Peace Among Wars [1x1 with Kuroh]

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  1. Aderes was currently in her full armor, standing straight and tense with her face unreadable and stoic behind and to the left of Prince Alevi and His Majesty King Kane. She positively abhorred public courts, but part of her duties was to accompany Prince Alevi whenever these took place. However, today she had a particular disdain for the court for today the King was introducing some new 'guests' (and Aderes uses the term loosely) into the palace to stay for an indefinitely period of time for 'peace talks.'

    Although trying to ignite a war is hardly my definition of a peace talk, she thought, inwardly scowling, although her face remained unchanging. Beneaze has been at war on and off with Illian for centuries, and the recent times of peace have recently been disturbed as groups of armed men have begun invading the towns in Illian that border Beneaze. Aderes was filled with a sense of dread as she stood there, as if something was soon to happen whether she liked it or not.

    Mentally shaking off the unease she felt, Aderes lifted her chin and squared her shoulders as ambassadors, lords and ladies from Beneaze presented themselves in front of the court, King and Prince. She eyed the men and women warily as they began to speak and her eyes scanned the room in case of a threat. Momentarily, her eyes skirted to Prince Alevi. She wondered if His Majesty had the same feeling in his gut as she did, she wondered what his opinion was on the matter.

    The sound of the ambassador of Beneaze, drew Aderes' eyes back to him. "We came here on behalf of our country, Your Majesty," the man said with a bow. The King remained unfazed. "We wanted to address the issue of the recent attacks on your border towns and cities. We investigated to find a group of rebel soldiers were responsible for the attacks and wanted to assure you that they had no attachment to the Beneacians and the Crown itself," the man said sounding sincere.

    Liar, Aderes thought, even as her face remained impassive. The soldier were wearing the colors of the Lord Byron of Beneaze, our patrols that we sent saw you. I knew those men, your Lord Byron killed. Yet even as she thought this, she did not speak a word, although her brows furrowed and her lips pursed into a thin line. She was not fooled, and from the looks of it, neither was anyone else in the room. However, acknowledging that a lord of Beneaze had attacked Illian towns was an act of war, and no one wanted war right now.

    The King said nothing for several moments and the room is tense. "A full investigation will be launched to find the cause of these attacks and put a stop to them before more of my people die," he announced. "Until then, you are all welcome guests at the palace and in a short time, a banquet ball will be held as a way to welcome you to Illian."
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  2. The expression on Alevi’s face as he stood next to his King and father could only be described as one of malcontent. He was not pleased to be standing in a room filled with the Beneaze and other noble men and women, or that he had to appear polite and confident, but not cocky; pleasant and welcoming, but not too much so. It was all politics and overly strained niceties, and to him that meant Hell.

    It wasn’t just that he had to act the noble Prince, but also that the entire situation was both nerve wracking and boring all at once. Standing for such a lengthy period of time was entirely too monotonous for Alevi’s tastes, but he couldn’t make one wrong move, even out of boredom, lest he accidentally start a war. Neither his father nor Aderes would be too happy with him if he were to do that. It didn’t help that the room was so tense he thought it too dangerous to step even a toe out of line, which was in and of itself a very rare thing for the Prince.

    With a barely noticeable frown, Alevi glanced over the heads of the various nobles who had come from the neighboring kingdom. He was uncomfortable being so near them, and felt almost certain that something was going to go very wrong should they stay in the palace for too long. Fortunately, for now, Alevi felt safe enough, seeing as Aderes stood so close behind him. He wanted to turn around and roll his eyes at her, but didn’t. It would be seen as impolite to turn away just as the ambassador of Beneaze started speaking.

    Alevi couldn’t help but clench his fists as he listened to the pretentious son of a goat spin his tale of lies. He knew just as well as everyone else in the room that the attacks had been by soldiers of the Beneazian crown, not rebel soldiers. But, despite his high standing in the court as son of the King, Alevi had no right to say anything here. After all, not even he would want to start a war, no matter how great the feeling of swearing at the ambassador would be.

    Please, just let the pleasantries end, already, he thought to himself, lips curving downwards and his eyes narrowing slightly. He glanced towards his father and caught the look of polite dislike on his face. How proud Alevi felt that his father had let even that much emotion show in front of the court. Although, he was slightly less proud once His Highness announced the ball that would be held in their honour.

    It was clear that the King was done with the talks with the Beneaze for now as he ended his speech, and Alevi let out a quiet, yet still audible groan. Why did they have to hold a banquet for their "guests?" It wasn't like the Beneaze nobles would want to stay for much longer in a still hostile kingdom. Granted, free food and drink were always a plus, and Alevi cracked a smile at the thought of the music and dancing that would be happened later on.

    Turning to Aderes, he grinned. "I would like to retire to my rooms for the time being," he stated, gesturing towards the hallway. Alevi also wanted to ask his knight a few things, but would much prefer to be away from the lying ambassador and his sheep before saying anything of importance.
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  3. As the court was dismissed people began to mill about idly exchanging strained pleasantries and backhanded compliments. Ah how I do not envy these folk, Aderes thought with a grimace as she watched the nobles interact. The courts were no place for her and she wanted nothing more than to leave this room that was filled with thinly veiled hostility. By the look of Alevi, he felt the same way as she and seemed eager to get out. Thinking about it, Aderes can only imagine how unbearable today's courts must have been for him since the prince never liked to stay still or do these royal meetings in the first place, least of all a hostile nation trying very poorly to keep peace between the kingdoms. She would have pitied him if it weren't for the fact that she had to stand through the same thing.

    Aderes tried to keep her face impassive as Prince Alevi grinned at her and announced he would like to retire to his rooms for the night, but she couldn't help the way the corners of her lips twitched upwards slightly at the announcement before she schooled her face to appear impassive once more. "As you wish, My Lord, allow me to escort you to your bed chambers," she responded, walking ahead of him and holding opening the doors to exit the room before heading into the grand halls of the palace.

    As soon as she was out of that room, Aderes felt something in her loosen although she still felt pretty tense and on guard. That whole meeting had put her on edge and she was still feeling as if she needed to keep an eye out. As she waited for Prince Alevi to follow after her, Aderes leaned against the stone walls of the grand halls of the palace. Even after all her time here, the grandness of the place never ceased to amaze her, although she had walked these halls so often that she almost dared to call them home. "Thank the heavens we are out of that blasted room," she muttered, knowing Prince Alevi would be able to hear it.
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  4. After requesting that Aderes take him to his chambers, Alevi looked back at the King and nodded. He would leave his father to deal with the difficulties of being King while he headed back to his rooms. After all, he was merely the young Prince of Illian, nothing more, not yet at least. His eyes turned back to Aderes just in time to catch the slight upward curve of her lips, and his own smile almost noticeably widened. "Thank you, Aderes," he said, lifting his head high as he stepped after her and through the doors she held open so kindly. Well, it was her job to do so, but the Prince liked to think it was also her choice.

    As soon as the doors that led from the central hall closed, Alevi slumped forwards and groaned. He chuckled lightly at his bodyguard's quiet comment, silently agreeing with her but staying silent for a moment. He always hated it in there with the huge, vaulting ceilings, and the constant need for formality. "Thank heavens indeed," he grumbled, stretching his back before slumping again, "I do not wish to stand still for that long ever again." His back was stiff from having to stay upright and tense the entire time the talks were going on, and the balls of his feet ached. He was not made for that sort of thing, yet it was what he had been born into. There would most certainly come a time soon enough where he would have to stand still like that again.

    "Aderes," Alevi started, suddenly, as the two of them began to walk towards his bed chambers, "I cannot believe my father is holding a ball for the Beneaze. I know it is standard procedure to do so for important guests, but why them?" Here, he made a sound that could almost be called a whine and straightened his sleeves. "They… They're a vulgar people. They would enjoy a fair or a competition much better, I'm sure." Alevi was definitely biased against the Beneaze, but he didn't care. After all, the feeling of dislike in the courts had not just come from the Illianers, but the Beneazians as well. Neither side was happy with the current arrangements, and it showed.
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  5. Aderes raised an amused brow at the prince's comment about the court gathering. "Indeed," she hummed in agreement, "I was quite surprised you could stand still for that long. I didn't know you possessed that strength of will," she teased mildly as they made their way to the chambers. The halls were empty currently with everyone of the castle currently gathered in the same room and the servants tending to the rooms the Beneacians would be staying in.

    Aderes sighed as the prince went on. "I know not of the King's reasoning for this, perhaps he plans to show off the kingdom's wealth with this ball? The Benecians are a conceited, elitist bunch after all," she commented. And not to mention sexist, her mind added. All Illianers had just reason for despising Beneaze, but Aderes had a personal grudge for the outrage they had expressed that she, a woman, was knighted. They claimed it was dishonorable and she was grateful for the King for defending his decision and praising her character and skill over her gender. Not to mention the recent events with the border towns have ignited her disgust of that kingdom.

    "I, too, wouldn't mind a tournament in place of a ball," she agreed with the Prince. "It would be immensely satisfying to swing my sword at some of the knights of Beneaze." As they approached Prince Alevi's chambers, Aderes squared her shoulders more and leaned in close to the man. She looked around the corridor to make sure no one was around and dropped her voice low so that none else can hear. "I have a bad feeling about this, Your Majesty," she whispered, "I know they're here to avoid a war, supposedly, but I can't help but feel as if something else is going on under it all, and the feeling won't go away." She looked up at the young man's eyes as she finished. "Please just be careful, okay?" It may seem like something unnecessary to ask of someone, but Aderes knew Prince Alevi better than anyone. He liked to adventure and move around, much to the bodyguard's dismay. And she feared that these people who were going to stay here indefinitely could and would take advantage of such an opportunity to catch them unawares. Aderes hated this whole situation.
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  6. You’re surprised? Well, I’m downright proud of myself for standing still that long. It was an exercise in patience, that’s for sure.” Alevi glanced sideways at his bodyguard, noting her tone of voice and smiling slyly, “I’m surprised you didn’t at least groan once throughout the entire audience with my father. Let us just say that I am proud of both of us.” If he were to be entirely honest, he had wanted to swear at the Benecians more than once, and had felt his leg muscles tense as if to run from the courts every time there was a lull in conversation. It had been an exhausting venture.

    Nodding in appreciation at Aderes’ comment, Alevi narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. “Well now, getting into the politics of it all, are we? Not very guard like of you,” he teased before continuing, “But I believe you are, in part, correct. I think the Benecians would find it rude if we were to snub their attendance at our palace. After all, we hold banquets for all the important guests, and it would be a blatant offense if we were to deny the Beneaze people a ball.” Alevi had to grudgingly approve of his father’s political maneuver, but that didn’t mean he was happy with it. The ball was probably going to be a tense affair, at any rate, what with the Benecian men forced to stand on equal ground with the women of their kingdom and the people of Illian.

    “Ah, how a tournament would be fun. Granted, there’s too much sword fighting and too little dancing there, in my opinion.” The one and only thing Alevi looked forward to for the banquet was the dancing, though as Prince he would have to dance with one of the Benecian noble women. The thought made him frown quite noticeably. Moments later, Alevi was turning his eyes and ears on his bodyguard, noting the seriousness of her expression and posture. “I’ve been feeling more uncomfortable with them than usual, as well,” he replied, his voice equally low, though less stern, “I’ll try not to do anything too stupid, Aderes.” He knew she was being serious, and so he would do his best to comply with her wishes, despite the difficulty of her request (careful? Ha). After all, he trusted her more than anyone else in his life, more so even than his father. Flashing a quick smile in Aderes' direction, he was turning the corner to his rooms, approaching his door with relief.
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  7. The guard rolled her eyes as the prince mentioned the dancing, he would of course be looking forward to that. She knew of his lack of skill with a sword and had tried and failed to teach him the how to wield the weapon to no avail. However, Aderes wasn't one to criticize too harshly for she knew that where the prince lacked in swordsmanship, he possessed many other skills to make up for it. The guard had only seen the man dance on a few occasions, but that was all she needed to see to know how much graced he possessed. He made it seem easy when Aderes knew dancing (especially the dances of the nobles) was quite complicated.

    Aderes wanted to fight Alevi on that and make him promise not to do anything stupid at all, but the guard new a lost cause when she saw one. Prince Alevi was adventurous by nature and that was a quality in him that would not and should not be tamed. Still, she appreciated the fact that he acknowledged her concerns at all and seemed to share even some of her discomfort with the situation.

    As he headed back to his chambers, Aderes called out to him. "How would you like to head to the lower town with me tomorrow morning to run a few errands?" She asked hesitantly. "You know, get away from the palace for a little bit - it's going to be chaos here with the servants setting up for the banquet and if the King is so insistent on holding a ball, I'm going to need a smith to touch up and repair some of my weapons," she explained. Because despite the formality of the banquet, Aderes was Prince Alevi's guard first, a knight second, and a commoner third - she knew her place at these galas and would do her duty. She would not let her guard down for a second until those foreign dignitaries were gone (and maybe even then she won't relax). Either way, Aderes wanted to make sure she was prepared for anything to happen while these men and women were staying at the palace and Aderes knew what a troublemaker the prince was, she'd feel better if he was by her side in the market away from the palace even if only for a day.

    She shifted on her feet and before giving him the chance to answer. "If it is alright with you, My Lord, I'd also like to stand guard in these halls and make sure no one comes in," she added. Aderes didn't want to take any chances and she knew she would feel better if she made sure that no one in permitted passed through these halls.
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  8. Alevi let himself day dream a little as he and his guard walked down the hallways towards his chambers. He thought of the dancing, and how he knew exactly what songs to ask for that would be fun and entertaining for the Illianers, and confusing for the Benecians. It would be quite a passive aggressive way of making them feel uncomfortable, and he couldn't help but smirk as he imagined their faces. He would have to make sure that the ambassador didn’t catch on, though.

    As Alevi schemed to himself, the pair approached the door to his rooms. He was pulled from his (rather entertaining) thoughts by Aderes’ voice, and he blinked himself back into awareness before turning to face her. For a moment, he wasn’t sure if he had heard her correctly, but as she continued to speak, it dawned on him that she was offering to take him out into the market the next day. The grin that slid onto his face was unusually wide, and he nodded emphatically before she even finished speaking. He waited for her to add the next bit, frowned slightly at the words, and tucked them away to address later. “It would be an honour to join you in your errands,” he affirmed, “I can say my hellos to a few of the tradesmen and women, and perhaps treat myself to some trinkets.” Every time Alevi visited the lower town, he liked to greet a few people in particular who always seemed pleased to see him. Another reason for his excitement was that he hadn’t been to the market for a while, and was due a bit of sightseeing. The stalls tended to move around and change and sometimes the most exotic of things were displayed on table tops. Of course, he knew that part of the reason Aderes had invited him (possibly the whole reason) was that she wanted to keep an eye on him. Alevi didn’t mind; the trip would be far more interesting than anything at the palace. Perhaps she deserved a small trinket from the market for her efforts. He would remember to ask if she wanted anything tomorrow.

    Here, Alevi put on a slightly more serious face as he turned away from his door with his hand resting on the doorknob. “As for guarding my door,” he narrowed his eyes, “The only way I’ll allow that is if you take shifts with one of the trusted guardsmen. You need your sleep, and if I might be so blunt, not even you can go too long without exhaustion playing havoc on your health.” He knew that if he never set any limits, Aderes would be guarding him constantly, with barely a thought for her own health. Alevi wouldn’t allow her to stay up most of the night making sure no assassination attempts happened. Especially when they were sure to be staying up late into the night the next day for the ball. “Don’t just look after me, Aderes,” he grumbled, turning back to his door to hide the faint crease of concern on his forehead.
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  9. Aderes blinked slowly in surprise at the request Alevi made that she not stay on guard all night. "I am simply doing my duty, Sire. I truly do not mind keeping watch," she insisted, "but if it is your wish, I promise not to stay all night," she assured. She knew Prince Alevi was a kind man and he cared for all people, but she was admittedly touched and slightly uncomfortable with the concern -- not in a bad way though if she were completely honest, it was just an odd feeling the guard hasn't ever had anyone in her life telling her to take better care of herself mostly because she always was very capable of doing so herself.

    "Sleep well, Your Majesty," she said and then added just a little bit quieter, "and thanks." With that said and now feeling slightly awkward for having said it, she went to find a guard to take care of the second shift to guard the prince before coming back to stand guard in front of Prince Alevi's room.


    Aderes woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning and quickly made her way to Alevi's bed chambers. She had done as the prince had asked and retreated to her bunk in the guards' barracks, although quite a bit later than the prince had intended for her when he asked her not to stay the whole night, but what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him and the few hours' sleep she did get were more than enough for her. She wasn't wearing her armor today, one of the guards had offered to polish it for her while she was at the market so she was wearing a light linen shirt and trousers tucked into her favorite (and only) pair of leather boots. There was an empty satchel draped across her shoulder to help carry some goods from the market and she had a rapier on one hip, a longsword on her other hip, and her trusty Claymore strapped to her back. She had sent a message to the blacksmith that she would be stopping by and she would him sharpen and repair the blades that had been worn down from recent practice sessions. Aderes would have done it herself but this banquet tonight would be taking up most of her time and there was much to prepare for.

    Walking through the corridors, Aderes almost felt bare and exposed without the familiar weight of her armor, especially when she was still slightly on edge from their current situation. She shook it off though as she approached the prince's bed chambers. She wasn't sure if he was up yet, most of those in the palace were still asleep other than some guards who were on watch that night. She approached the guard who had taken her shift, and nodded to him. "I've got it from here," she said, waving him off. The guard simply nodded before heading back in the direction from where Aderes had just come. To say the guard was simply knocking on the door would be misleading. Pounding and banging on the door would be a more apt description. "It's time to get up, Sire," she called.
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  10. “It is my wish for you to be alert for the ball,” he sighed, flipping his hands up in a what can you do gesture. He wasn’t used to having to worry about someone else, and though he knew Aderes was supposed to be his guard and not his friend, he still felt concern for her on a regular basis. The frequency had, of course, increased recently, especially with the Benecian nobles in the palace. The possibility of someone getting hurt increased exponentially every day their stay grew.

    Alevi was surprised at Aderes’ quiet thanks, and he had to hold back a smile as he turned on his heel to watch her go and say, “Good night, Aderes. Take care.” With that he was bundling into his room and closing the door behind with a click. He could only hope for a good night’s sleep.


    As the morning light began to filter through his window, Alevi awoke. It was early, yet he knew he would not be getting back to sleep. After all, he had a long day ahead of him and wanted to be ready for when Aderes came to call. It had taken him a while to fall asleep that night as he had been plagued with thoughts about the coming banquet. It would be nigh impossible for the guards to keep track of every Benecian whilst looking out for the King (and, he supposed, himself). Once he had fallen asleep, he had tossed and turned, as was evidenced by the sheets and numerous pillows spread out around his bed. Alevi was tired, but would make it through the day.

    With a sigh, he was hopping from his bed to stand by the clothing hung with care on the wall. A maid had set aside clothing for the day some time before, and he smiled as he noted his favourite navy blue tunic with silver accents and a plated silver belt. It was as he was halfway into his outfit that Aderes pounded on his door; he yelped, a muffled sound with his head halfway in his tunic, and stumbled against his bed.

    After struggling for a few more moments, he was fully clothed, and he opened the door with untouched bed head and a half-assed frown. “It is more likely that I shall die of exhaustion or fright than any assassination attempts today,” he dead-panned, knowing it wasn’t the most proper of humour, but entertaining the thought nonetheless. He could always hope for an interesting reaction. “Oh, and good morning to you,” Alevi added, a little late, as he slipped back into his room to finish preparing for the day.
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  11. When Alevi opened up the door to his bed chambers, Aderes' hand was in mid-air ready to pound on the door again. She grimaced at his joke, frowning slightly. "I'd not joke about such matters, Sire," she scolded, "especially when we have 'guests' in the palace." Aderes had been hoping the odd feeling in her gut would have disappeared over the night, but in fact, it had only gotten quite worse. She couldn't wait to be rid of those foreign pests disguised as nobles. It couldn't happen soon enough, and she only wished she'd be able to skip out on the banquet for the night, however, that was not an option for her nor the prince.

    Stepping into the man's room, Aderes looked around, she only rarely came in here, and usually to wake the prince up in the morning or report for duty. "How is it that despite not having a maid to set out my clothing to wear, I still managed to get here, ready and dressed before you did?" she commented, raising a brow at the man as she noticed he still wasn't quite ready to go. "We'll be heading to the market on foot, by the way, so make sure you're dressed comfortable," she insisted, going on to talk while the man got ready. "I need to stop at a Smithy and get some weapons repaired first and then we can go to the market, I don't need too much, other than some light leather armor for tonight's banquet, I know of a good merchant to buy from," she explained trying to think of what else she may need.

    Aderes had spent some of the night when she was standing guard outside of Alevi's room the night before debating on what she would wear for the banquet. Unfortunately, she wouldn't be allowed to wear her full metal armor there. If she wore her heavy armor it would seem as if Illian didn't trust the Benecians (they didn't, of course, but it was important that the king appear to trust them on the surface), however, forgoing her armor entirely was out of the question for Aderes. She rarely went anywhere without wearing her armor during the time of peace when the castle was home to no one but the king, his men, the prince and their servants. And so, eventually, she decided on a light leather armor. It was typically worn by archers in the battlefield, and others who were not on the front lines. The light armor wasn't as intimidating nor as protective as her heavy steel armor, but it was better than nothing, and would make a point to the Benecian's clearly - Aderes was a knight standing guard at the banquet and she would be watching them as her duty called.

    Being brought out of her reverie, Aderes looked over at Prince Alevi. "Would you hurry up?" she said, in a tone that sounded irritated, but had no venom behind it. "At this rate, the banquet will be over before we leave the palace gates."
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  12. “Apologies,” Alevi replied smoothly, not meaning it in the slightest, as was obvious when he winked and spun towards his mirror. He knew Aderes worried for him, even more so with so many potential enemies on one place, so near to him. But, somehow, he just couldn’t bring himself to feel fear, not when he knew he had the best knight to protect him of them all. He didn’t feel quite right about the banquet, but it would go well. It had to, for the good of the kingdom and his people.

    Such serious thoughts had Alevi pausing with his comb halfway through his hair, eyes unfocused and a little bit bemused. It took Aderes’ voice talking about the day before he could shake himself from his mind, and he finished with his hair as she spoke, muttering in agreement whenever she paused. “I am skilled in taking my time when preparing, ma’am,” Alevi retorted with a smirk, listening to the rest of what she had to say. “Make it black,” he blurted as he heard she was getting leather armour for the ball, “you have to match me because, uh… well, just because.” His cheeks were slightly pink as he trailed off, shifting through his multitude of footwear before picking out his most comfortable boots for the walk into town. He couldn’t exactly say why he wanted to match her, but for some reason the thought embarrassed him.

    “Oh, sorry. Right, I was getting ready.” Alevi rubbed the back of his hand over his eyes to wake himself up and grinned. “You know, I’m not sure if I would be upset or not if we missed the ball.” He honestly didn’t know what he thought of the ball, by this point. It was a chance to let loose a little bit after a tense few days, but seeing as it was in honour of their unwelcome guests, he was also a little uncertain about how the damn thing would go. With a slightly confused sigh, Alevi was finishing up his preparations to go and stuffing a small pouch of coins into his pocket. He had his own little collection for occasions just like this.

    Turning suddenly to face his bodyguard, Alevi smiled wide and announced, “Alright, Aderes, I am ready to go.” Without waiting for an answer, he strode from his room, exuding an air of purposefulness that kept the servants and nobles from interfering with whatever was so important to the Crown Prince.

    There would be no sitting, bored half to death, in his room today. The day’s prospects looked especially exciting to the market-bound prince, and he whistled a favourite tune to himself as he walked. “The sky is blue today. It will be a good day.” As Alevi spoke, he felt a stirring of uncertainty, but he pushed it aside in favour of happier thoughts. He was going to the market with Aderes, after all, and wanted to enjoy himself to the fullest.
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  13. Aderes raised a brow at Prince Alevi's comment and chose not to comment on the pink of his cheeks in favor of adjusting her satchel on her shoulder. "Black it is then," she hummed, as she counted the coin she had to spend for the day. She snorted as the man pushed past her with his head up high, embodying the very air of someone with a goal or destination in mind. She followed slightly behind him without saying a word, watching the hustle and bustle of the servants as they prepared for the banquet that was to take place later that night. They passed the barracks where the guards were going through their morning drills and Aderes was slightly grateful for the fact that she was no longer among them forced out of their bunks at the crack of dawn to strike at a target dummy for several hours. She still trained often, but with her duty as the prince's bodyguard, she did so at her own pace and her own times (Aderes found she much enjoyed training at night when the air is cooler and no one else is using the training grounds).

    "Quite the optimist, I see," Aderes commented as Alevi spoke of what a good day it was. "What if this is just the calm before the storm?" she challenged, raising a brow although he couldn't see that as she was still walking behind him. They walked at a leisurely pace, and despite her words, Aderes agreed that it truly was a beautiful day out. Arriving at the market didn't take long, and once they were there, Aderes was filled with the sense of nostalgia she always got when she was back in the lower towns. She remembered how the people all seemed so much bigger than her and the streets so wide and open to her as a child, were now smaller and more crowded. Not that she minded, it was nice to visit the market without the intention to find the easiest market stall to steal from but as a means to just spend the day doing mundane things. She knows these streets (and rooftops!) inside and out and remembers running around the market as a child.

    Shaking herself from her mind's wanderings, Aderes looked towards the prince. "The Smithy is this way," she said, pointing to a street corner a few houses down.
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  14. Sighing with relief at the ease with which Aderes took to his rather awkward demand, Alevi rubbed at his eyes once again. He really needed to get into the sun for some energy. It wasn't long after that before he was staring up at the bright blue sky with a twinkle in his eyes and a need to get out and do something. The castle seemed particularly busy and stifling today, and he was glad to be free of the place. Nobody could fault him for wanting a little alone time, with Aderes as always (his alone time never actually had him without company), when the past few days had been particularly tense and boring.

    "Of course I'm an optimist! Blue sky, a trip to the market, a ball… it is, without a doubt, the best day of the week." That wasn't saying much, seeing as Alevi hadn't been his happiest the past week, even before new of the Benecian visitors hit. The words that followed Aderes' comment had him pausing in thought for a moment, seriously considering the implications if she were correct, before he shook his head in denial. "No, I refuse to believe that today will be another bad day. I can't have all bad luck, can I? Or perhaps I broke a mirror without realizing and have doomed myself to seven years of Hell. What do you think?" He turned back and looked at Aderes for a moment, flashing her a reassuring smile before his gaze wandered back to the forefront.

    The market, as always, smelled of freshly baked bread, burning wood from the fires, tightly packed dirt, and more. Alevi took a deep breath and sighed in content. "This is so much better than the castle. Thank you, Aderes, for taking me out today." He appreciated the fact that she had asked him to accompany her. It really was beautiful out. "Ah, yes, the Smithy," he recalled, adjusting his course and walking in the direction his guard had pointed. The citizens of Illian who noticed him, nondescript without his usual horse, stopped what they were doing to bow or curtsy, attracting more attention as they did so. Alevi smiled at those who looked at him, enjoying the atmosphere more than the stuffiness of a royal household.
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  15. Aderes felt something in her loosen as Alevi smiled at her. There was something about his smile that seemed almost reassuring to her. She'd never admit it aloud but if Alevi was smiling, the young guard knew for certain that she was doing her job right. "What do I think?" Aderes repeated. She began to stride past him as they began making their way to the Smithy and put her hand on Alevi's shoulder, giving him a small smile she only lets herself show every once in a while. "I think that you should forget silly superstitions and curses, and let me do the worrying," she said before pulling her hand off his shoulder and walking ahead. "That is my job, after all, isn't it?"

    Walking into the Smithy, the bulky bearded man at the shop smiled as they were waved inside. The man bowed towards the prince, and Aderes had noticed the people in the market doing so as well. She didn't like that it brought attention on them, but Prince Alevi was well loved by his people, and his visits to the market did much for their morale and love for the King and his Court.

    "Brought yer weapons, didye, Adé?" The blacksmith said in a friendly tone. He always recognized her from the child in the markets, and although Aderes was sometimes ashamed of her past, Dunstan here at the Smithy had always been one of the few who had not judged her.

    "Aye," Aderes said with a nod, as she rested her arms against the wooden counter. "I brought you plenty o' work t'do," Aderes said, her voice gaining the natural slur of the lower town people the more she talked. It was her natural speech pattern that way, having grown up in these streets, after all. However, the Royal Army had trained it out of her and taught her how to speak formally and properly. It had been hard at first, but now it came very natural to her as well. However, when she came back to the lower town or when she traveled to neighboring villages, it was easy to slip back into old habits. It wasn't really something she realized she did either, she slipped between the speech patterns almost completely unnoticeably.

    The smith laughed, a big hearty laugh that seemed to resonate through the room. "I would'a expected n'less from ye," he said, taking the weapons Aderes put on the table. The rapier stayed at her hip though, it didn't need repairing but Aderes felt more secure having at least some weapon on her while Dunstan took care of her weapons.

    "We'll be back 'fore the end of th'day," Aderes called, as she began to turn back to the prince. "Now where would you like t'go next?" she asked, putting her hands on her hips.
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  16. “You do your job all too well, Aderes,” Alevi teased, but meaning the words nonetheless and feeling a happy sort of glow from the smile his guard had given him. “All you do is worry. Not that I make it very easy not to, but there’s nothing to be done about that. It is in my nature to do silly things, and it is in your nature to worry and protect.” The relationship between guard and prince was unconventional at best, but it worked in ways no other professional or personal relationships worked, and the two were closer than anyone had ever intended them to be. Alevi had decided, not long after Aderes first started working for him, that he would never want another bodyguard again. She was perfect, and he wanted none other.

    With a giddy little hop inspired from his guard’s smile, Alevi was stepping into the Smithy after Aderes, nodding to the tradesman as he bowed. As soon as the short exchange was over, he was wandering over to some of the metalwork on display, admiring the sheen of the weapons and the clean cuts in the metal. He may not have been even remotely proficient with a sword, but he could appreciated a good weapon if he saw one. Aderes and the blacksmith began talking business, and Alevi was struck, as he always was when in town with his knight, by the sudden switch from formal to lower town slur. He grinned and turned to look at what the two were doing, Aderes in particular. He was leaning back against the soot blackened walls of the Smithy, smiling, and one eyebrow rose when she turned back to him to speak.

    Alevi’s lips twitched upwards, though he tried to stop them, and he stood up straight once more. “Well, Mistress Addie,” he kidded, waving to the blacksmith as they stepped out of the Smithy, “Why don’t we find you some leather armor? And after that perhaps we will treat ourselves to some of that deliciously scented baking.” By that he meant that he would buy the bread on the pretense of eating it all, and then give half to Aderes, because she was too damned stern sometimes and needed a treat.
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  17. As they left the shop, Aderes gave Alevi a slight shove. "You're lucky you're royal and can get 'way with callin' me Mistress Addie," she commented with a roll of her eyes as she made her way past him, "but it sounds like a plan to me." With that, they headed to the familiar shop of a woman who sold her own leather armors, weaving her way familiarly and effortlessly through the big crowd that was gathering as the sun grew higher in the sky. The woman at the stand greeted her familiarly and bowed towards the prince. All her wares were hunted and skinned with her very own hand and while many of the guards preferred the armors of the Smiths and forgers of the high town, Aderes adamantly refused to get armor from anywhere else.

    "I need a black leather brigandine," Aderes began, casting a side glance at the Prince who had insisted previously that her leather be black to match his. She rolled her eyes before continuing, "Matching greaves and bracers, spauldrons if you 'ave 'em." The woman hummed in acknowledgment as she took all of what Aderes said and checked to see what she had.

    The woman placed the mentioned items on the market. "We have e'rything here 'cept for them spauldrons," the merchant commented. "I only 'ave them fitted for men, y'see, but if ye like ye can purchase them 'nyways."

    Aderes shook her head. "I'll just take th'rest," she said, her voice slurring once more. "Thank you kindly," Aderes said, putting the coin on the table to cover the goods and give the woman a nice tip.

    The woman smiled. "Take care, Adé. Much thanks!"

    Waving towards the woman, Aderes began heading towards the bakery stand. The smell wafted throughout the market. As a child, she remembered the smell taunting her with its promise of food, but now, it was pleasant and familiar, reminding her of home. She turned towards Alevi, "Try not to get too much, l'right?" She said accusingly. Alevi seemed to get overexcited at the market and loved the baked goods, but he always went overboard.
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  18. Faking a stumble at Aderes' light push, Alevi laughed out loud, the sound clearly heard despite the bustle of the market place. "Why Aderes, don't you like it? It could be your new nickname." he winked, spinning on his heels and following his knight who was not currently in shining armor towards the leather shop. On the way over he caught a whiff of the baking and barely restrained himself from turning away then and there and buying a few loaves of the freshly made bread. Instead of running off, Alevi continued onwards towards the leather shop and the less enticing smell associated with it.

    When Aderes announced her need for a black set of armor, Alevi tried not to go pink in the cheeks again and patted her happily on the shoulder. "Good, good." he commented with a sly smile, watching with a critical eye as the tradeswoman went over her stock and grabbed the aforementioned items from the collection; all black, of course. "Perfect, thank you, my good woman!" With a nod of respect to the lady in her successful leather shop, Alevi was skipping form the premises towards the bakery. "Well now, don't be too restricting, or you won't get any!" Aderes knew him all too well, for he had been planning on getting enough to last more than just the day. However, then it would not be fresh. The castle cooks made delicious baking, but it was nothing like that of the bakery stand in the market. Fresh bread and pastries made with the love and care of a true baker made him a very happy man.

    It was a well known fact that the Prince loved his baking and pastries, and as soon as he stepped up to the stand the baker recognized him and bowed low. "Your highness. What may I get for you today?" Alevi grinned, nudging Aderes' arm with his elbow as if to say I could get everything if you hadn't warned me not to.

    "Well, I think I shall get one small loave of your freshest and finest Manchet. And perhaps two tarts to sweeten the palate." The baker smiled and bowed again before going back into the bakery. Moments later he was back with three small wrapped packages. Alevi thanked him and pulled out the coins necessary for the purchase. "Thank you, sir. I will enjoy today's treat for sure!"

    It didn't take long before he was backing away from the bakers hut and turning to Aderes. "For all your hard work and kindness," he announced, holding aloft one of the two packaged tarts. He gestured for her to take it and held up a placating hand. "No complaints. I bought it for you so you have to enjoy it." He knew people didn't like their Prince to buy things for them, but he felt he owed her something for having to sit through the Benecian ambassador's audience with the king, as well as Alevi's less than perfect mood the past week or so.
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  19. Aderes' milled about absently as the prince went up the bakery stall. As he nudged her once the baker asked what he'd like to order, the young guard rolled her eyes and fixed him with a flat look. There was a stone oven behind the stall that radiated heat, and Aderes could only imagine what it was like standing by that heat all day.

    Alevi left the stand with much less than the knight thought he would have and she raised a brow in surprise. "I'm proud of you, Sire, you didn't buy them out o' all the bread and pastries they own," she commented lightly.

    Aderes opened her mouth to object the offering before sighing and grabbing the tart anyways. "You truly didn't have to, Your Majesty," she said, her voice beginning to slip into its formal tone once more. "After all, we both know one of the real reason I wanted you to come to the market with me," she admitted sheepishly referencing the fact that she had felt safer and more secure with the prince out of the palace while the Benecians were there.

    Taking a bite into the tart, Aderes' eyes fluttered close as she hummed. "You know, as a child I always wanted to try these. You could smell the bakers' goods all throughout the market, but I could never gather up the courage to steal from there," she admitted. It wasn't because she couldn't steal from there, after all, as a child she was quite adept at thievery, but time spent trying to get a simple treat could be time spent getting foods like meat and rice that could feed her and the others for a week. "Perhaps it was a good thing after all that I never stole from there considering how often you visit their stall here," she commented, giving the prince a side-eye as she took another bite of the tart and began to walk once more. Aderes wasn't one to talk about her past. She wasn't quite proud of it after all and back at the palace many thought what she did was disgraceful (Aderes never took it to heart though, they didn't understand the struggle for people like her), so she refrained from mentioning it unless it was brought up. However, being here in the market and the lower town had been making her nostalgic.
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  20. Opening and closing his mouth in protestation, Alevi looked at the three packages in his hands and frowned. "You know, maybe I didn't get enough today?" He grinned to show he was kidding, though only slightly, and felt it widen when Aderes took the tart. He had guessed earlier on that she had taken him with her to keep an eye on him and to make sure he was secure and within eyesight at all times. It would have been faster and easier for the knight to get her errands done without a Prince to hold her back, but she had taken him with her nonetheless, and kept him safe in doing so.

    "Of course I did, Aderes. Perhaps I gave you the tart precisely because of your selfless gesture. Without a doubt you deserve far more than a mere treat such as this. If you weren't so stubborn, I might have bought more for you, but I'm quite sure you would have objected to that." If she had let him, he would have paid for the leather armour she had just bought for herself. Unfortunately, that was something he was sure she would never agree to. After all, a knight's armor is hers and hers alone. It would not do for him to tamper with that.

    Alevi watched as Aderes took a bite of the tart, nibbling at his own as he did so. He could almost feel the nostalgia radiating from her, and he smiled sadly as he listened to her speak. He had never felt the way she did then, desperate and independent. Her past was never something he would fully understand, or ever be able to understand, no matter how hard he tried. However, Alevi took it upon himself to never be critical of the choices she had made, always trying to look through her eyes at what might have seemed an almost hopeless situation. He wasn't particularly good at it, seeing as he was and always had been a well-off Prince, but every now and then he tried his best. "Well, I am glad that you live a different life now. I can only hope that it is also a better one."
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