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Cyprian Auclair

"It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles."

0 · 897 views · located in Tiberia

a character in “Of Glory”, as played by Scarlet Loup

Description

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"It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles."
~Niccolo Machiavelli




The Basics




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|| Full Name||
Cyprian Hektor Auclair

|| Nicknames ||
Some close companions, especially his siblings and Ellie, call him "Cy"

|| Gender ||
Male

|| Age ||
Thirty-one

|| Rank/Title:
Royal Consort of Seabel

|| Sexual Orientation ||
Pansexual

|| Kingdom/Alliance ||
Seabel




What's on the Outside




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|| Hair Color ||
Blond

|| Eye Color ||
Emerald green

|| Height ||
Six feet, one inch

|| Weight ||
One hundred, ninety pounds

|| Scars ||
As a young man who once served in the Falorian guard, Cyprian obviously bears a fair amount of scars. He wears one very noticeable scar through his right eyebrow, but it cuts at an angle that thankfully saved him his eye. Another runs along the width of his left arm and nearly cost him the limb if he hadn't been pulled from the battlefield quickly enough.

|| Description ||
Cyprian is just as a young, newly-made royal ought to be. He stands at a just-above-average six feet, one inch and weighs just enough that he is composed almost primarily of muscle. His hair and eyes are the mark of a true member of House Auclair, and they give him the appearance of a sort of Prince Charming. He bears a strong, well-defined jaw which is complemented by a strong, expressive brow. His hair often comes a bit longer than most, but he crops it short before tournaments or battle - when long hair would be cumbersome and get in the way. Cyprian's chin is often brushed with a light stubble of beard, but he is never seen with it grown out unless he has forgone shaving for the time being which, in his current state, can be quite common if he has nothing to attend to. In terms of dress, he is often clad in light tans and golds which he accents with red. Cyprian wears armor for official occasions that require such attire, but he has more or less hung up his old regalia as it reminds him all too bitterly of another time.




What's on the Inside




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{Indecisive, Temperamental, Chivalrous, Passionate}

A man comes back from war changed for better or for worse. It would be impossible to determine one or the other for Cyprian, but war certainly did change the man nonetheless. He has always been a passionate man. He commits himself to a task or a goal, and he is almost certain to achieve what he intended. It is what made him an outstanding knight, for he always knew a way to achieve his goal. Now, though he has not lost his boy-like passion, Cyprian knows not what he wishes to achieve.

He'll fight to the death for a man or woman he has pledged himself to, but Cyprian finds it difficult to fully trust another human. He even struggles to forge such a bond with his own wife. Often, he shows her a side of him that isn't truly him - the brave, chivalrous knight that wooed her all those years ago. He may still value love and honor, but he believes those days are far behind him. Though he may only be in his early thirties, Cyprian has mellowed with his age, and he has lost his reckless abandon. Instead, he has begun to busy himself with his music and a love for the arts. It's one of the few things he still has that they can not take from him.

A side effect of war, nostalgia often hits Cyprian in waves, almost physically debilitating him and certainly doing so mentally. He's a bit of a wreck in these scenarios, and he tends to hide himself away and wallow in his own self-pity, a trait he recognizes as unhealthy and unfit for a man of his standing. And yet he still does so.

It would be apt to say he is going through a sort of midlife crisis. He believes that he has failed to make a name for himself the way he had always intended to and that he has entirely missed the opportunity to do so. When not in a depressed state, he still is prone to brief spikes of anger if he feels attacked or critiqued. He does very poorly under any form of criticism, constructive or otherwise, and he is quick to turn on another if he believes he is being attacked.


|| Hobbies ||
Cyprian often spars in his free time or goes hunting as a proper man of noble blood ought to. One of his lesser known hobbies, however, is he love for making music. When he is alone, he can often be found plucking at a lyre or lute.

|| Habits ||
He crosses his arms when they aren't in use, or he places a hand on his sword's hilt. He'll also often tap his fingers against a surface to any rhythm he can think of. Sometimes he'll trace a scar or two on his arms.

|| Oddities ||
Cyprian has a tendency to fall into bouts of depression that last for almost weeks at a time. He also is easily provoked into anger which quickly dissolves into just more self-loathing.

|| Likes/Loves ||
  • Tournaments
  • Competition
  • His Family
  • Eleora
  • Wine
|| Dislikes/Hates ||
  • Boasting
  • Traveling
  • Being Alone
  • Rain
  • Waking Early




What's Done Is Done




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Biography
|| Place Of Origin ||
Falor

|| History ||
Cyprian Auclair comes from one of Tiberia's wealthiest lines of nobility, challenged only by the Estermont family. His father, Hektor Auclair, and his mother, Persephone Auclair, were wed in extravagance mere months before his birth which became quite the scandal throughout Falor. Nevertheless, the birth of an Auclair boy to take the family titles and fortune was certainly welcome throughout Falor. Coming from a privileged family such as his own, Cyprian had the entire world at his finger tips. He studied eagerly and avidly, absorbing as much as he could of the world around him. In all of his studies, however, he was most drawn to the ballads of heroes and knights that had roamed the kingdom far before his time.

His wet nurses soon grew tired of reciting these tales to him, and his parents grew weary of listening to the boy rattle them off on the instruments he had begged them for. And so they encouraged the young Cyprian to take up his own arms and train to become a knight. At least that would distract him until he could begin to learn how to handle the family accounts.

Cyprian learned quickly, and he learned well. Soon, the young boy climbed ranks. He showed a sort of passion for the blade that few of the older knights had seen before. He was knighted by the age of seventeen, and his noble blood allowed him to ascend to an even higher position as a commander on the battlefield. He led his first men in a border skirmish against tribes from Ostwall. In his first battle, he acquired the scar on his arm, and his father called him home. Cyprian refused, and he continued his siege, earning the scar above his eye as well as many more.

He proved himself in battle, however, and when he returned victorious, he was greeted as a war hero. Certainl, he enjoyed being home, but his father was quick to place pressure on him to marry, lest he or his brother die and leave the Auclair fortune without an heir. As a young, highly eligible bachelor, he had no trouble finding matches, but he had set his sights on the princess, Juliana Brigham. Though her parents approved of the union, it took ages for him to woo her. When he finally did, the two were married in a ceremony that, to this day, both kingdoms still speak fondly of.

The next few years passed in a whirlwind. A married man now, Cyprian was quickly thrust into such a role and was forced to give up his life of knighthood and mock-chivalry. His daughter was born soon after his wedding, and things almost slowed enough for him to catch his breath. Until Cedric Brigham died. And then suddenly his wife had decided to move their small family out to Falor's Western Palace, forming her own kingdom.

He had hopes of leading her kingdom's army, creating a name for himself the way he had always wanted to, but he was her King, or, rather, her consort. Military matters were left in the hands of Loras Estermont, a family rival. He grew distant from his wife then, realizing that this wasn't the life he had wanted, even though he had worked so hard for it.

Instead of finding solace in her, he turned instead to her lady in waiting, a girl named Eleora de Croismare. She was the woman he had sought, truly. Not that he did not love his wife, but Eleora brought out a new side in him, one he hadn't seen since leaving Falor. He's grown closer to her and more distant from his wife in the previous months, but he has few regrets. He isn't ignorant enough to miss the way she seems to spend more time around Loras these days.

|| Happiest Memory ||
The birth of his daughter & finally winning the hand of Juliana Brigham

|| Saddest Memory ||
Leaving his home for Seabel




|| Face Claim ||
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

So begins...

Cyprian Auclair's Story

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There had been a time, years ago, when this gathering had been a joyous event, something that Ostwall and Falor looked forward to together. It was an exchange of ideas and entertainment, and Cyprian had loved each and every one he had attended - except for, perhaps, his first, for he had only been a babe and had no recollection of it. Or now, at thirty-one. It didn't seem right, standing among men his soldiers - Loras' soldiers - had been fighting until just months ago. But not much felt right these days.

There had also been a time when Cyprian had been a man, a man worthy of titles and honor, a man who led his troops into battle with a gleam in his eyes and the weight of a sword in his hand. He was a man now, he told himself, but he walked before what seemed to be an endless procession of noble families rather than his soldiers.

The royal families of Ostwall and of Falor had arrived this morning, bringing far too many courtiers and servants along to be supported in the Western Palace. It made him uneasy, and he was certain the other members of his household felt it as well. Housing one's enemies always proved to be a sticky situation.

But they were here now, in a ballroom that had been built to house these royal and noble families with ease. It was an architectural feat, something Cyprian pondering sometimes when he wandered in alone. The walls on each side were lined with floor to ceiling windows that could be opened just like doors, and they had been so that a cool breeze blew through the hall. Each side led to another half of the gardens. One end of the hall sported large wooden doors that led into the throne room, while the other side housed a magnificent staircase to the second level. The gilded hall rang with music, each song blending into the other in a manner that allowed the mood of the evening to stay lively and spirited. The first night had, since he could remember, started with a masquerade ball.

Cyprian had removed himself from the dance and stood against a window. The drapes had not been drawn despite it being night, and so he was able to glance outward as he adjusted his mask. How he wished to return to his room...or to find Ellie.

But he couldn't simply seek her out now - surely, his guests would notice. That was the issue with nobility - they made sure to learn each and every piece of gossip. And so, he would wait instead, looking out at the garden and hoping his love would come by for just a moment. That was all he needed.

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Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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The ballroom was gorgeous, Ellie couldn’t deny that if she tried. She could linger by any one of those pillars for ages, tracing the intricate carvings and just resting her hand against the cool marble. The ceilings were absolutely transfixing, painted with clouds and bright colors. She was only so tall, though, and she wouldn’t be touching that anytime soon. Her mistress was dancing and socializing as she was wont to do, and Ellie glanced back to her with a soft little smile, making sure that she was still happy and entertained. She loved her mistress, truly, but...

Well. There was one she loved more, one more beautiful than all these paintings and pillars. She felt horribly girlish in that thought, naive and young. She’d heard story after story about women like her being caught up in affairs and then left behind in the dust, pregnant and destitute. Their children sometimes had power, but as a mother, all they had was stories and hate for the man who had done such to her family and fame.

Ellie desperately hoped that Cyprian was different. He certainly seemed different. He was just as wondrous as the ceilings that arced above them... and sometimes, he felt just as far away. At that moment, though, without wife or child by his side, he seemed to be within reach. She stepped forward, her footsteps lost in the sounds of dancing feet stomping the floor into submission and the laughter of the nobles. Knotting her hands before her, she paused beside Cyprian, gazing out the window with a smile. The stars were out, and it looked amazing outdoors. The moon had risen long ago, and it smiled down on them with a catlike grin. Automatically, her eyes sought out her favorite constellation, one that others had dubbed the Angel but that always resembled a butterfly to her eyes. She longed to go outside, to take a breath of the night air. Perhaps the two of them could slip away at some point...

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” She asked in that gentle accent of hers, looking towards the man she adored with that smile still present. The gardens were certainly different from the raucous sounds of the dance floor, cool and dark where inside the ballroom was lit with fires and candles and warm with the sheer amount of people that were stuffed into every corner. She longed to reach out and touch his shoulder, to draw him into a hug, but she knew just as well as he that they couldn’t risk rumors.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont
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She had honestly been worried about this day. The day that the three Kingdoms would come together and be reunited within the Western Palace. She had made sure that preparations for the ballroom were in order within a week in advance as people scurried to make sure things were done. Juliana was even more worried that her brother was going to be there, as well but maybe he wouldn't recognize her behind her mask but then again, her one of kind blonde locks of her hair might give her away. Juliana was just about ready to enter the ballroom but she was too busy outside as she paced from side to side, her mask covering her face so no one who she was.

With a slight huff, she turned heel as her body now faced the entrance of the ballroom. She walked up the stairs that led into the grand hall as she was absolutely stunned with the way everything looked. She dropped her jaw with amazement as she continued on walking through the hall. Juliana watched as people were dancing around her, chatting and laughing as she eavesdropped on a few conversations, giggling softly to herself. She loved social events such as this as her face behind the mask told the story. Her eyes wavered over everyone present as sh enjoyed their styles of choice for tonight's event. Soon, she had spotted her husband as she knew his stature and body a little too well now. As bad as she wanted to go over there and make her presence known to him, he seemed quite occupied with Lady Eleora so she decided to place herself elsewhere.

Juliana went over to the table where she grabbed herself a goblet of wine, taking a brief sip from it as she let out a sigh. She often wondered to herself why did Cyprian and Eleora get so close to one another, let alone how did they become so close. She eyed them from afar while taking brief sips from her goblet here and there. She was taken away from her thoughts as a male came up to her, as bowed and complimented her home.

She knew that voice from anywhere, let alone his blonde hair as she sat her goblet down and took his hand. "I'd love to dance with you, brother Lucas or shall I say King Lucas." She said with a smile while walking beside him towards the middle of the dance floor and started to dance with him. "You know, you don't have to dance with me to talk. Something's troubling you. I know we haven't been around each other in quite sometime but your facial expressions haven't changed." Juliana mentioned as she waited for Lucas to speak what was on his mind. No matter how much she disliked him, if her brother needed her help, she was down for helping him.


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Mary really didn't want to go to the ball tonight as she hated being around large crowds of people. Mostly because of the stares she'd get and the mutters she'd hear. But good thing about tonight is that they will be in masks and no one would know who she was exactly. But then again, what if someone did recognize her behind her mask. She stood outside of the ballroom, as the thoughts pondered within her mind. She sort of hesitated walking up the stairs before her as she tried about three times and not even making it past the first step.

She didn't want to be embarrassed. She didn't want to embarrass anyone else either, especially Christoph. Mary knew she couldn't stay outside forever so with the strength she had, she walked gracefully up the stairs as her mask shined as soon as it hit the lighting within the building. It seemed as if everyone's eyes had dawned upon her as she was flushed. Mary was asked to dance by a male dressed in black and white as she accepted his proposal and waltzed over to the dance floor with him. She danced elegantly along with the male as when the song ended, he bowed towards her as she curtsied.

"Pardon me." She told the male as she walked over towards a window to catch her breath. All of that dancing, well just that one dance, had made her a little bit tired already. Mary walked along the area where the windows were as she saw a male standing all by himself. Mary looked left then right before stepping outside and standing beside him now, enjoying the breeze that blew between them as the aroma of flowers warmed her inside. Her eyes glanced over towards the male as she knew who it was - Christoph.

"Simply memorizing, isn't it, love?" She inched closer to him now, wrapping her arm around his as she rested her head upon his arm now. Mary smiled up towards him as she loved the vibes that were being sent through her right about as her head continued to rest upon Christoph's arm now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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{Collaboration between myself and xXxCryptic-AngelxXx}

Juliana eyed Lucas as he placed his hand within hers and his hand upon her hip then eased them into the dance. Her face told the whole story as she wondered when he learned to dance. Of course, that wasn't really an important matter to attend to right now as she continued to look at him when he started speaking. She rolled her eyes when Lucas stated that they have never been the best communicators, which was true but she didn't despise her brother, since he was of her blood, after all.

His next question caught her off guard as she was spun around by him then stopped dancing and pushed herself away from him. She gave the look of really as she walked back up to him and whispered within his ear. "Lucas, such matters shouldn't be discussed out here in the open." She muttered while taking a hold of his hand and basically dragging him into an empty room, making sure no one else was present then closed the door behind them and eyed Lucas.

"I didn't leave home because of you, Lucas. I left home because of father's death and didn't feel the need to stay there and watch you rule. I wanted my own Kingdom to rule so that's why I left with Cyprian and my daughter. I always wanted to rule Falor since birth but then you were born and I lost my chance." Juliana would walk closer to her brother, Lucas, now and wrap her hands with his. "I honestly didn't like it when you were born as I knew that you were going to be the heir of Falor. But if it's an alliance you seek then I am all for that, as well." She muttered with a smile, looking up towards her darling brother now as she bit her bottom lip nervously.

Lucas crossed his arms as he listened to his sister explain her departure from home. A weight seemed to rise off his shoulders as she spoke. She didn't hate him. Or at least, it wasn't the reason she left. He suddenly felt selfish, but he had already opened the door, it was time to walk through it. "Juliana.. I'm sorry." He whispered. "I didn't realize that I had taken something you wanted. To be truthful, I always looked up to you and thought you would be an excellent queen until Mother said I was to rule."

Juliana heard his apology and just looked at him as she rose her hand up to his face, caressing it with a smile. She did, at one point and time, adored her brother but when he was deemed the next King, the next one to the throne of Falor, she disliked him. But she'd never tell him that out loud. Her eyes went towards Lucas as she shook her head. "Wouldn't it have been obvious? I was the first born and I wanted that throne more than anything else. And of course you always looked up to me. I couldn't be away from you for two minutes without you starting to whimper or cry like a little puppy." She told him bluntly while looking at him now as his lips parted for him to speak.

He ran his hands through his hair, knocking his mask from his face. It fell to the ground with a soft thump, but he didn't reach for it. Instead he just kicked it to the side so neither of the siblings would step on it. "But you never said anything. At least not to me. Not even a goodbye." He looked back towards the door. "I never even got to see Giselle before you left."

He looked back at her and clutched her hands. "We could've changed the law or.. I don't know something. You just left me. Alone." He sounded weak and he hated it, but he needed her to know that her leaving left him feeling hollow. "Father was dead, Mother's disappeared, and then you and your family vanished. Then you were here and creating your own world. A world without me in it. I thought you hated me, Juliana." He took a deep breath and released her hands, he tucked his pain back inside his heart and smiled the way a king would smile without a worry in the world. "An alliance it is, dear Julianna."

Her eyes looked as the mask hit the ground as she would've reached down and gotten it for him but he kicked it off to the side. "What could I say, Lucas? Father's dead, Mother's gone and so am I? I saw an opportunity to rule so I took it." She said then locked her gaze with him as he mentioned Giselle.

"Well, I didn't think you cared since when she was born, you were at a council meeting. A council meeting! That made it seem like you didn't care for her birth so that's why I never showed her to you. That's why I kept her closer to me." Juliana about had tears in her eyes as she held them back while her eyes gazed upon her brother now. "I could never hate you, Lucas. You are my brother, after all. I wanted to be there for you but I couldn't be your Queen. That would've been gross and how would the world have looked at us then." She dropped her hands back by her side as she smirked at Lucas.

Lucas chuckled. "Well that would be totally unfair to the other kingdoms. They'd be outmatched." He joked. "But seriously that's not what I meant. I would've stepped down if I had known." He sighed, then and said, "As for Giselle, you know I would've been there, but Father would've flayed me if I had missed that meeting with the council. He also, kept it hidden from me until after the meeting had come to a close."

"You'll have to talk matters with my husband if you want an alliance." She said as she turned heel and over to one of the windows, her eyes peered outside of it now. She knew this day would come and she'd thought that she'd be ready but truthfully, she wasn't. She felt like she won this little argument inside as she smiled at the thought then cleared her throat as she continued to look out the window.

He followed his sister to the window, "Speaking of tall, blonde, and king regent, how is Cyprian? He's okay with you wearing the pants isn't he?" He nudged her with his shoulder playfully. "Oh! Did you hear? I'm engaged. To Ris of all people." He shook his head, but he was smilling.

Juliana chuckled at Lucas' question then pushed his arm, which really didn't budge him, a little. "He's okay, I guess. We've unfortunately grown apart." She muttered softly while her head lowered with a sigh as her head perked up when she realized that they've been away from the party for quite some time. "Uhm, maybe we should go back to the ball. I am sure people are looking for us or something." She waved her hand towards him while reaching down and grabbing his mask, handing it to him now. Juliana placed her arm out for Lucas to link with his own arm as she waited until he did so they he could lead them back into the ballroom.

Lucas frowned at the new information about her husband, but didn't say much. It wasn't uncommon. He silently hoped that things would improve for his sister. He was very pleased with how their conversation went. He smiled at his sister and held his arm out to her. "Shall we?" Once linked, he pushed the door opened and walked them back out to the ball. He bowed to her and kissed her hand respectfully. "I shall leave you to converse with your guests, my dear sister. And I shall find Cyprian." He turned on his heel and strode to where he last saw the king regent.

Juliana nodded her head at Lucas as they linked arms and he pushed the door and walked them back out into the ballroom. When he bowed, she curtsied as a soft gasp came from her lips when he kissed her hand. It was unexpected and she nodded her head towards him. "Be safe, little brother." Was she had the time to say before he ventured off to find her husband, Cyprian. She wondered who she could venture out to within this moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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He slowly became lost in his thoughts as he stood there, admiring a bush of newly flowering buds. The garden was a magnificent thing, he had to admit that. He glanced further up the row of windows and spotted a man smaller than himself gazing out on the shrubbery. For a moment, he considered walking to him, speaking to him out of courtesy more so than anything else. But then he recognized Christoph for his silvery hair. He hadn’t changed much in the two years since he’d seen Falor, but perhaps now his entire head seemed a bit more peppered with gray.

Cyprian wasn’t aware of Eleora’s presence until she spoke out, and even then, her voice was so gentle, so soft, that it was almost swallowed by the crowds. He turned quickly towards her, worried he may have said something in his reflections he hadn’t meant to disclose. But it was Ellie, and he smiled at her in a mixture of relief and joy.

”Yes, it is,” he returned, looking forward once more so that they may avoid the suspicions of the other nobles. He knew some might watch the two for a bit longer, but there was nothing odd about simply speaking with one’s servant. It just came off as attentive and friendly. Cyprian looked back at her now though, and they made eye contact, but he struggled to keep from smiling again. He wasn’t some love-sick girl, but damn it, if he didn’t feel like it at times. Their love was something he’d craved for ages - one of mutual affection and embracing and passion. It wasn’t a struggle for power or possession like so many other relationships he had seen in his years. No, this was different.

”I had worried you would not attend,” said Cyprian, looking at her and then around them before looking back out at the garden again. ”We could go for a walk, if you’d like. Slip away just as a song begins.”

He waited for his moment, calculated it perfectly, and then turned to Ellie to invite her after him. Cyprian reached a hand ever so slightly for her, hoping to seize her hand and run off. But his eye caught on movement behind him as Lucas approached.

”Dearest brother-in-law,” he greeted, stepping slowly back from Ellie as he turned to face Lucas, forcing an air of civility into his voice. ”My, you’ve grown up. Your father would be proud to see you now, I’m almost certain of it.” He took note of the three inch difference between the two of them and smiled ever so slightly. He extended a hand to take Lucas’s in. ”Have you spoken to your sister yet? I am certain she would love to speak with you.”

He frowned now, noticing an air of business about this encounter. Lucas seemed to have come with more of an intention than simply catching up with his brother-in-law. ”Can I...help you with something, Lucas?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Ellie wondered, for a brief moment, if he had even been able to hear her. She wasn’t quite sure what she’d do if he hadn’t, and she bit her bottom lip, her already knotted hands tightening on each other. The crescents in her palms from the last time she had been this nervous, too nervous, were only just beginning to heal. She was struck with the strange and silly want for Cy’s calloused, gentle fingers to brush over those marks. But that can’t happen if he hasn’t heard you, Ellie, She admonished herself.

She was drawn straight out of her thoughts by a familiar, voice, and she couldn’t help the smile that came to her lips immediately. He had heard her, and her whole heart felt like it had taken flight when she saw the look on his face. That brief moment of eye contact, that split second to convey adoration and hope and a gentle smile was not nearly enough. Ellie glanced down at the floor, as was her place as a servant. She had made sure to stay a little behind him. Their dance was a careful one, always, stolen touches and glances, but Ellie... Well, she could be told all the rumors in the world about women being swept away by kings and left behind, and if her Cy was looking at her that way, she wouldn’t care a whit.

Sometimes, she thought she was a little too human.

“Yes, it is.” He spoke, and her gaze flickered up again. They made eye contact in a more permanent manner this time, and she bit the inside of her lip to keep from smiling. She could see him fighting to keep the corners of his mouth in check as well, and she wanted little more in that moment than to reach forward and brush her thumb over his jaw. And yet, even that would be too much. “I had worried you would not attend,” He said, and she let her hands loosen from their too-tight hold at last. “We could go for a walk, if you’d like. Slip away just as a song begins.”
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“How could I not come?” She asked softly, making sure to pitch her voice this time so that he would be able to hear it a little better, though she was still cautious of the many other people that lined the ballroom. It was a comforting publicity, though. Everyone was so busy talking to each other about private things and mingling that they wouldn’t notice anyone else. “I haven’t gotten a hug from you in days.” She teased gently, gazing out at the garden. She was relatively sure that her heart had taken up residence in her throat by the time he finished his sentence, and she was terribly grateful that there was no blush upon her cheeks. That, at least, she had more control over than her smile. “I’d love that.” She admitted. To steal even half an hour away, she would be grateful. If she had learned anything from this, it had been patience with time.

The music went on in the background, and she tapped her foot gently to the rhythm of one of the more familiar tunes. “I’d steal you away for a dance, if I could.” She murmured, affection clear in her voice. The song ended, and hope rose up in her chest. She let her fingers extend the barest bit, searching out his touch--

And then the moment ended and the next song began and there was her mistress’ brother. She let her hands rest at her side, as if nothing had happened, her eyes widening a little at the sight of the king of Falor. She curtseyed in greeting, but stayed silent, soon folding her hands and taking a step back, leaving the two men to their discussion. They’d have their moment, she reassured herself silently, and she tucked a loose curl back behind her ear absentmindedly. She watched them a little, listening to her beloved’s voice, waiting to see how Lucas would respond. She was terribly excellent at blending in with the rest of the mass of people, appearing clearly as nothing more than a serving girl.

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cedany Ulfricdottir Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Adelaide Ulfricdottir
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Image Lucas smiled at his brother-in-law, completely oblivious to the closeness of the man and his sister's lady in waiting. He took his brother's hand and gripped it firmly as he shook. He clenched his jaw a bit at the mention of his father, but it was not easily seen. "Good Evening to you, brother," He greeted. "I have, in fact, talked with Juliana already and I am quite pleased with the outcome. We have poor communication skills, I'm afraid, but it seems we were able to patch things up."

He turned back towards where he had left his sister for a quick glance, but the crowd was blocking his view so he turned back. "As for what your help, I have a proposition for you." His eyes darted to Elora and back. "Privately if you would not mind." He smiled at the young woman beside the man and bowed respectfully to her. She was not a noblewoman, but if his mother had taught him anything it's that women should always be treated with respect. "I shall return him to you shortly."

He looked back to his brother gestured to the room he and his sister and recently vacated. "Shall we?"

He barely waited a moment before he began to walk towards the room. Once inside he shut the door behind them and spoke with authority he saved for addressing the kingdom and the court. "I recently had an idea that I feel would benefit both of our kingdoms. I have run it by my sister, but she has requested I speak with you on the matter. My request is this: An alliance between our kingdoms. We've seen so much war I feel it is time for some peace. What do you think, dear brother-in-law?"






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ImageCed laughed at the love and affection that her family gave in return for hers. Aren and Addie were both laughing at their antics. She was quite pleased with herself for so quickly and easily bringing her family closer together in a time of obvious separation. Because of the masks.

They danced together happily and was soon joined by Ronan. He stumbled into their little group like an elephant drunk on champagne. Cedany laughed, the sound of their voices filled the air and warmed her heart. She smiled innocently at her eldest brother and batted her eyelashes. She knew his real reason for joining them probably had to do with the proverbial bomb she had just dropped on her brother, but he needn't worry. She would tell no one. This was information she planned on taking to her grave. She held tight to her siblings' hands and yelled, "Now Ronan, dear brother, are you sure you can keep up? We all know you have two left feet!" She was obviously joking, but what else were siblings for than making jokes about one another's skills?

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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”Well, I am certainly glad to hear that,” he replied, taking note of the fact that Lucas and Juliana had already spoken. He was surprised, to be honest. Cyprian hadn’t imagined his wife speaking to her brother without, more or less, being forced to. He had heard a great deal from her, in the years they had been married, of her hatred for her younger sibling. He supposed he would ask her about it later.

Cyprian let his brother in law’s hand drop after an appropriate amount of shaking. Goodness, how he’d grown. He had seemed like a child when he and Juliana left, but Cyprian could begin to see the way his facial features had begun to lose their baby-like appearance, the way he gripped his hand not as a child but as an equal.

"A proposition?" he echoed, cocking an eyebrow for a moment, revealing his piqued interest. Slowly, he let his gaze back to Eleora, and he frowned for just a moment. "Yes, I suppose." He spoke as he looked at Eleora, his eyes flashing with a sort of longing. But he refocused himself and looked at Lucas just as the younger man bowed to his mistress. Oh, if only he knew. Perhaps Cyprian felt a prick of guilt, watching his brother in law treat the woman who had cuckolded his sister with such civility.

Cyprian followed after Lucas into the adjoining room. He waited, and he listened, and when Lucas asked for his opinion, Cyprian pressed his lips together and cast his eyes away.

"She sent you to me to approve your little...peace treaty?" he asked, his voice laced with a sharp sort of incredulity. Cyprian let out a sort of laugh and paced for a moment. His back was to Lucas now, and though it may have come off as disrespectful, he needed a moment to himself. His arms crossed over his chest without him thinking about doing so. Finally, he turned, forcing his arms at his sides as he stepped back to Lucas.

"Pardon me," he started, inclining his head slightly in a polite gesture. "I just...I was caught off guard. You understand, of course?" He walked to a table in the center of the room and balanced against the edge of it, crossing his arms once more. "Two years. Juliana and I - or, well, Juliana - has ruled this kingdom, and now she asks for my opinion?" He was being irrational, he knew that, but he needed this. Two years of bottled up emotion had fermented, and now it seemed to show itself in bursts of emotion that he couldn't quite hold back. It was his temper, his damned temper getting the best of him. But he needed this. He needed this outlet, someone to hear his grievances.

"Peace is certainly in order, brother," he agreed, nodding slowly before letting his lips purse again. "Too many a good man has died in the name of our nations - good men on both sides, mind you." He frowned now, looking at his feet. "Men I called brothers, slain in my wife's name."

He hated this, despised it. "It has brought nothing but strife, Lucas. You must see that, no?" He made an unapologetic eye contact with his brother-in-law now, his eyes narrowing ever so slightly like a cat's might as it plans the best route of attack. For Cyprian, however, it disclosed the fact that he was thinking quickly, his mind working as it had years ago on the field. The rush that overcame him was a beautiful, all-encompassing one, and he swore he could have thrown himself at the young king, taken him by the arms and exclaimed his plan. But that wouldn't do. Subtly was key - he knew that.

"Why bother with treaties when a reunification would be far more beneficial?" Cyprian stood now, and he stepped once, twice, towards Lucas. "Two years. Our people have fought and suffered and died for two years, Lucas. A treaty won't silence them as easily as my wife would believe." He paused, processing his next words for a moment. "Few know a man's heart as well as a soldier does, I can tell you that."

He reached out now, placed a hand on Lucas's shoulder in a fraternal manner. "Our people are in need of a long peace, dear brother. Don't deny them that any longer than you must." He remained even-toned through the exchange, but he couldn't ignore the pounding of his heart in his chest, the rush he got as he spoke. Perhaps they would write songs of Cyprian Auclair as the man who reunited Falor, who returned peace to the East.

Yes, that sounded quite nice.

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Image Lucas listened to his brother-in-law speak. The man was venting, he could tell, which worried Lucas. He knew his sister said that they had grown apart, but the man before him was angry and was very close to treason. He would never tell his sister if it came to that though. She had enough to worry about.

When Cyprian had calmed for the most part, Lucas forgave him. "Juliana said you had grown apart. So she rules on her own most of the time it seems." He nodded, allowing Cyprian to continue. His heart ached as his words. His people were unhappy. Juliana's departure and creation of the new kingdom had affected many lives, he knew, and there had been great losses on both sides. What he hadn't predicted is that those who left their home to build this new one, were not happy. His heart sank when Cyprian spoke his fear, a treaty would not bring the two kingdoms peace.

He began to pace and that's when Cyprian stepped towards him, breaking his from his thoughts. "Why bother with treaties when a reunification would be far more beneficial?" he questioned. It was a good theory and Lucas considered it for half a second before he realized what it meant. Juliana would lose her crown. "I hear you brother and though I agree, Juliana would never accept it. Unless..." He thought a moment, running his hands through his hair. Then he realized he had forgotten his mask here in this room and went to retrieve it. "Unless I give Juliana the crown. Then there would be one nation under a fine ruler, Juliana could come home, and our nations would be at peace." He smiled at his brother in law, but the man didn't look pleased.

"You don't agree?"

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair Character Portrait:
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Juliana was standing nearby as her eyes watched her brother and husband converse with one another. She eyed Lady Ellie but didn't know if she had saw her or not, so she just turned away for now and knew that they were going to make the best decision for their respective Kingdoms. Yes, she ruled Seabel by herself, it seemed at times but she wanted Cyprian to have at least a little input on the matter. While she raised a goblet to her lips, she sipped the liquid inside then let out a sigh. She continued to watch her brother and husband closely but was quickly pulled from her thoughts by her precious jewel, Giselle.

She smiled warmly at Giselle's question as she knelt in front of her now. "How adorable you look, Giselle." She said first as she admired her daughter's attire then rose up to stand upright now as she smiled again. "That's my brother, Lucas. Your uncle." She muttered towards her daughter while she noticed that Lucas and Cyprian had disappeared. With a raised brow of curiosity, she looked down at Giselle once again. "No need to be sorry. You have a vast array of wonders up there." She pointed to her head with a smile then chuckled.

"Come, darling." She extended her hand out for Giselle to grab as once she did, she'd lead her over towards to where Lady Ellie was placed. Juliana would smile once she approaches Lady Ellie while looking at her. "So, are you enjoying the ball so far, Lady Ellie?" She'd ask with a smile while looking down at Giselle, just to make sure she was still there and have not wondered off. "Oh, where is Cyprian and Lucas? I want to show Lucas his beautiful niece." She'd wave her hand over towards Giselle before her eyes went back to stare with Lady Ellie's, awaiting immediate answers.

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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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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.

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair Character Portrait:
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Giselle looked at her mother and smiled. "Thank you!" Giselle then proceeded to scrunch her face up in confusion. "My.. uncle? I never knew I had another uncle." That explains the similar looks. Was she going to meet him? She watched as her mother stood, taking her hand as she approached the lady in waiting. Giselle lit up at the mention of meeting her uncle. As they followed Ellie to the room they were in, which she noticed was the same from before, Giselle looked around and saw many people dancing, mingling with their comrades. A quieter atmosphere was certainly in her favor. As Ellie left, she smiled back at her, and waited for the doors to open. She was also happy to see her father, so it was killing two birds with one stone, basically. Could this be some sort of family reunion? Possibly. One would think of it many different ways in that sense.

Giselle suddenly piped up, "Do you think he'll like me?.." She didn't want her uncle to dislike her. She was always willing to meet new people and get along with them. After all, how could she know that he didn't despise her? He never seemed to bother to meet her when she was an infant, or at least see her as a child so she would remember the encounter. She silently hoped it was a contradictory matter.

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair Character Portrait:
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He pulled away his hand now as Lucas began to speak, giving the boy his own time to propose an idea. Perched once more on the table, Cyprian kept his arms crossed. He was right, of course. Juliana wouldn't have accepted such a proposition after all they had been through; they'd done too much to turn back now and accept defeat. But maybe she would see his point, and she would agree that it had been too long, damn it. Something had to change, and he had to see to it that it did.

But he had never thought of going about it the way Lucas suggested. His arms crossed more tightly, if that were possibly, and he set his mouth in a frown. Cyprian looked up as Lucas finished though, his brow furrowed by now to complete his expression.

"Well, no," he said, letting his arms fall to push himself off of the table. "Not particularly." He strode towards Lucas once more, meeting him by where his mask had fallen. "I love your sister dearly, Lucas. You, of all people, ought to know that." Cyprian paused, forcing his statement to sink in. "The crown has changed her though. She would not tell you that, of course, but I can assure you it has." Had it? Well, of course it had. The crown changed anyone. Had it changed her for the worse? Likely, but Lucas did not need to know of such doubt. Cyprian knew how to speak to his audience, and he did so in an alarmingly skillful manner.

But maybe that was what he wanted. If Juliana had power, he too would have to wield something. She could never do it alone, and who would be better for advising her than her own husband? For a moment, a smile nearly crept on his face, but Cyprian destroyed it all too quickly. "But if it came down to that...well, I would do anything for the people." Perhaps he meant to add more to that statement, but Lucas would never know. Four sharps raps came from the door, and Cyprian looked at it quickly before looking back to his brother-in-law.

"We shall speak of this another time," he requested, stepping away now to answer the door. Though he wore his concerned expression when he answered the door, he quickly replaced it with one of excitement as he crouched down and seized Giselle in his arms. For a moment, he held her off of the ground, as he often did when he greeted her, and then he placed her back down. As he walked past her on his way to Juliana, he gave Giselle's hair a gentle ruffle, attempting to avoid ruining her hair.

"Good evening, my love," he said simply, still wearing the same smile plastered to his face as he leaned forward and kissed her cheek. For just a moment, he let himself make eye contact with Ellie, and then he turned to his wife. "Lucas and I were just finishing up. I am glad to hear you both are on speaking terms again."

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Image Lucas frowned as he listened to his brother-in-law. Had Juliana changed so much that her husband was willing to take her crown? Lucas felt conflicted. He loved his sister and didn't want to hurt her, but if the crown had become toxic to who she was, there was no way that he could allow her to continue. It wouldn't be good for her, her family, or her kingdom. But Lucas couldn't be sure that he could take Cyprian's word for it. The queen herself told him that they had grown apart. He shook his head, sharply. He wasn't about to believe that his brother-in-law was conspiring against his wife.

There were a few knocks on the door, interrupting their conversation. Lucas nodded at his brother's request. "Another time, then."

The door opened and Juliana and a small angel with soft brown curls entered the room. Cyprian's arms went around the girl and a tight hug and he ruffled her hair, careful not to mess it up. Lucas grinned. He didn't need to be told who the girl was. She looked very much like his sister when she was young. He walked over to the young girl and crouched in front of her. He bowed his head slightly and said, "Good Evening, Princess. Are you having a fun time?" He pulled a flower from his coat pocket, a present he had intended for his fiancè and held it before her. "I'm your Uncle Lucas. It's a pleasure to finally meet you.

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair Character Portrait:
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Juliana eyed Ellie as she gave her a response to her question if she was enjoying herself. Of course, she said that she was because who would tell their Queen that they wasn't enjoying themselves within her own home. She smiled when Lady Ellie said that everything was beautiful as she nodded her head in agreement. "Why, yes. I am having some fun." She muttered towards Ellie as she shrugged her shoulders. "Well, I've only been to one.. three.. ten, at most." Juliana waved her hand in the air as if attending ten balls wasn't exactly a big deal.

When Lady Ellie started the small trek towards where her husband and brother was, she grabbed Giselle's hand and waltzed along her side. They approached the door, much like when her and her brother were speaking earlier, as Lady Ellie knocked four times. Juliana looked at Ellie and muttered a soft thank you. She rubbed her hand against Giselle's as she knelt down beside her. "I am sure he will adore you." Juliana muttered towards her daughter just as the door opened to reveal her love, Cyprian behind it along with her brother, Lucas.

Juliana stood back up now and saw Cyprian playing with Giselle as her gaze went towards her brother. She then looked at Cyprian as he went to kiss her cheek, which she allowed him to do. Juliana cleared her throat with the nod of her head. "Yes. You can say that we are back on speaking terms." She said with a smile as her eyes went back to Cyprian. "It's nice to see my husband for the first time tonight. Why did you get here so fast?" Juliana inquired with a curious expression as she looked at Lucas and Giselle and saw the flower that he had presented towards her.

She let a slight awe slip through her parted lips as she looked at Cyprian. Juliana wasn't really worried about why her husband came to the ballroom so early but she was indeed wondering about his talk with Lucas. She gave her husband one of those 'I really need to talk to later' looks and even looked towards her brother, giving him the same look.

"Well, I think it's past someone's bedtime, yeah?" She looked at Giselle then waved for Lady Ellie to come forth. "Mind putting her to bed for me?" She asked with a delicate smile while giving her daughter a tight hug. "You sleep well, my sweet." She told her daughter before standing back upright and standing in between Lucas and Cyprian, now, watching everyone as they were having a great time. Not to say that she wasn't but she just wished that she had at least gotten to dance with Cyprian - At least once. She let the thought wander off from her mind as she turned towards Cyprian with a slight smirk. "Care to dance?"

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Loras Estermont
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Ellie remained behind the rest of the royals as Cy and Lucas stepped out, keeping her head down. Juliana’s voice scraped against her nerves, putting her on edge. Little did she know of the world changing thoughts that she had caused to come into the Captain of the Guard’s mind. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the tall blonde who was holding tight to the king of Ostwall’s arm at the moment, and she worried for a moment about him before Cyprian caught her eye for a bare moment. The tiniest of smiles came to her lips, silently wishing him well. It was a great relief to her that he didn’t look absolutely haggard after that conversation. He didn’t look worn out, he looked... almost vibrant. She wished to take his hands, to ask him all about what had happened, but knew she shouldn’t, knew she couldn’t. One of those days. One of those days, she would be free to take his hands whenever she wanted... She hoped.

Her heart still squeezed at the words my love directed towards Juliana, though. She had no doubt in her Cy, but... It still hurt, sometimes, often, the knowledge that she was the other woman. She’d never envisioned this for herself, not in all her life, but... Cy was worth it, she knew. That much was a fact of her life. She’d walk over hot coals for him, and she could say that about few others, if any.

One of those may have been the tiny girl, Giselle. Cy’s daughter. There was something horribly, completely endearing about her, and Ellie had fond memories of telling her stories and singing her to sleep. Her gaze flicked momentarily to her as the child went to greet her uncle for... possibly the first time in her whole life. She couldn’t help but smile, finding the sight utterly endearing. She’d braid the flower into her hair later, she resolved, maybe after she’d twirled her around the dance floor a couple of times while waiting for Cy. She soon looked down, respectfully, avoiding looking King Lucas straight in the eyes.

Then, the queen’s words reached her ears, and where Ellie’s heart had squeezed before, it stopped now. Take Giselle to bed...? With the flick of her wrist and a sickeningly sweet look in those green eyes, her mistress had dismissed all of them save for Cy. How dare she? She swallowed hard, rather than protesting. It wasn’t her place, she couldn’t raise suspicion... She let her gaze flick to Cy for a moment. She’d meet up with him later. They always found time. It just... was another roadblock. That was all it was. A silent assurance was in her eyes, a promise that it was alright.

“Yes, mistress.” She whispered, at last, and curtseyed in response before reaching out, finding Giselle’s hand and offering her a smile and then a wink. Maybe they didn’t have to go to bed just yet. “Come along, highness.” She spoke to her. With a slight glance back, she led Giselle off--and more towards the banquet tables. “I think it’s a little early for bedtime, don’t you?” She teased gently, squeezing her little hand with gentle fingers.

Then, everything went to hell.

There was screaming and shouting and people were punching and swearing--Ellie’s eyes widened and she wrapped her arms around Giselle suddenly, gathering her close and protecting her with her arms. She crouched down a little, pressing one hand to her ear and defending her from having to hear the words that were being spat. It was the rulers of Ostwall, she realized, now spattered with blood and staining the dance floor. Gold turned to red, and Ellie held her breath, focused on keeping the little princess out of the range of flying fists.

Then, she heard a heartbreaking scream, and the queen of Ostwall flew from the room. Ellie was lucky her heart was strong, for it had gone through so much in even the past ten minutes, which was to say nothing of every other part of her life. It took but another moment for Ellie to look back down at Giselle, checking over her to make sure she was alright. “Let’s grab a pastry for you and go help her.” She said gently, finding her hand again. Gently, she reached out, finding the flower that Lucas had given the little princess and tucking it behind Giselle’s ear instead. “We’ll dance as soon as we can, I promise.” She added with a little smile. Then, she found a fluffy treat for her, hesitated, and found another, just in case Genevieve needed something sweet. She led her from the dance floor, out the door that Genevieve had fled from. “Your majesty?” She called out, keeping Giselle near, just in case. “I’m Ellie, and this is Giselle... Are you alright? Were you hurt?” Worry was clear in her voice. No one should have to witness that, much less experience that, and she hoped that they could be some sort of comfort to the young queen.

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Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Giselle Auclair Character Portrait:
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It brought a smile to his face to see Giselle reunite with her uncle. He hadn't thought she wouldn't remember the young man, but it had been two years. It only made sense when he thought about it. Would she see him again soon? If their plan worked, she would. Hell, perhaps they'd grow sick of each other. Cyprian could only hope. His attention turned back to Juliana as she responded to him.

"I am glad to hear," he added, nodding gently. His brow furrowed ever so slightly as she questioned his timing at the ball. "I've been here since it started. You know I don't enjoy being late to such events - especially those in my own home." Cyprian looked away for a moment, looking back at his daughter for a moment before turning to Juliana again. "It is good to see you as well."

He knew not what to say in regards to Giselle's bedtime, for while he'd tucked the girl in on multiple occasions, he was never truly the type to send her to bed. He left that to Ellie or Juliana. Not that he wanted to, but he always grew anxious when it came to parenting. Perhaps his own parents had set expectations far too high for him. But he almost smiled to himself as he noted he would never be as miserable a parent as Estermont.

"Good night, sweetheart," he said, crouching to place a kiss on her brow. As he stood, he made eye contact with Ellie and nodded, pulling his brow into an expression of genuine upset - it made him look regretful - regretful he hadn't asked her to dance, to run off into the gardens. Perhaps she'd find him later. "My lady." In those words, as he nodded his head, he hoped to convey his emotions, praying she'd tell somehow that he still wished to see her - no, he needed to see her. Oh, if he could just hold her in his arms for a moment.

But he was ripped from his thoughts as Juliana spoke, and he turned to face her. "Of course, love."

Cyprian made an effort to match her smirk, but it turned into more of a sad smile as he held an arm out for her to take. He guided his wife on to the ballroom floor, and then he let her spin out slowly before he drew her back into his arms. They moved elegantly, perhaps better than most - if not, all - of the couples in the room. He'd been rained to be a knight, and she to be a princess. Together, they worked deftly through the dance, matching each other even as Cyprian looked around himself, too anxious to stick to one place for long.

The song ended, and he pulled her in close, perhaps intending to kiss her reassuringly. But then the screaming began, and he realized the music had ended due to the violence beginning to unfurl in the middle of the crowd. He could see nothing, but he could hear everything - bone crunching, women crying out, and the voices of two men from Ostwall. It was a peculiar accent - thick and harsh sounding to the lilting Eastern accent that he'd grown up with. What a shame - they always seemed to struggle with such events.

"I suppose...that's the end of it?" he asked, his arms slowly dropping from Juliana as he watched the fight dissolve and the guests depart from the hall. "They've gone and ruined it." His gaze followed Ulfric for a while as his lips pressed into a fine line. "What a shame."

"Shall I escort you to your room, Julia?" He stepped to her again, taking her hands in his. It seemed real for a moment. He could recall their wedding day - an opulent affair, funded by two obnoxiously wealthy families. They had danced about in eachother's arms, and he swore he'd never let go of her. But now he wanted nothing more than to run to Ellie and hold her tightly. But he couldn't let his wife know that. "Might as well rest up for tomorrow, no?"

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Loras Estermont Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair
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Juliana nodded her head towards Lady Ellie as she went off with Giselle, her daughter, her princess and put her to bed, just like she had asked. She watched the two of them momentarily before her gaze turned back towards her husband. Once she saw his hand had reached out towards, she grabbed it and attempted a smile. The spark wasn't indeed there anymore and she could definitely tell that between them now. Juliana once questioned this to herself but place the thought within the back of her mind since she was still Queen and he was still King, her King.

As he guided them to the dance floor, she genuinely smile then he spun her around, which she gasp to because it was so unexpected. They danced seemingly all around the ballroom as she stared into his gaze, giggling slightly and trying to make this a happy moment but it wasn't. She let out a quiet sigh as she just continued to dance with him with the perfect amount of elegance that one has never seen on the dance floor. Once the song had ended, she saw that he was going to kiss her and it was to be the icing on the cake. Maybe he did still love after all.

Juliana smiled as she closed her eyes and waited for the kiss but nothing happened as screams rang out in the ballroom. "Oh, my." She muttered softly while her eyes peered up towards Cyprian then back towards everyone else's direction. Due to her size, she couldn't see what was happening but definitely heard punches being thrown and women crying. Her ears twitched when she heard Ronan's voice along with Ulfric's as she hiked up her skirt and maneuvered herself through the sea of people before her but when she got there, the display was over. Her eyes looked for Genevieve but it seems as if she had run off, or something.

Her eyes then diverted towards the blood as she upset that they actually had gotten blood on her floor. Her beautiful floor. She walked away with the shake of her head back over towards Cyprian. "I suppose so. Next time, let's not invite Ostwall." She demanded with the firm nod her head as she heard her husband's next question and widened her eyes. He wanted to escort her to bed? Like together? Juliana laughed to herself at the thought then looked at Cyprian.

"I'd love it if you escorted me to bed, my love." She said with a smile while leaning up to give him a peck on the kiss. And yeah, the spark between them had indeed fizzled out. It was a shame because she actually loved him, too. "Yeah. This Kingdom isn't going to rule itself." She made a slight tease comment towards him as she grabbed his hand and started a small trek but she caught sight of Loras and quickly turned around and bumped into Cyprian. She let out a nervous chuckle before looking up at him. "Why don't we go the other way?" She didn't even give a chance to respond as she tugged him along, clenching his hand tighter and tighter, by the second due to her nerves right now.

She didn't want to see Loras just yet though somewhere inside of her heart, it still yearned for him. She did do a quick look back towards his direction though it seemed as if he had disappeared off to somewhere else. Juliana exhaled a sigh as her and Cyprian had made it to her bed chambers, by now. Before entering, she turned towards Cyprian and rested her delicate hands upon his shoulders. "Why don't you come to bed with me tonight, my love?" She raised one of her hands up and caressed his cheek before trailing it down his arm and grabbing his hand as she opened the door, stepping one foot in.

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Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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He couldn't help but give a soft laugh at her suggestion. While many of the nobles from Seabel and Falor alike would be quick to blame Ostwall for the disruption, he knew that they couldn't simply uninvite Ulfric and his family. The whole event had once been in place to unite Ostwall and Falor, but now that Seabel was in the mix, perhaps that would happen. Cyprian wouldn't lie to himself - he could never feel comfortable around them. When he'd served border duty as a young man, he'd seen many a young man die at the hands of Ulfric's countrymen. He couldn't shake that.

Cyprian noticed the way her eyes widened eagerly at his suggestion to go upstairs, and he frowned for just a moment before smiling back at her. They might have lost their passion for each other, but he still didn't want to upset her.

"Good," he said softly, accepting her kiss with a quick kiss on the cheek of his own. They started off, but then she crashed into him, nervously urging him the other way. "If you-" He started to speak but cut himself off as she gripped his hand and pulled him after her. Cyprian followed after, frowning more and more as she tightened on his hand. What was there to worry about? If she were worried about had just unfurled, she would have been anxious during the event. All he saw behind them was a crowd of people but nothing else of import.

By the time he'd stopped wondering about it, they were at her room. She placed her hands on his shoulders, and he felt his hands rest on her waist ever so gently. "I..." He started to speak, looking about nervously now. He was to meet Ellie, but how would he go about that now without garnering Juliana's suspicions? Besides he had to keep Juliana on his side if his plans were going to take off. Ellie would have to understand. They would be able to speak of it tomorrow after he'd ridden.

"I suppose I could," he said softly, following her in before letting the door close behind them.

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Character Portrait: Ronan Ulfricson Character Portrait: Juliana Auclair Character Portrait: Eleora de Croismare Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Genevieve Hansdottir Character Portrait: Cyprian Auclair
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There was an obvious downside to holding a joust in the middle of the day. The heat was nearly unbearable in Seabel by the time the riders had begun to mount. Cyprian shifted on his horse and wiped at his forehead, but the glove did little to remove the moisture that had built up. He had been up for hours, bathing, eating, and preparing himself for the joust. It had been a while since he'd ridden, but he had insisted upon it. Next time the celebration came around, he'd be forty-one. Gods willing, he would still ride, but he didn't want to count on it. Who knew where they would be in ten years.
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"Are the mountains cold this time of year, boy?" he inquired, turning his mare so that he could face his opponents.

Ronan looked up from his hand slowly, frowning at the king. His hand still ached like hell, and so he'd kept Cedany's improvised binding on it, hoping that the thing would get him through this joust.

"I believe the mountains are cold any time of year to a man from these parts," he countered, gesturing about with his broken hand. Cyprian chuffed softly in laughter. He had begun to circle slowly on his horse, readying her for their ride. Ronan's stallion, meanwhile, had taken to stomping in the dirt, tossing his head eagerly as though he knew what his rider had in mind for them.

"Yes, I suppose." Cy held a finger out, as though requesting Ronan to put his thoughts on hold as he called over a flagon-carrying squire. In a quick movement, he tipped his head back and downed a few mouthfuls of the sweet wine within. After, he held it out to Ronan who took his own drink, gulping more as though it were some sort of competition.
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The herald beckoned them soon after their silent exchange, and Cyprian received his helmet from another squire. "Best of luck to you," Cyprian called as he kicked his horse and took off towards the stands. Ronan pursed his lips, off-put by his opponent's swift departure. He shouldn't have taken it personally, he knew that, but he couldn't help it. And so he received his own helmet from some chieftain's son his father had taken with them. And then he hurried off after Cyprian, meeting the man in the center.

The two knights nodded to their kings and queens respectfully. Ronan found Genevieve quickly, and he swallowed anxiously. They would have to speak after he rode. He needed to tell her everything, justify himself for the night before. Cyprian sought out Juliana's gaze for a moment, and once he'd found it, he made a quick, mock bow in her direction. He prayed she took it playfully, but it came bitter-sweetly to him. As he turned to his end of the range, he looked for Ellie. He hoped she was watching, for although he couldn't tell her, he knew he was riding for her. And he hoped she knew that too.

The two men had placed themselves at either side of the range, aimed to race at each other. They waited, and a soft hush had fallen over the crowds. Christoph and Corinna had ceased their argument to watch - Cora because she worried for her brother, and Christoph because he had placed a large bet on Cyprian Auclair.

When the horn sounded, the two stormed at each other, a flurry of limbs and metal hurtling down the range. Ronan's lance chanced to move just a bit to the right, and it caught with Cyprian's shield, nearly knocking the lighter man off of his saddle. The king exhaled sharply as he rounded the corner, regaining his composure while, at the other end, Ronan struggled to keep his horse under control while he dealt with the unwieldy lance.

And then they were at it again, but Cyprian was ready for Ronan now, and he predicted that Ronan would go for the same maneuver - which he did. His lance was raised ever so slightly, and it was just enough that the lance bypassed Ronan's shield and hit him in the shoulder. The wood protested under the pressure, but it did not splinter, and though Ronan gasped out loud, it did not pierce his armor. Instead, it pushed him sharply enough that he fell from his saddle and smacked the dirt, sending up a soft puff of dust as he landed on his back.

The prince remained where he was for a moment, far too embarrassed to stand. Cy rounded once more, taking a victory lap of sorts past the spectators before he returned to his tent where he'd remove his armor and recover for the next round he'd have to ride. By that time, Cyprian's men had moved across the field to assess Ronan's injuries, but he stood quickly and pushed past, walking off of the field and away from the festivities.
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From where he sat in the stands, Ulfric couldn't help but frown to himself. He hadn't wanted to be here either - his joints still ached from the night before, and his head throbbed. Sleep had not come to him, no matter how hard he had tried, and so he drank casually at a goblet of some sort of southern ale that had been presented to him. He hated the taste - it was too sweet and fruity for a man who had not even seen such things until he had taken the throne.

This was not his world, and oh, how he hated to be a part of it. If he had been a younger, more capable man, he would have ridden, but fate had not been kind to him, and so he was confined to a seat beside a woman who did not love him and children who would not acknowledge him while his son - his eldest, he should have been his dearest - stalked away, creating quite a stir through the spectators.

He yearned for someone to speak with, and his mind went to Loras once more. Gods, he wished once more he had not missed their meeting. He had to be here somewhere though, protecting Seabel's royals, right? Perhaps they still had time. Perhaps fortune would smile on him for the first time in quite a while.