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Mary Hardin

"Are you sure you want to cross me?"

0 · 1,273 views · located in Tiberia

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

Description

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"I am not a slut, I am not a whore; I am just doing what it takes to get the job done."




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Full Name
Mary Anne Elizabeth Hardin.

Nicknames
Mary doesn't exactly go by any nicknames other than the ones Christoph has reserved for her. She has been called a slut, whore and even a bitch before but she doesn't answer to those type of derogatory terms.

Gender
Female.

Age
28.

Rank & Title
Mary is indeed a Lady as she is born of royal blood but she is also Christoph's Mistress.

Sexual Orientation
Bisexual.

Kingdom & Alliance
Falor.




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Hair Color
Raven Black.

Eye Color
Chestnut Brown.

Height
5'6.

Weight
113 lbs.

Tattoos
None.

Piercings
She has her earlobes pierced, of course but she also has her belly button pierced. Which most people do not know about.

Scars
Mary does have a few bruises and scars adorning her body as she has been prone to sneak out and play with the children. So most of her scars and bruises are from playing outside with the other kids.

Description
Natural curls of raven black hair falls on her back, reaching almost close to her buttocks. She has chestnut brown colored eyes that always have a curious look within them. Mary stands about five foot six with a weight of one hundred and thirteen pounds that compliments her petite frame really well. She has milky white evenly toned skin has she doesn't have any wrinkles or blemishes beside the bruises and scars. Mary use to adorn her body with dresses and gowns that covered up every inch of her body but now that has changed. She wears very slim, silky dresses that shows her arms. She'll cover up her arm every now and then but most gowns that she has, they are seen.




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Personality
{Curious, Rebellious, Adventurous, Flirtatious}

Mary likes to live her life on the wild side and it shows almost every single day she wakes up. She likes to do whatever she pleases and doesn't like to be told what to do unless it's Christoph. She likes to walk with her hair and barefooted most of the time as she is just showing how carefree she living her life. Growing up, she has always been a curious child. She was always asking questions and doing whatever it took to get an answer. Till this day, she is still curious about certain aspects within her life and others as she doesn't hesitate to ask anyone a question about almost anything. Adventurous should really be Mary's middle name because that's exactly what she is. Mary likes to explore every single little thing that life has to offer and will try anything at least once. Flirting is something that Mary does very well. She usually flirts with certain people when she really wants something from them. She uses her flirting tactics as a little manipulative factor as well. Overall, Mary has a sweet and gentle soul with a fierce attitude at times. She likes being around small groups of people at certain periods of a time.

Hobbies
Sitting around, listening to music.
Learning Archery.
Painting.
Writing.

Habits
Walks around barefoot sometimes.
Bites her lip when she's interested in a man.
Is a hand talker.
Babbling when nervous or excited.

Oddities
She has a slight O.C.D. problem

Likes & Loves
  • Making love with Christoph
  • Cuddling after sex
  • Flirting
  • Singing
  • Laughing
  • Archery
Dislikes & Hates
  • Sitting still
  • Being embarrassed
  • Strict rules
  • Large crowds
  • Being underestimated
  • Very hot weather




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Place Of Origin
Falor.

History
Being born into a royal family is never really an easy feat especially but for the females but luckily, she was only child of Lord Heath and Lady Antoinette. Of course, her father wanted a boy but didn't hate the fact that he had got a girl instead. Mary was born on the hottest of Summers within the Kingdom of Falor as her parents were extremely proud to have her brought into the world. Her family is from one of the minor houses within Falor as she loved where she lived. She was poised to be the next Lady of their house as her mother pampered her often and showed her the ways of being a Lady. Of course, being a mere little child, she didn't protest or object to this as her father really wanted a son to take his place if he became ill enough and couldn't rule anymore. She was educated extensively, learning to read and write at an early age.

As a few years went by, she became quite rebellious towards her parents even stating the fact that she didn't want to be a Lady. Her parents were shocked and really didn't know how to control her even after locking her in her room for several hours of the day but she'd still find a way to sneak out. She stayed out at all hours of the night, playing with the other children within their keep and even just exploring the area they lived in. A strange fellow came up to her one night and offered her a job at a brothel, saying that she'd be an interesting edition to his hoard of sluts. Of course, Mary refused after a clear slap to the gentlemen's face then walked away though she pondered the idea throughout every minute of everyday but decided against joining a brothel. It wasn't her style, honestly.

Her father and mother went out for their annual town's meet and greet one day as she pretended that she was sick and stayed behind though heavily guarded but of course, she caused a decoy and sneaked out yet again. She went to play with the local children but didn't know her parents were going to be meeting where they were playing at. She was punished severely and was made to take an oath that she'd never sneak out again. Mary agreed to take the oath and she never sneaked out again as she stayed by her parents side until she met a man by the name of Christoph.

Mary worried that he was going to be like the rest of the men from Falor but he wasn't. He was different, kind and even gentle with her, at least. She barely knew the male at all though a strong attraction grew and she was instantly drawn to him. The attraction was a little too weird for her at the time, so she escaped and went back to her home, where her parents were worried sick about her as she lied to them about her whereabouts. Even though they thought it was true as they understood and just told her that she really needed to stop sneaking out because of the certain dangers that rest within their keep. Mary didn't sneak out anymore though did ask if she go and live somewhere else for the time being since she wasn't getting any younger. Mary spoke to her parents about Christoph as they knew him a little bit but not too much. They hesitated their decision a little bit as no matter what they had said, she was going to go and live with him anyway.

After packing a few of her accessories and leaving her parents a note, she found herself standing back and Christoph's doorstep as he accepted her back into his home. She was happy that he did and even started sleeping with him a few nights. Mary was really enjoying herself with him and she couldn't be any happier. She loved being Christoph's lover and Mistress and knew that she'd be much more happy with him than living with her parents and for that, she was instantly relieved. Mary is in a much better place and state of mind right about now as she wouldn't want to change that for anything else in the world.

Happiest Memory
Meeting Christoph and having him take her in. She'll never forget that day he basically rescued her even though he still doesn't know what she was crying about.

Saddest Memory
Having to lie to her parents and leave them in the middle of the night.



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Face Claim
Adelaide Kane.

Writer
Sunshine and Whiskey.

Dialogue Color
#505050

So begins...

Mary Hardin's Story

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: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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He turned from the window now to watch the dance floor with piqued interest. Masks at this dance were merely a formality - it was still easy to identify anyone that skirted by. He caught sight of his king without even meaning to. It was simply a habit of his to search out the teenager, ensure he was alright. Surely, Wulf was capable of watching Lucas, but sometimes swords weren’t necessary. He watched as Lucas approached his sister, another person Christoph hadn’t spoken to in the two years since Seabel seceded. Perhaps he would find her later as well.

Christoph turned from that scenario, searching instead for his own flesh and blood now. He found them easily, for Ris’s hair stood out among the nobility. It was interesting, he noted, for a man with hair that had been as dark as tar to father a child with the whitest of blonde hair. Certainly, he’d heard doubts from inner circles of nobility before, but he’d seen his daughter in action before. He knew little of her true self, but he knew enough to determine she’d acquired his knack for intellectual pursuits. He could identify a sort of pride that filled him then, and he smiled for a just a moment before turning to the window once more.

He stepped through, now, walking into the near-pitch black gardens. It was a soft, southern air that blew through the Western Palace. Once, it had been a second home to Falor’s royalty, a place to escape the chill of the Eastern Palace. Now, it had become a permanent home to Juliana’s family. It was strange to think that he’d never walk these halls of his own will again. Instead, he would only be there if accepted as a guest of Seabel’s monarchy. My, how things can change so rapidly.

Christoph approached a bush now and gripped one of the flowers by the stem to redirect it towards his nose so that he could smell it over the combined scent of the garden. As he leaned in slightly, however, he felt a hand seize around his free arm. He looked over at Mary, smiling slightly to himself as she rested against him.

”Certainly,” he agreed, gently plucking the flower he’d been holding. Christoph twirled it between his fingers now, admiring the different shades of purples and pinks that gave the exotic flower a sort of starburst pattern. He pulled away from her ever so slightly so that he could turn himself to tuck the flower behind her ear.

"Of course, not as mesmerizing as you, love." He rested a finger under her jaw so that he could tilt her head slightly upward to look him in the eyes through their masks. He leaned down slowly, closing the slight height gap between them, and kissed her on the cheek, just to the side of her mouth. Christoph smirked into her skin as he moved his lips to her mouth now, kissing her properly. He freed his arm now from her grip and placed it about her shoulders.

Christoph pulled his lips away now, but he let them hover just above hers. "Are you enjoying yourself here so far?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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A collaboration between Sunshine and Whiskey & Scarlet Loup




Mary smiled when Christoph turned to face her then stuck a flower behind her ear. The different shades of the gardens were absolutely breathtaking to her as she wondered how often the queen herself visited this part of her own Kingdom. She couldn't help but smile again when Christoph said that she was mesmerizing then placed a kiss upon her cheek, which slowly went to her own lips.

Her body trembled with absolute pleasure as she closed her eyes and to let this moment sink in. Not that it was the first time they kissed, she just loved it as to how he'd sneak it up on her sometimes. When the kiss was broken, she eyed him and her ears twitched with his question.

"Oh, you know I hate large crowds but I did dance with a gentlemen. That was nice though..." She rested her hand upon his arm and eyed him again. "He wasn't you and the dance was not as enjoyable as I made it seem." She muttered towards Christoph while picking a flower from a nearby bush and handing it to him. It was an unusal gesture from her but she placed her award winning smile upon her face as she handed it towards him.

Christoph could feel the way she shuddered under his touch, and it brought a smile to his lips now. "Well, that's good I suppose," he replied, responding to the first part of her answer. "I owe you a dance then later tonight, darling." He kissed her lips once more and then let his finger drop from under her chin so that he could accept the flower.

He twirled it about in his fingers, watching the way the colors blended with each other. "Do you know the story of this flower?" he inquired, letting the arm around her shoulders fall to her waist. His hand came to rest at the small of her back, and Christoph looked back at her now, away from the flower and its purples and pinks. Whether or not she did, it was a story he enjoyed telling, and he continued on. "The ancients used to worship it. They believed it to be sacred to their goddesses of the moon and the stars." He brushed the flower along her cheek slowly.

"The two were in love, if you could believe that." Christoph let the flower trail her jaw now, sliding down her neck gently. "In the day, the two were unable to find each other, for the sun always took up the heavens. The flowers close, and they show nothing but a pure, white exterior. Devoid of life. Oh, but at night..." Now he pulled her in, his body to hers as he held the flower between their faces.

"...at night, they would find each other once more, and the Stars would profess her love." He looked back at her once again, away from the flower now that they stood so close to each other. "And the flowers would bloom." Christoph laughed to himself, making a soft, breathy sound as he leaned in and kissed gingerly along the path he'd left against her neck.
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"A silly story, perhaps," he breathed, letting his lips brush against her collarbone now as he spoke. "But a beautiful one for a beautiful flower." His lips pursed against her skin for a heartbeat, but then he removed them once more, continuing this game of teasing he'd taken up. "For a beautiful lady, hm?" He cocked an eyebrow then, unable now to conceal the amused smirk that crossed his lips.

Mary honestly thought to herself that Christoph was going to be mad at her for dancing with someone other than him. She smiled softly when he accepted the flower and gave her a small kiss upon her lips again. Mary eyed Christoph as she parted her lips to speak. "You do indeed owe me a dance." She nudged him playfully while hearing his next question. Mary shook her head upon his question then gasped slightly when his hand reached her back. She didn't gasp from nerves, she gasped from excitement as she was really wanting to hear this story.

Once Christoph began the tale, she looked at him with an intrigued look, closing her eyes as he brushed the flower along her cheek in a slow pace. She continued to listen to the tale as the flower that was in hand continued to trace around parts of her upper body. When it reached her neck, she couldn't help but giggle softly then raised her hands up to place upon Christoph's arms when he pulled her closer towards him.

Mary eyed the flower before them then looked at him as he was done with his story. She laughed into his kisses upon her neck as she responded towards him. "The story was absolutely lovely, my dear." She breathed then let out a slight moan as his lips caressed against her skin. Mary looked at Christoph as she saw the infamous smirk of his and giggled. "Oh, Christoph. You make me feel like a treasure." She muttered while reaching down to grab his hand, raising it to her lips and kissing it, letting a finger slip into her mouth here or there.

"Maybe we should head back. Hm?" Mary adored Christoph's teasing but he must've forgot who he was indeed dealing with when it came to that aspect. She let out a small laugh as she looked up at him with innocent eyes.

"I had hoped you would enjoy it," he breathed, his arm still wrapped about her affectionately. He had little intention of letting her go, for he was truly enjoying himself out here, away from it all for just a moment. Christoph knew he'd be occupied for the greater part of the celebration - why not enjoy himself now? "Only the best for you, dearest."

Christoph laughed softly to himself as she kissed his hand lightly. His breath hitched suddenly as his finger slipped between her lips, and he grinned despite his efforts to keep his own composure. "Yes...perhaps we ought to." He was ever so slightly disappointed, but his interest piqued again as the shouting from within the ballroom became audible to them.

He kept his hand around her waist as they walked back through one of the open doors. The scuffle had just finished, and Christoph pursed his lips slightly as he watched the party begin to filter through the doors. "I did not think this would happen so early." The musicians had ceased to play during the affair, but now they slowly took up their instruments again, nervously playing a final tune for the remaining party-goers. His eyes skirted over to Lucas for a moment, and he yearned to speak with the boy...but there would be time for that later.

"May I have this dance?" he asked, looking back to Mary. He loosened his grip on her waist and turned now so that he stood before her, extending a hand for her to take.
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Mary giggled when she had saw his grin and heard his response about them returning to the ballroom. His voice tone sounded a little disappointing but she wanted at least one dance with and how awesome would it be if it was the final dance. As they inched closer and closer to the ballroom again, she heard shouting and wondered if she really needed that dance as badly or now.

With Christoph's comment, her eyes peered up towards him as she wanted to ask him what did he mean by his statement but decided against. Though the urge was burning her insides. The musicians there were slowly picking back up the music as she gasped suddenly from her thoughts at his question. She was really wondering what had taken place while they were in the garden.

Mary nodded her head as she took Christoph's hand, responding to him, as well. "Yes, you may." She led them out to the dance floor with a smile as she turned to face him now and gave him a curtsy with a smile. Mary then brought her body closer to his and reached for his hand while the other hand rested along his back. While the thought was still pondering throughout her mind and even though she didn't want to ruining the dance, she just had to ask Christoph about his earlier statement.

"What did you mean earlier about you didn't think that this would happen so early?" She inquired towards him with curious eyes as she waited for him to respond, hoping she wouldn't make him mad or destroy the dancing. She really wanted to know though.

He held her closely as they danced, a hand still on her lower back as his other clasped her hand as lightly as he could while still maintaining control of the dance. "Oh, that," he replied, not breaking their rhythm once as he spoke. Christoph hadn't thought she'd pick up on that - it'd been more of a personal comment. Then again, it had been some time since he'd been so physically close with another person. It was something he'd have to watch.

"It's not something one often picks up on," he began, spinning her about for a moment as the music swelled passionately. "But these events never end...uneventfully. Someone says something wrong, does something improper, and the whole thing goes to shit - pardon my language. Often, one must wait a few days for the real entertainment to begin." Something in his tone conveyed that he referred to the fight as the entertainment.

While he pretended to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the tournaments and feasts and whatnot, none of these events held any sort of import for him. He was too feeble to compete, incapable of drinking, and overall, he never felt as though he belonged here among this crowd. And so he watched and waited, waited for the royals to prove themselves no better than their subjects. It brought him a sense of joy to watch it unfold before his eyes. This sort of chaos intrigued him, excited him. Christoph grinned to himself at the mere thought of it.

The song came to an end, but he held her for a while afterwards. "Do not worry yourself over it though, love," he said, brushing off the conversation as he leaned in and kissed her on the lips. His hands came up now, cupping her face for a few heartbeats before he pulled away. His eyes flickered downwards before he looked back at her, smiling ever so faintly. "I do believe the dance has ended...shall we retire for the night?"

Setting

Characters Present

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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Loras Estermont Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Corinna Auclair Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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After his offhand remark, Christoph had fallen into a period of silence to watch Ronan and Cyprian joust. He gave a short cheer as Ronan fell to the ground, securing the bet he'd placed. It hadn't been a risky bet, for after the night before, very few would have dared to place a coin on Ronan. Still, he hadn't lost money, and that was what mattered to him in that moment.

He opened his mouth once more, daring to speak to Corinna again, but he cut himself off as Mary made her way to the stands and waved at him. "Do excuse me, my ladies," he said, standing as Loras and Wulf took to the field. Christoph edged his way out of the row of seats he'd placed himself in and made his way to his lover.

"How are you this morning?" he asked as he took a seat beside her. Christoph placed a hand on her thigh and pressed a kiss to her cheek before looking back at her. "I trust you slept well. It didn't seem right to wake you." He turned forward again, watching as his son hurtled down the field at Wulf. He didn't catch what went wrong, but suddenly his son had fallen to the ground, and Christoph stood instinctively, waiting for his son to sit up and then stand up.

Once he had, Christoph let himself exhale and settle back into his seat. He certainly was a cold man - his own children could attest to that - but he still cared for them, loved them as dearly as a father ought to. And so it might have been a bit of a surprise to see Christoph, a man of such little self-expression, react so to the joust. But his moment of concern was easily overlooked, just as they had been for years. Each lesson, each scraped knee, each bedtime story - he had littered his children's lives with small signs of affection, but they weren't much, and he knew that.

He placed a hand over one of Mary's, bringing himself back into the present.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lucas Brigham Character Portrait: Loria Estermont Character Portrait: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Chryseis Wulfston Character Portrait: Ulfric Bjornson Character Portrait: Loras Estermont
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Ris briefly wondered why, on all of Tibera, her life had to be this difficult. First her brother, now her fiancee--and the latter against someone far older than he. As she returned and took her seat, she also took Wulf and Loras’ hands, unwilling to be alone or feel alone in that moment. She was still halfway giddy from Lucas’ words--but that also led to increased worry. Goodness, what even was peace? Certainly not something that she knew. Across the field, her gaze caught upon a familiar figure. Dark hair, spindly figure, a shape to his eyes that she shared. Christoph Estermont, her father. At least he had looked worried during Loras’ joust, she reflected. She had an...interesting relationship with her father. Briefly, she wondered if he would come over to talk to her anytime soon. Of course, though, soon enough, he dedicated his attention to his most recent fancy.
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Ris felt endeared towards Mary, if only because she wished to protect the woman she saw as far more innocent than she. Christoph had snapped up and discarded many a woman in his lifetime--and Ris wondered, briefly, why he had not done the same to her. Was it because she knew what she was doing? She was certainly no pretty face, to be swept up and then left in the same breath. Perhaps he knew that if he were to abandon her, she would not take it so lightly. It felt as if he’d already abandoned Loras, though. For a moment, she wished that their father was stronger, that he would be able to come and help Loras to find peace in his unsteady state. But she knew that he was not and could not, and she would happily take her brother’s troubles upon herself. She’d seen how the king of Ostwall looked at him--and even now, he was coming to talk to him. She hid the soft smile that appeared by dipping her head down in greeting to Ulfric, squeezing Loras’ hand and then letting go.

And then, out of the blue, she heard her own name--her full name--thrown into the air by a voice that she knew, and had not heard in years. For a moment, she felt almost thirteen again, never full of laughter but full of love nonetheless. She was on her feet in a moment, gasping Cora’s name and beaming as if the sun had decided to take up residence behind her pale skin. She laughed, wrapping her arms tight around the older woman, the two of them swaying back and forth a little as they tried to keep their balance. “Cora, Cora, I missed you,” She whispered, amazed to see her again. Her smile was still firmly in place, and her eyes were alight. She couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled up once more, and she rested her hands on her shoulders. “I missed you more!” She teased. “My goodness, how are you?”




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Loras, meanwhile, had found that he had a sudden inability to look away from the king of Ostwall. He knew he was searching out comfort, he knew he was acting absurd... Hell. He knew that this man likely looked down on any sort of conduct that didn’t have to do with a woman and a man and their overdramatic romance. For a moment, he wanted to roll his eyes at the giggles and the skirts, dainty hands holding calloused ones, smooth on rough and idealized beyond compare. There was no room for variation or true love amid the frantic search for a companion of any sort, and even then, they were often in the habit of leaving such companion or being torn between two companions, neither of whom could reconcile to the other. How many of the same story had been drawn out, over and over again?

He pulled himself from his thoughts as, out of the blue, the object of his previous attention rose and started towards him. Surprise was definite--had Ulfric made it to the flowers the night before, he wondered. He hadn’t... He’d been inside of his own head too much. He would apologize to him, just in case, he resolved. He shifted a little to make room for the king, reaching up to push a lock of his own dark hair out of his eyes, offering up a familiar, crooked smile. He shook his head at his first words. “Not interrupting at all.” He promised, glancing towards his sister and smiling as she leapt from her seat to embrace an old friend. And then his plans were foiled entirely, because Ulfric was apologizing instead. He looked genuinely surprised, a little caught off guard.

Image“It’s alright.” He promised softly, reaching over to squeeze his shoulder in a friendly gesture, letting his fingers linger for a moment longer than necessary. “Don’t worry about it.” He encouraged with a little smile, soon returning his hands to his own lap, knotting his fingers together in a habit that he shared with his sister. He glanced away, and then looked back to Ulfric, meeting his gaze. “Thank you.” He murmured, unable to keep from smiling at his words. He thought he’d done well? He’d been making a show, more than anything else... But he couldn’t help but feel proud. For a moment, beneath the seats and out of view, he reached out, smoothing his fingers out of the fist. “I’m happy to listen to you.” He teased a little. “Don’t stop.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Loria Estermont Character Portrait: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Loras Estermont Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Corinna Auclair Character Portrait:
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Mary looked at Christoph with curious eyes as he finally came over and sat beside her. She smiled when she felt his lips press against her cheek and his hand rested upon her thigh. "I am well, Christoph." She muttered towards him and nodded her head towards him. "Oh, you know how I sleep after making love with you. Peaceful and like a Queen." She snickered towards him, slapping his upper arm playfully.

When she saw that his son was about to joust, she watched the bout between the two captains and gasped for when Christoph stood up. Such a father like instinct for him to do so. Mary wasn't really scared that he had a cold expression upon his face as she probably knew the affectionate male beneath that cold face more than anyone.

"I hope he's alright." Mary stated as she rubbed his hand with her free one. She let out a sigh as she looked in direction of the female he was speaking to beforehand. Knowing Mary, she didn't want to ask the wrong question and upset him, after all, she was only his Mistress and nothing else. Well, not that she know of. Mary sat there with a smile as she looked back towards Christoph. "So, are you enjoying the jousting tournament, love?" She'd ask just as the next joust that was seemingly taking place was King against King.
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Even though she really hated these events, Mary was on the edge of her seat with anticipation, rooting for Cyprian since he was cutest out of the respective Kings.

He laughed with her as she remarked on their escapades from the night before. Mary's bold manners never failed to surprise him. It was one of the things about her he'd come to enjoy. Christoph's previous mistresses were spirited behind closed doors, but they had often adopted a shy demeanor when in public. With Mary, he was more open, less concerned about watching his tongue.

"I'm sure he's alright," he said simply, a bit too quickly as he gave her lower hand a gentle squeeze. Christoph looked back at her, but her gaze was elsewhere, and he followed it to watch as Corinna embraced his daughter. She didn't bring anything up, however, and he wasn't prepared to broach the topic either.

"As much as I can." His gaze followed the two kings before he looked back on Mary. "Unlike our dear Cyprian, the Estermont family has never been...athletically inclined. We are bankers and merchants...thinkers not fighters." He smiled to himself, giving a short sort of laugh. "I jousted years ago. Dueled as well. I'd much rather watch them impale each other now - no sense in dying for short-lived glory."

Mary knew that Christoph had saw her gaze so she quickly shifted it back towards him as he had answered her question about him enjoying the jousts. She continued to look at him as he talked and loved hearing about him talk about his family and himself. She let a soft smile show before him as she nodded her head towards him. "I don't find that hard to believe that you use to joust and duel." She commented then raised her hand up towards his upper arm and gave that body region a light squeeze. "As you certainly have the muscles from it."

She remarked with a blush that filled her cheeks now. She watched a few more jousts along with Christoph. Mary saw that the next joust that was bound to take place was Lucas and Cyprian. She didn't really know how to feel about that as she was rooting for Cyprian, of course.

"This should be interesting, huh?" She muttered towards Christoph as before the joust began, she couldn't help but let out a sigh as her eyes fluttered over towards him again. "Christoph..." She spoke his name delicately, which was most likely cause him to turn towards her. "I hate to ask but who was that you were talking to just a few moments ago." She knew that it was silly to ask him such a question but curse her curious mind for wondering.

As Mary asked that question, she bit her bottom lip out of nerves as she didn't want to make him mad. She didn't like making him mad, to be honest. Mary jumped suddenly with a soft gasp after hearing the clang of a lance connecting to armor. She eyed Christoph then back at the joust as she hoped to herself that he was going to be completely honest with her. Not that he hasn't been honest with her before.

He gave a soft laugh at her remark, placing a hand gently over the one she had placed on his upper arm. "You flatter me, my love," he said softly, looking to Mary now. As she began to blush, he smiled, watching for a moment more before he looked back to the tournament.

Mary had recently dropped her hand by her side, giggling at Christoph's words about her flattering him. She couldn't even hide her blush for the second time as she just continued on to giggle towards him.

"I imagine it will be," he commented, focusing on Cyprian and Lucas hurtling down the pitch at each other. If Mary had spoken a second sooner or later, he might have missed it, for it was softly said, easy to lose in the cheering and shouting of the spectators. But he heard her, and he turned to her with a soft "hm?"

A frown crossed his lips as she spoke, and he toyed with a ring on one of his fingers, looking back out at the jousting field. Christoph knew the question would come up, and so he certainly wasn't angry, but he had hoped he would have time to think of his response. But, hell, what did he have to hide?
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"Corinna Auclair," he answered simply, looking back at her. "A past lover. She mothered the youngest of my children. I hadn't spoken to her in years before today." Christoph looked for just a moment to Cora before looking at Mary once more. His answers were curt not because he wished to avoid the topic but because he simply didn't have much to say on it. He couldn't stand to be spurned by anyone, let alone a past lover. "It is unimportant, my love. She means nothing to me."

Mary eyed his expressions when she had asked him that question. She let a soft sigh go through her parted lips as she turned back to see another joust about to take place. She eyed the competitors and saw that it was King versus King, from separate areas, of course. Mary's eyes diverted back towards Christoph when said a name. Hearing that she mothered his the youngest of his children, it didn't really bother her. Though, she did gleam when he stated that she meant nothing to her.

"Awe. She's really pretty and so is the child." Mary smiled while she took a small glance towards Corinna now then turned back and continued to watch the tournament, leaning a bit closer to Christoph now as she would jump every now and then at the clang of a lance meeting armor.

"I wonder whose responsible for the King versus King bout." She softly muttered but didn't really expect a response as she knew that Christoph probably wouldn't know. Her eyes stared back at Corinna then towards the end of the bout as Cyprian basically lost in his own territory. She'd thought the Queen, Juliana, would be mad but her facial features didn't show that expression.

With the shrug of her shoulders, she squeezed Christoph's hand and looked ahead while asking her next question. "What are you doing after the tournament? I'm obviously not doing anything but whatever you do, I'll be more than happy to tag along, if you wish." She asked him and waited for a response.

He heard her sigh, but he couldn't quite tell, in that moment, if it were a sigh of disappointment or of acceptance or some other thought all together. And so he ignored it, assuming that it was inconsequential either way. Christoph noticed her gaze flick back to him and then towards the other woman, and he followed her gaze, watching for a moment as Ris and Cora embraced.

"Yes, she is," he said simply, perhaps more to himself than to her. He felt Mary press into him as metal struck metal, and he placed an arm loosely about her, resting his hand atop hers in an affectionate yet socially appropriate manner. He was licentious, he wouldn't deny that, but Christoph Estermont had a reputation to maintain, an air to give off. Soon he'd be far closer to the throne than most men could even dream of.

"Someone with a poor sense of judgement," he remarked. "Or an obnoxious taste in theatrics." He attempted to sound disinterested, but in reality, he kept an eye on Lucas, praying the boy knew what he was doing. It'd be a shame if something bad happened to an heirless king. But he dismounted Cyprian, to Christoph's surprise, and returned to the stands in one piece.

Christoph looked back at his lover as she squeezed his hand and asked her question. "I hadn't given much thought to it quite yet," he replied at first, which was, perhaps, peculiar for a man who always seemed to have a plan. Or, rather, he had had a plan until just minutes ago when he'd changed the plan. "I do believe I have some catching up to do with my son." His thumb gently stroked the top of her hand as he leaned down to kiss her cheek. He hovered just inches away from her once he'd pulled away. "Afterwards, I am all yours, my dear."

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Loria Estermont Character Portrait: Mary Hardin Character Portrait: Loras Estermont Character Portrait: Christoph Estermont Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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A collab between Scarlet Loup and Demai





Ris watched Cora go with what almost felt like regret settling deep in her soul. It was so rare that they got to see each other. And yet... Life went on. Life, insane as it often was, moved forward at a pace that was both eternal and unrelenting. Perhaps she should be grateful for even their brief exchange, though. Particularly with a child to care for, her own half brother, Ris couldn’t imagine that she had a surplus of time on her hands.

She found Loras’ hand once more, lacing their fingers together, her small and smooth hand meeting his large and calloused one. “Father’s been looking at you.” She murmured. That much was true. She’d seen how he had stood up. Her older brother nodded a little in response. He too had noticed such; it was hard not to, honestly. And as much as he didn’t want to pay attention to him, as deep as it felt that the rift had grown, he knew that he wouldn’t see him again for a long time.
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“Come with me, and I’ll speak to him.” Loras murmured, and Ris squeezed his hand softly in reassurance. And then off they went.

It was quite good luck on Christoph's part that Loras and Loria had already started to walk over to their father by the time he pulled away from kissing Mary. He could sense the addition of their presences behind him, and so he turned around, blinking against the sun as he looked up at his son.

He stood now, a grin twitching on his lips as he stood before his son and looked up, attempting to compensate for a half-foot of difference in their heights.

"I wondered when you would seek me out," he said simply, extending his arms and taking his son in a quick embrace. When he pulled back, he kept his hands clasped on Loras's upper arms, holding him as though he were processing the scenario, studying his son closely. "If I could trouble you and your sister for a moment, I would rather we speak in private."

Giving an affectionate tap on the arm, he let his hands fall and turned on his heel to look to Mary. "I do hate you leave you so suddenly, my love. I shall see you later this evening." He took a step forward, kissed her cheek once more, and walked past his older children, gesturing for them to follow him.

"I take it you understand," he said after they'd walked away from the festivities and began to enter the palace. "The walls have ears, but the palace grounds are no place for speaking." For a man of little physical prowess, Christoph moved quickly and deftly, tracing his way back to his own room.

His dogs lifted their heads as he entered and shut the door behind them, bolting it. And then he gave a drawn out sigh and turned to face his son once again. The smile he gave now was one more genuine, if that were possible to gauge on his face. He stepped forward and clasped Loras's face in his hands as he looked into his eyes - blue met blue, but Loras's were a soft, gentle blue and Christoph's eyes were a harsh, icy blue.
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And then he let his hands drop, walking to a side table to pour drinks for the three of them. "You rode well," he said simply, back turned to the two of them. "The Wulf is fast." You aren't. His words didn't say it, but they seemed to suggest it.

"Enough on that, though," he continued, changing the topic quickly, perhaps too quickly. "Two years is a long time. You've kept well."

Loras’ first impression of his father was that he was tiny. In his mind, Christoph had become quite the spectre--hulking, huge, intent on filling Loras’ ears with whatever he wanted him to say. And in that moment, he just seemed... Fragile. And not fragile in the way that Ris was fragile, with steel for bones and porcelain skin. He seemed breakable. And Christoph had to look up to see him--amusement sparked in his gaze at that. Christoph spoke, and then reached out for a hug. Loras returned it, both briefly and gently, almost afraid that he would be the cause of this man shattering. But if he knew about his changed feelings on Juliana, perhaps he really would break, Loras thought ruefully. Of course, he doubted that he could tell his father without fear of possibly being drawn and quartered for his trouble.

As the two men pulled away from each other, Loras had the opportunity to study how his father had changed a little more. There was more white in his hair, and those icy blues looked even colder, if at all possible. He inclined his head in agreement where Ris spoke their affirmation, and soon enough, the three were off towards the castle. Loras couldn’t help but smile when he saw Ris’ expression light up at the sight of the dogs, and he chuckled softly as they immediately sought out hugs from her. He knew she saw them often, and was happy they had such a relationship. He wondered if they remembered him.

He was drawn from his thoughts as Christoph stepped forward and touched him more, clasping his hands. For a second, Loras almost felt as if he were the tiny child that he had been, alone in an unfamiliar house with an unfamiliar man who told him to call him father. Ris’ unexpected touch gave him something to center himself with, and then Christoph drew away and spoke once more. Those words, both spoken and unspoken, stung. “Thank you.” He replied, not letting that sound in his voice. He chuckled wanely at his next words. If only he knew. Seabel was a place of beauty, and yet, no one who lived there was truly happy. “I have good men, and much to keep myself busy with.” He replied, lifting up one of the cups and swirling the liquid within. “How is Falor?” He glanced towards his sister, then, who had linked her arm with his. “How soon’s the wedding?” He added with a little smile.Image

Christoph joined his children with two of the goblets, Loras having taken his already. He listened as he extended a drink to Loria and turned once more to look to his son. He didn't bother to stifle the soft laugh that accompanied Loras's comment, but he looked down at his drink for a moment.

"I've been informed," he remarked, glancing back up at his son, a smile twitching at the corner of his mouth. He'd certainly heard the rumors of a relationship between the Queen and her Captain, and so he took Loras's words as a off hand confirmation of that relationship - whether or not that was what his son had intended in his statement.
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"Falor is as it has always been," he replied, sipping from his drink as he took a seat near the empty fireplace and gestured to the other chairs near him. Christoph's tone suggested his distaste, for Falor had never been something remarkable to him. The capital that surrounded the palace was something to marvel at, a bustling place of commerce, but the hamlets and villages of the common folk had begun to crumble over the years, a lasting reminder of Cedric Brigham as he had dissolved into madness those last few years of his life. "Though I suppose I'd rather there than here. The heat's far too oppressive."

Christoph pursed his lips lightly, looking towards his daughter now as he addressed Loras. "Not soon enough. I plan to have the two wed soon after our return. The sooner the better...no?" And now he cocked an eyebrow and looked to Loria, waiting for her to respond.

But now he turned to Loras and crossed one leg over the other. "And you, my son?" he asked. "I've seen you speak with King Ulfric these past few days. Interested in his daughter? She's a lovely thing, and a man like you would do well in Ostwall."

Loras certainly did not mean the Queen in his earlier statement, but a familiar pair of pale green eyes surrounded by laughter lines did occupy his mind for a moment. Ulfric had told him that his rooms were always open to him... Perhaps after this, he would go and try to get to know the man a little better. He couldn’t forget how that weathered hand had felt in his own, and he couldn’t forget his words... A man’s kingdom is his, except for when it wasn’t. Perhaps a man’s life was his as well... save for when it wasn’t. And this life did not truly feel like his.

He inclined his head at his words. He missed Falor, to be entirely honest. He particularly missed it right then, with its cool breezes and beautiful forests. It had been home, and now it felt as if home was fractured and invisible. For all of its flaws and ruins, it was a place that had promised sanctuary. Now, there was none. And there was that horrible longing to go home again. He dipped his head down for a moment, gathering himself together once more, just in time to chuckle at his father’s words. “It feels as if we might all bake.” He murmured, amusement coloring his voice.

“Maybe we should take a communal trip to the ocean.” Ris hummed, slipping her arm around her brother, offering him silent support. He was able to relax a little more at her nearness, and he nodded in agreement.

“You’re setting yourself up to be tossed into the water.” Loras teased, and it was her turn to laugh softly.

“Assuming you can catch me.” She provided, rubbing her thumb along the edge of her own glass. Loras hummed in response to that, and then glanced back to his father as Ris inclined her head, soon raising her chin a little. Those blue eyes were sharp, and Loras gave her a comforting little squeeze. They were both well aware that this was a power play, but Ris also knew that it felt as if her heart was being torn in two. But marriage was but a ceremony, and they could work this out. She kept her thoughts close to her heart, though, refraining from mentioning anything that could give her father an edge over her. “Might as well.” She replied. “Though I don’t see the need for a rush--Lucas is already king, and it’s not as if he’ll be backing out of this engagement anytime soon.” Not that she would want him to, honestly.
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Loras took a drink from his glass at exactly the wrong time. It was only with great effort that he didn’t choke on it, and he still coughed hard into his fist once he swallowed. Adelaide was pretty enough, perhaps, but she was not even on his mind. “I suppose she is.” He replied after a moment, when he was sure that his voice wouldn’t die on him. Hopefully he could work off of the assumption that he was going after the Queen still. “But I’m afraid my mind is otherwise occupied.” Amusement flickered in his gaze for a moment.
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"Yes," he replied simply, smiling as his son joked in regards to the weather. Christoph tugged at the collar of his tunic which hugged his neck, attempting to cool himself. He watched the two of him, brother and sister, banter playfully, the way siblings ought to. Certainly he and his sister had had a similar friendship at one point. He and his brother had never been close, but that was expected of two boys who were in competition with each other for their father's affection and, more importantly, his titles.

Christoph smiled ever so slightly as Ris nodded, acknowledging his suggestion - which, he hoped she noted, was less of a suggestion and more of a promise to indeed have them wed soon after their return. "Your confidence in His Majesty is exemplary," Christoph remarked, finishing off his drink before placing the glass down. "A wife ought to love her husband as so." He took to his feet again, brushing his hands along the front of his outfit to smooth it out.

Image "But men change their mind, and their affections are fleeting," he continued, pursing his lips for a moment as he looked between his children. "I imagine you two know that well enough." But had his affections really been as fleeting? Somewhere he still retained affection for the mothers of his children. And yet it was never a strong enough bond that he wished to wed them.

But he didn't let himself linger long on the thought, for Loras gave a sharp cough that tore Christoph's attention away from what he had been saying. "Yes, I suppose it is," he remarked, smiling back at his son. "I should let you tend to your duties - you have a Queen and thus a kingdom to protect, no?" Christoph stepped forward and placed a hand against his son's arm again. "You've done well for yourself. I've no doubt you will continue to make me proud." Though he smiled back at the young man, his gaze did not change from its previous iciness - despite the good intentions of his words.

"I shall see you soon, I hope." And with that, he ushered the two of them out of his room and locked the doors once more before making his way towards the group of nobles and royals that had moved inside.