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Thaiis

Age of the Sea [Izabal]

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[FONT=garamond]The rolls and stacks of blueprints had already cluttered the workshop to the point of being a mess, though her hands deftly found a singular piece of paper. Her digits brushed over the face of the sheet and she imagined the image in her head. A massive warmachine, capable of submersion and striking its foes from secrecy. If other kingdoms had constructed such items, they would not be nearly as powerful or ingenious as hers. They would be archaic, where hers would be modern. They would be weak, only able to support a certain weight and have the weaponry of a basic skiff, while hers would rival that of the greatest battleships in all of Genesaris.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]They would be, or she would make sure they weren't for long.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]Chartreuse prided herself upon being a capable mind, as well as a deadly scholar. Her thoughts measured beyond numbers and letters, and brought into account human emotion and looked upon it with callous attitude. She would crush the hopes and dreams of her opponents, or make a damn good show of trying. It was her will that this would be what she would be remembered for: The Rise of Orisia.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]But she didn't have much time. As she placed away the sheet of paper on top of a larger stack, she remembered and calculated just how much time she would have before she'd be unfit to be in a workshop. It was three months when she first spoke to Lucis in Tupalu Junction, and now he was down to two months before her end would be visible. She imagined, through basic biology and medicine, that she would be infirm within a month, and the signs were already beginning to show through subtle action.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]A keen observer would notice her hand occasionally quivering while she tightened a bolt, or attempted to drink a bit of coffee to keep her energy up. She broke into cold sweats at random points, but often dismissed any accusation of sickness for a simple overheating. Her already pale skin at least made up for her sickness, and there was no issue in hiding whatever visual signals she might send....But that would change soon. Soon people would begin to question her, and her avid mind wouldn't be able to come up with a perfect excuse. It was already becoming hard to eat and keep food down. The remnants of her lunch, she tried her best to swallow down at that moment, doing her best not to paint her papers in vomit.

"Ma'am? The propulsion device is going to require a more stable power source than burning water or coal, there's not nearly enough room on board to put more people on board."

An engineer complained behind her, causing her to snap from her trance and turn her head just partially to glance over her shoulder toward him. It was true, what he said. Coal and water could work, but would need to be recycled often. She had already developed something of a conduit device that could power all the parts of it, but it was simply experimental in its current stages. Her hand dove into the stack of papers, feeling about for that special one and yanking it free, nearly tearing it at the corner as she did so. Straightening it out, she handed it off to the squire and flashed him a very faint smile, still attempting to hold back her lunch from earlier.

"[COLOR=#40e0d0]Scrape together some lightning rods to develop this device. It'll need to be charged before every launch, but it'll be strong enough to power something this size for four hours before needing to be switched out.[/COLOR]"

The engineer glanced over the blueprints with a bit of confusion, but didn't bother to argue. Though he seemed skilled enough, Chartreuse's technology was foreign to him, as he was used to coal powered ships and man powered catapults. At least he was open to ideas, unlike those that refused the secret project.

She hadn't seen the Prince since the day she began, but she assumed he was apt to stop by. A strange feeling in her stomach rose each time she thought of him, and it wasn't the food trying to make a frontal exit on her. Something about him made her nervous, though not to the point she felt threatened by him. It was an odd thought, but she actually enjoyed his company beyond many others. [/FONT] Edited by Thaiis

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#800000"][box]Lucis Angelus DuGrace[/box]

For some reason or another he had neglected Chartreuse. Not out of a lack of interest in what she was doing, but rather a growing concern that his mother had not yet appeared. Last he’d seen of her was in the tournament on that final night of fighting. Some sort of altercation had happened and it had involved that black-winged creature whom Lucis did not trust. And since then he had not seen her, felt her, or heard from her, though Father Darkness assured his grandson that the Black Queen was alive and well. Still, it weighed heavily upon Lucis, specifically because of the number of decisions he had to make without her consent—one of which was the focus of so many resources to a relatively unheard of Orisian city.

Finally, after days of waiting and with more than a little frustration, Lucis had signed the papers and written a letter that his mother would later find and read. In it he detailed the offer that Chartreuse had made, and his own support of the idea—this he left with Tenebre, who in turn, secured it within the abysmal realm, far from any prying eyes. With that he settled all that remained to be settled, mostly administrating and leaving suitable funds for the reconstruction of the destroyed arena, and of course funds for the continual search and rescue of the two fallen warriors. After days of searching however hope was lost and the two men were given up for dead.

Bitterly disappointed by this and the sequential treatment of Topaz who had nearly died at the hands of the Royal Guard, and then of course having to sooth Cicely and her doubts—that woman had wormed her way into his heart to the point that he actually cared what opinion she held of him—Lucis had been left with very little time.

But things were finally settling and with Damion in firm control of Drakiss, Lucis was finally able to take his leave, though he assured his brother it was only for a few months. Of course he had every intention of returning to Drakiss, should the need arise, but he was hoping such would not be the case.

The Black Prince was in dire need of a vacation. And the beach-side city of Izabal was a paradise among the dense forest—away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities. Yes—this was a fine place to begin the construction of the submarine, and also, to give him a moment of peace.

Or so he thought…

“That woman speaks another language!” said the same man who had just left his partners study, a spacious gallery sized room allotted to her in the main city castle. The castle was large and comfortable, easy to defend, but nothing compared to some of the other state buildings of the nation. Oddly enough, Lucis preferred it—it felt more intimate.

Lucis looked to the man whom he had charged with bringing news whenever he had news to tell—it seemed he had taken advantage of this task and turned it into mere venting. “The things she asks for—I don’t know if Orisia has the technology…” he paused, and pinched his brows as if an idea had struck him. And just like that he turned to go, without so much as a bow or word of pardon to his prince. Lucis, hardly bothered by the informality, watched him go and decided it was finally time to visit his dear precious inventor a little visit.
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[CENTER][COLOR=#40e0d0][FONT=garamond]Chartreuse[/FONT][/COLOR][/CENTER]
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Of course Chartreuse had heard the news of Lucis' arrival in Izabal, and was for certain he was here to seek an audience with her, as well as learn a bit more of her project. The thought of him coming to visit her made her nervous, but excited all the same. She wanted him to look upon the progress with wonder and excitement as much as she did. She wanted Orisia to be strong and a much more formidable force to reckon with, should the need for attack or defense arise.

Her hands found a few more papers, and she muttered to herself in her own tongue, attempting to turn over the numerals and measurements in her mind. It was one thing to understand the machine, but she had spent the past week submerging herself under the sea at different lengths, and her papers still smelled of the salt when she grappled with them. She measured the force of the sea at the greatest depth her breath could manage (which was a lot, despite her condition), and she made certain to add those in her calculations, while deducing the pressure of the sea from above would place a greater strain on the hull than she first imagined. The whole thing would need proper reinforcements, and the more she altered the plans, the more the engineers questioned her 'madness.'

A few sharp words, mixed with a few in her own language gave them reason to believe her, or at least be scared enough to do their jobs. The project was half finished, at least this phase. Building the skeletal frame of the submersive craft was only part of the work,.

Stepping from the small workshop, she made her way to where the massive craft was suspended above the ground. She ran her hand along the side of the ship, rather chilled by the cold, thick armor of the exterior. The fact it hadn't broken its harness surprised her to some degree, and she wondered if the vessel would be seaworthy soon.

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[FONT=garamond][COLOR=#800080]Doherty Rommel[/COLOR]
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[FONT=garamond]Rommel had been given a rather trivial task as of late: keep an eye on the project, and turn away any how desired to peek in on the affair. He hadn't raised an ax to any individual brave enough to approach, and often all he had to do was shake his head and point the other direction. The behemoth of a man required little to show he meant business, and not to poke one's nose where it shouldn't be.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]"[COLOR=#800080]No ma'am. I am not of liberty to speak of what goes on inside the facility. Please return to your business.[/COLOR]"[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]He held up both hands at his side, showing that his hands were tied in the manner. Even the most stalwart of a soldier couldn't speak to a woman as a common ne'er-do-well. The young woman furrowed her brow and sighed before dismissing herself down a long path and into the street. The facility wasn't as well guarded or secretive as Rommel would have liked, but the woman who called herself the Project Lead had insisted on a place close to a body of water, as well as close to materials. [/FONT]

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#800000"][COLOR="#800000"][box]Lucis Angelus DuGrace[/box]

The benefit of working in Izabal was not that it was completely secluded, but rather that it was so out of the range of interest that there was no real need for heavy surveillance. So although Rommel had command of a decent sized group of guards, it was nothing compared to the operation it would have taken to keep such an endeavor a secret in a city like Versilla, Morgana, or Drakiss. For that Lucis showed little concern for the interest of the town’s people, whom seemed to be growing a more troublesome burden for poor Rommel.

Turning the corner, Lucis was witness to the giant knight chasing away another woman, this one nearly put her hands on her waist and pouted but like a good lass she eventually gave up and went on her marry way. Content with how the giant had carried himself, Lucis felt all the more pleased with the recompense he had brought with him—a large brown jug of some potent moon shine, home brewed by the local barkeep. The man had been particularly proud of his concoction and had promised that this would flatten the giant in one swig. It seemed that over the years, Rommel and Lucis shared many hobbies—the best of which was finding good and strong drink that could cause them even a moment of dizziness. So far, only Lucis had fallen under the spell of some of those concoctions—Rommel had yet to lose his composure, even once.

“How does it feel to be back on guard duty?” Lucis asked as he came round to stand at his brother’s side, holding out the brown ceramic jug. “Compliments of the barkeep—promised it would knock you down in one swig—have a go at this, I am desperate to see if it works.”

The Black Prince did his very best to hide his anxiety to see the Project Leader, as she had been calling herself in these parts. Rommel had a way of seeing into the Prince’s heart and the last thing he wanted was rumors spreading regarding his ties to the brilliant inventor. Another of Rommel’s preferred ways of passing the time was trying to get Lucis into sticky situations—dangerous predicaments—specifically with the ladies.

It was only after Rommel had taken the jug that Lucis leaned against the wall, arms crossed, golden eyes cast in the direction that the young woman had left that he asked--rather nonchalantly, "how's our little mad scientist doing?"
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[CENTER][FONT=garamond][COLOR=#800080]Doherty Rommel[/COLOR]
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When the Prince came into view, one might assume he would straighten his back and salute. But Rommel had too much respect for the Black Prince just to make him appear as he didn't see himself. As far as he knew, Lucis didn't enjoy being a Prince as much as he just enjoyed being able to talk to people, specifically women. His tastes weren't always Rommel's own, but he had been known to be jealous of the thin, handsome faced man. His own age had diminished some of his good looks, and it was a bit more difficult to flirt with younger women. That and his imposing size didn't make him approachable by his type.

Instead of bowing, he gave a short nod of his head and let a smile creep over his lips. Opening his arms as if to embrace him, he instead grappled the jug of alcohol with both hands and brought it to his chest rather greedily.

"[COLOR=#800080]Ah, I've head of this. It's more suited to cleaning ship parts than getting drunk off of. Seems like my speed![/COLOR]"

He held the drink at his side for a moment and glanced around the area, noticing only a few other guards. Two were busy playing cards, another was on the verge of nodding off, and a fourth attempted to play the good pupil and look about vigilantly.

"[COLOR=#800080]Guard duty is all I seem suited for nowadays! I'm almost begging for an evil force to come in and steal whatever's inside...[/COLOR]"

Placing the jug to his lips, he knocked his head back. He could tell from the scent he wouldn't enjoy the taste, but not everyone drinks to enjoy it. A giant swig downed more than a quarter of it, and he almost regretted that swig instantly. It hit him like a herd of bloodshot bulls, and he wavered in his step slightly. He had a moment to double-take on the jug, in awe of the sheer power of the beverage. Placing the almost half-empty jug on the ground nearby, he took a moment to recover.

"[COLOR=#800080]Ha! I may have met my match here.[/COLOR]"

Rommel could already feel his face tingling and his cheeks burning from the sensations of being drunk, but he fought away the sensation with a bit of willpower and fortitude. His next question took him a moment to reply.

"[COLOR=#800080]Little and mad, as usual. She actually said if you wished to talk or visit, all you had to do was come in. She didn't say much else after that. Doesn't talk but to herself or yell at the engineers. Saw one of them come out crying. He came back though, and she's not working them too hard at least.[/COLOR]"

Nodding his head for a few moments, he pointed his thumb toward the door.

"[COLOR=#800080]Go on in and see for yourself.[/COLOR]"


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[CENTER][FONT=garamond][COLOR=#40e0d0]Chartreuse
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[FONT=garamond]Chartreuse had dismissed herself to her workshop once more, satisfied with the progress of the vessel. Instead of finding more blueprints, her hands found a small set of cups that were previously used for coffee, and went about brewing herself a large pot of sweet coffee. Sleep hadn't come easy in the past couple days, between racing thoughts, restless legs, and a rolling stomach, insomnia was a sad occurrence for the young inventor.

The coffee would brew for a while, and she at once poured herself a cup and sipped at it. Her spirits were already picking up.

A moment after her first sip, a male voice called from the lobby.

"Prince is here! Everyone look sharp!"

Her throat clenched and she nearly dropped the cup in her palm the instant she heard his title. She imagined she looked a mess, not understanding what the sensation she meant to do about this fresh news. Her index and middle finger ran over her lips, feeling the dryness in them, and her skin must look awful with the oil and dust covering her cheeks. She looked like some sort of street urchin.

Panicking, she tossed the half-empty cup aside and fished around in the mess for something to clean her face. She ran a rag over her cheeks and chin, wiping away the mess and looking somewhat presentable. However, she could still feel the muck and grime clinging to her skin. It would have to do, he could come in at any second and she'd look a mess.[/FONT]

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#800000"][box]Lucis Angelus DuGrace[/box]

The thought of Chartreuse making a grown man cry was as disturbing as it was amusing, but it definitely gave Lucis pause and caused him to tread with more care as he entered into the proverbial lion’s den. A gentle knock on the door would be all the warning he gave, and before she could answer, he had already taken hold of the knob, twisted it, and pushed it open. Immediately his eyes evaluated the sight of the workshop, taking in the immensity of her genius and also the sight of a full breakfast dish, as well as a cup of soup—lunch—which also looked utterly untouched. This caused him to frown, but his disapproval melted away the moment he caught sight of her in the reflection of a polished piece of metal—wiping at her face with an oily rag that only left her looking more disheveled.

Grinning he stalked toward her from behind and set warm hands upon her small shoulder, giving her a firm tug so as to pull her away from those rather unbefitting concerns over her appearance. “Darling you look stunning,” he teased as swept over the visage of her face with those blazing golden eyes. Pure pleasure filled him at the sight of his magnificent little inventor deep in the bosom of her element. But then, the smile and the pleasure melted away, and in its place there was only a deeply worried expression.

One hand fell from her shoulder, and the back of his fingers brushed against her cheek—tracing the more defined shape of her jaw until he reached her chin. There he caught her and tilted her face up. For a moment there was a sort of detachment in his eyes—as the gold in them drew from side to side examining her face, drinking in the sight of her, ignoring the rough beauty in lieu of the tell-tale signs of sickness.

“Chartreuse,” he said carefully in that measured and fatherly tone of his, “—what’s wrong?” And then all the ice melted away, and in its place warm concern spread as he embraced the smaller woman, pulling her to his chest and holding her there as he rocked her back and forth. Lucis was a strange sort of man—he had a preference for physical proximity that would seem almost childlike, but there was also something undeniably pure and kind about his mannerisms that curved the normal discomfort that would come from being embraced so suddenly by someone you could very well consider a stranger.

His worry was palpable; his concern for her health moving—and it would all be communicated in the tenderness of his hold. He treated her like a child, not because he thought her incapable, but because she was precious to him. In such a short time, this mad little woman had proven herself to be an honest and true friend. The sight of her so weary and wasted struck him in the very gut.

“I had heard rumors,” he whispered into her hair as he held her, “—that you didn’t look well.”
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[FONT=garamond]A few days ago, she would have heard Lucis coming from miles away. In fact, she could have sworn she did until she turned her attention to the sound and found nothing there. It wasn't until his voice rang in her ears is when she could actually hear him. The feeling of surprise was palpable, though it was more of the sudden sensation one gets at the first shout of 'Surprise!' It made her jump, though it looked more like a flinch of someone who wasn't used to being crept up on so easily.

It wasn't until he finished his sentence that she noticed his hands were upon her. When did he touch her? Was it before or after he started speaking? It was difficult to remember, and she found herself blushing a deep red when she felt senile in her young age.

"[COLOR=#40e0d0]I wasn't expecting you. Or I would have cleaned up.[/COLOR]"

Turned toward him, she did her best to remain in eye contact with him, but the secrets she hid from him and the others were enough to make her feel anxious around anyone. She didn't want him to worry, not simply because it bothered her, but because he might call off the project and distract her by trying to make her better. It was a fruitless endeavor, she thought. Months ago, she had realized she was dying, and it was a month after she had given herself an approximate time of death. That was the scariest part of dying to her, knowing the day you would pass, and knowing you couldn't do much to stop it. Sure, she denied it, then she got angry, then she tried to find a way around it. When that failed, she did her best not to cry, and attempted to busy her gloom with invention. Finally, five months ago, she realized...

She was going to die. And there wasn't much she could do to stop it.

But Lucis didn't need to know that. Not until the project was done. She could hide it till then, maybe she could feign a less serious illness and leave the engineers to finish it. There were two or three who could match her intellect if they thought hard on it. No...this had to be done by her, and her alone.

Swallowing deep, shifting her partially sunken cheeks and pale skin, she thought up the best lie she could.

"[COLOR=#40e0d0]I-I've just been busy with this project that I haven't taken a breakfast or lunch today, and dinner didn't sit too well with me. It might be food poisoning.[/COLOR]"

She nodded her head a few times, keeping eye contact with him briefly before turning her attention away to slightly wrest from his grip. She turned back to the workbench covered in papers and retrieved a few notes she had scribbled down to hide her face behind partially.

"[COLOR=#40e0d0]Well I can't be attractive in all the men's eyes. A girl still has to put her brain to work, yes?[/COLOR]"

Exhaling, she fought back another urge to upchuck, and let it settle until her stomach groaned in protest from the denial of relief. Stashing away the papers just as soon as she picked them up, she opened her arms and displayed the half-finished project to Lucis for him to spectate upon. Why he didn't ask such a question first off bothered her, but not in the way she was insulted, but she wondered if the Prince was more interested in something else.

"[COLOR=#40e0d0]What do you think? She should be ready for a test in the next few weeks. Even less if these engineers knew the meaning of a double shift.[/COLOR]"

A half smile appeared over her cheeks then slowly drooped away as negative thoughts still decided to plague her. She wasn't the cheerful girl at Tupalu anymore, but rather a complete 180 from that.[/FONT]

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#800000"][box]Lucis Angelus DuGrace[/box]


[imgalign=right]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y222/lesbia_09/lucis_zps86ed433e.png[/imgalign]

Lucis didn’t like being lied to but he also didn’t like pressuring people into telling him what they didn’t want to tell. However, it was different with this particular woman, because her health and wellbeing were very important matters to the Black Prince. Of course, the logical part of him, told him it was simply because so many resources had been invested in her supposed brilliance. But he knew there was a very different reason.

There was something about her—a hidden joy that he had only seen tiny glimpses of here and there. There were even moments of honest delight, like when she had first revealed the plans to him, or when they had shared a meal in Drakiss, and more specifically when she had spoken to Topaz. It had been during those moments when he pulled away and watched from a distance, and it was because of those moments that he was certain that this woman was owed a great debt.

Vaguely, as he stood there leaning against a workbench and watching her stumble over her words to come up with a lie, he wondered how much she had given the world and how much the world had given her back. Eventually, after smiling and nodding to her comments without really paying much attention to them, he decided that the world hadn’t given her nearly enough and that to right this awful wrong he would give her anything and everything. He very much longed to see her smile again—to hear her rude remarks and hear her mischievous laugh.

Without realizing it a half smile had come onto his lips just as she spread her arms to reveal the plans of their project. Pretending to care, which he did of course just not half as much as her serious and distant expression, he leaned in nodding his head and tapping a narrow finger against his chin. He pushed off the desk and leaned down close, his golden eyes narrowing as he examined the lines that had been drawn and the design of a sleek and elegant machine.

“Hmm—” one finger grew to two and three, until he was rubbing the side of his cheek with his hand, a look of disappointment growing on his face. “Well—it all looks good, but I think I want to see the actual product—you know, just to see how far we’ve come along. Do you think you could show me?” There was a roughness now to his voice, and a sharpness he had adopted that seemed to indicate he was all business for the time being.[/COLOR][/FONT]

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[FONT=garamond]She attempted to crack a smile, which is certainly what she wanted to do, but her lie prevented her from such an action. As a girl, she was raised to be a Truth Reader, which in Makinaar meant one who sees the lies of those who tell them, and is incapable of lying themselves. Luckily, she didn't have to undergo the trial which involved the searing of the tongue and a rune on the neck which prevented the cognitive brain from telling a lie. There was still some residual teaching that remained, and would often leave a bad taste in her mouth for a few moments after speaking against the truth.

"The progress has come along nicely I think. We're more than halfway done, we just need to finish off the exterior, and then get the engine running. The weaponry can come after the trial run and all, since the weight of the thing isn't assured within the ocean."

As she passed by him on the way out of her small workshop, she caught a whiff of him and wavered slightly in her step. In her life she had never stopped to inhale a pleasant scent of a person, mainly because she had despised people since leaving her home world. It wasn't a scent of delicious foods or perfumes, it was just Lucis. It made her stomach feel warm and her legs quiver just slightly, but she didn't seem to reflect it in her walking pattern or mannerisms. She felt a generous amount better in his proximity, and she couldn't explain why.

When she left the workshop, they were in the construction area, where the sound of clanging hammers and the burning metal screech was silent. Instead, the workers and engineers were all lined up in a single row at attention. Many of them had likely met and known Lucis and his rank, and stood at attention for the Black Prince. Noticing the silence, she held up a finger toward Lucis to signal to give her a moment. Approaching the line of workers and engineers, she furrowed her brows and narrowed her eyes appearing a might bit frustrated by their actions.

"The Prince is not here to watch you stand in a row and await his blessings! He's here to see progress. By the time we finish, the sea will be so dried up we won't even need this. Now let's get this thing finished so we can blow our enemies out of the water!"

Her eyes flit for a moment, directing them toward the submarine with a nonverbal signal until they got the hint and rushed back to their stations. From the night at Tupalu, she seemed a might bit more severe, though she didn't exactly seem angry at them...simply eager to finish. When they had dispersed, she turned to Lucis and flashed a quick, apologetic smile and then turned back to the project at hand.

The submarine was large in size, but was a generous bit smaller than the massive dreadnought vessels that floated on the water. Its exterior was painted a dark green to match the color of the sea, and was drummed tight with the same metals found on the ships of Orisia. She had to make do with these materials, as they lacked the same refined metals that Makinaar was famous for. But then, Fae Brass was difficult to come by in the first place, and wasn't place upon every ship unless it was a flagship. There were a pair of windows along the front of the vessel that faced on either side of it, making it look like a sea creature at a distance. The skeleton of the ship was still visible, where an engineer placed himself into a harness and began the process of tightening the metal plates to cover the interior. It wasn't situated on the ground, but suspended from the ceiling by a massive series of thick leather and rubber. It bobbed over a pool of water, so it would be sea ready within a moments notice. It would also be tested for weight several times over during the construction process.

She went through the basic details with him, pointing to a few pieces that still needed finished without exactly looking at them.

"As you can see, it's nearly ready. We're calling her 'Cecilia.' But I figured I would show you this next part without any interruption."

Waving him along, she brought him from the massive work environment to a smaller room that appeared about as large as her workshop, but was much cleaner and only had a table with several chairs and a series of blueprints posted up. Pointing toward the table, she directed Lucis' attention to the rolled out sheet of paper that almost spanned the entire surface. It was a display model and concept art of the flagship which the Queen and her vampiric brethren would ride in. It seems substantially larger than the Cecilia, by about five times its size, and its shape was horrifying to behold, even in the murky depths of the sea.

"We've only just started planning it, but once the current project is finished, the flagship should be done in a matter of weeks as well, sooner if I get more help. You or the Queen can name it when it's finished."

The whole while, her voice trembled as she attempted to speak clearly, her stomach lurched a couple times, but she kept her head clear of such a thought and brought out another smile, this one was more genuine than her last. In her element, it was easy to smile, and to laugh.[/FONT]

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#800000"][box]Lucis Angelus DuGrace[/box]


[imgalign=right]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y222/lesbia_09/lucis_zps86ed433e.png[/imgalign]

"The Prince is not here to watch you stand in a row and await his blessings! He's here to see progress. By the time we finish, the sea will be so dried up we won't even need this. Now let's get this thing finished so we can blow our enemies out of the water!"

Lucis stayed back only because, to be quite honest, that little woman could be quite terrifying when she was set in her ways. His face expressed a touch of amusement as he watched the faces of those who were being barraged and told to get back to work. He offered a small shrug of his shoulders and a sly grin as if to release himself of all culpability. After all, Lucis did not fancy himself the leader in this project. Sure enough, he was the representative of the patron—the DuGrace Family, but he would not for a moment pretend like he knew more about what was going on than the talented woman who had dreamed up this project.

After the others scurried out of the way and back to their duties, Lucis hurried along to catch up with the woman who was now pointing out certain features. For the first time since they had entered the main work hall, his eyes truly took in the sight of the thing they had been working on for the past few weeks. It was hard to divide his attention between the creation and the creator, but harder still to decide which deserved more admiration.

“It’s quite different seeing it on paper,” he said as his voice lowered to a whisper. There was something very tender in his voice, even more so in the way his gloved hand lifted and his fingers pressed to the cool green-metal. Soothingly he drew his hand along the surface, pressing his lips together and making a soft hissing sound—clearly mimicking the way he imagined water would sound as it rushed along. “I’ve seen the air and I’ve seen the earth—but all my life I’ve yearned to see the sea.” There he paused; he smiled a little private smile, and then lifted his golden gaze back to the mad scientist responsible for all of this.

She seemed pleased by his reaction and therefore sought to show him something else. But the prince was reluctant to leave the work space, his eyes lingering with something akin to love upon that half complete vessel. Eventually though, he followed along, after the woman had set a hand upon her waist and tapped impatiently at the floor with her boot. Offering her an apologetic smile, he entered the new room—smaller than the workstation, tidy, and sparsely furnished with little more than a table and chairs. But it was the paperwork atop the table that drew him forward like a man in a dream. Without a word to her he picked up the plans, turned the pictures from side to side—bent to peer at the small model, and event laughed as he stood up straight once again.

“You’ll make a whole feat of these vessels for Orisia?” He leaned against the table, reached out to brush back some wayward hair from her face, “—it will cost us a fortune.” Still, a light remained behind his golden eyes that made the molten swirls inside dance and move faster around his pupils. He seemed—happy—truly. “Being that Cecilia is a prototype I imagine the next creation will require better, stronger, perhaps more specific resources. Tell me what you need, where I can get it, and I’ll make sure you have it.”

Lucis frowned and that same hand that had brushed hair away now pressed fully, open palmed, against her cheek. “You feel—cold.”
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[FONT=garamond]His earnest appreciation for her work was enough to cause her stomach to warm once again with the feelings of contentment before. It made her feel complete that someone was impressed with her work; while a year ago she would have expected someone to marvel at her work through sheer cockiness and assurance of her skill. A genuine smile ran across her lips as she heard his appreciation and demand for a list of necessary supplies and funding.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]"I plan on making a small fleet of these. Five, and one more including the flagship which the Queen will be in, and you if you feel so inclined. The large man outside voiced an opinion of being the captain of at least one in his massive dreadnought fleet, but the fellow would probably sink it with all that muscle. So imagine that I would need five times of what you've given me, once the trial runs are done though, it will likely be half that amount. I think this project may be worth it."[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]She seemed rather excited for this project, her eyes lit up and twinkled, despite her somewhat haggard appearance and sunken cheeks. The visage of a hungry beggar who was just moments away from a meal they haven't had in a while. But when his hand brushed over her cheek and commented on the chill of her skin, the smile disappeared with his. For a moment, she hesitated, glancing fruitlessly toward his hand on her skin.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]"I...yea I feel a little cold."[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]It was then she noticed the heat that radiated from him, perhaps it was something in his nature or perhaps it was genetic. Just by looking at his aura and being around him, she knew he was vampiric in nature, but not a single vampire she knew had a trace of warmth in them unless they willed it. He must have been something else, something that made him noticeably warm to the touch.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]She fought the best she could to lie, to work up another fib that would sate his curiosity. But it hurt to even think of lying to him...not because it was in her blood and it was how she was taught, but because each time she lied to him, it hurt her heart. It made her heart sink in her chest, knowing that she'd be pushing him away. Her entire life, she worked to push people away, to keep people at an arms length away without so much as a friendly smile or a wave. Would it be wise to keep Lucis away? A person who seemed genuinely interested in her, rather than her instruments of destruction.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]If she lied to him, it would hurt him to know. And if she died without letting someone know, it might disappoint those around her. What if the project wasn't finished because she spent so much time attempting to cover her illness from the world? Lucis would hate her. Hell, she'd hate herself.[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]"I have something...I want to- need to tell you."[/FONT]

[FONT=garamond]Reaching up, she took hold of his hand with a bit of tenderness, slowly bringing it away and letting him take it the rest of the way where he pleased. When she had made space between them, she wavered there for a moment, her bottom lip quivering and her eyes darting from side to side, so much so she had to shut them to keep herself from going nuts over the motion. Inhaling a long, drawn out breath hurt her lungs, and she felt the copper flecks roll up into her throat. A short fit of coughing ensued, but she fought back another signal of her decrepitude. Placing her hand on the nearby table, she braced herself there, as she felt as though her legs might drop out from under her any moment.

The pent up sadness began to flow then. Her eyes began to water, tears began to slowly trail down her soot and oil-covered cheeks, leaving a clean line down the center. Her lips parted, letting out another exhale, and her voice trembled as she spoke the solemn words.

"I'm going to die. Soon."

She paused a moment, letting the words sink in before beginning again. The worst was out, and she began her explanation.

"I was born without half my vital organs. My parents are very rich, so they paid a surgeon to implant artificial organs in my body, but they needed upkeep to stay working. I did most of the small maintenance myself through pill and bloodstream formula, but I was captured and thrown into slavery for a year and a half. The parts rusted over time, becoming impossible to perform basic maintenance on.

"When I found this out, the pills and formula only sated the growing of the rust, but would eventually begin deteriorating the rest of my body. I have not met a single person capable of understanding the parts in me, and going back to Makinaar won't help me. When they found out who I've been around and what I haven't done to make up for it, they'll throw me into a cell for the rest of my life."

Tears had, by now, covered the entirety of her cheeks and down her chin. It had been years since she had cried, and she felt a great relief for letting it out. Using the back of her hand, she smeared a great deal of the tears aside, staining her cheeks further. With a sniffle, she continued on.

"I never was before...but I'm scared to die. I'm scared I won't have enough time to finish, or enough time to see my project reach its final stages. I'm hoping that I can leave someone in my stead to help...but all of these engineers..."

She inhaled again, following her words with more tears and sobs. Her hands waved in front of her face, attempting to control herself.

"I don't want you to be mad at me."[/FONT]

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#800000"][box]Lucis Angelus DuGrace[/box]


[imgalign=right]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y222/lesbia_09/lucis_zps86ed433e.png[/imgalign]

It was a torrent of information that seemed to have no end. Still, Lucis stood there and heard it all, with an expression that changed only by the severity of his deepening frown. By the time she had finished telling him about her life, her condition, and her eventual and seemingly unavoidable fate, he felt like nothing more than a ball of raw and painful nerve endings. But he was quick to interpret how foolish his own anger and suffering was in light of the situation. He was not the one who would be losing his life—he was not the one who had to carry around the weight of knowing how fleeting every precious second actually was—and so it the smoldering rage in his golden eyes melted into sympathy.

Truly, it was the sight of her tears that caused him to release his tension, for she was such a sad sight that he felt his heart break. Often he had met people on the brink of death—and most carried with them a resolute sort of sentiment, as if their fate were accepted. Yet here, upon on this face that was stained with grease and muck, the tears he saw told a much different story that lit a different sort of fire deep inside the belly of the beast.

When at last she was done speaking and after her tender confession about not wanting him to be upset with her, Lucis wasn’t certain if he would laugh or cry with her. Instead, he reached up with the same hand she had held and pushed away, and with it he sought the back of her head. Once he had her, he pulled her in and kissed her forehead—briefly. Holding her near, though not embracing her, not wishing to force anymore contact than was necessary, especially if she did not approve of it, he whispered against her hair.

“I won’t let you die—I promise, even if I have to give you my own heart, I won’t let you die.” And when she pulled away, surely started by the proclamation, he would smile down at her but wouldn’t linger long enough to hear a complaint or rebuttal. Instead, he would untangle his fingers from her hair and abandon her. Past her left side and then out of the room, he would stalk out of the main workspace and completely ignore the salutes and kind words of those who worked tirelessly to finish the project his heart had been set on for the past two weeks.

Now a new project had laid claim to his most royal and noble heart. To hell with the submarines, to hell with everything they represented—if she was not alive to see them succeed then he would go no further. Growing more and more set upon his resolution to find a cure, Lucis reached Rommel with a frenzied energy about him that was nearly palpable.

“What do you know about Makinaar—and what of the inventor I sent you to bring, what became of that man—Nicolas was it?” It seemed random, and completely out of nowhere, but Rommel would either respond appropriately or risk Lucis’ mounting frustration. It wasn’t very often that Lucis spoke so short, but he was not rude or cruel, merely focused.
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[CENTER][FONT=garamond]Chartreuse[/FONT][/CENTER]
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It might have been the fact she spoke and confessed so much she couldn't breathe, or maybe it was simply because of his actions that disabled her ability to speak for a short time. Instead of leaving or getting angry like she expected him to, he embraced her without fully grasping her entire body, and even though she it was an alien sensation to be touched so, she welcomed it without flinching or tensing up in his arms. However, she didn't exactly wrap her arms around him and demand more affection either. The feeling was welcoming, but still distant, it was what she wanted at this point.

When he spoke, her body shuddered hearing every word as though he spoke to a large crowd. It wasn't because of her enhanced hearing, but rather because her inner subconscious wanted those words, and desired to know that someone actually gave a damn enough about her. That was further comforting to know that someone knew her secret and didn't let her pass by without a glance.

But why would Lucis help her? Why on earth should he? Before she could ask, he was gone, and she was left alone in the small conference room to contemplate his reasoning for his actions. How on earth would he help her? There wasn't a single person she knew of that could duplicate her skill in science and engineering, and it was even more difficult to imagine someone educated enough to know what needed to be done should the time come. She felt like a lost cause, though not depressingly so.

To her thoughts, she withdrew, standing a moment with her bottom propped against the edge of the table. Her hands sleeves helped wipe away most of the tears, along with a majority of the nasty stains from the work before. What did Lucis plan on doing to help her? Could he even help her? She didn't know, and she wanted to know why.

[/FONT][CENTER][FONT=garamond]Doherty Rommel

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[FONT=garamond]Rommel had, by now, set aside the clay jug of potent alcohol and went back to his duties, just a bit more intoxicated than he should be. A few of the guards had gotten back to their duties, and they turned away the few onlookers to the facility who got a bit too nosy.

As Lucis approached again, he rose his hand in a brief wave then stood a bit more at attention when he seemed to be approaching with a great fervor toward him. If there was one thing Rommel had come to respect above all things, it was his royalty, namely the Prince and his Mother to a higher degree. Though he was a friend, when he came with serious intent, he knew not to joke around, even in a drunken state.

"[COLOR=#800080]I have never heard of Makinaar except heard it come from the lips of the young lady inside. And Nicholas...[/COLOR]"

He tilted his head back and thought a moment, trying to wrack his addled mind for the information needed.

"[COLOR=#800080]I last saw him at the Masquerade a while back with his companion, Charlotte. I attempted to track their locations, but I guess someone already spoke to Charlotte. I am not sure about the scientist. I could certainly attempt to find him.[/COLOR]"[/FONT]

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#800000"][box]Lucis Angelus DuGrace[/box]

“If we were willing to entrust to him the safety of our nation then I am certain he will be able to help me with this task—find him,” he finally said, lifting his gaze back to his old friend, for while he had been speaking his eyes had been cast to the ground while he paced back and forth. It was discouraging to hear that Rommel, with all the traveling he had done, had never before heard of Makinaar, but he certainly couldn’t hold it against him.

“Assemble a team—take whoever you need from the capital and go now, this is more important than anything we currently have on the table. Ensure that this place is well guarded, I want it under more protection now than ever.” Lucis stopped, he thought for a moment as he glanced down the dark alley that lead into this particular entrance and then tried—hard as he could—to see beyond to the sea-shore. But it was impossible, there were too many buildings in the way, and he had to be content with only the sound of the sloshing water and the many people who went about their daily business.

“—Alright, make preparations for added security here in Izabal, without you heading the guards I want more eyes and more swords. Once that is taken care of, which I expect won’t be more than a few days, go to Versilla and arrange your team. If the Black Queen so happens to be there you will personally deliver a message to her, if not, you will leave it in the hands of Tenebre and no one else. It is vital that we find Nicholas, but meanwhile, I want to ensure that Jensen and Anne from Morgana are contacted and told to come immediately—tell them they are to bring any and all materials necessary for the creation of a resurrection stone.” This was the first indication that Lucis gave as to what this was all about. Jensen and Anne had become celebrities in Orisia after they had figured out how to make harness the power of the isradis stones into something that could restore the life of those who had died. There were still some serious implications to the use of this stone—for one thing, Jensen was still carefully watching over Anne for any possible side effects after he had used the very first stone to bring her back after she had broken her neck.

“Don’t ask me for any explanations—just do as I say—I beg you old friend.” And then he rested a wide hand upon Rommel’s shoulder and squeezed, “—go.”
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[CENTER][FONT=garamond]Doherty Rommel
[/FONT][/CENTER]
[FONT=garamond]
There were so few times when Rommel had seen his friend so earnest and serious in his intent. When he approached, he seemed in a jovial manner, and was rather interested in the prospect of what had happened inside. The invention inside must be of great importance, or else Lucis' attitude would not have changed so dramatically. Rommel wondered if he was interested in the project more than the tiny scientist inside. She seemed eager to finish, but he couldn't quite tell if it was the need to build, or the need to finish. He had seen the look of desire on a person's face when a deadline was approaching. For soldiers, it usually meant they had one last fight in them, or their death was imminent and they needed to claim glory once more.

But Rommel, being the good friend and soldier he was, only nodded his head in reply to the Black Prince as a signal of his obedience. When the hand was placed on his shoulder, he then knew it was time to speak, and he didn't waste much time to affirm.

"[COLOR=#800080]At once, my friend. I will leave these men here, and have a small contingent of soldier here within an hour; some of my best too.[/COLOR]"

A smile wrapped over his cheeks to reassure the Prince of his intent. He turned about making his way toward the exit, but stopped to address a few of the remaining guards.

"[COLOR=#800080]I am being sent on a task. I will have twelve extra swords and shields here within the hour. Until then, don't look too pretty without me.[/COLOR]"

Patting both on the shoulders, he pressed past the men and made his way toward his barracks to prepare for a trip to Versilla.[/FONT]

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