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Leolf

The King

0 · 342 views · located in Medieval Times

a character in “Crown of Betrayal”, as played by MadMax

Description

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Full Name: Leolf Duhamel

Personality: Leolf is a difficult and power-hungry man. He is very impulsive and temperamental, letting his emotions get the better of him. When he is angered he goes into a fit of blind rage and no one can make him see reason. Other than that he is highly stubborn and intense, which others find to be intimidating.

History: Leolf was the first born out of 4 children. His father, Adelmund Duhamel, was always a very controlling and manipulative man. Leolf's terrible temperament and harsh ways came from his father. As the eldest, Leolf was watched closely by his father, never able to anything he wanted as every piece of his life was carefully planned out. Even down to him taking over as King. His father was the one that planned to kill the king and his heir. Leolf was simply an eager participant in the malicious act. It was true that he wanted to take the throne for himself, his yearn for power was insatiable. The only part that displeased him about this position was that he knew his father would be there to control everything he did.

So begins...

Leolf's Story

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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#, as written by MadMax
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Roaming the hallways of the castle, Leolf found himself extremely bored. He was supposed to be with his father and siblings to make his first entrance as king. Under normal circumstances, he would have no qualms about this, but since his father seemed very stern about appearing on time, he made sure to be as late as he possibly could.

Already his time as king had been spoiled by his wretched father. Last night he had entered Leolf's private quarters, laying out the plans for how today was to play out. "Speak with strength." he ordered. "Hold your head high and don't give attention to those of little importance."

His patience with his father's controlling personality was running thin. After Adelmund's departure, Leolf had threw everything off of his desk in anger. What's the point of being having the title of King, if your father is in charge of all of your political and social duties?

Leolf should have expected this kind of behavior out of his father as he had controlled every aspect of his life since he was born. Yet, despite his better judgement, he had thought that this time might be different. How utterly wrong he was. If his hunger for power hadn't clouded his mind, then maybe he wouldn't have been so naïve.

A faint noise broke him from his thoughts. Turning his head towards the direction in which he heard it come from, he saw that it had came from the library. He immediately went into defensive mode, thinking that someone had snuck away from the excitement to steal the treasures of the castle. At least he hoped it was a thief. He could use a fight to blow off some steam and rid himself of his pent up aggression before he made his entrance as king.

Walking tall to show off every inch of his intimidating stature, he slowly crept into the library. His steely blue eyes searched the old room until they eventually landed on the perpetrator. His tense stance immediately relaxed upon finding that it was only a lady.

"May I ask why you're in here?" he questioned the stranger.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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"Erathemus' Theory . . . Heldon's legacy . . . Portel's wine?" Desmirra frowned with slight amusement. "You don't belong here. Well truly none of you do. No order to this madness!" She declared to herself.

Clearly the Master of the Atheneum didn't care for this wonderful collection of books. Or maybe he had lost his head like his old masters before him Desmirra mused scanning the shelves as she stood midway down a haphazard ladder. This room was beyond anything in her dreams. Never had she seen such a collection of books in one location. Row after row. The ginormous dark wooden cases that held boundless knowledge were endless! So far beyond that they eventually became lost to the eye. Sparsely lit and with a thick coat of dust layering all the shelves from unuse tickled her nose. Yet the smell of old bound leather and parchment was a comfort to her soul.

Indeed, she could happily spend the whole night right here. However, this excursion was not the reason she had broke away from the party as soon as her mother's back was turned. The only reason she had been lucky enough to come all this way across the land was because her parent's believed if left alone at Wynterhaven she would find herself in some mischief. The thought would have left Desmirra indignant if it in turn hadn't worked out so well for her. Why to think she was almost twenty and six and well beyond the age of being marriageable or of causing mischief and her parents still treated her as if a small errant child. It was beyond her reasoning why. She kept out of their way but she knew the true reason to be the fact she was an embarrassment to them. A daughter they could not wed off? Of course people should think there was something wrong with her and them as a family.

Desmirra bristled at the notion. She was beyond the hurt it caused her and caring. No in fact, she had been trying to find her way up onto the battlement before she passed this chamber and was distracted. It was said that from atop the palace battlement one could see across the vast ocean to the burning and bright lights of the land across the sea. A savage exotic land. A place of her wildest dreams. Where magic roamed freely and colours took on a whole other hue.

It was the land her aunt had traveled to and never returned. An aunt she had not met but certainly an aunt she secretly wrote to. Her aunt. Another embarrassment to the family. Just as Desmirra her aunt had longed for something . . . More! It was around this age that Desmirra was now that her aunt had sneaked off in the dead of night, crossed the land and sea to the adventures that awaited. And then much to the dismay and disgust of her family married a foreign merchant.

Clearly this was a sign! Desmirra eyes grew as large as saucers as her elegant fingers unwedged a thick tome caked in dust and spiders webs and read, "Bahhraynian lore and alchemy . . ." This was such a rare find! Excitement shot through her as she held back a squeal. It was at that precise moment the moldy air was filled with a sound, a voice that scared her out of her skin. Gasping, Desmirra slid down the ladder losing her footing managing to grab one of the steps, stopping her from hitting the ground.

Heart pounding, she collected herself enough to hop down the last step as if her elbows and calves weren't aching from the impact of wooden steps hitting her on the way down.

"Why I'm-" She started to apologies stealing a glance at the unnecessarily tall figure and then back up to the shelf were the book was still wedged, hoping whoever this man was would not notice it so she could steal it later. No, not steal but borrow . . . With no intention of returning it she thought to herself. It was unlikely this new royal family would miss it. The old ones clearly didn't with the amount of grime that layered the chamber. They wouldn't even know it was gone and was it truly stealing if no one knew it was missing? She thought not. "Why I could ask you the same thing?" Desmirra finally answered, straightening her gown that had a grey smear of dirt across the pale yellow fabric. Her hair was already lose and out of the confines of it's coiffure.

She was a mess but that hardly matter to her. "This could be my Atheneum for all you know and you could be the one intruding." She continued as she held his gaze. It was clear to her he was another one of the guest no doubt here to plead his fealty to this new tyrant king. In fact, she was certain of it. His boredom mirrored her own with all the other guests. Either way, she wanted him to leave so she could figure out how to sneak that marvelous tome out. "I could be the Queen for all you know." She added in the most haughty manner she possessed, hoping to scare him away. Was there a Queen? She was not certain. "And now I shall be so kind as to pretend you haven't addressed me so informally and allow you to take your leave without any further embarrassment on your part."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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#, as written by MadMax
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To say he was shocked, would be an understatement. This strange woman, albeit a beautiful a one, had the gall to talk to him in such a rude manner. By her tone and words, it was apparent that she was clueless to his identity. Nonetheless, he was not pleased with her. He demanded respect from all he encountered and she should give him nothing less.

However, there was something about her that Leolf was unconsciously attracted to. Maybe it was because he had never met a woman who spoke with such strength and confidence. Most maidens were timid and unsure when speaking to him, but she didn't seen to be intimidated in the least. It was both refreshing and annoying at the same time.

His deep voice had a hint of irritation present as he responded. "I sincerely apologize your highness. I wasn't under the impression that you were royalty." He bowed his head to mock her. Then whipped his head back up to add, "But if you really are queen, why aren't you preparing to make your entrance with the King?" Then glancing at her clothes he said, "Not to mention the fact that you are not dressed as extravagantly as I imagine a queen would be." He was very smug now, enjoying this little game they were playing.

"So if you could be the queen, then I could just as well be the king." He moved in closer to her leaving only a few inches of space between them. "Therefore, I believe that it is my right to receive an apology for the haughty manner in which you speak to me now." Leolf's intense gaze held hers as waited for her rebuttal. He was curious as to what she would say.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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The rumble of his darkly exquisite voice ran down her spine, causing Desmirra to straighten further. However, this was a niggle compared to the thick sarcasm lacing his voice which afflicted her ire entirely. In fact, his presence alone here irritated her, he need not have opened his mouth. He was interrupting her but then he had the audacity to call out her lie?! Who did he think he was?! She almost blurted out a laugh when he proposed he might be the King.

There were a lot of statements and facts he threw her way and that cool glimmer in his eye . . . Desmirra was certain he intended to make her look the fool. A thief in the making she maybe but she was not going to play a fool to this rogue. Handsome though he maybe, that fact simply made her distrust him more so. She often found that those who looked good on the outside, lacked substance on the inside and she had no doubt he was as dense as a stone.

Warmth radiated off him and pierced her skin, like a sunny cloak enveloping on a cool winters day. She had not expected the sudden movement; him to move and that too so close with the grace of a predatory animal. Though his move took her by surprise, Desmirra held her ground. She knew what he was doing and she would not allow it. He would not subdue her.

Desmirra grabbed a burning scone from the wall besides her and held it between them. It lit their faces up in a ghostly golden glow. She could see him clearly now. He almost took her breath away. The proud lines on his face. The permanent set of smugness turning up the corner of his mouth. And distinctly he was a man that was prone to frowning, for he had the slightest crease between his brow. Desmirra jut out her chin; for she would not give him the satisfaction of knowing she would have to crane her neck up to look him in the eye. She had never been so close to a man that was not her relative.

"Your Grace." She swept him an equally mocking curtsy. "The only thing I'll apologies for is not apologising." Desmirra told him boldly before she set about putting this vagabond in his place and sent him packing so she could collect her treasure in peace. "By your presumption Sir or rather your pugnacity should I say; if you are the King as you say you are, pray tell why are you not preparing to make your entrance and instead disturbing me? What right have you to question me? As for my attire, a man of your status as you claim yourself to be should know better than to speak of a Lady's attire but then . . . I have no doubt of how familiar a man such as yourself must be with the garments of ladies."

From any other woman's mouth those words could have been easily construed as flirtatious. From Desmirra's rapier sharp tongue they could not be mistaken as anything but insult. She could not for the life of her understand why this man irritated her so? She had always been of sound temperament. Maybe it was the way he demanded and then mocked. "Truly I can imagine you as the new tyrant King. You certainly hold the cruel streak." She had heard many a gossip and story about this new king of theirs. At first she thought the stories were little more than idol gossip but how could all the stories be wrong, especially when they all held such similarities. Leolf Duhamel was a battle hardened man with all the guile and cunning that all Duhamel's were known to possess. Cruel to his vassal's and merciless towards his enemies. He was no King she could respect or pay fealty too. "To demand and rule and conquer. Do you often accost ladies and tell them where they should be and how they should dress?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Kaytelynn Character Portrait: Roldan Character Portrait: Eldon

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#, as written by MadMax
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Being able to see her more clearly now that she had provided more light, he was awestruck. Her face was beautifully formed in every way. Her features weren't exactly delicate or dainty, but they held a certain matureness to them while still maintaining that fresh youthfulness. Leolf could easily claim that he had never met a lady with looks of her caliber. She was in fact, unique in every aspect of the word.

One thing was for certain, she was vexed by his words. The thought made him smile. The smile remained even as she mocked him. Had anyone else treated him in such a manner his temper would have made an appearance, but for a reason unknown to him, he remained calm in her presence.

At least, until she brought up the 'new tyrant King's' cruel streak. Leolf frowned deeply upon hearing that. While her other jabs, didn't hold any real merit, this insult felt more like a personal attack and brought his anger to the surface.

Too proud to let her know she got to him, he locked his jaw and responded in a dismissive manner. "I see your point. Now if you'll excuse me, I have more important matters to attend to."

With that he stormed out of the library, cursing once he distanced himself from it. Leolf knew he shouldn't let some insignificant woman bring out his temper like that, but he couldn't control it. His father hated it, and often chastised him for being too emotional. Seeing how his whole disposition had changed within a matter of seconds, he hated the trait himself.

Deciding that he had made his father wait long enough, he entered his private quarters where his servants got him properly dressed. At last, he placed the crown atop his head, proudly showing off his title as King. Heading towards his father and siblings with dignity, he prepared himself to make his entrance.

The sour look on his Father's face told Leolf that he wasn't pleased. However, he gave his father a menacing glare in response, daring him to voice his displeasure.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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As quickly as he had come. He was gone. Desmirra was left gaping as he swept off thunderously. His smile had done nothing more than grate her the wrong way. More so than his original entrance. She was amusing him! Like some sort of-some sort of . . . dancing bear! When what she wanted to do was . . . She couldn't even recall as that smile was imprinted into her mind. It was a ridiculously charming smile and that's why it was all the more annoying!

What a contrary fellow. Desmirra was left to muse; her gaze still fixed on the invisible trail of his retreat. The torch in her hand still lighting her features as a frown marred her face. One minute he was amused and the next it was as if lightening had struck him. His comely face was a beckon of unspent stiffness. What was she supposed to think? Well whatever she was left pondering over, her original plans had all flew out the window. The battlement. The tome. All replaced with this wicked stranger clouding her thoughts.

"Silly man . . ." She half whispered to herself, gasping when for the second time that night she was half frightened to death out of her skin as a cold hand wrapped around her wrist. She squealed in fear.

"Och girlie! Ye'll wake the dead." Whispered a voice she recognised far too well. A voice followed by a cackle.

"Nonna!" Desmirra pressed a relieved hand to her chest. "By the Gods! I swear it the dead wish to see me! For the amount of times I've almost met them tonight! What are you doing?"

Nonna grinned baring a gummy mouth with a single tooth. Nonna looked like she was one of the dead; with her paper thin translucent skin. Her head which was always wrapped in a scarf and she only ever wore thick heavy grey dress. The old maid had been with the Wynterwyn family longer than anyone could remember. Nonna herself often joked she had raised all of the Wynterwyn's since there were Wynterwyn's to raise. Of course, it was only the tale of an old maid. Yet Nonna had never revealed her age, ever, to anyone. Desmirra's father remember Nonna from his own childhood and no one, not even Lord Wynterwyn himself dared encure Nonna's wrath. As maids go, Nonna had a very fortunate and free existence.

"Oh now dearie, I was coming to save ye from yourself but alas I was too late." Nonna shook her head as if grieved but Desmirra knew the old woman far too well. "A lady of your advanced age shouldn't be looking a gift horse in the mouth?"

"A gift horse?" Desmirra sputtered looking at old Nonna in bewilderment and then disgust. Advanced age? Oh and was quite sick of hearing that. It was another way of saying she was a spinster and should not turn away any man that was mad enough to look at her in the first place. "You mean that pompous arrogant . . . ars-"

"Aristocrat?" Nonna helped. The two women shared a grin. There wasn't much Nonna wasn't privy too. Though the old woman could not see out of one eye, Nonna had eyes everywhere.

"You were spying on me?" Desmirra wagged a defined brow in her direction as Nonna weaved her arm through Desmirra's and began to guide the girl out of the library. Desmirra took one longing glance over her shoulder at the half way wedged tome and sighed. She'd never get her hands on it.

"Your mother called for me to come and find ye. She said ye'd disappeared as soon as her back was turned. Now let's get ye back to where you should be before yer Lady mother whips me silly."

Desmirra glanced down at Nonna with a look that told clearly and playfully she did not believe her. If anything, Lady Wynterwyn was far too fond and even respectful of Nonna to say a single word against the aged woman. It was not long before Nonna handed Desmirra back to her mother outside of the chamber and away from prying eyes. As if passing over a errant child. Indeed she'd been scolded in such a manner.

"Do you know what happens to girls who venture off on their own in the castle of tyrants?!" Her mother seethed in a whisper while sharing a glance with Lord Wynterwyn across the room that said all was under control.

"They have a wonderful time and discover a wealth of knowledge? Oh and magic?" Desmirra mocked, yet Lady Wynterwyn was not amused in the least.

"They often are lost and then found long later cut up into tiny pieces in a ditch- you know what Desmirra?" The way her mother looked at her said it all. "Chance would be a fine thing."

At this point, Desmirra would have much preferred to be a child right now. She would not in that case be forced to attend such tedious affairs. Once again she was stood in an animated chamber waiting for King and command, ignoring her mother and her cruel words.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Kaytelynn Character Portrait: Roldan Character Portrait: Eldon

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"The maids? Really Eldon?" Kaytelynn looked at the youngest of her older brothers in disgust. "Why can't you have a bit more class and fornicate with a Dowager or a bored chatelaine?"

The maids, the servants, they weren't even people to Kaytelynn. They were akin to animals. They were there to work for their betters. Of course Eldon would philander with the rodents. Eldon and Leolf were her least favourite brothers. They were brutish and entitled. Of course, Kaytelynn overlooked her own sense of entitlement that may possibly have been greater than all of her brothers put together but self-centeredness blinded one to that fact. Roldan on the other hand, she could tolerate. They shared little conversation and that was perfectly fine with her.

It was not long after her father scolded Eldon and made his declaration about Leolf that he strode in looking more regal than ever. At least, he wouldn't embarrass her by dressing like a fool, Kaytelynn thought smiling to her brother who did not notice or pay her any attention. She quickly replaced the smile for a more placid detached semblance. No, in fact one thing all Duhamel's were good at was dressing for occasion. It was in their blood. The finer things in life. It was as if the whole family had been waiting for this elevation their whole lives.

"See papa," Kaytelynn chimed as the tension could have been cut with a knife. There were far too many men in this family, Kaytelynn mused to herself. But then again, she thought to herself, she certainly didn't want to share the men in her life with some other women. Hopefully she'd be married off long before her brothers decided to settle down. "And you thought punctuality wasn't important to Leolf." She smirked, which reminded her. "Papa you said there would be suitors for me here? Are they foreigners?" She questioned eagerly, speaking of the only subject that truly interested her. Surely her father did not still intend for her to marry these old stuffy Lord's. No, Kaytelynn intended to be a Queen in her own right.

"Well shall we my Lord's? Your Grace?" She gestured to her brothers and father as she linked her arms through his. She was ready to make her entrance. A princess by another title. With a stiff spine, a raise of the chin and a regal demeanor, so the Lady Kaytelynn fashioned her entree as an imperial.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Kaytelynn Character Portrait: Roldan Character Portrait: Eldon

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#, as written by MadMax
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Leolf's glaring was interrupted by Kaytelynn, his only sister. He looked to her now as she mentioned his punctuality. It didn't matter to him, but he could tell she was trying to break the tension so he didn't say anything to oppose it.

The mention of suitors made him roll his eyes. That was the only thing that she ever talked about. His father answered with, "Of course, my dear. Rich and Powerful foreigners. However, I do wish that you would consider some of the more influential suitors within one of the noble families. I know you will not settle for anything less than exemplary, but do choose wisely Kaytelynn." Then he turned to Leolf. "You would do well to think along these lines also. The future queen must have something that would be useful to us. Meghara Rotherstone would be a fine choice in my opinion as her family has amassed a large army."

He sighed in frustration at his father's pushiness and was glad to get on with the entrance as Kaytelynn had suggested. Leading the rest of the family at the front, Leolf proudly walked through the doors as the servants held them open. The room was extravagantly decorated and filled with people. The crowd hushed as they made their way to the head of the room, whispers flowing amongst the hoard.

Not even a hint of a smile was present on Leolf's face. A King's job was to demand and conquer, and he needed to show that he was not one to be pushed around. His charm would come out during his speech, but for now he needed to seem intimidating.

The new King found his way to the top of the dais, but before he seated himself on the throne, he spread his arms out wide to signal everyone's attention. "Welcome everyone. As you all know. The previous King and his heir have both passed on. In the tragedy of their deaths, we mourn for the loss of the two noble men. But despite the grief that has taken hold, we must move forward. And I, Leolf Duhamel, your new King, will be the one to move us forward."

Clapping commenced from some, but not all. His eyes flickered to his father's briefly before he moved onto the next part of his speech. "For my first act as King, I am calling forth a new King's council. As for the members of the council I must ask that, Lord Wynterwyn, Lord Allgarrd, Lord Rotherstone, and Lord Giscard, become the first official members of the council." He paused briefly before continuing. "I must also demand that the Wynterwyn family stay in the capital."

A charming smile finally came over his face. "Not that the political matters are over, please take advantage of the food, drinks, and entertainment." With that, he finally took his seat on the throne. His father looked entirely shocked and that made Leolf feel very satisfied with himself. He knew that the Wynterwyn's were not happy with him as the king and knew that it was best if he kept them close to him as a way to keep them in line. Asking Lord Wynterwyn to join the council was just another addition to that plan, and he knew that the man had no choice but to accept as a request from the King was as good as an order.

At the moment, Leolf had a feeling of complete power. He felt invincible, as though no one could touch him. In only a short amount of time, being King has already served him well.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie Character Portrait: Alaric Character Portrait: Edmund

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"Well my dear," Maimie Rotherson whispered to her daughter, the slightest hint of satisfaction upon her lips. "We don't need to worry about his appearance do we?"

No, they certainly did not Meghara flushed. The new King was the epitome of masculine perfection. Tall with broad shoulders and sinfully exquisite features. Far superior to her old suitor. Indeed, they'd look fine together, Meghara decided happily; and produce handsome heirs.

Meg's confidence was once again restored. His vanity had to be equal to hers and the way in which he commanded the room . . . Meghara stood there with a twinkle in her eyes as she imagined standing by Leolf Duhamel as his Queen. Without a doubt, she'd make him an excellent Queen. He didn't even realise how lucky he was. She was a prize after all.

"You had better get used to calling me Your Majesty mama." She whispered back to her mother, sharing a conspiratorial grin.

"Mother of the Queen has a nice ring to it too you know?" Maimie simpered. "Your uncle tells me Adelmund Duhamel sees no reason the match should not be a prosperous one." Lady Rotherstone went onto explain to her daughter. "They need an army and an heir as soon as possible to secure the line of succession. A male heir." She added pointedly. "I have given my word that the women in our family have never had trouble with fulfilling their womanly obligations. As soon as you are wed you must see to your duty. By the King and by your brother and I. Then my dear you will come to know the true meaning of untouchable."

Untouchable. Meghara liked the sound of that. Just as she liked the sound of never scrounging ever again. The promise of silks, velvets, rubbies, gems and all the untold riches that awaited her beyond this marriage danced across her vision. All the things of her wildest dreams. They were all within her reach. She just had to reach out and grab for them.

"Of course mama." Meghara finally replied. She'd give him and heir or two and he'd bestow upon her what her heart truly desired. Power. Position. Prestige. This was how these alliances worked. She wasn't foolish enough to expect love. Nor would she respect the King if he talked of such absurdities. Though she doubted it very much. He appeared far too practical.

Marriages were contracts. Nothing more. He'd receive her family's military as dowry and she'd get position for her family, power as Queen and wealth as the sovereign's spouse. What more could any woman want? As she looked around the packed hall, she felt sorry for all these young ladies sending longing glances to the King. How foolish of them to think they had a chance? She mused happily.

"Where is Alaric mama? He must introduce me to the King immediately!" Meghara declared as music started up and the hum of many voices in a vast space crammed to the hilt made it difficult to hear and be heard. Wine flowed and the scent of spiced and sweet meats drifted on the air.

"Patience my dear. Did you not just hear? Your brother has been declared a member of the King's council! Do you not realise what such an honour this is?" It appeared to Maimie that things were finally going the right way for her and her children. "Plus, this will give us ample opportunities to steer in the direction of the King. You must win his affections. I'm certain my dear you can tame this wild beast." Maimie smiled, fixing her daughter's coiffure once more. She must look her best.

Meghara burned with impatience to catch the King's attention. It certainly helped she found him exceedingly attractive. That would help her provide him heirs. Now if only he'd lay eyes on her . . . Meghara knew she would have him then. No man had resisted her ravishing 'charms'.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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If ever there was a time she'd wished she'd kept her big mouth shut, it was certainly now. For a long moment she simply gawked. Then she proceeded to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn't seeing things. It couldn't be . . . Please Lord don't let it be . . . Oh but it was. If Desmirra Wynterwyn could have disappeared in that very moment she'd be the happiest woman alive. She shirked behind a stone pillar as the Duhamel family made their entrance.

"What are you doing?!" Lady Wynterwyn seethed to her daughter as she yanked Desmirra by her upper arm painfully back in place next to her. Desmirra swallowed hard. She tried to convince herself in a room filled to the brim like this he wouldn't notice her. She was after all so plain and ragged. The smear still across her dress was going nowhere anytime soon and her hair had fallen out of it's confines.

Desmirra calmed herself enough to listen to Leolf Duhamel's speech. Without her even realising it, with each word that escaped his lip her face scrunched up a little more. Well, she thought to herself with some satisfaction, she certainly hadn't been wrong about him being a tyrant, had she? He was every bit the hedonistic oppressor she had heard him to be. She was not impressed. Both her and her mother's gazed flickered to Lord Wynterwyn who was stood with them now when the King decreed that Lord Wynterwyn would serve upon the council.

They were to remain in the capital? Desmirra's gaze shot to the King unlike her parents who were far too skilled in the politics of court to even flinch. Instead, the Lord and Lady Wynterwyn smiled brightly and bowed and curtsied to the King in acceptance. Desmirra did not follow suit as she should have. Her parent's maybe bound to stay in the capital, however Desmirra had other plans for herself.

"He need not have demand we stay in the capital. Naturally we understand that if you are to serve upon the council we are to remain in the capital." Lady Wynterwyn said to her husband after the merriment began. Her voice full of scorn. "At least until he gives his consent for us to leave."

"He is young and yet to learn. With the right counsel he will prosper." Lord Wynterwyn said matter of factly as he placed a kiss upon his wife's cheek and whispered against her ear. "Later."

Lady Wynterwyn understood the words her husband did not say. Her tone changed completely. "Of course my Lord, with the right counsel. Long live King Leolf the third." She smiled and raised her glass and a toast and everyone in the surrounding area declared to the long life of the King. Everyone except Desmirra who began to shirk away trying to lose herself in the crowd. There had to be somewhere she could stay out of sight all night . . .

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Kaytelynn Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Roldan Character Portrait: Eldon

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A pleasant feeling passed through Leolf as everyone raised their glasses to him. Long live the King, he could get used to hearing that.

Now that the festivities had begun, a steady flow of lively conversation filled the room. Eldon had already slipped from his spot and found his way onto the dance floor. He was trying to woo the ladies no doubt. Roldan was engaged in a conversation with his father and any moment now, Kaytelynn was sure to be bombarded by suitors.

Leolf would have remained sitting atop his throne, if it hadn’t been for his father calling for him to join them. Reluctantly, he walked over to stand beside Roldan and his father.

“Why don’t you ask one of these fine ladies to dance, Leolf. It is time that you start searching for a suitable queen.” His father said.

“None of these women are worthy of my attention, father.” he responded in a bored tone.

“Not even that blonde beauty over there.” His father pointed to one of the ladies that was a small distance away from where they stood. Leolf’s eyes surveyed her features. She was, as his father had said, a beauty. Those long golden locks combined with her enticing figure was enough to make any man happy. Well, any man but Leolf. He knew that if his father pointed her out, then she was most likely the Meghara Rotherstone that he mentioned earlier.

Turning to his father once more he scrunched up his face in feign distaste. “She’s rather plain.”

His father didn’t seem convinced of his lie and went on to lecture him, but Leolf drowned out his words as he looked into the crowd. He wasn’t searching for anything in particular, but when he spotted a hint of auburn hair, he left his father without so much as a glance.

As he walked, the crowd parted for him. The whispers among the girls made him roll his eyes. Did all maidens have no substance? He wondered. The female he was seeking out now, was the only one that had ever gave him reason to think differently. Even his own sister only seemed concerned about her appearance and marrying someone of high status.

Nearing closer, Leolf could make out the pale yellow color of her dress. A grin stretched across his face. It was her. The girl from the library.

Making his way in front of her, he gave a slight bow as he had done before, but this time he extended a hand out in her direction. “May I have this dance,” Then in a lower voice he added, “Your Majesty.” He gave her an amused look as he said the last part.

“Or am I too much of a... What was it you said?” Leolf paused as if trying to remember. “Oh, that’s right, I believe you used the word tyrant.” His voice had a teasing tone to it. He knew that he had her trapped. A maiden such as herself, could not refuse the King.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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An unstoppable force met an immovable object. Desmirra had been swimming through the crowd as fast as was humanly possible. Unfortunately for her, it was not fast enough. Her heart stopped with her feet before it began to pound uncontrollably. She didn't understand . . . One moment he was there and now . . . He was stood right before her. Tall, dark and overbearing. With that irritatingly charming smile she thought a little dazed but mostly annoyed. And when he opened his mouth to speak, a deep groove was set between her brows before she could stop it. The words your majesty almost making her physically flinch. Stupid! How could she have been so stupid?! He was fortunate she wasn't the kind of woman who was prone to fainting spells for his teasing would have surely sent any other woman into a tizzy.

The gasps and tittering of the crowd closely around them pulled Desmirra out of her consternation with King Leolf and into action mode. She did not turn to look and although stood far, far on the other side of the room at this point, she could almost feel the burning gaze of her parents upon her back. Or was it the whole room's curious gazes she felt upon herself? Desmirra couldn't be certain but she knew the rules.

Looking between his outstretched hand and his smug face she couldn't decide which one she wanted to slap more. "Face definitely." She said out loud before she realised. Her own eyes flashed in disbelief at her own action. It was obviously the crowd had heard her confusing and impromptus remark. She did the only thing she could do. Desmirra curtsied deeply and slipped her hand into his letting him lead her out onto the dance floor before she could make another social blunder. People already thought there was something wrong with her. She need not give them anymore fodder. Yet, the small shock she felt shoot up her arm as she took his hand left her startled.

Still, as the King swept her onto the dance floor, her eyes did not leave his. Not because of how striking he was; well there was that too, no, but because she didn't trust him. A pout was glued to her lips and her eyes narrowed upon him as they danced. For a long moment she did not say anything; trying her hardest to figure out his motives. She saw no reason why someone like him - The King himself, she reminded herself wanting to sink into the very ground beneath her - would want to dance with her. To torment her was the conclusion she came to. For her earlier indiscretion with him in the library.

Well! Desmirra decided, if he intended to make her look and feel more foolish than she already did, then she saw no reason to hold back her thoughts. Not that she could have even if she had tried. She had no filter. Feeling like a trapped animal, Desmirra found herself on the offensive.

"You forgot the part about being cruel." She reminded him finally speaking when the dance allowed them to be close enough to speak. "But I did not realise you were also devious, callous, merciless, spiteful, bestial, brutish, depraved, unrelenting, inexorable and-and . . ." She listed almost comically though her intention was otherwise completely and now she was beginning to run out of synonyms, thankfully the dance parted them for a moment long enough that she could think of one more. "Malevolent!" She added with satisfaction.

She did not enjoy being the centre of attention. On the other hand she was curious about this new King. This new King that was toying with her. Clearly the rumours were true however . . . There was something inside her that didn't quite believe it. She was being foolish of course and this was prime opportunity to see gossip hold true. If nothing else, it would give her some level of vindication as she tossed and turned in bed this night when her mind would play the evenings events over and over again for no other reason than to torture herself.

"How is that your majesty?" Desmirra looked up at him with a quirk of a brow; her hand in his as the dance forced them into a closer position. It had been a swift change in her thoughts from her indiscretion in the library to his speech as she blurted before she had even finished thinking. "Has it ever occurred to you that people maybe more willing to do your bidding if you ask rather than demand?"

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"This sickens me." Lady Wynterwyn declared to her husband. They had managed to maneuver away from the crowd to a spot where they could see the whole room. "His hands upon her. I swear it, I rather she die a lonely old maid."

"I see no reason to worry in that regard." Lord Wynterwyn reassured his wife. "He has no honourable intentions towards her. Don't you see, just as his public declaration for our incarceration within the capital, this is just another show. For me. He has power. Or at least that's what he wishes for me to see. How powerless I truly am before him and his ilk."

Lady Wynterwyn listened to her husband carefully. Both their eyes fixed on their daughter. She understood completely. It was nauseating being here. Drinking this traitors wine, eating his food. It should be her nephew upon that seat. Her sister's child. Not this pretender.

Lord Wynterwyn placed a kiss upon his wife's head, discerning her thoughts though she said not a word. "It will be done." He promised her. "He is safe for now until we are strong enough to make it so and bring the rightful forth."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie Character Portrait: Edmund

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That look. That look did not bode well for the Rotherstone family. Her daughter was clearly far too taken with the King to notice however Maimie Rotherstone was not. She was far too old and seasoned to overlook such a slight. The mere glance the King had bestowed upon her child was enough to tell Maimie everything she needed to know. The King was not interested in Meghara the way in which a man should. Any man, let alone the man who was to marry such a woman. No . . . This would not do at all.

Maimie glanced at her daughter who was sending longing glances to Leolf Duhamel with a slight trace of smugness to her sweet lips, the smugness of ownership. However, Maimie thought with mildest internal panic, if something did not change with Leolf Duhamel in regards to her daughter then that ownership would never come to pass. And that, she could not have.

"Will he do my dear?" Maimie questioned her daughter; a seal of false happiness brightening her lips.

"More than do mama." Meghara replied upon a sigh. "He's perfect. Just like the stories you told me of dark, brave knights who'd carry me away-" Maimie turned to look at her daughter as Meghara suddenly stopped mid-sentence.

"What is it dear?" Maimie questioned but before Meghara could answer, Maimie turned again, this time with the whispers and chatter that seemed to be carrying through the room.

Mother and daughter watched and gasped with the rest of the room as the King made a beeline towards . . . Maimie recognised that girl.

"Who is she?!" Meghara seethed in a whisper, yanking Maimie by the arm to face her once more. For a short moment Maimie had a bewildered look in her eyes. "Mama!" Her daughters cry bring her back to the present.

Maimie glared across the room making sure to catch Adelmund Dahamel's gaze. Though, her brother was the one dealing with the in's and out's of this negotiation of marriage. Maimie wanted to convey clearly to Lord Adelmund Dahamel that she was NOT impressed with his son's behaviour in the light of this impending marriage. The sentiment was carried indubious along the invisible line of their gazes.

"No one that matters." Maimie affirmed boldly to her daughter and to herself. "Wait here." Maimie instructed Meghara. "I'll be right back." Before slithering through the crowd and disappearing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie

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Clearly the King could not wait until after they were married to whore around. By the Gods she felt mortified! How could he embarrass her so publicly. This was clearly just a sign of things to come. With her last suitor, Meghara had become too comfortable knowing she'd get her way easily no matter what the matter but with this King . . . It would not be so. Thus, Meghara decided as she glared at her husband to be dancing with another woman she must proceed with caution.

She would MAKE him want her. No man had ever overlooked her in the way she had been tonight. She would not have it. She was his Queen! She would not be treated like this. As for that chit he was carousing with so openly . . . She'd see to her too. They'd worked too hard for this. For it all to be washed away by some ugly, round, red faced girl.

The couple danced closer to her. Meghara composed her face into a smile. Hoping he would notice her. She couldn't understand how he could miss her?! She was far superior to anyone in this room. Far superior in looks than the woman he was dancing with.

She didn't know how much more she could take of this when suddenly she was thrust forward. She squealed, reaching out for purchase and oh her purchase was oh so perfect; Meghara grinned internally as she found herself in the Kings arms.

Big bright eyes glanced up through thick lashes as she lay half suspended in his arms. Her fist clenched in his doublet, not allowing him to pull away even if he tried.

"You foolish man!" Maimie scolded the passing servant who it appeared had pushed Meghara.

Meghara's gaze flickered from the Kings to her mother's. Just long enough to see the quick exchange of coins into the servants hand as he apologised profusely and made his quick exit.

Oh mama! You are simply the best.

"Oh my dear." Maimie ventured towards her daughter and the King. "Are you alright?! You're ankle it much be twisted."

Meghara looked at her mother in confusing for a moment until Maimie bestowed her with a speaking glare.

"Oh!- ouch! Oh yes I do believe it's a little sore." She hissed dramatically as if in some amount of small pain. "Your Majesty." Her bright eyes flashed up to his dark gaze. "Thank you for saving me." Her hand squeezing his strong bicep enticingly where she held him. "However can I pay you back?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie

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#, as written by MadMax
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Based on the look on her face at his words, Leolf could safely assume that she was embarrassed of her earlier actions now that she knew he really was the King. His own brows drew together in confusion at her comment. His face? What about his face?

Before he could even ask what she meant by that, she had taken his outstretched hand. As he led her to the dance floor he couldn't ignore the strange feeling he got from the contact. Still holding one of her hands with his, the other hand reached out to grab her waist as they moved in sync with the others covering the dance floor. Including his brother Eldon and Alaric Rotherstone.

However, he only had eyes for the enchanting creature which he was dancing with. Her gaze, much like his, did not waver. Leolf was still highly amused, as he was earlier. He knew that she was frustrated with his teasing, especially in front of the crowd that had gathered to watch the spectacle, but her reactions were so precious that he couldn't help himself. He knew that dancing with a woman such as her would spark the curiosity of everyone in the room, but one look at her and all other thoughts left him.

It was several moments before the lady finally broke her bout of silence. Rather than feeling offended by her harsh words, his devilish grin simply grew larger. A laugh even escaped him when she searched for another degrading term to call him. They were briefly pulled apart for the dance and when she came back to him, she seemed to have came across another word, but by this time it had already lost it's intended effect. The satisfied look on her face almost made him want to pretend that she had hurt him, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't wipe the smile from his face. Leolf couldn't remember the last time he had smiled this much.

As the dance brought them dangerously close to one another, the King opened his mouth to respond to her inquiries. "You know," he paused as if thinking. "I don't believe that has ever occurred to me. Maybe that's why I am such a cruel, devious, callous, merciless, and spiteful tyrant. You'll have to teach me how to think differently, I'm afraid." He pouted slightly. "Otherwise, you'll be stuck with me and my sadistic ways."

He tilted his head in towards hers. "I must compliment you on your extensive vocabulary, by the way. It is most impressive. Most impressive indeed." His eyes which had held mischief since they started dancing, took on a more sincere look. "Now that you know I am Leolf Duhamel, I must ask you of your name. I'll admit, I am quite curious to find out."

Before she could answer him, something crashed into the two of them, causing the woman to fly out of his arms and another to fill her place just as soon as she had left it. It was the blonde from earlier, Meghara Rotherstone. He could hardly keep from rolling his eyes at the intruder. She had interrupted his dance and wonderful conversation! He didn't even catch the woman's name! His jaw, now tense with frustration, tightened as he tried to pull away from her. However, her grip was so tight that he remained in place.

According to the yelling, a servant had apparently bumped into her and caused her to crash right into him. Meghara's mother had made such a scene out of the accident that he couldn't get away from the woman if he wanted to. Damn that servant! Leolf would think of proper punishment for him once this was over.

Meghara whined about her ankle, making a dreadful hissing noise that made him want to cringe. Her bright blue eyes found his icy ones as she grabbed his bicep. Leolf wanted to drop her were he stood, but he couldn't do that in front of all of these people. He was trapped. Finding his father and seeing the pleased expression on his face, he realized that this is exactly what he wanted to happen. His father may not have done this directly, but he was working in the shadows as he always did.

Wanting to defy his father, but knowing he couldn't in this moment, he smiled charmingly at Meghara. "What can you do for me? You can start out by staying still while I bring you to a more comfortable setting. We wouldn't want you harming your ankle further, now would we?"

With both ease and irritation, he lifted her in bridal style fashion and carried her past the throng of people, out the doors, and into one of the unoccupied chambers where he laid her gently onto the bed. After calling for one of the healers, he glanced at Meghara with feigned concern. "I hope that this will suffice for now. You may stay in the castle with us until you heal, if that is what you wish. I assure you that you will be properly taking care of." What he really hoped for was that the annoying blonde maiden would let him leave so he could find out the name of the mysterious woman.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie Character Portrait: Barclay

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The Light-foot Lord. That's what they called him. He had the ability to move, even in this old age now, as silent as a ghost. He watched the shenanigans. If he was disgusted, it was not visible on his face. His countenance was clear as he stood in the doorway and watched a moment.

"You're too kind your majesty." Barclay watched the young slut Meghara Rotherstone take the King's hand in both of hers and placing a lingering and seductive kiss upon it.

It was at that very moment Lord Wynterwyn felt pride in his own daughter and contempt for the Rotherstone girl. After all, what was to be expected. Lady Rotherstone was no less a slut. Whoring out her own daughter. Desmirra on the other hand; Lord Wynterwyn knew his wife was not happy with their daughters continued spinsterhood but spinsterhood was better than having a tramp for a daughter.

Yet, the devious little Meghara Rotherstone and her mother had done one damn good thing though in Barclay's eyes. With their little antic they had managed to extricate his daughter from the Pretenders clutches and like the good girl that his daughter was she had instantly found her way back to her family.

"What in the Gods name were you doing dancing with that man?!" His wife had exclaimed at the poor girl.

"What was I supposed to do mama?!" Desmirra had spat back. "Make a fool of myself by refusing?! As it that were even a choice for I would have."

"Enough." Barclay had interceded. "Do not shout at my dear girl."

"Oh of course my Lord, your dear girl can do no wrong." Lady Wynterwyn had replied to her husband.

"That's right." Barclay had informed his wife, sharing the quickest of smile and hug with his daughter. "Desmirra did absolutely the correct and proper thing. She could not under any circumstances refuse the King. You did well my dear."

"I think it's time we leave." Lady Wynterwyn declared in exasperation.

"I think you're right my love. Wait here. I shall make my excuses to the King."

Thus, his women waited for him at the far edge of the room as Barclay watched the King silently with his harlot. He was a patient man. A emotionless man. Barclay had a saying. Murder was a crime. But Murder at the right time was politics. He had no doubt Adelmund Duhamel understood that. That's why Lord Duhamel had had his own brother-in-law and nephew you killed. Everyone had their time. As they took it, so it would go much in the same way. Leolf Duhamel was ruling on borrowed time. It had cut Barclay when he had heard of the demise of the true King and his heir. They had been more than just mere family. They had been comrades through the darkest of days. This . . . Wasn't supposed to happen. Blood had to be paid by blood.

"Can't you stay a little longer your majesty?" Meghara Rotherstone asked the King coyly holding onto his hand as if a precious jewel. "I really must thank you." Barclay wanted to laugh at her stupidity. Did she really think a man who had just obtained so vast a power would spend his night attending an invalid hussy instead of flaunting his might?! Stupid girl.

He couldn't hear anymore of this ridiculousness. Lord Wynterwyn cleared his throat to make his presence known, bowing when the King turned to face him. "Begging your pardon your majesty. I did not mean to interrupt." He continued, paying no mind to the Rotherstone girl as if she wasn't even there. "I must beg your leave. My wife is feeling a little under the weather so we must depart earlier than intended. However, at least, I'll be up bright and early for the council meeting. I hope to see you there your majesty." Barclay bowed once more. "Oh and my daughter thanks you for the honour of the dance." Lord Wynterwyn lied with a gracious smile.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie

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Anticipation. It had to be one of the worst feelings in the world. It made her stomach do somersaults and to make her want to cast up her accounts. It was worse yet after a night of restless tossing and turning. What had he said . . . "You'll have to teach me how to think differently, I'm afraid . . . Otherwise, you'll be stuck with me and my sadistic ways." Those words had swirled around Desmirra's mind all night. That and everything else he had said and done that night. Every smile. Every laugh. Every gesture that provoked her curiosity. Stuck with him? . . . Whatever had he meant by that? And why did the thought of being stuck with him and his sadistic ways seem so appealing? This was exactly what happened when she over thunk any given situation, as she often did; she was insensible, even to herself. The excited yipping and barking of the hounds pulled her back to the present and she yawned loudly.

"Desmirra!" Lady Wynterwyn scolded, a look of utter disgust upon her face. "A lady does not display such ghastly manners in public!"

Desmirra scowled, however her mother had already turned her attention to a group of tittering women. Almost everyone was stood outside Frampton Court Manor. All waiting for the King's arrival so this hunt could get under way before the grand feast tonight. Desmirra scanned her surroundings. Her father was deep in conversation with some men in the hunting party near the canines and the spears. He had returned from the early morning council meeting with a deep frown upon his face. Her father was a very peaceable man, thus this did not bode well. She had heard tidbits of her parents conversation. It was clear the problem was Leolf Duhamel. All the more reason to not get too curious, she told herself.

The Manor itself was a sight to behold. Just outside the city limits, it was a lavish building. A perfect place away from the hustle and bustle of the city where the nobles could lounge their days away with more leisurely activities, as today. Everyone that was anyone was staying here for the next week or so at the grace of the King. The grandiose manor was packed to the brim with nobles and their servants alike.

None of this held any weight for Desmirra. She was like a squirrel. She wanted the nut but was afraid of the reprisal if she did dare reach out. Her stomach knotted and unknotted over and over. A part of her longed to see him and yet another shied away from the very notion. After all, what was to be gained by another meeting with him? Very little she imagined. In fact, Desmirra was all too certain he wouldn't even remember her. Why would he? Leolf Duhamel had only danced with her to toy with her. However, she had found herself enthralled with every word that had come out from between his lips as they danced. To her surprise and awe, she had found him to be quite witty and clever, with clearly a truly wicked sense of humour. And that sinfully dark voice that sent a shiver of pleasure up her spine . . . Much to her dismay, it had all been cut short.

In fact, she was lucky, Desmirra decided right there as she raised her countenance towards the warm sun, allowing it to bask her skin. That's right she was lucky. That girl, whoever she was had done her a great service by jumping between her and the King. No doubt she would have gone on to make an even bigger fool of herself if it had been allowed to continue. But then why was she feeling bereft?

She told herself to snap out of it as horses came thundering down in front of the manor. The men upon them waving the Royal banner as one of them called out the King's immanent arrival. Desmirra took a deep breath and as she released it a tall, slim figure in a rich green dress glided in right in front of her. It was the girl from the night before. The blonde who had crashed into them. Desmirra observed as the young girl looked over her shoulder at her for a mere moment. An odd smirk upon her lips.

"Mama? The King will love my token of luck for the hunt won't he?" Desmirra heard the young beauty coo to the woman that must be her mother with something in her hand that Desmirra couldn't quite make out.

"Of course my dear. He'll absolutely adore it! I'm sure it will have him bring back a great bounty for the feast." The Lady smiled brightly to her daughter.

The conversation seemed entirely put on for her attention. But why? How very strange . . .

Desmirra took a step back at the same time that everyone else seemed to be stepping forward, craning to see and greet the King. She had no desire to be seen by the Sovereign unlike everybody else. Yet, a pang inside her, deep, deep down inside her wished he would see her. Of course, her more practical side told her how utterly ridiculous the notion was. She was plain, in her plain royal blue dress.

Plain and old.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Eldon Character Portrait: Barclay

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#, as written by MadMax
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A Wynterwyn. The woman he couldn't get out of his head was a Wynterwyn. That fact haunted him all night, along with her words which while they didn't bother him, were much too true all the same. He dare say that he was fond of her. She was clever and had a backbone unlike any maiden he had ever met.

That Meghara however, was dreadful company. Her pleading and begging made it difficult for him to flee the scene. He eventually escaped by making the excuse of having to bid farewell to his other guests.

Even though the night was over and a new day was ahead of him, that damn women was stuck in his head. That Wynterwyn woman, he reminded himself. Now, he rode on the back of his black horse. His brothers and father riding alongside him, with his men out in front to announce his presence.

He slowed his horse to a stop as they reached the horde of people standing in front of Frampton Court Manor. His eyes unconsciously searched the crowd, knowing that the woman would be here if she was Lord Wynterwyn's daughter. It didn't take him long to find her while sitting atop his horse. Her auburn red hair was unmistakable. He sent her a crooked grin, hoping she would see, and throwing his leg to the other side, jumped off of his horse.

The people were quick to greet him, all wishing him the best on his hunt. Leolf took this all in stride, showing the humble side of himself for now. Eldon came up beside him, nudging him with his elbow. "It seems you're quite popular these days, brother." he teased.

"With my looks, I'd have to be." Leolf threw back.

Eldon laughed and held a hand to his chest. "And people say I'm the conceded one."

Their banter was cut short by their father. "Don't you two have more important matters to attend to, such as the hunt?"

"Yes, father." Eldon replied with a sigh, looking at Leolf as he rolled his eyes.

Leolf halted the smile tugging at his lips. "Let us gather the men, and we will get on with it, yes?"

Once all the men were gathered together, he would call the hunt, but first he had a different kind of hunt to attend to. Approaching her silently, as he wanted to catch her off guard, he came at her from behind. "Wish me luck?" he whispered when his head was leaning down beside hers.

Her father would likely not be pleased if he saw this little interaction. Especially after how angry he had been when he left the council meeting Leolf had arranged for earlier that morning. It wasn't much of a meeting, more of a show of power. Letting those that were against him know that he controlled everything.

He pushed the meeting from his mind as he waited for her response.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Meghara

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That look he gave her from atop his steed . . . It was unmistakable. Striking. Stirring her to her very core. He hadn't forgotten. Uncontrollable excitement bubbled up inside her being. Why was it that this stranger could evoke her senses to respond with a mere look. It did not bode well. Not well at all.

A sheepish smile painted her lips when she felt something brush her leg. Turning, Desmirra ran her hand through the coarse fur of the mountainous Greyhound who'd escaped from the pack. She shied from these unfamiliar and alarming sensations. Behind her she could hear the greetings and well wishes the King was receiving from Courtiers looking to impress their new Monarch. This caused her to shake her head, smile still intact as she wonder however would he deal with people constantly wanting something from him? The little she knew of him, - the very little - to her, it was clear that just below the surface lurked powerfully stirring emotions just barely kept in check.

Of course, she could be talking utter nonsense! Desmirra chided herself! Really! As if she even had a clue about- Mid-thought was when she felt the warm caress of the whisper against her ear. It shook her out of her daze as she whipped around; her face mere inches away from his; instantly captivated in that stormy gaze.

For a moment she floated along like a piece of driftwood lost at sea. Her heart slowly yet rapidly picking up the pace, pounding a pulse so loud she was almost certain he would hear it. By the Gods! She had to snap out of it! . . . But she only half snapped out of it.

"Tyrant Kings don't need luck." She teased, shrugging up at him with a small grin when she finally came to her senses. "Don't you usually just take what you want?"

Her heart felt as if it would beat out of her chest; wondering what he was doing here, in front of her? Was he utterly mad?! Everyone would see, yet right in this moment, she could not see anyone but him. Obviously, she was mad too because despite the fact that the gossip that would ensue would only serve to ruin her already tattered reputation, the fact was, that, just for even a morsel of his time she would happily face her own undoing.

As if on cue, a disgruntled "Mama!" broke their warm inclusive bubble. Desmirra blinked, her eyes cast behind him to catch the belligerent ogling of the girl from the night previous before her gaze flashed back to his. Rushing, sensing the impending doom, that yet again their meeting would be cut short, she began, "My name is-"

"Desmirra!"

Lady Wynterwyn roared from across the way before Desmirra could even finish her sentence. Desmirra's head twisted sharply at the sound of her mother's voice which happened to quickly change into charming tones when the Lady came to her sense. Lady Wynterwyn laughed agitatedly addressing the King with the correct curtsy. "Your Majesty, if you'd be so kind as to release my daughter, I have need of her. Come along Desmirra!" She added more forcefully for her child.

Desmirra blinked as if in a daze once more this time in her mother's direction. Yet, instead of feeling irritated she chose to enjoy the last minutes in his company, turning back to face Leolf Duhamel. Her countenance was the picture of serenity and dignity but it was in those deep pools of blue in her eyes that a smile lingered and laughter danced like capering flames in a well stoked fire. "Good luck . . ."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Eldon

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#, as written by MadMax
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She turned and those intelligent blue eyes of hers met his stormy ones. They're faces were close together and he couldn't help but notice how beautiful she was. Not as classically beautiful as Meghara, but she possessed a captivating beauty that Leolf found much more attractive. It was something about her gaze or the way she held herself, and those full lips of hers that could give a scolding at a moments notice.

A slow smile crept onto his face at her words. She was right, he did normally take what he wanted and right now, he wanted her. "I suppose that's true," he admitted. "But sometimes I need a little support."

Waiting for her to say something he saw that she seemed somewhat flustered by the situation, quite the opposite of the relaxed state he was in. She had just opened her mouth, so close to telling him her name when Lady Wynterwyn beat her to it.

Desmirra. What a lovely name.

Her mother however, was not lovely. He could barely hide his anger at being interrupted, but since it was her mother he responded politely, "Of course, Lady Wynterwyn. I will not keep your daughter from you any longer."

When Desmirra turned to him one last time to wish him luck, she had this look in her eyes. He immediately knew she felt it, this spark, this undeniable attraction they had for one another. He couldn't explain it, but he also couldn't ignore it.

"I'll see you after the hunt... Desmirra." His already deep voice went lower upon saying her name. He held her gaze, trying to convey what words couldn't, until they were forced to break away.

Shaking his head from whatever spell she had him under, he headed towards the front of the crowd where the men were gathered together with their spears. His father stopped him momentarily to scold him. "What were you doing with that Wynterwyn girl?" His father spat. "She is poison Leolf. Poison to everything we have achieved!"

Enraged he said, "That Wynterwyn girl has a name you know. And funny how poison is exactly how you've achieved everything in life." That shut Adelmund up. He shouldered past his father with force as he moved to stand in the middle of the men.

Clearing his throat he shouted, "Let the hunting commence!" He raised his fist in the air as the men followed the movement. Their loud chorus of cheers still continuing as they moved into the woods. The dogs ran in front of them, scenting out their prey. The loud expression of their excitement only lasted for a moment though, and they were all quiet now, making sure not to scare away the game.

Oddly enough, Leolf's head wasn't in the sport today. A certain set of blue eyes burned in his mind, making it impossible to concentrate on anything else.

That was when he heard a scream.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Kaytelynn Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie Character Portrait: Edmund

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No one seemed to be happy. No one but that cherub cheeked Wynterwyn girl. Why was it that everyone's misery gave Kaytelynn such great pleasure? She supposed one could only truly be happy when everyone else around them was disconsolate. It amused her to watch the scene play out. Like some great performance put on by those travelling shows. It was hilarious, except, no one was laughing. No one but her, inside of course.

So amusing, Kaytelynn mused as she watched on. Meghara Rotherstone fuming, her Lady mother trying to console her and stop the girl making a scene. Her own brother, Leolf, though he had began with a stupidly happy smile on his face was now exchanging words with their father. Well, when didn't that leave him in a bad mood? You'd think he'd be grateful to their father. But oh no, not their Leolf. Their Leolf that was truly not theirs as he rode away. The tighter their father pulled on Leolf's reigns, the more viciously he fought back. Was she the only one who noticed? It mattered little to Kaytelynn truly. Her position was stable so long as her brother was on the throne and she did not see that changing anytime soon.

"She's not exactly pretty is she?" Kaytelynn shifted, slowly moving along the steed running her fingers along it's flanks as those of the party who were not heading for the hunt, mostly women, made their way back into the large estate. Their excited tittering drifting on the air as Kaytelynn addressed the owner of the horse she was petting. "She's quite fat and short isn't she? I wonder what he sees in her?"

Was that mild annoyance in her lover's eyes? Either way, it entertained her. Sir Edmund Allgarrd wasn't exactly a handsome man, she was certain he may have been in his hay day but these days he was an astute military man. Rigid and uncompromising in regards to his ambitions. Kaytelynn liked an older man. They were far more . . . willing to please a woman, rather than those young men who were always after a quick tumble. Kaytelynn was far too decadent for tumbles. Yet, by no means was she in love with the man. Nor did she have any intentions of marrying the man, as if that was even possible. The notion was laughable. Her status was far higher than his. She would be a Queen one day and he would remain a lowly noble. Of course, that didn't mean in the mean time she couldn't enjoy herself did it? Sure enough, Sir Edmund must know if her father ever found out what was transpiring between them, Allgarrd would lose much more than those ambitions of his. But of course, she couldn't blame him. He was only a man after all. However could he resist the sweetness between her legs?

"But then," She continued intentionally a smile creeping onto her pink lips. "Your niece isn't exactly making herself appealing is she?" She moved closer to him, making sure they had no witnesses as she put her hands on him, running them down the fur lining his chest. "I say, don't dream so high up that you can't look down through the clouds. Some men aren't mean't to reach such heights." Kaytelynn advised him before she shrugged as if she hadn't given him solid council. "Visit me tonight. It's been far too long . . ." Taking his hand she slowly pushed up the skirt of her dress by his coarse fingertips gliding along her soft milky skin. Pushing his hand away before he could touch her where she wanted him to. "Tonight."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Barclay

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It was almost as if Lord Wynterwyn could smell his own blood boiling. That fiend! Near his most precious child. Parent's weren't supposed to have favourites, however, Barclay admitted out of all his children, and there were a lot of them, Desmirra, his most lovely and kind child with the most sweetest disposition was without a doubt his most dearest child. It had been one thing for that Duhamel impostor to dance with her and an altogether other affair for him to scandalously pursue an unmarried woman.

It didn't help he was in a thunderous mood from earlier this morning. Yet Lord Wynterwyn was righteous in knowing that King Leolf had nothing but ill intention towards his child. The man could flaunt all his supposed power in front on him but it was another game altogether to use Desmirra in this sick political sport. For now however, there was little he could do. Of course, it was like his wife could read his mind. He watched as his Lady fearlessly addressed this new beast that was their ruler.

He would not let that young whelp make a fool out of his daughter any further Barclay Wynterwyn decided as he climbed up on his golden flaked mares back and proceeded on the hunt. Brick and mortar giving away to thick leafy foliage as they silently rode deeper into the Frampton Forest. The game keeper promised a big juice sow on the northern boarder of the forest.

Usually Barclay was an avid hunter but right now his mind was consumed with keeping his sweet girl safe. He could not let this carry on. A scheme had already come to his mind. He would speak to his wife upon return from hunting game, as soon as he could get her alone. Desmirra would have to be sent home. To Wynterhaven. Of course, it would be improper to send her off hastily, that would only raise questions and set tongues wagging. No in a couple of days, she would be returned to Wynterhaven with the excuse that one of her sisters is expecting a child and will need the aid of Desmirra in this crucial time. Yes, Barclay was satisfied with that plan greatly when suddenly a scream ripped through the air pulling him out of his meandering thoughts.

"Clayborne!"

No! No. No. No. No. No. No. And just like that, the hunt became more wild and bloodthirsty than Barclay could ever imagine. His eyes glued to spot on the ground where a man lay. Crimson surrounding him, like an ever growing halo. The ground consumed in a slow red tide until it painted his mare's hoof. One ally down in a nest of enemies. Where had that spear come from?! The Lord looked around disorderly. He could not see . . . So many calumniators . . . He felt dizzy for looking. Lord Wynterwyn took a deep breath gathering himself before skirting his horse around the mess.

"Protect the King!" He barked, rounding his mare to Leolf's side. Doing the only thing he could.

Play along.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Adelmund Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Kaytelynn Character Portrait: Meghara Character Portrait: Maimie Character Portrait: Eldon Character Portrait: Edmund Character Portrait: Barclay

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Clayborne had it coming. He had been running his mouth about Leolf and it was time Eldon took the matter into his own hands.

That was why as they were moving through the woods, Eldon had his spear by his side, ready to strike. He made sure to distance himself from his brothers and father so as not to draw suspicion on them. He waited until he had the perfect view of Clayborne, and then he launched the spear from his hand. It sailed through the air before it lodged itself into the man's chest, right where his heart should be. The force of the spear knocked him from his mare and sent him crashing to the ground.

It didn't take long for the scene to turn to chaos. Everyone was yelling and searching the area. Shockingly, Barclay was the first to protect Leolf, but Eldon didn't pay much attention to that fact. Instead, he grabbed his extra spear and rushed his horse to his oldest brother.

"Leolf! Are you injured?" he said in fake concern.

Leolf looked entirely confused at the whole situation. "Yes, I'm fine. But it seems that Clayborne is dead."

Eldon bowed his head. "I saw. They've already loaded him on a horse. Are we heading back then?"

With narrowed eyes, Leolf stared at him, almost as if he were searching him. Eldon did his best to avoid his gaze. "Yes." Then in a louder voice. "Let's head back men, the hunt is now officially canceled."

Then Leolf turned his steed around and headed back towards the manor. Eldon followed closely behind him. Once they exited the woods, Leolf slowed his horse down until it was walking alongside his. "What have you done Eldon?" Leolf asked, his voice low and angry.

Taken aback by his brother's tone, Eldon said, "I did what was best for you Leolf, Clayborne had been running his mouth about you. I thought you would appreciate it."

"And why would I appreciate that?! You did exactly what father would have done." Leolf seethed before shaking his head. "I expected more from you Eldon."

He watched as Leolf snapped the reins and sped away towards the manor.





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Kaytelynn Duhamel was what Edmund would consider to be a spoiled brat. She was conceded, manipulative, bossy, and entirely attractive.

Even now, he could still feel her hands on him, grabbing one of his own and running it under her dress. Her words meant little to him, he knew she believed him to be beneath herself and he didn't much care what she thought of his niece so long as Meghara married the King. And while he knew that Katelynn had no intentions of marrying him, Edmund planned to make it happen.

He was going to join the hunt late, but Kaytelynn had his mind focusing on one thing and one thing alone, so he thought it best to stay. After sitting atop his horse lost in thought for quite some time, he finally brought his horse to the stables where he tied it up. Upon entering the manor, he noticed that the women had the feast prepared, aside from the meat, and were waiting for the men to arrive, meaning that they would be back shortly. Rather then joining them, he went into a study to find paper and some ink. He quickly wrote the message that read, Meet me in the library with instructions on how to get into the secret compartment behind one of the bookshelves.

Satisfied, he headed towards Kaytelynn. While he spoke to his niece and his sister, he carefully slid the note into Katelynn's hands. He excused himself before heading to the library where he waited for Kaytelynn to enter.





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Leolf couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe that Eldon had killed Clayborne. But he had. He knew it when Eldon first opened his mouth to check on him. His little brother may be able to fool the others, but he couldn't fool him.

Eldon had always been loyal to him, and he knew that he had good intentions, but this move was a serious blow to Leolf. Mostly because he knew that his father would be pleased. He knew exactly what he would say, "One less enemy to deal with and the perfect way to keep the others in line."

His hands shook in anger as he got his horse settled in the stables. This is not how he wanted to start off his reign as King. Everyone was making moves, doing things behind his back, and he couldn't take it anymore. He stormed into the manor, passing by the room where everyone was waiting for the feast. It wouldn't be much of a feast without any meat from the hunt. Just another thing to add too his anger. He stopped to punch a wall near him and then knocked off a vase sitting on a table. His hand was now slightly bloodied and most definitely bruised. His breathing had become heavier as he made his way through the halls again. Walking until something made him stop in front of the library. Turning his head he looked inside.

Desmirra.

He should have known. She always seemed to show up wherever he went. Trying to compose himself and failing miserably, he walked towards her. "In the library again? What books do you plan to steal this time?" he asked dully. It was meant to sound playful, but in his current state, he could barely even get the words out. His eyes were darker than usual and his body was tense with rage. He was a rabid animal that could go off at a moments notice.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra

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Her name on his lips . . . She couldn't quite get the sound of it out of her mind. It held promise and a yielding ardor. Ever since this mornings unexpected meeting with the King, Desmirra had spent the day in somewhat of a haze. Her mother had had her royally torn to shreds with her words and not let her out of her sight until Desmirra had begged headache and was granted leave by her lady mother. Not alone of course, Nona had escorted her back to her room and was to keep an eye on her. Luckily, Nona did not take long to doze off and Desmirra took her chance to escape and explore. Naturally she found herself in the comforts of the library of the manor.

Her head was fine of course, though, she did not think she could have stood another moment of the women's idle gossiping, her mother's chiding or the glares she was receiving from some of the young ladies. It astounded Desmirra, as she lounged in an alcove by a window book in hand, those girls were envious of her. It was so very novel experience for Desmirra. She did not like it. She had no liking for being known. In fact, she had decided to stay out of sight for the rest of their stay. Yet, that voice that promised a meeting after the hunt, bought a smile to her lips and evoked a longing inside her. But no, she could not allow this to go any further Desmirra told herself solidly. She had seen the fury in both her parent's eye earlier today. Her father, she couldn't bare to disappoint or hurt him.

No. The next time she came across Leolf Duhamel, she would ignore him. Yes, that's exactly what she would do, she ordered herself as she opened the book and tried to read the same line five times. Alas, she could not concentrate for the life of her. Information among noble ladies was like a commodity and it spread like wild fire. Just before Desmirra took her leave of her mother the room had been alight with news from the hunt. A Lord had been killed in an accident and there was the possibility that it was an attack on the King. There was that feeling again in the pit of her stomach, ever since she had heard that tidbit. Was that dread? Oh why did she even care?! She barely knew the man and no doubt her family would rejoice at his demise but . . . Desmirra did care. She longed to know of his well fare. From her seat she saw the somber return of the party put from this height she could not make out who was who.

That was when she heard him. The dark tones of his voice breaking her idle musings. Turning her head, she gazed at him as an unexpected relief washing over her. He was in one piece, dark and foreboding before her. All but that one hand she noticed. Even as he brooded she couldn't help but have a small smile light her face. Her plans from earlier to ignore him going straight down the drain.

"In the library again." She conceded with an amused expression. "I prefer the company of books to people I confess and technically," She stood up taking his injured hand and pressed a piece of silk against the wound that she carried in the pocket of her gown to halt the bleeding. "I wasn't stealing I was planning to borrow." Desmirra grinned.

When he arrived she could sense his mood. Almost feel the darkness as a physical entity. Desmirra looked up at him momentarily through downcast eyes hoping she had made a chink in his caliginous state of mind. She looked back down at his hand, removing the silk to see the blood flow had been stemmed.

"It's easy to live up to their expectations." She commented as she blotched at the blood staining his skin, before tearing a piece of frippery from her otherwise plain gown and began to tie it around his hand. "The difficult thing to do is to change their minds, difficult but more rewarding. After all, the true meaning of ruling is to serve. There." She smiled up at him letting go of his now bandaged hand. "Good as new."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leolf Character Portrait: Desmirra Character Portrait: Kaytelynn Character Portrait: Edmund

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Kaytelynn Duhamel couldn't decide if she was annoyed or impressed.

"I thought I told you tonight." She virulently scolded Sir Edmund Allgard after traversing a pitch black corridor from behind a giant picture frame until a dim light flickered in the distance and finally his face became clear. At this point she was more than annoyed. "Are stupid or just- Never mind." She sighed her irritation away as she pushed him back hard against the wall. "You, Sir," Kaytelynn informed him as she slowly began with skilled fingers to untie his doublet. "Are very lucky that I am not so cruel as to leave you here waiting."

Of course she was lying. She was entirely that cruel and if the mood had taken her, she would have left him waiting here all night, if that's what she wanted. Fortunately for Sir Edmund today, she wanted something else. Taking his hand, she ran it down the curve of her side lingeringly letting him feel the shape of her over her gown until his hand was squeezing her back side.

"By the Gods Allgard" Kaytelynn sighed again. "I hope this is not how you lead your armies, with no vision." Impassioned, she supposed she would have to guide him. "That's fine. Lucky for you," Her voice turned seductive as her hands forced him down by his shoulders onto his knees. "I'm a natural born leader and take command quite well." She baited him with a coy smile pulling up the layers of her skirt ever so slowly.

Abruptly, she stopped. What was that? For a moment her heart raced a mile a second. Fear shooting through her at the thought that she was about to be caught and her reputation in tatters and worse yet, having to be forced to marry her lover. The thought repulsed her. Throwing down her skirts, she was getting ready to flee when Kaytelynn heard a second voice.

"Quiet!" She whispered to Sir Edmund as the voices became clearer. It was her brother and the Wynterwyn girl. How curious. And clearly they had no idea of anyone else's presence. Relief was quickly replaced by peeked interest. "Well, well, well." She whispered more to herself, her interest in her lover non-existent at this point as she listened with one ear pressed against the slit in the wood. Too bad she couldn't see but supposed it was safer this way. A smirk persisted on her lips. "What did I tell you about dreaming so large?" She said to her lover without looking at him. It appeared her brother had other intentions than Meghara Rotherstone.

Too bad for poor Edmund . . .