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King Rembrandt the Wholesome

King now. King forever.

0 · 317 views · located in Aires

a character in “Birthstone Spirits: The Great Escape”, as played by birthstone_spirits

Description

/King now. King forever./
↭ ↭

His Royal Highness King Rembrandt the Wholesome
|Wise|Agreeable|Generous|Widowed|Easily Manipulated

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Age: 52
Nation: The Rose Kingdom
Height: 6'1
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Grey-Brown (Once Dark Brown)
*Tells many un-funny jokes
*Enjoys hosting company
*Unbeknownst to him he has become a bit of a figurehead

King Rembrandt is the well-loved king of the RK who is famous for his decrease of taxes and kind gestures towards the poor. This kindness generally extends to the members of his kingdom however. He has little patience for nomads and immigrants who move into the area to take advantage of the kingdom's amenities without paying taxes.

Rembrandt received the title of "the Wholesome" because of his intense devotion to the Goddess and his campaign for better religious practices within the walls of Ve Marie.

Because of his devotion he is easily taken advantage of by Harbinger XII and readily gives lots of power to the head of church.


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So begins...

King Rembrandt the Wholesome's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Princess Morgan the Graceful Character Portrait: Harbinger XII Character Portrait: Trent Cress Character Portrait: King Rembrandt the Wholesome

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It was easy enough to say that the battle had taken a toll on everyone. But it was over now, and the citizens were still cheering and chanting—throwing their expensive alcohol over the side of the great wall with red, gleeful faces. Tallyho, though not completely coherent and probably unconscious, could somehow feel the presences about her body. She did not however feel comforted by them until a cloth steaming with a familiar warmth dabbed her face dry.

Haru had not moved from his spot. Instead he sat there on the ground—knees bent and spread on the cobblestone like a child’s in the grass of a meadow. Breath shallow, eyes unblinking. Time seemed to run slowly for him and he did not resume the normal standard of time until callused fingers pressed into his shoulder. He looked up to see a decorated officer, one of a substantial ranking but not nearly as high as General Cress. He did not introduce himself but delved right to the point:

“All of you are to come with us.”

His voice was not authoritative however. It was actually quite accommodating. Almost as if he were saying, “Don’t have a place to sleep? Here we’ll take care of you—hospitality.”
And Haru found this particularly ironic because as his gaze panned back he caught sight of knights in the same uniforms that escorted them off to jail.

But Haru knew that they had nothing to fear this time and gave the blessing. Medics from the group moved in without warning, scooping up warriors who had collapsed from exhaustion or were significantly injured.
The walk they shared was no walk of shame. She knights did not bind the warriors by the arms and march them down the street. But meandered around them like agents of protection, offering a hand if someone stumbled. They were taken to a military occupied house where each party member was given a comfortable bed to share in the presence of about three others. They were fed, allowed to clean themselves up, and redressed (quite simply) before being left to rejuvenate before moving to what the knights assured them was going to be a more fitting location.

But they weren’t to leave until certain agreements where made. Haru was made aware of the required session well into the beginning of their stay and on the third day he was preparing to go to the courthouse.

“So what is this for again?” Tallyho asked flatly as she appraised Haru from the doorway for the main room, her thick hair pulled into swollen twin braids, a partially opened pomegranate clasped in her right hand.

Haru straightened his tie as he plucked at his form in the mirror.
“It’s politics.”

“What?”
“I am going out there to meet with the important people. To ensure the government’s support of the group and our protection.”
“…Okay?”
“All of you should be ready to move on to the next place by the time I get back.”
“And what if this doesn’t work?”
“Trust me, we can’t lose now.”

Haru didn’t leave much time for Tallyho to express her doubt before fleeing the scene. Black coattails slipping out the door.

Haru would be lying if he said that he wasn’t at least a little bit worried. His palms were sweating a bit—why he hadn’t felt this way since he was alive the first time. He guessed over and over in his head which authorities would be at the table: A cardinal from the church and a man from the military perhaps? Members from the king’s council? He tried to plan out what they would say, how he would respond to their questions, try to appeal to their interests.

But when he walked into the room he was a bit surprised to see who he saw. There were about twelve men in the room, all in various uniforms and from varying occupations in the government but towards the end of the table were three noble chairs. The first contained a more familiar body. There sat General Cress, a small scowl on his face but nothing overtly vicious. Across from him was an older man clad in regal apparel. A feather in the hat, puffy sleeves, a grand get up. It was only after a moment of pondering that Haru realized that this was King Rembrandt the Wholesome. The low key but celebrated king of Ve Marie, and unlike General Cress the King offered an expression of genuine welcome. Between them, at the head of the table was none other than the Grand Harbinger himself, his frail, ring clad fingers posed on the table like a mannequin’s.

And so the negotiations were to begin.

Those who stayed behind at the inn before the group was arrested were welcome to reunite with the group the day they prepared to relocate. When Karma caught sight of her adoptive father (Ryou) she clung to him mercilessly. On the day that Haru went to his meeting he came back with little more to say than a firm, “Let’s get out of here everyone.” And so she followed, not entirely sure of the situation at hand. They ended their escorted walk by the time it was sunset on a finely paved path before a grand gate. Before this gate stood a tiny, almost doll-like woman.

The little woman pushed her spectacles up to the bridge of her nose, with round frames that, despite how uncomplimentary they were to her face, long and thin as a grain of white rice, somehow grew to look fashionable the more one looked at her. And it wasn’t hard not to look at her. Her mousy hair was cut into a demure bob with bangs that hung over thin brows in heavy, even layers. Her aging ears peaked out from her locks occasionally, as she bobbed her head this way and that when speaking, revealing lobes that were beginning to grow downwards, and reminisced over heavy earrings worn in her youth. Fine wrinkles made vertical lines on the area above her lips and under her nose. It seemed as though she had pinched too many babies’ cheeks and made too many kissy faces for a normal person’s taste. She was small in stature, substantially shorter than Haru or Tallyho at least, with slender, no, dare I say, ‘twiggy’ limbs that moved with so much expression you might think they’d break by sheer velocity. She was a sharp dresser though despite her unconventional look. Her dress was red, a bold bright red with grand shoulder pads that squared out her frame nicely and long buttoned sleeves that cropped right at the wrist, and a petticoat that was fuller in the back, making her breast-less profile a bit more of a representation of what men in songs say when they mention ‘womanly curves’. As she pulled open the gates and walked them further down the path she did not neglect to mention that she made her own dresses. She hadn’t even introduced herself.

“I’m sure many of you have heard of the plaza, the most famous part of Ve Marie’s castle, but most of you might not have ever dreamed of entering. Yes, this has been the living complex of the royal family since its construction in 1300 A.B. Many of the royal family’s cohorts have lived here also, most recently our great Harbinger and now you.”

Tallyho shuffled slowly, taking it all in. The plaza was already supposed to be the most well-manicured thing on the continent and she hadn’t even gotten over the courtyard which was impeccably groomed and full of shrubbery cut into various, visually tantalizing shapes. Tallyho felt quite simple really. How did the flowers grow in perfect square plots according to color? How could nature do that? Grow red roses next to yellow with such a bold transition? Poor girl hadn’t even considered the fact that the gardener’s might have transplanted them. Nonetheless, her attention was taken to the assortments of marble people who posed frivolously around the grounds, heads thrown back, and water spewing from their puckered lips and onto fountains and pavement.

Soon they were entering the building. Two armored soldiers pulled open grand doors that were about as high as three Haru’s put together. As the group filed in, the chatty woman, now identified as Mildred, continued her speech.

“This is the stair room. Giovanni Rembrandt—who was the king in power at the time of the plaza’s construction—had marble imported all the way from the Sea of Milk in order the pave the floor. On the walls there are paintings of some of the Kingdom’s most valuable and legendary knights done by visual masters and national treasures such as Piku, Geoffrey the Red and Fenwick. And of course those two spiral staircases—which is why this is called the stair room—“

Mildred snorted at her own joke.

“The story behind these magnificent pieces of architecture was that when his Royal Highness Giovanni’s wedding anniversary was coming up he asked his wife what she wanted for such an occasion and she told him that she wanted more space. This surely put him in a dilemma because most of the castle’s important buildings such as the great library were already being built around the plaza, so he couldn’t knock those projects down. But she wanted more space. So he contacted a few skilled architects and they found that the only solution was to build upwards and they just never stopped. The plaza is already up to four stories, which is well over the limit if you ask me! Nevertheless, Kings after Giovanni realized this also and expansion on the plaza officially stopped in 1463 A.B, BUT there are still spots at the top of the plaza where fifth floor construction already started and was never attended to. Anyway, later on today I will show you how to get upstairs and how to get to your respective rooms. Did I mention you are living here? We have enough space in here for all of you to have your own spaces if you so choose. The royal family isn’t nearly as expansive as it was in years before. Come, come…”

Mildred made a turn down the hall and began to show the group other facets of the plaza. They stumbled across studies, baths, relaxation areas, most of which Haru found rather indulgent and unnecessary. Nonetheless, he listened when Mildred insisted on talking about what scandals the plaza has kissed and where and why.

Tallyho was the most excited about the dining room which was, in essence, the size of the academy’s dining hall but with one long food ridden table that everyone who lived in the plaza was allowed to sit at and partake in. Her mouth welled with warm saliva as she eyed the food which was continentally diverse and abundant in every way:
Baskets of produce, white corn grilled over the fire ready to be peeled from their husks and slathered with fresh butter. Strawberries and bananas huddled into bowls with peaches whose pits where buried in soft orange flesh, uncooked banya complete with its prickly peel and ready to be cleaved by prying, hungry fingers. Pies, meat and fruit alike, some small enough to warm just the palm of one’s hand, rose jelly of many varieties and colors, breads and puddings drowned in cinnamon and sugar. Fine cuts of tender meat, pork and beef and chicken and fish that wafted delicious aromas down the hall. Large shrimp and salmon wrung from eastward piers. Cabbage and ginger soups and hot cereals. Finger sized cakes accented with coco beans for decoration. Tallyho was extremely hesitant about leaving this room, and wished that the tour had ended there. Not just because she put more thought into foods than her actual peers but because that was probably the most well put together spread she had ever seen and she wanted to experience it before someone messed it up for all of them.

As they left the room Tallyho’s senses were overtaken by a soft, melodious sound. The calming whistle of strings and the ting of the harpsichord and suddenly a voice, a voice that upheld itself with a humble beauty.

“It seems she is practicing,” Mildred hummed quietly.

Just as she said this the voice died down, allowing the harpsichord and violin to dominate the melody, each chord and note vibrating with certainty and precision down the echo of the hall. Fingers bounced on the harpsichord’s keys with a special pep in a solo before the violin bellowed in with sharp, firm strokes of the bow. Mildred led them closer and the voice rang again, not singing actual words but frivolous ‘ah’s’ and ‘lah’s’ that were just enough to convey the chipper tone of the composition.

Tallyho, along with the others lumbered towards the room where two young women chimed away with their instruments and the third, very much like a candid song bird who slipped her way into someone else’s practice twittered away, her back to the door as the strangers entered.

Mildred urged them to be quiet until the young woman finished the piece, her soprano sent calming reverberations that could have urged the baby blue paint on the walls to shudder and melt.
Soon her voice became softer and softer until it was nothing. The young woman on the harpsichord peered at the large audience with curiosity. The violinist turned too. And soon the singer, with a slow grace turned her attention to the new distraction, a host of strangers fumbling through her plaza with saucer eyes.

Tallyho studied the young woman. Honey hair hosted a set of curls and not the kind of curls that Tallyho or Lillian wore. These were curls most likely for fashion if anything else—a purposeful beauty trend. Her heart shaped face and high cheekbones gave way to gray eyes that glimmered with a lust for life. Her lips were tight, as if she were trying to suppress a smile or a laugh, small white hands fidgeted at the skirt of her yellow dress. With a slight tilt of the head, the kind that, instead of for confusion, was used to condemn a rascal in the act while still being polite, the young woman spoke to Mildred.

“Now certainly you weren’t standing there the whole time?”

Her face was becoming pink and it was apparent that she was a bit embarrassed.

Mildred laughed, “Oh, don’t be silly Princess!” She turned to the warriors and gestured towards the girl who she had just referred to as a princess.

“This is Princess Morgan, the only daughter of King Rembrandt and the younger cousin of General Cress.”

Then she turned to Morgan.

“Princess, these are the Month Warriors. The only and true.”

Any grace the young woman had prior to introductions was thrown away in one brief moment. As the musicians behind her exploded into their own chatter of excitement. Morgan hopped slightly, her hands moving from the fabric of her dress towards the group in a gesture of disbelief.

“Oh! Oh, oh, oh! You were the ones who did the flock! Oh! How I wish I could have seem that! Oh I heard so much about it though from my cousin! I heard that all of you were Za-ping and pow-ing and the boom and bam!”

As the princess howled relatively unbelievable sound effects she moved with purpose, her tight fists punching the air daintily as she posed like a super hero from a 1950’s comic book.

“Okay, okay that’s enough Princess…”

“Oh do they have plans already? Let me take over the tour huh? I’ll show them their rooms, and take them to the gardens down the way if they really want!”

“Princess… I’m sure they don’t—”

“Ooooh Oh pleeeaaaase Mildred? Please?”

Mildred looked to Haru for approval. The cat guardian glanced around the room, relatively caught off guard. Why were they asking him anything? He thought he was off duty.

“Ah…Whatever is most convenient for you Princess…” he struggled to switch to his diplomatic cap.

“Oh just call me Morgan!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Karma Chu Character Portrait: Princess Morgan the Graceful Character Portrait: Harbinger XII Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Trent Cress Character Portrait: King Rembrandt the Wholesome

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Note: This post is going to be a big skip briefly going over some of the weekend’s events leading to the ceremony thing. Hooray~~~

Tallyho was able to force tears back into her head. But this didn’t stop her mind from wandering in the night. They had found her. And under any circumstances she might have been upset about this, yet she felt happy to know that they found her in this state. Mounted on the kings horses, celebrated by the oppressors. Imagine that—a sun person—a month warrior.
The next couple of days had the same glamor and appeal that the parade day had. But it seemed that as each day zipped past the total luxury of the events and all of the work put into them became more obvious. Tallyho thought that the parade came across as a bit disorganized (and oh, when in Goddess’ name did she start critiquing organized celebration anyway?) but she came to realize the next day that getting the performers in line, their costumes, and the military men out of their drunken stupors from a night of debauchery really had Mildred running. Even though the month warriors did their final measurements for their custom made gowns and suits, Mildred still had to find clothes for them to wear at other events. Saturday before the mass, the king requested a sudden breakfast with the month warriors—a get to know you of sorts. Mildred seemed to come up with clothes for that and had them sent to each warrior and guardian’s door early in the morning.

King Rembrandt wasn’t what a naïve girl like Tallyho would imagine a king to be. To Tallyho, Kings were disgustingly pompous, self-serving, stoic figures of power whose life objectives were to squander and steal land from opposing kingdoms and bend the tax system in the favor of their gold pouches. Rembrandt was almost a horribly done parody of such a figure and Tallyho thought this in the nicest way possible. Every time he started to say something pompous—something that could also be accompanied by an upward pointing pinky—he did something ridiculous: A large crumb of bread hanging very obviously from his rusty beard or a ridiculous belch escaping him. And every time it happened, he recognized how stupid he seemed. And instead of getting mad about it, he laughed it off. Tallyho could certainly see where Morgan got her jolly disposition.

The way that Morgan interacted with her father was also an interesting sight. While most girls might be embarrassed of their father’s gas, Morgan laughed giddily with him. At some point during the breakfast she attempted to make herself burp only to be scolded by a very stressed Mildred. During the meal Morgan and the King spoke fondly of a missing family member. A brother—Tallyho couldn’t quite remember his name off the top of her head—who was the head of the military. The blonde’s thoughts instantly turned to Trent but her speculations were squashed when Morgan clarified.

Trent was the official head of the military while her brother was off on a military campaign. He was her cousin—the first born and only son of King Rembrandt’s younger brother.

Trent came in to eat with them a little bit later but he was unusually detached. It was almost as if he was bored with taunting the month warriors which, knowing him, wouldn’t be that far from the truth. He did however, to Tallyho’s surprise, greet Dorian by name upon sitting down. He didn’t sit next to the March warrior, or even continue a conversation with him, but the fact that he recognized Dorian in a respectful enough way baffled the blonde. She wasn’t sure if Dorian would catch her gaze, but after the fact she turned to him, green eyes full of confusion and interest.

Later they had to change again. For mass, Mildred made sure that everyone wore white. However, she didn’t bother to make that a requirement for party members like Dae, Liam, Mori, and Karma. Tallyho had never done anything like it before, but the mass was exactly what she would expect. It took place in the same great chapel where they tested themselves as month warriors. It was funny to Tallyho, being there again. And what killed her the most was that there was still a sizable amount of people hovering around the building, claiming to be month warriors!

Even though the event was supposed to be highly spiritual—a candle lit sermon and prayer with all the pews filled armrest to armrest with international royals and diplomats—Tallyho could feel nothing at all. Maybe it was because she wasn’t used to worshiping like this (or worshiping at all for that matter) but the entire display just went over her head. But there were some that seemed to genuinely immerse themselves in the experience. Haru—who was very noticeably not sitting next to Ryou—seemed like he would fall to pieces if his attention was taken away from anything the Harbinger had to say. And she couldn’t blame Haru for listening so closely to him. The Harbinger wasn’t a screamer or a preacher but he spoke with such an ethereal presence that it felt like he was telling you the meaning of life and that everything he was saying was indisputably true. It was just too bad that Tallyho couldn’t bring herself to become as involved as Haru. She only hoped that the goddess wouldn’t smite her.

Hours before the party, Tallyho decided that it would be a good idea to bathe before squeezing into yet another dress. She was a little surprised at herself for bathing so frequently considering the fact that the Month Warriors had done without regular bathing for quite some time since the academy was burned down. And even at the academy they only managed to get a bath every few days just because the lake would get a little too crowded or they had training or chores. After a servant woman warmed and filled the tub, she helped unlace Tallyho from her constraining dress. As this went on, Tallyho appraised her body. She wasn’t one to look in mirrors but she couldn’t help but notice a few changes since the last time she observed herself. She always had a more angular face than most children, but these days her jaw and cheekbones seemed to mold into straighter angles, her face more feline like, more womanly. She looked more like Lillian, not that Tallyho particularly minded, but it was…different. Where Tallyho had once developed a tan back in her days at the academy and on the ship, she was now fairly pale from being trapped underground in prison—probably paler than she was when the journey first began.

Her corset was undone and the servant left. With little effort, Tallyho shed the dress like a snake from its old scales, seething and hissing with mild disgust at the contours of her figure. How the outlines of ribs ran so close to the surface of her thin, cold skin. She stepped into the water. Never before had she noticed herself having body issues. So why was it now, after achieving a comfortable living condition and nothing to do but eat and be praised, that she was beginning to swallow these spoonfuls of self-loathing? She had only been living this way for what? A week and a half? So why was it that in the days of struggling in that goddess-forsaken prison, on the boat, at the academy, goddess, even in the days prior to the adventure, that Tallyho hadn’t thought twice about her own quality? She usually resigned to knowing that she was good enough. Period. And on the battlefield, while some quivered about what a liability they were for the team, she threw herself into the fray blindly. Not because she was more capable or more of a hero but because what else was she supposed to do? She felt that she was capable so she did it! And now that she’s here, taking a bath in an actual tub of all things (what a daisy she’s become) she has nothing better to do but suck her teeth at how the shadow of her ribs are superimposed on her much-too-pasty figure? And oh! She was doing it again.

Perhaps people were happier when they had something to work for…

As she pondered, a streak of blood wiggled down and pooled at her mouth’s cupid bow. With a disinterested movement, she swiped it from her face with her thumb.

/Not this again…/

She was tired of these things—whatever they were—that had been plaguing her body since the ship. These wretched, pointless seizures! It was embarrassing enough to have one in a prison bed. But did they really have to follow her everywhere she went? As she moved to step out of the tub, which she had not yet descended into, a gasp escaped her. Her muscles, all at once pulled tight and she lost control and thrust herself onto the floor—chin first—her wet feet slipping under her velocity as she tried to catch herself on hands and toes.

/Not this again. Not this again./

“Miss are you alright? I heard something fall.”
This was the servant through the door, not yet opened.

“I’m fine,” Tallyho hollered. By then she had regained control of her hands which were splayed below her, attempting to push upwards.

The knob turned.
“I SAID I’M FINE!”
“Are…Are you sure miss?”
It was all over now.
“I am… I am…”
“Yes miss…”


By no means was the small gathering a small gathering. The King wasted no time in bringing notable people from the western hemisphere, though a few people from Eastern Isle and Ira managed to make it. Tallyho, now over her instance in the bath, was just happy to find that there was unlimited alcohol being walked around by servers across the dancehall. And best of all, Haru didn’t seem like he was going to limit the amount they drank. They were in now, and they could be fools as long as they weren’t fools to the wrong people.

Haru begrudgingly came to this event. Having had his fair share of international relations when he was alive, he had no interest in the event at hand. He wasn’t even particularly keen on his face being publicly associated with the whole month warrior thing. Not that he was ashamed of the kids (okay maybe a little) but he was more content with being behind the scenes at this point.
Haru sat in the corner of the dancehall at one of the small, sparse tables available and drank idly. He watched as Tallyho downed drink after drink as she spoke to those who made conversation. He wondered if she knew that she was talking to the elderly Duke of Le Fay. Nonetheless, she held her alcohol well so he wasn’t so worried.

There were more pressing things for Haru Karokav to worry over and one of those was fairly obvious. Haru watched Ryou attentively, waiting for a moment when he wasn’t occupied by a diplomat, or his students, or Karma. Karma was probably the most trying obstacle. The young one, who had never heard the classical instruments live before, used all of her pent up energy to engage Ryou in a very intense dance completion. Well at least she considered it a competition. So as Ryou danced with her, Karma danced against him. And even though their motives for dancing were different, they seemed to enjoy themselves all the same.

When the time was right, Haru set his empty glass on the table, dusted his coat, and meandered over. He kept a distance, not sure how startled Ryou would be by his sudden approach from behind. And then he spoke.

“Sorry about the other night.” Well that was cliché. “I didn’t mean to come off so…so cold.”
One thing about Haru was that he rarely apologized.

Meanwhile on the dancefloor, Morgan scoped the crowd. She had no interest in sharing words with the diplomats as she found their company ordinary, tedious, and a little too boring for her attention span. She meandered towards a small group of month warriors (because let’s face it there are bound to be a few of them clustered up together somewhere) and offered a curl of the lips.

“Why, I do hope you lot are enjoying yourselves,” her neck cocked forward, “And if any of you are hungry, we can get them to circulate horsderves! My favorites are the little crab cakes!”

Without any room for silence she pitched in again.

“How about we all dance, huh?” She hummed as she did a little jig with her arms. Her optimism was…endearing.

Since the beginning of the cocktail, Trent gravitated to Dorian. Dorian, he decided, was the least annoying person he’d met thus far. And that was saying a lot considering Trent hated and considered most things extremely annoying.

He made his presence known, tossing Dorian casual conversation:

Attempting friendship through mutual disdain:

“The alcohol here is wretched!”

Attempting suggestive humor:

“The arms on that lady…” [Insert snooty chuckle here]

Attempting to be complimentary:
“I like your shoes… I have five pairs of them.”

And even trying to learn more about Dorian himself:

“So…Are you excited about the ceremony thing tomorrow?”

By the end of it Trent finally resigned to inviting Dorian to join him in what he knew best.
“Listen. Parties aren’t necessarily my thing. Me and a few of my men are going to ah… hit the town. I’d like it if you came. I mean, think of the fun we’d have with an actual month warrior in our crew.”
That was about as nice as Trent was getting. And with a curl of his brow he lifted his glass for a toast, waiting for Dorian’s reply.

Tallyho watched the Trent and Dorian exchange closely, meandering nearby so that she could hear just enough of their conversation to be a little embarrassed at Trent’s attempt at socialization. She wasn’t sure if she liked the idea of Dorian befriending Trent. Dorian was… well Dorian. A stone-faced sweetheart who gave Tallyho his banya just because he knew she liked it and showed her art on his cellular device. And Trent was… Trent. No explanation needed. Effectively tuning out the elderly Duke of Le Fay she too waited on his answer to Trent’s invitation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: King Rembrandt the Wholesome

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Kyle pulled at his collar probably for the fiftieth time in one day. Because of the very obviously foreign marking on his neck, no longer covered by his hair, he couldn't even loosen his tie. Most of the people working with him, or more like on him because he definitely had no say in all this frivolous exposure, were too polite to ask about it, but constantly breathing down his neck they had to be blind not to notice. The whole time he couldn't enjoy anything, because he was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. This all still felt wrong. They barely survived an army of cyclopean, including one ginormous thing, and now all the sudden everyone loves them?

Before even facing the army they were thrown in a dungeon. This couldn't be right. Nobody goes from a filthy prison to a palace. He shuddered violently, scaring his latest handler. "Are you well?" No, no he wasn't but this little boy couldn't do anything about it. "Just a little chill."
"I can stoke the fire, if you wish."
"Let it be. I'm going to be somewhere else soon anyway." he answered sharper than he intended but the boy finished his tasks in silence. For some reason, he found that annoying and frustrating too. No one in this palace challenged them. No one yelled at him for doing something stupid. No one told him to carry one more load of stupid useless rocks, or struggle through one more page or chapter for his homework. Actually he didn't have any homework, just tons of stupid useless parties and meetings.

They might not have all been completely useless, since somewhere behind all the stress involved (or compounded actually since the battle) he did realize that it would probably be a good thing to know who important people were (and know which ones he could avoid when necessary) but there were too many bloody people! Too many people and too much going on!

The only good thing about the parade was Tallyho's family cheering and singing for her. It was obvious those people decorated with flowers were her family, and in his opinion they were the most genuine people out there. He would have asked her about her family, but she tended to avoid everyone when they weren't stuck in some event. He started wanting to avoid people himself in these last crazy days.

The meal with the king was just plain uncomfortable, and he couldn't really concentrate on the church service. Despite the proper fit of his clothes, his collar still felt too tight and he felt too hot. He tried not to squirm though, because they were sitting in the front and everyone was watching them. By the time of this second-to-last party for the week, he was tired of people watching him.

Ironically, while training at the academy he wanted attention, the very honored attention of sitting at the high table with Ryou and his family. He wasn't good enough at any skill or strong enough for that attention. Now that he had the entire Rose Kingdom's attention at least, he didn't want any of it. "Dae, you were exactly right in every way. I didn't deserve it then and I don't deserve it now. Neither does it make me happy."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Princess Morgan the Graceful Character Portrait: Harbinger XII Character Portrait: Kit Withers Character Portrait: King Rembrandt the Wholesome

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#, as written by Linnea
Autumn chuckled and smiled back to Skylar, an obvious sign of emotional improvement. She remained the same in the days to follow and happily went along with the events. It was not unusual to see her admiring the many dresses she was put into. It felt so nice to have energy again. She hadn’t felt this good in a long time. She had been useful, she had been strong, and she was so happy.

The breakfast was enjoyable and Autumn could finally eat without wondering how much energy the food would give her. To live without thinking of those numbers, it was almost intoxicating. She was more than happy to go to mass, even though her belief in the goddess was shaky at best. The blonde was still trying to accept it as fact, despite all of the evidence in front of her.

Kit, however, was obviously a firm believer. Despite his disdain for wearing all white, something Autumn had only recently grown to understand the reason for, he was incredibly serious during mass. He listened closely to the Harbinger. In a way, his obedience seemed wrong to Autumn. It just didn’t seem like him. Here was a sarcastic man who had trouble holding his tongue and the almost constant impulse to prove himself to be the best in the room, following along like a lamb. It seemed odd, but then again there were people far stranger and actions far more puzzling.

As much as she had tried before the gathering, Autumn couldn’t twirl in her party dress. The large ball gown was simply too heavy and stiff. This time it was mostly black, save the skirt underneath the large beaded bustle. The lace trimmed sleeves and beaded top gave it an elegant look, though Autumn hardly considered herself to be such. She wouldn’t complain, though. Just because the dress didn’t suit her personality didn’t mean she didn’t like it. It was far better than what her guardian was wearing, but Autumn found most mens fashion in the Rose Kingdom was questionable at best.

Despite his (and by extension most mens) fashion choice, Kit was doing well at the party. While Autumn had nothing else to do but sit on the side and wonder if she remembered how to fox trot, the redhead mingled with ease and even danced from time to time. Autumn wasn’t too surprised by this. After all, he had grown up in the Rose Kingdom. From what she had heard, he had actually been quite wealthy. Things like this were probably second nature to him now.

Autumn spoke to a few people, but soon found them too hard to follow. Unlike Kit, she had no idea how to respond to topics of great literature from Aires or which painting in the plaza struck her as the most magnificent. These were Kit topics, not Autumn topics. Try as she might, she just couldn’t find the conversation interesting. Then there was the minor problem of seeing Liam dance with who she assumed to be Dae. Autumn had known for a while that she wouldn’t be getting anywhere with Liam, but it still hurt. Adding the fact that Harper and Xabier were now dating, well that just made it even more difficult. Sometime during her conversation with so and so from such and such family, Autumn felt the weight in her heart.

She eventually drifted over to Skylar, happy to chat with her friend for a while. She might never be able to be with those she was fond of, but at least she had friends. It dulled the pain a little.

“… and then he just throws the turkey!” Autumn laughed, retelling a scene of some thanksgiving reality show she had seen to which ever warriors were near her.

“I mean, sure it’s a little burnt but that’s just overboard.” Now she was feeling better. There were probably other ways to go about heartbreak, but pushing it back and ignoring it seemed to be working just fine. As long as she didn’t look at them, ignorance was bliss.

She smiled at the princess as she approached.

“I’d love to, but to be honest I don’t really know how.” Autumn shrugged, though it was a comical gesture.

“And I can’t do the worm in this dress.” She chuckled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Princess Morgan the Graceful Character Portrait: King Rembrandt the Wholesome Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards

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The days following the parade seemed to pass in a blur, the countless celebrations and extravagant dresses seeming to blend into one another. Skylar couldn’t quite wrap her head around the fact that they had made it this far- after the years of training and roughing it and living in secrecy, they were finally being accepted as the Month Warriors.

She knew that their victory should have come with a sense of accomplishment or pride, something at the very least, but all she felt was an odd sense of indifference as she waited for whatever they would ultimately be tasked with next.

No matter how much Mildred and the palace staff fussed over her, Skylar couldn’t bring herself to enjoy the attention. A self-proclaimed tomboy from age four, the constant pampering was almost as rough as their training. The gowns were beautiful, she would admit that much, but the all the frills and thick fabric were a little too much for her liking. Each day brought about a new set of dresses (usually in some variation of green or brown- all earthy colors, how original), and Skylar could only wonder where Mildred was getting them all from so quickly.

Skylar eventually fell into life at the palace, falling into a daily routine that mainly consisted of her aimlessly wandering the hallways in between their scheduled appearances. She knew there was so much more to the kingdom to explore, but for now she was perfectly content with exploring their home for the time being. She did her best to cast aside thoughts of their battle with the Cyclopeans, and she found herself spending more time than usual with Harper in hopes that his humor and good nature would rub off on her.

-

Skylar wasn’t particularly fond of the mass, the sermon going right over her head. It still felt odd, to be worshipping something completely different than what she had been used to at home. Then again, her family had never been especially religious either and her Church experiences were limited to the occasional mass on Christmas Eve or Easter.

Her attempts to at least try and look interested failed when her attention span ran out ten minutes into the service, her pale eyes scanning the room until her gaze landed on Bryce. She hadn’t seen much of her guardian since the initial battle, and she figured that he was off doing Bryce things and enjoying the luxuries the kingdom had to offer. From what she knew, he had grown up in a wealthy home, so all of this probably wasn’t new to him. Unlike Haru and Kit, who seemed obviously immersed, she couldn’t read her own guardian. He sat straight up, hands clasped in his lap as he looked ahead.

-

The one thing that got her the most was Princess Morgan’s interactions with King Rembrandt, and how well they seemed to get along. The man reminded her a lot of her own father, how he never seemed to take himself seriously and his personality essentially lit up the room. As the only girl in her family, she and her father had always been close and she held the title of “Daddy’s girl” very seriously. She nostalgically watched the two banter back and forth with each other, lips curved in an almost sad sort of smile. She didn’t think about her family as much as she used to, but certain things would stir up the feelings of homesickness all over again and make her wonder what had changed back at home in the years since she had left.

-

Skylar shouldn’t have been surprised that the “small gathering” turned out to be yet another lavish celebration, the elite from all of Aires milling around the great ballroom. After making her rounds with Bryce and managing to slip a few drinks by him, she resigned to a corner where a few of the other warriors were standing. She watched Bryce slide back into the crowd, the older male clearly in his prime. He seemed so used to this sort of lifestyle, easily falling into conversation with some diplomat from Ira.

With a short sigh (because the corset she had been tied into kept her from taking any deeper breaths), she let herself take in the scene before her. Her gaze screeched to a halt at the sight of Liam dancing with a tall woman dressed in green. She tilted her head, not quite believing what she saw. Was that Dae? Maybe she’d had more to drink than she’d realized.

She didn’t get to dwell on the thought too much though, the sound of Autumn telling a story about a Thanksgiving turkey distracting her.

“I’m not quite sure how you dance in these gowns, they’re so uncomfortable!” Skylar said with a laugh, turning to face Morgan. “You’d probably have to get another drink in me and then I might consider it.” She grinned, tucking a loose strand of dark hair behind her ear.