Snippet #2791713

located in Fódlan, a part of Fire Emblem: Apotheosis, one of the many universes on RPG.

Fódlan

A continent divided into three different factions: The Adrestian Empire, The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mercer von Riegan Character Portrait: Sorcha Blaiddyd
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I.Y. 1186 - Garland Moon - Tuesday the 17th
Dedriu - Evening - Cool
Sorcha Blaiddyd


Sorcha had not been able to embrace the customs of Derdriu as wholeheartedly as she might like to. Even what she had managed was making her uncomfortable, to say the least. The gown she wore, a cascade of shades of blue and green, was mostly layers of silk so thin as to be diaphanous, the trailing ends of which barely brushed the floor, not unlike the feathers of some exotic bird or the fins of a tropical fish, really. It was odd, but not bad.

The problem, rather, was in the sleeves. Most summer styles in this region didn't have them, and though she'd managed to locate some detached ones, thin sheaths of matching silk that attached at her biceps and the base of her middle fingers... it was still more than passing obvious that one of her arms was made entirely of metal. Even the corresponding bare shoulder on the other side could not bring her that level of discomfort. She wasn't sure why skin being visible made her uncomfortable at all, but supposed it must be one of those things she could feel but not quite remember.

The reason to be uncomfortable about the glittering silver of her artificial limb, however, was plainly obvious.

People were staring.

She'd thought—hoped—it was all in her head, but she knew it wasn't. More than once, she'd caught eyes flashing away from her just as she would have met them, sometimes with a flush of embarrassment, others without. She had no idea what any of it meant, except that it must be that they found it uncomfortable and ugly, as she did. She didn't think she could ever find it any other way, as Cornelia had both made it and ensured that she would need it by taking her real arm away from her. And now the feeling of eyes on her prickled the back of her neck, and the best she could do was not let any of it show, maintaining a stoic expression and keeping her head high.

She was a princess, after all. Even if she didn't feel like one, the least she could do was act like it. She had a job to do tonight—and that was to keep the harpies from Mercer.

Turning with the food she'd retrieved, she suppressed a groan. Apparently her temporary absence had looked like an invitation to accost him. For a moment, she felt a twinge, wondering if she shouldn't... let them. It would be more convenient for everyone if he found someone else, wouldn't it? Everyone but her, anyway.

But then she remembered that he loved her too, for some reason. Wanted her too. And that was enough to make up her mind. Straightening her back, Sorcha lifted her chin, gliding across the room and insinuating herself back at his side, handily interceding between him and one woman who'd ventured a little too close. She didn't glare, but the cool blue of her eyes could make her stare a chilly one, and the way she was holding herself was one she knew exuded all the grace and dignity she didn't really feel. She smiled tightly at the woman as she handed Mercer his plate.

“Sorry for the delay, love." It felt strange, still, to use an endearment like that, but she did it for the effect it had on the gathered crowd. A few, to their credit, backed off immediately, recognizing a genuine couple when they saw one. But that would not suffice for all, she was sure.

“Oh, thank you, Sor, you're a life saver," he replied, flashing her a bright smile as he took the plate. He turned his attention towards the crowd and seemed to straighten out his posture a bit more. With his free hand, he placed it gently around Sorcha's shoulders and grinned at the crowd. “I know I haven't formally introduced her, but I'd like everyone to meet my fiancée, Sorcha," he spoke, turning in Sorcha's direction to smile at her. It wasn't as large as it was when he'd faced the crowd. It was smaller, and a bit softer.

He leaned to place a chaste kiss near her temple before he brought his hand away and picked at the food on the plate. “Oh, this looks good," he stated before bringing his attention back towards the crowd that still lingered. “Apologies, ladies, but I'd like to talk and eat with my fiancée... alone," he stated, grinning in a way that didn't seem to be off-putting, but also conveying that he really didn't want to be bothered any longer.

The gaggle had little choice but to retreat in the face of such directness. It was that or be seen by everyone being horrifically rude, and of course risking Mercer's own ire, which was... kind of the opposite of the point, so the crowd dispersed a bit, though some of them didn't really go far, no doubt intending to swoop back in the moment the opportunity presented itself. Sorcha met eyes with one of those who was still too close, a chilly stare forcing her back a little further, before she heaved a quiet sigh and sat down with Mercer.

“How many more hours is this again?" she asked, struggling a little with the fabric of her skirt under the table until it lay smooth.

Mercer arched a brow at her, but waited until he'd swallowed his food before responding. “It's not over until I make an official statement saying that I've found someone to marry," he murmured softly, his brows furrowing lightly. He glanced in her direction for a moment, smiling softly before shaking his head.

“And of course you know I have no desire to put you in that kind of position. Making a public statement like that is... well, I know you're still not quite comfortable with all of this so I want to wait until you are," he stated, grinning lightly at her.

“So... we might be stuck here for a long while yet," he spoke, almost in a joking way as if to lighten the mood.

Sorcha picked at her food, somehow too agitated to enjoy it the way she should. The source of her disquiet was obvious enough—this whole stupid farce of a party was just... pointless. Some part of her understood that it wasn't that uncommon, this kind of thing. Nobles in desperate need of heirs throwing large soirées in hopes of attracting potential spouses. Or their parents doing so for them, at least. It tended to be less common to do it this way in Faerghus, where often such matches were arranged at birth, or at least relatively early in life. Like her own first had been.

Grimacing, she shook her head and lifted her eyes from her plate to his. “What do I not seem comfortable with, exactly?" she tilted her head to the side, genuinely curious as to what reservation he thought she had.

Mercer pursed his lips together and sighed heavily, as if he didn't want to answer the question right away. He remained quiet, poking at his own food in silence before his shoulders slumped. “Mostly the attention," he finally answered. “I can see it, you know, the way you track everyone's eyes, and where they go," he spoke, reaching over to brush a knuckle against her cheek.

“If I made our engagement official, if I announced it tonight, you do know that you'll be the center of attention, right? Everyone will be looking at you, scrutinizing you in one way or another. Some will be happy that it's you, others not so much. Would you really be okay with that if I made that annoucement? If everyone's eyes were on you for the rest of the night?" he seemed genuinely concerned for her if the way his voice wavered just a bit was anything to go by.

He certainly wasn't concerned for nothing. Sorcha had never been comfortable with attention. She knew that much. Unlike Senka who could wear or act however she felt like and just not care how many eyes were on her... Sorcha wasn't that strong. She was always worried what people were thinking. If she was hated. And that was before all of this. Before she had been captured, before she was this person with half a life's memories and half the arms of a normal person. Even the loss of her hair somehow felt wrong, ridiculous as it was compared to the other things.

And yet... she furrowed her brows and studied Mercer across the table. She felt, deep down somehow, that sometimes love was the kind of thing you had to fight for. Push yourself for. Somehow she'd figured that had the literal meaning, and to be fair, for them it did. They had to take to the field just for a chance to live, never mind live with each other. But maybe... maybe this was a battlefield too, of a sort. And if it was...

“They're already looking," she said flatly. She could feel it, even now, in the prickle of her skin and the cold shudder that moved up her spine. She refused to give into it, though. “And this—you shouldn't have to fight this alone. I want to help. It's already uncomfortable. At least if you did... that could be for a good reason. It could mean something."

I could help you.

Mercer huffed lightly, shaking his head as he arched a brow at Sorcha. “It already means something that you said yes the first time," he stated, smiling a bit at her. “If that's the case, if you really feel that way," he began, putting the plate he was holding on the nearby table. He cleared his throat, and turned away from her for a moment. It was easy to see, though, that he was reaching into his pocket for something. When he turned around, he was holding a small box of sorts. It looked like an ordinary box, just smaller. He glanced in her direction, though, and smiled at her. It wasn't a playful one, either. It was much too serious to be anything of the sort.

“Sorcha Blaiddyd, will you do me the honor of accepting this, and officially becoming my fiancée?" he asked, kneeling down on one knee as he pulled open the small box. Inside was a black steel ring with a green gem in the middle of it. It wasn't quite the same green as the previous engagement stone he'd given her, but it was still green nonetheless. The fact that he was kneeling, though, brought almost everyone's attention towards them, and for a moment, it was silent.

“You could have warned me," she hissed quietly, eyes wide. Now she was entirely on the back foot, and she could, in fact, sense that everyone's attention was on them. It felt like all the air had been sucked right out of the room, and almost despite herself, even knowing it was just for show, she felt her pulse kick up, swishing in her ears so loud she wasn't sure she could hear anything else.

She swallowed, a memory rushing over her. A young boy, round-faced with the faintest flush of irritation, she thought, though it was sort of difficult to read the expression through the haze of her tears.

I'll give you this, but you have to stop crying, okay? Those jerks aren't worth it anyway.

Sorcha blinked, and realized that, absurdly, the same haze was in her eyes now. Pulling in a deep, steadying breath, she slid off her chair to her knees right in front of him, brilliant silk pooling on the ground around them, and threw her arms around his shoulders. The words she answered him with were the same ones a young girl had used when she accepted a smooth, round stone she could not know the significance of, the memory complete for the first time since she'd first lost it, many more years ago than five.

“Okay, but only if you stay."

Louder, so it would be clear to their audience, she said something simpler.

“Yes."

“I had to catch you off-guard. Wouldn't be able to do that if I warned you, now could I?" he murmured softly before his arms wrapped around her. There were whispers filling the hall, now, as he stood up with her, still keeping his arms wrapped around her. He glanced at her, leaned to press his lips gently to hers, and pulled back with a large grin on his face.

“Sorcha von Riegan. I think it has a nice ring to it, don't you?" he asked, arching a brow in her direction. “Unless you want to keep Blaiddyd. Doesn't matter either way, because you're going to be stuck with me for the rest of your life. You sure you can handle that?"

That... was something she'd have to think about. Probably she should keep Blaiddyd, since she had Faerghus to think about. But she couldn't help but feel that she'd never been attached to it, that maybe it had done more harm than good in her life, whereas the notion of sharing Mercer's name had a certain uncomplicated rightness to it.

At the commentary, though, she snorted softly. “I guess I'd better be up to it—I don't think anyone else could," she teased, smiling a little. The crowd was the last thing on her mind—she barely registered anyone else was present anymore, let alone what they made of all this.

Mercer chuckled lightly and pressed another kiss to her lips. “I think you may be right," he stated softly, pressing his brow to hers. “Besides, there's no one else I'd rather have put up with me than you," he continued, brushing his nose softly with hers.

“Just so you know, you're going to be the envy of all, now. Everyone is going to want to speak with you and earn your favor, but," he paused, closing his eyes, “don't pay them any mind. Tonight it's just you and me, and no one else."

She huffed softly, leaning gently into him and closing her eyes too, for a brief moment. Being this close made her feel a little dizzy, but not in a bad way. “I don't think anyone's ever been concerned to actually compete for my attention before," she said wryly. Certainly not when she was an awkward, willful child, or an adolescent who never seemed to please anyone, or even at the Academy. “I can't imagine it'll work, though."

Not in a million years, when the alternative was him.

“Oh, but they'll try," he stated, huffing lightly. “They're just going to have to wait, though. Like I said, it's just the two of us tonight, and while I am required to be here, I think the other Lords and Ladies all have it in their heads now that I'm not choosing anyone," he paused to open his eyes and hold her gaze, “I'm only choosing you."

“So, Sorcha von Riegan... shall we run away from this place for a little while? They can continue without us, I think, now that they know I'm not changing my mind." He was grinning in a mischievous way at her when he spoke.

Whatever exactly he meant by it, it made her flush, and she nodded a little, trying her best to reflect a similar expression back at him. “Let's get out of here."

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