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Reyna Otaru

"I will always do what is best for my nation."

451 views · last seen in Valkyom
a character in “Fateful Romance: Bonds Beyond Blood”, as played by SkullsandSlippers

Description

Name: Reyna Otaru
Picture:

Image

But with auburn hair like this:

Image

Age: 21
[bSex:[/b] Female
Date of Birth: March 15, 457
Home: Nation of Valkyom. Her family has been rulers of the nation for many generations. The people have found themselves in good standing as a nation and the rulers a history of being just and fair. Even in times of struggle the royal family has always done what they can to help rally around and protect its people. Because of this the nation has a deep love of the royal family and of course, the royal children. Each birth was marked by great celebration.

The announcement of the Princess’ marriage was a joyous one until the nation learned that there were five potential grooms and none of which were known. This caused an outpouring of concern that turned into rioting. While the King understood the people’s admiration he could not have such chaos and the riot was calmed after a day. The Princess was much distressed that her people were upset and did what she could to explain to them that her marriage would mean great things for the nation. Since her statement was read the plans for the arrival of the grooms and subsequent marriage have gone very smoothly. The nation has come together to give the soon to arrive grooms a warm welcome and the Princess a celebration that will not be rivalled for generations.

Hair: Auburn. Like her Grandmother. Long with a slight wave to it when left unpinned. Often it is elaborately pinned back and away from her face. Both of her parents have a warm brown hue for their hair, her brothers the same but

Eyes: Very blue. A trait of her father’s side of the family. From her mother however she inherited long dark lashes that simply add to the colour of her eyes.

Race: Human though given some of her features it is said that there is elven blood in her history. Those that keep records will tell you that five generations back the King took a high elven princess as his Queen. The angle of Reyna’s cheekbones as well as other subtle features, her long fingers and slender limbs give sign of her heritage.
Physical Description:
Height-5’6
Weight-118 lbs
Frame/Build-Reyna has a small frame with slim hips and narrow waist. Her arms and legs are long. Her neck graceful and her posture perfect. She does not carry herself as if she is small or fragile, on the contrary she is extremely graceful and elegant. Her steps are always sure and precise. Her fingers are long and elegant, matching the rest of her frame. Although she is slim Reyna is perfectly proportioned. Her slender shoulders taper to a slim bust and narrow waist gives way to a slight curve of her hips.
Complexion-Reyna does not bear the pallid pale skin of one stuck indoors their whole life. She is not like her brothers however who have the ruddy complexion of men who spend their time riding and hunting. Her skin would best be described as creamy with a touch of healthy pink in her cheeks. Her lips are a perfect warm red rosebud on her face.
Voice-Her voice is described as warm and comforting by those who have had occasion to talk at length with her. Like her parents Reyna carries a tone of authority when she speaks, though it does not carry a harsh edge.

Quirks-Anything that would have been considered a bad habit or an unseemly behaviour was trained out of her as a young girl. In private however Reyna has a habit playing with her hair, wrapping it around her finger when she is thinking on a problem.

Personality:

Strengths-Diplomacy, level-headedness and careful planning

Weakness-Unable to defend herself (minus a bow and arrow), very little experience with upheaval or real danger, fear of drowning

Reyna is a diplomat in every sense of the word. Calm, in control and always weighing the situation and factors carefully. She has control over her emotions and any in the castle will tell you that they have not seen the princess she a tear since she was but a child. Press further and one might find that they have also not heard her laugh heartily or anger since she was a child also.

She is a good listener and weighs her words carefully in all situations be it the colour of a dress or a dispute among friends.

She is demure and proper but does have opinions and does not easily or simply defer to those around her. She was brought up to have opinions, very thought opinions but opinions none the less.

Her friends in the court will tell you that she is loyal, kind and respectful. Reyna will humbly state that it is those around her that make her better.

Reyna is not seen as overly sympathetic but a good ruler must never show too much emotion or favouritism so she keeps things carefully balanced.

In private there are times when the control weighs heavily on her and she finds herself guiltily wishing for a bit of breathing space, time when she can simply relax and not have to think quite so much.

She is as the kitchen would state, a picky eater and has been since she was a child. There is a stubborn streak in the girl that only comes out when food is involved. There are many things she does not like and will not try despite the cooks best efforts. Reyna is never rude about it but there are many times when as a child she had gone hungry. As an adult, Reyna has learned to be more diplomatic and careful when at feasts.

Reyna’s favourite thing is the royal flower gardens. She has a soft spot for flowers and in particular a small side garden that main royal garden. It is on a small stone path and a bench sits beneath a tree surrounded by fragrant flowers. It is the one place Reyna will go when there is nothing needed from her. It is also the place she feels the most like herself and not the princess.

Reyna knows that her people are relying on her and she strives to always do what is in their best interest.

Background:

Reyna is the third child, first daughter of King Haru and Queen Mikaela. Her brothers are both married, the eldest Ryko is set to be heir. She has two younger siblings as well, a brother and sister and the royal family lost the youngest member to illness shortly after her birth.

Raised in the castle, Reyna watched her parents rule fairly and watched as the people rewarded them with loyalty and devotion. She and all her siblings were brought up with a healthy understanding that the nation comes before all else.

The royal children never wanted for anything but they were never spoiled and rude or brash behaviour was never tolerated. They were reminded that what they must always appreciate the people of their nation and it was the royal family’s job to protect and look after them.
The kingdom itself is quite peaceful and the Princess and her siblings have never known true danger or chaos.

So begins...

Reyna Otaru's Story

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Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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Location: Castle Valkyom

Time: 5:00 pm

Date: April 10th, 478


The day had arrived. Of course days came and went but this one, this is the one that everyone had been waiting for. For weeks preparations were made. The wedding needed to be perfect, the ball and feast as well. Everything needed to be considered and nothing could go wrong.

The menu carefully chosen. The musicians made to practice over and over again. The clothes for the royal family and all the servants picked to be ideal. In the streets announcements counting down the days and now hours before the arrival of the men who might marry Valkyon’s princess.

In her room Reyna sat at the vanity and stared at the mirror. Blue eyes stared back but the girl didn’t admire herself. Her mind was too busy carefully going over everything that needed to be done right up the moment when the men arrived.

She knew that once they were introduced to her she would have to choose one. She also knew that all would be ideal matches and would help to ensure good things for both Valkyon and whatever nation he might hail from.

Reyna was slightly apprehensive, she felt as if she was being asked to make a decision without all of the information. She knew nothing about the men other than that her marriage to any of them would be for the good of her people.

That is all that matters. My people need me to do what is right for them.

Reyna stood and crossed the room where her gown hung. She and her mother had poured over pieces of fabric for weeks. The dress had to be perfect. It was of course. It would hang on her slim frame and highlight the soft curves where appropriate and the long lines where it was needed. The cut of the bodice would accentuate her slim neck and subtle dip of her chest. It was a proper gown, for a proper princess on the occasion of her wedding.

Her slender fingers drifted over the bead work on the bodice.

Will he like it? Will he like me? Will we be happy? It was the first time such questions had appeared in her thoughts. A slight frown crossed the pretty face. It will be as it must. There are many lives that are more important to think of then my own petty worries.

With her resolve renewed Reyna rang the small bell and immediately her ladies appeared to dress her for the day.

Location: Castle Valkyom

Time: 8:30 pm

Date: April 10th, 478

Around her the conversation was lively and joyous. Reyna sat, hands folded in her lap and listened intently. Her gown shone slightly in the light and numerous people had already commented on the lovely ivory dress and it delicate embroidery and beadwork of green. As expected and planned it suited her complexion to a tee and everyone felt the need to tell her so.

Reyna took all the comments and well wishes that were sent her way with grace and poise. A nod of her head and a sweet thank you, exactly as was expected from a soon to be royal bride.

Below them the ballroom floor was full of guests, all of which had come to see her and to watch as the jewel of Valkyom chose her husband. Reyna could swear as the evening went on that the anticipation was becoming palpable. There was a buzz in the air. Outside the people would be waiting to send her off to her new life. It made Reyna smile to know that doing this, for the people meant so much.

Reyna stood and immediately the conversation around her halted. Eyes turned to look on her.

“If you will excuse me I shall take the time to mingle with some of the other guests.”

Her words were met with smiles from her parents and nods of many of the guests. Head high and back straight, Reyna turned and moved to the stairs. She stood at the top for a moment and surveyed the crowd below. Her necklace and earrings caught the chandelier light making the woman shimmer slightly. Those who looked up would tell those around them that they did not think there was a more beautiful sight.

With easy, measured steps Reyna descended into the crowd. She was immediately greeted, though at the respectful distance by many guests. Others came quickly hoping to catch her attention right away. Reyna was aware that there were some that hoped she would turn down the five suitors in hopes that her eye turned to one of Valkyom’s own nobles. While she appreciated their desire for her to stay and marry one of their own her duty lied in what was best for the nation as a whole. The alliance that she would form by marrying one of the men tonight would bring great things for both of their people.

Her hands were placed in front of her as she began to walk through the crowd. It parted around her, leaving a buffer space between her and the people.

“Good evening to you Lord Mitrac and to you lady wife. I thank you for joining us on this evening.”

Her smile and kind words were returned with a bow from the couple.

“And to you Lord Theor. I was sorry to hear that Lady Theor has taken ill. Please, send her my wishes for her timely recovery.”

Reyna walked through greeting all she encountered. She had a good memory for names, as was expected and did not falter once in her greetings. She spied to her left three men in deep conversation. They occasionally looked over towards her. Reyna knew that two of them had sons and that they would likely make an attempt to petition her to consider the men.

Wishing to avoid such discussion at this very moment Reyna turned right and began to greet the guests on that side of the room. She was grateful for her comfortable slippers as she would do a great deal of walking and standing this night.

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Time: 8:30 pm

Reyna hadn’t heard the man approach. Her eyes and attention were on the nobles in front of her as she greeted them. She felt the breeze on her back, the bare skin where the gown dipped to its lacings and the slight movement of her hair.

Turning she found herself very near a man she did not know and facing a nobleman she did know. Her face remained in a smile as she surveyed the scene in front of her. The man before her was around her age, perhaps a little older but no more than a few years. His arm was out, loose sleeve draping just a little.

His face was relaxed, as if he was talking of the weather yet his tone was enough to make it clear that the noble had overstepped his bounds. Reyna looked down and realized that the nobleman was far closer than he was allowed to be. Her eyes drifted back to the man and his outstretched arm.

A guard but not like the others. Her eyes took in every detail of his face and his clothes. The way he stood, in charge but not overly intimidating spoke a great deal about him.

Reyna dipped her head a little in acceptance of the noble’s apology. Around her everyone was calm and composed. She turned her gaze to her guard and gave him a smile of thanks. His behaviour and demeanour did much to keep up the festive feeling and not letting the slight cause problems.

“Lord Macol your apology is accepted. We are all a little taken with the celebration and it is understandable that one might get caught up.”

Her tone was gentle and kind. She offered Lord Macol a smile and turning returned to her duties with the crowd. The greetings continued and as she rounded one end of the ballroom her eyes moved to watch where the guard went. As she came to the end of the room, Reyna paused. Here the crowd was less. A hand went up to smooth a bit of hair away from her face. A stray wave had escaped her ladies multitude of pins.

“Your highness, a word if I might.”

Reyna turned to see Lord Macol approaching. Lord Guiger was on his heels. She turned to face the approaching men. She waited as the approached and stopped just short of the allotted space.

“Your highness, I realize that you have a difficult decision to make tonight.” He inched closer. “I also know that you don’t have to choose one of these men.”

Both men stepped closer. The movement was not unnoticed by Reyna who took a small but subtle step backwards. Something about the men’s urgency made her mildly uncomfortable. Her face did not give the feeling away however.

“Wouldn’t you prefer to marry a man you know? One who admires you and your beauty? One who knows what a jewel, a gift you are to us?”

This time the men quickly stepped forward. Reyna realized that she was very close to the wall. She was grateful that the orchestra had begun playing some light music to entertain the crowd as they sampled the appetizers and talked. She hoped it was enough to keep the men’s words from being overheard.

Lord Guiger spoke up. “We both have sons. Find men who have wanted desperately to see you happy. You are our princess and we only wish for you happiness.”

Reyna kept her composure. Her eyes drifted to the shadows, to the crowd where she knew her new guard or one of the guards must be lingering. Her dress ruffled lightly around her feet as she shifted her weight.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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Kyero kept his respectful distance, and as one might expect the princess kept just as calm and composed as he had and she seemed to appreciate his not making a scene. It was quite the new experience for him, working to guard one person. He was a bit nervous but at the same time there was a familiarness to it which allowed him to relax and do his job. Once she was finished talking, he moved away a bit to allow her some space and time by herself and spoke with some of the guards who had reported in.

"Slightly disturbing news sir, if it is to be believed. One of the guards claims to have found the faintest of footprints unfamiliar to our own just outside the north wall in close proximity to the castle walls. What should we do sir?" One guard asked in a whisper.

Kyero leaned in.

"Search the upper floors. There is only one entrance at ground level and they could possibly have ascended the walls to the second or third floor. If you find even one person not among the invited guests or of the known servants, come get me." He responded.

The men nodded and left the room, giving Kyero time to survey the room and find the princess once more.

His face contorted in slight frustration to see that the same noble he'd stopped before had once again overstepped his bounds, but this time with another close behind him. Kyero strode purposefully yet subtly across the room, remaining careful not to disturb any of the other guests while also remaining just beyond peripheral vision of the men approaching the princess. Coming up from behind them, Kyero stopped just short of them to hear what they were saying to ensure he wasn't jumping to conclusions. Once the words We both have sons came through, Kyero took action. He quickly stepped around to the side and cut off their advance, his sudden appearance making them both take a step or two back in shock as he glared down at them.

"Gentlemen..." He said in a slightly lower and more authoritative and edged voice than he had used before.

"I'm sure your sons are fine young men, but tonight is not about you nor your social standing. Tonight is about the princess, and if you two persist in harassing her I will have no choice but to eject you from this castle. I do not wish to take such a course of action, so if you would please find someone else to talk to and just enjoy the event as normal I would greatly appreciate it." He said calmly.

Again, Kyero was minding his behavior. Normally he'd be telling them off, but at such an occasion he had to make sure he didn't raise a scene. Every part of his being told him to just grab them and open a window to toss them out, but such a thing would be quite the show stopper and he couldn't afford to let his temper cause such a disaster. The two nobles looked to each other and then looked rather angrily back at Kyero as Lord Macol, the one he'd warned about distance before, took a step forward.

"And who are you to stand in our way boy? I realize that the princess has her guards, but where do you get off telling Lords in good standing such as myself and Lord Guiger such a thing?" He asked.

The true depth of Kyero's position had been kept a secret from princess Reyna by her parents up until now, but Kyero decided it was better late than never that she learned of what he was really here for.

"I have been employed directly by the king and queen of Valkyom to protect the princess as her personal body guard. As such I have complete authority regarding her safety and have been granted permission to protect her by any means necessary." He said, his voice laced in warning.

Both nobles were taken slightly aback, confused as to why the princess would have a personal guard when her family employed over two hundred guards around the interior of the castle alone. It didn't make much sense that one person would be selected to protect her with so many available, much less someone so young as this boy before them. At first glance one would never know that he had Tuarva blood running through his veins, nor that he was strong enough to split any of the castle's thickest walls with a single well placed punch. Kyero's Tuarva heritage was one of the reasons for his employment here tonight, the other being that he was in good standing despite being of common blood.

The king and queen had heard from one of their servants about a young man working as a city guard who had protected them from a gang of hoodlums a few weeks prior, and they sent that same servant out to search for him and and bring him back to the castle in hopes of hiring him to protect their daughter. After Kyero's introduction to the king and queen, they both decided on the spot that he was the one for the job and there was really no arguing such a decision. How often was one presented with such an honor after all? Kyero had accepted eagerly, though he had not been introduced to the princess at that time.

None of this was public knowledge however, but after Kyero's warning both nobles looked to each other and walked away muttering to themselves about the intrusive youth in black clothing. Kyero really didn't care about their chatter though, as he tuned them out while turning to the princess with an apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry you had to endure their advances like that princess. I'll make sure it doesn't happen again." He said with a bow.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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They kept getting closer, petitioning for her to consider their sons over the alliances that were already in place. She had more to consider than what she wanted and what they were asking of her, it was selfish. Reyna had to think of the people, the nation and not herself.

“My Lords I understand...” She took another step away. They were close, too close.

A figure moved to place itself between her and the advancing nobles. Even with his back to her Reyna knew it was the same guard as before. She did not know who he was but she was glad for his appearance.

Her back was straight though her hands were clenched a little tighter as he spoke. Reyna hoped it would be enough to make the nobles step back, to give her space.

Again his voice was calm but firm. Reyna felt her shoulders relax as control of the situation seemed like it was being restored. This man was very good. Everything about him spoke of composure and tactic but he radiated authority that was enough to make anyone pause. Her stomach fluttered.

She could not see them but by their tone it was clear that the Lords were not swayed. Reyna’s hands went to her throat in an uncharacteristic gesture of surprise. The nobles were challenging him.

...protect the princess as her personal body guard.

Reyna let the words sink in. Around her the crowds were still enjoying the celebration. Her head tilted slightly to the side as she considered his words carefully.

Personal bodyguard? Why would I have a personal guard? I have never had someone before, never needed such close protection. Her eyes drifted upwards to where her parents were still holding conversation. What am I not being told? Who is he?

He turned to face her and his smile was immediately disarming.

Reyna found herself staring at him. Her lashes moved as she blinked slowly to take in the sight of the man employed to protect her. She was used to guards but this was different.

With a quick inhale Reyna regained her composure. “There is no need to apologize. You had no way of knowing they would be so insistent. They are of good motive even if they are of poor actions.”

She knew he would leave, drift off to join the crowd and shadows around her but she did not want that, not yet. Looking around her the crowd was still mingling and she found herself almost alone with him.

With careful movements Reyna stepped towards him.

“Is that the truth? Are you to guard me as my personal guard?”

She eyed him curiously. “I do not know you. You were brought in for this event. I would know your name, please.”

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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“Is that the truth? Are you to guard me as my personal guard? I do not know you. You were brought in for this event. I would know your name, please.” The princess asked.

Kyero nodded to her.

"As you wish princess." He said with a slight bow.

"My name is Kyero Di' Nelma, and I was employed by your parents to serve as your personal body guard this evening. Despite the happy occasion, I'm sure that you understand that so long as a kingdom prospers there will be those who seek to either take advantage of it or destroy it. I am here to prevent the possibility of such individuals from reaching you and bringing you to harm." He said as he looked to the upper level where the king and queen sat.

"Your parents are wonderful people, and in truth I am a bit saddened that they sought such extra security on such a happy occasion. However, I can understand that they would want to protect their daughter... However..." He began to say as he turned towards her, one eye becoming visible as his head became perpendicular to her.

"... I am a bit concerned as to why they'd want a Tuarva here to protect you." He said.

The Tuarva as a race were almost extinct, and the fact that Kyero was one of them and that he was brought in personally spoke volumes about how much danger the king and queen must have thought Reyna was in.

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Reyna paled slightly though did her best to remain composed as he told her his name and that her parents had hired him, a Tuarva to protect her.

Her clear blue eyes stared at him and she said nothing.

Tuarva? But they are extinct or rather....but this does not make sense. What threat could be so great that I would need such protection? What am I not being told?

Reyna inhaled very slowly. Her back went a bit straighter as her lungs filled. Something was being kept from her and in order to make her decision tonight she needed to know as much as she could. In order to do what was best for her people she needed to know everything.

She stepped closer to him. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance Kyero. I did not think the threat so great.”

Reyna looked around her. There was no one in close proximity. She stepped backwards, closer to the wall. “Come, please. I would speak to you without the ears of those around us hearing.”

Her breathing was slightly uneven as she weighed his words. She could not fathom what threat could be so great that she needed personal protection and from more than just the normal guards.

“Are you truly Tuarva?”

Reyna practically breathed the question out. The implications behind it were great and she was having a great deal of difficulty understanding the situation. Never had she found herself feeling so unsure. She did not like it and did not like the feeling of fear that was slowly creeping in.

"They hired you to watch over me? Just me? They feel there is a great enough danger?"

Danger was something Reyna had absolutely no experience in and the very idea seemed foreign to her. She came from a realm of little crime, little fighting and disputes were handled with logic and reasoning.

She put a hand on his arm, unthinking. "There cannot be anything so dangerous. Who would wish to disruption such an occasion?"

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Her eyes searched his for some sign that things were not as dangerous as seemed to implied by his very presence. Reyna thought nothing about how close she was to Kyero, nothing about her hand on his arm. Her thoughts were filled with other things.

There was disappointment as he told her that he did not have more answers. That feeling was somewhat fleeting as he promised her that he would protect her. There was something about Kyero, the way he spoke and his demeanour that made her believe that indeed he would protect her. Despite never knowing danger somehow she felt it in her very being that she was safe with him.

Reyna realized that she was still staring at him, her gaze intent on his. She pulled her eyes away to scan the room. There was the chance that someone might be there to hurt her, to stop the celebration, to stop her marriage. She did not understand but she would not let that stop her from her duty.

A hand touched her own and Reyna looked back at Kyero. He was smiling at her his hand was covering hers while hers remained daintily on his arm. Her eyes moved from his face to their hands and back to his face. She couldn’t help it, she returned his smile and felt a fluttering in her stomach as she had before.

Perhaps it was the situation, the heightened sense of everything or perhaps it was simply the contact, something she was not afforded by any but her family. Reyna didn’t know. What she did know is he was the first man to touch her that was not her father and he was doing so willingly to comfort her.

“Thank you Kyero. For your honesty. For telling me what you know.”

Reyna stepped away from him slowly. Her back was still straight, her posture perfect but now there was a touch of concern that clouded her eyes. She turned and made her way slowly back into the crowd, resuming her greetings and cordial conversation. She became acutely aware of how close people came towards her but nothing registered on her face or in her demeanour.

Her eyes however, they kept scanning the crowd and looking for Kyero’s presence close by. Whenever she spotted him Reyna felt a little more at ease. There were unanswered questions but she hoped to ask them of her parents before the suitors arrived.

For now there were guests to greet.

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“Thank you Kyero. For your honesty. For telling me what you know.”

Kyero nodded to her as she stepped away and disappeared into the crowd. He moved about the room casually, making sure to keep her in sight at all times.

Time ticked by slowly and before long the princess was called back to the upper level by her parents. Kyero knew that this meant the grooms were almost here and ready to make their appearance, and as such his place was now above the crowd and by the princess's side. He too ascended the steps with a small handful of other guards to mask that this was actually his personal duty from the crowd, and nobody seemed any the wiser. Kyero parted ways with the other guards and took a place beside the royal family's seats and kept a careful eye on everyone on the upper level as well as those whom he could see on the lower level.

Within the next ten minutes, horns blared by the double doors leading into Ballroom to signal the arrival of the princess's potential future husbands. The doors opened slowly and dramatically, revealing five figures standing in the doorway who walked forward with the poise and elegance one would expect of nobility. Surprisingly, none of them were of royal blood. That much was evident in their clothing and by some subtle differences in their body language from how the royals carried themselves. Each one stepped forward one at a time to the base of the steps leading to the upper level as an announcer approached their position.

"Presenting the five potential future husbands of the princess of Valkyom! First, Lord Halluo Kashim from the nation of Eden!" He called, and stepped forward the man on the far left.

His dress was regal with a cape that was blue on top and purple on the bottom. His shirt was some of the finest fabric money could buy and was a glimmering white with gold trim. His pants were similar, but held more of a silver tint towards the waist. He was in his mid thirties and had a clean shaven face and a confident smile to boot. He was handsome and youthful for his age, and was a noble of high standing back in Eden which was Kyero's home nation. He knew of this man, Lord Kashim, and he also knew that the man was honest if a bit blunt which often came off as rude.

"Next, Lord Burtos Ruu'dan of Corelia!" The announcer called.

The next man over was dressed almost all in red, a color of power, and was in his early 40's. His family was very proud and well known for answering challenges from any and all would be challengers. Lord Ruu'dan himself had emerged victorious from almost fifteen duels throughout his life, as Corelia held some of the most competitive nobility of any nation. Corelia itself was fairly well off as a nation and was a strong contender for the final choice of the princess.

"Third, Sir Patrick Eiswald of Eden!"

This one was dressed in a golden shirt and pants with a red cape. He was in his early 30's and held himself with utmost confidence and assurance. He was not a Lord, but a well respected military veteran who was decorated many times over despite his youth. Eden had been involved in two unfortunate wars over the last two decades, but Sir Eiswald had fought in and come home alive from both while helping protect his fellow soldiers and successfully taking charge of numerous missions to protect villages and towns along Eden's border in the early stages of the most recent war. His exploits were well known, and he too was a strong contender for the final choice.

"Fourth, Lord Lucian Salendro of Thalren!"

This man was dressed in fine olive green pants and a beige shirt with frills around the collar. He was in his late 30's and the only one not wearing a cape, but his bearing said he didn't need it. He was also, almost absurdly so, confident and filled with pride. However, there was something about this man that Kyero didn't like right off the bat. Even though the man was poised and displaying confidence, a single bead of sweat rolled down his right temple that Kyero just barely managed to catch. Most would not think about such a detail, but how could one of such bearing be sweating? Kyero remained suspicious, but also remained silent.

"And last but certainly not least, Lord Drake Kalin of Corelia!"

The final man on the far right stepped forward. He was in his early 40's and displayed the bearing of a man of the world. Wearing regal but fairly plain clothing, he was the least ostentatious of the group. His face was clean, but with mild wrinkles of his age though they were not the kind you'd look at and think "ew, he's old." Rather, they were handsome in their own way and told of his experience and exploits across the land. Of all the men, Kyero seemed to think this man was likely the most honest and true of the group. Despite his fairly plain appearance by comparison to the others in clothing, he carried himself like a true nobleman on a mission rather than another man simply looking to impress.

The five men stepped forward and were allowed to ascend to the upper level where the royal family rose to greet them one by one. The king and queen welcomed them to the castle and personally introduced the princess to each and every one of them. When the basic introductions were complete, each man was given exactly ten minutes to speak with the princess one on one in the privacy of the upper level while the others ate and mingled with the crowd.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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Reyna moved through the crowd. The evening was going almost painfully slow now that she knew that her parents thought there might be a threat to her and to the marriage.

She was relieved when she was finally called back up to join her parents. Ascending the stairs she hoped for a moment with them to ask them the meaning behind Kyero’s presence and what dangers they felt might be lurking nearby. There would be no time for that as even before she had reached the upper level Reyna could see the heralds taking their place.

Behind her a group of guards ascended the stairs and it did not escape her attention that Kyero moved to stand near her while the others took other locations. No one else seemed to notice however and Reyna knew that is how it was supposed to be.

The horns sounded. Reyna’s stomach tightened involuntarily. There was much riding on her decision this evening. Her future was about to walk in the door. Reyna had a sudden urge to flee but quelled it. For my people. She repeated the thought over and over again in her head.

The five men were introduced and Reyna’s face gave nothing away. Her eyes scanned each man but her thoughts remained hidden behind the blue orbs.

She stood as the men joined the royal family. Reyna was careful not to look at any of them for too long lest they think she favoured them above the others. It was with careful precision that she looked them over individually and then moved onto the next. None stirred an immediate response from her though she did not expect them to.

With the introductions complete Lord Halluo remained as the others returned to the main ballroom. Reyna remained standing as she and the Lord briefly talked. She found his smile pleasing though his manner lacking the softer edge of diplomacy, favouring bluntness in its stead.

He kept a careful distance and when his time was up he gave her a polite bow. Reyna did not move, did not fidget as he descended the stairs and the next man came up to take his place.

Lord Burtos, dressed in all red carried himself like a man ready to conquer anything and everything. He was strong of character but Reyna felt as if he was attempting to best her, as if wooing her, if that is what it could be called was a duel or a fight rather than something he wished.

Reyna found herself feeling defensive in his presence though she remained polite and demure. Will that be my life? One battle after another for everything until he feels he has bested me? Is that the best alliance for my people?
She was grateful when his time was complete. The next man ascended to her. Reyna was immediately struck with how he carried himself differently than the rest. His composure was that of a man who had been through a great deal and yet survived. He had a kindness behind his eyes even though there was a hardness about him.

Lord Lucian ascended and almost immediately approached too close to her. Reyna did not flinch but she came very close to it. He was confident to the point of cocky. His ten minutes were spent talking as if she had already decided and had chosen him. He talked as if the choice was obvious and any choice but him was ludicrous. Reyna acknowledged him politely but made a mental note that out of all of them she was barely able to get a word in with him.

When Lord Drake ascended Reyna found herself a bit breathless. Though a bit older than she would have expected of her suitors he was handsome. What struck her was the less than ostentatious way he presented himself. It was almost as if he was trying to show her himself rather than put on a show. This impressed Reyna and she made a note of it as something to heavily consider in her choice.

When Lord Drake’s time was up and he had left the upper level Reyna took her seat again and someone brought her a glass of water. She sat, goblet in hand as she contemplated and considered each man.

Reyna suddenly felt very alone. Everyone was below mingling and having fun while she sat and attempted to make the best choice for her people. Her eyes moved across the floor as she raised the goblet to her lips. The liquid was cold and she took a small sip, enough to wet her lips.

In this moment she wanted nothing more than to discuss the decision with someone else but she knew the task fell to her.

“Kyero? Do you think any of them are a danger to me?”

Her voice was a whisper, only he would hear and only if he was as close by as she thought he might be. She felt like she was missing a piece of the puzzle and hoped perhaps he had seen or heard something she had missed.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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Kyero stood by Reyna's side throughout the introductory phase and kept a very watchful eye on each and every man who came forth to speak to her. All five of them were polite enough, save for Lucian whom Kyero wanted to punch in the face. His obnoxious behavior was enough to make Kyero want to gag, and his use of vocabulary and self glorifying speech patterns just made Kyero angry. However, he kept his composure and watched silently, analyzing each man one by one as they came forward.

When it was over, Kyero was relieved, but it didn't last long.

“Kyero? Do you think any of them are a danger to me?” Reyna asked.

Kyero looked down at her and then looked back to the men before coming in a bit closer to her and leaning down to whisper to her.

"Lord Lucian bothers me, but the others seem to be honest enough... Still, I don't like Lucian at all." He whispered to her.

With that, Kyero stood up and took in a deep breath before letting it out on a sigh through his nose. He was a bit tired mentally, but physically he was alert and wide awake. He kept his stoic gaze on the crowd as the five suitors mingled as they and the crowd awaited the princess's decision.

And again, Lord Lucian was bothering Kyero.

Lucian himself was by the feast table filling a glass of wine which, by itself, was not unusual but the way he did so was a bit troublesome. Normally, one would pour the wine slowly and carefully while cradling the bottle in one hand and balancing the base with the other. Lord Lucian's hand was around the neck of the bottle and he was pouring it rather quickly with one hand. That was a red flag in Kyero's mind which earned a scornful glare in Lucian's direction. As it happened, Lucian himself changed a glance up at Kyero and when their eyes met Lucian immediately turned away and avoided the glare sent his way. Kyero's eyes narrowed even more and he genuinely looked as angry and suspicious as he was feeling. It was the first time all night he'd broken "character" and allowed his true feelings to be known.

Kyero then leaned down and whispered to Reyna once more.

"I'm going to have a chat with Lucian, so please wait here and I will summon another guard to take my place until I return." He whispered.

Kyero waved down another guard just a short distance away by the stairs of the upper level and told him to stay by the princess's side while he went down to speak to Lucian. The guard complied with a salute and took up a position by the princess as Kyero descended the steps and made his way over to Lord Lucian. The people in Kyero's way all darted away from him once they saw the expression on his face, and as he reached Lucian he came to a stop beside the man on the left side.

"Pardon, Lord Lucian. Do you have a moment?" He asked politely despite his grim expression.

"Oh? Oh, I'm sorry. I am afraid that I am busy at the moment." Lucian responded.

"How so?" Kyero asked.

The man looked around for a moment before his eyes landed on someone and he seemed to relax. Kyero's gaze shot in the direction Lucian had looked, but his eyes met nobody else's and he was even more anxious than before as he clenched a fist and turned his attention back to Lucian.

"So sorry dear boy, but I am afraid I must be leaving your company now. The princess is about to choose me for her husband and I don't want to be the one to tell her that you were blocking me from ascending the stairs to take my place at her side." He said rather haughtily.

Kyero's gaze hardened and the nobleman's smile faltered slightly.

"... And just how would you know the princess's decision?" Kyero inquired.

Lucian laughed.

"There is no other choice but myself! I am the obvious choice and any besides me would be a stain on her honor of course!" Lucian said rather loudly.

Kyero took notice of what he was doing and took a step back as Lord Drake approached.

"Pardon, but did you say that any of the four of us would be a "stain on her honor" sir?" He asked angrily.

Kyero looked to Lord Drake and shook his head.

"Do not play his game Lord Drake." He said calmly.

Lord Drake shot Kyero a glare.

"Be silent! I will hear no such affronts to my honor nor those of my colleagues. All of us have earned our privilege of being here for the princess, and I will not listen to this whelp insult us in this manner!" He demanded.

Kyero shook his head at Lord Drake.

"I cannot allow this Lord Drake, I am sorry." He said as he continued to stand between them.

Lord Drake's anger mounted and as he approached Kyero the youthful warrior gave him a glare that stopped Lord Drake in his tracks just before his hand reached Kyero's shoulder. Frozen in place, Lord Drake looked at Kyero as if he was from another world before backing away a step and letting out a sigh.

"... I suppose you're right. This time I will allow you a pass Lord Lucian, but know that if you insult us like this again outside of these castle walls, I will kill you." He warned as he turned his back and walked away.

Kyero looked back to Lucian who was upset that there had not been a duel, but who never the less smiled at Kyero.

"Well you're an arrogant little thing now aren't you?" He said with a chuckle.

Kyero was about to speak when all of a sudden the windows practically exploded inwards as large gusts of wind blew through the room and threw many people to the ground. Tables were knocked over, the carpets flung off the ground, and all of this supplemented by the fact that numerous men jumped through the windows dressed in all black clothing with masks covering their faces. Kyero was the one person on the ground level who remained on his feet thanks to his strength as a Tuarva, and he instantly turned and leaped through the air and landed on the upper level next to the princess's seat. As he landed he saw one of those men rushing at the princess with a blade drawn, and he instantly launched himself forward with all his might and rammed the man with his shoulder which sent him flying backwards and literally into the wall. The man was buried about six to eight inches into the concrete, and was instantly unconscious. Kyero took a protective stance in front of the princess as more of the men began rushing the upper level.

Kyero remained glued to the ground in front of the princess's seat as the men all began rushing him with weapons drawn while others began to control the crowd and gather them in tight groups on the ground level while others got busy taking out the guards. Kyero dispatched those who rushed him and the princess easily enough and kept his eyes on the royal family as well as the princess. For a brief moment he had to leave her side to protect the king but he returned almost as quickly as he'd left. After what seemed an eternity, but was in reality about twenty seconds, the upper level was clear of enemies as Kyero walked towards the edge of the upper level and looked down at a lone figure standing in the middle of the dance floor who was looking up and watching him.

... You're in charge aren't you? Kyero thought to himself as he glared down at the man.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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Reyna barely turned her head. She didn’t want to draw attention to the conversation she was having Kyero. She knew all her actions would be heavily watched and scrutinized as the crowd awaited her decision.

His breath was a soft against her ear as he leaned in close to speak to her. Everything about him made her feel safe, even though she did not know what there was to save her from. She had asked him his opinion on the men because she felt like she could trust him. Reyna had only met Kyero that evening but from the moment they spoke he had been honest with her and she felt it in her core that she could trust him.

His words, his opinion helped confirm her feelings about Kyero. He didn’t like Lord Lucian and truth be told neither did Reyna. She knew she had to consider all the suitors but he and his demeanour did not sit well with her. It was only a slight nod of her head that she acknowledged the whispered words. Kyero stood up and Reyna inhaled deeply.

Lord Lucian will not do. I realize the strength that the bond would bring to Valkyom but no, it is not the best option for everyone. He and his people might set about trying to rule over us rather than enjoy the union.
The others, there is much to consider....


Reyna began to mentally weigh the pros and cons of each man and what the union might mean for her people. She wanted to give them the best outcome that she could or all this would be for naught. Anyone looking at her would not be able to tell the at the straight backed, head held high princess has the weight of a nation laying on her slim shoulders.

Kyero’s voice in her ear, that soft whisper brought her out of her thoughts. Her head tilted to the side just a little, hair falling off her shoulder exposing the flawless skin.

Again Reyna offered him a small subtle nod. “I will not move from my chair until you return.”

The words were unnecessary but something about the request made her feel a bit more uneasy. What is going on that he feels the need to have a word with Lord Lucian? Reyna wanted very much to stand and look over the crowd but she knew if she did so then it would be assumed that she had made a decision.

One hand smoothed out her dress on her lap.

There was music playing and the dull constant sound of conversation though Reyna could not make out any of the words in particular. She set her mind back to the task at hand. The longer she prolonged this the more it would appear that she was indecisive.

The sound made Reyna bolt to her feet. She dropped the goblet of water, soaking the front hem of her gown. Around her the windows of the castle exploded and the glass fell to the floor with a loud tinkling sound.

Below her people were falling to the floor, crashing into each other and the tables or chairs as they went down. Reyna moved to the railing and looked down. Her hands clenched tightly to it as she tried to make sense of what was occurring. A storm? Or something much worse?

The answer came in the figures that came through the now open windows. Reyna could not understand what was going on but obviously her parents fears had come true. Something like this is why they had hired Kyero to protect her. Kyero? Where.... She turned her gaze to the crowd below. There a lone figure remained standing.

Reyna let out a sigh of relief despite her growing fear. In the blink of an eye he was standing beside her, he had jumped a height that seemed impossible to her. Reyna turned to face him.

“Kyero what is happ...”

Her words were cut off at the sight of a man dressed in black running towards her. Her eyes fell to the blade in his hand and Reyna gasped. One hand moved to her mouth and she took a step backwards towards the railing. Suddenly the the man and Kyero were gone. Only a few feet away from her but Reyna stared wide eyed as the man remained pushed into the wall and Kyero came to stand in front of her.

There was no doubt that Kyero was what he said. Only a Tuarva had that sort of strength. He stood there, his back to her protecting her from anything else that might happen.

All Reyna could do was stare for the moment. Never had anything like this occurred in Valkyom. Never had things devolved into chaos around her. There were screams from the crowd below and the sounds of fighting. Reyna backed into the railing more, her body now pressed against it as more men in black rushed towards her and Kyero continued to fight them off.

He left her for a moment and at first she did not understand until she saw him protecting her father. Reyna took advantage and moved away from the railing. She moved to stand by her chair, which had somehow remained upright in the chaos. One slender hand gripped the back of chair and she composed herself.

The upper level grew quiet. The bodies of the assailants and the royal guards laid on the ground around her. Reyna took a few slow breaths. Guards, those that remained though they were few rushed to stand near her parents. She felt cut off from them and far away.

She watched as Kyero approached the railing and looked down. With careful steps she moved to stand beside him. She was every bit a princess again, composed and calm though inside she was a ball of confusion and fear. Her hands went to the railing and she looked down. There in the middle of the dance floor, alone stood one man. Her blue eyes were fixed on him.

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A silent standoff between Kyero and the man on the dance floor ensued, and each silent combatant sized up the other and there seemed to be an unseen understanding made between them. Kyero's hand gripped the railing and cracked it under the pressure as the other figure took a step and broke one of the wooden planks under his feet.

So you are a Tuarva... Kyero thought to himself.

Slowly, Kyero turned his head while keeping his eyes on his opponent until he finally broke eye contact to look at Reyna.

"Princess Reyna, please remain here. This is going to get very intense, and I believe that this is the reason why your parents summoned me for this event." He said as he looked back to the figure who continued to wait patiently for his rival to come down to meet him.

Kyero stepped away from the princess and walked slowly down the steps towards the lone individual as the two continued to lock eyes until Kyero's foot touched the floor. In the blink of an eye his enemy launched forward and aimed a punch directly at the left side of Kyero's using his right hand, and Kyero responded with a punch of his own using his left hand. The collision created a shockwave which shook the entire room and created a small crater about six inches deep around the combatants as they locked hands in the middle and began to squeeze as if playing a game of mercy. The sound of their struggle, even with something so simple and grasping each others hands and squeezing, was enough to echo throughout the room as bones creaked and muscles flexed before the fight truly began in earnest.

Kyero was suddenly lifted off his feet with his hands still intertwined with his opponents before he was then slammed into the ground where he had once stood. His body dug into the ground and created its own miniature crater another few inches into the floor before he was lifted up and thrown down again, this time harder. The impact of his body against the ground created its own small tremors which shook the floor, but upon the third attempt to slam his body into the ground Kyero pushed his feet out and landed on them as he looked up at his opponent. Kyero then pulled him in close and thrust his knee into his opponent's stomach which created a small burst of air behind him before Kyero twisted their arms around and crossed them in front of his throat. Squeezing tightly, Kyero began choking him with his own arms as Kyero used his feet to lock his legs so he couldn't move. His opponent was more skilled than he thought, however, as he purposefully dislocated his own shoulders to escape the trap and head butted Kyero in the jaw with the back of his skull.

Kyero let go and staggered back, blood trickling from the corner of his mouth as he felt a cut on the inside of his lower lip with his tongue. His opponent popped his shoulders back in as Kyero straightened out. The two locked eyes again and rushed each other, once again throwing punches at the exact same time and landing them together to create another shockwave, but this time the effect was much more intense than the first. The crater that opened up beneath them was over three feet deep and the shockwave shook the entire castle. Both combatants were now fighting with everything they had, and the warm up round was officially over. Those on the ground level were knocked off their feet and to the ground by the wave of pressure let loose by the strike, and even the enemy had done so but had scrambled to their feet to retain their control over the audience.

Kyero threw a punch which landed in his opponent's left cheek but received a knee to the stomach in return. As he reeled, Kyero was shoved back and then thrown backwards by a spinning back kick to the chest which sent him flying into the stairs leading to the upper level. The impact shook the balcony and destroyed a good section of the stairs outright as Kyero was buried over five feet into the concrete. After making his way out, Kyero brushed a few stray strands of hair out of his face before he rushed his opponent. The two both landed blows against one another, but this time it was Kyero who took the advantage. With a swift strike to the back of his opponent's neck, he stunned him just long enough to pick him up and leap into the air before throwing him down to the ground. As Kyero descended he prepared a kick which he landed in the middle of his opponent's back as he touched down which buried him several feet into the ground. Kyero leaped away, and his opponent crawled out a few moments later.

Though he had a mask on, it was clear that there was a smile on his face.

Kyero and his opponent continued to trade blows until it became clear that Kyero's strength was ebbing while his opponent stayed strong. Being a half blood Tuarva, Kyero didn't have the same kind of stamina that full blooded Tuarva were known for. Unfortunately Kyero didn't know this himself yet, but was determined to continue the fight regardless of what kind of state it put him in. The other problem was that he was hurting, badly. His entire body felt like it was on fire, and while his opponent also seemed to be in pain it was much more subtle than Kyero's own.

What's wrong with me? He asked himself mentally.

The answer came soon enough when his opponent rushed him but Kyero was unable to respond. His body locked up as he went to counter the incoming strike, and inevitably he was struck down by his advancing opponent. Kyero was then picked up and thrown across the room into one of the castle walls which broke a hole through it as Kyero landed about twenty feet outside. His opponent didn't seem satisfied however as he chased Kyero outside and the fight continued. A few intense blows could be heard, with a few small tremors to accompany them before Kyero was thrown back into the building through another section of the wall. Face down and unable to move, Kyero appeared unconscious as his opponent walked inside. He strode over to Kyero slowly, a limp in his left leg from being kicked in the knee earlier, and he examined Kyero at a slight distance.

Once he was sure Kyero wasn't trying to pull anything, he decided one last test was in order. He picked Kyero up by wrapping his hand around the top of Kyero's skull and lifted him off the ground. He tossed his body into the air and kicked Kyero in the back which sent him flying up into the ceiling through the chandelier. Glass shattered and flew everywhere as Kyero impacted the ceiling above and became embedded inside it about eight inches or so. A few moments later, his body fell to the ground and cracked the tile flooring just off to the side of the dance floor. Confident that Kyero was done, the masked man nodded and looked up to where the royal family was gathered on the upper level, that same smile on his face underneath that mask.

"Well then, your majesties... It would appear that your ace in the hole has failed, has it not?" He asked, gesturing to Kyero who was still on the ground unmoving.

The king and queen came forward with pained expressions as they looked at Kyero, but after a moment the king seemed to realize something that nobody else did as his confidence returned to him and he regarded the man below with a defiant glare.

"You have disgraced this castle with your treachery and deceit, and you have brought destruction upon yourself. In the name of the house of Valkyom, I hereby sentence you to death... Lord Lucian!" He announced.

Gasps from the crowd erupted as they were worked into a frenzy. The previous man identified as Lord Lucian walked forward to stand beside the masked man as the mask itself was removed. He was a near identical copy of the one who the princess had met and spoken to, and they both had that same smile on their face before the one from the ball closed his eyes and a strange mist began gathering around him. Slowly, his body was contorted until it disappeared all together in a puff of smoke.

The queen gasped.

"That was forbidden magic known only to the Dark Elves of ages passed... It was supposed to have been lost to this world long ago!" She cried.

The king seemed surprised by this news, but never the less remained poised as he looked down at Lord Lucian who was smiling ever so wickedly up at the king.

"And how will you bring me to death, your majesty?" He asked, taking a slight curtsey.

The king only smiled a confident smile as his eyes trailed over to Kyero's still unmoving body. Lord Lucian rolled his eyes and looked back at Kyero and released a laugh.

"You think he's going to be the one to strike me down? You must realize that he's either dead or dying by now. Surely you-"

Kyero's head snapped up and he crouched up into a low spider like stance before he launched himself forward. Cupping his fingers into a point he jammed it into Lord Lucian's lower back as he continued to gloat which silenced his ranting which was soon replaced by a gasp as the air left his lungs. The impact shook the ground, but no other shockwave was released into the air. Kyero let out a deep breath as Lord Lucian fell to the ground, his legs completely limp and dead.

"Wh-Wha... What have you done to me?!" He yelled, unable to get to his feet.

Kyero stood over him and scowled.

"... Exactly what the king instructed me to do." He responded in a low voice.

The king reached a hand out and covered his wife's eyes as Kyero's right hand opened into a knife edge strike position and he lifted it into the air and brought it down hard onto Lord Lucian's neck. A loud "SNAP!" echoed throughout the room as Lord Lucian's head fell limply to the ground as his eyes lost their light and his pupils turned grey. Kyero stood up straight and let out another small breath as he looked behind him. All of the men dressed in black had disappeared during the confusion, but the good news is that every one of the guests remained relatively unharmed and the royal family was safe... For now.

Kyero looked up to the king who nodded his head before looking over to the Captain of the Guards as his wife buried her face in his chest.

"Captain, remove that corpse and see to it that everyone exits the castle safely. The wedding is hereby postponed until a full investigation is completed." He ordered.

The Captain clasped his hand over his heart.

"At once my lord!" He responded as he ordered his remaining guards to get to work.

Kyero leaped up onto the upper level and it was evident his pain was no joke. He dropped to one knee involuntarily before forcing himself to stand up straight before the king who smiled at him with a nod.

"You've done me proud Kyero. I knew we were right to recruit you. You deserve a good rest, so I shall have the guards summon the doctor who lives here in the castle to tend to your wounds when you are ready." He said.

Kyero bowed his head and coughed a few times into his sleeve. When he backed away, he saw blood in the crook of his arm. He wiped his mouth and turned to look at the princess with the best smile he could manage.

"I'm sorry about all of this princess... Are you unharmed?" He asked.

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Reyna stared at the man. His face was covered and his eyes were on Kyero. Beside her Kyero hands gripped the railing hard enough for it to crack a little. Below the man stepped causing the floor to crack as well.

Two Tuarva? Only the Tuarva had the strength to do what these men were accomplishing. One was shocking enough but two?

She felt Kyero’s eyes on her and turned to match his gaze. Her breathing was rapid as she looked at the man who was to protect her. He told Reyna to stay where she was and she her normally warm skin tone lost all colour.

All Reyna could do was nod. Her hands gripped the railing, knuckles turning white.

Her eyes followed Kyero as he walked slowly down the stairs to meet his opponent. It was instantaneous. The men were locked in combat. Reyna was leaning slightly on the railing. Fear gripped her throat. The first shock wave hit and she managed to remain on her feet.

A crater appeared in the floor and those down there scrambled to stay out of harms way as the men locked together. The air was filled with the sound of their breathing and what Reyna was sure was the sound of something breaking.

Reyna let out a small gasp as Kyero was lifted from his feet and slammed into the ground. Again the floor shook and even on the upper level the impact was felt.

The men continued to fight and Reyna found herself unable to look away. She was having trouble comprehending exactly what was occurring. The men seemed intent on destroying each other.

The next vibration was so strong that it knocked Reyna to her knees. Her grip on the railing was all that kept her from falling to the floor or worse, over the railing to the ballroom floor below. She regained her feet but found herself trembling.

As the fight continued Reyna found herself more and more concerned that Kyero might not survive. Both men seemed to be hurt but Kyero seemed the more damaged of the two. When the man attacked and Kyero did not move Reyna let out a small scream of warning.

It was too late. She watched from her place above as Kyero was thrown into the wall. It was with great horror that Reyna realized that it wasn’t into the wall but through as a great hole opened and Kyero disappeared into the darkness.

“No.”

It was a quiet utterance tempered with sadness. It was also the most emotional thing the princess had uttered in years.
The assailant followed Kyero outside and everyone could feel the small vibrations as the fight continued. Everyone inside the castle remained still locked in rapt attention at the battle that raged.

When Kyero’s body was thrown back inside Reyna raised a hand to her mouth. She felt ill. It was almost like watching a cat play with a mouse it had caught. It wasn’t right. Reyna felt a chill run up her spine. He is going to die. They brought him here to protect me and he...

Kyero’s body went flying upwards. It hit the chandelier and Reyna ducked, her arms coming over her head to protect herself as the glass flew everywhere and rained down on the people below.

Moments later there was a thud on the ground. Reyna uncovered herself, shaking off the bits of glass that had fallen on her. Slowly she stood. Her eyes fell on the scene below and her knees went weak.

Her parents had moved closer to the railing but still a little ways from her.

Reyna suddenly felt apart from everything, as if she was watching as an outsider and not there at all. It seemed surreal and almost dreamlike.

Her father’s voice rang out and Reyna was struck by the tone. Instead of defeat or fear she heard confidence and authority. She wondered if she would have as much control in his position.

Her head snapped to look at her father as he called out Lord Lucian. Her features flickered with confusion. Everyone else seemed as confused as she. Only her parents seemed to understand exactly what was going on. Two men were now standing and then the one she had spoken to, the one who had been presented as a suitor vanished.

Reyna looked at her parents. She felt something she had never experienced before. She felt betrayed. They had known the man was a danger to her, they had let this celebration occur and they had given her a bodyguard yet had kept everything from her. What if I had chosen him?

She felt sick. Her hands gripped the railing again. She vaguely heard the words magic and dark elves. Reyna was trying to make sense of everything. There had to be a reason for it, for the spectacle despite the danger. Her parents must have had a good reason yet at the moment she couldn’t find it.

Lord Lucian mocked her father and then everything changed. In a breath Kyero was up again and Lord Lucian fell to the ground.
Her mother had the benefit of someone shielding her sight from what occurred next. Reyna did not have the same. She watched as Kyero’s hand came down and a snap echoed in the hall.

She stared at the body as below her guards began ushering guests out. She was still staring at it when Kyero leapt to join the royal family on the upper level. Even as her father spoke to Kyero her eyes never left the lifeless form.

Guards picked up the body and only then did Reyna turn to look at her parents and Kyero. She was pale but composed. She smoothed the waist of her gown and felt a few of the beads fall away and hit the floor. Her eyes drifted down and slowly took in the sight of her ruined dress. There was dust and shards of glass caught in the folds of the ivory material. In places the glass had snagged the delicate green embroidery.

Reyna looked up as Kyero coughed. Her keen eyes caught the darkened stain on his sleeve. He is hurt.
He offered her a smile though there was pain at its edges.

“There is no need to for the apology.”

Reyna stepped forward, towards him. Her brow knotted in a slight expression of pain and one hand moved to pull pieces of glass from Kyero’s hair.

“I am unharmed, thanks to you.” Her eyes locked on his for a moment. “You must have your injuries looked after. I insist that it be done immediately.”

She felt the need to do something, anything for the man who had saved her and her family. Her mind was filled with the image of Kyero killing Lord Lucian. With a shuddering breath she pushed the thought away. “You will come with me and I will summon the doctor.”

Turning Reyna stepped away from him. Her dress whispered at her feet as she began to move to the halls that would carry her and Kyero to her chambers. Reyna walked gracefully as if nothing had happened, as if the ballroom had not been destroyed or the marriage celebration hadn’t just been interrupted. It would not do for the princess to break down in the midst of the chaos, no matter how much on the inside she was afraid or upset. Her feelings or fears or anything did not matter. She hoped she appeared as composed as her parents. Reyna walked, hoping Kyero would follow as she asked. She paused only briefly to speak to a servant.

“Have the doctor sent to my chambers immediately. He is not to delay for any reason. It is a command.”

The servant ran off to find the doctor and Reyna continued to walk to her chambers.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Reyna Otaru
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“You must have your injuries looked after. I insist that it be done immediately.”

Kyero was about to protest, but upon feeling another cough come up as he turned away he thought that it would be better just to do as she asked. He coughed again and, as before, saw a dark stain on his charcoal grey clothing. There wasn't much to be done but see the doctor, and so he followed as the princess lead the way through the halls to her chambers...

... HER chambers!? He thought.

Kyero froze in the middle of the hallway and his mind went in ten directions at once and he instantly regretted the decision to follow, but after taking a moment to clear his head of all strange and unwelcome thoughts he continued after her as it would not do to resist further. He did need his injuries looked at, so continuing was all he could do despite his desire to find a more suitable place such as a nearby clinic or something. Still, if the doctor could see him here, then it was all the better though he was still uneasy about going to the princess's chambers.

The halls were quite grand and decorated with beautiful artwork and statues as well as a pristine carpet to lead the way. He could hardly fathom what it must have been like to actually live in such a place, but he was glad to be here all the same. He had fulfilled his duty and protected the princess against the dangers the royal family seemed to know were coming, but was just as in the dark as the princess herself as to exactly what was going on.

Through the halls and up two flights of stairs Kyero followed the princess, his body becoming weaker with each step. He could feel that something was going on inside though he didn't know what. Strangely, he didn't feel at all afraid or nervous about it. Rather there was a comfort in it despite the slightly alarming side effects it was having. What remained of his energy was leaving quite quickly, though he made an effort to not let it appear so. As they rounded a final corner, a large pair of doors awaited and the princess seemed to stop in front of it.

I guess we're here. He thought to himself.

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He followed her and Reyna was relieved. Her hands went to the hands of the handles of her doors and in that moment it occurred to her that she had ordered him to her chambers. Safer here, quieter.

Reyna opened the doors without another thought on the matter. She entered the main recieving room and stepped aside to allow him to enter.

“Sit, please. The doctor should be here soon.”

She gestured to a plush couch. Reyna closed the doors behind him. She smoothly crossed the floor a table where a pitcher of water and goblets sat. She poured a glass and brought it to him.

“Here.”

It felt like a meaningless gesture in return for all he had done.

Reyna quickly crossed the room again. This time she opened an armoire and pulled out a cloth. She grabbed the pitcher of water and carried them both back to Kyero.

“Let’s clean your wounds a little. It might help the doctor.”

Concern filled her eyes. Graceful hands dipped the cloth into the pitcher getting it wet.

“I thought he had killed you Kyero.”

Reyna’s voice was soft.

A harsh knock on the door jarred her.

“Enter!”

The doors opened and an older man entered. he bowed slightly to her. “Your highness, you sent for me?”
Reyna nodded. The doctor was already looking at Kyero from a distance.

“He is hurt. You are to ensure he is healed. He saved the nation today and he is not to leave these rooms until he is healed.”

Reyna didn’t give the order a great deal of thought. Her main concern was that Kyero be taken care of.

The doctor nodded and crossed to Kyero. “Sir. If I may...”

The man waited for Kyero to give him leave to inspect his injuries. Reyna turned and moved across the room again. This time she picked up a small bell. This she rang and its tinkling filled the room.

“I will change and clean up, giving you time to work doctor. I will return shortly.”

Two ladies in waiting appeared in the doorway of an adjoining room. Reyna looked at Kyero.

“Let him do what needs to be done. I will not be long.”

With that she left the room, her ladies at her back. They closed the door which appeared to lead to another, smaller sitting room and beyond that her dressing area.

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Kyero waited for Reyna to leave the room and gave the doctor a nod to inspect his injuries.

The doctor grunted in approval as he dropped his bag and opened it to remove his tools and some salves.

"Alright, let's see what we're working with here." He said as he turned to Kyero with his stethoscope around his neck.

Kyero stood up and lifted his shirt so the doctor could listen to his heart, and the doctor was slightly taken aback by his musculature. Despite being of the Tuarva race, Kyero's physique was beyond compare. Every individual muscle group was clearly visible with almost no signs of body fat. Even for a warrior, this was superb. The doctor was quite impressed to see such a physique in one so young, but returned to work as he made Kyero breath in and out in long deep breaths.

"Hmm......... Mm hmm.......... Alright, good." He said as he put the stethoscope away.

"It doesn't sound like your lungs are damaged which is good, but there is something going on in your airways." He said.

"Blood." Kyero responded flatly.

"Hm?" The doctor questioned.

"My airway is damaged from a punch to the base of my throat. A small cut at worst given the low disturbance. One cough every few minutes so it should be fine soon." He said.

The doctor shook his head.

"That's not good at all my boy. I'd better have a look." He said as he pulled out a tongue depressor.

"Open." He said.

Kyero opened his mouth and leaned his head back so the doctor could see inside this throat, and sure enough there was a small cut near the back of the throat but it looked like it had already stopped bleeding.

"Hmm, seems you were right. It's not bleeding so with luck it will not bother you. Still, it has me concerned." He said as he threw the tongue depressor away.

"Alright, now tell me where it hurts." He said.

Kyero rolled his eyes as he felt his last remaining energy reserves beginning to deplete.

"My whole body feels like someone is dousing it in oil while it is already on fire." He said.

The doctor looked at him questioningly before he noticed Kyero beginning to rock back and forth.

"... Are you alright son?" He asked.

Kyero tried to node but ended up falling forward, and the doctor did his best to cushion his fall but Kyero's weight surprised him. The doctor fell to the ground underneath Kyero and had to crawl his way out from under him before he finally tried to lift him up, to no avail.

"What in the world is he?" The doctor asked.

The doctor was about to question further when he heard a knock on the door.

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The girl knocked on the door but Reyna did not wish to wait for a response. She was concerned but kept herself calm.

“Open it please.”

The girl looked shocked. “But my lady what if he is...” Her cheeks flushed. “What if he has disrobed?”


Reyna gave a small shake of her head. “Open the door.”

The girl nodded and opened the door. The trio entered. Reyna took in the sight of Kyero on the floor.

“What has happened?”

She pushed past her lady in waiting, the other having just stepped in the room behind her. Reyna crossed the room quickly and knelt beside Kyero’s prone body.

“Get him up. He needs to be in a bed.”

Her eyes went to the doctor.

“Your highness, I do not know what has happened and I can’t move him.”

Reyna turned to look over her shoulder. “Get some men, now. I want him moved to my bed immediately.”

The girls did not move.

Reyna snapped, “Now! This is urgent!”

The girls turned and ran out of the room calling for help.

Reyna turned her attention back to Kyero. She laid a cool hand on his forehead. “What happened?”

The doctor crouched with her. “Your highness you should move aside. Please. He isn’t well and I don’t know just at the moment what happened.”

Reyna looked at the doctor.

“My chambers and I will not move. This man saved us I will not leave.”

Running footsteps could be heard coming down the hall. Three guards entered looking ready for a fight.

Reyna stood. “Pick him up and take him to my bed. He is not well.”

All three men stood there, dumbfounded at the request for a moment. They were in the princess’ chambers and she wanted them to enter her room carrying another man. They faltered.

Reyna inhaled and placed her hand folded in front of her. “Must I remind you what this man did today?”

The three men snapped to attention and rushed to Kyero. It took all three and the doctor to lift the man. He was surprisingly heavy for someone so lean.

Reyna followed as they grunted and slowly moved into her bedroom. They laid Kyero out on her bed and she promptly dismissed them.

“Doctor you stay and see to him. The rest leave.”

She looked to one of the lady’s in waiting. “I would like a tray brought. Tea, broth. A bowl of cold water and clean towels. I would like them to find Kyero some clean clothes as well. When he wakes I wish him to able to change.”

Her words heeded everyone but Reyna and the doctor left the room. Reyna moved to the bed and shifted the blankets as best she could.

“Help him.”

The doctor licked his lips. “I will try my lady.”

Reyna moved to the opposite side of the bed and moving a chair sat at the bedside. She was impossibly straight and impossibly still but her eyes watched the doctor’s every move.

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The doctor leaned over Kyero and puzzled about the predicament set before him. Physically speaking the boy was fine, but something else was going on here which had the doctor quite frustrated. He lifted Kyero's arm with some difficulty and let it fall to the bed, a small reaction test to see if there was any consciousness left within the boy but nothing happened. He murmured to himself a moment before walking to the side to think further on the matter.

"In all honesty princess I've never studied or learned how a Tuarva's body works... I think it would be wise to seek the counsel of someone who knows more on the matter. Perhaps the local librarian or another scholar here in the castle knows of their race? I can't do anything more for him until I know what I'm dealing with." He said.

The princess nodded quietly and allowed the doctor leave to exit the room and request of the guards to fetch anyone they knew of whom had studied the Tuarva race. Luckily there were two scholars who resided in the castle who knew of such matters, and they were both summoned to the chamber. After a few minutes they arrived, a pair of twin brothers named Daniel and Rok who walked to the bedside and examined Kyero with the doctor right beside them.

"Hmm... Interesting..." Daniel said.

"Indeed, he's quite the specimen." Rok responded.

The doctor looked at the two for a moment and they both cleared their throats and continued their examination. They picked up his arm and checked the muscular, then his leg finally his head and neck. Once that was done they lifted his shirt and checked his chest and stomach. Once they were done they both looked at each other and Rok took out a book from behind his back and flipped a few pages before beginning to read a bit.

"What's he doing?" The doctor asked.

"Doing a bit of research of course." Daniel said.

"On what?" The doctor asked.

"... Call it a hunch..." Daniel replied.

The doctor grunted in frustration but remained silent as the Rok continued his reading. Once he had found what he was looking for he closed the book and replaced it behind his back as he clasped his hands in front of himself.

"What we have here is something thought impossible!" He announced.

The doctor looked to the princess, bewilderment on his face before looking back to Rok.

"What do you mean?" He asked.

"It's as we thought. This boy does not have the natural traits of a regular Tuarva, which means that there is only one conclusion to be drawn about what he really is. Daniel, if you would!" Rok said.

"With pleasure!" Daniel responded with a clap of his hands.

"Ta daa!!" Daniel yelled.

"We have ourselves a genuine Xexci Tuarva!!" He announced happily.

The doctor's face drained of color as he looked at Kyero's unconscious form.

"A... Xexci... You're sure?" The doctor asked.

The twins nodded and spoke in unison.

"Of course! Just look at him. Does he look like a regular Tuarva to you? He's likely a half breed given the strength he displayed earlier. Xexci aren't known for their strength, but their healing prowess. It's limited to their own bodies, but they heal almost three times faster than even a Faerie does. Give him about an hour of rest and he'll be just like new!" They said with a clap of their hands at the end.

The doctor looked at the twins, then to Kyero, and then to the princess.

"Well... Um... What would you like done about this princess?" He asked.

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Reyna never moved from her chair. She watched as the tray, towels and clothes were brought as she asked. She watched as the scholars entered. She watched as they walked around staring at Kyero. Her eyes never left them as they picked up his arm, his head or his neck.

She watched as they lifted his shirt and inspected his chest and stomach. Reyna fel her mouth go a bit dry and her cheeks heat up as she took in the sight but did not move, lest the others decide she needed to leave the room. She had no intention of leaving her bedroom or Kyero’s side until she was certain he was alright.

The doctor seemed more annoyed with the scholars than he anticipated as they poured over a book. He clearly wanted answers and while Reyna wanted them as well she was just better had controlling herself.

The proclamation that it was something impossible made Reyna’s stomach drop. She feared the worst. The men didn’t act like it was bad news however and Reyna inhaled. Whatever it was she wished they would simply say so that the doctor could work.
The scholars seemed over the moon with their announcement. The doctor seemed beyond shocked. Reyna did not react at all.
What the men discussed was indeed nearly impossible. It would be completely except for the fact that Kyero lay in her bed, real as anything else in the room.

“...give him about an hour of rest and he'll be just like new!"

Reyna sat in her chair just as she had been the whole time.


“Thank you gentlemen. You may all leave now.”
She looked pointedly at them. The scholars were in deep but hushed conversation as they turned to leave the room. The doctor looked at Reyna.

“Your highness, perhaps we should have him moved to another room.”

Reyna smiled, “That is not necessary. He will be fine soon and all will be well. For now he can remain as moving him will cause more trouble than is necessary. Thank you for everything doctor.”

Her tone gave notice that she was not to be swayed in her decision. The doctor gathered his things, offered her a small bow and left the room.

Reyna stood and closed the door. It was silent in the room now. She moved to the tray and picked up a towel. Wetting it she crossed to the bed and wiped the dirt from Kyero’s face. Deft fingers pulled a few remaining pieces of glass from the dark strands of his hair.

She let her hand trail down his cheek. Catching herself Reyna straightened and moved back to her chair. Her picked up a book and alternated between staring at the pages and staring at the man in her bed. At times she plucked at the threads of her blue dress. Has it been an hour? When will he wake? Reyna felt her patience tested in a way it had never been and she struggled to remain in control.

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Time ticked by slowly. Kyero's consciousness returned to him after what seemed only a brief instant, but he could not move or control his body yet. He could feel that he was laying down on something soft, which was a far cry from the floor he had fallen on just before his consciousness gave out earlier. Was it a bed? It had to be. There's nothing else someone who's unconscious lays on when they have resources such as doctors and such like the princess, and she seemed determined to see him tended to so a bed was all he could think of.

When he finally felt himself regain control of his body, Kyero stirred. The muscles around his eyes twitched as they slowly opened and he saw himself staring at the ceiling. He blinked once or twice as he slowly sat up and realized the princess was sitting in a chair right beside where he was. His body felt like nothing had ever happened, and he looked down at his hands and examined himself mentally as he checked himself over.

"What happened?" He asked.

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If asked Reyna would never be capable of explaining how relieved she was when Kyero started to waken. She closed her book and left in her lap. She forced herself to remain silent and let him get his bearings.

When he sat up Reyna smiled. His question was met with a small nod of her head.

“It would appear that your body felt the need to force you to rest. You posed quite the problem for the doctor as he is not familiar with your unique physiology. I found you on the floor with him unable to move you.”

Reyna placed her book on the floor beside the chair.

“I sent for men and they brought you here to lay in the bed. I felt it would be far more comfortable than the floor. Once here the doctor sent for scholars who know more about the Tuarva than he.”

Reyna stood and moved to the bed. She sat light and ran a hand along her gown. The folds of material flattened at the passing of her palm. She looked up at him.

“It would appear, from what the scholars deduced that you are not simply Tuarva. It would have been a relief to know that you would heal yourself but for now I am grateful that you have recovered.”

She assumed he would know what he was, though had likely never sustained such injuries to render himself unconscious before, hence his confusion.

Reyna smiled. “I am glad you are alright Kyero. I was quite worried.”

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The princess seemed to avoid telling him about what she meant by the idea that he was not just a Tuarva, but he decided not to press the issue. Instead, he looked around and found that he didn't remember any details about the princess's chambers before, but as he took them all in he began to wonder what the king and queen would do now that his mission had been completed.

He looked back to the princess with a smile.

"Thank you princess, for everything." He said as he began to get off the bed.

His legs hit the ground and he felt a little off balance for a moment, but quickly corrected himself. A single deep breath seemed to be all it took to straighten him out, and once he was upright he looked around once more as a final check to make sure everything was alright. Maybe it was paranoia, but he wanted to make sure her chambers were empty of potential threats. However, since she had sat alone next to him for however long he'd been out, it was likely that nobody was here otherwise they'd have taken the chance already while he was immobile.

"So, what do we do now?" He asked her.

"Having fulfilled my initial contract with your parents, I am no longer needed here. I expect I may be excused from service soon, but still I think it best we pay your parents a visit. They seemed to know about this whole mess ahead of time anyway, and I think you and I both deserve some answers as to what was happening here." He said, his smile replaced by a determined and stoic expression.

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Kyero went quiet. Reyna sat and patiently waited. He looked around and she felt her cheeks warm. He was looking around her room, her bedroom that very few had ever entered. He was in her bed which no one but she herself had ever done. It felt intensely personal all of a sudden. Reyna hadn’t considered any of these things when she told them to bring him here. Her only thought was of his health. It was unlike her not to carefully weigh every bit of information before making a decision.

It is this day. These events have made it hard to think.

She tried hard to convince herself that that was the case. Kyero looked at her and smiled. Her cheeks reddened more. Reyna looked down at her dress, pretending to pull away a bit of string.

He shifted off the bed and began to stand. Reyna quickly stood.

“I only did what was necessary to ensure your health. You are a hero to the nation today Kyero. It would speak ill of the royal family if we did not take care of you.”

He faltered slightly and Reyna stopped herself as she reached out to grab his arm. Slowly she folded her hands in front of her. He was inspecting the room again and she scanned it with him, unsure what he might be looking for.

His question surprised her. She felt her breath catch as he said he would likely be excused from service. Kyero stated that they both deserved answers and this was the most surprising statement of all. She had felt the same but did not think he would agree.

“Yes. We should meet with them. I do believe we were put in an unfair position and not told everything we should have been. I dislike being in a position of perceived weakness or ill informed.”

Her head held high Reyna turned and moved to the door.

“Shall we?”

She led the way from her bedroom through her dressing room, the small sitting area and back into the main room where Kyero had collapsed. Her gown swished at her feet as she walked.

“You gave the men some trouble to move. Apparently you are heavier than you appear.”

She cast a smile back at him over her shoulder. Reyna felt at ease with him. She felt safe and almost unguarded with her thoughts. Almost. She was still the princess and had be taught to be very careful with her thoughts and opinions. Much was reflected about her people when she spoke.

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"Shall we? The princess asked.

Kyero smiled and followed her towards the door.

“You gave the men some trouble to move. Apparently you are heavier than you appear.” She said to him.

Kyero smiled sheepishly as he looked away for a moment as he opened the door for her.

"Of the few things I do know about my heritage, one of them is that the Tuarva are very heavy because of our muscle density. The fibers that make our muscles are almost twice as thick as a normal humanoid such as a human, elf or faerie, and as such we're appropriately about twice as heavy as one normally would be for our size." He said, closing the door behind her as they started walking through the hallway together.

"It almost pains me to say it, but I'm about four hundred and twenty pounds. A normal man my size is about two hundred to two hundred and twenty pounds, so my weight is about right for a Tuarva. Still, it is plenty heavy for even the strongest of men." He said.

He looked ahead as they walked for a bit, but then turned his head towards Reyna.

"Were you frightened, princess?" He asked.

Kyero was concerned about what this experience must have been like for her. To him, it was another day on the job and he'd been in danger countless times before and lived through all of it. However, for someone like the princess who spent most of her days tucked away in safety, such an event must have been horrifying.

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Reyna let him open the door and she made her way into the hall.

She held her confusion is as he stated he knew only a few things about his heritage. Surely he knew what he was but he only referred to himself as Tuarva. She opened her mouth to ask him about his background but he went silent and so she resolved to wait a bit longer, to see if she could learn more. It felt odd to possibly know something so personal about him that he did not know.

The silence was comfortable as the pair walked. His question gave her pause. Reyna stopped and turned to face him. She looked him over carefully, attempting to find the reason behind his question. Is he searching for some weakness in me?
Kyero had been honest with her but she found it difficult to let her wall down. Reyna struggled with what to tell him.

“It was indeed a harrowing evening filled with many unexpected occurrences.”

The statement was diplomatic and noncommittal, speaking naught of herself.

“I am glad that no one was grievously hurt.”

She took a few more steps and then stopped again to face him. It felt wrong to speak to him in such a way. He had saved her life. Had been honest with who he was and why he was there.

Her face slowly lifted, her eyes too lifted to look at him. Her hands were trembling and Reyna put them behind her back to hide it.

“Yes. Yes Kyero I was frightened. I...I have never experienced anything like that. I was frightened for myself and for you. I saw everything. The way he tossed you around. The way you both fought. The way...the way he died.”

At this her voice dropped to a whisper and Reyna looked away. It was two slow breaths before she had regained her composure.

“We should continue on.”

Reyna turned from him slowly and began down the hall again. She felt exposed and vulnerable, neither of which sat comfortably for the normally guarded and careful woman. It made her wonder why she was being so forthcoming with a man she barely knew.