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Cordeliane

When Night met Rosa

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She was going crazy, with the griffin hanging around and her parents refusing to let her out. She knew she needed to do something drastic. She had to get away. Cordeliane was still not speaking to her, they had never not spoken to each other this long before. She could not go to her sister about her troubles Alanna would not understand. Her brothers were out of the question too, they were as protective of her as the Scorcha boys were of Cordeliane. Only her brothers could not control her as Cordeliane’s had tried to. No she was an escape artist, and she was going to make a run for it. She knew exactly where she was going, it was a place nobody would think to look for her.

 

A smile crossed her lips as she thought about it. The scroll to the main land that would work. She would have to sneak in to use it which would be difficult with a griffin in tow but she will do it. She was going to the Arcantians. She longed for adventure, to do something more then be Princess Rosabella, daughter to a king and potential political bride. She was not going to be married off for Nvengaria to some man she might not even like.

 

She was not sure what to pack, she did not really know their customs. The men she had met had worn black or grey. Did all of them were black and grey? She had a few silver dresses no black that were not mourning gowns. No she would pack the silver dresses and a few of her green ones and a dusky rose dress that went well with her skin. She did not bother fussing with stocking and other unnecessary clothing. She had her boots and a few pairs of slip on shoes as well as her pants for riding as she would ride her griffin to Kedves and use the portal scroll.

 

Now was the time for action, now was the time to do what she had dreamed of and go to the main land and experience life for the first time without a watchful guard. It was going to be her greatest adventure yet, even better than acquiring the griffin companion she now had.

 

She whistled for Twilightfeather, the griffin she had named. His feathers reminded her of the twilight when the sun touched the golden trees and they glistened in the fading light, and so she named him. He was beautiful and powerful and seemed to protect her as if she were one of his young. She loved him dearly and he was as good as Shooting star and Cerberus at keeping people away for her.

 

“We are going on a trip Twilight.”

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“Are they getting worse?” Black Hourglass Dream asked.

White Crimson Night nodded. Even that movement caused pain, and he winced as his head throbbed. It felt like a hammer constantly pounding against his temple, merciless and unyielding. “My visions are stronger, too,” he admitted. “Sometimes… sometimes I do not know what is real anymore, my Lord.” He cast his eyes down, closing them for a moment, before looking up again. He took a deep breath. “I do not think I have much longer.”

Hourglass Dream looked away, his vivid blue gaze piercing the walls of their large grey tent, sweeping over the great emerald grasslands of the Arcantian people. “If Zane were here… damn them,” he swore. He stood, pacing back and forth. The shadow of the tent rippled across his tall, black-clad figure – combined with his rigid, fierce motions he seemed another of the vicious phantoms that always haunted Night’s dreams.

Dreams that were not dreams. Dreams of the future, of the past, of faraway lands of the present. The dreams that caused his headaches that would eventually lead to his death.

He was 26 years old.

Not knowing what to say, he watched Dream pace, and a few minutes passed before he suddenly groaned, his hands pressed against his head. Immediately Dream was at his side, one hand on a shaking shoulder. “What is it?”

Night shivered with the pain, gasping even as it slowly receded to the constant dull ache. “My Lord,” he whispered. “We must go to the portal. Someone… a woman… will arrive there, from Nvengaria.”

Dream frowned. “Not Cordeliane?”

“No… someone different. Older. And… something else will be coming with her.”

Dream grasped Night’s arm, pulling him up, supporting him as the man staggered. “Night, stay with me. We will go together.”

The walk to the portal was a short one, leading them through the varying tents of their people, scattered about the grasslands in the overreaching shadows of the nearby Bloodmage Mountains. The portal was situated on the outskirts of their claimed territory, a great circle of blooming colors unseen anywhere else in the world. Two guards were there, and they bowed as Dream and Night approached.

“Be prepared,” Dream snapped at them. “Someone and something is coming. Do not harm them unless they attack, but be prepared to halt them if you must.”  

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The trip which would have taken her days by horseback, was mere hours by flying. She never dreamed when she had come upon the grieving griffin that she would one day be able to soar over Nvengaria on its back. She had just wanted to help ease his pain. Now she was flying over Nvengaria on her way to her biggest adventure yet. She could have flown him off the island but that was too dangerous for both of them. No sneaking into the lands of Kedves and using the portal to the grasslands was the way to go for her.

 

 

It pained her to have to be so sneaky about it, even if she and Cordeliane had been on speaking terms she would never allow her to go off to the main land on her own. Something had happened to Cordeliane there that had changed her. She was not as reckless as she had once been and it bothered Rosa that she would not tell her what had happened. She was frustrated by all of it. Cordeliane had come home married to a man who pretended to adore her in public, but she had overheard that it was not a love match and did not know why they were pretending otherwise.

 

She did not bother looking at the sweeping landscape as they flew over her home. She was too deep in thought over everything that was going on in her life. She hated mysteries and secrets and yet her best friend was entrenched in them. The only way to get answers was to go to the main land and find out for herself. The only problem was the griffin, she could not lie around him, she had figured out a way around it but it took a lot of effort to actually deep down believe her own lies. No she would figure out another way to go about finding out what she wanted to know.

 

They landed in the western field where Cordeliane and Shawn had arrived on Nvengaria, the portal still there. It made sense that Cordeliane would leave it there where Shooting Star liked to run and nobody would dare trespass. Nobody but her that was. She had not known it was going to be this easy to use the scroll. She had thought that maybe just maybe she would have to sneak into the castle to get it. Dismounting Rosa fixed her hair and tiara. She had in the end opted for one of her more subdued tiaras. It was an intricate design of roses with small ruby and pink diamond chips in the petals making it look as if she wore a tiara of roses. It was her favorite the one her father had given to her on her 16th birthday.

 

Approaching the scroll she read:

 

“North, south, east and West, take me to Arcantian grasslands the place I love the best.

 

Far from home, may I roam, far to fly, O’er Sea or sky,

 

Fly far; fly free, cross Land and sea, with you I go, so I will so mote it be.”

 

She watched in awe as it opened shimmering and swirling with all the colors and hues in existence. It was a rare costly magic and she was using it to sneak off to the main land far from everybody and everything she knew and loved save for Twilight who was coming with her.

“Well here we go Twilight, time to see the unknown and have an adventure, a life changing one”

 

Twilight looked at her like she was crazy but he would not let her do this on her own. She was his kit and he would not allow any harm to befall her until the time he could pass off her care to a suitable mate. Padding over to her he put a wing around her and ushered her into the swirling mass of colors.

 

 

She stumbled as she came out the other end of the shimmering portal, a griffin by her side. She was a lovely young woman with black hair and soft creamy complexion. She was dressed in a gown of silver with green eyes sparkling in delight.  Her one hand rested on the griffin at her side who still had a wing around her in what could only be called a protective manner.

 

Her eyes cast over the lot of them, she ignored Dream her eyes resting on Night and with a soft “oh” she rushed forward to him. She could feel he was in pain and she wanted to help. She did not consider that most did not feel pain when she was around magic. She tended to put most people at ease as well, which is why she was able to get away with what she had been able to.

 

She ignored Twilight as he tried to grab at her and squawked at her in his displeasure at her leaving his side. As she got closer to Night he would find all pain he was feeling would vanish as if it had never been there. It was her special gift, a special kind of empathy that blocked pain. “Twilightfeather, its ok we are safe.”

 

Twilight was a large griffin 15 feet tall and with a wing span of nearly 13 feet. He sat watching Rosa as if guarding her, his tail swishing back and forth. If he could clench his jaw he would have, but anybody could see he was ready to pounce should anybody make a move towards Rosa that might be taken as hostile.

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Swords drawn, the guards stood ready, their bodies tense. The matching runes on their left arms blazed with the magic of the seven sacred elements. Highly trained warriors, the guards feared nothing, and their loyalty to Hourglass Dream had them ready to sacrifice life and limb for his safety. Watching the glimmering portal with keen eyes, they waited.

Minutes passed, and then the portal flashed, a miasma of brilliant colors. Two shapes, one small, the other massive, flashed into view. The guards pulled back, gasping as the griffin emerged into sight. If they had heard of such great beasts, they had never seen one, nor imagined one could be larger than a war horse. They pulled their arms back, ready to strike with sword and sorcery if it made any sudden movements. They did not notice Rosa until she rushed forward from under the shelter of the griffin’s wing.

Rosa would never know how close she came to being struck down in that instant. Arcantian seers were considered not only untouchable, but highly revered. If Night was in danger, any Arcantian would have gladly gone to any length to protect him. Even with the griffin so near with its tail lashing, the guards stepped forward to halt Rosa, and it was only Dream’s raised hand that stopped them.

The tremors that ran through Night’s body receded as the pain that tormented him night and day vanished with Rosa quickly closing in on him. His eyes were wide as his thoughts, often jumbled and confused with the torture of feverish headaches, calmed and returned to order for the first time in years. One hand cautiously raised and finger touches his forehead, as if in fear that any movement would return the pain.

Rosa stopped directly in front of him, and Night stared at her, immediately realizing that it was she who was somehow the source of his relief. “You… how?” he whispered in a shaking voice.

Dream touched his pendant, hand still raised to the guards who watched, wary and unsure. Night?

My Lord… the pain. It’s gone!

Dream eyed Rosa as he motioned of the guards to lower their weapons. “Who are you?” he asked Rosa, keeping his voice low and calm. “What did you do?”

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Twilight was not oblivious to the danger facing Rosa as she made her wat to Night. Twilight understood, had his own pain not called the Kit to him when his mate had been murdered? He watched her and those armed to attack. He was ready to pounce at a moment’s notice and they would learn how hard an angry griffin would be to kill, should they make one hostile move towards Rosa.

 

Rosa was focused on Night, the pain coming off him was intense, and it held her attention for the time being. She looked at him and a weary smile played on her lips. She had seen similar reactions before, the disbelief that the pain was really gone, and that they could move freely. It was his whispered “you… how” that made her sigh. How could she explain what she did not understand herself? She had always been this way from birth. “I am and do” she murmured as she turned to Dream who had spoked to her.

 

Twilight hissed in Dreams direction and then began to preen, keeping an eye on the men around his kit. He would be on them before they could use their magic on him. Like all immortals he could see the magic in people as a soft glowing light with in. Rosa had that light but did not realize it.

 

“Oh, sorry” she curtsied to Dream “I am Princess Rosabella Larken of Nvengaria, he is Twilight my griffin companion” Straightening she sighed at his next question. She could not lie not that she needed to “I did not do anything. It just happens when people are near me and in pain” She could not lie with twilight so close, not that these people knew that. She sighed again looking back at Night then to Dream “And you are? And do not think of lying, Twilight will not allow it…. I mean… wait… it’s more like you can’t lie in a griffin’s presence... I … I will just shut up now.’

 

She bowed her head looking at Dream with a not to happy expression on her face.  She wanted adventure and fun not this. As she was sulking a little she finally really looked at dream and gasped softly. She had finally noticed the blue eyes so like her best friends “You are a child of Prophesy!!”  She wanted to take a step nearer to him to take a good look at him but dared not leave to far from Night encase his felt pain again. “I have never seen another with eyes like Corde”

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“I am and do.”

These enigmatic words did nothing but puzzle Night, who stared as Rosa finally addressed Dream. With the pain gone, the world seemed suddenly so vibrant and clear. No longer clouded with the piercing headaches, his visions – often foggy and agonizing –  seemed tame and were far more bearable. In fact, they seemed to recede to the back of his mind, leaving him focused, calm, and composed. Such an alien feeling!

Both Night and Dream started as the young woman gave her noble title, and the leader of the Arcantians glanced uneasily at the massive griffin. What did she mean, that one cannot lie in a griffin’s presence? It was not as if this mere beast, however majestic, was a soothsayer. He was about to ask what kind of magic she was weaving with the creature when she gasped and stepped forward, much closer than was deemed proper, staring at his eyes.

Already tense, Dream slid back, holding up his hand again as the guards grumbled disconcertedly. He was not self-conscious of his eyes, and was fully aware of what they implied, but what Rosa did not know – what most did not know – was that the prophecy he was destined for ended in death. His death. Now that, that was something he preferred not to think about, and could do very well without being reminded of it.

Eyes shifting back and forth from the griffin to her and back again, Dream tried to not sound stiff, inserting a very artificial ease into his voice. “You Grace,” he said formally, bowing slightly. “Welcome to the land of Altus Arcantium. I am…” He thought about lying just then, to protect both him and Night, despite her warning, but his words slipped from him. “I am Black Hourglass Dream, commander of the Arcantians. This is my seer, White Crimson Night…” he stopped, suddenly realizing he had given more true information than he intended.

Night was not lost to this fact. “What is this?” he demanded. “What kind of magic is this?” Not even the greatest mage could still my pain, but she did it without a single word!

Edited by The Hummingbird

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Rosa just smiled at him and bowed softly as he gave who he and Night were. She knew Griffins prized honesty over anything. You could not physically tell a lie and nor could you tell half-truths. “It is an honour to meet you Lord Dream, you as well Lord Night, and there is no need for formalities Rosa will be fine, I am not here in official capacity.  Actually my dad would try to lock me in the tower again if he knew I was here.” She blushed and gave Twilight a dirty look. She had not meant to let that out, but his special ability was buggering her up too.

 

When Night asked what kind of magic she was using she looked at him angrily. “I Do not have magic nobody in the Larken line does” Twilight Squawked in our rage at the lie but his ability did not prevent her from speaking it because she believed with everything in her that she did not possess magic. It did not prevent him from making noise in outrage at the lie but nothing else. “I am so tired of everybody telling me I have magic. It is just something I was born with. I cannot control it, it just happens.”

 

She glared at Night as if it was his fault she had the ability to make people not feel pain in her presence. It was part of her, part she did not understand and even feared a little. It was useful but dangerous to have others not feel pain in her presence. One could be seriously injured and with her around not know it until it was too late.

 

Twilight sensing her upset moved towards her nudging her with his beak and purring softly to try and cheer her up.  As fierce as he looked, he was really nothing more than a big kitten when it came to Rosa and her comfort. Kitten to Rosa fierce loin to those who threatened or upset her too much.

 

“I am here to get away, I just need time from being me” She shrugged she figured they would not get it. Not many wanted to get away from who they were specially a princess but Rosa had had enough of being a princess and sheltered. She wanted to be out and seeing and doing things. So she had pretty much run away.

 

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Neither Dream or Night could quite believe Rosa’s declared lack of magical ability. What else could it be? The leader and seer stared at her suspiciously, for a moment forgetting the griffin’s threatening appearance.  Even if one was just born with magic ability, it was still magic.

Then again, Nvengaria was a vastly different land, with different rules. No doubt that although blue eyes meant the same there as it did here, other things worked differently. Dream breathed out harshly in tandem with Night. He could not fathom the differences or form any theories, and it frustrated him.

But there were more pressing concerns.

“You are here without permission?” Dream demanded. If her father was King of Nvengaria and what she said concerning his ire was true… “You must leave. Your presence here endangers our pact with Nvengaria, Your Grace,” he said tersely. “We will not risk the consequences of your disobedience, even if you are Princess.”

Night stayed silent all this while but before Dream was done speaking he touched his pendant. A moment of silence passed, and Dream visibly ground his teeth. Whatever Night had said displeased him greatly, but he pressed on regardless.

“Getting away and needing time away from being you is no excuse,” he snapped. “I would love time from being me, but I do not abandon my duties. Turn around and go home.”

Night stood with arms crossed, but the expression on his face was carefully neutral. Too neutral that it was clear; he was certain that Rosa’s ability was determined by her proximity to him, and the pain would return as soon as she left. He was already bracing himself; once she was gone, the pain would return with a vengeance and would most likely hit him like a sledgehammer.

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 Rosa reached up and patted Twilights beak as Dream spoke to her. If looks could kill the Guards around them would have shot her dead for the look she was giving Dream. Eyes glittering hard as emeralds her lips pulled into a tight line as she let him speak. He was only digging himself a bigger hole with every word. Breathing deeply she clenched her fist, her whole body tense.

 

Twilight sensing the anger in her and directed at the blue eyed man backed up. He had felt and seen her like this before when she had first met him and dealt with the poacher who had killed his mate. He did not want to be near her when she let loose again but he would not go too far.

 

Rosa exploded “Duties!!! What Duties???  I am the youngest of 5 my eldest brother is the heir, my sister the hostess in training under mother, the twins the spare and the spares spare and then me, the political prize. Well I will not be married off for the good of Nvengaria to some stranger just because it is good political match. I will not be trotted out like some ornamental piece to be shown off as if I am nothing but a decoration in the Castle.”  Angry tears glistened in her green eyes as she continued in a mocking voice. “Rosabella you need to be more lady like, like Alanna. Rosabella why can’t you sit still like your sister. Rosa your sister does not go off causing trouble or dressing like the help be more like her.” Wiping at her face as the tears began to run down her cheeks “That is what my duty is to be more like my SISTER!! Well I am not Alanna!!! I want to ride astride like a man. I want to go hunting and hiking and exploring. I want a grand adventure, I hate knitting and needle point and all that other useless female tripe they try and make me do.”

 

She was obviously not happy at home, being a princess was not what people believed it to be. “I Am NOT going home and you cannot make me. If I do not stay here I will just find somewhere else where nobody knows of our island to have my adventures. Send word to my father if you must, not like he will notice any way. Nobody CARES I am not there. At least you have Night to talk to.” Her voice cracked a bit. It was more than her being there without her father’s permission. She had used the scroll without Cordeliane’s permission as well. “I am running away, I figured here would be a safe place but if I am not welcome Twilight and I will find somewhere else to go. So I guess I will be off your royal I do not abandon my Duties”

 

She turned to Night and grimaced. She wanted to keep helping him but Dream had made it clear that she was not welcome. “I’m sorry, if I knew how to make it last I would. I do not want to leave you in pain, but I cannot stay here, he has made it unerringly clear that I am a liability.”

 

Why was the damned treaty more important than her to everybody? Her father her family, even her best friend held that treaty higher than they did her. She doubted they even knew she was missing yet and it had been hours since she left the castle.

 

The whole time she had been ranting Twilight remained silent. Every word she had spoken was true, or deeply believed to be true. He just looked at her and watched her like cat on a mouse hole. He did not like how upset she was, and why, any more than he wanted to stay here in these open fields, but he would not leave her side unless they were forced apart.

 

 

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Night’s turquoise eyes were wide as Rosa’s ire spilled over them like a maelstrom. He had only met one royalty in his life, and that particular noble was calm, serene, and accepting of the expectations others displayed due to his high birth. Night expected a Princess to act the same, but Rosa not only acted far different; she clearly hated her rank and everything that came with it. And, he had to admit, after hearing how she was constantly compared to her sister, he couldn’t really blame her.

Unfortunately, Dream was less sympathetic. What was this talk of running away and grand adventures? Life was not a game. IF she was expected to be more like her sister… why, the way she acted she would do well to do so! He was not pleased at her mocking attitude, and his glare, normally a warm, almost sad blue, was freezing cold. Despite the griffin’s presence, it took a substantial effort not to approach her and shove her back into the portal from whence she dared come.

For a long moment, neither men spoke. Then Night cleared his throat nervously.

“Your Majesty… one moment, please.” Turning, the seer laid a hand on Dream’s shoulder and turned the two of them to one side. Both touched their pendants. To Rosa, they would seem to be doing nothing but looking at each other, occasionally glancing her way, examining the griffin, and making the occasional hand gesture. But when they turned back, it was clear they had done much more.

Dream looked at her one moment longer before silently turning and marching away, making a rather disparaging signal to Night and the two guards. The latter, skirting a wide distance from the griffin, returned to their stations. The former, turned to Rosa herself with an apologetic smile.

“Rosa. I apologize, but we cannot have you going off just anywhere.” He paused, choosing his words carefully. “For the moment, you are confined to the grasslands under my supervision.” He steepled his fingers together and titled his head at her. “We have many questions, but for the moment, you must be hungry. Please follow me.”

He turned and gestured her to follow, back to the camp.

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She was still so angry and hurt it had all come out on the two men. There was so much more she wanted to say but didn’t. It was not the place or the time to get into that stuff. She was not usually so emotional and volatile but having not had contact with Cordeliane and her parents enforcing it, as well as being confine to the castle with her sister and mother was driving her insane. She had a need to be out of doors trying new things. Turning into a copy of her mother and sister would kill her slowly. Even thinking about it was diming the light from her eyes. Her sister and mother Thrived in the lot they had been born to, Rosa did not it stifled her and choked the life from her. She did not know how to make Dream see that.

 

Rosa was about to let of another round of her displeasure when Night asked her for a moment. Not trusting her own voice she nodded regally to him. Watching them a frown furrowed her brows. She knew they were talking how she did not know but the looks and gestures were of somebody having a conversation. She clenched her jaw, she hated being left out of stuff and more so hated being talked about. There was nothing she could do in this instance but endure it. Turning to Twilight she smiled weakly at him.

 

“I think I messed up, but I am not going home. Maybe…I know you do not like it but maybe we could gift him with some of your feathers? Their properties might come in useful to him. And do not look at me like that. I know I made the mistake and now you wonder why it is you who has to come up with the sorry gift. Your feathers are a remarkable gift arrows fly true, magical falsehoods visual and verbal are nullified when worn. It is why those poachers were after you and your mate Twi.”

 

Twilight looked at her and shook his head. He knew she was right but he still did not like the idea of giving up some of his feathers. But on the other claw she had never asked him to do so before, usually when he gave up feathers it was because they were loose to begin with but stuck. He hated having them pulled. He gave her a nod as if saying yes to her request when the men turned back to them.

 

Rosa turned to face them ready to argue more when Dream without a word gestured and then walked off.  Rosa stared after him ready to shout at him for walking away without even saying good bye when Night approached and spoke. Her eyes went wide and a smile lit her face “Oh thank you!!” she tossed herself at him hugging him. She did not care she was confined to the grasslands and under supervision. She did not have to go home! She could stay a while and explore.

 

Blushing she stepped back and smiled brightly. “I can answer questions that is no problem. I know my suddenly showing up here was not welcomed, but I will try not to be too much trouble.”  She would try but she could make no promises. She was cat curious by nature and loved to try new things and explore and this was a whole new world to her.

 

“I am a little peckish, I could eat.” She began following him, she had questions of her own but for now those could wait until they had been looked after “Is there a lake with fish nearby? Griffins eat fish and other large sea creatures. Since we are land locked he will have to do with fresh water fish.”

 

 

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Night stiffened slightly as Rosa hugged him; true to Arcantian customs, he was not used to being touched. Even so, he tolerated her brief hold with good grace, returning the gesture with a tentative squeeze of his own hands before leading the way to the base encampment. He was careful to keep his pace slow and casual, not only to keep close to Rosa and her strange ability but to put his people at ease. Doubtless many of them would be startled to see such a huge griffin walk into their midst.

The camp was not far, and it was only a few scant minutes before the tents came into view, triangles and squares of black and grey standing out amid the emerald sea of grass. Men, women, and children, many armed and dressed in like colors, stood, walked, and conversed among the shelters, and all of them stopped as Twilight stepped into view. Gasps and murmurs of amazement floated among the people; none of them had the fortune to see such a mythical creature before. A few children were held back by their parents; others who were not attended crept as close as they dared, wide-eyed and full of wonder. They had already been told of the griffin by Dream, but Twilight’s sheer size was hardly to be expected.

Night rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he considered how to feed the great beast. “You are in luck,” he finally said. “We recently excavated a tunnel that unearthed an underground river feeding into our hot springs. It appears to branch off to a greater river west of here, and freshwater fish are currently making their migrations. Fish are considered a delicacy here, so there should be barrels of them… ah. Mist!”

A man in black with strips of white down the back approached hesitantly, eyeing the griffin warily. “My Lord?”

“Take some men and bring fish to the feasting table. A lot of fish. Enough to feed our winged friend,” Night ordered.

The man blinked. “The… the beast? I… I do not know if… well, I shall bring what we have, sir,” he said, bowing before scurrying away. Night smiled at Rosa as he led further into the camp, until they reached the heart where a table laden with food stood. There was meat in plenty; rabbit, quail, deer, chicken; fruit: apples, oranges, and strange western delights; vegetables in bountiful array and candy and, yes, a barrel of trout. There was a cook present nearby, grilling some fish over a fire for those who preferred the freshest of seafood meals.

“There was a great feast to celebrate the marriage of Eclipse and Cordeliane… pardon, Cordeliane Veruacor,”  Night explained. “As you can see, all our people donated a little more than expected to provide the food. Magic helps preserve it. Please help yourself.” Night purloined a portion of venison and seasoned vegetables on a glass plate for himself and stood as he ate.  He gave time for Rosa and Twilight to eat and become a little more comfortable before speaking.

“Did you really come here only to escape from the pressures of Nvengaria royalty, Rosa?”

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She followed him and Twilight moved to follow behind taking up the rear and protecting the two. His tail swishing as he walked. He did not much like walking but now was not the time to be soaring over head when the people here were not used to him. He knew the laws of Nvengaria prevented those who saw him from hunting him or shooting him from the sky, but here he did not know and the wild mage was not here to talk for him.

As the tents came into view she gasped softly. She did not know what to expect but this had not being it. Excitement flashed in her eyes as she took in the tent. “I get to sleep in one of those?” she sounded breathless and excited “Nobody is going to tell me a princess does not camp? That I cannot sleep in a blanket on the ground?” This was all an adventure to her. When she had been younger her brothers had gotten to camp out and hunt in the forest as part of their knight training. She had cried the whole time they were gone because she had wanted to try it too and was refused. It was the one thing she had never defied her father one and tried to do on her own. Even Cordeliane had refused to camp in the forests outside her castle saying it was too dangerous without guards or men with them.

 

“I will have to purchase the necessary things for camping after we eat. I did not bring such things with me.” Not that she owned such things, but that did not need saying. She was going to be trying something new and it excited her.

 

Twilight watched the people amused as he strode behind Night and Rosa at a leisurely pace. He watched the children as the gaped at him and gave a rumbling purr as he walked. Those who were not being watched and dared to come close would get a playful flick with his tail as he walked by. He loved children human or other animals. He did not have a kit of his own so honoured those he came across all the more. He would not mind taking time away from Rosa to play with them.

 

Rosa listened to the exchange with the one called Mist and frowned muttering “He is not a beast he is a griffin.” Under her breath. She did not like him being referred to as a beast. He was majestic and regal and also the sacred animal on Nvengaria. They stood for honesty loyalty and justice.

 

She smiled back at him as they continued walking. It was considerate of him to have food brought to Twilight, it would not do for him to go hunting for food just yet.  The look in her eyes went from happy to sad as he mentioned Cordeliane and Shawn. It was an unhappy look that flashed in her eyes and then disappeared only a moment later. “You can call her Cordeliane to me. I call her Corde, she is my best friend after all”   She looked at the food with wonder then had to laugh as Twilight found his dinner.

 

Twilight smelt the fish and trotted himself over to where the man was cooking fish on the grill. Gently nudging him out of the way he stuck his beak into the barrel and began gulping down fish. In a matter of minutes half the barrel would be gone and Twilight would sit there cleaning himself much like a cat would.  After grooming himself he would trot a little ways away and stretch raking his claws in the ground leaving 2 foot deep marks where his claws had dug into the earth as he at stretched. After stretching he would curl up and nap. He would have preferred his nest and somewhere higher up but he did not have that choice right now as he needed to stay close to Rosa and they were far from home.

 

Rosa helped herself to a little bit of everything, trying all the different foods and murmuring her pleasure at the tastes. It was like nothing she had ever seen. Maybe she should get herself an Arcantian husband if they feasted like this when one wed, not that she wanted a husband. Shawn treated Corde well but she was not sure all would be like those two were. Most men as far as she knew treated women like they were less than horses or cattle.

 

She nearly choked at his question to her. Setting down her plate on a nearby table she sighed. “No, it’s not just the pressures of Royalty that had me fleeing. Cordeliane and I had a fight and she is not talking to me. She… well she banished me from Kedves. We have never fought like that before. My father confined me to the castle, and I am used to wandering free. I am a bit of a wild one, I should have been born male. I like to do things a princess should not like to do. I like to get dirty and play in the mud and converse with the commoners. I sneak out of the castle all the time. I dress like a page or a maid even a guard once to get away. Dad hasn’t realized that locking me in the tower is useless yet. I climb out of the window using the sheets and blankets for ropes.” She chuckled a little and picked up her plate eating more. Let him think on some of what she just said. She was pretty sure he would react as Shawn had with outrage at her climbing out of a castle tower with sheets and blankets as rope.

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Although the emotionally reserved Arcantians kept a respectful distance and tried not to outright stare, Rosa was getting quite a few looks. Among the uniform black and gray of the camp, she stood out in the green of her dress, a bright splash of eye-catching color.  Not only that, she was stunning; a dark haired beauty who could put even the most attractive Arcantian woman to shame. Not a single man, woman, or child in the camp doubted she was a princess.

Twilight was garnering much attention as well, even more than his mistress. As the man cooking the fish gaped at the now relaxed and contented griffin, a few older, wide-eyed children crept up. One of them reached out and dared to delicately touch one of the long primary feathers of Twilight’s wing before rushing off, followed by her laughing peers who were not soon to forget her bravery. Not long after, Mist, accompanied by a few well-muscled men, walked up. Among them they hauled two barrels full of water and still-living fish. They set them down close to the fire and Mist tiredly saluted.

“This is all the fish we have for now, My Lord Night.”

Night smiled. “Thank you, Mist. This should be enough. You may go.” He looked to Rosa as Mist and his companions left, considering what she had said. Contrary to her expectations, he did not look angry, shocked, or even mildly surprised at her technique of escaping her father’s prison for royalty. In fact, he looked amused as he nibbled on some greens.

“I’ve never heard of that before,” he grinned. “Well. Here you are free to go where you wish as long as I am with you.” Rosa was turning out be quite the character. A nomadic people, Arcantians slept in tents and on the ground often, and frequently preferred that to the stifling, small rooms taverns often offered. It was also far less expensive than the quarters inns tried to sell. It was hardly glamorous, of course, and Night had wondered how to accommodate a princess’s lavish tastes. But this princess acted as though camping was some kind of rich novelty. Night tilted his head, frowning to himself. He did not know what to make of her, this “wild one.”

“So… the countess banished you? A countess has more power than a princess? That is odd.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry to hear about your conflict. Nevertheless, a true friend will eventually forgive you whatever the case, so I’m sure it will turn out well.”

Finished with his food, Night set down his plate. “As for buying a tent… I doubt you have local Genesaris currency. If we can find someone who collects coins we may be able to bargain for an extra tent and bedroll. Otherwise, you may have to share my tent with me. Mine is usually near to Dream’s, but we’ve already made arrangements to have it set up near the border where there is more space and so he… so you don’t have to deal with him.”

At that moment, a woman looking very much abashed approached Rosa with a tiny boy who rushed forward to clutch at Rosa’s dress.

“Let me pet the furry dragon?” he begged.

“I’m so sorry, my lady,“ the woman said. “But he wouldn’t leave me alone.”

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Twilight barely twitched as the little girl ran up and touched him. His feathers ruffled a little and settled back into place and his ear twitched softly at the sound of their giggles and feet in the grass. Other than those small movements he gave no sign that the children had even been near him or that he had noticed them at all. He knew better. Children were often frightened of his size and claws.

 

Rosa was surprised by his reaction to her exploits. Not that it showed on her face. She might not be Arcantian but as a princess she was not supposed to give herself away with her emotions. Which was how nobody knew how much her fight and banishment really hurt her. "I am glad to be able to move freely. I dislike being confined."

 

She grimaced a little at his word. Yes she was one of the most powerful people in Nvengaria except for a nobles own lands. She out ranked Cordeliane but would not normally defy her like she had to get here. "I do out rank her, but in their own lands Nobles are the ultimate ruler only my mother and father can over rule them. So for now I must wait for her to forgive me."

 

She gave him a small smile as he spoke of sharing his tent with him. She would love that. It was so different the way he treated her, letting her make her own choices "I would...."

 

She stopped speaking and turned her attention to the small child tugging on her dress. Most people of her rank would ignore or push the child away but not Rosa. No she flapped her hand at the mother as she sank down on her hunches and got eye level with the boy.

 

"He is a griffin not a dragon hun. His name is Twilightfeather, Twilight for short. You need to ask him if you can pet him. He is not my pet but my friend and protector." 

 

She smiled at the boy "My name is Rosabella but you can call me Rosa or Bella if you like. What is your name?"  Gesturing at Twilight she asked softly "Would you like me to go with you to ask him if he will let you pet him?

Edited by Cordeliane

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