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King last won the day on October 28 2019

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About King

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    The Virtuoso
  • Birthday 01/11/1990

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  1. “What a perceptive young woman you’ve become,” Rafael said with a mirthless chuckle. It was easy to forget her age when she sat in his lap as a daughter might, looking so young, naïve, and helpless. Despite the child vessel that contained it, Lucia’s mind was sharp, honed to a fine edge by a number experiences even the most well-traveled of seniors had yet to find. “You are right, though. I don’t believe she can love anything—not truly.” He’d thought her love for her children had been pure, and yet she’d abandoned both Philippe and their unborn daughter. She’d been willing to offer Tenebre whatever it was for a life she didn’t deserve, and yet hadn’t so much as thought to pay that same price for the life of her children. “I’ve been unfair to you, Lucia,” he said, looking at her. “Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and I have let that weight—a weight I’ve chosen to bear—steal valuable time away from you.” Rafael continued to hold the child close to him, still very much in need of her comfort, and yet adjusted her so that she could look upon him fully, both hearing and seeing the sincerity in his apology. “In all this time, you have always stayed beside me. You have loved me, Lucia, even when I have not loved myself. When I have debased myself for your mother who, for all my efforts, will never see me as I see her or love me as I love her.” Lifting a hand from her side, he tucked a long, black strand of silken hair behind her ear. “If nothing else, I am thankful to your mother for bringing us together.” Lowering his chin, he placed a soft, feathery kiss along her pale brow. “In exchange for your unending love and support, I give you my word that there shall never again be secrets between us.” It was a lie, of course, but one that he told better than the truth. Before anything, Rafael was her father, and he – better than anyone – knew that there would be times when a lie would be all he could offer to protect her. “And never again will you need wait for my company. Whenever you desire to see me, to be with me, you need only come find me. It is time I invest more time and affection into those who are truly deserving of it. Now, I have a question for you, my little princess, and I would have you answer it honestly—not how you think it might appease me.” The hand that tucked away her hair thumbed the fullness of her cheek, then curved beneath her chin to tilt her head back so that he might regard her beauty more fully. There was no denying she was of Irene’s cut, a spitting image of the queen when she was naught but a little girl, old enough to sit in his lap as Lucia did now. “If I could find a way to change what you are, my love—make you into a true vampyre pureblood, flesh and bone, so that you might grow to become a beautiful young woman all your own, would you like that?” He smiled down at her, soft and delicate as fresh snow. “You would finally have my eyes.”
  2. Quinton listens to her careful, his expression unchanging as she lays out her offer. Some might see a position at court in a newly minted queendom, one that might not survive the decade, as foolish. Quinton would say they lacked vision, for there was no better place to be than in the soil when the seeds are first planted. How else do you decide where things grow, or which live and which die? She says at court, mingling among the other nobles she’s brought into her fold, and yet he knows he will stand above them all—closer to her than any other. There, in the flesh, close enough to touch. He’s not released her hand from his grasp, and he reminds her of this as he gently thumbs the bend of her fingers. “You would offer me nobility,” he says. “How generous of you, my queen.” In a nonchalant, brazen display of their familiarity, he lifts her hand and settles her narrow elbow upon the windowsill, so that he might brush the back of her hand along his bearded chin. He stares out of the window, eyes dull yet engaging, young yet wise, as he pretends to contemplate her offer. She seeks to lighten the air between them with her darling laughter, but his mood is a heavy, crushing thing, and leaves little room for anything else. “My price,” he begins, speaking the words against her bare knuckles, “is this hand I hold now, Varda.” Quinton looks at her, his eyes suddenly sharp. “When I met you, there was a ring on this finger, and out of respect for you and your customs, I did not pursue the matter further. I am a patient man. But I see things have changed, and I would be a fool to recuse myself twice.” The space between them melted as his free hand snaked around her waist, pulling her closer, as their joined hand remained to the side. “My price, Varda, is you as my wife. I will accept nothing less. And together, we will ensure your crown remains gilded and firm, sitting atop your pretty head for the rest of our days.” The moment she’d allowed him to digest her offer was repaid, and as he looks into her eyes, searching her expression for doubt, he seeks to bury her. “I have already amassed a handsome bride price, worthy of a queen of your stature.” Quinton smirks, a soft brag at his obscene wealth. “You’ll need more hands and wagons than you’ve brought this day to carry it all, should you accept.”
  3. Indeed, the air of the room changes the moment the door is closed, and Quinton feels it as surely and truly as the queen herself. The moment they share has changes, becoming more intimate than even their gentle holding of hands can reflect. Something more threatening, in its own way. From the moment he laid eyes on her, Quinton has never hidden that she became his prey. First in business, then in friendship, and as the months passed between them, in yearning. And now it seems as though a queen she has become, so too has she resigned herself to fate in the face of her predator. Indeed, royalty suits her better than he can explain. “You’ve always been humble,” he replies as he follows her. There is no eagerness in his step, no attempt to hurry. The man seeks to savor each moment, weaving his tapestry with care. But he holds her hand just a bit tighter, the pressure just barely enough for her to notice. There’s no escape now, the gesture says. “Perhaps even too critical of yourself, I dare to say. It’s one of the reasons I found you so… mm. Well, it’s one of the reasons I knew you would be good company.” At the window, Quinton finds himself leaning against its frame. Beautiful as the scenery is, it pales in comparison to the queen in his grasp. He gives her his undivided attention, letting his heavy gaze rest squarely upon her. She manages to the carry the weight, unblushing and unbothered; she’s come further than she realizes. “Whatever knowledge I might possess, advice or otherwise, is yours to command,” he replies smoothly, thumbing the back of her hand with all the admiration of a new lover. This is foreign territory between them, this intimacy, and like a new flame Quinton is determined to see its embers burn hot and bright. She continues, and he listens. “Mm, I suspect some of them are rather upset.” He’ll not lie to Varda and fill her head with nonsense as some might think proper. There is fear in her, and she needs that if she is to rule properly. He will make sure that she knows there will be those that seek her life, seek to reclaim lands lost and unify that which was separated. He will make sure she knows that he alone will protect her, when no one else can. Make sure that she needs him. “With just a few words you’ve shattered that which has persisted for many, many years.” For the first time, he smiles. “Well done.” Quinton nods as her tale continues to unfold. “Yes, I have, and not just here. The more I travel, the more I realize that nobility—whether in Fracture, Genesaris, or any of the other realms—are all the same.” Closing his eyes, he breathes deep. “Tell me what you wish of me, my queen.” When they open, there is a sharpness in his gaze – honed to a fine edge. He moves closer to her, so that they might whisper into the dark between them. “And I will tell you the price.”
  4. Never one to let a good opportunity pass him by, Paris took silently took advantage of the she-wolf’s close proximity with more pets and stroking. He watched closely to the way she responded when his gloved fingers moved, whether she tensed or relaxed, whether she leaned into the touch or pulled away ever so slightly. He learned the touches she enjoyed and those she found too invasive, too personal, and began steering away from them. It was, of course, all in an attempt better cultivate an already blooming relationship between them—as employer to employee, friend to friend, and perhaps (with time), lord to servant. The thought made him smile. “Wonderful as always, Solomon,” Paris praised his knight. “It’s good to see that your culinary skills have no diminished. It seems you’ve even learned to rein in that spice.” Ser Solomon grunted. “Mm, well, it seems best that we all get some rest. It’s a long journey to the camp, and I doubt they’ll abide by my commands without violence.” Paris reached high above his head with both hands, arching his back until several pops sounded from deep in his spine. “I suspect that won’t be an issue for us, but all the same, I’d prefer our troupe bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when we meet our hostile guests.” And they were guests, no doubt in his mind. Calm and charming though Paris preferred to present himself as, these were his lands and no others – ancestors be damned. They would kneel to his rule, or they would die. Rising to his feet, he brushed his hand down the back of Okina’s head. “You’re free to return to your human state, should you choose. Again, thank you for entertaining my… more peculiar requests.” The crown prince freed a small coin purse from his waist and deposited it beside the enormous wolf, a token of his gilded appreciation. He crossed over to the shadows where the horses had been fastened, still somewhat unsettled by the battle that had unfolded. They grazed anxiously, nearly startled by his presence. He gathered his roll of blanket and returned to the tree splintered by fervor, taking a seat, his back to the bark, and covered himself in warmth of heavy wool. What a thrilling evening, he thought. Perhaps I’ll have her wear this form more often. We’ll gild the bones of those that would oppose me and fashion her a beautiful collar.
  5. Acrius frowned. He’d not risen as the commotion erupted before him, and instead, watched as the chaos swelled and drowned the rationality of those in attendance. How could they not see that this was the only way? Their brother would not return; their nephew was scattered, unsuitable to sit upon the throne and carry the weight of the crown. If they could but see into his heart, they would know it was not greed that drove him, but a sense of duty to Nymeria and her people. They had fallen further than the even the ocean floor upon which they were born in recent years; he sought only to see them return to height of their empire, to see them – from serf to noble born – all seize their destiny as he had. Of course, he knew there would be resistance. There are those that live determined to remain blinded, clinging to their ignorance. Still, these were men he’d known well once upon a time, souls he’d broken bread with in his youth. Killing them would not be easy, even at his dear sister’s request. Acrius rose from the throne he’d sat upon and made his way down the dais in silence, sliding his gilded helmet over his head. The plume of celestial fire that had smoldered burst back into view, burning hot and wild as it left a trail of cosmic fire behind him. When his feet touched the solid floor of the room, he willed both shield and spear to his hands. They rattled, only once, before cutting through the spaces between them and their wielder, returning to his clutches with a deep, resonating hum. In that moment as he approached the two men, Acrius was more a force of nature than a man, an unstoppable force that would not cease its trek. Those in the room parted like a river against stone, leaving the two clan leaders isolated on their island of tiled marble floor. He considered the two men for a moment as they readied themselves, one producing a sword and the other a spear. “You will not enjoy this.” Meraki scoffed. “The gods—” “Will not help you. Not this time.” Adjusting his shield, shifting its weight, Acrius pressed on. There was no urgency in his approach, as if he were merely going for a jog to stretch his legs. The two clan leaders were not fooled by the casual display, and readied themselves, taking on the defensive stance he’d taught their sons and daughters and countless other soldiers in the Nymerian host. Good, strong stances—and he would break them all the same. It happened in the span of a single heartbeat. Acrius’ muscled tensed as he reached within himself, drawing on that ancient power he’d found at the dead, frozen peaks of the Cold Mountains. It coursed through every inch of his body like liquid fire, immolating him with the strength of ancients. With what looked like a single step, the distance between him and Meraki vanished. The leader’s sword shattered into a rain of shard’s as the rim of Acrius’ ornate shield slammed into it, and then punched into his chest. Bone crunched, flesh tore, and Acrius kneeled as he followed through with the motion and crushed Meraki down into the floor, cracking and cratering the marble into a bowl for the man’s broken body. A stunned Signowr barely had time to register what he perceived to be an opening, and roared as he pivoted and thrust his spear’s blade down at the kneeling Acrius. But he was far too slow, and in a spin of cloak and celestial fire, the king was gone, out to the man’s exposed left. Acrius’ spear was swift and merciless, its blade hissing as it sliced through the air. He’d unleashed a flurry of several thrusts in the time it would take even the most skilled of mortal men to deliver a single blow. Blood erupted from the man’s deep wounds, the most gruesome of which was a gaping hole that had nearly decapitated him. His body thudded loudly against the floor, heavy robes greedily soaking up the blood beginning to span out beneath the two bodies. “Spilling Nymerian blood brings me no joy,” he intoned, his voice booming behind his golden helmet, “but they made their choice. You will kneel, or you will die.” Acrius turned, facing the others in the room. “So, I say again – let any that would defy their king and queen step forward in challenge.”
  6. “Now, now,” Rafael lectured her teasingly. “What have I told you, my love? People are entitled to their feelings. You cannot scorn them for that. They are people, same as you.” Lucia’s thirst—bottomless and endless as the void—reached the furthest corners of her life. She craved all things, a sentiment her father knew well, yet with more raw and literal sense. Teaching the child to control that which had been without boundaries or authority for so long had been Rafael’s first order of business after her adoption, and without the doubt the most challenging. That’d she managed to come so far in so little time was a testament to her desire to please him, to remain the apple of her father’s eye. “This boredom you feel, it will pass. I promise. There is excitement to be had, and as my princess, it will be yours.” Looking at her, Rafael saw the suspicion in her ruby eyes, in the way she squeezed him tighter and all but held him captive in her small, childish hands. Though their time together was often formal, their tender moments limited, there were few that understood the elder like his daughter. Lucia’s senses had become keen to her father’s moods and temperament, his cunning and deception. In some ways, she was even brighter than her mother had been at that age. And so, he was not caught off guard when her questioning turned to Irene, nor was his mood dashed against the stones of the fountain upon which they sat. It was a conversation the two were certain to have, albeit somewhat earlier than he’d expected. “No, the devil has not taken her again,” he replied, though only somewhat certain of his claim. It was well within Irene’s scope to return to Roen and, with Philippe in tow, abscond to some far and unheard of corner of the world. Rafael had given her that leave, if she wished. And yet, reports of the devil still trickled in every now and again, and the tailed fiend seemed quite content stalking the halls of his empty manor, or brooding in the highest peaks of the towers in Patia. Philippe’s death and Irene’s rejection thereafter had changed something in Roen, or so the elder suspected. He’d neither the time, the effort, nor the care to confirm. “Your mother is off visiting…” the lie died on his tongue as he looked at Lucia, seeing a brief flash of Irene across her soft, gentle face. “… I don’t know where she is, my love.” Rafael sighed. It was a slow, heavy sigh, the one that stripped the glamour of his immortality and revealed his age. The tired lines beneath his eyes and at the edges of them; the creases in his handsome brow; the way his thins lips seemed incapable of smiling, or smirking, forever sunken in a nigh-imperceptible frown. His proud shoulders slumped, and the brightness in his blue eyes faded, slowly at first, until they were dark and deep as the ocean’s depths. “Your mother is gone,” he confessed to Lucia, “and I don’t suspect she will ever return. She wanted to leave, to truly be free of us and all that we represent, and Tenebre has given her that. She is beyond my reach now—beyond all of us. If she ever comes back, it will be of her own accord and no one else’s.” He adjusted Lucia on his side, holding her just a bit closer. “That is why a great many deal of the people here are sad. Many of them are good people, loving people, that have given your mother everything. Yet, it wasn’t enough.” Looking beyond her, he studied one of the many statues occupying the garden that had been fashioned in Irene’s likeness. They hadn’t done her hair justice – a single curl was too long, another too short, and the entirety of its mass not nearly long enough. “To tell you the truth, I’m not sure anything will ever be enough to give her what she seeks. Her father was like that, and I fear she’s inherited more of his troubles than her mother’s. Perpetual melancholy may simply be her lot in life, and she will forever look for its cure. There is no medicine for that sickness, and with time, it will rot her from the inside out.” Then he looked to the sky, quietly growing cloudy above them. “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
  7. Seasons change and our love went cold.

    Feed the flame cause we can't let go.

    Run away, but we're running in circles.

    Run away, run away.

  8. Acrius studied their faces as the other clan leaders entered the room, some new and young, others familiar and old. He saw in some of their eyes an expected suspicion, for they no doubt saw it as little more than a great convenience that the wayward Firdana would return when both his brother and nephew were absent, leaving the throne unclaimed. In the eyes of others, he saw welcomed optimism, his arrival seen as a boon of the great things to come for their people. But there were some, the wisest of those among the court, that held fear in their eyes – fear, for they saw the change that had taken Kharybdis and named him Acrius, felt the celestial magic emanating from his body, and worried of what terrifying change he might bring down upon their empire. “I am your king only by the right of tradition,” Acrius said, setting his spear and shield down beside him, “only in name, as has become common amongst our line.” The flatness of his baritone revealed neither venom nor spite in his words as he looked at the clan leaders. It was the truth, reinforced by Rxychra, Xaprychor, and even his own neglect of their royal purpose. “I have come to change that.” That flatness suddenly sharpened on the edges, honed into a blade that cut across the space between the leaders and swept through them. “In the coming days, there will be those of you who do not enjoy what I have to say—but I will say it. There will be those of you that push back against the change I will bring—but that change will come, either way. I am the storm, brothers and sisters, and storms do not pity the drowned.” He was not one for splitting hairs, not one for the convoluted dance that was politics. For all their decorum, they were a nation of conquerors, and their oldest laws – those which Acrius clung to most dearly – were rooted in that, forged in the fiery crucible of combat. There were none before them that could challenge him with either spear or sword; the closest, trained by his own hand, sat beside him, a willing conspirator to his plans. Pressing both hands to his knees, Acrius stood from his seat. “Today, I begin by declaring my queen. She is the only woman I have ever known to be worthy enough to stand beside me. The only woman in all my long, long life that has always given me what I needed.” He extended a massive palm toward Rahab, patient to wait for her acceptance of his proposal. And when she did and he helped her to her feet, they would ascend the dais together, returning to the throne from whence she came. It was not the throne of their home, but that of the collective their people had so eagerly joined. It was an altar of the sun, as some had put it, and yet it would serve to underscore his point all the same. Acrius took his seat first, and then with a hand upon the swell of her hip, brought Rahab down into the bowl of his lap, comfortably positioned to remain there. No longer was she their queen – she was his; forever. “Nymeria prospers beneath a new star,” he said. “From this day onward until the end of days, we will rule Nymeria.” Acrius’ eyes became alive with celestial fire. “Let any that would oppose us step forward in challenge.”
  9. The first staff to greet her is tall, slender man with short, dark hair gone white at the temples. His beard is neat and trimmed, but it too has signs of age, salted as it is. He has blue eyes that, perhaps, were once as bright as a sparkling ocean, but have since dulled to a deep matte with the things they’ve witnessed. They are an almost sullen pair of eyes, but nevertheless enchanting. “Your Majesty,” the man says with a deep, courteous bow. His voice is thickly accented, the rise and fall of his words hinting at his northern Genesarian heritage. “Mr. Swan has been expecting you. Please, this way.” The young men and women they pass on their way deeper into the villa all bow deeply and courteously, only continuing their duties once she and her guide had passed well beyond their persons. She is the first royal—a queen, no less—to grace their employer’s abode, and he’s done well to remind them of such. There is a razor thin edge to their politeness, barely perceivable, tempered by fear. Fear of what might become of them if they offend her – fear of what hell Quinton might unleash upon them. But it is well hidden, as I’ve said, masked behind practiced smiles those deep bows of service. Their journey comes to an end just outside of a familiar entryway, and with the doors ajar as they are, the threshold frames Quinton quite well as he stands opposite to them. He’s gazing out at the wild, rolling expanse of land that stretches out from behind his home, a small slice of the property she’d given him when she was but a noblewoman. The businessman has treated it well since last she saw it, cultivated gardens, forged a gently rolling creek, and inspired the beginning of a forest. It has become a venerable Garden of Eden, and with her return, Eve once more stands at Adam’s side. “Thank you, Athos,” Quinton says without looking from his gorgeous vista. The guide nods, then disappears back down the hall. It isn’t until she is well within the room that Quinton turns to face her, still every bit the nondescript, mundane man she’s forgotten him to be. Gray eyes, black hair, bearded and tanned skin she couldn’t remember. The tarantula tattoo upon the back of his hand, which seems to creep and crawl across his skin when the light touched it just right. Tall, but muscled and athletic. And finally, that golden ring and the skull fashioned from its peak, now with a strange, purple jewel pinched tightly between its teeth. He smiles at her, eying her in that predatory way of his, less inclined to entertain her status now that her guards are beyond these walls. It is improper, what he does next—scandalous and, without doubt, an egregious crime against the queen. But he has waited far too long for that missive, longer still to see her, smell her, taste her on the air between them. Quinton does not bow, he does not take her hand and kiss each knuckle as he might have all those months ago. He reaches out and brushes away an errant lock of her golden hair, tucking it behind her ear, and then gently palms the curve of her cheek. He thumbs the highness of it, thumbs the corner of her mouth, straying dangerously close to playing with her full, kissable lips. Noble or queen, she has always been a woman to him – to want, to touch, to desire. “Your Majesty,” Quinton finally says, her face still in his hand, thumbing to the thrill she feels thumping inside her chest. “It’s been far too long.” There is something more in his words – a command, or a plea? Never again. “You look beautiful, Varda.” The hand falls away—down the curve of her neck, over the soft, rounded end of her shoulder, and down the long stretch of her arm. “Royalty suits you quite well.”
  10. 12/22/2019 Canon update. Mr. Stark, I Don't Feel So Good: Lilith Reiter, along with her Paragons, battle their way through mythical beasts and blood-curdling tests to finally obtain the Genesari Soul Stone.
  11. Rahab’s response to his return, while volatile and improper, had not been entirely unexpected. For all the love and trust and unity their family shared, theirs had been especially strong. And so as she slapped him, as she beat against his chest and arms, crying her frustrated relief, Acrius could not bring himself to fault or judge her. How many times had he thought to send word to his beloved sister during his absence? How many times had he thought of how deeply he missed her, longed for her, yet did nothing to rectify it? He’d abandoned her, just as he’d promised he never would, and left her to care for a fractured nation alone. What he deserved far exceeded the ocean’s fury, so he would endure his sibling’s wrath without complaint until there was none left to give. Acrius stood in silent reserve as she exhausted herself against him, like the tides against the shore, until she was slumped and holding back tears. He wrapped his arms around her, covering her with shield and spear and helm, and dipped his chin to rest in the thick bed of her hair. He breathed her in deep, bathed in her comfort as she basked in his security. Acrius squeezed her tightly as he always did, relief mixing with conviction. “Yes,” he quietly promised her. “Never again. You have my word.” He held her for a moment longer before uncoiling his grip from around her, keeping her at his arm’s length to admire her more fully. She was more beautiful than he remembered her to be, the ocean’s grace instilled deep within her. He hadn’t realized how gravely he missed her until he let his long spear clatter to the floor and took her face in his palm; until he thumbed her cheeks, her full lips, and then the corner of her eye to wipe away the tear that still threatened spilling. He hadn’t realized how long it had been until now, with her so close to him once more. “My sweet fury,” he praised. “You’ve no idea what a sight you are for me.” Never, ever again—the words echoed in his mind. He would happily honor them. “I’ve come home for you, Rahab,” he said to her, thumbing her cheek once more before removing his hand. Holding it over his spear, he willed the weapon back to his grasp. Then, after a moment of silence, he added more darkly, “and for Nymeria. I will take our home by conquest, as is my right, and you—you will be my queen.” The hurried steps of the clan leaders punctuated Acrius’ claim.
  12. Unlike his younger siblings, Acrius had never bothered with the ideation of ruling. Though they called him king of the currents, he wore no crown and held no subjects, took no queen, and sired no successors. If he ruled, it was the battlefield upon which he governed his men; if he was married, it was to his spear, his shield and sword, his children. He was a warrior first and foremost, a man of noble bloodline second. But all of that had changed in the days since his ascent to the peak of Mount Eira, where the titans of old and giants of futures unseen spoke to him – filled his mind with the great secrets, and instilled in him the mighty determination and will of his precursors. It wasn’t until he’d descended the treacherous slopes of Eira, returning to his men after a year’s stay in the Crown in gilded armor ablaze with celestial magic, that he’d begun speaking of rulership, of empire—home. They’d thought him mad at first, for what could a mere thirty elite soldiers accomplish against the might of Nymeria? But they could see it in his eyes, a fearless resolve that remained unbending, unbroken, and found themselves consumed by it. Kharybdis as they all knew him died on that day, but Acrius, was born. This same man traversed the grand halls of the consulate, guided by two heavily-armed soldiers. He remembered their faces as surely as they remembered his, having trained them during their youth. Yet they regarded him with an expected unfamiliarity, one that quietly attested to their loyalty to his sister. There may have been a time when they would have killed for him, died for him, but those years were behind them now. But if Acrius was offended by this realization, he did not show it. It was in their blood to serve, etched into the bedrock of their minds, he knew, and better his sister as their queen than an absent king in his brother. Acrius and his entourage parted ways at the throne room’s entry way, its dark, heavy doors already ajar. The two guards half-turned and stepped back, falling into place closer to the wall to serve as sentries. He moved past them with sure and true steps, a natural grace to his movement, and yet also the tempered finesse of a warrior. Even in something as simple and thoughtless as walking, Acrius wasted no energy, no movement. From the rise and fall of his feet to the swaying of his arms, his body worked in perfect unison, fluid, like the currents of his namesake. His gilded armor gleamed brightly in the lights of the room, capturing the radiance that strayed too close and empowering it before giving it back to the world. He’d arrived well before the heads of the other clans, giving the two siblings a moment of respite from the emotions soon to flood the chamber. With his right hand, he removed his helm, the plume of fiery celestial magic extinguishing as the armor left his head. Tussle-haired and black-bearded, Rahab’s brother stared deep blue eyes, deeper than the ocean’s depths. “Rahab.” Acrius made his way to the foot of the dais, but no further. “It’s been a long time.”
  13. Despite the child’s threat, the men remained unmoved from their position before her. The emperor had been explicit in his orders that no one was to enter without his blessing, but more importantly, they feared what might become of Lucia if she dared toy with the chest. Dangerous spells guarded it, they knew. It would be better to follow their lord’s command and risk punishment than risk the child’s life. Damon, the guard to her left, still hadn’t forgotten what happened to another of their group. The man had been curious about the chest’s contents and tapped it with the hilt of his blade—it’d taken them three days to clean what was left of him from the ceiling. “Apologies, my princess,” the guard to her right, Hector, said. “But you simply cannot enter.” “The emperor was clear,” Damon added. “No one is to enter his study.” Hector nodded. “No one.” It was not a heartbeat later than one of the more seasoned handmaidens, Francesca, happened to see the exchange from further down the hall. She wore a curious expression at first, but then her lips tightened as she approached in a hurried pace. “Princess!” she exclaimed, glaring at the guards. “Your father isn’t here, sweet child. He’s waiting for you in the gardens. Hurry along now, before he loses his patience. It seems he’s in dire need of your company. Go, go!” A mere human, Francesca did not make an attempt to escort the child, knowing her excitement would carry her with speeds that would leave her but a blur to the eye. “I’d be more careful, if I were you boys,” she murmured to the guards when Lucia was gone, well beyond earshot. “Pardon?” Damon asked offensively. Francesca was neither old nor young, but she was unmarried and without children, and so she lived in the palace as opposed to many of their staff. More than half of her third decade had been spent serving the emperor, learning his ways and expectations. “No matter your orders, that is his daughter,” she continued. “If she so much as suggests to her father that you were anything less than perfect gentlemen to her, your lives are forfeit. He will kill you, the both of you, and it will be painful.” “We simply denied her—” “It doesn’t matter what you did,” she interrupted. “Should it happen again, be better about it. Above all, she is still a child.” *** Rafael felt his daughter fast approaching long before he heard, tasted, or smelled her on the air; longer still before he saw her. When she appeared, almost as if out thin air, his name hot on her lips from joyful glee, the downtrodden emperor was nowhere to be found. Rather, it was Rafael as he was known when in the company of his beloved daughter, smiles of fangs and glittering blue eyes, with arms open wide to receive her. Irene had never asked to mother Lucia or Dollya, bless her heart, but it had been a task her cousin had been all too eager to fulfill. “My darling little girl,” he said against her cheek, showering her with kisses. “How I never grow tired of your love and affection.” It had never been a chore to love Lucia or spend time with her, no matter how poorly such sentiment was expressed. In these trying times, Rafael had come to appreciate his family—what little he had—more than ever before, and Lucia’s unrelenting desire—hunger—to be loved, to be needed, was something the elder vampyre understood with uncanny clarity. And so it was, when he found these times with her, that he felt whole and complete, even as he sacrificed more and more of himself to achieve his ends. “It would appear that I’ve managed to bargain for a bit of free time today,” he said, using the native tongue. “And I can think of no better companion to spend it with than you.” He kept her in his arms, one secured under her, keeping her settled and seated against his side. “Tell me, what have you busied yourself with this day, hm?” he inquired, brushing some of her dark hair from the side of her face. “Hopefully, fashioning your papa a matching crown. Yours is so lovely, I cannot remember a time I was so envious of another living soul.”
  14. Welcome back. : )

    1. vielle


      Thank you! I've missed writing with you, my friend. ??

    2. King


      I've missed writing with you, too! I saw you're cleaning your plate off (mostly getting rid of your old plots). If you ever want to write something, you know where to find me.

    3. vielle


      You shall find a missive at your doorstep soon. ?

  15. “Interesting,” Paris replied, still captivated by her transformation. “That’s very interesting. I’ve read stories, you see, of other purebreds that are born in their bestial figures. The human skin they wear, it is but a mask, a reflection of how they see the world around them. Weak, timid, shallow.” There was a question in his eyes as he looked over her then, one he would not openly voice, for fear of ruining the foundation built between them. What do you see when you see me? his gaze asked silently. Do you think of me as you do all humans? “I think that I would very much enjoy meeting a wolf of that nature, as well.” Finished with his exploration of her muscled physique, Paris freed her of his curious fingers and groping palms, stepping back an arm’s length so that he could take in all of her magnificence in a single view. “Well, I must thank you for this display, she-wolf. You’ve certainly made my night.” Perhaps for the first time since she’d met him, the crown prince smiled a true, genuine smile. “I’ll not forget this.” With the wolf herself emblazoned in his mind, he cast his sight to the boy she’d mauled as Ser Solomon hauled what remained of his corpse with the rest. “Not for as long as I live.” When the bodies were piled high and wide, they were set ablaze, and a thick plume of dark smoke curled up through the woodland canopy. They burned hot and quick, reduced to cinders and embers in moments. Ser Solomon and Helaine had stripped them of what useful furs there were, armor and weapons included, and formed a cache they would bring with them. They’d fetch something of a price at the markets, Paris was sure, and serve as a beggar’s coin. When the stench had been cooked from the air, Solomon returned to finishing their meal. Paris ate quietly, flicking his gaze between his bowl of stew and the great wolf. “Have you ever seen a dragon before, she-wolf?”
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