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New Beginnings (TW)

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Ren was unsure how to react to such generosity. Of course he was grateful for the Empresses efforts, only an ingrate of the highest order wouldn't be, but no one had ever gone to such lengths for him or his school. Naturally he was aware of potential political maneuvering on her part. War was a distinct possibility in the Empires future, and having powerful warriors on her side would be a boon. Though technically sworn to neutrality in such matters, Tiandi Wushu would not be able to stand idly by if Port Kyros was invaded. Furthermore, their policy of teaching any who wish to learn meant it was possible that he might train members of the Hyperion military. 

But even taking such things into consideration, the service she was providing for the school and his students was invaluable. He had expected to live in semi-transience for at least a few months while they got back on their feet. That his students would know a bit of material comfort after the hardship they endured during their travels warmed his heart. 

The Shangdi bowed his head, extending both hands clenched in front of him, "Your kindness is greatly appreciated Your Highness."

When he and his students were later left alone, he would turn to his students.

"I suppose we shall regroup for mealtime. Remember that though we have been shown great kindness, we are guests here," A small smile crept over his features, "But do enjoy yourselves. You've earned it."

Bowing slightly to Trey and Kotori, he then had his attendant show him to his room.

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“Are you sure about this, Raveena? Should they really relocate here?” Rahab sat by a window seat and looked out at the city. She never thought she could be so high in the air. She knew the sea—it was a familiar place. Dark, cold, and merciless. But she wasn’t like the Trench Barons and their treachery. These men were different. They were not, she admitted, up to her standards—and she had told Raveena as much.

Rahab came on the opposite side of Raveena. The Queen was a different woman when company was not around. It was not as though she put on a façade. Only that her defenses lessened in a way. “When will you have Guppies?” She asked nervously to change the subject. “You will have many, yes? Surely there are suitors who are prepared for the honor of bedding you.” And it was then that Raveena laughed. It was a strange and delightful sound—a broken sound twisted with ebbing hope, beautiful and sad like a fractured, abandoned shell. Rahab wanted to reach out and touch this fragile person in front of her. Her mate was gone from her in more ways than one, and that sense of betrayal—Rahab could not imagine.

Did Pawan feel this way when he realized she would not return for him?

She had offered to bed Raveena on numerous occasions, only to be turned down. It was mildly insulting, but in a strange way she understood.

“My brother is in need of a wife. You could become our queen—my sister, even!” Rahab was the only woman of the Alrandwe royal family. It was a blessing and a curse; she would never be queen but would be expected to produce more Nymerian soldiers for her brothers’ cause. Raveena, who was perhaps braver than she, shook her head. “We’ve talked about this. I am not going to be a prize wife—nor an experiment for your brothers. Nymeria knows they are welcome to join the folds of Hyperian under my reign, but I will not relinquish my title. Not to Kings who hole themselves away or disappear for the thrills of war elsewhere. Not when the Nymerian people need cohesion. If anything, now is your chance to take the throne and give your people direction.” Raveena gave Rahab a pointed look, and the Nymerian dared not hold it.

“I will never be queen of Nymeria.” Rahab accepted solemnly. There was something firm and decisive that signaled an end to that discussion. Her vibrant, lilac eyes finally chanced a glance at Raveena, “Do you miss your mate?”

"Every day.” Raveena exhaled in a weary whisper—as if just to admit such a thing sucked the life out of her. “Every day,” Raveena continued, with some measure of effort, “Is a new beginning. One we should all be grateful for. That’s why I want Tiandi Wushu to thrive and grow here. They deserve a new beginning as well.”

Rahab stood and extended a hand to Raveena. “Come, I will draw a bath for you and the guppy. We must make you presentable later—it will do you no good to look weary, old, and pregnant.” Blunt, as ever. Raveena stared at the hand tiredly before clicking her tongue and looking away, “I have attendants, and we must both be presentable for the evening’s meal.”

Rahab’s slender, firm fingers gripped the Queen’s chin and tilted her gaze up. “I am your attendant this evening.” And she smiled.

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After finding her living space and accounting for all of her belongings she'd traveled with, Kotori prepared to freshen up for dinner. First however, after such a long voyage, she felt the need to do some serious stretching. As she stretched she closed her eyes and worked to maintain control of her breathing. Her thoughts began to wander in reflection of recent events. She reassured herself that she was okay, though sometimes she doubted herself in that notion; And she had no idea why. Coming to stand erect once more, she inhaled deeply before exhaling in a sigh. She made quick work of bathing, and as she got dressed for the evening in a fresh set of her training gear, not unlike the set she arrived in, she took to properly investigating her new living space. Of course she'd have to take a closer look after dinner.

Judging by how early she figured she was, Kotori took to roaming the halls. She opted to have a round about look around, purposely getting lost on her way to where she presumed they'd be eating. A dining hall of some sort. This place was definitely more sophisticated than the more minimalist lifestyle they left behind. It was a culture shock to say the least. At least she'd been spared the necessity of enduring the company of a Genesaran Vampire; Of any variety.

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Once Ren was alone in his room, the first thing he did was locate the bathing area and begin to draw himself a bath. As he disrobed, he caught sight of himself in the full length mirror in a corner of the room. It never ceased to amaze him how little his body reflected his actual age. The toned, athletic physique of his youth had remained unchanged, Even his face was more or less the same as it had been; though that was where his age was most obvious. The streaks of white in his hair had become more pronounced as it had grown out during the trip.

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He took his time in the bath, letting the warmth soak into his body. Once he was done, he would meditate until he was called by the queen.

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