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Aleksei

[Ravenspire] Finally.

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@Hurttoto @Diremast

                                                                                    

"The fact that no one has tried to kill someone yet is a record."

Those were his parting words as he did what he was told. Tall screens of white, decorated with flowers and banners, were pressed right behind the lead table where his parents would eventually sit. Behind the screens themselves is a set of couches that are used by the various students occupying Ravenspire, and it's here where he deposits his sleepy sibling. 

Novalie muttered something, flipped to her side, and went directly back to sleep. Desmond wiped away an errant tear from the feverish cheek. He sighed and hung his head low, shaking it with a smile on his ready lips. If he sent her to her room or at least to a far off office not here, she would have his hide and to be fair he liked that particular part of himself. Novalie is a young sprite that has the fire of her mother and the grimness of their father; a mixture of meanness and cunning no one really wants to mess with. 

He stood up and only glanced over his shoulder once, satisfied with her placement and knowing she'd be fine hidden behind the screen, he parted into the heated crowd. Once back into the thick of things, he listened to the various whispers and shouts being carried through particular groups. A small ruckus outside had drawn the attention of some - something about another Emperor or another, no one he has heard of. Then the other pair, the one he did care about. Their entrance had been missed, not that it necessarily mattered, everyone was abuzz with the arrival of another Emperor (Raphael) and his Empress. Desmond has no opinions on the two, knowing what you hear on the wind and what his father has to say about them.

So crowded, so busy

Unlike most of the people here, he did not glide or flow like water. The injury to his leg left him a little heavier on one side and bit less romantic with his steps, but he made do with what he has. No cane assisted him (a thing he should have rethought) as he gently pushed people aside so he could make it to the rest safely. 

"If you speak about her enough, she will appear."

He patted his brother on his finely crafted shoulder playfully, conversation is not hidden in the great Hall. Desmond gave Deiter's partner a smile and nod, not wanting her to feel ignored or give the impression he has no manners. 

"I think they call that a mother's intuition."

The prince gave their mother a meaningful glance before joining Dilon and Elodie, both who sat just off to the side of Rou and Deiter. It looked like his brother has other interests at this moment, so he will not come between the two and instead he'll stand away from them as he molds behind Dilon and Elodie. He ordered his drink, now also curious about the wonders it posses. 

He rolled his eyes when Elodie made her demanding request. He wasn't going to deny her, what kind of man would he be to do so? Her enthusiasm did cheapen the act though, so he made her wait and spoke to Dilon.

"Dilon, I do not envy you whatsoever. Having to deal with a woman such as Elodie seems tiring."

His compliment was marked by tiny knuckles crashing into his sensitive shoulder. He would have wilted right there and then, thankfully the idea of being put down by a bit of a girl such as Elodie kept him standing tall. 

He raised his (now) frail hand, hovering his palm just above the rim of her drink and in a rather disgusting display of flash and flare he waved his hand back and forth. His sisters always enjoyed it when he set random things on fire - that may say more about them than himself. Altair thought Desmond's skill was useful and Ezio couldn't agree more, both saying if he just tried to act like an adult and harness the fire in his veins, maybe he'd be profitable. That all sounded like silliness to him; instead he liked doing useless things like this: setting drinks on fire. He and Elodie, after spending some time alone and getting drunk on their woes, found out that the burn of any kind of alcohol sliding down your throat and into your chest is just stupid fun.

Edited by Aleksei

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@Hurttoto @Diremast @TurtleFrog

                                                                                    

Elodie laughed at Desmond's plight - the poor man! Out of all his siblings he is perhaps the most hands on when it comes to the care of his brothers and sisters. The third son and the fourth born, he took the strange role of middle sibling and molded it into some sort of job. He  may complain here and there or try to avoid his responsibilities as a older brother, but it's all a complete lie, and Elodie often teases him about it. 

The two are close - have been and always will be. She loved him as if he were a part of her own family, and she's sure that he certainly feels the same about her. They had bonded before the war, he taking her in under his wing and accepted the challenge of molding her into something proper for her family. The differences in the Cold South were plenty when she took her first step onto the cold land; the shiver that had ran down her spine wasn't one caused by weather. She doesn't take her acquaintance for granted; Desmond will always have a special place in her heart.

Dilon talked about drinks, that someone is peddling a special mixture at the bar. She's drank with the best of them! They don't understand what they're getting themselves into by inviting her to drink, but soon enough they'll learn that she can hold her drink exceptionally well. 

"I suggest you set aside your baggage and come join us Desmond!"

She looped her only arm around Dilon's elbow and the two swam their way to the bar. Excited to be in a different atmosphere with different people, she could hardly contain her excitement when the gentleman explained the special drink to them. The sweet wine from Renovatio instantly came to her mind, then she switched over to something a bit more bitter and nerve shattering, but perhaps it would be best to start with something smoother. With so many endless possibilities she isn't sure she can really enjoy her drinks, especially if they're going to be throwing them back. 

Plus, they're free. Goodness, she feels sorry for having suggested drinking to Dilon and Desmond, they're going to be put to shame when going toe to toe with her. 

Against all the excitement at the bar, she heard something sweet and tender break through the rambunctious crowd. She saw a peculiar woman with pink hair and a gorgeous hat, the one who had stuttered her question and caught the Knight's attention. The air about this one is bright and not at all tasteless, making her wonder what exactly this timid woman is. Elodie asked the bartender to send the lady a extra drink, just a little something to help her nerves calm down. 

Now that she's curious, she looks a bit closer at the rest of the people at the bar. The woman Desmond had eyed for a second is talking to Deiter; another gentleman who only wanted water (at least she's going to assume he's a gentleman); then the bartender who is a new face with a new drink. She liked this random gathering of folks, though it did make her somewhat more alert to her surroundings. So many different people from so many different places - what did Desmond say earlier? 

Speaking of the prince, she saw him approach with his own unique grace, pat Deiter on the shoulder to say 'I'm here', before standing between she and Dilon. 

"I'm glad you could join us! Now, do that trick you do."

She didn't hesitate; rudely she pushed her glass towards him and waited. Of course the prince replied in kind, teasing and improper and mean as ever. He deserved to be punched, something she justified with hurt feelings that would soon heal.

After he was done being mean and insulting her, he set the top of her drink on fire. Ah, memories, here they come. Dilon has the impression that she grabbed herself by the straps of her boots and lifted herself back up after she lost her arm, after she witnessed the horrors of war. Well, she had, but not without a little liquid courage. Desmond had lost his leg and so they bonded, drank, and bonded some more before drinking some more. Through their intoxication they got better.

Satisfied, she raised her glass to Dilon then Desmond before throwing back the fiery concoction. 

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1fbg2d.png@Al Sa-her @Akako Akari

                                                                                    

She closed her eyes against the sunlight and also the sudden rolling in her stomach. It had become a sudden chore to just stand up, and walking was nearly unbearable but she held strong because today is not a day to show weakness. Issues such as these are meaningless when you've returned to a home far away from home - Kadia. During the walk (her part in the progression small and unnoticeable) she had paid close attention to the tall buildings, the beautifully paved roads, and the smell of flowers wafting through the air. All those things brought back fond memories of the Cold South, the place of her birth and upbringing.

Even with the lack of snow she still felt at home, and it was a refreshing change. The last few weeks have been busy with various little events, like building an empire from the ground up, making sure she completes her duties as a dutiful Concubine, and everything else inbetween. A break from the usual is comforting and welcoming - even though her duties have not changed. She may be allowed to indulge and occupy the company of others, but she will hesitate for it's her job to ensure the safety of the Emperor and his lovely wife.

Celine snapped from her reverie to look up at the now halted party. The Concubine had kept herself far in the back, behind the soldiers and the drummers and such, to give herself some time to think and to be at the best possible advantage in case something goes wrong. Their Emperor came prepared, not a man ignorant to battle or troubles, to ensure that their presence is known and also felt. She had quietly acknowledged the extravagance, as it wasn't her place to boast or exclaim her feelings towards the beauty represented loudly. 

And so she lowered her gaze to the ground when Emperor and Empress exited from their small vehicle. She already knows what they look like and so she doesn't need to admire their magnificence. Plus, even though it had been a discussed and agreed upon subject, she's not sure how the Empress feels about her in particular due to the Emperor's attempt to create children. She didn't fear the woman nor did she fear the man, but she wished to stay on their admirable side as long as possible. Whatever the feelings may be, Celine is simply doing what she's been told and will not be disrupted or perturbed by hard feelings. 

With lowered eyes she was able to catch a glimpse of her own attire, which contrasted that of her leaders. The dress is something she picked out on her own, knowing very well that she wouldn't mesh well with the other two but for a moment not at all caring. The empire waist of her dress allowed her to feel free and comfortable (something she hasn't felt for a for a bit now); her arms and chest exposed to the open air helped cool her down, because everything seemed to make her hot all the time. Around her throat was a gift given to her; the magnificent necklace glittered and glowed against her creamy skin, highlighting the reds and oranges of her luscious locks that were left free to flow down her shoulders and back.

The sensuous creature approached the Emperor and Empress quietly, her hands folded neatly before her and eyes averted to the side, looking at the garden on either side of the golden path. She would wait to follow them inside, as was custom. 

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@Aleksei

As Olympia led him to the dance floor, he couldn't help musing on how much his children have grown. His eldest have grown to be fine adults, and his youngest already displayed great potential and dedication, if not enjoyment, in learning the skills that would be necessary in keeping the Empire running on multiple levels. It seemed almost like yesterday when he had arrived in the Cold South, it often still stunned him that he and Leoa had built so much and gone so far together.

He could already guess as to why Oly had invited him to dance. Whether or not he could dance was a matter of much contention amongst his children. Desmond had challenged that he could years ago, and subsequently had to eat his words. Corvinus liked to think that Leoa had fallen more deeply in love with him that evening on the Crystal Empress, when they danced high above the winter landscape. 

His attention returned to his daughter as she spoke. How much she took after him, her energetic temperment was more akin to her mother's. It was an amusing combination that often caught him unawares. "Thank you, Oly." He said, patting the top of her head affectionately. 

He always found it amusing how much his daughters adored him, yet at times always sought to test his patience in small ways. Thankfully he had enough practice not to lose his temper, well not too much. His sons were another story, the respected him, and as sons are wont to do, they challenged him often. Every one of his children were unique individuals, excelling at a variety of activities in their own way. He could not be more satisfied with his children.

With her hand in his, and her other his arm, he led her across the dance floor without stepping on her dress, much to her surprise no doubt. His steps were brisk, full of vitality that seemed a strange combination for a man of such stoicism and icy disposition. He was attentive to Olympia, compesating for any mistakes on her part, though few they were. It seemed her dance lessons had paid off, he was impressed. She looked dazzling in her dress and Leoa's jewels, in a few more years he knew he would have to keep an eye on her.

"I am. Perhaps the happiest I've ever been." He answered honestly, finally he and Leoa were formally united. Surrounded by most of their children, all of whom were growing into their own. It was as if Corvinus' and Leoa's success was on full display. He offered Olympia a rare smile, one that reached his dark eyes.

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yUVAFZ2.png@Garion

                                                                                    

"You didn't have to get me anything, Max."

Her look was warm and loving and a bit embarrassed. Their union had been manufactured by her mother and approved by their father, so it was only meant to be that they attend this celebration together. It's not that they've never been together out in the open for everyone to see or that their relationship is a hidden thing, just ... reality is a bit more apparent when they walk hand in hand or buy things for one another. Soon enough he'll be her husband, a bit more formal than fiancee. 

She fiddled with the white-gold chain around her neck, shy of a sudden. This gift meant he paid more attention to her than what she would normally think, and it made her feel small when she knows his gaze is so heavy. She was more happy now that her hair had been put up in an elaborate array of curls and braids, leaving her back exposed as a canvas to display her gift. 

"Thank you."

The back-drop necklace is a pretty piece of jewelry, the filagree pendant the main focus with strands of pearls hanging delicately from it. Like any doting husband-to-be he helped her put it on, and spoke about all its details, showing that particular side of Max she so admires. No small thing goes unnoticed by him and he prides himself in his knowledge of most things. Isolde doesn't have that amount of patience in her pinky, leaving her envious that he can be so.

Underneath her heeled feet she felt the airship hum and murmur, an amazing piece of workmanship created by her eldest brother - Deiter. She would have been perfectly okay taking carriage or horse to the wedding, sneaking in unnoticed, and act as if they hadn't arrived painfully late. There's no hope for any of that now. Unless you're completely blind, there is no way anyone is going to miss the ship and its slow descent. 

"How much trouble do you think we'll be in?"

She laughed nervously, knowing well enough they're both going to get an earful if their Empress and Emperor are not already occupied with guests. Even then they will not be safe; too many siblings meant too many open opportunities to tattle. Her younger siblings made it a game and her older siblings made it their duty. 

But they're both so busy - no excuse, she knows. Time had just slipped through her fingers and she didn't realize the time until it was far too late. Thankfully her handmaidens were more aware than their mistress! They had laid out her dress and accessories, they even helped Max into his suit, saving them precious minutes before shoving them out into the airship. She would have to thank Elodie later for sending everyone's gifts ahead of time, almost like she knew that disaster of any kind could arise and did her best to keep it at bay. 

Below them the beauty of Ravespire expanded as they began their descent. She stepped forward, the delicious fabric of her dress dancing around her feet in small clouds of gray and white, and looked outside the large window to admire her mother's work.

Silently, she hopes to be half of the woman to Max as her mother is to her father. 

Edited by Aleksei

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@Alexei @King @Pasion Pasiva @ODSTDRAGON @Al Sa-her @Akako Akari 

                                                                                    

She had felt them before they touched her ground; knew they were there before they gave meaning to their presence. The darkness they exhumed wasn't new, nor was it frightening, but it was heavy and tangible and welcomed here in the rings of Ravenspire. Leoa would be a contradicting sort of creature if she did not welcome any kind of darkness in her life, and so the arrival of one Emperor and his Empress would be given attention. Once they entered into the Hall they would be greeted by a young man with a note in his hand - a welcoming card. 

If they were curious as to how she knew they were there and what to write - it's a secret. 

After they accept the note of welcome, they are welcome to enter and have all the fun they can handle. It's clear the bar is a hit, with a raucous of people going wild over the new drink; the dance floor is open for anyone to enjoy the rising of music flowing from the band; there was cake, but now it's being tasted by something. There are endless possibilities and there is only a shot amount of time to indulge in it all. 

This gesture of welcome would not be extended to Raphael and his lovely companion - no, no. When Leoa was done doting on the children surrounding her, she would rise with immense grace and beauty she has honed from many years of practice. Then her attention (some, not all) would wash across the man and woman. 

Her smile did not change nor did the comfort in her eyes; she stood tall, soft, and warm for their approach. So fixed she was on the two, she didn't notice that her wedding cake had been destroyed by something that's being hunted; didn't feel the meanness coming off the one man from earlier who had sat in the gardens; didn't appreciate the sweet scene between Oly and Corvinus. She felt it all though. Her nerves were on fire and her senses were running wild, and she kept herself still from acting on impulse. 

Accompanying her smile, she nodded at the two as welcome. She wasn't going to shame Corvinus, so she buried her initial reaction deep, deep down into her chest, where it would be buried underneath past hate, history, bone, and muscle. There it would stay and never rise again, unless she's provoked, which she doubts will happen by the looks of it. 

Her rise would also silence those hateful whispers. She is no stranger to gossip and the fires it starts, she has even indulged a few times here and there, but she will not allow the lack of manners overtake the entirety of her wedding. Those things, those past events that have probably been exaggerated, between Corvinus and the woman on Raphael's arm - such business has no room here. Leoa knows little, never probed Corvinus to explain on the matter, because she was more concerned about saving him.

And she did. And that's all that really matters.

A withered man approached the Empress, tearing her attention away from the other Emperor and Empress. With Corvinus dancing with his daughter, she was left to accept gifts and graces from anyone wanting to express gratitude and ask for assistance. This gentleman wanted to talk about his fields of grain - the best topic of the day so far. 

Edited by Aleksei

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"....oh fire yay..." said Yolo as he saw someone setting ablaze some of the leftover drinks the strange thing was tgat the flame change color yet barly any heat was emmited from it " Thats intriguing " then he saw a woman with one arm and man who had looped their arms together he gave them the miracal beer he had also gave the other tense woman one to. He wondered who here were royalty, who were threats ,  and who were just like him he thought this as he walked over to gift the empress with sevral bottles of miracal beer.  

 

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@Aleksei I don't see or if it is there really understand  where my character(s) is in your post) 

the man simply watched all the happenings of the wedding with a sort of inner distance. He was just like any other guest other than the one fact he could be bored to tears at a party.

seing as the time was right he finally walked down the stairs and back to the front of the hall  he approached the Empress and politely waited for her to turn and address him. He was still pretty sure he'd arranged this thing before hand.

Edited by ODSTDRAGON

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@Aleksei @Pasion Pasiva

Raphael craned his neck to nuzzle the bearded curve of his chin into the side of Gabriela’s face, both effortless and mindless in his display of affection, appearing every bit the madly in-love tyrant he was. In spite of his seemingly endless cruelty, in spite of his violently possessive mannerisms and the heavy-handedness of his affection, there were none that could look upon the elder vampyre and say that he was not deeply in love with his cousin. She had bewitched him with her crying eyes, those twin suns rimmed and dripping with black; her trembling lips, so quick to let drip venom and yet, in this moment, silent and sweet as honey; her conflicted expressions, young with innocence and old with wisdom, naïve and cunning.

She was a woman of extremes, he often told her. Whether in the bottomless depths of her despair or the euphoric plateaus of pleasure, it was always with all that she was. Raphael admired that about her, more than he ever cared to express. For though he was an undeniably passionate and determined man, a life walking along a blade’s edge taught him the importance of balance. He could ill afford to commit entirely to one path or the other, especially when the destination remained unclear.

Raphael preferred the surest routes.

“Mhm,” the elder replied. “Prior to your arrival in the Red City, Corvinus paid me an unexpected visit. With two nations such as ours, growing as quickly as ours have, and standing at the opposite spectrum of belief and political views, he figured it would be wise for us to meet and discuss policy.” Raphael smiled his wolfish, knowing smile and brushed his lips over her ear, whispering: “You see, these Kadians are not so friendly to those of non-human descent. Xenos, I believe they call us.”

It was a rather crude term, the Eastern Emperor felt, though he understood why it was used. It lacked poise, elegance, things humans believed to be their inheritance. It dehumanized the undesirables of the Kadian Empire, made them terrifying; simplified their relocation or extermination. After all, it was always easier to plunge your sword into one you feared was a threat to your way of life than into one you viewed as a brother or another living being.

We’re monsters to them,” he continued in their native tongue. “I dare say they’re worse than those dirt-worshiping Terrans across the sea. You remember talks of the refugees flooding the lower sectors of the empire, some months ago? They were his refugees, forced from their homes on pain of death.” If the Emperor of Mankind’s policy left a sour taste in Raphael’s mouth, he did not show it. He understood the necessity of making the difficult choices, if only to unite your people for a far greater cause. “While I respect Corvinus and his mandates, I must admit, I’m quite surprised to have received an invitation…

Raphael’s words trailed away as he cast his glance aside, taking in two of their host’s more distinguished guests. Yes, it was all but impossible to ignore the shadowy pit they seemed to form together, all void and hollow, empty of any true substance. How unsightly—They were an entertaining pair, them and their procession of musicians and foreign self-worth, but fleeting all the same. The elder hooked the end of his nail beneath his lovely bride’s band once again, tugged, and smiled as it smacked against her thigh. “My apologies, love. Now, where was I?”

Gabriela forced a smile, more curious than anything. “Corvinus visited you, my darling.”

“Ah, yes,” Raphael nodded in agreement, kissing her blushing cheek, and then the corner of her mouth yet again, in his gratitude. “Well, during our game of chess—which we have still yet to finish—he mentioned his beautiful wife, the Empress Leoa. She is a complicated creature, that one. Full of odd likes and even stranger dislikes. I decided to lend my influence in the name of such vein.”

They were closer to the Kadian Empress now, a mere handful of steps away. Raphael and Gabriela presented themselves from the ocean of those in attendance like grand vessel of exquisite beauty coming ashore; inviting, delicate, and unassuming. “Your Majesty,” Raphael purred to the golden-haired goddess, his baritone velvety and honeyed. “It is the greatest of pleasures to finally meet you.” Dipping his head, Raphael bent in a low, reverent bow. “Mm, you are even more beautiful than Corvinus described you,” the flirtatious vampyre continued with neither concern nor shame, rising to look upon her once more. “But before I forget my manners, allow me to introduce my better half: Irene Gabriela DuGrace de Bartolome.”

Raphael offered his cousin only enough room to present herself properly, courteously, before returning his arm around her hip. She was spared the telling snap of the bands connected to her garter, and instead, he stroked the generous swell and length of her supple thigh. “I hope you won’t mind, Your Majesty, but your beloved Corvinus disclosed to me your… hm, shall we say enthusiastic dislike for horses? And so, when we learned of your wedding, Gabriela and I decided on the most perfect tribute.” Merlot eyes knowingly glanced over at his truest love. She was rigid with dread, her ignorance to the matter just barely showing beneath the enchanted mask of her expression. Raphael reached into the jacket of his suit and retrieved a long, tapered length wrapped in lavender sheer and silk. “On the morning of this most glorious affair, an entire harras of one thousand Orisian horses were slaughtered in your name. Among them, I learned, was a unicorn.”

Tilting his hand, fabric drifted away, revealing the object to be a horn. “This horn, Your Majesty, I give to you.”

Edited by King

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@Alexei @Aleksei @KING @Pasion Pasiva

 

"The Empress--?" Rou paused curiously over her drink, paying a momentary glance towards the regal bride in the center of the room, Leoa amidst the carpets littered with confetti and petals, surrounded by a swarm of children, and on the arm of loving husband.  Puzzled, her amber eyes narrowed and brow furrowed, the elaborate braids of her hair swept about as she returned her focus to Deiter.  "I don't understand; what reason would the Empress have to make a match for a Duke?" Rou asked, albeit the question came with some measure of unintended impertinence.  True, Rou had heard in gossip that Leoa adored making matches for her children, but it had never bridged outside of that.  The census data in Umbra's library was current as of only a few years ago, and aware that it might miss some of the Kadian Empire's youngest royal brood.

Finding the act of puckering to the bottle of Wonder Beer a bit too boorish, she poured the rest into her empty brandy glass; even that made her feel like a bit of a rube-- who on earth drank beer from a brandy glass?  Brushing off the question, Rou shook her head, not quite in apology, but declaring her previous comment as rhetoric.  She too, had her own puppet master pulling the strings, catching sight over Deiter's shoulder of her liege lord being particularly handsy with his fiancee, as if no one would notice.  Gabriela was already growing large with child, and Raphael plastered her with affections that were paid to mortal flesh in what hadn't seemed like so long ago.  Her stomach rolled, and were she capable, she'd be positively green.

"What was that you said -- two peas in a pod?" she inquired reminiscently, her eyes losing focus at the swirling of the ice in her glass, "Perhaps you weren't too far off, after all."  She paid him a sly look with her amber eyes, her weight shifted loftily to one side, which seemed to exaggerate the great curve that silhouetted her waist and hips.  Taking a few steps towards Deiter, she perched next to his arm, straightening her back with all due posture as she poised herself in Deiter's intimate proximity.  His armored arm nearly fit in the gap beneath her bosom and above her hips, right next to her tightly-laced waist.  "However, mistakes of that nature rarely end in marriage," she plied soft, dark whispers to his ear, motioning for him to follow her gaze to the presented better half of Umbra before the Kadian royals, and the tell-tale swell of her stomach, "If you catch my drift."  A cheshire grin overcame her lips when she found herself clever, nearly hissing a few dark chuckles between her teeth.  With another glance, Rou yet noted how quickly her Emperor had impregnated his new bride... in almost too short a time, it seemed.  Raphael's voracity was not to be underestimated; by her, the least.  However, his heart had not appeared to weep in the void she'd left, with his new porcelain-skinned, abused toy to fill it.  For a god, he was as prone to lust and bewitched by Gabriela as all other men.

"Perhaps! We're you by chance fighting the undead when they attacked from Ellwood?  I was fighting under Corvinus' banner at the time.  I think we met in passing, perhaps our units crossed paths or we saw each other at briefings."

With a look of surprise, recognition dawned all the same upon Rou, now more confident in her recollection.  "As a matter of fact, I was," she conceded, though the following statement appeared less willing to break from the desert flower's vault of memories, "Though, admittedly, as legionnaire under a different banner."  She was privy to the war tents where strategy took place, kept close in hand while defending the foreign country that she'd come to despise, and shared the trials of the bloody battles until they came to an unexpected close.  " 'Twas the first time I met the Emperor Corvinus, as well, though he hadn't the time nor deign to tell me about his position back home; we'd shared a few meetings and gatherings 'round a campfire.  If he'd told me what a massive family he'd put at risk of losing their father, well, I might've goaded him straight home."  Deep in her cups, she reminisced the inappropriate gala that followed the brutality, to honor the wrong people and shaming the dead.  "If I recall correctly, Corvinus shared a similar fate as I did, in not being welcome to return to the island where our comrades-in-arms still lie."  It was a solemn and somber subject, and appeared one the lady hadn't wished to dwell on.  "And now we're both traitors to Patia... what a cruel twist of fate."

Taking a much-needed gulp of her drink, Rou hurried to her next section of idle talk, almost forgetting to swallow it down before she spoke.  "Back in my country, it was custom to give the blushing bride a gift of fertility to bless her marriage--" she said, motioning towards the particularly large Imperial family in the limelight.  "Though, I daresay she doesn't need it, does she?  Even some of those in the noble houses of Umbra that are without children to uphold their legacy revere the lady Leoa as some sort of fertility priestess."

Edited by Narcissa

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It was truly a magnificent affair, this wedding. The scent of flowers was pleasant; not too overwhelming, but neither was it negligent. Petals floated on a playful breeze, banners danced overhead, and people in their finest attire laughed and jested in perfect harmony. There were colorful streamers and the sound of music to be enjoyed by sight and sound, with drink and food provided in plenty to celebrate the union of the disgusting Emperor Corvinus and some bitch known as Leoa.

Rysorian Kadje leaned one shoulder against a column, the stone pillar adorned in emerald ivy and crimson roses. He watched the festivities around him with distaste and scorn, tinged with a little bit of envy for the peoples’ carefree gaiety. He felt quite alone here, isolated from the others, for he felt he might be the only one of this marvelous gathering to not be enjoying himself. Observing the smiles and the dancing of so many only confirmed his thoughts.

He had dressed the part of a merry attendant, of course. A black silk tunic covered by a dark red surcoat embroidered with navy blue filigree and cloth-of-gold seams complimented his lean and fit figure, along with slacks that tapered at the calves for an elegant look. But it was not just clothing he wore. His twin knives, bound to his back, glistened with polish and shine, overlapping a hand crossbow that was as decorative as it was deadly.

As personal guard to the Princess Olympia, of the many here he was one of few allowed to carry weaponry.

He watched the pompous princess invite her father to the dance floor. She sparkled with beauty, her white dress and blue jewels doing naught but heightening her fine features and delicate figure. Rysorian’s hawkish glare swept the floor, the walls, even the ground and ceiling, watching for any threat that might befall the princess. He hoped – almost wished – that there was harm waiting, harm he would so unfortunately miss that would murder with timely inconvenience the princess and her revolting father.

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@Narcissa

The Duke chuckled at Rou's impertinence, where most would have been offended, he found it incredibly refreshing. "There is more to this Duke than one might suspect." He stated with mock grandness touching his voice. He gave the voluptuous woman a conspiritorial wink full of mischief, though it was obvious he took the whole secret in stride, as if it was but a minor detail on a long list of accomplishments. Prideful perhaps, yet not arrogant.

Deiter raised a brow as the exotic woman before him poured her Wonder Beer into a brandy glass. His expression was one of amusement rather than disappointment. Though admittedly he would have rather watched her lips pucker to the bottle, their fullness only added more to her charm. Even if others might have found it boorish. Shame, really, he mused to himself.

The Duke had watched the entrance of the Eastern Emperor and his pregnant Empress, his gray eyes took on a bleak overcast. There was no anger left in him, though at the sight of the small woman bitter memories resurfaced. He collected himself, hoping that his disomfort had avoided Rou's attention. His eyes had not lingered on the Eastern Empress as others had, he seemed immune to the strange charm that had notably captured the hearts of other men. Admittedly his tastes were not the usual sort.

He raised an auburn brow as she repeated his words. He met her sly look with one of amused curiosity. His eyes followed her body admiringly as she closed the distance between them, they lingered for a time, but not over much. He leaned closer to her, his body challenging her intimacy. The Duke thought it a shame he had not dressed for the occasion, tempted as he was to place his hands on her hips, to feel the supple curves beneath the fabric of her dress.

His eyes folliwed her direction, once more on the couple from the East. Returning his gaze back to Rou, which was where he'd rather be looking his smiled at her dark whispers. All the response she needed to know. There was a darkness to her, it intrigued him, where others might have shied from it, he was more than willing to delve into those depths. His curiosity had always been an insatiable thing.

He was welcome to the change in subject, more so now that he was made sure his recollection was correct."I knew I recognized you." He stated, his own recollection confirmed with her affirmation. "Hard to forget a beautiful woman in armor." He recalled her easily now, covered in the blood and dirt if conflict though she had been, it had done little to detract from her appearance. To be fair, Deiter understood his own ideals of beauty were a bit eccentric, even by his own admission. "Ah, yes. A peculiar devil's." He mused.

He chuckled, amusement returning to the deep sound. "Back then he was a knight. Not yet an emperor or a father." His expression was somewhat nostalgic. It was almost reeling that so much had happened andbeen achieved since then. The mood grew somber then, as the subject of lost men was brought up. Then a thought occured to him, brightening his handsome face. "Care to take a walk in the Gardens? There is something I think you ought to see, and the fresh air will be good for us" He a suggested, offering his arm for her to take.

Should she take his arm he would welcome the change in subject as he guided her through the hall and the people who filled it, exibiting a grace that might have been surprising. "In my home village, women would often do the same. Especially so during marriages, though I think it was more so to extend the celebrations." He said a small smile touching his lips. "Oh? Seems she has garnered quite the reputation in Umbra, then. I doubt that of the Emperor's is even remotely as flattering." He said, raising his hand in a wave to Neronius, both men displaying an almost brotherly familiarity not shown to anyone else outside the Imperial family.

Edited by Alexei

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“Xenos…” she repeated the word, softly enough that only his ears would hear the sound of her voice. The harshness of it was immediately softened on her tongue, like a hard candy melted into warm honey, and negativity he attributed to it was transformed. Gabriela had something of an accent, the slightest hint of a spanish speaker -- their native tongue.

 

We’re monsters to them...I dare say they’re worse than those dirt-worshiping Terrans across the sea. You remember talks of the refugees flooding the lower sectors of the empire, some months ago? They were his refugees, forced from their homes on pain of death.” If the Emperor of Mankind’s policy left a sour taste in Raphael’s mouth, he did not show it. He understood the necessity of making the difficult choices, if only to unite your people for a far greater cause. “While I respect Corvinus and his mandates, I must admit, I’m quite surprised to have received an invitation…

 

“We should not have come,” she replied -- but the words sounded strange on her tongue, and distant. He was talking to her, trying to make conversation, and she was imprisoned somewhere deep inside her own mind. Every single step she took forward felt torturous as her undergarments tightened and relaxed around her body. The stretch of the garter straps along the top of her thighs, the tug of the stockings as the sheer material shifted with the movement of her knee, her leg... The moment of discomfort, and the expression that followed in the way of a trembling brow, were all lost on her Lord and Master as he turned his crimson eyes elsewhere. He was watching the strange procession of glitz and glam, the usual case for those newly introduced to power and prestige. Glad for his distraction, she lifted her chin and straightened her back and took that one precious moment beyond the scrutiny of his cruel eyes to compose herself. And it was a good thing she did, the sudden snap of her garter belt against her flesh did not jolster her as much as the others had.

 

“My apologies, love. Now, where was I?”

 

“Corvinus visited you, my darling…” she answered sweetly.

 

“Ah, yes… Well, during our game of chess—which we have still yet to finish—he mentioned his beautiful wife, the Empress Leoa. She is a complicated creature, that one. Full of odd likes and even stranger dislikes. I decided to lend my influence in the name of such vein.”

 

Of all the things he said -- all the long, drawn out things he went on and on about, something in his voice and in the very words he used made Gabriela grow tense. And under the careful ministration of his fingers and those tapered fingernails, he was certain to feel her sudden trepidation. She turned from the sight of the Empress, a creature of utter grace and beauty, to seek out the face of her soon-to-be husband and saw nothing but dark and vicious contempt, even when he wasn't looking directly at her. The Lady Mother, looked perplexed and then, for a brief moments, afraid.

 

“Your Majesty...It is the greatest of pleasures to finally meet you. Mm, you are even more beautiful than Corvinus described you. But before I forget my manners, allow me to introduce my better half: Irene Gabriela DuGrace de Bartolome.”

 

Why was he introducing her with his last name…They weren’t even married yet.

 

They had come forward amidst a glittering sea of jewels, of swirling silk and fine lace, of laugher and perfume. Certainly, Raphael and his cousin were the most attractive creatures in the bunch -- and not for any reason other than they were so different. Where there was animation and vitality with all the rest, both the Empress and Emperor of The Orisian Empire stood in such a calm and perfect stillness that it was uncanny. They hardly appeared to have pores upon their skin, Raphael much less so. He was surely the more beautiful of the two, a gift granted by age. His skin was smooth marble, and his hair a lush lustrous mass, even what covered his face. She was younger in age, and therefore in expression and appearance. She lacked the utter perfection of the elder, but made it up with a simple sweetness that seemed to culminate with the worried little frown that pinched her brows as she curtsied.

 

“Thank you so much for inviting us -- we are humbled by your kindness.”

 

Gabriela lifted her gaze and found herself staring at a creature so lovely that she nearly took her breath away. There weren’t many mortals capable of such a feat -- not many were gifted with beauty and grace, and yet, the sight of Corvinus wife, of her lovely, slender neck dripping in diamonds, of her sweet face, of her elegant figure in black -- Gabriela’s cheeks flushed and her heart ached. Beauty in Umbra was expressed in different ways. It was severe, and harsh, and violent. There was a softness here that suddenly overwhelmed the little vampyre nearly to the point of tears.

 

“I am sorry,” she laughed happily, her voice sweet and charming as she straightened and gathered her pale hands before her stomach. “I just love weddings. You look stunning, by far the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.”

 

Not many words that had left her lips that night, or the past few months, were genuine -- but not a single thing she just said was untrue. Stealing a glance at Raphael, she knew what was about to come, and she wanted to go first. She hadn’t the means anymore to give the kind of gift she would have wanted, and had to rely on whatever the Emperor decided was appropriate. He hadn’t even asked her what she thought on the matter… But at the very least he told her about the wedding with enough time for her to pull something together. And so she escaped from Raphael’s grasp and took a few short steps forward. From the belt she wore around her waist, she pulled a slender, long box -- the kind that holds jewelry -- which had been hidden from sight by the unsightly large bow that covered her stomach. Flushed again, her cheeks pink and bright, she held out the box to the Empress. She had heard of this woman, of her children, and of her love for them. So Gabriela wanted to give her something that might represent that love.

 

When the box was opened, inside, the Kadian Empress would find a slender golden chain -- a necklace. Tapered along the chain were tiny jewels, no bigger than the size of a child’s fingernail, each a different color, each belonging to the gem associated with her children’s birth month's.

 

“Not that you need reminding,” Gabriela said softly as the woman took in the sight of the simple gift. “They say that the most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children. Not nearly comparable, but hopefully a sweet reminder nonetheless.”

 

Having given her gift, Gabriela stepped back and regarded her soon-to-be husband with a playful smile, “Forgive me -- I know you’re about to outshine me. You’re a tough act to follow, my love.”

 

Perhaps he’d feel some sort of regret for what he was about to do, or perhaps he didn’t care. His arm went back around her, pulled her back to his side. She went along with a smile, and did her best to resist pulling away for some distance.

 

“I hope you won’t mind, Your Majesty, but your beloved Corvinus disclosed to me your… hm, shall we say enthusiastic dislike for horses. And so, when we learned of your wedding, Gabriela and I decided on the most perfect tribute.”

 

She didn’t dare look at him. Whatever was coming was going to be awful -- she could feel the dread of it already, and the dangerous warning whispered in her blood not to do anything foolish. Not ot embarrassed him. The Empress disliked horses? Raphael must have known how fond Gabriela was of them -- she raised them. The protection of the wild herds of Orisia was one of her most beloved projects back home. Surely, surely he knew all of that…

 

He wants to hurt me.

 

Gabriela smiled, but her expression was heartbreakingly empty. It was nothing compared the the bliss and joy she had shown just moments before.

 

“On the morning of this most glorious affair, an entire herras of one thousand Orisian horses were slaughtered in your name. Among them, I learned, was a unicorn.”

 

Less than a hundred...that’s how many unicorns were left in Orisia.

 

Even less now.

 

Raphael was holding his hand out, and she knew what it was before she looked. It tasted of La’Ruta, distant and pure -- but dead. She breathed evenly as she saw the fabric pulled away and the horn revealed.

 

“This horn, Your Majesty, I give to you.”

 

She slumped against him, just enough so that he’d feel the weight of her resting against his side. Her smile remained, her eyes never blinked, she stood looking like a beautiful little fool.

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JRWMEAz.png@Alexei @The Hummingbird

                                                                                    

His reply didn't catch her off guard, but it certainly made her love him perhaps a bit more. Honesty comes easy to the man spinning her around the dance floor, and she found instant comfort in his words. The smile he gave her (a rumoured thing between his children and perhaps the rest of the world) captured her attention instantly. Quickly, she stole it by smiling herself.

"Is it because mama is so pretty?"

That would make sense, now wouldn't it? Her mother, no matter how the years have gone by, has aged with grace. Oly loved how her mother wore herself so openly; the scar across her one eye, the other down the corner of her lips, and the last one across her throat. She's sure there are countless others, but those few (plus the darkness on her one arm) seem to have some kind of story attached to them. Her father gave the impression he loved each and every little bit of her mother, and such a gesture is amazing to her young mind. 

But she doubts she can ever be so bold. The idea that there will be a time she'll wrinkle and curve made her feel ... awkward. Youth was often too fleeting.

Corvinus spun his daughter, causing a flutter of giggles to escape. He didn't step on her dress and he was kind enough to be a partner in this dance, making it all that more enjoyable and easier to ignore her missteps. Guess he can dance, or at least has the skill to be a dancer. 

The crowd got larger, to the point of spilling out the doors into the garden where it's not nearly as overwhelming. During one spin she caught sight of a beautiful, breathtaking couple; so distracted she was, she had accidentally stepped on her father's foot. Oly looked up at him with a beaming smile, hoping that would be enough to apologize for her sudden stumble. It's not often when you get to see so many dazzling figures in one room! If she had the energy she would walk up to each and every single one of them, just so she could briefly get to know them.

Except for the three who brought in a heavy weight of darkness in their wake. 

She shuddered, the action both surprising and disgusting to her. As a child of Corvinus and Leoa, she should be stronger against the strangeness such as the looming darkness. The heaviness made her feel uncomfortable and weary. To so boldly display yourself at the feet of another Emperor and Empress just screamed pompous and rude. 

"Who are they?"

I don't like them. She thought to herself, not wanting to be outwardly rude. 

Their dance came to a end, but she kept her hand in his, still completely unsure about the dark couple and their followers. Looking at them with a gaze only her father would understand, she tried to dissect their reasoning for being here. Being close to her father made her feel safe, yet her hateful look was torn from the new Emperor and Empress to search for him. The hateful guard who refused to wear the appropriate colors of the day - and oh did she find him. Just leaning like a lazy slob in his wonderful fashion that highlights just about every feature. At least she felt safe enough with Rys being around, too. 

Edited by Aleksei

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Leo_zps15a56ee4.png@Hurttoto @ODSTDRAGON @Pasion Pasiva @King @Alexei

(This is the order that I responded to everyone in)

                                                                                    

Leoa had held the old man's hand lovingly with a smile that could melt butter on her lips. He talked so much about his fields, his animals, and his beautiful daughter that is of marriageable age. The only son available was Desmond and he has thus far scorned any attempts of marriage, so the subject is often put on the backburner. He didn't have to, she wasn't going to force him, but it is her strange duty as a mother to ensure the happiness of her children. Seeing him with a farmer's daughter suited him well though ...

The Empress had leaned down, allowed the man to kiss her cheek, before calling over a servant to help the gentleman back to his seat. He had squeezed her hand (and her heart) before releasing her to the rest of the growing crowd. She took time to watch him safely return to his party; he had briefly reminded her of her mentor, who has been gone for many, many, many years now. 

Arranged or not, there is no legitimate time when to meet and when not to meet with all those attending the wedding. As long as they get to speak, build, and resolve, then time is a most unnecessary thing. She would acknowledge the man she had seen from before, but this time his suit a different shade - unique, she thought. Leoa gave him a gracious bow, bending at the waist, allowing handfuls of curls to spill around her face. This wasn't a meeting she had arranged, but her husband had. 

"You will have to excuse my brief ignorance, sir. I'm aware of who you are, yet not exactly what you want. Corvinus will arrive shortly; you are welcome to speak to me freely though, and I will listen. But first ..."

Rising, she kept herself fixed before the man with patience dripping from her gestures. Even though he had been second to arrive, he was acknowledged first. There is something about this one that screamed impatience, and though she is a woman who has raised a hdnful of children, thus earning a grain of endless patience, she is not in the correct situation to be pressed. It did amuse her, this weird air surrounding him. Maybe he will be a wonderful conversationalist, something Corvin enjoys.

Leoa tipped her head towards the man with his cases of magic beer. Amusement tickled her words and her gestures when she waved her hands expressibly before him. First, she will attend to this fire starter. 

"So you're the one keeping the bar on fire with your wonderful drink."

A finger was pointed towards the drinking folks amazed by the wondrous tastes of the drink.

"I hope you're willing to stock our shelves with the stuffs, unless you're wanting to create havoc amongst the guests. Were you able to sample the drink?" 

Her eyes fixed on the first man, the question giving space for common conversation. She knows he's not here to make friends or just be casual with his time, but there is little she can do without Corvinus and she is not going to speak for him. 

Then, they made their appearance. The two exhumed a power of their own, nothing as dark or as demanding as the other pair that had been welcomed with a note. Leoa was gracious with her welcome, also bowing with a smile that was as honest as she could make it. Unlike Corvinus, who had a genuine dislike for things that were unnatural, the Empress has never expressed her dislike or like. Genuinly a neutral party to her husband's plans, her smile did not come made with hate, just uncertainty.

"It is not a case of kindness, but a gesture of welcome."

Which was true. The history that had been buried a long, long time ago would not rise this eve and she will remain reserved in her manners. Also, no matter how hard her mind and heart fought, she could not find the right emotion to properly describe how she felt towards the young woman that seemed to properly complete the grace that is Raphael. Leoa was pleased, for a reason uncertain, that the two had appeared in a state of utmost wonder and beauty that should be rightfully admired by the envious. No matter what she felt or did not feel, she was incurably happy.

"I told my husband the same exact words!" Leoa graciously grabbed Irene's soft, cold hands in her warm, calloused ones; her exclamation of excitement disrupting those pretty gems around her neck. "I try to make sure he knows every day that I am his sun; you best do the same for Raphael. A woman must be firm and graciously soft! Never let the man forget, and remind him when he does."

She was openly teasing, a thing that has haunted Corvinus their entire relationship. When they first met, she had called him lover only because the word seemed to have made him uncomfortable - who knew it would be a later, private, endearment. 

Leoa released the woman so that she may present her gift, something the Empress had almost forgotten about. The Wonder Beer had been a fantastic little addition to the celebration, and she was hoping time would premit her to have a taste; the soon-to-be talks between her husband and the man in the white suit should prove to be fruitful; of course the dark couple floating in, their own budding empire blooming, bringing in more opportunity. All these gifts and soon-to-be gifts made her more aware of her marriage to Corvinus.

Emerald hues sparkled, then dulled, before becoming ignited with a curious flame that made them glow earnestly. The gift was simple, and so far the most sentimental, the most beautiful thing she has recieved. All ten little stones lined up, prettily displayed.

"I don't think it's possible to outshine such a gift."

Then it was Raphael's turn, all with his honeyed words and languid gestures now remarked with a flutter of wheat lashes. A very amused look overcame Leoa's face, clearly entertained by what the beautiful man said. 

"My husband is a exaggerated poet at times."

She was curious how such a thing would come up in conversation, or how she would be subject to talk. It did make her laugh with thought though, that he would even disclose such a thing to anyone or discuss her in general to someone that isn't a personal part of his life. 

"But in such a case, he's not wrong."

Maybe it had to do with Agravain, Corvin's war-horse who had disliked Leoa the first time they met. Fine by her, she had and has no use for the unnecessary large beast. Lyonene actually took the monster off Corvin's hands, and the two are a strange pair now - or she thinks, maybe it's dead, which isn't a issue. 

She watched him remove something from his jacket, her head tipping to the side to show her obvious curiosity. 

"Raphael ..."

The Empress is clearly expressive; a myriad of expressions danced across her scared, pretty face. When his explanation finally hit home, she looked at him with love. So much love it could have melted him right there and then; she's not even sure she has ever looked at something with so much gratitude and love and admiration - not even Corvinus, and he's given her life and children. The woman had to break her gaze, not wanting to offend the Emperor, so she looked to the distributor of the Wonder Beer and then the man in the white suit. 

This wasn't some strange dream where wishes come true? 

"And here I thought my husband was the only man capable of fully expressing himself through grand gestures, yet here we are, at the cusp of a new realization."

She gave him her attention once more, only to grab the offered gift gently, almost timidly, for fear she would break the spell of something so grand and wondrous. 

Edited by Aleksei

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