Blackvale

Blackvale

0 INK

The nobles from all corners of the Blackvale will be under a single roof. Nothing can go as planned when the Lords and Ladies try to marry off their children, the children defy at every opportunity, and old feuds rekindled. { CLOSED }

3,346 readers have visited Blackvale since mjolnir created it.

Introduction

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00000King Magnus has reigned over the Blackvale for the better part of 30 years along side his wife Guinevere. The Castillon reign has been said to be the most fruitful reign the kingdom has seen in the better part of 5 centuries, bringing the nation back to wealth, power and respect. But no matter how hard Magnus tries, immortality is not an option so he has no choice other than to prepare his children to carry on the family name and further raise Blackvale. Unlike Magnus who married quite young right out of a war, his children are getting to the age where they need to marry and have children before it's too late. But Magnus and Guinevere will not all their children to marry just anyone in the kingdom, that's just not the way it is.

00000Although Magnus has many years left to live, he desires his eldest son Rhaegar to be married above all others. Rumors have been spreading throughout the kingdom that there is becoming a greater desire for the king dead. Word has start to catch that over half of the noble families are envious for the throne and will do anything for it. Magnus fears that sooner rather than later he'll be meeting his end, and he feels safer knowing that there is a rightful heir that is ready to take up the throne who can quickly start on his own heir.

00000With the need for the royal children to now get married, Magnus and Guinevere decided there would be no better way to speed up the process would be to invited the noble families from the different lands of the Blackvale to the Black Keep. The seven noble families and their children will stay in the castle for the entire summer partaking in festivities, balls and feasts to allow their children to interact when they normally wouldn't. Magnus and Guinevere decided to be somewhat fair to their children allowing them to choose whom they wish to marry but they only have until the end of the summer to decide. If they have no decided then Magnus and his wife will arrange a marriage for them.

00000For the next summer the nobles from all of Blackvale will be together under one, rather large, roof. At the Black Keep drama will ensue as everyone lies and cheats their way closer to the throne. Families will push their children towards the royals to get closer to the throne, while others will plot against the king, the queen or other families. Old feuds will resurface, romances lurk around the corner and deception is imminent.

Current Male to Female ratio: 10 to 9
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Land: The Vale
Taken: Scar.-

The Castillon's are the ruling family over the Blackvale. They reside at the center of the kingdom in the Black Keep. Before them, the throne belonged to Xalvador Rotavele who was quickly leading to the ruin and destruction of the Blackvale. He squandered away 70% of the nation's wealth and sent much of the royal army into hopeless battles that ended in the deaths of a majority of the Vale's young. The citizen's were dying and restless, turning to the Lord of the North, Magnus Castillon to be their refuge. After nearly 5 years of battle, he usurped the King and took the throne for his own. Shortly after his victory, Magnus took Guinevere, a daughter of one of the Lord's from the riverlands, to be his wife.
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King
Magnus


NPC
Age: 53
FC: Michael Fassbender
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Queen
Guinevere


NPC
Age: 49
FC: Charlize Theron

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Rhaegar Castillon
"I don't need to speak to say what I mean."

Heir to the throne
Eldest twin

Age: 27
Hexcode: #B70909
FC: Charlie Hunnam


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Brom Castillon
"Hide your wives or they'll be mine by morning."

Head of the Guard
Youngest twin

Age: 27
Hexcode: #061B62
FC: Chris Hemsworth


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Gwendolynn Castillon
"I refuse to blend in and be looked over. I thrive to stand out. I am a diamond in the rough."

Only daughter

Age: 23
Hexcode: #f56e6f
FC: Sophie Turner

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Land: The Misty Isles
Taken: Bartholomew Finch

The Daverny's are the least noble of the nobles. They have the titles of Lords and Ladies but upon meeting them you wouldn't think that is possible for them to actually be noble at all. They are in charge of 90% of the kingdom's ships and naval forces. Although Hector is a Lord, he hardly follows the title. He often plunders and pillages ports he docks at which is one of the main reasons for their families wealth. When Magnus found out about this, he only allowed Hector to remain the Lord as long as he didn't raid any ports, ships or cities in Blackvale. Since that day, the Daverny's have been gunning for the Castillon's for ruining their lawless and carefree way of life.
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Lord
Hector


NPC
Age: 55
FC: Johnny Depp
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Lady
Elena


NPC
Age: 46
FC: Catherine Zeta Jones

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Marynn Daverny
"If I say to jump, you better not stop to ask how high."

Only daughter

Age: 28
Hexcode: #567580
FC: Clara Paget
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Howell Daverny
"I've got my own ambitions to serve."

Eldest son
Second born child

Age: 27
Hexcode: #DEAD83
FC: Aiden Turner
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Benjy Daverny
"They call me the blaggard for a reason sweetheart."

Youngest son
Last born child

Age: 25
Hexcode: #5BA664
FC: Orlando Bloom

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Land: The Dark Wood
Taken: Scar.- & Arrow-

The Thorne's reside in the darkest and hardest to manage part of Blackvale.The Dark Wood has been known to claim more lives than anything else in the kingdom due to it's harsh terrain and labyrinth like layout. Only those who have grown up in the Dark Wood can navigate it with ease. The Thorne's are a very distant family in relation to the other nobles and generally dislike anyone that isn't in their own family. They have an unsavory desire for the throne and have been rumored to be plotting Magnus' assassination and working their way to ruling the kingdom through marriage with the Castillon's or killing them.
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Lord
Vladmir


NPC
Age: 53
FC: Mark Strong
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Lady
Desdemona


NPC
Age: 47
FC: Julianne Moore

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Sylas Thorne
"Challenge me and you will lose."

Eldest child & twin
Knight

Age: 26
Hexcode: #999999
FC: Henry Cavill
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ImageImage
Sylva Thorne
"Neither love nor evil conquers all, but evil cheats more."

Youngest child & twin
Witch

Age: 26
Hexcode: #583668
FC: Katie McGrath

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Image
Land: The South
Taken: FaddedFox

The Thatchers are the Lords of the South, the vast land of fields that do a majority of the kingdom's farming and harvesting. It is the warmest and sunniest part of Blackvale that only has a 2 maybe 3 month winter which allows for a longer harvest year. The Thatcher's have always had a rather neutral standing when it comes to who sat on the throne. As long as the ruler did not interfere with what they did, they generally stood behind whomever was King. But that does not mean their children do not wish for more.
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Lord
William


NPC
Age: 55
FC: Iain Glen
0
0
0

Lady
Ophelia


NPC
Age: 52
FC: Elizabeth Mitchell

Image0Image
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ImageImage
Avery Thatcher
"I was always told the measure of a man is his strength. I think it is the willingness to stand by your convictions."

First born child
Eldest son

Age: 27
Hexcode: #F0A804
FC: Cary Elwes

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ImageImage
Ilene Thatcher
"Beauty is just as bloody as a blade in the hands of the willing."

Second born child
Only daughter

Age: 21
Hexcode: #CD1076
FC: Diane Kruger

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ImageImage
Elliot Thatcher
"Hm? What did you say? I was too busy imagining how wonderful it would be if you were in my bed right now."

Youngest son
Youngest child

Age: 18
Hexcode: #551A8B
FC: Garrett Hedlund

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Image
Land: The Riverlands
Taken: Arrow-

The Graysons rule over the Riverlands in the East. The family has a rocky stance when it comes to the Castillons. Lord Robert stood beside Magnus in the war and still to this day is a close confident. Lady Elizabeth was arranged to marry Magnus but after the war Guinevere seduced Magnus away from her. Since then, Elizabeth has had a vendetta out for the Queen due to her still being madly in love with Magnus, while Robert is in love with her. This causes a rift in the family and often sends mixed signals to the child as to their feelings towards the rulers.
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Lord
Robert


NPC
Age: 52
FC: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
0
0
0

Lady
Elizabeth


NPC
Age: 49
FC: Emily Blunt

Image0Image
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ImageImage
Rosalyn Grayson
"I'm more than enough to best any man."

Eldest daughter & child
Secretly the King's daughter

Age: 28
Hexcode: #660033
FC: Rebecca Ferguson
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ImageImage

Seraphina Grayson
"Quote"

Middle daughter & child

Age: 25
Hexcode: #C19A6B
FC: Holliday Grainger

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ImageImage

Aurora Grayson
"We were born to be real, not perfect."

Youngest daughter & child

Age: 23
Hexcode: #87758F
FC: Emilia Clarke

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Image
Land: The North
Taken: TheCrimsonLady

The Allyrion's have been very close with the Castillon's since before Magnus' reign. Ramsey fought along side Magnus during the war that gained him the throne. As rightful payback Magnus named him the Lord of the North and Captain of the royal army.
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Lord
Ramsey


NPC
Age: 54
FC: Idris Alba
0
0
0

Lady
Charlotte


NPC
Age: 49
FC: Carice Van Houten

Image0Image
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ImageImage
Jonah Allyrion
"Take the easy route, now where's the fun in that?"

Eldest Child
Only Son

Age: 25
Hexcode: #E80000
FC: Luke Pasqualino


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ImageImage
Clara Allyrion
"We look up at the stars and see such different things."

Youngest Child
Only Daughter

Age: 18
Hexcode: #388E8E
FC: Jessica Parker Kennedy


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Land: The Western Bluffs
Reserved: MoonlightWraith

The Chaimbers have been the Lords of the Bluffs for centuries. They are some of the few who are able to navigate the vast mountainous area and use it effectively. Their allegiances tend to lean more towards the King, but like many people in Blackvale, their opinions can be easily swayed one way or the other.
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Lord
Charles


NPC
Age: 50
FC: Viggo Mortensen
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Lady
Jocelyn


NPC
Age: 48
FC: Lana Parilla

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Jonathan Chaimbers
"There is art in both war and love."

Eldest child & son

Age: 27
Hexcode: #9BC4E2
FC: Tom Riley


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Vivienne Chaimbers
"This whole situation gives me a sense of dread, and I haven't been to sleep yet."

Middle child & only daughter

Age: 23
Hexcode: #92CCA6
FC: Gabriella Wilde


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Frederick Chaimbers
"It seems so few of us are even interested in marriage."

Youngest child & son

Age: 20
Hexcode: #96CDCD
FC: Toby Regbo


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Land: The Eastmarsh
Taken: CabbageAngel

The Cavalier's are the Lords of the Marsh lands in the East. Lord James also fought along side Magnus when he usurped the throne 3 decades ago and has always supported his reign. But James' wife Beatrice has had her eye on the throne for many years. She is determined to marry one of her children to a Castillon and will 'take care of' anyone else, including a Castillon who gets in the way.
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Lord
James


NPC
Age: 57
FC: Sean Bean
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Lady
Beatrice


NPC
Age: 51
FC: Cate Blanchett

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Lara Cavalier
"Where is it written that I can't be the princess and the frog?"

Eldest Daughter

Age: 20
Hexcode: #A8C5EA
FC: Mia Wasikowska


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Toggle Rules

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Reservations

DISCLAIMER: I am severely picky when it comes to who can join this RP. Due to the previous attempt dying out from inactivity reservations are not guaranteed to be accepted. This is a "private" RP. But I am letting others join if they show that they are loyal, interested and a mature writer.

♔ Reservations are for a family. Depending on how many characters you wish to play dictates the number of children in the family. There isn't any reservations of a single member of a family reserved by someone else.

♔ Reservations are competitive. More than one person can reserve a family, and I will decide whom would be given the opportunity to play said family. There is also a chance that no one could get it due to the requirements of this being an advanced RP.

♔ Your activity on here is important. If you are not consistently active, and cannot post once a week then, I am sorry but you will be turned down a reservation.

♔ To request a reservation here is what is needed: The family, FCs of the characters you wish to play and a sample post sent to me in a PM. I will ignore any reservations posted in the OOC. Posting it there shows that you did not read through the rules to know how to properly request a role.

♔ Every character is human and mortal. There is no werewolves, vampires or any other species. This allows the plot to be purely deception and drama driven, while putting everyone on the same playing field.

♔ If possible try to find time period accurate FCs. You can always ask me for help, I've been told to be pretty good at them :)


Rules

One important note I want everyone to make is that when making relationships with other characters, I don't want any planned out romance. This is meaning to the point of figuring out which character of yours is going to marry which. You may discuss that a character may be interested in another but I'd like a lot of the romance to be the like the drama, meaning unplanned and kinda just goes with the flow.

♔ This is an advanced RP. So I would like posts with a minimum of 500 words.

♔ NPCs are controlled only by the people who control the family. i.e. Only I can control King Magnus because he's part of my family. It's the same as an actual character, if you want to move them or do something with them, just ask their writer.

♔ This is an advanced and mature RP, there will be drama, language, and whatever else. But let's keep to the rules of the site, and just "fade to black" for when things get too heavy.

♔ Drama is amazing... In the RP. OOC drama is unwanted. If you have an issue take it to PMs or come to me and I will handle it.

♔ Death will happen, but do not kill off someone's character without their permission. Also do not kill off NPC family members without the writer of the family's permission and mine.

♔ If any inactivity that wasn't warned about on the OOC or PM for over 1-2 weeks, you will get a PM from me, potentially left behind in the RP and possibly kicked.

I apologize for all the harsh rules and extensive reservations. I'm just really wanting this RP to be a very strong and well written one. I'm wanting advanced writer's who are consistently active and won't disappear. If you are the type to fall out of an RP PLEASE do not reserve. That drives me, and a lot of us in here, crazy. There's nothing worse then enjoying an RP and having it die out because of others disappearing.


Character Sheets

These can literally be set up however you would like. I know I personally enjoy putting together my own rather that filling someone else's. Just be sure to include the usuals:

♔ Basic info: Age, name, nicknames, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

♔ Physical appearance

♔ Personality (at least 2 paragraphs)

♔ Details: Strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, fears. (No one is God and no one is super flawed to the point where it's annoying)

♔ History (this can be brief, I don't care if it's a paragraph or 2. I find personality info more important)


Character Sheet


Code: Select all
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[img]CharacterName/Fontmeme[/img]
[img]CharacterImage[/img]

[font=Garamound][color=#f70046][size=200][b]{[/b][/size][/color][size=90][color=#666666][i]"QUOTE"[/i][/color][/size][color=#f70046][size=200][b]}[/b][/size][/color][/font][/center]
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[img]Title:%20Basics%20image[/img][color=#a0e8ba]▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃[/color]
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[font=Garamond][color=#f70046][b]N I C K N A M E[/b][/color][/font]
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[font=Garamond][color=#f70046][b]G E N D E R[/b][/color][/font]
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[img]Title:%20Appearance%20image[/img][color=#a0e8ba]▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃[/color]
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[font=Garamond][color=#f70046][b]A P P E A R A N C E[/b][/color][/font]
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[img]Title:%20Personality%20image[/img][color=#a0e8ba]▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃[/color]
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[justify][size=90][color=#f70046]Strength 1 // [/color][color=#666666]***[/color][/size]

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[img]Title:%20History%20image[/img][color=#a0e8ba]▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃[/color]
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[font=Garamond][color=#f56e6f][b]F A M I L Y[/b][/color] [color=transparent]0[/color] [color=#f56e6f][b]T I E S[/b][/color][/font]
[size=90][color=#f56e6f]Name // [/color][color=#666666]Relation[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]Dead/Alive[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]***[/color][/size]

[size=90][color=#f56e6f]Name // [/color][color=#666666]Relation[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]Dead/Alive[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]***[/color][/size]

[size=90][color=#f56e6f]Name // [/color][color=#666666]Relation[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]Dead/Alive[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]***[/color][/size]

[size=90][color=#f56e6f]Name // [/color][color=#666666]Relation[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]Dead/Alive[/color][color=#f56e6f] // [/color][color=#666666]***[/color][/size][/justify]
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[font=Garamond][color=#f70046][b]H E X C O D E[/b][/color][/font]
[size=90][color=#666666]#******[/color][/size]

[font=Garamond][color=#f70046][b]C R E A T O R[/b][/color][/font]
[size=90][color=#666666]Scar.-[/color][/size][/center]

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 7 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gwendolynn Castillon Character Portrait: Avery Thatcher Character Portrait: Rosalyn Grayson Character Portrait: Ilene Thatcher Character Portrait: Seraphina Grayson Character Portrait: Sylva Thorne Character Portrait: Jonathan Chaimbers Character Portrait: Howell Daverny Character Portrait: Elliot Thatcher

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AVERY THATCHER
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Eldest Son | The Armadillo
#F0A804 | Outfit
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ELLIOT THATCHER
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Youngest Son | The Casanova
#551A8B | Outfit
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ILENE THATCHER
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Only Daughter | The Thorny Rose
#CD1076 | Outfit


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“Well my lord, I shall keep my eyes peeled while I dance with the other Lords and report back to you with my findings. But in return you should listen out for which gentlemen have true and honest intentions so that I might survive this summer unscathed.”

“Thank you m’lady. I great appreciate you looking out for me. And I promise I’ll return the favor. I promise I won’t push my brother on you, beyond saying he is one that has true and honest intentions. I hope you do find a lucky stag that pleases you and if that happens to be my brother, I wish the best to you both. If not, I won’t begrudge you. That leaves 6 men I need to report to you about,” Elliot answered her with a smile.

“I find Sylas Thorne quite agreeable, but I stop that right there,” she said then before leaning in and Elliot obliged and moved closer to hear her. “We all know the rumors there.”

“Very true. I would be careful,” he nodded and spun the princess. He was honestly happy that she was returning his earlier banter. She seemed a pretty down to earth woman. That was a good thing at least.

“I do agree Jonah is quite handsome. Howell looks charming as does your brother,” she chuckled and made a silly face. Elliot couldn’t help but grin. He almost wanted to say ‘Charming? Are you sure you are looking at my brother?’ but he figured those jokes would have to come later when there was an easy friendship. He liked to tease and play but he didn’t want to sabotage his brother either. “As for Jonathan Chaimbers, I’ll leave him to you. He isn’t quite my type… At least, so far as I know.”

“Ooh. I would be glad to take him off your hands,” he grinned. “Without him, you’d have 5 to pick from and if you are staying away from a certain Thorne, then 4. See? Well on our way to narrowing down the playing field,” he winked. When the conversation turned to hobbies, he smiled as he listened.

“Well… I do enjoy horseback riding. I’m quite good at it, even beat my Father in races. Honestly, I enjoy most things that gentlemen prefer that is unacceptable for a female to enjoy. My mother detests it. But what does she expect when I grew up with two older brothers.”

He chuckled and an excited glint entered his eyes. “I love horseback riding. We must make it a point to go riding this summer. And I find nothing wrong with a woman wanting to enjoy the 'realms' of men. I think it gives you an advantage. You wouldn't be a damsel in distress,” he answered her. Then the dance sadly came to an end. He knew he couldn’t be as free with the other woman as he had been with Gwen. He had taken a risk as it was. He would have to posture and pretend to be interested in the others.

“Well I did quite enjoy our time together. I do hope we can spend time together again… When I’m not wearing an obscenely tight corset.”

"It was honestly a pleasure, your Highness,” he answered and gave her knuckles a farewell brush. “I look forward to our time together.” He watched her leave a moment and sighed. And to think the dancing had only just begun. He loved dancing but dancing with all of these pretty ladies was going to be a drag. He shook his head and turned to settle his gaze on his new dance partner.

“Ah, Lady Rosalyn, it is an honor,” Elliot began and gave her a low bow as he took her hand in his own. Just like Jonah before him, he immediately felt the callouses on her finger tips. It intrigued Elliot and he arched an eyebrow in his curiosity. It wasn’t often that women played with weapons. He offered her a bright smile as he kissed her knuckles. He righted himself as the two of them began to dance. “My lady, forgive me if I am being rude but it is not often to see a woman so well-trained with a weapon,” he mused, a smile never leaving his face. “I do hope the reason behind your training was a simple desire and eagerness to learn it, and not one of dire necessity. I hope to see you in your element one of these days.”
________

“Lord Avery, as rough as you may be, it is not the outside that matters at all. It is the inside of the soul, the talents one possesses and how they use them to their advantage is what matters most to me. If the shell for that soul happens to be appealing, it is just a bonus. As for my summer… Well, being in the castle setting truly brings out the best in me. A change of pace was never bad for anyone. Besides, are we not supposed to find our true loves here?”

Avery offered her a genuine smile. He had been wrong about her first impression. It was refreshing to hear that not everyone valued appearance above all else. He too cared far more about what was on the inside, the personality of someone, rather than attractiveness. He could appreciate beauty but he’d rather have someone good hearted than ‘pretty’ by his side. So much of his work dealt with helping the people that pledged fealty to him and his family after all. He wouldn’t be able to tolerate someone far more concerned with their own comfort. Seraphina seemed interesting at least.

“I agree,” he answered her. [color=#F0A804]“Appearance shouldn’t count so much. Our deeds speak far louder and longer than our outer shells. As for changes and true loves, I don’t think we’ll find true love by pursuing it by force. With everyone here pursuing each other in the hopes of ‘winning’, it will amount to more ‘losing’ and pushing away what is real. Love should flow naturally, if it is there. A friendship can be far more valuable than a romance in strange situations like these,” he mused. He probably wasn’t hitting any winning notes but he didn’t want to lie either. A love built on lies was nothing but empty.

Before he could change topic, it was time to switch partners. He gave the lady another bow. “Have a good evening, Lady Seraphina. If there is love here, I do hope you find it in one of these suitors.” Avery turned to his next partner then, Sylva Thorne. He honestly didn’t know what to think about Sylva. She was beautiful and he loved her eyes, though they were cold and maybe there was a certain annoyance in her gaze. Her dark hair did make her very different from the fair haired girls around the room. There was something about her he couldn’t place and even more than with Seraphina, he wasn’t sure what to say to her.

He took her hand and offered her smile. “Good evening, Lady Sylva. You look very beautiful tonight. I do hope you are enjoying the dancing thus far?” he asked as they began their second round of dancing.
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"A rather odd topic of conversation I must say, the Misty Isles is usually avoided in conversation altogether."

“That may be true, but that is where you are from and we are dancing so we could get to know each other, right? It is only right that I ask you about your life.” Ilene answered with a smile. She had heard fairytales but that wouldn’t do Howell justice to just go by what she had heard in crazy tales. She’d give him the chance to tell her himself.

"It's only half as thrilling as people expect, mostly its hard work and avoiding angering the wrong sorts. Even the kindest men in the Isles are willing to steal or kill for coin, though they rarely get far in our case. But it's not all bad. It's never boring, and there's always an adventure to be had. The view is breathtaking, even on a stormy night when the waves toss the ship hard enough to strike fear into the hardiest of men."


Ilene listened with rapt attention. It did sound threatening and dangerous but what life wasn’t filled with danger? It really didn’t sound all that different from their world here. “That doesn’t sound all that different from here. The angering the wrong sorts and people killing for coin bit. The same can be said about the political arena,” she answered him. “And it does sound like a beautiful sight. I’d like to see what the view is like on board a ship. Maybe not in a storm, mind, but I would like to see the sea. I’ve heard that it looks like gold glittering on the horizon when the sun hits it and at night the dark waves glitter silver. Is that true? I’ve never been anywhere near the sea to be honest.”

"Oh, but it's not quite fair if I do all the talking. I'm sorry to say I don't know much about The South, I'm restricted by what little knowledge reaches the Isles. So, if you would be so kind as to tell me, Lady Ilene, what kind of exciting life do you lead?"

Ilene chuckled at the lord. “Then we have much to learn from each other, Lord Howell. I’ll teach you about the South and you can teach me about the Misty Isles. But really, my life isn’t all that exciting. Farming is our staple and that is what we mostly deal with. We do a lot of trades and such so it is interesting to see the strangers that come by. The most exciting thing about the South is the forest if you want to explore it. The South is quiet and peaceful. Elliot often refers to it as ‘boring’,” she chuckled. Maybe getting close to Howell would be a good thing. Since he did live in the Misty Isles, maybe they could open some sort of trade route. A partnership could be a good thing. If ever there was a war they’d have an ally to turn to if nothing else.

And that is when the dance ended, signaling the switch. Ilene gave a courtesy to Howell then. “I look forward to the chance to learn more about you and your Misty Isles,” she smiled. She extended her hand out to her new dance partner then.

“Lord Jonathan,” she greeted with a nod of her head.

"You are a sight fit for the Gods, Lady Ilene," Jonathan began

"Thank you. You are not too bad yourself," she said with a little smile. "Though I suppose saying that we are beautiful is going to be the headline for all of these dances. Good for the ego if nothing else. Why don't you tell me something interesting about yourself?" she asked then.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brom Castillon Character Portrait: Aurora Grayson Character Portrait: Avery Thatcher Character Portrait: Rosalyn Grayson Character Portrait: Jonah Allyrion Character Portrait: Seraphina Grayson Character Portrait: Benjy Daverny

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ROSALYN GRAYSON
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King's Bastard | The Red Rose
#660033 | [url]Outfit[/url]
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SERAPHINA GRAYSON
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Eldest True Grayson | The Sweet Pea
#C19A6B | [url]Outfit[/url]
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SYLVA THORNE
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Sylas' Twin | The Cobra
#583668 | [url]Outfit[/url]
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AURORA GRAYSON
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Youngest Grayson | The Little Petal
#87758F | [url]Outfit[/url]


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Seraphina almost snorted when Avery said, “I agree.” Of course he would. He seemed too kind to turn any ladies words down. She pondered this as he continued. “Appearance shouldn’t count so much. Our deeds speak far louder and longer than our outer shells. As for changes and true loves, I don’t think we’ll find true love by pursuing it by force. With everyone here pursuing each other in the hopes of ‘winning’, it will amount to more ‘losing’ and pushing away what is real. Love should flow naturally, if it is there. A friendship can be far more valuable than a romance in strange situations like these.”

Seraphina almost sighed. While what he was saying could be seen as quite noble, she couldn’t follow his words. Seraphina wasn't here seeking love, she was seeking power and would do anything to get it. The soon-to-be-King was going to be hers, he had to be. Seraphina had spent too much of her life wedged between Rosalyn’s shadow and Aurora’s childishness. Rhaegar would be her husband, and she would crush any girl in her way.

Before she could say anything else to the man, the music queued them to change partners. Avery dropped into a bow. “Have a good evening, Lady Seraphina. If there is love here, I do hope you find it in one of these suitors.” She sighed and mentally rolled her eyes. Would there be anyone here that understood love wasn't worth it?

Next to be her partner was none other than the future King’s brother. He was rather handsome too, especially that she saw him up close. She wondered briefly if sharing a bed with him would ruin her plans to wed his brother and decided to think about it at a more opportune time. “My lady Seraphina, you are without a doubt stunning this evening.” He said as he bowed to her and kissed her hand.

Seraphina smiled softly and curtsied as any lady should. “Prince Castillon, what a pleasure… Though from the looks of that fake smile, you are having just as much fun as I am.” She chuckled. “Appearances are quite a hinderance. Especially in front of family.” She teased lightly and got into the position to dance with him.





Sylva avoided being stepped on by the pirate-boy’s clumsiness while listening to him talk. “It’s a myth that we never walk on land, and not a very intelligent one at that. After all, one cannot always look after an entire island from afar.”

Sylva sighed and looked at him with her cold face. “I pity the land you walk upon. Maybe one day you will do the earth a favour and stop walking entirely.”

Whether he heard her or not didnt matter because what he said next made her livid. ”But your lot would know plenty about myths, right?” He grinned at her, knowing well that he was touching upon a forbidden topic. She made sure to keep her appearance in check, making it known that what he said didnt affect her, but when she spoke her voice was as sharp as the most fearsome sword.

“I would hold your tongue, pirate, else wise you may wake up one morning to find that it has gone missing.” She hissed. The music changed and it was time to change partners. Sylva laughed softly and gave him a big, pleasant smile before changing to the next partner. She looked over at Sylas, hopping to catch his eyes. She knew that if he could just see her, he would know something was wrong. They had that kind of connection. She would have to tell him about the threat later on. For now, she was concerned with the new oaf in front of her.

“Good evening, Lady Sylva. You look very beautiful tonight. I do hope you are enjoying the dancing thus far?” he asked her innocently. His hands were rough from farming and the texture was much different from her brothers. Until the ball, she hadn’t truly been around, or touched, this many men. It was odd finding differences in the men. Lord Avery, the man before her, was the complete opposite of her brother. Light haired, kind face, pleasant demeanour.

It disgusted her, yet she tried to keep her appearances as best as she could. Causing problems for her brother and making more enemies would get them nowhere.

“Thank you, Lord Avery. You also look… quite fetching.” She said and curtsied before beginning to dance with him. She had nothing in common with this boy, so it would be quite interesting to see what small talk he would come up with.




When Rosalyn had been brought to the castle, she really hadn’t expected herself to be having any fun or making any friends. Of course, she couldn’t say if she truly considered Jonah a friend, but he certainly was fun at the very least.

”The best advice I've ever receive tumbled from the lips of a woman, I trust her words more than my own." He said. Rosalyn hummed in curiosity, wondering what kind of woman would give him advice. He seemed like quite the flirt, and thus she knew that the woman he talked about could be anywhere in the world.

"I will say, though, My Lady, A mysterious woman such as yourself, tend to arouse curiosity. Though your advice is sound, I'm sure, you should know it will be very difficult to heed. Especially when the mystery dances just out of my reach.” He said, and Rosalyn found herself laughing again at how ridiculous he was. She could only hope that other people were half as interesting as he was. If so, things might become more interesting. She was about to say something when he pulled her closer to him, gently resting against his chest. Most girls would gasp and blush, but Rosalyn just found herself laughing. What an interesting man. "It would make any man risk an arrow to solve it.”

With that, the song ended and Jonah swept back from his hold on her, bowing and kissing her hand. ”We should hunt together, I imagine it would be great fun, I will be sure to wear my armor, should there be any stray arrows flying my way." He said and spun her out of his arms and into the next man in line. Rosalyn laughed and watched him strutting away. Well, if anything, she had found herself a hunting partner. She wondered how long that would last though, when her plans unravelled.

Next in line to dance with her was a boy with some of the longest hair in the room. He looked as though he was a tad younger than her and she recognized him as Elliot Thatcher. “Ah, Lady Rosalyn, it is an honor,” He started and gave her a low bow as he took her hand in his own. He kissed her skin and smiled brightly at her.

“My lady, forgive me if I am being rude but it is not often to see a woman so well-trained with a weapon. I do hope the reason behind your training was a simple desire and eagerness to learn it, and not one of dire necessity. I hope to see you in your element one of these days.” He said, and Rosalyn realized he must have also felt her rough fingers. She dwelled on his words for a moment; why had she learned to shoot a bow? Desire or necessity? At first, it had been necessity. She needed to learn how to defend herself. The desire came soon after she realized she had an aptitude for the bow and rather enjoyed it. Of course, these were things she could not tell him.

“A weapon? And what, may I ask, makes you believe that it is a weapon I wield instead of a trade? I know many a women with rough fingers due to cooking and needle work.” She said as she curtsied and began to dance with him. “What about me says that I would know how to wield a weapon? I am just an innocent lady of course.”




Aurora was pondering whether what she had said was too odd for Frederick to handle, as it wouldn't be the first time her words had confused and turned those away from her. Most men, or really people in general, find her a bit weird. She could understand why; even she knew that she had a unique way of being. Nevertheless, she was pleasantly surprised when the man almost agreed with her.

"Not at all, in a sense it is true.” He said, ”I suppose it depends on the person, and why they're drinking." Aurora nodded. She supposed she would try drinking sometime, maybe even that summer. It would be an interesting experience to say the least.

The music slowly faded, thus marking the end of their dance. "It would appear our time has come to an end, ’tis a shame, I was rather enjoying the discussion." He said and bowed, letting go of her. She had found it rather enjoyable too. "It was a pleasure to have danced with you, lady Aurora, hopefully we shall see more of each other over the Summer.” Aurora smiled and curtsied. He was very kind, it seemed. She wouldn’t mind speaking to him more. He seemed to have experienced things she would find interesting to learn about.

Her next partner was her sisters previous one; Jonathan Allyrion. Tall, dark, handsome. He was sure to sweep someone off their feet, and with one look to her sister’s unusually cheery eyes, Aurora knew this man was one of the good ones. It took a miracle to actually make her older sister cheer up. She watched his face as he peered past her at first, looking over at the Princess, and Aurora giggled softly. She could see right through him, to the butterflies flying around in his stomach. A few moments later he seemed to snap out of his dreamy state and focus on her.

"My lady, Aurora.” The man said as he came up to her, clearing his head from his prior thoughts. He bowed and kissed her hand softly. “Such a fitting name, It reminds me of the lights that dance in the sky in the North. Might I have this dance?”

Aurora nodded to him and rested her hands in the right places. “Of course you may, Lord Jonah.” He was much taller than her, and lankier than most men, so it felt rather funny to her that she would dance with him. It was like a small fairy was dancing with a giant. Instead of telling this to him, she focused on his prior comment.

“My Father once told me that I was named after the night skies lights. He said that my Mother wanted me to be just as bright and beautiful as them one day… So they named me after it.” She grinned. “I have never seen the lights myself though, as I rarely left the Riverlands.”

They spun around to the music and Aurora looked at him curiously, “I must ask, Lord Jonah. Why did you not go to her? I am not the one you want to be dancing with right now. I can tell, I’m very perceptive.” She said bluntly. “The Princess is very beautiful, but that should not deter you or make you nervous. If you are smart enough to make even my older sister laugh, you can make the Princess smile as well.”




The subtle harshness in the words dug deep. But he keep the smile upon his face and let his hand finally rest upon hers. His gaze fell as he hesitated before speaking in a hushed tone. ”Would it be too forward of me to say because I missed you terribly?”

He finally looked back up and met that gaze of hers that made him fall in love those many years ago. Magnus made sure to do nothing to draw attention their way, he didn’t want scandal or to disgrace Elizabeth. ”I know I shouldn’t speak of such things,” he concluded as he continued to lead her about the ballroom.

Magnus remained silent for a long while until they stood on the far end of the room where no one lingered and their voices could not travel. He kept his gaze forward, fixated on his children’s merriment but he spoke towards her, his hand lightly grasping hers tighter. ”I’d be lying if I said my heart did not yearn for you every waking moment since the day you left.”

Elizabeth felt like she was on the verge of fainting due to the anxiety. Why had this man decided to do this to her? She had just hoped to quietly co-exist with him during the summer, never getting close enough to even talk. With their past, it was dangerous for them to even be speaking to one another, much less walking together arm-in-arm. What could he want from her?

”Would it be too forward of me to say because I missed you terribly?” Magnus said. Elizabeth’s legs felt terribly weak in that moment and she had to stop herself from tumbling down as they walked. Those words hit her heart deep. It felt like old scars on her heart were being reopened. Their eyes met, and for a moment she saw him as he was when they were young and in love. He still had those same eyes.

”I know I shouldn’t speak of such things,” He said to her after her long silence, and he slowly lead her to a more quiet corner of the room where they could speak and not draw any attention to themselves. They watched their children spinning around the room with their partners. It all reminded her of when she had spent her own time in the castle. She had been so young and gullible.

”I’d be lying if I said my heart did not yearn for you every waking moment since the day you left.” His warm hand was on hers, gripping her tighter, and Elizabeth felt her knees shake beneath her dress. She was a strong woman when it came to most foes or enemies, but this man had a way of unhinging her with just a single glance.

Tears threatened to spring forth, just as her emotions that had been so well kept all of the years were unlocked and came pouring out. Elizabeth spoke so quietly, it was barely a whisper and she wasn’t sure if he would hear her. “You know it was not I that left you…”

They had been in love. So deeply in love. Elizabeth had thought her and Magnus would be together for ever and have the type of life that you only heard in stories. He would be a great ruler, and she would be beside him helping him through all the hardships. It would have been perfect, if it had not been ruined.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aurora Grayson Character Portrait: Jonah Allyrion Character Portrait: Clara Allyrion Character Portrait: Frederick Chaimbers

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JONAH ALLYRION
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Eldest Child | The Winter's Wolf
#E80000 | Outfit
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CLARA ALLYRION
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Only Daughter | The Winter's Child
#388E8E | Outfit


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Lady Aurora was adorably little. Jonah noted, as she nodded. Her very present reminded him of his sister. He felt much too big, the urge to look after her was overwhelming. Yes, he would not be flirting with this one, it would be like flirting with his sister. “Of course you may, Lord Jonah.” He took her hand with a smile and led her to the floor.

“My Father once told me that I was named after the night skies lights. He said that my Mother wanted me to be just as bright and beautiful as them one day… So they named me after it.” She said with a grin. “I have never seen the lights myself, though, as I rarely left the Riverlands.” She said and Jonah was about to speak on that when she wore a curious expression, gazing up at him. Poor thing had to crane her neck to look him in the eye, he wanted to lift her on his feet, to stop the straining.

“I must ask, Lord Jonah. Why did you not go to her? I am not the one you want to be dancing with right now. I can tell, I’m very perceptive,” She said plainly and Jonah's dark brow rose to his forehead. "I see,"Jonah replied. “The Princess is very beautiful, but that should not deter you or make you nervous. If you are smart enough to make even my older sister laugh, you can make the Princess smile as well.” To his Jonah laughed. Yes, much like his sister. They were the younger, not much was expected of them, so they could speak their mind as they well pleased, or at least in Clara's case when Mother wasn't around. He looked down at her with a smile. He could say something flirty but no, not with her. He wanted her to smile, nothing else and a lie hidden behind a flirt would not do, as she said, she was perceptive.
"You should meet my sister, I believe you to would get on quite nicely." he commented. "You are right, she makes me nervous, but it is not her pretty face, if it were, I would have been nervous to speak to you as well."
Alright, so he wouldn't flirt too much. "Truthfully, My lady, my nerves are well..." He paused, he didn't like speaking this allowed but he appreciated her willingness to speak her mind, and that should be rewarded with the truth. "My true name was a gift to the King, a thank you for gifting my father a lordship when he'd been nothing more than a stable hand before the war. My father promised that he would name his firstborn son, the heir to the keep after the man that gave it to him." He said and his eyes found his father for a moment. "So my name is Magnus Jonah Allyrion." He said and smiled. "So you can imagine why I am nervous to dance with the woman whose father I am named after." He said and had the feeling she would ask why he went by Jonah and not such a powerful name. His sister would have. "This part is a secret of mine, but I go by Jonah because I have yet earned my true name. I will one day, but not as of yet." He told her with a smile. "Can you keep that between us?" He asked. "And perhaps one day, I can show you your namesake."

Meanwhile, Clara watched Lord Fredrick as he chuckled. "I guess, I'm just so unremarkable."He said and for a moment she missed the jest. "Especially if such a beauty doesn't notice me... Perhaps I should become a thief." He said and she pursed her lips in a pout. He bowed to her and she smiled a little. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lady Clara." He said and she nodded. "The pleasure is all mine, Lord Fredrick." She said with a curtsey and allowed him to lead her to the floor. "So, My Lord Unremarkable," She began, knowing her mother would not be pleased with her being the one to start the conversation but she couldn't resist the urge to tease him back. She knew coyness was a game that women often played, she needed to try her hand at it, besides, it would be much too easy if she did play things this way. "What do you like to do?" she asked with a smile. "Outside of teasing innocent girls?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gwendolynn Castillon Character Portrait: Rhaegar Castillon Character Portrait: Sylas Thorne Character Portrait: Ilene Thatcher Character Portrait: Sylva Thorne Character Portrait: Lara Cavalier Character Portrait: Marynn Daverny Character Portrait: Howell Daverny Character Portrait: Benjy Daverny

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MARYNN DAVERNY
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Only Daughter | The Quarter Master
#567580 | Outfit
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BENJY DAVERNY
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Youngest Child | The First Mate
#5BA664 | Outfit
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HOWELL DAVERNY
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Eldest Son | The Swordsman
#DEAD83 | Outfit


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“Then we have much to learn from each other, Lord Howell. I’ll teach you about the South and you can teach me about the Misty Isles. But really, my life isn’t all that exciting. Farming is our staple and that is what we mostly deal with. We do a lot of trades and such so it is interesting to see the strangers that come by. The most exciting thing about the South is the forest if you want to explore it. The South is quiet and peaceful. Elliot often refers to it as ‘boring’,” Exciting or not, Howell listened with his whole attention focused on her. The dance something done in the background, dips, and twirls automatically. He isn’t so easily battered as the rest of his family when it comes to being on land. He finds the contrast between their homes fascinating. Farming, for all its import, may be ‘boring’ but it seems like honest work. Something that many of the people in the Isle’s can’t boast about. Trade and thievery the main source of their income. He could find plenty of room for an alliance between them, no doubt, and it helps that Ilene is so openly willing to speak to him. Maybe he could show her a thing or two about what it's like to be a pirate. Even if he is more of the proper sort.

The end of the dance comes far too fast for Howell’s taste, but alas, there are many people here tonight. And no reason to deny further interesting conversation. Especially since it seems his next partner is one of three reasons that the nobles have come to gather here. “I look forward to the chance to learn more about you and your Misty Isles,” Howell returns her smile, glad that his first dancing partner of the night was someone who did not harbor ill will or misinformed rumors “As do I.” Before turning to his next partner for the night.

Gwendolynn is truly a sight to behold, and yet, beyond the obvious beauty is a spark of rebellion hiding in the shine of her eyes. Like recognizes like, despite Howell’s penchant for pretending at being truly proper. Or perhaps Howell is superimposing his own views of the situation. Were he to be under such strict supervision, he’d have certainly gone mad. Lady Elena is bad enough, he can’t imagine how much worse she’d be if she were a queen. He could tell that she, most of all, would most likely have plenty of interesting things to say. That, he has no doubts of. “Lord Daverny.” She curtsies, and he bows back before he takes her hand lightly. Leading them into the dance with a newly practiced ease. Glad to have gotten the steps down between the first iteration and now.

“Lady Castillon,” He smiles, channeling the easy charm that makes him who he is. “Just Howell is fine, we are here to get to know one another after all.” A true enough statement, though truthfully, Howell is already suffocating under how proper and put together this event is, the formality on top of that just makes it so much worse. “I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself, so to speak” Howell comments, “I know these events probably aren’t all that fun. Though I find it rather interesting that all of us have managed to be this mannered for so long – especially with so many clashing personalities in one space.” He wouldn’t mind something interesting happening, so long as it didn’t come from his family. They had enough issues here without demonizing themselves in front of the other nobles. As if their reputation weren’t already bad enough. It amuses him in a way, how easy it is to speak his mind when unencumbered with his siblings. They are too often the stifling force behind his own ability to relax.

~*~



The charming smile was not completely lost on her, and Marynn, for her worth did not pretend that he was not indeed charming. Though she still had to force her expressions, no amount of charm would change that. And she had no inclinations to pretend otherwise. Compliment or not. ”Well… whoever told me that all Daverny’s lost their intelligence from drinking that salt water was wrong.” He bowed and parted with a kiss on the hand, Marynn bid him farewell as per required, wondering if that had been a true compliment or more of a backhanded one. Whatever the case, she did not let her mask fall too far. "Let’s hope more rumors are disproved this night… What fun would a summer in the Keep be if we all already knew everything about each other.” Her lips quirked into a small smirk after that, “Indeed.” She spoke, though more aloud to herself than to him. It would simply be no fun if things turned out at clear cut as she had formerly assumed it would be. Nothing like a few surprises here and there to keep the waters from going stagnant. "Have a pleasant evening my lady.”

“And you, my lord.” She nodded, satisfied that she had in the least held her ground in words. Her skills at dancing may be wrought with fault, but she still had her tongue and the spark behind it. She took a few moments to breathe, relaxation far from mind. She could not drop the rigidity of her spine or the way her cheeks seemed to burn from the force of keeping up such a peasant expression. She is tired already, wanting to find somewhere to exercise her skills of hiding away for a while. But this event had only just begun, there was more to contend with in the coming few dances. Almost hilariously, she found that she was soon faced by the prince. Looking down the line, to where her brothers were, she could see that Howell too had been paired with one of the royal children. Something about that amused her, internally. Externally she curtsied, feeling a little out of her depth here.

He was grinning, and she could not tell if it was meant to mock or encourage. Either way, she steeled her resolve. ”A pleasure my lady Daverny.” He caught her almost off guard, there was no hint of a lie in his tone, so far as she could tell. And that gave her some pause, as he kissed her knuckles and offered his arm. ”How are your land legs faring you? I can imagine it’s quite different being in the Vale.”

“This dance is tiring,” She spoke in truth, eyebrow raised as if to dare him to make a joke out of it. She had not yet sussed him out yet. Nothing separating the idea of who he is supposed to be from whom he really is. Marynn knows she shouldn’t judge so early on, but the urge is still there to bite. “Otherwise, I do quite fine on land. Would be better if I were not forced into wearing such dreadfully unwieldy clothing.” Her complaints were no doubt unoriginal, she couldn’t possibly be the only one uncomfortable with dressing out of their own style. Marynn at least, reinforced hers as best she could with the customizations she had made. Unwilling to play a role that she does not belong to, no matter who it was for. Something that her kin never seemed to understand. Still, she would have liked to have had some form of pants instead of this dreadfully long dress. Too damned easy to trip over.

“And you?” She doesn’t mean to sound harsh, though her words naturally fall from her lips in varying rough tones. Her smile, small and careless, hopefully, contradicts that. “How are you faring, knowing that the ladies here are the only choices you have?” Marynn doesn’t realize how rude that sounds before its already out. There is no room for regret, however, not in her world. Perhaps he won’t take it as badly as she meant it.

~*~




“I would hold your tongue, pirate, else wise you may wake up one morning to find that it has gone missing.” Benjy raised both eyebrows in mock surprise, he had imagined a vicious response but truly, this was amusing. No doubt he’d have to be weary of the Thorne’s. Perhaps he should inform Marynn that he’s made enemies already – how delightful. She would at least get a kick out of it. Threats were her game usually, but he quite liked the feeling it gave him. The rush of excitement, and perhaps a tinge of fear.

Alas, his enjoyment of the situation only seemed to grow as the dance came to a close, and the partner change was upon them. “I’m quaking in my boots.” He muttered beneath his breath, long after Sylva had gone. He pitied whoever stepped into that one's war path and hoped that he would not have to be formally within her presence again. Next found himself standing in front of the Cavalier girl. He instantly found himself intrigued, if not only because she seemed much easier to get along with than Sylva. She was different in posture, the air of her seemed to reek of originality. Not to mention, she had practically come alone – parents notwithstanding – each of the other guests here have siblings of a similar age to contend with. “Greetings my lady,” He bows, turning up the dial on his charms as much as he can. Smile bright and careful. There was something like excitement in the way she fidgeted, he found it endearing and a good sign that he was not facing another rude dancing partner.

At least this girl has a more easy style, pretty, without being utterly terrifying in the process. Definitely of the kind he would usually pursue. As shallow as that may be.

“Is there anything you wish to speak of my lady?” He did not wish to dominate the conversation, less she feels put out by his boisterous nature.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lara Cavalier Character Portrait: Benjy Daverny

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LARA CAVALIER
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Eldest Child | The White Frog, Swan Princess
#A8C5EA | Outfit


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“Greetings my lady,” the swashbuckler said with a bow and warming smile, to which Lara returned with a shy dip of her head, a curtsy and a mumbled, "My lord." If he was being careful she would never have noticed, she was too painfully aware of how she was looking at him that she was trying to make a point of not looking. But it couldn't be helped, there were certain things about the man in front of her that her eyes kept flitting back to. He was blessed with a face and charm that made her flustered, or maybe the beat of her heart was simply a reflection of how excited she was to dance with someone whose life was so bizarrely different to hers. Either way, if anyone were to ask her to describe the youngest Daverny the day after, the reply would be "He had brown hair and a hat." An odd response, considering how her curious mind usually documented paragraphs of information on the appearance and demeanor of everyone she noted as important. The meaning behind it? Well, maybe the details past "handsome" and "pirate" were not so important to her at the time, but that's all that can be said on that for now. “Is there anything you wish to speak of my lady?”

Lara's eyes immediately flicked up from his boots to meet his, already nearly bursting with questions. She let a short, nervous laugh out from under her breath as she placed her embarrassingly rough hand on his to begin the promenade.

“Well,” she began and coughed lightly into the shoulder facing away from him, “Well, there's only one interesting thing to speak of. How are you?” She quipped as they came out of the promenade and faced each other, tilting her head up to look at him. No sooner as the words left her mouth she visibly cringed, but the smile did not leave her. In fact, her cheeks were feeling noticeably warmer. Perhaps... she really shouldn't have downed that red wine so quickly beforehand.

“In truth, my parents have instructed me to be cold towards you,” she continued, hurriedly giving a lame excuse for how improperly she was behaving, though she didn't suppose he really cared for what was “proper” like most courtly folk. At that thought she tossed her head to search for her mother, and upon seeing her tight lips and popping eyes, gestured with her head for her dance partner to take a look. She was a little scared of the way Lady Beatrice was looking at her, and perhaps it showed, just a little bit. “This may be the only time I speak to you. Fortunately the Queen demands that tonight we dance, so, I want to use this wisely. This may be something quite dull for you, and something that many, many others will ask you but -” Lara's nervous ramblings came to a sudden halt as she paused then looked away from her mother's piercing gaze to him, her eyes narrowing. “Can you tell me a story?”

“A pirate one, specifically!” She blurted a bit too loudly, trying to redeem herself after sounding so pathetically childish, then she took up her ramblings once more, “A true story, ideally, but I don't mind if you stretch it. Something with storms, gold, women, celebration, blood – I want to hear all of it. Do you... have anything like that?” She asked, with the complete assumption that he did. Lara took the chance to breath as she twirled then gave him a cheeky, lopsided grin. “If nothing comes to mind, make it up.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gwendolynn Castillon Character Portrait: Rhaegar Castillon Character Portrait: Brom Castillon Character Portrait: Sylas Thorne Character Portrait: Vivienne Chaimbers Character Portrait: Seraphina Grayson Character Portrait: Sylva Thorne Character Portrait: Marynn Daverny Character Portrait: Howell Daverny

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RHAEGAR CASTILLON
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Heir to Blackvale | The Falcon
#B70909 | Outfit
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BROM CASTILLON
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Prince | The Peacock
#061B62 | Outfit
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SYLAS THORNE
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Heir to Dark Wood | The Viper
#999999 | Outfit
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GWENDOLYNN CASTILLON
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Princess | The Little Dove
#F56E6F | Outfit


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"Lord Thorne," Vivienne said in response to Sylas' greeting. Her smile was quite convincing. To the unknowning or daft minded, she might have actually be convincing. But no matter, he did not care if she was happy to dance with him or looked at him like the scum on the bottom of her shoe. These trivial matters of matrimony and seducing dull women didn't thrill him. He played the game like a well bread noble. The one art he perfected was the art of deception. He looked, acted and talked like the charming young Lord he was raised to be. That was good enough. "The same could much be said of you."

Sylas tucked his left arm behind his back while his right held Vivienne's left hand. He glanced down momentarily at his attire. He raised his head with a slight smirk, glancing over at the blonde beside him from the corner of his eyes. "Ah, well thank you my lady. I hadn't noticed." A lie. Of course he noticed. Sylas was no idiot when it came to his own appearance. He was as vain as he was handsome but he also didn't not flaunt it around like a chauvinistic peacock either.

"Sometimes the most venomous snakes, have the most beautiful scales." The words nearly took Sylas by surprise almost stopping him mid-promenade. But it only made his smirk grow, taking on a more devious tone as he twirled the girl around and brought her close for the dance. "The Snake House, that's what your family is known as?"

Sylas chuckled as he let his gaze drift around the ballroom. When it landed upon Sylva he could see the tension that laid behind that strong visage of hers. He read her like a book, so he knew enough to sense her discomfort. He hated that he couldn't go to her but with so many prying eyes and appearances to uphold he had to remain well behaved. He looked back down at the disinteresting woman before him. "Clever girl.

He danced with her in silence for a long moment, twirling Vivienne a couple times. Sylas then decided to continue the conversation, "True in most cases. But, the Inland taipan is the deadliest snake in the world," He leader her around the ballroom effortlessly. His feet glided across the ground with purpose. "And it is no prettier that any other common snake. Being deadly isn't about being beautiful and bewitching, it's about being ordinary and invisible in plain sight."

Sylas looked about the ballroom yet again, this time taking in all the young lords and ladies. "It is better to be a predator than prey. A snake may be small, but it could overtake a stag, a swan, an armadillo and even with enough cunning and planning... A phoenix." His face remained cold and stoic, but his gaze fell to meet hers. He couldn't help but wonder if the gears were turning behind that tussle of blonde hair or if it sounded like the ocean between those ears. "United by blood, bound by stone." The smirk slowly returned to his lips, "A rock does not even enter the same arena."

***

The lady Seraphina curtsied before Brom then said, “Prince Castillon, what a pleasure… Though from the looks of that fake smile, you are having just as much fun as I am.” She chuckled and in returned caused himself to laugh as he began to lead her through the promenade and into the dance.

"Well, what is not to enjoy about spending an evening dancing with the most beautiful women in the kingdom?" He asked, giving her a twirl. As she returned to his arms, Brom pulled her in closer so that his voice was softer but still rough and enticing. "And for the record, my lady, this smile is all but fake. Unlike the majority of lords and ladies in this hall, I find no reason to be anything than what I am. Everyone knows the rumors about me and how I am. Why deny it or pretend to be anything I'm not?"

“Appearances are quite a hinderance. Especially in front of family.” The blonde was feisty, Brom liked that.

His smirk only seemed to grow with the comment. His attention was fully on her while his body mindlessly went through the moves and guided her effortlessly. "True, it does take far too long to get all primped and powdered for these sort of things. But... It is much more fun taking it off in the eve." Brom then winked down at her with a chuckle, "Especially when someone else is doing the removing."

Was Brom being too forward? Without a doubt. Did he care? Not the slightest. She seemed to come prepared for quips. Seraphina seemed the type to have a sharp tongue and sharper whit. Plus, everyone knew his reputation. And as he said, why deny it? A summer with all the finest women in the kingdom under his roof. It'd be foolish for him not to enjoy every moment of it before he became shackled in the bonds of marriage to potentially someone not of his choosing.

***

Howell bowed before Gwendolynn, then took her hand and lead her through the dance. "Lady Castillon," he finally said towards her, causing Gwen to smile slightly. “Just Howell is fine, we are here to get to know one another after all.”

"Well, just Howell," Gwen teased with a lighthearted smile. "You may call me Gwendolynn if you'd like, or Gwen... As long as my mother isn't around to scold me for being so informal." The thought of her mother's blood boiling at hearing another lord call her Gwen almost made her giggle. She hated all the formalities and pretenses her mother made her live up to. She constantly felt like she was suffocating under a mountain of things that she wasn't... And the corset didn't help.

“I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself, so to speak,” Howell commented. He was, no doubt, one of the more attractive lords in the vale for the summer. Some were too young for her liking or too... Proper. She couldn't imagine being forced to marry someone who was more vain than herself. Gwen was a handful and no doubt needing someone capable of taming her while also setting her free. Howell played the proper part well, but the roughness of his palms and his ease at removing titles from their conversation made her wonder how different he was from what he appeared. “I know these events probably aren’t all that fun. Though I find it rather interesting that all of us have managed to be this mannered for so long – especially with so many clashing personalities in one space.”

Gwen gave a soft sigh, "I suppose I'm enjoying it as much as I can when I'm being forced to choose my future husband from a pool of pre-chosen suitors." Her eyes widened when she realized how openly blunt and off putting she sounded. "No offense... It's not personal. I just don't do well with the idea of arranged marriages, or rules... or really anything related to being a Princess."

She remained quiet through the dance for a moment. Her eyes settled upon the different faces really soaking in all the different personalities Howell mentioned. "That is a surprise. I wouldn't mind something exciting happening... Anything that gets me out of this corset sooner," Gwen laughed softly as she glanced up at him. "But, how are you enjoying the Vale? I'm sure it's quite different compared to what you're used to on the water. I've never been on a ship or seen the ocean... The closest I've been is when my brothers and I would sneak out of the Keep at night to play in the fountains in the garden."

***

“This dance is tiring,” Marynn answered Rhaegar with enough honesty that it made him smile and chuckle. She seemed different, in a nice way. She looked authentically herself which was a breath of fresh air in a ballroom filled with pretenders trying to present themselves in the best way to win his, or his siblings hand in marriage.

"It is," Rhaegar let out a soft sigh as he spoke. He caught some glimpses of Marynn dancing earlier and noticed it wasn't her strong suit. Not that he blamed her. If he was on a ship day in and day out, the last thing on his mind would have been learning a waltz. So, as he spun her, his left hand remained in the mid of her back to help guide in elegance. Not in a rude way but in a helpful manner, like a polite gentleman should do. "My mother made Brom, Gwen and I practice this dance before every meal since winter. 'You must be perfect' she'd tell us." Rhaegar smiled towards her, "I've done it so much that I could do it with my eyes closed. I was tired of it before the music started." He chuckled.

“Otherwise, I do quite fine on land. Would be better if I were not forced into wearing such dreadfully unwieldy clothing.”

Marynn's comment made Rhaegar laugh much in the way his sister did whenever she complained about being forced to be a lady. "You remind me of my sister. I do believe you both would get along quite well. She tried to convince me to wear the corset and dress on multiple occasions." Rhaegar lead her in steady circles around the ballroom, his gaze every so often checking upon his sister. He always worried about her. Brom, not so much. He worried more for the unfortunate women who had to dance with him. He looked back over Marynn with a smile. "At least you still are you, even if you have to wear a ridiculous dress." He motioned his hand to her adornments that she accented her outfit with.

“And you?" Marynn smiled towards him, and even though she seemed uncomfortable something said she was still sincere. “How are you faring, knowing that the ladies here are the only choices you have?”

Rhaegar was silent for a long while. Not because her comment was rude, but the harsh reality that was constantly nagging at the back of his mind. "I'd be lying if I said I enjoy it." His smile faded slightly as he gave a shrug of his shoulders. "I do feel bad though. It is my fault... I kept disappearing whenever my parents tried to marry me off. I just wished they would have kept Brom and Gwen out of this. They deserve happiness, not to be forced to choose from a pool of suitors." He gave a halfhearted chuckle with a slight smile. "But not everyone hear seems blood thirsty for my hand. I much like your bluntness and honesty. It's hard to find authentic people in court."

***

Magnus could sense everything that Elizabeth felt when he spoke. He wanted nothing more than to take her in his arms, comfort her and be her rock. But he could not. In that moment he felt his heart sink as he watched his children. His wife was forcing their children to do the same thing he was forced to do... Spend their lives with someone they do not love. It sickened him but it was too late.

“You know it was not I that left you…” Elizabeth's words were expected but cut deeply.

It took everything in Magnus not to turn and face her, to take her beautiful face in his hands and make her listen to his words. It's so much more complicated than that. She only knew a portion... The portion he let her know. He blamed himself every day for hurting her, and he still will until the end of his days. "Lizzie... You know it's not that simple."

He glanced down at the ground while his thumb stroked the top of her hand. Magnus knew she only agreed to walk with him because 'The King' asked. He hoped she actually wanted to see him and speak with him, but it was daft and stupid. He didn't deserve her forgiveness or even a glance. "Give me a chance to explain things to you this summer... I'll explain everything, please?"

Magnus did not wait for a response, he knew she'd want to think on it. His hand gently patter hers before he let her hand slip from his grasp. "You do not have to be tormented by my presence any further this evening. Return to your husband if that is what you wish. I do not desire to hurt you more than I already have. His gaze drifted to hers. It was a dream to see her and it made his heart swell and ache at the same time. She was more beautiful than ever and it killed him not to be able to hold her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gwendolynn Castillon Character Portrait: Rhaegar Castillon Character Portrait: Lara Cavalier Character Portrait: Marynn Daverny Character Portrait: Howell Daverny Character Portrait: Benjy Daverny

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MARYNN DAVERNY
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Only Daughter | The Quarter Master
#567580 | Outfit
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BENJY DAVERNY
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Youngest Child | The First Mate
#5BA664 | Outfit
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HOWELL DAVERNY
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Eldest Son | The Swordsman
#DEAD83 | Outfit


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"Well, just Howell," He broke into a grin, glad that she did not take unkindly to his informality. It may have not been the proper way of introduction after all but it was the one that spoke the truest. ""You may call me Gwendolynn if you'd like, or Gwen... As long as my mother isn't around to scold me for being so informal." Howell simply couldn’t help from laughing, imaging his own sister and mother, the parallels were striking.

“Gwen it is then.” He could admit that, he was not finding this situation unfavorable in any way.Princess or not, Gwen had an air about her that spoke to Howell. A beauty, but also a note of rebellion that he could hear in her words and in the way her eyes shone. She is, for all the constant and angry rants from his parents about the royal family, nothing like what he imagined. A refreshing relief, when he had grown up with the notion that they were horrid people.

""I suppose I'm enjoying it as much as I can when I'm being forced to choose my future husband from a pool of pre-chosen suitors." That was fair, Howell had no such desires to be forced into something that did not come from his own heart, his inclinations to form bonds alone had been enough to keep him from falling into the same pit of annoyance that his siblings had. And, while he’s here, if there is something of true love – as impossibly naïve as that sounds, he wouldn’t entirely mind it. ""No offense... It's not personal. I just don't do well with the idea of arranged marriages, or rules... or really anything related to being a Princess."

“No offense taken, it does seem rather awful – well, in some ways of course. I can’t be a pirate and pretend I don’t envy the crown.” It was in their blood after all, “But the rules that come along with it, the formalities, the grand gestures.” Things like this ball, and the fact that the royal children were to be married off without much of a say, “Just…awful.” He repeated, hoping he didn’t come off as rude. He rather liked this easy conversation and wished for it to not turn sour by the slip of his tongue.

Howell continued on the lead the dance, a bit worried for her short silence but soon enough their easy speak continued on. ""That is a surprise. I wouldn't mind something exciting happening... Anything that gets me out of this corset sooner," Howell wouldn’t have minded either, though it would be a shame to interrupt a conversation that is going so well. ""But, how are you enjoying the Vale? I'm sure it's quite different compared to what you're used to on the water. I've never been on a ship or seen the ocean... The closest I've been is when my brothers and I would sneak out of the Keep at night to play in the fountains in the garden."

“The Vale is grand,” Howell let his smile slip into something akin rueful, “It’s certainly different from what I’ve become accustomed to. Life on the Ocean is rough, and here it seems the most I’ve had to deal with so far is the scornful stares of those around us – “ He couldn’t pretend that he had not seen some of the more nervous or angered glances thrown towards him and his family. Though, they had been here for quite some time yet and still nothing out of the sorts had become of the ballroom. No stolen or broken goods, no random fights breaking out in the middle of the floor. Things that people often came to expect from a pirate – what honestly, Howell had almost expected at least from Benjy. Though his siblings were doing remarkably well not to create a hassle.





Marynn could see why people were drawn to the Prince in the same way that she could see why people were drawn to just about anyone with a sense of kindness. She was glad, in the least that he helped her to keep up with the dance, her legs already burnt out from the repetitive steps – this dance would last forever, it felt like. She would only be grateful for the amenities provided when a bed came within her sight. She sighed and listened without her usual scorn.

" "My mother made Brom, Gwen and I practice this dance before every meal since winter. 'You must be perfect' she'd tell us." To Marynn it sounds like hell, but honestly, her own mother wasn’t far off from expecting perfection from her children – and upon not being given it she would stomp and rage all the while Marynn grew more resentful. A vicious cycle. One that she is glad is shared by more than just herself. "I've done it so much that I could do it with my eyes closed. I was tired of it before the music started." She had to laugh at that, the feeling mutual despite never having dealt with this dance before. The music was nothing like the loud tone-deaf singing one would hear from the crew or in the shanties where women would dance in a circle while cheaply made instruments created upbeat sounds to accompany them.

"You remind me of my sister. I do believe you both would get along quite well. She tried to convince me to wear the corset and dress on multiple occasions." Marynn could almost imagine how amusing that would be. But furthermore, she couldn’t help her mild surprise from showing. One eyebrow quirked as she thought about it – someone like her getting along with the Princess of the Vale. Perhaps. But there were enough differences between them to make her doubt.

“I’d love to see that,” Marynn chose to mumble instead, honestly teasing though she couldn’t be sure if she had spoken loud enough to be heard.

“At least you still are you, even if you have to wear a ridiculous dress." At least someone could see the reasoning behind her adornments. Preferring to keep true to herself, instead of following the stuffy rules placed together by this event and by her mother’s constant sharp words.


A moment after her final words she almost felt bad for saying anything at all, wondering if she had crossed the line – but it quickly dissipated as she returned to her default expression. Guarded and unsure. "I'd be lying if I said I enjoy it." The gravity of the room seemed to drag both of them down as he continued on, Marynn listened, silent and attentive though somewhat drifting. “I do feel bad though. It is my fault... I kept disappearing whenever my parents tried to marry me off. I just wished they would have kept Brom and Gwen out of this. They deserve happiness, not to be forced to choose from a pool of suitors." She nodded, pursed her lips. She isn’t so sure his own guilt is worthy of being the foundation of this event, her observance of the situation leaning towards the idea that whether he had dodged suitors or not the Royal children were going to eventually wind up married off.

He gave a halfhearted chuckle with a slight smile and Marynn knew at last that she had not offended him greatly by her blunt words. "But not everyone here seems bloodthirsty for my hand. I much like your bluntness and honesty. It's hard to find authentic people in court."

She laughed again, turning her gaze to the rest of the room. “That’s odd,” She didn’t often have people saying they liked her for the way she spoke without care. Rudeness was something she came by naturally, and the snappish way she sometimes acted went hand in hand. Even her own family often found her more tolerable when she kept quiet. Though, that usually resulted in her anger flaring twice as bright.

“Finding authentic people anywhere these days is near impossible,” She sighed, turned back towards him as the dance continued. Focusing less on the faces around her and rather on the one in front of her. “But,” She paused, considering. “I’m happy to be one of them, I’d hate to act the way some of the ladies here do – that just simply isn’t who I aim to be.” Formal attire, dances, things like this were as far from the reality she grew up in as possible. Etiquette may have been taught to her in a roundabout rough manner, but she had no will to become as stuffy as some of the nobles here, especially the ones who sought the crown as if they would die were they to not attain it. That, to her, seemed to be one of the more pathetic facets of this soiree.

“It must be dreadful,” She spoke, “I don’t pity the women who think having the crown is all they need in their life. You seem like a good man, genuine. You shouldn’t have to deal with snakes. But, it is the unfortunate truth that everyone here must face. None of us are going to leave here at the end of it unscathed.”

“And that’s a horribly sad – “ annoying, angering, devastating ”Fact.”
She realized that she was complaining, perhaps a bit too much. Felt no need to further drag the mood of the dance down. Placed her best smile, more genuine than not with her feelings on the matter out in the open.

“I fear we’ve gotten onto quite a heavy topic.” Typical of her, something she would need to work on if she wanted to get out of this season with her head still intact. She shouldn’t wallow, not even when she has to be resigned to the event. Things weren’t as bad as they could be, and thus far things had not gone awry in the way she imagined. She should be happy for that instead of angry still about being here.




Things had already begun far better than they had with the wicked Lady Thorne. Benjy found Lara cute, in a sort of meek way. Not as stiff as most people here, and certainly far more open to talking to him than he expected. “Well, there's only one interesting thing to speak of. How are you?” He hadn’t expected her clear interest, but it was nice all the same. He smirked, felt more confident that he could make nice with this young lady.

“I am well,” He spoke before she continued on. The dance went far smoother with her, less of a duel between two unwilling partners like before, and far more of an easy sway and dip that many of the others here were experiencing. The curiosity in her gaze did not leave him, and he could tell that look anywhere.


“In truth, my parents have instructed me to be cold towards you,” Unsurprising to say the least, there would be few here who cared to see their child speaking with one of the more notorious of the pirate siblings. Benjy alone had his reputation as a drunkard and womanizer within his own home and perhaps even here in a way, and maybe that gossip hadn’t reached every ear in the kingdom but his family and their own dastardly reputation is enough to keep most people from looking at him with the same interest that Lara shows. He can’t help but soften his smile, understanding in his eyes.

“Ah, yes, well that may be the case for many others here. I do not blame you for the fact.”

“This may be the only time I speak to you. Fortunately, the Queen demands that tonight we dance, so, I want to use this wisely. This may be something quite dull for you, and something that many, many others will ask you but -” He could almost tell where this was going, something that he would no doubt deal with multiple times, but, for the moment she was the first. Her rambling endearing in a way, sweeter than what he’s used to. Benjy almost feels bad for sweeping his gaze over her appreciatively, but, he wouldn’t be himself if he hadn’t done so at least once or twice over the course of the dance.

“Can you tell me a story?” There. The thing that he had been waiting for. He wouldn’t deny her, but before he could open his mouth she spoke on.


“A pirate one, specifically! A true story, ideally, but I don't mind if you stretch it. Something with storms, gold, women, celebration, blood – I want to hear all of it. Do you... have anything like that?” She had hit all the normal caveats, the things that were present in his life constantly though perhaps not all at the same time. He smiled and nodded. “I think I have a few tales for you, M’lady.” Embellishments would, of course, have to be made, but, that’s what she was asking for anyhow. He prided himself on being a particularly good yarn weaver. And there weren’t many stories he could tell that were bland, to begin with. Life as a pirate could be summed up in a single word; adventure.

But in the sacrifices, it took for his parents to keep their noble status (and not be incriminated for refusal) things had slowed down considerably. Most of their adventures were devoid of treasure hunts and stealing from merchant ships. They controlled most of those now, for the Vale. Which meant they had a higher amount of off-limit ships to contend with. The few they were “allowed” (A word his father curled his lip at when his mother would speak of their duties) to topple were usually small with crews of inexperienced men and women who were more than likely seeking to escape their old lives. Criminals, in some cases who had nothing but the clothes on their back. They were, however, the ones that fought the hardest and shed the most blood.

No, the action generally happened in the Misty Isles these days. With thieves and killers alike stalking the shanties. There was, however, one, a distant memory of his induction into the crew. A man at last, and training under his sister's harsh regiment alongside other new crew members. They were given reign of a secondary ship for some time as their father and mother went on leave for some reason or another – and that, well, that was where he would begin.

“My siblings and I have had to live under the rules of the Crown for far longer than my parents, they truly were allowed to see the glory days of pirating – “ He smiled softly, “These days, so long as we don’t bother the Vale we’ve got free run.” A half-truth, but still not quite a lie. Their mother was half the issue when it came to their old lives. Something had happened to the fearless pirate Elena had once been. A pity.

“Once, when I was a young lad, my sister and myself were placed upon another ship – just for a short time while Mother and Father were dealing with the more Noble side of things, likely at the Vales ports.” He had never cared to ask. Curled his lip at the very thought of it at all. “We were meant to be surveying the ocean, ensuring no trespassers came near –“ And that nobody left either, though he didn’t say that aloud. Not many people knew how far under the Daverny’s thumb the people of the Misty Isles were. “It was routine, so boring that we could do it in our sleep. But it didn’t stay that way for long, of course, dusk had begun to fall when one of the Riggers called down from the spars, he had spotted a distant ship on the horizon. A Brigantine, slightly larger than the Sloop we were on. They’re generally more fit as merchant ships.

There’s a sort of…code of honor out on the Ocean, but when young pirates are involved it usually gets swept under the rug. Whether the Brigantine was Vale or not we were more than ready to chuck the rules in order to have a little fun – and, it would certainly be an impressive tale to tell, a little Sloop manned by a crew as young as ours taking down a Merchant ship.”
He chuckled, the memories flooding back. Their crew had certainly been far more capable than what he painted them as, but where would the fun be if he had told her how very easy it would be to take down another ship, even with their smaller crew.

“Sloops are fast ships, capable of turning on a word. The crew had been reluctant, knowing the trouble we’d have if the ship were from the Vale but neither I nor Marynn cared. The rush of it kept us going. She commanded our Shiphands to get us as close to the broadside of the vessel as possible, if they didn’t stand down for a docking we’d fight our way on – and oh, fight we did.” The battle had been rough, the crew of the other ship outnumbered them. But where they had numbers, the Davernys had power. Besides, Merchants often backed down once a few of them were skewered. He related this to Lara, every gory detail slipping from his tongue as they danced.

“We had the crew cowering before us soon enough, their captain at our mercy, half of their fighters fighting the blood loss and the other half already gone to the gods above. The ship as it turned out was an independent, looking to trade with the Isles, they seemed to be unaware that we were more likely to simply take their cargo altogether.” He couldn’t even begin to wonder what they were thinking, coming into pirate-infested waters with the intent to trade – honestly, it was a foolish choice on their part.

“We took our pick of the able bodied crew for servitude and stranded the rest along one of the smaller islands out on the ocean. It's unlikely they survived, lest they were crafty enough. We took their goods, gold and all, and later on after returning to the isles threw a grand party in celebration of what we had done with the very gold we had taken from them.” He explained to her the way they would all gather together round fires, while women danced and people sang merrily, Rum passed around and around till even the hardiest of them became too weary to continue on.

Benjy himself never seemed to tire during such festivities, took his time wooing the women and would always eventually wake up back at the ship, with a lovely lady or two on his arms while either a sibling or a parent towered over, looking down at him in amusement or anger. On that following day, it had been the latter.

Lady Elena had caught wind of their transgression first. “Mother ranted for days, asking us what we’d have done if we had begun a war with the Vale. I didn’t much care, not when the buzz of the fight still rung in my ears. Our father had been proud though.” Benjy sighs, “that had been enough. Well. And hearing the story of it passing from ear to ear. Each iteration more grand than the other.”

The story had come to pass, but he had much more to tell. He didn’t want to deprive her of the only chance she would get to ask, or hear of them. So he continued, each getting more and more elaborate. Though they had such a limited time he tried to keep the stories short, though he refused to skimp on the violence and glory of them.

He hoped that she was enjoying herself, for what little time they had to speak.

“I know that you’ve been told to do otherwise,” Benjy began, in the lull of silence that accompanied his final words. “But I do hope we get to speak some more some time.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gwendolynn Castillon Character Portrait: Rhaegar Castillon Character Portrait: Brom Castillon Character Portrait: Vivienne Chaimbers Character Portrait: Seraphina Grayson Character Portrait: Marynn Daverny Character Portrait: Howell Daverny

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#, as written by mjolnir
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RHAEGAR CASTILLON
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Heir to Blackvale | The Falcon
#B70909 | Outfit
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BROM CASTILLON
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Prince | The Peacock
#061B62 | Outfit
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SYLAS THORNE
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Heir to Dark Wood | The Viper
#999999 | Outfit
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GWENDOLYNN CASTILLON
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Princess | The Little Dove
#F56E6F | Outfit


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Howell’s laugh as her comment about her mother’s strictness made Gwen smile. “Gwen it is then.” The pirate was nothing like what she imagined a pirate would be. Unlike his siblings, Howell seemed well mannered and polite like most young lords should be. In most cases, that would be slightly off putting to Gwen. But he seemed to be lighthearted in a way she didn’t expect. It was nice not having to put on a facade with some of these men. Although she is not the kind to pretend to be anything she is not, it is still a relief having to hold back her not so Princess like behavior.

“No offense taken, it does seem rather aweful - well, in some ways of course. I can’t be a pirate and pretend I don’t envy the crown.” Gwen was surprised at his honesty. She knew many people lusted after the crown, but it was an entirely different thing for them to come out and say it. In many cases, she should be wary of someone who admittedly wanted what she already had, but she wasn’t as superstitious as her mother when it came to others. “But the rules that come along with it, the formalities, the grand gestures. Just… awful.”

Gwen’s gaze fell slightly at the comment. She allowed her body to be guided effortlessly through the dance. It was evident that Howell knew how to dance fairly well because it didn’t take much thought on her end to be led around the ballroom. She didn’t know if she appreciated that he knew how awful this particular situation was for her or if it just made everything seem worse because he could tell that easily. Either way, there was nothing she could do to change what was happening. She had no choice, at the end of the summer she’d be married off, one way or another.

“The Vale is grand,” Howell replied to her comment with a smile. “It’s certainly different from what I’ve become accustomed to. Life on the Ocean is rough, and here it seems the most I’ve had to deal with so far is the scornful stares of those around us.”

“Do not let the gazes of others weigh heavily on you. Their opinions cannot harm you if you do not let them. They can believe what they like. In the end, your own happiness is what is most important, not the approval of those around you… You have more freedom than a royal. I’d do anything to have that luxury.”

***

Marynn’s brow quirked at Rhaegar’s comment about her being similar to his own sister. “I’d love to see that,” she said in a mumbled breath.

Rhaegar though about ignoring the comment, but instead he smirked. “Jest all you like. Just before this ball my brother and I had to fetch my sister from a tree in the gardens. I would put money on the fact that she’d prefer to be a pirate like yourself instead of a Princess.” He guided Marynn through a slow turn before meeting her gaze once again. “There are plenty of women here, I’d wager, that behave more like a Princess than my sister.”

The conversation took a darker and more melancholy turn for a moment but before long Rhaegar decided to turn it back to a more lighthearted tone. Marynn laughed at his comment about her blunt honesty. “That’s odd. Finding authentic people anywhere these days is near impossible.” He nodded his head in agreement. A sad truth, he never understood why people felt the need to pretend to be something they’re not. How could that bring fulfillment out of life. “But, I’m happy to be one of them, I’d hate to act the way some of the ladies here do - that just simply isn’t who I aim to be.”

“Well,” Rhaegar started, looking down at the fiery woman. “I do hope that you get to remain being the true authentic you. I’ve never liked seeing anyone forced to be something they’re not. The only people worth having in your life are those that accept you as you are.”

“It must be dreadful. I don’t pity the women who think having the crown is all they need in their life. You seem like a good man, genuine. You shouldn’t have to deal with snakes. But, it is the unfortunate truth that everyone here must face. None of us are going to leave here at the end of it unscathed… And that’s a horribly sad fact.” Rhaegar wouldn’t argue that either. It was the raw truth of it all, and he knew it. He just hoped that maybe something good would come from this summer.

“I fear we’ve gotten onto quite a heavy topic.”

Rhaegar chuckled at her comment. He hardly had noticed. Heavy or not, he was simply enjoying the conversation. He gave Marynn another gentle twirl. When she returned to face him, he parted his lips to speak, but never got the chance…

***

Sylas had barely finished his well worded, idle threats when the entire ballroom went dark with a single gust of wind, in through the garden doors. He inhaled deeply through his nose. He didn’t have to look around the room to know who was the cause, he could feel it, running beneath the surface of his skin. Magic. Not his sister, she wasn’t strong enough. He had felt her magic before and it was nothing like this. The only explanation he could think of was his mother…

He tensed at the thought. Although, he was more than happy to support an attack on these inferior nobles but it was soon, too soon. They needed to set their roots and set up false niceties, not attack the first not. He hoped it was just a warning, and not the final blow so soon.

The ballroom was silent, Lords and Ladies stood frozen in the darkness waiting for the lights to return. Sylas didn’t move from his stance, one hand on Vivienne’s waist while the other held her hand. He heard new footsteps shuffle into the hall, spreading in multiple directions. He knew that one was approaching behind him. He glanced over his shoulder, locking his eyes with the hooded assassin.

The man froze, lowering his blade slightly at the sight of Sylas. Being as subtle as possible, Sylas nodded his head towards Vivienne. She was a liability. A woman he mindless carried on veiled threats with when right after there was an attack. She’d speak, his name would leave her lips and he would be compromised. That wasn’t in the plan. He parted his lips, speaking towards the man, “What do you think you are doing? I am the heir to the Dark Wood.”

The assassin stood frozen for a moment, before Sylas rose his right arm slightly. As if on cue, the assassin thrusted his blade forward beneath Sylas’ arm, plunging it into Vivienne’s abdomen. Sylas took the blonde into his arms, then looked back at the man behind him. “I cannot get away unscathed. You know what to do,” he whispered. The assassin pulled back the sword in a swift motion, slicing deep into Sylas’ right side and under his tricep.

Sylas stumbled to his knees, holding the quickly fading Vivienne who looked up at him with wild eyes of disbelief. “My apologies my Lady… But loose lips are dangerous for us Thornes. It is nothing personal,” he whispered towards the dying blonde.

Once she drifted away in his arms, Sylas reached his hand up, grabbing the assassin by the scruff of his shirt. He jerked the man down to his level. “Target the Chaimbers. Make it look personal to remove our names from suspicious lips.”

“My Lord, what about about your—”

“You will obey, or I’ll flay you live in this ballroom and make a spectacle of your death to prove my innocence otherwise.”

With that, the assassin scurried off into the darkness of the ballroom to pass on the message. Sylas’ left hand clutched his side as warm liquid seeped through his fingers. He knelt there with the lifeless blonde strewn across his lap. He prepared himself for when the lights came on and he’d have to return the burdensome facade to cover his true intentions.

***

The minute the lights went out in the large ballroom, Brom instinctively moved before Seraphina. His hands gently guiding her so that she stood behind his large form. He kept one hand instinctively on her arm to make sure she remained behind him where he knew she was. He took her hand in his and lead her slowly towards the edge of the ballroom, until he found one of the guards standing at the ready.

“Get the King and Queen out of here immediately. Take them to the panic room and lock yourself and five other guards inside with them. Do no come out until me or one of my siblings comes for you,” Brom ordered with hushed tones.

“Yes, sir.”

The man bowed and went to depart but Brom stopped him. “Do you have a spare weapon?” The man unsheathed a second sword from its holster around his waist. He grabbed the weapon but he blade, aiming the handle at Brom. “Thank you, Sebastian.” He took the sword in his right hand, his left still keeping Seraphina protected behind him.

Brom couldn’t help his protective nature. It came from being a brother and head of the King’s guard. He hoped that Seraphina wouldn’t fight him on this and take his lead as being what’s best. Whatever was going on wasn’t normal or planned and it put him on edge. He half turned to look at the blonde beside him. “I know you have no right to, but for your best interest, I need you to trust me and stay close.”

He didn’t like having only a few feet of visibility in the darkness. Brom wanted to check on Rhaegar and Gwen but also did not want to risk having all of the royals too close together. It was too quiet in the room. It was like everyone was holding their breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. He could hear distant whispers and shuffling feet but beyond that he had no idea what was happening in the veil of darkness.

Brom quirked his head to the side when he heard footsteps approaching. He raised the sword to be at the ready while his left hand pressed back against Seraphina’s abdomen softly, guiding her backwards until her back was to a column and he was in front of her. Before him was darkness and then out of no where a cloaked man came at him. The man slashed a blade down towards him. Brom quickly raised his sword to block the attack.

“Who sent you?” Brom demanded of the man. But he did not answer. As the man withdrew his weapon to attack again, Brom slammed his foot into the assassin’s knee. The blow snapped his leg backward. The crunch reverberated off the walls as the man fell to the ground. Before he could cry out in pain, Brom was knelt over him, with his left hand pressed against the man’s mouth. “Tell me who sent you and I’ll let you live.”

The man laughed through winces, not divulging any information. “So be it.” Brom slit the man’s throat, then moved back to his feet. He hurried over to Seraphina. “Were you hurt?” He didn’t think he heard anyone approach but he had to be sure.

***

Before Gwen and Howell could continue on in conversation, a large gust of wind through open the tall glass french doors that led to the gardens. The air flooded into the ballroom, extinguishing the lights in its wake. As quickly as the wind current came, the band silenced and the dancing halted. The large room was barely light by the moonlight that trickled in through the windows, most of the crowd veiled in shadows.

Unlike her brother Brom, Gwen couldn’t stand still and wait for whatever was going to happen. But she wasn’t dumb either. She stepped out of her obnoxious heels, leaving them where she was standing. Her bare feet quietly padded along the cool stone floor as she skirted the edges of the ballrooms. She knew this room like every other corridor in the castle like the back of her hand.

She walked with her right hand extended so that her fingertips brushed the marble columns with each passing. Gwen frozen when between two columns, her fingers touched the fabric of someone’s torso. Before she was able to ask who it was, the person moved behind her, holding a dagger to her throat. “Make a single noise, Princess, and I’ll slit your throat before you can finish calling for help.”

Gwen remained quiet but jerked against his hold as he dragged her backwards towards the doors that lead to the gardens. When they were out in the moonlight it was like everything was illuminated unlike the pitch black ballroom. Gwen rose her hands, grabbing the dagger by the blade and tried to pull it away from her throat as she threw her head back into the attackers nose. She ripped the blade from his hand as he stumbled backwards.

Blood ran down her hands dripping onto the ground and trailing along her forearms. Her grip fumbled as she tried to hold the weapon in her right hand. The wounds stung with every movement, but she tried to ignore them. The man approached her. Gwen still unable to get a good grasp on the weapon, in a last minute decision threw it out into the gardens just before the man reached her. He took her throat in his hand and slammed her back into the wall of the castle.

Gwen gasped for air, her hands punching and hitting his arms as hard as she could without any luck. As a last minute attempt, she thrusted her knee up into the man’s groin. Free of his grasp, she ran past him. She knew she would simply run into another assassin in the ballroom. So, instead, she sprinted for the gardens, the one place she spent most of her time.

She placed bloody palms on the concrete barrier, hurdling it in a swift jump. Gwen lands a few feet lower on the soft, dew covered grass. She was fast but not as quick as she could be if she wasn’t weighed down by her heavy gown and her breathing constrained by corset. It wasn’t long before the man was behind her. He stepped down on the train of her dress, causing her to stumble to the ground. She rolled over onto her back just in time to dodge most of the blow of his sword, the blade slicing along the top of her right shoulder and collar bone.

She raised her already bloody hands to stop his sword as he brought it down again. Unlike the knives, the blade was thick and harder for her to get a grip on with already wounded hands. She wiggled and groaned but her grasp was slipping. Gwen wouldn’t be able to hold him off much longer.

***

Rhaegar tensed when the lights went out. His right hand instinctively went to his left hip, only to find it bare of his usual sword. “Damn,” he cursed under his breath. He took a step closer to Marynn, his eyes fixated on the darkness around them. He stopped when his head was beside hers. “Do you have any weapons hidden in that dress of yours?” he asked under hushed tones.

He kept his sense alert as he slowly and quietly led Marynn and himself towards the far wall of the ballroom. Out in the open they could be attacked from all sides. But if they had their backs to the wall, thats one direction they wouldn’t have to worry about.

Rhaegar froze when he heard movement behind him. He quickly and carefully shoved Marynn out of the way to the left while he dodged to the right. Just as they move, the blade of a sword slashed down between them, slamming into the stone ground. Rhaegar spun around, putting his right foot down on the blade while he grabbed the attacker by the head and slammed his nose into his left knee.

Rhaegar ripped the sword from the assassin’s grasp and kicked him in the chest, knocking him to the ground. He was tempted to kill the man, but instead wanted answers. So he quickly pinned the man down on the ground, his knees pressed down into the man’s arms. Rhaegar raised the sword and slammed the hilt of the weapon into the assassin’s head, knocking him unconscious.

***

Magnus quickly took Elizabeth in his arms and brought her close when the lights went out. “We need to get to safety,” he said to her. But it was too dark for him to navigate the dark hall without the potential of running into a threat.

He moved himself before Elizabeth, but without a weapon, the King would be able to put up that much of a fight. When he heard someone approach, Magnus raised his fist, preparing to do whatever he had to. But as the person got closer, he quickly recognized one of the King’s guard, Sebastian. “Your Grace, the Prince has ordered me to take you and the Queen to the holding room.”

Magnus looked towards Elizabeth, “Lady Grayson is coming with us.”

“No, she is not,” the Queen hissed from behind Sebastian, surrounded by four other guards.

“She comes, or neither of us go.”

“Your Grace, we must go. I have my orders,” Sebastian said.

Before anyone else could argue, the King’s guard members ushered them through the nearest door that led down a secret corridor. Once out of the ballroom, a servant met them with candles and guided them to the panic room. They all filed inside, locking the door once in.

“What about my children?” the King asked, wanting to go back out there with a sword in hand, ready to fight for his family.

“Your Grace, I got my orders directly from Brom. I could not see Princess Gwendolynn or Rhaegar, but there are at least another dozen guards in the ballroom.”

“Why aren’t they in here with us!? Go get them!”

“My love,” the Queen said as she walked towards the King. “Your safety is always of the utmost importance. Your sons are well trained, they will be fine.”

The Queen placed her hand on the King’s shoulder but he shrugged it away, pacing around the room. “And what about our daughter? Their as much your children as mine, Guinevere. You could at least pretend to care about them.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gwendolynn Castillon Character Portrait: Aurora Grayson Character Portrait: Jonah Allyrion Character Portrait: Clara Allyrion Character Portrait: Frederick Chaimbers

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JONAH ALLYRION
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Eldest Child | The Winter's Wolf
#E80000 | Outfit
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CLARA ALLYRION
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Only Daughter | The Winter's Child
#388E8E | Outfit


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Darkness fell upon the room with the suddenness of a lightning strike. Clara gasped, grabbing ahold of Lord Fredrick as candle smoke wafted through the room. She closed her eyes a long moment, before opening, allowing her naturally dark attuned eyes to adjust. She could see as clear as day while the others seemed to need a moment. The other not including her brother, who adjusted much more quickly than she had. She turned to her dance partner "What is happening?" She asked with a frown, just before a stillness fell over the room that was in equal parts unsettling and familiar. The sensation danced a shiver up her spine. Lord Fre-" Now sooner had she spoke, did a man, clad in black appear before her and behind him. She gasped causing Lord Frederick to turn. He pushed her behind him, still needing to adjust to the sudden darkness. So much so that he didn't see the blade that sung as the hooded man pulls from his sheath, clearly enough to do much of anything before the man slide it across his throat. Clara screamed as Fredrick grabbed his throat, a cascade of crimson flowing between his fingers. He tettered before collapsing on his knees. Clara went down with him, unsure of what to do beyond hold his hand there as if that would be enough to staunch the bleeding.

It was a momentary lapse but she forgot all about the man that did this, and she looked up at him, as he eyed her, as if deciding what to do with her. She stiffened and held close to the dying man in her arms as the assailant reached up with his blade, prepared to strike. Her eyes closed but nothing came but a sharp snap. Clara jumped looking up to see the man down and her father standing over her, "Father!" she cried, tears falling down her face, while Lord Fredrick went limp in her arms, she followed him down and sobbed. "Clara, there is nothing we can do for him now, Come," Her father said with a touch of sadness in his voice. Clara nodded and stood, laying Fredrick down gently. "You are remarkable." She whispered to the corpse before clinging to her father,


Meanwhile, Jonah wasted no time, his eyes adjusted to the darkness almost immediately. He pulled Lady Aurora behind him, wishing he had a blade of some sort on him but he didn't. It was a freezing dance for the sake of the gods, yet he could feel the darkness brought forth danger. No sooner then he thought that did his sister's shrill scream ring out, Jonah turned, keeping a tight hold of his partner. While finding Clara in the crowd. Lord Fredrick was down and a man stood over his sister. He made a move forward but his father, as his title suggested, emerged from the dark, like a shadow and snapped the small man's neck with his massive hands. Jonah knew his sister was safe and looked for his mother, instead of his mother's red hair, he saw a touch of it, just outside. He knew that was the Princess and he couldn’t imagine she was running away from her brothers. No, she was being taken. He couldn’t very well leave the little woman he was with, so he turned, scooping her off the ground, protests or now, and made his way over to his father, who had both his sister and mother in tow. The two men didn't exchange words but they didn't need to. His father gave him a curt nod, promising he would get the women out, Aurora included. "You're Safe here, My Lady, Go with them." He said, and without another word, he dashed off, moving with an uncanny silence.

He found himself outside, and he stopped, pausing a moment, to listening. His heart was racing, but he calmed himself, so not to make a mistake. There was a grunting sound, but not the ones that would indicate a lover's tryst. He followed it, and soon, dotted of blood gave him a trail to follow more precise than the sound. Wishing Snow was with him and not somewhere in Blackvale's woods, Jonah softened his steps to see that a man was forcing his blade down on the princess. Jonah quelled his fury, at the sight. What man would use such a tactic on a woman, she wasn't defenseless but she wasn't armed either. Jonah crouched low and stepped around them so that the man had his back to him, and silent as a shadow, he snuck up behind him and grabbed the man in a headlock, pulling him off the princess, and backward, using his weight to send both of them to the ground. The man blade clattered to the ground, while the man scrambled to get to his feet, all the while Jonah recovered gracefully. The man couldn't find his blade in the dark but Jonah could see it, unfortunately, it wasn't within his reach. He wasn't nearly as strong as his father but that would be fine. The man attacked and Jonah braced himself for the manic swings. He dodged them, his back stiff, his stance strong before he countered, smack a hand away that came toward his face, and coming in without a clenched fist. The blow tipped the man's head backward and that was enough of an opening for Jonah to come in, grabbed the man's arm, turning it, and pulling it down. He sent a sharp fist into the joint, and a sickening snap resounded. The man squealed as bone protruded from the skin. Jonah released him, and picked up the blade before with a touch of flair, relieved the would-be assassin of his head. Jonah took a breath and turned to the Princess.
"While I'm sure you are perfectly capable, I thought to offer my assistance." He said as he held out a hand to her. She was bleeding quite badly but overall she would heal. This was not the way he wanted to meet her but it couldn’t say it was a bad first impression unless she had an aversion to violence. In which case, he was a monster and stood not a chance but that was a thought for another time."Jonah Allyrion, May I help you up?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Avery Thatcher Character Portrait: Rosalyn Grayson Character Portrait: Ilene Thatcher Character Portrait: Sylva Thorne Character Portrait: Jonathan Chaimbers Character Portrait: Elliot Thatcher

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AVERY THATCHER
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Eldest Son | The Armadillo
#F0A804 | Outfit
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ELLIOT THATCHER
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Youngest Son | The Casanova
#551A8B | Outfit
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ILENE THATCHER
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Only Daughter | The Thorny Rose
#CD1076 | Outfit

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Ilene was smiling at the young lord Chambers as they prepared to start their round of dancing. The man opened his mouth to say something to her question but then a sudden wind erupted and the lights were snuffed out in seconds. Ilene gasped and probably clung to the lord's hand tighter than she should, but she knew immediately something was wrong. Lights going out like that was not something normal and in this crowd of people, it was hard to see anything, and even if you did, everyone just looked like shadows. She couldn't quite tell who was who yet. She blinked furiously trying to get her eyes to adjust to the dimness of the room. None of them had weapons except the guards so it was terrifying. She wanted to be close to her bothers and parents. Were they okay? Where were they in this darkness?

She heard a rustle of movement and whipped her head around trying to find where exactly the noise was coming from but it was too late. Johnathan was quick but he wasn't quick enough as he tried to move her out of harm's way. Ilene stumbled confused but the questioning gaze turned to one of horror as Johnathan began to fall forward, blood seeping out of his mouth as one hand dropped from her should to rest where a sword was protruding from his abdomen. The sword twisted before withdrawing and as the fallen lord began to slump forward, Ilene screamed, echoing another scream in the room. It turned the ballroom into a frenzy of activity as panic and fear began to rise. People wanted to get out of the ball room but it was so hard to see where the danger was. Ilene stumbled with Johnathan's weight and they tumbled to the ground. Ilene clutched the man who had saved her life close and raised the other to try and protect herself but the murderer had vanished into the darkness.

"Father! Avery! Elliot!" She called and gently laid Johnathan down on the ground and tried to scramble away. The murderer could be anywhere near her. She needed to get away from the spot where the assassin had struck. With the darkness around them, she bumped into a few people and ended up stumbling when she tried to get up, her foot stepping on the front of her dress and pulled herself back down.
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Avery wasn't sure what he should say around Sylva. He kept staring at her eyes though. "Your eyes are absolutely stunning," he murmured softly. He cleared his throat then, trying to think of another topic to discuss. He didn't want to talk about the ball or why they were all doing here. He had that discussion already and really, with each lady he wanted to discuss something different and get to know them. All of this just felt off however. It wasn't really all that natural and the only thing he could think of was the ball. Was he really so dull to not be able to think of some common chatter? The ball and farming and he highly doubted the woman before me wanted to talk about farming. "Did you see anything interesting on your travels?" he asked.

Before she could respond, everything changed. As soon as the lights went out, Avery tensed and like many of the other men, he pulled Sylva behind him to protect her from any oncoming danger. He'd trained how to fight blinded so he called upon his training now and closed his eyes trying to map out where everyone was and sense any oncoming danger. He didn't feel anything coming towards them but then he heard the screams, his sister calling for him. He couldn't let anything happen to his sister. "Stay where you are!" he called back to her and glanced a round trying to figure out what he could use as a weapon. He hated the rule that they had to leave their weapons out of the ball even more. He took Sylva's hand then and rushed to the table. He wasn't about to leave Sylva unattended to get hurt. He grabbed a carving knife off the table and rushed to where his sister had screamed and found her on the ground, trying to avoid being stepped on. Even if people avoided her, they stepped on her dress, constantly preventing her from getting up to her feet. Another point against long trailing gowns.

From behind her, his father and mother appeared and finally helped her up to her feet. She clung to them and sobbed. Avery looked closer and quickly spotted the dark splotches on her dress. He took her hand and saw the evidence of blood. "Are you injured?"

Ilene shook her head. "N-no. This is... it... Johnathan.. he saved me," she answered and pointed at Lord Johnathan's body.

Avery looked over and sighed. Johnathan Chambers. He let go of Sylva then and looked over at her. "You'll be safe with us until things settle," he promised her before he moved over to Johnathan and slowly pulled him away from the dance floor so he wasn't stepped on or tripped over. That would just cause more chaos. The question now was, where the hell was Elliot? Was he okay? He wanted to look for him but he had to stay and protect his parents, Ilene, and Sylva. "Back into a wall so whoever is doing this can't get behind us," he instructed.

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“A weapon? And what, may I ask, makes you believe that it is a weapon I wield instead of a trade? I know many a women with rough fingers due to cooking and needle work. What about me says that I would know how to wield a weapon? I am just an innocent lady of course.”

Ooh, Elliot liked her. He grinned as he rested his hand lightly on her hip and began to lead her in the beginning of the dance, watching her movements. "You have a point but-" well the conversation was going to have to wait for later. He stopped dancing when the lights went out. He pulled back so neither was compromised in each other's arms and tensed. He narrowed his eyes and shifted his gaze trying to find a hint of what may be going on. He heard the scream then and his eyes widened. "Ilene!" he gasped. He started to rush forward with his dance partner in toe but stopped abruptly when he heard his brother. He'd get to her faster. She'd be safe in his brother's protection. His head whipped around again trying to think about what he could do to get the upper hand here.

He grabbed a servant that tried to skitter passed him. The young thing squealed and coward as if from a strike. "The chandeliers, go get help and relight them so we can see," he instructed. The maid nodded and hurried away when Elliot let her go. Elliot turned to Rosalyn then. [color=#551A8B]"Get under the table, you'll be safer there."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lara Cavalier Character Portrait: Benjy Daverny

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LARA CAVALIER
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Eldest Child | The White Frog, Swan Princess
#A8C5EA | Outfit


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The pirate's pleasant willingness to comply with Lara's scrambled request made her feel like her heart had swollen two sizes and was about to blow - in a nice way. As they danced she almost forgot she was dancing and missed a few steps without realizing, too wrapped up in his words to remember which foot went forward. She didn't seem too apologetic about messing up either, just dismissing the fumbles with a smile and a shrug. The dance wasn't nearly as deserving of her attention than the story.

She listened to it intently and with these wide, eager eyes that peered up with anticipation for every sentence that followed from the last. Though she was looking at him, she wasn't seeing him. She saw the action folding out in front of her, much like how an imagination draws up an image from the words in the pages of a book. While he so generously relayed the gory details of the fight, her nose scrunched up and she found her belief fluttering – there was no way a dagger had scraped against his face to only shave his mustache – well, she supposed it was possible – sure, it happened. Why not? She tried her best to keep a straight face (after all, it was unladylike to show interest in violence), but she did let the accidental reaction slip, as well as one skeptical, “Really...?”

“The ship as it turned out was an independent, looking to trade with the Isles, they seemed to be unaware that we were more likely to simply take their cargo altogether.” They moved on from the bloodbath to the more depressing aftermath, at least it felt that way to Lara. Her sympathies were quickly washed out by the tales of celebration and she found herself grinning through it.

“Mother ranted for days, asking us what we’d have done if we had begun a war with the Vale. I didn’t much care, not when the buzz of the fight still rung in my ears. Our father had been proud though.” There was a subtle change in the way the Daverny held himself as he let out a sigh. “That had been enough. Well. And hearing the story of it passing from ear to ear. Each iteration more grand than the other.”

Lara let out a low whistle the second he stopped for breath. “The greatest feat I've ever done for my father's approval was simply coming here,” she murmured, but that wasn't exactly true. When she was young, while she had been wrapped up in her mother's 'lady' studies, her connection with her father began to fade. Their lives simply had less to do with one another's. Her brilliant idea to rekindle their connection was to impress her father by conquering her fear of horses. Trying to tame and ride a moody stallion she was deathly afraid of unsurprisingly did not end well and the experience only contributed to her uneasiness. In fact, it was no wonder that she did not consider this a feat. Climbing a tree with a dislocated shoulder could be, she supposed, but the fact that she climbed it to hide from a horse was another matter.

She went back to listening to his stories, finding them more detailed (and unyielding with violence) as they went on. She didn't say much if not anything at all, but she didn't mind. What from her life that was so boring in comparison could she speak about to him? As another story drew to a close, Lara hung on to the silence, waiting for him to break it with another tale. He broke it, but the time for stories had seemed to pass. Lara guiltily thought she had made his throat sore.

“I know that you've been told to do otherwise,” he said, “But I do hope we get to speak some more some time.”

Whether he was genuine or not, eh, it was hard to tell with a pirate. Lara just gave a wonky smile that said 'oh well'. It could be another adventure, trying to sneak to him right under her mother's beak. Her adventures held no grain to his, if the worth of adventures were counted in glory and gold.

“Thanks,” she replied meekly before clearing her throat and trying again, “I don't know your -” A sudden wind chilled her and took the light out of the room with it. “... Huh.”

The initial outrage of the nobles quietened down in a moment and the place became all too quiet. Moonlight dappled the audience, only letting Lara see shifting shapes and no faces. Something felt wrong. She fell still as did what she did best – listened. It was so faint, even her ears could barely pick up the sound of steel and the gasp of pain, then through all the panic, the hushed but authoritative voice that followed. But they did. What those words said, she could not tell. She opened her mouth to alert someone when there was a horrified scream from behind her and she knew that there was no doubt the Keep was under attack. What followed was hell.

Hell was confused footsteps, the slashing of throats and the cries of victims and witnesses. Lara was frozen with no clue of what to do. The sounds of fighting seemed to come from all around her, closing her in. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a glint in the moonlight and darted towards it, snatching the large circular tray of drinks from a serving boy. The goblets spilled at the severity of this action and she felt dark liquid flood over her chest and sink into her skirts. She came back to her dance partners side, holding the tray up like a shield. She looked ridiculous. It was a good thing it was dark. She budged over close enough to him that her elbow brushed against his arm. It was odd to say, but it was safer to be next to the pirate in this situation.

“Here's your chance to prove you can do half the things you just claimed you could,” she said loud enough to be heard over all the yelling, “I really hope you weren't completely lying.”

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