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[Parime] Souls Responding

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2hdvgy8.jpgAnd there it was, that horizon aching for her touch. She reached out with bold fingers and tempted the colors with delicate, ignorant fingers. It was the one thing she believed she needed to make a difference, to bring her some sort of accountability in the realm of her beloved circle of siblings and friends. Once she had it though, once it was just right in her grasp, something grabbed her by the shoulder and pulled her back. 

That's where she is now, standing on the shoreline while the horizon spills from between her fingers. What she wished to have simply settles between her naked feet while she waits for the ships to dock. High above her head monsters shaped from iron and will float casually through the sky; before her the same creatures lazily swam through cold, salty waves. It has become a favorite sight of her's, but today it will be cherished as a favorite memory. 

He sent her a letter, a private little note just for the two of them days before. It had been brief explanation of their situation and how he felt, and even in those brief little string of words she understood his feelings. Cornelius has never done anything second rate, no matter if it's breathing or simply existing, he has put his everything into it. She expected nothing less of the man she may be calling her husband in the near, very close future. The note is currently sewn into the hem of her dress, a little memento of luck her maid had said. 

Lyonene isn't nearly as romantic and just followed along, allowing the old woman to take control of the early morning. Play coy, but is that necessary? Lower your lashes, smile softly, don't laugh too loud, be delicate but be firm, be substantial but leave him wondering - on and on she went while attending to Lyonene's needs. Most of it went over the young woman's head. It wasn't necessary to act to feminine when Cornelius has accepted her as she is now, but she wasn't going to tell the old woman this.

They did have a discussion on her dress for the day. Rarely do they argue, but Lyonene was ready for a fight the second her maid found out about the courtship. All week long she spoke of nothing else and had hinted that there are plans hidden in her sleeve, and no was going to be a hard word for her to understand. 

She wanted to wear something more simple and practical. The maid ignored her charge's complaints and dressed her in a dress that matches her status. How in the world is she supposed to move? The skirt floated about her, giving her the appearance of a floating goddess coming from her lofty cloud. The bodice was comfortably tight and elaborately made, further pushing the idea that she is a warrior but still a pretty lady. Her hair had been piled atop her head, but once she and her guard were alone she abandoned all the pins, allowing her hair to fall about her shoulders and back in loose curls. 

Also took off her shoes because to hell with the rules.

"I'm sorry to drag you along, Willow."

Playing protector during a courtship has to be the most boring thing ever. Willow will be stuck making sure Cornelius keeps his hands to himself and to push away any kind of danger away from the couple. If she had to pick someone else to tag along ... she probably would have still picked Willow. She trusts the woman and she believes she'll keep the princess and her prince in line.

@King @MrDoubleSunday


Edited by Aleksei

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Willow Church, a mercenary turned bodyguard. And one that was used to constant action, not following a princess to a romantic meeting in which Willow had to make sure a man didn't touch her. The sheer thought of it made the woman want to play russian roulette with a fully loaded gun, though she made sure not to show it as the woman that the bodyguard would be protecting apologized for bringing her along. Currently, she could be found standing just barely five feet away from the woman that she was to be protecting.

"There is no reason to apologize, ma'am." The words sounded sloppy, a lack of practice and an annoyance with conforming to standard social requirements causing the words to come out forced, with small choppy sections in the middle as she thought on how to properly speak them. It wasn't her fortay, working with others or speaking properly. Hopefully, however, practice would come with time.

The scorpion woman was dressed as she usually was however, even with her new profession as a bodyguard. Her head was topped with a traditional western hat, with the addition of a bandolier of 22. mag shells residing around the base of the brim. Below that was the womans beady eyes, a visibly pink scar stretching diagonally from her left tear duct and over her cheek, breaking tanned skin up with the flash of color. As she spoke, her tongue stud flashed on the light, and her face was framed by short chin length brown hair. Her neck held a pink scar as well, stretching across it from side to side.

Her trench coat was currently closed, with a metal right arm stretched out of one sleeve and a flesh left arm stretching from the opposite sleeve. The remaining four were hidden inside of the coat, all four resting on revolvers in their holsters in an eager preparedness for something to go down. The only thing the trench didn't hide was the bottoms of her legs, covered in leather pants, and buckled spurred boots. The back of the trench was, however, lifted up at the base of her back by her massive scorpions tail, allowing one to see the back of her belt and holsters if they were to look. The tail itself was waving lazily behind her back, it's hooked stinger waving from side to side as though it was a head.

"So, I's... I, have to ask. Where's yer pretty bo... Where is your... Courter, your highness?" It was requiring more mental facilities than she cared for to keep her speech proper as beady eyes were swiveled to fix on the princess, looking at the woman with a mixture of boredom and impatience that belayed her desire to be away from the scene and perhaps doing something else.

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"So, I's... I, have to ask. Where's yer pretty bo... Where is your... Courter, your highness?

“Here I am,” a smoothe voice replied.

Cornelius approached from the east, barefoot and dressed with all the practicality to lead one to assume he and Lyonene share a single mind. As there was no chambermaid to harass and demand something more becoming of him, the prince wore a simple ensemble comprised of a loose fitting tunic, just slightly darker than an eggshell, and beige slacks that fit him well and complimented his physique.

Like his sister, Cornelius wore donned no shoes.

To the prince’s left, a tall, sinuous tree of a man walked in silent vigil. He wore a freshly pressed three-piece suit darker than a raven’s feather, maroon at the folded cuffs and interior, and hemmed in gold.  His snow white hair he pulled back into a long, admirable ponytail that spilled down to the small of his back, and fastened it in place with a bow of similar maroon, as well. Tucked beneath his right arm, nestled in a white gloved palm, were a pair of unquestioningly expensive boots.

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting,” Cornelius continued with a light, charming smile. “I’d thought to just jump out of the ship when we first saw you,” he explained with a glance to the sky in gesture, “But Hohenheim suggested something more practical and less bravado. And I must say, he was quite right. The view is rather spectacular.” Cornelius hadn’t looked away from his sister since first sighting her.

By the time the prince ceased his advance, he was well within arm’s reach of his beloved sibling. There was a certain familiarity in his eyes as he searched her for details, breathing slow, steady, as to not waste the taste of her scent. She was every bit as perfect as he remembered her, and his hand twitched with the desire to stroke her cheek as he would before, in the privacy of the palace gardens, before she’d been ferried off to Kadia. The young lion took a step closer and craned his neck, dipping his chin until it seemed certain he meant to kiss her—

Cornelius slid back along the sand, brought low in a bow. “Lyonene.” The young woman’s name was a prayer on his lips, worship for all to partake. He rose a moment later, returned to a comfortable distance between them. “You can’t begin to imagine how much I’ve missed you, oh, favorite sister of mine.” It wasn’t until then that he bothered to notice the strange scorpion woman accompanying his kin. She looked tense, on edge—Cornelius could feel it.

“Pardon my lack of manners,” he chastised himself. “Cornelius Melisende. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

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2hdvgy8.jpgHonestly never sure what to expect when she lays her eyes on the magnificent structure that is Cornelius, she finds herself startled and bemused most of the time. He was not dark like most of his siblings who've been marked by the looks of their father; his eyes glittered mischievously, almost like he's hiding some sort of secret he's dying to reveal. Imagining him any other way is impossible. 

His almost touch could not have affected her more if he'd put a lighted brand to her fingertips. She almost gasped at the strange sensation but was glad she had not, fearful of giving offense to the audience around them. Darim had warned her that her older sister gave away too much with eyes so wide and expansive. Seriously, how could she lower her gaze when all the world's beauties stood before her with naked feet? 

For some seconds she had become a disembodied pair of lips, all feelings and thought transfered to that one small area. Not meaning to, but doing so she stared stupidly at the face of the Lion curved with the expression of adoration - saved just for her, she likes to think.

He spoke again and she seemed to feel his voice through her veins and nerves. Of a sudden, she had an urge to laugh, so great was her relief to find that her brother is the same man she left behind in the Cold South. With this arrangement she feared he would become a changed man, some sort of enigma she's bound to marry and love for the rest of her life. Yet if he were to become a stranger, she would dedicate her time to know him. A life time not wasted.

"I don't understand how you can stand such a syrupy man, Hohenheim."

The laughter she's been holding in trailed out - light and delicious it is. 

"You should have let him jump out, I'm sure he would have been caught by his inflated ego."

Something playful danced across the visage of the princess. If he hasn't changed, then she will follow suit and be the person he's known since he was a young child. You wouldn't know it by just looking and watching the two interact, but Lyonene is the oldest out of the two, but she's never felt like the adult. Cornelius took charge, overpowered any authority she tried to emit. 

Turning, she lifted a hand to  introduce Willow who has been ignored up to this point.

"This is Willow, my faithful companion."

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When the man had spoken, Willow had turned to look at the new arrival(s). And then she had almost immediately fixed beady eyes onto the prince, watching him curiously as he advanced ever closer. Exposed limbs tucked behind her back in an almost lazy action whilst her head tilted to the side a bit. A chuckle rang from the woman when she heard him, as well as a soft gagging sound that she hoped the two wouldn't hear. It was too sickeningly sweet for her tastes. When the prince got close to the woman, however, her head only tilted a bit further to the side as beady eyes switched between gazing at one royalty to the other, her tail flicking dangerously side to side, preparing to move between the two if any actual attempts to kiss were made.

Thankfully, however, they were not, and the woman returned to being tense, ready for action again as her visible arms came back to her sides, the rest never having left the guns on her hips beneath the coat. It wasn't long before she found him introducing himself, and herself being introduced to him. And so she replied, giving a slight bow to the man with what could be considered a wary respect, unwilling to take her eyes away from the couple for even a slightest moment in which they could... Well, she was just sure they weren't supposed to touch, and it was fucking staying that way! Nevertheless, she greeted the man. "Loyal as ya can get, that's me. A pleasure ta meet ya, Corn Cob." Her chin was tucked towards her chest just a smidgen, arms flicking out to the sides slightly as her right foot shifted back an inch behind her.

She held the position for half a second before she straightened again. Her attempts at keeping proper speech already seemed down the hole, and even had the added benefit of granting the man a potentially insulting nickname, though she doubted anyone except for herself would be calling him that.

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Cornelius paid their audience their due attention, but for the life of him, he could not take his off his sister. When she moved, his gaze followed, greedily taking in each and every detail. At this moment, he was looking at her hand, slender, elegant, fair as it was lovely, as she shepherded the intensity of his eyes toward the strange woman protecting her. Still drunk off the sweetness of his sister’s laughter, the prince pursed his lips in an inviting smile.

“Corn Cob, hm?” Emerald eyes flicked over the scorpion woman, then looked beyond her, favoring the cloud filled sky. “I suppose I’ve been called far worse”—by far better people, he added privately—“by people far less charming,” he lied smoothly. It seemed that the Emperor had become somewhat lax with the imperial laws, here in Kadia. Cornelius briefly wondered if, by law, it would be his right to put guard to death due to her… less than savory birth.

Cornelius smiled more broadly at the possibility, showing his teeth now. There was always something menacing about the way he smiled, unable to fully conceal the predatory nature of the lion’s blood coursing through his veins. When his lips curved, pushing up the swells of his cheeks, and his pearly while teeth glistened, his eyes seemed wild, reckless—dangerous. “Yes, I find it rather endearing. Thank you, Willow, for both the name and keeping my beloved sister safe.” I’ll be sure to mount you on the wall, you cretin, so that she never forgets you.

The prince punctuated his flattery with a nod before returning his attention, in full, to his dearly beloved. “You are every bit as enchanting since last I saw you, Lyonene,” he said softly, leaning close to her again. “I love our siblings dearly, you know this, but they are no lions. They aren’t like us.” Tilting his head to the side, Cornelius caught a single length of her hair as it danced in the breeze. Soft as silk, rich, golden, it quivered along his upper lip, just beneath his nose, leaving her floral aroma thick in his senses.

“Oh, how I yearn for the day—”

“My Lord,” Hohenheim interjected with a soft, firm tone. “Rules.”

“—you become my wife,” Cornelius finished without pausing, though clearly inhibited for the sake of modesty. Righting his posture, the prince stood head and shoulder over his older sibling. In an effort to appease the seemingly endless rules governing their courtship, the he took half a step back in retreat. Hohenheim cleared his throat, and with an irritated sigh, the prince added a fuller step as well. Cornelius cut a sharp glance over his shoulder at the manservant who, unbothered, nodded his approval.

“Now, having satisfied the authority for the moment,” the prince mocked cuttingly, “Would you like to show me around this marvel, my love? You’ve been here for so long. Surely, you know the sights quite well by now.”

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2hdvgy8.jpg“I do not envy you one bit, Hohenheim. Not one bit.”

Lyonene knows how difficult it has to be dealing with a person such as Cornelius. He has tapped into the vein of the Lion and hasn’t stopped thriving off it since his rise to magnificence, and it’s made his pride a rather immeasurable gift that keeps on giving to those he surrounds himself with. It has taken her years to quell her impetuous ways, though it is those ways that’s given her the world shaped beneath her naked feet. Without the fire in her veins and the pride shaping her soul, Lyonene would still be underneath her father’s rule and her mother’s watchful eye, and only one of those things has even been welcomed.

Lost in her thoughts, she forgot her own set of rules, unlike her brother who chose to simply ignore them. Curious eyes took in the picture of Cornelius, leaving her to wonder when he got so tall and even though he carries the coloring of their mother, he looks like their father - handsome, cold edged, hungry. Blessed to be the apple of his eye, she just now realizes that her little brother is a man destined to take the world by storm. Or was she looking at him through rose colored glasses? Is Cornelius honestly what she’s made him to be or is she relying on the words of others?

Does it truly matter? What he is today is her’s and as far as she is concerned, that’s all that really matters to her. Tomorrow can wait.

“How often have you used your honeyed words for other women, brother? I’m sure there’s a plethora of women with syrup just dripping from their ears thanks to you.”

Oh she knows, she knows very well that her beloved brother has a way with women. She can’t blame others for their watery knees when he speaks nor can she fault them for wanting to touch his golden hair or gaze into the depths of his eager eyes - she is just as guilty. Anyone who falls on his blade, it is also their fault; Cornelius would never draw against another without good reason.

“I expect greater things from those lips, Cornelius. I won’t be wooed as if I’m some simple woman on her knees.”

Briefly disregarding the rules on her behalf, Lyonene speaks her mind freely. He must know how she feels and he must know who she is, because eventually their marriage will not be a thing of dreams and she will no longer be a figment of his imagination. A woman, flesh and blood and thought, he will have a Lioness for his den and his throne, and she is every bit of the word. Lyonene has carved her place out into a very unwelcoming world and she has no intentions on stopping or being stopped. At her side she expects Cornelius, the very same expectation he has of her.

“Before we dive back into society, tell me about you and home?”

While she’s bitter towards the Cold South and her father, she adores all things that involve her family. At some point she will have to confront her father, and all the talk of fire in her veins … she easily melts against it. Corvinus is someone that’s pushed her, made her want to do something with her life, and has given her anything and everything without her having to ask.

“Our parents are well? Do I have another brother or sister on the way? I admit I miss the raucous of our family a great deal.”

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“Mother says too often,” he admitted, shamelessly. “Father says not often enough.”

A young lion, virile and eager to taste the blood and flesh of the world, Cornelius was a man of passion and carnality. He did not apologize for it; t'was not in his nature to be so pathetic. It hadn't been time then, during his younger youth, to settle down and taste the sweetness of maturity. There was too much freshness in the world, too much excitement for one so new to its wonders. Their parents had plan cultivated a mighty garden in Genesaris, one that stretched from the high walls of the East-Empire's borders to the low valleys of the Swell territories. He'd been determined to taste every fruit, every delicacy, as was his birthright. But that had been then, and the world had moved on.

Cornelius was different now; mind, body, and soul.

“But, I suppose neither have a say in that. Not anymore.” There was a soberness to the claim; an awareness that hinted at a newly minted devotion to Lyonene. They both knew, in their heart of hearts, this formality was simply that – nothing more, nothing less. No suitor could possibly hope to offer her what the young noble might (would), and none would dare challenge his claim to Lyonene's hand. Leoa had been quietly grooming him for this one moment, and as he stared into his sister's eyes, more reserved, more beautiful than he in every way, he realized how sly and cunning the matriarchal lion had been. “Forgive me, though. I did not mean to be so forward, Lyonene.”

A half-truth, they both knew. She had always been enchanting, mesmerizing; the siren he heard but never saw. Cornelius remembered the early days before Father had sent her to this foreign place, back when he was still a younger youth. Lyonene would saunter about the palace halls in the early morning or late nights, dressed plainly, and yet never seeming more ethereal and beautiful. Oh, the fire she would set to his loins those days – to the point of pain. She'd been little more than a teen then, and he but a boy by comparison; now she was a woman, full of curves and edges to fulfill any man's desire and sate their every hunger—and he found that fire burning hard and hotter than every before.

“Home is prospering,” he said, veering the topic toward greener pastures. “I believe Father intends to name Nero Primeark of the South, so that he might better focus on things here, in Kadia.” Cornelius hadn't given much concern to the thoughts of title and hierarchy. He was far removed from the head of ascension, and though the lion's blood ran thickest in him, his father would not have it. Mother, maybe. “I suspect Deiter took no issue with the claim because he is to become Emperor, when father ascends from the duty of rulership.” Loving though their family was, they'd never been immune to squabbles.

Cornelius snapped his fingers in epiphany. “Ezio and Primera have given birth to a healthy young boy, Asher,” he noted nonchalantly. “He's already beyond his younger youth, and what a monster he's become. He stands a full foot over me, maybe even more.” He lifted a hand high over his crown. “A mountain of muscle, that one, with red hair – red like true flame. Quite striking.”

The joy and enthusiasm bled from his expression then, and his eyes – so very bright and alive – darkened with a foreboding shadow. “As for me, Lyonene, I have decided to follow Deiter.” The imperial sighed, looking off into the ocean that lapped at their feet. “In the very near future, I plan to undergo my trials to become a Soulseeker.”

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