The Truce between Us

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Crescent, Nov 12, 2015.

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  1. For several years, fields laid red beneath the sun. Thick plumes of smoke rose to the skies where crops and villages burned, and the constant clashes of swords echoed through the strife-ridden lands. Such was the nature of the quarrels between the two noble houses. Fueled by agendas and unable to settle their differences, the houses warred with one another until their cavalries perished one by one or retreated back to their countries for safety. The region was engulfed in war and it continued for decades and decades with no hope in sight. There was no end to the bloodshed, no end to the agony, and there was no peace.

    But one all ceased.

    Having grown weary of the rampant death that plagued the lands, one of the houses proposed a truce. The condition was simple. An arranged marriage was to be held in their country, and if it succeeded, the peace between them shall be permanent. But if it failed...the whole region would surely crumble.
    #1 Crescent, Nov 12, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2016
  2. "Is that the best you have?!" ​

    Blinding silver rushed towards his face and Heisuke immediately sprung backwards. The loud smack from the spears meeting momentarily blocked his ears when he parried the blow, and sweat broke out from his forehead. The pole in his hands was uncomfortably warm and he hated the moist feeling against his fingers. "This is not war, brother! Keep a steady footing!" he shouted, brows scrunched up into a bothered frown.

    His brother, Arihiko, merely chuckled. Straightening his back and swiveling his yari downwards when he took a few steps away, he appeared to be preparing for yet another lashing. "Steady, predictable footing will be the last mistake you'll make out on the battlefield!" the young man called, a grin spreading across his smooth features. He lunged, his spear thrust forward in one fluid movement.

    Heisuke's heart seemed to stop when he reacted a few seconds too late, a jolt of pain erupting from his shoulder when the blade scraped against the light armor. He gritted his teeth. For a moment there, he was awfully glad that he wasn't facing Arihiko in a proper fight--a blow like that would have easily impaled him. Feigning, he thrust his yari for the legs before sending a quick jab at Arihiko's chest. But it was parried, the other's amused laughter driving him mad.

    The two princes continued their spar while servants silently watched on from the sidelines with their hands folded in front of them. Steps and smacks echoed through the great hall, with golden drapes billowing from the equally great and arching windows. Sunlight streamed onto the wooden floor where it eventually illuminated the heavy folds of the crimson banners that hung from the stone walls. At the center of each banner was a single, golden dragon with its maw open and wings outstretched.

    A spear tumbled to the floor, rolling away to the side.

    Arihiko stood with his yari held against Heisuke's neck. Panting through his teeth, the younger prince glared daggers at his brother. He couldn't keep up with him, and he just knew that the bastard was enjoying every moment of this. He saw that cursed smirk again, rising ever so smugly. "...2-0," Arihiko said, slowly enunciating each word when his voice ended the silence. "Had this been a battle against the enemy, you would have been one head less."

    Clapping was heard from the entrance to the hall, and the attention of both princes was drawn towards a crimson-cloaked man with a pampered, black beard and a set of cunning eyes hiding behind his smile. "I haven't witnessed such a marvelous fight in years! You have improved, Arihiko."

    Jealousy knotted in his chest like a tightening rope and Heisuke mustered up a forced smile. "Father," he started, spending a second or two to calm his thoughts and prevent his hands from strangling someone they so longed to do. "Is it time yet?"

    "Hm?" The king's eyebrows knotted together before a look of realization dawned upon his aged face. "Ah, yes--your betrothed. I have received word that she should be arriving here at noon. You should be honored Heisuke. At last, you will have a bride like Arihiko's."

    "A bride we have yet to see..." Heisuke muttered under his breath. From the corner of his eye, he thought that he saw Arihiko stiffen, as if having heard him, but he was too riled up to investigate any further. Keeping up his nonchalant facade, he smiled pleasantly to his father. "I shall set off to make the preparations." Heisuke bowed his head slightly when he passed them both. It was better to make a good example of himself when he still had the chance. Leaving the sparring hall and continuing into the hallway, the corners of his mouth arced downwards faster than a brick thrown from a roof. This betrothed of his better not be giving him any more headaches than he already had.

    Finding his way to his chambers, Heisuke stopped in front of the broad mirror and released a long sigh. A pair of forest-green eyes stared back at him, and he felt the tension wash off him slowly. It sometimes surprised him how much a little peace and quiet could do to him. He pulled at the ribbon holding his chestnut-brown hair back, letting his mane fall past his shoulders. Smoothing it out, he opted to have it loose. It was one of the few things he took pride in. Having allowed it to grow uninterrupted for a full year, it was now longer than even Arihiko's.

    Dressing himself in a white tunic, a pair of black pants, and tall, leather boots, the last piece of clothing that went on him was the crimson cloak that draped over his shoulders. The soft, silky fabric hung freely all the way to the floor with gold embroidery along the hems. Having gone over the last details of his appearance, Heisuke still wasn't entirely satisfied when he left his room, but he supposed that it would have to do. It was only a meeting--not the day of the marriage.

    It was noon when Heisuke finally stood in the paved courtyard, tapping the ground with his heel before slowly taking a few steps to the side. He allowed himself to cast yet another glance to the arched gate, the masonry around it threatening to be overtaken by the spreading ivy. He was growing restless waiting for the princess' arrival. Several red-clad servants stood in a line left to him, with some appearing nervous and whispering in hushed tones when they thought that he wasn't looking. Apart from the soft rustling from a few trees in the corners and the shrill cries of swallows flying above them, the courtyard was silent as death itself.

    Heisuke wasn't too fond of the thought that they would meet like this, not after so many wars and battles between their houses. The suggestion to meet in this very courtyard was a foolish one, but he didn't claim that he understood his father's thinking. A stinging pain crept up his shoulder and Heisuke furrowed his brows when he rubbed it, attempting to massage it away. He just wanted it to be done and over with.
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  3. "I don't see why I have to do this."

    Wheels rolled over the ground, rocks crunching beneath them, occasionally large enough to jostle the carriage which she sat in. She stared outside, a small frown marring her petite, feminine features. "Because," a cheery voice started, causing her to shift her attention from outside to the small girl sitting across from her. Tight black curls that would sit to her shoulders if they weren't in a bun on the top of her head and dark brown eyes and latte coloured skin. Raelynn was her name. And she was one of the princess' ladies-in-waiting, and one of her childhood friends. "It's not like your brother Killian can come and marry the prince, now can he?" Raelynn asked in a deadpan voice. The young woman studied the princess before leaning over and taking her hand in hers "look, Avaline, I know you don't like this. Gosh, I don't either, but we have to do our best. Our country needs the peace."

    Ava gave a small sigh and leaned back, turning her gaze back outside. "I know," she responded quietly, "doesn't mean I have to like being married off to some stranger," she had never met the man. All she knew was that his name was Heisuke. She had no idea what he was like. And then there was the fact that she was leaving her own country and living in his. Which, to Ava, was enemy territory. The only thing she knew of this country were that they were constantly trying to steal her family's land. That didn't leave too good of an impression.

    Raelynn eyed the princess before sitting back, letting go of her friend's hand. Ava's gaze shifted to her reflection in the small area of glass and she silently studied herself. With a small, petite nose, cupid-bow lips, large almond shaped eyes all present on a heart shaped face, it was easy for others to say she was pretty. But her long red hair that sat the end of her rib cage in gentle waves, a single thin braid on one side just to make it look like she put some effort into it. And her cognac coloured eyes set her apart from others. Many said her hair and eyes changed her from pretty to stunning, and her being merely 20 enhanced those features of hers, though Ava certainly didn't believe that. To her, she thought her hair was the colour of rust, she thought it was ugly. Her skin, though fair, was slightly tanned from all the time she tended to spend outside with Killian back at home. She was, however, proud of her eyes. She thought they were the colour of liquid fire.

    Avaline ran a hand through her hair, pulling it all over her left shoulder absent-mindedly as she shifted her focus away from her reflection and instead looked back outside, only to see that the castle just ahead. Ava straightened, glancing down at her dress. Tough Ava didn't like wearing dresses for the most part for she found them too constricting, she didn't mind this one. It was a pale lavender, with white lace over the bodice and trimming of the skirt that sat just above her ankles. There was a thin white lace in lieu of sleeves, only covering her shoulders. And despite her high dislike of heels, she was forced - by Raelynn at that - to wear her matching pale lavender and white heels. She was forever thankful that they were only a couple centimetres tall. Raelynn had tried to coerce her into the taller pair - 4 inches, but Ava had flat out refused. She'd probably make a fool out of herself and fall on her face or something.

    The gates loomed closer and Ava smoothed down her skirt before she realized what she was here for. She frowned slightly, eyes flicking to Raelynn who smiled encouragingly at her. Reluctantly, she nodded in response and looked back out as they passed the gates. It wasn't long before the carriage came to a stop and then the coachman soon opened the door for her. As always, in case of threat, Raelynn stepped out first, stepping onto the step and then the ground, surveying the area. After a moment, Ava's lady-in-waiting stepped to the side and motioned her her to step out.

    Taking a deep breath, Avaline stepped out of the carriage. Onto the step and then the ground. Her eyes flicked over to the people that were standing not too far off, waiting. Ava glanced back at her group. It was her carriage, pulled by four grey horses. Tied to the back of the carriage was another horse. A deep mahogany bay thoroughbred gelding, the only white on him was thick white blaze upon his face. His name was Atlas, and he was Ava's personal horse. Looking past him, Ava looked at the guards upon their own horses. A total of 8. Four in front and four behind. Two very front and back riders held the royal flag of her country. A deep blue, with gold flourish corners. In the middle was the Dark Phoenix that signified her country. Behind it, the full moon shone bright, illuminating the savageness of the Dark Phoenix.

    Squaring her shoulders, Avaline faced forward and her eyes soon found who could only be Heisuke, his chestnut hair loose, pass his shoulder and his forest green eyes bright. Though Ava could tell that he wanted to be here just as much as she did. She strode toward the man and wondered what he'd be like. If she really was to marry this man, then she could only hope that be wasn't some pig. She'd have no qualms with putting him in his place if that were the case.. Though, for the sake of peace, she'd have to wait until after they were married to do that. "Heisuke?" she inquired as she stopped a little way from the man with chestnut hair. "My name is Avaline," she gave a slight bow of her head for respect, "it's a pleasure to meet you," the lie rolled right off her tongue. "I apologize that we are a little late," she said softly.
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  4. Grit and small stones shifted underneath his boots when Heisuke took a further few steps to the side, arms now crossed over his chest, and soon turned towards the line of mumbling servants, gradually making his way back to them. His slow pace was a forced one, and the prince was itching to do something. Had his mother seen him at this very moment, he would have been chastised for showing such 'impudent' behavior so openly, especially on an important day like this. But what could he do about it, really? It had never been in his nature to stand still and remain like that for who knows how long.

    The sound of hooves and whinnying horses prompted him to stop and glance towards the gates, and Heisuke was just in time to catch sight of the carriage when it passed through and eventually ground to a halt in the middle of the courtyard. He fumbled a bit with his cloak when the coachman climbed down from his seat, ensuring that it covered him properly. He wouldn't be hearing of any complains, not today when his mood couldn't possibly be any worse. Once the first person got out from the carriage, Heisuke straightened his spine and pushed his shoulders back, his gaze rising to meet a rather petite girl with a black bun and tanned skin. That had surprised him, and he ended up staring at her for longer than what was accepted. It was all out of curiosity though, for he usually didn't see people of such descent.

    He contemplated her origins when the petite woman stepped to the side and appeared to motion for someone else to come out of the carriage. It was fair to say that the pair had snared and caught his interest when Heisuke watched the princess step out to join the other. So that was Avaline, his fiance and bride-to-be. When she faced forward and looked towards him, the prince could honestly say that he wasn't disappointed. Her hair had a rich coppery shade and her face was a pretty one, the kind that was pleasant to look at for hours on end. But neither of these things was what had captured him. It was her eyes--both bearing the appearance of swirling fire. They gave him the impression that he might get burnt, should he tread carelessly.

    She strode over to him, and Heisuke's attention was entirely on Avaline when she first spoke. "Princess Avaline," he started, a genuine smile spreading across his modestly round features when he bowed to her. "It is a joy to personally meet like this. The pleasure is all mine," he continued, his back soon straightening when his gaze once again fell upon her. It took Heisuke a few seconds to realize how he had spoken to her, and when he did, he mentally scolded himself. 'You could have endangered your own nation, blabbering like that.'

    Giving himself a moment to recover from the mishap, the prince kept his expression as nonchalant as possible. "Your delay did not cause any inconvenience to us," he assured her, soon casting a glance towards the castle. "I have to apologize on my parents' behalf for their absence. I'd imagine that they are far too occupied to stand here at this very moment," the prince said, his lips forming a line when he pursed them slightly. Too occupied to meet his own betrothed. How utterly honored he was to play the role of their personal puppet. Returning his gaze back to Avaline, Heisuke mustered up a polite smile and held out a hand for her to take. "Shall we? I'd imagine that you want me to tour you around the castle," he offered, at the same time contemplating if he should take her through the gardens before introducing her to the many halls and rooms of the castle.
    #4 Crescent, Nov 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2015
  5. Avaline studied the man before her and could honestly say, if she had been some air headed ninny who only wanted a husband with an attractive face, then she'd be quite content with Heisuke as a husband. He was attractive. Not in the way that told her he was arrogant and way too self-confident, but he was pleasant to look at. As he spoke her name, a genuine smile spreading across his face and then he started babbling, her eyes widened slightly in shock before a small, amused smile tweaked at the corner of her lips.

    When he apologized on behalf of his parents, her gaze shifted to the castle beyond. It certainly wasn't Heisuke's fault, but it was definitely rude of the King and Queen. If it wasn't for the fact that she was here to try and secure a treaty between the two countries, she would have sent word to her parents about their absence. It was incredibly rude for them not to greet other royalty personally, busy or not. It was protocol. "It's quite alright, things happen," she lied with an easy smile, turning her attention back to the prince before her. If he felt as thrilled as marrying her as she did him, then she felt for him. The last thing she wanted to do was marry him. She didn't really even want to give him a chance, just to spite her parents for forcing her into this. But she knew and understood her responsibility for her country, so she wouldn't let such pettiness get in the way of what had to done.

    When he offered her a hand with a polite smile, she blinked, mildly confused until he offered to take her on a tour around the castle grounds. Her confusion swiftly switched to surprise. Her eyes darted to Raelynn who had come up to stand a couple metres to the side for a split second and the young woman nodded with a warm smile, encouraging her. Perhaps it was because she had been expecting for some arrogant man that she was caught so off guard by his generosity. But, Avaline gave him a smile and gently took his outstretched hand. "I would greatly appreciate that," she told him and allowed him to lead her to where ever he thought best to take her first.

    But after riding in a carriage for hours on end, Avaline wanted nothing more than to be in a tunic and pants and sparring against Killian back home in the grassy fields as the guards ran around the field for evening exercise. The thought made her start missing her home already. Gosh, what she wouldn't do to go back home. She cast a sidelong glance at the man next to her and then saw the group of guards following them from a short distance, which made her fee uncomfortable. She knew it was to be expected, for what if someone tried to kill her? Or Heisuke, but Ava rarely had guards back home. Only if she left the castle grounds. Sure, they had to make sure she didn't attempt to kill Heisuke - even if everyone thought that she wasn't capable of that. Or, the more believable side, Heisuke try to kill her.

    Ava knew that Heisuke wouldn't be that foolish. Or she hoped not. That would be a flat out act of war. And neither countries would come out very well. Deciding to distract her thoughts from spiralling deeper, she looked at Heisuke again, deciding perhaps small talk was something normal people would do, "do you have many siblings?" she asked him casually, watching him for a moment before looking ahead once more. She only knew of one brother, but then, Ava had never even attempted to learn about family relations in the enemy kingdom.
  6. Noticing her reaction when he offered his hand, it became clear to Heisuke that his offer had taken her by surprise. An amused smile tugged at the corner of his mouth when he saw Avaline look towards the tanned woman, as if pleading for assistance. She must have expected him to be obnoxious, raised with the complete absence of good manners. The mere realization made the prince take great delight in having proved her wrong, even if it was for a moment. While he couldn't say that it had gone the way he had hoped for, Heisuke did believe in good first impressions. His smile grew wider when Avaline took his hand, and he began leading her towards a smaller entry to the side of the courtyard. "Then allow me to show you to the gardens. I'm sure that your travels had you exhausted."

    Leading her through the arched gate, Heisuke grew quiet when they entered a hallway with open spaces for windows. Should one look through them, one would easily be able to see the lush greenery of the gardens spreading out towards the distant castle wall. The prince's earlier amusement had long since vanished, and he found himself rehearsing the instructions he had been given the day before. 'Treat her like a lady; look at her once in a while; make sure that she feels included and accepted.' While Heisuke usually didn't have any problems being social, he found himself at loss of how to approach her. Was it the constant strain of the treaty he was feeling, or was he just not ready for this engagement? He knew for a fact that if he had a say in this, he would have postphoned their marriage for least a few months--if it ever took place, that is.

    The prince paid no mind to the guards behind them when he lead her into the gardens, and they were soon surrounded with blooming fuchsias on each side of the path. When Avaline spoke again, Heisuke cast her a sidelong glance before he looked at her more fully. "I have a younger sister, Hana is her name," he replied, following her gaze to look ahead of him. Fruit trees and carefully sculptured bushes dotted the path's edges until they eventually gave way for the fountain at the center. With it's wings spread out towards the sky, a golden dragon rested on its haunches in the midst of the water, with more of it streaming out from its open maw. Heisuke hummed in thought. "I have no doubt that she will want to learn about you. She tends to be curious like that."

    Heisuke eventually brought them to a natural stop before the fountain. A few petals were floating in the water and it was partially shaded by a lone sakura tree. While most would smile and feel happiness at the sight, the prince himself wasn't far from frowning. "...I also have an older brother, Arihiko. I'm sure that you have heard of him." Heisuke fell quiet again, his free hand having gone to rest on his hip while he looked into the rippling water. It was rare for someone not to have heard of Arihiko nowadays. The man likely thought that he was high and mighty just because he had managed to gain their father's favor on his side. Heisuke felt nothing but disgust.

    Avaline's hand in his own reminded him that he was still in her presence, and Heisuke forced his arm to a more relaxed position. He couldn't allow family relations to get in the way for him. Not now. Deciding to bring the topic to a lighter note, Heisuke turned so that he was facing Avaline. "What about you? Do you have any siblings in your family?"
  7. Avaline's breath was blown away when they entered the gardens. The fuchsias were gorgeous and Ava had a sudden desire to touch them. Back at her gardens, there were no fuchsias. Her mother loved roses, so the gardens back at home were mostly made up of roses. And, whilst beautiful, one gets sick of looking at the same flowers for their whole life. She listened to Heisuke as he spoke of his younger sister, Hana. Her fiery gaze studied the trees and bushes and felt a calm ash over her. The outdoors had always helped her calm, even when she didn't realized she wasn't. It was inside the confining hallways of castles that made her feel suffocated. Perhaps she was claustrophobic, but she had never allowed herself to be put into small enclosed areas, so she didn't know.

    At the sight of the fountain and the golden dragon, Ava couldn't help the smile that spread across her features with ease. It was gorgeous. When Heisuke said Hana would love to learn about her, she tore her gaze from the fountain and looked at him as they stopped, "I would love to meet her," she told him honestly. She sounded like an inquisitive mind, and that usually meant an intelligent mind. Ava had no problem with meeting someone who may be intelligent enough to hold a proper conversation. And a girl. Other than Raelynn, Ava knew no other girls here, so it might be nice. Not that she knew how old she was, but even if she was young, it'd still be nice. She liked kids, too.

    Ava stared at the fountain before turning to look at the Sakura Tree, her eyes widening ever so slightly at the pink petals. It was stunning. She cast Heisuke a sidelong glance as he spoke of his brother and the princess blinked in mild curiosity. His tone spoke volumes on what he thought of his brother. Or at least his brother's popularity. She noticed the prince put a hand on his hip and she had to bite her lower lip gently to keep from grinning. But then the prince seemed to remember where he was and he soon dropped it to stand in a more natural stance.

    The man soon turned to her completely, his green eyes studying her as she asked if she had any siblings. She couldn't help the bright smile that grace her lips as she thought of home. "Yes," she said softly, "I have a younger brother named Eryn," she told him, thinking of the 17 year old's mischievous honey brown eyes and mop of dark brown curls on his head. "And an older brother named Killian," she smiled fondly as she thought of her older brother. He was 8 years older then her, at 28, with hair the same shade as hers and amber eyes.

    Her smile, however, quickly faded and she looked away, gazing at the golden dragon, eyes full of grief for a split second before she closed them and took a deep breath. "And I had another older brother. His name was Kean," she said in an almost whisper. He would've been 32. And though he had had no claim to the throne due to being a Bastard Son, he and Killian had practically raised Ava. Her father had fathered Kean when he was merely 17, to a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love with when he was young. He had made sure Kean had a place in the castle, even if he had no claim to a title.

    Ava could remember the time clearly when the men had come to the castle to tell her, her father and her brothers that Kean was missing, presumed dead. His body had never been found. That was 5 years ago now and she could still remember how shattered she felt. How she still felt. Thinking of how she'd never see his smile, his dimpled grin, his bright blue eyes and curly jet black hair that could never be tamed. His memory caused tears to burn the back of eyes, but she took a deep breath, calming herself, refusing to let herself cry. "Sorry," she breathed lightly and looked at Heisuke with a forced smile. "You'll get to meet Eryn and Killian when ever they can come here," she mused lightly. They'd probably be here when ever their wedding date was officially announced. She knew her mother and father wouldn't be able to come, for someone had to stay and make sure their kingdom was safe.
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