Mystic Winter

Mystic Winter

In a land of magic and perpetual winter, can romance bloom?

934 readers have visited this universe since SugarNspikeS created it.

Introduction



In the elven land of Caleria, winter is a year round season not seen in any of the other lands. There is a group of elves that have evolved to live in the vast forest of this region. Love is not something that's easy to find around these parts and being attracted to the same gender only makes things more difficult.

Toggle Rules

This has romance so if you aren't okay with that don't join.

No god mod, meta gaming, mary sues, or other annoying stuff that you know you shouldn't do.

Adult language and situations deal with it.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall

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The sounds of wood being split by a sharp axe echoed through the still quiet of the forest early in the morning. It was a few days before the winter solstice and that meant that Drift didn't have much time to get things ready for the festival in the small town in the center of the woods. Drift loved the solstice celebration, it brought families and friends together, everyone was in a good mood, the food was amazing and everyone got presents. It was also the best time of the year for practicing spell-craft, magic rituals and other forms of magic as it was the darkest night of the year and the powers were at their strongest.

After chopping the wood he went back inside and started baking cookies for the celebration. It was a recipe his mom had taught him and this was his way of keeping her memory alive. She had passed a few years ago and he didn't stay in touch with his father very well, he never found common ground with him and it was always like they were from different worlds, but at least he tried which was more than a lot of fathers did when they realized their son was gay. He had heard tales of some clan elders casting gays out of the clan to live in exile.

Drift lived alone and far away from the town, but it was to have freedom and independence, not as a punishment. He was looking forward to socializing again. He was getting lonely out there in his tiny cabin but it wasn't exactly easy to date in this town around here, let alone find another man who was attracted to men.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender

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The winter solstice celebration created a sense of urgency in the House of Alarian. Servants rushed to cook, clean and serve their young master, whom still hadn’t risen from his bedroom chambers. At the hint of a celebration, Luca knew better than to be seen by any of his servants, or guardsmen. They’d inform his mentor, Raul, who would seek his attendance and force his cooperation. It was still late in the afternoon, when Raul sent the guards to search for their missing master. Luca slipped past a group of guards and a handful of servants, his eyes planted on the exit. The wide double oak doors would move with a brief swiftness, but not enough to cause a disturbance. Perhaps the wind had sent the door ajar, but it wasn’t enough movement to startle the servants into action. They continued to gossip about his disappearance in the entryway and the servants made their way to the kitchen. Raul rose a brow at the sight of the doors movement, but knew that the master wouldn’t be foolish enough to risk such a maneuver. Guards lined the exits and entryways, so it would be almost impossible to escape. With that thought in mind, Raul listened and heard a loud crash at the southern exit. He cursed and moved with a hastened pace. Guardsmen abandoned their post and investigated the scene.


Feminine, petite in stature, Luca had the appearance of a young fragile noblewoman. He created the momentary distraction and watched as the house went into an uproar over the noise. His mentor Raul, would be on the constant hunt for him that afternoon and evening, only to find him in his office later that night. He’d be furious with him, but this was not the first time he attempted a disappearing trick. His mentor knew that he despised public events, even if he had gained custody after his parents death, that didn’t mean they would always see eye-to-eye. More like an uncle, Luca failed to come to terms with his parents death and the strain of his newfound responsibilities. The House of Alarin was known for producing mages, or sorcerers. Since he was the last of his father’s legacy, it was up to him to uphold the family reputation. The winter solstice wouldn’t be performed without his presence, but he wanted to relax and feel a zest for life before he took on his responsibilities.

After he escaped the prying eyes of the guards and servants, he moved with a fierceness through the Caleria woods. As a frost elf, he could blend in with his scenery and dispel an aura of protection about himself. The forest animals reacted to his presence, which was a curse, rather than a blessing.

At the sound of the chopping wood, he knew he had come to Drift’s quaint hideaway. It amused him to see the man work, especially when he used that strength of his. His eyes drifted over the stature of the man and he realized he was no longer using his glamour to be hidden. Drift was familiar with Luca and his antics, but it wouldn’t be long before the guardsmen came looking for him.

The scent of fresh baked cookies drew him closer to the entrance and he peered inside with a look of innocence.

“You baked for me! How sweet of you…” He commented and laced his words with honey. Luca had a habit of making himself at home, regardless of Drift’s indifferent attitude toward him. His feminine charm usually won people over, but Drift had been harder to reach. “Since I’m here,you might as well entertain me..” Luca said with an arrogant tone and removed his cape with an articulated motion of his hand. It fell whimsically on the back of his chair and he swiped the dust, or debris off the seat before he sat down.

“Do I need to bring one of my best servants down here? I thought you were going to clean this place up….” Luca’s ice-blue eyes narrowed with a critical gesture. Drift attempted to live well, but he didn’t understand his desire for the woods. Nature always made everything seem so filthy. “Oh, btw. You might want to put a glamour on this quaint home of yours. The guards are trying to drag me to that disgustingly boring celebration.” Luca explained and began to unbutton his dress shirt. The shirt felt like it was confining him, but he knew that Drift wouldn’t mind.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Drift smiled a little when he heard Luca's lyrical voice.

"Those cookies are for the celebration!" Drift scolded, knowing it wouldn't make a difference. He stopped chopping the wood and followed Luca into the house as he made himself at home.

"Well, I'm sorry my home looks lived in ...I actually live here. I don't need servants to come clean the place you're the only royalty that ever visits and you're just a royal pain in the butt." Drift chuckled mockingly at him.

Drift went to the oven and checked the cookies. He pulled out the tray of tiny little elf-shaped gingerbread men. He scooped them off the tray and onto a rack to cool knowing that Luca was going to grab one the second he turned his back. He flashed a playful glare of his own at Luca, his eye's were more of an electric blue but every bit as intense. He turned to get another tray started and into the oven.

"I saw that!" He growled even though he was bent over putting the next tray of cookies in the oven and facing the opposite direction. He knew Luca too well. He waved a hand in the air in a motion that looked as if he were dismissing someone who wasn't even there and to the outside world the cabin was no longer there, but rather a large rock formation surrounded by a deep snow bank.

"You know I still don't understand you. You can have the whole town eating out of your hand if you talked to them the way you talked to me, but instead you come running to me like you're scared or something. Not that I mind, I know the holidays can be tough if you don't have your parents. I actually feel kind of special, you got a whole town out there that's gonna want to see you tonight for the tree lighting ceremony in the town square, and you just want to spend time with me." Drift smiled a sweet smile.

He noticed Luca unbuttoning his shirt and couldn't help but stare at his muscular, yet toned chest. He forgot how cute Luca could be without even trying, he was always so damn adorable. Drift had always had a crush on him, and some how he was pretty sure that Luca knew that, maybe even exploited it a little, like the current situation, but Luca was always a good friend to him as well. Drift had never tried to get into a serious relationship with Luca or even ask him if he was attracted to men, he always just figured Luca would never go for him because they weren't in the same social class.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Luca finished teasing with the buttons on his dress shirt. He only unbuttoned two, but it was enough to see the change in Drift’s attention toward him. He talked more, while his body language signaled the tension between them. It was the outcome Luca wanted, but he didn’t know it would be that easy to achieve his goal with Drift.

He took one elf shaped cookie and nibbled the edge, despite the protests from Drift. Luca giggled between bites and savored each one, while a slender finger flicked off remaining crumbs on his shirt. How adorable. It had that homemade flavor and texture, but perhaps he enjoyed it even more because Drift had baked them. Luca smirked at his thoughts and finished the cookie, his tongue licking some of the frosting off.

“It’s not your best, but I’m sure your skills will improve.” He commented, then winked with a deliberate tease. Luca listened to Drift ask why he was even there, when he had servants, guards and personal cooks. It was true, he had all those things, but he enjoyed these private moments with Drift. You couldn’t replace the feeling of freedom with anything else in the world. He had choices here and he could be himself, without worry of upsetting, or offending someone in his social class. There were no rules in Drift’s world. That was what he admired about Drift and his “quaint,” home. He could come and go as he pleased, without worry of consequences.

Luca flipped his blonde tresses behind his right shoulder and thought of an explanation. Drift was the type that noticed these things, which was another trait he admired about him. Unlike his servants, not much got past him. He wasn’t easily fooled, or tricked. Luca hated a willing fool and that was something Drift was not.

“Oh, yes. THOSE people.” He expressed with disdain. His face twisted into something unpleasant and a darkness became a lit in his ice-blue eyes.

The fake smiles, well-wishes and pitying looks from party goers always disgusted him. He was of age to practice magic on his own and perform the rituals, yet they still treated him like that delicate boy, who lost his parents all those years ago.

Luca moved around the room, his pace slow and deliberate. He admired what little artwork Drift had in his home, or curious baubles. His slender hands picked up items to gaze at their simple creations. Even his choice in decor reflected back to the personality of Drift. He held onto the bauble and kept himself distracted with its shimmer. Light refracted from a nearby window and brought the object to life. It was a small globe, more than likely some sort of trinket left over from last years celebration. He shook it and watched the snow fall inside the object. Luca turned the petite golden key on the back of the globe and listened to the music fill the room.

He continued to hold the object and watch the snow fall inside the globe. The scenery in the globe was nothing more than a resemblance of their forest. Yet, he didn’t have objects like these at home.

“Those people don’t know me, Drift. They only know what my magic can do for them. So long as I exist and keep the magic alive, that is all they will see me for….a utility.” He put the snow globe down and let the fake snow settle on the makeshift forest inside. Luca turned and looked toward Drift with a pained expression and felt vulnerable. Since he was attracted to men, there would be no future heir and thus, no magic to continue the celebrations. Unless he found a way to transfer his abilities, he didn’t know how he would keep the legacy alive to continue their ridiculous traditions.

“I would do anything to live the way you do.” He paused, thoughtful with his words. “You have freedom.” Luca held his arms against his body in thought and glanced around the room. He was the cheerful one, but Drift had a way of making him talk in an honest way, but even then it made him uncomfortable. Luca continued to walk around in thought, then he decided to share the one secret nobody else knew, not even his mentor Raul.

“I’m gay, Drift. There will be no more heirs after I am gone to carry on the celebrations, or produce more magic.” Luca said, his body tensed. Fear was in him, but he knew he could trust Drift not to judge him the way the townspeople, or his mentor would. He had a sense that Drift understood him on another level, but he looked toward Drift with an unsure look in his eyes.

Did he just compromise everything by his confession?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Drift stood there for a second, his mouth agape in shock at what Luca had just told him. There was a part of Drift that thought this was some sort of prank, meant to get Drift to confess his own feelings for Luca only to be met with a "Gotcha!" and a lot of pain at Drift's expense.

Drift turned around and was about to scold Luca about how inappropriate this was. It was then that he saw the look in Luca's eyes, there was a pain and uncertainty there that even Luca couldn't fake.

"You're ...gay? You? This is just my luck. I go around for years torturing myself for having a huge crush on you... and you're gay. I stood a chance with you and I held myself back. " He seemed to be scolding himself more than anything.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be focusing on myself here. Your situation is terrible, Luca, but your family still holds rule. You can name your own successor to the throne, you don't require an heir. Granted, passing your magic on might be difficult, but if you find a worthy person who already has powers, that won't be a big deal. The biggest issue is the other Royal houses trying to take power, but they haven't even tried yet and you're the last of your line." Drift explained. He was pretty good at keeping a logical head on his shoulders even in the most stressful situations. He finally stepped out of the kitchen and into the living room where Luca was still tense. He looked at him now with a soft stare.

"I'm honored that I was the first person you told. I'm gay too and yes I've had a crush on you for ... well as long as I've known you. I understand what you're going through." He reached out and gave Luca a hug. He held him tight and felt closer to him now than he ever had before.

"Whatever you do, I'll be here for you. Maybe you should just let one of the other Royal houses take power and come live out here with me and be free." He chuckled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Luca stood still and the music lulled off into silence. He laughed. Then once more, but with absolute mirth. His laughter replaced the silence and Luca looked at Drift with an incredulous gaze. He had always treated Drift like any straight male, the fantasy in the back of his mind, but he never thought it would come to his reality.

At the mention of the other Royal Houses, he smirked. His eyes shined with an all-knowingness about them, while he moved closer to Drift and took up the space between them. He was close enough to kiss him, but he refrained.

“Ah, those fools. I’m not worried about them.” He flicked a delicate wrist in no particular direction, as though he were swatting a fly away. Luca laughed again, but in a playful manner and gently shoved Drift at the mention of living out here in the woods.

He had no idea how high maintenance he was. This wouldn’t suit him. His current life style was something he couldn’t live without. “Oh, honey, I thought you knew me better? This place is cute, but it’s not my style. Maybe when you move in with me, it can be your little hideaway…” Luca winked and tucked a stray blonde hair behind Drift’s pointed ear. Since they were being so open with one another, he thought he’d take it to another level. If Drift didn’t want to live with him, he didn’t mind staying the night.

Since they were young, he had a hunch that Drift might have feelings for him, but he thought it was his mind playing tricks on him. Now that they understood each other better, he felt the tension rise.

“You are the only one that knows, Dear Drift.” He paused and looked around the place with a critical eye. “I’m staying the night. They can accept my dramatic entrance in the morning. The celebration starts at dusk.” Luca thought about another interesting proposition. Perhaps he should take Drift as his date?

“I want you to accompany me. Not as a friend, but...a date.” He said, then watched for Drift’s reaction. It wasn’t every day that a royal asked you to be their companion, but he had a feeling that Drift wouldn’t refuse. He didn’t want the other Houses to think he had grown weak, or was in hiding anymore about his sexuality. There was a sense of empowerment to having Drift accompany him to the celebration with such openness.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Drift was taken back by the first comment. Was he serious? Years of fantasies coming to life out of nowhere.

"Yes." He gasped a bit breathlessly. "Yes to all of it. I'll go to the celebration with you, I'll move in with you and you can stay the night too." Drift was caught up in the moment and wasn't able to restrain himself as well as Luca was. He wrapped his arms around Luca's waist and pulled him closer. He didn't give Luca the chance to react before he kissed him.

It was like everything he had imagined it would be. The taste of gingerbread cookies and frosting still on his lips. The warmth and love as he squeezed Luca tighter. Finally, after a few amazing minutes of kissing the man of his dreams, he stopped to catch his breath once again.

"Sorry, I got a little carried away there. This is just so ...perfect. I'm still not sure this isn't a dream." He said as his face turned a shade of red rivaling a strawberry.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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"We could turn it all into reality and announce ourselves as a couple to the Kingdom." Luca said, in-between the kiss. The kiss he shared with Drift was full of warmth and a hint of something sweet. He was sure that was his imagination, but he thought he smelled the scent of sugar, or some sort of exotic berry. Drift was the first man he had fallen for in decades and that was saying something for someone so particular.

Luca embraced him back and traced his hand across his muscled shoulders. He wondered what his mentor and servants would think, should they see him in such an intimate embrace with a man. There had never been an open same-sex couple, so he didn't know how they would be received. Light flashed across the establishment and he used his glamour to preserve their privacy. The guards would trek through the forest, only to stomp past Drift's house. He smirked and teased Drift with the movement of his slender hands, as though he beckoned him closer. They wouldn't be disturbed now, but he didn't know how comfortable Drift felt about him being so bold.

"Please...do get carried away." Luca muttered and traced his own lips with his tongue. The taste of frosting lingered there, but it was enough to bring back the memory of their first kiss. He settled on the small bed near the window and motioned for Drift to sit next to him with a gentle pat of his hand.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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The thought made Drift's heart race. Announce themselves as a couple to the whole town. That could be risky, but the gesture alone meant more than anything. It meant that he didn't care what others thought, and he wasn't going to hide who he was anymore. He kissed back more intensely this time, the scent of warm sugar wafted through the air like cotton candy or waffle cones, it wasn't the cookies, but it was nice.

"You would do that? Tell the world that you want to be with me and let whatever happens happen?" Drift's eyes began to water a little with happiness. "It's more than I deserve, but I won't stop you."

He froze for a second as the guards went past the house, now, more than ever, he was glad he learned some magic as a child from his mother. He watched as Luca made his way to the bed. A devilish grin spread across Drift's face.

"Well now, I thought you'd never ask." He said before jumping onto the bed with him.

[Fade to Black]

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Morning sunlight dappled across the simplistic bedspread. Luca sprawled across the bed and awoke with disdain for the cheerful sunny day. He rubbed his eyes in a lazy motion and pondered if he should make Drift some breakfast. It was the least he could do after last night. Luca smirked at the thought and then looked over in the sparse kitchen area. He had the basics, but it would be enough to make him some decent breakfast. He slipped past Drift and began to cook in a borrowed baggy shirt. It fell past his small waist, the sleeves puffed outward from the extra room. His thin frame felt lost in the fabric, but it was comfortable enough to cook a meal in.

Birds chirped outside and the glamour had already worn off. They'd have to get dressed and make it to the beginning ceremony, if they wanted to make a dramatic entrance. He scrambled eggs, put in his own seasoning and began to plate the food. Luca gazed over at Drift and wondered how the council would welcome their relationship. It was too early to say, but he had a feeling it would shock the entire kingdom. He knew that he'd be at war with some jealous House's, but he was up for the challenge. His status hadn't been challenged in public yet, but their declaration would give them fuel.

Once the food was platted and the coffee served in rustic mugs, he sat down and crossed his legs, while he admired his home-cooked meal. The man didn't own a single porcelain cup, but he'd live. Luca shrugged and sipped with a refined gesture, then spoke to Drift in a sing-song voice.

"Drift, dear...time to wake up! We want to make an impression with our entrance, remember?" Luca said, while he continued to take ginger gulps of his coffee. It was bitter, lacked body, but he'd be back home soon enough. Then he could treat Drift to a real meal. He uncrossed his legs and recrossed them, then served himself some food. If there was one compliment he could give to this meal, it was the fact that everything had been harvested at his quaint farm-like home. Even though he detested the chickens, he didn't regret the food they could produce.

Luca finished his meal and walked over to the bed, where he nudged Drift with a gentleness. "I want to be fashionably late...not force them to send out a search party!" He said playfully, then stole the covers and opened the curtains so the bright morning light flooded the room.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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The night before had been emotionally exhausting, not bad, but it took a lot out of him. He usually wasn't quite this sound of a sleeper, but Luca knew how to wear Drift out.

Drift finally heard the sweet lyrical voice of Luca and smelled the coffee and eggs. He sat up, not sure yet that last night hadn't been all just a wonderful dream, then Luca pulled the covers off of him.

"It wasn't a dream, awesome!" He muttered. He then reached up and grabbed Luca by the collar of the baggy shirt he was wearing and pulled him down for a big kiss.

"I'll eat quickly, it smells delicious." Drift smiled when he saw the meal on the table and chuckled a little when he saw that Luca had been a bit impatient and ate his already. Drift ate it pretty quickly, but still enjoyed the flavor, before he got dressed all fancy in his party clothes. He brushed his teeth and considered taking the cookies like he had originally intended, but figured that cookies were the last thing that would be on anyone's mind.

He got to the door and took Luca's arm. He took a deep breath before they left. He was actually doing this. He was going to his favorite event of the year with Luca, the man who had been his best friend for most of his life and was now so much more.

"Are you sure you want to go through with this?" Drift asked. He would have been fine if Luca wanted to keep their relationship a secret for now, but he was also excited that and felt so loved that he was willing to confess his love in front of everyone like this.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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With his arm embraced by Drift's, he gazed at him with an all-knowing look in his eyes. The kingdom would be foolish to rise up against him, just because of the type of man he was about to marry. They were treated too well by him. It would be a futile mistake. The main fear, arose when he thought of his mentor and the elders in the council. They had some authority on who he could and couldn't marry. If his mentor saw fit to put his word in about the "match," then he would have to take on a wife, while keeping his love affair with Drift secret from public view.

Luca inwardly shuddered at the thought of being forced into marriage with a woman and producing an heir with them. With a softness in his expression, he caressed the edge of Drift's cheek and reassured him with a gentleness. His long slender fingers felt his supple skin and he withdrew his touch.

"I'm ready...I'm tired of hiding and keeping a part of me secret, Drift." Luca explained, his voice strained under his emotional words. He was hopeful that the Elders wouldn't bat an eye at the proposal and public wedding, but he understood that his mentor Raul, had some influence with the more prominent elders of the council. In one quick motion, he could be torn from Drift and be forced into a miserable marriage with some noblewoman, regardless of his own preference. The council was more concerned with producing an heir for harnessing their magic and keeping traditions alive.

The protection of the kingdom relied on it. Like the other Houses, Luca's family had a specific ability and task with upholding the peace in the kingdom, or protecting their people from harm. Only the Heirs of the Alarian family could inherit the magic. Since this was a new venture, Luca was unsure of how the kingdom would greet their hand in marriage, or if this would incite some sort of war on his House for power.

An heir meant everything, for more than one reason. It meant security. Luca knew that if they were able to somehow bestow his gift to an heir, he would never make the child feel like an accessory to some devised plan of fate.

It was closer to evening when they began to make their trek through the woods. The path he took was worn and familiar, so he wanted to savor the moment before he gave up his freedom in the days ahead. At least Drift would have more freedom as his husband, but that didn't mean that this lifestyle didn't come with protocol that even he would have to succumb to. It was enough to drive any one person mad. Sometimes he felt like his true identity was lost in his public persona. Always cheerful, smiling, waving and greeting the crowds, or performing outlandish age-old ceremonies to keep them safe. He shook his head in thought and plucked a nearby rose off a bush alongside the trail.

Luca twirled the flower in his fingers and watched the petals spin. He breathed in the scent of the rose and caught up with Drift. he wondered what was on his mind, but he didn't want to interrupt the silence just yet. He took the moment in and enjoyed their final solitude together.

"We have to enter from the backway." Luca expressed, then pulled Drift by his hand and rushed for the back entryway of the castle. He had his own way of entering and leaving, so he muttered for Drift to stay silent and still, while guards patrolled the grounds. As the guards moved forward to patrol a clearing, he rushed forward and slipped through the entryway with Drift. He was nervous, but he enjoyed this sort of excitement. Luca pulled Drift with a delicateness and pointed upstairs, then hid behind a statue, keeping him close as a group of servants wandered by, their lips animated with gossip.

"Bothersome hens..." He whispered under his breath and then brought Drift to his room, where they would both hide until the next morning when celebrations would begin. Luca sighed with exasperated relief, then sprawled out on his four poster bed with a theatrical gesture.

He watched Drift and wanted to know what he was thinking about all this. This was the first time he had snuck anyone into his castle.

Luca flicked his wrist around his home and asked for Drift's opinion on it all. "Well? What do you think?" He asked, then sat up to brush the snares out of his honeyed colored hair. "if all goes according to plan, this will all be yours as well..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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For the first time in a very long time, Drift was speechless as they went through the forest making their way to the castle. So many things were going through his mind right now. Would the elders approve of Luca's relationship, would Raul? A public proposal, a wedding? He had always been content to assume that he would never get a wedding public or otherwise. Now he was planning to marry the man he had loved ever since he had figured out what love was. He watched as he plucked the rose and spun it around in his fingers and smiled as the beauty of the rose couldn't compare to the beauty of Luca.

When they finally reached the castle Drift held back a snicker at Luca's comment about entering through the back way.

"Yeah, you'd know all about going in the back way." He laughed inside his head as they sneaked through the castle and up to his room.

"What do I think? This place is huge and amazing. Of course I love it, but then we could be homeless for all I care as long as we're together." He said with a big grin as he crawled up into bed with him. He gave Luca a big kiss.

"So, Ive been giving so thought to an heir. I know we obviously can't conceive naturally, but their might be a way to do so using magic. All I've heard are legends, but it might be possible. If so, then the elders shouldn't have any reason to not allow us to get married." Drift spoke. It was clear he was worried. He knew the other houses, especially the pyro-elves to the East at Mt. Vulcan who lived at the base of the volcano in the sweltering heat, would take any opportunity they could to seize power over the land. He knew that some would see this as a sign of weakness and might chose to attack. While others might see it as a sign of strength that the snow elves were so confident in themselves that even having a gay leader didn't matter. Either way he knew that very soon all the kingdoms would be watching Caleria. They would be watching him and Luca.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Luca stopped brushing his hair and returned the kiss. He listened with an interest at Drift's words and nodded at the explanation of producing an heir. If the House of Alarin didn't produce an heir, it meant that the other House's could go to war over his crown. He'd rather dabble in the arcane, then give up the crown so easily. Unlike the Alarin house, the other houses were more aggressive by nature. His family was about healing and the creative arts with magic. That didn't meant that he didn't know how to fight and defend when he was pushed. He gazed at Drift with an understanding look and clasped his hand.

"I think I know a way...but my family warned me of pursuing such dark magic..." He said, his voice trailed off to a whisper. Luca didn't trust any of his own servants, because they could be trained spies by other house's, or report their conversation back to his mentor Raul. Footsteps echo'd outside of his door and he looked toward the entryway with a nervousness. They'd have to be as silent as two church mice.

Luca went to a separate part of his room and opened a hidden compartment in the wall. He slid the wall to the side and pulled out a chest with an ornate lock. Scrolled on the lock was the letter "A," which represented their house name. This arcane book was passed down from generation to generation, but few Alarin were able to master the skills in the book itself. Many kept the book around for legacy purposes and to teach those about the consequences of dark magic.

Unlike his ancestors, he wouldn't be using the book for greedy pursuits, but to enable the legacy of their family to continue. Luca hoped his ancestors would understand, as he gingerly opened the lock and felt a wave of power escape from the tome.

Luca motioned for Drift to investigate the book and marvel at its powerful potential in the spells themselves. Drift was the only other being alive that had seen the book, aside from his father and his grandfather. No other person alive had witnessed the arcane tome.

'There should be a spell here, but it won't be a pleasant spell to perform. I hope you understand that it could be painful...for both of us." He looked at Drift and wondered how far he'd go to produce an heir.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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As drift felt the wave of power hit him from the book, he knew what Luca was considering. This was the first time he had ever seen the book, but he had heard of it before and he knew it contained some of the most powerful magic in the snow elf kingdom.

"I would endure anything for you, Luca. If it will prevent war and give you ... give us an heir, it will be worth it." Drift smiled at the thought of the two of them having their own child together.

It was common to have family tomes such as this, Drift had his own as well, but the Alarian family were some of the strongest magic users in the kingdom, though Drift was well aware that the Everfalls were once rivals of the Alarians in the early days of Caleria and both families competed for the throne. He had heard the tale from both sides, from his parents and from Luca himself. To the best of Drift's deduction the feud was bitter but in the end the Everfalls conceded to the Alarians after an innocent child was hurt in a fight, just to prevent more innocent victims.

"I should have brought mine too. The odds could be better if we combined our magic." He whispered as he looked over the book. The book put off a strange power and Drift wasn't sure if he would be able to even touch the thing given the past feud. Blood family tomes were often blood-locked so that only someone of the same bloodline could open them. From what he could see of the book, these were the most powerful of the Alarian spells and a lot of them required some exotic ingredients to get the spell right.

"Is that the one?" He asked as he pointed to a spell. "Offspring of the Forbidden Love? I think I have a similar spell in my family tome. We should announce our engagement and after we talk to the elders pick up my family tome and see how similar the spells are and maybe find a way to combine then to make them more powerful."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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The tome was never supposed to be touched, unless for dire situations like wars, or other incidents against their people, like a famine, or sickness. Luca felt lost looking at the tome and for a moment, it was as though he couldn't hear Drift speak to him. He was hallucinating what could be - an idealistic family, support of the kingdom and no wars, but he knew the tome enjoyed luring magic users. It was as though it had a mind of its own and was damn near sentient. Luca closed the book, before he got lost in the hallucinations. They were empty promises, but he knew better than to fall for the lure of the tome. His father had been a decent enough man to teach him that much.

His slender fingers felt around the edges of the lock, then he sealed it and stored it away in his hiding place. Drift was the only person alive that had ever seen the Alarin arcane tome, whom wasn't a direct descendent. He knew he could trust him and he was surprised that he didn't feel any hint of suspicion from himself. It was unlike him to invite other people into his private world, but Drift just wasn't any random citizen.

"It is...the servants don't even know about its existence. Family members take a blood oath and we have a private ritual...that's all I can tell you." He nodded at Drift's words, before he had closed the book. "The Forbidden Love spell was to never be used. If the tome rejects my lover, it could bring pain on both of us." Luca explained, understanding too well the consequences that could occur if they failed.

Luca caressed his cheek and reassured him with an embracing hug. "Bring your tome and we'll do the ritual tonight. When the guards are at their evening post, I can distract them and you can escape to your home." He hugged him close again and felt his heartbeat. They were so close to accomplishing the real thing, that he felt his nerves being to unwind. What if everything went wrong? He wouldn't be able to live with himself, but he kept the thought at bay and focused on Drift.

He wanted everything to be finished and secured tonight, but he knew that Drift understood his habit of being impatient all too well.

"I just want us to be happy. I don't want a war." Luca said softly and didn't let go. He needed reassurance, but he didn't want to break his pride and admit such a thing. He had been strong up to this point, but there was more at stake.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Drift held tightly onto Luca as he was embraced. He understood Luca on an emotional level that most could never hope to know. He could always see past Luca's pride to his raw, true emotions. Drift was scared too, but he had something now that he never realized he had before, something that had been there for so long. Now he had Luca's love and there was nothing that could ever break that bond.

"Everything is going to be alright." Drift said softly. It was like there wasn't a doubt in his mind and the words came out of his mouth as though they were facts, there was no question to them.

Drift thought back to when his mother had showed him his own family tome and the way she explained the power within it's pages. Her words came drifting back into his mind as he listened to Luca's heartbeat.

"There are some who think that some magic is good and some is evil, but this is not the case. Magic comes from the heart and the only difference between a spell and a curse is the heart of the person using the magic. Every spell in this book has the potential for being a mystical thing of beauty or a vile source of suffering, it's all in how you use it. You have a good heart, Drift, I know you'll make good choices should you ever need to use this." That was the warning his mother had given him when she gave him the family tome. He was going to be doing this for love, not selfish reasons, so he had faith that things would be alright.

It was quiet in Luca's room, they had to be quiet, but that didn't stop various thoughts from running through Drift's mind. When he wasn't focusing on his task that was approaching soon, he admired the room and admired Luca as well. Drift was sure he could stare at Luca for days and never get bored. He imagined all the things they might do in this room, all the things he had always wanted to do with Luca that he was too scared to bring up in the past. He was kicking himself mentally for not saying something to him sooner. Even now the only way he had the nerve was when Luca had confessed first. Luca was much stronger than him in a lot of ways and Drift was grateful for that.

"After I get the book and get close to the castle, I'll use a cloaking spell like I did at my house. It should give me plenty of time to get to your room through the back entry before it wears off. Make sure to keep your door unlocked so I can slip in unnoticed." Drift explained his part of the plan. It was more like thinking out loud so that he knew what he was going to do, but it was also to help reassure Luca that he had a good idea for getting back to the castle. Drift's biggest concern right now was making sure they had everything they needed for the ritual. He remembered seeing the Conception for a Love Misunderstood spell in the tome when he was younger, but never thought he would ever be able to use it, so he didn't think to check what was needed for the ritual.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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At that moment, a servant walked in without so much as a warning. While Luca was accustomed to this action, he knew that she'd report the incident to Raul and he didn't need that. He made eye contact with the confused maid and looked toward Drift. She knew something wasn't quite right, but she couldn't put her finger on it. The young master never had friends over and from what she could see, they were more than being friendly.

She began to excuse herself and stepped closer toward the exit. Luca knew the young maid, who wasn't even in her early twenties. Her family depended on her job for their finances, since her father was a known drunk in the community. From what he had learned from Raul, this particular servant was neck deep in debt.

Luca smiled at the next thought he had, but he wondered why he hadn't thought of it before. Young masters always had extra women in their beds, so why would this idea be any different?

The tension in the room grew thicker by the moment, the fear in the maids eyes apparent. She reminded him of a spooked doe, just before the bullet, or arrow went straight to the heart.

It was endearing, but her weakness repulsed him. She'd be an easy target to exploit and manipulate. He motioned for her to come closer to him and Drift. He raised a hand toward Drift, to prevent him from speaking too soon. Drift might attempt to protect the young woman, so he needed to nip that action in the bud, or his plan would go to ruin.

"Cassandra, sit with us. I'm sure you can take your afternoon break now. Raul won't miss you and you look exhausted." Luca got up and poured her a cup of tea, his movement calculated, his presence exuded a false warmth in her direction. After they exchanged pleasantries, he finished his cup of tea and explained the real reason why he wanted her to stay.

"I'm sure you know that this man is more than just a friend of mine. Truth is, I'll be announcing our engagement tomorrow at the festivals." He set his scalloped teacup down on a nearby table and made eye-contact with Drift and Cassandra. "I understand your family is in debt, Cassandra." Luca said and watched her reaction to his words. She was adorable when cornered and frightened, which showed promise for a good mother. Her hands made wild gestures when Cassandra attempted to defend herself against the rumors, but he put up his palm again to silence her words.

Luca got up and went to admire her features. She was of the elven sort, but a mixed blood race. If they put some work into her, she could have been mistaken for nobility. Her hair was a deep chestnut brown and her skin a sun-kissed glow. Her figure was thinner than he'd of liked, but he knew she was a hard worker. There was muscle, although not defined like a wood elf.

"We need an heir, Cassandra. I think you would be the perfect candidate to be our surrogate." He said, his voice emotionless and his body posture unmoved. Luca raised her tearful face by her chin and admired her beauty. It was a bit like looking at potential stock. She was flawless, save for her emotional hindrance. Perhaps Drift wouldn't mind that part of her.

Luca sat and crossed his legs in a delicate mannerism. He wondered what Drift thought of his proposal to the young woman. The contract hadn't yet been explained, but he was sure that Drift understood where this was going. The man was smart, unlike many of his servants.

"If you have our Heir, I will erase all of your families debt. You can choose who will lay with you." He gestured toward himself, or Drift and smirked. The act would be as passionless as anything, so he didn't fear any sort of attachment from her. The child would get her out of her families debt and they would have acquired an heir.

"What do you say, Cassandra? I know of your families turmoil. This child could save you all." He stood up and went to admire a song bird by the window, its melody enchanted him. Cassandra reminded him of a caged songbird, not quite as free as the one outside his window. Luca turned with a graciousness and waited for her response. He gazed at Drift and watched for his reaction as well.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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"Of course the help would come in while we're getting close and cuddling." Drift thought to himself as Luca did what he did best and talked his way out of trouble.

He remained silent as Luca explained things to Cassandra. He listened intently but he almost lost his composure at the suggestion of either of them being with her in such an intimate way. He knew there would be no love in the act, but could they ever tell their child that they were conceived by a loveless act like this. Then there was the fact that the child would only have the blood of one of them running in their veins and he was leaving that decision to the fucking maid?!

Drift almost jumped out of his skin at the thought, but then, as Luca looked at her like a show pony, he remembered another spell he had seen long ago, it was to change genders, it was often used by farmers without enough of one gender of animal to keep the breeding stock up. Surely he wouldn't use it to change his own gender, after all Luca fell in love with Drift as a man and he couldn't use it on Luca either as Drift loved Luca as a man. However, the spell could be tweaked, if he could find the right ingredients, to change his "seed" into an "egg". They could each be intimate with Cassandra, so long as Drift went first, and once he had finished the change would take place and then Luca could fertilize Drift's egg and Cassandra would carry the child to birth.

Drift looked to Luca with a grin that only Luca would recognize, one that said he was planning something and was proud of it.

"Honestly, Cassandra, this is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. You get to be the mother to the heir to the throne and your debt goes away. However, I have an idea to keep the child within the bloodlines of Luca and myself. We'll need to act right after your next "feminine cycle" ends to reduce the risk of fertilizing one of your eggs and I'll need some time to get the ingredients I need for my spell to work. That is, of course if you agree. If not I'm sure Luca could find someone else, but then you'd still have your debt." Drift spoke with a voice as sweet as honey and he was every bit the master manipulator that Luca was.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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There would be no easy way through this situation and Luca knew that Cassandra could change her mind. The most dangerous aspect of this plan, was not Cassandra, but the council and their position with everything at stake. Luca listened to Drift and smiled at him with a saccharine expression. His eyes glinted, their steely gaze watched his partner Drift explain the benefits of being a mother to their heir. It wasn't just the social status of being the mother to Luca's child, but it would prevent the woman from losing her life.

It didn't take much to have someone accidentally die in his palace. Luca crossed his legs and folded his arms in thought. Cassandra was not some simple girl and she had always had her suspicions about his sexuality. She'd sometimes question his whereabouts and the company he kept. They weren't enemies, but they also weren't trusted acquaintances either. He studied the fearful look in her eyes and pictured something morbid about his Cassandra. The smile lifted and broadened, his mirth uncontrollable. There could be a darker twist to this event, but he decided to play it by ear for now and allow fate to do its dirty work.

Cassandra studied the young master with a careful acknowledgement. She had no power here and her cards had been dealt. Her family was in ruin, but it was not publicly known. If her father's reputation became public, it could destroy her families reputation and the chance of her marrying into a rich family. Now that Luca was proposing this opportunity to her, she wrung her hands nervously and eyed him. He was a viper, but that was besides the point. His mate didn't act anything like him and behaved quite the opposite.

They were an interesting pair. Perhaps she could trust Drift, over Luca and win him over somehow. She had a miserable hunch, that Drift might not be so easily persuaded as she had hoped. When he shared his thoughts on the prospects, she sighed with a deep defeat. There was no other way around the situation and her family needed the finances to cover her father's losses. He owed too many business owners in the bazaar.

"I'll do it." She said with confidence and stopped wringing her hands. (It was a nervous tick she inherited from her mother's side of the family.) Her sorrowful eyes fell on Luca and then on Drift. The kindness in him was there. She could sense it. Although they were just introduced, she felt as though she could gain his trust over Luca's.

"I want a contract. I want to make sure you are true to your word." Cassandra said, her voice stern. When she heard her own tone, she grimaced and looked away from Luca. It was unheard of for a servant to speak to him in that fashion. Yet, it felt liberating. She felt like she was on common ground with him now. Cassandra gazed at Drift for comfort, then straightened in her seat and waited for Luca and his mate to respond.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Drift could tell by the look on Cassandra's face and the way she spoke that she and Luca were not on the best of terms. He had a habit of putting people off. Still he couldn't argue with her reasoning, a contract was a good way to go, but first they had to talk to the elders and be sure that they could even be allowed to be together. The way she spoke out about the contract then looked at him for some sort of comfort, he could tell she was genuinely concerned. He looked to Luca after her demand, expecting a reaction of some sort, but he could tell that he was less worried about her and more worried about the elders.

"I agree. I think you deserve a contract, but after we talk to the elders first. Once we get their approval to go through with our plan, we can write up a contract. If the elders aren't happy about Luca and myself, we might have to write up a different contract ...to keep up appearances. But in either case I agree that there should be some sort of contract if we do this." Drift said as he looked over to Luca once more.

He walked over and put a loving hand on Luca's shoulder before kissing him on the cheek.

"Don't you agree, babe?" He asked with a gentle tone.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Luca didn't like the idea of Cassandra walking away without a contract. Once Drift spoke, he used that as a distraction to grab Cassandra by her wrist and pull her toward the floor. He felt her tremble under his grasp. Although he appeared frail, he had strength, as he demonstrated with his grip. Bruises would be left, but it would be of no consequence to him. He yelled at Drift to retrieve the book that he shared with him only moments before she arrived. Cassandra attempted to escape his grasp, but he forced her on her knees, her head lowered due to fear. He smiled at the sight of her, his pleasure derived from her intense discomfort. There was nothing more satisfying, more rewarding, then making someone else bend to your will.

Cassandra reacted to Luca in horror, then felt his palm grasp her wrist like an iron shackle. His strength shocked her more than anything and she attempted to pull his hand free from her. The more she struggled, the tighter his grip became. She didn't know much about the young master, or his temper, so she could only imagine the pain he'd inflict on her if she attempted to escape. After she was forced on her knees, she felt him release her, but the adrenaline in her system was doing its job. Fear grappled with her senses, so escape was out of the question. If she escaped, she didn't want to fathom the damage that he could do to her family.

Everything rested on her shoulders now.

Luca stood over her and watched her body shake. He took the sight in and wondered if this fear would be present when they lay together.

"Get the book, my beloved." Luca said to Drift, the kindness in his face returned. It was there for a moment, then it vanished when his gaze rested on the book. The power would be in those brittle pages. Cassandra would be theirs to command, once she gave her blood and sacrificed herself for their cause.

His steely gaze never wandered from Cassandra and he watched her tears fall, like petite jewels. Whatever child they gained from her, he would have to make sure that "softness," trait never surfaced in their heir. Their child would carry a heavy burden and responsibilities that would be dealt with an iron fist.

There would be no room for tears, doubts, or self pity.

He stood silent, judged her tears and innocence and felt repulsed by her need for comfort. Luca stepped away from her to retrieve a dagger, once possessed by his father. Runes embellished the blade and hilt. He gripped her wrist once more and sliced the blade downward across her arm, the movement sleek with an ethereal grace.

Pain enveloped her for a second, then that was all she felt. She cried out when Luca ran the dagger across her arm. Cassandra no longer felt the will to fight. The sight of blood began to make her feel dizzy and she felt Luca cradle her. She doubted it was out of kindness, but necessity.

When Cassandra's blood touched the daggers steel, the runes washed the room with a golden light.

The ritual was just beginning.

Luca sliced his own and watched their blood mingle on the floor. It began to pool a thin puddle, but it was enough for the ritual to proceed. He didn't feel as weak, but they had to act fast, or they would lose the power of the ritual.

"Drift, the book!"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

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Drift watched in horror as Luca assaulted Cassandra. This wasn't the man he knew, it wasn't the man he loved. He did as he was told and got the book for him.

"Is all this really necessary? You already had her head over a barrel. What if the elders don't approve of the idea? If we were to wait on the contract we could adjust it so that she has to pose as your wife if they don't allow our relationship. You need to stop being so rash and think things through a little more. " Drift was concerned not only for Cassandra, but for Luca as well.

He didn't understand what was happening to Luca right now. Was it the book doing this to him? What was he going to do to her? A contract in blood wasn't exactly what he was thinking when he agreed with Cassandra and he doubted it was what she was expecting either. He turned away as Luca began the ritual. Luca was about to seal their fate and Drift wasn't sure he was making the right decision.

"I'm going to go get my family tome while you're doing ...this. I'll be careful not to get caught. I'll knock four times when I get back." He muttered as he quietly opened the door and made sure the coast was clear before leaving. After dodging the guards and getting out of the castle Drift was finally able to think a little more clearly and focus on what was happening to Luca. He couldn't stand to see him get violent like that, especially when unprovoked. Drift was worried, but he knew if he had any shot at helping him or Cassandra it would be in his own family tome. He would need it anyway for the ritual before they tried to have their own kid.

That was a thought that made Drift smile, a child that was half his and half Luca's. A child that would not only know strength, but the power of love and kindness as well. A child that could rule the kingdom justly and fair, yet be powerful and ward off enemies as well. But none of this could happen if the child wasn't conceived in love.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

0.00 INK

The emotions wavered in Luca like a tumultuous storm. He could control most of his reactions to the event that transpired, but he could feel the intense disappointment from his beloved Drift. There was no time to explain the current reactions that Luca continued to give, or his behavior toward the situation. He knew that the blade had the ability to connect with the new owner, or at least that was how his father described its abilities. Like a symphony, the blade and Luca orchestrated the next events with precision. He could feel the power radiate from the blade into his very soul. Cassandra would cry out, then grow silent under his strength and relentless persistence.

Her horrific nightmare would soon be over, but her truer purpose would just be beginning.

The aftermath was not something he wanted to recollect, any more than she did. Luca felt himself grow weak from the drunken power instilled by the blade. The tome would have little purpose now, except to seal the contract. Nurses, those he could trust, would be aiding Cassandra after her ordeal. He watched them preen her, caress her in a motherly fashion and watched them gaze in his direction with hatred.

They knew the girl personally, since the staff were like family to one another. Luca didn't bother to react to the handful of nurses in the room. He just wanted to have a guarantee on her health and that there would be no need for another ritual.

One of the nurses left the sleeping form of Cassandra and nodded in his direction. She motioned for her team to gather their things and ushered them out of the room. There would be no talk from them, the threats made clear by Luca. Once his engagement to Drift was finalized and the heir produced, he would be their King. Drift would have as much say as he did in the grand scheme of things.

In all the years in their family lineage, it had always been a Queen and King. He wondered if his ancestors were rolling over in their graves with an unimaginable furiosity. Luca smiled at the thought, especially at the idea of his dead mother's reaction. She had attempted to groom him to be a certain image for their kingdom, but now it was his time to control that path.

He got up from his chair, shirtless, except for gray slacks. Luca watched Cassandra sleep and brushed his hand over her hair. There were no feelings for her, not even a kinship. Luca knew that any other being would feel SOMETHING, but it was empty as always.

Luca moved from their sleeping Cassandra and poured himself a drink, as though it had been an average day. He looked toward the door and waited for Drift to return.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Drift Everfall Character Portrait: Luca Alarian

0.00 INK

Drift made it home as quickly as he could and found his family tome. He searched through it and found the spell he was looking for, Seed to Egg transmutation. It was a spell that his great grandfather had created when he was young. Someone had tried to con him by selling him a barren cow at what he thought was a great price. When he realized the cow was barren, however, he created this spell so that the live stock could thrive. From what he remembered from his father telling him the story, the man who sold him the barren cow was shocked and begged to buy the cow back, but Drift's great grandfather refused.

Drift looked over the ingredients needed for the spell and gathered what he had, but he knew he would have to tweak the spell a little for it to work on an elf. He would have to get a rare type of flower to make it work correctly, but it wasn't something that couldn't be done in the course of a day or two on a hike up the mountains.

He gathered the ingredients he had and threw them into a leather back pack along with his family tome and went back off to the castle. He managed to dodge the guards and make his way back to the room. He knocked four times as he said he would and waited for Luca to answer. He hoped that he wasn't mad at him for storming off the way he did, but Drift wasn't to thrilled with the idea of making up the contract before talking to the elders. But, after thinking about it for a while, he understood what Luca was doing and it was brilliant. He was trying to force the elders into accepting their union. By making an unbreakable contract ahead of time he was basically making it so that the pregnancy would happen no matter what and ensuring an heir to the throne, and if they tried to refuse, he could expose the pregnancy and the fact that the child was conceived of two men. A scandal would tear the kingdom apart, but if the elders accepted it, it would make the kingdom even stronger as it would set a precedent for all the gay people in the kingdom and it would be united rather than divided.

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Caleria Kingdom

Caleria Kingdom by SugarNspikeS

The kingdom of perpetual winter.

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