreign feeling... having something to look forward to. She had awakened with crowing of the roosters, and instead of rolling back over in the bed and sleeping away as much as the day as she could (since time went faster when you were sleeping, of course), she had crawled out of the heavenly bed in the cellar and started to clean herself up.

"Come in!" she called in response to the knock. She straightened the chairs at the table beside her bed before returning to the bed to fix the sheets one last time before her guests could arrive. Once her cellar was presentable, she waited with her hands clasped at the front of her skirts for the Loyalist Coalition to arrive.

It was hard to believe that the young woman waiting inside the cellar was the same person that had been ushered down the stairs the previous evening. The clothes that had been provided for her were far from courtly or fashionable, but they were fresh and clean. She wore a simple white shirt tucked into a light green skirt that ended just at her ankles. On her feet (which had been bare for so long that she nearly forgot what shoes felt like), she wore brown shoes that were just a little too large but comfortable and sturdy, nonetheless. Her hair had been untied from its braid and now fell in soft, chestnut waves around her shoulders that perfectly framed her round face. While she looked far from a princess, she no longer looked like she had been dragged out of the sewers.

"Good morning, Baron Monticourt," she said cheerfully at the sight of the man that she had met the night before. "And you two must be Lord Cromley and Sir Harper." She bowed her head respectfully to the two unfamiliar men. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
Sorry for taking so long on that reply! I didn't get the chance to check at work today.
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