((Re-cap first of previous posts for reference.)) ~~ As the day had drifted by, Raegon Talos, the 21 year old Prince of the land of Ankadi, had been doing nothing but getting into mischief. He'd recently found out that he was set up in an arranged marriage and though he didn't mind the idea of marrying, he wanted it to be someone of his own choice, not some random person that he'd never once in his life met before, and not while he was still young especially. Rae was an only child so he had no siblings to fight over the crown with when it came time for him to take it; though his time lately had been spent mucking around and causing as much trouble as he could in hope that it would change his father's mind over marrying him. Yes, he was quite immature, and it was solely for the fact that he'd spent most of his life learning how to be a prince rather than going through a normal childhood that he'd been so jealous of other children for being able to do. Finally out of trouble, for the moment, he headed out towards the stables though it wasn't just horses that were kept there. He'd been out hunting once and had found a small griffon chick... Or, cub, whichever it was meant to be called. He'd snuck it home and of course had had the biggest laughing fit he'd ever had when it had scared his mother the first time. That was about 4 years ago, and the young griffon had finally frown to a more mature size and was waiting eagerly for his arrival. "Hey buddy..." Raegon chuckled as he stroked the creature's beak, "I'm not staying long. Gotta go find your girlfriend." He loved to tease, and he was referring to his own life-time friend, of whom Katyr had taken a strong liking to; Katyr being the griffon's name. Gwendolyn Achard was probably the least approachable person right now, seeing as there were only so many ways a person could respond after being told that she was getting married. It was news to her, and it was completely unreasonable. Marrying off a woman that could hardly look after herself seemed highly unlikely to be the right choice for an arranged marriage to form a peace treaty. More than anything, she'd probably just make the fact that things were unsettled among different kingdoms worse, she did have a tendency to do that. Mostly, she remained in the common area of her chambers, for no more reason than any other person might have, but today she had taken to walking. It wasn't as though someone would be looking for her, apparently scenes before nobles wasn't the proper way to make people want to listen to people. In her mind, it was twisted around. Shame on them for letting a stranger break the news to her. Right now, she didn't want anything but to be a normal child, running around barefoot and pricking her fingers with needles while she sewed to make a living. Anything but being a wife really. Her parents would have to realize their mistake soon, though they didn't have another one of their offspring to sacrifice, so their daughter would have to take the fall. She picked up a pebble along the bank of the creek that ran diagonally across the land, skipping it against the current while she happily awaited the arrival of her long-time friend. She knew he was coming today, even though he was probably still not completely off the hook. From what she'd heard from some individuals, the prince was acting out like no other could manage. When Raegon began to walk away from the stable, Katyr let out a low screeched whine as an indication that he wanted to tag along. With a smirk on his face, the young prince turned back around and walked back to the griffon's gate, unlocking it and then opening it. "You better behave now." It was a light warning, knowing that Katyr behaved more than he did on most occasions. The creature let out a loud, happy sounding squawk and allowed Raegon to then climb onto his back. Needing little encouragement, the giant lion-cross-eagle ran out of the stables and with a few strong flaps of his wings he was up in the air, soaring over the trees and heading straight for where he could smell Gwendolyn. Not a few minutes later, Katyr started his descent and well... He was a brilliant flyer and could take off perfectly, but his landings were still clumsy. Raegon let out a yell for the young woman below to watch out as the griffon went tumbling across the ground upon his rough landing, leaving a laughing Raegon a few meters back. "You silly beast." He chuckled as he got to his feet, grinning over at Gwendolyn as soon as he saw her properly now that all of Katyr's loose and lost feathers had settled to the ground and the large creature came crawling back over, looking more like a puppy seeking attention as he nuzzled the woman's back with his beak. "I still can't figure out what it is that has him so attached to you every time, Gwen." Raegon mused as he finally got to his feet and walked over to her, his casual smile never leaving his face. She wandered further down the creek, waiting for her friend to show up at the usual time for their afternoon conversations. Anything to get her mind off the real world and all it contained, that was what she wanted. She looked skyward at the sound of beating wings, rolling her eyes and not thinking much of the young griffon that Raegon was using as a mount. She found the creature quite adorable, though it didn't explain why he had such an odd attachment to Gwen. It seemed unreasonable to flatter herself by saying that really it was just because she was superior to Katyr's keeper, but she and her best friend knew otherwise. It wasn't like she had vast experiences with creatures that most chose not to believe existed, seeing that this was the first and only griffon she knew. At a shout of warning, she sidestepped as the pair tumbled to a stop. The young man on the ground was laughing and she grinned at him. "He really needs to work on his landings." She commented by way of hello. Gwendolyn watched the feathers settle, and she turned around, giving the griffon a hug after he nuzzled her, giving him the usual compliments of 'What a fine bird lion you are.' among others before she looked to Raegon, seeing that he was already on his feet, clearly uninjured by the terrible landing. "You've raised a rather vain creature. I feed his ego." She told him lightly, smiling up at the man. "So what's new with you, Raegon?" She inquired, choosing to keep all wedding talk from this conversation if at all possible. Raegon was still grinning as he came to give his friend a brief hug, and Katyr settled down beside the water as he took a drink. "Yes you do, and I know he does. We've been trying to work on it but he has a very bad sense of judgement when it comes to the difference between him and the ground. We'll get it eventually. And as for me? Well... Just getting into mischief as usual. Actually, there's something I'd like to talk to you about." He felt he desperately needed to tell Gwen about the arranged marriage. Rae walked over to where a tree was laying partially across the water and climbed up onto it, waiting with his hand held out to see if Gwen would take it and join him. "My father has decided that it's time for me to get married. Can you believe that?!" She hugged him back before flashing another smile his way and watching as Katyr went down to the water. More than anything, she was fascinated by the griffon. "That doesn't explain why you ride something that normally sends you tumbling before he follows suit." She remarked, rolling her eyes. When he continued to fill her in on the fact he'd been getting into trouble, she knew that nothing had changed with Raegon while she was off in her own little world, trying to determine how to get out of a marriage she didn't want to be in. She had no desire to marry any man at the moment, and especially one that her parents got the executive decision about, without consulting her. She followed him to the tree, taking his offered hand, climbing up much less gracefully and settling on a branch. "Really now? There must be something in the air. My parents are talking treaty in exchange for my hand. Nonsense, if you ask me." Gwen couldn't imagine her friend being married. Something about him was far too spontaneous for a married man. Laughing at the incredibly true statement, Raegon gave a simple shrug. "It's something that I need to work with him on, which is the only reason I do it besides the fact that it's a lot of fun and people tend to freak out and get all worried." He rambled with an impish grin, always having loved it when other people fussed over him in times that they thought he was injured when he really was perfectly fine. Turning to face her a little better once he had perched himself well enough so that he wouldn't fall, Raegon raised an eyebrow as the woman spoke of her own marriage. "You're kidding? Ugh, what is it with parents lately. Are we so incompetent that we can't find out own partners or something?" He sounded more like a whining child than a man of his actual age. Though that was just part of who he was; whenever he got the chance, Raegon was a free a spirit as he could ever hope to be. "But seriously. That sucks." He gave a playful pout, not at all expecting Gwen to go through with it knowing just how much against the idea she was just from her body language and tone of voice - he didn't blame her. He was too, but he just had an entirely different way of expressing his loathing. "You, sir, are just as bad as your noble steed when it comes to attention." She teased with a roll of her eyes. He had a smile she knew all too well on his face, and she rolled her eyes, knowing reasoning with him was no better than chatting with a rock. You weren't going to get the response you wanted, so she decided to let it go just as she always did. She rested her back against the tree trunk, using the rest of the branch to cross her ankles on. She wasn't being the princess at the moment, she was just being a girl sitting in a tree, though it was a bit absurd that she was wearing a dress through it all. No helping that, though. She grinned and laughed outright at his whining, not having a good answer for him. "Haven't had any problems finding our own entertainment before, I don't see why this should be any different." Raegon was rather good at acting like a child, not that she could blame him. Life was so much easier when you didn't have any responsibilities. She stuck her tongue out at him when he began to pout. "Can you imagine us, married? The world would surely implode if we were to have children." She said, trying to find a lighthearted part of the topic. She wasn't much a fan of children, not that it really mattered. If it was up to her, she was going to avoid having them with this man she was supposed to marry. He'd been about to reply to her comment of being able to entertain themselves when she'd gone on to talk about them being married and with kids. Well that was the end of Raegon for at least a good 5 minutes as he burst into laughter, barely able to breath and just about falling off the branch and into the water below; thankfully he regained control of himself before he could fall off, though, and finally calmed down enough to shake his head with an incredibly amused expression on his face. Even Katyr had looked over from his spot beside the water to see what was going on that had caused the outburst. "Gwen, you're the funniest girl I know. But in all seriousness, I think you're right!" He chuckled as he lent back against the wood and let out a content sigh, "They'd be like little untamed animals running free and causing trouble." He tilted his head sideways and flattered his lashes with a cheeky grin, "Just like me." She had expected Raegon to state his response, but instead watched as he laughed, a bit worried that he'd fall off his branch. It probably wouldn't have phased him much more than any other spill he'd taken in his life. She'd have sworn he was made out of sponge if she hadn't hugged him time and time again. Then the laughter ceased and he straightened himself back up. Gwen looked at him, having to wonder if her friend had some kind of handicap that made him so easily amused. She knew better, as he was probably smarter than she was when it came to times of seriousness. She rolled her eyes at what she took as a compliment. He seemed rather happy, and she was a lot happier herself, seeing as they'd gotten off the subject of their impending marriages. "I don't know how I'd feel about raising a small version of you." She told him honestly, knowing just how he'd been when he was younger, as she'd been running right alongside him. "We'd need to keep leashes just to let them go into town." She had been threatened with that many a time when she had first learned to run, able to find hiding places just about anywhere. Raegon smirked, "I don't think a leash would do it. More like a cage on wheels maybe." It was at least an incredibly amusing thought, if nothing else. Katyr then came walking over, putting his feathered head up on Gwen's lap, tilting it sideways a little as if to indicate he wanted her attention rather than it being given to Rae. Though he knew the pair didn't know what it was that drew him to the girl, it was in fact quite simple. "Y'know... Maybe I should try and find a female. That might be what it is that has him so attached to you?" It was as if Raegon had read Katyr's mind, which, as the creature could understand what his young master was saying, kind of creeped him out a little. "I mean, it would make sense that he's attached himself to you as well as me -me because I found him and brought him up, and you because well... You sort of did too, ad you're the only female in his life that he's taken any sort of a shine too. What do you think?" "I do believe most people would frown upon you caging your children as though they were dogs." She pointed out with a laugh, looking down to her lap when Katyr walked up and basically demanded that she give him the attention he believed he deserved. She ran her fingertips over the creature's head, wondering what was so wonderful about her as opposed to Raegon, who supplied his with everything including shelter. She looked away from the griffon in her lap, brow quirking upwards. "And where do you propose finding a female griffon? They aren't exactly commonplace around here." She said, flashing an apologetic glance at the creature, hand running over his head gently as she listened to his reasoning as to why Katyr probably just wanted a female. "Well, whatever female you find him, make sure she's a doting creature, as he seems to really enjoy that sort of thing. Your reasons make sense, but the fact of the matter is, how do you go about finding another?" "Hmm, you're probably right about that. Definitely wouldn't win me any prizes." He chuckled, unable to picture himself in a proper fatherly figure without stuffing up somehow. Raegon lent back and watched as Gwen stroked Katyr, shaking his head with a soft sigh as the woman spoke again. "I haven't the foggiest to be honest. But... I'm sure I could manage - if I could ever get out of this marriage business." He mumbled, frowning a little, "You sook of a thing. Grow up." His tone was teasing and it was made even more obvious by the grin that danced across his lips as he watched the pair, knowing very well that he was just as bad. Leaning his own head gently against Gwen's shoulder, Raegon let out another sigh, "Y'know what would be fun? Running away together." "I could see you attempting to try that sort of thing out though." She teased, using the tree as a leaning post. She looked at the griffon, who was completely fixated on where her attention was and making sure that her hand was always on him, not Raegon. The creature was so very odd, but he knew everything that they were saying about him. She could tell he wasn't such an ignorant thing as a horse. "Getting out of this marriage bit does seem to be the leading cause of our troubles." She remarked, laughing at his teasing. "Oh yes, because you're one to talk." She pointed out lightly, her own eyes taunting. When Raegon leaned his head on her shoulder, she smiled and rested her own head upon his. She drew away slightly when he suggested it would be fun to run off. "Yes, because running away would have absolutely no negative repercussions. I'll pack my bags." She teased, shaking her head. "Of course!" Raegon grinned playfully, unable to not feel incredibly relaxed as he spent time with Gwen away from the eyes of anyone else. He laughed at her reaction though, about running away. He hadn't expected any less. "Mine are all packed and ready to go," He sounded serious, before he laughed again, "I'm kidding. But still. It would be nice to be able to escape this whole ordeal. I don't see why we can't chose for ourselves who we are to marry." Letting out a sigh, Raegon slipped forward, getting off the fallen tree and although he landed ankle deep in the water beneath them he didn't care, and walked the few extra feet to the shore and looked around with a distant look on his face. He felt weird, as if he could sense something was going to happen. "Escaping would be both good and bad. I don't know how accepting some places are of griffon companions, and I'd hate for trouble to be caused by that. Of course, we wouldn't be getting married either." She winced as what she called a terrible thought struck her. "Are we still going to run rampant together once we get married? Because I really don't want to give up a friend for some guy I'm pretty sure I won't like at all." She heard the light splash of him landing in the water, and while he was willing to get his feet wet, she was not. She easily moved between branches before hopping down into the grass. She looked at Raegon, whose facial expression was considered odd, even for him. Gwen made a face. "What's up?" She asked, he'd suddenly become almost distant, which was odd in her educated opinion. He picked up on things easier than she did, so as a general rule she was one to trust his thoughts on certain matters. Though he had planned on replying back to her continued conversation of running away, Gwen's voice didn't break into his mind until she asked what was up. With a simple shrug of his shoulders and a shake of his head as he snapped himself back to reality, Raegon turned to look at her, "No idea. Something feels... I dunno, off? I should probably be getting back home, and so should you." His tone held a level of protective warning in it and even Katyr had been quiet the whole time once he'd gotten the attention he'd been after. Coming to stand between Raegon and Gwen, he cocked his head to the side before nudging his master's arm as if to tell him to get a move on. "Or you can come with us? Either way as long as we don't stay out here..." When Raegon came back down from wherever he'd been, she didn't especially like what he had to say to her. Gwen frowned slightly, but nodded. While she wasn't getting an atmospheric reading, she knew enough to trust Raegon and the griffon, and both of their antics were pointing at something strange happening soon. She grimaced at the thought of leaving their normal meeting spot, because it meant that they were going back to reality, where there were weddings to be plan for and women to fuss over the smallest of details. "If you're certain about this, Rae, then I'll go." She told him, looking around. Now that she thought about it, there was a tension to the air that was nearly tangible. "Perhaps I will go along with you. Put off my mother for a little bit longer." She told him, head tilting slightly. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Turning back around entirely, Raegon nodded his head and began to climb onto Katyr's back, holding a hand out to Gwen. "I'm sure. I'm not sure what it's going to be about but... I just want to make sure you're safe - and that's either you stuck at home, or with me." His features had relaxed a lot despite him still being on full alert. It was something to do with the Kingdom, he knew that much, and that in itself was a bad thing. Though whether it was something internal or external was yet to be discovered. "So long as it's not an attack though, I think we should be physically ok." He added, not wanting to raise too much of an alarm yet without knowing all of the details.