Nighthawk

Nighthawk

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[ Private RP ]

589 readers have visited Nighthawk since cl.love created it.

Introduction

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XX N i g h t h a w k
n. a recurring thought that only seems to strike you late at night — an overdue task, a nagging guilt, a looming and shapeless future — that circles high overhead during the day, that pecks at the back of your mind while you try to sleep, that you can successfully ignore for weeks, only to feel its presence hovering outside your window, waiting.

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

#, as written by cl.love
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XX Callum
"Sir Callum of the royal guard, your Majesty, as requested."

Callum steps into the room and bows before the King. The servant girl who had fetched him bows as well, then quickly retreats, shutting the massive doors behind her. King Jannon sits upon his throne of sparkling white marble, the silver of his crown glinting in the afternoon light, shadows casting across his face from the stone pillars that hold up the golden-painted ceilings above.

"
You called for me, your Majesty?" Callum asks, standing before the steps of the dais.

"Yes," The King replies. "I have orders for you. They are of the utmost importance- the future of Pellem Vero depends on your success. If you fail, you shall disappoint me and our people."

Callum nods, feels a shiver run down his spine.

The King speaks his orders, speaks his plan, and Callum's heart hurts. It has been a long while since his heart has hurt in such a way. The King is all-powerful, the King is all Callum lives for- but there's a voice in his head, a voice that insists King Jannon cannot be of his right mind.

After all, what kind of King orders for his own daughter to be killed?


XX
A breeze whistles through the trees and Callum takes a deep breath, takes a second to appreciate the sunlight streaming through the forest canopy, takes the opportunity to clear his thoughts.

Callum rides beside the intricate silver carriage that carries
Princess Deryn and her many cases of books. Four other soldiers ride in front and behind the carriage as an escort. All of them are very clearly on edge, and Callum wonders if they know the King's plan, if anyone else received orders similar to his own. There's a part of him that doesn't want to be alone in his hidden knowledge.

And as much as he loves this forest, as much as he wants to feel at ease in this place, Callum too is on edge. He carries secrets with him that will change the fate of everyone he's ever known. He knows he isn't going to the peaceful Prendre L'air as just a Knight ordered to protect the Princess.


I mustn't think of that now, Callum tells himself. Just focus on Deryn. Making her happy. Just follow her orders until the King sends for me with new ones.

And besides, Bertrand will be there.
The caravan is heading to Prendre L'air to celebrate a wedding between royals, but Callum can't help thinking about Bertrand, about their childhood- those stolen moments that are now faded in Callum's mind. He's missed Bertrand, all these years. He knows Deryn has as well. But the three of them are different now; he and Deryn surely are.

The trees ahead part to make way for a distant cityscape, and Callum clears his thoughts once more. This is not a time to be reminiscing about his time as a happy, carefree child.

After all, Deryn is the one who will be marrying Bertrand. Best to let any lingering feelings go.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

Bertrand The kingdom, that morning, was picturesque. Songbirds were singing their tunes, the flowers were all in bloom; everything looked perfect. They had chosen this time of year for a reason; they wanted it to be beautiful (and perhaps, romantic) for the arrival of the future princess- the future queen. And everything was perfect: from the food they'd prepared for the feast that night (no would could remember Deyrn's favorite foods, so they chose to show off the sorts of delicious foods she could eat for her hopefully long life in the kingdom. Everyone hoped desperately that she liked plums), to the decorations of the great hall, all the way down to the private chambers they had prepared for her. Everything was exactly the way that Bertrand, The Queen, and Princess Ainara had planned it. Everything, except Bertrand himself.

He'd heard the whispers; they'd been there since his adolescence, but had only grown in frequency in the months leading to the arrival of his betrothed. "Do you think he'll even be able to consummate the marriage?" "She's a pretty girl, isn't she?" "I don't think the most beautiful woman in the world would be enough to... move that boy."

They would stop talking about him as he rounded corners, and he pretended he didn't hear them, but he knew. The biggest, concern, of course, was going to be his ability to produce an heir. Beyond that, he knew, no one in the castle really cared, or even cared to know, what he did behind closed doors. But his affections were the worst kept secret in the kingdom and, while he was well-loved, there were whispers in even the smallest villages, wondering if there was a point to this marriage, if the king really hoped it would be fruitful. It seemed like a waste of time, and some mused that it may have been more worthwhile to marry the girl to Prince Corbett, and name his children as official heirs. Sometimes Bertrand tended to agree. But that wasn't the way to do things. just wasn't they way things were done.

He stared out of his window for a long time, that morning, his stomach a bundle of nerves. This wasn't the life he would have chosen for himself, and he sometimes cursed the gods for making him the firstborn son. He dreamed of the freedoms Corbett and Branson had; to live their lives with less scrutiny, occasionally running errands for the king, but overall simply there to act as a spare, in case some horrible tragedy should befall Bertrand. Perhaps he could have that arranged.

No, that was far too dramatic. He would be fine.

When he finally went to prepare himself for the arrival of the princess, it seemed as though his chambers became a flurry of activity. He was freshly bathed, and slathered with sweet-smelling perfumes. After that, he was dressed in brilliant blue, "To match your eyes. You need to look your best today." Ainara was right, of course. She never seemed to be wrong. Bertrand smiled and talked to his sister while she dressed him; the two had always been close. In fact, their closeness used to be a concern, as people viewed it as the beginnings of an unnatural relationship. In the past few years, however, it became increasingly clear that there was less than nothing to worry about when it came to the sibling's close friendship.

Ainara clicked her tongue impatiently as she fussed over Bertrand's hair, with him sitting on a stool in front her. "Are you nervous?"

Bertrand took a moment to think, carefully considering the question, "About seeing Deyrn again? No, not at all."

She let out a long-suffering sigh before speaking again, "About the marriage. You're tense."

No one knew Bertrand like his sister, that was true. He shifted in his seat, and shook his head, displacing some of the work she'd done- to her obvious annoyance. "I... I'll be fine. We're friends, it will... It will work out."

She paused and walked around to face her brother, hands on his shoulders, looking deeply into his eyes, "Bertrand," There was love in Ainara's voice, soothing, much like the way a mother speaks to her child, "You only need to produce an heir. Beyond that, I should think any woman would be glad to..." She paused, not sure how to phrase what she wanted to say.

She didn't get the chance to finish, as Bertrand interjected, "Father would disagree. He thinks three sons a much more suitable number."

A soft sort of sadness crossed the princess's face as she brushed a stray hair back into place, "I don't think anyone expects that of you, brother." It was, perhaps, a disheartening thing to say, though she meant it too be encouraging. She smiled softly as she placed a simple circlet upon his head- a silver circle with three sapphires affixed just above his brow. It had belonged to an uncle who'd died before he was born. She took a step back and smiled, "I dare say, Bertrand, you look glorious." He didn't bother to study his own appearance; he trusted his sister's judgement above all.

It wasn't long before they received the announcement that the princess was arriving, and the family began to gather outside in the courtyard. They didn't often receive guests straight from their carriage, but this was a special occasion, and they would not make a future queen of Prendre l'air come to them. Bertrand shifted from one foot to the other, shuffling nervously, which earned him a sideways glance from his father. He tried to stop, and stand still, but he found it difficult. The very idea that his entire future was to be arriving soon, it was enough to make the most stoic man nervous. The fact that he hadn't seen the princess in years, and the knowledge that he was to be the one to greet her, didn't help his nerves at all. There was a voice, in the back of his head, that wondered if Callum would be joining her. He tried to push the thought from his head; he didn't need the distraction.

He heard a soft shuffling, and felt a gentle pull at his leg. Without even looking down, he knew it was his youngest sibling clamoring to be picked up so she could see past the commotion. As he bend down to scoop her up, her soft giggles reminded him that Deryn had never met Alouette; they'd stopped visiting before she was born. He quietly spoke to and answered his sister's questions while they waited, and when the child reached up and removed Bertrand's crown, mussing up his hair in the process, Bertrand heard a quiet and frantic gasp of horror coming from his right. Ainara was not pleased. He gently chastised the girl, and as his mother took her from his arms, he did his best to place the crown neatly atop his head. Without a looking glass, though, it proved to be difficult. He turned to Corbett, to ask if it was on straight, as Ainara frantically leaned past him to try to fix it (and Bertrand's hair), which quickly erupted into a small, and slightly physical, argument; even as the carriage began to pull into the courtyard. They faintly heard Branson say, "Hey!" As if in a last-ditch effort to get his older sibling's attention, just before their father harshly, but quietly, said, "Enough! Stop it, all of you! They're here."

The three eldest shot to attention: all of them looking slightly disheveled, and frantically tried to smooth out their clothes and get their hair and accessories back into place. Bertrand took a deep breath as the carriage pulled up in front of them, and stepped forward as servants rushed to open the door. He plastered a bright, but genuine, smile on his face, extended his arms beside him, and said, "Welcome home! We're so pleased to finally have you."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

#, as written by cl.love
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XX Deryn
This will be the first time Deryn has seen Bertrand in nearly five years, and she would be lying through her teeth if she said she wasn't terrified.

Not of Bertrand, of course- she loves Bertrand. She's missed him so dearly. She still remembers how giddy she felt riding in this same carriage, bouncing up an down with excitement at seeing the one person who always treated her like another kid rather than a Princess. Bertrand treated her like he treated his own sister- as a force to be respected, to be loved, to be teased relentlessly and have frogs be snuck into her pockets. Bertrand is the only one who has ever understood her.

(Well, Callum did too, once upon a time. But times have changed. He has changed, has changed so much, and Deryn firmly believes that it was not a change for the better.)

The carriage rattles as it rolls over bumps in the road, and Deryn closes the book she's been trying to distract herself with, setting it in a case with the others. Her nerves are getting the better of her, her fears bubbling to the surface as they get closer and closer to Prendre L'air. Her new home.

Deryn isn't afraid of Bertrand, never has been. But is afraid of her marriage to him.

The problem isn't Bertrand, not really. Deryn loves Bertrand. He's always been like a brother to her. And perhaps that's the problem- he's only ever been a brother. Deryn didn't understand what marriage meant as a child, and the idea of spending every day with Bertrand had never been bad. She understands marriage is now, and still, the idea of spending every day with Bertrand isn't bad. It's what being married to a King entail that makes Deryn want to fake her own death.

Consummation. Fornification. Sex. Deryn has never been so disgusted by something so common. She's read so much about sex that she knows she wants absolutely nothing to do with it.

Bertrand never showed any interest in her when they were kids beyond wanting to play together- and the "make mud pies and throw them at each other" kind of playing- and Deryn knows for a fact she's never shown interest in him. But Bertrand is grown now, and Deryn is scared she won't recognize the man he's become. She's not afraid of Bertrand, but she is afraid of marrying him.

Deryn can hear the soldiers speaking outside the carriage and she knows when they're getting close, can see through the window as the forest gives way for rolling hills and tiny houses in the distance. The carriage rolls to a stop, and Deryn just breathes. She gathers her wits about her.

As a child, or even a teenager, Deryn would throw herself from the carriage into Bertrand's arms and laughingly endure her mother's scolding. Now, her ankles wobble as she climbs to her feet.

"
Welcome home! We're so pleased to finally have you." She hears a warm, familiar voice.

And there he is, unmistakably Bertrand. He's taller, now- a man. His hair is tamed and his clothes are crisp and he stands with the authority of a future King. But that smile - that wide, dorky smile - hasn't changed one bit, and Deryn finds herself smiling back. A real smile. She takes her friend's outstretched hand and steps from the carriage, gripping him tight to still her shaking fingers.

"
It's nice to be back again."

Deryn is still scared. Scared of what her duty as Princess entails, scared of the responsibility of being a Queen, scared of sex. most of all. But she is not scared of Bertrand.

And this place, this beautiful kingdom, truly does feel like home.


XX Callum
Callum falls back as the caravan approaches the palace, riding at the back of the carriage instead of directly next to it. The palace is in full view now. As they come even closer, the royal family of Prendre L'air also comes into view- with Bertrand standing front and center.

Callum has long since come to terms with the fact that his first love will forever be far out of his reach. It no longer hurts to think of Bertrand's smiling face or remember how soft his fingers were in Callum's own. It no longer hurts. But when Callum sees Bertrand, even at a distance, he can't stop himself from staring. This is someone he's missed for five years, someone he's dreamed of in the dark of night. This is someone Callum once loved- who he, deep down, still loves dearly.

The carriage rolls to a stop before the palace and the caravan stops with it. Callum climbs down from his horse and hands the reigns off to another soldier. He doesn't move to help the Princess.

Deryn emerges from the carriage as an image of perfect beauty. She takes Bertrand's hand and climbs with graceful steps onto the stone courtyard, and Callum sees her smile for the first time in a long time. She may not talk to him anymore, but he can still tell when she's nervous or upset.

Prince Bertrand and Princess Deryn trade greetings and make their way toward the palace stairs, and Callum follows at a distance, not wanting to crowd the two. He bows in respect to the King of Prendre L'air and the other soldiers follow suit. Callum rises and steps back from the King, reaching into his rucksack to pull out a small leather pouch, which he offers to King Merle.

"
A gift from King Jannon of Pellem Vero, your Majesty. Quartz crystals from a kingdom to the south. His Majesty King Jannon hoped they would be fitting as dowry for the Princess."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

BertrandDeryn's smile lifted Bertrand's spirits, and eased some of his nerves, immediately. It was all he could do not to wrap her in a tight hug and lift her off her feet, he'd missed her so. It didn't feel quite appropriate, though, so he settled on giving her hand a firm squeeze before offering his arm for her to take. He noticed Callum, as well, and wondered briefly if he would say hello; but of course, it wasn't the time for that. This moment, really, was all about Deryn. "I thought," He said; voice soft, with his head tilted towards hers, as if he were sharing some great secret with her, "We could take a quick tour of the palace while they get your things put in your room." He began to lead her inside, away from talk of dowries and logistics, "I'm sure you remember it all perfectly, but it may be nice to reacquaint yourself." He smiled, almost as if to reassure her that everything was going to be okay. As they headed up the steps, he took a quick glace back, as if to see if Callum would be following them, before turning his attention back to the princess, making small talk about her journey, insuring she wasn't too tired to have a look around.

He walked her right past the great hall, "I'm not allowed to take you in there yet. You'll see at dinner. Ainara and mother worked so hard to make sure it was all perfect." He laughed quietly, then quickly added, "Mother is so pleased to have you here. She says there are too many men around, and once Ainara leaves she fears she'll go mad. I think it's dramatic, myself." He seemed to notice, then, that no member of his family or their staff had really bothered to try and come along. Whether because Deryn's own bodyguard had accompanied them, or because they felt it entirely unnecessary, he didn't know. He knew that normally no couple to-be-wed would be left without an entire entourage at their heels, so he felt as if this seemed rather suspect. He sighed, more to himself than anything, before he added, "We're all very happy to have you." A short pause, as he glanced over his shoulder, "I've missed you."

Truly, he had missed both of them. Deryn had been so much like another younger sister to him; playful, kind, and ever-willing to put him in his place. Their letters were too formal to really quiet the aching in his heart, that feeling one has when their closest friends go away. Callum had been special in an entirely different way, and no matter how he tried, Bertrand couldn't seem to replicate how he felt in their stolen moments together.

He started to lead them down a hall, towards the library, remembering Deryn's love of books, "We have," He said, as they approached the large, heavy doors, "Accumulated a few new volumes since your last visit." He unlocked the door with a key and pushed it open, before handing the key over to Deryn, "This is yours. We have to keep the doors locked to keep Alouette out. She doesn't look like much, but she gets into mischief. Remind me and I'll introduce you to her later, she's very excited to meet a 'real princess.'" He smiled, the humor of it not lost to him.

Bertrand knew Deryn would love getting to see the library again, but he'd mostly brought her in hopes that he could have a moment to speak with Callum, away from watchful eyes and itching ears, so as he beckoned Deryn inside, insisting that she take her time. He looked to Callum, though he was unsure of what to say. After a short moment he cleared his throat, and said a weak, "Hello."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

#, as written by cl.love
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XX Callum
King Merle accepts the gift and Callum bows once more. He offers polite greetings to the rest of the Royal Family and instructs the Pellem Vero soldiers to help unpack all of Deryn's things, then falls into step behind the Princess, trying to keep a distance from her and Bertrand. There's a part of Callum that wants to join their conversation, to reminisce with them, but he knows he can't.

It's not his place to intrude- it never was.

Bertrand and Deryn tour the castle at a leisurely pace, quietly chatting about pieces of the palace that have changed and pieces that have stayed exactly the same. Callum remembers running down these same halls, remembers coloring on the floors with chalk and taking the full blame.

When they arrive at the library, Callum's heart warms a little at the light in Deryn's face. This is a place they spent a lot of time sneaking into as children. Deryn would sit and read aloud from the catwalks or a windowsill while he and Bertrand added commentary that often made her laugh in the middle of her narration. He remembers teasing Deryn for her love of cheesy romance novels, remembers wrestling with Bertrand and knocking over stacks of books that hadn't been sorted.

The library itself is much the same as it is in Callum's memories- tall stained glass windows, tall shelves along every other inch of wall and filled to the brim with books of all sizes. The stacks of unsorted books have disappeared with time and the furniture is worn, but it feels the same.

"
This is yours. We have to keep the doors locked to keep Alouette out. She doesn't look like much, but she gets into mischief. Remind me and I'll introduce you to her later, she's very excited to meet a 'real princess.'" Bertrand says with a wide gesture toward the sunlit room.

Deryn all but squeals and skips off to a shelf, instantly absorbed, and Callum looks to Bertrand, watches him step slowly backward, catches the hint of a smirk on his face as he turns around.

Bertrand wants to talk to him, and that is a very, very bad idea. So before the Prince can say more than a quiet 'hello' Callum is taking a few steps back and bowing, refusing to look him in the eye.

"
Excuse me, your Highness, but I believe I shall give you and the Princess your space."

Callum can barely stand the look on Bertrand's face, the confusion ridden in his features, and he turns on his heel to walk back out of the library, gently pulling the doors closed behind him. He doesn't leave, because it's his job to protect the Princess. But being in that room... all it does is remind him of what he used to have, what he can't have now. Those two are out of his reach.


XX Deryn
Deryn may be more in love with books than she could ever be with a human, but she doesn't miss how Bertrand speaks to Callum, with that soft fondness in his voice that she's only heard come from people who claimed to be in love. She doesn't miss how Callum deftly avoids conversation, doesn't miss the confusion and pain and frustration that clash in Bertrand's expression.

Deryn closes the book she's only just opened with a loud snap, grabbing Bertrand's attention, and she smiles as reassuringly as she knows how. "
He's been like that ever since mother died."

"
I think my father saw how upset Callum was when mother died and saw it as a weakness. I barely saw Callum in those first few months after the funeral, he was so busy training. I think father told him to stay away from me. He hasn't talked to me like a normal person in years, he just avoids the conversation and tells me I shouldn't talk about such things with a servant. But then, who am I supposed to talk to? The only people I know are servants!"

"
It felt like he'd abandoned me," Deryn says, and she scolds herself as tears begin to fall. "I've been so alone, Bertrand, and I'm happy to be here, I really am. But I'm scared."

"
I don't love you the way I'm supposed to, and I know you don't love me either. The way you spoke to Callum- you love him, don't you? I bet you always have. And I've never loved anyone. I don't even think I could. How are we supposed to marry? To have children?"

Deryn allows herself to cry, to release her fears, because now she's certain Bertrand doesn't love her, either. She's spent yeas upon years reading stories of people falling in love and being in love and she knows what she and Bertrand have isn't love- not that kind of love. It's comforting to know that she isn't alone in that feeling. But what on Earth are they supposed to do about it?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

BertrandBertrand had known to expect Callum to be different, at least slightly. They'd both gone from being no more than boys, now to men. But he didn't expect to be shut out that way. He could have understood if Callum wanted some distance, or just to be friends, now that Bertrand was actually to be wed, but to have Callum all but ignore him that way, closing the doors in his face. Once the confusion passed, he was mostly angry, and humiliated. He was hurt, too, but his hurt just gave way to an almost childish anger, as if he couldn't believe Callum would dare shut him out. How dare he deny him even a simple greeting.

He had half a mind to throw open the doors and force Callum to face him when he heard Deryn behind him. He turned to her, a little surprised, as he'd almost forgotten she was there. As she spoke, it occurred to him how lonely she must have been all those years. He'd never imagined her being all alone after her mother died, and suddenly he felt an overwhelming stab of guilt, as if he'd been the one to blame.

When she started to cry, Bertrand quickly walked to her side. He rested a hand on her shoulder, but all he could say was, "I'm so sorry." As if he'd ever had the power to change her circumstances. As if he should have known.

He sighed deeply, "I was going to tell you." He didn't mean about Callum, and his feelings for him, specifically; but in a more general sense. He had felt it important to tell her what to expect, or not expect, from him. She would have heard it soon enough. If not through gossip, than Bertrand's own siblings were likely to tell her everything. But now, he didn't know what to say. He felt a bit of shame, as if he shouldn't have kept the secret from Deryn in the first place, so he changed the subject, if only slightly, "I'm scared, too. I don't think I could-" He paused, not wanting to hurt her feelings, "I mean, not that you're not... You're beautiful, but-" He sighed, "I'm sorry." He reached over and took the book from her hand, setting it aside with no regard for proper shelving or organization. Bertrand took both of her arms in his, and said, "I don't know what the future may hold, but you never have to be alone again. I'll always be your friend."

He then felt slightly overwhelmed by it all, and though he tried to fight it, felt a few tears flow down his faced; there was a part of him that had wanted everything to be the same as it had always been. Of course things had changed, but he hadn't expected everything to have changed. He wiped his face quickly, roughly. His father had told him before that if the king must cry, it needed to be in private. It struck him, then, that crying in front of his future wife- as unfair as the union may seem- was as private of a moment as he could have outside of solitude.

"They don't expect me to be able to father any children," The words seemed to fall out of his mouth before he'd really thought them through, "Father hasn't said as much, but I know. He..." Bertrand sighed, "They would never blame you, you know."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

#, as written by cl.love
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XX Deryn
Hearing Bertrand apologize to her, as if it were somehow his fault that she was alone for so long - ridiculous, the only person at fault there is Callum, much as she cares for him - has Deryn's heart sinking just a bit. But then he's speaking, stuttering, searching desperately for words that come out a jumbled mess. Bertrand cries, and another of Deryn's fears is whisked away:

The fear that he would no longer be the same Bertrand she once knew. They may be adults, now, but he is still the same awkward, empathetic boy she adored.

"
You have nothing to apologize for." she says, gripping his hands tight.

"
They don't expect me to be able to father any children," Bertrand tells her, "Father hasn't said as much, but I know. He... they would never blame you, you know."

Deryn has some trouble trying to imagine a King who didn't expect an Heir from his eldest son, but then, King Merle has always seemed a more involved man than her own father. At least, King Merle celebrated the days his children were born, and always seemed happy to spend time with them. Deryn can remember plenty of times as a child when the King would sneak away from duties to join one of their less tiring games. She can't even imagine her father doing the same.

The statement, coming from Bertrand, does lift a bit of the weight on Deryn's shoulders. She's not sure if she believes it- she's too pessimistic, too paranoid. But it's a start.

Right now, a start is really all they need, isn't it?

"
Thank you, Bertrand. Truly."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

0.00 INK

BertrandAfter their conversation, Bertrand had walked Deryn to her quarters. The space had once been set aside for her and her mother to share, and in many ways it was very much the same as it had been in those days. It had been updated a little (new mattress, the bedding had become mothworn and was subsequently replaced), but the furniture-and the memories-remained largely the same. Bertrand and Ainara had felt that having a familiar space to call her own may make Deryn feel more comfortable and at home.

The following days were busy: filled with policy and process, wedding planning, and trying to rekindle old friendships. Bertrand was glad that he did at least get to be married to an old friend, even if the arrangement wasn’t ideal. Every smile from Deryn’s face brought a smile to his own, and he was glad to know that even if she wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of marrying him (and for that, he could not blame her), she was at least not alone. He continued to try, and fail, to get Callum to speak with him. He didn’t need much, he just wanted to be acknowledged. That wasn’t fully true, though. He wanted to be loved again, to be looked at the way he remembered Callum looking at him, years ago. He felt heartbroken and foolish, cursed himself for thinking that anything could ever be the way it was before. He tried to focus on Deyrn, on at least being her friend if he couldn’t be a proper husband, but being ignored was more difficult for him than he cared to admit.

Bertrand had skipped court that day. His attendance there, while recommended at this stage in his life, was mostly for learning purposes, and not mandatory. They hardly did much with his suggestions, and on days when they were focused on balancing the budget Bertrand often felt he would rather die than listen to Count Chavabannes drone on about ledgers and balances. He knew it was important, but it seemed a world away from the things he was concerned about. So he elected to rescue Deryn from the clutches of his mother and sisters. His mother and Ainara were so engrossed in finishing the details of the wedding, and Alouette was heavily invested in trying to see what color ribbon looked most beautiful in Deyrn’s dark hair. He gently knocked on the door, even though it was propped open, before entering the room when the women were congregated, “Excuse me ladies, Your Majesty,” His mother rolled her eyes, but he continued on, “I know I am interrupting, but I was hoping to take my betrothed for a stroll in the garden.” He knew his mother and sisters could be overwhelming at times, and thought Deryn could use a break from them. He directed a mischievous smile to Deryn and added, “That is, if it pleases her.”

Alouette sighed, “Betrand, we’re trying to plan the-”

His mother interrupted, harshly whispering something to Alouette that Bertrand couldn’t hear, but he assumed it was something about how he was trying to foster a relationship. She smiled at Deryn, “The gardens are beautiful this time of year, I believe the trees are blooming. Enjoy it.”

Bertrand offered an arm to Deryn, and as they walked away, he couldn’t help but laugh, “They are really trying to make everything perfect, aren’t they?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Bertrand Poirier Character Portrait: Callum

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XX Deryn
Deryn allows herself to be comforted by Bertrand, and once they've both calmed enough to walk throughout the castle without looking miserable, she hooks her arm through his with a smile.

Callum is waiting outside the library door, standing perfectly straight. He doesn't look directly at her, doesn't look at Bertrand at all, and she has to hold in tears yet again because it hurts her heart. She catches Bertrand casting quick glances in Callum's direction as they walk through long castle halls, and Deryn can see that his heart is hurting too.
What has happened to us, mother?

Bertrand takes her to the same room she and her mother had once shared during their visits, and Deryn feels her breath stop. It feels so long ago, the memories of this room faded by time. But the room is the same, down to the pattern on the bedspread, though it looks much brighter- newer.

Bertrand takes his leave with a tired smile. Callum tells her where his room is and how to get there, then takes his leave with a bow. Deryn watches them go. They stand tall, so strong, and she wishes they didn't have to be strong, wishes they were born into a different life.

But, as much as she wishes it, there's nothing she can do to change their circumstances.



XX
Days pass, and Deryn spends them either surrounded by Bertrand's sisters discussing wedding plans, or escaping the lovely group of women to spend time with Bertrand himself.

The more time she spends with him, the more Deryn comes to see that while Bertrand is the same in many ways, he's still grown, just as she is. When they're together, hiding from responsibility, that sweet, playful boy she remembers is clear as day in his laughter and crooked smiles and a few highly inappropriate conversations she thinks his mother would clobber him for.

But in the presence of the King, sat around a meeting table discussing the kingdom's affairs, she sees another side of him. She sees the King he is destined to become, the wise, honest man he's already learning to be. She sees him as a leader- a man with an entire world upon his shoulders.

It scares her a little, the knowledge that change is already happening, but more than anything, she feels proud. Deryn knows more than anyone how hard it can be to bear such a heavy burden.

While Bertrand is busy, Deryn finds herself sucked into the world of his sisters- the only other Princesses she's ever met. Ainara is quick to establish a friendship and the only phrase Deryn has for little Alouette is that she's fallen in love; quite the ironic twist of events. It's like having siblings again, a feeling she hasn't known since Callum was ordered to stay at a distance.

Even Queen Mavis gravitates toward Deryn, and the first time the woman offers to brush her hair for her, Deryn cries, because for the first time since her mother died, she feels truly embraced.

Deryn sits on a cushioned footstool next to Ainara, bent over a table covered in a variety of white fabrics. She's supposed to be finding the one she likes best, but Alouette keeps pulling her hair as she ties colored ribbons into it, ruining her concentration and helpfully keeping thoughts of her impending marriage at bay. Queen Mavis sits on another couch looking over lace patterns.

There are several women-in-waiting scattered about the room fixing tea or dusting or just watching, clearly invested in Deryn's choices, and they all look up when a soft knock at the door sounds throughout the room. Bertrand peeks in, and Deryn gets the feeling she's being rescued.

"
Excuse me ladies, Your Majesty. I know I am interrupting, but I was hoping to take my betrothed for a stroll in the garden." Deryn quirks and eyebrow. "That is, if it pleases her."

Yes, definitely a rescue. Deryn forces down a laugh.

Alouette and Ainara are both quick to object, but Queen Mavis is just as quick to quiet them, and Deryn hopes the look of gratitude on her face is enough to show her thanks. The Queen suggests a walk through the gardens and Deryn smiles wider, because that is exactly where she likes to be, and she bows to the gathering as gracefully as she can before hurrying to Bertrand's side.

Callum has made the decision that Deryn is perfectly protected alone with Bertrand, so there's no around to hear when they both break out into graceless laughter, the sound bouncing off the walls. Deryn runs a hand over her now-tangled hair and giggles, all thoughts of marriage drifting away.

"
They are really trying to make everything perfect, aren’t they?" Bertrand sighs.

"
Yes, but you can't blame them," Deryn says, straightening one of Alouette's bows. "It's the one and only marriage of the heir to their kingdom. Of course they'd want it to be perfect."

They make their way out into the garden and Deryn lets go of Bertrand to get a closer look at the blooming pink and white trees lining the path. "
I think a part of them wants to show of a little, too. Prove to me that the beauty and splendor of their kingdom wasn't just nostalgia."

Deryn pauses, takes a deep breath. "
There's a part of me that feels like their kindness is all for nothing. A part of me that knows I might never belong here, try and try as I might. I'm not here because I love you, and I think they know that, but how could I ever hope to be a part of this place when the reason I'm here is a lie?" Deryn spills her heart to Bertrand yet again.

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  • Nighthawk
    by cl.love on Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:18 am
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Most recent OOC posts in Nighthawk

Re: Nighthawk

General Story/Plot

- Knight is born of the King and a concubine who dies in childbirth. He is raised by the King to be a pawn of sorts, unerringly loyal to all the King’s orders and skilled as a Knight. He is made to be the Princess’ personal bodyguard, both as a method of keeping an eye on her pretty much every second of every day, and as a way to make sure he’s at the front of every interaction she has with her future husband.
- Princess is born to the King and Queen- a pure heir, unlike her brother who she doesn’t actually know is her blood brother. She does see him as a brother figure though, since he was raised alongside her, if not in the same way, and the Queen would dote on them both pretty equally. She was very close to the Queen, and was very upset when she died. She doesn’t disapprove of the arranged marriage because she understands it was made to ensure the kingdom would have an ally should it ever need aid, and she also really likes the Prince’s library which her own kingdom doesn’t have, so that’s a plus.
- Prince is born a pure heir to Kingdom B and is raised with his kingdom’s peaceful values, becoming fast friends with the Princess and Knight who often visit him in an effort for him and the Princess to get to know each other so it isn’t as weird when they do marry later.
- The Queens of both kingdoms are good friends and often visit each other, usually with their children in tow, and the three children become fast friends as well. The three go on to become incredibly close as years pass, joking about the future marriage and what they want to do when they’re married, not quite understanding what marriage is beyond living in the same castle and having to hang out all the time, which they already do anyways, so how can it possibly be a bad thing?
- Then the Queen of Kingdom A passes away when the kids are around preteen/teen age, and the kids stop visiting Kingdom B. Several years pass, in which the King orders the Knight to remain more distant from the Princess, as the plot against Kingdom B includes the Knight murdering the Princess and blaming it on the Prince. The King is convinced he won’t be able to follow orders if he gets to attached to her (which is correct).
- The Knight knows the King is his father. With the Queen who raised him (his surrogate mother) and the Princess (his surrogate sister/best friend) now taken away from him, all he has is the King and the King’s orders, and he’s desperate for the King’s affection and approval, which is the only reason he follows the man’s plot so dutifully.
- A couple years after the Queen passes (poisoned by the King because she started to suspect his plan and was very against it), the kingdom suffers from a famine (engineered by the King to make his kingdom seem vulnerable, even though the people are trained to survive on very little as part of being raised from birth as soldiers) and the King sends off his daughter to make good on that arranged marriage with Kingdom B’s Prince.
- So the Princess and Knight return to Kingdom B and reunite with the Prince, except the Knight is still distant and different and while the wed-to-be hit it off like no time at all has passed, the Knight struggles to get in on the conversation.
- The Princess is annoyed with the Knight being distant from her and suspects her father has something to do with it, so she makes up a story about wanting some kind of rare prize that requires a quest to retrieve. She insists the Prince finds it for her as a wedding present, and insists the Knight go with him as protection, since the Prince doesn’t have a bodyguard on account of their kingdom being so peaceful and crime-free. The Prince is fully aware of her plot and appreciates it, and takes his time during their travels to worm his way back into the Knight’s heart, which works.
- They retrieve the rare prize and return to Kingdom B, and now it seems like all three kids are back to being friends, except now the Knight is conflicted between whether to spill the beans on the King’s murder plot or to stay loyal to the King like he’s been trained to. The Knight eventually breaks down and reveals everything- cue the betrayal and anger from the Princess and probably the Prince too, much like that scene from Avatar.
- And this is where I’m not sure where to go next.

Re: Nighthawk

The History of Pellem Vero

Pellem Vero is one of the oldest kingdoms to be born from the Bazuar Empire’s collapse, and it has a long history of war that easily proves how it was able to survive for so long.


The People

The common people of Pellem Vero are raised from early childhood to become soldiers in their adulthood. They are trained to survive in bitter conditions with little sustenance and no comforts. They are trained to handle any weapon with ease, to navigate foreign territory unseen, to battle to the death without hesitation or, in better terms, empathy. This tradition has been in place for so long that no record even exists of other systems within Pellem Vero. The people don’t question their traditions and they don’t question their King- doing so instantly pins you as a traitor.


The Royal Customs

Heirs to the throne are not decided through bloodlines like many kingdoms, but rather through a duel to the death between the ruling monarch and any common person of Pellem Vero. If no one proposes a duel against the ruling monarch, then the title of Heir moves to either the eldest child of said ruling monarch or, if they have no children, an apprentice of the monarch’s choosing. The duels have been few and far between and are treated as sacred rituals when they do arise.


The Wars

Pellem Vero has a long history of war, given how old and military-centered the kingdom is. Every one of those wars was started by Pellem Vero and won by Pellem Vero, and after every one of those wars, the King who led them to victory would twist the truth so that anyone who asked would believe Pellem Vero was the victim. That Pellem Vero was provoked. The soldiers showed no mercy and left no witnesses, and without survivors to tell the other side of the story, Pellem Vero saw no consequences. No records exist within the palace of wars past, not even maps of kingdoms past- all burned to ashes to protect the kingdom from the weight of its crimes.


The Royal Family

The house of Callaghan came into power when a palace knight challenged the King to a duel and won. The kingdom was recovering from a recent war in which they had claimed victory but lost a great many soldiers, and both the new King and his son after him avoided starting any new wars during their individual reigns. The current King, King Jannon, became Heir apparent after the first born son of the King suddenly passed due to unknown causes. When his father eventually died as well, Jannon rose to the throne and quickly chose a bride whom he gave the name Brita. The two ruled in relative peace for many years, eventually giving birth to a daughter who was then promised to the Prince of Prendre L’air in order to secure an alliance between kingdoms. Queen Brita passed suddenly when the Princess was still young and though the kingdom wept, life went on. Now the time has come for the Princess to be wed, and the kingdom rejoices.


The Plot

Even before Jannon became King, he hungered for the glory of war, of defeat and the adrenaline of battle. He poisoned his brother in order to gain the throne and as soon as he held power, he began to plan for wars to come. Pellem Vero’s nearest neighbor, Prendre L’air, became the obvious target of these plans due to their lack of military and apparent naivety. Jannon cultivated a distant friendship with the King of Prendre L’air and the kinship between the Queens of each kingdom strengthened that friendship. When children were both to both Queens, a son and a daughter, Jannon offered his daughter’s hand in exchange for an alliance between kingdoms.

From the very beginning, Deryn was nothing more than a pawn in King Jannon’s game. Being a girl and unable to take the throne per Pellem Vero’s tradition, she was a disappointment in the King’s eyes, only useful as a martyr when the time should finally come for the war to begin.

King Jannon was not a faithful or respectful man- he often ordered female palace servants to sleep with him. One such servant became pregnant within the same cycle as the Queen. She was terrified the King would kill her or her child, and she hid her pregnancy until the last moment, dying in childbirth. The King named the child Callum and had him raised alongside his daughter, already beginning to sort how a son would factor into his plans.

Callum was raised as a personal knight to protect the Princess, who was in turn raised to be as alluring to the people as possible. The people had to love her, adore her, or the King’s plan would be all for nothing. For his plan was thus: marry Deryn to the kingdom of Prendre L’air, only for her to be killed, and her murder pinned on the very man she was set to marry. Such an act of hate would spur the people of Pellem Vero into action, and glorious war would begin.

Of course, someone had to orchestrate her death- and who better than King Jannon’s own son, groomed from birth to follow every order without question, same as the common people?

Re: Nighthawk

Pellem Vero - “To Hide theTruth”

Small but densely populated, history of war in which their side has always won and been in the right (but has actually been framing every war story in their favor, since the other people aren’t alive to say any different). Their current King is two-faced in the lamest of terms: he is fair-seeming and offered a peace treaty with a neighboring kingdom (Kingdom B) through a promise of marrying his daughter to their son, when in reality he’s been plotting against their kingdom from before he even has a daughter. All citizens in the kingdom have been trained from childhood for generations to be soldiers, and to thrive on very little sustenance. In the current day, the King has engineered a famine years prior that makes the kingdom seem a lot more vulnerable than it really is.

Prendre L’air - “To Take a Breath of Fresh Air”

Large and well-fortified by the landscape, and powerful in magic, but very peaceful. They do not have a military and their King expects the best of others, generally assuming that those who interact with them are friendly, especially Kingdom A whose King has been on friendly terms with him for a long long while. They do not expect any kind of hostility and could be easily defeated in battle simply due to being unprepared for a surprise death battle.

Nighthawk

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