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Wish Upon A Dream [Closed] Read 7451 times

Krystal Itzume

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Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« on: September 16, 2013, 12:26:14 am »
Dear Messenger.


Those words still echoed in the mind of Lord Corwin Dimos as he stared out at the sky, night turning to day before his silver eyes. They had been written, but he knew the sound of Lord Adal all too well. He tried to travel South at least once a year. He was not a favorite, but connections were important to maintain. Right now, they had guaranteed his wife and child safe travel away from Celdwyne.

Everything was going to go up in smoke today.

Staring at the King’s Tower, he could still recall the crows he had seen there.
‘One for sorrow.’ He had seen more than one, of course. ‘Two for mirth. Three for wealth, four for health. Five for a birth, six for death.. Seven for a secret never to be told. Eight for a wish, nine for bliss, and ten for a surprise you should not miss.’ Upon that tower had sat six birds.

It was not that number that bothered him. Truth be told, it was what Corwin hoped for. What bothered him was the number of dead crows he had seen in his dream, all in the snow around the dark figure in fur, with dark holes where his eyes should have been. Corwin was almost positive that dream-figure had seen him.


I have seen the waking dreams across the wastes.

Neither he, nor Aristos, dared name them.

Yet the name was on the tip of his tongue, something he had certainly come across before. He had dreamt of this figure before, but never with all those dead crows. Replaying it in his mind, he knew there were seven. Seven birds, seven treasures, and two already were found. He had sent his newest thief out to locate another.
‘I am not ready for this.’

Today was the day of his friend’s anointing. Today was the last day he would see his friend. His friend knew not the troubles out in the world, though Corwin knew he should warn his friend that the Black Star was not the only fairy tale come true. He should tell him of the Old Ways that his friend’s family denied, but there wasn’t time.

A knock at the door.


‘No time at all.’
And he had spoken to Elwyn. Fin had an ally who would know all of this, perhaps more. “Enter.”

The door opened. Corwin turned away from the window, wind blowing his nearly white hair across his face, obscuring the sight of Tristan.
“Lord Dimos, it is nearly time. You are expected with Alastor.”

“Is my father up so early?”
He asked, turning around. He knew Alastor was. “I’ll get ready. Thank you for alerting me, Tristan.” Today was the day. He’d know soon if he was going with Plan A or Plan B.

He really preferred Plan A.

~***~

“Do you know why I’m a Red Cloak, Elly?”


Kallista Adal could barely sleep after the realization that she’d nearly confessed something that might send the kingdom to civil war. Her brother was not a man to take such offenses lightly, nor her father. She had left abruptly and locked herself in her room.

Now, she stood in the clearing just outside of Celdwyne, the perfect circle. She had snuck out through her window, and managed to escape by the so-called ‘gate guards’. They weren’t paying much attention anyway. Despite heightened security due to the presence of many outside nobles, the jovial spirits had affected them. They spent their day awake and regretted it during night duty.

For some time, she had merely sat, leaning against a tree, and stared up at the night sky. She wasn’t sure for how long, but her head finally cleared, a dull ache all that remained. The orange-haired woman eventually rose and began to spar against phantoms of her own imagination. This location was usually used for spars, though her partner was typically the pyro Winters.

He had been there, too. Kallista shut her turquoise eyes against the memory of the two in the bar. She’d left them both, rather abruptly. Perhaps she should be more surprised her brother didn’t come to break down the barracks, but she imagined he was too surprised to consider it.
‘How am I going to explain this?’ Eyes opened, sword lopped off the head of an imaginary, specific foe.

Kallista followed her imagination, seeing with her mind’s eye the head of the dark-haired and dark-eyed king. A sigh escaped her and she returned the sword to its sheathe.
‘Can’t be doing this right now.’ And she had a joust this day, as well. She didn’t want to participate, but doubted she could feign sickness.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 08:56:02 am »
The parchment in front of him remained blank; just as it had done for the past hour. Prince Fin Madison, supposed bastard had been attempting to write a letter, explaining everything to his ill mother, Beatrice. It wasn’t that he hadn’t told her everything already, but he knew that she wouldn’t remember and he doubted that she would understand regardless.

That blank piece of paper, of course represented more than a story he had only spoken to a rare few people, but also of his fate over the next couple of hours. He wasn’t much concerned with his supposed fate after those few hours; he had the coronation to deal with first.

Forest green eyes shut tight as the young Prince sighed. By any regular rules, he should have been anointed as next in line to the throne three years ago, when he had turned eighteen. However, his father Leo had other plans for him. It was only yesterday that Leo had summoned Fin to see him alone, making the threat laced ‘request’ which still haunted Fin’s decision.

“When it comes to the ceremony tomorrow, you are to abdicate” Had come the harshly spoken words. There had been other words of course which followed the instruction, but those were the words which Fin did not wish to think too much on.

His mind was already ticking everything over, weighing up the pros and cons of every action. After a brief pep talk from his good friend Corwin, Fin’s mind remained ill at ease. No words could possibly soothe and this was a decision he had to make on his own.

He stared at the bed in the middle of the room, his bed which was hiding the already packed bundle of clothes and a few other things too; gifts from Corwin, among them, the Black Star. If Corwin was right, then if Fin did indeed accept the honour of becoming the heir to the throne, before his younger brother Connor, he would have to leave tonight. His life was in danger, many other people too.

Leo believed Fin to be a bastard, the production of his mother’s adultery, and though it could not be proven, it was almost as though a black mark had been placed against Fin’s very name from the moment he had been brought into the world.

Which was why his coronation had been left so late. Connor had to have been of age to accept what Leo believed was his rightful place as heir. Now that Connor was eighteen, it was time for Fin to ‘abdicate’ and it was time for Connor to rise on high as the King’s true heir.
Not a bastard.

Fin let out a deep sigh, dropping the raven’s feather quill back into the ink pot before leaning back and scooping up handfuls of long, straight, ebony hair, binding it back quickly with some ribbon or other.

He was already dressed for the ceremony, his heart already beating hard in his chest as the door to his chambers was opened and he was escorted to the square, before the great arched spires of the Church of the Essence.

'I have to do this’ he reminded himself.

He had to remember Corwin’s words to him “It is your choice friend, but how would you feel about your brother being a King?”

Fin shuddered at the thought. His brother was not a good man. Connor was slovenly, greedy and often pig-like in his mannerisms and in his attitude towards food. Connor had no manners, no real decorum about him. He had no love for anything but food, wine and ‘entertainment’. Fin had heard about the way Connor spoke to others in private and the way he treat those who were to considered their guests. No. He did not want for such a man as his brother to be on the throne, not when it was his rightful place.

Leo’s belief that he was a bastard couldn’t be proved, and what was that claim based on; the simple fact that Fin did not possess Leo’s or Connor’s dark eyes or that he didn’t possess their curly hair or portly builds?

This was not a time to think on such things. This was his right. He was the first born, and he would claim what belonged to his, regardless of the cost he knew would come. He would pay a price for his rebellion against Leo’s wishes, and as he looked up and saw his frail mother sat at the front, he knew with a great sadness that Leo’s bloodshed and vengeance against him would begin with her.

He took a deep breath, and began to walk to his rightful place within the square, stopping inches from where he was meant to stop.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 12:17:31 pm »
Corwin was dressed soon, and he left with Tristan. He had no plan of being late, but one detour was necessary. Already outside the Church to the Essence (and in this case, in particular respect to the celestial King Augustine Madison, the first deified monarch) was a huge gathering of people, common and noble, waiting. Corwin walked around it, moved into an alley, and soon came to a place in the northwest corner. He glared up at the roof where he could hear the caws of those black birds he was familiar with.

“On a roof.”


He was both upset and impressed with the foresight of Leo. Not that such a position would stop him.
“Find me a way up there.”

Tristan just arched an eyebrow,
“You don’t want me to use magic?”

“Too noticeable. Boxes,”
He decided and began to move the boxes in the alley to make a set of stairs. It wasn’t quite high enough, but Tristan was useful as a boost at the last, and Corwin found himself on the roof with the cages of the birds. No one was up here yet, but they would be soon. He walked to one of those cages and knelt before it. It was of a design he could easily jam, and so he went about that job.

This was one of William’s many efforts to ensure Fin wouldn’t be crowned—bad omens. The others were in the crowd, but Corwin was already prepared to deal with that. His own would be present, as well. He had pretended to be in charge of staging the event on Leo’s behalf with two of those nobles. The other, he had been a bit more honest with.

One didn’t lie to an Adal if it could be avoided. They had far too short of tempers, and no sense of humor.


“Ahem.”


‘Speak of the devil.’


Red Cloak, the King's fist. Kallista Adal. She wore the formal guard attire, though by her position here it was evident she would not be seen at the event. Corwin jammed the last cage and rose to stand on the roof. He smiled,
“I wouldn’t want these birds escaping during the ceremony.”

Obviously, that was their purpose.
“I should report this.”

“And then you’ll have Connor for king,” Corwin stated. “You don’t want that.”

“I’m not sure it makes any difference. He is a Madison.”
Nicer, perhaps, but was Leo not well-loved once?

“Fin might not be a Madison,” Corwin reminded. “I could report you for such treasonous words, though. I’m sure Leo would be inclined to believe me over you.”

‘Touché.’
Kallista sighed, “Go.” She pointed off the roof as she shut the door behind her. He hadn’t planned to leave through the door, of course.

“As you wish,”
he gave a little bow, then turned towards the edge and jumped off.

It hurt his feet, and his legs buckled under him, sending him to all fours. His hands scraped. Knees were stained by the ground as he rose, shook the rocks off his hands. Tristan destroyed his stairs, and came to his side.
“You need to change.”

“No time. Blame it on a thug,”
he muttered, walking on. Easy enough to believe. There were lots of people in town, including plenty of unsavory sorts. “Kallista’s on guard duty.” Tristan didn’t seem to care, though he raised an eyebrow at Corwin’s interest. “I can’t imagine Leo will be kind when his plans fall through.” Corwin was starting to piece together the situation. Perhaps today would be the day of the last straw.

When Corwin arrived to the scene, he saw he was ‘late’ by the standards of Alastor and Leo. He approached them, on the stage to the right. The royals of Sterope were to the left.
“Where were you?” Alastor demanded.

“My apologies,”
Corwin ignored Alastor, looking instead to the royal family, sans Fin, “There are a few unsavory in town who thought to rob a noble with only one guard.” Leo nodded, accepting the excuse.

Alastor showed no concern for his son’s state, but motioned instead for Corwin to take his place at his side. Corwin did just that, as the leader of the Church of the Essence finally stepped out on to the platform. Two pages followed him, carrying a chest between them that would hold the items Fin was to be presented with, one by one. A golden bowl rested atop that chest, full of the anointing oil. There was a second batch of it prepared, supposedly for Connor, but the Pontifex Maximus didn’t see how it would go that way.

He looked out at the audience and saw the Southerner, Lord Elwyn, had not brought his Shuck. The Pontifex was visibly relieved that the black dog was not there. It was an ill enough omen to see it in the church earlier when the heathen dared enter.
“Today, with good auspicious and the blessings of the gods, who work tirelessly to see that our great nation stands strong in the face of all opposition, we are gathered to welcome into the royal family, His Grace Fin Madison, first born of Leo and Beatrice Madison,” Leo visibly blanched, “Who today shall be brought forth and tried under the eyes of the gods. If all are in agreement, then we shall have our next king.” There was an uproar of cheering that was quickly quieted. “If anyone has words to say now, step forward.”

None, of course, did. Corwin had taken care of the one who would supposedly claim Fin as his child. His body would be found later. Corwin considered blaming him for the attempted robbery, now that he thought of it.

The cleric bowed his head.
“Then I ask that His Grace Fin Madison come forward.”

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 07:08:31 pm »
The words of the cleric cut through the room like shards of broken glass. Fin was certain that every word struck a phantom wound in his body, piercing him as his heart-rate spiked.

His steps were silent and practiced as he walked up to the centre of the stage, moving up the stairs with an easy grace that neither his father or his brother seemed to possess; just another reason Leo didn’t believe that Fin was truly his son.

He knelt before the cleric, his head bowed at first for a long period of time, before it rose; eyes straight forward, not looking into those of the cleric. Corwin had given him plenty of books to read on the subject of coronation; since he hadn’t been taught at Leo’s request (His father had always wanted him to abdicate, thus declining to teach him the necessary practiced ways of this ceremony).

He remained silent, knowing only to speak when he was spoken to and steeling himself against the nerves which wracked his body, threatening to cause him to shake and stutter.

~

Nathanial Winters knew that he wasn’t supposed to be here to witness this, however, he had been invited (more or less) by Lord Adal; Elwyn that was, Kallista’s brother. They had managed to forge some sort of friendship at the tavern last night, solely based on their mutual love and concern for Kallista. It had been Nate who had convinced Elwyn not to follow Kallista after her words had fallen from her drunken lips last night. It had been Nate who had suggested that Elwyn find, and speak to Fin about what was going on with her.

But of course, Fin hadn’t known. No one knew but Kallista until she found it within herself to speak the words she had found herself unable to say; even after her tongue had been loosened by Everclear shots.

~

Queen Beatrice smiled as her first born son approached the stage. He looked so handsome, knelt before the cleric in his ceremonial robes, so confident in his steps and in the known ritual. He reminded her often, in the way that he spoke and the way that he looked of the way her husband had once been. The same softly spoken, thought out way his words flowed were reminiscent of the man Leo had once been.

It made her proud to see Fin ready to speak the words; to make the pact with the Essence to rule; and rule well. He would make a fine King, this she knew.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 12:37:50 pm »
Corwin was no where near as nervous as Fin, but he was nervous all the same. There was nothing he could do at this point, but wait. He would pray, but praying to ‘Death’ didn’t seem appropriate at this time. ‘There are other gods.’ And so, quietly, he turned his gaze and bowed his head. ‘Orestius.’ Justice had been absent for too long here.


The Pontifex knew not that before the church of the Essence, one god of the Old Ways was being invoked by one of the great houses. He did not turn his attention to either Sterope or Cyrone’s royals or nobles. He instead waited for Fin to rise from his kneeling position. The young prince knew to show respect to the clergy, at least.

When he rose, his eyes seemed far away, but that did not matter.
“Fin Madison, today you are here to state your intentions before the Essence and its watchers, and before the people. The Essence has favored you with birth into the Royal Madison family, to stand above other men and to guide them. Do you accept this birthright?” Before anything could proceed, it had to be asked. Then he could be tried and judged as to whether or not he was suitable. 

Alastor glanced out into the ground, and to his growing annoyance, saw none of his agents there. They were running horribly late.
‘He will abdicate. Leo has told him what awaits if he does not.’ Still, Alastor wanted all things to be set in case he did not abdicate the throne. It wouldn’t look good to Leo if he couldn’t do that.

And Leo did look worried, dark eyes watching Fin’s every movement. It was probably the most attention he had ever paid the bastard. He didn’t even want to blink, lest Fin do something to undermine him in those precious moments.
‘Step down, boy.’


Elwyn knew not to say a word, at least, not yet. Coronations were a dull, tedious affair.
‘So glad we don’t do this in the South.’ Of course, they didn’t have kings in the south, but he had heard even noble heirs were anointed in the north. He kept glancing around to try and see Kallista, but she wasn’t here. Other Red Cloaks were, but not her. He didn’t understand it. He was still paranoid about the events of last night.

His eyes turned back to Fin, giving up the search, at least for a minute.
‘I don’t envy you.’ He wouldn’t trade places with the prince. This pressure was not something he desired, but if anyone should hold it, he imagined it should be Fin. He had not been impressed with Connor, at all.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 07:54:10 pm »
The clergy asked the given question to him and Fin finally brought up the courage within himself to look the man in the eye.

This was it, the big decision which was still weighing heavily in his mind. Every consequence and burden running through his mind hundreds of seconds at a time, and on a constant loop.

He knew what would happen if he accepted. He knew all too well. He understood the threat Leo had made. He understood everything that he would lose. He understood everything that Corwin and his mother, and everyone else would lose too.

He also knew what would happen if he didn’t accept. Understood the tyranny thinly veiled behind Connor’s gross demeanour.

“I accept my duties to my people and accept my birth right.” He replied calmly. Fin was anything but calm and the instant that the words came from his mouth, he was sure he heard a collective gasp of the watching crowd.

He didn’t truly know if it was a gasp of disbelief or a sigh of relief and he wasn’t sure he wanted to know. He didn’t dare to cast a glance in Leo’s direction, knowing that the current monarch would be furious with this decision.

Fin just had to remember everything Corwin had taught him. Every right answer to every directed question.

He had to remember that. And he had to pray that his blonde friend truely had done everything within his power to ensure that this ran as smoothly as it could do.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 08:01:57 pm »
Corwin did not smile, knowing it would be too dangerous to risk showing joy. He saw Leo’s knuckles turn white as he balled his hand into a fist. Alastor went white. Plan A it was.

The cleric went on as if nothing odd had occurred. He stepped away from Fin and motioned to the chest. The pages opened it quickly, showing the three items. Fin would be rewarded one item for each of the trials he passed, before finally being anointed. The first of those items was the cloak, resplendently beautiful in a royal purple and silver. The pages lifted it out of the chest and brought it over to the cleric.
“Before the Essence and the People, Fin Madison will accept the weight of responsibility. We pray that he has the courage to not flounder under this weight.” The cleric took the robe up.

There was never an invitation for questions. It was supposed to be a surprise that anyone would question it, though everyone knew it was staged.

Alastor’s man was nowhere to be seen. Instead, it was the noble Lord Bael, who cleared his throat and spoke up before the cloak could be placed over the shoulders of Fin.
“Pray we must,” he interrupted, and the cleric ‘acted’ surprised, lowering the cloak and looking to the speaker. “But we must consider what acts of courage His Grace Fin has performed before now. Tell us, Fin,” and there was a friendly smile for the prince there, “what have you done to prove yourself courageous?”

Any little thing that required courage was technically allowable. Alastor looked livid, and Corwin pretended to know nothing, though he knew that wouldn’t last. Alastor knew his friends and acquaintances. Lord Bael was certainly one of those. If Alastor’s man had approached, the questions would have been more pointed, more demanding, and far from the typical ‘script’.

Leo was glaring at his right-hand man. Alastor wished he could vanish into his seat.


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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 08:10:08 pm »
Fin knew the questions would come, but he still found that he felt somewhat unprepared for them. He turned slightly left, towards the speaker. It was bad manners to turn completely from the cleric and it was bad manners not to address those who spoke to him. So he did neither, his steps turning him to the side, his head alone turning to see Lord Bael.

There were only two ways to answer the question and he knew it would make him look weak if he answered that he simply had the courage to accept his birth right against all the odds. No, he could not reveal that.

“Lord Bael.” He replied “And my people.” He began. “Only yesterday, I found an instance of such courage which I pray will show I am worthy of the weight of this cloak. I faced a noble and brave Knight in the joust, with little hope of defeating such a well taught, well-disciplined man. It is with this same courage that I will lead you, should I be considered worthy to be your King.”

He waited on tenterhooks for the response. All had been silent as he spoke, and all remained silent after his response. He turned his head back to the side, steadying his breathing as he found the panic and anxiety begin to build in his chest again.

He could not have a panic attack now. He had to stay strong.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 08:12:02 pm »
The second part, of course, was the acceptance of the answer. Lord Bael allowed a slight chuckle to escape, “That was indeed courageous. Lord Matherson has quite the reputation,” he noted, and nodded, “He has proven courageous to me.”

And there was applause that showed a general agreement. With that applause, the cloak was placed over Fin’s shoulders.
“He has shown he is courageous enough to be king, by the people and the Essence.” For no ill signs were showing up in the sky, which the cleric kept glancing to. No sign meant consent.

The next item was the golden scepter, an image once attributed with the great mages of lore.
“But as we all know, reckless courage does little good. Courage must be aided by wisdom.” He showed the scepter to the crowd. “Before the Essence and the People, Fin Madison will lead courageously, but with wisdom ever as his guide in all things. We pray that he has the wisdom that he may not lead Cyrone into unnecessary danger,” and of course, the scepter was offered out to Fin.

Before Fin could accept there was another interruption, this time an older woman with graying hair. Lady Tryst.
“He has shown us courage, I agree,” Lady Tryst spoke, “Though it seemed reckless to engage that knight, my prince. Tell us of your wisdom, Your Grace.” She lifted her head to see his expression, as the scepter was pulled away. 

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 08:19:04 pm »
The cloak was indeed heavy and it felt somewhat burdened with imagined responsibilities which were likely to become very real once this was all over.

He didn’t flinch under the use of the word reckless. It probably had been reckless considering Reginald’s considerable reputation, but stranger things than Fin winning that joust on his own merits had happened recently; such as Kallista losing her joust to his incapable brother. Connor couldn’t even manage to dress himself, let alone beat the Shield Maiden in a fair fight.

His thoughts had drifted, he realised as he was offered the golden sceptre. The same steps to face Lady Tryst were taken as the ones he had taken in order to face Lord Bael. “Lady Tryst. My people.” He breathed evenly “To prove I am worthy to lead with courage and wisdom, I will share with you a little known fact. I have spent much of my spare time studying the tombs in the old library, the scrolls in the tower and many of the maps of the realm. I have learned from them, and shall strive to use that knowledge as a worthy King. I have not only learned the things passed down through my family, through generation to generation of Kings and Lords, but also of things passed down through the lineage of other families, through other Lords and Kings.”

It was all he could think of, again, feeling unprepared for the questions, as though he hadn’t rehearsed this a hundred times with Corwin looking over his shoulder.

Again came that moment of silence as the answer he had given was weighed against a feather.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 08:22:31 pm »
A wry smile crossed Lady Tryst’s lips at the answer, “Books and stories can make one wise, Your Grace,” she consented, “Or also cunning,” and there she cast a look towards the two Dimos. Alastor glared, though Corwin had the grace to flush under the accusation. “Let us hope you have the former, we’ve enough cunning folk in Cyrone.” And there she tilted her head up, just a little. She was one of those cunning folk herself. “I declare him wise, at least wise enough,” she allowed the latter to slip as applause nearly drowned it out.

The scepter was then handed to Fin.
“He has shown wisdom enough to be king, before the Essence and the people.”

Again, the cleric turned away, this time to accept the heavily-jeweled crown from the page.

Corwin shifted at the sight of the crown. The dream flashed before his eyes and he had to look away. He didn’t want to think of that. Not now, not here.
‘Please don’t be premonition.’ That would just be horrible. He didn’t think he was doing something like that in ensuring Fin was made heir apparent, though.

“Wisdom and courage can guide a good many men to do great,”
the cleric said as he turned back with the crown. Fin would not be asked to kneel, but it was expected. “Before the Essence and the People, Fin Madison will lead with courage and wisdom. We pray that he does not forget for whom he leads, and does not let his ego get the best of him.” The crown was lifted to be placed upon his head.

And was stopped short.

Elwyn Adal stepped forward, voice loud,
“Your Grace.” There was no need to walk forward, but he did, the crowd moving aside for the Southerner as he drew nearer to the stage. He had chatted with Fin more than he expected. He already knew the man was not half as arrogant as he expected the prince to be. It was easy to consent to Corwin’s request, but that did not mean he would be easy to impress.

Showing humility to one who was noble was quite different than being humble.
“You have been born into prestige. You have received an education many would envy. Your talents and your position set you higher than most in Cyrone.” There was no smile. His question was not according to script. “Are you worthy?” Humility dictated letting go of the ego. This question was certainly not an easy one to do that with.

He felt Corwin’s shocked gaze on him, and noticed the way Alastor sat up, but he ignored the vipers. His focus was solely on Fin.


~***~

Elsewhere, one of Leo’s men had escaped the scene to go to the roof with the birds. One of his men was already there, waiting for the sign. Kallista didn’t speak to him. She waited at the corner of the roof.


“Thomas, you need to release the birds!”
The one from below shouted.

Thomas rose and walked to the edge of the roof.
“Eh? Now?”

“Yeah.”
The one below nodded.

Thomas grumbled but went about the task. Except, he couldn’t open the cage. He struggled with it, but found the door wouldn’t open.
“Hurry up!”

“The door’s not opening!”
Thomas complained.

Kallista smiled.



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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 08:53:35 pm »
Humility.

It was a difficult thing to attempt to prove to anyone. It wasn’t enough that Fin had always been told he didn’t deserve this role. That he was a bastard. That it wasn’t truly his right to rule as King after Leo was gone to the Essence. He certainly couldn’t admit that he didn’t know if he *was* worthy to rule. He certainly couldn’t speak aloud his doubts that he didn’t know if he would be any better a ruler than his father or grandfather had been.

His eyes pinned Elwyn, the man who he had spoken to of the problem he faced today. He was sure he had told the man from the South enough for Elwyn to know that he had made one of the toughest decisions in his life this day. Elwyn knew that Leo didn’t want Fin on the throne; knew that the King thought him an illegitimate heir.

“Lord Adal, my people. Humility is something I do not know I can truly claim to own. One must earn such a thing in time, must they not? The question of whether I am worthy to act as a King to you all must be on all of your lips. But that is not my decision to make. It is yours. I can only prove my worth through you, through the things that I can do for you once my place is taken. Though I cannot and will not make promises to any of you, I will strive to do what I can. Until the point I have proved myself worthy, I can only request that you Lord Elwyn, you my people and even that the Essence trust me. I will prove that I am worthy of humility, that I am worthy to be your King, and perhaps one day, I will no longer have to prove such worth.”

And he could only hope that this answer was acceptable. It certainly wasn’t rehearsed or scripted.

"Do you believe I can be trusted to prove my worth Lord Adal?"

It was not the done thing, to question those who questioned him, but he couldn't help asking.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 09:00:54 pm »
Elwyn gave no hint of what he might say as Fin spoke. He listened. Technically, he had ‘passed’ by claiming he could not claim humility. He would not decide if he was worthy, it was left to the people, to be proven throughout his life. It was a lifelong endeavor, indeed.

A question was thrown back at him. Elwyn weighed his answer carefully in the silence that followed the unprecedented move.
“I hesitate to say either,” Elwyn confessed. “You have not lied to me in our interactions, but you hesitate to make promises or trust yourself. You are untried, but I do believe that under pressure, you will prove to be a Madison worthy of the title King.” He took a knee, but his head did not bow. “I trust you are worthy, my liege, and I know already you understand something of humility…for this ridiculous questioning bit.”

There was some laughter at his conclusion, whispered agreement, and applause. The cleric shot Elwyn a dirty look as he stood.
‘Profaning this holy ceremony.’ The cleric was annoyed with the southerner. Going off script, too. So frustrating.

The cleric cleared his throat.
“Fin Madison has passed all three tests. He is courageous, wise, and humble.” The crown was thus placed on Fin’s head. “He may take his place before you all as your future king,” a motion was made to a chair in the center, before the cleric motioned to the pages. The golden bowl was lifted.

~***~

The cage was kicked in frustration,
“Hey, Kallista.” Kallista didn’t look back or give any indication of having heard. “Open these cages.”

“Not my job.”


Thomas was bewildered by the answer.
“Not your—this is the king’s command!”

“Not to me.”
Yep, Leo was not going to be pleased with this. She could easily open the cages, but she wasn’t going to.

“He’ll have both our heads!”

“That’s a mercy,”
Kallista laughed. Thomas rose and walked over to her. His attempt to grab her arm ended in failure. Kallista instead caught his wrist and twisted it back. “If you’re afraid, I suggest you leave Cyrone while you can.” Kallista released him and pushed him away, almost off the roof. He staggered, stared at her, debated…and then ran on that advice.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 10:24:24 pm »
Fin was surprised when Elwyn answered, breaking from tradition in their retorts. He was also slightly surprised when the noble took to his knee. ‘Snow Melts’ wasn’t that the Adal’s motto? The Southern Lords were meant to be fierce and cold, but he found he quite liked the man. ‘Perhaps he is an ally after all’.

And Fin needed all the allies he could find right at that moment, the Essence only knew how many enemies he currently had; his father and brother included.

He held still as the crown was placed on top of his head, bending slightly so that the cleric could reach, before taking slow steps to sit on the throne. His heart raced inside his chest and he shot a quick look at his smiling mother. ‘What have I done?’ He thought.

It didn’t matter to him that she was ill, or that her mind and wits were slowly leaving her; she was still his mother and she had always treat him well, never seeing in him what Leo saw in him; and now he had condemned her to death. ‘Pray it be swift and painless’.

It was all he could ask for now, even as he sat, looking out at the crowd awaiting the cool anointing oils. It was all he could ask as thoughts of escape through the hidden passageways within the castle walls ran through his mind.

He imagined the route, several alternatives of the route. He didn’t want to flee, but it was necessary. It was more than necessary.

He had to live. Corwin had told him as much.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2013, 10:45:31 pm »
Fierce, cold, and honest. Corwin quite approved of the little scene. The Adal’s name had weight. If they backed Fin, people would question actions against him. Elwyn rose and stepped back to his place near Nate to watch the rest of the proceedings.

And so, as Fin sat, the priest dipped his fingers in the oil.
“With the approval the Essence, I mark Fin as next in line, and beg the Essence protect him all his life and to the day when he must take on the burden of leading.” Eyes again to the sky.

Corwin had planted nothing so far as signs. He wouldn’t dare tread on that ground, he’d merely prevent lies. If the Gods wanted to speak their piece, they would. And so they did. Corwin looked up as he saw the eyes of the cleric widening to witness an eagle above.
‘Better than a dove.’ He thought with some satisfaction.

“And so the Essence and all the watchers thus approve, and promise a good reign under Fin Madison!”
The Cleric thus placed his fingers to Fin’s forehead, and ‘drew’ the sign of the Essence upon his brow. There was grand applause when the man drew away, “Let us celebrate this fortuitous moment!” He declared.

Leo applauded with the others, because he had to. He could not appear scorned. He could not appear upset. He was livid, of course, and leaned towards Alastor,
“Were those your picks?” He demanded in a hissed whisper.

“I haven’t spoken to Elwyn, nor did I choose the others. Mine aren’t here. Someone’s tampered with things,”
Alastor whispered back, clearly agitated.

“Find who it was.” He’d have them executed for this. This was clearly an act of treason in his mind.

Alastor only nodded. He would.
“And where are those damn birds?” he muttered under his breath.

~***~

The damn birds had been left in their cages. Kallista abandoned the roof when Thomas left. There was no more threat of them being released, after all. The other man had run off earlier. Kallista could report the truth. The cages wouldn’t open.


‘And as for why I didn’t act?’
Well, she feared the wrath of the just god who kept them closed. Why tamper with the supernatural that clearly wanted Fin to be king? She doubted it would get her anywhere. Leo had no fear of the divine. He still imagined that upon his death, he’d be taken up to be a ‘watcher’ of the Essence, one of those deified spirits who kept guard over things.

Kallista knew the church would declare just that, but to her, that didn’t make things true.

She found herself within the crowd as the cleric declared Fin the next king.


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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2013, 11:18:50 pm »
Fin was sure that he held his breath as the clergy dipped his fingers in the oil, speaking the words and looking up to the sky. Surely his father had it within his power to have ensured that something would go wrong for him this day. Surely his father had marred the day with bad omens. But when nothing of the kind came to pass; when in fact the clergy announced that there had been a good omen from the essence and pressed a mark onto his forehead, Fin was sure he let out a previously with-held sigh of relief.

And the call for celebration led to applause before everyone to begin to filter out of the square in front of the church of the Essence and out towards where the jousting field and archery targets were still standing from yesterday.

Fin got to his feet last and was careful to hand back the ceremonial robe along with the sceptre and the crown one by one to the clergy and in order. When this was done, he bowed his head in thanks to the clergy and turned to leave with some of the others who remained; specifically his mother, who had no idea where she was going and why no doubt.

~

The walk from one place to another was uneventful and soon enough, Fin took his place in the Royal Box. Even though this was a celebration for him, his place remained two seats away from the prominent throne-chair of his father. Beatrice sat between them, and Connor was placed on the other side of Leo; on his right.

Connor was wilful and ungracious enough to direct a glare at Fin. He had of course known about everything. He had known that today had meant to be his coronation day. Where had it all gone wrong? How could his father have been so scorned?

~

Nate had escorted Elwyn to the jousting area after everyone had left the square. “I’m not too sure where you will sit, but that is the way to the Royal box.” He pointed in the direction of the most pompous looking marquee, before running a hand through short brown hair. “You will have to excuse me Elwyn; I am supposed to be filling in for your sister’s squire.” He smiled faintly. He wasn’t just filling in for her squire; he was filling in for many of the Knight’s squires. “Perhaps we will meet again before your return to the South.” He hoped so. He got on with Elwyn nearly as well as he felt he got on with Kallista, and in the back of his mind; as much as he loved Kalli, he didn’t want to see her in the state she had been in last night ever again. Nate found that he wanted Elwyn to convince her to return to the South with him. There was no dishonour in it.

He gave the blonde a smile and offered to shake his hand before leaving for the squire’s tent.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2013, 11:19:48 pm »
Corwin and Alastor followed the royals. Corwin knew he needed to take himself from Alastor’s presence. “I am going to watch the joust with Beltran,” Corwin said.

Alastor paused then, and so Corwin came to a stop. The royals moved on and Alastor turned to face his son,
“Admit it,” he ordered, “This was your doing to make sure your friend was anointed.”

Corwin shook his head,
“I’m as surprised as you, father. Someone else seems to have access to the whispers,” he said, “There are other noble houses who would actually benefit by spiting Leo. Perhaps our guest, His Majesty Brian? He may have heard about war and wanted to distract Leo?” Corwin offered, then gave another, “Or the Tryst family, they are vying to replace us.”

Alastor’s gaze never softened. He didn’t believe his son.
“You should investigate all possibilities.”

“Trust me,” Alastor spoke softly, “I will.” And Alastor turned away, hurrying after his liege.

Corwin gave no sign of his panic, even when Tristan approached.
“Sometimes, I consider making his fears reality, Tristan.”

“I don’t blame you,” his guard answered. “To Beltran?”

“Yes,”
Corwin sighed, and Tristan took the lead.

~***~

Kallista knew the way to the jousting arena, but she was not enthused as she should have been.
‘Going to have to lose….’ It was the only way to suggest Connor was worth anything. She wanted to throw a fit. Repressed anger threatened to come out in a scream, in hair pulling, because she couldn’t do anything about it.

At least Fin was anointed. At least, one day, several years from now, things might get better.
‘Yes, because Leo is going to let Fin live.’

Someone tapped her shoulder. She jumped, and saw Reginald there.
“May I walk with you?”

Kallista nodded. The knight Reginald Matherson came from Sterope, and was to be her opponent for the day, the personal guard of Prince Brandon.
“Why is it that Connor is not jousting today?”

“His Grace Connor is not feeling well.”

‘His Majesty knew the fight would not be fixed.’


Reginald nodded,
“And do you feel better than yesterday?” He was willing to play the game.

“I do not,” she confessed, “But knights do not get such excuses.”

“I do not wish to joust against one who isn’t at their best.”
Reginald stated. “Perhaps a substitute could be found?”

Kallista wasn’t sure what to say, was about to deny the possibility, but she saw the back of her brother and Nate, just as Nate left him to head to the squire’s area.
“There may be one.” And Kallista motioned for Reginald to follow as she approached Elwyn.


Elwyn did accept Nate’s hand to shake,
“Rest assured, I’ll see you before I leave,” he said, “May this joust go better than what I’ve heard,” he still couldn’t believe his sister lost to that fat prince. There was much he couldn’t believe, though.

As Nate left him, he felt his arm grabbed. He smiled as he saw Kallista there, was about to greet her, but she spoke first,
“Elly, I need you to joust for me.”

“Hm?”


“The Lady Adal is not feeling well, and I do not wish to joust against someone who is still under the weather, as she was yesterday,”
Reginald answered. “Are you capable?”

“I am,” he admitted, “I don’t have my armor with me, but I’m sure I can be provided for with some mixed things.” He was starting to worry about Corwin. Corwin said he would joust today, and the man was turning out right. It was eerie. “Is this allowed?” He was uncertain.

“We will make it so,”
Reginald said as Kallista released Elwyn. “Come with me,” they’d have to speak to the royals, after all.

Kallista didn’t follow, and so Reginald and Elwyn went to the royal box on their own. Brian had just arrived when the two men approached.
“Your Majesty Leo,” Reginald addressed, bowed, “And Your Grace, Fin. If it not offend your honor on this day, I request permission to joust against Lord Elwyn, who stands in for his sister.”

Leo was annoyed,
“Where is Kallista?” She needed to answer for why the birds weren’t released, anyway.

“I know not, sire. She informed me that she was under the weather,”
Elwyn answered.

“Are you even a knight?”


Elwyn straightened,
“I am a Lord.” He wasn’t knighted, of course, “As your son, Fin, I have received an education to make me fit to hold my own in a joust.”

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2013, 11:22:57 pm »
Fin gave a smile when Elwyn approached the Royal box alongside Reginald. He gave a nod of respect to the man he had narrowly defeated in the tournament yesterday.

He listened to what was being said intently. He had never known the Shield Maiden to pull out of a match, and it wasn’t the done thing for a Knight to pull out of a schedule due to sickness. Though he had no sisters of his own, he could understand Elwyn’s need to protect his sister.

“It does not offend me Lord Adal, Lord Matherson.” He regarded them each in turn. “I believe it would be a worthy tournament on this day to see such opponents meet in the joust.” He chanced a glance in his father’s direction. “It would please me to see you to take your sister’s place in this Lord Adal. Would it please you, father to watch a joust between Orea and Stereope?”

He knew baiting his father was probably not the best of things to do, but after all, Fin didn’t believe that he truly had anything more to lose. He was already going to have to run for his life this very night. His mother was already in line to be murdered because he would not refuse his right to the throne.

~

Zachary had not yet made his way out of the city, though it was the perfect time to do so for the thief.

It was true that the Lord Corwin Dimos had tasked him with the 'procurement' of another object, but after hearing whisperings in the taverns of wrong doings, he was of a mind to question whether or not his new employer would be alive to deliver on his promises of payment.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2013, 11:30:13 pm »
It did not please Leo, at all. However, to say so would be to dishonor Fin. He would normally not shirk such an opportunity, but this situation was different. He disliked Fin’s sudden boldness to ask his opinion, seeing it as the bait it was. “It would please me, though I do worry after my knight’s health,” he conceded. “When you see her, do tell her I wish for her presence as soon as she is able.”

“Of course, Sire,”
Elwyn answered, bowed, and took to the right as Reginald moved to the left for the joust.

Elwyn soon found Nate and gave him a smile,
“I’m jousting, it seems,” he said, some of his nerves showing. It had been a while since he’d jousted against anyone besides locals of Orea. “I need armor,” he could use Kallista’s horse, certainly.

~***~

In the audience, Kallista and Corwin stumbled upon Beltran at nearly the same time. Corwin arched an eyebrow.
“What are you doing here?”

“Not jousting,”
she answered the obvious.

“You are trying to upset him now, aren’t you?”


Beltran brought a hand to his face, covered it, annoyed with the two already. He let out a groan so they knew.
“How much do you wish to mock me, Corwin? I can bring you down with me.”

“I am about ready to back her,”
Beltran muttered. “If you don’t let me enjoy the violence in peace.”

Something about his statement amused Corwin.
“Fine,” he said and turned his attention to the jousting area.

Beltran let his hand fall away, and he too, looked up. However, he continued the subject,
“Corwin is right.”

“Is he ever wrong?”
It was annoying, honestly.

“He’d kill me if I mentioned times he was wrong,” Beltran smirked. “But what are you doing here?”

Kallista didn’t even know. It wasn’t preserving her honor. Perhaps it was simply spite now. As such, she shrugged. If she were truly ill, she should have walked off to the barracks and feigned illness, but she wasn’t even doing that. Leo would eventually notice her in the crowd.
‘Must be spite.’ But Kallista wasn’t even thinking of rationalizing it or looking for a reason. She hadn’t wanted to lose again. She hadn’t wanted to bow down to his authority once more when it seemed to do no good.

She was going to at least earn his ire this time around.


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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2013, 11:31:39 pm »
Nate was somewhat surprised, taken aback a little when Elwyn entered the squire’s tent. He had been expecting Kallista. Quickly he looked Elwyn over. “You can use mine.” He shrugged. They could probably make it fit Elwyn a hell of a lot better than any of the miss-matched stuff they would be able to get their hands on at such short notice; and of course Nate had armour for such an event, not that he’d ever had a chance to use it in anything but sparing with Kallista, and only then only on the rare occasion.

Mostly when she really didn’t hold back.

She had asked for him to wear armour for their friendly sparing matches more than once, but it was still relatively unused and well looked after. He wasn’t wearing said armour now and simply sent someone to retrieve it. “If you don’t mind, that is.” He had almost forgotten to ask. There was a chance that Elwyn would have preferred to use the odds and sods hanging around.

~

Fin held back the smile. It was a little victory, but it was a victory none the less and it nearly made up for the humiliation of that ridiculous ceremony he’d had to endure for the sake of tradition.

It was true, he had been brought up in the religion of the Essence, but he also knew a little of what Corwin had taught him of the old gods. Fin knew that there were not such traditions in the South. Perhaps if he ever got a chance to rule, it would be one of the changes he made. There were others, he remembered. He had made a promise to Corwin on changes to be made already.

Fin got comfortable in his seat, choosing only to drink water regardless of the ceremonial traditions that dictated he should take this opportunity to get drunk.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2013, 11:33:35 pm »
Elwyn looked Nate over when the offer was made. Nate was shorter than him, but Elwyn wasn’t sure that would be a problem. They had a similar build. ‘Might work.’ Someone was sent to retrieve it before Elwyn had an opportunity to agree. He smiled, a little, at the afterthought. “That will do fine,” he consented, “Should it fit well enough. I’ll try not to get it too dented,” Reginald didn’t exactly look like a pushover.

The armor was soon brought back, and Elwyn found it fit, albeit the torso was a little tight for his liking.
“Thanks,” Elwyn said once it was on. He looked himself over as he heard the sound of horse hooves. He stepped out of the squire’s tent to see one of his guard had gone to fetch his horse. “How did you know?”

“Crier’s already announced Kallista’s replacement,”
the dark-haired guard answered. His horse was wearing the colors now, no doubt transferred over from Kallista’s horse. The snowflake-like escarbuncle, all silver, was put over the black background. Silver and black were the colors of the house. Even his own horse mimicked the pattern, black like the shuck, and was easily taller than Elwyn, and quite broad. It was a strong horse made to endure a harsh winter’s travel. “I thought you might want Phantasm.”

“Yes,”
he agreed, “Thank you,” and quickly he was up in the saddle, though the armor did weigh him down. He wasn’t accustom to metals, preferring leathers. Besides, metal got too cold, too fast, in the South. “This will be fun, I haven’t jousted in a while.”


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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2013, 11:35:19 pm »
Nate almost chuckled at the thought Elwyn offered on the matter of dinting the armour. “It’ll probably be the only time it’s ever used.” He smiled. It was the truth, what with him being little more than a gate guard on the night watch.

He doubted severely that he would ever see himself in a battle, or in a joust such as this. He wasn’t noble born, and the people here weren’t of a high opinion of people like him; none nobles who had a talent for magic. It didn’t matter to them how good you were at fighting with a blade, or how well you could use such as Pyromancy; as long as you were noble born. Anything less than that and your worth was cast and restricted. He didn’t know if Elwyn would know such things.

The armour, when it had been retrieved seemed to fit well enough. Height issues hadn’t heeded the fitting and it seemed to fit round Elwyn’s torso well too. Nate had always preferred a tighter fit in armour; he wasn’t sure why, probably something to do with being able to feel it there; as close as a second skin.

Nate smiled at his new found acquaintance (perhaps friend) as a horse he didn’t recognise was brought to the Lord, adorned with house colours. Once Elwyn was on the saddle, all Nate had to do was hand him the javelin and shield.

It was a pity that the shield was not the same as the armour, but Nate doubted that Elwyn would have wanted the shield to bear a different house sigal than his own. “Good luck.” He offered as he passed up the first javelin.

Even though it would look bad for the North if the Southerner won this joust, Nate found that he actually wanted Elwyn to win.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2013, 11:35:42 pm »
Elwyn smiled as the lance was passed up to him, looked across the field to Reginald. The knight was calm and collected upon his own horse, lance passed up, flower sigil. ‘Flower?’ Elwyn wasn’t sure if he ought to have sympathy for the knight with the flower as his sigil.

Elwyn soon took back any thoughts of sympathy when he urged his horse forward, and was struck, hard, by the lance.

Elwyn rocked back. His own lance managed to connect and break, but it either didn’t have the same force behind it, or Reginald was better trained. Elwyn managed to pull himself forward and sit up straight once more. He looked back to Reginald.
‘All right, it’s on.’

Elwyn had forgotten how much jousting could hurt. Three more passes, and he wanted to fall off the horse just because it hurt. His opponent didn’t look nearly so damaged, sitting pretty on his horse like a proper knight. Of course, Elwyn hadn’t seen how his last two passes rocked the knight.
“Ow,” he muttered as he took up the next lance. “I forgot this hurt,” he said to Nate. He was going to be so sore. He wasn’t sure if he’d manage the trip back to Orea that night or not.

His horse pawed the ground, clearly not as sore as Elwyn. He let out a breath, nodded, and urged the horse forward for one more pass.

Reginald still bore the wounds from yesterday. This pass, that was enough to drop him from the horse, though Reginald was satisfied as he heard Elwyn fall a few seconds afterward. Of course, Reginald’s fall was the one that would matter. He fell first, but Reginald contented himself with the thought that if he had not been injured, he would have won.


‘More what I expected from your sister.’
Reginald thought as his squire helped him to his feet.

~***~

Kallista watched the joust in silence, up until the end. She wanted to scream at Elwyn to actually aim. It had always been his downfall. Fortunately, his last two passes he managed to at least try. When he slipped from the horse, Kallista pushed by the people in the crowd to the front, jumped over the fence, and helped Elwyn to his feet.


“You call that jousting?”
Kallista whispered, mocking smile on her lips.

“I won,”
he said, “That’s what matters.”

“Barely,”
she said as she stepped away from Elwyn, who moved to take his bow besides Reginald, despite how his torso hurt. In an exhale, he let his magic begin to work to heal the bruises. He knew the rules of no magic while jousting.

Kallista stepped back, but didn’t leave the field despite the glare from Leo. No, she wasn’t sick, but he would have learned that soon enough.


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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2013, 11:42:18 pm »
Fin watched intently as the Crier announced the replacement of Kallista with her brother. The crowd didn’t seem too bothered that the Shield Maiden wasn’t jousting today; in fact, they seemed rather happy about watching a joust between the North and the South.
He smiled to himself as he saw Elwyn and Reginald on their horses on the field.

The armour Elwyn was wearing; he knew wasn’t his. ‘Where did he find decent, matching armour so quickly?’ He thought.

Regardless, the horn was blown and the joust began.

Every pass was bone shattering. He felt himself wince with the recent memory of his own injuries from the joust which had only happened yesterday. His mother seemed to sense his thoughts and patted the back of his hand with a smile.

He returned the smile briefly, but was soon back on the edge of his seat, watching pass after pass. ‘Both as stubborn as each other.’ Refusing to drop. He knew he had been the same against Reginald. Determined to prove himself.

He cast a glance at his brother, but quickly averted his eyes again from the younger sibling.

Connor was stuffing his face again, eyes wide as he shovelled food and wine into his mouth as though he hadn’t eaten in weeks. The very thought of such a lack in composure and pride made Fin sick to the stomach. ‘Poor Cordelia’. The princess was bound to end up being married off to Connor after he was forced to leave the realm. ‘I wish I could help you.’ He cast his glance over her briefly, eyes quickly returning to the joust just as Reginald fell, Elwyn falling quickly after.

It seemed that despite everything, the Southerner had won the tournament. ‘Good’. It would not sit well with his father. And that just rubbed salt into wounds already opened.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2013, 11:46:58 pm »
Cordelia had caught the brief look her way from Fin. ‘Fin.’ Why did it have to be Connor she was betrothed to? One look at Connor disgusted her. He was just shoving his face with wine and food. She shivered at the thought and turned her eyes out to the knights as they stepped forward, joust over.

Leo was none-too-pleased with the armor. It was as if Elwyn had planned this from the start. He didn’t know who’s armor that was, but he would figure it out. What upset him more was Kallista, nimbly leaping over the fence to right her brother. If that was sick, then Leo would have to start employing knights only prone to illness.

The knights bowed, Elwyn victor. The Southerner proved to have as much fortitude as his sister. Leo rose as the people began to disperse.
“I hope you enjoy your day, Fin,” he spoke coldly. It would be Fin’s last day if he had his way.

No one defied him.

He moved to speak with the Red Cloak at the edge of the platform.
“Roderik, fetch me Kallista.” He ordered.

No questions, of course. The Red Cloak were good about that.
“Yes, Sire,” Roderik bowed his head and left.

~***~

Elwyn was far too happy with his close victory, though he remained courteous to Reginald when the two approached the middle of the field,
“Thanks for that,” he said with a grin, “Been a while since I jousted.”

Reginald returned the grin,
“I could tell. Next time, perhaps we’ll be at peak.”

“Maybe,” he agreed. The two then turned to bow, and the crier said some pretty words, announcing the archery tournament, and even one involving swordplay. Elwyn wondered how many people typically died during these festivals. It seemed like it would be very easy to kill someone.

The knights dispersed, Kallista catching up to him as he headed for the squire’s tent to get out of the armor. He smiled at Nate,
“Thanks for this,” he said, thumping a fist over the armor, “This is quality work. Where did you pick this up?”

Kallista had been told before. Her attention was quickly distracted by one of the Red Cloaks approaching. She stepped away from Nate and Elwyn,
“Hail, Roderik,” she greeted the herbomancer.

Roderik nodded,
“His Majesty Leo has requested your company,” Roderik reported. Kallista let out a sigh.

“Now?”


“Yes,”
Roderik said.

Q

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2013, 11:48:24 pm »
Since the Joust had ended, since the tournament in its entirety had ended; the archery the hand to hand combat, the sword fighting, the celebrations had moved indoors.

It wasn’t possible for Fin to truly enjoy the day as Leo had mockingly suggested that he do. It wasn’t possible when there was nagging paranoia at the back of his mind. He had a reputation to begin to build. He needed to be polite and courteous and well mannered, and at the same time, he needed allies for later. More allies anyway.

Elwyn had already offered him protection in the South, should he need it; and though Fin had kindly declined the offer (since he didn’t want to bring his father’s wrath down on the South so soon after his departure), it was always an option. It wasn’t exactly as though he knew where he would go or where he could hide.

He had managed to make his excuses to leave the party and the feast early and slipped into his room, closing the door quietly behind him with a sigh.

No time to dawdle, he took off the clothes from the day; the ritualistic robes in all their finery, good material and rich colours. He left them haphazardly on his bed.

Generally, Fin was a rather neat person and he already knew how his father would try to spin the reasoning of his absence. ‘Fin was never truly fit to be a King. Under the possible pressures of leadership, my eldest has fled. We should anoint Connor immediately.’

‘Connor.' His brother was no more fit to rule a kingdom than a pig was fit to lay eggs.

Fin re-dressed quickly, his regular clothing feeling much more comfortable and familiar. He picked up the already packed satchel and slung it over his shoulder, but not before digging out the Black Star necklace and putting it around his neck. The magical gem felt warm against his chest.

Without a second glance on his room, he pressed a part of the stonework in the wall to reveal the hidden passageway and slid in, letting the secret door close behind him.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2013, 11:50:20 pm »
Kallista hadn’t been able to leave His Majesty’s side since he called her over. Needless to say, he was displeased with her behavior, and did not spend much time enjoying the festivities. The feast seemed the only moment Kallista was allowed any peace from him, and even then had to stay. Fin left early, though.

It would be the one time Fin was allowed to leave early.

His Majesty Leo didn’t stay much longer, and ordered Kallista to follow him out.


“Who was that squire for your brother?”
He asked as they walked, back to the throne room, fortunately.

“Nate Winters.”
Kallista answered, monotone. Emotion benefited her little, here.

“Winters?”


“He isn’t noble, Sire,”
she answered the unasked. ‘The only reason he isn’t a Red Cloak.’

It was as if he had read her mind,
“Pax mentioned him. Annoying fool who wants to move up in the ranks. I may have a way for him to prove himself.” And so they stood at the throne room, with two other guards flanking the entrance, “One of you, fetch Nate Winters,” he directed, before walking in. The door shut behind him, “Since you’re too useless to do anything right.”

Kallista didn’t respond to the jab, but followed in silence to her place besides the throne. Today, for once, she’d actually done things right.


~***~

Corwin hadn’t stayed to enjoy the festivities. There was always more to prepare. He stood on the threshold of his house and handed away a bag of coin to Tristan.

Tristan looked worried.
“Are you certain?” He asked Corwin again.

Corwin nodded,
“Yes, I am. Go with Elwyn and make sure my family gets to Orea, then go out into the world. Write me. Protect Fin when you can,” he said. Tristan would be his eyes and his ears while he had to stay in the capital.

Tristan nodded once more, pocketed the money,
“As you say,” he wasn’t pleased with leaving Corwin. He knew exactly why Corwin was sending him away and that just made it worse. The noble knew his own life was in danger, and didn’t want those dear to him getting harmed because of him.

They all had to be sent away.
“Elwyn is leaving tonight?”

“Yes,”
Corwin said, “Good luck,” and with that, the man stepped back into his house. Tristan bowed his head, turned, and left.


Q

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2013, 11:54:29 pm »
Nate hadn’t been invited to the main festivities. He wasn’t a noble and he wasn’t a red coat. In fact, he was supposed to be on duty.

It was one hell of a night to be put on duty. It made sense of course, with all the comings and goings of people in and out of the keep and village; it was probably one of the least boring times to be a guard.

Nate was still bored though. Even with everything happening, it still felt as though it was nothing. The part of the wall he was supposed to be guarding hadn’t been used all day from what the day watch had told him. ‘Great, trust my luck to get put on the only part of the only part of the wall that’s as quite as a mouse.’ He mused.

However apparently that was not meant to be for his night. A guard he didn’t immediately recognise came over to speak to him, seeming in somewhat of a rush.

“His majesty King Leo wishes to see you.”

Nate looked at him oddly. Why the hell would the King want to see him?

“Is this some sort of joke?”

“No joke Winters. I was sent to find you by the king himself.”

“Alright then, I’ll come with you, but you can explain to Pax where I’ve gone, and why there’s no one guarding this part of the keep.”

Still thinking and believing that this had to be some sort of joke, Nate followed the other man back to the palace and into the throne room. He was lead in and as he was supposed to, he took to his knee before the king, his head bowed. “Your Majesty.” He greeted. He was trying to ignore the fact Kallista was there. ‘What the hell kind of trouble have you got me into now Kalli?’ He thought.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2013, 12:52:47 am »
Nate did not take long, he was prompt to answer the king’s summons. Leo would not tell her what he had planned, what he wanted. She was left with little information about why he wanted the lower guard. All he hinted at was a chance for a promotion to a ‘higher stage’. Even that was annoyingly vague. He could have just said Red Cloaks.

Even so, she wore a neutral face when Nate entered. Leo looked down at him, then looked to the others guards.
“You are all dismissed, except for you, Kallista.” The other guards vanished, moving to stand outside the doors. They would, no doubt, try to listen in. “I have orders for you, Nate, and I trust you to handle them…discreetly.”

‘Discreetly?’
These were orders usually for Beltran or his father. These were not orders for a pyromancer who knew little of the art of stealth.

“I have allowed the ceremony for Fin because the public has demanded it, despite the whispers my advisors have told me of. Only now, I know my life is in danger.”
Kallista shifted uncomfortably, a feeling in the pit of her stomach that she was not going to like the words that came out of his mouth. “Fin is plotting to murder me, Nate. I need him dealt with, but it cannot be obvious that he was killed. An accident, or else he needs to vanish—whichever, but do kill him.”

The shock of the words seemed to make all feeling vanish. Kallista wasn’t even sure she could feel her fingers, yet they moved to the hilt of her sword. Leo glanced at her with the movement, but her eyes had remained on Nate.

He didn’t worry, but added,
“You understand if you refuse this, I cannot let you leave this room.” There was the reason Kallista stood there. “But if you agree, you will be…promoted.”

And Kallista understood the implications then. As the murderer of Fin, he would still be punished for his good deed. Perhaps exiled, if Leo was feeling kind, but he likely meant promotion as death in this instance.


‘I can’t let you.’
Fingers tightened around the hilt. ‘I can’t.’ She bowed her head to hide her face in shadow as she fought with her accursed vows of servitude.

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Re: Wish Upon A Dream [Closed]
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2013, 01:01:34 am »
Nate had to admit that the whole thing was a little bit strange. Leo dismissed the other guards and he felt his shoulders automatically tense. Whatever this was, it couldn’t possibly be good.

And then the words came. Calm, collected words. Leo tried to tell Nate of the problems, only, these weren’t problems that Nate had heard whispers of. He had never heard rumours of Fin wanting to kill Leo. No, rather it had been the other way around for a long time.

He was shocked. Shocked didn’t cover it. For a brief moment his head shot up and he dared to look at the King and at Kallista. He finally realised why she was here. Was this some sort of punishment for her?

He understood of course what would be asked of her if he was to refuse this ‘discreet’ order. He understood what would happen if he accepted it too.

His head bowed again as he collected himself and his thoughts. Surely the King could not expect this sort of decision to be made in a second.

‘Breathe Nate, Breathe.’

Surely there were people higher up that Leo could have asked to do this. Maybe he knew about Nate aiding Elwyn.
There were too many questions. Instantly Nate realised that being a Red Cloak wasn’t what he had always dreamed it would be, not under such a tyrant at least.

He knew Fin. Not enough to class him as a friend, but well enough to know that he didn’t believe Fin was capable of plotting Leo’s demise, though the King possibly deserved such a fate.

“Your Majesty” Nate started, keeping his voice calm and quiet, though all he wanted to do was panic. “I cannot follow this order.”

Briefly he wondered if the King had ever been told 'no' before.