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An Audience With The Queen | Silver Stella Castle

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It had been too long sense he'd seen the Queen. Though he wished this particular reunion was under better circumstances, he was excited to see her none the less. Trekking the halls of the castle, he briefly reminisced of their innocent, adolescent days spent chasing one another through these very halls. Though he'd grown from playing children's games such as hide and seek, he did wonder what the garden looked like these days. Perhaps he or even they could pay it a visit. Another time though, for today was not necessarily a day of leisure or fun. With the sudden illness and inevitable passing of his father, the House Tourmalia lost not only a father and leader, but also their chancellor upon the council.  as such, the responsibilities fell upon Efemaer to answer the call. Though he doubted his preparedness for such a role, he was willing and ready to serve the council with his best. 

When the throne room finally came into view, Efemaer slightly slowed his pace. His mouth grew dry and his chest tight. The desire to cry began to swell behind his eyes, though he maintained his composure well enough. Clearing his throat and licking his lips, he gave a slight bow to the guards standing outside the ajar doors to the throne room. Upon entering, his eyes grew somewhat wide, his olive toned skin providing a great cover to the redness the warmth brought to the skin of his face. Butterflies fluttered within his stomach, inspiring nausea for a brief moment as the anxiety washed over him in a wave that would've spanned to the tips of his wings had they have been out. His eyes narrowed to their natural shape as his picked closed his mouth, continuing to approach the Queen where she waited.

"My my, has it really been so long my lady? Or has the throne merely grown to compliment you so well?"

@Eternity

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The meeting had been set up weeks prior to the death of Lord Tourmalia SR, his illness had brought many priorities to light with his seat on the council. The council had an important part in the life of the Queen, helping her manager her lands while giving advice and opinions on the matters of the people. Since the passing of her own father, Aurora had leaned hard on the council and their ties to her lost father.

Rising from the throne, her green skirts falling openly around her legs. The shear green shawl sewn to her dress fell lightly over her pale shoulders mingling with the curls of her long red hair allowed to rest down her back to her waist.  

“Lord Tourmalin! What a pleasure to see you!”  A soft laugh left her light pink painted lips.

“It has been a very long time!”

Stepping down away from the throne, she walked to greet her long-time family friend and new council member. Reaching out with her hands, Aurora moved in to embrace Efemaer. Her hands gently touching his shoulders, she would lean in to briefly embrace him leaving a kiss on his cheek.

“Sorry about your father, he was a very honorable man.”

It was true they used to run the halls of the castle while their fathers worked together on the issues of the nation, or when they had large gatherings such as celebrations. With time and growth taking them away to full fill their duties of what their parents had aligned for them, they were now meeting each other as adults.

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Edited by Eternity
Added link to her dress

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 His smile grew when he heard her laugh. While more mature, she'd always had a particularly distinct laugh. While it held more elegance in the present, he recalled the cute giddy variant from their youth as if it was yesterday.

"The pleasure is all mine. It's nice to see that time has been so kind to you." 

He delivered a veil compliment as to not rouse thoughts of him hitting on her majesty, still he'd be a fool not to notice just how beautiful of a woman she'd grown to be. As she rose from the throne and left it all together, he admired her viridescent silks and the way they flowed about her frame. When her hands found his shoulders, his hands found her waist; Together he kissed lightly upon her cheek with the corner of his mouth as she kissed his more properly. 

"I'll admit that the circumstances were severe, though we can't all live forever. I'm just glad he's not suffering anymore, my mother has even been able to find her peace with his passing."

Efemaer's hold on the Queen was relinquished about half way through those words, Refreshing his smile, his eyes showed ambition, confidence, and hope.

"So long as I turn out to be at least half the man he was, I'll be pleased."

@Eternity

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After the brief welcoming of her long-time friend, Aurora moved to stand more freely at his side. She didn’t feel it necessary to sit back on to the throne, with it being the two of them it felt more casual than business.

“I am sure you can fill his shoes and much more.”

Smiling once more Aurora turned to gesture towards the doors that stood hidden behind the throne, an escape to a more private chamber. Smoothing her hands down her skirts, her fingers tangling in the sheer material of the built-in shawl.

“Shall we move to my official chambers; we can discuss more about your new position on the council. “

Walking towards the doors a retainer quickly met them pushing the curtains back from the doors. Nodding an approval to the man who was sharply dressed in the variety of purples tied to the royal family, he pushed the beautifully carved doors open.

Meeting the downward gaze of the retainer. “Thank you.” Aurora made it a priority to thank the Seelie who worked for her family, as they made their own sacrifices for service.

With a brief smile to the man who stood to the side allowing Aurora and her guest to walk through the doors, the queen made her way into the study that held beautifully carved bookshelves decorated with vines of honeysuckle. Some of the battle ornaments from her fathers’ rein stayed on the intricate walls that depicted the history of royalty in the Fae world, giving the reminder of what was once before.

 

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Waving his hands before him and shaking his head with a smile, his snickered a bit, ultimately dismissing her wild claim.

"I'm flattered."

He mused with a crooked grin. As his jovial nature diminished, his soft, charming smile remained. Queen Aurora smoother her hand over the fabrics of her skirts, suggesting a change of venue for them to get him up to speed in. As nervous as he was about serving the council, he was certain that even this chance to receive details on his new life was going to fall short of his reassurance. Only time and experience would prove to him his strengths and his weaknesses. Then and only then could he grow to feel that he was good enough for the seat. For now though, he'd argue his Mother was more competent for the task than he. Alas, the Seelie Court's decision was final. Efemaer Tourmalini was his father's, Soleil's, successor; For better or worse.

"Please High Queen, lead the way."

He hesitated not to follow her, careful not to step too closely. Shortly after she thanked the guard for opening the door, he nodded in passing. Mouthing his gratitude without actually speaking it allowed as he pushed to keep up with the Queen and continue to give her his undivided attention. If she spoke, he wanted to be most certain he heard it. While he already had a few questions in mind, he was careful to wait and see if she answered them prior to his asking.

@Eternity

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Walking around the very open carved desk, the chair behind the desk moved without her hand touching it. Moving away from the desk to allow Aurora to stand up close to the desk, it moved under her skirts allowing a secure seating. Opposite of the desk sat two beautifully carved chairs that would easily be lost in a thick forest, as they were the very embodiment of nature in the way they were carved.

Shuffling some parchment on the desktop around, Aurora would gesture towards the chair nearest her. “Please sit Lord Tourmalin.” She did her best to keep things more business than personal at the moment of their meeting. Now was the time to discuss the council seat he was taking, and the responsibilities he was taking up in the name of his deceased father.

The doors that lead them into her official chambers closed once they both settled, allowing a sort of peace to come to them both. Privacy was finally achieved, and they could finally talk without the castle watching.

Aurora had a tendency to disappear when she was able, never able to find a moment of peace from the constant buzzing of the business of running a country. Every moment she could muster was a blessing in her eyes, even when it was some one on one meetings.

Entwining her fingers together, resting her hands on the top of the parchment she didn’t bother moving. With a soft smile resting on her face, she sucked in a calming breath.

“Efemaer, first I want to say that with our history growing up, this will not be easy. Many of the older council members who’ve served before my time are going to make it hard on you. With the changes I am making to our country, such as the opening of the borders, many of them are not happy with me. “

Shifting in her seat, pulling her hands apart to smooth down the creases in her skirts resting on her knees. Not one to fidget much in front of other council members, she felt she had a confidant in the man who was now becoming one of the Nine who advise her in matters of the country and people. With her own body relaxed with Efemaer around, she let the some of the nervousness leave her.

Although Aurora was very confident in what she was doing for her country, she had to pull herself into a stance that showed no fear or nervousness around some of the other council members. There was always one or two who were looking for a flaw in the new queen, a reason to contradict her in everything she chose.

“And with the conflict that arose during my coronation, many of them question my ability to police those who I allow in our lands. What I am saying is, there will be times I will look to you to oppose those who wish to push us back into the stone age so to speak..”



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“Efemaer, first I want to say that with our history growing up, this will not be easy. Many of the older council members who’ve served before my time are going to make it hard on you. With the changes I am making to our country, such as the opening of the borders, many of them are not happy with me.“

Come to think of it, his father had mentioned something about such matters to him. Soliel didn't agree with the choice the Queen was making, though he supported her with his whole heart. There were many associated risks with opening the borders, risks that outweighed the potential gains. Though a risk was just that, a non issue unless a risk became manifest. To Efemaer, it was wise to interact with the outside world, lest they wish to blindly be wiped out by sudden catastrophic events that may or may not come to pass. Just because of their luck during Wispernight didn't mean they would fair as well against anything else, especially without the knowledge and time preparations required for optimal chances of survival. While his opinion differed from his father's, they had one thing in common. They both supported their sovereign without questions, regardless of personal opinion or relationships.

And with the conflict that arose during my coronation, many of them question my ability to police those who I allow in our lands. What I am saying is, there will be times I will look to you to oppose those who wish to push us back into the stone age so to speak..”

"It's easy, species adapt and evolve to survive, or they simply cease to exist. If the majority of the council is too old-school to understand this sentiment, then perhaps my addition will even sway the public opinion in replacing their seats with fresher views as well. In the mean time however, you have my word. My whole support."

What were his limits though? What lengths was he willing to go to for the young Queen? He wasn't even sure, though time too would tell this. It was clear, he stood with the Queen and her decisions. For better or worse. The council was to keep balance sure, though it was a leader's right to decide the path of the nation. The fate of it.

@Eternity

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With Efemaer’s words of support, Aurora carefully shifted in her seat behind the elaborate desk her father once spent many afternoons sitting behind in silence fussing over piles of parchment. Shifting her hands to embrace one another in her lap, she smiled.

“Exactly!” Motioning slightly with her right hand after breaking away from her lap, she dangled her palm off the edge of the desk her fingers caught on the wood. “I appreciate your support; I hope that we can work together to get the other members of the council to see this point of view.”

 Folding her leg over the other under the skirt of her dress, she brought her hand to rest again on her knee. Her fingers fidgeted with the fabric of her dress, while her eyes kept steady on her new council member. Rallying his support was very important to her, although she didn’t know how easy it would be to win it.

It seemed that every turn she made there was always someone trying to stop her, to persuade her away from the major decisions she made for the country her father left to her in his death. With her mother and sister taking their leave to the summer house, Aurora spent many evenings alone eating her dinners in the chambers where she poured herself over the same papers, she remembered her father doing many afternoons in her childhood.

“Now, I wanted to mention to you about an idea I have.” Sifting through a pile of parchment on the left side of her desk, she pulled one out that had Kol Azul labeled elegantly on the head of the paper. Setting the parchment in the middle of the desk, she would rest her hands over the beautifully penned document.

“I am working on opening the mine in Kol Azul to the public, of course they would have to pay a fee for what they mine..”

 

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His expression briefly became one of confusion and concern.

"By 'the public', do you mean to include the outsiders that visit within our borders?"

He questioned even though he was sure such was the case already. A rhetorical question at best.

"I have no doubts in the benefits, especially as far as taxes and legal tender are concerned. However, I feel there must also be some sort of regulations and policies in effect to keep against monopolies of our rare gems outside of the Crystallo; And of course, to limit access of some of the more rare stones. Swift acquisition in certain quantities might prove worrisome in the future should someone decide to abuse the power to be found within some of them."

Efemaer had never personally witnessed anything like them, though he remembered his father speaking with other councilors once about how the outside world had bastardized the magic with technology. How they abused things like the Exalta, crafting both melee weapons and firearms. This was something he never wished to see happen to anything of their brand, especially because some of the more ignorant and desperate effected outsiders that may or may not arise in the future will point the finger and seek to blame them as the source of something unfortunate. 

"Surely we'll need to keep a registry of all transactions, we also need to impose policy or law that stipulates having proof of transfer to new persons; As well as a way to enforce said policies efficiently, a way that will harbor little to no political backlash."

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Efemaer’s look of concern and confusion didn’t go unnoticed by Aurora, the mention of the public in the mines was a concerning moment. She was well aware of the risks that would entail opening the mines, although she had to admit to herself that she needed the council when it came to regulating the mines. 

“Honestly I mean for the people of Crystallo Stella, but how could I not allow outsiders?” Reaching up to brush away a loose strand of red hair, she knew that Efemaer was the right person to bring this subject up to. 

“You’re right, there will have to be some type of regulations and policies put together to limit access to the rarest gems. I think that provided the right information to back up the reasoning of needing one of the more rare and powerful stones would have to be approved for mining, especially for those who come from outside Crystallo Stella.” 

Aurora couldn’t agree more with what he was saying, laws would have to be put in place. Someone would have to appointed a position to inspect said buyers, to ensure the more dangerous of gems were being used as intended. 

“We could elect someone to take up inspection abilities of said buyers of the more dangerous of gems, and to handle the records of purchases. “ With everything Aurora had to oversee, it was refreshing to have someone she could bounce ideas off, though she knew it would have to be passed through the council for their insights. 

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He smiled charmingly with an infectious, playful snicker. 

"If we were to take it a step further, I'd even say to task someone with the responsibility of funding multiple projects that with benefit the nation and continue to do so over time. Wealth is only good to a certain extent, and our citizens are not suffering as is...It may not be an issue yet, but I can only imagine what might happen if there was some sort of say, spike in residences in Crystallo. Now that they can visit, there's no doubt in my mind that man will want to own and/or reside within our borders. This too must be controlled if allowed, or we'll have too big a fire to put out. The council will fight tooth and nail to strip you from the throne and place an interim sovereign in your place. Tell me now, Queen Aurora..."

Efemaer's tone changed ever so slightly before he looked around to make sure they were in fact still alone before he leaned over er desk a bit and continued at a lower volume. Just in case.

"If it comes to such extreme resistance, what lengths will you go to to retain your Kingdom? Especially in the case of domestic collusion. As I've already said, I'm willing to support you completely, I just need to be clear on how completely needs to be defined."

It was bold of him to ask such a question, in fact, he did it for a reason. Knowing the Queen, she'd have the most peaceful alternative in mind, especially for one of their own. Though being mostly an older generation, the council, he didn't put it past any of them as potential suspects to any misfortune that may or may not come to the Queen or Crystallo in the future. If they couldn't be reasoned with, they needed to be removed. If they weren't willing to be removed, then they'd potentially need to be purged. Efemaer has never killed in his short life, though for the Queen, for his friend, he felt like he was willing to do anything for her.

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Aurora was caught off guard by the smile accompanied with a playful giggle, his following statement still so serious. Efemaer had a point though, one she couldn’t really ignore. Aware of the changes she was making in Crystallo was shifting views the council had on her. Although they really didn’t have much power over what came of the Nation, their opinions and advice was always heeded greatly by the ruling King or Queen. Green hues watched Efemaer as he leaned closer over the desk, his eyes darting around to make sure the room was truly secure for their private conversation. 

Unable to help herself, Aurora leaned over nearly meeting him face to face as he continued on with the notions of how far she was willing to go to keep herself seated on the throne. It had been thousands of years since a royal was dethroned, but it was recorded in their history that king went completely mad. 

“The funds from the mines could go towards funding new things in Crystallo, and with the impending rise in citizens with our borders open to the outside world.” Pausing a moment, she pulled herself back just a bit as she felt the close proximity between them a bit too intimate. “We could appoint someone to be in charge of records of new citizens, maybe put some laws into play for them to gain citizenship?” Reaching up to brush away a stray strand of red hair from her face, the look on her face going distant as she started to think more on the subject. 

The council indeed would be a huge problem eventually, but Efemaer started to hint towards more barbaric notions of how to eliminate the problems to be. Smiling, Aurora thought back on a memory shared with her father, a day when she wandered into this very study where he was working tirelessly on issues that the council had brought to his attention. Her father’s deep baritone voice echoed through her mind ‘There will be days by little flower, where you will have to make some very harsh decisions, many that will not all be for the greater good of one person or many..’ She knew what he meant, sometimes violence had to come out into play occasionally, to make some things work in the betterment of the nation. 

“Or..” Aurora started with her voice soft, as if someone would be listening in. “I could just eliminate the need of a council, maybe marry with the excuse that the King will be my advisor?” 

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When the Queen leaned in rather closely, he refrained from moving away, though his speech slowed ever so slightly, and a pinkish tint began to warm his face. When she moved away just a bit, he gently cleared his throat, even though she took the opportunity to speak herself once more.

"Precisely."

Was all he had to reply to her notions of new taxes and citizens. Though he wouldn't mention anything more aloud so soon, he was curious as to how accepting the general public would be to sharing the land more permanently with outsiders. He feared prejudice might experience sudden rise, though to what extent he wasn't sure. The cost of having a nation with closed borders for such a long time. His thoughts subsided however, when the Queen proposed another idea.

“Or..” Aurora started with her voice soft, as if someone would be listening in. “I could just eliminate the need of a council, maybe marry with the excuse that the King will be my advisor?”

Originally he might have thought of her slowly ushering out the old council to fill it anew, though this option sounded like more of a fast track. Not only, but also a recession into the ways of old. A more traditional approach to monarchy. Though it stood to reason just how strong of a grip she could maintain on the throne and her people. What sort of man would she make King? Or would she further her endeavors by arranging a marriage between herself and a pre-existing King?

"While the council seem to cling to old ways, I have a feeling they'd rebuke the changes simply because they stand to lose some sort of position of power. I myself have yet to gain a semblance of such, but those whom have been in their seat for decades have established themselves in a certain manner by now. Forgive my forwardness, for it is none of my business, but does this stand to say that you'd be marrying strictly for political reasons to back your choices? Furthermore, would you grow a fresh King from your personal selection, or would you seek to formally join an established King; Essentially merging Kingdoms in some form of alliance?"

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Leaning back into her chair, she would bring her fingers through the loose strands of red hair around her face. Unconsciously twisting a piece of red silk around her fingers a moment as she thought about the questions posed to her, she dropped her hand allowing the strand of hair to bounce free. Raising her eyes to him again, she smiled. 

“You’re right, they would fight tooth and nail if I abolish the old ways of the council.” Although the council really didn’t have much power in the reality of things, they were just there to give their advice to the queen or king on political matters. Just being a noble house in Crystallo Stella showed the power they had, each having something they controlled that benefited the nation. 

Aurora’s facial expression changed with the thought on how and where she would find a king. Would she marry an established king in another nation, linking the two? Or would she marry a suitor from the pick of the nation, someone of noble standards? Political reasons? It all had to be determined in due time, first she had to tell the council about her finding a king. 

A soft giggle escaped her lips to a thought that randomly bounced through her mind thinking on how she would acquire a king. “I could advertise it to the world that I am looking to marry..” A smirk replaced the giggle that escaped a moment earlier. “Honestly, it all really depends on the situation of things with Crystallo Stella. If there is another kingdom out there that our nation could benefit a close relationship with, then political would be it.” 

Needlessly moving the parchment around on her desk, she found her fingers clinging to the edge of the desk a moment before finding a final resting place on her lap. “Unless I miraculously start courting someone soon, than I don’t think marrying for love is in the cards.” Either way, Aurora knew that change was going to be difficult in her homeland, but a necessary change. 

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As she spoke, he reflected silently and both her words, and his thoughts. For years, he'd watched her grow into the beautiful woman she'd become. She possessed a penetrating beauty the was much deeper than the skin. In her youthful reign she continued to prove her intellect despite her age. Any man would be lucky just to be considered by her. Efemaer had even though of Aurora romantically, though he tried to deny those feelings every time they decided to scratch at the surface. Having confronted his father once before about it, he was warned that to court and or marry Aurora was to court or marry Crystallo. Efemaer felt mildly defeated when he recalled the particular conversation. Not because he felt the Queen was out of his league, but because he saw himself as unfit to rule by her side. He hardly felt comfortable stepping into his father's shoes and joining the council, how could he possibly fathom feeling fit to lead?

"Love has no time limit, though political advantages most certainly do. It all boils down to how much of your personal happiness are you willing to sacrifice for the people."

Adjusting in his seat, he cleared his throat mildly; Looking to the Queen once more as he continued.

"Without considering how difficult as it is being a young feminine leader, do you ever feel...Inadequate of performing your role as Queen? How do you cope with the anxieties associated to being responsible for an entire nation?"

@Eternity

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