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Drew Phoenix

"This is my kingdom, and we will not bow to a false queen."

502 views · last seen in Valie
a character in “The Shadow Children”, as played by xXxCryptic-AngelxXx

Description

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"This is my kingdom, and we will not bow to a false queen."





Introductions






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Full Name: Drucilla Phoenix

Nickname: Drew [Hardly anyone knows her real name. It's a closely guarded secret.]

Age: 17

Gender: Female

Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual

Group: Royals

Rank/Title: Princess






On the Outside






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Appearance: Drew has long dark brown hair and hazel eyes. She likes to keep her bangs pulled back from her face. She's 5'4" and 118 lbs. More on the thin side because of her time spent in the prisons beneath the castle. She has no tattoos, but both of her ears are pierced. She has a long scar on her back from being whipped the first day she was in the prisons.






On the Inside





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Personality:
Drew has grown up her whole life in the castle of Valie, but she is in no way spoiled. Her mother taught her to be fair and kind. Her father taught her to be brave and strong. Both had instilled in her a discipline: to work for what she wanted. She grew to be ambitious and determined and she appreciates everything she has. Sure she had the privileges that came with being a princess, but she knew that they were not really hers. They were for her title and not for who she was. She's curious by nature and trusting. Which is probably how she ended up where she is.


Hobbies:
  • Reading
  • Sketching
  • Stargazing

Skills:
  • Swordplay [moderately]
  • Sketching

Habits:
  • Biting her nails
  • Messing up her hair
  • Snacking when she's nervous

Oddities:
She has problems digesting proteins. So she doesn't eat a lot of meat.

Likes/Loves: ✓ Watching the stars from her room ✓ Valie ✓ Her parents ✓ Winter ✓ The castle's roses ✓ the stars ✓ wandering the castle ✓ getting to dress up ✓ meeting new people ✓ helping her people ✓ The Shadow Children

Dislikes/Hates: ✗ Tea ✗ meat ✗ The Red Lady ✗ The Daggers ✗ Traitors ✗ Small Spaces ✗ Being belittled for her age and gender ✗ being called spoiled ✗ harp music ✗ the smell of lavender






The Past






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Biography
Place Of Origin: Valie
History: Drew is the only heir to the throne of Valie. Her parents had tried to conceive, but the queen was unable to bear another child. And yet, the kingdom adored their princess. She was only ever known as Drew although her real name is Drucilla. It was her grandmother's name and to follow tradition she was to bear it, but it didn't mean that she had to bear it. Even her parents prefered Drew to Drucilla. They always instilled in her the value of working for what you wanted. Sure there were things that came with being a princess, but she was punished and rewarded for her behavior like most children. She grew up listening to stories about the children who lived in the wood and the good they did for the kingdom when no one was looking. Little did she know that her mother was one. She had met her father at a ball and he fell for her. She fought his advances. Not out of disinterest but out of a faithlessness in herself. She felt she was unworthy of being queen. The people disagreed.

For seventeen years, she followed her parents' teachings, working towards her ultimate goal. To be Queen of Valie and to be just as fair and just as her parents before her. She studied hard and practiced her sword. She read all the documents she could as well as all the fiction she could get her hands on. She told the young servant children stories and made them laugh with her silly voices. She was beloved by all, but one.

The Red Lady. She was her mother's twin. She was at the same party where the prince had found his bride and she swore it had been her and not Drew's mother. She felt robbed. Not only of the crown but of her first love's heart. Once she had amassed her army, she stormed the castle. The king was spared but locked away and the queen was killed long before anyone had noticed her absence. Drew was caught and tossed into the prisons below where she was forced to work. Eventually, Winter, her bodyguard and her very best friend, helped her escape. The boy she grew up with. The boy she laughed with. The boy with which she shared her secrets. And now they search the trees for the shadow children that can help them save their kingdom.





Face Claim:Poppy Drayton
Hex: #330033

So begins...

Drew Phoenix's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Kassandra Capps Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Khara Character Portrait: Leila Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Tom Crow Character Portrait: Alexandei Joscelyn Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn Character Portrait: Julien Roux Brisbois Character Portrait: Contessa Tavner Character Portrait: Queen Angelina
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Time: 22:00






Image What started out as a quiet, clear night would forever be known as The Day of Blood and Fire.

It was late evening when the screaming started, emanating from the stone fortress of the castle. The people gathered at the doors, too frightened to go inside, but too terribly curious to stay away. The doors flew open with a bang and people, Nobles and Servants alike, fled from the interior of the building. They trampled people and wrecked stalls as they fled, but they wouldn't get far. There were plumes of smoke rising from the different districts of the city. Orange light began to glow and the air was filled with more screams. There was the crashing of glass, the clang of metal on metal, and the heartbreaking sounds of people losing their homes. Some even losing their lives.

The culprit? A woman dressed in the same shade of red as the blood staining the throne room who wears the face of the queen. But the queen is dead, the king is nowhere to be seen, and the princess is missing. This new queen, this Red Lady, and her young army are tearing down the kingdom. Not just to conquer it. No. To rebuild it. First comes the fire and the cleansing. Then the reconstruction will commence and the kingdom will be remade.

The key players are all in place. The Queen stands at the head of the square. A shimmering crown of gold sits upon her head, glowing in the orange light of the fires. The Captain and Vice Captain of her guard, her soldiers, stand on either side of her giving a... trial of sorts for the nobles that refused to help when she had appeared to them before. Her daggers moved throughout the city, seeking rats on two legs who must face their crimes against the crown.


Image The Shadow Children were mostly settled in for the night, the younger ones already asleep in their cots in the glow of the lanterns while the older ones worked and did their playing. The herbalist was at the one of the man tables near Soup, their kitchens, playing cards with her brother, the Medic. The weapons master was in her treehouse, staring up into the night sky, an open bottle of wine in her hand. The Captain was up in her treehouse, another young man wrapped around her finger. The master of the guard was out with her troop, scouting the forest and the kingdom for any sign of the snakes called Daggers. And any sign of her missing brother.





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ImageThe missing Princess--Drew--was fleeing her kingdom, dressed in rags and covered in dirt. Her hands were riddled with blisters, sore and festering from the prison work forced upon her. Her back still stung where a whip had cut her skin and painted the walls with her blood. The sound of screams shook her body to her core. So much so, that she had fallen to her knees repeatedly until she was too far to hear them. She turned, high enough to see the smoke and flame filling the night sky. She let out a choked sob and collapsed, her tears leaving streaks in the dirt that coated her cheeks. Her kingdom was falling to pieces and she was powerless to stop it.

"Winn," she said, barely a whisper, "Winn, we should go back." She pushed herself to her feet, her legs weak beneath her. She had been working in the gardens all day after being sick all night from the drugs they fed her. She didn't have a choice. She needed to eat to survive long enough to escape. And she had, but it was bittersweet. She didn't understand why Angelina chose to strike that night when it was obvious she had her men in the castle for weeks. Her torment had only gone on for days, but the time seemed to stretch down in the cells. She wouldn't tell Winter the truth about what was going on down there. Not yet. She doubled over and wretched. Whether from exertion, drugs, or shock she couldn't tell.

She straightened and wiped her mouth. "Winn, we have to go back."






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ImageKat swung from the hammok she had hanging one of the walls of her treehouse--They were comfortable but not as practical as a bed--dressed in her underthings and a long shirt. She was unaware of the events taking place on the other side of the walls. She was sure the others thought she was fooling around with one of the boys--young men really--but in truth she had sent him away hours ago when he realized that she wasn't interested in anything he wanted. She had her own needs. They were met. She was done with him. Now, she let her mind wander. More about the past than the present. The happy parts of her past anyway.

She had half a mind to reach for one of the bottles she had tucked away, but then she remembered that Leila had been in her room earlier that night and she had yet to get her report from her vice captain and Mavis. She would need that before she decided to incapacitate herself for the night. Things in the forest had been quiet lately which Kat found incredibly unsettling. "What are you up to you crimson bitch?" She mused to herself.






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ImageLeila sat in hear window, leaning against the back frame. There was a throwing knife in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. If she cut her hand, it wouldn't be a big deal. It wasn't her dominant hand and she had someone who could fix her up. She just needed something to take the edge off. It was getting closer to her birthday. Closer to the day her life turned upside down all those years ago. She looked out the window again only this time she was staring down at the tables where her best friend and his sister were playing cards with some of the other kids. She supposed this family wasn't all that bad. Things hadn't been the same at home for a long time anyway.

She took another swig of wine and gulped down the sour liquid. Wine wasn't her favorite, but Kat always had some stashed away in her treehouse and never locked the door. She too was oblivious to the monstrous deeds happening on the other side of the wall. Hell, the forest could be on fire and she wouldn't know. She was watching the stars with a reverence. The only way she was leaving her treehouse was if Will came in her and talked her out of it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Kassandra Capps Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Khara Character Portrait: Leila Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Tom Crow Character Portrait: Alexandei Joscelyn Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn Character Portrait: Julien Roux Brisbois Character Portrait: Contessa Tavner Character Portrait: Queen Angelina
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ImageSomething was off. Mavis couldn't tell what, but something about tonight was different. The woods were clear, nothing but the odd animal. Maybe Mavis was just paranoid as the anniversary of her parents death was coming up. Nothing would happen, she was worried for nothing.

Still she had to be sure. If they got attacked tonight because Mavis though she was seeing things the teen would never forgive herself. She sent all but one of her party back to camp with the instructions to tell their Captian that Mavis would return later. Kat would need to know after all.

She made her way to the edge of the forest, her ruined home in the distance. Was that smoke from the city? Mavis had to check this out. She turned to the Shadow Child with her, hand on her blade. 'Return to The Captain. Tell her of the smoke. I will go further and look for signs of those blasted Dagger.'

'But Mavis-'

She silenced him with a glare. Young as she was her troops respected her. He nodded grimly and after placing a calloused hand on her shoulder, ran off. Mavis faced the castle again. Just what was happening?

She took a deep, calming breath and took off, a blur in the night. As she got closer Mavis could hear the screams. Painfully she was reminded of the flames licking at her skin, her brothers screaming for her.

She shook her head. Now wasn't the time. Something big was happening and Mavis needed to find out what. The Castle's main entrance was in sight but Mavis didn't need that. Anyone of intrest would be escaping in the smaller routes, sewers and holes in the ground.

Not wanting to be noticed, but wanting to see what was going on Mavis did what she does best. She scrambled up a tree and planted herself on a thick branch. If no one important came out within an hour she'd return to camp.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Kassandra Capps Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Khara Character Portrait: Leila Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Tom Crow Character Portrait: Alexandei Joscelyn Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn Character Portrait: Julien Roux Brisbois Character Portrait: Contessa Tavner Character Portrait: Queen Angelina
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The day had finally come. Besides the day of her gaining her crown, the day of reckoning had come, as well. It's been days that she had been exacting her revenge as today was just pure icing on the cake. Angelina roamed around the castle with a few grapes inside of her hand. She popped them all into her mouth then turned to look towards the throne room and saw that there were blood on almost every single aspect of the room. The aroma of smoke began to crept at her nose as she knew that the day she took over that there was going to be turmoil - Her turmoil.

Angelina was heavily guarded by her recruited group of misfits. She wondered if this display of the day would bring out those obviously terrified children in the woods. They were pathetic in her eyes as she continued her waltz throughout the castle as most places she went, she could see the flames still burning a bright orange. The black smoke of already burned places that were slowly turning to ash.

As she entered the square and took her rightful place in front of her throne, she directed her soldiers to stand guard beside her. She stood there proudly and looked as she had one of her hostages tied with their hands behind their back to a wooden pole. Angelina looked at the person as she parted her lips to speak.

"One last chance to bow down to me or suffer the consequences." She spat as the male tied to the pole eyed her with a disgusted look. "I'd rather burn in the deepest depths of hell before I bow down to a wretched person like you." Angelina chuckled as she lowered her head to look down at the ground before her eyes fixated back towards the male. "Well, let me help you out a little bit, huh?" Before the male could even respond, masked men that carried torches had already set the male ablaze as his piercing screams filled the square.

"Kassandra, make it stop." She muttered towards the female as Kassandra nodded her head and grabbed her bow along with an arrow and shot it towards the male, ultimately silencing him. A smirk began to form among her lips as she took a few steps forward and looked down at the other nobles before her. "This is just the beginning. There is plenty more where that came from. Bow down to me or the King you all once knew is next." Yes, those last words she had uttered were simply breathtaking as no one truly knew what happened to the King - Their King. At least they knew that he was truly alive or maybe she was just toying with them.

Angelina along with most members of The Daggars truly knew where the King was kept hidden. He was kept in a tower within the castle as she didn't quite know what to do with him yet. She didn't know if she wanted to kill him or just torture him until he cannot take it anymore and asks for his own sentencing. Angelina couldn't think about that now as she eyed her loyal army. "If this doesn't bring those children out of those woods, I do not what will." She spoke softly as she turned back towards the audience. "Now, we feast!"

After she spoke those words, the audience was still at a hush as they followed her to the dining area, a place in which she has yet to burn. Her army trailed behind her as she entered the room and took her rightful seat at the top, where she could see down at everyone else. "Now, we wait." Angelina spoke as she sat back and relaxed for now as it seemed like people were actually enjoying themselves.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix
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Ash fell down like snow, clinging to his dark curls as he pressed himself against a brick wall watching the eerily quiet streets of Valie. The still burning fire gave the once beautiful kingdom an ominous red hue. Smoke pluming black up into the sky, making the night even darker .

Winter's gloved hand gripped the Princess's wrist. Gently but firmly. He was not about to let her out of his sight, not again.

Hee once soft hands were blistered and calloused, her was straight and proud frame was bent and broken. She looked little like the woman he'd left those few days ago and it ate at him.

He knew he had to do it. He was a student of history, of life. He read about conquerors, war lords and invaders. He knew the first thing they'd do was break the royalty in front of the people. Her killing the queen only ensured her ascent to the throne. Killing Drew wouldn't do that. Breaking Drew, that would give her something to show the people. It would prove her strength. It bought him time to set things up. Find someplace safe for them to go. It took him only days, but in those days, she was nearly broken. If he got her to safety, where she could heal, it would be worth it. Maybe, just maybe, she would understood, and he hoped against hope that she'd forgive him.

Winter's dark eyes watched the street, trying to almost to see through the smoke. They were nearly there. They escaped the palace, but it wouldn't be long now before the Red Lady was alerted and then the entire kingdom would be looking for her. Fear would turn the loyal against the Princess, especially in the state was she was in.

Suddenly, Drew dropped, a sob rocked her body. Winter spun and lowered so not to break her wrist. He pulled the dark fur cloak from his shoulders and on to hers. His black jerkin and doublet would keep him until they made camp in the forest. He gave her a once over, with a crestfallen expression. They truly didn't have time for this.

He gave her a moment, his eyes turning back to the street, his left hand gripped the hilt of his blade while his right held her wrist. He wanted to hold her, console her, let her grieve, her entire family was lost but they couldn't afford this break in their escape.

"Winn." Her voice barely a whisper. He didn't look at her. He watched the street, looking for anyone who might be approaching. "Winn, we should go back" She pleaded, and still he said nothing. A frown hardened his face but he gave her wrist a reassuring squeeze. Suddenly, she doubled over, causing him to whip his head in her direction. He set down his blade so that he hold her hair back while she wretched, what little was in her stomach. He had food at the camp he made but they just had to get there.

This was his fault. If he'd seen this attack coming somehow....No, Don't be a fool, he told himself before guilt fogged his mind. He had to think, and think clearly. He hated his pragmatism sometimes, but he knew this was a better alternative.

"Breath, Princess." He cooed softly, as she finished. She straightened herself as much as she could with her injuries and wiped her mouth. He stood as well, bringing his sword with him. He slid it back in its sheath, it's twin resting on his other hip. He tugged his cloak around her some. "Winn, we have to go back." she begged and he looked at her. His expression softened.
This was going to hurt her, he knew, but it had to be said. "There's nothing to go back to. His tone was brusque. He wanted to cup her cheek, reassure her, but that was never his way, as formal as he was with her. There was a lot of things he wanted to do, but he couldn't bring himself to make attempt then, and it would be impossible now.

He took her hands. He could feel the cold through his gloved. "I never lie to you, you know that, yes?" He asked but it was rhetorical. He hoped she'd find some comfort in that, at least he hadn't changed when the rest of her world was turned upside down. He was still his pragmatic, honorable self. It may not be what she wanted at that moment, but it was needed. She was Queen now, hard truths were part of the job.

"If we go back, the torment you faced before, whatever it was, whatever she had them do to you....it won't end." He told her, his fingers gripping hers. He didn't want to remind her of what happened and while he didn't know, she didn't tell him the details, he knew what men wear, men he once called comrades, men to whom he refused to be like, the same men that held her captive, the same men he cut down to get to her. He could only imagine what she suffered. That made his choice to leave her there hurt the most.

He'd tell her...one day.

"This is personal for her, she wants to break you if she hadn't you'd be dead already. If we go back, just the two of us, you'll be back there, and I'll--" He paused. She'd make an example out of him ,or worse, torture him in front of Drew. They were all each other had now and the Red lady knew it and it was clear she was not above mental torment as a means to her end.

"We'll come back, I don't know when, but I know how, with an army, something we don't have now, and that's something we need in order to end this." he told her with a grip of her hands. Footfalls echoed from the distance. He stiffened, a heavy frown hardened his features again. They had to go. Now.

"Right now, Let's just get you safe, fed, warm, and healed, then we'll amass an army in your name and we'll come back. We'll come home." He told her, and letting one hand fall to his side, the other still on hers, he peeked around the corner. He still didn't see the guards but they were getting closer.

"Once we get out of the city, I can carry you the rest of the way, but for now, Can you run?" he asked. If she couldn't. He would have to wait, and take out the foot soldiers one by one. It wouldn't be many, provided the Queen didn't know of her escape, it would be the usual four man patrol, a patrol he used to be on. At the time, he'd taken the time to leave every alley of the city, every turn, every corner. It was a just in case, he never thought he had to use it. His once comrades used to tease him, call him paranoid and or love struck. Thinking he worked too hard to impress the princess. They never bothered to learn which would work to his advantage now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Alexandei Joscelyn Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn Character Portrait: Frere
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ImageWinter was right. He was always right. She hated that he was always right, but he was perceptive and logical which helped keep her in line. In this case, he was keeping her from running back to her death. She just couldn't help but feel she was abandoning her people to the likes of her... gods her aunt. She didn't even know her mother had a sister until she saw the woman. For a moment, as the woman stood at the bars of her cell, she believed it to be her mother and begged her to let her out. Then she saw her eyes and the darkness in them and backed away from her. It wasn't her mother. No. A monster wearing her mother's face...

She looked over at Winter and nodded. "You're right," She murmured. "Lets go." She took a step forward, her leg wobbled once but held her up. "I can run." She said before really believing that she could. She could hear them now. The pounding of soldier's boots on the cobblestone road. She stiffed, fear consuming her where once she would've been brave. She had heard them so many times from behind those metal bars... She took off as fast as her legs could carry her. She knew Winter would be able to keep up. Hell, he could outrun her. He had many times when they spent afternoons in the sunlight and floral aroma of the gardens while she was temporarily shirking her "princessly duties".

She allowed him to lead her through the streets, stopping when they heard boots stomping around corners or the clang of metal on metal as guards attacked each other. It was chaos. No one knew who to trust. For a split second, Drew worried that she was being deceived, but shook it from her. If was residual from being in her cell. She thought she could trust the guards, some she had known for years growing up in the castle. But Winter? Winter would never. She had known him practically from the time she was born. There was no way he would turn on her. She grasped the cloak about her shoulders as she ran, thankful he had given it to her. It was autumn, edging closer to winter with every moon and she only had the rags she was given in exchange for her torn party dress.

They were nearing the walls now. Her lungs burned and ached and her feet were blistering from lack of proper footwear, but she pushed. If she could just get through the wall.. It loomed before them. A promise of freedom, but also a promise of imprisonment if they couldn't get out the gates. If they were guarded by too many.. or they were lowered. It took four guards to lift one. They would never pull it off with just the two of them. Thankfully they were open... And there were only two guards.






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ImageKat had begun to doze in her hammock and had thought to get up and grab the blanket from her bed when she heard an urgent knock on the door. She blinked at it sleepily, startled slightly by the sound in the quiet of camp. There were two things it could be, someone reporting trouble outside camp, or someone wanting her to solve something petty inside camp. "Captain Kaitlyn!" A small voice called from the other side. She sat up straight, the drowsiness shed like a blanket as it fell from her shoulders to rest in her lap. Only the little ones called her Kaitlyn. And if it was a little one, something was very wrong.

"Hold on, Sweetheart!" she answered as she moved quickly across the room to her makeshift wardrobe to pull on some trousers. The older kids were used to her being in different manners of dress, but the little ones were... well too little. Once she was fully clothed, she opened the door and knelt down so she was just slightly shorter than the guard that stood before her. They looked frightened, eyes wide and shoulders shaking. "What is it, soldier?" She asked, voice light, but serious. The child took a few breaths, still out of breath from running and crying. Kat stood and moved to her bedside table where a jug of water sat. She took a glass, poured it, and then handed it to the child to drink. "Deep breaths, hun." Once the child was calm enough, they ran a hand down their face before delivering the news.

Kat's whole body tensed, but she gave a soft smile and patted the child on the head. "Thank you for alerting me. Go get something to snack on and return to your hut. We will not be needing you tonight." Being a guard was one thing, but fighting against the daggers was another thing entirely. The child nodded gratefully and climbed back down the short latter onto one of the many bridges until they made their way down to their hut. Kat shut the door and pulled on better clothing and a small section of light chainmail she had managed to acquire from a recent job. She also grabbed her sword which she strapped to her waist before pulling on her boots, and exiting her room. She moved as quickly and quietly as she could until her leather clad foot was firmly on the ground.

"Captain's Guard! We are needed in the city!" She commanded as she moved about camp. She saw little faces poking sleepily from windows and doorways but were quickly shuffled back inside by the older ones. They told different stories, a drill, a bear, a dragon. Something they could spin into a bedtime story. Those children deserved chocolate one of these days for all the work to do to keep the little ones calm. She grabbed ahold of one of the older guards, someone who had been off duty this night and told him to run ahead and tell Mavis to lead the people into the tunnels. "Keep her from engaging unless absolutely necessary. She'll probably be after blood since it's almost..Well you get the idea. Keep her safe. We need to keep each other alive right now. Worry about killing them later." He saluted and took off into the short cave tunnel that lead out into the dark of the forest. Kat found Andei and Will playing cards at one of the tables and knew, by the tarot cards on the table and the look of fear in her eyes, she knew something was wrong. Kat cleared her throat, and shuffled her feet. Momentarily at a loss for what to say to her friend. She couldn't say, "It'll be okay," because she wasn't sure that it would be. She wanted to hold her and promise nothing would happen, but she didn't. Instead she said, "It'll be okay, Andei." Smooth. She shook her head and turned her attention to Will. "Where's Leila?" She had been all over camp, but hadn't seen her. She turned her head up to the window of Leila's treehouse and frowned. Leila sat staring at the sky, Kat's bottle of wine in her hand. She sighed, rubbing her eyes with her thumb and forefinger. "Will, go get her down and sober her up would you? We'll need her to get things ready and... as much as i hate to say it" She hated to put her sister in danger, but Leila was very skilled at many things. Things they would need. "Bring her. You both are needed in town."

She didn't bother to wait for the question she knew was coming. "The Red Bitch made her move." She took off to finish rounding up her troops. Where's my Vice Captain? Where's Frere?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix
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Winter watched her face as she decided. He was worried, he had to admit, that she would fight, that she was go on and on about going back and he'd had to literally have to subdue her and carry her into the forest. Thankfully, she nodded "You're right," That was a surprise. He didn't know why it was but it surprised him. He expected more of a fight then that. he was prepared for one, maybe his harshness worked out in his favor. "Lets go." She took an unsteady step, causing him to flinch forward to steady her but she stood on her own. "I can run." She aid and he frowned dubiously. The footsteps were getting closer but she moved and he followed at first. He lingered back a little to keep pace with her but they had to move and do so quickly.

They managed to avoid the foot soldiers, their footsteps were behind them and further away now. Winter was still on edge, he had to hope against hope that the gates were opened. If she were better, climbing the wall would have been simple but it wasn't.

He kept a hand on her wrist as they approached the gate.

Gods be Good He thought. The gate was opened. He didn't expect that but he couldn't linger too much on that little stroke of luck. They're were bound to be guards. He noticed two heads on either side of the gate opening. Why was it open and only manned by two guards? There were usually four? That didn't make sense, unless someone was woefully inept, or the other two fled, or -as it was likely- was loyal to the Phoenix family.

He looked back at Drew. That was her name now. The Phoenix Queen. Maybe she'd like that. She would be the symbol of hope. She had to be or this was lost before it truly began.

"Go hide, but stay close, I'll whistle for you." He told her, already freeing his blade. This one was virgin, one of his newer blades, it never saw battle -most of them didn't, but he'd just forged this one. It was so sharp is sung as he pulled it from its scabbard.

He crouched down, approaching the gate. He looked down, kicking a pebble to get their attention.

The guards turned at the sound and looked at him.

"Winter Valentine, is that you?" called the one on the left, called Greyson. Winter said nothing but he rose. "Aye, that's him, bloody ghost that one" said the other on the right, called Samel. Winter looked at the two of them, and realized how he could play this. He had to see where their loyalties lay...or confirm his suspicions. Greyson and Samel turned to him fully. They were armed but they didn't draw. "We have a new Queen." Winter said, his voice deep, his expression unreadable. "Aye, we do, She'll want to see you, mate." Samel said and then cracked a grin. "Pretty lad like yourself, she'll keep you alive for sure." Winter fought the urge to wince. Why Pretty?

"Is that what she'll do?" Winter said, as if he was musing that. Greyson nodded. "Aye, She looks just like the old Queen, only her color is red." Samel told him and Winter could only imagine what that was like for Drew. "Hey, Weren't you in charge of the princess?" Greyson asked and Winter stiffened but kept up an almost disinterested look.. "I was, I'd just come back from hunting, found the whole place up in flames, What happened to her?"

Greyson and Samel exchanged knowing grins. "You might wanna get down to the cells, Lad You'll find her there, We did." Winter didn't move, but a fury like his namesake brewed within him.

"Is that so?" Winter asked.

"Aye, lad, We all know how you looked at her, might as well go dip your wick now before Red Lady gets her hands on her." Samel said and Winter looked from the two of them. "So, You two...visited the princess in her cell." He asked and the two laughed. "That we did,"

"What did you do?"

Greyson looked at him confused. "Sometimes I forget how green you are, Valentine. What do you think we did?"

Winer nodded. They were going to suffer. He gripped his blade, walking up to them as if he were still friendly with them. "I gotta say, she's got quite the--"

Greyson didn't finish, Winter, in a flash of silver, swung his blade, steel singing, relieving Greyson of his head. His head hit the ground, leaving his body teetering. Samel barely had time to register what just happened before Winter, gripping his shoulder, and plunged his blade into his gut, through his armor, shoving him against the nearest wall. Steel touched the wall before Samel did.
Using two hands Winter twisted the blade, a grimace on his face, Samel crying through gritted teeth, blood leaking through them.
"I saw the princess....I saw what you did to her....Now you suffer the same." He said darkly, before he pulled his blade out and then back in the same wound. Winter was never an angry man, he didn't find any enjoyment in killing, but fury, guilt, and love for the princess allowed him to enjoy this. Samel gargled up blood, trembling, his hands on Winter's shoulder in a feeble attempt to fight back. "We weren't the only ones...." Samel choked before Winter freed his blade one more time, allowing Samel to fall at his feet, and bleed out on to the cobblestone.

"They'll c-come for y-you, boy."

"No, I'm coming for them." Winter didn't even turn, letting Samel bleed out while he flicked the blood from his blade before sliding it back into its scabbard.

He went back from the gate to where he saw the Princess rush off too and whistled. It was a soft robin's call, something he used to do when they were children and he was hiding from her. He always given her hints using that particular call. He didn't noticed the blood that covered his hands, and had splattered his face.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Kassandra Capps Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Khara Character Portrait: Leila Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Tom Crow Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn Character Portrait: Julien Roux Brisbois Character Portrait: Contessa Tavner Character Portrait: Queen Angelina Character Portrait: Frere
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ImageLeila snorted and grabbed another knife from her bedside table and started twirling it as she had before. "I've got plenty more where that came from." She raised an eyebrow at him, daring him to come nearer, but she knew he wouldn't take it. Instead he would just stand in the doorway and attempt to talk her down from there. Unfortunately, he knew exactly what to say to get her to do so. She listened with feigned disinterest as he spoke and snorted again when he spoke of handsome men falling at her feet. She didn't want to be a hero. She didn't want glory. But handsome men? She looked up at will. Well.. that probably wasn't happening any time soon.

The temptation to wait and watch was easy to overcome when faced with the second option. There was no way she would allow Will and Kat to do anything dire without her. No. If she was to die in battle it would be with them. There was no way she could live without them. She'd forget how to function without her sister and her best friend. A sick feeling rolled in her gut at the thought of either of them being dragged back, broken and lifeless to be buried. She squeezed her eyes shut, willing the nausea to pass and when it did, she looked up at him again. She stood and walked over to him, slightly unsteady, but nothing a run couldn't fix. She held out her hand for her knife to be passed and she held up the uncorked wine bottle for him to take. "I think, Doctor, you drive a hard bargain."

Once her knife was once again in her possession, she went to grab the others before also grabbing her cloak and making her way down to ground level. When she was most the way down she started barking orders as if she was the captain and not Kat. "Alright, we haven't received much ammunition from our jobs as of late, so everyone will have to stick mainly with sword. Only those deemed "sharp shooters" are allowed to use a bow or cross bow tonight. Blasters, grab whatever you need in case of an emergency, but do not get selfish with the powders. Save them for what they're meant for in times like these. Emergencies. If I see any explosion with our signature in it, you will be hung from the cave ceiling by your toes until your legs go numb." She continued on like that until they were at the mouth of the cave and ready to leave.

There, she saw her sister. She sauntered up as if she hadn't stolen her wine and as if she hadn't been drinking most of the evening and said, "Hello, sister dear." That was honestly a dead giveaway. It was only ever Kat or Sis. Never Sister Dear unless she was drunk.





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ImageKat finished rounding up those who could fight, many had left before the others, members of the guard currently on and off duty. She split them into two uneven groups. A mix of those with skill and all those under the age of fifteen were made to stay behind and guard the little ones. Even though Kat was sure the Daggers wouldn't be attacking their home base (not that the idiots would be able to find it) since their attacks were focused on the city, but she would rather be safe than sorry.

As she was making her way to the cave entrance, she glanced up to check on the status of Leila's coming or not and smirked as she saw a familiar dark haired figure make her way clumsily downwards from her treehouse. She shook her head in bemusement as she began to bark orders at the others even though most had already gathered their weapons. She didn't bother to say anything until her sister was beside her at the cave opening. "You're late," she greeted with a smirk, but the time for talk had passed. With a nod, she turned and took off through the trees. Branches whipped by her face, but none struck her as if the trees were aware of their urgency and parted so they could pass. She heard Leila give out a curse every so often as they ran which told Kat two things. One of which she already knew and another that surprised her, though she'd never admit it. The first was that Leila was still buzzed from the wine. The second that the trees seemed willing to hinder her. Guess she must've done something stupid.

The made their way to the hill that overlooked the entire kingdom when she stopped them and motioned for them to split up. The different groups were to go to different parts of the city in search of people to bring down to the tunnel systems. Kat, Leila, Will, and two others were going through the front. They were to serve as a distraction for the Daggers. Not that they would truly take the bate, but they had to try.

With a crack, the sky opened up and the rain came down, causing the cobblestone streets to become slick, but it did little for the fires. Kat pictured the streets in chaos, but now they were just a mess. There was noise in the distance, but most of what she could hear was glass breaking and fires raging. No Daggers in sight and no people. At least, no people who were living.

"Come out, you red bitch!" She yelled into the streets, her voice echoing off the stone. "You're going to regret waking your neighbors!"





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Image Drew froze. She recognized those faces. She had seen those faces before. Not just in the castle, but after... in her cells. It took a moment of coaxing to get Drew to snap out of it enough for her to move and hide. Normally, she'd whip out her sword, but--other than the fact that she didn't have it--she just... didn't have the fight in her at the moment. She should be angry with those men, but instead all she felt was fear towards them. It was herself she was angry with. Angry that they had broken her. Angry that she had allowed it.

So now she watched, practically cowering behind a stone wall. Valie's once strong princess reduced to hiding in the face of danger. How sad. How sickening. Maybe The Red Lady was right about her. Maybe there was no way she could ever be queen.. The sound of metal on bone broke through her daze and brought her attention into the present and what she saw she hoped to never have to see again. Winter had sliced one of the guards' heads clean off and had stabbed the other into the wall. He was angry. Why was he angry? Well... besides for the obvious reasons.

He gave his call for her to come out and she felt the corners of her mouth lift ever so slightly as she made her way out to him. It brought back memories of playing in the gardens as children, giving each other clues as to each others' whereabouts while playing hide-and-seek. In a place as big as the castle, one needed hints in order to keep them from playing the day away with the same match of the same game. She stopped a couple feet from him. She reached out with a hand and wiped a spot of blood from his face. "I wish you didn't have to do that.." She whispered and then made her way out of the gate. "You have to show me the way to camp. I don't know how to get there. Also, do you have my sword?"

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn
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Drew emerged from her hiding place, it wasn't far, and honestly she was barely hidden. He wondered briefly if she saw what he'd done and what she thought of him for doing so. A small part of him, whispered to him, wondering too if she herd what they said about him. It wasn't important but he wondered.

She approached him, stand a respectable distant from him, and all he wanted to do was reach out to her, hold her close and tell her he wouldn't let anything happen to her, but now was not the time nor the place for such a thing, nor was she -evident by her body language- in the proper state of mind for such an embrace.

To his surprised, his reached out, her hands, marred by callouses, brushed blood from his cheek, causing him to turn his head ashamed. "I wish you didn't have to do that..." She said and Winter watched after her. He knew her to be kind, and a gentle hearted woman, but he never expected such forgiveness for men who took turns defiling her body. Guilt weigh on him like a ship's anchor, keeping him from moving. It wasn't until she spoke that he moved to her, a few long strides and he was at her side once again.

"You have to show me the way to camp, I don't know how to get there and do you have my sword?"[b/]

Winter almost smiled. Almost. He was glad she wanted her sword, she was sounding more like her old self but he was dreading this conversation. He made a camp for them, hiding his swords, and the one he'd been forging for her but most of their hope lay in a myth. He had no idea where to find the Shadow Children and up until a few days ago, He didn't even believe them to be real. He swallowed.

[b]"I wasn't able to retrieve it from your chambers"
He told her before rubbing the back of his head, upsetting a few of his dark curls. "I have one for you at camp, but I must confess something once we get there." He told her but that was it for the time being. When Winter want to talk, he wouldn't, it irked her, hell, it irked most everyone, but that was who he was. He only said what was important there and then. Telling her that their only hope rested on some mythical faery like children, and that's what he'd been doing this entire time, while she was in those cells, suffering at the hands of his former comrades, and the Red Lady's wrath, was not of the upmost importance right now. Besides he himself wasn't prepared for that conversation.

They move through the gates and soon they were free of the city and beating through the forest. rain began to pour down, giving the forest an eerie calm. Winter offered to carry her again, she'd been on her feet enough.

They made a beeline for the camp, Winter leading the way and found it unmolested. It was a fort like structure, blending in with the forest, made of fallen tree branches and brush, against a large tree, set upon moss, crude in it's build but it would keep them. The rain would make a fire impossible, even though he built the pit slightly underground, he pulled the brush aside, to allow her entry. Once inside, she would see a small cot for her, though it was wet now, a satchel full of food and clothes, he would have grabbed her something but all he could managed were some of his more smaller shirts and breeches, and a few belts to keep it from falling from her, and a whole host of swords wrapped in leather, most of theses she would recognize, as she'd seem him use them before. It was at the moment that he realized, he'd never taken a human life before and certainly never felt fury in the way he had. It made his chest ache in a was he did not appreciate. Pulling the brush too, he sighed. "It's not much but it'll have to do for now. I'll lit a fire once the rain stops." He said and took a breath before sitting against the tree.

He didn't realize how tired he was until then, his body felt heavy.

"Before we do anything else, I have to know, How are you...truly?" He said watching her face, now was the time for them both to grieve, they would need to get it out of their system now, before the real work began and the time for it passed.

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Alexandei felt useless. She knew she wasn't, having given Will a field pack of everything he would need. needle and thread, salves made of aloe for burns, stinging nettles for numbing and ground deadly nightshade should he be attacked.

Panic threatened a she thought of her bother being attacked again. With her not there, she knew he was with Kat. Andei's mind went to her, the way she held her, letting her know everything would be alright, even if she knew it might not be. Most would find that offensive but not Andei, it told her Kay would try her damnedest to make sure things would turn out alright, or at the very least, she would protect her bother in the field.
Andei calmed her breathing, knowing Kat wasn't there to help her through a panic attack as she so often would. "They will be alright, they'll return, they'll be safe." she thought to herself while she decided toofocus on the gardens, and tend to her plants. That was her job, that was how she was useful.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix
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ImageHer heart ached at the look of guilt in Winter's eyes, but when he confessed he didn't have her sword her ache deepened. It was her mother's first sword, sharpened and perfected for her, which is why it meant so much to her. Winter, from what she knew, was a skilled sword smith and the one he had for her was probably the better of the two swords, but she missed her sword. She felt like a fraction of herself. She only nodded and followed him towards the camp. It was raining, now, and the air blew the cloak back from her skin. By the time they had arrived to the area Winter had said the camp was, she was shivering. In the low light of the night, she saw a strange shape in the forest. Not small like a creature, but like a bush or a low growing tree--if that was possible. When they moved closer she realized it was a shelter that Winter had made.

He moved the bush from the front entrance and she stepped inside. It was slightly damp due to the rain, but mostly dry. She gratefully stepped in, bending to avoid knocking against the ceiling of the shelter and sat down on what she supposed was her cot. She was shivering beneath the cloak, drenched in rain. He asked how she was, truly, and she looked up at him. There was the guilt in his eyes again. She wasn't sure if it was because of her or because of the guards or both. "Winn. What happened wasn't your fault." She said softly.

She looked down at her callused hands, at the cuts on her arms from the thorns in the gardens, before she answered him. "I'm..." Broken? Bruised? Beaten? Cut? Cowardly? She could go through the alphabet and pick out words that described how she felt for every letter. But there was one, a "b" word that only made sense to say now that she was free. She could tell him the rest later. "Better. Now that I'm out. Now that they.. well technically they can't hurt me now. Not like they had, but.. All those people.. my people. I just.. left them." Well.. that was more than she had intended to share. Tears pricked in her eyes. A sob and a shiver rocked through her body and for once she wished she could just be still.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix
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"Winn. What happened wasn't your fault." Winter looked up at her, all that did was made his guilt worse. It was his fault, she just didn't know it. She would.

He opened his mouth to speak but she spoke first. "I'm..." She paused, searching for the right words. Winter steeled himself for what was to come next. " "Better. Now that I'm out. Now that they.. well technically they can't hurt me now. Not like they had, but.. All those people.. my people. I just.. left them."

Winter frowned. He expected this conversation to happen again, but not so soon. It did give him something else to focus on for the time being.

"Princes....The people loyal to you...are either hiding or..." He paused. Dead was the next word, and while he typically didn't mince his words it wasn't for her sake it was for his. His father was dead. He wanted to use this time to grieve himself but he was too focused on her to do so and he couldn't show it. She wasn't grieving yet, she was still in denial, wanting to go back, once she accepted that she couldn't go back, maybe she'd grieve and then maybe he could to. "There's nothing you can do for them now, but live, get strong....heal. We'll come back, this I promise you." He said and his voice trailed off.

He looked down, fiddling with te broken blister on his finger. "And it is my fault."
He said and didn't look up at her. He couldn't face her. "I was there that night, when she took you, I let her, I knew if I came charging in, she would have me killed, or worse, so I had to leave you there, prepare all of this and try to find a way to-to--"He stopped, tears pressuring his eyes. Winter never cried, even as a child, he'd broken all manner of bones and not a single tear and while he wasn't now, this was probably the closest he'd ever come to it.

"I should have been there for you, at least to stop them from.... He stopped again, looking up to keep the guilty tears from falling. He knew deep down that this was the best course of action, his logical mind told him that this -despite her suffering- was the better alternative, but still, his heart punished him for it. He ran his hand through his hair.

"I'm sorry, Drew." He said, not Princess, what he'd called her all her life. But Drew.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Kassandra Capps Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Leila Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Tom Crow Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn
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ImageLeila rolled her eyes at Kat's display. She was going for distraction and was doing a good job of it, but she wished she didn't have to make them all look incompetent. Her stomach lurched at the number of bodies that littered the street. People discarded in the gutters like trash. If this was how The Red Lady intended to rule her kingdom, Valie was doomed. She retrieved the sword at her waist and drew it quietly. She had the sudden sensation of being watched and she knew they weren't alone. She began to wonder if the bodies in the street were really dead..

There was a familiar metallic sound singing through the air and she just barely had time to turn and deflect it before it sunk into the back of Will's head. The knife fell to the ground with a clang. Leila faced back now, her eyes searching for the assailant. She prayed that Kat would remain facing the street. And then his voice called out in response to Kat and her veins turned to ice. Tommy.

One hand gripped her sword tightly. The other reached down for her own throwing knife, ready to toss at that bastard's head when he showed himself. "Tommy! What have you done! All these lives! All these people! They're dead because of that woman you serve! How could you! Don't you remember all those trips we made into town? These people were kind to us!" The sound of metal on stone cut through the air, rising goosebumps on her arms. It made her teeth feel like they had been rubbed with sandpaper. Kat turned at the sound of the sword on stone and Leila cursed under her breath. She turned to watch Kat's back--albeit reluctantly. "Show yourself Coward." She muttered into the orange light of the town painting in flames. Something still felt off, but she couldn't put her finger on it.





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Image Kat's feline like eyes watched the dark, looking for movement. She distantly heard steps on the stone, but she could not be certain of friend or foe so she wouldn't bother to investigate. Not just yet anyway. Something flew at them and--thankfully--Leila had managed to stop it. Kat refrained from turning around just yet. The Daggers used diversion often to strike a foe. They're too cowardly to kill honestly. Men, Women, Child all murdered from any angle. Including being stabbed in the back. She heard Crow call from behind them and Leila responded before she could get a word out. Her heart ached for her sister at how she pleaded with her brother. They had the same conversation repeatedly about how far gone Thomas was. The little boy she once played with as a boy was gone. He's gone, Lei. Let him go.

But they were here to distract and give the others time, So.. "Coward! You hide from me?" She called as she turned her back to the street. Leila sighed and covered for her. Sorry Kiddo. This has to be showy. She grinned, feline and took a sauntering step towards the sound of metal on stone and Crow's voice. "You know what I'll do to you when I get my hands on you Thomas Crow!" She knew he probably couldn't see her, but she knew the others were probably watching. She pretended to slash her throat and die from the blood loss. She knew the others would have her back if something happened. Her eyes were trained on the rooftops looking for that damned archer of a vice Captain, but if she was there, she couldn't see her yet.




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Image Drew nodded at his words, but it didn't erase the guilt she felt leaving her people behind to die. She had no ideas as to what her aunt had planned for those who remained in the kingdom, but she knew they couldn't be good. Not with the amount of fire and ash she saw throughout the kingdom. "If you had tried to stop them.. you'd be dead.. or worse. She might've tossed you inside as well." At the sound of her name--not her title-- her head snapped up to look at him, but he was looking down at his hand. There was red, angry skin on his finger where a blister had formed and broken open. She moved towards him and stopped to take a look at it. His skin was warm beneath the ice of her fingertips. "We should probably clean and wrap that. We can't let anything get infected out here. Where are the bandages?" Then she realized she didn't know what exactly the plan was. He had said something about the Shadow Children, but had he finally believed the stories? That they had existed.

"Where are we going, Winn? Are we really hiding out here until things.. what? Blow over?" She ran a hand through her tangled hair, shaking slightly with the cold. Her breath was beginning to form clouds in front of her as the temperature continued to drop. As she looked for medical supplies, she found a satchel at the foot of her cot and pulled it over to her to search it. It contained clothes and food, obviously for her, but no bandages inside.

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"If you had tried to stop them.. you'd be dead.. or worse. She might've tossed you inside as well."
He knew this, of course he knew this, but again, his heart had other plans. He figured that was a good thing. He hadn't lost his humanity. Too bad it didn't make him feel any better. She moved to him suddenly, taking his hand into hers, tenderly, assessing the damage. He'd have plenty of broken blisters, and normal he wouldn't let her be bothered with such a thing but instead, he let her. Her hands felt nice against his, even though they were cold. "We should probably clean and wrap that. We can't let anything get infected out here. Where are the bandages?" She said and he nodded toward the satchel of clothes, and other things. His face held it's usual position, a deep brooding frown, as she moved to the satchel and then turned to him, wrapping his hand.
"Where are we going, Winn? Are we really hiding out here until things.. what? Blow over?"

Winter pursed his lips, a clear sign he wasn't eager for this conversation. "No....we're not going to wait...." His limited pride had him hesitate. He knew she believed in them, but he never did. They had plenty of conversations to that end. He barely believed now, but it was his only option. It was a gambit that he wasn't really prepared to put off of his faith in. "Um....I heard whispers....more than usual of the Shadow Children...I know I didn't believe in them before, but...It's all we have....If we press further into the forest, the locals claim they'll find us."He said and sighed, still not meeting her gaze. He realized then for all of his training, for all of his work, he was completely out of his depth.

"There is still the small chance they won't help us at all....It's not as though the Crown has done much for them, provided they do exists."He said, with his usual logic. "In which case we'll need to find allies of the Crown, in the other lands, which would require more travel and more hope in that the Red Woman hasn't already aligned herself with them, but since you are the rightful heir and she came in as an invader, chances are high they'll side with you....honestly, even if the Children exist, and are willing to help, we'll still need allied kingdoms. " He said and then sighed, running free hand through his hair again, frustration evident as his mind worked over what they could possible do, as a contingency, and legally. "It's not much I know, but it's options, the best I could in such a short amount of time." He said and sighed. He was a knight, a bodyguard, not a politician, nor was he even a general. He knew War, in all it's forms but he never saw battle. Just read about them. Lack of Knowledge was a sure fire way to lose, and that he seemed to have an abundance of.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Kaitlyn Singh Character Portrait: Leila Singh Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Tom Crow Character Portrait: Will Joscelyn Character Portrait: Queen Angelina
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ImageThe sound of heels echoed on the stone as someone walked towards them. An arrogant someone who knew that they could take their time moving and no one would object. No one, but Kat anyway. Finally She thought and pushed herself up until she was standing. "I honestly hadn't expected my taunting to bring out the Red Lady from her chambers. Aren't you supposed to be feasting on whatever the poor commoners could provide, and entertaining whoever is left to torment? Why bother with us little people if you're just so high and mighty now?" It was a weak taunt and she knew it. The whole point of being out here was to distract. She was honestly surprised Crow and Kassandra weren't painting the cobblestone streets red with her blood. Surprised, but thankful.

When the arrogant queen spewed off some hoity toity talk about "the proper way to fight in a kingdom", Kat skeptically raised a blonde eyebrow. A battle arena? Who does she think she is? Caesar?" She could feel Crow's eyes on her and she thought for a moment. Technically the two were equally matched. Crow was stronger, but Kat was faster. They had spared more than a few times since his betrayal, and both ended up badly beaten each time and they only left because of their people. You could say what you wanted about Thomas Crow, but at the end of the day, he'd stick his neck out for his men. So would Kat.

Then Angelina gave Kat something to really think about: a bargain. The princess's life for some well earned peace and quiet. Kat pretended to mull it over for a moment to buy her people time to evacuated whomever they could. She even put down her sword. There was no way she would ever agree to such a thing. The Princess--wherever she was--was the only way that the kingdom could ever be whole again once they sorted this mess out. But peace...

She took a deep breath and looked at the "queen" in the eye. "I have no seen the Princess, but if you give me time I will have her and I will transport her to you." She could feel Leila's eyes on her, wide with surprise and suspicion. "But you must swear on your title that you will leave us alone." This part, she wanted--no needed--to hear. Even if Kat managed to find the princess and... well she wasn't sure what she would do, hide her? Ship her off to a different kingdom so she can rally their forces? Maybe that would buy them peace...There was a high whistle that rang throughout the air, three short bursts.

Time's up. And I didn't get to wipe the smirk off Crow's face.. "Your word, and we will disappear." She knew she should bow, make it believable. Hell she probably should've even said "Milady" or "your majesty", but she nearly vomited from thinking of such an action let alone actually going through with it.





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Image"The Shadow Children?" Drew asked in disbelief. It wasn't so much that she didn't believe, she grew up on those stories. It was more that she couldn't believe that Winter believed. Even as a child, he would listen to Victoria's stories and would tell her not to fill Drew's head with fairy tales when she would have to be queen one day. She needed to be logical and realistic. Of course, Drew would throw one of her many pillows at him which would spawn a pillow fight that would leave the two gasping for air from laughter. Those were the days...

Her fingers felt something warm and dry in the back and she pulled out a set of clothes: a long shirt, breeches, and a belt to cinch at the waist. "Are these for me?" She asked hopefully. She couldn't wait to get the rags off her. The smelly, thin, torn, itchy rags. She held the fabric to her face and sniffed. They smelled like home. So much her eyes pricked, but she wouldn't allow herself to cry right now. If they were going to find the children, they either needed to get moving or to get some sleep and either way, she needed to be warm and dry.

"I don't know about getting help from the other kingdoms," She said quietly, frowning down at the clothes in her hands. "Father never shared their relationships with us to me. We have visitors all the time, but I was always ushered off to some lesson or to play with visiting children.. well you know." She sighed. "The Shadow Children are probably the best hope for Valie now." She looked out the front door at the dark, damp forest. "When are we leaving?"

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"The Shadow Children?" Winter felt like a fool. He knew she believe but now that he did, or at the very least wanted to, made this seem so much more dire. If it were even possible. She moved over to the satchel, going though the clothes. She looked over at him, breaking him from his brooding and asked. " Are theses for me?" He merely nodded. An odd feeling came over him at the thought of her wearing his clothes, his shirt specifically, but he abandoned the thought before that got too interesting.

She looked down at the clothes, gripping them as if they were her only line to the past and she as floating away. Winter wanted so to reach out to him, but he didn't. He just flexed the hand that she'd bandaged, loosening it for ease of movement.
"I don't know about getting help from the other kingdoms," She said softly. "Father never shared their relationships with us to me. We have visitors all the time, but I was always ushered off to some lesson or to play with visiting children.. well you know." She said and he listened. That was good, she didn't know it but that was playing politics, if she'd made friends with those children, who would be adults by now, Lords and Ladies in their own right, then perhaps they would recall such a friendship and help her. He didn't speak on it yet. He just needed to get her safe now, and worry about taking back the Valie later. She sighed. "The Shadow Children are probably the best hope for Valie now." She said before her mind wandered and she looked to the front, peeking out at the forest."When are we leaving?" She asked and he sighed "Once you've changed, eaten and rested, first thing" He said, by the Gods he was tired. "I'll try to find some dry wood, the rains let up, so we'll be able to get a fire going, you go ahead and change." He stood -well, hunched, and ducked out to give her privacy. "I won't be far," he told her before moving from the fort a bit. The hopelessness of it all, brought him to a stop, and he leaned against another tree, resting his head and arm on the wet bark. He then gave himself a moment, however quick to grieve. His father was gone, his home burned, he killed so many today, and the Princess...Drew, she'd been used, and abused in a way that turned his stomach. She was still a maiden and that was taken from her by sheer force. It wasn't right, none of this was right. He clenched his fists and hit the tree. "Dammit all!" He hissed quietly. He didn't want the Princess to see him so frustrated, so woefully out of his depth, he had to be strong for her but it was hard. He didn't know what he was going, it the Shadow Children well and truly didn't exists they were doomed. they had a small chance of finding allies out of the country but that was a long shot, a pipe dream at best, but then again so were the Shadow Children. All he had for sure right now was a sharp blade and good intentions, neither of which which were going to do them any good without help.

With that, he made his way around collecting dry firewood, or rather what he could find.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix
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ImageDrew listened to the time frame they had a nodded. She could see the tightness around his eyes from the worry and stress of their situation. She wanted to say something helpful to maybe cheer him up a little, but nothing came to mind. All they had was the clothes on their backs and the swords at their sides until they located the Shadow Children. She could hardly believe they were actually going to find them. Winter left, in search of firewood, though Drew doubted he'd find anything dry to light, not that they should really light a fire anyway, but she couldn't deny her want of warmth so she let him go. Besides, she needed to change.

The breeches were huge compared to her small frame and she had to cinch her belt much higher than normal and she had to roll up the cuffs in order to keep from tripping. The shirt was also very big, but thankfully it didn't look as strange on her. She lifted the front of the shirt to her nose again and sniffed. Home. She knew that being on the run would suck the scent from the clothes long before they were able to get back so she wanted to enjoy it while she could. She also realized that these were most likely Winter's clothing which made her blush slightly. She's never warn another's clothes besides her mother. It was strange. At least they were warm. She also pulled on an extra pair of boots he had brought considering she had been barefoot this whole time. Not much use are shoes when you spend a lot of time in a cell.

When she finished, she laid on her side on the cot and closed her eyes. Exhaustion ached in her bones, but she rolled around in attempts to get comfortable. And couldn't. She was still so on edge and there's no telling if they were truly safe just yet. For all she knew, there could be daggers lurking in the trees of the Shadow Children might mistake them for an enemy. Their best bet was to keep going. There was no way she was resting tonight. She stood, stooping to avoid hitting her head on the "ceiling" and exited their shelter in search of Winter, her pack strapped to her back and ready to go. He was digging through the underbrush for dry branches when she found him. "Winn, we should go. Daggers could be lurking.." Her dark eyes darted back and forth as they searched the trees for shadows that have haunted her more in these past few months than they had ever bothered her as a child.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Frere
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There were voices coming from that structure, the rain was muffling them but two people were having a conversation "People running from the city no they wouldn´t be hiding in some branch fort they would still be running away and this part of the forest was the farthest to the border so it didn´t make sense or it was just a coincidence or this was people from the crazy bitch looking for them" inching closer silently he froze when another though cross his mind "Julien you traitorous monster you told sided with her and told her the way home... no if the old hag already knew of their location she would have attacked by now He had decided that he had to find out who this people were by force if needed this side of the forest wasn’t used very often nor was the closest to the cave but if the Daggers or some other lapdog was searching for them then he needed to protect they needed to protect their home

"Um....I heard...more... of the Shadow Children...I... didn't believe in them before..." with the rain was difficult to hear everything the guy was saying but he hear that and before a woman was talking something about a plan and going somewhere "This damnable weather is going to get me killed someday *[i]sigh*[/i] Turning a little he locked eyes with Mavis and quickly gestured that there was two people in the bushes a man and a woman and that they needed to hear what they were saying as they may be enemies, turning around he picked a spot more hidden behind a tree and concentrated in getting as much info as possible, Frere trusted completely in His Guard Master although young Mavis knew how to handle herself and her subordinates and was more stealthy than him so he focused solely on the strangers

As the awful rain was subsiding a little Frere was able to gather some details the woman was some sort of noble and was trying to find them to help Valie "A noble caring for the other people in Valie Julien must have hit me harder than I thought" The man was trying to present other plan and he gave the idea of being really interested in the woman´s wellbeing "I'll try to find some dry wood..." hearing this Frere improved his hiding spot with some elevation setting himself in a medium high branch just in time to see a dark indistinguishable figure come out of the structure and made his way a little around the makeshift camp selecting wood only to stop and punch a tree with a mumbled curse coming from him, Frere made his way towards Mavis as silently as he could to compare what their heard when the woman came from the fort almost spotting Frere but finally going towards the man allowing a glimpse of her face to Frere, that at first he mistook her for the former Queen but immediately corrected himself "The Princess she is alive! but how the guards said... and she is searching for us... for help" With a last look he found his companions again and confirmed that they all shared the same information, so deciding to not waste more time and get everyone as far from the old hag´s dogs he moved closer to the couple... "Winn, we should go. Daggers could be lurking..."

"I wouldn´t worry too much about them, they probably are too entertained burning the city and spreading rumors of your dead or imprisonment which I must say I´m glad they are just that Princess..." The usual cheerful and lighthearted demeanor completely gone from his voice he spoke like a noble addressing his equals with respect but demanding the same, his body still hidden in the tall brush but his position clear he wanted to be the least threatening possible as to not cause unnecessary distress but neither him nor his family were going to be turned into lackeys fir some royal, making his form a little more visible but keeping his distance he continued "I must apologize if we startled you we mean you no ill my name is Frere and I was just curious, as to the reasons behind you being here, this is the longest way towards the border and although people rarely come to this side of the forest we are not that far from the city" Moving myself as to be visible I looked behind the princess to the trees and to both her sides more for the man than her "It is considered polite to state your business beforehand when visiting a strangers home and if I did not misheard you were planning on visiting us" The presence of the princess was equal parts good and bad luck if they formed an alliance the fight against the hag would be easier but her presence was an immediate danger to the kids in the cave so he decided then and there he would hide her in the lookout post east of their home "*close enough to the cave, easily guarded, secluded and dry just what we all need...*it´s the norm that we found someone before they find us, so now if you are done thinking reasons to distrust me I would really like to get out of this rain so what do you say we talk honestly and without any more preambles"

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Frere
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Image Mavis and the Guard followed after Frere, both holding tight to their blades. The Vice Captian obviously found something, stopping dead in his tracks and turning to meet her eyes. His hand movement made Mavis understand and see nodded. The Guard and her worked in sync, Mavis nimbly scrambling up a tree to get a better look while he went around, gaining an advantage on the folks Frere had found.

It was hard to see the people through the bush so Mavis focused on the voices. Funny, one almost seemed familiar. Frere made his way back towards here and they shared a look. She knew at once what he planned to do and rolled her eyes. Going out to meet strangers was dangerous but at least they outnumbered the strangers three to two. She nodded towards him, agreeing to his plan. Mavis would pop out of the shadows when Frere finished speaking, hopefully scaring the strangers into giving them the info they wanted.

Frere kept his tone light, something Mavis was happy about. Had he gone in swinging his sword who knows what would happen. She didn't however enjoy him giving his name out. Mavis doubted Kat would like that. Once Frere finished his monolog Mavis knew it was time. A rustle of leaves could be heard and suddenly by the strange man dropped a girl. She looked up at him and nearly lost all breath. Mavis knew that scraggly head of hair anywhere. Just how in the world did she manage to meet her cousin here? She hadn't seen him in nearly four years!

Mavis backed away quickly, one hand on her sword. She didn't know what to feel right now. Half of her wanted to hug Winter and the other half was screaming at her to run. She took a position next to Frere. Once Winter and the girl he was with proved they could be trusted would Mavis act.

Briefly she wondered if Winter even recognised her. Mavis definitely did not look like the girl she was years ago. Then she was a child, with long braided hair, shinning eyes and a face that seemed to never stop smiling. Now her hair was choppy short, and her face was covered in dirt from the journey here. She wasn't smiling either, just staring at Winter with an uneasy look in her eyes.

Breaking out of her daze Mavis gave two sharp whistles and out of the bushes came the guard, his own sword drawn. Upon seeing both The Captain of the Guard and Vice Captian with no weapons out he sheathed his own. Mavis waved towards him and he nodded, staying behind Winter and Drew.

'I'm gonna defer to you here Frere.' She gave him a brief look, hoping he got that something was off about her. 'Shall I keep an eye on them while we walk? Wouldn't want you to get stabbed in the back.'

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Frere
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ImageDrew heard a voice behind her and nearly jumped out of her skin. She spun around and withdrew her sword, the tip pointed at the newcomers. Despite the scare, her hands were steady, but her breathing wasn't and neither was her heartbeat. It was a man--young, but a man-- a boy, and a.. girl? Her hair was cut short and covered in dirt. It took Drew a moment to realize that they were a female. The man spoke softly, apologizing for the scare, but one part of his statement made her pause: "planning on visiting us". She lowered her sword just a bit and asked, "Who are you?" Could they really be members of the Shadow Children? They definitely hadn't made much sound coming up behind them.. but he recognized her. How? Not many people had seen her face. But the children had seen her mother's once upon a time.. She suddenly wished that they had markings or a crest of some sort.

Who knew her childhood heros would stand in front of her and she would question whether or not she should trust them or if they were leading her to her doom. At the moment they didn't have many options. "Are you really the Shadow Children? The children that live in the forest and do good for the kingdom from the shadows?" She stared at them, dumbfounded and afraid to be wrong. "How.. do I know that we can trust you?" Her back ached in a reminder of what happened when she trusted someone and she wasn't taking a step forward until she was sure they weren't playing some sort of trick.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Frere
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Finding anything dry was about a hopeful as finding the Shadow Children. Winter thought as he dug through the brush, hoping to find something dry buried beneath, he'd only succeeded in feeling like a dog, digging for his bone. "Winn, we should go. Daggers could be lurking.." The Princess said, making him feeling more like a fool for digging in the mud and dirt. He turned to her, a strange feeling twisted in his stomach at the sight of her dressed in his clothes. He was about to speak when there was a shuffle behind him. His hand went to his sword, and he stood protectively in front of her as a man speak from the trees.
"I wouldn´t worry too much about them, they probably are too entertained burning the city and spreading rumors of your dead or imprisonment which I must say I´m glad they are just that Princess..." The man then emerged from his hiding place, keeping a fair distance, Winter stood at the ready, his fingers curling around the hilt of his sword. "I must apologize if we startled you we mean you no ill my name is Frere and I was just curious, as to the reasons behind you being here, this is the longest way towards the border and although people rarely come to this side of the forest we are not that far from the city" The man called Frere stepped forward. We? Winter thought, sizing the man up as he made himself more visible.
"It is considered polite to state your business beforehand when visiting a strangers home and if I did not misheard you were planning on visiting us" Winter narrowed his eyes. Again, Winter wasn't an angry man, but that didn't mean there wasn't a limit to his patience. "Polite? Says the man who seemed to be spying on us?" Winter spoke, his eyes settling on the man, for a moment, before he saw the "we" Frere spoke of. At first glance, he thought it was two boys, one had short brown hair, round face, a stern demeanor, like someone with something to prove, but then, on closer inspection, Winter found that one that spoken something to Frere, and ad been given him a strange look, to be a girl, the delicate curve of her lips, the roundness of her face. It was a young girl, to whom yet grown into her womanly figure. There was something about those light eyes that struck Winter as familiar but he didn't have the time nor the patience to dwell on it long. "*close enough to the cave, easily guarded, secluded and dry just what we all need...*it´s the norm that we found someone before they find us, so now if you are done thinking reasons to distrust me I would really like to get out of this rain so what do you say we talk honestly and without any more preambles" Frere went on and Winter finally registered what he said. Visiting us? Shit, they were the Shadow Children.
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He moved his hand from his hilt, or rather loosened his grip, while Drew beside him, lowered her blade. "Who are you?" She asked and Winter waited for the answer just before Drew went right on with more of her own. Winter remained silent. "Are you really the Shadow Children? The children that live in the forest and do good for the kingdom from the shadows?" He winched at the question. There was too much hope in her voice, too much information given by the sentence. To him, she pretty much told them that she was in fact hopeless, and vulnerable. If they were bandits posing as the Shadow Children, they would be at a disadvantage. Seeming to have come to the same conclusion, Drew started again. "How.. do I know that we can trust you?" Winter was taken aback by that. This was clearly not her forte, exchanges like this. This was a chess match, neitehr should give up too much, while making their moves, she all but made her intentions very clear, and thereby making his as well. There was no way to calculate how to proceed now. He just had to watch and wait, something that he was typically good at, if they weren't in such dire straits.

Nothing to see here. Move along, 2695868.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Frere
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Image Winter didn't pay her more than a side glance. She didn't know if she should be relived or upset. A mix of both probably. Deciding to ignore the two for now Mavis looked to Frere, rolling her eyes at his lighthearted tone. 'Funny Frere, ha ha. But no. Despite how much you joke about you did get hurt.' Voice dropping to a whisper she grabbed her Vice Captian by the arm. 'Don't ask me how I know but that guy over there is good with a blade. If they turn on us you'll need me. I'll send him back.'

Mavis turned and straightend, something almost military like about her posture. Seeing this the Guard scrambled forward and stood at attention. 'I need you to return to the caves, watch over the children until we or The Captian comes back. Don't....tell her what we found until we investigate more.'

The Guard nodded, looking white in the face from his orders. 'Yes Ma'am!' He gave both the Shadow Children a meaningful look and shoot of into the night. Mavis stepped back next to Frere. She wondered if it looked strange to the Princess and Winter, an obviously older boy taking orders from a short, runty girl. She almost wanted to grin at the idea. Maybe they'd see her as more than a little girl now.

Frere spoke and Mavis kept her eyes on him. It was strange not to trust her own blood but she couldn't help but worry Winter would attack him. In his wounded state Mavis wasn't sure how well Frere could defend himself. He positioned himself as to protect her from the two and Mavis couldn't help but grind her teeth. Stupid boy.

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Character Portrait: Winter Valentine Character Portrait: Mavis Crusico Character Portrait: Drew Phoenix Character Portrait: Frere
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Image[font=century gothic]Drew took a deep breath and ran her hands through her hair, catching in the tangles. "Hopefully you understand how dangerous it is for me--for us--to trust someone without identification of some sort." She looked up at the man, her dark eyes reflecting the white light of the moon. "I'm sure you would feel the same if you had been where I have been.." She knew that wasn't enough information. For all they knew, she had been in the castle getting the pampering that came with being the princess instead of in the cold, stone cells beneath and out in the gardens. She pulled a little at the tangles. "Unfortunately, we don't have a choice but to trust you and what you say." She knew Winter wouldn't like those words. They were far too desperate, but desperate was what they were. There was no use in hiding it. They walked in silence for some time and she heard the man utter something about a treehouse. In what sort of place do they live? She thought. In her mother's stories they had been in the middle of the forest living in huts and tents. "Will I be able to speak with your leader?