Topics

The Babe With the Power #James #Malia #Sanya

Rachel Balla
 

Who: Malia
With: James Castille, Sanya Nimr, other royal party attendants
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City
When: February 28th, evening

The interior of the castle was downright cold, which meant that emerging into even this chilly-sunny day warmed Malia's cocoa skin. It made the Duchess grateful for the thick folds of her gown and the snug fit of her jeweled leather boots. How these young southern ladies tolerated their frocks and slippers, Malia had no idea -
but Malia did not need to attract a nobleman the way they did. As she exited the castle into the courtyard, her steps were cautious, but her posture confident - hopefully, enough so to deter anyone from inquiring after her comings and goings.


The air smelled fresh and clean, a benefit from the castle sitting atop a raging river. A witch's spell, a century or more ago now, tempered the noise from the water and thus allowed the sweet music from the players to resonate throughout the party.


The courtyard was a pleasant sight - utilized as a training field for soldiers, she guessed. The grass provided a soft padding for a fall, but otherwise it was simply a luxury, a show of wealth: since no cows or horses grazed here, it was little more than a cushion for rookies and a chore for the landscapers to maintain.


The walls that framed the castle and overlooked the Enchanted Lake were heavily patrolled today. Guests were not allowed on the walls, nor inside the castle proper - although Malia had snuck in her visit with impunity thus far.


The slope of the green led to the Artisan's Bridge, where nobles and commoners alike offered their gifts up for scrutiny and hoped entry to the grand soiree. Tables, spread with food and drink, led the way from there up to where the king and his consort sat in their "diet thrones" (as Malia labeled them in her mind), greeting friends and accepting gifts. Malia noticed that while the lovely young, rotund consort would smile, smile, smile, she never touched the gifts. A servant always snatched them up, for the purpose of displaying them, and then took them inside. Malia guessed they were worried about poisoning or some other mischief, and a subdued smile tugged at her full lips.


The elaborate show drew Malia's mind back to her own baby showers, once-upon-a-time, so many years ago. A few family members, friends, colleagues gathering to play a silly game or two and offer a month's worth of diapers or a gift card… while she treasured those memories, and those of her children, nothing about this display made Malia yearn for another. Her heart laid elsewhere.


The click of metal boots were her only warning.


"My lady," a voice said behind her - polite, but firm.


Malia's eyebrow twitched and her torso turned slowly. There was an authority in her movement and her eyes that dared the guard to challenge her - even if the scarlet cape off his shoulders implied his rank.

"Guests are not allowed inside the castle. I apologize that you were not alerted to that when you entered."


No duh - Malia mused to herself. She had slipped in when the king and consort arrived, under cover of commotion. No one had seen her, and now this soldier hoped to cover his ass with an apology.


"Please come with us, so we can ask you a few questions," he concluded.


Malia's eyes narrowed dangerously as she exhaled an annoyed sigh. Raising red flags was the last thing she had wanted….


Tagging a Prince Charm...somethingorotheryouknow

Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e3/27/30/e327304328abe95bb584627960403396.jpg

turksgirl
 

Who: James Castille
With: Malia Campbell, Sanya Nimr, other royal party attendants
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City 
When: February 28th, evening

"Please come with us, so we can ask you a few questions," he concluded.

Malia's eyes narrowed dangerously as she exhaled an annoyed sigh. Raising red flags was the last thing she had wanted….

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

"Why, pray tell, are you bothering the Duchess of the North, Captain?" a low voice like grinding gravel asked. James Castille, better known to most as the Green Duke, stared down at the guard with a dull expression that could have been boredom. "While the Artisan's bridge is so overwhelmed with gift givers and well wishers there may be a drowning?" he drawled out as if an accident might lively up the place.

The captain looked from the Duchess, to the Duke and then the bridge. The Duke of the East had no real authority, but he was the king's half-brother. And they were nobles.... "I'll escort her ladyship until you return to poise your questions of the utmost pertinence, Captain" the Duke assured him with a dull, dead gaze, it was like having a corpse look you over.

The guard hesitated before giving a nod and marching off toward the bridge. 

"He'll be back" James admitted dryly, offering his elbow to the Duchess so they could lose themselves among the other nobles for a time. The captain had his pride to nurse first, but he would return. 

Tags from price charmless


Rachel Balla
 

James: "Why, pray tell, are you bothering the Duchess of the North, Captain?" "While the Artisan's bridge is so overwhelmed with gift givers and well wishers there may be a drowning?" "I'll escort her ladyship until you return to poise your questions of the utmost pertinence, Captain"


James swept in to her rescue, which Malia had hoped for but not counted on. He looked so fucking dashing, but his delivery left so much to be desired! At least his words and the authority behind them did the trick, and he sent the uppity soldier on his way. Now, that Captain would be personally blamed for any incident on the bridge, and he knew it, and he would make sure he was present.


James: "He'll be back."


With that flat, gravelly voice and that huge, muscular frame, Malia immediately connected James' words to the famous Terminator catchphrase and burst into laughter - quiet laughter, subdued, as she refused to draw attention, but her amusement and gratitude bled through. How awful that he would never get the joke!


She claimed his elbow when offered, and gave his bicep a subtle, suggestive squeeze when she did. After all, she was no longer married, and suffered from none of the anxieties of their first meeting, and once she was rescued, there was a playful lilt in her voice. "That's fine. I'll answer any questions he has... in an hour - maybe less," if she was reading the arch of the sun correctly...


Changing the subject abruptly, she continued. Her upbeat attitude and bounce in her step implied her optimism - celebration, if you will. "Have you eaten? Let's get some food."

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turksgirl
 

Malia:  "That's fine. I'll answer any questions he has... in an hour - maybe less," if she was reading the arch of the sun correctly..."Have you eaten? Let's get some food."

The Duke assumed that time would help make a suitable excuse, he was sure the captain would take whatever ladylike reason the Duchess gave. But her inquiry if he had eaten, and insistence to do so actually caught the large man off guard. He doubted she had any concern that he was wasting away under his tunic. His brows arched slightly but he allowed her to lead him into the celebration.

James brusquely moved commoner and noble aside with his free arm, to keep anyone from accidentally bumping into the Duchess. He stared forward ignoring most of the people vying for the attention of a noble. He rather be down in the dungeon skinning the werewolf there before the moon rose, but Philip insisted on making an example in a public execution. As if he had captured the she-wolf, had ventured into the ancient, enchanted woods himself. As always James took the risks and his half brother took the glory.

"My condolences and apologies for not attending the Duke's funeral..." Castile said as he examined a table of desserts. It had been some time ago and one of his people sent a lovely letter, but he felt it proper to voice it in person. Better late than never, and he knew how the Duchess truly felt about her late husband. the man had been a dullard. A true example that blood did not make one a ruler.

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Rachel Balla
 

Malia caught James' reaction - oh, that was amusing. He would never quite understand the grandmother in her, would he? Well, thank god he wouldn't! But spending their time eating at the buffet table was also the most innocuous place to be, and thus seemed the safest place to linger, even if their discussion would have to become more and more coded. No one could suppose or argue that a conspiracy was carried out over kebabs and cakes.


She broke away to gather a plate of what she supposed would be James' favorites - lots of gamey meat, she guessed, although she threw in greens on the side because he wasn't going to get along without a vitamin or two, was he?


Passing his plate over as they approached the dessert table, she offered a sober nod in return to his comment. He had sent a nice note. Although she would have loved to host the Duke of the East in the gorgeous, towering estate she had inherited, the duration of the funeral wasn't exactly the timeframe she would have chosen.


"I would not have wanted you to see me in such a state," Malia answered, her words diplomatic in both their denotation and tone. The irony would be apparent only to him. Her husband had been a lump of wet sand at best, and she had gained handsomely from his untimely demise. She wondered if she might even get a rare laugh in return, and her gaze cut across expectantly.


And when she did, the glint of the setting sun against ample plates of gold caught her eye. That was the collar of the noble family of the Southern Duchy… but it was fitted against the slender throat of a much younger woman than Malia expected. Had they passed on, without Malia hearing word? Why else would their daughter be there in their stead? Her curious stare lingered a moment too long and caught the young lady's attention...


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Steph
 

Who: Sanya Nimr
With: James Castille, Malia Campbell, other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City 
When: February 28th, evening

 The gold and turquoise collar that Sanya wore around her neck for the duration of this particular celebration was her mother's, and her paternal grandmother's before her. It wasn't the only representative collar of the Southern Duchess, but the fact that it had seen multiple generations of use gave it more weight than the gold alone. Sayna would have preferred something half as wide, but of all the collars she could have chosen, she appreciated the design of the falcon with its wings outstretched over her shoulders. It was the only obviously flashy part of her outfit. Though her black dress was long-sleeved and made of thicker material to contain warmth in the albeit seasonally-warm February weather, it maintained the spirit of a Southern Duchy sheath dress. She had a lacy shawl draped over her arms and wrapped around her torso, clearly more for fashion than for any kind of warmth.

But the collar was her mantle, her badge of honor, the visual cue to anyone who knew anything of the Dukes and Duchesses that Sanya wasn't simply here as a noble. She was, for all intents and purposes, the Duchess of the South for the day. It was a common enough practice for the nobility to send their eldest children off to represent them at social functions as practice for some day stepping fully into their role as a lord or lady. It was almost unheard of to do so when that social function was to welcome the birth of a child who might some day become the monarch.

Sanya had presented her family's gift with the deepest apologies on behalf of her parents for their absence and the most sincere blessings upon the consort and her soon-to-be-born child. (It was a cradle made of true Southern Duchy acacia, carved with an intricate pattern of acacia flowers, representative of renewal and purity.)

Then, she'd started to mingle within the crowd. But she had to be mindful, so careful, of who she mingled with and how she carried herself because she was wearing the duchess's mantle. She couldn't just go flock with familiar faces in attendance from the Queen's college--her fellow scholars. No, she had to mingle and be attentive. She had to gather information. She had to make herself useful.

When she found her way to the refreshments and began to take a little food, she looked over to notice the Duchess of the North and the Duke of the East both not too far away, and Malia was looking straight at her, quizzical expression on her face.

T was most important of all for her to get along well with her fellow dukes and duchesses. Sanya gave a little nod of her head and crossed the space separating her from arguably the two most powerful people in attendance as guests at this function.

"Duchess North, Duke East," she said, dipping in a slight curtsey to each in turn as she said their names--enough to be a deference to their age but not so much that it was a deference to their equal titles on this particular evening. "My parents send their regards. My mother took ill just before they were to begin traveling to the King's City, and my father sprained his ankle while training with his guard's youngest recruits. He forgets to leave the adventuring to the youth some days."

She said this with a faint humor, a knowing sort of smile. She knew the circles of nobility well, as she'd navigated them her entire life. Despite her youth, she stood with the confident certainty of one who ought to be exactly where she was.

<Tag?>

turksgirl
 

The Green Duke mused as the Duchess of the North made a plate of meats and veggies and past it to him. It was a nurturing gesture, and he tilted his head at her. An expression of mild amusement and confusion, but he nodded his head in a bow of appreciation. He appropriately replied to her statement of not wanting him to see her in such a state, "You are always lovely, Duchess".

James turned his head to followed her gaze toward another, younger woman. Her adornments spoke of the Southern Duchy, and more than the average noble of a house. The large, almost armor like collar a symbol of her house. The eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of the South, Sanya.  There was some invisible string that seemed to be between his companion to the young noble. He made no move to stop her approach...

"Duchess North, Duke East," she said, dipping in a slight curtsey to each in turn as she said their names--enough to be a deference to their age but not so much that it was a deference to their equal titles on this particular evening. "My parents send their regards. My mother took ill just before they were to begin traveling to the King's City, and my father sprained his ankle while training with his guard's youngest recruits. He forgets to leave the adventuring to the youth some days."
 
The Duke tilted his head as she made excuses for her parents. A snort escape the man.

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Rachel Balla
 

James: "You are always lovely, Duchess"


With a coy bite of her lower lip, Malia tamed her voice down into a somber, deadpan tone even as she joked in return, "And that might well have presented a... complication."


Sanya: "Duchess North, Duke East," "My parents send their regards. My mother took ill just before they were to begin traveling to the King's City, and my father sprained his ankle while training with his guard's youngest recruits. He forgets to leave the adventuring to the youth some days."


The young lady was shrewd. Malia had only been at this for a few years, and so she was well aware than Sanya might have looked youthful, but she had Eventyr in her blood in ways Malia never would. The ease with which she both deferred to the other leaders of the kingdom's regions showed respect… but there was a corner of Malia's mind that latched onto that suspicion of a beautiful, capable up-and-comer in a particularly defensive way. Malia had to hope that her study of Shakespeare's Gertrude and Lady Macbeth for decade on decade would make up the difference.


James' snort bolstered her. It seemed to emphasize how very much he needed Malia to compensate for his - unexpected - total lack of charm.


"Send your parents our best wishes, if you would," Malia said, daring to presume including James' wishes in there. "Their situations must be severe," to risk their standing in court by sending their young daughter to such a monumental event! Didn't the Southern Dutchy already pay less in tax than the others?


"How does it suit you?" Malia asked, gesturing at the necklace around Sanya's throat. It was a loaded question if ever there was one: How ready are you to usurp your parents? "I think it couldn't be lovelier."

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Steph
 

Who: Sanya Nimr
With: James Castille, Malia Campbell, other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City
When: February 28th, evening
 
 >>>>
The Duke tilted his head as she made excuses for her parents. A snort escape the man.
>>>>
"Send your parents our best wishes, if you would," Malia said, daring to presume including James' wishes in there. "Their situations must be severe," to risk their standing in court by sending their young daughter to such a monumental event! Didn't the Southern Dutchy already pay less in tax than the others?
 
"How does it suit you?" Malia asked, gesturing at the necklace around Sanya's throat. It was a loaded question if ever there was one: How ready are you to usurp your parents? "I think it couldn't be lovelier."
>>>>
 
At Duke Castile's snort, an instinct slithered along Sanya's spine, and her eyes--for a moment--focused sharply upon him. The intolerable disrespect did not suit his station, and a deep part of her instincts called for her to respond in kind.
 
May your every word catch in your throat like a thorn until you have worshipped at the feet of a thousand thousand women who are your betters, it whispered.
 
But, she knew this instinct well enough to press her traitorous tongue to the roof of her mouth--also an excellent way to ensure that one did not clench one's jaws while they offered a societally polite smile. Now was not the time or place to let out her sorcerous powers. (No, the reception after the birth of the child, that was far more traditional, wasn't it?)
 
Malia's words gave her the opportunity to shift her attention away from the bastard brother of the king to the rootless, disingenuous woman.
 
"Two generations after King Belmont built this castle, the Duchess Nimr of the time commissioned this. She was, among other things, a falconer," Sanya said smoothly. Malia had not asked for a story, but her question merited one. What little intelligence her family had of this duchess indicated that she was new blood, unfamiliar to the nobility. She may not have understood that the Nimrs had ruled the South for hundreds of years before the War of the Undead, before Paxton had taken the throne. Her ancestors had appointed the ancestors of each of the dukes. Hers was not the royal blood, but it was the oldest.
 
"When any man looked upon her with anything less than the proper respect for her station or dismissed her words, she had merely to wave her hand, and one of her falcons would dive down as if from nowhere and pluck out their eyes." She touched the falcon gently as she gave Duke Castile a look that was perhaps a little more pointed than it should have been to maintain civility. "This was her… reminder to those in her presence to be mindful of their actions. It was a favorite of my grandmother's." Another polite smile, carefully formed from a lifetime of practice and preparation. "I enjoy the story of it as much as the design. True craftsmanship, to endure over five centuries and still gleam the way it does."

She glanced down from Malia's face to the necklace around her throat--a modern-looking piece that paralleled designs that were popular in jeweler's shops lately. She looked back to the new Duchess's eyes, and the question that followed was maybe one drip too sweet in tone to be truly sincere. "Did you buy your necklace just for this festival? It's lovely, too."

<Tag!>

turksgirl
 

Who: James Castille
With: Malia Campbell, Sanya Nimr other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City
When: February 28th, evening
>>>>
"Send your parents our best wishes, if you would," Malia said, daring to presume including James' wishes in there. "Their situations must be severe," to risk their standing in court by sending their young daughter to such a monumental event! Didn't the Southern Dutchy already pay less in tax than the others?
 
"How does it suit you?" Malia asked, gesturing at the necklace around Sanya's throat. It was a loaded question if ever there was one: How ready are you to usurp your parents? "I think it couldn't be lovelier."
>>>>
 
"Two generations after King Belmont built this castle, the Duchess Nimr of the time commissioned this. She was, among other things, a falconer," Sanya said smoothly. Malia had not asked for a story, but her question merited one. What little intelligence her family had of this duchess indicated that she was new blood, unfamiliar to the nobility. She may not have understood that the Nimrs had ruled the South for hundreds of years before the War of the Undead, before Paxton had taken the throne. Her ancestors had appointed the ancestors of each of the dukes. Hers was not the royal blood, but it was the oldest.
 
"When any man looked upon her with anything less than the proper respect for her station or dismissed her words, she had merely to wave her hand, and one of her falcons would dive down as if from nowhere and pluck out their eyes." She touched the falcon gently as she gave Duke Castile a look that was perhaps a little more pointed than it should have been to maintain civility. "This was her… reminder to those in her presence to be mindful of their actions. It was a favorite of my grandmother's." Another polite smile, carefully formed from a lifetime of practice and preparation. "I enjoy the story of it as much as the design. True craftsmanship, to endure over five centuries and still gleam the way it does."
 
She glanced down from Malia's face to the necklace around her throat--a modern-looking piece that paralleled designs that were popular in jeweler's shops lately. She looked back to the new Duchess's eyes, and the question that followed was maybe one drip too sweet in tone to be truly sincere. "Did you buy your necklace just for this festival? It's lovely, too."
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The Duke had been watching the other nobles around them, how they prattled on like children. Talking gossip and stories best left in the taverns that birthed them. He turned his head toward the two women in his close proximity, and took in the younger one with a dark gaze. For a moment the image of his large hands tearing that elegant necklace away, and surrounding the long column of the daughter of the Southern Duchy's neck filled his mind....Do it! Do it, the little bitch!

The snide little catty backhanded compliment toward the Duchess of the North. Who had tried, although it was unasked for, to play diplomat between them.

James blinked and the predatory glare was gone, and he politely nodded his head. "A fascinating story, my lady. We use eagles for hunting in the East.... We prefer larger prey than mice" a stony, tight smile curled his mouth, but there was no amusement in his eyes. He had been through far more trials, at a far younger age, her little threats meant nothing to him. Her parentage meant nothing to him. She meant nothing to him.

And if she was as intelligent as she thought she was, she would stay clear of him. Still.... this was his brother's festival. He should not spoil it... not yet, at least with churlish behavior.

"Forgive my unmannerly disposition, ladies. My demeanor is not for festivities of birthright or social graces, but marauders in the enchanted woods. And the soon to come execution of one of their werewolves in these very dungeons....  Will surely bring more tolerable, genteel behavior in polite society". Well, it was honest although rather blunt, and gruesome.

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Rachel Balla
 

Sanya: "Two generations after King Belmont built this castle, the Duchess Nimr of the time commissioned this. She was, among other things, a falconer," "When any man looked upon her with anything less than the proper respect for her station or dismissed her words, she had merely to wave her hand, and one of her falcons would dive down as if from nowhere and pluck out their eyes." "This was her… reminder to those in her presence to be mindful of their actions. It was a favorite of my grandmother's." "I enjoy the story of it as much as the design. True craftsmanship, to endure over five centuries and still gleam the way it does."


Malia wondered if the girl delved into her family's history because she supposed they didn't know, but the first thing Malia had done upon her arrival was read every book she could get her hands on about Eventyr's history. So of course, she knew the significance of the Nimr family... but this was a story she hadn't read before, which meant that either Sanya was lying - unlikely, given the obvious quality of the necklace and her ease of demeanor - or there was a trove of literature, written or oral, in the south that Malia felt a pang of longing to delve into.


Sanya: "Did you buy your necklace just for this festival? It's lovely, too."


The compliment stung like an insult - as if the younger woman were accusing her of being vain, frivolous, or, perhaps, just trying too hard. Offense showed in the subtle raise of her eyebrows, but before Malia could answer, James interjected...


James: "A fascinating story, my lady. We use eagles for hunting in the East.... We prefer larger prey than mice" "Forgive my unmannerly disposition, ladies. My demeanor is not for festivities of birthright or social graces, but marauders in the enchanted woods. And the soon to come execution of one of their werewolves in these very dungeons....  Will surely bring more tolerable, genteel behavior in polite society"


There was a corner of Malia's mind that just cringed when James spoke. He seemed to totally lack the social graces that his station afforded. Once upon a time, she wondered if he was autistic… but concluded not. He could pick up on the social cues, he just didn't care to meet their expectations of him.


The prick of offense Malia felt toward Sanya simmered, fanned by a flame in her heart she didn't quite understand. Sanya wasn't a threat to her position, so why did she feel as if she were? Malia had to make a conscious choice to put that feeling up on a shelf in her mind. I don't need to make enemies, she told herself. Not today.


"Oh yes, the werewolf." She jumped on the new topic James raised and asked the southern girl, " "Will you be staying in town for the execution?"


Then, she asked James, "The werewolf came from your duchy - why did you decide have him executed here, instead of doing the deed yourself?" With a small smirk she hid behind a sip of her wine, she added, "Or, do you plan to?"


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Steph
 

Who: Sanya Nimr
With: James Castille, Malia Campbell, other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City 
When: February 28th, evening

 >>>>
"A fascinating story, my lady. We use eagles for hunting in the East.... We prefer larger prey than mice" "Forgive my unmannerly disposition, ladies. My demeanor is not for festivities of birthright or social graces, but marauders in the enchanted woods. And the soon to come execution of one of their werewolves in these very dungeons....  Will surely bring more tolerable, genteel behavior in polite society"
>>>>>

Falconry, Sanya half wanted to point out, was the art of training all forms of birds of prey, not falcons only. But she could hear her mother's voice chiding her.

Picking on individual words is pedantic, childish, and gains you nothing, Sanya. 

And reacting to the comment by picking at it would call more attention to it, when the Duke was already moving the conversation along to a new point, and the Duchess had followed suit.  

>>>>
"Will you be staying in town for the execution?" ... "The werewolf came from your duchy - why did you decide have him executed here, instead of doing the deed yourself?" With a small smirk she hid behind a sip of her wine, she added, "Or, do you plan to?" 
>>>>

The werewolf. A neutral topic, with any good fortune. Surely they all maintained the sensible logic that creatures were a pox that needed to be destroyed. The Duke could be as uncouth as he wanted, the Duchess as rootless, and it didn't particularly matter when discussing a literal monster.

"Classes at the Queen's College resume the morning of the execution, so it's unlikely I'll be out of town, unless my parents' health grows worse," Sanya said to answer Malia's question--though she left it vague as to whether or not she intended to attend the execution itself. "I am curious, myself, how the werewolf was brought from the Forest, and why the Castle dungeon is being used to hold the beast. I'd think, in most circumstances, it would be best to keep a werewolf well and truly away from the king's pregnant consort." 

Her comment was a gentle test of the waters, too. Sanya was a little less curious about the werewolf itself so much as the Duke and Duchess's opinions of the king's decision-making of late. Did they see wisdom in His Majesty's actions or find them flawed?

<Tag!>

turksgirl
 

Who: James Castille
With: Malia Campbell, Sanya Nimr other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City
When: February 28th, evening
>>>>>>>>>>>>
Malia: *cringe at conversational faux pas*

"Oh yes, the werewolf." She jumped on the new topic James raised and asked the southern girl, " "Will you be staying in town for the execution?"

Then, she asked James, "The werewolf came from your duchy - why did you decide have him executed here, instead of doing the deed yourself?" With a small smirk she hid behind a sip of her wine, she added, "Or, do you plan to?"
<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Sanya: *Grrrrrr....manners*

"Classes at the Queen's College resume the morning of the execution, so it's unlikely I'll be out of town, unless my parents' health grows worse," Sanya said to answer Malia's question--though she left it vague as to whether or not she intended to attend the execution itself. "I am curious, myself, how the werewolf was brought from the Forest, and why the Castle dungeon is being used to hold the beast. I'd think, in most circumstances, it would be best to keep a werewolf well and truly away from the king's pregnant consort." 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

James cocked his head and arched a brow at Malia, his mouth curled slightly as he replied. "Yes, the werewolf came from my domain, Philip.... the king, requested I bring her here. Stay her execution until the festivities, and yes... I will slay the creature that has helped to trouble my land". He stood taller, almost proudly although the emotion did not come across as much as it should have. His eyes narrowed and glanced off to the East, "It will be a message received, no matter where it is delivered from". 

The Duke turned his head toward Sanya, his demeanor was all rigid polite civility. As if their previous conversation was all but forgotten.... "I concur, Duchess, but our fidelity is sworn to powers that be. The king is confident his dungeons and men are capable of the task of keeping the creature  bound and secure" he replied. Although his hand went to the sword at his hip with the massive green stone set into the hilt, fingering it impatiently.

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls....... the consort has nothing to fear, nor yourselves, duchesses...."

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Rachel Balla
 

Sanya: "Classes at the Queen's College resume the morning of the execution, so it's unlikely I'll be out of town, unless my parents' health grows worse," Sanya said to answer Malia's question--though she left it vague as to whether or not she intended to attend the execution itself. "I am curious, myself, how the werewolf was brought from the Forest, and why the Castle dungeon is being used to hold the beast. I'd think, in most circumstances, it would be best to keep a werewolf well and truly away from the king's pregnant consort."


Sanya's intent did not go unnoticed by the Duchess of the North - had the King lost his mind? It was the question everyone was thinking, but only the commoners out of royal earshot could voice. It reminded her of Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four, and the strict rules applied only to the middle and upper classes. The commoners - the proles - had freedom to do, say, or think whatever they wanted.


James: "Yes, the werewolf came from my domain, Philip.... the king, requested I bring her here. Stay her execution until the festivities, and yes... I will slay the creature that has helped to trouble my land". "It will be a message received, no matter where it is delivered from".


"Her?" Malia asked, brows raising, as James corrected her mis-gendered comment. So associated were werewolves with aggression and violence, it was easy to think of them all as male - or, perhaps, just the ones associated with terrorist organizations like the Marauders. Of course, if there was anyone heartless enough in the Kingdom to execute a woman without a blink, it would be the Green Duke. It would have been such a show, Malia thought to herself, amused...


James: "I concur, Duchess, but our fidelity is sworn to powers that be. The king is confident his dungeons and men are capable of the task of keeping the creature  bound and secure" "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls....... the consort has nothing to fear, nor yourselves, duchesses...."


Precisely why Malia planned to stay by his side, in fact, and she sent a somewhat anxious glance to the west and the sun setting there. "I have heard it said that this is the most secure dungeon in the realm. Or perhaps, its failsafe," its ability to flood with river rapids in the event of a breach, "is the best defense against a creature." Then slid her gaze to Sanya as she hedged, and although her words were vague and few, it clearly echoed her concern about the King's questionable decision making of late. "However, you never know what can go wrong."


Tags

Steph
 

Who: Sanya Nimr
With: James Castille, Malia Campbell, other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City 
When: February 28th, evening


>>>>
"I concur, Duchess, but our fidelity is sworn to powers that be. The king is confident his dungeons and men are capable of the task of keeping the creature  bound and secure" he replied. Although his hand went to the sword at his hip with the massive green stone set into the hilt, fingering it impatiently.

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls....... the consort has nothing to fear, nor yourselves, duchesses...."
 >>>>
"I have heard it said that this is the most secure dungeon in the realm. Or perhaps, its failsafe," its ability to flood with river rapids in the event of a breach, "is the best defense against a creature." Then slid her gaze to Sanya as she hedged, and although her words were vague and few, it clearly echoed her concern about the King's questionable decision making of late. "However, you never know what can go wrong."
>>>>

Sanya couldn't help but notice the way that the Duke touched his sword, the artful way both he and the Duchess avoided speaking outright against the king and vocally expressed something like their loyalty to the realm.

"I would argue that the most secure dungeon in the realm is the Tower surrounded on by a high wall with a single gate of five locks, then miles upon miles of salt flats, where thirst and starvation claim any who dare try to escape," Sanya posited, scholarly. "To handle executions swiftly and keep prisoners far, far from anywhere where they could do harm seems wiser than to keep them in the heart of a city, at least."

She could still vaguely taste the salt that scented the air so heavily when she'd visited her grandmother, just thinking about the witch's tower which held her secure now.

"From what I understand of the failsafe, its final phase must be triggered by a guard pulling a particular lever, to allow the guards in the dungeon time to exit. Of course they would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the protection of their city and their king, if it came to that. That moment of delay does create the possibility of an escape, though, if the guards are distracted first. Surely they would not be distracted when they have a creature in their custody, though."

Maybe she only imagined hearing the distant sound of water a smidge more loudly, just because she was thinking about the dungeon flooding beneath their feet. Maybe it was just a flicker in the enchantments and feats of construction that soundproofed the great walls and left the castle as quiet as it was, though.  

<Tag!>

turksgirl
 

Who: James Castille

With: Malia Campbell, Sanya Nimr other royal party guests

Where: Castle courtyard, King's City

When: February 28th, evening


Malia: "I have heard it said that this is the most secure dungeon in the realm. Or perhaps, its failsafe," its ability to flood with river rapids in the event of a breach, "is the best defense against a creature." Then slid her gaze to Sanya as she hedged, and although her words were vague and few, it clearly echoed her concern about the King's questionable decision making of late. "However, you never know what can go wrong."


Sanya: "I would argue that the most secure dungeon in the realm is the Tower surrounded on by a high wall with a single gate of five locks, then miles upon miles of salt flats, where thirst and starvation claim any who dare try to escape,"  "To handle executions swiftly and keep prisoners far, far from anywhere where they could do harm seems wiser than to keep them in the heart of a city, at least."


"From what I understand of the failsafe, its final phase must be triggered by a guard pulling a particular lever, to allow the guards in the dungeon time to exit. Of course they would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the protection of their city and their king, if it came to that. That moment of delay does create the possibility of an escape, though, if the guards are distracted first. Surely they would not be distracted when they have a creature in their custody, though."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Of course the young Duchess of the South found a way to blow her own hunting horn about her region, without elaborating on whom that prison held in the salt flats. But at least they agreed that executions should not be delayed. "Nothing is infallible.... beheading is the best strategy against such a creature" he stated turning his gaze to look at the nobles and commoners that bustled around them. His fingers tightened around the hilt of his sword  every inch the sun crept lower in the west.


And then the Duke tilted his head as if listening above the voices around them to hear .... howling. He turned in the direction of people screaming his face a stony scowl, as he stepped around the two women to shield them. Wolfhounds, several large, mangy looking beasts burst between the legs of guests that scurried to get out of their way. James shook his head, as the lot ran amok around him and the Duchesses, snapping and snarling at each other.


"Profound apologies, my ladies...my dogs... more spoiled than any child" Castile said mouth only slightly curling. Putting out a hand the pack swirled around the huge man whining and crying loudly, his brow furrowed deeply. "Something's wrong".


Tags (pic for reference)

 

Rachel Balla
 

Sanya: "I would argue that the most secure dungeon in the realm is the Tower surrounded on by a high wall with a single gate of five locks, then miles upon miles of salt flats, where thirst and starvation claim any who dare try to escape," "To handle executions swiftly and keep prisoners far, far from anywhere where they could do harm seems wiser than to keep them in the heart of a city, at least."


James: "Nothing is infallible.... beheading is the best strategy against such a creature"


Malia busied her mouth with her wine while the young duchess-to-be described the witch's prison in the Southern Duchy. Oh, Malia was familiar with it - she made it her business to be - but the reality of the imagery was a little much, since with every scheme she hatched and every consult of her magic book, she worried that such a fate could befall her. Locked up, far and away from a fairy circle to carry her home…


On Earth, cancer, radiation, and mortality awaited her - but so did her family. Her children were distant, but her grandson, Jordan, would worry so after her if she never returned. He was a good boy, and she trusted him enough to hint at the existence of Eventyr, although she was certain he chalked it up to her growing senility after too many years immersed in books…


Sanya: "From what I understand of the failsafe, its final phase must be triggered by a guard pulling a particular lever, to allow the guards in the dungeon time to exit. Of course they would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the protection of their city and their king, if it came to that. That moment of delay does create the possibility of an escape, though, if the guards are distracted first. Surely they would not be distracted when they have a creature in their custody, though."


Malia bit her lip to stop the smirk that threatened. She had spent the last months trying to find a guard willing to take money to not sacrifice himself for the king, but the answer had been so much simpler than than finding a greedy man on duty. Instead, the brother of one of Philip's sacrificed virgins had been willing to infiltrate the dungeon's guards and be sure the failsafe did not trip in time. He knew that it was entirely possible the werewolf would kill him in the escape, but he accepted that eventuality with grace and fortitude.


My sister didn't have a choice, he'd told Malia, when they had last spoken. She had promised wealth and comfort to his parents and surviving younger brother… and also, that she would have the guard executed mercifully, if he were turned wolf in her service.


All of the sudden, the savage barking of dogs echoed through the courtyard, accompanied by screams. For Malia, who knew there was going to be a werewolf on the loose very, very soon, the sound struck her to the core. Her glass, plate, and the book tucked under her elbow fell to the cobblestone ground under her feet. Instinctively, she dipped to retrieve the book only before taking a step closer to the Green Duke, positioning half her body behind his massive arm as if she could hide there.


James: "Profound apologies, my ladies...my dogs... more spoiled than any child" "Something's wrong".


"James," Malia said when she could breathe again, and her tone was not unlike the chiding one she used for a naughty child in the library or her own grandchildren. Immediately, she wanted to complain about the presence of dogs when so many party-goers were uneasy about the presence of a werewolf. But she paused, trusting that although the king's brother was flawed in many, many ways, he was effective as they came. If something was wrong, something was wrong. She hoped that wrong was the wrong she had planned, and so her words were phrased as a question, but her tone was impossible to read. Was it fear or anticipation? "What's wrong?"


Tags!

 

Steph
 

Who: Sanya Nimr
With: James Castille, Malia Campbell, other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City 
When: February 28th, evening

>>>>
"Profound apologies, my ladies...my dogs... more spoiled than any child" Castile said mouth only slightly curling. Putting out a hand the pack swirled around the huge man whining and crying loudly, his brow furrowed deeply. "Something's wrong".
>>>>
She hoped that wrong was the wrong she had planned, and so her words were phrased as a question, but her tone was impossible to read. Was it fear or anticipation? "What's wrong?" 
>>>>

Sanya's first thought when she heard the disruptive dogs was to wonder where Moswen had gotten to. She'd left her familiar at the Southern Duke's estate in the Noble Quarter for a reason. At this party, she was better off with slightly duller supernatural senses, and whenever Moswen was near her, she'd always pick up on hypocrisy with more clarity, more immediacy. The last thing she needed was to let her tongue slip in present company. Her cat, fortunately, would be safe from these dogs--as long as she had listened to instructions and stayed well away from the castle. One could never be certain with cats.

Where Malia moved closer to the Duke and hos wolfhounds, Sanya found herself instinctively taking a step away, her gaze sweeping over the crowd, trying to see what had changed besides the disruptions caused by the dogs. She noted that the king's seat near the consort in receiving was empty, but no sign that anyone was trying to hustle the Consort away--though the guards were definitely eyeing the Duke and the disruption he'd caused.

A few, nearest the open drawbridge had halted the line of individuals with gifts in arm and started to direct them to move backwards, off the bridge for the moment. Sanya wouldn't be surprised at all if they were telling the peasants that it was a purely precautionary measure. It was the sort of precaution that would allow them to raise the drawbridge while dumping the fewest people possible into the rapids below in the process. 

She part wanted to move toward the Consort, Altansarnai, who was also from the South, just to be certain she was safe. Surely the king wouldn't have left her alone if her safety was at risk. (The king, who had sacrificed eleven other girls just like Altansarnai in the Eastern Forest.) She looked up toward the walls instead of letting her concern blind her to possibilities.

"A higher vantage point may allow us a better perspective on the situation, unless your handsome dogs' noses have caught an interesting scent?" Sanya suggested, very purposefully leaving the decision up to her elders.

<Tag!>

turksgirl
 

Who: James Castille
With: Malia Campbell, Sanya Nimr other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City
When: February 28th, evening

Malia: 

"James," Malia said when she could breathe again, and her tone was not unlike the chiding one she used for a naughty child in the library or her own grandchildren. Immediately, she wanted to complain about the presence of dogs when so many party-goers were uneasy about the presence of a werewolf. But she paused, trusting that although the king's brother was flawed in many, many ways, he was effective as they came. If something was wrong, something was wrong. She hoped that wrong was the wrong she had planned, and so her words were phrased as a question, but her tone was impossible to read. Was it fear or anticipation? "What's wrong?"

Sanya: 
"A higher vantage point may allow us a better perspective on the situation, unless your handsome dogs' noses have caught an interesting scent?" Sanya suggested, very purposefully leaving the decision up to her elders.

The Duke nodded, it was sound advice it didn't matter who gave it. "Duchesses, stay close please...." he said in a low tone gaze shifting to cross the area around them. Pointing to a raises terrace that led up above the courtyards, he commanded his dogs "Clear". Wildly barking and snapping at nobles, workers, and commoners the wolfhounds forced the crowd to flee their presence as they took off ahead of the trio.

Hand on his sword hilt Castile moved forward with purpose his gaze shifting to the royal consort and the empty chair next to her. "Yes, an interesting scent" he replied to the extremely young Southern Duchess. Spying one of his men he motioned him over, and grunted  "Bring my Cuirass..... and my bow". Turning back to his elegantly dressed companions, he extended an arm toward the steps where his dogs waited on the landing.

"Let us see what may be amidst other than my brother's lack of manners to not attend his own party for his offspring" the Duke said offering his hand to Malia first to assist her up the stairs. And then being polite enough to offer a elbow to Sanya, and not to voice that he suspected his half brother was off fucking some servant wench.... or trying to. He looked to the consort again.

"We may have to rectify that situation".

Tags

Rachel Balla
 

Sanya: "A higher vantage point may allow us a better perspective on the situation, unless your handsome dogs' noses have caught an interesting scent?"


James: "Duchesses, stay close please...."


Malia assumed an entirely silent, passive role as events progressed. Though the dogs' exit allowed her to visibly relax, she made no comment when the duke ordered his armor and bow... although both were specifically forbidden at the celebration, without the King present, there was no one to tell his brother that he wasn't allowed whatever he wanted - obtrusive dogs or dangerous weapons or anything else… which was why Malia stayed glued to his side, accepting his hand to ascend the stairs with a friendly squeeze to his elbow before she continued up, needing both hands to keep her long skirt clear of her feet.


James: "Let us see what may be amidst other than my brother's lack of manners to not attend his own party for his offspring" … "We may have to rectify that situation"


"I am sure the King cannot have gone too far," Malia said, conversationally. The words themselves were reassuring, but her eyes moved toward where the courtyard met castle, then to the setting sun over the Enchanted Lake. If her assassin held up to what Malia had read in her book, the King was already dead and therefore wasn't going anywhere at all…

tags!