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message 1: by Mariettedr (new)

Mariettedr | 100 comments Prologue

Darrius sat in boredom, staring at the tutor in front of him with his brow creased. The man was about thirty and wore odd, brown-rimmed glasses that hung low on his nose.
His dull green eyes regarded him over his glasses. “Don’t give me that look,” his tutor scolded him. “Read the piece again and tell me what the words mean.”
“It’s gibberish…”
“At least try.”
“How would words that rhyme help me lead my country one day?” Darrius challenged.
“Boy…” the man said with a loud sigh. “Your mother wants you to discover the arts… I trust that there is a reason for it.”
He truly disliked being called by that word. He was a prince. Not a boy.
He leaned forward in his chair, allowing his feet to touch the floor, to place his hand on his tutor’s arm where it rested on the bundle of poetry doodles he had kept Darrius busy with for most of the morning. “I do not care about art or discovering whatever hidden meaning lies beneath the words of poems that have been written by fools.”
We should end this session and tell my mother it had gone well.
His tutor’s eyes flickered. “You’re right, Prince Darrius. We are done here for the day,” he said and stood. Darrius pulled his hand back from him. “Your mother would be glad to know how well it had gone.”
Darrius smiled up at the man, willing his eyes and his grin to look older, to be that of a grown man. He wanted to intimidate him. Like a king would be able to.
But the moment Darrius’ eyes left his tutor’s he regretted the smug smile.
Meeting his mother’s glare, he sat in silence as she shot a look at his tutor, dismissing him. The man left without another word.
Darrius reached for a pile of books in front of him, wanting to rise and put them away, but the books suddenly flew off the table – pushed away in front of him by his mother. He opened his mouth to protest but the moment his mother pounded both of her fists down on the now empty table – he closed his mouth and stared up into her dark blue eyes.
Do not ever do that again,” she uttered at him in disgust.
He could only stare at her, his face motionless.
When she did not get a response from him, she gritted her teeth and grabbed him by the lapels of his shirt. Speaking into his face, she gave her warning with a dangerous, whispering voice. “You are good. Gentle. If you ever again force your will on another living being…”
A strand of her dark hair slipped from behind her ear and into her face, but even as the piece of hair fell over her nose, she held her glare directed down at him.
“Dayna,” a voice said calmly behind her.
She reached for her strand of hair and tucked it in behind her ear before she turned around to look at his father standing in the doorway. Darrius slipped off his seat and circled around his mother to stand next to his father and king.
The king of Tretia Country placed his large hand on his shoulder. The weight of that hand felt… Safe.
And gentle – like his mother wished him to be.
“He is just an eleven year old boy, Dayna. He will never understand the things you attempt to teach him because he does not know the truth… For him to understand who he must become, he must understand where he comes from.”
His mother’s features softened and ultimately tears touched her eyes. She had always been so beautiful to him, with her blue gaze and dark hair. Both features she had passed down to him. Seeing his mother’s sadness paled his heart but he kept quiet and trusted his father to lead their conversation.
“Tell him,” his father breathed out behind him. When he glanced at his father, his heart froze over at the sight of the tear that dripped from his chin.
His mother took in a breath, took a step towards him and knelt in front of them both. Staring at Darrius, she beckoned him closer. The hand on his shoulder guided him towards her.
His mother placed both her hands on his shoulders, fixing their metal blue gazes together. “Can you keep a secret, Darrius?” she whispered.
He nodded.
“It’s a secret you won’t ever tell anybody. Not even your little brother. Promise it to us.”
His throat bobbed and he glanced at his father. Only when his king nodded his head, only then, did Darrius look at his mother to nod his head once more. “A true Tretian never breaks his promises,” Darrius murmured as a proud smile touched his mother’s face.

message 2: by Mariettedr (new)

Mariettedr | 100 comments Chapter One

“You have summoned me, Father,” Darrius said and folded his hands in behind his back.
“Kneel before your king,” his father said in return.
Frowning, Darrius lowered himself onto one knee in front of King Eliass Dontea of Tretia Country. He glanced up at him before bowing his head low.
“You are my eldest and the king-in-waiting. Upon my death, you will be the king of Tretia Country,” his father voiced. “You may rise.”
Darrius rose and folded his hands in behind his back again. They were in the king’s library with a view of Lake Tretia before them. After his mother’s death, his father rarely used their bedchamber and mostly slept in his library. His father had always been organised, but of late he had become quite the messy old man. He was a man of sixty two years of age and the years had not been kind to him. His hair was fully grey by now and he was much leaner than he had once been.
The king shifted in his chair before looking past Darrius at the lake beneath. “Join me,” he said and kept his view on the lake as Darrius pulled a chair closer. He fixed his chair next to his father and stared out the windows of the Dontea family’s library.
“Is there a reason you have summoned me, my king?”
“Can a father not have a few minutes of his son’s time?”
“Of course, Father.”
Silence fell upon them and Darrius savoured the comfort he felt at his father’s side. The man to his left had taught him so much in his life and every moment spent in his company was something he cherished.
“I want to talk about the Country of Upovia across the Philantic Sea,” his fater stated and his stomach turned.
He swallowed in silence and frowned. “I trust you have a reason for bringing it up, Father.”
“The Alabasters of Upovia…” he said carefully. “What exactly do you know about them?”
Darrius lowered his head. “They are the royal family of Upovia.”
“And what do you know of the country?”
“It’s a small country with a loud voice. Quite different to the countries that surrounds it.”
“To me, it’s a country for the sinners.”
His father snorted. “For the sinners?” he asked, bemused. “Well, that is not true. Why would you say such a thing?”
“They drink to write poetry and they write poetry because they drink. The dance scandalously and their music is appallingly loud. They fornicate without shame… Shall I go on?”
His father’s smile slightly faded. “Do you know what it is called to live like that, Prince Darrius?” Darrius remained silent and waited for his father to continue. “It’s called being free, my son.”
“But I am free and everyone in our country is free as well.”
His father nodded. “Yes,” he agreed, “we are free. But we do not live freely.”
“I do not live freely because I do not drink and fornicate my days away?”
“Well, I at least know that you have fornicated a bit in your life.”
The words made his eyes close as he kind-heartedly laughed at his father. “Apparently the walls have eyes and ears,” Darrius observed. “Is this a lesson on my indiscretions? It will be a short one since I don’t have many.”
“This is not a lesson, Son. I am merely having a conversation with my eldest.”
Darrius nodded his head, a smile still present on his lips. “Why does our conversation include the royal family of Upovia? You know how I feel about them…”
“I know that you prefer not to talk about the Alabasters. It’s understandable… But do you know what Agustin Alabaster did with that country, Darrius?”
“He took a country from a king without a war,” he answered shortly.
“Agustin saw a country that was being ruled by selfish royals and nobles. But the nobles were only a quarter of the country. The other three quarters consisted of the poor and they lived in vulgar circumstances. With the masses on his side, Agustin Alabaster led a rebellion against the king and, as you know, he won.”
“Are you sure this is not a lesson, Father?”
“He was a leader of a rebellion that changed thousands of lives, Darrius. He brought movement and change to a corrupt country. He offered his people freedom and individualism. Once he was king, King Agustin Alabaster encouraged the arts and inspired the poets. He taught his people that they could live freely because their county could take care of them. It’s not a big country, but he was able to enrol all the children into schools within only a few years after he had been crowned king. He took it upon himself to cultivate his people. He had even built theatres for the writers of dramas and warehouses for the artists of the visual arts. He was a man with an endless passion for life.”
“Was it his passion for life that got him murdered?” Darrius asked, his voice low and raw.
He did not particularly enjoy the conversation they were having and his question had silenced his father. The king stared at Darrius with pity in his gaze, with sympathy that Darrius had not asked for. Whenever his father would bring up the Alabasters, Darrius would always get that same look from his father. It was the kind of sympathy that had always torn at his heart, even if he did not want it to.
His father cleared his throat before continuing. “The popular king of Upovia’s assassin had not been captured and I wonder if they ever would… But in the three years after his death, his son had been able to keep his spirit alive. The young Blaise Alabaster is a good king today. He is fair and he has continued his father’s ways, but he is different… more peculiar in his ways.”
“I was not aware of the vast admiration you had for the late king of Upovia and his children.” He hated that his toned sounded childish and jealous.
“I do admire the Alabasters,” his father admitted. “I have respect for the movement of freedom that they had led. I want you to remember that once I am gone.”
Darrius did not meet his father’s eyes, but solemnly nodded his head instead.
“But the reason I respect them the most…” his father continued. “It’s because their blood runs in your veins. As you know, you are an Alabaster yourself.”
Darrius immediately shook his head. “No… My name is Prince Darrius Dontea,” he insisted. “I am the eldest son of Queen Dayna and King Eliass Dontea. My family is here. My brother is here. I will never leave this country to cross the Philantic Sea and if I ever do, it will not be to unite with the Alabasters.”
“I don’t have much time left in this world, Darrius…” his father said softly. He lowered his head and they sat in silence for a few seconds. When he did not say anything, his father continued. “After your mother’s death, you and I were the only two left that knew of your true linage.”
He swallowed uneasily as heat touched his ears. “I’ve been thinking a lot about it… About that day she told me the truth - in this same library.”
“Sixteen years have passed since that day…” his father observing, shaking his head unbelievingly before looking at Darrius down the length of his nose. “You will be the only know that knows once I am gone. The only one carrying our secret.”
“To be honest, the thought thereof is quite unbearable.”
The king held his eyes while a silence stretched between them. “You have family in Upovia, Son.”
Darrius frowned. “Why are we even discussing it? You know I have never had any interest in knowing them.”
“They are a large family… You have a brother and a sister. You have cousins…”
Darrius shook his head fiercely. “I don’t want to know anything about them. My life is here, not there.”
“Don’t you like the thought of having more family?”
“No,” he said. “I’ve made my peace with the path that has been chosen for me.”
“Yes…a path that has been chosen for you.”
“I am going to be the king of Tetria,” Darrius said, his voice clear. “You have named me as your heir even though I am not your son by blood... You have chosen me and I have accepted it.”
“I named you my heir because, to me, you are my eldest. You are my son, blood doesn’t change that for me. I have raised you and I have shaped you. You are going to be an outstanding ruler and I regret that I am not going to be here to see it.”
“But what of my brother?” he asked. “Eli deserves the crown more than me. Your blood runs in his veins.”
“Eli Dontea would be the perfect king,” his father said carefully. “He is my son by blood, unlike you…but I have made my choice and I want to hold you to it.”
“Hold me to it?”
“There is nothing that stops you from abdicating once I am gone, nothing that stops you from handing your brother the throne.”
“To hand the crown to your true son would be the honourable thing to do. Is that not what you have shaped me into being? An honourable man?”
“An honourable man does not break promises and you have made many to me and your mother.”
“Are you worried that I would leave Eli? King or not, I will never leave my brother.”
“Promise me,” his father insisted.
“I promise you, father,” Darrius said without hesitation. “I will take care of Eli and I will take care of our country.”
“And what if temptation comes knocking?”
“The temptation of knowing the wild, untameable Alabasters.”
Darrius glanced at his father. “I have no desire to know them. We are too different, in fact, worlds apart.”
“If you ever meet them, you will feel different.”
“It doesn’t matter. I have made promises.”
His father was quiet for a long time before he finally nodded his head and ultimately met eyes with him again. “Remember your promises, Prince Darrius Dontea.”
He rose from his chair and bowed low in front of his king. Slowly lifting his head, he gazed up at his father. “I have sworn my loyalty to you. Nothing will ever alter my devotion to you or to this country.”
They held each other’s eyes for quite some time but looked away once the door to the library swung open. His young brother, Eli Dontea, stepped into the room and smiled with his olive green eyes once he noticed Darrius on his knees in front of their father.
“Well, aren’t the two of you quite the picture,” he said and closed the door behind him.
“Both my sons at my side,” King Eliass rejoiced as Darrius rose to his feet. “It truly is a wonderful morning. Prince Eli, come in, come in.”
Eli moved closer and joined Darrius’ side. He bowed low in front of their father and lifted his head with a proud smile. “You look well this morning, father.”
“I have both my boys with me, I am as happy as can be.”
The joy on his father’s face was returned by Eli’s smile. The two of them never looked more alike than in that particular moment. Eli had gotten all of their father’s features, sharing his ash brown hair and olive green eyes. They had the same build as well, tall and slender. Darrius had none of those features. He might have their tall length, but his shoulders were broader. It was a good quality to have for a king, but he longed to look like them, longed to share blood with the father that lifted his eyes to smile at him.

message 3: by Mariettedr (new)

Mariettedr | 100 comments On King Eliass Dontea’s day of funeral, nobles all over Tretia Country and their neighbouring countries came to sympathise with Darrius and his brother. Even though they had known their father’s days had been numbered, losing him had still been a shock to them both. As he had expected, Eli did not take the death of their father well. Eli was completely overcome by his grief and he never seemed younger to Darrius than in those days that followed their father’s death. Eli was eighteen years of age which made Darrius eight years older than him and an age of twenty six. Even though the death of Eliass Dontea had wrecked his heart, he stood firm as Eli leaned on him for strength. The death of their father had brought them even closer and Darrius cherished the bond they shared. They faced each day after their father’s death together. Wherever he would go, his young brother would follow beside him.
The funeral had lasted for hours as each king of their neighbouring countries took a turn to say their farewells to the late king. Eli had decided that he wanted to speak as well, but as his turn came he was unable to voice the heartfelt words he had written down for their father. Darrius had taken his words and had read them aloud on his brother’s behalf. That moment they shared as brothers had brought tears to every eye in the great hall of the castle.
As the day had faded and after hours of grieving, they had shared a feast of fine foods with the nobles. The two princes remained in the great hall until every noble had stopped at their table before departing to their chambers. At the end, they were the only two left. The servants moved around them and cleared the tables one by one. Soon they were gone as well and the castle quieted down around them.
Staring at the empty tables and lifeless hall, Darrius loosened a breath before turning his attention to Eli. He glanced at his red eyes and swollen face before lowering his gaze again.
“Your coronation will take place while the nobles of Tretia are visiting the castle,” Eli said softly, finally breaking the silence between them.
“It can wait while we grieve our father,” Darrius replied.
Eli shook his head. “We should not show weakness now. It leaves us vulnerable. We should crown you and make sure the lands of peace know that they have a king.”
“And keep the peace,” he confirmed.
“Our lands are known for it after all… But sometimes I wonder about the fragile peace we keep.”
“Fragile peace?”
Eli was quiet before he spoke again. “I should not question father’s ways.”
“I am the only one listening. You can speak freely.”
Eli hesitated a moment longer. “There is unrest in the East… With father gone it is only going to get worse.”
“Once I am crowned, I will meet with our neighbours to the East and settle it.”
“Some kings find peace to be tedious,” Eli stated. “They are challenging our traditions and customs. They want change. War is the only way to get what they want.”
“Killing thousands of people are not the way to bring about change… Besides, they don’t have our numbers and they know it.”
“They have enough numbers to create chaos. Father once told me some kings flourish when their countries are in disorder. Maybe that will be true for our neighbours.”
As he listened to his brother speak, a young face stopped in the entrance of the great hall. Her light blue eyes moved back and forth between the two of them as a grin touched her thin lips.
“We’ll take the matter up with our council in the morning. For now you should tend to your woman,” Darrius said. Lady Rosali waved at him and Eli, her eyes ultimately resting on his brother. She was fair and had long, burning red hair, but her young spirit was Darrius’ favourite quality of her. At the sight of the lady at the door, his brother’s sullen mood seemed to be lifting. A small smile caught Eli’s mouth as he stood from his chair.
“She’s lovely,” Darrius murmured between the two of them.
Eli looked down at him with a broadened smile. “She is the woman I am going to marry.”
“Thinking of marriage at your young age?”
“Love does not care about age.”
“Love?” Darrius wondered out loud.
“You should allow yourself to explore the sensation thereof,” Eli said shamelessly. “Or are kings not allowed to love freely?”
Even after Eli and Rosali had left the hall, Eli’s words still lingered. He had always thought of himself as free, but after the conversation he had had with his father a few days ago, he was not sure what it meant to truly live and love freely. He had led a controlled life within an environment of tradition. He valued his customs, cherished every one of them, but maybe Agustin Alabaster had been right to break free of the norm. He had openly declared traditions as the restrictions of life. Maybe he had been right, but Darrius could not imagine his life without the customs that his forefathers had embodied.
Sitting alone at their family’s table, Darrius allowed his grief to find him. Wrought with the loss of his father and king, Darrius closed his eyes and rested his head on one of his arms on the table. Clutching his burning eyes closed, he listened to his heart beat in his ears. As if Clara could sense his sorrow, the bobcat came trailing into the great hall. Darrius could hear the wild cat moving closer, coming to sit next to his chair. With his head still resting on his arm, he reached down with his other hand to touch her head. Clara had been a gift from his father and she was about a year old by now. Fingering her behind her ear, she softly began to purr. The sound of the cat’s appreciation for his touch offered him a sense of comfort that he could not explain.
They remained next to each other for quite a while, finding comfort in one another, but ultimately Clara growled next to his seat. Startled, Darrius lifted his head.
“I did not know that kings could cry,” a woman said, sitting in a chair at the opposite side of the table. Alarmed, Darrius looked the woman over. She had inky, black hair that rolled down her shoulders and her dark brown eyes looked at him in wonder. It was too late at night for a stranger to be roaming the halls of the castle. “I am sorry for your loss, Prince Darrius Dontea,” she added.
Darrius did not care to wipe away the tears that rested in his eyes, he kept them there as he watched the woman in front of him. “It’s late…” he said. “What can I help you with, Stranger?”
“There are loads you can help me with… But you won’t do any of it willingly.”
“How did you get in here?” he asked, eyeing the long, dark dress she was wearing.
“I have my ways…” she said in a soft voice. “Ways you are not going to like or understand.”
“What do you want with me?”
“It’s not really about you and me, Darrius Dontea. It’s about a promise I have made to your father.”
“I have made many promises to the king as well. Promises I intent to keep.”
The woman rolled her dark eyes and snorted mockingly. “Dear boy…” she said in a dangerous voice as she rose from her seat. “Your king has been able to keep you away from me for a very long time… But the time has finally come for us to meet.”
Darrius frowned at the woman, ready for whatever she might challenge him with next, but she completely surprised him by winking alluringly before throwing black powder across the table and into his face.

message 4: by Mariettedr (new)

Mariettedr | 100 comments When Darrius became aware of his surroundings, he found his hands and feet to be tied together. He opened his eyes and stared around in a windowless, crammed room with a wooden floor. Next to him was his bobcat, Clara, and a woman with blonde hair that he did not know. They were both unconscious. Pulling on his restrains, Darrius noticed the circle that had been etched into the wooden floor around them.
“Clara?” he whispered in his cat’s direction.
“I know better than separating an Alabaster from his pet,” a voice said behind him.
Jerking his head back, he rested his eyes on the dark woman he had met in the great hall. She was standing just outside the circle. “What do you think you are doing!” Darrius demanded.
“Like I said… I have made Agustin Alabaster a promise.”
To his own surprise, Darrius laughed out loud at her words. “Agustin Alabaster?” he asked with bemusement.
“I have finally decided that your mother might have been the only woman that Agustin truly loved. I knew Dayna quite well. Your mother had always been fierce and stubborn… She hated me, of course.”
Darrius shook his head with certainty. “You do not know what you are talking about.”
She lowered her head and sighed loudly. “We only have a minute or two before midnight, Prince Darrius. I would advise you to spend your time with me wisely. Do you have any questions before you go?”
“Go? Go where?”
“The portal will take you to Upovia once midnight arrives.”
“The circle around you.”
“That is not possible!”
“Any other questions?”
Starting to shake, Darrius tugged on his restraints while he spoke. “How can I trust anything that you say?”
“I have no reason to lie to you,” she said simply.
His next question even surprised himself. “How did you know that I am Agustin’s son?”
“I wasn’t sure that you were,” she admitted. “But the bobcat – she gave you away.”
“The cat?” he asked with a frown.
“The Alabasters adore their wild pets. Your father liked the bobcats as well. So does your brother.”
“Blaise Alabaster… The black seep of this century.”
“And the current king of Upovia...”
“Yes,” the woman said in delight. “You know his name.”
“Doesn’t everyone know the Alabaster name?”
She shrugged light-heartedly. “We all know it for different reasons.”
“And what is your reason for knowing it?”
“The Alabaster family and my family have hated each other for centuries.”
“Then why are you making promises to an Alabaster and keeping them?”
“Agustin was different than his family. So are his children.”
“I don’t care,” he muttered. “I truly don’t care! Now untie me, woman!”
“You know…” she said, softly. “I am shocked to find that you know about your true lineage. I did not think Dayna had it in her to tell you.”
“Don’t talk about my mother,” he snapped, angrily tugging at the ropes around his wrists.
“You remind me so much of him…” she continued. “Of your father.”
“Why did you promise him that you would take me to Upovia? It’s not like he is there anymore!”
The woman suddenly shook her head. “I can’t tell you. I play with your fate by telling you.”
“My fate?”
“You need to listen to me…” she said, her voice lowering. “You must concentrate and allow the portal to guide you to Upovia.”
“Portal?” he asked again in confusion. “But I have no desire to go there!”
“If you fight against it, you will be lost in the portal. You must tell it to take you to Upovia, otherwise it might take you weeks or even months to get there.”
“You’re insane,” Darrius muttered.
“You must let Tretia Country go, Darrius. Otherwise it might take you even longer to reach Upovia. Do you have any other questions?”
“Untie me.”
“Suit yourself,” she said and slowly circled around them. “The woman next to you will meet you there. It’s important that you convince her to stay in Upovia. Keep her close to you and your brother.”
“Who is she?”
“Her name is Ophelia Evans,” she said, a hint of admiration in her tone. “I have spent many years of my life on finding her. But be warned, Tretian Prince…she is quite the wild one.”
“Why is she important?” The woman did answer his question, but her voice had suddenly gone muffled. “What?” he demanded as his sight started to blur. “What is happening!” he cried out as panic clenched his heart.
His hearing had been the first to go and his sight quickly followed. Slowly being deprived of his senses, Darrius suddenly felt tired beyond measure. Just before darkness sucked him in, he tried calling for Clara. Leaning to the left, he groped for his cat to lay his hands on her pelt. Finding comfort in having her close to him, he allowed his head to slump to the floor with a loud thud.

message 5: by Mariettedr (new)

Mariettedr | 100 comments Chapter Two

“Eye contact is more intimate than words would ever be,” Blaise Alabaster murmured, staring into a pair of smiling, brown eyes. They were soft, deer-like eyes, but the tinge of lust that shone behind her kindness told him she was not as innocent as she made the world believe. The woman in the chair in front of him had long and light brown hair. She had fair, soft skin and smiled with a pair of full lips. With her elbows on her knees, she folded her hands together in front of her to lean her chin onto them.
“I can sell tickets for staring into your eyes…” he whispered after a lingering silence.
Her smile slightly changed as playfulness touched the sides of her perfect mouth. She had not said much since they had met earlier the day, but the way she had openly stared at him was all the permission he had needed to pursue her.
Squaring his shoulders in anticipation, he boldly held the woman’s gaze as he wondered what her name could be. But her name was not what mattered…
“Anything specific that my eyes are saying now?” the woman mused, her voice soft.
Blaise narrowed his gaze, beholding the stunning creature in the opposite chair. “You’re young…” Blaise began, his voice low. “But you have lived a full life.”
“Do they tell that many stories?” she asked. Her eye contact slightly faltered as she looked away for a quick second before meeting his gaze again. She had many secrets, he realised. Secrets that she probably wanted to keep private.
“Yes…” he murmured. “They tell lots of tales, many that I would like to hear, but not tonight… You did not approach me today because you wanted to tell me about your burdens and regrets.”
She calmly licked her lips. “You surely do know people, don’t you?”
“People I know… But it’s animals that I understand.”
Her deer-like stare slowly travelled over his shoulder and rested on the bobcat that was lying on the end of Blaise’s bed. He did not have to look back at the wild cat to know that she had just lifted her head the moment that the woman had decided to look at her.
“She’s beautiful…” the woman said, more to herself than to him.
Her admiration of Rosy, his beloved bobcat, made her even more attractive. It urged him to lean forward in his chair and reach for her face. At his closeness, her lips parted in surprise and made her pull in a quick breath. He cupped her face in his hand and brought their heads closer together. It made her blink rapidly for a second or two, her breathing accelerating. She was nervous, he realised, but she daringly held his eyes nonetheless. In a sense there was beauty in the electrifying anxiety she felt. She was beyond nervous but the lust in her eyes did not fade for one moment.
His smile broadened. “Rosy,” he said out loud, talking to his bobcat. “Would you please excuse us?”
The lazy beauty softly wailed as she stepped off the bed, telling him what an inconvenience he was being. Once she trailed out the bedroom door, Blaise stood from his chair and offered his hand to the woman. She shyly took it and allowed him to pull her to her feet. Standing in front of him, she slowly stepped closer to reach her arms around his neck. She pulled in another breath, bracing herself for what is to follow. She was not flawless in her seduction and it gave away her inexperience. But the shyness to her eyes and small smile held all of his attention.
She was more alluring than she knew and she surprised him completely when she reached up to take two fists full of his curls into her grip. Deliberately, he waited for her to be the one to pull their lips together. He smiled once she eagerly kissed him and his body responded satisfyingly at the way she firmly held their mouths together.
Ultimately breaking their kiss, he knelt before her and boldly reached his hands in underneath her yellow sundress. Sliding his hands up the sides of her thighs, he brought her dress up with him. Trailing his hands over her soft skin, he moved them over her hips and up over her ribcage. Ultimately lifting the dress over her head, he discarded it to the floor. Even though she stood naked before him, he forced his eyes to remain fixed to hers. Ignoring the perfect breasts just a few inches lower, Blaise closed his eyes and pulled her body into his arms. Keeping his eyes closed, he moved his mouth over her collarbone and into her neck. She released a heavy breath as her body arched back, inviting him to taste more of her. Grinning, he pulled her lips to his again, making her moan softly into their kiss.
Heat rose to her cheeks, leaving them a rose-pink colour. Taking a handful of her hair, he brought her burning cheeks to his mouth. Kissing every one of her burning features, his body stirred in response. Her heavy breathing filled his ears, inviting him to do with her as he pleased. Blaise took hold of her naked hips and groaned into her neck before biting down on her earlobe. The woman gasped in response, reaching for the buttons of his shirt. Subtly, Blaise allowed himself a look at her full, inviting breasts while she made work of his clothing. He could not take his eyes off her soft, clear skin. As she dropped the last of his clothing to the floor, she stole a look at his naked form as well. It made the woman blush, her ears turning a bright red colour by now. He reached forward to take her flushed face into his hands. Staring into the depths of her brown eyes, Blaise could see the want and lust that had taken hold of her virtuous heart.
He kissed her deeply then, holding their bare bodies close together as he pulled her back to his bed. Lowering her onto the covers, he now openly stared at her flawless chest and body. He climbed onto the bed with her as she opened her legs to reach them around him. She did not hide her desire for him and shyly, she smiled up at him with blushing cheeks and red ears.
She was the young deer, he thought calmly…
She was taunting him to have all of her, to chase her through the wilderness and to catch her…and so, licking his lips…the lion complied.

message 6: by Mariettedr (new)

Mariettedr | 100 comments She had always shared her father’s love for poetry. She had spent many hours of her life with paper and ink in her hands, trying to compose the words her father had been so talented with. He had written about many topics, but romanticising the words on the page had been his favourite. It was not lost upon her that he had used every one of those lines to win the hearts of many women in Upovia. He had used his talent to charm anything that wore a dress… But she loved his poetry nonetheless.
With a longing heart, Princess Mable Camilla Alabaster sat in the small, historic theatre and listened as an older woman read one of her father’s pieces out loud. Her velvet voice carried Agustin’s words to her, causing Mabel’s throat to swell. She knew the piece by heart, could still hear her father’s voice as he had read it out loud to her for the first time. In the dim lighting of the theatre, Mabel’s sorrow overwhelmed her as she shed tears for the father she had lost.
This particular piece was about loving a woman enough to make her your family, how a good woman’s love can change any man’s heart. It was one of her favourite pieces and Mabel had always wondered if her father had written it for her mother. She had never truly known her mother since she had been too young when she had passed away. But after losing her father, she found herself longing for the woman, longing to know her and why her father had chosen her to have a family with.
Tears freely ran over her cheeks as Mabel listened to her father’s poetry. She cried for him and for the mother she never knew. They were completely alone now, she thought with grief. The rest of the Alabasters had abandoned them… Blaise was all she had left. Touching her mouth to stop a sob from escaping her lips, Mabel drenched herself in her sorrow.
Her soft crying ceased the moment someone placed a hand on her shoulder. Not caring to wipe her tears away, she glanced at the man behind her. There was only about a dozen people in the theatre and behind her sat her brother’s oldest friend. His name was Daniel Waymont, but they had always called him Bear. When Daniel and Blaise had been mere boys, a bear had stormed Blaise. Daniel had daringly jumped in between the animal and his friend, taking the onslaught on Blaise’s behalf. The bear’s attack had almost killed him and left him today with scars and marks all over his body. Just above the collar of his shirt, four lines crept out where the bear’s claw had caught him over his neck and upper chest.
Staring at him through tears, Mabel shrugged his hand off her shoulder.
“Leave me alone,” she said and looked back at the woman on the stage.
“You are too far from Alabaster grounds…” Bear murmured to the back of her head. “You are not safe here.”
“Leave me alone…” she pleaded.
Bear did not touch her again and neither did he say anything, but he stayed. She knew he would not leave her behind in the theatre and he would follow her for the rest of the night. No matter where she went, he would often follow close behind. Clutching her eyes shut, she wished her brother would stop asking him to shadow her so much.
She pulled in a breath and when she opened her eyes, she stood from her seat and made her way out of the row of chairs. Once she reached the isle between the rows of seats, she peered over at the reading woman one more time. Longing to stay and listen to more of her father’s words, she turned away and left the theatre. With Bear not far behind, Mabel made her way back to the safety of Alabaster grounds.

message 7: by Mariettedr (new)

Mariettedr | 100 comments “I thought it was supposed to be a surprise?” Bear asked and played with the crystal glass in his hand.
“After the state you saw her in last night, I decided she needed some good news sooner,” Blaise said and took the empty glass out of Bear’s hand. “More brandy?”
He nodded his head and watched as the king of Upovia poured them each a drink with a hefty hand. They were in the city and drinking in the private quarters of a questionable tavern. The place was called the Burning Blink and it was not much to look at, but Blaise oddly enough found comfort in the old tavern. Accepting another glass of brandy, Bear sat back and watched as the finely dressed king settled himself in a ragged chair. His curly hair was a mess and his eyes were red from drinking all night.
“It’s getting late,” Bear observed, keeping his eyes on him.
“I think I am old enough to decide for myself when I should return home.”
“Of course,” he agreed and decided to leave it.
Bear have shared many nights like this with his friend, drinking and mostly sitting in silence. Bear was not one for words, not like the Alabasters. They were talented with their tongues, being able to charm anyone out of their boots. But Bear preferred the silence.
Taking a mouth full of his brandy, Bear thought back to the night before. He had grown up with Mabel and Blaise, and he could honestly say that he would fight ten more bears for them. The two siblings were so much alike, but also so different. They both were confidant in their ways and ruled the country in a way that the world had not seen before. But despite their power of being royalty, he was concerned about Mabel. She was only nineteen years old and her life had been a full one so far, a life of loss and hurt... But he had also learned that she was not someone he should underestimate. There was a side to her that not many people knew and it was a part of her that Bear did not necessarily like.
The rose might be beautiful, but her thorns stung like hellfire.
“I have a question,” Blaise said, breaking the silence between them. Not looking at Bear, he took a sip of his brandy and then tapped his lips with his finger.
“I’m listening.”
Swaying his brandy around in his glass, Blaise lifted his gaze towards him. “Why do you follow my sister around?”
Bear cleared his throat loudly, holding the king’s stare. “She treaded far into the city by herself. We both know it’s dangerous, considering everything… Would you rather have me leave her to protect herself?”
“Of course not,” Blaise simply agreed. “I am merely wondering…”
Annoyed, Bear took a gulp of his brandy. It was late and they had had a lot to drink. It was not the time to provoke Blaise Alabaster. He had a famous temper and Bear was not in the mood to see it slip.
“What do you wonder, Blaise?” he asked anyway.
“Do you fancy her?” he asked, daringly staring in his direction.
“I do not fancy your sister. But I do care for her safety.”
“Good,” he said. “She is not just another woman, my friend. I know we have our fun, but you won’t be having fun with her.”
“I don’t have any intentions of bedding her,” he said and held Blaise’s stare. “And I mean it.”
“I believe you,” the king said after a long silence. “Let’s finish our brandy and head home.”
They drank the last of their beverages in silence and Bear could feel his friend’s gaze curiously trailing over him from time to time. They have been the best of friends for most of their lives, but still Blaise struggled to completely trust him. Mabel was probably the only person in the world that Blaise fully trusted. But Bear was not sure if he fully agreed with his choice. Mabel was unpredictable in many ways. She was so…uncontrolled.
It was about midnight when they left the Burning Blink. Walking side by side, they made their way back to the castle in the centre of the city. Before they reached the castle, Blaise stopped in front of the statue of King Agustin Alabaster. The statue of his father had been erected in his honour a month after his death. The people of Upovia adored the statue and many left flowers at Agustin’s feet. Bear stood a few paces away and observed as Blaise stared up at his father’s face. Ultimately, Blaise reached down to open the front of his pants.
“Blaise, please don’t…” Bear pleaded to his back but the young king simply ignored him as he pissed on his father’s feet.
Closing his pants again, Blaise took a step back and pointed up at his father’s face. He spoke with a shaking, overwhelmed voice. “Fuck you for leaving me,” he uttered and stumbled away from the statue. Bear caught hold of his friend and steadied him on his feet again. He expected him to push him away, but to his surprise, Blaise reached for him and clutched both his hands down on his shoulders. The king’s amber-brown eyes were dark in the dimness of the night, but the pain in them was unmistakeable. Clutching his shoulders even harder, Blaise took in a wobbly, unstable breath.
“He left me… He fucking left me…” Blaise said with a strained voice. Bear did not have words for the loss that had taken hold of his friend’s life, so he merely nodded and listened. “He is supposed to be here, Bear… He’s supposed to protect Mabel because I am not strong enough to do so myself… I cannot protect her. I can’t…”
Bear remained silent and ultimately Blaise softened his fierce grip on his shoulders. Lowering his head, the king rested his brow on Bear’s shoulder. Giving Blaise the chance to find control over his emotions, they stood like that for a while. The minutes ticked by as his friend leaned on him for strength. Ten more bears, he thought then. He would take ten more for the friend and king that stood with him in the silence of the night.

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