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Forged: Blood and Steel

Forged: Blood and Steel

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...For all favour, glory, or might, that yet thunder rolls around the throne of kings. (Always Accepting! And Open to OC's)

3,163 readers have visited Forged: Blood and Steel since Calvazara created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

the concept of this rp is taken from history and the war of the roses.

Introduction

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“These bloody days have broken my heart…
The bell tower showed me such a sight
That in my head sticks day and night.
There did I learn out of a grate,
For all favour, glory, or might,
That yet thunder rolls around the throne of kings.” – Thomas Wyatt










To pass into legend is a fate most men yearn for although many seldom achieve, no matter how gallant or honourable only a fair few will have their names remembered in history. For the men of Seabel not many will have this honour despite their bravery and sacrifice, for life is cruel when you are living but death can be crueller for who will remember you? Your children will, yes. Your grandchildren will, most probable. But sooner rather than later your name will cease to fall from their lips, your memory extinguished and your sacrifices unknown; you will become one of the forgotten.


I suppose I am starting on a rather solemn point, but it is a poignant one nonetheless, for our story is about two families both shrouded by hate and blinded by power, they will tear a country apart, loose those they hold dear and all in the name of a throne. Ah-but not just any throne, a throne stained red by the blood of thousands, a throne hardened by the clashing of swords, a throne to the country of Seabel. It was a prize that much is true but the true story has been clouded over the years, each generation adding a new twist, a new hero…a new villain. What is fact and what is myth is hard to distinguish, but I am here to tell you the truth; to tell you the tale of Seabel’s bloodiest period in history; a story of war, love and betrayal, it may seem to be part of a ballad but I assure you this is the truth behind the forging of Seabel’s future; but to get to the present I must begin in the past and so begins the journey of our tale…


Seabel is a powerful Island nation, who’s history stretches back thousands of years to a time when man still lived in mud huts and were considered savages or barbarians, these were simple people who lived off the land, whom thought he world ended at their shores. That was until the ‘First Few’ arrived off the North-Western coast, from a land across the Black Sea called Halla, bringing with them education, innovations and new religions. The new settlers did not conquer but rather integrated in with the ‘Old Ones’ taught them new things, educated them and slowly but surely the inhabitants of Seabel began to develop.. These,‘ first few’ managed to turn a untamed island into one of the most desired Kingdoms of the old world; however this did not come without sacrifice. Many battles were fought on land and sea for power over Seabel, a strategic stronghold for any country wanting to conquer more land, no more so than between the people of Seabel and the people of Luxor, who’s feud has seemingly been taking place since the original settlers and has continued onwards. Over the years many King’s have devised peace treaties with Luxor and many have been broken, their relationship was and remains fragile, friendships do not last long and treaties even less.


However this is not the only problem Seabel face as the country its self has in recent years become divided between two regions; the North and the South, dividing the country in half by war. History will come to know this period as the ‘Dynastic Wars’ where supporters of two rival branches of the House Davenport fought over the crown of Seabel. The two great Houses of Lancaster and Rayleigh have had a feud stretching centuries, both having claims to the throne, skirmishes between supporters have happened in the past but now war reins over Seabel as these families vie with blood for their head to sit upon the throne.


When the Old King Tiberius died leaving no living male heirs, the throne went to one of his nephews, either Robert Lancaster or Harold Rayleigh…Robert ascended the throne and thus the feud began. Although rivals and competitors for the throne the Rayleigh’s remained at court with the Lancaster’s, both buying their time, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. The moment came Francis Rayleigh was executed for treason by King Harold Lancaster, Francis’s son, Charles rode South with his family back to his family’s estate and waged war on House Lancaster.


Many battles were fought and lost until King Harold was slain by Charles in the Battle of Mountains Pass and soon after seized the countries capital of Briar, driving the Lancaster’s and their supporters to exile in the North and the Rayleigh’s became the reigning family. To add another twist to the tale the two Queens’ are sisters, their marriages dividing a family in two, forever dividing them as enemies.


Lying in wait in the furthest northern cities, the Lancaster army are preparing once again, the new King James has rallied his supporters both old and new and prepares to march south to reclaim his throne. Soon Seabel will once again be thrown into a Civil War and the country stands at its most pivotal point in history; thousands will dies, neighbour will turn on neighbour, brother upon brother in a war which will define a country.








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Charles Rayleigh, King of Seabel, is the eldest son of the late Francis Rayleigh who was executed by King Harold, after his father’s death Charles declared war upon the Lancaster’s and after the defeating the King upon the battlefield Charles took the crown of Seabel. He is an excellent military strategist, not only by defeating the Lancastrian army but for his previous skill in battle. Once a reckless man, who abused his wealth and power he has mellowed since the marriage to his wife, becoming a dutiful and affectionate monarch, husband and father. || FC: Tom Hiddleston || TAKEN


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Harriet Rayleigh, Queen of Seabel, is the eldest daughter of Henry Stanford and sister to the exiled Queen. She was married to Charles a little over five years ago when her father fledged loyalty to the Rayleigh’s. Harriet is very much her father’s daughter, passionate and ambitious yet fearful for her children’s sakes, the throne may be in the Rayleigh’s hands now but she must bear the King a son in order for their dynasty to continue. || FC: Rebecca Ferguson || TAKEN


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Mary Rayleigh, Duchess of Vale, the widow of the late Francis Rayleigh, she play a large role in persuading her son to rise up against the Lancaster’s after the execution of her husband. Mary is a strong woman, with a hatred which runs deep for the Lancaster’s and their loyalists, she trusts very few people, least of all the Stanford’s after the youngest daughter’s betrayal. || FC: Michelle Fairley || RESERVED



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Charlotte Fitzroy, Duchess of Clerence, is the eldest child of Francis and Mary Rayleigh and wife of William Fitzroy. Elegant and graceful she is popular at court and rather close with her younger brother of a year, Charles. Her marriage to William was purely one of connivance but she has grown fond of him, if only for her children’s sake. Her children are her sole purpose in life she is adamant to leave them in a high position and will do anything to achieve this. || FC: Lotte Verbeek || OPEN


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William Fitzroy, Duke of Clerence, is the husband of Charlotte and brother-in-law of King Charles. His family have been strong supporters of the Rayleigh’s from the beginning and his loyalty was rewarded with the hand of the King’s sister, along with land, titles and greater wealth. His loyalty is unwavering but so is his lust for power and he seeks to increase such through his children, as well as getting them into high posisions.|| FC: David Oakes || OPEN


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Jasper Rayleigh, Prince of Seabel, is the youngest son of the Rayleigh’s and is very much like his older brother. He is loyal and protective over his family, he will defend Charles claim to the throne and his children’s until the day he dies. || FC: Eddie Redmayne || OPEN


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Margaret Rayleigh, Princess of Seabel, is the youngest child of the Rayleigh family. She has been very much sheltered and protected by her family and has lived most her life going in and out of sanctuary. She has a gentle soul but is slightly naïve to the world and perhaps trusts too easily. || FC: Sophie Turner || RESERVED






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Henry Stanford, Earle of Briar, is the father of two Queens, one sits on the throne whilst the other is in exile in the North. He takes no rejoice in the situation for his youngest daughter married the enemy and betrayed his family, dividing them in the process. Not only did he loose a daughter but also his eldest son and heir as he followed Eleanor north as she married her lover. Now he looks for his family’s future in his eldest daughter and his younger son, although he had ‘disowned’ his daughter and son, he still thinks and worries about them often even if he does not show it. || FC: Russell Crowe || OPEN


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Annabelle Stanford, Countess of Briar, is a woman very much divided, she has two children in exile whilst another sits on the throne of Seabel, this was not something she wanted for her children. Annabelle is a loving and nurturing mother, she is loyal to the Rayleigh’s for her daughter and husbands sake, however always keeps Eleanor and Jonathon in her prayers and close to her heart, she longs for the day she will see them again. || FC: Joely Richards || TAKEN


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George Stanford, Knight of the Garter, is the youngest child of the Stanford’s and also the heir to his father’s title and land since his elder brother, Jon’s betrayal. He is very close to his sister Harriet and solely loyal to her family. George has become very influential at court under her influence, as well as their father and had recently been appointed a member of the Knights of the Garter a very great honour. || FC: Richard Madden || OPEN






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James Lancaster, Exiled King of Seabel, is the son of the late Harold Lancaster whom he saw slaughtered on the battlefield at the hands of Charles Rayleigh. On that day he had no option but to retreat or face complete desolation of his troop. He fled North with his family and those loyal to him, along with his new bride, Eleanor Stanford. James is preparing to re-take his throne and bring the tyrants to their knee’s by any means possible. || FC: Jonathan Rhys Meyers || TAKEN


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Eleanor Lancaster, Exiled Queen of Seabel, is the wife of the King James, married for little under two years, it has been a relatively happy marriage although marred by the loss of two children and the disowning from her family, she knows now that she can never return to them as she is known as a traitor amongst those whom she once called kin. However, there is time to rejoice as the Queen has just found out she is expecting again. Although she is not without her own fears; she fears for her families safety daily and prays that she could see them again.|| FC: Scarlet Johansson || TAKEN


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Henry Lancaster, Duke of Arva, is the brother of the exiled King. A hot headed Prince with a greater want of women and wine rather than his duties, he has a lust for war and is rather excited for the prospect of war between the two Houses once again so he can create a name in blood for himself like his brother and father. He is currently in exile with James in the North. || FC: Henry Cavill || OPEN


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Bess Lancaster, Duchess of Arva, is the wife of the Henry Lancaster and the daughter of a very wealthy Northern Earl. She married the Duke only a few months prior from an offer made by the King to secure her father support and men. Bess is a hard woman, strong, intelligent and independent; she has a dangerous mind and could quite possibly push for power through her husband. || FC: Katie McGrath || OPEN


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Sara Lancaster, Exiled Princess of Seabel, is the younger sister of James and Henry, with her mother and father dead she has been left in the care of her brothers, just another pawn in their race for the throne. She is a gentle soul who will do her duty with her head held high and dignified like a true princess; many see her beauty but most seldom see the iron within her bones. || FC: Eleanor Tomlinson || OPEN









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Be as inventive as you like with the CS just make sure that everything this filled out.




The Rules



^Do not submit a character if you are not going to stick with it. This is going to be a series of roleplays so only submit if you can commit!
^You will not be accepted if you do not:
1. Use the character sheet provided.
2. Fill out EVERYTHING on the character sheet.
--YOU WILL BE REJECTED OTHERWISE--
^Please...follow the rules. They're up here for a reason.
^You MUST reserve a spot in the OOC before submitting a character.
--YOU WILL BE REJECTED OTHERWISE--
^Reservations last for 24 hours ONLY. Basic outline of CS must be up by then to secure a spot, must be completed within 48 hours.
^No one liners in posting. I will NOT accept them.
^Do not use text talk in posts. I will only accept proper grammar and spelling. NO EXCEPTIONS.
^You MUST use a REAL picture. NO EXCEPTIONS.
--YOU WILL BE REJECTED OTHERWISE--
^Secret Word for Reservations: You must be strong.
^Keep in time with the era
^Dont be a storyline whore
^No Mary Sues or Gary Stues; People have flaws, nobody is perfect!
^Be inventive with your characters,it makes them more interesting
^If there are too many females and not enough males then you WILL be asked to submit a second character which is a male, you WILL have to do this otherwise be excluded from the RP, its only fair.

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The GM of this roleplay hasn't created any rules! You can do whatever you like!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 5 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Henry Stanford Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh
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#, as written by S1mon
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"Wolves and hill tribes are the least of your concerns....You mess with my family, you mess with me"


Marriage was sacred. A husband must honor their wife, a wife must honor their husband and both should honor their vows 'for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part', yet there were those without honor. Even beyond the grave, Mary held strong to the vows she made to Francis, both the vows she made at the altar and that of the vows she made at his death to give her all to ensuring the future of House Rayleigh. There was bound to be disagreements between husband and wife like the arrangement for Charles to marry Harriet Stanford which Mary was opposed to, but in the end she accepted her husband's wisdom, even if it meant not only accepting Harriet, but also House Stanford itself, seeing as marriage was more than just the joining of hands but the joining of Houses also.

The question then to be asked, is what the definition of honor is? such being the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right, embodying honesty, morality, uprightness, right-mindedness, principle, nobility and noble-mindedness. No doubt the latter two had fallen short on the Stanfords by not being of royal blood, yet suppose their efforts should be admired to try, even if it was a case of a mule trying to pull a carriage better than horses can. However, what made it hard to accept the Stanfords in their entirety was Henry Stanford, especially how he treats her son, his son-in-law, his King. It was disgraceful and dishonorable.

"Duchess Rayleigh...Forgive me, I hadn't heard you approach me", he replied with a bow. For a man that was supposed to be fully aware of his surroundings as a strategist, he clearly was doing a poor job when not on the field and was clearly ignorant to not hear her approach when she had made her presence clear by calling his name before approaching her. Yet despite how she felt towards 'Lord' Stanford, she retained her integrity and presented herself humbly by asking how he was dealing with things on his end, seeing that he was part of the family and he was, despite his arrogance and clearly disruptive and impertinent manner, a valued member of the court. However, instead of returning the courtesy which Mary had shown, he dismisses her comment just as he had dismissed her appearance to instead showcase his prized moment, "I do hope His Majesty was not too upset before he left. You understand, don't you? Protecting ones family from harm, both physical and verbal, is a priority, no?"

Though Mary was reluctant to accept the Stanfords, she tried to for Francis' sake and in recent years for Charles' sake, but Henry continued over and over again to make it more challenging than it could be, not to mention his daughter who does a runner on Charles when he needed her most. Was her lips pursed and her fingers secretly crossed when she vowed 'for better for worse'? Was it the same for the father when he swore his loyalty yet marries his other daughter to bed James Lancaster. Her suspiciousness was certainly growing, even further in recent tidings which was not helped by Henry verbally attacking her son their King after his daughter done an adequate job in breaking him much to Mary's dismay, especially seeing as she had not seen much of her son as a result, but the important part was that he was safe.

(Key: [emphasis])

"Too...upset?", she repeated in a dismissive tone, blinking a few times as if in disbelief or shock, though of course she did such for a reason. She then raised her tone to repeat once again, "[Too] upset?!......Such words remind me of those said locally in the chantry schools, how old [are] you Stanford?!", she replied callously in response with a hint of sympathy as if she felt sorry for him. Afterall, upper class children tended to be privately tutored much like what she was, while middle class boys were educated in local grammer schools with severe discipline to keep them in line, while others are taught in chantry skills where a priest would educate local children when not praying, clearly suggesting his lack of discipline and reminding him of his place and class. No one, absolutely no one, freely slandered her family without repercussion.

Mary had attempted to speak to Stanford politely, but in insinuating that her son was not a man in his statement and saying such infront of her, Mary would not back down. There was truth in the mumble that came out his mouth about 'protecting ones family', hence why she had decided to confront Stanford, seeing that he was her son's father-in-law, and therefore was part of the family, the 'black sheep' of the family at least. Henry had much to learn, though thankfully for him, Mary would provide, "[You] are Earl of Briar. My [son] is your sovereign, [King] of Seabel and [your] son-in-law, such that you should respect. You should hold your [tongue] and know your place. You can hardly protect your family if you slander and mock them in council, such that I do not condone", reinforcing the fact that Charles is part of his family also. However, with Charles not present in the capital and Mary now free to do as she pleases, Henry better take her advice and hold his tongue, for she was only just warming up....

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford Character Portrait: James Lancaster
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A heavy gasp passed Annabelle’s lips the moment her pale eyes had landed upon her youngest daughter; she froze within the doorway, her eyes trained at the sight before her. Years had passed since she last saw Eleanor and here she was now, before her, no longer a dream but a reality, a beautiful and heartbreaking reality. For Annabelle’s heart was breaking at the anguish on her daughters face, she had seen the very same expression upon Harriet weeks ago when Lizzie had died, and now Eleanor wore the same expression. She knew it was not in her control, but as a mother, in that moment she felt like a failure. Her eyes travelled cautiously down the bed, expecting to see blood, alas there was none, not even a drop and that instilled a hope that not all was lost. “Mama” Eleanor’s meek and frightened voice, startled her to a start, quickly shaking the haze from her mind Annabelle glanced towards her daughter…Mother? Annabelle’s smile only widened as she nodded slowly, tears gathering in her blue orbs. “Oh my god, mother…” The joy in Eleanor’s voice was infectious and this was mirrored in Annabelle’s smile of pure joy, it was a moment that matched the very first time she had held her daughter in her arms.

Finally her feet gave way and Annabelle rushed towards her daughters bedside, perching gingerly on the side of the bed so she would cause her anymore pain. She pressed her lips firmly against Eleanor’s brow, “Oh my darling…” she gushed quickly as placed her hand gently on either side of her pretty face and pulled back momentarily to get a full look at her daughter. Eleanor was beautiful, no breathtaking and thankfully she hadn’t changed in the years which had past between them; looking down at her daughter visage, Annabelle still saw that young, fresh faced beauty whom once happily danced around the halls on Pendlebury, even through the woman’s anguish Annabelle could still see that. “Eleanor” she sighed happily, for a moment she even forgot the circumstances which had brought Eleanor to this bed, all that mattered was that her daughter was in her arms and by gods good graces, she would help her deliver a healthy child into this world. “Do not fret my love…” Annabelle soothed, pressing another kiss to her brow, “All will be well and soon you will hold your child in your arms.” She spoke loud enough to drown out the conversation which the physician was holding with James, no, Eleanor did not need to hear his concern; she needed to believe that all was fine, only then would she have the strength to deliver this child.

Annabelle knew the situation was a dyer one, that much had been evident from the doctor’s manner, yet a smile remained on Annabelle’s features, she would not show Eleanor her concern, she needed strength to feed of, no amount of concern could help her child now. “You are going to be a mother soon, darling girl. All your dreams will come true, now, you take my hand and squeeze it all you like and I promise I shall not leave your side.”

James watched the scene before him with an air of confusion, in fact he had blinked numerous times to make sure that it wasn’t a allusion, Annabelle Stanford was indeed stood before him, comforting his wife. He also wasn’t exactly sure how he felt about the situation, albeit his emotions were somewhat masked at the present, his concern over his wife and child masking all other emotions. He narrowed his emerald eyes towards Jonathon, whom still hovered around the door, clearly uncomfortable at the situation. His thin lips turned into a frown when the realisation dawned on him, Jonathon must have sent for her and that led to more pressing matters, he had been in contact with the South, treasonable offensive…damn he couldn’t think about that right now, not with his wife in her present condition.

Lost in his thought, it was only when the physician stood blocking the vision of his wife, did James turn his attention towards the man. “What?” He snapped candidly, anyone in that moment would have bore the brunt of his anger, "I'm afraid I do not know what is the matter with the Queen. I can only guess that she has sustained some form of internal injury from the fall that's causing her the extreme pain. I do not know if the baby is still alive…" James glowered in anger, his jaw locked as his eyes clouded over, he was extremely close to the breaking point, “Damn it! How can you not know what ails her, or if my child still lives!” He spoke in angry whispers, low enough so that Eleanor would not be able to fathom the words which they spoke, and yet loud enough for the physician to feel the full force of his anger. "The Queen is in labour, though. I would recommend we deliver the child as quickly as possible, if we wish to have the best chances of saving either of their lives."

James pinched the bridge of his nose, the words striking him like someone had just pierced his belly with a blade, the words hit him with such an impact that the breath momentarily left his body, he could not breath, let alone contemplate the severity of the words. The only thing James could think about was the last time Eleanor had to deliver early, it meant the loss of his son and in all honesty, James wasn’t sure how he would take another disappointment. All he could do was nod at the physicians words, “Do what you have to do to save my wife” He moved past the man and glided towards Eleanor’s bed, taking a seat on the other side to Annabelle, before reaching out to brush a hair out of her face, “stay strong my love” James spoke softly, his voice quaking ever so slightly as he leant down to press a kiss against her plush lips, “I love you so much,” looking up, he glanced to Annabelle offering a small nod, “ Will you stay with her?”

Annabelle instinctively nodded, “of course I will” she replied like there was no other answer possible for her and truthfully there wasn’t.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh
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It was a mostly fear of harming his unborn child that restrained Charles from pushing his wife against the wall in a passionate kiss. He would have do so in a heart beat, actually, but the ache of losing one child was still a fresh wound and the thought of losing another one plagued his mind.

His lips had brushed along the length of her neck slowly as he spoke, peppering gentle kisses on her flesh. He felt as if he'd gone too long without the touch of a woman. He'd nearly fallen victim to the temptation of whoring, but a shred of dignity had kept him from doing so. Before his marriage, Charles was an active man in every sense of the word. His youthful, licentious ways were the focus of many conversations in his father's home of Rigby Hall. The thought of being tied down to one woman for the rest of his days came as a shock to Charles, who had been resentful of his own father when he learned of the man's intent to marry him to the Stanford girl. The first meeting was an awkward one, to say the least, but he had wedded her and bedded her both in love. Even now, Charles knew not what made Harriet so different from the other women he'd shared a bed with. Was it her fiery spirit? Her opinionated ways? Most women had been more passive in his presence, but Harriet was certainly Charles's equal in more ways than one.
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"Even when I'm grey and old?" Harriet questioned, laughing lightly at her own rhetorical question. Regardless, Charles nodded and smirked.

"Even when you're nothing more than a specter," he cooed, pushing a strand of hair from her face and tucking it behind her ear. She, in turn, rested a hand on his cheek. Charles raised his own hand and placed it over hers, holding it close and letting his eyes close in contentment as Harriet listed her plans for their family.

"We will have the largest, most powerful family in this entire land." She spoke with such conviction that Charles could have sworn he felt his pride swell. Right now, he would not bother to think of the reality, that such an idea was really an idea out of Harriet's mind and not the truth. Right now, he wanted to believe that such things were true.

She pressed her lips to his and Charles let out a soft moan against her pink lips as her hand trailed along his chest. His arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her close. Despite her already rounding stomach from the pregnancy, his long arms still met at the small of her back, massaging the flesh gently.

"There will be no families greater than ours," he purred, parting his lips from hers briefly as he laid his forehead against hers. "The Rayleighs will rule Seabel for centuries and centuries to come, we will assure it." They were empty promises conjured up out of thin air by the king, but they managed to comfort him in this period of uncertainty. While it was not his greatest concern, the thought of James's inevitable attempt and revenge loomed over him as he ruled his kingdom. The man would certainly try to avenge his father, who had died at the end of Charles's sword years ago at Mountain's Pass.

He removed one hand from the small of her back and placed it gingerly against her cheek, caressing her smooth flesh with his thumb, calloused from years with a sword. "We shall never fight like this again," he assured, adding to his list of empty promises. "I do not know what I would do with myself if we had another feud. You almost drove me to madness, I swear." A light escaped his lips, but there was a sad truth behind his words that could be seen in his eyes, which looked back at her mournfully now, despite his chuckle. "Yes, I certainly would have gone mad."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford Character Portrait: James Lancaster
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Eleanor saw the pure joy in her mother's eyes, and she knew for certain that this was right, that her mother was supposed to be here. She was never meant to deliver a child without her mother's gentle words and sweet, soothing tone at her side. That had been the issue before, Eleanor promised herself. That she had been cursed, without her mother, to never deliver a living, breathing boy. But now Annabelle was at her side, everything would be alright. Her mother's presence would usher her son safely into this world and soon she would hold her boy, James' heir, in her arms. This was right, it felt right. She should not fear for her mother's life, for she should be here to see the birth of her grandson. God had answered Eleanor's prayers and sent her a way. She needed her mother, and no one was going to send her away, not even James.

Eleanor felt her mother come to rest on the side of the bed and she kissed her daughter's hot forehead. "Oh my darling... Eleanor." Her mother looked at her, running her eyes over her daughter's face, in which the pain was evident but overlayed with a smile.

"Mother, you're here," Eleanor breathed, completely overtaken with her delight at the reunion she had waited so long for. Her mother looked older, more tired, the pain and stress of the last few years engrained in the lines of her face. But she still looked just as Eleanor remembered her. Familiar and comforting. The face she had known as home. In the background, Eleanor was aware of her husband, watching in disbelief. He did not yet look angry, but Eleanor was sure that would come, certainly when she had delivered her baby. She saw the physician approach James, distracting him momentarily from Annabelle. Though she could not hear what was being said, she was certain the physician was telling James he didn't know what was wrong. They never did. The two previous times, she had implored him for details, trying desperately to find out what she had done wrong, why her babies kept dying. But he couldn't tell her. He had had no idea and she was left feeling empty and lost.

Annabelle kissed her daughter again, averting her attention from her husband and the physician, obviously not wanting for her daughter to hear their conversation, before offering her words of reassurance, “Do not fret my love… All will be well and soon you will hold your child in your arms.” Eleanor nodded, accepting her mother's words as truth. For, as a little girl, Eleanor had been certain that no matter the circumstances, her mother's words would always come to pass. As she had grown and things had gone wrong, Eleanor had gained a sad awareness that, no matter how good her mother's will was, she could not create the perfection she reassured her child with. But Eleanor did not need that realisation now. She needed belief and trust, or she could not do this. She needed to have faith in her mother as she had done as a child.

“You are going to be a mother soon, darling girl. All your dreams will come true, now, you take my hand and squeeze it all you like and I promise I shall not leave your side.”

Eleanor nodded, reaching out for her mother's hand, as though having her fulfil that part of her promise would make everything else she had said true. Eleanor paused for a moment, looking at her mother, her big blue eyes meeting her mother's, before asking in a small voice, "How?" A look of concern crossed her features. "How are you here? What about Harriet, and Charles, and father?" Oh God, if they found out, what would they do to her mother? What if they already knew and were coming right now to attack Lochleyer Castle? What if they were all in terrible danger?

Eleanor looked up at her husband, who had sat down the other side of her. There was a look in his eyes that frightened Eleanor. He looked as though he had lost all hope, as though he was simply waiting to be given terrible news. He was looking at her with such concern and shock, his eyes gliding across her features fearfully. A shiver crept across her hot skin and James reached out to brush a hair from her face. He leant down to kiss her lips. There was so much love behind his kiss, such care. If there was even a chance that this would be the last time he would kiss her, at least it had been that kiss.

"Stay strong my love. I love you so much."

Eleanor nodded, "I love you too." She suddenly felt a wave of fresh fear and her eyes filled with unexpected tears. If those were the last words she'd say to him, they simply didn't feel enough. But she didn't have time to dwell on finding better words. She heard him ask her mother something and her reply, but she couldn't focus on their words. There was more pain coming. She could feel it. She closed her eyes, hoping she was wrong. But she wasn't so fortunate.

Eleanor took a few gasped, shuddering breaths, lacing her fingers through her mother's and praying James had already left the room, before letting out a cry of pain. A horrible, crushing agony shattered out across her stomach and she clasped at it, as though her touch would do something to prevent it. But, of course, it did not.

"Mother," Eleanor gasped, another unintelligible cry of pain following. She felt hands on her stomach, feeling the baby's position before pressing gently. She glanced the physician, standing over her, a slightly grim look on his features as midwives fluttered around her.

"What's going on? What are you doing?" Eleanor managed to ask, her voice panicked.

The physician responded almost instantly, "It's time to deliver the baby, Your Grace."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh
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There was unmatched warmth a woman felt when sharing a bed with a man they loved and whom loved her in return, it had been something Harriet had always felt with Charles, even from their first time together all those years ago. And although that night had not been particularly pleasant for her, the love she had experienced from her new husband had been something which had stifled any pain she had felt and as they lay together, Harriet nestled within Charles’ arms she had never experienced such joy and serenity. She had known then that it was her place, her destiny to be beside that man, they had been made for each other, it was written in the stars, that, she was certain of and it shamed Harriet beyond belief at the thought of how close she had come to casting that to the winds.

"There will be no families greater than ours…The Rayleighs will rule Seabel for centuries and centuries to come, we will assure it." His words rang like music in her ears, the mere thought comforting beyond belief. True it had been Harriet who had initiated such words, but to hear Charles’ conformation gave her hope that the inevitable war between the Rayleigh’s and Lancaster’s was not one her husband deemed unbeatable. For if Charles was to lose hope, she would surely follow. Harriet nestled her head into the crook of his neck, inhaling his familiar, intoxicating scent, “Speaking of families… she began, her lips curling into a warm smile against his neck, “…your son began kicking not two days ago, he’s a strong one I assure you, almost made me double over.” Harriet laughed, rubbing her hand across her swollen abdomen. “Cecily has missed you a great deal. She will be so joyous when she see’s you tomorrow.”

Feeling his rough hand against her cheek, Harriet once again looked up into Charles’ blue hues, he spoke of them and how they would never fight the way they had over the past months. Not surprisingly, Harriet nodded along to every word he spoke, agreeing wholeheartedly. Of course it would be naïve to suggest never fighting again, they fought often, argued daily and quite often they would fight just to for the active reconciliations. But Harriet vowed then and there never to shut him out like she had again, ever again. “You almost went mad?” she laughed, feigning disbelief, “my darling, your absence almost made me ravenous...” She once again pressed her lips against his, “for your kiss…for your touch, everything about you only stirs my desire. And when a husband is not present to cater to their wife’s desire, she can find herself becoming rather irritable.”

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Character Portrait: Henry Stanford Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh
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Henry watched the woman closely, studying her features for any sign of weakness of anger to his response. It was childish, perhaps, to instigate the king's mother this way, but he could hardly contain himself. It brought him great joy to boil the Rayleigh blood that coursed through her veins. For some reason she had decided he was not worthy of being an equal to her. Was it because he did not possess her "high pedigree"? The idea caused him to almost chuckle, but he decided it wasn't such a good idea because she did not seem in the mood for joking around. Then again, she never really did.
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"Too...upset? Too upset?! Such words remind me of those said locally in the chantry schools. How old are you, Stanford?!" she exclaimed, taking his words a bit too seriously, even by her own standards.

"Aye..." he replied under his breath. "That is what I said..." He cleared his throat and spoke in at a normal volume again. "Fifty years old, Duchess. Though, I shan't ask you your age because I still possess some courtesy." Yes, he would most likely regret answering that rhetorical question in such a manner. Mary would most likely take poorly to it, too. Well, it was enjoyable while it lasted. A smile lingered on his lips and he clasped his hands behind his back like a sheepish school boy which, he admitted, he was certainly acting a lot like.

Her fake sympathy edged with sarcasm would have normally caused him to anger quickly or grow morose. But, feeling as if he had gained the upper hand with his previous response, Henry Stanford merely smirked back at her with as much faux sincerity as he could muster.

"If you do not mind, Duchess, do save me the sympathy," he said, face twisting into a sickeningly sweet grin. "I am certain you do not care at all for me and I am certain you know this, too."
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"You are Earl of Briar. My son is your sovereign, King of Seabel and your son-in-law, such that you should respect. You should hold your tongue and know your place. You can hardly protect your family if you slander and mock them in council, such that I do not condone." While his face held its usual poker face, Henry felt his temper rising. How dare this woman speak to him in such a way? Though she held a higher rank than him, he was still her family too, was he not? They were in-laws because her husband had decided to wed Charles to Harriet. While he loved the young monarch, even Mary would have to admit he had not been himself since the death of Lizzie.

"I am aware of my title, Duchess Rayleigh, and I am aware of my relationship with your son," he said simply, his voice remaining in a monotone despite the temper that boiled inside of him. Then again, he'd grown used to hiding his temper since Eleanor had run off up North. He thought of his other daughter far too often that it could be considered unhealthy. It would be treason to write to her and so he simply waited and prayed for her safety. "Yet, if you ask His Majesty yourself, I do believe you would find he has no ill feelings toward me." One of many traits I am thankful he did not inherit from you... he thought, though he dare not say it aloud. "My place is in His Majesty's court and I know that. You must know that he has not been himself since the loss of our granddaughter. It was necessary that I push him to make amends with my daughter." He paused, building up a dramatic effect. "You and I both know that he requires an heir as soon as possible." Henry drew the cloak he wore a bit tighter around himself, eyeing Mary in a way that seemed to convey his lack of trust for the woman along with a hint of pondering.

"Do not forget that my daughter is family to you, also. She is family to you just as much as she is family to me. Yet, I do not feel you show her the respect she deserves either. Do remember that she outranks you as Queen, Duchess Rayleigh." A quick smile flashed upon his features, pleasant in a way that was taunting toward her. It was gone just as quickly as it had appeared.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford Character Portrait: James Lancaster
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James once again pressed his lips to his wife’s already slightly dampened forehead; although the room was not particularly warm that evening, the fire was lit, magnificent flames dancing within the pit afoot of their bed, then again one never could truly get warm in these Northern Lands, the chill seemed to linger in your bones, come spring, summer, autumn or winter, there was no escape. It often concerned him, more so for Eleanor than himself, she was such a fragile soul, to him anyway, other would argue he did not give his wife enough credit when it came to strength. However the chill in the room that night, yet the sweat upon her porcelain palate reminded him all too well of nights similar to this one, in years gone by and all of those times It had ending in heartache. James clenched his eyes closed for a moment as he rested his forehead against Eleanor’s, it would not do well for him to think of such things now, it would only drive him half-crazed and now more than ever, James needed to keep his wits about him. “Stay strong, my love.” He whispered for Eleanor’s ears alone and with a final kiss upon her brow, James pulled back from his wife, giving a final nod towards Annabelle and quickly left the room.

Annabelle watched her son-in-law go with pity in her eyes, she felt for him, she truly did, what must be going through his mind right now must be harrowing, with so much anguish behind them she wasn’t entirely sure if there was any hope left within the exiled Prince. As she turned back to her youngest daughter, her heart clenched within her chest, it was evident that Eleanor was frightened, there was seldom a woman who broached this without fear, but as a mother the sight unsettled her. The fear in her daughter’s eyes was not just of the unknown pain she was about to face, but of the uncertainty if this child should live or not. It was something no mother should be worry about at such a time and yet because of disappointments in the past, the pain and the misery of miscarriages and stillborns, it was undoubtedly playing upon Eleanor’s mind.

“Mother.” Eleanor gasped and Annabelle’s hand instinctively tightened around her daughter’s hand as she moved to sit behind her, cradling her back against her chest. From her position she could whisper soothing words into Eleanor’s ears, just like she had done for Harriet upon the birth of both her girls. “There, there my love, I am here” she whispered lightly, pressing her lips against Eleanor’s flaxen locks. “It’s time to deliver the baby, Your Grace.” The physician spoke, causing Annabelle to look up and nod affirmatively. Gently, the Duchess shifted her position, making it slightly more comfortable for Eleanor. “My darling, it’s time to bring your child into this world. It won’t be long now and you’ll be holding that little bundle within your arms.” She smiled down, doing what she could to instil some courage into her youngest.

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Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford
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Eleanor was aware of her mother behind her, holding her daughter. She shifted her position slightly and Eleanor tried to settle against her, despite her discomfort. Though her mother's touch offered her comfort, it was not enough to sooth all of Eleanor's fears. She had built up to this moment for months, sure she would never reach it, that some cruel twist of fate would take her baby's life long before then. She should be relieved to have made it to now, to be so very close to presenting James with his heir and finally having the one thing she had desired with such ardour for years. But now, she was even more afraid than ever. For the closer she got, the more she was promised her baby, the bitterer she was afraid the loss would be. She could feel her whole body shaking with fear in her mother's arms, her frame quaking with terror at what was to come. She tried to take deep breaths, in order to calm herself, but she felt as though each was being snatched from her prematurely by panic, forcing her attempted calm to become panicked, hyperventilated gasps.

“My darling, it’s time to bring your child into this world. It won’t be long now and you’ll be holding that little bundle within your arms,” her mother smiled down at her. Her words were clearly designed to reassure her child, and Eleanor expected them too. But, instead, she felt a shudder run through her body and unexpected, hot tears burnt in her eyes. They slipped down her cheeks and she let out a small sob. The image her mother had tried to create for Eleanor was such a beautiful one, one she so desperately longed for. It was perfect. All she had ever wanted. Yet it felt unattainable, like that wonderful dream was about to be taken from her once more, and to be reminded of how beautiful it could be only made her cry. She was also so very afraid. She was in terrible pain and everyone was rushing around her. Eleanor felt her dress being unlaced and taken off her. Her lower half was covered with a sheet to preserve her modesty, but truly, Eleanor was at the point of being beyond caring. She didn't care who saw her, if it would simply make the pain go away. Her hair was taken out of its usual, complex plait and allowed to fall loose around her face.

"Mother, I'm afraid," Eleanor whimpered desperately. "I'm afraid he'll die..."

She felt the physician's hand between her legs and then another wash of pain as her muscles contracted. She screamed through tears, her hand tightly gripping her mother's in a way that Eleanor was sure must be hurting the older woman.

"It hurts, it hurts," she gasped, her chest heaving with effort. Her cheeks were flushed and skin already glazed with a thin layer of sweat. There was movement at the foot of the bed and hurried whispers. The physician seemed absorbed in his work, inspecting her. But the midwives were glancing at her with concern in their eyes, as though there was something they didn't want her to know.

"What's wrong?" Eleanor's voice rose in decibels. She stumbled over the words, her voice shaking slightly. "What is it?" she demanded again, when she received no response. She turned her head desperately to look at her mother, hoping to find answers with her. "Mother, what is it?" Her voice was high pitched now, verging on hysteria.

Then Eleanor saw it. On the sheets. Only for the briefest second. So short her eyes could easily be betraying her or it could just be a flicker of the low lighting, a shadow from the flicker of a candle. Just the tiniest flash of crimson.

"Am I bleeding?" she asked fearfully.

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Seabel by Calvazara

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Character Portrait: Margaret Rayleigh
8 sightings Margaret Rayleigh played by Kura Ravengade
"Fighting is a foolish and futile thing that will only end in heartache for all of those involved. Why not settle our differences with words instead of the silent blade of death?" {WIP}
Character Portrait: Edwin Lancaster
7 sightings Edwin Lancaster played by Scarlet Loup
"If we truly detach from our childhood and abandon our inherent romanticism, then we shred any bit of humanity left in us."

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View All » Add Character » 9 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh
Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster
Character Portrait: James Lancaster
Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford
Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh
Character Portrait: Henry Stanford

Newest

Character Portrait: Henry Stanford
Henry Stanford

"Emotionless people are not emotionless from the beginning...they are just disappointed and hurt very strongly by the ones they love."

Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh
Mary Raleigh

"No one, absolutely no one, messes with my family!"

Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford
Annabelle Stanford

"Words have weight, something once said cannot be unsaid. Meaning is like a stone dropped into a pool; the ripples will spread and you cannot know what back they wash against."

Character Portrait: James Lancaster
James Lancaster

"What days of strain, what nights of stress Can cark a throne, Even one maintained in peacefulness, I too have known. "

Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster
Eleanor Lancaster

"Divided we fall..."

Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
Charles Rayleigh

"When you begin a journey of revenge, start by digging two graves: one for your enemy, and one for yourself."

Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh
Harriet Rayleigh

"Through loyalty to the past, our mind refuses to realize that tomorrow's joy is possible only if today's makes way for it; that each wave owes the beauty of its line only to the withdrawal of the preceding one."

Trending

Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster
Eleanor Lancaster

"Divided we fall..."

Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford
Annabelle Stanford

"Words have weight, something once said cannot be unsaid. Meaning is like a stone dropped into a pool; the ripples will spread and you cannot know what back they wash against."

Character Portrait: Henry Stanford
Henry Stanford

"Emotionless people are not emotionless from the beginning...they are just disappointed and hurt very strongly by the ones they love."

Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh
Mary Raleigh

"No one, absolutely no one, messes with my family!"

Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
Charles Rayleigh

"When you begin a journey of revenge, start by digging two graves: one for your enemy, and one for yourself."

Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh
Harriet Rayleigh

"Through loyalty to the past, our mind refuses to realize that tomorrow's joy is possible only if today's makes way for it; that each wave owes the beauty of its line only to the withdrawal of the preceding one."

Character Portrait: James Lancaster
James Lancaster

"What days of strain, what nights of stress Can cark a throne, Even one maintained in peacefulness, I too have known. "

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh
Harriet Rayleigh

"Through loyalty to the past, our mind refuses to realize that tomorrow's joy is possible only if today's makes way for it; that each wave owes the beauty of its line only to the withdrawal of the preceding one."

Character Portrait: Eleanor Lancaster
Eleanor Lancaster

"Divided we fall..."

Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
Charles Rayleigh

"When you begin a journey of revenge, start by digging two graves: one for your enemy, and one for yourself."

Character Portrait: Annabelle Stanford
Annabelle Stanford

"Words have weight, something once said cannot be unsaid. Meaning is like a stone dropped into a pool; the ripples will spread and you cannot know what back they wash against."

Character Portrait: James Lancaster
James Lancaster

"What days of strain, what nights of stress Can cark a throne, Even one maintained in peacefulness, I too have known. "

Character Portrait: Henry Stanford
Henry Stanford

"Emotionless people are not emotionless from the beginning...they are just disappointed and hurt very strongly by the ones they love."

Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh
Mary Raleigh

"No one, absolutely no one, messes with my family!"


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