News: 
Paragraphite

Royal Review [Closed] Read 888 times

Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2854
  • Don't Leave Me In This Heaven Alone.
    • View Profile
Royal Review [Closed]
« on: April 05, 2015, 05:30:09 am »
Chapter One: Fetch

It was news of a robbery in the castle at New Carthage which placed the Royal Guard, Desiree Vancour in the castle, within its walls. The crest of her position was emblazoned on the navy blue shirt she wore, but it wasn’t necessary to gain access. Having been a member of the Royal Guard for ten years, Desiree’s face was well known by anyone who would consider stopping her.

She walked along the carpeted hall and passed all the gold-trimmed portraits. Such wealth fazed her little. Familiarity caused her to take it for granted, even though it wasn’t her own wealth. There were servants, nobles, and guards moving through those halls. She overheard their whispered conversations. Many blamed the guards at the treasury door for being in league with the thief. They spoke of hearing the screams of those guards earlier that morning, and fantasized about punishments so severe, one could only wonder what sick mind dreamed of it.

When at last Desiree reached the door to the throne room, two guards stood before it to bar her entrance. The pole-arms were crossed in front of the door, and the guards did not move them at her approach. The obstinate lack of action caused Desiree to narrow her eyes as she paused in front of them. “His Majesty Philip requested my presence.”

One guard nodded. The other spoke, “We were informed, but His Majesty Philip is still speaking with Captain Trill.”

Desiree stepped back with a nod of understanding, and moved off to the side of the hall. She dared not leaned back against the stone and feign relaxation while she waited. No one wanted to upset Matthew; the common folk could speak of terrible punishment because Matthew was that mind that dreamt it up. In spite of that, the man had a public reputation as an angel, and all the appearances of it. Though he was in his forties, he looked much younger. His youthful guise was attributed to his healing magic.

It was while she dwelled on the mood of the captain that the figure of her thoughts stepped out of the room, pulling both doors open, and then pulling them closed.

Desiree stepped forward as he bowed his head in front of the shut doors, releasing a sigh. The blond hair obscured his facial expression as it fell over his face. Concern touched Desiree’s tone as she asked, “What is it, Matthew?”

He released the door handles and turned around. The pole-arms raised to let him pass, and he walked forward with a tired smile on his lips. “Just another fire to put out before it spreads,” he answered, pausing two feet in front of her. “The two guards on duty last night are to be executed. Seems I said something I shouldn’t have to them.”

Sympathy was unnecessary. Desiree was not surprised with this turn of events, a robbery rare, embarrassing and perhaps supported from within.  She nodded her understanding. “Did Mael tell you much?” He inquired.

Mael had been the figure to wake her that morning, Matthew’s second-in-command, “No, only that Philip requested me.” Matthew nodded, confirming that much was true. “What has gone missing?”

The captain shook his head, “I am not at liberty to say, it seems. Go on and see Philip. He ought to enlighten you further. I have to deal with the guards.”

She stepped aside, and he walked by her to tend to his own duties. Desiree shot the two remaining guards a look. Neither moved to replace the pole-arms to their resting place over the door, so Desiree pushed open one of the doors and walked into the throne room.

The door was pulled shut before she could turn around, so Desiree walked down the blue rug to the platform the throne sat upon. As ever, Sorrel Geminus was at the king’s right hand. She paid the advisor little mind as she took a knee before the steps up to the platform, bowing her head. “Your Majesty requested my presence?”

His shadow moved, and Desiree heard the rustling of cloth as the man leaned forward, “Yes,” he agreed, “How much do you know about what has gone missing in the treasury?”

“Little, sire,” she confessed, “I was woken to the news and I have only heard the whispers in your halls. I have heard of nothing specific.”

“That is good, I feared Matthew might have said more to you,” the comment struck Desiree as odd, paired with Matthew’s own words just moments ago, but she kept her face from showing that. “Rise.” The command was obeyed immediately, though Desiree did not lift her head to look at her liege. “Leave us, Geminus.” That was when she looked up, finding it strange that Sorrel would be dismissed.

It wasn’t questioned by the advisor, though. He merely inclined his head in a bow while moving a hand over his heart, and then walked out through one of the side entrances. Desiree’s gaze followed him until the King moved, leaning forward in his seat.

King Philip was a little older than Matthew, but had ascended the throne young. His black hair only now showed signs of graying, but his gray eyes were still young with lust for life. He released a sigh once they were given privacy, and then spoke plainly. “Desiree, something dear to me has been taken, and I am afraid if it falls into the wrong hands we may have more trouble on the horizon.”

“What is it, sire?”

“Can I trust you to a task? You are one of the few Matthew seems to trust enough to send out alone, and he has recommended you above all the others.”

Desiree could barely contain her pride as she answered, “I do well with fetch. Ask, and I will retrieve whatever you desire.”

The man chuckled at the joke he understood. Everyone in the Royal Guard was assigned an animal to wear on their official ring, and Matthew had given Desiree the dog.

“Ah, of course,” King Phillip motioned her forward, and she ascended the steps as he continued speaking, “Of all that was stolen from me, a precious scroll was among the goods lost. As you may come to see, the scroll will not open for just anyone, it is well-sealed with this symbol,” he lifted his hand, and there upon his hand was a ring Desiree had seen just once before, and not on Philip’s hand, but that of a young girl. It was a simple triangle with a line going from the tip to the bottom, and beyond, arrow-like.

Yet, even then, she had thought she knew it from somewhere else.

Philip continued talking, not allowing Desiree to dwell on that matter. “I suspect a few, all notorious thieves of whom I am certain you have heard of.  But, more than Flynn and Cane, I suspect another party is involved.” His eyes darted to the door, as if concerned one of his advisors would walk in, “I need not name who.”

Desiree understood. They had enemies to the south in the country of Solast, and the Geminus clan had family in Solast. The peace was tenuous, at best. “The scroll would not have been picked up by ignorant eyes,” he noted.

“I will find it and I will find who is responsible and bring them back for judgment,” she swore.

Philip, however, shook his head. “No, no,” he said, “Should you find those behind this, kill them quietly. I wish for no trial or jury in this matter, I wish for no others to know of this.”

Desiree did her best to hide her surprise. She knew better than to argue with an assumed injustice. If it was the command of a monarch, it was law. Morality meant little in this job. “Very well, Sire. Those who are behind this shall be silenced.”

His relief was evident. He relaxed back against his throne and smiled. “Very good.” He drew from his voluminous robes a roll of parchment. He offered it to her, and she reached out to take it. He did not release it immediately, “Should any of my guards give you trouble for steps you may need to take, show them this.” He let go then.

Desiree unraveled the scroll and skimmed it. The charter gave her greater permission to bend the laws of the land in order to accomplish her task. It was signed by both Philip and Matthew, the only ones she would have to answer to.

The scroll was rolled up. “Thank you. I shall not disappoint you.” She stepped back down to the lowest level of the throne room, “Is there anything else, Sire?”

As Philip opened his mouth to speak, he was interrupted by the sounds of falling rocks. Desiree’s gaze turned swiftly to the window, an open arch in the stone wall.  Her steps hastened towards it. Her empty hand found itself resting on the golden hilt of the sword at her hip.

“Is something the matter?” Philip asked.

Her eyes caught sight of a brunette who was not blending in as well as he usually did. With her back to Philip, he would not notice her recognition. “A noble’s child.” She lied with ease. She turned back around, checking Philip’s expression to see if he bought it. “Throwing rocks at the window,” a shrug, as she feigned ignorance of why children did anything.

It seemed Philip believed her. Desiree was not known to be a liar. Her steps brought her back to the blue cloth rug to kneel again. “I will begin now if there is no argument. I feel this may become more complicated than we’d enjoy if haste is not made.” Haste would be necessary if she was to catch the eavesdropping man now running away.

“Make haste then,” Philip encouraged, waving her away without rising to offer the traditional blessing.

“Yes, Sire.” Desiree bowed at the waist before she turned and left the throne room. No words were offered to the guards at the door as she gradually picked up her pace to a fast walk. Desiree did not stop to grab anything as she left the castle and jogged towards the surrounding town. Already, she could hear the shouts of a disturbance. 

As she drew closer to the magical gate that separated the castle and the homes of the nobles from the more common folk, she grabbed a guard’s arm. “What’s going on?”

He looked to her, startled, before recognition set in. “A suspicious man left running through the gate, Vancour. Out to New Carthage’s town, at least,” he answered, “A couple have gone after him,” irritation entered the tone of the guard, there, “despite having no leave to do so, and at this time!”

Desiree could only smile in approval. “Good,” Desiree released his arm. “At least someone followed.” A lockdown may have been ordered, and the royal staff was expected to stay within the gated area, but Desiree was quite certain the one being chased was the thief she’d spotted. Catching him would take precedence over such an order.

Desiree continued on at a walk. Her hands began to unravel the scroll once more, only to fold it so that it could fit in one of the back pocket of her pants. She hid it there and soon came to the gate.

The gate’s opening was always full of color, a translucent hue that wavered and distorted the town through it. Presently, it shimmered violet, the color that revealed it was open to all. ‘No, it couldn’t be closed, could it?’ The colors shifted to signal whether or not the gate was open, and to whom it was open.

Desiree walked on through it. She felt nothing, although many commented on the tingling of their skin as they left through the gate. It did not take her long once she was on the other side to discern the direction she needed to take. There was a fire. That only meant one thing.

‘Ariel.’

The pyromancer of the guard was a pain to deal with. She tried not to dwell as she followed the evidence, smoking grass leading her to where the pyro stood, threatening a mere child. One of the local guards stood with the black-haired Royal Guard. “Hail, Ariel!”

The shout startled him. He turned around, dark blue eyes set in a glare. Desiree kept his gaze as she walked forward, not detoured by the implied threat. “I’m afraid the boy isn’t who you’re looking for, Ariel. Run along, lad.” Though she addressed the boy, she did not look at him.

Peripheral vision saw him run off. Desiree made note of the direction as Ariel spoke. “He likes Cane.”

Cane was the bane of the Royal Guard, a legendary thief and a local hero. Cane was the man Desiree had seen. Ariel hated him, something about a card game last Desiree paid attention. Ariel hated a lot of people. “And?”

“He might have seen him off.”

‘Your logic is infallible.’ It was impossible to hide the smirk. “So, you lost Cane’s actual trail. Typical.” The air heated up around her. Ariel’s temper put hers to shame, and she was the red-head. “You can return, I’ll handle things from here. I do have the king’s permission to leave the city.”

Ariel eyes widened, “Since when?”

Desiree drew forth the pocketed charter and offered it to Ariel. The pyro stepped forward and snatched the paper out of her hands. Desiree watched his eyes read through it once, before jumping back to the top and going through it again. He thrust it back into her hands, nearly crushing it. “Seems the king trusts me to stay near him.”

Desiree smiled as Ariel tried to appear superior, motioning to the lesser guard to follow. She calmly folded up the piece of paper. There was no point in arguing with Ariel. The charter was returned to her pocket before she lifted her eyes back to the world around her, and followed the path she’d seen the boy take. 


Krystal Itzume

  • Caesar
  • Posts: 2854
  • Don't Leave Me In This Heaven Alone.
    • View Profile
Re: Royal Review [Closed]
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2015, 05:31:09 am »
The boy hadn’t gone far. Desiree guessed he wanted to eavesdrop. He flinched at her approach, and Desiree held both of her hands up in a gesture of surrender, “I’m not here to hurt you,” Desiree said, “I just want to know why Ariel was harassing you.”

The boy repeated Ariel’s reasoning, “’Cause I like Cane.”

“A lot of people like Cane,” Desiree wasn’t one of them. She crouched down to be at eye-level with the lad. “They were chasing Cane, weren’t they?” The way his gaze lowered said enough. “And you distracted them?”

“Maybe a little,” he admitted. His cheeks heated as he looked up and spoke up, “But Cane’s not so bad, honest! He shared pie with me once!”

‘Pie he probably stole.’ Desiree didn’t say as much. She smiled instead, said, “I know he’s not, and I need to find him to clear his name of suspicion in another theft. You’ve heard of the robbery in the kingdom, haven’t you?” The boy nodded. “I don’t think he did it. So if you tell me where he went, I might be able to help him out.”

The boy hesitated, eyes moving to the guard’s crest on her shirt, before speaking slowly, “Well…um…I, I don’t really know where he went,” he glance off to the side; Desiree didn’t follow his gaze. “but I don’t think he’s in the city anymore. He might be off to, um, Tyre.”

‘Please tell me His Majesty has road blocks set up on the main road by now.’ Tyre was close if one took the main road. Desiree could hope that His Majesty had the forethought to do as much, but it might have slipped his mind.

The boy asked, “You really don’t think he did it?” sounding oh-so hopeful. Desiree could only shake her head in response. “He probably could, though.”

“He’s not that good,” Desiree would never sell the security of New Carthage short, even if she did believe Cane was responsible. “Thank you for your help,” she said as she stood up and started to walk off from the boy. She didn’t quite believe the kid about Cane not being in town any longer, nor even his goal. All the same, she’d pretend long enough. She had a feeling Cane had been near. The boy’s glance had seemed urgent.

All the same, Cane wouldn’t remain in the town, and she doubted he’d take any of the main roads. Desiree would go towards Huron. ‘Where there’s Cane, there’s Buck.’ The horse that her partner, Dominick, had once bought from the thief and then lost.

Desiree walked on to the non-magical gate that encircled the town of New Carthage, and found Reginald there. He was no Royal Guard, but his seniority in the local guard commanded respect. The difference in their crest was evident, with Reginald’s being a simple ‘NC’ in gold on his chest plate. “Hail Vancour,” he greeted her, “What brings you out of the castle?”

“You didn’t hear Ariel?” Reginald rolled his eyes.

“That ass? Like I expect much of importance goes on when he’s in town. He only comes here when he gets a day off,” Reginald shook his head, then remembered himself. Were he speaking of any other guard in that tone, Desiree would have called him on it. Ariel was an exception. “That is, I’m—”

Desiree waved a dismissive hand, cutting him off. “Ariel was assaulting a child.” She spoke quite seriously, an accusation implied, “I thought you watched over things better.” Not that Reginald could do much against Ariel. Reginald wasn’t a Royal Guard, and so he was technically lower on the hierarchy. All of the Royal Guards had authority over all other guards, and Matthew over all the Royal Guards.

Even if Reginald had the authority, he didn’t have the power. Reginald would have made it into the Royal Guard if he had that—magic. Magic made the Guard, and magic made the nobility. It was the way to power and authority in New Carthage.

Reginald did at least have the decency to look surprised at the news of what Ariel was doing. “Never mind though, I need to leave.” Desiree stated and stepped forward.

“Ah, I’m not supposed to let anyone go, even if it is on a day off, or....” Once again, Desiree produced the paper with the King’s orders. All it took was seeing the king’s seal for Reginald to nod and motioned her forward. “You’re going alone like that?”

Desiree knew it was odd for her to be without her partner, without her horse, and without armor, but time was her greater concern at the moment. “His Majesty has seen fit to trust me with this task, alone. I don’t imagine Our Majesty wishes to deprive himself of excellent guards like Ariel.”  Let Ariel imagine that was why he stuck around.

“Ariel could do with some time away.” Reginald muttered and shook his head. “Take care of yourself then, girl—Vancour.” Reginald was older than guards ought to be, and often forgot himself in conversation. Desiree shrugged it off, though she had felt her fingers longing to clench into a fist at the comment, how it casually suggested she wasn’t taken seriously.

Desiree didn’t stay on the road for long, but cut into the forest almost as soon as she could. A few stone throws later, and the sound of an agitated horse reached her ears. “Easy there,” she cooed as she walked into sight of the horse. As expected, Cane had left Buck in Huron. ‘Perfect.’

The horse did not seem appeased by her words, though it was familiar to her. More than that was the familiar pack she’d gone through once before, when trying in vain to find something missing. “Remember me?” She approached the horse despite how finicky it was, intending to test how tight it was tied up. She wouldn’t be having the horse escape.

It pulled on its binds, and just as it got loose, Desiree snatched them into her hand and pulled the horse’s head down. It snorted and tried to back away, but she held the reins tight and looked it right in the eyes, not giving it any room to so much as turn its head, let alone rise up and kick her. “No.” The calm command seemed to kill some of the horse’s desire to struggle, and Desiree tied it back to the tree Cane left it at, this time with a knot it wouldn’t be able to simply pull out of.

With that done, Desiree walked to the pack on the horses back. She was certain to steer clear of going right behind the horse. She didn’t doubt that it would kick her if given the chance.

Once again, she dug through the pack. She was rewarded with rope. Despite knowing that Cane seemed capable of escaping bonds, she deluded herself with the thought that this time, he wouldn’t be able to. She closed the pack and then decided to wait out of immediate sight for Cane to come back for the horse and equipment he’d left behind. She didn’t doubt his ability to get by Reginald, if he even bothered with the proper exit.

After some time of waiting, Desiree heard a cowbell. Desiree discerned the direction, and stepped behind a tree that ought to put her out of sight of the one approaching.

The Master Thief himself soon came walking into the clearing, surrounded by elm trees. There was no cowbell with him that she noticed, but she didn’t care long about that. “What’s the matter with you?” Cane spoke to his horse, and Desiree took steps around, managing to keep out of his sight as he drew close to Buck.

Desiree did not plan to let Cane see that Buck was tied differently. She pulled the sword from its sheathe once she was behind Cane, and rammed the hilt into the back of his neck. He fell forward, blacked out, “Aw, handsome,” she couldn’t help but comment, “I thought you’d put up more of a fight.”