A guarded lie

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by EpitaphQueen, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Alexandria quickly sheathed her sword and stepped back from her opponent, bowing slightly. Her heartbeat was erratic and her breathing was ragged was from her countless opponents. The head of the guard Sylus had insisted that she prove her mettle to him, over and over again. Alex had sparred nearly thirteen men without break between them. Although she was not as strong as the other swordsmen she had faced, Alex made up for that with her agility and speed. Sylus stepped forward and clapped Alexandria on the shoulder, causing her knee's to buckle.

    "You did well young Alacar, maybe I misjudged you." He said as he led her out of the sparring arena.

    "Thank you sir," Replied young Alexandria in her lowest voice.

    Portraying a male for well over sixteen years, young Alexandria had well adapted her male voice. As she had grown her breasts her father had showed her how to wrap them tightly to portray the flat chest of a male. All in all those years of lessons had paid off and now Alexandria was known as Sir Alacar, the best swordsmen of her time, and the youngest at only seventeen.

    "I think you are ready to officially be appointed the personal guard to the prince." Sylus said as he led the young girl to a room and pushed her in. "Good luck introducing yourself!"

    Alexandria stumbled and turned wide eyed to find the prince right in front of her. She dropped hurriedly to one knee.

    "Mi'lord, I am Alacar. I was appointed just this morning as your new personal guard." Alexandria kept her eyes glued to the ground.
  2. The quill pen's tip snapped off, leaving an obscuring blot over an entire row of entries. Hurriedly, Lucien dabbed a cloth over the spilled ink, blowing on the paper to dry the ink before it sunk further into the ledger. He'd have to find someone to get him a new feather before the ministers came out with another report full of erroneous records. Though he supposed it was rather ignoble for the crown prince to do secretarial work, as his father grew older, a number of problems were starting to crop up, and someone had been siphoning funds from the treasury with disturbing regularity. Not to mention the proximity of several strong and threatening nations...

    Lucien sighed and shook his head firmly, placing the quill horizontally on the desk with a sharp click and standing up, brushing a lock of black hair out of his eyes. No, staring at the numbers longer would not make them change. And besides, there were always nobles and an increasingly-senile father to reassure. He moved around the desk, between shelves showcasing rare books and quasi-scientific instruments, and past the dusty piano in the corner. As much as he wished there were time for him to relax, there just wasn't anymore. And hadn't one of the nobles said something about a new guard?

    Just as he reached the door, it opened with a soft creak, and he started slightly, one hand rising to the dagger on his belt, a reflex that had been honed since childhood in the case of an assassination attempt. "What-" he began, as a young man who appeared to be just a few years younger than himself was pushed into the room, stumbling before kneeling in the proper form of court decorum and introducing himself as a new guard.

    His formal walls snapping up, Lucien felt his face fall into its usual cordial expression, light blue eyes narrowing. Though he'd tried to cultivate a regal expression for some years, it wouldn't stick, and he couldn't keep a straight face thinking of how he must look. "Sir Alacar, you said?" Come to think of it, he had heard of some particularly promising knight of that name; presumably, this young man. "No need to be quite so rigid," he said with a slight smile. "Rise. And welcome to the guard."

    "Sir Alacar, I presume you have not seen some of the areas of the court yet," he continued after a short pause of thought. "I was planning to visit the gardens in any case; would you mind accompanying me?" The king, old as he was, still insisted that Lucien take a guard everywhere. Just in case, he said. But it was hardly a misplaced sentiment these days.
  3. Alexandria stood gracefully and allowed her gaze to wander to the princes face. She had heard rumor of his good looks, but never had she imagined him like this. An air of regalia was present around the young lord. It was clear that he was not used to being quite so formal and she noted that even now his facade at haughtiness was fading. Clearly he was a more easy going man than she had feared and she silently let out a breath she had been holding.

    The more laid back atmosphere surrounding the prince allowed her to relax ever so slightly. The rigid set to her jaw softening quite noticeably. No matter the years of training, nothing could be done about the feminine shape of Alexandria's face. The bulky armor somewhat covered her feminine figure, but had to be made noticeably smaller to accommodate her small frame. Although her father had insisted that she cut her long black locks, Alexandria had merely hidden them beneath a cap.

    "Thank you mi'lord. I am quite happy to be here." She intoned, for she was well aware that she was lucky to get away with this.

    Alexandria shifted ever so slightly as the prince continued to use her alias. It made her uncomfortable to know that she was lying to the future ruler of her country. Not to mention what could happen if he found out the truth. Abruptly Alexandria swept these thoughts from her mind. If she continued to dwell on this subject she would become nervous, and nerves would be her undoing. She had never been good when nervous.

    "No mi'lord I have not seen the court at all yet. As it is sir I would have no choice in the matter of whether or not to accompany you. It is, after all, my duty." Her small lips curved upwards in a humorous smile before she moved away from the door to allow him through.
  4. Lucien nodded, eyes narrowing slightly as he scrutinized the young man, only partially listening to his response. Something didn't seem quite right. Generally swordsmen weren't so small of build, and something was just... off, maybe? But he had certainly heard Sylus's voice, and Alacar hadn't done anything to invite suspicion. He supposed it might be a family trait, and if so, he was hardly one to point and stare; eyes of his shade were rarely seen outside of the royal family.

    He shook his head slightly; there he went, dwelling on unimportant things again. There was a job at hand, and he needed to get to work. "Excellent, Sir Alacar." His mouth twitched slightly. "Of course, it is a terribly rigorous duty to accompany the royal heir on a walk about the palace gardens." Most of his guards were rather lacking in their sense of humor, so maybe this was a change for the better.

    Still smiling, he opened the door, holding it with one hand as he moved into the hallway. It looked like Sylus had already headed off, no doubt taking care of some putative security threat. As he moved down the hallway and towards the exterior of the palace, he began to explain the palace layout. "This interior part mostly consists of the quarters of nobles and courtiers. Here, more to the outside, you can find the guards' barracks and various practice areas." He turned back slightly with a smile. "Sir Alacar, I hope you will be willing to spar with me; I have not practiced my swordsmanship for nearly a month now, and I've been getting rusty."

    "And here are the gardens," he finished, giving a slight flourish as he moved out into a more open space filled with exotic greenery. "My father recently had several non-native Eastern species of plants introduced, but I am assured that all are perfectly safe." He turned to Alacar, one eyebrow quirked. "So, after seeing some of the court space, what do you think of the palace?"
  5. Alexandria's smile only increased at the prince's humor. He was not as uptight as she had been led to believe and this brought a greater sense of relief with the realization. Maybe being his guard would not be as agonizing as she had first thought. She might even have some fun as his personal guard.

    As the prince opened the door to the hall Alexandria followed, allowing the door to close behind her. She followed as he explained the layout of the castle. Glancing around appreciatively she took in the sights, absorbed everything, noticing even small details. She followed closely and even though she was letting her eyes wander, she listened attentively and when Prince Lucien spoke of sparring she perked up considerably. "Of course mi'lord. I'll take any chance to spar that I can get." Alexandria replied.

    Alexandria gazed briefly around the gardens. Her female side longed to go and sit among the beautiful flowers and let her hair down, but her well honed and developed male side quickly quelled that idea. She quickly allowed her expression to go blank as the prince turned. "The palace is well laid out my lord."
  6. Lucien smiled mildly as the young man enthusiastically agreed to sparring. He himself didn't have much talent with the sword, regardless of what the court might say, but he did enjoy the exercise and fresh air; staying shut in his study was no way to spend the morning. And perhaps he could learn something new. There was no harm in learning how to defend oneself.

    He nodded. <b>"Naturally. But it can be a little confusing at first; many newcomers spend a great deal of time getting lost."</b>

    He turned as a young noblewoman approached, a few servants in tow. <b><i>"Your Highness, good day!"</b></i> she exclaimed. <b><i>"And who is this?"</b></i> She seemed to be scrutinizing Alacar's face.

    Lucien explained, <b>"This is my new guard, Sir Alacar. He is new to the palace, so if you find him wandering, do take care of him."</b> He smiled, and added, <b>"How have you been feeling recently, Lady Dorian?"</b> He cast a sideways look at Alacar; hopefully the young man would remember the proper cordialities. Lady Dorian was known for her bad temper.
  7. "Well I have a good sense of direction mi'lord. I will be sure to try not to get lost." Alexandria said jokingly.

    As they continued on another lady of high rank approached them. Following court protocol Alexandria bowed low to the lady before them. "Mi'lady." Was all that she uttered before becoming stoically silent once more. Alexandria had been raised from a very high ranking family, a duke no less, and was well aware of court niceties.

    Alexandria squared her jaw as she felt Lady Dorian scrutinizing her. It was always the women who were suspicious of her and therefore she had avoided female company for many years, but it could not be avoided now. She raised her self to her full height of five foot six inches, quite a bit shorter than most males. She avoided eye contact with the noble woman as she shifted her weight ever so slightly. She was becoming nervous once more.
  8. Lady Dorian did not answer, but rather squinted at Alacar, head slightly tilted. Lucien narrowed his eyes. "Is something the matter?" he asked politely, tone a little quizzical. It was possible that they had seen each other somewhere before, of course. "Have you met already?" he added, looking at Lady Dorian.

    The lady seemed to snap out of a reverie. "Oh, ah, I suppose it's nothing." She paused for a second, looking contemplative, before shaking her head dismissively. "No, it's nothing. Good evening, Your Highness, Sir Knight." She swept away regally, tossing a last glance over her shoulder as her servants followed.

    Lucien frowned, thinking, then turned to Alacar. "Do you know what that was all about?" he queried, head slightly tilted. The young man seemed somewhat unnerved, but that was not out of the ordinary for someone who had just met Lady Dorian. Usually she was much more attentive, though, and she certainly wasn't usually easy to sidetrack. Maybe it was one of those I've-seen-you-before-somewhere-but-I'm-not-sure-where deals.
  9. Alexandria remained stoic as Lady Dorian investigated her. She knew what must be running through her mind. This young knight before her held uncharacteristically womanly features. Once more Alexandria avoided eye contact and was started out of her silent revelry by the prince's voice. He asked if they had already met, yet young Alex remained quiet.

    As the Lady slipped out of her own reverie she admitted that she had not seen Alexandria before and continued to give Alexandria a strange look. She knew that all of the blood must have drained from her face as she became increasingly nervous. As Lady Dorian spoke her leave Alexandria became relieved and she released a breath she had subconsciously been holding.

    She watched as the lady took her leave, happy to see her go. Slowly she turned back to her lord and allowed a small smile. "No mi'lord. No clue. I must have reminded her of someone is all." Alexandria could feel the color returning to her face slowly as Lady Dorian got farther and farther away. "Shall we continue?" She questioned.
  10. Lucien was still frowning slightly, thinking. Alacar had seemed visibly perturbed by Lady Dorian's scrutiny; there simply <i>had</i> to be a reason. But was it his responsibility or even his place to drag up what might just as easily be a secret or part of the old dusty past as a chance meeting several years ago? No, he'd best leave it be.

    <b>"Of course, Sir Alacar,"</b> he answered, a little absentmindedly. <b>"There are still nobles to reassure, after all-- and I hope we can finish here and get to the practice fields before it gets late."</b>

    He approached a nearby cluster of young heirs and heiresses. <b>"Good day,"</b> he greeted, then added, <b>"I hope you have all been finding the gardens pleasant? My father always says that they are the finest emerald in the Imperial crown."</b> With a wry smile, he dismissed any chance of being seen as arrogant. <b>"And I hope all of you will be attending the banquet tonight! The ministers assure me it will be quite <i>costly.</i>"</b>

    He winced slightly at the harsh slip of tongue, hoping most of them were too vapid to take offense. At least some would consider it to be humor; he had found that a slight smile was the best defense against any lambasting. And in any case, he was sure that most of the more level-headed of his generation agreed that spending money on expensive entertainment was foolish. Though now perhaps he had Alacar to worry about as well; in the past, it had not been unknown for guards to report princes' actions to the king.
  11. Alexandria merely gave a small nod in recognition of his words about greeting other nobles. Inwardly she sighed and tapped her foot, but she said nothing. 'At least you will get to spar at the end of all of this foolish nonsense.' That thought was the only thing that was going to guide her through the rest of this boring day. Following her lord, slowly feeling herself getting bored Alex let her eyes wander.

    As they came to the group of heirs and heiresses Alex bowed as was required of her, but did not address any of them. She simply stood filled with boredom as the prince began to gloat. He seemed arrogant in his approach and Alexandria immediately found herself full of envy for the young women before them. They had been allowed to live a normal noblewoman's life. She longed for this in many a way, but in others was quite content as a knight.

    She observed as many of the heirs and heiresses laughed vapidly. They were all so uniformly insipid that it was beginning to make Alexandria feel sick. Suddenly she was quite happy she had been raised as she had been. She may not completely approve of her prince's choice of words, but this was her knew charge now and she thought that maybe she could learn a bit more of court life from following him and his boring friends about.
  12. [[ Hope you don't mind a little bit of a timeskip; not sure how much more we can get in with wandering around. ^^ ]]

    Lucien continued to speak to the nobles for a few more minutes; however, the subject never strayed far from the current spectacle of court life. Lady Francesca had just had her third daughter, and all of them bemoaned the lack of a son. As an only child, Lucien really couldn't relate; he wouldn't have minded having a brother or sister, someone to share the responsibilities of the crown with. But, as most historians agreed, friendly siblings during childhood transformed into security risks during adulthood. It might not have been worth the trouble after all. Rumors also circulated, detailing who was in an affair with whom, what secrets were being kept, and who had made what decisions.

    Lucien did his best to file away potentially useful information, but eventually decided to pass over the more sordid details. Thinking about the nobles that he had grown up around having open affairs and petty fights- for court life was little else- was a little disconcerting.

    After some time, he said his farewells, noting a greying in the sky. His father would call for the feast in maybe an hour, maybe less, and he had suggested sparring, after all. "Sir Alacar, I'm glad you've been patient for all this time; I'm sure our court life must seem dull to you. We should still have time to practice swordsmanship before dinner." He moved back towards the center of the palace, heading through the winding hallways with the aid of nearly two decades' life in the labyrinthine passages. "I hope the weight of the swords will not throw you off; naturally, for the nobles' sparring we do not use live steel." His smile was rueful this time; he'd heard guards generally did not use the dulled and usually jeweled swords that the nobles did, out of practicality and greater skill. However, if his sparring partners had not been using dulled swords, he would probably have been dead ten times over. Young nobles often failed to pull their strokes back correctly, or attacked recklessly.
  13. "Of course not my lord. I will certainly cope with the sword provided. Please do tell though, do you wish for full attacks or draw backs. More often than not we guards use full attacks instead of pulling away. I would assume you draw back though?" Alexandria inquired as she followed the prince to the sparring area.