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5 hrs ago
Current Just changed my avatar for the first time since I joined this site and it gives me the heebie jeebies
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4 days ago
FibreOp is the food of gods. It sustains us by their grace and it's the fuckin best
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13 days ago
God no, I'd rather keep past me FIRMLY in the past XD
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15 days ago
@Destiny I'm imagining socially acceptable Fireball, how far off am I
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19 days ago
@Rawk got Jump! stuck in my head but i'm not mad

Bio

Wouldn't it be a cool RP idea to have a character who isn't really possessed, but has a ghost who follows them and talks to them? Could be Ava's Demon on the bad end, and that one scene from Friends on the good end, haha!

Current RPs:
- Of Blood and Magic - playing Aaron
- 1x1 Sword and Thorns
- 1x1 What Dwells in the Deep

A now-less-stressed university student who loves to write. Timezone: Atlantic, GMT-4

My memory sucks! Don't be afraid to ping/repeatedly PM me if I’m holding you up.


If you've RP'd with me before, you'll notice that I have a collection of stock characters that I tend to adapt to different universes when needed. You'll also know that I'm not opposed to making new characters; there are just a few stock ones that I love to play ^_^

As for me:
- Since I'll never remember to update this, my birth year is 1998. Figure out my age from there XD (TL;DR I'm not a minor)
- As you can see from the symbol by my name, I'm one of the ladyfolk
- I'm from Canada, specifically Nova Scotia (home of the world's largest non-nuclear explosion, baby!)
- I'm a university student, and will remain so for the foreseeable future (even longer now since I've decided to shoot for law school)
- Huge fan of classic literature, fountain pens, fancy stationery and anything that can be done by hand
- Seriously, anything that can be done by hand. Knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, anything. My current vice is quilting.

RP wise:
- I have weaknesses for gladiators, mythical creatures and status/class differences
- I'm comfortable playing whatever gender/orientation and a wide range of personality types
- LOVE character and world building
- Wish I could find a 1x1 that I wouldn't lose interest in (ayy I think I did it)
- Active in the OOC - I like to know the people I write with! (add me on Discord Obscene#1925)
- My scratchpad in the character sheet section is where I put my WIPs and reference content. You’re welcome to lurk, but don’t expect it to make sense.

Most Recent Posts

Interacting with: @Achronum @Trainerblue192

Aaron paid rapt attention to Lady Sinnenodel’s mage as she spoke, affording her every respect he would afford the real thing. But aside from being momentarily relieved that he managed to appease the Lady with his answer, her words deeply unsettled him. More than anything else, Aaron latched on to what she said… well, about herself. The mage woman. Vanessa, apparently. So, Varis trained her? Was he the one who mutilated the poor girl’s back, too? Was this what Varis intended to turn him into as well? A blindfolded, disfigured, docile mouthpiece, talking about himself as if he weren’t even there?

His eyes flashed to Varis as the vampire delivered his appraisal of him, gut twisting ever tighter under his outward neutral mask. Overshadowing all of the discomfort that came from having his every failure thus far broadcasted to the dining room was all this talk of numbers. One and a half? Out of what? Ten? A hundred? He knew by now that Varis’ methods varied wildly from those he was raised with, but he would have thought that a lifetime of conditioning might have put him a little further along in whatever this “regimen” of Varis’ was. He could have groaned had it not been for the company; what on earth was in store for him?

The mage woman had enough time to get out a vaguely threatening remark before the Queen silenced her, and Aaron had never been so happy to hear the woman’s voice in his life. And it was as if the powers that be were giving him a break, as both the Queen and Princess were actually looking for his and Salem’s opinions on a current Council matter.

Taking a breath, a ghost of a smirk played at his lips as he reached for his glass, though he didn’t drink quite yet, instead slowly rotating the base as he considered. Aaron knew the Treaty backwards and forwards, and he followed Council motions closely. As such, he already had a few opinions on the amendment at hand. However, he wasn’t quite so stupid as to think he could simply voice them. As far as he was concerned, he was stuck between the ultimate rock and hard place; the family that had given him everything up until this point and the family that he was being adopted into held opposing views on almost everything, so taking a side would necessarily be an affront to one of them. But he couldn’t just provide some sort of waffling non-answer either. The Princess’ comment about bickering in the Council almost made him laugh; there wasn’t anything that went before the Council that wasn’t deliberated to death, with the vampiress lounging behind them usually being the culprit. But no one could claim that her argumentative skill was anything less than spectacular; Aaron wouldn’t want to have to make a convincing case for gravity against the woman.

Your Lady, he reminded himself.

Glancing to Salem, Aaron wondered if he even knew which amendment they were talking about, or the specifics of the legislation it stood to change. But maybe that was harsh; after all, Salem had shown already that he had some knowledge on Varis’ business, at the very least. But considering the way he talked to the Count, it was very hard to tell where he stood.

Deciding to give Salem a chance to collect his thoughts, Aaron looked back up to the head of the table, offering the royalty a smile and a bow of the head. “Your Majesty, your interest flatters and humbles me. Please accept my sincerest thanks for the opportunity to offer an opinion on this issue.”

He shifted a little in his seat, glancing down at his glass before returning his gaze to the head of the table. “First, Your Royal Highness, may I mention that the spirit of the amendment is commendable. However, I’m afraid that in my view, it seems... redundant.” He glanced to Salem, pausing a moment to put his thoughts in order. “The current legislation, as you’re aware, provides three situations in which a mage may refuse to breed. It’s my opinion that those three exceptions are well-founded and important protections for mages who could otherwise needlessly suffer without them. But the additional conditions proposed by the amendment…” He shifted in his seat again, gesturing subtly with the hand on his glass. “Well, the first, for mages deemed mentally unstable, seems to be a relative non-issue. Perhaps it’s because I am the product of a rigorously selective breeding program, but I can’t imagine why any vampire would want to breed an unstable mage in the first place. Given that any offspring could have the potential for considerable magical power, the possibility of passing on any trait that could put their self-control into question seems like too big a risk. Personally, I doubt the clause would see much practical use.”

“As for the ability for a mage to refuse to breed if they have a living spouse, forgive me, but I can’t seem to grasp where the issue lies.” His eyes flicked to his aunt, just for a second. “Keeping in mind that I have no experience with marriage, it seems to me that so long as both partners understand that these affairs are strictly business, so to speak, there should be relatively little emotional impact. We are all bound by our duty, after all.”

He leaned back a little in his seat. “As for refusing fertility drugs and performance enhancers, well, I can’t imagine why anyone would. After all, if a mage is going to comply after their vampire has gone through all the trouble of screening potential partners, finding a good match, and all the other necessary preparations, I would imagine they’d also be willing to comply with every measure available to ensure that conception was achieved. The only exception I can think of is if said treatments would pose a health risk, but in that case, I don’t see why any vampire would want to risk time, money or other resources on a risky birth.”

Shrugging slightly, Aaron swirled his drink, finally electing to take a sip. It was kind of a shame, really; he’d always found that all wines pretty much tasted the same to him. “So, while I admit I see no objective harm should your amendment pass, Your Royal Highness, it just seems to me as if it won’t see much practical implementation. But!” He took a deep breath, renewing his smile as he returned his gaze to Salem, gesturing good-naturedly. “I’ve taken up much more time than was probably necessary. Forgive me, Mr. Spellman. I talk far too much.”
Interacting with: @Achronum @Trainerblue192

Aaron listened attentively as Salem said his piece, finding himself quite interested in the answer as well. He ran a free, non-profit clinic; as Lady Sinnenodel (well, her mage) had said, it was a commendable ambition. He remembered Salem mentioning something about being a medic and coming from a family of plant mages. But he had also mentioned difficulty controlling his magic; only three years out of his Awakening and with that sort of skill gap, and he was offering magic services for free? The dots in Aaron’s head weren’t quite connecting, and he made a mental note to inquire in more detail the next time they spoke. If Salem would even speak to him after tonight, anyway. Aaron had no way of knowing if Salem would be so spiteful, but his mind ran away with the worry all the same.

He caught Varis’ look out of the corner of his eye, but there was no time to consider it before he was speaking to Salem, and Lady Sinnenodel’s mage was looking at him again. Her gaze alone - or lack thereof - was enough to make him squirm under his mask; despite the blindfold, it was like she was looking right through him. He could feel her eyes on him. Or, at least, someone’s eyes on him.

In the short moment he took to consider his response, Aaron paid no mind to the place settings whizzing around the table. It was so familiar a sight that he rarely noticed anymore, taking more note of the fact that the Queen seemed to be looking at him as well. “Of life in the outside world, Your Excellency?” he confirmed, not entirely sure what she was asking. “I suppose that remains to be seen. Truth be told, it’s a considerable change, but one I endeavour to learn from. After all, even with an education as thorough as mine was, one can only experience so much from inside castle walls.” He took a breath and offered a smile, gut twisting all the time.
Interacting with: @Achronum @Trainerblue192

Aaron deflated slightly. Salem didn’t seem particularly reassured; either that, or the mage was mad at him, as Aaron had feared. Maybe both. Expression falling into more of a composed mask, Aaron turned his attention to other things, eyes eventually falling on the painting of Geoffrey Noila and Landar Starag. That stern expression on his many-great-grandfather’s face was one Aaron was intimately familiar with; he wasn’t sure that there existed a single painting of the man with a look of anything other than vague displeasure. That look of his had been able to make Aaron stand a little straighter ever since he was a child, and tonight was no exception.

The servant bearing dinnerware was a welcome distraction, and soon the blindfolded mage - Lady Sinnenodel’s representative, evidently - spoke up. She spoke with the cadence of a noble, clearly acting as her Lady’s mouthpiece, but Aaron was more surprised by her voice. Given her stature and dress, he had been expecting something confident, smooth and sultry, like a femme fatale from one of those old spy movies. But instead, her voice was quiet and harsh, with a roughness to it he might not have expected from a young woman. From a multi-millennia old vampiress, however…

Oddly enough, he wasn’t too perturbed by the information Lady Sinnenodel possessed about the two of them. Everything she knew about him could have probably been found by anyone with an internet connection, let alone political contacts, and he had no doubt that information like what she had on Salem could easily be provided to someone of her standing. No, what surprised him was the fact that she took any interest in either one of them in the first place. Aaron supposed she might be interested in him seeing as he was joining her house, and perhaps Salem’s father’s business with Varis had interested her to his doings, but Aaron couldn’t shake the feeling that they both should still have been far below her notice.

At the comment about his affinity, though, Aaron smirked. It was something he himself had lamented countless times since his Awakening, though truth be told he no longer resented it. After the relief of having magic had worn off, he’d been disappointed that he didn’t have the same affinity as his mother (and by extension, as Landar himself) but, as he had learned more about it and what it could do, even with his limited skill at the moment he had grown quite attached to his own affinity.

When it came time to reply, he briefly paused, thinking over his answer carefully. “I'm honoured by your interest, Your Excellency. So far I'm finding everything quite engaging.” His speech was paced and steady, every syllable calm and even. Given the gravity of the situation, everything was carefully engineered, right down to the term of address. A gesture of good will, if not an entirely genuine one. He gave the mage his attention, respectfully averting his eyes as if he were interacting with vampire nobility, and kept his expression a contented mask. “I have never been around so many people my own age, and the range of new opportunities open to me is impressive, to say the least. I look forward to taking advantage of it.”
Hey, check that shit out. @Hero @Denny
Isadora
Clarissa Lilie
Adele
Aaron

Aaron Erica? Lilie

Aaron?
Aaron

Interacting with: @Achronum @Trainerblue192

Once again, Aaron was thoroughly shocked by Salem, having a particularly strong urge to grab the man by the ears and shake him out of whatever bout of insanity had clearly gripped him. While his first remark had been foolish enough, he hadn’t said anything that wasn’t at least true; after all, anyone who knew anything about politics knew about the financial border-pushing between the Sinnenodels and Astorios, and the incident Aaron thought he’d been referencing wasn’t exactly a secret. But now he was simply hurling insults, at a Count, and Aaron wasn’t sure what to do about it.

However, Aaron’s fourth heart attack of the evening was interrupted when his head snapped in the direction of a familiar voice, only half-listening to the Princess’ explanation. After a second he composed himself again, bowing his head to the Princess. “How fortunate,” he replied, albeit a little flatly, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen Aunt Dora. Thank you, Your Royal Highness.”

It was not fortunate. Not even a little bit. Any other night he would have been thrilled to see his aunt, but tonight, looking like he did and joining a rival household for good, was not how he wanted to see her next. He had been hoping he would have some time to work out how he’d break the news - which reminded him, he did need to speak to Dora about that later - before he would have to face anyone he knew from home; the clothing and the ridicule were another matter entirely, and one he wasn't quite prepared to explain.

Still, he smiled weakly as they approached; as much as he didn’t want her to see him like this, he couldn’t deny he took some measure of comfort in seeing another familiar face. She was dressed in her usual style, showing very little skin with her hair covered, though everything was a notch above the norm in formality, as was proper. His ears burned as he passed her, comparing himself to her almost as a reflex, and his embarrassment only worsened when he remembered that she could probably vicariously feel everything he was feeling.

He halted when the Princess turned on them, straightening further as he listened. He even briefly made eye contact before nodding, to assure her that he understood. When they continued, he obeyed, both the Princess’ advice and Varis’ warning remembered as he kept carefully within a step or two of Varis. When they paused to wait for the dining room door, he took a long breath, steeling himself for what lay beyond it.

The doors opened and they entered, Aaron staying close to Varis as instructed and throwing Salem a look to do the same before he turned his attention to the dining room. Everything was pristine and elegant, as would be expected, and the familiar architecture - if not a touch updated - did help to put the mage just a little more at ease.

However, as they entered, a sound caught his attention, something like a faint tapping on a window. At first Aaron thought it might have been someone tapping a wine glass, or a musician tapping his foot, but the table was bare and the sound was coming from the wrong direction. He wasn’t sure why it caught his attention, but when he turned his head slightly to follow the sound, it simply faded away.

He gave his head the tiniest shake and took another breath, chiding himself inwardly. Clearly his nerves were getting to him more than he’d thought, turning every little noise into some great mystery. Soon he’d be spooking at his own footsteps. Come on, it wasn’t as if this was his first time meeting Council members. He needed to calm down.

Approaching the table, Aaron let his eyes skip over the Queen briefly, that now-familiar nervous spike shooting through him again when he noticed her scowl. Knowing her that could be directed at anything - at the moment, all clues pointed to the Princess' dress - but he also knew her preferences too well to think his condition might slip under her radar. Back home, when he still served her, he’d have probably been caned for presenting himself so poorly in front of the Queen. What would happen to him tonight?

Somehow, though, the Queen hardly compared to Lady Sinnenodel had to offer; he'd heard dozens of rumours about her, regarding everything from her ever-changing tastes to reckless speculation about the treatment of her mages, but Aaron hadn’t been prepared to see her looking so... edgy. Suddenly Varis' clothing choices made a lot more sense, though the thought didn’t do much to quell the quiver in his gut.

While he’d been looking at Lady Sinnenodel through the corner of his eye, he looked more carefully at her mages, particularly the blindfolded woman sitting at the table in her place. Her attire didn’t seem as extreme as the rest until she twisted in her seat; his stomach turned when he saw the state of the poor woman’s back, two grotesque rows of piercings running up either side of her spine and lashed together with a ribbon like some sick mockery of a corset. Aaron reviled at the sight and had to look away, hardly able to stomach looking at her front-on with the image burned in his mind. Good Lord, was that the sort of thing that awaited him?

Doing his best to banish the thought from his mind, Aaron bowed appropriately when it came time to take his seat, first to the Queen and then to the Lady. He looked pointedly away when the mage woman whispered in Varis’ ear, instead sweeping his gaze over the table. Not a single place setting, not even a glass. He might have smirked had he not been wound so tight. Now there was something familiar. The Queen, like anyone, had her eccentricities, one in particular being her insistence to choose place settings only after guests had been seated. Aaron had seen firsthand her collection of dinnerware back at the castle, an impressive stock of over two-hundred full sets. She even insisted on choosing them personally in her own, careful way. No one was quite sure why - rumour had it among the servants that it was something of an inside joke between her and Lady Sinnenodel - but whatever the reason, it seemed that Princess Ryner was playing along.

Once they were seated, nervous anticipation began to grip him, and Aaron looked across the table to offer Salem a reassuring smile; whether it was for Salem’s benefit or his own, he couldn’t say, but he was willing to try anything to save himself from drowning in his own thoughts.

Interacting with: [Achronum] [Trainerblue192]

Once again, Aaron was thoroughly shocked by Salem, having a particularly strong urge to grab the man by the ears and shake him out of whatever bout of insanity had clearly gripped him. While his first remark had been foolish enough, he hadn’t said anything that wasn’t at least true; after all, anyone who knew anything about politics knew about the financial border-pushing between the Sinnenodels and Astorios, and the incident Aaron thought he’d been referencing wasn’t exactly a secret. But now he was simply hurling insults, at a Count, and Aaron wasn’t sure what to do about it.

However, Aaron’s fourth heart attack of the evening was interrupted when his head snapped in the direction of a familiar voice, only half-listening to the Princess’ explanation. After a second he composed himself again, bowing his head to the Princess. “How fortunate,” he replied, albeit a little flatly, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen Aunt Dora. Thank you, Your Royal Highness.”

It was not fortunate. Not even a little bit. Any other night he would have been thrilled to see his aunt, but tonight, looking like he did and joining a rival household for good, was not how he wanted to see her next. He had been hoping he would have some time to work out how he’d break the news - which reminded him, he did need to speak to Dora about that later - before he would have to face anyone he knew from home; the clothing and the ridicule were another matter entirely, and one he wasn't quite prepared to explain.

Still, he smiled weakly as they approached; as much as he didn’t want her to see him like this, he couldn’t deny he took some measure of comfort in seeing another familiar face. She was dressed in her usual style, showing very little skin with her hair covered, though everything was a notch above the norm in formality, as was proper. His ears burned as he passed her, comparing himself to her almost as a reflex, and his embarrassment only worsened when he remembered that she could probably vicariously feel everything he was feeling.

He halted when the Princess turned on them, straightening further as he listened. He even briefly made eye contact before nodding, to assure her that he understood. When they continued, he obeyed, both the Princess’ advice and Varis’ warning remembered as he kept carefully within a step or two of Varis. When they paused to wait for the dining room door, he took a long breath, steeling himself for what lay beyond it.

The doors opened and they entered, Aaron staying close to Varis as instructed and throwing Salem a look to do the same before he turned his attention to the dining room. Everything was pristine and elegant, as would be expected, and the familiar architecture - if not a touch updated - did help to put the mage just a little more at ease.

However, as they entered, a sound caught his attention, something like a faint tapping on a window. At first Aaron thought it might have been someone tapping a wine glass, or a musician tapping his foot, but the table was bare and the sound was coming from the wrong direction. He wasn’t sure why it caught his attention, but when he turned his head slightly to follow the sound, it simply faded away.

He gave his head the tiniest shake and took another breath, chiding himself inwardly. Clearly his nerves were getting to him more than he’d thought, turning every little noise into some great mystery. Soon he’d be spooking at his own footsteps. Come on, it wasn’t as if this was his first time meeting Council members. He needed to calm down.

Approaching the table, Aaron let his eyes skip over the Queen briefly, that now-familiar nervous spike shooting through him again when he noticed her scowl. Knowing her that could be directed at anything - at the moment, all clues pointed to the Princess' dress - but he also knew her preferences too well to think his condition might slip under her radar. Back home, when he still served her, he’d have probably been caned for presenting himself so poorly in front of the Queen. What would happen to him tonight?

Somehow, though, the Queen hardly compared to Lady Sinnenodel had to offer; he'd heard dozens of rumours about her, regarding everything from her ever-changing tastes to reckless speculation about the treatment of her mages, but Aaron hadn’t been prepared to see her looking so... edgy. Suddenly Varis' clothing choices made a lot more sense, though the thought didn’t do much to quell the quiver in his gut.

While he’d been looking at Lady Sinnenodel through the corner of his eye, he looked more carefully at her mages, particularly the blindfolded woman sitting at the table in her place. Her attire didn’t seem as extreme as the rest until she twisted in her seat; his stomach turned when he saw the state of the poor woman’s back, two grotesque rows of piercings running up either side of her spine and lashed together with a ribbon like some sick mockery of a corset. Aaron reviled at the sight and had to look away, hardly able to stomach looking at her front-on with the image burned in his mind. Good Lord, was that the sort of thing that awaited him?

Doing his best to banish the thought from his mind, Aaron bowed appropriately when it came time to take his seat, first to the Queen and then to the Lady. He looked pointedly away when the mage woman whispered in Varis’ ear, instead sweeping his gaze over the table. Not a single place setting, not even a glass. He might have smirked had he not been wound so tight. Now there was something familiar. The Queen, like anyone, had her eccentricities, one in particular being her insistence to choose place settings only after guests had been seated. Aaron had seen firsthand her collection of dinnerware back at the castle, an impressive stock of over two-hundred full sets. She even insisted on choosing them personally in her own, careful way. No one was quite sure why - rumour had it among the servants that it was something of an inside joke between her and Lady Sinnenodel - but whatever the reason, it seemed that Princess Ryner was playing along.

Once they were seated, nervous anticipation began to grip him, and Aaron looked across the table to offer Salem a reassuring smile; whether it was for Salem’s benefit or his own, he couldn’t say, but he was willing to try anything to save himself from drowning in his own thoughts.
Unison Unison

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Interacting with: @Achronum @Trainerblue192

Aaron had never been so thrilled to be ignored, interpreting Varis' non-response as an indication that he had finally done something right. And, to the mage's considerable relief, Salem didn't bat an eye at his response; however, that relief was quickly torn away when Salem replied. Aaron could hardly believe that the nervous kid from orientation was now suddenly throwing vitriol at a vampiric Count without breaking a sweat. He didn't even think to be grateful for Salem defending him, so mortified was he by his hubris.

Nonetheless, Aaron returned Salem's smile when he was greeted, accepting his handshake and replying in turn. "Likewise, Mr. Spellman. The pleasure's all mine."

His gaze lingered on Salem for a moment, silence stretching between the four of them as both he and Varis watched the mage fidget around. Maybe he was more nervous than he'd originally let on, though he'd seemed pretty nervous at orientation and hadn't been squirming like that. Just looking at it was making Aaron restless as well; he moved to spin his ring behind his back, only to be reminded that it was missing.

Finally, Varis spoke up again with a vaguely threatening retort, breaking the silence. Content to leave that alone and satisfied that his input was unneeded, Aaron turned to the Princess.

"Your Royal Highness, if I may, do you know who'll be attending Her Majesty tonight?" He asked, once more falling back on practiced mannerisms. The Queen, like any high-ranking noble, had many mages, and since his grandmother's death earlier in the year he knew she'd been alternating between them. He was anxious to learn if anyone else he knew would be around to see him degraded tonight.


I am my Master's servant and I will endeavour to use my critical thinking skills to his advantage.
I am my Master's servant and I will endeavour to use my critical thinking skills to his advantage.
I am my Master's servant and I will endea—


BANG!

Aaron nearly jumped out of his skin when Varis finally emerged, storming into the study with an outlandish outfit and a look in his eye that could strike fear into the heart of anyone who knew what they were looking at. The mage made haste to get out of his way, standing and moving aside as the Count looked over his work. His comments were scathing, and Aaron could only look helplessly on as Varis tore his papers to shreds. Something like an hour of work and upwards of 60 repetitions of that phrase - which was still bouncing around in his head - gone. And for what, his handwriting?

He bowed his head, defeated, at Varis' command before rushing out after him, having to dodge the front door as Varis slammed it. He could practically feel the vitriol emanating from the vampire as they briskly crossed the campus, a presence which only exacerbated his nerves. An endless stream of questions regarding the Queen's visit still knocked around in his mind, peppered occasionally with repetitions of his lines like the lyrics of a bad song stuck in his head.

Aaron was pulled out of his thoughts suddenly at the edge of the forest when Varis turned on him, grabbing his tie and yanking him sharply down to his level. The words the vampire growled in his ear were laced with contempt, and the warning therein sent a chill up Aaron's spine.

He kept close to the Count as they continued through the forest, wary of straying too far lest the darkened path grow treacherous. All the while in his pocket, he fiddled mercilessly with his ring. He barely noticed the oppressive silence of the forest, so wrapped up was he in his own nerves. He felt imbalanced and utterly defenseless without his sword, he was on his way to see the Queen looking like a streetwalker (not to mention meeting the matriarch of the house less-than-affectionately nicknamed "The Devils") and on top of it all, he had to remain within three steps of Varis just to keep it all to himself. Needless to say, by the time they reached the gate he was wound up like a spring.

Luckily, a lifetime of training had its perks, and Aaron was able to carefully craft his composure by the time they made it up the drive. He was more than a little surprised to see Salem standing there and talking to the Princess alone; it took him a very confusing moment to realize that he was probably accompanying Lucan. But Lucan was nowhere to be found, and for once Aaron had no idea where he might be. Truth be told he hadn't been expecting to see anyone else; apparently he hadn't given it any thought, so consumed had he been in... other matters. But of course Lucan would be invited; the vampire served the crown just as he did.

Well. Just as he used to.

Aaron bowed appropriately when they met the group, deeply to the Princess and inclining his head to Salem, falling back into his usual mannerisms and taking solace in the procedure. Formality had always brought him peace; he didn't have to think, didn't have to worry, he simply had to put on a mask and go through the motions. It was rehearsed, composed, and elegant, a welcome familiarity in an otherwise alien situation.

Still, he grew even more self-conscious when he saw how Salem presented himself; aside from the eccentric colour scheme, he was dressed far more appropriately for the occasion than Aaron was. Pushing his jealousy aside, he offered Salem a smile, hoping that Lucan had relayed his apology. If not, he'd have to make it tomorrow - now was certainly not the time - but hopefully Salem would realize now why he'd had to leave so urgently. Hopefully he would at least understand, if not forgive him.

He was surprised, to say the very least, at the way Varis and the Princess greeted each other. Such familiarity bordered on disrespect, but the Princess was playing along; knowing what little he did of Varis, the thought of the two of them getting along struck him as very odd indeed.

But there was no time to puzzle, for now it was his turn. Aaron's ears burned under his hair when the Princess kissed his cheek, and he smiled, glancing down at the ground. Her comment about his outfit was expected, if not exactly welcome - displeasing the Queen was pretty much his worst nightmare, and he could have gone and thrown up in the bushes right then and there at the very thought - but Princess Ryner had a way of easing his nerves. Ever since childhood, when he had shadowed his mother on her duties, she'd always been a calming presence. Kind and gentle, a glowing example of the family Aaron so dearly loved. Which was why he almost took a heart attack when Varis insulted her.

His eyes flashed to the Count, wide with shock and horror despite himself. How dare he! He looked over to Salem, hoping for some confirmation that he wasn’t hearing things, but his shock only worsened as Ryner shot back good-naturedly, the two swapping insults like pet names. Aaron had only seen such behaviour between servants behind closed doors, and he had no idea what to make of it between a Count and the freaking Princess.

He was distracted from his confusion when Princess Ryner made her introductions. He was interested to hear of Salem’s business origins, but of course what gripped him most was the Princess’ introduction of himself. He thanked the powers that be that his face wasn’t one to flush as he felt the heat in his ears again, heart swelling at her praise. Even to him it seemed a little excessive - if anyone was acutely aware of his shortcomings, it was him - but he was flattered nonetheless, and wasn’t about to argue.

Of course, he could only be proud for so long as Varis struck up conversation. Aaron didn’t miss that little jab at Salem, but obviously the vampire’s much more direct insult grabbed his attention, more than sufficient to knock him down a few pegs. His ears didn’t stop burning, and were accompanied by a tightness of the gut that comes only from embarrassment; he stole a sidelong glance at the Count, happy Lucan wasn’t around to hear that but more than thoroughly mortified that Salem and the Princess were.

Clearing his throat, Aaron straightened and arranged his hands behind his back, posturing up as if to offset his growing discomfort. Was this Varis’ idea of a punishment for his mistake earlier? Humiliating him in front of the Princess? Not to mention the vampire was still refusing to call him by his name. Aaron was more accustomed to a yardstick across the knuckles or a swift smack to the back of the head than public ridicule, but apparently this was how things were going to be.

Smiling, he looked between the others and nodded agreeably, as if the comment had been an astute observation as opposed to an insult. But when it came time to reply, he choked; in an instant he ran through a hundred different ways to phrase an answer, but he could arrange none of them in such a way that he didn’t need to answer with an address to Varis. An address he didn’t know yet.

He combed back through the night and the night before, hoping to remember some form of formal address, but came up blank; he was sure that Varis had only dictated his preferred forms of address for private and casual situations. The usual form of address for a Count was Your Excellency, but Varis’ other preferred titles had already differed from the norm and—Oh.

Deflating further, Aaron’s mind was flooded again by a few repetitions of his lines, already thoroughly memorized. He hoped he was wrong, but he was pretty sure he wasn’t. He knew that phrasing had been intentional. It wasn’t a term, it was a title.

Aaron took a breath, painting his smile back on as if nothing had happened. “Indeed, Master, he assented, glancing to Varis and then the Princess, “It would seem that I struggle with breaches of routine.”
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