All the King's Men

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Astra, Jan 14, 2016.

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    • All the King's Men


      The Kingdoms of Yonne and Orestra have been allies for time immemorial, but the discovery of an Orestran spy in the Yonneese capital has put the once-amicable relationship under pressure.

      King-Sovereign Alban Rouen, brother of the late King Emeric, has been ruling Yonne since the rightful King and Queen's untimely death. The Princess and rightful heir of Yonne is finally returning to the capital to take her place as Queen.

      The Kingdom of Yonne
      Shaped like a lumpy crescent, Yonne enjoys a long coastline and several island territories that stretch into the Bastion Sea. To the north, Yonne is bordered by snowy mountains known as Gorrigan's Footsteps, which stretch into fertile forests and lowlands studded by rivers and lakes. The Easternmost coast, known colloquially as Ys' Landing, is unprotected by nearby islands and sandbanks. As a result the sea is much rougher. The earth is stony and infertile and it's nearly impossible to live there -most people believe that area to be cursed.

      Yonne's capital is Serein, which lies on the coast and is bisected by the river Chance. Ferries rarely cross from shore to shore. It's an elaborate and well-developed city with cobbled streets and several fountains, but, of course, the wealth is centered around the Castle, which is on the Western bank. The Eastern bank is mostly quite seedy, and it's also where the largest merchant or navy ships dock.

      Castle Ioniss, presided over by the Rouen family, is the tallest building in the city. It boasts a moated entrance, courtyards, walled gardens, and a sordid history. The Rouen kings merely appropriated it from the former occupants, countless years ago. Of course it has undergone many renovations since then, but the castle is still fundamentally the same. Rumor has it that there are hidden tunnels in and beneath the castle, some that lead around the city, and some that lead all the way to the sea!

      Currently under the rule of King-Sovreign Alban, who's only in his early fourties. He was the King Emeric's younger brother.
      The Kingdom of Orestra
      Orestra is a kingdom that is predominately situated in the Huen mounatains. There are a few villages in the outlying plains, but the center of commerce and social events is found in the massive city of Maranih, directly in the center of the mountains. The city is surrounded by a great stone wall, and the castle of Garn is built right into the side of a mountain.

      The primary resource in Orestra is, not surprisingly, metal. They are known for producing weapons, tools, and jewelry, as there is also a massive supply of natural stones and jewels that are carved from their surroundings. The combination of a long line of conquest-driven kings and ready access to weapons has made Orestra into a formidable military state. They were known to be ruthless - a wonderful ally and a fearsome enemy to have. Even their allies had to worry that one day, perhaps, the king might attempt to overtake their lands and claim them as his own. This line of kings had been known to take advantage of smaller, weaker nations and absorb their resources.

      For the past 32 years, Orestra has been ruled by King Garin and Queen Vetya. They have two sons and a daughter, but the younger of the sons had mysteriously gone missing some years ago. It was uncertain exactly when he had disappeared. The royal family had spoken very little of it, and any supposed knowledge had stemmed from mere speculation.
    • In Yonne:
      King-Regent Alban Roune (full CS forthcoming)
      Princess Yseult Roune [Astra]
      King Emeric Roune†
      Queen Adelaide Roune†
      Arek [Yield]

      In Orestra:
    #1 Astra, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2016
  1. "A fine day to go riding, wouldn't you say?"

    Yseult spoke with unwarranted confidence, as if this wasn't her first visit in ten years. She spoke to the group of six men that surrounded her, riding at her sides, front, and back, and she didn't expect any of them to reply. They were there 'for protection.' They had introduced themselves, but she hadn't paid attention. It was too exciting, being back in this place after so long!

    What could be dangerous on this sloping, winding road, anyway? They were on what was technically the castle's hunting grounds; a wide, sprawling expanse that stretched from behind the castle and away from the city. It was a fine day, the sky was clear and sunny, but it was early, still cool. Dew still shone on the grass. The Princess of Yonne tried to peer at the landscape, but her guards were all so... large. Their horses, too. They took up so much space. Eye sores, really; it almost felt like being walled in. She wanted to see her kingdom, not the armored back of a servant! Ah, indeed, this field was wider than any she'd been in in years...

    She was actually more excited about the field and the freedom it stood for than the fact that she was around men for the first time since she was a child.

    Yseult adjusted her gloved grip on the fine leather reigns of her mount and urged the creature to go a bit faster. Naturally, they all followed suit, keeping pace. She gazed at the landscape unabashedly annoyed as the horses trotted as a unit. In a careless motion, she reached up, adjusting the collar on her riding cloak, and gasped dramatically.

    "Stop! STOP!" Her freckled face was distraught, her hand held onto her ear and came back empty. "My earring's fallen off! Oh, it must have fallen --" she turned her horse around frantically, breaking formation. "It must have fallen of on the path! You'll see it, it's --she plucked the other one free and presented the gold and emerald drop. She held it up as if letting them all see, then promptly started to urge her horse back in the direction of the castle while putting the solitary earring back on. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. "Oh, no! Oh no... the horses will certainly crush it, if they haven't already. Please, could you help me?"

    Now she led her horse off the path and into the grass, presumably so it wouldn't crush her jewelry. She looked at her guards sweetly, desperately entreating them to help her in her time of need. "I'm so sorry, I-- I can't afford to lose them, they were my mother's... and her grandmother's before her. Please."

    Two of her men jumped down immediatelly and began trawling the well-trod path; Yseult thought they had moved very quickly. Perhaps they were trying to gain her favor? She sniffled as if she could cry at any moment and another joined them. She looked at one directly and said "Could you perhaps try riding back to when we picked up speed? I think that might have been what did it... it might have fallen, it could be back there... could you please try?" Still tremendously worried, she urged her horse to walk backwards, further from the path, as if giving her men some room. She still scanned the ground as if she could spot the earring from where she sat side-saddle. She began murmuring to herself, something along the lines of, "No, no, no..." Her expression screamed what were presumably her innermost thoughts: not even back for a day, and already, this disaster?

    She was fraught with worry, seemingly solely focused on the ground and on her misery. The horse presumably didn't like walking backwards, so it turned slightly, pointing Yseult slightly away from the road and towards the fields. The Princess still turned and craned her long neck, trying to see what she could see. "Oh, please..." she said, loud enough for all of them to hear. Her voice was so sad it was almost heartbreaking! And her green eyes were still on the floor.

    And that's when, in one swift motion, she turned and ferociously spurred her horse forward, towards the fields and into the forest, leaving her men in the dust of her sudden departure. The wind whipped at her long red hair, so she drew forward and kept low. And just at that moment, she couldn't for the life of her stifle a triumphant laugh, which flew all the way back towards where she had left her stunned guards.
  2. The return of the princess was a matter of great interest to Arek. It would only add to the tension he could feel within the corridors of the Castle Ioniss, and he was fully prepared to seek any advantage available to him as they entered a period of transition. Everyone knew that Alban was not keen on handing over his kingdom to this young woman. If the slightest opportunity arose (and he was sure it would), Arek would be sure to capitalize on it.

    When the young woman spoke, he acknowledged her only with a glance. He made it a point not to stand out from his counterparts. He served with precisely the same loyalty and work ethic as the other guards, retaining a high enough regard from the King to remain close without warranting any special attention. It was a delicate balance. It had taken him a year or so to acquire this position, and he had become rather skilled at maintaining it.

    For him, the ride was dull, but nonetheless refreshing to be out in the open air. He spent much of his time confined to the walls of the castle. He was dimly aware of the princess's signs of displeasure with their formation, but he mostly focused on their surroundings. It was his job to protect the royal family, and any opportunity to gain their trust by fending off some foe would be welcomed. However, he would not make the mistake of appearing too eager. After all that had happened, any extremes in behavior could draw unwanted scrutiny, so he had to keep himself in check.

    Suddenly the princess gave a cry of despair, and he reined his horse along with his counterparts. They went off the path, and Arek eyed the ground, searching for the flicker of a jewel catching the light. He was not the first to dismount. He let the other guards leap off their horses, yearning to show their worth to the lovely princess, and he followed suit after a few moments. Not a second after both feet had hit the ground, caught sight of a horse bolting, bearing away the princess. He immediately hopped back into the saddle and took off after them, the hooves of his stallion thundering against the earth as they slowly gained on the princess. She was laughing as she fled. He could not suppress a wry smile. She wasn't going to make life any easier for her guards, was she?
  3. The wind whistled past, but beyond that, she could hear pounding hooves —someone was giving chase. She couldn’t help but be annoyed —shouldn’t he be looking for her earring? Her horse reacted appropriately to being pursued and it picked up speed. Yseult encouraged this —and now, they were properly in the woods.

    She kept her head low, but branches still whipped at her hair. Her horse tried its best to maintain speed, but it was difficult to dash through the forest and between trees. She banked left, trying to lose the one guard that had reacted quickly enough to come after her. Her horse leapt over a small stream and kept going —until whinnying and stopping, sharply, just in time to avoid plunging into a ravine with a river at its base. Yseult shrieked, twice, louder the second time, and yanked the reigns as hard as she could. Heart pounding, wide-eyed and frantic; her hands were shaking and she had nearly fallen off her horse. She sat just on the edge of her saddle. Her horse was stomping its hooves nervously just near the edge She eyed the drop fearfully... oh goodness, was someone still chasing..?

    "Stop! STOP!" Yseult shrieked again, turning towards the woods.
  4. As Yseult's horse picked up speed, Arek beckoned his to do the same. He raced after her into the woods, brushing aside the branches as his mount wove adeptly between the trees. Unlike the princess, who had been gone for many years, he had acquired a familiarity with these lands. There was a river near here, he was certain; he just wasn't sure how far away.

    Her horse disappeared into the thicket. Though he couldn't see her, he continued onward, hoping to catch a glimpse of her through the trees. How could he have lost sight of that vivid red hair? A scream alerted him to her presence, and he whipped his horse in the direction of the sound. In just a few seconds he saw her again, at the edge of the ravine. As Arek jerked back on the reins, his horse skidded to a stop, his hooves digging into the soil and sending a clump of dirt to go skipping down the steep decline.

    Alarmed by the sudden jolt, the stallion took a few nervous steps backward, shaking his mighty head. "Have you had your fill of excitement now, my lady?" Arek spat, trying to steady his horse.
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  5. "How... dare you!" She shrieked, incensed. "Excitement? How very dare you! My horse bolted, I was trying to control it --and I nearly fell smashed to death at the bottom of this cliff! Did you hit your head on a branch? What audacity--!" Her indignation has fueled by her adrenaline and fear. "I never!"

    Yseult huffed and puffed, flushing, eyes flashing and wild. "I suppose I should be thankful that you weren't looking for my missing earring, like I asked, and instead rode after me -- or I would be, if you'd done it to see if I was alright and not to accuse me of something so terrible! Like I... wanted this!"

    But through her shrieks and gesticulations, something was crunching, moving steadily through the woods. She didn't hear it --of course; for she was too busy being angry. But perhaps the guard might. And he would certainly notice the glinting of unsheathed steel through the dappled sunlight of the trees.

    "Quietly, now," came a deep voice from the bushes. The severity of it made Yseult shriek again. "Off yer horses and on the ground."
  6. Arek was hardly in any mood to argue with the princess. He was fairly certain she was putting on a ruse; however, this was only his first encounter with the woman, so he couldn't be absolutely sure. If she was faking it, she was doing so admirably. He even had cause to doubt himself. Still, he held firm against her shrill accusations. "Forgive me, Highness, for being more concerned for your safety than that of a trinket," he countered.

    Amidst the excitement of pursing Yseult, being scolded by her, and steadying his nervous horse, he nearly failed to perceive the approach of the menacing stranger. Only a second before the man spoke, he heard a faint rustling in the bushes. He unsheathed his own sword just as the stranger delivered his orders. Arek might have scoffed at this man for giving orders from the shadows, but he bridled any snide remarks. Until he knew who and what he was dealing with, he could not act too smugly. For all he knew, there were a dozen men waiting to pounce in the shadows.

    "Who gives these orders?" he replied. He remained in his saddle, sword in hand. "Come out from the bushes, and then we will see about coming off our horses."
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  7. Mannish, gruff laughter burst from the bushes, mocking the Knight's question and dismissing it in an instant.

    The voices had commanded quiet, but Yseult screamed yet again. She had a yell that truly carried and pierced, the kind that might shatter glass.

    "There are fiends in the woods!" She cried, "Guard! You must defeat them!"

    Her horse, skittish, paced the forest floor anxiously, as if ready to bolt at any moment. The near-fall had spooked it, and the shrill cries of the redhead weren't helping. An arrow shot from the bushes and at the princess horse's feet. It was meant to be a warning, and the gruff forest voice seemed to want to continue speaking. Instead, though, the sudden arrow made Yseult's already nervous mount whinny, buck, and bolt, with the shrieking princess still astride it.

    The horse burst through the bushes, stopping suddenly as it almost trampled a few men that were hidden between the leaves. They were portly, but strong, with crude but well-cared-for weapons. Common bandits, or at least it seemed so. The horse bucked again, hooves flailing, as the bandits aimed to compose themselves and take hold of the reigns. One grabbed the Princess' legs and tried to drag her down, but she gripped onto the horse's mane tightly and tore at the offending hand with her nails, slapping at him uselessly. "Help!" She cried, amidst the horse's whinnies and the yells of the men. "Help!" Meanwhile, two others tried to flank Arek, as if trying to take advantage of the confusion.
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