Status

Recent Statuses

14 days ago
Current Rough day today, will get back to posting schedule tomorrow.
16 days ago
Things will be a LOT calmer after Hallowen tomorrow!
22 days ago
Just picked up my fusisble glass pieces from my last class at the Arts Center and I'm absurdly proud!
3 likes
1 mo ago
Power has allegedly been restored to my house. Returning home tomorrow!
1 mo ago
I have no power at my house and will be out of town for a memorial this weekend. Thanks in advance for your patience!

Bio

About Me:
I'm in my mid-30s, happily married with two young children. I've been role-playing since I was 14 years old, starting with AOL chatrooms and instant messenger (the dark days), before graduating to IRC, Gaia, RPNation, and then this website. When not roleplaying I am a GM of a raiding guild on Stormrage server, play on a couple breedable websites, listen to Kpop, consume small amounts of more adult-oriented anime, manga, TV shows (sci fi, fantasy, drama, Korean), and binge on romance.

I'd love to get to know other RP folks, especially if you're my age!

What I like/want in RPs:
Romance (necessity, I respect not everyone likes it)
At least 2 paragraphs per post
Sci Fi, (High, Low, Urban) Fantasy, Futuristic, Supernatural, some modern or psuedo-historical
Someone who plays male characters
Plots that allow me not to have to write realistic melee action (but I love to read it!)
Characters 18+
Players 18+
Intrigue/mystery in a story
Cooperative world building

What I don't like:
Players under 18
Children or teenage characters
Western or prehistoric settings
Plots with only action
Almost all furry/anthro pairings
G-rated romance

Message me if you think we'd be good RP partners for each other! Please note I do require romance, though I certainly do NOT want that to be the summation of the story. I also adore romances that have conflict and disagreement just like actual real relationships have. Some mundanes/players believe that all love stories develop "organically" in the story- but my real life experience has taught me you can have no chemistry with someone that would be great for you, all the chemistry in the world for someone you never thought you'd like, and romance is not 'organic' and predictable in practice. As a mundane/player we make the decision for romance because, quite frankly, we aren't the characters no matter how alive they might feel. They don't truly exist physically to have chemistry. If you feel differently we will not be a good fit for each other.

Additionally, I require players separate themselves from this characters. This should go without saying, but just because we write a romance together does not mean there are real feelings beneath. I am truly happily married. Please, please, please don't expect any fiction to translate into real life.

Most Recent Posts

Sebastian knew he had taken a risk in returning the phone call that the palace medical staff had made to the family home. Both Hubert, Rhiane's father, and Gerald, Rhiane's brother, had warned him that there was little reason to trust the crown. While Rhiane herself was under the protection of the royal family, she was ultimately powerless to do anything more than provide a stipend for her destitute relatives. Neither man had any illusions that were they to confide their connections and associations with the rebellion that they would be squashed underfoot without a single thought. Furthermore, they possessed not a shred of faith in the crown prince that had constantly made headlines about his dalliances with other women. In their minds Rhiane was entering into a marriage with an apathetic playboy, entering the elite world that had shrugged its shoulders at their personal tragedy, and would ruthlessly destroy everything they cared for given a good enough reason. Just yesterday they had been arguing over whether or not there was a legal way to refuse the 'blood money' they were expecting to receive after the wedding.

"I love Rhi," he said quietly. Stereotypes were that males of his orientation had effeminate voices but his was full and deep. It was not difficult to imagine him singing the bass line in a chorus given the opportunity. "Gerald and I might not be married but to me she is still my beloved sister," he continued, "and if I had to go to prison to help keep her safe I would do it every time. I don't think I could live with myself otherwise."

Sebastian paused for a moment. He had been careful to avoid either talking too casually or too formally. Technically they might someday be related by marriage which made this all the more awkward to navigate socially. Being overtly casual might impart a lack of respect or even disdain for the government and arrangement that he represented. Conversely being too formal would create a cool distance that suggested a lack of honesty on his part.

"No source of information is perfect but I can tell you this is credible enough that I was willing to face the consequences calling you. If I must be honest I'm neither a loyalist nor a revolutionary; I just want to help on the farm, live a peaceful life with Gerald, and keep the people I love happy. Rhi isn't wrong there are quite a number of rebellion sympathizers in town and nearby. Some actively participate, some just agree with their ideology but aren't motivated to do anything but nod, but none of them want harm to come to Rhi. They grew up with her and she truly doesn't have enemies here." He was being completely forthright with Luke. Rhiane's hometown was perhaps the only place where there was no member of the coup that considered New Rome's future commoner queen to be a prime candidate for becoming a martyr. Fierce loyalty to her as a person overrode the political gains they might have with her death.

Sebastian had to keep how he knew what he did a secret for the time being. This was both because he didn't want to involve himself in the cultural war that was being waged and because he wanted to preserve his source. The less that Luke knew, the less that he jeopardized future insights, and the less chance he would be blamed if anyone was arrested on his account. For now he wished only to be an informant that intervened when it was necessary. If no one else would think of Rhiane he would.

At the offer to speak to Rhiane he paused and there was a drawn out silence. Sebastian doubted that she was truly as safe with Luke as he professed, or that he didn't have to worry, but that was because he knew there were more dangers to his spiritual sister than the external. "Is she... has she recovered?" he asked tentatively. "I didn't think I could," he stumbled over his words haltingly, "I thought she'd be too ill to talk even if she was allowed."
Rhiane was reluctant to let Luke go but she reminded herself not to be greedy. She was thankful for his compassion and companionship, even if it felt the meeting of their hearts and minds was brief and fleeting at best, because it was bolstering. The princess elect found him surprisingly safe and dependable. Though they might not have chosen each other, and neither of them wanted a romantic relationship, to know that he could occasionally be a refuge was reassuring. One of her father's parting shots was that she would be in a pit of snakes in the palace and that the crown prince was the most venomous viper. It was a belief that was shared by Gerald. Rhiane had hoped that their shared circumstances would make the engaged couple allies rather than adversaries. A day or two ago she had to face the possibility that her surviving family members had been correct. Now she couldn't help but wonder if they had misjudged.

"Ms. Black," Elena said delicately as she sat down. There was a slight tug downwards at the corners of the future royal's mouth though she did not frown. Dr. Villani knew how much her profession was distrusted by the former farmer and was not insulted; if anything she it progress that Rhiane was not detaching or ignoring her. She reached forward and gently took the other woman's hand in her own.

"I was not lying when I said that another person wouldn't have survived what you did- not just tonight, but eight years ago. I'm not in the pharmaceutical field, obviously, but if you ever wanted to I could connect you with someone in research and development. Specialists could study your immune system to see if there is anything we could glean from your physiology to help others," she suggested. She expected that Rhiane would immediately object but instead the buxom brunette was suspiciously quiet as she seriously considered the offer. With a playful smile the doctor leaned closer to her patient and whispered, "I can also promise a recommendation that's not at Evolab," she joked.

At this Rhiane laughed and shrugged her shoulders. As much as she had grown to loathe the medical profession she had to admit that Elena Villani had saved her life and perhaps redeemed doctors everywhere a touch in her mind. Had there not been a paycheck from doing so she might have thought the woman was a saint, but she knew there was a lucrative reward for the intervention, and so her perception remained skewed. The princess elect wondered if she might have earned the same attention were she still a peasant, or a secretary firmly entrenched in the middle class, or the maid of a lesser noble household. In her ideal world a woman like Elena would work a case regardless of the financial background of the victim.

"I'm sure you don't have much time," Sebastian began, "but I've heard that someone tried to kill Rhi and that they might not be alive by the time you find them." Though Luke and Rhiane were on a first name basis she had failed to disclose that the people closest to her actually called her by an even shorter nickname. It was uttered so quickly and chased with so much more pressing information that it might be missed by the heir to the throne but was still rather important. This singular syllable made it clear that Rhiane was still guarded, still aware that the people who loved and cherished her were not nearby, and not even Tobias had pierced through her self-defenses with his consideration and stoicism.

"I'm telling you this because I want her to be safe," he further explained perhaps unnecessarily, "and I don't know that if I told her directly she'd... react well." Sebastian, called 'Seb' by his friends, paused because he was not prepared to broach the topic of the various ways in which his partner's sibling could inappropriately process the information. Unlike Gerald he was not blind to Rhiane's unhealthy views on her own morbidity, nor oblivious how to sometimes she dismissed other's concerns about her, or how powerless she might be to advocate on her own behalf effectively. Hopefully Luke would read between the lines and surmise that the farmer wasn't speaking to him because he relished an opportunity to speak with their future king.

"The rebellion is divided on Rhi," he continued, "and some of them think that Rhi would best serve the revolution as a martyr. They know if she dies that no matter what the truth is everyone will blame the crown, especially you and Queen Camilla. If she's alive she's more of a wild card- she could encourage people to be loyal to you or she could tarnish her own image. If she was dead, though, her perfect reputation would remain intact, including being a the champion of the poor, and an innocent life lost that would enrage some of the citizens who are right now apathetic. I think the person today worked alone but... this isn't the end of it," Seb added more softly. The rebellion saw Rhiane as a precious pawn, perhaps even more than the royalty, and knew that she could turn the tide one way or another. "There aren't many who want Rhiane dead, and most of the rebellion is adamantly opposed and actively trying to stop them, but she's still in danger."
The queen's presence had been required at Klagain and so she had set out with her carriage and an entourage for both practical necessity and protection. It was not uncommon for citizens to see the royal caravan either at a distance or in their town monthly. The ruler of the fledgling nation knew that she needed to have a strong presence to assure her people that she was involved, to apply her magical abilities to situations not easily solved by the mundane, and to see with her own eyes the troubles that befell her people. In this particular case it was yet another skirmish at the border that summoned her intervention. None of Itraniel's neighbors seemed to respect the boundaries of their kingdoms and would test the viability of an invasion through aggression. Klagain had been victim to the violence of a band of 'renegade' soldiers that were almost certainly endorsed by their king. While they had been slain in the conflict that did not guarantee a second more potent wave would not be forthcoming.

Leanja was not yet of age to attend the meetings. With a handmaiden that also functioned as a nanny for the young witch she had been allowed to explore in the hopes it kept her entertained. The girl had protested, because she wanted to help, but her powers had not manifested sufficiently that the queen was willing to jeopardize her daughter's safety. As a mother she also wanted to preserve some of her childish innocence. There would be enough responsibilities saddled on her shoulders when she was a teenager on the cusp of adulthood. For now she ought to be allowed to play and delight in simple pleasures.

"Sir, are you all right?" she called out to the plated figure from the road.

The handmaiden, a woman of twenty-six years named Tali, skipped up behind Leanja to see what she was looking at. Aghast at the scene, if for no other reason than the derelict knight was still armed with a rusty sword, she tried to hold back the princess. Leanja did not share her fears. Before she could be dissuaded she had bounded forward and swatted away several of the flies without so much as a wrinkle of the nose at the pervasive odor. Eternally curious, braver than she ought to be, and with a strong sense of duty, Tali should have anticipated she wouldn't have stayed away from the stranger.

"Princess Leanja, it's dangerous!" she called out.

The princess in question was a few months past her tenth birthday and had just had a growth spurt that made her grow a few inches. She wore dark trousers, boots, a linen blouse, and a wide leather belt, none of which had the earmarks of royalty except for how exceptionally well they were made. Long dark hair, a brown so deep it nearly appeared black, had been plaited from her temples while the rest hung loosely to her waist. Were it not for Tali announcing her status she might look more like a pretty merchant's daughter than that of the queen though that was partially on purpose: it was easier to keep an energetic child safe if she was not an obvious target.

"I'm fine, Tali," Leanja called back dismissively. "Can I get you something, sir?" she asked as she knelt down in the soft earth next to the giant of a man. Insects buzzed around her skin but curiously refused to land on the exposed flesh of her hands, neck, or face, as if there was a natural invisible deterrent. "Do you need some water?"
Elena Villani understood that Queen Camilla was more concerned about the use of her future daughter-in-law than she cared about her as a person, but she believed that the monarch vastly underestimated just how closely she come to the precipice of disaster. Not just anyone could have survived the dose of poison that the princess elect had ingested unwittingly. Who would have perished from the toxins was not just limited to commoners either; she was quite certain that a not insignificant number of the upper echelons of nobility would have succumbed to it as well. Perhaps the ruler believed there was nothing to gain from dwelling on what might have been. The specialist believed, however, that might be too emboldened by her success and not properly aware of possible repercussions if they pushed the patient too quickly and too hard. What they had was an amazing resilient woman. If she she was pressed to her brink on the tour, simply for the sake of appearances, they might end up in the very scenario they had just escaped.

While she was relieved that the heir to the throne chose to stay with fiancee, if only because then she wouldn't be solely responsible for her progress, Rhiane had more mixed emotions. The young beauty did not want to be alone but she could only imagine how horrid she looked. There was no universe in which her first meeting with Luke would have been so spectacular they would have immediately become the best of friends. She was acutely aware she was a roadblock to his future with Sofia in which they were publicly together, that they had disparate personalities, and that she was a confining chain to his ankle. Still, she was vulnerable in this moment, terrified of looking weak and pathetic, and anxious that he would think even less than her he already did.

"You wouldn't," she breathed a touch hoarsely as Luke threatened to eat her sweet-filled dinner. Even as she stared at him with abject horror on her features she knew he absolutely would. Rhiane suspected he didn't have as much of an appetite for sugar as she did but she had seen his defiance with his mother. He would wolf down every morsel just to prove a point. She bit the inside of her cheek lightly as she very briefly contemplated if seeing her once-in-a-lifetime chance at a wholly non-nutritious meal was worth sticking to her principals.

"Fine," she sighed grumpily. The pinpoint precision with which the crown prince attacked her weakness would be admirable if she wasn't annoyed at 'losing.' Her own brother and father had found it nigh impossible to reason with her when it came to anything related to medicine or physicians. That Luke had triumphed so quickly would have made them both shocked. Much as he might detest his future wife he was already beginning to see that she was not immune to certain manipulations- from him at least. She was much less trusting of other aristocrats, and therefore less prone to their machinations, as was evidenced with their reduced effectiveness in eliciting any genuine reactions from her during brief interactions.

"There's an oral medication," Elena offered gently so as to not put off her temporarily compliant patient, "but I don't want to risk that you won't be able to hold it down. We'll put one in your IV but it will take ten or fifteen minutes to take effect," she warned. One of the nurses picked up a small syringe, filled it with fluid from a light blue vial, and injected it into the tubing before the princess elect could change her mind. They could all see the faintly golden liquid swirl briefly in the clear before it flowed into the future royal's hand. Rhiane was clearly still unhappy but she didn't argue. There was a certain weariness lining her face that hadn't been there before the grapes. The day had taken a toll that no amount of chemical intervention could override completely.

"If you'll excuse me a moment," she said with a nod to them both before departing the room.

Once outside, and out of their earshot, Dr. Villani placed a call to the kitchens to prepare everything on the princess elect's order. Previously they had been instructed to only make a third of the choices and in small portions. Now that Queen Camilla was figuratively breathing down her neck, Rhiane was frustrated and discouraged, and everything felt like it was riding on how much dinner the brunette could fortify herself with, she'd rather have some gluttony than the alternative. It was possible that after the grape incident that her charge would be less enthusiastic about any of the treats. She had enough experience to know morale and disposition played a large role in the healing process. They had to make Rhiane excited to eat, eating as much as she could handle, and content enough that her rest was as rejuvenating as possible.

"Dr. Villani," one of the medical assistants said as he approached his senior. "We received a return call from Ms. Black's family. He gave his number and said he needed to speak to his highness directly, however."

"Interesting," she remarked as she took the small paper note. This wasn't what she expected but she had a duty to report it. "Did he identify himself? Was it Hubert Black or Gerald Black?"

"Neither, Dr. Villani. It was Gerald Black's partner," the man admitted. "He said he had information but would not reveal anything more."

"Thank you," she nodded and turned, striding back into the princess elect's room. Given the circumstances she doubted that anyone from a poisoning victim's family would know about the composition of the toxin administered, but there were aspects of this case that they might have insight on, and she could understand why they might use discretion with who they revealed such information to. Asking for the prince himself was bold but not irrational. The man who called could safely assume that it was not beneficial for the heir if his wife scandalously perished only two days into their engagement.

"Prince Luke," she said as she offered the small folded slip of paper. "We received a call but he only wanted to speak with you directly. I believe it's worth your while to return it," she suggested. "If you would like some privacy, I am happy to sit with Ms. Black while you do so."

During this time Rhiane hadn't let go of Luke's hand. The times before he had held she had flushed, or looked uneasy, or been a mixture of flustered and uncomfortable. What he didn't know was that when her mother and brother had been sick and dying she had held their hands, trying to soothe them one of the only ways she knew how, and thus didn't find it as off-putting now that she was ill. His hand felt warm and strong, It provided her reassurance, even if he didn't mean it to, that she could endure through this new trial. In that moment she had forgotten their disagreements and felt genuinely like they might be friends.
In The Betrothed 11 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
Rhiane quietly watched the queen and her son face off about the events planned for the next day. Truthfully she wasn't certain who she supported; her future mother-in-law was polite to her face, concerned only about the peasant as a pawn to manipulate, but was never outwardly callous, while her fiance was openly hostile at times, showed worry about her occasionally, but tried to be honest. Neither one of them had won over her loyalty completely. Queen Camilla represented the promise of financial security for the Black Family and a diligence to etiquette that meant at least the princess elect wouldn't be disparaged to her face. Luke was her chance for a true ally within the castle walls and someone in which she could confide... if he could get past his disgust at both the situation and her commoner birth. Anyone would have had a difficult time choosing.

She managed a smile to Callista as the royal explained that this opposition was to be expected with her future husband. It reassured her though perhaps not the way in which the princess intended; it made Rhiane realize that this streak in his personality might mean their disagreements of the last couple days would have happened with any contest winner. The former farmer knew she wasn't the easiest individual to deal with, but she had truly considered herself to be one of the candidates that was the least demanding. Many ladies had entered the trials with impossible dreams of a man who couldn't have existed but except in the wildest fantasies. Rhiane had been realistic by contrast- she only wanted a business partner that could remain professional. Cocking her head to the side she wondered if the heir to the throne had always been this way or if his disposition was the result of his father's thinly veiled murder. She did not envy anyone who had to look their mother in the eyes daily and know that they were responsible for the cold-blooded execution of their beloved father.

To say that she thought Luke must be conflicted was an understatement. It was a wonder that anyone in the entire lineage had not snapped worse than a few heated exchanges or non-lethal blows to one another. Not every 'breeding spouse' had been able to be killed when their children were young. A couple had watched the eldest grow to the teenage years before a younger sibling was conceived and it was safe for the commoner spouse to be discreetly erased. The older the offspring, the greater the attachment, and the more deep the wound when the cut was made.

As Rhiane chewed on the grapes she had been handed she pondered on Luke's motivations. His dedication to staying with her had seemed sincere, and his voice gentle, and the edges of her memory recalled some distant promise about making her feel better. She wanted to believe he had argued for a delay for the sake of her health alone- but she also knew that he must love Sophia. The crown prince had abandoned Rhiane shortly after meeting her for the actress, had risked both their images, incited a revitalization in the revolution with his recklessness, and brought the princess elect to a business meeting presumably to make the model jealous. His actions thus far had not been what would be considered honorable. Regardless of her feelings on the matter, she wasn't convinced that her dearly betrothed wasn't jockeying for a chance for more indiscretions before leaving the capital.

It stung when it was announced that the rest of the royalty, the real royalty, was going to have a family dinner while she was confined to bed rest after having just escaped a harrowing encounter with near death. Rhiane kept her face neutral through sheer willpower but she was internally devastated. Tobias had been called to attend to her needs which should have softened the blow but it did not. She knew she was an outsider but the contrast of their stations was painfully clear. Her future in-laws would be enjoying a pleasant meal over fine china and with crystalline glasses, celebrating their victory and good fortune, while she was miserable and left to what staff could be spared. On paper it hadn't seemed quite so horrible an arrangement given the compensation and lifestyle changes offered. In practice, however, she doubted any sum of currency in the world would have not made a heart break at being so easily dismissed and forgotten.

Just as Luke was exiting the room and Tobias turned to enter the room, however, one of the machines that was taped to the torso of the brunette let out a series of sounds that indicated something was amiss. There was a change in the princess elect's breathing pattern and the muscles of her upper torso were convulsing. She twisted to her side almost reflexively and, over the edge of the bed farthest from the door, she sputtered up the pieces of fruit that had just made it to her stomach only minutes before. Most of what her body had ejected was just bile but it burned her throat nonetheless and made her wince as the caustic stomach acid seeped into the abrasions. Both of her doctors had warned her to stay away from anything overly spicy to avoid aggravating the damage to her esophagus in particular but had not forbidden anything as simple as grapes.

"Excuse me your highnesses," a nurse said as she rushed by and then elbowed her way past a surprised Luke and stunned Tobias.

Elena Villani was sprinting down the hall from the small room she had ducked into to enjoy a coffee. "Queen Camilla, I hate to impose, but I need one of you to stay. As I am sure you are aware, doctors do not need authorization for any acts of life-saving intervention. We tried to contact Ms. Black's next of kin earlier today in preparation for procedures that would not, strictly speaking, meet the threshold of 'life-saving,' and therefore require medical consent. We were unable to make contact with either her brother or father. Given that Ms. Black is heavily medicated, and her decision-making abilities are legally compromised, we need either a family member or an authority figure that can make decisions on her behalf."

Another nurse sprinted down the hallway, pushed Tobias to the side, and edged her way into the room. The first nurse had pulled out a cart that had been formerly positioned in the corner of the room. Arranged upon it were various instruments and chemical concoctions that were meant to combat a variety of adverse effects such as the one they were currently facing. The second nurse put her arm around Rhiane and tried to adjust the bed into a more upright position so that their patient could rest without choking if she felt forced to vomit a second time.

"Mrs. Black has an exceptionally high pain tolerance, your majesty, and so we have had to administer less pain medication than we expected. Her judgment is still impaired, however, and I don't know if she can appreciate my recommendations in her state. If you'll excuse me," she said with a bow before half-jogging into Rhiane's room. Technically everything Elena said was correct. Rhiane wasn't considered fit to make medical decisions and no one, not even the most forgiving and generous ethical overseer, would not at least raise a brow if every choice was left in the hands of someone dosed with narcotics. Reading between the lines Luke might surmise that the specialist had also found her patient difficult to wrangle and that she needed someone to help override the crippling paranoia of the princess elect.

"It looks like her body still thinks it's under attack by anything she eats," Dr. Villani remarked to the first nurse as she placed her cup down on the counter and side-stepped around to the other side of the bed. In some circumstances this would be an excellent instinct for the purposes of self-preservation, but in this case it was working against them. Intravenous fluids had helped stabilize and hydrate the princess elect but were not meant to be a substitute for food entirely. She knew even before asking that Rhiane wouldn't want anti-nausea medication; the woman had objected to nearly everything offered that was not absolutely necessary, and it was possible for her to spend at least a couple days on the IV waiting for the overly protective impulses to pass.
Solae pursed her lips into a thin line that clearly expressed she did not endorse his plan of action. That was not to say she did not appreciate that he was trying to make the best out of a poor situation- she knew they were both doing all they could to salvage their poor circumstances- but she still felt as if he conducted himself with the unrealized expectation they were soldiers. Had he been in the company of marines everyone would have been comfortable with the presented scenario. Rene had even considered the variables and come up with a contingency of using the inflatable as a method of transportation home. Unfortunately, the woman and girl in his presence were not fearless, not conditioned for adverse environments, and not as durable as a weathered marine.

"Let's let her rest," she replied before guiding him back outside of the room. The youth would wake to the IV in her arm and might try to rip it out in panic, but the diplomat was willing to take the risk for she sincerely believed that having the two strangers hovering over her would be even more anxiety-inducing. There was nothing more they could do except give Damaris peace and privacy. If she woke to calm quiet she would be more easily convinced that they meant her no harm and, regardless of whether they followed Rene's current plan or modified it, she would also be more easily persuaded to keep putting her faith in the 'princess' and her brawny companion.

"Rene," she sighed as she leaned against the metallic corridor. The cool air that swirled around the interior of the spaceship gave her a slight chill and she hugged her arms to herself. As nice as it was to have the island's breeze wafting in through the open hatch she had grown accustomed to the tropical temperatures of her home on New Concordia. This had not been her first choice for a planetary way-stop not only because of its lack of resources and civilization, but because it she knew it would be an ecological adjustment, and her personal world was already spinning out of control trying to adapt.

"You're asking a lot of a girl her age. She didn't take composure classes like we did or go through half of the exercises that were required to be an heir of an aristocratic line. Not only that, she's undoubtedly traumatized from being washed ashore by tides that I'm sure killed almost everyone else they claimed, and then after nearly drowning she found herself alone on a remote island with no food or water. How do you expect to convince her to go with two people she hardly knows in a patched-together dingy onto the same turbulent waves that just nearly killed her? I want to get her home, and I'm sure she wants to go home, but that is one hell of a leap of faith you're asking her to take."

It was the understatement of the year. Solae realized the Bonaventure was entrenched in mud but it had enough supplies to keep them comfortable for a while before there would be any risk to their survival. Now that the hurricane had passed their greatest threats were the coup and all the members of the Duke's rebellion. No matter how slowly news of the bounty traveled it would still reach Panopontus quite some time before they were on the brink of starvation. The linguist had been very thorough in plundering the slaver's estate in preparation for their journey of indeterminate length. Multiple crates she had yet to open were full of foodstuffs that were hardly gourmet but had an extended shelf life and would keep them nourished enough to reach their destination even if it took weeks.

"Let's take this one step at a time," she said, pinching the area at the top of her nose between her eyes and trying to think of the best approach. "I can wait for Damaris to wake up if you think you can repair the barge on your own, then we can evaluate it together and make certain it's sea-worthy before we commit to anything. I'm not going to pump her for information until she's fed and I am confident she won't shut down with questioning. I know we're pressed for time but trust my expertise when I say we need to handle this with some delicacy. We need to have her confide in us, without revealing much of ourselves, and that isn't easy in the best of circumstances."

"Please tell me you're not expecting to... paddle the barge to land?"
In The Betrothed 13 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
Rhiane perhaps anticipated the monarch's visit more than her fiance. Much like the owner of a thoroughbred might see their prized equine in the stables before sending it out onto the track for its race, she had expected to have a royal evaluation this evening, if only because the queen had an investment in the princess elect. Currently New Rome was facing a rebellion and one of the most effective weapons in the fight was none other than the former farmer and her Cinderella story. How well this performance between the newly engaged couple played out directly impacted national security. It would be grossly negligent not to see one of her actors before sending her off to play such a pivotal role. Queen Camilla undoubtedly needed to confirm and assess with her own eyes the state of her female main lead.

She wasn't surprised that Princess Callista tagged along, as her future sister-in-law was more empathetic than the rest of the family combined, but the fruit basket was a surprise. Rhiane hadn't spent time in a hospital before. The times she got sick before her mother and brother's deaths she might visit the nearest doctor, purchase whatever medication they determined was necessary, and would retreat to her bedroom to rest and quarantine herself. Before now she also hadn't been ill enough to merit this level of emergency intervention and observation. Gifts were still new to her and one to get well soon doubly so. A sincere smile alighted on her features as the fragrant and edible arrangement was placed on the nearest table.

"Thank you," she stated sincerely seconds before she was swooped into a hug. She hadn't predicted such a warm embrace- no one at the castle seemed to want to touch her more than necessary- but after a brief hesitation there was a genuine grin as she returned the gesture. Unfortunately her strength had not yet fully returned, so it was evident that her arms weren't as capable as before at applying the light squeeze that went with a hug. Elena Villani had warned her it would probably be a few days before she would be fully herself. Anti-toxins could combat the poison but they couldn't purge them in their entirety instantly and the recovery process required energy. Her body still needed time.

"I do like fruit, and I promise not to let Luke eat all of it, but since he hasn't had any dinner yet I think I ought to share," she remarked affably. For a moment she worried if this was not also them trying to retrieve the crown prince from her bedside. Rhiane had thought she was fine alone, but now that Luke was here and offering to stay, she found herself reluctant to return to solitude. Confessing he hadn't eaten could either prompt them to persuade him to have the meal deliver or give them an excuse to extricate him.

"Thank you, your highness," she said as she turned her attention to the perfectly composed queen. While Queen Camilla's words were polite and composed, Rhiane didn't mistake her for a woman who even considered delaying the tour a single day. The royalty could not been seen as weak and this attempted assassination must be swept under the rug as quickly and quietly as possible. To even acknowledge anything adverse transpired could be construed as a weakness, one elites and peasants alike might try to capitalize on, so it was imperative that everyone's romantic duo follow the schedule already established. The princess elect firmly believed she was viewed not even as a daughter-in-law but a valuable pawn to navigate on a complex political chessboard.

"I am feeling much better," she began truthfully, "and I look forward to traveling. I assure you I want nothing more than to be discharged." Both Dr. Gulsvig and Dr. Villani had recommended she spend this precious night resting before her journey, which they both knew would be taxing, so as to make the most out of the situation. Rhiane hated the confinement of the medical ward, however, and had tried to argue for her 'freedom' to no avail. Evidently neither physician was willing to risk a setback simply because their patient had poor previous experiences and a distaste for all the machines that had successfully kept her alive when she was in critical condition.
In The Betrothed 17 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
The princess elect watched her fiance remove his coat, unbutton the neck of his shirt, and roll up his sleeves with keen interest. She was beginning to suspect when he set himself to a course of action he was just as stubborn as she was if not more so. He did not even breathe a word of the possibility he'd advocate on her behalf to leave the medical tower. Yesterday she would have assumed that his motivations would be firmly planted in wanting time to himself, without her invasion of his personal quarters, yet his actions spoke to a sincere desire to stay at her bedside. Rhiane prided herself on being silver-tongued and yet she could not so much as conceive as an avenue of appeal that might persuade him. He was resolute she should stay and that she should have company in addition which was even more baffling. Luke was being caring, considerate, and mindful of her feelings rather than trampling on them and proclaiming the superiority of his own.

She found it incredibly dubious that there was any 'risk' of the implants being turned on. The queen would at least give her own son a warning, if for no other reason to make certain he realized his boundaries, and she wouldn't jeopardize either of their health lightly- his because he was an heir to her throne, hers because she had allegedly just narrowly escaped death. Following her own logic that meant his second reason was the one with more credulity. Certainly she had been frustrated when she was sitting alone at the function with no one except Tobias willing to entertain her, when Alec presumed when she was naive, when Sophia tried to mark her territory, when she was a briefly forgotten accessory to his ensemble. Rhiane knew hardly anyone considered her a person. Mentally she was struggling to accept a world where she would never be accepted or loved more than symbolically. It was her choice that had led her down this path, however, and she took responsibility for all its consequences.

"Just so you know I don't blame you for any of this," she said with a gesture of the hand still pinched by a needle. She pursed her lips and sighed at the tube of intravenous supplements that she still personally believed were unnecessary. "There's no need to feel guilty just because you underestimated how hungry I was. And besides, even if we could have been more careful, it didn't really benefit Evolab to have this sort of scandal did it? If it made it to broadcast I was in the company of the rich and famous that doesn't do them any favors either, does it? They wouldn't want suspicion falling on them from the public or the crown. It's just... something that happened that was unanticipated." Rhiane didn't think Luke necessarily wanted comforting but she felt worse knowing he felt any burden at all. It was better that she suffer alone than she spread the anguish all around her. Considering she had no choice about dealing with the aftereffects of the poison, she was relegated to being the one to have pain, and one was enough. Two people in discomfort was too many.

"Dad and Gerald wouldn't come," shrugged as if it didn't bother her though it was plain it did. No one would sacrifice as much as she had and not be tortured by the people they were doing it for refusing to speak with them. "Maybe if I was actually dying they would, but since I'm 'recovering nicely'... you'll be lucky if they attend the funeral with all expenses paid," she remarked wryly as if it was a joke. It was not. Unless Queen Camilla was going to force a visit there would be no contact reestablished for years to come given the hardheads in the Black family.

"I don't really have anyone to call," she admitted pretending to be absorbed in her menu. Her fingers curled slightly on the laminated parchment and she willed herself not to cry. Dr. Villani had told her that all the drugs she had been administered in the last several hours would probably have an effect on her self-control and inhibitions. Rhiane bit the inside of her cheek but she could still feel tears filling the edges of her eyes. In a last ditch effort to regain her composure she cleared her throat. "So unless you want to ask for Tobias or your sister to switch with you I suppose you're stuck with me. Although I think there might be rumors if Tobias spends the night in here," she mused although it was clear from her tone that nothing would actually transpire. The poor bodyguard had not even made it to the friend zone successfully yet.

"All right, let's order dinner," she declared and then proceeded to rattle off every dessert option. The former farmer figured she'd never have another opportunity to be coddled and indulged as she was now. Luke wasn't actually enamored with her and so he wouldn't be sneaking her sweets on the regular, the nutritionist was being paid by people she was fairly certain wanted her ribs showing, and none of the staff would put their career on the line for her anytime soon if ever. It was literally impossible for her to eat every dessert but she paid logistics no mind whatsoever... nor did she honor the intentions of the menu to provide options for a singular sugary option. Rhiane enjoyed spicy and salty entrees as well but they had been removed from consideration by the medical staff; the former would cause indigestion and both would cause irritation to her internal wounds.

"If you decide to be a doctor you're on your own!" She exclaimed emphatically though she did realize he was teasing her. "Didn't you say the profession was full of masochists? I have a few here you can practice on to avenge me," she whispered conspiratorially before breaking into a grin and falling back onto her pillows.

"Did you eat dinner after I left? I promise not to swipe anything off your plate if you want a menu that hasn't been cut down to five percent of the options available. If you don't want to work we can also watch one of those movies you mentioned about your fellow lizard people," she jested lightly although the offer was genuine. She was the patient but she was doing everything possible to cater to his comfort so that he didn't regret keeping her company or found himself miserable. Rhiane and Luke were allies more than friends but she cared about him in her own bizarre way.
"Let's put her in the Captain's Quarters," Solae suggested. There really wasn't anywhere else she felt comfortable placing the poor girl; she was already traumatized and she could only imagine how much more terrified she'd be if she woke up in the crew's bunks. The pair of travelers had done their due diligence cleaning but they hadn't anticipated needing the crew's sleeping space as there were only two of them and they enjoyed sharing a bed. As a result they had decided to use the smaller room for storage and failed to change any of the linens. From a distance there wasn't any smell but if one were to crawl up onto the sheets it almost certainly had an unpleasant odor. Though the child was unconscious she also suspected the mattresses were even more lumpy for the Bonaventure's former underlings than the captain and that rejuvenating rest would be harder-earned with hard springs and uneven batting.

Rene nodded and they proceeded into what was currently functioning as their bedroom. Solae would have offered assistance but the truth was that the soldier was more than capable of carrying Damaris by himself. Genetics had not graced the female linguist with even half the upper body strength her counterpart had before he was forced to join a physical profession. She had never asked him exactly what he was capable of bench pressing but she would be shocked if it was not in excess of her own weight. A few times he had lifted her with so little effort she was in awe of him. Sometime during her years at the embassy she had grown accustomed to men who ran just enough to say fit, used technology to sculpt and tone, and were only as athletic as was aesthetically required. She liked that her paramour could dead-lift a crate without straining and grunting as if he was about to collapse in the process.

Once Damaris had been laid down they covered her with the sheets, tucking her in, and left the canteen on the nightstand. A glass might be preferable but there were two reasons that the canteen was chosen instead: the nipple made it harder for her to gulp down too quickly for her own health (though she had proven it was still logistically possible) and they had already earned her trust that the canteen's water was not drugged or tainted. Solae didn't want to jeopardize any faith that had been placed in her. She knew that to the impressionable youth they were still strangers, ones not even from her world, and that they needed to be conscientious about moving at a pace that proved they had no ill intentions. Rather than closing the door behind them they left it slightly ajar, enough to let light from the attached hallway drift in, and giving her a clear exit once she awoke so she could seek them out with as little anxiety as possible.

Solae motioned for Rene to follow her as she went to the kitchen and began rummaging around for something appropriate for Damaris to eat. She felt responsible for the girl, even though she was not her own daughter or ward, and was reluctant to feed her anything but the best they had to offer. Adults could elect to make choices to eat less-than-optimal snacks or meals, they were responsible for themselves and had the capacity for making that choice, but it was different with children. If either of them wanted to live off crisps and deep-fried starches they had that right. Allowing someone years away from being considered wholly autonomous, someone who was still growing and developing, and who had different needs, would be negligent and/or slightly immoral.

"I can't believe anyone survived washing ashore," she said softly as she shook her head. Tucked away behind meals that were the pinnacle of gluttony were a few sealed cups of vegetables in containers which, once a tab was pulled, would steam cook within minutes. The marquise pulled out the two varieties available and set them on the counter with a sigh. "I know it's not your area of expertise, but maybe you can look her over a little after she wakes up? I don't think she has any major injuries but the least we can do is make certain and treat the scrapes she has before ferrying her home. Which I suppose is something else to discuss, isn't it?"

"What do you want to do?" she asked, leaning back against the economical metal cabinetry. The irony of the fact that their spaceship was largely absent of staining due to its lack of luxurious porous surfaces was not lost on her. Marble, granite, wood, and other more desirable materials would have soaked up blood, bodily fluids, grease, and other drippings that the prior inhabitants had left behind. Because construction had been limited to more easily obtained alloys mass-manufactured for cargo ships, military vessels, and ergonomic transports, there had been nothing prone to staining, and the galley in which they stood not was relatively spotless. "We still need fuel. If you want to take the inflatable and go tonight I can watch over Damaris by myself. Stealth isn't quite my forte but I can't imagine asking her to get on a boat anytime soon even it is to go back to her parents."

"Miss Solae," Mia purred. The aristocrat nearly jumped a foot in the air. Their artificial intelligence companion had been so quiet (so as not to disturb their new guest) that she had honestly forgotten about her presence. Hearing the synthetic voice had startled her and she laughed lightly in embarrassment before Mia continued. "The Bonaventure appears to have been modified to perform night landings without the detection of law enforcement. While I can not condone the spirit in which these modifications have been made, they may be of use to you should you not want to alarm the nearby colonies."

"Thank you, Mia. Do you think the inflatable can handle the waters, though?" She asked Rene as she furrowed her brow in serious contemplation. "Maybe we need another plan... it's risky for you to go out there by yourself," she worried aloud. There was no practical reason their plot would fail. Solae was simply nervous about letting Rene out of her sight for any length of time, let alone on a mission with any amount of risk, and with no way to contact him if things went awry.
In The Betrothed 19 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
Truthfully Tobias was only attempting to form a platonic relationship with Rhiane Black, future wife of their future king, although given their respective genders it might appear to some onlookers he had romantic inclinations. By his own admission he was stoic with everyone else in the castle. Multiple female staff members had confessed crushes for him or more subtly flirted with him. Each and every time he had declined their advances with distant stoicism. He had become infamous for not only showing absolutely no interest in dating and marriage, but being too professionally detached for even friendships, and having grown apart from Luke when most would have sacrificed everything for the opportunities he had to try to reconnect with the heir to the throne. A pervasive rumor was that the mysterious and handsome man was an automaton rather than a flesh and blood human being. Despite the precedence he had set for being a solitary being, it was undeniable he was more attentive to the princess elect.

No one was suspicious of his intentions quite yet. Though his conduct was a bit odd, he did not initiate physical contact with Rhiane, his body language remained neutral, he was not flirting, he was not sending her gifts, they only spent time together as a result of his assignment, and his conduct was impeccably considerate while not being overly so. The former farmer herself did not show any concern. If anything, she was completely oblivious to the possibility that anyone might find her attractive now that she was the fiancee of the crown prince. Nobility barely tolerated her presence, loyalists were reverent of her position, and palace servants viewed her as firmly 'off limits' no matter how much they might like her. Everyone expect the royal to have an affair outside of the breeding spouse, though acceptance of this arrangement varied along political and economic lines, but whether the commoner would be permitted to have their own affair companion was more dubious. Ultimately Queen Camilla and Prince Luke would make this determination. At the very least it would be a few years before it might be secretly endorsed.

As Luke entered the room Tobias's face slipped for the briefest moment. His mask of indifference was marred by his lips spreading into an expression of displeasure. To achieve his goal of making Rhiane deflect he had to wedge himself into the opening provided by his cousin's contempt. Only if she truly believed she had no allies and was surrounded by people who did not value her, did not appreciate her, and who would disparage her constantly would she be inclined to consider betraying the monarchy. She needed to see everyone within these walls as her enemy and the coup as a ray of shining hope for the people she loved so dearly. Having Luke waltz into the room like a veritable Prince Charming undermined his efforts. His relative was no as dependably callous as anticipated.

Rhiane was surprised but elated. She knew the truth of his feelings about the engagement, and that Sophia was his real love, and so she had expected him to stay at the business event until its conclusion. Once it was over she thought he'd enjoy the peace and quiet of his room alone without worrying about someone like herself. He had to know she was being attended by the best doctor and specialist money could buy. Her affliction gave him a temporary freedom she'd thought he would jump to take advantage of given the implants were so limiting. That he could have been on a date, or entertaining a lady in his private quarters, or flying off to his island alone seemed to her to be a guarantee he'd not make an appearance to see the woman that frequently aggravated him. And yet here he was.

"It's not all bad," the princess elect said with an amiable smile. Tobias had composed himself and she ignorant of his response to the other man's presence as she beamed at Luke. "I got to go on my first trip, had a morning of lounging around watching movies for the first time in my life, gorged myself on two different deserts, and even got to see his royal highness in a uniform," she countered. Behind her the bodyguard sighed softly at how lightly she took her own health.

"Really, I'm fine now. I don't even really remember much after I left the table," she said honestly. The poison had made her so acutely ill was now a blur of sensations. It was not unusual for trauma to make memories murky; this was one of the body's many methods of self-preservation. Elena Villani had told her it was for the best that she had been sheltered from vividly feeling the burning of her throat and mouth.

"Rhiane has a bruise on her shoulder from falling on the floor," Tobias interjected as it became apparent that his charge was going to glaze over her ailments and feign they didn't exist. Her bravado was equal amounts endearing and frustrating. "They have also put her on a restricted diet of soft foods for the rest of the evening."

"Yes, but even Dr. Gulsvig approved me having pudding or bread pudding for dinner just to get me to eat," she pointed out with no small amount of glee. There was saying that food was the way to a man's heart, but in this particular scenario it was also the way to a woman's, one in particular. Still, the levity which she discussed her mortality suggested she was more terrified than she was willing to admit or she genuinely was ambivalent.

"Tobias, I'd like to speak with Luke alone if you don't mind," she requested with a dazzling smile. The royal guard nodded in obedience but was not enthused. He stood and nodded to them both politely before departing the room. Rhiane had every right to make the request but it left a bitter taste in his mouth. Silently he hoped the eldest son of the queen would put his foot in his mouth in his absence.

"Is Queen Camilla turning the implants back on?" Rhiane asked once she was certain that Tobias was gone. Reflexively she felt for the patch of skin under which the nanotechnology was buried. "I'm glad you're here but... I'm sure you..." she faltered with uncertainty. The concept of anyone wanting to stay by her side when she had nothing to offer, when she was in a place she herself didn't care for, with none of the comfort they might otherwise enjoy was foreign. It had always been her tending to her brother and father. It had always been her falling on her proverbial sword, sacrificing time, energy, and desires. Never had she expected reciprocation and now when it came in the form of an arrogant prince the silver-tongued brunette couldn't articulate her thoughts.

"Well, you can't blame me for not liking being in the medical tower," she finally stated once she found her voice again. "Or are you planning to redecorate your bedroom to look like this? My bed back home was much worse, and it's cleaner here than at home, but it smells like a hospital and there's a curious nurse or assistant everywhere I turn. Some people have nightmares about this thing," she concluded before taking a small menu in hand and sighing heavily with purposeful exaggeration. "But if you absolutely refuse to bust me out of this joint I'll order enough things that our image consultant will have a heart attack about my caloric intake and then we're have more company."
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