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Zariah Laric

The last of Laric's royal family.

0 · 630 views · located in The Kingdom of Laric

a character in “The Princess And Her Keeper”, as played by toajojo

Description

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Name: Zariah Laric

Gender: Female

Age: Fifteen, 15

Role: First Princess of the Laric Kingdom

Appearance: Zariah most resembles the second wife of King Eadmund II. What with her darker tone of skin and mane of dark curls. She is very small and petite. Only reaching five foot three when her feet are bare. Her slender body is very lithe, with a fine layer of muscle from constant running around and dance. Though she attempts to appear much more mature than she is with her style of dress, her face gives away her youthful age. With a small button nose and pouty lips that her mother loves to poke at. Big, innocent, sky blue blue eyes are inherited from her father and showcase her emotions clearly. Constantly hidden under her hair are small ears, that she believes are abnormally pointy. But they are not.

Equipment:
• Her small talisman. She uses it to pray every morning and night and various times in between.
• A decorated hair comb, that is a fancy hair piece she received as a gift.



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Skills & Strengths:
• Herbology - Zariah practically grew up in a garden. King Eadmund II had an expansive greenhouse built for her mother around the time she was born. Her mother loved plant life and Zariah soon grew to as well. she is very knowledgeable in the plants of Laric. Knowing many of them by name and their common uses.
• Dance - It is not very useful, but it is something she is proficient at. She used to be the talk of the night when she performed at balls and galas. People were often in awe at how someone of such a young age could move with such grace and agility.
• Eloquence - Zariah is very skilled in the art of verbal persuasion. Her father often claimed she would be his most valuable asset in future negotiations when she became older. Her voice is very pleasant to the ear and her diction is excellent. She has a way of bending people to her will.

Weaknesses:
• Combat - She was never trained in any sort of fighting arts. Unlike her older brothers who is accomplished in the ways of the sword, war, and hand-to-hand. Zariah is physically very weak, sure she can dance, but she has nothing on an adult, or even someone her age who is ready to fight. She would be overcome in an instant.
• Indecisive - Zariah likes to think things through. Go over all the pros and all of the cons. If one is to pressure her, she will hastily make a decision and more often than not it is the less desirable one.


Personality: Growing up as a princess means she acts exactly as one. She was quite spoiled and is accustomed to getting her way with just a few words. Her well being comes first and foremost, and goes out of her way for comfort. Zariah loves to talk to anyone and everyone. Despite her less appealing qualities, she is naturally affable. Drawing people to her with her easy looks and sweet voice. Though she is quite the chatter box, she is often content with listening to other people's various stories and experiences. She is very empathetic, cries at the drop of a dime, and is guilted very easily.
She is very loud and loves to be the center of attention. Thriving on praise and approval. Though, she can be very hotheaded at times. Arrogant and egotistic, she does her absolute best to only allow other to see her best, most adult side. Zariah is quick to get into verbal battles, and is known to speak bluntly and without thinking. Whatever she must do to win. But she, herself, is very sensitive and will often break down in private afterwards.
Even with all of her flaws, Zariah is a nice girl deep down. She really does care for the inhabitants of her father's kingdom, and would give her left arm to make everything right.


Backstory: Zariah was born to the second Queen of Laric. The daughter of Queen Layla who married King Eadmund II months after his wife died. Eadmund did not, in any way, shape, or form, love her mother the way he loved his first wife. Their marriage is built on a platonic friendship as the two had known each other since their toddler days. Though, Zariah has absolutely all of her fathers love. He doted on her since the time she was born. Making sure she never had to want for anything. She shared the same sort of relationship with her brothers and mother. Really, she was definitely the princess of the family.
The past few years have been a strange experience. Her life went from carefree to so tense, that one could feel it in the air. Her mother and her son, the third prince, fell ill. The two held out for as long as they could, but once the prince passed, her mother could hold on no longer. The two deaths were very hard on the family. Hardest on her father. That was around the time he began to lock himself away in the depths of their estate.

So begins...

Zariah Laric's Story

Setting

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The Kingdom of Laric, a once proud land lays despaired; Ravaged by 'The Wraith', a horrible disease of pain and death and then sucked dry by a terrible drought. The merciless concoction of misfortune retired upon this land has already pulled her people into a dark time, complete with thievery, murder, economic decline and hopelessness.
In the kingdom's capital, Williston, things are no better. Rebel factions cook the town to a temperature ready to boil over. Revolution is a barely-hushed topic of talk and it seems to have begun rolling down hill too quick to stop. Now all that can be done is brace for impact and hope everything turns out okay.
...This may prove to be a harder outcome to achieve than one might think though now...

The clanking of horses on the road has never clashed with the creaking of the carriage harder...That blasted, bastard-child of noises.
Through the city's market district rides a carriage, surrounded by members of the royal guard. From inside the carriage, not much can be seen around but that does not hide everything going on. From outside, the regular, tactical chatter and updates among the guardsmen can be heard. Everything about the trip into the market was normal, from the ride there to now, but something different happens.
"Driver, halt!" The carriage slows to a stop. "You! What are you doing, boy? Get out of the road!" A smaller voice replies from in front of the carriage, "I am no boy, felon swine..."
"YOU WATCH YOUR TONGUE, URCHIN," the guard barks back, "I have my orders from His Grace, King-"
"-King Eadmund II. Save your breath..." The guardsman's expression begins to twist in frustration and anger. The young man in the road begins to chuckle, "...Believe me, we know what you are doing here." The other guards look around, now aware of what the boy means to do. The lead guard glances around the boy in front of the group and grips his halberd tighter.
"Once more, I tell you either MOVE OR BE MOVED!"
-"THEN I CHOOSE TO BE MOVED!" The boy unsheathes a dagger. "DEATH TO TYRANNY~!" The boy calls and a crowd answers. Emerging from every street; every alley, another man armed with some kind of weapon or tool and all begin to strike at a guard. Chaos breaks out and from every opening in the carriage, a revolutionary can be seen striking at a guard. The fight encompasses the ground, on which the carriage sits...

The setting changes from Williston to The Kingdom of Laric

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#, as written by toajojo
Zariah sat on the opposite side of the carriage from her elder brothers. As the pair of twins spoke among themselves, she did her best to busy herself. The three had been riding for an infuriatingly long while. She longed to stretch her legs and move about. It was also quite dim in their small compartment. Blinds, dark in color, covered the small windows of the carriage. Blocking her view of the surroundings and preventing any sunlight from entering. In the beginning of their journey, the coachman and royal guard escorting them implored the three royal children to keep the sheet closed. Between them and the outside world.

Many citizens of her father's land were angry. Resentment and rage filled their beings from their times of recent hardships. Who else could they blame but her father, The King, and his family. The children's attendants only feared for them.

The princess crossed and uncrossed her ankles restlessly. Smoothed down her immaculate dress. With nimble fingers she stealthily reached for the cloth draping over the windows. Curios to see the land that her father ruled over and its people once more finally. She had been kept hidden for so long. Her fingertips only grazed the edge when she caught the disapproving gaze of the twins. Ulrich, the eldest of the trio, gave a stern shake of his head and looked back towards Silas to continue whatever he was saying. Zariah released a defeated sigh and moved to fiddle with her long hair. Crafting the mane into a thick braid thrown over her right shoulder.

About to put the finishing touch in, her favorite ornamental comb given to her by Silas and Ulrich, her body shook as the carriage came to a halt. The movement causing her to prick her scalp, she yelped softly. She frowned at the inconvenience and opened her mouth to voice it. Being waved to silence by Ulrich, she stared at them in confusion when loud voices growing in volume began to assault her ears.

Her stomach churned in fear and she stared at her brothers in desperation. The way they clutched the hilt of their swords did not go unseen. The cry, "Death to tyranny!" cut through the air. In a moment, turbulent noise filled the streets. Shouts of anger and screams for blood. Zariah clawed for something to grip onto as a crowd of people began to shake the carriage. Unable to find any support she crumbled to the carriage's floor.

A tortured screech from outside sounded eerily familiar. The carriage door was torn open and the bright light seared her eyes while the sounds all around her seemed to become five times louder. She shrieked as hands gripped her hair and pulled relentlessly. Reaching her arms out for her brothers, she locked their hands and it quickly turned into a game of Tug-o'-War with her body as the rope. "Stop! Please! You're hurting me!" She pleaded. With her arms wrenching from their sockets, she was yanked out onto the unforgiving pavement.

Replies of, "Die!" and "Now you will feel as we have!" were shouted and distorted. Her head and shoulder throbbed and kicks struck all over. The pain was unlike any she had ever felt before.

"Ulrich!" She cried out in anguish. Her body contorting into a ball to protect herself. From the corner of her eye, through the strands of her now disheveled hair she could see her brothers already out of the carriage. Although they were only just a few feet away from her prone form, they fought tirelessly to not be overtaken by the people. Ulrich doing his best not to spill the blood of anyone bounced about, hitting people with the butt and blunt side of his sword. Silas on the other hand hacked his way through. Blood on his blade and cuts littering his body.

Silas the closest one to her, outstretched his hand to pull her up. Zariah stared wide-eyed at the appendage painted red. Hesitating to grab onto it. This was the first time in her life she had seen bloodshed.

Before Zariah could even gather the nerve to raise her own hand to him, Silas' face distorted into a grimace and then blank. Warm droplets splattered across her cheeks and her breath caught in her throat. As Silas collapsed from the knife in his stomach to the ground. Zariah found herself staring, frozen from terror, into the eyes of his killer. Ulrich's wounded howl for his twin was barely heard.

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The killer's right eye twitched and his head shifted to the right a little, but his gaze remained on the helpless girl. His face held a greedy hatred; an expression of loss and frustration. He was watching her, studying her. As if he did not want to forget this moment.
It would certainly prove difficult for Zariah to forget.

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"M'LORD!"
With the exclamation one of the royal guardsmen, visor now lowered, kicks his own opponent to the dirt, brings the large polearm around and with a thunderous yell, runs the killer through with the hind-point of his weapon and into the growing crowd. Another, rallying behind the other, thrusts his own primary armament into one of the ruffians he faces and with a tall, vertical draw of his sword and a cry of his own, cuts down the man closest to him out of the group of men kicking Zariah then swipes it up in a steep diagonal slash on another of the men to further attract their attention. "You want a man or a girl to kick y'er arse t'day, mate?!"
The remaining leave, making three-on-one for the sword-wielding guard and a large group of about 15 by the looks of it to one for the other. But not for long.
"You wont lay not one FINGER on my lord! Not one on my lady!" A third guard makes a quick, empty swing to force the assailants back away from Ulrich and Zariah before taking advantage of his halberd's reach by swinging it once around his head and letting the momentum carry its blade into the unarmored, ill-equipped crowd in front of him. "Get back into the carriage where it's safe, your highness, and take the princess with you! We have out here," the guard reassures but, as Ulrich takes Zariah and recovers his brother to the opening of the carriage, it seems as though the stunned rebels have regained their footing behind the three guards and the push has died back down with the sword wielding guard, leaving the two other guards and a couple others, now almost routed. The mounted guard captain is long since dead and has already been stripped of his weapons and some of his armor at the hands of scavengers.
The *PING* of steel increases in incidence as the cry of the first guard grows louder before the sound of chains snapping sings...
...and the voice was no more...

It has become quite apparent to the siblings that nothing was going to keep them from fate. Nothing was to halt this final moment of theirs. They were to be dragged from their sanctuary, publicly lynched and erased from history. Certainly not the best way to go-surrounded by those who have animus toward you.
But fate is not yet finished with the Larican princess. Not yet, anyway...

The cries of the fighting and dying are interrupted when a loud thud rumbles above the siblings from the ceiling of their refuge. The person gets in the driver's seat and cracks the reigns with a loud, "YAAah~!" Taking off with a quick jolt, the carriage begins to move away from the final guard and his attackers. At first, Ulrich looks around, startled and confused. Though it takes but a moment before the realization that they have been successfully taken sets in.
At least, until the sounds of plate armor clanking and the yelling of more guards rescues the minds of those inside from their own worries. "HALT!!"
A surprisingly questioning young lad answers the order with a confused, "huh?" The carriage, once again, stops with ANOTHER jolt and the sound of a struggle accompanies it before it stops with a thud on the cobblestone street next to the carriage. "Oof! Hey-hey, watch the-!"
Another clank of armor; another thud of facial impact. "AAaahahaha, that's rough!.."
"Save it, brigand," a voice barks back in response.
"Oh-ho, 'brigand', that's real cute.-UAHOHOho~!"
The boy is kicked again and what comes out is a mixture of mocking laughter and pain.

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#, as written by toajojo
It took every ounce of willpower in Zariah to keep from fainting out of fear. A fierce yell took her by surprise and she was unable to look away when not three seconds later the monsters surrounding her like a pack of wolves were cut down. The crimson fluid gushing from their lifeless bodies into the air.

Time seemed to move slowly afterwards. Zariah's awareness of the situation dimmed. In front of her she could see her most loyal guards fighting for her and her brother's life. Mouths open wide in threatening remarks she was sure, yet at the moment all she could hear was warped garble. From the corner of her eye, rapidly approaching her main field of vision was Ulrich. She looks on blankly as that is all she fears is capable of. Watching as Ulrich heaved his counterpart over his shoulder, she wondered if those were tears on his cheeks. Almost dissmissing the motion completely in favor of it just being sweat. She had never seen him cry before.

For some reason she was taken by surprise when he gripped her forearm and jerked her into motion. She ran stiffly behind her brother. Her feet getting caught on this and that, tripping her up and causing her to stumble. Ulrich's grip became vice-like and would leave a large dark bruise to be discovered later. He all but threw the princess into the carriage. She fell over her own feet and hit the plush seats quite ungracefully. As did Ulrich, in his hurry to make it in and shut the door that was only just hanging on its hinges. And for just a second, part of her wanted to laugh at how uncouth they were behaving.

Though, the slight feeling vanished in an instant as Silas' head settled into her lap, and everything around her started to move at their normal pace. She gaped at his ghostly pallor. His eyes, which were as blue as the day's skies an hour ago, were now impossibly dim. She could not control the tears that poured down her stained cheeks.

"Close you mouth. It is un-lady like." He reprimanded. Ice lacing his words. Zariah clamped her mouth shut. Biting her bottom lip to keep from whimpering. Ulrich closed his brother's eyes with a gentleness she had not known he possessed. She shot him a quick glance. Taking in the way his jaw clenched, and his hands fisted and trembled over Silas' wound. The way he held back tears with a strength she did not have.

She jumped when a loud clattering above them resounded. Turning to her brother in fear, she only briefly saw his confusion before the carriage suddenly lurched into motion and pushed her back farther into her seat. Then she shook once more as they made a sudden stop. Zariah almost found herself sighing at the brevity of it all.

Hearing the ensuing scuffle, she found herself even more confused. It sounded as if they were out of the way of immediate danger, but she still felt unsafe. Parting the curtain nearest to her, Zariah stuck her head out as little as physically possible whilst still being able to see. "W-why have we stopped? Are we safe?" She asked softly.

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Sounds of the boy being lifted up can be heard as the corporal of the guard for the group approaches to fill the little girl in. The boy can easily be heard underneath the words of the guard. "Your Highness, it appears-"
"-Alright, let me go in the next two seconds-!"
"-you and your brothers have been the victims of an attempted kidnapping and possible assassination attempt."-
"-And MAYBE...I JUST might let you live!" *THWACK!* "UUWAHahahaa!"-
-"We've taken the lad in charge of commandeering your carriage and will have a few questions for him when he is brought in."-
-"Okay for that, let me go now and I'll grant you a death that is both quick AND painless but ONLY because I like you!" The sound of clanking metal plates and the jingling of chain mail sing in the air once more and is neatly planted into the cheek of the peasant boy, granting him a fifth hefty helping of pain, fed directly to his face. This, of course, is followed by more yelling and seemingly never-ending backtalk and threats upon the guards responsible.
"Rest assured, his trial will most likely be a short one."

Before Zariah can even respond though, Ulrich, his hand still covering his brother's wound, says his own peace.
"Does it not look as if they were somewhat successful?" He may have tears in his eyes and dripping down his cheeks but his voice lacks the tremble of broken will often brought about by such emotion. The guard, recognizing the voice but still neglecting to fully look inside responds with confusion. "Your highness, I-"
"-DOES IT NOT LOOK LIKE IT!? GUARDSMAN!!"
The guard finally looks inside and his eyes widen with despair. His breath is taken away. "...By Lady Eternal..." the guard can barely get out. Immediately, he calls two of his men over. "Prince Silas has fallen victim to the attack! Ride to the Capitol District; seek out the royal family's physician and hurry!"
Once more, the prince speaks up. His voice remains bitter from before. "Guardsman..."
The armored man turns around to answer his lord. "Yes, Your Highness?" Ulrich seems to stare beyond anywhere those around him could. He says barely but a whisper, but there is no way such words could possibly not be heard around the world. "That boy is the only one we have in custody from the attack. This is all his doing...A short trial could never be short enough for his grievances done upon my family."

"...I will see to that boy myself and you are to assure nobody else does until I am granted so..."

The COG is left speechless but, as the wagon jolts forward to hurry off toward the inner district, a single phrase confirms the order. "Iye, m'lord.."
Meanwhile, just before the wagon passes the corner of a building and away, the opening in the curtain finally reveals the peasant in question. His clothes dirty and worn; torn and patched again. He has a head of long, light brown hair and a face which has a youthful appeal to it beside the fact of his tender age-looking barely older the age of Zariah herself. The pair of soft, brown eyes of his look back behind him at the girl through her window, as if to say 'I'll be watching you...'
...And he passes out of sight behind the structure.

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#, as written by toajojo
Zariah had a difficult time focusing on the explanation the guard was relaying. Or at least trying to relay. With the constant interruptions from the arrogant ragamuffin before her, she could not help but stare incredulously at him. He seemed no more dangerous than a rowdy pup. But that was only her first impression of him. Who did he think he was? She leveled a glare at him. Although it was quite weak as her body's adrenaline was fading quickly. His comments threatening the lives of her knights struck a tender chord. Affecting her in a way that has only occurred because of the unpleasant situation she was in presently.

At the guard's latest statement, her eyes softened in slight concern. A short trial he says. Despite her position, Zariah had never been much involved in the court system of her country. But she could easily understand that 'A short trial' was really no trial. Merely a going through of the formalities before a swift execution. She glanced at the peasant. His relentless spew of overconfident remarks was beginning to grate on her nerves, but he did not strike her as someone who could be responsible for a deed so horrendous.

Quietly she began to inquire, "D. . .Do you really believe th--" She halted halfway hearing the frigid tone of her sibling's voice. Tension laced her muscles involuntary and she sank as deeply as she could into the cushion of her seat. Eyes pointed downwards at the silken dress speckled with blood. Avoiding the chance of her eyes falling on either Ulrich or Silas. His sudden shout made her jump.

By Lady Eternal indeed. Was she not an ironic and unpredictable mistress, Zariah could not help thinking to herself resentfully. As her guardsmen hustled about to make up for their apparent tardiness, she wanted to scream. What use was a doctor? Silas was dead! There was not a trace of heat radiating from his body. He was stiff, draped over her lap and the lap of his twin. A doctor would not ever be able to bring him back to life. Even she knew that. Her body trembled as it attempted to contain so many thoughts and feelings. Not used to the fact that she could not freely speak what was in her heart. But Zariah had enough sense to understand that this was neither the time or place.

Zariah trembled still, as she heeded the hostile words of her brother. So low in tone it threatened to be overtaken by the noises outside, but the pure animosity weaved in them demanded to be heard. Now she trembled in distress. Something she had never felt around her brother Ulrich.

Once more the carriage sped into motion and Zariah anxiously wondered what obstacle fate would put in their way next. Ulrich was silent next to her and after everything, she was not exactly feeling up to converse with him. She gazed out of the sliver of opening between the curtains. Catching her eye is the boy from earlier. Taking in his shoddy and beaten appearance, she questioned how he was able to display such a ferocious confidence. Then, before she knew it, he disappeared from her sight and she found herself craning her neck to catch another glimpse.

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Of course he couldn't save a man already deceased...
What was even the point of trying?

Silas had always been the strong one, even commanding as early as his sixteenth birthday, late into the North War, helping to halt the advance of The Empire of Glendare into Larician territory. Of course there was damage and the royal family even lost one of the kingdom's holds to them early in the war but, with Zariah's brothers' help, her father was able to diplomatically strike a cease-fire agreement with the invaders in exchange for a regular payment of tribute to the Glendarians and a relinquishment of all lands, including the Northern hold, seized from the Laricians during the three year-long war, ending six years ago.
But even Silas, and all of his tenacity, could never conquer death. For death is an entirely different battle indeed.

It was only a matter of time before King Eadmund heard of the news for himself and came down visit his son. Such a big man, tall and mighty, brought down to such a low. As if he had not already lost enough of his family, now he had another son to grieve for.
There are not many who could possibly remain completely upright while watching such a difficult scene unfold. Ulrich certainly could not, for he was somewhere else in the palace; leaving as soon as his father had entered.
Across much of the long expanse of endless hallways, in one of the many sitting rooms, he sipped from a cup of The Deceiver's blood, descending deeper beneath sobriety with each glass of the sweet, burning drink; It's pleasant aroma clashing with the bitter atmosphere.

...Of course he escaped...

According to one of the injured guards assigned to detain the boy caught in the incident, it would seem he wielded a concealed knife to cut loose of his bindings and disable both of the city watch before escaping. Despite remaining intoxicated, Ulrich seemed to have taken it surprisingly well...until he returned to the room from which he drank and locked the door behind him. The sounds of crashing and yelling all over the room could be heard from down almost every hall. Nobody, not even Zariah, could convince him to come out or, at the very least, calm down.
It was not until his father had finally left Prince Silas' side and spoke through the door, "...Silas.." that the noises softened to a halt and the yells died to a heavy breathing...and then silence. Quiet until the sound of a bolt unlatching in the door and it opening to a bloodshot-eyed, red-faced man that barely resembled Zariah's brother, Ulrich. His hair was messy, dust coated his ruffled and wrinkled clothes, his sword out of its sheath and laying in the center of the broken room. All of the furniture that was still intact laid in every position except for upright and coincidentally rested next to the many holes in each wall.
His father said nothing of his appearance. All he did was calmly enter, stepping past his son and deeper into the room before turning around to look him in the eyes...
...and then embrace him in his arms.
The two men lament in each other. It is all that they could do. After all, it was the next best thing to accepting that Silas-Ulfric's brother; Eadmund's son-...was truly gone...

It was not until late into the night that things were finally calm. The city watch was on the look out for the boy but could barely seem to keep up with public unrest in the streets. The royal family was too busy coping with their loss to notice such an increase in activity. At least, except for the little girl who had been reliving the events of early afternoon over and over as she sat beside the window.
There was a roar of people much louder than the common rabble of other days, and today it seemed to ever increase...But she had no idea of how loud it was about to get...
Suddenly, the voice of Ulrich calls from outside the room. Still buzzed, he hollers out, "Sister! D-..dear sister! Zariah!"
A pause.
"Zariah, where are you?!"

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#, as written by toajojo
The princess sat slumped in her seat at the small table across the room. Her chin nestled in the crook of her elbow and her thick bangs were a shield before her face. Pale blue eyes could be seen behind the strands. Following the puttering movements of the old physician. She was tired. So many vastly different emotions had surged through her in the course of the day and she was left with only feelings of fatigue.

Zariah would have felt pity for the royal family physician if she were not so jaded presently. She could easily observe the way his aged body trembled in fear as he tried to appear as if he was doing something useful. Even though Ulrich stood stiffly by the door on the opposite side from the two of them with his usual impassive features, he exuded an atmosphere of fury. So thick she could see the physician was having difficulties breathing. No good for the elder man's nerves she was positive.

The man slowly approached her place at the table and asked gently if she was okay. She gave a noncommittal shrug of her shoulders. Nothing hurt terribly anymore. She supposed all she had were a few bruises here and there. "Fine." she corrected herself. Her voice coolly polite. "We appreciate your services." The doctor nodded shakily and made his way to the door. Before he had a chance to ask the same of the prince, Ulrich bit out a curt dismissal and he scurried off.

The silence that stretched between the last heir and heiress, was uncomfortable. At least for Zariah it was. She stood abruptly and walked slowly over to her elder brother lain on the bed's satin sheets. Silas' blond hair that had a tint of strawberry pink, unlike Ulrich's, was parted over to the left and brushed down smoothly. His hands lay intertwined over his chest and his face looked so calm. He had been cleansed of blood and his torn clothes changed into new ones. She could almost convince herself that he was just sleeping.

She ran her slender fingers over the cool fabric of his shirt, stiffening when she felt the tightly wrapped bandages beneath it. In a second she pulled back her hand as if burned. The bandages that the physician put on to cover the gaping hole in her brother's stomach. Zariah covered her mouth as she gagged. Bile welling up in her throat. She did that to him. Grasping the talisman upon her neck she squeezed her eyes shut and endeavored to keep her breathing under control. Her father would be here soon she knew. She could feel the burning sensation of tears, but refused to cry. What would he think? It was her fault his second eldest child was dead. She killed him!

The door burst open and she spun around as if caught in the midst of something bad. "Daddy!" She pleaded desperately. Wordlessly the king pushed past her to his son. She watched as he fervently gripped the lifeless body and pulled it to his own broad chest. Silas immediately seemed to dwarf in size, engulfed by the arms of his father. Watching as the face of the strongest man she knew, crumpled, she could not hold in the wail that ripped out of her mouth.

Fleeing the room, she raced through the desolate hallways and into her bedroom, pulling the heavy door shut behind her. Zariah fell face first into her bed. Sobbing into her blankets. Small hands fisted in her wild locks. Father would never forgive her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Crashes and frustrated howls resound through the hallways. Jolting Zariah into consciousness. Body tense and heart palpitating. 'They're here! They are inside!' She thought frantically. Prepared for a horde of rebels to break down her door any second, she slowly relaxed her muscles when nothing happened. She was safe here.

Slowly, she slid from her bed and followed the sounds through the halls to the source. Zariah bit her lip as she listened to her brother inside of the room. This behavior was so unlike him. It frightened her. Hesitantly she raised her fist to the door and knocked as loudly as she could. There was no answer. "Ulrich!" She called out. "Please! Come out!"

But no matter how much she called out to him, the clatter and shouts never ceased. Soon, she gave up and retreated back to her bedroom in dismay.

Sliding onto the seat before her large window, she stared outside. Looking out to the city surrounding the tall walls of her palace home. She wondered when everything had fallen apart.

Zariah sat there alone with her thoughts for hours. Until darkness covered the skies and the palace was quiet once more. The princess stretched her legs and just then realized that she was still in her clothes from that afternoon. Her dress sullied with blood and dirt. She frowned and silently slipped it off. Uncharacteristically leaving it in a pile on the floor where she stood. Trudging over to her large dresser she pulled out a nightgown. She was too tired, and it was too late for a bath.

About to slip the gown over her head, she caught sight of herself in the mirror and could not help the soft gasp that escaped her lips.The bruises. All over. She had been sore, but she had not realized that there were so many. With shades ranging from blue to purple sprinkling her legs and abdomen. She tore her eyes away and pulled on the gown. It covered all of them but one. Zariah stared at the discoloration on her forearm. The place Ulrich grabbed her earlier.

Spinning on the ball of of her foot she headed to bed, but paused as she heard her name. Ulrich. Hesitantly, she went to open her door of her room slowly.

"Ulrich?" She whispered softly into the dim hallway. "Do you need me? Are you okay?"

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The young man makes a B-line for the girl's position. Something urgent is clearly wrong...
"Zariah, I need you to listen to me very clearly." His words are exigent and rushed. Once more, it appears a look of worry has polluted Ulrich's normally calm face. But, what comes out of his mouth does not seem to shed any light on the situation. Rather, its purpose seems to be getting something weighing on him out into the open before anything else. Maybe it is because of the situation; maybe it is a result of the wine still on his breath...
"I baby you more than you would prefer, and always have-I know." Ulrich rests his hand on the girl's shoulder. "But I do so to make you grow and become the best person you can be, as my responsibility and-...and my baby sister. I'm sorry but I-.." He pauses, looking almost afraid to continue on.
"...I need to do it one more time before I can stop." An eerie feeling seems to come from the language itself.
"Look, something has happened and no matter what the case, I need you to stay in here. Barricade the door as best as you can, extinguish any-and every-candle or lamp inside and remain quiet. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
By this time, Ulrich is holding onto his little sister by the arms and looking directly into her eyes, as if inside of her through them as well.
"I will fetch you when everything is over with and you can come out again but I don't know when that may be."
His speech holds much despair between the lines, however his voice once more refuses to tremble.
"I promise you though, I will see you again soon so don't worry about what is happening, okay?"

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#, as written by toajojo
Zariah flinched as Ulrich sped towards her. His chiseled features suddenly right before her own. Piercing blue eyes, bored into her less demanding orbs. But with the memory of how he harmed her, intentional or not she had the disfigurement to testify, at the forefront of her mind, she tore her eyes from his. Angling her gaze downward. Keeping an attentive ear to heed his words.

Though his voice was low as not to reverberate through the hallways and keep the conversation just between the two of them, the urgent and pressing tone of his words worried her. For the life of her, the princess could not fathom why the young man would want to keep their encounter hidden. A secret.

They had nothing to hide here. This was their home. Nobody was within the walls of their palace but themselves and their most trusted personnel. They were safe. That is what they told her. 'We are safe.'

A gentle hand rested on her shoulder, and the sweet yet bitter scent of wine wafted into Zariah's nostrils. Uncertainly, she raised her head to make eye contact with Ulrich once more. Simply listening to the eldest heir speak his mind. Releasing a single burden out of many from his strong shoulders.

As the one-sided conversation took a turn for the worse, her eyes widened in fear. What was he doing? What was her last and only living brother planning? Pathetically, Zariah could only repeat the same thing over and over. Unable to convey her thoughts verblly.

". . .I need to do it one more time before I can stop."

"No." She uttered softly. One more time? Why would that be? Ulrich had always spoiled her the most after The King. Had he found her ungrateful now? She swears that she had always loved the special treatment silently! Don't let him stop. In the back of her mind, she knew that was not the real reason.

". . . I need you to stay in here."

"No." She should not be the only one hiding away. Cowering in a corner. She promises that she will be useful this time around. She will not be burdensome from then on. Deep in Zariah's heart she knew that it was a lie though. No matter how hard she tried, what use could she be? And even further down, she was relieved that he expected nothing more of her. Nothing more of her than one who needed protection.

"DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

"No." What was happening? Where was her father? She did not understand her own feelings, yet alone what was supposed to be occurring. Tears of frustration, and despair filled her eyes and she scrunched up her face into to keep them from falling. Why did nobody think it beneficial to keep her in the loop?

"I promise you though, I will see you again soon so don't worry about what is happening, okay?"

"No!" The princess screeched. The anguish lacing her brother's words stabbed her heart. Ripping away from his grip, she beat her fists on his chest. A useless effort to hurt him as he was hurting her. The part of her that was in denial, desperately wished he would stop insisting that something dreadful was about to happen. The other part wished he would not make empty promises. "No, Ulrich! No!" She rebelled.

Zariah hopelessly struggled against him as he captured her wrists in one hand and covered her mouth with the other. Hissing out demands of silence. With a single push, she toppled into her bedroom and the door was pulled shut behind her.

Ugly sobs racked her small frame. Forcing herself up on weak legs, Zariah shook her door knob to open it, but was unable as Ulrich had held it still with all of his might on the opposite side."Do as I say Zariah." Came his last curt command. She wanted to bang on the door and wall, and wail like a Banshee. But her body would not allow her.

With only soft sobs and hiccups tainting the still and dark air around her, she simply locked her door in defeat. Going on to move any furniture that was not too heavy in front of the door. Her body was obedient to the eldest prince as it had always been. When her bedroom was engulfed in total darkness, she felt around for a blanket and crawled to the farthest corner underneath her bed. Inside of her own personal cocoon, she cried in the darkness. Awaiting Ulrich once more.

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The sounds of an approaching crowd grow louder...
What could they want? What could they possibly want with this family after everything that has happened?

...Meanwhile, the guard captain stands atop the inner wall, over the gate, and peers down at the mob of people, bringing torches and anything they could find to use as a weapon. There were far too many of them to hold back if they were to become violent. "Return to your homes at once!", he ordered to no avail. "Please people, I urge you to return at once to your h-", the guard is stuck by a small rock, slung up and making contact with the left side of his forehead. Blood drips from the wound as the crowd begins to yell louder...and then begin bringing up what seems to be a makeshift battering ram.

"Lady Eternal...forgive me."
A quiet prayer...then accompanied with the raise of his arm. "ARCHERS!" within seconds, every bow or crossbow is pointed down upon the crowd, focusing on the rammers.

"I shall accept my punishment for these sins as I meet you this night..."

The hand swings down. "LEASE!"
With the sound of every string letting fly and steel rain, many of the crowd in front suddenly find themselves dropping to the floor. The crowd stirs and grows louder before charging back forward to replace the fallen rioters and pick the ram back up.
"LOAD!" The guard captain cries. The archers load their arrows, the crossbowmen lower their weapons and pull back the bow string before loading a bolt.
"LEASE!" And another wave of steel rain pierces the crowd.

From the room of Princess Zariah, the sound of echoed roaring from the crowd can be heard once more. Such angry voices, and all they wanted were things to get better. They felt, if they could take over the capital, they could solve the problems that they went through. They could make it all stop. But, the royal family were doing their best and knew that it was going to take time and work to make it through the hardships Laric was going through. Who could convince the people of that though?...
It was all happening so quickly and for no real reason, could they not see that? Could they not understand what kind of miracle it would take to bring about relief from such hardship? Couldn't they?!
Finally, the sound of one final push and the snapping of the gate as the crowd cheers. The roar turns to thunder, then the thunder turns to the sounds of struggle. They are in.
What is going to happen now? What is going to happen to Ulich; to Zariah's father? Now that the mob of people is inside, it seems nothing can stop them and certainly nobody is going to come for the small girl underneath the-*Plop!*
...Something has landed on the window sill...
"Phew!"
Someone has landed on the window sill!
What is she to do?! There is someone coming into her room! How did they even climb up to a window this high-they CERTAINLY meant to go to this one! If they meant to come here than that must mean they are here for her! -But wait...if they know where the princess sleeps than that means they were watching her in her room while she was in it! What if they watched her sleep or-then it hits her-OR WORSE. WHAT IF THEY SAW HER CHANGE?

The intruder carefully crouches down and steps down into the room through the window before sighing with relief. He quietly speaks to himself from under his breath, "Door's~...rather poorly blockaded so she's still here..." The intruder looks around the room, "If I were a princess, where would I~ hi~de?..." In one scan, he catches the bed and continues looking at it.
"...No, way too dumb of a spot."

Instead, he turns the opposite direction and goes to the girl's closet first and opens the door, beginning to physically look through the dresses to make sure she is not behind them, even occasionally checking in the more spacious ones since he knows how small the princess is.

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#, as written by toajojo
The princess balled into herself, making her body as small as it could possibly be. The dust on the wooden floorboards underneath her bed tickled her nose. Even though tears had stopped pouring out, she knew her eyes were still stark red in color and streaks painted her cheeks. The dust was beginning to make her nose run and she resorted to wiping it on the very edge of her blanket despite how disgusting it made her feel.

Raging roars sliced through the night air. Another aspect of her life that was once peaceful now ruined. Defiled. The citizens of her father's country were now overcome with sweltering rage. Deciding to take matters into their own hands they resort to violence. Hurting her, her brothers, her father, and her other most precious people in the name of retribution.

If the princess were of sounder mind, she might have been able to rationalize the actions of her people for herself. But at the moment she could not. This day had been unending and relentless. She could not control the resentment and despair bubbling inside of her heart. Why could the people not understand that her father did the best he could? Sure, he had not made the best decisions every time, but no one could. It was foolish to expect that even he would be capable of such a feat.

Her father. Her entire family had only the well-being of Larric's people at the forefront of their minds. The citizens were much more ignorant and ungracious than she would have ever wanted to believe, if they assumed otherwise.

Victorious cheers sounded over the snapping of the palace gates. Her home had been breached for the first time in decades.

She trembled under her blanket. Chills pervading her body. Where was Ulrich? Where was her father? Heaven forbid they were outside of the walls of the castle. Facing the deranged mob. When would they come back for her? "W-what if. . ." What if neither came for her in the end?

In the midst of her frenzied worrying, Zariah heard a dull thud from outside of her window. For a tense moment she swore her heart stopped. Wiggling about, she turned herself to face the direction of the offending noise. Listening with bated breath as her window was forced open and entered. Worn shoes plopped onto the floor and into her field view.

It did not really click inside of her mind until the intruder, who she assumed was a man, began rummaging around her bedroom, that he must have been outside of her window for quite sometime. The knowledge made her seethe. The deviant had probably watched her undress. Zariah was just so full.

She was frightened that her home, which she had been promised was secure, was being attacked. Feeling ill at the thought of her father and brother dying and her as well probably. Angry and insulted that this perpetrator who was most likely there to deliver her to her death, had not even the decency to allow her any privacy in her most private and intimate of settings. Was it unthinkable for her to keep the last shreds of respect and dignity owed to her in her final hours?

Seeing red, the princess slipped from underneath her bed frame as silent as a wraith. Narrowing her eyes at the back of the figure going through her closet. Zariah grabbed the first thing she came across that could feasibly be used as a weapon. The glass pitcher of water standing on her night stand found itself in her hands. Approaching the trespasser noiselessly, she raised the pitcher and stood on the tips of her toes. Bringing it down upon his head and ignoring the chilled water spilling over her fingertips.

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The silhouette man continues on without noticing the girl slip from underneath the very place he ignored.
Something told me I would easily find this girl...
He does not notice her grabbing the pitcher of water.
...I mean, where could a girl hide in a room like this? The curtains? That's pretty much it and I already checked there...
He does not even notice her quiet approach...
...Think here, man, if YOU had to hide in here, where would YOU be?
And then IT HIT HIM...

...No-like it literally hit him.
The shadow man looks back just in time to almost react properly and instead makes enough adjustment for the pitcher to hit him in the left shoulder blade. Luckily for him the attack was rather light and not enough to break the glass object, though the pain was substantial for the shade to yell out and loudly curse; revealing himself to, in fact, be a mere adolescent. The water splashing all over his upper body does not help his enlightened temper. "OW-OW! What the hell?!"
The pitcher simply falls helplessly to the floor and breaks, spilling water and shattered glass all over the place...including the boy's knees when he drops down from the pain. The sharp shards crack beneath the weight of the intruder who begins yelling louder. "AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAOOWhuhuhuh~~!!" The shadow-boy looks up at the princess in the moon light of the window. "WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS-WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU??" The boy curses some more. "DO YOU NORMALLY BREAK GLASS BENEATH YOUR VICTIMS BEFORE THEY FALL DOWN, YOU SADIST?!"
He grabs one of the dresses in the closet and pulls down on it in a succeeding attempt to stand.
...Only to find the dress slip off from its hanger and fail to gravity.
Why...dress?...
The boy finds himself falling down, back first, into the glass-coated floor with a thud and subsequent crackle of more glass. "Uh-..ah-..a-..eh-..." A single tear rolls down the tortured soul's cheek. "YyyyyYYYYEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAOOOW~~!!!"
With that, the boy halts his struggle; simply raising his hand to the source of his suffering and quietly submits with an, "...I yield."

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#, as written by toajojo
Zariah's eyes widened as the pitcher in her hands missed its intended destination. Instead of breaking it over the rebel's head, she managed to hit him squarely on his left shoulder. So weakly in fact, that she had even failed to crack the glass. The princess stumbled slightly at the impact and spilled the liquid content over the pitcher's edges. Splashing both her and him. Though, she was considerably less soaked.

The princess winced as the intruder opened his mouth in a pained wail and curses filled the night air. The sudden motion causing her to lose her grip on the pitcher. It seemed to fall in slow motion towards the ground and she flailed about attempting to catch it in the most ungraceful manner. But, despite her best efforts it shattered against the wooden floor. Shining shards scattering around their feet.

Zariah almost jumped, but stopped herself in fear of landing on one of the hundreds of fragments. Raising her body on the tips of her toes she watched the boy thrash about himself. In a mixture of surprise, fear, and something else. She could not quite pinpoint it just yet. Did she know him from somewhere? She doubted it. Zariah did not associate with the common folk very often. Not due to dislike, but because it was inappropriate. The thought nagged at her though.

She had never heard anyone with such a foul mouth. She stared on as he tried to pull himself up out of the glass pieces using a dress hanging inside of her closet. Flinching on his behalf as he fell onto his back. She could almost hear the shards embedding themselves into his flesh. Her heart twisting at the sight of the lone tear sliding down his cheek.

Despite knowing she had the upper hand, Zariah still tensed when he raised his own. Until, she heard his quiet surrender. Straightening her posture, she felt quite proud of herself for felling this enemy all on her own. She forced the smile that threatened to show down into a firm frown. "Good." She acknowledged curtly.

With light and fluid steps she made her way through the maze of glass closer to the boy she decided was only a year or two older than herself. "I. . . I demand to know what you were doing! What you were planning!" She raged. "I am of Larric's royal line and my father will---" She cut off with a gasp. It was him.

"You are that boy from this afternoon! The rabble rouser!" Finally understanding the feeling from earlier. "Why are you here?" She concluded softly.

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What little facial features are visible on the kids face twist into a puzzled look, complete with a cocked brow and slightly puckered lips. The glass crackles beneath the weight of his head slightly tilting.
"'Rabble rouser?'", the boy questions. "I-" But, he finds himself interrupted by the painful stare of the small girl before she questions his intentions.
Here it comes. I knew it would never be that easy...
He grabs onto the door to the closet and climbs in order to sit himself up, all the while quietly protesting it the entire way. "Ah-..uh-..uh-owowow! Ah!" The boy sighs in relief for his new-found comfort, even if he still remains in a mercy position. "Your highness, I-..uh..well, we've been watching you for some time now and have determined that, of the late, you've been deemed to be in grave danger and I was picked to be the one to get you to safety. I'm not here to hurt you and..." The boy averts his gaze back to the floor. "I'm...not with the people who-...who murdered your brother..." He exhales and then looks back at the girl with a determination on his face.
"I was there to rescue you and bring you to the safety of your father's guards and now I am here to take you under...our protection. We are actually employed under your father for events such as these but-..but w-we're kept secret from all but him in order to make sure-...to make sure any-..well-any potential threats do not find out about us." The boy now gives a look of sincerity. "I am here to protect you, your highness."

The romance of the chivalrous atmosphere come to a crashing halt though, as the silhouette man pulls up more on the door and begins to rise with the previous charm ever so prevalent in the boy in front of her. "Okay, I hope it's alright that I stand now because-I swear to that eternal bitch in the sky-if I have to wipe pieces of broken glass out of my damn bum the next time I have to 'fertilize the soil', I'm gonna be in a bad mood the rest of that day."
With his words of frustration, he gets on his feet, the glass crunching below his weight, and brushes off his back side. When finished, the boy finally steps closer to the girl and light finally illuminates the boy's face so it can be seen clearly. His eyes are brown to match his hair, though it is a bit lighter in shade. His face is handsome and fairly clear with a small, friendly, seemingly-experienced smirk, despite the boy's obviously young age.
"My name is Gabriel, of House Manz and no other titles to my name, but I was hoping I could add 'Loyal and Humble Servant to His Royal Highness' to it."

Gabriel...
Now why does that name feel familiar?...

Before any thought can be put into it though, the boy who calls himself Gabriel takes Zariah's hand by the fingers and bends over in an attempt to meet his lips upon her skin.

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#, as written by toajojo
The princess braced herself as the boy before her righted himself. "N-no sudden movements!" She barked, but silently berated herself for the slight stutter that she failed to keep under wraps. A nervous habit. The aura of ferocity ebbing away Zariah began to feel small. Awkward. 'He's ignoring me now!' She thought furiously as his grating whine assaulted her ears. Men should never whine. Or cry. Or grumble. Or be discourteous. That is what her father told her.

Hearing him address her, properly, she might add, took her by surprise. Her stare quickly converted into a harsh glare prompting him to continue. Hastily if he preferred not to upset her anymore than he already had managed. Listening to him, it was a miracle she kept a straight face. What with everything that fervently swam through her mind. She needed a moment to catch back up with reality. Snapping to as the form rose from his seated position to full height a good few inches taller than her own.

"No, it is not alrigh--!" Zariah began in protest. Stopping herself with a horrified gasp. How could someone so young be so foul? She gripped the talisman that hung from her neck as he slandered their most holy one.

As he stepped forward she tottered backwards in an effort to keep the distance. Squinting her eyes as a ray of moonlight shone through a gap in her drapes directly onto his face. Pleasant and seemingly unassuming brown eyes made contact with her blue orbs. A smirk that reminded her of one of Silas' adorned his illuminated, boyish features.

'Gabriel Manz' Where had she heard that name before? Had she ever? She could have sworn it must have come about in passing before now.

Interrupting her in the midst of pondering, was Gabriel. Lifting her slender hand towards his lips she did not even try to conceal the disgust contorting her features. Yanking the appendage to her chest, she cradled it with her other hand and trained her mightiest scowl on Gabriel.

Taking a deep breath, she collected herself. Glancing swiftly at her bedroom door blocked with furniture, she wondered how long it would take her to get through if the situation went south.

"I. Do not believe you." The princess stated simply. Her emotions were now under her tight reign like a proper future queen. She would regain control of the situation. "You are lying and I will not be so gullible as to just follow you willy-nilly. Ulrich told me to stay here. Prove it. Prove to me that you are an ally."

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The boy's lips touch the top of Zariah's hand for only but an instant before he stands back up straight to address the royal in front of him proper.
"Ah, yes, I do suppose I should display thee~uh~..the proof strapped to my body," Gabriel agrees through his, now amused, smirked lips as he pulls his coat open further to give a clear look of all ten of the 'proof' fastened to his ribs, five small, skinny, full-steel knives for each side. A unique sheath of somewhat short length, compared to that used by her guards, hangs from its own personal belt, hugging loosely around the boy's waist. The hilt also holds an unusual design and appears much higher in quality than anything a peasant would use if they could afford a sword of any kind in the first place. It appears very-much used too, with the scratch marks on the knuckle guard.
"Tell me, Your Highness, have you ever had to use any kind of 'proof' like this before? Let me assure you, a man can really prove a helluva lot to someone as valuable as you in a situation like this." The young man sarcastically looks up at the ceiling and around the room before returning his gaze to the tiny girl before him, his smirk now a tight-lipped, cheeky grin. "Boy, if I didn't know any better-I'd say anyone in this situation could prove a whole bunch of things to you!" His grin holds a moment longer before fading back to an expression of seriousness.

"Now-I know your brother told you to stay in here but I assure you, your father wishes otherwise. I may not be able to prove it to you beyond showing how easily I could have done away with you, but I promise, if you let me, I will prove my motives through my actions..." Gabriel looks down at the girl who still looks hesitant after his pledge. He quietly huffs through his nose as he turns and slowly walk around the little princess. "Sorry about my way of assuring my proof to you. I can be a bit...hard to get along with sometimes..." He reaches the center of the room but remains facing away from Zariah; looking at the blank wall of stone. Pausing for another moment before he speaks again.
"...I was born in the North. A town near the hold up there. I had-..." The boy pauses, trying to recollect himself. "..I had no siblings but...lived a fairly comfortable life, since my father worked near the lord there, and was even hired an old knight to mentor me and give me company. Through that man, I learned the basics of management, politics, language, foreign..language,-the sword, archery, equestrianism, and-of course-etiquette." The boy half-turns his head toward the girl and huffs through his nose again, in a single chuckle. "The old man was definitely a soldier at heart so you can imagine which subject we only touched on." His gaze returns to the wall in front of him.
...
"Foreign language. Who in all of Thern wants to learn a language, just so they can talk to anybody in a language they don't even understand?-Ich würde sicherlich nicht." The tongue comes vaguely familiar to the ear as the harshness of Lingarian to the East.
"...etiquette was the second least explored." The boy looks down and raises his hand to itch the outside of his nose before quickly sniffing to complete the action and raises his head back up. "I suppose you already know what happened in the north while we were children..."
Images from the invasion flash through Gabriel's mind the same time as images of the force build up in Williston come to Zariah.
Gabriel turns back around completely to face the princess once more.
"I was a boy when I escaped. I must have done something right on the streets, because my people found me and trained me further. Enough to become who I am now; someone tasked with the safety of a princess. You want to know my motive? Well, it takes control of a castle to control the surrounding region and it takes an army to take a castle." The boy looks out of the way, as more of an expression than utility reasons, and half-heartedly smirks once more. "...It takes royalty to make an army of which size I'd need. I'd have to be damn-near a simpleton if I believed it were possible but, what else is there to do with one's life?"
Gabriel softly smiles at the girl before him.
"You may not know me and that'll be the best I can do for the time-being...but-..."
The smile fades, knowing what he must bring up again. "...But, as a matter of potential life or death, I need you to come with me, Your Highness..."

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#, as written by toajojo
The princess tilted her chin up slightly as Gabriel stood and fixed his posture. His words and smug smirk made her wary. Immediately as he reached to open his worn coat she averted her eyes. Force of habit. Slowly she turned her gaze back to him. Inhaling sharply as she took note of all the sharpened blades strapped to his body. Five on either side. The movement of his coat also revealed what seemed to be a short sword. Maybe. Hanging slack from his waist, it seemed to be shorter than the ones her guardsmen wore. She leaned her head in only a fraction of an inch closer attempting to get a better view, but not wanting to display any interest. She furrowed her brow minutely. The hilt. The hilt was much too unique. In design, and the material too fine. Where would a simple peasant acquire something of like that? 'Probably stole it. All of it.' She rationalized.

Gabriel's voice caught her attention and she crossed her arms defiantly. Why no, she had not. She had no need for such ruthless practices after all. His tough act was not going to work on her.

Well, maybe it was just a small bit. At his words she trembled in barely concealed fright. Snapping her face to the side so as not to see his impish grin. His smile no longer resembled anything of her brother's. Nothing good came of his. Zariah rubbed the goosebumps on her arms. He was positively wicked.

The princess could not bring herself to face him even as he continued on speaking. She shifted from foot to foot in hesitation. Loath to admit that he made a fair point. It would have been swift and simple to kill her then and there if the need called for it, but he had yet to. But it still made no sense to her why Ulrich would not be privy to their father's plans. Her brother was the best and first, now only, choice for the throne. He should have known of things like that.

Zariah flinched as Gabriel stepped towards her, but he simply passed her by. She kept a cautious eye of his back as he made his way to the center of her bedroom and stopped. She parted her lips to speak up, but thought against it as Gabriel started up once more. Not out of fear or hesitation but, something else. His voice she supposed. As he spoke of his origins, his voice did not grate on her ears. As badly at least. His words catching in his throat, she kept silent.

Learning more and more about what that nameless soldier taught him, Zariah began to reconsider her perception of the peasant. He certainly was no ordinary common folk. Language, management and politics, the sword as well as the way of the bow, even foreign language. The coarse Lingarian dialect flowed almost flawlessly from his tongue and she found herself impressed. 'Though his etiquette needs much work.'


The princess turned her eyes downcast and gripped the talisman on her chest. She was very young at the time of the tragedy, it was still a fresh wound in her mind. As it was for many others she knew. Her heart went out for Gabriel. So many, so many lives were lost.

She gazed at the boy her age with a newfound respect.

With a deep breath to steel her nerves, she stood firm. “Gabriel Manz. . . I, am putting my life in your hands.”

Humbling herself, she bowed her head. “Please protect me.”

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With a quick exhale through his nose and a gentle smirk, the boy speaks.
"Then we have spent far too much time on this. Let us be off!" Gabriel makes for the door but, a few steps in, suddenly stops and turns around.
"Cloak! And a change of clothes for later! I know it's probably unlikely but you wouldn't happen to have anything less...princess-y for a change of clothes, would you? Preferably something you can put in a bag or tie around your waist-or some way to transport it? Once they find out you're gone, they'll piece things together and, if we are noticed leaving, I don't want to have to resort to theft again for a stupid dress."
Gabriel walks into the closet again, glass crackling beneath his feet, and rapidly looks through the barely visible clothes, trying to judge by what he can at least make out while he talks more to himself than the girl he was supposed to be addressing.
"Left that life after so long of having to resort to it and I am not about to go back to that, at least not until I'm connected to you.-AH! Here we go!" The peasant boy exclaims as he tosses a warm cloak at the princess.
...At least, he tosses it the distance to where she was. With her being almost next to the young man now, he passes the article of clothing much too hard and high and ends up...well..feeding it to her from a few feet away without even realizing it.
"Alright, dress-dress-dress-dress~...You have a lot of nice dresses, don't you?"
Finally, he stops moving the clothes and takes a closer look at one to get a better look through the darkness. "Hm~....Yeah...Yeah-this one seems alright. Here! Take this one for later, unless you think you can change quickly." Gabriel finally turns to look at the girl.
"Oh, you're-..." And then, after noticing her slightly disheveled hair, it clicked in his head what he did.
"...I'm...sorry about the cloak..."

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#, as written by toajojo
Zariah's shoulders jumped at Gabriel's exuberance. He was just somber a moment ago. She nodded obediently and jumped to keep up with him as he made a beeline for the door. With her proximity she only narrowly avoided his more broad shoulders as he spun around without any warning and instead headed back into her closet.

The princess did not even think about bringing extra clothes. It had completely slipped her mind. The whole situation was feeling very surreal. She peered down at herself. It would not do to just travel in her silken night gown. Her mother would have had a fit. It was impractical and unseemly. If she were not feeling so frazzled she knows that she would have caught that much earlier.

The princess hurried to find a find her small satchel for collecting plants from her greenhouse. Bounding over to where it hung from one of her oak wood bed posts. Slipping it over her head, she ravaged her brain for things she could pack in this last minute. Possessions that she loved. That she would be absolutely devastated if they were damaged and ruined by the ensuing rioters.

She bit her lip as she continuously drew up nothing. Why was she always like that in times of urgency? She groaned in frustration and gave up trying to think, instead choosing to rummage through her belongings in a frenzy. Yanking items out of their proper places and tossing them onto the floor. In the end coming up with only three.

She put the two small, well-used books and decorated hair comb in the bottom of her bag as she made her way back to the boy in her closet. Nearing him, she heard him exclaim. "Wait! Wha--?" She tried to call out before receiving a face full of cloak. Zariah struggled to untangle herself. "Ah!" She gasped for air when she broke free. Momentarily staring at Gabriel who continued to finger through her dresses and chatter to himself.

Exasperated, she yanked on the heavy material. Glaring at the peasant when he finally decided to give her his undivided attention. With a humph she took the dress from him and folded it neatly.

"Hand me a pair of slippers and boots will you. . . Please." She grumbled.

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