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Scars Left on my Heart #James #Kyky #Malia #manfred #rafael

Rachel
 

Who: Kyky With: Rafael; Manny - James, Malia Where: Throne room of Northern Castle When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening
Kyky knew her breathing was audible. 
In… ooooouuuut. In…. ouuuut.  She had been told this would settle her nerves; she didn't know, because her nerves didn't feel very settled. 


They were about to engage with now-King James Castile. He had a reputation a mile wide - some of it demonstrably true and some not. The tales of how he had tortured marauders and miscreants in his regions were legend. But so were his credits for taking down werewolves. 


Not to mention those that said he was a Changeling, or a victim of the Witch of the East. 


Word was that he ruled with an iron fist, and yes, his men were loyal, but they tended to be as cruel as he was. The people were too desperate to challenge his rule. This told Kyky that his power was great, but far from absolute. 


Some said he was indestructible. There were stories of his tangle with one of the infamous winged vampires, right in front of all the crowds… 


But Rafael had been there, that day, too, and Kyky's gaze slid to her partner. She wished, desperately, that she could have followed him into the throne room. He was armed with a family name and a fierce record of tousling with creatures… 


But no, today she had to lead him into the room. His history with Castile - their shared former fiance the least of them - would present too many complications, but his knowledge, expertise, and noble-as-hell name were essential tonight. So Kyky paused from steeling herself in front of the doors to the Northern throne room to cast her fellow-founder a warm glance… and, even though she felt nothing but anxiety, a warm smile of reassurance crossed her lips. She couldn't imagine what he was feeling. 


And then she spared the same short moment to unclasp her hands and reach up to run a palm over Manny's side. He was their "muscle," and no one could argue he was imposing as you could come. Even the NorthEastern guards outside the door, fully outfitted with swords in hand, would have been flattened in a single kick from the centaur at her side. But somehow, the warmth and texture of him under her hand settled her racing heart. 


The door was opening, and Kyky drew her hand back quickly to pick up her skirts and glide into the throneroom as gracefully as possible. She paused, halfway to the throne, and offered her best curtsey - painfully aware of her common upbringing and how very unworthy it might have been to someone born royal… 


And then felt that anxiety release, ever so slightly, knowing the caliber of the men who flanked her.


"King Castille. Queen Von Oehsen," Kyky greeted. "We are honored…" that was the respect, "and excited," that was the pitch, "to be here." 


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Wearing: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267401296611027161/

Manda
 

Who: Kyky, Rafael, Manny - James, Malia 

Where: Throne room of Northern Castle 

When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening

Rafael Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/0d/c3/43/0dc343a644cb0d9bd868f403a8307a26.jpg 


Outwardly, Rafael was the picture of calm. His face was carefully neutral, his shoulders relaxed; this was just another day, another meeting of the minds, or so he told himself. Truth was, the only place he wanted to be less than here was standing in front of Francesca Rossi. 


He hadn't liked James Castile when they were boys - though some of that may have been jealousy at first - and he certainly hadn't liked him when he'd become the Green Duke. Now that James was King? Well, Rafael found that he liked him even less than he had before. No man that morally corrupt should hold such power, though he was hardly the first in Eventyr's history. 


And Malia wasn't much better. No matter how many dealings Rafael had with the Queen, or how kind and reasonable she seemed to be, he'd never forget that afternoon in his father's quarters when she'd made her ambitions crystal clear. Or when she'd ordered the execution of Sarnai's father . . .


Feeling Kyky's eyes on him, Rafael returned her glance. She was anxious, her breathing even in an attempt to settle her nerves but her smile was encouraging. They were in this together, it seemed to say, and they'd get through it together. His eyes flicked to Manny and he gave the centaur a nod. 


Then the door was opening and the time for silent camaraderie was past, leaving the three of them to stride into the room with a confidence that Rafael wasn't sure any of them actually felt. 


Kyky: "King Castille. Queen Von Oehsen," Kyky greeted. "We are honored…" that was the respect, "and excited," that was the pitch, "to be here." 


"Your Majesties," Rafael said, bowing low in an outward show of respect that he didn't actually feel. "Thank you for seeing us."


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turksgirl
 

Who: Kyky, Rafael, Manny - James, Malia 

Where: Throne room of Northern Castle 
When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening

Manny Wearing (the sexy beast): https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7b/4b/fc/7b4bfc0f6577e441a618551158e5a93b.jpg
Just Kidding This too: https://twitter.com/LARPINN/status/864494557802770432/photo/1


His hooves rang out loudly on the polish stone floors of the Northern Castle. Manfred found it strange that the former Duke of the East chose to live here with his new wife rather than the great fortress in the woodlands that were his home. The centaur swatted his long tail at a servant that followed too closely, giving a low snort in warning. 

He was a stallion in every sense of the word, and wasn't about to let anyone get too hands on (even if their intentions were well meaning) with his herd. Which at that moment consisted of Rafael and Kyky, who walked on either side of him. The young noble was the picture of confidence, but Manny's horse like senses picked up something underlying... He wasn't sure what.

But Kyky's nervousness was easy to detect, even more so when her hand rested behind his withers. The centaur gave a gruff nicker, that rumbled out of him with a distinct crooked smirk of his mouth. His legs pranced, metal shod hooves ringing out making servants step back. 
He was already annoyed to be wearing a shirt along with his usual leather jerkin. But the North was cold, and nobles could be finicky.

They entered the throne room...


Kyky: "King Castille. Queen Von Oehsen," Kyky greeted. "We are honored…" that was the respect, "and excited," that was the pitch, "to be here." 


Rafael: "Your Majesties," Rafael said, bowing low in an outward show of respect that he didn't actually
feel. "Thank you for seeing us."

Manfred let one forelimb slid under him and dipped himself down in an equine type of bow, "Your graces". He was glad his hair hide his eyes as he stared at the man on the throne. His gaze shifted to the beautiful woman seated by his side noting how they contrasted and yet seemed to fit together easily as a couple. Power practically radiated from them in different subtle manners.

He felt like a colt staring down a pair of wolves.


James Castile allowed his head to nod at the group in acknowledgement. His chair was adorned with the pelts of werewolves and other trophies, and he wore his armor which was a typical sight even under royal cloaks and adornments. He looked much the same as the last time he saw Rafael Gonzalo in the King's city, maybe a little harder around the eyes... Except for the strange crown of metal and wood that symbolized the two realms under his rule upon his head.

His and his Queen.

"We are pleased to see you safely arrived from your travels, General" James replied gesturing for them to come closer. His mouth curled at Rafael, they had old history but the king's face was a mask of stoic politeness. "Young lady..." now his mouth curled into something genuine at her words, how long had it been since someone said they were excited to see them? She reminded him of his youth, of what he used to be and the smile faded. His brow arched slightly at the centaur, a rather unexpected guest. "Good sir..." James said eyeing the half horse as if he might want to add him to his stable of fine steeds.

The Green King's one hand was un-gloved and lazily fondled his queen's hand, in a seemingly human connection of affection. "We welcome you to our realm" he stated and shifted to lean his armored bulk toward his Queen in a clear sign of their unity, as well that she always had his ear. But at the moment they held his attention...


James Wearing (his armor of course) and : 
https://www.deviantart.com/jenzee/art/GoT-Driftwood-Crown-201011555

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Rachel
 

Who: Kyky
With:  Rafael, Manny - James, Malia 

Where: Throne room of Northern Castle 
When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening


Raf: "Your Majesties," "Thank you for seeing us."


Manny: "Your graces"


James: "We are pleased to see you safely arrived from your travels, General" "Young lady..." "Good sir..." "We welcome you to our realm"


Kyky met the King's eyes for the briefest moment when he addressed her - there was a certain honesty when he spoke, and so she wanted to see what laid in his gaze, and for him to see that her own intent was clean as fresh-fallen snow. So she let that contact linger, for just the space of a breath, before she straightened. 


...Sure, she knew that her colleagues were working their own mission in the dungeon beneath this very castle, but that had nothing to do with her mission. 


"We've come to invite your majesties to attend a peace summit in the People's City," Kyky ventured, folding her hands in front of her at first… but her eyes were passionate and animated in her plea. "Eventyr is suffering from the divide between our realms…"


------


Malia's fingers stroked her husband's in return as she watched the Peacekeeping delegation approach. Her face was a careful, neutral mask of mocha calm. She relished her reign of half of Eventyr, but she was still second-fiddle, and reunification was in her interest of being absolute ruler. 


"Welcome," Malia greeted, benignly. 


Of course, these young Peacekeepers needed them, and she suspected the Northeast was their first and most important visit. 


She cast a glance over at James, though, knowing that his emotions toward this were likely far more complex than her own...


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Manda
 

James: "We are pleased to see you safely arrived from your travels, General" … "Young lady..." … "Good sir..." … "We welcome you to our realm"


Malia: "Welcome," 


Rafael nodded as James acknowledged him; manners long ingrained by a life of nobility and nothing more. He doubted the Green King gave a single shit as to whether Rafael - or any of them - arrived safely but it wouldn't do any good to point it out. 


Kyky: "We've come to invite your majesties to attend a peace summit in the People's City," ... "Eventyr is suffering from the divide between our realms…"


Rafael watched James' face carefully but he didn't miss Malia's glance at her husband, apparently waiting for him to share his thoughts before she did. Which, of course, made sense but still, it was nothing but self control that kept the smug smirk off of the General's face. For all that power Malia had so clearly coveted, she was still playing second fiddle to a man. 


"We think it could be beneficial," Rafael added mildly, with none of Kyky's earnestness, "for everyone to sit down together and discuss ways to unify Eventyr."


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turksgirl
 

This was more in his human companions' skill set, so Manfred stood back respectfully but with his head held back in an alert manner. His tail swished back and forth in irritation. He refrained from stamping a steel shod hoof and he shifted his weight from one to the other. He found all these formalities to be an utter waste of time, but of course that was why he didn't represent the noble class. He didn't like that he had difficulty reading the king and queen of North-East.

James was not surprised by his queen's rather curt greeting, although she made it polite enough to be acceptable. She had no fondness for these Peacekeepers other than what they could do for their realm. And most likely these was more about what their realm could do for them. His eyes remained on Rafael the longest examining the changes the last few years had taken on him.

When the young blonde spoke James wondered how such a pretty young thing had escaped his late brother's clutches. Her words did not gain his attention until she spoke of Eventyr suffering from the division between the realms. The king kept his hand linked with Malia's, but now he turned on his throne to face the trio more directly. "You think talking will unify the kingdom, young lady? Pray tell, will you invite South, and  the West, both plains and coastline, to these talks?" he asked dryly.

He turned eyes that seemed void of anything to Rafael. "We know that Eventyr will need more than words to become united" James stated. He didn't want a crown, or power. But his queen had convinced him to take them because no one else was fit to rule... not yet at least. And he would not allow the great forest to be destroyed by sitting idly waiting for a vote by some committee of creatures that were beneath him...them. Yes, he ruled with a firm hand. Anything less would be the death of them all. Death of the green, he couldn't allow that.

James looked at Malia and she had been with him long enough to know when the thing inside of him was lurking close to the surface behind his dead eyes. He much rather be hunting bandits, werewolves or succubi with his ward and nephew, Elliot. Prying James away from their conjoined lands usually required something far more tempting than talks of unification.... Like Francesca Rossi's head. 

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Rachel
 

James: "You think talking will unify the kingdom, young lady? Pray tell, will you invite South, and  the West, both plains and coastline, to these talks?"


Kyky knew that his words were laced with criticism, that perhaps they were meant deridingly. But they had the opposite effect; Kyky's face lit up in an authentic grin, and she nodded. You could never say she was anything but earnest. 


"Eventyr must be united," she said this as an obvious fact, and to her, it was. There had been too much chaos since its split to justify allowing it to stay that way. "We don't yet know how - perhaps our old laws about succession must take a backseat - but it must." 


Kyky saw hope flicker across Queen Von Oehsen's face, the way she leaned forward, and so Kyky gave another curtsey and emphasized, "We cannot yet know the way forward… but we are looking for a way forward." She stepped forward and emphasized her words with another cursey. "With respect, your majesties, you are under such pressure to take care of the people of the Northeast - and you have met that challenge in a remarkably, unprecedented way…" 


"But you cannot worry about saving the Northeast and saving Eventyr. The latter is ours to consider. We don't portend to have answers, yet, but we have questions that we believe can facilitate the discussions that may pave the way to unification…" 


There were so many qualifications in that sentence that Kyky worried it even stood on its own. All the same, she straightened to answer the elephant in the room. 


"Queen Rossi has already agreed to attend… under obvious security precautions," Kyky said, but knew this was the biggest unanswered question in the room. It was pandering, she knew, to go on, but stroking the Green King's ego was not going to harm them. "Perhaps she has been humbled enough to open dialogue about peace or trade or perhaps even…"


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Manda
 

James: *to Kyky* "You think talking will unify the kingdom, young lady? Pray tell, will you invite South, and  the West, both plains and coastline, to these talks?" … *to Rafael* "We know that Eventyr will need more than words to become united" 


Kyky: "Eventyr must be united," ... "We don't yet know how - perhaps our old laws about succession must take a backseat - but it must." 


Malia: *oh-hohoho really?*


Kyky: "But you cannot worry about saving the Northeast and saving Eventyr. The latter is ours to consider. We don't portend to have answers, yet, but we have questions that we believe can facilitate the discussions that may pave the way to unification…" … "Queen Rossi has already agreed to attend… under obvious security precautions," ... "Perhaps she has been humbled enough to open dialogue about peace or trade or perhaps even…"


Rafael let Kyky do the talking, for the moment, and instead focused on watching the faces of the monarchs seated before them. Malia, with her subtle shows of interest, let more show than James. It was to be expected, really; for as composed as the Queen of the Northeast fancied herself, her emotions often ran hot just under the surface. 


Rafael couldn't pretend to know what Francesca was thinking with her intentions to come to the summit - none of them had actually expected her to agree to it - but with the way Kyky left the sentence hanging, he couldn't help but add, "Perhaps she needs an ally in order to deal with the Pirate King and reunite her lands?" He gave a breath of a laugh, but there was little humor in it, "I don't think any of us can really guess what goes on in Queen Francesca's head." 


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turksgirl
 

Well, they could agree on one subject, that Eventyr needed to be unified or it would be doomed. James noted Malia's interest when the girl mentioned that perhaps there needed to be a change in the laws of succession. His queen wanted power, and would not be satisfied until she had more. She was subtle in the taking of it, pulling who she needed into her web. Beautiful and enchanting, a seductress in ermine and bejeweled silks. And he wouldn't deny her the chance to make a bid for it so long as the realm benefited in it. So long as it brought...balance.

It wasn't love that he felt for his queen, his heartless form wasn't capable of it. And it was a foolish, blind emotion that made men stupid and reckless. No, he...they... admired her. Respected her. Her cunning, the way her mind worked. How she manipulated people, made them love her. Francesca worked the same way, but had none of Malia's subtleties, and only catered to nobles and those of wealth. Throwing parties, while those she considered common went hungry under her rule. 

James' fingers tightened reflexively against Malia's hand for a moment. She could be queen of all the realms, do as she pleased... so long as she remembered that she was his... theirs. Chaos and order, they belonged together. Sword and shield.

Castile stood up, and moved like a large, graceless reptile toward their guests. "Perhaps Rossi wishes to have all her adversaries in one place?" he said walking past the young blonde. Turning to grace her with a smile that said it was surely what he would do if the inclination struck him. If he hadn't given his word that they would be unmolested in his realm, she might be more worried about her own pretty head. But the peacekeepers were like the fabled hydra from his queen's books, and two more seemed to take the place if one was struck down. Ideas were not as easily slain as mortal coils that breathed life into them.

They were an interesting party. Humans, and centaur. Males. Female. Hope. Determination. The list went on, but there were seeds of doubt there. The Green King could smell it, like spilled blood. James turned to Rafael, because his opinion was of particular interest  "And you would trust them to keep a truce for this parley?"

Manfred bodily bumped himself against Kyky's side protectively. Although the king was moving around them like a hungry dragon looking for a weakness in their armor, the centaur's gaze remained focused on the queen on her throne. It was as if he squinted hard enough perhaps he could see what connected them, what was the leash she held on this thing that looked like a man but moved like a beast.

He hoped the others were making more progress on their mission than they seemingly were at convincing this power couple to come to the talks. 

tags


Rachel
 

James: "Perhaps Rossi wishes to have all her adversaries in one place?"


Kyky's lips pursed as she felt the obvious and blatant scrutiny, and though she felt the threat in his gaze, Manny's strong presence at her side helped her ignore that. In that particular way, she did not feel vulnerable, but it was not the only weapon the king had to wield against her psyche…


Manny: *protective shrug*


Kyky sighed at the texture and warmth of Manny against her, but her mind still reeled to keep up with the Green King's obviously keen political calculations. Why was she - the girl, the girl of low blood - the one who stepped forward as leader on this occasion? The King's gaze made her feel every ounce of her simplicity, made her question her adequacy, but more, her competency. His question demanded an answer, and she froze, a moment, as her mind reeled under the pressure of answering...


"Because she would be putting herself in the midst of so many enemies," Kyky responded, and sounded refreshingly level-headed as she did. "Francesca will come bearing every defense, I am sure, but she would not put herself in a room with yourself and King Zaire and…" Here, she couldn't help but break her seriousness with a chuckle as she glanced at Rafael. He would be the Peacekeeper there, but as a woman, Kyky knew well it would not be an easy task to let your ex-fiance adjudicate a meeting that would ultimately undercut the power you hoped to claim. "...If she was not sufficiently desperate."


James: *to Raf* "And you would trust them to keep a truce for this parley?"


That, of course, was a question that had to be handled between men, and so Kyky gave her attention to pressing an affectionate and calming hand to Manny's side. They were all anxious, but his was amplified because of his size… 


And then Kyky's eyes strayed to the Queen, who sat on her throne with a passive aire that Kyky knew was a complete lie. She enjoyed Castile's aggression, Kyky guessed, because of how much his brutality - in form and in reputation - saved her in trying to feign the same. 


And Malia offered the girl the smallest curl of her lip. She saw the gears turning behind those young, blue eyes, and knew they would never match her. And so her gaze was brief, and turned to watch the exchange between her King and the General's son. She knew the boy was far more than he presented - perhaps more than he knew - and so she found herself curious how he would handle this role...

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Manda
 

James: "Perhaps Rossi wishes to have all her adversaries in one place?" 


Kyky: "Because she would be putting herself in the midst of so many enemies," ... "Francesca will come bearing every defense, I am sure, but she would not put herself in a room with yourself and King Zaire and…" … "...If she was not sufficiently desperate."


Rafael let Kyky answer that question, though his eyes met hers as she left that last part hanging. There was very little left of the Francesca he'd fallen in love with all those years ago and he hadn't made any attempt since prior to the fall of King's City to try to bridge that gap. Notably, she hadn't either. But this summit could be a turning point if everyone played their cards right and Rafael was willing to do what he had to. 


James: "And you would trust them to keep a truce for this parley?" 


"I will personally see to it that Francesca has not a single opportunity to break that truce," Rafael said, making the decision there, on the spot. 


He knew, even as he was speaking the words, that he was taking a huge chance. Years ago, she'd risked everything to sneak him out from under her vampire's nose, but since then, she'd killed his father, seized his lands, executed his staff, and his brother had been killed while in her custody, but somehow Rafael knew that Francesca wouldn't move against him directly. She'd had her chances and she hadn't taken them. 


"I will be in attendance to her throughout her entire stay in the People's City and I can assure you, Your Majesties," his eyes went to Malia then, and he inclined his head, "that she will not cross me." 


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turksgirl
 

Manfred did not like the way the king was eyeing his companions. His tail swished back and forth in agitation, and he had to refrain from stamping a steel shod hoof on the floor. The man was like another stallion, testing a challenger to see their strength. Prodding. The queen too, in her own way, watching them like a hawk waiting for the proper time to strike. Kyky hand soothed his nerves enough to keep him focused, not to let his equine senses over ride his human logic. 

Kyky: "Because she would be putting herself in the midst of so many enemies,"  "Francesca will come bearing every defense, I am sure, but she would not put herself in a room with yourself and King Zaire and…" Here, she couldn't help but break her seriousness with a chuckle as she glanced at Rafael. He would be the Peacekeeper there, but as a woman, Kyky knew well it would not be an easy task to let your ex-fiance adjudicate a meeting that would ultimately undercut the power you hoped to claim. "...If she was not sufficiently desperate."

When the girl gave a little laugh James Castile's brows arched upward for a moment. A strange expression came over his face as if it jarred loose a memory of something, or someone from long ago. And then his carefully stoic expression returned as if hewn from stone, and he nodded his head at the young woman. He appreciated the fact that her idealism had not blinded her to the possibility of an all too ugly reality. 

He could feel his queen eyes on him and the younger man in the trio, Castile's mouth curled slightly and he glanced over his shoulder at Malia. Gonzalo had all the reasons in the world to want revenge on his former fiancee, just as James did... perhaps more so, since the Green King had no heart to give passion to such feelings.

Rafael: "I will personally see to it that Francesca has not a single opportunity to break that truce," "I will be in attendance to her throughout her entire stay in the People's City and I can assure you, Your Majesties," his eyes went to Malia then, and he inclined his head, "that she will not cross me." 


The Green King turned to face the three Peacekeepers. Eyes the color of an overcast sky stared at them and a mirthless smile pulled at Castile's mouth. "Don't be a fool, General. She has crossed you... and I, and will do so again" he stated. "We will not allow it again. We trust you over Rossi, and will hold you to your word" the Green King said.

He blinked his eyes and shook his head, "Where are my manners? You must be tired and hungry from your journey. Let us sit... Bastard Kings have no need for extreme formalities". James tilted his head and something vaguely like amusement passed his features, "You can tell us what you hope to gain in these talks aside from the obvious..."

~tags~

Rachel
 

Rafael: "I will personally see to it that Francesca has not a single opportunity to break that truce," "I will be in attendance to her throughout her entire stay in the People's City and I can assure you, Your Majesties," "that she will not cross me." 


Malia's lips pursed into a bit of an amused smile. She knew the General's son to be a skilled hunter and quite knowledgeable, but she doubted he - or any of them - could understand the vast power of witchcraft that Francesca wielded. Malia knew a fraction of it - she could not, nor would she, command creatures, but she did know that the affection for the quite handsome and imposing husband that she felt… would wilt quickly with any promise of more power.


She was both sure that James knew this and yet didn't know this. It was an unspoken agreement between them. One that made them infinitely stronger than the witch who had only subhuman creatures as companions at best, not partners like she and James had in one another. 


James: "Don't be a fool, General. She has crossed you... and I, and will do so again" "We will not allow it again. We trust you over Rossi, and will hold you to your word" 


The NorthEastern Queen rose to her feet when her King so decisively wrapped the negotiation, lifting her heavy skirt as she descended the steps to take his massive arm as he invited their guests to dine. 


Her eyes lingered on the pale young girl who called herself the leader of what was once King's City… and found herself mildly impressed that Kyrilis of the Peacekeepers of Eventyr seemed to see the substance of her silence. Of course, it was likely easier to meet a Queen's eyes with a two-thousand pound bodyguard at her side, but still. What "Kyky" saw, Malia didn't know, but it did make her wonder… 


James: "Where are my manners? You must be tired and hungry from your journey. Let us sit... Bastard Kings have no need for extreme formalities". "You can tell us what you hope to gain in these talks aside from the obvious..."


Hungry! Formalities! Oh, that had been easier than Kyky had expected, and she restrained her smile to Rafael at their success but she knew that when she turned her gaze to Manny that he saw every ounce of joy and relief through her eyes. They would have a summit!


How much more progress could they make? For all the horrific rumors about the Green Duke and the Duchess of the North, they seemed reasonable to her. Maybe a little distant, but they were running two regions with success (even if some might debate what "success" exactly meant).  The Peacekeepers had a list of things a mile long! And the King's words even implied he was open to more talks…!


The Peacekeepers followed as they were invited into a lavish dining room that exceeded even the grandeur of the one at King's City. There was obviously a reason that the Northern Castle was lauded as the most beautiful in the realm - with its high ceilings and crystal windows that sent rainbows cascading along the stone walls, themselves embedded with glittering stone and jewels… 


Distantly, Kyky had to wonder how long the people would suffer before storming this grand palace and claiming broken bits of its wealth out of equal parts desperation and wrath. 


As they settled to dine, Kyky offered a pleasant smile and opened her mouth - pausing ever so briefly for a breath because (especially in the absence of privacy to consult) she expected Rafael would bristle at her words. "We have heard that the NorthEast has - understandably - become a refuge for those Eventyrians fleeing the West," Kyky began. The Peacekeepers had not only discussed but in fact seen the myriad of problems that had come out of this - peasant Westerners put into the dangerous work at the mines, if they had any work at all. Some were being recruited by the werewolf bands in their desperation. Dragons seizing the small fortunes of Westerners of means who made the journey, thus thrusting even nobles into destitution… 


Kyky spared a glance at Rafael, and it was too quick to guess his reaction to her turn of conversation. "In what ways might the Peacekeepers be able to support your efforts to integrate these refugees?" Which subtly implied, of course, that the NorthEast was not yet doing enough to integrate said refugees...

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Manda
 

Kyky: "We have heard that the NorthEast has - understandably - become a refuge for those Eventyrians fleeing the West," … "In what ways might the Peacekeepers be able to support your efforts to integrate these refugees?"


Rafael's jaw clenched and dark eyes went to Kyky as she settled on a subject and dug in. It was hardly a topic he enjoyed, but one that could be enlightening, he silently admitted. 


His sister, Valentina, lived here in the North and she and her family had, luckily, been in a position to take in Javier's wife and children after they'd fled the West. Yes, Javier had been killed while helping to retake the King's City, but at least his family was safe for the time being. There were so many Westerners less fortunate though and Rafael knew that it was only their money that kept his loved ones safe here in the Northeast. And how much protection would it really give should...well, should Rafael anger the malevolent King of the Northeast?


"We'll do what we can to help," Rafael added, pushing his emotions aside and sipping politely at his wine. It was delicious but he wouldn't enjoy even a single mouthful. "I'd like to see our Western refugees prosper, of course, but I understand the drain on your resources."


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turksgirl
 

Manfred felt some sort of relief at the look in his dear friend's eyes, she was excited. It would seem she had won over the former Green Duke, now King of the joined domains of North and East. And the Queen seemed complacent to agree with him. She moved with grace considering the weight of her robes, as she joined her strange consort, who invited them to dine.

The centaur swatted his tail in agitation still, but made an effort to bow his head cordially as the royals passed to led the way to dine.
 He wasn't so sure it was manners that the king was offering to dine, but a false sense of security. His friend wanted this to go right so badly, to have the summit be a success. They all did, but he hoped Kyky wouldn't be too blinded by it.

The Northern castle was very old, and lavish. But the beautiful colors cast on the walls by the many jewels didn't alleviate the feeling low in Manfred's guts that they should just leave this place. The table wasn't designed with a centaur in mind, and Manny refused to put himself in the vulnerable position of laying down. So he stood behind his human companions and remained on guard.

Kyky"We have heard that the NorthEast has - understandably - become a refuge for those Eventyrians fleeing the West," "In what ways might the Peacekeepers be able to support your efforts to integrate these refugees?" 


Rafael; "We'll do what we can to help," "I'd like to see our Western refugees prosper, of course, but I understand the drain on your resources."

James sat next to his queen, unlike most royals that preferred to sit on opposing ends of a table. Perhaps it was a symbol of their unity, or perhaps they secretly communicated under the table with the pretense that they held hands like lovers. The older man smiled at Kyky, but there was no warmth behind the expression. "Yes, many come to the North and East. They are welcomed so long as they obey the laws of our land, and are willing to participate in maintaining the realms".

No, he wouldn't let anyone leech from those that were loyal to him and his queen. Castile would not squander resources on spoiled nobles, who suddenly realized that Francesca's little vampires didn't care who they fed on. Or farmers who refused to till the harden soil of the North, or the dangerous lands so close to the enchanted forest in the East. If their own people could do it then they could as well... Or take their chances with the witch of the South.

Or the arduous journey to the former King's city to the Peacekeepers. He doubted they had an endless supply of hand outs, no matter how this little blonde beamed like sunshine poured out her ass. He turned his gaze to Rafael, they had a history so he found it easier to speak to him. The girl's positive attitude rubbed his other half and it was beginning to have thoughts of dragging her off somewhere to eclipse that light with its own brand of darkness. "We would like to see them returned to their land and homes, which are rightfully theirs" Castile replied to the young General.

"You wish to talk at this summit, but I tell you now... Peacekeepers... that you fear a war, but it is already here. You must cut out Francesca's reign of madness and perhaps Eventyr will again find balance". James Castile was willing to sit at a table with the other leaders. To test their merit. Weigh them. Judge them. Perhaps turn one against the other. Or bait a potential ally.

There would be blood...there always was, and always would be.

"And what of the city, your own resources must be limited?" he asked as if perhaps willing to lend them assistance instead. There was a reason the refugees took their chances in his realm over the Peacekeeper stronghold besides the journey.

tags

Rachel
 

Rafael: "We'll do what we can to help,"  "I'd like to see our Western refugees prosper, of course, but I understand the drain on your resources."


Kyky smiled warmly at the servant girls, clad in a unique uniform of violet and black that seemed to blend the flags of both the East and the North. The girl's brows rose in surprise at the diplomat's direct attention, just a moment before she lowered her head and hurried on to fill General Gonzalo's plate… 


As soon as she moved on, Kyky plucked up the fat bone-in chop of meat on her plate and rose to offer it to Manny behind her. She rarely ate meat - even more unsettled by the idea of eating animals since she had become so close to a friend who was arguably half of one - but Manny needed all the food he could get… 


On a normal night, she would also have made him eat some vegetables. But they were here on a mission. 


James: "Yes, many come to the North and East. They are welcomed so long as they obey the laws of our land, and are willing to participate in maintaining the realms".


Kyky returned to her seat and felt her head lilting skeptically to the side. While the king's words were technically true, the Peacekeepers had found enough evidence to believe that welcome was hollow. But before she had time to carefully craft a response, the king was looking at her companion instead... 


James: "We would like to see them returned to their land and homes, which are rightfully theirs" 


Kyky felt her jaw clench in annoyance, even as she worked to keep her lips neutral or sporting an amicable smile. The dynamic was so complicated - she knew Rafael had more respect among the higher classes, but she also knew he didn't want to lead...


James: "You wish to talk at this summit, but I tell you now... Peacekeepers... that you fear a war, but it is already here. You must cut out Francesca's reign of madness and perhaps Eventyr will again find balance.  And what of the city, your own resources must be limited?"


And so Kyky made it a point to cut in and reclaim the floor. Start by acknowledging common understanding: "Queen Rossi's reign is a problem, and the Peacekeepers do not deny that." Expound: "Granting citizenship to creatures presents an unprecedented threat to the safety of all Eventyrians." 


Kyky went on, "However, Queen Rossi's claim to rule cannot be disputed - not even in light of its problematic nature. Keeping peace requires the acknowledgement of legitimate rule..." 


In even the brief pause as Kyky considered her words, Queen Malia set down her glass and finally decided to speak. 


"You mean to say, young lady, that we - King and Queen of the NorthEast - ought not wish to see rightful rulers displaced, lest such sentiment end up on our own doorsteps sooner or later," Malia surmised. Neither she nor James were naive on this issue: rumors, mainly from the West, circulated that the King himself was a Changeling, and not unsubstantiated rumors swirled that Malia had wed and murdered the prior Duke of the North… Malia inclined her head toward James. "On this, they are right, my lord. Eventyr risks anarchy without clearly-defined lines of succession." 


This strategy, the queen knew well. They could not focus on just removing one enemy - it was about establishing precedent that would be advantageous for herself, later on. She knew, though, this would be harder for her husband to see, given his history and grievances with the corrupt Queen Rossi.


"Yes, Queen Von Oehsen," Kyky affirmed, although with perhaps a bit of humility - a glance downward, an uncomfortable, breathy chuckle - that her intent had been so plain. In no way, though, did she want to let the king's point go, though. "We… do find ourselves with the unique benefit of having not one, but two of the Western Queen's once-bethrothed. This may be an opportunity to gather any insights we may use to address the obvious problems with her reign..?"


God, Kyky thought as soon as the words left her lips. Rafael will never forgive me… but what if they could leverage this conversation to find a solution?


Tags!

Steph
 

*nudge*


On Sun, Jun 7, 2020 at 4:14 PM Rachel <rachelballa@...> wrote:

Rafael: "We'll do what we can to help,"  "I'd like to see our Western refugees prosper, of course, but I understand the drain on your resources."


Kyky smiled warmly at the servant girls, clad in a unique uniform of violet and black that seemed to blend the flags of both the East and the North. The girl's brows rose in surprise at the diplomat's direct attention, just a moment before she lowered her head and hurried on to fill General Gonzalo's plate… 


As soon as she moved on, Kyky plucked up the fat bone-in chop of meat on her plate and rose to offer it to Manny behind her. She rarely ate meat - even more unsettled by the idea of eating animals since she had become so close to a friend who was arguably half of one - but Manny needed all the food he could get… 


On a normal night, she would also have made him eat some vegetables. But they were here on a mission. 


James: "Yes, many come to the North and East. They are welcomed so long as they obey the laws of our land, and are willing to participate in maintaining the realms".


Kyky returned to her seat and felt her head lilting skeptically to the side. While the king's words were technically true, the Peacekeepers had found enough evidence to believe that welcome was hollow. But before she had time to carefully craft a response, the king was looking at her companion instead... 


James: "We would like to see them returned to their land and homes, which are rightfully theirs" 


Kyky felt her jaw clench in annoyance, even as she worked to keep her lips neutral or sporting an amicable smile. The dynamic was so complicated - she knew Rafael had more respect among the higher classes, but she also knew he didn't want to lead...


James: "You wish to talk at this summit, but I tell you now... Peacekeepers... that you fear a war, but it is already here. You must cut out Francesca's reign of madness and perhaps Eventyr will again find balance.  And what of the city, your own resources must be limited?"


And so Kyky made it a point to cut in and reclaim the floor. Start by acknowledging common understanding: "Queen Rossi's reign is a problem, and the Peacekeepers do not deny that." Expound: "Granting citizenship to creatures presents an unprecedented threat to the safety of all Eventyrians." 


Kyky went on, "However, Queen Rossi's claim to rule cannot be disputed - not even in light of its problematic nature. Keeping peace requires the acknowledgement of legitimate rule..." 


In even the brief pause as Kyky considered her words, Queen Malia set down her glass and finally decided to speak. 


"You mean to say, young lady, that we - King and Queen of the NorthEast - ought not wish to see rightful rulers displaced, lest such sentiment end up on our own doorsteps sooner or later," Malia surmised. Neither she nor James were naive on this issue: rumors, mainly from the West, circulated that the King himself was a Changeling, and not unsubstantiated rumors swirled that Malia had wed and murdered the prior Duke of the North… Malia inclined her head toward James. "On this, they are right, my lord. Eventyr risks anarchy without clearly-defined lines of succession." 


This strategy, the queen knew well. They could not focus on just removing one enemy - it was about establishing precedent that would be advantageous for herself, later on. She knew, though, this would be harder for her husband to see, given his history and grievances with the corrupt Queen Rossi.


"Yes, Queen Von Oehsen," Kyky affirmed, although with perhaps a bit of humility - a glance downward, an uncomfortable, breathy chuckle - that her intent had been so plain. In no way, though, did she want to let the king's point go, though. "We… do find ourselves with the unique benefit of having not one, but two of the Western Queen's once-bethrothed. This may be an opportunity to gather any insights we may use to address the obvious problems with her reign..?"


God, Kyky thought as soon as the words left her lips. Rafael will never forgive me… but what if they could leverage this conversation to find a solution?


Tags!

Manda
 

James: "You wish to talk at this summit, but I tell you now... Peacekeepers... that you fear a war, but it is already here. You must cut out Francesca's reign of madness and perhaps Eventyr will again find balance.  And what of the city, your own resources must be limited?"


"Our resources are just fine, Your Majesty," Rafael said as a mild aside, picking up his silverware and cutting into the meat. He lifted an eyebrow, "Though your concern is noted." And utter horseshit.


James wasn't wrong though. War was here, maybe not specifically in the Northeast yet but the West had been positively torn apart by it. No one knew exactly what had spurred the vehement animosity between Francesca and Zaire but it had resulted in a staggering amount of violence and bloodshed. They'd all heard tales of the troops Francesca had sent to the coast to establish order and how their corpses had ended up decorating the masts of Zaire's fleet of ships. It had made a rather unambiguous point. 


It did leave Rafael wondering if Zaire would be much of a step up from Francesca, should her reign end and his remain. He'd been rather amenable thus far, once he'd been allowed to deal with those he was comfortable with anyway, though Rafael wasn't sure how much could one really expect from a pirate?


Kyky: "Queen Rossi's reign is a problem, and the Peacekeepers do not deny that." Expound: "Granting citizenship to creatures presents an unprecedented threat to the safety of all Eventyrians." … "However, Queen Rossi's claim to rule cannot be disputed - not even in light of its problematic nature. Keeping peace requires the acknowledgement of legitimate rule..." 


Malia: "You mean to say, young lady, that we - King and Queen of the NorthEast - ought not wish to see rightful rulers displaced, lest such sentiment end up on our own doorsteps sooner or later," … "On this, they are right, my lord. Eventyr risks anarchy without clearly-defined lines of succession." 


Kyky: "Yes, Queen Von Oehsen," ... "We… do find ourselves with the unique benefit of having not one, but two of the Western Queen's once-bethrothed. This may be an opportunity to gather any insights we may use to address the obvious problems with her reign..?"


Rafael's eyes snapped to Kyky, his mask slipping for a heartbeat as he wondered whether he'd heard her correctly. Did she truly expect him and James to sit and discuss their shared past with Francesca in hopes of it possibly leading to some sort of insight? Surely if he'd had insight, then he'd have shared it by now


But…


Rafael's eyes went to James, to Malia, finally to Kyky again. "Francesca is not in control," he admitted, grudgingly. "At least, she wasn't five years ago." Had that changed since she'd become Queen? He couldn't really say, but maybe it was worth exploring. "The vampire who is always with her, Seo-Jun; he doesn't answer to her."


Tags

 

turksgirl
 

Manfred raised his hand gently and shook his head at Kyky, when she offered him part of her meal. She meant well, but he didn't want to insult the Northeastern royals as if they're food wasn't good enough. "I'm fine. I can't eat meat in this form" he grunted out. Manny was truly a half-horse, and meat was bad on his equine digestive system. He nodded politely, more to the King and Queen, although it was his friend that had moved to make the offer. "Thank you anyway".

James watched the interaction between the girl and the centaur with interest, one brow arching slightly almost like amusement. He had a handmaiden bring some mash from the stables, no one would say that the Northeast did not treat their guests well. The young general assured him that the former King's City was fine. The Green King doubted that, or they would not be here... would they?

His brow furrowed at the young blonde as she spoke up about Francesca, and her decision to make vampires citizens of Eventyr. Speaking like a typical diplomat, as if he were a child and did not understand the irony of a bastard son of a king speaking of the 
legitimacy of a Duke's daughter's rule. He felt the urge to crush her pretty little neck between his large hands. Enough, he thought to himself. Clearly his other half was rearing it's ugly head. A tittering giggle rang in his ears, our hands could find a better use than snapping that pretty neck

Behave yourself, James warned the dark thing that clearly had grown bored and wanted to play its own terms. He would be back in his armor and slaying the Northeast's enemies... their enemies. He was glad when his queen spoke for them. They had chosen well. She appealed to both of them for different reasons, and balanced out the rule of power in their domain. It was a shame he had given his heart literally to another already.

They looked respectfully at their spouse as she addressed them. Perhaps Eventyr could use a little anarchy... Quiet you.

Kyky: "Yes, Queen Von Oehsen," ... "We… do find ourselves with the unique benefit of having not one, but two of the Western Queen's once-bethrothed. This may be an opportunity to gather any insights we may use to address the obvious problems with her reign..?"

Rafael: "Francesca is not in control," "At least, she wasn't five years ago." "The vampire who is always with her, Seo-Jun; he doesn't answer to her."

James frowned although the knowledge was not so surprising, the bodyguard. Tell them nothing! The Green King pushed his chair back and got to his feet, several servants scuttled out of his way. A dull, amused sound came from the king. "Francesca is quite in control. She knows what she does, and whom she consorts with..."

He looked at the young diplomat and general, a smirk curled his mouth. "The succubi, they are her children. Her curse. It gives us great pleasure to destroy them one by one" James looked out a window and then turn to the trio, "Have you dealt with any?"

Manfred flicked his tail nervously. He didn't like talking about Vampires, or Succubi. His people were a suspicious lot, and he was not any different, the centaur felt as if speaking of them invited them to call. They had been fortunate not to cross any misfortunes on the road here from the Peacekeeper city. His steel shoes clicked on the stone floor. Leaning in close to Kyky, he whispered to her "Are we conspiring to rise against the Queen of the West?" It  certainly seemed that way.

tags


Rachel
 

While James watched the young diplomat and her centaur sentry, Malia's eyes slid to her husband. She well knew his penchant for violence and control and vengeance, and there was no denying that Kyrilis Wooler struck at least all the visual chords of a young Francesca and, given the topic at hand, how could that not be where his mind went? She noticed a certain tension in his massive form and when he rose to his feet, the Queen sat forward. She would have to keep an eye out, lest James happen upon the young woman in the library later...


Rafael: "Francesca is not in control," "At least, she wasn't five years ago." "The vampire who is always with her, Seo-Jun; he doesn't answer to her."


James: "Francesca is quite in control. She knows what she does, and whom she consorts with..."


Kyky listened carefully to each answer, and felt herself sit a little straighter when the King rose. Usually, it was good practice to imitate - in any other negotiation, she would also have stood, after a moment or two, which would silently reinforce that they were on the same page. However, she could think of no excuse for what would clearly be seen as strange behavior at best or manipulative at worst… So she opted to repeat. It had a similar effect. "And she's consorting with…" And then he cut her off before she had to decide on what euphemism to use... Perfect.


James: "The succubi, they are her children. Her curse. It gives us great pleasure to destroy them one by one" "Have you dealt with any?"


Manny: "Are we conspiring to rise against the Queen of the West?"


"Not at all," Kyky whispered back to Manny, reassuringly, sensing his agitation, and, without thinking, reached up to lay a hand on his shoulder as he leaned in. Kyky hoped Rafael would field the King's question; he was their authority on creature-hunting. To Manny, she whispered, "We're just gathering information and insights..." Hopefully, they could get a rare candid moment with the Northeastern King and use what they learned to find a way to pressure Francesca to rescind her policy or step down? Kyky didn't know, based on what she'd heard from Rafael and James, but suddenly the Queen was piping up in a rather uncharacteristically impulsive way that had Kyky's head snapping in her direction. 


"No, no, no, no, no," Malia spoke up, almost as if she could not help herself. "It's hardly so easy. Francesca Rossi is a witch far more than a thrall. She might have ceded some of her autonomy to the vampire, but she must be getting something back worth more to her. Who among us can command one creature, where Francesca keeps courts of them? She has the succubi," here, Malia nodded toward James, "but what else…? ...Half the kingdom she claimed, and piddling revenge?"

Kyky sighed, and cast a glance toward Rafael because the question the Northeastern Queen posed next was exactly the one that had been on Kyky's - and indeed all the Peacekeepers' lips - that they hadn't been yet able to fully articulate, much less answer. And so Kyky nodded, and hoped against hope that perhaps the two living beings who knew Queen Rossi best might have a guess: 


"The pair of them - Francesca and her vampire - what do they want?" 


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