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Capheus Auclair

"I feel desperately deprived of hugs today."

0 · 956 views · located in Tiberia

a character in “Of Glory”, as played by Demai

Description

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”I’ve sold my soul to the crossroads, despite knowing I’ll never touch a star.”




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Full Name: Capheus Lysander Auclair

Nicknames: Cay, Caffy, Taffy, Caffy-Taffy

Gender: Male

Age: 26

Rank/Title: Prince, brother to the king of Seabel

Sexual Orientation: Homosexual

Kingdom/Alliance: Falor




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Description
Capheus stands at around 6'1, and looks both like he would make an amazing pillow and like he could possibly rip your head off with his bare hands. He's all soft edges and broad shoulders. He doesn't have a six-pack or anything, but he is strong. Basically, you could describe this boy as a beefcake. He eats a lot, and is rarely seen without food in his hands, but he is constantly out and about, running and lifting weights and lifting his boyfriend and various other things. He has incredible thighs, and has successfully crushed a watermelon between them before. His hands are gorgeous, with pianist's fingers and well-kept nails. His life line splits in the middle, a shorter line running parallel to a longer one for a short while, and his fingers are calloused from holding a sword and rough from work. He may be a prince, but he's no slacker.
Capheus has multiple scars from a life of fighting and also teasing. Many of the games that they would play when they were kids involved knives and sticks, and Capheus received many scars as a child. Now, they're kind of exciting in appearance, purples and whites and stretched out. He has quite a few lightning-like stretch marks as well, as he used to be a skinny little thing. He has a burn scar on the inside of his knee, and a couple different tattoos. On the inside of his wrist, he has a tiny black swan, a homage to the man he loves. He'd do more, if he could. He also has a black design on his back that's all hooks and curves that disappears below his belt. He has no piercings, but he always wears his father's wedding ring around his neck.
Capheus has beautiful, chocolate-y brown eyes, framed by long lashes and set above lovely cheekbones. When it's light outside, his eyes catch the sun and turn deep, molten gold. They're a little tawny, whenever he's outdoors. They're dark enough that when there's a lack of light or when he's angry, his irises swallow up his entire pupil. Whenever he's about to sneeze, he will rub them, which is a strange habit to have. He likes to wish on eyelashes, and he bats his lashes teasingly rather often. It has won him many a heart. He doesn't shave as often as he should, and has quite a bit of stubble.
This boy has hair that some people would kill for. It's deep in color, brown that's so dark it's just about black. It's shiny as well, and catches the light, whether it's sunlight or candlelight. Whenever he's out in the sun, it gets rather warm, and so he'll steal Asten's hand occasionally and just plop it atop his own head for fear of him getting cold. Capheus' hair falls to around his chin in ringlet curls, and it sticks to his face when he gets wet. Often, his curls fall into his face, and so he blows them out of his eyes. Occasionally, he'll pull his hair back or slick it away from his face, but he prefers to have his hair down. Is it so that he can toss his curls? Yes. Plus, he loves it when his Ennie pushes his curls from his eyes.
Capheus likes wearing blues and comfortable clothes, things that he can work with and that aren't too tight. He enjoys boots as well, and propping his feet up on things. He has a bright grin and cheerful eyes, and loves giving and receiving hugs. He's quick on his feet and wiggles his fingers when he's waiting in anticipation. He hates getting cold, and is only occasionally cold to the touch. He has a light smattering of freckles across his cheeks, and enjoys kissing people's palms and making them blush. He's a big blusher himself, whenever he receives compliments or anything of the like, he goes pink all the way down his neck and up his ears.




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Personality
{Loving, Exuberant, Stubborn, Curious}
Capheus, to put it simply, is basically a giant puppy. He is the kind of guy who, when smitten, will literally follow you around and tease you and pick you up. He's terribly committed, both in a relationship and in general. His loyalty is relatively easily won, and once it is won, rarely will it go away. He isn't the type to fall in love often, he doesn't give his heart out very much, but once he falls for you, you may never get rid of him. For example, when he toppled head over heels for a certain stable boy, he developed a serious love for horses. Well, sort of for horses.

Capheus is a writer, and he loves words. He loves them almost as much as he loves food, and so it's probably good that you can't literally feast on a book. He is excellent at playing the lyre, and he will sometimes sneak up behind those that he cares for and start playfully crooning at them. He's got a wonderful singing voice, and few social inhibitions. He's only cautious over his relationship with Asten because he doesn't want him to get hurt, which of course leads into another part of his personality. Capheus is terribly protective. He hates seeing those that he cares for wounded, whether physically or mentally. If he had his choice, he'd gather them all up and hide them in his arms and never let them go again. Brother, boyfriend, sister, mother--you name it.

Capheus is a daydreamer, as well. He's often a little far away mentally, distracted with thoughts of Asten or thoughts of the next poem he's going to write. He's still working on sonnets, and excellent rhyme schemes make him too happy, mostly because he hates rhyming himself. He's more of a fan of syllable counts. He, as the youngest child in a noble family, never quite had to worry about inheriting titles or anything of the like. Where his brother has mellowed with age, he still dreams of taking a ship and sailing across the ocean, of seeing more and experiencing all that he can. He wants to see the world, and he plans to do so eventually. Like his brother, he loves hearing epics and stories. He does look up to Cyprian, and teases him quite a lot. Capheus is the type of guy to sit on a rooftop at midnight and contemplate his existence. He isn't entirely sure why he exists, but he's here.

Capheus absolutely hates being cold, and often, he will hug people to leech their body heat. He's very passionate in general, and throws his whole heart into anything that he's committed to. And when he's committed to something, he will not let it go. He's stubborn as can be, and he will keep coming back for more, whether it's to woo someone or in a fight. When he's knocked down, he always gets back up again. He's rather optimistic as well, and figures that he's still young and has his whole life ahead of him. He looks forward to experiencing that life. Capheus is a genuinely kind person. He loves animals, and he is kind of a goofball as well. He named his dog Tom, short for Tomato, and he adores him more than life itself. He accepts bribes in the form of kisses from those that he holds dear, and he is very hard to bribe otherwise.

He's bad at expressing negative emotion, though. Often, he bottles things up and pushes them away, planning to deal with them later. Of course, he never quite gets around to it. It's the anticipation that always kills him as well. Once the actual act is over, he's fine, but before, he's jumpy as can be. He also is not the best at thinking well of himself. He doesn't quite see himself as attractive, nor does he see himself as engaging. He gives a lot of his love away, and keeps very little for himself. He's a little jealous as well, and he doesn't like himself for it.

In the end, Capheus always means well, but sometimes, the things he does don't turn out the way he hopes they do. He prefers to address things later, rather than right then. In general, though, if confronted, he will confess to whatever he is being asked about. He often has a smile on his face and a light in his eyes, and loves being outdoors and doing things if he's not in bed sleeping. He rarely dreams, but if he does have a dream, usually it's something terribly trippy and so you might be hearing something about it for the next week. He's terribly earnest, and he says thank you and sorry too much.


Hobbies:
Cuddling, Thinking, Writing, Daydreaming, Exploring
Habits:
Hugs people, tosses his curls, fiddles with the ring around his neck.
Oddities:
Apologizes too much, distinct lack of self-esteem. Can’t sleep in past 5:30 AM.

Likes/Loves:
  • Writing
  • His dog, Tomato
  • Asten
  • Wandering
  • Hugs

Dislikes/Hates:
  • Being woken up
  • Society
  • Seeing people sad
  • Being stuck somewhere
  • Being cold




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Biography
Place Of Origin: Falor
Capheus was named for both of his grandfathers, who were both war heroes, in hopes that he would become one of those. As it was, though, there is very little chance of him ever becoming that. As a child, he was one of those bubbly babies who was always crawling off to break things. He was the reason they had to babyproof the entire castle, and even then, as he got older, he learned to climb bookshelves. He was a monkey, and he was terribly curious about everything. That did translate into the future.

As he was growing up, Capheus would sit and listen to the stories and epics that were told to his brother with great big eyes. He would not imagine himself as the great hero, though, but as the navigators that would watch the stars or as the men who were the great supporters. He felt like more of a Patroclus than an Achilles, and he was always terribly grateful that he wasn't the oldest kid after those. As he grew up, he idolized his brother completely. He wanted to be just like him when he grew up. Eventually, that grew into a genuine and lasting friendship that is still alive today. Capheus has made a hobby of teasing his brother and stealing his food, even now that he's married.

Capheus spent his childhood running around, getting dirty and scarred. More often than not, he would come home with big eyes and giggles on his lips and blood all over his elbows. He would clean himself up in time for dinner, but usually would still have leaves caught in his curls by then that his mother would pick out. He learned to read and write, and he loved both. It was he that decided that they needed to extend their library, and now they have one that stretches from the floor to the ceiling in the castle at Seabel. He adopted his dog around the age of twelve, this little white puff of fur that would grow into Capheus' best friend. He was the runt of the litter, and Capheus loved him. Despite his having nothing red about him, he named him Tomato, and calls him Tom. He trusts his dog's opinions more than he trusts most people.

Of course, though, fireflies and epics couldn't be his whole story. He had to go out and make his own, apparently. He was nudged into the military, and there he stayed for a little while. He actually didn't leave until his brother migrated to Seabel with his new bride, and Capheus followed, knowing that his brother would likely need company. And he didn't particularly want to serve under Loras. They were great friends, they had met when they were squires together, but serving under your friend was weird. He could help more outside of the arena anyway, and he was sick of fighting.

Of course, wonderfully, that was the exact right place to be. He wasn't really paying attention to where he was going one day, his nose buried in a book that he wasn't paying attention to either, as his mind was focused on trying to figure out how to rhyme a word. He was snapped from his thoughts by the sound of Tom barking up a storm and some cat meowing? He closed his book, quickly going to rein in his beloved dog, when he ran into a man that would change his whole life. Literally. He smacked straight into him, fell onto his butt, and then Tom leapt on him and licked his whole face. He soothed the thousands of apologies that poured from the stable boy's lips, promising him that it was fine. Once he found himself looking into those beautiful eyes, though, he realized that he never wanted to look away again.

Their society was stupid, and Capheus was committed. His wooing of Asten Swann was both terribly subtle and terribly unsubtle, in that he literally showed up wherever he was and befriended him and talked his ear off every chance he got. He learned to love horses, and currying them is terribly soothing. He couldn't stand being away from him, despite knowing that Asten likely wouldn't ever like him that way. That is, until Asten kissed him in the stables, and Capheus was absolutely done for. He's never been happier in his whole life, and luckily, their pets adore each other too. They've been together for a year and a half, and Capheus is determined to spoil Asten rotten, despite Asten's determination not to let him. He's happy, but he knows his brother is not, and so he's doing his best to support him.

Happiest Memory: Meeting Asten, and finding Tom.
Saddest Memory: Seeing his brother start to deteriorate.




Face Claim: Richard Madden

So begins...

Capheus Auclair's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Asten Swann Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Demai
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A collab between Inuiri and Demai




From outside, even still, the sounds of the party could be heard, echoing across the sky in a boasting manner. Asten didn’t mind much. He had never been to a ball, but maybe one day he could. For now he was content to sit in the stable, away from the others. He might have been fine waiting out the grand affair, but he knew very well Capheus wouldn’t, and would probably be out any moment now.

Capheus could barely remember the last time they’d had one of these dances, and he was almost bouncing on his feet as he got ready. He was relatively sure that he hadn’t forgotten anything, and he had the ribbons to an extra mask tied around his wrist. His own mask was pushed up into his curls, a couple ringlets sticking out through the eyeholes. He hummed as he glanced in the mirror, then he picked up the (conveniently too small) clothes that he had set aside and was out the door, going straight towards where he knew a certain stable boy would be.

Asten had told him time and time again to enjoy himself at the ball, he would really be fine out here. He was quite content right now, sitting cross legged in the grass with Beans by his side, petting her absentmindedly as he examined his little collection of rocks. No. Minerals. They were Minerals. He was happy. So much so he didn’t even hear his beloved approaching.

Image Capheus was terribly stubborn, though, and he was not about to let his beloved be alone out there all night. The stars were gorgeous, though, and he took a moment to gaze up at them, tipping his head up. Maybe they could sneak up to the roof after they snuck half of the hors d’oeuvres away... He tugged himself back to the present, and paused when he reached the stables, scanning to see if he could find his beloved. His gaze landed on him, and he grinned. He set the mask down, not wanting to risk it attacking anyone, and crept up behind him, putting one finger to his lips to Beans in hopes of keeping her from alerting Asten.

The tortoiseshell blinked slowly in response as her master ran his fingers over a soft pink colored stone, wishing he had the proper tools to polish it and see it in all its glory. Maybe some day. He set it aside gently and moved to the next one. Maybe if he asked nicely he could peek at the books in the library and Capheus could teach him the names of the stones.

Capheus was going to feed that cat something delicious as soon as he possibly could. His feet made just enough sound in the grass to give Asten the tiniest bit of warning, and then Capheus was crowing his name and picking him straight up off the ground, spinning him around and then hugging him tight. “Hello there!” He laughed.

Asten’s head snapped up as his brow furrowed right before he was scooped up, kicking and squealing as he tried to get out of his grip. He giggled, wrapping his arms tight around him and nuzzling his forehead to his. “I thought I told you to stay inside.” He scolded softly, running his thumb over his cheek.

Capheus chuckled, stealing a quick kiss and then giving him an entirely innocent look. “I must not have heard you,” He teased in response. He leaned into his touch a little, kissing his palm softly. “I didn’t want to go without you.” He admitted quietly. “And besides, who else is going to help me steal all the food?”

“You know I can’t go in there.” Asten sighed, shifting and slipping from his arms, taking both his hands and squeezing them lightly. “Now,” He hummed with an air of finality, turning him and pushing the small of his back towards the castle. “You go back in there and have a good night. I’ll be just fine out here.”

Capheus looked over his shoulder, giving his beloved an utterly devastated look. “I brought a mask and everything for you.” His voice had taken on a note of pleading, even though his eyes were bright and a little mirthful. Tonight was a night to be happy, or at least try to be. He turned again, finding his hands and squeezing them. “Just for a little?” He begged, searching his gaze.

Asten chewed the inside of his lip uneasily in thought, sighing softly. If he was unrecognizable… Where was the harm in it? He smiled after a few moments of silent consideration and leaned up to kiss him softly. “Alright.” He whispered in defeat. “Lead on.”

Capheus waited with baited breath while he thought, trying to resist the urge to attempt to bribe him into coming with kisses. He kissed him back, and then his whole expression lit up at his words. He hugged him tight before the last word was even out of his mouth, kissing him soundly once more and then tugging him towards where he had set the mask. “Thank you,” He told him, his tone both earnest and adoring.

Asten giggled gleefully as he was dragged along, hugging onto him and nuzzling at his shoulder. “I love you.” he whispered gently, damaged fingers tracing his jaw lightly. “I look like a mess though.” Asten pointed out, pausing when they reached the clothes, eyes widening at their quality. But he agreed. He would let Capheus spoil him for tonight.
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“I love you too.” He murmured, gazing down at his beloved with a soft smile. “I’m entirely willing to steal you away for a bath first,” Capheus teased, picking up the mask and then the other clothes, slinging them over his shoulder. “And besides, you always look beautiful.” He promised, leaning over to steal another kiss.

The stable boy couldn’t quite help how he perked up at the mention of a bath with his lover. “That sounds nice.” he whispered gently, running his thumb over Capheus’ knuckles as he held their joined hands to his chest, heading off for the castle.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Loria Estermont Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Cedany Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair
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Image Lucas entered the ballroom with his fiancè beside him. Ris looked absolutely stunning tonight in her blue dress and her glittering mask. They had been together more while traveling here than they had probably their entire lives and he was beginning to notice things he hadn't before. Like how beautiful her smile was, how kindhearted she was, and how much she liked to poke fun at people. As a child, he found her annoying, but now... It was endearing.

“I’ll be right back, ”, she said and disappeared into the crowd. "As you wish!" He called after her, though whether or not she heard him he would never know. Lucas found himself wanting to stick to her side for the night, but knew it was better to move around and socialize. Besides, there was one person he really wanted to see. Even if she didn't want to see him. His blue eyes gazed about the room searching for her, his sister, Juliana. He noticed her husband by the windows talking to her lady in waiting which he found odd, but thought little of it otherwise and continued in his search.

And then he saw her. She was standing with others off to one side, laughing and socializing. He suddenly found himself feeling nervous. As a child she paid him no mind, but now, would she also dismiss him? They needed to talk. He needed to understand why she left. Why she abandoned him. It was a stupid worry, he was a man now after all, but he had always adored his sister and looked up to her. He could never understand why she hated him so. And he knew she did. He could see it in her eyes every time he attempted to show her any kind of brotherly love. He bit his lip, a habit since he was a child, and then walked towards his sister.

A servant entered his path and offered a goblet of wine. He took it and thanked the servant, though it was frowned upon to give them such attention. It was their job. They didn't need gratitude, but it was just who he was. His father long gave up that teaching to him. At the thought of his father, his scar throbbed, but he ignored it and focused on the task at hand. Confronting his sister. He took a long swig of wine and took a deep breath.

"Your Majesty," He said with a bow. "My compliments on the beauty of your new home. I dare say it's more spectacular than home." He set the, now empty, goblet of wine on a nearby table and offered her his hand. He wasn't entirely sure that she recognized him now, especially with his mask. "My dear, Juliana, would you do me the honor of having this dance with me?" With his eyes, he pleaded with her. Please dear sister they begged, I must speak to you.






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Image Cedany had been wandering the ground of the castle for the bast twenty minutes. Her green and black gown that matched the green of her mask helped her blend into the night. She was making her way past the stables when she heard voices. Two men laughing and talking to one another in such delight that she found herself curious and decided to hide and listen in.

She peaked out and nearly gasped at the sight of Lord Auclair, the king's brother, and the stable boy in entirely intimate conversation. At first, he thought how rich this information could make her. Then she decided against it. While being homosexual was frowned upon widely in their time, Cedany didn't really mind it. She was unsure herself whom she would give her heart to. She found girls beautiful and boys handsome, but neither tickled her nethers.. so to speak. At least, not yet. She decided that she wouldn't mentioned what she saw to a single person beyond the two subjects themselves. If only to give them someone to talk to. While they were technically the enemy, this gathering is meant to be one of peace and peace she would offer. Maybe, or maybe she'd just keep it to herself.

She smiled and backed away from where she had been hiding. She decided to take a different path to the ballroom and allow them some time alone.

Once she arrived at the party and was announced to the room, she went looking for her favorite person. Her older brother, Ronan. She had thought about sharing what she had seen, but decided against it. Just because he had a forbidden love didn't mean he needed to know about the love of others. She had arrived just in time to see her father whisk away her brother's love leaving him angry and alone. She frowned, her heart aching for her brother. She watched Genevieve and her father dance a moment before she ran towards her brother.

"Ronan!" She squealed, throwing her arms around his neck. "Isn't this place grand?" She pulled him closer and whispered into his ear so only he could hear her words. "I'm sorry your heart aches brother. If there anything I can do to make your dreams come true, you only have to say so." She pulled back and smiled at him. A finger to her lips. She winked at him and said, "I'm capable of more than you think, and I hear more than you know."

With that, she disappeared into the crowd in search of some sweet treats and maybe someone to dance with. Unfortunately, there weren't many boys her age. Or girls. The only person closest in age to her was the princess of the kingdom, Giselle, and she was much younger. Ah well she thought. I'll just dance with myself then. No whirlwind romances for this princess.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair
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#, as written by Demai
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Ellie knotted her hands together at her front, her palms making a slight indent in the skirt of the dress that she wore as she watched on. Her head was tilted down, her teeth making a slight indent in her bottom lip. She was a little worried for her Cy at Lucas’ words, to be entirely honest. What sort of a proposition could the king of Falor make? As much as it hurt her beloved... he had no power in this kingdom. As the queen’s consort, there was nothing that he could do politically besides go behind her mistress’ back. Perhaps he had even had more power back when he was nothing more than a noble, at least then he had had lands that stretched before him, ready for the taking. He told her about them sometimes. Now, he held about the same amount of political influence as a pretty bracelet upon her mistress’ wrist. It was a weight upon his shoulders and a wound in his side. She saw how it wounded him, and she wished to comfort him, but she was rooted to the ground by the knowledge of both Lucas and Juliana’s eyes on her.

She knew the latter was watching, despite not looking towards her. It felt as if she were always watching, and Ellie was infinitely grateful for Capheus’ influence in their lives. Whenever Cy snuck off to be with her, Capheus was the willing scapegoat. Earlier in their relationship, he had saved them many a time. She wondered where he was, briefly, and then a slight smile touched her lips at the thought that he was likely with his stable boy. Silently, she wished them both safety and happiness.

She raised her gaze a little as Cy looked back to her, prairie green meeting emerald as she offered gentle support even silently. The longing, while invisible to all others, was poignant to her, striking through to her heart. If there had not been the weight of a kingdom and expectations on their shoulders, Ellie would have stepped forward then and caught him up in her arms, possibly to never let him go. Her expression would be unreadable to those others who looked at her, though, and her eyes soon went to Lucas, surprise coloring her expression. He promised to return her Cy safely, and she curtseyed to him in response, remaining respectfully quiet even as she offered up a gentle smile. She looked to Cy once more as Lucas left without waiting, her lips forming the words good luck when she knew that Juliana would not see. Then, the two men were gone.

Ellie looked after them with curiosity in her gaze, letting that become obvious. She would seem a slightly nosy lady-in-waiting, but she had done nothing to arouse suspicion of any sort. She looked back to the gardens soon enough, taking a deep breath of the cool night air. It smelled sweet, and she couldn’t help but smile. The scents of roses and jasmine and clean water found her, the safety of the night seemed to reach out its hands towards her--

And then a dreaded, high pitched voice reached her ears, and Ellie’s heart squeezed in her chest. "So, are you enjoying the ball so far, Lady Ellie?" The queen asked. Ellie turned to look at her once more, her smile gentle as she looked between Juliana and the tiny princess and her eyes alight.

“Aye, madam.” She answered, curtseying to her in response, dipping her head down a little. She tucked that stray curl away again, her hands clasping together as she looked towards the stars once more. “It’s all so beautiful.” She whispered, almost in awe. Cy particularly, the thought flickered through her mind. “How have you liked it?” She inquired curiously. “I imagine you’ve been to many a ball in your lifetime, majesty.”

The queen smiled, and her next words caused surprise in her that was easy to see. “Oh, where are Cyprian and Lucas? I want to show Lucas his beautiful niece.” Ellie met her mistress’ eyes, searching them for a moment, her own lips slightly parted in a silent question. She had thought that she hated her little brother, or at least was indifferent towards him. To show one’s child to him... Well, that was infinitely personal.

Plus, there was the issue of the two men being in the middle of their discussion right then.

It was not her place to question, and it was her place to warn them before the queen stepped in. “Right this way, ma’am.” Ellie curtseyed to her once more, smiled at Giselle, and then moved towards the room that Juliana and Lucas had recently vacated and that the latter and Cy were currently in. Her heart ached as she walked, though she hid it perfectly. So much for their walk in the garden, she thought.

“They’re in here, highness.” Ellie explained, looking to the queen. She raised her hand to the door as they reached it, and knocked four times, loudly. It would be impossible not to hear, impossible for the men inside to be able to ignore it. She lowered her hand, then, taking a step back and lowering her head once more, allowing Juliana and her daughter to go ahead of her. Hopefully, it would give Cy enough time to finish his conversation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Asten Swann Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Inuiri
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A collab between Inuiri and Demai



Returning to the castle took a little longer than it usually would, as Capheus was busy stealing kisses at every chance he got. It was so frustratingly rare that they could have large portions of time to themselves such as this, what with his own political duties and Asten’s work. Hell, he’d become a stable boy himself if it meant that he could sit in the hay with his beloved and even just talk. “So, bath, and then you have to actually try on these clothes,” He teased, keeping him close, comfortable with their privacy in the darkness. “I’m relatively confident they’ll fit you, and I know the mask will be fine.” He was terribly excited to see him in the gold and aquamarine wonder of glitter that he had found.

Asten chuckled, nuzzling his nose to his before they slunk into the castle itself. “Yes sir.” he teased, kissing his cheek and squeezing his hand, still holding them to his chest and smiling up at him, swaying gently. Now the hard part. Sneaking past everybody. “Thank you...” he whispered, “Really. I know.. I’m stubborn sometimes.” Asten admitted, chewing the inside of his lip and looking down bashfully.

Capheus squeezed his hand gently in reply, leaning over to press his lips to Asten’s knuckles. He didn’t like this part, didn’t like the distance they had to pretend to have. He often dreamed of sweeping his love off to some foreign land, some place where no one would care and no danger would surround them. He frowned a little at his words, and his gaze softened soon enough. “Asten.” He admonished gently, reaching up to cup his cheek, gently tilting his head up so that he could search his gaze. They still had a hallway to go before they’d have to deal with people. “I love you.” He whispered, as if that should be reason enough. “I wouldn’t change any bit of you, not for the whole world.” He leaned down, kissing him softly. “And besides, it’s my pleasure.” He hummed with a little smile. “The ball just wouldn’t be the same without my favorite person there.”Image

Asten giggled helplessly at his words, “I’m your favorite?” He joked, knowing full well he was. “I thought there was some lovely lady who had your heart instead.” He hummed playfully, grinning as he kissed his forehead, more teeth than lips as he curled against his chest. “I love you too.” The peasant murmured against him, kissing his jaw softly and nudging him. “Come on, let’s get this part done with.”

“Oh, you know me, definitely attracted to women.” He teased, kissing his hair. “The hands that hold my heart are prettier than any fair ladies’.” Capheus murmured, and he couldn’t help but smile once more, chuckling and kissing his nose in reply. He wrapped his arms tight around him, nuzzling at him gently, keeping him close as long as he could. He groaned playfully at his last sentence, and then nodded in agreement. “Sooner we do it, the sooner it’s over, right?” He sighed.

Laughter bubbled up in Asten’s chest as he kissed his ear, unable to keep his lips off him for even a few moments as he squeezed him tight, hugging him close. He nodded reluctantly, “Lead on.” He repeated softly, kissing him once more before releasing him altogether and stepping away. What excuse could they possibly use if someone asked why Asten was in the castle at all?

Capheus was sure he’d think of something. A horse escaped. He was missing a currying brush. They’d figure something out. They had a wonderful track record, in any case, and Capheus was more annoyed that he had to stop kissing his beloved than he was scared that they’d be found out. He let his hands rest at his sides, his back straightening. He looked more princely in that moment than anything, hoping to dissuade anyone from potentially talking to them as they moved towards the stairwell with a calculated speed.
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Asten was lying if he said he wasn’t panicked, eyes darting about fearfully as they walked, swallowing the nervous lump in his throat. “Capheus.” He choked as he saw someone glance their way, letting out a breath he didn’t know he was holding as they looked away like it was nothing. It was something though. He wished he could be open. But despite his optimism he wasn’t dumb. That would never happen.

“It’s okay.” Capheus murmured, wishing he could reach out and touch his hand, gather him close and comfort him. They hadn’t had an incident yet, they would be fine, he told himself. And if nothing else, they would look like nothing more than master and servant. They reached the stairwell, and he stepped to the side, letting Asten disappear up them first and then following himself, forcing himself not to look back.

Asten scrambled up the stairs, praying no one was upstairs while he stumbled, almost cracking his jaw on the steps. He gasped, bracing himself and trembling, murmuring an apology, at least safe for a few moments in the privacy of the stairwell. The brunette shifted, sitting on the steps as he gathered himself up again, panting and holding his head in his hand.

Capheus reached out instinctively to catch him, grasping him about the waist and steadying him. Fear for him stopped his heart for a moment, and he took a seat next to him, gathering his Asten into his lap and cradling him close. “It’s okay.” He repeated, kissing his hair. “You’re okay, love, don’t worry.”

The smaller man took a deep, shaking breath as he hid in his shoulder, mumbling an apology again absentmindedly, not used to being so afraid. There was a reason they never tried to sneak in and stayed outside so much. Asten nodded a little when he was alright, stroking his cheek and pressing his lips to his forehead. “I’m alright.” He murmured softly.

“Nothing to apologize for.” He promised softly. Capheus remained there with him, keeping him safe in his arms. He nuzzled at his palm gently, and hugged him tight for a moment longer. “You sure?” He asked, his voice quiet.

Asten blinked hard, eyes rolling like he was glaring at the ceiling and blinking again, repeating this a few dozen times under a minute before it started to slow. His condition was steady throughout his life ever since childhood, his strange little tic. But it flared up even more when he was stressed. Asten nodded, standing finally and hugging him close. “I’m alright.” he repeated.

Capheus had seen this before, but it still caused a second of fear that he hadn’t caught him in time. He stayed with him, mentally and physically, rubbing his back with gentle fingers. He stood with him, and then wasted little time in plucking him off the ground, settling him in his arms and kissing his forehead. “Maybe I should carry you until we make sure,” He teased a little. “I’ll sacrifice.” He hummed playfully. In truth, he’d happily carry him around all day.

Asten smiled and nuzzled his shoulder, humming in affirmation, “Oh I think that’s definitely the safest option.” he whispered, wrapping his arms around his neck and grinning as he carried him up, thanking him gently as he pressed his lips to his jaw.

“You know me, I’m wonderful at the safety thing.” Capheus chuckled softly, kissing his temple and tucking him against him as they continued up. “Anytime.” He promised softly, adoration coloring his tone. Capheus’ rooms weren’t far once they reached the top of the stairs, and he hummed as they moved down the carpeted hall, swaying him gently in his arms.

Asten giggled softly, “You’re too excited to dance.” he teased, caressing his cheek and grinning as he pushed the door open gently when they got near. No matter how many times he had been in here he never stopped being in awe of how opulent it was. He itched to get his shoes off and sink his toes into the plush carpet, but feared he would ruin it when he touched it, covered in dirt all the time.

Capheus couldn’t help but smile at his expression, pressing his lips to his jaw. He set his beloved down on the too-big bed gently, and kissed him softly before moving to kneel before him, gently undoing the straps of his shoes for him.

Asten’s cheeks burned up as he watched him, tensing up a bit as he touched the bed, afraid to ruin it. He swallowed the lump in his throat and bit his lip as he admired his lover, reaching down and stroking his cheek as he slipped his shoes off, grinning at the sight and hiding his red face in his shoulder.

Capheus stroked his hands over his thighs gently, kissing his knee softly as he gazed up at his beloved. “Relax, sweetheart.” He murmured, and leaned into his touch soon enough. He chuckled softly, nuzzling at his temple. He moved his shoes off to the side, kissing the tops of his feet with infinite gentleness, moving to help him with his pants next, removing all his coverings with almost worshipful fingers. Surely, Asten would never learn to sit still while he was undressed, squirming under every little touch from him and grinning the whole time like a fool, blushing down to his chest when he was bare before Capheus. He made a soft indignant sound, tugging him up beside him and repeating the ritual on his beloved, crawling into his lap when there was no barrier between them. Capheus couldn’t resist chasing that blush with his mouth, kissing down his neck and then his chest as he removed Asten’s shirt. He discarded it off to the side, and then shifted when he was pulled up, chuckling softly and letting his beloved remove his clothing. He gathered him up once more soon enough, pressing his beautiful body close and matching their breathing. He buried his face in his hair, inhaling his familiar scent. A bath could wait two seconds.
Asten shivered when Capheus’ lips touched him, forcing himself to not melt so soon, to wait until they were in the water. Oh but then he was being lifted again and crushed to him and Asten’s face was buried in his shoulder, he couldn't help but let himself go a little limp as his eyes shut.

Capheus drew his hand down his spine, kissing his ear softly as he lifted his head the tiniest bit. “I love you.” He whispered, and his voice was a little rough. He adored this man, with every fiber of his being. “Give me one second, sweetheart...” One more second to be with him while they were dry and had no real commitments to own up to.

Asten nodded firmly in agreement to his words, his muffled response of yes sir a bit delayed as he enjoyed being held by his love, shifting and wrapping his legs around him. “I love you too.” He finally murmured, brushing his lips over his jaw and combing his fingers through his dark locks.

Capheus smiled softly at his eventual response, moving to help him get more comfortable. He nuzzled at his hand gently, almost purring at his touch as his eyelids fell to half-mast. He tipped his head down to kiss his neck, trailing his lips across him. “Do you think that a bath could wait more than a couple seconds, my dearest heart?” He hummed softly. “I’d like to make love to you.”

He wanted to protest, tell him he didn't want him in this state, grimy and covered in dirt. But he was weak to his beloved and even the smallest suggestion made him crumble as he nodded. “Please..” he managed to get out, eyes still shut as his head fell back.

To tell the truth, Capheus would take him clean or dirty, whatever state he was in. He couldn’t help but smile, and then he dedicated himself to kissing every inch of his beautiful throat, shifting to lay him down beneath him. As promised, Capheus took his beloved, littering him with little bites and love marks, skin freckled with easily excusable bruises. He got injured all the time, no one would suspect a thing. Asten lay beside his love after, chest rising and falling gently as he caught his breath and smiled softly. “Now I really need a bath.” He teased, running his thumb over Capheus’ jaw.

Capheus chuckled, kissing his palm as he ran his fingers over his back, mapping out familiar curves. “I think you look lovely like this,” He teased in return, nudging at his hand gently. Then, he lifted him into his arms, moving towards the tub.

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Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Asten Swann Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Capheus settled them into the warm water, keeping his beloved in his lap. They had an age old tradition of washing each other, and he absolutely loved seeing his beloved melt under his hands. They exchanged many a kiss in between soaps and shampoos, and all too soon, the bathwater was cooling and Capheus knew they should probably get out and get dry. They’d likely missed most of the excitement by then, there was always something crazy that happened during these dances. He hummed to his beloved as he lifted him up, finding the fluffiest of towels and playfully drying Asten’s hair, making it stick up everywhere.

Asten laughed gleefully, shoving at his hand to try and get him to stop to no avail, grinning and sighing in defeat with a bashful thank you[/b]. “You’re too distracting.” he scolded lovingly as they stepped out, wobbling a bit as he held to his hand, moving to the clothes.

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“Yes, but you love me,” Capheus teased, giving him an adoring look. He squeezed his hand, drawing him a little closer to help support him. “How’re you feeling, dearest?” He asked softly, helping to set him down on the edge of the bed. He found the fancy clothes, then, gently helping his beloved in getting dressed.

“Better.” Asten murmured, kissing his shoulder and smiling against him. “Clean.” He chuckled, burning up as his love pampered him, letting him spoil him tonight just like he promised.

“You look adorable covered in dirt,” Capheus spoke playfully, leaning forward to kiss his forehead. He slipped his Asten’s arms into the sleeves, straightening the collar and then buttoning him up from bottom to top, kissing up his abdomen and then his sternum, only to meet his lips at the end. “Brings out those beautiful eyes.” So did the color of the shirt that Capheus had picked out, and he was terribly proud of that.

Asten whined softly as his cheeks turned red, hiding in his shoulder once they were both dressed, mumbling his name shyly and squeezing him tight. “Taffy..” He cooed sweetly, playing with his curls.

Capheus wrapped his arms around him, drawing him near once more. “Wish I hadn’t tucked this thing in,” He mumbled, kissing his ear as he referred to his shirt. The fact that his beloved was small enough to fit in the same shirt as he, it was one of his favorite things on the planet. He nuzzled at his hand gently, smiling at the childhood nickname as he kissed his wrist. “Yes, Ennie?” He asked softly, replying with his own chosen name for him.

Asten giggled at the name and covered his red face with a playful groan, reaching back and grabbing Capheus’ mask. “Come on.” He chuckled, squeezing his hand and placing it on his love’s eyes, tying it and kissing him as he pulled away.

Capheus protested wordlessly when he covered his face, laughing and then tugging his hands down, kissing both of his cheeks. He released him when Asten reached for the mask, leaning down the tiniest bit to help him out. He kissed him back softly, smiling against him. “I’m coming, I’m coming.” He teased, grabbing Asten’s mask and helping him to slip it on. “Lovely.” He declared, and kissed his nose for good measure before finding his hand once more, squeezing it gently. Asten’s eyes lit up at his words, glad the mask at least covered his blush, mumbling about how it was rude to tease as they walked down the hall together, nudging him playfully. Capheus resolved to get a slightly smaller mask next time, because he really did love his blush, and gave him an amused look at his words. “Asten Swann, light of my life, my dearest heart--I’m afraid I’ve lost the ability to go for more than five minutes without teasing.” He chuckled, lacing their fingers together. The smaller man grinned when their hands met, raising them to his lips, naive as ever as he headed downstairs with him, leaning up to press his lips to his jaw.

Capheus kissed his temple in response, holding him a little tighter as they went down, the events of earlier still fresh in his mind. He paused at the bottom of the stairwell, hesitating, not quite ready to release his beloved’s hand. He kissed his knuckles softly, nuzzling at his wrist. “I love you.” He whispered.

Asten paused entirely when they reached it, turning to him and leaning up on his toes to kiss him softly, smiling into his lips and murmuring the same as he pulled away and held him tight.

Capheus wrapped his arms around him, drawing him close as he physically could and nuzzling at him gently. “Maybe we should take a walk in the gardens after, I’ll put flowers all over you.” He teased a little, his voice muffled a little by his hair. Then, reluctantly, he removed his hands from him, though he still kept near enough to share breath with him.

Asten grinned at the prospect and nodded, “All over?” He teased lightly as he stroked his cheek, pulling away finally, despite his heart aching to be nearer. He stepped out with him, heading down the hall just in time to hear the screaming.

“Every--” Capheus began, and then the commotion reached their ears. Society be damned, he reached out and grasped Asten’s hand once more, just in case. What had happened? “Where.” He finished in a whisper as they came into view of the blood on the ground and the general fleeing of the ballroom. Everyone was abandoning ship, it seemed.

Asten’s eyes widened in horror at the sight, clinging onto him as his heart pounded, the ballroom seeming to empty in mere moments. “Hell..” he gasped softly in shock, clutching their joined hands to his chest.

Capheus scanned the retreating crowd briefly, taking advantage of the lack of attention towards them to draw his love near, pressing him to him just in case. Whoever had raised the commotion seemed to be leaving with the rest of the group, and he exhaled slowly, both in worry and relief. There was... quite a bit of blood. They’d learn what happened first thing the next day, he knew that much. “There’s a reason these only happen once every decade.” He breathed softly.

Asten hugged him tight, looking up at him. “Does this happen normally?” He inquired softly, squeezing his hand a bit as people walked right past them, more interested in leaving as soon as possible than anything.

“There must have been a screaming match at the last one.” Capheus thought aloud. He had been sixteen last time, and it was the only one that he truly remembered. Few people remembered exactly what occurred when they were six. “When you lock a load of nobles in one place, things get... dirty.” Particularly with the political occurrences of recently, what with Seabel coming into being. “This doesn’t seem to be an exception.” He murmured, pressing his lips to Asten’s hair.

He nodded a bit, frowning as he did so and tucking his face in his shoulder. “Didn’t even get to dance.” He mumbled, only half joking as he laced their fingers together and swayed gently with him.

“Well...” Capheus trailed off, a bit of a crooked grin coming to his lips. Maybe there was a little good that come out of this, he reflected. With no one around to care... He kissed his knuckles, keeping him near for a moment before stepping out, bowing to him as the last few people left. “Might I have this dance, milord?” He asked softly, a little teasingly, gazing up at him.

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Asten’s eyes widened, giggling gleefully at the mere thought of one day really being his, he let himself imagine for once. He kissed his hand. “Certainly..” he murmured a bit breathlessly, giving a crooked grin.

Capheus beamed at his answer, straightening up and kissing that grin of his before sweeping him into his arms, almost lifting him up off the ground in his excitement. He laughed, apologizing and then kissing him before positioning his hands in the proper manner. They had the ballroom all to themselves, the doors had slammed shut moments before. Empty, empty... It was perfect.

Asten squealed with glee at his actions, wrapping his legs around him as he spun, kissing his cheeks all over and squeezing his hand when he was settled on the ground again, completely careless as they danced alone in the empty room for a good part of the night.

Capheus couldn’t have asked for a better night. No feast, no other company, no songs ringing through the halls could have matched the music that his beloved made every time he laughed, nor the wonderful company that the person he loved most in the world provided. He could stay here forever, and as they twirled and waltzed together, there was nothing outside of the two of them and the cloud-painted ceiling above and the shimmering gold beneath their feet. The whole world was them and them alone, and Asten’s eyes were brighter than the stars that shone outside of the windows, and Capheus knew he needed no other light besides that which shone from his lover in his joy.

It was perfect. They were perfect, in that moment, and Capheus couldn’t have asked for anything better

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Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Capheus was on the edge of his seat, watching the tournament. He wished that he could be with Asten right then, but his brother was the one currently going at ramming speed towards the prince of Ostwall. He had a front row seat, somewhere near the rest of the royalty, and his hands were white-knuckled where he was gripping the railing before him. He was half tempted to leap into the ring himself, disliking the sight of his brother potentially having his head bashed in. Image

The Prince of Ostwall blew to the ground in a cloud of dust, and Capheus was on his feet, clapping for his brother and grinning. He cupped his hands around his mouth, whooping for him, waving teasingly to him. Then, he saw him walk into the tent. Knowing that he would probably want some privacy, even just for a moment, he soon moved from his seat. “Your majesty,” he hummed with a grin, stealing the seat right next to Juliana. He forced himself not to look for Asten, knowing that he wouldn't easily find him. The stable boys were forced to work hard during tournaments, and he ached to hold him for a moment. Then, he looked back to the queen, offering up a crooked grin to hide the wistful look. “What do you think so far?” He asked curiously, glancing back to his sister in law. “Personally, I'm a little happy that I don't have to deal with being on a horse today.” He teased a little. He knotted his hands together, tipping his head back a little to move his curls out of his eyes. He took a moment to take in Juliana’s appearance.

“I have to say, I think that Cora would do the very best out of all of us on the horses.” He chuckled. “Speaking of which, though--” He shifted, his usual teasing demeanor becoming a little more serious. “Could I ask what happened last night?” He questioned, shifting in the seat to lean back against it. His mostly bare arm rested on the armrest, and he tapped his fingers against the smooth, sleek wood as he looked at the blonde. “I arrived late, see.” He went on, glancing to the field as the prince of Ostwall stalked off, earning whispers from the crowd. He automatically looked for Asten, and found only the squires. He remembered when he was one, and a little smile pulled at his lips. “These events, I swear.” He hummed. “There's always something exciting that happens.”

ImageHe paused once more, interest sparking in his gaze as he took advantage of the fact that as a royal, the queen had to remain in her seat and watch or risk rumors and gossip galore. Plus, she was in the middle, and so was going nowhere. His curiosity would be sated. “You may have to excuse me for this, dear sister in law, but why did you select your brother’s fiance’s brother as your Captain?” He asked curiously, tipping his head to the side. There was no malicious intent evident in his gaze, just an innocent want to know. The multitude of social endeavors around was absolutely stunning, he thought. He didn't doubt that even more would crop up. The Estermonts were an... Interesting set. He was technically related to them, maybe, through his nephew and sister, though there had never been any legal actions taken. Brother-not-in-law? Something like that. There was something about Ris in particular, he thought, she was... Fascinating. He often wondered what was going on in that blonde head of hers--she seemed more like her father than her brother did. But with Loras being the Captain of the Guard now... Maybe he’d underestimated him a little.

Sometimes, Capheus wished that he weren’t a noble. It was too much of a knot to unravel. He looked expectantly at Juliana, awaiting an answer from her, appearing more like an interested puppy than anything else.

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Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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She had sat on the side of her bed as a soft sigh escaped over her parted lips. What she wanted to happen last night didn't. Instead, her and her husband, Cyprian just laid there and went to sleep, no matter how much she tried. She looked up as guards came to her room now so that they could escort her to the grounds where the tournament was taking place. Juliana looked at one of her handmaidens and smiled at her. "Please make sure Giselle is prepped and sitting beside me on the grounds before her father rides." The handmaiden nodded her head and scurried to do as she was told as her gaze looked ahead and she slipped out of her room and waltzed down the stairs.

Juliana didn't really want to go to this event, no matter how much she loved jousting tournaments. She just didn't want to see Cyprian after last night. She stopped a few distance before the event and the guards turned to look at her. She waved her hand at them, letting them know that she was all right as she continued to walk among them. She had managed to make it to her seat, which was perched a little higher than everyone else's. She sat down with a smile as she looked out and saw Cyprian looking right at her. A soft gasp came over her as she saw his bow and she returned the gesture.

Her eyes continued to peer out before her as the next riders how just taken their ride and of course, she jumped when one of the jousters cracked their sticks against the other. She felt a presence beside her and she jumped again with her hand over her chest. "Capheus." She spoke his name then breathed while smiling warmly towards him. "I missed you last night. Where were you?" She inquired then reached her hand out to touch his then pulled hers back so that it can rest in her lap. "Hm, it's okay, I guess. Not as exciting as the last tournament though." She muttered towards him while meeting his gaze with another smile.

"You should be out there. I bet you could steer a horse better than anyone else out there." Juliana commented even though forgetting the fact that her husband was out there. She even snickered a little bit when she realized the thought, as well. She was quickly pulled from her thoughts at his question about last night during the ball. Juliana looked at Capheus then shrugged her shoulders. It was no point in lying to him as she spoke clear enough for only him to hear. "Well, my guess is Ostwall started an altercation last night. But don't worry your pretty little head off about last night, dear Capheus. Just know that Ostwall is not invited next time we throw a ball." She said. "Let's just enjoy today's events, yes?" She continued in response to him with a smile as she looked out and more riders perched to take their place in the tournament.

Her eyes cut immediately towards Capheus at his last question as she raised a brow up at him. "I need the best of the best and Loras is one of the best." Juliana looked away from him for a moment before gazing upon his facial features though not really admiring them. "Capheus..." She breathed his name as her eyes pierced towards him. "Why did you ask that question? Hm?" She leaned towards him a little bit with a slight smirk curving among the corner of her lips. There had to be a reason and she was going to get it out of Capheus, one way or another.

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Capheus truly wished that his name had some kind of a reasonable nickname to go along with it, really. Cay was a little strange, being basically one letter that didn’t even appear in his name. Taffy was familiar, but did Juliana even know that that name existed? In the end, he beamed at the queen of Seabel in return, settling back into the chair and getting comfortable. They might be there for a little while, he reflected. “Did I scare you, madam?” He teased a little. “Can you ever forgive me?” He chuckled at her question, gesturing with one hand, twirling his fingers around in a circle. “Around,” He answered cryptically, playfully. “You know me, I’m always getting into things.” He chuckled. He was the troublemaker child, to be entirely honest. No kingdoms or children to care for, unlike his older siblings.

He squeezed her hand gently when it was offered in a friendly action, soon releasing it. “In truth, my reasoning is terribly boring.” He lamented with a laugh, tipping his head back against the chair and then tipping his head to the side to look at Juliana. “I may have slept through the festivities.” He told her gravely, though his dark eyes sparkled with mirth. “Even the temptation of food couldn’t draw me out.” He teased, and then another chuckle was quick to come at her words. “Remind me of what happened at the last tournament, dear sister, would you?” He hummed. “I’m afraid it has slipped my mind.” He gave her another playfully serious look. “I think I may still be exhausted. Perhaps it’s something about the air of these festivities; they make one want to lay down and sleep through them.”

He rolled his eyes at her comment about horses, even as a grin pulled at his lips. Maybe he should be a little better with a horse, seeing as the love of his life worked in the stables, but his expertise extended mostly to being able to get one calmed down, not actually riding it into battle. He’d never been much of a cavalryman, even during his brief tryst with the military. “You’re too kind.” He admonished. “I’m afraid I’d be more likely to fall over than anything else!”

Capheus nodded a little at her guess. It seemed reasonable enough. The only other consideration he’d had was that some soldiers from Falor and Seabel had gotten into a fight, something brief and ugly. In any case, it seemed to have been brief and ugly, in any case. The grin grew at her compliment, and he laughed, soft and genuine. “I’ve always known you had a weakness for this face, majesty,” He spoke, clearly teasing her. “I’m not quite sure about my head being little, though, Cy is always complaining about my being full of hot air.” He chuckled. He inclined his head at her next words, but really, he had more intention to enjoy conversation than watching people ram into each other.

Juliana looked away, looked back again, and Capheus’ expression was still terribly innocent. He couldn’t deny that, Loras seemed wonderful at whatever he tried at--save for winning the queen, it seemed. But he couldn’t help but notice how the Captain’s gaze kept cutting towards the king of Ostwall that morning. “Yes?” He teased a little, raising an eyebrow at her as she spoke her name. He shrugged, spreading his arms and then letting them fall. “Mere curiosity, dearest sister.” He hummed in response, reaching up to push his hair from his eyes. “He certainly seems capable, but he is far from home. It makes one wonder why he would come this far.” Amusement flickered in his gaze. “Or maybe he’s just trying to escape that father of his.” Their family had a certain... animosity against Christoph Estermont, though Cora and Ris were the best of friends.

“But no matter.” He waved it off with the flick of his hand. “He’ll be jousting soon, if I’m not wrong?”

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Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Corinna Auclair
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Mary woke up with a smile as she rolled over in the bed she was in to grab Christoph but he wasn't there. She sat up with gasp then ran her fingers through her hair. Her eyes looked around as she really hoped to herself that she was indeed in Christoph's room but saw his clothing in a nearby chair. She let out a small sigh of relief as she climbed out of bed and saw an outfit laid out for her already. She smiled warmly after she had gotten herself ready for the day. She had completely forgotten about the jousting event that was happening right about now and since she wasn't a big fan of large crowds, she decided to just take a walk along the gardens.

She loved the gardens and not because of the moment her and Christoph had the previous night but the colors were just so majestic to her. During her walk, she noticed a few people that were tending to the garden. She smiled gracefully towards them while she continued her little stroll. Mary touched one of the flowers with her hand as it sent a sudden chill down her spine. She smiled towards it and caressed it again, remembering the story Christoph told her about it. She dropped her hand back by her side as she turned heel and exited out of the gardens now, making her way over towards the jousting field.

When she arrived, she looked at the crowd from afar and heard the roaring from them. Jousting tournaments were really competitive and not her style but she did love horses so she walked over towards the stables and admired them. "Such lovely beasts, aren't they?" A stable boy crept behind her and spoke. She turned towards him and responded. "They're not beasts. They're lovely creatures called horses." Mary commented towards the stable boy as he let out a chuckle. "Right you are. Forgive me, my lady." Mary shrugged her shoulders at the stable boy as she admired a few more before she dismissed herself.

She wandered through the crowd and spotted her lover, Christoph though he was talking to someone, a female with a kid in her lap. She didn't want to intervene if the conversation was important so instead, she just offered him a wave of her hand then sat down. She'd wait for him to finish up and come to join her, hopefully.


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Juliana didn't really want to continue talking about Loras as she waved her hand off at Capheus though she did answer his last question. "I am sure he is." Her response was vague, of course as she eyed him, thinking about his previous questions and statements. She grew silent for a moment as she watched the tournament take place right before her eyes. She had to really take his words in and give the correct responses towards him. She trusted Capheus with her own life as a soft smile came among her lips and she stared at him again.

When he mentioned that she had a weakness for his face, Juliana raised her hand up and caressed it gently as she chuckled while placing her hand back in her lap. "Oh, what does Cyprian know? His head use to be filled with hot air, as well. I believe it still is, sometimes." She laughed while she waved her hand again then shook her head at her own comment. Juliana looked at Capheus while her hand met her chest.

"Oh, you remember what happened last year. The cheater that unfortunately got away. I was looking for him this year but nothing." Her eyes peered out before her as if she was to catch the cheater from last year, she was going to have his head. Juliana laughed at Capheus earlier when he said that he wanted to sleep through the festivities as she looked towards him. "Are my festivities boring to you, Capheus? You know, since you'd rather lay down and sleep then be here." She muttered the question towards him as her eyes scanned the area.

She waited for him to answer as she looked around and wondered what was keeping Giselle. Juliana shrugged her shoulders as she didn't want her little angel to witness such an event anyway. She let the soft breeze blow through her as she adjusted herself in her seat, trying to get a little bit comfortable. Juliana let out a sigh while taking in the air as she smiled to herself. She honestly enjoyed talking with Capheus every chance they got but was still bummed about his earlier comments. She tried not to let it bother her but until he answered her question about her festivities.

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Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Corinna Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Capheus chuckled at her words, shrugging when she stated that his brother probably had a lot of hot air too. Maybe it was just something that ran in their family, honestly. They were all kind of proud and heavy--personality wise, not weight wise. He still had a deep adoration for his older brother, perhaps a hero worship, if you will. He loved him half to death, and wanted nothing but for him to be happy. Of course, that led to a bit of internal angst, but so far, he was still intact. “He’s not nearly as bad as he was as a teenager. I may have teased him about floating away sometimes.” He laughed. His brother, despite still being relatively young, had changed from the young warrior that Capheus had known. They were still close, and he was grateful for that, but sometimes, it felt like Cy had taken the whole world onto his shoulders. Maybe that was why he supported Ellie and him--she made him look light.

Capheus nodded sagely at her next words, biting the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing too hard. There was something about their present interaction and the crowds screaming around them that made him want to laugh, to beam and possibly to stand up and roar a little. He wished that Asten were there, so that he could spin him around. “I remember now. Is he the one that stole all the tiny chocolates at the ball too?” Capheus loved chocolate. He had a personal vendetta against whoever had taken the entire tray the previous year. He hummed in response, nodding at her remark about searching for him. “Wisely, madam, he probably decided to skip out or risk the wrath of a great many wronged people.” He mused.

That instinctual urge to laugh couldn’t be fought down at her next words, and mirthful sounds soon bubbled from his mouth. “Juliana, my dear sister in law, I am always sleepy.” He admonished. “I’m even worse than my Tom, who is always sleeping.” He loved his dog absolutely to death. “I believe I slept through an earthquake at one point.” He had been relatively young, and everyone had been running in circles, generally panicking and trying to steady things that were threatening to teeter over. He, on the other hand, had been in his pajamas, stuffed bear at his side as he stayed passed out in his bed.

He had given his mother a heart attack because she couldn’t find him. Ah, good times.

Speaking of her, he met his mother’s gaze as she looked up towards where he sat, offering a smile that she returned. He’d have to go talk to her and Cora soon, he thought. And possibly deck Christoph... He watched as that stupid man sat down next to his sister, and it was the first sign of hostility that he had shown all day; his fist clenched, and he reached up to rest his head on his chin, almost burning a hole in the back of Christoph’s head. Then, he looked away before he could realize, directing his focus back to his sister in law. “These are certainly not boring.” He promised. “This is quite the place to be, in all reality.” He added with a crooked grin, that became more genuine when he realized how well it rhymed.

“In any case,” He went on, and his expression lit up at this memory. “Didn’t you contact some of those people from the islands?” He inquired. He had heard rumor that they were coming to visit, and he was terribly excited to meet new people. Perhaps Ostwall knew them best, judging by the youngest princess’ dress, but it would be a wonderful thing to expand relations.

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Character Portrait: Loria Estermont Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Corinna Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Though Christoph had finally ceased speaking to her, Corinna couldn't shake the churning in her gut. She knew he sat directly behind her, and it sent a sort of shiver through her spine. It wasn't the same kind she'd felt as a girl when she would sneak off from a party, steal a kiss in a candlelit hall. No, this was one of revulsion, a breed of terror she hadn't felt before now.

"Stop it!" protested Calisto, pulling out of her grip again. He pulled a knot in his curly hair through her fingers, causing him to whimper before she placed a kiss on the top of his head.

"I'm so sorry, little one," she breathed, kissing him once more for good measure before she allowed him to wriggle off of her lap and on to the seat between her and her mother. The bench behind her creaked, and Cora couldn't help but look over her shoulder as Christoph left, excusing himself with a quick remark and a nod of the head. And now she could relax. She looked about the crowds, taking in the sights and the sounds eagerly. Cora's gaze swept over the royals, each of the kingdoms.

She offered a smile to her brother, hoping he'd notice despite his conversation with their Queen, their sister-in-law. Perhaps she would speak later with Juliana, but now her gaze trailed over the Falorian royalty, and she couldn't help but gasp as she saw Loria Estermont. Cora's hand leapt upward to cover her mouth, cutting off the sound of excitement as a smile spread across her face. She buzzed with excitement but forced herself to remain under control as Ris escorted Lucas down to the jousting field.

How long had it been since she'd seen the girl? Four years ago she had left Christoph, and in those four years, she had locked herself away from his entire family. Cora had been twenty-three; Ris, only thirteen. As Loria returned to her seat now, Cora stood and scampered up the few steps to the royal seats, holding up the front of her dress to avoid tripping over it.

"My dearest Loria!" she cried out, throwing her arms around Ris and holding her tightly. Eventually, she managed to pull away, and when she did, she could only beam back at Loria. She practically gushed as she spoke. "I've missed you so, so much."

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Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Chryseis Wulfston Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Loras Estermont Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait:
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A collab between Sunshine and Demai





Juliana laughed along with Capheus after she heard his comment about a teenaged Cyprian. She shook her head and waved her hand in the air, trying to catch her breath as she did after a small sigh. She imagined a young Cyprian, arrogant and cocky, as if the world rested upon his shoulders. She looked over towards him once again and saw a certain look in his eye. She didn't want to say anything about just yet but when the time came, she knew that she was. When he spoke about the cheater, she nodded her head towards him. "Yes. That's him. I still want his head on a spike." Juliana said through clenched teeth as she was still determined to catch the little, foul worm.

Her eyes diverted over towards when he said that he was always sleepy. She thought it was a cover-up so that he wouldn't have to answer her question, so she let it go either way because she adored Capheus. "You slept through an earthquake? Really, Capheus?" She tapped her chin with her index finger as she then pointed towards him. "I was wondering why I didn't see you in the safe building I had gathered everyone at." She muttered while her eyes peered before her. She had shushed Capheus for a moment as Loras was about to joust next against her brother's captain, Wulf.

Her heart pounded as the hooves of the horse's collided against the dirt below them. When their lances struck, she stood up with a gasp as the crowd wasn't paying attention. They were too busy encouraging the bout between the two captains as she slowly sat down. She was silent for a moment as her eyes peered and the horn sounded for another match between Loras and Wulf. Juliana gasped again but this time in her seat and leaned back a little. She saw that Loras was laying down on the ground then saw him get up. She exhaled while her hand still rested upon her chest.

Juliana looked at Capheus again as she shuddered a little bit. "I honestly don't know why I host these things." Juliana muttered to herself but loud enough for Capheus to hear her. Her gaze was still locked upon him as she parted her lips to speak. "News spreads fast around here." She said while she nodded her head over towards him. "But yes. I've invited most of their members to visit our palace." Her eyes looked left and right as she leaned in a little bit closer to Capheus. "I am trying to snag their ambassador. Charming, intelligent fellow. He shall be my ambassador before they leave. You know I always get what I want." She nodded towards him with reassurance as she was a little hellbent on getting their ambassador to be hers. She needed an ambassador of Seabel, to be honest.

The head on a spike comment sort of took him off guard, and it was a little hard to imagine a Seabel castle with a head stuck out on the front gate. The initial thought was a little amusing; it would be... Interesting, for sure. But perhaps bad for foreign relations. He shrugged innocently at her question, laughing and tipping his head back against the wooden seat, his curls smushed up against it for a moment. "What can I say? I'm a man of many talents." He teased in response.

He paused when Loras and Wulf thundered at each other, sitting forward a little to see what was about to happen. Two Captains going up against each other--it was certainly a sight to see. Juliana's response was interesting, for her to practically stand up. Her expression was mirrored by Lady Loria's, off to their side, and he reached over, squeezing her wrist softly in comfort. "They know what they're doing." He murmured. It was just a joust, as frustrating as it was to watch people ram into each other. Hopefully, the only injury that would come out of it would be bruises.

He released her when she relaxed, letting her sit down. His brow furrowed a little, and he leaned towards her a little at her words, listening carefully. That was... How did one steal an ambassador? Maybe he'd be the one to steal her away, he thought, and amusement flickered in his mind at that. Wouldn't that be quite the romance novel. In any case, it would be fascinating to meet these people. "Best of luck." He admonished. "When will they be arriving?"

Juliana's gaze went towards Capheus when had asked her when will the islanders be arriving to her Kingdom. She pondered a moment on the question as she didn't even know herself, to be honest. But with a shrug of her shoulders, she decided to give him an answer anyway. Knowing that he wouldn't take silence as an answer. "Soon, I hope. I don't have a definite time frame to tell you, Capheus." She muttered towards him while her eyes went back to watching a few more jousting bouts.
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"I just told them to get here wherever they can and make sure that Su, that's the ambassador's name, was with them. If not, them they might as well not come." She continued to respond towards him as her gaze went back towards him now. "You're such a curious fellow, aren't you?" She stated towards him as she looked back out at the jousts and see the field being cleared after the last bout.

Juliana sat comfortably in her chair right about now, well, that was until she saw her husband, Cyprian and her brother, Lucas about joust each other. She stood up with a gasp and eyed both competitors as she wondered who condoned this between them. Her eyes bounced from Cyprian and Lucas she didn't really know who to root for. She wanted to root for her husband, yes but at the same time, she wanted to root for her dear brother. "What the hell is going on here?"

She was upset that this joust was about to take place as she wanted to hike up her skirt and leave, not wanting to witness this. Juliana looked down at Capheus then sat down in her seat, sitting back as she watched. She was rooting for her brother, Lucas, for sure as she leaned up a little when their horses hooves thundered against the dirt. When Lucas' lance crashed against Cyprian's armor, she silently cheered and applauded. Her eyes peered towards Capheus. "Don't tell your brother that I wasn't rooting for him." She commented towards Capheus then continued to stare at him. "Also, why so eager for the islanders to arrive?" She raised a brow up at him then smiled. "Thinking about getting you one of those island women, Capheus?" She asked him while playfully shoving him to the side with a laugh escaping over her parted lips.

Capheus shrugged a little, offering up a crooked grin. "What can I say, I'm not known for my patience." He teased, chuckling softly. In all reality, his patience had been stretched to the limits over the past little while. His Asten was worth every stolen moment, though, and the nights belonged to them and only them. How he loved him. Upon even thinking of him, his dark eyes softened the barest bit. He nodded a little at her words, drawing himself back to the present. "Su?" He repeated, his grin still fully in place. "I haven't heard a name that simple in so long. It's refreshing." Even his own name was so dramatic. Capheus. Goodness, if that wasn't pretentious, he didn't know what it was.

Juliana looked towards Capheus when he question the islander ambassador's name. She looked over at him with a light laugh. "Yes, Su. I think it's quite exotic. Despite him being from the islands." She had muttered towards him. She absolutely couldn't wait until the islanders came upon her shores so that she could see Su. That was really the only person she cared about seeing, to be honest.

He shrugged once more at her words, offering up an innocent look. "What can I say, I like to know things." He chuckled softly. "It's one of my best traits." He admonished. He looked back to the field as soon as his brother and brother-in-law took the field. He raised his hands to his lips immediately, whistling loud and clear for his brother, leaning forward to make sure that he could hear. He grinned, shouting Cyprian's name afterwards, having already made his decision on who to root for. Really, unless Cyprian was going up against his Asten, he was going to be supporting his brother. "The crowd wants a show, madam." He murmured, watching as the two ran at each other.

He winced when his brother was sent flying to the ground, but he still cheered his name, hoping that he would be able to hear. He laughed at her words, sitting back in his chair once more. "My lips are sealed." He hummed. Her preference was understandable. He beamed at the sight of his brother coming over to them, and he was caught off guard by her nudge. He laughed at her words, loud and full and happy. Oh, if only she knew. "You know me, majesty." He teased. "I'm excellent at sweeping people off their feet."
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"You like to be informed, I can tell." Juliana chuckled along with him as he said that it was one of his best traits. She shook her head and even rolled her eyes as of course, he had rooted for Cyprian during the joust. It was a rather typical thing for him to do. When Cyprian had fallen off of his horse due to Lucas' lance connecting to him. Juliana didn't budge a muscle though she did smirk, just a little though. She then straightened herself up as she nodded her head towards Capheus.

A few minutes went by and her husband was coming over towards them. Hearing Capheus' last words made her laugh as she looked at him, ruffling his hair as if he was a pet. It wasn't meant to be taken that way though. Her eyes gleamed up towards Cyprian as he nodded his head towards them before sitting down. Juliana leaned over and kissed his cheek. "You were absolutely stunning, my love." She mentioned as she turned back towards Capheus. "Wasn't he stunning, dear Capheus?" She waited for Capheus to respond before her gaze turned back towards Cyprian.

Capheus chuckled, shaking his head a little to get his hair back into its semblance of sanity. He offered his brother a bright grin, reaching over to squeeze his shoulder. "Absolutely perfect." He added, nodding sagely. He'd done well, letting Lucas win, and he hoped that he knew that. "I think he has one more round." He addressed his sister in law soon enough. He'd heard rumor of that, but so had everyone else, probably. "You know, Juliana, you should go up and try your hand." He made it clear that he was teasing. "I think you'd do wonderfully."

Her gaze went from Cyprian towards Capheus as he made a teasing comment towards her. She eyed him then chuckled while she shook her head. "Oh, please. I'd die out there." She muttered then continued to look at Capheus. "As I stated earlier, I am surprised you're not out there, Capheus. I am sure you'll be as stunning as your brother here." Juliana teased back towards him while she looked at the jousts that were taking place before them and even reached to grab a hold of Cyprian's hand, smiling warmly towards him.

"I'm grateful for your faith in me," Capheus hummed, amusement clear in his voice. It wasn't that he'd certainly fall over--it was more that he didn't want to condone all of this. "Perhaps I'll go for the last round." He mused, sitting back to watch the next bout. "I expect you to be cheering for me." He teased.

Juliana nodded her head towards Capheus as she really did think he'd do great in a joust. He simply had the structure and body of one who jousts, to be honest. Not that she looked at him in that manner but it was quite obvious when he entered the room. "Oh, Capheus, you might just want to sit this one out now. All the good competitors already went, honestly." She eyed him with another nod of her head. "Of course I'll cheer for you whenever you joust or duel. Might even give you a good luck charm." She winked towards him, completely forgetting that Cyprian was beside them even though her hand was inside of his.

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Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Kuan-yu Su Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Capheus could honestly say that he was joking when he told Juliana that he’d go for the last round. That is, until some overly excited mystery rider pulled up on a white steed. He came literally out of nowhere, it seemed, clean and spotless and shining in the sun where most of the rest of them were hot and sweaty and ready to go home. Capheus was considering melting, and then he was considering just kind of slipping away and finding Asten. He wasn’t quite sure how easily he could do that, seeing as Cy had shown up and promptly been forgotten by Juliana, and now the attention was back on him. Was that an omen for their future? He wasn’t quite sure whether he hoped so or not.

In any case, apparently this guy was determined to have a partner, seeing as he rode straight up to the Seabel sector and informed them all in a voice that sounded smooth as silk that he wanted to joust. Of course, Capheus had the absolute worst luck in the world. All eyes turned to him, as he was the lone person who hadn’t wanted to get up and out there.

So, there he was, putting on his armor and wishing terribly that his Asten could be there to help him put it on. He wasn’t going to let go of him all night, he resolved. And he figured that he was going to have to acquire plenty of kisses, because he really was absolutely terrible at jousting. He gave himself about five minutes in the ring--and really hoped that no one was betting on him. He wasn’t... much of a fighter in general. He’d done his military days, he had hoped that they were over. Standing in that dusty old tent, alone, with a helmet in his hands, he felt out of place. He wanted to go home, more than anything, in that moment. And not home to the castle, home to his father’s lands, home with the man who had become his true home. Technically, that place was meant to be his, after Cyprian married and gained a kingdom. That land by the sea, the sound of waves lulling him to sleep... As much as he wanted to wander and see the world, right then, he wanted a familiar hand to hold and the sounds of laughter and the ocean both to fill his ears.
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Goodness, he just wanted home.

But home was not in the stars for him right then. He glanced towards the tent entrance, biting his bottom lip. Then, he put on his helmet, and stepped out. The mystery rider was still out there, trotting in a circle, drawing laughter and whispers from the crowd. Who was that guy? Where was he from? He couldn’t be from Ostwall, he was too skinny. Couldn’t be from Falor, they’d all know, apparently. Capheus was handed a lance and a horse, and onward and upward he went.

“You ever done this before?” The other man called over, catching Capheus off guard. He chuckled, wrapping his fist around his reins.

“Once!” Capheus called over. “You?”

“We don’t really run at each other with blunt objects where I’m from!” The man called over. Capheus was surprised to find laughter bubbling up in response.

“Where are you from?”

“I’ll tell you in a second!"

As soon as he knocked him off his horse, Capheus thought wryly. They leveled their lances at each other, and the crowd went quiet all of a sudden. The silence was just as distracting as the noise--and on the third run at each other, Capheus was caught off guard by a lance to the chest. Off he went, slamming into the ground with a thump.
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Silence, and then cheering.

The mystery man rode straight up to Seabel’s post, taking off his helmet to reveal dark eyes and a grin on his face. He nodded to Cyprian, though his eyes were all for Juliana. “Kuan-yu Su, your majesty.” He bowed, and then beamed at her. “Ambassador of Aksan. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

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Character Portrait: Loria Estermont Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Capheus Auclair Character Portrait: Loras Estermont Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair
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The old king felt something stir at him as Loras offered a crooked grin. He matched it quickly with one of his own - something genuine and happy that reached his eyes and caused them to bunch up slightly, showing his age for a moment. It was a smile Ulfric hadn't shown in a while, and it felt good to show it, to feel it.
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The look of surprise that crossed the younger man's face only evoked a quick, soft laugh from Ulfric who looked away for a moment. But then Loras reached out and grabbed his shoulder, a friendly gesture that he himself had used on many an occasion, and yet it felt...different. His head snapped back, and he found himself making eye contact once more as Loras pulled his hand away. He wished to cry out "don't stop". He wanted to savor this feeling of togetherness, a sort of camaraderie that he hadn't had in ages ... but he couldn't. Not here, at least.

"You're quite welcome," he replied, inclining his head slightly to Loras. "Would be proud to see a man like you represent Ostwall instead, but a man's kingdom is his, I suppose." He paused for a moment. "Except ... when it isn't I suppose." For a moment, Ulfric flushed, pursing his lips. He hadn't meant to speak so rashly, without taking the whole scenario into consideration. Sometimes he still thought Falor was one - but a third seat for the new Queen was not easy to miss.

Oh, but then he grabbed Ulfric's hand, and the King let him, allowed him to spread his weathered fingers out so that they were splayed, palm up to the sky. And the smile returned to his face, and he could feel emotion rising in him once more as he thought of a thousand things to say. But nothing came to fruition - oh, he had never been good with words. There were so many people, and he couldn't open himself up here, to this man.

"I should...be on my way," he sputtered, concerned he'd make a fool of himself far too quickly. "If you..." He began to speak but trailed off, furrowing his brow as he thought of how best to proceed before standing quickly, clasping one of Loras's hands in his own. "If you should find yourself in need of company, my room is open to you." Ulfric stepped back, reluctantly letting Loras's hand go. "I do hope I see you...Loras."





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Cora found that, hard as she tried, she couldn't release her hold on Loria. She wanted to grip the young woman tightly, never let her go, lest she lose her once again. She had believed Christoph's home was all she had ever wanted, but as much as she had loved him, it was Loria's hair she had braided and brushed, Loria who she had chased about, shared gossip with as young girls often did. And it had been Loria who had comforted Corinna when everything seemed to go to hell.
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When she had pulled away, she gave Ris's hands a squeeze - both to express affection and to steady herself. How magical it was to see that same smile grace Loria's features. Nostalgia churned within her, and she couldn't help but look down for a moment, blinking back a wave of emotion.

"I am well" she replied, struggling to find words and then resorting to a word that hardly described her situation. She was awful and wonderful all at once - her interactions with both father and daughter left her with a whirlwind of emotion that she couldn't possibly put into words. "And you? Engaged to marry King Lucas, I hear?" She squeezed Loria's hands once more. "You will have to tell me about all of the arrangements - and ... I do hope to attend your wedding myself." How grand it would be, she imagined. She pictured it, and she frowned for a moment as she began to picture the wedding she had imagined for herself all of those years ago.

Calisto brought her back into reality as he complained of the heat. "Do forgive me." Cora slowly, reluctantly, dropped Ris's hands. "I am certain we will speak again before the celebrations have ended, however." As a final thought, she reached forward and embraced the woman again, leaving a gentle kiss on her cheek as was custom among women of their class. And then she gave a quick curtsy - perhaps mock, perhaps genuine - and made her way back to her place in the stands, amongst the nobles, not royalty.





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Something clenched in his gut as Juliana's laugh rang out, reaching his ears as he returned to the seat beside her, a slightly less impressive chair, one made for a monarch's spouse. It was a sort of nostalgia, a regret, perhaps. How long had it been since she'd laughed like that for him? She had, once upon a time. She had giggled and whispered to him once, but where had that gone?

"Thank you, my love," he replied, kissing her cheek in return. And now his gaze turned to his younger brother, a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. "Your kindness humbles me, dear brother." And he winked quickly, conveying he'd meant only to jest in his sarcasm. But Capheus knew that. "I've not a desire to get back out there any time soon... but will you be entertaining us next with you abilities?"
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Stunning, she'd called him. Oh, how he wished she'd meant that, but he couldn't lie to himself. And yet, he took her hand readily, squeezing it gently before he met her gaze.

"I'll cheer only if you win," he jested, gesturing for a goblet of wine - something to take off the edge. "Can't risk tarnishing the name any further." Of course, he didn't expect his brother would actually joust. He was too busy thinking of the fact that Ellie's scarf remained tied to his wrist, tucked beneath his doublet. But then a horse cantered down the field and stopped before the stands as the rider called out. His voice was accented in a way Cyprian couldn't place, and so he realized quite quickly that these were the islanders Juliana had spoken of earlier, in passing.

He wanted to tell his brother to stop, offer to take on this opponent instead, but Capheus had left, and Cyprian remained beside Juliana. Still holding her hand, he nursed the goblet of wine as his brother donned armor and rode out on to the packed dirt of the field.

Cyprian gave a soft huff of disdain as he watched the islander trot about in circles. "Too cocky for his own good, I imagine," he commented, running his thumb over Juliana's knuckles subconsciously. He had hoped to cheer for his brother, but it did not seem appropriate in this silence, and so he watched with bated breath as the two men hurtled at each other.

It was over almost as quickly as it had begun, and Cyprian's hand tightened around his goblet as Capheus fell. It continued to tighten, and his knuckles whitened as the rider approached the stands once more, eyeing the royal couple - or, rather, Juliana.

His jaw clenched, and Cyprian gave Juliana's hand a squeeze again. This one was just a bit less gentle than he had previously intended. "The pleasure is all my wife's and mine," he called back, forcing a harsh smile onto his face. It was hardly subtle to a man of any intelligence. Cyprian gave a brief incline of the head but nothing more than that. "We welcome you with open arms to Seabel."

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Capheus was tired, sore, exhausted, and entirely done with socializing. His Asten was still busy, his sister was with his nephew, Heavens knew where his mother was off to. All in all, it had been one heck of a day, and he was about ready to pass out and hibernate for a good month or so. He was reminded in sharp detail why these things only happened once every ten years--and of why he had left the military. He had a solid bruise on his side, and he was grumbling to himself as he stripped off his gloves and walked up the billion stairs to his own residence.

As he was going, though, he paused when he heard a familiar singing voice. He recognized his brother’s song, and he couldn’t help but grin a little. He adored his brother, always had. They’d been thick as thieves as children, and now... Now, he did his best to help keep Cyprian happy, and it hurt his chest when he was reminded over and over again that he was a temporary solution. It seemed like Cy would never be truly happy again. Not here, at least. Seabel was a pretty name for what sometimes felt like a gilded cage.

But even if he was a temporary solution, that was better than nothing. He put on his usual grin, letting the frustration and the exasperation melt away as his brother paused in the song,Image obviously trying to remember it. In a deep, playfully exaggerated voice that still managed to hit the right notes, he chimed in, finishing the familiar ballad for his brother as he nudged the door open. He kicked it closed, walking over with a loose stride to slump into the chair beside his brother. He let his head thunk against the back of the chair, and then he offered him a crooked grin. “Don’t worry, you’re still a better jouster than me.” He teased, before reaching over to strum a couple random notes on the lute. They reverberated throughout the room, and then faded. “If that’s what’s got you down.”

He sat forward a little, running his hand through his curls and then offering his brother a smile that soon faded into concern. He reached over once more, squeezing his shoulders. “Talk.” He told him, knowing well of his older brother’s habit of keeping things to himself. And after he’d nudged him into calm, he’d go find Ellie, probably, and she could kiss him better. “Or I’ll have to regale you with tales of how I spent last night.” He teased, raising an eyebrow at him and attempting to look innocent, thought that soon failed as laughter burst from him.

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Cyprian jolted upright as he heard another voice pick up where he'd left off, finishing the tune he had forgotten. He only had to hear a few notes before a grin broke across his face and he realized it was his brother who had entered the room. Rolling his eyes, Cy gave a brief huff and let himself fall back as he plucked out his next song.

A soft chuff of laughter escaped as he turned his head towards Capheus and met his gaze. "It doesn't take much to joust better than you, dear brother," he countered, smirking instinctively. His song faltered as Capheus plucked at the lute, but he used that opportunity to stop playing and place the lute to his side, resting it against the chaise.

"Honestly?" he asked, rolling his shoulders slowly as Capheus gave them a brotherly sort of squeeze. "I've no idea what has ‘got me down’." He paused, stretching before returning to his previous position. "Or, rather, I have no idea what it is specifically that has me down."

And now he turned on to his stomach, resting his chin on the arm of the chaise. Cyprian attempted to match his brother's look of innocence, but it quickly faltered, and he reverted to one that showed some mixture of dejection and agony. The Auclairs had always been a melodramatic bunch.

"Oh, spare me, dear brother," he attempted to exclaim, but the words came out with less passion than he had intended, and so he rolled on to his back and stared up at the vaulted ceiling, brow furrowing. "You would not have seen it...but the way that foreigner looked at Juliana today, my Juli-" He caught himself and frowned. "No...no, I love her, do not think I do not care for the mother of my child...but Ellie is my love." Cyprian let out a groan of frustration. "That is the issue, I suppose. If I could run away with Ellie tomorrow, I would. But I could never just sever those ties to my daughter, my kingdom. It...it pains me."

He sat up now and rubbed his temple and then his forehead as if he would clear his mind and focus his thoughts. "Ah, but you are young - no need to hear your brother gripe of such matters. It is unbecoming of a king." But he paused, noticing the error in his words, for he was no king, as much as he would convince himself otherwise. He had no claim to the throne, to any riches or titles. And if he left Seabel, what would become of his own flesh and blood?

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Capheus briefly considered apologizing for startling him, but decided against it once he saw that grin spread across his brother’s face. He returned it, and ss he flopped down in a nearby chair, he scoffed playfully at his words. “Now, brother, just because I’m terrible at the balancing thing doesn’t mean I’m entirely incompetent.” He teased, giving him a playfully amused look and reaching over to tap his brother’s shoulder. He hummed at his next words, and raised an eyebrow at his brother. “Do go on.”

To be entirely honest, as much as he loved his big brother, there were exactly three things that could get him worried. State of the kingdom, state of his family, and the lovely redhead that had stolen his heart. Capheus had to admit that he approved entirely of Ellie, and he hoped that they had had a good time together, regardless of how brief the time had been. He could not bring himself to regret not being there the night before, though. His Asten’s arms were where he truly belonged. In any case, though, as his brother spoke of “not knowing what specifically had him down,” Capheus mentally set his wager on family, mostly because all of them were there and present and alive right then. And as it turned out, he was right.

He reached over to set a hand on his brother’s head when his expression turned despondent, ruffling those golden locks of his. He shifted a little to cross one knee over the other, methodically and very seriously starting to mess up his hair. “What is with us Auclairs and getting ourselves into romantic messes?” He murmured, though it was affectionate. Cy, stuck in a strange marriage. Cora, raising a child on her own. And he himself, in a relationship that was forbidden all around.

He listened intently to his brother’s next words, sympathy crossing his expression. “Eventually, big brother, you will have to choose.” He murmured at last, his voice gentle. “And you’ll have your whole family supporting whatever decision you make. In the end, you must choose what you makes you happy, and to hell with the rest.” A crooked Imagesmile came to his lips, and he tipped his head back against the seat. “Kingdoms rise and fall.” He murmured. “Life goes on. Besides, the only reason I didn’t see it was because I was busy laying in my own personal dust cloud.” He chuckled, and then rolled his eyes in a gesture that took most of his body with it. He shifted a little, and then stood to steal the seat that was now free as his brother sat up again.

“I’m not that young, sire.” Capheus teased gently, and tugged his brother into a hug. “I’m here for you to talk to.” He spoke softly and earnestly both, his voice gentle as he pressed his lips to the crown of his head. “Always, big brother. And things will work out. I promise.” He hugged him a little tighter, and then ruffled his hair affectionately. “On a slightly brighter topic, I hope, did you and Ellie have a good conversation?” He asked with a little smile.