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Forged of Blood and Steel.

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

http://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/index.html

Introduction

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Seabel is a powerful Island nation, who’s history stretches back thousands of years and the current monarchy can trace it’s family tree back to the original settlers, an exiled King and his loyalists from the neighbouring country of Valeria. These, ‘the first few’ turned an 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 theValerians, who’s feud had been taking place since the original settlers and continues onward, with both armies and navy’s of equal strength a stalemate occurred on all fronts, which resulted in a peace treaty, this has been in place for a hundred years but recently tempers have started to flare once more and both side rebuild their armies for what can only be described as an inevitable war.

The country its self has, in recent years become divided between two regions; the North and the South, dividing the country in half. Reasons for the feud stem from two families; The Lancaster’s, who are the current reigning family of Seabel and The Rayleigh’s, a influential and powerful family from the South. Conflict began from an old rivalry between the families and has of recent developed in severity.

The current reigning monarch is the House of Lancaster; they are the longest reigning monarch with their rule spanning some three hundred years. The Lancaster’s are a family loved by their people, in the North that is, ruling as just monarchs but with a line of adultery and bastard children, many other houses have rivalled their claim to the throne, the Rayleigh’s being he greatest threat. Scandal has constantly been a major feature during the Lancaster rule over the years, murder, adultery, treason and torture have all been very present in the lives of the previous King’s, Queen’s, princes and princesses.





With war not too far away from people mind, Seabel is at a pivotal point In history; the nation has been to war before, a mere seven years
prior, thousands died for a cause which now seem frivolous and now war is on the morrow once more. A war which will pin neighbour against neighbour and brother and brother; for the first time in the nations history, a civil war will be fought.

However there is one figure who could eliminate the threat of war...the Queen. Wife of the King and sister to Lady Harriet Rayleigh, daughter-in-law of the opposition leader, Sir Francis Rayleigh; those in court who want to avoid a war at all costs have encouraged her to talk to the King about a peace summit. Out of love for her family in the South and her family in the North, the Queen wants nothing more than peace between the regions. The King agreed to his wife's appeal and with Lady Harriet's encouragement to accept the Kings offer, the Rayleigh's reluctantly agreed; and so it would be, that on the fifteenth day of the sixth month The Lancaster's and Burtons would meet the Rayleigh's and the Stanford's at Beaumont Castle, neutral ground for both parties, here the King will propose a Peace treaty to the Rayleigh's and the future of Seabel will be forged.





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King Orion Lancaster is a just ruler, much beloved by the people in the North yet loathed by those in the South. He rules with an iron but fair fist and like his father before him he is a fierce warrior with a violent and impulsive temper, you certainly do not want to cross him. | FC: Jonathan Rys-Myers | TAKEN

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Queen Amalie Lancaster (nee Stanford) is the wife of the King, married for little under seven years, it has been a relatively happy marriage only dampened by the loss of two children, leaving the King and Queen currently childless, 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; with her sister now married to the eldest Rayleigh son and tensions running at a new high between the two families she fears for her sisters safety. | FC: Scarlet Johannson | TAKEN

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Prince ……… Lancaster, is the brother of the 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 regions so he can create a name in blood for himself like his brother and father. | FC: Henry Cavill | RESERVED

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Princess Elenna Lancaster, she is the fatally beautiful sister to the King. Pampered and sheltered it is safe to say that she gets what she wants and is not afraid to go to some dark places to get them. Manipulative and extremely intelligent, she knows how to bend people to her will, if she did not love her brother she could potentially be one of his biggest threats. | FC: Katie McGrath | TAKEN




Image The Lancaster’s have many palaces throughout Seabel, however in the capital city of Arva, stands possibly the greatest gem in their crown, Castle Whitehall.

The city of Arva, or The Kings City as it is more commonly known, stands fifty miles inland in the North Western corner of Seabel, surrounded by rolling green hills, colorful fields, dense forestry and fertile farmland, Arva is truly a gem in the crown jewels. Built by the Lancasters ancestors upon their exile from Luxor, Arva is rich in history and culture to rival no other and has been the main residence of the royal family for generations. A strategic stronghold for inland advances, Arva has been heavily fortified over the years, not only is it home to the Kings army but the city’s towering walls and high ground make it near enough indestructible as nobody has managed to penetrate it’s walls yet, efficiently protecting it’s thousands of inhabitants. Arva has very defined and consistent seasons unlike other parts of the country, the winters can be extremely harsh, with inches upon inches of snow and bitterly cold winds blowing in from the Western ocean, a deep contrast to their sweltering summers, with glorious sun and ever rising temperatures.

Although heavily fortified, Arva would be the first major strong hold invaders from the south would encounter and despite being strongly defended, like all places Arva does have its weaknesses and if the enemy found out these weakness they could easily exploit them and then the city would undoubtedly fall not long after. From then on it would be an easy ride to the other major cities of Seabel.





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Duke ……… Burton, is the Kings oldest friend and most trusted advisor, fiercely loyal to his King and Sovereign, the Duke is willing to lay down his life and the life of his sons to protect the throne. | FC: Stephan Dillane | RESERVED

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Lord ……… Burton, is the eldest son of the Duke and followed his father into politics, he sits on the council with his father and is an advisor of the King, however, he does not share his fathers loyalties to the King. In fact he is acting as a spy for the Rayleigh; if this knowledge were to get out then he would surely loose his head and tarnish the Burton name. |FC: Richard Armitage | RESERVED


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Sir ……… Burton, is the second son of the Duke, he has inherited his fathers loyalties to the King and will gladly lay down his life to keep the King on the throne. A knight of the Realm, the knight is sworn to protect the royal family and so is never too far away from them; as of late the Princess has caught his attention and is currently wrestling with the idea of pursuing her.| FC: Sam Claflin | OPEN


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……… Burton, is the only liiving daughter of the Duke, close friends to the Princess, she is just as hot heated and temperamental as her father and brothers; traits which are rather rife in people from the North. Beautiful and charming, she doesn’t have to work hard to twist you around her little finger | FC: Gemma Arterton| RESERVED

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Lady Rosylin Burton (nee Hale), is the wife of Lord Burton, what had begun as a marriage of convenience some five years ago has developed into something deeper. Originally from the South, Lady ……… despises the North and it’s people with a passion. A genuinely beautiful and kind hearted woman, she longs to take her husband and child back to the South as her loyalties lie with her cousins the Stanfords; this makes her rather hated by the of members of the Burton family. | FC: Emilia Clarke| TAKEN




Image Fifteen miles off the coast of the Western Cliffs lies the Yorkpoint Isles, a series of islands ranging in sizes all joined together by a network of stone bridges. An island nation, the inhabitants of Yorkpoint are said to be some of the toughest in all the kingdom, hardened by the turbulent weather and raids from pirates, these people know how to stand there ground and fight fiercely. The climate is a mostly dismal one, the western sea prone to hurricane condition, sea, wind a rain often lash down upon the islands walls; the chill is always present in the air, but he sun does have a tendency to shine here and when it does it is the most glorious place. To reach these island you must travel by boat from the Starkhaven docks to the Harbour at Yorkpoint; they are very much Masters of the sea.

Care of these islands is in the hands of the Kings oldest friend and confidante, Lord Burton and his sons. The magnificent fortitude of Castle York is their home, a fortress made of dark grey walls, often turned black by the lashing waves and rain, towers twenty feet in the sky, the castles highest steeple soaring further, it is a true testament of their power and wealth.
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[font=times new roman]Lord Francis Rayleigh, is the warden of the South-East and the leader of the opposing South. For years he and his family have served under the Kings from the North and has watched, with a heavy heart as his people grow hungry, whilst the North flourishes. He has established a new government in the South with some noble families, his first step towards a separate country. | FC: Charles Dance| TAKEN

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Lady ……… Rayleigh, is the wife of Lord Francis and avid supporter of his cause. A kind and gentle woman, the Lady is a very much the motherly soul, although she hates the idea of her husband and sons going off to the war, she believes in her husbands cause whole heartily. Very much the strong but silent type, most of the family draw their strength from this woman. | FC: Michelle Fairley | OPEN

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Sir Charles Rayleigh, is the eldest son of Francis Rayleigh and recently sworn knight of the New South, he sit’s on his father’s council as an excellent military strategist. Once a reckless man, who abused his wealth and power he has since the marriage to his wife mellowed, becoming a dutiful husband. | FC: Tom Hiddleston | TAKEN

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Lady Harriet Rayleigh, is the wife of Sir Rayleigh and the sister of the Queen, which has put her in a rather difficult situation. She supports her father-in-laws cause, yet fears for her sister safety if war was to be declared.| FC: Annabelle Wallis | TAKEN


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Lady………Rayleigh, the eldest daughter of Sir Rayleigh, she is a very strong-willed and opinionated young woman. Very much her own person, she rarely does as she as cold and can be misinterpreted as cold hearted; at most she is simply closed off and doesn’t let many people in. Although not married, she is a sexually active woman, something unbeknown to both her parents, if they knew she would probably be sent away.| FC: Tamzin Merchant | OPEN


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Sir………Rayleigh, Second son of Lord Francis, he is very much a typical Rayleigh, a fiery temperament and skill in battle, he had proved himself, time and time again on the battlefield, having fought alongside his father and eldest brother. | FC: Joe Armstrong | OPEN

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Sir………Rayleigh, the youngest son of Lord Francis, he is very much like his brothers, except instead of going down the cavalry route, he became a sailor and has since returned from the Kings navy, joining his fathers newly acquired fleet, where he was made Captain of his very own ship ‘The Emerald.’| FC: Eddie Redmayne | RESERVED

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Lady Briar Rayleigh, the youngest child of Lord Francis, she is very much sheltered and protected by her brothers, inheriting her mothers gentle soul Briar Yet due to her tender age, she is a little naïve making her rather interpretive to suggestion.| FC: Sophie Turner | TAKEN




Image Two-hundred miles South East of the Capital lies a busy harbour city of Port Vale; one of the main ports of trade on the Eastern Coast, the city of Port Vale attracts many merchants from all over the world via the Eastern Ocean. If you want something you are bound to find it here as wonders from the globe are imported daily; once home to the Kings somewhat lacking navy, all flag ships have recently been withdrawn from the bay with fear if sabotage running high threat from the Rayleigh's .

The climate, in this corner of Seabel is most welcoming as the seasons are very distinct; Winter brings the snow, Spring brings the rains, Summer brings sun and autumn brings the harvest. A most desirable place, Port Vale see an influx of Noble families in the spring and summer months. The Rayleigh family call this city home, and have done for hundreds of years, they have built it up from a small fishing town to a bustling, prosperous city.

Vale Citadel is the residence of the Rayleigh family; situated high up in the hills which surround Port Vale, the home is a very impressive structure, towering into the sky, the perfect example of the families power and wealth.










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Lady………Stanford; Many would say she is a very lucky woman, being the mother of a Queen but that couldn't be further from the truth...she fears daily for her eldest daughter, especially since her other daughter married into the Rayleigh's (a family who could be considered traitors) she knows war is imminent but just cant bare the thought of her children getting caught in the cross fire. | FC: Michelle Pfeiffer| OPEN

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Lord William Stanford; Much like the entire Stanford family, he is in a very difficult position, with one sister married to the King in the North and another married to the rebelling family in the South, he is torn y wanting nothing more than to protect both sisters. Although he would ultimately fight for the South, if war ever came. | FC: | TAKEN




Image [i][font=times new roman]Forty Seven miles North West of Vale lies the furthest city North in the Rayleigh's control. Briar is as old as it sounds, built around seven hundred years ago the thick stone battlement has been a military town for as long as anyone can remember, located a mere five miles before 'northern territory' the Rayleigh's have recently increased men, weaponry and supplies to the fortress in case war does break out against the North. To the left lies the Roundier Mountain Range and to the right lies the River Genieve (named after the first Queen of Seabel) which leads from the Western Ocean making supplies by boat easy, however if the King was to gain control of this River it could spell disaster for the Rayleigh's.

For many years Briar has been the residents of the Stanford family; the childhood home of the Queen and Lady Harriet.



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*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.
^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--
^Secert Word: This is war.
^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 Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 10 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Briar Rayleigh Character Portrait: William Alexander Stanford Character Portrait: Mycah Rayleigh Character Portrait: Sir Francis Rayleigh
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The sun was bright against his closed eyelids, and he squeezed his eyes shut even tighter to block it out. Mycah wasn't ready to wake up yet, he still felt exhausted. He had been up late, way too late, flirting and chasing after one of the handmaids. And all his efforts had been for nothing. She had left him alone in the early hours of the morning, admitting she needed some sleep, for she was needed extremely early to wait on her lady. He had been extremely disappointed, but had let her leave. He liked women, but he was never the type to force one to be with him. He was just about to drift back to sleep when a soft knock came, accompanied by the squeak of the door opening. "Milord?" a gentle voice whispered, sounding slightly frightened. He pounded a fist into his covers, not happy to be woken. He sat up in bed, the covers falling around him to leave his chest exposed.

He was pleasantly surprised to find the handmaid from the night before peaking into his room. She averted her eyes immediately at his exposed skin. A smile lit Mycah's features as he noticed precisely who it was. "Ah, so you couldn't stay away after all," he said somewhat cockily. A flush crept up her cheeks, making them a warm, rosy pink. She shook her head instantly, denying him once more. "I've been sent to fetch ya, milord," she said somewhat breathily, still only peeking her head into the room. Obviously she didn't want to come in. "Yer late fer breakfast, and yer family will leave within the hour." With that she curtsied, although he couldn't really see it because she wouldn't come inside the room, and her head disappeared, the door closing behind her. He instantly bolted out of bed, cursing aloud. His father was going to be upset at his lack of preciseness, he had a feeling.

He decided to throw on a soft white cotton shirt, with a leather jerkin over top. A pair of simple brown cotton breeches as well as brown boots completed his look. He took a look in the mirror, and wasn't as horrified as he thought he would be. His hair was normally styled in a haphazard manner, and his bed head didn't look much different. He ran his fingers through his hair a few times to smooth down any runaway hairs. After a few moments, he was pleased enough with his appearance to go downstairs to his family. He was only going to be travelling a majority of the day, so his appearance wasn't as much of a priority.

Mycah left the room, and found the first servant he could. "I need my things packed and carried down to the carriages right away," he said with authority, stopping only momentarily to address the girl. "Yes, milord," she responded with a nod, and he walked off, leaving her to the job. He made his way downstairs to the large banquet room, where he knew most of his family would be gathered. As he entered, he saw that his father was present, as well as his little sister, Lady Harriet, Sir William, and another man he didn't know. "Father," he said curtly, giving him a nod. He hoped to escape without being chastised for his late arrival. He walked over to Briar and Harriet, a smile on his face.

His little sister was easily his favorite sibling, if not his favorite person in general. They were the two youngest, and had always stuck together at a young age. Even though as he got older and spent more time on ships, he was always happiest to see her when back on land. He was fiercely protective of her, and was happy to know she was still generally naive for her age. He hoped it stayed that way. He walked up behind her, and playfully messed her hair. "Morning, sister," he said cheerfully, giving her a tight hug afterwards. He gave Harriet a warm smile and nod. "Good morning, Lady Harriet. I hope the both of you slept well." His eyes trailed over to William, whose state of dress was in disarray. Yet, dare Mycah say it, he looked good. He was strong and had more muscle than most men Mycah had seen. He knew William stuck to a strong training schedule. "Morning William," he called, giving the man a wave.

Honestly, he was famished, and sat down at the table to begin eating. The table had more food selection than necessary, but Mycah didn't complain. He grabbed an assortment of choices, and dug in. He wanted to be able to get his fill before they were forced to leave and head for Beaumont. "So, how is everyone this morning?" he asked to no one in particular.

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Character Portrait: Cedric Lancaster
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In a darkened bed chamber located in Arva's castle, Cedric Lancaster slowly woke up. By then, it was the last room to still be dark and occupied. Most of the servants were bustled around to help organize for the royal family's departure that would be very, very soon. Cedric's hazy green eyes slowly opened and looked around the room for a few moments in wide-eyed confusion. For a few heartbeats, he had not a clue where he was or what he was doing. And then, a wave of both nausea and pain hit him as a pang of pain shot through his skull. Ced groaned and rolled on his side to face a young, sleeping woman. Oh yes, that's what he'd been doing. A smirk crossed his lips, despite the sharp pains of a hangover-induced headache. It was quite difficult for him to decide if this blonde was more attractive while sleeping beside him or awake and, well...what they'd been doing last night.

Cedric slowly sat up and yawned, his headache relieved for a few moments as the rush of oxygen reached his brain, only for the pain to return as he released the breath. The youngest Lancaster son pulled his knees to his chest and pressed his palms against his temples, rubbing slow, circular motions to ease the pain. Damn it...how drunk had he gotten the night before? Obviously, quite drunk if he was feeling this horrible. When had he last had a hangover this bad? The young man began to go off on a tangent in his own mind, zoning out so much that he started slightly when soft, smooth hands looped around his waist and the blonde who'd been asleep beside him placed a light kiss to his strong jaw.

"G'morning, sir," she purred in an alluring, sultry tone, unhooking her arms from around his neck to run a hand through his short, slightly curly locks. Cedric leaned back slightly, placing his head in his lap for a moment as he smiled back up at her.

"Good morning, my dear," he replied. Now that he thought about it, he wasn't actually sure he knew who this woman was. Hell, he didn't even know her name. His strategy to call her a pet name instead seemed to work, thankfully, and the girl of about eighteen blushed a bright shade of reddish-pink. Cedric slowly turned around to face her while sitting up. Crawling slightly toward her, he pressed his lips into hers and pushed her up against the headboard of his opulent bed.

As his hand trailed slowly along the length of her body, lower and lower, a knock suddenly sounded at the door. She gasped and pushed him back swiftly, pulling the covers on top of herself to cover her completely exposed self. Cedric, no better concealed than her, cleared his throat and yelled out a quick, "one moment, please." Getting off of the bed, he tugged on the pair of trousers he'd worn the day before and fastened them before opening the door, coming face to face with a servant who raised an eyebrow.

"Erm...is now not a good time, sir?" asked the man, fighting back a laugh at the scene: Cedric completely unprepared and quite disheveled with a woman, just as exposed as he most likely was, hiding beneath his blankets. Cedric narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms over his broad chest.

"No, it is not," he snapped. "Yet, you might as well speak. I am already here at the door, no?" The servant nodded, all traces of amusement gone from his expression as he seemed to finally notice the sheer size of the man before him.

"Well, His Majesty awaits your presence by the carriages," he replied, wringing his hands lightly before him. Cedric's dumbfounded expression prompted him to continue. "You did remember the meeting today, sir...right?" Cedric rolled his eyes.

"Of course, I did," he muttered, lying through his teeth. "Now, if you will excuse me...you interrupted me from my getting ready."

"Oh yes, my apologies, sir..." The servant retreated down the hallway, however a few amused snickers could be heard from him, causing Cedric to flush quickly. He closed the door quickly and hurried toward his set of drawers, where he began to pull out clothing and toss it into a pile for packing. With a small collection to take with him, he also hurriedly dressed himself and then, finally, noticed the poor, bewildered girl who still sat on his bed.

"Where are yo-?" she began.

"Get out," he replied, jerking a thumb at the door. Her jaw dropped and she threw the covers off to walk toward him, her expression shocked and absolutely bewildered.

"E-excuse me?!" she cried, stopping right in front of him.

"Get out. I need to leave...important matters, you would not understand." He stood there for a few moments, holding his stance like the arrogant man he was. Without warning, however, the young blonde's hand sudden rose and struck him across the face, slapping his right cheek sharply so that the flesh stung. With that, she turned on her heel, walked toward her pile of clothing by the bed, and dressed silently. Cedric placed a hand against his cheek, jaw gaping in shock as he watched her strut out of his room, retaining the self confidence that had drawn him to her the night before.

Alone now in his room, he slowly finished packing his belongings and started for the door, turning his right cheek away to attempt to hide the welt that was forming from his brother's court. He was able to dodge most of the activity, or simply sneak past crowds, as he made his way outside. Arriving by the carriages, he handed off his luggage to a servant and quickly entered an unoccupied carriage, shutting the door behind him as he removed the hand from his cheek. It still stung harshly, though not as harshly as her blow had stung his ego. He actually probably would not recover from the blow for a few days at least.

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Nicholas stared into the raging flames, his thoughts trailing from him, fire had always been a hypnotic medium for the Duke. As a child he would make small fires in secluded places around Yorkpoint, with similar aged boys, he never saw the danger, it was just some harmless fun, they always put them out before they left. One day, however, changed his opinion from one of a harmless plaything to a deep respect for its power and if not a little fear; It had been nearing his twelfth anniversary and a year which had been surprisingly dry and warm, those weeks in particular, he revered it vividly, it had been the only time which the sea had been warm enough to actually swim in, the wind was still strong but with an absence of the familiar cold; it had been on one of those days, that Nicholas, along with a few of his childhood friends, visited one of their usual haunts, a secluded barn on one of the furthest islands which collectively made Port Yorkpoint. There they had started a small fire, burning small sticks, bits of paper and grass, anything the boys could get their hands on, when a strong gust of wind came and swept the flames against a pile of hay; flames quickly began to creep up the walls of the barn. Startled by what had happened, Nicholas and his friends fled the scene, it wasn't until later that evening did he learn that inside that barn were two young lovers and they had died due to his foolishness; that same night he admitted his crime to father and the following week, he was sent to sea, where his appreciation and fear for the element deepened, he saw it used to forge weapons, punishment and even executions; the screams of anguish and the smell of burning flesh, images which would stay with Nicholas until his final breath.

"Now, there ain’t many that know me by name, especially here. ‘specially no soldier or thug in some dingy inn.” Nicholas frowned, a expression which seemed permanently etched on his face "I have my ways" came his gruff reply to the scraping of a chair along the stone floor, the Duke turned his head to see Blackrain taking a seat opposite him. The hint of jest in Meleks voice was something that irritated Nicholas more than anything, he seemed like a cocky bastard, a man with little honour and probably less morals, a man who worked from profit and profit alone, a man who, in other circumstances, Nicholas would have refused to acknowledge.

"Now, if I killed yer son or nephew or sumthin’, I suggest you go turn ‘round and git, old man. Ye don’t look like a spring-chicken and I ain’t feelin’ much fer stabbin’ ye tonight.” The Duke scoffed at that statement, his hands coming to clasp in front of him on the small table "If ye did, I'd av to shake yer hand, not seek revenge" he replied, publicly acknowledging his disdain for his children, something he didn't usually do, especially with strangers but the remark seemed to fall to easily off his tongue, he didn't possess or want to possess the necessary filter to stop it. ”’course, maybe you just want a li’l talk with a youngster like meself?”

Nicholas nodded "Aye, I do want to talk to ye" he confirmed, reaching into his pocket and chucked a hefty sized leather pouch in front of the man, gold coins bursting from the constraints "I got a job for ye and yer men. There's this now then another if the jobs done good."

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh Character Portrait: Mycah Rayleigh
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Harriet had never been one who could eat a great deal during the morning hours, it would seem that her body woke hours before her stomach and even on some occasions her stomach wouldn't rumble until the early afternoon, today seemed to be one of those days, although she put this loss of appetite down to her nerves. Taking a seat at the table Harriet smiled, her mother had certainly displayed an excellent breakfast, it was just a shame that the appetites of her guests seemed to be elsewhere on this day; skipping the meats and eggs, Harriet put a few slices of apple and some grapes on her plate, she didn't think she could stomach much else. Brining them to her lips, it didn't take long for her to eat, her stomach instantly satisfied, though it did not need to be, it was then she moved onto her tea, pouring the liquid from an ornately painted pot into an equally pretty cup and saucer, it brought a smile to her pretty face that her mother still remembered how she liked tea with her breakfast.

Bringing the cup to her lips, Harriet sipped the refreshing liquid, the effects of her sleepless night quickly evaporating, if she had been in private she would have forgotten her lady-like stance and sank back into her chair, instead she remained poised, listening idly to the conversations around her but not participating in any particular. Eyes on the now opened double doors, Harriet was the first to see Mycah Rayleigh enter the hall, his happy demeanour immediately making her smile. He took a seat opposite her "Good morning, Lady Harriet. I hope the both of you slept well." Harriet playfully rolled her eyes "Mycah, please, we are family, we do not need titles" she smiled, softly scolding as she had done with Briar not long ago "and too answer your question, yes I did, thank you" she lied.

"Beg me pardon, Milady" a voice beckoned Harriet away from Mycah's attention and towards the young kitchen maid, who held a wicker basket in her hands "I 'av done that basket for ya" she spoke quickly and shyly, her eyes quite evidently fixated to the floor. Rising from her chair, Harriet walked towards the girl, taking the basket from her hands "thank you very much, Millie." The smiled brightly, before offering a rather ostentatious courtesy, one Hettie had to bite her lip from laughing aloud about, then the girl hurried off once again no doubt in a hurry to get back to her chores. Turning back to her family, she gave them all a quick smile "I am going to deliver Charles his breakfast and I shall see all at the carriages shortly" she spoke before swiftly moving across the floor and excited the hall.

The layout of Briar was still vividly etched into her mind, that she easily found the right corridor in the labyrinth of passageways which would take her to the courtyard, where the carriages waited for the family. By the door she spotted her ladies, patiently waiting for her, open approaching them, each curtseyed, before Bessie stepped forward, a heavy burgundy cloak in her arms, placing it over her mistresses shoulders, she clasped it in place with a golden broach, just above her bosom; Hannah then stepped forward and offered Harriet her brown, leather glove, which she quickly slipped over her hands "Thank you ladies, I shall see you when we return from Beaumont, Bessie I shall see you this evening" she smiled towards the women, before continuing through the door.

The sun no longer seem to dominate the sky, instead it had been replaced by a host of dark, storm clouds, this caused her to frown, it was a somewhat disturbing prophecy of their road ahead. Spotting Charles by their carriage, she walked over, opening the door to the carriage and placed the basket inside on the seat. Turning back Harriet moved towards her husband, her arms looping around his waist as she placed a kiss on his shoulder blade "are we ready, love?" She asked, smiling into his back as her forehead came rest against his shoulder.

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Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster Character Portrait: Orion Lancaster
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[i“I feel God may be merciful this time…”

Orion winced at Amalie's words, his eyes closing to shield his pain, his pain had been equal of his wife's when she had miscarried his children, the news had been devastating, the first time, she had only been a little past the three months she was now and although the pain was rife it could not compare to the second time. Amalie's screams of anguish were what Orion remembered most about that fateful night, not so long ago, the worst part had been there was nothing he could do to help her, he could only pace outside her room, waiting patiently for news; that night he had been certain, god would have recalled his Queen back to the Kingdom of Heaven yet he only recalled his son, a rather bittersweet outcome.

Ori had named him Edward 1st of Seabel, as he held him in his arms, his face so perfect, he looked almost as if he had been sleeping and if it hadn't of been for the coolness of his skin and the stillness of his chest, Ori could have mistaken him for being so. That memory still haunted his sleep and even waking moments in his darkest days, the days where he felt god was punishing him for letting the Rayleigh's get so far in their quest for power, it was on these days that this memory was sent to show the King that he would never have an heir and that was the closest he would ever had come to one. Yet here, in the darkness of his world, Orion had one beacon of hope with this news, a sign from god above that he was doing the right thing and he couldn't be more thankful.

"Yes, yes it is" he agreed, placing a loving kiss to her head as their fingers entwined over her growing stomach "he will live, by god he will, I know it" his words came across powerful in tone, despite the emotional break in his voice as her buried his nose deep into his wife's hair, exhaling her scent deeply "god, I love you" Ori sighed, a sense of pure happiness overcoming him, an emotion he hadn't felt in such a long time, so much so he was beginning to wonder if he would ever feel it again, the only thing that could have topped this moment would be the birth of this child.

Suddenly, a tsunami of emotions washed over him, the most dominant, fear. After the miscarriages of his two children, Orion had spent many waking hours obsessing over what went wrong, what stress had been brought to the Queen to cause such a conflict within her, that her body had rejected her pregnancy? He would be the first to admit, he was not the greatest husband, at times it seamed as if he was married to his realm first and wife second, he had not been entirely faithful to his wife at first, try as he might, the allure appeal of a forward, pretty lady broke him down at times, but he kept that well hidden, then again Amalie was no fool, she probably knew, yet being the lady she was, never questioned him about it, afterall his heart was eternally and solely hers, even if his groin was not. In the end, it had been his physician to convince him that god had taken the children away early to save them the heartache of their early deaths, it nearly made him laugh how much faith a man of science had, but had ultimately taken this explanation. Still, with this news, his worries resurfaced.

Sitting right up, he glanced her over quickly "darling, the ride won't be too uncomfortable, will it? Nor the summit too stressful for you? I don't want anything too..." No, he couldn't bring himself to finish that sentence but his eyes finished it of for him, relaying his worries to Amalie.
[/i]

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Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster Character Portrait: Orion Lancaster
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Amalie watched as her King noticeably winced at her reference to their tragic past. He closed his eyes, and Amalie wondered if it had been a mistake to mention what had happened. Maybe it was still too soon for him... Amalie and her husband didn't often talk about what had happened, but she knew it had effected him deeply. Of course, she still cried over it in private. And she still occasionally woke up screaming, clutching at her flat stomach. Her screams soon dulled to bitter sobs, and she would feel Orion reach out a hand to her. But he wouldn't speak, he wouldn't look at her, he wouldn't hold her. He'd just reach out his hand to her.

The losses had had a great impact on Amalie, and she was able to cry over it. But the deaths seemed to have a much more subtle, yet equally devastating effect on her husband. He'd become almost obsessed by the idea of having an heir, and crazed by his lack of one. Amalie still awaited the day when he would turn on her. He was so angry over it, and the Queen was sure he must blame her. After all, it was her body that was failing her. It must be her fault. She'd spent so long scrutinising every single little thing she'd done whilst pregnant, trying to work out what it was that she'd done wrong; what mistake she'd made. Other women seemed to birth children with such ease. What was it that she was doing so wrong that she was causing her own body to reject the most natural process of all. Sometimes, she felt broken. Like a failure. And it was as if she was living every day waiting for Orion to realise and find a new Queen. All she could do was pray to whoever would listen to allow her just to give Orion this child, alive. But she would not allow her worry to show. She had to stay optimistic and confident about a positive outcome. If not even she had faith, this child stood no chance.

"Yes, yes it is," Orion agreed with her. He kissed her forehead, and for a moment Amalie was swept with hope, her previous fears dismissed temporarily. "He will live, by god he will, I know it."

Her husband pressed his face into her hair, inhaling. There was something so reassuring about his tone. Orion was such a powerful man. When he spoke, people listened. When he entered a room, he exuded the kind of confidence that forced people to look at him. He was authoritative and proud. He was persuasive and convincing, and his tone simply made Amalie want to believe him. And, perhaps, in that time, she did.

"God, I love you," he said into her hair. Amalie felt her body relax against his, his affirmation giving her confidence and the feeling of safety.

"I love you too," she murmured back truthfully. Amalie knew Orion had not always been faithful to her. She was sure he thought she knew nothing of his dalliances, but she was not stupid nor in denial. She may not chose to share her knowledge with her King, but that did not mean she was ignorant. She loved her King, but she understood he was King. This could only be expected, and there had been many much worse than him. Besides, if he was oblivious, it was much easier for her to control his affairs. Amalie kept tabs on everyone he'd slept with, to ensure they could not become a risk to her position, and to make sure no bastards were produced as a result of his unions. She was not cruel or paranoid, but she was manipulative. And with no children of her own, her position was still not completely safe. She had to be careful. And these were simply the precautions she was forced to take.

Her attention was drawn away from her thoughts once more as she felt movement. She sat up a little straighter, looking to Ori, who she found looking her up and down with concern.

"Darling, the ride won't be too uncomfortable, will it? Nor the summit too stressful for you? I don't want anything too..." he trailed off. But he did not have to finish the sentence for Amalie to know what he meant. Of course, he was concerned, as she was, about the safety of being at the summit in her fragile state.

For a moment, Amalie paused, unsure. She desperately wanted to be at the summit, to see her sister and ensure she was able to do everything within her power to bring peace. But, maybe that was selfish? Maybe she wasn't putting the best interests and safety of her baby above all? Maybe this was why fate hadn't yet allowed her to become a mother yet, because she didn't deserve it. Then again, millions of other woman had done it without spending their pregnancies wrapped wool. Life couldn't just stop because she was afraid. Besides, she'd be so careful last time and it had still happened. It seemed, if God did not intend for her baby to be born, then there was nothing she or anyone else could do about it.

"I will be perfectly fine, Ori. Do not worry," she told him reassuringly. "The physician said the heartbeat was strong. And I will be careful, I promise you," she swore, looking up at him, eyes full of turbulent emotions. "Focus on the summit, my love. You know how important peace is to me," she said, carefully broaching the dangerous topic. "I don't want my children to grow up in a world full of war," she added, gently squeezing his hand, that was still resting in hers at her stomach, using the leverage she knew their child already held.

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Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain Character Portrait: Nicholas Burton
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Merek’s eyes studied the older man sitting in front of him with severe intensity. No details were missed, every line on the man’s face was counted, every gesture analysed, every word picked apart with the precision of a surgeon. Such things were important to a man in Merek’s profession.Not because of some ages old adage of ‘knowledge is power’. Merek had chopped the heads of enough men who possessed the great power of knowledge to know that proverb was something weak men hid behind in order to appear more powerful. No, he simply wanted to know more about the man he was dealing with. What made him happy? What pissed him off? What frightened him, what motivated him, what were his desires. Such things were essential when you dealt on the less honourable side of wars, or even combat. Your once employer could turn on you with as much eagerness and vigour as they had when they shoved coins in your hands, begging you to take care of their problems. To avoid such things Merek needed to know about his potential employers.

Merek had experience when it came to such things. The simple admission of ‘I have my ways’ told him enough of the man’s social status. Even if it didn’t rule out the possibility of him simply being some gang lord, it lessened the chance substantially. From his experience, those men preferred to drop names, make their conversational partner quake in fear at the power of his acquaintances. Not dropping a name meant he didn’t want Merek to know too much about who he knew, which meant he didn’t want others to know he knew Merek. Most likely a lord then, as he had assumed. The next admission was more interesting from a political standpoint, but utterly interesting from a business standpoint. It was no secret many a lord despised their children. It seemed to Merek lords didn’t desire a heir as much as they desired themselves in a younger body. Not a better version of themselves, of course. Gods forbid their children point out their glaring faults. No, a younger version of themselves, preferably a little on the slower side, so they would need daddy around to guide them for as long as daddy was around. Pathetic really, if he hated his sons so much why not just kill them and make new ones?

Merek was shaken from his musings when a bag of gold coins were tossed on the table. Instinctively Merek pulled a single coin from the purse and took a gentle bite. He could feel the gold bending underneath his teeth and felt no change in its consistency a bit further in. Pure, real gold then. Good. He’d hate to kill the man for trying to cheat him already, especially now that he finally had a reason to like the man. Gold smoothed such things over with great efficiency, as always. A wide grin spread across his features as he looked up from the coin purse and looked the older man dead in the eye. ”Now yer talkin’. But don’t stop there, me new friend. I’d love ta just take yer coin right here and now, but me guess is ye want me to do something … violent… aye?” Merek’s entire visage changed from the previously pleased look to something more vicious, more dangerous as soon as the word ‘violent’. As if the mere thought of such things filled the man with joy. But as soon as the change had occurred, it reverted and Merek grinned once more, his visage arrogant and sneaky. ”Don’tcha, worry about a thing, though. When it comes to solvin’ problems that need sharp solutions, me and me boys got us some experience.” Merek continued grinning as he looked at the man, his eyes once more beginning to study every detail they could pick up on.

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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"It would be lovely if you would. Could you place this in the carriage, darling, so I shan't forget it?" Charles' fingers closed slightly around the book his hand, the leather, still warm from his wife's hands, pressed into his palms. Slowly he slipped the small volume into the top of his burgundy tunic, letting the novel fall down to his belt. Despite how uncomfortable it was, at least he'd be able to keep the text clean while carrying as much as he could. "Of course, dearest," he replied, looking back at her as he lifted their bags up in his hands. She approached him, then, and pressed her lips quickly against his. Charles returned the kiss with a passion, his eyes closing for a moment. He silently prayed they would have time alone on the carriage ride. Harriet moved off toward the door, her dress moving behind her as she walked swiftly. Charles watched her closely, staying a few steps behind as she lifted the latch and started down the hallway.

"I shall see you in a little while," she called, moving toward the dining hall. Charles smiled and nodded, yawning softly afterwards. Unfortunately, the courtyard and dining hall were in opposite directions from the bed chambers he had shared with Harriet. Therefore, he knew he would be walking alone to the carriages that stood outside. Hefting the bags a bit higher, Charles started down the long, well-decorated hallway. It was cold, too cold for his taste. In fact, the further he went, the colder it seemed to be. He regretted not putting on a doublet over his tunic. Perhaps he'd pull one out of his bag before getting in the carriage to leave.

The young knight made his way out of the front doors of the castle, entering the courtyard straight away. The cold air hit him sharply, a great contrast to the weather he normally dealt with back in his home. Charles hunched his shoulder slightly and approached an empty carriage, which he placed the bags near. Another gust of wind hit and, instead of bracing it, Charles quickly rummaged through his luggage and pulled out a thick, fur overcoat which he'd had made especially for diplomatic relations such as this. In fact, he hardly used coats of any kind back in Port Vale. The warm ocean breezes made the weather mild enough to hardly feel a thing which was just the way he loved it.

With the overcoat on, Charles grabbed a few bags and begun to place them in the carriage itself, making sure to leave enough room for his wife and himself. Suddenly remembering, he pulled the novel out and laid it on the seat where Harriet would be able to see it. Grabbing the rest of the luggage, Charles stepped up on to the running board of the carriage and started to set them on the top. His lean frame pressed against the side of the carriage as he attempted to balance himself. However, as he set the final chest on top of the carriage, his footing shifted and his right foot lost its foothold. Pitching backwards, Charles grasped for some sort of handle, yet his fingers simply closed around nothing as he fell backwards.

"Oi, sir, you alright?" cried a servant, hurrying over to Charles as the latter muttered a curse under his breath and slowly sat up. The servant gripped one of Charles' arms and, with a surprising amount of strength, lifted him to his feet. Charles rolled his shoulders slowly, sore from the sudden contact with the stone. He'd probably find a few ugly bruises later...but he did not want to appear weak before the man who helped him up. Removing his coat to brush it off, he nodded quickly.

"Yes, I am quite alright," he replied, matter-of-factly. The knight pulled the overcoat back on over his throbbing shoulders and looked down at the servant who could not be much taller than five and a half feet or so. "Just tie those bags up there when you get around to it."

"I'll try not to fall," murmured the man as he walked off to the carriage. Charles huffed lightly, eyes narrowed at the arrogant man. Chin tilted upward slightly as if to show he still had as much pride as beforehand, Charles made his way to the stables to check on his horse. Serenity was a tall, white mare of only nine years that had been a gift from an old friend, long since dead in battle or gone into hiding. Her name was quite the misnomer, however; the mare showed an attitude and spunk that made her nearly impossible to break at first. It was a challenge, but there was nothing better than a good challenge in Charles' mind. As he entered the stall, he could hear her distinct, high-pitched whiny which was paired with a deep snorting. His pace quickened slightly and he turned the corner to find his horse and another chestnut mare nipping at each other, whining or snorting when they hit their mark.

"Ease off, girl!" he shouted, shoving away the snout of his horse and receiving a slight nip on his hand. He moved her large, snow-colored head to face him, staring into her brown eyes. "Hush now." Slowly, Charles ran a hand along her snout then twirled a piece of her forelock in his fingers as the horse began to calm. "Good girl...stay out of trouble." He pressed his lips softly against her nose and then stepped back. The mare let out a sharp whiny, tossing her head impatiently as if she wanted him to return and let her out. Shooting the horse a regretful look, he turned and started back out to the carriage. By the time he was out, the arrogant servant had tied the bags and chests to the carriage and secured them.

The sky overhead had turned dark and a bit unsettling by then as large, dark clouds crowded the heavens. Charles frowned, running a large palm through his auburn locks as his lips pressed together in worry. Well, at least they'd be inside the carriage if it rained. He heard footsteps behind him and turned to see Harriet walking toward him with a basket in her hands. She pulled open the door of the carriage and slipped it inside on to a seat before wrapping her arms around him from behind. She pressed a kiss against his shoulder and murmured: "Are we ready, love?" Her forehead came to rest against his shoulder, buried in the fur of his overcoat. Charles smiled and slowly turned around to face his wife, wrapping his own arms around her as he placed a kiss on the top of her head.

"Ready when ever you are, my darling," he cooed, pulling away to place a hand under her chin and tilt it upward. With his eyes now meeting hers, Charles leaned down and kissed her again, letting his lips linger on hers before eventually pulling away. The knight opened the carriage door again and took his wife's hand to support her as she got in. After she was in, he'd follow her and settle into the seat beside her.

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Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster Character Portrait: Orion Lancaster
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[iAt Amalie's hesitation to his question, Orion's mind began to fret, could the bumpy journey disrupt his, no, their child's development, could it cause the Queen to miscarry, would the excitement and stress over seeing her family once again hinder her pregnancy? To be fair, Orion probably didn't give his wife's strength enough credit, she wasn't weak or feeble, she was strong and very rarely succumbed to illness, she was wary when disease was reported. She wasn't the nimble flower he imagined her to be, she couldn't wither with the cold, no Amalie was strong, Amalie was a fighter. There was no doubt in his mind that she would do anything within her power to deliver this child into the world, and surely god wouldn't be cruel enough to take another child from him, he had lived his life by The Lord above; Kings were chosen by divine intervention, it was the reason the Lancaster's had managed to merge the separate kingdoms into one, all those years ago, it was The lords will and he would be damned if the line was to end with him.

"I will be perfectly fine, Ori. Do not worry. The physician said the heartbeat was strong. And I will be careful, I promise you," Amalie finally reassured and the King found himself taking a sigh of relief at the thought of his son having a strong heartbeat. With a quick nod and a small smile Orion let his worries evaporate, for the time being, no doubt something else would resurface later to cause him anguish. Suddenly the thought of the summit didn't seem as daunting, naturally he was still a little worried, he had never met Sir Francis Rayleigh, he always rejected all invitations to court or for a audience; pressing his knuckles to his lips, Ori went into a deep thought about the Rayleigh's, it wasn't so much that he was afraid of a rebellion but rather sabotage, who they try and assassinate him at this summit? He liked to think they were more civilised then that but the truth was, you never really know the people you are closest with, so how can you presume to know strangers?

Amalie squeezed his free hand, bringing him sharply from though, "Focus on the summit, my love. You know how important peace is to me,I don't want my children to grow up in a world full of war." Orion frowned briefly, he was fully aware of his wife's objections to a war, he didn't particularly fancy one either, he had seen one war and that had been enough, but sometimes the only way to get through to people like the Rayleigh's was by brute force and he will do anything to keep the Seabel throne under Lancaster rule. "My dear, you know I will do what I can" he sighed "but, I must warn you not to set your heart on the success of this meeting, we both want very different things, the Rayleigh's want the South to become its own country and I will not, for the life of me let that happen, I will not be the one who goes to the halls of my fathers, a man who ruined what they fought to build, I can not be that King" he uttered, his voice strong and powerful, he did not wish to alarm Amalie, but, he did not want her to suffer a crushing blow if these meetings proved to be a waste of time, like he suspected them to be, though, he did take solace that he would get to know his enemy a little better.

"I need you to do something for me..." He began cautiously, what he was to ask her would probably be something she would strongly object against, but she was in a powerful position to help him "sweetheart, I need you to gather what information you can, from Harriet about the Rayleigh's. Please know, if I could ask anyone else, I would, unfortunately Rayleigh supporters are loyal and they do not trust strangers, the only way for me to know what they are thinking is through your sister, she will open up to you and you can listen." He asked, his blue eyes trailing up her body to meet her eyes.
[/i]

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Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain Character Portrait: Nicholas Burton
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Nicholas quirked a heavy, greying eyebrow, watching as Merek's face brightened at the sight of the gold, all of his senses were against him, telling him not to trust this man, although he shoved concern to the side and carried true to his scheme. Usually he made a point of not trusting a man who valued gold so much, they were dangerous, disloyal and down right scoundrels, unfortunately in this case he needed someone who could easily be controlled and a man who valued gold above all else would do just about anything for it. ”Now yer talkin’. But don’t stop there, me new friend. I’d love ta just take yer coin right here and now, but me guess is ye want me to do something … violent… aye?” Nicholas frowned, but nodded also "aye" he began leaning back in his chair, his fingers drumming a repetitive rhythm along the wooden arm rest, as he gazed off into the fire, momentarily "it is violent, you might not like, but like I said, there's plenty more where that came from" he spoke, sturdily, tearing his gaze back onto the man before him, motioning to the gold on the table.

”Don’tcha, worry about a thing, though. When it comes to solvin’ problems that need sharp solutions, me and me boys got us some experience.” Merek boasted with a smile, Nicholas had to give him that, this man seemed like an excellent problem solver. He looked like a man of hardship, but someone who had made something of himself, even if it was in sinful trades, but still he showed tenacity and that was something seldom missing in a lot of men these days. "Good" The Duke mumbled gruffly, shifting his position once again, so this time he was leaning forward on the rickety, wooden table, what he was about to say, could not be overheard. Clearing his throat he began "I don't suppose you know who the Rayleigh's of Port Vale are?" He asked, it came across a little rhetorical, he doubted Merek would know who they were at all and so didn't give him time to reply "they're vicious, poisonous snakes, vile being and what's the best to quell a snake? Remove it's head." He spoke, through clenched teeth, even the mere mention of those traitors names was enough to get him into a hot temper.

The vein in his head bulged, the candle light by his face making him look rather intimidating as he seethed about the Rayleigh's for the umpteenth time "I need you and three of your trusted men to ride with me to Beaumont, there a peace summit is being held, to try a ease qualms between the King and that treacherous family, tomorrow night I want you and your men to slaughter who of that family you can, but, make sure you get Francis Rayleigh, he is your main target."

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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Harriet felt a bolt of electricity shoot through her body as Charles turned, his arms snaking protectively around her small waist, the kiss he place atop of her head brought a smile to her red lips. She had always dreamt of marrying for love, however being born into a powerful and influential family such as the Stanford's, dampened such dreams almost immediately after they arrived, she was a girl and she was considered beautiful by some, she would be used as a pawn, there was no doubt about it. A similar thing had happened with her cousin Rose Hale, she had been used as a bargaining chip between the Burton's and the Hale's, though Harriet had never been told what the Hale's had gained by essentially 'selling' their eldest daughter to those Burton Brutes, they had prospered afterwards. It was a sad thought, to think that she can't seen Rose in so many years, they had been so close as children, they never imagined a time when they would be separated not only by marriage but also loyalties. Harriet had been adamant that she faced a similar fate of her sister and cousin, she was the last to marry, being the youngest out of the three girls, her dreams of marrying for love had been squashed gently by her mother long ago "we women do not have the luxury of love, if we are lucky we learn to love our husbands, like I did with your father, but, be assured, my little dove, you find all the love you could possible ever hope for within your children" Lady Cornelia Stanford had uttered to her once.

Words that had stayed with Harriet ever since, well at least until she was told she was to marry Sir Charles Rayleigh. She would be lying if she told you she hadn't been the littlest bit excited at the prospect, she had met the tall, handsome, Rayleigh heir a few time prior, he had always been charming and charismatic towards her. Their courtship was short, Sir Francis had seemed eager for them to marry as quickly as possible, in honesty it had been slightly too rapid to their nuptials, however They made each other laugh, conversation flowed freely, they would take long rides or walks, he taught her how to shoot an arrow and the chemistry between them was simply magnetic. Harriet had been pleasantly surprised at how quickly she had fallen in love with Charles, when she walked down the aisle on the arm of her father, she hadn't been frightened like she predicted, she had been optimistic and actually quite giddy. It was their wedding night, Harriet fell truly, madly, deeply in love with Charles. He was an exquisite lover, gentle and passionate, he took her to new heights of pleasure, he still did, even with the slightest touch, longing glance or sweetest kiss a wave of electricity shot through the blonde like a bolt of lightening. She knew that first night they had shared a bed as man and wife, that she was one of the lucky ones, she truly loved her husband.

Charles hand gently cupped her chin, bringing her to his eyes level, she smiled, biting the corner of her lip, her lust filled eyes, gazing up at her husbands doe eyes, eyes which made her unable to stay too mad at him for any length of time. "Ready when ever you are, my darling," his lips then met hers with a searing kiss, which made her heart flutter with joy, he gradually pulled away and help her into the carriage, always the tricky business when you wore yards of heavy material. Taking the book from the seat below her, Harriet placed it in her lap as she sat down, Charles taking a seat next to her, closing the door behind him. Her hand came to rest gently on his thigh as she turned her head to smirk at him, her blue eyes glinting with a mischievous shine "lets retire early, this evening, we can try quite actively to give you an heir" she giggled slightly, leaving a trail of kisses along his jawline, nipping in places, just to tease him, her nails running in soft circles over the material of his trousers "seven hells, let us skip the summit all together and find a quiet, little spring where we can bathe naked and frolic in the grass" she smirked against his skin, a small chuckle escaping her lips afterwards.

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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A young Charles Rayleigh would have scoffed at the mere thought of marriage. The idea of settling down and promising his love to one woman and one woman only disgusted him in his youth. He was, during those times, a reckless young man, set on the idea that a man of his pedigree deserved any woman he wanted. In fact, he had believed he deserved anything he wanted. It was for these reasons that he filled his days with alcohol, women, and long rides in the woods. It wasn't until a few years ago that he'd been forced to face reality.

Being the eldest, he knew his father had plans to find him a wife before his younger siblings. Regardless, it still came as a shock when he'd been told he would be marrying Harriet Stanford, the youngest daughter of the Stanford family. He pretended for a few weeks that he would simply be able to marry the woman, have the status of being a married man, and continue his earlier practices. Yet, his mother had had the idea to sit him down and address him.

"You are expected to treat her with respect, Charles," she said, her voice strong and unwavering, her eyes boring into his. "What sort of man would you be if you treated a woman poorly, let alone your wife? Like an object? Not much of a man at all, if anything." The proud young man averted his eyes slowly, his cheeks flushing in humiliation. It was one thing to be scolded by his teachers or even his father...but once his mother stepped in to scold him, he might as well have crawled into a corner like a dog with its tail between its legs. Something in Charles changed that night and he courted Harriet for short while, showing the utmost respect toward her, speaking to her as his equal. To his close companions, he seemed like a completely different person and, more or less, he really was a different person. The night they shared his bed, the night they truly sealed their love, he found himself falling irreversibly in love with the woman, even though he had already done so earlier while they courted. A more perfect match had never been observed before, he believed.

Once Harriet was in the carriage and sitting, Charles slowly climbed in beside her. His wife had placed the book on her lap while Charles sat on the seat beside her, closing the door of the carriage. He looked out of the window for a few moments until he felt a delicate hand rest upon his thigh. The young man's eyes widened slightly as he looked back at Harriet, who smiled mischievously up at him.

"Let's retire early this evening...we can try actively to give you an heir," she cooed, giggling as her lips glided along his neck and left a gentle trail of kisses against his tanned flesh. He bit his lower lip lightly as she nipped against the flesh. Meanwhile, her nails made small circles against his trousers. Charles let out a soft grunt subconsciously, biting his lip a bit harder as if to try and stifle it. "Seven hells, let us skip the summit all together and find a quiet, little spring where we can bathe naked and frolic in the grass. " At that moment, nothing sounded better. Charles kissed Harriet's neck softly, his turn now, and ran kisses under her chin all the way down to where the fabric of her dress's neckline began.

"Shame on you for teasing your poor husband so..." he playfully muttered. "How shall I focus now at the summit with such a proposition?" He lifted the book from her lap and placed it on the seat across from them as he ran a hand along Harriet's thigh slowly. "Darling, I would love nothing more than to spend an entire lifetime with you, alone and 'frolicking'..." He trailed off as he left another line of kisses that led up to her lips. Instead of kissing them, however, he pulled away and grinned. He slowly shrugged off his overcoat and laid it on the seat across. Shooting a quick glance at his wife, he slowly undid the top two buttons of his tunic and left them there before glancing back out of the window. With his head turned, she was unable to see his broad, cheeky smirk.

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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Harriet couldn't help but smirk as her husband grunted, she would be lying if she said she didn't feel the tiniest bit of satisfaction at still being able to provoke such a reaction from Charles. It pleased her immensely that the romance in their relationship was still as fresh as when they first married, she had heard many complaints from women in Vale about their husbands seeking mistresses for pleasures of the body, resorting to them simply for procreation, she had even heard some woman complain about sex, obviously their husbands weren't as skilled as Charles, something which made her a little bit smug. Her Charles was divine, a true master in the art of passion, her toes could curl by the simple touch of his lips, the mere thought was enough to make her giggle as if a child once again; it's safe to say Harriet and Charles were quite often "indisposed" to preoccupied with each other to pay anybody else any real mind.

Charles as expected, took control of the situation and began to kiss her slender neck, his lips feathering their way across, the gentle, milky flesh of her neck, down to where the fabric of her neckline began, her fingers ran through his russet hair, biting down to the corner of her lip, desire building within her "oh Charles" the moan rolled of her tongue with ease. "Shame on you for teasing your poor husband so..." Harriet laughed lightly "if I didn't tease you, then who would? Beside as your wife, it is my given right" she smirked in a playful tone which matched his. "Darling, I would love nothing more than to spend an entire lifetime with you, alone and 'frolicking'..." Charles trailed off as he began another trail of kisses which lead up to her lips, hovering her plump, Cupid bow lips before pulling away with a grin.

Harriet's blue hues narrowed slightly, in mock annoyance "now, who's the tease" she murmured, he head coming to rest on his shoulder, she watched as he removed his overcoat, placing it on the chair opposite and unfastened as couple of button of his tunic. Harriet smirked into his shoulder, she knew the game he was playing and if she knew Charles at all, which she did, he would be staring out the window, beaming cheekily. An idea popping into her mind, she smirked quickly before acting, moving swiftly, she removed her heavy cloak, placing it on the same chair as Charles coat before gracefully straddling her husband, a smile on her pretty face as her slender finger worked on the remainder of the buttons on his tunic. Suddenly the carriage jerked forward as they began their journey, causing Harriet to fall forward into Charles, pushing back from the wall she laughed loudly, with a shake of her head.

Spotting the basket with Charles breakfast in, Harriet leant down, careful not to fall with the movement of the carriage, she lifted it to the space she had just occupied and lifted off the cotton cloth which covered the contents. Lifting out a neatly wrapped parcel, Harriet carefully unwrapped it, revealing a few rashers of bacon, breaking one in half, she held it towards Charles lips, waiting for him to take a bite.

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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"Oh, Charles," moaned Harriet, her slender fingers running through his russet hair as his lips glided along her skin. He looked up quickly, noticing she had bitten the corner of her lip lightly. He chuckled gently against her collarbone as she moaned, feeling a great sense of satisfaction as she emitted the moan. Well, at least he hadn't lost his touch in the year they'd been married. Being able to pleasure his wife so made him feel quite the lover. In fact, he didn't even seem to mind that he was unable to have any woman he wanted in his bed anymore. Every encounter with her felt new and even more enthralling than the last. "If I didn't tease you, then who would? Besides, as your wife, it is my given right." Charles pulled away from the trail of kisses to look at her in the eye, fighting back a smirk.

"Well, I certainly don't need to be teased," he countered, regardless of the fact that he really did enjoy this game of teasing, a bit cat-and-mouse like with the two of them constantly changing roles. "Besides, I do not remember agreeing to being teased when I married you, love." He kissed her again on the neck and then pulled away from her lips, smirking. Harriet narrowed her eyes slightly at him, feigning annoyance at him.

"Now who's the tease?" she murmured, resting her head against his shoulder lightly. As he partially undressed and looked out of the window, he could feel Harriet bury her face into his shoulder and smirk. Obviously, she knew just what he was doing. It didn't matter, however. He just meant to get her worked up and had succeeded, or at least it seemed so. Suddenly, Harriet started to undo her cloak and tossed it on top of his overcoat. Charles raised an eyebrow and looked over at his wife, confused for a few moments. In a few heartbeats, she gracefully straddled him, smiling down at him in a way that made a wave of desire crash over him. Her nimble fingers undid the remainder of the buttons on Charles' tunic, exposing his abdominals. He grinned back up at her and slowly sat up, letting the tunic fall off of his shoulders and settle behind him, uncovering the remainder of his upper body.

Without warning, the carriage jolted forward and she fell into him. Their laughs mingled together as she shook her head and slowly pulled herself back up to sitting position on his lap, straddling him still. Her eyes settled upon the basket she'd set in the carriage earlier. She moved it to the seat beside them and, from it, she produced a small parcel. She slowly unwrapped it and Charles watched closely, setting his hands on her waist affectionately. Harriet pulled out a piece of bacon then and broke one in half. She moved the bacon toward him and placed it a few millimeters from his lips, waiting for him to make a move. Smirking, Charles slowly leaned forward and pressed his lips against the bacon. Parting them, he grabbed the rasher with his teeth and pulled it from her fingers in a way that he managed to make enticing and, somehow, attractive. In a painfully slow manner, he chewed up the rasher and then swallowed it, never breaking eye contact with Harriet. The bacon was wonderful, cooked to just about perfection. He moaned gently, though it was quite hard to tell if it was from the bacon or the fact that his wife was situated on his lap.

Removing one hand from her waist, he picked up the other half of the bacon and placed one end between his teeth. Leaning forward, Charles held the other end a short distance from Harriet's lips. The corners of his lips turned upward slightly in a grin. Yes, he did love these games of cat-and-mouse, even though he would never admit it.

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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If there was one thing that could be said about Harriet Rayleigh, it would be that the woman did not need to be protected, like most of the same sex. She could hold her own and although she did not wield a sword, or gallop full haste into battle, she could make a man squirm by her icy cool glare and sharp, when she had been wronged, hell hath no fury like a scorned Harriet Rayleigh. In many ways she had quite a similar temperament to her husband, that it sometimes made her laugh how she was deemed the calm and sensible one, for she could be just as rash and quick to anger, still she supposed it was down to the fact that she was woman and that her anger, no matter how terrifying, could not do any real damage, asides to her husbands eardrums. Women were much set upon in the world, but she did not envy men, nor did she wish she had been born the opposite sex, for if men were the head, then women were the necks, supporting and holding strong. Then again, that did not mean she particularly liked women anyway, especially those who were fickle, it was one of the reasons she had never liked the kings court, women paraded themselves like cattle in front of counts, dukes and earls, all looking to exchange their love for diamonds and gold and don't even get her started on the silly fools who relied on their husbands for everything, something which irked Harriet immensely about her sex. She could go on about the subject for hours, but the wasn't worth being lost to such trivial thoughts. Even though, Harriet was not one of these 'needy' wives, feeling the protectiveness of Charles hands on her waist made her feel like nothing could ever harm her, a feeling which she actually quite enjoyed.

Harriet smiled as Charles chewed on the bacon, feeling a hand leave her waist, her blue gaze followed him as he picked up the other half and brought it back to his lips, the movements surprisingly sensual, holding the meat between his teeth, Charles leant forward and Harriet caught the piece between her own lips as they brushed against his, before she pulled back, chewing on the piece she had broken off. Before she knew it, the blonde moaned as the flavours erupted her taste buds "see, I told you Briars butcher was far superior to the one in Vale" she uttered playfully, settling a statement she had made months ago, about the quality of the meat back in Vale. She quickly wiped her hands on the cloth which had been covering the basket before turning her attention back to her husband, her eyebrow arched slightly as her almond shaped eyes narrowed in a sultry manner, her red lips tugging into a smirk. Purposely she lightly rolled her hips, hoping to steer a response from him, as she sat upright in his lap her hands snaked around his neck, as she pressed her chest tightly against his bare one, her nails lightly running lines up and down over his shoulder blades.

A hand came to rest softly on Charles hollow cheek, her gaze momentarily lapsing of lust and replaced with one of utter admiration, her chest slowly rose as she gazed into his eyes, a soft smile coming to his lips, never could she have imagined herself so in love with one man "regardless of what happens today, I hope you know that I will never leave your side. The Queen may be my sister, but my loyalty and my heart lies solely with you, Charles." It was strange how suddenly Harriet had felt the urge to utter those words, the sincerity in her voice most probably the strongest it had ever been. Caressing his cheek, she brought her lips down to his, her other hand coming to rest on his other cheek, gone was their cat and mouse games, instead before them was simply a wife's adoration for her husband.

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Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster Character Portrait: Orion Lancaster
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Amalie saw Ori frown, and she knew it wasn’t a good sign. He was going to deny her this, she just knew it. Orion was so proud. The Rayleigh’s wanted the South seperate, but the King simply wasn’t willing to give in. Even if it was the correct decision, he still probably wouldn’t have compromised, she didn’t think, for he valued his reputation above it, and he was stubborn. He would never admit defeat. However, on this occasion, Amalie could see that the South becoming a separate kingdom was not, in fact, best for her family by marriage. She wasn’t even sure it was best for her family by blood either. Though they may dislike being under the rule of the North, the North would support them financially if they ever ran into trouble. And, as much as Amalie loved her sister, in her opinion, Charles Rayleigh was no King, not like her husband. Amalie knew Harriet was strong, but she wasn’t sure even her sister would be able to manipulate Charles enough to make him into the leader the South would need if they were to separate. No, her husband’s stance on the matter was right. But she simply couldn’t let war break out between her families. Not when there were so many lives, so precious to her, in danger.

Ori sighed. "My dear, you know I will do what I can. But, I must warn you not to set your heart on the success of this meeting. We both want very different things. The Rayleigh's want the South to become its own country and I will not, for the life of me let that happen. I will not be the one who goes to the halls of my fathers, a man who ruined what they fought to build. I cannot be that King."

As Amalie had suspected, Orion was not willing to compromise. And, in the end, it was pride and the desire to build a legacy that was at the heart of his stubbornness.

Amalie was about to try again, more manipulatively this time, to dissuade Ori from the war he seemed to think was inevitable. But before she could, she saw something change in his eyes. It was… Cautiousness. He was worried about whatever he was about to say to her.

"I need you to do something for me..." he began.

Amalie bit down lightly on her lip, knowing the request would not be one she was going to enjoy.

“Sweetheart, I need you to gather what information you can from Harriet about the Rayleigh's. Please know, if I could ask anyone else, I would. Unfortunately, Rayleigh supporters are loyal and they do not trust strangers. The only way for me to know what they are thinking is through your sister, she will open up to you and you can listen."

His eyes made their way up her body, reaching her eyes where her own orbs met his. Amalie’s first reaction was one of complete rejection. She may be the Queen now, and a member of the reigning Lancaster family, but Harriet was her sister! She loved her family desperately, and she would do everything within her power to ensure their safety. But this was betrayal in its purest form. She would be betraying those she was bonded permanently by blood too, and she simply couldn’t do it.

“Ori, I…” she looked up at him, her expression torn and lost. “I can’t. She’s my sister… I… I can’t betray her like this. Isn’t there any other way you can…?”

Amalie stopped and sighed, but she knew she’d lost. He was her husband, and she was his Queen. Harriet may be her sister, but this was duty, and loyalty, and love. She had married him. Her loyalties had to lie with him. Besides, his cause was right, there was no denying that. There was no way she could argue that it was a terrible decision. He was utilising what he had, and everything he’d said made sense strategically. It was clever, and displayed all the hallmarks of a good King. But, for Amalie, what he was asking her to do was so wrong.

“Please, don’t ask me to do this, darling,” she asked him, voice thick with emotion, looking up at him.

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Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain Character Portrait: Nicholas Burton
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[font=times new roman]Merek rolled the golden coin through his fingers as he watched the older man across the table. No matter what way he looked at him, he didn’t strike him as a rich man, especially not a rich man from Saebel. But that was likely the point. But, the bag of coins now laid out between them spoke book ends about the wealth the man was implying to have, so for the moment Merek felt it was safe to trust the man’s capital. Just that, however. Despite the fact that Merek was involved in enough shady affairs in his life did not he did not feel any apprehension about such things. And this felt particularly shady, involving some matters that went beyond Merek’s understanding. But the promise of additional gold made it all right. ”As long as there’s gold ta be found, I don’t mind a l’il violence all that much.” He said with a smile, confirming for the older man that the promise of additional gold had him interested.

When the older man asked a question Merek was shaken from his thoughts. A slight frown appeared on his face when he heard the name ‘Rayleigh’. Did he know any Rayleigh? He could’ve sworn he knew a man named Rayleigh once. Or was that Bailey? He could most definatly remember stabbing a Bailey, or a Rayleigh at some point. Merek made to respond, but when the man continued an instant after asking his question Merek realized he needn’t have bothered trying to find an answer to the question. Whoever this Rayleigh character was, it was clear that the older man had no love for him. Or her. Always that possibility. Merek sneered slightly as he considered the possibility of some jealous lover asking him to murder some consort or whatever. He didn’t much understand all this talk of snakes either. He had seen plenty, but never bothered with finding out about them. As such, when the older man spoke of snakes, Merek could do little but smile sheepishly and shrug slightly.

Luckily this was not the case. Now it seemed more likely the Rayleighs were a rival family of sorts and this man wanted them out of the way. That was good. If this turned out right, he could manoeuvre himself in a better position within the kingdom. With a vicious grin he replied. ”Sure, I can do that. Three men, ya say? I got just the men, vicious pack of cunts they are, but they’ll get the job done right.” Still grinning he extended his hand across the table, to ‘seal the deal’ as it were. All things considered, Merek was ready to follow this man to riches. For the time being, at least.

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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Harriet's supple lips brushed against the bacon Charles held, catching the rasher between her teeth. Their lips swept by each other, the warmth of them radiating. She pulled back in that instant, chewing the piece slowly and thoughtfully while her husband leaned up against the plush seating of the carriage, gray eyes watching her closely. Harriet moaned lightly from the wonderful flavors brought out by the bacon. The young knight smirked in amusement, his eyes glinting playfully as he watched her.

"See, I told you Briar's butcher was far superior to the one in Vale," she purred teasingly, bringing up an old debate the couple had had months ago. Charles rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically.

"I told you, Vale's meat is wonderful. It must be an acquired taste," he countered, looking away in a playfully childish manner. Charles glanced back, smirking. "I guess the bacon was good though." Harriet wiped her hands off slowly and turned her attention to Charles, eyebrow arched, scarlet lips turned upward in a grin. Charles arched a brow quickly, cocking it above the other in confusion, even though he fully knew what she had on her mind. She shifted her position on his lap, rubbing against him softly. As she most likely had hoped, the movement prompted a light groan from Charles which passed through his lips slowly and softly as if he were fighting it back. Her chest pressed to his, closing the already thin gap between their bodies while her nails ran along his bare shoulders. Charles rolled his shoulder blades against her fingers, wordlessly expressing his pleasure as she did so.

Oh Lord, he could have stayed there all day. Why did he have to go to the summit, again? It was obvious the South was to go to war with the North. Years of studying government and tactics taught him that the building tension between the two families was the greatest sign that trouble was on the horizon. No longer did he try to lie to himself and say there wasn't a war coming. There certainly was battle in his future and, being the brash, reckless young man he was, Charles was not frightened at all by the idea. He welcomed the idea of proving himself in battle. His father still showed signs of all of the battles he'd fought. He looked broken so often and, even though that idea worried Charles, he seemed to think he wouldn't be so horribly affected by the war. In his mind, he had nothing to worry about. He'd fight for his family alongside his father, win, declare their independence, and finally prove he wasn't just a tactician; he was a warrior.

In the midst of his thinking, a soft hand came to lie against the area of Charles's cheeks that dipped inward slightly. Blinking rapidly in shock, Charles looked up to meet his spouse's gaze. Her gaze was now loving and admiring instead of lustful and sensual, as it was just moments before. She gazed into his eyes and he looked right back into her bright blue irises, smiling in tandem with her.

"Regardless of what happens today, I hope you know that I will never leave your side. The Queen may be my sister, but my loyalty and my heart lies solely with you, Charles. " Her voice held a sincerity Charles swore he had never heard before except for maybe their wedding vows. He was speechless. Not only was Charles surprised by the suddenness of the statement, he was also still digesting the intensity of this statement. She would put him above her own sister? It meant more to her to stay loyal to him than to stay loyal to her sister, the Queen? They were ideas he'd worried about earlier on his ride up to Briar on Serenity. He had worried she would be torn between her sister and her husband. But, hearing her promise she'd stay by his side caused Charles to literally sigh with relief. Harriet slowly brought her lips down upon his, resting her other hand on his other cheek. The love between them was powerful. In just a heartbeat, they'd gone from teasing to promising loyalty. Charles pressed his lips against Harriet's, his eyes closing in contentment. The young man wrapped his long, sinewy arms around the waist of his wife, drawing her close.

Reluctantly, he pulled away and stared back into her eyes, smiling happily. "Dear God...I could not have been blessed with a better wife," he cooed, his brow furrowed with unspoken professions of his love. The simple expression seemed to cry out,
My love, how can I possibly profess my love to you now? How shall I compare to this promise you made to me? Words can not begin to express the adoration I feel towards you. Charles pulled her close again, moving one hand up to cradle it behind her neck while the other stayed on her waist. Holding her close, the man's breath, coupled with his facial hair, tickled at her neck. "I love you...I love you more than life itself." Pulling away, Charles looked his wife back in the eye. "No matter what becomes of me, no matter what becomes of us...I shall always love you." He wouldn't bring up the fact that a potential battle could be the death of him...that would certainly ruin the mood. Regardless, he wasn't worried in the slightest about dying in battle.

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Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster Character Portrait: Orion Lancaster
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His Queen’s apprehension at the task he had asked of her came as no new surprise to Ori, if someone had asked him to spy his own siblings he would have opposed with great ferocity. Although, his darling wife was not one to let such an emotion cloud her judgment, she was a level headed, warm hearted individual, they were traits which had drew Orion to the beautiful Stanford girl in the first place. Amalie had an innocence and human kindness that was seldom found in the North, she was a Queen who truly cared for her subjects, she had their interest at heart, she was a rare gem and Orion knew he was lucky to have a wife such as her. Although his people loved her, a shadow had formed over her head, if it wasn’t bad enough that she was in fact a southern woman, when Harriet had married Charles Rayleigh, the Queen had been called every slanderous name under the sun after that marriage, ‘traitor’ being the dominant utterance, falling off people sly lips. Orion made a point of damning the accusations and imprisoning the influencers, he loved his wife enough as not let her become subject to slanderous gossip. Although it did pose the question of loyalty and although Orion never expressed the topic of this to his council, it was a subject which weighed heavily on his heart. The Queen was undoubtedly in a difficult situation and as much as he wanted to believe that she would remain solely loyal to him, a question posed, would she be able to relinquish all ties to her sister so easily?

Orion watched as his words sank in, the severity of what he was asking sinking into his wife’s beautiful features, he felt utterly shameful for asking to carry out such a task, but he needed everything he could get on the Rayleigh’s, by any means possible. “Ori, I…I can’t. She’s my sister… I… I can’t betray her like this. Isn’t there any other way you can…?” Orion winced at her expression, a slight sting of rejection welling in his chest “Please, don’t ask me to do this, darling”

A heavy sigh escaped the Kings lips as he ran a hand down his tired face, was their another way? He doubted it, he didn’t think his wife would forgive if he subjected her sister to an interrogation by his men, not with some of the methods they used and he doubted she would open up to a stranger, a spy placed in her household. He simply shook his head offering her a small smile of sympathy “I am sorry my love, but I see no other way without hurting you more.”

“Sweetheart, if you do this for me, I will swear to you Harriet’s protection when I defeat these rebels. She will have a good life, I will even set her up in a marriage with my own brother, I swear to you she will not become a victim to her husbands crimes.” Orion inwardly cringed as his retorting to blackmailing his own wife, he felt so small at that point, yet it was the only way he could make her see sense, promising her sisters safety was something he could rely on to change his wife’s mind.

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Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain Character Portrait: Nicholas Burton
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Nicholas watched as Merek ran his dirty fingers over golden coins, he couldn’t help but find the gesture symbolic and had he been a man who bowed to his emotions, he probably would have felt guilt at that moment in time, alas, he felt nothing, accept slight enthusiasm that the Rayleigh’s would no longer be a threat to his country or King, this man was exactly who he needed, someone who didn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Of course his mind did wonder how the King would react in knowledge at what he was planning, their was no doubt that he would be angry to begin with, but held the upmost faith that King Orion would see the benefit in chopping of the head of the snake and praise him eventually. This was definitely the right path to go down. “As long as there’s gold ta be found, I don’t mind a l’il violence all that much.” Merek spoke finally, his smile indicating that he was indeed on board with the Dukes plan.

He watched as Blackrain frowned at hearing the ‘Rayleigh’ name, something, which often occurred for Nicholas also, their name was like venom on his tongue, he couldn’t help but spit it out with incredible disdain. “Sure, I can do that. Three men, ya say? I got just the men, vicious pack of cunts they are, but they’ll get the job done right.” Nicholas simply nodded, satisfied by his answer, he didn’t need to know about these men, only that they were able and soulless enough to take up such a task, then again any man could become soulless with enough gold.

“Good” Nicholas replied, standing swiftly from his chair, nearly knocking it from the chair “gather them up and meet me in the stables in ten minutes. Don’t be any longer, we must make hast to Beaumont.” With those final words, he offered a curt nod to his new associate and hastily left the tavern, stepping through the back door as the rain splashed at his feet, turning the ground into the most unpleasant muddy bog. He trudged through the mud, across the street and into the liver where he had kept his horse, flipping a silver coin to the stable hand for his work. The Duke was highly anxious to get to Beaumont before people noticed his absence, his absence in the Kings convoy would already be noted, but if he could get there before others, he could state that he rode ahead to scout out for Rayleigh spies, no one would question him on that.

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Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
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Harriet saw the relief on Charles’s face, confirming that she had broached a subject that he had indeed been worrying about and luckily her statement seemed to put his heart at ease ever so slightly. She loved Charles with all her heart, she was a lucky woman to have a husband who didn’t wish to control her very being, he didn’t try and cage her, he encouraged her, for Harriet his wealth and family name did not influence her reasons to love to man before her, she would have loved him even if he had been a poor farm hand. Their characters were so similar that she often thought she were looking in a mirror, she could tell what was on his mind by the expression on his face, she knew what troubled him, what enticed him and what scared him, she knew him down to his very core and loved every inch of him. Don’t get her wrong, Charles was not perfect, nobody was, he was rash, stubborn and a down right scoundrel at times but he was also loving, tender and treated her as an equal and most importantly, he loved her, even her own faults. Poets could write sonnets about them and they wouldn’t even brush on reality, for love in poetry is just that, poetic, but to Harriet love in reality was far greater; the arguments, the struggles, the bitterness, the romance, the tenderness, the sensuality, all were common denominators in the building of their love. So was her affection for Charles that even her own fiery temper didn’t stand against him, the mere flash of his eyes or the touch of his hand whisked away any disdain or arguments she held against her husband.

Charles’s lips pressed against Harriet’s, his eyes closing as his arms looped around her body, pulling her as close as was humanly possible, she sighed in utter content, her own eyes closing briefly. As he pulled away, their eyes met once more, his happy smile was infectious and Harriet soon found herself smiling along with him. “Dear God…I could not have been blessed with a better wife” His words felt Harriet with immense joy, she knew her words had been received well, but she did not realize just how much Charles had fretted over her relationship with Amalie. Although it did sadden her slightly that Charles had even entertained the idea of her loyalty being with the Queen, she could understand where he was coming from, she often wondered about William and whom he would choose if war came. His brow furrowed and Harried watched him curiously, his mind seemed to be searching for words yet his lips remained static. He pulled her close once again, this time a hand coming to cradle her neck, drawing her in, her skin peppered with goosebumps as his breath, accompanied by his facial hair tickled at her slender neck “I love you…I love you more than life itself.” Harriet’s heart leaped at his words, her breath catching in her throat, as she swallowed a wave of emotion.

Charles’s pulled back slightly, once again looking into her now tear filled eyes, Harriet was not usually a woman who wept so easily, yet the emotion layered in his voice and the underlining eagerness in his tone, stirred emotions within her that joy and love a little too overwhelming. “No matter what becomes of me, no matter what becomes of us…I shall always love you.” His words brought Harriet to the edge, tears escaped down her cheeks “and I you” she whispered into the quiet carriage, she was educated enough to know that wars meant death and wasn’t naïve enough to believe that her husband would be safe in battle, knowing him like she did, he would most likely be leading a charge, he was an excellent tactician and warrior but even the most skilled and fierce weren’t exempt from death.

Harriet bit her lip and lowered her head to rest on Charles’s shoulder “I think I shall die if something were to happen to you” she muttered into the crook of his neck. She did not mean to dampen their spirits but the words just seemed to fall off her lips so naturally that she truly believed that if Charles were to be taken from her then she would soon follow him to the grave, they were put upon this world to find each other, she had no doubt than one could not exist without the other.

Quickly, Harriet did her best to regain her composure, swallowing the lump in her throat and wiping away the tears in her eyes, she sat back up straight offering him a smile and small laugh “I am sorry for my silliness…but, lets not talk of what ifs and just enjoy the here and now.

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Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster Character Portrait: Orion Lancaster
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As Amalie spoke, she watched her husband wince at her words. She felt guilty, for bringing about his pain. He then sighed heavily, pulling a hand down his face. He looked tired, exhausted, even. Sometimes, Amalie wished they had an easier, simpler life. Of course, she couldn't complain about the riches and privileges being the Queen brought her, and she loved that her children would want for nothing. But her husband always looked so tired and overwrought with the strains of being King. Sometimes, she wished they were a common family, and her husband could afford for his sole focus to lie with her and his family. But, instead, he was forced to make all the difficult decisions. He was expected to devote himself to his country and allow no emotional matters to hinder or sway his mind.

Her husband shook his head, smiling at her sympathetically. His expression caused Amalie's eyes to sting with tears, suddenly and completely unexpectedly, as thought out of her control. She blinked as he spoke. “I am sorry my love, but I see no other way without hurting you more.”

Amalie lay back a little, resting her cheek against his chest. She closed her eyes, suddenly exhausted and defeated. It seemed there was nothing she could do to protect her family. She was going to betray her sister, and then her husband would go to war with her family and kill them all. Their hands were still together, over her midriff. She stroked her stomach lightly with her thumb. If she couldn't even protect her own sister, how was she ever expected to protect her own tiny, defenceless baby? Everything felt so fruitless.

“Sweetheart, if you do this for me, I will swear to you Harriet’s protection when I defeat these rebels. She will have a good life, I will even set her up in a marriage with my own brother, I swear to you she will not become a victim to her husbands crimes,” Ori told Amalie.

Amalie froze, pulling back to face him. Her eyes found his, and she saw some remnants of guilt lying in their green-blue pools. He was trying to blackmail her. Amalie was an intelligent woman, of course she knew manipulation when she saw it. It was not the cruel sort of manipulation. He genuinely did see his Queen's struggle, and he did not want her to see her hurt if they did go to war and Harriet was killed. Amalie did not entirely trust the King's brother, but the marriage would allow her sister to remain safe and maybe achieve happiness again. The arrangement was favourable, and truly, it was the best way things could end. Amalie would have to betray her sister, a thought which instantly repulsed her. She knew she should say no. But the desire to know her sister would be safe was too much. The temptation to quell her fears got the best of her.

"I will speak with Harriet, my love. I will find out whatever I can for you. But you must promise me she will remain safe. She and any children she may bear between now and the time of your victory."

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Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster Character Portrait: Orion Lancaster
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Different emotions sprawled across Amalie’s features, hurt, confusion, anger, all the things that made his insides curl, he hated be the cause of such heinous emotions and to be frank he hated seeing such emotions at all, on his wife’s beautiful face. Had it been another man, Ori would not have hesitated to drive his sword through the fellows gut. Such beauty should be reserved for happiness and joy, not sorrow and turmoil; Amalie had been so joyous only a few moment’s prior, she had been excited of the prospect of this babe, growing in her womb and what it would mean for their family, now, he sensed disappointment at his request, an emotion far worse than her wrath.

Orion was sure she would defy his request, he would not blame her, he was giving her a son and he had no right to ask more of her. His proposition of marrying Harriet to Cedric has been received with a slight hostility in her eyes, Ori had not meant to blackmail his own wife, truth be told he probably would have done all in his power to see his wife’s sister safe anyway, but Amalie needed that slight push to see that what he was asking was all in her own interests. "I will speak with Harriet, my love. I will find out whatever I can for you. But you must promise me she will remain safe. She and any children she may bear between now and the time of your victory." Amalie answered slowly, making sure each word that she spoke sank deep within him. He paused upon answering, now children that was a different matter, granted he would not like to be branded a child killer, it would be a decision which would haunt him till the end of his days, however if Harriet would have a son in the near future, would he in later years rise up in another rebellion, this time to avenge his father’s death?

Ori would have liked to of said no, however he knew Harriet would not let her son forget her father, he had heard they were a passionate match, both being of similar minds and temperament; he had no hesitation in saying that Harriet would encourage her son to avenge his father. Although if he could keep the children close and if he could encourage Cedric to take them as his own, they might be enough to sway any rebellious thoughts…Orion stopped mid thought, he was getting far too ahead of himself, turning to his wife, he gently captured her face between his hands, pressing a loving kiss to the tip of her nose “you have my word, love.”
---
The carriage rolled to a stop a few hours later, they had arrived at Beaumont and luckily seemed like they were the first, as far as the King could see, there were yet no Rayleigh banner men around the area. Smiling contently, Orion quickly stretched out the kinks in his back and neck, deeply looking forward to be able to stretch his legs once again, he for one hated travelling by carriage, he always felt cramped and quite often nauseated by the constant rocking.

Alas he need not worry about that anymore, “finally, we are here!” he exclaimed to Amalie, expressing his joy, reaching over he placed a quick but passionate kiss to her cupid bow lips “come now, let us show those pesky Rayleigh’s, just what we Lancaster’s are truly made of.”

The door to the carriage opened and the King stepped down onto the cobbled floor, turning he offered his hand to help down his Queen and together they would defend Seabel’s monarchy.

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Seabel by Calvazara

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Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh
12 sightings Charles Rayleigh played by Scarlet Loup
The die is cast...
Character Portrait: Rebecca Swann
0 sightings Rebecca Swann played by Jynxii
"Yes, your Majesty."
Character Portrait: Cedric Lancaster
2 sightings Cedric Lancaster played by Scarlet Loup
He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

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View All » Add Character » 16 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Elenna Lancaster
Character Portrait: William Alexander Stanford
Character Portrait: Briar Rayleigh
Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster
Character Portrait: Rosylin Burton
Character Portrait: Mycah Rayleigh
Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain
Character Portrait: Alexander Burton
Character Portrait: Daevon de Guiffort

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Character Portrait: Daevon de Guiffort
Daevon de Guiffort

"A great amount of wealth without a position of power is next useless, as is the reverse. In order to be truly powerful, one needs both. In abundance."

Character Portrait: Alexander Burton
Alexander Burton

"Hero or traitor. The difference is, really, just about timing."

Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain
Merek Blackrain

"Gold is what shapes a kingdom, any kingdom... gold and blood."

Character Portrait: Mycah Rayleigh
Mycah Rayleigh

"On the water in my ship is where I belong."

Character Portrait: Rosylin Burton
Rosylin Burton

"I know who I am, and that will never change."

Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster
Amalie Lancaster

"Divided we fall..."

Character Portrait: Briar Rayleigh
Briar Rayleigh

"I passed my days in a summer haze... no looking forward, no looking back."

Character Portrait: Elenna Lancaster
Elenna Lancaster

"I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge." - Tolkien

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Character Portrait: Mycah Rayleigh
Mycah Rayleigh

"On the water in my ship is where I belong."

Character Portrait: Rosylin Burton
Rosylin Burton

"I know who I am, and that will never change."

Character Portrait: Alexander Burton
Alexander Burton

"Hero or traitor. The difference is, really, just about timing."

Character Portrait: Briar Rayleigh
Briar Rayleigh

"I passed my days in a summer haze... no looking forward, no looking back."

Character Portrait: Daevon de Guiffort
Daevon de Guiffort

"A great amount of wealth without a position of power is next useless, as is the reverse. In order to be truly powerful, one needs both. In abundance."

Character Portrait: Elenna Lancaster
Elenna Lancaster

"I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge." - Tolkien

Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain
Merek Blackrain

"Gold is what shapes a kingdom, any kingdom... gold and blood."

Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster
Amalie Lancaster

"Divided we fall..."

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Character Portrait: Briar Rayleigh
Briar Rayleigh

"I passed my days in a summer haze... no looking forward, no looking back."

Character Portrait: Daevon de Guiffort
Daevon de Guiffort

"A great amount of wealth without a position of power is next useless, as is the reverse. In order to be truly powerful, one needs both. In abundance."

Character Portrait: Alexander Burton
Alexander Burton

"Hero or traitor. The difference is, really, just about timing."

Character Portrait: Amalie Lancaster
Amalie Lancaster

"Divided we fall..."

Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain
Merek Blackrain

"Gold is what shapes a kingdom, any kingdom... gold and blood."

Character Portrait: Mycah Rayleigh
Mycah Rayleigh

"On the water in my ship is where I belong."

Character Portrait: Rosylin Burton
Rosylin Burton

"I know who I am, and that will never change."

Character Portrait: Elenna Lancaster
Elenna Lancaster

"I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge." - Tolkien


Fullscreen Chat » Create Topic » Forged of Blood and Steel.: Out of Character

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Most recent OOC posts in Forged of Blood and Steel.

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Just to let everyone know, Cal has put up the remake for this here. It's got quite a few changes from the original but the majority of the characters are still there.
We're still looking for lots of characters so if any of you or anyone you know might be interested in joining check it out :)

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

I'm sorry this roleplay ended up dying...but, I'll certainly be looking forward to a remake of it!

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Please Read: I do no know if any of you still check back here, however I feel like I should put this up regardless. Unfortunately interest in this RP has dwindled, which is sad but these things happen sometimes. I will be restarting this new, editing the plot slightly and adding some new characters, if anyone would like to take on their role again then look out for a new RP called 'Forged' I hope to see you there but if not then it was nice Rping with you :) Bye Everyone xx

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

I'm so, so sorry I forgot to reply on here as Charles. I'd been meaning to, but it slipped my mind until just recently when it started to become a bit more active again.

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Finally got to post! :) Should be able to post back much faster now I'm finished for summer :)

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Sorry sorry sorry. I have every intention of posting really soon. Hopefully tomorrow evening? I haven't forgotten about this, I promise.

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Heloooooooooooooooooo......?

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

I'm thinking of opening some of the roles up again, what do you guys think?

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

It fine :)

I am going to have my posts up, either tonight or tomorrow, depend how long it takes me to write :)

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

My apologies for not posting recently, I've been abnormally busy recently and have not found the time to write anything worthy of posting. With a bit of luck I'll have some free time tomorrow and I'll be able to post then. :)

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Hey Scar, don't feel rushed, honestly, I know your really busy at the moment, so don't worry :) It's just that everything has been quiet from everyone so I was just trying to lively up the OOC a bit, it worries me when it goes quiet :P

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

So, I decided I'm going to try my hardest to post tomorrow instead because I'm really tired and I just realized Charles's personality is really vague and I want to work on rewriting it a little bit.

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

I'm going to try to post tonight or tomorrow before I leave for the science fair!

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

I'm in tonight, so I'm planning to post for Amalie at some point :)

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Hell...Anyone out there??

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

1 post down 3 to go!

I shall get them done today!

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Glad to see you here, Georgia!

Currently, I'm working on a post for Cedric since I realized he probably should get a post before departing to the meeting and, I haven't posted on this roleplay in ages.

Re: Forged of Blood and Steel.

Finally posted for Mycah, yay!! I'll have Rosylin's post up tomorrow, I'm sure.