The Grey King

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  1. Every being has darkness in their hearts, as it what gives them their power.

    Long ago, this continent was separated into two ever-warring regions, the White Faction and the Black Principality. The two became separate based on the levels of darkness in their hearts, but do not misinterpret; for the level in one’s heart does not determine their disposition, only the nature of their powers. While there are some races that are innately have these powers, there are some who had the power to change the darkness within themselves and align themselves to wherever they wished, namely humans. Each was ruled by one who epitomized their powers, the White Pontifex and the Black Warlord, who sought to destroy their foe. In time this was forged into a cycle, wherein each side continually failed to have their foe assassinated and killed war after war after war. To many it was a pointless and ethereal existence as the wars never ended... until one fateful day. In the middle of a great battlefield there emerged a single man wearing a grey robe, who in one hand utilized powerful White Magic and in the other Black Magic, bringing the battle to a stop. He ended the cycle as he slew the White Pontifex and the Black Warlord, and was to be forever known as the Grey Sorcerer, the First King and the Grand Unifier.

    And thus, the Grey Kingdom was born, ruled by the first of a bloodline known as the Grey Kings, taking upon that line the surname of “Grey.” The two lands united, and in the meantime the successors to the positions of the Black Warlord and the White Pontifex were permitted to ascend to their positions, but only after swearing a great fealty to the Grey King and to his house. They were made equivalent to dukes, nobles directly below the Royal House, holding the authority of lords. The land was carved into the Thirteen Provinces, with each of the pair having one in their direct domain as ten of the others were placed of newly-appointed noble families. The Thirteen Province, Arul-Sur, housed the capital city of Tanis within which was held the Parliament, the Great Court, and on the outskirts of the city was Erebos, the Royal Palace, carved into the side of the great Mount Raj’ul. The Grey King himself had four main advisors; the Prime Minister who lead the Parliament and the Tribunal who governed the Great Court. The Tribunal was lead by the three most powerful wizards and scholars, one of each of the Three Paths. In other words, the Tribunal consisted of the Black Sage, the Grey Sage, and the White Sage. In due time the surrounding kingdoms acknowledged the Grey King as the sovereign of this newly formed land, sparking the illuminated path to their combined futures.

    There, however, are various rules regarding who may ascend to the mantle and become the Grey King or Grey Queen. The primary candidate, as with all monarchies, is the firstborn child. If they are naturally born with a grey heart they begin their training as soon as possible. If they are born with a white or black heart, they must overcome the existing nature of their heart and attain a grey heart; if they fail they are no longer worthy of the throne and next eldest child of the monarch shall be named the primary candidate. To even be among those considered for candidacy, the child must be at least half human. This is in regards to the belief that wisdom is greater when achieved in a mortal form as opposed to an immortal form. The candidate must go through the a rite called “The Grey Mantle,” wherein the individual is tested on various physical, magical, and psychological levels over a period of time that usually amounts to three days. There has never been a ruler of the Grey Kingdom who failed to meet these requirements.

    We now come to the life of the current king, the thirteenth in the direct succession of the Grey House, His Majesty Ichabod Thasius Grey, the current Grey King. An only child, Ichabod’s mother died shortly after he gave birth to him and his father died in combat during his sixth year, leading to an odd situation where he was the Grey King in all but name from a young age, passing laws and ruling over the country. For when the Grey Kingdom was founded the Grey King still wielded absolute authority, but the legislature and the courts, on both national and provincial levels, were separated from him to aid in perfecting the focus of the Grey King’s administration. He himself sought solace in the writings of the Grey Sage, as he walked the Grey Path by himself, his experience with the Grey Mantle administered by the current Prime Minister, Tribunal, White Pontifex and Black Warlord, along with the spirit of the Grey Sorcerer himself. But that did not matter, as he had done what no human had ever done: he had conquered the most of the known world.

    As he grew, he rarely had circumstances where he experienced a moment where his emotions were on the brighter side of things, growing to be a person devoid of the loving-kindness many people cherish within themselves. Since his sixth year he proved himself to be a ruthless and stern general and tactician, his strategies simplistic at the time now evolved in full conquest. All the nations who saw the opportunity to take land from the Grey Kingdom and its child ruler usually found themselves conquered and annexed, with the Grey Kingdom controlling the entirety of the Northern Continent, Atlas, as well as most of the Central Continent, Nexus, along with sizable chunks of the other three continents; Tulos to the east, Phaios to the west, and Renas to the south. There were various other countries on these other continents, though three of them (one on each continent) were of great size and strength. As time passed Ichabod reluctantly agreed to a treaty that split Nexus four ways between the major nations, relinquishing two-thirds of his territory solely on Nexus (while retaining the greatest amount of territory throughout the known world) because he acted in the interest of the Grey Kingdom. The most unstable relationship for the Grey Kingdom was the Oronil Empire on the continent of Renas. Oronil could not match the Grey Kingdom for might, but the people of that empire had an ancient magic that allowed them to control the weather and the winds, allowing them to live primarily in an isolation wherein their culture was protected. Eventually Oronil permitted for the Grey Kingdom to establish an embassy on Oronil’s soil, the Ambassador to Oronil charged with finding a peaceful solution to ease the stirring conflict between the two nations. The solution was an arranged marriage between one of the daughters of Oronil’s Empress to the Grey King, who, despite being in his twenty-second year, was still unmarried nor had ever taken upon himself a harem of tributed concubines. He did not openly seek a wife, not preferring the company of sentients as he sought for himself isolation and privacy when he was not working with the other branches of government or attending to ambassadors or his enormous and efficient military. He, however, did not object to this arranged marriage as he considered it a duty to his kingdom and show his faith in the Ambassador appointed by himself and by the National Parliament.

    It was now ten days after the agreement to the arranged marriage as informed to him by his scryers, which are mages training the art of scrying that allows for long distance communications such as between the Ambassador and the Grey King. Ichabod had been walking through the unoccupied, natural caverns of Mount Raj’ul where wildlife often went to hibernate in the harsh winters of the temperate taiga upon which the Thirteenth Province rested. Ichabod had often been beseeched to remove the animals from their home but he chose not to, as he (on various occasions) favored animals to sentients and saw no issue as they tended to leave Erebos alone. He now stood at the entrance at one of them, looking at the end of the taiga and the beginning of the grasslands that emerged and lead to the southern provinces on this continent. He chuckled and shrugged, then beginning to walk down the artificial path back to Erebos’ interior as he donned the hood of his grey robes to cover his light brown hair. At his side rested an ornate yet deadly longsword that he used to behead a traitor who openly rebelled against him in his throne room no more than two years ago. The robe itself signified his rank, but it also covered the many scars of warfare. He lead both on the battlefield and away from it, inspiring his soldiers and sailors and stirring their loyalty to him. He preferred not wear a crown or circlet of any kind, believing it be a rather useless piece of jewelry. Underneath the hood were two pale blue eyes that adorned his noble yet somber face, typically aiding in usually serious expression it wore. He came inside and removed his hood and his black gloves, revealing the Great Sigil, which is the ring proves his kingship, resting on his right ring finger. The gem was fastened in a circular cut (the gem itself is a grey quartz) and was mounted on white gold, the arrangement itself having some great symbolism that was lost to the ages long ago. Soon after he entered his home he was alerted that his fiancée was to arrive in a few minutes and would be escorted to the throne room. The young man sighed and nodded, moving to his throne, the larger of the two which stood side-by-side and carved from pure marble and gilded with obsidian and silver, and taking a seat. The throne room itself was large enough to hold a ball, and contained various tapestries and portraits commissioned or recovered in the reign of the previous monarchs.The main entrance consisted of double that together formed a shape akin to that of a steeple, and were carved to depict various legends that reflected one another. Soon enough his bride-to-be was let in and he stood up, approaching her with a neutral expression before he spoke, “I welcome you, Princess of Oronil, to my kingdom and to my home of Erebos. I am the current Grey King, Ichabod Thasius Grey. It is a pleasure to meet you.” He took her hand and kissed it, being gentlemanly as he rose up again for their eyes to meet as the Grey King stood taller than the princess.

    Ichabod's Aesthetics. (open)
    #1 AceSorcerer, Aug 16, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
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  2. Indra Tamsin Oronil couldn't help but be...dismissive with her weak feelings of being impressed by her...fiance's home. The castle was grand, a glittering jewel...a rose within the daisies as one may say. But how could she allow herself to dabble in such petty and shallow thoughts when the real reason as to why she was pulling up before this castle was too prominent to ignore.

    The entire ride to her destination had been thick with tension but also her silence. Indra was very fond of her skills and often used them to keep herself calm and collected. The feeling of a small bubble of soft breezes caressing her skin soothed her when her ladies-in-waiting could not. It was easy to see and understand that Indra was not...partocularly pleased with the situation she was in. But, with her older sister's hand already promised and her younger sister lacking in was Indra who fell into the firing line of the arrangement. At twenty years of age...Indra knew she was lucky to have gotten as far as she had done without being wedded off just yet. That didn't mean she was ecstatic when her father interrupted her morning meditation with the news she would be leaving everything behind to be with the Grey King.

    Strong with her beliefs and opinions...she may have locked herself in her room for three days, the next two were filled with the warmth and comfort of her mother whilst the last two were then packing for the journey. Her mother cried. Her younger sister cried. Her brothers may have become misty-eyed. Her father did not.
    So thus, when it came to finally climbing out of the carriage after arriving...Indra was less than enthusiastic about finally meeting the famed King. But like he...she knew it was her duty.

    The stiffness of the dress did not help matters, her short temper already flaring as her patience wore thin. The colours her clothing were meant to reflect both the strength of her title but also the main strength she possessed with the controling of the weather. A soft, yet shimmering dove grey was the main colour, with an underlying gentle sky blue as the jewels to her necklace and earrings. The sky colours on good and bad days. Her thick hair, likened to that of wet earth when the heavens rained down, was pulled up and held in place with clips and pins, once more decorated with the same colour gems as in her jewelry. And her eyes...a sharp silver, like the bolt of lightening one would see during the wrath of a furious storm. They never missed a thing. Not a single detail.

    Indra was glad that she wasn't wearing a crown now, as her parents decided so they would not insult the King of he were to believe them flashing about her title, but upon meeting the King...he was not wearing one either.

    Of course all this was noticed upon her attention being drawn away from the gravitas within the room, but also the fascinating yet beautiful decor. What also caught her attention was the large gardens...a fun place for her to roam and perhaps complete a morning of meditation.

    But back to the King.

    Indra followed his every movement as he so confidently made his way toward her, eyes briefly wandering as she took in his appearance and his outfit as she attempted to figuring out the angle he was playing. Whilst the marriage was forced due to politics...she did not wish for there to be any political games during their...relationship.

    Remaining mute for longer than may have been necessary after his introduction and the charming kiss to the back of her hand, Indra finally responded with a low curtsey. Bowing her head as she went down and then rose again, she finally lifted her gaze back to his to hold, giving his hand the lightest of squeezes. "Your Majesty. I thank you for your welcome. My name is Indra Tamsin Oronil. It is a pleasure to meet you also, I can only hope that we'll find friendship through this arrangement rather than political benefits for our people."
  3. "We are to be wed, are we not? Call me Ichabod, not any title." After he spoke this he took a greater look at her, pondering he appearance. Despite her immense beauty, the dress she wore amused him. The subtle trick of disguising an Oronillian dress in the Grey's format. The subliminal message was screaming at the Grey King. He then removed his sheathed longsword from his robes after she made her response, taking it into his hands as he walked past the six thrones that were below theirs on two sets of three with black on the outside, gray in the middle, and white the closest to the throne. Each of these smaller thrones were carved from single blocks of stained marble and gilded with bronze on the perimeters and on the arms, similar to the thrones made for the monarchs, though with not nearly as much grandeur nor as aesthetically pleasing. These thrones came to a rounded top, so that a man who stood six feet would have three inches of carved stone above the top on his head, as opposed to the Grey King's throne, which extended an extra foot and came to a pointed top. The queen's throne was so that a woman roughly of Indras height would have an extra six inches above her head and came to a point similar to the Greg King's.

    He then sat upon his throne, placing the sheathed blade into a special holster carved into the throne. His eyes bore into her and he beckoned her to the throne adjacent to his, speaking once more as his eyes moved to the grand clock that was above the main doors. It was nearly time for his court to meet, as they typically met at one in the afternoon and convened until five in the evening. He raised his voice to speak once more, calling out to her, "Indra, I ask you to sit. I would speak further but we approached the time in which my court will convene today, as it does once a week, with two days there are no events and the other four I grant citizens of the Grey Kingdom hearings. Here they come now." It was fifteen minutes until the fifth hour according to the massive clock, the first six to enter the massive double doors as the soldiers opened them taking their seats in the six lesser thrones. To the left of the royal thrones sat the Tribunal, each Sage according to their path. To the right in white throne sat the Pontifex, the grey throne the Prime Minister of the Grey Kingdom, and in the black throne the Warlord. The other noblesse of the Grey Kingdom soon filed in and sat in the wooden chairs arranged once weekly for the occasion, each noble having their assigned place as their spouse or steward overlooked their estate.

    It was then that Erebor's bell tower rang out five in the evening, audible to all in the castle and in the capital city as it silenced the murmurs of the the nobles in attendance. Ichabod rose from his seat and gave the traditional greeting to begin the meeting before he sat and the Prime Minister rose to read from his scroll the laws passed by them and by the Grey King and adjustments to existing laws made by the National Parliament, followed by the Grey Sage doing the same for the Great Court and the rulings in its cases and the issues it had found with the bills laws being worked upon. After each man spoke it was permitted time for argument and debate from the lords to the officials, adding on viewpoints from the various provinces. None of the lords present participated in their National Parliament or any of the provincial parliaments, as it was divided into the House of Commons and the House of Knights. In the former people would elect representatives to represent them in the national and provincial parliaments based on population. As for the House of Knights, the steward or vassal of the lord in every town, city, and village would appoint two elderly knights who no longer served in the military to serve as politicians. For the National Parliament, they were appointed by the ruling noble(s). In both cases the representatives would serve for two years before an election was held, and the knights would serve for four, after which they could retire if they wished. The Sages of the Tribunal, however, served until they were no longer able to, death or otherwise. Judges were appointed by the provincial lord and ratified by the provincial parliament, with a similar process accounting for the Sages. After the discussion of the issues of the National Parliament and Great Court came to a halt, the Grey King rose from his throne to speak to the noblesse he governed.

    Ichabod's voice would rise and overcome the others of the room as they went silent, the monarch's message needing no echo in the throne room, "My esteemed nobles, I shall bring you my decisions and executive actions I have put into place since we last spoke. The tax upon all the citizenry of the Grey Kingdom has been reduced to bolster the economy, as throughout our kingdom we have reaped a great harvest on all five continents. The tax shall rise again to its typical level once the winter season begins. As you can see by the presence of his son here today, Lord Ysgrol Thiron of the Twenty-Fourth Province of Ruthaeus, which is located on the continent of Phiaos, has passed away. He was a great man and a great general. As one who was present for the burial I know no better man prepared for the mantle his father has given him than his eldest son, Rufus, who joins us today. I bid our new colleague luck and the blessing of the gods in all of his future endeavors. Moving forward…" He then moved on to a few other points, occasionally debating them the nobles, before coming to his final point. His voice continued to be a steady thunderbolt in the cohesive intellectual storm, the low baritone present its last key note, "…and lastly, I address to you now what I heard you speak of amongst yourselves as I entered, the woman who sits upon the throne to my left. She is one of the daughters of Emperor Averites and Empress Vasiliska of Oronil, Princess Indra Eisheth Oronil, as Storm-Singer like many of Oronil are. It was worked by our valiant Ambassador to Oronil, James Paiset, and Their Majesties that should be the arranged marriage acceptable and worthy to bring about peace." The Grey King then sat in his throne, not before they started calling for proof that he was a Storm-Singer. They called for a rain upon Tanis and Mount Raj'ul as testimony for abilities, to which Ichabod drew his sword as he stood up, the sight silencing the noblesse. "You dare to question the integrity not only the ambassador decided upon by myself and our National Parliament, but that of those whom we wish ally ourselves with? The fact we are the strongest of the Four means nothing if it is not what our kingdom needs at this moment. Nor does it mean we should attack one of the many lesser kingdoms, either. We should uphold faith. I now ask the princess to summon the tender and gentle rain you desire in one week's time, when we next convene. What say you, Indra?" His voice we much harsher, though to his fiancée his tone turned and became gentle. He had silenced the nobles, the meeting ending after she gave her response and he promptly dismissed them to avoid further demands and arguments on the topic.
  4. It was his weapon that next fascinated her. Indra had once longed to be educated as to how to fight. How to hold a bow and loose an arrow. Swing a sword or throw a dagger so finely that it would fall a man. But of unladylike that would be. How silly of her to have those wishes. To know how to defend herself should the time come. No, instead she was taught everything a woman of her title should. And each thing seemed to revolve around a non-existant husband. "Then you are to call me Indra. Is that not only fair?" She finally came around from reminiscing, blinking back onto her betrothed with a questioning tilt to her head.

    It amused her how they would occasionally just stare at one another. No words or actions. Just his glittering blue eyes on her sharp, piercing ones. That is until he spoke, beckoning her over to which she complied, taking in a breath - rather difficult with the corset she was in - and picking up her skirts slightly to approach him. "Of course, but are you sure that you wish my involvement in your court? I've been here merely five minutes." Indra then inquired, studying him curiously. Her own father never had her mother with him when it was time for court to be called. It was a different structure...tradition...

    Clearing her throat, Indra broke the eye contact and made herself comfortable in the throne beside him. She couldn't help but look some more, feeling like a child in the chair with how grand it was. Her fingers softly trailed over the arms of the seat as the men trickled through the doors for the council to begin and Indra felt...excited. She could hardly believe that she was being included in this meeting, allowes to hear what she was. It did amaze her. The Grey King outstanded her already. Trusting her to be in court only having met her minutes before? How did he know that she would relay any interesting information back to her father? The wind carried the secrets of many...

    Her brow furrowed softly at the discussion of taxes, leaving her to sit straighter as her mind raced at his suggestion of raising taxes in the winter. Turning her head to peer to him, Indra bit her lip as to keep quiet, she would not say anything for now, perhaps to the King in private later on. Raised taxes in winter? That could never be good. Her kingdom had trouble with such issues a few years ago, she could remember. Terrible times...truely. But as he continued, Indra found herself soothed by the rumble of his voice and rolled her shoulders lightly as her gaze swept across the council.

    She was fully aware of her introduction and she raised her chin faintly in recognition, only for her eyes to flash like the lightening they seemed to take after with the calls for proof. It led for her short temper to rise again, furious for those imbeciles to demand something as petty as evidence. Was their King's word not enough? How pathetic. His softened tone came through to her though as she was thinking of needing a late night meditation session before sleeping and her gaze flickered back to him. "I will happily do so, Your Ma-...Ichabod. I will summon the rain wherever yourself and your chamber believe it is needed if that will silence any doubts about my...skills." Indra answered carefully, tactfully changing 'powers' to 'skills'.

    Once his men were gone and they were alone again, Indra hesitantly turned to him, shifting to find comfort in her position as she built the nerve to ask. "If you don't mind my asking, Ichabod...why the raising of taxes in the winter? Why not in the summer?"
    #4 Viverescribere, Aug 21, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  5. "It is simple. In the winter there are many festivals an various occasions of gift-giving. The taxes of the winter seasons, therefore, are typically lower than an increase would raise winter taxes to the average for the rest of the year. Everyone is earning more this autumn, and as such will be able to save and spend greater coin in accordance. Even then, it will not be for the whole of winter: at most until a week before the winter solstice. After all, things are different here than in Oronil: here democracy is on equal footing with the crown as opposed to your homeland where all is governed by the crown and the nobility, along with the clergy. While my nobles have made themselves known today they are a mere fraction of importance than what I place on my common subjects. It is why, although there is beautiful set crowns meant for the Grey King and Queen, I do not wear the one I have been allocated. But I have rambled long enough; I do believe a tour of our home is in order."

    It was then that he took them to the enormous room where they feasted and dined, although Ichabod rarely ate there. The majority the time he received his meals in his office or from the dumbwaiter in the master bedroom or in his study. The Banquet Hall could easily hold half a hundred people at its massive table, thought a dining room for the royal family was present, and the table there could seat up to ten. There was also an observatory in the portion of Erebos that was highest seated upon the mountain. There were also many sunlit courtyards, a small temple, and various gardens, one of which was specifically designated for meditation. They also came upon a small farm within the fortress' outermost boundaries, allowing the mountain-born castle to be completely self-sufficient.

    Later on he took his fiancée back to the throne room, leading her up a hidden, comparatively plain staircase that led to the master bedroom. When he opened the door she could see a high, vaulted ceiling stared upward into the night sky, an image procured by an artificial roof in the side of the mountain. More windows similar to those Ichabod had shown her rested on the entirety of the furthest walls to her right and front, currently closed. A four-poster bed lay against the left wall, overlooking the view the windows would provide once opened and the low crackle of flickering lanterns sounded. Beneath her feet lined a luxurious carpet of soft wool and cotton fibers intertwined into a design of the Grey's sigil while hosts of other intricate furniture dotted the chamber. Near the private staircase they had used was a door that opened to their own private bathroom, complete with indoor plumbing, a standard in the Grey Kingdom. In this room there wasn't a bathtub, as a curtain door could be pushed aside to reveal a private hot spring for the room's residents. The hot spring was natural, as Mount Raj'ul itself had various aquifers and reservoirs beneath its surface. Quite literally, Erebos could be under siege for one century and still have the necessary resources to be under siege for another nine. The room itself had a set of double doors near the bed on the far wall that opened up to a large patio balcony that offered an awe-inspiring panoramic view or the Grey Kingdom. There was a set of marble double doors that also acted as the main entryway from the corridor, as well as a second door similar to the one that connected to the stairway to the throne room. This door led to Ichabod's office and personal study where the Grey King conducted a large amount of his business. There was also a wine rack as well as a small chifferobe full of non-perishable and preserved foods along with silverware, plates, and glasses. There were also two identical closets, with the one on the left containing Ichabod's clothing and the one on the right containing Indra's. "Please take a seat before the fireplace, I'll pour a drink. A cordial wine made at a little abbey in the woodlands to the west by the name of Redwall. A kind little community to say the least." He then grabbed a bottle and two glasses, placing them on the large wicker table near the bed, pouring them each a glass of the wine and handing her one of them before setting his down on the wicker table. He then put a few longs in the fireplace, using one of the nearby torches to set it alight before putting it back in its sconce. He then sat next to her, raising his glass with her and toasting to health and to the gods, for a happy future and loving marriage together. After a while of idle chatter he spoke aloud, smiling a bit."I would wonder if you would tell me a bit about your family. I wish to know what they are like before they arrive at Erebos in a few weeks."
  6. Listening curiously with yet another soft furrow to her brow, Indra nodded along slowly to what she was being told. It was rather interesting to hear how the others handled business, even if it would take some getting used to. "I was about to say..." She commented lightly afterwards, "Winter is a much tougher time I found for our people back home. We must have gone wrong somewhere when we attempted what you are doing." Indra then waved a hand, as if dismissing her own words before listening to the rest of what he had to say.

    The prospect of going for a tour of the place she would now call home enticed her, so she was more than willing to be led through te grounds and castle by His Royal Highness. It was an impressive place, Indra would willingly admit so. The many gardens and open spaces...especially the meditation area which she showed great interest in. Perhaps she could go there for an hour or two that evening to calm her nerves and sooth her soul. Then the inside of the many rooms. It was certainly bigger than her old home...but she wouldn't be admitting that any time soon however. There was so much to explore at a later time...especially the Library. The library looked comforting, warm...

    There was minor confusion when she found that he was leading her to a quieter, hidden part of the building...only to find that it would be the staircase to their room. Their room. They would be sharing...right away? Was that even proper? They weren't even married yet but they were going to share the same bed before the vowes were even done?

    Her cheeks flushed slightly, her cool and confident manner momentarily being lost as she set her eyes upon the double, four-poster bed. Immediately she turned her gaze away to take in the rest of the room, exhaling softly at how grand it all was. It was certainly beautiful, the view outside. She could happily pull up a chair and sit in front of the windows with a book for hours. Everything about the manor was...well, Indra couldn't think of anymore words to describe it. But it would take awhile before this house finally turned into a home for her.

    It unnerved her slightly to see how quickly everything had been unpacked for her, the wardrobe already holding her many gowns and undergarnments and she only hoped it was her ladies-in-waiting, people she knew, who did the unpacking.

    Sittinf down as he had requested, Indra watched his movements once again, wanting to know more about his demeanor and behaviours. They would be together now, she needed to learn practically everything about it. When he was happy. When he was sad. When he was angry. Picking up the wine, she raised it with him, softly clinking hers against his in the toast before taking a sip. It was delicious, the rich yet still sweet taste...she would happily drink more if she were able to later. "It's a divine beveridge, m'Lor- Ichabod...your kingdom seems to have a lot and pleasures than my own. I can only believe we brought it on ourselves with our isolation."

    Indra spluttered mildly at his question about her family, coughing softly and taking another sip of her wine, "My family? Well I...what is it that you wish to know? You're aware of my two sisters and two brothers. Only one sister and brother younger than me...hence why you're stuck with me as a wife." Indra laughed lightly, clearing her throat as she looked back up at him once more.
  7. The Grey King drank his wine and pondered about what he wished to know of her family. Ichabod himself knew only of her father the emperor, and solely because of diplomatic exercises. He took another sip of the wine before he spoke again, having decided. "Perhaps just a summary of who they are. I wish to have an idea of who they are and how they act before they arrive to Erebos." He then refilled Indra's glass at her beckoning, pondering a few of her descriptions before he would speak once more. "I assume that you wonder why, although we are only betrothed, we are sharing a room. The Grey is a cold place. In older times it was for the sake of warmth... but now it is done to build trust and affirm feelings between the betrothed. Quite obviously the 'beast with two backs' cannot exist without the vows being taken."
  8. "A basic summary? Well..." Indra mused softly, pondering herself for a moment as she attempted to figure out what to tell him about each family member. "Amarox is the eldest. He's twenty-five and ready to take my father's place, currently betrothed himself and rather...headstrong. Zuki, she's second eldest and married to one of the nobles in Oronil...beautiful, pleasant...never seems to do anything wrong. She's not much of a Storm-Singer though. My mother jokes, saying she was born on a warm and sunny day whilst I was during a storm...hence why I'm touch with the skill." Indra laughed softly again, looking down at her freshly poured wine. "Werin is the third eldest, a little bitter I think about not having a throne to aspire to...he's eighteen now, throwing himself into sword-wielding and battle practice if ever the time comes. Then Vestra...she's the youngest. Bless, I love her...I'm going to miss her..." She sighed gently, "Always has her head in the clouds, can always make you laugh...but she doesn't seem to...think before she speaks."

    Her gaze flickered up at him over the rim of her cup as she took another sip, clearing her throat afterward. Indra found herself choking once more on her drink at his metaphor but soon composed herself, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "You read my mind," she admitted, "I was slightly concerned, but I trusted that our traditions remained the same in respect to...'behaving' before the vows." Indra took another flustered sip of the wine, "I...understand that you have no family left of your own? Nothing for you to reveal to me as I have just done to you?"
  9. It was clearly a sore subject for Ichabod, and one he never had particularly card for. He then proceeded to drink the entirety of the wine that remained in his glass, speaking to his fiancee. "My mother died shortly after my birth. As for my father he died by your father's hand, and as such my people still spurn Oronil for the act. Even then I was six when he was slain, and had rarely seen him. After that I turned the Grey into a superpower to fill the void. Conquest replaced any sense of kindness I had for the longest time. Until your kindred begged for mercy and I relinquished my hatred and rage. Please do not mention this topic again, at least not for a while. I do not like to talk of these things."
  10. Wincing slightly at his response, Indra cursed herself silently for even questioning him. Of course she knew that his mother had died shortly after his birth...but with him being only six when his father died by her father's hand...Indra was only coming up to the age of four. And seemed like her father hardly believed it was necessary for her to know that piece of information. The dimwit.

    "My apologies...I did not mean to bring up any ill-memories. I had no idea that it was the fault of my father's that you no longer have your own. He obviously believes that it is no place for a woman to know of such gruesome details." Indra stood, reaching out for the wine to pour him some more carefully, remaining silent for a little while longer. "My father is anything but a progressive man. He prefers for his women to be seen and not heard. Traditional, is a word people throw around about my land. He does not allow my sisters or mother to know about the deals in his limited court, nor can we act upon any interest to learn about sword fighting or hunting. We're to stay in the castle and it's grounds, smile and look pretty whilst learning everything that would be needed in regards to being a wife and mother some day." She finally indulged Ichabod about her father, changing the subject and putting the wine jug down and glancing to the window, peering at the darkening sky as night time approached.
  11. "Your err is forgiven. All I truly know is that this peace does not require the Grey goes to Oronil's aid, nor otherwise. If I act, it shall be in the best interest of the Grey. If I ever omit details from you it shall be for your health and safety. Your voice in my court is quelled only by my own. Remember this and use it well..." He then proceeded to undergo silence for a while, soon moving so that the couple stood outside, underneath the open sky upon the patio floor.

    "You know, I've always liked the rain... under it everyone is equal. It washes away visible sorrows and trouble of man. For me the storm always brought calm and peace in times like before... it was in the rain I lost my father, and in the rain I spared yours. I do not wish to ask much of you but... please, show me the rain."
  12. Indra didn't truly feel much comfort in the fact that if her family's kingdom was in trouble then she would be powerless to help despite the marriage ahe would soon be in and the ties her future husband had. But she kept silent, biting her tongue and merely looking away as she had learned and done over the years. She was happy to follow him outside, seeking comfort and reassurance from the cool evening breeze that whispered across the land, eyes closing and body leaning forward to rest against the stone railing that protected her from falling.

    Her eyes then fluttered open again at his request, mildly surprised that he was ask for such a thing, especially during their first proper meeting. Indra was tired, having just wanted to change into her bed clothes after indulging in the hot springs on the other side of the curtains before retiring to bed. But the lessons regarding the pleasing of her husband and doing as wanted were too prominent to ignore.

    Licking her lower lip, she bowed her head softly before placing her empty goblet upon the stone before her. Her hands raised gently in front of her as if beckoning the rain clouds toward her, only then did she make fists and pull down. It was a light spring rain that fell upon them, pattering against their skin and clothing, darkening everything in it's path. Indra turned her face up into the rain and inhaled deeply, the scent of a thicker rain fall amongst the clouds strong...too obvious to ignore. "It's matter what kind of rainfall.'
  13. His clenched fists released themselves as his being went numb and slack for a moment. He closed his eyes before turning around to see Indra with a small smile upon his face: the first truly positive emotion he had displayed this day. His eyes met with Indra's, smiling at her and clasping one of her hands with his two before speaking softly after putting the outer layer of his robes around his fiancee so that she wouldn't get too wet. He then kissed her cheek, speaking softly. "Thank you, Indra."
  14. She had been observing him once again after allowing the heavens to release their tears, head tilted softly to the side in a speculative manner. Then to see him smile...Indra caught the thought of him looking a lot more...handsome with a smile on his lips. Then her mind turned to how he would look when laughing instead. Her gaze sharply lowered to their hands as he clasped one of in his, lips parting briefly to say something but the words dying on the tip of her tongue after realizing the extra warmth came from both his outer layer and his body heat, not to mention the kiss on her cheek silenced her for a moment. Pausing and hesitating, smiled back faintly, "My pleasure. are not the only one who wanted to feel the rain on their face this evening. It's just as comforting me as it is for you. I'm happy to have performed this small act for you, Ichabod." Glancing back out to the view from the balcony, Indra sighed softly and closed her eyes, "We best not stay out too late, however, we wouldn't want to cold or damp from the rain."

    #14 Viverescribere, Aug 22, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  15. "Only if you insist, my princess. If we're lucky, the chef will have our dinners sent up the dumbwaiter by now." It was then that he though for a moment on the princess' name, Indra. It was quite obvious her name was meant to honor the Goddess of Rain. Oddly enough, it was fitting, and as such a small chuckle passed his lips as he walked to the dumbwaiter. Opening it up he saw their dinners: two steaks with salads, nothing too remarkable. It was, after all, Indra's first day at the palace. The Grey King then proceeded to take said meals and place them on the table since the pair was dry enough to use the furniture. He sat next o her and spoke, handing her silverware. "It looks like Gaius took it easy tonight. He usually tries to make something rather over-the-top. Regardless, let's dig in, shall we?"
  16. With his approval, Indra was quick to remove herself from their closeness and slip out from the warmth of his cloak...something she found herself missing until the heat of the room found it's way back against whatever bared skin she showed. Whilst he checked for their dinner, she began searching for some night clothes to change into after the meal and a quick dip in the springs should Ichabod allow it. With the long journey from Oronil...a long bathe felt like it would do her stiff shoulders and neck the world of good.

    Finding suitable night garb to put on once needed, Indra laid the item of clothing upon the large bed before journey His Highness for their evening meal. She had been surprised at them eating alone in his chambers, but she had supposed the King had shown their arrangement off to those of importance during his court meeting and thus a welcoming meal was not necessary. Though Indra was mildly disappointed, she would have taken that time to have figured out who she could have considered friend or foe, especially along the women since all her old friends were now back in Oronil. She was also equally taken back by the plainness of the meal, having expected something a bit more...well, foreign from the Grey Kingdom. But alas...she was mistaken and felt foolish for having such a childish expectation.

    "Thank you," she murmured upon taking the silverwear to begin her meal. Indra soon realized how ravenous she was, having not eaten since the early hours of the morning before her travel to the Grey Kingdom. But she held herself properly, eating with the manners she had been taught. Indra allowed the silence to fall as she wondered what to say or ask, eventually after swallowing a mouthful of wine, she glanced to her fiance. "When will our vows be taken, if I'm allowed to know? After I pass the supposed test that your court has laid out for me? Their demands for me to make the heaven's open upon your sacred it some form of test? To make sure that it really is a true Storm-Singer and a member of the Oronil Royal Family before you wed and bed her to produce heirs?" It came out harsh, but Indra was a blunt person who wanted nothing but honesty. It was a virtue she admired in people...unfortunatelt it was a rare one to come by nowadays.
  17. The Grey King pondered this for a good while before he spoke up once more, going through what he had been told the ambassador in a previous conversation. "As for the wedding day, it will during your family's stay at Erebos, of that I am certain. Otherwise, a specific date has slipped my mind, but I have it scribbled down somewhere in my study and I will inform you as soon as I uncover it. Otherwise, regarding the nobles, I believe their request to motivated by nothing other than simple fear. As for a test... I say you've unintentionally passed it already, looking in retrospective. But it matters not to me, for I shall choose to see you for who you are, not your magics."
  18. "And why would they be in fear? Of me? Of my magic? What else could there be? The forces that my father has would be no match for yours...a fear of my kingdom otherwise is unnecessary and rather childish. To attack your kingdom would be a suicide mission...I merely hope my father isn't a fool and knows this too." Her eyebrow raised momentarily as she began to cut into her steak. Indra remained quiet after her questions a little while afterward, her hunger taking over her need for answers as she dug in to the politely as possible, that is. After washing a mouthful down with some wine, she put down her knife and fork to pause her meal before looking back at him. "Well when you get a chance...I would be most pleased to know what actual date the ceremony is set. That way I can send out the formal invitation to my family so they are most definitely here on the day."
  19. "And I will tell as soon as I know, Indra. As for my nobles... I believe their fear may rooted withing the prospects of change, that their subjects may react to radically to the diffusion of Oronillian culture into our own. For a good deal of them are conservative men- I am a moderate, myself- and choose to keep to our traditions close and look to progress in increments. Meanwhile, some our more liberal nobles seek to absorb the whole of Oronil in a single blow. Your presence along invokes many worries and fears, each for a different reason." When they had finished with their plates he took them and placed them in the dumbwaiter, lowering them back down to the kitchen.
  20. Indra leaned back in her seat as he took the plates away once they were done. She mulled over his response as she glanced back out the window to the view, the rains slowing before finally stopping as she released a soft exhale. " would be a good idea for me to...get to know each of your people? Go to the towns and villages, engage with them. Interact and show them that I am no different to them. Would that help?" She inquired finally, glancing back to him, "If that would make things easier or at least help...I am willing to try."
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