Narnia: Rich In Mercy (artisticHeart and Lillianette)

artisticheart

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Kain waited patiently for Eva to come out of the bathroom. As he stood there, he held on tightly to the doorframe. The tiefling knew he was mostly to blame for this. Never in his life would he ever thought he'd come face to face with someone he once tried to eradicate under the rule of Jadis, much less attempt to comfort them through a panic attack. Now with the chance to redeem himself, and to attempt to pay penance, he felt a deepening stirring to do for Eva what he had craved others would do for him way back when, and even now.

Kain was startled out of his thoughts when the door clicked, and out came the druid. When she gave her thanks, all he did was nod back to her. "I will not ask if you're all right," he said, for he knew (as would be the same with him) that the question was probably insensitive. No one is simply "all right" after experiencing such constant and heavy trauma. "Instead, do you feel calmer now?"

When mentioned that he should shower, Kain agreed silently. Lightly touching a part of his hair, he could feel the hardness of the dried blood on it , and cringed when touching it. "I will. You said we were meeting with Aslan today. Shall we go to the castle once we're ready?"


--

"No!" Rinnica exclaimed, a bit too quickly. "I-I mean, please stay! That's, if you'll forgive my morning mess." Rinnica looked around her area hurriedly, and quickly settled on a scarf. She pulled it and tied it around her hair, using it to make a quick ponytail. "You saw Elijah?" Rinnica then asked. She glanced to the regenerative potion and then huffed exasperatedly. "Oh sir, please don't tell me he delayed it because of work!"

"Oh, I--" Rinnica was about to respond, but she caught the hint of humor in Aslan's voice. She only sheepishly smiled and sat with her back against the bed. "Wh-whatever you prefer, sir," Rinnica then said. She couldn't help but feel butterflies in her stomach from the excitement of meeting the one that saved her, that pretty much has blessed her from afar since day one. "And thank you! I love it here at the castle. Thank you for allowing me to work here!"

When the Lion mentioned that he has heard her prayers, Rinnica's face suddenly flushed with embarrassment. Have mercy, the dryad thought. I was right, he did hear all of those daydreams! Rinnica figured that what she doesn't bring up won't be brought into the conversation. Rinnica fidgetted, and grabbed a pillow from her bed to hug it, and to secretly hide her face a bit as well. "Well, um, I wanted to uh... thank you, for saving me yesterday and uh... ask how your day was going ..." Rinnica mentally kicked herself for that last bit. What could she say though? Rinnica thought she wouldn't even get this far, but here she was, talking to Aslan himself.
 

Lillianette

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After Elijah was satisfied with his appearance, he realized how clueless he was about something. What did people do when they weren't working? How does one relax? The man knew no such thing. He worked endlessly. If he wasn't resting, he was sleeping or eating for the next days work. It was a never ending cycle for him and making a promise to relax for the day felt miserable. He couldn't go and ask Rinnica. It would be inconsiderate since she was meeting with Aslan.

Eventually, he decided to make the trek back to his home where he sat with his back up against the wall. To keep himself occupied, he polished and sharpened his blade. It was debatable if such a task was relaxing, but it did keep him off his feet at least. That would save him from one lecture today. He was unsure which scolding he would take the worst. Rinnica's, Aslan's, or Eva's. Rinnica seemed so innocent. He almost was curious to see her angered. Aslan was intimidating regardless of who you were. Eva, although she could be the sweetest woman at times, her rage was no joke.

---

"I..." Eva was unsure how to respond. If she were being honest, she still felt terrible. However, she didn't know if admitting that to Kain was beneficial. "Slightly," she felt that her response was a good middle ground. "I am going to go clean up as well. Let's meet at the center fountain and we can go from there," Eva oddly enough felt like it was alright for her to leave Kain be for the time being. Should he cause problems, he was still in a rather weak state. He surely couldn't get away with causing such destruction again, but Eva felt that he didn't intend to anyways. It was strange.

Eva had always been a rather good judge of character and an empathetic. Her gut feeling told her that Kain meant no harm and he was a kind soul underneath. It was her anxiety and PTSD that reminded her of his crimes constantly. It was an internal battle for Eva to figure out how to act around the tiefling, but she tried her best. It was strange to her. She very much wanted trust that he intended to right the wrongs, but she was incredibly paranoid. With good reason.

Ridding herself of her thoughts, Eva dismissed herself to her own quarters back in the castle. There she rid herself of her clothing and proceeded to wash herself with various liquids and water. She decided to surprise everyone today. Instead of adorning just her armor, she wore her noble heirlooms. Adorning her long ears, forehead, and neck full of beautiful jewelry.

The silver band around her forehead was a crown. One inherited from the elven as their leader and one blessed with her title in Narnia. However, she rarely used it for the later title.Today, was a special occasion. She had to take disciplinary actions towards a high officer and alongside rather, Aslan was returning. For some reason, Aslan got joy out of her using her title for the good of everyone. Eva had conflicting feelings. She respected nobility, but she didn't believe she deserved it. On the flip side, she didn't like using her noble linage because she didn't enjoy others feeling inferior to her. It was a personal matter. Regardless, she decided that today could be an exception for Aslan's sake.

After finishing up her tedious dressing with her jewels and armor, Eva made her way towards the fountain where she awaited for Kain. Though her grooming likely took longer than Kain's, her home was near the fountain.

----

"Come then, let's walk instead of stay here. Most people are resting up after the celebration so do not worry about dressing up," Aslan rose back to his feet and started to guide the Dyrad throughout the castlegrounds. Mostly hanging around the large gardens. "I appreciate your gratitude, but I merely gave the orders. I wasn't the one who carried out the action. Your enlistment was my idea, but where you would stay and when you would receive your calling was on the others," Aslan was modest. He wanted thanks given to those due.

Aslan wasn't weirded out by Rinnica's question. It wasn't often someone asked about his wellbeing, but it was a nice change. "I am well. I get to spend my day among good company before I go about my own business again," the lion spoke casually. He strided alongside the dyrad, having to slow his pace since his steps were much larger in size.

"It is good to hear that you are fitting in well. I think it will give you peace of mind to know that Elijah was not working, as you requested. Instead, he was bathing. I picked the wrong time to meet with him, so we rescheduled to larger in the day. Besides, shouting across a lake to one of my soldiers isn't the most regal of things for a king, yes?" Aslan turned to look at Rinnica with that face that threatened to give a low chuckle at any moment.

"What do you think of the people here? I know you have met my child, a few of the high officers, and other rescues alongside you at the least." Aslan was curious as to her thoughts. He had the ability to find the answers through ones mind, but he often didn't use the power. He rathered having conversations and not invading ones private thoughts. Same went for prays or mindless daydreaming. He picked and chose who he heard and when, mostly based off necessity of his aid.
 

artisticheart

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In casual clothes, one of the kings of Narnia was roaming quietly. He had lots to do yesterday, and it was the same as today. He mulled over his plans - assemble the soldiers, reward them for working during the celebration, throw them a private banquet and dance... He finally started groaning, thinking about everything that had to be done. "Edmund, you've got to do something!" he said to himself.

Suddenly he froze and checked to see if he was alone. When he saw Elijah outside polishing his weapons, he sighed. "Sir Eli," he greeted awkwardly. "I suppose you heard that?"

--

Kain wasn't going to push it any further and nodded. "It's progress, no?" he responded. With that, he began to go into the bathroom to clean up as Eva went to her own bathing. "I'll see you then. Try your best to stay calm," he said.

Kain went into the restroom, sighed heavily, and began to turn on the water for a shower. Once in, he quickly began washing his hair first thing. He too could not stand the feeling of matted hair. Once satisfied, he washed his body thoroughly before getting out. As he was drying his hair, Kain wondered if Eva would be okay today. Night terrors were no joke. He didn't know how frequently she had them, but he knew their adverse effects. Kain remembered his first night terror, recalling waking up screaming in a cold sweat in Jadis' castle. They didn't do much in the way of help, except for a guard to yell, "Shut up!" through the door.

As he was drying off, Kain got a glance in the mirror, specifically at where his horns used to be. He felt the nub gently. It still stung a bit to touch, but it was certainly better than last night. He couldn't help but smirk and laugh darkly. He got his wish, finally. Kain was even surprised that they came off so easily. It was a bit of a shame, Kain was actually starting to get used to the horns again. As for how they came off, Kain decided he deserved it. Honestly, he deserved much worse, he thought.

Kain shook his head and began looking for an outfit. He decided on a simple tunic and brown pants. He put his hair back in a low ponytail, found some shoes, and was soon walking out of the door. Kain walked as how he walked during the festival, with his head down, trying not to catch anyone's gaze. In a few minutes, he began to hear the babbling of the fountain and looked up not only to see the fountain but Eva in full dress.

"Eva..." he said with a blink. Try as he might, he could not hide his surprise in Eva's outfit. It was a stark contrast from yesterday. He didn't want to admit it, but Kain found this look to be rather... stunning. He cleared his throat and said politely, "You look very nice," in his signature stoic voice.
---

"O-Of course!" Rinnica said as she jumped up. She smoothed out her dress and quickly ran to catch up with Aslan. She tried to walk fast but ended up nearly tripping over her gown. Playing it off, she calmly stood next to the Lion and gave a smile. As they walked through the gardens, Rinnica looked around with wonder at all of the plants and bushes and flowers. The thought crossed her mind to ask if she could help take care of them on her off days later on.

"That's...amazing," she said happily. "Still, I mean it. Thank you, to you and everyone." Aslan and Rinnica continued to talk. The dryad was happy to know that the Lion was doing well. "Very good! Hopefully it'll be an easy day?" she asked... and then soon regretted it. "I-I-I mean I know it may be difficult to take care of the whole of Narnia but-- I mean it's not easy and--" Rinnica finally sighed, took a breath, and then smiled at Aslan. "I hope your day goes well, is what I mean to say."

As Aslan told of him finding Elijah bathing, she snickered and covered her mouth to hide a laugh. Rinnica tried not to think of Elijah's potential reaction of being startled, but after seeing the humor in Aslan's face, she finally started giggling. "Maybe not while bathing, heheh!"

"What do I think of them? Mm, where to start..." Rinnica thought for a moment, looking up at the sky as she did, then she turned back to Aslan. "The doctors are really nice and really skillful. Amethyst and Gold I haven't talked too much but they seem kind. Oak..." Rinnica paused and laughed a bit. "Please bless him, sir. He's beginning to be a really good friend of mine. Now Elijah and I had a, erm, rough start. I don't think he trusted me, but I've seem to have won his favor now, at least a part of it. And Eva is great! She's so kind and caring..."

As Rinnica talked about Eva, she began to have a saddened, concerned expression. "I just hope she's able to heal. She told me of what happened long ago, and it hurt to see someone like her be in so much pain. Now as for your child I don't think I've met... wait... You have a child?"

The dryad blinked with a confused face. When did this happen?
 

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"King Edmund, I'm afraid so. I'd offer my assistance, but I'd only be able to do such a thing if given your word not to tell our newest healer that I am working as opposed to resting," Elijah turned to look at the younger of the kings. Per usual, he was complaining about his responsibilities. The exact opposite of how Elijah was himself. The only thing the two had in common aside from the first letter of their names was their stubbornness.

"I have a meeting with Aslan shortly and I'd prefer just one scolding for the day, if at all possible," the soldier looked at Edmond and bowed his head in respect. "Should you wish me to ignore what I heard and carry on with my business, that could also be arranged," Elijah gave a single hearty laugh. It was obvious that Elijah wanted the excuse to stop the mind numbing "relaxation" more than he let on initially.

---

If Eva were the woman she formerly was, she might have joked about her appearance when Kain arrived. "I am a druid after all. Master of shape shifting. Be it with clothes or taking on the attributes of an animal," but the thought went no more but through her own head instead out loud. Instead, her mouth moved in a small smile, but for those that didn't know her mannerisms, one would barely be able to tell. "Thank you," she gave him a small nod of appreciation. It was true she preferred her armor, mostly for safety reasons, but every once in a while dressing up for oneself was enjoyable.

The long sleeves of her dress went almost to the floor. Her gown was pure white, accented with silver. Much like the rest of her body. When she got a closer look at Kain, she had to admit that he cleaned up well too. His hair in a ponytail gave him a more modest vibe. She had to admit, it was odd for her to see Kain in lighter colored clothing. He had been in adorned in mostly Gothic style clothing, and now he had but a simple white tunic and brown pants. "You look practically unrecognizable from last night. Your hair is returned to its former glory, the horns are gone, and you look but a simple human. Asides from the occasional red eyes and sharp fangs, hmm? Maybe a Dhampir would be a more appropriate comparison." Eva was jesting in good humor. Dhampirs were rare humanoids. It wasn't common that a human and vampire found common ground. Most Dhampirs were unwillingly brought into the world, very few survived. They were tragic beings. Yet, Kain's story was anything but short of tragic.

"Aslan is occupied at the time being. He informed me that we would be third on his meeting list. That gives us some time to explore, if you so wish? I know I couldn't give a proper tour with all the commotion yesterday," Eva looked at the man for a moment to await his response before she started to walk through the commons of the castle. Every turn was a new beautiful scene. "Oh, and encase you were concerned, Aslan can send thoughts mentally to others. Telepathy, if you may. It isn't a common thing he does, but he makes an exception every once in a while."

---

"It isn't everyday that someone wishes for an enjoyable day on my end. Thank you, Rinnica," the lion ignored her random errors in her speech. The lion knew that most were intimidated by him, though he wished for them to feel calm and comfort in it instead. In time, the intimidation wore off and the later came true, but the first few times someone met face to face with Aslan, they were all nervous.

"I am also glad that you feel at ease in your new job and living arrangements. Your gratitude is appreciated," the lion continued to walk, before invading her thoughts regarding the garden. "You are free to work on the garden as you see fit. I would speak with Eva to get yourself keys to the shed for supplies."

The lion paused for a moment before chuckling. "No, I have no child by birth. Eva was the one I spoke of and you already gave your opinion on her. Though I care for her no less than if she were blood to me," the lion laughed once more. The idea of anyone being able to tame Aslan in the sense of marriage and a family seemed humorous. He had no intentions of such a thing, instead making it his duty to protect and guide the world. It was his family.

"Oak is quite the character. His manners are not the best, but he means well. You chose good people to become friends with. Elijah is a loner by choice, but an odd one. One who goes out of his way to protect everyone he can, but refuses to accept help or care from others. His explanation is that it makes his inevitable death easier on those who knew him. If that's the truth, it is hard to say. As for Eva, well... she's a complicated one. I think it'd be fair to say that some of that rubbed off from me," Aslan's tail swished back and forth as they made laps around the garden. He didn't wish to go out into more populated areas just yet. He preferred to have as much time as need be to his one on one sessions.
 

artisticheart

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King Edmund laughed a bit and shook his head. "I heard a little bit about your injuries, so don't worry about it. How is the new healer? I heard she was a dryad you saved in the raid. Knows her way around natural and herbal remedies."

"And that's a nice try sir," Edmund began with a bit of a smirk. "If the doctor said to rest, then who am I to reject those order-- Hold on..." Edmund then seemed to grow a bit pale in the face. "Did you say you had a meeting with Aslan soon? And, that means, he's...here. As in Cair Paravel here, right?"

--
Kain gave a nod and a half smile back to Eva. In the small pause of their conversation, Kain looked around their surrounding area with a little bit of caution. Sure, he kept his body fairly still, but the tiefling would keep staring at several different spots in the fountain area with his eyes. He heard Eva talk again and turned to her. "I appreciate it," Kain began, smiling a bit at the compliment. Wow, his appearance actually looked normal, another success he never thought he'd achieved. He raised an eyebrow soon after and gave a slight smirk. "A dhampir? Thanks, but blood doesn't exactly taste good to me," he joked back. Somewhere inwardly he hoped that Eva would catch the joking tone.

"I would like that, thank you," Kain responded. He looked up at the large castle in view, enjoying its artistry. The medieval look always intrigued the tiefling, and it was something that always fascinated him. He wouldn't be surprised if there was a gallery room full of art in there... Eva may or may not have caught it, but Kain's smile seemed to grow more genuine, despite still being small.

He blinked when Eva caught his attention again and turned to answer her. "Telepathy? I see." Aslan did create Narnia after all, so he wasn't surprised on that matter. That being said, it was a long, long time since he tried to speak or pray or communicate however one was supposed to with the Lion. I uh... look forward to seeing you, sir, he said in his mind, not really expecting a response back.

"Well then, Miss Eva, go ahead and lead the way."


---
Rinnica blinked, and the tips of her elf-like ears twitched almost like a cat's as her face turned a faint pink. Maybe she was freaking out for nothing. Reverent awe was one thing, but she knew she was skittish, yet Aslan had not brought up any of her shortcomings. Rinnica smiled thankfully to Aslan with a nod as they continued to walk around the garden.

Speaking of gardens, Rinnica's eyes widened when Aslan mentioned them, and how she could work them when she wanted to. "How did you know?!!-- wait," Rinnica stopped herself and shook her head. "Please don't answer that, I know exactly how," she said, beginning to giggle. "But thank you! Thank you sir!" Eager to know that she could till the garden, Rinnica happily grinned as she started a spin, but stopped herself. Then she thought, why bother? He already knew... and it was high time the dryad started being authentic with the Lion. Rinnica ran ahead of Aslan, spinning like the dancer she was, and then turned to face him as he approached. "Thank yooou!" she said with the happiest grin.

The two continued their conversation and seemed like Aslan had one surprise after another for the dryad. "It's Miss Eva?! Woah..." No wonder she was so kind, Rinnica thought. "That's, that's awesome! I had no idea!"

Aslan and Rinnica talked more about the group closest to Rinnica. When discussing Eva and Elijah, she couldn't help but look a little concerned for the two of them. The dryad smiled a bit at what he said and shook her head. "I'm afraid for them both, really... Eva seems so strong, but after hearing of what happened, I don't understand how she keeps it all together or at least seems like it. And Elijah stresses himself so much, his body, his mind..."

The dryad turned to Aslan. "Aslan, sir? Is there anything I can do to help them? Maybe make it a little bit easier on them if I can?"
 

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Elijah growled under his breathe, cursing the failed attempt of getting out of relaxation. "Yeah, if only if I knew how to rest. All it results in is boredom and getting lost in my own thoughts. If I'm being honest, that never is a good thing," there was truth in his words, even if it were saddening. More often than not he spent his time criticizing every action he had ever done and how he could have done better. Something that started back when he witnessed his father's death. A time where he truly believed the paternal figure's death was solely his fault. Had he been smarter or stronger, he would still have his father as his side today.

Even now, Elijah had to rid himself of such thoughts to give Edmund an appropriate response. "Yes, Aslan is in Cair Paravel. He spoke of some business to attend to. He is currently speaking with the Dyrad healer that I mentioned previously. She's..." Elijah hadn't put much thought into what his opinion of Rinnica was until then. It was true that she found her attractive and kind, but thought nothing more of it. He didn't pursue women, deeming himself unworthy of a lovely companion long ago.

His main excuse resided on the fact if he wasn't strong enough to protect his father, who already held his own as best as he could have, there was no way he could protect a woman. "Interesting, I suppose. A bit of a spaz. A tad like your younger sister, but well...appears roughly around my age? Talented. A good listener. Anything else about her, I can't tell you. Our conversations yesterday were fairly short," Elijah shrugged. It seemed like a decent enough explanation. "May I ask what you so urgently are required to do?"

---

Eva watched Kain closely for a moment even after he prompted her to lead on. His anxiety was easily picked up by her and she played process of elimination to figure out why he was still on edge. Reading emotion was like a sixth sense for the druid. "Here," she stepped forward and very gently moved her pointer finger to the middle of his hair. "If you part your hair in the middle as opposed to at the side, one would be unable to see the small nubs that remain for horns. The only thing that resembles a tiefling is the teeth and eyes, but only one who pays close attention would notice. I wouldn't fret about it. By now, most Narnian's look past race anyways." Her other hand moved to part his hair properly and smooth it out nicely.

"War does that. People forget about such differences when one fights for a common cause," Eva smiled ever so slightly. She was on a brighter mood than yesterday, trying her best to put her best foot forward despite her past view on Kain. Eva gently ran a thumb across Kain's cheek as she moved her hands away from his hair. Some would have thought her behavior to be affectionate, but more often than not Eva was just a motherly figure to all. Even if Aslan hadn't such a big influence on her by being her adopted father, such a thing was true. Her problems disappeared when she was tending to another.

"I'll start with the interior and we'll see as much as we can before Aslan calls, hmm?" Eva moved away from Kain and started to elegantly across the pavement to the interior of the castle. Where they entered was the dining hall. "This is the main cafeteria. Feasts are held here. Holiday celebrations. Big events. Things of the sort. Just a gathering spot. It is generally open to the public, but a guard stays put on each entrance when it isn't. Pretty... normal practice between races," Eva felt like what she was explaining was self explanatory, but she had learned that not everyone grew up the same way others did. In fact, some Narnian's would still be homeless had the war not provided profit, a home, and other basic resources. "To the right is a ballroom. Filled with a lot of musical instruments and a stage for performances. I commonly would go into a practice room to sing or play piano," she said as she pointed towards another opening. Music held no interest to her when her depression set in. She hadn't been able to hold focus on such things.

Turning, Eva led Kain down another hall. "There is a room for art. Reading. A bit of everything. I don't know where your hobbies lie, but there is a large number of free supplies for public use. Feel free to pick up a hobby should you not already have any," Eva sighed to herself. She used to entertain herself with art and formal dancing too, but with what little energy she had, she lost with no motivation.

----

Aslan's brow rose as he watched Rinnica move do her little jig. She reminded him a lot of Lucy when she were younger. Perhaps it was the innocence in a child that Rinnica possessed. One where they could enjoy life for the little things not, letting the hard realities of it be overlooked by the tiny things. A child could be happy that they got their a candy in their favorite color and be happy the entire day over it. More often that not, people outgrew such views on life.

The question of Elijah and Eva's happiness was a hard one. He had felt every emotion and been through what everyone Narnian had, giving him the ability of empathize with all, however, sometimes results would vary. Narnian's had freewill and emotions, making them at times had to predict their actions. Giving advice for Elijah was easier than that of Eva, though he knew his daughter longer. "There is plenty that can be done, though you should know something about both of those people. Elijah struggles with pride. One of the major sins. He has held himself to an unrealistic standard time and time again, only worsened after his father's death. He fears failure, as many of us do, but he lets it consume him. Should you find a way to lift his burdens and change his mindset, it would work wonders for him. Though, know that at the end, it would be him who decides to change. Not you forcing him. I say that not because I doubt your ability to help, but rather I don't want you to instill false expectations."

The lion continued to walk forward, giving a small smile at Rinnica's random giddy gestures. Answering such a personal question about Eva required him to tread lightly. If Eva learned that her father was having such a conversation, he was unsure of her response. He knew part of the elf would be grateful for him caring, but it was also a double edged sword. How much care was too bearing?

"Eva, is a complicated matter. She would never tell you directly, but the woman is dying. Her skin lacks its normal pale hue, almost giving a grey glow to it. Her hair hasn't shown color for so long that I have lost count of the years. These are symptoms that do not appear but on elves closing in on a thousand years. The underlining cause is simply her distress and pain from what she's endured. She lacks the will to live for herself, only finding purpose in helping others. Her and Elijah are similar in that regard, but Eva's has taken a much more dramatic turn of events. Elijah lost his father. Eva lost everyone and everything. I wish I knew how to revive life into my daughter, but even I am unsure," the lion's shoulders slouched just enough. It was apparent that the topic was hard on him, though he carried himself well. "Maybe I am blind because this is such a personal situation, but I do only want to best for her. This death is far from kind and she deserves a purpose." Aslan continued to walk the whole of the garden by the time he was done talking. "Is there anything else? I do not mean to rush such a discussion if you still have matters at hand, but if not, I should be moving on to meet with the others."
 

artisticheart

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Edmund gave him a quiet nod. He knew that feeling too well nowadays. There was always something to do, something to plan, something to organize. It seemed as if there was a neverending list of tasks to be done. "Well, at least try, for your own health," he said. "You deserve it, sir."

As Elijah went through her description of Rinnica, Edmund smiled. He was sure that Queen Lucy would love to meet her if she truly was as Elijah said. "That's great to hear," he said.

"If he's willing, I need to at least greet the Lion once!" Edmund replied. "And if I didn't tell Lucy or the others that he was here, I'd be an outcast for the rest of my life! I'm sorry, Elijah, but I must go at once!"

Edmund started to run off back to the castle, but then stopped. "Oh, come to the castle tonight! There'll be a dance and a dinner for those who served yesterday. If you're up to dancing by then, I don't think the new nurse will mind, but your meal surely will be taken care of!"

And with that, he ran off back to the castle building. He went up the stairs (stopping to catch his breath) and began knocking on his siblings' doors rather obnoxiously. "Everyone, get up! He's here!"

Susan groaned and opened her door. She was up and dressed, but to be disturbed like that so early in the morning was no less jarring. "Edmund, what is it?" she grumbled.

"Aslan!" he said. "He's here!"

And just like that, Susan's countenance changed. "He is?!"
--
Kain watched as Eva moved closer. He stood still, blinking as she parted his hair, smoothed it out, and ran her thumb across his cheek. The whole exchange was surprising, but very much welcome. He simply stared at Eva for a moment, forgetting to respond back to her as a faint pink began to color his cheeks. As soon as he recognized the heat coming in his face, he looked away. "Right, thank you," was all he said.

As they went on with the tour, Kain looked around at the scenery of the castle, a stark contrast from the icy igloo of a castle Jadis once had. The dining room was large, well designed by whoever crafted it. The tiefling would nod and appropriately respond as she went through its functions. As Eva pointed to the ballroom's entrance, Kain tried to take a peak, but could only see a high-rise and a cello and a few music stands. "You sing, Eva?" Kain asked.

As they moved on to the next hall, Kain looked intrigued about the hobby rooms, especially when art was mentioned. "They open this to the public..." Kain mused aloud. "That's thoughtful of them, the kings and queens I mean. Any other royal family would have sealed this off."


--
She waited as the Lion approached her, and began to get a little worried. "Too much?" she asked. She saw the Lion smile at her, and Rinnica grinned back at the Lion and continued to walk next to him. The fact that he seemed okay with her being that quirky dryad she was seemed to lift her spirits greatly. That being said, the next topic took a serious turn, and she listened closely.

The dryad's eyes widened as she heard of Eva's condition. She was dying?! But she was so young for an elf! And Elijah and how he lost his father, those two truly had been through troubling times. Rinnica could see the heaviness as Aslan talked, and her heart broke for all three of them. Rinnica would have reached out to hug him as well had it not been for the fact that it was Aslan in front of her. She'd stay reverent and wouldn't push the boundary - she already pushed it enough with her dance.

"Oh, no! It's okay, please go ahead!" she said with a smile. "Just...again, thank you for everything, sir." Rinnica said with a low bow. "I hope we get to talk like this again!"
 

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Elijah watched Edmund scurry off quickly before he processed what exactly he had been saying. That meant that his evening would be filled with dinner and was dance. Every time, he had gone for the food, but he made an excuse to miss out on the dance. People didn't seem to notice a trend aside from Eva, who was hypersensitive to details. In fact, he recalled making a promise to Eva that he would attend the event at least once. It made Edmund happy to know hid hard work was being recognized. Part of him hoped that Eva had long forgotten the promise, but knowing her, she wouldn't. "Oh for fucks sake," growling to himself, he started his trip back to his own house.

The house he had differed from many of the other officers'. It was built by him and his father over the course of a few months, filled with all different types of personal flares here and there. For example, there were paintings done by his mother hanging inside the house. On the outside porch were pieces of furniture passed down through the years. The house was painted based off a picture Elijah had drawn when he was but a kid. One in which he was prompted to draw his dream house. That was the main goal of Elijah's father in building it. Fulfilling one of his son's biggest dreams, something he surprisingly finished before his ultimate death.

The upkeep on the house wasn't too bad, but every once in a while he got just down soaking in the memories that involved his home. What was once a lively second home for the family was now just a lonely place of slumber for Elijah. As he arrived, he threw his boots off at the front of the house before going inside to try and decide what formal wear he would have to adorn for the celebration later that night.

It felt so odd for him to need to dress up. He had intentionally avoided situations where he should dress up asides from the coronation years ago. Now, he was lost on what to throw together. After digging through his closet, he pulled out a nice pair of black slacks, a white button up, and a red tie. Alongside the clothes, he picked out black dress shoes. He wondered if the outfit would even fit him well. He felt he was far more toned than he was in previous years. This hypothesis was correct. The pants got about halfway on before her thigh muscles prevented them from going the test of the way up. "Great. Now I have to find a tailor," Elijah threw up his hands. He had so little motivation when it came to these types of things, but he threw his boots back on and started towards the shopping district. A scowl ever present on his face.

---

Peter was already awake by the time a knock came on his door. He was the first the rise most commonly between the siblings, and he was halfway through his morning routine before Edmund made the announcement of Aslan's presence. "Oh. That is a pleasent surprise," he sped up his routine and quickly met outside the rooms to find Edmund impatiently waiting. "Did he say why he was visiting? It is a bit random, though a nice surprise."

Lucy ran out the door in her pajamas and was bouncing up and down the walls. "This better not be a prank like last time!" She gave Edmund a nasty glare before going back inside her room to get into better clothes. She put on a nice sun dress and put her hair into a ponytail. It was fairly common that Aslan and Lucy's reunion consisted of some type of playing. By now, it was a habit. Lucy was out fairly quickly and looked at Edmund seriously. "Well, where is he?!"

---

Eva turned to Kain, giving him a small nod at his question. It was true, she sang, but it had been all too long. However, her talent never faded despite the absence of the musical skill. "Yes, but more often than not I sang in druidic or eleven. Especially now that the number of both has dwindled down so low, but occasionally I sang in English," she started to regret mentioning such a talent. It usually resulted in being asked to prove herself, and lately her voice lacked the passion it once did. It was unique and beautiful regardless, but like everything else, she shined the best when in good health.

"The royal family chose to keep it open so long as people don't abuse the priviledge. Which has only happened a small number of times. Usually people would take things that weren't theirs, especially art projects. Since we provide people with pretty much whatever they ask for now, the incidents have by far lessened. Just keep that in mind and put your name on anything you create if you use the art room," Eva walked forward a bit more towards the art room, but took a left right before. There was a small museum with various art pieces, ancient armor, text, and various other trinkets. A room full of history. This room has things locked in cases, unlike the other room, simply just due to the sheer value of what was before them. Halfway through the tour, she was called to her meeting with Aslan. "It's time. We can finish touring later if you so wish," Eva stated walking towards the garden until she saw the lion waiting patiently.

---

Aslan bowed his head in respect to Rinnica, "I appreciate the company. Should you need me, you know how to reach me. My last bit of advice is to say true to who you are. Farewell, dear Rinnica." The lion awaited to hear from Eva and Kain, taking a seat by the center fountain. He idly stretched and retracted his paw to pass the time, occasionally picking at a nail as time went on. Before long, the tiefling and elf made his acquaintance.

Eva was calmer than most would be in Aslan's presence. She walked before Aslan and had a bright smile to her face. He was the one consistent that made her joyful. Aslan acted out of character and pulled his daughter into a hug, using a paw to push her towards him. "It is wonderful to see you, my child. Especially in your traditional garbs," Aslan held a smile across his face just the same before he turned his attention to Kain. "And in response to your message earlier, I have looked forward to our meeting as well, Kain." Eva's arms were around Aslan tightly.

"You feel like you've lost weight, are you eating?" Eva demanded of the lion. Which only caused the lion to hold tighter to display his strength despite his loss in pounds. "I do not believe you have any right to scold me, Ms. Adair. You're not the perfect model for health either. Your dress is larger on you, is it not?" A red hue filled Eva's cheek. He was right whether she wanted to admit it or not. "We will discuss this later. Kain, if you would walk with me," the lion parted from his daughter and got back on his paws to begin his second round of the garden.

"I have learned that you had a run in with a high officer of mine and found herself rid of your horns, yes?" The lion knew the pain even if the horns were no longer visible. He still had others to speak with first, but he decided to speak with the newcomer first. "That is indeed unfortunate and will have consequences for him. There are rules in place for a reason. I apologize on his behalf, and wanted to give you a better invitation to Cair Palvace. Look at this place as your home and sanctuary if you so wish," Aslan looked forward as he spoke the majority of the time, but his voice was easily audible.

"I also see that my daughter is your follower. I plan to instruct her to give you more leniency, but for now it is best she follows you just in the event of you being a target by the cults or another Narnian, though I hope that isn't the case. I'm sure you have questions, so I figured I'd start with the ones I knew of," Aslan took a small pause. "Was it intentional that I sent Eva to your rescue? Yes." Again, another pause. "She is dying, though you likely had no idea. The majority is mental based, though there are physical ailments as well. I wished for her to find peace in what happened those years ago, and to learn to forgive and move on. It would improve her health, though I'm unsure if it is enough. Regardless, I'd rather her not pass away with regrets or a heart filled with hatred," Aslan looked to Kain for a moment. Stopping to smell a flower just in front of him. Tigerlilies of all different colors. Eva's favorite and personally requested flower.

"I know of your calls for help. I know of the pain you've endured. Your reason for your actions. I have acknowledged all of it. I know that you have feelings of doubt and seeking explanations of why I waited so long to step in, even though you are attempting to hide those feelings now as we speak. I assure you, my help was there whether you believe so or not. Though not in the form you expected, which was rescue. Do you recall the rain though no overcast but two minutes before you were to have your own powers used against you? How it was impossible for the fire to start? Or perhaps the time you were being electrocuted by a chair, and the leg of the chair gave out, allowing you to pull free?" Aslan looked at the man for a moment more. Awaiting an answer.
 
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artisticheart

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Edmund began going down the halls, shaking his head. "No it's not a prank this time!" he said. "Elijah the soldier just confirmed it. Aslan was with the new dryad nurse earlier, but I don't know where he is now. As for what he's doing, I'm not sure what, he may be taking care of things?"

"Well if he's busy, shouldn't we wait?" Susan asked, following Edmund. "I mean what if we disturb him?"

"But we haven't seen him since he left the Coronation!" Edmund protested. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm going to go find him! He'll let us know if we shouldn't!"

---
Rinnica bowed low to the Lion with a smile. "I will, sir. Farewell!"

Rinnica began to turn the other way, walking off in the direction of the castle building. The dryad turned around slowly, seeing if Aslan was out of earshot (you know, as if he couldn't hear her otherwise). Once it seemed she was in the clear, she squealed, spun around, and flopped onto her back behind a few rose bushes giggling all the while. Any passersby would see her feet, which didn't quite make it behind the bush like the rest of her body, kicking and flailing with delight.

Finally, she could say she met the Lion! It all felt so surreal. And it seemed that he actually liked her despite her little quirks. With a happy sigh, she laid in the grass and savored the good feelings she had. It was so, so different compared to dealing with her own father. Rinnica had to snicker a bit. If her dad saw the way she was dancing around near Aslan, he'd spank her right in front of the Lion. But Oh-tah (dryadic for Dad) is not here. Rinnica thought to herself with a smirk. She was free to be herself here at Cair Paravel, and celebrated the fact in her mind as her eyes began to close...

Wait, she had to get to work soon! Rinnica shot up to her feet and quickly ran inside. She had to get to the clinic for training, get the potion to Elijah, get dressed in regular clothes before all of that! Rinnica was so lost in her thoughts that she collided right into someone else in the hallway.

"Owww... I'm so sorry, all you all ri-- King Edmund!!"

Rinnica gasped and helped the king to his feet, and quickly bowed. "Queens Lucy and Susan, and King Peter too! Please, please forgive me!"

Edmund shook his head, groaning from the impact. "Its quite all right ma'am. Don't be... wait a minute. You're the dryad Elijah rescued!"

Rinnica blinked and nodded. "Y-Yes sir, Rinnica!"

"Then you've been with Aslan just now! Do you know where he went?"

Rinnica hummed and looked around. "I don't, know for sure. He said he was meeting someone else now!"

"Can you show us?"
"Sir, with all due respect I'm still in my nightgown! I-It'd be unbecoming of me to--"

As Rinnica was talking, Edmund opened a small door close by and pulled out a long shawl that almost looked like a dress. "Here, this should cover you for now!"

"Edmund," Susan chided. "You know better than to allow a young woman to go out not looking her best!"

"But how else are we gonna find Aslan?! This is urgent!" Edmund asked. It had been a while since he had been face to face with the Lion, and he along with everyone else was antsy and excited.

Rinnica stammered a bit, but shook her head as she put on the shawl. "It's quite all right, your highness. I'm willing, so follow me!"

Sir? Rinnica called to Aslan in her mind. Please forgive me, but where are you? By this time, Aslan could have been anywhere. What else could she do but ask?
---

"Is that so?" Kain said with a nod. "I'm sure you do well," he said. He wouldn't push it any further than that.

Kain looked quite intrigued about how the royalty ran the castle. It was almost like it was the largest library. Somehow he thought that Queen Susan or Queen Lucy had a hand in opening it to the public. He knew Susan was quite the studious one. "I'll keep that in mind. Thank you," he said.

As they walked through the halls and towards the museum, Kain's eyes widened. "Mercy..." he breathed, actually showing genuine emotion. He studied the artifacts in the cases, the armor, and especially the fine art. This was... perfect. Soon however, the surprise would give way to a quick moment of fear when Eva said Aslan was ready.

He turned to Eva, then looked back down to one of the tables. "If he's ready... we'll hurry to him."

They exited the castle and made their way to the fountain. When Kain saw Aslan reclining near the fountain, he could feel his heart sink. Somehow he knew deep down that this was going to be a nervewracking meeting. Kain began breathing manually, taking deeper breaths to try to steady himself.

They stood in front of the Lion, and Kain quickly bowed low. "Good morning, sir..." he said. He looked up, expecting to see a stern look... only to see Aslan and Eva greeting each other with such warmth it threw him into confusion.

With the puzzled look on his face, he almost forgot to respond. "L-likewise," he stammered. The playful exchange Aslan and Eva had was... cute. There was no other way to explain it. He just waited it out until Aslan and Eva were done. If the dryad were here right now, Kain knew she would have been giggling for days.

"Yes sir..!" Kain replied, standing up and following Aslan through the garden. He would let the Lion speak, confirming that his injuries were true. Thinking of Cair Paravel as a new home seemed almost unthinkable, too good to be true. He'd swallow his thoughts and continued to listen.

"She's dying?!" Kain gasped with a hushed tone, having nearly the same shock Rinnica had. As Aslan explained her situation, Kain looked forward, then down at the path they walked. He knew his actions had terrible consequences, but to know that one more elf was dying, and dying prematurely because of the mental stress he caused, it floored him. Kain almost didn't notice Aslan stop, and he stumbled a bit to stop himself.

"You--" Kain stuttered once more, having forgotten that Eva mentioned him being able to perceive his thoughts. As Aslan went through the miracles he did quietly for Kain, back his head went looking down at the grass before them. He tried to look at Aslan, but he couldn't no matter how hard he tried. "I... it certainly was not of my own doing, sir."

Kain shook his head as he felt old emotions beginning to surface once more. "You had me live... I could have died or-- as Elijah mentioned, could have killed myself," Kain began. Each time he remembered Elijah's words, he still felt a deep set anger. Quickly he pinched the bridge of his nose to keep his eyes, and his temper, in check. "Yet you had me live... Sir, please tell me, Jadis is...gone, right? It is finished...right?"
 

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Lucy rushed over to Rinnica and grabbed her by the shoulders. She proceeded to shake the girl and have a crazy expression to her face. "We need to know. I need to know. Please, Rinnica! It has been all too long since we've seen Aslan!" She spoke in a panicked tone, with much desperation to it.

Peter grabbed the bridge of his nose, truly embarrassed by his siblings' behaviors. The two younger ones seemed to lack consideration of others at the moment. An odd thing for Lucy, but not all too uncommon for Edmund. "Patience, you two. I'm sure Aslan wouldn't leave without at least some type of interaction with us," he gave out a sigh and removed his hand from his face. Instead, running a hand through his hair to attempt to rid him of some anxiety.

Aslan was busy meeting with the others, but took the time to respond to Rinnica's question. "I'm meeting with Kain and Eva, if this is regarding the Pevensies, tell them I will meet with them later today," he passed on the information before turning his attention back to the tiefling.

Given the news of Aslan being busy, Peter rolled his eyes. "See? He wasn't going to leave us in the dust. Now let the Dyrad tend to her own business, yes?"

Lucy gave a small bow of her head. "We're sorry for our actions. I didn't mean to come off inconsiderate. Perhaps I can make it up to you another time? Name it and it shall be done," Lucy gave a small smile to the Dyrad. There was something odd that reminded her of herself in the Dyrad, even if they had but barely interacted. Maybe it were the spazzed reaction given when she ran into Edmund, which Lucy found humorous for multiple reasons.

"Oh, that reminds me. Edmund is in charge of a dinner and dance for those who worked yesterday while the others were celebrating. It also includes an invitation to all of our new rescues. You're more than welcome to come if you so wish," Peter passed off the information with a small grin. "It should be wonderful. Right, Edmund?" It was almost in an interrogating way that Peter asked his younger brother. He knew how much he dreaded setting up events all too well.

---

Eva sat in the midst of the garden, taking the time to relax as best as she could. She attempted to meditate, but per usual, it was ineffective. More often than not, her mind was filled with anxiety that prevented her from reaching a state of relaxation. Though, she found peace in one thing. Kain meeting with Aslan felt as if it would only result in good for the tiefling. She hoped that it would bring him some peace of mind.

Following this meeting, Aslan was going to sort out the brawl Elijah and Kain. That took some weight off her shoulder. Elijah was a long time friend of Eva and Kain was the reason for so much struggle on her end. Despite that, she didn't justify Elijah's actions. However, she was unsure if she would be able to take disciplinary actions especially since Elijah acted out because of her.

Without meaning to, Eva fell asleep while sitting up against the water fountain. Her eyes were shut and her head drooped, but otherwise it was hard to see that she was resting unless one was close enough to hear her breathing. Exhaustion must have over taken her mid thought.

---

Elijah walked for a while until he came to his usual tailor in the shopping district. The tailor had made almost all of his clothing since he were young, and the man come from his village. Now, he almost felt embarrassed to ask for anything outside of his normal work or casual clothing. "Hello, Smith. If you're not too busy, I have a request," Elijah walked into the building that had an open door and a sign beside it that indicated who he was seeing.

"Elijah! You're my favorite customer, of course I can help with whatever you're needing. Do you need your pants patched again?" The man was older, bags under his eyes and wrinkles all over. Despite this, he was ever talented even with his old age.

"No, unfortunately not so simple of a task," Elijah sighed a bit. He felt awkward, and Smith had been one to tease him for being too rough on his clothing time and a time again. Telling him he was going to a dance was likely to be even worse. "I am required to go to a ball this evening and I need some nicer clothing, actually," he spoke lower than normal.

"You know my hearing isn't the best these days! Speak louder, boy!" The old man prompted of the knight.

Elijah cleared his throat and tried to hid a small red hue on his face. "I'm required to go to a dance this evening. I need some nicer clothing," he spoke louder, but avoided eye contact.

"Oh! Who is your lucky partner!?" The tailor was excited, but followed up with a laugh.

Elijah's face turned more red by the moment. This was exactly what he was afraid of happening. "No one. I don't have a partner and don't plan to, I'm just required to go." There was some truth to his words, but being required was a stretch. It was rather a promise he made to Eva and now he felt like it was backfiring.

"You don't have to hide a date from me! I've known you since you were a wee lad. It is about time you found yourself a wife! You're not getting any younger!" The man teased at Elijah.

In that moment, Elijah felt the most embarrassed he had been since he had accidentally walked out of lake from bathing while a group of children were nearby playing. He had somehow missed their presence and well... it was a bad time. "Sorry to disappoint, but I don't foresee that happening.
Can we just get this over with...?"

To Elijah's luck, the tailor listened. "Sure, I have a nice dress shirt and pants that should be around your size. We can alter them and you should be set for the dance," he walked over to the back room to pull out a white dress shirt and black pants with a nice belt. Elijah couldn't be more relieved that the topic of his dating life, or lack of it, was dropped.

---

Aslan looked at Kain every once in a while, noticing that he was struggling to speak his mind and keep his action in check. Aslan was abit surprised at the directness of Kain's questions, yet he appreciated it. It wasn't everyday that someone spoke so plainly to him and asked questions that were bold. Or not regarding their future in some way.

"Jadis is indeed gone. That much is said and over with. However, I can not promise that something will not rise in her place. Though, we are stronger now. Whatever rises up will be struck down accordingly," Aslan spoke plainly, unafraid of whatever evil were to rise. Times of peace were unheard of. There was always good and evil. It was how the world worked since everyone had freewill. Yet, good would triumph time and time again.

"As for your life, your failed suicidal attempts, and me prohibiting you from death, that's a more complicated matter," Aslan gave a small sigh. These were always the hardest topics to discuss. "Your tasks have not been finished. You have plenty more to do in your life and it has just begun. Everyone has something to bring to this word, even Jadis. She stood to teach others lessons. To not become power hungry and blind to the destruction she caused. However, though you may disagree, the fruit your tree bears is not tainted like Jadis. You have much to offer, even if it isn't clear to you at the time being. Have faith, and you will go far," Aslan didn't reveal futures.

In fact, every action was not planned out as some would believe. That would take away the point of freewill. Instead, Aslan intervened where he saw fit. To teach a less. To ensure that someone doesn't stray too far. Little interventions, such as he mentioned just prior to Kain.

"If I allowed you to die, you'd have learned nothing. You wouldn't be the person you are to this day. I have my reasons, and although they may not make sense to you now, they will with time. As I said before, there will be consequences for Elijah trying to take matters of life and death into his own hands. There is a time for each action, but his was misplaced by his own biases. It may be hard for you to do such a thing, but turn the other cheek. Do not stoop to his level, and I will deal with the rest. No man is perfect. See it done that you should forgive his actions, but that does no mean you have to forget. Instead, forgive and move on. Dwelling on it will do you no good. I know that is easier said than done. I ask that you trust in my words now that you're aware of some of the things I have arranged for you," Aslan looked at Kain for a moment and proceeded to sit. "I believe there is no more needed to be said on my part unless you have farther questioning?"
 

artisticheart

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In the shock of it all, Rinnica just let herself be shaken around by the young queen. As she was being shaken, and as Susan pulled Lucy off of the dryad, Rinnica thought to herself, Wow, I'd probably do the same had I known Aslan was here. Rinnica wasn't the odd one out when it came to her excitement, so that felt a bit relieving to see. That being said, she tried her hardest not to laugh at this. Four children of royalty and she was older than all of their ages combined. It was adorable.

In that moment, she felt Aslan talking and quickly turned around to face the siblings. Thank you, sir! she replied, and relayed to them the message.

Edmund sighed, trying not to look too embarrassed about everything. "Forgive me too, Rinnica," he said.

Rinnica shook her head. "Everything's quite alright! Just one thing, Queen Lucy," Rinnica began. She bent down close to her. "If you and Aslan are willing, I do want to join in and play with you guys too, okay?" Rinnica whispered with a wink.

At the mention of the ball, Rinnica stood up and bowed to Peter. "I'd love that! Thank you!" she replied. Rinnica handed off the shawl to Edmund, who was trying to keep a polite face despite Peter's words.

"Right, yes, it will be," Edmund said, giving him a dirty look away from Rinnica. "And with your help, I'm sure it will be perfect!"

Just then, an attendant - a badger - came scurrying along the floors and the furniture in the hallway. "Pardon me, excuse me," he said hurriedly, brushing by the dryad who jolted in surprise as he moved past her feet. "King Edmund, you're not going to like this, but the performer scheduled this evening has come down sick!"

"Oh no..." Edmund breathed, looking exasperated. This was why he didn't organize anything - something bad always had to happen. "So what then, do we cancel that portion of the ball or is there someone else that can fill in?"

"Um... King Edmund, sir?" Rinnica chimed in shyly. "I think I can help."

---

Kain took in the Lion's words almost hungrily. What Eva said was true, talking with Aslan really did give him a sense of peace and a sort of cleansing. Aslan really did see everything he went through, how else could he have described the things Kain seldom, if ever, spoke about? Kain actually had someone truly on his side for once. If Aslan was willing, Kain would talk more often with him - as much as he'd allow in person. Kain relaxed further and further as Aslan spoke, and once he was done Kain could only be silent.

Aslan surely was right about this: that it would be hard for Kain to forgive Elijah for what happened. Actually, forget Elijah; what about everyone shunning him the first time he tried to do what was good? What about those henchmen of the ice castle who harassed and beat and talked ill of Kain for all of those years? What about Jadis herself?

Then he realized, Eva had to forgive the tiefling for all of the pain he caused by carrying out Jadis' despicable orders. Even further than that, Aslan himself took the blame for the young King Edmund just two years prior at the stone table. Kain was not front and center for the event, silently protesting Jadis through his absence. Kain knew Aslan did not deserve to die, but he willingly gave it up, and for that Kain's admiration for Aslan grew from afar.

By this time, Kain realized Aslan could probably hear him mulling over these things in his mind. "Looking in my head..." Kain began, "must be pretty loud in there, I bet." The tiefling tried to make a joke of his awkwardness, but he felt like it only backfired. Despite that, he felt he could look Aslan face to face this time, and a small smile played on the corners of his lips. "I don't have anything else," he said. With a bow, he spoke again. "Thank you sir... I mean it, thank you."
 

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Lucy was incredibly excited that she would have another playmate, even if she was aging much faster than on Earth. Despite that, she was still all too fond of playing games like hide-and-seek and tag. They simply weren't too much fun, especially seeing a normally serious lion attempting to hide his large body behind something easily. "Oh! That'd be splendid time! I'd love to have another excuse to play with Aslan!"

Peter looked over at the Badger and gave a small chuckle as Edmund got frustrated. He got a kick out of times like these. "I've told you before, just because one mishap happens, it isn't the end of the world. You just have to be prepared to make a plan B," Peter shook his head and gave a smile at Edmund. Though he was met with a hostile expression.

Lucy did what she normally did and brightened up the moment all over again. "Oh! You dance!? You'll have to teach me some time. If you need to practice something for the ball we should do that! That gives Aslan time to finish up his meetings! There are tons and tons of costumes backstage you can put on if you want, let's go!" Lucy grabbed Rinnica by the hand and practically dragged her away without another word.

"I should have seen that one coming. I suppose I can get a few more hours of sleep for now. Have fun setting up the rest of the ball," Peter gave Edmund a pat on the back almost in a taunting way before walking off back to his room.

Lucy didn't stop running until they got to the dressing rooms behind the stage in the ballroom. "Tad-dah! Look at all the nice clothing!" There were gowns for every occasion. Some fit for queens, animals, beggars, and everything in-between. It was truly an impressive sight. "So! What kind of dance are you going to do? Do you have a partner in mind for when we turn it over to free dancing?" Lucy had a glint in her eye, eager to hear about gossip. It wasn't often she got the fine details of Cair Palavace. "Gossip shouldn't be a hobby of a queen!" She recalled being lectured of such a thing over and over by various people. "Have you already found someone you're crushing on!? What about the guy who rescued you? That's kind of cute to crush on your rescuer!"

---


Elijah endured a bit more of badgering from the tailor about his personal life, although it didn't get very far. "And why shouldn't you get a wife and settle down, hmm? Your father would have loved to see you happy and tending to children," Smith insisted, wagging a finger in his face.

"Don't remind me. I have enough pestering from my paternal aunt as it is! Something along the lines of when I was going to bring her grandchildren," Elijah sighed. His aunt was like a mother to him, since his own mother passed away during child birth. His mother's side of the family condemned him for "being the cause of her passing, so he never knew his maternal extended family. However, time and time again his father said that was a blessing in itself. Apparently, they weren't the nicest of people.

"Oh, come on. Honestly, you haven't thought about having a normal life outside of being a soldier?" The tailor was beginning to take Elijah's measurements and starting to adjust the clothes accordingly.


Elijah ran a hand through his hair, but the old man smack his arm back down since he was trying to get measurements. "Sorry, but I can't say I have. I wouldn't want to be fighting in a war while my wife raises children. I could never come back and they would be fatherless. I can't do that to them. It isn't fair to anyone. Plus, I've heard to horror stories of wives moving out while their husband is gone. I... Don't think I could handle that either," he spoke lowly. He didn't want his children to grow up the same way he did. Without a parent from birth and later orphaned at the age of ten.

"You're such a negative Nelly. Not every wife is a cheater. Not everyone dies at war. And not every child becomes an orphan. They are legitimate fears, but your best judgement would lead you to the right person. One who wouldn't leave because she knows her husband is trying to make the world a better place. Being someone those children look up to," the tailor finished up the shirt and pants and handed them over to Elijah.

"Thank you for your help. What do I owe you this time?" Elijah untied a bag of coins and started to count over his money, but the old man refused.

"Nothing, free of charge so long as you at least take a few moments to think on my advice and try to enjoy the ball, hm?" The man gave a smile, even though he were missing a few teeth.

Elijah didn't know how to respond exactly, but he said the first thing that came to mind. "I can't promise I will take your advice, but I will think on it and do my best to enjoy the dance. I don't have high hopes, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprise. Take care of yourself, Smith. You know where to find me if you need me," Elijah went on his way and left the old man to his business once more.

---


Aslan shook his head at Kain's joke, "Actually, it isn't all that different than anyone else. You'd be surprised at the things others have gone through but are too scared or ashamed to bring to light. That brings up another point," Aslan gave a toothy smile. "You aren't so different from the others as you think you are. Just because your ancestors meddled with dark magic doesn't mean you should isolate yourself. You'd be amazed at some of the things you'd learn if you opened yourself up to the right people."

The lion got to his feet and started to walk back with Kain towards where Eva were. "Your thanks is appreciated, though unnecessary. It is a pleasure to meet with you, I look forward to watching your progress. I do have a request however. If you would, please watch over Eva. She is in need of a friend," Aslan quieted as the couple became a trio.

"Welcome back, you two," Eva greeted warmly. Aslan had approached Eva once again and headbutted Eva's side with his head. Headbutting in felines was considered a sign of respect, trust, and love. Eva laughed, slightly caught off guard, but rubbing Aslan's mane gently. "It appears your talk went well."

"Indeed, but I have to speak with Elijah now. I will catch up with you before I head out. Enjoy your dinner and dancing," Aslan gave a sly smile before turning to walk away. Expecting the questions to follow, so he didn't walk too fast.

"What do you mean dinner and dancing?" Eva looked at Kain questioningly as if he knew, but he looked just as lost.

"Edmund has prepared a celebration for the workers and new rescues since they didn't have the time to celebrate yesterday. Have fun," Aslan quickened his pace and was gone before Eva and Kain could ask anymore questions.

Eva wore a dumbfounded expression for a moment before shaking it off. "Well, I suppose we have plans later this evening now. How was speaking with Aslan?" The elf rubbed off some of the hair from Aslan's mane that had gotten off her dress quickly.
 

artisticheart

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"I know right?!" Rinnica agreed just as eagerly. The dryad then blushed and quickly slapped her hand over her mouth as Edmund and Susan laughed a bit. "I mean, of course," she said, trying to be proper.

"I feel as if I'm seeing double, now," Susan said with a smile, looking between Rinnica and Lucy.

When Lucy gushed about Rinnica's dancing abilities, Rinnica turned a bit pink in the face. She wasn't particularly shy about dancing (she'd be the first to volunteer each time!), but the fact that someone like Queen Lucy was eager to see it was a big honor. Now I just need Aslan to see the dance. Then my life is complete.

"Eep!" Before she knew it, Rinnica was whisked away by the young queen to the backstage area.

Edmund rolled his eyes. "Have fun setting the ball," he mocked under his breath. He supposed that it would be a good idea to follow the girls, seeing as he'd have to see their newest performer's work.

Arriving a little later than the girls, Edmund walked in to see Lucy bombarding the poor dryad with question after question. "Maybe I should have given the shawl to you after all," Edmund remarked.

Rinnica only nervously laughed at that. "Well, to answer your questions, I don't know if I'll have a partner. I was just thinking about dancing with whoever wanted to for the night... and the rescuer, meaning Elijah?" Rinnica blushed at the thought. He was handsome, but... he probably wasn't interested. "H-hehehe, well uh, I think that'd be his choice about that. I mean he just hurt his foot so he may not be doing any dancing for the night and-- oh have mercy, his potion..."

Rinnica huffed as she covered her face. So many things to do! At least she had a valid excuse - helping the kings and queens of Narnia was an obvious first priority, no matter what the task was. She lifted her head and continued.

"I'm sorry about that. Anyway, I don't think relationships are a first priority for him," Rinnica finished with a small shrug. "We'll see. Now about the dance..."

Rinnica grinned happily and motioned for Edmund and Lucy to follow. Should they follow, the three would head to the main stage. "Vi Alana dancing is a little wild. It's respectable, but it's certainly not ballet or waltzing! Allow me..."

The dryad moved upstage and showed off a few moves for example. A shimmy of the hips there, a twirl there, even flipping herself in the air and landing on her feet in a pose. She then turned to Lucy and Edmund. "How was that?"

Edmund looked pleasantly surprised. "That was great!" he said, applauding her. "I think the crowd will love it!"

---

"Uh--" Kain blinked twice, surprised to receive such a friendly smile. The Lion was right, though. Kain did need to venture out and actually make... well, "friends" still didn't seem like the appropriate word. "Acquaintances" or "Allies" may have been better terms but friendships would come in time... Kain hoped anyway. "Ye-Yes sir."

The tiefling followed the Lion back to the fountain. "For Eva?" Kain repeated. The mention of friendship, Kain didn't think it a coincidence with Aslan. "Well, if she'll-- er --have me as a friend..."

He heard Eva greet them, and he nodded to her politely. This time Kain gave a small grin, snickering softly. He couldn't deny that the father-daughter interaction was cute. The amusement on his face gave way to confusion as Aslan mentioned the ball.

"I'm sorry, but did I miss something?" Kain asked. When Aslan explained the night's future events, Kain nodded with some interest. "Thank you," he replied a little awkwardly as the Lion walked off. Kain looked to back to Eva, blinking once more. "I suppose so."

"The meeting... heh," Kain bent his head down with a light chuckle. He turned back to the elf again. "You uh, you were right, Eva. I was stupid to think that hiding from Aslan was going to be a good idea."

"It was a good meeting. I'm glad I talked to him," Kain said. Thinking about what the Lion said, about being a friend to Eva, Kain looked about without really a clue of what to do. "So, since we do have dancing in store for tonight..." Kain began. A hand went behind his neck to rub it gently as he looked away. "Do you want to practice?"
 

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Lucy was laying on the ground on her stomach, her arms propping up her chin as she watched on in awe at Rinnica. "It's lovely! Eva will be pleased to know we won't have to use her as an emergency back up again!" Lucy sat back up, cupping her hands together. "It's very upbeat!" The small queen was intrigued by the whole act.

Though a look of curiosity didn't go unnoticed by Rinnica at the mention of Eva. "Oh, you won't catch Eva volunteering herself for dancing, even if see has a unique twist to it! This one year, we had to have Oak dance on stage to distract everyone while Eva set up the props to preform a dance. She did Aerial Silk Dancing, which isn't necessarily like normal dancing. It's well... in the air, hanging from silk cloth. Normally it isn't done to music, but she made it work. Since then, people have wanted her to teach them how to do the same thing. She accepted a small class, but well..."

Lucy hushed her voice, as if afraid that Eva herself would overhear what she was about to say. "One of the young girl's fell off the silk and ended up falling on her head. She is now permanently paralyzed from the waist down because of it, and Eva hasn't forgiven herself to this day. Nor has she danced since, but anyways! Enough of the sad story, I'm impressed! Maybe if it goes well, you can be a regular performer! Or my personal teacher, yeah?!" Lucy hopped back up on the stage, using her arms to help pull herself up properly.


----

Elijah started on his way back to his house, but a twist of events unfolded and changed his plans. On his walk, he saw a familiar face of a women dressed in skimpy clothing which didn't look appealing on a significantly older woman. She had black hair and ruby red lipstick on among other heavy make-up. "It seems lady lucky isn't on my side these last few days," Elijah said under his breath and started looking around for somewhere to hide.

One second too slow and the woman, who could have easily been Elijah's mother considering her age, squealed out his name. "Elijah, there you are, pumpkin! It is so good to see you!" The woman started to walk over, her breast bouncing as she walked. They were far from contained properly, and that was intentional. "You look so frantic! You aren't planning on running off again, are you now, Eli?"

Elijah felt absolutely sick to his stomach and wanted to take off running as fast as he could, but his injuries prevented him. "I...- N...-" He was at a lost of words, trying to come up with a proper excuse to bolt.

"Oh, is that dress clothes you're holding? Do you have a fancy event to go to? You know I wouldn't mind being escorted by you if that's the case, hmm." The woman didn't know when to quit. She kept coming onto him strongly, and Elijah was more and more uncomfortable by the second.

"I... Yes, I have a dance to attend to later, but I already asked someone to accompany me. Speaking of which, I have to tend to a wound, otherwise I won't be able to dance tonight. I need to go," Elijah started looking for an opening once again.

"Oh! I can't help with tha--" Before the woman could finish, Elijah bolted. He felt the underneath of his foot ripping again with each step he took, but he didn't stop. In fact, he went for the first door he could get to which happened to be the ballroom itself. When he arrived, he threw himself onto the stage and hid behind a curtain despite the fact Rinnica was still there. He put a finger to his lips and practically begged Rinnica to not mention where he was.

As if on queue, the woman came in right after Elijah had and looked around curiously for him. "Oh, Elijah, honey! Where are you?" She called in an attempted seductive tone, but to Elijah it was like nails on a chalkboard. Lucy had a blank look to her the entire time, completely baffled by whatever was going on. "... Elijah isn't here... It's just Rinnica and me. The ballroom is off limits for the day, if you could kindly leave, that would be appreciated," Lucy tried to be as kind as possible, but she too felt uncomfortable now.

"Oh fine. If you insist. But if you do see Elijah, please let me know," the woman disappeared and Elijah dropped to the ground the moment he was free of his stalker. The pain now setting in.

"You have my thanks..." Elijah looked both at Rinnica and Lucy as if they were the savior Aslan himself. He wiped from sweat from his forehead before laying on his back, his teeth clenched. The pain was getting stronger by the moment and he could feel blood sloshing around in his boots again.

---

Aslan seemed to go about his business, meeting up with various people. He knew that Elijah was occupied with other matters, so he once again rearranged his meetings to accommodate. In fact, he went to meet with the Susan and Peter first.

---

Eva was pleasantly surprised by Kain's answer regarding the meeting. She had expected it to go well, but it seemed to have helped Kain more than she originally anticipated. Yet, she couldn't help but smile. That was, until Kain asked her to practice dancing. She had no clue how to react, and anxiety surged through her body in an instant.

"I..." Eva half expected that the question was some scheme of sorts. Maybe even a suggestion by Aslan, so she hesitated to give a response. Although Eva had plenty of beauty, talent, kindness, and smarts, she didn't have men asking to do anything remotely similar to couple-like things. In fact, 99.9% of men were incredibly intimidated by her. Elijah was one of the few that wasn't, but the two viewed each others are siblings more so than friends. "You want ... to dance... with me?" The words came out in pairs of words at a time, with small pauses in between.

The look on Kain's face looked nothing but genuine, which only confused Eva more. She felt at a lost for words, a blush present across her entire face and the tips of her ears. Being embarrassed, lost for words, and confused were emotions Eva rarely felt. However, Kain managed to invoke them all.

"I... suppose we could manage that. I haven't danced in nearly a year, but I'm sure with a bit of practice it will come back. I'd... rather not out in the open though... I.." Eva continued to fumble on her words, and her face deepened in color. Instead of saying anymore, she took Kain's hand and walked with him into the music room they had toured earlier. There, small music boxes could be used to practice to a song. She closed the door behind her, praying that no one would intruded and find the two alone and locked hands.

Eva walked over to one of music boxes and wound it rapidly until it was set to loop for a good couple of minutes. Then she walked over to stand in front of Kain. "Do you know how to dance...?" Eva had only danced in groups or solo, never has a couple. Even in the groups, the members would only interact with one another but for a beat or two before separating. Ballroom dancing was completely different than elven dancing.
 

artisticheart

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Happy to hear that the king and queen of Narnia loved her dance, she grinned happily and joined them once more. "Thank you, thank you so much!" she said, looking between the two siblings. "I really am glad you enjoy it. There are parts of Narnia still that this dance comes as a culture shock to its townsfolk. I'm glad you both are so welcome to it!"

Edmund smiled. "We have many cultures here, spanning even...well, different realms," Edmund took a moment to give a knowing smirk to Lucy. It had been a solid two years after they even discovered that a magical world like Narnia existed. "You don't need to worry here. And should anyone give you any hassle, you have our protection."

"I'm in your debt, King Edmund and Queen Lucy," Rinnica said gratefully.

Rinnica, Edmund, and Lucy continued to talk. The dryad laughed happily as she heard more of Oak's dancing story, and upon hearing Eva's dancing story, she looked very intrigued. "Aerial silk... wow, I'm sure she did a beautiful performance!" she said. Rinnica's smile faded when Lucy spoke of the student's fall. "What?! She wouldn't...?" Poor Eva. Rinnica couldn't blame her, it'd be terrible to try to go to class the next time. "Queen Lucy, a lot of people have gone through a lot of troubles haven't they-- EEK!"

Rinnica immediately jumped, hearing the loud thud Elijah made in his entrance. Both she and Edmund turned to see the slightly frantic Elijah, and when the doors opened to the auditorium, they both quickly knew why. The two let Lucy talk the scantily-clad woman out of searching the theater area, and once she was gone, Edmund said, "Okay, it's safe now Elijah."

The dryad walked over to Elijah. Something seemed very wrong, and it was more than just the woman chasing after him. "Elijah, Elijah, are you okay-- oh no..." Rinnica's heart sank as she caught the faint scent of blood on him. The foot wound. "King Edmund, Queen Lucy, I hate to bother you, but please stay with him while I get the potion--"

"No, we've got it!" Edmund quickly interjected. "Go get your supplies!"

With a grateful nod and smile, Rinnica burst through the doors of the stage and sprinted as fast as she could to grab her supplies, and the potion she was trying for hours to deliver to her new patient.

--

Susan walked calmly and gladly with Peter and Aslan. Truth be told, she was missing the Lion as well. As reserved as she was about showing some of her emotions, she was quite excited to be walking with him again. She enjoyed the talk with the two very much. "Aslan," Susan began. "I know you know about the ball. Pardon me for asking but... does that mean you'll go too?" She understood completely if he opted to decline, but she'd figure she'd ask. If he did go, however, Susan knew for a fact that Lucy and the new dryad nurse would be ecstatic.

--

Eva was in good company, for Kain was turning redder in the face by the moment. The tiefling cursed in his mind. He should have known this would be awkward. In an attempt to make things lighthearted, he gave her an awkward, but kind, smile. "I mean, I don't know much about dancing, but I figured with a partner, well, I can learn quickly."

Why was the process of making friends so nervewracking?! The awkward pauses and shy looks the two were exchanging were almost too much for Kain. The blush on his face only deepened when Eva took his hand and lead him quickly to their practice room. "Honestly... no," Kain responded. When (rather, if) Jadis were to host a party, it would not be filled with ballroom dancing. It was loud, raucous, and full of all kinds of evil. Jadis herself wasn't the rowdy type, but she wouldn't stop anyone from going too far in their merriment.

Eva stood in front of Kain, and Kain stood in front of Eva, and Kain was... clueless, to say the least. "Well, let's see," Kain mumbled. "Where do we start?"
 

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Elijah groaned loudly once he knew he was safe. He knew he was likely to be scorned for making his wound worse, but he would rather be chewed out as opposed to being sexually harassed by some horrifying woman. There wasn't much that bothered Elijah nowadays, but invading his personal space was one that set him off. Elijah limped over to the edge of the stage, not wanting to stain the wood flooring with his bloodied feet. Once he was seated, he pulled off the shoes. There was enough blood to slosh around in his boots. His feet lacked colors and he refused to meet eyes with Edmund and Lucy.

"Elijah! You look terrible! There is no reason for you to be pushing yourself too hard! Who was that woman anyways? A former girlfriend?" Lucy had her reasons for questioning behind her devious little smile. Inside her mind, she was brewing a plan that knew would anger Elijah and Rinnica. Though, she knew how to play the cards right by now.

"Hell no. That woman is far from anything I would ever court," he looked up and had a bitter face plastered across him. "She stalks me. Even molested me when I was sleeping. She snuck through a window and forced herself on me, no matter how hard I fought. I wasn't pushing myself, but I'd rather have bloody feet than experience whatever she has planned...!" Elijah shook his head in disgust. He was angry. Paranoid. And a number of other negative emotions as that moment.

"Oh well, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry. But uh, if you aren't going to the dance with that woman you should go with Rinnica! She was planning on asking you, but you should ask her first. It'd be sure to make her happy!" Lucy used an innocent tone to pull off her act and the only person who likely could see through it was Edmund. Though when Elijah looked away, Lucy shot Edmund a glare to make sure he stayed quiet.

"What...?" Elijah looked at Lucy as if she were insane. "You're kidding, right? I look double her age... I hardly imagine she is interested in me." Elijah immediately came up with some excuse in his mind about this being a joke. He had women chasing him all the time, but Rinnica didn't resemble any of them. Most of them chased for him for his looks, while Rinnica was one of the few women who didn't come onto him right away.

"She's significantly older than you! She just looks young!" Lucy defended case but it resulted in a facepalm from Edmund. A very audible one.

"I'm not sure if that makes it any better," Elijah muttered to himself. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt so long as this elixir helps my feet. It'd keep everyone else away... or so I hope at least," Elijah rubbed the back of his neck. By the second, he felt more and more awkward. "Though I'm not asking with an audience so as soon as she gets back, I'd prefer some privacy," Elijah knew he would only be more awkward if he had royalty eyeing him.

"Oh! There she is! Bye!" Lucy grabbed Edmund's hand and ran off. "We will go work on the refreshment orders!" With that, the king and queen were gone while Elijah was left with dangling bloody feet and a nervous expression on his normally stone cold face.

Clearing his throat, Elijah glanced over at Rinnica before he looked away with red cheeks. "Welcome back," he said gruffly. "Lucy and Edmund said they would return later, but you were free to do whatever you needed here. She also said, you were planning to ask me to dance...? Is that true...?" He tried to look at Rinnica again, but only felt more flustered.

---

"In all honesty, I hadn't planned to dance. However, I did plan to observe every once in a while. I can't guarantee that willl stay the entire time since I still have business to attend to, but I am sure I can squeeze it into the schedule. I don't suppose you have plans regarding the ball, no?" Aslan laughed lightly. None of the children seemed interested in settling down in Narnia. Prince Caspian was an exception, but it didn't last long either. In fact, Susan had turned Caspian down in the end.

---

When it came to couple dancing, Eva had always taken the position of being a wallflower. There was no one that she felt comfortable dancing with, though being a spectator she picked up the moves quickly. Eva had a photographic memory and she knew what to do, however, there was some fear in teaching dance again. Even so, this was ballroom dancing. It was much less dangerous. The worst that could happen was a twist ankle.

"I... well, the male generally leads. So I can be as simple or complicated as you make it," Eva's hands clasped tighters to Kain's. She felt sweat between their hands and she was unsure if it were Kain's or her own at this point. It mattered little. Eva looked down at their feet.

Instead of speaking, she decided to let Kain learn by example. She stiffened her grasp and started moving forward and back, guiding him strongly along. Simple twirls here and there. Giving him a glimpse of his role as she dipped him awkwardly back, a hand holding him from falling.

Eva continued doing this for a while until she felt Kain getting the feel of things. "Do you feel confident to switch roles now?" She was a bit more afraid to be led by the man, but she was trying to be as kind as she could. "Sometimes people add their own twists here and there. Lifting their partner up, things of the sort. Just... what feels right at the moment. That's just how dancing goes. As the dance comes to an end, couples usually slow the dancing down and the woman role would lay her head on her partner and just ignore everything else. There is more upbeat dancing as well, which I can show you but not so sure that's your style." Eva was unsure if what she was saying was even being listened to or if her instructions helped at all.
 

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King Edmund may have seen enough battles to understand bloodshed, but the sight of pooling blood from a wound still irked him. He shuddered a bit and stayed close to Lucy. His shocked face would not leave him as Elijah recounted the story of his "encounter" with the salacious woman. "What kind of person does that?!" he said, almost saying it to himself in disbelief. "Elijah Beryl, I'll make sure she doesn't come around you again. Amethyst and the other female soldiers will escort her out."

Lucy spoke up, and once Edmund caught on to what she was doing, Edmund turned to give her a look. "Lucy what are you--" he whispered harshly, but with Lucy's glare, Edmund only shook his head and huffed. Now wasn't the time to play matchmaker with their workers, and mentioning that the dryad was much older than Elijah only made him groan further, his hand coming to his forehead with a loud slap. "Don't worry, we won't be prying, won't we, Lucy?"

The quick footsteps of the dryad were getting louder, and Edmund felt Lucy's tug to run off. "Lu, hold on!!" he yelled, running off with her.

"Hm?" Rinnica said, coming through to the stage again. "Where were they running off to-- Ah dyoh pa!"

Rinnica immediately ran to Elijah, scrambling to get towels to clean up the blood from his feet. "You poor thing, you've been bleeding this much again?!" she exclaimed, her Vi Alanan accent coming through even as she spoke English. Rinnica almost didn't hear Elijah speak to her.

"What?-- Oh, the dance? Um-- o-one second," Rinnica repeated. She got quiet, continuing to work on cleansing his feet as an excuse for not responding quickly. "Well... I didn't think you would want to dance, so I wasn't.." Discarding the dirtied towels, she pulled out the elixir and opened it - it had a strong yet somewhat pleasant smell - of flowers and citrus fruits. It was better than most medicines. "But, um, if you're willing, I would not mind...dancing with you. In fact, I'd enjoy it, sir-- Eli-- Elijah-- I'm sorry."

Rinnica shook her head, then looked up at Elijah with a faint tint of pink on her face and a smile. "Someone suggested that we go together to the ball, and I thought it would be a fun idea. So... would you like to-- oh no."

Rinnica looked down and saw the bluish-green liquid on Elijah's foot. She forgot to remind him of the intense sting that would happen, and quickly Rinnica held out her hand and calmly spoke. "Elijah. Please hold on to my hand as tightly as you need," she said as the pain came on sharply. Picture dry skin in the wintertime coming in contact with a moisturizer, and it severely burns the hand. This was such pain, except ten times worse. Fortunately, after fifteen seconds, it was nearly gone, and while the wounds were not completely healed, there was a noticeable change for the good.

--

Both Peter and Susan snickered a bit as they caught on to the question. "No sir, not for a long while," Susan replied.

--

Kain kept one hand on her back and the other in her hand and allowed her to lead and teach. It was quite awkward at first, seeming to lose his balance a few times but never fully tripping or falling. After a moment, the movements become smoother and even graceful at times. It was a true shame that Eva didn't teach dance more often.

When Eva dipped him, Kain looked up at Eva and couldn't help but be amused at what this probably looked like: a thin, delicate druid dipping a grown man twice her size - only further proved how strong Eva was despite all that was told about her health.

"I think I understand now," Kain replied as he stood up straight. As she described the various things a dancing couple could do, Kain's cheeks reddened once more as the idea sunk in of how close and intimate the dance was. "Huh...I see. Well, I understand a little bit now. I'll...take the lead then, if I may."

Once given the permission, Kain would go on to lead the waltz. His movements were awkward at first, but became smoother as he got his bearings. Kain would sprinkle in some twirls here and there, and finally ended the dance by dipping Eva with ease and pulling her up close at the end. Given the previous events of getting severely injured, this was a bit of a workout. He couldn't imagine what the more energetic dance would be like, at least not yet.

Kain was sort of frozen in his spot at the end, not having been so close like this before and not knowing what to do. "Well?" he asked quietly. "A good try?"
 

Lillianette

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Elijah was busy watching Rinnica closely as well as shifting his gaze towards every entrance to ensure he was truly free of his stalker. His eyes changes directions so quickly, it was as if he was a poor bunny who heard a fox nearby. Only when the liquid was poured on his feet did he shift his attention back towards Rinnica. He had remained silent up until now, even when the Dyrad "scorned" him.


One hand gripped the edge if the stage tightly while the other reach out to hold Rinnica's small hand in his large one. Despite the strong sting, Elijah did not bear his strength down on Rinnica's hand. Instead, he continued to grip tightly to the stage. Halfway through the entire string of events, he realized that he was holding hands with a woman and his cheeks lit up all over again. "I have a feeling I can guess who that someone that has something to do with this, was..." Elijah said in a dry tone.

"I suppose since I am being forced to go, I can't think of anyone else I'd prefer to go with," Elijah said a tad harsher than intended. It was his way of giving a compliment, he just didn't know how to properly. He wasn't quite sure what sparked the interest of the various women that obsessed over him. He wasn't exactly a charmer when it came to personality. He was in wonderful shape and had a handsome face, but not enough for Elijah to justify women's interest in his eyes.

The stinging from the medication faded away and Elijah's grip on the stage lifted, as did his hand part from Rinnica's. "I wouldn't be offended if you asked someone else to the dance, simply because I'm not the best dancer. The closest I've gotten to such a thing is River dancing. And even that, I had to be so intoxicated to the point I had nearly gotten alcohol poisoning--" He stopped speaking. This wasn't exactly helping his case. In fact, he now had a feeling of worry that Rinnica was judging him. A feeling that he had never had before. Why did he care? What was going on? "Are there any side effects from the medication...?" He asked, the words sorta just stumbling from his mouth.

---

"Hm. How unfortunate. It has been a long while since Narnia had a formal wedding," Aslan said nonchalantly. It almost sounded like a parent asking their adult child when they were going to give them grandchildren. The lion had a smug look to his face, a smirk of sorts.

---

Eva would have been lying if she said she wasn't impressed by Kain's display. He seemed to be a natural, his movements were elegant, and if Eva were being honest, his face was gentle. "A--actually, it was lovel--" Eva was at a loss for words. For the slightest moment, she looked into the eyes of the man who massacred her kind in a different light. Immediately, blood rushed to her cheeks and she started to panic. She looked for a way to escape Kain's hold and immediately ran with it.


The elven woman slipped from the tiefling's grasp and bolted away as fast as she could. At some point, she dropped to the ground and shifted into the form of a cheetah to get herself to her chambers as quickly as she could. Once there, she closed her door promptly as she returned to her humanoid form. She head for the bathroom to look at herself in the mirror, where she began removing her traditional clothing. She felt she had shamed her people for simply having the slightest of thoughts regarding Kain. How could a man so easy get to her, let alone one who had caused her so much pain, even if it were indirectly?

"You're nothing more than a terrible fool, Eva!" The elf yelled at herself, dragging her long nails across her face as if she could scratch away the guilt she felt. "You've gone years without companionship, why are you stupid enough to think you need it now?! Especially from a man who killed everyone! Your parents, your friends, your fellow kind! Some ruler I am... the very reason I refuse the title alongside the Pevensie's!"
 

artisticheart

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Rinnica winced just a little bit from Elijah's tight hold. She silently kicked herself in her mind. She should have known better than not to come prepared. "Yes, well, hehehe..." Rinnica laughed nervously. Elijah pretty much had it all figured out as soon as she asked. She hoped he didn't think anything poorly of the dryad.

The dryad then flinched a little bit. "I'm sorry!" she blurted, hearing the harshness in his tone. "I didn't want to offend you, I just thought it would be a fun time and it would help you get your mind off of stuff and... and... wait." It dawned on her what Elijah actually said. He actually would go? And would go with her?!

Rinnica only stared with wonder as Elijah talked some more, still processing the fact that he agreed to go. Suddenly, when Elijah began to explain his river dancing adventure, she suddenly burst out into giggles. Covering her mouth, she bowed her head and shook with mirth. "I-I'm so sorry, Elijah! It's just the whole exchange and what I was told and then river dancing and--"

The dryad breathed and giggled a little more. "I'm sorry... I'm just floored that you actually want to go, and with me nonetheless. I was worried for no-- ah--" Rinnica suddenly gave a cough, feeling like she was about to say something that could have been taken awkwardly. She didn't want to ruin this good thing already.

"The stinging was it, that was the only side effect. And it's okay. I--I'd rather dance with you if you're going to be my partner, Elijah," Rinnica said with a shy but warm smile. "So... you mean it? You want to go with me?"

---
A faint pink graced Susan's cheeks as she gave Aslan a look. She seemed to ponder the thought for a moment, before smirking back at Aslan. She then turned to Peter and spoke with a pretend-sweet voice. "Well, brother, you've heard him," she began with a grin. "It's about time Narnia saw a royal wedding, don't you think so? Besides... you are the eldest."

Susan seemed to move a little bit closer to Aslan, almost as if to hide behind the Lion. "I mean, the eldest should be first," Susan added, looking to Aslan with a playful glint in her eyes, wondering if he'd play along. (OOC: Sorry for my previous post, forgot you were playing Peter!)
--

Kain had smiled a little bit, but it gave way to concern. "Eva? Is something wr-- Hey!!"

He stumbled backward, into some music stands. "Agh..! Eva, hold on!" Kain called out. He fumbled his way out of the mess he made and ran off to the door to catch Eva, but he was too late. Where in the world did she go!? Better yet, what even sparked that sudden behavior? She seemed just fine earlier, almost to the point of having fun!

She ran away because you wrecked her.

Kain visibly flinched, grateful that no one was around to see him so restless. He looked around for a moment and tried to dismiss the voice, but it came back much stronger in his mind.

You've wrecked her family, her friends, her entire life. You'd be stupid to think she wouldn't run away in the first place!

"Hey!" Kain snapped, turning around to another wall, but no one was there. His eyes suddenly widened. Had all of that stress and trauma caught up with him at last? But not even this happened in his worst moments. Aslan, have mercy on me, he prayed feverishly. Kain briskly walked out of the practice room with his head down. He'd settle things out with Eva later - she probably needed the space anyway.

(OOC: I think we can wrap up these scenes in your next post, and then I'll open up with a timeskip if you want! ^^)
 

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Elijah was easily caught off guard by Rinnica's blurt of laughter. It, surprisingly, gave his a sense of comfort that she didn't respond poorly to his story. In all honesty, he wasn't entirely sure how she would react, but he worried. Even to the point of using the medication side effect as some way to lower his defenses on his filter. Perhaps that was just a placebo effect considering her had been drugged one too many times for his liking.

Again, Elijah's default nervous behavior was to rub the back of his neck. By now, it had to be completely raw with how many times he had rubbed at it especially after sweating from well, running from said stalker. "I... yeah..." he said with even less confidence than his initial question. He wasn't the type to take back his answer, regardless of feeling increasingly more uncomfortable by the moment.

Aside from his own emotional turmoil, Elijah was feeling significantly better. He had let go of Rinnica's hand and was taking a moment to stretch out his feet to test the waters of his limits. There was only the slightest bit of pain remaining. The scars were nasty, but it wasn't as if people were staring at his feet on a normal basis. He normally had boots on and well, once the hair started growing back no one would even notice. As much as he wanted, his body hair was one thing that wasn't so easily tamed. Being one of the primary reasons he always wore long pants, shirts, and boots.

"I should go check on my outfit being fitted. I'd offered to walk with you to the dance around 7, but I have a feeling you need to be here early for preparations. I'll go get cleaned up after my outfit is finished, then I will come back here. Probably volunteer to help with set up to pass the time and keep occupied, especially if it keeps Claire away." Just saying the stalker's name almost triggered a gag reflex in Elijah, "Thank again for all your help and I'll see you in a couple of hours."

An odd urge came over Elijah and he had the feeling to reach out and ruffle Rinnica's hair, started to reach out, then drew back immediately before turning to walk away. He couldn't explain to himself why he felt that way, all he could explain why he pulled back. He almost regretted that just as much as the initial thought because it looked so awkward, but he picked up his boots with two of his fingers. Starting to walk off back towards to tailor, but making a quick pit stop at his home to change into another pair of shoes. The first pair he threw outside his house, knowing they would need to be thoroughly cleaned at a later point in time. For now, he threw on a pair of work boots and headed towards a bouquet shop.

Elijah was greeted by a shopkeeper almost immediately. "Hi there, Elijah! Here to pick up flowers for your father's grave again?" The shopkeeper and Elijah were well antiquated especially after Elijah's father's passing. Back in the day, him and his father got flowers a couple times a year for his mother's grave. However, since his father's passing, the visits were more frequent. Almost monthly he would replace the floors at the memorial ground so they were never dead, regardless of the time of the year.

"Actually no, I was needing something different this time around. Thanks though," Elijah gave a half smile to the older woman. "I have a dance tonight and I wanted to get something for the woman I'm escorting. Preferably something expressing my thanks, since she well... I got injured and she went out of her way to help quite a bit," there his hand went again, straight for his neck. Once again, it was red and tender from touch.

"Oh! Well isn't that lovely! I just harvested some roses, and normally they're used to expressed gratitude. Pink and peach especially mean appreciation and thanks for befriend-ment. Yellow is more around joy. Red is usually a romantic item. Do you want a bouquet with a good mix of colors in there? It'll be on the house this time," the woman gave a wide smile and had a twinkle in her eye. She seemed thrilled to see something pleasant happening to Elijah. She wasn't the only one who knew he had been struggling for years by now.

"I can't accept a waiver of the price. At least let me pay half, if anything. You've always been consistent with lilies for my parents, time and time again," Elijah pulled out a bag with coins in it, starting to count out the normal price of the flowers without letting the woman know. "Oh fine, I suppose half will do. Let me get those prepared for you!" The woman went to work straight away creating a large bouquet of various roses, specifically getting the fullest of flowers she had. She wrapped them in a nice silk cloth before tying it off and handing it to Elijah. "Here, hun," the woman smiled and handed off the flowers, her hand out reached for the money.

Elijah poured the change into the woman's hand, but her face gave it away that she was onto his tricks. "Hey, this is way too much," the shopkeeper began, but Elijah was already onto his next step of his plan. "Sorry, I can't quite hear you over the carriage," He pointed to the horse pulled wagon nearby. "I've got to be going, thanks again!" He walked off quickly to prevent the woman from handing him back his money. "Elijah! You sly fox! Get back here!" Elijah chuckled under his breathe, "Sorry, Cecelia, I can't hear you! We'll catch up another time!" With that he was off to the tailor to wait on his nicely created white buccaneer like shirt and black slacks to fit with them.

---

"Yes, I could see where you could get such an idea, but I do think it is worth mentioning that I've never had a girlfriend. You have me beat when it comes to the dating game. It wouldn't be fit for me to find a woman, elope, and barely know the girl now would it?" Peter had a funny look to his face, clearly onto Susan's scheme. This type of thing happened all the time, and with age, he learned to deal back whatever was dished just the same.

---

The next hour or so for Eva was hell. She spent time rubbing at her skin, going over every flaw she ever had, and stressed herself to the point that she was hurling up into the sink. She stood there, staring at her frail naked body and traced over where she felt her ribs. Something that was fairly new. She was becoming more and more sick as time went on. Eating was a chore. Even when she managed to get a meal in, she rarely kept it down later due to negative emotions taking its toil on her.

Even though she had been working more than she had ever before, you'd had thought she would have tanned from being out in the sun. Again, it were the opposite. She was pale, and it was concerning. The basic tasks needed to survive were not easily obtained by Eva. Sleep was filled with night terrors. Food was met with up chucking at some point. Water was replaced with alcohol to numb herself from some of the pain, but that was a vice she kept behind closed doors. On top of that, she had various herbal medications daily to kept with nausea and overall mood, but her body had built up a tolerance to them at this point.

Some time later, Eva snapped herself back into some form of reality. She changed into a different gown, one flashier than the previous, but just as elegant. She braided her hair and made herself some type of crown out of some of it to encircle the other long flowing locks that were unused. She adorned some silver jewelry like before and attempted to give herself a pep talk in the mirror.

"Just a while longer, put on a smile. It is just a few hours. It'll keep concern of others at bay. You can do this. You've been through much worse." Her talks normally consisted of the same material twisted into some other depressing spew of words, but with the same meaning each time. Putting on a mask to hide the truth of what was going on. Then anxiety set in. "Will he even come after I ran off...?" Eva sighed, she figured she might have blew it already. "I suppose if he doesn't, that is just less time acting," she mumbled lowly. Sitting on the edge of her bed, lost in her own thoughts as the clock ticked by.