Fleure

Fleure

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Four girls from a house of entertainment assigned to four princes who've come to their country on a diplomatic mission disguised as marriage talks. What could possibly go wrong?

792 readers have visited Fleure since Kveria created it.

Introduction

Image Looking for some fun? Cymarin is open until daybreak. But if debauchery leaves a bad taste in your mouth, there’s one other option. Fleure. Just remember, the only thing street about these girls is where they came from. Fleure is a much more expensive… establishment… than Cymarin, but that doesn’t mean the patrons have more rights than they do at the other. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. These girls are many things – dancers, singers, conversationalists, cooks, entertainers, mysterious, alluring, perhaps even a little frightening – but there is one thing they are not. Prostitutes. Painted ladies, scarlet women, strumpets, harlots, whatever you want to call it. The Lady of the house both does not and would not sell her girls’ bodies like that. As she explains it, when she pulled them off the street, she saved them from such a fate. End of story.
This does not dissuade the patrons – the rich and noble. If anything, it increases the curiosity, the fascination. You may look to your heart’s content, but any touch – even one, and you will never see any of the young women again. No girl is forced to continue seeing any man she does not like, no girl is even forced to stay on with the Lady. But many do, for reasons as numerous as stars. Perhaps the young woman has grown to like the life. A feeling of indebtedness is common, as is having no other options. But each of the girls from the Fleure is beautiful, hardworking, and talented. Beyond that, the Lady keeps no criteria.
But while they all knew Fleure had quite an extensive reputation, no one knew quite how extensive. Until the Emperor of Shigan approached the Lady with a request. Tensions between Shigan and the nearby nations of Reitír, Muram, Zaiphar, and Chamil reached dangerous levels. In the time honored methods of diplomacy, the Emperor decided to invite the heir of each kingdom to his, to discuss their potential marriage to one of his twelve daughters. Because for the noble, that’s how healing breaches works. But to make sure it worked, the Emperor of all Shigan asked something from the Lady of Fleure.
“May I have four of your girls?”
Their duties would be no different than normal, but instead of handling man after man, the girls would work only with the princes for as long as the diplomatic meetings took – from a day to a year. Of course, they each had to agree to be part of it. The Lady wouldn’t allow anything else. But still. Eigh youth of different genders living in one compound? When four of them are potentially engaged to young royals? Well there’s a mess waiting to happen.

Characters

Reitír Prince: Viktor Venetius - :Nagato:
Muram Prince: Darren Decourter - nickris11
Zaiphar Prince:Relos Zaiphar - SasoriRinku
Chamil Prince: Markus Braddok - MaxStrokes

Fleuré 1:Darcy Kimberly - Kveria
Fleuré 2 : Akako Yume - Ravelin
Fleuré 3 :Lilla Rowan - GracieGray
Fleuré 4 :



Races

Humans : Self-explanatory. No prince is a human.

Inamai: A species that is only part human. They have more unstable DNA, and so not a single one of them is born human. Instead, they are born as whatever animal they most tend towards. Shortly after birth they turn back into a human, and from there can be anywhere along the spectrum. If the person is a dog Inamai, then s/he could have anything from just the scent glands of a dog to fully transform. They will most often be in a state of partial transformation, with perhaps just ears and claws or some other state. Much valued for their exotic looks.

Càntin: Musically gifted. They can play any instrument well, including their voices, but all have a specific talent that they’re amazing it. It’s something of a snake charmer effect. The Càntin can distract, seduce, pacify, enrage, or effect pretty much any other abstract change with their music. They can’t work specific spells, change thoughts, or in any way fiddle with the details, but oftentimes, they don’t need to.

Psyrhe: They are mentally manipulative. They will only ever have one power, but that’s all they need. One of the most intimidating races, Psyrhe can do such things as read minds, plant thoughts in minds, create illusions, manipulate auras, alter thoughts, and very rarely, steal souls. They are often going towards the albino end of the spectrum and all have a third eye somewhere on their bodies.

Lith: Lith are dancers, gymnasts, and contortionists. They are the epitome of grace and physical control, tall, physically beautiful, and almost feline in look. They have no magic, but a pure Lith is a rare and exotic find indeed, highly treasured, as many of them interbreed to create racial mutts.

Tantrea: The Tantrea are dream-weavers and spirit-climbers. They can do nothing with a person who is awake, but a person in a trance or asleep is putty for a Tantre. They can alter dreams, create dreams, even destroy them. Tantre are highly adept at inducing trances or sleep. With a person who’s in a trance, because of the semi-waking state, the Tantre can induce them to say things they wouldn’t normally say, do things they wouldn’t normally do, or even take over the person’s body.

Hotep: Someone who can control an element. Fire, Darkness, Water, Air, Earth, Plants, or Plasma (the incredibly dangerous material of which stars are made). Often, their personality will be appropriate to the element they control. While a Hotep can only have one element, their mastery over it is excellent.

Vyx: Traditional spellcaster and magic weaver. However, their magic is hampered by the fact that they gain a year of it working for every year that they live – so even the oldest Vyx can only cast a 110 year spell, and they likely don’t have the power to – and the fact that any spell they compose must not only be in haiku but follow an ABA rhyme scheme. Nonetheless, Vyx can be incredibly powerful and certainly not people you’d want to cross.

Character Sheet

RULES FIRST. THEN SUBMISSION.

Code: Select all
[right][size=200][color=#Hex Code]Name[/color][/size]
[img]Character Picture. Drawn only. Anime, realistic, whatever. So long as it’s not a picture.[/img][/right]

[color=#Hex Code]Gender: [/color] There’s male. And then there’s female.

[color=#Hex Code]Age: [/color] Marriageable, please. And not hideously old.

[color=#Hex Code]Race: [/color] I gave you a pretty list!

[color=#Hex Code]Nationality: [/color] For Princes, it’s in your character. Fleurés should be Shigan, but if ONE would like to have somehow ended up on the Shigan streets from another country, I can deal.

[color=#Hex Code]Physical Description: [/color] If the picture doesn’t show it, it belongs here. Don’t be afraid of being too descriptive. Be very afraid of not being descriptive enough.

[color=#Hex Code]Personality: [/color] Don’t be afraid of being too descriptive. Be very afraid of not being descriptive enough.

[color=#Hex Code]Powers: [/color] What powers does your character have? If he or she is human or pure Lith, please ignore this. Otherwise, explain them in significant detail. “He uses fire” is not good enough, even if that’s true.

[color=#Hex Code]Abilities: [/color] Non-magical skills. For Fleurés, this should include a lot of things they need to know for their profession.

[color=#Hex Code]History: [/color] Don’t be afraid of being too descriptive. Be very afraid of not being descriptive enough.

[color=#Hex Code]Partner: [/color] I couldn’t think of a better way to say person-that-is-to-be-entertained-or-entertainer. To be determined.

[color=#Hex Code]Other: [/color] Anything else! Please, at least one thing.

[color=#Hex Code]Theme Song:[/color] I promise you can find one. Then link it. Then not write out the lyrics.

Toggle Rules

Rules
1: Post. Daily. If for some reason that is utterly impossible, check in so that we know you haven’t wandered away.
2: If you want to submit a character, make the sheet and for the love of all that is tasty, PM it to me. Then I will tell you to put it in the characters tab if I like it.
3: I don’t reserve characters for people who don’t appear to make them well.
5: Fun is encouraged and allowed.
6: Pretty things are pretty. Be pretty.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 6 authors

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Relos Zaiphar


Relos's face fell a bit when she tilted back her head to rest on the headboard. It looked like she was about to tell him no, and ask him to get off of her. He subconsciously tightened his arms around her as he waited for her to say something, not quite able to read her face. A few moments passed, and Relos started to think that she was purposefully making him wait, but then he heard her let out a sigh. He straight face quirked up into a smile, and he felt his grin return at seeing that he'd won her over. She sat forward again, with fresh amusement painted over her face and twinkling in her eyes. Her words of agreement hit his hears as she raised herself up to look at him again, and he nodded happily. If his hadn't already been, he would have hugged her. As it was, the arms around her waist loosened and Relos sincerely said "Thanks Lilla."

She didn't end it there, though, and went on to point one of her fingers at his chest accusingly, the humor that he had seen in her eyes flaring brightly, as her spoke down to him. "You do understand we, technically, have a contract, right?" This time it was his turn to raise his eyes in surprise. A contract? He had been told of no such thing...of course, the emperor hadn't told him much of all, just that the girl was meant to entertain him. The Fleures probably had a whole set of rules that he was supposed to follow, but that he knew none of. Common sense could tell him most of the things not to do, but knowing the specifics of the 'contract' that he was sworn to would be much better.

He moved back from her, fully letting go of her body now, and looked warily at her. "You'll have to explain this contract to me tomorrow, when my mind's awake enough to take it all in. I'd like to know the rules before I break them." That said, he gave her one last grin, and the slipped off the bed. He stood up and stretched grandly, raising his hands above his head into a 'Y' shape. Then he went around the room, dimming most of the lights and leaving enough just so you could see your way to the door. Relos was always careful to leave enough light at night so that he didn't trip or bang into something if he had to leave the room, ever since he did just that one night early on in his childhood.

"What would you like me to do?" He turned around to look at her when she said that, and saw her running her hands through her hair that she'd let down. He stared at her for a minute, deciding that he liked her hair better when it was down, and then walked back over to the bed. He answered while he peeled his gloves off, exposing the paler skin of his forearms, saying "You can sleep however you normally do, I don't mind. I'll be on my side, and you can be on yours; so you don't have to worry about me touching you somewhere I shouldn't." He pulled the covers down some on his side and sat down. He held up his hands in the surrender position and said jokingly "I'm not responsible for anything I do while I'm asleep, of course..."

As the last thing he did before he crawled into bed, he removed the white cloth from his forehead that was holding his hair up. As soon as the cloth was on the nightstand, his long bangs fell down to cover his eyes and tickle at his nose. Shaking his head and huffing lightly, he fell against his pillow and turned his head to watch Lilla get into bed.

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Lilla Rowan


She felt his grasp tighten around her waist, and with an amused smirk she tugged on a stand of his hair again. He certainly acted like a child in instances... And the pout that was prevalent on his face was nothing short of pleading... then again, she was sure she seemed childish to him, as well. Pulling his hair wasn't exactly mature, after all.

"Thanks, Lilla."

Lilla couldn't help but roll her eyes again when Relos' face broke out into a grin, a bit of a laugh escaping. But when her words about the contract caused his eyebrows to raise, she decided that maybe bringing it up could have waited for later... Oh well, there was nothing she could do now, she supposed, a frown clouding over her features.

"You'll have to explain this contract to me tomorrow, when my mind's awake enough to take it all in. I'd like to know the rules before I break them."

Lilla inwardly winced. What a way to lose his affections. He sounded wary, almost hesitant now, the humor and playfulness gone from his voice where it had been earlier. On the other hand... She watched his back as he stretched, his arms raised above his head, the muscles in his shoulders contorting. Maybe the way he sounded was just because he was tired...?

Her gaze was stuck to him as he made his way around the room, dimming the lamps and peeling the gloves off of his arms. Lilla noticed his eyes latched onto her for a brief moment - what had caused that, she had to wonder, running fingers through her hair subconsciously. When a lopsided smirk came upon his features, lighting up his face and causing his eyes to hold a mischievous note, and his hands came up, palms to her, she knew something was up.

"I'm not responsible for anything I do while I'm asleep, of course..."

She was glad the man sharing the room with her had turned the lights down; her face probably rivaled the red of his hair at the moment. "Uh, okay," she stuttered. Her fingers fumbled with the blankets and she pulled them down, crawling beneath the thick covers - it was almost stifling, and definitely not something she was used to. The Shigan emperor certainly didn't mind showing off his wealth, the girl noted warily, scooting down between the sheets and the blanket.

She turned on her side, noticing that he was watching her, and in the dim light she caught his gaze. Lilla could feel her dress rumple and wrinkle around her thighs, but she didn't want to shift around too much, her fingers catching the blanket and pulling it up.

She knitted her fingers together and brought her hands up to her chest, gazing at Relos. She absentmindedly noticed he'd tugged the cloth off of his forehead; the bangs softened his features, making him look almost teenager-like. Lilla wondered why he didn't just cut them. They seemed to suit him, after all.

"Um... Good night, Relos," Lilla said softly, her gaze still on his face, even if it was now half-lidded.

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#, as written by Kveria
Darcy


"Remove it."

Even though she frowned on the inside at his coarse command, Darcy pointed her foot, sliding it out of the shackle with minimum fuss and leaving the trapping on the floor. Lips tightly sealed, she watched as he went around the room, systematically blowing out lamps until they were in semi-darkness. Darcy hoped he'd been informed about what he could and could not do with her. She would hate to make a scene about a Prince, of all people, and what an awkward customer to ban from seeing the girls. She knew the Lady would do it. She'd already done so once with one of the Emperor's sons.

Bound to silence by protocol, Darcy waited for the Prince to become bored. He would. They always did, got talkative when she didn't initiate conversation. It wouldn't be polite. A Lady asked more questions than she answered. A Fleure did the same, but with one difference. She had to be invited to speak. No invitation, no conversation. A rule both of the girls had undoubtedly broken by then. But that didn't mean she had to. And so Darcy stood, and watched the Prince, as he behaved in his royally eccentric manner.

It was only when supper arrived, borne on a trolley that was more heavily laden with gold and some of the images of thrones she'd seen, that Darcy considered herself excused. "Your Highness," she interjected. "I'll be in my room next door for the night, if you need me." And with a bow not quite as deep as she really ought to have presented, considering the other was a Prince and she was just a paid plaything, Darcy backed out of the room, enclosing herself in her own little chambers.

They were much smaller than those at the House, where she got much better accommodations than this, but Darcy refused to complain. This was not a vacation. Not supposed to be fun. She wouldn't have taken it on if it was such a superficial, meaningless thing. Some girl who didn't care about work could have taken that on. No, wait... a girl who didn't care about this had taken it on anyway. Darcy groaned, and slammed her face against her pillow. In the privacy of her own tiny closet, what did it matter if she acted unladylike?

But even in private, Darcy couldn't sustain that long. She placed her pillow back where it belonged, smoothed it out, and then shucked off her outer robes, allowing her clothing to fall to the floor and switching out the day clothes for a nightgown, full length, which brushed the floor gently. Though it was early, for her standards, at least, Darcy fell into bed, collapsing against the covers with a silent scream, her feet tucked up under her. She hadn't even lain there a minute when she was asleep.

With the kind of dreams that could have stemmed directly from hallucinogenic substances plaguing her mind, Darcy woke with the taste of fuzz in her mouth, and her blankets and clothing tangled uncomfortably around her legs. Extricating herself from the messy nest, Darcy glanced out the prison-cell like window. Early morning. How delightfully brilliant. She changed quickly, opting just for the slight red underdress that she much preferred to the over robes. Considering this Prince was not one for protocol...

Darcy recognized she was being childish and then purposefully ignored it. Instead, to distract herself, she grabbed her hair in one hand and and clip in the other, winding it up against the back of her head as she turned the doorknob with an elbow, moving into the Prince's bedroom. Though she had no idea whether he would be asleep or awake, it turned out that the man was asleep. Darcy purposefully refrained from extrapolating beyond that data. Perhaps he was tired from traveling. Such things happened.

She knelt on the floor, then, waiting. Watching. And even when the tray came in with the Prince's breakfast, Darcy took it herself, and sent the messenger away, allowing him to sleep. But half an hour before the diplomatic meetings were supposed to start, she decided enough was enough. Setting aside the tray, Darcy sashayed over to the bed, kneeling beside it and informing the Prince, full volume, directly next to his head. not yelling, of course. Darcy didn't yell. But certainly not quieting her voice. "Your Highness, diplomatic meetings start in half an hour. I'd suggest you get up."

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Relos Zaiphar


Relos woke up an hour before the first diplomatic meeting was to take place. He had slept comfortably and happily all night, and despite his earlier teasing, he didn't do anything to Lilla. When the sunlight streamed into his face, the heat of it had roused him, and he sat up in the bed, stretching lightly, and then rubbed his eyes to clear the fog from them. That done, he turned his head slowly around to look at the room, which was quiet and delicately lit in the early morning sun. When he looked towards Lilla, he saw that she was still asleep, head turned away from the window so that the sun wouldn't wake her like it did Relos. He grinned at the peaceful expression on her face, eyes gently closed and mouth just barely parted, and decided to let her wake up on her own.

He got out of bed as gently as he could, trying not to bother the other occupant, and then padded lightly to the cases of things that he had brought from Zaiphar. He hadn't actually brought that much, mainly clothes and some entertainment, but he still managed to fill up enough luggage to make his driver roll his eyes when he was packing the coach. Relos sifted through his collection of formal outfits, and chose a red tunic with gold detailing and black pants. Like most of the tops he owned, the tunic lacked sleeves, which were replaced by the elbow length, red and black gloves that he took from a different case. Lifting the articles of clothing and throwing them over his shoulder, he turned to look and Lilla again, and decided that it would be best to change in a different room even if she was asleep, to avoid the possibility of an awkward moment. Seeing how she was currently in his room, he walked into her own room and changed in there. While he was, he noted that Lilla's room was quite smaller and less showy than his own, and her bed would only fit her unlike the bed in Relos's room that could easily fit two.

Once his clothes were exchanged, he looked himself over in a random mirror that was in the girl's room, seeing how wrinkled his clothes were after travelling so. His maids at home would never have let him out of his room looking like this, for sure; they'd have pressed his clothes until they were sharp and crisp, and imposing. Since he didn't have his aggressive maids, though, he had to use what he had with him. Looking fixedly at his reflection in the mirror, he wove a simple spell together.

Crisp, clean, freshly pressed.
For this, I must look my best;
so, help me get dressed.


With the last word of the spell out of his mouth, wind started to billow through his clothes, making them lay cleanly on his body. All the wrinkles were blown out of his clothes, and they looked new. Relos noticed happily that the spell had even tamed his hair a bit, making it look more presentable while still leaving it fluffy and curly. He looked in the mirror again and nodded, dusted his hands off, and went back through the door into his room. He put his dirty clothes in a pile for the laundry, and then grabbed the finishing touch to his outfit from his stuff. Holding up a black cloth, he folded it like he had a hundred times into a headband, and tied it around his forehead to push his bangs up. Unlike the white one from yesterday, this one was made of finer material, and so was fitting for such an occasion.

He stepped back into his shows that he'd shaken off last night, slipping his feet into the harder material with care towards the noise he made. With a last look to Lilla, he waved bye to the sleeping girl (which was pointless, but nevertheless), and then left the room through the door to step into the hallway of his part of the compound. Clicking the door shut quietly, he then set off down the hall towards the meeting point at his relaxed pace, whistling quietly as he did. Mind and heart strengthened with good feelings from the enjoyable night he'd had, Relos got ready to enter the political battlefield that was waiting for him, anxious to see how his competitors played their game.

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Lilla Rowan


Lilla's eyebrows furrowed when she awoke to notice the other half of the bed to be empty. Her eyes were bleary with sleep, and even as she let out a yawn and tried to clear her vision, she knew he was gone. The weight on the opposite of the bed was gone, as was the lack of fiery red; as she slid a hand across the blankets and only felt the smooth, flat surface of the blanket, it only confirmed her suspicions.

With a sigh and another unladylike yawn, Lilla sat up rather abruptly, stretching her hands above her head and wriggling her fingers, before pushing the blankets off and swinging her feet over the side of the bed. It was already rather late by her standards, and she had things she could be doing while Relos was gone and she wasn't under his management. After smoothing the blankets and grabbing her shoes from the side of the bed, completely forgetting the hair pin on the nightstand, she made her way to her room.

Lilla was not entirely surprised to see that her quarters were sparsely furnished and quite a bit smaller than the one she had slept in the night before. After all; the king was not attempting to impress the Fleures. It was smaller than she was used to, but she could not complain. It was a room, there was a bed, and a space for her to put her clothes as well as a miniscule desk in the corner, and a unburnt candle. With a small smile, Lilla put her shoes down by the door, preferring to pad around the floors barefoot, and gathered her bags.

She didn't have much; two bags, one holding her dresses, skirts, and dancing shoes, and the other, her more personal items, concealed by a dress that was on top. She had been unsure how long the arrangement would be, so she made sure to bring what she had. Lilla would rather over-pack than under, she had assumed, and with that in mind she began rifling through her bags, folding things and straightening them out, frowning at the slight wrinkles that had formed from being in a bag all night. Before putting anything away, Lilla eyed the outfits she had brought (She had noticed one of the other girls, she couldn't remember which, had been packing pieces instead of matching outfits, in the event that they were here longer than they would anticipate. She had been doing the opposite, and had to hurry and switch out several of her dresses for skirts and tops.) before picking out something a little newer and thus less worn to wear for the day.

She put the dresses and other clothes away in the small dresser, her under garments, socks and leggings for dancing in a separate drawer, before gathering up her hair items and putting them in one of the two small desk drawers. Lilla continued fixing things in the room, trying to make it as neat and orderly as it could be, before standing in the middle of the small room and putting her hands on her hips. Something was off... She tilted her head, pulling her lower lip between her teeth and chewing thoughtfully, before making an approving noise and moving the mirror that had been propped up against the top of the dresser to the desk, so she would be able to sit and do her hair.

Lilla changed into the clothes she had laid out, declaring one of her bags to be her make-shift laundry basket and storing the dirty clothes inside, before putting it under the bed, out of sight. It was something simple and something she could dance in; after all, she hadn't practiced in two days, losing time the day before she came to the palace because of last-minute packing. A pale, blush-hued full skirt that flared out when she spun and an olive green shirt with sleeves that only went to the middle of her forearm. It was made of something heavenly soft and had been a cast-off of one of the noble's daughters because of a miniscule hole, something easily fixed by the talented Fleures. If it had not been for the blemish, it would have surely been something none of the Flueres could have afforded.

She snagged a hold of one of her hair ties, simply a stretch of elastic that had been knotted to form a circle, and stepped into her shoes. She managed to leave her small room while fumbling with her hair, looking around silently and deciding to explore. There had to be some area in this place for her to dance... If not, she could make room, she supposed.

Lilla took off down the hall, her steps self-consciously silent and her hands still working at her hair, forming a complicated braid from her bangs, around the side of her head and the back of her neck, before simply braiding it and tieing the elastic around the bottom. Her hair was out of her face and the braid was now on one shoulder, and by the time she had finished fumbling with her hair, she had reached a large set of doors, and after a beat of hesitation, she pushed one of them open. It was only a communal room.

It was sprawling, with a large fire place and plush, long couches, rows of bookshelves and a whole wall of windows, letting in the natural light onto the floor, and a view of the large gardens. If Relos's room had impressed her, no more, as this blew it out of the water.

With a smile on her face, she noticed there were only a few reading chairs by the windows, and they were unoccupied. She strolled over and pushed the chairs against the walls they were closest to, before removing the shoes she had on and setting them beneath one of the chairs, out of the way.

After making sure there there was no one outside in the gardens (she was alright with people watching her perform. Practicing was different. There was nothing too elegant about the way she practiced; the same move or turn over and over to correct form, doing leaps and pirouettes from one end of the room to the other.), Lilla strode over to one end of the room, got into the correct stance and found a space on the wall to spot, before beginning to practice.

In the back of her mind she had thought about going and checking on the other girls to see if their princes had been as enjoyable as hers, but she had a feeling that wasn't the case, and didn't want to go and babble and seem inconsiderate. If they wanted to talk to her, they would find her, she assumed.

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Markus


Markus rubbed his eyes as he walked down the hall following the servant. He had been awakened a short time ago, the said servant pleading him to get up and that the Emperor had sent him to get the prince in order to conduct today’s diplomacy meeting. The poor man had apparently been trying to wake Markus from his slumber for some time to no avail. Markus had opened his eyes to see the man nearly in tears and saying that he was in fear of losing his head if Markus did not attend the meeting. Luckily for the man, Markus had much practice in getting ready for the day on short notice and it was only a few minutes until Markus had given himself a quick wash and was dressed.

He did not happen to meet Miss Akako this morning, not even catching a glimpse of her around his section which disappointed him slightly. However, he had only put a little effort into looking for her in order to wish her a good morning before the servant had begged him to hurry. Before he left his hall he slipped back into his room and dug quickly through some of his luggage. He pulled out the long scroll his father had sent him with. After securing the scroll in his hands, he asked the servant if he would lead him to the meeting room. The servant, happy to see that he would not have to report the prince late, had led him out of the section and down the hall.

As they walked, Markus looked down at the long scroll he had. A memory flashed through his mind as he thought back to a time shortly before he had left his country. “Now, make sure you get this right. This document is very important and if this resolution came into effect it would cause many people’s lives to improve.” His father had told him before he handed it to him. “Yes father, I will do my best.” Markus had said in return. His father had coached him for many hours in the manner he was to read the document during diplomacy and while Markus was confident enough in his ability, he wondered if he could do it justice. He hoped that the other princes and the Emperor could see how much good it would do for all those people and that they would show their support.

His train of thought was broken as the servant led him to a door, motioning to it as he said, “This is the meeting room prince Markus.” Markus smiled and nodded to the man as he walked up to the door. As he entered the room noticed that it had quite a few entrances, each opening in the vicinity of a chair that sat under a large table that took up most of the room. Then as he sat down he noticed the other two princes, trying to note some of their features. One had had bright red hair, which slightly similar to miss Akako’s but was a few shades lighter and Markus thought it looked almost pink. He also seemed to have a smirk on his face, though it seemed to Markus to be a light hearted smirk. The other prince had black hair with what appeared to be a sliver tint, and Markus was sure that from the look on his face that anyone could easily tell he was bored. Before he had time to catalogue any more of their features the Emperor, seeing they had all arrived, spoke. He highlighted a few points from his earlier speech saying that he hoped the negotiations would go smoothly and if there was any matters that the princes had before they talked of the marriages.

As he finished Markus knew this was his cue to bring up the resolution. He gave a loud cough and stood up, taking out the large piece of parchment he had in the bag he had brought with him. “Um, if I could just have a moment.” He said before unrolling part of the large parchment then continuing. “My country has at least one condition to this marriage.” He then began to read the contents of the resolution aloud. It took several minutes to finish and was quite well written; Markus remembered that his father had spent quite a lot of time and effort into the wording. However it was hampered a little by Markus’ normally exhausted appearance. It, in essence, was a resolution that banned the slave trade in each country and ensured that resources would be spent by any ruling parties to combat any of the illegal trade present in their country. When Markus had finished his rendition, he looked up to the rest of table, first glancing to the silver haired prince on the right.

"Reitír is deeply in support of this measure," Though his words were encouraging, Markus was confused by the tone the prince took which seemed almost uncaring. "Slavery is a trade tolerated solely by those who care nothing for their own people." The prince finished as Markus gave a little smile to himself. Despite the tone, that sounded like something that his father might say. Then after a short time Markus heard the other prince make his statement.

“I think I’ll wait to give a definite answer until we’ve had time to discuss it in depth, but I’ll give you points for taking the initiative to start this off.” The pink haired prince replied with a smile on his face. Markus was a little discouraged on the more neutral position that the prince had took, but the tone the prince took gave Markus hope. Then noting that all the prince had finished Markus looked down at the resolution with a feeling of success. Perhaps he would live up to his father’s expectations and be able to pass this resolution and he smiled a little to himself again as he thought of the happiness that would bring to the people.

His reflection was interrupted however as the Emperor said, in an uneasy and flustered tone, “Well, it has been a long day and there are some duties I must attend to.” Markus, surprised, looked up to see the Emperor making a quick exit before stopping at the door to finish with the comment. “Perhaps you princes can get better acquainted with each other during the rest of the day. I have heard, Relos and Viktor, that both you are accomplished swordsmen, perhaps you can spar while Markus keeps things fair.” The Emperor then exited after motioning a servant to stay behind.

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#, as written by Ravelin
Akako Yume


The light of a fresh morning and a beginning of a new day shown through the window in Akako's room; hitting her face with its brightness and warmth. "Grrhhmm," she grumbled pulling the cover over her head and wrapping herself into a cocoon. Last night, Akako thought that she could for once would be able to sleep in a couple of hours. Since Markus has to sleep at some point and he probably gets most of his sleep in the mornings. The working day, every day, in Fleure always begins when the sun rises at dawn. So having a nocturnal prince would be a perfect chance to do something that she always wanted to do, sleep in. But it seemed even Darcy was out of sight, her spirit or a min Darcy ghost was in the halls. Footsteps of multiple servants came and went as if they were preparing for something. Shouldn't things cool down since the three princes arrived?

Akako's bed was a simple but comfortable furton, but she could not only hear the footsteps; she could feel the floor shake as the servent hurried to do their task. After a few minutes, akao poked her red bed hair mess out of the cover with a tired glare. "..... Curse you Darcy." Even though it would be impossible for Darcy to order the Empire's servants around and tend to her needs. That woman had more class than that. Then she got her lazy butt out of bed and got ready for the day.

Akako doubled checked on her make-up and hair after she pull on one of her favorite red kimono and the red and gold waist band along with the long scarlet scarf that went around her neck covering her necklace.The servants seemed to be done of whatever they were preparing for, finally leaving the hall silent. "Since there's nothing else to do, I might as well clean my katanas," she said to herself as she sat back down on her futon after getting a small rectangle black box out from her travel chest.

Her hand hovered over the wooden box and lifted the lip to reveal its contains. There was a small cotton cloth, white powder ball, sword oil in a small bottle, rice paper and a brass hammer that looked like a smoking pipe.Akako first used the rice paper to remove oil from that last time she cleaned them, which was probably a week ago. She held each katana with the blade edge away from her as she worked. Then she tapped the powder ball lightly against the every two inches, dusting the two katanas verly lightly with powder. Then she used the cotton cloth to carefully rub over the powder to polish the blade. Akako had to repeat this step twice for each katana to polish them and remove the powder. Lastly, she applied a few drops of sword oil along the length of each side of the katanas and used another rice paper to spread the oil evenly the blade.

Before she but her little kit back into its box, she had to sheath the katanas while making sure the actually blades didn't touch anything besides their sayas. Even a light touch of her skin and clothing would ruin the mainatance cleaning and then she would have to start the whole process over again. A man's, clearly was panicing and upset, voice yelled outside of her room. Startling Akako with the suddenness of it, or it could have been that she zoned the outside world out while she was cleaning her katana to not notice the events leading up to the crying man begging for Prince Makus to go to some meeting. 'Well, that's one mystery solved about all that noise this morning. A LITTLE heads up would have be great!' Akako thought as she placed her swords on top of her travel chest. Luckily, they were completely shealthed before that man caused her to jump. Otherwise the katanas would currently touched something.

She started to clean up and place the items of her cleaning kit back in their places inside of the box. It seems like the man finally convinced Prince Markus to go and their footsteps could be heard leaving the hallway. Shortly after they left, a servant girl opened her door. "There's a room prepared for you and the other Fleures to get together while the men talk about their politcs. The last door on the left will lead you to the joint room where you and the others will go during the men's meetings." The oldder woman said with a sweet smile making her wringles more visible. It never seez to amaze her how most girls and women thought, outside of Fleure, of themselves lesser than the great and mighty men. Nearly all of them were happy being little house wives and never thinking for themselves. "Okay, I'll go in a minute." Akako answered the elderly woman with one of her working smiles. With her answer, the woman nod and left to do her next chore.

The door of Akako's room once again opened for the second time today to let the firey red haired Fleure out. The hall was little to no different from the evening before apart from a few new decorations like a new vase or painting. She noticed that the door of Markus's room was wide opened and the little project he was working on was still on his desk. Quickly glancing up and down the hall and making sure no one was in or coming in the hall, Akako swiftly walked into Markus's room. She has a bad habit of giving into her curiousity and is often told by a number of other girls that 'curiousity killed the cat'. The little metal.... thingy, she had no clue what it was or what it was suppose to do, was laying on the desk looking complete unlike the night before. She gentlely picked it up just in case it would acciently fall apart. Which she prayed wouldn't be the case. The small object didn't fall apart and none of the pieces fell apart. But after a few moments of turning it around in her hands, she placed it where it was on the desk and left his room.

The door, to where she will meet up with Darcy and Lilla, opened as Akako entered to the soulless room. "Hm, looks I'm the first one for once. Usually Darcy is the first to arrive.... It would be funny if she was the last."

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Relos Zaiphar


“Perhaps you princes can get better acquainted with each other during the rest of the day. I have heard, Relos and Viktor, that both you are accomplished swordsmen, perhaps you can spar while Markus keeps things fair.”

Relos rolled his eyes at the visably shaken emperor, knowing full and well that he was just using this as an excuse to avoid talking about Markus's resolution. Still, he could not help but be interested in the idea of testing his skills against another prince, hopefully one who was as good at his art as Relos was. Even though the emperor used the word 'spar' in that sentence, Relos couldn't help but replace it with 'competition' in his own mind, and no matter what the circumstances, Relos would never turn down a competition.

Even though Relos would like very much to force the emperor into an uncomfortable talk about the slave trade, his competitiveness won. Rising from his relaxed position, he sat up in his chair and turned to stare at Viktor. It was hard to believe that someone who looked so tired and bored could be as good a swordsman as Relos, but he wouldn't underestimate the prince yet. It was always the quiet ones that surprised you the most...

"Well, I hate to say, you've got me interested. What do you say friend, a quick match for entertainment? I'm sure we could all use a bit of excitement now."

Viktor Venetius


Viktor's eyebrows shot up in a rare expression of thought on his otherwise blank face. It wasn't only the fact that the Emperor saw fit to call Viktor and the other princes by their first name (something of a taboo at formal meetings in Reitír). The Emperor's ruse did not fool Viktor, nor anyone present; he clearly didn't like the resolution put before him, and wished to distract those present from discussing it. Scum, Viktor thought spitefully, his red eyes turning to glare at the overweight buffoon. Vincent Venetius had raised his son to hold in contempt above all those who did not sacrifice for their people, who held themselves in higher regard than those they were charged to protect and nourish, who in fact benefited from the pain and suffering of their own people--in other words, exactly this emperor of Shigan.

He turned his eyes back to Relos as the prince of Zaiphar, the one with the flaming red hair (whose name, Viktor recalled, was Ronald...or something like that...) stood and strode up to where Viktor still sat, his half-closed crimson eyes almost lazily looking up at the prince of Zaiphar. The look in Relos' eyes suggested he wasn't the type to simply give up on a challenge such as this, and indeed Viktor had heard the prince of Zaiphar to be a highly proficient master of the sword. Perhaps he will provide a challenge...this may prove momentarily entertaining... Viktor stood as well, his eyes remaining on the eyes of the red-haired prince opposite of him. "Very well," he stated, and left it at that. In his mind, however, he immediately began to size his opponent up, matching himself against Relos and calculating their physical advantages. Height and size advantage, myself...but his build is more suited for agility and speed...

Relos Zaiphar


Relos didn't need Viktor to voice his approval, he could see it in the way he suddenly looked at him, sizing him up. Already, both princes took on a determined look, both knowing that this "friendly match" was going to be taken quite seriously. Markus, however, didn't seem to interested. The insomniatic prince stood up from his chair and gathered his things. He head towards the door that he entered through, waving at the other princes. "I'm not interested in watching you two hit each other until one of you yields. I'll be in my chambers, if anyone needs me."

Relos stared after the prince for a few minutes, finding it disturbing that someone existed who didn't like watching two princes beat each other. "Oh well, suit yourself. That just leaves me and you, big boy. Let's find us a spot outside where we can cut loose, then we'll see what you've got." With a cocky grin and wink to the more serious-looking prince, Relos headed towards another door, hoping to find some exit out into a courtyard. Any open space would do, really, it just had to be large enough that Relos could use his agility to its full potential.

As he exited the door, Relos used one hand to beckon his opponent. Anyone could tell the energetic prince was excited, and who could really blame him? A swordfight was the last thing he thought he'd get to do today.

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Markus Braddok


Markus sighed as he slumped down onto the bed in his room and rubbed his temples as he closed his eyes. A creeping feeling of depression and failure began to spread through him as he went over the recent events in his head. After hearing the positive comments that the other princes had made, he had fully expected the emperor to be in agreement with the resolution. He thought he had finally been able to live up to his father’s expectations, that he might have shown some pride in his only son. Markus let out a laugh at his naivety, of course that is not how it went at all. The Emperor had shown unmistakable signs of displeasure at the document and had even go as far to distract the other princes.

Markus had not been able contain his displeasure at the act. "I'm not interested in watching you two hit each other until one of you yields. I'll be in my chambers, if anyone needs me." He remembered he had said, while exiting with a slight wave. Letting his hands fall out to the side as he lay on the bed he let out a long sigh at the statement. He should not have been so short with them, he would have to apologize later when he next saw them. He wished he had been more level headed, perhaps he could have gotten to know them or at least made a better impression. He continued to dwell on these thoughts for a while as he lay in bed staring up at the ceiling.

Though he was tired he was too wrapped up in his thoughts about his failure to fall off to sleep. After a while however, the negative thoughts began to repeat themselves and he realized there was nothing he could do about what had happened. Realizing that the latent emotional stress of the situation will not allow him to sleep any time soon he tried to draw his mind to other things and began to look around the room for inspiration. As his gaze flowed over the scenery he noticed the device he had finished last night sitting on his desk. Getting up from the bed he walked over to the desk and picked up the object, examining it.

He smiled slightly at his creation as he turned the little golden cube over in his hands, being careful to get caught on the tiny curved handle that stuck out of one side. He then sat it down on the table so that a side with a circle was facing upward and the handle was out to the right. He then began to turn the handle and the little box played a short metallic tune before the lid suddenly burst open and a tiny copper cockroach sculpture popped out. Markus smiled again at his achievement, and slumped back in his chair reminiscing over the work he had put into the project. Soon, as he was going over all the pitfalls, triumphs, and realizations he had experienced during the nearly two months he had put into it he began to drift off to sleep. He breathed softly, his arms resting laxly on the wood of the chair and his head tilted up toward the ceiling as he slept surrounded by the quiet, empty room.

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Relos Zaiphar
and
Viktor Venetius


"That just leaves me and you, big boy," Ronald Zaiphar said to Viktor, grinning at the prince of Reitír smugly, and finishing it off with a cocky wink to his stone-faced counterpart. "Let's find us a spot outside where we can cut loose, then we'll see what you've got." Viktor's expression did not change. It was evident the prince of Zaiphar expected victory, but if his intention was to defeat Viktor Venetius a duel of swords, then the prince of Reitír intended to soundly disappoint his red-haired opponent from Zaiphar.

The two princes strode out of the room and out into the courtyards in order to, as Ronald put it, 'find a spot to let loose'. Viktor's eyes were keeping a look out for any arena in which he would have the advantage--not too constricted in order to prevent his larger bulk from moving quickly, but also not too large that Ronald's quicker, more agile frame could give him the advantage. Undoubtedly the Zaiphar prince was keeping alert, in turn, for an expansive arena where he could have the advantage.

But the Zaiphar prince said nothing, and after a moment Viktor held up a hand and said, "Here." It was an ideal fighting area for Viktor--of relatively small expanse, and with few obstacles to get in Viktor's way that Ronald could potentially use to his advantage. He rested a hand on the hilt of the longsword that remained strapped at his belt, awaiting the reaction of his adversary.

...

Relos was halted in his movement by an exclamation from the prince behind him. He had found an area that he found suitable for their duel, and had said without much room for arguement, that this would be the arena for their duel. As Relos ran his eyes around the space, he quickly realized why the prince and chosen this space. It was large enough to fit them, but small enough to where Relos couldn't use his agility very well. Pouting slightly because he hadn't found a spot before Viktor, he just nodded silently and stepped into the open area.

The two stood in the center, both handling the hilts of their swords while they stared at each other. They both paced in a circle, circling around the center spot of the area. All of his earlier amusement returned, Relos said "First one to strike the other's chest gets the point for the round, alright? Best of three to start out with...and, do try not to cut up my clothes too much, I'm rather fond of this vest."

Smiling with his last word, Relos drew his blade quickly as he finished his sentence and pounced at his opponent, striking towards his side with a wide slash. Relos had no doubt that the prince would be able to block such a basic strike, as anyone with any skill should be able to. Relos did note, with a bit of annoyance, that the prince favored a longsword. That put him at an advantage compared to Relos, seeing how he favored a shorter and keener gladius, more like an oversized knife than anything else. Still, because Relos was faster, he should be able to get in reach with his blade fairly easily. For now, he just had to see how Viktor would respond to his first strike.

...

Viktor examined the sword that hung at his opponent's side--a gladius. Shorter than Viktor's blade, lighter, double-edged against the single-edge of Viktor's longsword. The prince of Reitír had the advantage of greater reach and range--the prince of Zaiphar, on the other hand, had the advantage of a lighter, and thus quicker, blade. It seemed that in every factor this was becoming a match of Viktor's physical size and strength against his opponent's agility and speed. Slowly and almost thoughtfully, Viktor withdrew the single-edged longsword from its steel scabbard, the sound of metal sliding against metal the only thing that interrupted the silence.

The two princes circled, awaiting the action of the other--Ronald matching Viktor's cold glare with his own clearly amused, light-hearted gaze. At last, the Zaiphar prince spoke. "First one to strike the other's chest gets the point, alright? Best of three to start out with..." Viktor gave a minute nod of his head to signal agreement, but his adversary had something more to say. "And do try not to cut up my clothes too much...I'm rather fond of this vest."

Viktor raised an eyebrow, but he had no time to take his time not reacting to Ronald's words. The red-haired prince leapt forward deftly, his gladius slashing towards Viktor's left. The prince of Reitír quickly brought his sword to bear, and the sound of metal clashing against metal signified that he had successfully blocked his opponent's attack. He wasted no time in following up on it, however; the Zaiphar prince's attack, given the shorter length of his sword, had forced him to close in on Viktor, bringing him within range of a counter-attack. The larger prince swiftly aimed a powerful blow to Ronald's head with his elbow, following that with another elbow and then an aggressive strike with his knee that, if successful, would send the smaller prince straight to the ground.

...

Well, at least the Reitír Prince had enough skill to block his first strike. Their two blades crashed together, a crisp sound of steel on steel announcing that their battle had begun. The other prince wasted no time in pressing forward with his counter-attack, though, and Relos had to lurch backwards so that he didn't get the full force of his opponent’s elbow. As it was, he had to jump backwards out of reach to avoid the blows, and as he raised back up to his full height, Relos knew that he couldn't afford to take unnecessary blows during the fight. Viktor hit hard, that was for sure.

Still, he knew that he had to keep on the offensive. If the momentum switched and he was forced to defend, then it would be a lot harder for him get back into range to get a strike off. He jumped forward, like a fencer, and swung his blade diagonally towards Viktor with one hand. He continuously struck, hoping to bury his opponent in a flurry of blows, all the while trying to prevent Viktor from finding a vantage point to strike from. Slowly but surely, Relos was leading Viktor towards the wall, trying to back the prince into a corner.

...

Viktor's eyes were alit with a fire that had been utterly impossible to imagine in them only a few moments ago, and he fought with the ferocity of a beast fighting for its life--so determined was he to emerge victorious. But the swifter prince was delivering strike after strike with his gladius, forcing Viktor to continually block the oncoming blows, which came swiftly and without pause. He knew that if this kept up, eventually his opponent would have him moving backwards, and then he would end up backed against the wall-- and that would put Viktor at a significant disadvantage to his adversary. Viktor would have to find an opening in his opponent's attack, and take advantage of it.

Thus, when Ronald came in for another one of his series of strikes, Viktor managed to raise his sword and parry the blow, the forte of his sword clashing against the area near the tip of his opponent's gladius, deflecting the blow and forcing Ronald's blade to the side, leaving him open. Knowing he would not be able to get his blade into a position of attack before his opponent was able to bring his gladius back to defend, Viktor aimed instead to further destabilize his opponent's position by throwing his weight shoulder-first at Ronald, moving forward before he could have brought his gladius to bear or dodged enough to remain stable on his feet. Supposing this move was successful, Viktor brought his blade to bear, aiming a vertical slash at his opponent that was followed by another slash bringing his blade back upwards, and then another, putting his weight on each blow so that if his adversary managed to bring his gladius to block the attack, it would still stagger him at the least. Viktor knew that if he could force his opponent into the position he had previously had Viktor in, the prince of Zaiphar would be unable to withstand the force of his attacks and would capitulate.

...

Relos was actually surprised that he'd managed to press his opponent with such rapid blows like he had. So far Viktor had been able to block every strike, but he'd been put heavily on the defensive, and his strength didn't matter nearly as much when it wasn't being used to strike. Of course, there was no way he would be caught like that for long, and after a while, Viktor managed to block at just the right position, and the recoil knocked Relos's arm to the side. He only had time for one mental curse before the prince pressed forward, using his weight to push Relos's forward.

Sadly, Viktor didn't give Relos time to catch his breath. The larger prince brought his sword down with a powerful slash, as if he was trying to cleave Relos in half. Grip on his blade still shaky at best, he brought it horizontally over his chest to block the blow. Viktor's stronger blade easily knocked the feeble defense away, and Relos barely had time to bring it back before Viktor brought his blade back up. Not able to block with his blade a third time, Relos had only second to think of how to dodge Viktor's next strike before said prince slashed downwards with his sword again.

Reacting quickly, Relos swung his free arm in front of him while stepping backwards, letting the edge of Viktor's blade graze down his forearm. As soon as Viktor's blade reached the bottom of its downward arc, Relos, using the same arm, brought his hand down and grabbed the edge of Viktor's blade. Tilting it slightly so that he couldn't cut himself easily, Relos held the blade down with as much strength as he could muster, effectively locking the sword down if Viktor couldn't overpower the hold. Now that he was open, Relos re-gripped the hilt of his blade and slashed widely at Viktor's exposed chest, hoping to deliver the winning blow.

...

Viktor was not expecting his opponent to attempt to hold down his sword while he made an attack--a tactic that was taking a huge risk. While Viktor conceded Ronald's advantage in terms of finesse and agility, striking speed and speed of movement, attempting to hold down Viktor's sword with one hand while attacking with the other struck the prince of Reitír as a foolish move, dependent purely on how quickly Ronald could get his gladius into Viktor before the prince of Reitír inevitably reclaimed his sword.

Being the stronger of the two, and holding onto the hilt of the sword with two hands as opposed to Ronald's one-handed grip on the blade, Viktor soon overpowered the grip on his sword, twisting the blade as he pulled it away to increase the chances he would cut the hands of his opponent as he did so. Though he managed to move out of the way in time to avoid a direct slash from his adversary's gladius to his chest--which would have signaled his defeat--he still felt the blade dig into his shoulder, slashing past it with a sting, causing blood to begin flowing out of the wound.

The close encounter enraged Viktor, who was determined to accept only total victory--this graze with defeat was unacceptable. He repressed his attack with even more aggression and brutality, as if it were a duel to the death, pressing forward with his bulk and slashing repeatedly from side to side, aiming to put enough power in each blow that if Ronald managed to block it would again cast his sword aside and leave him open.

...

Relos knew that he wouldn't have been able to hold Viktor's blade down, let alone with one hand. Because he had no intention of getting his hand cut up, he released the blade as soon as Viktor made a move to break it from his grip. Successfully avoiding injuring his hand, he let out a sound of triumph as he felt his blade connect with his opponent. When he looked closer, however, he had only managed to cut Viktor's shoulder, which, sadly, didn't count as a winning blow.

Heartened that he had drawn blood, even if it wasn't from the chest, Relos re-determined his effort to win. He could do this, that much he'd proven with his last move. However, Viktor seemed to take the same effect from the move, but for the opposite reason. His blows came again, even more powerful than before, and Relos could barely bring up his gladius to block each time. He flailed a bit with his last blow, and he had to sidestep to avoid getting cleaved in two. He took a quick slash at Viktor's shoulder again, and then darted away out of his reach.

Standing back from Viktor, Relos stood with his blade raised defensively, catching his breath and trying to think of some way that he could press his advantage.

...

Viktor pressed onwards, knowing he now had the advantage, as he saw his opponent slowly giving way. He kept up the attack, swinging his sword heavily, but ensuring he did not lose his full control of the blade so that he would not be unable to bring it back to bear swiftly. His teeth bared into a rare grin that revealed rows of sharpened Psyrhe teeth as his opponent lost his grip on his gladius as the two blades impacted heavily, and then had to dodge to avoid Viktor's next stroke. He was clearly relishing in the thought of his opponent's defeat after the unbearable recollection of Relos being able to get a hit in on Viktor.

As Relos swung his gladius, aiming another blow at the shoulder that was surfaced with blood, Viktor was able to knock the blow to the side, his blade already mid-swing to cleave at Relos' new location. I'll be damned if he's going to get another one in on me... Viktor thought furiously as Relos quickly moved back several feet as Viktor brought his blade back. He didn't give Relos time to catch his breath for long, however, as he quickly returned to the offensive with another series of hard and heavy slashes and hacks. Even if Relos managed to keep blocking and prevent Viktor from slashing his chest, eventually, Viktor intended to tire his opponent out.

...

Relos cursed again as Viktor continued to press him with a flurry of blows, clearly seeing the enjoyment in his face. Apparently, Viktor could get as excited as Relos could during a fiery duel like this. Grinning with his own pleasure, Relos continued to meet every blow with his own. True, he was starting to tire, but he was sure that Viktor was as well. With a short snort of laughter, Relos remembered that this was only the first duel, and already they were both giving their al.

Viktor came in for yet another strike, but this time Relos didn't try to block it. He sidestepped quickly, and didn't wait before spinning around so that he was behind his opponent. Raising his foot to the back in front of him, Relos aimed a kick, hoping to knock Viktor to the floor.

...

Viktor had gained the advantage and he knew it. He continued pressing forward, refusing to relent, knowing that even if he was beginning to tire by logic Relos would tire out before he did, and then Viktor would end the battle in victory.

At one point, Relos managed to dodge, sidestepping and attempting to spin around to face Viktor's back. Viktor quickly turned in time to sidestep out of the way of Relos' kick, and swung down again at his chest.

...

While it was unfortunate that Viktor had dodged his kick, at least Relos wasn't being backed into a corner again. Relos blocked his retaliatory strike, and the two traded blows for another minute, at close enough range to where Relos could fight easily with the gladius without letting the strength of his opponent's blade completely overpower him. And although the blows where of such different style, the skill behind them were perfectly matched.

The two collided, their swords crashing together at an awkward angle and causing them both to take a step back. They both slashed with their blade, stepping forward with one foot and coming down with an overhead slice. They both moved at the exact same time, so neither had a chance to block at all, and their blades mirrored each other as they connected with the two duelers chests.

...

Viktor fought all the harder as he sensed the advantage becoming balanced between the two, tipping out of his favor, but his opponent had managed to close in on Viktor to a range at which his gladius was more effective, and Viktor's longsword less so. Nevertheless the two princes held one another at bay, fighting each other to a stalemate as each one failed to press the advantage against the other.

At last, the two blades clashed on one another, striking at their edges and glancing off, forcing both princes back. Without pause they both returned on the offensive, and Viktor stepped forward and put his weight on his blade in a powerful downward slash--he did not, however, expect his opponent to do the same at exactly the same moment.

He felt the blade of Relos' gladius slashing through his chest even as he saw his own blade digging into the chest of his opponent. He stepped back, reaching a hand up to the shallow gash his opponent had inflicted upon his chest, and looking back saw a similar injury on Relos' chest.

A draw? Viktor thought, anger instantly clouding his mind.

...

Relos let his sword arm fall, finally letting the exhaustion that had been creeping up on him during the latter half of the fight take over. He stood panting, hair a bit damp with sweat, as he chuckled at the situation. "After all that, a draw? Well, that's pretty anti-climactic..."

He sheathed his gladius quietly, and at the same time assessing the wounds he'd sustained during the battle. The undersides of the fingers on his left hand were shredded, and there was also the cut on that forearm from when he had blocked with it. Then, of course, there was the killing blow on his chest; it wasn't that serious, really, and it looked worse than it was. However, it did spell the end for the vest unless he could find a talented seamstress. All things considered, he had gotten away significantly cleaner than he usually did. He vaguely remembered one match where he had been sent to the hospital for a week.

"I say we count that as a point for each of us, rather than no point at all. Which means whoever wins the next match, wins the set. However...I'm feeling a bit spent. How about we put off the next match until a later? That way we'll have time to recover."

...

Viktor glared at Ronald. A large part of him, the part that was seething at the draw, wanted to refuse his proposal flat out. However, the other part of him, the part that was beginning to feel tired, wanted to agree with him. After a minute of internal conflict, Viktor nodded grudgingly at Ronald and walked off, not sparing another word towards the other prince.

...

Relos finally let out the breath that he had been holding when Viktor left their courtyard, re-entering the hallway. He had half-expected him to refuse, and insist that they finish the battle now. Thankfully, Viktor must have been as tired as Relos was. Muscles aching, Relos left the open area, heading in the opposite direction, hoping to find a well-deserved rest in his chambers.

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Lilla Rowan


Practicing by herself had, predictably, gotten pretty repetitive. Without Darcy to badger her about what she was doing wrong or to sit and learn from, she found herself doing turns and leaps in silence, the only noise being the occasional squeak her bare feet would make as she turned or the hollow thump she'd make after a leap.

She wasn't sure how long she had been practicing, but the sun had risen even further above her head and the shadows cast on the floor were longer. Lilla had completed a series of her favorite twists when a book spine caught her eye on the towering bookshelf, and, deciding that she had practiced enough for the day, she made her way over and picked it out. It wasn't very thick or heavy, but after glancing through the pages, she sat down on a couch and began reading.


It was more than an hour later, when the sound of Shigan's church bells rang and told her it was noon, that she realized she'd spent a good portion of her morning on a book. Carefully dog-earring the page she was on, Lilla stood, putting it back onto the bookshelf so the pages were exposed and not the binding of the book, in case she wanted to finish it later.

Lilla sighed, slipping her feet back into her shoes. She could go get some late breakfast - well, lunch, now - and try to get her wrinkled clothes ironed... Maybe go and see how Darcy and Akako were doing, she decided, pushing the large doors and walking back out into the hallway. It was empty, just as it had been when she walked down a little more than two hours prior.

She wondered what Darcy and Akako's Princes were like. Certainly no other was like Relos, challenging and charismatic. She was worried for a brief moment that they could be unfavorable, but if that was the case, they would have been discharged and she would have found out, she assumed. Just because they aren't unsavory didn't mean they couldn't be diffucult, or stubborn, or as flirty as Relos had been.

They were Princes, she assured herself. Even knowing how bad the King was himself... they had to have been brought up in the correct manor, and she was sure that Darcy, being how she was, had immediately told or had expected her Prince to know the rules. Akako probably wouldn't put up with any of it, the prince knowing them or not.

...The thought reminded her of her choice words the night before, and in a flurry of embarrassment, Lilla clapped her hand over her eyes and sighed. Why had she said such a thing? It could have waited. Oh, well... there was nothing she could do to change it now, she supposed, uncovering her eyes.


She flinched in surprise when her hand fell and her eyes suddenly took in the frowning, disapproving face of one of the King's daughters. Next to her stood another, shorter, rounder faced, probably one of his youngest.

"Are you a servant?"

The superior tone in her voice caused Lilla to blink, the frown she had previously straightening up. Acting offended would only fuel their fire. She treated them just as she would one of her clients - a fake, plastered smile coming onto her face, hands behind her back to conceal the fists she was beginning to harbor, before answering her question.

"No, ma'm, I am not."

The girl's criticizing glare was nothing Lilla wasn't used to. Her smile was steady, amused by the spoiled girl's antics, glancing at the younger teen by her side.

"You're one of those prostitutes, aren't you? Those things Daddy hired."

"Fleures are not harlots, miss," Lilla murmured, the up-turn of her lips faltering.

"As if I care what you are. It's all the same thing," the girl cackled, rolling her eyes. "Don't you entertain? Go on, dance for me."

Her fists tightened, and even with the submissive, quiet personality the girl was known for, Lilla had to bite her tongue from getting nasty with the teenage girl. That was what she was after - a rise from the young adult. She was something new to harass and bother, and without a servant to tell on her or a parent to scold her, she was doing as she wished.

"My client is the Prince of Zaiphar, miss. I am only to entertain him. Now, if you excuse me."

Lilla's knuckles were white, her hands drawn into fists tight enough to cause crescent moon indents on the palms of her hands. With no further attempt at conversation, Lilla brushed past her, fists falling to her sides as she took off back to her room, strides long and her skirt flouncing around her knees. She ignored the girl's laughter and attempts to cause Lilla to yell or snap at her. She should have expected such a treatment from the spoiled girls, but other than a glimpse of some of them yesterday, she had assumed they wouldn't be around to bother her. After all, they were meant to marry with the Princes.

She had nearly reached her and Relos's conjoined rooms when her stomach growled at her, and she realized the two Princesses had thrown her off. She turned a corner to go down the hallway leading to their rooms when she noticed the same trolley that had brought their dinner the night before, bringing their lunch. With the tray that had both her and Relos's food on it, she went back into his room, sitting the tray with his plate down onto the nightstand. She took hers and her silverware, retreating back into her small bedroom, hoping he'd be back before his food were to get cold.

With that in mind, Lilla ate her food before even giving it a chance to cool off (the roof of her mouth was not pleased with this action). She was hungrier than she had thought herself to be.

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Relos Zaiphar


Relos walked quietly down the halls of his quarters, heading towards his bedroom. Although his words to Viktor had been mostly exaggerated, he was tired, and he didn’t really feel like speeding through the compound, especially when it was a nice, cool day outside. It was a bit warmer indoors, but still.

He turned the corner, expecting the halls to be empty, but instead seeing not only Lilla, but also two of the emperor’s daughters. Yelping silently in surprise, the prince ducked back behind the corner. When it appeared that he hadn’t been seen, Relos scooted closer to the edge ad tried hear what was going on.

"No, ma'm, I am not." That was Lilla’s voice, for sure. "You're one of those prostitutes, aren't you? Those things Daddy hired." And that must be one of the princesses. Relos inwardly sighed, hoping that Lilla didn’ get offended easily. She didn’t seem like the type, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t. "Fleures are not harlots, miss."

"As if I care what you are. It's all the same thing. Don't you entertain? Go on, dance for me." Ok, so the princess was a bitch. Good to know for future consideration. "My client is the Prince of Zaiphar, miss. I am only to entertain him. Now, if you excuse me." It seemed that Lilla had finally gotten mad. Her earlier statements had been meek and docile, but just then, she had been quite the opposite. Relos smiled, and wished he could have seen Lilla, walking away while the princesses stared after her, eyes wide and surprised.

He waited for the noise of a door clicking shut, the sign that Lilla had returned to the room, before coming around the corner. The two princesses were still in the hall, chatting excitedly between them; no doubt about the girl that they had just tried to mess with. They both stopped, however, when they heard the padding of shoes directly behind them. They turned white-faced, only to then blush lightly when they saw the prince of Zaiphar walking down the hall, unconsciously smiling. The younger of the two was much shorter than him, and even though the other was taller, Relos still had to kneel down in front of the two to look at them eyelevel. "Why hello there ladies," he said happily. "I’m surprised to see you all the way out here, in my quarters. You weren’t looking for me, were you?”

Both of the girls simply shook their heads, to which Relos nodded. “All right then. But I do have a favour I wish to ask of you.” Again electing not to use words, the princesses just nodded and waited for him to ask it. “Would you please not bother my Fleure?” At this, the enchantment the two girls were under was broken. They both narrowed their eyes, and the older one said “Why should we? She’s just a prostitute.” Relos allowed his smile to falter, and said “She is not.”

“Well, what is she then?” Relos paused a moment to think, mainly for dramatic effect, and the two girls waited in anticipation for his answer. Finally, he just grinned and said “She’s a friend. A friend in this strange place where I have none.” For the second time in the course of an hour, both of the girls stared wide-eyed at the person they were talking to. Relos laughed lightly, and patted both girls on the head. “So please don’t upset her, ok? For me.” He stood and walked past them, heading for the door that Lilla had entered through just a few minutes ago. The princesses were blushing, neither capable of a coherent sentence.

Once he was in the room, Relos looked around and noticed that it looked mainly as he had left it this morning, but with the addition of a tray of food near the bed, and the lack of a sleeping Lilla in the bed. A few gentle sounds from the adjoining room told him that the girl was currently in her room, eating her food.

Deciding to change clothes first, Relos stripped off his damaged shirt and folded it up, then placed it in one of his cases. Noticing his wounds again, he spoke a simple spell and mended the cuts. He then reached into the same case and pulled out a simple grey shirt, with sleeves that went down to his elbows. It looked very plain, compared to other things that he had brought, but it was comfortable. Although it had the appearance of cotton or some other thicker cloth, it was finely made with silkier fabrics, which is why Relos liked it. That done, he then took off his sword and set it beside the dresser, leaning against the furniture like an umbrella would, and resolved to clean it later.

He grabbed his plate of food off of the cart, and padded over barefoot (he had removed his shoes at the door) to the door that separated his room from Lilla’s. He knocked on the door lightly, and waited for permission to enter the room.

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Lilla Rowan


Lilla could hear Relos's footsteps as he wandered around in his room. His footfalls were much heavier than her own, and even as they softened - he must have removed his shoes, she reasoned - she could still tell it was him. She had returned to her plate when she heard knuckles against the wood.

She stood as silently as she could, pushing a bag of her things under the desk she had been sitting at, glancing around to make sure that it wasn't horribly messy - which it shouldn't have been, yet. Lilla hadn't lived in the space long enough for it to. But she knew at the House that, spending so little time in her own room and working or running errands, she generally only used her bedroom for sleep and for wardrobe changes.

For a brief moment, it felt like she was right back at home, and Darcy wanted to come inside her room or converse. She'd have to kick away clothes and try to hide them from instances where she'd rush from waitressing to performing, or when she managed to spill something on her top and had to slip away and change. It was a bad trait of hers, but it didn't effect her work, so she supposed that was why no one tended to comment on it. ...That, or they all had the same quirk.

It's just the Prince, she tried to reason with herself, it wasn't like it was the Lady or Darcy. After realizing there wasn't much to fix, save nudging her shoes out of the way, she sighed and relaxed. Lilla returned back to the desk. "You can come in, Relos," she said, taking a bite out of the food she still had on the plate.

When he came into her room, Lilla glanced at him, taking in the informal gray shirt. She wasn't sure what he'd done while she was reading, but she knew he wouldn't have gone to such a meeting with the king wearing something like that. Not that it didn't suit him - the dull gray played on his eyes and the vibrant hues of his hair - but she had a feeling he had changed after he came into his room. She was glad she hadn't instantly gone and greeted him when she heard his footfalls. How embarrassing that would have been...

She wasn't facing the desk her plate was on, sitting sideways in her chair so she could face the majority of the room and, potentially, the prince. After gazing around the room once more, she realized the only other seating option was on her bed.


"Would you like to sit here?" she offered, "I don't mind moving."

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Character Portrait: Darcy Anne Kimberly
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"...I'm bored..."

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"...I'm bored..."

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"Nothing good comes of impatience. Or yelling. Or laziness. Or any other deplorable habit."


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