The Seven Seals

Elle Joyner

I guess...
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Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.

Elle Joyner

I guess...
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.

Esmera (Esme) Davontry
From youth, Esmera's only ambition was to live an easy, quiet life. Betrothed to a handsome prince from a distant land, a path that was planned before her birth. She had little desire to challenge or change course, satisfied she could want for nothing better.

When the neighboring kingdom of Etheren struck out against Calesh, a long seeded debate over a mysterious element discovered in the caverns below Calesh, war ravages both kingdoms. Silvan, an adviser to Esmera's father, Odric Davontry, comes up with the plan to garner peace, while infiltrating King Darosa's lands.

The plan was simple... a marriage between Esmera's older sister Lorraine and Prince Brennan. Unfortunately, before it could be carried out, Lorraine fell ill, a malady that would prevent her from following through with the mission set before her. It fell then, on Esme, to take Lorraine's place. Furious, but dutiful, Esmera was sent to Etheren, setting in motion the scheme to take down King Darosa and restore peace to.

As a whole, Esmera is a tempestuous young woman, strong willed and fierce, with a barbed tongue and little sense when to hold it. Doubling as Lorraine, Esme has been forced to temper herself in order to keep up appearances, but there is a constant storm within her, threatening to break free.
 

DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
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You will be king.


Those were the words driven into his head every day by his parents. During the day, his father would teach him how to be a strong king, a king who demands respects, and quashes opposition. A king who rules without questions and who does not know mercy. A king to be feared. At night before bed, his mother would teach him what it meant to be a strong king, a king who earned respect, and hears opposition choosing wisdom over all. A king who judges according to the needs of his people, and exercises mercy and grace at the appropriate times. He would have easily followed his father had he not seen the result of his mother’s instruction through her actions. Understanding that he would never be King if his father knew, Brennan practiced his kind nature in secret. He would marry a Lady from the court and rule all of Etheren with a kinder, gentler rule than his father.

But kings make sacrifices.

War was costly, and peace a bittersweet necessity. In order to secure that peace, Brennan had to marry the daughter of King Davontry, Lorraine. As the future king, Brennan stepped in to do his duty without question despite how he personally felt. If it meant saving lives and ensuring that his father did not call Brennan’s loyalty into question, he would do it.

His loyalty lies with those who desperately need it: his people. He hides this very well to protect them and to ensure that he is in his father’s inner circle to know the intricate details of what his father is planning. He is protective and will not back down if it means death for those he cares for. He will do whatever it takes to secure the future of his people, sometimes even making sacrifices. He does not easily trust because of his own subterfuge. His unwillingness to trust guarantees few friendships.
 
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Elle Joyner

I guess...
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
She was born to standard... Certain expectations. This had not changed in all of her eighteen years, and Esmera had not anticipated that it might, any time soon. Least of all not on the cusp of her marriage to Prince Garmond. He was a witless man, but handsome and wealthy, and there was little doubt he would have made King Ordin Davontry's youngest daughter quite happy. So when their betrothal was called off inexplicably, questions arose that Davontry's kingdom was suffering... It was no secret that for a time, the sister kingdoms of Calesh and Etheren had been engaged in heated battles across their borders, and rumor crossed the land that Davontry had used up his resource, fighting off King Darosa. None of it was true, of course, but the lie served them better against their foe.

In truth, it was not wealth, but duty which severed the coupling of Esmera and Garmond, a sense of duty, and an unfortunate coincidence. Esme’s sister Lorraine’s part in the scheme was simple… wedding the young Prince Brennan. A marriage between the warring kingdoms to promote peace and unity. The illness that struck Lorraine came unexpectedly, and plans needed to be rearranged. Under trying circumstances, with a plan in the works that could provide Calesh the support necessary to overtake Etheren, the task fell on Esme to take her sister’s place.

Six weeks prior, Esme had arrived in Etheren as Lorraine, and now as the wedding loomed, she could see those expectations that she had relied on dashed upon the rocky shores of a homeland she would be forced to call her own. It was only the notion of subterfuge… her true purpose for marrying Prince Brennan that carried her to any sense of comfort.

“Princess?” The voice came from behind her, the timid mouse of a nursemaid… Libby, as Esme recalled was her name. The blonde creature stood, hands clasped before her, head bowed low. It was a posture she adopted so frequently, Esme couldn’t actually be sure what color the poor girl’s eyes were, “Supper’s ready in the main hall. I’ve been told to ask if you’ll be dinin’ in your room again, tonight.”

A brow lifted, and Esme considered the question, her eyes returning to the window that stood facing south. A field of wild grasses rolled like the tide along sandy dunes, all cascading downwards to the tourmaline waters.

Glancing back over her shoulder, she forced a smile to her lips she couldn’t be sure was half as genuine in appearance as she intended, giving her head a slightly shake, “No, Libby. I think tonight I will dine with the others, thank you.”

“Oh…” Her head bobbed up and clearly surprised, Libby blinked, “Oh, alright, Miss! I’ll let his Majesty know, right away! Do… do you need me to escort--”

“No… I know the way. Thank you.” And as she waved Libby off, she glanced briefly back out the window, her lip twisting into a frown. Etheren would never be her home. And if she had anything to say about it, she would see to it her task was done before summer was out. Perhaps Garmond would wait for her...

With a small sigh, she turned and followed the serving girl out into the hallway.
 
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DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
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A King has a duty to his people, Brennan. Do not forget that...ever.

He could remember that lesson as though it were clear as day. His mother sat across from him in the cool night. The light from the candles fighting away the darkness that threatened to veil her face. Her hands were soft against the stubble forming at his chin as she tilted his eyes to meet hers. This was an important lesson; one she wanted him to hear and commit to memory so that when doubt crept into his heart, he could recall the lesson and be set in his purpose.

Even now, as he sat beside an empty chair meant for his betrothed, looking on as his father, King Edwin as he roared with laughter at one of Gannon's jokes, Brennan felt the cold tendrils of doubt and uncertainty slowly tangle their way into his heart. Aishah, his youngest sister, hid her smiling lips behind a hand as she tried desperately to swallow her drink. It was his mother, though, that kept him grounded. Her eyes fixed on his with a certain sorrow that her son must bear this heavy burden all too soon and an admiration that he so willingly did so.

His attention would always fall to the empty seat beside him. It had been six weeks and Lorraine had still not left her room to join him for dinner. His father had voiced a desire to fetch her and tie her to the chair feeling as though the girl was disrespecting him. Of course, Gannon would cheer and offer to drag the Caleshan princess from her room by her hair. That happened only once, Brennan recalling the strike he made to his younger brother as he watched Gannon wince and raise a hand to the cut upon his lip. Despite not being a marriage he wanted, nor would anyone in Etheren, she was still to be his wife and would be treated with the same respect that any Etherenian royal would see.

His mother suggested that it was just sorrow that bound the Lorraine to her room. She had left everything she loved - her family, people, and land - to marry the enemy for the sake of peace. Brennan aligned to this thought, even going so far as to offer fear as a reasonable excuse. Uncertainty must have weighed heavy on her heart. She did not know how she would be treated knowing that only her life needed to be cared for, nor did she know what manner of man she was marrying. He had heard the tales his men recalled hearing from the field.

"It seems your betrothed has chosen not to grace us with her presence once again."

Brennan looked from the seat confused as to when the laughing had stopped as he found his entire family looking his way, "Give her time, Father."

"How much time does she need? She is not going home. She is stuck here for the rest of her life, and needs to accept that sooner rather than later," Gannon gabbed with a smirk on his face, "I could always go get her, Father."

"No one is getting anyone," Brennan replied, "Or need I remind you of the last time you offered your services to do so."

Gannon's jaw clenched and Aishah chuckled, "I would pay my year's allowance to see that again."

"Gannon's right, though," his father spoke up, "She's had plenty time to mourn for what's lost. Go get your betrothed before I send my men to do so. I'm certain they will be far less gentle than their prince," when Brennan shook his head, afraid that if he opened his mouth he might find himself in trouble, his father continued, "Siegfried," the ever faithful captain of the guard stepped forward, "Escort Princess Lorraine to the dining hall. I'll not have her disrespecting me any longer."

"Stop!" Brennan stood to his feet and slammed his hands against the plate, "Siegfried will do no such thing!"

A soft clearing of the throat caused the entire family to turn their eyes to the doorway. Brennan's face reddened at the sight of Lorraine standing there, her maid servant, Libby, close by.

"It appears not," Gannon smirked before sweeping up his cup and swallowing down a swig.

Brennan glanced to the table, his and Lorraine's settings disheveled because of his striking of the table. He nervously fixed it as best he could, Gannon laughing as he worked.

"Princess Lorraine," he started as he rounded the table and offered a respectful bow, "It is nice of you to join us," he forced a smile trying to hide the frustration of the moments before, "Please, your seat is beside mine."

A King has a duty to his people... he repeated over and over in his mind.
 
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Elle Joyner

I guess...
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My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
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Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
Standing fixed in the doorway for a moment, Esme's eyes moved along the table with a slow, scrutinizing stare. Their voices had carried, but she needn't have overheard their conversation to understand the heated response from her husband-to-be. It hardly came as a surprise that King Edwin spoke so rashly of his son's intended... and it would not have surprised her in the slightest if he had, in fact, decided to send his men to fetch her, if only to flaunt the sense of entitlement he carried, concerning her and her people. She was here for the pretense of peace, but peace could never be achieved with man like him on the throne.

What did surprise her was the attitude of her betrothed, and that, perhaps, was the only thing that prevented Esme from turning and walking away, back to her room. His support for her well-being and his understanding were a kindness she had not anticipated, a light she had not expected to see him in. And for a moment, it was jarring. This was a man she was predestined to hate, if only for his association with his father, and yet...

Clearing her throat, she turned her gaze from the king and his children and faced Brennan, bowing her head, and while she did not smile, there was an air of warmth to her voice that she need not feign, "My Lord. Forgive me... My absence these past few weeks has, I'm sure, come of note. I confess, it has been difficult, adjusting to the idea of Etheren as my home, but I do hope, sincerely, that I have not caused you offense."

Straightening, her eyes shifted pointedly to the king again, the warmth cooling, to a calculated frigidness, "Nor you, Your Majesty. Your patience has been most magnanimous." Moving to the table, she sank into the seat offered to her and folding her hands in her lap, turned her eyes to Brennan, "You were in the middle of a conversation, please. Don't let me interrupt."
 

DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
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Gannon froze mid-drink. Aishah would have normally laughed at such a gesture, but she knew exactly what was being discussed and who it pertained to. The subject matter was not one to jest about when the ill-intended sat amongst them. Brennan swallowed hard, his gaze turning to his father and bearing witness to the turning of the cogs as the King contemplated how he might respond. His mother reached over and gently squeezed her husband's hand. Silence threatened to choke the very life out of the dinner as it hung thick like a blanket.

"Not at all, Princess," Brennan finally cut through it and sat beside his betrothed, "I had thought it best to give you time to adjust."

"I had hoped you would have joined us sooner," his father finally spoke, his eyes, like daggers, pierced across the table aimed for the young woman that had just joined them.

"Father," Brennan started, Don't-"

"Don't what, boy?" his eyes turned to his eldest son, "I am simply having conversation with your wife," his attention returned to her, "I opened my doors for peace. Do not think that you can-"

"Edwin," his mother spoke for the first time, calm and pointed, "Let the princess be, she is here now."

Snatching his hand from his wife, he growled, "When she shows me the courtesy of arriving for dinner as expected and on time, I will let her be," he spit.

Brennan watched as his brother flashed a smirk his way. His jaw clenched and his knuckles whitened as he waited, expecting his father to continue his not so subtle tongue lashing. Just as his father was about to continue, the doors to the kitchen opened and out walked the servants. They placed out a spread of roasted pork, potatoes, bread and an assortment of fruits. Another servant came behind offering to fill the goblets with a perfectly aged wine.

Despite the tone of the conversation, Esme’s lips curved in a small smile, her eyes focused on the plate before her, not in abasement or fear, but quiet, private amusement. He was an emotionally volatile man, the king, and while she could hardly say as much out loud, it would, in time, prove to be his undoing.

Finally looking up, her eyes traveled to the king and reaching for the goblet of wine before her, she lifted it by the stem, bowing her head to the man, “...It was not my intention to be discourteous, Your Majesty. Though admittedly, I am not as comfortable with the transparency of my emotions as you may be.”

The sudden clank of a fumbled fork sounded from Aishah’s position. Gannon coughed choking on his whine, and the Queen frowned. Brennan stared at Lorraine with a mixture of shock and awe. No one spoke to his father like that and went unpunished, and yet it was a Caleshan that would do just that. All eyes turned to Edwin to see what the King would do.

Edwin took in a visible breath, the air seemed to heat up and immediately Brennan saw his mother reach out and place a hand on her husband’s. The gesture caused her pain, her hand taking on a pink hue, and the air began to cool when his father took notice, “For the sake of peace you still breath,” Edwin spoke in a cold tone.

Glancing to his betrothed, Brennan shook his head ever so slightly. There was only so much his father would endure even for peace. He was as hot-headed as the magic that coursed through his veins.

“This food looks amazing,” Aishah spoke hoping to diffuse the situation.

Eyes narrowing slightly, her lip turned down into a frown and despite the Etherenian princess’s desire to diffuse, the king’s words resonated perhaps a little too deeply with Esme. Would her sister have suffered such scorn, she wondered? Good, gentle Lorraine? Her sister had always been more patient… more gentle. She could not be Lorraine, no matter how desperately she might have wanted to…

Rising, slowly, she placed her hands on the table to steady their shaking, “Peace cannot be brokered with closed fists. You'll win nothing by making veiled threats… This was a mistake.” Looking briefly to Brennan, eyes damp in the light of the candles, she shook her head, “I'm sorry.”

Turning, with a fierce will to contain her emotions, she marched for the doors.

“Princess,” Brennan stood to his feet to pursue her.

“Let her be,” King Edwin replied, putting a hand up, he summoned Siegfried, “See that Princess Lorraine is comfortable and then set a guard for protection outside her room. There are many who would rather see her dead than crowned the Queen of Etheren. For her protection to ensure peace, her meals will be delivered and you will turn away anyone who is not royal save her maid servant.”

“Father,” Brennan tried to protest, “You can’t-”

“I am King!” Edwin interrupted, “Until you are King, I most certainly can!”
 
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Elle Joyner

I guess...
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My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
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Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
She was definitely not Lorraine. Dinner had been disastrous, and try as she wanted to, Esme could not put the blame entirely on the king. She had baited him, she knew, and it had resulted, unfortunately, in restrictions that she had not been entirely prepared for.

But it had not been entirely without benefit. She had discovered two things of note… The first, that King Edwin seemed less in control of his magic than rumor dictated. And the second, that she might have a surprising ally in the son that Edwin seemed to treat with a not so subtle disregard. It was a relationship she could exploit, manipulate… and with hope, use against Edwin when the time came.

Sitting before the window, watching as moonlight rose in streaks of white across the inky black ocean, she frowned at the sound of heavy footfall outside her door. The guard, stationed after her outburst, no doubt to ensure she didn't try to leave the palace, was a clinical pacer, and for two hours now she had listened to him clodding back and forth across her threshold like a nervous gelding. Her irritations rose as she did, and with a sigh she flicked up the lock and threw open the window, allowing in the roar of the waves crashing against the rocks below to drown him out.

Dinner was relatively peaceful after Lorraine left. Father spent the rest of the meal stewing over the princess’ subtle prods while mother was visited by a healer that saw to her light burns. Gannon no doubt contemplated ways he could show their father that he was as frustrated at the woman’s words as he was. Aishah ate quietly next to her brother; the small comfort he found in the aftermath of what could have been a far worse scenario.

When dinner was finished, Brennan had Lorraine’s placed on a platter so that he could take it to her despite his father’s disapproving look, “She needs to be healthy, Father,” he told the man, “She will be my wife and she will provide me with heirs. She can be neither if she’s sick and frail, or, worse, dead.”

“Do not tarry long, son,” King Edwin replied, “I did not confine her to her chambers so that you could speak with her privately. She is no citizen of Etheren, and is most definitely a prisoner and will be so the rest of her life.”

Brennan nodded even though every fiber of his being wanted to argue. He found himself thinking about what he would have said as he walked through the stone halls. How could she be both his wife and prisoner, or Queen and prisoner? Yes, he was weary of her, uncertain of her own motives, but this marriage brought peace to both their war-torn kingdoms. Surely, she would treasure and care for that as he would.

Ivar was pacing, as he always did on detail, when Brennan rounded the corner to the princess’ chambers. The man did not know how to stand still. Brennan and Gannon used to joke about watching the man patrol the battlefield instead of standing in column, “Ivar,” he called out, interrupting the pacing, “Dinner for Princess Lorraine. Unlock the door.”
With a nod, Ivar worked the lock and then stepped aside. Brennan raked his knuckles against the wood, “Princess Lorraine?” he called out.

The voice that interrupted her thoughts was not one that Esme expected to hear. After leaving the table, she had not anticipated seeing the prince again until their wedding day, fully aware that the benefit she saw in his wavering loyalties towards his father would be seen, no doubt, by the king as well.

It made her uneasy to know he'd come, particularly when she hadn't time to prepare. But sending him away would not make for unity between them, so with a sigh she moved away from the open window and turned to the door, “Come in.”

Ivar pushed the door open for Brennan and in stepped the prince carrying a platter with a plate of pork, potatoes, bread and a few pieces of fruit, “Despite what happened at the table, I thought that you should still eat,” he started, lifting the platter so that she could see what was on it, “I could...,” he looked around the room, “I’ll just place it on the desk.”

Turning back to the window with a small frown, Esme shook her head, “I'm not hungry.” Leaning against the sill, she glanced down to the sandy shore below, to the blackness that stretched on forever, “I suppose you think it was impudent of me to say what I said. But I'm not sorry. I'm not…”

“Hmm,” Brennan placed the platter down before running a hand over his head, “My father can be...difficult. No one has spoken to him like you did in a very long time, and he’s right. The only reason you’re still breathing is because of the peace treaty,” he paused a moment, “Do I think it was impudent, yes, and if you want this treaty to work as badly as I do, you might want to consider changing that.”

Spinning around again, Esma’s gaze narrowed slightly, “What makes you think it will ever work? I could hold my tongue until the day I die and it still hasn't a prayer. That man couldn't get through one meal without brandishing his authority. And do you think it's escaped my attention that I am in a room that locks from the outside? That there is guard stationed out there?… How does peace between nations stand a chance when I'm not even free to walk these halls of my own accord? He isn't interested in peace, my Lord. He's interested in dominion. And from the moment I arrived, I've been nothing but another bit of leverage.”

“Give him what he wants. I know it is hard, Gods, I know,” Brennan’s brow raised, “Let him see submission, even through gritted teeth and this room will cease to be a prison cell. In time, his perspective of you will change. It will have to because you will be my…” it still felt strange on his tongue, “my wife. You will not be leverage, then. You will be a member of this family,” he sounded so naive and a part of him, a very small part, clung to the hope that his words would one day come true.

“Is that what you want in a wife? A pretty bird in a cage?” Shaking her head, she looked away, her jaw tensed against the very idea of it all, “I am not some wild animal to be tamed. And I will not live that way. You act as though it is easy… to come into a strange home, to be treated as less than, simply because I am not Etherenian… You act as though I had any choice in this at all.”

“And I had a choice?!” he snapped back, pointing both hands toward his chest, “You think I want to be married to a woman who would hate me for the rest of our lives? Who would despise our children, and hate our people? You think I asked my father for that? I didn’t want this either!” Shaking his head seemed to calm him for the moment, “I didn’t ask for it, Princess, but I accepted it.”

“You aren’t being asked to change everything about who you are to please a man that would threaten your life at the dinner table!” Esme shouted, but the words cracked and her eyes misted as she spun around, furious with herself, furious with him. Shaking her head, she crossed her arms, and her voice dropped to a mutter, “I don’t hate you, or your people… but I can’t pretend that I’ve any sense of fealty to a man like him. I won’t.”

“You’re right,” he admitted, “Perhaps it is unreasonable for me to ask you to be someone you are not; to assume you have nothing but hatred for me and Etheren,” he shook his head despite her inability to notice, “But I don’t want you to live like this. I don’t want a bird in a cage. I just wanted a wife, a mother, a Queen,” Brennan started for the door. Before opening it, he paused and glanced over his shoulder, “I’ll speak with father and see what I can do about all of this.”

Looking back, Esme frowned, “...I… I meant what I said at dinner. I am sorry that I haven’t been to see you much. You’re not what I expected.” Looking down at her hands, she sighed fainty, reservedly, “I will do my best to be civil and to hold my tongue. But know I’m not doing it for his sake.”

“You don’t have to do it for him, Princess,” the corner of his lip turned up ever so slightly, “Do it for you.”

“...I can’t do it for me, either.” Looking up, she studied him for a moment, giving a small shake of her head, “Goodnight, my Lord.”
 

DarinValore

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Two weeks dragged by as Brennan counted down the days until his union with Princess Lorraine. Despite his best efforts to persuade his father to lighten the punishment on the future Queen, his father refused to budge. He would have pressed him harder had his mother not approached him and warned him that doing so might reveal too much of the Prince to his father’s judgmental eye. Instead, any time that Brennan could steal away to speak with Lorraine had to be done in the brief moments he brought her her meals.

Now the day that the two kingdoms had waited for finally arrived. Brennan found himself in his room surrounded by servants. He had been given a proper bath, and was sporting a pure white tunic tied around the waist with a braided leather belt. From under the tunic emerged lack pants tucked into black boots trimmed in golden thread.To top it all off, a red, sleeveless surcoat fell to his knees; a small white rose etched in the top left corner.

“You look…”

The familiar voice cause Brennan to turn. His mother stood at the door, and immediately the servants bowed and took a step back from their prince, “Mother,” he forced a smile to greet her.

“I always knew this day would come, howbeit, under more favorable circumstance,” she closed the distance and ran her hands over his shoulders to smooth out the material, “It would have been a great day.”

“It still will be,” he nodded, “Today, I may not marry a woman for love, but through that marriage, we secure peace. No more of our people have to die for father’s war.”

She smiled with quivering lips, “I am so proud of you, of the man you’ve become,” the bells of the cathedral sounded in the distance and his mother quickly hugged him. He could feel her chest rock with a silent sob.

When she pulled back, Brennan took her face in his hands, “I am who I am because of you,” tilting her head down, he pressed his lips against her forehead, “I must hurry now. I cannot be late for my own wedding.”
 

Elle Joyner

I guess...
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Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
A hiss escaped Libby’s lips, and straightening from the hem of the stark white lace, she frowned, “Princess, please stand still. I'll be hanged for sure if I get blood all over this thing.”

Looking down, nearly as pale as the gown she wore, Esme shook her head, “I'm sorry. Are you almost finished? I need to sit.”

“Ah. It's no bother. No one’ll be lookin’ at your hem anyhow.” Libby murmured, rising to her feet, “Are you alright? You don't look at all well…”

“I'm fine.” Swallowing, Esme collapsed into the stool beneath her, and Libby fanned her with her hands, frown deepening, “I'm not sure I can do this, Libby.”

“Ah… nerves is it?” Smiling, the frail woman moved before the princess and held out her hands, which without hesitation, Esme took hold of, “When my sister Harriet married, she just about fainted in the middle of it all. It's normal to feel a bit anxious.”

“Did she love him?” Esme asked, looking up.

Libby’s expression contorted in confusion, “Love who, Miss?”

“The man she was marrying. Did your sister love him?”

“Oh. Ah. Yeah. She did. More than breath, actually… Still does, in fact.” Libby grinned, but it faded as she realized Esme had burst into tears.

“Ah. Now, Miss… don't fret so. You… it's not so bad. Prince Brennan is a good, kind man. Not like his dad or that rat of a brother if ya don't mind my sayin’. And you'll be well taken care of… Handsome, too?”

Sniffing, Esme shook her head, “You're sweet, Libby. But you mustn't say such things. If anyone were to overhear…”

“Good of you to care, but I'm not too worried, Miss. They'd have to notice we exist, to notice what we say. Now then. Up you get. You've got a man to make very happy. You look lovely, and anyone’d be a fool not to love you in all this finery.”

Helped to her feet, Esme smoothed out the lace and taking a breath, bracing herself, nodding, “Thank you, Libby.”
 
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DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male
The cathedral was the second largest structure in Etheren, only the castle was larger. Already a sight to behold with its massive square peaks and ornate design, today, it was even more so. Streams of the colors of both kingdoms hung from the balconies, adding life to normally dreary grey stone. The streets were crowded with Etherians, some there eager to wish good fortune to the new Queen in the name of peace, while others hoped some ill-will on the woman. It took Brennan longer than expected to clear the crowd, even with his royal guard clearing a path.

Inside, his breath caught. Each row of pews, filled with witnesses to the historic event, was linked by ropes of green dotted with purple dahlias, white orchid flowers, and blue hydrangeas down the left side of the aisles while red and white roses rested snuggly on vinery along the right. A beautiful blue carpet flowed down the center aisle come to a rest at the foot of the altar where High Cleric Sorrell was discussing with the servants the final details. The last bit of detail, no doubt designed by his father, were the banners displayed against the back wall. The red and white of Etheren stood proudly on the right, while the blue, silver, and purple of Calesh hung on the left. It didn’t take long for the prince to notice they were not even, that the Caleshan colors hung lower than those of Etheren.

With a clenched jaw, Brennan shook his head, “Even on this day, Father,” he muttered ensuring that no one would hear him.

“It is almost time,” his mother stated, placing a hand against his back, “Princess Lorraine should be here shortly and then…” she flashed a smile and Brennan returned a soft gesture of his own.

“A king must make sacrifices,” he spoke. His mother raised her hand and pressed it against his cheek, her thumb running over the flesh not hidden beneath his beard, “I’m ready, mother.”

Her lips quivered a moment before she cleared her throat and pulled her hand back, “I know you are,” she returned before nodding to the servants, “Prince Brennan is ready,” she told them before taking one last look at her son.

“Your Majesty,” Witton, the man servant that had been with Brennan all day, ushered him away from the Queen to take his place at the base of the aisle, “Remember,” he spoke meekly as to not insult the royal, “You will escort the princess to the altar where High Cleric Sorrell will initiate the binding and pray for the blessings of the Gods on your marriage.”

“I remember,” Brennan said gently, “Thank you, Witton,” the servant nodded, the faintest of smiles gracing his lips before he bowed and excused himself, “A king must make sacrifices,” he whispered as the doors began to open.

As the doors opened, Esme was grateful for the veil that covered her face. There was no smile… and despite the beauty of the building, despite the apparent joy of those in attendance, this day held little more for her than duty. Somewhere along the carriage ride from the palace to the cathedral, she had managed to still her tears, but her eyes, she knew, shown red and as soon as the veil was lifted, undoubtedly, her soon-to-be husband would recognize the signs. But she couldn’t be made to care. Brennan was kind. Libby had been right about that, at least, but she did not love him. She barely knew him, and the few moments he had stolen away to speak to her in the prison of her bower, he had been reserved and dignified, but still a stranger.

Lorraine would have made the day an occasion for rapture. All Esme wanted was to turn around and run.

Her eyes were fixed forward as she made her way along the aisle, her gaze flickering up only once, to see the banners displayed along the cathedral ceiling, a twinge of anger rolling through her at the sight. Her father, no doubt, would notice as well, but his was a mission of peace, even if Esme had other reasons for joining herself to the Etherian Prince.

Arriving at last before the man, she paused and taking a deep, steadying breath, she bowed low, before rising, folding the veil back.

She was far more beautiful than Brennan had ever imagined a bride could be. He had attended many weddings in his lifetime, it was part of his responsibilities, but, Lorraine, none could compare. Though he never considered himself a shallow man, he couldn’t help but feel a hint of relief in her beauty. But any relief he felt washed away as she pulled back her veil. Her eyes, though a pretty blue, were outlined in red. Guilt flashed across his face before he could swallow it down. He wanted to speak, to apologize, but the lump in his own throat made it impossible.

Brennan took a bow, not as deep as hers, but a little more than required hoping the extra bit of respect might come across as sympathetic. Rising, he offered a slight nod before turning down the aisle. The aisle seemed to stretch on impossibly. Every eye locked on the pair of them, awaiting the stroll to the altar. Extending his hand officially, he waited for her to take it, “It’s time.”

Those words seemed strangely poignant, and while they were hardly comforting, it was enough, at least, to imbue in Esme the strength to reach for his hand. She could not run. No matter how much she wanted to, no matter how desperately the thought burned in her mind. This was for Calesh. For her father and her sister, and as painful as it was, if it brought this mad war to an end…

Looking up, her eyes fixed on the prince and with another inhalation, she nodded, curling her fingers around his.

Her hands were soft, her fingers small and delicate, and he could swear there was a light tremor to them, or perhaps that was his hand. The first step was the hardest. His foot felt heavier than it should have, but he willed it to move and finally it obeyed. Each step after was simply momentum carrying him forward despite his body screaming for him to stop. They passed the other lords and ladies, his distant family, and both their families until they came to a stop at the altar.

High Cleric Sorrell was waiting with three ropes in hand, a red, blue, and white one. When Lorraine and Brennan finally stood before him, he began to drape the ropes over their joined hands, “The red is for the sacrifices the two of you will make for each other. The blue, the honesty and commitment to your marriage. Finally, the white to signify the purity of your commitment in mind...and body.”

Taking a step back, Sorrell nodded to the two kings who then arose and approached the couple. Together they tied the ropes into a knot, binding Brennan’s hand with Lorraine’s. Brennan’s mind wondered as he studied the knot and everything it entailed. Only when the cathedral was filled with the sound of everyone standing to their feet did he turn his attention back to Sorrell who said an elaborate prayer calling for blessings, children, wisdom and guidance on the union before him.

Finally, the High Cleric spoke to Brennan, “Prince Brennan Derosa of Etheren, do you take Princess Lorraine Devontry of Calesh to be your wife in the sight of man and the Gods? Swear it.”

Brennan looked to Lorraine, studying her blue orbs beyond the red, “I, Brennan Derosa, do swear to care for her, protect her, and serve her so long as I live.”

Satisfied, Sorrell turned to Lorraine, “Princess Lorraine Devontry of Calesh, do you take Prince Brennan Deros of Etheren to be your husband in the sight of man and the Gods? Swear it.”

For a moment, Esme could not speak, a knot in her throat cloying and tight, threatening more tears. Her eyes moved to her father, a little ways off, to the look on his face… a desperate plea for her to follow through. It would be death for all of them if she didn’t, and yet…

Shutting her eyes, she breathed out, soft and slowly, and when her gaze returned to the prince, there was a blazed determination behind it, “I, Lorraine Davontry, Princess of Calesh, do so swear my unyielding fealty, deference and all the grace of which I possess, so long as I live.”

Sorrell studied the princess a moment before nodding, “Then by the powers bestowed upon me by the Gods, I, High Cleric Sorrell Manillus, pronounce you man and wife. Seal it with a kiss.”

Brennan’s tongue nervously darted out against his dry lips as he turned to face Lorraine. He swallowed before hesitantly leaning in. A king must make sacrifices, he repeated.

Heart jumping, Esme dug deeply, to find every ounce of strength within her not to pull away too soon. There was little wrong, at least on the surface, with the prince… with her husband. But it was difficult, indeed, to allow the first kiss she would ever have to come from someone who remained little more than a means to an end. It hurt, the notion that she would never get this moment back, and as she leaned back, the tears burned again, behind her eyes.

The cathedral erupted in cheers upon the end of the kiss. Peace was officially brokered between two kingdoms that had been at war for years. But Brennan heard none of them. His eyes softened as he saw the pools that threatened to fall from his wife’s eyes. This was supposed to be a happy moment, a moment to celebrate. Instead, it was as if it were a thing of nightmares. She did not love him, nor he her, and this was unlike any political marriage he had seen before. She dreaded it...maybe even him. That look in her eyes, painted on her face, was far worse than having to let go of any dreams he might have had for his own future. Despite an aching heart, Brennan turned to face the crowd. Raising their joined hands just high enough for everyone to see, he secretly begged for their celebration to end sooner so that the two of them could make an end to this horrid event.
 

Elle Joyner

I guess...
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
There wasn’t much time between the ceremony and the feast that followed to Esme to reflect on all that had happened. She understood, well enough, the circumstances of what had happened. She was married, now, really and truly married. Bound to Brennan in a way that superseded all other relationships in her life, and yet it felt surreal… The political nature of their union aside, she did not love the man… she barely knew the man and as they took their place at the head of the grand table, set for their guests, she could not bring herself to look over at him.

Whatever he was to her, both their lives had been disrupted by this ridiculous affair of state, and he seemed no happier than she…

It was halfway through the feast, when the wine had passed around the table one too many time, and several of their guests had become rosy in their cheeks and lighter on their feet that she finally turned to him, and with a deep breath, she cleared her throat, “...Your vow was lovely, My Lord. I… I meant to say so, after… Thank you.”

Brennan offered a tight-lipped smile, “You’re welcome, my Lady,” he found himself fiddling slightly with the edge of the cloth that draped over the table. A few awkward moments passed before he turned his head to her, “Yours too.”

Sitting back, reaching for her goblet, she shook her head, her eyes scanning the room where just about everyone else seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. As she took a sip, a frown formed, “This is… so uncomfortable. Please tell me it’s not just me?”

Brennan smiled and short chuckle escaping his lips, “Gods, no, you’re not alone,” he adjusted the surcoat, “This thing is so bloody hot.”

Looking over, a small smile formed, a brow lifting, as she set down her goblet, “...I wasn’t entirely referring to the clothing. Though, now that you mention it.” Shifting, she looked forward again, “Are you happy, My Lord?”

His smile faded with her question. His eyes turned to their guests, their conversation and laughter filling his ears, “One day,” he finally answered honestly, “One day I could be happy.”

“...My father told me… before I came here, that it wasn’t my obligation to be happy.” Through the crowd she could see him, seated by himself at the table. There was a sullenness to the man that spoke less about his daughter’s state and more of his own loneliness. He had not been a happy man for a long, long while, “I suppose I should… rephrase my question. Do you think I will make you happy?”

Brennan sighed, “Happiness is not a luxury people in our position are often given, but,” he paused looking down at the very hand that held hers before, “Ours can be more genuine than anyone else’s because we must decide upon it and create it. We work hard for it and it is more valuable than anything freely given,” Brennan ran the palms of his hands together before placing them in his lap and locking his fingers together, “Do I think that you will make me happy?” he repeated her question and then tried to smile warmly, “I think we could make each other happy if we so choose.”

Her own expression shifted, and while she did not smile, there was an edge of warmth to it where before none could be found, “May I ask you something? And I think the answer will determine, quite a bit, whether or not that is a choice I can make, someday…”

Shaking his head, Brennan replied, “You are my wife. You do not need to ask for permission to ask me a question. Ask, and I will answer it honestly.”

That did bring a delicate smile, however sad, to her lips, and sitting back, she nodded, “...Very well. Why did you continue to visit… After that night, when your father first began to lock my door. I understand why you came then, but why did you keep coming back?”

“My father is a difficult man. You know this. I wanted you to know that there was a Derosa that did not harbor that same demand for things better earned. Besides, it would not have aided a pursuit of happiness if I proved to be as,” he paused to think of a word, “short-sighted as others,” he smiled but it faded quickly as he once again began to pick at the cloth, “And you had endured enough already. I thought that by visiting you, you might see that I am not him,” he finished in a low tone avoiding wondering ears.

“You really aren’t, are you?” With a small sense of hesitation, she reached out and her fingertips touched the back of his hand, “...And I’m glad for that, my Lord. I think if you were anything like him, I would not have made it through this day.”

“Brennan,” he returned, “‘my Lord’ signifies subjectivity and you’ve suffered enough of that of late,” a slight nod was sent her way and a moment of silence before he spoke again, “I saw your eyes, the redness and tears. I...I’m sorry.”

Blinking, thrown, for a moment by the display she had not expected, Esme grew quiet. When she spoke again, there was a softness there, “It’s not your fault. And I’m sorry, too. I… I haven’t been very kind to you. I promised grace, and I suppose I meant at least that much.”

Brennan’s eyes turned back to the guests as he nodded. Studying them, he could still see an uneasiness surrounding his father and hers, “Do you think this will accomplish its intended task? Do you think there will be real peace?”

“No.” The honest response wasn’t terse or angry, but sad. Despite all the lies, the uncertainty, the fury behind everything going on, she really did want peace, but some things in life were simply not realistic, “...No, I don’t. I don’t think there will ever be peace, until those in charge are capable of putting their egos aside, for the sake of the future.”

“I hoped you’d have a differing opinion than I,” he admitted, “Enough lives have been forfeit, and for what? A rock? People have made due with the consequences of magic for millenia. Would it be useful? Could it prevent accidents? Yes, but it’s not worth this.”

“They are both fools…” She sighed, looking across the room to her father, before her gaze flickered briefly to Brennan’s father, then back to the prince, “Stubborn old fools, stuck in their ways. And they’ll bury us all if it keeps going this way…”

Every word was truth, “But there’s nothing that can be done right now,” he replied, “One day, though, I’ll fix all of this.”

“I believe you will, Brennan…” Looking to him, she managed, at last, a genuine smile, and this time, when she reached for his hand it was without apprehension, “And perhaps this won’t be such an unfortunate union.” Even if it wasn’t necessarily destined to be a happy one.

Looking down at their hands, Brennan smiled before he placed his other hand over hers, a gentle squeeze was given and his lips parted to speak but before words could come out, his father silenced the room. All eyes fell on the King of Etheren, “Thank you all for coming to this momentous occasion. I am certain that Princess Lorraine and Prince Brennan will appreciate the gifts you have brought them, but their festivities must come to an end. There is still one thing left for them to do in order for their marriage to be official.”

Brennan froze, his mind swimming in thought. There was the ceremony, the tying of the knot, the prayer, the kiss, the party after. What was left? Then it dawned on him.

“Siegfried, please escort the prince and his bride to their room for the night,” a smirk slid across his father’s visage, “And ensure they are not disturbed. Consummation is such a sacred, and private task.”

Paling, Esme pulled her hand free, perhaps more swiftly than she meant to, and her eyes turned to the king, burning with rage at the man who seemed to bear no mind to tormenting the both of them. It was, of course, a ridiculous idea that he was doing it all on purpose, but in the end perhaps not so ridiculous. If he suspected that peace was not Calesh’s goal entirely… surely he would enjoy toying with them.

Her eyes found her father and he was already looking at her, his expression a mas, but in his gaze she saw the sorrow of a man who knew what he had damned his daughter to. Biting hard on the inner lining of her cheek, she pushed her chair back and rose to her feet, and not for the first time that day, she found looking at the prince beside her an impossible task.

Brennan’s hand felt cool. The warmth of the soft hand stripped away faster than he had hoped for. Rising from his seat after Lorraine had, he found himself unable to do anything but glare in his father’s direction. Siegfried approached and Brennan turned his burning eyes to the captain of the guard, “We need no escort,” he spoke.

“Oh, but I assure you, you do. We must ensure your wife’s safety,” his father spoke.

Lorraine would not look at him, but he could see the anger in her posture. Would this undo everything they had managed to build to this point, the foundation to their possible happiness? He hoped not. Reaching out, Brennan tried to place a gentle hand on her to get her moving before Siegfried’s rougher hands insisted, “Come on,” he regretfully spoke in a hushed tone.

Her eyes remained on the king, boring into him with a hatred that Esme had not thought herself capable of possessing. It was only when she felt Brennan’s hand on her arm that she turned away, and looking up at him, she met his gaze with a fierce concentrated effort not to burst into tears again. Anger mingled with a private distress, but with a nod, she straightened and followed along with him, determined that their humiliating escort would, in fact, prove more of an embarrassment to his father than anything.
 

DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male
Every eye watched as Siegfried and the guard escorted the newly-wed couple through the hall. Brennan had been angry at his father, but never before had he felt such raw hatred. He was the crown prince and Lorraine, his wife, the future Queen of Etheren. How could he justify such public shame of the future king and queen?

The humiliation didn't end when they got to their room. Siegfried stationed a set of guards outside the door to ‘ensure their safety’. When the door was closed and bolted from the inside, Brennan turned to face Lorraine, “I…” he started, “I do not apologize for my father, only for not being able to prevent it.”

Looking to Brennan, then to the door, Esme frowned, shaking her head, “...Even now, when he’s had his way, he cannot leave it alone, can he? How can someone bear such arrogance?” Fury coursed through her and turning away, she wrapped her arms around herself. She knew, at least she hoped, that there was no real reason for concern, yet she could not help the feeling of vulnerability that arose at being locked in the room, locked into the expectations of their union, “I have never been so humiliated…”

“He wasn't always like this,” Brennan admitted as he shifted his weight, “but that's a story for another time,” taking a step toward her, he continue, “If it is any comfort, I do not intend on giving my father the victory tonight. I will not let him humiliate you when there is something I can do about it.”

Blinking, she glanced back at him over her shoulder, “You… you would…” But of course he would deny himself. He had from the moment his father had made an enemy of her, and she had been too stubborn and angry to see it for what it was.

Tears burned, as she shook her head, “I am so… so sorry. I judged you, all this time. So unfairly.... And you have been nothing but good to me. You're within your rights to make demands of me, and still you show kindness… I… I am ashamed of my behavior.”

“Everything you have said and done up to this point has been understandable. I have enjoyed the same customs, scenario and faces since your arrival while you have been forced to give those all up. Princess, I will never ask of you anything you do not wish to do,” Brennan locked his hands behind his back and continued, “I promised to care for you, and I meant it.”

“But you, Brennan… you yourself have been nothing but good to me. And my actions were not forgivable. Forget whether or not I could make you happy. You should hate me…” And not just for those things seen… Breathing out, she lowered her gaze, “Maybe we aren't so different… Your father and I.”

“What are you saying?” Brennan almost laughed, “You are nothing like my father. He's a monster out for nothing but personal gain. He manipulates people and exploits weaknesses just to show his superiority. You're nothing like that.”

“You say that like you know me. You know nothing about me, Brennan…” Her mind reeled as guilt clung to her like an ill omen and turning away again, she rubbed the sudden chill from her arms, “People like you are the ones who get hurt…”

“Hurt because of what?” Brennan’s brow narrowed, no more finding humor in her line of conversation.

“By lies… By necessary wrongs.” Breathing out, her gaze fell to the floor, “By people like your father…”

“In the brief conversation we have had, have you lied to me?” Brennan asked crossing his arms over his broad chest.

With a sharp breath in, Esme closed her eyes. It was the only question, the sole question she had hoped he would not ask, and the tears she had been fighting tipped from the edge of her eyes, spilling down her cheeks, “...Yes.”

Brennan supposed he shouldn't be surprised. They were enemies two months ago, “I see,” he said still unable to mask the disappointment after everything he had done for her, “About what?” He asked.

Turning, she raked her palms along her cheeks to brush away the tears, shaking her head with more feirocity than intended, “Everything! And why shouldn’t I have? Your father would have my kingdom burned to ash, even now… and me, along with it! You were never meant to be…” Her voice caught, and she looked away, furious with herself, “You weren’t supposed to be this way…”

Brennan’s shoulders sagged, an air of defeat about him, “Did you come for peace or was I just the only naive fool who actually thought it possible?”

“How could you think it was possible?” She asked, frowning delicately, “He locked me in my chamber and posted a guard outside the door, because I disagreed with him. What manner of peace do you think that would afford Calesh? You’re not a fool, Brennan, but you are naive if you think for one minute I was ever anything to your father but a tool in his plot to control all of this... And I told you when you came to my room that night, I would not be caged.”

“And I told you I would do everything I could to change that. You did not give me time. Time is what we needed to make this peace real,” true peace would not be experienced over night. It would take time, time I had hoped you were devoted to working through,” he sighed away those hopes. He had sacrificed his aspirations in the name of the pursuit of a peace no one else thought possible, “If you didn't come here for peace, Lorraine, what did you come here for?”

“One person cannot change the course of the world Brennan. And I had no way of knowing then if I could even trust you. I still…” A sigh escaped, as she rubbed her arm, “I still don’t know whether I can or not. But I cannot lie to you.”

Looking up, she met his gaze with a wary, uneasy stare, “To start...Lorraine Davontry is my sister.”

“What?” He asked as though he hadn't heard it, but it sunk in a moment later. His jaw clenched and he swallowed back choice words, “I should have expected lies from you, and I don't know why I had hoped otherwise,” he paused shaking his head slightly, “Who are you, and why are you here?” He asked pointedly.

“My name is Esmera. I was not intended to take my sister's place, but she fell ill shortly before her arrival. My father believed that peace could still be obtained… through our union. But also… also information.”

Brennan could feel his blood pressure rise. His hands dropped to his side and and his fists clenched turning his knuckles white, “You tricked us...You and your father. You came here under the guise of peace in order to steal away information. What? You were to earn my trust, lend me your ear, and report back to your father all that you've uncovered?” It took every ounce of him to not cross the room, “I should turn you in,” shaking his head, angry that he defended her, vowed to care for her, thought about a possibility of happiness with her.

“Your father continues, even now, to attack my people! And until just a little while ago, you were just another enemy to fight! Do you think for one second I wanted any of this? We do what we must to protect the people we love! Anything we must! And I would have… I would have given myself to you, and everything I held sacred would be gone… for the sake of my home. Because that is what you do…”

“Do not lecture me on sacrifice,” snapped, taking two quick steps toward her, still keeping his distance, “You are not the only one to give up dreams and aspirations. I have endured the hard rule of my father long enough to know that it would take a great deal of sacrifice to change anything that he touches, to make Etheren, no, all of Agganoth, a better place than he left it,” shaking his head, “And again, I am forced to sacrifice,” he pointed angrily to the ground, accenting his words, “I will sacrifice my happiness, even the hope of it. I will bear this burden so that my people do not. I will not turn you in, Princess, for what good would that do? My father would execute you and then march his armies to your castle walls. He would turn each one over until he found every last Caleshan and murder them. In the process, thousands of my people would die. I am tired of this war, of seeing the widows mourn the loss of their husbands and sons.”

Brennan dropped his shoulders as if the weight of his decision already wore heavy on his soul, “No, I’ll not have it. You will be my wife and I will hold your treason secret if only to ensure that none of our people have to die for this war. I will honor my commitment and care for you, protect you, and serve you.”

Frowning, she looked up at him, finding challenge in his gaze but holding it as long as she dared. They had both given much… Too much. And for what? For the illusion of peace. His father would never honor the treaty. Not when he didn't have what he wanted…

“And what will you ask of me?” She finally said, with a note of uncertainty.

“You will not carry on your intended business. You will serve the people of Etheren as though they were your own, and maybe in time, you will see them as I do. They will love you never knowing that you had ill-intent toward them,” Brennan dropped his head, a sharp pang striking his heart, before he looked back up to her, “I will not ask anything more of you. I will not share the bed with you, or lay eyes on your nakedness. I will be the last of my line, if need be.”

Her eyes fell once more, and slowly, she shook her head, “You're asking me to damn my own people… When, not if, your father betrays mine, I hope that is something you can live with.”

Shaking his head, “I will do everything I can to stop him,” Brennan paused, “And if I should fail, I will get you home, myself if I have to. I will not leave you here to suffer my father’s cruelness.”

“Why?” Her voice took on a note of pure confusion, as she took a small step back, “Why would you do any of this for me?”

“Because, while I do not appreciate the subterfuge, I understand why, you love your people and are just trying to protect them. If you honor my requests, you would not deserve the level of evil my father would pour on you, and I would do what I could to ensure that you were not on the receiving end of it.”

“What would you have done?” She asked, looking up at him again, “If you were in my shoes? Would you forsake all of this… Your home and your people... For nothing?”

Shaking his head, he answered, “If there was a chance for peace...yes, but you were not going to give it a chance. You were not going to give me a chance.”

“Is that what you think? Do you… do you imagine I would have told you any of this if that were how I felt? What benefit would there be in that? I told you because I want to trust you. Because I think that despite everything… I can trust you. Whether or not you trust me.” A sigh escaped, as she reached to unpin the combs that held her veil to her hair, “You have my word that I will not seek out information… But you have to know that I will not betray my father or Calesh. If your father does not adhere to the treaty… I will be obligated to my people.”

“Fine,” he returned, “I will keep my word, Princess,” Brennan moved to the bed, pulling back the sheets to remove a pillow, “The bed is yours,” he moved to a small bench and fluffed the pillow before placing it on one end, “Tomorrow, we will be presented to the people of Etheren as Prince Brennan and Princess Lorraine.”

Moving from where she stood, she sank onto the edge of the bed. The frills of fabric that made up her gown pillowed beneath her… it had taken three maids to get her into the dress. It had not been intended that she should remove it herself, and so she left it, deciding it was better left for the morning.

Looking to Brennan, she frowned in thought, before nodding, “I know it means little… in all of this. But I… I did think for a moment tonight that if I had the choice, you could have made me happy.” Pulling her legs up, she turned to the side, “Goodnight.”

“So did I,” he spoke softly as he lay on the bench, pulling his legs up to fit, “Goodnight.”
 

Elle Joyner

I guess...
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
The next two weeks were brutal on the prince. He spent too much time worried about what his wife was doing in her free time. The weight of the sin and the potential aftermath should it ever be discovered taxed him, but he did his best to hide it. The conversations he had with Esmera were civil, and convincing especially when surrounded by other nobles or subjects. Brennan could not afford to let on that there was more to the story than simply husband and wife.

Word came a week after the wedding that King Odric Davontry was sending an envoy simply to check up on his daughter. Brennan suspected it was for an entirely different reason. As best he could tell, the princess was keeping to her end of the bargain, so it was only natural that the King of Calesh would inquire of her well-being by sending someone rather than hearing from an emissary.

As the sun peeked through the heavy curtains, Brennan stretched as best he could in his makeshift bed. There had been a fleeting moment he regretted giving her the bed, but despite her initial intent, she was keeping to her end and he’d never forgive himself if he insisted she sleep on the bench.

Stepping behind the dressing wall, he quickly slid into a black pair of pants and a white tunic with a black leather belt to hold it snug. It took him only a few moments and the familiar, delicate knock announced the arrival of Libby. Opening the door, Brennan gestured for her to enter, “Do come in, Libby, we have an envoy from Calesh to meet with in the next hour,” he smiled to her, “Do you think you could have her ready then?”

Marital bliss it was not. In truth, the civility was almost worse on Esme than brutal discord might have been. He was hurt by her charade, and she felt the weight of guilt for her wrongdoing, but there was no doubt about their positions. She was a prisoner… not a wife, and it was death to her spirit.

She was determined that she should not diminish entirely, and it was people like Libby… simple, good hearted people who reminded her of who she was.

As Brennan allowed Libby inside, Esme turned from where she stood by the windows and a soft, disapproving frown touched her lips as she took in the girl, “You've been crying… Libby, what is it?”

“Ah!” Startled by the princess’s observation, Libby lowered her gaze, “Sorry, Miss. I… it's nothing.”

“Nonsense. Come now…” Moving to the set of chairs before the hearth, Esme took one, patting the other and with a reluctant glance to the prince, Libby swallowed, before sinking into it.

“It's… it's my sister and her family. They were enroute to their home when their carriage was set upon. We've been told they… they've been imprisoned, Miss. Here in Etheren.”

Sitting upright, Esme shook her head, “I don't understand? Whatever for…?”

“Miss… I… I thought you knew?” Libby started, a brow lifting.

As Esme considered the words, her breath left in a sigh, “Your family… you're from Calesh, aren't you?”

With a nod, Libby sniffed and disappeared for a moment behind her hands, the explanation she gave slightly muffled. They had moved to Etheren a year ago when their family home had been destroyed in a raid. Initially, their stay had been peaceable, but when it got out that they weren't Etherian, odd circumstances began to arise. And now her sister's husband was being accused of espionage.

Reaching out, Esme took the serving girl by the hands, sinking to her knees before her, “Listen to me. I will get to the bottom of this, Libby. I swear it. We'll figure it out. But in the meantime, you can't be seen moping about, or they may have reason to put you in there as well. Chin up, hold it in… and let me see what I can do. Alright?”

Giving a watery sniff, Libby nodded, “Yes, Miss.”

“Now… Go back to your room and get yourself together. I can manage getting dressed on my own.”

Libby stammered for a second or two, but rose upon Esme’s insistence. On the way to the door she paused and her gaze traveled briefly to disarrayed pillows and blankets on the bench. A brow arched, but giving her head a shake, she turned and slipped out.

With a sigh, Esme rose again, moving to the chest of drawers to find a gown, and after selecting the simplest she had in her collection, she stepped behind the privacy screen to change, “Her brother in law is no spy. I've met the man and he's a dear creature, but an absolute simpleton. There's no way he's faking it, either.”

Stepping out, she pulled her hair off her neck and turned her back to him, “Would you mind? The laces…? I need to speak to her sister. Can you arrange it?”

Brennan listened to the exchange between Libby and Esmera. The maid servant’s brother-in-law had been arrested for espionage, the very thing Esmera had admitted to being her purpose. His jaw clenched and when she asked if he could make it possible for her to speak to the sister he shook his head, “I would like to hear what she has to say as well,” he spoke as he stepped behind her and took the laces. Staring at the back of her dress, Brennan felt lost, “How does this work?” He admitted.

Looking back at him, Esme’s brow rose and for a moment, she wasn’t entirely sure what he meant, but steadily, a smile formed as she shook her head, “...Hardly fair how easy it is for men to dress. The laces start at the top… you’ll pull them tightly, as tight as you can manage, and then at the bottom, you’ll tie them together and tuck in the strings.”

With a nod, he gripped the laces and pulled, “Do tell me if it too tight,” he instructed.

Chuckling softly, Esme gave her head a shake, “I can assure you, you’re likely to be far more gentle than Libby. The girl is a gem, but if I can breathe by the end of the night, she’s having an off day.”

A chuckle, the first one in two weeks, slipped through his lips as he moved down her back, pulling each set of laces. He couldn't help but notice the shape of her body as he worked, a warm blush forming on his cheeks. His hands had not been this close to her since the feast after their wedding when, for a brief moment, Brennan thought they could work.

After tying the laces, he flashed a frown in mourning of those thoughts, “I will arrange for us to see Libby’s sister after we meet with the envoy from Calesh,” he turned and stepped away.

Turning around, she nodded, smoothing out the front of the gown, “Thank you.” It was a lot to ask, she knew, and she wouldn’t deny him going as well… His trust wasn’t something she ever imagined she would earn back, and visiting a person accused of the very thing she had been sent for was, no doubt, alarming for him.

“Do you know who it is?” She asked, pulling her hair loose, to work it into a braid, “The envoy?”

Giving a tight-lipped shake of his head, he answered, “No, I haven't heard. Only that they will be arriving within the hour to check on your well-being. I need not remind you of our agreement,” he spoke with a gentle tone, not to get rise from her, “When you are ready, we will go to the courtyard to receive them.”

A brow lifted, and for a moment, even despite his tone, she felt a twinge of irritation, but it was short lived. He had a right to question her. She deserved no less, “I remember… But this concerns me, Brennan. My father hasn’t written anything about sending someone. That could only mean this is in relation to… to the arrangement he and I had. I may need to be clever, or my father might suspect the worst.” Or suspect the truth… that she had been deterred from plans.

“I’m ready…” She noted, tying the braid off with a small bit of ribbon, “Let’s go.”
 

DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male
One thought plagued Esme as they began the trek along the halls of the palace towards the courtyards. Her father had sworn to her that for his own safety and for the sanctity of the treaty he had signed, he would not interfere in what she was doing. And now he had sent an envoy…

Worry walked with her, and she knotted her hands anxiously, praying that her father had not done something foolish or rash in his impatience…

The sun did not greet them as they stepped outside the castle walls. Instead, it hid behind grey clouds, an omen of rain to come. A cool, gentle breeze blew through, tossing the red and white flags into a light dance. They had timed it perfectly as the envoy cleared the gate and came to a halt in the courtyard. Brennan interlocked his fingers before him, his eyes searching each face hoping to find some sliver of their intentions. When his eyes fell on the man mounted in the center of the small escort, Brennan’s eyes narrowed.

“Princess Lorraine,” he stated as he slid from the horse. Kairos was a tall man, less muscular than Brennan, but Brennan had met men before that were deceptively deadly. With the proper knowledge of magic, even the smallest of people could prove to be the deadliest. The man wore a broad smile stopping at the foot of the steps to look up at prince and princess, “Thank you, your Highness, for allowing me to visit. King Davontry wishes to know how his daughter is acclimating to her new role.”

“Kairos??” The word escaped in a near whisper, as Esme stepped forward, a brow lifting, “By the gods…”

“You remember me,” Kairos teased, “I had hoped that two and half months in Etheren and adjusting to your new responsibilities as future queen had not cause you to forget me,” he took a few steps up the and offered a bow to Esmera and Brennan.

“Of course I wouldn't forget you…” Esme said with a smile, “But I had not expected Father to send you… Shall we…” looking to Brennan, she nodded to the path that led away from the guards standing near.

“Yes,” Brennan extended an arm toward the path, “Join us, Kairos,” he flashed a quick smile and placed a hand on Esme’s back, “How do the two of you know each other?”

“Princess Lorraine and I are age-old friends, your Highness,” Kairos returned, “Isn’t that right?” he smiled to Esme.

“Hm… You're modest.” Esme noted, “We grew up together. But it has been too long. You've gotten busy.”

Kairos hummed with a nod, “Being an emissary of your father’s has kept me quite busy, especially as of late,” his lips pressed together a moment as he continued, “When I had heard you were to marry the prince of Etheren, I was both elated and fearful,” he looked over at Brennan, “I had heard stories…”

“I’m sure you have,” he locked his hands behind his back as they walked, “War tends to warp truths and create monsters where there are none.”

“Hm,” Kairos studied Esme as if to expect her expressions to say otherwise of the prince.

Esme nodded, “Brennan has been… refreshingly different than I expected. Really. He's quite kind…”

Kairos let out a breath of relief, “That’s good to hear. Your father will be pleased to know his daughter is being well cared for.”

“I promised to care for her. King Davontry need not worry about that. I keep my word,” Brennan returned, offering his arm to Esme with a smile, “It is vitally important to me, beyond just the treaty, that she remain in good health and want for nothing. She will be the queen of Etheren one day...and a mother.”

“Right,” Kairos replied, “All of Calesh will celebrate when that day finally comes,” a smile spread across his lips before fading.

Looking to Brennan, Esme blinked, the surprise at his words registering, if only briefly, before she settled her hand on his arm, “You two… you speak as if the day ends and begins with me. I am hardly anything so important. What is important is the bond we are able to build together… our kingdoms.”

“Your very important,” Kairos spoke up first, “Your well-being ensures peace between our two kingdoms, and if anything were to happen to you…I..”

“Nothing will,” Brennan interrupted and placed his free hand over hers, “I personally guarantee it.”

“Good,” Kairos returned, his eyes locking with Brennan’s in a silent threat, “There is no stone King Davontry would leave unturned should something horrible befall his daughter.”

Brennan’s jaw clenched before he forced a smile, “As would be expected from any father.”

Her eyes shifted to Kairos, and she shook her head, “Please, Kai… tell Daddy I'm in good hands. I know I haven't been able to write as often as I'd like, but he needn't worry… and you shouldn't, either.” Her gaze turned up to Brennan and her smile warmed, “No cause for it.”

“Esme,” Kairos blurted, “You know we all worry about you all the time. Nothing is the same with you gone.”

“Esme?” Brennan replied, alerts sounding in his mind. Esme had to be short for Esmera, “Who’s Esme?”

Kairos blinked and smiled nervously, “A term of endearment in Calesh.”

“Is that true?” Brennan looked to Esmera.

Pausing, Esme lowered her gaze, “Kai…” A sigh escaped, and turning her eyes back to Brennan, she shook her head, “He knows, Kairos. Who I am. I told him, the night of our wedding. I… I could not lie to him.”

Kairos froze, the smile he wore gone, “You told him?” shock in his voice.

“Everything,” Brennan stated, pulling his hand from Esmera’s and dropping his arm. There was no point in pretending now.

“And you’re still…” he swallowed hard, confusion on his face, “alive?”

“I told you… He’s been far kinder than we expected.” Shaking her head, she knotted her hands together, feeling an odd sense of loss as he pulled his arm free, “He’s not his father, Kairos. And Daddy needs to know that. But that’s all I can tell you. I made… I made a promise that I wouldn’t… That I won’t say any more.”

“I see,” Kairos spoke, crossing his arms over his chest, “Have you forgotten your people?”

Visibly, Esme recoiled at the suggestion, and a wounded expression crossed her face as she shook her head, “You know that I haven’t… But there’s only so much I can do, Kairos. And maybe… maybe it isn’t shut a terrible idea, trying to give peace a chance before we decide it won’t work.”

Kairos scoffed, “His father won’t allow peace. The fool can’t see passed his own ambitions long enough for peace to really take hold,” he gestured toward Brennan and continued, “He filled your head with..with those lies, didn’t he?”

“Watch your tongue,” Brennan stepped forward, “You are not in Calesh. I will not allow you to talk like that, King’s envoy or not.”

Reaching out, Esme took hold of Brennan’s hand, “You both must understand… there are wounds on both sides. But we cannot hope to win with lies and spying, Kai… and Edwin will not be king forever. Please… be patient. And let me try this the right way.”

Kairos’ eyes locked with Brennan’s. The prince could see the man thinking, Esmera’s words stirring in his mind, “You think you can secure peace, Esme? You really believe that this prince is a better man than his father? That he won’t be the same, oppressive monster?”

“With all my heart, yes.” It was said without a semblance of apprehension, as Esme looked to Kairos with a soft frown, “Do you think I’d be foolish enough to reveal who I am, if he was anything like his father? Come now, Kai… I know you’ve more sense than that. See reason.”

Esmera’s sudden answer caused Brennan to look toward her. He hadn’t expected such a sure answer from the woman he was, in essence, keeping prisoner. How could she call him good as his prisoner? He noted her words, contemplating them in his heart.

An audible sigh sounded from Kairos as he lowered his arms, “I trust you, Esme. If you think that Prince Brennan will change things, then I will give you time,” he nodded with tight lips, “I will tell your father you have not forgotten, but you must give him something soon.”

Looking to Brennan, she frowned softly, “We shall see. In the meantime, Kai… be careful, please. And try not to stay away so long next time, hm?” Releasing Brennan’s hand, she stepped forward to give the other man a hug, “I have missed you…”

Brennan would never admit it, but he couldn't hold back the jealousy that took root in his heart as he watched Esmera embrace Kairos. He could have had that had he married a princess that did not come to harm his people. Clearing his throat, Brennan spoke, “I will have my men escort you to the border to ensure your safe passage through Etheren,” he wanted nothing more than to tell the man not to return, but for Esmera’s benefit, “Visit at any time.”

As she stepped back and once again reached to take Brennan by the hand, Esme nodded to Kairos, “...Please, do come back, Kai.”

“I will,” Kairos smiled, he turned to Brennan, “You take care of her,” he spoke.

“I will,” Brennan replied, “have a safe trip back to Calesh.”

Brennan, Esmera, And Kairos returned to the courtyard where Kairos mounted his horse. With one more bow and smile, he bid Esmera goodbye before riding off.. As Kairos disappeared through the gate, something gnawed at Brennan, an unease and distrust of Kairos. Despite Esmera’s willingness to trust her childhood friend, Brennan did not, and would not, instead wondering if the man had some alternate reason as for his visit.

“I don’t trust him,” he muttered so that only the two of them heard.

Blinking, pulling her hand back to her side, Esme frowned softly, in quiet disapproval, “...Based on what grounds, exactly?”

“Something’s off about him,” Brennan’s eyes were still fixed on the distance.

Her eyes narrowed, as she stepped back, “...Let me guess. He’s from Calesh?”

Shaking his head, “I trusted you didn’t I?” he turned to face her, “I don’t know what it is about him.”

“I’ve known him my entire life, Brennan. He can be a bit zealous, and he’s a man who stands by what he believes, but he’s loyal, to my father and to me. He would never do anything that would harm me. If you trust nothing else, trust that.” A sigh escaped, and she looked back towards the palace, “The only way we will ever make any of this work is if we learn to set aside our presumptions and try to find a way to trust each other.”

Tilting his head, Brennan shook it and then looked around at the soldiers and servants going about their business, “You’re right. If you trust him,” he paused and swallowed down his pride, “Then I shall try to trust him as well.”

The sound of marching steps stole his attention away from the conversation. A young soldier stopped a few steps away and saluted the prince, “The prisoner is ready for you, your Highness.”

“Thank you,” he dismissed the soldier, “It looks as though your next appointment is ready.”

Smiling dryly, Esme nodded, “One thing I’ll give you… I never had this much to do back in Calesh.” Gesturing to the path, she shrugged, “After you…”
 

Elle Joyner

I guess...
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
The walk to the castle dungeons was quiet. Brennan couldn’t help but constantly reflect on Kairos. It wasn’t the jealousy that ate at him, there was something...different about him. Maybe Esmera was right and he only felt that way because of presuppositions. Maybe it was because he was Caleshan, though, deep down, he knew it was not the last one. Hopefully something would help ease his concerns beyond Esmera’s trust in him.

The dungeon was dark and damp as they entered. The coughs of criminals sporadically sounded off as they shuffled as close to the bars as they could to see who had entered the long hall, “Do not leave the line,” he warned her and pointed to the thick white line that stretched down the center of the hall, “Stray too far and they might reach for you.”

Already, guards were standing at the cell Libby’s sister had been placed in and when they arrived to it, they found her chained, dirtied and scared, “You do not need to stay,” he told the guards and when they did not move immediately, he spoke again, “Leave. Now.” They saluted and left their posts. Nodding to Esmera, he spoke, “Ask your questions.”

Moving closer to the cell, Esme frowned at the state of the girl behind the bars. She was easily identified as Libby’s sister, for they could have been twins, except that Libby was slightly more stout, and her hair a duller shade of brown. The girl had been crying, and dirt streaked her cheeks, which she tried with some effort to clean off as she rose to her feet, her eyes dancing between the prince and princess.

“It’s alright… Miranda, right?” Esme said softly, crouching down, “...You needn’t worry. I’m a friend of Libby’s. We met once, remember? When you came to visit Libby a few weeks ago? We’ve only come to talk.”

Moving closer to the bars, as close as the chain around her ankle would allow, the girl stammered for a moment, “B...but… but you’re the…”

“...Hush, now. That’s not important. I need to know, Miranda. Why were you and your husband arrested?”

The tears came almost violently, as Miranda threw herself forward, her hands clasping the bars, “I don’t know! Oh, it’s most awful, your Grace! We were riding home, when the carriage was stopped. They dragged him out, my Arnie, and they… Oh, they were beating him. And I begged them to stop, and then they hit me, too. I thought they would kill us, but then we were being chained and led by horse and I heard them saying we were… That we were spies! We’re from Calesh, it’s true, but we’ve never… Not me and certainly not my Arnie! We would never betray the king!”

Looking back to Brennan, Esme frowned before turning to the girl again, “We’ll figure this out, Miranda. For now, please… stay quiet and listen to whatever you’re told to do. I’ll see to it that this is sorted as quickly as possible.”

Rising, she glanced to the prince, “...Will there be a record of arrests? I’d like to see what their charges were.”

He nodded,” The warden would have a record. He and I have known each other for a long time, and it should not be difficult to see it.”

Brennan approached the cell, wrapping his fingers around the bars as he looked upon the girl, “If the charges against you are falls, I will not allow the men who are responsible to go unpunished,” he glanced over his shoulder to Esmera before turning back to her, “You may be Caleshan, but you are a citizen of Etheren and I will not allow such injustice.”

“Come on,” he stepped away and turned down the hall, “Linden’s office is near the entrance.”

Following Brennan, her eyes wandering to the other cells around them, Esme frowned deeply. How many more were there under false charges, simply because of where they came from. It was unjust… and she would get to the bottom of it, whatever it took.

“...There’s no way she’s guilty.” Esme finally said, “I’ve known enough spies and traitors to tell an actor… She’s just a scared girl that someone’s trying to make an example of.”

Brennan sighed, still uncertain, “Linden has the official record. We can see what evidence they have against her, and then go from there,” Knocking at Linden’s door, he continued, “But brace yourself, Esmera,” he whispered, “You just might be wrong.” His brow narrowed when Linden didn’t answer so he knocked again; still no answer. Wrapping his hand around the knob, he opened the door and stepped in, “He’s not here.”

Linden’s desk was littered with paperwork and books, but the prisoner records was easy to spot, “Here,” he swept up the book and thumbed through it until he found Miranda’s name. After reading the charges and evidence for himself, he extended it to her, “Take a look.”

Frustration rolled through her again, as she shook her head. She wouldn’t argue with him… She wanted to, but she wouldn’t. She wanted to think that she had been right about him, but he seemed inclined not to trust anyone from Calesh, even despite evidence shown of his father’s prejudiced actions.

Stepping forward, she glanced down to read, and a sigh escaped, “...Tell me, Brennan. What makes you think if they’re willing to arrest people on false charges, that they won’t be willing to falsify evidence against those same people? All I see here is the vague implication that they send a letter over the border with sensitive information. Arnie can’t even write, and Miranda’s hardly been educated enough for this sort of espionage.” Looking to him, she frowned, “Who benefits the most from the appearance of Caleshan spies? Do you really think my father would be stupid enough to break the treaty? In such an obvious fashion?”

“No,” he sat against the edge of Linden’s desk, “No, your father is smart. After all, he sent his daughter to do what no one else would be able to,” crossing his arms over his chest, he rested his chin on one hand, “Though you’re right. It would seem the evidence does not fit the accused. Who does it say was the arresting officer?”

Turning the book towards him, she gestured to the name, but the frown did not lessen as she shook her head, “...How do you imagine we are ever going to create peace between our nations, when you can’t even…” A sigh escaped, and she turned away, “No. Forget it. We need to focus.”

“You can’t what?” he asked, pushing up from the desk and taking the book back in his hand.

“You refuse to accept that I am trying, Brennan! You heard what Kairos said… for what I’m doing, no matter where my heart lies, the people of Calesh will never know that I still stand by them. Not until they see what I’ve done it for… I’ve betrayed my people, and it’s still not enough. It will never be enough.”

“I only just found out that you came, not for peace, but to spy. It’s been two weeks, and, what? I’m just supposed to trust you again?” he shook his head and chuckled, “Surely you don’t believe that two weeks would fix that?” He sighed as he glanced down at the book before looking back up to her, “But, I will try starting now. You have not given me further reason to not, and by telling Kairos, you showed me your intent to keep your word.”

“I had hoped it might help…” She muttered, with a soft sigh, “But I suppose I’ll take what I can get.” Leaning over, she looked at the book again, “Who made the arrest?”

“It looks like…..Keon Reid,” Brennan shook his head with a sigh and shut the book, returning it to the desk, “Keon’s brother died in the closing skirmishes before our wedding. There was rumor he had developed a deeper hatred for Caleshans, but there was no proof he was doing anything questionable...until now.”

“This damnable war…” Pinching the bridge of her nose, she turned away from the book, looking back in the direction they had come from, “I don’t understand any of it… How two men could strive for so long in selfishness… and pay no mind to the lives they ruined. What will happen, next?”

“I will look into this personally. I’ll demand the evidence that Keon ‘found’ and then have Miranda and her husband released upon proving that their only ‘crime’ was being Caleshan. There will be a review of any other arrest Keon made and then his punishment will be handed out depending on what harm has falsely come to any others,” shaking his head, he continued, “Miranda and her husband must be patient until then.”

“...And they’ll be safe? The conditions down here, Brennan…” The dampness, the dirt… Esme knew a thing or two about being a prisoner of sorts, but her own treatment had never been so harsh.

He shook his head, “I’m not sure. If they keep their heads down and do as told, they should be fine. I can not secure their release until I can prove their innocence. Only my father has that power and we both know what his answer will be.”

Turning back to him, he gave a small nod, “...Thank you. I… I know that this won’t exactly put you in your father’s favor, doing this for me. But thank you. And I hope you know that were they Etherian, I would do the same…”

“I believe you,” he said with a nod.

“Linden, how are the-”

Brennan looked up to find Gannon walking into the office causing him to cross his arms over his chest, “Hello, Gannon.”

“W-What are you two doing here?” he asked, clearing his throat, “Where is Linden?” he asked when he peered passed Brennan to find the warden absent.

“I don’t know. We were hoping to see him, too,” Brennan answered.

“What did you need to ask him?” Gannon pried.

“I don’t think that’s any of your business…” Esme returned, as she straightened upright, “As I understand, it is still Linden, is it not? That is the Warden down here? What we need to speak to him about doesn’t concern you.”

Gannon jerked back obviously not expecting such an answer. Brennan smiled, looking down in an attempt to hide it. When it vanished, he looked back up, “She’s right, Gannon. We don’t need to run our questions through you before we ask them. Or did you forget who the crown-prince was?”

Gannon reddened in frustration, his eyes narrowing before he glared at Esmera, “Princess Lorraine, Brother, if I see Linden, I will let him know you were asking for him.”

Brennan took a few steps until he stood beside his brother. Patting his hand against Gannon’s shoulder, he spoke, “Somehow I doubt that very much. Come, Princess, I do believe it’s time for us to leave,” he offered his arm and flashed a smile.

Passing by Gannon as she followed after Brennan, Esme glanced briefly up at the younger prince and shook her head before slipping out of the small room and into the corridor again, “I’m sorry… if I spoke out of turn, Brennan. It does happen, sometimes…”

With a smile, he replied, “Don’t apologize. It was refreshing. Now, let’s go inform Libby of our plans.”

Her own lips curved gently, and a brow lifted as she looked at him, “It did feel rather good, to be honest. But it’s hardly going to help with family relations. Not that I imagine your brother or father will every be entirely fond of their new sister-in-law.” A sigh escaped before she nodded in agreement, “Very well. She’ll be in the kitchen. She’s developed a bit of a fancy for the cook’s son, Brian. She spends most of her afternoon there, if she’s not at work.”

Brennan’s brow narrowed, impressed and shocked that Esmera had taken the time to know her maid servant that well. While the girl was Caleshan, she was very much Etherian. To see Esmera take such a liking to her and learn about the girl personally encouraged his trust in her, “Then to the kitchen we go.”
 

DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male
Libby had been ecstatic to hear that her sister and brother-in-law would be receiving the fairest treatment possible. The moment Brennan and Esme had delivered the news, the young girl had burst into tears and forgetting herself, had flung her arms around Esme’s middle, before, blushing scarlet, she released her and mumbled an apology. Esme though, whose own eyes were misty grey with tears, waved it off with a smile and a promise to bring more news when they had it.

The trouble was, patience was not Esme’s strong suit, and after two days of waiting for any sort of information, she was beside herself with worry and frustration. She had taken to brief walks with a guard as an escort, determined that she shouldn’t spend the remainder of her life kept in the palace, and while she couldn’t leave the grounds, she found that she rather enjoyed the gardens most of all.

Sitting among the flowers, she sighed softly, and glancing up into the pale blue skies overhead. It was a moment of peace, at least… even if the reality of it seemed so desperately far off…

For two days Brennan had followed every lead he could. He chased down Linden, finding him the corner of tavern downing more drinks than the man should have ever been able to handle, but it lent to looser lips. The next day, Brennan had secured all the evidence they needed to prove that Miranda and her husband were not guilty of being spies and that they had indeed been set up by someone who just couldn’t stand the fact that Caleshans were living as citizens in Etheren.

With the papers in hand, Brennan began his search through the castle for Esmera. It would have taken him much longer had he not overheard some servants talking about seeing the princess in the gardens. He had just rounded the corner and passed under the threshold into the gardens when his eyes fell on her. A small smile teased at the corners of his lips as he slowed to a stop, far enough away to not catch her attention. Despite her initial intent, Esmera had proved on several occasions that she would try to make it right, and even when he was being difficult. Now she sat surrounded by beautiful flowers, looking up as the sun’s rays kissed her skin. He couldn’t help the flutter in his stomach.

A gentle breeze stirred through the garden and Esme dropped her eyes to find Brennan standing not too far away. There was something in the way he watched her sometimes, that brought color to her cheeks, and flushed now, she rose, a soft smile turning up the corner of her lips, “...I didn’t hear you come in. Everything alright?”

“Y-Yes,” he answered, clearing his throat, “Better than alright,” he pushed on as he approached her, “I have it. I have the evidence that will set Miranda and her husband free!” He pointed her attention to the papers in his hand.

Blinking, Esme’s gaze traveled between her husband and the papers, and for a moment, she seemed startled into silence, but as his words sunk in, she bolted closer, reaching out for the pages, “You mean it? You’ve done it? Oh! This is…” And forgoing the papers she instead threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly, “Thank you, Brennan! Thank you, so much…”

He couldn’t help but let out a small bit of laughter as his arms circled around her waist, “I wouldn’t have done it if it were not for you. I would have never known.”

“But I could not have done it, without you…” She murmured softly. She released him, but did not step away, shaking her head as she met his gaze, “You believed me, Brennan… and I cannot say what that means to me.”

His hands slid to her waist and then fell to his side, “You made it possible for me to believe you,” he smiled to her and then held up the papers, “What do you say we get these to my father so that he releases Miranda and her husband?”

“Yes! Oh, yes… Please.” Nodding, she smiled, before reaching to take his hand. It was the first time, really, that she had done so when it wasn’t intended as a show of faith to others, and it felt odd… odd, but not wholly unpleasant, “Is it a terrible thing that I hope your brother is there?”

“Not at all,” he said with a smile as he shook his head, “Not at all,” his eyes travelled to their hands, and he gently squeezed it, “Thank you for not being the person you were intended to be.”

Pausing, she turned to him again, breath caught on those words as she shook her head, “...I had no idea, Brennan… before we met. I didn’t know who you were, but if I had, I swear to you, I would never have--”

“Princess!” The cry cut from the corridor, leading out into the gardens, a sharp, shrill shriek, and not a moment later Libby poured through the archway, crumbling to her knees as tears streaked her red, blotchy cheeks.

Paling, Esme stepped back, “Libby? Dear girl… what is it? What’s happened??”

Sucking in a sob, Libby shook her head, “Oh, Miss! It’s awful! It’s just awful! I went down to the dungeons, to visit with ‘Randa, like I have been, and they… they were takin’ here away, Miss! They were takin’ here and Arnie to the yard!!”

“No,” Brennan shook his head, “That’s not right. You must have seen someone else. Miranda and her husband were not scheduled for execution for another week.”

“I know my own sister!” Libby howled, and Esme turned swiftly to the prince, shaking her head.

“We’ll get to the bottom of this, Libby. Just… just stay put and don’t talk to anyone until we return!”

“We can’t leave her here,” Brennan replied, “Libby, go to our room. Wait for us there and we’ll go fix this right now.”

Libby rose, shakily and nodded, and sniffling, she turned, spilling back into the hall with another desperate sob.

Hand to her heart, which seemed dangerously close to expelling from her chest, Esme looked to Brennan, “We need to your father, immediately…”

“If they are really taking Miranda and her husband to the yard, then that’s where he’ll be,” taking her hand, he started toward the halls, “Come on. We’ve no time to waste.”

Brennan took every short cut he could think of with Esmera in tow. If they were on their way to the yard then they didn’t have much time. He pushed servants clear of their path, dodged armor-wearing soldiers, all with a fierce determination to stop an injustice.

When finally they cleared the pathways and emptied into the yard, Miranda and her husband were already on the platform kneeling. Even with how far back into the crowd they were, he could see the tears falling from their reddened eyes, “No,” he muttered through ragged breath.

Esme froze at the sight, and a gasp escaped, stifled by her hands. There was still time… there had to be time… “Brennan! You can’t let--”

The scream was agonizing… as the thud of the axe resonated through the yard and stumbling back, Esme’d eyes widened at Miranda, scrambling against the guard that held tight to her, desperately reaching for whatever was left of her beloved husband.

Heart racing, her chest tightening, Esme shook her head as the color drained from her cheeks. Miranda had fallen quiet, but for her sobs, yet her scream rang in Esme’s ears, a piercing wail. Red streaks pooled at the edges of her vision as she gripped Brennan’s arm, to keep upright.

The moment the execution raised the axe was the moment Brennan knew they would lose them both. In a last ditch effort to protect someone Brennan grabbed Esmera by the arm, whirled her around, and pulled her tight against him. His hand held the back of her head to keep her from turning to look, “You don’t need to see this,” he whispered, as a tear fell in unison with the axe.

Thunk!

His eyes slid shut, burning the image to his memory - a moment where he failed to protect his people. When they opened, Gannon was standing there, that smug smile plastered on his face. It took Brennan a moment to realize where Gannon was looking, but when their eyes finally met, rage flooded his body. His grip tightened protectively around Esmera, and the wad of papers crumbled in his white-knuckled fist. His brother had crossed a line, and Brennan would make sure he paid.
 

Elle Joyner

I guess...
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
Whoosh……...Thunk!

Brennan startled as he sat on his bench in their room, the scene playing over again in his mind. Leaning over, he washed his face with his hands as his elbows were propped up on his thighs. A shaky breath passed through his lips before he turned to see Esmera lying in the bed. Save for the rocking of her shoulders from sobbing, she had barely moved. Libby had bolted out the door the moment they had returned, Brennan guiding a distraught Esmera to the bed.

He didn’t understand what had happened. He had done everything right: investigated Linden, found the evidence, and still failed to save two innocent citizens of Etheren. A sudden knock at the door served to stir him from his despondency. Slowly, he arose to his feet to open the door. Standing on the other side was Gannon. On reflex, Brennan’s hands tightened into fists as his heart rate increased. Life seemed to breath back into his broken spirit, a sense of purpose.

“What are you doing here?” he coldly asked.

“I saw you two at the execution,” he fauxed concern, then smiled, “It was a gruesome scene to say the least,” Brennan glanced to Esmera and then back to his brother. Her muffled sobs were barely audible, “If you ask me, those Caleshan spies got what they deserved.”

The sobs halted on a sharp inhale as Esmera pushed herself upright, fury in her eyes as she fixed them on the younger prince, “They were not spies!” She growled.

Putting a hand out, Brennan tried to calm Esmera, but Gannon kept going with a shrug. His words were laced with contempt, “They all are.”

“You bastard…” She breathed and in that breath, Esmera moved, darting from the bed towards Gannon, moving to strike, “You horrible, hateful bastard!’

“Woe!” Brennan said as he spun to the side and caught Esmera around the waist, “Lorraine!”

Gannon pulled back, shock on his face that quickly gave way to an embarrassment he clearly did not appreciate, “What’s wrong with her? Are all Caleshans this way? How long does it take for you to break her?”

Brennan tilted his head as his brother’s words poured into his ears. His jaw clenched as he stilled Esmera, “Stop,” he told her, the anger building in his body, threatening to consume him.

Brushing at his sleeves, Gannon spoke again, “You really need to teach her her place.”

Spinning around faster than he could think, Brennan threw a punch that connected with Gannon’s face. His brother stumbled back, catching himself on the wall, “Wha-” was all he managed before the second blow struck him with a sickening crack. Crashing into the stone wall, spittle tainted with blood added a spray of red against the grey before he slid to the floor. Brennan wasn’t done though. Blinded by the image of the axe cutting through flesh, he gripped his brother’s shirt and swung with all his might, not once, not twice, in fact, Brennan did not count. He simply punched. Each blow sounded with a crunch, blood accumulating on any surface nearby.

“Brennan! Stop!” The cry came as Esmera stepped forward, wide eyed gaze watching her husband dissolve into near madness. He swung back and she reached, grabbed his arm with as much strength as she could muster, she yanked back, “No more!”

He was panting, Gannon was moaning. Esmera’s soft hands and and desperate cry caused him to look over his shoulder. The rage subsiding only when he finally recognized her through the haze. Brennan released Gannon as he straightened up. His brother was bruised and bleeding beneath him. Appalled by what he had done, Brennan stumbled back; his hands were shaking, “What did I do?” He asked as Gannon struggled to his feet.

He moved to help his brother but Gannon pushed him away, “Get away from me!” He exclaimed as he spit blood on the floor and placed a hand over the cut along his cheek, “You’ll pay for this “ Gannon swore, “both of you.”

Brennan watched as his brother stumbled out of their room. His eyes turned to Esmera, “What did I do?” He asked. His brother deserved the beating, he knew that, but never did Brennan imagine that he would be the one to deliver it. They had fought before, and just a few weeks ago, he had struck his brother for talking negatively about Esmera. This was different though. He had brutally beaten his brother without restraint.

“Sit…” Esme said, her voice soft, as the hand on his arm guided him to the edge of the bed. When he had sat, she crossed the room to where a basin and a jug of water rested and pouring water into the basin, tossing in a strip of cloth, she returned to him.

Kneeling, she wrung out the cloth and reaching, took hold of his hand, “He's a monster… and he got what he deserves. Less than he deserves...” She murmured, as the cloth brushed gentle along his battered knuckles, “I'm sorry I stopped you.”

Shaking head, he returned, “I'm not... He may be monster, but he is still my brother,” he flexed his hands wincing slightly, “I just...when he said that.. about you… I just lost it.”

“He wasn't wrong.” She continued, squeezing out the cloth and dipping it again, “I should not have reacted that way… I just…” Trailing off, she shook her head, “And you should not have reacted that way, either. He won't let it go… and I don't want to be your weakness, Brennan. I am not worthy of that…”

With a sigh, Brennan stopped her task by taking her hands in his, “You are my wife. That alone makes you worthy,” he brushed his thumbs over her gentle hands. While he could not say he loved her, Brennan respected her. She had shown her desire to keep even his people safe, and he’d be damned if he let anyone speak like that about her, even if it was his family.

She had no more tears to cry, but looking up, a sadness reflected in her red-rimmed gaze, as she shook her head, “You deserve better. You always have. And none of this would fall on you if I had not been brought here…” Her voice broke and her eyes dropped, “I promised Libby I would save her sister… and I failed. I failed them all, and I will fail you.”

We failed them,” he corrected her, “I promised, too,” Brennan slipped a hand from hers and gently brushed the back of it against her cheek, wincing slightly as his bruised knuckles made contact, “We learn,” he told her, “We learn from this and we do better. We become better.”

“How…? How can we do better when they aren't going to follow the rules?” Leaning her cheek into his gentle ministration, her eyes closed, “How can we win when those we're up against have all the power?”

His hand lingered a moment before he pulled it away, “I don't know,” he admitted with a shake of his head, “I know that it will be a war of attrition. It will be long and arduous. I do know that there will be consequences for what just happened. I would not be surprised if my father called for us as soon as he discovered the source of Gannon’s wounds.”

“He murdered those people, and we'll be punished for it.” Shaking her head, Esme rose to her feet, “There will never be peace! Not when we're the only ones doing the right things… Following the just course!”

“Not so,” he replied, his eyes following her as she arose, “we have the documents that prove their innocence, and, while that will not bring them back, my father will be forced to acknowledge it and make restitution,” he stood to his feet, “Besides you're not the one at fault. You did nothing wrong. You have nothing to fear.”

“You are so naive…” She breathed, brushing her fingers through her hair, “Do you think for one second your father will abide by those papers? That he will admit any wrongdoing? And do you suppose that he’ll willingly allow the crown-prince to take punishment for what happened to Gannon? That he won’t somehow find a way to turn this on me? When he has been searching for any reason to find fault in me from the moment I arrived? And do you think I care so little for you that even if those things were true, I would want to see you suffer for defending my honor?”

“There is no way you would be able to convince my father that you did any of that to Gannon, and I will not allow you to bear my consequences for me fulfilling my vows,” he moved to the desk and swept up the crumpled documents, “My father is not a good man, but he cannot argue against these documents in the presence of his advisors.”

“Maybe not… but he will find some way to move around this, Brennan. They’ll never take responsibility for what they’ve done. Not your father. Not mine. How many more people have to die in their bid for power.” Crossing the room, she sank down on the edge of the bed, her eyes shifting to the stone wall, red streaks thinning to pink, “I don’t know how to hold to hope, anymore. And I can’t… I can’t stop seeing it. Miranda, and Arnie… I can’t get it out of my head.”

“Me neither,” he placed the papers back on the table before joining her n the edge of the bed, “One day they will all pay for what they've done. I don't know when or how, but they'll pay. They have to.”

“And what do we do in the meantime, Brennan?” Sinking to the side, she leaned against him, her cheek resting against his arm, “What happens when they decide arresting and murdering citizens isn’t enough? What happens when they decide a Caleshan queen isn’t what they want?”

“Then I keep you safe, and, if I have to, I take you back to your home where I know you’ll be safe,” he brushed a hand over her hair, “Until then..we do what we can. We try to make a difference no matter how unlikely it is that our efforts produce any fruit.”

“...You are not bound to me, Brennan.” Shifting, she looked up, giving a small shake of her head, “You said those vows to Lorraine. And I am not Lorraine… You’re not obligated to stand by me. And why should you? When I have cause you so much pain.”

“Whether you were Lorraine or not is irrelevant. I am a man of my word,” he paused and looked down to his hands, “Or at least I try to be and the pain you've caused me is manageable,” he shifted to face her better, “you confessed, unsure of what I would do, and knowing that you were forfeiting your life. That speaks to your character, and until now, I refused to see it because I was so angry that I had allowed myself to be fooled. Your desire to protect the people, to invest in Libby personally, has proved you are someone worth protecting.”

Smiling sadly, Esme shook her head, “...Little good it all did.” Breathing out, she reached to take his hand again, brushing her fingertips over the bruises forming on his knuckles, “All I’ve accomplished is alienating you from your own family.”

Brennan laughed as he shook his head, “You didn't alienate me from my family. I did that myself. I've never been the man my father wanted me to be. I've never been like him. And Gannon and I have never been close because I'm not like them. I still have all the family I have ever had in Aishah and Mother.”

“I suppose, given your insistence on keeping to these vows of yours... that you have me, too…” She murmured, as she looked up, “If you want me, that is. I… I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.”

“Another family member on my side wouldn’t hurt,” he offered her a warm smile. Another knock at the door grabbed his attention, “Wait here,” he told her as he raised from the bed and headed to the door.

Upon opening it, Brennan was not surprised to find Siegfried on the other side, “Your father, the King, wishes to see you,” he smirked, “Both of you.”

Brennan looked over to Esmera and nodded, “Tell, my father we will be right there.”

“Now,” Siegfried replied, “He wants to see you right now.”

Rising, Esme frowned at the guard,as she moved to the desk where Brennan had discarded the papers. Collecting them, she turned a narrow glare to Siegfried, “Best you don’t forget who you are talking to. He is the crown prince, and I am still a princess… If I were you, I would be mindful of my tone.” Moving to Brennan’s side, she nodded, “I’m ready."
 

DarinValore

129% of people exaggerate.
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male
Leaving the room, Esmera’s hand found Brennan’s, the other clinging tightly to the papers that Brennan had shown her earlier. It was their only leverage, she knew… her only leverage, and while outwardly, she shown very little in the way of fear, inside, she felt broken. Brennan would not… could not be allowed to take the fall for her, and the decisions that came with that determination would not be easy.

To save him from his father’s wrath, there was a good chance she would need to give King Edwin someone else to focus on. Someone else…

King Edwin stood beside his throne when Brennan and Esmera were led into the throne room. His hand resting on the back, his back to the door.The sound of their steps filled the empty hall, Brennan silently cursing himself for not thinking that his father would dismiss his advisors to handle this matter. When they reached the end of the carpet, Siegfried took his normal position to the side.

Brennan squeezed Esmera’s hand and glanced her direction, silently hoping she would quiet herself to avoid instigating the matter, “Father,” Brennan started, “You sent for us?”

“Yes,” he spoke calmly, “A great tragedy has befallen our kingdom today,” he turned around to face the pair, “Of all the things I’ve seen , I had hoped to never see this; the day that brother would rise against brother.”

“I can explain,” he started when King Edwin through up a hand to silence him. Brennan swallowed back his words.

“There is no reason that could justify such behavior toward your brother. Brida thinks you may have broken his cheekbone and his nose. She had to stitch the cut under his eye. All of that damage, for what? Because Gannon corrected your wife when she spoke out of turn?” he spoke with a haphazard gesture toward Esmera.

“That’s not at all-” Brennan tried to interject.

“Do not try to defend her,” Edwin snapped back, “Since her arrival, she has spoken to us without regard as to who we are, or without recognizing who she is. I’ll not have it any longer.”

“Father-” Brennan tried again.

“Silence!” Edwin returned.

After a quick glance to Esmera, Brennan shook his head and took a step forward, releasing her hand, “No. I will not standby while Gannon falsely accuses my wife. Would you, Father?”

Shock washed over the man’s face before his eyes turned to Esmera and his nose turned up, “That’s different.”

“Different? How so?” Brennan turned back to Esmera, “Is it because she has a mind of her own? Or because she cares for the people of Etheren more than you?” Brennan faked a revelation, raising a finger to signify it, “Ah, It’s because she’s not Etherian, isn’t it!”

“Watch your tone, boy,” Edwin swelled trying to intimidate his son.

“Gannon falsely accused two Etherian citizens of spying for Calesh. He had them arrested and murdered today. We tried to stop it because I uncovered the truth of the matter. They weren’t spies! They were murdered simply because they were Caleshan by birth. Yes, I attacked Gannon, but I did so to protect my wife, the Princess Lorraine of Calesh,” he took the first step his arms stretched wide, “Is this what Etheren has become? A kingdom of royal bigots who murder innocent people instead of try to find a way to coexist? The war is over, Father,” he stepped back down and rejoined Esmera, slipping his hand around hers, “Remember?

“The war is never over!” Edwin snapped back, the flames in their basins rising in intensity for a moment, “If it is not Calesh, then it is Norcrest, or the tribes to the east,” he sighed, “I cannot focus on those fronts when I have to worry about whether my own family can live peaceably at home.”

Edwin descended the steps to stand before Brennan and Esmera. He studied the two of them for a moment, “Is that the evidence against Gannon?” he asked as he gestured to the papers in Esmera’s hands.

Frowning softly, Esmera nodded, holding out the paperwork to the king, “It is… We were on our way to deliver it to you, when…” Swallowing, her eyes fell and she shook her head.

Edwin took the papers, licking his forefinger and thumb before he skimmed through them, “Siegfried, look into this and report back to me,” he passed the pages to the captain of the guard and then returned to Brennan, “If the evidence is founded, Gannon will be punished for what he did, but,” he looked to Siegfried and nodded. The doors to the throne room opened and in walked a young man bound in chains, “you must face the consequences of your actions.”

“Don’t,” Brennan said as he watched the guards bring the man before the king, “You don’t have to do this.”

“I do, Brennan,” Edwin replied, “How do you think it will look if word gets out that my son assaulted the other and almost beat him to death? You must learn that such behavior is intolerable. Meet your whipping boy.”

Edwin ascended the steps and took his seat upon the throne, “The crime for striking a prince is ten lashings. Since you struck your brother five times, he will receive ten lashings for every strike.”

“Whip me,” Brennan blurted, “I attacked Gannon. Whip me, instead, please,” he begged.

“Heavens, no,” Edwin replied, “for what kind of punishment would that be for you. As I have spoken, let it be done,” he waved a dismissive hand, “Oh, and Siegfried, be sure that Brennan and his wife watch.”

“...Monster.” Esme whispered, and her grip on Brennan tightened as she looked to him, shaking her head. When she spoke, it wasn’t loud enough to carry. It wasn’t meant for anyone else, “...This is not your doing, Brennan. Do you hear me? This is not your fault…”

“Yes, it is,” he nodded as he watched the man be led out the doors and toward the yard, “I should have known better.”

“Gannon knew better… It’s why he came to your father.” She answered, and looking to the man being dragged along, she shook her head, “He can’t make you watch.”

“He’s the king,” Brennan said as he started to follow, his voice racked with guilt, “He can do whatever the hell he wants.”

Looking back to Edwin, Esme’s eyes narrowed, before she slid her fingers through Brennan’s, giving his hand a squeeze, “...Not forever, he can’t.”
 

Elle Joyner

I guess...
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
Several Posts a Day
My Usual Online Time
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Writing Levels
Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably a mix. When I GM I tend to prefer mostly aggressive, but with input from my players. I like to offer ideas and receive them. I don't like when people just take the reins and run with it though...especially in a 1x1.
Favorite Genres
Political intrigue, fantasy, futuristic, sci fi lite, superheroes, historical fiction, alternate universes. Smittings of romance, but only as side plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anime. Ever. Just not my jam.

Smut. Romance as a main plot. Horror. Grimdark.
Esmera Davontry
The snap of the whip and the cries each lashing tore from the young man’s throat echoed in his head as much as the image of Miranda’s head rolling free from her body did. Forty snaps of the whip, forty cries of agony; the point his father was trying to make sounded loud and clear. Gannon was the favorite and the only reason he was not crown prince was because the people would not accept such a break from tradition. Instead, his father would do whatever he could to try and break Brennan’s spirit so that he could mold it as he wish.

Today...he almost succeeded.

Words left Brennan for the remainder of the day as he sat on the couch in their room. Dinner came and went, and a different maid servant tended to Esmera as much as she would allow, Libby having understandably gone missing. There had been too much suffering today. There had to be something good he could do to make all the loss worth something. It took a report delivered on the condition of Gannon - a broken cheekbone, nose, and several stitches to the split in his cheek as well as a massive amount of swelling - for Brennan to discover what he needed to do. All he had to do was wait for nightfall.

And he was not alone. Esmera’s spirit had broken earlier, when she had come face to face with the manner of evil the man would stoop to, for pride and glory. She had witnessed Libby’s sister and her husband being murdered, had witnessed Gannon’s cruelty in mocking Brennan… His father’s punishment should have destroyed her.

Instead, it had instilled in Esme the fire that she had lost in her imprisonment within Etheren’s high castle. She had nearly given up hope, but not anymore. Even if she could not be the spy her father wanted, she was not going to let King Edwin win.

Shortly before evening fell, she made her way from their room in silence, and down to the kitchens. It wasn’t much… but she had to be cautious. She had gotten the name of the boy who was whipped from a serving girl, and after some digging, discovered where his family made their home. With a basket of supplies from the kitchen, she made her way in secret from the palace and into the city, determined that if she could not make it alright, she could still do some good for the people trapped beneath Edwin’s tyranny.

His heart raced as he moved through the streets of Etheren, hugging the cloak around him and checking to make sure his face was covered. Not two steps behind him followed another cloaked figure more reluctant to move than Brennan. The streets were relatively empty except for those who had night business. His hand found a permanent home upon the hilt of his blade.

“We’re going to get caught, and your father will not be happy about it at all,” came a feminine voice from beneath the hood.

“Don’t worry about the King, just focus on not losing that bag, Kiara,” he returned.

“I can’t believe you talked me into this,” she replied.

Coming to a stop, he sighed, “You can turn back, Kiara, just leave me the bag and I’ll figure out the rest on my own.”

A soft, mocking laugh sounded, “You? You’d likely kill the man. No, I am not leaving this with you.”

“Fine,” he replied, “Then shut up and hurry. The less time we spend out, the less likely we’ll be caught.”

When she nodded, Brennan began again finally coming to a stop outside a small shack. Knocking on the door, he shifted his weight impatiently until the door opened. Standing before him was a woman, barely an adult, “Hello,” he said as he pulled back the hood revealing himself to her. She gasped and tried to shut the door but his hand bolted out to stop it, “Please, I brought a doctor,” he gestured to Kiara who lifted the pouch and smiled warmly, “What happened today was...unjust and I just want to make it right.”

She studied him a moment before stepping aside with a nod, “Please, hurry. He’s developed a fever and I’ve run out of clean bandages.”

Kiara nodded and Brennan followed her in.

For a woman trained in subterfuge, Esme wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of sneaking around… Though perhaps her hesitation came more with the idea that if she were caught she could very well risk more than her own life. Still, she moved… forcing herself to carry forward, ducking into alley ways only when she heard a sound or movement in her direction.

It was dark… incredibly dark and empty in the streets by the time she found the home she had been directed to, and shifting the basket from her arm to set it at her feet, she raised her arm and softly, knocked against the frame.

When the knock sounded, Kiara and Brennan both looked to the young woman. She shook her head, not expecting any visitors, “Hide,” he said to Kiara who frowned and began shoving everything she had out back into the bag. With Kiara kneeling behind a short wall, Brennan took the spot by the door while the young woman pulled open the door. Brennan could not see who was there.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

Breathing out, Esmera lowered her hood, “...You… I thought maybe… I wanted to help. It’s not much, but I can try to bring more tomorrow. After what happened, today. It’s the least the palace can offer.” Bending, she plucked up the basket again, holding it out. It’s not right, what happened to your boy. And if there’s anything else I can do, please… don’t hesitate to ask.”

That voice. It took Brennan only a moment longer until he figured it out. Pushing off the wall, he stepped into the doorway, “Princess?”

Blinking, Esme stepped back a ways, and staring inside, her eyes widened, “Brennan?? Are you mad? If your father finds out--”

“Am I mad?” he pointed to her, “Are you mad?”

“Your father already hates me! It’s not as if I can make it worse… By the gods, Brennan.That beautiful heart of yours...” A soft laugh escaped, dry, but not without amusement, and her eyes moved to the woman, standing dumbstruck only a few feet inside, “May I come in?”

“Please,” she replied shocked that the crown prince and his princess were both in her shack of a home. She bowed and stepped aside.

“What are you doing here?” he asked her as soon as the door shut, “My father...no evil will befall me, but you…”

“I had to…” She murmured, as she set down the basket, “What he did, Bren… I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. These are his own people that he’s willing to do this to, and I couldn’t just ignore it.”

“These people are no more my father’s as they are your father’s,” he glanced back at the boy, “Kiara, you can come out and finish,” Kiara stepped out from behind her hiding and offered a proper bow to the princess before she hurried to the man’s bedside working at his wounds, “Kiara’s one of the court’s physicians. I had to do something.”

Smiling faintly, Esmera shook her head, and stepping closer, reached to take his hands, “A fine pair of sneaks we make, hm? Your nobility does you credit, Brennan.”

A blush formed on Brennan’s cheeks, her small hands resting in his, before he cleared his throat and turned his eyes to Kiara, “I told Kiara that I wouldn’t leave her to wander back to the castle alone. Stay with us,” he asked.

Frowning softly, she looked to the door, “It's not wise. We're much more likely to be seen if there are three of us. I'll leave now, and wait for you…”

“Very well,” he couldn't help the small frown that formed quickly and then vanished, “We should be only another hour.”

“Maybe two,” Kiara interrupted and when Brennan looked at her she shrugged, “These wounds are infected. I need to pack them with herbs and wrap them. It might take a little longer.”

With a nod he turned back to Esme, “Two hours, then.”

Nodding in return, Esme released his hands and turned to the door, but pausing, glanced back, “Be careful, Brennan. And don’t be so sure about your father. We’ve seen the evil he’s capable of today...”

With one last look, she slipped out into the night.

Brennan waited until Kiara was done before he bid the woman and her husband goodbye. The trip back to the castle was filled with worry upon every movement made by any passing soul. The fear of being discovered and reported drove him to be even more careful, adding time to his return. Instead of taking two hours like he had intended, it took him an additional thirty minutes.

Finally, he pushed through his door and slid it shut quietly before letting out a sigh of relief.

For Brennan is had been two and a half hours… for Esmera, a century. She waited, on baited breath, pacing back and forth in the nearly pitch black room, and no fewer than three times, she had to talk herself out of going out to find him. As time ticked on, and the fire grew dim, the room cooling, she found the familiar sense of anxiety creeping in and this time, she started for the door.

With a small cry, she pulled back as it opened and when Brennan closed it again, the breath she felt as though she had been holding since her own return escaped in a slightly disgruntled sigh, “You scared me half to death!” She hissed in a whisper.

“Sorry, were you expecting someone else?” he smirked.

With a frown, she gave him a small shove, “You are not funny! I’ve been so worried… You said two hours.”

“I know, I’m sorry. We took a little longer because I wanted to be sure we we weren’t discovered,” he sighed and took the few steps it took to get to the bench, “With everything we provided tonight, I’m hoping he makes a speedy recover and they have enough food to survive while he cannot work.”

Moving to sit beside him, Esme looked him over. In the dying light of the fire, he seemed tired, and it was little wonder, given the day they’d had. It felt hardly possible it had all happened in such a short while, and yet, it was only that morning that he had found her in the gardens… “What you did tonight, Brennan… It is just one of the qualities that will make you an amazing king, someday. I only wish it were possible for you to instill some of that in your father. I have no doubt, when you rule, you will change the world…”

Shaking his head he sighed, ‘It was the least I could do for what that man suffered because of me.”

“Nothing I say is going to convince you that this wasn’t your doing, is it?” Looking up at him, she frowned, “...If I hadn’t gotten involved, Brennan. If I had kept my mouth shut when Gannon was here, then none of this would have happened…”

“We’ll have none of that,” he shook his head, “For just a moment, let’s both set aside the bad and celebrate the good. We helped that man and his family...both of us.”

Smiling gingerly, she nodded, “It does feel good… And after everything that’s happened, I need a little good.” Rising, she crossed the room and with a sigh, leaned up against the sill of one of the long, rectangular windows overlooking the grounds. It was pitch outside, and not a soul could be seen, but for the flicker of torchlight near the gates, but beyond the outer wall, in her mind, she could see the yard… could still see what had happened there.

“...I don’t imagine I’ll sleep tonight, Brennan… if you’d like to take the bed.”

“No thank you,” he patted thin cushions of the couch, “I’m getting used to sleeping on this thing. Besides, if you do grow tired, I’ll not have you sleeping on the couch.”

Looking back at him, a brow lifted, and she shook her head, “...There is no way that thing is comfortable, and I’ve no desire to close my eyes. Not for a long, long while.” Turning back to the window, she pressed a hand to the glass, “I don’t like what I see, when I do.”

Sinking back into the bench, he crossed his arms over his chest. His eyes studying her in the window, “What is one of your favorite memories of Calesh?”

Turning around, she considered the question for a moment, before she spoke, “When I was younger, my sister… the real Lorraine, she could always pick up on when I was upset about something, and she would do this thing, where she would start counting. The first time she did it, I had no idea what she was doing and then out of nowhere, she turned to me and yelled that she caught me. After that, any time she would start counting, I would take off and hide. Usually never anywhere she couldn’t actually find me, because half the fun was being found… But it never failed to help me forget why I was sad.”

“Hmm,” Brennan stood to his feet and took slow, deliberate steps toward her, “She would just start counting?”

Nodding, she smiled, “Out of nowhere. Sometimes, right in the middle of a conversation.”
“So,” he tucked his hands behind his back, no more than two paces from her, “Just...One...Two…”

A brow lifted, as he began counting, and slowly, her smile brightened, “...You’re not…” But he was, and with a shake of her head, she wagged a finger at him, “I won’t make it easy on you, just because you’re a Prince!” Pushing off the sill, she moved around him and quick, light feet carried her to the door, looking back at him as she opened it, “Can’t catch me…” And with a laugh, she slipped out.

A smirk slipped across his lips, “No one knows this castle better than I do!” he called out to her, “Three...four….five!” and he was off, searching through the halls for Esmera.

Her steps carried her by memory… the darkened halls proving otherwise difficult to maneuver. She headed to the only place she knew by heart how to get to, and that was the gardens. At night, they were somehow just as lovely, the lilies and roses cast in the white ethereal glow of the moon overhead, the trickling whisper of the fountain, a short distance away. She paused, awestruck by the sight, and for a moment, she forgot entirely why she had come there in the first place.

What life was in the castle halls quickly cleared as the prince dashed through them. Gasps and inaudible sentences poured from their lips, but all Brennan could make out was the pounding of his feet in time with the beat of his heart. There were so many places one could hide, but Esmera had not been here long enough to discover those, nor had this spur of the moment attempt to distract her fretting mind been something they had attempted in the past. There was one place she favored more than the others, and at this late hour, it seemed the most likely hiding spot.

Brennan slowed to a stop as the entrance to the garden came into view. Pressing his back against the cool stone, he peaked around the corner to find Esmera standing there. The scene was even more beautiful in the pale moonlight than it had been in the day’s rays. As quiet as can be, Brennan rounded the corner and leaned his shoulder against the threshold. Esmera was nothing like he thought she was when she confessed her nefarious intentions. He had thought that there would be no happiness, only sacrifice, but in this moment, despite the pain and heartache of that day, Brennan found himself thankful that he still had Esmera...the Caleshan...the spy...his wife.

Pushing off the wall, Brennan began to walk toward her, their game the last thing on his mind…

She could hear his steps, and a small smile rose to her lips as she spoke, her voice the barest sound in the quiet of the gardens, “Found me then, did you?”

Brennan wet his lips as he stepped right up to her, his left hand slipping to her waist and his right along her jaw just a moment before his lips tenderly pressed against hers.

Breathing in, Esmera’s arms wound around his shoulders, her fingers curling in the hair at the nape, and pressing onto her toes, as though she had anticipated this moment all along, she pulled herself closer.

With eyes closed, he took in her scent, the taste, the softness of her lips, and the way her fingers curled into his hair. They combined into a sensation that sent a shiver down his spine. When the kiss ended, Brennan pressed his forehead to hers, with eyes still closed and a faint smile on his lips, “I found you.”